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November 8, 2013

all ab0ut ca$h Check out the Lance’s pullout about money and how it drives more than you think.

lance APPLYING EARLY THE

8701 Pacific St. Omaha, NE 68114

Volume 58 Issue 3

New collegeCONGRATS! admissions trend creates dilemmas

By Emma johanningsmeier Editor-in-chief As hard as senior Nate Lippincott worked on his college application essays, as much time as he’s put into getting good grades, in the end, whether or not he gets into one of his two topchoice colleges — both selective private universities — might depend on his answer to one simple multiple-choice question on each college’s part of the Common Application. The question is “Preferred admission plan,” and for one of the schools, Lippincott’s choices were a) Early Decision and b) Regular Decision. For the other, choice “a” was slightly different: Early Action. Under the rules set down by both of these colleges, early applicants can’t apply early to any other private institution. That means Lippincott had to choose to apply early to one or the other — or neither. If he chose “a” for one of the schools, he would face a Nov. 1 application deadline for that school and find out if he was accepted, rejected or de-

CONGRATS!

ferred around Dec. 15. For the school for which he chose “b,” he would have a Jan. 1 deadline and find out three months later. There was a major difference between the schools, which Lippincott had to consider. If he applied early to the early decision school and was accepted early, he would be forced to go there. In college admissions lingo, “early decision” indicates a binding program — ­ any students admitted early are bound to attend that school. While an early decision agreement is not necessarily legally binding, breaking it for anything other than valid financial reasons is highly frowned upon, and if other schools to which a student applies find out about it, the consequences can be severe. If Lippincott applied to the early action school and was accepted early, he would have the benefit of knowing he was into a reach school, but he’d still be free to apply to as many other colleges as he wanted, find out their decisions in the spring, and ultimately choose whichever school he wanted. Lippincott seriously considered choosing binding early decision for the school that offered it. As

WE’RE SORRY...

of mid-October, he was planning on it. WE’RE “The main thing SORRY ! for me is that I’d S ... T A GR rather just know CON in the beginning,” Lippincott said in an Oct. 16 interview. “And also I think it just makes it easier because if I [get in via] early decision then I don’t have to apply other places — and it costs money and other resources to just send in your applications.” There’s another major draw to early decision and early action programs, though: Most colleges have a significantly higher acceptance rate for their early applicants. In the case of one of the private universities Lippincott hopes to be admitted to, the acceptance rate is around 30% for early applicants, according to the New York Times. For regular continued on page 2

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Trainers in Students training learn about, treat injuries BY Jace Wieseler A&E Editor

Senior Carole Kauffman wraps the foot of an athlete in the training room after school Wednesday, Oct. 30. Kauffman and the other trainers were recruited over the summer. Photo by Camile Messerley

Their day starts off at 7:30 a.m. They go through the school day, just like any other Westside student, an average of eight classes each. After school, or just before, they hurry to the trainer’s office right outside the boys’ locker room, fill the coolers, fill the water bottles and wait. Once athletes start to come through the room, the three girls ask them what’s hurting; they ice the injuries, send them to the ice bath, tape them up, or send them to head athletic trainer Shawn Campbell to be assessed. They spend the rest of the afternoon at football practice. This is their daily routine for months. Seniors Carole Kauffman, Brandy Leaver and Cheyenne Janicek may not be football players, but they spend as much time on football as the athletes do. Along with being at practice every school day, they even spend time at school on the weekends. “We are [at the high school] from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every night and for about five hours every Saturday,” Leaver said. “I am here all the time.” The activities of a student trainer are timeconsuming. The three girls appear at every varsity and junior varsity football game, home and away, along with every other sport’s varsity games and meets. According to Campbell, student trainers are vitally necessary. “They are a pretty integral tool for keeping the training room up and running,” Campbell said. “It’s an extra set of hands necessary for getting athletes out to practice or a game on time.” Each year, Campbell picks a group of two or three students that meet his qualifications, from the Sports Medicine and Health Sciences classes. “It sort of comes down to the people that have

the personality for it,” Campbell said. “I’m looking for somebody that wants to be helpful and ones that could use experience before college.” Over the summer, Campbell called Leaver, Kauffman and Janicek into the training room to teach them the ropes of being a student trainer. Being a student trainer includes taping sprained ankles or wrists, giving ice and carrying out supervised rehab after the injury subsides. Besides taping and assigning exercises to athletes, the trainers get to see many types of injuries. “There are a lot of minor injuries like turf burns and hurt ankles or wrists,” Leaver said. “The training room is always full, especially during football season.” Out of the numerous injuries the trainers treat, Kauffman said her favorites are ones she doesn’t normally get to see, like a dislocated finger. Although major injuries aren’t as common as minor injuries, treating them is still part of the trainers’ job description. “Concussions are very interesting to me,” Leaver said. “Even though you can’t really see much with a concussion, it’s interesting to know what’s going on in the brain.” Leaver and Kauffman find the job to be relatively simple, but there can be some difficult aspects to it. “It’s definitely difficult separating my personal relationship with the athlete and staying at a professional level,” Kauffman said. “Like if one of your friends gets hurt, you can comfort them to a certain extent, but you really have to hold back any emotions over whatever the injury is and be there to help them.” Although it is a lot of work, the trainers do enjoy what they do. “Even though it can be stressful and overwhelming at times. I’ve gotten a lot closer with a bunch of the athletes, which makes it a lot more fun,” Kauffman said.


2 Nov. 8, 2013

News

COLLEGE: students hope applying early will pay off continued from page 1 decision applicants, it’s three times lower. Last year, Harvard University, the classic example of a highly selective university, received 4,856 early applications and accepted 18.43% of them. For the regular decision round, the figure was 3.4%. While the early applicant pools at selective institutions are thought to contain stronger applicants, many colleges do reward students for expressing genuine interest by applying early. Many fill a large percentage of their freshman classes with the students they accept early. It would be a stretch to say early application programs affect every senior applying to college. The list of colleges that use these programs is heavy on private colleges and universities; many public universities (and some private colleges, too) choose instead to use a system of rolling admission. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, for example, allows students to apply anytime before May 1, although there’s a Jan. 15 deadline for students who want to be considered for scholarships. It seems clear, though, that for whatever reason, early applications are a new and growing trend. Westside counselor Mike McCann said in the nine years he’s been a college counselor, he’s seen early application programs go from being a rarity among colleges to being pretty common. Still, he said he doesn’t see too many Westside students applying early. “It’s not a substantial minority,” McCann said. “We will have a substantial number of students who will apply via an early program, but I would say it’s easily less than 20% that apply under some form of an early application, just on the students I work with and my particular caseload.” There are probably several reasons for this. Obviously, many students simply haven’t singled

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out their top choice of college by Nov. 1. But McCann emphasized that there’s another reason to be hesitant about applying to early decision programs. “Essentially, you are applying blind, and you are committing to a school blind,” McCann said. “What I mean by that is that you don’t know what their financial aid award is going to be. What I will tell students and parents is, ‘Assume financial aid of zero. Can you make your budget work to attend there?’ If the answers to the above questions are absolutely 100% affirmative, then I would tell them, ‘Absolutely, apply in an early decision program.’” Although it is possible to be released from a commitment if the financial aid award proves insufficient, it can be difficult, and McCann said there’s often a fee. “I would never tell anyone to apply to a school early simply because statistically there’s a higher percentage,” McCann said. Early action programs, unlike early decision ones, usually allow students to apply to any other schools they want ­— public or private — via early action or regular decision. That’s part of the reason McCann said he doesn’t really see any downsides to early action programs. “I think the risk is a little bit less, I think the reward is a little bit less, but there are some schools I would tell you that you wouldn’t want to apply any other way than early action, because they’re going to fill the majority of their entering class through their early program,” McCann said. In the end, Lippincott changed his mind about applying early to either of the private schools. Instead, he’ll apply there in the regular round. He’s forgoing the appealing chance of knowing he’s into a reach school early and then having complete peace of mind for the spring. He’s hoping, though, to be admitted to one of his mid-tier school choices, the fairly selective University of Virginia, via non-binding early action. He won’t find out if he got into UVA until mid-

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I would NEVER TELL ANYONE TO APPLY TO A SCHOOL EARLY SIMPLY BECAUSE STATISTICALLY THERE’S A HIGHER PERCENTAGE. MIKE MCCANN COLLEGE COUNSELOR

January — after he’s submitted all his other applications by the Jan. 1 deadline. It’ll be too late to cut out any safety schools on the basis of already being into a mid-tier school. But getting into UVA would give him a certain amount of peace of mind. Early action and early decision letters for many colleges, including the private one Lippincott thought of applying early to, are sent out in midDecember, but that still doesn’t leave much time to do applications for other schools if the early letter is a rejection, so most students prepare applications while they’re waiting. While getting into a school of choice early may reduce stress for the rest of the year, it doesn’t necessarily reduce the stress of application season. As applicants like Lippincott are facing the pressure of trying to finish their applications and get into colleges, the Common Application itself, the basic application currently used by 517 colleges and universities, has been both a help and a hindrance. A new version of the online platform was rolled out this year and proved to be full of glitches. The online comments are full of complaints. Some students have not been able to submit applications, others have had difficulty with the essay formatting, and some have lost their work. “I’m not even exactly sure if [my University of Virginia application] completely went through,” Lippincott said. “There’s a lot of flaws with the brand new system this year.” At the same time, because of the glitches, many schools extended their early deadlines by several days. The one Lippincott almost applied early to, for example, changed its deadline to Nov. 8. But for all the helpfulness or lack thereof of the application technology, and the benefits of early application programs, none of those things change the basic uncertainty of the college admissions game. The reason the private colleges Lippincott is applying to aren’t named in this article is because Lippincott asked that they not be. It’s not a secret — he’s told some people — but he’s hesitant to make it public information. “It seems like people are really secretive,” Lippincott said. “I think it’s just because you don’t know exactly where you’re going to end up. Just kind of the fact of not knowing makes you not really want to talk about it. You don’t want to say, ‘Oh, I’m applying to Harvard,’ and then...It’s just kind of like, you don’t really know.”

The

FACTS 18.43% Harvard University’s early action admit rate last year

3.4% Harvard University’s regular decision admit rate last year

450 the approximate number of colleges that offer early action/decision plans, according to the College Board

517 the number of colleges that accept the Common Application

( ) 53

the number of colleges that as of Nov. 4 had pushed back their early deadlines due to the issues with the Common Application

BRIEFLY

SLC bakes bread for homeless

The students in the Service Learning Council put their instinct for empathy and compassion to good use. Each year they participate in many service-offering events, including National Homemade Bread Day and the Ruth Sokolof Christmas Party. Instructor Jordan Klepfer, the sponsor of SLC, explained the process of Bread Day, which is going to be an ongoing tradition for years to come. “Because we are a service-providing group, we can provide food to the homeless in a stepby-step manner,” Klepfer said. “First we find a donor to provide the ingredients for the bread, then the students of the club take it home and bake it, then they take the bread to the Open Door Mission and serve it.” Sophomore Mitch Povey is the co-president of SLC. This year, the bread will be baked at Povey’s house on Nov. 14. The club members will bake about 50 loaves of white and wheat bread. They usually have a party while they make the bread. “We are getting donations from Trader Joe’s to make multiple loaves of bread,” Povey said. “Then we bake it and will serve it to the Open Door Mission Garland Thompson’s Men’s Shelter on Nov. 17.” This is the club’s third year of being a part of Homemade Bread Day. The Open Door Mission is grateful for the time the students donate to helping people, and the students enjoy and learn from spending

time giving to others. “The students have been the driving force,” Klepfer said. The SLC is also going to help with the Ruth Sokolof Christmas Party. This event was created in 1960 by Ruth Sokolof, who was a Braille teacher and created the Children’s Sight Center, a preschool for blind children, in 1958. “[Ruth Sokolof] wanted to provide children that are visually impaired with something fun and bright in their Christmas season,” Klepfer said. “This year, students from the SLC get paired up with a visually impaired kid and go shopping in Westroads Mall for a few hours. That’s their chance to socialize and buy presents for their loved ones.” The service learning hours are the smallest reward members of the SLC receive. The best part is being able to connect with other people and knowing that you helped someone. “There’s something wonderful about being with other human beings and serving and helping each other,” Klepfer said. “That’s part of being a human – caring about others. There’s a natural euphoric experience about helping other people. As a teacher, seeing these students help other people is so encouraging.”

