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d lsfoPERA e M u E E f T G E l i r N M f s S E E s A K R l A o T o L f D EX E CRH p T A ex E t G E r N T E E MAIN TH ar vo XTR E l I o G L p C rtex RMIN uels APRIL 2014

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180 S. Livernois Rochester Hills, MI 48307 Volume 76

Senior Megan Tack serves as president of the Michigan chapter of BPA; some students will travel to a National Leadership Conference. Page 3

Maintaining good grades is just one of the root causes of anxiety that is leading to an increase in 504 Plans and/or medication. Page 8

Issue 8

April 30, 2014

The season finale of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ sparked a firestorm of responses good and bad, and marked the end of a TV era. Page 13


APRIL 2014

news briefs: 1. RHS

2. RCS




Anatomy and Physiology students visited the Flint campus of the University of Michigan on April 16 to participate in a cadaver lab. During the lab students worked with Dr. Steve Myers, the head of the Biology Department, to apply the material that they learned throughout the year. “My favorite part of the trip is watching students realize the enormity of what they have learned while they are quizzed by a college professor,” anatomy teacher Mrs. Erin Slomka said. “In anatomy, we dissect cat specimens ,so it is always interesting to see and hear them transfer their knowledge to a human specimen.” Many of the students who take Anatomy intend to pursue a medical profession. Mrs. Slomka takes her students on the trip yearly to prepare them for college-level labs. “For some students, [the lab] may be a turning point in their minds for their future career,” Mrs. Slomka said. “Many students realize their passion for science, because they have had this experience and they now know that they can handle a cadaver lab.”

The new 21F addition to the State School Aid Act states that students in grades 5-12 may enroll in up to two online classes each semester. The 21F addition was a highlight of the Omnibus Education Bill which was signed by the Governor on June 13, 2013. RCS received only 13 applications from middle school and high school students interested in this kind of opportunity for the 2014-15 school year. “Well, to be honest, we haven’t done a lot,” counselor Mrs. Laura Zotos said. “It’s our hope that we’ll start to develop classes kids want.” Last month RCS began to prepare for the legislation by releasing a statement to parents, informing them of the new law. Recently, the district collected application forms that were due by April 6. “We got these applications, so that we would know how many kids were actually interested in [online classes],” Mrs. Zotos said. “They’re numbered, so when a student takes one we’re able to report back to the district what people are actually interested.”

Following a malfunction at a BP refinery in northwest Indiana on March 24, approximately 39 barrels (1,638 gallons) of oil were spilled into Lake Michigan. The spill was reported to be contained by company crew members five hours after the initial incident. “[Lake Michigan] is such a beautiful place that has too much to lose. Not to mention how many people get drinking water from it,” AP environmental science teacher Mr. Brandon Shurter said. “We may need to drill for oil but we must watch where we are doing it and put more safeguards in place to prevent disasters.” The drinking water intake is approximately eight miles northwest of the containment site. So far there have been no signs of contamination in the area; however, contamination has been reported on the beach. “When they say the oil is contained, that means only most of it is. It is impossible to contain all of it,” Mr. Shurter said. “Regardless of how much leaked, there will be an impact on the local ecosystem.”

Despite the low number of people who signed up for medical coverage under the Affordable Care Act at the beginning of the open enrollment period, eight million people are currently registered for health care under the act. “Most early attempts were when the healthcare website was down [and] proved to be rather dampening on those who tried to sign up the first day,” junior Mikayla Stephens said. “Everyone decided to give enrolling one last go.” While enrollment in the program exceeded the administration’s expectations, the majority of U.S. citizens have yet to enroll. Those who do not register for the program will be required to pay a government fee of one percent of their annual income or $95 per person, whichever is higher. “It’s obvious that they had problems starting the whole program up,” history teacher Mr. Larry Adams said. “It’s a new program that they’re trying out, so people will have to try to adjust to it. “

On April 15, a robotic submarine began its second mission in search of the lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the Indian Ocean. In the first venture, the sub reached its “depth limit” within six hours. The sub was forced to resurface without any clues. “As of right now they have nothing,” history teacher Mr. Kevin Briski said. “The most recent publication had experts declaring that, though officially the flight has been declared to have gone down in the ocean, they may never actually know and have evidence to prove it at all.” Approximately 11 planes and 11 ships have been searching the surface of the ocean looking for debris. However, the search is expected to come to an end soon. Officials have not found any debris confirmed to be from the plane, and the chances that any would be found are said to have “greatly diminished.” “While this is an interesting story, I hope that we as an audience don’t take 227 human lives as a mystery story,” Mr. Briski said. “I hope that those families can at some point get some closure.”



