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The Communicator Vol. 29, Edition 5 May 2014



humans as canvas


the split

Tattoo artist Jen Munford cherishes her time inking up locals

the pros + cons of split-enrolling


the art of language Community staff and students have reaped many benefits from being bilingual


say what?


books that change lives


presidential timeline

Dr. Suzanne Evans Wagner gives her expert opinion on teens’ speech patterns


Community students talk about their favorite books


the league



live on washington

Rec and Ed Basketball gives students a fun, yet competitive atmosphere

What’s hot and what’s not in pop culture today


embarrassing times

Community students tell of times regretted: their most embarrasing moments


the communicator


hashing it out


community kitchen


Community students partake in the popular practice of performing promposals



college essays

Community seniors share their exceptional college essays

then and now

mock trial


senior map


school system


letter home


summer playlist


How teens face intense pressure in school and the ramifications


humans of community

Community alumnae share what they’re up to now and advice for future graduates

The Communicator staff’s recommendations for some killer summer jams

what’s in your car



Seniors look back on how they’ve changed over the last four years

A nationwide look at where our seniors will be come fall



Senior Cody Zeisler shares the inside of his car with The Communicator


homelessness may 2014 3


letter from the editors


we’re ready now



Printing thanks to Edwards Brothers Malloy. Editors-In-Chief

Isabel Sandweiss Alexander Wood


Lachlan Angus Joel Appel-Kraut Britta Carlson Managing Editors Hannah Davis Kelly Arnold Cameron Fortune Madeline Halpert Ben Gur-Arie Jeffrey Ohl Preston Horvath Eva Rosenfeld Jacob Johnson Marcelo Salas Jett Jones John Kelley Adviser William Knight Tracy Anderson Casey MacDonald Frances MacKercher Cover Art Gabriel Maguire Marcelo Salas Maggie Mihaylova 4

the communicator

Caroline Philips Duncan Reitz Emily Ross Tyler Schmader Alona Shewach Sophia Simon Grace Stamos Sophia Swan Isabel Todoroff Eliza Upton

what we’re sayin’

Dear Readers,

It never feels like the right time for an ending, but the close of this school year seems to be coming up much too fast. Perhaps we can blame the weather; the way time almost began to move in slow motion as the icy months dragged on and on; the shock when the sun finally came back and we realized we’re much further along than we should be. It’s May. Final projects are being assigned. Library books are coming due. Seniors are slowing down and preparing to leave these halls for the last time. It never feels like a good time to say goodbye, but soon we will have to. We can remember when we first said hello to this school. We remember the feeling of being a freshman in Intro to Lit and being terrified by the idea of an analytical essay. We remember the taste of our first Teriyaki Time and the feeling of bliss as we mingled with new friends on a crisp fall day on the back-lawn. We remember the field days, the forum trips, the FOS projects and the poetry slams. We can remember our growth each year, when we’d return to the same opening day ceremony, in the same stuffy church, and the familiarity would remind us of how much we had changed ourselves. Looking back, it feels as though time has always been on fast forward; how have we experienced so much here, yet it is already time to leave? We all have a lot to be proud of. As a school, we have maintained a positive presence in our community through our activism and intelligence. We persevered through budget cuts and stigma and have kept Community the welcoming, amazing place that it is. As The Communicator, we took a chance and created something from the ground-up. This has been a year of trial and failure and success that has resulted in a beautiful magazine. The senior staff will depart with a deserved sense of accomplishment and the returning staff can look forward to all the potential yet to be seized. And as individuals, we have pushed ourselves to reach our own potential. We have taken CRs, stayed after class to go over math problems, and participated in plays, sports, and Mock Trial. The motivation of students and teachers to excel and help each other learn and the respectful connection between us all have been the keys to our success. It’s interesting and a little heartbreaking to be writing this final letter in the past tense. However, although we and our fellow seniors will soon be gone, the characteristics that make Community such a hard place to leave behind will always remain. Take care of each other and make sure to take advantage of every opportunity this school offers. It’s been a wonderful four years and we can’t wait to see the ways in which the Communicator and Community will continue to grow. Farewell, Isabel & Woody

what makes you happy?

olof carlson

“Seeing my dog happy.”

hazel o’neil

“Taking selfies with my dog.”

julian stockton “Performing.”

hannah shevrin

“Listening to early 2000s r&b.”

claire fendrick

“Volleyball makes me really happy.”

tracy anderson “Students.”

“Happiness is sort of like this giddy moment and that’s not what really sustains you. What sustains you is a sense of well-being and positivity inside yourself that you carry on with you, it isn’t just a moment.” - ann wright Ann Wright is a psychologist and CR leader at Community High School. Not only has she helped others become happy, but also herself. “When I first started being a therapist, people’s sadness really affected me. I absorbed it,” said Wright. “It really was through working on my own state of happiness that I was able to get to the point where I feel compassion for people’s pain and suffering, but I don’t take it on anymore.” So how can we do the same? Many people think that in order to be happy, they need to change physical factors in their life, but it’s actually a very different factor that needs changing. It’s the mental one. “Happiness arises inside of a person,” said Wright. So what can we do to spark this happiness inside us? “You have to find things that make you happy and then make your life work with that. Instead of trying to make outside things produce a response.”

maddie teece “Bluegrass.”

milo tucker-meyer

“It’s always sunny in Philadelphia.”

dinner and a performance

a picnic at night

eating a chipati from pizza bob’s and watching a movie

museum hopping


going to the movies and eating popcorn


about two percent of the community high student body anonymously answered the question, “what’s your ideal date?”

going to the zoo when it’s closed and skinny-dipping in the eel pool

the communicator


a bike ride in a tropical place

dave and buster’s, then taco bell 6

walking around downtown

a student again. a student teachers account of adjusting to community joel appel-kraut liz stern photo courtesy


licia Ali frowned and looked down at her mud-stained, black dress pants. She grimaced as she pulled them up above her ankles and waded through the muddy ground bordering Traver Creek, a tributary of the Huron River. Ali, a new student teacher, was receiving an odd welcome to an unordinary school, and she wasn’t sure what to make of it. “I thought to myself, ‘Is this what a science class is here?’” she said. Now a second-semester student teacher and primary educator for three FOS I classes, Ali feels much more comfortable within the confines of Community High School. “Community has a university feel to it, and it really helps prepare you for when you get there,” said Ali. “Even though the professor is an educator and higher up, the relationship is more like a collaboration. Each person contributes to the learning to some extent, and I feel that here.” It brings up a question that’s not considered very often: what is it like for student teachers coming in to Community? Ali says there is a bit of a transition from your normal school environment. “It was a little awkward, a little different,” said Ali. “I was never used to these outdoors and project based activities. I was always more lecture, sit down, learn, test.” Ali says that the school’s alternative style is not the only reason for the difficulties. When training to become a student teacher, Ali had to take science classes on the material she would be teaching, and education courses, learning to be an educator. Unfortunately, Ali says this curriculum is inadequate. “My colleagues and I don’t feel that we are prepared for high school,” said Ali. “They

try to tell us what to expect but you don’t learn until you’re on the spot and have to deal with something.” For Ali, the high school setting is a totally new experience. “I went to middle school and high school in Trinidad in the Caribbean, so I’ve never really experienced what an actual American high school is like as a student.” Now, as a teacher, she realizes how different it really is. “I like Community because when I was in school, everything was patterned after fear,” Ali remembers. “You had to fear your teacher, and you were scared, and you always turned in your work out of fear.” Ali says she is happy to be working in a different sort of environment. “In West Bloomfield [Ali’s previous school], when people would call me ‘Ms. Ali’, I would think, ‘no, that’s my mom.’” But the alternative style doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. “Kids who are very intrinsically motivated and know what they want work harder and use their freedom here well,” Ali said. “But kids who need more guidance need someone to lead them through that path. When you give them all this freedom, they don’t know how to use it.” Ali also says that it wouldn’t have worked for her. “I feel like I would have turned into a delinquent if I had this much freedom,” Ali conceded. “I needed the structure.” Ali understands that an alternative schooling can be functional for some people. For her third semester, Ali had a say in where she would be teaching. And you can still find her teaching, grading papers, or helping Liz Stern on Community’s third floor. C

Alicia Ali teaching Block 4 FOS I. She also teaches Block 2 and Block 7 FOS I classes in room 314, Liz Stern’s room.

may 2014 7

what does it all mmean jeff ohl jett jones photo



even hours. 440 minutes. 26,400 seconds. Nearly every 11th grader in the Michigan public schools spent this much time on three different tests during the the week of March 3, 2014. Michigan juniors are required to take the ACT with writing, the WorkKeys Test and the Michigan Mathematics, Science and Social Studies tests, in order to graduate, but are not required to achieve a certain score. Many students have become familiar with, or at least heard of, the ACT, since it’s the most common college entrance exam taken in the U.S. and is especially common in the Midwest. Nearly every college requires the ACT or the SAT for applications. The WorkKeys and Michigan components were much less known, however, and students like Rose Lewis didn’t know why she was being forced to take them or what to expect. Rose Lewis is a junior at Community High school and took the

measure, which might allow them trade school, apprenticeships, tech school, the non-traditional, four-year college bound kids. So rather than telling them who they are in advance, we just have everybody do the test and then those students can use the results and can actually earn a WorkKeys certificate which supposedly has some value with some employers,” Boshoven said. The WorkKeys has four levels of certification: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum, which demand a score of at least level 3, 4, 5, and 6, respectively, in all of the test’s three sections. The levels of certification indicate the percentage of jobs the test-taker has the skills for, according to the WorkKeys database. Bronze indicates that the test-taker has the skills for 35 percent of the jobs in the WorkKeys database, Silver, 65, Gold, 95, and Platinum, 99. The ACT on the other hand, is used for students that plan on attending college, since an ACT score or SAT score is required by

ACT along with the Work Keys and the MME this year. “I feel like the WorkKeys is so Michigan can prove that their high school students can be in the workforce. But they’re such easy questions. I feel like there is a lot more they could do to judge how intellectual we are,” said Lewis. John Boshoven is the Ann Arbor Public School’s Counseling Department Chair and a counselor at Community High School. Having been a counselor for hundreds of students in his career, Boshoven has significant experience with both the Michigan component and the WorkKeys Test. “The State Department of Education requires that students receive credits: four years of math, four years of English, three years of science, three years of social studies, in order to provide proof that not only are we teaching that, but students are actually learning that, they (the State Department of Education) have to have assessments that go with all the state benchmarks and requirements,” Boshoven said. Thus, the ACT, WorkKeys Test and Michigan Components are all part of the broader Michigan Merit Examination (MME) used to see if teachers and schools are effectively teaching the Michigan Merit Curriculum (MMC) to their students. The MME is also designed to prepare students for college or the workforce, though. “Not every high school is a college-preparatory high school, they can’t very well say, ‘you there at Two Beans high school, because most of your kids don’t go to college, we need to give you a skills assessment, because we know your students are going to try get a job over on the farm,’ the state can’t very well assign different tests. Every high school has some non-college bound kids, we’ve got kids from here [Community High School] that aren’t going to go right on to a four-year college. So they said, let’s allow them to have this 8 the communicator

virtually every prestigious institution in the U.S. There are certain topics that aren’t covered by the ACT and WorkKeys that are part of the MMC, which is the reason for the supplementary Michigan Components. “Those are the areas that all the teaching gurus in Lansing said, ‘these other measure, these other indicators aren’t covering the benchmarks that we want all our students to learn, so what happens is as a result of the [Michigan Component] scores, students get a score which doesn’t mean much to them, and doesn’t mean anything to colleges. What it does is it gives the school a report card of how well we’re teaching you. So if everyone comes out of this school missing a particular thing, it means we probably just forgot to tell the teachers to teach it, so it helps us tune up our product,” Boshoven said. A bad report card can be worse than it sounds, though. A school’s average MME scores are public information, so it is a common way to compare Michigan public high schools. Lower MME scores could lead to lower enrollment for that high school in the future. While schools don’t get additional funding or have the chance to lose funding based on their MME scores, teachers can certainly be affected by these scores. “They’re going to start docking teachers’ pay, because of course they’re going to blame the teachers for not teaching, so teachers will make less income eventually if they continue down the path they’re heading, if the teachers can’t prove significant progress in their actual students’ scores on tests like that,” Boshoven said. Thus, students should try to score as well as possible on these tests out of courtesy to their teachers, if nothing else. C

netflix. community students recount their experiences with the popular site gabriel maguire and tyler schmader gabriel maguire photo


by Ugwuegbu sat down Saturday night to finish up her homework for the weekend and started thinking about one of her favorite shows, Grey’s Anatomy. She settled down with a snack and her laptop to watch the next episode. One episode turned into three, and Oby’s social justice homework remained unfinished. Watching Netflix can be a great pastime, and a way to easily watch your favorite movies and shows. Community High School sophomore, Avery Farmer, usually watches Netflix on the weekends for an hour or two. “My favorite show of all time on Netflix is ‘Psych’, but I watched all of the episodes, so now I am watching ‘Scrubs’, ‘Walking Dead’, ‘Parks and Recreation’, and ‘West Wing’,” said Farmer. Unlike many other Netflix watchers, Farmer has the self-restraint to watch only one episode at a time. “I get impatient with just sitting and watching TV, and I will go and play soccer or something,” he said. Even though Farmer enjoys watching Netflix, he sees some problems with the site. “First of all, the movie selection is less than desirable, because many movies which some of us very much enjoy watching aren’t on Netflix. Additionally it takes them awhile to get the most recent episodes in the shows they carry. They are at least a season behind on ‘Parks and Recreation’.” Farmer feels that only watching Netflix in your free time can be a waste of time, and could be better spent doing something more productive. “You aren’t doing anything productive, like practicing music for example, or studying your textbooks, [which are] great alternatives to netflix in terms of time usage,” Farmer said. “While it entertains you for that span of time, it just leaves you wanting more.” Netflix’s automatic queuing of the next episode is one feature that keeps you drawn into the show they are watching, and makes it much easier to ignore your other priorities. A common theme between Netflix watchers is binge-watching: watching several episodes of a show consecutively, often a

whole season. Community High School junior, Aidan McCormick, has binge-watched many a show on Netflix. “I binged watched all of Family Guy.; when it got on Netflix I watched every episode,” said McCormick, “I’d watch like five hours at a time.” McCormick would watch shows on Netflix about four times a weekend, and upwards up four hours on the weekend. Jonathan Ruelle, a Community High School junior and avid Netflix watcher thinks that Netflix makes it very easy to be distracted. “It really just makes procrastination really easy,” said Ruelle, “I’ve never really specifically blown off homework for Netflix, but I have watched Netflix more than I should.” With its ever expanding library of shows and movies, Netflix will likely gain more and more ways to keep its customers hooked. 93 movies have been added this year alone to the thousands already online. Another feature that draws people towards netflix is the ability for members to create individual profiles that allow their free-loading friends or family to effectively ‘leech’ off of ones Netflix account. Ruelle is just one of the many that do not pay for their own account. “It’s not mine but I use it. Its someone else’s and I just sorta use it without paying” he said “It’s my ex-girlfriends”. Netflix’s accessibility is one of the many reasons people are so drawn to it. Despite its tendency to keep its customers from doing their homework, going outside, or being functional human beings, Netflix keeps them coming back again and again. “Everybody has downtime, and most of the time, when you have downtime, you don’t want to do anything. So what’s the easiest thing you can do, while not doing anything? Netflix.” McCormack said. “We’ve got a lot of time to waste, and it is easy to waste it on Netflix.”

may 2014 9


the communicator

LEFT Jen Munford gives Duncan Reitz his stripes; UPPER CENTER Natalie Reitz’s bee Tattoo; UPPER RIGHT Sean Jacobi’s tattoo of the Delta and the Lambda, which is a symbol of the Queer Community representing unity under oppression; LOWER CENTER Duncan Reitz’s tattoo, fully healed.

humans as canvas. ann arbor tattooist, jen munford, discusses her medium. duncan reitz duncan reitz, natalie reitz, and allyn sims-myers photo


en Munford did her first tattoo in a friend’s garage in San Diego, California, in 2005. This tattoo was located on her own leg. Pleased with the ending result, Munford sought an apprenticeship at a real tattoo shop. Once Munford was hired, she had to spend several months practicing on non-human canvasses. “Once I was hired, I did all the dirty work at the shop for several months and started learning how to draw and paint traditional designs before I set up a tattooing machine. Even then, it was only to work on fruit and squares of wierd, synthetic skin,” she said. When Munford was finally qualified to tattoo other people, her first assignment was much too elaborate, she thought, for a first-timer. The creation was the head of a rotting carcass, which was accompanied by a gooey syringe crossing over a bone. As if that was not complicated enough, the carcass also had a mirror on its forehead. “Hopefully it’s been covered by now,” Munford said. Munford’s artistic influences for tattooing,

as well drawing and painting in general, include Sailor Jerry, Ed Hardy, Thomas Garcia, Robert Ryan, and her boss, Jeff Zuck. These are not her only influences. “Everywhere I look, something makes an impression on me,” she said. Muford now works at a parlor called Name Brand Tattoo. Muford has even tattooed a Community High student, Sean Jacobi. Munford mainly enjoys tattooing because it gives her a chance to talk to strangers. She describes herself as an introvert and she feels that tattooing a customer is an excellent way to find the humanity in people she would not otherwise cross paths with. During the tattooing sessions Munford realizes that she and the customer are not so different, and she finds comfort in that. To potential customers coming in for their first tattoos, Munford gave a few words of advice.She suggests that people wait until they are at least 18 before they recieve their first tattoo. “It’s worth it,” she said. Also, inviting spectators is not recommended, unless they are also getting tattoos. Too

many people watching can be stressful for the person getting tattooed, and even more so for the tattooist. “You don’t have to have every detail hammered out before you come in to see us,” Munford continued. “We are here to help design tattoos and give you our best input for quality work.” People about to be tattooed should be open to suggestions from the tattooist. Lastly, Munford says that tattoos should not be taken too seriously. Some of them may have deep symbolic meanings, but in the end, tattoos are simply markings on the skin. C

If you’re interested in getting a tattoo, you can find Jen Muford at 514 East Washington Street, or call: 734-623-0553 or email: namebrandtattoo@gmail.

“Ask anyone whom she has tattooed, and they will most likely give a very positive review for her services.”

may 2014 11


the communicator

l p s it the

the pros and cons of split-enrolling


gabriel maguire

here are six high schools in the Ann Arbor Public School district, which makes split-enrolling between the schools a viable option. “Most cities only have one high school, we have high schools on every block, so we call it split enrolling between high schools,” said Community High School counselor John Boshoven. If you are interested in taking a class that Community does not offer, you can split-enroll at another high school that offers the class you want, if there are spots available. However, there are drawbacks to split-enrolling between high schools. Transportation and scheduling complications can become large problems. “Transportation is a hassle,” Boshoven remarks. “Parents can’t just chauffeur you around., and it’s expensive to ride the city bus everyday.” Transportation plays a major role in split-enrolling, and can be the reason some may choose not to split-enroll. Another drawback of split-enrolling is scheduling complexities. Trying to balance a part time schedule at Community, with blocked classes, and classes at another school with regular hour long classes can become complicated and cause you to arrive late and even miss classes at Community or other schools. Community High School senior, Bobby Colter, says that he is late almost everyday to Community coming back from his classes at Huron. Some of the benefits of split-enrolling are

that it allows you to take a class that your home school does not offer. “I get to pursue my interest in music and cars, which Community doesn’t offer,” Colter said. Aaron Willette, a sophomore at Community High School said that split enrolling allows him to take band at Pioneer. “It’s one of my favorite classes, and I also get the benefits of going to Community, which are pretty good too, so I get the best of both worlds.” While many students split enroll for electoral classes like band, choir, orchestra and languages. Other larger high schools like Pioneer also offer AP (Advanced Placement) classes. “Some students like the advanced AP curriculum, we don’t offer tracked classes, so if you need a tracked class, like an AP class, that makes sense [to split enroll],” said Boshoven. Similar to split-enrolling is dual-enrolling. Many people do not know the difference between split enrollment and dual enrollment. Dual enrollment generally refers to high school students taking courses at college. “If your local district runs out of curriculum the local district has an obligation to provide the curriculum through possible post high school options, here most of our students do it at Washtenaw Community College, that’s called dual enrollment,” said Boshoven. Dual-enrolling allows students to follow their passion in a subject, beyond what is offered in high school. It may be difficult for students to split-enroll

due to transportation problems like the expenses of taking the bus everyday, and biking in poor weather conditions. Scheduling problems may also keep some from being able to split enroll. However, it opens up a lot of doors for students to experience different environments, and take classes that their home school does not offer. C

what schools are community high students are split-enrolling at this semester?


