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Community High NOVEMBER 15, 2011 Volume 27 • Edition 2

the communicator


Dear Community, At CHS, we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving together in the most “Community” of fashions: the Multi-Culti Feast. Plenty of planning and research is poured into celebrating world cultures through food, decorations and presentations. But amidst all the scissors, tape, and glue; the beckoning smells of delicious food; and the current excitement that runs through the school, it is easy to lose sight of the actual meaning of the word “Thanksgiving”. And as Community High school students, we owe thanks to a number of people. When Thanksgiving rolls around this year, don’t forget about the support and love of your forum leader or the endless guidance and help you get from the counseling office. Don’t forget about the teachers that sacrifice their lunches to provide homework help or stay up late to answer your emails the night before an essay is due. Remember the trust which allows for our open campus to operate and the respect we get from our neighbors across the street. Think about the bus drivers who take us back and forth from our classes at the other comprehensive high schools and the janitors who clean the sticky floors we leave behind. Think about the Community Resource department which provides us with the ability to pursue independence and creativity in our studies. This Thanksgiving, we encourage you to find a way back to the simple meaning of the holiday. Eat your heart out at Multi-Culti, but take the time to let the dedicated Community staff know what they mean to you. A heartfelt “thank you” is worth a thousand bites of pumpkin pie.



Beyond the binary


occupy ann arbor

The national economic protest makes its way from Wall Street to Ann Arbor.

Jordan Siden, Kerry Fingerle, Julia Kortberg, Mari Cohen

the communicator staff Editors-In Chief Mari Cohen Kerry Fingerle Julia Kortberg Jordan Siden

Art Director Colleen O’Brien

Photo Director Cooper DePriest

Constants Editor Eli Sugerman

A&E Editor Erez Levin

Sports Editor Zach Shaw


Production Coordinator Julia DeVarti

Staff Stephen Chang Ruthie Graff Hannah King Abby Kleinheksel Clare Lauer Casey MacDonald James Mackin Adam Mannheim Nick Margolis Sacha MoravyPenchansky Brienne O’Donnell Leon Pescador Nate Porter Gabriela Rosales Ryan Shea the communicator

Not everyone’s gender identity fits into the constraints of “girl” and “boy”

spirit week


Community High School students showed their school pride by dressing up and playing competitive kickball games during spirit week.

Jeremy Simon Charlotte Steele Eliza Stein Katie Taub Gabby Thompson Lukas Trierweiler Margaret WhittierFerguson

the b-side


jordan siden photo

letter from the editors


barefoot running


Barefoot running is a new phenomenon sweeping the nation.

drake johnson


Adviser Tracy Rosewarne

Cover Art Jonas GearhartHall Colleen O’Brien

Back Cover Illustration James Mackin

The B-Side is a unique concert venue at the Neutral Zone for Ann Arbor’s young musicians.

table of contents

Community High School senior Drake Johnson has a breakout year and commits to Michigan.

shorts Dear

What’s up with pants? Like, seriously. -Boots ‘n Boxers

colleen o’brien illustration

h ty Hig e i n u h m Com answer t uf o mm ly 2% culty mate ts and fa ion, “If Co on it?” i x o r App l studen g quest ould be o in w Scho t provok or, what h o thoug d a fifth fl a nity h

My Dearest Puss ‘n Boots, Pants are but the latest new hipster fad. These scrawny sweatersin-July-minded ruffians ironically wear garments wrapping ironically around their legs, which they ironically call “pants.” “Pants,” originating from the ancient Greek roots “Pan” (all) and “nt” (ironically) were introduced to mainstream society in 1822 by Herman “Hank” Miller, and were worn throughout the 19th century, until they declined in popularity after World War III. Pants were not worn again until 2003, when they were adorned onstage by a band you’ve probably never heard of. Since then, the garment has seen a surge in popularity. But worry not, my friend, because all fads indeed do pass, and before long, we shall once again live in a pantless world. Yours as always, Dünbar

lf.” myse assistant r o f ite ty se su communi u o h t , n is “A pe kevin dav e.” to liv s e m e e gno sophomor h t r o ster, ace f e “A pl louis hoch on th y n n fu being t a d oo re not g homo p “I’m o s , rdt ..” spot. tracy sche .” ebras z w bo r rain , teacher u o r ls fo drum r.” “Stal laurel lan ie ba h t o mo and s an e s u ho shm unce shore, fre o b “A c .” -isaa ve on re o o r g o et my s, sophom g o t n phe ace “A pl robert ste her rest.” kiley, teac o f n i “A ra courtney ” floor? h t r fou t the r, senior u o b he ta “Wha nick sorsc ing bowl a d an Bell, o c a T way, ior “Sub g, sen i w l e h ” alley. tommaso -


John boshoven

used to host a radio show called

“Breakfast with boys” charlotte steele illustration

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the communicator

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jordan siden photo

cooper depriest photos

caring at kerrytown

Last school year, chs students had a rocky relationship with kerrytown. they have taken action to change the chs reputation in the community. gabby rosales

There has not been a kn incident of CHS students stealing at kerrytown during the 2011-



he behavior in Kerrytown during the 2010-2011 had rough beginning. “It started off pretty bad last year. We had students shoplifting, students who were leaving messes in Kosmos, Sweetwaters and upstairs [of Kerrytown.] It got to the point where the proprietors really wanted us out if we didn’t change our behavior,” said Kevin Davis, Community High School’s Community Assistant student behavior in Kerrytown during the 2010-2011 school year. “All these ruffians would gather around the table,” said an anonymous employee at Sweetwaters. “I know [a CHS student] even swore at a customer and [our boss] got really mad at that. [The students] would just mush all the tables together and be loud and annoying.” According to Matt Hansen, an employee at Kosmo, the situation at Kosmo was similar. “[The students] just took over. You told them not to do that. They didn’t listen. There were a lot of problems last year with them just

moving stuff around and just trashing the place… The biggest problem was just not listening,” he said. Fortunately, four current senior members of Forum Council, Emma Share, Hind Omar, Clare Jacobson, and Shadi Ahmadmehrabi, recognized the problem and embraced the idea of fixing it. The four members and Forum Council Sponsor, Steve Coron, decided that they needed to have an assembly with the new students, primarily freshmen, to discuss what it means to be a part of Kerrytown. They also invited people from the community, such as the police officer assigned to CHS and all the business owners from Kerrytown. Davis received his first phone call from Kerrytown this year concerning CHS students’ behavior, but it was not until the ninth week of school, which is much better than last year. “Last year I had [a phone call] the first day of school,” said Davis. It is important to maintain good behavior at Kerrytown. “This year they are all doing very well,” said Hansen

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school feature

from Kosmo. “They listen to everything we say, I like it.” The Sweetwaters employee also expressed his agreement. “At lunch everyone seems to clean up after themselves and it goes pretty well.” Students should know that every shop owner as well as the maintenance staff in Kerrytown has Davis’s phone number. “Kerrytown,” as Coron said, “is an extension of our school.” How students behave at CHS should extend over to Kerrytown. Maintaining our relationship with Kerrytown “requires a lot of responsibility and ownership,” said Coron. “But that’s what [CHS is] about. Responsibility and ownership as a student body.” Coron and Davis have tips for CHS students. Coron believes that students will learn best from other students.“If other students see students taking ownership, especially the upperclassmen, then we go, ‘Oh okay this is a real thing, this is coming from us.’ That’s what I wanted it to be, because Kevin and I or Dean

Jen or whoever, any staff member, can go [to Kerrytown] and holler and say ‘Hey you shouldn’t do that.’ The business owners can say all they want to, and some students will ignore them, but if students speak to students then it’s more powerful. What that did was set up the expectation,” said Coron. Similarly, Davis advises students to “talk to your upperclassmen. Talk to people who are familiar [with Kerrytown]. We have about ten [students] who work in that building alone, talk to them. They will tell you exactly what they would like the rest of us to do,” said Davis. Coron would like CHS students to know that how we behave at Kerrytown is important because we want the people in our community to respect us. “When the people from the community go over there… and [students] are goofing around or screwing up that reflects on us… We are part of this community, and it’s a cool community.” C

cooper depriest photo

homeless, but not hopeless Ann Arbor homeless man discusses how he became homeless and what it is like as he plays guitar in hope that one day he can support himself.

casey macdonald & nate porter

My name is Rob, I’m 28 years old and I have been homeless for two years.” These are the words of a man in Ann Arbor who has lost his money, his job and his home, but not his passion to succeed in life. Rob (who preferred not to reveal his last name) has always been a fighter, and even though things are not going the way he expected, he says he refuses to give

it ever since, I’ll never lose passion for this thing,” he said. When Rob moved to Ann Arbor he was 24. He had some money saved from his hard work at the construction site and decided to rent out an apartment. “It only took me two years to use up all my money. That’s when I faced the reality of it all and I knew I was going to be homeless for a while.”

I’ve pretty much lost contact with my family, but the community here is great and I guess that has kind of became my family now.

up. He is curently pursuing the goal of finding a job and a place to live with motivation, support from a homeless shelter, and a guitar in his hand. Rob dropped out of high school his junior year, when he was only 16, to support his family. “Living in Detroit was tough, and money was always tight in my family so I ended up working at a construction site instead of completing my education.” Later he was no longer able to live with his family due to financial issues and his need to explore, so he moved to Ann Arbor to find work that involved music. “Ever since I was a kid, I always loved playing my Grandpa’s guitar. After he died, I inherited it and I’ve been playing

Unable to find work in anything to do with music, he started looking at restaurants and grocery stores for work. “With this shitty economy, it didn’t surprise me too much that I was unable to find work. I didn’t get down on myself though because I knew it wouldn’t help, I kind of just went with the flow of things,” said Rob. “But I guess that didn’t help me too much either,” he said. Rob initially became homeless when he was 26, but now, at 28, he is still looking for work. Fortunately, he was able to find food, shelter, and support from Ann Arbor’s homeless shelter and he has made many new friends. “I’ve pretty much lost contact with my family, but the community here is great and I guess that has kind of

became my family now.” Rob said he usually hangs out downtown to play his guitar hoping pedestrians will give him money. On average he says he makes around seven dollars a day. Since Rob can get most of his meals from the homeless shelter, he usually only spends his money on snacks. “The only things I really buy with my money are bananas and M&M’s . . . the rest I save up.” Rob also said since the homeless shelter can be unusually crowded, so he doesn’t mind sleeping out in the woods some nights. “It gives me time alone to think about my future and to play my guitar.” Rob liked being thought of as a role model among the other homeless people. “I don’t spend my money on liquor or drugs because I know that won’t do me any good and I don’t steal from people either. Sure, a couple extra dollars would help me out, but I don’t want to go to jail .” Rob is saving his money for a small one-bedroom apartment and said he is very close to having enough money for it. He is currently looking around Ann Arbor for a good job. “My dream job will be to work at a guitar shop of some sort, so hopefully that will happen, but until then I am down to do any kind of year-round job that can get me some money.” Feature

His goal is to get his life back on course and to hopefully someday get married and be able to have a real family. “My goals are high, but if you fight hard and [try] not [to] be a quitter, chances are you will succeed.” C

In Washtenaw County, 42,000 people live at or near the poverty level.

colleen o’brien illustration

the communicator


the big five A look into five of the restaurants that community students visit for lunch most often.