Photo Courtesy of Nadine Medved


Photo Courtesy of Peter D. Blair


Photo Courtesy of Jim Karczewski


APRIL 2014




individual students get swallowed up in the president of the Michigan BPA chapter last year, when her role in BPA drastically experience.” Like Mrs. Gambaro, Jaligama is changed. Business Professionals of America looking forward to building on the “Being on the State Council definitely (BPA) has been headed by advisors Mrs. memorable experiences he already had at Laure Gambaro and Mrs. Karen Malsbury means you’ll be much busier than you the state competition. for over 15 years. It is an organization for would as a student member,” Tack said. “My favorite part of the [regional] “We get up early and stay up late to get aspiring business students to compete in competition was the experiences I had with ready for the day, practice scripts, and a variety of events in order to prepare for my friends in the hotel lobby and rooms,” make sure that the State Leadership entering the business world. From April Jaligama said. “We had a lot of fun beat 30 to May 4, qualifying students from the Conference is an amazing experience for boxing and doing silly things, all the while state competition that took place in Grand all students.” looking very professional.” Mrs. Gambaro has been going to the Rapids in March will be advancing to the This professionalism is taken very conferences for years with qualifying National Leadership Conference (NLC) seriously in all BPA events, and Mrs. in Indianapolis. Junior Kushal Jaligama is students and has taken many memorable Gambaro believes valuable lessons can be experiences away from them. one of the qualifying students. taken away from each event. “Going to NYC for the NLC was the “I qualified for the NLC in the event “There are a lot of sectors depending Computer Programming Concepts Open,” best a few years ago because one of my on what events students want accounting Jaligama said. “These programming to specialize in,” Ms. Gambaro concepts are essential to the programming students got said. “For the more technical world and are heavily tested on this event.” first place in It instills confidence, and aspects, there is computer Computerized Advisor Mrs. Gambaro believes that makes you learn more about programming and open events Accounting at putting forth the effort into preparing for yourself and how you present such as financial math and the National these difficult events is more than worth to others. It also [helps] you to analysis and business spelling, Conference,” the time. learn about computer software which are scored based on Mrs. “It instills confidence, makes you and allows you to be able to how many questions a student Gambaro learn more about yourself and how to transfer your knowledge to gets correct. For the other present to others,” Mrs. Gambaro said. “It said. “It was various tests. more creative aspects, there a very proud also [helps] you to learn about computer is prepared speech and mock moment software and allows you to be able to MRS. LAURIE GAMBARO, interviews, which are rated transfer your knowledge to various tests.” because BUSINESS TEACHER more on presentation. It all Jaligama is also involved in many other competing depends on what the student is at Nationals activities such as cross-country, robotics, most interested in.” is very track and NHS. Students will be competing in “These are all things that I really enjoy difficult.” these events in the upcoming national Tack also believes that qualifying to so I’m able to passionately make time for conference this month, and Mrs. Gambaro compete in the NLC is no small feat. all of them,” Jaligama said. “I definitely believes that it is the hard work they put in “Because we have so many have some sleepless nights because of and risks they took that have gotten them members in Business Professionals all the homework I get from school, but so far. of America, placing to make it to the inevitably I just make sure to use every “I always say to my students: don’t National Leadership Conference is minute available to me to get something be afraid to try something new,” Mrs. very competitive,” Tack said. “We have done and I try to waste as little time as Gambaro said. “You never know what it to make sure that we have as many possible.” Senior Megan Tack learned about time qualified students at the NLC that we can, might bring you.” while still not making it too large that management when she was voted the

Balusu, Ambika ine Kim, Pranita sm Ja e, Hotel. ow Br o at the Amway right) Hannah pose for a phot Seniors (left to e Le y nn Je d Kim an Vohra, Jacklyn a ncent Macatul Photo by Jed Vi


Seniors Jasmine Kim and Jenny Lee pose for a photo at Angel Thai restaurant in Grand Rapids. Photo by Jed Vincent Macatula

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APRIL 2014

HOSA performs well at Regionals BY DANIELLE KULLMANN

Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) is a club aimed towards students who are planning on going into a medical or science oriented field, much like BPA but for those interested in different areas. It was started this year at RHS by three seniors: Hamid Helmi, Krishna Ramesh and Sathya Narayaran. “Since it was our first year as a club, we had to learn everything from scratch just through online sources, friends from other schools and sometimes even the state adviser,” senior Sathya Narayanan said. “It was difficult to recruit people and start the club while following HOSA’s guidelines, but in the end it was rewarding.” Their process consisted of contacting people through social media and finding an adviser to help run the club with them. Eventually once they found an advisor, English teacher Mr. Chuck Kowal, as well as about 30 members, they were able to start setting up for HOSA Regionals, which took place at Novi High


