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October 11, 2013


Check out the Lance’s costume ideas and coverage of a haunted house on pages 15 and 16.

lance Syria Conflict THE

8701 Pacific St. Omaha, NE 68114

Volume 58 Issue 2

Syrian Civil War hits home for Westside student By Tom SCHUENEMAN MANAGING EDITOR

“We couldn’t sleep at night because of the shooting and everything,” Alsuleiman said. “When I used to go with my mom to the mall, I used to say ‘Mom, stay away from that car, I think it’s gonna explode.’ It was a disaster.” Her concerns were not unfounded. Bombings were a regular occurrence in Damascus in the early stages of the fighting. “[Car bombings] would happen in literally our same neighborhood,” Alsuleiman said. “You’d go out, and everybody’s screaming, and then there’s the smoke. You’d feel like you’re lost.” The Syrian Civil War started two and a half years ago when protestors took to the streets in opposition to the Baathist regime of longtime ruler Bashar AlAssad. The Baathist ideology that characterized the regime placed it at odds with both the liberal values of the Arab Spring protestors who dominated the early movement, and conservative


Last March, Raqqa, Syria was the site of a battle between Syrian government forces and opposition forces under the Qaeda-linked Nusra front that left at least 140 dead and many more injured. Previously, however, the 2200-yearold city was home to some 220,000 people, including freshman Sarah Alsuleiman and her family. Alsuleiman’s family has been in the United States for about a year, but before that her family was living in Damascus amid growing violence, having fled Raqqa for the relative safety of the capital. “Because of the conflict, we started moving a lot. We didn’t know where to go,” Alsuleiman said. Even in Damascus, however, violence was an ever-present part of life.


I used to say ‘Mom, stay away from that car, I think it’s gonna explode.’ It was a disaster. Sarah Alsuleiman Westside high school freshman

Islamist militant groups such as Al-Nusra — many of them foreign in origin — that have become increasingly important in the conflict. “Mostly the rebels are from outside [Syria],” Alsuleiman said. “Some of them are from Lebanon and other countries — they weren’t Syrian.” The majority of the Free Syrian Army is composed of Syrians. It is a large organization, however, composed of many different factions of differing ideologies, and foreign militant groups are becoming increasingly important within the opposition movement. Most of these outfits are adherents of a conservative continued on page 2

OMAhA MARATHON Westside coaches do more than talk a good game By EMMA JOHANNINGSMEIER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Social studies instructor and cross-country coach Derek Fey runs in the Omaha Marathon Sunday, Sept. 22. Fey, who ran for Westside and then Dana College, won the marathon with a time of 2:35:53. Photo courtesy of Derek Fey

For a lot of people, the thought of running a mile or two is painful. Try 26.2 miles. Better yet, try 26.2 at a 5:52 per mile pace. Sound impossible? For most of us, it is. Boys cross-country coach Derek Fey, though, is not most of us. After he got up at 5 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, he made sure his jersey had a number on it and checked that he had the right shoes. Then he ate a CLIF bar, grabbed some water and drove the half hour from his house to downtown. It was 5:45. Half an hour later, he went for a mile jog with a few friends he met up with. Then, he was ready. The Omaha Marathon started at 7 a.m. by TD Ameritrade Park, and took the 859 marathon entrants north through north Omaha to 28th and Reynolds, then southeast along the Missouri River trail, then along the west shore of Carter Lake, then all the way back again. At a 5:45 pace that he said eventually climbed up to an average of 5:49 for the first 13 miles, Fey started off in the lead. As time went on, he alone moved further and further ahead — making this marathon an experience unlike any of his previous ones. It felt like a hard solo training run. Fey let his mind wander to other things as he ran. Sometimes he listened to the encouragements of a biker who was behind him. Sometimes, he focused on a police motorcycle ahead of him. Other times, he thought of a baby girl named Monty. A week before the marathon, Fey had been

matched with Monty through an organization called I RUN 4, whose purpose is to match runners with kids who can’t walk. Only half of Monty’s heart developed. She was a month old when Fey met her the Sunday before the race. He told her parents he was dedicating this marathon, his last, to their daughter. Two days later, she died. “I had written on my hand ‘Run for Monty,’” Fey said. “There were points during the race — especially like [mile] 15, 16 — I was kind of mentally struggling a bit, and I’d look down at my wrist and say, ‘Okay, you’ve got to keep moving.’ I was in the lead, and thoughts get in your head that you’re going to get caught — ‘Oh, god, you’ve still got 10 miles to go.’ I remember thinking at 16 miles, ‘Ten miles to go. Ten miles to go, and you’re still in the lead — just keep on pressing.’ I’d look at my wrist every once in a while and be like, ‘Okay.’” As Fey pushed on in the lead, girls crosscountry coach Theresa Gosnell pushed on not too far behind, running at a pace a little over seven minutes per mile. She couldn’t see any other women ahead of her. Then, around mile 11, she started hearing people say she was the second woman, but not knowing how far ahead the first woman was, she didn’t know if she should try to catch her. She never did catch her, but she didn’t get passed by any female runners, either. If Gosnell hadn’t been running, she would have been at the water station at mile 6, which was mile 20 on the way back. As it was, even in the intensity of being 80 percent done with a marathon, neither she nor Fey could miss a water station staffed by cheering Westside cross-country runners. continued on page 2

2 Oct. 11, 2013


SYRIA: relatives still trapped in war zone continued from page 1 interpretation of Islam known as Salafism, which is often at odds with the Western values of the secular liberals who spawned the movement. Because of this, many are concerned that even if the rebels do emerge victorious, there will still be more fighting ahead. “My mom says when I hear her talking to [my] dad that it will take at least five more years for things to calm down,” Alsuleiman said. This is particularly concerning for Alsuleiman, despite her immediate family’s escape to the United States, as many of her close relatives remain in Syria. “The worst thing about [leaving] is that [I left] my aunts and my cousins there,” Alsuleiman said. “They are in the war. They’re still there. That’s the worst part — that you leave them behind, and you move on.” These concerns would be understandable even if there were no specific reason to believe her family was vulnerable. However, one of her aunts is a former government minister, which puts her family particularly at risk — even though she was head of the seemingly uncontroversial Ministry of Tourism. In fact, because of her aunt’s position in the government, Alsuleiman’s uncle was kidnapped earlier this year and held for ransom. “The rebels tried to track down [my aunt’s] relatives and made a list of her close ones,” Alsuleiman said. “When my uncle tried to go to Turkey, they were at the gate and noticed him — so they kidnapped him. They just took him, and we never heard from him for like a week. Then, they told us that they wanted money for him.” Despite her family’s past involvement with the government, Alsuleiman and her family are largely neutral in the conflict. “We’re not against the government, or with it, because they’re both bad,” Alsuleiman said. “Both sides are killing innocent people.” Many Syrians find themselves in a similarly desperate position, caught in the crossfire of a conflict they have no real stake in. “At first [many Syrians] were against the government because it wasn’t that dangerous, but then it turned really serious and dangerous, and people just didn’t want that anymore,” Alsuleiman said. Unfortunately, getting out of the country is difficult for those caught in the crossfire of the conflict. While Alsuleiman and her family are American citizens, and were therefore able to get out easily, many of her relatives have had much more trouble. “They went to Turkey, but it was super expensive, and they didn’t have any documents to stay there, and so they moved back to Syria again,” Alsuleiman said. Now trapped in Syria more or less indefinitely, Alsuleiman’s relatives are taking every precaution to avoid the violence. “We just called [our relatives], and it’s really bad there, but they said … it’s going to be okay,” Alsuleiman said. “My dad’s family is moving a lot between cities — the safest places to stay where there’s not shooting. My mom’s family is traveling to many places too.” The contrast between the Syria she called home and the violent landscape of destruction that now regularly graces the evening news is a stark one for Alsuleiman. “I remember me and my family would go out and have fun and stay out until 4 a.m., and then we’d walk home,” Alsuleiman said. “I would go out every day and I was pretty safe. We were all together, and we had nice warm dinners and stuff, but then it’s just gone, everything is done. They took our house, our car — we left with nothing. They stole every single thing.” As difficult as it was to leave her life behind, living with the violence was far harder. “One day you’re good and safe and with your family, and then the other, someone’s missing,” Alsuleiman said. “I know people who died. Not necessarily from my family, but friends. A lot of people died, and that was devastating.” The violence and destruction were an almost constant presence in Damascus before Alsuleiman left for the United States. “We were living with my aunt because our house was taken,” Alsuleiman said. “The worst thing about it was when suddenly you’d hear a bomb or something. It’s really scary, you don’t know [what’s going on], and people just start running and screaming. You just feel scared, and insecure.” In spite of it all, Alsuleiman’s family still hopes to return one day.

