Page 1

epic volume 50. issue 4 december 16, 2011



8800 west 85th street overland park, kansas 66212

mission west

in our

thoughts The West community was stunned at the loss of junior Ashton Brunmeier, senior Tom Karlin, and softball coach Ron Merfen. [pgs. 4 & 10]

sensational spelling

profile: donte hill

Repertory Theatre put on their musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee in the auditorium on Dec. 8-9. [pg. 21]

Junior Donte Hill, who had his legs amputated at age two, has been on the swimming team since his freshman year. [pg. 17]


economy affects lunch affordability One third of students at school are on free and reduced lunch. Is the economy to blame? by tim dodderidge



The band marches through the snow flurries in preparation for their performance in the 2012 London New Years Day Parade. The band leaves for London on December 26.

news in brief Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced that the Obama administration has decided to overrule the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation to make the Plan B contraceptive pill available to people of all ages and out from behind the counter. Although some liberal and womens’ rights advocates expressed discontent with the decision, Obama cited Sebelius’s concerns that young girls could misuse the pill.


by connor henderson

Virginia Tech University has been rocked by another shooting, just four years after the infamous 2007 massacre that left 32 people, plus the gunman himself, dead. The gunman was Ross Truett Ashley, 22, who attended nearby Radford University. Ashley approached officer Deriek Crouse in his unmarked police vehicle and shot him. A campus-wide alert was sent out, and Ashley was later found dead with a handgun nearby.


Finals Blocks 2&3 Varsity Boys and Girls Basketball

24 Christmas Eve



17 25



26 Christmas Day

Finals Blocks 4&5 Early Dismissal 11:25 a.m.

Kwanzaa Begins

Winter Break No School

Hyatt Hotels Corp. announced it does not plan to donate to the memorial in remembrance of the Crown Center Skywalks collapse in 1981 that killed 114 people, pointing out that Hyatt has ceased its operations in Kansas City with the hotel now run by Sheraton. The memorial foundation had anticipated a donation from Hyatt but is confident construction will begin soon and be finished by the 31st anniversary of the tragedy July 17, 2012.

A cannonball ravaged part of San Fransisco after it took an “unforeseen bounce” during the filming of the Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters” program. The ball blasted through the front door of a residential home, up the stairs, through an occupied bedroom, and finally landed on top of parked minivan. Hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman plan to compensate the homeowners and will not air the cannonball accident on the show.

20 Finals Blocks 21 6&7 Early Dismissal 11:25 Varsity Basketball

28 Winter Break No School

Winter Break No School

29 Winter Break No School

22 Winter Break No School

30 Winter Break No School

23 Winter Break No School


34: the percentage of students at West who are currently getting school lunches for $0.40 or cheaper - students that are on free and reduced lunch. Over the past three years, the percentage has risen nearly 7 percent. Many people are putting the economy at fault. “Prices are going up while many are struggling to maintain the same level of income,” Tim Rooney, Manager of Budget and Finance for SMSD, said. Free and reduced lunch, which is totally based on household size and income, assures that students are able to eat a full lunch every day. Since 2008, the number of students on this program district-wide has grown from 27 percent to 35 percent. “[The program] is designed as a safety net for kids if they can’t afford lunch,” Nancy Coughenour, Manager of Food Services for SMSD, said. She receives applications for the program, reviews them, and sends them off to each school. According to Rooney, unemployment and underemployment have been factors in the influx of students on free and reduced lunch. Some families that always had the money became laid off due to the economic recession, and they need some way to help their families. “Having a child or children approved for free and reduced meals is a help for the family. This allows the family to utilize their money on other things such as rent, instead of purchasing breakfast or lunch at school,” Coughenour said. That 34 percent statistic could be higher. Coughenour said many students either don’t realize that the program is available or would be too embarrassed to admit that they are signed up for it. She assures that it is confidential, as there are no special cards or anything; it’s all private. “Many people don’t realize that a program like this is available. It’s meant to be caring and confidential at the same time,” Coughenour said. The only way that the district has been able to support free and reduced lunch is through government funding for the program. “The school finance formula allows the district to receive additional funding for at-risk children that is based on the number of students eligible for free lunches each year,” Rooney said. Lately, overall funding to the district has decreased, while they’ve still been able to get appropriate funding to provide for free and reduced lunch,

faces in the hall Heather Schmidt senior




and over the next few years, the percentage of students may keep rising until the economy digs out from the recession. “We’re not like the federal government. When revenue goes down, we have to cut expenditures,” Rooney said. With the economy struggling and families making less annual income per year, it’s programs like free and reduced lunch that are allowing students the option of getting a full meal. This summer, the district also has a plan to offer free lunches to anyone between the ages of four and 18. The program will last from June 4 to July 27 at Comanche, Rosehill, Nieman, and Shawanoe Elementary Schools. “We found federal monies so that food service will be able to offer lunches during the summer,” Coughenour said. “We really feel strongly that kids should get helped all year round.” Budget cuts are increasing along with student fees, and according to Rooney, the cuts were pretty painful. But in the end, it’s what make programs like free and reduced lunch an option for those who are currently in need, which, in the present time is over 34 percent. “You may walk through the cafeteria and try to pick out all of the students that are getting help, but you’d be surprised at how many people truly are on free and reduced lunch,” Erica Warren, associate principal, said. SUBMITTED

by jordan johnson

Favorite snow day What kind of music activity do you listen to?

Favorite restaurant:

Favorite sport:

Favorite bubblegum flavor:



Noodles & Co.



Taylor Chubick junior

Make a legendary snowman


Cici’s Pizza


Polar Ice

Ryley Welsh sophomore

Make an awesome snowman

All except country




Katie Streit freshman

Watch movies


Macaroni Grill

New Years Eve





Cancer. One little word, but almost everyone has been affected by it in some way or another. The West student body is all too familiar with this word. Ashton Brunmeier, junior, passed last weekend due to rhabdomyosarcoma - a form of cancer that infects your connective tissues. It rarely affects teenagers. Ernest Ronald “Ron” Merfen, gym teacher at Pawnee elementary school, passed recently after an eight-month battle with leukemia. Cancer is a collection of various diseases involved in cell growth. In 2010, there were 1,529,560 cases of cancer, and 569,490 deaths. Men were affected very slightly more than women. Prostate cancer was most common for men, while breast cancer affected women the most. However, out of all types, lung cancer caused the most deaths for both men and women. Rhabdomyosarcoma accounts for 3.3% of all childhood cancers. It is less common in teenagers. Children are usually treated by surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. It can affect your head, neck, torso, hands, and feet. Ashton was first diagnosed during October of 2009, his freshman year. He was announced cancer-free November of his sophomore year. Unfortunately, Brunmeier relapsed during July of his junior year. “Ashton and I have been good friends since November of sophomore year. When he got cancer the second time it hit me kind of hard, but I knew I would be there for him through it all,” Jack Jeronimus, junior, said. Brunmeier attended Pawnee Elementary. His sixth grade teacher, Niki Neal, knew the Brunmeier family, having taught him and his sister, Morgan. “He was funny, a good student, he liked to clown around and talk to everyone,” Neal said. “He was the classroom helper; he even helped the custodian clean the cafeteria.” Neal recalls a specific memory about Brunmeier when he danced in the talent show. “He danced with a group of guys, and at the end of their dance, all the boys clasped their arms together and threw him up into the air. He went flying and almost fell off the stage. He actually landed on his feet, rolled, and jumped up,” she said. Brunmeier’s life was remembered over Twitter with people trending “#ATBmemories.” Somehow, that snowballed into just #ATB, which trended nationally. The Viking community came through strong, stating “Once a Viking, always a Viking.” Merfen’s story also relocates back to Pawnee, but deals with a different kind of cancer: leukemia. Leukemia is uncommon in adults and mostly affects children. Leukemia is a cancer caused by the drastic increase in white blood cells. It affects the blood, bone marrow and lymphoid system. Leukemia is most common in kids, but also affects adults. In 2010, there were 43,050 cases of leukemia, and 21,840 deaths. Merfen was diagnosed with leukemia around eight months ago, which was big news to Neal. “I knew him for 37 years. He was my gym teacher when I was a student at Pawnee, and I worked with him for eight years.” Neal said. “We were definitely close.” Neal was good friends with Merfen, knowing him for most of her life. He taught Neal when she attended Pawnee Elementary. She remembers how Merfen treated her when she was pregnant. “When I was really pregnant, Merfen pulled out the old mile times from when I was a kid and called me slow. I was just like, you can’t tell a pregnant woman that they’re slow! But he was always kind, too. If someone felt insecure about something he was very encouraging.” Neal said. Dr. Mark Kelly was the principal at Pawnee Elementary when Brun-