School on March 1. At Regionals, each student chooses a competition to participate in and either prepares for it beforehand or goes in and must build on previous knowledge and skills. Narayanan participated in Parlimentary Procedure Team, in which he and a team had to present a set of formal rules in a meeting. “It was fun because we were in a group of eight and we were able to split the work evenly and it was just more enjoyable,” Narayaranan said. “And getting first place in our event wasn’t bad either.” Twenty-eight out of 30 members went to participate in HOSA regionals and 22 out of those 28 qualified for HOSA States, which took place in Traverse City on April 24-25. To Narayaran, this was fairly surprising. “I did expect a good chunk of students to qualify, but to have two groups finish in first place and several of the girls finishing in the top three in their events was really remarkable,” Narayanan said. “With much larger schools such as IA Central, East, Novi [and more] sending over a 100 people to this regional, I was pleasantly surprised to see our kids placed higher

in several cases over these larger teams.” However, HOSA States were not a reality for those who qualified for it. This was due to a lack of school funding, as HOSA is a firstyear club, a struggle to keep prices manageable for students and finding enough willing chaperones. Junior Suzie Kim, who received third place in the Medical Math Knowledge at Regionals, is not too disappointed by this. “I don’t feel too upset about it; it was our first year and we always have next year to try again,” Kim said. “I’m just satisfied that I even qualified for States.” HOSA adviser Mr. Kowal, thinks that even though some were disappointed by the choice not to go to States, it was to be expected. “I am incredibly proud of how HOSA performed this year as a club,” Mr. Kowal said. “Our intent at the beginning of the year was to go to Regionals, and we knew that States probably wasn’t going to happen. So we accomplished what we wanted to do and more.” Kim is grateful that HOSA is now existent at RHS.

Members of HOSA pose for a group photo before their Regional tournament on March 1. Photo Courtesy of Falcon yearbook staff

“I think HOSA exposes people to medical-related subjects, which could help them make career decisions in the future and it also gives people opportunities to develop leadership skills,” Kim said. Narayanan hopes that after he leaves, HOSA will grow as an outlet for students wanting to pursue science and medicine. “As a member of BPA for three years and knowing several people in

robotics, I realized that there was a career-oriented program for future business professionals, engineers and even artists at our school,” Narayanan said. “And knowing several students who aspired to be health professionals in classes such as AP chem, bio, anatomy and more, I thought it would be a great idea to start a HOSA chapter to help these particular students on their endeavors.”





It’s Thursday after school and freshman Stacy Boeberitz walks into the library to enjoy a quick snack before locating the table labeled math and science. She opens her backpack, unloading her assignments onto the table and works on her homework and reviews lessons with a tutor for the next hour. “I like going to freshmen tutoring because it means that I’m getting smarter and my grades are improving,” Boeberitz said. “They are all really helpful with my lessons.” Starting second semester, principal Mr. Charles Rowland initiated a tutoring program for freshmen after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:45-3:45 p.m. in the library. It is run by coordinator Mrs. Jill Jessen. “I’m trying to identify kids who are having difficulty transitioning [to high school] academically and provide them with additional support on a regular basis particularly in the areas in math and science since those are the areas that they seem to struggle with the most,” Mr. Rowland said. “In regards to the funding, I’m taking that money out of the building funds because I believe this is very important that freshmen get off to a good start.” In light of an approximate 10 percent freshman failure rate at RHS, the program aims to help freshmen start off on the right foot. According to “U.S. News & World Report,” a high school student who earns at least a 3.0 grade point average is far more likely to graduate from college than students just under that mark. “I like that we have this program for freshmen because we want them to have a strong foundation in the beginning of their high school career,” Mrs. Jessen said. “For some students, they need a little extra support and if that helps them in their long-term future, then I feel good about being able to support them.” Students have the opportunity to work with teachers or NHS volunteers in the core subjects: math, science, English and social studies. The program offers chances for students to work with tutors in areas where they struggle and offers them a quiet place to work. “For the student who goes home every night and can’t focus on their homework because they’re taking too many snapchats/selfies or the Xbox is too tempting, this tutoring also offers students a quiet place to get some work done even though they don’t need any help or tutoring,” social studies teacher and tutor Ms. Sarah Monroe said. “Since I primarily have freshman classes, it’s nice to get to see a lot of my students taking advantage of this opportunity.” While some just need a quiet place to focus, sometimes tutors end up re-teaching entire lessons. “I usually go [to freshmen tutoring] because if I don’t understand a concept then there are other teachers there to help me understand,”