MARATHON: coaches’ running forges connection continued from page 1 The girls cross-country team has run a water station at the marathon for the past five or six years, but this year, since he was running the race, Fey thought the boys should volunteer too, so volunteers from the boys and girls teams worked together, along with assistant girls coach Lacey Batt and others. They learned the correct way to hold out a cup — at the bottom, so a runner can grab the middle easily — and shouted out “Gatorade” or “water” to indicate to runners what they were holding. Some held out bananas and oranges, and some picked up the empty cups discarded by runners. “I thought they [the runners] would kind of be in their zone, but a lot of people stopped and said thank you,” senior Jordan Wheeler said. “It kind of makes you feel good when you know you’re helping out the running community in Omaha.” For Wheeler, Westside’s top male runner, the best part was running a half mile with Fey. Mile 20 is where marathon runners typically start falling off their pace, but when Fey went by on his way back, Wheeler and sophomore Jakob Phillips, also a varsity runner, started running with him to keep him going. “He seemed really out of it by then — he wasn’t making much sense in what he was saying,” Wheeler said. “He kept asking, ‘Two?’ and I didn’t know what he meant, but then I realized he meant, ‘Where’s the second person at?’” A few minutes away from the water station, Fey realized this was probably illegal pacing, so he told the boys they had to leave, but he said having them there even for a short time was encouraging. Six miles later, Fey, who plans to run only nonmarathon races from now on, was finished. With a time of 2:35:53, he won his last marathon, with a seven-minute gap behind him. A little under half an hour later, at 3:04:08, Gosnell crossed the finish line, only two and a half minutes behind the first woman, and 11 minutes ahead of the third. She was 20th overall. “After you’re done running, you just have no energy whatsoever,” Gosnell said. “I couldn’t walk to get food, so thankfully my husband was there to go get me some chocolate milk. I forgot how tiring it was right after you get done with a marathon. But I was just happy with my time, and to have finished another marathon.” Gosnell had decided she wanted to do another marathon after she turned 40 recently, but the idea of she and Fey running the Omaha Marathon in particular was born in a conversation at a crosscountry meet last year. “I know we had always done the water station in the past, and I thought, ‘Maybe it would be neat for the girls to see me actually running, as well,’” Gosnell said. In a lucky coincidence, Westside has crosscountry coaches who were both excellent runners in high school — Gosnell won state in at least one track event all four years, then ran for Nebraska, and Fey was a star at Westside, and ran at Dana College. But it’s the fact that they’ve both continued running as a hobby and as a competitive sport that has strengthened their connection with their high school runners. “They’re very aware that I train, and they draw off that, I think,” Fey said. “I mean, they talk about

it with me — ‘So when’s your next race?’ — that type of thing. ‘What’s the marathon going to be like? How’s your training going?’ It’s pretty cool — there’s definitely a communication and an understanding between all of us that we’re all runners and we all go through the same thing.” When asked if their runners inspired them, Fey and Gosnell both used the word “absolutely.” Still, Gosnell emphasized that her love of running and the things she wants to pass on to the girls she coaches go beyond competition. “It’s a lifelong habit that makes me feel good about myself,” Gosnell said. “They’re definitely training and getting ready for the race, yet in the long run I want them to know it’s a lifelong habit.” Gosnell loves when team members who have graduated come back and tell her they’re still running, and Fey’s running has inspired some of the boys — including Wheeler — to want to run a marathon someday. And Wheeler said besides just inspiring the high-school runners, Fey and Gosnell, by showing they themselves can run, have gained credibility as coaches. “I think [Fey’s running] shows that he does really know what he’s talking about — that when he tells us how to train, he tells us how to train correctly,” Wheeler said. “It’s not just him saying that — it’s him saying that, and then him showing how it works. He’s not just lying to us when he says this is the correct way to train. “Obviously it is, if he won a marathon.”

Cross-country coach Derek Fey crosses the finish line of the Omaha marathon. The finish line was outside of TD Ameritrade Park, but runners had to do a lap around the inside of the park before exiting and coming to the finish line, which Fey said was discouraging. Photo courtesy of Derek Fey



oct. 11, 2013 3

Intruder alert program aims to save lives BY NATA WARD Feature Editor Lock the doors. The first thing you are told to do in an inside emergency is get to a secure location. Teachers will close the blinds, turn off the lights and take care of things as necessary. Hide under a desk or somewhere out of sight, and stay quiet. You aren’t there. Stay calm. Follow directions. Make good decisions. Those are the three most important things during a crisis, according to Assistant Principal Jeff Wagner, who oversees the intruder alert drills. The three points are good to keep in mind in any emergency situation. Not only will they keep you safe, but they will also set an example for those around you. Although no one ever wants a situation such as a school shooting to come about, it does happen. Names like Columbine and Jonesboro are a constant reminder about the tragedies that could be. In Omaha, there was the 2007 shooting at Von Maur, as well as the student who opened fire at Millard South two years ago. And they keep happening: Sandy Hook in 2012 and the Washington Naval Yard barely a month ago. Last September, a student brought two guns to Westside hidden in his backpack, but fortunately was stopped before he could use them. Active shooter events are not just tales around the campfire. They are a terror of modern life, one that schools must prepare for. Assistant Principal Jeff Wagner has watched the drills the school does in precaution for intruder alerts from aerial cameras. He describes watching the 2000-plus people hunker down into their

hiding places as the school turns into a ghost town in only a few minutes. “Research shows that in most of these incidents, what [you should do] is create a time barrier between the initial onset of the incident and when law enforcement arrives,” Wagner said. “So by locking doors, barricading doors, lights off, out of sight, basically you are removing any kind of easy, accessible targets from the situation.” Students and staff follow procedures very well during drills. The alarm is a metronome to the actions of the people inside, “We have an inside emergency.” Although the majority of students agree that following orders is most important in a crisis like a school shooting, there are still debates on to what degree students should be able to think for themselves. For example, a startling number of students are not sure what to do if they were in the hall or on their own during an intruder alert. The ALICE program, an additional option for dealing with inside emergencies, supports taking the initiative, whether that means evacuating the building, taking a stand against the shooter yourself, or making another judgment call. It attempts to empower people into taking responsibility for themselves during an emergency. Developed by Greg and Lisa Crane in 2001, the ALICE program is built on five courses of action: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Contact and Evacuate. The parts are meant as options, not as steps. It’s a fluid system that helps people to know they have choices during a crisis. “There’s a reason in [active shooter] events why we see casualty numbers that are just so high,” Greg Crane said. “In my opinion, it’s not because [the shooters] are such excellent shots, it’s because the targets are too easy.”



by locking doors, barricading doors, lights off, out of sight, basically you are removing any kind of easy, accessible taegets from the situation. JEFF WAGNER ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL

ALICE fights static systems, like the ones implemented at Columbine High School 14 years ago, that don’t allow for improvisation and spur-of-themoment decisions that could potentially save lives. “[During the Columbine shooting] you had 54 high school students that sat in that library for almost five minutes before Harris and Klebold entered,” Greg Crane said. “And [Harris and Klebold] shot 22 out of the 54 and killed 10 of the 22 that they shot. They had a door out of that room that took them outside of the building. The question I have is: Why did they sit there for over four and a half minutes? Well, they sat there because that’s what the policy said to do.” Times have changed since the April 20, 1999 shooting, but situations like this still raise the same question: are we prepared if a disaster like this happened at our school? “I’ve been doing [intruder alert drills] since elementary school,” junior Cherri Haynes said. “I can stay calm. It’s like follow the leader, and I can play that game.” Some students are confident like Haynes, but others express concerns. The judgment calls that the ALICE program promotes could potentially put people in danger, and there is also the issue about if we could trust everyone to make the right decision under stress. “[A crisis can be compared to] a fight on the landing — some students get very agitated, very riled up, and can’t think clearly themselves,” Wagner said. “Others, they can think clearly in that situation and go the other way. Every person is different, and unfortunately, you can do all the drills you want to do but you’re never going to imitate a real situation.” Wagner has reviewed the ALICE program before, as well as other new techniques. Some parts he agrees with and some are already implemented at Westside. For example, teachers are allowed to barricade doors if they think the situation calls for it. “It’s difficult because in a true situation, there’s going to be a lot of panic,” Wagner said. “There’s no one best answer in any of the situations. I don’t care what program you are looking at — they’re not going to have all of the answers for every situation.”


FACTS 10 the youngest age considered for training in the ALICE program

387 shootings in US schools since 1992

1 the number of shooters (per shooting) involved in the two worst shootings

31 school shootings since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999

At-school intoxication continues, despite consequences By Phoebe Placzek news editor Nine out of ten. That’s how many students said classmates are using drugs, drinking, or smoking during the school day, according to the National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse in 2012. According to school resource officer Todd Crnkovich, there is a bigger problem with drugs than with drinking at Westside. “I don’t think it’s causing a lot of problems, but it does when kids bring marijuana to school,” Crnkovich said. Intoxication at school is not happening only at Westside. According to Assistant Principal Trudi Nolin, schools in the Omaha Metro share the same concerns and have made policies such as only allowing clear water bottles into school, but Westside has no specific policies to prevent intoxication. “Our biggest thing here are the relationships with students and that students are comfortable enough to report it,” Nolin said. According to Nolin, students who report their peers are one of the main resources Westside has to catch students intoxicated at school. The consequences range from receiving a ticket to having mods assigned to being suspended to other punishments, depending on the situation. Nolin said parents are always notified, and the chemical dependency counselor will help. Administrators search their lockers and backpacks, according to Nolin, but, according to a student who drinks at school up to five times a month, students are too clever to get caught. “I think that most kids are just too sneaky,” said Joseph*, a sophomore. Joseph said he is relatively safe and carries his marijuana in scent-proof containers, which seal Students come to school intoxicated. School resource officer Todd Crnkovich in any odor that is suspicious. He claims he was said Westside has more cases of marijuana use than alcohol use. Photo by Sarah searched by getting his phone and laptop swabbed, Lemke and the test came out positive, yet he did not receive

major consequences. Alex, a junior, claims joints are being brought to school inside a hollowed-out marker or highlighter. Alex slept on his desk without teachers suspecting anything. He was sent into the dean’s office for being accused of stealing physics equipment, and was searched but not ticketed. Alex and his friends smoked marijuana before school often for a period of six months. They knew it was risky, but they still continued to show up to homeroom intoxicated every day. There have been incidents last year when students have been caught on school grounds smoking. The 2012 survey reveals from research that more than half of high school students (52%) say that there is a place on or near school grounds where students go to use drugs, drink and smoke during the school day. Alex claimed that he smoked weed to make things more fun, like before going to the movies or the pool with his friends. However, teens like Alex have also experienced negative results. Alex stopped because it made him extremely tired and distracted. “You focus on getting high, or not being noticeable about it, or sleeping, or eating,” Alex said. He claims he did not want to take the risk of interfering with a successful future. Joseph would come to school intoxicated to make the day go by faster. “I personally like working on school high,” Joseph said. He doesn’t like coming to school drunk because it affects his academics negatively, but getting high he says doesn’t affect him at all. Joseph thinks that Westside does a good job monitoring. Alex also doesn’t believe the surveillance should be heavier. “I don’t think that Westside could really improve their monitoring without making kids uncomfortable,” Alex said. * names changed for anonymity

