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Inside This Issue... Feature Senior Captains Address Teams p. 4-5 Feature Outstanding Seniors p. 6-7 Feature

Teachers Give Final Words of Advice p. 8

Sports Seniors Contribute To State Championships Over Four Years p. 9 Feature Senior Superlatives p. 10-11 News Seniors Compete For The Belt p. 12 News What It Means To Be A First-Generation Student p. 13 Feature Seniors Predict Their Futures p. 14 Feature Rooming With Friends p. 15 Lifestyles Class Of 2018 Throwbacks p. 16 The girls varsity soccer team huddles around each other before the April 24 game against Oak Park High School. They held a ceremony to honor Johnny Chain and his journey battling cancer. “The silver lining in this situation is that we know how much this family means to us and to not take it for granted,� said varsity captain junior Brooklyn Hannan. Photo by Madeline White



Editors In Chief Haylee Roberts Leidy Venegas Photo Editor: Emilie Kerr Copy Editor: Haylee Roberts Staff Artist: Kelsey Bennett Adviser: Cherié Burgett

Section Editors Cover: Kelsey Bennett News: Alexa Schulte Trends: Alexis Howard Opinion: Leidy Venegas Feature: Leidy Venegas Makenzie Hooton Sports: Haylee Roberts Entertainment: Emilie Kerr

Staff Paxton Donaldson Jacob Dyke Kyla Gaines Jen Hulen Dawson Parks Madelyn Phillips Christopher Spry Jack Warner

Letter from the Editor: Goodbye Class of 2018 Dear Staley Seniors, Thank you for allowing us to be a part of making this year special. It has been our pleasure to have been a part of the Talon staff. From covering the school’s tenth year anniversary to winning several state championships to the “Vapedemic” that has affected our student body, this has been a memorable senior class to be a part of.

We have created several unforgettable memories, such as experiencing a solar eclipse at the beginning of the year, cheering our football team on the road to state and clinching the Class 5 state championship title in Columbia, Missouri, and being able to enjoy several snow days knowing we will not have to make any of them up. Although it is upsetting to know that we will no

longer walk through the halls as Staley students, we will proudly walk through as Staley alumni. Congratulations, class of 2018, we made it. Best Wishes from your Editor-In-Chief, Leidy Venegas

Talon Seniors Front to Back: Kelsey Bennett, Alexis Howard, Kyla Gaines, Leidy Venegas, Christopher Spry, Emilie Kerr, Jen Hulen

Talon is published quarterly during the school year. Talon will accept letters to the editor in CR202 or at Before the letter is published, we will need to verify the writer’s identity with a photo identification. Letters may not exceed a length of 350 words. We will not publish letters that are libelous, obscene or that may cause a verifiable disruption of the education process of Staley High School. Letters must be signed. Anonymous letters will be discarded. Advertisers may contact the adviser at cherie., (816) 321-5330 or at 2800 NE Shoal Creek Parkway, Kansas City, MO, 64156-1313. Opinions expressed in Talon do not express staff’s endorsement of the products or services.

Talon is a member of NSPA, MIPA, MJEA and Quill and Scroll. Talon is affiliated with JEA and JEMKC.

On the Cover... The cover is of balloons with green confetti being thrown at them. It is to celebrate the class of 2018. Photo Illustration by Emilie Kerr


Farewell, Falcons Senior Captains Address Their Teams

Photo by Laura Rosario

Dear Staley Cheer,

Hannah Asper: Cheer

After cheering all four years for Staley, this year has by far, been my favorite. I will remember rocking it at camp and receiving so many compliments from the other teams there. I will remember hitting all of our stunts at regionals and receiving first place. I will remember winning State and getting the chance to have a State ring. That was a cool feeling. However, what I will never forget is the bond we had. What really made our bond the strongest were the bad times. The times we would drop stunts at practices like crazy, the times we would have bad tumbling days, and our brains just weren’t agreeing with us, and the times our coaches would have to scream for us to put out the talent they knew we had inside of us. The times we felt like quitting or giving up, but we couldn’t because we love cheer too much. I just want to say thank you, all of you. Without the commitment and drive this group of girls had, we would have never made it as far as we did. And for that, I am proud. Good luck to next year’s team. This isn’t a goodbye…It’s a see you later. Sincerely, Hannah Asper

Love, Your Captain – Kenna Flacke

Kenna Flacke: Soccer [4] TALON - VOLUME 10 - ISSUE 5 - FEATURE

Photo by Clare Cunningham

Dear Lady Falcons, Where to begin…These past four years have been unforgettable. From the moment I walked onto the field freshman year, I knew I was going to be a part of something extremely special. We have been through many ups and downs, but the love and support that we have shown towards each other has allowed us to stand tall. Our program represents something much greater than a team. We are a family, and I can’t thank you girls enough for all of your support and dedication throughout these four years.