28% 27% Huron

Pioneer Ann Arbor Virtual

Out of the 479 students at Community High School, 104 of them split-enroll to other high schools. 83 students from other high schools split-enroll to Community. may 2014 13


It’s not every day that the POTUS shows up in your neck of the woods

Dean Jen Suspects


She tells custodian Susan Chapman to pick up every single piece of garbage on school grounds.

heard he was coming. I knew the con“ Igressman had had a meeting there, and I know he loves a #2. ”

Obama Places Order


Jack Wagner calls Chris Hicks to report police outside his classroom.

Orders a #2 Zingerman’s Reuben, using proper Zingerman’s lingo (Nosher for small, Fresser for large) CHS students hear the rumor that Obama will be eating at Zingerman’s. Oren Steiner, Casey MacDonald, Emmett Werthman and Dylan Stephens manage to slip out before the school goes on lock down.


$17 tip

asked him if he needed any help and he said ‘No I “ Istudied the menu in the car,’ and he knew what he wanted. The food security officer from the Navy said that when Michelle is around it’s all salads, but when she’s not around, he gets what he wants. ” -Paul Saginaw


>>> 14

the communicator

After speaking with everyone, Obama sits down to enjoy his reuben.

The motorcade leaves, allowing Dean Jen to release CHS students. She then sends an email to the principals and athletic directors of the other high schools, alerting them of the situation and excusing the tardiness of any CHS students.

isabel sandweiss & alex wood

Dean Jen walks outside and speaks to a member of the Secret Service branch of Detroit, alerting him of Community’s open campus.

are 480 students in the “ There building who are going to want to see the president. ”

< Back (21)

Touchdown 1:00


Zingerman’s owner Paul Saginaw is told to be in the Deli, where he expects to meet a White House team to discuss his work for raising the minimum wage. He is told that he will receive further instructions at the meeting.

1:16 PM

Liz Margolis


Guess who’s coming to lunch!

President Obama arrives at Willow Run Airport.




his hand. “ II shook was very starstruck and just said ‘thank you.’ He said ‘you’re welcome.’ ”

Dean Jen texts Executive Director of Communications & Community Relations for AAPS, Liz Margolis.

-Claire Fendrick


Obama begins speaking, mentioning Zingerman’s and Paul Saginaw for work towards creating a liveable minimum wage.

called out my name and talked about “He my work on behalf of the fair minimum wage act. It was a little embarrassing but pretty cool. -Paul Saginaw


Chief of Police comes to speak to Dean Jen, telling her that the White House was pleased with the behavior of all CHS students.


Air Force One departs.

may 2014 15


the communicator


live on washington hannah davis and eliza upton

A GROUP OF TEENS SAT excitedly around two make-shift conference tables upstairs in the Neutral Zone. It was late January and they nervously awaited the confirmation of news that would affect the course of the next four months they would spend together. With relief and excitement, they took in their adult staff member Jamall’s words. It was official; Mayer Hawthorne would be the headliner for Live on Washington. For around nine years, a group of teens at the Neutral Zone partnered with the University of Michigan Musical Society to put on Breaking Curfew, a teen talent show at the Power Center. However, two years ago it was decided that they would no longer put on this show. From this unfortunate situation sprouted the idea of Live on Washington. “We all had this idea of an outdoor music festival because that’s the big music thing right now,” said Isaac Scobey-Thal, Live on Washington’s teen facilitator. “You have Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza and all these big festivals, so we said that if we could have a professional indoor concert why not make it into an outdoor festival,” Scobey-Thal said. In addition to music, festival attendees can enjoy a photo booth, and local food carts. “Our goal is to showcase as much teen talent as possible and have a platform where teen musicians, artists, and poets can show what they have been working on all year,” Scobey-Thal said. With this being the sophomore year of the event, every member wants to perfect the


minor mistakes of last year. All fun aside, putting on a festival of this size takes a lot of commitment. There is a lot of behind-the-scene logistics that most people don’t get to witness. The festival costs around $30,000 to produce, and fundraising doesn’t come easily. “In reality fundraising is the hardest. It costs $30,000 to put on and that’s a lot of money, and there’s a lot that goes into that,” Scobey-Thal said. “Getting a street permit, powering all the equipment, getting a stage, getting a sound company, getting police officers, paying our headliner– just a lot of hard logistical things,” he said. Scobey-Thal adds that the fundraising is a combination of sponsorships from foundations, corporations, and big organizations. They also had to solicit to Neutral Zone board members and parents in the community. There is added fundraising pressure since the event is free to the public, but that just adds motivation to make Live on Washington even better. Another Live on Washington curator and CHS senior, Leah Davis talked more about special fundraising. “We just recently had a party in the B-Side, Get L.O.W, which was pretty successful,” Davis said. “We’re also working with Matthew Altruda, who is the host for Tree Town Sounds on 107.1. He has been helping us fundraise in ways that are so awesome, and hopefully it will all work out.”

Though fundraising is always difficult, Live on Washington has received overwhelming support from the community. As May 10, draws nearer and nearer, the excitement and nerves for the day build. “I’ve never really run a festival before,” CHS junior and Live on Washington curator, Oren Levin said. “I haven’t been there to see it go down and see that side of the festival before. I’ve always been a spectator. But now I’ll be making sure things are coming together and on top of everything throughout the day, and that’s what I’m most nervous for, but also a little excited about.” One big concern the curators have is about the weather. Last year storms threatened to ruin the festival, and mother nature may not cooperate again. Rain delays can potentially hurt the flow of the festival and crummy weather doesn’t attract many people. However, rain or shine, the show must go on, and everyone is hopeful for a good turnout, especially for Mayer Hawthorne. Weather and nerves can’t stop the passion and excitement that the Neutral Zone teens have for this event. “I’d say I’m most excited for how surprised people are going to be,” Scobey-Thal said. “I mean I don’t expect people to get it before they see it, it’s hard for people to grasp it. But I’m excited for after we get done with the festival for people to be talking about it and just say, ‘Man, I didn’t realize teens could put on something so special.’” C


Leah Davis, Isaac Scobey-Thal, Oren Levin, Eva Rosenfeld, Hannah Davis, Aly Reynolds, Sam Collins, Frances Mackercher, Fernando Rojo, Jacob Johnson, Monica Nedeltchev, Alex Hughes, Adrian Huntley, Katherine Sain, Matt Epperson

may 2014 17

the art of language open a door to the vast world outside your own

18 the c om mu nica to r


hen she was young, Laurel Landrum began learning Spanish in school because there was a boy who spoke Spanish in her class. His mother came in occasionally and taught Spanish lessons to the class, simple things like parts of the body or colors. Later on, she took private Spanish lessons to accompany her friends from elementary school on a trip to Venezuela, where their parents would be studying Huntington’s Disease. Landrum began taking Spanish “for real” in the 7th grade at Forsythe, and took the class until she graduated from high school. She currently has a bachelor’s in Spanish and Education from Eastern, a master’s in Second Language Acquisition from Wayne State, and another bachelor’s from U of M. She has traveled in Costa Rica and is in her 10th or 11th year teaching Spanish. “I think it’s really self-centered to know just one language,” said Landrum. “Knowing another language, knowing even a little bit about another language, opens mental doors. It gives you a better appreciation for the vastness and variety of culture in the world.” Danelle Mosher, French teacher at Community since 1994, has a similar view. “Learning a language is a way to connect to another culture and to people who view things differently than you,” said Mosher. “It makes you examine yourself, your beliefs and your own culture. It takes awhile to learn enough to be conversational at the level that we are used to talking at and it isn’t easy. When the language starts to click and you’re understanding and feel at ease speaking, it’s a great feeling. It’s a wonderful skill to have.” Additionally, both Landrum and Mosher agree that learning another language, though it may seem strange at first, helps you to gain an understanding of your native language. “I think for student purposes, seeing the connections and patterns in words in one language helps you in your own language,” said Landrum.” “I learned most of my English grammar from learning Spanish. Not that learning a bunch of English grammar isn’t great, but I catch myself making mistakes in English that I correct after having learned proper grammar in Spanish.” In terms of practical application, knowledge of a foreign language can help immensely when traveling, even to a country where that language is not spoken. Community High Senior León Pescador is what is referred to as a “heritage speaker” of Spanish, meaning that though he speaks the language fluently, he learned not through immersion, but from his parents while living in the United States. He speaks Spanish with his father, who is a native speaker, and occasionally with his mother who learned it in school. Five years ago, Pescador went on a trip to Italy. Though he learned some Italian, his knowledge of Spanish allowed him to effectively communicate his ideas where English could not. Italian and Spanish, both romance languages, are closely related and many of the words

in the two languages are very similar. Pescador also notes that knowing Spanish has allowed him to understand not only other romance languages, but Latin as well. Mosher and Landrum, while both language teachers at Community, teach different languages and learned in different ways. Landrum’s knowledge of Spanish is mostly scholastic. She learned Spanish in school but never spent a large amount of time immersed in the language. Mosher, on the other hand, learned much of her French by speaking it in France. She spent summers in France from 1990-1993 and got her master’s degree in 1994 by studying at a French university in Bordeaux. Though they learned in different ways, Landrum and Mosher agree that the best way to learn a language is by immersing yourself in the culture. But when moving to another country or living there for several months is not an option, what’s the next best thing? Mosher recommends a more hearing-based approach. “Being immersed in the target culture and speaking the language by spending extended time in a country where they speak it is the best for conversation,” said Mosher. “But most people can’t do that so studying in school and being exposed to movies, music, podcasts, etc. in the target language is also good.” For reading and writing, Mosher recommends short story reading, textbooks and journal writing. On the other hand, Landrum learned a lot of her Spanish from reading. “I think I started learning vocabulary the fastest when I started reading,” said Landrum. “My experience is kind of limited because I haven’t spent a ton of time in another country. But when I had to start taking classes and reading in Spanish, my vocabulary increased exponentially really fast. When you can’t be immersed in the culture and you’re not forced to accomplish tasks with it, I think reading is a really good way [to learn].” “But to get to that point, you need some really basic building blocks. I think most of high school is just getting those basic building blocks. People have this false assumption that you can become fluent without a lot of effort and it’s just not true. It takes a ton of effort, it’s actually really really hard to learn another language.” Landrum added that because of the way she learned, her ear is not as good as her eye. She recommends listening and watching TV in the target language to help this. In a country where it’s easy to get by knowing only English, learning a foreign language may seem like an unnecessary task to undertake. But language allows you to gain an idea of just how vast the world outside of your own country can be. When traveling, it allows you to truly experience a culture the way a tourist would never be able to. Language is the key to understanding foreign cultures and peoples, and individuals themselves. As Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” C

liam knight may 2014 19

say what? alona shewach


e use phrases such as “no, yeah” and “like” every day without even thinking about it. Most of us don’t even realize just how much we use them. The people who take the time to study why we say these phrases are called sociolinguists. Sociolinguistics is the study of the effects of any aspects of society on language. Teenagers are often the ones leading new language trends. Dr. Suzanne Evans Wagner, an assistant professor of linguistics at Michigan State University, said that we start out sounding like our parents, but we start to change the way we speak as we spend more time with our friends. “Young people are especially good at coming up with new words and phrases to reflect their generation’s experiences, like friending, texting, hashtag,” she said. “Young people are very motivated to differentiate themselves from their parents and teachers, and one way of doing this is to use different language. Young people – much more than older people – are also much more engaged in identity work. In your pre-adult years, you’re figuring out who you are and which kinds of other people you feel most drawn to. One way of displaying affiliation with a peer group, or conversely, distance from a nonpeer group like your parents, is to use the same words and phrases as your peer group: things like positive adjectives such as dope or awesome or phat or whatever is the preferred term in your group, but not preferred in some other group.” The older we get, the less we use the language patterns we pick up in our youth. An example of this pattern change is the use of extenders as a way to complete a sentence we aren’t quite sure how to finish.


the communicator

“Young people in every generation always use a lot of phrase/utterance-final general extenders: phrases like and stuff, and things like that, or whatever, or anything,” Wagner said. “Of course, the actual phrases change over time (young people in the past didn’t say and stuff very often), but it’s a fact that people use general extenders of any kind a lot when they’re young, but then use them less frequently when they grow older.” We also frequently use intensifiers– words used to emphasize what we’re saying– in our speech. “Youth is a time of tremendous self-expression and emotional drama,” Wagner said. “That’s probably why young people use intensifiers much more frequently than older people, and why young people tend to use a wider range of intensifiers, including newer ones like super, as in, ‘he’s super smart.’ One very interesting intensifier that has been creeping in lately is even, as in, ‘I couldn’t even believe it.’ An older person is more likely to say, ‘I couldn’t believe it at all,’ or ‘I really couldn’t believe it.’” Dr. Wagner and other sociolinguists have many ways to study changes in language. They may use existing collections of written or spoken language, also called “corpora.” Some examples are oral history collections, plays, or data collected purposefully for study. One Ph.D. student at MSU has collected over one million tweets to analyze. They also use surveys, where a sample of people sit for long, recorded conversations. In addition to all of these methods, social linguistics use participant observation, where the researcher participates in (and usually records) the speech of a community for months or even years, learning not just about the language uses but also about the commu-

nity’s attitudes. Dr. Wagner has studied language changes quite extensively in a variety of places. “I’ve mostly studied how young people do or don’t change the way that they speak as they age,” she said. “I’ve done this for young people in Philadelphia, in Toronto (sort of), in the French-speaking community of Montreal, and currently I’m working on something similar here in Michigan. As well as age, I’m interested in gender and ethnicity, and how they interact with language changes.” How language changes originate is another question entirely. It’s also a very tricky question. “Linguists consider this to be the toughest question to answer,” Wagner said. “With respect to the absolute start of a change, this is almost impossible to observe. But we can see that leaders of the change emerge fairly quickly: they’re usually people who are a little bit nonconformist, highly socially influential within their local social network, but with ties to other people outside of their immediate group as well. … [T]his is what probably happens with all kinds of language changes in all kinds of age groups. It just happens that young people -- especially pre-teens and teens -- are always at the leading edge of community-wide generational changes.” Listen, as you walk the halls of Community. What words or phrases do you hear teenagers using that you didn’t hear a year or two ago? Those may be words that are on the cutting edge of linguistic change. C

examples of contemporary young-adult linguistic trends “Like”


Uses: • filler (“Have you ever, like, noticed that?”) • quotative (“I was like, ‘I can’t believe I said that.’”) • form of amount (“Just put in, like, that much salt.”) • approximation (“It’s in, like, the third classroom.”)

(statements that end in a hesitant, rising tone, much like a question) Uses: • floor-holding (in anticipation of being interrupted, the speaker will use uptalk to show that she isn’t done talking) • giving directions (as if asking the listener if the directions are understood)

Interesting facts: • The use of “like” drops significantly as the age of the speaker goes up. • Females and males use it the same amount.

Interesting fact: • Despite popular belief, both men and women use it. Women use it for floor-holding nearly twice as often as men, with speculation it is because women anticipate being interrupted more than men. On the other hand, men use it for giving directions more often than women.

“I feel like”

Use: • instead of “I think” or just making the statement (“I feel like that should work,” as opposed to, “I think that will work,” or simply, “That will work.”) Interesting fact: • Females use it more than males. The most-often identified reason is that females are more likely than males to soften their statements (called “hedging”). A second reason is that females tend to lead trends in speech.

“No, yeah” and “Yeah, no”

Uses: • unspoken association (In response to “I think we should have a renaissance theme for the prom, but I’m not sure,” the answer is, “No, yeah, I think we totally should.” It may be a shortened form of saying, “No, don’t be unsure; yeah, we should totally do that.”) • uncertain agreement (In response to “I think we should have a renaissance theme for the prom, but I’m not sure,” the answer is, “No, yeah, I think that’s a great idea, but we should think a little bit more, just to be safe.”) Interesting fact: • Males use it slightly more than females

Creaky voice/Vocal fry

(low, creaky vibrations, caused by a drop in vocal pitch, usually used at the end of sentences; described as sounding like a stick dragged across railings) Uses: • style (singers may use it to reach low notes; speakers may use it to give a husky quality to their voice) • simply participating in a “sweeping language change that is probably going to be a normal way of talking for all Americans within a couple more generations” (as described by Dr. Wagner) Interesting facts: • Females use it far more often than males. • Some researchers speculate it may be a pendulum-swing response to uptalk.

If you would like to learn more about sociolinguistics, take a tour of the deparment, or be added to the “Friends of Sociolinguistics” mailing list, email Dr. Wagner at You can also check out the deparment’s Facebook page, MSU Sociolinguistics.

may 2014 21

hashing it out:

the legalization of marijuana frances mackercher

THE PROS AND CONS OF LEGALIZING MARIJUANA IN MICHIGAN In terms of marijuana, Ann Arbor lies in a gray area. The penalties for possession are hazy. It has been decriminalized (the possession and selling of marijuana is a civil infraction which typically garners a fine ranging from $25-$100), but remains illegal. While some of its residents are pro-legalization, there are also those who are in support of roadside saliva tests to test drivers’ levels of THC. Michigan is in the middle of a heated debate over the legalization of marijuana. Colorado’s and Washington’s successful legalization has only added to the argument. Supporters talk about an increase in tax revenue and jobs, while protesters of legalization throw out statistics about psychological damage and physical health. Neither is wrong. Colorado brought in 2.1 million dollars in tax revenue in January of 2013 alone. The cannabis market has been successful in Colorado and Washington; legalization could help Michigan’s economy. Economic gains come at a cost to consumer’s health. Marijuana use does affect brain development, particularly in adolescents, and can be harmful to people with a delicate psychological state, such as schizophrenia and depression. The arguments on each side extend


the communicator

on, from the practical to the moral to the borderline bizarre. After watching Colorado’s economy soar since legalization, supporters are adamant about the benefits of legalization. The cannabis market could create jobs, tax revenue, etc., which are all needed in Michigan. Despite all of the economical benefits, there are other perspectives to consider. Marijuana can reduce connections between the brain areas that are responsible of learning and memory in adolescents. There are a plethora of studies that show a loss in IQ points, decreased memory, and less motivation in people who use marijuana, especially teens. This is a major cause for concern considering adolescence is often when people begin smoking. Another issue with legalization is federal law. Although the state legalized medical marijuana in 2008, it is still against federal law. This makes it very difficult to understand what is actually legal, and some people end up getting arrested despite all of their precautions. Penalties also vary depending on where you stand, literally. If you stand in the diag smoking a joint, the repercussions will likely be more serious than if you were standing in the street. This is an example of how

complex state vs. federal law is. If marijuana is completely legalized, the laws would be equally, if not more, complex.

“The 38 percent of American adults who claim to have tried marijuana is only up four points over Gallup’s last measurement in 1999, indicating that the upward momentum that marijuana usage apparently experienced in the 1970s has tapered off considerably.”

For help with addiction visit: http://dawnfarm. org or call (734) 4858725

John Sinclair goes to prison


Local activist John Sinclair is sentenced to ten years in prison for giving undercover cops two joints.