4 Oct. 11, 2013



American Libraries Association spreads information about censorship By Kellie Wasikowski Design Editor

To Kill A Mockingbird is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel in the sophomore English curriculum that resonates with many readers. Most students who have read the book would agree it provides a historical understanding of racial segregation in the South, and how the United States has changed since then. But each year, the book is challenged by parents around the country who think the content — specifically the use of the N-word and racist elements in the book — is inappropriate to be taught in schools. Many schools around the country have a stricter curriculum in their English department than Westside, limiting what books students are able to read in the classroom. Every year, the American Libraries Association honors a week in September as “Banned Books Week,” intending to celebrate the freedom to read, and to expose the harms of censorship both within the classroom and outside of it. This year, it was held the week of Sept. 22-28. Westside High School librarian Carrie Turner thinks it is important to understand the difference between a banned and a “challenged” book. A challenged book is one that has been criticized by a parent or someone else, but a book is not truly banned until it is pulled from the shelves. Books are most often challenged in schools to provide a type of censorship that certain people feel is necessary to protect students from being exposed to certain subjects. While challenging books is often seen to be infringement on people’s right to information, Turner recalls an instance in recent years within the district when a book was pulled to protect a population’s religious views. “A few years ago Westside pulled a book from the elementaries,” Turner said. “The reason that they did it was because there was a depiction — a picture of Mohammed in it — and that is against the [Islamic religion] to have a picture of Mohammed, so it was appropriate to pull it.” While this instance of pulling the book from the elementary schools was one that upheld religious acceptance, there are also picture books

being challenged each year that are supposed to introduce to children the importance of tolerance. “One of the funniest ones that I see challenged on a yearly basis is And Tango Makes Three,” Turner said. “It’s an elementary picture book, and it is a true story about two male penguins in the New York City zoo who saw all of the penguins around them pairing up male-female to mate, but they paired up male-male. Everybody else was having eggs, but they didn’t have an egg to care for, so the zookeeper gave them an egg and they hatched it and raised a baby penguin. It’s an elementary book, and it is challenged every year because people don’t care for the homosexuality themes. This is a true story that occurs in nature. I mean, what, are you going to object to two penguins being gay? Who cares?” While And Tango makes Three is an example of a children’s book challenged frequently, Turner thinks there are characteristics of books that are challenged on each level. “At the elementary level, homosexuality is challenged frequently,” Turner said. “At the high school level, it’s more about language and sex.” The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an example of a book that is often challenged because of the use of the N-word. In fact, someone rewrote the book. The rewritten version, called “the new Southern text,” removed the N-word and replaced it with the word “slave,” with the intention of making it more appropriate for readers. The book takes place in the South before the civil war, and it is about an entire community — particularly a father — who is very racist. English instructor Eric Sayre wanted to introduce Huckleberry Finn into the Honors American Literature curriculum for the 2014 school year, and it is going to be replacing The Awakening. Sayre thinks it is vital to have books in the curriculums that students can relate to and understand. “I think it’s an important book that deals with issues we are still overcoming today,” Sayre said. “And overcoming the prejudices that we are often born into. When we grow up in a home, we naturally acquire the belief systems of our parents. We hit a certain age, and sometimes we begin to question those beliefs, and understand that par-

ents aren’t always 100% right.” Because Huckleberry Finn’s main character is a young adult, Sayre thinks this will allow high school students to connect with and understand the historical reality in a way that will foster new discussions and stimulate personal thinking. He also thinks the willingness of some people to censor reading materials infringes on students’ ability to really understand the history of certain populations or cultures. “It is such an important book,” Sayre said. It really does teach us about our history and about our past, and it makes us reevaluate ourselves and what we believe in.” Westside junior and novel society member Alice Zhang thinks it is important for students to have access to all types of books, because she thinks it will help to settle certain curiosities students may have. “I think they are good things to know, because eventually we are going to need to find that out,” Zhang said. “So it’s better when we are able to understand them in a controlled environment and are able to have people explain things to us.” Zhang also thinks censorship hinders a person’s ability to make decisions for him- or herself, which, in high school, is important for students to be able to do. “I feel like all kinds of literature should be available to students,” Zhang said. “If they don’t want to read it, they don’t have to. But that decision should be up to them.”

Many books in the Westside English curriculum have been challenged consistently. These are familiar titles to students , and themes such as sex and the use of swear words are challenged the most. Photo by Ally Stark

Questions surround new smoking device BY CAMILE MESSERLeY PHOTO STAFF There has been only one incident with them, there are no formal policies against them yet, and they are growing in popularity. Hookah pens, otherwise known as e-hookahs, have been lying low. Hookah pens come in a colorful, disposable package stating the flavor of the pen, which can range from cinnamon to blueberry. “They don’t seem or look as bad as cigarettes or marijuana,” said John*, a junior.

John sees many advantages to the portable hookahs. “They don’t smell bad, so you can do them inside,” John said. “People feel like smoking is cool. They look cool, they smell fruity, and they taste good.” These pens appeal to the sight, and also in a way similar to cigarettes. They contain a small amount of nicotine. The nicotine in hookah pens does make them illegal for usage by minors. If there is no nicotine in the pen then it becomes legal to smoke. Most “smoke” shops, though, won’t sell the pens to minors even if they don’t contain nicotine. This mix of legalities has formed somewhat of a gray area when it comes to their usage. This has recently carried over into school. Because of

the pen’s small size it’s possible keep one in a pocket, a purse or a backpack. “First of all we don’t know a lot about the pens, and it looks like a cigarette,” Principal Maryanne Ricketts said. “And what they’re breathing in and out probably shouldn’t be here in school. We have had one incident that was reported to us by a student thinking that students were smoking marijuana. So, we dealt with it immediately.” There has been only one incident recorded, and no policy or rule has been set in place. This does not mean that hookah pens are allowed to be used during school, however. *name changed for anonymity



oct. 11, 2013 5

3D printer gives students a taste of future By Aren Rendell Editor-in-Chief A layer of plastic in the shape of a Nebraska “N” appears on the LED-lit platform as a small box speeds around, layering a clear, hot glue-like substance. The platform is glass and is in the center of a machine straight out of a sci-fi movie. It is black and the size of a large microwave with the platform in the center, exposed by an opening the size of a microwave door on the front. On the bottom right sits the words “MakerBot Replicator 2.” The machine works, and engineering and technology instructor Paul Cross takes me to look at plastic objects made with the device. Ten minutes later we return, and on the platform is an eighthof-an-inch thick Nebraska logo with a hole to attach it to a keychain. The machine is a 3D printer. At the end of the summer, the engineering and technology department bought the high-tech apparatus along with a laser engraver. Cross said the department knew they needed the equipment because students were having to build makeshift parts for robots and other electronic devices out of duct tape, or cardboard or with a hot glue gun. Now, with the two machines, students are able to build necessary parts. To make an object with the 3D printer, students draw a design on Google Sketch, then transfer it into an .STL file format. This allows for 3D designs. STL stands for stereolithography, the fancy term for 3D printing. Once it is in the file format, it can be transferred to the printer which does the rest. For the laser engraver, students must use a computer running Windows XP to access a program that allows them to choose what to engrave or cut. Then, in minutes — six to engrave a Westside logo the size of tennis ball — the laser can put an image on a block of wood, piece of plastic or even metals like aluminum. The engraver can also be used to cut through materials. For Cross, the two machines have created huge potential. “I think it really makes it easy for the kids in our class to have an idea and to create something, and I think that is one of the neatest things to do — to have lesson plans for lessons or parts of what-

ever class you are in, and you have something to take home after that class is done,” Cross said. Since the mechanisms are so new, students are only allowed to use the mechanisms under close supervision of a engineering teacher. The teachers want to be sure the printer and engraver are used in a safe manner. As has been mentioned in major news in the past year, especially after the gun control debates that followed the Newtown, CT massacre, 3D printers can be used to make gun parts and could potentially be used to build other dangerous parts. Cross wants to be sure there is a system in place for teachers to check everything being printed. He hopes to allow his students to use the printer and engraver more freely in the second semester of the school year, if not earlier. For students who aren’t involved in robotics or other engineering and technology classes or clubs, 3D printing may not be a major part of life today, but the cost of 3D printers is tumbling. They used

to be more than $10,000, but the engineering and technology department printer cost around $2,000. With prices in this range, the printers are expected to move into the American home. “In the future, this could become a household product,” Jenkins said. “It could be like a hand drill, as useful as that. You’d have one out in the garage, and if you broke something you’d just go out to your garage, your 3D printer. You’d find a replacement part and have your 3D printer print it out.” Senior Caleb Jenkins, a member of the Robotics Club who was able to print a part for a robot, believes the 3D printer will help students learn in a new way. “It definitely opens up creative thinking a lot because you can think up something, and then make that — absolutely what you needed,” Jenkins said. “You don’t have to cobble anything together. You don’t have to compromise by using inferior parts. You can make something that you need.”

