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The Little Hawk Feature Magazine

November 2, 2012



*see pages 10-11

The Little Hawk Feature Magazine

November 2, 2012



10 4




By Daniela Perret

By Emma Baxter

Victor Pascual ‘14 tells of his journey to the United States, and how his hardships and experiences inspired him to write an autobiography.

Five stylish students at City High explain the reasons behind their wardrobes, and what inspires them to wear their fashionable ensembles.

By Alex Perez and Emma Baxter A profile on two girls who went to extreme measures such as starvation and diet pills in order to gain body confidence and self-esteem.




1994 Wins 10th NHSPA Best of Show Award

*Equivalent to a National Championship for high school student journalism.


Website launches

Wins first of 3 Best Web Design Awards

Nominated for first of two Online Pacemaker Awards


2010 Newslab updates to new Macs

First app for a high school newspaper created

Nominated for NHSPA Pacemaker Award for first time in 12 years


Current Advisor, Jonathan Rogers, takes over


1990 Begins 11 straight years of NHSPA Pacemaker Awards*

Inducted into NHSPA Hall of Fame



Begins to use computers


The “Jack Kennedy Dynasty” Begins

Wins first of 13 Gold Crown Awards


By Jason Arnold




*LH History

The LH turns into a monthly newspaper


Amber Pirkl ‘13 opens up about her struggle with an eating disorder and subsequent depression.

A Teacher Profile:


People think I’m a lot harder of a teacher than I actually am. But I’ve let my reputation stand, because I think it works to students’ advantage if they expect to have to work hard.

photo by Eli Shepherd

By Renata Stewart In-between juggling two young children, pursuing a masters degree, and holding a full time job, English teacher Ali Borger-Germann managed to devise and write a full-length young adult fantasy novel. This project had been a goal of hers for a long time, but one that took years to achieve. “In third grade, I was totally convinced that I was going to write a novel,” she said, and with prodding and much abashment and laughter, she revealed her title. “It’s so embarrassing, but I wanted to call my book Cloud Observer, that’s how far into the clouds my head was all the time.” Born in the western suburbs of Chicago (or Chicagoland, as she puts it), Borger-Germann always loved school and had a special affinity for writing. “My family made fun of me constantly for being such a huge nerd,” she recalled. “I just wrote all the time: stories, poems, plays, books, you name it.” Her passion for literature only grew with age. Both her junior and senior years of high school, Borger-Germann was Editor-in-Chief of her school’s prominent literary magazine. “I always involved myself in everything writing and English related,” she said. After graduation, she headed to Grinnell College, where she met with mixed classroom experiences. “Academically, I loved Grinnell,” she said. “I felt like I was really challenged as a writer and a thinker.” But, surprisingly, she didn’t enjoy her English classes as much as others. Since English was such a popular major at the time, they started out with what BorgerGermann describes as “weed-out” classes, where she felt that literary conversation was stunted. “It was awful,” she said. “There was no talking about anything, there was no meaningful writing.” The education classes she took at Grinnell appealed

to her strongly, however, and right out of college she pursued a career in teaching, starting out for one semester at Solon Junior High. After her short stint in the classroom, BorgerGermann got a job with InterVarsity (a national organization of Christian fellowships on college campuses) at Coe College. She was very involved with the Grinnell chapter of InterVarsity, and wanted to forward the positive experience she had on to others. “The opportunity to give back to students what I had received was really appealing to me,” she said. But the job as life coach didn’t have the intellectual aspect that she craved. “The closest I got to literary analysis during that time was leading Bible study, and oh boy, I took advantage of it!” After four years in Cedar Rapids, it became clear to Borger-Germann that working for InterVarsity was not what she was meant to do. Religion, however, continued to be a driving force in her life. “I think how I’ve expressed my religion has changed a lot over time,” she explained. “But it’s always been really important to me.” In fact, BorgerGermann met her husband, David (now a pastor), through summer mission programs run by InterVarsity, of which he was a University of Iowa member. Borger-Germann decided to return to teaching English, and spent the next three years at Tipton High School while living in Iowa City. Her schedule changed drastically with the arrival of her oldest son, Josh. He was adopted by Ali and David in Iowa City (though his birth family is Mexican). “When Josh was born I just thought, I can’t drive half an hour to work, and back, and still be the parent that I want to be,” she said. “When I quit my job [at Tipton High School], I was totally planning on being a stay at home parent.” But this plan changed when she got wind of a job opening at City High. “It was just so tempting,” she said. Her husband instead ended up being the stay at home parent.

