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the Sycamore


Preparing to take the SAT or ACT? Turn to page 13 to find out which test is right for you. You can even take a quiz to see which test will work best for you best on your own personal learning style.

FRIDAY October 23, 2009 Volume LVI Issue 3 | 7400 Cornell Rd. Cincinnati, Ohio 45242, 513.686.1770 ext. 3089 |

news bites 10.23-11.20 Candidates Forum

On Oct. 27, the three candidates running for the Sycamore Board of Education, Jean Staubach, Diane Adamec and John Mercurio, will speak at a forum organized by the Association of Sycamore Schools Parent Organizations.

Senior Halloween

For information on the rules and regulations of Senior Halloween, seniors can check out the “senior” button located on their Blackboard home pages. Senior Halloween will be on Thursday, Oct. 29 and the parade will take place during sixth bell at 12:30 p.m.

End of First Quarter

The last day of first quarter is Oct. 29. Report cards will be distributed on Nov. 10 during second bell.

PLC Meeting

The next PLC meeting is scheduled for Nov. 11. Seniors will be allowed to arrive late, following the same procedure as the Oct. 7 meeting.


Senior pictures and baby ads are due Nov. 2 to room 115.

Fall Musical

The fall play is scheduled for Nov. 6, 7, 12, 13, 14 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be bought at lunch for $8 on Nov. 4-6

Fall Sports Awards

Fall sports awards will be held on Nov. 17. This is a chance for fall athletes to be recognized for their accomplishments throughout the season.

Alumi pursue fashion dreams Laura Molander, ‘06, and 16 otherstudents at University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) created 2-D designs for local police officers that were presented last month. Jessica Burke, ‘07,

Variety Show

Auditions for this year’s Variety Show will be on Nov. 19. The show is on Dec. 4. For more information, contact Mr. Ken Holdt or listen for announcements.

Write to The Leaf

Comments on stories and any suggestions are greatly appreciated. E-mail The Leaf at writetotheleaf@

Cure Volley for the

Raising money for breast cancer since ‘06



staff writer

& michelatindera editor-in-chief

ass, set, cure!” That was the slogan for this year’s Volley for the Cure. Since the event’s inception in 2006, over 15,000 Ohio volleyball players and 150,000 fans across at least 14 states have been able to raise over half a million dollars for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Breast


Cancer Foundation including over $5,500 earned at the game against Harrison on Thursday, Oct. 8. However, many students are surprised to learn that the first ever Volley for the Cure was held here at SHS, organized by then senior and women’s varsity volleyball captain, Sarah McGrath, ’07. The idea was actually proposed to McGrath by her mother, Barb McGrath, as a way to support

two friends who were dealing with breast cancer at the time, as well as to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. “We wanted to do something to show how much we supported them,” said Sarah McGrath. After talking it over with her mom, McGrath pitched the idea to her team and everyone seemed to love it. For the proposed regular season game

that would become the first Volley for the Cure, McGrath called up her friend Carolyn Gagliardi, ’07, from Loveland who was also a member her school’s volleyball team. “To be honest we never thought that we would actually go through with it [the game], or that it would be a success at all,” said McGrath. From there, the girls began planning for the event, coming




7767 Kenwood Rd. 513-791-1616



friday, october 23, 2009


calendar chief





wednesday thursday




DID YOU KNOW? The average American consumes 23.9 pounds of candy annually.




History: Holocaust Began in 1938


1:30p.m. Boys Varsity Ice Hockey vs. Elder High School


History: 35th President, John F. Kennedy assassinated, 1963






SHS Event: 7:30 p.m. Musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat”

SHS Event: 7:30 p.m. Musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat”





Holiday: Veteran’s Day

SHS Event: 7:30 p.m. Musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat”

SHS Event: 7:30 p.m. Musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat”




SHS Event: Variety Show auditions Weird Holiday: Button Day

SHS Event: 7 p.m. Fall Sports Awards

SHS Event: Early Release Day

SHS Event: National Honor Society Induction

8:00pm Boys Varsity Ice Hockey vs. Lakota East High School






DID YOU KNOW? The word “checkmate” comes from the Persian phrase “shah mat,” which means “the king is defeated.”


2:30pm Varsity Chess Team vs. Colerain High School


Weird Holiday: National Candy Day

History: U.S. Weather Service Established, 1870



SHS Event: 7:30 p.m. Musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat”


SHS Event: Sycamore Band and Orchestra Booster Craft Show at 9 a.m.


Holiday: Thanksgiving No School: Thanksgiving Break

No School: Thanksgiving Break

No School: Thanksgiving Break



news 3

friday, october 23, 2009 up with creative ways to make this game unique to all other regular season volleyball games. T-shirts were sold at an affordable price of $5 for the event, and anyone wearing pink was allowed to watch the game for free. The first game held in October 2006 was an incredible success. Where a normal varsity women’s volleyball game has about 50-75 spectators, this game drew over 1,000 and over $4,000 was raised for breast cancer research. Soon after the first game, McGrath and Gagliardi began receiving multiple calls and emails from other teams throughout Ohio and other states asking how their volleyball teams could participate in an event like this. The Susan G. Komen Foundation also offered to help make the event go statewide. And in the summer of 2007 the McGraths and Gagliardis traveled to the Ohio High School Athletic Association where they spoke to the coaches to let them know they were trying to get the event to spread throughout the state. The association fully supported their idea. Since then, the OHSAA has challenged every team in Ohio that plays interscholastic volleyball to hold a Volley for the Cure event every year. Other states including Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan have caught on to the event as well, to name a few. “It’s really great to see how people take the idea of a VFTC match and have gone all out with it and made it into the huge event it is today,” said Sarah McGrath. This year’s event was organized by senior volleyball player, Meghan Marth’s mother, Kristie Marth. The event seemed to take on an even bigger role as fundraising for cancer research expanded to included bake sales, t-shirt sales, raffles and even smoothie and bagel sales in the morning. The game also included a performance by the Flyerettes which occurred between the freshman and JV games, as well as a performance of the Star-Spangled Banner before the varsity game by Josh Goldman, 12. “Singing at Volley [for the Cure] was a great way for me personally to support the efforts of those fighting cancer and also to support the efforts of students who put so much work into this great event,” said Goldman. Also a speech was given by Pacqui Kelly, cancer survivor and wife of University of Cincinnati’s head football coach Brian Kelly. “We were all very happy to help out with this year’s event,” said Meghan Marth. “We have a couple of very close family friends affected by breast cancer, so it is a cause close to our hearts.” An event like Volley for the Cure has not only garnered support for breast cancer, but has also inspired other organizations to hold similar events. Since Volley for the Cure’s first fundraiser in 2006, SHS has played host to various other causes like Dunks for Diabetes, Hoops for the Heart, and Lay-ups for Liz. Cancer has affected the lives of most everyone in some way. Whether it is a parent, sibling, grandparent, or friend—like McGrath’s—it is a disease that affects us all. “We can, as a team…find a cure,” said Pacqui Kelly.

image by maria marballi

Volley for the Cure cont’d from page 1

MS. HODDY MACKENZIE, LPN sorts through the vaccine permission forms that were distrubuted to the district on Tuesday, Oct. 6. It will be distributed to anyone Kindergarten-12 paid for by the Hamilton County Department of Public Health.


Rate of absences rise in local districts Vaccine becomes available at SHS




fter the word “vaccination” was brought up in an all-call to the district from Superintendent Dr. Adrienne James regarding the H1N1 virus on Thursday, Oct. 1, many questions were raised as to why a public school district would be giving out vaccines on building premises. “I was really surprised and shocked that our school would give out vaccines,” said Liora Bachrach, 11. This will be the first time in recent history that a mass dissemination of vaccines for a deemed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) “pandemic” disease will be given out on school property. However, the decision to give out the vaccine was one made not by the district, but rather by the Hamilton County Department of Public Health. Only students grades Kindergarten-12 will have the opportunity to receive a free H1N1 vaccine dispensed by qualified medical workers provided by the Hamilton County Department of Public Health if they signed up for it through the paperwork distributed to the district on Tuesday, Oct. 6. As of press date, a date had not been given to the district as to when the vaccines will be ready for distribution. There are multiple factors that play into this, including how many vaccines the district needs in comparison to how much is available and the needs of other schools in Hamilton County.

However, as mandated by the county health department, this vaccine does need to be distributed by the end of the month in order to meet county regulations. When the vaccination is distributed the plan is to hold vaccination periods from 3:30-8:30 p.m. at SHS and E.H. Greene School in the commons and gym or cafeteria areas, respectively. Students and parents will be directed by the district to the proper school based alphabetically by last name. Parent volunteers as well as county health officials will be at these Points of Dissemination (PODs) to help the process go as smoothly as possible.

School closings

While a few schools have closed in Kentucky due to a high number of swine illnesses, the possibility of a similar situation occurring within this district seems unlikely. Only if the rate of absences due to H1N1 cases reached twenty percent of students within one building would James look into closing the affected school. “If absences were to reach twenty percent I would then have to call the health commissioner and we would talk it over and decide the best plan,” said James. As far as preventing the spread of disease, the H1N1 virus can only live on surfaces for approximately eight hours, so cleaning after school is not nearly as important as between bells. Teachers are encouraged to promote the use of hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes during the school day as well. “The younger grades seem to be doing a better job than the upper [grades],” said James. “They are more apt to




register for biotechnology 1

This lab science class focuses on current and new technologies used in industry and research Talk with your counselor today

National Merit Commended Scholars announced ON OCT. 6, SIXTEEN SENIORS were named National Merit Commended Scholars. They represent the top five percent of scores earned on the PSAT in October 2008. They are as follows: Row One: Madelaine Keim, Annie Xie, Gracia Ng; Row Two: Tiffany Quan, Danielle Tsevat, Bornali Borah, Matthew Kirkendall. Row Three: Amy Gordon, Ares Slone, Dallas Burris, Erin McLean. Row Four: Emily Hersman, Ellean Zhang, Michela Tindera. Not pictured: Jacob Maxwell and Ellen Gordon.

photo courtesy of staff

industries of sycamore



Kelsey’s Conservative Corner kelseydrapkin

friday, october 23, 2009

cartoon by lily lefton

forum chief



he Volley for the Cure matches against Harrison raised $5,500 at SHS alone this year; if the United States’ over 120,000 schools followed suit, breast cancer would have received a gift of $16.5 trillion. Any way you look at it, that is a lot of money—so much that some people may be wary about making donations because they do not know if their money will be used to take a meaningful stride in the direction towards a cure. This doubt is evidenced by the many people who are reluctant to donate money to various charitable organizations. And though there are other factors like economic situation that affect how much a person can contribute within reason, doubt as to how much of a difference his or her money will make plays a big role. Also an influential anti-donation force exists simply because people like to see that their donations have been used well. The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation offers a variety of research grants and fellowships to people who are passionate about breast cancer. Not only are there fellowships available for postdoctorates who are dedicated to finding a cure, but the foundation also supports talented young scientists who are

the Sycamore


leafing through the masses

driven and know that they will dedicate themselves to breast cancer research. Foundations everywhere like Susan G. Komen’s work in similar ways to support the research ambitions of scientists who hope that their work can do something good for humanity. It was on the support of such foundations that people like Drs. Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Jack W. Szostak, and Carol W. Greider could make Nobel Prize worthy scientific breakthroughs. These three doctorates were recently awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their research on telomeres, chromosomal structures that they found key to the proliferation of cancerous tumor cells. With the information they have found, cancer vaccines have been developed and are already undergoing clinical trials. People may be skeptical about finding a cure, not believing that it will happen in their lifetime, but why so much doubt? If we trust that events like Volley for the Cure give their contributions to foundations like Susan G. Komen’s, our overwhelming support for a common cause is certain to produce unfathomable results and eventually find a cure.