Engineering and technology instructor Paul Cross demonstrates how to use a 3D printer. As the price decreases, 3D printers could soon become a household product. Photo by Jakob Phillips

2013 GRADUATES: Where are they now? By Grace Fogland Feature Editor

Top: Hannah Battafarano studying with friends, Right: Hannah picking flowers in a field. Photos courtesy of Hannah Battafarano

On Aug. 30, the late-summer weather in Minnesota was beautiful. Hannah Battafarano, a 2013 Westside graduate, walked to her dorm accompanied by her parents and two of her sisters. The campus path was filled with hundreds of trees, all with leaves starting to change to vibrant oranges and reds. They helped her organize her room, and they met her roommate. After they left, Battafarano immediately felt homesick. With three brothers, three sisters, her parents and pets back in Omaha, it’s difficult for her not to see them everyday. “It’s hard to not have that family support,” Battafarano said. “It’s great to be able to goof around and not feel self-conscious about it.” Hannah’s brother, sophomore Ben Battafarano, misses his sister’s comforting presence and even the usual sibling fights. “What I miss most about Hannah is her incredible ability to listen to others’ complaints and problems,” Ben said. “She was always there to share her insight for everyone, not just me.” Hannah’s bubbly and compassionate personality is perfect for her future line of work. At St. Olaf, she is majoring in English, biology and pre-med. “Because St. Olaf is a liberal arts school, there is a large variety of academics offered, and all of them are very strong, which is important to me,” Hannah said. “There’s a really warm community feel to it and it’s a beautiful area.” The classes she has to take to triple-major keep her busy, giving her five to six hours of homework each night. After college, she plans to join the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders. “My family is really oriented towards service,” Hannah said. “My dad is a doctor and he works

with a couple of non-profit organizations in Omaha. Volunteer work is something I’ve always enjoyed — service is very important to me.” In Minnesota, Hannah volunteers at a local high school where she works with kids who have autism. She is involved in a lot of extracurricular activities at St. Olaf, including choir and neuroscience club. Hannah also works in the music library at the college’s music building. “It’s definitely a lot of work to balance everything,” Hannah said. “There’s lots of learning the material on my own, but I’m very interested in everything I’m studying and the information is really neat. I’m feeling more in the groove of things now after a month of adjusting.” Ben believes his sister will have no problem getting used to the difficulties of college. Her drive to succeed will help her with anything she wants to do in the future. “She always works hard to fulfill every aspect of her life,” Ben said. “No matter what it is, she never lets herself settle for something below perfection.” When Hannah needs to take a break from her busy schedule, she walks in a tranquil area on the campus deemed the “Natural Land” by the students of St. Olaf, which is surrounded by prairie grass. There is a lake in the area that she frequently visits when she needs to be in solitude. Sometimes she becomes nostalgic and thinks about high school. The biggest things she misses are her teachers and the band community. When Hannah is there, she feels disconnected from the rest of the world. “It’s tough because you have to maintain a broad world perspective while being in a small, closed-in campus atmosphere,” Hannah said. “The one good thing about it is that I can focus on building myself.”

6 Oct. 11, 2013 the



The Lance is a schoolsponsored publication of Westside High School, Westside Community Schools, 8701 Pacific St., Omaha, NE 68144. The Lance office is located in room 251. Phone: (402) 3432650. The Lance is an in-house publication. The paper is distributed every month to all students, except in vacation periods. Subscription rates to others are $25 prepaid. The Lance is printed by White Wolf Web, in Sheldon, IA. Advertising rates are available upon request. The Lance editorial staff reserves the right to edit all ads for clarity and grammatical errors. The editorial staff reserves the right not to publish any ads that are libelous or that contain nonfactual information. The Lance editorial staff also reserves the right to nullify contracts at any time without prior notification. The Lance also refuses ads that promote activities illegal to a majority of the student readership. Reader response is welcomed in the form of letters to the editor. Letters should be less than 300 words, signed by the author and sent to room 251. Names may be withheld upon special request. Lance editors will decide whether to honor such requests. The Lance editorial staff reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and grammatical errors. The editorial staff also reserves the right to not publish any letters that are libelous or that contain non-factual information. The Lance is a member of the Nebraska High School Press Association, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the National Scholastic Press Association and the Quill & Scroll Society. The Lance staff recognizes that the administration of Westside Community Schools controls the curriculum and, thus, sets the parameters of the production process of school publications. The Lance staff also recognizes its own responsibilities to inform, enlighten and entertain its readers in a way that reflects high standards of journalism, morals and ethics. Editors-in-Chief Emma Johanningsmeier, Aren Rendell; Managing Editors Estella Fox, Tom Schueneman; Business Manager Tom Huerter; Design Editors Allie Laing, Kellie Wasikowki; News Editors Connor Flairty, Phoebe Placzek; Opinion Editor Elise Tucker; Feature Editors Grace Fogland, Nata Ward; Sports Editor Tim Graves; Arts & Entertainment Editor Jace Wieseler; Copy Editor Lia Hagen; Staff Writers James Buckley, Abby Coen-Taylor, Jack Cohen, Tom Huerter, Owen Rush; Photo Editors Sarah Lemke, Ally Stark; Photo Staff Camile Messerley; Adviser Jerred Zegelis.

Photo by Camile Messerley


Bringing last night’s party to school

It’s no secret: teenagers like to party. Sometimes at those parties, teenagers become intoxicated. That can include drinking alcohol or using drugs, most commonly marijuana. What you do at a party is your own business, but nobody wants to see you bring the party to school. We’re all familiar with the AlcoBlows used at school events, like the home football games and dances. Sometimes, it’s offending when the deans have to assume you might have been drinking. It’s unfortunate that other people’s decisions affect the students that don’t use illegal substances in school. The national average age for teens to start drinking is a few months over 12 years old. According to Jim Stimpson, PhD at UNMC, Nebraska ranks fifth among youth alcohol consumption. It’s not anything new that teens are under the influence sometimes, but why do some teens think it would be “fun” or “cool” to bring drugs or alcohol to school? It’s disturbing to the other students when they’re trying to take a math test and they see a student acting out from being under the influence. It’s not just alcohol that’s used in school. Marijuana is another commonly used substance during school hours. The Hill, located by Countryside Village, is a place for students to go during school to smoke cigarettes and marijuana. According to NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse) for Teens, 6.5% of high school seniors reported using marijuana on a daily basis in 2012, compared to 5.1% in 2007. Susan Schlegel, the drug and alcohol counselor at Westside, thinks

What do you think of

marijuana may be more commonly used by teens because it is seen as more acceptable. “For a lot of young people, marijuana is easily available,” Schlegel said. “To some people, drugs and alcohol are seen as a more acceptable drug to start with.” At school, this shouldn’t be seen as anything acceptable. It is distracting to the person intoxicated and everyone around them when someone is high at school. The use of marijuana has a negative effect on your memory and ability to pay attention. The same NIDA study said students who smoke marijuana tend to get lower grades and are more likely to drop out of school than their peers. Besides the fact that being intoxicated in public is illegal, there are some moral consequences that come with it. “Sometimes you will get put in a situation where you feel pressured to take drugs or alcohol,” Schlegel said. “The easiest thing to do if you don’t want it would be to say no, but the question to always ask yourself is why you’re saying yes.” Schlegel advised students who know of others participating in this behavior during school to contact her. “Everything someone reports to me is confidential,” Schlegel said. “I will respect your confidentiality, and I will give you resources in the community. During a chemical drug evaluation test, I am the one that gets the results, not the school.”

TEEN Trick-or-treating?

Not acceptable. Teens are old enough to buy their own candy.

Stuart Willett

I think it’s acceptable because Halloween shouldn’t just be for little kids.


Teigen Swanson


Absolutely, teens like candy and to dress up in funky costumes.


Ryleigh Kaiser

I’m not comfortable handing out candy to random teens — it’s a little weird. Elizabeth Leach teacher


oct. 11, 2013 7


worth the work? That Pre-Calc Honors test yesterday was rough. I have to check Powerschool immediately. I speed through the login process and click on the class as fast as my computer will allow. I scroll down to the bottom to see I have somehow received a D+ on my test. The crushing feeling sets in. Glancing across the IMC table, I see the person next to TOMMY HUERTER me carefully putting their regular STAFF WRITER Pre-Calc test away with “A+” written across the top in red pen. Not to denounce the credibility of regular classes, but the horrible feeling of working as hard as you can in a class and receiving a bad grade is not something anyone wants. Honors classes have been stressing out students for decades. Honors student has asked the question “Is it really worth it?” It is nothing short of absolutely frustrating to work as hard as you can at a class and receive a B or C. As an honors student, dropping down from all honors courses to regular sounds like paradise to me. Unfortunately, colleges will look closely at this. If I want to get into a good college, I have to take all honors courses and receive an A in each class. If I don’t get into a good college, I will never get a good job, I will fail at life, and I will never make any money. Or at least that’s what they tell me. Westside High School guidance counselor Lisa Hatch said getting a B or a C in an honors class rather than an A in regular class is a good idea. “Go for the honors class,” Hatch said. Honors classes are usually just faster versions of the regular classes. Information is expected to be absorbed in a shorter period of time. Honors and regular students are receiving the same information, but honors students are just learning it in a more challenging way. Let’s face it: taking the honors route all through high school is tough. The stress never leaves. Spending hours and hours working on a class to receive only a marginal grade is nonsense. A student who works hard should receive a good grade, and if getting a good grade requires fewer honors classes, then take fewer honors classes. At this point, you have probably decided that I am a resentful honors student who is stressed out and is being forced to take honors classes by his parents. You are half right. I am stressed out, but my parents do not force me to take honors classes. I take honors classes because I feel they are a good idea for me. I do not feel completely overworked, and my grades in honors classes aren’t bad as of yet, so I think it is a good idea for me to remain in them. If all does not go according to my plan and my honors grades begin to falter, I will accept defeat. I will make my move up to the guidance office and inform my counselor that I think I need to drop down, something I hope to avoid. The honors classes I have encountered in my high school career so far have all been challenging. Though I may have not liked it in the moment, I have yet to regret taking an honors class. They have all helped me become a better student in the long run. I do believe that honors classes have helped me develop a stronger work ethic. I am happy to say that I have been able to persevere through each of them and come out with a grade I am proud of. So in my opinion, I would advise you to test the waters and try your hardest at honors classes. If it doesn’t work out, dropping down is always an option. Long story short, don’t fear the honors class; embrace it as a new experience.

PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION: pleasant or revolting?

You’re walking down the hallway on your way to third mod, and you see a couple in the hallway holding hands and being affectionate. Do you think it’s disgusting and vile, or is it cute and normal to show public displays of affection (PDA)?

