Page 1







Two students never made it to the Homecoming dance after their car was hit. Page 3

SNN breaks down your choices in the upcoming presidential election. Page 4

Lakewood athletes shine on the field, in the pool and on the track. Pages 8-9


ESSEX POTTS | SNN Sophomore Dylan Neuberger reels in his line along the calm water at Pass-a-grille Beach on Oct. 1. Neuberger is one of 12 members in the fishing club and is the treasurer this year. Club sponsor and AMSET coordinator James Kostka sets up the fundraising for purchasing the bait, tackle, and rods used at fishing tournaments. Kostka encourages anyone to join. Fishing club members are willing to teach anyone who wants to learn the basics of fishing. “John’s Pass and Pass-a-grille are some of the best places to fish at night.There aren’t a lot of people,” Neuberger said.


A word from SNN

ello, fellow Spartans. We are less than a week away from Nov. 8, the day Americans will go out and vote for whomever they think should be our next commander-in-chief of the United States of America. All high school students who were born before Nov. 9, 1998, and have registered to vote will have the opportunity to make their voices heard in this election – and that includes me. This has been a unique, special, never-before-seen election that has drawn attention like no other. We have two candidates who if they were going up against any other opponent for the president of the United States would most likely lose. One candidate appears untrustworthy to the people of America, while the other has voters either laughing or very scared, as he has treated this election like it’s just another reality TV show. Yes, our choices for president of the United States for the next four years are Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, a woman who has faced criticism for deleting public e-mails, vs. Republican nominee Donald Trump, a man who makes headlines every day for the astonishing comments that come out of his mouth. Many people say they won’t vote because they don’t like either candidate, but the Spartan News Network staff and I think this is a wrong move. It can be imperative to vote in an election. I still remember my freshman year when my American government teacher John Toronski told us “Your one vote matters. If you and others went out and voted, all your one votes would add up.” And the 2000 U.S. election is proof of this. Florida was the decider in that year’s election and because 537 more people, out of almost 6-million Florida voters, chose George W. Bush, he became president. So, in this election, you should know that every vote counts. Think carefully about who you want to lead our country. Also, encourage your parents, and whomever you know who is eligible, to vote. You should also know that you have the option of voting for more than just the president. Senators, judges and other Congressional candidates are on the ballot. It is important that you look into who you might want as your state or local officials.

On the web

But back to the president. Some people think in this election we have to choose between “the lesser of two evils.” If you don’t want a particular candidate as our next president, go out and vote for the other. If you Tony Rengifo, Editor-in-Chief see that this candidate’s actions, words and past history do not make him or her an exceptional candidate, go out and vote for the other. If you think the candidate’s words are distasteful and not the words of a person who should lead our country, go out and vote for the other candidate. If you think one of the candidates will end up causing violence, destruction or chaos to our society and our relations with the rest of the world, go out and vote for the other candidate. If you’re not eligible to vote yet, like many high school students, tell those who can vote who you want for our next president. Let your opinions be known. To find out more in-depth information on the two presidential candidates, as well as several third-party candidates, check out page four to learn where they came from and where they stand on certain issues. Also, SNN has endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Flip to page 14 for our in-depth analysis of why we think Clinton should be the next president of the United States of America.

Check out some multimedia projects at

Learn more about volleyball player Alexis Job, a senior, in a mulitmedia video by Torrence Ruffin and Hiba Aitgrif. To see and hear more about Jacob Merrett’s steel pan class check out the multimedia video by Ty’ler Graham and Angel May. Read how the football team did this season with stories by Tony Rengifo and Eli Trippi. Check out a photo slideshow from each day of Homecoming week by SNN staff photographers. See a slideshow of the Spartan cross country team by Gabrielle Sliwoski and Tony Rengifo. Check out a slideshow on the Spartan swim team by Michaela Williams, Jorden Pompey and Wallace Neal-Williams.

Mark your calendar . . . •

Nov. 5 is the Florida Bandmasters Association MPA (Music Performance Assessment) at Dunedin High School. The Lakewood Marching Band performance time is 4:45 p.m. All senior portraits need to be taken by Nov. 18, before Thanksgiving break, in order to have a picture in the yearbook. Call Prestige Portrait Studios at (813) 402-3500 to make an appointment. Nov. 18 is the talent show during last block. Tick-

• •

ets will be $2, and must be bought ahead of time. Nov. 29th is the Thespian Showcase, including a performance of the troupe’s one act. It is at 6:37 p.m. in the Lakewood auditorium. Tickets will be $5. Senior fees are due by December. They are $105. After December the fees will go up to $125. See Linda Santiago in B-104 if you have questions. Celebrate your senior in the Alpha-Omega year-

Did you know... It’s our 50th anniversary!

Next year, 2017, will be the 50th anniversary of Lakewood High School. Principal Erin Savage will be soliciting ideas from both students and staff for what to do for the celebration. -SNN Staff Writer Jakyra Champine

AMSET looks forward to aquatic field trips

AMSET, Lakewood’s environmental science academy, is going on a field trip to the Gulf of Mexico on Nov. 8. Teacher James Kostka will be taking seven students on a research vessel called the Weatherbird, a boat run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. While on the boat they will be dropping a floating censored buoy into the Gulf of Mexico, and will be trolling for plankton and fish. In addition, AMSET is attending the BLUE Ocean Film Festival, an event that uses film to educate people about the oceans, on Nov. 10 and 11 in downtown St. Petersburg at the Palladium Theater. And on Nov. 12th AMSET will be doing a cleanup at Clam Bayou in south St. Petersburg. -SNN Staff Writer Jakyra Champine

• • •

book. Senior Tribute ads will be sold through December. See journalism teacher Kathleen Tobin in C100 for details. Dec. 13th is the music department’s winter concert . It is at 6 p.m. in the Lakewood auditorium. Tickets will be $5. Dec. 13-16 are semester exams. Winter Break is from Dec. 17-Jan. 2.

NHS inducts 61 new students

Sixty-one students were inducted into the National Honor Society during a ceremony in the Lakewood High School auditorium on Oct. 25. To qualify for NHS, students must have a 3.0 unweighted GPA and a 3.5 weighted GPA. They must also demonstrate scholarship, leadership, service and character. Twenty service hours are also required for each semester if you are selected to be a member. “National Honor Society provides a good opportunity for me to give back to the community and help students to reach a high academic success,” treasurer Michael Froid said. -SNN Staff Writer Kimesha Williams

Spartan News Network Staff Editor-in-Chief: Tony Rengifo Design Chief: Christian De Napoli Photo Editor: Gisselle Zayas Senior Web Editor: Rachel Brown Web Editor: Dallas Davis Opinion Editor: Alexis Crawford Entertainment Editor: Christopher Velgakis-Blanck Sports Photographer: Jakyra Champine Fashion Editor: Samantha Douglas Copy Chief: Jace Campbell Copy Editors: Rachel Moore and Jiana Johnson

Code of Ethics As journalists for the Spartan News Network, we work together as a community with respect, professionalism, accuracy and curiosity. We collect information and dig deep to get to the bottom of the most current events to produce and distribute hard-hitting and honest news to the Lakewood community in a timely manner. SNN is an open forum that strives to accurately report a balanced and truthful depiction of the news while remaining objective. Our main goal at SNN is to build and maintain trust with the people, to give a voice to the voiceless and to succeed at not just painting the picture, but telling the story behind the art.

SNN is produced by the students of Lakewood High School. 1400 54th Ave. S St. Petersburg, FL (727) 893-2916, ext. 2163 SNN is printed by Lakewood’s business partner, the Tampa Bay Times.

For more news, go to the SNN web site:

Advisors: Kathleen O. Tobin and Alecia Stephenson

9 students will have artwork displayed

Eight of art teacher Jayce Ganchou’s students will have one of their pieces of artwork presented in the Pinellas County Schools administration building annual exhibit. One hundred fifteen schools and 1,417 pieces of work are involved in this school year’s exhibit, which will be up until May 2017. Students who will have their work displayed are seniors Kimesha Williams, Gisselle Zayas, Julie Tavares and Lisa Hofbauer, junior Isabella Vieira and sophomores Jamel Wright, Kiara Rivera and Deja Waters. In addition, sophomore Sasha Taylor’s artwork is on display at the Morean Arts Center’s Word & Image exhibit. -SNN Staff WritersTony Rengifo and Keyont’e Howard

On the cover: Coach Cory Moore, middle, stands with four of the top football players. Junior Armani Adams, top left, senior Tyrese Hurst, top right, juniors Troy’Von Johnson and Rolando Sims are considered top prospects, according to Moore. To read the story, see pages 8-9.

Pacemaker Winner 2015


2 students injured in Homecoming crash By ALEXIS GARCIA SNN Staff Writer

Senior Hannah Blevins was dancing in the Lakewood High School gymnasium at Homecoming on Oct. 15 with senior Cami Kozlowski when she found out that seniors Ethan Altieri, Molly Pope and Sathya Romero were hit by a drunk driver. “I checked my phone and got a text that said ‘Molly’s unconscious’ and then I called and Sathya filled us in on what happened,” Blevins said. Altieri said he was driving at around 8 p.m. in the left lane down Fourth Street S on his way to Homecoming when a truck pulled out in front of him. He swerved into the right lane to avoid the truck, but their cars still collided. “I vividly remember the crunching of metal, the airbags pushing against my face and glass breaking,” he said. Romero called Blevins and said a car hit them on the driver’s side and that Pope’s face was covered in blood. “All I could think about was whether Molly was okay or not because what if she wasn’t okay? What if my best friend was gone? Of course I couldn’t

say that aloud because I didn’t want it “I remember right after the airbags to happen, but it was still really scary,” went off, I just sat there crying and Blevins said. took my bowtie off and turned around When senior Drew Carvill got the to look at Molly and there was just a call from Romero, he was three min- bloody Homecoming ticket on the utes away from Lakewood. As soon seat. It’s like what you see in movies,” as he heard he said. what happened, “I remember right after Blevins said all of he drove to the the airbags went off, I their friends went scene of the acto the hospital. They just sat there crying and waited and watched a cident. “When I saw took off my bowtie ... and murder investigation the car, I was show on the emergenreally concerned there was just a bloody cy room TV until they and shocked, but Homecoming ticket on let people back to see grateful that evAltieri. eryone was alive,” the seat.” “We needed to see he said. how they were and When the Ethan Altieri make sure they were paramedics got driver okay,” she said. there, they used Blevins said they the Jaws of Life were at the hospital to get Pope out of the car first, and until around 1 a.m. Pope and Altieri then helped Altieri get out on the pas- were both released later that night. senger side, he said. Pope had a significant laceration to her Altieri was then put onto a stretcher forehead, police reports said. Friends and wheeled into an ambulance. He said she underwent plastic surgery to said he was most worried for Rome- repair the cut. ro and Pope. Every 15 minutes he said According to police reports, the he was asking if his parents were there drunk driver, Daniel Morin, 45, of St. and if Pope was okay. Petersburg, was arrested and charged

with DUI with serious bodily injury. Carvill said while he was at the scene of the accident, he saw the driver talking to the police. “I was frustrated because the ... driver was laughing ... while my friends were hurt,” he said. Blevins thinks that drinking and driving is a senseless decision. “How stupid can you be to get in a car when you’re impaired? Even if you don’t care about your life. If Ethan hadn’t of swerved, they would’ve hit head on and all of my friends would be dead,” she said. Altieri has never been to homecoming before, while Blevins has gone every year. “I mean everyone is kind of sad we didn’t get to have that experience together, but at least we’re all okay,” she said. Altieri is grateful for all of the support he received from friends. “The next day, I woke up to everyone wishing me good luck and good fortune and it made me feel really nice and happy so I’d like to thank everybody,” he said.


Senior Ethan Altieri’s car was destroyed when he was hit on Oct. 15. “My friends have been giving me rides to school,” he said.

Meet the new Lakewood Spartan staff New chorus teacher Jamie Hughes said she came to Lakewood because “it’s a diverse school with a lot of talent.” She’s from Seattle and attended St. Martins University for her undergraduate degree and Western Carolina University for her master’s. Hughes has a husband, Ian, and a stepson Hayden, 16. Some of her favorite activities to do on her free time are swimming and playing music. One of her favorite bands is Snarky Puppy. “It’s the ultimate talented group,” Hughes said.


English teacher Joseph Lippitt teaches a lesson to his third period class on Sept. 16.This is his first year teaching at Lakewood. By DALLAS DAVIS SNN Staff Writer


en new teachers started working at Lakewood High School this year, all with similarities. They all have a teaching degree, a desire for their students to excel and a passion for the profession. But only one recently has taught in a foreign country. English teacher Joseph Lippitt, 28, taught elementary school last year in Seoul, South Korea. “Teaching abroad is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Lippitt said. Lippitt lived in Suwon, South Korea, while teaching in Seoul. His housing was paid for. He applied for the job through a website that is used for teaching abroad. He said he probably got the job because he was valuable to the school as most applicants didn’t have a degree in teaching while Lippitt did. Lippitt said the country modernized its infrastructure in only decades and has cutting edge technology such as faster internet and better transportation than the United States. He taught math, English and science and would sometimes put on Bill Nye The Science Guy because the kids knew who he was and enjoyed watching it. One time he took his class sledding to get away from the constant hard work. “I’ve never seen pure joy than to see a kid sled riding,” Lippitt said. Lippitt said the two school systems and societies are very different. He said students are not as focused on academics in the United States as they are in South Korea. This, he said, can be a good

thing and a bad thing. “There could be a compromise between the work ethic of South Korea and the freedom of students in the U.S that would be suitable for both societies,” Lippitt said. “They’re too strict on academics and don’t give the kids enough freedom rather than in the U.S they give too much freedom.” He said he also thinks the school calendar in South Korea is set up better. While U.S. students get a long summer break, in South Korea they go to school year-round with smaller breaks throughout the year. Lippitt went to Ohio University and started teaching in 2010 in Tucson, Ariz., on his 22nd birthday. He also taught for a year in Pasco County before getting the job in South Korea. He liked the St. Petersburg area so much that he came back. “I love it here,” Lippitt said. Eight teachers were interviewed for the two English teacher positions, and Lippitt was the top candidate, principal Erin Savage said. “(It) seemed like he had a lot of ideas and energy, (and he) gives that extra real-world experience from different countries and cultures,” Savage said. Junior Ben Zoellner said he enjoys Lippitt as a teacher. He said Lippitt is good because he gets right to the point. “He’s not the type of teacher to talk or lecture all class. We get the work done quickly,” Zoellner said. In his free time, Lippitt said he enjoys being out in nature, reading and exercising. He also likes listening to podcasts and music . “I’m hoping to pass wisdom to my students that my teachers passed to me,” Lippitt said.