meier attended, and also knew Merfen, keeping up with his status even after moving schools. “I worked at Pawnee for seven years, and remember Ashton. He was a great young man with a great sense of humor. The Pawnee teachers kept me updated on his situation. It was really heartbreaking.” Kelly said. Kelly knew Merfen well, working with him for the entire time he was at Pawnee. “He was my lead teacher, and we worked pretty hard together each day. He did a great job of working with the students. If I was gone, he was principal.” Kelly said.




candles for cancer

Cancer affects many people, two of whom were part of the West community. by jenny brown and alex leininger visit The Voyager, the online home of Shawnee Mission West. A collaboration of newspaper, yearbook, and video production.

Close friends of mourn the death of Ashton Brunmeier at the Candlelight Vigil held on December 6 in the auditorium.

Most common sites for Cancer - 2010 Men


Prostate: 217,730 (28%)

Breast: 207,090 (28%)

Lung: 116,750 (15%)

Lung: 105,770 (14%)

Colon: 72,090 (9%)

Colon: 70,480 (10%)

Urinary: 52,760 (7%)

Uterus: 43,470 (6%)

Melanoma: 38,870 (5%)

Thyroid: 33,930 (5%)

Lymphoma: 35,380 (4%)

Lymphoma: 30,160 (4%)

Kidney: 35,370 (4%)

Melanoma: 29,260 (4%)

letter to the editor There are some gossip tweets that aren’t true and need to stop. A tweet from a gossip Twitter account was sent about me on November 21. They need to stop because 1) It’s hurting whoever they’re about and 2) the people who are tweeting this stuff have no right, in fact, absolutely no right because they don’t have any facts leading to the truth. These jerks hear what they want to hear and then they’re just like, “I’m bored. Hey, I know! Let’s start up untrue facts and rumors and hurt these people just because I want to laugh at their pain.” They find it to be funny. These people need to realize that it’s hurting us. To the people spreading the rumors, I just want to tell you to get a life. I hate it when they think it’s perfectly okay to spread lies about people. Some of you students think violence is always the answer or hurting people is really funny. Well, it’s never funny. And you’ve heard this before, but what if it was you that people were spreading lies about? You may say that you wouldn’t care, but we all know you do care if people talk trash about you, so don’t give us that. If the bullies can’t say these things to anyone’s face then they shouldn’t say them at all. I mean, do these bullies think they’ll have any friends? People hurt other people (whether it’s physically or verbally) just because it makes them feel better about themselves. Can’t they go do something more productive that doesn’t involve hurting others? These people need to stop. I mean not just stop for now, but forever. I know I’ve been repeating this, but I and any of the students at school don’t want to be gossiped about, especially if the rumors are harmful to us. People have feelings and the bullies have forgotten about that. I am so tired of hearing “Oh, I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone? I didn’t know it was a secret.” If you were told it was a secret then it should stay a secret. I am also tired of seeing people get hurt from gossip. Just stop the gossip. I know it may be difficult for young, stubborn people, but that’s not an excuse. I don’t care how difficult it is and how great the secret is and how it feels to hurt someone. Just stop the gossip. It’s not that difficult. -Alex Swanson, sophomore





the intimidator by tim dodderidge

along for the ride


leininger lexicon

by alex leininger

tis the season I’m flabbergasted. There are many important things to complain about. World hunger. Poverty. Papercuts. So why do people have to complain about something like Christmas season? Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever else you celebrate (Kwanzaa?) is supposed to create an air of joy, bring family and friends together and make the world a better freaking place. I just honestly don’t get what you could possibly not like about it. In fact, I am going to make a list of some of the complaints I hear most often, and show you why they are stupid. 1. Christmas music is annoying. First of all, how can you say that Christmas music is annoying when today’s radio is filled with Rihanna’s talentless wailing and Pitbull’s incomprehensible mumbling? It doesn’t even compare. The point behind Christmas music isn’t the artistry or tune (although personally I think Christmas songs are unbelievably catchy), it’s the sentiment and nostalgia. Stop whining about hearing Christmas music in November. Let people be happy. So no, kid that’s “too cool” for Christmas music. You’re annoying. 2. People put decorations up too early. How could this possibly bug you?! They’re decorations. Excuse us for impeding your morning view with our jolly electric snowmen and care-


fully decorated tree. view with our jolly electric snowmen and carefully decorated tree. Wouldn’t want you to have to gaze at something that we put our hard work and lives into (because you can die from those ladders - be careful) for a few seconds. I mean really. Do you hate puppies too? 3. No Christmas until Thanksgiving is over! Out of all of the complaints, I understand this one the most. Thanksgiving deserves attention too. HOWEVER, how are you supposed to decorate your house for Thanksgiving? In my household, we throw a few plush turkeys around and put fake red, orange and yellow leaves everywhere. We don’t do Christmas decorations until Thanksgiving is over. But I think this is dumb. Thanksgiving is cool too, but Christmas deserves way more than 25 days of celebration. 4. I’m too old for this. Yes, the presents may not be what they used to be to you (I’m getting a 160gb iPod though, I don’t know what you’re talking about), but you will never be too old for Christmas. To me, December is the one time of the year when I can go back to naive, happy times of my childhood. I like being 17 too, but I will always be a child at heart. Don’t grow up too fast. After those, nobody really has any reason to ever complain about Christmas ever again, so could you just stop forever? Okay, good. I will always love Christmas. I’m pretty sure when I’m 40, I’ll go into my kids’ rooms and jump on their beds on Christmas morning, rather than vice versa. I can’t see myself ever quitting that tradition. Even this winter, as I travel to Clarion, Iowa (population nonexistent), I won’t complain about having nothing to do. My family goes up there every year, and it has become a tradition of ours. Merry Christmas, everyone.

