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FRIDAY September 28, 2007 Volume LVI Issue II 7400 Cornell Road Cincinnati, Ohio 45242 513 686. 1770 ext. 3089

newsbytes Homecoming

Today marks the date for the Homecoming pep-rally (6th bell), parade (4:30 to 5:15 p.m., starting from the high school and ending at the jr. high), pre-game tailgate (5:15 p.m. at the stadium), and football game against Princeton (7:30 p.m.). Tomorrow night is the Homcoming dance, which lasts from 9 p.m.-midnight.

National Merit results announced, school upholds tradition of excellence

Scholarships and opportunities await 31 semifinalists ALEXA FOGLER


associate editor

Volley for the Cure

For the second year, girls volleyball will be holding Volley for the Cure at the varsity girls game against Fairfield on October 4, 2007 to raise money for breast cancer research and awareness. Buy a t-shirt for $8 at lunch and get in free; otherwise, tickets are sold at the door. (Check out p. 22)

Senior Halloween moved

Senior Halloween has been moved from Friday, October 26 to Wednesday, October 31. Seniors, please remember this change of date and dress up on the correct day; also, make sure to abide by the rules to avoid being sent home.

Commended scholars Twenty-four seniors were named National Merit Commended Scholars. Although they will not continue in the National Merit scholarship competition, they were recognized for achieving in the top 5% of the nation on the 2006 PSAT. The following students are Commended Students in the 2008 National Merit Program: Anjali Alm-Basu, Christopher Ashton, Dana Bahir, Mary Bidwell, Danielle Culin, David Dannenberg, Kimberly Delong, Alexa Fogler, Robert Friedman, Tamir Haddad, Robert Jungerwirth, Nadia Khan, Scott Kruger, Jack Liu, Christy Miller, Michael Miller, Charles Mueller, Gabriel Ng, Christina Noland, William Payne, Kalyaan Rao, Zachary Ruescher, Samantha Sekar, Allen Streck.

MAKE SURE TO check out the double-sided mini-mag included in this issue. Read about Homecoming 2007 on one side, and freshman information on the other side, which includes tips and advice from upperclassmen to make the first year a little bit easier.

RANKED FOURTH IN the nation and first in the midwest, the girls varsity soccer team is flying high, led by Ali Shewmon, 12, Deena Schwen, 12, and Alix Hildal, 11. Check out page 22 to find out more about the team’s oustanding season so far.

photo by jeremy mcdaniel

31 STUDENTS SCORED in the top 1% of the nation, or above a 211, on their PSAT last October, and received National Semifinalist status. “To prepare, I took a practice PSAT. I was pretty calm when I took the actual PSAT,” said Erica Kao, 12. “I tried my best, so I was happy with the results.”

Taking action: NOA BELLILTI staff writer

hirty-one Sycamore students among 16,000 students nationwide were named Semifinalists of the National Merit Scholarship Program on September 12. Recognized Sycamore seniors include: Junix Alcayaga, James Austrow, Philip Brodrick, Justin Butler, Rohan Chaudhary, Sanjay Choudhury, Jill Cohen, Mark Dapkins, Peter Dobler, Sanya Dosani, Adam Finke, Alan Jone, Erica Kao, Jason Kao, Jennifer Kissinger, Jennifer Lee, Kate Moore, Weili (Bill) Pan, Rohan Patel, Chelsae Plageman, Jessa Ramsey, Alexander Rock, In comparison Rebecca Tsevat, Jessica Tufts, 31- Sycamore Laura Tufts, Harini Venkitara18- St. Xavier ma, Elizabeth Wei, Shang Xiang, Thomas Zajdel, Stacey (Wenjun) 15- Walnut Hills Zhang, and Viona Zhang. 14- Mason About 90 percent of these Semifinalists will be named Final10- Indian Hill ists in the spring if they have an outstanding academic record, are endorsed by the school principal, and earn SAT scores similar to their PSAT scores. Finalists are eligible for 8,200 Merit Scholarship awards which amount to $34 million. One such scholarship is offered by The Ohio State University. Finalists can receive full tuition and stipends for room and board if they designate the college as their first choice. “I am looking into OSU now that I have a scholarship,” said Alcayaga. Since 1974, Sycamore has produced 401 Semifinalists. “I’m very proud of the Semifinalists and those commended,” said Ramsey.

Students boycott rising lunch prices

upped the prices. If their reason is valid and Students boycotted rising lunch prices on if there is something the students can do, we Friday, September 7. This heated topic turned should be informed,” said Faisal Rahman, 12. heads, as Channel 5 News was quick to cover The video announcement presented the story. With the chime of every lunch bell, to students on Monday, September 17, students expressed their frustrations. explained why certain items, including the “These prices are outrageous; that was why new french fries, increased I boycotted,” in price. It also made said Aly Riedel, Those who organized the boycott did students aware of new 11. it in the right way without interfering options. Apparently, However, many still feel with the school day. However, I would rising prices that it avoided some big are not the like students to be more proactive and questions. only reason come to me with problems first. Many staff members seem some students - Principal Chris Davis to support the students’ protested. efforts, as much good has “One time my come from it. friend bought a fresh deli sandwich for three “I think it is great that students showed dollars and the meat was completely frozen,” such a sense of unity, I just wish they said Daniella Cos, 11. would’ve done something like contributed “If the school’s goal is to implement their $3.50 to a food bank,” said Mrs. Ulland, healthier foods, then why are they still selling Dean of Students. fries?” said Kelsey Dybvad, 11. “It was a very peaceful protest and it was Students still have many unanswered handled very professionally. I was proud of questions. Some wish administration would the students,” said Officer Paul Payne. rationalize the situation. “I think the school should clarify why they >> FOR MORE INFO: PAGE 5

Walk for the Whisper Who:

Anyone who wants to join in the fight against ovarian cancer


5K Run/Walk for ovarian cancer


Saturday Sept. 29, 2007 Registration- 9 a.m. Walk begins- 10 a.m.

Walk for the Whisper is an annual event sponsored by The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC). The event brings together survivors, families, friends, and the medical community.

It is not too late to join the cause. The Walk is open to all; you can register on location tomorrow morning.


Lunken Playfield

For directions, visit Whisper.html


To raise money/awareness for ovarian cancer research and education. Ovarian cancer affects one in 55 women in the U.S., and is the fifth leading cause of death among female cancer patients. However, it often goes undetected, like a whisper.

Student achieves recognition on national level

2-5 Esther Wu, 11 wins national writing competition, advances to final four in magazine contest LEE 6-8 JENNIFER editor-in-chief fun&games 9 It takes initiative and nerve to enter Wu was inspired to write a short story. This competitions; it takes that and more to short story, entitled “Swim for Life,” was diversity 10 succeed in them. based on Wu’s personal experience. Esther Wu, 11, has that and more. “It’s really special to me because this story feature 11-16 Wu has set herself apart from her peers was written from my own experiences in to gain recognition locally, regionally, and dealing with a sibling, specifically a sister’s, death,” said Wu. “My own little sister died a&e 17-19 even nationally. She has recently received distinction through two different venues: from cancer, and the main character’s sister also dies. I transferred my own feelings into sports 20-26 the Montgomery, Ohio, and National Women’s Club writing competitions, and Brio the story, and tell about the grief, but also the calendar 27 Magazine’s Brio Girl search. recovery as the character learns to live life to Recovering from the loss of her sister Lydia, spotlight 28 who passed away from leukemia last year, >> ESTHER WU: PAGE 2


news opinion

photo by staff




Parking spots:


the fullest. My own little sister always did so. And this story was one of my ways of coping and remembering her.” Wu was awarded first place for this story in the local Montgomery Women’s Club competition during the 2006-2007 school year. She then went on to win first place in the state competition. Then, this summer, she received even more exciting news: her story had won first place in the National Women’s Club competition, beating each story from every other state. “Being recognized nationally for my writing is something I would never have dreamed of in a thousand years,” said Wu. “It’s opened up my eyes to a new possibility of what I may want to do with my life in the future.” Wu also made it all the way to the top four finalists of the Brio Girl search, sponsored by the nationally circulated Christian magazine for teen girls, Brio. Thousands of girls from the U.S., Canada, and around the world sent in applications for the contest, which seeks to find a positive role model for the over 300,000 readers of the magazine. The top 20 finalists were interviewed via telephone, and teenage girls across the U.S. voted for their favorite girl online; then, the top 8 finalists each had to make a 15-minute video about herself, her family, and her friends. Finally, the top four are being flown out to Colorado this weekend to have a photo shoot and meet the editors. “This is one of the coolest experiences and opportunities of a lifetime,” said Wu. “I never would have thought that I would make it this far in the Brio Girl Search, and it’s absolutely amazing! God and my religion are the most important aspects of my life, and being recognized in this area is so humbling, and is such an honor.” For Wu, it has already been an exciting and eventful year. But this is just the beginning.


ZACH REUSCHER, 12, SANJAY Choudhury, 12, Samy Sekar, 12 and Paulo Gabriel, 11 talk about upcoming activities for Environmental Club. This club is one of many existing clubs you can join; students can also start new clubs here at the high school.

photo by wenjun zhang

new club can Starting clubs Founding prove successful, rewarding KATE MOORE


managing editor

or some students, joining a club or organization simply is not enough; they have to create one of their own. Even with the many groups sponsored by the school, there is always room for something new. Students have already started paperwork for Badminton Club and Aviator Disc Golf Club. These athletic organizations are joining the likes of Fencing Club and Ultimate Frisbee, both of which are very popular. Anyone who is interested in starting the next great club should contact Mrs. Jennifer Ulland, Dean of Student Life. If the proposal is not too similar to an existing club and seems like it could generate support, Ulland will advise that the group hold an informational meeting to find out if enough people will want to join. “We really want to make sure there is interest,” said Ulland. This factor is especially important when one considers the demise of some organizations, such as Anime Club. The Gay/Straight Alliance is another group that suffers from fluctuating members from year to year. It is also uncertain if the success enjoyed by Buffet Club at the end of last year will continue in the future.



s u l P

Clubs are always more fun when more people are involved. Discussion Club and Creative Writing Club are both returning for their second year, and are looking for yearlong members. The Invisible Children Club is the epitome of a successful club. This group took off by increased support for a great cause. Their influence can be seen around school in the form of flyers, t-shirts, and fundraisers, such as the tailgate at a recent football game. “It’s great for freshmen, and it’s a great cause,” said Ulland. “It’s relevant to today, and the kids have an opportunity to make a difference.” Forming a new club can be both exciting and complicated. One of the biggest dilemmas is club overlap. There is also the problem of proper materials, a meeting place, and finding a faculty sponsor. Badminton Club is currently struggling to find available equipment and a place to hold practice. Those who have the enthusiasm and dedication can make their dream club a reality. The opportunity to form a new club is open year-round, and as long as the interest is there, it is possible to create a legacy that will remain an important part of the school long after its founders have left the building.

Spaces dwindle as senior deadline approaches WILL JOHNSTON sports chief

For seniors who still wish to attain a parking pass for the 0708 school year, only three days remain to apply for one. Though the numbers are not exact, a “great number” of spots have been given out to seniors since the start of the schools year. The deadline was originally extended to include seniors who have late birthdays, moved from another district, or were unable to acquire a license until recently. After the deadline passes, an announcement will be made in the first week of October telling the date on which juniors may apply for individual spots. The decision about who will receive an individual spot will be made one of two ways: first come first serve, or a random lottery. As of right now about 30 spots remain, and at least 100 applicants are expected to show. Advice to juniors who want an individual spot? “Get here early,” said Assistant Principal Mr. Antonio Shelton. All spots will be available in the Gold lot in the row closest to the school.

If you mention this ad you’ll receive 16 free wallets!

11263 Reading Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45241 (513) 554-1990 Bill Thompson


Presenting Mr. Aviators:



Three students step up to challenge of leading spirit GARRETT STEINBUCH


staff writer

ast year, Greg van Amerongen, ‘06, showed off all of his moves as Mr. Aviator. He got the student section cheering at football and basketball games. This year, there is a special twist to Mr. Aviator. Bizzy Young, 11, Chelsae Plageman, 12, and Scott Seibel, 11, will all split time being the mascot. “I think it’s great. This way I can enjoy the game one week and suit up the next,” said Young. Being the mascot requires a lot of time and dedication, enthusiasm, school spirit, and the ability to spread school spirit. “You have to love interacting with people and act on spur-ofthe-moment ideas,” said Plageman. The person in the suit also

about being Mrs. Aviator would be given the right to be crazy. I get to do whatever I want... well, almost whatever... and I love the kids that always say things like ‘You rock Mr. Aviator!’ It’s so much fun and worth getting really sweaty for!” said Young. In 1996, the varsity football team made the playoffs for the first time. In honor of that, Tracey Abraham, ’97, became the first mascot the next year. The first mascot to pump up the crowd in the newly designed suit was Venkat Shanker, ‘05. “Last year, I always saw Greg as the mascot and it looked like so much fun that I joked around MR. AVIATOR POSES with students at the football game. The aviator suit towers with myself, ‘Next year I’m going over fans at more than six feet. “There is a height requirement [to be the mascot], but to take his job!’ Little did I know, since I’m a little short, I put a softball helmet pad in the head and it helped me to see said Plageman. “Anyway as an better,” said Chelsae Plageman, 12. athlete myself, I appreciate the difference that a cheering, motiMost importantly, the mascot needs to be able to withstand the needs to have the dance moves to vated crowd and the crazy antics smell inside the head, sweating, of a mascot can make in a team’s encourage school spirit. and not eating or drinking for performance.” “I would say the best thing long periods of time.

Recent legacy revealed Looking at changing principals MARY ANN JIANG business manager

MR. KEN HOLDT, music teacher, right, takes the orchestra’s attendance alongside Mr. David Smarelli, orchestra director. Holdt transferred to SHS this year after teaching four years of music class at Symmes Elementary. He graduated from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and is currently working on his masters in choral conducting at Floriday State. At SHS, he teaches Piano I, Guitar I, assists with chamber orchestra, and directs the mixed and chamber chorus with Ms. Dawn Stone. He is also involved with extracurricular choirs Madrigal and SWEET. This spring, he will be a musical director in Aves Theatre’s production West Side Story, specializing in vocals. “You can come see me if you’re looking for a way to plug into the music program,” said Holdt.


ves Theatre recieves national recognition warded best high school musical in state

JACK WANG staff writer

Last summer, USA WEEKEND selected some of the finest high school musicals of 2007 in the nation. After careful reviews of over 700 entries and filing over thousands of posters, photos, and local newspapers, 55 productions were honored. One national winner, four runners-up, and one honorable mention from each state were chosen. As for Ohio, Aves Theatre’s spring production of The Secret Garden, based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic novel, was named as the best high school musical. The play consisted of a small cast of 20, although over 100 students auditioned. With over 300 scores of music and the theatre’s first automated rotating set, the musical was a huge success. “I learned more from that show than I have from any other that I have ever been a part of,” said Riley Able, 11. The production team saw the ad for a competition in USA WEEKEND and took advantage of this great opportunity to showcase nationally. Sophomore Josh Goldman and junior Aliza Weinberger, with the help of parent volunteer Susan Johnstal, submitted the entry. “The four performance of the Broadway classic were the culmination of two years of team-building and technique-refining, of friendship, dedication, spirit, and unbridled passion for theatre. Sycamore actors and actresses showed their true colors, practicing hours on end to perform 30 songs worth of professional quality music,” said Goldman. Goldman was in charge of publicity on the production crew and was part of the program, playing Lt. Shaw. He was involved with the theatre during freshman year and is now in Acting III. Aves Theatre’s astonishing performance in April also won an unprecedented ten Cappies Awards, including “Best Musical” out of 29 other high schools in Greater Cincinnati. The theatre gained tremendous recognition from the state. Director of the play and theatre department chair, John Whapham is very proud of the students and their performances in all aspects of the play. “It’s great to be recognized, we are excited for the recognition and awarded by Cappies, but the show itself is the real award,” said Whapham.

Within the past decades, our school has transitioned through seven different principals. Their departures are responded to with feelings of disappointment or indifference from students hoping to see a principal to the point of their graduation. However, another perspective shows that the decision to leave is not a form of abandonment.

Bigger dreams

“Sycamore hires people who are very intelligent, have lots of drive and ambition,” said Mrs. Cindy Parrott, science department head. Administrators here are highly qualified individuals who move up the strata to affect more students’ education, and eventually ascend to the top of the educational ladder. A fitting example can be found in Superintendent Dr. Adrienne James. Since 1980, Dr. James has been pouring herself into teaching. She was promoted to assistant principal in 1988 at Blue Ash Elementary, and four years later, was in charge of the school. In 2003, James moved into central administration. Her advancement through the school system demonstrates the path educators may take when they want to be in a position with greater responsibility. “Their experience and expertise make them sought-after candidates for administrative positions, so they are frequently presented with excellent professional opportunities,” said Mrs. Connie Smith, English teacher. Former Principal Kenji Matsudo was an asset here, but was meant to go further. As assistant superintendent of Madeira Schools, it is only a matter of time before he advances further up.

Reality of Sycamore

The frequent farewells that weave this school’s administra-

tive history are rare when looking at other local schools. This explains Effron and Associates’, educational consultants in Cincinnati, choice to rate Sycamore as the hardest school to serve in as principal. Walnut Hills was rated second and Mason third. The current principals of each school have been at the helm for over ten years and four years respectively. These schools are competitors with Sycamore in an array of programs. “I think one reason people stay so long is that the experience is so rewarding from an educational and professional standpoint since you’re working with exceptional staff and students,” said Mr. Mark Motz, director of communications and publications at St. Xavier High School, where one principal has served for the past ten years.

