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vol. 43 | issue 11 | may 11, 2012

Senior Magazine


Shawnee, Kan., 66216

Senior magazine

12701 West 67th St.,


Shawnee Mission


Table of Contents 04 giving back An exchange student reflects on how to thank the people who accepted her.

07 From me to you A senior hopes younger students will find themselves the way she did.

08 still searching In high school, you’ll find yourself, but that doesn’t mean you’ll know what you’re doing with the rest of your life.

04 locker #920 A senior found her “special places” during high school.

09 out of time It turns out that all that time you enjoyed wasting wasn’t wasted at all.

05 The toughest answer No one memory of high school overshadows the rest.

05 the end of my american dream An exchange student reflects on what it will be like to leave the United States.

Aaron Messick


Brittany Bonsignore

11 favorite things The class of 2012 shares their favorite things about Northwest.

12 this year in photos Important moments and events from throughout the school year.

06 A note to my teachers

14 destinations

A senior reflects on the work he put to his classes.

Seniors are headed all over the country next year.

06 dear high school

16 influential seniors

A senior thanks all those who have helped her throughout high school.

The 10 most influential seniors share their thoughts on high school.

07 finding my foundation

23 championship attitude

The key to happiness in high school is finding somewhere you belong.

The girls’ basketball team finished their season with a trip to the state tournament.

24 winning together After placing third in state last year, it was the girls’ cross country team’s goal to win state this year.

25 jackson Foth Senior Jackson Foth is looking forward to playing golf in his future.

26 cameron bock Senior Cameron Bock is breaking his own school pole vault records.

Senior staff BACK: Brianna Leyden, Evan Shinn, Brady Klein, Connor Thompson, Hayley Battenberg FRONT: Rachel Ferencz, Maria Davison, David Freyermuth, Anna Moilanen, Julie Kurbjeweit

27 words from class of 2012 Mikala Compton

CO-EDITORS-IN-CHIEF: Maria Davison + David Freyermuth COPY: Brianna Leyden DESIGN: Bailey Kopp ADS: Paige Waltman ADVISOR: Susan Massy

Seniors share their favorite moments and lessons they learned during high school.

28 senior song The lyrics to the senior song, written and performed by Evan Shinn and Isabel Zacharias.

giving back

by Jule Kerbjeweit

One year is not enough. Not enough to really get to know an unfamiliar world with unfamiliar people. There is much more to learn, discover and fall in love with. I want to spend more time with the people I met here and call my friends. Because I know that all of them are so much more than what I know of them. I wish I had more time to actually live with them, instead of only sharing what now seems like a few rushing moments. I wish I had more time to build a life here. After all, I have only been a guest. I have been welcomed, invited and embraced, and I am eternally grateful. But I don’t only want to accept kindnesses all the time. I want so badly to give back. What do I have to give, though?

After leaving everything that means something to me four thousand five hundred miles behind, there doesn’t seem to be much I can offer to anyone in Kansas. I can’t take anyone to a cool festival, a hidden restaurant, my secret spots. I can’t introduce my friends to new people, unexpectedly come over for coffee, talk all night with a friend who feels down. Here, I am dependent on others. People have given me rides to all kinds of places, have shown me their world. They have introduced me to people, ideas and beliefs; have invited me over for dinner and given me a new home; provided me with a new family. Americans have not only helped me improve my English but, more importantly, improve who I am as a person. The only thing that I can offer,

that I have the time left to offer, is me. Maybe, if you let me, I can not only be the nice, little exchange student with the funny accent, but someone more important. I can inspire you to go out into the world, dive into the unknown and try something new. I can deepen your understanding of people from other cultures and help you see that, in the end, we are all the same in many ways. I can help you appreciate some of the things you might take for granted. One year is not enough to cast off the image of the exchange student, to get to know everyone as who they really are or to give them all I want to give. But even though I only got to know a fraction of the places and people, and others only got to know a fraction of me, that little part seemed to be just enough.

locker #920


In my sixth-grade graduation video, the interviewers asked every student what they were most looking forward to in middle school. Honestly, pretty much everyone said the lockers. I’m not going to lie; I did as well. But watching the video, I questioned my sanity as I continued on to say, “I’m most excited about the lockers so I can have my own special place to put my things.” What? My own special place? I’m days away from graduating now, and I can finally see the logic in my thoughts of six years ago. I have found special places, but they’re not special because of the items that I stored there. They are special because of what the people I’ve met in them gave me, whether it was lessons and praise that made me strong or insults and criticisms that made me even stronger. So, to my special places: Nallia School of Dance: The dance studio has been my second home since fifth grade, and those bright walls, slippery wooden floor and lousy air conditioning

unit have seen more of my heart, blood, sweat, tears and sprained ankles than anywhere else. I met my best friends there, and I can’t wait to be that awkward graduate coming back to take class. Room 151: I came into high school thinking that I would leave ready to be a reporter. Four years, approximately 48 issues of the paper, numerous awkward conversations with the staff and the dozens of people I’ve had to interview later, I can honestly say I could never devote more of my life than I already have to it, and I have nothing but respect for the people who do. Nerd Landing: I feel like I’ve spent less time down in the orchestra room than I should have, and for that I’m sorry. I learned in Chambers that I’m not going to be naturally good at everything, especially if I don’t put in the time to be. Not only have I been taught how to play, but Bishop, you took the time to teach us how to be good people, and I thank you for that. Around the kitchen table

— This is the place I’ve spent the least amount of time since high school started, and that’s probably my biggest regret. Mom and Dad, I don’t know what I’m going to do without you there to talk to about everything, make sure I eat healthy meals, stop me from having complete nervous breakdowns and kill the bugs in my room that paralyze me with fear. And Nick. I know I haven’t been the best sister, but I love you and I wish I had spent more time with you now that I’m leaving. In about two months, I will only have one location to put all of the things I got from my “special places” — a small, cardboard moving box, and I don’t know how all the love, lessons and memories I’ve received are supposed to fit. Plus, I have another storage unit — my mind. I never have to worry about forgetting because, like Dory said in Finding Nemo, “It’s there, I know it is, because when I look at you, I can feel it. I look at you, and I’m home.”

by Brianna Leyden

The toughest answer When asked to pick my favorite high school memory, it is always hard for me to pick just one; there are a few that I would call at the top of my list though. I will always remember the cruise I went on junior year, with the various tropical locales and the day spent riding four-wheelers on the beach. I can’t forget the fun, but less tropical, journalism workshop at Tall Oaks, in Linwood. Or my last ski trip to Winter Park. My final assembly. So many different surveys ask, “What was your (worst/best/ favorite/most awkward — circle one) moment from high school?” Many people will reply with something corny and cliché, but personally, I never know what

to say. It’s not that I didn’t do anything in high school. I just have had so many different experiences that I could never choose one. The moments during high school that have had the greatest impact on me have too much significance to describe in words. I find it hard to even explain the feeling I had at the aforementioned final assembly — just being down on the floor for the senior song and winning the spirit stick for the last time seemed so final, but so awesome. I would love to be able to give just one example of what made my four years at Northwest worth remembering. But, I’ve decided that it shouldn’t just be one. I’ve done just about everything I set out to do, had some unforgettable experiences and now get to walk

across that stage, knowing how much more is in store. I can’t pick out just one moment that I know, without a doubt, was the best experience I had in high school, but I am OK with that. We can’t see high school as a collection of great experiences; rather, we have to see it as one experience worthy in its own right. So really, does it matter what the best moment you had in high school is; or the time that you felt the most awkward? Or is the best part just knowing you did some great things that in the future? Who really knows if they will matter? The fact that you made it through is the most important part, having fun, and living life how you wanted to.

by Connor Thompson

the end of my american dream

by Anna Moilanen

You’re going to be an exchange student in Kansas? Oh dear, you’re not going to last long there,” a woman from New York said to me on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. It was just what I needed — a few encouraging words before I began my exchange student year without any idea what it was going to be like. Still, I knew I was gonna make it. I imagined America to be just like the movies, and I was right. I still feel like I could be filming High School Musical 4 as I walk around the school, ready for people to break out in spontaneous song and dance. I know how all my friends in Finland are jealous, because we have a mascot, school colors, a vending machine and school dances. They are jealous because I can throw that cool hat at the graduation and actually meet real American cheerleaders and football players.