Dear Drumline,

Photo by Caroline Bonacorso

It’s hard to believe this is it, but I couldn’t be more happy to spend my final year on the Drumline with all of you. Over the past few years, I have met so many amazing people and made memories with everyone to last a lifetime. To everyone out there that’s on the line with me, you guys are my closest friends. Drumline has been one of the best experiences of my entire life, and it couldn’t have been possible without all of you. My time is up, so now it’s time for someone else to take my spot, and I’m so excited to see who it will be. Even though I won’t be wearing a harness on my shoulders anymore, drumline will always be in my heart. Sincerely, Jacob Pritchett

Jacob Pritchett: Lead Snare Dear Staley Football,

Photo by Haley Anne Mahusay

Although our time together is complete, it will never be forgotten. These past 4 years have taught me more about life than I could have ever imagined. Most football players wouldn’t even dream of the obstacles we faced together, but we encouraged them. All the 6 a.m. practices, hours of film study, 2-minute drills, gassers, sprints after practice, and much more paid off in the end. We built relationships that will last a lifetime and set records that may never be broken. This past year has truly been special, and hopefully, our legacy will be felt for years to come. Thank you for all the memories and storybook endings.

John Raybourn: Football

Sincerely, Johnny Football

Dear Science Olympiad,

Sincerely, Juliann Leak

Photo by Reed Portrait Group

This is my farewell to the wonderful atmosphere and people who make up Science Olympiad. First of all, I just want to thank all the people who make Science Olympiad possible. From the Spiegels, who dedicate endless amounts of their time, to our peers challenging us at each practice, to people running the tournaments, to friends supporting us in our nerdiness, to parents providing food for us—I thank you all for making our season possible. As I say goodbye, I will physically be leaving, but the memories I have made will stay with me as I continue to pursue more nerdy science in college. To the younger ones still in Science Olympiad—all of your seniors bid you goodbye and good luck in your coming seasons, and I think I speak for everyone when I say all that we ask of you is to keep doing your best to beat Pembroke.

Juliann Leak: Science Olympiad FEATURE - TALON - VOLUME 10 - ISSUE 5 [5]

Ava Delsemme Delsemme started acting when she was 5. She has participated in summer programs for theater and has even done local theater productions along with interning for a theater. She was involved with “The Wiz,” “Hello, Dolly!” and others. “It’s made me an extremely bold and extremely confident person,” said Delsemme.

Stephen Rippee As a senior, Rippee has already had numerous accomplishments. He has not only earned a perfect score on the ACT but also was rewarded the most prestigious scholarship at Missouri S&T, the Missouri S&T Chancellors Scholarship. He said that scholarship is only offered to 15 people. Rippee said he gained his success by doing hard work and putting full effort into anything he turned in. “The difficulty of the material was never an issue for me. I fortunately picked up on every subject pretty quickly,” said Rippee.

Outstanding Written by Paxton Donaldson Photos by Paxton Donaldson, Leidy Venegas and Emilie Kerr

Mila Garza Garza was Region 14 president of FCCLA, and she plans and meets with other chapter presidents. She helped plan out a state meeting and theme to help better student leadership skills. This was her third year competing, and she was the ProStart team captain. She said that being a part of the team has helped her learn much more than cooking. “In my high-school career, it has given me a place of belonging, always knowing that I had my foods family. Because we spent so much time together, we became a family,” said Garza.


Carissa Occhipinto Occhipinto took a combination of dual credit and AP classes, along with classes at Maple Woods Community College, allowing her to graduate with her associate's degree. She said while she balanced her classwork from both Staley and MCC, she has developed the work ethic she has now. “I'm going to the University of South Dakota next year and will hopefully graduate in two years. After that, I plan to go to law school,” said Occhipinto.