Freshman Maya Byrd recieves help during the after school tutoring program from math teacher and tutor Mrs. Stefanie Shooks. Photo by Danielle Kullmann

25 Freshmen 8 NHS Tutors 1 History Teacher


1 English Teacher

freshman Claire Zuckerburg said. “Before I didn’t have very good grades and then I started going and getting the concepts and got what my teachers were talking about. I started getting A’s and B’s instead of C’s and D’s.” This program and the extra support it offers has received positive feedback from parents as well as students. “We’ve heard from some parents who have expressed their gratitude for us and the NHS tutors helping their kids after our regular work day,” Ms. Monroe said. “I absolutely love what I do and it’s always great to know that what I’m doing actually matters. With the environment teachers are in right now, it’s incredibly refreshing and rewarding to know that we are making a difference and some people are noticing it.”

Students are asked to fill out an exit slip when they leave rating their experience as very helpful, helpful, somewhat helpful or not helpful. Almost all students respond that the program has been helpful to them. “Before I started going to the program, my teachers would talk to me about not understanding concepts taught in class and ask if I needed help and I’d say no because I didn’t want to sound like I don’t understand what I’m doing,” Zuckerburg said. “After going a couple times now, I’m okay with being there because it really has helped me and the tutors are all so nice and I’m grateful for them taking their time to help me with subjects I struggle in.” Often, students do not attend this tutoring program because they feel embarrassed about

asking for help; however, after their parents send them, many have changed their mindset. “At first, my parents made me go, but now I’m not really embarrassed,” Boeberitz said. “I know that there are a lot of people who struggle with academics and it really is not a big deal to me [that I receive some help].” Mrs. Jessen explains that freshmen year can be overwhelming with the new expectations and more rigorous curriculum and that this program is another way to help students build their confidence in order to succeed. “At the end of the day, it is our goal to support students so that they are successful in their studies and they feel like they have the foundation they need to be successful in the next three years in high school,” Mrs. Jessen said.


they haven’t already.” At first, the scholarship didn’t have that much traction, but after a week or so, donations BY SYDNEY BAMMEL began pouring in from different types of Since graduating last year, Eddie people: RHS staff, students and some of Schodowski has been attending Kettering Eddie’s relatives all contributed, seeing it as University. KU is an engineering school where a good opportunity to help out people in this only about 22 percent of the population is community. female. When Eddie would go to his classes, “I’m always happy to have an opportunity there would be about one female student to help in any way I can,” principal Rowland out-numbered by 29 male students. For said. “I try to help students in a positive Schodowski, this was a troubling regularity, fashion. That’s my job, but I also think it’s a one that made him decide that it was time to responsibility, so the things I can do to help encourage female students from his alma mater you guys [students] whether it be athletics, to pursue a degree in engineering. academics, arts, or whatever or other initiatives “I made the scholarship to encourage people like this which are being initiated by a former to pursue engineering, specifically women,” student.” Schodowski said. “There are so few women in The scholarship, which amounts to engineering for a lot of different reasons, and approximately $1,250, will be available for one I hoped that making a scholarship would give female student from the class of 2014 who is girls at RHS a reason to look into some type of planning on pursuing a degree in engineering engineering, so that they could think ‘Hey! This in college. The application is available in the could be a really good career choice for me!’ if counseling office.




bachelor’s degrees IN ENGINEERING


APRIL 2014

“The amount I raised was not deliberate; I the male-dominated industry. sort of just set it up on, spread “I hope I’m encouraging [women] to go into around what I was doing on social media and engineering,” Schodowski said. “People have hoped for the best,” Schodowski said. “I’m very a major misconception of what engineers do surprised and happy about how much I’ll be and what they can do. This is likely because giving toward some an engineering degree gives you so student. Hopefully many options that you can’t really I choose someone define what everyone does. If you There are so few women in deserving who will have an engineering degree, it sets engineering for a lot of different be willing to go you up to solve many different reasons, and I hoped that into a difficult field complex problems really well. making a scholarship would and work hard to be Today’s female Fortune 500 CEOs give girls at RHS a reason to look successful.” all have some sort of technical into some type of engineering. According to a degree.” study done by The The scholarship inspired the RHS EDDIE SCHODOWSKI, American Society community to donate to his cause. 2013 ALUMNUS for Engineering RHS parent Mrs. Peggy Mercer is Education in 2011, one of them. women accounted “Thank you, Eddie, for all you for 18.2 percent of all bachelor students, 22.7 are, and what you stand for,” Mrs. Mercer said percent of master’s students and 21.6 percent on his funding site. “Thank you for taking this of doctoral students. Schodowski hopes that his initiative and recognizing the current gap and scholarship works against gender discrepancy the importance gap, here’s to a bright future for you and your generation.”