I think it’s cute PDA is a common event in the hallways of Westside High School. Some people think PDA is a bad thing. But I think PDA can be a good thing when it is done in moderation. Subtle gestures, like holding hands in the hallway and Owen Rush kisses goodbye are fine in school. Kissing is a great reminder to Staff Writer your significant other that you care about them. Most students are against PDA at all times. I disagree though. When you are hugging, kissing and hold hands with your boyfriend or girlfriend, it lets them know that you aren’t afraid of showing other people your love for that person. It shows that you are confident and proud of your significant other. PDA can make a statement to people when they see you in the hallways; it shows that you are committed and not afraid to show it.

I think it’s gross


I’m against PDA. Witnessing PDA in the hallways can be an uncomfortable experience for many students and being in a group where some of the people are being overly affectionate can cause unpleasant situations. If you’re walking down the hall with two friends who are dating and being touchy, you would probably rather be with friends who were being more in-

clusive. This situation is also uncomfortable for the bystander. Walking by and having to witness a couple’s 10 second moment of deep intimacy can be very startling and unnecessary. PDA is a negative externality that most people find revolting, and not something that students should have to stare at in the halls. If you wouldn’t do it in front of your mom, don’t do it front of other people.

PDA is not a problem when done in moderation. We all know people who look like they’re in a hip hop music video, grinding and making out in the hallways, but most PDA isn’t like that. Light kisses, hugs, holding hands and “I love you”’s on the way to class are cute and don’t hurt anyone. It is those kind of couples that people love to see in the hallway because it is heart warming to see people be affectionate for each other. Who doesn’t love a cute couple just like in the movies?

Unfortunately, hand holding and hugs aren’t the extent of the PDA that happens in the hallways of Westside. More often we see couples acting as if they won’t see each other for weeks, somehow feeling the need to share a very close hug and a long kiss. in reality, we all know they will probably meet up right after class. And while it may be cute in moderation, having to wait to be affectionate with your significant other until after school or during the weekend gives you something to look forward to. You can anticipate all the affection you will be able to make with your S.O. at the mall or at your house, and waiting will make it something to cherish more.

PDA isn’t violating any school rules. Nobody has ever gotten in trouble for showing affection in school. It is not like anyone is being harmed in any way. No one is failing to be safe, respectable or responsible when kissing and hugging in the hallways. If people think it is gross to see they could look the other way.

While it might not be violating any school rules, PDA is a violation of people’s comfort zones. No one wants to see others making out in the halls; it’s an inappropriate environment. It’s true that there are no real rules against PDA, but it should be viewed as more of an unspoken understanding People also don’t look forward to seeing couples in the hall display their affection. It’s more of a repulsive image rather than something that is flattering.

PowerGrade A+

To the cafeteria and its staff. The food is excellent and has been for the past few years. The use of fresh ingredients and the hours dedicated to preparing our meals is evident. Our personal favorite day is Monday because of the delicious pasta options. Keep up the good work!


To teachers giving piles of homework to seniors in application season. We understand there is an obligation to teach students the necessary material, but getting into college requires hours of work. This is just another semester of high school, but where students get into college will affect the rest of their lives.


To the Homecoming dance. The decorations and the crowning were good, the actual dance was awful. The music was too quiet to drown out the talking of students and the music was not dance music. Often it was too slow of a beat to bust a move.

8 Oct. 11, 2013


Court should support affirmative action

Graphic by Lia Hagen


Policy is ineffective, nuisance

As I walked out of detention a few days ago, a gaggle of laughing teens trailing behind me, I was left with one question. Is that it? For me, detention had always been made out to be some epic punishment. On TV, teens cried, shuddered and shook. The teachers were dictators, cracking their cliché whips and likely shaking some sort of iron fist too. Lightning flashed and thunder clapped at the sound of its fearsome name. According to the Disney sitcoms of my youth, futures were made and broken over that detention-sized blot on your ‘permanent record.’ Obviously, television is prone to hyperbole. I hardly expected my college prospects to be dashed over accidentally LIA HAGEN sleeping in on a Friday. Still, I expected COPY EDITOR something. Detention is held in a fairly average classroom. It’s in a generally ignored area of our school, a flyaway in the fabric of the art hallway. The interior is bland at best, desks set in rows facing the front table. A teacher sits there, holding a sheet of notebook paper for attendance. Here there are no thunder claps or lightning strikes. The closest thing to an iron fist is the uncomfortable desk pressing against your side. In this room, teens don’t cry, shudder or shake. They laugh, poke fun and do their best to push the teacher’s boundaries just a little bit further. This, more than anything else, proves the futility of detention as a punishment. The seating arrangement is also the same as any other class. Teens lump together in the corner, talking and deliberately not doing what they’re supposed to. It’s the same crowd you’d expect to see loitering in the landing; they’re the supposed crowd blockers and fight-starters. Still, detention is filled with a variety of characters. Loners dominate their own corners, and hardworking students do their best to drown out their neighbors. In the front, all those who want to use their laptops must sit with their screens facing towards the teacher. As I needed my laptop for some homework, I had the perfect view of my fellow students. One or two of them were working on schoolwork or at least doing a remarkable job of pretending. The rest were whispering to each other. They became briefly quieter at the teacher’s pestering, but the noise would only build again. Two girls in particular were enjoying their stay. Laying across their backpacks, they played with their phones until caught and slept when they felt like it. The teacher’s attempts to stop them were generally met only with more subtle disobedience. In fact, despite her best efforts, many of the students refused to respect her. They all seemed devoted to seeing just how many rules they could break before they were met with another pun-

ishment. It’s almost a social science, and many students have it mastered. You push until the teacher’s ready to crack, and then you snap back. Then you weave forward again, slipping in and out of their peripherals without ever being close enough to be caught. They know you’re doing something wrong, but they can’t stop you. Oftentimes they can’t even prove it. Honestly, it would drive me crazy to be a teacher. Kids push and shove at your carefully built guidelines, and the worst punishment you have available to you really means nothing without angry parents to back you up. That’s not to say I encourage skipping class. Regardless of your actual punishment, catching up is always a hassle. Detention is easy; coming in to make up a Chemistry lab is not. Still, some would say I’m being unfair. They’d remind me that some people just won’t learn from any kind of discipline, and that’s not detention’s fault. That’s just inevitable. However, I can’t quite buy these claims when I, as one of the ‘good kids’ who are supposed to be truly disciplined by detention, am so thoroughly unimpressed. As far as I can tell, the true consequences of detention are the ones your parents inflict upon your return. They’re supposed to yell and stomp; when the administration calls in the calvary, you’re supposed to shudder in fear. For some, this works. For others, it means very little. Without its allies, detention is weak. Underclassmen may be scared of skipping class because of it, but as you grow older, you grow less and less afraid. Skipping class sounds more and more appealing. The punishment, on the other hand, grows ineffectual. Personally, I liked detention. I have a big family, and it’s not often that I get to be locked in a quiet room for 40 minutes. I got a lot more homework done than I otherwise would have, and as the teacher was forced to go sit in the back to watch the ‘bad kids,’ I also got to chat with friends on my computer. It was a win-win, far less boring than my usual math class or hour long large group. This does lend credence to the theory that detention is primarily a place to catch up on the work that you missed, but even this prospect fails in the face of dozens of students doing their best to avoid learning from the punishment they’ve been given. In fact, while I may be the rarity who actually enjoyed my detention experience, I am not alone in my disrespect for the punishment. Leaving detention isn’t a sitcom-esque breath of fresh air. It’s teenagers laughing, mocking the teacher and the whole process. Detention is a nuisance, but that doesn’t make it a good punishment. For most of them, this isn’t their first detention and it won’t be their last. For me, well… I may make some time to stop by. I could certainly use another study hall.



DETENTION WAS A WINWIN, FAR LESS BORING THAN MY USUAL MATH CLASS OR HOUR LONG LARGE GROUP ... iT’S a nuisancE, but that doesn’t make it a good punishment.

With headlines dominated by the showdown between the President and Congress, the Supreme Court is garnering even less attention than usual. This is unfortunate given that its return from recess Monday is generally one of the TOM SCHUeNEMAN few times a year in MANAGING EDITOR which the public pays attention to the court. As a result, most people likely won’t hear about the cases the court will rule on this session until the decisions are released nearly a year from now. In particular, one case could have a significant bearing on students who will be applying to colleges within the next few years. Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action concerns a Michigan ballot initiative effectively ending affirmative action in the state, known as Prop 2. This will not be the first time the court has ruled on affirmative action — indeed, it may not even be the first time in a year, with a decision in the similar Fisher v. Texas case expected shortly — and it likely won’t be the last. Given the court’s history with the issue, it is likely to deliver a nuanced decision relevant to the specific issue at hand rather than a sweeping, unequivocal ruling on affirmative action itself. The previous ruling being appealed in the case was handed down by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio, overturned the proposition, allowing state institutions to take minority status into account. The ruling of the majority expressed by Judge R. Guy Cole Jr. held that it restructured the state’s political process in a way that places “special burdens on minority interests.” Essentially, while the significance of diversity to public institutions is strictly limited, other factors may still play a role. Therefore a citizen looking to promote a change in, for instance, the admissions policy of a university, cannot do so with regard to race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin, but may do so with regard to any number of other factors, such as whether or not the students parent also attended the school. With many experts expecting the court to make more conservative rulings in this session than in previous ones, it’s worth questioning whether the Supreme Court will overturn the lower courts decision. If this does come to pass, it will set a precedent that allows states to outlaw affirmative action programs. This trend has been growing across the country since California did so in 1996, with Nebraska having done so in a 2008 constitutional ban. A recurring theme in the language used by proponents of such legislation is discrimination. There is a notion among these crowds that affirmative action requires discrimination, that a policy meant to improve the lots of those who have long been discriminated against is itself discriminatory — this notion is accurate. Affirmative action is an inherently discriminatory policy, but that doesn’t make it a bad policy. Since the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s, discrimination has become something of a bogey word in public policy terms, associated with racism and bigotry, and this has had a huge role in shaping the debate over affirmative action. Opponents of affirmative action tend to frame it in terms of discrimination, making its proponents out to be the ones advocating policies of intolerance, and tying them in with the ridiculous concept of “reverse racism.” But discrimination need not carry with it such negative connotations. In the right context, discrimination can simply be a matter of recognizing differences where they are present, and it’s impossible to deny, looking at statistics comparing education rates, poverty rates, and unemployment rates among different races, that such differences are not still present in American society. To address them, they must first be acknowledged, and that requires discrimination. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will realize as much.