Seniors Milkise Yassin

Mason Majors

Yassin has been accepted into nine colleges, and next fall, she will become the first in her family to attend college. Not only that, but she was also actively involved in National Honor Society along with cofounding a youth group her sophomore year that organizes community events, discussion panels, seminars and a tutoring service. “Because of my family’s background, I pretty much navigated the college application process on my own. But it was rewarding, nonetheless, because I gained a sense of pride in my ability to overcome obstacles in order to attain what I want,” said Yassin.

Majors tried out for the baseball team his freshman year and said he got cut and that he continued working his hardest to play the sport he loved. He made the team the following year and earned a spot on varsity by his junior year. Working out up to three times a day and refusing to be satisfied, Majors said he went from throwing 61 mph his freshman year to 86 mph his senior year and getting an offer from Richmond University to continue his baseball career. “I didn’t just realize I wanted to make the team. I realized exactly how much I loved the game and what I would give to play it,” said Majors.


Into The Future You Go Teachers Give Final Words of Advice Photos by Paxton Donaldson and Emilie Kerr

“You are writing a new chapter in your life. The pages are blank and ready for you to begin writing your story. Be a positive influence in the community. Choose your friends wisely. Do not put everything on the internet for all to see. Work hard to achieve your goals. Never give up.”

-- Deborah Kumer, math

“Don’t doubt and second guess yourself. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Keep an open mind, and you will surprise yourself with new opportunities, meet amazing people and find lifelong interests. Never refuse free food.”


Carol Toney, gifted resource specialist “Do what you love, love what you do. You will fail numerous times. Get up, keep pushing, and never stop pursuing your dreams. Make goals, mark them off, and make more. Never stop learning, growing and pursuing greatness. Let the world see your awesome individual self shine!”

-- Missy Wilt, social studies

“Have fun. Don’t take life so serious all the time; chase your dream no matter what it is, and finally: BE NICE TO EACH OTHER!!!”

-- Scott Anderson, psychology

“Don’t do anything stupid.”

-- Chris Brown, social studies


Class Of Champions Seniors Contribute To State Championships Over Four Years Written by Haylee Roberts Photos by Dawson Parks In 2015, the softball team won the Class 4 state championship. Alongside their teammates, then sophomores Lou Gilbert, Brittanie Shepard, Alyssa Rameriez, Hannah Gregg, Morgan Herman and Kayley Thomas helped their team cap off their season with a 10-6 win over Marquette High School. The following year they got knocked out of the tournament early but returned with vengeance in 2017 and came home with a third-place title. “It was unbelievable. We had a goal set all year. People doubted us, which made it better. It gave us a mindset every practice to get in and get stuff done,” said Ramirez. Photo by Kelsey Bennett In 2016, the Emeralds won a Class 4 state title. At the time, seniors Kylee Sally and Allison Mullins were sophomores on the championship team. The two were on the team for four years, making it successful every time. Sally and Mullins, along with the rest of their team, have put in time over the past four summers at camps to prepare them for the school year ahead of them. They were also both a part of a team that got the chance to attend a national dance competition in Orlando, Florida. “Winning was very life changing. It brought us together. All the hard work, dedication and tears finally paid off; it was amazing,” said Sally. Photo by

Catherine Flores

In 2017, the wrestlers brought back their first team state title, along with individual titles and state placers. Helping the team to the title were then-juniors Zach Elam and Danny Mangold, wrestling at 195 pounds and 285 pounds respectively. That season, the team won various tournaments, including the Granite City Tournament in Illinois. “It was awesome to be a part of the state championship team and a part of school history, since it was the first we won state,” said Mangold. Photo by Christopher


In 2017, the cheerleading team won the super large division state championship and were Grand Champions, earning more points than any other team. Leading the team were seniors Hannah Asper, Kaitlyn McConnell, Serene Brenneman, Brianna Duke, Mariah Edde and Delaney Kretsinger. They put in over 157 hours during the summer, along with the team’s camp. The seniors cheered on their fellow Falcons on and off the field and court. “Winning state was amazing. Everyone was super close this year; it felt like family. Everyone trusted each other. There was no doubt; we were all positive,” said Edde. Photo by Rami LeRoy In 2017, the football team brought home the Class 5 state title. They ended their season 4-0, beating Pattonville High School 36-35 at the championship. Senior captains Tyler Miller, Zach Elam, John Raybourn and Rod Criss began leading the team over the summer after placing fourth in state. There were 23 other seniors helping lead the team to their state championship goal. The team attended summer camp to better their skills and create a winning culture. “Winning state was something I will never forget. It was the highlight of my life,” said Miller. Photo by Haley Anne