SPARROWS: 24% SIAM CUISINE: 14% YAMATO: 9% the communicator








85 students were asked which of these five restauraunts they go to most often. Here are the results:







Community High School has a luxury most high schools don’t have: off-campus lunch. There are several places to eat lunch, which include Teriyaki Time, Yamato, Kosmos, Siam Cuisine and Sparrow’s Market, that all sell delicious food. We asked 85 CHS students which of the aforementioned five retauraunts they go to most often. Twenty-seven percent chose Kosmos for their fabulous food, particularly to get the popular dish Bi-Bim-Bop. The second most popular place, with 26 percent, was Teriyaki Time, which has five-dollar sweet and spicy chicken bits that will fill you up in a jiffy. Twentyfour percent picked Sparrow Market, which sells a great number of fast snacks such as Haribo candy, bagels, pastries and an assortment of drinks. Fourteen percent picked Siam Cuisine which sells its popular D, half and half (half pad thai and half fried rice) and fried rice. Finally, nine percent chose the Japanese restauraunt Yamato.


james mackin & lukas trierweiler

stigma hurts, awareness helps julia kortberg cooper depriest photo


ommunity High School’s Depression Awareness Group’s (DAG) mission is to raise awareness and decrease stigma about depression at Community High School. With one in four teenagers suffering from major depression, the need for a peer mediation group is strong. This need was originally recognized by the University of Michigan’s Depression Center, which formed a partnership with AAPS in 2007. Trish Meyers, the Program Director for Outreach & Education at the U of M Depression Center, explained the partnership. “Depression Center staff met with the superintendent and other administrators to propose a partnership for providing depression awareness and suicide prevention education and training for middle and high school principals, teachers, and other staff,” said Meyers. As the project progressed, the need for a student component was apparent. “We knew it was important for teachers and other staff to be aware of the signs and symptoms of depression in students, but we also knew that students would be more likely to turn to their friends, rather than a teacher, if they were feeling depressed, so we wanted to involve students in the depression awareness/education effort,” said Meyers. In 2009, the U of M depression center added the Peer to Peer Depression Awareness Campaign component to the project. After being approached by Dean Jennifer Hein, Physical Education and Health teacher, Robbie Stapleton, accepted the role as the leader of CHS’s

Depression Awareness Group. Stapleton was excited. “I’ve thought for many years, we have this amazing research facility two miles down the road, why aren’t we working with them? God knows we need it. My curriculum in my health class comes from the depression center; I use all their materials. So it really makes sense that there’s this partnership and it really makes sense that I’m doing it,” she said. Every year, DAG members attend the U of M Depression Center conference in October. At the confer-

sion; and three, five minute video clips of students talking about depression’s causes, symptoms, and resources for help, which were displayed on the second floor. The group is also available as peer educators throughout the year. “They’re pretty well trained and I think in the very least they know what to say, ‘I care. I support. I don’t want anything to happen to you. Here’s where we can go to get help,’” Stapleton explained. Although depression has always been present in high school, CHS counselor

Life is happening to people and they don’t know what to do with it. It’s coming faster than they can stop..After a certain amount of time, you stop functioning and that can lead to depression

ence, they learn about depression, its causes, how to help those struggling with it; and how to form an effective campaign. Various high schools from around Washtenaw county attend the conference; however, each high school’s campaign is different. At CHS, the majority of the depression awareness campaign is in March (Depression Awareness Month). In years past, its campaign has consisted of trinkets such as fortune cookies and pencils with help lines and the group’s slogan, a movie in forum, followed by a discussion in forum, posters with celebrities who suffer from depres-

Diane Grant believes it is becoming more of a problem. “Teachers are more stressed because their classes are bigger, students are more stressed because there’s more demand on them to perform and to do more courses in high school than before, even the application process for college is much more stressful...It’s kind of a problem in our culture right now. We’re not taking the time out to say, ‘How do I feel about this and what can I do to make it better?’ Life is happening to people and they don’t know what to do with it. It’s coming faster than they can stop and take notice of what they should


do and that’s stressful. After a certain amount of time, you stop functioning as well. That can lead to depression,” said Grant. She believes that much comes from our culture as well. “I think there’s a lot of stigma in the American culture, so I think that translates down... there’s probably more stigma in other buildings than at CHS. We pride ourselves on being open minded, but at the same time we’re human. No one’s perfect at this and there should always be work to be done in terms of being self aware,” Grant said. CHS senior and DAG member, Leah Penner, admits to having stigma before being asked to join the group her sophomore year. She hopes that education will help decrease this stigma for others as well. “I think everyone has stigma and I think one of our main goals is to eliminate it. Because ignorance and stigma are tied pretty close together. Just because I didn’t know that much about it, that kind of by default, I definitely had some negative stigma about it and it’s been eliminated just through learning about depression,” Penner said. Although DAG’s main goal will continue to be raising awareness and decreasing stigma, Stapleton also hopes to see the group reamin a permanent feature at CHS. “I would like to see the Depression Awareness Group institutionalized, meaning it doesn’t matter who the group is, it doesn’t matter who the leader is, its just an institution in Community,” explained Stapleton. C

the communicator

two-thirds of people suffering from depression do not seek the necessary treatment

Need help? call 1-800-2738255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


beyond the binary

not everyone’s gender identity fits into the constraints of “girl” and “boy”.

mari cohen margaret whittier-fergsuon illustration & photo

L “cisgender” is the term for someone whose gender aligns with their biological sex


eft or right. Right or wrong. True or false. Man or woman. In so many aspects, our society embraces the idea of a binary system: a choice of only two options. Gender is no exception. But what if your identity doesn’t fit into the neat little check-boxes of girl and boy? For CHS student Shawn Williams* and the genderqueer community, gender is not a choice of two checkboxes; it is a spectrum on which one can choose a comfortable identity, whether it be girl, boy, neither or something in between. Williams does not identify as a boy or a girl but as gender variant, or genderqueer. Because of this, Williams prefers to use the gender neutral pronouns “ze”or “they” in place of “he” or “she” and “hir” (pronounced like “here”) or “their” in place of “his” or “her”. “We all have ways that we don’t feel comfortable fitting into gender roles, and so usually the kids who are genderqueer don’t feel comfortable even with the pronouns that box people in,” explained Chloe Root, who teaches History and Gender Studies and is the staff adviser to CHS’s Queer Straight Alliance (QSA). “So if you can think of a way in which you don’t necessarily match up with the ideal of whatever gender you identify with, then just think of that to the degree that you’re not matching up with the actual pronouns that refer to you that way.” Though it gets more press in current times, the genderqueer community is not new to this decade. The term “genderqueer” gained popularity in the 90s, when people with gender identities beyond the traditional gender binary began coming out. Root, who attended CHS and graduated in 2002, was involved in the QSA during her high school years and recalls having genderqueer friends. Contrary to popular usage, the term “gender” is not interchangeable with the term “sex”. “Here’s the old kind of cliché: we tell [people] gender is between your ears and sex is between your legs,” explained Williams. “So basically, we use the term sex as your biological sex, male or female, or intersex, and…there’s so many options for gender, it’s basically endless. Gender,

we like to talk about on the spectrum, so on one side there’s boy, on the other side there’s girl, in the middle there’s gender neutral, and basically people can decide where they fall on that spectrum.” Sometimes a gender identity is easier to visualize than to explain verbally. At a recent meeting of the QSA, Williams illustrated hir** gender identity by drawing it on the board. Ze** drew a straight line, with a G for Girl on one side and a B for boy on the other, then highlighted the space between gender neutral and boy. “[Gender identity] doesn’t mean like a specific point; it can be like an entire portion that they feel like they fall under,” explained Williams. “So, I kind of feel like I am between gender neutral and guy.” However, it took a long time for

actly what it meant. After the conversation, Williams Googled “genderqueer”, not knowing that the search results would completely change hir identity. “I came across a few sites and I started looking at them and reading, and I really understood, and it kind of freaked me out at first because I was like ‘oh my god, these people are in my head. They get exactly what I feel,’” said Williams. “I finally found something that I actually feel comfortable with.” About half way through hir junior year, Williams started going by different pronouns in CHS’s QSA and in Riot Youth, a group at the Neutral Zone (Ann Arbor’s teen center) that creates a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth (LGBTQQ) and their allies. At

Williams, who is biologically female, to realize that identifying as genderqueer was a possibility. “It was something that wasn’t presented as you had any options in life to make yourself feel more comfortable. It was basically like you’re told you’re this, so you must be that,” ze explained. Growing up, Williams always just thought of hirself as a tomboy. Ze definitely was “not your typical stereotype of a little girl,” but still identified as a girl. Then, the summer after Williams’s sophomore year, hir friend mentioned the term genderqueer in a conversation. Though Williams had heard the term in passing before, ze wasn’t really sure ex-

the beginning of the year, Williams had begun going by the name Shawn* rather than hir female-identified birth name, and this helped the transition into a new gender identity. Coming out to friends did not cause a lot of problems for Williams, as most of hir friends are involved in the queer community and most adjusted well to using the new pronouns. Coming out to hir family was more complicated. Williams came out to hir mother on the way back from a college visit during hir junior year. Williams’s mother has not adjusted to Williams’s gender identity and the pronouns that come with it; she still refers to Williams as her daughter and calls Williams by hir legal

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name. “It’s not like she’s forcing any gender stereotypes on me, thankfully. She’s very open with my gender expression. But I don’t think she understands that it’s not just gender expression, it’s also my identity,” said Williams. Williams also has two brothers, but ze has not yet discussed hir gender identity with them. They still call hir “she” and “my sister”. “I don’t mind when my family uses my legal name, because they always use it. It’s just kind of hard for me because I’m constantly being told ‘I’m a girl,’ ‘I’m your sister,’ things like that,” said Williams. Root described the feeling for a genderqueer person when referred to by incorrect pronouns: “Just think about… if someone was talking to me and used male pronouns, it’d be weird…It’s just that I don’t identify as male so it’d be kind of strange if someone was always saying the wrong pronouns. It’s not necessarily that I would assume the person was hating me or disrespecting me, it would just feel really uncomfortable all the time because that’s not the way I identify,” she said. Currently, Williams has to endure this uncomfortable feeling often, as ze is not yet out to CHS staff members. Williams is in the process of writing an email to staff members, telling them hir gender identity and “explaining why when they call me a she and when they call me a girl…that it’s really uncomfortable for me, and it almost feels like they’re subconsciously forcing me into this box.” For Williams, one of the reasons it is hard to come out to staff is “because of the generation…being able to be open about your gender identity is definitely new to our generation, or at least that’s what I’ve found.” And because Williams uses gender-neutral pronouns, it is difficult for people to make the transition. “I think most of the staff are actually really accepting, but what can be tough is that it’s hard to remember. So when you’re first getting used to using a new pronoun, it’s easy to slip up,” added Root. Besides the challenge of coming out to teachers, Williams’ transition into openness has been relatively peaceful. Ze has never been bullied for hir gender identity, and has never been called

gender neutral pronoun key

ze: used in the place of “he” or “she”

hir: used in the place of “his” or “her” hirs: used in the place of “his” or ‘hers”

an offensive term to hir face. Still, Williams faces daily challenges. One is “the awkwardness of the bathroom and the locker room.” Though CHS did build a gender neutral bathroom, a move that Williams called “awesome”, the bathroom is not currently a comfortable place. “One, it’s almost constantly locked, and two, it is scary in’s this big, echo-y white room...last time I was in there there wasn’t a mirror,” ze said. So Williams has been continuing to use the girl’s bathroom and girl’s locker room. Luckily, this problem should soon be remedied. Dean Jen Hein explained that she is working with the school’s staff of facilities on improvements to the gender neutral bathroom. There are plans to put in the mirror. CHS is making strides with its gender-neutral bathroom and active QSA, and the small school environment is definitely an advantage for LGTBQQ students: “I think because we’re at Community I’m able to be open and not be afraid of being open…I feel like with our small school, it’s a lot easier to know if you are getting bullied for this. You can tell other people, you can tell the staff, and they’ll know that person,” Williams said. However, Williams is not sure if CHS as accepting for genderqueer and transgender students as it could be. In the last few years there have been incidents at CHS of bullying and harassment

towards transgender students. These incidents, to Williams’ knowledge, were addressed by staff. For Williams, it is hard to know whether most people at CHS are really accepting, since, beyond the QSA, there isn’t a lot of open conversation about genderqueer identity. Root agrees. Although she thinks that CHS is a more accepting environment than many other schools, she believes that “it’s still not a safe place to be trans, it’s still not a safe place to be genderqueer, just because the world isn’t really a safe place…for these groups… in terms of being trans and gender queer, there’s still really a long way to go. And not necessarily because of any individual person in the Community, but because that’s where society’s at right now.”