With a job she was happy with at City High, Borger-Germann set her sights on getting a Masters Degree. “Originally, I wanted to get my degree in education because those were the classes that I had really enjoyed during my undergrad years,” she said. But the first education class she took was “just awful”. Instead, she started looking into Masters programs in a field she had always loved: creative writing. But she soon found out that the ICCSD school board doesn’t approve a Masters in fine arts when it comes to rising up on the pay scale. “I figured that it wasn’t worth it for me to get a Masters in something that wouldn’t advance me in my career,” she said. She ended up finding a program at Regis University in Colorado where she could design her own Masters program in creative writing and teaching writing, and she started the two-year process, often Skyping into classes and doing much of her work online. She graduated in August of 2011, with the novel written as her thesis. Once she received the degree, Borger-Germann took her work to a team of seven people in order to get feedback. “Hopefully by the end of next summer I’ll be able to send it to a publisher,” she said. Borger-Germann’s family has grown and now includes 4-year-old Ben, who was adopted internationally from Ethiopia at 9 months old, as well as 6-year-old Josh. She and David are currently in the process of adopting again. “We’ll see what happens with that,” she said. When not at home with her growing family, Borger-Germann is constantly trying to better herself as a teacher. “I think teachers play to their strengths and weaknesses,” she said. “My strength is writing. I’m a really good writing teacher, and I work really hard at being a good writing teacher.” She bases her teaching on a writing process *Continued on Page 14 November 2, 2012 LH FEATURE MAGAZINE


where’d you get that idea? 4 LH FEATURE MAGAZINE

November 2, 2012

Students consider how their political opinions are influenced by their families.


By Naftalia Flatte

ith the elec- influenced in different ways than they have, so I’ve taken a different look tion coming at some things than they have.” up, many Like Olesberg, Harty’s opinions also differ from those of her parents. students are “I’m a little bit more liberal than they are, and less willing to consider working to the other side,” Harty said. “But I think that’s generally something that f o r m u l a t e younger generations have problems doing.” their own poOlesberg feels that his age certainly has a defining effect on his perlitical beliefs. spective. Through this “I agree that youth has a hard time thinking about other peoples’ perprocess, stu- spective because everybody’s a stuck up teenager,” Olesberg said. “And it dents have takes maturity to look at other people’s side of the story.” reflected on where they received their first political influence. For many Students describe some benefits of the fresh perspective that youth students, this influence is closely tied into parental relationships. can bring. “They’re the place I first got my ideas, and over time I’ve refined the “I’d say that younger people would be more willing to consider new ideas and built off of what they have done and come up with my own options for drug policy,” Olesberg said. “Because drugs are less taboo, beliefs,” Michael Olesberg ‘15 said. “But their ideas were certainly the people are more willing to consider the merits of policies, instead of debaseline or the place where I started off.” faulting to the way we do things right now. Even if people end up decidTegan Harty ‘14 agrees with Olesberg, describing her parents’ opin- ing that current policies are actually better, they’re more willing to have ions as a starting point, from which she developed her own ideas. a conversation about it.” “They make me think about all the issues. They have their own opinThe difference in perspective between age and youth is widened by ions, but I know it’s important for me to find the different contexts that both have experienced. out what I think, and that way I’ll have a “We were brought up in totally different time strong ideological base for my entire life,” periods. When they were going to school, gay Tegan Harty ‘14 said. “By having their own marriage wasn’t even considered an issue that opinions they make me think about what my would be pressing in a presidential election,” opinions are.” Harty said. “And so I think the issues are just a As well as simply offering an initial vanlot different, and so that pushes people to have tage point, sometimes parents can influence different ideologies.” their childrens’ interest and participation in Olesberg agreed, although he believes that politics. the difference is not so clear when it comes to “My parents have led to me being quite fiscal issues. argumentative, especially my dad,” Harty “They have a more historical perspective. said. “He’ll always say, why do you think It affects certain social issues because we come that? What’s your support?” from different generations,” Olesberg said. “But While some students question the benefit it’s not as much of an influence on fiscal things.” of parents’ having such great impact on their Many students are not currently dealing with - Michael Olesberg ‘15 childrens’ beliefes, Olesberg feels that it is issues of taxation and housing themselves, and simply a natural step in the process of formso display little interest in these issues. ing one’s own beliefs. “Social issues definitely affects the kids, and a “I don’t think it’s good or bad that parents influence their children’s lot of them are voting more on that. The economics affects our parents, beliefs, but I think it’s inevitable and people shouldn’t attempt to stop but not really us. They do to a point, but we’re not directly seeing it, and it,” Olesberg said. “Everybody’s going to be influencing everyone else’s the same for foreign policy,” Harty said. “While foreign policy definitely beliefs, so there’s no reason why parents should try to not influence their affects us, it’s not really a direct influence, like making abortion illegal or children when everyone else in society will be influencing their children, outlawing gay marriage would be.” one way or another.” However, opposing this, Olesberg described the futility that he feels While parents often form the base for their children’s political beliefs can amount from focusing on social issues. to build on, students also describe outside influences that affect their ul“We don’t really talk about social issues at my house because they timate political beliefs. don’t seem to be that important right now. There are more pressing is“I mostly agree with my parents’ ideas, but sometimes I disagree sues. Social issues will always be with us, and things are much less likely about details about how things should be done in the course of action, to be done on them, than on economic issues,” Olesberg said. “No major as opposed to the whole general idea,” Olesberg said. “I think I disagree social policy will get passed anytime soon, whereas you’re more likely to about those details because I’ve come up with my own beliefs and been get a compromise on fiscal issues.”