If you were one of those kids who was annoyed because 87th Street was down to one lane a few weeks ago on your way to school, because some guy’s car was just sitting there, I just want to let you know that was me. Yep, my car broke down, making me late to my first class that morning. Not only did I have to get my car towed, but it was the third time that this had happened in less than a week. The first two times were just not as big of a deal, if you could say that. This third time, though, came with a warning. The few preceding days were a nightmare on the road for me. Having my car fixed twice, I still had the fear that my car would break down. Every time the car’s acceleration dropped, so did my heart. I was being overcautious about everything, on and off the road. But then on a dark, rainy Thursday morning, deja vu happened, again: my car’s engine died on me. I couldn’t believe it. It’s really weird what flashes through your mind in those few split seconds. I remember a lot of things that I said to myself as this third breakdown occurred: What do I do? Where can I go? How can I make this situation better? If you think about it, though, this is kind of what life is like. Sometimes there are things out of your control - things that you can’t change, but will change or stay the same anyway, just like when we unexpectedly lost two students recently. I didn’t know what was going on. I asked myself, “Life, what did you do with the world I used to know?” The reason why I get aggravated so easily by this is because I often struggle to accept things. I’m always striving for something better, something easier to take in; I always find myself in disbelief and discontent. But when really thinking about my car struggles, I found that these events made me a lot wiser about situations; they’re just a part of the process of growing up. Now that I look back on myself 16-year-old self, I realize that I hardly knew anything then. When I looked back on my 14-year-old self when I was 16, I probably thought that I hardly knew anything then either. Really, I’ve learned so much in the last few years, whether it’s about car problems, friendships, or academics. Well, the Tim Dodderidge Auto Fiasco may finally be over with (let’s hope), but it’s definitely changed a lot of things. Every single time I’m driving, I think about the sputtering of the engine and the heaviness of the brakes. The memories remain as time goes on, just like when I got in my first accident last year. Every single time I pass by that intersection, the same moment flashes in front of my eyes like a fuzzy dream. But through all of the dented doors, crushed hubcaps, loose parts and despairing hearts, I can’t say that I regret experiences like these. Like I said,


the drawing board: GARRETT WILSON

connor’s o r n e r gone but never forgotten As my mountains of fan mail suggest, my readers are clamoring for more of my sweet, beautiful words. My riveting exposé discussing the popular dancing style known as “grinding” provoked a great deal of discussion, but here I will touch on something more serious. Under normal circumstances, I would write about something fun and silly, but considering the events of the past month, I feel obligated to talk about Tom and Ashton, and what we can take away from their stories. Loss is not entirely new to me. In September of my junior year, my older brother Ryan, a 2007 West graduate, suddenly passed away. While at West, Ryan was passionate about running and music, and he ended up attending Drake University on academic and guitar scholarships. Losing Ryan was a storm that left me in a heap, to say the least. That’s why it’s all the more encouraging to me seeing how West has come together in response to what happened to Tom and Ashton. Although nothing will bring them back, the immediate and overwhelming outpouring of love has done much to soften the blow and make people take a look at their own lives. It’s amazing how big the #ATB trend has gotten on Twitter. Ashton’s story has reached thousands of people around the globe, and most of us would be happy to have just a fraction of the impact Ashton has had. People tweet #ATB for this or #ATB for that, and the feelings are strong right now, but inevitably the fervor will die down eventually. That raises an important question. We can all agree that life is precious, and because of that we ought to live it as fully as we can. But, how do we go about doing that? Too often we complain, myself included. Examples include: School is boring. This food sucks. I’m tired. I wish I could just fast forward to college. This is a dangerous habit to fall into. When we constantly complain, we forget the fact that each and every day we wake up is a something to be celebrated. The truth is, Ryan and Tom and Ashton and any other loved one who has gone before you no longer experience the ups-and-downs of everyday life, from the moments of complete bliss to the hard times. Just taking time to appreciate even the little miracles (my personal favorite is the exhilarating rush on chicken nugget day) will help us live our lives in a more meaningful way. If you were to die tomorrow, what legacy would you want to leave? It’s a tough, but important, question to ask, and the answer to it varies from person to person. I challenge you to think about it and determine whether or not the way you’re living matches up to it. As awful as some of the losses the West community has faced are, there can be good if those of us left behind bring about some sort of change in our own lives. We owe Tom and Ashton and Ryan and everyone else we love that much. And that’s the way Connor “C’s” it.

good golly young at heart

Those who know me will tell you that I am a kid at heart. If you don’t know me, well hi there. I am abnormally tall, sing embarrassingly loud in the shower, and would ride roller coasters all day if possible. Nice to meet you. Anyways, even though I have nearly attained that stage in life called “adulthood”, my love for all things childish has never dissipated. Now we all claim to love the classic Disney movies, but my adoration, especially for the Lion King, probably goes beyond what is considered sane. If I could become anyone in the world (including God), I would honestly choose Nala. Yes, becoming God would get passed over for the chance to sing “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” with Simba. God holds way too much responsibility, has to work insanely long hours (i.e. never-ending), and probably suffers constant headaches from trying to listen to everyone talk at once. Can you imagine having to field every thought that Paris Hilton ever formed? Hardly sounds pleasant. Needless to say, I am a big Disney fan. Instead of doing homework or those inconsequential things called college applications, I often pull out my fabulous box of 120 Crayola crayons and fill the pages of my Puppies and Friends coloring book. Going to see Winnie the Pooh in

a deserted movie theater with four friends was a highlight of my summer. Yeah, mindblowingly exciting. More recently, however, I had been forgetting my childlike disposition. Somewhere in the fervor of college essays, basketball season, and total sleep deprivation, I turned into Mr. Frederickson from the movie Up. Grumpy, old, tired, and generally unpleasant. The weight of having 786,138,925 things to do and about 13 minutes to do them all was crushing me. I had ceased to be a kid at heart. preoccupied with the minutiae of everyday life. Mrs. [insert name] assigned how many pages of Shakespeare!? Susie hooked up with who!? Johnny’s parents found what in the basement!? We become so focused on frivolous drama that our ability to see beyond this minute, this hour, this week is diminished. In the rush of wanting to do everything and know everyone, we overlook the simple joys in life. The stress of being high schoolers can cause us to lose sight of what is truly important. But to a child, the world is bright and exciting. Every roadblock is not an obstacle, but an adventure. Happiness is found in something as tiny as a bear hug, game of tag, or Barbie. With the possible exception of the traumatizing trip to the zoo where a hippo pooped in my face (don’t ask), even the most mundane of my childhood memories are painted in bright, happy colors. That innocence, imagination, and energy is why I constantly strive to channel my inner kiddo. By appreciating the simple joys in life, we can shed our young adulthood, if only for a few minutes. So join me for a coloring session sometime, if that floats your boat. Or maybe a game of driveway basketball. Or a bounce on the trampoline. Find something that you love unconditionally and hold onto it tight. Just remember that in the midst of all this growing up, it’s ok to be a kid sometimes.



by lauren scobee and claire hug On the job training provides students with real world work experience in the winter so I didn’t have enough hours to complete the requirements. So I work at Beauty Brands to supplement my hours,” said Harding. Students need to work a total of 180 hours to meet the requirements for on the job training. Most enjoy their jobs and would agree that they have learned a lot of new skills. “I really like working at both places. It’s a great environment with friendly people. I like who I work with,” Harding said. To do on the job training students have to be enrolled in advanced digital business and have taken computer apps and digital business. They enroll in the class and work for both semesters. Most students work in an office and make $8-$10 an hour on average. On the job training is a unique experience that is helpful to students. It provides valuable business experience and college credit.

