Page 1

vol. 43 | issue 1 | sept. 16, 2011


photo by mikala compton

the great exchange


Students who choose to spend a year abroad often say it’s overwhelming, but many also say it’s one of the best experiences they’ve ever had.

attendance policy (hasn’t) changed 18 With the shift to modified block scheduling across the district, the number of days students can miss during the semester has changed.

fall sports preview


Football, boys’ soccer, cross country, gymnastics, girls’ tennis, girls’ golf and volleyball are all hoping for a good season.



forgot your camera? we didn’t. check out:

Great up-do’s for homecoming!


passage | contents

issue 1 | vol. 43 | sept. 16, 2011 Shawnee Mission Northwest 12701 West 67th St., Shawnee, Kan., 66216

news in brief




Updates about happenings at Northwest Pop culture and news from around the world

09 cookies

entertainment reviews

Contagion, filmschoolrejects. com, Honda Civic Tour and Lonely Road

photo by mikala compton

22 danny manning


what we remember


let’s hang on to seminar


cookies under fire

A staff member encourages students to eat healthier


attendance policy (hasn’t) changed

Students who choose to spend a year abroad often say it’s overwhelming, but many also say it’s one of the best experiences they’ve every had

under fire

sports 07

Students should be warned when seminar time will be shortened

the great exchange

graphic by mitch feyerherm

A staff member discusses leading the volleyball team with a broken arm A staff member reflects on the events of 9/11


With the shift to modified block scheduling across the district, the number of days students can miss during the semester has changed

opinions play for me



19 fall

photo by sarah dean

sports preview


fall sports preview


danny manning


pressure can lead to problems

Football, boys’ soccer, cross country, gymnastics, girls’ tennis, girls’ gold and volleyball are all hoping for a good season As a running back Danny Manning transitions from the St. James’ football program to Northwest’s, he has quickly found his way into the starting rotation Don’t hold too many expectations for high school athletes


[ staff ] Co-editors-in-chief | Maria Davison + David Freyermuth

Copy Editor | Brianna Leyden Design Editor | Bailey Kopp Assistant Designer | Brooke Golladay Web Managing Editor | Daniel Magwire Ads Editor | Claire Marley Photo Editors | Mikala Compton + David Freyermuth

Graphic Artist | Mitch Feyerherm News Editor | Hayley Battenberg Opinions Editors | Maria Davison + David Freyermuth

Entertainment Editor | Ashlee Crane Sports Editors | Logan Coffman + Brady

EDITOR’S NOTE: My favorite ice-breaker question is always “If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?” But my answer is different every time. Among my most common responses are Spain, India and Argentina, but, in reality, I want nothing more than to travel to every continent. The rest of the world has always been intriguing. I’ve studied Spanish for six years now, and while I’m no where near fluent, the time I’ve spent learning the language has opened up my eyes to the culture of Spanish-speaking countries. Those cultures are so much different than anything I’ve ever known, yet they’re exactly the same too. Those people are doing exactly what we’re doing: living life to the best of their ability. I want to see the entire world, but even more importantly, I want the opportunity to immerse myself in another culture for an extended period of time, like junior Anna Lindholm, who is spending this year as an international exchange student in Ecuador (page 14). I want to live with the people of entirely different part of the world, learn their language and celebrate with them. I couldn’t agree more with Spanish teacher Susanne Kissane when she says that it’s important for people to see how other people around the world live and to learn about their cultures (page 16). And the best time to do that is while we’re in high school or college. When Kissane spent a year in Spain, her junior year of college, she didn’t get credit at the American university she was attending. But now, there are exchange programs to suit every interest. You can do a summer, semester or an entire year abroad, in almost any country in the world. I have every intention of studying abroad in college. I want to spend a semester in Spain, or maybe Latin America — a Spanish-speaking country for sure. And I can’t wait. I’m not speaking from experience, just from what I’ve learned from current and former exchange students, I would encourage everyone to make time during their high school or college career to spend a semester or a year in a foreign country. The experience will change your life — and probably in a positive way. Maria Davison Co-editor-in-chief


Staff Writers | Jeffery Allen, Sam Bellmyer, Michael Catt, Rachel Ferencz, Baili Mcpheeters, Evan Shinn, Connor Thompson, Paige Waltman, Zoe Weber, + Eric Zoellner

Contributors | Edelawit Hussien Adviser | Susan Massy

The purpose of the Northwest Passage is to relay important and interesting information to the community, administration and students of the Shawnee Mission Northwest High School. As a newsmagazine, the Northwest Passage will cater to the interests and concerns of the student body. Outside concerns and activities will only be covered if they somehow affect the school or students. the Northwest Passage is a 24-page newsmagazine. The paper will be distributed every three weeks during fifth hour. Subscriptions will be available to the community for $25. the Northwest Passage firmly supports the First Amendment and opposes censorship. The content of the newspaper will be determined and created by the entire staff. When questions concerning word choice, legal problems or ethics arise the editorial board and adviser will discuss the problem to find a solution. In these cases, the co-editors-in-chief will the have final say in all decisions. Letters to the editor will be accepted and encouraged, but will only be published if signed. The staff reserves the right to edit for grammatical mistakes, length and good taste. Letters may attack policy but not people. In no way will ideas or viewpoints be changed. The co-editors-in-chief reserves the right to refuse any letter.

in brief Johnson County pools sicken 60 people Due to a recent outbreak of cryptosporidiosis — an intestinal parasitic illness — all Johnson County public pools, including the SM District pools, were closed last week. Cryptosporidiosis (“crypto” for short) is caused by a microscopic parasite called cryptosporidium, which travels in infected animal and human fecal matter. Symptoms usually begin two to 10 days after contracting the parasite and include stomach cramps or pain, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, fever, weight loss and watery diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Johnson County pools became infected with the parasite, which led to more than 60 confirmed cases of the disease. To prevent the disease from spreading to students, the district closed all

school pools. This could have caused problems for the cross country team, which uses the pool during practices to condition. “We may be able to get by without pool running because [the weather] this week has been so cool. After the Sept. 13, we can go [pool running] again and, since it’s short term, it’s not a big deal. We can adapt,” cross country coach Van Rose said. As specified by the Centers for Disease Control, to prevent catching and spreading crypto, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before preparing or eating food, after using the toilet and after handling an animal or animal waste.

by hayley battenberg

Fee increase helps sports, district This school year, students and their families saw an approximate threefold increase in the student activity fee. The activity fee, which was optional in past years, was also only $35. “Of the $90, $50 goes to the district to use as they see fit. The other $40 stays in the building and is primarily used for our athletic programs,” principal Bill Harrington said. With the $90, all students with an ID card get into home games and events for free. The $40 that stayed in the building went mainly to help fund transportation for athletics, according to Harrington.

for more northwest news, visit


“[The other $50] goes to offset a portion of the supplemental salaries for coaches and sponsors and supplies for the extra-curricular and cocurricular programs,” said Tim Rooney, budget and finance director for the SM School District. If there were any students who couldn’t pay for the $90 fee, there was additional help. “I would say that, if there was adverse reaction to it, it was extremely small. I had no one come to me and talk about it,” Harrington said. “We’re set up during fee payment if people need a payment plan or they need fee waivers, which has happened in the past.”