I have learned, however, that this year wasn’t just about doing cool things and making my friends back home jealous. I’ve changed in nine months. I wear pink. I have a blond hair instead of dark brown. But these changes are just superficial. I also have more confidence and I am more outspoken. I don’t care if someone disagrees with me — that just means a great conversation. I don’t worry about money all the time and I’m enjoying every minute of my life. But along with these changes in me, I should have been more prepared for the changes yet to come. Not so long ago, I was walking from my fifth to sixth hour. I saw the same people and the same lockers, and then it hit me. I’m never coming back here. I will never see these people again. After just a couple weeks, I won’t be walking through these hallways and living my American

Dream. I won’t be chilling in the bed with my sister, having dinner with my host family or petting my dog like we wouldn’t ever be separated. Leaving Finland wasn’t hard for me because I knew I was coming back, but leaving Kansas is different. This time, I’m not coming back. I can’t believe that this year — the year I was waiting for so long, picturing in my head and dreaming about — is almost over. Still, I wouldn’t change anything. Even though this is the end, it’s also a new start. I’m going back to Finland as a new person, and with new dreams: to attend college in the United States. And just like I made it through this year at Northwest, I know I can make back. I proved it already to my family, to my friends, to the woman on the plane and most importantly — to myself.


a note to my teachers I don’t want to leave you all disappointed. I know I should’ve worked harder in your classes, and I know I should’ve turned in all those missing assignments, but I didn’t. If there’s anything I regret about high school, it’s that I never fully met my academic potential. We all know that I was fully capable of managing my school work, and frankly, I know I could’ve scored all “A”s every semester, if only I had applied myself. But this column isn’t about regret or failure. It’s about what I’ve accomplished in high school and the lessons I have learned from you. Over the course of these last four years, my priorities and interests have swayed back and forth among myriad subjects and pursuits, whether they were music, Irish dance, language arts, political science, fashion, journalism or foreign languages — and a lot of you know this. Some days, I was completely immersed in your class, as if I were the

only participant, and other days, I’d be zoning out with a clear desk and blank stare on my face. Some days, I had an assignment to turn in, and others, I didn’t. I know I’m not the first student to pull these kinds of shenanigans, and I know I won’t be the last. But for someone like me, that kind of behavior isn’t entirely characteristic. Truth is, I’m not a slacker. I’ve written almost 25 songs in my high school career, 15 of which I recorded and produced myself. They’re no modern masterpieces, but I take tremendous pride in them. I also believe the work I put into them has merit. It’s that whole Malcolm Gladwell idea (i.e., how to truly become an expert at something) he suggested in his book Outliers; I’m working toward my 10,000 hours. See, this is where all my energy went, not to school. When I look back on school, I don’t remember the dances, the varsity games and the assemblies; I remember my music. Those songs were expressions

of myself and I view time spent working on my music as time well spent. I still don’t know if pursuing a career in music is a good idea, but if making music and art is what brings me the most joy, why wouldn’t I? As teachers, that’s what you impressed upon me: Do what you love. It seems so simple, but it’s something that we have a tendency to forget. As I remember what you’ve told me throughout the years, I’ve come back to this maxim, and I feel that I would be doing myself a disservice if I gave in to societal pressure now. So teachers, I’m truly sorry if I never lived up to your expectations in class, and I say that with the utmost sincerity. But I want you all to know that I’ve learned more from you about life than about grammar, historical events and mathematical formulas. I hope you can respect, as difficult as it may be, that whatever I didn’t do in your class, I’ll be making up by applying to life what you really taught me.

by Evan Shinn

dear high school

by Hayley Battenberg


The first thank-you note I wrote was for my elementary school bus driver. My mother helped me find the words and write them legibly. All this for a service the driver was paid for. However, I’ve recently realized that my bus driver, although required to pick up and drop off students, didn’t have to work to make our ride enjoyable. Just like my bus driver, dozens of people have worked to make our high school experience the best it can be. Our family, friends, teachers and fellow students have all played a role, and I would like to use my senior column to thank individuals who have made an impact in my life during these four years at Northwest. Thank you, Mom, Dad, Emily, Jayson and Hank My family is not a K-6 book, we’re not even close, but we do love each other. My mom and dad have been the most amazing helicopter parents in the world. Dad has been known to get unreasonably upset with teachers, employers and friends he hasn’t met; Mom makes calls when she shouldn’t get involved. I love them for being constant protectors, and for trying to

secure my success and happiness. They aren’t the only ones pushing for my well-being. Emily has been the best older sister/English teacher/job advisor I could ask for. She takes time out of her schedule whenever I call, inevitably asking for help. She even forced her husband, Hank, to go with me when I re-took my driving test — his refusal to let me be terrified helped me pass. Jayson, my eldest sibling. We bicker on a daily basis, but when it comes down to it we’re there for each other. Without him, our family wouldn’t be as wonderful as it is. Thank you, Fran Koenigsdorf I was the only freshman in my Writer’s Workshop class. Walking into room 130 on Freshman Day, I expected at least a few 14-year-olds to join me. I was greeted by Fran Koenigsdorf — alone. Since then, Fran and I have spent 744 days together. She knows every significant embarrassing, sad or joyful experience from my life and just how much I’ve grown as a writer. I know her just as well. Four years of Writer’s Workshop speaks for itself. Thank you, Susan Massy and the inhabitants of room 151

Journalism belongs to me, and I belong to journalism. During the 2010 journalism workshop at the Tall Oaks Conference Center I was the new kid on the block. I knew only two people and imagined this trip would be lonely and uncomfortable. Instead, students from all classes and branches of journalism welcomed me with what I thought was Disneylevel love. They didn’t know me, but they had already absorbed me into their not-so-elite club. That acceptance is why I love journalism. We embrace students from all walks of life, not caring what they do on the weekends, who they are friends with or how completely different they are. Once we enter room 151, we’re all just journalism kids. Thank you, Northwest For being the place where all this happened. I won’t miss the painfully fluorescent lighting, the claustrophobic passing periods or the temperature extremes in various classrooms, but I will miss the people and experiences from these past four years.

finding my foundation

by Brady Klein

I was one trip away going to coach Van Rose’s office and quitting the distance track team during my freshman year. I did not enjoy track, to say the least, mainly because I had never run long distances before, and I did not have any close friends on the team. I was afraid of what Rose might think if I quit, so I (thankfully) stuck it out that season, because I ended up realizing that running was vital to my happiness during high school. During my sophomotre cross country season, I was introduced to a freshman named Eric Holton, who became the first close friend I had on the team. Before my track season that same year, I trained with now-senior Sunny Dharod in the winter — not only did we keep each other accountable, thus making us better runners, but we

also became close, and I consider him as one of my best friends today. After establishing friendships with Holton and Dharod, the circle began to grow larger, as juniors Lucas Verschelden and Sam Broll and sophomores Josh Van Auken, Chase Cunningham and Sam Gross all soon became a part of our little running group. I was never on varsity, but I worked hard anyway because I loved it. I didn’t run cross country and track for a total of seven seasons because I love running. I did it because I loved the people I ran with. The fact is that my high school career would have been uneventful and lonely had I not become a part of the cross country and track teams. I did not have a

firm foundation to fall back on at Northwest: I only had few close friends at school. This is why it was important for me to find this group, because I connected with kids who I never would have otherwise. No matter what you get involved with in high school, it’s imperative that you find an organization with people who can become your best friends for the next four years. Friends will change — I personally had only a few friendships that remained the same throughout high school, and most of them were gained through running. They may not be my friends forever, but the memories will last. I will remember all the shenanigans, all the silly conversations and all the miles we ran together.