Job description

How do principals influence students so that their departure actually matters? The reason behind Effron and Associate’s analysis is that at each of the listed schools, the programs are so vast and community expectations so high that being a principal is especially difficult. A principal’s work involves taking care of the budget, being the ultimate decision maker, interacting with parents, hiring and evaluating teachers, and though unwritten, being “the face of Sycamore.” While principals have the ultimate say-so, the faculty keep the building running, and teachers and counselors provide consistent guidance and instruction. Our community can boast of consistency in all these areas. The better question may be where principals are going, and what those places have to offer that would make principals leave such a great position here at the high school.

V.S. Racing for

2008 elections WENJUN ZHANG news chief

The 2008 elections are a first in history. Diverse candidates and critical issues make the year 2008 a crucial point in our development. Students have a duty to understand and partake in our nation’s future. Already, there is a buzz about the elections because of two unique candidates: Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton. They are the first African American and the first woman to try for the democratic nomination. Obama, a senator from Illinois, announced that he would fix problems like poor schools, oil dependence, and economic failures. He wants to bring the troops home from Iraq by March 2008. However, Obama’s lack of prolonged experience may prove to be a factor in the elections. Clinton, the former 1st lady and a senator from New York, is “in to win” as she says. She wants to reduce our deficit, make the economy energy independent, and has an aggressive health care plan. She promises to bring a “right end” to the Iraqi war. As of now, CNN election polls show that Clinton has a 39% lead in the popularity polls for the democratic primary. Obama is at second with 20% in the polls. On the Republican side, former New York mayor Rudi Giuliani has a 27% lead in the opinion polls. Giuliani was the mayor that led New York through 9/11. He has a very liberal attitude towards social issues such as gay rights, abortion, and gun control. Following is Republican candidate Fred Thompson at 26%. Thompson was an actor on Law and Order and a commentator on ABC. In regards to his policy on Iraq, he does not want to immediately withdraw our troops. These four candidates are now leading the popularity polls. There is still a while until the primary elections in the spring of next year, but already, candidates are campaigning and raising money. The scandals have also started. Norman Hsu, a major fundraiser for the Democratic Party, was discovered to be a long-time fugitive. Hsu fled from a 1992 fraud sentencing, and escaped to Hong Kong. He returned to the states in the 1990’s, and in 2003, he entered politics by raising money for the Democratic Party. By 2007, he was an important bundler (finance raiser) for Hilary Clinton. He’d raised $100,000 for her campaign before finally being caught. After his arrest, Clinton promptly refunded all the money he had raised. Hsu is on trial right now for his charges. On a lighter note, many presidential candidates are starting to get their commercials on the air. Obama is noted in particular for his heavy usage of the Internet to promote himself. Commercials will soon air in Ohio. Be sure to tune in next month for another round of election information and news.




Jena Six trials bring racial tensions to light

Public outcry against apparent injustice DAPHNE HSU


staff writer

t has been 44 years since Martin Luther King Jr. called for blacks and whites to coexist. His dream has not yet been realized, as evidenced by the Jena Six trials. “It is ridiculous that such blatant racism exists in our country today. That these boys are facing attempted murder charges when nobody was badly hurt is a disgrace to the justice system of the United States,” said Dana Reinhart, 11. The trials have their roots at Jena High School in Jena, Louisiana where white students customarily sat together under a large tree in the school courtyard. In August of last year, a black freshman asked the school’s principal if he could sit under the so-called “white tree.” The principal told the student he could sit wherever he wanted. The next day, three nooses were found hanging from the tree in the courtyard. An investigation found three white boys on a rodeo team guilty of what the administrators termed a prank. The boys only received in-school suspensions. An impromptu assembly was called on September 6. District Attorney Reed Walters was asked to speak to the school, with black students sitting on one side and whites on the other. When he said, “With one stroke of my pen, I can make your life disappear,” it is reported that he looked directly at the black students. He and Jena school board members deny this action.

Violence continues

On December 1, five black youths tried to enter a party attended mainly by whites. One of the five, 16 year-old Robert Bailey, was attacked. The following day, Bailey and a white boy who had been at the party had a confrontation at a local convenience store. The boy ran to his car to retrieve a shotgun. Bailey and his friends managed to take the gun away from him.

photo by

The Jena Six incident has sparked a debate of the justice of the ensuing trials. This rally, held in Jena, Louisiana, was in support of the individuals arrested for attacking a white classmate. Many feel that the charges made have been disproportionate to the crime.

Bailey refused to return it and brought it home. He was eventually charged with theft of a firearm, second-degree robbery, and disturbing the peace. The student who procured the gun was never charged. The following Monday, 17 year-old Justin Barker, a white student, reportedly bragged about the convenience store incident, and stated that Bailey had been beaten by a white man at the party on Friday. Later in the day, Bailey, along with Mychal Bell, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis, Theo Shaw, and an unidentified minor assaulted Barker.

Charges pressed, protested

The “Jena Six,” were arrested and charged with aggravated assault. The charges were increased to attempted second-degree murder by Walters, provoking outcry from the Jena black community and all over the nation. Protesting that the charges are disproportional to the crime, groups supporting the Jena Six have been created in cities and on Facebook.

2008 campaign first of its kind:


Candidates connect with young voters

calendar chief

The 2008 presidential election is to be held November 4, 2008, and is the 55th consecutive election. The election will mark the first time since 1928 when there is neither an incumbent president nor an incumbent vice president running for the party’s presidential nomination. Candidates for the Democratic Party include Joe Biden, U.S. Senator from Delaware, Hilary Clinton, Senator from New York and former first lady, Christopher Dodd, Senator from Connecticut, John Edwards, former Senator from North Carolina and 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate, Mike Gravel, former Senator from Alaska, Dennis Kucinich, U.S. Representative from Ohio, Barack Obama, Senator from Illinois, and Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico and former Secretary of Energy. The Republican Party looks ahead for Sam Brownback, Senator from Kansas, Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, Mike Huckabee,

former governor of Arkansas, Duncan Hunter, Representative from California, John McCain, Senator from Arizona, Ron Paul, Representative from Texas, Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, Tom Tancredo, representative from Colorado, and Fred Thompson, former Senator form Tennessee. Some third party candidates include Don J. Grundmann and Elaine Brown. Many of the presidential candidates have attempted to connect with young voters using YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook. Currently, Paul and Obama hold the lead with most actively courting the Internet. On August 25-28, 2008, the Democratic National Convention will be held in Denver, Colorado. From September 1-4, 2008, the Republican National Convention will be held in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

WLW offends Hispanics, Dunn Nation’s station in hot water JARED KAMRASS

sports editor

The Nation’s Station is making waves other than the ones they broadcast on 50,000 watts. One of the nation’s most powerful signals has recently offended Reds player LF Adam Dunn as well as the regional Hispanic community. First, the station put up billboards in May referring to the station as “the Big Juan,” attempting to make a tongue and cheek reference to their slogan “the Big One.” The billboard was complete with a Hispanic looking man and a donkey draped in the colors of the Mexican flag. Recently, WLW allowed a station promo to run featuring “how to talk to an illegal immigrant.” The phrases were first in Spanish, then translated by a voice over. The sentences ran the gamut from advising immigrants to telling people they were Swedish exchange students to sending caution about using the hedge clippers around the garden. The Cincinnati Hispanic Community has arranged a meeting with ClearChannel, 700WLW’s parent company, to discuss how the radio conglomerate would react to WLW’s actions. General Manager Chuck Frederick is feeling the heat as well. After the two events, only months apart, the

Hispanic community is calling for his ouster. Frederick explained the commercial as a mistake that should have never been aired and is investigating why it went out to 38 states and Canada over the air. In September, midday host Bill Cunningham alluded that Dunn was playing drunk after allowing a ball to roll through his legs in a game against the Mets over Labor Day weekend. Adam Dunn went to the media in the Reds’ locker room. “Say I stink, I suck, whatever,” said Dunn. “But when my mom’s friend hears it and calls her, then (my mom) calls me crying her eyes out . . . That’s over the line. People believe that stuff.” Cunningham later apologized to Dunn but the incident was just one in a string of events this summer that has put the station in the news. In a possibly unrelated incident, WLW raked in another number one ranking in Cincinnati.

Demonstrations have been held in cities and on college campuses all over the nation in support of the boys. Civil rights activists Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton joined a crowd of 20,000 protestors in Jena on September 20, the day Bell was set to be sentenced. A petition to the U.S. Department of Justice on the internet claims over 200,000 signatures. The Jena Six trials have become so controversial because they show that prejudices and racism are still alive in the United States. Walters agreed to reduce the charges for Bell to aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to do so on his first day of trial on June 26, 2007. On September 4, prosecutors dropped the attempted murder charge to battery in Jones’ and Shaw’s cases. Bailey pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. Bell’s conviction was overturned on September 14 in a Louisiana appeals court. This leaves Purvis as the only youth yet to be arraigned. The sixth will be charged in juvenile court.




D E S O Lunch policies EXP How to spend $3 every day still eating variety deli

hot options

hot lunch


side fridge


side fridge

A Cashier collects money from lunch, though many students have refrained from buying food at school due to increased prices. This year the cafeteria has raised their prices due to high costs of buying food wholesale, especially the newly implemented healthy choices. Also, the school made the decision to carry lowcalorie beverages, much to the chagrin of its clients.

fro yo

Step 1: Entrée l

Two choices in hot lunch

changes daily, but menu is online

Hot options


e.g. pizza, drumstick, shrimp or chicken poppers, cheese sticks, chicken sandwiches, hamburgers l l

Deli sandwich Salad, wrap in side fridge

*entrée must include protein

Step 2: Two Sides l

Many choices in hot lunch

again, changes daily but has potato

Sides cart


e.g. fruit, juice, baby carrots, jello, salad w/dressing, coleslaw, applesauce

Step 3: Milk l


regular, chocolate, strawberry

Extra: à la Carte l

Side fridge

e.g. pie, yogurt, big salads l l

Drinks other than milk Hot options

e.g. baked potato

Most of Snack Shack Frozen Yogurt l Chips, cookies at checkout l l


for entire district, ‘06-’07

TOTAL: $1,910,003.37 gov. $$

where $ comes from where $ goes

Salaries and overtime

food sales


Questions about prices, choices get answered

photo by jill cohen

JILL COHEN a&e chief


eventy-cent cookies, miniature Powerades, fries no longer included with lunch… buying a reasonable meal at this school has become equivalent to renting a reasonable apartment in NYC – seemingly impossible. “I’m sure raising the prices was partially justified, but it would have been nice if they had explained why,” said Ellen Farr, 12. Much of the student body was baffled by recent lunchroom policies. Why did the prices get bigger? Why did the drinks get smaller? Although these changes may initially seem unfair, the nutritional department may have had some valid reasons behind their actions.

Lunch can be cheap

First of all, spending $3 on lunch is feasible, so long as one has enough willpower to bypass the chips and cookies. Up 25 cents from last year, the meal option still includes an entrée, two sides and a milk. (see sidebar) As for the à la carte (i.e. cannot be included in the meal) items, such as beverages other than milk and sides without adequate nutritional value, prices are likely to be more expensive at school than at the supermarket. “Prices are way too high, that’s why I get the regular lunch,” said Michael Dobler, 9.

Balanced budget Employee benefits $314,473.62

including health, dental, life insurance

Supplies and materials $885,316.94

food and paper products


Perhaps the most critical factor in prices is that the cafeteria receives zero funding from the district and yet must maintain solvency. It collects money in two ways: revenue from food sales and government reimbursement. Since 1946 public schools’ cafeterias have been governed by the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), which provides federal and state subsidies for each meal served. To qualify as a “meal,” combinations must meet various nutritional requirements about vitamins and calorie distribution. Mainly, this program is intended to compensate for free and reduced-price meals, thereby providing breakfast and lunch to the 200 students in the district whose household incomes qualify them for this aid. Last year these rebates accounted for about 14% of the department’s costs, and it was responsible for earning the rest through sales. “In other words, we run seven independent restaurants [throughout the district] and must operate like a business,” said Barbara Dun-

can, Child Nutrition Director. This means more than just buying food and setting it out; these “restaurants” must also make room in their budgets for purchasing supplies, maintaining equipment, paying employees and providing them benefits such as health care. (see sidebar for breakdown.) Ultimately the cafeteria is a non-profit organization, yet it must avoid losing money. How do high prices fit in? Evidently, the cost of food has climbed everywhere, not just the lunch room.

Expensive groceries

Tried brown-bagging, but realized that even Kroger seems overpriced? This reflects a national trend in pricey foods – experts have seen a 4% increase in groceries this year and expect a continued rise – which of course manifests itself in the cafeteria. One source is the astronomical price of gas. (If $3 per gallon dents students’ wallets, just imagine how costly it is for a farmer to ship thousands of pounds of produce.) Furthermore, corn is not only found on the cob. The crop and its by-products are found in more food products than one would think, and are also important as livestock feed. In addition, corn can be used to produce ethanol, an alternative energy source. This puts it in high demand and low supply, making it expensive for cattle, cows and chicken to eat… and more expensive for meat, milk and eggs to be eaten. In fact, a gallon of milk is actually more expensive than that gallon of gas. What does this mean for school lunches? The School Nutrition Association reports that one-third of school districts increased meal prices in the past year. After all, these extra costs add up: two cents here, a penny there, and all of a sudden the 25 cent increase on a lunch starts to make sense.

Healthy options

In an effort to supply nutritious yet tasty food, the department decided to switch their brand of fries. The new choice is made from gold Yukon potatoes and contain 25% less fat and zero trans fats. Last spring these were given a trial run. “The comments we received were very favorable, and the students said they would be willing to pay more for them,” said Duncan.

Wholesale the new fries are twice the price, so the cafeteria now charges extra to include them as a side. However, there is always some type of potato included with the hot lunch, and often this option is curly fries. Also new this year, the line on the left side is devoted solely to serving custom-made deli sandwiches. Customers can choose wheat or white bread, up to three meats – turkey, roast beef, salami, pepperoni, and tuna – and add lettuce, tomato, onions, or cheese. Despite efforts to improve the healthiness of school lunches, many are left unsatisfied. “There’s so much unhealthy food in the cafeteria,” said Sara Rabin, 10. “A lot of people pack because of it.”

‘Skinny’ beverages

Child obesity is bad, Coke Zero is good – at least, this is what the state legislature decided when it proposed House Bill 254. The bill originated in recommendations from Alliance For a Healthier Generation (a national organization that fights childhood obesity), and several states have passed similar legislation. The most pertinent section restricts the sizes and calories per serving of beverages sold in school cafeterias and vending machines, hence the small Powerades and Diet Cokes. The district decided it wise to enact these procedures early, though the law has not yet been passed. Once all regular-sized drinks left from last year are sold, the new supply will comply with this decision. “The regular high calorie soft drinks will be disappearing from all schools. It is just that Sycamore is ahead of most in seeing this instituted,” said Duncan.

Bottom line

The school cafeteria is a nonprofit organization, which does receive some government funding to compensate for free and reduced price lunches, but must offset the majority of its costs with revenue from sales. Prices have risen due to increased wholesale costs and the introduction of healthier options. The nutrition department strives simultaneously to operate its business and to act in the best interests of the students. Unfortunately, customers who feel mistreated are left with very few options – either pack daily or open up their wallets.




letter to the editor


China, India rising to power How they will rival U.S. as superpowers DAVID DANNENBERG opinion chief

The rapid modernization of China and India is an alarming trend that will certainly challenge the supremacy of the United States as the world’s only superpower. But why is so little being done about it? To find out, one must look back in history and find similar situations, and compare the similarities and contrast the differences. The situation that most readily comes to mind is the Cold War. At the time, there were two- not one, superpowers. In the future, there too will be more than one superpower. The difference between the Cold War and the emergence of the new Asian superpowers, however, is in the people involved. The Cold War was fought mostly by the Greatest Generation, who had known intimately the importance of international competition. Most of the American leaders during the Cold War had fought in World War II or the Korean War, and took the prospect of losing ground to Soviet Russia very seriously. In stark contrast, Generation Y, or the Internet Generation (born 1980-2000), grew up with little or no need for international competition. For the entirety of their existence, America has been the world’s only superpower. There was never any dire need to compete on an international scale, and as a result, there is little motivation to do so. They have grown up knowing only instant gratification and endless possibility. It would be unthinkable to many Gen-Yers for multiple countries to exist that can dominate the global economy, politics, and society as a whole in the same manner that America can. But during the Cold War, this outlandish notion had manifested itself in the former Soviet Union. It was no less than an undeniable fact at that time. And if it happened once, it can happen again. Indeed, it has. This time, however, America has created the monster. Through outsourcing and technological innovation, we have managed to create hyper-efficient speed demons that we rely on for the low prices that we crave, the instantaneous, up-to-date, accurate information that we demand, and the incredible efficiency that is standard in business today. So little has been done because we rely on these superpowers-to-be for so much. But who is it that originally bestowed upon India and China the immense power that they currently possess? The baby boomers. The most fiscally successful generation in American history has unwittingly stabbed America in the back by capitalizing off of her insatiable desires for convenience and affordability. By outsourcing everything from drive-thru orders to medical test analysis, the baby boomers have provided the American public with a deeply entrenched standard of convenience and affordability that it cannot live without, and as a result, they have ensured that the meek (Internet Generation, woefully unprepared for international competition) truly shall inherit the earth. Or will they even do this much?