AVERAGE SALARY for an engineer:

84,770 To contribute to the SCHOLARSHIP:


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WHAT DO THE PEOPLE THINK? do you support the change in location? don’t care


there wasn’t as much to do.” Since Adams had their All-Night Party at Dave and Buster’s last year and they say it was a smashing success, the RHS SANP committee decided to follow suit. Mrs. Klonke met with Student Council to tell them the pros and cons of the change in location and they decided to send out a survey for students and parents through Survey Monkey. “Since I didn’t think it was fair for me to make a decision, I decided to bring Dave and Buster’s in for a SANP meeting and open it up for questions and answers,” Mrs. Klonke said. After opening the survey to the over 400 seniors and their parents, 102 people responded and the majority results were in favor of a change in location. Senior Jed Macatula agrees that a change in venue could be advantageous due to more games, food and a better atmosphere. “I think at school it would be more of a hangout, but they wouldn’t have much stuff to do here,” senior Jed Macatula said. “Dave and Busters would provide more built-in entertainment.” Even though the survey was in favor of the change in location, some students are

upset by the change in tradition. “I thought it was a shame to do away with such a tradition,” senior Derek Xia said. “I believe that having it at RHS is a great way to remember our school and spend the last few days creating new memories here would be a great way to go.” All activities from years’ past, including the highly anticipated Vegas-style games, will be there, plus games at Dave & Busters along with new activities. “I think it so cool that D&B closes down for our entire school. Instead of spending money on decorations, we are putting more money into activities and prizes for the students,” Mrs. Klonke said. “We have a lot of cool gifts that the students will be able to use off at college.” It’s too soon to tell whether the change in location will increase participation in the SANP or not, but Hansen says she plans to attend either way. “Despite the fact that the SANP will not be at Rochester this year, I have high hopes for how it will turn out,” Hansen said. “I’m certain that the senior class will have a blast and make memories that they will always remember.”


-Fewer volunteers needed -Limited set-up and clean-up time -Higher security with onsite police officers -Same activites from RHS, plus more games available -RHS students only will be there -Everything is hot and fresh from D&B, including sundae and breakfast bars -Less money will be spent on decorations, more on other activites or prizes


-Must take buses since it is around 15 minutes away, which cost around $1,200 -Change is difficult to accept for some


-Tradition for at least 10 years -Closer to home (bus not needed) -Get to stay over night at the school you are graduating from


of 104 asked


Having looked forward to the Senior AllNight Party (SANP) for four years, senior Sabrina Hansen was disappointed when she heard it would take place at Dave and Buster’s this year instead of at RHS, as it has in the past. “In my opinion, the location of the SANP really does make a difference,” Hansen said. “It would have been really special to get to have the SANP at Rochester since to many of us, Rochester High has become a sort of home away from home, so where better to celebrate the last four years of our lives and the memories we’ve made than in the place where we made them.” Sindy Klonke, the Chairman of SANP for 2014, says there are many reasons for the change, including: difficulties with not enough funds for decorations, lack of volunteers and not enough entertainment for students. “2013 was the worst for volunteers, and no one would help clean up at 5 a.m.,” Mrs. Klonke said. “Only 1-2 families had to clean up and move everything to a storage unit. Another reason was that we heard that students had been bored in the past and



34 survey of the change in location by SANP committee AT RHS


of 103 who voted





219 452

seniors are attending SANP

CONS: -Difficult to get volunteers, which leads to longer set-up time and decorations falling apart -Need to invest more money in decorations -Parents helping had to leave commencement early -Have to rely on juniors’ parents for set-up and clean-up

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CHANGE IN LOCATION? If they are going to have a senior all night party, they better have it here. There’s no point in supporting a restaurant corporation. JOSEPH MANDWEE, SENIOR

I party anywhere I go so the location doesn’t really matter.