Marching band earns superior rating at state

Saturday, Oct. 19, the Westside Marching Band competed in the 31st Annual Nebraska State Bandmasters Association State Marching Band Competition. They placed eighth out of 27 bands in the state and were one of the 11 bands out of that group to earn a Superior Rating. The band practices Monday night from 6:308:30 p.m., Wednesday morning at 7:30 a.m., and

Thursday and Friday at 7:00 a.m. in addition to their regular class times. Throughout their season, they have earned a superior rating at all four competitions they have been to. They participated in the Capitol City Band Competition in Lincoln, NE, the Lincoln Links Marching Contest in Lincoln, NE, the Omaha Burke Marching contest and NSBA.

Craze magazine to print paper copies

Craze, Westside’s student-produced arts and entertainment magazine, has always been an online publication. This year, though, the online Craze has gotten many more hits than last year – the most recent issue garnered almost 3,000 views, according to senior Eva Phillips, the editorin-chief. The magazine staff is going to start printing paper copies every issue. The numbers will initially be small, as the magazine doesn’t have much advertising revenue, but Phillips plans to work on it. “Whether it’s going to be able be printed in mass amounts next semester really depends on whether we can get advertising,” she said. Recently, a limited number of copies of the first Craze issue were printed for the upcoming journalism convention in Boston, but only magazine staff members and those featured in the issue had the opportunity to purchase them. Phillips said the reaction to the print copy was encouraging. “I was carrying mine around today, and everybody was saying if there was a print copy they would buy one,” Phillips said.

Briefs by Abby Coen-Taylor, Grace Fogland, and Emma Johanningsmeier


Nov. 8, 2013 3

News

NO-NONSENSE POLITICS

American Government students participate in election simulation By Kellie Wasikowski DESIGN EDITOR You might be seeing some new faces in your social studies classes soon. They’ll be plastered on walls with catchy slogans to accompany them. That’s because walls of certain social studies classrooms are being sold with fake money to government students. You may also see yard signs at teachers’ desks in the social studies IMC for candidates they support or campaign commercials running on the IMC TVs. Many American Government students running for office have been working hard on their campaigns for the class’s annual election simulation. “Both my campaign manager and I are taking this seriously,” said senior Sam Jensen, a Presidential candidate. “We are determined to win the general election, but as of now, we need to worry about the primary.” Each of the nine sections of American Government is representing a state that students have picked, and each student has joined either the liberal or the conservative party. State party members have decided who will run for Senate, who will be campaign managers and who will be Presidential candidates. The simulation is in its third year, but it has new aspects this year, including Senate races and a website that will simulate for students the negative media attention that happens during actual elections. American Government instructor Jon Preister thinks the decision to add Senate races this year will make the project more relevant to how the U.S. election process actually works. “The activity originally began with having the students form their own political party in each section,” Preister said. “Students would choose a candidate they wanted to run for president, and we would have a presidential election. But this year Mr. Bywater and I thought that if we added the Senate races and [tried] to build big national party organizations across the different sections, it would be much more reflective of the U.S. system.” Each campaign has been allotted a certain amount of fake money to start with. Students running for President are given an initial amount of $50,000, and Senate candidates were given $5,000 to fund their campaigns. The money is to be used on expenditures like advertising for a campaign or obtaining information about voters. While $50,000 for a Presidential candidate may not seem like a lot of funds for an election, students have resources in the social studies IMC that can help them raise funds for their campaign. Thirteen social studies teachers have volunteered to act as political action committees (PACs) in the election. PACs are groups or organizations formed to support political candidates who have political goals similar to those of the PAC. Social studies instructor Nathan Bramley is representing a PAC called Focus on the Family, which is an organization that focuses on moral issues. Although PACs are often special interest groups, Bramley thinks candidates can gain support from PACs by being willing to find a middle ground. “I don’t necessarily support a certain party,” Bramley said. “I have a specific interest that focuses on certain issues, so it tends to be more towards one party than the other. But any party that is willing to swing towards my ideals, and more importantly, is willing to push for the legislation that I want to be approved, is one that I will support.” One of the main focuses of government instructors in the simulation is to teach students the role of money and fundraising in the campaign process. Presidential candidate senior Brady Novak thinks it is important to spend a lot of funds on advertising and create advertisements that resonate with voters because they will make voters more eager to elect a candidate into office. “The biggest campaign expenditure is going to be advertising,” Novak said. “Getting our name out there is going to be the biggest deal. Mr. Preister said the candidate whose name you remember the most will be at the forefront of your mind when you get to the polls.” Preister and fellow American Government teacher David Bywater have also created a web-

site called the Westside News Network, which plays the role of the media in the election. WNN publishes both positive and negative articles about candidates. Bywater thinks this is reflective of how cutthroat the American media can be. “I think the website does a fairly good job in illustrating that you don’t want your name to appear in the headline,” Bywater said. “If something bad got into the news about a candidate, it’s the job of the campaign manager to change that.” Not wanting your name to appear in the headline rings true to some candidates who have already been called out for their actions. California Senate candidate senior Sarah Snyder has appeared in the headlines multiple times for various reasons, mostly because of the actions of her campaign manager, senior Jordan Wheeler. “We’ve been in the news for my campaign manager’s supposed swallowing of a fish,” Snyder said. “That has been an issue raised with PETA, which we are currently working out. And we’ve also been in the news about trying to wreck a campaign that is completely unrelated to ours. But everything will be okay. I’m not worried.” Another post seen on WNN was about Senate candidate Hanco Germishuys. His campaign contributions sheet after one week listed a $4,000 donation from “the ground.” This raised questions about him accepting under-the-table monetary contributions in exchange for promises that have not been disclosed to voters, which may hurt his credibility if he fails to communicate to the public where these contributions came from. Each candidate is also given a wiki page on which to post his or her campaign announcement video and other resources for voters to become informed about the hopeful representative. Freshman civics class was discontinued three years ago, and, starting with the current junior class, American Government is going to be a graduation requirement. Because of this, most students will be of or near voting age when they take American Government, which was the intention in switching the requirement. Preister thinks the change in requirement will allow students of voting age to be more engaged and hopefully exercise their right to vote. “We thought it would be much better if we could take 17- and 18-year-olds and really show them how government and politics affect their lives, and how to get involved,” Preister said. Jensen agrees with Preister and thinks it is important for students to be educated about politics to create good change for the time to come. “We are the future,” Jensen said. “Most students will be able to vote senior year and need to make educated votes. The only way to do that is to be informed.” Bywater, who previously worked on local and national campaigns, is in his first year of teaching and thinks the election simulation is similar to

conducting a real election. “I get the feeling that what we’re doing in class is like what I used to do,” Bywater said. “And we are making sure that everybody plays some role, and I think that it all seems real.” Bywater also thinks the willingness of students to participate in the simulation is one of the most fulfilling aspects of it. “I think the best part in that is the attitude and participation of students,” Bywater said. “I have not seen a single student say, ‘I don’t want to participate,’ I think that is the biggest tell of whether or not this will be successful.”

Top: A campaign billboard for Texas Senate candidates senior Hanco Germishuys and senior Max Knight is displayed in room 212. Government students running for a position in office are able to purchase wall space to advertise their campaigns. Photo by Sarah Lemke Middle: Social studies instructors Jon Preister and Bob Brousek are featured on fictional currency made by Preister that is being used during the election. Candidates were given a stipend of money at the beginning of the simulation, and are now encouraged to fundraise through PACs. Left: Senior Charie Payne’s presidential campaign poster displayed in room 212. Payne was cited on Westside News Network as a co-leader in fundraising, tied with senior Brady Novak. Photo by Sarah Lemke


4 Nov. 8, 2013

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RETIREES RETURN HOME

District keeps former teachers in community around, worried if the kids will take advantage of them. We don’t have to worry about it with retired teachers. We give them the key, and they’re fine.” Former Westside Healthy Living instructor A typical consequence when teachers have to Deb Mazgaj unlocks the door to room 144 and lays take the day off is students falling behind. Howevdown her teaching supplies just like she did for 34 er, if a former teacher with experience in the subyears. But today is different. Today she assumes a ject fills in, students falling behind isn’t an issue. new role as a subsitute teacher. “Our teachers will ask for these retired teachMazgaj is not the only former teacher coming ers,” Ricketts said. “They feel pretty good with back to work in the district. Most, like Mazgaj, sub teachers that really understand the system, having for teachers. One must wonder why a teacher who trust that the instruction will get done, and they taught for decades would ever want to come back can easily step back in.” to sub. Even Mazgaj, who loved While there are major teaching, thought she would benefit for the school, never come back. teachers arguably get “When I was teaching, I the best reward To see thought to myself I would nevhow all of their former er substitute,” Mazgaj said. “I students grew from loved the Westside community, when they first taught though. My boys grew up in them. For Mazgaj, who it, and I would never consider formerly taught mostly D C subbing anywhere else.” freshman students, the B J The community serves as a joy was the same. A H huge reason why many of the “I see nothing but building and seeing all G the activity.DMost, when F aren’t ready C to retire. That teachers come back as guest positive progress for they retire, they really B J teachers, rather then leaving to most everyone,” MazgajJ is why I love to see them A in the building.” H sub somewhere else. Mazgaj, said. “That’s what H I enInvolved teachers likeGMazgaj define D what F a community. C for example, lives just two joyed about G teaching D District 66 truly is about: Even afF C J still miles from Elkhorn High School, which like every freshman — I was able to watch themBdevelop Jter working for nearly three B decades, Mazgaj A H school, needs guest teachers. Instead she comes to over the course of four years into young A men and H comes back because of the loveGshe has forDthe stuD and the school. This F contributes Westside. Former teachers coming back is a major women. The transformation is amazing.” G C to the spedents D F C cial connection Westside has between B J in plus for both the administration and the teachers When finally everyone C retirement for these teachers B J A H as good guest teaching is tough to find. comes, it doesn’t feel right to stop B many times J A H the district, even after teachers retire. G D G D “If these retired teachers didn’t come back it A teaching H all together. This typically influences F “[Community] is what it’s all about,” Ricketts C G F Csaid. “I don’t think a lot of peopleBrealize whatJwe would be tough,” Principal Maryanne Ricketts Fteachers toCcomeDback and teach. B J A said. “Many new teachers are nervous to come in, “This is such a part of your life,” Ricketts said. have here. Not that it’s perfect, but IGcan’tHimagine B J A H D J A H worried about how they’re going to find their way “There is nothing better than being back in this G working D anywhere else.” F C

By CONNOR FLAIRTY NEWS EDITOR

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I thought to myself that I would never subsitute, I loved the westside community, though. Deb Mazgaj RETIRED Instructor

J H G D F C 66 A B H J 67 F G C D 68 A B H J 9 F G D 6Retired instructor Deb C Bclass J Mazgaj 70 checks A subbing H papers while 1 F Stephanie G D for7instructor C BLiving J Jurgens’ 72s Healthy A Oct. 24. H class Thursday, G D 73has been Mazgaj F retired C just under 74a year andB a half. Photo byACamile

53 54 55 56 40 57 41 58 42 75 Messerley 9 5 3 4 27 60 4 4 28 61 5 F 4 H 9 G D C 2 F 62 A B H J G D C B 6 J 4 F C B 0 J A H 3 A 63 F G C D H 14 A B H J 7 F G D 4 1 G D C 3 F 64 A B C 15 F G C D B 8 J 4 B D B 2 J A H 3 5 A 6 B 6 J A H 1 A 49 F G C D J H 51 F G 3 F G D 3 H 7 G D C 1 B 0 J E 5 A D F C 52 A B H 34 A B H J D C B 8 J 1 1 G C K 5 F J A H 53 F 35 F G C D B J H 9 G D 1 2 A H E 5 D F C 54 A 36 A B H J 1 F G D C 4 B 0 J 2 C K J A H 55 F E 37 F G C D B 2 J H 4 1 G D 2 D A H E G D F C 56 A B 8 C K 3 3 G D C 4 B 2 J A 2 A B J F C K B J H 57 9 A H E 3 B 4 J H 4 3 G D 2 1 G D A H E 3 F G D F C 58 C K 5 F G D C 4 B 4 J E 2 B 2 J C K 3 A B J A H 59 D H E B 6 J H 4 5 G C K 2 3 G D A H E 3 F G D F 60 B J C K 7 F G D F C 4 6 A H E 2 B 4 J C K 3 A B J H E 21 F G C D K B 8 J A H 4 A H 35 F G C D K G D E 22 A B H J E 9 G F C 4 D F 36 A B H J E B C K 23 F G C D K 0 A 5 B J 37 F G C D K 3 A H E B 4 J 2 1 G D A H E 1 F 38 A B H J C K 5 F G D 2 2 D E B 2 J T C K 1 A 9 F G C S 3 D H E E B 6 J 2 A B J T B C J K H E 13 F G C D K 0 A H 4 7 G D 2 F A H E 29 F G C D C K 14 A B H J E 1 F G D B 8 J 2 A C K 30 A B H J H 15 F G C D K J B 2 J 9 G H 2 F A H E 31 F G C D 16 A B H J E G D 3 F G D 0 F C 3 C K 32 A B H J 17 F G C D K 22 A B H J B 4 J A H E 33 F G C D 18 A B H J 3 G D 2 5 F G D D F C C K 34 A B C 19 F G B 4 J 2 B 6 J B J A H A H E 35 A H 20 5 F G D 2 7 F G D 5 G D C 1 F C K C 26 A B H J B 8 J B 6 J 1 A H J A H C 27 F G 9 F G H 17 F G C D B G D A H 28 F C 10 18 A B H J 29 F G B 8 J A H 3 19 F G C D 30 A B 9 G D T J S D F C H 20 A B TE B C J 31 F G 10 A B H J G D 1 F C 2 A H 32 A B 11 F G C D 22 A B H J 1 F G D C 33 F G 12 A B H J 23 F G C D B 2 J D A H 34 A C 13 F G 24 A B H J 3 F G D B J C 35 A H 14 5 G D 2 B 4 J F C 15 F G C D A H B 6 J 2 5 F G D A H 16 A B H J C J 132404-JBTP-Westside10x8.indd 9/4/12 3:40 PM 27 F G 6 1 B H G D 17 A