oct. 11, 2013 9


German carries American experiences in notebook BY NATA WARD Feature Editor Sophomore Daniel Roseler has a book. It’s a notebook, just a small one. Green and black, a little bigger than the size of your hand. It may be next to his laptop and folders, but inside you won’t find any notes from class, no formulas from Roseler’s algebra class or timelines from U.S. History. Instead, this notebook contains something much more precious: Memories. Roseler is an exchange student from Germany, and the notebook is a gift from a German friend. One page tells him to write down stories about his host family, another asks for motivational quotes. It’s an interactive scrapbook made specifically for the trip across the ocean to America. The notebook was tucked carefully inside his backpack on the day I met him, a piece of familiarity in a place that’s not quite home yet. Roseler has nine months to make Omaha his home. He’s returning at the end of the school year when his visa expires, but for the time being, Roseler is staying with his host brother, Westside junior Bobby Peterson. After Roseler’s neighbor became an exchange student in England a year ago, Roseler was inspired to come to America. Two tests, a visa application, many months and a few thousand miles of sea later, Roseler was here. The exchange program he went through, International Language and Study Journeys, sent him to an American system to find a host family. He’d chosen America over England and landed at Eppley Airfield, ready to head over to his host family’s house. “Everything was bigger,” Roseler said. “The cars — the first thing is the cars. In Germany, you cannot find these cars because our gas prices are so expensive. You would get poor after you fill

your gas tank one time.” People got paid to greet you at the grocery store. The schools were huge compared to those back home. The only thing America was missing was Roseler’s favorite German chocolate. “You [Westside] have a computer and a SmartBoard in nearly every room,” Roseler said. “My school, for example, can just dream about this.” The school year started with a meeting with guidance counselor Melissa Hansen. Hansen is the point of contact for exchange students coming to Westside. “The first thing she gave me [was] a big list with classes I can choose, and I was like ‘Oh god, everything?’” Roseler said. “And she was like, ‘Yes, you can choose nearly everything.’ And I was totally impressed, and she was so friendly and so nice.” Roseler did end up taking algebra so he wouldn’t forget anything upon returning to Germany for his junior year. Also on his schedule were U.S. History and American Literature — requirements from the exchange program — as well as marketing, business and WTV. “In Germany, you can’t choose [electives] — you have to do the [required] classes,” Roseler said. “So I wanted to do something that I am interested in. I looked through the classes and found TV and found photography and everything. I know I am interested, but I don’t know if I can do this, or if I am good at it. I want to test this in America if this is something for me.” For a student who regularly filmed and edited short films in Germany, WTV was the chance of a lifetime. He describes the difference between teaching in Germany and America as “I want to learn something” versus the German “I have to”. Roseler is working towards attending an American college. He doesn’t have any plans for a major, but he knows he wants to be on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.


“One year in America, two years finishing my high school and after that maybe one year or one semester in an American college,” Roseler said. “And I said this to my dad, and he was like, ‘Okay, and who is going to pay this?’ It’s totally expensive, and so maybe not possible.” Even if Roseler doesn’t return to America after high school, he will have a year’s worth of experience and memories from Westside. Roseler pulled the book carefully out of its place in his backpack, leafing through the pages like an artist showing his portfolio. It’s written half in German, and parts in English, in six or seven different colors of pen. Like Roseler said, it’s the little things that make a big difference. He flips to an empty page and writes another entry.

Sophomore Daniel Roseler shows his journal of all his American experiences. Roseler carries his book with him wherever he goes. Photo by Sarah Lemke

10 Oct. 11, 2013


Westside Fall Sports Football


Home guest

5th rank for total defense +28.8 point Differential No. 2 ranking in state

Cross Country

5th place for Catie Thull at Millard West 6th place Sarah Snyder at Millard West

8th place at Tiburon 1 stroke win at Duchesne meet

Tennis Beat Omaha South in a dual Placed 4th at Creighton Prep Invitational



110 kills for team leader Cara Treu 9th grader Kathryn Chalupa starts varsity 13 blocks for team leader Lauren Salerno

2.77 ERA lead from Moriah Guyett 1 HR from senior Megan Peterson .500 batting avg. from Carlee Guyett For more Westside sports coverage, visit

Blades of glory

Junior skates way to competition in Dallas BY TIM GRAVES SPORTS EDITOR The ice shaves off the flat white rink as the blade of the skate glides gracefully across the center of the ice. She starts to line up for her jump. She rotates and leaps, performing a double flip, double toe loop. She lands from the breathtaking spin. Junior Ashlie Griffith has been figure skating for 13 and a half years. She has worked her way up from basic one to novice, three levels from the best. “The first thing you have to do is go through and learn how to skate,” Griffith said. “I’m a novice right now. I’m right in the middle of all the levels.” She got her start in figure skating when she saw an exhibition downtown. She was able to see the Olympic skaters skate at the event. “I remember watching the skaters and thinking how cool it was,” Griffith said. “I decided to try out, and it was one of the coolest things I have ever seen.” Griffith participated in her first tournament during her kindergarten year. “My favorite memory figure skating is the first competition I went to,” Griffith said. “Two weeks before, when I was practicing, I broke my arm. It is my favorite memory because I was still able to


get second place.” More recently, Griffith competed in a tournament in Saint Joseph, Missouri. “I actually just got back from the competition,” Griffith said. “In short program I got second place, and in long program I got first.” After Saint Joseph’s, Griffith will compete in a large tournament in Dallas. She will be one of the few people from her club to participate in the tournament. “There are 15 people from my group who went to the competition,” Griffith said. “I am so lucky to be able to participate.” She skates everyday at Moylan Iceplex, sometimes even skating as early as 6 a.m. “It is early in the morning, but I love to skate,” Griffith said. “Coach Mansorov [Griffith’s skate coach] works us hard, but it’s worth it.” After Griffith’s figure skating career is done, she would like to become a coach at her club. “I’m not in any clubs at Westside, but I plan on becoming a skating coach,” Griffith said. “All I have to do is get my PSA (Professional Figure Skating Association) degree within the next month” Griffith would be able to coach the younger skaters in her club. She wants the skaters to have the same experiences she had. “To me, skating is the best feeling in the world,” Griffith said. “When I am skating, all my worries go away, and it’s just me and the ice.”


I decided to try out, and it was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Ashlie Griffith Westside Junior

Junior Ashlie Griffith skates in the Ralston Arena Oct. 3. Griffith skates every day at Moylan Iceplex, sometimes as early as 6 a.m. Photo by Ally Stark


oct. 11, 2013 11


Coaches push varsity freshman, but so does Ethiopian national pride By Connor Flairty News EDITOR After running eight miles in the 90 degree heat, the girls cross-country team all look simply exhausted, but among the group one smile sticks out from the tired bunch. The smile is coming from freshman Marta Hailu. Every practice Hailu can be found with a grin on her face and a positive attitude, even on the dreaded high mileage days, which are difficult even for the top competitors. For Hailu, the vigorous training had to be particularly brutal because not only is she a freshman but a first time cross country runner. Her passion for the sport keeps her upbeat. “I just love to run,” Hailu said. As many high school athletes know, freshman year is a time to gain experience competing at a lower level and to prepare yourself for later years, when the opportunity for you to compete at the varsity level rolls around. There was no waiting for Marta Hailu. During the summer, the freshman could be found almost every day with the cross country team at Westside putting forth hard effort. “Marta put in the miles over the summer while pushing herself to try to keep up with the person in front of her each day during practice,” said assistant cross country coach Lacey Batt. “All the while she managed to keep a smile on her face.” The good attitude was fueled by not only her love of running, but by her pride in her home country. Hailu was born in Ethiopia and came to America two years ago. Ethiopia is a country with a vast history of distance runners, including Tirunesh Dibaba, typi-

cally thought to be the best female long-distance runner the world has ever seen. Such runners inspire Hailu to compete with the same mindset. “I watch Ethiopian runners compete all the time on television,” Hailu said. “I see them winning and I think to myself, “I want to win.” That’s why I run.” The fuel to win has clearly helped Hailu, as she has placed among the top five girls from Westside every single meet this season. Though her home country pride fuels her, Hailu gives a lot of credit to her coaches for pushing her to compete and reach her full potential. “Every day the coaches would push me,” Hailu said. “They kept telling me I could do it, and to stay motivated during practice.” The coaches motivate Hailu outside of practice, as well. One example is head girls cross country coach and her recent victory at the Omaha Marathon, further pushing Hailu to succeed. “I saw her compete in the marathon and win,” Hailu said. “I want that to be me.” Hailu is determined to begin running marathons her sophomore year. Her coaches believe she has the determination to accomplish anything. “Marta has the potential and the drive to run in college, and marathons, if she sets her mind to it,” Batt said. Still even with the recent success, Hailu plans to begin next summer with even more training. “Next summer I’m planning to run every day, eight to 11 miles,” said Hailu. A lot has changed for Hailu this last crosscountry season, but Hailu, like every true runner, doesn’t do it for the scholarships or the marathon recognition. She does it for the basic love of running.