New biology teacher Vanessa Oduah was born in Nigeria and moved here from Georgia. She attended the University of Georgia in 2011 where she got her bachelor’s, and in 2012 she attended the University of South Florida where she got her master’s. Her last job was at USF where she was an administrative researcher. She wanted to come to Lakewood for change and she especially liked the staff here. “I had a great time talking to Mr. Oberg,” she said. In her spare time she likes to sing and walk in the park. She said she is inspired by gospel music and she enjoys the complexity. Kevin Hutcherson is a new chemistry and research teacher. He was born and raised in Colorado Springs and attended Colorado State University. He taught at Widefield High School in Colorado as one of his first teaching jobs. “I wanted a new challenge,” Hutcherson said. He has a wife named Wendi. On the weekend he likes to go fishing and watch his favorite TV show, Law and Order SVU. New Spanish teacher Carla Alvarado was born in Ecuador where she attended Universidad Laica in 2006. She decided to move from Ecuador to the United States and eventually St. Petersburg because she knew that she would have better opportunities. She has a husband, Chris, and two daughters, Maria, 18 and Paulina, 12. Her favorite thing to do on the weekends is relax and go to the beach. Alvarado’s favorite book is One Thousand Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. She also loves to listen to romantic music. New math teacher Amanda Hires is from Long Island, N.Y., and graduated from University of Central Florida. Hires previously worked at Tyrone Middle but came here for some change. She lives with her husband, Brad, her two sons, Bailey and Brody, and her dogs, Molly and Loki. Her favorite thing to do on the weekends is to be with her family and make arts and crafts.

‘Lakewood High School is not forgotten’ More construction and renovations are planned to give the school a “facelift.” By SYDNEY MOORE SNN Staff Writer

Lakewood High School is making its way up to the top – appearance wise, at least. While the students were away this past summer, the school made some minor, and some not so minor, changes. “[It’s] showing that, yes, Lakewood High School is not forgotten,” assistant principal Peter Oberg said. • The media center was finally finished, complete with all new furniture. • Workers came in periodically through the summer to repair parts of the roof - just in time considering Hurricane Hermine came through in September. The result? No leaky roofs for Lakewood. • The gym floor was stripped in July and had a new finish put down. “We want to capture what we’ve done in the media center and spread it all across the school,” Oberg said. More improvements around the school, paid for by the district, have been planned, though it may be a while until they are complete. Those improvements include: • Completely replacing the roof • Giving the front of the school a facelift, which “will add more curb appeal, giving the school a more ‘college campus’ look,” Lakewood principal Erin Savage said. • Flipping the gym entrance from the west to the east side of the building • Building an indoor concession stand in the gym

• Moving the weight and wrestling room toward the new entrance. • Changing the bathrooms in the front of the gym into an athletic trainer’s room and putting new bathrooms near the concession stand and entrance of the gym. • Opening up the cafeteria and putting an a’ la carte/food kiosk where the students currently get their lunch • Opening up the Hub so that there is more space and better lighting and visibility In early September, Oberg met with the district to help choose the architects who would work on these next projects. “We are still in the preliminary stages of this work. Five architect firms gave a 30-minute presentation with a Q & A afterward. A firm was chosen for the contract and once the contract has been signed they have 150 days to come up with a ‘real’ drawing. … Specifics really won’t be available until after this phase of the project,” Savage said The goal of the renovations is to make the school have more of a college atmosphere. “We want you guys to come here because it’s pleasant and open. It’s conducive to what you want,” Oberg said. English teacher Andrew Holzbog is optimistic about the new improvements, but had some other ideas as well. “I’d like to see them clean up the Hub area, new carpet, fresh paint, and maybe try and add some doors so that water doesn’t come inside the building,” Holzbog said. Senior Jake Levy, on the other hand, said he wished the money was being spent on other things. “Better things … lunches, computers, internet, bathrooms,” Levy said.

Reading teacher Tiffany Bailey moved here from Sanford, Fla. She was once a pre-kindergarten teacher at Angels at Play Private Christian Learning Center in St. Petersburg. Bailey came to Lakewood High School to step out of her comfort zone and further her teaching career. She is married and has two kids, Nathan, 6, and Rachel, 5. She likes to spend time with her family, go to the beach and pool and volunteer at church. Her favorite book is Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo. Her favorite TV shows are Empire, Mistresses, and Blindspot. Bailey said she loves all types of music. She grew up listening to country with her parents, but was exposed to rap, R&B, and hip-hop through her community. Kathleen Zambrano is a new English teacher here at Lakewood. She was born in Evanston, Ill., and attended Loyola University in Chicago. Zambrano said she came to Lakewood to make a positive impact on the students. “I like the student population and I can make a difference with them,” she said. She has a son name Andrew, 33, and cat named Slim. She used to have a cat named Shady, because her son was really into Eminem at the time she got the cats. Over the weekend she likes to sleep and watch TV, especially crime shows. “I like to see the bad guys get caught and punished,” Zambrano said. Algebra 1 teacher Robert Elijah was born in Orlando and attended Bethune Cookman University back when it was still called Bethune Cookman College. He graduated in 2008. Elijah said he came to Lakewood to “make a difference.” He is married to Cristina, 32, and they have one son, Noah, 2. On the weekend Elijah likes to relax, see family and eat grilled seafood. His favorite genres of music are jazz, Christian, hip-hop and R&B. He said he doesn’t have a favorite TV show. “I bounce from Hulu to Netflix and haven’t found a single favorite,” Elijah said. New English teacher Michael Dolhancryk is from the east coast of the United States, primarily New Jersey, and graduated from Rutgers University in 1993. Dolhancryk previously worked at Tyrone Middle but came here because he was “tired of middle school children.” He lives with his wife, Marceline, and daughter Eva Grace. His favorite books are the Dune series because it was “ahead of its time socio-politically,” and his favorite thing to do on the weekends is to go listen to live music. Stories by SNN Staff Writers Altanaique Mond Rogers, Jayda Watts, Naima Jackson and Jaylynn Presley Photos by Sanjulo King and Ja’Lissa Lyons| SNN

School grade drops to a C Over the summer, Lakewood, a B school for the past three years, lowers its grade. By NICHOLAS ISOM SNN Staff Writer

Lakewood High’s school grade has varied over the years, but for the last three years it has stayed at a B. Over the summer, however, it dropped to a C. Principal Erin Savage said her goal is to make it back to a B by the next school year. “I know our teachers have the tools. They were pretty hyped during pre-school when I gave them the data for the year that we will make it (back) to at least a B,” she said. Savage said she thinks Lakewood’s grade will improve by having more intensive boot camp study sessions before testing. She also thinks that students taking advantage of all the tutoring and Extended Learning Period (ELP) opportunities inside and outside of class will be beneficial. ELP, which started Aug. 30, allows students to stay after school from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to get extra help in their classes. “I’m hoping students will go there if they’re struggling in specifically English and math right now, but if we see that more students need science and social studies (help),

we’ll add teachers,” Savage said. She thinks the new teachers Lakewood hired this year will be a great tool to help Lakewood improve its grade. “I’ve been in all the new teachers’ classrooms and I like the energy of what I see and how I see them working with students,” Savage said. Though she wants students to have fun in high school, she believes students also need to concentrate on math, science, social studies and reading. “Those are the areas I want students to increase in,” she said. English teacher Kristie Dowling said she is not surprised at the dropping grade. “The school grades are meaningless because … the grading system changes year to year,” Dowling said. Junior Cyrus Miller said the lower grade means students need to study more for the FSA. Overall, he said he has mixed feelings about the school grade. “I do care ... about the school grade because I have school pride and don’t care because I got a good score on my test,” Miller said.

4 NEWS November 2016

Decision 2016 BY JACE CAMPBELL • SNN Staff Writer

Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have campaigned for more than a year. After three debates and several Twitter wars, after a scandalous video and Wikileaks emails have surfaced, it’s time for Americans to make a choice.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Donald J.Trump Donald J. Trump, 70, was born and raised in New York City. In 1968, he received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He then worked in his father’s real estate and construction firm and later gained ownership of it, renaming it the Trump Organization.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, 69, was born in Chicago and raised in the town of Park Ridge, Ill. She went to Wellesley College and graduated in 1969. Afterward she earned a law degree at Yale Law School in 1973. She was not only first lady, but also a U.S. senator from New York from 2001-2009 and the Secretary of State in the Obama administration from 2009-2013. Clinton is the first woman to run for president on a major party ticket.

On the issues: Trump believes that Planned Parenthood should be defunded. He believes that we don’t need gun control and that the way to fight crime is to empower law-abiding gun owners to defend themselves. Trump also says that we need to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. He has called global warming an “expensive hoax.” Trump wants to make college more affordable for people who are in debt. He supports coal jobs, safe fracking and the Keystone Pipeline. He supports law enforcement. When a Black Lives Matter demonstrator was assaulted by Trump supporters at a rally, he said “maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.” He wants to destroy all radical terrorist groups and enforce immigration laws and build a wall along the Mexico border. Trump wants to allow families to enroll in tax-free dependent care savings accounts for their children and older family members.

On the issues: Clinton is prolife but believes that by supporting adoption and foster care, fewer women will get abortions. She supports gun control and believes that a citizen’s right to own a gun in the United States is out of balance. She believes that if someone is on the “no-fly” list, meaning they are too dangerous to get on a plane, then that person is too dangerous to own a gun. Clinton believes that we need to stop imprisoning marijuana users. She wants to help more eligible people become citizens of the United States. Clinton wants to strengthen the military and our alliances as well as defeat ISIS. She wants to close tax loopholes and give tax relief to families who are struggling. Clinton supports Black Lives Matter and thinks that we need to tackle systemic racism.

Quote: “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people, and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either.” Illustration by AYANNA FOWLER | SNN

Your vote matters Vo t ing isn’t necessary. Countries have risen and fallen without a single vote cast. But WILL SHEDDEN in our modern Guest Columnist world, nations run on democracy. Votes are the fuel that runs the engine of progress and change. It might seem at times like your vote doesn’t count. But a drop of rain in a rainstorm is just as important as any other drop. A sandstorm without individual grains of sand is no sandstorm. Local races are often decided in the hundreds of votes, and even larger races occasionally. In 2008, a congressional seat in Alaska was decided by a single vote. Most of you reading this article probably can’t vote in the upcoming election. It is, from

an unbiased viewpoint, the most vitriolic and hate-filled election in modern times. But don’t be discouraged. Better candidates will come, and you can always find hope in your own generation if all else fails. But don’t use it as an excuse to not care this time next year when the mayor of St. Pete will be up for re-election. The year after, 2018, we will be electing a governor. It’s always been the case that older people are more likely to vote than younger people. Our parents didn’t leave us the best country. The economy has barely recovered and it seems everywhere we look there are problems with the country. Right now, however, millennials are one-third of the population, but they account for only 20 percent of the vote on Election Day. If we stand up and vote today, or volunteer our time for causes we care about, then we truly can change the country’s path. There will always be an election to vote in. Choose wisely, and pick someone who represents your values. It will matter more than you think. Please vote.

Get the facts...



The number of people who voted in the state of Florida in the 2012 presidential election.


About 40 percent of millennials identify as non-white, making them the most diverse voting generation in history.

Quote: “As president I will fight for common-sense reforms to keep guns away from terrorists, domestic abusers, and other violent criminals—including comprehensive background checks and closing loopholes that allow guns to fall into the wrong hands.”



The number of people ages 18-29 who voted in Florida in 2012


Millennials - people between the ages of 18-35 – now make up about 31 percent of eligible voters - but in 2012, they had the lowest voter turnout of any age group. Source: Pew Research Center,

Don’t like Clinton or Trump? Take a look at these outsiders BY JACE CAMPBELL SNN Staff Writer

All over the news, people are only hearing about presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. What you may not know is that there are actually other third-party candidates left in the race. Not interested in Trump or Clinton? Choose from one of these two other choices for leader of our country. Green Party candidate Jill Stein: About Stein: Jill Stein, 66, grew up in Highland Park, Ill. She graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1979 and worked as a medical doctor until retiring in 2006. After this she became interested in

activism and began her political career. On the issues: Stein says birth control should be available to women free of charge, but she also wants to provide women with good health care so the number of abortions can be decreased. Stein wants to restrict the use of guns for citizens to protect the country because there are too many people every day who are injured or killed because of the improper use of guns. She thinks that police officers who are actively investigated for a civilian death should not be rewarded with paid leave or desk-duty. Stein has put forth a program – called Green New Deal for America that can keep track of creating jobs and making sure people in America get jobs. It is estimated that it will create 25 million jobs for people in America.

Quote: “We need to challenge power if we are to really create change.” Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson: About Johnson: Gary Johnson, 63, was born and raised in Minot, N.D. He graduated from the University of New Mexico with a bachelor of science degree in political science is 1975. He served as the 29th governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003 as a member of the Republican Party. On the issues: Johnson says women should be able to make their own decisions about their bodies. He would not defund Planned Parenthood and is not looking to change Roe v. Wade. He also supports Black Lives Matter and believes that someone of col-

or is four times more likely to end up behind bars than white people. He also believes that too many unnecessary laws lead to too many people in prison. Johnson thinks that the public education system needs major reform. Recently, Johnson drew attention when, during an interview, he did not know what Aleppo was and when asked to name his favorite head of state, he couldn’t think of anyone. Quote: “Educational opportunities are not there (for black people). We have to get them in to education and just concentrate the power of the government, trying to make sure that there are jobs available for them.”