Preparing Westside Students for the ACT and SAT for over 12 years... classes being held at Westside for the October SAT/PSAT and the December ACT

www.JohnBaylorTestPrep.com


NOv. 8, 2013 5

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WORLDS APART

Spanish teacher reunites with birth parents BY Grace fogland Feature EDITOR

Spanish teacher Amanda Freitag always believed she would find her birth parents. Last summer, her prediction came true. Freitag and her family planned on vacationing with a tour group in South Korea when they received the life-changing news two days before they left. Her family had previously asked the Holt Adoption Agency to try and find their birth family, and Holt arranged a meeting for them to be reunited at the time they were going to be in South Korea. Freitag was adopted when she was six months old with her birth twin sister, Katie Brodahl. “There wasn’t ever a moment when I thought it was impossible to meet my birth parents,” Freitag said. “Maybe that was just my optimism as a child, but I always felt that I would have an opportunity to meet them.” Freitag’s family, including her parents, Brodahl, and her little sister who was adopted from Guatemala traveled to Korea the last week of June and stayed for 14 days. They spent the majority of their time in Seoul, and then traveled south to Busan. “Going into it, I guess I didn’t have very many expectations,” Freitag said. “I think because I didn’t know that much about Korea, I didn’t have any pre-conceived thoughts about it. I was excited, but didn’t know what to expect.” After arriving in South Korea, Freitag’s family filled their time learning about the culture of Freitag and her twin’s birth country. They visited tourist places like the Korean Demilitarized Zone, which is the line where North Korea and South Korea are separated. They also tasted local cuisine and reconnected with their roots. “The tour was very well organized and was able

to give us a really comprehensive view of South Korea in such a limited time,” Brodahl said. “We had time within the large cities like Deagu and Busan, as well as time traveling within less urban settings.” Four days into their trip, the time finally came for the twin sisters to meet the parents they never knew. “It was full of so many different emotions, Freitag said. “It was very wise to not go in with too many expectations. It’s such an emotional experience that it can be a letdown sometimes if you go in with too many expectations, but it wasn’t that way at all for me and my sister.” The first time Freitag and Brodahl met their birth family, it was at the Holt Adoption Office in Seoul, Korea. Freitag’s family visited her birth parents again the next day, and took a train to their hometown of Daegu. When they entered the apartment, they were greeted by their birth family. They met their birth parents, their three older biological sisters, their brother-in-laws, and their nieces and nephews. Everybody remembered them. “Since our birth family doesn’t speak any English, and Mandy and I don’t speak their language of Hangul, there was a large language barrier,” Brodahl said. “But the looks, hugs and expressions were enough to communicate what was needed.” Using a translator, Brodahl and Freitag learned that their birth father was retired and was now working as a part-time building supervisor at a housing complex, and their birth mother was a housewife. “It was amazing to meet them for the first time and learn all about them,” Brodahl said. “I just kept looking at their faces to see if I looked like any of them. Where did I get my nose from? Who do I resemble the most?”

Freitag and Brodahl are staying in touch with their birth family through e-mail. Freitag sends and receives different pictures and messages that update them on each other’s lives. The most important thing both sisters took away from the experience was how adoption impacted their life in a good way. “It’s not necessarily two separate lives or two separate families,” Freitag said. “Somehow though, it all works together in order to become a part of everyone’s life that’s involved in it. It’s really powerful statement of the unconditional love that both sides have for that child.”

Spanish teacher Amanda Freitag visits her birth parents in South Korea. At top from left to right are her adoptive parents, her sister Katie, and her birth parents. Photo courtesy of Amanda Freitag

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6 Nov. 8, 2013 lance

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.

Sourc e: U Clu

the

OPINION

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19% of U.S. college students attend school out of state

71% of U.S. college students attend school in state

Editorial

Graphic by Allie Laing

COLLEGE: Is out-of-state really unaffordable? For most college-bound seniors, the process of applying to and selecting a college is riddled with misconceptions. Like the belief that the people at college will all be more attractive, mature and interesting than high schoolers. Or the notion that a given college is more or less of a party school than it actually is. Or that vain hope a few hold on to: that there will actually be time to read for pleasure in college. But we want to address one specific, potentially harmful misconception about college that sometimes affects students long before they even start the application process: the misguided notion that going to college out of state is invariably extremely expensive and will crush you with debt, unless you have wealthy parents willing to pay, are a star athlete, or have stellar test scores and grades to land you National Merit scholarships and the like. That is, quite simply, not true. Sure, those things help — in certain circumstances. Let’s say you want to go to the University of Oregon — which, like most public universities, has much higher tuition for out-of-staters, and not much grant money to give out. It’s about $30,000 a year. Unless you have an athletic scholarship or parents who can pay, good luck making a dent in that without burying yourself in loans. Even a National Merit Scholarship sponsored by the university only gets you $2,000 a year. But out-of-state public universities are not the only type of non-Nebraska colleges. If all you knew about the cost of attending private college was the exorbitant tuition rates listed on college websites and in those articles about the most expensive colleges in the country, et cetera, et cetera, chances are you wouldn’t be aware of this somewhat hidden fact: Many private colleges can actually be quite affordable. Let’s take a look at Carleton College, a liberal arts college not six hours away from Omaha, located in Northfield, MN. Like most liberal arts colleges, it comes with what would appear to be a hefty price tag: $58,149, this year. But what this number doesn’t show is that Car-

leton meets 100% of admitted students’ demonstrated financial need. That means if you get in, the college will do its best to make sure you can afford to attend. If you’re eligible for financial aid (as most students are) Carleton decides how much your family can reasonably afford to pay each year by looking at a number of different factors (that your parents report in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA), including income, ongoing expenses, and number of children in college. It determines whether you’re available for any state or federal grants, and awards you those if you are eligible. It asks you, the student, to contribute around $2,000 a year from your earnings. It assigns you a loan that’s very unlikely to exceed $4,000 a year. And basically, it tells you it’ll cover the rest. For students whose parents make under $100,000, the average total grant money (like a gift that never has to be paid back) is $43,501 per year. So for the majority of Carleton students, college costs nowhere near $58,149 a year. The under-$4,000 loan has to be paid back — but there are a number of financing options, and your debt to Carleton will never be anywhere near the shocking $50,000+ figures we read about online. Average student debt statistics for the country are high, but they include all sorts of colleges, and only include the average debt for those who borrowed to go to college — many students don’t have to borrow at all. Of course, Carleton is not for everyone. However, it illustrates an important point about college: it often doesn’t cost as much as you might think it would, especially if you come from a middle or lower socioeconomic level. The financial aid you get at Carleton and most other private colleges is based on how much money your parents have; the less they have, the more financial aid you might be awarded, and the cheaper college could be. Granted, schools like Carleton that meet 100% of demonstrated need are in the minority, and are usually pretty selective. But private colleges of all

What is your favorite

calibers offer many different forms of financial aid that can significantly lower the cost of your postsecondary education. Usually, what’s called your “financial aid package” from a college will include a grant from the college itself and possibly also from the government, and an expected student contribution, which might include a work-study job. Sometimes, it also includes a low-interest loan like those many colleges give to low-income students through the Perkins loan program. Merit scholarships from the college itself, if you qualify, are included in the package. The amounts of most of these components vary by college. And there are also outside scholarships to be earned. Contrary to popular belief, many of these aren’t reserved for the absolute top students; a quick look at the Westside guidance department’s scholarship wiki reveals that a lot of them are based on if you’re planning to study a specific subject in college. Some have other criteria; one, for example, is for students who’ve worked at Hy-Vee. To be sure, excellent grades, wealthy parents, and athletic talent can help make an out-of-state college education affordable. But in today’s system of financial aid, they just aren’t the only things that make a difference. That, of course, should be taken with a grain of salt. It isn’t true to say college is affordable wherever you go, or for everyone. Each student’s situation is unique; finding an affordable college education depends on the college, the student, and a family’s financial circumstances. Don’t get your hopes up for a college until you’ve been admitted and seen the financial aid package. And be careful: if you don’t choose carefully, paying for a college education — public or private — can suck you and your parents dry. But please, before you decide to not even apply to an out-of-state college just because you think it’s too expensive, look beyond the basic price tag. The next four years will be full of surprises, and you never know — a manageable price for college just might be one of them.

part of Thanksgiving?

My favorite part is the delicious mashed potatoes.

I love mashed potatoes Black Friday shopping is Green bean casserole and pumpkin pie. definitely the best. and 2K13 tourneys. Gita Deonarain

Anna Barros

NicK Natvig

Milo Greder

Sophomore

junior

Senior

freshman


Nov. 8, 2013 7

Opinion

My freshman year, I got into my very first fight with a teacher. I’ve never been a particularly shy or quiet girl, and freshman year was the year of my introduction to all things social justice. As a novice activist, I was just beginning to learn why many of the ideas that I’d been raised with were so harmful. LIA HAGEN The day of the argument, COPY EDITOR I did my best to look brave and shot my hand up straight in the air. When my teacher came over, I asked to speak with him about something. The class was Healthy Living, a well-known and often dreaded Westside course requirement. It aims to teach us how to best live our lives safely and responsibly. The class spans a full semester, approximately two weeks of which are spent covering “sex education.” This is, of course, a loose interpretation of what we actually learn in Healthy Living. It assumes that showing a room full of terrified freshman a slideshow of diseased genitals is adequately teaching us how to have safe sex. In reality, Healthy Living never goes deeper than the same stigmatized lessons we learn from sensationalist news everywhere. Though I am grateful we go beyond the most basic philosophy of “abstinence education,” the fact is that the class falls short in almost every other respect. The most basic problem with sex education here at Westside is the extremely negative light it casts upon the act of sexual intercourse. Like it or not, teens do have sex, and we can have it responsibly. Lumping underage sexuality with “criminal behavior” like drugs and vandalism only reinforces a sense of shame within teenagers. When we feel like we’re doing something wrong, we’re less likely to ask questions or come to an adult with any problems we may be having. It isolates teenagers, leading to many of the unsafe practices that the class is trying to prevent. Of course, being a freshman, I phrased all of this significantly less eloquently during my argument. I mostly stumbled through my small speech; in fact, it borrowed a great deal from blog posts I’d read recently. Ever since, I’ve managed to grow and find my own opinions about these issues. Unfortunately, the more I find, the more I dislike the way our high school educates its students about sex. Even when you exclude the mindset that our teachers carry with them when they begin to teach us sex ed, there is still the fundamental problem of not teaching us enough. In all likelihood, all students at Westside High School will have some sort of sexual experience. Be it simple urges or more complex emotions, we all need to understand what is going on with our bodies. If you’re lucky, Healthy Living’s two weeks of sex education is supplemented by three weeks in eighth grade health. This is ridiculous. In our 12 years of schooling in the Westside district, most students will spend at most six weeks learning about an activity that they will participate in for the rest of their lives. We actually spend more time on logarithms than we do on safe and healthy sexual practices. Not only does it not give enough time, it also doesn’t give sufficient information. Healthy Living may terrify you with pictures of disgusting STDs, but it doesn’t even teach you how to put on a condom in order to prevent them. Life is worse still for LGBT students at Westside. Discussions of how to have safe anal sex or how to avoid STDs as a lesbian are virtually unheard of, and other issues faced by the community at large are completely ignored. I understand the complexitities that come with a topic as controversial as sex education, but we as students have a right to this knowledge. Religious parents can continue to opt their children out like they always have. Until then, let the students who need it have the education they deserve. After all, as my freshman self would say: “Woah my god, it’s about time! xD”

88

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learning 280

CLASS RANK

1

144

CLASS RANK

Practice does more harm than good

After a gruesome calculus test Thursday and Friday, we were given the results back this Monday. Gasps filled the air as once perfect test takers scored in the C range, a grade that to most students of this intellectual caliber is completely unheard of. One of my fellow classmates immediately turns around. With a worried look on his face, he whispers, “Will this affect my class rank?” He says this without looking at his answers to see what he missed. In his mind, it doesn’t matter if he understands the material, as long Estella Fox as it won’t affect his ranking among Managing Editor others in his grade. Class rank is put in place at Westside to show how much you are challenging yourself and succeeding compared to your peers. In reality, it is causing immense stress on the many high-achieving students who base their self-worth on just one number. It devalues the learning aspect of class and puts an emphasis on doing whatever you can to get an A. I have heard several, baffling reports of students dropping classes they are interested in, so these classes will not affect their class rank. Let’s say someone wants to become a professional chef. Foods 1 and 2 are group 2 classes, which means taking one of them would effectively lower the number of rank points a student earns in a semester. Even if a student wanted to pursue a career in this subject, they might choose to take a group 5 AP class they are not interested in to preserve their class rank. Although modular scheduling was designed to cater to students’ interests, it seems to be having an adverse effect on those who are concerned with class rank. The option of taking many classes should push students to enroll in a wide variety, but it makes students choose more difficult classes because they feel it is necessary to take the hardest classes possible.