from me to you Shawnee Mission Northwest. It’s the place that I went in wondering, and came out knowing. I stepped through the doors freshman year wondering where I would be in four years. I came in trying to figure out who I was. And I’m leaving knowing who I am — I finally found me. But not without the help of these parts of my high school career. My No. 11 volleyball jerseys I wore the same number all four years: one year on JV, three on varsity. As I hung each one up after every season, I had grown and matured not only as a player, but as a person. I got the chance to see the game from different angles, from the scared-out-of-my-mind sophomore at my first varsity game, to becoming a confident junior who knew how to help her team on the court, to learning how to help lead from the bench in a cast senior year. Each jersey represented crucial times and lessons that I learned in high school. I hope whichever underclassmen shares my number has as much passion for the game as I did, and works harder than ever. Homecoming queen crown Although it may seem completely overrated and irrelevant to everyone else, winning Homecoming queen will be one of my most treasured moments of high school. At a time when I was at my lowest and completely lost without volleyball, I was reminded that just because I couldn’t represent my school on the court didn’t mean that I couldn’t still represent

the student body. I cannot wait to crown the next Homecoming queen, and I hope she treasures that moment underneath the Friday night football stadium lights standing in front of her school as much as I did. Newspaper staff I have spent the past three years on the Northwest Passage staff. Even though I was never an editor, I’ve missed deadlines and I’m usually off task, the J-family never fails to remind me that I would always have a home in room 151. As I leave this room and all the memories behind, I hope the new staff writers enjoy what this program and its amazing advisor have to offer. The spirit stick I think one of the biggest highlights of senior year was winning the spirit stick. I remember when at some points of sophomore or junior year, our class wouldn’t even bother to stand up during the assemblies, but as seniors, we took every opportunity to chant, “Seniors, Seniors!” knowing we only had three opportunities left to do so. It was the prom assembly where the seniors took the stick out of the spirit judges hands, and we passed it around the entire senior section, making sure everyone had a chance to touch it for the last time. Everyone was laughing and smiling — a perfect end to our senior year. The past four years have had ups and downs, tears and laughter, happiness and hardships. But most of all, they’ve helped shape me into the person I am today as I take one last step through the doors of Northwest.

by Rachel Ferencz


still searching They say you find yourself in high school. When you sit in those chairs at eighth-grade orientation, they tell you that here, in high school, you will find yourself. You will find where you belong, and you will be able to spend the time figuring out what it is you want for the future. But, today is the last day of my time in high school, and I still haven’t figured out who it is I want to be and what it is I want to do. And while I haven’t figured out what I want to do for the rest of my life, I have found a way to define myself during these past four years. It’s no surprise that I call myself as a journalism kid. It’s the easy way out, throwing that label on myself because it’s what I spend the most time doing. But it’s true: I am a J-kid at heart. I talk about fonts, color profiles, designs and photography composition techniques. I get angry that MLA style tells me that an Oxford comma belongs after the word “designs” in the previous sentence. But there is more to being a J-kid. Being in journalism has meant walking into my other classes embarrassingly late every day. It has meant asking to leave those same classes early to shoot an event, or work on the paper or solve an urgent problem. It has meant losing some of my friends because I couldn’t help but feel guilty about all the work I wasn’t getting done while I was hanging out with them. Being a journalism kid has meant so much frustration, jealousy and competitiveness — characteristics I hate showing.

For something that I put so much effort into, it’s something that brings out some of my worst qualities. And now, looking back, I realize that I would at times be like this because I actually cared about what I was doing. It was passion that kept me at school from 7:40 a.m. to 1 a.m. the following day. It was my passion for this newspaper, my passion for perfection and my passion for taking on all that I could handle, which sometimes meant spreading myself too thin. In some ways, taking on so much meant falling short in the way of my passions. But I do not regret having them. If there’s one thing to be said, I’m thankful for being blessed with passion. Passion gives you a purpose, drive, something to care about and further more, something that makes you proud. I have found that I am a person who puts everything into the things I care about. I am a person who can succeed in anything that I put my mind to. I am a person who cares about the world around me, and wants to get involved in shaping the future. But the future is daunting. I don’t know exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life. I have spent all of this time in that room in the northeast corner of the building, and while it has possibly defined me throughout high school, it won’t define my future. I am following what I love, and that is journalism. I hope that helps me figure out where exactly I am meant to be. But those teachers were right. You will find yourself. But finding who you are doesn’t mean knowing exactly where you are going to end up.

by David Freyermuth


out of time I’ve officially run out of time. I’m out of chances to prove myself and opportunities to succeed. I’m out of time to fix my physics grade and to say the things I’ve been avoiding. I’m out of cross country meets, orchestra concerts and issues of the paper. I’ve run down the clock. And with a day to go, I’m left staring at halffinished to-do lists and wondering where all the seemingly never-ending time disappeared to. When I walked into this building on the first day of my freshman year, 14 years old and innocent-as-can-be, I had this grand illusion of the person I was going to become. I was going to be the violinist who made everyone else in the room want to quit playing. I was going to be the newspaper editor-in-chief who won every award in scholastic journalism. I was going to get straight-“A”s in all my honors classes. I don’t know when I thought I was going to find time to sleep. I did play in the Chamber Orchestra for three years, but I’m no prodigy. I was co-editor-in-chief of the paper for two years. But even with the awards we won, I always imagined better. I never managed straight-“A”s. When I didn’t play well at audition or the paper didn’t place well in best of show at a national journalism convention, I would beat myself up. It had to have been my fault. If only I’d spent less time driving around Shawnee Mission Park or watching bad movies or sitting in the journalism room doing nothing.

And every time I failed, it came back to the amount of time I’d wasted. I could have — and I most definitely should have — spent that time working, or so I always thought. Think what I could have done if I’d spent that time practicing the Haydn Concerto, getting an interview with an expert source or actually reading Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. When audition lists were posted or newspaper awards were announced, I always regretted not doing those things when I had the time. But in the last two weeks, I’ve come to realize that my best memories of high school have nothing to do with auditions, test scores or newspaper awards. But they all have something to do with driving around Shawnee Mission Park, watching bad movies or sitting in the journalism room with my best friends. All that time I enjoyed wasting wasn’t actually wasted. On the last day of senior year, I realize that if I were suddenly given more time in high school, I wouldn’t spend it practicing violin, studying or working on the newspaper. I would spend it with the people who, after today, I won’t be able to see to every day. I can live with my newspaper bestof-show placings and my final physics grade and my performance at the last orchestra concert. And those half-finished to-do lists? They’ll end up forgotten in the trash anyway. But I’ll always regret running out of time to waste.

by Maria Davison


Sporting event 1. Football 2. Basketball 3. Soccer Aaron Messick

place in school 1. Mall 2. 3rd Hallway / 3. Gym

school lunch 1.Chicken Strips 2. Pizza 3. Chicken Parmesan

open lunch 1. Taco Bell 2. Home 3. Goodcents

english book


1. To Kill a Mockingbird 2. Into the Wild 3. In Cold Blood

1. English 2. Sociology 3. Team Games

Favorite school dance Reagan Key

Reagan Key


msfd homecoming wpa


1. Sophomore Nate Sterns watches as his friend is hit by shaving cream on Sept. 14 at Shawnee Mission Park. photo by Carleigh Whitman 2. Senior Dreu White cries when the varsity football team lost their final game against SM East. “[The hardest part was] the realization when you know you won’t play highschool football again,” White said. photo by Kate Jacobsen 3. Senior Bailey Sestak performs a toe touch in the Greg Parker Auditorium during the Spring Special on May 5. photo by Nate Compton 4. Junior Chole Wilson plays clarinet during the annual lightshow on Oct. 20. photo by Aaron Messick 5. Right after being crowned Queen of Courts, senior Elizabeth Nelson laughs after accidently dropping her crown on Feb. 17 in the gym. photo by Carleigh Whitman 6. Senior Quin Truax stands in shock at the save she made as sophomore Gaby Riggs and other teammates congratulate her on Sept. 8. photo by Mikala Compton 7. Seniors cheer as they receive the spirit stick on April 23. photo by Kate Jacobsen 8. Senior Connor Holman and junior Galen Gossman emcee for the talent show on Feb 8 in the Greg Parker Auditorium. photo by Miranda Miller 9. Senior Lauren Chance gathers around the fire with freshman Tom Green at the Sleepin-a-Box fundraiser on April 16. photo by Brittany Bonsignore 10. SM West students light candles in honor of Ashton Brunmeier at his vigil on Dec. 7 in the SM West auditorium after Brunmeier lost his 2 year battle with cancer on Dec. 4. photo by Mikala Compton 11. 2010 Homecoming Queen Gwen Devonshire crowns senior Rachel Ferencz during halftime on Oct. 14 at the SM North Stadium. photo by Sarah Dean 12. Seniors Connor Holman, David Fancher, and Logan Knisley cheer after the NW boys basketball team scores a point on Jan. 6. photo by Nate Compton 13. Senior Lauren Severance takes a breath during a meet on April 3 at Chisolm Trail. photo by Nate Compton 14. Junior Halie Snider cringes as the nurse injects the needle into her forearm at the 10th annual SM Northwest Blood Drive on Nov. 6 in the main gym. photo by Sarah Dean 15. Senior Morgan Breckenridge releases butterflies with Environmental Education 2 on Sept. 27 outside the school after the class studied them. photo by Monica Castellon 16. Senior Amanda Hedrick plays the violin during the symphony orchestra concert in the NW auditorium on Feb. 28. photo by Nate Compton 17. Senior Aaron Terril preforms part of the senior class skit with Mac Preston, Austin Tyler, and Connor Holeman at the prom assembly on April 20. photo by Brittany Bonsignore 18. Senior Logan Coffman preforms his poem at the final round of the annual Poetry Slam on April 13th. photo by Brittany Bonsignore 19. Opening Cabaret, senior Tanner Rose sings “Willkomen” on Nov. 14 in the Greg Parker Auditorium. photo by Sarah Dean