New teachers join Northwest Northwest has added six new teachers to the 2011-2012 roster. Lindsey Demke is a first-year biology teacher who completed her student teaching at SM North, and received her degree from Brigham Young University. “The students have been fantastic so far but I’m still getting to know them,” Demke said. Dr. Johnny Winston is the second science department addition, teaching physical science. Jeffery Hart is a paraprofessional for senior English classes, and fellow new paraprofessional Monica Montemayor is currently on leave. Gifted teacher Catherine Morrison, who comes to Northwest from the North Kansas City School District, is looking forward to getting to know her new students. “I have no hesitation in saying this is one of the best buildings I have worked in,” Morrison said. “The difference for me is the staff; I am still getting to know the students.” Cindy Swarner, a former NW student, now teaches Focus on Foods, Fashion Careers and Exploring Careers in Health Science. “My experience so far has been wonderful,” Swarner said. “My co-workers have been awesome in helping me get started, and the staff here is also helpful and friendly. My students have been mannerly, and I appreciate the respect they have given me.”

by edelawit hussien

by baili mcpheeters

Northwest makes Newsweek Northwest made Newsweek’s 2011 America’s Best High Schools list. Ranked 492 out of 500, Northwest was one of three SM schools that made it onto the list, the other two being SM South at 426 and SM East at 326. The schools were ranked, according to Newsweek, based on six criteria: high school graduation rate, college graduation rate, AP tests taken per graduate, average SAT/ACT scores, average AP/IB/AICE scores and AP courses offered.

“We’re really excited about the honor, and I think it really speaks volumes to all the work in the classrooms teachers do, and all the commitment the students have to their future,” assistant principal Lisa Gruman said. “It’s a very comprehensive look at our school, and I’m very happy to celebrate with our staff and students.” This is Northwest’s first year on the list, and South and East’s second.

by hayley battenberg

in brief


Pop culture and news from around the world.


Libyan rebels The Transitional National Council — supported by the United States, among other countries, have overthrown the government in Libya. Libyans, although victorious against Gadhafi’s rule, still feel insecurity due to dire shortages of food, gas and water. Information from

$1.2 million the cost of the new NW cafeteria important dates



23 27

— years—

since the September 11, 2001 attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon.

Orchestra Concert @ 7pm

No school Choir Concert @ 7pm


was the last year a person was killed by a bear in Yellowstone National Park. This summer two men, on separate occasions, were killed by two different bears in the park. information from


Sept. 16, 2011

Beyonce baby news broke twitter record.


of Americans own smart phones, according to a comScore study done in July 2011. information from


49th annual Shawnee Mission College Clinic @ SME, 6:30pm

13 14

Band + Jazz Concert @ 7pm


Northwest Area Choral Festival @ SMNW, 7pm

No school


3 6

Tweets per second

No school End of First Quarter


Federal Disaster Relief Fund is running out of money. FEMA finances have fallen to less than $800 million, which means that any non-emergency repairs cannot be funded. Long-term projects, like the rebuilding of Joplin, MO., will have to be put on hold, and the agency is worried they will not have enough money to assist in fixing damages caused by hurricane Irene. Information from

I am about to be 26 years old. I don't want to play a high school student anymore. Glee was a good run. I think it's smart to keep having new students come in and hear their stories. I think it's good and I am really excited about the writers coming in this season.” — Amber Riley, who plays Mercedes on Glee.

play for me

by rachel ferencz

After being told that I couldn’t play my senior season of volleyball, I found a new way to lead off the court.


remember the day perfectly. The man deemed my “bone doctor” approached the room and shut the door quietly. I caught my breath as he dared to say the words that threatened to take away the one thing I thought no one could take. He looked me in the eye and said, “It’s not good.” Three minutes later, I had heard only a few of the words that came out of his mouth. He explained the significance of the six bones that I had fractured, including the one I broke nearly in half which allows all movement in the wrist. Then he dropped the word every athlete fears the most: surgery. My blood pressure was soaring as he talked. The only question he had yet to answer was the most important one: When could I play again? He seemed confused by my question, so I choked back tears and poured my heart out about how I was a varsity volleyball player, how it was my senior year, how I had a commitment to my team. Thoughts of not being able to play on my own senior night or compete in a NW jersey again flooded my mind. Would this man truly tell me that I had lost all of that? He had to be wrong. My heart skipped a beat as he dropped the final bomb. His answer: “As of right now, not this season”. That’s when I lost it. I began sobbing and yelling. I told my doctor that I refused to be put in a cast. I would play on it. He didn’t understand that this was my last season. This was it. The bone I broke is notorious for not fusing back together due to lack of blood flow. Without surgery, I would lose motion in my left wrist for the rest of my life, and it would never fully heal on its own. I was now living my own worst nightmare. This doctor was trying to tell me that I had to endure

two of my biggest fears — surgery and not being able to play volleyball. When I got home, one of my best friends was in my driveway waiting for me. I took one step out of the car and collapsed to my knees, screaming as yet another wave of salty tears poured down my face. A week later, I was in surgery for three hours, laying unconscious as the doctors slit my wrist open to insert two surgical pins into the top of my hand, and two more underneath my palm to pull the bone back together. Thirty stitches, a splint and six hours later, I awoke to my new reality. For four weeks, my wrist was in constant throbbing pain, and it felt like someone had dropped a boulder on my wrist. Even worse, I

“They asked what they could do. I told them to play for me.” could be in a cast until January. I was happy the cast would come off before graduation, but it didn’t ease my mind about volleyball. I sat down with all of the teams, freshman through varsity, and told them my story. They asked what they could do. I told them to play for me. I told them that if they were ever down on the court, I wanted them to remember that I believe in all of them. I would be with them every step of the way. I wouldn’t abandon them. I then held my head high through tryouts. Thursday came and the team was set. I sat with my team and looked around the gym. This was the gym I had learned so much in. I was watching all of the teams come together to form the NW volleyball program. I stood up and walked out. It all hit me: I had already played my last game in the NW gym.

Had I really given my all that last home game against SM North last season? My fellow seniors took me outside where I collapsed on the stairs. They explained that I had to have hope. I had to believe that I would get better. I had to know that I was just as much part of this team as the other 10 players on it, that I deserved to be there, broken hand or not, that I had to help them lead this team. The next day I was presented with a brand new jersey, just like the rest of my teammates. Number 11, just like the last three years. I proudly put it on, and vowed to wear it to every game. I watched a freshman and a sophomore put on my two previous jerseys. It brought tears to my eyes. When I told them they were wearing my old jerseys, they both told me that they were “following in great footsteps.” Without everyone’s love and support, I don’t know what would have happened to me. My teammates are the reason I keep going every single day. The only time I can ignore the constant throbbing in my wrist is when I’m with my team. I live and breathe volleyball through watching them all succeed on the court. I get to play volleyball through them. You never know when the last time you’ll get to be able to do something you love will be. I certainly didn’t. I may have already played my last game of high school volleyball, but it wasn’t my last time representing this amazing school. I may not be able to lead the team with kills or blocks, but I found a new way to lead. I lead every day by showing up to practice. I lead by putting on that jersey, when I could have just quit and walked out of the gym forever. I lead by cheering on my teammates through every single point. I found a strength deep down and remembered why I showed up the last three years. I not only worked hard to get here, but I have a commitment to my team, my coach and my school. I refuse to be the person who lets any of them down. I may not be able to start on the court, but I can still wear my jersey for the last time. My hand may be broken, but I’m not. And most importantly, my hand may be broken, but my team isn’t.



what we remember

No matter who you are, everyone has a different story to tell about the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

by brianna leyden

The 9/11 attacks took away more from us than just those 2,819 lives.