The most aggravating part of class rank is its implications for the comparison of intelligence. Intelligence is a gray area that is almost impossible to accurately translate to a number. Determining how hard a student worked in a certain class is equally as difficult, no matter what group the class falls under. A class rank of 200 tells a student “You are smarter than 256 of your peers, but not as smart as 199 others.” Intelligence cannot and should not portrayed as black and white. Students who care about their class rank are forced to base their self-worth on a number. It is a twisted way to motivate students, and Westside High School does nothing but perpetuate it. In an ideal world, things would be done much differently. Students who care about grades would base their self-worth on how well they know the material, rather than their ranking compared to other students their age. Class rank should be a percentile. This would show the student where they are in comparison to other students in their grade, but not give them a specific number. If it is as undescriptive as possible, students will know if they are challenging themselves in their school, but not choose to take classes solely to increase their class rank by one point. The question then arises: How will colleges know how hard you worked if they don’t know your standing compared to other students in your high school? I believe the solution is apparent: Do not report class rank, or even percentile, to colleges. Counselor forms, which are extremely comprehensive, are filled out when students apply to college. They include things like the percentage of college-bound students at your high school, the highest GPA, the school setting and a personal evaluation given by the counselor. Colleges should heavily base admissions on this form and on college essays. There would be few to zero repercussions of eliminating class rank. Students would have significantly less stress and take the classes they want to. So, Westside High School, what are we waiting for?

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SEX ED Program fails students

graphic by estella fox

class rank is a twisted way to motivate students, and westside high school does nothing but perpetuate it.

PowerGrade A

To the Westside choirs for their excellent performances at Cabaret Night. Both the solos and group performances were outstanding. Congratulations to choir directors Doran Johnson and Kyle Avery on the successful concert.

D+

To gym teachers taking their classes outside when it is cold. An outside class on a mild day is nice, but lately some of the days have been just too chilly. The school has three indoor gyms that are perfectly suitable for working out.

F

To the fact that students were not permitted to wear Halloween costumes to school on Halloween. While it is reasonable to prohibit students from covering their faces or being disruptive, we believe students should be given the opportunity to have a little Halloween fun at school.


8 Nov. 8, 2013

feature

ELECTRIC LOCKER

Trumpeter’s decorations light up band hallway By Grace Fogland Feature EDITOR It’s early in the morning before school and freshman Soren Johnson is tired, so he shuffles into the band hallway to head for his band locker. Spinning his three-numbered combination to his top locker, he unlocks it with a click to reveal an embellished interior. He hoists himself up to stand on the bottom of his locker, reaches up to grab the electrical cord that rests on top, and plugs it in the outlet conveniently close by. Turning back to the open locker, he is now ready to brew himself a cup of hot coffee with his coffee maker. “The coffee maker is my favorite part of my locker,” Johnson said. “The whole thing started with [senior] Matt [Dornan]’s locker. He has lights up in his, and I wanted the same in mine. I wanted stuff to do in my locker, like games and cards.” Johnson’s locker holds much more than games and cards. His instrument for band, a trumpet, sits neatly by his mini-fridge and coffee maker while a Coca-Cola poster hangs on the wall behind them. The remaining walls are covered with various types of wallpaper, and an army hat rests on a carpeted floor. “Everything was pretty cheap,” Johnson said. “The most expensive thing was the fridge. The carpet was left over from my house that I brought in and cut to size.” The process took Johnson about a month to complete. As the ideas for what he should put in it kept developing, he had to keep finding clever

ways to make everything work. He bought a water fountain made from a Gatorade bottle from the Dollar General store, hung multiple strands of outdoor holiday lights in his locker, and even found a way to get electricity to power all of his gadgets. “I lucked out because there is a hole that was previously there in the top of my locker,” Johnson said. “It’s just big enough to fit an electrical cord through the top. Otherwise, I would have had to buy a battery and run all these different things through there.” Johnson was allowed to use the electricity after clearing it with band director James Kordik and the janitors. The only thing he has to be careful with is not leaving it plugged in so that it doesn’t short-circuit and light the carpet on fire. Other than the floor covering, Johnson has no other flammable objects in his band locker. “I’m hoping to put in a popcorn machine soon,” Johnson said. “I just have to rearrange some things so I have enough room for everything.” Johnson’s locker holds items that don’t possess any particular meaning to him, but they all have a purpose. “Everything in my locker is used at least once a day,” Johnson said. “I don’t put things in there that I won’t ever use.” As he pours himself a cup of coffee, a small group of people starts to flock around him, all asking if he would be kind enough to share with them. Johnson is well-prepared. He already has the cups ready and the coffee brewed to hand out to his friends.

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The coffee maker is my favorite part of my locker. Soren Johnson freshman band member

Freshman Soren Johnson poses outside of his band locker Thursday, Oct. 24. His carpeted locker holds strands of Christmas lights, a mini-fridge, a coffee maker, his trumpet and various other items. Photo by Jakob Phillips

Egyptian freshman works to become American By lia hagen copy EDITOR Until this year, freshman Madonna Attia’s day began in the hot, dry Egyptian sun. It was 8 a.m. when she peeled herself out of her bed and left her house. Her friends would wait to walk to school with her, chatting amiably. At school, teachers blathered on, filling student’s heads with inaccurate details. When Attia was released from school at 1 p.m., she’d move on to the private lessons where she learned the material her public school was supposed to be teaching her. “Education in Egypt is not as good as it is here,” Attia said. Her eyes are warm, her voice perpetually questioning. For a girl with little English experience, every word is an effort. “The teachers sometimes explain everything wrong, and we have to take a class out of school to know how to communicate ... I go to school to have fun with my friends, not to learn.” However, Attia’s after-school classes were much more beneficial. In fact, they sound much like the average Westside student’s schedule. “All of [the popular American classes] I take in high school and middle school,” Attia said. She went on to detail the specific classes that she took in Egypt, including World History, Chemistry and Algebra. At around 4 p.m., Attia headed back to her home. Attia is a sociable girl, and one of the first things she did when she arrived was open Facebook. She chatted with her friends and played Temple Run. When not using her technology, she enjoyed hanging out with her friends.” However, things have changed since Attia’s days in Egypt. Ever since she first came from Minya, Egypt to live with her relatives just over a month ago, her days have been a constant attempt to relate to those around her. Unfortunately, Westside students have not shown her they are willing to return the effort. “In my opinion, Egyptians are more friendly than Americans,” Attia said. “I have been here for three weeks, and I don’t have friends. One or two here, but I am social in Egypt. One week, and I

have like 20 friends. Now I have 10. If I have any, I have 10. I don’t have friends here because people here are not friendly, or they don’t like me. They don’t like people who can’t understand them. They don’t want me to be friends with them, and so I don’t.” It’s difficult to see why one would isolate Attia. She’s the epitome of charming, her eyes crinkling as she tells stories of her home. When asked about the differences between Egyptians and Americans, she laughed and said “the language!” All humor aside, Attia’s language barrier can sometimes feel to her like an uncrossable line. She moved from her home town of Minya in order to be closer to her grandmother and uncle, but she didn’t bring with her a comprehensive knowledge of English. Today, she’s scraping by with the help of her teachers and a few friends who are familiar with both languages. “I don’t want to speak English because I’m afraid I will make a mistake or people can’t understand me,” Attia said. “I can’t speak English. I don’t have such confidence ... I try to understand, but I can’t understand it.” However, Attia’s struggles with English are not for lack of trying. According to Attia, she gets home every day and translates all of her day’s notes into Arabic. Where it used to take her two hours to study for something, it will now take her four. Attia doesn’t want to keep depending so much on translations. Ever since she arrived in America, she has tried her best to fit in. “I want to speak like an American and learn English like an American,” Attia said. “I want to understand everything ... I don’t want anyone to spell with me. I want to spell myself; I want to help myself. I want to know a map of Omaha to walk. I want to work. I want to work to communicate with other people in the school and work to learn more English. I want to buy a car and to know Omaha.” As it is, Attia’s daily struggle to get to know this country has taken on a familiar form. Much like her life in Egypt, Attia’s daily life begins every morning when she awakes at 6:30 a.m. However, these mornings are met with the unfamiliarity of cool air.

On these mornings, she walks sleepily to her shower and prepares for a day of school. Once she’s ready, she and her two cousins head off to school with their uncle. During the school day, classes and open mods blend together in a haze of an unfamiliar language and notes she knows she’ll have to translate later. She chats with the friends she has managed to make at our school, keeping her head up as she moves from class to class. When her uncle comes to pick her and her cousins up, they insist that they go anywhere but home. He obliges, and they find their own adventure within the city. For that hour or so after school, Attia walks through the aisles of Hyvee or through another not-quite-mundane place. At home, she is greeted by her grandmother and sister. Her smile to them mirrors the ones she gives to everyone. Thinking about her new life in America, she takes pause. “Actually, I want to say America is very good,” Attia said. “I’m happy to be in America, but I just want to speak like an American.”

Freshman Madonna Attia poses for a photo Friday, Oct. 25 in the front entrance. Attia recently moved from her home country of Egypt and is still adjusting to American culture. Photo by Ally Stark


Nov. 8, 2013

In-DEpth

rying c laughing all the way

graphics By allie laing

to the bank


NOV. 8, 2013

in-depth

CASH CULTURE

Money ties the world together By Tom Schueneman MANAGING EDITOR There are something like seven billion people in the world, and with the exception of a tiny fraction of them, almost all are somehow involved in an increasingly connected global society. A Syrian child in a Jordanian refugee camp, a German Formula 1 driver, a stockbroker on Wall Street; all of them form parts of an interconnected web of humanity that’s literally impossible to fathom — there are simply too many people, and too many connections between them, each one as intricate and nuanced as the last. Yet this seemingly miraculous network of individuals is only the natural result of the innate sociability of the individuals themselves. This can be seen in the many mechanisms of the modern worlds they have created, but perhaps most importantly, in money. Money, as the old cliché goes, makes the world go round, but it’s really human interaction that keeps society humming; money is simply the mechanism of that interaction. It’s easy to think of money as a real object, but it’s really not. A dollar bill is a real object, to be sure, but there’s no innate value in it. It isn’t money unless you agree that it’s money, and money has no basis in the physical world beyond the exchange of electrons along a certain pattern in the minds of those thinking about it. It’s based entirely on a perceived value that all parties involved in its trade agree upon. It’s a unit of trust, an issuance of debt that can be relied upon to be credible. Think of it as an IOU that can be redeemed by anyone, anywhere, because everyone, everywhere agrees that it has value. If a corn farmer wants shoes from a shoemaker, he has to give the shoemaker some corn. Except, it’s July, and he doesn’t harvest his corn for a few more months. So he issues an IOU to that shoemaker. But suppose the shoemaker needs a new iPhone more than he needs corn. He can’t simply give Apple an IOU from a corn farmer to him. What interest would a tech giant

have in corn, and even if they were interested, how could they trust that an IOU written by someone they had never met, to someone else, would have any value for them whatsoever? Now, if that IOU could be used to purchase cheap Chinese laborers to produce iPhones with, that might be a different story. But it can’t. It’s simply a promise a corn farmer made to a shoemaker, to give him some corn in a few months. But now say, the same trades are being made using U.S. Dollars. The corn farmer simply purchases the shoes from the shoemaker for $100, which he will get when he harvests his crops in a few months. The shoemaker takes that money, goes to the Apple store and buys himself an iPhone, and Apple uses some of that money to pay an impoverished Chinese man for his labor, so that he can afford to feed his family corn that’s been imported from the farmer. The belief of all four parties in the value of their currency allows them to interact in a way that they never could have otherwise. It enables practical interaction on a massive scale, because the people doing the interacting have a reason to trust each other. It’s not a perfect system. The impoverished Chinese laborer in this example is still getting the short end of the stick, but he is at least getting something. Because he is engaging in such a trade, he is creating value for himself, maybe not as much as he’s entitled to, but value nonetheless. A few ears of corn don’t mean very much to a corn farmer who has to go about his work barefoot, nor does a pair of tough leather boots mean anything to a starving shoemaker. By trading with each other, each one benefits, and value is created, not because someone printed a few more dollar bills, but because two people interacted to their mutual benefit—the dollar bill was just the medium through which they interacted. Somewhere around seven billion people are constantly involved in interactions like this, all over the world. These interactions occur on every imaginable scale for every imaginable reason.

