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passage NORTHWEST VOL. 42


FEB. 25, 2011

22 languages /14


time for their baby /16




contents 



Copy Editor


Design Editors


Assistant Copy Editor WYATT ANDERSON

Photo Editors


Graphics Editor TYLER ABSHER

News Editor




Entertainment Editor WYATT ANDERSON

Sports Editor BRADY KLEIN



04 news

07 best decision I’ve ever made

Updates on happenings at Northwest.

Accelerated language classes are a good idea

06 news schmix

for anyone who wants to get ahead.

coming to a big school

Ads Editor


Staff Writers




A sophomore discusses the difference between


09 reviews Gnomeo and Juliet: Disney adapted

her old school and Northwest.

08 battle hymn of the tiger cub Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother raises

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet using garden

questions about diffferent parenting styles.

gnomes The Oatmeal: Michael Inman’s collection of comics is strangely useful.

exceptional service and great food.

ELL students share their culture with each other everday.

16 time for their baby Junior James Gregory has one son and another

Demons: The Cowboy Junkies’ have a talent for creating images with words. There are Rules: The Get up Kids’ attempt


14 22 languages

10 reviews J. Murphy’s: This Irish Pub offers


child on the way.

18 work ethic

to make a return with their first album in

Sophomore Tom Jackson participates in ROTC

seven years.

in addition to track and his normal school work.

11 reviews

20 executive decision

Dead Space 2: The sequel to the first Dead

Meet the candidates for Student Council

Space is thrilling.


Kiss Kiss Kiss: The work of the featured


artists on Kid Sister’s new mix tape is more impressive than her own. This website tracks the top 99 emerging songs of the day.

12 reviews The Rite: Anthony Hopkin’s newest

BOTTOM: Sophomore Tom Jackson works out at SM North for ROTC. / PHOTO BY MICHELLE STUESSI

The best sports photo and Q&A with wrestler Matt Vanausdall.

24 cougar crazies


support the athletes.

13 reviews

the park. Gregory has one child already and his fiancee is expecting another in May. / PHOTO BY MIKALA COMPTON

23 boss

Fans of NW sports discss why they choose to

version is much too racy.

TOP: Senior James Gregory plays with his son, Jeramiah at


exorcism movie is just a series of jumbled Skins: MTV’s show, adapted from the British


Mi Ranchito: Many people frequent this Mexican restaurant because of its delicious,

27 upcoming games 27 signing day fenzy College signing day becomes more and more ridiculous every year.

comforting food.

The purpose of the Northwest Passage is to relay important and interesting information to the community, administration and students of 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 two weeks during fourth hour. Subscriptions will be available to the community for $35. 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 reserve the right to refuse any letter.

NEWS STUCO TO HOST THIRD ANNUAL DODGEBALL TOURNAMENT The third annual NW Dodgeball tournament will be held tomorrow in the main gym. Forms have been available for the last month for new or returning teams to pick up and fill out. Teams are required to have six people with at least one member of the opposite sex. The tournament drew about 20 teams last year, and this year’s coordinator, junior Grant Pittrich, is hoping to increase the number of participants. “We have received a lot of forms from people in all different grades, so we’re expecting a lot of participation, which is exciting,” Pittrich said. Each team member must pay a $10 entry fee that benefits the Johnson County Christmas Bureau, an organization that accepts food and donations to help the needy. “We are giving all of the admission money to the JCCB [Johnson County Christmas Bureau] because they are at an all-time low,” Pittrich said. Pittrich organizes the referees, tracks teams’ records and collects fees. “[The most difficult part] is probably keeping everything organized the day of [the event] because there are a lot of rowdy teams and fans,” Pittrich said. “We had lots of back talk last year, and this year, the referees are just volunteers so we’re trying to cut down on the people giving them a hard time.” Junior Brendan McCluskey is a returning dodgeballer this year playing on The Thunder Cats, who finished in second place last year. “Well, a lot of people don’t believe that we can win the tournament, even though we got second last year and the people that won graduated,” McCluskey said. “[But] every person on our team is certain that we will achieve victory.” The tournament will be from 1 to 5 p.m. and is open to spectators to come. / LOGAN COFFMAN

CHOIR AND ORCHESTRA PERFORM AT GREAT WORKS CONCERT The choir and the orchestra performed at Community Covenant Church Feb. 15. Choir director Scot Schwartz, accompanist Nancy Hulett and orchestra director Jeffrey Bishop ran the annual event. This year, the Camerata orchestra was added to the program that previously featured either the Symphony Orchestra or the Chamber Orchestra. “Working with singers is totally different than just playing music as an orchestra. I wanted them to have the opportunity to get to know how to do that because most of these kids will be in Chambers eventually,” Bishop said. The concert was held in the church because of the better acoustics of the room. The audience included about 200 parents, relatives and some high school students. Camerata orchestra performed “Agnus Dei” from Leo Delibes’ Messe Breve with the Girls Choir. Next, an original composition by Bishop, “Vade

Mecum,” was performed for the first time by the A Capella Choir. “It was a harder song for the choir to get down due to all the dissonance. When we performed the song for the first time for Mr. Bishop, he was brought to tears. That was an an amazing moment not just for me as a musician, but for all of us as a choir,” senior John Kaleekal, president of the choir officer board, said. “The song is very dark and mysterious at the beginning, but at the end there is this beautiful resolution.” The Chamber orchestra and choir then performed the entirety of Bach’s Cantata No. 4, which is comprised of a sinfonia and seven verses. During the performance, senior Michael Allen sang a solo in tenor for “Jesus Christ, Gottes Sohn, ” senior Eric Fillmore sang a solo for “Hier ist das rechte Osterlamm” and seniors Kylee Elliot and Kaleekal sang a duet for “Es war ein wunderlicher Krieg.” / PIA HECKMANN

DOMINANT: Orchestra director Jef Bishop conducts the Chamber Orchestra at the Great Works concert on Feb. 15. / PHOTO BY MICHELLE STUESSI FAR LEFT: With the orchestral accompaniment, senior Daniel Fry sings with the rest of the Chambers Choir. / PHOTO BY MICHELLE STEUSSI LEFT: Senior Brian Price plays the viola with the rest of the Chambers Orchestra. / PHOTO BY NATE COMPTON


/ FEB. 25, 2011

JOURNALISM HONORED AT FALL CONVENTION; STUDENTS RECOGNIZED FOR EXCELLENCE The journalism department won numerous awards at the Journalism Educators Association and National Scholastic Press Association (JEA/ NSPA) fall convention last November in Kansas City. All three student publications placed in the Best of Show competition. The newspaper, the Northwest Passage, took second place; the yearbook, the Lair, was awarded third place; and the NW website,, won eighth place. Hundreds of schools from across the nation entered individual stories and pictures, in addition to entire publications, to the Kansas City competition, vying for recognition as best in the nation. Sophomores Brittany Bonsignore, Mikala Compton and Lauren Wilderson won a superior for yearbook sports photography, an honorable mention for news and feature photography and an honorable mention for yearbook copy/captions for clubs, respectively. Junior Maria Davison won an honorable mention for feature writing, and senior Wyatt Anderson won an honorable mention for review writing. “I was surprised because I wasn’t expecting to win. I didn’t know it was me because they pronounced my name wrong, but everyone said, ‘That’s you!’ so I was excited. It has made me more confident in my photography,” sophomore Mikala Compton said. The journalism department also won 14 awards this year from the International Quill and Scroll

Society, including two sweepstakes awards. These are chosen by a panel of judges and represent the best in the nation in their respective categories. Quill and Scroll awards honors for journalistic excellence to students nationwide. Yearbook students who won include seniors Annie Unruh, Lauren Minick, Liz Cummings, Meaghan Palmer and Nikki Bisht, junior Caitlyn Massy, sophomore Laura Assmann and three graduates who were on the staff of the 2009-2010 Lair. In addition to Quill and Scroll recognition, both the yearbook and newspaper were nominated as Crown Finalists by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA). The designation is one of the highest awards given for scholastic journalism in the nation. Two other Shawnee Mission newspapers and three SM yearbooks were also nominated. Each finalist will receive either a Gold or Silver Crown from CSPA when they announce their annual awards during Spring Break. The Lair was also named a National Scholastic Press Associate (NSPA) Pacemaker Finalist. Only 11 yearbooks in the category of 353 or more pages were chosen. “The Pacemaker Award has been around since 1927 and is considered the top award in the nation. The fact that we can even compete at that high a level of journalism — and the fact our book is a finalist for the award — is amazing. [As a student editor], you are your own worst critic and to me it was really rewarding,” 2010 yearbook co-editor-inchief Lauren Minick said. / CONNOR THOMPSON

BAND ADDS SWING DANCE TO CABARET This year’s Jazz Cabaret has a new swing in its step. The event, which typically features area jazz band performances, is adding swing dance lessons. “We do a jazz cabaret every year, but this year we are incorporating swing dance into it, and we’re just hoping to get a bigger student crowd,” sophomore Kate Tarne said. The idea for a swing dance night was first mentioned by various jazz band students during a jazz clinic. From there, Tarne and juniors Lauren Severance and Baylee Birkmeyer began planning the event. After getting approval from jazz band teacher Doug Talley, they found a swing dance instructor to teach short lessons throughout the performance to anybody who wants (or needs) to learn the basics of swing dancing. “Swing dance can be very, very difficult depending on how far you want to take it,” instructor Bonnie Wiltrout said. “But it can also get the people up and going very easily and be a lot of fun.” Wiltrout was approached first because she is the aunt of junior Brett Butler. She was also one of the first teachers hired at Northwest, and the first drill

team coach. Wiltrout has an extensive background in various styles of dance, including different types of swing dance: East Coast, West Coast and Country. “The East Coast swing is more what you notice in rock-and-roll dancing; they did the East Coast swing with the Big Band era. … I’ll be teaching how to do the basic steps as well as turns [and] some of the more creative jive steps for those that are willing to be challenged a little bit,” Wiltrout said. The lessons will be at 7 and 8 p.m., with the jazz band playing swing dance music after those sessions. The night will also feature other jazz ensembles from SM South, SM North and two college groups. “It’s a great chance to have fun and get away from [typical] school dances,” Tarne said. “It’s kind of like a school dance with a different type of music, and it’s a good chance to experience something new.” The Jazz Cabaret will be held on March 4 from 6 to 10 p.m. / BRIANNA LEYDEN

more nw news FEB. 17-19: WINTER PLAY/

Students performed The Man Who Came to Dinner in the Greg Parker Auditorium, a comedy set in the 1940s about a radio personality who wreaks havoc after slipping on ice and breaking his hip. The spring show will be Les Miserables.