Class of 2018 Photos by Emilie Kerr Graphics by Kelsey Bennett

Most Likely to Travel the World

Chloe Childerston and Andrew Faitz

Most Likely to Rule Wall Street

Carson Gates and Chloe Wallen

Most School Spirit

AJ Cramer and Britlyn Sparks

Most Likely to Have Their Own Reality TV Show

Kylee Sally and Ethan Westhoff



Most Likely to be a Pro Athlete

Lindsey Gilbert and Zach Elam

Most Likely to be Late to Graduation

Serene Brenneman and AJ Cramer

Most Likely to be a Meme Best Glow Up

Brian Ochoa and Evelyn Shelby

Next Picasso

Nikki Burton and Jen Hulen

Sydney Haistings and Tyler Porras


College Awaits What It Means To Be A First-Generation Student

Written by Jack Warner Photo by Alexa Schulte Graphic by Alexa Schulte

A first-generation student is a person who is in the first generation of their family to attend college. The process of a student going to college can be a lot to handle, even if both parents attended college. Being a first-generation student has many obstacles that students and their families must overcome. “The challenge of being a first-generation college student can be multifaceted with academic challenges, financial challenges, as well as social challenges,” said AVID teacher Barbara Madden. Students trying to go to college, especially first-

generation ones, may feel generation-student might be overwhelmed by the idea of or how uninformed they may trying to find a college. There be on campus for the first are so many time. “The truth is, I to look at “I was a and it just first-generation didn’t know what makes it college student I didn’t know, and and had no idea harder for one’s family to expect that actually cost what to not have when I arrived me money from not on campus. experience with colleges. truth is, I understanding how to The However, didn’t know colleges manage work-study what I didn’t recognize and that my first semester.” know, the firstactually cost me generation -- Barbara Madden money from not struggle. understanding Just like anyone going how to manage work-study to a new school, one can my first semester,” said imagine how nervous a first Madden.

This is where high-school counselors, AVID programs and the college’s willingness to assist students can be helpful to a first-generation student. “My teachers have helped me a lot by telling me about college fairs and helping choose a good college,” said senior and first-generation student Karley Cardoza. One of the most helpful things a first-generation student can do for themselves is to just ask questions and ask for help. There are programs in place, and many teachers and counselors are resources for students seeking college assistance.

First-Hand Account: Fatma Said Being a firstgeneration student separates me from my peers in multiple aspects. As a graduating senior, I obviously feel that graduating is an accomplished milestone in my life. Walking across the stage in front of a large crowd, and mainly before my parents means to be successful, self-worth, being independent and confident. I believe that having non educated parents separates me from most high schoolers because I have made sacrifices and fought battles that most of my peers have not. I come from a background where the whole community is against a female trying to emancipate herself through education, and I want to demonstrate females deserve to be educated and will be able to accomplish siginicant things if they are given the chance to.


Senior Showdown Seniors Compete For The Belt Written by Haylee Roberts and Christopher Spry Graphic by Kelsey Bennett

For the first time, class officers hosted the Staley Senior Showdown April 12. The Miss Staley and Mr. Falcon pageants were combined into one big class fundraiser where two seniors represented various clubs and sports to battle it out for the belt. Last year, the new Miss Staley pageant was held during first semester. But this year, there were no class sponsors set in place at the time, so they had nobody to plan it then. Both Mr. Falcon and Miss Staley were created to help raise funds for prom, so when one was missed, the idea to combine the two shows was proposed. “There was a lot of negative feedback on the beauty contest aspect of Miss Staley, and students and teachers wanted something more fun for girls because girls can be funny as well,” said sophomore class sponsor Jan Sobbe. Senior showdown was

structured the same way as Mr. Falcon once was. There was a talent portion and a “Newlywed Game” portion. First, the contestants put on a short performance displaying what they do best in a range from painting, to telling jokes, to singing a mashup of songs. For the second portion of the show, the contestants came out on the stage and had to answer a wide variety of questions about their partner. At the end of the night, the winners for the different sections were announced. For the talent portion, seniors Emma Keeney and Jacobo Barriga, representing choir, won the talent portion with their singing. The duo that claimed the coveted Senior Showdown belt were track representatives seniors Isaiah Russell and Lindsey Gilbert. “Winning the competition was awesome, because I didn’t think we would win. So, it felt pretty good,” said Russell.