Sycamore High School 7400 Cornell Road Cincinnati, OH 45242

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.


“ ““ “

Do you think Volley for the Cure will have a hand in scientists developing a cure for cancer?

I think it will take a lot of hard work and time to find an actual cure for cancer. But Volley for the Cure definitely helps.

-Taylor Bowling, 9

It’s a really awesome fundraiser, but it probably won’t have an extremely large impact .

-James Perryman, 10

Volley for the Cure draws a large crowd and raises tons of money, and I definitely think it makes a difference.

-Jill Streck, 11

Yes. Researchers need all the help and money they can get.

- Josh Goldman,12

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 to 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 columns, please write to

For comments on this column, please write to

Editors-in-chief: Rashmi Borah, Michela Tindera Associate Editor: Maria Marballi News Ellean Zhang Forum Jamie Alemagno Kelsey Drapkin Gabe Englander Feature Emma Oh Jimmy Chau A&E S.M. Dipali Emma Rosen Sports Brandon Sosna Paul Pescovitz Calendar Jake Newton Elizabeth Hoopes Spotlight Shivani Parikh Gina Romeo Snapshots Rashmi Borah Webmasters Jacob Katz Mark Rubeo

Elie Wiesel. Martin Luther King Jr. Lech Walesa. Mother Teresa. Barack Obama. Which name does not belong? I am going with Obama. On Oct. 9, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Obama. He follows in the footsteps of many prestigious winners. Between 1901 and 2008, the prize had gone to 120 Nobel Laureates for 90 awards. 97 were to individuals and 20 were to organizations. Obama is the third sitting American president to receive the award; Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson also received it during their presidencies. The deadline for nominations was Feb. 1. Obama had not even been in office for two weeks when the Nobel committee decided he would be considered as a potential recipient of the award. What has Obama done to deserve this honor, much less within the first two weeks of his presidency? Obama was chosen “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” said Thorbjoern Jagland, head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, on the Nobel website. Obama talked about hope and change. He talked about using diplomacy. He talked about creating a utopia full of peace, hope, and equality. While this sounds rather appealing, his methodoligy for acheiving this involved redistributing wealth and basically reconstructing the government. Four out of five committee members have openly defended their stance and reasoning for choosing Obama for this award. Keep in mind, this process is traditionally very secretive. So secretive that we will not learn until 2059 whether there was a more suitable nominee. The committee does not release the information of other nominees for 50 years. “I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments,” said Obama in his White House Rose Garden speech. It is gratifying to see that Obama is aware that his exceedingly short presidential resume is not worthy of this honor. All Americans can hope that his time in office will result in accomplishments of which we can all be proud, but this award is so premature that it can be perceived as embarrassing. Giving Obama this award before he has accomplished anything is akin to granting a student an A on his exam before he has even taken it simply on the basis that he plans to do well. Patting similarly minded liberals on the back and advancing a certain political agenda is apparently the only validity this prize now holds. In the past several years, it has been awarded as a political motivator to advance a liberal agenda. Men such as Mikhail Gorbachev of the USSR and Al Gore, whose examination of global warming created more havoc than peace, are examples of the leftist agenda being promoted through the prize. My respect for the prize, one which I used to have a large amount of admiration and deference for, is completely demolished. It is like giving a cookie to a dog who said he might sit down, but then he never did.

Cartoonist Lilly Lefton Staff Writers Daniel Bayliss Denae Bellilti Alexander Berger Lina Cardenas Chad Chessin Rishi Choubey Sam Cleary Emily Cohen Ben Dhiman Catherine Farist Jane Finocharo Drew Gelwicks Elise Gelwicks Ellie Goldman Hannah Goldman Kelcie Grega Samantha Hammer Clayton Hamre Elizabeth Hoopes Nanki Hura Sarah Janning Kevin Jin Bennett Kaplan

Business Managers: Emily Begley S. M. Dipali, Kelsey Drapkin Managing Editor: Jake Newton Ben Keefe Moriah Krawec Mihir Kulkarni Stuart Lindle Ali Lopez Rosetta Maley Sarah May Frank Pan Orion Radtke Casey Rayburn Nikith Reddy Daniel Rickert Jason Robke Erika Rodriguez Annie Seiple Aditi Sharma Jeffrey Silverstein Matt Slovin Chase Spicer Daniella Star Garrett Steinbuch Alexander Weinhart Spencer Wurzelbacher

Photographer Jeremy McDaniel Adviser Cheralyn Jardine About us Professional memberships: • Columbia Scholastic Press Association • Journalism Education Association • National Scholastic High School Press Association • Ohio High School Media Association • Ohio Professional Writers (National Federation of Women Writers) • Quill & Scroll International Journalism Honorary

forum 5

friday, october 23, 2009

Grinding it all away Form of dancing can be offensive elleanzhang


image by gabe englander

news chief

While many students find grinding to be a perfectly normal activity to take part in at school dances, others feel that it is incredibly inappropriate. Those people feel that students can still have a good time at a dance without grinding.

for Gaga stuartlindle

staff writer

In New York City on Mar. 20, 1986, a girl named Stefani Joanna Angelina Germanotta was born. Of course you probably know Germanotta by another name, Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga’s performances never cease to be full of drama and theatrics. A signature of her live shows, she often slams her stilettos against the piano keys while belting a soulful, acoustic version of her hits: “Just Dance,” “Poker Face,” or “Paparazzi.” I remember when I first saw one of Gaga’s performances: a YouTube recording of Paparazzi. Just Lady Gaga and a piano, four minutes, and I was completely and undeniably

captivated. I knew from then on she was not your average pop star. On top of her talent, she also has a knack for eccentric styling. Often dressed in her own design, she will wear a leather cat suit one night and the next it is all about sequins, lace, and leotards. Lady Gaga is not without inspiration, often drawing from a wide range of sources from Andy Warhol and Grace Jones to monsters and burlesque girls. I truly believe that there is no one out right now quite like Lady Gaga. Originality and pop music are two things I never thought could coincide in the same world. But she surprised me. She may be odd and you might not completely understand her but

Controversial pop star develops unique style, encourages fans to develop their own that is why I think she is so great. Lady Gaga’s confidence is admirable, and something I think people should take note of. Not only is she changing the pop industry one sequin at a time, but she also encourages her fans to create their own fame. What she means by this is not that we all should go out and become tabloid hungry stars, but to become famous in our own right. Take that confidence and use it in our day-today lives. Lady Gaga has created a complete image and lifestyle out of herself and committed to it. You may love her, you may hate her, but I do not think she will ever stop surprising us.

photo courtesy of


he dance floor is crowded with the hot and sweaty. In recent years, this crowd of perspiration-laden teens has been less a result of the going through the grooves of the Evolution of Dance, but is, instead, largely attributed to tasteless grinding. This expression of dance has invaded not only high school, but also junior high dances. It may be harmless fun for some, but at the same time, others will find it satisfying in a certain rather obvious way. While the fact that guys probably do not want to walk around in public flaunting the fruits of a satisfied libido may play a part in toning down the grinding of sensory-loaded body parts, is this kind of dancing something we can honestly enjoy and be proud of? Much of the adult world already passes judgmental eyes on the stereotypical “American teenager,” demoting us as a group of angsty adolescents who are obnoxious and ignorant because we are rebellious, impatient, materialistic brats. But even if there are partial truths in the previous statement, you know and I know that we are much, much more. But how can we prove to the world that we cannot be confined to that box of labels? Well, I guess we have to start by showing them. Dancing in a sexually suggestive way will only add to the flak aimed right at us. Is grinding really as bad as it looks? I would say it looks much worse. Even if there is nothing sexual going on, it still looks that way to those who are honest with themselves.

It is dry humping, but on a dance floor with a room full of people doing the same thing. So yes, grinding looks bad, very bad. I’m sure that if you asked anyone in the world, it would look suspiciously like sex. In terms of grinding though, it may be innocent enough (but if not, this is where the discussion ends), it is still exercising indecent PDA. “Whenever I am asked to chaperone dances, I decline, simply because being in a room with students I know, doing…all that is just uncomfortable,” said Mr. Greg Ulland, math teacher. If the scene is so uncomfortable that teachers stop volunteering to chaperone school dances, something is not right. If grinding was perfectly fine, would you do it in front of your parents? If you answered about on your parent? (I sincerely hope this is a negative).Why does the incidence of grinding decrease so dramatically from Homecoming and Winter Formal, to Odd Couples? (and yet, some people say that Odd Couples is one of the most enjoyable school dances… so you can have fun dancing without grinding? Breakthrough.) All said, a good image never hurt anyone. Our actions should be a source of pride for us, and they should show others that have more depth than is perceived. We are academic studs, athletic stars, and artistic geniuses. But all of these strengths can be easily overlooked by others on the outside who will only see one part of the picture, a part that is not classy nor discreet. It has always been the mark of a classy individual not to kiss and tell, but grinding quite blatantly shows more than enough without needing to tell “who” or “what.”

LADY GAGA WOWS THE audience at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise Florida. Gaga’s sometimes scandolous outfits make her a controversial performer, as well as an exciting one to see in concert.