“I agree that youth has a hard time thinking about other peoples’ perspective because everybody’s a stuck up teenager.”

November 2, 2012 LH FEATURE MAGAZINE



One student’s journey from the streets of Guatemala, to the halls of City High is told in his autobiographical novel, Mi Vida, published this past summer.


By Daniela Perret

fter spending the first 15 years of his life living on the streets of Guatemala, Victor Pascaul ‘14 made the harrowing journey to the United States two years ago. Pascual was born in the South of Guatemala, in the town of Retalhuleu, where he grew up by himself after being left by his parents at a very young age. “I don’t even know who my actual parents are,” Pascual said. “I’ve never seen them. But, at this point in my life, I have no interest in knowing who they are.” Pascual spent most of his time in Guatemala living on the streets, collecting cans, and doing any type of work he could find to be able to make money to buy food and make it through the day. Although he was facing hardships and many challenges, he still attended school. “Even though I wasn’t living in a society like normal kids, I still went to school,” Pascual said. “I knew I wanted to be someone.” After living in these conditions until he was 15 years old, Pascual moved to the United States after being approached by a man in Guatemala who informed him about the opportunities and how life was in the United States. “I moved here not because I wanted to, but because a man told me about how life is in the United States,” Pascual said. “I 6 LH FEATURE MAGAZINE

November 2, 2012

was in a really tough situation, so I decided to go with him.” From the border of Guatemala, Pascual spent one week riding on top of a train with no food or water to arrive in Arizona where he went through immigration. Once he arrived in Arizona, he was sent to Creston, Iowa. After staying with a family in Creston for a month, Pascual was sent to Iowa City. “When I arrived in Iowa City I didn’t know what to do,” Pascual said. “I was by myself and I didn’t know anyone. It was a really difficult situation.” Upon arriving in Iowa City, Pascual was given a place to sleep by a stranger he met in downtown Iowa City. He was then given a job at Mondo’s Sports Cafe in Coralville, where he worked for six months. During this time Pascual did not attend school. “I didn’t even think about going back to school because of my experience in Guatemala. When you go to school you see how different people are from you because you are from a lower class. They discriminate against you for what you have and not for who you are, so I was kind of afraid of going back to school,” Pascual said. “I didn’t want to be stuck washing dishes for the rest of my life so I started going to the Library and checking out books and CD’s to help with my English. This is when I started to think about going

to the Library and checking out books and CD’s to help with my English. This is when I started to think about going back to school.” While Pascual was working at Mondo’s, the Iowa Department of Human Services became involved in Pascual’s situation and placed Pascual in a foster home where he stayed for his whole freshman year, while he attended West High. During the summer of his freshman year, Pascual was placed with Laura and Phil Lala. The following fall, Pascual began school at City High. “I’m really happy here at City High,” Pascual said. “It’s a very nice place. I got to know a lot of people that support me and I think that’s very helpful because that helps me become who I want to be in life.” Pascual’s journey has led him to write a book on his life. While many young writers wait until college or at least after high school to give being a published author a shot, Pascual took matters into his own hands to have his book, Mi Vida, published this past summer. Mi Vida was written