“ Ac-

quite enough. “People always say ‘Oh, this is such a liberal, accepting town’…but it could be better,” said Williams. “I just feel like in our school system, a lot of kids still have a lot of bias, a lot of kids still…they’re not educated on stuff, or I feel like there’s a lot of opportunities for kids to be openly homophobic, openly transphobic, and nobody will do anything about it.” Both Williams and Root agree that the road to a more accepting CHS and a more accepting Ann Arbor will need to be paved by education. “I think a lot of it is just educating people about the vocabulary and about the issues that genderqueer and trans kids face,” said Root. “And also just relating a little bit more, because I think that’s the thing,

...It’s just kind of hard for me because I’m constantly being told I’m a girl, ‘I’m your sister,’ things like that.

cording to Williams, the community of Ann Arbor as a whole also has a long way to go to improve its acceptance level. Ann Arbor does have helpful resources for LGTBQQ students, such as the Riot Youth program at the Neutral Zone and QSAs or GSAs in almost every school. But for Williams and other LGBTQ students, this is not

is that people hear “transgendered” or they hear “genderqueer” and they think that’s something that they could never understand, but…when we’re talking about gender norms those things affect everybody. And so I think a lot of it is just making that leap between your own experience and understanding someone else’s and being empathetic.” feature

Riot Youth and the CHS QSA are working on spreading awareness about issues faced by the queer community. Last year, the QSA gave presentations to forums at the beginning of the year about understanding basic terms in the queer community. This year, the QSA is working on conducting a Q&A session with teachers about different gender identities. And through a program called Gayrilla Theatre, Riot Youth teens perform plays based on true stories of Ann Arbor LGBTQQ students in order to educate adults and teens about the issues the queer community faces. “[Gayrilla] is really powerful, and it’s really impactful, and I know that’s definitely one thing that’s going on that I’m at least hoping is making some sort of difference,” said Williams. On a more global level, Williams wishes that there would be less of a focus on the gender binary. “I think it’s really important when people start realizing that not everyone’s on the binary, that you can identify with other things…just in the recent few months I’ve known a lot of people who just came out as genderqueer because they realized the binary is not where they fit; they’re trying so hard to fit but it’s not them. So they come out and they feel so much better,” ze said. Overall, finding a comfortable identity beyond the binary has had an extremely positive impact on Williams’ high school experience. “I feel a lot happier. I feel healthier about it. Because I’m not trying to be something I’m not.” Now, Williams is fueling these positive feelings into activism in hope of changing people’s views on the genderqueer community. Ze said, “Now that I know who I am, I’m gonna fight for what I think.” C *name has been changed **Williams, like many other genderqueer people, chooses to go by gender-neutral pronouns. See key above.

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in 2008, riot youth surveyed 1,102 students from the ann arbor public schools. 9.53%, or 105 students, identified as lgbtqq.

while community offers a gender neutral bathroom, it is locked when not in use.

jordan siden photo

a breath of fresh air


The class of 2015 has 120 students


reshmen Tyler Katz, Oren Levin and Eliza Upton are currently going through one of the most difficult transitions one has to make in life: surviving the first year of high school. After making it through the long process of admissions, including the stressful lottery selection process, and their very first day at Community High School, all three underclassmen are adapting to their new school. With a fresh school year in full swing, many new underclassmen are learning how to adjust to Community High School. “The easiest thing for me to adjust with has been the student body,” said Tyler Katz. “The students are really cool to freshmen. I thought I would be hazed by all the upper-classmen, but they’ve been really cool.” Katz, who attended Tappan Middle School prior to CHS, said that he appreciates Community’s basic environment much more than Tappan’s. “Community is different from Tappan, because the teachers try to be a lot more involved with the students. I also probably have better relationships with my teachers at Community overall. I like the staff a lot more, and the student body as well... there is a lot bigger of a population of cool kids at Community. Also, the school is just

a lot more fun with things like open campus,” he said. The first step in attending CHS is actually applying to the school. People apply for many different reasons. Levin said that he wanted to apply to Community because he appreciated the small-school environment. “I wanted to go to CHS because not only could I feel trusted and have responsibility for myself, but I don’t like learning at huge schools,” said Levin. “CHS lets me learn the way I want to and not have to do it the same way as

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school. I also knew that high school counts for what college you get into, unlike middle school.” Upton, like many freshmen, was excited and anxious for the high school experience. However, once she got to CHS, she knew that she had made the correct decision in coming to Community. “I was really excited for high school although I was kind of unsure about it,” said Upton. “I was worried I would hate CHS except I love it now. It didn’t really hit me that I wouldn’t be return-


It didn’t really hit me that I wouldn’t be returning to Tappan until the morning of the first day, but after that everything kind of clicked and went into place.

the teacher wants me to do it. I like going to a school that I can get to know people and my teachers.” Levin feels as though high school is a fresh start for him, but with added amounts of pressure. “High school seemed like a great opportunity to make school better, especially if I got into Community,” said Levin. “I was very excited to go to high

ing to Tappan until the morning of the first day. After the first day everything kind of clicked and went into place... I didn’t really realize that I was actually going to high school until that morning.” Katz, Levin and Upton are all easing into freshman year in different ways. Katz has joined the Ultimate Frisbee team, Levin plays piano in jazz band,

and Upton plays field hockey for Huron. All three enjoy their classes, with Katz’s favorite being Algebra II, Levin’s Jazz and Upton’s Introduction to Literature. All three freshmen are preparing themselves for the hardships that high school might bring, such as an increased workload. “High school demands a lot more work from you [than middle school],” said Levin. “I have a lot more homework and I’ve had to study way more for tests…. There are a lot more [tests] than there were in middle school.” CHS’s freshman class is quickly adjusting to life in high school. Although some of them were afraid of the hardships they might have faced, these freshmen are ready to take on whatever challenges high school throws at them. “I will continue to to work hard on all of my classes, making sure that I have everything in on time,” said Levin. “And I’m trying to give an equal amount of energy on all classes. That way, I won’t be behind in anything, and I’ll be doing just fine.” C

chs is thankful for....

getting into college - Lindsey Ressler • MY PARENTS AND MY FRIENDS - Piper Friend • my big, healthy, robust baby - Courtney Kiley • the beard jordan is about to grow - Maia Volk • i’m happy to be a part of Field Hockey - Tori Westhead • I’M JUST HAPPY ABOUT EVERYTHING - Rachel Blakemore • my mom helping me out with the Italy trip and just to be at Community - Jason Talley • community, family, friends - Anna Orosan-Weine • everything’s all good - Chris Upham • cassidy moravy-penchansky, except on sundays - Kelsey Teribery • that I live in a wealthy, imperialist, capitalist country and not one that we’re currently invading - Molly Kraus-Steinmetz • ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT COMING BACK - Alon Samuel • my buddy Nathanael - Daniel Sager • my buddy Daniel - Nathanael Downes • being able to be with my family - Elizabeth Langley • The Communicator - Obinna Ugwueglou • ibiprofen - Kerry Fingerle • THE NICE WEATHER OUTSIDE - Sari Griefer • my lovely girlfriend - Miles Grofsorean • the communicator - Sarah Kerson • Ken, since he’s such a great writing teacher - Lydia Krienke • all the great food - Aiden Patterson • advanced art classes at CHS - Kylah Thompson • Call of Duty - Emre babbit • that it is not 2012 yet -Mitesh Patel • Turkey - Pat Sayabovorn • GOOD HEALTH - Karen Schleh • Karen, she makes the counseling office hamJohn Boshoven • MY BROTHER COMING BACK FROM THE ARMY - Sara Brooks • getting into CHS - Tiffany Ung • socks- Rianna Johnson-Levy • fall weather - Emma Hughes • theater - Adrian Joll • the fact that this year is looking better than last year - Eva Hattie • BEING DONE WITH COLLEGE APPS - Daniel Goldstein • Super Ambulence - Melanie Langa • donuts - Ian Grosh • my wonderful family, beautiful daughters, and having a job in this economy - Tod Tharp • the car rides Julia Devarti gives me everyday - Hannah Hesseltine • the love julia devarti gives me, not just materialistic things like car rides - Hannah Shevrin • the warmth that my bed gives me on cold mornings - Betsy Zhang • the support system I have and Anne Thomas - Lauren Kuperman • Nikola Tessla - Emma Mayhew • my mama - Dan Eder • THE TEACHERS WHO WROTE ME LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION- Keely O’Donnell • the people that put up with me - Aina Kelsaw-Fletcher • being happy about everything - Rachel Blakemore • food, france, and snow - Margaret Whittier-Ferguson • MY TEAM - Abby Kleinheksel • Tracy - Colleen O’Brien • being part of a really good choir program - Lukas Trierweiler • my dog walking buisness - Jermey Simon • ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFETS - Zach Shaw • dancing - Charlotte Steele • EVERY HAWKWARD SITUATION THAT I’M A PART OF - Julia DeVarti • Colleen O’Brien and her art skills - Tracy Rosewarne • my art skills - James Mackin • the immense amount of halloween candy at my house - Casey McDonald • being apart of this awesome school - Marcello Sallas • SEEING MY FAMILY- Ben Weir • my health, this job, which I love so much, and my beautiful family - Judith DeWoskin • Steve and his awesome photo class - Casey Belcher • THE OUTDOORS - Eliza Stein • snow, hot chocolate, friends and food - Brienne O’Donnell • PHOTOGRAPHY AND SUMMER - Hannah King • new trident layer flavors - Mari Cohen • tofu and bass guitars - Fiona McKillop • Turkey and sleeping in - Pat Sayabovorn • CHLOE TAKING OVER THE MOCK TRIAL PROGRAM - Cooper DePreist • living in Ann Arbor - Nick Margolis • SWIMMING, FRENCH FRIES AND MY TOY POODLE - Tressa Stapleton • my Pioneer soccer coaches - Fernando Rojo • blankets - Eric Bayless-Hall • Soulfege and the oppurutiny to sing with beautiful ladies every single day - Clare Lauer • my coaches who inspire me to do better - Kelsey Moran • being at Community - Alona Henig • that Drake Johnson follows me on twitter - Nate Porter • The diversity in the public school system - Alexa Jones • FOR BEING THE COOLEST PERSON IN THE UNIVERSE- Annie White • happiness - Carlos Jackson • kosmo and the wonderful be bim bop he provides us - Isaac Scobey-Thal • THAT CHAZ BONO GOT KICKED OFF OF DANCING WITH THE STARS - Elise Reichard • the wompanoag native americans who helped my pilgrim relatives to survive, except maybe they shouldn’t have considered it in the first place because the pilgrims turned out to be such awful hypocrites - Eva Roos • to live and see 11/11/11 and make a wish on that day - Kiera Dressler • BEING IN THE U.S. THIS SEMESTER - Vittoria Meloni • my pants and being indoors - Katie Taub • MY CATS - Ruthie Graff • strong supportive communities - Jordan Siden • my family, friends and beautiful wife - Eli Sugerman • MY TEACHERS, COUNSELORS AND COACHES- Poom Boonsin resolutions

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living with als After being diagnosed with neurodegenerative disorder als, bob schoeni finds hope through community support and optimistic thinking. eli sugerman

I As many as 30,000 Americans have ALS, and an estimated 5,000 Americans are diagnosed every year

ALS most commonly strikes people ages 40 to 60, men more often than women


t’s odd to be in a waiting room, waiting for test results, [whereas] most people don’t want to hear that they have a brain tumor, the ALS patient actually [wants] that to be the case. It just puts it in perspective,” said Kristin McGuire, a founder of Ann Arbor Active Against ALS (A2A3), a local ALS charity organization. Sometimes the last test the doctor will do before diagnosing a person with ALS is a CAT Scan for a brain tumor. ALS is such a dire diagnosis that often times, people who suspect they have ALS would prefer news of almost any other diagnosis. Diagnosing ALS is often a difficult process in and of itself. “ALS is very difficult to diagnose and the way you diagnosis it is by first eliminating everything else,” explained Dave Lowenschuss, another founder of A2A3. Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease for which there is no cure, or even wide-spread treatment, that has been shown to significantly slow its fatal rampage. ALS affects the motor neurons in control of voluntary muscle movements. The progression of ALS is neither simple nor easy. ALS is an aggressively progressive disease that increasingly impairs the nerves’ ability to send messages from one’s brain to the muscles. From the point of diagnosis, a person with ALS is typically told he or she has two to five years left to live. Bob Schoeni is an Ann Arbor resident who was diagnosed with ALS on July 29, 2008. Schoeni noticed his first symptoms while playing tennis. He was having difficulty getting the ball over the net. “About a week before [the diagnosis] I had kind of already self diagnosed. I had looked on the computer and thought ‘my symptoms are kind of like people with ALS,’ but when I went in [to the doctor’s office] and they told my wife and I, I was like, ‘Wow, this is real.’” Typically, the progression of the disease starts with weakening muscle mobility in one appendage (a leg, a

hand, or a foot) and spreads to limit mobility in other appendages. Eventually, in many cases, the muscles used for breathing fail as well. Although in the late stages of the disease someone with ALS may no longer have the ability to control their muscles, swallow, speak, or breathe on their own, the individual’s cognitive functions remain intact throughout the progression of the disease. Perhaps the scariest or