Freshman Marta Hailu pushes her pace the last 1,000 meters of the Kearney Cross-Country Invitational held Monday, Sept. 30. Hailu finished 5th of the team and 93rd overall with a time of 23:30. Photo by Jakob Phillips

12 Oct. 11, 2013


Sean Padios

Varsity tennis player flexes mental toughness By Jack Cohen Staff writer The match is drawing to a close. It is five games to three, and junior Sean Padios is up 40-15. He throws up the ball, raises his racquet, brings it over his shoulder and snaps it down. He aces his opponent. Game, set and match for Westside’s No. 1 singles player. It’s been a long road for Padios to become the varsity player he is today. “I started when I was eight,” Padios said. “We had a court near our house in Kansas City, and my dad and I would walk over and play, and eventually I got good enough to start playing seriously.” For Padios, tennis was not a sport played by his family. Padios found tennis all for himself. It only took a year for Padios to start playing competitively. Padios is one of the best tennis players here at Westside, and has a playing style rarely seen in high school. Padios plays with a calm demeanor. Holding a straight face, sharp eyes and unchanging expression, he rarely erupts on the tennis court. Whether losing or winning, his emotions are hidden. In Westside’s dual against Lincoln Southwest Aug. 29, Padios faced the Lincoln Southwest No. 1 singles player. After losing a game, the Lincoln Southwest player slammed his racquet on the ground in frustration. But after losing a break of his own, Padios was unfazed, and went right back

to playing tennis. Padios wound up beating Meyer 8-3. “I feel that my greatest skill is my mental toughness,” Padios said. “This can also be a weakness of mine, that I don’t play with a sense of urgency.” First year varsity tennis player sophomore Ziyu Fan feels the benefit far outweighs the downside. “Mentally, it shows that he [Padios] is a bigger man, a better person on the court,” Fan said. “Other players get frustrated and throw their racquets and are not as patient as Sean is. He is patient and always tries to improve.” Padios’ skills are not limited to his mental game. He has physical skills to go along with his composed demeanor. “Sean’s forehand is really good, his backhand slice is very consistent and his agility is a big part of his game,” Fan said. Fan also speaks highly of his character, and how that affects his play “Sean’s one of our best players, he works really hard and the results show,” Fan said. “His personality and work ethic make you want to work harder, and play with him, and it makes you both better.” With the end of the season coming, and the state playoffs approaching, Westside’s boys tennis team hasn’t won a state championship in 30 years. Padios hopes for the team to play their best at this years state championship. “This season, I just want everyone to play up to there potential and play well,” Padios said.



His personality and work ethic make you want to work harder, and play with him, and it makes you both better

Ziyu Fan Varsity tennis player

Junior Sean Padios practices tennis with the varsity team after school Sept. 27. Unlike most tennis athletes, Padios is known for his calm attitude and almost silent games. Photo by Sarah Lemke


Student tackles the world, one country at a time By James buckley STaff writer

His stomach wrenches before kickoff. He’s just gotten to know his teammates in a week while preparing in any way possible for one of the biggest games of his life. Still, while sitting in a locker room in Wales, England for his first game, he finds the drive to play the game. As senior Hanco Germishuys walks on to the field in his USA uniform, he knows he is ready. Once he gets the kickoff, all his worries go away, and he can play rugby like he always has. Back in South Africa, the Germishuys family lived on farmland. At the farm, Germishuys would work with his dad and the workers by driving the tractor or doing other miscellaneous tasks. When work was done for the week, Germishuys’ extended family would all come over for fun on the farm. “We had this zip line in the back yard about a football field long and there’s a pool to jump into at the end,” Germishuys said. “It was a lot of fun.” When Germishuys wasn’t working or with family, he’d go and watch his dad play rugby on the local team. This is where Germishuys’ love for rugby began. At six years old, Germishuys dreamed of playing professional rugby. Eleven years later, the Kimberley, South Africa native’s move to America gave him the chance to realize his dream. “I first came here three years ago, and the only way I was going to come here is if I found a school that had rugby,” Germishuys said. Since Germishuys found rugby at Westside, his family could stay together. If he didn’t find a school with rugby the family would’ve been separated because Germishuys’ sisters, sophomore Melanie Germishuys and senior Laurissa Germishuys, had already decided to come to America. During his first year in America, he played rugby for Westside’s rugby club. From there, his career took off. “The process was you play here [Westside], then you represent Nebraska, play in Colorado and play different states, which is where I was se-

lected for the USA team,” Germishuys said. After Germishuys succeeded in Colorado, he went through a tryout camp. He was then selected to play for the USA team in spring 2010. “The camp was during winter break of 2010, Dec. 26 to Jan. 2, and there were 160 guys competing for a spot,” Germishuys said. He got one of the spots. Germishuys has been a part of the 30 players team for three years. Now he has the chance to play professional rugby. “My coach, who trains me here contacted one of his friends in Gloucester, England, and they set up a camp for me,” Germishuys said. “That’s how I got there [Gloucester]. I played for them in three games. They liked how I performed, and they wanted me back.” Since Germishuys the minimum age to sign a contract is 18, Gloucester has a plan to make sure they really want him when he’s of age. “After February, I’m going to stay a week for a make it or break it tryout,” Germishuys said. “If I’ve improved on the things they wanted me to, I’ll go back to high school and graduate, then I’ll sign a contract when I turn 18 on Aug. 24 of next year” Even if he signs with Gloucester, Germishuys still has goals he wants to reach by the end of his career. “If I make the pro team, my goal after that is to play in the 2015 men’s World Cup,” Germishuys said. During rugby’s offseason, Germishuys plays Westside sports as close to rugby as he can. Currently, Germishuys is a starting defensive lineman on the varsity football team, and a varsity wrestler. In football, one of the main similarities to rugby is tackling, and having played at a high level of rugby has helped Germishuys. “Because of rugby, you don’t have any pads, and you still go full out,” Germishuys said. “With the pads, it’s a little more protection, so I don’t care. I just go all out.” Rugby has also helped Germishuys in wrestling. It has given him the mindset that wrestlers need to succeed on the mat. The competitive nature Every athlete’s career has to end. For Germishuys, his post rugby plan is simple.

“I want to farm,” Germishuys said. “Just farm. That’s the plan.” Once he’s done with rugby, he wants to find a farm like he had in South Africa here in America, and go back home, without going home.

Senior Hanco Germishuys punts on the Phelps Field before the game against the Benson bunnies Sept. 27. Photo by Sarah Lemke

Arts & entertainment

oct. 11, 2013 13


Mother/daughter duo hits stage, travels around country BY JACE WieseLER A&E EDITOR

They walk onto the hardwood stage. One holds a guitar, the other empty handed. Their confidence shines through their white-tooth smiles. They take their places right beside each other, each in front of a microphone. One strums the guitar as the right brown leather boot of the other one taps against the floor. One, two, three times to the beat of the guitar. She sways to the music, smiling to the crowd. The other with the guitar nods her head, shaking her blonde, curly hair to the rhythm of the song. “We are Belles and Whistles,” she says as she begins the song. This mother/daughter duo is not new to this scene. Junior Kelli Schilken and her mother Jaymie Schilken have been two members of a country band called the Belles and Whistles since Sept. 2011. Although the band is only two years old, Jaymie has experience. “I’ve sang my whole life,” Jaymie said. “I really started to sing professionally when I was 16 and started Mulberry Lane with my three sisters.” Jaymie and her three sisters, Heather, Rachel and Allie, sang in a vocal group called Mulberry Lane in 1999. They traveled all over the world, and their single “Harmless” even made it to the top 30 Billboard adult contemporary. Despite their success, their band had to come to an end. “We kind of stopped when we all had kids,” Jaymie said. “I started again once my youngest

[child] went to kindergarten. I began singing as a solo.” As Kelli, Jaymie’s daughter, grew up, Jaymie noticed Kelli began to harmonize while singing in show choir at school. Then Jaymie brought Kelli onstage with her, and formed what is now known as Belles and Whistles. The name Belles and Whistles was inspired by Kelli’s aunt, who used to call her Kelli Belle, and the name stuck. The two have played in venues across the country, including the 2013 Country Stampede in Kansas, the Hard Rock Café in Chicago and even the Country genre capital of the world, Nashville. “My favorite show was one we played this summer,” Kelli said. “It was the Country Stampede in Manhattan, Kansas. We won a fan voted contest and got to perform on the same day as Trace Adkins and Scotty McCreery.” The pair wrote and produced the self-titled album, Belles and Whistles. Kelli said their inspiration for writing songs is what is going on in her life. She even gets inspiration from country stars like Taylor Swift or Miranda Lambert. “When I was solo, I wrote from a different perspective,” Jaymie said. “And now it has her perspective and her life and how she feels.” And the biggest question of all is: are they going on tour? The answer is: “I don’t really know yet,” Kelli said. “We’re trying to get with a really good booking agent in Nashville. And if we land that, we will probably go on somewhat of a tour.” Before she can go on a tour, she has school to worry about.

“It’s definitely difficult to manage grades and having a singing career at the same time,” Kelli said. “I’ll be at sound check reading my Lit book or on a plane doing my math homework.” To focus on her music, Kelli is graduating high school as a junior. You would think one would do more work than the other, but they make sure to share the workload 50/50. “We work great together,” Kelli said. “We have different personalities, which actually works out great.” “My favorite part of working as a motherdaughter duo is the crazy experiences we have together,” Jaymie said. “We’ve made memories that we will never forget.”


screen printing and embroidery

address 14931 Industrial Rd; Omaha, NE 68144 phone 402-333-0498 website

Junior Kelli Schilken sings onstage at Turner Park in Midtown Crossing. Photo by Sarah Lemke

14 Oct. 11, 2013

Arts & Entertainment

Concert Previews N O I T I D E P O P By JACE WIESELER A & E EDITOR

NOV. 16: Hunter Hayes

OCT. 29: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Hey Macklemore, can you go on tour? What, what, what, what? With three number one hits from their 2012 album The Heist, including “Thrift Shop,” “Can’t Hold Us,” and “Same Love,” Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are going on tour across the country. They stop in Omaha Oct. 29 at the CenturyLink Center. They will perform a wide variety of songs. Along with the chart toppers, the set includes songs from Macklemore’s 2010 album The VS. Redux and 2009’s The Unplanned Mixtape. Shiny outfits and fur coats from, of course, a thrift shop will make an appearance throughout the night. Macklemore will also be sure to crowd surf on top of all the sweaty bodies screaming the lyrics at the top of their lungs. One thing is for sure; the audience will be quoting Macklemore’s song And We Danced by the end of the night. “And we danced/ And we cried/ And we laughed/ And had a really, really, really good time.”

