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MI SSI ON Shawnee Mission North High School

Overland Park, Kansas

Volume 91 Issue 2

Setting the scene for new changes North’s volleyball teams adjust to new coaches and ways of learning By Samantha Yancey

Communication is key, especially for North’s volleyball teams. With new coaches, players and practices, the girls face many different challenges while trying to reach the goals that they’ve set for the season. Getting along and working together as a team is something that all of the girls are working on in practices. “I want us to be able to work as a team,” said freshman Katie Hattaway, “and hopefully win a couple of games.” Getting the teams off to a good start for the season doesn’t come without hard work in practice. With a new practice system, the Varsity girls face challenges that they have not had in the past. “It’s just a different program,” said Senior Hannah Biggs, “practice is a little different than the past years.” In order to adjust to these changes, Varsity is working harder to communicate and prepare for games. “This year the team is playing a lot of small group games and even more six versus six games in practice,” said Varsity Coach Brett Wobker. “This is helping them to prepare for the unpre- The Varsity volleyball team gathers together by coach Wobker to huddle up before the dictable nature of volleyball, as well as how to read the game.” next play at a game against Mill Valley on Aug. 28. Photo by Malikah Sadeghi Under the instruction of their coaches, the girls continue to Working hard isn’t the only thing that the girls need to do to improve. improve on being aggressive and controlled while playing. Communication and cooperation are also important aspects of being on “Learning the game takes time,” said Freshman Coach Andrea Jenson, the volleyball team, according to junior Madison Burnett “so the more they play the more they will grow and learn.” “I like working together with my teammates,” Burnett said, “I like team The Junior Varsity team is also continuing to improve skills such as sports because you have to count on each other.” passing, hitting and serving. Being pushed to do their best, the girls are preparing for games and “As far as skills go, the girls have improved tremendously since we first continuing to improve. came together as a team,” said Junior Varsity Coach Emily Dewey. “The “All I ask for is that the girls give their best on every play everyday,” girls have come a long way and their hard work is about to pay off.” Wobker said. “I will call the season a success no matter what happens.”

New teachers begin their new career at North

Teachers who are new or returning for their second year are excited about the school and students By Andrew Keech

The school year has just begun and joining the faces of new students, are the faces of new teachers. This year there are a total of 14 new or returning teachers, Andrew Adams, Sara Fielder, Polly Krapes, Zach McKamie, Katie Melcher, Lindsey Nelson, Juli O’Mealey, Ryan Pfierfer, Jim Ricker and Jeanette Rockett. McKamie, who left to teach middle school for the district, said he is happy to be back. “I am looking forward to being back at North,” McKamie said. “I think all the students I have taught would agree I am better suited for teaching high school. My style of

teaching has worked pretty well with high school students, so I don’t see a reason to change anytime soon.” Choir teacher Patrice Solenburger retirement last year, the position became open, and Juli O’Mealey was hired. “I’ve always known that North had a reputation for its strong traditions, school spirit and excellent performing arts programs,” O’Mealey said. “But actually being a part of North has exceeded my expectations. This is a dream job for me.” English teacher Zachary Powell left North and while he was away he did many things including

working as a chef, framing houses, and teaching college English. “I enjoy creating art in some way,” Powell said. “Primarily by writing, but I enjoy painting and photography as well.” Though he has been gone for a while, Powell said his love for teaching hasn’t changed. “I think teaching has made me enjoy meeting and talking to many different people,” said Powell. “There are not many fields where you get to know 150 people closely for a year.” Powell said he was excited to be back at North because of the tradition and school spirit of the students.

“It’s strange,” Powell said. “For me coming from Bonner Springs, to see students so engaged with school spirit.” McKamie also took a few coaching jobs for boys and girl’s tennis and may coach the wrestling team as well, to stay involved at North. “I love coaching,” McKamie said. “It brings me closer to students I don’t have in class.” A few students have said they’re excited to see the new faces. “Its always nice to meet new people,” sophomore Bailey Edwards said. “The more the better honestly. Each teacher has something different they want to share. That’s what I love about North.”


Foreign Exchange Students

Living an American life Foreign exchange students from around the world join North family By Kyle Milligan Six students traveled across the world to finish their high school education at SM North this year. There are three female and male exchange students attending this year. Foreign exchange student Tonje Isaksen is from Norway. She said there were things she loved back home, that she now misses. “My favorite thing about home was the nature, the mountains, the snow and the cold weather,” Isaksen said. “I miss my family and friends and running in the mountains with no McDonalds in sight.” Alena Gerashchenko traveled to North from Russia. She said her parents were very supportive of the move. “Of course they were afraid, but they said that this year would be great for me to learn something new about American culture,” Gerashchenko said, “to be totally absorbed in the English language sphere and to get a great life experience.” Vittorio Masina came from Italy. He said his first thoughts when he arrived in Kansas were hopeful. “The first thing that came up to my mind was ‘wow, here’s the beginning of my new life,’” said Masina. “Kansas gave me a very good first impression and now that I’ve been here for more than Exchange students (left to right) Front row: Eva Poelger, Linda Klassen, Alena two weeks, I can say I love this place.” The first thing German foreign exchange student Linda Klas- Gerashchenko and Tonje Isaksen. Back row: Gerge Zatko, Arthur Nikalayan and Vittorio Masina. Photo by Gabe Alejos sen noticed when she arrived was the weather. “I thought it was hot and everything was much, much bigger,” Klassen said.