SHUTDOWN

Westside students feel effects By Nata Ward feature EDITOR The government shutdown cost an estimated $24 billion according to Standard & Poor’s, and furloughed close to 800,000 workers. National parks closed, databases were down, and some parents were unsure of their next paycheck. For many, there was no affect other than a running joke on their twitter feed, but for others it hit closer to home. Senior Bodhi Confer-Wood, his brother, sophomore Bryce, and their mother, Heidi Confer had an issue. They left their car door unlocked the night of Sept. 28 only to find later that Heidi’s purse had been stolen. Inside the purse: the boys’ social security cards, Heidi’s drivers’ license, green card and passport. Normally, this wouldn’t have been a problem but the government shutdown happened. The Social Security Office was closed so getting new social security cards was out of the question. The U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration was slowed so Heidi had troubles getting a new green card. Without the green card and passport, Heidi couldn’t fly to Albuquerque, New Mexico as her job called for. She also couldn’t write checks or keep her peace of mind. The green card had been her proof of citizenship in the United States since she moved from the Philippines many years ago. Also, without a social security card, both Bryce and Bodhi were in danger of having their identities stolen. “I was kind of scared they were going to put me in debt,” Bodhi said. “Maybe going out and buying a house under my name or something.”

After the government reopened Oct. 17, the Confer-Woods were able to reapply for their stolen paperwork. The brothers have their social security cards, and they are waiting for the green card to arrive. The government shutdown also affected the school through the shutdown of databases and government run websites. Among the websites that were having problems were USA.gov and Education Resources Information Center (ERIC). “Senior Project and Comp were in the middle of the research phase of both classes,” said head librarian Carrie Turner. “Many of the articles students had found for their research were located in the ERIC database, so were inaccessible.” Towards the end of the shutdown, EBSCOhost opened some databases through their portals. That allowed students to retrieve their research, although a few weeks too late. At home, there might have been some uncertainty if a parent or other family member worked in a position that would be furloughed—meaning they wouldn’t get paid while the government was shutdown. Sophomore Sujata Sapkota felt the affects of the shutdown when her family members, living in Nepal, weren’t allowed to apply for a VISA to visit the United States. “My grandparents were going to come here, but they needed to request a VISA and the office was closed,” Sapkota said. “We haven’t seen each other for seven years.” Her grandparents were coming for a festival in the United States, but by the time the government reopened, the festival had passed. “I just thought, you know, ‘Darn,’” Sapkota said. “I would [have loved] to see them.”

24 bi dolla


In-depth

billion ar loss

Nov. 8, 2013

SELF-SUFFICIENCY

Clubs, sports pay for themselves By kellie wasikowski design EDITOR The money you paid for your ticket to the football game last week is going to help purchase new helmets for the team. The dollar you spent on a brownie from the bake sale after school will go back to purchasing new art supplies for art club. And the raffle tickets you bought at Cabaret Night will go back into purchasing costumes and helping with the travel expenses for the show choirs. With over 100 clubs, activities and sports teams offered at Westside, the common assumption would be that organizations have to compete for funding. However, while many activities compete against other schools for titles, activities within the school do not have to do that. Most are self-sufficient financially, and do not rely on district funding to sustain them. Westside assistant principal and Athletic Director Tom Kerkman is in charge of budgeting for each of the 17 sports the high school offers. While football is the largest and most expensive sport with over 100 students involved, it is also the largest source of revenue coming back into the athletic program. “The gate money comes back into the athletic budget,” Kerkman said. “That's why it's important to have such large crowds at football, because that money not only pays for football but also for other sports that are fairly expensive to run.” An average game of football brings in around $9,000 of revenue to the athletic department, which includes money from ticket and concession-stand sales. The money gets dispersed right away to fund other sports that don’t have similar high profits from ticket sales and concessions income. Student activity pass fees are also a source of revenue for the athletic department. The activity pass is mandatory for student participation in sports, and it is a one-time payment of $30 for the school year. Non-athletes can also purchase activity passes to get into events and not have to purchase tickets. “Not only does the activity pass get them into the games, but [it] also helps to cover the cost of uniforms and other necessities,” Kerkman said. “I think for $30 it is quite cheap.” Kerkman believes it is important to keep attendance at athletic events high so there is no need to raise fees for players as some states have began doing in recent years. “What we're going to start to seeing as budgets in states get tighter, schools are going to have to rely more on student fees and not just one flat fee,” Kerkman said. “I know in Wisconsin, certain schools are having their kids pay $150 just to play football, and then if you wanted to play basketball it's another $75, and track or baseball is around $50. So students there might be paying around $300 just in fees alone to play sports. Here at Westside, kids are only paying $30 a year.” One more source of revenue that has historically been very helpful in funding the athletic department is the Westside Athletic Club, which sells memberships each year to Westside community members and other patrons of the district who want to donate money to sports programs. The athletic club intends to incorporate all sports programs, and in recent years they have helped pay for

the new scoreboard in 2012 and new equipment for the training room. This year they also funded projects to increase school spirit, like the new flags for the fields and adding Westside emblems in the gym. To run a successful athletics program with 17 different sports, Kerkman thinks there must be a conscious effort to sustain the quality of the facilities, and he says coaches are all very mindful about where they can spend money. The district also does help out in funding, but that is usually for long-term projects such as new construction or large, structural improvements. Beyond just sports, Westside also offers over 70 clubs at the high school, each sustained by their own budget. SAB is one of the largest clubs at Westside, and they hold the kick-off carnival each year before the first home football game. At the carnival, clubs are able to rent booths, and at the end of the carnival the club exchanges all the tickets they received and gets money for them. While SAB does many events throughout the year, only one of their events’ revenue, Winter Formal, goes back into their own budget for the year. The rest of the events SAB puts on throughout the course of the year, such as Mr. WHS and the talent show, all have proceeds that go to charities. “With most of our events we end up giving the proceeds back to charities like Make-A-Wish,” SAB co-president, junior Hannah Dickson said. “But with Winter Formal we end up keeping most of the money so we can fund other events.” Although the kick-off carnival is the main source of income for many clubs, some still do other fundraisers throughout the year, such as bake-sales, selling t-shirts or decorative items around the holidays. Many clubs at the high school will request a small fee at the beginning of the year to cover costs, but club sponsors understand if members aren’t able to pay. Vice Principal Trudi Nolin thinks it is important for students to be involved in activities at school, and they should never be turned away because they aren’t able to pay. “Research shows that students need to be involved in activities at school,” Nolin said. “Not just going to classes, and we really want that to happen. So we really try to make it so students can all be involved in some activity and not turn them away because of a financial reason.” The district’s free and reduced lunch program is available to have fees waived for students so they are able to participate in activities, along with providing lunch. While these waivers are available to help students, many activities were created with the vision of helping the community, such as Westside for the Children, the Service Learning Club, Warriors Assisting the community and DECA. Most sports teams annually volunteer or do special fundraisers with their team to give back to the community. “I think it's good for students to understand it's not always just about us and our club,” Nolin said. “It's about also helping out our community. We have a lot of different clubs that are not just here for our school, but here for our community, and that says a lot about our students.”


Nov. 8, 2013

In-DEpth

westside

Budget By LIA HAGEN CoPY EDITOR

Since its conception, Westside has had a reputation for being one of the richest schools in the city. However, very few students have any real understanding of what goes into making our school run. These infographics shed some light on the inner workings of our school and how we compare to our fellow school districts.

overall budget General

Non-Salary

4% transfer

19% INSTRUCTION

18% non-salary

10% admin & support

23% benefits

21% transportation

55% salary

13% TECHNOLOGY 37% OPERATIONS

COMPARED TO OTHER DISTRICTS Total Budget OMAHA PUBLIC SCHOOLS - $507,571,421 (2013-2014)

Per Student *numbers approximate

MILLARD PUBLIC SCHOOLS - $210,680,828 (2011-2012)

RALSTON - $30,200,000 (2012-2013)

IN THOUSANDS

WESTSIDE - $75,673,233 (2013-2014)

13 12 11 10 9 8 WESTSIDE $12,500*

OPS $11,000

RALSTON $9,600

MILLARD $9,200

revenue other $1,550,000

COMMON LeVy $31,982,702

USE OF FUND BALANCE $7,134,317

PROPERTY TAX $12,543,035

SPECIAL ED. $3,500,000

STATE AID $2,500,000

MOTOR VEHICLE $2,100,000

STATE AID $31,982,702


Feature

ALL PAWS ON DECK

Nov. 8, 2013 9

Student trains her own service dog to help with diabetes By Nata Ward Feature EDITOR Maxi is the first to get up in the morning. Her jobs range from getting sophomore Amy Conaway out of bed to making sure someone sets out the dog food at 6 a.m. sharp. Maxi is a 60-pound, 2-foot-tall, amber-eyed black Lab who runs like a bullet and enjoys long walks in the park. Her day is packed with family time, training, outings and naps, all with the goal of shaping her into a successful Diabetic Alert Dog. Five years ago, Conaway was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Three years later, she decided to train her own service dog. She adopted Maxi from a group called Warren Retrievers, which bred dogs specifically for their ability to sense changes in blood sugar. “How we started training was [Maxi] got involved with testing my blood sugar,” Conaway said. “Like when I was testing, she would come over and watch. And then if I was out of range — if I was low or high — I would breathe in her face. We would reward that. That smell we tried to associate with good things.” The first time Maxi noticed on her own that Conaway’s blood sugar was out of range, Maxi ran around the house and started growling at Conaway. “She knew something was wrong and wanted her reward,” Conaway said. “Any behavior that was different, we rewarded that because that was her noticing the smell.” The next step in training was learning how to alert. When Conaway’s blood sugar was out of range, Maxi needed some way to let her know. A Bringsel turned out to be the right fit. A Bringsel is a stick of fabric that Maxi can grab and bring to Conaway anytime Maxi senses something is amiss. Bringsels are located all over the house, on doorknobs and on the fridge, and then on Maxi’s leash when she and Conaway go out. “The biggest reason we wanted her was to alert at night because I sleep through low blood sugars, which is potentially dangerous, especially when I go to college,” Conaway said. One day, Conaway left school with a migraine. She tested her blood sugar, but was in a healthy range so she decided to sleep it off. It was late