61% 14% rural areas live on



live in

Victor’s Journey


68 72

Creston, Iowa


literacy rate male:

% female: %

Guatemala’s Population

life expectancy years

a day

US literacy rate 99% for both genders

during Pascual’s sophomore year and was published this summer on The book is written in Spanish and is mainly about Pascual’s life as an immigrant to the United States. “It’s basically about myself,” Pascual said. “And about all the things that I had to go through to stand where I am standing right now.” Pascual used the book as a way to express himself and to inform people about the hardships of being an immigrant in high school. “I wanted to try writing a book and I also wanted to let people know that no matter how difficult life is, you can still get through it,” Pascual said. “That you can still have the power to control your balance in life and weaknesses and things like that.” Pascual took about year to write the 45 page book, focusing more on clarity and making it seem more real rather than trying to finish it. “The reason that I wrote about this is basically to try to help myself by letting people know how hard life is,” Pascual said. “How life really is.”



United States’ Population Iowa City, Iowa



78,000 people are living with


= % in poverty = 5 million people

Retalhuleu, Guatemala

November 2, 2012 LH FEATURE MAGAZINE


Fall Fashion By Emma Baxter Walking down the hall in royal blue skinny-cut pants, a charcoal grey cardigan, and a blue bow tie fastened around the collar of his white button up, Ryan Dorman ‘14 takes advantage of his eccentric style by creatively integrating secondhand and name brand pieces into his wardrobe. “I mostly shop at thrift stores, like Second Act,” Dorman said. “But I also like to shop at Express. That’s where I got my blue pants and cardigan.” His style transformed over the summer, when he was influenced by his friend, and graduate of City High, D.J. Martin. “D.J. would dress sorta hipster-like,” Dorman said. “And the people I would hang out with all dressed really nice. I guess my style evolved because of them.” Dorman also utilizes the website Pinterest. Pinterest is a virtual pinboard where users can share pictures of things they like and also repin images of things that inspire them. “I have a pinboard called ‘My Style’ with about 600 pictures,” Dorman said. If you scroll through his board there are common themes of clothing that represent his style. USA patterned shoes, watches, and sweaters are seen everywhere. Horizontal striped t-shirts and pullovers are classic staples. Colored jeans in every possible shade ranging from rust orange to emerald green, line the rows of Dorman’s pins. “I would classify my style as hipster-y with bright colors,” he said. “There are definitely some unique things I own, like my neon golf sweater from Second Act.” Other unique things include galaxy print Vans, an animal safari hat, needlepoint belts, and of course, bow ties. “If I think it’s cool or goofy and I like it,” Dorman said, “I’ll repin it because it adds to my inspiration.” Dorman also appreciates the fall weather. 8 LH FEATURE MAGAZINE

November 2, 2012

“You can dress warmer, therefore you can put more thought into your outfit. I like adding layers and details to my outfits.” The thought that goes into Dorman’s outfits pays off. “I like being noticed because of what I’m wearing,” Dorman said. “Dressing nicely makes me feel better and complements the mood I’m in.” Philip Bui ‘13, also has an appreciation of style. Unlike Dorman, he categorizes his wardrobe as classy. “I like to shop at Von Maur and Express,” Bui said. “They have really nice quality clothes that are on trend.” Bui’s most recent purchases have included khakis, sweaters, and dress shirts, all to accommodate for the cooler weather. “I like fall because there’s a greater variety of clothes,” Bui said. He usually goes for a clean-cut outfit. A pair of pants, a nice shirt, and Sperry’s or loafers, and he’s good to go. “When I look for clothes I don’t really care about price,” Bui said. “If I like it, then I’ll get it, well my mom will buy it for me.” Bui has heard of sites like Pinterest and Wanelo, but he doesn’t have much interest in them. “My mom told me about them,” Bui said. “But I don’t think it’s worth my time to use those sites.” Like Dorman, Bui tries to dress fashionably because it makes him feel good. “You gotta dress to impress,” Bui said. Clad in army green skinny jeans, smart wool socks under brown leather ankle boots, and a purple cable knit sweater, Kate Van Fossen’s ‘14 ensemble was thrown together moments before she had to leave for school. “I never really try to look a certain way,” Van Fossen said. “People tell me I’m fashionable, but to me it’s just how I’ve always dressed.” Her approach to style is basic. “I keep it to a minimum,” she said. “I appreciate good quality clothing. You pay for the material, the way it’s made, and the feel. All of those variables affect what I buy.” Van Fossen likes to shop online. Some of her favorite brands include J. Crew and “old lady stores.” “Older clothing might be outdated,” Van Fossen said. “But it has characteristics of what I like.” Although she only uses half of her closet, Van Fossen manages to find an array of outfits.