The first Hash Bash


“It helps me deal with anxiety. I have migraines so it helps them go away. It helps me get to sleep.” “Aside from the economics it can bring into our state, there is also a slew of other products it can bring– from textiles to clothing to fuel. We’re in a job crisis right now and it can help create jobs.” “I have asthma, and it really affects my asthma. I have to be careful about how much I smoke otherwise I have trouble breathing.” “It puts me in a happy state of mind.”

“We know more about the harmful effects of marijuana today than we ever did. We know more about the brain than we ever did. We used to think at the age of five the brain is fully developed, which is not true. It goes on until early adulthood. So it’s harmful.” “I’ve heard in Colorado they’re seeing some interesting effects on their economy from the legalization of marijuana. I don’t really know how it would affect Michigan, but I would imagine it would have some positive effects on the economy.”

The first “Freedom Rally” festival is celebrated after John Sinclair’s release from prison. The first Hash Bash was sponsored by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who also attended. Since then it has become a tradition in Ann Arbor, attracting thousands of people from all over Michigan.

Medical marijuana is legalized in Michigan


Sixty three percent of voters said yes to legalizing medical marijuana for pain treatment, and Michigan became the thirteenth state to have legalized pot.

may 2014 23


ways to spend a summer day


1 take a lunch picnic to a local park

3 treat yourself to an ice cream cone


the communicator

go kayaking down the huron river

4 check out markâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s carts for lunch

5 visit kiwanis for some sweet deals (only open on saturday!)

7 attend a free concert in town

9 have a water balloon fight with your buds

6 tie-die some t-shirts with cool patterns

8 teach yourself how to play a new instrument

10 go camping in waterloo

may 2014 25

photos courtesy of Meritâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s facebook page.

26 the c ommu nicca tor

to support the cause: *like Meritâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s facebook page: *follow them on twitter: *follow them on instagram: @meritgoodness *visit the website: *visit the store at 1113 South University

merit&fate eliza upton

In the U.S., roughly one in four students will not graduate high school, and of the students who do graduate, even fewer will go onto higher education. David Merritt and Kuhu Saha are trying to change this. Some may recognize David Merritt’s name from when he played basketball for the University of Michigan from 2004-2009. However, his focus has now shifted from the basketball court to the classroom. David and Kuhu manage two organizations with one goal: impact youth in education. In December of 2013, the Merit store in downtown Ann Arbor opened its doors. Like neighboring stores, Merit sells stylish clothing from its fashion brand, but it does so with a bit of a twist; the for-profit fashion brand partners with the non-profit program, Fate. Fate, like Merit, is run by David and Kuhu, and works with about 23 students from Detroit to keep them on track to graduate high school and go onto higher education. They work with U of M student mentors, providing college scholarships, and holding workshops with the U of M, local businesses, corporations and non-profits. 20% of Merit’s profit goes into the scholarship fund for those 23 students. In 2012, Fate partnered with the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. It proposed the program to the freshman class and held a small application process. Today, the 23 students participating in Fate are all sophomores in high school making their way to graduation. They most recently took a trip to the Ann Arbor Google office, where they worked with 20-30 Google employees, learning how to build a pitch and make a sale. “We want to expose them to as much as possible,” Kuhu said. “So one, that’s a college campus. And then there is also this sort of exposing them to new experiences and new ideas to allow them to meet new people, apply different skills that they’re learning both in school and in the program, work together as a team, and to see the importance of where your education can get you.” After a very long building process, the two organizations are going at full speed, and Saha’s long-time dream of working with youth in education is coming true. However, David has not always shared that goal. “It was never a dream,” David said. “But God blessed me with a vision and just walking out that vision has been the process. Once I got the idea, I just went with it.” It may not have always been his dream, but David doesn’t look back. Working as a two-person operation, David and Kuhu dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that Merit and Fate are successful, which by extension means that all the participating students

are successful. “You know our goal is impacting youth in education, and I think seeing that happen, whether that’s people buying our clothes, really liking our brand, really being committed to youth, really committed to Detroit – that’s really awesome,” Kuhu said. “The other way, where I think we see that happen is when we’re having workshops with our students and we’re able to engage with them and work with them. That’s always really gratifying and exciting and encouraging for wanting to continue.” In the future David and Kuhu would like to see expansion for Merit and Fate. They hope to spread their message and replicate the programs. David is determined to open up a store and tutoring service in downtown Detroit. “I’m thinking about doing it bigger,” said David. “I want to have a store that also acts as a workshop/ tutoring space. Kids from all over can come in every single day and get tutored on a specific subject, but it also acts again as a storefront.” To keep the organizations strong and growing, it takes a lot of support and collaboration from the local community. They are constantly working on fun and innovative ways to help spread awareness of the cause, and recently Merit even worked with U of M senior and basketball player, Jordan Morgan. This summer they plan to collaborate with a few different individuals, and also work with their internship program. “What we’re working on over the summer with our internship program is really our content,” David said. “With our students, with our product, there is a ton of things video wise or blogging wise that we can utilize. So really taking a look at that, and figuring out on a daily basis how we can communicate our message to our consumer. That gets them excited about what we’re doing, aware of what we’re doing, and also helps them share what we’re doing with friends and family.” David and Kuhu are working to keep kids in school and on track to graduate, but they also want to see their students embracing their education, becoming world class citizens, and active members of their local communities. It’s hard work, but David and Kuhu have found it to be a rewarding experience. “Just to see the kids, to see them try new things and be open, and just impressing us with what they say and their answers-- I think that’s a really special feeling that makes the experience unique,” David said. “You kind of have to go through each day knowing what’s the end goal, but not necessarily it being tangible. I get up everyday being challenged and that’s awesome.”c

over $8,000 in scholarships raised in the u.s. every 26 seconds a student drops out of high school. 40.3% of adults have a college degree over 900 products sold high school dropouts are 50% less likely to vote may 2014 27

ten julaheckendorn grade11

What’s your comfort food? Frozen yogurt. I like half chocolate and half pomegranate with pomegranate seeds on top. What is a food that you despise? I despise anything with barbeque sauce on it. What’s your favorite lunch spot? Kosmo’s

What’s your favorite season? Fall If you could have dinner with one person dead or alive, who would it be? I would probably have dinner with Jane Goodall. 28

the communicator

When was the last time you lied? Probably this morning What was the last song you listened to? “Bad Blood” by Bastille Coke or Pepsi? Coke What’s your biggest fear? Probably falling from somewhere really high up What talent do you long to have? I wish I could dance.

questions alexspranger grade10

What’s your comfort food? I don’t really have one. What is a food that you despise? Mashed potatoes What’s your favorite lunch spot? Just the tables on the third floor What’s your favorite season? Spring If you could have dinner with one person dead or alive, who would it be? Probably Will Ferrell

When was the last time you lied? This morning What was the last song you listened to? “Wonder Wall” by Oasis Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi What’s your biggest fear? Death What is one talent you have? I am a photographer.

may 2014 29

books that change lives jeff ohl

Maximum Ride Jonathan Ruelle

“A great action book is Maximum Ride. It’s by my favorite author, James Patterson, and it’s a series.”

The New Jim Crow Oby Ugwuegbu

“My favorite book is the New Jim Crow. I really liked it because it brought to mind a lot of social injustices that I didn’t know about before.”

Captain Underpants

Joel Appel-Kraut

Glass Castle

Frances MacKercher

“I like the Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls because it’s a true story about a family and it’s very interesting.”


the communicator

“It is well-written and mixed with subtle, yet eloquent undertones about the world around us.”

cheap guide to healthy skin


you are what you


britta carlson

ommunity freshman Ally Einhaus searches her wallet for one last quarter as she performs a dance of joy. She has just been approached with the glowing question which any high school student would be happy to recieve. “The usual?” She hands the worker at Sweetwaters $5.15 and continues to wait for her Napali Brew– a drink that consists of ice cream, espresso and hazelnut syrup. “At lunch I normally find myself sitting in Sweetwaters with a salt bagel in my right hand and a napali brew in my left,” she said. Einhaus admits that she spends up to $40 at Sweetwaters weekly. “[When I] count the amount of money I spend on food, it’s always a wake up call to me,” she said. “At lunch I am too hungry to realize how much I may actually be spending.” Einhaus is not the only one. Dozens of Community High students spend over $30 a week on food. Milo Tucker-Meyer, a sophomore at CHS says that he also may have a spending problem. “It depends on how much money I have, but I usually spend it all on food,” he said. Lauren Zinn, an educational planner with knowledge about nutrition, suggests avoiding drinks with caffeine and/or sugar. “Even juice can be too concentrated,” Zinn said. Zinn adds that caffeine affects the nervous

system. Because of this, it is important to balance your intake of caffeine with relaxation. Zinn suggests that staying on an active, healthy diet will positively increase your mental and physical stamina of learning/working throughout the day. She also advises taking breaks from studying because health is just as, if not more important than education. While Community students may understand the need to be healthy, it is often hard to resist the temptation of spending money on junk food. Because of Community High’s open campus, students have access to lots of restaurants that aren’t necessary the most healthy. CHS sophomore Milo Tucker-Meyer says that if the money is right in front of him, it’s going towards his lunch. “Usually after I spend it I realize I didn’t even need that food,” he said. Zinn explains that with all of the stress from school, students don’t necessarily make health a priority. But a lack of health-consciousness may have its ramifications. “You may feel fine now, but just be cautious of what your body is asking you to do,” she said. Some students find that it is easy to get lost in other school and life expectations and forget about the importance of staying healthy. Zinn says that eating and drinking well are some of the first steps students can take to have a more balanced, nutritious diet. C

Lemon specifically helps with eliminating acid waste by flushing out pores while keeping your skin feeling fresh.

Healthy, and delicious. Watermelon is rich in vitamins and not only helps remove blemishes, but prevents them to repetitively erupt.

Make sure to always include dairy in your breakfast routine. It consists of Vitamin A, which is one of the most important ingredients to healthy skin.

The enemy of acne. Acne contains high levels of pectin. Only remember to eat the skin, that’s where the enemy hides.

Remember to always stay hydrated. Drinking water will automatically keep your organs fit to fight acne!

may 2014 31

the league. recreational basketball provides an opportunity to get active and have fun preston horvath

VARSITY SPORTS ARE A LARGE part of life for many high schoolers. However, there is an equal number of students who are interested in sports, but cannot play for high school teams. Options to play team sports are limited beyond the high school level. For over thirty years, Ann Arbor Community Recreation & Education has run an alternative, fun-based league in the Ann Arbor area. This league gives high school students of all grades a unique opportunity to play basketball. This year, there are over 220 participants in the league. To balance size and talent, the high school league is divided into a 9th/10th grade division and an 11th/12th grade division. There are five teams in the younger division, and eighteen teams in the older division. Community High senior Noah Moorehouse has played Rec&Ed basketball for the last two years. “There’s no pressure in it,” said Moorehouse. “It’s not a huge time commitment and I can play it just for fun with friends.” Senior Nick Partin also values the friendships made while being a part of a team. “[I love] the friendships that you develop,” Partin said. “I’ve had a great time, so I’ve stuck with it.” Partin, who has played for the previous three years, is thankful that he was introduced to the league. “A few years ago, Carlos Jackson, who has graduated from CHS now, told me that 32

the communicator

I should join his Rec&Ed team, and so I joined.” The league, which is popular throughout all of the Ann Arbor high schools, appeals to anyone who enjoys basketball and getting active. CHS senior Nate Porter joined due to motivation from friends. “My friends and I were just hanging out and we thought that it would be fun so we decided to act on it and get a team together,” said Porter. Porter is the only Community student on the team; it is composed primarily of Pioneer High School and Skyline High School students. Although there is strong appeal for high school players, there is not a large fan base for the rec league. “The only fans in the stands are going to be parents,” said Partin. “They kind of support us, but they’re mostly looking at their phones most of the time.” Still, that doesn’t take away from the atmosphere. “If it’s close, then it gets really intense, and we go all out,” said Porter. There is a wide range of talent, but when teams are similar and games get close, there is nothing to stop the level of competition from rising. Partin likes when the games get competitive, because the level of play for both teams increases. “It gets kind of competitive for a second, but once one team jumps up ahead, it doesn’t really matter,” he said. Moorehouse played high school basketball

in his freshman year, but decided to play in the Rec&Ed league instead. “Rec&Ed is almost a pick-up game with refs,” Moorehouse said. “[In] high school basketball, there’s a lot more intensity, and you practice every day for two hours.” Moorhouse was turned away from playing for a high school team in part due to the time commitment. “Personally, I don’t really think I was good enough to get a lot of minutes at the varsity level,” he said. “I miss the competitiveness of it, but it is a lot of time that I have to put in just for that.” The high school leagues are run by coordinator Seth Dodson. The league’s mission is to promote exercise and teamwork. “We value camaraderie amongst friends,” said Dodson. “Playing a game and having fun! Getting a good workout and working as a team!” Although the league is successful, Dodson is still working to improve it, so that all participants have an equally positive experience. “Over the past few years the [participation] numbers have grown dramatically,” Dodson said. “Some teams have a different mindset of what they want out of the league. Some take it seriously while others don’t which causes issues.” The league is progressing in a positive direction, and the majority of feedback is positive. Its ultimate goal is to enhance the quality of life through recreation. “It’s very rare to have team work in today’s society, and this brings it back,” said Dodson. C



1 Nate Porter reacts to a pass


from a teammate.

2 Danny Langa elevates to block

a shot while his teammates wait for a rebound.

3 Noah Moorehouse looks for a

teammate while under the basket.

4 Danny Langa fights against an opponent for a rebound.

5 Emre Babbitt passes the ball inbounds during a close game.


5 may 2014 33

last song casey macdonald

As I sat comfortably on Rush Limbaugh’s knowing full well that they all have Irritable mouth, aka my upstairs toilet, I deeply con- Bowel Syndrome, bad things happen. That’s templated some concerns that were racing why I’m overjoyed that they are both making through my jumbled mind. First, I ques- me food. tioned why candy companies call smaller My father is the opposite of Judith Decandy bars fun size when it’s far more fun Woskin. Judith has flowing grey hair, beauto eat a big one. And more importantly, I tiful olive skin, and the ability to hold my thought about how college is right around attention. My dad on the other hand, has no the corner, meaning that in almost three hair, pale handsome skin, and when he starts months I wouldn’t taste my parents cooking talking about the garage sale down the street, for a very long time. Surprisingly, I was re- I start wondering about things like why peojected from Mount Holyoke Women’s Col- ple point at their wrists when asking what lege, which meant that I would not be able time it is, but don’t point to their genitals to taste the top college cafeteria food in the when they ask where the bathroom is. nation according to Anyway, my dad decided to cook me breakAnyway, I began to get nervous. Food is fast for dinner. Heaping piles pancakes, and a special to me. Some people get addicted to Greek Skillet sat on the table in front of me. such things as cigarettes and video games. To me it looked like heaven, but to my mom Me on the other hand, I am addicted to food. it looked like a challenge. I actually had to receive extensive rehab According to every dentist in the universe, after Taco Bells five-buck box came out, and I have a full set of sweet teeth. From canine you should have seen me waiting in line on to wisdom teeth, they all crave sugar. NatuJimmy Johns’ one dollar sandwich day, and rally I had to start with the pancakes because 36 the communicator by the way I haven’t peed my pants that bad of the syrup. Just like Buddy the Elf, I have since No Thai included my house in its de- three strict food groups and syrup is one of livery zone. them. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is Droplets of sticky syrups cascaded over that I am really going to miss my parents the pancakes. “I got all the vintage silverware cooking. at an estate sale across town,” my dad said. Before I leave, I decided to find out who My mind started to wander immediately. was the better cook once and for all. On one “What do you think of it Case….Case?” hand, if I asked my dad I would avoid the “Sorry dad, I was just thinking about my threat of stumbling over my mother’s hor- cholesterol. If my doctor had a heart attack rendous beet salad. But on the other hand, halfway through giving me heart surgery, if I choose my mom, I would probably es- would the other surgeons save me or the cape the probability of having mushrooms doctor?” He shrugged as I fervently picked in every meal. They began to fight… five ep- up my knife and fork and dug in. isodes on The Jerry Springer show later, and Bliss. Pure and utter bliss. I took bite after my parents decided to have a cook off. bite until my plate blank and I was yearning Now at the MacDonald household, it’s usu- for more. I moved to the egg skillet. ally an argument about who’s going to cook Eggs are baby chickens. 76.6 billion eggs my dinner. Usually what happens is I’ll end are consumed in one year making it difficult up saying “eh we should just get Chipotle.” for the chicken population to grow. Not only “Hmm yeah that sounds good to me, what that, but farmers may confine hens and force do you think Nancy?” eggs out of them. It would be an abomina“Sounds perfect Jim!” tion to consume even one egg. Now Chipotle is good…but not repeatedAll right, great argument brain. Stomach ly. If you put three people who eat Chipo- please step forward and give your testimony. tle three times a week in a house together, Eggs taste delicious. 34

the communicator

Sounds good, case closed. Casey, you may eat. The first bite of the skillet reminded me of when I first tried sour patch kids, except that it was salty instead of sweet, crunchy instead of chewy, and pretty much the complete opposite of when I first tried Sour Patch Kids... got ya. The crunch of the red peppers combined perfectly with the creamy sharp taste coming from the feta cheese. The meal was delicious. However it wasn’t perfect. My mother came next. She created a masterpiece. A Mexican pizza layered with beans, cheese, homemade salsa, and red peppers. After dumping half a bottle of Cholula hot sauce on the pizza, I took my first bite. It tasted like Taco Bell and the Peoples Food Co-op teamed up to make a healthy, Mexican, wonderland. At one point, I felt myself looking down on myself eating. Not only did I realize that I was slightly going bald, but also noticed how passionately I was devouring my mother’s food. Passionate eating means passionate cooking. There was an obvious winner in this battle. My mother’s cooking shined bright above all others. Not only could I taste the Mexican...I could also taste the love. I feel bad for my dad, but honestly if he had just put a pack of Twizzlers on a plate he would have won right away. I would like to thank both my parents for trying their best, and for making my stomach one happy guy. Now, before you read the next paragraph, dim the lights and put on any Adele song. I’ve come a long way. I’ve written about stuffing my face with nachos, and food challenges with 25-year-old teachers (Judith). These past years I’ve asked big questions in food. Such things as to why bread is square yet sandwich meat is still circular, or why people say “easy as pie” when making pie is definitely not easy. I’m sad to say this is the end. I’ve enjoyed every second writing and thank you for reading the ridiculous things that I’ve had to say. So if you will36 excuse theme, communicator my rutabaga needs harvesting. So long.

cator may 2014 35

COMMUNITY grandma’s chocolate chip cookies INGREDIENTS • 2 sticks of butter (real, unsalted butter) • 3/4 c. white sugar • 3/4 c. brown sugar • 2 eggs • 1 tsp. salt • 1 tsp. baking soda • 1 tsp. vanilla • 2 1/2 cups of flour • 2 cups of chocolate chips DIRECTIONS 1. Take the butter out and let it soften for a few hours. If you don’t have a few hours, just stick it on top of the oven when you turn it on. 2. Put the butter in the mixer and let it go for a few minutes. 3. Add the white and brown sugar. Let it go for a few more minutes. Let it get nice and soft. 4. Add two eggs. Beat for 15 seconds or so. Add the salt, baking soda and vanilla. Beat for another 15 – 30 seconds. 5. Add the flour in a few parts. Keep on mixing it until it looks like perfect cookie dough. 6. Add two cups of chocolate chips and stir it all up. Spoon onto a cookie sheet. Bake it between 325 and 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 7. If they are still a bit mushy in the middle, that’s ok. Let them sit on the cookie sheet and they will end up perfect.


the communicator

courtesy of tracy anderson

eliza upton and kelly arnold


judith’s favorite popcorn INGREDIENTS

• • • •

1/4 c. of canola/vegetable oil 1 c. Ruby Red popcorn kernals 1 tsp. salt 1/4 tbsp. butter DIRECTIONS

1. Heat oil in a stainless steel pan that has a tight lid. 2. Add popcorn kernels, and put lid on. 3. As soon as kernels begin to pop, shake the pan vigorously until the popping stops. Sometimes, you have to ease some of the popped corn into a bowl and then slam the lid back on to finish the popping.) Be careful with the heat. 4. Once the popping gets pretty steady, lower the heat. 5. Pour popped corn into a big bowl and then add some butter to the hot pan, taking care not to burn it. 6. Pour butter over the popped corn, and mix with wooden spoons. Salt to taste.

courtesy of judith dewoskin

may 2014 37



marcelo salas illustrations


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This South African-based rap group is known primarily for their strange, parodic music videos. Most notably, their “Fatty Boom Boom” music video depicts Lady Gaga being eaten by a lion in her distinct meat dress. The reason behind this creative decision? Die Antwoord had no desire to open for the pop sensation when she made the offer, sparking a twitter feud between the two musical entities. Die Antwoord, composed of ‘Yolandi Visser’ and ‘Ninja’, adds their own style to otherwise conventional club rap beats, tying in both English and Afrikaans lyrics in the process. The duo’s next studio album, Donker Mag, is set to release this year.