afternoon when Maxi alerted Conaway and her mother. After testing, they found that Conaway was in the 40s; the normal range is 70 to 100. Thankfully, Conaway was treated before anything dangerous happened, like a seizure or a coma. “To us, that was one of those moments where you’re like, ‘All this hard work is worth it. She really is here for a reason,’” Conaway said. “My mom probably wouldn’t have checked my blood sugar for another two hours.” Maxi’s typical Labrador characteristics, including a good work ethic, family personality and smart sense of smell, contribute to her success as a service dog. Conaway, however, thinks that it’s not all in Maxi’s breed, but more in her personality and her relationship with Conaway. “[Maxi] motivates me to keep in control of [my diabetes] because if I don’t, it makes it harder on her,” Conaway said. “It’s kind of like facing it as a team, instead of feeling like I have to do it all by myself.” The team came about because of a simple idea from Conaway’s neighbor, senior Ruby Hickman. “I have raised and trained a therapy dog, and when I was doing research for that I came across diabetic alert dogs,” Hickman said. “The concept that a dog can sense the changes in a person’s blood sugar is astounding, and I did more research to ensure that it was legitimate. I brought the idea [up with Conaway], and it turned out to be a great fit.” Conaway was in a Spanish language immersion camp when she found out about her successful adoption of Maxi. Her parents sent her a photo album and behind pictures of her family were two pictures of a little black Lab in a patch of flowers. Handwritten next to it was: “This is your dog, but she needs a name.” “I just looked at the picture for the longest time and then ran to the bathroom and cried,” Conaway said. “Then I started showing everyone in camp so I could get their opinions on names.” Maxi, eventually named after the horse in Disney’s Tangled, Maximus, has been at Conaway’s side for two years. With the help of the trainers from Warren Retrievers and other trainers the family met later on, Maxi has gradually learned what it takes to be a service dog. The Lab passed the Canine Good Citizen test at the Nebraska Humane Society with flying colors. She could walk by a pile of toys without stopping to

sniff and do a “meet and greet.” When Conaway stopped to talk to someone with another dog, Maxi could wait patiently without a reaction. From there, Conaway and Maxi took regular outings to places including Scheels, Hy-Vee and even on a plane to work on their skills in public. “[Taking her to school] is our end goal,” Conaway said. “I want to take her to college, but it’s also up to the school. Right now, I don’t think she’s ready, and I also don’t think I’m ready.” Conaway’s biggest fear is passing period. In stores and during outings, Maxi has been stepped on by accident because people didn’t notice there was a dog there. “You know how crazy the Landing is,” Conaway said. “I just want her to be safe.” Maxi does her best to be careful and do her job. She makes Amy and her mother proud with every successful outing and alert. She’s waiting outside her owner’s bedroom door every morning and in her crate after school. Her bathroom breaks and mealtimes are arranged around Conaway’s activities for the day, but Maxi is flexible. “There are worse things in the world than diabetes, but it’s still a pain in the butt,” said Conaway. “I think [Maxi] is the one positive thing that I get every day out of it. It’s the fact that I get this awesome dog.”

Sophomore Amy Conaway relaxes in the fall leaves with her service dog, Maxi, on Monday, Nov. 4. Conaway adopted Maxi three years ago. Photo by Ally Stark

KNOTT YOUR AVERAGE KID

Student’s extreme kindness sets him apart, inspires others By Phoebe PLAczek News Writer

Top: Sophomore Payton Knott works after school on a motion charcoal illustration alongside longtime friend sophomore Tyler Pierson Wednesday, Oct. 30. Knott is known throughout Westside for his positive, upbeat personality. Right: Knott uses a wrench as inspiration and the main focus of his assignment in Painting and Drawing 2. Photos by Sarah Lemke

Once, sophomore Payton Knott held the door for 15 people. Sophomore Teddy Murphy, a friend, told him he didn’t have to hold the door for everyone. Knott replied, “Yeah, I do. I don’t want anyone standing in the rain longer than they have to.” Knott won the Gordan Kuhl Outstanding Freshman award last year. Teachers voted for him to receive this award for leadership, academics, and his extraordinary attitude. “I’d describe Payton as the nicest kid in the world,” said Jon Tigani, Knott’s math teacher. People know Knott for his outstanding reputation of overachieving politeness. He always has a smile on his face and is constantly concerned for other people’s well-being. “When everyone’s happy, I’m happy,” Knott said. This is his simple explanation as to why being positive is so important to him. He said he considers everyone he knows a friend. “If nice were a person, it would be Payton,” said sophomore Mark Bacon, one of Knott’s closest friends. Murphy described Knott as a very giving person who carries himself politely and puts others before himself. He thinks Knott improves people’s days by being so nice. “He makes my day all the time,” Murphy said. Bacon thinks Knott is the role model of the school. “I’ve never heard him say anything negative,” Bacon said. Knott’s mom, Shannon Knott, said her son acts the same at home. He has always been like this, according to Shannon. “I think Payton sees a lot of negativity in life and the world and just doesn’t want to be like that,” Shannon said.

She also said he never gives up, no matter how challenging something is for him. According to Shannon, he loves learning and doing his homework. Tigani describes Knott as one of his hardestworking students, and thinks Knott is the nicest, kindest, gentlest person he has ever met. “He always asks me how my day is,” Tigani said. “Not a lot of students do that.” According to Murphy, Knott always apologizes to his teachers even if he doesn’t do anything wrong, such as asking a question. “I’m always worried about helping everybody out and making everyone feel good, but I have to have some self-respect too,” Knott said. Knott said he has made mistakes in the past, mainly with his brother. He claims the worst thing he has done was locking his brother in his room a couple years ago. Knott said he regretted this because he wasn’t being a good brother. Now, though, he always finds ways to motivate himself to stay positive. “When things are too negative, like on the news or at school, that’s when I try to be the most optimistic,” Knott said. Another way he keeps his optimism is by focusing on the good things that have happened in the past. Knott and his family members are very different,” explains Shannon. “We are all sarcastic,” she said. “We’re like him as far as being positive and fun, but nothing like Payton. He’s different from a lot of people that way.” Knott suggested he might be able to influence people around him to be more positive too. “I don’t think that anything is [big enough] to get too stressed out about,” Knott said. “Everyone goes through tough times, but you have to take your time and be patient.”


10 Nov. 8, 2013

Sports

FALL SPORTS: FINAL SCORE

Cross-Country

The boys cross-country team placed first in the district tournament, which meant the entire team qualified for state. The team finished seventh overall, and was led by senior Jordan Wheeler, who placed 30th. Senior Catie Thull was the only member of the girls team to make state. She placed 26th at the meet.

Volleyball The Westside volleyball team has had an up-anddown year, finishing the regular season at 13-20. It had a 2-2 record during the Metro tournament to receive a No. 2 seed in the district. Check westsidewired.org for a recap of district volleyball.

Home guest

Golf The girls golf team missed out on the state tournament this year. It placed fifth, which was two spots off of a state appearance. Junior Clair Selby led the team with a score of 103. She missed qualifying for state by two spots.

Tennis A young tennis team went into the state tournament with lower expectations than last year. The team was able to place ninth in the tournament. No. 1 singles player Sean Padios made it into the second round, and every other competitor from Westside made it to the third round.

Softball The softball team failed to qualify for the state tournament, finishing third at the district tournament in Lincoln. The team was knocked out of the tournament by Fremont, a team it had beaten twice before.

For more detailed recaps of the teams’ seasons, visit the sp

orts tab on westsidewir ed.org.

CRA CRAZE Z Mr. WHS

E

Football

The football team is still playing in the state tournament. The team has had a successful season up to this point. It finished the regular season with a 9-1 record. The Warriors are currently ranked No. 3 in the state, behind Millard West and Omaha North. The team will take on Creighton Prep in its secondround game this Friday.

WESTSIDE’S ENTERTAINMENT MAGAZINE CHECK OUT LAST MONTH’S ISSUE ON WESTSIDE WIRED

bump in the night issue

BUMP IN THE NIGHT ISSUE craze volume 5 issue 2

Starring westside’s most beautiful men November 21. 7 p.m.


Nov. 8, 2013 11

Sports

HALFTIME TRADITION

Coach’s son inspires football team through presence, fist bumps By Aren rendell editor-in-chief

The doctor told Brett Williams his son had five minutes to live. Zane Williams was born three weeks early and delivered by C-section, and had no feeling from his belly button down. Brett told the doctor to do whatever he could, but the doctor said he saw no need. He told Brett his son was unresponsive to a light test and had trouble breathing. Brett persisted. He got another surgeon — whom he described as “a great man” — involved. “He fought for Zane,” said Brett, a fifth-grade teacher at Oakdale and a Westside football coach. “He said, ‘I’ll do the surgery right now.’” Between Zane’s father and the other doctor, they persuaded the original doctor to perform a surgery to keep Zane alive. Zane went on to receive nine other procedures during the first two months after he was born. He spent those two months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) following birth. Nine years and about 35 other major medical procedures later, he is alive. He suffers from Arnold-Chiari malformation, which has elongated his brain stem and left him unable to speak or breathe normally. He also has Spina Bifida, a paralyzing spinal cord disorder. There are things he can’t do. He can’t walk, speak or breathe without a tracheostomy tube — “trach” for short — or feel below his belly button. But Brett’s left arm is covered with tattoos pertaining to Zane, and one of them reflects Zane’s father’s fight with people who have said what he can’t do defines him. “All the skulls are from doctors and therapists that said he can’t do something, whether ‘He can’t survive,’ or ‘He won’t be able,’ or ‘He’ll never,’” Zane’s father said. “We get rid of those people in our lives, and I put that [tattoo] as a reminder not to listen to the negatives of what they have [to say].” The main theme of the tattoos on Brett’s arm illustrates what does define Zane. “They all have a special meaning to me: [they are] reminders that keep me going,” Zane’s father said. “He has dealt with so much that when I have a little problem with a parent complaining about a grade or something, I just try to remember the big picture.” Westside football players have seen a similar side to Zane since he became part of the team last season. As a football coach, Zane’s father is away from home for large chunks of time during the football season. Zane’s mother, Jennifer, started to bring Zane to practice to see his father. Zane met line coach Shawn Blevins and the offensive linemen, but he was never fully introduced. “A couple players last season just kind of took to Zane, and without coaches even cueing them were just naturally drawn to him and would naturally go to him and initiate conversation with him, and pretty soon it was kind of catchy,” Blevins said. “It was like the flu because everybody started just catching it and going over to Zane and really latching onto a good friendship with Zane.” When the Warriors were facing Millard South at Westside last season, Zane got tired before

halftime. He decided to go home. Before leaving, Jennifer brought him to say goodbye to his father. Zane and Jennifer sat near the entrance to the locker room waiting for Zane’s father. “As we were coming off the field, as coaches we noticed that it was taking a long time for the players to get into the locker room,” coach Williams said. “And, you know, it’s a big game and they were No. 2 in the state last year. We’re like, ‘What’s going on? Why is this taking so long?’” Then the coaches saw the reason. “This mass of players that were four wide formed into a single-file line and showed him some love, and it kind of took off from there,” Blevins said. “No one asked them to do it, no coaches cued them to do it. Players just naturally did it. It was a pretty cool thing to see.” Giving Zane a high five or knuckles became a halftime tradition and Zane’s favorite part of Westside games. A smile flashed across his face as he explained, with sign language through his mother’s interpreting, that it is his favorite part because he “[gets] to dub all the players.” “He gets a little anxious when it gets close to halftime,” Brett said. “He gets on his mom to bring him down and make sure they’re in the right spot right by the locker room. It’s very exciting and something he looks forward to. It picks him up.” When talking about the football team, Zane’s eyes light up. He said coach Michael Jernigan is his favorite coach because Jernigan’s two children sit near him during the games, and he gave a spirited nod and a thumbs up to say Westside will win a state football title this season. He added, with a grin, that senior offensive lineman Tom Young is his favorite player. When Young met Zane, he saw the thrill Zane got from watching the team. “I saw that look in his eye that he was excited to be here,” Young said. “You know, he was excited to see all of these big, strong football players. He was just happy to be part of something. It was really special.” But as much as the football team is able to do

for Zane — allowing him to come to Sunday film sessions and to the weight room, along with practices and games — Zane does as much, if not more, for them. “Zane’s just one of those kinds of people that just motivates you by being there because of his story, the story that coach Williams tells us about his life and about what he’s been through,” Young said. Blevins agreed. “Zane is just such a magical little kid,” he said. “He makes you put things into perspective. He just loves football so much. He comes to our practices and loves seeing the coaches, loves seeing the players. And it just makes you step back and look at your life and realize you’re pretty fortunate for the things you have, but no matter the adversity you have, you can overcome it and enjoy yourself and enjoy life.”