Your voice: If you could vote in the presidential election this year, who would you choose and why?

“Hillary because she is less of a wildcard than Trump, and she will skip through her four years of presidency without doing anything bad.” - Erik Hempel, 10th grade

“I’m for Trump, because I agree with his policy issues. Borders need to be secured, taxes need to be cut. I also hate Hillary. Also abortion laws, I’m pro-life not pro-choice.” - Xhon Zaimi, 12th grade

“Hillary, because when it comes down to it, she is the only one of the two who would not get us into a nuclear war. Trump is just not fit to be president. ” - Sarah Kelly, 10th grade

“I don’t think either candidate is good; however I do think that Donald Trump is a bit extreme and Hillary could probably do a better job than him.” - Connell Murch, 11th grade

“Voting for Hillary is like going to McDonald’s and getting a salad. If you’re going to get fast food, you got to do it right. #votefortrump.” - Takiyah Cainion, 12th grade

“Neither, because Trump, he can’t fulfill his presidential promises and Hillary is not trustworthy.” - Joel Andrade, 10th grade


November 2016 NEWS

‘The sky is the limit for what can be done here’



Senior Hannah Douglas fills her water bottle at the new filtered water fountain in the Student Center on Oct. 5. “It’s a lot cleaner and sophisticated,” Douglas said.

Saving the earth, 1 bottle at a time JIANA JOHNSON | SNN

The new library has a meeting room, a 72-inch Smartboard and a café.The books aren’t yet available for checkout but should be organized soon. “I couldn’t be any happier on how it turned out. … The sky is the limit for what could be done in here,” librarian Kate Drof said.

Construction in the new Student Center is complete, though students aren’t able to fully use it. By RACHEL BROWN SNN Staff Writer


tudents came to school in the beginning of the year excited to check out the new library, also known as the Student Center, only to find out they aren’t able to completely use the facility just yet. “Teachers can bring classes in,” librarian Kate Drof said, but students are still not able to check out books. Drof said she is hoping the library – which is now filled with comfy couches and chairs - will be fully up and running soon. She says the books were scheduled to be organized in a few weeks. “Not being able to check out books I don’t have a problem with. They need to be sorted first so that you can see all the options,” said senior Hiram Hernandez, who is a teacher’s assistant in the new library. The construction on the new library cost about $500,000 and was first proposed in 2014. One exciting highlight of the facility that students have

been looking forward to is the café. Drof said she will be meeting with the administrators to talk about what’s going to be in the café. In addition, administrators want to place the school store in the library, though those details also still need to be worked out. “We are still working on a plan to get more supervision instead of just me for the café,” Drof said. A Keurig coffee maker is in the café, and students can get the K cups from the school store. Soon there will also be a vending machine and snacks for students. “I don’t really know what they’re doing for the café, but I hope they do something with it soon,” Hernandez said. Some other new things students will find in the Student Center are a large quiet room so students can read books and not be disturbed and a meeting room with a 72-inch SmartBoard for clubs to meet. “I absolutely love it,” Drof said. “I couldn’t be any happier on how it turned out. … The sky is the limit for what could be done in here (the library).”

Two new water fountains in the renovated media center allow students to fill reusable water bottles. By NAIMA JACKSON SNN Staff Writer

Lakewood High School has saved more than 2,700 water bottles from going into the dump this year. The school recently had two new water bottle fillers with filters installed in the new media center. The water bottle fillers replaced the old regular water fountains. “Every time the little ticker ticks, plastic bottles have been saved and a little celebration goes off in my heart,” English teacher Kristie Dowling said. Assistant principal Peter Oberg said that a regular water fountain costs about $500 but a filtered water bottle filler costs twice that amount, $1,000. The media center last year was renovated and in that budget was money for two filtered water bottle fillers. What makes this water fountain so special? It helps the environment. “I have about seven people each period who fill up their water bottles,” Media Center specialist Kate Drof said.

English teacher Elizabeth Halstead is a regular user of the water fountain. “I use it about five times a day because the water fountains are disgusting. Plus, I drink a lot of water,” she said. Lakewood is late on getting the filtered water fountain, Halstead said, as she has seen these filtered water fountains at other schools and hotels. Some of the students use it, as well. Senior Hannah Blevins said she was excited when she learned about the new water fountain because she drinks about four bottles of water a day. “I only use it on B days because I have classes in here on B day,” Blevins said. “I think it’s easier (to fill a bottle) than a regular water fountain. It takes up less time. … They fill up easier and it looks cleaner.” Lakewood hopes to have more filtered water fountains in the future if the school can find the funds, Oberg said. The district will pay to put them in, but the school will have to pay for the filters.

Assistant principal gone, but not far Harriet Davis, former assistant principal at Lakewood, is now the administrator for Lakewood Community School. Education Diploma) to pursue post-secondary opportunities. The GED program doesn’t have the same negative connotation as in past years, she Former Lakewood High School assistant said. principal Harriet Davis has moved over to the “That is because it is a high school diploma Lakewood Community and many students take pride in School. Davis said it was an reaching this milestone,” Davis “I am still getting used opportunity to extend her said. working knowledge to adult In addition, adult education is to (it), because while learners. more in tune with the changing “(It) was a ‘no brainer’ for economy. The community school at Lakewood High I me in terms of wanting to offers flexible hours to meet older worked earlier in the help and support learners,” students’ needs. It also offers she said. “I think it’s going credit recovery classes to help morning and was to be great, and I love the students graduate with their high challenge of working with conditioned for the early school class and finally, the comstudents to help them bemunity school offers high school come successful.” diplomas for non-traditional hours.” The main difference beadults/students. tween working at Lakewood Harriet Davis Davis said one of the biggest High and the community differences between working at Lakewood Community School school is that Davis now Lakewood High and the comworks with students 16 years munity school is her schedule. and older. “I am still getting used to (it), because while at “Many, for various reasons, did not get their Lakewood High I worked earlier in the morning high school diploma and have come to the realiand was conditioned for the early hours. Now my zation that a high school diploma is important for schedule is more flexible,” she said. better jobs, going to college or technical school,” Still being able to see Lakewood students and Davis said. staff is a plus about her new job, Davis said. Adult education has evolved over the last five “I miss my juniors and seniors, but I know they years, Davis said, with more focus on encouraging are with (assistant principal Susan Alvaro) who students once they passed their GED (General will look out for their best interests,” she said. BY XENISHIA FELTON SNN Staff Writer

Former Lakewood assistant principal Harriet Davis is now the administrator of the Lakewood Community School. “I like it because I am still connected with Lakewood and I get to meet a new set of students,” Davis said. SANJULO KING | SNN

If you see a roach, don’t just run, report it The maintenance supervisor says the school could get a better handle on pests if teachers and staff would let him know every time they see a bug. BY CRISTIN THOMAS AND ZHANARRIA MOHOGANY SNN Staff Writers

Being a part of Lakewood you have probably seen pests around the school. You know how it goes. You’re sitting quietly in class, taking a test and then a roach scurries across the floor. All the kids start screaming, jumping up on their chairs. One brave kid kills it, and yet the class doesn’t calm down. Many people think that the school and students should work harder to keep the school clean to reduce how many bugs are seen in classrooms. Supervisor of maintenance Austin Simmons said the school isn’t allowed to use bug spray while stu-

dents and staff are in the building, but it does treat the entire building once a month at night. One fact that most teachers and students may not know is that Simmons cannot tell the district exterminators to spray any rooms if teachers and staff don’t tell them where they see the bugs. “If you see any issues in any classrooms you are supposed to email me a report, so then I can give it to the pest control people to clean that room,’’ Simmons said. The pests around the school may come from living in Florida with a lot of rain and humidity, but some blame can be put on the students. Some teachers and students said they think the school has pests because lots of students eat in the classrooms and they don’t clean up after themselves. Whatever food scraps are

left in the room, if not cleaned up, can attract bugs. “The school can do better with keeping food away from bugs. There have been times when I’ll walk through the school and I’ll see the same chicken wing on the floor for a couple days,” biology teacher Justin Bending said. Students have to realize, Bending said, that they cannot leave food and trash around the school and then get mad that the janitor doesn’t clean it up. Sophomore Dontrell Baker, however, said he thinks the janitorial staff should do a better job. “Clean the classrooms; don’t just skip through them,’’ he said.


A roach wanders under a table in a Lakewood High classroom on Sept. 27.


Transgender student faces challenges

Junior Kadin Jackson opens up about the difficulties he faces being transgender in high school. BY PARIS MCDOUGLE AND RACHEL GADOURY SNN Staff Writers



Junior Kadin Jackson sits on the porch outside of the Metro LGBT Welcome Center located on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. Jackson is a transgender student who attends Lakewood Community School.

bout 1.5 percent of high school students are transgender. Although the numbers are low, trans students are disproportionality affected by bullying and have higher rates of suicide, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In other words, being transgender in high school is challenging. A transgender person is one whose gender identity does not correspond to that person’s biological sex assigned at birth. Junior Kadin Jackson is a prime example of a transgender student trucking his way through high school the best he can possibly manage. Jackson, who is 16, said he still feels the same as he did when he first came out when he was 13 years old. “So I know it’s not just some phase,” Jackson said. Jackson has a keen interest in creative arts, he spends his free time drawing and playing both the guitar and the keyboard. It was actually Jackson’s love for art that lead him to come across the term “transgender”. He was about 11 or 12 when he first discovered what being transgender meant, and he had a lot of time to think about it. “There was this one artist in particular that I really liked. His art style was amazing and influenced so many things for me, even my style now. When I was looking in depth into this person, they were talking about something about transgender, and I didn’t understand that,” he said. Jackson experimented with telling people online that he was a boy, and he ended up becoming attached to the feeling. “Before I came out to my parents, I came out to other people.” For Jackson, coming out to his mom went a little better than expected. “I called her into my room to talk and I told her ‘Mom, I’m sorry to say this, but… you have a third son.’” Jackson said his mom didn’t know how to respond at first. However, eventually, she warmed up to the change. From that point on he decided that he wasn’t a girl. Still, it took a long period of time before he decided to begin his transition. According to, homophobic language and

negative remarks about gender identity from students and staff can contribute to the already hostile climate of high school, and is only half of the struggle of being transgender. “For a week once a month I feel like less of a man. So, that always sucks. When I started hitting puberty, it sucked because I didn’t know what was going on anywhere on my body. It went downhill from there,” he said. One of the biggest struggles for him was when his breasts started to grow. “Before I had my binder, people would always comment on the size of my breasts,” he said. Chest binding is compressing the chest in order to flatten breast tissue and create a male-appearing chest. “Because of this, I’ve been wearing jackets since middle school. It’s almost become like a layer of armor. It makes me feel more like myself and secure,” he said. Jackson also said it is bothersome when he tells his teachers his preferred pronouns, and they decide not to use them. “There are some teachers that just don’t care. It’s really frustrating.” When it comes to dealing with adversity and ignorance, Jackson tries his best to ignore it. “That’s the best you can do in any situation,” Jackson said. “People that make you uncomfortable about it (being transgender) they don’t matter to you. The best you can really ever do is tell yourself you aren’t any less of a person.” Jackson spent about five weeks at the beginning of this year at Lakewood High, then decided to transfer to the Lakewood Community School, where he will get his GED, a high school equivalency diploma. Despite his decision to transfer, Jackson still encourages trans youth to just hang in there. “Trans people aren’t going to hurt you. Say something nice like, ‘Hey cool hair.’ Not, ‘What’s your chest size?’ or ‘What’s your birth name?’ We’re all valid, we’re all human. Just don’t ask about the parts.”

With faulty AC, it’s not so cool in school Teachers and students say it’s hard to focus on learning when it is so hot. BY RACHEL BROWN SNN Staff Writer

The bell rings for the first day of school, and students are excited to see their classes, until they get into the rooms. Inside it is hot, stuffy and hard to breathe. They quickly realize the air conditioner in some classes is not working. For some, the atmosphere is just unbearable. Throughout the school year, students and teachers have been complaining about the inconsistent and faulty air conditioning. “It’s terrible,” senior Bobby Hampton said. “The school needs to fix it.” Biology teacher Justin Bending didn’t have air conditioning at all in his classroom from Aug. 1, when teachers started, until Aug 25. Even with the air somewhat kicking in, there were days when it was hot and days when it was cool. “I feel more for the students than myself; it’s hard to focus and it makes them sleepy,” Bending said. Along with Bending, Spanish teacher Linda Santiago didn’t have air until Aug 25. “I don’t think it’s right,” she said. “I get headaches and it’s not good for teaching or learning.” Lakewood High School has three different brands of air units: Trane, McQuay and York. There are about 32 air units in the entire school, according to assistant principal and Center for Advanced Technologies coordinator Peter Oberg Of those 32, the CAT building has 11, there’s a unit in every

classroom upstairs in A wing, and a unit for first floor C wing. In addition, there is one for the media center and CATCOM, one in the back of the cafeteria for upstairs C wing and one for B wing and part of A wing. So what’s causing this problem? Oberg said there could be several reasons why the air units aren’t working. “A belt could break, the chiller couldn’t chill the water, there’s a number of things,” he said. A maintenance room near the band room holds belts for the handlers and if one for a certain air handler doesn’t have a belt in stock, Oberg has to call in for it and turn off that air handler - meaning that building will not have air until the belt is fixed. Before the school day starts, plant operator Austin Simmons and Oberg go through all buildings in the school to see what air units are working and are not working. We aren’t the only school dealing with this issue. According to an article in the Tampa Bay Times, the teachers’ union in Hillsborough County is upset about widespread air conditioning problems in those schools. “I heard from 176 school sites that have air conditioning issues,” union executive director Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins told the Times. Oberg said he will be meeting with Pinellas school district officials to discuss how things will be fixed. “Things are going to be improved,” he said.