I’ve heard good things since Adams went last year, so it can’t be that bad. ALLISON FRIEBE, SENIOR

I like it, because I feel like if it was here we’d have nothing to do. EMILY SMITH, SENIOR


Anxiety Attacks


Anxiety becomes a growing epidemic among high school students and staff members. BY SYDNEY BAMMEL Junior Haley Widiker snaps awake to the sound of a beeping alarm. She slowly sits up and stares at the clock. She dreads the fact that she has to go to school and do a presentation in her sixth hour. Widiker now has to make a pivotal decision, to face her social anxiety or to let it overcome her. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), eight percent of teens ages 13 to 18 are like Widiker; they have some form of anxiety. “I felt relieved to finally understand what was going on inside me,” Widiker said. “But I was also scared because at first I thought of my diagnosis as negative. I started seeing a therapist and she helped me understand what was going on inside my head.” WHAT IS ANXIETY The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes anxiety as an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (such as sweating, tension and increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it. “I feel like I have about 10 million things to do and cannot even begin to accomplish one of them,” English teacher Ms. Jean Wood said. “I feel like whatever I try to do will ultimately fail, so I become obsessed with planning and asking people if what I’m doing is okay. ” The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) claims that, treating yourself as if you are fragile and avoiding


cramps, upset stomach and headache. “There was a party I went to in October and part way through I felt like I was going to be sick or pass out or something,” sophomore Rachel Batula said. “I went outside for air and I still just couldn’t breathe. My therapist said it was a panic attack.” According to the ADAA, anxiety can interfere significantly with daily routines, occupational performance or social life, TRIGGERS OF ANXIETY making it difficult to attend Depending on the person, school, interview to get a job and there are multiple ways that have close friendships. anxiety can be triggered. “Every morning I don’t want “Work mostly,” Ms. Wood to go to school because often said. “Feeling like I don’t I feel anxious here,” Widiker measure up to the standard of said. “However, it’s important teacher I want to be. Feeling for people who are like I need anxious to not allow to achieve their anxiety to control certain goals I feel like whatever I try their lives.” by a certain to do will ultimately fail, time in my MANAGEMENT career. Feeling so I become obsessed with planning and asking Anxiety can be overwhelmed treated several ways. by the grading, people if what I’m doing is okay. Doctors can prescribe planning anti-anxiety/depression and teaching medications to be workload.” MS. JEAN WOOD, taken on a regular Mayo ENGLISH TEACHER basis or an anti-anxiety Clinic states medication that one that anxiety takes only when can be related experiencing panic to other symptoms. disorders such as post traumatic “I take medication,” Widiker stress disorder. Having anxiety said. “It wasn’t so hard so much linked with other disorders can as process. Every person’s cause other triggers along with different so sometimes you stress related ones. have to experiment a little. Your “Two years ago I was psychiatrist will prescribe you diagnosed with severe PTSD a medication, and you’ll work and social anxiety,” Widiker together to find the right dosage said. “Touching-meaning for you.” physical contact-large groups of However, there are people, loud noises and giving other ways that people calm presentations all give me anxiety. themselves down when they have Also, things like being in close anxiety. In the opinion of the contact with strangers- like in an ADAA, therapy can work equally elevator.” as well as medication. Exercise is another common stress-reliever. HOW ANXIETY CAN AFFECT “Running has been probably ONE’S PERSONAL LIFE the best ‘cure’ when I feel like Anxiety can be described I can’t handle anything,” Ms. as severe nerves, uneasiness Wood said. “It forces me to not and worry and can come along think about anything, but the with symptoms such as muscle risk leads to feeling demoralized. Avoiding anxiety tends to reinforce it. You can be anxious and still do whatever you have to do. “I think that people don’t always understand what anxiety is,” Widiker said. “It doesn’t make you a weak person. People with anxiety can do things that make them anxious. They just need understanding and support.”

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steps in front of me. Also, recently I’ve gotten more into yoga. The reflective practice of yoga is almost like a therapy session. It’s a place where I can let go. Besides that I have seen a psychologist off and on for about six years. I go when I need to get through something difficult and taper it off when I feel like I am back in control.” CONCLUSION According to, about half of adults who have a mental health problem such as anxiety don’t seek out help because they don’t want the stigma that comes along when being diagnosed. “I think people look at anxiety as something that completely incapacitates a person, when for many the opposite is true,” Ms. Wood said. “In reality, my anxiety pushes me to prepare, learn and grow in many ways. It forces me to strive for excellence and I don’t view that as a bad thing. The only time it has ever hindered my work is when I take on too much and then am hit those wonderful little unexpected blows that life throws at you when you least expect it. I think ultimately having anxiety has forced me to be more selfreflective and thoughtful about myself and others around me.” The ADAA states that anxiety is one of the most common mental health issue in the United States, affecting over 40 million people. “Anxiety is difficult to deal with by yourself and it’s helpful to have someone to talk to,” Widiker said. “If you’ve got anxiety, it’s important to go see a therapist, a teacher or another adult who can help you. Anxiety doesn’t have to control you.”