Band students performed while audience members ate chili and participated in a silent auction to support the band.


Talent show Students performed variety acts in the auditorium.





7 p.m. / Orchestra concert in Greg Parker Auditorium Sophomore Top 100 meeting during seminar in little theater. CCC Italian Dinner





6–10 p.m. /

Jazz Cabaret and swing dance night in the cafeteria.

Spring blood drive

7 p.m. / SMSD Choir Festival


/ 05

Compiled by Tessa Miller


Fifteen school districts in Wisconsin were closed Feb. 17 due to protests by teachers and other public employees. The workers are protesting at the state Capitol in Madison over a bill that would take away rights to collective bargaining, as well as increase contributions for benefits.


Thousands of protesters added to the protests in the Middle East after the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.



Two hostages were freed by the left-wing FARC group, a Colombian rebellion group, on Feb. 12. Hostages Armando Acuna ad Marine Henry Lopez Martinez were part of a group of five hostages that FARC pledged to release in December.

As of Feb. 13, the nation’s parliament has been dissolved and the constitution suspended by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces. National Bank of Egypt Chairman Tarek Amer and two deputies resigned during worker protests, which forced banks to close until Feb. 16. Police officers also protested outside the Interior Ministry demanding higher wages, shorter hours and more benefits.


Japan’s economy fell from second to third largest in world, following the United States and China. Japan’s economy is now valued at $5.47 trillion (U.S. dollars) after only growing by 3.9 percent in 2010.


President Yoweri Museveni won another term after getting 68 percent of the vote. The results were officially declared Sunday, Feb. 20.


n. a devoted fan of pop singer Justin Bieber created by fans; Synonyms include Bieber fever.

All information from map is from unless stated otherwise.



 This site posts pictures daily to help improve moods.

GOOD TIME TO BE: Watson, the Jeopardy! machine

After winning $77,147 on the TV game show, IBM is sending Watson to the health care industry to help develop a similar machine to become a physician’s assistant.

In the Middle East

Fifteen countries are currently involved in various rebellions.On Feb. 21 in Libya, helicopter gunships fired into the crowds of protesters from the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, an opposition group.

National Merit Finalist

Seven NW students were named National Merit Finalists. The Shawnee Mission District has the largest group of National Merit Finalists in the state of Kansas with 27 total qualifying seniors.

KU Basketball player Tyshawn Taylor

The KU starter was suspended from the team indefinitely after violating team rules. According to the school, Taylor will continue to practice with the team until his reinstatement. Coach Bill Self would not release specifics about Taylor’s violation.

Kansas Community Colleges

Enrollment has increased in community colleges due to the inexpensive cost.

Near or farsighted

Numerous pairs of glasses and other small personal items are on display in the front window of the main office. Items left unclaimed will be disposed of.


 A site that posts articles and blogs about cool things in the world. Most entries are submitted by users.


 A blog providing “tips for getting things done.” Topics include “Why you shouldn’t buy cheap printer ink” and how to make oatmeal in a coffee maker.


/ FEB. 25, 2011



Taking accelerated French was a leap of faith that ended up being one of my best ideas in high school. During my first three years of Spanish, I had trouble just staying awake, not to mention a notorious record of failing finals. And during last year’s enrollment, just the idea of another foreign language class in my schedule seemed fatal to my GPA. So how did I end up in a French 2 elective this year? I think the more important question is: Why did I end up loving it? I knew I was taking a leap of faith when enrolling in an accelerated language class for 2010-2011 year. I was told it was new to Northwest, and it would appeal to those who read college applicants. Good thing I had nothing to lose. If it weren’t for the film Inglorious Basterds, where characters spoke three to four languages as if that were expected by the world, I doubt I’d still be in Spanish. But thanks to it, I was inspired to break away from the monolingual American stereotypes. To help me out, Northwest was offering just the class to get me started. Doug Murphy’s accelerated French class

is a dream course, especially if you’re there for the French and not the credit. Unlike a beginning foreign language class, there are no slacker students and a slim chance of failing. From conversation starters to the origin of a word, you learn it all. But, with all those perks, there’s a catch. The class is small. Really, really small. And this is what makes it all the more intimate. But with only ten students in it currently it’s no wonder there is talk of discontinuing it next year. Although my Spanish teacher spoke to our class last year regarding the upcoming accelerated classes (he also had a degree in French), I feel as of it wasn’t enough. Frankly, I believe many of the other foreign language teachers failed to recognize it, arguing that another language class will only hinder the one the student is currently in, ultimately causing that student to drop. I disagree with that argument. Learning a third language allows you to

relearn the second. You take notice of the important things that you decided to ignore in the years before, such as verb tenses, pronouns and commands. Many times I’ve stopped and asked myself, “Now, what was that in Spanish? Oh yeah!” And proceeded to move on. For me, it’s like getting a second chance to learn something to its fullest extent. I understand the logic in cutting a class with low enrollment, with the exceptions of IB courses, but I wish teachers would stress the existence of the accelerated classes prior to enrollment. Discontinuing a class that I feel is more enriching than any other class I’ve taken in high school is not for the best, especially after its first year in action. I’d feel terrible if a student wasn’t allowed to have the opportunity in making the decision I made simply due to lack of enrollment next year. If I were in that position, not only would I feel it was unfair that students before me had the chance to get ahead, I’d feel cheated.



When I transferred to Northwest from Bowling Green High School, a school of 400 students. I had no idea what to expect. Whether it is the size of the school or the number of students, every high school is different. Regardless, you get used to the way things work at your school. But when you transfer to a school that is completely different from what you’re used to, it’s a scary thing. I transferred to Northwest on Jan. 27, I from a tiny town in Missouri called Bowling Green, with a population of 3,000, to Shawnee, population 174,709. The high school in Bowling Green is as tiny as the town. On average, 400 students attend BGHS. That’s smaller than NW’s the juniors class of 432. Bowling Green High School wasn’t as difficult to navigate as Northwest, but I definitely have noticed some major differences besides the physical size of the school. The education at Bowling Green High School is nothing compared to I am finding here. Because of the size of the school, there wasn’t a large variety of classes to choose from, and your schedule was basically chosen for you. Art electives at Bowling Green were Art 1 and Art 2; here, there’s Ceramics, Sculpture and Metalsmithing/Jewelry. As a prospective art major in college, I feel like my options here are endless. If I were still going to Bowling Green, I don’t think I’d be as prepared for a college program. I have also noticed that teachers here are very strict when it comes to homework. I have

never had so much homework in my life. It takes me awhile to get it all finished unlike at Bowling Green. There, you could slop through your homework and get an A. I always got my homework done in class and never had to worry about taking any of it home, which sounds nice but was I really learning anything from it? Sure, it was nice to be free in the afternoon, but I wasn’t learning much. The teachers there didn’t care if you got your work done or not; you would just receive a H.O.T Sheet, a orange slip of paper stating that you need to get your work done. Hardly anyone ever get one. I never received a H.O.T Sheet in the four years the school has been doing that program. From what I have noticed, the students that always received a H.O.T Sheet, still continued to not do their work. And then there is the athletic program. Northwest has so many options (even bowling) as well as the money to back them up, even with budget cuts, I’m sure. Where I come from, it was only football, softball, volleyball, track and cheerleading, and because the school was in so much debt, you had to pay $25 just to join the team, if you made it. The jerseys were ancient! And freshmen weren’t even considered for varsity, despite how good they might be. This is a rule was implemented earlier this year because the school is in so much debt.

By the time you graduate from Northwest, you won’t know every single person in the school, which in my opinion is a good thing. When you know everybody you go to school with, it tends to cause a lot of conflict. Your business is familiar to everyone, and you know their business, too. Although that can be annoying. It also has its benefits. You don’t have to worry about being strangers with anyone. But as far as I’m concerned, that’s the only plus from it all. Here, I meet new people every day, and I don’t have to worry about getting caught up in as much drama as I did back home. Life in a small town can do that to you. Coming from a tiny school to EDITOR’S NOTE: The author of a big school is a scary thing, but I think it will be better for me in this article, sophomore Stormy the long run. I already have more Coan decided to return to her old opportunities and have met more school, Bowling Green last week. diverse people. I’m now learning about a career I think I’ll enjoy. I’m drama-free (so far), and I’ve been welcomed by students and teachers to my new, huge school. Of course I’m homesick, but at one point that school was new to me. I gave Bowling Green a chance and loved it there. Chances are really a great opportunity for something better. I will keep doing my best to meet more people, as long as they give me the same chance I’m giving Northwest.