art by Juliette Enloe

“I start by layering. Then I just keep adding clothing until I’m comfortable,” she said. The next item on her shopping list is a pair of boots. “I want a sturdy pair of shoes,” Van Fossen said. “I think good shoes are very important.” Ashlee Waters ‘13 gets her style inspiration when she goes shopping. “I see outfits on store mannequins,” Waters said. “I really like the vintage-y look. It is simple and elegant at the same time.” Since Waters looks to trendy stores for her wardrobe, she has perfect fall pieces. “My denim and leather jackets are great for completing my outfits,” she said. “Even if you wear a plain t-shirt and jeans, if you put a nice jacket over it, it completes your look and gives you more of an edge.” Waters also loves the colored jeans trend. “I feel like fall is when everyone starts getting out their sweatshirts and goes into hibernation,” she said. “If I can wear bright jeans and be on trend at the same time it makes me feel happier.” Ellie Benson ‘14 interprets her style as quirky and classic. “The way I dress is important to me because it reflects my personality,” Benson said. “I love modern takes on vintage clothing and simple silhouettes.” She loves to shop downtown. Stores such as - Cecilia Revival, White Rabbit, and Goodwill, fit her style perfectly. “You can find the coolest clothes for an affordable price,” Benson said. “I recently picked up this awesome J. Crew brown and white wool blazer from Revival that I love.” Benson’s go-to look for fall would be baggy flannel shirt, leggings and riding boots. Boots are among the top needed items for fall. She also likes wearing her Converse and oxfords. “Shoes complete your look,” Benson said. “Except for Uggs, those are just ugly. I would rather wear a cute pair of boots.” Benson also adds statement jewelry to her outfits. “Accessories can dress an outfit up,” she said. “You can add a statement necklace or ring and it looks great.”

If she could buy anything right now it would be a purple peplum shirt. “I love the color purple for fall,” Benson said. “And the peplum shirt trend is just so figure flattering and really cute.” The abundance of fall hues draw from every shade on the color wheel. Rich jewel tones of green, red, blue, and gold vividly stand out against the common dark greys, taupes, and blacks. Mixing and layering colorful bursts of clothing is popular for fall. As someone, who in junior high and freshman year “never dressed nice,” Cecilia De Boeck ‘13 has made significant changes to her closet. “There are no more Hollister shirts and Aeropostale sweatpants,” De Boeck said. “Thank god.” De Boeck loves the styles of Miranda Kerr, Kendall Jenner, and Kourtney Kardashian, but also gets most of her fashion inspiration from Pinterest. “I get a lot of ideas from Pinterest,” De Boeck said. “Sometimes I’ll try to recreate outfits that I really like. It’s great because you can see items that you want to buy or ways you can utilize clothes that you already have.” When she isn’t searching through her closet, De Boeck likes to shop at Cheap and Chic, Forever 21, Target, and Revival. This mix of stores allows her to get a range of clothes. “My favorite look is probably leggings, a denim shirt, boots and a scarf,” she said. De Boeck ‘13 De Boeck loves the denim trend. “I wear denim like it’s my job,” she said. “I can’t get enough of it. I also feel the most comfortable in it.” She says a black leather jacket and pair of boots are something everyone should own too. “I’m currently in the pursuit of the perfect jacket and I love wearing my combat boots,” De Boeck said. “Paired with an infinity scarf, sweater, and pants, I think that makes a perfect outfit.” Her love of fashion continues to inspire her to dress fashionably. “I feel much more grown up and confident when I dress nicely,” De Boeck said. “I think everyone looks better when they wear nicer clothes and put in a little extra effort getting ready.”

“I think everyone looks better when they wear nicer clothes and put in a little extra effort getting ready.”