APRIL 2014


APRIL 2014

SMARTER BALANCED? On Dec.10, the MI Department of Education released a memo regarding standardized testing for the 2014-15 school year; the state has an agreement in place to use Smarter Balanced assessments to evaluate 6th, 7th, 8th and 11th grade students in the spring of 2015. Upcoming juniors will take an 8.5 hour assessment in addition to the ACT, MME, Work Keys and any Advanced Placement exams students sign up for. The legislators continue to vote against funding for these assessments, which are meant to measure the Common Core State Standards for English and math, so RCS is left with many unanswered questions as to how the test will be implemented and evaluated. BY CAMILLE DOUGLAS GOAL OF SMARTER BALANCED ASSESSMENT The goal of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, according to is to “provide information and tools for teachers and schools to improve instruction and help students succeed – regardless of disability, language or subgroup.” RCS Curriculum Director Mrs. Carrie Lawler explains what this means. “Smarter Balanced Assessments are meant to measure Common Core State Standards that are now rolled out in our English Language arts classes and math classes, so they are the most closely aligned with the actual state standards,” Mrs. Lawler said. “The Smarter Balanced Assessments measure what we actually should be teaching in high school.” The test was generated by the Smarter Balanced Advisory Committee that was put together by several different states. The department of education of each governing state selects educatiors to be a part of writing and developing the test. Representatives include not only K-12 educators, but also instructors from colleges and universities, in order to help indicate what students will need to be both college and career ready. THE TEST Unlike the ACT, Smarter Balanced Assessments will test students in a way they have not been tested before. In other words, Smarter Balanced Assessments will evaluate English and math curriculum through multiple choice questions, short answer or essay questions, as well as group activities, such as creating a presentation. “There is a more constructive response, more opportunities for students to demonstrate their knowledge in unique ways, and they are more of a reflection of constant practice,” secondary language arts consultant and English teacher Mrs. Ashley Painter said. “It encourages students to demonstrate and communicate their own understanding.” Two versions of the assessment are available to the schools, a paper version or


a computerized version. The difference of the assessments are necessary. The Michigan the two versions is that the online test, unlike Department of Education has made new the paper version, will be able to adapt to changes by eliminating previous standardized a students’ knowledge, meaning the more tests, such as the MEAP, PLAN and EXPLORE, questions correctly answered, the harder the in order to make room for the Smarter Balanced questions will become. Assessments. Whether or not the legislators will pass “In Lansing, the Michigan Department of resolutions to fund technology developments Education is still debating whether or not they in schools to make them ready for computerwant Smarter Balanced to be our test, but in adapting test is unclear. By the time the test the meantime, they say that we need to get comes next year, there will not be enough something,” Mrs. Lawler said. “[Without the computers available to the junior class at MEAP, PLAN and EXPLORE tests], we would RHS, and it is most likely that the district literally have no test next year if we didn’t will be using the paper version of the test roll something out, and the[Smarter Balanced for next year’s assessment. According to Assessment is the] best we have got,” Mrs. the Smarter Balanced Assessment website, Lawler said. Smarter Balanced will “conduct research and will perform equating studies to ensure STRUGGLES SURROUNDING SMARTER that results are comparable across the two BALANCED ASSESSMENTS modes of assessment, and to put the paperEven though the assessments will be given and-pencil forms onto the scale used for the to students next year, there is a lot of general online testing.” information that remains unclear which worries It is estimated that the assessment will Mrs. Painter. take between 2.5 and “I am very 4 hours to complete concerned over who the English Language is going to assess “There is a more constructive Arts and Math portions, these tests because I making for a 5-8 hour response, more opportunities for think teachers have test overall. Because of been trained on how students to demonstrate their the extensive length of to assess student knowledge in unique ways, and the test, the state has work. They know the they are more of a reflection of proposed a time window students so that they constant practice.” of five weeks to allow are able to, I think, all schools to complete accurately indicate the assessment, starting how much they the week of May 4 and MRS. ASHLEY PAINTER, know,” Mrs. Painter ending the first week said. “My concern ENGLISH TEACHER of June. The problem is, when you have so with the time window, many constructive according to Mrs. Lawler, responses, it’s up to is that two of the five weeks will consist of that particular company and how well they train the AP testing weeks, the first two weeks of their employees in terms of accurately assessing May. To Mrs. Lawler, this is concerning. a student’s knowledge.” “We give over 800-900 AP tests each year Another concern that is arising with the per building,” Mrs. Lawler said. “I am very Smarter Balance Assessment, given that there concerned about the AP test, the Smarter has not been a clear understanding as to what Balanced test and the MME overlapping. the test will look like, is that teachers and Maybe they’ll still keep the MME in March, students will not have enough time to prepare but we haven’t heard anything about it. It’s for the test come spring 2015. too much.” “I wish we had more time to prepare them However, Mrs. Lawler explains why certainly for what the questions look like. We