/ 07


The new book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother has raised questions about the Western and Chinese parenting styles, but they aren’t all that different. Parenting is the hardest job one can ever imagine. Your actions and non-actions literally have lifelong implications, and not just for you, but also for that little crying, whining, squirming combination of flesh, muscle, and blood you hold in your hands. It is also the only job that doesn’t require any training; the parenting is all up to the… well the parent. And with parenting being such an important job, everyone is an “expert” about how to raise children. Mothers get together and compare baby formulas and day cares. Fathers gather in their respective “man caves” and talk about their sons’ latest exploits on the football field or the court.

and if the child fails the parent fails. To many, the aforementioned behavior would be horrifying experience and possibly considered damaging to a developing child’s mind. But Chua’s children have turned out quite normal and undamaged, with the eldest even writing a letter to the Wall Street Journal, who wrote an article lampooning the Tiger Mother, saying that some instance from the book taken out of context seem harsh, but she still loves her mother and respects her beyond belief for how she raised her and her sister. The question has now been asked, which way is superior; the “Chinese” way or the “Western” way?

“In a sense, Chinese parenting and Western parenting are not all that different. Western soccer moms and football dads can be just as strict and controlling as the harshest Tiger Mother.” Thousands of books ranging from Your Successful Preschooler to What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Cinderella ate My Daughter offer advice on becoming the perfect parent. Most of these titles deal with having parents accept the fact that children must “be free to find their own way, and make their own mistakes,” a very Western approach to child rearing. That is why the newest book to enter the storied pantheon of parenting publications has raised such controversy. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua details the attempts of the author who was born and raised in the United States as she tries to raise her children the “Chinese way”. This would include no sleepovers, at least six hours a day of piano or violin practice and calling her two daughters “trash and garbage” when they don’t show proper respect. After one bad episode when the eldest daughter refused to practice for another minute after a five hour marathon, Chua yelled at her “If the next time is not perfect, I’m going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them.” Chua also says she cannot stand when her husband, an American born Jewish Yale law professor, attempts to “waste the children’s time with amusement parks and ice cream trips.” To many parents, this is shocking and borderline criminal behavior. This is main idea behind Chua’s book; to compare and contrast parenting styles, from the “Western” parents who believe that children should be free to make their own decisions, and the “Chinese” or “Eastern” parents who believe that a child is a representative of the parent,

First and foremost, there is the academic achievement. And as many know, the Chinese and other eastern nations are light years ahead of their western counterparts in math, reading and science, and if you had to look up light years, you are only hammering the point home. According to a study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s Program for Internatioal Student Assessment survey, Americans still rank in near the middle of the pack compared internationally in basic math and science understanding, with our immediate neighbors being England, Sweden, and Italy. Shanghai and Hong Kong are at the top of the list, with several other Asian nations including Singapore and South Korea. Add in to this the fact that China was the first nations to bounce back from the world wide economic collapse last year, and you have a strong case as to why the strict Chinese way is paying off. Western children are rapidly falling behind their eastern counterparts in academics and in the economic sector. It was been beaten to death the way the Chinese will soon surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest economy, and how within twenty years the Asian powers will be the sole superpower in the world, and the root of that can be child rearing. As Chua notes, her children ran home from school, showed her all their A+’s, did homework, and then practiced the piano until it was time for bed. The discipline and respect for knowledge that was installed in the children by the “Tiger mother” stuck with them throughout their lives, and with any luck, will lead to

future success in their chosen fields. The eldest daughter even notes that she plays to raise her children in a similar fashion to her mother, but she will “allow the occasional sleepover.” There are no resentments on the children’s part, just respect for their parents. But there is one area that westerns excel at that the Chinese are lacking. Creativity. The spirit in the west that children must be free to use their imaginations and make their own mistakes and failures. In fact, rebellion against authority is glamorized in our films and real life experiences, as the rebellious teenager yells at her mother for privacy and space. It is in these instances that the real reward of western parenting becomes evident. Where is the Chinese iPhone? The great novel writers or painters? The great Chinese athletes besides Yao Ming and some gymnasts? Or song writers? Where are the eastern equivalent? The west excels at the right side of the brain functions. This is the wondrous secret of parenting in the west, the ability to nurture a child’s own growth, and at the same time exert some control. It is just the proportions that are difficult to find. In a sense, Chinese parenting and Western parenting are not all that different. Western soccer moms and football dads can be just as strict and controlling as the harshest Tiger Mother. And both Western and Chinese parents have the same overall goal in mind; the best for their children. Their methods may be a tad bit different, but the result is all individually based. Different children need different parenting styles. My own mom is more of a “Tiger Mother” of sorts to my younger brother, because he needs more motivation than others. This was a lesson the actual Tiger Mother Amy Chua had to learn. When her youngest daughter Lulu was thirteen, she had a fantastic outburst on a family vacation. She did not want to practice the violin while they were on holiday, and told her mother so. Chua contended that she had to, and a very public and very grand argument erupted. It ended with Chua in tears and Lulu smashing a glass on the ground at a cafe in Moscow. Chua had to come to the realization that there is no cookie cutter parenting, and that you must tailor your style to the child. She still has a strong influence over her two children, but gives them a little more freedom of choice. Parenting is still an enigma, and trial and error still seems to be the only real way to figure it all out.



/ 07


Gnomeo and Juliet The big name voices used in Disney’s Shakespeare remake were the highlight.

Disney knows how to do Shakespeare remakes. Everyone and their cousin loves The Lion King, based loosely on Hamlet, and now parents have another classic tale to show their children. Gnomeo & Juliet, directed by Kelly Asbury, is a respectable film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. The main characters may have been overly optimistic and predictable, but isn’t that what childrens’ movie characters are supposed to be? They were funny, in a juvenile way, and they lent the otherwise bland roles some personality. The movie also showcased some major stars. Emily Blunt was cast as the chubby heroine; James McAvoy as Gnomeo; Jason Statham played Tybalt while Michael Caine, Ozzy Osbourne, Dolly Parton and Maggie Smith were in minor roles and Ashley Jensen was Juliet's nurse Nanette, a drama-queen frog who falls madly in love with Paris, voiced by Stephan Merchant and sung by Elton John. The big names signed on to this movie were the main highlight of the 82 minutes. My main problem with the film was its reluctance to follow the plot line of the original Romeo & Juliet. Throughout the movie allusions were rampant — quotes from the play, Gnomeo and a Shakespeare statue discussing the pros and cons of the tragic ending and the names of all the characters — but in the end everything turned out happily ever after. Characters who died came back to life, everyone made peace and Gnomeo and Juliet got together. It might be far fetched to believe that a family movie would have a tragic ending, but at least leave the dead characters dead. Another problem was Disney’s insistence to release the movie in 3-D. If there is one surefire way to ruin a movie, it’s making it 3-D. I’ll never understand Hollywood’s obsession with unnecessary special effects, but thankfully a 2-D option is available for those of us who enjoy traditional cinema. For a G-ratwed movie the quality was exceptional, but I wouldn’t suggest it to people looking for substantial entertainment. With all the options for a Shakespeare adaptation, Gnomeo & Juliet is hardly at the top of the list. Gnomeo & Juliet won’t be up for any awards, but it’s a fun way to fit in some family time. / HAYLEY BATTENBERG


Michael Inman’s collection of comics answers the questions of life that no one else has bothered to ask.

There are many things I don’t know about life. For instance, I’ve always wondered what I sound like when I sing with headphones on, when to use i.e. in a sentence instead of e.g. and what it would be like to date a unicorn. OK, maybe I’ve never really thought about these things. But Michael Inman has. Inman is the creator of The Oatmeal, a website featuring pages of his comic strips, as well as quizzes and a blog. Through his comics, Inman questions how the world works and proposes “better,” if not completely ridiculous, solutions. He suggests why a polar bear is the best mode of transportation on your commute to work, vividly describes what it’s like to own the latest greatest Apple product and gives five very good reasons to punch a dolphin in the mouth, which happens to be the title of his upcoming book. Let’s just say that I could have stayed on the website for days at a time, soaking up all of that oddly helpful information. Then, when I headed over to the quiz section of the website, I found out some very interesting things about myself. I learned that I could take 23 Justin Biebers in a fight (which didn’t surprise me at all), and that if I were chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor, I would only last for about 70 seconds. Good to know. Inman uses his comedy to express his endless frustration with aspects of humanity and culture. About every other comic on the site is about something that annoys him, including printers (and how they won’t print at 3 a.m. the night before a paper is due — the story of my life), dealing with customer service and public toilets. It’s so nice to know I’m not the only one. But he’s also helpful in some cases. There are a number of posts related to using good grammar, and they’re funny enough that no one could forget the rules.

The Oatmeal gained fame through Tumblr last month. When the popular blogging site crashed, Inman drew a comic blaming the crash on Tumblbeasts, similar to the Fail Whale used by Twitter. Only four hours later, Tumblr agreed to use the graphic, which featured green, ratlike animals chewing on equipment, with this written below it: “We may have forgotten to feed the wild Tumblbeasts that roam our datacenter, which often results in unexpected downtime due to gnawing and/or mutiny. Animal Control has been alerted.” What a great combination of sarcasm and ingenuity. I’m so glad that someone has finally realized the importance of the random questions in life that no one cares to ponder. It may not be the best source to cite for your next paper, but it’s great for a laugh. / ASHLEE CRANE ENTERTAINMENT

/ 09



This Irish Pub offers great food and exceptional service.