6 forum

friday, october 23, 2009

Just as harmful, just as easily punishable &@!% $#@

Texting becomes new forum for bullying jamiealemagno


forum chief

SEND abc ghi pqrs

New wave of bullies

Cyber bullying over the internet and cell phones has become notorious. Facebook and Myspace are a common place where people are attacked by bullies. Texting has become a way to bully someone without having to face them. It can even be anonymous. Someone can text you off a number you do not even recognize. But why do people bully over text? Is it because they do not have enough confidence to do it to someone’s face, and can simply hide behind their phone? Or are they just too immature to go up to that person? Not only can these bully texts be based off a sudden boost of confidence, they can also be based off of a “kneejerk” impulse. When involved in a face-to-face discussion one is more likely to filter their speech. In a text, the attacker is more likely to say harsh words they would never be brave enough to say in person. So, does that mean what is said in a text is more truth-

Cancer: staff writer

What would you say if you were told that your cell phone might kill you? I am guessing that you may reject the idea, at least a little bit. Ellie Marks, however, begs to differ. A middle- aged woman from California, with a husband dying from a brain tumor, blames his cell phone. Flying across the country, from California to Washington DC, Marks appeared before Congress. She tried to prove that her husband’s brain tumor was due to his excessive use of a cell phone. Cell phones emit radioactivity, which can be absorbed by the brain. The question is, as a relatively small amount of radioactivity is emitted, could it be enough to cause a brain tumor? Marks thinks it is. “My ultimate goal is that the government does something not allowing the technology that was invented to enrich our lives, kill us,” said Marks, according to Fox News. My first reaction to this story was that Marks is simply distressed about her husband’s terminal illness, and is taking it out on cell phones. I immediately wondered what the facts were; on what basis is Marks accusing the common cell phone? In 2006 a Swedish study, led by Dr. Kjell Mild, showed a person who uses a cell phone for more than one hour a day has a 240 percent greater chance of developing a brain tumor, as compared to a person who has never used a cell phone. However, Dr. Denis Kucinich, OH Rep., who presided over the







Texting consequences

In the cyber world, you cannot take something back; once it is sent, it is sent. Even if both people delete the text it is still out in the world of cyber space. Texts can always come back to haunt you. They can be filed under bullying and harassment. Who knows if that means the text you sent will be shown to an administrator and get you expelled, or to a

case, determined that there was not enough of a link between brain tumors and mobile phones for there to be real concern. I have mixed feelings about this ruling. Most high school students, including myself, use a cell phone. Of course I hate the idea that such a common possession could eventually cause the death of me, a friend, or a family member. However, I have to continue to question the lack of link between brain tumors and cell phones. It is not so easy to forget the findings of the Swedish study. It also does not sit well with me that, according to Dr. David Carpenter, director of Institute for Health and the Environment at University of Albany, very little money in the US has been spent on research for this topic. Without ample money put into this area of research, who can determine whether or not cell phones are safe? Certainly not myself and definitely not the masses of America. Plenty of contradictory information is all around, but until this country, and the world, knows the hard facts about the tie between brain tumors and cell phone use, we will remain uneducated and uninformed. In the meantime, I always believe it best to follow that little, old saying— better safe than sorry. Mild claims the best way to reduce the risk of brain tumor is to use your cell phone hands free. Speaker phones and ear pieces should do the trick. Until we know the facts, we will have to take part in simple precautions, such as these, in order to be safe.




ful? Or does it mean the text may end up being something they wish they could take back?

Studies show extended cell phone use may cause cancer















images by jamie alemagno


police officer and get a summons to appear in court. Even a step further, some may consider a text to be considered libelous. A text is libelous if it is “false and malicious defamatoin of character,” and includes type, pictures and cartoon drawings. Some texts can lead to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine. So, before you send that text think about whether it is really worth it? We have all heard the saying, “Think before you speak,” this phrase also implys, “Think before you text.” When in doubt, do not send it.

exting while driving proves distracing

ake this chance, risk lives TO:

All drivers WORD

TEXT: daniellastar

staff writer

You are leaving the parking lot for the day and the familiar “beep” goes off from your cell phone. As you make your turn onto Cornell you reach for your cell to read the text. It is your boyfriend and he wants to know your plans for the night. As you start to text your answer you take a left onto Kenwood heading for home, texting word after word you look down to add an exclamation point. The next thing you remember is your mom and dad looking at you as you struggle to breathe through tubes coming out of your nose and mouth. You realize you have been in an accident and tonight has turned into the fight for your life. Texting while driving is the cause and while it has become passé amongst teenagers even to think about not doing it while driving, your life and others is at risk when you text while you driving. There are proposals in the Ohio Senate against using a cell phone in any way or manner while driving. Sixteen states have banned texting while driving and five states now hold cell phone bans exclusively.

“I agree 110 percent that Ohio should make Texting while driving a new law,” said Officer Paul Payne, school resource officer. “I see a lot of Sycamore students pulling out of the lot and talking and texting on their phones at the same time, unfortunately something bad is going to happen at some point,” said Payne. And the bad just keeps happening. In Bridgeport, CT only weeks ago a 16 year old junior and member of the school football team was texting while driving home from school. Though he was wearing his seat belt, hit a tree going 44 mph in a 25 mph zone and died instantly. “I believe texting while behind the wheel can make you lose your focus on what’s going on in front of you” said Brigitte Sotto, 10. “I am a driver in training and wouldn’t even think twice about texting or even taking my eyes off the road while I am driving.” In a Clemson University study, they concluded that texting while driving was much more dangerous than just talking on your cell phone. When leaving the parking lot today make the choice not to pick up your cell phone until you are in park at home. Your boyfriend can wait.


our life is worthless“...“I can’t believe how much time I wasted with you”... “I don’t ever want to see you again”...”This friendship is so fake, I can’t believe I was ever friends with someone like you”... “ I really hope this comes back to haunt you someday.” Examples of bullying through texts are everywhere. They can be between two former friends, a previously dating couple, or from people we did not think we knew. Texting used to be a fun way to chat with your friend, but now it has become a new way to be attacked. But this form of bullying seems a bit immature, does it not? Not only are the senders childish enough to insult the reader in such extreme measure, but they could not even talk to the reader in person. We have all heard the saying, “If you cannot say anything nice, do not say anything at all.” Perhaps a 21st century slogan should be, “If you cannot say it to my face, do not even bother.” Students must realize that all texts are recorded and can be used as evidence in a court of law.


-16 states have banned texting while driving

-A crash is 23 times more likely to occur while texting than while talking on a phone


forum 7

friday, october 23, 2009

High school sports conditioning


More hurt than help A staff writer

ny high school student who plays sports has experienced the dreaded after school or summer conditioning. But has high school conditioning actually begun to hurt more than it helps? “When I played football in high school, our coach decided that we needed to be in better shape than all the other teams in our conference. Because we had less talent, we had to make up for it by being in better shape,” said Mr. Darren Korn, Blue Ash Elementary teacher. But times have changed, and now, with the case of the Kentucky football player who died of a heat stroke after running wind sprints; the question has to be posed: Is conditioning actually too hard and hurting players instead of helping them? The answer from many coaches, trainers, and athletes is: “Yes.” “Conditioning in high school sports has definitely changed significantly over the past ten years. The expectation for high school athletes to be bigger, faster, and stronger has put additional stress for athletes to perform at an increasingly high level,” said Mrs. Kathy Ottopal, athletic trainer. Without proper recovery time overtraining can occur. Overtraining usually causes mental stress, a halt in athletes’ progress which may even cause their strength to deteriorate.

photo by paul pescovitz

Mary Beck’s Story

Athletes like Jordan Reed, 10, often feel pressured to be the fastest and strongest on their teams. Overtraining can be a result of this pressure and can lead to medical conditions like hyperthyroidism.


staff writer

President Barack Obama has proposed extending the school year, or the hours in a day, in an attempt to increase student performance. But what if what needed to be done was to start school later? Studies have shown that for students to be the healthiest (and do the best in school), they should get eight to nine hours of sleep each night. But to many, if not all high school students, this is an impossible demand. I aim to be asleep this year by 10:30 p.m. I know that if I get less than seven hours, still two under the suggested, Geometry at 7:20 a.m. will leave me with only a blur of numbers and arrows. If the average student wakes up at 5:45 a.m., to get nine hours of sleep would require them to go to bed at 8:45 p.m. And I do not know about you, but I have not gone to sleep at that hour since around sixth grade. Classes (Academic, Honors, or AP) combined with the many clubs, sports, and events that take place at school, may leave students getting to sleep closer to midnight. And when asked to choose between activities and sleep, activities will win most of the time. So what can students do to get more sleep? In an age where parents are talking about their kids being overstretched and too busy, limiting after school activities is an option. Another idea that has been brought up in some schools is to swap the times of high schools and elementary schools. While this may sound odd at first, anyone with a younger sibling will probably agree. They have seen their seven-year-old siblings wake up at 7:30 a.m. on a Saturday, just to catch the cartoons. Kindergarten through fourth graders need sleep as much as we do, but are less likely to stay up late to do homework, so this system could be a great idea. All around the school, city, and country, high school students are underperforming because they simply do not have the energy to give their best effort. It is up to every student here at SHS to start a new trend by actually getting the number of hours of rest they need.

Why is it happening?

Many high school athletes idolize professional athletes. Oftentimes, they see professional athletes working out to exhaustion, which they will associate with the athletes’ star performance. However, they will overlook the fact that professional athletes are under the supervision of trained professionals who can monitor their workouts, nutrition, and make sure that they do not over train. Do not believe that rest is stressed for professional athletes? The Houston Texans’ strength and conditioning guide includes an entire chapter focused on rest after conditioning sessions, something many high school trainers do not stress enough. The answer to preventing injuries, or in the worst case, death, is really quite simple at heart. Coaches and trainers need to stress the importance of proper rest and recovery. This will ensure that athletes under their guidance will maintain their bodies at peak physical condition. “Engaging in a proper and efficient resistance training, eating a proper diet, and getting appropriate rest can minimize the potential negative effects of overtraining,” said Ottopal. And remember, sometimes the best method of training, is rest.

‘If you don’t get your food quickly at last lunch, you really don’t get any food at all’

Eat, school, sports, study, eat...sleep?

Catchin’ up on lost z’s

“Rise” magazine featured the story of thirteen-year-old Mary Beck, who had her eye on an Olympic berth and had begun to swim every day, sometimes twice a day. Her diet and lifestyle were strictly regimented. As a high school junior, she broke the national prep 200 individual medley record and won two gold medals at the 2007 Junior Pan Pacific Championships. Yet, before the 2008 Olympic Trials, Beck began to encounter some major problems caused by her overtraining. She was diagnosed with

hyperthyroidism, a disease linked to chronic fatigue caused by her overtraining. Her relationships with her family members were also very strained. Due to all the setbacks, Beck was forced to reinvent her life. She now swims only two to three days per week, and although her times are not quite where they were before, her life as a whole is much healthier. Beck’s story is a classic example of overtraining and its negative side effects. But the problem is not caused only by the immense amount of pressure on high school athletes to succeed. The problem is also caused by high school athletes’ seeing the media’s perception of professional athletes’ training.

Students complain of food shortages at third lunch kelciegrega

staff writer

The day is half over; the cornucopia of aromas can be smelled all over the school. It is nearly time to eat; the second hand is slowly making its journey to the twelve hand. Five...four...three...two…ring. Many students would probably agree that lunch is one of their favorite parts of the school day. Students, who are going through the long class lectures, trying to vigorously jot down notes, are finally given a break. The cafeteria has a wide selection of soups, sandwiches, desserts and much more. Our school is very fortunate to have access to all these different choices and selections. However, the students who have third lunch are believed to not have access to all these options. It seems by the time third lunch starts, the students from second and first lunch have eaten up all the food or at least the good food. “If you don’t get your food quickly at last lunch, you really don’t get any food at all. The lunch workers should save a lot more food third lunch rather than first or second lunches because there are more classes in third lunch.” said Megan McCann, 9. Many students also agree that they feel like they need to sprint to the lunch line if they are planning on getting what they want.