Epic Staff

twitter gossip

The gossip Twitter phenomenon finally hit rock bottom when the admini stration found out about a certain Twitter account. Throughout the past couple years Twitter has taken off as a new form of entertainment between high school students. It is now a way to have a constant update on any persons thoughts; especially when most students at West have access to Twitter on their cell phones. Of course, it didn’t take long for this luxury to be abused. Last year, a few seniors created a “gossip twitter” account with the main purpose of slamming fellow classmates of all grade levels on reported inciden ts that may or may not even be true. The account was then passed on to students who still attended West and they have continued to tweet from the same account. Most victims shrugge d off the attention as if they didn’t care, but who are we to assume that this kind of verbal bullying isn’t hurting victims? At the start of the year, gossip twitters became even more popula r, you can now find over 35 gossip twitters just from our school. We have to ask ourselv es the question, is this necessary? If you think about how much time people waste picking on other people just for the satisfaction and attention of other peers, it can be more than disappointing. If more people put all that time into being a better student or respecting people, our school would be a better environment. The privilege of having social media comes with great responsibility. It can be used inappropriately, or it could be exercised in a positive way. On Monda y, December 5; an unknown student started trending #ATB for junior Ashton Brunmeier who lost his two year battle with cancer. As more students contributed, it became a nationwide movement that provided support for students who were struggling with the loss of a friend, as well as support to Ashton’s family. Actions like this over any type of social media should be what is expected, and encouraged. So this should be a challenge to all you fellow tweeters: please think twice before you post something, you might not know how much of an effect it can have. Imagine how incredible the feeling is of compliments and positive recognition. Let’s try to reinforce the West Way even through twitter.


co editors-in-chief tim dodderidge alex leininger assistant/sports editor joshua smith photo editor landon ochsner news editor connor henderson features editor molly norburg copy/opinion editor terri harvey a&e editor molly smith staff writers abby banning kyle becher jenny brown marleah campbell erin feller madeline frankel andy gottschalk claire hug erica hui jordan johnson hayden lasalle ryan miller marina sarkisova lauren scobee natalie stephens photographers jonah heng kendra hoffman ryan lansdon sarah mcgreevy tomos ridenhour aaron roberts cartoonist garrett wilson adviser amy morgan The “Epic” is the newspaper of Shawnee Mission West, 8800 W. 85th St., Overland Park, KS 66212. It is produced by a staff of high school journalists dedicated to the principles of journalism: to present facts and occurrences truthfully and without bias. Articles of opinion or analysis are labeled and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff and/or the publication. In accordance with Kansas law, the “Epic” staff is entitled to freedom of the press. Neither the West administration nor the SMSD are responsible for any article, advertisement, photograph,, illustration or opinion piece in the “Epic”. The “Epic” encourages letters to the editor, but they must be signed and submitted to room 11. The “Epic” is published bimonthly. It is printed by the Kansas City Star and is distributed free of charge to students. For advertising information call (913) 993-7911.


Editorial Board

on the clock

Seniors Megan Underwood (top left) and Jazmine Spight (bottom right) work on computers in digital business class.


Students use on the job training to work during school. For most students the school day ends at 2:40 and they head home or to practice. But for those involved in on the job training, the day ends after sixth block and they go to work. On the job training is a program for students that provides college credit and work experience. “It is good work experience. I can say that I already have experience when I apply for a job,” Brian Smith, senior, said. Smith works at RTS Financial Services Inc. in the credit department. “I deal with making sure a company’s credentials are good for partners and I enter data into the system,” Smith said. Students work until five in the evening in a variety of occupations and get paid for their hard work. Megan Underwood, senior, also works at RTS Financial Services Inc. She folds and stamps mail as well as files. “I like it because I don’t have to work weekends and it’s good experience,” Underwood said. Jazmine Spight, senior, works at Barnes and Noble. She shelves books and deals with the customers. “It’s a lot of hard work and I’m on my feet all the time, but I like it because everyone works as a team to meet goals,” Spight said. Opportunities continue to last even after high school. Students can continue working in other locations, but keep the same job. Some students even have two jobs. Natalie Harding works at Custom Eyes and Beauty Brands. “I worked all summer at Custom Eyes but business slows down



With the loss of two students and one coach this school year, the morale of the students has been particularly low. In the past couple of months Shawnee Mission West High School has experienced multiple traumatic events that have effected majority of the student body. Students have tried their best to move on from the losses, because they know that they can’t mourn forever. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Swiss American psychiatrist, outlined the the five stages of grief in her 1969 book, “On Death and Dying”, her premise is that to fully heal from a loss, a person must pass through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Individuals can pass through the stages of grief multiple times and in varying degrees. The final stage is acceptance. Recognizing the the loss, sharing feelings with others and remembering loved ones will lead to acceptance. Close friends of the deceased have said that this has been the hardest time of their lives. “It’s a hard, long process. You go through a lot of emotions,” Paige Parker, sophomore, said. Parker was dating junior, Ashton Brunmeier when he passed away, it has been extremely difficult for her. Many students have found comfort in being with the families of the deceased students, spending time with their friends and social media. After senior Tom Karlin’s death in November, friends shared memories and photos on his Facebook wall. “I think social media has been really helpful with the process. For some students writing on the deceased persons’ Facebook is a way they connect with that person,” Cindy Neely, counselor, said. Anecdotes and tributes are a method of bargaining they are a commitment to remember the individual. “Facebook has helped me because I’ll be feeling down then I’ll see peoples stories and memories and it makes me laugh because Ashton was a goofy kid,” Cole Bryant, junior, said. Freshman Madison Moore said reading the stories on Facebook has helped her get some closure. Students turned to Twitter to remember Brunmeier by tweeting his initials #ATB, and trying to make them trend. According to the Twitter help center, the trending topics reflect what new or newsworthy topics are occupying most people’s attention on Twitter at any one time. Not only have people from our area come together to try and get #ATB trending, people from all over the world have been tweeting it. #ATB was a trending topic, in parts of India, Europe, Brazil and China. On December 7, #ATB was one of the most tweeted things in

America. “It has really helped me to see that #ATB has been tweeted nationally, it shows how much everyone is coming together to support Ashton and his family,” Sara Kraff, senior, said. Celebrities including, Tech N9ne, Mac Miller, Jozy Altidore, Erin Andrews, Frank Martin, Bill Self and KU and K-State football and basketball players, have also tweeted #ATB in memory of Brunmeier. “Seeing celebrities tweet #ATB has really helped me through all of this,” Jesse Wilkins, sophomore, said. For other students just seeing everyone come together has helped them. “What has helped me most is the support I am getting from everyone in this area, all my friends and stuff,” Seve Sites, junior, said. Lucas Sylvester, senior, said he is glad to see all the good memories, and all the friends in the Viking community just being there for each other. School administration has recognized what a good resource social media can be. Dr. Charles McLean said that they have decided to develop a West Facebook page and Twitter account. “They [students] don’t think e-mail is as great as I think it is. Mrs. Warren is going to be in charge of the Twitter and Mr. Burgat is going to be in charge of the Facebook. It’s going to be a way to get information out to the students quickly.” “Unfortunately we have to live through the pain and not deny that something happened, if we don’t deal with the pain now we will have to deal with it later,” Cindy Neely, counselor, said. Teachers and administrators have also had to deal with these events in their own ways. It isn’t easy for them either. “It’s certainly been a challenge this year. Regardless of how close you are to the people we have lost, there are always people around you that are effected so you are dealing with people that are sad. We try to be pretty flexible with giving people extra time on things, but we have to continue to move on,” Brad Tennant, math teacher, said. Not only does the staff have to deal with their own emotions they have to deal with the students feelings as well. “Just like students, I have my strong moments and my weak moments, and so I feel the sadness just like everybody else,” Neely said. “ I also know that I have to try to help students deal with their grief. I have definitely had my tears, just like the students rely on friends, I have relied on the support of my colleagues to help me face the same task of grieving.” For the techno generation, social media is the newest way to help individuals grieve.

