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The Sycamore Leaf

Fri. March 15, 2013|Volume LIX Issue 8|7400 Cornell Rd. Cincinnati, Ohio 45242|513.686.1770 ext. 3089|



New Voices project >> Photography students collaborate with Holocaust survivors

Personal Discretion Advised

Students uncomfortable with hallway affection Kelcie Grega

web editor-in-chief

Joseph Ahn

O Forum


Reputations ruined >> Students share reactions to fallen athletes



Fashion for the Cure >> Members design dresses in support of ProKids



‘Argo’ beats ‘Lincoln’ >> Claims of historical inaccuracy create controversy

Sports Andrew Seide >> Student goes above and beyond for team


feature chief

nce students reach high school, dating becomes commonplace, and with that comes inevitable ‘public displays of affection’ (PDA). Couples are often spotted together before school, after school, and in between bells expressing fondness toward each other. PDA can range anywhere from holding hands to hugging and kissing. Sometimes, however, PDA goes beyond what others may view as school appropriate. Many freshmen were very shocked when they saw the amount of PDA that occurs at SHS. To some students, such affectionate gestures may seem cute, but others disagree. According to the student handbook found in every student’s plan book, “Students should use good judgment in showing affection to one another. Any display of affection beyond holding hands is not acceptable.” It is clear, however, that students at SHS have been seen taking it a lot further than hand-holding. “Once I went to a hallway that was normally empty and there was a couple rounding second base,” said Lydia McWilliams, 12. “That is something I don’t want to see.” These incidents are not rare either. In fact, some students choose to practice PDA consistently in their own ‘designated spots.’ “Every day, by room 233 and under the stairs, as I am walking to classes, I see at least three couples engage in public displays of affection,” said Omar Khan, 11. “I mean, it’s great that you have a girlfriend or boyfriend, but for real, please get a room.” Certain areas of the building appear to be targeted more for spots to snog than others. However, Japanese teacher Mr. John Turner rarely witnesses PDA where he teaches. “I have seen some of my students hold hands in class and lean in on each other but I remember seeing that when I was in high school so I let it happen,” said Turner. “I have never witnessed any ‘snogging.’” Oftentimes, PDA takes place in


areas very visible to the majority of the student body, such as hallways.

How much is too much?

When asked their thoughts on acceptable levels of PDA, many students had varying opinions. “I personally think that hugging, holding hands, and quickly kissing, so long as it is subtle, is fine,” said Pedro Del Moral, 11. “It stops being alright when it’s a prolonged kiss, sexually charged, or brazenly out for the world to see.” Some students believe that it is best to stay on the safe side and that couples should try to be considerate of their peers while expressing their love for their significant other. “I think PDA is okay as long as it doesn’t make anyone feel uncomfortable. Since people’s level of comfort can vary, it is probably best to keep it to a minimum,” said Nayan Mandan, 12.

Teachers, administrators take action Students are not the only ones who are disturbed by obscene affection. “I think that it is inappropriate and it shows disrespect not only to their peers, but to their boyfriend or girlfriend,” said Ken Clark, computer science teacher. “When I see it happen I just tell them to break it up.” According to the student handbook, first offenders are given a warning, second offenders are given a detention, and third offenders are given an extended day. Fourth offenders and beyond receive more serious punishments. Some teachers prefer to take matters into their own hands. English teacher Mrs. Christine Allen uses the humiliation tactic to put an end to the puppy love. “If scowling at them and proximity doesn’t work, I move closer and begin to ‘sing’ ‘Love is a Many Splendored Thing’ until they stop,” said Allen. But love is not always so splendid, especially in a high school hallway.

PDA IS AN OBVIOUS problem and distraction at SHS. Students and teachers alike have varying opinions. “I walk through a lot of the same hallways and couples often make out in the middle of the halls. said Molly Bernfeld, 12. “I have seen it get really intense with students.” All images by Aditi Sharma


>>the sycamore leaf 2 3.15.2013 ‘There is nothing better than doing something for another and expecting nothing in return’



Drop by drop: students save lives Shea Lothrop

business manager

Michael Saxon


sports chief

omeone needs blood every two seconds according to the American Red Cross Foundation. SHS strove to fill this need with its annual blood drive, sponsored by the Hoxworth Blood Center.

Innovation soars, economy declines Isaac Harmon

associate editor


This year’s success

In years past, SHS has been one of Hoxworth’s biggest high school contributors. With another large turnout at the drive this year, Ms. Linsey Farroh, predicts SHS will be near the top yet again. “We donate more blood than most schools in Cincinnati and are the biggest school Blood Drive that Hoxworth supports,” said Farroh. SHS had over 75 students donate blood this year. It was the first time donating for some, while others had donated in the past. “I liked donating blood because I know it will benefit all types of people,” said Alison Kerry, 11. Despite the change in location this year, the general process remained the same. “The student completes an information sheet, the blood is drawn, chilled, and then transported to the Hoxworth facility. Once there, it is tested for type, and then may be used in its entirety or divided out for specific needs,” said Mrs. Beth Quinones, senior class advisor.

ATHENA KENNEDY, 10, DONATES blood at the annual SHS drive on Mar. 4. The blood drive is sponsored by the University of Cincinnati’s Hoxworth Blood Center. “We donate more blood than most schools in Cincinnati,” said Ms. Linsey Farroh.

Reasons to donate

Blood contributed by students will be given to a multitude of people in need at nearby hospitals. “There is nothing better than doing something for another and expecting nothing in return; that is exactly what you’re doing when you donate blood,” said Mr. Randy Lothrop, math teacher, whose daughter required blood transfusions after she was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2008. Blood transfusions are given to more than just cancer patients; people at SHS have received them for other reasons, like Kennedy Harris, 12, who is anemic. “My anemia is hereditary, not dietary, and I didn’t have enough hemoglobin in my blood that carries oxygen. I had to get two blood transfusions in order to get more blood in me,” said Harris. Donations can ensure life for those whose bodies are unable to naturally function. “If I hadn’t gotten the oxygen from the blood, it could have caused vital organs to

Photo courtesy of McDaniel’s Photography

stop working, so it could have become life threatening,” said Harris.


Though everyone of age was encouraged to participate, some were turned away. Beside weight requirements, recent vaccinations and overseas travel were common reasons for ineligibility. “I tried to give blood and they wouldn’t let me because I got a chicken pox vaccine a month ago. It was disappointing, but I look forward to giving blood next year,” said Helen Berger, 11. When a patient’s immune system is weak, the blood they receive must be healthy; a common cold could end their lives. “There is no taking chances when a person’s immune system is down to nothing,” said Lothrop. Though SHS’s blood drive is over, Hoxworth encourages those interested to donate blood as frequently as possible. There is always someone in need.

Christie, Rubio revive GOP Alexis Corcoran

opinion chief

Since the 2010 rise of the Tea Party, the reputation of the Grand Old Party (GOP) among liberals has soured. In the 2012 Presidential Election, Mitt Romney scored an overwhelming victory among white voters, but failed to capture support from minorities and youth. Two republican politicians hope to give their party a makeover: Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Rubio is a young face for the Tea Party and a minority himself. He has already been pegged as the GOP’s nomination for 2016. His policies favor the middle class, knocking stereotypes of Republican elitism. “I like Rubio; he’s a prime example of the Republican Party appealing to a diverse, young audience,” said Stephanie Adamec, 12. The candidates for the Republican primary in 2012 disappointed many Independents. “To beat Obama, the GOP is going to have to come up with a ticket that is fresh, exciting, unconventional, and free of major flaws,” said Mark McKinnon, former adviser to President George W. Bush to ‘The Washington Post’ in 2012. Christie is also a promising bid for 2016 because he won a predominantly blue state, New Jersey, in a statewide election.

Image by Ana Barros

On Mar. 4, the Little Theater was transformed into a blood drive center. In past years the drive was held in the Gregory Center or gym. The senior class promoted the event in various ways. “We have flyers hanging in the junior and senior locker bays, there will be tents on lunch tables, along with morning announcements,” said Samantha Wolkoff, senior class president, before the drive.

Before and after Hurricane Sandy, Christie collaborated with President Barack Obama, showing honesty and bipartisanship. “I appreciated the president’s outreach today in making sure that we know he’s watching this and is concerned about the health and welfare and safety of the people of the state of New Jersey,” said Christie to ‘The New York Times.’ Christie then made a passionate speech, blaming his own party for rejecting a bill to give $60 million in hurricane relief. The bill passed shortly after his announcement. “Christie has great potential. He is very bipartisan, contrary to what some people, like me, used to believe. He has been a big help for both major parties,” said Aditya Roy-Chaudhury, 11. Despite Christie’s fiery personality, he has proven that he is willing to work with Democrats, and Republican voters appreciate bipartisanship now more than ever. “While Christie is not necessarily as fresh a face, he has proven that he is more willing to work across the aisle,” said Adamec. In 2016, America may witness a revived Republican Party, with Rubio and Christie at the forefront.

Every day, in every way, things are getting better and better. Google is currently developing Google Glass, which will allow users to text, take pictures and videos, and perform Google searches, all by issuing spoken commands to a smart lens attached to a lightweight frame worn above the eyes. Simultaneous with this American innovation is America’s continuing economic and social decline. Unemployment remains stuck around eight percent, a historically high figure that continues to baffle economists. This economic inequality will continue getting worse. During the Great Depression, Americans with a little extra money found refuge from hard times on the silver screen, bathing vicariously in the bright glamour of Astaire and Rogers, Grant and Hepburn. But when they left the darkened cinema house and returned to their harassed lives, did pundits and hucksters tell those audiences that everything really was getting better and better? My improvable hypothesis is that obsessive upgrading and chronic stagnation are intimately related. The fetish that surrounds Google Glass or the Dow average grows ever more hysterical as the economic status of the majority of Americans remains flat. When things don’t work in the realm of stuff, people turn to the realm of bits. The strange thing is that technological romanticism doesn’t divide Americans. In an age when class and wealth determine everything, technology the one thing that still unites us. My uncle’s former colleague, who now lives in Tampa, was out of work for nine months after losing his job, and more than once almost ended up on the street with his wife and two children. He was finally hired by a food conglomerate to drive from one convenience store to another, checking the condition of snack bags on the shelves. His family had to sell some of their DVDs so the father could buy clothes and shoes and pay for gas. But he didn’t need to purchase a smart phone. He already had one. And in the future, when the price drops below its current $1500, the unemployed might wear Google Glass, too. Perhaps it will allow them to disappear from their own field of vision. For comments on this column, please write to


>>the sycamore leaf >>



Ginny Fisher

Skin Care 513-891-1555

EACH WEEK, STUDENTS FROM the New Voices project meet with Holocaust survivors to discuss their photography.“It’s mostly just a chance for us as art students to share something that we are passionate about with another group of people we wouldn’t interact with under normal circumstances,” said Claire Pustinger, 12. “It’s different from anything I’ve ever done before and from anything I probably will ever get to do.”

By Appointment Only

New Voices, new lenses

Photography students partner with Holocaust survivors Lila Englander


news chief

ime is running out. Today’s students will be the last generation to hear the stories of the Holocaust from those who actually experienced them. At SHS, the New Voices project gives photography students a chance to work personally with Holocaust survivors. “A few years ago, David Rosenthal and my photography teacher Mr. [Peiter] Griga founded the New Voices project because they wanted to combine groups of people that don’t usually

interact, using the medium of photography to connect,” said Saeed Piracha, 12. In 2012, students in the New Voices project worked with City Gospel Mission, an organization that aids Cincinnati’s homeless and poor, using photography to explore Over the Rhine. Although now working at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) with the Jewish Family Service (JFS) Center for Holocaust Survivors, the 2013 New Voices project still hopes to achieve the same core goal of bringing diverse groups of people together through photography. The collaboration began when Paul Bochtler, an Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ARSP) volunteer currently working at JFS, wanted to find a way for Holocaust survivors to explore photography. ARSP volunteers are young

adults from Germany who choose to spend a year of their life working directly with Holocaust survivors around the world as a means to confront the crimes of the Holocaust personally. Bochtler and Griga’s photography students were connected serendipitously when Bochtler’s email requesting cameras for the Holocaust survivors found its way to Rosenthal, an educator and professional photographer and also a good friend of Griga. The Mayerson Foundation agreed to fund the eight week project, beginning with a trip to the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education. Following the trip, students and survivors have met weekly in groups to discuss photos they took that week and participate in other activities. “Each week we have different assignments. This past week

20% off any service! Valid Mar. 1 - Apr. 30

8005 Plainfield Road Suite 30 Cincinnati, OH 45236 was still-life photography. Then we come back here and show them to each other. It’s a nice way to start a conversation and find out about each other’s life,” said Piracha. Plans for a conclusion to the project are still tentative but may include an exhibit at the JCC. “We are hoping one of the students will speak to the Jewish community about the project on Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is at the JCC on Apr. 7 at 2:00 p.m.,” said Gail Ziegler, Program Director at the Center for Holocaust Survivors. The students are not the only

ones who are benefitting from the project. “I played with cameras when they were with film and have some digital cameras that I never put to good use because it required reading manuals. I feel that working with people who are familiar with it and doing something about it is a better way to get immersed in it,” said Bernard Jungerwirth, Holocaust survivor. “I think it’s an interesting twist that the teaching comes from the young up. Most of the time in schools you associate the knowledge coming from old down. It looks interesting and it’s a nice group of people.”