Sept. 16, 2011


o be honest, I can’t remember exactly what I was doing when I first heard about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Considering that the students here now were between preschool and second grade, most of us probably don’t. I’m willing to bet we were probably sitting in brightly decorated classrooms, learning how to add, subtract, read, write, but mostly just wishing to go outside for recess. Meanwhile, halfway across the country, 2,819 people were losing their lives, and I can’t even remember the first time that I saw the footage on TV. There are things that I do remember though. I remember that the day after it took my dad, a nowretired Army colonel, three hours longer than normal just to get into Fort Leavenworth after military bases across the world went on lockdown to protect themselves. I remember that shortly after that, he got the news that he would be part of some of the very first troops deployed to Kuwait (and then Iraq) as the senior intelligence officer in that country. I remember that he ended up being gone for my entire third-grade year, and that my mom became a single parent for that time dealing with a third-grade daughter and a son in kindergarten, while her first child went off to college. I remember that when I got sick, or had to bring the halftime snacks for my soccer games, my mom had to ask my neighbors to help because she couldn’t leave work. I remember that time my teacher and the librarian started to talk about some more soldier deaths overseas, then, remembering that I was in the room, looked at me with pity in their eyes and moved away to talk some more. I remember crying because I never knew if my dad was safe. I remember that he left right before I turned 8 years old, and that my present from him wasn’t wrapped in brightly colored tissue paper, but a brown box with postage stamps. It was a camel, and I named it “Daddy.” I remember that I slept with it every night to remind me of him. I remember that my mom used to get letters from him every so often, but that she never really gave them to my brother and me to read because she didn’t want to worry us. I remember that the night before he was supposed to come back, every single neighbor on our block came to my house and started to decorate the yard with red, white and blue streamers, signs and chalk drawings all over the driveway. I remember when we went to the airport, and I felt so

stupid that I had to carry the obnoxiously large “Welcome Home, Daddy!” sign, but when I finally saw him for the first time in a year, I dropped it and ran, throwing my tiny arms around him. The 9/11 attacks took away more from us than just those 2,819 lives. It’s been more than 10 years since that day, and since then, we’ve become a nation living in fear. A poll conducted by several national public safety organizations found that 71 percent of the people surveyed believe that the United States is more prepared to counter a terrorist attack like 9/11, but two-thirds of respondents still feel like the government isn’t prepared and/or giving enough attention to the possibility of another attack. Sixty-nine percent of people are still worried that there will be another attack on U.S. soil. It’s been more than 10 years since that day, and now people are finally angry that they have signed away more and more of their civil rights to combat this terrorism. Those forever-long lines at airport security? Those invasive searches? The fact that the government can eavesdrop on phone calls, e-mails, Facebook messages if it thinks you are a “suspicious person?” We did that to ourselves. 9/11 was the major event of our generation. The United States of America has been an international powerhouse, making attacks on other countries, but never having to lose so many of our own civilians on U.S. soil. That stunned feeling people had when they watched the attacks happen, that we might not actually be safe in our own homes, in our own country, shook us to our core. Ten years ago, someone dared to hurt us at home, and we are still recovering from the devastation. But every time we try to move forward, someone reminds us of that feeling, and tells us how scared we should be. Is this fear really protecting us? Is our fear allowing us to become better people? It isn’t bravery to hide behind Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, more security restrictions. It’s bravery to move on in spite of fear. The time has come to no longer be scared, to live in a new day and age where people don’t associate a certain group of people, a certain country, a certain date with negative connotations of hate and war. It’s OK to remember. But what’s important now, 10 years later, are the things we have to forget. Forget the need to find someone to blame. Forget the fear and panic we felt when we saw our country being targeted. And forget the hatred that has been burning in our hearts since then.

let’s hang on to seminar

Between late start days on Thursdays and assemblies that students are required to attend, seminar time is slipping away.


tudents have already begun to notice that their seminar time is, more often than not, taken up by events or activities other than doing homework this year. Between college preparation assemblies for seniors, the class ring assembly for sophomores, the PSAT assembly for juniors and freshmen Student Council elections, no one has had much time to complete much homework. Seminar is billed as time for students to finish homework, get help from teachers or make up tests, and most students take advantage of that. But in addition to the assemblies that have already robbed us of seminar this year, students still have the mandatory Homecoming, WPA and Prom assemblies coming up. In five weeks of classes, we’ve had only one seminar period that wasn’t interrupted by an

assembly of one kind or another. And there’s more. The seven late start days throughout the year will also be on Thursdays. On those days, seminar will just be cancelled to avoid any loss of class time. “Last year, there was a discussion about moving all five high schools to the same bell schedule,” principal Bill Harrington said. “When that decision was made, it was also decided that they would put late starts on Thursdays because the seminar time could be used so that they wouldn’t have to take time away from classes. Previously, late starts were on Tuesday and we went to an abbreviated schedule that took time from every class to make up for the late start time.” Just counting the assemblies and late starts we know about so far, we’re up to 14 disruptions to seminar. These late start days and events aren’t the problem. In fact, many of them are great. Everyone loves the opportunity to sleep in once in a while. The college application assembly offered useful resources to seniors stressing about applying for college. Watching the court walk at dance assemblies is a quintessential part of the high school experience. The problem is that students aren’t always aware when assemblies will take up their seminar time. When they plan to finish their homework

cookies under fire by eric zoellner


enior Aaron Terrill sits down at his lunch table with his friends on the first day of school. He casually eats the food on his tray and moves on to dessert. Picking up his Otis Spunkmeyer cookies, something doesn’t feel right. Without looking into the bag, he enjoys his first cookie. Then he moves on to the second. Instinctively, he reaches into the bag for his final chocolate chip cookie to finish off a perfect school lunch, but his hand runs into the bottom of the bag. Frantically, he peers inside the bag. It’s empty. “I went to school the first day looking forward to eating my Otis [Spunkmeyer] cookies. I was shocked to find only two cookies [in my bag],” Terrill said. Changes such as this are part of a USDAmandated cutback on junk food. Other changes this year include only whole grain pasta and rice and mandatory oatmeal in large chocolate chip cookies. Fruits and vegetables are also increasing in variety: Sweet potato fries, zucchini sticks and dark green salads are now available. Sodium is a target of reduction as well. New low-sodium

recipes for spaghetti sauce, gravies, and cheeses are now being introduced. “We’re trying to increase fruits, vegetables and whole grains while decreasing sodium,” SMSD nutritionist Jill Funk said. While these changes are meant to be for the better of the kids, high school students are not accepting them happily. “I’m really disappointed that the school cut back on the amount of cookies that we get,” Terrill said. “Three ‘Spunks’ was the prime amount.” Diane Richardson is the one who sells all of the “goodies.” Because she works the snack bar window in the new cafeteria, she has a sense of what the typical high school student buys as a dessert or a snack. What she has seen is disturbing. Richardson has noticed an increase in Otis Spunkmeyer cookies sales. Last year, it was rare for a high school student to buy more than one bag; now, it’s the standard. But it’s even gone further than that. “I’ve got kids coming up to me buying four or five bags of cookies. We haven’t been restricted on how many bags we can sell to kids. They’re just going to get what they want,” Richardson said. Therein lies the problem: The school reduces the serving size from three to two to cut back on cookie consumption. However, students now

during seminar, they don’t have enough time get it all done. And for many students, seminar is the one time when they can get one-on-one help from teachers. Students should be given fair warning when they will be required to attend assemblies during seminar. It wouldn’t be difficult to make an announcement, maybe on the live video announcements the week prior to the assembly, explaining who will be required to attend, what will be discussed and how much time it will take so that all students are aware of their limited amount of time to finish homework. Seminar is an asset that many students take advantage of every week, whether that is just finishing homework, making up tests or getting help from teachers. By the same token, assemblies are important to a student’s high school experience. We just hope administrators are aware that many students view seminar as academic time, not just as a study hall. Students should be warned when they won’t have their seminar time.