“It’s a hard, long process. You go through a lot of emotions.”

Recent #ATB Tweets




Through modern technology, students have been able to deal with the passing of two students this year. by madeline frankel



but never out

vikings overcome painful injuries on the road to recovery by ryan miller and natalie stephens// photo by andy gottschalk Injuries are almost inevitable, and whether it be from sports, car wrecks, or freak accidents students are often faced with injuries and forced to deal with them. One can miss out on a lot from getting a serious injury, sophomore Corbin Warner who broke his Clavicle (bone that forms the top part of your shoulder) during the C team - JV soccer scrimmage his freshman year would know. “I had to sit out from all activities that required the use of my arm for at least eight weeks. Which meant I had to miss most of my freshman year of playing soccer, along with playing snare drum in the marching band,” Warner said of missing school activities. “That was the worst part, not being able to play soccer and be there for my teammates on the field was hard,” he added. Junior Mitch Kelly had a freak incident, and also had to miss out on important events. On the way to state track last spring he had a horrible stomach ache and was throwing up, he thought he could sleep it off and be fine but that wasn’t the case. He had to receive an emergency appendectomy, which is getting your appendix removed to prevent it from causing a potential life threatening infection in your body. “I had to miss out on state track, I was only an alternate on the team but I wish I could have been there to support my teammates and help run if they needed me,” Kelly said. Other than missing events they were suppose to be a part of, both Kelly and Warner agree that the pain each had to endure was the worst part of their experiences. “It was the first bone I’ve ever broke and the worst pain I’ve ever felt. I went air borne and heard a crack when I hit the ground, I started to roll over and heard another crack and was in more pain. All I could remember is screaming in pain, me eyes blurred from tears, while laying on the field,” Warner said. Kelly describes the pain he felt very similarly. “It was the most pain I have ever been in. I was extremely uncomfortable, and I tried to do anything I could to get comfortable, but it was impossible. I was throwing up and had a lot of pain in my stomach. By the time I arrived at the hospital I was slowly losing feeling in my limbs and the numbness was moving up my arms,” Kelly said. Surgery is also one of the most serious parts of being injured. Operations can consist of anything from getting screws placed into a bone, or having tissue repaired.

“To treat my injury, they took cells out of my knee and sent them to a lab in Boston, where they re-grew cartilage to put back in my knee,” Nick Thayer, senior, said. Thayer suffered an injury during baseball that caused him to not have enough cartilage in his knee. Warner’s surgery didn’t involve having to send anything to a lab in Boston, but it was still a serious one. “They put a plate and eleven screws in my shoulder to align the bone ends and hold them together so they could heal. Everything went very well,” Warner said, on the specifics of his operation. The other part about surgery is the healing process, for most surgeries this can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year. “The entire healing process took eight months, but I couldn’t play sports my entire sophomore year,” Thayer said. All three agree that the pain of the initial injury, the hassle that surgery is, and how it is hard to miss out on important activities you are a part of are all of the hardest hurdles of being injured. Unfortunately, other than being careful there is nothing people can do to try to eliminate injuries from happening.

most common teen injuries • knee injuries • ankle sprains • shin splints • tendonitis • stress fractures • concussions ISSUE 4 THE EPIC 11

the epic’s wish list Toms - Molly Smith, a&e editor

What Do You Want For Christmas? Students share what they desire most for christmas this year.

Wipeout, The Game for Wii - Sarah McGreevy, photographer/staff writer


galore by Hayden Lassalle, Molly Smith, and Landon Ochsner


Liverpool soccer jersey Ryan Miller, staff writer

Netflix - Kyle Becher, staff writer

Popular Gift Ideas Battlefield 3, MW3, Skyrim: Elder Scrolls

Chloe De La Pena, Senior “All of the seasons of Big Bang Theory becasue I think that show is hilarious.”

Gabe Andrews, Junior “A home recording studio because I want my music artist skills to shine.”

Kyle Eisenbarger, Junior “I want subs for my car because I used to have some, but I sold them.”

Nikon J-1 camera - Erin Feller, staff writer

Electronics Xbox 360, Smartphone, iPod Touch, iPad, Kindle Fire


North Face jackets, American Eagle clothes, Nike gear, Under Armour hoodies. A jar of pickles - Joshua Smith, sports editor

Movies Colt Hudson, Junior “Skyrim because it’s so awesome. Words can not even describe it.”

Erich Hanks, Junior “I want an Xbox 360 because the Wii is terrible.”

Emma Carson, Senior “A lifesize cut out of Jacob Black because I would kiss it every morning when I wake up.”

Pirates of the Caribbean 4, The Hangover 2,



words 300

Everyone has a story. This is the belief behind the series “300 words.” Each issue, a student or teacher is chosen at random and their story is told in 300 words. written by: madeline frankel

Changing Keys


Marisa Waren, junior, a new student that has a passion for singing. Waren came to West from William Chrisman High School in Independence, MO near the end of October. “From what I have noticed, I think she has adapted very well to the new school, the [choir] girls have seemed to make her feel right and home,” Miss Mitchell, student choir teacher said. “When Marisa walked into our choir class I didn’t know who she was so I ran over to her, she got really wide eyed, cause I’m loud, but now we’re friends, she’s nice just quiet,” Montana Willey, sophomore said. When coming to West Waren joined the girls choir. “My favorite part about the West choir is probably that they are a very welcoming choir, and I like how we all come together as one for our performances,” Waren said. Waren has been singing pretty much since she could talk and has been in choirs since elementary school. “I decided to start singing because I found it was really fun and soothing and every time I sing people tell me that I sing very well,” Waren said. Willey said that Waren has a very pretty voice, she was pleasantly surprised. “She has a great voice, she blends in very nicely with all the other ladies and she has been a great addition [to the choir],” Mitchell said. Outside of singing Waren is aquiet but kind person according to multiple students. “I met her [Waren] in Spanish class, she is really nice and caring,” Alexandria Tush, junior, said. Warren has huge goals for her future in singing. “I really would like to become a professional singer, I’d love to go on ‘American Idol,’ but my main goal is to become a choir director for schools,” Warren said.

Earn college credit while in high school

“College Now classes made my workload so much lighter my first year of college.”