this year in photos 1 2


5 6 4 7


10 9


11 12

13 14 16

17 18 19



College 1. Barton County Community College Spencer Denham Farrah Schroeder

Hannah Alexander Nick Coyan Sarah Crawford Kaycee Greenwood

2. Benedictine College

19. Eric Fisher Academy

Brianna Myers

3. Brandeis University Vicky Liu

4. Brigham Young University Amanda Hedrick

5. Brigham Young University Erin Bissonnette Lucy Cole-Nieves

6. Broadmoor Technical Center Blake Atagi Kyle Martin

7. Brown Mackie College Jennifer Collene

8. Butler Junior College Will Smith

9. Coffeyville Community College Chase Rader

10. Colorado College Abby Gomer

11. Colorado State University Connor Mitts

12. Cottey College Emma Louise Christian

13. Creighton University Victoria Banks

14. DeVry University Jalen Holmes Tiffani Trimble Carlos Walter

15. Drake University Sarah Grossman Boris Huston Shanna McCormack Katrina Nelson Tessa Parker Caitlin Ryan

16. Drexel University Stephanie Smith

17. Drury University. Karen Baltzley Zach Birt


18. Emporia State University



Morgan Fennesy


20. Fort Scott Community College


Sarah Male

21 1971



22. Georgia Institute of Technology

23. Haskell Indian Nations University Morgan Smith

24. Highland Community College Jasmine Green Alden Needham Andreas Torres

25. Illinois Institute of Technology Jonathan Volker

26. Johnson County Community College Sandy Altamirano De’Von Ambler Katelyn Arrrocha Julia Barrera-Martinez Ethan Biron Joseph Blair Genevieve Boolin Anne Brauer Jordan Bray Carlee Brinkman Savannah Brown Erica Burton Christian Caldwell Emily Casper Kevin Cervantes Heather Clark Brett Cooper Pablo Damian Kendall Davis Amanda DeLoach Loreal Dickeson Carlos Elizarraraz Aaron Finn Lani Finn Kelley Gamm Ashlyn Gardner-Hughes Cole Hansen Eric Harmon Kelsey Harper Deanna Hart Amanda Hawthorne Charles Henderson Kelsey Hendricks Brandi Henry Adam Hisle


Quentin Holmes Austin Howard Jennifer Howell Dalton Hudson Bernadette Hursh Brady Hustead Luke Janes Keymon Jones Sheila Kariuki Jennifer Keeling Cameron Kline Charles Knox Thomas Kohler Morgan Kronawitter Bryan Lopez Danny Lyons Ian Manivong Julie Matskevych Katelyn McCarthy Johnathan McDaniel Sam McManness Charity Medis Rebecca Meyer Tyler Mohling Jake Moix Norma Molina Mary Mwangi Nick Nawalany Eymy Padilla-Izaguir Nathan Palmer Taylor Pettit Qiu Phan Nancy Phaipanya Andrew Priest Kevin Ramirez Maria Ramirez Brigid Rasins Misael Reyes-Aquilera Audrey Richardson John Riggs Cecilia Robinson Jonathan Rodriguez Jake Rogers Pierce Roller Stuart Rowell Elimar Roxas Jennifer Ruiz-Alvarado Michael Schlicht Amritpal Singh Emilie Sipe

Cameron Skeels D.J. Stearns Sukhpreet Singh Justin Thomas Claire Thompson Johnny Tong Jessica Turner Ashley Vining Heath Watson Joshua Weidmaier Jenny Williams Devan Zachariadis Brandon McCoyGroshong Lauren Young Tri Vu

27. Johnson County Firefighter Academy Logan Knisely

28. Kansas City Art Institute Nate Bailey Kimberly Gross Owen Stevermer Kaleena Watkins

29. Kansas City Kansas Community College Matt Fanning Isaiah Gregory Arianna Herr Ericka Marquez Alexis Smith

30. Kansas State University Jake Anderson Caleb Amundson Brett Bachelor Brandon Bienhoff Bayley Birkmeyer Karrin Branson Morgan Breckenridge Elizabeth Bures Brett Butler Esdras CisnerosRodriguez

Wade Drouillard Derek Estopare Blake Evans Megan Gasser Bill Graves Rosemary Harris Abigail Hoelting Connor Kelley Andrew Konecny Shannon Knoll Lauren Komer Kylie Lambeth Jessica Leichter Olivia Ley Adam Lo Rachel Londeen Elaine Macek Brendan McCluskey Isabel Miller Katie Mulich Alex Nepote Logan Nichols Julia Noland Rachel Nyhart Mason Oberheu Jesus Ornelas Lee Prutsman Edward Radulescu Nick Reedy Kaitlyn Rieke Emelie Rogers Luke Schnefke Lauren Severance Ashley Tate Emily Taylor Jamie Texeira Becca Thies Kendall Tompkins Taylor Williams Hailee Zatar

31. Kansas State University-Salina Elizabeth Nelson

32. Langston University Sheraz Pompey

33. Lon Morris




Timmy Li Darrien Richmond






21. Garden City Community College Brandon Zipper

72 43 63 29 28 53 27 24 2 34 69 23 26 7 6 14 60 35


37 17

College James Ramsey

34. Maplewoods Keanu Norris

35. Mid-America Nazarene University Jordan Deleon Brady Klein

Jessica Johnson Erin Nugent

44. Oklahoma State University Austin Tyler

45. Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Aaron Terrill

36. Midland University

46. Ottowa University

Caitlyn Massy

Catherine Roberts

37. Missouri State University

47. Pittsburg State University

Kaylee Trost

Dalton Brunner Kevin Conway Audrey D’Amato Alison Darpel Colton Dirks Nicholas Prutsman Jack Roeder Ashlee Spaits Austin Vanderpool Dreu White Chelsie Williamson Hannah Wooten Anthony Yates

38. Missouri University of Science and Technology Mack Preston Ty Thompson

39. Missouri Western State University Toni Britt

40. Missouri Southern State University Zach Calvert Taylor Tummons

41. Navarro College Juan Castenada

42. Northeastern University Rebecca Rice

43. Northwest Missouri State University Jamie Evans

48. Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery Wes Brown

49. Stephen’s College Savannah Bell

50. St. John’s University Danny Manning

51. Technologico de Monterrey-Cordoba, Veracruz, Mexico Gustavo AlvaradoRamirez


64 50

73 42 5 61

68 25 36



11 56 10







32 45 66

22 58

48 52 41 52. Texas Christian University Kelli Denton Bailey Sestak

53. Transformed Barber and Cosmetology Academy Frank Rodriguez

54. Unity College Carrieann Fink

55. University Arkansas Lauren Chance Drew Creighton Jillian Fry Megan Kirchner Briana Lavigne Connor Thompson Colby Weishaar

56. University of Colorado Logan Coffman Eric Zoellner

57. University of Dayton Sarah Barnes

58. University of Georgia. Nydrell Wilson

59. University of Houston Joanna Taylor

60. University of



Kansas Alex Adkins Noe Agosto Rachel Arey Hayley Battenberg Katie Biggers Cody Boston Cody Brinkman Jake Bruce Chris Chipman Katie Coppage Nicole Dahl Rachael Demjanik Ryan Duong Trey Edwards Jacob Eskina Kaitlin Eubanks David Fancher Rachel Ferencz Maddie Ford Jackson Foth Allison Fussell Kayla Galloway Taylor Garies Andy Grobe Alex Hardee Heather Jackson Kenny Jackson Haley Jennison Audrey Johnson Kate Kapellar Bill Kolega Marisa Lahm Ryan Land Brianna Leyden Song Loftus Renee Ludwig Trent May Luke Moore Chris Moss