November 2, 2012 LH FEATURE MAGAZINE


“I don’t want to be normal. I want to be skinny.” By Alex Perez & Emma Baxter


ike clockwork, Elise* would wake up and reach for the bottle of pills hidden in her dresser. After swallowing the sour blue tablet, she’d lift up her shirt and admire her flat stomach, hoping the pills would continue to work their magic. But the pills would only sustain her hunger for two weeks. After that, she was on her own. “The diet pills acted like a security blanket that managed my weight,” Elise said. “I knew that I didn’t have to worry about what I ate that day because they would do that for me.” Elise didn’t care what price she had to pay. “I was so unhappy with the way my body looked that I was willing to spend 80 dollars to fix the problem,” Elise said. “I didn’t really care that it was unhealthy, I just wanted to be skinny.” After two weeks, the results were exactly what Elise wanted. “I felt so much better than I had before because I saw instant results. I had lost 10 pounds, and I was so happy,” she said. “I had more confidence in every aspect of my life.” Elise kept her pills a secret, only telling two close friends. “I was embarrassed to tell people, I wanted to keep it private,” Elise said. “I thought that I was sorta cheating the system by taking the easy way out.” Whenever Elise would say she was fat, friends would combat her statements with compliments and reassurance. To Elise, these comments seemed like lies that just upset her. “Even now when people tell me that I’m not fat, I don’t believe them. I still see a pudgy stomach and flab under the arms,” Elise said. “If I could order the pills again I would. I don’t think I’ll ever truly be satisfied with my body.” Besides buying diet pills, there are other un-

conventional methods that girls turn to for losing weight. Amy* went on Adderall to manage her ADD but also to lose weight. “Being diagnosed with ADD was a blessing in disguise,” Amy said. “Sure, my grades got better and I became more attentive, but I also stopped eating.” One of the most common side effects of ADD medication is loss of appetite. “I was at my follow-up checkup after being prescribed the medication and my doctor freaked out,” Amy said. “I had lost 15 pounds in two weeks. The doctor and my mother were both horrified but the first thing I felt was joy. All I wanted to do was lose more and more weight.” And she did. “My doctor made my mother weigh me every week to make sure I didn’t lose any more weight,” Amy said. “Before the weigh-ins, I’d eat as much as I could so my mom wouldn’t be worried and the doctor wouldn’t get mad, then I’d go back to not eating.” This new extreme mind-set stemmed from her past struggles with her body. “When you lose weight your mind is in a different place where you’re already so insecure about yourself. You don’t realize that you’ve changed so much,” Amy said. Worrying about weight can be a road- Elise block for girls. “I decided to go on birth control because it seemed like something a 18 year old should do,” Amy said. “But after getting the pills I read how one of the main side effects is weight gain, and I decided not to take them because I’d rather take my chances than get fat.” Some girls use tricks and play mind games with themselves in order to reach the mentality of not eating.

“Even now when people tell me that I’m not fat, I don’t believe them.”


LH FEATURE MAGAZINE November 2, 2012

“I will write sayings on my stomach like ‘don’t eat, be skinny’ to remind myself that I want to be thin,” Elise said. “Some days I play a game with myself to see how long I can go without eating.” This extreme and sometimes dangerous behavior doesn’t seem like a big deal to Elise and Amy. “Thinking about it, I know that what I put my body through and the things I think aren’t healthy,” Amy said. “But I won’t stop because my life’s a lot better than what it used to be.” Every girl has a different idea of what their perfect body would be. “I don’t want to be normal,” Amy said. “ I want to be skinny.” Amy described how all girls pick apart their appearance. “Nothing makes me more annoyed than when a skinny, pretty girl calls herself ugly,” Amy said. “But I know that I do the exact same thing, so that makes me a hypocrite, I guess. It’s bullshit when girls tell other girls to ‘love and respect their bodies’ because we’re all just hypocrites. I judge my body and so do you.”

photo by Jason Arnold

For girls like Amy and Elise, confidence and beauty go hand in hand. “You can tell how a person feels about themselves by the way they look that day,” Amy said. “I know if I dressed up, did my hair, and put on makeup, I would be feeling confident.” Often times self-esteem is affected too. “If I have a giant pimple on my face, I feel like that is what everyone is looking at, well, more importantly, that’s what guys are looking at,” Elise said. “I definitely will become more shy and self conscious around boys because I don’t feel as attractive.” Some girls feel that there is a double standard for girls to be “pretty” to other girls, and “hot” to boys. “I feel like for guys, being hot is all about body type, if she has big boobs and a butt,” Amy said. “And being pretty for girls is everything, but most importantly having a cute face.” Elise agrees.