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news with a lot of people,” said McGuire of the inspiration behind A2A3. Upon receiving the news, McGuire thought “we’re close with Bob and we’re like ‘Oh, my God.’ It’s really sort of shocking and devastating and then immediately we’re like, ‘what can we do?’ In the beginning, at least for Bob, his symptoms weren’t visible. There [weren’t] things we could do to help care for him like cook for the family. It

I had looked on the computer and thought ‘my symptoms are of like people with ALS’, but when I went in [to the doctor’s office] and they told my wife and I, I was like, ‘Wow, this is real.’

most frustrating part of the disease’s progression is the fact that even as the body deteriorates, the mind is unaltered and trapped within an immobile body. One of the ways Schoeni copes with ALS is through his positive, live-fortoday outlook on life. Rather than focusing on his restrictions, Schoeni focuses on what he can do. “There are lots of great things to do in this world and I think we get tied to doing certain things. For me, I liked sports a lot-participating myself-- but I can’t do that anymore, so I have to find other things. For now, it’s coaching. At some point I may not be able to do that, but I’ll find something else,” said Schoeni. Schoeni does what he can to live a life not dictated by the symptoms of ALS. “There is scientific evidence showing that those who receive social support-- help from friends-- maintain their health longer and live longer. It’s the most effective drug that we have for diseases like this where there is no [significant] medical treatment,” he explained. This is where A2A3 comes into play. “Bob (Schoeni) was diagnosed in the summer of 2008 and [he] shared the

[was] not at that point. So I remember one day Dave just saying, ‘You know what we should do? We should get people together and just try to raise as much money as we can for ALS research.’ That was the beginning,” The mission of A2A3 is as follows. “Ann Arbor Active Against ALS (A2A3) is a grassroots, nonprofit organization whose mission is to raise funds for research toward effective treatments and ultimately a cure for ALS, while raising awareness of the disease, encouraging physical activity, and building a compassionate community.” The name of the organization, Ann Arbor Active Against ALS, was an intentional effort to promote activity and active lifestyles, in order to combat exactly what the disease takes away. McGuire explained why raising money for and awareness about ALS are so necessary: “One thing that is ironic about ALS is that it’s considered an orphan disease. It’s an odd pharmaceutical term and it means a disease from which not enough people suffer to make it worth their while to put research money into it. The thing that is ironic about ALS is there aren’t many

people in one given moment that have it because the life expectancy is so short after you are diagnosed, but over the course of time, many people have had it.” Schoeni said that “A2A3 is a wonderful example of how one can show compassion and do great things. It has definitely helped me in a tremendous way.” Since his diagnosis, Schoeni has gained much wisdom. “I hadn’t thought much about death or severe health problems and I think it’s useful to think about it when you’re healthy. To think about these, I think, makes for a stronger life and more informed decisions. I think you’ll think about decisions of career, family, and what brings meaning to your life in a different way if you were to ask yourself, ‘If I only had one year left in my life would I be living the life that I am currently or not?’ ‘If I only had one day, or one week, or one year, or even three or four years, would I change the way I’m living?’” said Schoeni. “I asked myself that question a lot shortly after diagnosis and I still ask myself that today. I feel fortunate to say I think I’ve made and I’m making the right decisions. I enjoy the career that I have, the family I have, and where we’re at.” Schoeni expressed the need for high schoolers’ help. “If a high school student reaches out to [someone], it has even a more special meaning to them because there’s a young person who typically, stereotypically is concentrated on their own world and their own development, [who] has broken out of their shell and said ‘I’m going to reach out to this person in need and try to do something to help them.’” Though ALS is a terribly debilitating disease, Schoeni’s positive outlook on life and the selfless efforts of A2A3 are an inspiration to all. C

For those interested in getting involved with this unique organization, please visit A2A3’s website at

ann arbor: part of the 99% Liberty plaza has recently become home to the occupy ann arbor movement.

molly kraus-steinmetz communicator web staff cooper depriest photo


revolution is beginning. In New York City, people are gathering by the thousands in Zucotti Park, enduring police, weather, and abuse. The same thing is happening all across the world, as various cities create their own solidarity movements. And Ann Arbor isn’t going to keep out of the fray. Fauster Kitchens, a senior at Community High School, is a frequent visitor to Occupy Ann Arbor, located in Liberty Plaza on the corner of Division and Liberty. To him, the movement is a revolution against the capitalist system that has dominated the world for so many centuries. “Occupy Wall Street and the occupation movements are a representation of a struggle that’s been going on for a long time,” said Kitchens. “It’s just that right now it has a specific name. And I don’t think this struggle is necessarily going to stop, now or any time. It may take on different names, it may morph into itself, but the struggle is going to continue.” Kitchens is regular facilitator for the General Assemblies, or GAs, taking place in Liberty Plaza. At General Assemblies, the people gathered for

Occupy Ann Arbor can all share their ideas, information, and opinions. As the movement has no official leaders, the GAs are instrumental in using the will of the people to determine courses of action. Although the movement was originally begun as an organization to gather resources for sister movements Occupy Detroit and Occupy Lansing, they now have their own occupation in Liberty Plaza. “They kind of sprouted up,” said Kitchens. “For various reasons, they never had the approval of the General Assembly.” Currently, tensions are somewhat strained between the General Assembly and the Occupation, and it is unclear at press time whether they will continue to work together through allegations on both sides of racism, theft and obstruction of justice. However, Kitchens still encourages supporters of the movement to attend events and consider donating supplies to the occupation, particularly blankets, sleeping bags and warm food. According to Kitchens, the GAs are an ideal form of community organizing for movements like Occupy Wall Street and its subsidiaries. “[They’re] governed

completely horizontally, using census process, which is one of the most radical forms of governing an organization can have,” he said. “It usually encourages important conversation, and I think it functions better than using Robert’s Rules or using a more hierarchal system. I don’t think executive decisions in any way can really benefit the collective.” However, he also acknowledges that the process is still a bit messy, with nitpicking and pointless debate dominating certain conversations. As General Assemblies attempt to allow every member of the 99% a chance to share their opinions, they can also quickly spiral out of control. “The census process can be incredibly tedious and not help things sometimes,” Kitchens admitted. “I’ve seen it work really well, but sometimes there definitely are people who just block and put a lot of it off when they don’t really need to.” The Occupy Wall Street movement and its subsidiaries have garnered a lot of criticism, especially from right wing politicians and media. For example, Hermain Cain, presidential candidate, has publicly stated that the Wall Street porotesters need to “go home and get

a job and a life,” adding that “if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich”, you should “blame yourself.” According to Kitchens, however, most of the occupiers and protesters are not unemployed at all. Most of the people he met in Occupy Detroit had jobs, and were “going between their jobs to sleep the night in the park.” “And there certainly are people who are unemployed involved in the movement,” said Kitchens, “But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.” He argues that a mix of lower and middle class “allows for a classwide movement which has the potential to be incredibly powerful.” C


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the motto of occupy ann arbor is, “1% of the usa controls 33% of the wealth. we are the 99%”

Occupy Ann Arbor has General Assemblies every Thursday at 6:00 pm, a 24-7 occupation, and workshops almost every afternoon at Liberty Plaza. For more information, visit their website, OccupyA2. org, or their Facebook group, Occupy Ann Arbor.


this year, community high school’s forum council decided to start a new tradition: our very own spirit week. ruthie graff sari greifer photos charlotte steele illustration


steve coron dressed up as a modern dancer for halloween and won funniest costume

ioneer, Huron and Skyline each have spirit weeks leading up to their homecoming dances and football games. Typically each day of spirit week has a different theme, and the goal is to excite and encourage students to take pride in their school. This year CHS’s Forum Council wanted to do the same. Instead of leading up to a homecoming game, CHS’s spirit week took place the week after Halloween dance. Forum council is made up of two representatives from each forum and is essentially CHS’s version of student council. Steve Coron is the advisor of Forum Council and oversees the decisions that the group makes. “Forum Council asked the question, ‘what school wide event can we do to get the student body excited, other than multi-culti?’ We also had wanted to do something that was the week of Halloween and the BSU talent show,” Coron said. First, Forum Council came up with the idea of a spirit day, in which stu-

dents would dress in all of their Community High apparel. This concept was soon expanded to encompass an entire week showcasing students’ school spirit for CHS. “Someone said in one of our meetings that competition is what drives Community, which is how we came up with the idea of doing kickball games. We wanted to do Quidditch but

We wanted to prove that Forum Council could do something school wide, and that it would be successful and fun and I think we accomplished that.

some people thought that it would be too dangerous,” Coron said. The teams for spirit week: rorange, yellow, green and blurple, were meant to represent the houses of Harry Potter, with several forums making up each team. “October is a very boring and stress-

LEFT The BSU talent show hosts begin the show. RIGHT The BSU talent show judges make their final descision.


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ful time of the year for most students, so we really wanted to do something social and fun that people could get into,” said Forum Council co-president Emma Share. The kickball games, which took place at lunch, pitted rorange against yellow and blurple against green. Many fans came out to support their teams, mak-


ing the kickball games a success, “It was very entertaining. I was rooting for blurple,” said freshmen Sarae Vawcers. Although spirit week was not as popular as the forum council had originally hoped it would be, Coron still considered it to be a success. “Some people got really into it which was great, and

there was a lot of excitement for all of the kickball games,” he said. Share had a similar opinion “We wanted to prove that Forum Council could do something school wide, and that it would be successful and fun and I think we accomplished that,” she said. Many students enjoyed spirit week and the sense of community it brought to the student body. “Spirit week gave the school a sense of unity and really brought everyone together,” said sophomore Jack Macconnel. It is quite likely that spirit week will become an annual event at Community, always falling the week of Halloween and the BSU forum talent show. Coron also thinks that spirit week should become a CHS tradition, “We are trying to create a culture, I hope that each year [forum council] can build up more and more hype so that people are excited for spirit week every year,”he concluded. C

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Isaac Scobey-Thal plays kickball at lunch; the Strassel forum performs their act for the talent show; the Levin forum performs in the talent show; Alona Henig and Pheonix Patterson dress up for spirit week; the Rosewarne forum performs their winning act in the talent show; Alona Henig dresses up for spirit week


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abby kleinheksel & brienne o’donnell


approximately 30% of all runners are injured every year

the effective mass at impact when heel striking is 6.8% of the total body mass compared to 1.7% for forefoot striking

Approximately 75% of habitually shoe runners all over the world heel strike

umans began running 1.8 million years ago, not with Nikes or Adidas, but with bare feet. Over time, society has morphed the way we run by marketing running shoes with the philosophy that the more padding and support, the better. Not necessarily. Recently, people have found a way to return to the roots of running. Not only is it natural, but it is becoming a major phenomenon around the country. One of these barefoot enthusiasts, Barefoot Ted, discovered barefoot running in 2003. Barefoot Ted is an avid barefoot runner and has run in shoes ranging from Kangoo Jumps—running shoes with built in springs—to Luna Sandals. He was also the first to endorse Vibram FiveFingers as running shoes. Barefoot Ted has run with the Tarahumara, a superhuman tribe in the Copper Canyons of Mexico, multiple times. The Tarahumara run for up to 120 miles in one segment without stopping, and are well-known for their long-distance running abilities. Barefoot Ted currently owns his own company, Luna Sandals, modeled after shoes that a native Tarahumara, Manuel Luna, taught him how to make. Although he is an experienced runner now, that wasn’t the case eight years ago. Barefoot Ted ran through years of agony and many different running shoes, but finally discovered the answer to relieving his pain. “My first day running barefoot, it was almost instantaneously obvious that I had really found a solution that was going to actually work. It was stunning, it was an incredible epiphany that the least amount was actually the most comfortable and that the style, the form of how I was going to be moving was really the most important and not the footwear,” Barefoot Ted said. Ted believes that humans’ existence proves that we have successfully survived as the most prominent long distance running animal. “What we can say with great confidence is that barefoot running or running in bare, or minimally clad, feet has been a human behavior that has out lasted everything that we know about being human when it comes towards culture. In other words human beings have been the eminent moving and hunting and endurance animal on this planet for much longer than historical time,” said Barefoot Ted.