Dear Leaf, When I was notified that I could write this letter, I was thrilled, because it gave me the opportunity to say a few words. First, I would like to thank the majority of the student body. Together, we successfully pulled off a MAJOR event, peacefully, through word of mouth (and our friends from Kinko’s and Facebook). Second, I would like to thank Mr. Davis for listening to us and being very helpful. I would also like to thank Mrs. Ulland for asking us to make the film, which at least showed the higher cost of fries, though it seemed to stray from the path of explanation. Finally, I would like to clear a few things up regarding the boycott. The boycott was simply an effective way to get things done. It was not an attack on the school, lunch staff, or anything or anyone. It was a peaceful, effective way to be heard. With that, I want to say congratulations to the students. You guys rock, and this just proves what kind of impact we can make. Good luck and go Aves! - Kelsey Tremblay, 12

image by michela tindera


““ ““

What do you think about the lunch prices and the boycott?

Why would you want to increase the food prices as kids are getting older and eating more? - Colin Murray, 9 I think the prices are way too high. We’re teenagers and we shouldn’t have to pay seven dollars for a lunch. - Anna Smith, 12 I usually pack so the boycott didn’t really affect me. - Kelsey Beck, 11 It’s your free will. No one’s making you buy french fries. - Mr. Kevin Wittman, Social Studies teacher

staff editorial


hen a situation that is not in our favor comes along, it is almost second nature to immediately take action against it. The school lunch boycott was an example of such a situation: some students were upset about the rise in school lunch prices, so they started a boycott. This point should be made clear: it is great that the student body felt the need to unite and speak out against what they felt was a wrongdoing, and the administration was proud of the students for handling it well. However, was it necessary for students to start off with a boycott? What seems to have happened is that some students immediately took action against the school prices through the boycott, without fully understanding why the school prices went up in the first place. The school does not profit from our lunch money; they either break even or lose money. When the price of food goes up, the price of lunches has to go up. What some students feel is that the rise in lunch prices was done arbitrarily. But the school did not just choose to raise prices—in order to make sure that there was enough healthy food available to the students, it had to raise prices. And with the rise in the cost of milk, potatoes and other food items, the prices of lunch rose to ensure enough food for everyone. Instead of starting off with a boycott, it may have been more effective if some students chose to talk to the nutrition department or administration first about why prices rose. After knowing why the prices rose, students may have been able to make a more informed decision about whether a boycott was necessary. Although students should indeed speak out against things they do not agree with, and the boycott was a peaceful and effective demonstration of student frustrations, it may be more reasonable—and effective—for students to consider the reasoning behind decisions before taking action.

Editor-in-chief: Jennifer Lee Associate editor: Alexa Fogler Managing editor: Kate Moore Business managers: Mary Ann Jiang & Gabirose Keeton

Sycamore High School 7400 Cornell Road Cincinnati, OH 45242

Mission Statement: The Sycamore Leaf, the official newspaper of Sycamore High School, serves as an educational tool in the training of student journalists to provide information and editorial leadership concerning school, national, and world issues, to provide a public forum for the exchange of ideas and viewpoints, and to give coverage to newsworthy events directly related to the diverse school population. Editorial Policy: Although students work under the guidance of a professional faculty member, the content is ultimately determined by the student staff and should reflect all areas of student interest, including topics about which there may be dissent and controversy. Students cannot publish material that is obscene, libelous, or will cause “a substantial disruption of the educational process.” Content that may stimulate heated debate or


discussion is not included in this definition. The Sycamore Leaf operates as an open forum for the healthy, robust exchange of ideas. Opinions expressed in the editorials are those of the Sycamore 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. Jardine’s mailbox, dropped off in Room 115, or e-mailed to: sycamoreleaf@ The Sycamore 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 Sycamore Leaf’s complete editorial policies can be found at http://goaves.

News Wenjun Zhang Sanya Dosani Opinion David Dannenberg Melodie Jeng Humor Rob Friedman Feature Libby Henning Sharon Wagner Diversity Bobby Jungerwirth Rashmi Borah A&E Casey Manning Jill Cohen Sports Nadia Khan Will Johnston Spotlight Jacy Cagle Michela Tindera

Staff Writers Tyler Albl Brittanny Argyriou Noa Bellilti Kim Bernie Karen Buenavides Leah Burgin Jacy Cagle Jane Chernyak Electra Chronis Sam Cleary Ben Dhiman Ben Estes Alex Gennett Amanda Goldner Samantha Grubbs Elizabeth Henning Elizabeth Hoopes Daphne Hsu Kye Isaac Molly Johnson Jared Kamrass Jacob Katz Mandi Kipner

Ashleigh Louderback Maria Marballi J.D. Macejko Matthew Mendelsohn Adam Merz Emily Mondroe Liz Naugher Jake Newton Frank Pan David Pyles Kavya Reddy Vanessa Roland Evan Romansky Mark Rubio Matthew Scheer Kortini Scott Brynn Sharp Matthew Slovin Brandon Sosna Jeremy Spiegel Amy Streeter Garrett Steinbuch Michela Tindera Jack Wang

Hong Liang Yu Ellean Zhang Mini-Mag Marissa Gunnarsson Jack Liu Photographer Jeremy McDaniel Adviser Cheralyn Jardine About us Professional memberships: •Columbia Scholastic Press Association. •Great Lakes Interscholastic Press Association. •Journalism Association of Ohio Schools. • Journalism Education Association. •National Scholastic High School Press Association. •Ohio Professional Writers (National Federation of Women Writers). •Quill & Scroll International Journalism Honorary.




Senior year: Excitement, hard work await senior class JANE CHERNYAK staff writer

photo by sam cleary

THE COLLEGE AND Career Center serves as a very useful tool for students who need information about colleges, scholarships, and job opportunities. Here, Ben Keefe, 10, is receiving a college pamphlet from Mrs. Kaye Gaffney, who has varying types of brochures and information regarding many different colleges. Freshmen and sophomores are just as welcome as juniors or seniors to stop in and discuss college plans or request information.

Never too early to begin college search Starting before others can reduce stress, help narrow desired field of study


RASHMI BORAH diversity editor

es, I am a sophomore. And yes, I began my college visits in eighth grade, and have a nice collection of admission papers and flyers from the seven different universities that I have visited so far. Is that odd? Okay, that may be a little extreme. But thinking about college earlier than the summer before senior year is not. “Freshmen and sophomores should not panic about college, but they need to work hard in their classes to get a good base for the college process,” said Mrs. Kaye Gaffney, College and Career specialist. After high school, there are almost infinite possibilities a person can take—more possibilities than can be pondered in a threemonth time period. And logically, the earlier a person starts thinking about college, the more they can compare colleges and reduce any panicking. Some careers need thought beginning from freshman year. “Careers such as medicine and engineering may need thought starting from freshman

or sophomore year in order to develop [an appropriate course schedule],” said Gaffney. If students have some sort of idea as to where they may want to go after high school in terms of a major or career, it may be easier to select appropriate courses that may be beneficial after high school. What should freshmen and sophomores think about while they are in school? “Grades are very important for freshmen and sophomores…college admissions officers [also] look at how much a student is involved around the high school, [especially] in leadership roles,” said Gaffney. The College Board has a suggested college “flight plan,” which begins in the sophomore year. In the fall, sophomores are encouraged to begin thinking about college plans, and preparing an appropriate course schedule. They are also encouraged to attend college fairs in their area, and take the PSAT/ NMSQT. Sophomores are also encouraged to take an SAT II subject test at the end of their sophomore year in a subject they did well in.

The summer following sophomore year, students are encouraged to begin college visits near their place of residence or vacation. True, these suggestions set by the College Board are just suggestions, but if followed, they will reduce the stress that is so typical in students who postpone college consideration until junior or senior year. Some may also argue that freshmen and sophomores may not know what they want to do after high school, and that committing to a particular path might be a waste of time if a student changes their mind. But if a student begins looking at possibilities early on, they may find out that what they originally wanted to do may not be right for them. The earlier a student begins pondering about what to do after high school, the more time they have to weigh options. It is true that at fourteen or fifteen years of age, not everyone knows exactly what they want to do after high school. But it is never too early to begin wondering where to go. After all, if one does not know where they are going, they will never get there.

Senior year: the year every high school student looks forward to. Knowing graduation is only a few months away instills a one-of-a-kind spirit into the senior class. The last year of high school is filled with nostalgia, fun and hard work, not to mention applying to all those colleges. Early dismissal, late arrival, senior treats, senior spring break, and graduation are only a few treats that seniors are rewarded with. However, senior year is still full of homework, tests, and papers. “Senior year is exciting, but its a lot of hard work. I hope second semester will be more fun,” said Sonya Lipkina,12. So being a senior comes with its rewards, but it also come with the dreaded college application process. Choosing where to spend the next four years is a big decision, and can obviously affect the rest of your life. Along with the numerous perks of being a senior comes more responsibility. As many of us are soon to be adults, our duties increase in number. Take the time senior year to enjoy your friends, family, home, and current living environment, because before you know it, the time will come go away to college. “I’m excited to graduate and go to college and pursue what I want to do, but it will be hard to leave all my friends and everything,” said Megan Taylor,12. Just looking through your daily mail you can see the vast college options, but how do you know which university is best for you? Part of senior year is going on long-awaited college visits. Traveling out of Cincinnati to walk around a campus, meet students, and miss school is one of the advantages of being a senior. Take advantage of the school’s college visit policy, and look at as many universities as you can. Finding a college can be a fun experience as long as you take the senioritis approach to it, and delay doing your applications until after your visits. “The college application process is so draining, I don’t even want to think about it. I wish there was a way for me not to have to do my applications,” said Sara Sadat-Hosseiny,12. Being on the last lap of the race is a great feeling, and being able to say that you survived high school is an accomplishment many look forward to. Having early dismissal or late arrival allows for more free time for seniors, who, after three years of high school and numerous credit hours, deserve it. Everyone remembers their high school years, especially their senior year, for the lasting memories they made and the excitement they had. “High school was a wonderful experience, but I’m really looking forward to college. I cant wait!” said Jessa Ramsey,12



Life after



Legillimus Futurus! Fear not, fans! The spirit of Harry Potter lives on. Look for these Potter-themed attractions during the next few years.

Amusement Scheduled to open in 2009, the Wizarding World of Harry will open at the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida. With 20 acres of land, it will feature rides and attractions based on Harry Potter locations.

Film Although they are no rival to the books, the movies always provide a refreshing new way to experience Harry Potter. The sixth movie has already been scheduled to be released on November 21, 2008.


news chief

he moment I picked up J.K Rowling’s first Harry Potter novel, I was hooked. My nine-year-old imagination was captured by the magic and excitement of the wizarding world. As I got older, I thought I might one day outgrow Harry Potter. That one day, the fantasy and enchantment would wear off, and Harry Potter would be reduced to a lightning-bolt-shaped imprint on my childhood memories. It has been eight years, and that day still has not arrived. If anything, my obsession has grown worse. I awaited the release of the novels, saw the movies at midnight, and went on never-ending Harry Potter-related Wikipedia journeys. After the release of Harry Potter Scene It?, however, I gave up on trivia games, finding them insultingly easy. The final novel was without a question my most anticipated release of the summer. However, at the same time, I dreaded its arrival. This “Pottermania” was the essence of my youth. I had a feeling that letting it go would be much harder than turning from page 758 to 759 in the final installation of the series, The Deathly Hallows. I lament when I think that never again will I engage in a heated debate about the exact distinction between a spell and a charm. I mourn at the thought of never attending another midnight book party. I grieve for the late nights I spent reading The Goblet of Fire for the sixth, tenth, twelfth time. I arrived at Barnes and Nobles at 11 p.m. on the day of the final book’s release, decked out in my handmade wizard’s robes (complete with the Hogwarts insignia) and magic wand in hand. I waited in line. I purchased my book. And just like that, an era had ended. I, for one, will miss Harry Potter, probably forever. Fortunately Harry’s impact on popular culture ensures that his legacy will live on. After all, he is the Boy Who Lived.

Theater A Harry Potter musical is being planned to run in London’s West End. Said to feature “spectacular flying scenes” and live showdowns with Voldemort, the musical is scheduled for release in 2008.


AFTER NINE YEARS, everyone’s favorite teen wizard bids goodbye to his many fans. Those who have closely followed Harry’s journey from the very beginning are especially sad to see this series come to an end. Lucky for them, the road does not have to end here.

J.K. Rowling has officially announced that she will publish a Harry Potter Encyclopedia in an attempt to satiate the seemingly endless appetites of her numerous fans. The Encyclopedia will consist mainly of her notes on characters and the fate of the wizarding world.

all images by sanya dosani





JILL COHEN a&e chief

Unscramble the letters, then write one in each box to form four common words.



ALOFT DAARPE Now, take each circled letter and rearrange to answer this question:


Since her date stunk up the dance floor, she told him to



grid form


ROB FRIEDMAN fun&games chief

8 5


5 9


6 8 2



7 1

8 6 2

9 5 1 1 7 3 6

4 6 3

Fill in each box so 5 9 7 that every row, 2 column, and box 6 3 5 has the numbers 4 1 1-9. Make sure that 5 1 there are no repeats! 3 7

photo courtesy of james austrow

photo courtesy of matthew weller

MATTHEW WELLER, 12 pours water on his hands in public in Japan. During his study abroad, he immersed himself in Japanese culture as he lived with a host family in Japan for six weeks over the summer.


photo by matthew weller



JAMES AUSTROW, 12, poses with students in a class in Japan. During his stay, he and the students who went to Japan went to school, as well. After the experience, the students left with memories to last a lifetime.

Students win scholarship to spend summer in Japan making lasting memories

Q&A with Matthew Weller



diversity chief

magine spending six weeks living with a family in a foreign country and immersing oneself in another culture. This past summer, three students from Mrs. Chikako Pierson’s intermediate Japanese classes, James Austrow, 12, Rachel Greenberg, 12, and Matthew Weller, 12, were awarded full scholarships by the program Youth For Understanding. “Each winter for the past eight years, I have recommended to some juniors…that they should apply to the Youth For Understanding program,” said Pierson. The Youth for Understanding program is an annual exchange program that places students in a home-stay environment; each student attended a normal Japanese school while they were stay-

It is a “private, non-profit educational organization dedicated to promoting international understanding and world peace through exchange programs for high school students.” according to the Youth for Understanding website. “I plan to continue studying Japanese in college. I’m [also] considering possibly living and working in Japan as an adult.” said Austrow. Austrow, Greenberg, and Weller immersed themselves in a Japanese lifestyle, a key step in reaching fluency in that language and familiarity with the nation. “I would absolutely recommend it [to future students]. There is nothing better for improving your grasp of a language than actually living in its native coun-

[The trip] was definitely a shock, but in a good way. There really isn’t anything like suddenly living in a completely different culture and somehow having to manage to assimilate to some degree.

ing with the family. “I applied for two scholarships, Japan-America Friendship Scholars (JAFS) and the Japan-U.S. Sentae Exchange (JUSSE). The latter is extremely compettetive, so I won the JAFS one. It still wasn’t very easy,” said Austrow.

- James Austrow, 12

try. I learned a lot about myself, in addition to about the Japanese culture,” said Austrow. For them, Japanese, as a language as well as a way of life, will play a part in their future.

was the scholarship was the trip like? How Q. What Q. What program and how did you hear was the overall experience? about it?

trip was absolutely wonscholarship of which the A.The A.The derful. However, what made three of us won was the Japan America Friendship Scholarship, or otherwise known as JAFS. We won the scholarship through the Youth for Understanding organization, which is the host for abroad scholarships all around the world. We heard about it through our Japanese teacher, Pierson-sensei, except I first found out about it through my friend Shannon Powell, 12.

it as special for me as it did was my host family. My host mom is about 65-70 years old, and she is the greatest mom I could ever have. She loves to climb mountains and watches Japanese soccer religiously. My host sister Ai is 30 years old and works at the town hall. All of her friends became my good friends.

Q.Are you continuing your Japa- Q. Would you recommend the nese studies, and what role do you think Japanese will play in your future?

program to future Japanese students?

Japanese studies, and really hope to get into a college that can allow me to do this, most likely OSU. My long term goal for this is to hopefully someday teach environmental science in Japan.

or study it in college, then you definitely need to go on a homestay. It helps in so many ways for understanding the Japanese culture immensely.

say that if you plan A.I definitely plan to continue my A. toI would go into Japanese AP and/

The International Student Reception was a lot of fun. It was great to meet people from other countries and it’s cool that they’re choosing to stay here at Sycamore. - Christina Noland, 12

image by rashmi borah

THE INTERNATIONAL STUDENT reception on September 20th was a success. Students from all the global language clubs, classes, as well as the foreign exchange students who are spending time at the school were able to get together and meet each other. In various clubs, the members had been working to prepare up until this reception. This event was successful in both uniting all the students of different cultures, and helping the foreign exchange students feel at ease with the students at the high school, as well as help the high school students get to know the foreign exchange students. Over chips, drinks and desserts, all the students had a chance to speak with each other on topics ranging from school to politics. As the school year progresses, the global language clubs will continue to help bring the students of the high school and those of other nations together.

feature How well do they know each other?