Wes Anderson, a director known for his very stylized aesthetic and often bizarre films, has another hit in “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” It follows the antics of hotel concierge M. Gustave (hilariously played by Ralph Fiennes) and his lobby boy Zero as they attempt to clear the former’s name after he is accused of murder. The film manages to stay both goofy and witty at the same time, mainly due to the performances from the ensemble cast that includes the likes of Bill Murray, Edward Norton and Owen Wilson. The wonderful pastel colors used in the set design complement Anderson’s quirky directing and make this film a treat to watch.

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HBO’s “True Detective” rapidly became 2014’s most talked about show. The show offers a different take on the overdone police procedural drama. Headlined by Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, the show follows two detectives as they look to find a deadly serial killer who has evaded capture for years. McConaughey puts in a truly memorable performance as Rust Cohle, a nihilist detective whose philosophical and poetic ramblings create some of the most unforgettable quotes from the show. The fantastic acting, writing and directing, combined with the beautifully eerie Louisiana backdrop make this one to watch. While neither of the stars are returning for a second season – the show will operate as an anthology – Nic Pizzolatto’s writing promises a lot more to come.



Millionaires arguing over an itemized bill in Cabo? E Network’s newest reality show follows the lives of young adults – some of them C-list celebrities – as they navigate through their exorbitant Beverly Hills lifestyles. Don’t #WasteYourTime with this show. #RichKids is yet another attempt at creating a Kardashian-esque reality program, and like its many predecessors, it falls short of the mindless form of entertainment television audiences know and love.


Snapchat’s newest feature allows users to compose slideshows of selfies, pictures, videos, etc. and share them with all their friends. While this may seem like the right step to take on route to social media domination, there has been nothing but complaints regarding these “stories”. 80+ second updates substantiated by only selfies are unnecessary and, frankly overbearing. Self-absorption should be embraced in forums other than Snapchat.


the communicator

from the vault

>> requiem for a dream

marcelo salas


arren Aronofsky is most known for his psychological thriller Black Swan, but Requiem for a Dream provides audiences with a more twisted, agonizing viewing experience that surpasess the former effort in terms of plot build up, experimental camerawork and content. Set in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, the film follows the lives of junkie Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto), his girlfriend Marion Silver (Jennifer Connelly), his widowed mother Sarah Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn) and his pal Tyrone Love (Marlon Wayans) in their attempt to navigate the unforgiving world of drug use. The film takes place throughout four seasons in which the lives of the characters become increasingly unbalanced. It is not a conventional storyline where all loose ends are tied, but that’s what makes it all the more unforgettable. Stylistically, this film is like no other. With each season comes abrupt interludes titled “Summer”, “Fall”, “Winter” and “Spring”. The camerawork is impeccable, ranging from vivid close-ups to selfie-esque, jumbled upper profile shots. Clint Mansell also contributes with a haunting score that incorporates anything from cello to cryptic noises. Additionally, the direction is so great to the point that events in the film seem completely plausible in real-life, and the discomfort of the characters can be felt personally.

Darren Aronofsky brings a shockingly realistic interpretation of drug addiction through film, which in itself is hard to stomach, but he is also able to provide viewers with a brief taste of how this can be represented artistically. For example, the frenetic camera movements throughout serve as a representation of the effects of drug use. Additionally, the speed of the film mirrors how the characters act while on drugs. Slow motion is utilized in scenes where the characters are high, while faster speeds are used to illustrate a person on speed. Either way, these creative decisions accomplish the goal of invoking the anguish of the viewers. Ellen Burstyn gives one of her best performances to date as a lonely widow who spends all her time watching weight loss infomercials, receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Through her physical and emotional transformations, it becomes evident that there was a lot of research done on the varied effects of prescribed drug use. Jared Leto and Jennifer Connelly effortlessly portray a wild couple that relies on self medicating to fuel passion, mischief and content. Marlon Wayans steps out of his comedy flick comfort zone and portrays a mysterious junkie who spends the vast majority of his time with the drug-abusing couple. Ultimately, these performances intertwine to create the raw, startling chain of events that makes Requiem for a Dream a must-see.


Booty selfies have taken the twittersphere by storm. The Oxford dictionary defines a selfie as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” The process of a booty selfie involves taking a selfie with someone’s bottom adjacent to the face in an attempt to recieve ‘favorites’ or ‘likes’ on a tweet. Other than the fact that this practice objectifies whomever showcases their bum, it also reflects poorly on the selfie taker’s public appearance (good luck with those college apps). Not to mention, booty selfies are very revealing in terms of true character. Attention seekers beware! Booty selfies will only win you short-lived fame. Nobody will remember the extent of your high school shenanigans when it comes to finding a job.

may 2014 39

tv shows. five shows you don’t want to miss this summer jacob johnson

Breaking Bad is one of the greatest shows ever made. It currently has an unprecedented 9.6/10 rating on IMDb, and the series finale alone pulled a 9.9/10. There is so much that makes the show amazing––the cinematography, acting and storytelling are all immaculate in their execution, and Walter White’s malevolent descent is both exhilarating and terrifying. If you think you’ll like Breaking Bad, you probably will. Nine years ago NBC aired the first episode The Office, an American remake of the BBC show. Featuring an all-star cast of prominent figures in the world of comedy, the dry, witty humor in this mockumenatry about everyday people working in an Ohio paper firm captured the attention of 5.4 million viewers.

As one of the longest running shows on the BBC (21 seasons), Top Gear has garnered a huge viewer base of an estimated 350 million viewers in 170 countries worldwide. It’s not just the cars that have managed to capture the attention of audiences, it’s the three hosts, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May. They all share a schoolboy-ish sense of humor, and a love for cars that knows no bounds. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the new science documentary narrated by Neil degrasse Tyson yet, you ought to. This documentary covers everything from the earliest origins of the scientific method to the newest and most far-out (literally) concepts of our universe and the other universes that may be around us. Cosmos delivers something that is thought provoking, educational, and beautiful. It’s a mustwatch for anyone, but for a fan of outer space, this documentary is indispensable. Rod Serling’s masterpiece, “The Twilight Zone”, still holds up as a television classic even after coming off the air 50 years ago. While presented as a science fiction program, the show is about more than the mythological and fantasy elements that it depicts. Despite the low budget and shoddy special effects, each episode of the anthology is cleverly crafted into a social commentary that still holds true today. 40

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news story



swimming with liberals.imy struggle to find acceptance in the accepting school kelly arnold

Back in middle school, my eighth grade class consisted of 15 students. Our entire middle school had an average of 50 students total. Not much was out of the ordinary for us; we learned the core subjects, participated in electives, and were involved in after-school activities. My middle school shaped me to become the student I am today, and I’m truly grateful for my experience there. What set my old school apart, other than size, was the fact that it was St. Paul Lutheran, a private Christian school. Not many Community High students come from this sort of background before entering our mural-filled halls. Being one of the first people to come to Community from my middle school was a challenge. Usually, my middle school friends wouldn’t know anything about Community, and those who did often would utter something like “oh, that hippie school” or “isn’t that school alternative?” Many of those people might have had a predisposition to disliking Community. Then, I entered 9th grade. As turbulent as freshman year is for everyone, nothing could have prepared me for the culture shock I received during my first couple of months here. I knew no one. It kind of stunk being out of the loop and so desperately trying to get in it. As I look back on my freshman year, what struck me the most was people’s responses

to me introducing myself. I met lots of new people that year, but to truly meet someone, you’ve got to acquaint yourselves, and for me to do so, I often had to mention St. Paul. It was molded into who I was, my identity. And many times, just with the mention of my religious association, I got furrowed eyebrows, weird looks and interesting questions. “Man, do you go to church every Sunday?” “So have you never been to a bar mitzvah?” “Religion is so dumb, how could you believe anything you can’t know is true?” This all came as yet another shock to my 14-year-old self. My religion had never put me in an awkward position before. Soon enough people knew me as a “goodie-goodie” and would stereotype me. They would tell jokes about my religion which, while sometimes told lightheartedly, would ultimately end up with me feeling unhappy. I felt embarrassed, and tried to distance myself from talking about my religion. It wasn’t until a bit later that I realized how perfect a fit Community was for me. All of my worries about what my old friends thought about my new high school faded away, and I started trying to enjoy my time here. Now, I’m a junior (almost senior!), and I’ve become very comfortable with who

I am, including my religious beliefs. But I know that there are probably people who still come to this school, regardless of which religion, and experience similar situations like mine. I’ve found that religion is such a taboo thing to talk about in today’s society, at least around Ann Arbor. We love discussing our feminist views, but when it comes to our faith in a deity, we don’t dare say a peep. Community High School is an awesome place to go to high school. We as students are truly fostered to be ourselves, and to embrace what makes each of us unique. Here, students tend to be more open-minded and welcoming. But sometimes, students act that way only to those who share the same liberal view. I came from a very conservative setting, and I found that coming to Community, my beliefs in general were criticized more often than those who tended to lean left on controversial issues. Let’s all remember to respect each other’s decisions and beliefs, just as long as they aren’t detrimental to themselves or to other individuals. We can all appreciate the student who says little to nothing about his religious beliefs. We should aim to regardlessly appreciate every student who walks through Community’s doors.

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 thecommunicator@ 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 www.

42 the communicator

common cents jacob johnson

October 16, 2008. Presidential candidate Ron Paul delivers a speech to a gathered crowd of University of Michigan students on the subject of eliminating the penny. His point is clear and well understood, and creates a great round of cheers and applause. Pennies are hardly worth anything by themselves; everyone knows that. Six years later, despite backing from President Barack Obama, little has been done about this economic issue. Yes, the U.S. penny, with a value of a whopping one cent, has become an obsolete object due to the forces of inflation. Over time, the penny has depreciated to the point that it simply no longer makes sense -- or should I say, cents -- to make. In fact, according to CNN, it costs over 2.4 cents to manufacture a single penny. While the production cost will continue to grow, the value of the coin will stay the same. The U.S. underwent the same issue when it decided to discontinue the half-cent coin in 1857. Due to economic growth, the half-cent was no longer needed for commerce to function properly. According to, at the time the half-cent was discontinued it was worth around 10 cents in today’s money. While it’s true that there are many fundraisers and charities out there that base their donations off of pennies, these charities become less and less effective as the penny loses more and more of its value. Another proposition might be to change the material pennies are made with, in an effort to bring down production costs. Unfortunately, there is a very small number of stable metal materials available that can be made into coins for under one cent. It is more efficient to eliminate the coin altogether. Apart from being expensive to make, the zinc that pennies are made with on the inside can be toxic to the outside environment and harmful to small children if accidentally swallowed. When the penny was introduced, it was useful. The coin had purchasing power in markets and banks. Now, pennies generally just sit in pockets and the far corners of cash registers. Pennies are outdated, and undervalued. It’s time for change– no pun intended.

have something to say? send your letter to the editors at

letter to the editors Dear Editors, Lately I find myself too often having to defend my generation. We are labeled with obnoxious terms like lazy, narcissistic, and unempathetic. It’s frustrating not only because it’s insulting, but because it’s so far from the truth. I know this because for four years I have gone to school with some of the most dynamic, intelligent and capable teenagers I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I do not doubt for a second that these students are going to be the leaders of my generation. But I want my peers to speak up. There’s a crucial aspect of education that is failed to be taught to us: how to be an activist. We never really learn how to use our voice effectively to create swift and meaningful change. I know that the students of Community are incredibly thoughtful and observant people. I know that they possess valid opinions about their education. I know that they want to be heard. They deserve to be. There is a way to do this at Community: Forum Council. Forum Council is the foundation for student leadership and activism at Community. While its reputation of inefficiency and lack of productivity has been true in the past, this year I believe we have created a constructive space for student voice. But I want others to know that. In order to fight for what you want and feel is needed at Community, you have to band together. You must be organized, professional, and genuine. It takes a lot of time, energy, and effort. It requires truthful dedication. But most importantly, it requires teamwork. Forum Council is the bridge between the student body and the administration. The students of Community cannot truly be represented if it’s only by one or a few students – that would be selfish. The weight is too heavy and important. It should be carried by many. That is the true essence of Community. To use a Hilary Duff movie title, raise your voice. It needs to be heard. Sincerely, Hannah Shevrin

may 2014 43

stupid phones I’ve gotten to admire a lot of hairlines lately. Typically when I’m talking to someone, I rarely see their eyes or lips. I just see a head of hair. Texting and smartphones have seemed to take precedence over the person or conversation that is in front of you. Around school, a non-smart phone owner is rare. Around nine million iPhones have been sold in America, while iPhones have only been available for about five years. I have never owned a smartphone before. And when my peers hear this about me I typically get a similar reaction. “Oh. That sucks,” or, “Wow. You are so behind.” Perhaps I, and the few still holding onto our “old stupid phones,” are the ones who will benefit from our lack of advanced technology. I cannot spend hours staring at my phone screen, I do not rely on obscure games as entertainment and I have definitely never been on my phone while another person is having a conversation with me. This is perhaps one of the rudest things you can do, in my opinion. Picture hanging out with your friends; typically there are long pauses of silence where everyone is just staring blankly at a smartphone. People usually scramble to find chargers and fight over who has a lower percent, and is more deserving for an electrical plug. It’s crazy – yet also so normal. It would be easy to blame the smartphone and all the features it has to offer, but it really falls on the shoulders of the user. Can people really not control themselves enough to keep their head up while speaking with a friend? It’s basically the same as getting up in the middle of a conver-


the communicator

QUESTIONING THE EFFECTS OF THE “SMART” PHONE caroline phillips illistration hazel o’neal

sation and walking away for a minute or so. In elementary and middle school, friends and people used to be the distraction in class. Now, students don’t even want to talk with their friends. Today, people treat their friends and peers as the school subject and their smart phones and apps as the escape. With Twitter, Instagram and random “fun” apps, the friends we love and appreciate become dull and boring. Imagine if everyone put their phone away and only spoke to each others faces. There would be a lot fewer miscommunications and awkward passive-aggressive tweets. Face-to-face communication is important for our health and necessary in later years. I am afraid for how our generation will be able to perform in a job interview, considering autocorrect is not an option in real life. People own up to it and say they are “obsessed.” I don’t understand why that can’t be motivation to stop. I have heard people talk about how bad smartphones are and how they wish they lived in a time without phones… while they clutch their smartphone to their bodies. Take the stance yourself and put your damn phone away. We are only in high school for so long and we only have these friendships for a little while. Phones, apps, and games are always around. I know it’s hard, and phones are a part of our lives, but we are here, with these people. We need to make more of an effort to try to appreciate the ones around us and be present in our short time together as friends and students and as a community.

embarrassing times. students share their most embarrasing memories

isabel todoroff & grace stamos


“I was racing a friend home on a bike, and I was winning by a lot. So, I turned around to taunt the person, and then in that moment, I hit into a tree and fell off my bike. It was in the middle of downtown so everyone was there to see it.”


“I was wearing heels and tripped down the stairs and it was really embarrassing because he was so beautiful.” “Who?” “Cooper DePriest.”


“So they had a private pool at the little house we were staying at. I thought it would be a good idea to you know, swim naked. That’d be fun, right? I didn’t think my family was coming home for a little while; they went out to the town. So I was naked in the pool, and I heard the front door open and it was a quick race to the room. My whole family walked in.”


“I went to The Great Wolf Lodge with a friend. We were both in line for the biggest water slide there; it was a really long line. We were almost to the top, when I had to go to the bathroom. And it wasn’t pee. I told my friend to stay in line, while I went to the bathroom. I went in the stall but I forgot to take my bathing suit off, and it got all over me. I couldn’t leave the stall because I was covered in it, so I stayed there for 20 minutes. Finally my friend came in and asked if I was okay. She took my bathing suit and washed it in the sink. That’s a true friend right there.” may 2014 45

the rise of trap music. our renaissance of technology, the death of tragedy, and the birth of the content man


ben gur-arie newfound theme and feeling in music has found its lifeblood in the consciousness of youth today. They are listening to a new sound, unheard of even ten years ago. “Trap” music is a synthesis of neo-hip hip along with electronic music. This music seem to objectify everything from drugs to women. Cancerous in the minds of parents, yet bringing out the dreams of a generation. This electronic sound juxtaposed with explicitly experiential lyrics (look at how much money, drugs and women I have) is a novel phenomena. However, I am not sure that it is noble. Hermann Landau, a musical expert living in Berlin, Germany, produces his own offbeat literature and is an avid idealist. “This new music within itself is something totally revolutionary,” he said. “If one were to pinpoint past culture that the trap or drill had been derived from, they could look at much of rap music and its progression through a general theme of ‘we are oppressed, let’s overcome’ into ‘look at how much material stuff I have.’ I also see an electronic influence prevalent in much of this music today. But you could look at electronics as being a force in many genres of music today.” The general level of wealth in western culture has increased and is continuing to increase over the years, far higher than a gross majority of areas outside of the west. We are living in a world seriously lacking of tragedy, at least our concentrated bubble (the west). So why are kids are listening to this specific sound today? “Every generation of kids wants to dissolve of past idols and cultural landmarks and create their own you see,” said Landau. “Today’s idols, many of whom are celebrities and figures whose icon resembles material superfluity, wealth and power. I see this music as being almost a mirror of this. The

music a culture listens to is kind of like a two-way street. The music people listen to is both reflecting the present culture whilst at the same time forming, or producing it. People want money, power and people want to be happy. Diverging from previous popular music which enjoyed and prospered using choral mechanisms to descend into the tragic realm and using the lyrics as almost a rope for life, being thrown into the sea to save you. This was the prevailing attitude in music before the technological revolution. Younger artists of today can only look back at these relics and say ‘Wow, I’m glad I wasn’t living then.” If we were to have played even a ten second snippet of this neo-rap/trap music for children in 1945, I don’t think they would have understood what they were hearing. It didn’t reflect their culture and what they were feeling. “For no other reason do people listen to music than to escape their current state. Yes, it is a supplement of sorts. But what do people want? In the mid/late 60’s, much of the general public was weary of being drafted into Vietnam, political turmoil was in excess and a new generation was coming of age. The discontent within many expressed itself in the popular hits of this time. The blues music of the south and the birth of rock n’roll gave the kids a whole new standard for freedom. What they were listening to was a proficient background to their living movie at the time,’ Landau said. Is Hermann Landau a fan of this music? “Not particularly,” he allowed. “It is not a sound I can dance to.” “In the trap music I have listened to, melody is dead and any form of joy that occurred within one while listening to this music has arisen out of a lyrical dream of: drugs, sex and money. Trap/drill music’s audience or

Title: Based on a T.R.U Story Artist: 2 Chainz Year Released: 2012

spectators seem to enjoy the words, and all musical phenomena is a mere backdrop,” Landau vehemently stated. What does this mean for us? Have we finally become content with our experience and find solace and pleasure in merely hearing words? Technology and culture has provided for us a mode of rest from our human condition. Unhappiness is a thing of the past… Sadly. Will art flourish in the future, or will we remain content? “In the coming years, the trends will intensify. Yes, the music will turn greater towards the trap. But only for a little while. People can only be satisfied with listening to words for so long. No, I don’t believe a reversion to the old conventions of music is inevitable, but instead a new form. I don’t think the electronic influence in music will disappear without a fight. Who knows, maybe there won’t be a music of the future. Maybe the people will be too happy for it,” Landau radically proposed. As lacking of any talent or art this trap music may be, it is imperative that we embrace the future. And by embracing the future, I mean revitalizing humanity from its catatonic, automated sate. Clara Keane says that the music isn’t always her favorite, but appeals to her sometimes. “I like listening to it occasionally when I’m in the right mood,” she said. “It’s not my favorite genre of music by any means, but I enjoy it sometimes. That chopper beat though. I mean, every generation had their fads that some people liked and some people didn’t. I just think it’s kind of sad how the lyrics of most of these songs reflect our time. If you listen to the Beatles it’s all about love and stuff, but now it’s a lot more graphic and real degrading to women.. Which is interesting given that women now are probably more equal to men than in previous generations.”