There is more to barefoot running than just history. Barefoot Ted has come to realize why, logistically, running barefoot allows us to be more in tune with our bodies. “The mechanics of barefoot [running], wherever you are, are way better than something that doesn’t involve the mechanics of the foot as it is. So, FiveFingers and any other footwear that essentially preserves the foot, well that’s gonna make a lot more sense, and that’s what the real difference is,” he said. “This footwear became a symbol of the change. [Barefoot running] is the radical beginning of a paradigm shift that is unstoppable because the more we look at this, the more clear it becomes that, up until now, our assumptions about footwear and what we need to do to run have not been adequate, and certainly not scientifically based.” Barefoot Ted continued to explain how running impact affects the body: “A better way to put it is if you want to see how ineffective your heel is at absorbing impact, just stand on a hard surface in bare feet and jump up and inch and come back and land on your heels, you will find out real quickly, that’s a very very bad idea.” Lukas Trierweiler is also a barefoot runner. Trierweiler, a junior at CHS, has been running in barefoot shoes for two years. “It’s really comfortable, it’s really like running in your bare feet,” said Trierweiler. Trierweiler has found that running comes more naturally in barefoot shoes. “I have a regular routine of running, but with barefoot running, sometimes I just feel like ‘oh man, I gotta run in these shoes’ because it just feels so good sometimes. It feels like you’re just literally running with the wind,” said

Trierweiler. Barefoot running has also inspired Trierweiler to run farther distances. “I go off how much better it feels, and that coincides with how much longer I can run. When you feel good about your running, then you can run a lot longer.” He added, “When I run in [barefoot shoes] I feel like I could run another three miles than what I would normally.” CHS senior, Keely O’Donnell, has found similar experiences with barefoot running shoes. She began by trying to change her form. “I just tried changing my stride with my normal tennis shoes, but they have a really thick heel and it was really hard to do. But my sister ended up getting a pair of these Vibram FiveFingers and I ended up liking them so much that the next day I went out and got a pair, too.” Making the switch from regular running shoes to barefoot shoes was slightly difficult for both O’Donnell and Trierweiler. “It really takes building the strength in your feet when you try out the barefoot shoes because at first, they hurt your whole foot and tendons if you’re not used to running like that, but as you run in those shoes, you grow a lot of strength in your feet and they become a lot more resilient, and it feels really good when you’re running,” said Trierweiler. O’Donnell added that not everyone can make the switch to barefoot shoes:

“Just because you are supposed to do something one way doesn’t mean you can’t do it the other. It’s a different thing, technically everyone is born to run barefoot even though not everyone can; you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. And if you were raised to run 26.2 miles in a shoe with two inches of heel you are going to do it. If you don’t know another way you don’t know what you are missing.” Although not everyone can learn to run barefoot, many people are choosing to. O’Donnell described it as a running revolution sweeping the country. “Everyone wants to get on the revolution and no one ever wants to be left off of the bandwagon.” O’Donnell and Trierweiler both agree that barefoot shoes have changed their running for the better. “I love them and I think that it is great to know that you are running the way people were meant to be and you are not part of some over-processed culture of running shoes. It is so nice to go back to the roots of humanity and know that

you are carrying on a tradition that was started by the first humans who knew nothing of what the world would become. And it feels so free not to be held down.” Trierweiler continued, “It definitely gave me a better viewpoint on what it is like to really run. It’s not just a sport, it’s a passion to just run and enjoy the nature and run with just the clothes on your back, and in this case, barefoot shoes.” C

hannah king photos

a look at three chs seniors who are applying to art colleges and universities. hannah king

I every year 11,400 undergraduates and 522 graduate students come from 50 states and 41 foreign nations to columbia college chicago

during the 2011-2012 school year at the u of m art and design school there are 500 undergraduate and 30 graduate students


t’s time to get ready for college. Choosing your schools, applying, waiting, waiting, the excitement of finding out whether you got in or not. Three Community High School seniors are getting ready to apply to different art colleges and universities throughout the United States. Sonny Spears, Colin Leach, and Kylah Thompson, just three of the artists at CHS-are all getting ready for their four years in college. Finding out what they want to do with their lives may be harder than they thought it would be. Kylah Thompson is applying to the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. Planning on attending one of the schools she’s applying to in the fall of 2012, she is eager to find out whether she gets in, “As of now I have no clue when I will find out. Art school applications take longer to process. “[Applying to college is] incredibly stressful. I have never felt this stressed about one thing in my life. Sometimes I feel fairly good about my applications and my ability to get them done. But, for the most part I feel like I can’t finish them fast enough,” said Thompson. The art school application process consists of three things: the first is the application, which is easy straightforward information. Second is the essay portion: for many of the schools you must tell the schools about yourself and about your art — where you’re going, what your art means to you, and what your art means to other people. Then, there is the third part, the portfolio, where you put all of your best pieces together that you have produced to show the schools and get judged on your work. As the Nov. 1st deadline approached Thompson became more stressed about finishing her essays and her portfolio. “As of right now, I am dragging mythe communicator

self through the essay stage. I am also preparing my portfolio.” The University of Michigan requires a portfolio, along with three essays. Eastern Michigan University doesn’t require a portfolio, and doesn’t require any essays. The amount of time that it takes to put together the portfolio is longer than it takes to finish almost any college application. It has taken Thompson almost three months to put her portfolio together, and she still isn’t done. Thompson still doesn’t know whether or not she would like to study something other than art in college. “I would like to somehow tie it in with the work that I do when I become an illustrator,” said Thompson. After going to college, she would like to move forward with

mixture of careers that have to do with art, math, and science. For many art students applying to art colleges, putting your portfolio together may be one of the hardest parts between choosing pieces to put in and making sure you have the best of the best artwork. “Most [schools] require 12-15 pieces. This includes life drawing; art schools love seeing your observational skills. Also a sketch book is really helpful,” Leach said. In his portfolio, Leach has work dating back to his sophomore year, but, most work is from his junior and senior years. As of right now, Leach has eight pieces, plus another three to four life drawings. Another CHS senior, Sonny Spears aspires to be an artist; ze* is applying to

Sometimes I feel fairly good about my applications and my ability to get them done. But, for the most part I feel like I can’t finish them fast enough.

her career in art and become an illustrator or a video game character designer. Colin Leach, a senior at Community High School, is also planning on applying to and attending an art school in the fall of 2012. Leach is applying to five schools: University of Michigan School of Art & Design, Allegheny College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Eastern Michigan University, and Washtenaw Community College. “I’m feeling very pressured to complete my portfolio and produce the best art I can make,” said Leach. It is important to Leach to attend a school that has a larger focus on majors besides art, because he also has a passion for other subjects like math and science. Leach would like to have a feature

four art schools: Columbia College in Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Kendall College in Grand Rapids, and College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Spears is planning on attending one of these schools in the fall of 2012. “[I want] a school with a focus on art; it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, so it’s 100 percent the right direction for me. And I also want to be surrounded by artists, people making art, creating this artistic community,” ze said. “Applications are so much more stressful than I ever thought. I always heard senior year was supposed to be the chill year. But not right now it’s not. Everyone is frantically running around trying to get everything in and done,

while also stressing whether they’ll be good enough for the schools. I’ve found that one way to alleviate this stress is to have a plan of action, so to speak, like a calendar for all of your school’s deadlines and what you want to get done when and where. It’s a really helpful tool,” said Spears. For Spears, the putting together of hir* portfolio has taken more than a few months. “I’m still working on it. I think a portfolio isn’t something that you specifically start, it’s more of a process of collecting your best pieces and putting them together, while also still creating new pieces that might help pull your portfolio together.” Each school that Spears is applying to requires a different amount of pieces put into hir portfolio, College for Creative Studies (CCS) requires 5-8 pieces, while Columbia College Chicago does not require a portfolio as a part of the application process. Most of the other schools require 10-15 pieces of art in the portfolio. Having another major or a minor besides art in college is very important to Spears. “I’m really interested in having a liberal arts minor. For example, if I got into Columbia College Chicago, I can minor in women’s and gender studies, which is extremely exciting to me, because that’s something I’m really interesting in and it has an influence on the art I’m creating.” Spears is considering the possibility of being an artist after college, “In all honesty, I want to be able to be a tattoo artist as well as a working artist, someone who will take commission from time to time and will contribute to shows and still use art as a form of activism.” C *Spears prefers to be referred to with the gender-neutral pronouns ze (subject pronoun) hir (object pronoun) and hirs (possessive pronoun)

in the spotlight gabby thomson & sacha moravy-penchansky

jordan siden photo

Hank miller, Ari litman-weinber and eleanor howell-shryock, The leads of Huron, Pioneer and Community’s plays share their experiences in high school show business.

hank miller Troupe Pioneer Theater Guild Play “Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber Part The Phantom Why did you decide to do this play? I’ve done every Pioneer Theater Guild show since I’ve been a freshman, so there was no way I was missing out on “Phantom [of the Opera]”. The shows are always tons of fun. Do you plan on staying with the Pioneer Theater Guild? Definitely. I enjoy it a lot. What is the play about? The play is about a deformed man, the Phantom, who lives beneath the Paris Opera House. He becomes obsessed and falls in love with a young soprano named Christine. The story is a love triangle with the Phantom, Christine, and Raoul, her childhood crush. The Phantom kidnaps her and kills people and is generally pretty creepy.

ari litman-weinberg

eleanor howell-shryock

Troupe Community Ensemble Theatre Play “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare Part Orlando Why did you decide to do this play? This is my first year as a full time Community student, and I promised I would do at least one show with CET. I was going to audition for Phantom Of The Opera [at Pioneer] but I didn’t have the right [vocal] range for the part I wanted so I came to CET. “As You Like It” has been a great way to spend my time, I like it here with CET. Do you plan on staying with CET? I might graduate early, and I’m not sure if I’m doing competition with Pioneer. I might wind up working tech for CET though. What is the play about? “As You Like It” is a play about people arguing, and fall-


Troupe Huron Players Play “The Beaux’ Stratagem” Part Dorinda Sullen Why did you decide to do this play? I’ve always been involved in HP and since I was freed of my commitment to volleyball I finally got a chance to act in the fall show. It’s the show where we all really get to know each other. Do you plan on staying with Huron Players? I’m the president... I kind of have to. But honestly I love Huron Players. It’s become such a regular part of my day, a home away from home. What is the play about? The play is set in 1707 England. Two con-men who have fallen upon hard times go to the country side in an attempt to swindle young heiresses. The men soon find themselves falling in love with the women they are trying to con, and comedy ensues.

the communicator


courtesy of the b-side photo


venue profile: the b-side

A closer look into Local youth venue the b-side and the teens that have contributed to its legacy. ryan shea

S There are currently eight members of the B-Side promotion team who book shows in a wide variety of genres


ince 1999, The B-Side has been the predominant venue for local youth performers. The venue prides itself in offering up-and-coming musicians the unique opportunity to bring their art to a real audience. Shows are held in the venue attached to the Neutral Zone in downtown Ann Arbor weekly on Friday or Saturday nights and are usually attended by mostly teens. “The B-Side is like life: it’s as fun as you make it,” said Jordan Vale of Space Based Adventure, the most recent in a long line of local ska bands to come out of the B-Side. Vale played trumpet with his band on the first live album recorded in the venue, and has played there many times before and since. “The crazy, livelier kids would really add excitement to the show and make it a good time for all.” Christian Koch, a junior at Community High, has played in many acts at the B-Side and appreciates it similarly to Vale. “[My bands] have played a couple times in Ypsilanti, Milan, Dexter and Toledo. None of the venues were as nice or chill or had an original atmosphere like the B-Side,” said Koch, adding, “The B-Side is primarily run by the teenagers who volunteer there, which helps make the B-Side what it is.” As part of an effort to be “teendriven,” each show is curated by a member of a teen-facilitated group called the B-Side promotion team. “We put together concerts for all kinds of bands, ranging from hip hop to folk to metal and teen garage bands to national touring artists. All of the concerts are planned by teens who volunteer at the