FROM THE LEFT: Amy Gordon, 10, Ellen Gordon, 10, Claire Gordon, 10, and Gina Gordon, 11. To most of the high school, the sisters are look-alikes (especially Amy, Ellen, and Claie, who are triplets), but those who have known the girls for a while have ways to tell them apart. We hope that these questions and answers will help with that.

The person she admires most: Our mom Real answer: Mom She wants her future career to be: Something in genetics Real answer: A geneticist Her most desired travel destination is: Hawaii Real answer: Hawaii In her opinion, her best quality is: Smart Real answer: Listening Her worst quality: Packrat Real answer: Short temper Her greatest fear: Heights Real answer: Heights The sibling she’s closest to: all 3 of us Real answer: Amy! Her best friend is: Katie Groneman Real answer: Katie Groneman Her favorite food is: Pasta Real answer: Skyline Her favorite teacher is/was: Mr. Rhodes Real answer: Mr. Rhodes






Gina on Amy

The person she admires most: Mom Real answer: My mom She wants her future career to be: Physical therapist Real answer: Physical therapist Her most desired travel destination is: Hawaii Real answer: Hawaii In her opinion, her best quality is: Laughing Real answer: Sense of Humor Her worst quality: Not turning the shower water down before turning it off Real answer: Procrastination Her greatest fear: Failing Real answer: Sharks The sibling she’s closest to: Gina Real answer: Claire & Ellen Her best friend is: Erin Kosel, 10 Real answer: Erin Kosel Her favorite food is: Spaghetti Real answer: Spaghetti Her favorite teacher is/was: Mrs. Kelly Real answer: Mr. Tanaka







Ellen on Claire

The person she admires most: Sydney Bristow [from Alias] Real answer: Sydney Bristow She wants her future career to be: Something in business Real answer: Business maybe Her most desired travel destination is: The mountains Real answer: Greece In her opinion, her best quality is: Funny Real answer: Organization Her worst quality: None! Real answer: I’m not patient at all! Her greatest fear: Birds! Real answer: Birds The sibling she’s closest to: Me Real answer: Ellen Her best friend is: Kat Rosenberg Real answer: Kat Rosenberg Her favorite food is: Mashed potatoes Real answer: Mashed potatoes Her favorite teacher is/was: Mrs. Bond Real answer: Mrs. Bond





Claire on Ellen

The person she admires most: Sydney Bristow! Real answer: Sydney Bristow She wants her future career to be: Nurse Real answer: Nurse Her most desired travel destination is: Beach Real answer: The beach In her opinion, her best quality is: friendliness Real answer: Friendly Her worst quality: Shyness Real answer: Biting my nails Her greatest fear: Dark Real answer: Being embarrassed in front of people The sibling she’s closest to: Me Real answer: Claire Her best friend is: Dani Tsevat (and me! [Claire]) Real answer: Claire Her favorite food is: Spaghetti Real answer: Strawberry ice cream Her favorite teacher is/was: Mr. Schwamberger Real answer: Mr. Schwamberger

x x

x x


Marching band aims high

BOA Super Regional preparation under way AMY STREETER


staff writer

he goal starts in August. For some it is two weeks before school starts, for others it is three weeks. The rookies have to learn the goal. This goal was reached last year by the marching band: to make finals at the hardest competition the marching band will face during any season. It is called Bands of America (BOA). Last year the marching band made it for the first time in the history of the band. Hopes are high as the day draws nearer. “I am pumped for the BOA super regional. We’ll get to show many schools how great the Sycamore Marching Band is,” said Paolo Gabriel, 11. In October, the marching band will be performing in two different types of BOA competitions. Again, the marching band will do something it has never done: compete in a BOA Super Regional. The marching band usually just goes to a Regional BOA. A limited number of marching bands come from our region and compete in one place.

This year on October 6 the marching band will be competing in Youngstown, Ohio BOA Regional Championships. A Super Regional is just expanded and more bands can compete. The marching band will be competing in the St. Louis, Mo. BOA Super Regional on October 19-20, 2007. “I cannot wait for BOA because I love the feeling of performing in a dome and watching all of the other bands,” said Ellen Farr, 12. “It is so neat to see a show that just amazed you because that band name will stick with you for the next couple years.” The marching band has lots of work they still need to do before then. Excitement is in the air as the dates draw closer. The rookies do not know what is in store but the upper classman are working hard to get them ready. “Our show has a lot of potential-- we just haven’t used all of it completely,” said Terence Southard, 11. “I’m excited for our BOAs, but especially for the super regional because it is the farthest we’ve gone in BOA competition.”

The marching band does not have any competitions before the BOA Regional Championships. All practicing is going into the two BOAs in October. The band will work on hitting each design on the field. Also the band will work on having the music match what is happening on the field to make the show more effective. “Yes, I think this show is very BOA-ish, and has as much--if not more potential--than [last year’s show] vertigo,” said Mr. Tim Graulty. “The band has progressed 500 times faster this year compared to last, which is why we need to start focusing on the little details (i.e. each individual). That is the only way to get better from where we are.” If the band works on what it needs to, it could make finals. Only hard work and time will tell if the Marching Band can live up to its high expectations. Last year the bar was raised and it is up to everyone to keep the bar up there.

Heap of the month pg 12 Senior Halloween

Amy on Gina

image by sharon wagner

Looking forward to

staff writer

this month in FEATURE

Meet Gordon sisters



pg 13

Roses are red Violets are blue Sugar is sweet And so are you.

Student poetry

pg 16



““ “ “ ““ “

What Sycamore thinks about ...

...Wednesday Early Release Days


staff writer


DANA BAHIR, 12 SITS atop her 1994 Nissan Altima. The car has several bumper stickers and a spot of missing paint on the hood, a missing muffler and a broken exahaust system. Not to mention no air conditioning.

I go to Chipotle with my friends, because the food is amazing. - John Stucker, 11 I go home and play badminton and dodgeball with my neighbors. - Matt Burke, 10 Early release lets me get home to Guitar Hero a little earlier. I’m going to beat Trogdor. - Mr. Greg Cole

Chaotic Schedules

Students comment on crazy agendas TYLER ALBL

staff writer

Do your homework as soon as you get home! - Marissa Lucian, 9

I totally exploit my planbook. - Kimberly Woolhiser, 11

Don’t get much sleep... I save all the fun stuff for the - Matt Weller, 12 weekend, it helps me focus. - Belinda Chiang, 11 image by

Heap of the month image by sam cleary

Dana Bahir, 12 - White 1994 Nissan Altima SAM CLEARY


staff writer

urchased in 2004, the car was offered to her dad for free, who paid for it anyway. “I can’t go out of the state,” said Dana Bahir, 12. When she does, her car runs down, loses parts and makes a bit “too much noise.” Bahir was on the highway recently when her muffler fell off. This senior’s ride is not exactly a Ferrari to the naked eye. She has lost a muffler, has a broken exhaust system, enough bumper stickers to cover the entire school, and no air conditioning. “In my car we have some rules, which are actually posted inside,” said Bahir. “The main rule is if you’re hot, roll down the window and if you’re cold, roll it up.”

Bahir’s car was repainted when it was first bought by her father. The only problem is, they missed a spot. On the front left-hand side of the hood, there is a pale shade of color where the paint just did not cover. Not only this, but the ’94 Altima has trouble starting, and mishaps are not as rare as it would seem. Everyone has a connection, a special bond with their car. Dana Bahir is no different, and she absolutely adores her Nissan. “Yes, I love it, it’s my baby,” said Bahir. For further questioning, we contacted Bahir’s long time friend, Becci Jahn, 12. “Dana’s car is a dope piece of metal that owns my heart,” Jahn said. Despite the car’s questionable performance and strange origins, Bahir’s white stallion seems to capture the hearts and souls of many automobile connoisseurs here.


sh the Ohio with other Jewi wn do e uis cr a th wi ar ye Kick off the school e region. Cincinnati and around th r te ea Gr er ov all m fro s 9th-12th grader aturing all hour moonlight cruise, fe o tw te iva pr a u yo ts ge Fifteen bucks st 75 people to RSVP fir e Th n! fu d an od fo , ing your favorite music, danc e Riverboat Landing! th m fro d an to n tio rta will get free bus transpo th advance reservation) wi n so er /p $5 se wi er th (o


for Jewish 9th-12th graders DATE

Saturday, October 6


Boat will board promptly at 8pm

PLACE: Bus to BB Riverboat Landing will board at Old Navy, Kenwood at 7:15 pm sharp, or meet at 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, no later than 8pm. COST:

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Enthusiasm grows as Senior Halloween nears

Seniors excited to reveal secret costume ideas JACY CAGLE


spotlight chief

s the month of October nears closer, seniors are preparing themselves for the one event they have been waiting for since freshman year: Senior Dress-up Day. The crazy and chaotic day is set to take place on October 31st. With all the preparation and planning that is put into each costume, seniors are sure to stand out during the school day with their funky outfits while scaring the underclassmen into hiding under the lunch tables. “I think it is a really fun idea to have senior Halloween because we all get to spend the day completely different from how we normally are,” said Christine Linz, 12. The phrase “completely different” is definitely included in seniors’ vocabulary when coming up with a costume idea. In past years, unheard of and absurd costumes have been worn, ranging from the solar system, to Michael Jackson, to a sloth. “I’ve seen seniors wear some pretty interesting costumes throughout the years, and I already have a few ideas for what I am going to wear next year,” said Anton Martynchenko, 11. Some seniors choose to dress up in groups, making it simple to be all three characters from a Rice Krispy box, a set of dominoes, or the cast from the hit movie Anchorman. “I remember that my freshman year two guys came in dressed as a trailer park couple; one of them was sitting on a toilet seat with his pants down while the other was spraying a can of air freshener,” said Aly Mazzei, 12. Despite the common idea of dressing up as a group, most seniors like to keep their costume ideas confidential until the day of the parade, where they then can finally reveal the well-thought-up outfits they have kept secret for so long. Just remember, seniors, however funny it may be to dress up as a girl scout with a two inches of cloth serving as a skirt, costumes cannot violate the dress code; just think of another idea! No one wants to get sent home for an inappropriate outfit on Senior Dress-up Day. all photos by jeremy mcdaniel

SENIORS ALWAYS SHOW off their creativity on Senior Halloween, and last year was no exception. Interesting exhibits from the class of 2007 included the Harlem Globetrotters and the Ghostbusters. The class of 2008 is looking forward to reveal their own creative costumes.

Two-year colleges often overlooked

Alternative to four-year schools offer ignored advantages MELODIE JENG opinion editor

No longer does the word “college” have to mean a four-year institution. Often overlooked are the benefits of community colleges, two-year colleges, and other alternatives to higher education. “There is a misconception that students who attend two-year or community colleges do so because they were not accepted to a four year college,” said guidance counselor Mrs. Rose Mitchell. With tuition rising yearly, community colleges save students money. For example, the 2007-08 tuition of Miami University at Hamilton was $4,320, while the Oxford campus was $11,925. Students may also have a job while taking classes and increase their work experience. The education received at community colleges have no less quality than four-year universities. At a two-year college, class sizes are more likely to be smaller and individualized, rather than hundred-student lecture halls. “This helps students make a gradual transition from high school to college,” said Mitchell. In addition, the focus of community college professors is teaching, not researching and

publishing, like at many larger universities. Even if one would like to receive a bachelor’s degree from a traditional university, one can transfer to a university after fulfilling core courses or exploring options at a community college. The Ohio State University offers multiple campuses, including Newark, which also provides housing. However, it is important to check the process for transferring. Two-year programs are also ideal for students interested in earning a career-oriented associate degree. For example, Antonelli College offers specific programs in Art, Business and IT, and Medicine. Cincinnati State, a technical and community college, provides over 100 associate’s degrees, majors and certificates, along with a co-op program and athletic opportunities. “If a student chooses this option, it is recommended that they eventually get their bachelor’s degree. This can be done part-time in the evening, while continuing to work during the day,” said Mitchell. With over 1,000 public and independent community colleges across the U.S., students can find their pathway to learning anywhere.

Who is your calendar chief

Abitimo, because she did a lot of things for children in Africa even though she didn’t have to, and gave the children confidence that they could live life again happily after the war. -Caitlin Camfield, 11

My aunt, because even though she did not survive cancer, she always had a positive outlook on life.

photo by mary ann jiang

UNCOMMON QUALITIES OFTEN fall in the shadow of general conceptions about alternatives to four-year colleges. Location is the chief advantage among schools like Raymond Walters College (above), Cincinnati State, and Antonelli College. Additional benefits include price, class size, teacher focus and a career-oriented education.


“ “ “ “ “ KAVYA REDDY

-Rachel Myers, 10

The Beatles are my heroes because they changed music and are the best music group ever. -Jane Robertson, 12

My grandfather, because he illustrates a good example of how to live life. -John Stucker, 11

Gandhi, because he revolutionized India without using violence.

-Shivani Parikh, 9

My mom, because she is a strong black woman who gives her best every day. and words cannot describe her hard work. I think everyone’s hero should be their mom. -Courtland Love, 11




‘ accident waiting to happen’

Dangers of ADD, ADHD teens driving AMY STREETER staff writer

image by leah burgin

THE OHIO RENAISSANCE Festival accomplishes the difficult task of making history come alive. Within the grounds of the Fair, which were created to recreate a 16th-Century English villiage, participants are transported through the centuries. With medieval activities, such as jousting (pictured above), the the black smith shop, and roasted turkey legs, fair-goers experience the fun, food, and games of Renaissance England.

Ohio Renaissance Festival Medieval excitement awaits for all fair maidens, noble knights



staff writer

You Said It...

he sight of a jousting match is just as thrilling as it was 500 years ago. Despite being the sport of a bygone era, curious individuals can find jousting, and many other medieval activities at a local attraction - the Ohio Renaissance Festival. Jousting is only one of the many shows and features at the Ohio Renaissance Festival. The festival has 12 stages (including the Pirate Ship Stage and the ‘Mudde Stage’), where nearly 100 shows can be witnessed every day, all unique to the fair. The Fair continues through October 21 on every Saturday and Sunday rain or shine. The entire fair is time-authentic. It was built to resemble a typical, 16th-Century English village. There is a castle that houses the ‘Dungeon of Doom’, which features many replicas of torture devices of the time (beware the fainthearted!). There is also a walk-through maze, and, like most festivals, it has rides. They are human-powered, thus being an extrememely interesting experience to ride. The Swordsmen, two comics who ‘battle to the death’,

are a must-see, being very Mony Python-esque.The acrobatic show is one of the Fair’s main attractions. For those interested in bringing a piece of the Renaissance home with them, there is a wide range of shops, selling clothes and decorative items. In many shops, the objects are handcrafted on site, and demonstrations are given on the technique. All of these unique attractions have drawn over one million people to the fair. The Festival is located northeast of Lebanon (just east of Caesar’s Creek), on State Route 73, about two miles west of Interstate 71. For adults and teens, the at-gate price is $16.99, children 5-12 years old are admitted for $9.99, and younger than that are free. Discounts are available at www.renfestival. com, and at Kroger’s, where tickets can also be purchased. The Ohio Renaissance Fesitval is a wonderful and unique event, that takes visitors not only to a different place, but a different time as well.

Having Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder, (ADHD/ADD), can be a handicap when a teenager is driving or learning to drive. It is a challenge to stay focused on the road. “When I drive with my sister I act as an extra pair of eyes. Sometimes she does not react as fast as a normal person might,” said Becca Streeter, 10. For teens with ADHD/ADD, it is much easier to get distracted. With that complication, they are more likely to get in an accident and receive traffic tickets than average teenagers. “A friend of mine who has ADHD has been driving for a year without any accidents or getting tickets,” said Robert You, 11. “It can be done, but I can tell when I drive with them that it is really hard for them to focus on just the road.” An ADHD/ADD teen driver is four times more likely to get in accidents than typical students. They are also seven times more likely to get involved in two or more crashes. ADHD/ADD teens also have an increased vulnerability to the thrill of driving fast. There is a 78% greater likelihood of getting ticketed for speeding or running stop signs. “When my friend drives, she sometimes will not see the stop sign,” said You. “She just goes right on through it. Speeding is another matter; when they get upset, it’s just step on the gas and go. Put those two together and there is an accident waiting to happen.” It is important that everyone should wear seat belts and try to reduce all distractions as much as possible. An affected teen should go over the process to take if an accident should occur in order to be prepared. Another precaution is to drive in different weather conditions with an adult to practice. “Keeping ADHD/ADD under control with medication or just learning to control ADHD/ADD helps with [driving] performance,” said Dan Keith, 10. “When driving, there is no room to mess around and let your mind wander. It is hard to focus on the road when your mind wants to look at everything and wander onto different topics.” Teenagers with ADHD/ADD need to be aware of how important it is to stay focused because driving can be a heightened danger for them. Teens without susceptibility to distractions also need to know whether their driver needs help staying focused on the road. Cooperation and extra safety precautions can go a long way when decreasing the chance of accidents.