Photo Illustration by JA’LISSA LYONS | SNN

Since the beginning of the school year many classrooms have had days with no air conditioning. CAT coordinator Peter Oberg says, “Things are going to be improved.”

On campus, safety matters As the school year begins, seniors are applying to colleges, and juniors are starting to decide where they want to go. While they make these important selections, one factor students might be forgetting to take into consideration is safety. BY ALEXIS GARCIA SNN Staff Writer

One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted in college and, according to the National Sexual Violence Research Center website, it’s estimated that for every 1,000 women attending college, there are 35 incidents of rape each academic year. And those numbers don’t take into account the many unreported cases of sexual assault. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website, only 20 percent of female student victims, age 1824, report to law enforcement. But statistics don’t tell the whole story; data can vary based on many factors. Each college is different and some colleges make it easier to report the crime because they have multiple places that might make a victim feel safe. These places may include the campus health center, campus police station or a local sexual assault service provider. Knowing that you have a place to go to talk to someone may make students feel more inclined to report sexual assault and other crimes. College Niche’s database contained records for 42 public and private, traditional four-year Florida colleges and universities. They based the rankings for the 2016 Saf-

est College Campuses on student reviews and campus and local crime rates. College Niche concluded that the safest college in Florida is The Baptist College of Florida (ranked 24 nationally) in Graceville. Here are how some more well-known Florida schools were ranked: 12. Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers 18. University of Central Florida, Orlando 19. University of South Florida, Tampa 20. University of North Florida, Jacksonville 21. University of Florida, Gainesville 22. University of Miami, Coral Gables 27. University of West Florida, Pensacola 41. Eckerd College, St. Petersburg Some Lakewood students said they didn’t initially consider safety during their college selection journey. “(I considered) college size, location and if the school has the majors I’m interested in,” senior Julie Tavares said. When asked if she had ever considered safety, Tavares admitted she hadn’t. “I didn’t really think about (safety)… I don’t know. I just figured it was safe in college,” she said. Guidance counselor Cheri Ashwood

agrees, saying, she doesn’t believe many students are truly considering safety. Instead, Ashwood said she thinks students care about whether they’re interested area of study is available and the price of tuition. “(Safety is) just not something of concern to them until they hear something on the news. They’re just not in that frame of

“(Students) should be aware of things like security measures and emergency procedures on campus.” Cheri Ashwood guidance counselor

mind,” she said. Still, Ashwood said she thinks safety is important. “Safety should definitely be on the priority list. (Students) should be aware of things like security measures and emergency procedures on campus,” she said. “It’s

especially important when moving away from home to go to college.” Seniors Bryan Ray and Diante Henry said safety played a key role in their decision-making process. The first variables the boys said they considered while choosing colleges were features such as: location, test scores and requirements, campus size and atmosphere. “I’ve also considered safety because it affects learning habits. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your own apartment, by the time you get to class, you’ll be stressed,” Ray said. Henry also said he wants to feel protected in his learning environment. “When I go out to a party or game or in my leisure time, I want to feel safe,” he said. Ray is considering Florida A&M University, the University of Central Florida, Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University or Mercer University. He is so adamant about his safety that he said he would reconsider his college choices if he found out a campus could be dangerous. “(I’d) absolutely (reconsider). For one, the way the crime and justice system is now, even if you were just around a crime and not involved in it, you’re a suspect. … I don’t want to take the blame for another person’s shenanigans,” Ray said.

Here are some tips from the Fast Web website to help you stay safe on campus: - Put the phone down and pay attention to your surroundings. The key to avoiding potentially dangerous situations is awareness. - Use locks. Lock your doors, cars and lockers. This makes you less susceptible to theft and burglary. - Carry emergency money. You don’t want to be left in a scary situation due to losing a debit card. - Locate the emergency system areas on campus. Most campuses have emergency call boxes, find them. It’s easier to get out of a situation when you know where to go for help. - Consider carrying pepper spray or taking self-defense courses. Having these useful tools can make a life-saving difference in harmful situations you otherwise might not be able to get out of.

November 2016 FEATURES 7

Rest in Peace, Earl AMSET’s mascot, which lived in the outdoor classroom, died in June. BY DAHMARIS DUARTE SNN Staff Writer


In better days, AMSET’s turkey in residence, Earl, waddles around the outdoor classroom.

Technology students enter app challenge Six students created an app to better the STEM education process. BY CHRISTOPHER VELGAKIS-BLANCK SNN Staff Writer

Six Lakewood Center for Advanced Technologies students have created an app for the Congressional App Challenge, a competition that targets high school students across the nation. The competition asks them to show off their talents in coding and experience with programming. Senior Nikhil Sharma, the leader of the group, said their idea was to build an app that will “serve as a marketplace for STEM education” throughout Pinellas County. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. STEM education provides the training necessary for the younger generation to pursue a STEM career path. A lot of the STEM focus is directed toward getting more females and minorities into the industry. Senior Michael Froid said his team worked on the “big picture” concepts of the app at first and then got into the actual coding. “[The app is] a way to connect resources from around the county,” Froid said. Sharma, Froid and the other members said the app will allow teachers to request funding for projects, students to submit their ideas for projects

and other business associates to donate money or volunteer their time. The other members of the team are seniors Adriana Nazarko, Daniel Denison, Ethan Smith and Will Shedden. In order to compete in this challenge, the students needed a congressman to represent them. On Aug. 25, the team met up with Congressman David Jolly to see if he would do just that. According to Sharma their meeting went very well. “He was very supportive of our initiative,” Sharma said. Jolly’s secretary Stephany Lavely said that she was present when the team met up with the congressman. “They were very excited and their ideas are amazing,” Lavely said. In the days before submission, the team completed the building and coding of the app and were finetuning a couple of the extra features, Sharma said. The deadline for app submission was Nov. 2. The judging will then take place from Dec. 2 to Dec. 5 when the winners will be announced. The winning app in each district will be featured on the and websites.


Bronze turkey named Earl lived in the outdoor classroom managed by Lakewood’s marine biology program for four years. The turkey was aggressive and territorial toward new people, but over the years, he became friendlier. He roamed freely around the outdoor classroom every day and was close to everyone in the program - except coordinator James Kostka. “He is food, not a pet,” Kostka would tell the students. At the end of last semester, on June 1, Earl was injured and two days later he was pronounced dead. Two sophomores in the Aquatic Management Systems and Environmental Technology program found Earl injured and caught under a fence. Kostka said he pulled him out and the bird was still breathing. But that Friday, sophomore Cael Delgado found Earl’s lifeless body under a bench. Kostka said he believes Earl died from heat exhaustion. “After he died, bugs came and maggots started eating him,” Delgado said. “You couldn’t tell what it was. It was a pile of feathers with a hole the size of a football with worms (in it). (He) smelled bad, like phosphorus and rotten eggs.” Some students took the news of Earl’s death hard, including sophomore Dylan Neuberger, who had known the turkey for just a year. “I was scared (when I first met him) but he let me pet him. … Every time I was out there, I was the first to pet. Two other times, I would ask Kostka to feed him,” Neuberger said. When Delgado sent him a Snapchat message about Earl’s death, “I was kind of upset,” Neuberger said. As for the handling of the bird post-death, Kostka was not able to bury him. “I did not have time to give him a burial because of graduation. He eventually found his way to the dumpster,” Kostka said. Kostka said he was sad that he was not able to eat him. He said he didn’t have time to pull out his feathers and prep him for cooking as he had to go to graduation. “Had it not been due to graduation, I could have eaten him. Some of his meat looked good,” Kostka said. Some AMSET students considered Earl as the program’s mascot and were close to him. “(He was) my best friend,” Delgado said.

Join the Spartan Wrestling Club For information contact Toriano Parker 727-235-4340

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8 SPORTS November 2016

Junior Armani Adams, tackles the Dixie Hollins quarterback on Sept. 23 in a home game.The Spartans won by four touchdowns, a 35-7 final, which was their first win of the season.



Prospects tear up the field

Lakewood High School now has multiple students who are considered top prospects, according to football Coach Cory Moore. That means that they have the best chance to get a college scholarship and possibly go on to play in the NFL.

Troy’Von Johnson

5’9 | 155 lbs | Quarterback/ Wide Receiver Junior Troy’Von Johnson, #2, is being scouted by Iowa State, Western Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, Samford and Troy. Sadly, none of those are Johnson’s dream college: Florida State University. If FSU doesn’t work out, he said he would like to go to Western Kentucky because he has family members there. Johnson began playing football when he was 4 years old. He played for Lakewood Little League. “I loved it right when I started,” he said. He said he thinks he stands out on the

Lakewood team because “I can make people miss.” In other words, he is so quick that defenders can’t catch him. Just like fellow teammate Sims, Johnson said he believes that he can make it to the NFL. “I’m determined to do whatever it takes to get me there,” he said. Just in case his dream of being in the NFL doesn’t work out, Johnson said that he would work in culinary arts. “My stepdad’s the chef in the house and I always watch him cook,” Johnson said.

at No 5:30 yards stren Al stand ed in Now meet

Rolando Sims

5’8 | 185 lbs | Linebacker If you have ever been to a Lakewood football game you’ve probably seen #4 running down the field. That’s junior Rolando Sims, another talented football player at Lakewood. Sims said he has received offers from the University of Kentucky, Colgate and more. Sims started playing football when he was 4 years old. He played for the Gibbs Junior Gladiators. “It just looked fun. I was interested in it,” he said. Sims said what makes him stand out on the field now is his “skills, ability and hype.”

Sims’ dream school would be Harvard because of the great education he would receive. “I’ll have a good education if sports doesn’t work out,” Sims said. But Sims has to go to a college that is scouting him. Sims said that he would like to go to Colgate because of the education he’ll get. “Their education level is high,’’ he said. Sims said he would like to major in business and become an entrepreneur. “I want to be my own boss,” he said.

Armani Adams

6’0 | 190 lbs | Safety Junior Armani Adams, #11, is one of the players who has excelled the most at Lakewood High School. University of North Carolina, Florida State, Kentucky, North Carolina State, and Cincinnati are some of the colleges scouting him. Adams said that his two dream schools would be the University of Florida or Florida State University. Lucky for Adams, Florida State is scouting him. Adams said he started playing football when he was 6 years old for the Northeast Bandits, because his cousin played there. “I was good at it and it was easy,” he said. Adams said he thinks he stands out at Lakewood because he always prepares for the games.

“I study for my opponents. I look at their games before and see what they do, so I can get a head start,” he said. Kinesiology, the study of anatomy in relation to human movement, is the subject that interests Adams enough to make it his college major. Like Sims and Johnson, Adams said he thinks he can make it into the NFL. “I feel I’m just as good as other people,” Adams said. As a backup plan Adams has three different options that intrigue him. Adams said he would want to be a sports agent, athletic trainer or a sports attorney. “I want to do something in sports,’’ Adams said.

Junior Hanna M cross country ev minutes, almost

Tyrese Hurst

6’0 | 175 lbs | Cornerback Senior Tyrese Hurst, #7, is another talented player on the football field at Lakewood High School. Florida International University, University of Central Florida and Troy University are just a few colleges that are scouting Hurst. He said his dream colleges, however, would be University of Miami (FL) or the University of Florida. “I want to stay in Florida,” Hurst said. Hurst began playing football in fifth grade at Azalea Little League. “I tried it because my brother played,” he said. He said he thinks he stands out at Lakewood because he works hard.

“It comes down to how much work you put in,” he said. Hurst said he would like to major in engineering because when he first started high school he took an engineering class and liked it. “I got into it when I was in ninth grade and I just stuck to it,” Hurst said. Many young men in high school dream of making it to the pros, but in Hurst’s case, that is not the plan. “The goal’s just to get free college; if it happens, it happens,” Hurst said.



Junior Hannah M Ciega High Sch Pirate Invite. "I me it was a goo record)," said M performance of

November 2016 SPORTS

Swimmers in the spotlight Connell Murch and Jonathan Ruefle, two strong swimmers on the Lakewood team, started swimming when they were young and haven’t stopped since.

Junior Connell Murch swims in an event on Sept. 21 in a home meet against East Lake at North Shore. Murch is expected to qualify for states this year.



ONY RENGIFO Staff Writer


en years ago junior Connell M u r c h started swimming in a rec league. He practiced at Lake Vista’s pool during the summer and North Shore pool in the fall. Then sixth grade came and he started swimming competitively – and he hasn’t stopped since. "He's a leader. Everybody respects him. He definitely sets a good example for his peers and (the) underclassman," boys' head swim coach Andrew Holzbog said. Murch now swims TONY RENGIFO | SNN for St. Pete Aquatics orth Shore pool six times a week, two hours a day from 3:30p.m. During an average practice for SPA, he'll swim 6,000 s. Sometimes, he also will do dry-land workouts for an hour that ngthen his core. ll the practice and dedication has allowed Murch to become a dout on the Lakewood High School swim team. He competn the state championships in his freshman and sophomore year. w a junior, Murch is on track to qualify and swim in the state ts again this year.