“Food runs out fast, if I am not faster than the 300 or so others, then it’s quite likely that I will not get what I want,” said Brittany VanWagen, 10. Another complaint is how old some of the food seems to taste, being under a heat lamp for a couple hours. “I really miss the taste of fresh food. Not food that has been under a heat lamp for an hour or two,” said Sarah Pallian, 9. As annoying as it is to be getting the “leftover” food in the cafeteria, could the students just be complaining over nothing? “Hey I’m a growing boy who’s hungry. Beggars can’t be choosers, you know,” said James Reece, 9. The lunch staff works very hard every day to make sure there is enough food for the two-thousand or so students who attend SHS, therefore, the situation may be out of their control “The reason why there may not be enough food by the time last lunch arrives is because we are trying to prevent wasted food by the end of the day and not waste any food or money,” said Mrs. Jeanne Collins, nutrition specialist. Even though it seems that the students of third lunch are receiving less food, it is something that cannot be helped and is a matter opinion whether it is something that should be made into a big deal or not. “We still try very hard to make sure students have enough to eat,” said Collins. “The lunch staff is not purposefully trying to give third lunch less food.”

Perhaps, in years to come, there will be a solution to this, but for now the people of SHS will just have to deal with sometimes not getting their favorite pie for lunch. Packing of course, will always be an option.

Student’s, faculty’s thoughts on third lunch

“ “

If I am not faster than the 300 or so others, then it’s quite likely that I will not get what I want.

-Brittany VanWagen,11

...We are trying to prevent wasted food by the end of the day and not waste any food or money -Mrs. Jeanne Collins, nutrition specialist

8 forum

Overreacting? There may be such thing as too much swine flu coverage janefinocharo


ack in the spring, when cases of swine flu were first appearing, I remember walking past a storefront and seeing “H1N1 masks” in the display window. I thought of how ridiculous a product it was because it was for a virus that appears to be no more harmful than the typical seasonal flu. SHS students agree that the media has completely overhyped H1N1. “I think people are talking about it way too much. It’s just a flu,” said Dominic Miller, 10. Since its first appearance in April, there have been approximately 343,000 cases estimated worldwide. Of these, there have been only 4,100 swine-related deaths. Many of the people who died also had underlying health conditions. These figures are not significantly different from those usually expected at this time during any flu season. However, the media has hyped swine flu so much that one would think it was the black plague. Over the past few weeks in particular, some news stations are using H1N1 as their fallback story for lack of a better topic. “Newspapers are talking about H1N1 just to have a major story that will sell well. They’re giving it more attention than it deserves,” said Annie Blood, 10. Therefore, even more panic has ensued, and students overwhelmingly agree that H1N1 is receiving unwarranted attention. “We’ve all heard enough about swine flu. It’s in the news all the time, and I think it’s being talked about way more than it needs to be,” said Dominic Wittenberg, 9. Swine flu is also being blown out of proportion in relation to more important issues. “Each day, thousands of people die of AIDS. Only a few dozen per week die of swine flu, so I don’t think it’s a big deal,” said Christina Daniyan, 11.

Most people think that news reporters and health agencies are making a big deal out of H1N1, but they are only reporting what so many people want to deny. H1N1 needs to be talked about because it is affecting so many people locally and nationally. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) posted a map that displays the level of H1N1 spread in the 50 states. H1N1 was considered “widespread” in 37 of the states, including Ohio. There have been confirmed cases at SHS as well. Many people think that H1N1 is no big deal and that it is just another kind of flu, but it is not. Alex Martinson, 9, explains his encounter with H1N1. “Before I got H1N1, I thought that it was just a harmless flu, and that everyone was just overreacting about it. Even when I got it, luckily, it wasn’t that bad for me, but it was probably worse for many other people. It just depends on the circumstances and how and who you obtain it from,” said Martinson. Although this flu is not very harmful at the moment, it has the ability to mutate into a deadly strain at any minute, as demonstrated by the over 4,100 deaths that this strain of the virus has caused. According to the CDC, people between the ages of five and twentyfour are most likely to get this flu. This age group includes everyone from kindergarten to twelfth grade. And no matter how much the janitors clean the schools, there will always be someone who has not washed their hands and touches doorknobs, water fountains, desks and chairs, making the school unsafe for many people. What can we do to prevent it? Make sure to wash your hands, sneeze or cough into your shirt sleeve, and to not touch your face, eyes, nose, and mouth. They act as a passageway for bacteria and viruses to get an easy entry into your body. Mrs. Susan Murphy, nurse, also promotes being careful. “Encourage your friends to stay home if they have a fever, you don’t want to be around them and get sick yourself,”said Murphy.


staff writer

staff writer

<<< Pro >>> Con

‘Where are the alumni who did not become athletes?’

Prominent displays too biased drewgelwicks

staff writer

Every high school promotes something. They might name a building after someone, or have a plaque commemorating an important person; but when does it become too much? Immediately upon entering the school, a large glass frame with the professional sports jerseys of Kevin Youkilis and Michael Matthews, both former graduates, is prominently displayed. This, of course, is something a school can be proud of. But a few feet down on the opposite side is an entire wall with plaques commemorating more great athletes who have passed through our school through the decades. And right by the gym, most of the wall is dedicated to yet another giant display case full of athletes. Having sports glorified immediately upon entering the building shows that our school greatly supports and

endorses that. While athletics are important, where are the other successful alumni that did not become professional athletes? When hundreds of teenagers pass through there every day, they are bombarded with messages of, “these people are worthy of great respect.” Do the great artists, chess players, debaters, and thespians not deserve the same respect? There need to be plaques and showcases that noticeably show the other high-powered graduates. One display case, which holds trophies from the Ohio Scholastic Achievement Tests, is located behind a staircase, and is hardly visible to even the student body, let alone visitors. There have been other highly successful alumni besides athletes. For example, Kate Rockwell, ‘02, performed on Broadway in “Legally Blonde: The Musical” as one of the main characters. She was also on an NBC TV show

competing for the part of Sandy in Broadway’s “Grease.” Where is her picture? Though there are other showcases, some very temporarily showing the pictures of our National Merit Semifinalists, none of them are as big, or have a greater exaggerated importance as those displaying athletes. Our display cases can help inspire students to have more realistic dreams and aspirations and show everyone who we are and what we are all able to accomplish. But this will never happen if only athletes are glorified. I would like to think that SHS can be proud of Mock Trial and Science Club as much as its football team. However, it does not come across this way. If someone not from our school walked into the building, what would they think about us? And if sports are taken away from SHS, what are we? From what the lobby tells us, we are nothing.

all images by rashmi borah

friday, october 23, 2009

F spotlight editor

inding out about Morgan friday, october 23, 2009

ellow freshman shares interests QA

& shivaniparikh

spotlight editor

with Morgan Imwalle, 9

Q. What color describes your personality? A. I’d say green, because I’m calm, cool and collected.

Q. What are your hobbies? A. I like going creeking, and baking cookies. Those are good.

Q. Are you involved in any school activities? A. Well I signed up to be in Interact Club, but I haven’t really been involved in school since maybe 2nd or 3rd grade.

Q. What is your most embarrassing moment? A. I have a bunch, I can’t really think of one in particular. Q. How do you feel about the high school so far? A. I like it, but I think the hallways are way too cramped. It’s frustrating.

Q. If you were an animal, what animal would you


Animal: Giraffe Movie: “Ice Age.” The newest one in 3-D was so good. Dessert: Strawberry Jell-O Restaurant: McDonald’s Cartoon: “South Park” Superhero: That’s tough. I’d say Spiderman and Wolverine, but I love them all. Season: Autumn


A. People say I look like the sloth from the movie “Ice Age”, so I guess I’d be that.

Q. What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken and why?

A. I’ve had so many bad vacations...but once, I went on a Carnival cruise that went to Mexico, it was really fun.

Q. Do you have any siblings? A. Yeah, I have an older sister, Taryn Imwalle, 12. Q. Who are your closest friends? A. Freshmen Jill Tochterman, Madison Salguero, Nicole Hamburg, and Danielle Seip.

Q. What is your favorite class? A. Social studies, because I’m interested in learning about cultures.

Q. How would you describe your style? A. I don’t really like bell bottoms. Q. What TV shows do you watch? A. Some I like are “Lost,”“House MD,”“Gossip Girl,” and “CSI: Miami.” I also like a bunch of trashy tv shows, like “My Antonio.” That show is so funny.

Q. Where do you see yourself in ten years? A. I think I’d be living and working here, but I don’t know what I’d want to do.

Q. What is your opinion on the Kanye West/Taylor Swift fiasco?

A. I think Kanye West is annoying and full of himself.

all photos by gina romeo




IMWALLE LETS LOOSE AS she shows her had fun expressing herself through various poses everything in between. Morgan’s friends describe wild, eccentric side in a photo shoot. She and faces from happy to thoughtful to creepy and her as hilarious, energetic, and fun-loving.

10 feature

Love for Liz friday, october 23, 2009

“She knows she can beat this, she is a fighter! She will never give up on anything she faces,”

Ashley Schaefer, 11, discusses experience in helping Liz Lothrop, family


staff writer

ast year, Mr. Randy Lothrop’s daughter, Liz, was diagnosed with leukemia after she had gone in for back problems. Liz is 15 years old and is a freshman at Mason High School. Almost immediately after learning of her diagnosis, students close with she and her family created the group Love for Liz. The group helps and supports the Lothrop family, by organizing multiple fundraisers through SHS athletics and other school activities. Some of the most notable events include Layups for Liz, Lifting for Liz, and Lanes for Liz. “Sycamore really took the Lothrop family in and showed them what support is about,” Matt Hill, 11. “It was a great turn out for a great cause.” Ever since its start, Love for Liz has been able to raise thousands of dollars with their events and have been a great moral and financial benefactor for Liz. The group plans to continue the events this year in hopes of raising more money to help out the Lothrop family. One of the girls who helped start Love for Liz, Ashley Schaefer, 11, shares her experience, with participating in the group and spending time with Liz.


Q. What encouraged you to start Love for Liz? A. I had Mr. Lothrop as a teacher last year, and he would tell

us how Liz was having problems with her back. They originally diagnosed her with a stress fracture. Then, one night they had to make a trip to the hospital, and that’s when they found out she had cancer. I will never forget the day I found out it was cancer, my heart just hurt for her and her family. I learned very quickly what a great person Mr. Lothrop was and I knew his wife and kids had to be just like him. Cancer has touched my family, so I know how horrible the disease is and how devastating it can be to lose someone. At this point, I knew I wanted to do something for them. Basketball season was about to get started, and I thought it would be a good idea to have an event that would honor the Lothrop family and raise money to help with the never ending medical bills. I worked with Ms. Debbie Klemt, SALT members, and some of my teammates to organize Lay Ups 4 Liz. The event was a huge success and we are doing it again this year, so look for details very soon.