J. Murphy's is a lively and entertaining Irish pub that offers exceptional service and even more exceptional food. The menu offers an array of dishes to order including sandwiches, soups, steaks, salads and burgers, as well as a selection they call "Irish favorites." I ordered the shepherd's pie, a comfort-food dish with a ground beef mix below a layer of “J. Murphy's Champ,” Northern Irish potatoes mashed with green onions and butter, topped with cheese and baked. Just like every other meal I've had here, I found the shepherd's pie absolutely delicious. The ground beef on the bottom was full of broth and flavor. The added Champ and cheese really blended well together with the ground beef, and each bite was as flavorful as the last. Besides the food, the service I received made me feel as if I was the only person in the restaurant. Drinks were kept full, and despite my constant badgering about something I needed, the waiter kept his pleasant demeanor. Because J. Murphy's is a pub and grill, it hosts different happenings throughout each month like karaoke Wednesdays and Fridays and sports on big-screen TVs. It's easy to feel welcome and comfortable when dining at J. Murphy's. For anyone who enjoys an exciting atmosphere and Irish (or traditional) food, J. Murphy's is the place to check out. / MORGAN JONES


The Cowboy Junkies’ talent for creating images with their words is amazing. The Cowboy Junkies found fame with their cover of the Velvet Underground song “Sweet Jane”; but, after 20 years in the music industry, the Canadian alt-country band has better reasons for being known. With more albums than I can count, the Cowboy Junkies earned their experienced sound. Lead singer Margo Timmins’ voice distinctly reminds me of Patsy Cline and, backed by steel guitar and slow beats, the band produces a dreamy sound. With inspirations such as the Velvet Underground, Neil Young and Elvis, they write songs with deep meaning and passion. Take “Mining for Gold,” for instance. It’s a simple song, barely over a minute and a half long, yet it captures what it meant to be a gold miner through lyrics like “Can't you feel the rock dust in your lungs? It'll cut down a miner when he is still young”, and instills that into my brain as a good song should. The Cowboy Junkies have an amazing talent for portraying images through their words and music. This can be said about their new album, Demons. Like any other ‘Junkies’ album, the songwriting is brilliant. The words to “See You Around” are probably the best break-up lyrics I have ever heard, with an “I’m not playing nice anymore” attitude that resonates through the album. The only issue with Demons, like any other Cowboy Junkies album, is that the songs tend to have a similar sound, and while they might use a variety of instruments, every song has that eerie sound to it. It would be nice if the the band could produce a different type of song every once and awhile, but other than that this is another brilliant album. / DANIEL MAGWIRE

There Are Rules

The Get up Kids’ attemt to make a return with their first album in seven years. The Get Up Kids, a local band from Kansas City, are attempting a comeback. There Are Rules, their first album in seven years, is trying to bring old-school “emo” music back into the limelight. They started here in Kansas City back in 1995, during the second wave of emo music, along with other bands like Jimmy Eat World and Mineral. Back then, The Get Up Kids were toured with bands including Green Day and Weezer, but the band started waning in popularity and broke up in 2005. The Get Up Kids got back together in 2008 to tour and rerelease their older albums. After touring and some studio work, they released There Are Rules, their fifth full-length album. This album starts with “Tithe,” a grungy and fast-paced song, and a good one to showcase the sound for which The Get Up Kids are known. “Regent’s Court” is easily my favorite of the album, with a sound reminiscent of Bloc Party. Singer Matthew Pryor paints a picture of his troubled experiences with lyrics like, “As if the walls are caving in / have to up the medicine.” However, after the first three songs, the album seems to drift around in musical styles. “Automatic” opens with a synth beat that just gets irritating by the end. The middle of the album obviously hits a slump with the song “Rally ‘Round the Fool,” in which the band aims for an eerie Radioheadesque tune and misses. The lyrics really fall flat and there’s no sort of musical hook to catch the listener; it just floats on with no real message. How can these now middle-aged men convey the teenage angst they once had when they no longer have first-hand experience? There Are Rules closes with the try-hard anthem “Rememorable”, which is hardly the case. For a band that came to rise in the “emo” times of the late ‘90s, you would think they would refuse to make a pop-rock song. But they did. They tell their listeners to “Fade away/ Before this all goes to waste,” just like this album did in my memory. / MICHAEL GRIFFIN


/ FEB. 25 2011

Kiss Kiss Kiss

The work of the featured artists on Kid Sister’s

new mix tape are more impressive than that of Kanye West’s protégé.


With its tightened mechanics, the sequel to the first Dead Space has earned its rave reviews. Dead Space 2, the sequel to the first space horror game by Visceral Games, feels right at home in your nightmares. This game, which is rated mature by the ESRB, takes place on The Sprawl, a space station on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. You play as Isaac Clarke, a deranged engineer who survived the alien outbreak from the first Dead Space. As a player, you have no idea how you arrived on the station, but the game starts off at a frantic pace. After the adrenaline-pumping opening, this game drags on in the best way possible. Each moment drips with tension. As you slowly move through the corridors, walls creak and unknown creatures skitter by. The gameplay is like most horror games, but Dead Space just pulls it off better than any other game. Controls are responsive and easy to use, which is paramount for games that rely on reaction time. The game is a third-person shooter, so the people at Visceral are able to give Isaac a personality, making him easier to relate to. With five different levels of difficulty, everyone from the beginning shooter to the most advanced gamer can play. I played on normal and still had some difficulties, so this game is hard, to say the least. Save points are sparse, just like the video games of old, so you might have to try a hard part multiple times. This can be frustrating, but it just makes the feeling of accomplishment that much better. Dead Space is grounded mainly in the single

player campaign, so Visceral’s first venture into the multiplayer environment is weak. The online multiplayer is objective-based fighting between humans and the Necromorphs, the monsters of Dead Space 2. It is definitely interesting to play as the monsters you destroy in single player, but the online component favors the humans. The idea is thoughtful, but poorly executed. Dead Space 2 was not made for multiplayer, however; so I viewed it as a nice addition, not a focal point of the game. Gaming magazines and websites have been giving rave reviews to Dead Space 2, and I’d wholly agree. It plays off of the fear and reputation garnered by the first game, but the mechanics, like aiming, have been tightened up. The violence, however, can get out of hand sometimes. Many times throughout the game, you must ride in an elevator (which is a hidden loading screen). On one occasion, my elevator malfunctioned and opened up just to show a man being impaled by a Necromorph. After this gruesome scene, the elevator closed and kept moving. It’s excessive set pieces like this that makes it seem that Dead Space 2 is violent just for the shock factor. Dead Space 2 is available for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and the PC. In commercial spots for Dead Space 2, moms have been showing their disgust for the game. Your mom might hate it, but you’ll love every minute of it. / MICHAEL GRIFFIN

With the title of Kanye West’s protégé, I went in with expectations of being able to compare Kid Sister to Nicki Minaj. I was instead left with the disappointment of the Chicago native’s attempt as a Lady Gaga wannabe rapper. Kid Sister’s newest mix tape, Kiss Kiss Kiss, features work from big time artists such as Gucci Mane, Nina Sky and Paul Wall. Sadly, I was more impressed with the featured artist work than with Kid Sister’s own. Despite her lack of vocal talent, her techno inspired beats held my interest on songs such as “Right Hand Hi”, “Don’t Stop Movin” and “Imma Get It”. Each of the songs also transitioned well into each other; although I sometimes found myself checking my iPod to make sure that the song had in fact changed. Kiss Kiss Kiss was a huge improvement from Kid Sister’s first single “Pro Nails”, which featured her mentor Kanye West and was a single off her first album, Ultraviolet. Kiss Kiss Kiss featured many songs off of Ultraviolet that have been remixed by Nick Catchdubs, who co-founded Kid Sister’s current record label, Fool’s Gold. The house music-club inspired beats of Kiss Kiss Kiss are comparable to the music featured in Jersey Shore clubgoing scenes, but are enough to hold any one's attention and are a far cry from Kid Sister’s first album. Despite the much needed improvement, it wasn’t enough to make the 13 song mix tape worth adding to my musical library.


This website tracks the top 99 emerging songs of the day by analyzing what is being discussed on social networking sites. Meet your new best friend and greatest adviser, — more interactive than Pandora and more reliable than YouTube surfing. It tracks the top 99 emerging songs of the day by analyzing what people are discussing via Facebook, Twitter, message forums and other social networks. At first look, it appears to be another hipster website aiming to exploit indie artists, but after scrolling through, names like Waka Flocka Flame and Wiz Khalifa reinforce the site’s credibility. Compared to Billboard, which lists top songs, albums and artists based on sales and downloads, and Pitchfork, which has its writers deciding what you should listen to, WeAreHunted creates its charts based solely on buzz while creating an interactive environment where its users can discuss the emerging artists. When looking through the charts, which can be arranged by emerging or popular artists, remix or genre, a picture is shown along with the title of the song. Click on a picture and experience something rare: an entire MP3. Yes, you will hear songs you’ve heard before, and yes, you’ll come across familiar artists (there’s a reason why these songs are emerging), but guaranteed, you will find / EVAN SHINN something new, and you will love it. ENTERTAINMENT

/ 11





ANTHONY HOPKIN’S NEWEST EXORCISM MOVIE IS JUST A SERIES OF JUMBLED EVENTS. Anthony Hopkins delivers another award-worthy performance in the latest exorcism flick, The Rite. But his performance is really all this movie has to offer. Shot in the beautiful streets of Rome, home of the Vatican, The Rite is based on the true story of Father Lucas Trevant. A young, wayward American priest Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue) is sent to Rome by his seminary mentor to learn the dark art of exorcism. He is then led to Father Trevant and ultimately becomes his apprentice. He embarks on what becomes a psychologically thrilling quest to judge the validity of the so-called profession and ultimately decide the type of priesthood he wants to devote his life to. Kovak does not believe that demonic possessions are real. He thinks that it’s just showmanship by the priests and usually involves a mentally disturbed victim. This doubt and lack of faith is a recurring theme throughout the film. The plot really never has a defining moment — it’s just a series of events jumbled together. As a result the story seems poorly developed and unfinished. When I pictured what the movie would be like, I imagined a suspense-filled thriller.