AFTER WEEKS OF HYPE on social media over Paint Drop, the event’s significance was primarily symbolic of a change in the teenage social scene. Although it was a non-school affiliated event, it was widely attended by SHS students. The recent decline in popularity amongst school-coordinated events may correlate with the rising popularity of events like Paint Drop.

Social life strays from school functions Sarah May editor-in-chief

In the weeks leading up to Paint Drop, Facebook and Twitter-spheres buzzed with posts and tweets advertising the event. YouTube videos portrayed enthusiastic partygoers laughing and dancing while being drenched in paint. Successful internet advertising prompted many SHS students to buy tickets, even though they were not

entirely sure what to expect. “I definitely didn’t expect there to be so many people there,” said Collin Knowles, 12, who decided to attend Paint Drop because “it was something new and innovative.” “I had never been to a party before where there was paint. I mean, that’s pretty awesome.” Although SHS students comprised a large number of those in attendance, members of other high schools and

universities also made up the audience. Many students found the opportunity to interact with other teenagers and young adults fresh and exciting. Only in a few circumstances did this situation prove potentially dangerous. “Some guy and my friend were dancing, and all of a sudden, he leans down and bites her. It was really creepy,” said Katherine Caldwell, 12. Caldwell said she had fun

despite the incident, and most students felt safe while in and around Bogart’s, where the event was held. “We didn’t park too far away, so walking from the car to the building wasn’t much of an issue. They had police and security guards roaming the area,” said Miles Johnson, 12. “The whole event was really well organized.” Some students did complain that the paint was too watered down and that they did not

All images by Lila Englander

get as splattered as they had hoped. Likewise, a few did not care for the music played toward the end, which reflected the rebellious attitude of the night with alternative classics, such as Panic! At the Disco. “I liked the music [at the end] but it wasn’t really dancing music,” said Grace Keeton, 12. For the most part, though, the event proved successful. Students await other opportunities to branch away from school functions and assert their independence in a safe environment.

A 4


ves Theatre to auditions fter prom coming soon

SHS & District

Science & Engineering Expo

What: Students whose projects earned superior ratings at the SHS fair present to win awards and possibly move on to the state level Date: Mar. 16 Location: UC

March Madness Bracket Sale

What: Funded by Student Council. The winner will receive a portion of the profit made from the sale Date: Mar. 19 & 20 Cost: $3

Early Release Date: Mar. 20

Spring Break Starts Date: Mar. 23

First Day Back

What: Classes resume, fourth quarter begins Date: Apr. 1

Report Card Distribution Date: Apr. 9

Early Release Date: Apr. 17

Aves Theatre presents ‘Pippin’

What: A Stephen Schwartz musical; final mainstage performance of the year Date: Apr. 18-20 Location: Auditorium Time: 7:30 p.m. Cost: $10 @ door; presale $8

Choir Auditions What: All students are invited to attend Date: Apr. 25 Location: Choir room Time: after school

Yearbook Sales

What: Last chance to buy this year’s yearbook Date: Apr. 26 Location: Drop off money and form in room 115 or the front desk Cost: $65


What: The last dance juniors and seniors are invited to before graduation Date: Apr. 27 Location: Savannah Center Time: 9 p.m.

After Prom

What: A party for juniors and seniors to attend after the dance Date: Apr. 28 Location: SHS commons Time: 12:30 a.m.-5 a.m.

Community St. Patrick’s Parade

What: Irish food, music, and festivities in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day Date: Mar. 16 Location: Downtown Cincinnati Time: 12 p.m.

Heart Marathons

What: Marathons ranging in all lengths, benefiting the American Heart Association Date: Mar. 17 Location: Fountain Square Time: 7:45 a.m.-2 p.m. Cost: $20- 50

Easter Celebration What: Easter themed events placed around the zoo Date: Mar. 30 Location: Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Benefits Fashion for the Cure

What: A fashion show and reception to raise money and awareness for ProKids Date: Mar. 20 Location: Commons Time: 6 p.m. Cost: $10

Lauren Glynn

events chief

Astrid Cabello

staff writer

Events >>the sycamore leaf >>

News in Brief Prom

Kelcie Grega

web editor-in-chief

Melissa Goodman staff writer

In past years, Prom has been held at the Oasis Golf Club and Conference Center in Loveland. However, the location has changed. Instead of the Oasis, Prom will be held at the Savannah Center because it is believed to be nice and it matched the price of the Oasis. The Savannah Center is located in West Chester, about 17 minutes from SHS. It is beautifully landscaped and located on a natural lake. It has 25,000 square feet of elegant event space. Prom will be held on, Apr. 27. After Prom will be held on

Apr. 28, from 12:30 a.m. to 5 a.m. Upperclassmen are permitted to attend After Prom even if they did not attend Prom. Underclassmen may attend only as guests of upperclassmen. After prom is not a fundraiser. The money is self-funded by the SHS PTO, SHS Booster groups, athletic teams, parent groups, community organizations and local businesses. All money raised goes back into the event. The theme will be ‘Party in Paris.’ Students who attend After Prom will have the opportunity to see hypnotist and mentalist shows, play games, win raffle prizes, and eat free food. For more information, check

PROM WILL BE HELD at the Savannah Center for the first time. The Savannah Center is significantly closer to SHS and more luxurious. It has features such as: fountains out front and a Grande Ballroom.

Photo courtesy of Savannah Center

Hibachi Grill & Sushi Bar

$10 off Two dinners or

hibachi entrees Cannot be combined with any other offers or happy hour specials. One per table. Expires 4/30/13.


7800 Montgomery Rd. Sycamore Plaza Across from Kenwood Towne Center

Open 7 Days A Week

Sun-Thurs 11am -10pm Fri & Sat 11am -11pm Lunch Hours Mon-Fri 11am -3:30pm

Lunch only $14.99!

Dinner o nly $24.99!

All You Can Eat Fresh Made-To-Order

Sushi Rolls Nigiri (Sashimi available for dinner only) Appetizers Soup Salad Kitchen Food Dessert


Forum >>the sycamore leaf >>

Diplomacy Opinionat SHS 4 >> Discover the differences between Mock Trial and Model United Nations


Chill out 4 >> Students offer opinion and reasons for SHS’ recent lack of snow days


Fall from fame Opinion

>> The biggest role models of the world stage tarnish their reputations.

Editors-in-chief: Ellie Goldman, Sarah May Associate Editors: Isaac Harmon, Rachael Sun, Sanika Vaidya Managing Editors: Ana Barros, Will Gawin, Aditi Sharma Business Managers: Atiya Dosani, Lila Englander, Shea Lothrop Editor: Kelcie Grega Broadcast Editors: Kelsey King, Victoria Swart News Atiya Dosani Lila Englander Forum Alexis Corcoran Isaac Harmon Feature Joseph Ahn Rachael Sun Sanika Vaidya A&E Krittika Chatterjee Sports Nakul Narendran Michael Saxon Spotlight Aditi Sharma Kathryn Tenbarge Fun and Games Taylor Evans Ellen Martinson Events Lauren Glynn Cartoonist Lilly Lefton Web Masters Eli Seidman-Deutsch Ruochen Tang Enterprise Editors Allie Oh Lauren Saxon Staff Writers Michelle Bartlett Romina Belez Sarah Birckhead Hope Bundy Emma Burge Astrid Cabello Andres Cardenas Camila Cardenas Gian Carlo Valli Michael DeMaio Max Fritzhand Zachary Fritzhand Caroline Gao Andrea Goldstein

Isaac Goldstein Melissa Goodman Jenny Ham Britton Kemp Brooke Landrum Jacqueline Lazar Madeline Marsh Julia Mattis Ethan May Anna Moreno Casey Rayburn Ali Richter Elizabeth Rickert Orion Schlosser Zoe Schlosser Lauren Shassere Brenda Shen Megan Shindler Joseph Slovin Scott Stefani Peter Tosh Alex Wittenbaum Ben Young Eli Zawatsky Anna Zhou Photographer McDaniel’s Photography Adviser Cheralyn Jardine About us Professional memberships: • Columbia Scholastic Press Association • Journalism Education Association • National Scholastic High School Press Association • Ohio Scholastic Media Association • Ohio Professional Writers (National Federation of Women Writers) • Quill & Scroll International Journalism Honorary


Let’s Talk Politics Sequester highlights

The Sycamore Sycamore High School 7400 Cornell Road Cincinnati, OH 45242 Leaf

Mission Statement: The Leaf, the official newspaper of Sycamore High School, serves as an educational tool in the training of student journalists to provide information and editorial leadership concerning school, national, and world issues, to provide a public forum for the exchange of ideas and viewpoints, and to give coverage to newsworthy events directly related to the diverse school population. Editorial Policy: Although students work under the guidance of a professional faculty member, the content is ultimately determined by the student staff and should reflect all areas of student interest, including topics about which there may be dissent and controversy. Students cannot publish material that is obscene, libelous, or will cause “a substantial disruption of the educational process.” Content that may stimulate heated debate or discussion is not included in this definition. The Leaf operates as an open forum for the healthy, robust exchange of ideas. Opinions expressed in the editorials are those of The Leaf staff. Letters to the editor are encouraged. All letters must be signed. The letters, not to exceed 300 words, may be edited for clarity, spelling, and grammar. Letters may be placed in Mrs. Cheralyn Jardine’s mailbox, dropped off in room 115, or e-mailed The Leaf reserves the right to decide not to cover a death based on relevance, timeliness, and circumstances decided on by the editorial board. In cases that the editorial board decides not to cover a death, letters to the editor in regard to that death will be printed. The Leaf’s complete editorial policies can be found at For comments about content, please write to Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.



ineffective government William Gawin

managing editor

Staff Editorial

There is no shame in putting an arm around your loved one, but there is a line between affection and exhibitionism. Locking lips with your other half in the middle of the hallway crosses that line. Sidestepping a couple that is midembrace is awkward, but even more, public displays of affection (PDA) indicate a decided lack of discipline and awareness, as well as a lack of maturity. In moderation, and in the right venue, they are fine. However, assuming that one half of the couple is not leaving for a two-year deepspace mission, any PDA beyond the hand-holding, arm-around-the-waist, closed-mouth-kiss type is out of order. At a point, too much physicality shows no class and no sensitivity to others’ comfort levels. To some people, PDA is often an outward sign of a couple’s identity.