Title: Stay Trippy Artist: Juicy J Year Released: 2013

may 2014 47

p r o m ? eva rosenfeld and frances mackercher

promposal • noun. the act of asking a special someone to prom, especially in an elaborate manner, like...


leah davis and casey macdonald “I knew that it was gonna be a really big thing, because it’s Casey. He asked me to go to lunch one day. I knew that he was gonna do it cause he never asks me to lunch. He told me to meet him on the third floor ledge at 11:23. So I was standing by the ledge waiting for him to show up, and Isaac Scobey-Thal comes up to me and says he needs to talk to me about something serious in Courtney’s room. I followed him, and I knew what was happening, so I got really nervous and I was shaking. I walked into the room and Casey is holding a sign that says “Leah...Prom?” and then in parentheses underneath it “I’m not putting clothes on until you say yes” and he was just wearing shorts so it looked like he was naked... It made me feel a lot of different ways. It made me smile and laugh a lot because it was hilarious and pretty extravagant and not what I was expecting. It was really funny because Jenny was in the room in the far corner acting like she didn’t know what was going on, but obviously Casey was standing ‘naked’ in the other corner of the room.” -Leah Davis

at the docks, with candles isaac scobey-thal and helen januszewski

“I kind of got kidnapped. I thought we were meeting someone to go for a walk and we were driving to Bandemer. Ella had to stall and I was getting so mad at her. She made me go into No Thai and get her a glass of water because she was thirsty, and when she parked she went in sideways and took forever fixing it. So I had no idea when we got to Bandemer. He put candles all around and wrote it in candles on the dock. It was really sweet. That’s kind of where we would hang out and stuff. It was just a really meaningful place and it took me by surprise. It was cute.” -Helen Januszewski


the communicator

movie night alex wood and hazel o’neill

“He asked me to go to a movie. So he picked me up and we walked by it and I didn’t see it so he was like ‘Are you sure it’s still showing?’ and pointed at it. And I was like ‘Oh! Yes I’ll go to prom with you.’ And then all his coworkers were mean to him because he didn’t buy my movie ticket.” -Hazel O’Neil

extra credit

danny langa and abby lauer

“I was taking a Physics test. It was just an average day. I was not looking forward to this particular Physics test because I’m not so good at Physics. I was sitting down and everyone looked normal so I was like okay, gonna take this test. So Jenny gives me my test and I do what I always do, which is flip through the test. The first pages were like, chill, normal. Then I went down and looked at the last question, which was an extra credit question, and it said “Abby will you go to prom with Danny? Explain your answer.” I was like freaking out and everyone was looking at me and he was smiling and told me to answer and so I wrote my answer and we took a picture. It was really cute.” -Abby Lauer

scoring the girl

sacha moravy-penchansky and syd hutnik “Syd and I had previously decided that we were gonna go to prom together, so I decided to do something over the top to make up for the surprise not being a part of it. I did it at my game at Skyline. I had a friend who knew the announcer and was going to tell them to announce it. I came out with flowers and I had five teammates hold the letters P, R, O, M and a question mark. And I took the flowers up to her and I had Jett and Mason bring her the guest form in a briefcase for her to sign.” -Sacha Moravy-Penchansky

may 2014 49

the heels came off: CHS Prom

sophia camp communicator web staff

the co mmuni cator


TOP LEFT: Two students dance close together near the end of the long night. TOP RIGHT: Sophomores Matthew Ferraro (left) and Rene Reuter (right) wear matching outfits: a white suit with a black bowtie and a black suit with a white bowtie, respectively. MIDDLE RIGHT: Matthew Epperson, who is enrolled part-time at Skyline and part-time at Community, plays the bass in Community High’s jazz band.


TOP LEFT: Two girls link hands and dance the night away. TOP RIGHT: A girl’s curly hair spins as she dances at CHS Prom. BOTTOM LEFT: Marie Jacobson and her radiant smile on the dance floor. BOTTOM RIGHT: Mari Milkie and a friend dance as Anders Rassumen looks on.

may 2 0 1 4 33

college essays sophia fall: for university of chicago “This is what history consists of. It’s the sum total of all the things they aren’t telling us. — ­ Don DeLillo, Libra. What is history, who are “they,” and what aren’t they telling us?” History is that which no longer exists. History is a corpse; already gone, impossible to bring back, to resurrect, to breathe real life into again. History is that which has already faded away into dust, into rotted bones, that which holds only illusory and flimsy glimpses of its once formidable vibrancy. History is gone before we realize it was ever there. And we, as dutiful occupants of the spaces in which history once lived and breathed, are left with little to inform us of this elusive former denizen of present time. We sift through documents and photographs as if through evidence at a crime scene, tread carefully so as not to uncover any unutterable secrets or stir the wrath of discontented ghosts. History is very like the corpse of a murder victim, newly dead but already growing cold, just out of reach and yet impossibly far away. We search it for imperfections, proof of trauma, visible wounds. What we find upon first glance is what is recorded, remembered, what will live on long past the time of death. But it is the other, darker evidence, the kind that cannot be ascertained by observation of surface wounds, which holds total truth. We search in vain for these small and intentionally obscured details but 52

the communicator

cannot find them, because the murderer was too careful in cloaking his crime. We will never be able to hunt him down, never ask him for a motive or force him to face the body he so brutally extracted life from. He has not left nearly enough clues for that. Some secrets will never be uncovered. History’s secrets will remain unspoken, dark deeds unpunished, legacy only partially comprehended. And perhaps we do not wish to know these secrets. We fear their discovery, wait in terror for the day when “they” will come forward and disclose all that we suspect but do not know. “They,” of course, are the murderers. “They” are the enders of living stories, silencers of powerful voices, halters of oxygen into breathing lungs. “They” alone know what really happened, hold details of the crimes they have been so careful to keep covered. “They” are not telling us the final words, the sequence of the struggle, the reason it was necessary to draw blood. Though we will ostensibly understand internal damage, cause of death, patterns in blood-spatter, how can we possibly claim to comprehend the entirety of the individual whose stolen life we study? Obituaries and police reports cannot contain entire lifetimes. We will only ever be preoccupied with the crime scene and the grisly death. The murderer will not tell us that which he does not wish us to know. He, disgusted by his own capacity for horrors, refuses to disclose his actions, and because of this

they are lost to time, only to be guessed at and ignored, never acknowledged or apprehended. Like Stalin was so careful to erase the story of Holodomor from newspapers and history books, and the United States government will only ever whisper words like “reservation,” “internment camp,” and “Hiroshima,” most of history is lost. “They” refuse to offer us the truth of the crime. We will only ever know its results, the ramifications of which will reverberate endlessly through time. The trouble with a corpse is it is easy to forget that it was once alive. And because living beings influence their living world, history is never simple. A strange dichotomy forms between corpse and murderer. We, the living witnesses to time, eventually become corpses, and yet, inevitably before then we will be murderers too. The history that is passed on is the story of the body on the floor as we choose to remember it. What we, as murderers, omit about our crimes and we, as corpses, omit about our lives is what is lost to time. The full extent of failures and triumphs will never be told. History is a struggle between murderers and corpses, and what is remembered is a reflection of whichever entity emerged victorious. History is not the truth of the corpse or the murderer. History is the story of both, and what ultimately matters is not what really happened, but the events as they are recorded. What we will take with us is what we choose to believe.

danny langa: common application “Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.” The night Saddam Hussein was executed I was standing in line at the Detroit airport about to board a flight to London’s Heathrow airport. It was December of 2006, and I was embarking on a journey that would completely change the way I thought about world events like the hanging of the “Butcher of Baghdad.” My family and I were heading to Cambridge University in England for my father’s sabbatical. While I was initially most excited by the idea that I could watch unlimited free movies on my first-ever international flight, it turned out that my year living abroad entirely re-shaped my perception of the world and still affects what I do, what I read, and what I think about. As a 10-year-old who had grown up entirely inside “The Bubble” of the comfortable Midwestern college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan, I was initially very confused by my new Cambridge friends at Newnham Croft Primary School who sometimes referred to Americans as “fat and lazy,” and who were interested on day one to know how many guns my family owned. Since I had never touched a gun, nor knew anyone

in Ann Arbor who owned a gun, I just could not understand why my new friends would assume we owned one. Being the target of the stereotype of a lazy gun-toting American, and more generally learning first-hand that people outside “The Bubble” often viewed and understood the world and events completely differently than I did, was the most important and lasting lesson from my English sabbatical. I’m sometimes reminded of my confusion about my Cambridge school friends assuming that my family owned a stockpile of weapons during debates in classes or with friends. For instance, rather than immediately disagreeing with someone who opposes gay marriage, I try to work hard to understand their perspective and the reasons behind their opposition. Since my time in Cambridge, I try to remember that my interpretations of other people’s beliefs and motives could be as wrong as my English school-friends’ assumptions were about me. Another more specific experience in Cambridge that has had an important effect on me was seeing the physicist Stephen Hawking give a lecture on black holes. It was exciting to see Professor Hawking up close and in person, and to hear his expertise, humor, and passion for understanding the physical world come through even though he must communicate slowly with an electronic voice. After seeing Hawking’s lecture,

I started reading more about astronomy and physics while in Cambridge. (Perhaps the fact that Isaac Newton had walked around the same Cambridge streets when he was a professor there only 350 years earlier, helped to spur my interest.) I have continued to seek out opportunities to learn more; this past summer, I was a Michigan Math and Science Scholar at the University of Michigan where I studied Hawking’s black holes, relativity, and superconductors. I am sure that if I had not lived in England, I would not have the same interest in both the political and the physical world, interest in hearing others’ views, and interest in learning about new ideas that are entirely outside the bubble of where I’ve grown up and lived for all but my one year on sabbatical. Learning at age 10 that the world was not simply a large Ann Arbor, Michigan changed me, and will, I think, have an important effect on how I spend my college years. In many ways, I’m looking forward to my next four years at college as my second “sabbatical” (with no free airplane movies, and much more homework) that will take me out of my comfortable surroundings and knock me a bit off-balance, put me into close quarters with new people who again see things very differently than I do, and expose me to new ideas and ways of understanding the world.

eve kausch: for barnard college “Alumna and writer Anna Quindlen

says that she “majored in unafraid” at Barnard. Tell us about a time when you majored in unafraid.” It’s not hard to stay away from new things and do what’s easy. You stay back, you stay safe, you don’t raise your hand in class because you might be wrong. Over the years, I’ve had to combat my own shyness along with the pervasive idea that girls are supposed to be quiet. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve become better at it, es-

pecially after taking a class at the University of Michigan the first semester of my senior year. My high school has a unique Community Resources (CR) program that lets students build their own classes. Many students take advantage of the nearby University to expand their curriculum. The course I took was an Introduction to Women’s Studies 240 course that met twice a week for lecture and once for section. The class itself had about 200 students in it; my section had about 25. I challenged myself to speak at least

once per section. Even if what I said was half-right or completely insignificant, I pushed myself to overcome the intimidation I felt from being the youngest person in the room. I found that most of the times I opened my mouth, I knew what I was talking about. Majoring in unafraid does not mean being fearless. It means pushing through the fear until you get to a place where you can accept that fear as part of yourself. It means succeeding despite that fear. It’s an ongoing learning process that I’m still mastering.

may 2014 53

hazel o’neil: for university of california: santa cruz "Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?" When my family moved to Hong Kong for the year of 2012, we didn't pack any of our Michigan winter wear. We were operating under the assumption that because of South China's proximity to the equator, we wouldn't need warm clothes. While it was true that I didn't need a parka in Hong Kong, I was now in Xi'an, China, on a school trip. Today, we were hiking to the top of Mt. Huashan. I was wearing sweatpants over my jeans, three sweaters, a light jacket, and two pairs of socks under my Converse. My feet were sopping wet because of my ridiculously inappropriate choice of footwear and I was now hours into the climb, miserably frozen, and sporting two large wet patches on my knees from where I had lost traction and slipped on the icy mountain trail. The climb hadn't seemed nearly as challenging when the morning began. I come from a family that values nature walks, and

I've been on my fair share of hikes. I felt as though I could handle this. However, when we reached the top of the most precarious flight of stairs I'd ever tried to climb and were told that we weren't even a fifth of the way to the top, I began to reevaluate my decision. People started breaking off and heading back. Another two hours into the hike, the wind picked up, and it began to blizzard. My hair had chunks of ice frozen in it, the peak was miles away, and I was now starving and tired in addition to freezing. Had I been with my family, I would have whined my way back to the car ages ago. There was no shame in giving up around my parents. Would they have declared the hike, with its twisty ice covered paths and questionable rope railings, unsafe? Without my parents here to tell me that I had to either turn back or reach the top, I had to to tell myself. In my frozen and delirious state of mind, I equated the mountain to a test of character, and I was going to make it to the top. A few more hours passed, and only ten students remained. We caught up with each other a little ways from the top, on a picturesque bridge covered in snow. For many of my Hong Kong native classmates, this

was their first time seeing snow. As a winter veteran, I was both amused and charmed by the way my friend stuck her tongue out, trying to catch snowflakes, and how several boys started gathering ice and gravel into snowballs to throw at each other. I thought about how if I'd turned back, I would have missed this moment. Eventually we reached the peak. Tears were shed. Pictures were taken. Thoughts about how we now had to make the same trek down were avoided. Standing by the edge, I looked over the railing to what should have been a beautiful view, but was mostly fog and barely visible craggy peaks. But it was beautiful to me; I had made it to the top. This entire year - transitioning to living in a foreign country, picking up in the middle of the school year, being the only American in my grade - had been a metaphorical mountain of sorts, and now I was standing at the top with the friends I had made on the way up. It seemed as though I could take on any challenge. I know that other mountains lie ahead. Starting college is sure to be one. But that trip taught me that I can make it to the top - ice, snow, and questionable footwear included.

fernando rojo:forfor university of north carolina: hill fernando rojo: university of north carolina: chapelchapel hill “If you could travel anywhere in time or space, either real or imagined, where would you go and why?” As a nine-year-old, the decisions I made did not deem whether I would live another day or not – a burden unimaginable for a young child, but experienced by my maternal grandfather, Miklos Szekasy. Throughout my childhood I listened to his stories, and as a result of his strength to overcome the tribulations of living in Budapest, Hungary during the Second World War, I am here. These stories have driven me to travel back in time to Budapest in 1944. The bombing had been going on for weeks. Miklos and his mother were hiding in the basement of their apartment building rationing a bag of beans between the two of them, but after twenty days they ran out of food. Miklos, nine years old, went four days without a single bite to eat. Experiencing excruciating starvation taught him to never allow food to go to waste, and because of this my life has been shaped 54

the communicator

around truly valuing what I have. I am inspired by his ability to persevere through challenges as a child, and traveling back in time would allow me to meet him as a young boy to experience it with him. Above all, I will never allow a crumb of food to go to waste. For generations, my family has migrated across the world, from Spain, Germany, Lebanon, and Hungary to Argentina, and from Argentina to the United States, either to reunite with other family members or to discover a safer life. Miklos did so for both. My grandfather’s ability to overcome obstacles for his parents has contributed to my unwavering value for family. Searching for freedom and to reunite with his father who was working in Argentina, Miklos and his mother escaped war-torn Hungary. They memorized the time shifts of Soviet soldiers who guarded the border and boarded trains with false Austrian passports. Without a possession in hand or a single goodbye, they left their lives behind on their journey to Argentina. Even one minor mistake while

escaping could have led to their deaths. And still, even as a young boy, my grandfather was courageous enough to leave behind every possession and to risk his life to reunite with his father. All the difficulties he faced remind me that struggling for family is life’s most important virtue; I owe my entire life to his untouched hope that his struggle will lead to a greater future. If given the opportunity, I would travel across time to that basement in Budapest to witness the hardships my grandfather endured in order to further understand the lessons of resilience he has taught me. My mere existence and privilege throughout my childhood is due to his unstoppable tenacity to overcome living in the middle of a war zone as a young child. I feel inspired by my grandfather’s struggles and by the way they have shaped my life, and after traveling back in time I will treat the values I that have learned from him as responsibilities throughout my life.

franny melampy: common application “Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?” I had holes in the legs of all of my pants when I was little. My jeans all had dog- and horse-shaped patches over the knees. This was all due to the fact that I spent most of my time racing around on all fours, pretending to be different animals. When not crawling around barking and mooing, I would draw hundreds of pictures of birds, cows, fish, or any animal I had seen that day. It seemed natural to me, then, that I shouldn’t eat the things I held so dear to my heart. In the fifth grade, I announced to my parents that I no longer wanted to partake in the consumption of my beloved animals. That was the beginning of my long road to becoming a vegetarian. Needless to say, my parents did not allow their ten-year-old daughter to give up eating meat. I was small and skinny for my age, and they explained that it simply wasn’t healthy to give up such a large source of protein. I grudgingly complied, but regretted each swallow of meat-loaf, each bite of roast beef. I went through middle school

continuing to plot my conversion to vegetarianism. Whenever I visited the zoo or the petting farm, I would look at the animals and promise that someday I would stop eating them and their families. It was in seventh grade health class when I began to learn that there were many other reasons to stop eating meat besides having a passionate love for animals. I was made aware of the cruelty in slaughterhouses, and the inhumanely raised and killed meat being served at fast food restaurants. I was disgusted and saddened by images of packedto-the-rafters chicken coops, and cows stuck in their own manure. I remembered watching a cow being milked at a friend’s farm, holding a chicken and stroking its soft feathers. I couldn’t believe these animals were being treated so terribly and still being sold for food. These ethical issues only strengthened my desire to change my habits, and I became even surer that I should be a vegetarian. When I reached high school, I knew that I was old enough, mature enough, and educated enough about vegetarianism to convert. I proposed the idea to my parents again in the fall of my freshman year. My mom supported me, but said I would have

sam sorscher: common application

“Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.”