"I expect him to be there,” Holzbog said. Murch swims four events: the 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 200 medley relay (a team race where Murch swims the butterfly) and 200 freestyle relay race. Murch faced adversity the two years he competed at the state championships. Freshman year, he got sick a week before states, and sophomore year he contracted an ear infection right before the event. "I'm the only swimmer who attends Lakewood that made an individual event those two (specific) years," Murch said. He swam in the 100 backstroke and two relays his freshman year and for his sophomore year the 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly and the two relays. “In big meets he seems to have another gear that allows him to be one of the top swimmers in the meet,” Holzbog said. “(His best strength) is his turn off the wall. Even if an opponent is faster, he catches up and passes them on his turns.” As a junior, Murch is one of the captains of the boys' team as well. "He's a good swimmer, always caring for his team, (and) encouraging his teammates," said junior Ethan Long, who started swimming with Murch 10 years ago in rec league. Likewise, Murch said he is fond of his team, from the teammates to his coach. “I think my (Lakewood) teammates usually keep a good attitude (and) keep the spirit up. (And) I like having (Holzbog) as a coach. He gives us the freedom we wouldn’t really have with another coach. Holzbog understands we do a lot of practice,” said Murch. Though with all his success as a swimmer, Murch is not looking to swim in college. Murch has a weighted 4.3 grade point average, and is interested in majoring in cybersecurity or biomedical engineering. He would like to go to college in Canada and is considering the University of Toronto or the University of British Columbia. “(Swimming is) not something I prioritize,” he said. “I shoot for academics.” Even though his main focus is on academics, swimming is a close second. “For me I like that competitive edge and spirit,” he said. “That’s what makes it fun for me and that’s why I swim.”

Sophomore Jonathan Ruefle is an up-andcoming star on the Lakewood High School swim team. Taking after his father, who was also a swimmer in high school, Ruefle started swimming nine years ago at Northwest Community Pool. He now practices five days a week with the Lakewood swim team and St. Petersburg Aquatics (SPA). “Whenever he would tell me his times for his events, it would make me strive to do better because I would base myself on it,” Ruefle said about his father. While keeping a competitive mindset, Ruefle - also known as Vonya - manages to keep it fun at the pool. According to the Lakewood swim team coach Andrew Holzbog, he’s able to have a good relationship with all TONY RENGIFO | SNN of his teammates but is focused when it comes time for the big meets. “He’s good because he’s really fast,” sophomore Cameron Gerrard said. “He’s also a really fun guy to have around.” Ruefle participates in three swimming events: the 200 freestyle, with a best time of 1 minute 51 seconds, the 100 backstroke in 56 seconds and the 50 freestyle in 23 seconds. Ruefle qualified for the states competition last year, and is expected to go again this year. “Last year, Vonya was an alternative, meaning if one of the four main swimmers got injured, he would take his place. However, this year he’s one of the main four starting swimmers,” Holzbog said. Ruefle is considering pursuing swimming in college. He says that even though he enjoys swimming, it’s not his whole life.

‘All that matters is that no one beats me’ Two standouts on the cross country team say they love the sport – but they especially love winning. BY ELI TRIPPI SNN Staff Writer


McAuliffe takes a deep breath and relaxes after finishing first at the Lil' Pirate Invite vent at Boca Ciega High School on Aug. 25. McAuliffe placed first with a time of 20.33 t four minutes ahead of the second place finisher.


McAullife runs at Boca hool on Aug. 25 at the Lil’ felt good. My coach told od day for a PR (personal McAullife on her first f the cross country season.


Junior Skyler Walker runs at the Lil' Pirate Invite on Aug. 25 at Boca Ciega High School. Walker placed first individually and the Lakewood boys team placed first place overall.

Junior cross country runners Hannah McAuliffe and Skyler Walker have proven to be two of the best cross country runners in the county. The duo has been successful in past meets, racking up a number of medals. But more than that, both of them have a strong passion for the sport. “They have passion and drive; you can’t coach that. That’s the reason they’re so good,” cross country coach Anthony Snead said. They both started running right before their freshman year of high school. Initially, they ran just for fun and to relieve stress, and they found that they both enjoyed it a lot. “My dad wanted to get back in shape so I would run with him a few times a week,” McAuliffe said. When McAuliffe ran in a local 5K in eighth grade, a Boca Ciega High School coach saw her and told Snead about her impressive performance. Snead then recruited her when she came to Lakewood. They both agree that Snead has had a great impact on them running for Lakewood. “Coach Snead is the sole reason that I am running competitively. Before his efforts to get me on the cross country team, running for me was a stress reliever, exercise, and fun, but never a competition. I’m very thankful that he convinced me to run for Lakewood,” McAuliffe said. Walker said Snead makes sure his runners are healthy and in top shape. The two have a rigorous training schedule to get ready to run in meets, including running outside of school to become better athletes. In addition, they make healthy food choices that enhance their endurance throughout races. “(Snead) is a great aid to all of us getting faster and stronger,” Walker said. As the leaders of the cross country team, the two work to keep all the runners motivated before meets. Not only do they want to succeed, they wish the same for their teammates. “I always try to cheer my teammates on not only during races, but especially hard practices. …

While it isn’t always enough, I put effort into making our runners feel like they have what it takes to finish,” McAuliffe said. Walker said he doesn’t like the team to miss a day of training. “The main thing that keeps us going in practice is the idea that there are people out there getting faster and stronger each day we don’t train, and when it’s hard, it’s because we are getting better,” Walker said. With fewer than two years left in their high school careers, the two have begun looking at colleges to not only study at, but possibly continue running. “As of right now, it is my goal to run cross country in college. I am definitely paying attention to academics first, but getting a (running) scholarship to a university of my choosing would be a great reward for a lot of hard work,” McAuliffe said. McAuliffe said her biggest goal this year is to break 19 minutes for a 5K. She also wants to make it to the state championship in both cross country and track. As for Walker, he plans to be in the top 20 of his class at the state championships and run a 5K in about 16:30. “The biggest reason that they are both so good at running cross country is they both love the sport,” Snead said. “Their strive and attitude for the sport makes them so good.” McAuliffe’s favorite thing about cross country is racing. “A lot of people like to say that there will always be someone faster than you, or better than you, and maybe that’s true, but when I race, all that matters is that no one beats me without having to work for it,” McAuliffe said. Walker, on the other hand, said he likes the “purity” of the sport. “In every other sport you have pads, a ball, or some other type of equipment. This is just you and your body, no weird spins, or tackles or plays to master, just running,” Walker said.


10 SPORTS November 2016

Youngsters lead the way


Sophomores Miguel Jackson, left, and Jack Willett march across the field on Sept. 30 during the Lakewood vs. Dunedin varsity football game.They are Lakewood’s newest drum majors. “They’re a little young. ... Usually drum majors are juniors and seniors, but they had the right leadership skills so they made the cut to be drum majors this year,” band director Michael Kernodle said.

Two sophomores are the new drum majors for Lakewood’s Soul of the South marching band. BY ALEXIS CRAWFORD SNN Staff Writer


ans are still hearing the same sounds from Lakewood’s Soul of the South marching band this football season – the banging of the drum line, the clanging of the cymbals, the horns blaring - but this year something is a little different: the drum majors are just sophomores. “They’re a little young … usually drum majors are juniors or seniors, but they had the right leadership skills so they made the cut to be drum majors this year,” band director Michael Kernodle said. The new drum majors are Miguel Jackson and Jack Willett. Kernodle said that they have the “total package,” because they are able to conduct, read music and interpret it for other people. “I feel proud to lead the band this year, because it’s

just one of those things that not too many people get the opportunity to do,” Willett said. Willett described the job of drum major as right under band teacher Kernodle, so they have quite a bit of authority. “When I’m not here they have to pretty much run the band. So they’re, I guess, mini-me’s,” Kernodle said. “I like being drum major because I like being the face of the band,” Willett said. This summer the drum majors attended Florida A&M University’s band camp alongside the band. This year the band is emphasizing musicianship and discipline to improve. The drum majors also train to get better, not just physical training like running and

exercise, but mental training. “It’s just a lot of dedication and if your mind isn’t right then it’s not the right position for you,” Willett said. Both Jackson and Willett played instruments before becoming drum major. Willett started playing the trumpet in sixth grade when his parents suggested it. Jackson, who used to play the trombone for three years, said that he misses playing because he is better than he was last year. “I started playing the trombone because when you see a marching band, an (Historically Black College or University) marching band, the trombones are usually at the front, and I just love the sound that they make ... because if you get 20 trombones together it sounds

beautiful,” Jackson said. The band has 50-plus members this year and, according to Kernodle, is getting better and better. “Musically they’re getting stronger, which is important they concentrate more on sound than numbers. Our band is a big family,” he said. The band plans to compete this year in different competitions in the area, including Nov. 5 at Dunedin High School at the Florida Bandmasters Association District 9 Music Performance Assessment. At the MPA, the band will go before judges who will give them a rating. If they get a superior then they can go to state level, where they will be judged on music, marching, percussion, general effect, and auxiliary.

A little brotherly competition Brothers Josh and Justin Irvin started swimming when they were babies. Now they compete against each other on the Lakewood swim team. BY SHAKERA THOMPSON SNN Staff Writer


Brothers Josh and Justin Irvin have been on Lakewood’s boys’ swim team for four and two years, respectively.

You may have seen siblings who are very competitive in sports, but not often do you see them starting in the same race, two lanes away from each other, ready to dive in the water to compete. Sophomore Justin Irvin and senior Josh Irvin both started swimming lessons when they were babies. “Josh and Justin could swim before they could walk,” their mom Jennifer Irvin said. Later they started competitively swimming at Lake Vista with the city of St. Petersburg. Eventually they joined St. Petersburg Aquatics, one of the biggest teams in the city. Now, Josh and Justin are swimmers for the swim team at Lakewood. Josh said even though he is older, his younger brother is the better swimmer. He admits Justin is more dedicated and inspired by the Olympics.

“It’s fun to compete against my brother, (but) it’s not much of a competition because I already know he’s going to win,” Josh said. “When I’m next to my brother I want him to win because, of course I love him, but it’s still a competition so I still want to beat him,” Justin said. Neither one of their parents swam, but their dad, Michael Irvin, was a professional windsurfer as well as a scuba diver and spear fisherman. When Josh is in the same race as his brother he just hopes to reach his personal goals, which is to improve his time from before. Justin’s events are 200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke, 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay. Josh’s events are 500 freestyle, 200 individual medley and 200 medley relay. Josh said he knew he wanted to do a sport in high school, but he also knew that he didn’t want to be sweaty and sticky. Justin tried every other sport and also

hated being sweaty and sticky so they both settled on swimming. “You really just fall in love with the sport,” Justin said. Justin wants to keep working, not just to beat his teammates or other opponents but to beat his times from last year. In the 200 IM he is currently at a 2:20 minutes, he wants to be at 2:16 or 2:15 by the end of the season. He would like to attend University of South Florida or University of Florida to further his swimming career. He doesn’t know what he wants to major in but he’s thinking about the medical field. Josh said he wants to attend University of South Florida in Tampa to major in bioengineering. He also hopes to swim in college. Their mom, Jennifer Irvin, said she and her husband feel nothing but pride when they see their boys swim. “We cheer them both and our hearts swell. You can hear me from the stands,” she said.

She’s back on deck

Julie Smith-Frazer, from the Class of 2015, used to swim for Lakewood High. Now she is the assistant swim coach for the Spartans. Lakewood High School alumnus Julie Smith-Frazer, Class of 2015, attends St. Petersburg College. SNN interviewed her about her experiences this year as Lakewood’s assistant swim coach. When did you start swimming? I started swimming my freshman year of high school. (August 2011) What is the importance of swimming to you? The importance of swimming to me is setting goals and pushing yourself. Even if you don’t reach your goal, trying your hardest is what matters. So many people come into the pool expecting it to be easy and it’s not. You have to swim your best at practice to swim even better at the meet. … But it’s mainly an individual sport and it can be hard to boost team spirit or morale. Swimming can be 100 times better when you have a friend pushing you and cheering you on when you win. Where did you go to college? I am currently enrolled in my second year at St. Petersburg College (SPC).

Why did you choose that school? I chose SPC because I want to receive my general AA degree at a school that would be much cheaper than at a state university. I am planning on transferring to a university next year. I haven’t decided which one. Do you swim in college? No, I do not swim in college. SPC does not offer a swim team but I sometimes wish I would have gone to college for swimming. Why did you come back to Lakewood? I was asked to come back by my former Lakewood High swim coach James Kostka. I was pretty honored that he asked me, seeing as I only graduated from Lakewood in 2015. Do you like being an assistant coach? Yes, I like being the assistant coach. I get to help the swimmers with their technique and watch them progress throughout the season. Are you being paid or are you a volunteer? Once I complete all of the necessary paperwork, I can receive payment at the end of the season.

Is it hard coaching? I think the hardest thing for me is how young I am; I sometimes feel the swimmers may not respect or listen to me as much because I’m close to some of them in age. What is the best part about coaching? The best part is seeing the swimmers drop time - go faster - in one of their events and the look on their face when you tell them is the greatest feeling. Would you want to become a swim coach professionally? No, I don’t think I would become a professional swim coach. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do as a career. Do you like coaching with head swim coach Andrew Holzbog? Why? Yes, I like coaching next to Holzbog. He’s a great example of what a coach should be, he pushes the athletes to do their best while having a calm attitude about it. He’s a great leader and he really earns the respect of the team.


Assistant swim coach Julie Smith-Frazer, left, a former Lakewood student, and head swim coach Andrew Holzbog oversee the Lakewood swim team at the Tri-State Meet on Oct. 6. “He’s a great example of what a coach should be, he pushes the athletes to do their best while having a calm attitude about it,” she said.

November 2016 FEATURES 11

Mobile barber cuts out travel time St. Petersburg’s mobile barber brings his business to his customers’ doorstep. BY XAVIER RICHARDS SNN Staff Writer


ome people have to travel a distance to get a cut from their barber. Others may find their barber at a shop that’s just around the corner. As easy as that seems, there is a more convenient way to get a fresh cut. Instead of traveling to your barbershop, your barber comes to you. Mobile barber Philip Williams of St. Petersburg is the owner of Mobile Master Faders. Williams used to work at an actual shop but then saw being a mobile barber as a way to “cut out the middle man.” “It gets the landlord out of my pocket,” he said. Williams is a mobile barber who comes to your place, cuts your hair, and does that for the same price as your average barber. Prices run from $15-$25 and that includes scissor work and a straight razor. Williams also cuts hair for women. “He takes his time so it’s neat. He’s convenient,” said customer Christian Bolden, 22.