Michigan Sunny Dharod

Megan Musson Patrick Nachtsheim Haley O’Connor Marcus Paccapaniccia Skylar Pappenfort Eric Pinkelman Jonathan Plagge Ryan Plummer Kelsey Poston Preston Rabe Megan Robinson Jack Rogers Jared Shafer Evan Shinn Andre Silva Mary Slattery Savannah Slavin Mackenzie Smith Sol Starling Connor Stubblefield Connor Stultz Quinn Truax Talia Twillman Logan Unrein Taryn Vogel Wendy Wang Taeler Washington Emma Wendler Joseph Wickoren Meshia Wynn Marina Zickefoose

61. University of

62. University of Missouri Maria Davison David Freyermuth Jake Gipple Connor Holman Madison Knight Grant Pittrich

63. University of Missouri-Kansas City Melissa Balino Ara Cho Colby Everett Lauren Gregory Kelsey Hulse Navneet Karra Kaitlyn Moody Caulin Pendleton Garrett Pfau Vaidehi Trivedi

64. University of Montana

Cameron Bock Tanner Rose

67. University of Oregon Isabel Zacharias

68. University of South Dakota Connor Stephens

69. Washburn University Ashley Currin Britni Harmon Clair McKay

Missionary Work Joseph Irvine


Alex Stoll

Marine Corps

71. Wichita State University Jacob Heindel Alex Van Pelt

72. William Jewell College

65. University of Nebraska

Sarah Crosley Jenny Nelson Sarah Schmidt

66. University of Oklahoma

Andrew Bateman Crystal Brown Allison Cook Joshua Crocker Eric Gee Josh King Bhupinder Pawar Amber Slechta — Model Cody Spruyt Hayden Stimach

70. Western Washington University

Jarrett Brown Zoe Mays

Lindsey Harrold Yih-Wen Huynh Isaac Van Hoeke


73. Worcester Polytechnic Institute Sean Amos

Estevan Campos Brendon Kegin Nathan Plaschka Luke Stafford Cody Wilcox


Matt Bryant Jacob Clopton Spencer Dawson Devin Kaberline Cody Lowther Austin Martinek Jessica Prater

Junior Hockey Clay Anderson

Foreign Exchange Austin Schuberth — Austria Karrin Branson — Italy Nathan Smith — Belgium

Returning home

Siboa Cabella — Germany Julie Kurbjeweit — Germany Anna Moilanen — Finland Silvia Vicente-Ruiz — Spain Elsa Girard — Switzerland Benjamin Nickolman — Germany Ceren Han — Turkey Shizuka Uehara — Japan

Americorps Victoria Celli


Gerald Belluchi Alexzander Shaw

Year off

Cyril Shamet


Influential Seniors


BACK: Tanner Rose, Grant Pittrich, Jenny Nelson, Blake Evans, Jake Gipple, Sunny Dharod / FRONT: Jessica Johnson, Liz Nelson, Isabel Zacharias, Kylie Lambeth


sunny dharod What was the most important lesson you learned in high school? First day of high school my freshman year — I was a transfer from SM West — and I will never forget that first day because I had zero friends. I remember sitting all by myself at lunch thinking, “Man, why did I come to Northwest? These people are never going to talk to me.” At night, I went home crying because of this. The lesson that I have learned is that when you don’t know anyone, you have to go up to them and talk to them. Because of my experiences my freshmen year, I feel like I have the ability to be friends with anybody I meet. What did you gain from your experience in the International Baccalaureate program? I was one of the students who

struggled a lot in the program. I am not the smartest, but I learned that if you work hard and are extremely determined, you will succeed. I dedicated most of my life to IB. I woke up at 5 every morning to get that extra chance to study just for survival, and it paid off. I know that my work ethic will carry me to success. What did you learn from running cross country and track? I started running to stay in shape for soccer, but I quit soccer because I fell in love with running. It is not about how naturally talented you are; it’s all about the hard work you put in. It is all about the extra miles. It’s all about running through the winter days and the hot summer days. I am really happy I came to Northwest. Had I gone to SM West, I would not have found this


passion that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. What legacy do you hope to leave at Northwest? When I came here freshman year, I had no confidence, no social skills, no determination. But standing here today, I see that I have come a long way. I had the drive to walk up to strangers and make funny faces to become their friends. I had the drive to put countless hours into school, sports and other activities to show that success is achieved by nothing except work ethic. I had the drive to meet incredible goals, even if it meant waking up at 5 every day. That is the legacy that I want to leave behind. I want to inspire everyone to be fearless and be smart by constantly pushing themselves, even after they’ve reached their goals.

KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY / BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING What did you get out of high school? I got so much out of high school. I think I’ve grown up so much since freshman year. I’ve learned how to respect people. The biggest thing I learned is how to become responsible for what I do. I have learned that to work hard to get what I want. I also learned that it’s important to be able to establish a friendship and trust in someone. You never know where those relationships can take you. What was your greatest success in high school? I think my greatest success in high school was winning the state track championship in the 4x4 relay race. It was a great group of guys. But we couldn’t

have done it without Coach Mike Cooper. He doesn’t get enough credit for how much he does for all of us and how much he has pushed us. I think it was such a great accomplishment, coming together to create one of the best track teams Northwest has ever had. What did you gain from all your athletic experiences? I definitely gained a sense of trust and also sense of companionship and friendship. It seemed like whenever I was in a sport, that’s who I hung out with on the weekends, who I was really close with and who I was with all the time. Especially this year, it seems like all the NW teams have come together. We joke around

and make fun of each other, but we would back each other up anytime. It’s important to have tight-knit friendships on teams. No matter what sport you’re playing, you’ve got to be able to trust one another. What was the most important lesson you learned in high school? I think the most important lesson is life is what you make it. If you’re always smiling, have the right attitude and are always working hard, you’re going to get great results. High school is a time for change and for trying new things. If you always have a positive attitude, then you’ll find out who you truly are.


UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI / MATHEMATICS IN THE LIFE SCIENCES FELLOWSHIP What did you get out of high school? I know calculus, and all my literary devices, but I think it’s more the social skills, especially with all the leadership I’ve been doing. I feel ahead of the game in terms of running an organization. I really do appreciate what I’ve gotten to know. This is a great school, and I’ve really learned a lot of social things, street smarts as well as school smarts. Going into high school, did you think you were going to be involved in StuCo and eventually become student body president? I did not. My mom had actually had me go to middle school Student Council meetings just because I was that Type-A, extroverted person in middle school. I don’t know how I was influenced to start; I knew I wasn’t thinking

jake gipple “Student Council” when I walked in the first day. It was chance, I guess. I’m glad it happened. You said you don’t want the title “StuCo president” to define you. What other activities do you do that define you? I don’t want people to know me like a celebrity or something shallow like that. I want to have a conversation with person. I’m good friends with the people on the swim team, and I ran cross country and did soccer, and musical things too. I was in music theory and jazz band, and even though I’m not in it this year, I still connect with some of those people. Is there something you wish you had done during your time at Northwest? I wish I had gotten to know more

people, because it seemed like my first two years I got to know a lot of people at face value, but not on a deeper level. As sad as it is, I don’t think I’ve had a best friend in high school, and that’s kind of depressing. I feel like getting to know people is one of the things you need to have in life; it’s essential. And now that I’m leaving, I have bitter feelings and sadness about like, “Oh, I’m never going to see Brianna Leyden again. I haven’t talked to her in a few months; I should do that.” And like, am I really going to keep up with these people when I leave? I hope so, but according to everyone else in the world, probably not. So I should have taken my time. I was thinking about my future, and everyone says this, but slow down, I guess.

Jessica Johnson What was the most important lesson you learned in high school? The most important lesson would probably be to not sweat the small things in life. Everything happens for a reason. I really learned to step back and look at the big picture, and be able to put the small things behind me and move on.

What have you learned from playing three varsity sports for four years? It’s been a big learning experience. Mostly, I think I’ve developed confidence. When you come in as a freshman, and you’re on the varsity teams, you need to be able to step in and fill a spot on the team so you can contribute to their success. I think that made me a more confident person and confident in my abilities. What was your greatest success in high school? There’s a couple of things that really stand out to me. I think the biggest thing would be winning state for cross country, because we got third the year before, and we decided



right there that next year, we were going to do our best to put ourselves in the position to win the state championship. To be able to accomplish that was the greatest feeling I’ve ever experienced. The second thing would be going to state for basketball because my freshman year, we were 2 in 19, so to make it to my senior year and to be able to go to state, that was an amazing feeling also. How does it feel to be the only girl to letter in 12 varsity sports? It makes me feel really honored and blessed. I feel blessed that I was able to have the opportunity to be able to come in and do that, and I feel honored that I was able to accomplish something that not a lot of people do. What legacy do you hope to leave at Northwest? I hope people will remember me as a nice person who really cared about people, and who worked hard at what I do. I hope that maybe that will inspire people to do their best.