Neutral Zone,” said B-Side promotion team facilitator Ben Lawton. “We discuss future plans for the venue, talk about past and upcoming shows and come up with new strategies and ideas for our business.” Lawton, a sophomore at Community, is charged with leading the promotion team in building on the past successes of the B-Side. Even though times and acts have changed, the goal remains the same. “The B-Side tries to find the hottest local bands, specifically teen

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arts and entertainment

booking and promoting shows, and can serve as a resource and give a little guidance when needed. However, meetings are facilitated by teens and teens have the final say in pretty much all major decision making,” said Racine. Since its conception, the B-Side has been a place for talent to gather and be appreciated. The Neutral Zone originally hosted performances out of its original location on South Main Street. The first show from the B-Side stage was a fundraiser for Commstock, an

The B-Side tries to find the hottest local bands, specifically teen acts. Since we have new bands almost every Saturday night, we steadily bring in many regulars as well as new attendees at every show.

acts,” stated Lawton. “Many artists have become known through the B-Side and gone on to perform at other venues around Ann Arbor. Since we have new bands almost every Saturday night, we steadily bring in many regulars as well as new attendees at every show. This gives the venue a great and fresh environment, and allows us to appeal to musicians of any genre.” Ingrid Racine has been involved with the B-Side since the venue’s earliest shows and now serves as the adult advisor to the promotion team. “[I act as] someone who has more experience

annual celebration of Community High School’s last day of school. “The venue has an interesting ebb and flow in terms of which shows do really well. In the early years, hip hop shows with Funktelligence, AML and One Be Lo would be really packed,” said Racine. “Also around that time the Ninjas, After School Special and the Misters were around: teen bands that developed a strong following and had good draw. A lot of [Neutral Zone] alumni really glorify this era. The old space was more intimate, had a very different vibe.”

One band that got its start and quickly drew consistent crowds at the B-Side was The Ninjas. Stephan Wunderlich played guitar, sang and wrote songs for The Ninjas, and played in over a dozen shows at the B-Side. “[The B-Side] was a place you wanted to hang around,” he said. “No matter the type of show, it always felt fun to just be moseying about with your friends or mosh-pitting until your big toenail got kicked off because you were an idiot and wore sandals to a mosh pit. The things I remember most fondly are the intense heat and moisture of hundreds of smiling faces all coming together to have a good time. “I’ve performed in venues around the country and of course tons of different places around Michigan, but the B-side has always retained some serious respect when it came to all ages venues. I remember tons of bands that weren’t from Ann Arbor always working their tails off to try to get into the Neutral Zone because they knew it would be a great show. The B-side’s crowd was what gave it its magic. If it weren’t for the people listening and dancing their pants off there would be no point,” said Wunderlich. In 2006 the Neutral Zone moved from its South Main location to its current location at 310 East Washington. The B-Side virtually had to start over. “It took a few years to settle into the space,” recalled Racine. “I don’t think we even had a stage for about a year. We’ve really improved on the sound system since we’ve been here, and the space is looking more lived in, but we’ve got a ways to go.” C

a&e - coda

in the past decade, napster cut an estimated 50 percent out of cd sales

pj’s records and used cds marc taras, co-founder of pj’s, talks about running a record store in a digital age. erez levin


n my eighth birthday, my dad took me to PJ’s Records and Used CDs, a one-room store above a bakery and a Subway restaurant. When I walked in, my eyes were flooded with the LPs and CDs coating the walls. I walked across the room to the Rock section and pulled down the “Disraeli Gears” album by Cream and a Jimi Hendrix live album. Upon seeing my selection, the man at the counter, Jeff Taras, immediately began telling me stories about the first time he heard “Disraeli Gears,” and how Hendrix would flip over a right handed guitar in order to play comfortably, because he couldn’t afford a lefty guitar. I quickly learned that one does not walk into PJ’s intending to just stay for a minute. Whatever music you may be looking at in the store, Marc and Jeff Taras, brothers and co-founders of PJ’s, will always have something to say, some remarkable story to tell about it. The whole experience of buying and listening to music once again becomes personal. There are no iTunes buttons to click on, no single song files to 22

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download, no low-quality MP3s, but full albums and real people (and excellent people at that) to converse with. Nearly nine years later, I am still a loyal PJ’s customer. It is truly an astounding store; there is always something new to be found, always something golden sitting on one of those shelves. Their collection is noted by musicians, DJs, and the like from around the country, many of whom stop by the store when in town to play a gig. “Kenny Washington was doing a two night stand [playing drums] for Johnny Griffin,” said Marc Taras, “and I had seen him the first night — in fact I saw both nights — and after the first night, I was working in the store, and he came in the door. […] And he bought a stack of old school — just classic — big band jazz records from the 30s and 40s. “He said to me that he had seen stores like this all over the world, and while he had seen bigger stores, he said, ‘I have never seen a better jazz section anywhere, and I’m talking album for album, inch for inch, for the space you’ve got, that the quality of the music here is extraordinary.’” arts and entertainment

In these digital times, record stores are often disregarded, viewed by many essentially as obsolete. “You know, ‘How’s business?’ is one of the questions our customers ask most frequently,” said Taras. “And the fact is, if everyone who asked that question was here every Friday with ten bucks for six weeks, no one would have to ask that question. We’re just trying to keep the doors open and have a job, and are thankful to be doing something that we love, in an environment that we care about.” PJ’s opened in September 1981, after Marc Taras, who had had some previous record store experience and P.J. Ryder, the store’s namesake, found the downstairs room where the bakery is now located. Upon deciding that it was a great room for a used record store, they just went and started one with Marc’s brother Jeff. “It’s a bit typical for businesses of our sort, I suppose,” said Taras, “but we were a slow, steady uphill climb, like a classic small-business success story, where we were doing a little more sales every year, every year, every year, until the year Napster hit. Within 18 months

of what they so euphemistically called file sharing, this blatant copyright infringement, our payroll was off 35 percent. “And it’s just been harder and harder since then to make a buck. I mean, we haven’t seen a nickel-an-hour raise since 1995, and in that time, we’ve lost all the benefits: paid sick leave, the week of paid vacation, the quarterly tax relief payouts; we have to pay our own taxes since we’re self employed, and the store used to cover part of our taxes, and now it’s kind of devolved into a minimum wage job with health care, for which I am truly thankful. It’s a great blessing to have a job in today’s economy, it’s a blessing to be able to work in a record store at all.” And it is a blessing indeed to still have a record store in town, even more so to have four (PJ’s, Encore, Wazoo, and Underground Sounds). It is great to still have people who make a profession of turning people of all ages on to new sounds. Hopefully, we can keep their doors open for yet many more years. C

a&e - coda

behind the curtain A behind-the-scenes look at production at The University Musical Society, which consistently brings world-renowned artists to perform in Ann Arbor. charlotte steele


nn Arbor’s University Musical Society (UMS) hails itself as one of one of the top art presenters in the world, and often presents the very same worldclass musicians, actors and dancers as New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center when they tour to only the most successful venues in the United States. Kenneth Fischer, President of UMS, explained the process of booking the world’s best artists and the preparations involved. Each show is different. “Some require a long [planning period] in advance — such as the presentation of a leading orchestra like the Berlin or Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra — their tours are planned two, even three years in advance. Jazz, dance and theater have shorter horizons, about a year or so. The longer the preparation, the greater depth of the engagement with the University and community,” said Fischer. Closely aligned with the University of Michigan, UMS actively unites the U of M and Ann Arbor together with their programming. “When we knew the repertoire of the 2006 Royal Shakespeare Company Tour two years in advance, we were able to work with U of M faculty so that there were 13 for-credit courses offered to students

based on the themes and subjects in the plays,” Fischer explained. Since 2000, UMS has reached out to over 340 schools and nearly 100,000 students with performances, in-class visits and workshops. “We were also able to plan 140 educational and community engagement programs surrounding the [Shakespeare] performances,” Fischer added. Collaboration with local institutions such as the Ann Arbor District Library, various U of M departments, and popular vendors like Zingerman’s Roadhouse present community programs to the Ann Arbor public. Past events have included Q&A discussions with artists, lectures from guest speakers and even post-concert jam sessions. UMS receives help during production of their shows from their student committee, which is comprised of volunteering University students. The committee receives first-hand experience of arts administration from the ground level and assist with marketing UMS shows to the community. “[The students] play a significant role in helping promote UMS events among students, all while gaining experience,” said Fischer. Focused on bringing the arts to teens, UMS

provides multiple opportunities for teenagers to engage with them. “Teen Tickets” are provided to high school students the day of performances for a heavily discounted constant price of $10. According to UMS, the availability of the Teen Ticket has saved high school students over $325,000 on ticket prices led to the UMS audience to contain 20 percent high school students. As many Community and local high school students know, UMS partners up with The Neutral Zone to present the annual “Breakin’ Curfew” show, which is produced by student curators and features many local high school performers. In the summer of 2011, a student musician from Pioneer High School approached UMS with concern that students with a passion for more classical music weren’t as connected to UMS as they could be. Truly Render, the Press and Marketing Coordinator, met with the student and arranged the Pioneer High School Chamber Quartet to play before the show and during intermission at an upcoming UMS show. Render explained that UMS strives to serve the community and would be interested if one of Community High School’s many talented jazz bands proposed to play. “We love hearing ideas

from the community and are happy to work with groups where it makes sense for us from a missiondriven stance. [Working] with Pioneer was just a starting point,” said Render. Jack Wagner, CHS jazz director expressed interest in collaborating with UMS. “We would definitely like to play these [events]. We recently played [at] the huge UMS fundraiser they held in September, and it was a lot of fun,” said Wagner. UMS continues to provide a great service to Ann Arbor with its efforts to bring world-renowned artists to our city and also engage the community on a regular basis. Although our town is small, UMS has made it possible that Ann Arbor ranks among the most elite presenters of the arts. Fischer shared his pride in UMS by sharing the feedback they have received from past performers. “The UMS audience is a smart, engaged, and respectful audience. Artists on international tours who perform at Hill Auditorium often come to us and say, ‘Ann Arbor is the smallest city on the tour, but it provides the largest and best audience. Amazing!’” C

charlotte steele illustration

arts and entertainment

the communicator


sp rts chs sports



adam mannheim

norlax uses protect. The opponent’s attack fails! Slobro and Bulbasaur march down the field. “Use Tackle!” shouts the Pokémon trainer. Bulbasaur jukes around a couple of defenders and takes a shot. It’s super effective! For a Pokemon battle, this may sound a lot like a soccer game. That’s because it’s both. Gotta Catch ‘Em All (GCEA), an indoor co-ed soccer team composed almost entirely of CHS students plays at Wide World Sports Center every Sunday. GCEA has been around since 2008. Originally, it was going to exist for only a year, but a current CHS alumnus, Josh Fendrick, revived the team during his junior year of high school. “My sister, who was a senior, had some friends on the original team, so I played a few games with them my sophmore year.