Q. Who do you work with for Love for Liz? A. I work with Sara Lindsay, 11, Kelsey Malof, 11, SALT, and the varsity basketball team.

Q. How often do you visit Liz? A. My visiting depends on how she feels, and what her

counts are, but, I try to visit as often as possible. Sometimes with both of our schedules, it is not as often as I would like. We talk and text when I am not able to visit in person.

this month in

feature Been to Halloween Haunt lately? Read the guide for a fun night | page 11 Relieve stress of college applications Find an easier way| page 12 Cold season starts soon Find out how to avoid it | page 12 Need more coverage? Visit the feature page at

with Ashley Schaefer, 11

Q. Are there any precautions you must take before visiting Liz?

A. When I visit her in the hospital, I have to wash my hands every time I enter the room, and I have also had to wear a mask. Most importantly, I had to get a Flu shot to even be allowed around her, whether it’s at home, or in the hospital.

Q. How does Liz react to Love for Liz and the support?

A. Liz loves the support, and is very grateful for everything

that everyone has done for her, and her family. Her experience with having cancer has made her a stronger person. She knows she can beat this, she is a fighter! She will never give up on anything she faces.

Q. How long have you known Liz? A. I have known Liz for about a year now. Q. Anything else you would like to add? A. Liz is such an inspiration to so many people, seeing her

go through this has made me realize, life is short, and you have to make the best of each day, and not sweat the small stuff. One last thing that is very important to the Lothrop’s is donating blood. I have gone with Mr. Lothrop to give blood a few times and they are very grateful to all donors.

All aboard ‘Molar Express’ docks at SHS jimmychau

feature chief

On October 23, between the hours of 6:02 a.m. and 6: 02 p.m., chemists everywhere will partake in an annual inside joke as they wish each other a happy Mole Day and silently chuckle to themselves. No, the kind of mole they are speaking of is not the furry, blind mammal that burrows, though it does play a big part in this day.

“Mole Day is the best!” said Angela Messina, 12. “Who wouldn’t want a whole day devoted to chemistry and rodents?” Like Pi Day, Mole Day is an unofficial holiday created by figures in the scientific world as a joke and as homage to Amedeo Avogadro, the man who came up with the concept of a mole.

photos by jimmy chau


Mole Day’s fun events

During Mole Day, students may be lucky enough to see some chemistry teachers dressed up as moles in tradition of this “Moles in chemistry are actuacademic holiday, as is tradition, ally used to measure the mass just as some math teachers serve of element and “a mole of any up a slice of pie on Pi Day, March element is about the atomic mass 14 (3.14). of the element,” said Mr. Chad Every year there is a theme and Husting, Chemistry teacher. this year is the In other “Molar Express.” words, a Going along mole is used with the popular to measure conception of the the amount of word “mole,” a substance students also and has apdo an activity proximately in class that in6.02×10^23 volves making a atoms or stuffed mole for molecules extra credit. of the pure -Mr. Chad Husting, “For Mole Day, substance beChemistry Teacher we made stuffed ing measured, moles in class for hence October extra credit and 23 (10^23). it was pretty sweet,” said Sara Chemistry students look Hammer, 11. forward to the day each year but Overall, the day is fun as well one does not need to be a chemist as educational and students can to celebrate this made-up holilook forward to having a good day. Any student can enjoy the time. festivities of Mole Day.

What is a mole?

A mole of any element is about the atomic mass of the element.

STUDENTS DISPLAY THEIR CREATIVITY as they think of and create moles for extra credit. Top: Mole-a Lisa. Bottom left: Mole Dole. Bottom right: Syca-mole.

feature 11

friday, october 23, 2009

Club Blood, Massacre Manor, Urgent Scare elizabethhoopes


calendar chief

ings Island’s Halloween Haunt, formerly known as Fearfest, is an annual event that runs 13 nights during the month of October. This year it features 13 attractions, over 500 frightening creatures, and numerous thrill rides. “I love Fearfest. It is really cool,” said Lindsey Swadner, 10. Halloween Haunt will be open Oct. 23, 24, 30, and 31 from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. but outdoor attractions do not open until 8 p.m. Because lines begin to form outside the park well before it opens for the night, it is best to arrive 30 minutes to an hour early. Another reason to arrive early is to see the main gates open. One of the creatures walks onto the roof to introduce the event, and then monsters come out from behind the gate to scare people before they even get inside.

“It is really cool to see all of the workers come out in their costumes all at once. That is actually one of the scariest parts of Halloween Haunt because they will just come out of nowhere to scare you. It’s funny to see everyone else getting scared, too,” said Brynn Sharp, 12. Because the outdoor attractions do not open until 8 p.m., it is a good idea to choose one or two indoor attractions to visit when the park opens. Then, a little before 8 p.m., lines begin to form outside of the outdoor attractions so one might want to get in line early considering popular attractions, such as the Trail of Terror, often have some of the longest lines. Along with the frightening attractions, Kings Island leaves over 20 of the rides open to give visitors even more to do. Some of the rides open include the new Diamondback, The Beast, Drop Tower, and Vortex. Halloween Haunt is a popular fall event for SHS students, and many have their own plans on how to make


a night there as fun as possible. “Stay until late to avoid lines and be careful because the monsters will come out of nowhere to jump out at you,” said Ben Brewer, 12. This year Halloween Haunt is home to two new haunted attractions: Slaughterhouse and Cut Throat Cove. Some of the most popular returning attractions include Club Blood, Urgent Scare, and Massacre Manor. Halloween Haunt is free for season pass holders and anyone without a pass can purchase a ticket online, at the front gate, or at Kroger or Meijer. The prices are $21.99 for Thursdays and Fridays and $27.99 for Saturdays and Sundays. Kings Island’s Halloween Haunt is a great way to spend a fall evening with friends and family. With everything they have to do and the overall environment of the park, it has the ability to scare even the bravest.

photo by elizabeth hoopes

Students ‘haunt’ Kings Island’s event

KINGS ISLAND’S HALLOWEEN HAUNT is a popular spot for students to go on weekends. However, it is not recommended for those who are easily frightened. Tickets can be bought at Kroger, Meijer, or the front gate and the haunt runs through Oct. 31 from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.




Host a halloween party

Candy not enough? Grab a few friends, make or buy some common snacks, and host an exciting party. Set the mood and tell scary stories or play party games. Since Halloween is on a Saturday, there’s no need to worry about having to wake up for school the next day.


Nothing is better than a three day weekend to make up for a week of lost sleep. Put a bowl of candy on the front step, dive under the covers and nap. There will still be another day to finish homework and do other regular weekend activities.

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Go to a haunted event

U.S.S. Nightmare, Halloween Haunt, St. Rita’s Haunted festival; there are more than enough options when it comes to selecting a haunted house. Remember, these are often open throughout the month of October and sometimes a few days into November as well.

10 things we love about...



Catch up on sleep



Cheering in the student section at Friday night football games


Going to haunted houses with friends


Transitioning from flip-flops and shorts to sweaters and boots The new line-up of television shows

4. 5.

Starbucks’ pumpkin spice lattes and caramel apple cider


Senior Halloween


Raking up leaves just to jump into them


Weather just cold enough to snuggle up under flannel blankets at night


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9. Apple picking at orchards and farms 10. The end of first quarter

12 feature

friday, october 23, 2009

Winter brings cold weather, sickness to SHS Different ways to prevent contraction of cold this season



staff writer

s winter approaches the common cold begins to run rampant in closed areas such as SHS. According to the Center for Disease Control, 22 million days of school are missed each year in America due to the cold. “Colds are no fun, but they are definitely not a reason to miss school, everyone gets them,” said Ben Mather, 10. According to Dr. Melissa Stoppler, something as simple as washing hands can go a long way in preventing the spread of the cold. She also suggests avoiding contact between hands and faces, cleaning commonly used objects daily, and controlling stress. “I try to wash my hands or use hand sanitizer 5 or 6 times

WITH THE ARRIVAL OF winter comes cold weather and snow but more importantly, disease. Brad Kohel, 9, blows his nose after a sneeze and afterwards, will hopefully use hand sanitizer to ensure his germs will not be shared.

a day,” said Michael Streicher, 11. The American Lung Association states that people are most susceptible to colds between the months of September and May. Most adults contract two to four colds every year. One of the reasons it is so easily spread is that it can be contracted through both contact with an infected person or through the air. Colds have a wide range of severity, but symptoms include runny nose, congestion, sneezing, weakened senses of taste and smell, scratchy throat, and coughing. One of the most common myths about colds is that they are caused by being out in cold weather. It is true that they are more common in the colder winter months, but it is because the virus spreads more easily during this time. The cold originates in the nasal passage which makes it essential that contact between the hands and face are avoided. By touching the nasal area the virus is spread to the hand where it can be

spread very easily to surfaces such as desks, keyboards, and lunch tables. If contact is made, make sure to wash hands or use hand sanitizer to help prevent spreading the germs. With the new threat of the H1N1 virus, many teachers have purchased bottles of hand sanitizer for their classrooms, making it more readily available for students. “Mrs. [Rosemary] Ennis has a ton of bottles of hand sanitizer, she has one at every desk,” said Michael Pelfrey, 11. The virus is spread most easily within the first three days of contraction. One of the most effective ways of treating and preventing a cold is staying hydrated. By staying hydrated the lining of the nose and throat do not dry out, this allows the mucus in the nose (which carries the virus) to easily clear from the nose. Most doctors recommend eight to ten cups of water or juice every day. The common cold will likely hit a majority of students at SHS, but its spread can be controlled.

‘This whole college process is so stressful’

College applications cause panic, late nights


staff writer

“Oh my gosh I am so stressed out.” This phrase, or one very similar to it, can be heard emanating from the halls of SHS from the mouths of overwhelmed seniors. As deadlines creep up, students are feeling pressure to finish their dreaded college applications. “I have been dreading college applications since about eighth grade. Now that it is my time to start them, I find it difficult to sit myself down and work on them,” said Jordan Edelheit, 12. First semester is especially difficult for seniors because

they are swamped with homework and have the additional task of applying to schools. Many students are applying to five or more schools, which is very time-consuming. Most schools offer early action options. If chosen, a student agrees to turn in their application and transcript by a specific date, usually Nov. 1, and they are promised to be given a final decision regarding acceptance in December or January. “I am doing early action for almost all of my schools. I am applying to twelve schools, so I need to work really hard this month to get everything finished and sent off,” said Sophie Kanter, 12.