4.2 SM West 2011

Hannah, transferred 20 College Now credits to the University of Kansas

College Now at Johnson County Community College is the only nationally accredited concurrent program in Kansas. See your school counselor for details or visit




just joshua by joshua smith As I sit and reflect on how I nearly died when I fought for two Xbox 360 kinect games on Black Friday I wonder just how many people will actually effectively use the games they barbarically just fought for. I mean, I know that in essence, really a video game is normally, simply for entertainment, a means to calm tension, or the go to object when avoiding homework. But with the uprising of games that help your health it makes me wonder just how many people actually take effective use of what stands before them. Kinect Sports: Season two and Dance Central 2 (a guilty pleasure, don’t judge) both as most know are games that use the new technology by Microsoft. They both involve no controller, but instead force you to actively move your body to submerge yourself physically into the game. The relationship between Kinect and its user can at times be bittersweet. Personally, I find joy after dancing showing how the “Club Can’t Handle

Junior Donte Hill ditches his wheels for the water by erin feller

kinect-ing with sports Me”, and in return being told I burned calories, but later find myself irritated. I’ve come to realize that just like anything else good in life it doesn’t just come to you, you have to move. I too am lazy at times though, and don’t actually want to make the effort to go to the gym to play a game of basketball, so instead I just pick up a controller, and turn on the tv, to fulfill the random desire to be like Mike. Now that the NBA lockout is over though, I find no use for that random pickup game on my couch. After noticing my habits I’m wondering will the world become so technologically sophisticated that we soon don’t actually go to the gym to play basketball, or go outside to play football with friends? Will what once defined the action of playing a sport be redefined by Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo? For some, playing a sport seems like all they know how to do. For others picking up a controller, and reading the instructions will

get them up to par in what they have to do. This is where I draw the line, I could never bear to see the real physical sense of playing a sport deteriorate, and go away. I feel like the video games we play should actually connect us to the joy of playing the sport. I’m what some would call a tech nerd, and I love to see the advancement of technology, but face it, even though we do have games like kinect, we’d all be unhealthy without real sports. Now I know intense gamers that read this don’t care. They know that they’re getting they’re gaming points by their hours playing, and becoming that much closer to being the best in the world. All I hope is to help you transfer that joy you find in playing the video game, and join me in going back to the roots of that game, and becoming physically active. Though in a world, where we’re able to play in a digital world, sometimes we have to face reality.

life’s a beach

by kyle becher

Would the BCS please just hurry up and make the change to a division one playoff system? They are tearing schools and conferences apart. Tomorrow starts the first day of the college football bowl games, and I can honestly say I am not looking forward to it. They really messed up this time, and the Big 12 yet again had their fate in others hands. Oklahoma State did not get a bid to play in the BCS National Championship game, and it’s really unbelievable how the computers assign the rankings of each team and I don’t understand it. OSU had one slip on their season, and that was against Iowa State with their second to last game of the year. Yet, they were only given one chance for redemption, which they crushed the Oklahoma Sooners, sorry for any OU fans out there. If the Big 12 would have had a Championship game, we would most likely be seeing a LSU vs. OSU national championship game. Not a Division


a time for change match-up with the Alabama Crimson Tide. This just not seem fair, but who would care to argue with a computer, not me. About two years ago, schools started to move conferences for financial reasons, such as Nebraska, Colorado and Boise State. This was done in hope to eventually form four 16-megateam conferences that are separated by region. Mainly this move is for money for the BCS. Yet this solves nothing! It gives the “powerhouse” schools the bids for the BCS Bowl games (Orange, Rose, Fiesta, Sugar and National Championship), and leaves teams like TCU out of the running. Now this is what the president of the BCS should be looking for. Take the division II football post-season play for instance. Twenty four teams make it to the playoff bracket. How they decide this is beyond me, but doing it this way really gives the best team the national championship trophy. The top 25 teams in the

BCS Division I standings at the end of the year, would form a play-off system, similar to that of the Division II. The rest of the field, meaning the teams that did not make it in the top 25, would just continue with the bowl season games. This way, everyone wins. I just don’t think they, the BCS, does not do a good job to congratulate the teams that made a difference with their season. Cough, Cough, K-State. The Wildcats fell twice to two top 10 teams. A playoff system would at least give them a fair shot at erasing these blemishes. Forming these four mega-conferences would possibly solve the financial issue, and put more intense race for the winner of each conference, but for the post-season play it just doesn’t flow with the idea of a mega-conference., something not needed. I would just like to see a playoff system of some sort in the BCS, I feel every team should have a fair chance to become a champion.

The halls after school are chaotic enough, imagine having to get through the crowd in a wheelchair, for Junior Donte Hill that’s his life everyday. Hill was born with Congential Deficiency of the tibia ,which is a rare disease where there is only one bone in the leg, as well as no knee or ankle. Hill’s legs were amputated when he was two years old, he then began using prosthetic legs. “I was really rough on my fake legs so they ended up breaking,” Hill said. When Hill turned 10 he began using his wheelchair. According to Hill’s mother, Johniece Doublin, Hill will learn to walk again one day using prosthetic legs. Hill moved to West freshman year from Washington D.C. According to Hill, it was a big change, but a smooth transition. “D.C. and Kansas are not the same at all, it was hard getting use to everything but I made a lot of friends and now I’m pretty well known around school,” Hill said. Despite Hill’s disability he is a member of the swim team. “Donte is a very fun and lovable guy. His great personality makes everyone love to be around him,” Drake Johnson, teammate, said. Hill describes the swim team as a place where everyone is always nice and excited. “Everyone cheers for one another and wants each other to do well, there’s great teamwork,” Hill said. Hill described that his favorite moment of swim team was last year when he swam the backstroke for his second time. Hill earned his personal record of 1:10. His teammates were beside the pool cheering for him the whole way. Spectators and swimmers from other teams cheered for Hill as well. Even with a handicap, Hill never lets his disabil-



ty get in the way of his swim career. Where he lacks in ability he makes up for in perseverance. “Races are really hard work, and sometimes I feel like I should just quit but then that makes we want to work even harder,” Hill said. According to Johnson, Hill doesn’t let his disabilities limit him at all. “He has so much perseverance and determination to get better times, he’s always doing his best,” Johnson said. Along with bringing his great personality to the team, Hill also came up with the team mascot last season. He brought a yellow rubber duck and before every race his teammates rub it for good luck. “The duck is luck” was the motto for their mascot. Along with being a member of the swim team, Hill was also a varsity football manager. Even though he can’t play the game he still has a love for the sport. “Football’s my favorite sport, and I understand the game so I decided to be a manager to be a part of the team,” Hill said. When Hill isn’t in the pool or on the sidelines he spends a lot of his time playing video games or watching his favorite team, the Philadelphia Eagles. “He’s a huge Madden freak, and anyone who knows him knows he’s a huge Eagles fan,” Alexis Dockett, Hill’s friend, said. “I spend around 20 hours during the weekend playing Madden,” Hill said. Hill has gotten use to West and likes how everyone is nice. According to Hill, it’s not as hard to get around anymore because everyone knows he’s there. “I’ve always taught Donte that he can do anything, he just has to do it different. He truly believes that, and there is nothing he wont try,” Doublin said.


just keep swimming


Favorite Team


Favorite Food Favorite Movie

Cheesecake Step Brothers

Video Game


Lifelong Dream

Hug Nicki Minaj

Favorite Subject

Not Geometry

Worst Movie




freeze frame

Two popular local gyms go head to head to see which is the fittest of them all.

written by // marleah campbell



When I first walked into 68’s Inside Sports, I was surprised by how clean it was. The building was huge and had six racquetball courts and four basketball courts. There was more than enough room. On the third level they had an indoor track which fitted perfectly with my needs. Next to the track was a boxing bag. 68’s offers many unique classes and is a great place to catch up with friends.

When I first walked into Lifetime, I was greeted by a front desk attendant who scanned my membership card. As I continued walking through the entrance I came across a cafe, hair salon, and a lobby area. The upstairs has over 200 cardio machines so there is never a wait to use the equipment. There is also two studios for dance and aerobic classes. The pool area includes two spas, a steam room, a lap pool, and a leisure pool.