Cartoon by Lilly Lefton

To others, it serves to send the message of “stay away” to potential competitors. However, even innocently performed actions can make others uncomfortable. With the overwhelming consensus that these displays do not belong in our hallways, one would think that the administration would consistently enforce some sort of regulation. Though certain faculty members have expressed discontent, the faculty remains largely passive. But why? Many students have illustrated their forbearings concerning PDA, but no formal action has been taken. It raises the question of the constraints on PDA. What will it take to place rules on school affection? All of this commentary leads to this simple rule-of-thumb: If your PDA makes people stop and stare, then it are probably excessive.

leafing through the masses

How do you feel about PDA at SHS? Personally, I do not have huge a problem with PDA in the hallways. Kissing is fine, but making out is too much. Isabella Gonzalez, 9

Making out at school is not appropriate. There is obviously a line for PDA, and some couples cross that line. Cole Schaefer, 10 I have no problem with PDA, but I know people would have a problem if I kissed another guy in the hallway, and that is something I do have a problem with. Robert Scott, 11

Let me begin by stating the obvious. I am not a syndicated columnist with access to political and economic insiders. Everything I learn about politics I get by reading and listening to others. That is one reason why the sequester scares me. Nobody really seems to know what effect it is going to have, yet everyone seems to know it will have a bad one. Never before has the Federal Government attempted to cut spending in such an irresponsible manner. The sequester requires an $85.4 billion in the 2013 budget. No programs are actually eliminated. The effect reduces the scale and scope of existing programs rather than to zero out any of them. Wasteful programs go on draining tax dollars while necessary government functions are also forced to make a roughly eight to 10 percent cut. In order to cope with the cuts, many agencies will furlough, which is forcing unpaid time off on, employees. Now this isn’t going to happen overnight, but by the end of March you can expect significantly fewer federal government employees on duty through the rest of the fiscal year. Among these are: air traffic controllers, border patrol guards, and civilian defense contractors. A significant chunk of federal spending actually isn’t spent by the feds; it’s split up among the states. States will need to trim or cancel projects relying on federal dollars. It will be some time before the sequester cuts hit home and time will cushion the blow of some of these cuts. However, it’s still going to hurt a lot. The sequester is the result of the dysfunctional relationship between Congress and the President. They can’t agree on what is good for the country. However, they did decide on what would be bad for America; and they signed it into the law of the land. If that is not a noncooperative government, I don’t know what is. A part of me thought 2013 could be the year America got its economic swagger back. Instead, it’s the year we blindly embrace austerity. For comments and suggestions on this column, please write to


>>the sycamore leaf >> forum


‘Anything you can do I can do better’

Mock Trial, Model United Nations members debate diplomatic extracurriculars Ana Barros


Rachael Sun

managing editor

ou can’t handle the truth!” Everyone dreams of yelling those words while being pressured on the witness stand, reliving Jack Nicholson’s iconic scene in “A Few Good Men.” Although my time in Mock Trial has never harbored such a classic scene, the level of adrenaline has certainly reached a comparable amount. Having played the part of a witness one year and an attorney the next, I have experienced both sides of the stand, and all the excitement that comes with it. Starting in the fall, we receive a case that is created by the Ohio Mock Trial board. Teams are also given a set of real court cases, which will help the lawyers build their argument. Since the American legal system is primarily controlled by state and Supreme Court cases, these are instrumental in argument throughout the trial. “It gives you the opportunity to develop several essential skills,” said Shyam Parikh, 11. Along the way, we are coached by real lawyers who are experienced in Mock Trial and use their knowledge of the legal system to help students build their case. But in the end, it is up to the high school attorneys and their witnesses to make an impression on the judges. The best, as well as the hardest, part of Mock Trial is competing; months of preparation all come down to one trial, two hours, and three judges. The program is not only for those who are thinking about being involved with law in the future; it is for those who are willing to work hard, dig deep, and think on their feet. And that rare occasion when you get opposing counsel to start crying during her closing argument? Priceless. “Mock trial is the greatest thing I have ever done in my life,” said Stephanie Adamec, 12.





1. SHYAM PARIKH, 11, AND Nakul Narendran, 10, debate an issue in their conference: UN Human Rights Council. 2. The SHS Gold Mock Trial team poses for a picture after their second trial at the District tournament. 3. Ryan Rugani, 12, brought home the oustanding delegate award for his efforts in drafting a working paper and finishing a passing resolution. Rugani was also an effective force in the courtroom, taking part as a lawyer on the Gold Mock Trial team.


associate editor

uring the past month, 17 others and I left SHS as students to attend a Model United Nations (MUN) conference in Chicago. We returned as delegates, negotiators, press corps leaders, and ready to change the world. Contrary to popular belief, MUN is not boring. MUN is challenging, at times irritating, totally worth the experience. “Model UN involves improvisation and quick thinking, especially when you go up to talk. It requires more team collaboration and less preparation than Mock Trial,” said Gabrielle Gerbus, 12. As opposed to Mock Trial, where winning is the paramount goal, the process of collaboration and persuasion that creating resolution paper demands is a reward within itself. “In Model UN, everyone has equal opportunity, whereas Mock Trial is divided into attorneys and witnesses, who sometimes don’t even get played,” said Gerbus. Past topics include war zone safety, human trafficking, and environmental protection. MUN also offers many other perks that Mock Trial cannot. It takes you to places like Chicago. When you are not defending your delegation’s stance on an issue, you are outside shopping or visiting Navy Pier. “Model UN is fun,” said Alex Winchell, 12. “Mock Trial is like a parasite that latches onto your throat and slowly sucks the life out of you until you’re a shriveled collection of wasted organs and low self-esteem.” Mock Trial is intimidating, and to be honest, sounds far too structured for someone who actually believes in fun. Not only is MUN a resumé booster and a lesson in quick thinking, it is also a life-changing experience.

Photos courtesy of Sanika Vaidya and Mr. Drew Ostendorf

AT criticized for cultural bias

tudents of minority left at disadvantage

Joseph Ahn

feature chief

The Scholastic Achievement Test, or SAT, has been terrorizing juniors and seniors for over 100 years. This assessment test has been constantly under siege with people questioning its true ability to measure a student’s scholastic achievement and ability. “I feel like the SAT and PSAT both are tests of how much people have studied and looked at tricks for how to do well, more than tests to actually see how competent someone is,” said Nicholas Hershey, 11. But the controversy that has recently arisen is over whether or not the test is racially or culturally biased. The SAT has frequently been criticized for the cultural advantage it provides for wealthy white people. “I don’t think that’s true. It’s just that nowadays white

families just tend to be better educated so they are better prepared too,” said Stephen Mills, 10. The test has been blamed for widening the achievement gap between whites and minorities. For example, while the math section is objective, the critical reading section and writing section have been accused of describing topics associated mostly with the white demographic. Often the passages are about subjects that white, wealthy students are more exposed to. The verbal section supposedly favors white students by using language with which they are more familiar in comparison to non-white students. Wealthier families could also have the advantage of having superior forms of test preparation. Some SAT tutors cost up to $100 an hour. Students with access to additional help can often bring their scores up hundreds of points through manipulating

the system. For example, because my mom owns a learning center, I have access to hundreds of past SAT tests and example essays. This access let me improve my score by over 200 points. In this case, my improvement was not a result of my intelligence, but rather a result of the number of questions I had access to and the amount of classes that I had received. However, success on the SAT ultimately comes to the amount of hard work and motivation a high school student is willing to put forth; a less privileged individual with the personal temperament and drive to succeed will -nine times out of 10- do better than his or her elitist counterpart. “Of course some people might be at an advantage, but in the end I think that the person who works harder will do well,” said Aaron Abraham, 12.

Scan here with a smartphone to view the SAT question of the day.

forum >>the sycamore leaf >>


Heroes to zeros

World stage idols make tragic falls Isaac Harmon


associate editor

ccording to legend, when a Roman general achieved an important victory, he was treated to a hero’s welcome by the citizenry and Senate of Rome. A march was organized around the central city forum, and the general was paraded through the adoring crowds on a gold chariot drawn by white horses. Standing next to the general was an attendant who held over his heart the laurel of victory. As the chariot rode through the crowd, the attendant would continuously whisper into the conqueror’s ear: “Remember that all glory is but fleeting!” Regardless of geography, humans have always craved fairy tales. We can’t help it. We love tidy morality plays where good always triumphs over evil and heroes never fail. “It’s really upsetting how many of the athletes that I’ve grown up admiring can throw it all way,” said Erica Zaretsky, 12. However, since knights in shining armor no longer exist, we assign the fantasy role to sports stars. Oscar Pistorius was the ultimate knight. He excelled in something recognized around the globe. And he did it on legs as artificial as Manti Te’o’s girlfriend. As individuals and as people, we want heroes, we need heroes, we seek out heroes, and when they appear to be nonexistent, we often create them. Heroes take us away from the

commonplace, failings and failures of the ordinary life. Heroes gives us something to believe in; something to cherish; something to hold dear; something untouched and unsullied by the pedestrian life that most of us lead. But when heroes stumble, when they fall from grace, when they show themselves to be susceptible to temptation, we are shocked, and we often disbelieve or deny their failings. “I think they are over scrutinized by the media attention. They make mistakes like any normal person, and we shouldn’t idolize them and raise them to such high pedestals to fall from in the first place,” said Bryan Waterhouse, 11. Heroes often serve the purpose of being “true north” on our individual and collective moral compasses. They establish standards, offer models of behavior, suggest how we “ought to” live, and how

events chief

Some of the most anticipation-filled nights of our elementary school years were those in which we would hold our breath and wait. We would sit by the telephone, waiting for the call that would determine whether we would spend the next morning tapping our pencils against our desks or stay sound asleep in a warm, cozy bed dreaming about the snow filled afternoon that we might have. Many customs have been born and used throughout the years to promote possibilities of snow: flushing ice cubes down the toilet, wearing

Dangers for student drivers

Snow days are sometimes mistaken as a student’s rite of passage, rather than as a necessity due to terrible weather. One tremendously important problem is the fact that new drivers are coming to school and might not be prepared for the drive in the snow or on black ice. Sometimes the weather is

OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC ATHLETE, Oscar Pistorius crosses the finish line to win the Men’s 400 meter track final at the paralympics. Since this win, the South African gold medal winner has been accused of murdering his girlfriend. This case has tarnished Pistorius’ achievements.

we “ought to” be. When they deceive us, when they fail us, we are cast adrift, we are unsure about how to proceed. The heroes’ loss of place is our loss of place. “They had so much going for them, and so many people who were inspired by them that one mistake changes their image forever; they’ll never be remembered the same,” said Joseph Vaz, 10. Like Icarus in Greek mythology, these idols of society sometimes fly too high.

not that bad in the morning, but gradually gets worse throughout the day. Once we are at school and our parents are at work, no further calls can be made. Unexpected early release days are great and exciting for us in high school, but for parents of students in the elementary schools and E.H. Greene. They cause quite the predicament because their children might be too young, or unable to enter their locked houses.

Preventing disaster

Before last week, SHS had not had an actual snow day in two years. Not that it is a terrible thing to be

in school every day, but by second and third quarter we start to get sick of our peers and we all catch a little bit of senioritis, even as freshmen or sophomores. We want to be here, and we want to get decent grades, but it is essential that everyone has a personal day every so often. Perhaps more snow days are what we need. Not only will we get out of school, but sometimes that surprising day off gives students that extra push that they need to finish out the quarter.

All images by Alexis Corcoran

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Meant To

Quality over quantity for print journalism news chief

Students sit, wait, wish for snow days our pajamas inside out, and sleeping with a spoon under our pillows. Waking up the next morning with the frustration that we did not get that thrilling, middle-of-the-night call is extremely depressing. We must go onward to a never-ending day of school.

In ve n t Lila Englander

Counting snowflakes Lauren Glynn


As our journalism teacher always says, we are a generation of skimmers and scanners. This truth has reshaped innovation and creativity in some fields, but it has had negative repercussions in others, namely in the print industry. We’ve chosen Kindles over Barnes & Nobles and made snail mail laughable. As advertisers spend less on newsprint and more on the web, even the Cincinnati Enquirer has been forced to cut back. When your dog wakes up on March 11, the new 11 by 14 paper clenched between his jaws represents a paper that caters to the shortened attention spans of its readers. I initially saw the size change as a downgrade, but the more I read about it, the more I reconsidered: Could the old saying ‘less is more’ hold true for the Cincinnati Enquirer? “While the size of the paper will change, we’ll continue to provide the same depth and breadth of news coverage you’ve come to expect from us,” wrote Margaret Buchanan, President and Publisher of Enquirer Media. “You want news and information that fits your onthe-go lifestyle,” she said. The redesign claims it will showcase bold headlines, eyecatching photography, and chic infographics. For increased readability, section front pages will limit themselves to one or two stories instead of including the first chunk of up to five stories on that page. Furthermore, to limit confusion, stories that span more than a page will be continued on the facing page. If the Cincinnati Enquirer can pull off what they are promising, then they could turn financial limitation into an advantage. If newspapers are going to survive, they have to adapt somehow, even if that means choosing quality over quantity. Whether or not newspapers endure depends on whether the content can hold the interest of our generation. As a result, newspapers will become whatever we want them to be. It’s in our hands in more than one way. For comments and suggestions on this column, please write to

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$15 Eyebrow threading $25 Eyelash extension



Riddle of the Month

Have a comic, game, or poem you want to appear in the next issue? Contact The Leaf at

What comes once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in a thousand years?