Top: Zane Williams fist-bumps sophomore Spencer Jordan during halftime of Westside’s round one playoff game against Lincoln Southwest, Friday, Nov. 1. After a 35-6 win, the Warriors will play Creighton Prep at Westside Friday, Nov. 8. Photo by Estella Fox Above: Brett Williams shows his skull tattoo Wednesday, Oct. 30. The skulls symbolize people who tried to limit his son, Zane. Photo by Sarah Lemke

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12 Nov. 8, 2013

SPORTS

Pictured: junior Rylie Towne

WINTER SPORTS PREVIEW Swimming

Pictured: sophomore Ryan Fletcher

Krecklow to return mid-season BY Jack Cohen Staff Writer A coach is one of the most important aspects of a team. His or her calming presence, superior leadership and large knowledge of the sport are hugely important. For a portion of this season, the boys and girls swimming teams won’t have any of these benefits. Longtime coach Doug Krecklow retired from teaching, and due to retirement laws will not be able to return to coach the team until about a month or two into the season. Senior varsity swimmer Danylo Serednytsky is optimistic, however, about how the team will perform in his absence. “I think we will do fine without him, but we will of course be looking forward to his return,” Serednytsky said. Assistant swimming coach Nick Joslin will step into the head coaching position in Krecklow’s absence. “We will still have contact with him [Krecklow]. He just won’t be able to come to practice,” Joslin said. “He’ll still be running the show, pretty much. I will just be the physical presence.” Serednytsky knows he and the other seniors need to step up in the absence of their coach. “There’s a lot of great seniors on the team this year,” Serednytsky said. “Me, Jimmy Esola, Cameron Port and Sammy Kupka are all guys who can really perform at a high level. We all do club year

‘‘

round, so we’re prepared for the season.” Serednytsky is confident that the boys, who finished 10th in the state meet last year, will improve for this season. “We’re aiming to [place] better,” Serednytsky said. “We have the guys to do it. We just have to keep swimming.” The girls swim team is in the same situation as the boys, with Krecklow being absent. However, they find their situation different, since they can draw on the experience of winning state in 2012. “It will help us because we know how it feels to win, and we strive for that feeling again and we’ll use that to motivate us to win now,” senior Maggie Kroeger said.. Joslin is also filling in for Krecklow with the girls team, and is optimistic about the prospects for this season. “The girls team is looking really strong, and has lot of returners,” Joslin said. “We didn’t lose anybody who scored any points, so we are really excited for the season.” The experience will come from seniors such as Kroeger, Savanna Couillard and Hannah Miller. After the team’s sixth-place performance at state last year, varsity swimmer Maggie Kroeger is confident the team will perform better this year. “We didn’t do too well in state, but we did have a very young team,” Kroeger said. “I think we struggled because it was a lot of girls’ first time in the state tournament. Now that we have more experience we will place better.”

‘‘

We’re aiming to place better. We have the guys to do it. We just have to keep swimming. DANYLO SEREDNYTSKY SENIOR SWIMMER

Photos by Ally Stark

Wrestling

Pictured: Westside wrestlers at practice

Team wrestles school spirit issues BY TIM GRAVES SPORTs EDITOR When a fight happens in the hallway, hundreds of people gather around to watch. When the wrestling team has a meet, almost no one shows up. “This is the only sport that is legal hand-tohand combat at the high school level,” head wrestling coach Michael Jernigan said. “Why not come and watch two competitors battle for domination?” According to a Westside student survey conducted on Westside Wired, 148 students out of 254 surveyed said school spirit was below average or poor. Only 37 said school spirit was fantastic. One possible way to change the feeling about school spirit is to go to a wider variety of school athletic competitions, including wrestling. “It would be nice to see more of my classmates

there supporting the team and showing school spirit,” senior Dylan Sorrell said. “I don’t think it would make me preform any better in the dual. However, I think it would encourage a lot of our other wrestlers on the team to perform better.” Sorrell also has some ideas on how to spread the word about wrestling. “I think if we had pep rallies — like football and basketball — on the days where we have a home dual that could help,” Sorrell said. “Also, I feel that if people really knew what this sport is about more would come to watch.” Jernigan agreed, pointing to the effort wrestlers put in running, lifting, and wrestling on the mat. “Too many people don’t understand how hard these wrestlers work,” Jernigan said. “They work for six minutes of non-stop action. They need to come support these Warriors.”

Photo by Jakob Phillips


NOV. 8, 2013 13

Sports Girls basketball

Pictured from left to right: sophomores Lynsey Curran, Tay Bridgeman and Bridget Mizener, freshman Tess Secora and other girls basketball players

Injuries try to steal season By JAMES BUCKLEY STAFF WRITER After making it to the district championship last season, the Warriors don’t need injuries to start off the season. But during the offseason, both junior Jay Bridgeman and senior Shannon Pickering suffered injuries. As a result, they will each be missing part of the season. Bridgeman is suffering from a torn labrum after her shoulder popped in a collision. Her expected return date is December or January, depending on her recovery. Pickering tore her ACL in a knee-to-knee collision. Her expected return is also in January. While both players will be out for the first

few months, head coach Steve Clark has no worries about being down two players. “I think it will give some others a chance to step up,” Clark said. “When we get at full strength we’ll have more depth developed.” While Bridgeman and Pickering are away, senior Mallory Thompson will be one player to help the team carry on. “Marie Matthews and I have been talking about how we’re going to have to step up our roles,” Thompson said. “We think we can do it and start the season off strong.” During Bridgeman and Pickering’s recovery time, the team will focus on finding a starting five that can get the job done. Once the kinks are figured out, the team will be ready to roll, and go far into the season.

Photo by Estella Fox

Boys basketball

Photo by Estella Fox

Transfers looking to assist team BY JAMES BUCKLEY STAFF WRITER

Pictured: freshman Bennett Hellman, left, and other freshman basketball players

It was a junior class with exceptional talent, complimented by a sophomore class with great promise. Everything a coach could dream of, gone in the blink of an eye. With players transferring in the 2011-2012 season, the 2012-2013 boys basketball team didn’t have an experienced squad, which showed during their 11-12 season. But, with every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. The team will benefit from an opposite reaction this season. During the off-season, the team gained two new transfers. These were senior Michael Herrmann from Papillion-La Vista South and junior Mack Greder from Creighton Prep. Despite the transfers, head coach Brian Nemecek is still treating this like a normal season as team chemistry could be an issue. “Sometimes when you put new kids in the mix, it’s an issue because they haven’t played together before,”

Diving Junior plunges into leadership role By Jack Cohen Staff writer The pressure is on, the whole team is watching. Slowly climbing the ladder up, junior diver Erin North quickly walks to the end of the board and pauses. Toes hanging over the edge, she takes a few small bounces and jumps. It’s a new season for the Westside dive team, and the team’s experience will be a major factor. “Our only senior from last year, Kate Durst, graduated, so we have a lot of youth,” North said. With Durst’s graduation, North has been thrust into the upperclassman leadership roll. “I’m the oldest diver for this year,” North said. “I think my experience will really help the younger divers.”

Even without experience the dive team has potential in its young and new divers. “Of course I’m back, so is sophomore Maddie Simon, and we have a couple new freshman, “ North said. “So we are excited for the future of Westside diving.” While the dive team is young, the team believes it can perform at a high level right now. “I think we’re going to do well at meets,” North said. “We’ve traditionally always done well there, and I expect the same from us this year.” In a sport where the complexity and form of your dive decides your score, the team is always looking to make improvements in their abilities. “We’ll need to work a lot to get where we want to go this year.” North said. “We are not there yet. I think as the season goes on we will get a lot better.” Pictured: a club swimmer at Westside

Photo by Ally Stark

Aksarben

Nemecek said. The team will be led by senior Mike Kiger, who was a starter last year and is already familiar with Herrmann and Greder. “I’m good family friends with Mack, and I just said that Westside would be a better fit for him, so he came,” Kiger said. “Herrmann was going to go somewhere else from Papio South and we [senior Kevin Metoyer and I] wanted height so we brought up the idea of Westside, and he took care of the rest.” The choice to play at Westside was an easy one for Herrmann. “I was really good friends with a lot of the basketball players, and I met a bunch of people from this school,” Hermann said. “We thought that we could get a good team together and win state, so we’re like ‘Why not, it’s senior year. Let’s go for it.’” With Herrmann, Greder and the experience of the senior class, the basketball team looks to be a contender to bring home a state title at the Pinnacle Bank arena in March.

Lights of Aksarben NOVEMBER 29 Tree lighting ceremony

DECEMBER 6-20 Every Friday there will be holiday activities in Stinson Park.

Village

Holiday Market DECEMBER 7-8

Visit our website for more information

aksarbenvillage.com


14 NOV. 8, 2013

ARts & Entertainment

MODERN THANKSGIVING

Some Westsiders leave old-school traditions behind By Jace Wieseler A&E Editor

It’s nearly dinnertime, and the table is set. The food all the family members slaved over all morning is out. Mashed potatoes are set next to the gravy boat, and the homemade green bean casserole sits next to the warm, steaming rolls. The festive pumpkin pie sits by the stuffing. Plates upon plates line the table, just waiting to dirty the decorative tablecloth that lies underneath. The turkey overpowers all of it, sitting smack-dab in the middle. Mom calls everyone to the dining room as Dad screams at the football game on the TV. The whole family files in, sits down around the table and digs in. To 47% of Americans, according to the National Restaurant Association, something like this is their traditional Thanksgiving. But to most of the other 53%, their traditional Thanksgiving is ordering their food out. Yes, they order every part of the meal, from the turkey to the whipped cream on the pumpkin pie. To sophomore Samantha Faulkner, this is just like her traditional Thanksgiving. “My brother plays travel hockey, so [my family] is usually on the road,” Faulkner said. “We eat at a small diner or truck stop.” Their meal for the annual event could take place anywhere from a hamburger joint in the middle of nowhere, to a small Chinese restaurant in downtown St. Louis. “It’s a great way for us to make new memories and spend time together,” Faulkner said. While some stay home and eat, others plan their next day’s events, or that night’s events, for that matter. Math instructor Beth Peitzmeier is part of the 13,940,000 Black Friday shoppers, according to CNN Money, to start their shopping on Thanksgiving, at over 2 million stores that open Thanksgiving evening, including Macy’s, Target and Toys “R” Us. “After we eat Thanksgiving dinner, we sit down and look at ads together,” Peitzmeier said. She and her sisters shop from Thanksgiving evening until 8 a.m. the day after. “My favorite part is the adrenaline rush when the doors open and the people pushing,” Peitzmeier said. “But one time, my cousin almost got in a fight because some lady was mouthing off to her and she was mouthing back.” Black Friday shopping is reserved for certain types of people. People have

Graphic

to be avid and willing to push down the avid customer next to them to get the last flat-screen TV for 80% off. It’s necessary to be patient and willing to wait in an hour-long line that wraps around the store three times just to get the new Grand Theft Auto video game for $15. Shoppers need to be decisive and just buy whatever and not worry about what the bill will be at the end of the day. It’s common for a hard-core shopper to own a tent to camp out in front of Best Buy until it opens at midnight, to be one of the first 100 people to get a free iPod. No matter if you eat out, travel, or shop on Black Friday, there’s no question that by the end of the day, or Friday morning, you’re stuffed, whether it’s full of Thanksgiving dinner or full of great holiday deals. There’s nothing better than taking a nice nap on the couch, watching A Christmas Story, and getting in the spirit for the next holiday to come.

by Allie

Laing

The

FACTS National Restaurant Assoc.

47%

of Americans spend Thanksgiving at home, and prepare a homemade meal

SHE CAN’T STOP

Miley Cyrus changes image with new album, shocks fans By Owen Rush MY DARLIN’ Bangerz slows down with a power ballad called Staff Writer

In the three years since Miley Cyrus, the Nashville pop star, has made an album, she’s gone from singing “Best Of Both Worlds” to twerking in front of the world. Bangerz is a lot like the Video Music Awards performance — it is not what you expect. Every song is very different from the next.

ADORE YOU

‘‘

WRECKING BALL

Bangerz opens with an unexpected ballad called “Adore You.” The song is about missing and wanting to be with your significant other. It shows how you feel when you’re with them. It also shows off Miley’s great vocals with her powerful sound, and shows how great her range is.

BAngerz is a lot like the video music awards performance— it is not what you expect. Every song is very different from the next.

Bangerz continues with the song of the summer,“We Can’t Stop.” The first single from Bangerz is a fun, upbeat song with a meaning. With lyrics like “Remember only God can judge ya / Forget the haters because somebody loves ya,” this track speaks about just having fun with life and not letting people or small things get you down.

SMS (BANGERZ)

In “Wrecking Ball,” the second single from Bangerz, a song about a love gone bad, Miley uses the metaphor of a wrecking ball to show emotion. She sings about how she tried to break through the walls that her lover has built up, but it only came back around to hurt her. The best lyric: “I never hit so hard in love / All I wanted was to break your wall / All you ever did was wreck me.”

‘‘

WE CAN’T STOP

“My Darlin’” that includes a rap from Miley and features the rapper Future. It’s a track about always being there for your loved ones, and being with them through through thick and thin. This song doesn’t really fit the title of the album, but it ties it together with its undertones of party music.