Williams can roll his barbershop in a box into your house. Or he can give you a cut in his van, which is equipped with a barber chair and runs on its own power. “Other people are doing it, but they are not doing it well enough,” Williams said. Williams taught himself how to cut hair, then he refined his skills at the Pinellas Technical Education Centers (PTEC) and finally at the Master Academy of Beauty in Largo. He was able to get through the academy relatively quickly. “I’d been cutting hands-on, so I pretty much knew everything and cut the class short by a good couple months,” said Williams, who started his own barber school in January called the Master Academy of Pinellas. Williams now has employees under him and hopes to gain more. In five years he wants to see his business “in the hands of other people, me just being sure the morals and core value of the company are kept up.”


Barber Philip Williams cuts 8-year-old Logan Richards’ hair in his dining room on Sept 9. Williams gives Richards a bald fade using tools from his “barbershop in a box” bag. Williams is a mobile barber and travels to his client’s houses to give haircuts.

Program focuses on homeless students

Last year more than 3,000 students in Pinellas County were identified as homeless. BY RACHEL MOORE AND BRY-ANNA BANI SNN Staff Writer

Two years ago, Dr. Patricia Williams, head of educational alternative services for the school district, met a young girl at Lakewood who was hungry and didn’t have any transportation to school. One evening, Williams drove out to deliver some food and some PSTA bus passes so the girl could make it to school. “I had found the house,” Williams said. “It was like a deserted area, so I called her and I said, ‘Hey, I’m here at this address that you gave me. Can you describe your location a little better?’ And she says ‘Okay, I see you Dr. Williams. I’ll be right out.’” Williams looked at a boarded-up house and saw a piece of plywood move slightly. “She crawls out the window and comes to my car to get her food and her bus passes,” Williams said. This girl is only one of thousands of homeless students in Pinellas County. In fact, at the end of last year, the county identified more than 3,000 students as homeless.

This school year, just in the month of August, officials estimate that more than 1,000 students are already identified as homeless, Williams said. What happens to these kids? Who helps them? Who makes sure they are taken care of ? *** The Homeless Education Assistance Team, known as HEAT, is a confidential program that is designed to identify homeless students. The McKinney-Vento Act, which the district is governed by, promises immediate enrollment for homeless students and ensures that they have transportation to and from their school. “That simply means there’s no barriers that should prevent a student that’s homeless from entering the classroom,” Williams said. Members of the HEAT team make sure the students get food, school supplies, toiletries, as well as clothes. They ensure that the students get everything they need so that they don’t “feel” or “look” homeless. The HEAT program gets a minimal grant from the

district to help the students get everything they need. They also get a grant from Title IX, a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. HEAT representatives for Pinellas County also team up with AVID here at Lakewood for Homeless Awareness Week. This is a week where every student lends a helping hand in support of homelessness. “It’s an opportunity to let them know we support and we’re willing to help,” AVID teacher and gym coach Chantella Moore said. *** One focus of the HEAT team is to make sure homeless students are not embarrassed by their living conditions. “I had a star football player from Lakewood who was homeless. … He was living in a hotel, so we routed a bus for him. The bus picked him up in front of the hotel,” Williams said. Williams then checked up on him and helped him

pay his senior fees. “He said ‘Dr. Williams, is there any way the bus could just let me walk down further and not pick me up in front of the hotel?’” she said. He explained to her that he was ashamed because he didn’t want people to know where he lived. The school system, however, was not able to make that change, so in the end he declined the bus. “He told me ‘Thank you very much.’ (and) he got up every morning and walked to Lakewood High School, and never missed a day,” Williams said. He ended up getting several offers to different colleges and accepted a full ride scholarship to a college up north. “Now he’s doing very well,” she said. *** If you or someone you know in the Pinellas or Hillsborough County school district is dealing with homelessness, contact Dr. Patricia Williams at (727) 423-1479 or by email at

14 different schools, 4 countries, 1 year at Lakewood Well-traveled “new girl” now makes Lakewood High her home. BY KEYONT’E HOWARD SNN Staff Writer

Senior Skyler Taylor has been the new girl at school 14 times. She said she’s been referred to as “new girl,” more than she’s been referred to by her name. Because she has done it so many times, Taylor said she is used to the process of moving and starting a new school. “It’s nothing new to me, but I’m new to everyone else,” Taylor said. She’s lived in the countries of Qatar, Jordan and Germany and currently resides in the United States. She also has previously lived in Ohio, Virginia, Missouri and Texas. She switched schools so much because of her parents’ jobs. Taylor’s mother served as a diplomat, her stepfather worked overseas in the Navy and as a diplomat and her biological father is a civilian. Her mother recently retired from her job as a diplomat. “My mom worked in the military. She is fluent in Arabic and grew up in Israel. She received a high clearance and became needed around the world for translation. She is also very well-known and liked in her field,” Taylor said. Along with living in four different countries, Taylor is well traveled and has picked up pieces of other languages. She has traveled to Luxembourg,

France, Turkey, Israel, Oman, Abu Dhabi, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Bahamas, Mexico and Canada. From her travels Taylor has learned some Arabic, French and German. “I know conversational French. I mean, I can order food. I didn’t study (languages). I just learned them passively through friends speaking it and being in the country,” she said. Her economics teacher Sharyn Jacob describes Taylor as charming, pleasant and an excellent student. Occasionally, Taylor and Jacob talk about the places Taylor has lived. Jacob said she thinks that Taylor is able to adjust well to new situations and meet new people easily due to the multiple times she’s changed schools. “(Taylor) is a hard-working student, an excellent student even. She went out of town a few days and had all her work done when she came back. Whenever she completes an assignment she does it thoroughly,” Jacob said. This is Taylor’s first year at Lakewood and her last year as a high school student. So far she’s made multiple friends and has enjoyed what the school offers. “It’s probably one of the nicer public schools I’ve been to, although it’s small,” Taylor said.

Special to SNN

Senior Skyler Taylor stands in the center of Wiesbaden, the town in Germany where she was born. Taylor was on a trip with her mother visiting the town in October 2015.

Exhibit showcases student work BY KEYONT’E HOWARD SNN Staff Writer

Through Our Eyes: Midtown and Beyond, an exhibit that showcases some of the best stories and photos from the journalism programs at Lakewood High, John Hopkins Middle and Melrose Elementary schools, opened Oct. 22 at the Studio@620 and ran through Nov. 1. “It’s a chance for the students to see their work in a public, professional gallery and see that members of the community enjoy the students’ work,” program coordinator Gretchen Letterman said. The exhibit, the second Through Our Eyes exhibit since the death of founding program coordinator Cynda Mort in 2015, included 100 photos from the three programs as well as excerpts of

stories from the past year. A highlight of the event was that a guest brought her Madagascar ringtailed lemur to the studio during the event. “A lemur came to the exhibit; that’s never happened before. She and her owner were the subject of a photo in the gallery taken at a street festival,” Letterman said. Also displayed were letters the students wrote to be sent to the next president addressing matters that were important to them. “The assignment was to let the next occupier of the Oval Office know what students are concerned about. Not feeling protected. Gun violence. Hunger. Police brutality. We’re sending the letters to the White House when the exhibit is over,” Letterman said.


Junior Dallas Davis, left, and senior Tony Rengifo, middle, talk to Journeys in Journalism advisory board member Marian Tagliarino at the Through Our Eyes: Midtown and Beyond photo exhibit on Oct. 21. Davis and Rengifo were student docents at the exhibit. “I liked the way it was laid out and it seems like people were really interested and intrigued,” Davis said.

Above, a crowd at the Through our Eyes exhibit gathers around printed photos for sale at the Studio@620 on Oct. 21. Below, students and their families enter the studio on opening night.



‘Luke Cage’ has appeal to African-American viewers The character lives up to his nickname “Power Man” in the live-action debut of this series. BY KEYONT’E HOWARD SNN Staff Writer


n a time when America needs a bullet-proof black man, we received it in the form of Netflix’s newest Marvel series Luke Cage. Labeled as a “blaxploitation drama,” the 1970’s comic and 2016 show was made to reach out and appeal to the urban community. Luke Cage falls into the same time frame as The Avengers, Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Throughout the 13 episodes there are references to the wider Marvel universe and characters from comic books. The series takes place in Harlem, New York, and primarily deals with the tension of race relations, crime and corruption in the political and law enforcement system, a topic that is very pertinent at this point in time. The titular character Luke Cage (Mike Colter) is a mild-mannered man who stays away from the public eye until he decides to take to the streets and make Harlem a safer place. Cage wants to free Harlem from the rule of crime boss Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes (Mahershala Ali) and his cousin, Councilwoman “Black” Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard), who are both characters from the Luke Cage comics. As Cage decides what it means to be a hero, he finds opposition from the non-trusting New York Police Department. He also loses loved ones and faces his past that he’ll later come to embrace. All characters (primary and

secondary) were quite interesting and I enjoyed every minute learning their history. I found the show enjoyable as a drama and standalone superhero show. The show’s main selling points for me were the soundtrack, the composition of shots and the interesting characters that compelled me to learn more about them. In fact, I found it hard to accomplish learning more about the characters because the show was watched by so many viewers when it was released that it temporarily shut down Netflix servers. Lots of the music used was hip-hop, R&B and jazz. The hip-hop is used for action and fast-paced cuts and the R&B and jazz would be used for scenes placed in Cottonmouths’ nightclub to give a particular shot ambience and a classy feel. The music was chosen well and fit every scene it was in. I fell in love with a particular song, Bullet-proof Love by Method Man, which was a good companion piece to the scene that it was played over, and the lyrics resonated with me. Angles and composition of shots were a big factor in my initial viewing of Luke Cage. The director of photography knew how to make the scenes stand out among others. Keeping specific characters in the center of the frame showed the power that resonated from them. Low angle shots showed the impact of a characters’ choices or the weight of their actions. High angle shots displayed weakness or emotion that a character was feeling. These affected the show heavily and made it better as a

whole. The series overall is quite good, but still not without fault. Sadly, the show fell flat after episode 7. The tone shifted and a dramatic yet incoherent plot piece muddled things near the end. By introducing a classic Luke Cage villain in a rushed manner it made the plot somewhat confusing near the final showdown between Cage and his foe. This hindered the show in its last moments and it affected my final thoughts on it. Netflix’s Luke Cage is another hit for Marvel’s television division. Luke Cage has a predominantly African-American cast that is complex and intriguing at the same time. Mike Colter played the self-reserved yet powerful main protagonist well, and I look forward to seeing him in a second season. The show’s music had me hooked and searching for albums and tracks on my phone so I could listen to them again. The music was able to portray tones that sometimes the actors quite couldn’t. Certain shots and angles showed us what characters were feeling, without needing them to give dialogue. Luke Cage is an amazing standalone series that had minor faults but still redeems itself for the majority of what it is. Black America has found a hero in Luke Cage. The next Marvel/Netflix series to be released is Iron Fist, and if it’s anything like Luke Cage, then I know that it’s something to be excited about. I give Netflix’s Luke Cage an 8.4/10. Netflix

Western remake is simple fun The summer movie season may be over, but that’s not stopping these gunslingers from riding their way into theaters. BY CHRISTOPHER VELGAKIS-BLANCK SNN Staff Writer

The Magnificent Seven is directed by action flick veteran Antoine Fuqua, director of Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen and The Equalizer. The film stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lee Byung-hun, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Martin Sensmeier as our seven heroes and Peter Sarsgaard as the villain. Fuqua may not be the most revered filmmaker, but most can agree he works well in his action-packed, tension-filled wheelhouse. His films may not have the most artistic prestige among others, but they’re fun, popcorn-munching times at the movies. Nothing has really changed with this latest. The only difference is that now we’re in a western setting, which was this film’s biggest selling point. This is Fuqua’s third collaboration with Washington and second with Hawke. It’s clear that they all work well together. Washington as the lead in this ensemble is as likable as ever and there is some very good bro-chemistry between he and Hawke, who both starred in Fuqua’s Training Day back in 2001. And personally, this is Fuqua’s best since that film. Maybe it’s because I love westerns or maybe because of this stacked cast, but I really found this to be thoroughly enjoyable. I haven’t seen the two classics in which this film is based on, but I will watch them

at some point, especially Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. I understand that some who have been fans of those films might find this to be a mediocre film in comparison, but I did not go into the movies with those feelings. I went in wanting an action-packed Western in which seven men with a knack for killing hold down a town against an army of baddies, and that’s exactly what I got. Nothing more and nothing less. Chris Pratt is without a doubt one of the biggest movie stars of our present day, and it’s no shocker that he maintains that in this film as a likeable jerk who’s good at killing with guns and one-liners. His screen presence has definitely become known to anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past three years. If there’s any criticism that I have for Pratt it’s that he might not be as believable in this time period because his performance is very “Chris Pratty.” He’s still a fun person to have in this type of movie alongside Washington and others though so it’s an extremely forgivable flaw. Even with all of the star-power in the movie, my absolute favorite person in this movie is Vincent D’Onofrio. He seems to be a standout in everything he does, and it doesn’t stop here. His moments in the movie were absolutely hilarious as he barrels his way

Netflix continues to crush with new Sci-Fi series Netflix continues its streak of releasing original content with the most talked about show of the year. BY ALICIA LOPEZ SNN Staff Writer

Stranger Things is a supernatural science-fiction, Netflix original series written and directed by the Duffer Brothers. The show was originally released on July 15. The series has a total of eight episodes as well as a soundtrack. The series is set in 1980’s Indiana and follows the disappearance of Will Byers, who gets sucked into a mysterious world called the “Upside Down.” On the other side of the portal, Eleven, a telekinetic girl, (Millie Bobby Brown) flees from captivity in a government facility. She helps Byers’ friends and family find him, all while the rest of the townspeople conduct their own investigation. The show opens up with a group of friends playing Dungeons & Dragons in the basement. Soon, the viewer learns that something goes wrong at a government facility that is just outside of town. The result of the mishap is that Eleven escapes from the facility, and a beast from another dimension wreaks havoc. Throughout the season more people start disappearing, which alarms everyone, especially Sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbour), who isn’t the most willing worker. As the story progresses, Hopper has suspicions about the government facility on the outskirts of town and sneaks in to investigate. He eventually finds a child’s bed, some drawings and a portal to the “Upside Down”. A fan favorite of the series was Gaten Matarazzo, who played Dustin, but I personally love Eleven, because she isn’t like the rest of the people in the town. Not only do I like the fact that she broke the stereotype for girls in the ‘80s, but she had to be strong in order to deal with being held in a government facility as well as constantly being tested on.