Taylor Evans

fun & games chief

Ellen Martinson fun & games chief

Answer: The letter ‘M’

Mind Game: Sudoku

7 5 9


Where in the school is this?

285 1 89 3 5 1 4


Did you know?

Poet’s Corner


a&e chief

8 3

Submit a completed sudoku to room 115 to be entered to win an out-to-lunch pass.

A waterfall in Hawaii sometimes flows up instead of down.

>>the sycamore leaf >>

Krittika Chatterjee

2 4 86 9 63 2 8 Cheetahs can change direction in midair when chasing prey.

Fun & Games

The first person to submit the answer to will win an out-to-lunch pass.

There is no gravity at the center of the Earth.

Bolts of lightning can shoot out of an erupting volcano.

Owls can not move their eyeballs.

Many birds’ feathers weigh more than their bones.

never forget that you were born potential energy but you know the laws enough to break the laws and i know i have seen you be created and destroyed and changing form more than you were ready for you gave too much away to ever sustain – i want to burn beneath you and give you all your heat i want to hold you against the stars and show that you can still be radiant i want to run away with you and keep our souls kinetic

Hippos can be more dangerous than lions.

A caterpillar has more muscles than a human.

Dust from Africa can travel all the way to Florida.

The color red does not make bulls angry; they are color blind. Source: National Geographic


Feature >>the sycamore leaf >>

Twin Takeover >> Identical and fraternal siblings share their stories



Fashion for the Cure 4 >>Student designs hit the runway, proceeds go to ProKids



‘Geyer’s poetry is completely different side of him’

Chemistry teacher shares inner artist Sanika Vaidya


associate editor

or many students, it can seem as if teachers’ lives are limited to the subjects they teach: the Spanish teacher might appear to spend all of her free time thinking up new verb conjugations to spring upon her students while the enthusiastic history teacher spends vacations reading texts that date back centuries. But students of chemistry teacher Mr. Michael Geyer, know that his interest in science is predated by an interest in at least one, rather contrasting, subject: poetry. “It surprises a lot of people because they expect to pigeonhole me in science only; I guess with the whole right-brained and left-brained thing I’m supposed to be one and not the other. It does help to the get a different perspective,” said Geyer. Though he has been teaching for 16 years, he has been reading and writing poetry since he took a creative writing class while he was a student at SHS. “Back when I was in high school I had my first poem published. I took poetry


classes while I was in engineering school, and I’ve continued to write all along, but it wasn’t until last year that I started actively sending out my work again,” he said. Five of his poems were published last year, and he is still waiting for news about the three more he sent this year. While students and his life at school do not generally influence Geyer’s poetry, once, for a March Madness Poetry Competition, he submitted a poem about a particular chemistry class. “My AP classes had frustrated me a little bit and so my poem was all about them, although no one would know just by reading it. But that’s kind of how I got over the whole frustration,” he said. This instance was two or three years ago, he said, and he did not tell his students the meaning of the poem. His other pieces, which students can read on his blog, have titles varying from “Winter” to “They Day You Attempted Suicide I Sought Solace In Solving A Cubic Equation By Hand.” “Geyer’s poetry is like a completely different side of him, a serious

side,” said Olivia Bell, 11, one of his students. While Geyer’s students see a different aspect of him when reading his poetry, Geyer enjoys reading his students’ poetry for similar reasons: “I love reading students’ poetry. It’s always interesting to read the [anonymous March Madness Poetry Competiton] packets and find out who wrote what. I don’t know the students well enough to necessarily know what they would write so it’s always interesting to listen when they’re talking about so-and-so and [saying] ‘I think this is theirs,’” he said. To both Geyer and his students, poetry is an opportunity to, as one of his own poems instructs, “scrape away at the patina on your life,” and “discover what’s not there!”

All images by Sanika Vaidya

istorical fashion’s eternal perserverance

eight of fashion reflects pop culture Kelsey King broadcast editor-in-chief

Ali Richter

staff writer

Megan Shindler

staff writer

At the end of every season the Parisian fashion houses bring to life the designs that influence the months to come. Fashion has been evolving since the dawn of time, but the styles of the yesteryear are never fully left behind. Everything from flare skirts to leggings to corsets was spotted in the streets of the early 1900s, the 1960s, and the 1980s, and they unsurprisingly still grace the scene today. “I love being caught up on the latest trends. Leggings are something I wear a lot because they are really cute and comfortable,” said Rebecca Wise, 9. The influence that history has had on fashion is magnanimous. The high school scene is a place where fashion is constantly evolving since teenagers are so impressionable. Classic American period pieces such as “Footloose” and “Grease” capture the style of 1950s high schools. Teased hair and black leather took the big screen by storm and have carried over into the world of present day fashion quite cohesively. Leather is a fashion staple during the winter seasons; on any night at the Kenwood Mall or in Rookwood Commons leather jackets can be spotted on passersby. “I love going to Rookwood because

I feel like they have a lot of good quality clothes and high fashion” said Lucy Wittenbaum, 9. American romance film “Dirty Dancing” brought to life the fashion of New York City in the 1960s. This coming of age story has given the world faded jeans, converse shoes, and chiffon skirts. Converse sneakers in every color imaginable can be spotted all over the halls of SHS. Further back in history stand the silhouettes of full dresses, stiff collars, and lace, all encapsulated in the art of the early 1900s. TV sensations like “Downton Abbey” and the Oscar awarded motion picture “Les Miserables” have brought empire waistline dresses and black suits back into the vision of designers worldwide. This fashion motif is still represented in our everyday lives whenever we watch award shows and evenas students choose attire for Prom. The 1900s set the standard for all American fashion periods since, and introduced the European inspired fashion magazine Vogue, which has been calling the shots of the fashion world since its creation. High school kids are revitalizing the era of ‘copy- cat’ fashion. This is a generation of forward thinkers but that does not wish to forget the past and this is very apparent in the current style choices.

Female scholars prepare for future Lauren Saxon

staff writer

SHS sponsors a variety of clubs that help prepare students for their life after high school. One of the more recent clubs that was created just last year is called Young Womens Scholars (YWS). The group Young Mens Scholars (YMS) has existed at SHS for many years, and focuses on helping young AfricanAmerican men reach their high school and college goals. YWS is a similar group that was created for just young African-American ladies at SHS. Administrators Dr. Gene Donatell, Ms. Renee Hevia, and Mrs. Karen Bare are all sponsors of the YWS and run the group with the help of parent volunteers.

Looking back

Despite its short existence, YWS has already done a great deal to get its members ready for the future. Over the course of a year YWS has had numerous guest speakers including Superintendent Dr. Adrienne James and Pediatric Physician Dr. Bradley Jackson. Each speaker met with the group and discussed not only their career, but also the steps they took to get to where they are today. YWS members also took their first college road trip, during which they travelled to Miami University in Oxford earlier this school year to get exposure to a college campus. While on campus, the group learned more about the college admission process by attending a college informational session. “The Miami campus was really nice,” said Nathalie Ray, 10. “I hope we can visit other colleges this year.” While YWS was created to expose students to different careers and college

options, the group also helps its members get community service hours. YWS took its first trip to complete some community service whem six of the members traveled to St. Johns in Over the Rhine to make sandwiches for the homeless.

Planning ahead

At this year’s February meeting, the members of YWS discussed their many group and individual goals. One short term goal that almost all of the group members have is to be inducted into National Honor Society (NHS). NHS requires 15 hours of volunteer work annully in addition to a 3.6 GPA. In order to help the members reach this goal, YWS will be visiting the nonprofit Operation Giveback (OGB) twice a month. At OGB, the members tutor kids from 1st to 8th grade, in a variety of subjects. “I absolutely love working with kids so OGB is a fun way to get volunteer hours,” said Taylor Evans, 10. Another way YWS is preparing members for the future is by setting career preceptorships. This enables group members to shadow an adult at work who has the career they would like to have. For example, if a group member wanted to be a lawyer when she grew up, YWS leaders would find a lawyer for the group member to shadow and learn from for a day. “After college I hope to be a biomedical engineer or a neurologist, and I think a preceptorship would help me learn a lot about those careers,” said Azante Griffith, 11. The group YWS has already taken big first steps to help prepare its members for the future, and even bigger steps will be taken to reach group and individual goals.

10 3.15.2013

>>the sycamore leaf >>


Two (or more) prove better than one Twins, triplets, quads take over SHS halls Kelsey King

in a Pod

broadcast editor-in-chief

Megan Shindler


staff writer

alking in the halls there is always a familiar face; one is never alone in a crowd, and he or she always has that one person to turn to. Being a multiple is a bond far beyond being a family: It is being best friends. “My brothers are my best friends. I know I can always count on them, plus it’s nice to always have that familiar face around,” said Rachel Handkins, 12. Rachel is among a large group of select individuals at SHS who have the title of being a multiple, or in her case a triplet. Currently there are 34 sets of multiples ranging from twins to two sets of triplets, and even one set of quadruplets.


Many have trouble separating the individual sibling from the pair. The phrase, ‘Oh, you are the twins,’ is common. “It can be annoying to always be considered ‘the twins,’ but by now we are just used to it. If people say Lindsay I just have grown accustom to looking and making sure they don’t mean me by accident,” said Morgan Grzegorzewski, 11. The Handkins triplets’ mother Mrs. Debra Handkins shared a story of the triplets in their younger years. “When they were little, people asked all the time when they saw the three of them if they were triplets: they look the exact same, were obviously the same age, and sometimes were even dressed the same, yet they still asked. “After a while this got annoying, but we grew used

Identical twins Sabrina and Serena Kaul, 9 Brielle and Calista Robbins, 9 Orion and Zoe Schlosser, 9 Allison and Katherine Oh, 10 Allison and Taylor Overholt, 10 Lindsay and Morgan Grzegorzewski, 11 Fiona and Madeline Shaw, 12 Ellie and Hannah Goldman, 12 Shan and Jing Ying Lin, 12

Fraternal twins THE HANDKINS TRIPLETS ARE among many other multiples at SHS. They celebrate almost every occasion together. They do not just consider each other siblings but also best friends. Photos courtesy of Debra Handkins

to it. At Kings Island one time someone came up to us and asked, ‘Are they three babies?’ That was a new one, all I wanted to say was ‘Are you serious? No, they are three pigs.’”

Sharing, caring

The preconceived notion is that sharing big events- like birthdays- with someone must be hard. But many twins agreed that it just makes them better at sharing than the average sibling. Multiples have grown up their whole lives learning the importance of sharing and putting other people’s interests and feelings before their own.

Twinning for life

With college looming for many of the multiples, the

Journal Entry 1/4/1998:

“The three of them continue to be so different in their response to things (they recently turned three years old). For instance, today Rachel and I were sitting on the couch and she had a little box of mini-M&Ms. One of them fell out of her hand, and I picked it up and ate it. She had a fit—screaming, kicking, and trying to get me to spit it out into the little box. A few minutes later, Elliot came in. I asked him if I could have an M&M. ‘No!’ he said, ‘Mine!’ and went over to the other side of the room, watching me out of the corner of his eye to make sure I didn’t touch his candy. Not too long after that, Gavin (who had been in another part of the house while all this took place) came in, climbed up on my lap, opened his little box, and said, ‘Mommy want some M&Ms?’ and then proceeded to pour four or five of them in my hand. He ate a few more, then said, ‘More M&Ms, Mommy?’ and gave me some more . . . I love being a triplet mom." - Mother Debra Handkins

question arises about how different it will be to potentially no longer be near to a sibling. Elliot Handkins, 12, shares his perspective. “I have done everything with my brother and sister, so it will be a new freedom that I am not used to, but it will be nice to know that the friends that I make in college will be friends with me because of who I am and not because they are friends with my siblings,” said Elliot. One cannot choose siblings, and yet they are stuck together for eternity. The bond twins must share grows and develops over time as they face obstacles side by side. Multiples have a meaningful and special relationship that stays with them their entire lives.

Twin facts by the numbers Total sets of twins, triplets, and quadruplets that populate SHS halls.