Senior Showdown Winners: Lindsey Gilbert & Isaiah Russell Senior Isaiah Russell held up the Senior Showdown belt at the end of the show on April 12. The Senior Showdown included two seniors from different clubs and activities performing talents. “I felt honored to be a champion, and it felt amazing making memories,” said Russell. Photo by Kyla Gaines

SENIOR PARTICIPANTS & TALENTS Gabe Means & Justin O’Donnell -Eating Fruity Pebbles

Jake Chase & Serene Brenneman -Salsa Dancing

Joey Shearer & Kelsey Bennett -Painting

Samuel Vigliaturo & Jack Roberts -Jeopardy

Alex Beffa & Kayley Thomas -Dribbling and Juggling

Jacobo Barriga & Emma Keeney -Mashup of Popular Songs

MoVonn Banks & Alison Hatfield -Get Your Head in the Game

Isaiah Russell & Lindsey Gilbert -Ice Ice Baby

Connor Davis & Eddie Kendall -Knot Tying and Bosnian Speaking

Dan Mangold & Britlyn Sparks Ethan Westhoff & Quinn Armstrong -Summer Nights from Grease -Song

Hussein Mohamed & Regan Bates -Tight Pants

Joe Ramos & Caroline Bonacorso -Dad Jokes


In 10 Years I’ll Be Seniors Predict Their Futures By Leidy Venegas, Madelyn Phillips and Jacob Dyke

Emma Keeney “By the time I’m 29, I will be living in my own house, married with kids and hopefully living my dream -singing, acting and continuing my passion with arts.”

Quinten Milhon “I’d like to be somewhere working with computers and computer science. This is what I’ve been doing all high school, so I’d like to pursue something in that.”

MCC-Maple Woods Your Smart Choice

Hailey Blum “An elementary school teacher. Ever since I was in about second grade, I’ve wanted to be a teacher.”


• Large Variety of Programs • Small classes • Best Tuition Value in the Northland • Easy to Transfer Credits • Enrollment begins April 9 • Financial Aid priority by May 30 • Summer Classes begin June 4 • Fall Classes begin August 22


816.604.3587 |


PROS and CONS Rooming With Friends Photos by Kyla Gaines

Allison Mullins Missouri State University


Morgan Bremer Missouri State University

Daniella Gonzalez Missouri State University

Tyler Miller Northwest Missouri State University

Riley Straight Missouri State University

Rita Sargent Missouri State University


“You get too close and get into fights too much.” -Tyler Miller

“We don’t have to get anxiety about getting a random person.” -Daniella Gonzalez


“You’re less likely to go out and meet new people.” -Tyler Miller

“We become closer than we already are.” -Allison Mullins


“You stick with your highschool group that’s going there.” -Tyler Miller


“We can help each other with homework.” -Daniella Gonzalez


“I want to be surprised.”


“We’re besties!”


“I want to get the true college experience.” -Rita Sargent

2 3

“We get to share clothes.” -Riley Straight

-Morgan Bremer

-Rita Sargent

Is Rooming with Friends a Good Idea? Graphic by Kelsey Bennett

38.7% 61.3% Survey of 124 students


Class of 2018 Throwbacks 369 FOLLOWERS

Party In The U.S.A. Miley Cyrus • The Time Of Our Lives Don’t Trust Me 3OH!3 • WANT You Belong With Me Taylor Swift • Fearless Fergalicious Fergie, • The Dutchess My Boo Usher, Alicia Keys • Confessions Year 3000 Jonas Brothers • Jonas Brothers Super Bass Nicki Minaj • Pink Friday (Deluxe) Beautiful Soul Jesse McCartney • Beautiful Soul Kiss Me Thru The Phone Soulja Boy, Sammie • iSouljaBoyTellem [16] TALON - VOLUME 10 - ISSUE 5 - FEATURE

Find this playlist with more songs on Spotify under Staley News

Talon, volume 10, issue 5, senior issue, may 2018  

Talon is a student-produced magazine created and published by the journalism students of Staley High School in Kansas City, Mo. It is a quar...

Talon, volume 10, issue 5, senior issue, may 2018  

Talon is a student-produced magazine created and published by the journalism students of Staley High School in Kansas City, Mo. It is a quar...