What would you do with the popemobile and a dragon who cries jelly beans?


staff writer

I would tie the popemobile to the dragon. The dragon could fly over all the starving children in Africa, and upon seeing their suffering, would cry out of sheer sympathy. His jelly bean tears would feed the emaciated children. The pope could wave. - Evan Lind, 11

I would feed the dragon his jellybeans, but from the popemobile so he wouldn’t shoot fire at me. - Sooyoung Yoon,12 I would camouflage the popemobile and slay the dragon for his jelly beans. - Officer Paul Payne I would drive the popemobile around and throw jellybeans at people. - Caitlin Camfield, 11

Sell ‘em on eBay. - Philip Timofeyev, 11 I would be sad when the dragon cried jelly beans, but I would still eat the popemobile! - Megan Wells,9 I would put the dragon in a preschool so the little kids could bully him for the jelly beans. I would enter the popemobile into a parade. - Rahul Saha, 10



Slammed with busy schedules 09.28.07

Ways to deal with hectic times VANESSA ROLAND


staff writer

ith the leave of summer, freedom to relax has dwindled and strict schedules have been implemented. Busy schedules, though, can be handled. There are a few key elements to success in time management: study skills, planning, prioritizing, adjusting, and relaxing.

Study skills

Teachers have been preaching good study habits since before junior high school. Preparing for high school then may have seemed unreasonable, but now we wish we had listened. The key to good study habits is finding what works personally. Some students learn by doing, some reading/writing, some visually, and still others by verbal repetition. Once the student has found an individual learning style, using that style in everyday life is best. Students should eliminate distractions. If they cannot focus with the television on, then they should keep the remote control away. If a student needs music on to concentrate, turn it on, but keep it low. Study at the same time every day so it becomes a habit. For example, if a student has a study hall, he should take advantage of it. Study halls are the perfect place to finish up homework for the next class, as well as the next day’s homework. Students, using their individual style, should take notes in class. All teachers instruct differently. Some give lectures, some give handouts, some put notes on the board, and others do a combination. Some ideas for taking notes could be drawing pictures, outlining, making flash cards, book-marking pages, and/or highlighting.

Prioritizing The bottom line with planning is to stick to the plan. Doing such is not a simple task. Planning is easy, but following through can be tough.

Edward Jones

photo by gabirose keeton

HIGH SCHOOL LIFE is pretty stressful. There is homework, afterschool sports, jobs, and volunteer hours to take care of. But everyone is the same way, and all that can be done is organize the events and use time wisely.

There is nothing wrong with being spontaneous, but students should be sure the “spontaneity” is also priority. Prioritizing can be accomplished by completing lists of goals—long and short term goals, realistic and idealistic goals. Long term goals should be accomplished in six months to one year and beyond. Short term goals go along with a student’s weekly and daily schedules. The only time realistic goals, or practical and level-headed goals, work are when combined with idealistic goals. Idealistic goals are dreams and wishes. Fun should also be incorporated into plans, schedules, and lists, because the plan will not work if there is no freedom.

Larry Pockras Financial Advisor



Flexibility is one of the key components to time management. Therefore, students should not over-plan their school year. Leaving room for events that spring up at the last moment is a wise choice. Adjustments can have a variety of meanings. It can also mean to schedule changes. Life does not always turn out the way it is planned. Therefore, when events are canceled, the important thing to do is to go with the flow. Leave open time slots in daily schedules to be sure that when something unexpected happens, it can be handled.

Lastly, students should take advantage of free time. While students may have to revolve their lives around schedules sometimes, it is vital to remember relaxation. Students should not spend that time worrying about future events. In order to manage one’s time a person must include “down time”. Relaxation is how students can stay motivated.

Color therapy ELLEAN ZHANG


staff writer

11033 Montgomery Road Cincinnati, OH 45249 Bus. 513-530-5200 Cell 513-304-9041


12110 Montgomery Rd. • Cincinnati, Oh 45249 • (513)583-0583 •

Everyone loves colors. “They evoke a whole new sense—a seventh, that can only be experienced through sight,” said Jordan Chen, 10. Take one moment. Imagine life without your favorite shades of pick-me-up daffodils or perfect-skywith-puffy-clouds blue. A sudden deep despair may have taken over, but do not let it sink in. Lighten up, for we are in fact privileged enough to enjoy a colorful existence. Color is here—oh, and over there too, but how has it possibly been able to help mankind’s greater good lately? For starters, color has been found to be able to help reading efficiency in certain cases. Federally funded research was conducted by Helen Irlen, who was in search of a method which would help improve reading effectiveness. During her studies, she observed marked progress in subjects when the words of the reading material were covered by a transparent colored acetate “overlay”. Irlen developed 10 different colors of paper-thin overlays including yellow, blue, cream, etc. These overlays were able to improve print clarity and stability, reduce strain and fatigue in eyes, eliminate headaches, improve comprehension, and also provide comfort while reading extensively. Color overlays can aid anyone with the aforementioned needs. However, Irlen initially began research to help those with diagnosed reading or learning conditions—ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, autism etc. In conclusion, Irlen’s method was a major breakthrough for people affected by learning deficiencies. Backed with over a decade of research, Irlen’s method has been able to gain considerable recognition as an effective way to improve reading.

Summing up Remembering the key aspects of time management will assist students in surviving the busy schedules in high school.

Pictorally coloring life’s book Improves memory retention

Another application of color is that it can help increase memory retention. If you have ever been told, “Commit this to memory,” you may have written it X times, repeated it to yourself Y times, or incorporated it into a song and rocked out. “I make flashcards,” said Erica Wittkugel, 11. “And for Spanish, I like to make the verbs one color and the nouns another.” Research shows that people often like to associate certain information with color parallels because human brains are in love with color. This explains tendencies towards color-coding notebooks by subject in school. Marketers use similar methods. For instance, everyone knows Sprite. And most likely, if we spot a green aluminum can, we immediately think: Sprite. Companies of extension brands know this instinct, and always dress their Sprite-like products in green. There are even teachers at our school who have cleverly incorporated color methods into their instructions to help students hold on to important information. Take Mrs. Cheralyn Jardine for example. The paper on her instruction easel is exactly like a poster-sized yellow legal pad. The yellow keeps students alert and focused on the task at hand, and the written guidelines seem to jump out—black on yellow makes an impression. No matter how we choose to use color, it has an undeniable role in our lives. Whether it is used for the benefit of our education, to keep school spirit flying, or simply for self-expression, color is a must. *For more information of Irlen’s method, visit

feature Poetry displays student expression 16



creativity, emotion, originality, individuality Where have they gone?

staff writer

how to survive the first day of kindergarten wake up really, really, really early. eat lots of Lucky Charms. probably two helpings. pick out the clothes with the most pockets in the whole wide world, and then fill them! bubblegumyoyocarsillyputtystickerstwizzlersglitter make sure the laces are tight on your shoes. sing all the way to school. loudly. walk in with a smile bigger than ronald mcdonald (you dined with him the night before) and laugh louder than all the other kids. introduce yourself to everyone in 30 seconds. maybe twice in a row because they might’ve forgot. then dance all over that rainbow carpet in the middle of the room, and soon everyone will dance with you. even the teacher. at recess race to the monkey bars. win. but then let the person behind you go first. of course its time to turn out your pockets and see how impressed everyone is. your silly putty gets lost, but that’s ok. play ring-around-the-rosie with the kid who can’t speak english. make your bubble-gum bubble so big it hits mars. at snack eat half of the graham cracker in less than a second, but save the rest for later. when your new friend spills juice sing the juicy juice song (its for 100% kids) and help clean it up. inform everyone that a sponge is in the sea and in your hand. watch their eyes go big, and be real proud that you are smart. when mom comes run really, really, really fast into her arms, because you love her, but then turn around and pose like superman because you still are cool enough for school. then tie your shoes extra tight. because you can. wink at the teacher. (it’s good manners). sing all the way home. loudly.

- Bridget Handkins, 11

Where have all the good people gone? What happened to all those morals and ethics we used to hold so dear? Now our whole way of life is just a smear. We destroy and taint our own past. If we continue this our ideas will never last, and for this I shed a tear. We care nothing of what is right, but just what suits only our own plight. With these ignorant acts we are drawing our noose tight The few good people left must speak out and change this way of life. Have we forgotten the sound of bugle, drummer, and fife? And the dreams that our founding fathers had started? Now their dream has all but departed.

- Eric Hodgdon, 11

The dance begins... Caring sincere blossom Thornless rose Solely beauty, elegance Defenses down, vulnerable to the hunters Rage, Depression & Sorrow attack A masquerade, Petal dance, swirling fluid Yet slowly they fail, unable to hide. Paralyzed, hopes and dreams have fled Sinking deeper and deeper back into the earth Sun and water revitalize, Bring her back anew Reborn whole & strong Prepared to fight off the evils No longer deception, no She will defend with passion The cool wind breathed life The dance begins once more

After this issue, every issue of The Leaf will feature a poem from the pen of a student. This selection of poetry is an example of what is to come. If you, or anyone you know, would like a poem to be published, please drop it off in either Mrs. Jardine’s room (Rm. 115) or into her mail box located in the main office, or e-mail it to sycamoreleaf@

- Bryan Bader, 11

Dinner? It’s done.

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popular CULTURE SHARON WAGNER feature chief

Most people have heard the phrase, “there are no rules in fashion”. Most people have also heard about how to match outfits, how to wear what suits your body type, what styles are out of style, and countless other “rules of fashion.” Not even mentioning trends. Does anyone else see a contradiction? It is a sad experience to walk the halls of this high school and see how victimized teens are by the media hurricane with which we are constantly bombarded, deciding what to wear for us. That is the reason for this column: to inform anyone who will listen to the alternatives on our relentless and unforgiving world of entertainment. What many people do not realize is that fashion is a form of self-expression that does not require any special talent. Was it not the beloved Nigel of The Devil Wears Prada who said, “…what [these designers] created was greater than art, because you live your life in it?” And, whether we like it or not, fashion statements are exactly that—statements of individuality that send a message to every person encountered in daily life. This is where the “rules of fashion” generally come in, to make sure we look like civilized beings with the rest of the world. What really matters is that people get the right impression of who a person is. Unique clothing shows a unique personality-- not necessarily an uncivilized person. Unfortunately, not everyone is yet freed of these ties that bind us to popular culture. In order to aid the general public’s spiraling lack of selfidentity, here are a few things you probably will not see on Project Runway: You do not have to go out and buy an entirely new wardrobe. Just the way that outfits are matched can have an impact. Take advantage of layering, and do not be afraid to alter a few items. Make sure you practice first, though. And when the next paycheck comes in… well, new clothes never hurt anyone. When buying clothes, have in mind what to look for. Since department stores can be overwhelming, try starting out at a smaller store that sells a look that is similar to your vision. However, buying everything from one place will defeat the purpose of having an individual look. Most importantly, wear what you are comfortable with. Be open to the suggestions of others, but they are only suggestions. You are the one who ultimately decides on an image that you can stand by. Fashion is one of the best ways to show confidence in who you are and what you stand for. If someone has the guts to cut their own path through today’s arts and entertainment industry, then they can probably do anything.



arts and entertainment


look ahead...

She did (not do) it again JILL COHEN


a&e chief

rovocative dancing, a barely-there costume, mediocre lip-synching; all the makings of another stellar performance at MTV’s Video Music Awards were in place for Britney Spears. And yet as the pop-star fled the stage after opening the show, she was the only one saying, “gimme more.” Though her previous shows at the VMAs included electric dancing and jaw-dropping stunts (Remember the Python? Madonna?), this year’s debacle was completely lacking; most conspicuously missing was Spears’ enthusiasm. When Spears finally finished her act, all were stunned by her shoddy attempt at a comeback. But the real stumper here is not how did Spears fell so short of expectations, but how anyone dared to set them high. After all, the late teen idol has spent recent years filtering in and out of clubs, marriages, and parenthood. Even the day of the show, MTV broadcasted reports of Spears’ partying until 7 a.m. (Granted, is it difficult to put trust in a station whose awards show has a category titled “Monster Single of the Year.” Which had ten nominees. And gave the award to “Umbrella.” Ella. Ella. Ey. Ey.) Nonetheless, Spears is clearly past her prime… and she does not seem to care. Perhaps, after making so many millions off of her music that she can afford to retire at the ripe old age of 25, there is no motivation for her to put further effort into her career. The same can be said for any out-of-control celebrity. Why should the public hope for starlettes like Lindsay and Paris to turn their lives around, when they have no real incentive toward a valiant attempt at a comeback? One thing is for sure: the fact that Spears’ show was generally met with disdain means the industry is losing patience with the antics of party girls. Perhaps next year MTV should try booking that python to open its show.

Want to escape the bustle of Starbucks? Check out a review on a neighborhood cafe, Kidd Coffee on page 18.

Is Edie really dead? Read about the new season of Desperate Housewives on page 18.

image by jill cohen

Check out the preview of the Senior Orchestra spotlight on page 19.

At her recent VMA performance, Spears’ revealing clothing proved to be a turn-off to much of the audience at the VMAs. This may be a reflection on the public’s increasing frustration with “party girls”, or it may simply display the importance of image in Hollywood. Either way, this just might have been the last straw for Britney Spears.

Jazz Ensemble starts up new year MARIA MARBALLI

‘I can’t wait to improve on my jazz style’

staff writer

With auditions and rehearsals begun, jazz students are getting ready for the new school year. Mr. Gary Langhorst of the music department recently held try-outs for the Jazz Ensemble. Students rehearsed in the band room anxiously awaiting their audition. “I love jazz music and I can’t wait to improve on my jazz style!” says Michael Dobler, 9. This jazz group consists of four trumpets, four trombones, and five saxophones. Also included is a rhythm section made up of piano, guitar, bass, and drums. There are a total of sixteen to eighteen people in the ensemble.


What it is all about


“I want to basically educate the students about the different styles of jazz,” said Langhorst. The Jazz Ensemble is meant to show the jazz students diversity. The goal is to step away from what is normally taught at band practice and focus on different styles of jazz (i.e. by putting a swing on the tone or throwing in some hip hop). The students will learn about all sorts of music that is unfamiliar to them. “Just like it is important for English students to know about famous authors, it is important for jazz students to learn about famous composers,” said Langhorst. In this music group, they not only learn about jazz styles, but about famous composers and instrumentalists as well. Students are expected to perform well and learn new music throughout the course of the school year.

The talent of the ensemble does not stay in rehearsal. The group performs on several different occasions. Their concerts include the Craft Show in November, Pancake Day in March, and the District Jazz Concert, which also includes jazz groups at the junior high. Sycamore’s Jazz Ensemble does not compete, although they do get rated. Every year, this particular jazz group attends the University of Louisville Jazz Festival around the last week of February. The Jazz Ensemble has been attending this event for six years. Each group gets rated by professional and experienced band players. The jazz ensemble has been performing with Langhorst as director steadily for the past ten years. Sometimes, during previous years, it was in operation, though inconsistently and sometimes with varied directors.

Good luck!

“We lost a lot of really great seniors, but I’m still looking forward to this year. It’s going to be fun,” said Alex Rock, 12. Because of football season – also marching band’s season - the jazz ensemble meets once a week. Once it is finished, the group will start to meet twice a week. The students will learn and hopefully improve their jazz styles. Good luck all Jazz Ensemble members, have a great year!






WITH FREE WI-FI and friendly service, Kidd Coffee offers everything a local cafe should. The coffee shop offers a relaxed attitude and computers for customer use.

Kidd Coffee

Local cafe offers place to unwind DAPHNE HSU

staff writer


offee aficionados agree that the recipe to a good coffee house includes friendly service and a unique atmosphere. Kidd Coffee, a local franchise, certainly delivers. Starting with a shop in downtown Mason eight years ago, founder Victor Kidd’s idea for a community-based coffee house has grown to include five locations in Maineville, Middletown, West Chester and Landen, with a new store in Union Center in the works. Good service includes two aspects: personal and procedural. Not only did the barista serving the Landen location greet every customer with a smile, she also double-checked their orders and followed up on customer satisfaction. The selection and prices of coffee drinks are comparable to Starbucks; Kidd Coffee offers both a variety of hot and cold coffee drinks and coffee alternatives, including tea and fruit smoothies. “This is the first time I ordered an iced white mocha,” said Rebecca Muskat, 11. “It’s a bit too watery, but it’s very sweet.” A pastry display case next to the counter includes muffins and cakes. Breakfast foods and sandwiches are also offered. The laid-back atmosphere of Kidd Coffee is its most striking aspect. The small Landen store is lined with small round tables for two and plush couches for groups to relax and chat. An outside patio allows customers to enjoy nice weather. “I really like how relaxed it is,” said Gina Gordon, 11. “It’s very different from the rushing business people of Starbucks.” Kidd Coffee also offers free Wi-Fi access which many customers often take advantage of, typing away on their laptops with a coffee in hand. A computer sits on a desk in the corner for customers to use as well. For a relaxing afternoon away from the stresses of life, Kidd Coffee and its community-based business style is definitely the place to go. photo courtesy of daphne hsu

New restaurant opens in Blue Ash

Apsara Asian Cuisine offers sushi, pan-Asian dishes ALEXA FOGLER

associate editor

Blue Ash, which has long lacked a variety of restaurants, has recently gained Apsara Asian Cuisine and Sushi Bar, a new pan-Asian eatery at the old Watson Brother’s location at 4785 Lake Forest Drive off of Glendale Milford Road. The menu at Apsara includes a wide variety of sushi and entrees. Though many items are appealing, the portions are large and prices high, so consider sharing a dish or only ordering sushi and appetizers. Upon sitting down, customers are presented with an extensive sushi and sashimi list. It has everything from the basic California roll to strips of plain eel and octopus. To get an idea on price, eight California rolls are a little more than $5, while more complex items like rainbow rolls, which have slices of raw fish, are around $15 for eight pieces. The restaurant has a few of their own creations like the Blue Ash roll, which they claim to be a favorite among diners. Spider rolls are also said to be popular. For those completely in the dark about sushi, there are several chef’s choice and variety plates which do not limit patrons to one type of roll. To first-time sushi buyers, the prices may seem steep for a few pieces of fish. But unlike other restaurants that serve only average sized rolls, Apsara gives five to eight generously sized pieces. Assortments of appetizers are available. Choices are frog legs, shrimp tempura, hot soups, and lettuce wraps that rival those at P.F. Chang’s. Entrees, to name a few, include curry dishes, stir-fry, and pad-thai. Other generic “Chinese buffet” type meals are available but are overpriced for their average taste and are not distinctive to Apsara. Because it is a new restaurant, diners can expect mistakes to be made on their meals. The staff is still a bit slow getting orders out and slightly unknowledgeable about the different types of sushi. Apsara is a welcomed addition to Blue Ash, providing a change to try new dishes and a dining experience. The restaurant can be reached at 554-1040.