Kylie Lambeth What did you get out of high school? I think I found myself in high school; I found out what I was like and the passions and interests I have .

Why did you sacrifice your involvement in sports to tutor less-fortunate children? I’m a Christian, so it just wasn’t right anymore to play sports. It felt wrong to be there, so I took some time, just thinking and trying to figure what God wanted me to do, and I figured it out. It was really hard giving up sports. But when I go there and the kids run to me and they

What do you hope to do with elementary education and French? I was hoping to inspire kids, and I didn’t think I could, but if I’m on this list, I guess I can. I was hoping to get kids to realize their full potential and do everything they possibly can to succeed in life, and I really would like to help them achieve their dreams and realize that they can. How did being diagnosed with a brain tumor during your junior year affect your high school career? I think it made me a little bit more cautious — not that I wasn’t cautious already. I think there are things that I would have liked to have done, but I was just too cautious and afraid that I was going to hurt myself more. I didn’t ever want to stay out too late because my doctors told me that that wasn’t the best choice at all, so I think that took a little bit away from the classic high school experience. But that’s OK with me. What legacy do you hope to leave at Northwest? I hope that people can learn from me that you need to just be strong and no matter what happens to you, you can

are like, “Miss Kylie,” I know that I’m in the right place. It was hard, but it was so worth it.

What did you learn from being a drum major? I became a drum major because I wanted to help out the band; I didn’t do it for power. I didn’t do it to have authority, and the band knew that. I think when people know that you are doing something for the right reasons, they will give you just as much as you give them. It is big when people know that you actually care about them, and you actually care about how they are doing. They respond to

KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY / ENGLISH + SECONDARY EDUCATION that more than they do if they know that you are in it just to have the power and the ability to say that “I am the ruler of the band,” or whatever you want to call it. Do you have any final thoughts for the Class of 2012? It’s not over. I know that we’re leaving, but I think that people will always be in my heart. We’ll go to college and things will remind me of high school. I heard a saying that it’s never goodbye; it’s always I’ll see you later, so I think that’s it. I’ll see you later, Class of 2012.

always see the light at the end of the tunnel. You always know that things are going to get better. You have a school of 1,800, plus staff, who are all on your side. And you have the rest of the community pulling for you, too. If you’re ever feeling down, you know that you have those people who want to see you succeed. What’s your life goal? I just want to be able to help people in any way I can. I love to serve on mission trips. I want to be able to see people who are extremely happy because you’ve just helped them a ton. I’m definitely going to teach elementary school kids, and I want to see their faces glow once they finally learn something. I think that would be a really good feeling. Do you have any final thoughts for the Class of 2012? I can’t say that I always employ this, but don’t be afraid to be yourself and just know that not everyone is going to accept you. But if someone doesn’t accept you, you don’t want to associate with them. As long as some people accept you and love you for who you are, it’s worth it.


jenny nelson 19

KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY - SALINA / AIRPORT MANAGEMENT You were rated one of the most influential people among your peers. Who influences you? I’d definitely say my family. They taught me my beliefs, values and morals. But everyday life influences me the most: seeing people in the hall, the way they act, how they interact with others, how certain people handle different situations. Everything around me influences me. What did you get out of high school? I definitely learned more about myself and kind of figured out who I am, how I handle situations, some of my qualities as a person, what I want to do with my life. I don’t know if I could put my finger

Liz Nelson

on one thing, because I got so much out of high school. I learned who I am as a person and made a lot of great friends along the way. What was the most important lesson you learned in high school? No one can make you unhappy without your consent. It’s the best lesson I ever learned. You will only be upset if you let people make you upset. Your life is up to you, and no one else.

What inspires you to have so much school spirit? Something just clicked. You know if you’re going to be in a place for four years, you can’t spend your time hating it. You have to warm up to it; you have to embrace


it. I get so much fulfillment out of making people laugh and cheering on my school. It’s just a sense of pride and, quite frankly, I find it fun to go crazy and get wild. For me, it’s an adrenaline rush, and it’s a one-of-a-kind thrill.

What legacy do you hope to leave at Northwest? I hope I left a legacy of a girl who unconditionally loved her school and everyone around her. I love all of my classmates, and we’re all in this together; we’re a family. I love all of them, I love this school, and I hope I’m remembered as someone who genuinely loved and cared for the school.

grant pittrich

How do you think high school has prepared you for life outside of high school? It’s given me a good opportunity to know how the adult world works; how you have to have goals; and how you have to work hard to get them fulfilled. Nothing comes to you easily in life; you have to put hard work into it. What was the most important lesson you learned? A good deed a day doesn’t hurt. I learned that from [teacher Ron] Poplau. He talks about how community service is something we need to live. If holding the door open for someone or helping them with a problem or homework helps their day, it helps your day, because you’re having a good time, and it feels


good on the inside. What was your goal as a freshman, going into high school? I wanted to be someone who people could look up to. My brother was a senior when I was a freshman and he was someone I always looked up to. He was an influential senior and I was like, ‘I’m cooler than him; I should be that.’ I’m a big competitive person. Honestly, I wanted to be better than him. I mean, it’s always just a goal to outdo the brother; that’s how it is in my family. What legacy do you hope to leave at Northwest? I want to be that guy who wasn’t afraid to try something new or look stupid in front of people — an example of how high school

can be fun. It doesn’t have to be all work and no play. Have any adults influenced you? [StuCo sponsor Sarah] Dent was definitely a big influence. She’s the backbone in the entire body of Student Council. She does so much behind-the-scenes work, and she thinks of all the minute details that no one would ever think of. It’s something that you learn from — there’s all these different steps to getting something accomplished. There’s a lot of work that she thinks of, and it makes you think a little bit more about what goes on behind the scenes. And she’s just got a big heart, and she cares about all of us.

tanner rose What was the most important lesson you learned in high school? One thing that has been really hard for me to deal with has been rejection, which plays a huge part in the entertainment industry. You have to be OK with it and be comfortable with the word “no.” My junior year we did Les Miserables, and I wanted a role that I did not end up getting. It really put things in perspective for me. Of course in the long run, I’m glad it happened. I needed to learn that not everyone is going to love me, and I need to pick myself up and deal with it and move on. What was your greatest success/ biggest accomplishment in high school? Academics do not come easily

for me; I have to really work to maintain an “A.” My junior year, and I’m hoping this year too, I ended with all “A”s, which was a huge accomplishment for me. I saw that all my hard work had paid off. My academic record is what I’m most proud of, because I do have to work really hard to keep up. What legacy do you hope to leave at Northwest? I probably will forever be known as coach [Van] Rose’s son, and I have learned to live with that; I’ve just come to accept that. But I hope that I will also be remembered for theater. I’ve never really thought of leaving a legacy. It’s weird to think of yourself as being remembered.

UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA / MUSICAL THEATRE Do you have any final thoughts for the Class of 2012? As everyone always says, high school has gone by really fast. You get to your junior year and think, “Oh, God, when will it end,” but it’s gone by so quickly. One of my favorite quotes is said on the last day of a show, when you go around to the cast and you say, “This show will never happen again.” Yes, The Fantasticks, and yes, Cabaret, will be performed hundreds of thousands of times more, but this show in and of itself can never be performed again. People will have changed physically and emotionally; some people will be gone and others new. I would just tell [the seniors] to remember what we have here and to remember that these are our last days together.

Isabel Zacharias What did you get out of high school? For me, high school was about sorting out all the different versions of myself that exist and learning which one is the real one. What I’ve really gotten out of high school is the ability to recognize every part of myself, I was in band, poetry, I ran cross country, I was in some plays. Aside from all the college/ life preparedness, I gained a knowledge of myself that I didn’t have before. I think I have better tolerance for a lot of different kinds of people. That’s going to serve me forever. What was the most important lesson you learned in high school? The most important lesson I learned in high school is that you have to move on from your failures. You’re going to fail. You’re going to get “F”s on tests.