Andres and Camila Cardenas, 9 Nicholas and Paige Cassidy, 9 Elizabeth and Kevin Fitzgerald, 9 Ashley and Katherine Vorpe, 9 Olivia and Sophia Wiedmann, 9 Eva and Leah Brod, 10 Elizabeth and Jacob Gibson, 10 Jessica and William Hobart, 10 Allison and Megan Rogge, 10 Amy and Eric Sanker, 10 Ashley and Benjamin Thiss, 10 Marissa and Samuel Wyrick, 10 Adam and Jonathan Lucken, 10 Sebastian and Thomas Bleesing, 11 David and Nicholas Hamburg, 11 Kathryn and Kristen Diaz, 11 Julia and Laura Cole, 11 Bilal and Malachi Wright, 11 Adam and Carmel Rechnitzer, 12 Kelsie and Sydney Larkin, 12 Jacob and Max Paul, 12 Jack and Sallie Cohen, 12

More than two Bradley, Meagan and Rachel Haupt, 9 Connor, Eric, Justin, and Katherine Pruitt, 11 Elliot, Gavin, and Rachel Handkins, 12

Number of weeks into a pregnancy with twins when the twin fetuses start to interact with each other.

Birth records researchers looked at to conclude that women who have twins live longer than women who do not.



Percent of twins today whose parents were surprised to learn they were having twins days or moments before their birth


IDENTICAL TWINS ZOE AND Orion Schlosser, both 9, spent their younger years dressing alike. Even today they share the same clothes. In this picture they are dressed up as two peas in a pod for Halloween. Photos courtesy of Orion Schlosser

S feature

>>the sycamore leaf >>



eams for success tudents’ creativity benefits ProKids fundraiser

Joseph Ahn

feature chief

Brenda Shen

staff writer

Fashion for the Cure

by the numbers


number of kids who wil walk down the runway


number of dresses featured that were made by SHS students

FASHION FOR THE CURE (FFTC) is one of the the fundraisers that SHS hosts, and on Mar. 20 at 7:30 p.m., 42 students will be walking down the runway in the commons in order to raise money for the foster kids of ProKids. Each year, students strut down the catwalk sporting dresses and other trendy clothes. Though many students in charge of designing these garments are enrolled in either Advanced Fashion or Fashion II, any individual with an interest was able to participate. No two dresses were alike; Amelia Wells, 12, made a colorful jeweled dress, while Joelle Davidson, 12, and Madison Herrman, 12, made duct tape dresses. Jasmine McDonald, 12, created a stretchy black dress with a chevron bottom, and Azia Aldridge, 12, made a white skirt with a hot pink zipper and white bandeau top with gold chains. Emily Willis, 10, sketched an intricate design and found a pattern that matched her ideal idea, and Ciarra Webb, 10, made printed shorts and a matching vest. Bridal and Formal’s owner and employees judged the pieces on Mar. 11, selecting the top three designers who will receive scholarship money.


average number of hours spent per week on a dress.

All images by Joseph Ahn and Brenda Shen

Students spring into action over break Hope Bundy

ends on Mar. 29. The places students choose to go for spring break are about as diverse as the student body itself. Juniors go on college visits, seniors go on their last spring break of high school, and others go on vacation with their family or friends. “I’m going with my best

friend to Malibu for my senior spring break. It’s going to be amazing, and I’m so happy hether students to be spending time with her stay home or because we are both going to travel across the different colleges next year. world, spring I also can’t wait to be on the break is something to look beach,” said Maayan Yarchi, forward to every year. Spring 12. break begins on Mar. 25 and For juniors who do not spend their spring break traveling to their favorite spots around the world, it is popular to visit OF SPRINGDALE possible college selections. “I’m visiting Notre Dame 1 1 6 2 7 S P R I N G F I E L D P I K E and Northwestern over spring break. I’ve looked at CINCINNATI OHIO 45246 schools online, but it’s 5 1 3 - 6 7 1 - 2 1 4 4 these nothing like experiencing the 1 0 7 5 6 M O N T G O M E R Y R O A D atmosphere that a campus and student body gives off. Visiting CINCINNATI OHIO 45242 really helps students picture 5 1 3 - 4 2 9 - 5 6 1 2 whether it’s a school they can see themselves going to,” said HOURS Kara Marth, 11. It is not very common for MON. - FRI. SAT. SUN. freshmen or sophomores to go 9:00AM - 6:00PM 10:00AM - 2:00PM CLOSED on college visits, so most either stay home or go on vacation W W W . A L T E R A T I O N S C I N C I N N A T I . C O M with friends or family.


staff writer


“My family recently bought a beach house in South Carolina, so we’re going there for spring break. It’s my first time ever going down there so I’m really excited. It will also be good to get a break for a week and just relax with my family on the beach,” said Margaret Skwara, 9. Spring break is also a period where student may pursue their interests. “Like many people, I’m going to Florida for spring break, but I’m going to a resort called Saddlebrook which is famous for the Athletes Compound where NFL football players and baseball players go to train during their off season,” said Max Engelhart, 11. While several people are relaxing on the beach, another opportunity for spring break is the AP European History trip. This trip is offered to students

who have taken and are taking the course. The students will travel to London, Paris, Florence and Rome. “I think an overseas expedition with my classmates will be a life changing experience, broadening both our social spheres and our cultural appreciation,” said Tyler Hegyesi, 10. No matter where they choose to go, students of SHS are eager to finish off the third quarter and relax for a week.

12 3.15.2013 Freshmen PSAs >> Creative projects help to spread awareness


Bookshelf Confessionals


staff writer

fter being worked on for almost a decade, Vblank Entertainment’s eight-bit action game “Retro City Rampage” hit the cloud on January of 2013. While this game may look like a graphically crude “Grand Theft Auto” knockoff, there is more to this gem than meets the eye. “Retro City Rampage” has the gamer playing as a man named Player. No really, that is his name. Player is trying to make a name for himself in the rough crime syndicates of “Theftropolis,” when he finds a time machine that whisks him back to the year 1985. There, he meets up with a clueless scientist, Doc Choc, and begins his journey to return to the future. This game features very similar gameplay to the first two games in the hit “Grand Theft Auto” series; players can drive a variety of vehicles and use many weapons on their various missions throughout the game in a top down perspective. From baseball bats, to rocket launchers, to a deadly mop, gamers will never be bored with the variety of

>>the sycamore leaf >>

Kathryn Tenbarge, 10

Eight-bit bliss: Ben Young


“I did know that Poe was the supposed creator of the horror genre, and that’s not an understatement. His work is creepy, and not in the scary movie surprise way, but in the mind-numbing paranoia that keeps you up until 2:00 in the morning way.”

options. While this may seem like a carbon copy of “Grand Theft Auto,” it is really a mix of several different types of games. Players can stealthily escape from prison, race sports cars at lightning speed, and rampage through the city atop a giant 8-bit gorilla. These are just the tip of the iceberg of the massive amount of content offered by this game. The game is an impressive tribute to all of pop culture. Along their adventures, players are attacked by mutant hockey stick-wielding turtles, fought by the principal from “Saved By The Bell,” engaged in a rocket launcher fight atop of a giant version of the “” mascot, and offered minigames based on the hit YouTube series “Epic Meal Time” and the successful indie games “Super Meat Boy,” and “The Bit Trip Saga.” In addition to the main story mode, there are also two additional game types: free play mode and arcade mode. In free play mode, you can take to the streets of Theftropolis, causing as much mayhem as you can until you meet your demise, controlling

Vintage-style video game reaches modern market

Player, Minecraft Steve, Mr. Destructoid, or several other characters. In Arcade mode, you are able to complete several different challenges you unlock throughout story mode, from racing throughout the city in the fastest time possible to causing mayhem with a tank, discipline board, or other weapon. While the game may appear to be overflowing with content, it still keeps its focus on the core gameplay experience. Almost all of the various stages and missions are well executed. There are, however, a few missions that feature a frustrating difficulty. While this is great for people who are used to classic video games, many players only familiar with more hand holding games may become frustrated since it requires players to think through challenging situations independently. The similarities to “Grand Theft Auto” all stem from the fact that the game was originally to be a complete recreation of “Grand Theft Auto 3.” It uses the hardware of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), a successful

video game console by Nintendo from the late 80s. The system is regarded by many as the greatest console of all time due to its almost unprecedented library of games. The game eventually evolved into what we see today: a clever, challenging game with variety in its gameplay that can keep players coming back for weeks to find everything that it has to offer. The graphics are, of course, trying to replicate to blocky, pixelated art style of classic NES. It adds a great deal of charm to the game, seeing little blocky people running around the city, panicking at the various catastrophes that befall the city. You also have the ability to change the color palette to that of a Sega Genesis, Game Boy, ZX Spectrum, and a variety of other classic systems. If you are a fan of 80s pop culture, love retro games, or just want a fun new experience, “Retro City Rampage” offers something for everyone. The game is available now on all platforms, so you really have no excuse to not play this modern marvel.

“RETRO CITY RAMPAGE” CATERS to hardcore video game fanatics as well as casual players. Since the game was sculpted from “Grand Theft Auto” it holds interest of those who enjoy that series. However, “Rampage” is also a good avenue into game-playing for beginners.

Krittika Chatterjee a&e chief

Saga of Lana

There is an unspoken hipster law that proclaims all music is bad music until it shows up in Pitchfork Media. I have to speak out against this for one ever-so-worshipped singer, Lana Del Rey. I don’t write a bashing column about just anyone until I hear teenage girls raving over this joke in the world of meaningful music. The absolute worst part is her subculture - a paradoxically sidestream fanbase that seems to be half-populated by One Direction fangirls. These squeamish teenagers are quick to hoard, a Tumblryouth phenomenon. Lashing out on those who “expose” Rey, they seem to forget that she’s been parodied on Saturday Night Live, a show that also hosted her horrible performance of “Video Games” - also conveniently forgotten by her fanbase. Constantly lumped in with pop-progressive acts like Marina and the Diamonds or Sky Ferreira, Rey has the express characteristic of creating music with absolutely no meaning. Audacity echo-effect doesn’t make you a female Bon Iver, as she has (horrifyingly) been called. I have heard “Born to Die,” her debut album, and ‘disappointing’ doesn’t begin to describe it - more like a drunken music major at a frat party that decided to play around on Garage Band. In a music scene generally dominated by male acts, few women manage to sneak onto the radar. It truly is a shame that the one who garnered the most attention was the one who deserved it the least. For comments on this column, please write to

Award showdown: ‘Argo’ earns top prize against ‘Lincoln’ Taylor Evans

fun & games chief

Historical accuracy creates controversy between contenders

Going into the Oscars, people were watching two films most closely to see which would win the Best Picture award. In the end, “Argo” triumphed over “Lincoln.” “Argo,” which follows the rescue of six

U.S. diplomats from Tehran, Iran, during the 1979 hostage crisis, was criticized for its historical inaccuracy compared to Lincoln. Critics argued that Canadian involvement in 1979 and in the movie differed greatly. 30 years ago, Canada received full credit for the rescue mission, because the U.S. CIA did not want to be publicized. Canada’s involvement is seriously downplayed in the movie. Even Jimmy Carter, former president of the U.S., noted that 90 percent of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the rescue mission was Canadian, and that the movie gives almost full credit to the American CIA. This is why some critics cannot

support “Argo’s” win for Best Picture when its opponent was extremely accurate. “Lincoln” follows the heated historical debate about the 13th amendment, which freed African American slaves. The film focuses on the men in Congress as well as the many struggles our 16th president endured during the battle to do what he felt was right. Critics and historians alike agreed that the historical accuracy of the film was great, which many believed would give it the upper hand at the Academy Awards. Seeing as “Argo” was picked as Best Picture, some wonder what makes a movie great. Since it seems that historical accuracy is not

something that is closely examined, what made “Argo” win? Viewers claimed that even though the movie was not entirely correct, the story and action was great and still made for a thrilling movie. Regardless of the controversy surrounding the films, both are exceptional and well-made in their own ways, and if given the chance, take the time go watch both of them. Besides, movies do not get nominated for an Oscar for nothing.

a&e >>the sycamore leaf




‘I love performing in general’ Acting Ensemble sings for children class itself. “This show was less technically focused and more centered around our acting and nnie” is considered one what we’ve learned over the year,” said of the most recognized Amster. musicals among the Putting together a full musical during 50 theater population. The minute classes can bring many challenges, Acting Ensemble B class carried on as the cast and crew discovered. Without the the production in their rendition, dress rehearsals that the participants were “Annie, Jr.” used to, the cast had trouble remembering “Annie” is about an orphan girl their lines and lyrics. who gets adopted by a rich man. Our “Trying to get everything done in our class show is the junior version of the full period and the few rehearsals we had was the Broadway performance,” said Benjamin biggest challenge. Even so, we did great and I am Cohen, 10. so proud of my fellow actors and actresses,” said The added name “Junior” comes from Amster. the fact that the performance was targeted Originally planned to be performed on Mar. 6 primarily toward elementary school aged and 8, the opening day was postponed by the first children, as opposed to the regular mix of SHS snow day in two years. This did not change young and old. much, however, they simply pushed back the first Scenes were cut out of the original performance. musical in order to facilitate the 45 minute Disregarding the change in dates, the cast found time span allotted during fourth bell. more reasons for performing than completing a There were also some minor changes in massive project. the music. “I love performing in general, whether people “There’s only so much a bunch of are there or not. However, I was so excited for elementary school kids can handle at people to see me. When I practiced scenes a time. Though we cut out a lot of the on stage, I imagined that people were in the story, we still got the overall feel of the crowd,” said Cohen. show,” said Katherine Amster, 10. The actors, actresses, and technicians worked Other than the actual plotline, diligently up to the performance day. “Annie, Jr.” was a showcase of the Victoria Swart

broadcast editor-in-chief


Michael DeMaio

staff writer

I am sad to say that this is my final column. I have been writing this column monthly for The Leaf for about two and a half years now and it is an odd feeling to say goodbye. I usually speak about the music relative to the seasons or some odd mood that I am in while writing, but this month I am going to leave the few of you who actually read this with a piece of me. The songs that I am about to list are by far the most important pieces of music that I have come into contact with over the last few years, and I sincerely hope that you enjoy them.