Desperate Housewives premiere approaches

New season guaranteed to keep fans on edge JACY CAGLE

Primetime Premiere Schedule Dancing with the Stars

Mon 9/24 - 8 p.m.

Private Practice Wed 9-26 - 9 p.m.

Ugly Betty Thur 9/27 - 8 p.m.

Grey’s Anatomy Thur 9/27 - 9 p.m.

Cavemen Tue 10/2 - 8 p.m.

Pushing Daisies Wed 10/3 - 8 p.m.

Women’s Murder Club

Fri 10/12 - 9 p.m.

spotlight chief

Fans of the women of Wisteria Lane will soon be occupied Sunday nights at 9 with the start of the upcoming season of Desperate Housewives. The new season has kept fans long awaiting the first episode, which is to take place September 30. “My friends and I watched all three of the previous seasons over the summer, so we’re really excited for the new season to start,” said Melissa Mandell-Brown, 12. The previous season of the show ended with a cliff hanger of whether or not Edie Brit, played by Nicolette Sheridan, the neighborhood blonde, committed suicide because of her misunderstood relationship with Carlos Solis, played by Ricardo Chavira. Shocked fans have come up with many theories about the fate of Edie on the show. Some are positive she will return, because who else could play the promiscuous, blonde, realtor better than Sheridan? However, others believe Edie will replace the current narrator of the show, Mary Alice Young, played by Brenda Strong, who has been narrating since her death during the show’s first season. Other thoughts for the show’s fourth season include how married life will play out for Teri Hatcher’s character, Susan Mayer. Susan has been the unlucky housewife in the love department throughout Housewives’ three previous seasons. She was finally married to Mike, played by James Denton, in the season three finale. However, fans are waiting to discover whether Susan will settle down as a married woman or create more drama with yet another man. “I’m excited to see what new disasters will happen with all the characters this season,” said Daniella Cos, 11. Eva Longoria’s character, Gabrielle, was also married during the finale of season three to Victor Lang, played by John Slattery. Fans do not expect Gabrielle to handle married life well, based on the affair she had with her gardener, played by Jesse Metcalfe, in her previous marriage. Meanwhile, fans are not sure what to expect for Marcia Cross’ character, Bree Van de Kamp, whom staged a pregnancy in the third season of the show, and was absent for the last few episodes. Lastly, fans are hoping for the best for Housewives’ Lynette Scavo, played by Felicity Huffman, whose newly-diagnosed battle with cancer is thought to continue throughout this fourth season. Sure to be loaded with many shocks and surprises, the fourth season of Desperate Housewives will be keeping fans on the edge of their seats, wondering what other drama could possibly occur on Wisteria Lane.



Seniors’ night to shine Orchestra concert spotlights their graduating members 09.28.07



staff writer

he seniors of the orchestra will have a chance to showcase their accumulated talents through a concert solely focused on them. On October 25, the orchestra will perform in the Senior Spotlight concert which gives seniors the opportunity to perform a solo piece while being accompanied by the orchestra. There will also be a student conductor that will direct the orchestra in a selected piece. The members of the orchestra will be voting on that senior in a couple of weeks. “I can’t wait to perform my solo,” said Bill Pan, 12. “It’s going to be one of the better concerts of the year.” A quick rundown of the seniors who will be performing and what solos they have: Melodie Jeng, 12, will be playing Rokatanc by Weiner, a Hungarian dance that has a quick, fox-like tempo. Adam Merz, 12, will be playing a bass. Pan is playing Zig. “Please do not ask me to pronounce it,” said Pan. Jessa Ramsey, 12, is playing Meditation From Thais by Massenet. “It’s a beautiful, melancholy piece that resonates with emotion,” said Ramsey. Lizzy Wei, 12, will be playing the piano solo, Gigue arranged by Mr. David Smarelli, orchestra director. And finally Wenjun Zhang, 12, will be playing Symphonie Espagnole by Lalo. Symphonie Espagnole is a romantic and dramatic piece written by a Spanish composer. “I think that Senior Spotlight is very fun because we get to play easier songs since we accompany the solos,” said Wei. “It’s also fun because we get to listen to all the solos.” Sitting on stage while playing an easy accompanying piece and listening to the maestro performance is fun, but when the seniors take the stage in front of the audience the nerves may start building. “When I get nervous I remember this amazing quote from a violinist named Jim Park, who also played Meditation From Thais,” said Ramsey. “He said ‘I hope it came from that place of peace in the universe.’” Be sure to come out on Thursday night, October 25, to be a part of an annual tradition of listening to the talents of senior performers. For absolutely nothing but one’s time, there will be an excellent concert followed by refreshments. “Everyone should come to the concert and stay until the end for the refreshments,” said Joonsue Lee, 9. “We have a talented senior class and I think people will enjoy hearing their solos,” said Smarelli.

Ayaka Matsui, 12 plays at last year’s Pancake Day. The next orchestra concert is the senior spotlight concert on October 25. In this show, some seniors will perform solos. photo by jeremy mcdaniel

Twilight series continues with Eclipse

TEENAGE GIRLS ALL OVER THE world gathered together on the night of August 7, 2007 to buy Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer, the third installment of the Twilight series. Refered to by some critics as “the next Harry Potter,” this read will not disappoint. This romantic thriller totally redefines the traditional view of a vampire novel, also throwing in Native American legends and werewolves into the mix. For more information about Eclipse and the series, visit or go to www. twilightlexicon. com to chat with other fans.

Fourth installment arrives to mixed reviews SHARON WAGNER feature chief

Heralded by critics around the world as the next Harry Potter, the extremely relatable character of Bella Swan has become the envy and adoration of teenage girls everywhere. Bella is the focus of the Twilight series, chronicling her adventures with “vegetarian” (non-human-eating) vampires known as the Cullens in the tiny Pacific-northwestern town of Forks. Eclipse is the third installment of the series (preceded by Twilight and New Moon, also bestsellers), and centers around finding a solution to the Edward-Jacob-Bella love triangle. It is much more complicated than just three teenagers. Edward is a vampire, Jacob is a werewolf, and Bella is a human. That puts Bella in mortal danger every time she is around either of the two, not to mention that vampires and werewolves are sworn enemies by breed. So, given the situation, one can expect an intense and involving romantic thriller, much like Meyer’s previous works. Unfortunately, there were some disappointments. When I first picked up Twilight, it was Bella’s normality that drew me into the story. It gave the feeling that everything in the book, no matter how far-fetched, could actually happen.

However, Bella’s thoughts and actions in Eclipse seem to have become contrived and simplified. Previously being a reasonable, calm, bright teenage girl, she has become obsessive and confused. This could be attributed to the conundrum she is dealing with, but her fears becoming rambling and unreasonable. This took its toll on her reader-friendliness. There is also a lot of over-explaining throughout the book. One example involves Bella fidgeting with two magnets, trying to force them together. This is obviously symbolic of Edward and Jacob, who are already obvious enemies; the device gives no new information and is totally unnecessary. Please just move to the next scene! “I was tired of hearing the same story again, and again, and again,” said Lizy LeBlond, 11. Overall, the plotline is still fantastic, but the problems with the style of writing and characterization (though Bella is the only character who deteriorates) are distracting. “You have to look past the writing style to the plot,” said Aliza Weinberger, 11. Eclipse and its pre-sequels are sure to be satisfying reads for pleasure. Just do not get too caught up in the details. image by sharon wagner



09.28.07 Question of the Month

We ask sports writers a question of the month about a controversial or current issue in the world of sports.


AT LAST YEAR’S “Volleyball for the Cure,’ fans wearing their pink shirts proudly cheer on the team (left), Sarah McGrath, ‘07 goes up to tip the ball over (bottom right), and Jenn Kissinger, 12 prepares to spike the ball (top right). The girls volleyball team hopes to repeat last year’s success with the now state-wide function.

all photos by jeremy mcdaniel

Varsity girls volleyball hitting breast cancer, GMCs hard Team hopes to raise money through ‘Volley for the Cure’ match, improve record in GMCs NADIA KHAN


Jared Kamrass

How do you think the Bengals will do this season?

9-7. The offense will be back to firepower once the O-line gels. The defense needs to revert back to the takeaway machine it was against Baltimore; if they can do that, I see few obstacles in the way, but injuries must heal and defense consistency needs to be developed.

coached for the Mt. Notre Dame Cougars before coming to Sycamore, and he still coaches Moeller volleyball. “We’re honored to have him coach for us, so hopefully we can pick up our game and start winning for him,” said Kissinger. Leading the team are starting seniors Kissinger, Abbey Reedy, and sometimes Laurie Taragano and Dori Coninx. The lineup has been changing a lot as the team is trying to find their rhythm and have a lineup that works. Perhaps they can come off their Princeton win and carry that momentum through to the end of the season. Gray, the starting setter, shows great signs for the future of the team, since she is so talented already—as a sophomore. Through all the hardships and trials of the season, one thing remains clear: the girls’ hearts are in the right place. So, get out there and join the fight against breast cancer by supporting the Lady Aves.

Girls varsity soccer team continues success in GMCs, nation NADIA KHAN

coming up in sports.

Take a look at what is

on deck

Few things in this world are perfect, but the varsity girls soccer team is well on their way to being exactly that. With a perfect 10-0 record, the girls are on the path to dominating the GMCs and claiming the conference title. The team has been practicing and playing to the best of their abilities against each and every team that they have faced. “We know every team is out to get us, so we try to come out as hard as we can and try to keep up our streak,” said Deena Schwen, 12. At this point in the season, the girls lead the GMC standings

with their perfect record (3-0-0), and their biggest competition is Mason (2-0-1), who the girls will face in their final game before post-season tournament play on October 9th. Now may be the time to look towards the future, which might involve the State Championships. But you will not hear team members talking about that. “We need to focus on winning the GMCs. Once we accomplish that, then we can look towards State, but it is definitely exciting to think about,” said Abby Evans, 11. With their outstanding record, the girls are ranked fourth in the

Jump over to page 21 to see how the varsity football team’s undefeated season has been going.


nation and first in the Midwest region despite injuries and hospitalizations to key senior players Melanie McLaughlin and Joanna Lin. Also, Ali Shewmon, 12, Schwen and Alix Hildal, 11 are ranked in the top five offensive leaders in the GMCs. Goalie Stephanie Biehle, 11 is the topranked defensive GMC leader. With such talent, it can only be expected that the team be soe successful. “It gets a little old saying it, but I really hope we get to State,” said Schwen. (stats as of 9/20/07).

Check out page 22 to learn about the differences between cheerleading, color guard, and Flyerettes.


For the Bengals’ sake, I hope the Cleveland game was a fluke. but the team’s performance against Seattle was just depressing. The offense is looking good and will be even better once Chris Henry returns, however the defense has not proven that it is any better than last year so far. Because of this, I predict they will go 9-7.

Ben Estes

sports chief

The Bengals lost to the Browns. That in itself is humiliating, but I think that the team will pickup their play as the season progresses. Carson Palmer and his offense looked superb in the Cleveland game, but the defense was off, and the reverse was true for the previous game. The Bengals will sync their teams and go 12-4.

Will Johnston

  The game is set to be held on October 4th against Fairfield at 7 p.m. There is no doubt that the volleyball team can have success raising money, but they will have a more difficult time proving that they truly are a competitive team in the GMC. The girls’ record, 1-8, does not necessarily measure their talent. “We’ve been working really hard, and we have moments of greatness; it’s all about whether or not we can all pull together at the same time,” said Jenn Kissinger, 12. The team faced a very difficult scheduling heading into the beginning of this season with many of the games being played away. However, they have only had two conference games and their record is 1-1. “I’m very hopeful for the GMCs; I still think we can win them,” said Gaby Gray, 10. Head coach Greg Ulland is new to the coaching position this season, but he is used to the idea of coaching volleyball. Ulland

ALI SHEWMON, 12 juggles the soccer ball. She is ranked as the second-best offensive leader in the GMCs. The girls varsity soccer team looks to the future with their 10-0 record.

The United States and Europe have become more competetive. Check out page 26 to find out how.


9-7. Through the Bengals’ first three games, it is clear that the offense is going to have to compensate for the defense and outscore a lot of teams. Thus far, they have not been too successful, dropping two of the three. However, once Chris Henry returns from suspension, Carson Palmer and crew should have enough firepower to contend for the playoffs.

Rob Friedman

fter a rough start to the season, the girls varsity volleyball team looks to improve their record while also helping the community. That is right—the girls are set to play in pink once again.   Following last year’s initiation of the annual Volleyball for the Cure game begun by Sarah McGrath, ’07, this season, 400 high schools in Ohio were happy to jump on the bandwagon and join in on the act of giving. This fundraising phenomenon has spread throughout the state of Ohio. The girls are raising money for breast cancer and the Susan G. Komen foundation through t-shirt and ticket sales, and their bake sale profits.    “’Volleyball for the Cure’ was really successful last year in raising money, and the school really got into it, and it got publicized a lot, so we hope that it will be even better now that a so many other schools are doing it too,” said Anne Hersman, 12.

Nadia Khan

sports chief

9-7. After three games, the team is questionable. Once Chris Henry returns, the team will perform much better on offense, having three amazing receivers. The defense performed better against the Seahawks, but still could be better. however, Improvements are needed across the board.

sports Full



Court Conference disparity is mythology JARED KAMRASS sports editor

I love college football. I love the pure competitiveness of the sport. The only bad aspect of the sport: fans. Granted, most fans are classy individuals, but there are always those diehards who take it too far. The latest fad for these fans is the argument that some conferences are perpetually better than others. I will be the first to admit that the quality of conferences fluctuate, but the argument that the SEC will always be better than the Big Ten is ill-advised and not statistically supported. First of all, Ohio State, Michigan, LSU, Florida, etc., all recruit the same kids out of high school. Last year, Detroit DT Joseph Barksdale chose LSU over Michigan and Ohio State. The examples go on and on. The bottom line is, the SEC is not going to always get a higher quality athlete than the Big Ten, it just depends on the luck of recruiting each year. The argument has recently devolved to the statement that the SEC is just faster. This point is bastardized from the longstanding stereotype that the Midwest plays a “3 yards and a cloud of dust” football. This “argument” comes from Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, and Hayden Fry’s Big Ten is an example of pure stupidity. Ted Ginn, Jr., Morgan Trent, Derrick Williams, Ray Small and so many others are renowned as some of the world’s fastest athletes. All play(ed) in the Big Ten. Does the SEC have more good teams now? Of course. But if you look at the different Big Ten teams to have played in BCS bowls in the past 10 years you find that eight different schools have participated. The quality of the conferences is cyclical and right now, the SEC is on top. The SEC makes themselves look talented by whooping up on inferior opponents and garnering over inflated rankings in the polls. In 2005 Ohio State lost to Texas on the road which all but killed their national title hopes. You will rarely find an SEC team in this situation. The combined embarrassment of Ohio State and Michigan in the Championship and Rose Bowl respectively compromised some integrity of the league. However, Wisconsin beat Arkansas and Penn State beat Tennessee in the other match ups of Big Ten vs. SEC. If you are one of these fans who finds solace in the fact that your conference is better than another, please look at the facts. The SEC is a powerful conference, no doubt, but its overrated sense of worth and talent is nauseating to even the casual fan.

STARTING QUARTERBACK CASEY MacLean, 11, stands under center against Fairfield. Varsity came back to beat the Indians, contributing to the teams 5-0 record.

photo by jeremy mcdaniel

Varsity football looking strong Team seems playoff caliber through five games WILL JOHNSTON


sports chief

hough it is only partway through the regular season, the varsity football team is already looking ready to make the Ohio State playoffs for the second consecutive year. Through five games, they are one of only two undefeated teams in the GMC and are looking good in every facet.