/ FEB. 25 2011

Unfortunately the movie moves too slow for a large portion and delivers excitement in unsatisfyingly small doses. For instance, three exorcisms are performed in the entire movie, with Father Lucas himself being the possessed in one of them. For a movie based on a man who supposedly performed more than 100 exorcisms, one would think that the audience would be given a little more. That being said, at least the director was careful to avoid overdoing the exorcisms with cheesy special effects like spines contorting at 90-degree angles and green goo oozing from nasal passages, but the movie dawdles and drags too much over the little details. Aside from the three exorcisms, there is really no excitement or action until Trevant himself is overtaken by the demon Ba’al near the end. And there’s a short comedic episode when Father Lucas nonchalantly answers his cell phone midexorcism, leaving Kovak to deal with a demented teen who starts playing mind games on the nervous priest. As the most recent exorcism movie attempt, The Rite is no Exorcist but simply another exorcism movie. / LOGAN COFFMAN

Even without taking into consideration the excessive drugs, sex and unrealistic attitudes, MTV’s Skins is an awful show. MTV executives believed that Skins, the adaptation of a wildly popular show in the United Kingdom by the same name, would be equally successful in Canada and the United States. They were horribly, terribly wrong. Since premiering on Jan. 17, Skins has run into a host of trouble with American audiences and promoters. As a result of the show's raciness, Yum! Brands (Taco Bell), Mars (Wrigley), General Motors, Doctor's Associates (Subway), Foot Locker, H&R Block, Schick, Guthy-Renker (Proactiv), L'Oréal and Kraft have all opted to pull their advertising from the program. It’s understandable that these groups wouldn’t want their companies connected to such a show. Besides having a lousy cast (with the exception of the character Tea, who doesn’t appear in the UK version), the show is over-the-top raunchy. I will admit to loving shows like Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and anything else The CW or ABC Family airs. Although they do showcase topics parents wouldn’t be pleased with, including drug usage, promiscuity and rampant immoral behavior, they also approach it with some censorship. Skins makes no such efforts. In the first three episodes alone there has been overt pot smoking (not suggestive like That 70’s Show), sex 24/7 (both talk of it and actual scenes), pill popping, drug deals, underage everything and much, much more. All of these scenarios are real issues that high school students encounter, but the way it’s portrayed just makes it seem so much more scandalous than in real life. The characters each have problems that adolescents the world over can relate to, but the way they react just seems so far-fetched. They aren’t dynamic. They have two sides, but both are extremes: It’s either black or white, but never grey. It’s these extremes that have parents up in arms. Currently, the TV activist group the Parents Television Council filed a letter to the Department of Justice asking them to bring a child pornography charge against the series, alleging a violation of multiple federal statutes: obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children, sexual exploitation of children, material involving the sexual exploitation of minors and relating to material constituting or containing child pornography. The accusations stem from the fact that several of the actors are younger than 18 and have been portrayed (from relatively innocuous angles) completely nude, sometimes during sex scenes and under the influence. The PTC counted 42 depictions and references to drugs and alcohol in the premiere episode; the run time was only 41 minutes excluding commercial breaks. Although the show isn’t exactly wholesome family TV, one can hardly blame a TV show for teenagers getting into trouble. The events portrayed in Skins do happen to high school students, but not nearly as frequently as the show suggest. Teenagers may make horrible decisions, but the way Skins represents them is entirely unbelievable. / HAYLEY BATTENBERG


Many people frequent this Mexican restaurant because of its delicious, comforting food. photos by bailey kopp

Mi Ranchito is a great restaurant. People who know it love it. People who have never been there have missed something in their life. It’s a small, nice and simple restaurant with delicious food, and a warm atmosphere with fast, friendly service. This restaurant isn’t outstanding, but it’s good for a quick dinner or lunch. After entering the building, you will hear many different sounds: the chatter from all the guests in the small dining room, the noise from the kitchen and the quiet sounds of Mexican music in the background. The walls are painted a warm brownish-red and decorated with traditional Mexican ornaments like a metal sun or colorfully-patterned fabrics. Mexican waiters dressed in red T-shirts greet you, calling you “amigo” and guide you to a prepared and clean table. As soon as you sit, chips, a mild salsa sauce and a green avocado sauce (which can be a tiny bit spicy) are served. Mi Ranchito has plenty of good dishes that have a lot of cheese, meat and vegetables as well as a side dish of rice and black beans. I go to this restaurant once a week, and usually get the cream cheese chicken enchilada for $10.25. As indicated in the name, the dish is prepared with a lot of cream cheese on top of an chicken enchilada. The cheese tastes fresh, rich and yummy and with the warm seasoned chunks of chicken, this mixture is pleasing to your taste buds. If you have a coupon from the Val-pack for the espinaca cheese dip, redeem it: this dip is one of the best dishes they serve. The cheese is warm and creamy with some tomatoes and avocado pieces in it. For dessert, I would recommend the sopapillas. The hot triangle-shaped puff pastries are served with two delicious sugared sauces. They’re the perfect ending for a yummy meal and, priced at less than $4, they are pretty cheap. Mi Ranchito even has a drive-through, so if you are in a rush, you can still enjoy their delicious food. Try out Mi Ranchito. The friendly staff, the fast and good service and the fantastic food are the reason many people go to this place regularly,. Maybe, after your first visit, you will too.


/ 13




/ FEB. 25, 2011

With a stroke of a paint brush, junior Jessica Luna, a Hispanic girl with dark hair and tan skin, begins to create Chinese-style art. Around the room, students of various nationalities — Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Mexican — fold origami, learn to write in Chinese characters and listen to Chinese Zen stories. Traditional Asian foods filled a table at the front of the room, under an “English Speaking Zone” banner. Vegetable fried rice, calamari and assorted Asian candies are among the selection. Junior Qui Phan’s mom woke up early to make Vietnamese egg rolls. Phan also brought red, decorated envelopes in which children traditionally receive money for Asian New Year. Welcome to English Language Learners (ELL) class as they celebrate the Asian New Year Feb 9. Asian New Year is one of the most important and elaborate celebrations

in traditional Asian culture, and celebrating it is one way English Language Leaning (ELL) students bring their own culture into the class. According to ELL teachers Murlin Merrill and Jamie Ledbetter, all the students share the experiences of their native counties everyday. “We’ll be reading a story and say, ‘What is it like in your country?’ [The students] love to talk about their countries; they just light up,” Ledbetter said. “We hear stories everyday.” “We always talk about our countries if something happens,” senior Joti Kaur said. “If someone is talking about their country, then everyone is talking about their country.” Luna, Phan and Kaur are all in ELL third hour. Luna and Phan both moved to the United States two years ago, Luna from Mexico and Phan from Vietnam. Kaur,