Throughout my childhood, I have always been taught that quitting is unacceptable. Quitters never prosper. While hard work and commitment are important to me, one of my most influential learning experiences was a time when I quit. After a lifetime of playing hockey, I chose not to participate in the varsity hockey program. The combination of an unsuitable environment and an expansion of interests impacted my decision, into which I put a lot of thought. Although it had shaped my past, I knew that hockey had a different place in my future. Growing up, hockey played a huge role in my life. Each winter my family built an outdoor ice rink in our yard. Our basement is cluttered with old jerseys and skates. While I love hockey, and still play and watch it at every opportunity, the varsity team was not for me. I excelled and enjoyed my time, but it did not work out. We got a new coach, and I did not agree with his lead-

ership methods. He demanded a level of respect that he himself did not reciprocate. In addition, I wanted a chance to pursue interests that I cultivated in high school. I was able to commit more time to my job at a coffee shop, a place where I felt a sense of community. More importantly, I found myself particularly enjoying, and pursuing, my Spanish classes. However, it was not leaving the team that struck home as hard as potentially disappointing my brother and family. They all expected me to play hockey. I had grown to be part of the family through hockey. I remember my brother’s reaction when I scored my first varsity goal. It came in the second period. My linemate took the puck into the opposing zone. I followed closely behind as he veered toward the corner. He left the puck just in front of the net—a perfect set-up. I picked it up, secured it on my stick, and fired it toward the near post. The goalie had no time to react. I knew I had scored, but that was barely important. As I skated along the bench, I approached my older brother. When I reached him in the line of high-fives and fist bumps, his mouth was open wider than ever in a scream of

to make an effort to cook nutritious and balanced alternative meals. My dad was much more skeptical. He told me that I should save myself the extra trouble and just “assume my place in the food chain,” as he put it. But that wasn’t what it was about for me. Besides all of the inhumane meat still being sold, I didn’t want to eat animals that I wouldn’t kill myself. And the fact was that I simply did not have the heart to kill any animal. It had been that way since I was little, crawling around and pretending to be a puppy, when I could have just been a human and walked. After some discussion, they both finally agreed. That year was the first Thanksgiving in my whole life where I didn’t eat the turkey. My dad still offers me meat at dinner sometimes and teases me about forgoing the steaks that he grills. By now I have grown to laugh instead of argue with him. The choice to become a vegetarian was a personal one, and I never try to force my opinion on people. But whenever I am asked why I became a vegetarian, I always give an honest answer. I say that with so many humans assuming their places in the food chain, some of us ought to opt out. And deep down, I’m an animal myself, and I don’t like eating family. joy. His eyes were gleaming with approval. While this is an important memory and part of my life, I knew that to continue to participate in a sport that no longer made me happy would be lying to my team, my family, and me. Leaving was my choice: it was based on my own values, which I live by every day. This was the first decision that I truly made independently. I knew it was the right choice when I got the opportunity to travel with my school to Madrid, Spain, during what would have been hockey’s playoffs. I built a connection that is more important to me. I stayed with a host family for four days. I met my hermano, my brother in Spain. I was able to attend school, visit a nearby palace, and spend time in a new community and country. Today I stay in touch with my host brother, constantly practicing and furthering my Spanish language skills. The opportunity to explore the world, learn Spanish, and make a lasting connection is now a part of me, one that I value every day. Through my choice, I truly prospered—I discovered who I am, what I stand for, and my true passion for Spanish. may 2014 55




“Life without art is stupid”Steve Coron

“You’ve got to be in it to win it” -Dean Jen

“Make every day count”-Liz Stern

“Don’t sign up for classes before 10.” —Laurel Landrum

Kiley Sullivan


Sagen Fuller


THEN | NOW loud, obnoxious, outlandish, colorful




peach girl

the flowers of evil


not graduating

not graduating


being at skyline

being at community



taller, short hair, annoying, focused

land before time

land before time 2



go to detroit for jazz

Adlai Reinhart

Sofia Kromis


the communicator


psychologist go out with friends




sleep physical pain

stage fright


musician go to detroit for jazz



THEN | NOW short, long hair, annoying




top 40


college admissions officer classic rock

Charlotte Steele





The Sun Also Rises

Mother Night The Third Man

Donnie Darko Awkward brace-face

Serious, less awkward

The Cure, Modest Mouse


Mac Demarco, Stone Roses


Video games

Watch Sports


Wolf of Wall Street

Homework in library Short, shy and wore a hat

Ahmos Taller, obnoxious and still wearing hats


Isamu Inuzuka-Boyle

Sari Greifer



Nick Partin



Teriyaki Time


I don’t remember

I don’t remember Underground Hip Hop

Red Hot Chili Peppers

THEN | NOW John Legend making high school friends Tenative, quiet Now & Then










First Aid Kit deep water Confident, extroverted Now & Then


“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It can not be changed without changing our thinking” Albert Einstein may 2014 57

58 the c ommu nicca to r

Breaking News

Breaking News

Breaking News

Breaking News

Breakin News

marcelo salas & caroline phillips

25 - 50+ Students

7-9 Students

Spotlight: Michigan

10-24 Students

5-6 Students

3-4 Students


The Communicator

1-2 Students

Senior Map - CHS seniors take the country by â&#x20AC;&#x153;stormâ&#x20AC;?

Breaking News

may 2014


Emre Babbitt Christina Chang Leah Davis Cassidy Durkee Sofia Fall Quentin Faro Sari Griefer Noah Hirschl Preston Horvath Geoffrey Hughes Helen Januszewski Franny Melampy Thomas Repasky Isabel Sandweiss Tracy Scherdt Oren Steiner Cody Zeisler

University of Michigan

Lachlan Angus Natalie Hershenson Louis Hochster Gabriel Schat

Kalamazoo College

Ali Sinn

Grand Valley State University

Bobby Coulter

Ferris State University

Anabel Cruz Alexa Jones Aina Kelsaw-Fletcher Mason Kupina Jack MacConnel Briana Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neal Merrick Perpich

Eastern Michigan University

Alona Schewach

Adrian College

Sagen Fuller

Albion College


Austin Bruner Eliot Crang Lashay Ellis Dillon Hakken Adrian Joll Manasseh McClair Noah Moorehouse Nick Partin Aidan Patterson Kelsey Rasmussen Duncan Reitz Darius Scott Logan Shayna

Washtenaw Community College

Seamus Cares Hannon Hylkema Max Medina

Wayne State University

Anyse Malcolm

Saginaw Valley State University

Astrid Kerson

Northern Michigan University Nora deRitis-Dwyer Trey Sarmento Oakland University

Allison Doxey Kiera Dressler Byron Lau Sacha Moravy-Penchansky Sofie Sylvester Zach Thomson Tuval Vaknin Kevin Turnbull Siri Zama

Michigan State University

Anna Hutton

University of Michigan Dearborn


New York


Hannah Shevrin

Tufts University

Allegra Corwin-Renner

Mt. Holyoke College

Sean Jacobi Ben Lawton

Clark University

Deondrae Jones

Berklee College of Music

Danny Langa

Amherst College


Graehm Patrell-Fazio

University of WisconsinMilwaukee

Olof Carlson


Sofi St. John

California Lutheran University


Hazel Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neil

University of Texas at Austin


Sam Sorscher Sterling Stoll

Lewis and Clark College


Sam Glassford

University of Colorado Colorado Springs

Alex Wood

Lawrence University

Liam Sullivan

New York University

Nate Porter

Cornell University

Kanako Fujioka Eve Kausch

Barnard College

Beloit College


Jonah Ahuvia Nicholas Hagopian-Zirkel Katherine Sain Emmett Werthmann

Sofia Kromis

The College of Wooster

Hannah Neithammer

Northwestern University

Abby Lauer Casey MacDonald

Lake Forest College

Isamu Inuzaka-Boyle: University of Victoria Larissa Morgenstern: Germany Robbie Stephens: Amsterdam


Kashka Fields Tyler Foos

Trade School

Ella Bourland Victoria Garcia Josephine Hamilton Nicholas McCullough Eryn Springstead Lang Straub Kiley Sullivan Brianna Vago

Gap Year

Ella Bourland (Fall 2015)

Bates College


Katie Taub

Washington University in St. Louis

Fernando Rojo

Jonah Ahuvia Morgan Harvey

DePaul University

Charlotte Steele

University of Pennsylvania


Anna DiGiovanni

University of Iowa

University of Chicago


Maggie Sowder

Wellesley College

University of Toledo

Leon Pescador Adlai Reinhart

Oberlin College


Alexandra Cubero-Matos Hannah Hesseltine Jett Jones

Western Michigan University

Jean-Luc Thompson-Bert Tiffany Ung



the standardized standoff THE ACT AND THE SAT HAVE CHANGED THEIR RULES TO COMPETE WITH EACH OTHER liam knight & alona shewach alona shewach photo


standardized test is any form of test that requires all test-takers to answer the same questions or a selection of questions from a common bank of questions, in the same manner, and is scored in a consistent manner. There are three main kinds of standardized tests. Achievement tests are used to test how much students have learned from what has been taught. The Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP), the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), and the ACT are achievement tests. Scholastic aptitude tests (often referred to as intelligence tests) are used to test a student’s ability to learn and to predict academic success. The Weschler Intelligence Scale and the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale are scholastic aptitude tests. Specific aptitude tests are used to predict a student’s potential success in specific content areas. The Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test and the Orleans-Hanna Algebra Prognosis Test are specific aptitude tests. Education experts debate whether the ACT’s counterpart, the SAT, is an aptitude or achievement test. On March 5, 2014, the College Board came out with new rules for the SAT. These new rules will take effect starting in the 2016 testing 60

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cycle. The changes seem to have been made because the SAT has taken a lot of criticism in recent years, and the fact that more high school seniors took the ACT than the SAT two years prior. The ACT has responded to these changes with changes of their own that will take effect in the spring of 2015. Students will have the option of taking a computerized version of the ACT. Not much is known about the change yet. It is very likely to be exactly like the paper and pencil version, but online; the students who take the test online, however, will get their scores immediately after completing the test. It is in the testing stages for the computerized ACT to do more than simple fill-in-the-bubble multiple-choice questions. For example, in the future, there might be some optional items where students can actually perform tasks on the computer to help get an answer. For example, a science question might show four beakers of chemicals. The test-taker could manipulate the beakers by pouring one into another and watching the reaction that results. The question might then ask the test-taker to predict what would happen if all four chemicals were poured together.

Types of Tests SAT: The SAT was founded in 1926. It was originally called the Scholastic Aptitude Test. It is sponsored by the College Board, which is a nonprofit affiliation of universities and educational organizations. The original test took 90 minutes and had 315 questions. It tested vocabulary, basic math, and even the ability to make analogies (water:lake::______:desert). Over time, the test expanded to separate verbal and math tests. It also became a “rite of passage” for high school seniors going to college. In 2005, the analogies were removed and a writing section was included. A perfect score on the SAT is 2400, and the test takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete. The SAT is more commonly preferred by colleges on the coasts. Many people say the SAT favors testing logic. Today, the letters “SAT” no longer stand for anything; the test is simply the SAT. ACT: The ACT was founded in 1959. It was originally called American College Testing. It was developed by Everett Franklin Lindquist, an education professor at the University of Iowa. He developed the test as a competitor to the SAT. Originally, it had a section that tried to determine a student’s interests for study. Today, it includes sections on math, reading, English skills, and scientific facts and principles. A perfect score on the ACT is 36, and the test takes 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete. The ACT is more commonly preferred by colleges in the Midwest and South. Many people say the ACT favors testing accumulated knowledge. Today, the letters “ACT” no longer stand for anything; the test is simply the ACT. SAT II tests: This battery of tests focuses on individual subject areas and is used by students preparing for college. Advanced Placement tests: These tests are used by some colleges to allow students to opt out of introductory college classes. PSAT: This test is taken during a student’s junior year. It serves as preparation for the full SAT and is used as part of the National Merit Scholarship program. MMEs: This test battery is administered in Michigan in March and is mandatory for all 11th graders. It consists of the ACT + Writing; WorkKeys job skills tests in reading, math, and “locating information”; and Michigan-developed tests in math, science, and social studies.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Changes to the Test The writing test (currently, students use their own experiences or values to respond to a prompt) will be replaced with a new writing test where students analyze evidence and respond to a writing passage. Students will be evaluated on both analysis and writing. The writing test will be optional (currently, it is required). In reading sections, students will need to cite evidence from passages to support their answers. The point scale will change from 2400 (800 each for Critical Reading, Math, Writing) to 1600 (800 each for Critical Reading and Math), with the Writing score as a separate score. Points will no longer be deducted for incorrect answers on the multiple-choice questions (currently, ¼ point is deducted for each incorrect answer). In vocabulary sections, “sometimes obscure” words will be replaced by words “that are widely used” in college and the workplace. Math questions will focus on three areas: “problem solving and data analysis,” algebra, and “passport to advanced math.” The wider range of topics currently used will be eliminated so students can study specific areas and know they will be tested on those. Print and digital versions will be offered, rather than just the paper-only version now used. The Khan Academy (an organization that produces well-respected educational videos) will produce 200 videos relevant to the new SAT, and the videos will be available free. This change is motivated by the criticism that wealthier students are favored by the SAT because they can afford coaching and test-prep classes.

PLAN: This test is taken during a student’s sophomore year. It serves as preparation for the full ACT. It consists of English, math, reading, and science sections.

may 2014


the pressure is on madeline halpert

6062 the thecommunicator communicator

C Community High School junior Sarah Brown* glanced up at the clock– only five minutes to finish, with two passages left. There was no way she could read more than 500 words and answer more than ten multiple choice questions in five minutes. Brown was becoming increasingly anxious– panicked. “Holy shit. I need to leave,” she told herself. She got up in the middle of the ACT test, yelled to the proctor that she was sick, and ran out of the room. This was Brown’s first experience of a panic attack.

“It was not one of my proudest moments,” she said. “I was beating myself up for even reacting in the way that I did. It was symbolic of my whole high school career [in that] I was putting this crazy amount of pressure on myself.” Brown is not alone in experiencing school-induced anxiety and extreme pressure to be successful. According to a study conducted by The National Institute of Mental Health, more than 25 percent of teens experience some type of anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Diane Sanford, a psychologist and expert in women’s health based in St. Louis, Missouri, sees a definite rise in stress among teenagers. “A lot more young people are experiencing anxiety than ever before, whether they’re feeling overwhelmed and nervous, or having panic attacks, or obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms, or stress interfering with their ability to concentrate and pay attention,” she said. “There are also some trends in terms of greater depression and lower self esteem. [It] can be self harming in one way or another.”

go to college.” He adds that when more people started going to college, this is when the pressure-packed college admissions process began to take off. Boshoven says that because an increasing amount of students wanted to get into more highly selective schools, this forced colleges to become more demanding in terms of who they admitted. Patrick O’Connor, the Associate Dean of College Counseling at Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich, expands on this idea. He says that location could also be a factor. “There are more students going to college than ever before, and most students now feel they don’t have to be close to home when they go to college,” he said. “That leads to more students applying to more schools, which can lead to students feeling more pressure.”

“A lot more young people are experiencing anxiety than ever before.”

the root cause John Boshoven, a counselor at CHS, believes that the pressure has become more intense due to the downfall of the economy. He explains that twenty years ago, a high school degree and a job at the factory were the norm. This all changed when the financial crisis hit. “When the economy fell apart and all the manufacturing jobs went away, kids no longer could get a job. Without higher skills, they [became] unemployed, and in order to get higher skills, they needed to

the effects While the increasing pressure may be a result of the global economy, it’s clear that students are feeling the stress on a more intimate level. For Katie Taub, a senior at CHS, the pressure came from within. “I’m always in competition with myself to do as best as I can,” she said. “Most of the pressure was me trying to prove to myself that I could succeed. I have always given myself pretty bad anxiety about things that the normal person wouldn’t worry about– just really intense levels of anxiety.” This intense competition isn’t limited to just the halls of CHS. Lauren Weinberg, a junior at Pioneer High School, explains that a may 2014 63

a lot of the pressure she experiences can be attributed to competition among students. “I mostly feel the pressure from friends and peers,” she said. “Someone tells you their grade and you’re like, ‘oh, I want to do better than that”– kind of competitive.’” Weinberg knows that this competitive nature and stress level comes at a high price. “It takes a toll mentally,” she said. “I’m definitely more emotional when I’m stressed, and I don’t sleep as much, so I’m really tired. I try and manage it, but sometimes there’s really no balance that can be made. It’s just a lot of pressure.” Nate Simon, a junior at Washtenaw International High School, says that he and his peers experience similarly high levels of stress. “I feel pressure from life, from myself. I have pretty high standards. My friends, everyone there is pretty committed to being successful, and we pressure each other.” He adds that this stress isn’t necessarily negative, but more collective. Phil Pavlov, a Michigan Senator and chairman of The Michigan Education Committee, aims to reduce some of this tension by preparing students with years of a K-12 system. “The pressure to perform is inherent in our society,” he said. “I hope it’s a positive pressure. I hope it drives greater performance.”

Standardized stress With more pressure to do well on the ACT and SAT, some are beginning to question the system of standardized testing and the stress it brings to teens. Taub thinks that one test shouldn’t play such a huge part in representing an entire four years of schooling. “It’s great you tested really well one morning, but what did you do with the rest of your high school career?” said Taub. Pavlov explains that the state of Michigan has different goals for implementing these tests. “Our standardized system is designed to measure current proficiency and current growth,” he said. “We want to make sure that the standards that we’ve laid out in Michigan are actually being achieved. It’s a snapshot in real time of a student’s performance.” Boshoven wishes that there was less weight on judging students based on test scores. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much hope for improvement when it comes to relaxing on the numbers. “Even though colleges say, ‘we’d love to have you, and here’s our range,’ it doesn’t help that big selective colleges are getting more and more dependent on test scores and GPA,” he said. “They’re having to be more rigid because of how popular they’ve become as an application source.” Boshoven also notices that these tests tend to be disenfranchising to people of lower socioeconomic status. “People with advantages can take a course; they can buy the book,” he said. “Students that don’t have resources, or maybe even internet, are out in the cold because they can’t take a Kaplan course. The rich can keep going back and getting their test score raised, while the disadvantaged are struggling to show up to the test on time.” At Cranbrook Kingswood High School, where tuition is roughly $30,000 a year, O’Connor sees this as less of an issue. “It can [add anxiety], if students see them as a barrier to college,” he said. “I hope they see them as an opportunity to show colleges everything they know.” Pavlov thinks that students’ success on standardized tests is largely based on quality of education, not income background. “[Students] should not be singled out by a zip code or a socioeconomic condition,” he said. “If we’re doing a fair and adequate job of educating all kids in Michigan, all kids should be able to take advantage and learn from it.” However, Pavlov believes there is definitely room for improvement when it comes to college entrance tests. “We can do better,” he said. “We can develop a standardized testing system that gives real time results and focuses on where students need the most amount of help. We can use standardized testing as a tool to gauge students’ progress.”