The majority opinion of the Northwest Passage editorial board:

9 1



Cutbacks on junk food have put students in a frustrating situation. buy two bags of two cookies and end up with a cookie they would have normally never eaten, thus defeating the purpose of the initial cutback. According to Funk, the district is just following what the government tells them to do. If they do not listen to the USDA, the district puts itself at risk of losing funding. “We’re a federally funded program, so we must follow all of their guidelines and changes as they designate,” Funk said. With no way to change the school lunch menu back to what it was, students are put in a challenging situation: either continue unhealthy eating, fight the school lunch changes and probably faces more cutbacks on snack food or change their eating habits and hope to keep the dwindling goodies that are still left. Personally, I vote the second. Eating a few fruits and vegetables isn’t the worse thing in the world, and buying four or five bags of cookies will only cause the district to take away everything. Pay attention in your health class, learn what a healthy diet consists of and actually use that knowledge when picking out food. Chocolate chip cookies are not the root of all evil, and at the same time neither are fruits and veggies. Mix it up a little at lunch.



contagion 2/5

Contagion is an action thriller about a major disease sweeping the world. The plot focuses on an international team of doctors hired by the CDC to figure out what is wrong. Mass hysteria spreads faster than the disease as the public’s gullibility allows them to suspect the smallest symptoms are something more deadly. All disease movies (think Quarantine, Outbreak or Dream Catcher) seem to follow this same plot. However, as the movie jumps from one plot twist to another, it becomes harder for the audience to follow. Mitch Emhoff’s (Matt Damon) wife dies from an unknown disease that the World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) work to diagnose, but apparently “working together” means the CDC does all the research, while the WHO is only filled in by occasion international news conferences. The movie seemed too long, with many unnecessary details. A very subtle plot twist came in at the

middle of the movie involving one of the WHO employees, and isn’t mentioned until the end, where it doesn’t end up being resolved. All these loose ends lead the audience to believe a sequel will follow. In some ways, it seems like prequel to I Am Legend because of its structure, but without zombies. It just works on people’s fear of the disease. The movie has potential, but it needs to be shorter and not as reliant on the viewer to completely understand the inner mechanics of disease control work. As far as the acting goes, Damon does fairly well with his role as Mitch Emhoff, but almost borders on over-commitment. Laurence Fishburne plays Ellis Cheever, the lead CDC investigator, a typical role for Fishburne, and does it very well. Overall the plot was too generic and twists in ways that are never fully explain. As a result, the movie seems to drag on. As a disease movie, this is a compelling watch, but if you’ve ever seen a disease movie, you’ve already seen this one.

by connor thompson

courtesy of

FILMSCHOOLREJECTS.COM You will be warned only once. If you do not have an extensive background in film, most of the content on will fly completely over your head. For those of us who enjoy the moving pictures, this may be the best website that you stumble upon in this year. It’s a website full of reviews, trailers, features, news and interviews, all made by people who understand film inside and out. The reviews are, from a movie lovers point of view, quite hilarious. It is the first website devoted to movies that holds every film to one standard rather than writing off the newest Pirates of the Caribbean as a far above average score because it wasn’t meant be an Oscar-winning film. The site has a certain integrity to it that seems lost in most other publications, a refreshing change from the consumer-based


Sept. 16, 2011

reviews that are offered elsewhere. You get the feeling that the staff has seen almost every movie you can possibly think of. In fact, the first article you read may seem slightly condescending, but that’s only because the references may throw you off. It really doesn’t matter how much background in film you have, it seems that at least something filmschoolrejects. com throws at you will be just out of your grasp. When you dig deeper into the writing, you find that the columnists and reviewers are actually quite charismatic. If these people really were rejected by film school, they must have then switched their major to writing, because I feel as though I’m actually listening to the person explain to me why the movie is bad. The real gem of the site is the podcast Reject

4½ / 5

Radio, a mash-up of a quiz game, an interview show and a news show. It features two cinema writers and brings on one or two guests for a deeper look, not into the film, but instead into the art of acting, writing or directing. The interviews are superb, well organized, and highly enjoyable, it will leave you wishing that they could put out more than just one a week. The only problem with this is the fact that it’s so unabashedly for those who love film to a fault. The referential writing will leave those without a deep, deep knowledge of cinema left in the dust. However, if you know your Ethan Coens from your Ethan Suplees, you’ll appreciate the excellent writing and prolific reviews.

by sam bellmeyer

Editor’s Pick 4½ / 5

honda civic tour

For 12 years, the Honda Civic Tour has been traveling across the United States and Canada delivering popular bands to crowds of music lovers each summer. On Sept. 9, the tour came to Sandstone Amphitheater in Bonner Springs. The tour emphasized punk rock headlining the bands Blink-182 and My Chemical Romance. The ecstatic married couple, the band Matt and Kim, was the night’s opening performance. At 5:30 p.m., the gates of Sandstone Amphitheater opened and hundreds of people rushed into the arena, many hoping to be front row center, perfectly aligned with Matt and Kim’s drum set and keyboard. The two were great, and their chemistry on stage was even better. With Kim’s blasting drums and Matt’s upbeat keyboard, they gave a divine opening performance. The band ironically completed their performance with their most popular song, “Daylight,” at sunset. The interval between the Matt and Kim’s performance and My Chemical Romance’s was when the arena really started to fill. Bright lights from the stage illuminated the crowd and an eerie full moon glowed in the stormy sky. My Chemical Romance walked onto the stage and the lights turned a dark blood red, highlighting lead singer Gerard Way’s also bright red hair. The band played their greatest hits as Way showcased his high vocals and the occasional scream. The final song before Way completed the night with a solo was the “The Black Parade.” The performance gave a Halloween atmosphere to the night. For many, the next act was the moment they had all been waiting for. Nearly two years had passed since Blink-182 brought a tour to Kansas City. People pushed and shoved to get to a better view of Mark Hoppus and Tom Delonge, the lead singers, famous for their immature jokes and perverted conversations, there were joined by drummer Travis Barker, who was shirtless with tattoos covering his whole upper body on stage. Lasers flashed through smoke as they played their first song of night “Feeling This.” The band promoted their upcoming album Neighborhoods by performing three new songs from it. Each was terrific Kansas City also received special treatment when the band performed “The Party Song,” which the band believes is the first time the song had ever been performed live. The band completed the night with their hit “Dammit,” ending the rapturous punk rock-filled night on a sweet note.