who is from India, has lived here for six years. “This is an interesting class,” Luna said. “They teach you from every country. We share. We learn how to be friends. If someone needs help, you go and you [help]. [We’re] friends. It’s nice to have new friends.” According to Ledbetter, there is a certain camaraderie among the students. They help each other during class time, but they also spend time together outside of school. “Sometimes they go to visit each other in their homes or businesses, some of the parents run businesses,” Merrill said. “You will have a Spanish speaking guy going to the Indian restaurant to visit those guys.” Luna said that when she first came to the United States, she didn’t know anybody and was scared. Now, she tries to talk to all the new students so they don’t have to feel the way she did. “At first, it’s hard to share with them or talk to them, but I’m not that kind of person that’s shy,” Luna said. “So the first time they come here and they don’t have any friends, I sit with them.” Sometimes, Merrill said, he sees ELL students helping each other with other subjects as well. “We see study groups in here in the morning,” Merrill said. “I’ve seen a Ukranian girl with an Indian girl with a Mexican girl all doing Calculus together.” “We try to be here to help them, to be a resource for them to get extra help with their classes because they do need a lot of help,” Merrill said. “I’m not a Calculus person, so they help each other with it.“ Though Ledbetter speaks French and Merrill speaks Spanish, they teach mostly in English. “Our instruction is in English,” Merrill said. “We know some other languages a little bit and sometimes that’s helpful. I do help some of the Spanish speakers, because I can.” There are 22 languages spoken by ELL students at Northwest, so Merrill and Ledbetter use non-verbal communication — pictures or actions, mostly — to teach. “When we do vocabulary, I’ve noticed that if I have a visual image of the vocabulary card and we do games with that and reinforce that over and over, they really do get that word,” Ledbetter said. “We do read some literature, which is great for them. Our textbook gives us a lot of support because it does cover many things they need to know: figurative language, parts of speech, as well as things particular for ELL students.” To aid them in learning English, the students work in textbooks, read literature and write in journals. They also use Rosetta Stone, a voice-activated computer program. “Our textbooks have a lot of — it’s not just about learning English,” Merrill said. “There will be a story about history or about science or some of the other subjects in the curriculum. So they’ll learn some of the language that they’ll be hearing in the classroom, like photosynthesis or something.” Because they have moved from other parts of the world and grew up with in a different culture, students in the ELL program are learning not just the language, but also U.S. holidays and traditions. To help in explaining them, an ELL aid made a picture of Merrill in several outfits that represent each holiday. Students coming into the district are identified for ELL by a questionnaire their parents are required to fill out to register them for classes. They are then sent to the district ELL office, where they take a test that determines whether they need extra help learning the language. “With some kids, we have to start with the alphabet,” Ledbetter said. “But in a way, it’s easier, because these kids are immersed in the language. When you teach French in the United States, they’re learning French with you just a few hours a week.” “They walk out of the classroom, they don’t hear French anymore,” Merrill said. “These guys walk out of our room, they hear English. They hear it on TV. They see it on the street signs. They pick it up more quickly than someone who’s learning in a isolated way.” Some ELL students were educated very well in their native countries and some haven’t gone to school since fourth grade, according to Merrill. Those who were well educated, tend to learn English much faster. Some students also speak four or five different languages. Having already become fluent in another language can also make the English learning process easier and faster. “If they have a strong foundation in one of their native languages,” Ledbetter said. “They are going to do so much better in English, and there is research backing that up.” Merrill and Ledbetter enjoy teaching ELL because it’s different. “It’s fun and it’s out of the ordinary,” Merrill said. “It’s always different. Somebody will always have a question that you’ve never thought of before, things that really are strange about our culture, but we don’t think about it.” “It’s never a dull moment,” Ledbetter said. The dynamic of their classes also tends to change often, as students move into and out of the district. “It changes so much. We’ve had people leave, we’ve had people come in and that will happen throughout the entire year,” Ledbetter said. For Luna, that’s just another way to get to know new people. “I always talk to people,” Luna said. “Even if I don’t know them and it’s the first time, I ask them for their name.” / MARIA DAVISON

DOMINANT: Senior Joti Kaur works with an ELL para to make oragami at ELL’s Asian New Year celebration.

FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Students practice writing

traditional chinese characters during their Asian New Year celebration. Junior Qui Phan shows traditional red envelopes used for giving money on Asian New Year to the class. Students brought traditional Asian candies to share at their Asian New Year celebration. FEATURES

/ 15


When senior James Gregory’s alarm goes off every day at 5:45 a.m., he doesn’t have the choice to hit the snooze button. He wakes up, feeds his alreadyawake 1-year-old son a bottle and puts him back to sleep in his crib. He stands there for a second, watching the peaceful baby, knowing that he has bigger responsibilities than most 17-year-olds. As Gregory attends classes and football practice, it’s far from apparent that he has a fiancee, a son and another baby on the way. “If I could find pictures of myself two years ago, you could see it, just physically, how much it has changed me. It’s not the stress; it’s the emotion that got put into it. So much has happened,” Gregory said. “I was out doing all types of crazy stuff because it didn’t matter. Now I’m calmer and I have more discipline because of what I have to come home to.” His life changed April 15, 2009 when Jeramiah Jacinto Gregory was born. “I used to party a lot. I used to be bad. When someone said something wrong to me, I wouldn’t think twice about reacting,” he said. “Now I have something to think about, so it stops me from making stupid decisions.” When he and his fiancee, Vanessa Marin, found out about the pregnancy, they didn’t know what to do at first. “It was something I wasn’t prepared for because you don’t know what to expect. All these things are racing through your mind, like, ‘what’s going to happen? What will happen when the baby is here? What am I going to do?’ You just don’t know what to expect,” Marin said. “It was just hard because I wanted James at my side, but at that moment, I was just so mad and so angry at him that I was being selfish. I didn’t allow him to be there.” When Gregory told his parents about the baby, they were surprisingly supportive. They agreed to help with anything and everything if they ever needed it. Marin’s parents, on the other hand, struggled with the news and suggested alternatives. “My parents were upset. My mom, especially, and my dad were not very happy with it. My mom made me take like three pregnancy tests. She kept making me take them and take them,” she said. Gregory and Marin basically had three options: have the baby, not have the baby or put it up for adoption. For Marin, there was only one option. “My mom told me to have an abortion or think about adoption, but I don’t really believe in abortion and I don’t believe in giving up my child for adoption.


/ FEB. 25, 2011

I mean, unless a parent can’t handle a child, doesn’t have patience, is doing drugs or something, then that’s understandable,” Marin said. Gregory had to decide whether to be involved in the child’s life. “Why wouldn’t I stick around for my son? It’s not that hard. Why would I want to just push him to the side for him to grow up without a daddy? Why would I want to do that? That would be the most scandalous thing to do,” he said. Even though Gregory and Marin live together with Marin’s mom, Marin is alone all day while James goes to school during the day. It can be hard caring for the children alone. “Sometimes I feel lonely, but at the same time, James is always here. I mean it doesn’t bother me because he’s getting an education because I know he will always come home and be a dad to Jeramiah. He comes home and plays with him and takes care of him and does everything he needs to make up for the time that he wasn’t here,” Marin said. Gregory and Marin both work to help pay for all the necessities that come with having a baby. Although both of their parents agreed to help financially, it comes out of Gregory and Marin’s pockets first. “Well, let’s say two months. Right now, he’s wearing size six diapers. That is a box that costs, let’s say, $15 to $16. What else — wipes. We buy those once every two months, and it has six packs in it. That’s like $20. Then, there are the gallons of milk, and that can get very expensive because those go by the week, so those are like $4. Then there’s the clothes, which are like $100 or $200, and that’s a month. Every month he goes faster: diapers, wipes, milk, clothes. Food and snacks are about $100 to $200; it gets expensive,” Gregory said. There is always a chance that things can go wrong with pregnancy. After having Jeramiah, Gregory and Marin sat down and talked about having another child. They both decided that they should wait until Jeramiah was older. A couple days later, Marin found out that she was pregnant again. At the first doctor’s appointment, the couple found out that Marin’s human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), a hormone produced by the developing fetus, levels weren’t what they are supposed to be. Doctors could not find the heartbeat or the fetus. The doctors told her that she might have an ectopic pregnancy. “James and I freaked out. We didn’t know how to handle it or what to do, and I was trying not to stress

out. Even though I found out, I wanted the baby. Nobody ever wants to lose a baby,” Marin said. After the last sonogram, the doctor could not find the heartbeat. Marin’s hCG levels were going down, so the baby would not be strong enough to make it. Doctors told her to expect a miscarriage “It happened at work. I was just terrified. I started breaking down real bad and couldn’t stop crying because I wanted my baby,” Marin said. Marin was five weeks and five days along when she lost the baby. “I did a lot of research on miscarriages because I wanted it to be prevented, but they say it’s normal to have one miscarriage and that a lot of women have at least one in their lives. Hopefully, that was my one,” she said. After going through the difficulty of going through the first pregnancy and then having a misscarriage, Marin found out that she is pregnant again. “Nothing ever crossed my mind that I didn’t want two [or] that I would give my baby up for adoption or abortion. I had time to have sex, so I have time for my baby,” she said. With another baby on the way, Gregory and Marin are trying to make everything work without fighting. “We don’t fight. If we do, it’s over financial stuff. I think in order for any relationship to work, you have to tell the person you love them, show them you love them and do everything and anything you can for that person and others,” Gregory said. Despite the difficulties of being a parent at this age, Marin still finds the blessings in each day. “Waking up next to my son and waking up next to James, knowing that my son is awake and just knowing that God gives him another day to live — it just keeps continuing,” Marin said. “It’s just knowing that I have people that care for me and that make me happy. [Jeramiah is] my angel. He made me a better person.” Marin wouldn’t change anything about her life now, but she cautions her peers against following in her footsteps. “All teenagers should wait until they have something to offer their children, [until] they are married and they are on their feet,” she said. “I think that they should just enjoy their lives as much as they can because you only have one life to live, and you’re only a teenager for so long.” / RACHAEL DEMJANIK

DOMINANT: Senior James Gregory holds his

son, Jeramiah’s hand as they play on a slide at the park. “[The best part of having a family is] coming home tired and as soon as I hit the door, Jeramiah comes running at me and he’s like ‘Gada Gada’. I don’t know why he can’t say dada but he says Gada. Yeah that’s the best part of coming home right there,” Gregory said. / PHOTO BY MIKALA COMPTON

ABOVE (TOP): Jeramiah Gregory looks over the

slide at his dad, senior James Gregory. Jeramiah is year and a half old. / PHOTO BY MONICA CASTELLON

ABOVE (BOTTOM): Jeramiah pulls his mom,

Vanessa Marin after him as he makes his way across the playground. Marin and Gregory are enaged to be married and expecting another child in May. “It feels good coming home to [James and Jeramiah] because I have someone waiting for me. It feels good to be wanted by somebody,” Marin said. / PHOTO BY MONICA CASTELLON


/ 17

WORK ETHIC photos by michelle stuessi

Exercising for ROTC, running track and studying for two to three hours a night is an average day for the hardworking sophomore Tom Jackson.