68’s had a more “homey” feeling when you walk in. Also 68’s isn’t as crowded as Lifetime. Lifetime has approximately 7,000 guests. 68’s is a locally owned business and they know you by name, so you practically feel at home. At 68’s they even asked how my workout was. It’s a great place to workout if you like it simple.

Lifetime has a very good feeling. In the locker room the towels are always fully stocked and the building is really clean. Although the members are in the thousands, Lifetime represented the name very well.

Cost: 68’s has a more reasonable price because if you’re just looking for a workout and nothing else. Also, it’s a lot cheaper. A single membership is $29.99 and a family membership is $69.99 a month.

Cost: A single membership at Lifetime costs $60.95 and a family membership is $130.85 a month. I feel I don’t need to pay that much to work out because I wouldn’t use all the classes they offer such as zumba, aerobics, kickboxing, cycle, the daycare, pools, etc.


Flexibility: 68’s is more for morning people. Their hours are 5A.M.-10P.M Monday through Friday and 7A.M.-8P.M. Saturday and Sunday.

The great thing about Lifetime is that they are a 24 hour operating gym and you can go anytime at your convenience. This makes things very easy and there’s never an excuse for not being able to get a good workout in.

Overall Overall Lifetime has the overall package. Lifetime is very organized, clean, and they have a 24 hour gym. But if your looking just to have a simple workout, 68’s is the place for you.

Lifetime Fitness

68’s Inside Sports

by tomos ridenhour



survival of the fittest

The crowd raises their hands during free throw shots at the boys’ varsity season opener against the Shawnee Mission Northwest cougars, they went on to win the game, adding their first win to to a new season. PHOTO BY AARON ROBERTS

the next level

Former west graduates continue their athletic careers into the collegiate level. by marleah campbell Only 5.8 percent of high school athletes continue on to compete at the college level. For three former West athletes and graduates, the time and dedication they put towards their sport led them to a part of this elite group. Pittsburg State basketball player Lizzy Jeronimus wasn’t satisfied with ending her basketball career at the end of high school. She wasn’t ready to give up the family-like bond that comes with a close team. “I didn’t want my basketball career to end. I wanted to take my game to the next level and have the opportunity to be part of another team,” Jeronimus said. Jeronimus played on an AAU team her junior year that traveled to tournaments to gain college exposure. She was also part of last year’s State Runner-Up girls basketball team, and led the Sunflower League in scoring with 18.9 points per game. Lee Ridenhour also traveled to gain exposure and went to different showcases around the area and country. He accepted a scholarship to the University of Kansas to play baseball. Ridenhour worked hard during his time at West and it gave him a solid foundation on how to be successful. During his high school career, his team competed in the State tournament twice and finished third his senior year. Ridenhour chose to play at the collegiate level because he wasn’t ready to give up sports and dreamed of turning pro. “The best part about playing college sports is getting to travel around to new places to play different teams. You also get to compete at a higher level,” Ridenhour said. Garrett McPherson cross country and track runner, decided to continue his athletic career after being offered a scholarship to Baker University. “When the opportunity arose for me to run at Baker, I gave it some thought and went for it. It’s definitely been challenging, but I’m glad it all worked out. I can’t see myself doing anything else,” McPherson said. McPherson said that the college athletic environment is more competitive, and has its advantages. Not only does he get to compete in track and cross

country, but he receives a college education. “I’m actually getting paid to do something I would’ve done for free. We as college athletes are truly lucky,” McPherson said. These current athletes recommend that high school athletes who seek to move on to the next level not only take the time to improve in their sport


of H.S. athletes continue to compete at the “ college level ISSUE 4 THE EPIC 19



Go Vikings!

Spelling bee contestants sing “Pandamonium”.

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different type of musical headed to the school’s Repertory theatre … a modern musical with heavy innuendo, laced cultural references and a song about an unfortunately timed boner. “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”, the Rep theatre’s most recent debut, is more than just a

time. At one point, Marcy prayed for a harder word and Jesus appeared. At the same time Mitch Mahoney, a juvenile delinquent just off parole, was providing some background humor. Still applicable after the show’s original creation, the script has been updated with new information. “It’s a newer show. It’s less than ten years old, so it’s fresher. When people come to see it, they see it first time,” Reiff said. lengthy title and a fictional school activity. New-age phrases and one-liners like “Come at me, bro” and “Cool story, bro” The musical comedy about six intellectuals finding themselves is told were used during the musical. through hilarious definitions and bizarre songs. The audience finds these “It offers a lot of leeway for current events. One character changed juveniles fighting to win their school the secretary of state to Neil Patrick Harris,” spelling bee - the 25th Annual Putnam Flood said. County Spelling Bee. When recreating the production for a Intelligent, quirky and socially outhigh school theater, the Rep group found it casted, these six contestants compete to was easy to form. spell the most words correctly. They’re “There was some flexibility with how to as interesting as their names are - ambichange it,” Reiff said. tious geeks from a boy scout named “It’s been made really up-to-date with Chip to a girl named Marcy who can current events. It’s not like any other musispeak six languages and say “hello” in cals that are set in the 20s with cowboys. You seven more. They all want to be wincan’t relate to cowboys,” Larson said. ners. Some editing was made before the show A leading character in the musicould actually run in a high school produccal’s dynamics, Rona Lisa Peretti (Libby tion. Flood, junior) sets the stage for much of “We had to censor a lot of the stuff,” the comedy in this mock competeition. Larson said. “She [Rona] thinks she’s the star of “We’ve had to clean it up so much. the show,” Flood said. There’s a lot of stuff with so much innuendo,” Rona is the host of the spelling bee, and Emeri Eaton, senior, sings a solo as Mitch Mahoney. Flood said. “It’s so inappropriate. We’ve winner of the 9th Annual Putnm County changed “My Unfortunate Erection” to “My Unfortunate Distraction”, but it’s so Spelling Bee. obvious what the song really is.” “She’s a real estate agent, but she thinks she’s super amazing,” Flood said. Satirical of a culture obsessed with winning, “Putnam” is a fast-paced Rona provides commentary about the contestants throughout the show, performance full of relevant jokes, catchy songs and wise hunks of good adoften about the various flaws and personal information of the contestants. vice. It’s surely a delight for the audience. Something that surprised the audience was that some crowd members “It’s not boring,” Larson said. were chosen to be a part of the play.


by tim dodderige Black Keys record, it definitely sounds tighter and more focused. “El Camino” is a record that feels old school and slightly straightforward, while having the particular polish and fuzzy vocals from Auerbach that make this band godlike in the realms of the music world. “El Camino” isn’t as good as “Attack & Release”. Heck, it may not even be as good as “Brothers”. But it is still a fantastic release, proving that The Black Keys have a sort of collaborative skill that is almost unheard of in music today. This record is vintage Black Keys, plain and simple; they don’t change a lot, but they perfect a winning formula. “El Camino” is a great blues rock album from a band that feels more intuitive and only increases my interest level every single time I hear their music.