“There’s a crazy amount of competition between parents for their children to excel.”

the parent case The strong concern about succeeding does not just come from self motivation, though. Often times, parents can be the biggest stressors in teens’ lives. Sanford explains that parents sometimes decide for their children what success should mean to them. “They truly want their children to have the best lives possible and be the most successful adults they can,” she said. “And they truly think that performance: academic, athletic, extra curricular, is key in achieving the lives that they want for them.” With parents, the strong focus on their children seems to be contagious. “There’s a crazy amount of competition between parents for their children to excel,” she said. “Many parents live vicariously through their children and feel that their children are a direct reflection of them and how they’re doing. To fall short of being good or excellent becomes challenging for the parents to admit and accept because they think it reflects so poorly on them.” Hannah Tschirhart experiences this close monitoring first hand. While her parents don’t oversee her workload during the weekdays, there is often an argument when the report card comes in the mail. “If I come home with A minuses, my dad will lecture me on how my time management is not efficient enough and that I’m not doing my best work.” O’Connor says that although it is understandable that parents are concerned, they may need a slight change in perspective. “Most parents worry that their child may not be able to get into the “right college”, and some of those parents communicate that worry to their students, which adds to the pressure,” he said. “It would help if parents realized that their child can succeed at many different kinds of colleges and be very happy and successful.” 64

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i “If we don’t feel good about ourselves, or if we don’t feel healthy, we’re not going to be as productive or find our passions.”

five minutes of mindfulness

time for play

Paul Barnwell, an English teacher at Fern Creek Traditional High School in Louisville, Kentucky, has been taking steps to reduce some of the excess stress in teens’ lives. After seeing the benefits from practicing yoga and meditation, he decided to bring five minutes of mindfulness into the beginning of each of his classes. “There’s so much emphasis on test scores and standardized tests in schools,” said Barnwell. “That’s one of the many pressures teens are under. The existence of technology and social media puts a lot of extra stress on teens as well as feeling the need to be constantly connected. So a lot of what I preach and practice is trying to get back to the present and focus on one thing at a time.” Because of such a content-dense curriculum, Barnwell feels that it is even more important to teach the “whole child,” beyond the classroom. “I don’t believe that school needs to be so academically driven 100 percent of the time,” he said. “I really believe in teaching social and emotional skills, whether they be conversation or helping students deal with their own emotions that often get overshadowed by this pressure to raise test scores or fill all the content standards.” While the concept may have seemed a little strange at first, Barnwell has heard nothing but positive feedback. Some students have even incorporated mindfulness into their free time, helping them with daily stressors like anxiety and sleep issues. “I think at least 50 percent of students actively practice the mindful breathing,” he said. “Others, I think, just appreciate the calm because it could be the only quiet they have all school day.” This moment of calm has proved to be more than successful in the classroom; he hasn’t written a discipline referral since they started. “You’d be surprised [about] all the types of kids that seem to react positively to the mindfulness in the classroom. From students who don’t traditionally do well in school, to the high achievers, they all seem to benefit or express appreciation for trying this in school.”

With such rigid curriculum requirements and more emphasis on testing, students, and even school officials desire some time lacking in structure. Boshoven most enjoys the days where kids can truly be kids. “The best day of the year at Community High for me is field day, where kids get to play [games and relay races in a park],” he said. “It’s just so unusual to see high school kids play. You need it and we need it.” Barnwell explains that the strong emphasis on academics may be the opposite of helpful in terms of students’ school performance. He says that teens need a chance to breathe. “If we don’t feel good about ourselves, or if we don’t feel healthy, we’re not going to be as productive or find our passions,” he said. “I think that sharp focus on the testing achievement is detrimental in many ways.” “The desire to succeed, particularly in a competitive global marketplace, will only intensify,” he said. “The key is to have the best prepared students for that time.” He adds that standardized testing is a way of providing a valuable objective benchmark. However, Sanford sees a different definition and route to success– one that focuses on contentment and well being. “We are leading people to believe that money, career and social success are the determinants of happiness and health,” she said. “That’s not the case. We’re sacrificing [happiness], and we’ve gone too far.”

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jeff ohl sophia camp photo


jeff ohl, sophia camp photos


the communicator



TOP: Lawyers Sara Jackson and Erez Dessel of the B-team rehearse for the regionals tournament less than two weeks later. BOTTOM LEFT: B-team lawyer Miranda Chambers direct examines a prosecuting witness during a dress rehearsal. BOTTOM RIGHT: A-team lawyer Preston Horvath delivers the defense’s closing argument at a dress rehearsal at the Washtenaw County Courthouse.


STARTING FROM TOP LEFT, cLOCKWISE: Teena Le plays the defendant, Sam Seaside on the B-team. This is her first year as a competitive member on the team. A-team lawyer Gabe Schat cross examines a prosecution witness, a veteran, Schat has participated in Mock Trial since his freshman year. B-team witness Olof Carlson testifies on the stand as expert witness Parker Dee. León Pescador holds plays the A-team’s Sam Seaside during one of the four 7-9 mock trial practices each week. Liam Sullivan, who was an alternate last year, testifies as A-team witness Casey Vince. Alec Doss, who joined the team last year, delivers the closing argument for the B-team defense.

may 2014 67

anything but crazytalk



bjection! Crazytalk!” a lawyer for the opposing team shouted at a Mock Trial tournament. Community High School’s A team wasn’t exactly sure how to respond. “There’s a set of objections that you can make, and that’s... not one of them,” said Preston Horvath, who was in the audience that year. Community’s Mock Trial program is anything but crazytalk. The students who participate have to be dedicated and willing to work hard. There are so many challenges thrown their way, such as writing their own material and being able to think on their feet, and it can be a lot to keep track of, but they don’t back down from the challenges they face. “You have to be able to go all the time, not slack off, and do all your work,” said Christina Chang, a senior who has been a member of Mock Trial since her freshman year. “There’s a lot of components that go into this. There are components such as public speaking, even acting to a certain extent, and then memorizing and being able to write scripts. It’s a very well-rounded activity that requires a lot of different skills.” What exactly is Mock Trial? A student can walk down the halls of Community and hear Mock Trial mentioned, but many of Community’s students aren’t entirely sure how to describe Mock Trial. It all starts with the auditions. “We have an A team and a B team, and then alternates come to help out, especially if someone is sick or something,” said Nate Porter, another senior who has also been a member since his freshman year. “If you’re on the A team or B team the year before, you get guaranteed a spot on that team again. But otherwise, if you’re trying to make a team which you haven’t been on


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before, you’re going to have to audition. If you’re auditioning for a witness, you have to know your witness statement inside and out, because the audition consists of the coach and former A team members asking you a bunch of questions about your witness statement, so you have to be really on your feet about that. If you want to be a lawyer, you have to go through the same process you would go through to become a witness, except on top of that, you have to write an opening statement and turn it in.” Once the auditions are over, the practices can begin. At practice, the students start rehearsing the case with each other and learning about law. “We learn about the rules of the court, objections, and the case,” Horvath said. “Every school across the whole state is given the same case to learn about. You want to learn the statements, what you’re going to say, what the other people might say, and dissect the case to get the best out of it that you can.” Strong legal teams work hard to do well, and the 30-plus members of Community’s Mock Trial team are no different. “Mock Trial is an extracurricular activity that counts as a class, so you get credit for it,” Porter said. “We meet about twice a week. It’s a group of kids who get presented a case by a Mock Trial committee, and the purpose is to have these students develop arguments for both sides of the case. There’s always a defense and a prosecution, and we have witnesses on each side. Students will audition for different lawyer positions and different witness positions, and then rehearse that over and over until we get our arguments into good shape. Then we compete against other schools and their teams.” Cheryl Grace, the former coach and founder of Community’s Mock Trial

program, was often asked to explain Mock Trial, so she came up with a simplified way to describe it. “I have often told people who don’t know Mock Trial that it is like being in a play, but having a group of people trying to sabotage you throughout the play,” Grace said. Chloe Root, Community’s current coach, has been known to quote Grace sometimes when describing Mock Trial, but she also had her own addition to Grace’s description: “I think the other thing that needs to be added to that is that it’s a play that you wrote.” When Grace asked Root to take over, it was a

big decision to make for both of them. Grace is completely thrilled with the way it turned out. “I cannot imagine a better successor to carry on CHS’s Mock Trial legacy,” she said of Root. “She’s a wonderful coach and leader.” For her part, as Root got to know more about Mock Trial, her decision became easy. “When Cheryl decided that she was going to retire, she knew that she would have to have somebody who knew what Mock Trial was about to take it on, because you can’t just learn Mock Trial,” Root said. “She knew that I was part-time, and she knew that I really wanted to be full-time at Community. She asked me if I would be willing to

check out Mock Trial and see if it was something that I was interested in continuing. And I said, ‘Sure! I’m doing a lot this year, but I would love to find out about it and learn more. So I showed up to a few meetings and I was like, ‘Wow! This is incredible! I enjoy this so much!’ It’s really fun because everybody is really motivated and engaged. … People get excited about what they’re doing. ... She asked me to do that, and then I went to the regional tournament. … Then I went to Nationals with them, and that’s where I felt like I really learned about Mock Trial and understanding court procedure and how everything works. I was really excited when I got to take over.”

“It was during cross exam and the lawyer said, ‘You had your lap open...’ And I knew he meant phone, but I was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to jump on that.’ I didn’t even listen to the rest of the question and just said, ‘I’m sorry, my what open?’ when he finished. He recovered very smoothly, but I thought it was kind of funny.” -Eve Kausch

“There was this one competition during my sophomore year where a lawyer that was cross-examining me kept asking me about how some blood on the victim could’ve gotten from their shoulder to their sleeve. They were asking ridiculous questions like, ‘Do you think a gust of wind could’ve blown it?’ I just kept acting really confused, because I really was confused. After about three or four tries, my lawyer, Lynus, stood up and was like, ‘Objection! My witness is not an expert on gusts of wind.’ The judge still made me answer, which I just kind of BSed, but that was one of the highlights of the competition.” -Christina Chang Lynus Zullo, Avery Farmer (left), Eve Kausch (top), and Christina Chang (right) work on the case before Community’s A and B teams won their regional tournaments. Prior to passing Mock Trial to Root, Grace had a very full experience with it, herself. She officially kicked off Mock Trial in 1993, and the teams have been going strong ever since. “I tried Mock Trial for a couple of years in the mid-’80s, and another teacher did it for one year in the late ’80s,” Grace said. “Since we started competing in 1993, we are the only team to have finished in the top eight to ten teams of the state every year, participating in the tournament’s final competition at the State Capitol. In 1995, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2011 and 2012, we won the state championship and competed in the National

“When you compete, you play either the prosecution or the defense. … You find out right before the trial which side you’re doing. The other team got mixed up and they accidentally called one of our witnesses, because they were used to being a lawyer on the other side. Christina was so smooth about it! She just got up and started going to the stand, totally in character, and the other team was like, ‘Oh, wait! That’s not what I meant!’” -Chloe Root Championship. The highest we have finished in the national tournament is 4th place. Before and since then, we were runner-up in the state tournament four times, and finished in 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th place other years.” Community’s Mock Trial has accomplished so much in its time so far, and it has affected people in more ways than expected. Grace has found that Mock Trial has very positively affected her life even after her retirement. “As a coach,” she said, “I didn’t realize how much I had learned from Mock Trial until I became an environmental activist in Canada, fight-

ing the plans of Ontario’s nuclear industry to build an underground storage dump for highly radioactive nuclear waste on the shores of Lake Huron. For the last two years, my training as a Mock Trial coach has provided me with skills in argumentation, debate, TV and radio interviews, presentations to governmental hearings and persuasive writing. I can assure students that if they participate in Mock Trial and work hard at it, they will acquire skills which will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives, regardless of the careers they choose.” C

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letter home


c N c p a th

chs alumni give advice: where they are now and what they’ve learned eva rosenfeld

quinn burrell

current city of residence: Marina, Calif. currently: Science Illustration graduate program at California State University, Monterey Bay advice: Don’t be afraid to change your plans. Things will never go exactly as intended and you’ll be happier if you can roll with the punches.

eric tinkerhess

current city of residence: Paris, France currently: Masters at the Paris Conservatory advice: Exercise and meditation.

“If you work hard at what you love the universe has a way of making it all work out.” 70

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kathryn ashin

current city of residence: Sukhothai, Thailand currently: English/ESL teacher advice: Don’t be afraid of being afraid. Do something out of your comfort zone at least once a week. Also, don’t worry too much about figuring out “what you want to do”.... It will find you eventually.

laura blue

current city of residence: Chicago, Ill. currently: Masters program at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health advice: Find people you love and respect. “For no matter what we achieve, if we don’t spend the vast majority of our time with people we love and respect, we cannot possibly have a great life.” -Jim Collins, Good to Great

sasha lazare

current city of residence: Brooklyn, N.Y. (graduated NYU in 2013) currently: Actor advice: Thank your parents! You might be totally ready to leave the house, but they helped you get to this point more than you realize.

sevde felek

current city of residence: New York City, N.Y. currently: NYC Teaching Fellow for the Department of Education advice: Read the classics. Their authors give the best life advice.

beth reinstein

current city of residence: Chicago, Ill. currently: Freelance Musician advice: Go do what makes you happy in life and not what will guarantee security (house, money, etc). If you work hard at what you love the universe has a way of making it all work out.

katie o’brien

current city of residence: Bar Harbor, Maine currently: Student & Writing Tutor at College of the Atlantic, and Bar Harbor Marine Resource Committee Research Intern advice: Don’t let yourself get comfortable in one path in college. That’s easy but far less rewarding than learning everything that may be interesting. Grad school is for focusing. For now, just learn.

o t t l


or he d m

joe stapleton

current city of residence: Ann Arbor, Mich. currently: Covered Michigan basketball for for three years; will be studying theology at Duke Divinity School in the fall. advice: Put some effort into finding out who you really are, and then celebrate that person. Read everything you can get your hands on. Give yourself a break; you’ll be fine.

sophie tulip

current city of residence: Brattleboro, Vt. currently: Interdisciplinary multimedia performance art/musical composition at Marlboro College. advice: Take time to discover what you want after high school. Don’t be afraid to take a gap year. College is an amazing opportunity, but a somewhat wasted one if you enter into it for reasons other than your own - don’t worry about choosing a career right off the bat. Be mindful of your inherent worth no matter what path you choose and however long it takes you to find it.

month 52 may 2014 71

zelda moran

current city of residence: currently: Vienna, Austria Research Assistant at the Insect Pest Control Laboratory, Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, International Atomic Energy Agency. advice: Don’t stress out about massive career or educational decisions. Don’t worry that you’re choosing the wrong school or the wrong major. If it doesn’t work, you’ll do something else. Chances are, things will never turn out the way you expected, and if you allow yourself to keep an open mind, you’ll find a lot of opportunities you weren’t even looking for.

bridget smith

current city of residence: Denver, Colo. currently: Graduating in June with a Masters in Sport & Performance Psychology from University of Denver, moving to Virginia in the fall to pursue a PsyD in clinical psychology at James Madison University advice: My advice is to be open and flexible. Your group of friends will grow and evolve. There are significant people in your life that you have yet to meet. If you have a plan, a chosen major, a “this is where I’ll be in 5 years” attitude, be open to changing it, discarding it... Things have a way of falling into place.

“Grad school is for focusing. For now, just learn.” sarah zimmerman

current city of residence: Claremont, Calif. currently: Pitzer College advice: Stay true to who you are but allow your-

self to change and grow as a person as much as possible. After one year in college I have learned so much about myself and I encourage you to do the same. Also, explore explore explore. Take all the chances you get to experience new opportunities and places! Time seems to move scarily fast after high school, so live every moment to the fullest (sorry! cheesy but true). If you don’t listen to anything else I have said, listen to this: GO OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE! You will be surprised how rewarding it is.

kerry fingerle

current city of residence: Ann Arbor, Mich. currently: University of Michigan advice: Take an aimless walk around

Ann Arbor by yourself.


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caleb curtis

current city of residence: Brooklyn, N.Y. currently: Musician advice: Right now you have the chance to make your life about things that make you happy. A life filled with happiness and joy is a good life. In my mind, that should be your goal. Be patient.

6 word memoirs. community seniors describe their high school experience in 6 words jack kelley cameron fortune

DannyLanga Great company, absolutely marvelous, definitely swinginâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;.

joel appel-kraut photo

NickMcCullough Independent, fun, pushy, helpful, weird, opportunities.

HannonHylkema My life is great without drugs.

QuentinFaro Had some fun, met some people.

AdlaiReinhart Self discovery over four amazing years.

CharlotteSteele I am proud of my school.

ManassehMcClair Community is super chill and dope. may 2014 73

a bit of perspective. graduating

seniors give advice to rising seniors. alona shewach duncan reitz illustration


hen you become a senior, you’re going to think you need to be somewhere, you need to go somewhere,” said Alexandra Cubero-Matos, a senior at Community High School, “but thinking too much about the future and where you’re heading will hurt you, and not thinking about it at all will, as well.” Somewhere between thinking too much and not thinking enough, there is a solid middle ground to strive for; finding that middle ground, however, can be difficult. For some, they have to think about their future a lot to keep them motivated or to ensure that they have a plan. For others, thinking about their future causes stress and anxiety. “You’re going to stress about college, but try not to stress too much, because you don’t have to start the Common App on August 1, and you don’t have to get it in in September,” said Eve Kausch, another Community senior. “Take your time and do it at your own pace. You don’t have to apply to a million places if that’s not what you want to do. You don’t have to listen to everything your parents say; you can tell them, ‘Mom, Dad, that is not what I want to do. I’m really sorry, but I’m not going to do that.’ If they’re stressing you out, tell them. If they love you, they should respect that, and not stress you out any more.” Family can have a big impact on a person’s future, but so can friends. “Figure out what’s good for you,” Kausch said. “You don’t have to do what anyone else is doing. This is a search for you.” What’s right for a best friend isn’t necessarily what’s right for an individual. Pressure doesn’t just come from family and friends – it can come from the people around you, regardless of their relationship with them. “Remember that there are certain things that you might want to do that other people disagree with, but that doesn’t mean it’s a right or a wrong option for you,” said Cubero-Matos. “Everyone forgets that you’re an individual. Your needs aren’t going to meet everyone else’s. I decided a lot of things, and now recently, I want to change a lot of things of what I want to do in the future,


the communicator

because I’m very indecisive. I think a lot of it had to do with what I thought other people wanted me to do, and it would be better for me because I thought if so many people were telling me this, then maybe that was what I should be doing.” Briana O’Neal, a CHS senior, says that focusing on individual needs is more important than pleasing others. “Take your time and figure out what’s the best fit for you, and what you want, as opposed to what everyone around you wants, because it’ll be different,” added CHS senior Briana O’Neal. “Take your time to figure out what you want for your life. A lot of people will tell you to major in something practical and just do what you love on the side, but for me, I decided to go out on a limb and try and study what I love. Everyone’s telling you you’ll do that in high school, but you’re not going to do that in high school, and it’s easy to forget that, given that mentality. But don’t forget what you love, and don’t forget what you’ve been through when you’re planning for your future.” Common advice is to do what’s right for you, but that can bear its own pressure. What if you don’t know what’s right for you? What if you don’t feel ready to make a decision about your future? We can place as much pressure on ourselves as anyone else places on us. Sometimes, that can be overwhelming. “I’m not saying give up on college, but sometimes a break, like a gap year, is really not a bad idea,” said Cubero-Matos. “Maybe that really is what’s best for you. I know a lot of people who have done a lot better in school after taking that break, because it can just be way too stressful for them. Don’t think that this is all over and you should just go on a break and forget about everything, because college and education itself is going to help you move forward in life. It’s not the only option, but it’s a very good option to take.” Deciding on a college can be scary, but so can applying to college. Keeping your grades up while still trying to maintain a life outside of school can be daunting. “As a junior, one thing that I really screwed up on was not studying,” said Cubero-Matos. “It’s the one year you really don’t want to slack off on, even more than senior year.

I had ACTs and SATs and all that going on, and I just didn’t pay much attention to it. Even though it shouldn’t be what counts for a lot, for colleges, it does. You have to really try to catch up on everything. Even though you’re about to graduate in a year, you just have to keep going a little bit farther, even if you’re frustrated with it.” It can be hard to stay focused on your school work. The goal you’ve been working toward for four years is a few weeks away. You’ve been working so hard, and you need a break. It’s tempting to take that break as graduation and summer creep closer. “Do not catch senioritis,” warns CHS senior León Pescador. “Stay on top of your school work, even until the end.” College and school work aren’t the only things that stress seniors out. Even after four years in high school, they can struggle with who they want to be. “Just be yourself – just do it,” said Cubero-Matos. “Even if you’re afraid to talk to people and be crazy and you’re self-conscious about it, you really have to do it, because you find out that a lot of people don’t really care. There are a lot of people you can get to know a lot better. I know, a lot of the time, I ended up with people I didn’t want to be around, because I was putting on an act. I think the main thing is that if you’re afraid of anything, just go for it, no matter if the outcome is going to be a ‘no’ or a ‘yes.’ Just say ‘yes,’ and just do it.” Diane Grant has been a counselor for 14 years, at Community for seven of those, and she’s known many seniors in her time here. “Finish strong,” she said. “It’s not just an issue of grades. It’s about putting good closure on an experience so that you can create new and amazing connections in the future. You’ve heard of ‘rebounds’ from ex-boyfriend/girlfriend situations, right? This is the same concept to apply when leaving school. If you don’t “break it off ” in a healthy way, then it’s difficult to re-attach to a new situation in a healthy way. My hope for every senior is that they take the time to say “goodbye” in an authentic way to every friend, enemy, teacher, secretary, counselor..... take the time to ‘finish strong.’” C


C Subscribe for 2014-2015 Send $45 payable to The Communicator Community High School c/o The Communicator 401 N. Division Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104

“Jonah has become

shaped up,


and has grown a


about him...