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October 2012


Slovakian foreign exchange student Gerge Zatko endured a long trip to arrive in Kansas. “I hoped my bed would be comfortable, because I travelled 47 hours,” Zatko said. Isaksen said she’s happy to be a part of the North tribe. “I honestly feel really lucky for being a student at this school,” Isaksen said. “I’ve been told that North is more open, welcoming and understanding when it comes to exchange students. I believe this is true.” Exchange student Arthur Nikalayan from Armenia said the people here helped to form his opinion of Kansas.

“It’s mostly because of people that I liked Kansas City,” Nikalayan said. “People are friendly.” Masina said the transition has been made easier due to the help of others. “People here are very friendly and my host family is awesome,” Masina said. “Both my host family and at school, including friends, teachers, and Mr. Stone who helped me so much trying to figure out my schedule, have made it very easy for me to adjust. Many of the exchange students are leaving their mark on North. Nikalayan said he’s going to participate in many activities the school of-

fers. “I’m on the debate team and I’m playing soccer now,” Nikalayan said. “Then I’ll maybe do wrestling and track.” Masina said he is a fan of the American lifestyle. “They are all very nice and open minded,” Masina said. “Everybody here is more friendly than in Italy and it’s very easy to meet new people and make new friends. I like the way American people live their lives.”

What’s the best part of being a foreign exchange student? “Everything is new for me, I have the chance to meet lots of new people who belong to a different culture, so that I can learn from then new ways of living. And then I love watching peoples’ reaction when I tell them that “pasta alfredo” actually doesn’t exist in Italy, but is an American recipe.” Vittorio Masina: Italy

“New experiences, finding new friends, learning a language and studying another culture, getting new knowledge, volunteerism, living with host-family, taking part in different forms of activities.” Alena Gerashchenko: Russia

“Getting to know a different culture, and sharing my own. Meeting new people, making new friends, learning a different language. Gaining life experience which definitely will make it easier for me to travel in the future.” Tonje Isaksen: Norway

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Volume 91 Issue 2

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Legally Blonde Staying true to yourself and keeping positive

Winter musical sends strong message in an upbeat light By Brandon Morrison

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The school bell rings and the auditorium slowly fills with students. Senior Lauren McDonald prepares herself to be Elle Woods for the next three hours. It’s time to rehearse Legally Blonde: The Musical. The show features a cast of 50 and a crew of more than 100 under the direction of drama teacher Maureen Davis, musical instruction from orchestra teacher Karen Hensel and choreographer Kelley Reitmeir. Legally Blonde will be performed on Nov. 1, 2 and 3 in the auditorium at 7 pm with a 2 pm matinee on the 3. “I’m really excited for this production,” McDonald said. “I

love seeing these people everyday.” McDonald said learning and practicing choreography has been the most enjoyable part of preparing for the show. “I like the dynamic of everyone singing and dancing on stage,” McDonald said. Staying true to the movie was important with the choreography of the show. “It’s all just pure fun,” Davis said. “But with a good message about staying positive and true to yourself.” Sophomore Kennedy Carter is excited to perform the dances. “In the song ‘Whipped Into Shape’ we get to jump rope,” Carter said. “It looks cool to be jumping in unison with the other people on stage.” Davis said she had several reasons for choosing the show. “It was brand new, just released, and it’s fun to be one of the first high schools to stage the show,” Davis said. “It has a female protagonist and lots of strong roles for both men and women, and a great theme.” In preparing the show, Davis and tech directors Ben Bartlett and Chris Palmer faced many technical challenges. “Since this is based on a movie, there are a ton of scene changes which is difficult to do with limited wing space,” Davis said. “The tech

8 | Mission Magazine | smnmission.com

directors and I decided the only way to have the various locations was to have set pieces that would double and triple as different locations when they are turned.” Students say being in a show directed by Davis is a fun and exciting process. “It was intimidating at first,” said senior Marissa O’Dell who plays Chutney. “But (Davis) knows what she wants in her shows and that is the reason they’re such a success.” O’Dell says being in a large cast musical can be tough but very rewarding. “It can challenging balancing homework, being involved in other extra curricular activities and focusing on the future,” O’Dell said. “But the amount of time we spend together as a cast has been my favorite part.” Senior Christa Brown is the stage manager for the show. She oversees all of the crews and actors. “I like having the ability to get to know everyone involved in the show,” Davis said. “This show has given all of us a bond.” Brown offers advice about getting involved in theatre at North. “Get involved as often and as soon as possible,” Brown said. “All of the tech work seen at North is student run, including the pit. If you show interest, fellow students in the department can help you learn a lot.” Junior India Dawkins is the assistant stage manager for the show. Dawkins handles all of the props. “The most interesting prop I get to work with is a bone-shaped cake for the dog, Rufus,” Dawkins said. Davis said the decision to use dogs in the show was no decision at all. “I couldn’t help but use dogs in the show,” Davis said. “Freshman Amanda Rash’s Chihuahua is playing Bruiser and choir teacher Julie O’Mealey’s bull dog is playing Rufus.” Junior Tucker Bartlett, who plays Warner, is excited for some of the comedic and exciting moments in the show. “Someone is slapped in the show,” Bartlett said. “And another person is proposed to.” Freshman Noah Hastings is thankful for the opportunity to be involved in a show at North. “Since North has such a great theatre department, it is a big honor to be in show here,” Hastings said. “I’m so excited to keep being involved. I can’t wait for what the future of this department has to offer for us students.” See photos at smnmission.com

October 2012


The Mission Magazine Issue 2