“Music for Airports” by Brian Eno “Trois Gymnopedies” by Erik Satie “Like Porcelain” by Apparat “Avril 14th” by Aphex Twin “In a Sentimental Mood,” John Coltrane’s version “Ceremony” by The New Order “Urban Tropics” by Juan Atkins

Albums All images by Elizabeth Rickert


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Stand out from the crowd!


Students become directors Freshmen compete in PSA project Astrid Cabello

staff writer

To some, third quarter is known as the fastest paced quarter. However it is also the slowest in the sense that time seems to lag on. Luckily for freshmen, they have been assigned a project popular among many students. All freshmen English classes have been working on Public Service Announcements (PSAs) for the past month. Students works in pairs and choose topics that have been prevailing problems in society. Students are especially happy because they are allowed to incorporate more inspiration and originality in to the two-minute PSAs. Filming and editing are all completed by the group’s

members, which allowed their imagination to shine. “I like any project that is creative because essays just get boring after a while,” said Olivia Wiedmann, 9. One other aspect about the project that students enjoy is the competition. Students will vote on one video from their English class that will then move on to the ‘finals.’ Voting for finals will be held in the auditorium. Every freshman will be allowed to vote for their favorite. Due to this being the second year that the PSA competition has been held, teachers and students are still trying to improve from past mistakes. “I liked the PSA project, but I think we should have had more class time to work on it and think of a good idea,” said Amanda Peck, 9. The PSA winners will be announced at the end of March. The project will lead to more awareness in the freshman class of the problems that are occurring in society today. “It’s nice seeing all of your hard work come together,” said Mikhail Sweeny, 9.

“The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady” by Charles Mingus “Lanquidity” by Sun Ra and his Arkestra “Moon Child” by Pharaoh Sanders “Monastic Trio” by Alice Coltrane “Ok Computer,” “In Rainbows,” “Amnesiac” and “Kid A” by Radiohead The Collaborative Album “Table for Two” by Setting Sun and Shigeto “Ardour” by Teebs “Cosmogramma” by Flying Lotus “R.I.P.,” “Splazsh,” and “Hazyville” by Actress “Not Animal” by Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s “Shields” and “Yellow House” by Grizzly Bear “Merriweather Post Pavilion” by Animal Collective “Hospice” by The Antlers “Unknown Pleasures” by Joy Division “The Flying Club Cup” and “Gulag Orkestar” by Beirut “James Blake” by James Blake The album “Takk” by Sigur Ros “High Violet” by The National “The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire Thank you for reading for the last two and a half years. I hope that these songs will mean as much to you as they do to me. For comments and suggestions on this column, please write to

14 3.15.2013 Winter Track Opinion


College signings4 Opinion Athletic training4 4 Opinion

>> Team finishes season number one in Ohio


>> Four soccer players to compete at next level


>> Perry Denehy reflects on time spent at SHS


>>the sycamore leaf >>

Upcoming SHS Sporting Events No more doubts: SHS basketball finally real deal Michael Saxon

sports chief

Last Thursday, I was sitting in a chair much too small for me, tutoring a 10-year-old who had a lot of questions. It seems as if they all do when pressed to do anything that resembles homework. After quizzing me on semingly everything but my Social Security number, the kid finally got to this question: “Do you play basketball?” “No, not anymore. C’mon, let’s get back to work.” “Why not? Sycamore has a good team.” The statement caught me off guard. Never in my time at SHS, or in the Sycamore district for that matter, have I ever heard someone say the Sycamore Aviators have a good basketball team. I have heard the team be called average, mediocre, growing, but never “good.” All of us, without a doubt, underestimated them this season. After winning a total of two games versus GMC opponents during the 2011-2012 season, I wasn’t exactly expecting a state championship this year to say the least. But I was not expecting a winning record or, more importantly, a GMC championship. Watching the team win against opponents like Mason, Middletown and Princeton was satisfying. The Aviators played without a care, as if saying, “Stop us if you can.” We can all learn a lot from them – their ability to persevere and bounce back after a tough season should not go unnoted. But we should especially recognize how they stayed focused and together, despite the doubts of others in the school. And I’m sure next year there will be even more doubts. Who will be the next big man? Do we have enough height? Will the underclassmen step up? The list could go on, but I’ll stop. We need to give them a little more credit. After a season like last one, they deserve it. So, in essence, this is my apology to the boys basketball program. You proved me and a lot of others - wrong this past season. The SHS basketball program has finally turned the corner. For comments on this column, please email

No relaxing: Photos courtesy of McDaniel’s Photography

Boys lacrosse heats up as season approaches Andrew Cardenas staff writer


he boys Varsity lacrosse team is very anxious for their season to start. Although their 6-13 record last year was not what they hoped for, the boys are determined to improve. The off-season comes to an end, and the hard work and senior leadership made it one of the most successful ones the team has had. The first practice was held at the Sycamore Junior High School on Feb. 25. “At first I was really nervous, this having been my first high school practice for lacrosse, but I was quickly able to get used to how they are run,” said Derrick Gibson, 9. People were skeptical as to how the team was going to look this year after losing Derrick Kihembo, ’12, who is currently playing for Johns Hopkins University, the number six team in the nation. Even with the loss of Kihembo, the team hopes to disprove those who doubt the team. “We are definitely faster and more athletic than we have been in previous years. I think this is because of how hard we worked in the off-season,” said Alexander Miller, 12. The first game of the season is on Mar. 27, against Oak Hills. The Varsity team is looking to

start the season off right with a win against a relatively new program. “I think we are going to have a great season. We got a great schedule this year with the first six games being against lowtier programs, and then we’ll work our way to the last game of the regular season against our toughest opponent Mason High School,” said Nicholas Johnson, 10.

Players to watch this season


The Varsity team was lucky to have gotten a much easier schedule than past years. On May 1 they play St. Xavier High School, who had a 12-9 record last year, and on May 18 they play Mason High School, who had a 15-4 record. “With the talent we have, and how our schedule was set up this year, I think we really have an opportunity to be great,” said Jordan Argyriou, 11. The team strives to get a winning record this year and to bring back the State Championship that SHS Varsity team won in 2004.

apr. 1 Boys baseball @ Lakota East 5:00 p.m.

Apr. 2 Boys volleyball vs. Fairfield 7:00 p.m.

Tyler Hegyesi, 10 Position: Attack Skills: Dodging, feeding, scoring

Returning Players

SHS boys lacrosse team was fortunate enough to have returned all its Varsity starting attackmen: Vladimir Jovic, 12, Miller, and Tyler Hegyesi, 10. This will be a big advantage to the team because they know how to play with each other and have great chemistry.

mar. 28 Softball @ Springboro 4:30 p.m.

Brandon Mueller, 12

Apr. 3 Softball @ Lakota West 5:00 p.m.

Apr. 4 Boys tennis @ Fairfield 4:30 p.m.

Position: Defense Skills: Groundballs

Apr. 5 Track @ SHS *Gold Baton Event*

Mark Reinhart, 11 Position: Goalie Skills: Saving shots, organizing defense

Alexander Miller, 12

Apr. 8 Baseball vs. Middletown 5:00 p.m.

Apr. 9 Boys tennis vs. Mason 4:30 p.m.

Position: Attack Skills: Scoring

Apr. 9 Boys volleyball @ Princeton 7:00 p.m.

Boys baseball on base for start of season Zachary Fritzhand calendar chief

The nerves of players were on the rise as tryouts took place the week of Feb. 25. The tryouts lasted all week, ranging from two to three hours depending on the position. The pitchers and catchers reported at 6 p.m. and the other position players reported at 5 p.m. The tryout consisted of throwing, fielding, and batting. The pitchers, as well as the catchers, worked with each other to help improve their skills. The pitchers worked on leg and body movement while catchers worked on how to block the ball with their body. “It is great to work with other players because I can better myself and help my teammates,” said Jake Pope, 11.

The baseball season starts at the end of March and goes through the end of May. SHS hopes to play all its games this year. In the past, the weather has not cooperated and caused as many as 10 games to be cancelled in one season. In the 2012 baseball season, the Varsity team finished

8-10 in the GMC with a 1016 record overall. With the aforementioned offseason training, many players feel this year is destined to be different. “I hope this season turns out to be great, I am sick of mediocrity,” said Brady Ridener, 11.

For more information on SHS baseball, scan here Junior shortstop Greg Simpson sprints to first base. The team has been lifting weights since October in preparation for the upcoming season. After a 10-16 finish last year, the team is looking to improve after a very busy offseason. Photos courtesy of McDaniel’s Photography

Apr. 11 Boys volleyball @ Oak Hills 7:00 p.m.

apr. 15 Softball vs. Hamilton 5:00 p.m. Apr. 16 Boys tennis vs. Princeton 4:30 p.m.

Apr. 22 Baseball vs. Mason 5:00 p.m. Events according to GMC Sports site or respective online schedules

sports >>the sycamore leaf >>



Dive to dominate State Swimmers rise to take 9th, 14th

Individual State swimmers Swimmer Charles Fry, 12







i Ad

m ar


Mark Hancher, 10 Xavier Jimenez, 12 Cara Norris, 10 Isaac Goldstein staff writer

Ethan May


staff writer

t the conclusion of the regular season, the swimming team was thrown into the championship stretch. Swimmers competed through a series of meets to capture one of just 24 coveted spots at the State meet in Canton, Ohio.

Diving to Districts

After Sectionals, the first meet, the top 32 total in each event moved on to Districts. The Aves advanced 18 boys and 12 girls to Districts. Many were returning qualifiers, making for an experienced team with high expectations going into the meet. “We are looking to swim very well. We have been training for it all year,” said head coach Dr. Dan Carl, prior to Districts. Last year, several swimmers missed the state cut-off by fractions of a second. They were determined to not to let that opportunity slip by again. Mark Hancher, 10, is one swimmer who barely missed qualifying for State last year in the 100 Fly. “I tried to improve my technique and my under waters to become more efficient. I also worked even harder than last year to keep up with the upperclassmen like Charlie [Fry, 12],” said Hancher. And the work paid off. Hancher, seven other boys, and seven girls qualified for State.

Swimming to State

The team traveled to Canton on Mar. 21 to compete at the most prestigious high school swim meet of the year. It was a proud night for all swimmers who were able to prove their worth to the team. In the 200 freestyle, the top four will all advance to The Ohio State University next year. They will be teamates on the swim team there. On the podium, those four swimmers spelled out O-H-I-O, using only their arms. It was one of the most unique moments in state swim meet history. For some it was their first time at State, and for others it was their last, but all gave their absolute best to prove what they had.