by michael catt

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’

Lonely Road

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus is back to their old selves in the band’s third album, Am I the Enemy?, after a disappointing second studio album titled Lonely Road. Lonely Road was all over the place in genres. I couldn’t keep track of how many there were, and the group seemed schizophrenic - like a different band on every track. Now they have honed their skills and focused back on the genre that they were meant for: alternative, emopunk. The album opens up with the track “Salvation,” which really exhibits RJA’s return to their comfort zone, and is one of the highlights of the album. The sixth track is, by far, my favorite song on the album. “Dive Too Deep” has a beautiful sound, and the lyrics to match. “You know the worst lines/Come

4½ / 5

at the best times/and I know that I can be so difficult/But that’s why I love you,” words that seem to come straight from the diary of a teenager, which is what makes RJA so relatable for members of my generation. My favorite member of the band has to be the lead singer, Ronnie Winter, simply because of how much he has improved since their first album. He never tries to show off his vocal abilities in the love songs and ballads, which is great because many singers lose their touch when they try to be something they’re not. Red Jumpsuit Apparatus is a great listen for teenagers. The lyrics empower and inspire younger listeners with a “seize the day” theme that resonates with today’s youth.

by ashlee crane





with entertainment editor ashlee crane

1. Words with Friends

This Scrabble-like game is always a good way to relax when you get tired of homework. Instead of getting distracted by Facebook, just grab your smart phone and get this great app to explore your word prowess by challenging friends or random people to a vocabulary battle spectacular.

2. Pawn Stars

I’ve never been a fan of any insanely addicting Facebook games. But after a series of unfortunate events, I inevitably was sucked into this phenomena by the game Pawn Stars. Now, I check my pawn shop religiously and have built an empire. I may not be proud of it, but it is what it is.

3. Cold Lunch

With the recent changes in Northwest’s food, its prices and the set-up of the lunchroom, bringing a lunch from home is critical to me. Mainly the increasing prices of food prompts me to bring free (or at least less expensive, if you buy your own) food from home.

4. The Giant Bathroom Reader

Before you begin judging: I’m not a 40-year-old man, so I don’t read for hours while locked away in the bathroom. However, I still enjoy Karl Shaw’s Bathroom Reader. It has entertaining trivia and facts, making me realize that knowledge is better coming from a book with a toilet on the cover. Barnes and Noble, $6.98.


Sept. 16, 2011

5. Copco Tumbler

Whether I’m on my way to work, school or a friend’s house, it’s always nice to have a drink when I am dying of thirst and don’t have time for a drinkrun. Copco Tumblers litter the floor of my car because they are a reusable, handy way to always stay hydrated. Bed Bath and Beyond, $7.99.

6. Hand Sanitizer

Working at Powerplay, an enormous cesspool of germs, makes hand sanitizer a must. Along with the giant dispenser sitting on my area’s desk, I always carry a mini-bottle in my purse. I have become a germ-freak since my employment began, so a way to clean my hands every five minutes is necessary. Bath and Body Works, $1.50.

7. Facebook + Skype

When I first noticed Facebook video chat, I thought, “Wow, another feature I will never use.” But when I actually used it, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a way for me to see my boyfriend (who attends SM North) every day, and I get to catch up with other people, too.

the great

e g n e x c ha

dent u t s e g n a tional exch ying abroad a n r e t n i n a Spending the year as hat stud t y a s y n a can be overwhelming, but m ir lives. inn is the best experience of the van SKhopp E d n a n y de ile na Leryation by Ba n a i r B lust son, a Davi photo il i r a M by

This year, junior Anna Lindholm is the only blondehaired, blueeyed girl at her school. In fact,

manta, ecuador

she’s the only blonde-haired, blue-eyed person around. Lindholm is spending this year as a international exchange student in Manta, a city of about 200,000 people on the central coast of Ecuador. “I am constantly stared at because I’m the only foreigner around and the only person with blonde hair. They really like my blue eyes,” Lindholm said. “I’m pretty sure every other guy I’ve met has asked me if I have a boyfriend or asked me why I don’t have a boyfriend.” According to the International Institute of Education, 15 percent of students from the United States go to Latin American countries like Ecuador. Lindholm specifically chose Ecuador because they have a break from school in February and March, during which she will be able to do volunteer work. Lindholm is in Ecuador via Youth for Understanding (YFU). One of many international exchange programs students can choose from, YFU was founded in 1951 to encourage understanding between Germany and the United States after World War II. Since its founding, 250,000 students have studied around the world through the program. According to their website, yfu.


Sept. 16, 2011

org, “students gain skills and perspectives necessary to meet the challenges of and benefit from the opportunities the fast-changing global community has to offer.” “In seventh grade, [I took the] world language class at Hocker Grove middle school,” Lindholm said. “I had [Spanish and French teacher Doug] Murphy as a teacher. I remember him talking to us about studying abroad in that class. It caught my attention so much that I looked into it right away.”

the language barrier

By her freshman year, Lindholm knew that she wanted to be a international exchange student during her high school career. “I didn’t want to go my senior year because I didn’t want to have to say goodbye to everybody a year early,” Lindholm said. “Plus, I was excited and wanted to go sooner.” When she knew she was going to spend a year as a international exchange student, Lindholm decided to go to a Spanish-speaking country because she had already taken Spanish at Hocker Grove and Northwest. But even with three years of Spanish classes, communicating with her family and the other students in her school was difficult, especially during her first few days in Ecuador. According to Lindholm, the students in her school are nice, but she had a hard time making friends because of the language barrier. “I can communicate anything I’m trying to say usually,” Lindholm said, “but I can’t understand anything. My [host] sister Daniela puts everything in simple words for me. She is wonderful.” According to social worker Susan Hartman, the

Junior Anna Lindholm waves goodbye to her friends and family at KCI airport on Aug. 19 before boarding her plane. Lindholm is in Manta, Ecuador for 9 months as an international exchange student through Youth for Understanding. “[I chose] Ecuador because in February or March I get to do volunteer work since it is the vacation from school,� Lindholm said. photo by mikala compton

language barrier is also one of the most difficult parts of the experience for international exchange students coming to Northwest. “Even if their English is good, it’s overwhelming to hear everything taught in English, and have all the social stuff in English. This year I tried to brace them for that when they enrolled,” Hartman said. “A lot of them fly in a day or two before school starts, so they’re dealing with the time change, plus the language, plus adjusting to a new family.” But once students are situated with their host families and in school, the language barrier begins to break. “At first, I couldn’t understand my host dad because he used a bit of slang,” senior Jule Kurbjeweit said. “But now I can really understand him.”