One man’s first encounter with the world of film, and Marilyn Monroe. by terri harvey Marilyn Monroe was seen, and still is by many, as the most beautiful and sexy woman of the 1950s until her death in 1962. She was a notorious showgirl and known for dating several different men. Her reputation was not always seen as good, but everyone loved her. “My Week with Marilyn”, directed by Simon Curtis, starred Michelle Williams as Marilyn. But the real star was the charming Colin Clark played by Eddie Redmayne. We witness his real life journey into the film industry fresh from Oxford; he began working as a lowly, third assistant to the director on the set of “The Prince and the Showgirl” but quickly worked his way up the proverbial ladder. The movie was based off of the book actually written by Colin Clark “The Prince, the Showgirl and Me”, which was practically his diary during his time on the set of “The Prince and the Showgirl” in which he described his incredible experience working with film. But one particularly exciting week was missing from his first book and was published years later as My Week with Marilyn, explaining his personal rendezvous with Monroe herself. This film was beautifully shot by Curtis and his team, if anything the cinematography was so brilliant that if, by chance, a viewer didn’t enjoy the plot or gorgeous celebrities they could simply gaze at the lovely picture before them mindlessly. Though, the film was great in every aspect. It revealed a side of Monroe that many may not recognize. Despite her blatant abuse of drugs which couldn’t be avoided in any description of her life, it made me feel like maybe it wasn’t all her fault. Her innocent ways were continuously deceiving throughout the movie but an explanation of her actions was also present.


Small glimpses into her many family problems and deep-seeded emotional instability were made just a little bit more clear. Obviously, you can’t blame all of her mishaps on her past, in the end there were better ways of dealing with her issues, but it explained her outstanding showmanship. It explained her need to be loved by all, and why she just had to be so insanely beautiful. Monroe fights with her love for attention and peace throughout the entire film, because clearly you can’t have both. She finds comfort from the stress in young Colin as, at the time of the filming, he seemed to be the only one who truly cared for her well being. Near the end of the movie he is the only one that she will trust with any information and he is her only motivation to even get up and trudge to the set in the morning for long hours of filming. Of course Monroe is completely unattainable for someone like Colin, he is too young and naive to be able to take care of her like she wanted to be. And that’s exactly what all of the other men on the set warned him of; Marilyn liked to string men along for as long as she needed them and eventually cut them loose. All Colin got was a week with Marilyn, but that was all he needed.


by molly smith

Plaza Lights The Plaza lighting originated in 1925, and this tradition started with just a single strand of 16 colored lights right at the entrance of the Country Club Plaza. People gathered to watch all the stores light up all at once and to enjoy entertainment, it got so popular that the lights increased to all of the stores. The first “official” lighting ceremony at the Plaza took place in 1930. “I love the countdown, and then as soon as we said one all the lights came on,” Sarah Hockla, senior, said. The plaza lighting is known around the world. The plaza has many dining areas and stores for people to enjoy. You can ride in a horse-drawn carriage or view the lights on foot or in car.


movie review: my week with marilyn

the best of local arts and entertainment in the kansas city metro area

Students get ready for the holidays by visiting many different displays in the area. by abby banning & marina sarkisova / photos by jonah heng

Mayor Christmas Tree Lighting & Ice Skating The Mayor’s tree lighting happens in Kansas City at Crown Center. This event happens every year on the day after Thanksgiving. There are multiple things to do, anything from listening to the choir sing or look at the life size holiday displays. “I was in the KC Superstar finals in August and that same group was chosen to sing at the lighting. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I had never been to the lighting ceremony before and to see it like that was incredible,” Christian Owens, West graduate, said. The tree stands more than 100 feet tall with over 7,200 lights. There are also smaller trees that are lit at the same time. There is also the Ice Terrace, which is an ice skating rink. They are open November through March, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday & Saturday. Then January through March they are open Noon to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday; Noon to 11 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday.

presents -michael wirth, freshman sleeping -trenna keltner, sophomore dc shoes -johnathan pine, junior



Another great album is produced by The Black Keys: El Camino. In the breezy fall days of October, when the trees changed their hues and long nights paid their dues, I thought to myself: I can’t wait for a new Black Keys album in 2012. I got on to YouTube and found out the band was not only recording a new album, but that it was slated to release in December of this year. I was psyched out of my mind. The blues rock duo returns again just one year after their Grammy-winning album “Brothers,” and I have to hand it to the band, they have an endless spool of creativity. Vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney play so well together that it baffles me sometimes how they do it. They’ve seriously got something special. “El Camino”’s first track “Lonely Boy” proves this statement is the truth. In fact, this song is almost routine for the band. It’s got a hook, a fantastically memorable guitar line, and most of all, melodies that stick in your brain forever. The rest of the album continues in the same fashion, only growing in depth and spirit along the way. “Gold On the Ceiling,” one of my personal favorite tracks, has a particularly fun keyboard part that complements the old school, stringy guitar riffs excellently. Slowing things down a bit, which their previous record did a lot with its 15 tracks, “El Camino” also features a small commodity of acoustic parts in more emotion-provoking songs like the Johnny Cash-esque “Little Black Submarines,” whose verse eventually speeds up into The Black Keys’ conventional groove. The piano-tinged singalong “Mind Eraser” and ironically named “Sister” (considering they have an album named “Brothers”) bring hints of melody and ingenuity that have never been, and hopefully never will be, lacking from this band. This record, seemingly put together in no time, does not seem rushed or lacking in any department, musically or lyrically. With the help of producer Danger Mouse once again, listeners should be relieved. Everything’s in place; all of the instrumental parts are tightly wound with the crisp vocals. Though I would say this album sounds more along the lines of “Brothers” than any other


holiday attractions


cd review: the black keys

CONCERT WATCH Almost Kiss- 12/16 @ 8pm Beaumont Club in KCMO KC symphony- 12/16-18 @ TBA The Koffman Center

Babicks Falmouth Christmas Display

The Rock’s Twisted Christmas 12/17 @ 8pm The Midland in KCMO

Mike Babick has been decorating his house at Prairie Village every year since 1992. For many people, decorating for Christmas means a few strands of Christmas lights on their trees and then they call it quits. But not for Babick, every window of the his house is filled with animated Christmas characters. The decorations are on display for the public from Thanksgiving to New Years Day. “There were a lot of people there so it was hard to see everything. My favorite part was how his garage was turned into Santa’s workshop with a cage that people throw money in so he can make it again next year. I would probably go again,” Anna Eschrich, freshman said. Since many people come to view Babick’s house, parking is not allowed on Falmouth Street. The visiting hours are from dusk to about 11 pm every night, decided by Babick. Because of all the foot traffic across Babick’s yard, there is no grass left on his lawn by the end of the holiday season.

Big Smith- 12/17 @ 8pm Beaumont Club in KCMO ‘ AM Taxi- 12/17 @ 9pm The Riot Room Open Jam- 12/17 @ 1pm Knucklehead Saloon The Fray- 12/18 @ 7:30pm The Midland by AMC in KCMO Trans Siberian Orchestra- 12/18 @ 3pm The Sprint Center in KCMO Aaron lewis- 1/6 @ 8pm TheVooDoo Lounge Brad Paisley- 1/19 @ 7:30pm The Sprint Center The Kills- 1/21 @8pm The Midland in KCMO


socks with sandals -lauren wilkinson, sophomore breaking dawn -matt doran, junior underwear showing -kelli miller, senior

The Nutcracker- 12/16-23 @TBA Kauffman Center

Santa’s Gingerbread Village - now -12/31 @TBA Crown Center A Christmas Carol - now-12/26 @TBA KC Rep Theatre


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Issue 4  

Issue 4 of Epic