Future bright for Fry

Fry, leader of the boys team, was one of the only three boys to make State individually, along with Hancher and Xavier Jimenez, 12. Fry was first up in the 200 free. It had been one of his best events all year and he was not about to disappoint. He took fourth place in the preliminary meet. At finals, Fry held out his fourth place spot receiving a medal. “I am a bit disappointed with my time in the 200 because I was expecting to be a bit faster although my place was not too bad,” said Fry. Fry made a decision to switch his events this year swimming the 200 and the 100

yard freestyle instead of the 500 as he did in previous years. This was a tough decision for him but would ultimately pay off in the end. He placed fourth at State for the 100. “I prefer the 100 free much more than the 500 free. I was much more competitive in the 100 than the 500. I was pleased with the time and the place I put up,” said Fry. Not only did Fry place fourth place in the 100 but he was also able to break a 13-year-old SHS record originally set by Olympic gold medalist, Dan Ketchum, ‘00. “I was ecstatic when I broke Ketchum’s record. He got a gold medal at the Olympics so breaking his record makes me look forward to what I have got in store for the future,” said Fry. Fry will be competing with the Ohio State University swim team next year. “I am really looking forward to OSU. I chose to go there because on my recruiting trip I felt comfortable with the guys there. The coach is really supportive and cares about his swimmers. I think OSU will help me be the best swimmer I can be,” said Fry. Fry also accomplished a career goal of his, winning GMC Swimmer of the Meet. It is a special honor given to one male swimmer and one female swimmer who score the most points at the GMC championship meet. This year it was Fry for the boys and his teammate Cara Norris, 10 for the girls. “Winning GMC Swimmer of the Meet was awesome. Last year, I was just a few points shy of getting it so it was great to finally win this year. Being able to celebrate it with Cara just made it all the better,” said Fry.

Overcoming injury: Norris succeeds despite surgeries

Norris, who is just a sophomore, was also very thrilled to win GMC Swimmer of the Meet. “Winning Swimmer of the Meet was awesome and the fact that Charlie won just made it much more exciting and special,” said Norris. Norris also competed at the state meet swimming the 200 free and the 100 yard butterfly. Last year, she was able to take third in the 200 free and sixth in the 100 butterfly. Norris swam the 200 free and took sixth in the preliminary meet but came back at finals and took third winning herself a medal. Norris also broke her own freshman-sophomore school record in this event. Norris has been battling foot injuries for most of her SHS swimming career. She plans to have her third surgery in the spring. “Since it is my third surgery I know a little bit more about the injury than the first two. I think this time, to avoid any setbacks, once I am able to train again I am going to set short term goals for myself to help me recover,” said Norris. Norris will continue swimming for her club team, the Cincinnati Marlins, as she recovers from her surgery.

Sarah May, 12

100 200 100 100 200 100 100

Event Freestyle Freestyle Butterfly Backstroke Freestyle Butterfly Butterfly

Place 4 4 14 19 3 4 20

Image by Lauren Saxon and Ethan May

Photos courtesy of Sandra Seger

LEFT: CARA NORRIS, 10, TAKES fourth in the 100 yard butterfly. After being injured for most of the season, she is very happy with the results. Norris plans a lengthy recovery over the next couple of months, and will come back next season more prepared than ever. Right: Charles Fry, 12, finishes fourth in the 200 freestyle. In that particular event, the top four swimmer will all swim for The Ohio State next year. Fry may have finished high school swimming, but his road to success has only just begun.

Swimming Terminology 100/200/500 - In swimming, yardage is often referred to as 100, 200, or 500 yards. A lap in swimming is 25 yards, therefore a 100 is four laps, a 200 is eight laps, etc. Taper - The need to recover following prolonged periods of high-volume/high-intensity training. The purpose of the taper is to allow the swimmer to adapt to, or supercompensate for the level of work accomplished in training. Relays - A swimming event in which four swimmers participate as a relay team each swimmer swimming an equal distance of the race. Underwaters - The portion of the race swimmers spend underwater after the start and each turn. Since this is the fastest part of the race, many swimmers focus on it, because it can make or break a swim. Natatorium - A building constructed for the purpose of housing a swimming pool and related equipment. This year’s state meet was held at C. T. Branin Natatorium. Image by Ana Barros

16 3.15.2013

>>the sycamore leaf >> sports

Successful signings: Players take talents to collegiate level

It’s our year Nakul Narendran sports chief

Coach is pumped. The team is pumped. I am pumped. This might be the year we do big things. This might be the year SHS tennis wins state. The SHS Varsity tennis team placed top five in the state last year before taking a crushing loss to Springboro in the state tournament 2-3. I remember that match... We were supposed to win the southwest; we were supposed to make the Final Four and play for the State Championship in Columbus. But we lost before making it there. I remember the face on our lone senior last year, Josh Goodman, when we walked off the court. That disappointment? It stuck. And I refuse to allow us to do anything but win this year. No matter what it takes, the Aves are fully capable of being the best team in Ohio. We lost one senior last year, but we gained so many new players. We have done nothing but grow, and this year we are stronger than ever. With the return of Mustafa Ahmad, 11, who played Varsity Gold his freshman year before moving to Dallas, the Gold team will have a replacement for Josh. And I haven’t even begun to talk about our new freshman and returning Varsity B players. SHS will have to take on Mason- who is just as strong as last year- Springboro, and Upper Arlington, the defending state champions, on our road to state. It’s kind of unfortunate the way the team state draw is set up. There are four sections, the southwest, the southeast, the northwest, and the northeast; and it just so happens that four of the strongest teams in the state all come from the southwest. It’s also unfortunate, in my opinion, that there is only one other team state contending team champion that isn’t in our section: Upper Arlington. However, one thing has definitely met my satisfaction. Last year, there were no seeds in the draw, and anyone could play anyone. For example, we played Saint Xavier in the second round. It seems that some kind of sense was put into who creates these draws, as now there are seeds, and the first time we can play Mason is in the Southwest final. I’m kind of proud that we are the second seed in the draw this year. But at the same time, I’m not. I want to be first. We are first. And we’ll show everyone. Let’s go Aves. For comments on this column, please write to





All images by Nakul Narendran

1. JAKE CIRICILLO, 12, SIGNS to Xavier University to play Division I soccer. His parents joined him during his momentous moment, along with his fellow classmates. 2. Jerrick Valentine, 12, signs to Bellarmine University, sitting next to his family. Valentine joined Ciricillo in having the opportunity to play soccer at the collegiate level. 3. Nicole Brown, 12, signs to play soccer at Thomas Moore University, joined by her mother. She was the only girl to sign on Mar. 7 joined by the other three boys. 4. Luke Bobst, 12, signs to Capital (seated on the far edge of the table). He will also join Valentine, Ciricillo, and Brown to play soccer during the next stage of his life.

Reality Check Take your pick for the NCAA tournament. Michael Saxon

sports chief

I hate to pick a team that’s been a favorite all season, but I just cannot see Indiana University losing in the NCAA tournament. The Ohio State game was a fluke, and if anything, a wake up call for the Hoosiers. They’ll come back stronger than ever for the tournament with too many threats for any team to handle. Cody Zeller is a dominant force in the middle, and Victor Oladipo continues to amaze me with his athleticism alone. They can’t be stopped, and will be the last team standing in the big dance. Nakul Narendran sports chief

Well, to be honest, I have no idea. I have switched my vote at least ten times already, and after last week, I just don’t know. But I’ll stick with who I had earlier. Cody Zeller, star player for the Indiana Hoosiers, is just unstoppable. He is definitely the most talented forward in the NCAA. Indiana even has a potential MVP player in Victor Oladipo, a player who is not only inspirational, but talented. Now, obviously, Indiana has had its ups and downs, but I think in the end, it comes down to the talent. And Indiana definitely is at the top.

Ethan May

staff writer

I strongly believe Louisville will be the NCAA champions. They are now at the number one rank and 13-4 in one of the toughest conferences in college basketball, the Big East. I think come tournament time, leading players for the Cardinals such as Russ Smith will step up, giving Louisville an advantage. Louisville has not only had champion caliber players, but also a winning coach with all the experience in the world, Rick Pitino. Pitino knows how to get it done during crunch time and will surely not disappoint.

Isaac Harmon

associate editor

The Hurricanes are on top. This late in the season, a loss does not automatically knock you down, especially not a loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Miami still leads the ACC by two games, and Shane Larkin cannot be stopped. He is phenomenal. They have the coach of the year in Jim Larranaga and they are hungry, which should scare every team . They have shown they can play with the big kids on the block and even rough them up in the process. They are playing top tier basketaball; there is no doubt about it. They are the team to fear and the team to beat. Watch out.

For suggestions on what should be debated in the next Reality Check, please email

Photo courtesy of McDaniels Photography

Winter track lands on top Joseph Slovin

staff writer

While the SHS winter track team has had a stellar year, one particular group of individuals deserves recognition for their dedication this season. Seniors Anna Bailes, Sydney Larkin, Allison Klonne and Bianca Rodenbaugh have just had a season for the ages. This team of runners has been ranked first in Ohio for the majority of the season. They’ve been through numerous track meets, long bus rides, and 400 meter dashes, but as the season for indoor track comes to a close, this group of seniors remains at the top. “We’ve been ranked first in the state for a while, and now we are headed to the state meet which we are really excited about,” said Klonne. “We are really eager to see what will happen in the State Championship meet.” In addition to the superb year for winter track, each and every athlete has also gotten the opportunity to compete at some of the local college campuses. In the recent track meets, the team has competed at universities such as Bowling Green, Ohio State, and most recently, Indiana University. “I love seeing all these colleges because it gives me a good idea of where I want to begin my college search in a couple years,” said Ray Berling, 9. The upcoming State Championship is just around the corner, and the ‘Trackletes’ will be competing at Akron University on Mar. 16. “The whole team is excited for the State meet. Everyone will be cheering on all SHS runners. It should be a great atmosphere,” said Hannah Wise, 12.

sports >>the sycamore leaf >>



‘That’s life, that’s progression’

Athletic trainer reflects on time spent at SHS SHS athletic training by the

Michael Saxon



sports chief

ne night, after an SHS sporting event, everything is still. The parking lot is empty, the stands are vacant, and the high school itself is motionless – except for one room. There is always one light still burning in SHS – the light of the athletic training room. “Sometimes, when people drive through here late at night they may typically see one or two cars, and chances are it’s one of the cars of the athletic trainers,” said Perry Denehy, SHS athletic trainer. SHS has three trainers – two who work for SHS, and one training as an intern from the University of Cincinnati. However, no SHS trainer is more tenured than Denehy, who has worked at SHS for 30 years.

Choosing wisely

Growing up in Mason, Denehy did not originally want to become an athletic trainer. “Mason had a volunteer fire department, and I was actually really enmeshed with becoming a volunteer fire-fighter. But my father, who was a guidance counselor at Mason High School, pretty much told me, ‘You can’t make a living being a volunteer,’” said Denehy. Having been steered away from a life in the fire department, Denehy went to college. “Going to college was something I knew I needed to do, and the combination of liking sports and the field with medicine involved took over,” said Denehy. Back then, it was also encouraged to become a teacher, so Denehy majored in secondary education as well as athletic training, allowing him to be a trainer and a teacher at SHS.

$10,000 spent on supplies each year. Of that....

$5,000 spent on tape

All images by Michael Saxon

PERRY DENEHY, ATHLETIC TRAINER, works with Ryan Gaffney, 12, in the trainers’ room. Gaffney, who hurt his elbow during football season, came to Denehy before going to wrestling practice each day. “He may be the best trainer in all of Ohio,” said Gaffney of Denehy.

Making friends

During his time here, Denehy’s main jobs may be treating injuries and teaching sports medicine classes, but Denehy has also enjoyed forming relationships with the hundreds of SHS students who he has worked with. “I’m very happy to realize that coming to Sycamore has meant meeting and helping people,” said Denehy. “But my reward after helping them is just remaining in contact with them, whether it’s via Facebook or email or them just coming in to visit.” Ben Thiss, 10, also noticed Denehy’s amiable nature with his athletes. “Perry is the perfect man for the job because he formed a relationship with me as he does with everyone that comes in. He always had alumni visiting him while I was in the training room because everyone that has gone

through there has learned that Perry is a great person to know and have around Sycamore,” said Thiss.