they still agree with the movie stereotypes, they’ve found many differences. “It’s a lot like [the movies],” Kurbjeweit said. “I love the school spirit here. In Europe, school is more of a place to learn and to make friends. There’s not this whole thing about it, like sports teams, colors and dances.” International exchange students coming to Northwest, no matter what grade or age, are required to take American Government, U.S. History and English 11. “Other than that, we try to match them up with [electives] that aren’t too difficult,” Hartman said. “For example, they might know math but not know the math language, like words like ‘adjacent.’ That’s where kids get tripped up. We try to make sure they are in classes that they will do OK in.” Because schools don’t want to jeopardize exchange students academically, both Moilanen and ROTARY INTERNATIONAL Kurbjeweit’s classes are very easy In Rotary International, students not only have the opportunity for them. to travel abroad, and receive scholarships to do so, but they can “We are so ahead of you,” also find cultural community service opportunities here locally to Moilanen said. “For example, in my participate in. math class, I’m doing things I did two years ago.” AMIGOS DE LAS AMERICAS Although their classes are easy, For the eight weeks they are in one of several Latin American exchange students are required to locations, students work on community service projects run through keep a C average in their classes, AMIGOS. Students gain leadership and mentoring skills as they Kurbjeweit said. work together to address health, construction, environmental and “A lot [of exchange students] educational issues. like to take some of the P.E. classes, like team games, gymnastics and EDUCATION FIRST aquatics because those things aren’t EF works to break down language and cultural barriers by exchanging offered [at home],” Hartman said. not only students, but teachers as well, from more than 100 nations “Some, if they’re artsy, like to take in their 400 international offices and schools. art classes.” Moilanen said she is impressed YOUTH FOR UNDERSTANDING with the number of elective classes YFU sends students into foreign countries for what they call a “full that are offered to NW students. immersion” experience into the society and lifestyles of another She also said the attitude of the place, by putting students into other homes, families and schools. teachers here is different than those All information from Institute of International Education in Europe. “What I like about school here is that teachers seem to be very Kurbjeweit studied English for two years in her interested in what they teach and their students,” native Germany before arriving in the United States as Moilanen said. “To me, there’s just a really good an exchange student Although she wants to improve her relationship between the kids.” English, it’s not her main motive for coming to the U.S. “The language isn’t the real reason [why I’m here],” the benefit of exchange programs Kurbjeweit said. “I want to be on my own without During her junior year of college, Spanish teacher anything I’m used to. I like trying new things, like seeing Susanne Kissane studied at the Complutense University and understanding the culture here. When I decided to of Madrid. At the time, Spanish dictator Francisco [study abroad], I didn’t know what I wanted, but I think Franco was in power. I’ll know after I’m gone.” During the year Kissane spent in Spain, there was a lot of unrest in Madrid, where she was living and the school experience attending school, and specifically on the university According to Kurbjeweit and Finnish exchange campus. student Anna Moilanen, everything they knew about “It was very different from the Spain than you would American high schools came from the movies. Although go to today,” Kissane said. “I had never paid attention



Sept. 16, 2011

to what it was like to live in a dictatorship. It was a very eye-opening experience. I fear that if my mom had really read up on it, she might have said no. A dictatorship is a very militant state. The army presence was everywhere. I wasn’t used to facing a tank as I walked onto the college campus.” But Kissane said she wouldn’t have traded her experience for anything. “Aside from the military presence, Spain was beautiful. I loved it. I couldn’t believe how different it was from the United States,” she said. When Kissane decided she wanted to spend a year in Spain, she was attending the University of Missouri. Because they didn’t yet offer a study abroad program, she had to go through the University if Arizona to get credit for her year in Spain, which would cost $4,000. At the time, University of Missouri tuition was $1,700 a semester and tuition at the University of Madrid was only $100 a year. Kissane eventually convinced her mother that it would be more cost-effective to do the year in Spain without getting college credit in the United States. “I told [my mom], ‘Even if I don’t receive credit, nobody can take my brain away. What I learn is mine to keep forever,’” Kissane said. “I wouldn’t be able to graduate in four years, but I thought I could do it with an extra summer and an extra semester.” Kissane highly recommends spending time in a foreign country. She also recommends going through a program affiliated with a school in the United States, because the number of international exchange and study abroad programs available to students has grown dramatically since she was in school. Most major universities have study abroad programs in which students can receive credit for the time they spend outside the country. Spain, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Argentina and Chile have been some of the most popular countries among her students. And, according to Kissane, those students often come back from studying abroad telling her how much the experience changed their lives. “I think it’s really important to see how people live around the world,” Kissane said. “We think we know how people live, but we’re just one tiny little element of the world. It’s most important to see how other cultures work, to see how people celebrate life and what they do in order to live their lives.”

exchange numbers exchange students from the United States

CHINA 104, 897 INDIA 72,153 SOUTH KOREA 28,145 CANADA Other top countries — Japan, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Vietnam, Turkey 26,685 TAIWAN 127,628

exchange students coming to the United States 94,276 76,146 58,934

worlds apart

All the international exchange students at Northwest met with Hartman a few weeks ago to discuss their experience so far. Several of them told Hartman that NW students had been open and welcoming. “I think I was very surprised at how very outgoing people are. I didn’t expect people to be so open to strangers. I don’t know if they would be in Germany,” Kurbjeweit said. According to Hartman, exchange students often have a great experience in the United States, even if they had trouble adjusting at first. “[Last year], a lot of them had trouble going back home. I think they have a really good experience,” Hartman said. “They love school activities, like bonfire and football games; they don’t have anything like that. It’s not quite the school activity it is over there.” Kurbjeweit said she will be glad to return home in a year, but for now, she is happy to be studying in the United States. “I’m so thankful for everything I experience,” Kurbjeweit said. “It’s been a month now, and I’ve already learned a lot.” Even though their homes are a world apart, Lindholm and her family echo Kurbjewiet’s sentiments toward the educational and life experiences found in international exchange programs. “We miss her but we’re excited for her,” Lindholm’s mom, Lyla, said. “We know she’s with a good organization that has placed her in a good school system and with a good family.”

35,131 31,093


Which Middle East Other continental Africa 1% 7% regions have the most Americans 5% studying Oceania6% abroad in them? (Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific islands) Asia


All information from Institute of International Education

Latin American


55% Europe

shawnee mission northwest high school

attendance waiver changed

tudents were shocked when, on their first day back from summer break, teachers informed them of the new attendance policy. “Over the past years we’ve had the same [number of absences], and I don’t see why they had to change it. And for the kids who need to be gone for a long time, I think it’s just making it a lot harder for them,” senior Mackenzie Smith said. According to the new attendance rules, students cannot have more than 11 absences per semester, after which they lose credit. For second-semester seniors, they lose credit after the 10th absence.

we were the only school on [partial block] schedule, we kind of kept it the same, because there were all kinds of schedules [in the district].” This summer, because all SM high schools were changing to partial block schedules, principals got together and figured the new attendance policy numbers. “The school board policy doesn’t say days, it says 85 percent of the time. You have to attend 85 percent of the classes. So when we [determined] we were going to one less class a week, the change came about,” Moss said. However, if students have legitimate reasons for missing more than 11 days of school, they have the option to appeal those days by completing an attendance waiver. “Say you have 10 absences and you’re doing a really good job, but then your grandfather dies and you have to be gone for three days. That would be a good reason to appeal and fill out a waiver,” Moss said. The waiver states that all requests must be in writing and submitted two weeks before semester exams. Medical waivers need to have documentation from the attending physician, including

“The school board policy doesn’t say days, it says 85 percent of the time. You have to attend 85 percent of the classes. — associate principal Tom Moss The policy hasn’t really changed, though — the schedules have. “District policy requires that students be in classes 85 percent of the time. Before [partial block schedules], we were going, typically, 45 days a quarter and 90 days a semester, and 85 percent came out around 13 days,” associate principal Tom Moss said. “When

waiver facts No students who completed a form last year were turned down for excused absences. Northwest students attended each individual class an average of 90 periods per semester on the traditional schedule. On partial block schedule students attend 72 individual classes per semester. No students who completed the waiver last year lost credit for any class. the dates the student was under the care of the physician and the nature of the illness. After being turned in to the Attendance Office, waivers are submitted to a four-member committee —consisting of Moss, a counselor and two teachers— who will review the requests, taking into consideration past attendance patterns and the legitimacy of the absence. “It’s really very infrequent that a student who has a legitimate reason for being gone doesn’t get the days waived,” Moss said. “We want to make sure it’s legitimate.”