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It was real fun, so I decided to take charge and start it up my junior year,” said Fendrick. “The old team graduated nearly everybody, so no one was around to restart it. I decided to take charge and organize the new team.” The premise for the team is simple. Each player is assigned a jersey number, and the name of the corresponding Pokémon is written on the back of the jersey. CHS senior Murphy Austin, GCEA co-captain, said, “Sometimes, when you sub people out, you can say stuff like ‘Squirtle! I choose you!’ And then they go down the field and it’s super cool. And if we’re losing we usually sing the Pokemon theme song to pep us up.” Gillian Teall, a CHS senior and returning player, says that the players even pretend to be Pokémon during the games. “When we’re winning or losing by a lot, we start messing around on the field and pretend to be our designated Pokémon,” she said. Shadi Ahmadmehrabi, the head coach, is usually seen in the bleachers cheering the team on. She joined the team as a cheerleader last year. “I work on Sundays, so I knew I couldn’t be at all the games, but I wanted a reason to show up to see them if I wanted to,” Ahmadmehrabi said. “Also, I wanted to be involved with the team, but I have this condition where I’m not good at soccer.” Ahmadmehrabi hypes up the team by “yelling...yelling, trash talking the other sports

team, and telling people how much fun everything is...occasionally, I just say words.” She also makes extravagant posters to cheer the team on. “My motto regarding posters, and really most of life, is ‘extravagance’. So my posters have gold letters, curly silver ribbons, and lots of other things. There is stuff everywhere on a signature Shadi poster.” On Sunday, November 6th, GCEA redeemed their 15-1 season opening loss by demolishing P$C of Saline 6-3, with a second half shutout and a dynamic offense led by Bulbasaur (Casey MacDonald). Austin believes that their victory is indicative of their future performances, despite their blowout loss in the opener. “A lot of the more experienced players didn’t come to the first game,” he said. “There were a lot of people that have never played soccer before. But I think it’s looking up for the rest of the season.” The inconsistencies between the two games may also be due to the wide range of skill levels in the league. “Technically we’re in the recreational league, which means that everyone should not be that great. Which is kinda true, but some teams are horrible and some teams are pretty good,” Austin said. Since the league is less competitive, it allows opportunities that aren’t available in other leagues. “It’s much more fun... and you get some people who have never played before,” C

TOP Murphy Austin dribbles the ball downfield. ABOVE Poom Boonsin passes the ball deep across the field. LEFT Colleen O’Brien manuvers the ball around defenders.


two minute drill

mission accomplished


CHS STUDENT DRAKE JOHNSON HAS BREAKOUT YEAR, COMMITS TO MICHIGAN. nick margolis & zach shaw casey macdonald photo

zach shaw & adam mannheim


tate leader in rushing? Check. Michigan Mr. Football nominee? Check. State champion hurdler? Check that box twice. To many, just one of these things would be a great achievement, but to Community High School senior Drake Johnson, these are just a few highlights from a long list of accomplishments. By committing to the University of Michigan on November eighth, Johnson can now check off the biggest box on his list yet. Johnson has now achieved his goal of playing football in college. Johnson started playing competitive tackle football for the Washtenaw Junior Wolverines when he was eight. His dad gave him a choice of playing soccer, swimming or football in the fall. “I didn’t wanna swim, I couldn’t play soccer, so football is the sport I chose,” Johnson said. His track career started in a similar fashion, when his dad told him he could either participate in track or gymnastics for a spring sport activity. Johnson’s decision to do football and track paid its dividends, but not without incredible hard work and determination. “My dad used to work the hell out of me. I remember during summer breaks in elementary and middle school I would be working out at the track for hours, doing speed and agility drills, while all my friends were hanging out at each others houses,” he said. It started with his father working him hard, but Johnson eventually found the self-motivation to improve and make strides to become the “go to guy” on the field. Quick to say that he has no regrets, Johnson recognizes that all of the extra hours have paid off. This summer, Johnson put his hard work from his early years to the test with rigorous off season workouts. Instead of hitting the weight room, like past years, he set his goal to get quicker by spending his summer on the track. Johnson laughed while explaining his reasoning for his speed workouts; “You don’t need to be the biggest guy out there if you’re running past everyone.” The change of pace helped Johnson experience a breakout year, one that is filled with video game-like numbers. This season, Johnson is averaging 250.6 yards per game on the ground, while piling up 37 touchdowns. As of November tenth he is 133 yards short

As any athlete will tell you, getting the extra edge to win is important to being successful. The edge is usually attained by round-the-clock practice and training, but sometimes hard work just isn’t enough. Nearly every athlete has some superstition or good luck charm in an attempt to get on top. They can be weird, disgusting, and in the case of Jacksonville Jaguar’s player John Henderson, who has his assistant trainer slap him as hard as he can in the face before each game, painful. While non-athletes may never grasp the concept of superstitions, many athletes insist that their rituals play a role in their successes. Here’s a look at what superstitions athletespro and high school alike-use to get their extra edge.

what superstitions do chs athletes have? Tracy Scherdt, Grade 10, Softball Tracy wears a friendship bracelet to every game. Since the rules do not allow jewelry, she tapes over it. One game, the umpire made her take off the tape and bracelet. Her team lost that game.

of the Michigan High School Athletic Association single-season rushing record of 2,890 yards, and will have a chance to break the record in a state quarterfinal match up against Detroit Catholic Central on the twelth. In addition to the numbers, Johnson has also been nominated for the 2011 Michigan Mr. Football Award, given to the best player in the state each year. Since he was a kid, Johnson’s dream was to play football in college. By verbally committing to the University of Michigan on November eighth, his dream became a reality. “Growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan has always been the dream school,” Johnson said “It feels great, knowing that I’ll be representing my hometown at my hometown university.” Johnson’s goal of becoming a successful student athlete began when he entered the lottery for Community. Johnson’s brother Carter, a CHS class of 2010 alumni, loved Community and convinced Johnson that it was a place he could thrive. Attending Community while being a standout athlete for Pioneer turned out to be a great decision. Throughout his athletic career at Pioneer, some of Johnson’s teammates have had trouble in their classes at Pioneer. “Having the

student-teacher relationship we have at Community has helped tremendously with my academics,” Johnson said, “ The teachers are here to help you stay on track with your goals and want to help you learn. There is always someone to help you at CHS.” Along with the academic side of attending Community, the atmosphere is what helped Johnson the most in reaching his goals. By not attending a “normal high school” he was able to avoid the drama of a big school. Johnson believes being a student-athlete at CHS has made him less stressed and kept him centered during his seasons. He’s done the work, developed the skills, and now, Johnson has been given the opportunity to take his talents to the next level. Despite his successes, Johnson recognizes that a lot of work still has to be done for him to see any playing time at U of M. “I’m just gonna keep working, and do whatever it takes to get on the field.” C

You can vote for Drake to be named Michigan “Mr. Football” at


Acer Xu, Grade 11, Cross Country Acer has a very specific eating regiment that he follows before each race. Two hours prior to the race, he eats 1.5 bagels. Half an hour later he has 500 mg of Tylenol. Fifteen minutes after that, he eats half a chocolate bar. Finally, an hour before the race, he eats two bananas. Sofia Fall, Grade 10, Crew The members of Sofia’s boat “pass” fistbumps back to the person behind them, starting with the front. The person sitting in the back then kisses the boat. Poom Boonsin, Grade 12, Lacrosse Poom wears a bracelet that a Buddhist Monk gave him. He also re-tapes his stick after bad performances. Lindsey Ressler, Grade 12, Diving Lindsey makes sure to avoid taking any naps on days of meets. Nick Parton, Grade 10, Tennis & Baseball Nick peels the labels off his Gatorade bottle during games. Cody Zeisler, Grade 10, Football Cody participates in a team prayer session and the listens to upbeat music. the communicator



letter to the editors Dear Communicator,

staff editorial


ey, let’s play a game. Pretend that you have parkinglot sized space to fill in a prominent spot in downtown Ann Arbor. What would you put there? The Ann Arbor City Council has been working on a similar challenge for months with the Fifth Avenue “Library Lot”, a piece of land adjacent to the downtown Ann Arbor District Library which was formerly host to a surfacelevel parking lot. The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is in the process of constructing an underground parking garage beneath the lot. The City Council accepted a number of proposals for the ground-level space, including a hotel conference center and an urban park. The urban park idea was shot down because it was deemed unable to provide significant financial benefit to the city. The hotel conference center, proposed by Valiant Partners, was the last option in the running until it was finally defeated on April 4, 2011 by the City Council. A grassroots community movement, Citizens Against the Conference, sprang into action in order to protest the hotel conference center. Since all the proposals have been defeated, the City Council is back to square one. The space will be used as surface-level parking for the time being until another plan is approved. If no such plan is approved, the space will remain a parking lot. The Communicator staff supports the City Council’s decision to reject the hotel conference center. There is not

a clear need for a hotel and conference center in Ann Arbor, the project was opposed by a number of citizens, and it would be too much of a risk financially. Additionally, nearby small businesses, namely Jerusalem Garden and Earthen Jar, already claim to be losing business due to the construction in the area. Another ambitious construction project would surely further hurt these businesses. The Communicator does, however, disagree with the Council’s earlier decision to reject the urban park proposal and their declaration that a similar idea would not provide “significant financial benefit.” We believe that the best use of the space would be something that Ann Arbor citizens can enjoy. This truly original use of the space would actually financially benefit the downtown small businesses by giving more people a reason to come downtown to shop and eat. The Communicator is not alone in this choice. In the comments section on various articles related to the lot, a significant amount of people have expressed interest in a park or other similar usage for the space. The website “” represents a movement advocating for an Ann Arbor central park in the space, which could be used for festivals, art exhibits, meetings, and could be converted into an ice rink in the winter. According to, Mike Anglin, who was recently re-elected as the 5th Ward City Council representative, supports the concept of a “community commons” on the Library Lot and hopes to work

editorial cartoon

towards making the site a place for public enjoyment. We generated a number of possibilities that would fill voids in the area and create an incentive for the public to come downtown. A year round indoor farmers market would create a central space to buy organic goods even in the winter and could include cooperation. A park model could include a skate park, which would give Ann Arbor skateboarders a much-desired space and keep skateboarders from defying the downtown boarding restrictions. A skate park could also be converted into an ice rink in the winter, attracting the public for a fun, family-friendly, downtown ice-skating scene. Another option for the space would be expansion and renovation to the adjacent library. A state-of-the-art facility for reading and studying could encourage more residents to come downtown. Finally, the original park model could attract a lot of business to the area by creating a space for concerts and festivals. None of these ideas would require as much construction and disruption as a huge conference center. Overall, the Ann Arbor City Council has a chance with the Library Lot to create a facility for public enjoyment and to attract more people to downtown businesses. The Communicator staff recommends that the Council act on this chance and develop the space into something other than a parking lot. C

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The world’s population reached seven billion on October 30th. It took 12 years (from 1999) for the world’s population to grow from six billion to where it is now. The U.N. estimates that by 2024, the world will host eight billion and then one billion more by 2042. Milestones like this one are great for pause and reflection; what does this number really mean? I’m no economist, but most of these people are being born into poverty with low quality of life. Many people will not have enough food or fresh water. However, as I was pondering the numerical state of this fine planet of ours, I came across a YouTube video by Hank Green, who gave me a little perspective. The world has lots of problems, and having a huge population does indeed put more strain on it. But this does not mean that all of these people are the problem. The problem is the choices all of the people make, not that they’re here. Each of those seven billion people is an individual such as you or I; we’re all capable of something, we all have opinions and intelligence. Organizations such as the local nonprofit Appropriate Technology Collaborative work to create environmentally sustainable and economically-accessible technology for developing countries. They work closely with residents to create a solution that works for the specific community; there’s hope out there even with all of these staggering world problems. Even though I’m just one person, one individual occupying a relatively small space, I like to think of myself as one part per seven billion. I have an impact and I have choices: I could add to the CO2 pollution, or I could ride my bike. Little choices add up, just like people do. We’re all one part of seven billion, one part of the solution. -Amelia Diehl

communicator policy The Communicator, being committed to the free exchange of ideas, is an open forum for expression of opinions. It is student-run; students make all content decisions. Letters to the editor are encouraged and can be sent to Signed articles will be accepted with no prior administrative review as space is available. The Communicator reserves the right to edit submissions. Furthermore, opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and not of this newspaper, Community High School, or Ann Arbor Public Schools. For our complete policy, please see margaret whittier-fergeson illustration


the communicator


one for one thousand – gilad shalit jeremy simon


fter five years in captivity, Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier, was released October 18th of this year by Hamas, a terrorist organization. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally compromised with Hamas for the release of Shalit, who was being held in Gaza. The compromise included the release of 1027 Palestinian prisoners, some of whom have been imprisoned for more than 20 years. Although I am happy that Shalit has been released and is safe, it was not in the best interest of Israel’s safety to release such dangerous people. Hamas’s strategy to capture soldiers for prisoner exchanges invokes a major threat to Israel’s safety and security. When Israel gives back prisoners, they