You’re going to get a guy who’s a total [jerk] to you. There will be days when you don’t feel like yourself, and when you have the whole teenage hormonal thing going on. You have to realize that what’s in the past is in the past, and that the future is a much more controllable place. When and why did you begin writing poetry? A lot of people have asked me this and I don’t think I’ve really gotten it right so far. For me, writing poetry is natural. Poetry is the most potent and concise way to communicate; to really engage with other people’s emotions; to have that moment of, “Yeah, I’m feeling this,” and to have the other person be like, “I know exactly what you mean.” I think poetry creates moments of real connection between people who might not even know each other.


What do you hope to express with your poetry? I hope to express similarities between everyone and everything. That sounds like such a tall order, but I truly do believe that everything is connected with everything else in the most distant and stupid and embarrassing ways. I love connecting things that normally wouldn’t be connected and just making people have that moment. What was your greatest success/ biggest accomplishment in high school? I think that losing the poetry slam two years in a row was one of my biggest successes. I think in the end, I proved to myself that it’s not about winning the poetry slam. I think that’s an idea that means a whole lot more to me than winning it this year.



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Championship Attitude Senior Sarah Schmidt takes the ball up the court during the state championship tournament on March 7. The Lady Cougars ended the season with a combined 60-15 record. Photo by Carleigh Whitman

Left: Senior Katie Biggers prepares to shoot the ball on Dec. 1 at the SM West gym against SM West. The Cougars won 44 to 34. Photo by Mikala Compton Right: Driving to the basket, senior Mary Slattery heads down the court in the state championship game. The Cougars lost 35-51. Photo by Carleigh Whitman

This season marked a turn-around for the girls’ basketball team and a berth in the state tournament. By Connor Thompson The Lady Cougar basketball team, which included four seniors, had their best season since 2006-2007. Finishing 16–7, a ninewin improvement over last season, winning the Truman Tournament and the substate championship as well as playing in the state tournament were highlights of the season. “We had fantastic team chemistry,” coach Jeff Dickson said. “We don’t see ourselves as a team, we see ourselves as a family. As cliché as that sounds, some people don’t understand what that means. We have a very tight-knit group on the court, and off the court, and that is a strength of our program.” The girls’ two substate wins were a huge lift. After beating both Shawnee Mission North and Shawnee Mission West, the team made it into the state tournament. “In our substate game against West, we came back in the fourth quarter and played hard in overtime,” senior Mary Slattery said. “Some people stepped up really big, and this showed how hard our team worked all season — and just really what we were made of.” The senior girls had to adjust to Dickson’s coaching style for the last two seasons, but they learned how to work with him.

“Having a new coach affects the team, but it was really nice for us having Dickson, because his coaching strategy paralleled [former coach Brian] McIntosh’s,” Slattery said. “They both emphasized defense, and they were both going to have us get to the top by working harder than everyone else.” With a team as close as the girls, the underclassmen looked to their senior leaders to step up this season. “Our seniors led really well; they took control when they needed to and, as an example, when we didn’t have coach Dickson for our first game, they stepped up,” sophomore McKayla Ross said. This team’s chemistry is just one factor that allowed them to improve their record so much this season. “I have been a part of a lot of pretty good teams, championship teams, but I have never been a part of one with so many championship type people, not players, but people working together,” Dickson said. “That is why we have had so much success and that is why [the seniors] will be so successful in the future.”


Winning Together The girls’ cross country team placed third at state in 2010. This year, they did everything they could to close that gap to the top. By Brady Klein The seven cross country girls who ran earlier the morning of the state championship sat in anticipation awaiting the announcement of their team’s score and place. They listened attentively, as Olathe East was announced as third, then Shawnee Mission West announced as second and, finally, the state champions: SM Northwest. The story begins back in 2010, when they walked away from state with a third-place title. Six out of seven of the state runners in 2010 were returning, and they were not about to settle for anything less than first place. “After state last year, we knew we wanted to win this year, so we worked really hard in the summer,” senior Kelsey Poston said. Despite this dedication to their training, the girls still worried that it just wouldn’t be enough. “Out loud we told everyone that we were going to win because we wanted to believe in ourselves, but in the back of our minds, we were scared that we weren’t going to win,” Poston said. Not only did they work hard to become better runners, but they also worked at getting closer to each other as a team. “The teams in the past have always had one or two stars, but they never were really a close team,” senior Sarah Barnes said. “That made us want to be close, like the boys’ team. We wanted to run together and win together.”

Being together was very important to all the girls on the team, because they knew the closer they were the better they would perform at meets. “We were really close; over the summer, we took a trip to the lake together, and we hung out every Friday night before races,” Poston said. “We were basically each other’s only friends for the entire season.” These strong personal relationships contributed to the girls’ success when they started the season off strong with a victory at the Greg Wilson Classic. “Before the season started, I knew the girls had a big task ahead of them. But as the season went on and we saw them at Greg Wilson (Classic), I knew that this season was going to go well for them,” junior cross country runner Kirk Bado said. After the Greg Wilson Classic, they won the majority of their races and went to state as one of the favorites, along with SM West. When it came down to it, SM West was unable to even get close to Northwest, and the girls won by a landslide. “When they held up the score, we weren’t just like, ‘Yay’; I mean, we went crazy,” junior Katie Nelson said. “[Winning state] was one of the best feelings ever,” Barnes said. “It made my high school career.”

Dominant: Junior Katie Nelson and senior Sarah Crawford sprint at the Greg Wilson Classic on Sept. 3. Photo by Paige Waltman Left: Junior Lindsay Nelson runs at the Greg Wilson Classic hosted by Saint Thomas Aquinas on Sept. 3. Photo by Paige Waltman Right: Upon crossing the finish line at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence on Oct. 15, junior Kenzie Iverson is met by her teammate, senior Victoria Banks. Photo by Paige Waltman


h t o f n o s k jac By Rachel Ferencz / Photo by David Freyermuth enior Jackson Foth isn’t hard to miss walking down the hallways. At 6 foot 6 inches, the two sport varsity athlete (golf and basketball) stands above most of the crowd. He started golfing when he was just three years old, simply hitting wiffle balls. But it was when he got his first real set of golf clubs when he was just five years old when his passion for golf caught fire. Foth, having broken the NW medal record with 46 medals, is leaving on the note of being considered one of the best golfers in NW history. The golf team is currently second in the Sunflower League, and Foth is first in the league individually. “To win my home tournament my senior year and finally live up to people’s expectations was the best feeling,” Foth said. “It felt

Boys cross country didn’t win state for first time in 14 years Volleyball won sub-state and went to the state tournament for Boys basketball the first time in ten places fourth in state years.

sophomore year

freshman year




great to break the record on my home course.” Foth has experienced ups and downs throughout his career, but has had a major turnaround this year. “I’ve been playing really well in comparison to my junior year. I had a mental block at the beginning of the season [my junior year] and I was playing awful,” Foth said. “But I played really well at state, where in my freshman and sophomore year I did well throughout the season but not so much at the state tournament.” But his ultimate goal is in sight this season. “My goal in high school is to win league, regionals and state in one of the four seasons. I’ve gotten second at regionals and third at state before, so I’m trying to shoot for first,” Foth said. Foth is living his dream of being

Despite winning the overall competition, girls gymnastics got third at state due to a whole point deduction

a jayhawk through continuing in his career in golf at the University of Kansas next fall. “It’s going to be a lot more pressure at KU. A lot of good competition you’re playing against, but that’s what you’re there to do,” Foth said. “I like pressure, but it’s definitely going to be tough and a lot different then just playing for Northwest.” “It’s going to be a great experience being a Division 1 athlete at the school I’ve always wanted to go too.” Foth is more than excited about the college journey ahead of him, but is thinking about making golf a career. “If I play really well in college then I’ll definitely give trying to go professional a shot because playing golf for a living would be my dream,” Foth said.