Wrapping up

Denehy likes to describe himself as an “insurance policy you hope you never have to use.” No student at SHS is ever certain that he or she will need to see Perry. Time, however, is one thing that Denehy is certain of. He has noticed how athletic training has changed over the years, but he has also noticed how his role at SHS has changed. After 30 years of teaching his sports medicine class, Denehy chose to relinquish that job last semester. Even though Denehy will still be in the training room helping athletes, he has begun to use the term “semi-retired,” signaling that his time at SHS may be coming to a close. “When I first started here at Sycamore I was the very young

athletic trainer, fresh out of college, working with a bunch of older coaches. Now I’m the old guy that works with all the young coaches,” said Denehy with a smile. “And that’s life, that’s progression.” Of course, Denehy stays humble. Instead of answering a question that leant itself to a selfish answer, he responds with one main focus: the athletes. “I don’t know if we’re lucky to have me, but we’re certainly lucky to have something that gives the importance and attention to the athletes.” But based on testimonials from his current and former athletes, SHS is, in fact, very lucky to have Denehy.

For an extended Q&A with Denehy, scan here

Past, present SHS athletes share their Perry stories


Students provided post surgical rehabilitation by the athletic training department per year







Percentage of injuries treated by season Percentage of schools in the GMC with at least one athletic trainer


Percentage of schools in America 50 without an athletic trainer

Cassy McDowell, 11

Ryan Gaffney, 12

Joe Cleary, ‘11

Julie Hull, ‘06

“I’ve been in the trainers’ room so many times over the years, but more recently for a concussion I received during soccer. Perry was there to help and make my recovery a quick process so that I could get back to playing as soon as I could. Our school is so lucky to have such a great trainer. It is a big relief to know that with all the sports I play, Perry will always be there to help me if I ever get hurt again (knock on wood).”

“Everybody at Sycamore knows that if you happen to injure yourself in any sport, Perry is the one to see. I’ve had many injuries in my football and wrestling careers, ranging from breaking my elbow to getting hit by a car. I’ve talked to doctors quite a bit, and whenever I mention I go to Sycamore, every single time, every single doctor not only says Perry is a good trainer, but that he is the best.”

“Without Perry my athletic career would have been brief and unsuccessful. You don’t grow nine inches in 18 months and not miss a game without an excellent trainer. The thing I remember most about Perry is his ankle wrapping skills. Those alone kept me in basketball games. I have Perry to thank for so much of my athletic success at Sycamore High School.”

“I had a leg injury during track season my junior year. I had a meet coming up, so we wanted to diagnose the problem as soon as possible. After one of the coaches mentioned the problem to Perry, he immediately cleared some time for me during seventh bell of that same day. He was always willing to do whatever he could to help you out, and his top priority was always the students.”

Number of injuries or visits to the training room each year


$250,000 Combined amount of money SHS families save due to athletic training

18 3.15.2013

SHS basketball’s other Seide

>>the sycamore leaf >> sports

JV team manager goes above and beyond


staff writer

lthough he does not make ferocious dunks or majestic three point-shots, a young man working behind the scenes greatly contributes to the boys basketball program’s success. Andrew Seide, 11, takes sincere pride in his position as the JV team manager and goes beyond the call of duty, dedicating himself to the team so the program can be successful. “It is a very hard job, but at the end of the day I am making a difference in peoples’ lives,” said Seide.


For Seide, the position did not find him; rather, he was looking for something fun and basketballrelated, so he took matters into his own hands and earned his first position as freshman team manager. From freshman team manager, Seide rose to JV team manager and is currently in his third year with the program. “Andrew could get the statistics from the first half of a game, then display them for the disposal of the team at half time; I don’t know how he did it,” said Brandon Sosna, ’11, ex- team manager. An ordinary JV team manager’s responsibilities include attending the majority of JV practices, helping with practice setup, running the clock, and keeping practices on time. The other part of the job includes various statistic keeping responsibilities and helping with the pre/post game


No ordinary manager

Seide is by no means an ordinary JV team manager; he enthusiastically fulfills all the aspects of his position and clearly surpasses the standard. He attended and assisted in all of the freshman and Varsity games and helped run Mighty Aves, a program on Saturday mornings that teaches young children the basic fundamentals of basketball. “He’s also provided some pregame motivational speeches to our freshman team,” said Coach David Moss, Head Varsity mens basketball coach. Basketball is Seide’s passion, but being a part of a basketball team means so much more to him. After Varsity lost to Princeton in the 2012 sectional tournament, Seide made a speech in the locker room. He told the players to stay involved with some kind of basketball, whether it is playing in SHS’s program or in college. He stressed how continuing to play basketball is a crucial foundation of their lives. Always in the middle of the action, Seide was working on the sideline when Varsity clenched the GMC title in February. “Making it to number one in the GMC is something I will take away for the rest of my life. I knew that we would accomplish that task; we work very hard, and our program is pretty competitive,” said Seide.

Leading by example

Coaching and serving as a role model is not part of the JV team

manager job description, but Seide goes above and beyond in this area as well. “I wanted to focus on winning more games, so I help the coaches tell the players what they need to work on; I am not concerned with the score in the game, but I am really concerned about the effort. I would always make PowerPoints so we could use technology effectively, whether it was during a normal practice or an intense game,” said Seide. A very large part of his heart is devoted toward the people involved with the basketball program, and he shows this every day. Coach Moss was standing in the hallway, upset after a tough loss when Andrew approached him and smiled, looked him in the eye, and put his arm over Coach’s shoulder and reassured him that everything would be okay. “I always try to make myself available in the hallways as much as I can because I like interacting with my teammates during the day, even if it is not basketballrelated. This is something I will remember for the rest of my life,” said Seide.

ANDREW SEIDE, 11, is as active as a manager as Coach Moss has ever seen. College coaches are even notcing him. A coach at Sin Caire community college is interested in having Andrew as a team manager at the college level.

Part of family

“One of my favorite things to do is wear my Sycamore basketball spirit on a Saturday night, go out to dinner and see those I know, not only on the floor of the court, but in the community,” said Seide. For the JV basketball players, there is no question that Seide is a major component of the team. On the way back from the

Loveland win, Seide started singing about being the team manager and the team responded by repeating what he said. It lasted for five minutes and everyone had a blast with it. It is another good example of Andrew’s commitment and passion for the program. “On the bus to the games Andrew leads the team in song. It is unbelievable the relationship that he has formed with us players,” said Joseph Mattis, 9. Seide feels a strong sense of belonging and his players hold him in very high esteem. “Andrew does so much for our program and its promotion and we love having him,” said Moss.

Redlegs return Joey Slovin

staff writer

All images by Ana Barros

Julia Mattis

Veteran fencer reflects upon final year Ellie Goldman


When he was about 12 years old, Eli Goldweber, 12, thought it looked like fun to learn how to use those ‘cool swords,’ which he now knows are called foils. “It was just kind of a spur-of-themoment thing I decided to try out, and I liked it,” said Goldweber. Six years later, his interest in the sport of fencing has paid off big time. He initially started learning with the Salle du Lion Fencing Center and then found the SHS team his freshman year. SHS’ team won last year’s regional high school event in a landslide, and Goldweber expects this trend to continue. But he will not only be competing on that day. “Brandon [Bauer, 12] and I are actually ref[eree]ing the league,” he said. The coach that they know from Salle du Lion hired them to be referees for matches they are not competing in. They will “switch

off” between competing and refereeing. Goldweber’s three to four practices a week are mainly with his club. At the weekly school practice he has shifted from student to teacher, coaching less experienced fencers with their foils instead of practicing himself. “It was more difficult than I thought because of the lack of practices, and sometimes people aren’t very motivated after school,” he said. “But you definitely see people improve over time.” His abilities are also recognized on a larger scale. Goldweber and Bauer qualified and competed in the 2013 Junior Olympic Fencing Championships, two of only 200 fencers to do so. “This is the first year that either Brandon or I qualified to go, and since I’ve been [at SHS], this is the first time anyone’s gone,” said Goldweber. After their upcoming tournament ends, the two will still have opportunities to compete in US Fencing Association sponsored competitions throughout the

season. These are open events, which means that they could spar against fencers of any other age or gender, unlike the high school competitions. At about five feet, two inches, Goldweber faces special challenges in the sport because of his height. Being a shorter fencer, he notes that he has to compensate with his speed and agility. “I definitely have to be conscious of the height difference and try to move more than I would,” he said. “It’s almost intellectual in a sense. You don’t have to be big and tall, so I feel like it’s really open for anyone who wants to, and I like that aspect of it.” Goldweber has also looked into universities that have fencing programs. “I definitely want to continue, at least for a club team, wherever I go,” he said. “More people should try [fencing],” he said. His advice to a hesitant new fencer would be to “come out and try it. It’s easy to get started and I think the reward will pay off.”



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Who would have guessed that less than 200 days have passed since the last Reds game? Only 200 days with no baseball. But for me, its seems like an eternity. Although Opening Day is set to take place on April 1, baseball season is already in full bloom. The Reds’ spring training camp, a 17 exhibition game series, will take place in Glendale, AZ. From there, players hop on an airplane and have a four day rest leading up to what is Cincinnati’s greatest tradition of all time: Opening Day. Cincinnatians treat this day like a national holiday. No, this holiday doesn’t celebrate the miracle of Hannuakah, nor any other religious celebration. This holiday worships the sport of baseball and the best part is: that Cincinnati celebrates it best. Every year on this day, citizens take off work, pull their children out of school, and head downtown to Great American Ball Park (GAPB). The atmosphere on Opening Day is full of Reds pride, and rain or shine, the loyal baseball fans of Cincinnati always manage to pack GABP to capacity on this day. Why does this great ‘Nati tradition exist? Why does Cincinnati dedicate its summer days to sitting in the hot sun in a stadium of 42,319 people eating expensive ball park snacks? Why are the Reds the only MLB team that has had its Opening Day at home every year since the beginning of baseball? One word: tradition. The Reds were the first professional baseball team. Ever. We have the most pride in our team, because Cincinnati is a baseball town, not a football town. We have Joey Votto, who is, in my opinion, as well as many others, currently the best first basemen in all of baseball. We also have Brandon Phillips, our veteran second baseman whose webgems in the field constantly take over the SportCenter Top 10 plays. And, of course, we have Jay Bruce, who can slug homer after homer this season. If this isn’t the Reds year to win it all, then there is no hope for Cincinnati sports. Welcome to baseball season. For comments and suggestions on this column, please write to


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20 3.15.2013

Keeping up with Kristen Cellist strings diverse interests together

Spotlight >>the sycamore leaf >>

Jacqueline Lazar staff writer

Where did you move from?

1. KRISTEN DIAZ, 11 AT 2012 Sycamore Band and Orchestra Boosters Disney trip. 2. Diaz finds different cultural foods quite tasty. 3. Diaz with her twin sister, Kathryn Diaz, 11, blowing out birthday candles. 4. Diaz in a Halloween costume at age four.

I moved here from Findlay, Ohio, but I’ve also lived in Virginia. I’m originally from Minnesota, so I consider that my true home.

How have you dealt with adjusting to SHS? It sounds weird but it was actually kind of amazing. I’ve moved quite a few times and usually it takes at least a couple years to make good friends.

What extracurricular activities are you in? I used to play the piano, but right now I only play the cello, and I’m in SEE1. I also was finally able to join the colorguard this year after years of wanting to join but not being able to.


What is your favorite subject in school? I don’t really have a favorite subject in school. It changes every year and sometimes I feel pretty neutral about all my classes. Last year I took woodshop and really enjoyed it because being able to create a finished product that was useful with my very own hands was really self-satisfying.

Do you want a career in that field? I plan to do a double major in Industrial Engineering and Industrial Design, so it’s basically problem solving and helping designing products. That way my problem solving side will be put to use (engineering) and I’ll be able to feel accomplished with designing and creating.



What are you passionate about? I’m not sure what I’m passionate about per se, but my life goal is for me to be happy with my life and job. I really want to be that person who loves her job, gets paid well, and is proud of it.

What makes you unique? I’m Norwegian-Cuban, have a twin sister, and am originally from Minnesota. I think that makes me pretty unique. Also my sister and I have never stayed at a single school for longer than two years, until now. Next year it will be our third year at a school and probably the best.


All images by Jacqueline Lazar

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March 2013 Issue of The Sycamore Leaf  

March 2013 Issue of The Sycamore Leaf

March 2013 Issue of The Sycamore Leaf  

March 2013 Issue of The Sycamore Leaf