/ FEB. 25, 2011


t is Monday morning once again, and as most NW students are either asleep or just waking up, sophomore Tom Jackson is already on the floor of the SM North gymnasium. This is just another workout day for Jackson, as he and more than 100 other Shawnee Mission students are doing push-ups, sit-ups, sprints or other exercises for the Reserve Officer Training Corps, better known as ROTC. Jackson wakes up between 4 and 5 a.m. during the school week so he can get ready for ROTC training. On Mondays and Wednesdays, he and the other members of ROTC push their physical limits in many different workout exercises, known as workout days. Tuesdays and Thursdays are drill training days which are less strenuous, but demand a lot of focus and diligence. On drill days, the ROTC students practice marching and rifle tossing, also known as armed exhibition drill. ROTC, a program originally created for student recruits in college, is now offered at the high school level as well. In 1912, the program was originally established to produce Marine Corps officers. It is now used for much more. “People just see the students in ROTC as kids going into the military,” Jackson said, “but it is more than that. It increases grades and it gives a new level of discipline and determination in the individual person. In large enough numbers, it can change the outcome of the student body.” Jackson’s reasons for participating in ROTC also go beyond an interest in the military. He finds involvement gives him personal rewards. “I’ve always had some interest in the military. Being in ROTC gives me a level of respect from a team that I have never felt before,” Jackson said. “ROTC is 150 people who want to get stuff done.” Jackson’s ROTC experience is shaping his plan for life after high school. “The question is not if I will enter, but how I will enter. I will either attend the naval academy or The United States Military Academy in Westpoint,” Jackson said. Along with being in ROTC for two years, Jackson

has run on the cross country team for two years and will be running his second season of track in the spring. This means that Jackson both works out in the morning for ROTC and then runs three to five miles after school to keep in shape for the upcoming track season. “I just like to run, it is to exercise and it keeps me busy. Keeping my body in line. It is much better to run 5 miles than staying home playing video games and eating potato chips,” Jackson said. Not only does Jackson participate ROTC and run, but he also stays dedicated to his school work. Currently Jackson has a 4.6 GPA. If there is anything more important to him than staying in shape and working out, it is school. “School work is probably the most important part of my life. How I work now determines the rest of my life,” Jackson said. “My body won’t allow me to work out until all my work is done. It is not even about grades as much as the will to succeed as much as I am able to.” With ROTC, running and school to spend time and energy on, Jackson has little time to do much of anything else. On weekdays, he has 30 to 60 minutes of free time. Jackson sleeps only five hours, making his nights short and his days long. Despite having minimal free time and sleep, Jackson thinks it is all worth it. “I have already noticed big differences from freshman year to this year,” Jackson said. “Things become somewhat easier. Doing push-ups, your arms get stronger and you can lift things easier than you once could. You definitely get sorer, but you get a level of muscle that you never dreamed possible. It may not show but when you do workout, it is amazing what you can do.” Jackson was forced to work on that upper body strength even more after he suffered an injury to his left thigh during this past cross country season. After running in only two meets, Jackson pulled a band in his thigh, sidelining him for the rest of the season. He was on crutches for three weeks, and limped for two months after that. The injury also prevented him from running for three months. However, Jackson

never stopped exercising as he continued to work on his upper body strength. “I simply couldn’t run, I could only really do pushups and sit-ups. I also did 30 to 80 pull-ups a day,” Jackson said. “I had to focus on what I could do. I wasn’t going to allow my whole body to suffer from a thigh injury.” By Christmas, Jackson was able to return to running, which is not only getting him back in shape well before this coming track season, but is also preparing him for major ROTC competitions coming up. Every year ROTC programs all over the country meet in Pensacola, Fla. for the National competition. Before the students can make it in the National competition, they first have to compete in the regional competition that is being held at the SM North field house. Jackson took second last year in sit-ups which was the only competition he participated in. The regional competitions took place on Saturday Feb. 19. Jackson will be doing situps again as well as the 100 meter relay for the first time and the academic test for the first time. Both the Regional and National competitions are separated into three parts, athletic, academic and drill. The athletic portion consists of push-up, sit-up, and sprint competitions. The academic is a 100-question test, which mainly covers naval intelligence and recent military events. The drill includes marching and armed exhibition drill. Jackson participated only in the athletic portion last year and will be doing that plus the academic competition this year. He plans to participate in the drill competitions as a junior. The competitions are not until the first week of April, and track season has not officially started yet either. For now, Jackson continues to work as hard as he ever has to reach his goals and to simply stay in shape. “Coach always says ‘perception is reality.’ We don’t know for sure how we will do, but we have come to practice every morning since August. We practice more than any other team in the United States,” Jackson said. “On a good day, no one can match us. If we perform our best, no one will come close.” / BRADY KLEIN

DOMINANT: With other ROTC students, sophomore Tom Jackson stands at attention. FAR LEFT: Sophomore Tom Jackson cools down after working out. LEFT: Chief Warrant Officer Dennis Grayless talks to the ROTC students at the begining of class.


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EXECUTIVE DECISION photos by ara cho

What are some skills that you think a StuCo president/vice president should have?

Jake Gipple: Well, they have to fun and be enjoyable to get through to the people, but they have to be able to actually get things done when it comes down to it. Blake Evans: I think they need to be able to relate to the student body, not just focus on the people that want to be focused on. They have to reach out to everyone and just be a personable and outgoing person. What are some things from this year that need to be changed? What are goals that you have for next year? BE: Inside of StuCo, a lot of people don’t know about the [executive board], but I would just like to see... Grant Pittrich: More active? BE: Yeah, yeah. I would just like to see a more rounded exec. board that can lead the class and – Aaron Terrill: — not just have the president do everything? BE: Yeah. Just kind of spread the power out between everybody. JG: This year, we made a bunch of councils that everyone signed up for, and it’s kind of starting to work, but it just needs to be enforced. Were the StuCo surveys helpful? Is anything going to be implemented next year from the results of those? AT: Well, just to clear things up, we read through every single one.


/ FEB. 25, 2011

The election process at any level of government, whether it be school, local or national, is complex and confusing. It doesn’t matter how many posters are put up, how many tags are tied to backpacks or how many T-shirts are worn to support one of the candidates; the most important moment is the limited amount of time the StuCo president and vice president candidates had yesterday to persuade the entire student body to vote one way or the other. The NW Passage talked with the StuCo Executive Board candidates to discuss the planning that goes into those crucial five minutes.

GP: We checked every one, and they were helpful to get an idea. BE: Well, the ones that were serious were helpful. AT: Some of them were really funny, and some of them were really mean. JG: I don’t know how it happened, but somehow I got in charge of distributing those, like, two days before it happened — OK, two days was an exaggeration.

Do each of your partnerships work well together? How so? BE: I think we work really well together. We both go to the same church, and we see each other outside of the school as well as inside the school. In some ways, we have the same personality and are willing to work together. JG: Grant and I definitely do because we’ve been around each other and good friends since like – GP: — first grade, probably. JG: We’ve been through a lot together. GP: We know how to work together. He’s a great kid. Do you think your campaign strategy has to be funny or serious when running? GP: Both – furious. BE: It’s got to be both. AT: Furious? *Laughs* GP: You’ve got to be able to bring the funny, and you got to bring the ideas and execute all those ideas. JG: You basically have to show everyone what you can do without letting them get bored.

BE: Especially during the speech. AT: Especially since the speech is going to be five minutes long. It’s going to be kind of hard to balance being funny and being serious. BE: And keeping their attention the whole time so they realize who the best candidate is. How important is communication between the student body and StuCo members? How do you plan on improving that communication? BE: It’s really important, just because this past year, especially, we’ve been trying to involve everyone in the student body in the changes that are going on. AT: We’re going to trying to get the student body more involved in our decisions. BE: We’re thinking, like, an open student forum. GP: We tried that once: It failed. It didn’t have much attendance, but it is a good idea if it works. JG: We just need to keep doing it, and people will come. Why do you want to be in this leadership position? BE: I want to do it because – GP: CHANGE. *All laugh* BE: I just feel like there was some stuff that people were complaining about in our school that could possibly be changed if we find the right opportunity to make that change. I just really want to get to know everybody and have a wider range of people that I’m friends with. / BRIANNA LEYDEN

smnw com {dot}


Adam Sandler’s new movie, Just Go With It, was expected to flop, but it turned out to be laugh-out-loud funny.


bright eyes

The young at heart will enjoy playing LittleBigPlanet 2, which is more colorful and imaginative than the first.






































































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The People’s Keys, Bright Eyes’ first album since 2007 is listenable, but not great because it lacks the rawness of early Bright Eyes.


The man who came to dinner, a comedy set in the 1940s, was performed by theather students Feb. 17-19.



We would love to hear your opinion about anything we published or other things going on around Northwest or in the outside community. Letters can be sent to or be brought to Room 151. Only signed letters will be published.

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/ 21

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Jim Allen, Agent 5541 Merriam Drive 913-217-7665

6011 Nieman Road Shawnee, KS 66203 Bus 913 631 4600



Sophomore Ben Koeller swims the freestyle at the state meet on Feb. 19 at the Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka, Kansas.



// by josh meigs


Q: What has the highlight of the season been so far? A: Our first place finish at the Cougar Invitational. It was the one time that we all were healthy and focused to a common goal.

Q: What do you think of the team’s performance at regionals last weekend? A: We did so great. We had expected only a few qualifiers and ended up qualifying eight. 8.