“There are so many words to describe girls,” Elise said. “Some girls you would call pretty, but you would never call them ‘hot’. I feel like girls want to be both, so they compare themselves in every way possible.” There are girls that are happy with their body type, but hate their face, and vice versa. “I feel like girls can only expect to have one or the other,” Amy said. “And for the girls that do have both, you’re jealous of them, but also loathe them for it.” This jealousy is most prevalent among friends. “I have a friend that knows she’s pretty, and she definitely has the confidence to flaunt it,” Elise said. “I’m jealous of her because of her confidence that I don’t have, but at the same time feel guilty because she is one of my good friends.” Wishing you looked like a certain person happens frequently. “There are girls that I stalk on Facebook and Instagram that I think are super pretty,”

Amy said. “I imagine what my life would be like if I looked like them.” Amy does not consider her own thought process logical. “You can’t change the shape of your face or the way your body looks to mimic someone else,” Amy said. “As much as you wish to look like a certain person, it won’t happen.” Makeup can make a girl feel completely differently about herself. “My guy friend told me that I looked really pretty without makeup on. My response to him was like ‘well you have never seen me without makeup so you don’t even know what I look like,’” Elise said. “Boys don’t realize how much makeup you put on to make it seem like you’re not wearing makeup.” Self-esteem is a delicate balance for girls to maintain. “You can get a million compliments that make you feel good for a second,” Amy said. “But if you get one nasty comment that’s just really mean, you remember it forever.” *Names have been changed November 2, 2012 LH FEATURE MAGAZINE


OUT OF PLACE 1 in 5 teenagers go through some sort of depression. Amber Pirkl ‘13 shares the story of her struggle with depression, and how she overcame it.


LH FEATURE MAGAZINE November 2, 2012


eing irritated, uninterested, tired, and sad are emotions that most teens feel from time to time. But occasionally, these are more than just angst-y feelings. For five percent of teens in the U.S. these feelings are symptoms of a serious mental illness, depression. Depression can make teens feel worthless, and can lead to them dealing with it in destructive and negative ways. Kathleen Staley is the outreach director at the University of Iowa Counseling Services, and works with students who are suffering with symptoms of a variety of mental illnesses. “Alcohol and substance abuse, cutting, angry outbursts, eating disorders, and some people just withdraw from everything around them,” Staley said, “People don’t usually deal with depression in positive ways, especially not at first.” Amber Pirkl ‘13 is part of the five percent of teens suffering with depression. She handled her depression in negative ways, like Staley has seen so many times before. Pirkl was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2011. This diagnosis came after her mother passed away from brain cancer in 2011, and after going through a rough break up from a long-term relationship. Amber couldn’t handle the emotions that came with losing the people she loved the most. She suffered with her unhealthy eating habits resurfacing and suicidal thoughts, along with other symptoms of depression, such as isolating herself and being irritated and fatigued all the time. “My eating disorder started in second grade, when I watched a lot of Shania Twain videos,” Pirkl said, “She was thin, and I thought she was perfect. I wanted to be just like her. I was so insecure.” In order to achieve being “perfect” like Shania Twain, Pirkl would go through short phases of not eating anything, eating normally, and back again. “I would try my hardest to eat as little as possible all day,” Pirkl said. “Usually, I would end up eating a ton at dinner, sometimes even throwing up, and I’d get so upset. I spent all of second grade in that kind of haze.” Often times, Pirkl would play off her not eating and make up excuses, “I’d say I was full from lunch still, even though I’d just pick at corn or something lame. I’d say that I ate somewhere else. I came up with so many lies to cover up my starving.”