Some schools, such as Indiana University and the University of Michigan, have rolling admissions. This way, students get an answer earlier than regular admissions. The sooner someone sends in their transcripts, the sooner they will hear back from the school. “This whole college process is so stressful. I started earlier than most people and I am still freaking out about deadlines, essays, and transcripts. I advise juniors to get everything done in the summer, it is worth missing a day by the pool!” said Stephanie McFarland, 12. So make sure not to put off the college applications or expect a lot of stress.

feature 13

SAT vs. ACT All test questions answered friday, october 23, 2009



associate editor

unior year has its fair share of responsibilities. Grades matter the most, classes are harder, and college is fast approaching, which brings up the dreaded discussion of the college entrance exams: the SAT and the ACT. When planning to apply to college, there are three basic options. One can choose to take either the SAT, the ACT, or both. Most will say that taking both is the way to go, but certainly not in all cases. Colleges are becoming highly selective, thus it is in all students’ best interests to begin the test taking process now. After taking the PSAT as a sophomore, many students were disappointed with their scores. Studying and practicing could help raise their original score, but the ACT


is a valid alternative and could be the answer for many students. Everyone’s minds work differently, but they are all after one thing: a satisfying test score and plenty of college acceptance letters. The first step is to take both the PSAT and PLAN. The PLAN is a practice ACT. This is a great way to find out which test is most suitable with each student’s learning style. Since SHS only offers the PSAT, find time to register for the PLAN outside of school. This can be done through Lisa Mader, President of Learning Enrichment and Assistance Program(LEAP), or other testing services. Mader also offers various standardized test and college preparation classes. It is in many students’ best interests to take advantage of the many classes available to them. “After taking the PSAT and the PLAN, I realized that

with Lisa Mader, President of LEAP

Q. What are the main differences between the SAT and the ACT? A.The SAT tests vocabulary on the critical reading portion of the test and has 10 student-produced math problems (think non-multiple choice; just solve the problem and grid in your answer). The ACT has a science section which utilizes reading and reasoning skills more than a base knowledge of science. The real difference is on the layout and scoring of each test. The layout of the ACT is more predictable which gives students a greater comfort level. The SAT is a little longer. On the ACT, you are not penalized for incorrect answers. On the SAT, you are penalized 1/4 of a point for each incorrect answer, so students should never blindly guess on the SAT. The ACT is on a scale of 1-36 and the final score is a composite or average of the 4 main parts with the essay being a separate score. The SAT has three parts each scored between 200 and 800 and the final score is a sum total of the parts.

Q. How does someone decide which test they should take? A. I advise most students to take each test once then retake the one on which they had a higher percentile score. LEAP’s rule of thumb is plan to test twice, but typically not more than three times when most students hit a ceiling. Both ACT and SAT will tell you, 55 percent of all students have an increase on a second attempt. Why wouldn’t a student at least try for it?

Q. Do colleges prefer one test to another? A. In the past, there was a general preference to one test

Which test should I take?

*fill in the cirlces that appeal to you

More difficult reading section

Tests higher levels of math

Measures aptitude or ability

Measures curriculum achievement

Tests vocabulary

Contains science section

Longer in length

Tight on time


More time to complete sections

Analyzing graphs and charts

Penalty for incorrect answers

Guess when in doubt

Testing Checklist

Take the PSAT and PLAN

Choose which test (or both) you want to send to colleges, depending on which score was better Prepare for the test using study books or online resources Retake the test no more than three times to achieve the desired score Send off the final results

all images by maria marballi

over the other based on selectivity of schools or regional differences. Today, that is simply not true in most every case. The ACT is rapidly on track to overtake the SAT in the number of students taking the test. A little over a decade ago when LEAP was founded, Ivy League schools did not accept the ACT. Today, every Ivy League school accepts the ACT on par with the SAT.

the ACT is the test for me,” said Emily Mondro, 11. During sophomore and junior years, students should heavily invest their time in taking practice tests. After taking each practice test once, choose the one that came back with better results and take that official test to send to colleges. Taking the real test three times is ideal. 55 percent of students raise their scores on the second attempt, but teens rarely improve their score after the third attempt. “After I took the PSAT for the second time, I am positive that I raised my score,” said Adam Reinhart, 11. Registering for the SAT can be done by logging onto For the ACT, log onto www.act. org. In the interview below, Mader discusses frequently asked questions that will sort out any confusion and put you on the path to success.

CASSIE MILLER, 11 GETS ready to prepare for the SAT and ACT using multiple study books. There are a variety of different book options such as The Princeton Review and McGraw Hill.




friday, october 23, 2009

ichela’s musings

‘Texts From Last Night’ provides all-day entertainment michelatindera

photo courtesy of jeremy mcdaniel


Marching toward successful season

Band, color guard, impressive emilybegley


feature chief

ince the beginning of band camp, the marching band has been diligently working to learn and perfect this year’s Amazon-themed show over the summer and at practices after school. Although their new season just began, the band has already impressed audiences and judges, earning positive reviews and recordbreaking scores.

Kings Midstates Contest

On Saturday, Sept. 12, the group showed off the results of their hard work at their first competition of the year - the Kings Midstates Marching Band Contest held at Kings High School. “At the first competition, there’s always all this energy that other competitions don’t have. There’s all this power when we are on the field,” said Jacqueline Rogers, 12. Although many were nervous to be judged for the first time this season, members anticipated the opportunity to demonstrate what they have accomplished thus far. “I was more excited than nervous. Since I’m

this month in


‘Toy Story’ returns to screens

relive childhood memories | page 15

Gina’s Jams goes hip-hop Gina takes on rap, expresses her love for Jay-Z | page 15

new to Sycamore this year, it was my first competition, and only my second performance in uniform. Being in uniform has a bizarre effect on the band – everyone becomes more serious, and the level of performance instantly improves,” said Corinne Hirotsu, 11. Out of the 17 total bands that participated in the Kings High School event, SHS received third place, with East Central placing second and Centerville achieving first.

Band Night

On Friday, Sept. 25, the band ushered in the Homecoming game with Band Night, an event that features band members from grades 6-12. The event offered the group an opportunity to perform for their friends and peers. “I thought that doing the pre-game show was really fun,” said Kimberly Seymour, 11. This year, the presentation featured songs by The Beatles, including “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “A Hard Day’s Night.” “I loved pre-game because The Beatles are amazing,” said Madeline Pope, 10.

Regional Championship

The marching band performed their show

‘Whip it’ catherinefarist staff writer

Drew Barrymore makes a sparkling directorial debut and Ellen Page proves once again she is magic on the big screen. “Whip It” is a film filled with a rough-andtumble rivalry on wheels, celebrating friendship and camaraderie while artfully presenting the struggle within families to understand one another. This charming cast is filled with members such as Page, Kirsten Wiig, Juliette Alia Shawkat, Marcia Gey Harden, singer Landon Pigg, Daniel Stern, and even Barrymore herself. In this documentary-esque style film, there are no frills that mess with the hipster 70s feel. The light and fluffy dialogue keeps viewers enraptured. I was able to laugh throughout the movie at both the obvious and less obvious hilarity. While the beginning is a bit slow, with its classic angst doing the whole “Beauty-pageant -but –secretly- hating- it- so- I- die- myhair- blue” kind of thing. Certainly, it picks up once Bliss, the main character, takes a stand.

in the 2009 Regional Championship hosted by Centerville High School on Saturday, Oct. 3. This was the first of three BOA, or Band of America, competitions that the band will participate in this year. With a total score of 73 out of 100 possible points, the group received sixth place overall out of 20 bands and first in their class in the preliminary round – a ranking that has never been accomplished in school history. “It was very exciting because this was the first year we were able to achieve 1st in class,” said Lauren Barrett, 11. The group’s ranking earned them a spot in the finals, in which they competed against the nine other highest-scoring bands. These second performances were critiqued by a different group of judges, altering previous scores. The band’s score was slightly reduced, given a total of 68.35 out of 100 points. In the final round of the competition, SHS achieved ninth place overall. Members were given medals to honor their achievement. “I’m really proud of how well we did. It was really cool to make marching band history. Yay band!” said Megan Wells, 11.

Chick flick with edge, enraptures viewers Page was the talented magnet of the screen. Her character, while relatable, is quirky, quick witted, and definitely had a grasp of her own: another Juno award on her screen appearances and loveability. “That’s right you little peanut, you need to be ruthless” And ruthless, she was: Ruthless Babe. In this fast world of Roller Derby, these chicks were able to take on a whole other persona with some wildly clever names. Barrymore has certainly shown heart, but her acting left something to be desired. Her normally quite talented acting was not seen, as she definitely stretched herself thin for this one. While her ditzy character was quite loveable, mostly due to the tendencies towards violence, I was not impressed. The small town quirks of the senior BINGO bus and of course, the town’s tourist attraction: THE Bluebonnet Ice Cream factory are displayed in such a manner that you are able to relate and laugh. A lot. It is a Rocky girl power movie with a better accompanying soundtrack. It is total must see if you are in the mood for a light, witty movie that reveals a whole new side of Roller Derby and the not so obvious faces behind it., Mylifeisaverage. com, and Overheardinnewyork. com: there have been a plethora of random quotes or thoughts web sites that have sprung up in the past few months. However, there is a certain web site that has really caught my eye. If you are looking for even more ridiculous humor online I highly suggest checking out It is a—ahem—eclectic Hodge podge of texts that anyone can submit for posting on the web site. There are the silly, “If you Google Earth my address you can see me getting out of my car. Finally my moment of being famous.” To the more ridiculous posts, “So we successfully lit our bathtub on fire. Thought you should know.” To the more inappropriate posts that, well, you should peruse on your own time. However I recommend preferably not when you are supposed to be studying or doing homework… or volunteering with the homeless. Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of the site is the ability to search the mass database of “textual” humor by area code. When posting a text you are required to include the area code to which the text was received or sent from. Thus, I have read every single one of the posted texts from the wonderful 513. Of the ones that could be considered PG (there are not many), some of my favorites include: “(513): The guy in front of me in Sociology is definitely working on my farm in Farmville. Never met him before. Do I thank him?” “(513): You just broke rule number 1. If you can’t lift her up don’t date her.” “(513): I hate bills. (479): Like ones you have to pay or people named William?” The web site was founded in February of this year and since then has had tens of thousands of entries. According to the “About” section of the web site the creators idea for founding the site came from, “the tendency to press send more easily as the night turns to morning…” Viewers can also select whether each post was a “good night” or a “bad night.” For the best of both good and bad nights there are specific tabs to visit that have the most votes for the two categories. If you still cannot get enough of TFLN, never fear, the TFLN iPhone app is now available for a free download. And if you see a text that really strikes your fancy there is a link at the bottom of each post to order a t-shirt with that specific text on it.