Offense Hits Stride

At this point,the offensive game plan has become clearly established. Varsity has so far used the strategy of combining the power running game with quick-strike play-action passes to get ahead and control the clock. Thus far, this tactic has worked very well. Quarterback Casey MacClean, 11, has run the offense as well as anyone could have expected from a first year starter, and has put up good statistics (634 yards, 4 TD, 3 INT’s). The running back play has

been nothing short of excellent. Bud Golden, 11, is clearly the best running back in the GMC, and if Varsity keeps winning is a shoe-in to win the Offensive MVP award. Alden Olverson, 12, has taken over as the #2 back after a great game against Fairfield (140 yards rushing, 2 TD’s), and his amazing speed is a nice compliment to Golden’s power rushing. Between the two, no other backfield in the GMC compares. Also, wideouts Lamar Passmore, 11, Shannon Williams,12, and Marty Jones, 11, have emerged as MacLean’s favorite targets. Particularly Passmore, who had a breakout game against Harrison, catching six passes for 143 yards. “The key to offensive success has been what I call the ‘O-back’ effect. It starts with the offensive line; they create space for our talented running backs. When our backs get to the second level, recivers provide good, hard,

Varsity Results Date

8/24 8/31 9/7 9/14 9/20



Withrow W 28-21 Springboro W 28-3 Harrison W 17-14 Fairfield W 16-10 Lakota East W 28-9

JV Results Date



8/25 Withrow L 0-12 9/1 Springboro L 14-17 9/8 Harrison W 20-14 9/14 Fairfield L 19-25

sometimes pan-cake blocks in the secondary. Casey MacLean is a huge part of this, he provides and upbeat mentality and hands the ball off well,” said Passmore. The only concern for the unit is the health of Golden, who has missed time in games repeatedly and did not play against Harrison because of a recurring shoulder injury. When hes has gone down, the offense has struggled without him. But if Golden remains healthy, then Dattilo’s degree of mercy is the limit for the offense.

Defense Dominating One can easily argue that the defense has been the strength of the team. This unit has shown great progression in a very short period of time, evolving into a dominating unit. The D has only given up a scant 57 points this season, second best in the GMC. The defensive line has been a great strength so far, forcing good pressure on opposing QB’s

and tailbacks alike in every game. Corners Jones, Olverson, and safety Steve Hull, 11, and the rest have also played admirably in the backfield. “The coaching staff and game preparation have been key for the defense,” said Hull. Battle tested and strong, expected this unit to continue to be excellent.

Special Teams Excel

Special teams have also played done well. Hull’s punts have continued to be outstanding, averaging 35.9 yards a boot. Stephen Stein, 12, has made all of his extra points and played hero against Harrison by making the game winning field goal, however he is 1/5 overall in field goal attempts. So far, this has not been a huge issue because of the strength of the offense, with the exception of the Harrison game. However, this could become a bigger factor later on in the season.

JV football struggles early

Looks to improve on last season MATT SLOVIN

staff writer

After a disappointing 2006 campaign, this season the junior varsity squad will try to return to winning ways with a successful season. Although the team has started with two home losses, the boys have not yet given up hope. “We should be able to string some wins together,” said Jordan Kolb, 10. This year, as well as last year, the team opened the season with a game against the Withrow Tigers, who the varsity team had beaten the night before. Unfortunately, the same would not hold true for JV. Withrow handed JV a 12-0 shutout loss. Last year also saw a Tiger victory by the score of 33-7. “We didn’t play our best game against Withrow and there is room for

improvement,” said Mike Sussman, 10. Many of the players who played for junior varsity last year have stepped up to play under the bright lights on Friday night this year. Former junior varsity starting quarterback Casey MacLean, 11, can now be seen taking snaps at Bud Acus Alumni Field for the varsity team. After the Withrow loss, the JV team took the field against the Springboro Panthers with hopes of bouncing back, but the Panthers squeaked by in a 17-14 overtime thriller. “That was a really tough loss,” said Austin Baas, 10. The team will start the GMC part of their schedule coming up, and the players and coaches are optimistic that a winning season can still be achieved.




View from the Stands Belichick’s blunder a sore spot for NFL BEN ESTES sports editor

If I were to tell you that another sports figure had been exposed as a cheater in one of the three big sports leagues, I guarantee your mind would immediately turn to Major League Baseball and more steroid allegations. News that several MLBers reportedly received HGH (including resurgent wonder boy Rick Ankiel- that, folks, is how you ruin a feel-good story) aside, this scandal resides in the NFL and does not involve ‘roids. I’m talking of the Bill Belichick/ New England Patriots illegal videotaping incident that occurred during the September 9 game against the NY Jets. In addition to a harsh fine and removal of a draft pick, Commissioner Roger Goodell demanded that the team turn over all the team’s video, under threat of more penalties. It is possible that more rulebreaking evidence is present on those tapes, and “Belicheat” could be in even more hot water. Of all the teams to be playing while you get caught, Bill, the Jets? You won by 24 points. New York stinks. Cheating was unnecessary in this game, but then again, when is it ever necessary? The question that must be asked is the extent of New England’s ways. Several figures in the NFL have come forward, semi-accusingly, by declaring they had experienced some oddities while playing the Patriots. But logic says that this practice is new. Jets coach Eric Mangini worked for Belichick as recently as 2005. If Belichick had been cheating back then, Mangini would surely know about it, and would have come forward sooner. Nevertheless, this is a black eye for the league. Just when the season had finally arrived and it appeared that a summer of player arrests and suspensions could be forgotten, this has emerged. Extensive cheating is any sports league’s worst nightmare. Belichick’s reputation is irreparably damaged. He had been recognized as perhaps the best NFL coach, and a defensive genius. Those jumping all over his back, though, are overreacting. It is too soon to determine how much of a crisis we have on our hands. If this truly was one-time thing, then in the long run, it is not that big a deal. Those wondering if the Patriots would get bogged down in the scandal were answered on September 16, when the team demolished San Diego. I find it highly unlikely that when the team’s video archive is turned over that more evidence is found. This was a one-time thing; it is done with, and fans and the NFL should move on, pending, of course, on those results. Because if they do uncover something substantial—let me just say that there will be much more written in the future about Belichick’s rule-breaking habits.

LISA WU, 11, cheers on the football team (left), Karla Kohel, 9 performs the color guard routine at a halftime show (middle), and captain of the Flyerettes captain Marissa Gunnarsson, 12, dances in one of the Flyerettes’ shows. Though the teams seem very similar, there are in fact many differences between the three.

Mystery unraveled:

differences in dance groups are revealed



veryone has heard of them, but what are the differences? Here is a look at the schools’ three main dance groups: the Cheerleaders, Flyerettes, and Color Guard. All three of these teams have many things in common. They all involve dance in some way, practice hard during the summer and throughout the school year, and perform at the varsity football games. “The major role of cheerleading is to boost school and community spirit” said Neeli Yarchi, 10. But cheerleaders do more than just cheer at football and basketball games. They condition from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday during the summer. During the year, they have two hour practices to review cheers twice a week and have tumbling for one hour. There are 16 members on varsity and seven cheerleaders on JV that are usually on the sidelines cheering. The Flyerettes are similar to the cheerleaders, but they incorporate more dancing into

their routines. They focus on hip-hop but also include other types of dance into their performances. “It’s really exciting to perform at games and pep rallies. It gives you a chance to show your peers the product of your hard work.” said Christine McLaughlin, 10 The girls practice four hours per week during the football season and six hours per week during the basketball season. Over the summer, the Flyerettes practiced once a week for three hours and went to a camp at Miami University. Besides performing at football and basketball games, the Flyerettes are going to two competitions. The color guard incorporates dance into their routines. But unlike the Flyerettes and the cheerleaders, they spin flags, rifles, and sabers. For nine hours a week, the guard practices for their football games and competitions which take place almost every weekend. Competitions usually last all day. “The guard has been working hard so far

this year and are preparing for their most important competitions,” said Kaydee Hammer, 12. During the summer, the guard attends practice twice a week for about four hours each practice. They also go to band camp which lasts from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. one week and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. the next week. The summer commitment is a difficult aspect of guard for its members but is one of the most important parts of the fall season. “Summer practices make it really hard to plan vacations and hang out with friends,” said Leah Reis, 10. Every Friday before football games, the guard gets together to bond and get ready for the game. They also have secret siblings, where they exchange gifts before competitions. “The secret sibling thing is really cool I got a bubble sword!” said Josef Kisor, 12 Despite the fact that Flyerettes, color guard, and cheerleaders are different they all represent a similar purpose just in different ways.

Girls JV soccer teams strive for excellence, success

Try to get past season’s struggle of missing goals, getting open on field EMILY MONDRO staff writer

all photos by jeremy mcdaniel

LEAH ZIMMER, 10 tries to blow by a defender. The JV team is trying to overcome some mental mistakes. The team will try to thrive on its early success for the rest of the season.

The girls JV A soccer team has had quite a successful season so far. They have had practices almost everyday after school from 3-5 PM and usually two games a week. “If you practice hard and do your best, then the coach will never be disappointed in you,” Ashley Locke, 9 A normal practice usually consists of a warm up, which is jogging and stretching. Then, they have small scrimmages where they work on skills that they are having trouble with which might be keeping possession of the ball and moving to open space on the field. Next, they have always had a shooting drill that they work on. Next, they usually have a scrimmage with the forwards and midfielders, and the defenders play as if they were defending the other team. Finally, they have a cool down, which is usually running. So far this year the team has played about six games. Most of their games are on Tuesday and Thursday, and sometimes Saturdays. The most challenging team to beat has been Ursuline. They have played Ursuline once so far this season and lost. The other teams they have played are Eaton, Mt. Notre Dame, and Milford. The JV team consists of 15 players- four of them are freshmen. There is now also a swing player that plays V “B” and JV “A” team. During the varsity games the freshmen are not required to attend but four JV players will be there to act as the ball girls. “It’s a great way to stay active and social after school,” Ashley Schaefer, 9. Over the weekends and before games the team has bonding activities. On September 7, the team participated in the Race for the Cure. They also have pasta parties before some of the games. So far they have had three. They occur the night before a game at one of the player’s homes. Some struggles they have been having as a team this season are making goals and moving around to open places on the field. “We control the entire game and play well as a team but we just have a hard time getting the ball in the net,” Locke. The team has been working on those skills a lot during practice.




Varsity golf victorious at GMCs Focus, dedication results in good scores



managing editor

ombine an experienced team with a fresh strategy and new outlook, and the results speak for themselves. The varsity girls have achieved great success this season, placing fourth in the Greater Miami Conference and posting a 13-4 record. “We’ve been talking a lot about what we want to accomplish at the sectional this year, but we need to remember that the GMC meet solely determines the conference standings for the year,” said Dr. Keith Brackenridge, varsity coach. With fresh tactics and several new team members, the team was well prepared for a great season. The team is composed mainly of veterans, including returning juniors Amy Smith and Jenna Kelly, as well as sophomores Adrienne Wessinger and Molly Fitch. Seniors Aly Mazzei, Melodie Jeng, and Kate Moore have also spent previous playing time on the roster. Jackie Weber, 9, and Katie Bitzer, 10, are new to the team this year, as well as Brittany Lintz, 10, who began playing for the team later in the season. “It is exciting to see us come together as a team and do so well,” said Wessinger. Golf is an infamously mental sport, and to help his players with their approach Brackenridge employed the aid of sports psychologist David Bellinger, from Miami University. The ladies are working on setting specific goals for themselves and the team as a whole, and are taking a look at what aspects of their game they should approach differently. “Improving as the season progresses is one of the most difficult things for a golf team to do, but we are progressing nicely this year,” said Brackenridge. On September 5, the team was victorious over Oak Hills, Wyoming, and Fairfield. The ladies shot a laudable photo by keith brackenridge 167, beating out their opponents’ scores of Amy Smith, 11, leads the varsity team with a 43.7 average. Smith is number 18 in the GMC rank181, 194, ings and holds the first spot on the team roster. Varsity currently has a 13-4 GMC record. and 216,

respectively. Their winning streak continued five days later when the ladies defeated Milford and Turpin with 173. “Our goals for the season have been to play smart golf and to have a great short game. We are continuing to improve on both those goals, as our best three nines have been our most recent ones,” said Brackenridge. Just six days before the GMC matches began, their 173 was narrowly defeated by Mt. Notre Dame’s 171, coming in at 173. The silver lining was that the girls did beat Colerain, who beat them by two strokes in last year’s GMC. Colerain had 179. The ladies’ hard work really paid off during last week’s GMC. Their combined 36-hole, four-player score was 719, earning them fourth place in the ranking. Mason was first with 641, Lakota West second with 644, and Colerain third with 691. “Our team does well when we all play well, focusing on one shot at a time,” said Brackenridge. It was just icing on the cake when the team realized that they had broken the school 36-hole scoring record.

Varsity girls golf team

GMC results Player


Day 1

Day 2


Amy Smith





Aly Mazzei





Jenna Kelly





Adrienne Wessinger





Molly Fitch





Brittany Lintz





Season ends on a sour note for varsity boys

JV girls golf team putts, drives

its way to successful season

JARED KAMRASS sports editor


After starting off with an undefeated 5-0 record in August, the boys golf team looked to continue their winning ways as September began. Their first matchup was against the rival Vikings at Princeton High School. Princeton came out firing but the team was just that much better, and when the dust settled, the boys took home the match by 14 strokes, 149-163. Things would go down hill from there. In their next four matches, the boys golf team was downed by St. Xavier, Mason, Fairfield, and Colerain in respective order. The string of defeats dropped the team to a 6-4 record going into an end of the season match up with Oak Hills. In an attempt to end the season with an exclamation point, the boys came out firing and ended up on top with a 16 stroke margin of victory of the Highlanders. The 152-168 win lifted the spirits of the teammembers who had been feeling the effects of the losing streak. However, the team looks forward to another strong season next year while trying to highlight the team’s third place finish in the GMC.

managing editor

The golf season is already winding down, but this steady team keeps the victories coming. The junior varsity ladies post a respectable 10-5 record highlighted by great rounds and narrow wins. A relatively experienced team, the JV group had little turnover this year. Returning juniors Lauren Kley, Allie Latessa, Claire Rickards, Claire Schwartz, and Rachel Senefeld-Naber have led the team the numerous victories. Farheen Kaleem, 10, has also brought her past year of experience with her this season, as Suzie An and Kelsey Drapkin, both 9, take in the experience of their first year among the golfers. The JV members are excelling under the guidance of their coach, Ms. Julie Haverkos. “This is the first time I’ve been on a competitive golf team before and I think it’s totally awesome. The matches are really fun to play and Coach Haverkos and the team [are] great. I’m going to be sad when the season is over, which unfortunately is really soon,” said An. In addition to beating out Milford, Kings, Villa Madonna, and Little Miami in early August, the girls delivered a second crushing defeat to Kings, 178 – 229.

This was the ladies’ third lowest round, after a 176 over Little Miami and a 177 that beat out both Kings and Villa Madonna. “I love the golf team because, being a freshman, I didn’t know many older students. And the team’s record being so good is just icing on the cake,” said Drapkin. The team followed up with a win over Mt. Notre Dame, 212 – 223. September started with a bang when the girls took on Notre Dame Academy and Villa Madonna, for the second time. They did themselves proud with a 191, narrowly defeating Notre Dame’s 192 and shutting out Villa Madonna’s 204. Four days later, the JV team was back on the course and ready to defeat its next opponent. The unlucky victim was Mason, whose 208 set them just one stroke behind the ladies’ 207. “The weather has been a major disadvantage. I am just trying to stay hydrated and focused,” said Schwartz. Although the team suffered a setback in their later loss to Seton, 195-190, their average is now at a 191, and as the record shows, the girls are scoring well enough to pose significant opposition to the other golfers in their league.

Top Players (average scores) Bryce Lindsay


Wes Denny


Steven Hesterburg


photo photo by by jeremy jeremy mcdaniel mcdaniel

SUZIE AN, 9, lines up a putt during an exiciting round of golf. This is An’s first year as a junior varsity player. She and her teammates have posted a 10-5 record thus far.




MLB season phases out, leaving mixed reactions Playoffs

Cincinnati Reds




sports editor

staff writer

t has been a season of disappointment for the Reds. They will not reach .500 for the seventh season in a row. In a season that saw the firing of manager Jerry Narron, the struggle of a bullpen, the loss of a playmaker Ryan Freel, and their losing streak, there are not many positives to draw from the season, but here are four of them. 1. Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger- Two of the biggest surprises this year in baseball have been key contributors to the Reds. Getting a chance to play, Hopper (.325 average in 250 at bats) and Keppinger (.353 average in 170 at bats), proved a tough pair to bench. “Jeff Keppinger and Norris Hopper provide an offensive spark we have not seen since Melvin Nieves,” said Josh Samuels, 11. 2. Jay Bruce- He was the 12th overall pick in the 2005 draft. This 20 year old outfielder was able to jump three minor league systems in the course of one year (Single A, Double-A, and Triple-A) and was recently named Minor League Player of the Year. A rare combination of average and power Bruce racked up a .319 average with 26 homeruns, 86 RBI, and an astounding 46 doubles. He will be vying for a starting spot in the crowded Reds outfield come Spring Training. 3. Brandon Phillips- Arguably the best second baseman in all of baseball, Phillips just loves to play hard day in and day out. Phillips is considered as a top contender for the Gold Glove Award for his defensive play at second base. Phillips is tied for the most homeruns by a second baseman this year with 29, second amongst second baseman with 85 RBI, and has the highest fielding percentage among all national league second baseman. He will become only the third Red in history to record a 30-30 season (30 homeruns, 30 stolen bases). 4. Josh Hamilton- Just the basic rags-toriches story, this #1 draft pick of 1999 made his season a story for the ages. After battling a drug addiction as well as being kicked out of the league for the last four years, Hamilton was struggling in his career. On the verge of collapse Hamilton resurrected his career and the Reds were willing to take a chance on the former phenom. Hitting .292 with 19 homeruns and seven outfield assists in his rookie year after a four year layoff, he

photo courtesy of

CINCINNATI REDS OUT fielder Ken Griffey Jr., runs down a fly ball hit by Chicago Cubs,’Derrek Lee in the fifth inning of their baseball game at Wrigley Field in Chicago on September 18, 2007.