“SMS” is one of the feel-good songs on the album, and features the legendary Ms. Britney Spears singing the second verse. This song makes you want to get out and dance with your friends. “SMS” stands for “strutting my stuff.” This song really explains why the album would be called Bangerz.

LOVE, MONEY, PARTY

Bangerz moves in a more upbeat direction with “Love, Money, Party,” which features Big Sean. This is the kind of song that makes you want to get up and dance. It is definitely a banger.

DO MY THANG

“Do My Thang” is another upbeat song with a dubstep feel which also features Miley rapping and singing. “Do My Thang” is probably the most different track you will find on this album. This song is about being yourself and not worrying about anything or anyone else, and just having fun.

MAYBE YOU’RE RIGHT

“Maybe You’re Right” is a ballad that brings us back to the old days of Hannah Montana. It is a true pop breakup song; the song is very reflective on a past relationship and considers the the other person’s perspective on the relationship.

Miley Cyrus’s Bangerz is a great album to play when driving down the road with your friends. Tracks you should listen to are “Adore You,” “We Can’t Stop,” “My Darlin’,” “Rooting For My Baby” and “SMS (Bangerz).” If you liked “We Can’t Stop” this summer, you will love Miley’s new album.

Miley Cyrus’s new album came out Oct. 4, 2013. It sold 270,000 copies in its first week alone.


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Nov. 8, 2013 15

LES MISÉRABLES

Vocal instructor performs in Playhouse musical By Elise Tucker Staff Writer Lights come up and the actors slowly creep onto the stage. The audience falls silent. The first scene begins with a powerful performance of the song “Look Down!” Every man on stage sings with his bellowing voice, fills the auditorium. Scene after scene, the actors and actresses give it their all in Les Misérables. Backstage, the actors run around getting their costumes, hair and makeup done. They quickly get into their places and gracefully walk onstage. This experience is very different for those in the musical. Among these actors is vocal instructor Kyle Avery. Les Misérables was at the Omaha Community Playhouse. It ran from Sept. 20 to Oct. 27. All the actors, Avery included, went through a “boot camp” during the rehearsals. The first couple of weeks of “boot camp” were spent learning the music. Then the director split the actors into groups for duets and solos. “We went scene by scene creating blocking for the actors on stage. Blocking brings the musical to life, ” Avery said. As the musical came together, the actors began to put together parts of the play to see how each scene would flow. “The music director would let us sit down and give us notes on what we could improve on, like vocals,” Avery said. Then the director would have everyone meet on stage and talk to them about different issues about the musical. “The director would give us notes on what we could change or say what we messed up on,” Avery said. The plot of the musical is different than most of the musicals on Broadway or in local theater. A guy named Jean Valjean goes to prison for stealing a loaf of bread. Doing so he ended up in prison for

19 years. He then was set free and Javert, a police man, kept looking for him because he thought he should not be free. Besides for helping to bring this thrilling story alive on stage, Avery reunited with some old friends and new people. “One of the neat things was I got to work with one of my former students, Abby Stewart,” Avery said. “She played her role very well.” Learning the vocals and music for the musical was easier for him for than some of his other cast members because he is a vocal teacher. “I could learn the music pretty quickly,” Avery said. “I was confident on that, so if someone needed help reading the music, I could help other people.” Avery and the cast all got along well.

“It was both fun and work,” Avery said. “When it was time to get down to business and figure out the show, everyone was down to business because they wanted the show to be great.” When the cast was done rehearsing, they would hang out backstage, but always kept a certain level of professionalism. “There wasn’t a lot of pranks because we wanted to keep the quality of the show at its best,” Avery said. “Every once in a while backstage if you were in the dressing room then they would prank you.” The cast gradually comes back onto the stage. They all join in for a extraordinary performance of “Here the People Sing.” They finish the song and the audience gives them a loud standing ovation. The musical was a success.

Vocal instructor Kyle Avery performs in Les Misérables at the Omaha Community Playhouse. The musical ran from Sept. 20 to Oct. 27. Photo courtesy of Christian Robertson

NO-SHAVE NOVEMBER

Students put razors away for month By Tommy huerter Staff Writer November is a time of change. Boys look more mature and girls move shorts and tank tops to the back of the closet. Things seem different, which can be attributed to the change of seasons. While the dropping temperature may play a role in the sudden aging of teenagers, the biggest factor is that many people have dropped their razors and stopped shaving. Referred to as no-shave November, Movember or Noshember, the practice of not shaving during the month of November is a trend that has swept across the nation. While most know what no-shave November is, many aren’t aware of why this trend began. No-shave November started to raise awareness for prostate cancer. As noshave November grew across the globe, it began to lose its meaning. The website noshember.com does not immediately inform readers of the reasons for the month. The homepage says nothing about raising awareness and you have to search through the website to find it. In fact, the homepage says that no-shave November is when people “unite in the height of laziness agreeing not to shave.” Westside sophomore Jay Bridgeman agrees wholeheartedly with noshember.com. “I’m really lazy—I wear a lot of pants so I don’t really need to shave and I’m really to lazy too shave,” Bridgeman said. While Bridgeman participates out of laziness, others have unusual reasons for choosing not to shave for an entire month. “People enjoy when I do weird things, so I am choosing to not shave all of November,” junior Sarah Straley said. Straley is a huge advocate of no-shave November. “The hardest part about it is not participating all of the other months,” Straley said. Westside junior Alex Zimmerman has participated in no-shave November throughout high school. He chooses to participate because he can and it is an excuse not to shave. While there are many positives to no-shave November, Zimmerman mentioned a few drawbacks. “I have had a girlfriend during November and they tend to not be huge fans of the idea,” Zimmerman said. “[Also]It gets pretty hot during football and stuff, but it doesn’t get too bad until it starts to get itchy in the later parts of the month.” One thing all of these no-shave November participants had in common was that none of them knew that the month was to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Straley said she would add raising awareness to her reasons for

The

FACTS Source: The Fresno State Collegian

5.5 in. the average length whiskers grow each year

17’ 6” the length of the longest beard ever recorded. It was grown by Hans Lengseth of Norway

140 Days Graphic by Allie Laing participating in no-shave November. In the past, school groups such as DECA have had school fundraisers for no-shave November. However, they are not having any kind of event or fundraising activity this year. No matter what your reasoning, participating in no-shave November can be a fun, silly thing for people to do. Join the movement, make November a month to remember. Put down the razors and hide the shaving cream. Welcome to November, may the longest beard win.

the average amount of time a man will spend shaving in his lifetime

30 Days of not shaving in the month of November. Good luck, participants!


16 Nov. 8, 2013

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

MID-SEASON TV REVIEWS Be warned. Spoilers ahead. By Tom Schueneman MANAGING EDITOR

Boardwalk Much of the recent discussion about TV has centered on the conclusion of Breaking Bad, which has been rightfully hailed as one of the greatest television shows of all time. Amid this fervor, however, the return of an unsung hero of TV’s golden age has gone somewhat unnoticed. Boardwalk Empire’s fourth season started in September and so far has done plenty to further the shows considerable reputation. The episode “Erlkönig” in particular stood out as one of the series’ best. The show is at its best when it’s depicting recognizable historical events in a dramatic fashion, and the killing of Frank Capone was one of the most satisfying instances of this yet, incorporating the complicated relationship between former prohibition officer George Mueller and Al Capone as a pretext for Frank’s killing. Equally satisfying is newly introduced villain Valentine Narcisse

Rick Grimes is a former southern sheriff thrust into a leadership role among his ragtag group of survivors, while also trying to raise his son Carl in an environment that’s hardly suited for child-rearing.

What to Expect next Tensions within the group have reached a boiling point, and we still don’t know what the governor’s up to. We’ve seen plenty of zombiebased violence, but we haven’t seen a big human-on-human firefight yet.

Is it worth getting into? As long as you’re not expecting The Sopranos, you’ll probably enjoy it. It can be infuriating, but it’s always watchable, and somehow manages to be consistently compelling.

The

Walking

The Main Character

EMPIRE

(Jeffery Wright). Though fictional, Narcisse, like most of the show’s characters, has his roots in reality: He’s a talent manager for the nightclubs that play a prominent role in the Harlem Renaissance, looking to expand his influence to Atlantic City. Unfortunately, this means butting heads with fan favorite Chalky White (The Wire’s Michael K. Williams), the political boss of the black side of town, and longtime associate of main character Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi). Chalky’s more prominent role is an excellent turn for the show, as he’s long been one of its most interesting characters, and it allows the main villain of the season to deal less directly with Nucky. He represents a stark contrast from last season’s antagonist, Gyp Rossetti. While the latter was one of the most unsettlingly unstable characters on TV, Narcisse is quiet, and educated, but still selfevidently dangerous and manipulative. Where his character arc will go is anyone’s guess, but with the season concluding Nov. 24, there’s still time before the finale to catch up with where it’s been so far.

THE Main Character Atlantic City political boss-turned gangster and probable sociopath Nucky Thompson is one of the most engrossing characters on TV right now, thanks to clever writing and the wonderful performance of Steve Buscemi.

What to Expect next It’s impossible to know with this show until the last few episodes, but not nearly enough people have died so far this season, so expect things to get worse before they get better.

Is it worth getting into? Absolutely. Boardwalk Empire is easily one of the best shows on television right now, and doesn’t get anything like the recognition it deserves.

DEAD

Let’s be clear. The Walking Dead is not, in any traditional sense, a “good” show. The show’s writing suffers from melodramatic dialogue, erratic pacing and two-dimensional characters, and the acting does little to elevate it. Its success comes primarily from the popular appeal of its subject matter and its delightfully cringe-inducing depiction of violence against the undead. But for whatever reason, it manages to be not just engaging, but enthralling. While last season was certainly an improvement over season two’s monotony, the show has yet to return to the heights of its first season. Season four has gotten off to a promising start, however. Seasons two and three focused heavily on the relations between different groups of survivors, with season two focusing on two groups slowly merging, and season three casting its attention on the conflict between two groups. Season four so far has been much more introspective, concerning the relationships between individuals within a group. It’s a much more comfortable theme for the show, one that

was done well in the excellent first season. Don’t expect great TV from the rest of the season, but if you’re just looking for some thrills, The Walking Dead is worth checking out. With 12 episodes left in the 16-episode season, there’s plenty of time to get into the show, although if you’re between the ages of 18 and 34, it’s more than likely that you already know that.

HOMELAND For a show about national security to count the President of the United States among its many fans speaks volumes about the quality of the show. But even Barack Obama, who must surely be privy to some TV-worthy stories, would likely have to admit that this season of Homeland is almost too dramatic. Though based in premise on the excellent Israeli series Prisoners of War, Homeland abandons its source materials somewhat meandering, but tantalizing pace in favor of what must be an attempt to set a world record for most plot twists in a single season. Having bettered that record with its second season — much to the chagrin of some critics — Homeland now looks set to shift genres entirely from mystery to absurdist-thriller. That’s not to say that it isn’t still a good show. While bipolar CIA agent Carrie’s plotline can sometimes be a bit maddening, it’s been fascinating to get a peak inside the

mind of newly promoted director Saul Berenson. In the past, the series has focused heavily on Carrie’s delicate psychology, while Saul has played the role of stoic handler, but the stress of piloting a weakened agency into the future has given viewers a refreshing view of a character that has long seemed one dimensional, even if that one dimension was particularly interesting. Less clear is where Brody’s storyline is going. The people who were supposed to be his saviors have turned into his captors, and his only attempt to escape so far has ended not only in disaster, but also in one of the series’s weaker attempts to prove that it isn’t Islamophobic. It’s intriguing, but doesn’t really seem to be going anywhere at the moment. However, Homeland has a habit of spending the early episodes of the season on seemingly aimless melodrama only to hit viewers with a shocking but satisfying resolution in the last few episodes. There are six episodes left in this season, meaning things should start picking up quickly, and it’s definitely worth getting invested in it before things get so complicated it’s impossible to follow.

What to Expect next Claire Daines is excellent as an unstable CIA officer. While her story arc can be dumbfounding at times — apparently she’s pregnant now, because why not — she’s one of the most well-written characters on TV.

What to Expect next Expect a few more episodes of seemingly aimless confusion before everything becomes fairly clear in dramatic fashion over the last few episodes. If past seasons are any indicator, it should be worth it.

Is it worth getting into? Homeland can be upsettingly confusing at times, but at its best it’s a smart and satisfying thriller, and it’s clear how the show earned its dedicated following. Graphics by Tom Schueneman


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