For comments on this column, please write to

friday, october 23 , 2009

‘Toy Story’, ‘Toy Story 2’ Taking on Hollywood s.m.dipali


image coutresy of

a&e chief

CLASSIC DISNEY CHARACTERS BUZZ and Woody have been around since 1995. They were recently revived in a double feature 3D showing of “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2.”


oy Story” has always been a classic, but it is a movie I have seen one too many times. Of course, Emma shanghaied me into seeing “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2,” the double feature in 3D. I grudgingly agreed. Turns out, I had not seen it one too many times. This double feature proved to me, once again, that “Toy Story” is a movie that stands the test of time. The 3D glasses only added to the magic that is “Toy Story.” The childish humor still made me laugh. I particularly loved all of the names Woody calls Buzz Lightyear. But I must admit, the dinosaur was the character that entranced me most of all. His quirky remarks made the movie, in my opinion. So, instead of seeing the hottest, upcoming flick, take a trip down memory lane. Go see the double feature, have a few laughs, and remember the good old days of childhood. Maybe your toys really did come to life while you were out…


3D a&e chief

Since the day that I saw the preview for it on TV, I knew I wanted to see “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2” in 3D. Seeing this double feature in an actual theater made me feel like a little kid again. I felt like I was truly seeing these movies for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised by the adult humor that I picked up on, seeing it as a fifteen year old, that I did not pick up on as a younger child. At one point Woody (Tom Hanks) refers to Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) as “Buzz Light Beer.” It amazed me how I could overlook little jokes like that as a child, but catch onto it immediately as a teenager. I was a little skeptical of the 3D aspect of it, though. While this is perfectly fine, I am actually quite a big fan of the cheesy, in-your-face 3D that is now written off as overused and tacky. Overall, I could not have been happier with my choice of going to see this double feature. I got to be a kid for a night, and that is something that everyone should take the time to do.


1 2 3 4

The Leaf uses this rating system 1- Don’t Waste Your Money 5- Pre-Order Your Tickets A.S.A.P.

TLC Nails

(513) 891-9455 9797 Montgomery Rd. Suite D Cincinnati, OH 45242

Raffle drawing at 8:30 p.m. (Do not need to be present to win) For more information contact Amy Rosenberg 509-3397 or Karen Lefton at 708-2284

a&e 15

gina’s ginaromeo

spotlight editor

I pride myself on my wide variety in musical taste, from Taylor Swift to Bright Eyes and everything in between. I was raised listening to artists such as The Beatles and Prince, and from there I have developed my very own unique musical taste. But there is one genre of music I have yet to speak about. You would not expect a white girl from the suburbs to have a passionate and undying love for Clifford Harris, artist T.I., but I do. My closest friends know of my obsession, and tease me for memorizing his raps. His album “Paper Trail” includes such songs as “Whatever You Like,” “What Up, What’s Haapnin’,” “Live Your Life” featuring Rihanna, “Swagga Like Us,” and my personal favorite, “Dead and Gone,” a duet with singer Justin Timberlake. The album debuted at the number one spot on the Billboard 200. Other rappers I have developed a liking for include Kanye West (despite the Swift VMA scandal), Jay-Z, Drake, and Ludacris. R&B artist Ne-Yo is another one of my lesser known obsessions. His smooth vocals and romantic lyrics make my heart swoon. I find the songs “Closer” and “Mad” stuck in my head almost daily. Ne-Yo and his music will always have a special place in my heart. I have been a diehard Usher fan since fourth grade. I specifically recall sitting on my couch watching whatever awards show was on and practically falling out of my seat as he ripped his shirt off. The love has been there ever since. Nowadays, my friends and I like to blast his old CD’s in the car, in particular, his 2004 hit album, “Confessions.” Something about the way he and Alicia Keys sing the song “My Boo” always gets to me. During the brief stint of time when Usher was not making new music, I held onto his last album, playing it over and over again. The first time I heard his single “Love In This Club” in 2008, I was so excited I screamed. Usher was back and all was right in the world. This year has been a great one for rap and R&B hits on the radio. One song in particular that has caught my attention was the Kid Cudi, West, and Common collaboration song “Make Her Say.” Infusing the acoustic version of Lady Gaga’s “Pokerface” as background music, this song also nods its head at Asher Roth’s “I Love College,” Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It,” and my boy T.I.’s “Whatever You Like.” More recently, newcomer Jason DeRulo’s single“Whatcha Say” has made its way into my iPod, and my heart. That haunting woman’s voice in the chorus is Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek,” a song I have known and loved for years. I plan on watching out for DeRulo, it looks as though he has a pretty promising future in the music industry. Although I cannot say that the rap/ hip-hop/R&B genre is my favorite, I still enjoy a good rap every now and again. I can always appreciate some clever lyrics (rappers sure do love their puns), and a fresh beat to jam to.



friday, october 23, 2009

Preseason polls to blame for BCS controversy brandonsosna

photo courtesy of jeremy mcdaniel

sports chief


COMING OFF OF A disappointing season a year ago, the SHS basketball program hopes to implement a run and gun style of play in order to make sure Coach David Moss has a successful opening campaign. “We can finally play to our potential as an up-tempo basketball team,” said Wes Yengo, 11.

aking his presence felt oss takes over SHS basketball program

jasonrobke & paulpescovitz


staff writer

sports chief

hree years ago, former Indian Hill basketball coach David Moss found himself in a similar position as he is presently: taking over an underachieving basketball team with the job of rebuilding it. Now, Moss, a member of the SHS class of 1991 and former varsity basketball player, finds himself in charge of his alma mater’s program with an exciting future ahead. “I really am excited to be back. It is a heck of an opportunity to

be able to coach where you went to school and played,” said Moss. Following the 2005-2006 season at Indian Hill, Moss moved over one chair from the assistant spot to become the lead man for the Braves, replacing Coach Jim Prugh. Prugh led the squad to an 8-14 record in his final season. Moss would replicate the same 8-14 record in his first year, thus starting his head coaching career. But over the next two seasons, Moss would lead the Braves to 33 wins, including a 21-3 record and a deep state tournament run to the sectional round last year. Now, Moss takes on a different

challenge: a program that has struggled since 2004 and graduated eight seniors last year. Following a disappointing 6-15 record, an extensive search was conducted, culminating with the hiring of Moss. Although it was a difficult decision to leave Indian Hill, he looks forward to the task of taking SHS to new heights in a tough GMC. “One goal we definitely have is to win a GMC championship, hopefully within five years,” said Moss. “We want to be consistently competitive. When we play another team, we want their coach

Bud Acus Alumni Field


at Sycamore Stadium

7:30 p.m.


Previous meeting (2008):

Sycamore W 28-7

Lakota East Thunderhawks Record: 1-6 (1-3)

Editor predictions Sycamore Aviators Sosna: Sycamore 23 - 21 Pescovitz: Sycamore 17 - 10 Record: 2-5 (0-4) Slovin: Sycamore 21 - 14 Chessin: Sycamore 14 - 13

*Records as of press time 10/16 helmets by

Next Friday:Battle of the Skies @

this month in

to say that Sycamore plays hard,” said Moss. “The jump from below .500 to being competitive is not as hard as the jump from being competitive to consistently competitive.” A difficult task ahead, the team now begins the first part of their season: preseason conditioning, this will no doubt be important, as Moss hopes to run an up-tempo style of play to regain conference and post-season success. “You have to develop the type of players to press. The GMC is usually a slug-it-out type of league, but those are not the type of guys we have here,” said Moss.

Glen Este (Win 27-21) Springboro (Loss 17-10) Roger Bacon (Win 23-10) Middletown (Loss 40-0) Lakota West (Loss 28-17) Hamilton (Loss 48-7) Colerain (Loss 28-0) Fairfield Lakota East Mason *as of press time


Record breaking season for cross country Are runners bound for state? | page 17

Girls tennis caps off season with post-season play Find out how seniors finished their careers

| page 18

Need more coverage? Visit the sports page at

The beat rolls on for the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. Despite Tony Pike only playing one drive in the second half during their 34-17 win at South Florida, Brian Kelly’s Bearcats found a way to win. And Kelly has done a lot of that since his arrival in Clifton. Now, however, the expectations are different. Major bowl aspirations transformed into Bowl Championship Series aspirations, which have since evolved into National Championship aspirations. But the fact remains, UC’s chance at playing in the big game are incomprehensibly remote. Why? The team’s resume is comparable to most top ten teams. A blowout victory at Rutgers in front of their biggest crowd ever in week one and a victory on the road at hostile Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon against Oregon State – a stadium in which the team had won 26 straight non conference home games. What makes Cincinnati less worthy than an undefeated Big Ten team or a one loss Southeastern Conference team? The answer: preseason polls. Weeks ago, when the pundits were saying the Bearcats inexperienced defense would struggle and the real Pike was the quarterback who was intercepted four times in the Orange Bowl, Cincinnati was not voted in the top 25 preseason poll. So here they are, ready to rise from their number eight slot, but yet, at 6-0, they sit behind the consistent underachievers – Ohio State and USC – and another one loss team, Virginia Tech. Not to mention, the USA Today poll has the ‘Cats behind two mid major programs, Boise State and TCU. Why? Preseason polls. The major reason those teams sit in front of Cincinnati is because they got a proverbial head start. Sure, their bodies of work have some merit, but why do Cincinnati and fellow undefeated teams not receive recognition for being undefeated? Preseason polls. The solution: eliminate them. The polls should not be released until week six, when teams can be evaluated solely on their wins and losses. Prior successes and media hype should not play a role. If the BCS standings are somewhat based on the poll, how can preseason rankings be justified? While tradition and past successes are indicators of the best programs in the country, they should have no weight in determining the best group in the nation each season. If Cincinnati runs the table, the BCS system will be tested. It is designed so that if a power conference team accomplishes an undefeated season, then they will play for a National Championship. But I would not put my money on the BCS system that year after year leaves much of the public scratching their heads and pleading for playoffs. It may as well be a box of chocolates. For comments on this column, please write to

sports 17

friday, october 23, 2009

Band Wagon

photo courtesy of jeremy mcdaniel


SPRINTING TO A START, members of the SHS mens cross country team run in a recent invitational. This season, several runners including Kubilay Inali, 11, have set both personal records and times near the upper echelon of the Greater Miami Conference. For the girls team, Samantha Siler, 9, broke the SHS record for a 5k race.

Cross country clears finish line bennettkaplan

emilycohen staff writer staff writer &

image by garrett steinbuch


SENIORS NICK FRY AND Melissa French are approaching the end of their respective SHS careers, however, both still have a chance to run in the state championship meet. For Fry, the season has been even more memorable, as he was able to set a personal record with a time of 16:04.

hroughout the entire 2009 SHS mens cross country season, Nick Fry, 12, has been a bright spot in an otherwise average season. This season, Fry has attained times of under 17:00 minutes in all but one meet, and has run under 16:30 three times. At the Sept. 12 Alliance Running Invitational, Fry ran a 16:04, not only a personal best for the year, but also the fourth best time run in the Greater Miami Conference in 2009. “I think Nick is having great success this year. He came in second in the Elder meet last Saturday and seems to be peaking at the right time, near the end of the season,” said Noah Yasgur, 10. Besides Fry, several other SHS runners have emerged to replace last year’s top performers Hank Geer and Gus Klofta. Kubilay Inali, 11, earned a personal record of a 17:17 at the Ronckers meet, which proved strong enough for the 30th best time in the GMC this season. Tallin Forshey, 9, ran a 17:24 at the Alliance meet, also a time near the top of the conference. Paul Salach, 9, Corey Chisholm, 9, and Ryan Ebstein, 12, have all also run under 18:00 minutes this season. “The season started slowly, but the team is definitely improving. The team is getting better every week. Our freshman class has really come

on, with four freshmen in the top ten runners on the team,” said Coach Mike Gutekunst. With five meets remaining, the team can still fight to stay in the running for a spot in the regional meet. “I feel this team could still qualify to the Regional meet, and [Nick] has a chance to place at the state meet. We hope to finish in the top four teams in the GMC. Regardless, I believe that the runners on this team will end this season with a much greater level of competitiveness and willingness to train. Because of these two items, I am and will continue to be extremely proud of this team,” said Gutekunst.