Mike Rose takes over boys basketball team, takes them to 15-7 record and were sub-state runner-ups Boys soccer gets third at state, winning 8 of their last 9 games. upsetting two of the top teams in the state.


cameron bock By Kirk Bado / Photo by David Freyermuth

enior Cameron Bock stands rail thin at 6’2 with black spiky hair and seems to have an omnipresent smile on his face whenever you say hello. You can find him walking the halls carrying his ukulele on the way to Ukulele Club, studying for the next IB test. He loves playing ultimate frisbee, and on any given Thursday morning in the summer in the park at Mill Creek — basically, just a regular high school student excited about his prospects in college, and enjoying the time now. Except, of course, Bock can fly. The standard basketball hoop is 10 feet tall. A regulation soccer goal is eight feet tall. Bock can soar 15 feet 6 inches over a beam with no help but a pole. After trying pole vaulting on a whim, he has now broken the school record three times this year alone. “My friend [senior] Baylee Birkmeyer called one day and said, ‘I am getting a bunch of friends together to try pole vaulting; do you want to come.’ I said, ‘Why not?’” Bock said. That was the summer before his freshman year, and Bock has not looked back since. “I knew it was something I really wanted to do, and then when the spring came, I quit baseball and started pole vaulting,” Bock said During that first season, Bock was initially worried about making the team, but then he went on to set the freshman record, which continues to stand to this day. “I kept getting [a personal record] every vault,” Bock said. With being so successful at such a young age, Bock felt immense pressure to perform. “There were three of us who coach Eric Peters told that if we kept with this, we could all break the school record,” Bock said. Bock was on track to break the


Boys cross countrywins state again for the 15th time in 17 years

Boys track wins state

Jeff Dickson is Boys basketball introduced as head coach gets forth in state for girls basketball

senior year

junior year


Girls cross country wins state in a blowout

Girls bowling finishes seventh in state as a team

record, but hit a brick wall his junior year. With shin splints and pain surging through his legs with every step, vaulting was a challenge. “I beat my personal best in the first meet of the year, and did not do that again for the rest of the year,” he said. While Bock was still scoring points at every meet and placed second at the state meet that year, he was not satisfied with his performance. He might have been beating people in competition, but he was losing the competition against his personal bests. With one season left in his career, Bock was determined to break the record of 14 feet 6 inches. “I wanted to just shatter it,” Bock said. After months in the weight room and indoor vaulting in the winter, Bock was ready to go. At the first meet of the year, Bock hit 14 feet and was sorely disappointed. Then, on the third meet of the year, at home, Bock made his first attempt over 14 feet 6 inches. “Most of the time when people do well, they say everything went perfectly,” Bock said, “but that was not the case with me.” There was a 15 mph crosswind as Bock, with a bad step up, planted the pole. “I had almost landed on the mat when I realized that the beam would stay on, because I brushed it with my knee.” After several tense seconds of watching the beam wobble, Bock saw that the bar would stay and let out a fist pump. Bock fell 14 feet and 8 inches, shattering the school record. Ending with that last victory, Bock is now looking forward to starting school at The University of Oklahoma in the fall. “I plan on walking on, but need a few more inches to qualify,” Bock said.

Mary Slattery and Claire Gordon place sixth in doubles at state for tennis Girls basketball competes in the state tournament and finished with a 15-7 record.They won the Truman tournament and the Sub-state stournamte

words from the class of 2012 most important lesson you learned in higH school? “After your awkward middle school years of trying to ‘fit in,’ you eventually just do whatever makes you happy with no apologies and find it makes you a much happier person.” — Ashley Vining “Enjoy. Everything. Even the Stress.” — Isabel Zacharias “When a teacher says this assignment can’t be done the night before, it’s really not a challenge to see if it can.” — Johnathan McDaniel “To accept others for where they’ve been and who they are.” — Victoria Celli “Never forget” — Connor Mitts “The petty fights you have with friends aren’t worth it.” — Anne Brauer “Humans are human. Everybody is going to screw up really bad. don’t judge anyone because of their mistakes.” — Caleb Amundson “Before you freak out about something, realize

What advice would you give to underclassmen? “Make a difference in your life everyday.” — Clay Anderson “Don’t stress the little things, it will all fall into place eventually.” — Carlee Brinkman “Do it all. Don’t count the days left until summer. The summer comes way too soon as it is.” — Andre Silva “Be nice. You never know what others are going through.” — Allison Fussell “Don’t procrastinate if you value sleep.” — Yih-Wen Huynh “Embrace who you are and don’t let people shape you into someone you don’t want to be.” — Kylie Lambetht “Be open-minded, throw yourself into the unknown and new experiences. Meet as many people as possible. Figure out what makes you happy, do it and stick to it.” — Julie Kurbjeweit “Your experiences and activities are just as important as grades.” — Kelli Denton “Never be afraid to ask for help when you are troubled.” — Johnny Tong “Don’t take things for granted, expect the unexpected and don’t leave your iPod laying around.” — Amber Slechta

If I could change anything about your high school career, what would it be?

“I wouldn’t change anything. I try not to regret the decisions I have made because I am already very blessed.” — Megan Robinson “I would’ve gotten more involved as an underclassmen while I still had the time.” — Lauren Chance “Try not to stress out about petty things and see the big picture.” — Baylee Birkmeyer “That I was home schooled for as long as I was. I could have made more of a lasting impact in school.” — Jake Moix

there can be much worse problems — avoid drama. It’s not worth it.” — Morgan Breckenridge “Ignore the drama. And if you do mess up, apologize and move on. Don’t sweat it; lesson learned.” — Nicole Dahl “Not to take ANY of your friends for granted. They will stay by you when you need them most.” — Isabel Miller “Don’t expect second chances. Earn them.” — Cody Lowther “Life is all about attitude and confidence.” — Logan Coffman “Do not procrastinate. But if you do, do it efficiently.” — Cy Shamet “You aren’t invincible.” — Josh King

How was high school different than you expected it to be? “Honestly I expected it to be a lot like Grease. Kind of disappointing that it wasn’t.” — Toni Britt “Band geeks are cool. Well, most of them anyway.” — Britni Harmon I thought it would be more confusing and I would be lost in the sea of people.” — Sarah Crosley “I was slightly disheartened when people didn’t break into song when something important happened.” — Boris Huston “No one got shoved into lockers by huge upperclassmen.” — Katie Mulich “I never expected to be a cheerleader. I expected to be a quiet girl that just tried to get through high school but instead I really enjoyed it.” — Hailee Zatar “High school helped me realize that friends are those that you take time to care about. You can care about an awful lot of people.” — Victoria Banks

What are you looking forward to in your future? “I’m looking forward to new people and being on my own. It will be weird not having my mom’s dinner and my dad’s lunch.” — Rachael Demjanik “Going to college and being independent and starting the next chapter of my life.” — Kelsey Poston “Making a difference in the world.” — Rebecca Rice “Being independent.” — Maddie Ford “Meeting new people and seeing what I am able to achieve without my parents tby my side all the time.” — Lyndsey Harrold “To be able to look back and smile about all the experiences.” — Johnny Tong “Studying what I want to study — OU’s musical theater program is a conservatory so I’ll never have to take an english, math or science class ever again.” — Tanner Rose “Changing the world! Surfing! Meeting lots and lots of people and finding out how to make their lives better.” — Victoria Banks

What is your favorite memory of Northwest? “Taking Writers Workshop my junior year. Finding something you are good at is a wonderful feeling.” — Ashley Vining “Listening to the good poems in the Poetry Slam and watching the crowd actually listen and be affected.” — Sarah Male “Watching Coach Meseke dance in the lockeroom after a big win.” — Jackson Foth “Friday night football games.” — Kaycee Greenwood “That feeling you get when you finish your last final for the year.” — Connor Kelley “Conducting the lightshow from the center podium.” — Cameron Bock “Performing the senior song with my best friend.” — Evan Shinn


For What It’s Worth performed by Evan Shinn and Isabel Zacharias I’ve been thinking maybe we were much too young to care for whom our hearts belonged And I keep wondering if I’m including in your plans or if I’ll ever hold your hand Again. I’m dreaming of driving with the windows down swearing that I’ll leave this town But the moment things change memories fade away yet the feelings stay. So, tell me this is where I’m supposed to be Cuz I can’t forget I can’t regret you I know that I’ve been wrong but that’s the past and I’ve grown up more than you know. (but that’s the past and I’ve moved on more than you know.) And all I’m wishing is in a year you’ll hear my name and have something at all to say Cuz we are each a part of what the other is I don’t know how to tell you this that I keep missing all the conversations we would have when times were tough and we were mad but the moment things change memories fade away yet the feelings stay. Thinking back to battles we fought when friends we made while loves were lost we know we were not alone.

photo by Nate Compton

But maybe we were much too young.

the Northwest Passage — Senior Magazine  

Issue 11 — Special Edition — May 11, 2012