Last year, he was an opening act for Carrie Underwood. This year he’s coming to the Orpheum Theater Nov. 16 all on his own. The 22-year-old singer will be sure to have his fans begging for more. This country heartthrob will storm through the two hour set playing all his hit songs on his album Encore, which reached No. 1 on Billboard’s top country album charts in the last week of June. His songs include “Storm Warning,” “Somebody’s Heartbreak,” “Love Makes Me” and, before people get too “crazy,” he will perform his country chart topper, “I Want Crazy.”

DEC. 1: Jay Z If you live within driving distance of the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln you won’t be able to avoid the mass of people, because it’s his only show within 400 miles. Lincoln is one of the smallest cities to host this concert. Ticket prices begin at $60. This 17 time Grammy Award winner will perform songs from his now-double-platinum album Magna Carta… Holy Grail, including songs “Tom Ford” and “Oceans,” not to mention his first single from this album, Holy Grail. Also, there may be a special appearance from featured singer in Holy Grail, Justin Timberlake, or even Jay Z’s wife Beyoncé Knowles.

UPCOMING SHOWS > c u t e i s w h at w e a i m f o r / s o k o l u n d e r g r o u n d / O c t o b e r 1 5 > H o l ly w o o d U n d e a d / s o k o l a u d i t o r i u m / O c t o b e r 1 7 > Keith Urban / CenturyLink / October 18 > L e e r a n a l d o / T h e wa i t i n g r o o m / O c t o b e r 1 8 > B U I LT T O S P I L L / T H E WA I T I N G R O O M / O C T O B E R 1 8 > Av e n g e d S e v e n f o l d a n d D e f t o n e s / C e n t u r y L i n k / O c t o b e r 2 2 > Blue October / Sokol Auditorium / October 25 > M a c k l e m o r e & R ya n L e w i s / C e n t u r y L i n k / O c t o b e r 2 9 > T w e n t y O n e P i l o t s / T h e Wa i t i n g R o o m / O c t o b e r 3 0 > Tech N9ne / Sokol Auditorium / October 31 > S t e v e va i / h o r s e s h o e / o c t o b e r 3 1 > o f M o n t r e a l / T h e Wa i t i n g R o o m / N o v e m b e r 2 > T o r o Y M o i / T h e Wa i t i n g R o o m / N o v e m b e r 4 > C o l d Wa r K i d s / S l o w d o w n / N o v e m b e r 4 > The Dan Band / Horseshoe / november 7 > T h e S t o r y S o Fa r / S o k o l A u d i t o r i u m / N o v e m b e r 7

OCT. 20: BON JOVI Bon Jovi is wanted dead or alive just to perform his successful “Because We Can: The Tour.” He is coming to Lincoln’s Pinnacle Bank Arena Oct. 20. According to Pollstar, Bon Jovi is the No. 1 touring act worldwide for 2013. Longtime singer will sing from a set list 30 years in the making. The songs include “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Wanted Dead or Alive,” and will end with his most well known song, “Living On a Prayer.” Bon Jovi will travel through the 80s, 90s, 2000s and today’s classic songs. His latest album, What About Now, is his third consecutive album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200. There is no doubt Bon Jovi will have people from all ages on their feet.

photo essay

oct. 11, 2013 15


A behind-the-scenes look at Shadows Edge By estella fox MANAGING EDITOR

Loud, classic rock shakes a small room behind Mangelsen’s Shadows Edge. Clowns wearing halfpainted makeup sit and chat on a couch using their low pitched, scratchy voices to stay in character. Outside, actors with fake wounds and terrifying makeup master their scary face and practice their haunting lines. The layout of this haunted house changes every year to keep customers on their toes. All the actors inside Shadows Edge are volunteers, and they regularly come back, week after week, to perform as one of the dozens of characters inside the house. They coat their faces in makeup and sacrifice their time to make us scream.

A 2013 Westside graduate, Tony Roberts, recently started volunteering at Shadows Edge. “I started working here because a lot of people that I know work here,” Roberts said. “I didn’t think I had what it takes, but my friends told me to give it a shot.” Friday, Sept. 27, Roberts volunteered to work the Shock Cage. “I’m behind a cage in a dark room in a hallway and whenever I hear people coming, I take a rod connected to a battery and I run it along the cage,” Brown said. Still, when around 50 volunteers come every day of the weekend to get a position, it can be difficult to get your ideal character. “I love meeting new people, and the people who work here are amazing,” Brown said.

Above: There are hundreds of costumes for the actors to wear. Left: Senior Ben Martin poses after gettting his costume and makeup Friday, Sept 27. Martin has been volunteering for over three years and has clocked in 50 volunteer hours. Below: 16-year-old Zach Stutson gets his makeup done while looking mysterious. Photos by Estella Fox

Left: 17-year-old Turner Wynn gets finishing touches done on his clown costume. He has been a clown for Shadows Edge for over 3 years. Photo by Ally Stark

Left: Eliza Balzer poses with her makeup on. This is her first year volunteering at Shadows Edge. Photo by Ally Stark

Above: This mask will be placed on one of the three clowns in Mangelsen’s haunted house. Makeup adhesive is used to apply the mask. Left: An actress gets a wound painted on her neck before Shadows Edge opens Friday, Sept. 27. Photos by Estella Fox

16 Oct. 11, 2013

Arts & entertainment

Graphics by Lia Hagen. Photos by Ally Stark and Jakob Phillips

e c n a l the o t e d i n gu e e w o l l ha s e m u t cos do's:




One thing can connect us all and that’s humor. While Halloween is supposed to be a scary holiday, a funny costume leaves the members of your local Halloween gathering complimenting you and laughing with you, while a bloody undead creature is unoriginal and sometimes just plain uncomfortable for everyone. Though being funny is a fine line, try not to be offensive (see “Be Appropriate”). Also, try to come up with your own original humor. Run on jokes test everyone’s patience (see “Be Original”). So, be humorous and have fun with your costume. Halloween without fun wouldn’t be Halloween at all now would it? It would be something awful, like Columbus Day.

We all know the kid who comes to the door wearing nothing but street clothes expecting candy, claiming he’s dressed as a “fifth grade student.” While that may fly for some slackers, it doesn’t for us and should not for you. No one likes someone who puts zero effort into their costume. There is no fun in someone who is at the party with a dirty pumpkin shirt that hasn’t seen light since 2004, so be creative with your costumes. This is Halloween, a holiday where people open their doors to give candy to complete strangers; take advantage of it. It won’t be as much fun when you’re older, so dive in and make the memories while you still can.



As Ron Burgundy likes to say: “You stay classy.” This serves to be a great rule for Halloween costumes. Stay classy encompasses inappropriateness, humor and showing off certain body parts. Stay classy also serves the costumes that are ultra-gory, or just dirty. No one wants to see a murderer with blood dripping down their machete. There is no one rule to determine if a costume is too inappropriate, but everyone should find their own rule. I think this also depends on where you are partying or trick-or-treating. But if you, for some reason, are trick-or-treating, remember you will be around parents, grandparents and young kids. So definitely keep it appropriate.

This one is similar to don’t try too hard. Just because you have money does not mean you have to flaunt it with a Halloween costume. Also expensive costumes look tacky and un-original. Sometimes the cheapest costumes are the best. During freshman year the funniest costume at the Halloween party was someone who came with a wig, moustache and sunglasses. He really wasn’t anyone, but it was still easily the funniest costume at the party.

BE UNDERSTANDABLE Wear something everyone will understand: explaining your costume to every single person you see is not fun. It is such a funny joke when you think of the costume, yet your friends might approach your obscure attire with puzzled faces rather than laughs like you had hoped. You have to make your costume understandable. While you shouldn’t dumb it down to a third-grade level, you shouldn’t have to explain the costume to everyone, so make the costume understandable from afar.

TRY TOO HARD While you may think having the best costume is a competition that can be won by hours and money spent, you should take into mind that Halloween is supposed to be a fun and easygoing holiday for everyone. Stressing because your hat needs to be “just askew” is ridiculous. Stuff your face full of candy and converse with friends, and don’t ruin the festivities by stressing over your attire. People will notice your stress and time spent on your costume, and may question what you do in your free time. Story by News Editor Connor Flairty and Sports Editor Tim Graves



halloween city

ADDRESS:2500 S 120TH ST. PRICES: $10-60

ADDRESS: 8320 F ST. PRICES: $30-90

ADDRESS: 7131 S 72ND ST PRICE: $14-50

Nobbies is a true Omaha original. The store is filled to the brim with cheesy gadgets, adorable party supplies and brightly colored candies. It does have quite a few Halloween costumes, but most of them are in separate pieces. On one side of the store, they have Halloween costumes, but the other is all party. The people working there aren’t very helpful in locating a costume. I only would recommend going here if you just want a mask or a part of a costume.

When you walk into the Spirit Halloween the smell of liquid latex and plastic costumes gushes to your nose. The zombie in the corner has you second-guessing if you should come inside. The walls are filled with hairy werewolves, ghost girls with white faces and Twilight vampires. The Spirit Halloween Store is fun, scary and has just the right amount of gore to get the hair on your neck standing up. The costumes range from little princesses to zombies. The atmosphere is spooky. The music in the store and all of the props looking at you make you tense, which makes it more like a Halloween store than just a party store.

Halloween City has a much larger selection of types of costumes than Spirit and they even have dog costumes. Who wouldn’t want to dress up their dog or cat to look like Yoda? The costumes are fun and colorful, though the costumes for teen guys are much gorier than those for girls. They have Freddy Krueger, Scream and Beetlejuice, among others. The workers are friendly, and their variety gives them a unique vibe. Story by Opinion Editor Elise Tucker

Lance Issue 2  
Lance Issue 2  

The second issue of Omaha Westside High School's newspaper, the Lance.