— by hayley battenberg

fall sports preview football

The Northwest football team has gotten off to a slow start with a 0 and 2 record. The football team’s first weeks of practice were conducted in intense heat that ranged anywhere from 85 to almost 100 degrees. The heat made the practices long and hard for the players, and on some of the more excruciating days they did not have to wear pads for practice. Last year, football lost four regular season games, and their season ended in a postseason loss to Olathe East. This year the Cougars look to advance farther into the playoffs. “We expected to be one of the top tier teams in the Sunflower League like always,” senior center Grant Pittrich said. “We want to surpass last year’s playoff mark and make it to the state playoffs.” Though the team’s captains change every week, the starting quarterback has consistently been senior Colton Dirks and the starting running backs are seniors Austin Vanderpool, Caulin Pendelton and Danny Manning. Despite the heat, the team still worked hard as they prepared for the first game of the season against SM East. The Cougars were hoping to make up for their 24–0 loss in the season opener last year to the SM East Lancers. It was a sound defeat, and this year was almost exactly the same. The Cougars held their own in the first half, but in the second half, SM East was too strong for the NW defense.


Sept. 16, 2011

The final score was 28–3, as the the Cougars’ only points came off a field goal kicked by junior Jorn Winkelmolen in the first quarter. “If we go out and continue to practice and work hard as possible, then good things will happen,” said senior fan Luke Schnefke. Northwest then played SM West Sept. 9. Dirks sustained a shoulder injury earlier in the week, and couldn’t play. Junior Lucas Karlin started in Dirk’s place. The Vikings started off strong, with a quick 24-7 lead. The Cougars stormed out of the locker room into the second half as sophomore Jake Horner returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. After that, Northwest didn’t miss a beat as Manning ran for a touchdown and Horner collected a fumble and ran it in for his second touchdown. Despite their great comeback SM West defeated Northwest in overtime. Northwest still has many several games in the regular season. “I’m most excited for our remaining opponents,” Pittrich said. “We still have a great opportunity to win a lot of games. The season has just begun.”

by brady klein


Coming off last year’s disappointing season in which the NW volleyball team lost their first game against SM East and didn’t meet their goal of continuing on in the play-offs, the girls are hoping to come back with a vengeance and a stellar season. The Lady Cougars are under a new head coach, Diane O’Nele this year. With a strong competitive volleyball coaching background, O’Nele plans to take this team to the next level. The Cougars are currently 1 and 4, but are staying resilient and are continuing to have high hopes for this season. “We’re improving every week. We have very high expectations for ourselves, and plan on making an appearance at the state tournament this year,” outside hitter Emily Taylor said. Senior leadership is something that the team can really count on to build relationships on and off the court. The Lady Cougars are coming together due to hard work to build a team, instead of a group of individual players. “Every single person brings so much to this team, whether they’re on the court or not,” libero Quinn Truax said. “ There’s not that one star player we all try and rely on, or on the flip side, the one player we hope the ball goes to. We are a team. A family, not individuals, which is something that hasn’t been there in the past.” by rachel ferencz

Junior Maddie Becker hits the ball to her teammate during the game against BV North on Aug 31. photo by johnny tong


Sept. 16, 2011


Junior Amy Hein tumbles on a tumbling mat on Sep 6 at SM West. The team went on to get third in the Tri meet. photo by mia creighton

The varsity gymnastics team is feeling the pressure to win another state championship. Two of their top three scorers graduated last year and, according to head coach Kayley Otto, the Cougars are working hard to fill the absence of their past teammates. “We need people to step up. We’re really lacking a third score. On each event, we’ll have [only] two really good scores,” Otto said. Varsity gymnastics placed third and junior varsity placed first in the opening meet of the season Sept. 6 at SM West. At least one junior varsity team member placed in the top three in each event. Varsity team members were not pleased with their performance, but the team expected a bumpy start. “It was an OK meet for us,” captain Caitlin Chen said. “There was just a lot of tough competition. SM South and SM West are going to be our biggest competition of the year.” The Cougars’ next big meet is 11 a.m. Sept. 17 at SM North. by michael catt

girls’ golf

With five girls returning and six new players, the girls’ golf team has a new energy this season. Co-captain Taylor Tummons is content with the change. “The new girls bring lots of personality [to the team], so it’s been really enjoyable,” Tummons said. With only a few returning athletes, the season is off to a rough start, as the team has yet to place in a tournament. “We lost a few good seniors last year,” co-captain Ashley Tate said. Despite over half of the varsity squad graduating last year, the team hopes to have repeat success this season. “We are hoping that as the season goes on, we continue to improve,” Tate said. Even though golf is considered an individual sport, the girls put emphasis on the importance of being a team. “We want to go out and play our best and become closer as a group,” co-captain Jamie Evans said. But the ultimate goal for the team is placing in as many tournaments as possible. “I really hope we make it to state this year,” Evans said. “Our biggest competition will most likely be SM East.” The JV and Varsity girls practice at Lake Quivira, Shawnee Country Club and Tomahawk Hills Golf Course. Varsity’s next tournament will be played on Sept. 22 at Alvamar Golf Course. by david freyermuth

+ paige waltman

Sophomore Tori Devonshire putts her ball at the hole on the 1st hole at Tomahawk Hills golf course on September 11th during a practice round. photo by daniel magwire

boys’ soccer =After only losing four varsity starters, the boys’ soccer team is bringing back most of their talent and chemistry from last year’s State Quarter Final finishing team. Both ESPN and Kansas Soccer Coaches Association ranked the Cougars first in Kansas. This ranking allows Northwest to realistically set their sights on the state title. “We’re hoping to make a deep run in state this year. We know we have the talent to do great things,” captain David Fancher said. For the first time in coach Todd Boren’s career, the team will be running a 4-33 formation for two consecutive years. A 4-3-3 formation means that the team has four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards. Assistant varsity coach and Northwest

alumna, Drew Perkins, will be returning for his seventh year to help Boren with the team. Perkins, who played on a state championship team while at Northwest, sees promise in this year’s squad. “The sky is the limit for this team,” Perkins said. “It’s the most cohesive team that we’ve had in a really long time and [the team] plays well together and will do whatever it takes to get better.” The Cougars played in the Olathe East Invitational Tournament, with three consecutive wins against Park Hill, Olathe South and Olathe Northwest with scores of 2–0, 3–2 (in overtime), and 4–1 respectively. It was the first time in eight years that Northwest has won the Olathe East Invitational. by eric zoellner

(far left) Junior Clayton Henderson runs in the cross country meet on Sep 3 at JCCC. photo by paige waltman (left) Junior Katie Nelson runs at the cross country meet on Sep 3 hosted by Saint Thomas Aquinas at JCCC. photo by paige waltman