Q: How does the team look going into

A: Well, there are two sides to this. One, I’m

state this weekend? A: Not as strong as last season but we look pretty good.

kind of sad that I won’t be wrestling anymore, but the other is happy that I won’t have to cut weight anymore.

Q: What is the outlook for the team in the

Q: What are your future plans for

upcoming years? A: [Sophomore] Reed Bowker has a chance to make a comeback next year.

wrestling now that your high school career is almost over? A: Well, I’m not good enough to wrestle in college, but I’ll probably come back and help our kid’s club.


Who have been the biggest contributors to the team this season? A: It is more of a team effort. We have had different people contribute at different times throughout the year.

Q: How does it feel to be a senior leaving

Q: What would you say your most effective move has been throughout your high school career? A: The half nelson. It is very basic, but very effective.

the program after four years of hard work?


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NW sports fans explain why they come out to support the teams. Call them what you like: enthusiasts, aficionados, zealots. They follow their favorite team, track stats of every player and know the roster by heart. Every team, from high school to the pros, has fans. Nearly every week during the NFL season, almost 80,000 Chiefs fans packed Arrowhead Stadium. On average, the Royals fill about 20,000 seats per game, while the Wizards (now officially Sporting KC) had an average of just more than 10,000. Fans do some crazy and unorthodox things to support their teams. At KC Wizards games, the “Cauldron,” a section of the stands for only the most devoted fans, bangs on drums and chants for the duration of game, and most national anthems in Kansas City are finished off with the always classy “home of the CHIEFS!” We’ve all seen fans paint themselves, shave their heads or wear nothing but shorts in frigid temperatures all for the sake of their team. Cougar fans are no different: they create a lively sports community and a positive attitude during games. At almost any sporting event, you’ll likely find the NW faithful rooting on their classmates. “I think that Northwest has a pretty fantastic fan base,” Spirit Club Executive Board member Taryn Vogel said. Around 5:30 p.m. on game nights, fans trickle into the gymnasium and take their seats, settling in for the girls game. By 6:15 p.m., it’s nearly impossible to find an open spot among the sea of orange and black in the first few rows and at 6:45 p.m., there’s a palpable vibe in the air as the boys warm up. Five minutes before the start of their game, the fan section only has one more thing to do: the Cougar Coaster. With the tip off, the fans begin a slow clap that leads into an all-out cheering madness: it’s game time. One dedicated NW fan is senior Fritz Wood,. “Does our basketball team bring its A-game without a Cougar Coaster? No. It’s only just begun. We’re coasting to state,” Wood says. With such a dedicated fan base, it’s no wonder that Northwest has a competition among the fans as to who is the best. Spirit Club awards the most deserving fans with the prestigious Fan of the Week designation. The award isn’t given just to the fans who go to the high-profile games, such as


/ FEB. 25, 2011

football and basketball. Many times the Fan of the Week is chosen at the less-attended events, so only truly dedicated NW fanatics get their hands on the coveted I “Heart” Fan T-shirt. “The fans have to be somewhat like ‘super fans.’ They have to be the loudest and most energetic there. They need to stand out in the crowd in order for us to notice them,” Vogel said. Recently the one of the students exemplifying that kind of energy was is none other than Wood, who was awarded Fan of the Week at a varsity bowling meet.

“The fans have to be somewhat like ‘super fans.’ They have to be the loudest and most energetic there. They need to stand out in the crowd in order for us to notice them,” —junior Taryn Vogel “So many months of sweaty pits and sore throats have finally paid off. Is my career as a fan over with now that I’ve made it to the epitome of fan-dom?” Wood asked. Wood and so many other Fans of the Week will continue to root on the Cougs. But among the crowds that pack the bleachers during games, there can be one problem: unification. Fans in the front five or so rows are always on the same page chanting the same cheers, but as you move further back in the crowd the intensity dies. Many times students lose focus of what is happening in the game and carry on side conversations, which is OK sometimes, but not during cheers. “The only thing that could get better is a unity

among the students. For example, the underclassmen getting involved and all grades interacting with each other. Cheering really gets the teams pumped up and I think that [fan unity] would help,” Vogel said. What fans at all event need to do is work together. Unison in cheering creates a louder overall effect and can shake the gymnasium to its core. It’s evident that fans impact the game. Where do you think the term “home court advantage” came from? With the crowd screaming and yelling, I know from personal experience on the soccer field that it can make you feel unstoppable or it can convince you that you haven’t got a chance in the world. The sheer noise from the crowd can throw off visiting teams. Sports Illustrated voted Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium the hardest NFL stadium to win a road game at; KU’s Allen Field House is virtually tied with Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium for loudest arena in NCAA basketball in nearly every poll. Regardless of crowd noise, home games are always something special for athletes: players never want give one up on their home court. It becomes a matter of pride, of defending their territory. Until KU’s loss to Texas at home, the Jayhawks held the longest active home win streak in the country with 69 consecutive victories. Perhaps the one team that stands out this season for winning at home is St. John’s. The Red Storm have defeated Georgetown, Notre Dame, Duke, Connecticut, and Pittsburgh, all of which were highly ranked. St. John’s has climbed up the rankings to No. 23 due to their stellar home court upsets. “Home games are always pumped... you never want to lose at home,” varsity basketball player Jackson Foth said. In high school, this sentimentality of preserving your home court is amplified because of how small the community is. All the fans know all the players, which is what makes high school sports much more personal than other ages. High school fans can cheer on their own friends. “It’s awesome when a bunch of students come and you score or do something good and you hear people yelling your name,” Foth said. “It helps you play harder and want to win even more.”

(DOMINANT) Fans hold a sign in support of Trey Frueling at a varsity basketball game Feb. 15 / PHOTO BY NISHA BISHT (FAR LEFT) Fans cheer at a varsity basketball game against Olathe Northwest Feb. 15. / PHOTO BY PAIGE WALTMAN (LEFT) Junior Luke Moore cheers at a varsity football game against SM West Sept. 21. / PHOTO BY MARISSA BRUNS


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



Boys’ Basketball Feb. 25 vs. SM North, 7 p.m. March. 2 at Sub State, TBA March. 4 at Sub State, TBA March. 8 at State, TBA March. 9 at State, TBA March. 10 at State, TBA Girls’ Basketball March. 3 at Sub State, TBA March. 5 at Sub State, TBA March. 8 at State, TBA March. 9 at State, TBA March. 10 at State, TBA Wrestling Feb. 25 at State, 9 a.m. Feb. 26 at State, 8 p.m. Bowling March. 4 at State, 9:30 a.m.

SIGNING DAY FRENZY National Signing day is becoming increasingly outrageous. Consider this recent incident of a high school sports parent being taking over by signingday hysteria: the mother of a student-athlete forged her own son’s signature on a letter of intent because she desperately wanted him to go to school at Ole Miss. The player, however, went on to sign a letter of intent to play for Texas A&M later that day. This infuriated his mother and left the head coach of Ole Miss scrambling to replace him. That being said, this story was big news in the sports world for a few weeks after. Every year, thousands of athletes sign up make commitments to play for NCAA Division 1 schools and, every year, the hysteria surrounding college recruitment becomes increasingly ridiculous. High school student-athletes who participate in national signing day have made the process into more of an annual media phenomenon than a celebration of their continued commitment to excellence both on and off the field. Unfortunately, the media contributes as much to this mockery as any of the student athletes do. Granted, student-athletes do have abnormally large egos going into college athletics, but the real problem lies in how much the media feed into this. Take ESPN, for example. The national sports network went so far as to add an entire section to their website that offers up-to-the-minute news about who the nation’s top recruits are signing with. ESPN had almost 24-hour coverage on the chaos of national signing day. The coverage was strangely reminiscent of the NFL draft. It included interviews given by the student-athletes, comments from ESPN anchors and play-by-plays of the student-athletes signing to their respective schools. It is pathetic that what should be a passing news event has turned into feeding time at the zoo. What’s worse is the complete and total failure of sports analysts to make accurate predictions about the future of each individual student-athlete. Although some who participate in the mediagenerated pandemonium do go on to achieve greatness in college, the majority of student-athletes do not; they become lost in the massive sea of college athletics. Coverage of college athletics often focuses on those who have already made a name for themselves in college, not on incoming freshman (even though there are exceptions to this rule). Most college freshmen are soon forgotten as the aftershocks of the massive earthquake commonly known as national signing day subside. Granted, national signing day is legitimate sports news, but the sports networks have turned it into a fabricated holiday of sorts. There are even promos leading up to signing day that include appearances by analysts on shows such as ESPNU’s Recruiting Insider and brief 15-second advertisements shown periodically in the days leading up to signing day. So how do we return signing day back to the standard sports news even it should be? A good place to start would be to cover only the top five student-athletes who are certain to make a significant contribution to the programs they enter into. If only the top five recruits are covered, networks would only need maybe a few hours to cover the student-athletes, and us sports lovers can get back to watching conference play leading up to March Madness. The coverage surrounding signing day should also focus on student-athletes’ on-field performance and how they’re predicted to perform at the college level, regardless of where they end up playing. Student-athletes and their parents have been pressured by networks to be more over-the-top each year to attain the name recognition offered by the media. Networks should move back toward covering sports news that we the fans find important and away from this mediagenerated phenomenon. Although signing day is news in the sports world, there is a plethora of other sports news that is more noteworthy to cover.


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IN focus

“I think we got a lot of laughs, even when we didn’t expect them. Since the play was a comedy, I’d say we did our job very well.” — junior Trey Edwards


Issue 10  
Issue 10  

Northwest Passage Issue 10