“I love Jonah.”

I am very close with him and talk to him or hang out with him almost every day.”

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the communicator

the greco-roman calculus whale grows up liam knight sophia camp & alona shewach photos


s Community High English teacher Ken McGraw’s forum bickered about a recent Forum Council meeting regarding empathy among students and the dilemma of overnight forum trips, McGraw watched as senior Jonah Ahuvia stepped into the conversation, laid out the situation flatly, dispassionately and eloquently, allowing the forum to take a step back and analyze the situation. McGraw described this as a move Ahuvia would not have made as a freshman. Ahuvia came to Community as a boisterous, obstreperous, “roly poly” freshman, according to McGraw. His writing was anarchistic in nature, composed of what McGraw described as “free associative word collages” that were handed in to McGraw under the label of “short stories.” In McGraw’s eyes, Ahuvia experienced forum as the inside of his brain, and he was likely to shout out any incoming thoughts that entered his head. He often wrestled and horsed around with his old forumettes. “I was pretty weird, untested maybe,” said Ahuvia. “I didn’t know that many people, and I wasn’t particularly social in middle school, so I

stead of designing something that would have me working all day every day because I simply don’t have the willpower and focus for that.” “One of the biggest changes that I’ve noticed is that my personality much more accurately reflects what I spent a lot of time ‘faking’ as a freshman,” said Ahuvia. “I used to force myself to be nice, forgiving, etc. when I really didn’t care, whereas now those feelings are my honest outlook most of the time.” Ahuvia has become much more empathetic since he was a freshman by learning from his personal disappointments and failures and using them to make himself better able to understand how people feel when they err. Of course, Ahuvia is not alone in his transformation from freshman to senior year. Senior Oren Steiner, a good friend of Ahuvia’s, has noticed similar growth in himself. “I am a completely different person than I was as a freshman,” said Steiner. “My personality when I get to know someone is just the same, but everything else is different. As a freshman, I didn’t have that many friends, I was scared to make friends, I was chub-

wasn’t exactly an expert at the art of making friends. ... As a freshman, I didn’t really know anybody. I came to Community with one friend, but that was it. I hung out with friends maybe once a week outside of school, and didn’t talk to people very much when in school.” But Ahuvia has not been at Community for four years to leave unchanged. He has become a very different person from his past self. He has grown past his Dadaist, nonsense poetry, and is “no longer a roly poly anarchist.” McGraw also noted that Ahuvia’s cheekbones have become more angular, compared to the previous rounder contours of his face. Ahuvia has learned a lot about himself since he first arrived at Community as a freshman, both academically and socially. He works around his habits rather than brute-forcing himself into becoming the person he wants to be. Upon entering high school, Ahuvia planned on being a straight-A student, dualing to Pioneer for two or three AC or AP classes at a time. “Now, I understand that I am really not that kind of person,” said Ahuvia. “I plan for a workload of what I think I will accomplish, in-

bier, shorter and had braces. Today I go running and am no longer chubby, I have way more friends, I am much more confident, and less awkward.” Ahuvia and Steiner have known each other since they met in the first grade, and have been going to the same school since. They have done CET together on multiple occasions, where Ahuvia’s growth is readily apparent. “Jonah has become taller, shaped up, and has grown a charisma about him,” said Steiner. “Since freshman year, he has become more confident and changed from a techie to an actor/singer. ... I am very close with him and talk to him or hang out with him almost every day. I love Jonah.” McGraw used a number of terms to describe Ahuvia: a “vision of respectability,” an “impressive man of clarity,” and “the last of the dungeon masters.” But McGraw’s mastery of language revealed itself as he carefully chose three words to describe Jonah Ahuvia: “Greco-Roman Calculus Whale.”

may 2014 77 71

Katie Taub

Josey Hamilton

When I was a freshman, I went to a grad party with a couple friends and we sort of stayed later and then at around midnight we went to Meijer and played hide and seek.

I am going to Bonnaroo with four amazing friends and it is going to be a really good time.

Looking back on your high school years, what is one memory that will always stick out to you?

What is one really cool thing you have planned for this summer?

humans of community hannah davis & maggie mihaylova

Sari Greifer

What are you working on right now?

Aidan Cotner

If you could build a structure for any purpose, what would it be?

Right now I am learning about static electricity and doing some physics homework, because yeah, I have to.

I’d probably like to take the record for... tallest skyscraper. That’d be a cool title to have.

Ruby Lowenstein

What have you enjoyed most about your Freshman year? I’ve really liked meeting a lot of new people and making friends. I really enjoyed being a part of Urinetown with CET, which was super fun.

Alona Henig

If you had the world’s attention for one minute, what would you tell them?


the communicator

I’d probably just laugh and say hi, and pee my pants!

chs students share what they hope to be doing this summer eva rosenfeld and jett jones

“Spend more than half my time outside. I want to stay active but also just lay in the sun.” -Preston Horvath

“I want to swim in all 5 Great Lakes “Date in one day for the fifth year in a row.” Jett. I also -Elle Gallagher want to take “I want to go to over a small town “Go camping with Sleeping Bear and make it my my friends for two Dunes.” -Trey own.” -Sophie Steinweeks up north.” Sarmento -Gloria Fall

“I want to go camping up north with friends. We’re going to fish, hangout, have a nice bonfire, get away from society.” -Kevin Turnbull “Whenever I see a dog that isn’t with a person, I will always stop my car and bring it home.” -Alexa Jones

“I want to get my first job.” -Dylan Pelton

berg “I want to have enough money in the bank to help for college. And also spend time with the people I’m not gonna see tomorrow.” -Charlotte Steele

“I want to make enough money to buy food my whole freshman year of college. I want to wear down the soles of my tennis shoes because they’ve lasted too long. It’s time for them to end.” -Franny Melampy

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to zone eva rosenfeld


isn’t a lake to be drained. It’s a river that keeps flowing,” said Brian Durrance, president of A2 MISSION (Michigan Itinerant Shelter System-Interdependent Out of Necessity). And no one denies that this river exists. How to dam the flow, however, is another story. Camp Take Notice, a tent city on Wagner road, was shut down by the state police in June 2012. The state then gave vouchers for one year of housing to about 40 of the 80 Camp Take Notice residents. Of the rest, some were veterans, some were illegal immigrants; whatever they were, they didn’t qualify for the vouchers. But the homeless community living in the tent city didn’t just disintegrate. They searched for an alternative place to set up their tent city. About a half a year ago, on Stone School Rd., they found Mercy House. “It’s serendipitous,” said Durrance on the house, “because frankly, how do you find in the city of Ann Arbor a 3-acre piece of land with a forest on it, on the [bus line], that’s secluded on the edge of town? It just doesn’t happen.” MISSION’s plan from here on out is to open the land surrounding the house to a tent city. The house would serve as a hub where the homeless could come in to fulfill needs like showering, laundry and food. Chris Best is a formerly-homeless man who received housing through SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), was a resident at Camp Take Notice, and is currently on the MISSION board. He attests to the benefit of the tents and Mercy House. “It allows people respite from life as it is being homeless,” said Best. “A lot of people think that homelessness means that you’re lazy and you don’t do anything. But all day long you’re trying to figure out, where am I gonna get my next meal? Am I gonna get a shower today? Where am I going to put my clothes? Am I going to be able to arrange for a doctor’s appointment? Oh, I finally got a job interview. Where am I going to put my stuff ?” An advantage of tent cities that might initially seem counterintuitive, Durrance added, is that it isn’t comfortable living. “When you live outside you learn to live outside,” said Durrance. “But it’s hard. So after one or two seasons people have the incentive to reach out for help. The nice thing about a tent is that it regulates that flow and there’s a beginning, a middle and an end to it.” While this cycle of the river of homelessness flowing through the tent city and coming out in a far better place might sound ideal, there is a major flaw in the plan. “This particular piece of land that MISSION has purchased was zoned for single family residential use,” explained Wendy Rampson, Planning Manager for the Ann Arbor Planning Commission. “The MISSION 82

the communicator

folks bought the property expecting to do something different, [so] they have to prove to the Planning Commission and City Council that there is a compelling reason to change the zoning, because the zoning was put there to be consistent with the master plan for that area...even though people might agree that there’s a need for this housing.” “I think that the general public thinks that more affordable housing is the answer,” said Sally Petersen, a member of City Council who believes that the tent city is a necessity for homeless people who can’t get affordable housing. “But what I’ve learned is that there’s a rung below affordable housing and these are the people who are really zero income due to issues that, according to them, the system isn’t really providing services for.” “The whole affordable housing thing is a misnomer,” Durrance said, pointing out just how difficult the grips of homelessness can be to escape. “What it means is subsidized housing for those people who qualify… The people that get it are very few and far between. You have to be suicidal. You may even have to live out of doors for quite a while before you qualify. What if you don’t qualify for work or you don’t qualify for SSDI or state funding? You can’t make it to the doorstep.” A tent city, Durrance believes, gives people cheap, accessible, and fluid access to housing, as opposed to having to pay for an apartment or spend years applying to programs that you can’t qualify for. “So it kind of makes me bristle when people say that people choose to be homeless. It’s a very, very unfair characterization,” said Durrance. “The system is working against them in many ways. “We call ourselves the safety net below the safety net. We’re trying to catch the people that fall right through those gaping holes in the existing safety net… I’m willing to accept compromise but I know that there’s a really serious piece of this missing without the tents.” This “safety net” is not just the hope of affordable housing. It also includes the Delonis Center, Ann Arbor’s local homeless center. Again, many recipients of this service, the homeless, don’t feel that it serves the purpose it sets out to. Jimmy Hill, homeless for seven years and currently living at Mercy House, has tried his hand at the Delonis Center. “Don’t get me wrong,” Hill urged, “the Delonis is a good thing for what it’s for. But there’s no way you can totally get on your feet in three months. There’s no way with that time that they give you to get housing, to get a job, to get out,” said Hill. Best, who is transgendered, also struggled with getting a job within these time constraints. “By the time my 90 days [at Delonis] were up I couldn’t get a job because I couldn’t get name legally changed,” explained Best. “Every time I went to a job interview my resume would have a female name on it but I would dress how I felt was appropriate. And that, for me, is where the barrier was. I just couldn’t find a job… Every day you’re going to be rejected by somebody.” A time crunch isn’t the only hurdle to getting a job. Best went to

“You have to disguise your homelessness if you want to get a job.”

work. In his case, his mental illnesses, which include depression, general anxiety, and social anxiety, prevented him from getting a job. More mundane reasons can also essentially keep you out of employment. Hill pointed out, “You have to disguise your homelessness if you want to get a job. You have to be clean. You need sharp clothes. You really need a cell phone… You might have a dress shirt but it’s all wrinkled up because it’s been in your bag all day.” And he believes this house will address these needs. “What the last camp didn’t have that this one will is this house. The laundry, the showers, the access. I just think that this could be so good for this community,” said Hill. “People have told us that when they came to the camp, they had a place that was essentially a home with a zip lock door,” Hill continued. “They didn’t have to carry their whole world around with them like a snail on their back… The first sensation of living at a camp is that you’re going to sleep the night and wake up well rested in the morning. You get to have control over your own destiny.” Durrance seconded this sentiment that a tent city provides the liberty necessary to get on your feet. “It’s hard for people to wrap their heads around what freedom a tent can give you until you’ve been through that system of being told where to be, when to be. It’s a night and day difference,” he said. That said, Durrance does recognize the conflict regarding zoning laws. He added, “Where the push comes from the people on the MISSION Board is that we’re trying to do it within the rules.” Rampson posited that if the right compromises are made

and the right people in the community and on the Council are accepting of the idea, the tent city surrounding Mercy House is possible. “There’s a process to it but ultimately City Council can approve it,” Rampson said. “We do know that there are these types of transitional housing situations in other parts of the country.” Alternatively, City Council member Stephen Kunselman warned that it won’t be so simple: “What they’ve been talking about is basically not’s just a matter of this idea that Council can wave all the rules and laws and somehow people can sleep in tents in someone’s backyard. It doesn’t work that way… You have to have water, a sewer, utility availability. You can’t just say we’re going to grant permission for people - regardless of their stature - to sleep in tents.” Petersen is hopeful that the tent city will eventually be approved. “The piece that resounds to me with this particular group of people is how respectfully they treat each other, and with dignity, and how they thrive on the community to keep each other sort of uplifted, or sober, stable,” Petersen said. “So if there’s a way we can make the zoning consistent with the benefits of this, where they’re keeping each other afloat, like a 24/7 AA meeting, with strong leadership, they should be allowed to do it.” And until there is a way for all of Ann Arbor’s homeless to be kept afloat, many will be left floundering in the river. For now, people from all sides are desperately looking for a dam to halt the flow. C

jimmy hill and seth best (top left), brian durrance (bottom left) and a man dropping in at mercy house sit in the mercy house living room. seth best shows sally peterson around the kitchen (bottom right).

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summer playlist










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may 2014 85

picture this


Caroline Mosher

Meredith Fazio

The summer before his sophomore year, Graehm Fazio went with his family to the Cherry Festival in Traverse City. One night there, he and his older sister, Meredith, decided to watch a movie together. They began talking about what they had done earlier that summer - Meredith had been off traveling, Graehm had stuck around town - and suddenly everything clicked. They realized they were talking like friends, not like distant siblings; their maturity levels had finally coincided. Meredith is a non-conformist. In everything from her clothing to her attitude, she maintains her own laid-back style. Graehm appreciates how open-minded Meredith is; no matter how different someone is, she’ll find a way to relate to him. And just like Graehm, she’s able to see the bigger picture whenever she’s in a predicament. Graehm and Meredith enjoy taking long walks together with their dog. They often walk down to the river and relax and talk about books they’ve been reading. Meredith is creative and loves to experiment in many facets, including with food. Graehm is always happy to help her cook and taste-test her different appetizers and desserts. Currently, Meredith is studying art and administration at Northeastern University in Boston. She is in the process of trying to organize an art exhibit and Graehm knows she will be successful; when Meredith puts her mind to a task, she’s good at getting it accomplished. Graehm hopes that she finds something she can be passionate about for the entirety of her life.

With an age difference of six years, Danelle Mosher and her sister, Caroline, didn’t spend much time together while they were growing up. Although Danelle’s childhood memories of Caroline are fond, they are limited and hazy. It wasn’t until more recent years that she got to truly know and admire her eldest sister. Before Danelle was even a teenager, Caroline was in college. Caroline often sent letters home, but the distance made a close relationship difficult. Danelle spent much more time with her sister Jeanette, who was only three years older. When Danelle thinks back to these days, she most clearly remembers Mark, Caroline’s college boyfriend, who would hitch-hike from his home a town over and spend multiple days with their family. He was an outgoing football player and Danelle enjoyed goofing off with the two of them. About eight years ago, Danelle and Caroline realized they had a lot in common. They started making an effort to see each other, despite the distance between their homes in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Washington DC, respectively. Caroline has no children, which makes traveling easy. They often take vacations together to Cape Cod or to Caroline’s house in South Carolina. They like to take bike rides on the beach—the sand is very hard in Kiawah— or take their black labs on long walks. Danelle appreciates that Caroline can make the time to stay connected but also maintain her independent personality. Caroline has always been strong-headed, but is also very patient. She knows what she wants and she is willing to go out and get it. She works as both a nurse in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and as a yoga instructor. Both jobs fit with her calm nature and her ability to go with the flow. When Danelle ponders whom she would like to be like, she often ends up thinking of Caroline. Everyone feels comfortable with Caroline—talking to her is always easy. Caroline is the person who asks interesting questions at the dinner table and her upbeat personality inspires everyone to have more fun. Danelle is grateful to have such a positive person in her life.


the communicator

Rob Steele

When Charlotte Steele pictures her dad, Rob, she imagines him driving a tractor through their yard, moving logs and playing with their dog. Considering that Rob is a respected cardiologist and political man, this is not the image that most people would see. But this is exactly what Charlotte admires most about her father - his ability to be serious and logical while still maintaining his goofy side. Rob is constantly doing silly and embarrassing acts when he’s at home. Whenever he passes the doorway while Charlotte is watching TV, he’ll do an exaggerated ballerina leap; he especially loves to do this when Charlotte has friends over. He always has a witty comment or clever observation on hand and Charlotte appreciates his sharp sense of humor. Collecting old cars - specifically old Italian cars - is Rob’s favorite hobby. He just built a barn this year to hold them all, and he loves to tell Charlotte about their features and how they work. She loves to listen. She finds it almost meditative to hear him talk about something so passionately. When Charlotte started to drive, Rob taught her how to drive a manual car. Charlotte can remember sitting at a stoplight on one of their drives and, just as she was about to accelerate, realizing she had forgotten what to do. Cars were waiting behind her and she began to freak out but Rob remained calm and guided her through it. Charlotte would like to pick up more of this trait - the ability to respond to situations in a way where emotion doesn’t take precedence over logic. But this lack of emotion does create a barrier in personal conversation, and Charlotte would like to improve the communication between them. Still, Charlotte appreciates how seriously her father takes their discussions. With him, she is able to talk about her future - for instance, how she will balance college and dance - without being treated like a child. She’s worried that their busy schedules will make it hard to maintain their connection next year, but she is hopeful that it will inspire their relationship to mature and draw closer.

Letitia Kunselman

Hannon Hylkema loves the gap in his mom’s teeth that shows itself whenever she laughs. A “mom-type gap”, as he calls it, that is seen often because Letitia is often cracking a huge smile and joking around. She is known for being youthful and fun loving and she knows how to bring out the good spirit in others. Hannon admires her raw emotion - her ability to remain joyous despite any hardships she’s faced. Letitia taught Hannon how to be a good person simply by being a genuine one herself. He’s picked up her compassion by watching the way she interacts with the world. She is very open about her love and has always been clear that she will do anything for her son. She is willing to make things work out for Hannon however he wants them to work, and her main focus is to make sure his life is happy. Letitia teaches English at Huron and helps struggling students with their reading at Forsythe. She has deep knowledge of language and literature and loves to read on her own in her pastime. In addition, she and Hannon both work at the Northside Grille. Acting as both family-members and coworkers can be difficult. Although Hannon coordinates his hours so he doesn’t have to work with her, they’re always peaceful at home. There were a couple years where Hannon butted heads with his mother; he inherited her stubbornness, which contributed to their strife. But then he began to trust her. He began to understand that she has knowledge about life that is valuable and worth listening to. He has learned from her strongwill and the way she doesn’t let anything stop her from getting where she wants to be. She has the ability to persevere and obtain success while still remaining light and connected to life. Letitia reminds Hannon to have fun. Self-described as “delightfully immature”, she has a knack for relating to youth and meeting Hannon on his level. When he gets stressed out, she takes his mind off of things. She always knows what to say or, rather, what he needs to hear. With her unconditional support, Hannon is able to pursue whatever passion he desires.

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hazel oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;neil, senior

hazel oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;neil

The Communicator (Senior Edition)