Coming off last year’s state championship success, both the boys and girls teams have been putting in serious preparation for the next run at the state title on Oct. 29. The varsity level runners trained during the off-season, usually running at least three to four miles every day. As of right now, the boys’ varsity team is composed of sophomore Connor McDonald, juniors Kirk Bado, Connor Kelley and Clayton Henderson and seniors Cameron Bock, Garrett Pfau and Anthony Yates. “We only have three returning runners from the varsity team this year, so we have been focusing on getting the top six guys at the same level so that we can be successful as a team,” junior Kirk Bado said. The varsity girls team is made up of juniors Katie Nelson and McKenzie Iverson and seniors Rachel Londeen, Kelsey

cross country

Poston, Sarah Crawford, Jessica Johnson, Victoria Banks and Sarah Barnes. “We really came together as a team running over the summer, and it feels good to see that all our hard work is already paying off since the varsity girls got first [place] at Greg Wilson [meet on Sep. 3rd],” Poston said. Coach Van Rose has been having the team do intense core full-body workouts as well as pool running so they can not only get in shape, but achieve the core body strength necessary for good running form. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, many junior varsity and varsity runners participate in an optional 6 a.m. run. The team competed in their first meet, the Greg Wilson Classic, Sept. 3 at the Johnson County Community College course. “Ultimately our only goal, which is usually the same every season, is to win state, and we plan on accomplishing that this year,” Bado said. by logan coffman

Senior David Fancher battles with a Park Hill player for the ball in the team’s home opener on August 30th. The team went on to win 2-0. photo by nate compton

girls’ tennis

The girls’ tennis team went to the state tournament last year and is expecting to go back this year. “This year I am looking forward to getting to know all of the new girls better, because only two of the top six are returning, and the top six are always really close,” senior Mary Slattery said. “I am also looking forward to getting to state in doubles because I haven’t been [to state] in doubles before.” The girls’ season kicked off Sept. 1 in a quad against SM South, Olathe Northwest and Olathe North. Slattery and her doubles partner, junior Claire Gordon, won all three of their matches: 8–1, 8–4, 8–1. “All of the girls had great hustle, and played fairly well even though there were some tough matches,” head coach Ken Clow said. The girls’ second day of matches was a duel against Olathe East, where they lost 2–10 overall. The next day, they played Blue Valley Northwest, with a close 5–7 loss. Their next match will be against Lawrence, BV West and SM West in a quad Sept. 19. in Lawrence.

by connor thompson

Senior Mary Slattery lunges at the tennis ball at her doubles match with junior Claire Gordon on Sep 8 against BV Northwest. Slattery and Gordon lost their match 5 to 8. photo by brittany bonsignore

Sept. 16, 2011


sports profile

danny manning As running back Danny Manning transitions from the smaller St. James football program to Northwest’s, he has quickly found his way into the starting rotation. The crowd roared as newcomer Danny Manning dashed across the goal line for the second time in last Friday’s game against SM West Sept. 9. Manning has been playing football since the fifth grade at private schools in the area. Last year, he decided to bring his talents to Northwest. “I love it here; it’s a lot better than St. James [Catholic School]. Everyone here is really nice and the football program is a lot more intense,” senior Danny Manning said. For Manning, the St. James team didn’t have the dedication and skill level he was looking for. He wanted more out of his team, and NW football could give him that. “I wanted to have the chance to play ball in college,” Manning said. “[There is] a lot more dedication [here] to things like lifting weights, definitely more team spirit and better coaching.” Making the transition from the team at St. James to the team at Northwest was a little intimidating. “There were about 60 kids on the team at St. James and [at Northwest] there are about about 160, almost triple the size,” Manning said. Manning is a diverse player, playing on both sides of the line of scrimmage. “I’ve always really been a running back on offense, and [on] defense I switched around a lot — linebacker, corner and right now I’m playing safety,” Manning said. Manning isn’t picky about what position he plays. He wants to be a team player. His goal is not to take any one’s position on the field, but he’ll have no problem doing so if he deserves it more. “I’ll do whatever the team needs me to do; that’s the biggest thing,” Manning said. “I don’t really care what I do or where I play. I just want to get out there and play for a big school.” Enrolling at a new high school in the second semester of junior year, and not knowing anyone except one former baseball teammate [Colton Dirks] was a daunting task. Football and other activities helped Manning create friendly connections with students at Northwest. “The team’s real nice; they really welcomed me into everything,” Manning said. “I thought it was going to be tough [attending first public school], but everyone was great.”


by michael catt + logan coffman

Sept. 16, 2011

Pressure can lead to problems Too much stress placed on highcaliber athletes can hurt the athlete’s performance and may even ruin the enjoyment of the sport for them. by brady klein


remember when I first heard the story about my friend who pitched for Mill Valley High School. He was the best pitcher on his team and was projected to be among the top-ranked baseball players in the state his senior year. He was expected to get a scholarship at a Division II college, which was really his only realistic chance of going to a school beyond his budget. It seemed he had everything going for him. Then, without warning, he quit baseball before his senior year because his friends, family and coaches expected too much of him. All the stress of meeting expectations every time he pitched put too much pressure on him, and so he left the sport. He is now attending JCCC and has not played competitive baseball since. Too much pressure can be a dangerous thing for individual athletes, as well as teams. Consider first the boys’ soccer team, ranked as the No. 1 high school team in Kansas by ESPN. So far, the team has lived up to expectations by winning the Olathe East Tournament, and their fans cheered them on the whole way. The fan support is great, but they cannot expect wins every game. Every single time the boys soccer team goes out to play, they will play their hardest like every other team at Northwest. Being ranked first in the state obviously means that there is a high expectation to win the state tournament. As the soccer players’ fellow classmates, we have to respect that these boys are simply high school students and no one is perfect. Girls and boys cross country is another example. Last season the boys team won state; however, four varsity runners graduated last year. The girls cross country team got third place, but they only lost one senior last year. In the last 17 years, the boys’ team has won 15 state championships. The pressure is on for both of these teams. For example in 2008, when the 14 straight-year state championship streak was snapped. It was an expectation by many that the boys would have won state, and when they did not people were disappointed and thought of second place as a loss. It wound up making the runners feel awful because everyone had expected them to take the state title. I have never had enough talent to really feel that kind of pressure, but I saw it happen to my friend, and the burnout that ensued, and I worry about what could happen to some of our best athletes. These are simply high school students who have athletic gifts. They are not professionals, and they do not need the added burden of performing at that professional level day in and day out. Honestly, we should simply drop the intense expectations we have of our fellow athletes. It will only stress them out and possibly cause them to play worse than they would stress-free. This is not meant to be an accusation, because so far none of our teams or athletes have been complaining about added stress by friends or family. However, it shouldn’t happen at all. Even pressure in a joking or jeering manner can increase the burden on an athlete. I have learned to stop pressuring my fellow classmates that are gifted at a sport, and others should do the same. Sports are meant to be an enjoyable and fun activity, and too much stress can ruin the sport for everyone. Let’s just go out to the games and cheer them on in a positive way.


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photo by david freyermuth

Along with other drum line member, senior Garrett Pfau plays the tenor drums at the Bonfire on Aug. 31. Due to poor weather conditions in the past, this was the first time in a year that an actual fire could be ignited.

The Northwest Passage - Issue 1  
The Northwest Passage - Issue 1  

Issue 1 - the Northwest Passage