The coming of October means that the MLB playoffs are about to begin. Last year saw a surprising run by the St. Louis Cardinals. The team had the worst record of any playoff participant going into the postseason, at 83-78. Nevertheless, St. Louis easily defeated the Padres in the Division Series (first round) three games to one before winning a dramatic League Championship Series (second round) in seven games over the New York Mets, advancing to the World Series, winning over the Detroit Tigers. Will there be another Cinderella story in 2007? If so, that club will once again come from the National League Central. At press time, the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers were tied for first place, sharing the worst record among division leaders in MLB. The two favorites in the National League appear to be the New York Mets and the Arizona Diamondbacks. New York is led by young stars David Wright and Jose Reyes in the infield, with Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado adding a veteran presence to the Mets’ excellent offense. Their only question mark is pitching: 41year-old Tom Glavine was the only experienced, quality starter for most of the season, but the return of Pedro Martinez from injury reduces the club’s concern. Despite their youth, the Diamondbacks have managed to play excellent baseball during the regular season, but their inexperience could hurt them in the playoffs. The American League is full of excellent ball clubs. The Boston Red Sox, Anaheim Angels, and Detroit all have winning percentages over .580—no NL teams do. Boston will be looking for their second championship in four years, and are led by sluggers David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, as well as Sycamore grad Kevin Youkilis. The former two are always clutch when it matters. Boston complements their good offense with a great pitching staff. Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling are among the best starters in the game, and closer Jonathan Papelbon is a dominant force in pressure situations. Whatever the outcome, one thing can be counted on: the MLB playoffs will account for an exciting October.

Bengals show signs of prosperity in first few games Look to successful season after last year’s disappointing one JEREMY SPIEGEL

staff writer

The Cincinnati Bengals started the 2007 season showing that the defense had taken several steps forward from last year. The next week, they made that game look like a fluke. The Bengals used great defensive plays and clutch offensive plays to defeat the Baltimore Ravens on the first Monday Night Football game of the 2007 season, showing the possibility for a successful season. “The defense played great against Baltimore,” said Aaron Fried, 12. “They looked better than they did all last year.” The defense looked much better than the previous performance. The 30th ranked squad in 2006 finished with six takeaways, putting pressure on Steve McNair all night. Landon Johnson recovered two fumbles, returning one for a touchdown. Robert Geathers recovered a fumble and also had one interception. In fact, the defense performed better than the offense for most of the game. After Carson Palmer threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Chad Johnson in the first quarter, the offense stalled repeatedly, not scoring another touchdown until the forth quarter. However, Palmer came through when it mattered, leading a late 30 yard drive to take the lead. “I was feeling good about our chances after week one,” said John Stucker, 11. “Once I saw the defensive performances, I thought that once the offense caught up, the Bengals

would be a playoff team for sure.” The next week, all that changed. The good news was that the offense regained its 2006 form. Against the rival Cleveland Browns, Palmer threw for 401 yards and six touchdowns. All-pro receivers Johnson and TJ Houshmandzadeh had two touchdowns each, and Johnson led all NFL receivers with 209 yards. Add on Rudi Johnson’s 118 rushing yards, and the Bengals should have won the game. The problem was that the Bengals defense regained its 2006 form, as well. A week after dominating the Baltimore offense, the defense could not stop any aspects of Cleveland’s offense, allowing 51 points, against a team that was nearly shut out by the Pittsburgh Steelers. “Our defensive performance was pathetic,” said Jordan Evans, 9. ‘Teams that score 45 points in a game should not lose.” Browns’ quarterback Derrick Anderson, in his forth NFL start, threw for 328 yards and five touchdowns. Running back Jamal Lewis, who had many big games against the Bengals as a Raven, ran for 216 yards and a touchdown in his second game in a Browns’ uniform. After the opener, the Bengals showed that their defense could be good enough to result in a long playoff run. Now, the unit needs to prove that the win was no fluke.

THE BENGALS CHAD Johnson looks on. The Bengals have shown both strengths and weaknesses through the early part of the season, going 1-2.

image by ben dhiman

sports New recruits build anticipation for season



‘This year will be the final rebuilding season for the Bearcats’ DAVID PYLES

staff writer


he Cincinnati Bearcats are certain to have high expectations for this upcoming season. With an immense recruiting class piling in, head Coach Mick Cronin is preparing for next season. High quality recruits have already committed and signed with the Bearcats. They will have four 3-star recruits and three 4-star recruits including one who has yet to sign. Cronin is going to have seven new recruits for this season, so everyone can bet that all gaps will be filled. People may say that this young team will not be the greatest this season, but as they grow they will become stronger. “Mick Cronin will do an awesome job and will win multiple NCAA Championships in the future,” said Josh Samuels, 11. A big reason for the Bearcats unsuccessful season last year was a lack of height and power. Cronin is going to solve that problem. Anthony McClain, a 4-star recruit from Fort Washington, Maryland, is the big man that is projected to clog up the paint this season. He is 6’11” and is anticipated to be a big part of the Bearcat’s defense and their offense. Another aspect that must be analyzed is the fact that the Bearcats have previously lacked in scoring. But this year, there will be major improvements for the offense because of talented young players such as Alvin Mitchell who averaged about 35 points a game in high school, as well as Larry Davis and Rashad Bishop who are expected to produce many wins with their offensive and defensive talents. Jason Henry, a 4-star recruit from Cincinnati, Ohio, is skilled in every angle. He will dominate in defense and do a marvelous job for the offensive side. Hopefully his skills and Cronin’s gifted coaching ability will produce an excellent ball player. “These players will help contribute to the struggling offense from last year,” said Andy Crusham, 11.

The wild card of this year’s class is Darnell Wilks. A top 100 player who was supposed to be part of next year’s class, Wilks plays power forward which will contribute to the problem with height and power down below. Assuming that he signs in time he will be able to play this season. Overall the Bearcats will be stacked with young inexperienced talent. This season will put them to the test, but in the end it all depends on the leadership and coaching skills of Cronin. “This year will be the final rebuilding season for the Bearcats,” said Kyle Templeman, 10.

UC 2007 Recruiting Class Name


Kenny Belton

Rivals Rank




6 7’


Rashad Bishop


6’ 6’


Larry Davis


6’ 3’


Jason Henry


6’ 7’


Anthony McClain


6’ 11’


Alvin Mitchell


6’ 5’


UC STARTING POINT guard Deonta Vaugh was a bright spot for an otherwise disappointing 06-07 Bearcats squad. This year however, Vaugh should get some help from a bevy of high-profile recruits brought in by head coach Mick Cronin. The Bearcats open up the season November 9th at home versus Belmont. *Chart does not include Darnell Wilks, a UC recruit who has not yet officially signed with the university. photo credit

In casino, out of job

Betting scandal rocks NBA BRANDON SOSNA

staff writer

NBA COMMISSIONER DAVID Stern somberly adresses a crowd in the wake of the Donaghy scandal. This incident has greatly harmed the image of the NBA, questioning the very sanctity of the league.

photo credit

The score is 109-90. Ten seconds are left on the clock. The boo birds are out as NBA referee Tim Donaghy calls a meaningless foul in a game that is all but over. Little does anyone know that to Donaghy this foul call, that sent a player to the charity stripe for two shots, is worth $5,000. The odds makers in Las Vegas, Nevada put the over/under on this specific game at 200, and Donaghy chose the over. While the player strokes the worthless free throws, and the crowd continues to shower Donaghy with boos, he can now sleep easy at night because he just made a successful gamble. It all started back on June 20, when the FBI approached the National Basketball Association about a possible betting scandal in the league. The two sides met a day later. Not much was heard until Donaghy resigned on July 9 after 13 years as a referee. It was not about the money. One would think Donaghy’s $260,000 salary and gorgeous Miami home would be enough to keep the former referee satisfied. However, it is the thrill, similar to that from a different type of addiction, which allowed Donaghy to allow himself to become a criminal. The evidence against Donaghy is staggering. The betting all began in 2003, but the two examples used in the indictment were more recent. December 2006. The night was December 13, and Donaghy was refereeing a game between Boston and Philadelphia. That night, Boston was a 3 ½ point favorite, and went on to win by 20. In the game, 25 fouls were called against the visiting Philadelphia 76ers, and the Boston Celtics were sent to the free throw line 34 times, en route to their win. The second was 13 days later, December 26. The Washington Wizards were an eight point favorite over the Memphis Grizzlies. In this game, 25 fouls were called against the Wizards, and both teams

shot a combined 61 free throws. The total score in the game was 217 and the over/under that night: 207. If one were to look deeper, he may find some unusual trends. When home teams were favored by 0-4½ points, they went 5-12 in games officiated by Donaghy this season. When the home team was an underdog, and the spreads were ranging from 5-9 ½, the home teams were 1-7, according to Covers. com, a Web site that records NBA referee trends. One more game to take note of was in New York this past February. It was a game in which the home town Knicks were favored by 4 ½, they shot 39 free throws, compared to eight for the visiting Miami Heat. Technical fouls were also called on Miami Heat coaches Pat Riley and Ron Rothstein. The Knicks went on to win by six. This evidence seems to be even more significant. After Donaghy surrendered in mid-August, he plead guilty to two felonies that have left a black mark on the NBA and its reputation as a league. When Donaghy is sentenced on November 9, he will be facing a maximum of 25 years in prison. Not to mention the $530,000 worth of fines. But that is not all. Numerous reports stated that Donaghy will provide prosecutors with as many as 20 names of other referees who are involved in the betting scandal. NBA commissioner David Stern, who called the scandal a result of a “rogue, isolated criminal,” continues to oversee the ongoing investigation. While Donaghy waits for that November 9 sentence, he will continue to receive psychiatric treatment for his gambling issues, as well as take antidepressant and anxiety medication. However, when Donaghy receives his punishment, and names those he claims to be involved in some form of gambling, the NBA will need more than psychiatric treatment to heal the catastrophic blow to the integrity of the game.




all images by matt mendelsohn


STARS FROM DIFFERENT countries compete in their respective sports. The United States and European countries have faced off in numerous international competitions, including baseball, basketball and soccer, and the competition is greater than ever.

onnecting both sides of world

an sports unite two hemispheres?

International teams gaining on United States MATT MENDELSOHN


sports editor

urope and the United States have always been very far apart. In sports, this also proves true. However, over the last several years, they have become closer than ever before. Sports that most Americans have not heard of, such as cricket, or that most Europeans do not play, like baseball, are now beginning to appear in the public eye. Yet, there is still a large difference in competition between these countries. After traveling to Europe, it was evident that the main focus of attention in the sporting world is soccer, with other sports such as rugby and cricket are in the background. A sports-crazed tourist from America might wonder… What happened to football and baseball? Even basketball, which is pretty big in Europe, was never on the television there. And that was just the beginning. Soccer advertisements, clothing, or equipment lined the streets and stores. If a person was wearing a rival soccer or rugby team’s jacket, a dispute or argument broke out. But not once were there arguments about the Red Sox versus the Yankees. In Europe, David Beckham’s arrival to the US was so huge that it was broadcasted on every news and sports channel.

With Beckham’s arrival, it seems that America is trying to bring soccer up to the same pedestal as its upper echelon of sports: football, baseball, and basketball. Is America trying to reach out to the other side of the world? There have already been signs of this kind of integration outside of the Olympics. The World Cup has been huge for numerous years, and has many, many teams participating, including the US. The FIBA World Championships are another example, and while the US used to be the cream of the crop, other countries are catching up or even surpassing the “Dream Team.” This new-found pressure is something the US has never experienced, and the past results have proven how close European countries are to overtaking the US in the sport. A third international competition, the World Baseball Classic, was just started two years ago, as baseball tried to incorporate all the countries that are now represented in the MLB. Again, the US did not win, proving there is room at the top. Now, there is also the other point of view. When visiting Israel, the opportunity to talk to several Israeli teens came about, most of them outstanding basketball players and very interested in sports. However, once the Americans

began to talk to them about baseball, their once constant talk become silent and their faces confused. That makes sense, considering that the first professional baseball league started just that month, and the competition was equivalent to college baseball, or maybe as low as high school baseball. He said he loved to learn about baseball, and after trying to explain to him the basics, he said that he would stick with basketball…it was just too hot in Israel. It brings the question to mind. Is Europe attempting to approach the US’s level in sports that the US has dominated for years, and is now embedded into their culture? Or is America behind the rest of the world? After watching ESPN and seeing a commercial on teaching football (not soccer, American football). It seems that only time will tell whether American sports will become popular in Europe, or whether European sports will become popular in America. Of course, connecting two sides of humanity separated by land and water is a pretty tough task.

Disclaimer: I traveled to Europe and Israel over the summer, and many of the facts in the article are from those experiences.

Countries compete from across planet Latest competitions down to wire

World Baseball Classic: In the first year of this competition in 2006, two perrnnial international powers showcased their might, as Japan and Cuba faced off in the championship at PETCO Park in San Diego. Japan opened up to a quick 4-0 lead before winning 10-6, with Daisuke Matsuzaka (now Boston Red Sox Pitcher) winning MVP FIBA World Basketball Championship: Held in Japan, upstart Lithuania faced off against Germany in the gold medal match. Germany, led by NBA superstar Dirk Nowitski had the star power, but could not seal the deal as Lithuania rushed out to a 30-17 lead and winning77-62, earning the gold medal. The United States finished third in the competition, earning a bronze medal. World Cup: In the most recent tournament of this classic soccer competition, France and Italy faced off in the championship game. The tournament ended with much drama, with the famed headbutt by French legend Zinedine Zidane, in his final soccer match, and Italy winning in a shootout.

all images by matt mendelsohn

09.28.07 KAVYA REDDY calendar chief




O CT O B E R Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday





Early Release Day - Parent Teacher Conferences 1:30-7:30 p.m. Volleyball for the Cure vs. Fairfield at home 7 p.m.


National College Fair 1:30 p.m.




Women’s Varsity Soccer vs. Mason at home 7 p.m.

11 Choral Concert 7:30-9 p.m.



PSAT Registration Deadline

Aves Theatre Showcase 7:30-9:30 p.m.


27 Saturday


SAT I, II off campus

Men’s Varsity Cross Country vs. Centerville 9 a.m. Men’s Varsity Soccer vs. Anderson at home 11 a.m.


Last Home Game

Varsity Football vs. Middletown at 7:30 p.m.

Elliot Yamin with Josh Hoge at Bogarts 8 p.m.








Early Release Day

PSAT SENIORS: Turn in forms for Early Decision applications by today




HallZOOween at Cincinnati Zoo. Take little siblings for trick-or-treating and fun.

Womens Water Polo 6:00/7:15



End of First Quarter

October Issue of The Leaf distributed


28 30 Overture Auditions




OGT Retake




Teacher Records Day No School





all photos by jeremy mcdaniel




Shivani shakes it up Freshman, Shivani Parikh, loves music, dance, fun JACY CAGLE & MICHELA TINDERA spotlight chief

spotlight chief

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP left: Dressed in her Indian dance attire, Shivani (right) poses with friends Kashi Goyal, 11 (left) and Shriya Ruparel, 9 (middle) of Mason; Shivani with her fellow Flyerettes during a UDA dance camp; Shivani and Jen Merz, 9 play in the snow in their formal wear.

I embarrass myself on a daily basis in some way.

Q&A with Shivani Parikh, 9

Q. Who are the people closest to you? A. My best friends and my family. Q. Have you always lived in Cincinnati? If no, where else have you lived? A. No, I was born in Boston and moved here

Q. If someone went into your room

Q. What do you think of high school so far? A. I’m loving it here, especially the freedom. Q. What are some of the most recently played songs on your iPod? A. “Insurance?” by the Higher, “Universally-

Q. What activities do you participate in, in school and out of school? A. In school I’m on Flyerettes, out of

when I was 10.

Speaking” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, “The Patty Hearst Syndrome” by Smoke or Fire.

Q. What do you do in your free time? A. I love going out with friends, dancing,

right now, what would they find that best describes your personality?

A. I keep a lot of random stuff my friends give me, like birthday signs they put on my locker. Also, pictures because my friends mean a lot to me.

Q. Your most embarrassing moment? A. I embarrass myself on a daily basis in

some way, so I can’t really remember any specifics.

Q. If you could be any character in Harry Potter, who would you be and why?

A. I’d have to say I would want to be Q. What is your favorite ride at Kings Island? Hermione because if I could do magic, I’d want to be as good as her. Plus, I’d never A. Definitely the FireHawk, no doubt. have any trouble with school. Q. If you could have any superpower, what Q. Who are your favorite teachers in listening to music, and just having fun.

would it be and why?

A. Fly! So I wouldn’t have to walk anywhere.

Q. Do you have an pet peeves? A. I hate when people wake me up really early.


school I do Indian dance and play the piano.


A. Mrs. Klefas! I love her! Q. What is something others do not know about you?


I have a peanut butter and banana sandwich every single day for lunch.





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el ich

O V A F Food y



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Ramen Noodles

Book Harry Potter Movie Moulin Rouge TV Show Friends

September 2007 issue  

calendar Commended scholars spotlight Senior Halloween moved Volley for the Cure diversity In comparison >> FOR MORE INFO: PAGE 5 >...