By Lilly Reitz

Throughout her elementary years and junior high experience, Pirkl would continue with these kinds of behaviors. When Pirkl was young, she didn’t get any help for her eating disorder. “I just thought that was how everyone was,” Pirkl said. “I thought everyone worked that hard to be perfect. Even being in second grade, I didn’t think anything was wrong, but I always thought I was fat, and I wouldn’t stop at anything to change that.” Throughout her mother’s battle with cancer, Pirkl’s depression and eating disorder only progressed. “My mom was one of my favorite people in the world,” Pirkl said. “Losing her was like losing a part of me. I had lost her before she even had died. She had brain cancer, and by the time she passed away, she didn’t even know who I was.” In early 2012, Pirkl became suicidal and she spent some time in the psych ward at the University of Iowa. Pirkl was hospitalized for her depression and eating disorder, “[Someone] had contacted my dad and told him I was very suicidal and that I hadn’t eaten, so they took me into the hospital. I was so mad at [them] for doing that. I was enraged. I wanted to continue with my behaviors, I thought it made me happy in a weird, twisted way.” Pirkl stayed in the children’s psych ward at the University of Iowa for four days before being released. “When I first was admitted, they took away all my clothes and I had to walk around in a gown all day. My first day was just me telling my story over and over again to a bunch of different doctors.” When Pirkl was in the hospital, she interacted with about a dozen other kids, anywhere from 13 to 18 years old, all with serious emotional or mental problems. “The psych ward was so strange,” Pirkl said. “I felt so out of place. Everyone there was so much worse than I was... There was one boy [with anger problems] who punched the floor so hard it broke the tile.” In the hospital, Pirkl was put on a very strict schedule. Everything in the psych ward was monitored, from her meals, to her bathroom schedule, to when she was allowed to sleep. “I felt so claustrophobic,” Pirkl said. “It was like I was being watched by a hawk waiting to catch its prey.” Because Pirkl was admitted for her eating disorder behaviors and depression, she was treated for both illnesses. “I was put on a really strict meal plan and medication. The doctors made me talk to them about my eating disorder and depression, and we had group therapy *Continued on next page photo by Nora Holman November 2, 2012 LH FEATURE MAGAZINE


with kids with the same problems.” Now, it’s almost a year later. Pirkl has seen therapists and taken anti-depressants, and considers herself almost completely recovered. “My depression is a lot better, I’m only sad once or twice every two months, mostly when I’m really stressed or when I feel really alone. The rest of the time I feel so happy, and my eating is a lot better, too. I barely have problems eating anymore,” Pirkl said. Pirkl went to a psychiatrist and a therapist in order to find peace within herself. With her therapist, Pirkl acknowledged and discussed her eating disorder, and why she thought that was a way she wanted to cope. With her psychologist, Pirkl found different, and more healthy, ways to deal with her feelings. “I learned that anything was better than how I had been treating myself,” Pirkl said. “From writing to painting to even just talking it out. I felt so much better. I thought starving myself

“I know there are other people going through what I went through, and they can get help. There is a way out.” - Amber Pirkl ‘13 and being depressed was the only way to deal, but it wasn’t.” Finding these alternative ways to cope not only helped Pirkl feel more content, it also

made her find herself, “I learned a lot about myself when I would talk about my feelings, or write them down. I could reflect back on it and every time I did that, I would learn more about what made me feel that way and what I could do to prevent it.” In addition to therapy, Pirkl was prescribed anti-depressants. Pirkl was skeptical of therapy and medication at first, “I didn’t think therapy and medication would help as much as it did,” Pirkl said. When asked why Pirkl would be willing to share such a personal story with nearly everyone in the school, Pirkl replied simply with, “It’s important.” She went on to say, “I know there are other people going through what I went through, and they can get help. There is a way out. I didn’t think there was, but I was wrong. I just want someone to read my story and know that it’s okay. Depression took so much from me, and it doesn’t need to take anything away from anyone else.”

A Teacher Profile: Continued from Page 3 which revolves around getting from point “A to point B, and point B to point C”. The varying levels of writing that her students come to her with are what drive her revising process. “We get some really struggling students who just need to be taught how to write a paragraph,” she explained. “But on the other hand, we have students who have just always gotten A’s, but really don’t understand why, and have no idea how to improve.” When asked about her reputation as one of City High’s toughest teachers, she laughed and said she really doesn’t mind it, though she thinks it’s a bit overblown. “People think I’m a lot harder of a teacher than I actually am,” she said. “But I’ve let my reputation stand, because I think it works to kids’ advantage if they expect to have to work hard.” Borger-Germann has worked for years to become the kind of teacher she learned best from as a child, but there was never a doubt in her (or anyone’s) mind that she would end up where she is. She always knew she wanted to be a teacher. In 3rd grade, in fact, she would “rescue” worksheets from the recycling bin, take them home, and re-teach them to neighborhood kids in a makeshift school setting. “It’s kind of a joke with all of my high school friends now,” she laughed. “They all say ‘Of course you’re an English couldn’t have ever been anything else.’”


Email Renata Stewart

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LH FEATURE MAGAZINE November 2, 2012




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The Little Hawk Feature Magazine 11.2.12  

The Little Hawk Feature Magazine 11.2.12