show Hamas that their plan is working. This may make Hamas work harder to capture soldiers, so they can keep getting their prisoners back from Israeli jails. Hamas represents a certain amount of hope to the people of Palestine, who have become displaced and poverty stricken. Hamas has targeted Israeli citizens since they were established in 1987. The attacks on Israel include kidnapping and suicide bombers. Israel’s policy needs to change because there will always be another captured soldier. Israel’s policy for captured soldiers is a lot different than the United States policy. “The country has a social solidarity to its soldiers, which is something we can not relate to in the United States,” said Doron Lamm, an Israeli

citizen who served in the Israeli Defense Force. “There used to be a sacred promise the government made that said they would never send their children to an unnecessary war. The second promise made was [to] never abandon a soldier in the field.” In the United States, there is a longstanding policy of not negotiating with terrorists. This is the difference between the United States’s policy and Israel’s Policy. I think Israel’s promise to its soldiers gives comfort to the families of Israeli soldiers. On the other hand this makes itt easy terrorist organizations to take advantage of Israel. Even though it is comforting to know that Israel will bring home any captured soldier, it is also disturbing to think about the threat of terrorism this

release could lead to. Gilad Shalit is going to be the first Israeli soldier to be returned home in 26 years. However, the next time Israel is put in a situation like this, the trade agreement needs to also keep Israeli citizens safe. It is too early to tell if there will be more terrorism because of this. I have my doubts that Hamas will keep quiet and peaceful. With more of their people out of prison, these people might want revenge. I am not saying that all of these prisoners will revert to violence again, but these people are part of a terrorist organization that hates Israel. C

scores in Washtenaw County last year), and high Common Assessment scores — tests such as the SRI and MyAccess, online reading and writing tests. Apart from these more standardized measures, it is apparent from the report that CHS teachers are skilled at what they do and teach interesting and relevant classes. But do these attributes define rigor? While a CHS experience could certainly include a rigorous education, the deliberate use of the term “rigorous” in the mission statement seems contrived and unnecessary without a proper definition of what ‘rigorous’ even means. Stating CHS’s many positive academic qualities doesn’t include recognizing the actual reading, writing, thinking, sculpting and painting that real Community students do every day in the classrooms of the school. Next consider the use of the term “college preparatory magnet school”. Secondary prep schools by definition are often private, have high tuitions and intentionally admit its students into equally prestigious universities. Magnet schools by definition are schools that are based around a specific theme or educational method. The term “magnet school” is a departure from CHS’s previous term of choice in previous vision documents, “alternative”. This is most likely due to the negative connotations alternative schools carry; the word “alternative” is often read as defining “alternative” students, though it actually defines

“alternative” programs. CHS has a lottery based admittance, meaning that it is a school which students choose to attend and that it offers unique educational opportunities such as the Community Resource program. But to say this qualifies as a magnet school is a stretch, as the actual courses offered on a CHS semester schedule are fairly standard and mostly required. The accreditation report cites CHS as having a “college-going culture”, but this should not constitute as a college prep school. Having the title of a prep school seems highly inaccurate of Community. A mission statement is only a meaningless collection of words until serious decisions call on administrators to define the essence of Community High School. In fact, it was the pressure of budget cuts in 2010 that called for this most recent update of the statement. There are plenty of reasons CHS students should feel incredibly lucky to belong to this school. While it is important to highlight Community’s academic strengths, there are several defining aspects—including student leadership, alternative curriculum, and mutual trust between staff and students—that seem absent or not pronounced in the statement. Community High School must always be striving to push the envelope of alternative education, and the mission statement must do more to reflect what sets Community from other conventional high schools. C


the communicator

examining the CHS mission statement jordan siden


efining the identity and values of Community High School has large implications in an era where administrators are called on to make decisions effecting the make up of the school in an increasingly aggressive fashion. A school that in principle defies convention and promotes individuality requires a way to define itself to expectations of parents, colleges, students and most importantly the Michigan Board of Education. Being able to define Community’s essential attributes and vision is highly critical in the long term existence of CHS as we know it. The most official defining document of the school is the Community High School mission statement, displayed proudly and prominently on the school’s website. The current mission statement reads as follows: “CHS is a rigorous academic college preparatory magnet school which encourages students to use the entire community as a resource for study, and fosters the development of independent learners who practice personal and social responsibility as they prepare for their post-secondary experience.” The statement has been revised several times since the original blueprint document of 1972. The latest revision occurred over several staff meetings over the spring of 2010. CHS staff, including teachers, secretaries and support staff, underwent a group process of collectively contributing their thoughts on CHS’s identity and values,

all to be synthesized by Dean Jennifer Hein in crafting the final paragraph. It is fair to say that the mission statement is an accurate reflection of the CHS staff ’s vision and purpose for the school. Dean Jen Hein takes pride in the statement as a “breathing document”, a malleable guiding vision statement for CHS. Over the history of the school, the mission statement has been revised several times by several CHS deans. When one analyzes the current mission statement, specific wording leads to serious questions of CHS’s identity. Consider first the phrase “rigorous academic college preparatory magnet school”. This is a prestigious title, with several terms that deserve adequate definition. However, clear-cut definitions in education are difficult to come by, making it hard to interpret how these terms apply to CHS. In terms of rigorous academics, the recent North Central Association Commission accreditation of CHS in Spring 2011 is currently one of the most accurate outside analyser of the school’s strengths. The report credited CHS as “Highly Functional”, the maximum score, on all seven of its categories, a rare and important achievement for CHS. The “Teaching and Learning” standard cites CHS as rigorous evidenced by graduation requirements based off of the Michigan Merit Curriculum, high standardized test score results (Community had the highest MME and ACT

the original blueprint for chs was written in 1972.


jordan siden photo

snap, crackle, pop

julia devarti

Seven billion is a big number. It’s a common age for stars in the sky. It’s twice the number of kilometers between the Sun and Uranus. Pretty big. So big, in fact, that it’s hard to comprehend what seven billion really is. As of about two weeks ago, however, our planet plays host to that many people. It’s not something that you notice when you’re walking down the street, but this many people does have an effect. At least, that’s what everyone keeps telling me. What’s on my mind, though, are those creepy sci-fi books I used to read where the police took families away if they had more than two kids. That Big Brother-esque future doesn’t feel quite so fictional any more. In fact, China and several other countries have a policy very similar to this right now, which enforces a fee for all families over the two-child limit. Scary, right? But wait, there’s more. Some demographers are predicting that by 2045 there will be a world population of nine billion people. That’s a pretty shocking statistic. If you really think about how fast Earth’s population is growing, you

have to wonder how. And what comes next? We’re already having trouble distributing food to all people, how are we supposed to feed even more? And the concerns about pollution are just as scary. So what’s the solution? I don’t want to be caught in some dystopian world that reads straight out of a teen fiction book, but something’s got to give. The way I see it there are a couple of solutions. First, we could just go with this whole birth limit thing. To me, that seems a little too government-involved. So then there’s option two; maybe heavier birth control is in order. That means sending it out to struggling countries too, and giving everyone that same option of protection. I can imagine, though, why this might be pretty controversial, what with the political climate our country is now host to. I’m certainly no expert and there’s probably some solution I’m missing, but with such a fast-growing population, even the Average Joe can do their part. If we want to be able to stick around for more people, we’ve got to take responsibility for the world we’re inheriting. And that includes every one of the seven billion people living here.


what you’re really eating: got milk?

“Milk is a deadly poison,” or at least, that’s what the Dairy Education Board thinks. They claim every sip is filled with harmful bacterias, viruses, growth hormones, fat, blood, pus and antibiotics. According to the DEB, skim milk is as “healthy” as milk can get, and even then, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. After reading that, I shuddered at the bowl of 2 percent milk infested cereal I had this morning. However, after some extensive research, I’ve concluded that the anti-milk agenda is nothing substantial. Furthermore, skim milk is not as healthiest. It is, in fact, the opposite. I love whole milk. It’s creamy and delicious compared to the watered-down end of the spectrum, skim milk. But what’s the difference? For the most part, milk is a pasteurized product, meaning that it’s heated to high temperatures and immediately cooled. The fattier parts of the milk go to the bottom of the cooling tanks and skim milk is made by taking the milk and cream that is on top. The rest of the milk and cream are used for fattier milk and other dairy products. What

is lost in that process, and what does whole milk have that skim milk lacks? A few things. It’s a given that whole milk has more fat than skim milk. That fat serves a purpose. Your body needs fats in order to properly digest proteins and absorb the calcium. In addition, vitamins A and D are fat-soluble vitamins. This means they are stored in fatty tissues, which are eliminated in skim and 1% milk. When drinking skim milk, you’re still putting the vitamins into your body. The difference is that your body cannot access them. We’ve been taught that whole, unprocessed foods are the healthiest. Whole milk is no exception. When a product is processed, the natural synergy of its nutrients is disrupted. The nutrients in food work together best when consumed naturally. Thus, when the fat is eliminated to make skim milk, the nutritional profile of the product is out of whack. So why does the USDA, and nutritionists support skim milk? Money. Because skim milk is made from only a portion of the milk and cream, dairy companies can produce multiple dairy products from the same amount of milk. Whole milk is milk in its most natural form, safe enough for humans to consume. If you balance it with a healthy diet and exercise, there is no reason not to drink whole milk. C

and the person you call when you are missing an egg to the specific recipe. At that point though, I still wasn’t really sure what my family friend and neighbor, Val Kivelson, did for a living. I found out. Kivelson teaches witchcraft at the University of Michigan. Prior to that Sunday night, I just thought of witchcraft as potions, magic, and goblins the word “witches” conjured thoughts of pointy black hats, Halloween costumes and broomsticks. By dessert, I had learned about witches around the world, all thought to use their supernatural powers to cause harm. Kivelson passed me a slice of pumpkin pie and shared the fact that in Western Christian tradition, witchcraft often included a pact with the devil. She talked about how, over the ages, societies falsely accused many people of practicing witchcraft, often killing them

over their beliefs. This reminded me of the way Arab-Americans are treated in the present day, when a society targets people they are afraid of. This is much like the negative assumptions made about innocent Arab-Americans immediately following 9/11 for crimes that they personally did not commit. Eventually dinner came to an end. The guests had left. I had just spent the night at my purple kitchen table soaking up crazy facts on a subject, usually absorbed at a desk in a crowded U of M classroom. A professor, some yummy marinara sauce over steaming whole-wheat pasta and the family, weird. All at Sunday Dinner. Never again has my Sunday night been a drag. For Sunday nights, t0his has become “the thing”. The “cool thing.” Next issue, who knows who will be sitting next to me? C

cooper depriest photo


kerry fingerle

sunday night dinner

the communicator


cooper depriest photo

It’s Sunday night; most kids are bumming that school is the next day. For me, that’s not the case. Sunday nights are cool. For some weird reason, stuffing all the sneakers into the mud room, aligning the pillows in the TV room and kicking the crumbs under the couch seconds before dinner starts are just a part of my weekly routine. My ‘rents talked about how when they were kids, Sunday evenings were spent watching the “Ed Sullivan Show” and enjoying Swanson’s TV Dinners together as a family. Tevye said “Tradition,” and I am following the Fiddler .

The tradition began one Sunday last spring when I was craving some good food and remembered that my neighbors were good cooks. What could be better, great neighbors being stellar cooks? I invited them over for a potluck. Through the backdoor came gorganzola cheese and pear salad, justof-out-the-oven lasagna and sparkling cider. After a busy Sunday of energy bars holding me over before my soccer games and a quick english muffin for breakfast, this was the meal I needed. The food lived up to my expectations, but who would have ever thought that I would be less interested in the food and more mesmerized by the adult sitting next to me. This adult has been my neighbor for over 13 years. She is my best friend’s mom, the warm neighbor that you can rely on to watch your house when my family is out of town,

eliza stein


think local & shop local


think local & shop local



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The Communicator Volume 28, Edition 2  
The Communicator Volume 28, Edition 2  

The Communicator Volume 28, Edition 2