Some people describe Stranger Things as a mix of E.T., X-Files and Super 8. Others find the show provides a nostalgic flashbacks to when they were growing up. Either way, Stranger Things got a greater response than expected from the cast and creators. I’d recommend the series to anyone who likes a thriller or mystery, just as long as they’re 13 or older, due to all the profanity. On Aug. 31 the series was renewed for a second season, with nine episodes to be released in 2017. I can’t wait to see what season two will bring.



through people wielding a tomahawk. I wish he was in the movie even more than he is, but for the time he’s there he is fantastic. If you’re looking for a fun time that involves a ton of violence, charismatic stars and a good throwback to the western films of years past, there is no better mov-

ie to watch right now. The film knows exactly what it is and delivers on reasonable expectations. Fuqua continues to thrill, Washington continues to be a star and I look forward to their next projects - as should you if you crave some traditional action.

Not much to rave about in new iPhone Somes features make it better, but the lack of a headphone jack is a big miss. BY RACHEL GADOURY SNN Staff Writer

The new iPhone 7 was released this fall along with a lot of mixed emotions about it on social media. I was able to get my hands on one because my phone provider put out a deal where I could trade in my 6s to get the 7. The only reason I got rid of my 6s and got the 7, was so I could have more storage. I ordered the phone on Sept. 7, the day it was released, and it didn’t come in the mail until Sept. 26. I activated the phone, and immediately the first thing I noticed was that the home button was weird. When I went to turn the screen on, I pressed the home button, and it didn’t press down as the earlier iPhones do. According to the official Apple website, the home button on iPhone 7 is designed to be “durable, responsive, and pressure sensitive.” What this means is it’s a little harder to press down, so you don’t need too much pressure to activate the home button, Siri, or other iPhone functions. It took some time to get used to, but once I did, I like it even better than the old home button. Apple also put the iPhone 7 out in five different colors, silver, gold, rose gold, black and jet black. I got the regular black version, although before you start wondering, there is a difference between the black and the jet black. The jet black model is only available in 128 and 256GB of storage. It also has a shiny finish unlike the regular black, which has a matte finish. Apple Pay is also a new feature, but just in IOS 10. It is advertised to be “the safer way to pay.” I haven’t hooked up my debit card to Apple Pay, but I have seen my mom use it in restaurants and grocery stores. I think it is just convenient.


According to Apple, the new iPhone 7 comes with a new and improved camera, which I have to say I am so happy with. Taking photos is so much nicer, clearer and even more convenient when you’re in darker settings due to the new flash. I actually really wanted to get the iPhone 7 Plus. According to several people I know, the camera is almost as good as a normal DSLR. Sadly, the 7 Plus would not fit in my small hands so I just went with the regular 7. Another thing that changed with the new iPhone is the battery life. According to the Apple website, the iPhone 7 has two extra hours of battery life, and up to one more hour on the iPhone 7 Plus. I haven’t noticed the battery being significantly better than on my 6s, but I can tell it is slightly better, which obviously is quite helpful. The worst thing about the new iPhone 7 is that the headphone jack was removed. I believe Apple took it out to persuade people to buy its $160 Bluetooth AirPods, but I do not have an extra $160 lying around to buy these outrageously expensive headphones. So, of course, I have to choose between charging my phone, and listening to music or watching YouTube, because I cannot do both at once, which is quite inconvenient. There are more new features added to the iPhone 7, and IOS 10 that you can view on the Apple website. These are the biggest, most talked about, and most noticeable features. I don’t hate the new iPhone but I’m not in love with it. I think it is definitely overrated and not anything to rush out and get right now.

November 2016



The place for trendy fall fashions

MISRED Outfitters is on the 600 block of Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg.The store opened seven years ago.

A jean jacket is displayed with two different dresses at MISRED Outfitters. All clothing is under $50. “Fashion changes so quickly that it can become a full-time job,” Stonecipher said.

A variety of shoes, purses and books are displayed on the wall at MISRED Outfitters. “Our shop doesn’t really focus on trends. It can be hard for everyday women to keep up,” manager Sarah Stonecipher said.

MISRED Outfitters is an affordable store in downtown St. Petersburg for vintage women’s clothing. BY SAMANTHA DOUGLAS SNN Staff Writer


n busy Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg is a cute little boutique named MISRED Outfitters. As you walk inside the store your’re hit with a variety of dresses, shoes, sweaters and shorts. Different types of fabrics and patterns stick out with vibrant colors. The store, filled with clothing in all the fall colors, is a perfect example of the changing season. The olive green, burnt orange and the light pinks show the fading of summer and the beginning of winter. Owner and brand manager Sara Stonecipher opened MISRED seven years ago as a vintage consignment store.

You can shop in person or online at “My mom had a shop and I loved the idea of being part of the small business landscape in the growing downtown St. Pete area,” she said. Right now, the shop is featuring a variety of fall fashion, and accessories are what stand out the most, especially big, exotic, shiny necklaces. The trend this season is bringing back the high boots, leg warmers and furry coats from past decades. Don’t fear Lakewood, you can still dress up the dress code. Here are some trends you can find that won’t get you in trouble. A solid color sweater or a fur coat will show the current trends while still staying within Lakewood rules. Your

A variety of earrings sold at MISRED Outfitters in downtown St. Petersburg.

shoes can be trendy, too. Furry ankle boots, long socks or knee-high boots tucked into a pair of skinny jeans are all styles being seen this season. “It’s a small boutique that has great clothing at great prices,” sales associate Erica Quijano said. Media center specialist Kate Drof agrees, describing the store as “stylish, classy and affordable.” She said she shops there at least once every other month. “My favorite thing that I bought would be a pair of vintage high-waist shorts,” Drof said. MISRED Outfitters is at 615 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg. Hours are Monday-Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sundays, 12-5 p.m. (727) 827-8310. Photos by SAMANTHA DOUGLAS | SNN

Price tag too steep on eye-catching shoes

Kanye West’s new shoeline makes waves - with how they look and how they’re priced.


Shoes are for running in, playing in and having style. When your shoes get run down, smelly and gross to wear, a simple pair of tennis shoes or casual shoes will cost you anywhere from $30 to $60. Unless you want these exclusive Kanye West Adidas shoes that will run you about $700 to $1,200. These shoes are called Yeezy’s. Yeezy’s are extremely expensive casual sneakers made by West and his team over at Adidas. Although his shoes are overpriced, every single new color scheme sells out immediately, bought by shoe enthusiasts and celebrities. But not exactly everyone can afford these expensive shoes. “They are way too expensive… we broke,” sophomore Anthony Melendez said. “I would rather pay rent,” senior Avery Fuentes said. Even though these shoes are incredibly hard to get online, many people tried their luck in stores and malls.

“Last year, I went to the mall. I saw them and tried to get them,” freshman Seyvion Owens said. “But they didn’t have them in my size.” Although many people believe they are overpriced, lots of people would get the shoes if they could, even with the high price tag. “They’re worth the money,” Owens said. Kanye West isn’t known only for his expensive sneakers, he is also a very successful rapper who has won a number of awards through the years. Overall, his shoes are definitely not in sight for a high school student of any kind. These shoes are more purposed for the high fashion people and the people who can and want to spend a crazy amount of money on a pair of sneakers. “Those shoes are … not worth the money,” sophomore Sam Ely said.

Freshman Hesham Ibrahim said he is wearing Yeezy’s 350 Boost. He said his mother bought them in Egypt where they are cheaper.


Make your memories last forever!

Buy a yearbook RAYNA WILLIAMS | SNN

Assistant principal Ste’phan Lane, left, reading teacher Anthony Lawrence, middle, and world history teacher Harry Glover stand by the cafeteria on Sept. 14.They are dressed up for Snazzy Wednesdays, an idea created by Lane to represent themselves as role models for the male students at Lakewood High School. “We feel we are blessed to have a lot of males on our staff, so we use them to inspire and do something positive for the male students,” Lane said. - SNN Staff Writer KIJARA ELLIS


Bring cash, check or money order to C-100

14 OPINION November 2016

We guess we’re with her...

SNN recommends Hillary Clinton for the next president. EDITORIAL


he SNN editorial board is recommending Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States. Although Clinton is not our first choice, we are endorsing her because we think Donald Trump is unfit. They are both inadequate because of the things they have said and done. It’s too bad Bernie Sanders didn’t make it to the top spot, because he seemed to have all of the right stuff. Clinton has faced a controversy about her emails. The story broke in 2015, when it became publicly known that during her term as U.S. Secretary of State she used her family’s private email server for official communications, rather than official State Department email accounts maintained on federal servers. This landed her in trouble and angered people, because they said she had classified material on her server, which could have jeopardized American lives and security. Clinton also faced the Benghazi investigation. On Sept. 11, 2012, the U.S. diplomatic compound and annex in Benghazi, Libya, came under attack. When it was over, four Americans were dead and U.S. officials were forced to evacuate. People

criticized Clinton because the investigation showed that there had been many requests for better security at the embassy and they believe Clinton ignored those requests, resulting in the four deaths. These are legitimate criticisms of Clinton, but next to Trump and the ridiculous things that come out of his mouth, Clinton still remains our top choice. Clinton doesn’t say or do the racist, sexist and embarrassing things Trump says and does. Here are just a few examples: • Trump has disparaged some Mexican immigrants: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” • Trump has made fun of a disabled man: “Now the poor guy — you oughta see this guy (imitating disabled reporter). ‘Aaah, I don’t know what I said, aaah, I don’t remember.’” • Trump talks very badly about women: He has called them “fat pigs,” “slobs” and “disgusting animals.” Recently, a tape surfaced in which he basically described how he has sexually assaulted women.

• Trump has criticized America: “We have become a third-world country, folks.” These things that Donald Trump has said are disrespectful and outright unacceptable. As the president of our country we do not need a misogynist, but a leader who will guide America and keep our country prospering. How can we make America great again, if America is already great? Although we don’t love Hillary Clinton, she is our best choice because she: • Has spent her life fighting for a fairer America. • Says she’ll fight to end racial profiling in America. • Believes that higher education should be cheaper and that community college should be tuition-free for every American. • Says she’ll expand on-campus child care and scholarships to help student parents balance going to school with raising a child. • Has a gun violence prevention plan and wants to ban assault weapons. • Believes women’s rights are human rights. All of these are good enough reasons to recommend Hillary Clinton as president of the United States instead of Donald Trump.


Dear Next President...

Students wrote letters to the future president telling him or her what they hope will be accomplished in their presidency.

Dear Next President, I cannot vote yet, and most of the time I feel like nobody wants to hear what I have to say. This is why I am taking this opportunity to tell you how I feel. Being 15 in today’s world is confusing because I have no idea what will be left for my peers and I when we finally get to make the important decisions in this country. My main issue with this country is the lack of kindness and empathy. There are so many people who are willing to be brutal to one another, but important issues are almost never handled with an open heart. Hate is our worst enemy. Hate makes terrorists. Hate makes wars. Not a single war has been started because people were truly kind to each oth-

er. Everybody wants to be treated well, and nobody wants to be hurt. Not only do we need to show kindness, but we need to show it to everybody. You want people to treat you with kindness, right? Well, women, African Americans, Native Americans, Asians and gay, trans and gender-fluid people all want kindness. The disabled, the deaf, blind and lame all want to be treated with the same kindness you are expected to show as the leader of our country. It doesn’t matter if you think they did something wrong. These people are still alive and they have earned love just from existing, in my opinion. “It is always easy to kick the puppy that made a mess on the floor, but it is never easy to forgive him,” my father said to me one day. It probably didn’t mean as much as I feel it does now, but I have never stopped thinking of those words whenever I do something wrong. You should remember these words as well. You need to forgive who you see as bad, and you need to accept them, because we all share this planet. Future president, please consider my words. There is no problem that cannot be solved without mercy, love and peace. Adopt these policies as your own, and I believe you can become a great president, but only if you mean it. Sincerely, Jade Li Ellis Marks, 9th grade

Dear Next President, Racism in America is very real and thriving to this day. As a black male I find it offensive that people who claim to be “true” Americans believe it is okay to be-

little, insult and treat those of color as second-class citizens. America is considered a melting pot of culture and stories, but we have those who believe that the mixture of cultures lessens our country. African-Americans have come a long way, but we still have farther to go. The racism in our country appears to be systemic and leads all the way to the government administration and control. We need to jumpstart our system so that there can be more inclusion of African-American ideals and ingenuity. It would be hard to completely eradicate the racism that is centuries old; hopefully, with your guidance as president, we can start toward fixing race relations between all people of the United States. Once again, I commend you on your victory. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Sincerely, Keyont’e Howard, 12th grade

Dear Next President, I hate to break it to you, but the world has changed and it continues to change every day. Elementary schools, high schools, colleges, night clubs, churches and movie theaters aren’t safe anymore. The only thing that remains protected is the Second Amendment, and that is a scary reality that I have had to come to grips with. It is inconceivable to shield an amendment that was created in the 17th century. I’m

sorry, but it is unjustifiable to protect something that actively puts members of society in danger at every waking moment. While I’m aware that limiting gun access will not put a complete stop to the horrible mass killings that we have seen lately, I do know that restrictions will help to prevent the occurrence of gun-related deaths. It’s simple really: fewer guns equals fewer shootings. I have seen too many of my peers have to be escorted from class because their loved one has been killed at the hands of a person with a gun who should not have had a gun. This is not a local problem. This is a United States problem and I hope that you will use your time as president to do what other presidents have failed to do. Save a life, protect the people and add restrictions to the Second Amendment. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. Sincerely, Alexis Garcia, 12th grade