Girls aim for state title

Alanah Sonntag, ‘09, held the 5k school record for most of her career. No one affiliated with the program envisioned that her record would be broken so fast. Samantha Siler, 9, shortened her time of 18:55 to 18:19 at the end of the season, breaking Sonntag’s record of 18:42. Without a doubt, this is a huge accomplishment for Siler, and she has the potential to get even better. She still possesses three years of eligibility and has a chance to shatter multiple school records. With the GMC meet fast approaching, the team has worked hard to prepare and is showing signs of improvement. They placed third at Alliance and second at Centerville. “We have been getting better each week as a team,” said Erin Kosel, 12. The team is coming together at the right time. Players are running personal bests and are gaining confidence with each week. “I think we are in really good shape,” said Sabrina Troncoso, 9. With a third place finish in the state last year, the team has high expectations. Runners are pushing each other to get better and are motivated to reach state. Seniors Taylor Young, Melissa French, Dallas Burris, Amy Gordon, and Kosel hope to end their SHS careers with a state championship. They are leading this team to another state appearance. Unfortunately, the biggest meets of the year happen when the temperature begins to cool. Weather can greatly affect runners because it is harder to stay warm and it becomes more difficult to stay stretched out and ready to run. The weather also makes it harder to breathe thus, runners may record slower times. The team has gained momentum as of late, recording some of their lowest times all year. The team looks to continue their success and place high in the conference meet, and ultimately record a respectable performance at the state championships.

Second-rate football league provides ferocious laughter more than first downs paulpescovitz

sports chief

Ever wonder how it feels to be at the controls of a wildly successful professional sports league such as the National Football League (NFL)? Well, that dream became reality for internet mogul Tim Armstrong and investment banking CEO Bill Hambrecht when the modern reincarnation of the United Football League (UFL) kicked off in early October. Consisting of a meager four teams whose rosters are littered with forgotten college superstars, washed up, aging veterans, and even the occasional ex-convict, the league is not quite on par with the quality of play in the NFL When it comes to entertainment value, however, it cannot be beat. From high-school-sized crowds to neon green down markers to mediocre coaches who are more known for press-conference rants than goal line stands, it truly is difficult to imagine a more amusing sporting event, thankfully, we no longer have to. Want to see former Bengal arrestee and defensive standout Odell Thurman lace up his cleats and chase fan-favorite and UFL rushing leader Dede Dorsey around the field? Make sure not to miss the Las Vegas Locomotives visit the Florida Tuskers on Oct. 30. Intrigued by the opportunity to sit back and watch Jim Fassel, less than a decade removed from a Super Bowl appearance, lock wits with the charismatic Dennis Green? Look no further. Trust me, it is worth every second of your time spent tuning in, assuming your cable package includes the obscure networks partnered with the league. Watching the season opener just a few short weeks ago, right in between a panoramic camera shot of a mostly empty Sam Boyd Stadium and a sideline interview with NFLbust J.P. Losman, I could not help but wonder if Hambrecht and Armstrong were looking on and thinking, “uhoh.” In tough economic times, who in their right mind would ponder pouring tens of millions of dollars into a fourth-rate professional sports league? Well, none other than Paul Pelosi, husband of our nation’s Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is the principal owner of the California Redwoods. There probably was no better use for that hefty sum of cash, right? The league just does not make sense, financially or otherwise. All this in mind, I whole-heartedly encourage everyone to jump on the bandwagon of the UFL, but only for entertainment purposes. If you are searching for helmet splitting rivalries or the intense atmosphere of an NFL Sunday, look elsewhere. But if the league is still in existence when this column is published, a few minutes on a Thursday night could be spent in far worse ways than reminiscing about Florida punter Todd Sauerbrun’s glory days with the Carolina Panthers. For comments on this column, please write to

18 sports

friday, october 23, 2009



staff writer

lthough the team is losing some key seniors in Bianca Patel, Sheena Patel, and Joyce Zhang, the future looks bright for varsity gold girls tennis, after completing a successful season. The team improved on last year’s 10-6 season with an 11 win, 4 loss effort. They started the season off with a loss to Columbus Academy, but then rattled off numerous wins over GMC foe Mason 3-2 and CHCA by the same score and crushed perennial city power, Loveland, 5-0. With such a strong senior class, Bianca Patel and Sheena Patel played at the one and two singles spots, respectively. At third singles, freshman Sophia Southard rose up and took the position filling in for an injured Samantha Kruger, 10, who had a very successful freshman campaign in 2008. Zhang paired up with Allie Martin, 11, at first doubles and the two were very successful. At second doubles, the dominant duo of juniors Maggie Cron and Aamna Dosani¸ went nearly undefeated and finished with a record of 18-1. “I really liked having Allie as my doubles partner,” said Zhang. “I think we really made a good pair.” The girls continued their regular season success at the GMC tournament where the team, though third in the GMC regular season standings, finished tied for second behind Lakota West. “The other girls in my draw were really talented, but I tried my hardest and was rewarded with a fourth place finish,” said Bianca Patel. At first singles, she faced some of the toughest competition perhaps in the state and finished fourth. Southard continued her stellar singles play with a third place finish at second singles. At three, Martin


finished fourth. In doubles, the senior pair of Sheena Patel and Zhang led in the finals of first doubles 4-2 but Sheena Patel sprained her ankle and had to default out of the match. At second doubles, the undefeated tandem of Cron and Dosani breezed through the field to claim the title. “The girls gave a good effort at the GMC tournament, and we had a great chance to be second place out right,” said Coach Mike Teets. Following the conclusion of the season and the GMC tournament, the quest for state began for the team. The Mason sectional tournament, held at the Mason High School Tennis Center brought a disappointing end to the seniors’ careers but the doubles pairing of Bianca and Sheena Patel fought hard, even though the latter was suffering from an ankle injury. One bright spot of the tournament was Southard who qualified for districts at singles. The district tournament was held at Dayton Center Courts on Thursday, Oct. 15 and Saturday, Oct. 17. Districts were held on Thursday, Oct. 15 however, Southard, competing in place of Sheena Patel due to a twisted ankle, will not be going on to state. Reminiscing on such a successful season, Teets feels that this year has been one of the most memorable for him and he looks forward to continued success, as most of the girls return next season. The team hopes to continue its pursuit of dominance at the GMC and state levels in coming seasons, with determination and effort throughout off-season workouts, combined with strong singles and doubles play. This is something Teets emphasizes to all of his teams. “It has been an absolute pleasure working with the girls and we will especially miss our senior captains Bianca, Sheena, and Joyce,” said Teets.

Bengals enjoy quick start, hope to shed ‘Bungles’ moniker chadchessin image by jake newton



varsity gold girls tennis successful in tournaments

VERSATILE JUNIOR ALLISON MARTIN prepares to volley an oncoming shot. Her singles and doubles play contributed greatly to the success of the varsity gold squad.

GMC STANDINGS UPDATE* 1. Lakota West- 33 points


2. Mason- 25 points

3. Lakota East- 24 points


4. Sycamore21 points CONFERENCE 5. Fairfield- 15 points

*through completed fall sports

staff writer

When I thought of the idea for this column, I truly never imagined I would write an edition celebrating the successes of this team. However, I am delighted to say that the collective winner of the “Dead On” award this issue is the Cincinnati Bengals. Over the past decade, the team has averaged approximately six wins per season. During this time period, they were the laughingstock of professional football. Rest assured, the hometown fans were humiliated. However, this season, the team finds itself in the top five of the NFL power rankings, sitting on a 4-1 record, and allowing fans to relive the golden age of Bengals football, when they reached two Superbowls. One simple question many sports fans ask is: how? How can a horrendous 4-11-1 team reverse its trend and get on track in one offseason? “They believe they can win, no matter what the circumstances are,” said Coach Marvin Lewis in an interview with CBS. “We keep talking about that. Don’t worry about it don’t flinch, keep playing.” Lewis could not have said it better. The difference between this team and the excuses we called teams in the past is that now the guys can go out on the field and know they have a chance every Sunday. We have always had talent, just little optimism. In the first game of the season, the Bengals suffered a heartbreaking loss to the undefeated Denver Broncos, due to a fluke tipped ball touchdown. Season over, right? Wrong. Maybe with Bengals teams in the past, but not this group. After this, the players stepped up and took down the Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, and most recently, the Baltimore Ravens. Their tendency to leave games undecided until the final minutes earned the Bengals nicknames the likes of “Cardiac Cats.” They advanced to 4-1 after winning a nail-biter in Baltimore. Cincinnati was the underdog by 8.5 points, but did not play the part. They pounded away at the vicious Ravens defense, capping the game off with a Carson Palmer connection to Andre Caldwell, reminiscent of week three, when they used the same play to take down the Browns. Upon this recent victory, the team has accomplished a feat not completed since 1990, just two years after they made the Superbowl. This is starting the season 3-0 in divisional play. In this case, the three wins were over all three teams. Even more impressive is that two of the three defeated teams have won at least one Superbowl in the last ten years, the Ravens in 2000-2001, and the Steelers in 2005-2006, 2008-2009. But with challenging opponents on the upcoming schedule, it is important that the success does not get to the players’ heads, and they continue to play at the high level that they have recently exhibited, especially on the road. For now, however, the Cincinnati Bengals are “Dead On.” For comments on this column, please write to

Advertisement friday, october 23, 2009



Snapshots friday, october 23, 2009



STUDENTS ENJOYED A FUN Homecoming weekend on Sept. 25 and 26, with the game against Lakota West and the Homecoming dance with the theme ‘Aviator Island.’ Top left: students gathered in the transformed commons to enjoy three hours of fun and dance. Top right: Katie Strickland, 12, recognizes Maxim Coninx, 12, as this year’s Homecoming King. Above: the football players face off against Lakota West during the Homecoming game. Even though the team lost, the game was enjoyable for those who watched the players put up a good fight. Below right: Matt Korn, 12 and Laina Keim, 12, enjoy a dance at Homecoming. Below left: students cheer on the football team during the rainy but fun game on Sept. 25.

October Issue  

October Issue of The Sycamore Leaf

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