Dear Next President, I’m a very intellectual individual who strives for excellence all the time because gaining an education is the only way out. Throughout my years of high school, I’ve been a good student: I show up early, get all my work done, seek help when I’m struggling just to improve in areas that I’m weak in and maintain good grades. Despite that, I - and a majority of teenagers in so-

ciety - will be struggling with college tuition. There are students who work extremely hard just to gain a proper education in high school then go on to college. We struggle because we don’t have the money. We are students who are very eager to go college and be successful but our parents and other relatives do not have the money for the expensive tuitions. I’ve witnessed teenagers in my neighborhood who graduated from high school with the intention of going to college but instead have to work at fast food restaurant such as Wendy’s and Burger King. Others sell drugs and get in conflicts and they often spend half their life in jail. Please, cut the price on college tuition and save the youth of this generation. Thank you future president for your time and I hope you understand and help me with my request. We are young students with goals just trying to be successful just like you. Please grant our wish. Sincerely, Kimesha Williams, 12th grade

Dear Next President, I live in St. Petersburg, Fla., and in my city poverty is a very serious issue. I see people who struggle to survive life every day in my town. People from different neighborhoods fight and rob just because they don’t have the means to survive. Income to single mothers is also an issue because dead-

beat dads, like my own, don’t stay around to help so there’s only one income in a house of maybe four or five children. Poverty is not only poverty alone. With no money to provide it brings violence and war into the city. People’s hard-earned money is being stolen and belongings are being destroyed because the lack of money being made. I think raising the minimum wage could be a great solution. People barely have the money to eat at home, so college wouldn’t be an option. Most get a minimum-wage job, and when that’s not enough they go sell drugs, get arrested and go to jail. Now you have young men fresh out of high school in prison, and their children won’t be able to experience a father in their home. Thank you for your time. I hope you can take my thoughts and problems and put them into action. Much love. America loves you, and know you will do a great job. Sincerely, Jamar Jackson, 12th grade

Dear Next President, I know what you’re thinking: Since I’m a senior in high school I may be writing to you about college and student loans. Although that is very important to me, there is one topic that is really close to my heart: poverty. I’ve always known what it was, but I never thought that this issue would concern me until earlier this summer. This summer I had the pleasure of going to Belize. Right when I landed there I saw kids walking the streets with no shoes, they had holes in their

clothes, and looked like they hadn’t showered in days. One lady that I made a personal connection with had 5 kids and stayed in a house that was barely big enough for just herself. In that house, there was no running water or electricity. It was then that I knew, this is an issue that has to be solved. Many people all over the world – even right here in the United States - live like that lady from Belize every day. There are many women and men - who are left in unfortunate situations – to raise a family of 4 -10 kids on their own. They may even have jobs so you would think that they’d have enough money to support their families, but they don’t. So how can we fix this problem? Well for starters, we can provide economic security, water and sanitation, access to health care, and a quality education. Please take this letter into deep consideration and know that there are people all over the world who would love to be in your shoes. And know that this is an issue that can be fixed so that our kids have a brighter future. Sincerely, Rachel E. Moore, 12th grade

November 2016 OPINION


A plan to pay fees

Show some respect




support freedom of speech. It protects Colin Kapernick’s right to whine and be the attention-seeker that he is. Let’s give him a round of applause for sitting down during the national anthem. There are patriots of every race that have fought for this country - this country that gives us so much freedom. People have died for this country and for his freedom. Yet he sits down during the national anthem? It’s not respectful. I am aware of the problems that have been going on in this country the past few months but that has nothing to do with the national anthem. Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there. O say, does that Star - Spangled Banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave? Nowhere in the national anthem does it say anything about black people being oppressed. Mr. Kapernick, if you’re going to stand up for the African-American community, please think about your actions before you do them. In no way, does kneeling for the national anthem teach young kids how to handle their anger over perceived bias. Yes, it’s better than rioting, but to disrespect America like that isn’t right. You can work to make change, but still respect America. Let’s all come together and be whole once again and still respect one another and America.


From left, Lakewood football players Rolando Sims, Cornell Battles, Jamal Lyles and Ky’Andre Moore place their hands over their hearts during the National Anthem. Football coach Cory Moore said none of his players has ever asked to take a knee. “America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. ... It’s their choice,” he said.

Ignorant responses to Kaepernick are telling Many people criticizing Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling are only reinforcing the fact that racism is alive and well in this country, and their complaints suggest they’re the unpatriotic ones. Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, shocked the country on Aug. 26th when he kneeled during the national anthem at a preseason football game. His action resulted in an instantaPARIS MCDOUGLE neous uproar. SNN Staff Writer While some commended him, others accused him of being disrespectful, ungrateful and a disgrace to the country. The list goes on and on and only gets more and more extreme. Some have even gone so far as to burn his jerseys and accuse him of being in ISIS. When asked about his decision to take a knee, Kaepernick announced that he was no longer going to stand for an anthem of a country that oppresses people of color. At a press conference a couple days later, he made it abundantly clear that his protests were in no way anti-police or anti-military. Despite his statements, he’s still being accused of being both un-American and unpatriotic. However, his actions are the very opposite. By kneel-

ing in peaceful protest, Kaepernick is exercising the very same First Amendment rights that our armed forces are fighting for. But still, many American people are trying to silence him. Many of the people outraged by Kaepernick’s protest are missing the point. Instead of listening to the important message, they’re attacking his character and personality. I’ve even heard several of my own peers making ignorant statements about the situation. When I asked one of my classmates about his opinion, he literally said, “Why are black people mad? We gave them their freedom!” This is a blatant example of the fact that, yes, people of color are still oppressed. We’re expected to shut up and just accept the fact that we’re discriminated against, looked down upon, abused and hated. Whether we want to admit it or not, America is home to intense racism to this day. It can clearly be seen through imbalances in the criminal justice system, depictions in the media, wage gaps and extreme police brutality. Colin Kaepernick, a rich millionaire football player, is trying to bring awareness to the issue and still, he’s being hushed. If that doesn’t send the message that people of color are still oppressed, then I don’t know what will.

Kaepernick is exercising the very same First Amendment rights that our armed forces are fighting for.

These days I watch as 12th-graders struggle to get their senior fees paid on time - and it looks to me like they are on the brink of losing their minds. This is nothing new. Every year seniors must pay a fee - this year’s fees are $105 right now and in January they go up to $125. The fees cover the rental of Tropicana Field, where graduation takes place, caps and gowns, diploma covers, medallions, programs, security, the Reflections ceremony and the senior picnic. As I watched these seniors, though, a thought occurred to me: Why can’t we start paying our senior fees ahead of time instead of waiting until we are actually seniors? When we come to high school we aren’t really thinking about classes and school work. We’re thinking of becoming a senior and having fun throughout our high school years. We go through high school and get to 12th grade and think all we have to do is pass our tests and graduate - but then we get hit with senior fees. We can’t graduate if they’re not paid. For some people, senior fees can be a lot of money so why can’t we start paying them off little by little as soon as we start high school? When we become a senior it won’t be as stressful on us or our parents. I’m asking as a high school student that all high schools start the process of paying senior fees off prior to becoming a senior because it would help a lot of students out during their high school life. If this idea is put into place, we can have fun and enjoy high school instead of stressing out when we become a senior because we might not be able to afford the fees or graduate.

Atmosphere matters when you’re trying to learn


I go to a school that’s missing a doorknob. Of course, it’s not just the doorknob. It’s the double doors into the courtSARAH KELLY yard that have mismatched SNN Staff Writer knobs; something happened to one of them, I suppose, and it got replaced with one that didn’t match. It’s also the portables, the crummy portables that aren’t actually portable, with the chicken-wire around the bases to stop raccoons (and students) from creeping around underneath them. It’s the carpeting in the Hub that looks like it’s been spat on by demons, and it’s the fact that there’s a kid in my class whose name gets called for roll every day, but who I’ve never seen. Who my teachers have never seen; who never bothers to show up. I started wondering why he wouldn’t even come. I

decided that he probably doesn’t care. Because it’s all the little things, they don’t seem like they matter, but they do. The portables and the grimy windows and the missing doorknobs and the mismatched doorknobs and the broken lunch tables and the crummy lunches. They matter almost as much as the quality of the teachers or the curriculum. Because nobody cares about the curriculum, really - that’s just you guys, you adults, you’re the ones who care about that. We’re the kids who’re slaving over projects and essays that honestly nobody in their right mind would care about, just because they’re on the curriculum – but we don’t care about the curriculum. We want to go to college and get good jobs and have good lives, but we’re not focused single-mindedly on that like you all seem to think we are. We’re focused on the crummy food and the missing doorknobs. And the cheerleaders and the football team and our favorite TV shows and the new iPhone. That’s what we care about, because we’re not you guys. We’re teenagers. And it’s really hard to do anything more than the minimum when you’re not doing anything more than the minimum for us.

It’s really hard to pay attention in class when one of the panels in the ceiling is missing, or when something suspicious is dripping from the ceiling and you don’t know if it’s just water from the rain or sewage from the bathroom upstairs. It’s really hard to feel good about yourself when the bathrooms haven’t had new soap put in since the start of the year, or when the toilet paper has been gone for three weeks now and nobody’s gotten more. It’s not just the quality of the teachers that matter. The teachers can be some of the best teachers in the world; it wouldn’t matter much at all, if the school itself is falling apart at the seams. Why is so much money going to so many other things, when these places of learning (because it’s not just Lakewood, you know, it’s every public school I’ve ever been to in my life) are crumbling to sad little lonely bits? I know that it’d be outrageous to request some big overhaul. But maybe a bit more money could be put into education, just a little bit more, and that money could go only to keeping schools from falling apart. Because they are, and it’s not pleasant.

A door misses its handle in upstairs T-wing.

Should gender matter when it comes to restrooms? It’s not that big of a problem, one student writes. BY JACE CAMPBELL SNN Staff Writer

Using the bathroom is a simple thing. People go into a stall, do their business, and go back to whatever they were doing before they walked into the bathroom. Lately, however, this simple act has become complicated in different states when it comes to transgender people. In North Carolina, specifically, transgender people are being prohibited from using the bathroom of the gender they identify with. A controversial law there requires all government agencies and public schools to require public restrooms and locker-rooms be separated by “biological sex” rather than gender identity. As someone who is transgender, why are we making this so difficult? It’s a simple every day act. If someone identifies with a particular gender, that person should be allowed to use the restroom he or she associates with. It is not always easy for a transgender person to even go to the bathroom, for

fear of being assaulted out of hate by another person for his or her pure existence. I struggle with that problem, but usually I take a deep breath and step into the boys’ room, use the bathroom, wash my hands and leave. Nobody in the bathroom seems bothered by my presence there, and I think it should be that way for everyone. Someone who identifies as a girl should not be kept from using the girls’ restroom, and the same goes for a boy. Using the bathroom takes only a few minutes of time, and people should be able to come and go as they please. Putting the opposite biological sex in a restroom should not be such a big deal. There have been some reports of sexual assaults in bathrooms, but people are sexually assaulted every day, and it is not just happening in restrooms. Restrooms should be the least of everyone’s worries. There are safety concerns, which is understandable, but a person’s comfort should be important. Transgender people are human and they want to live their lives just as we do. We need to let them.

Someone could get hurt, another says. BY AKILAH BELL SNN Staff Writer

The United States of America, home of the free and land of the brave, has lost its constitutional mind. The LGBT community has fought for equality in society, and in May the Obama administration told schools to permit students to use restroom facilities according to the gender with which they identify. I am not one to judge another’s sexuality and I have been accepting to one’s true feelings. However, wrong is wrong and right is right. I absolutely think this is an idea that will backfire. For example, there are male predators who can simply claim to identify as the opposite sex for JIANA JOHNSON | SNN the wrong intentions, putting females, especially little girls,

in danger. A recent incident in Toronto is one example. A man claiming to be transgender was arrested and sentenced to jail for sexually assaulting several women in a women’s shelter after he gained access to the shelter and its shower facilitates as “Jessica.” Yes, this does affect the school system. Putting the opposite sex in restrooms for the wrong reasons can cause malicious incidents like sexual molestation and rape. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, “There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex.” However, protecting students’ safety should always be the education administration’s first priority.


November 2016

The best of Lakewood



From left, freshman Meghan Friedman, sophomores Jamel Wright and Anarra Sadiki, junior Shakera Thompson, and seniors Rachel Brown, Jenia Baker and Jade Smith line up on the Lakewood football field during the Lakewood vs. Gibbs Homecoming game on Oct. 14.


Senior Jade Smith wins Homecoming Queen on Oct. 14 during the Homecoming football game against Gibbs High School.


Seniors, from left, Quashana Morant, Sabrina Marquez, Kindle Lovett, My’A Griffin and Latana Williams dress as senior citizens on Generation Day on Oct. 10. For Spirit Week, freshman dressed as babies, sophomores were teenagers, juniors were middle aged and seniors were senior citizens on Generation Day.

From left, sophomores Yesenia McDonald, Arellia Williams, freshman Ja’Kera Watson and sophomore Jarquavia Cromartie match on Twin Day on Oct. 11. JAKYRA CHAMPINE | SNN

Assistant principal Ste’Phan Lane raps during the Battle of the Classes on Oct. 13. MICHAELA WILLIAMS | SNN


Seniors, from left, Rachel Brown, Nisha Noeltner and Calfeya Cratic dress up as old ladies on Generation Day on Oct. 10.

Senior Jimya Holmes and freshman Aaliyah Mays match on Twin Day.


Juniors, from left, Olivia Deberg, Mark Henton, Dahmaris Duarte, Luis Rosario and Isabella Vieira dress up as the International Justice League of Super Aquaintances on Twin Day on Oct. 11.



Senior Brian Giese dresses as an old women in a wheel chair for Generation Day on Oct. 10.

November 2016  
November 2016