are going to be scrambling and doing that at the end of this year now that we know that this is the way we are going to go,” Mrs. Lawler said. “We haven’t done the greatest job of doing this, but nobody knew what it was going to look like.” PREPARATION FOR THE TEST To prepare the students to take the test next year, teachers have been looking at sample questions from the Smarter Balanced assessment on their Professional Development days. “Our focus over the last couple of years of professional development has really been on the Common Core State Standards, so what I have been telling teachers, ‘If you have been focusing on teaching the Common Core and making those shifts in your instruction, then you have been preparing your students for Smarter Balanced,’” Mrs. Painter said. According to Mrs. Painter, the Common Core Curriculum will allow teachers to work with their students on preparating for the test during their instructional class time. “One of the things that will be different on Smarter Balanced is that with their performance tasks, some of that will be done in class, so students will be doing research in their junior English class where the teacher will introduce the concept,” Mrs. Painter said. “So unlike the ACT where no one is allowed in the building, it’s a very limited environment, portions of the Smarter Balanced Assessment will have some class activities that are tied to it that won’t necessarily affect the other classes that aren’t going through the test.” Sample questions are available online at for students and teachers to get familiar with, especially with the totally different format. “I hope they see it as a way to demonstrate what they have learned in their first three years of high school,” Mrs. Painter said. “It is concerning to me that they may not see the value of the test, especially with the ACT being the college entrance test because having more motivation is built into that test. I’m hoping that it’s not overwhelming and that students are proud to demonstrate what they have learned at RHS in their first three years.”


this april 26% STILL FROZEN yO




With record low temperatures and multiple snowstorms, the polar vortex of 2014 made some long for spring and others revel in the never-ending winter wonderland. As it turns out, the polar vortex may have made a positive environmental impact. The colder weather meant more ice, which means the lakes will have more water to recover from receding water levels of years past. Vice President at Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. and environmental engineer James Ridgway feels that all the consequences of the cold temperatures and influx of snow and ice were positive. “[There are] no negatives that I can think of other than it was a really long winter and I’m ready for spring!” Mr. Ridgway said. “But note that, globally, last winter was the warmest winter recorded. We (the Great Lakes Region) were ‘lucky’ enough to have a polar vortex sit on top of us last winter. That’s not likely to happen again anytime soon.” Science teacher Brandon Shurter thinks the cold temperatures may have a negative impact on the ecosystem. “This cold winter may have been hard for some animals that hibernate and hard for seeds/insects that stay dormant during

SAVE ENERGY BY CHANGING TO ENERGY EFFICIENT LIGHT BULBS, USING HEAT AND AIR CONDITIONING SPARINGLY. The effort put into changing every lightbulb in your house is completely worth it. Energy efficient ligt bulbs shine brighter and last longer. Not only does this help save the environment, but it also cuts heating and cooling costs and saves you a trip to the store when a light burns out.


the winter,” Mr. Shurter said. “It also means that a lot of snow has been melting and running off into our rivers, carrying with it some pollution. This summer may take longer to reach our normal warmth because the ice in the Great Lakes will be melting slowly and taking cold air with it over Michigan.” Mr. Shurter explains why he thinks RHS students should care about these issues. “Think of the Earth as a giant organism with different parts (oceans, atmosphere, land, life, etc.) that all affect each other because they are so intertwined. When you mess with one part, it can affect the others,” Mr. Shurter said. “The Great Lakes help regulate the temperature and humidity/precipitation of the entire state.” While some attribute the recent extreme weather to the earth’s natural cycle of undulating temperatures, others think that climate change is here and the decisions being made today will affect generations to come. “I know beyond a doubt that climate change is real and the impacts, while not fully understood, are likely to drastically affect your generation,” Mr. Ridgway said. “Over 98% of all scientists believe in climate change. The only ones questioning it are paid to question it.” Mr. Shurter doesn’t think that there’s enough legislation protecting the

environment and relieving some of the drastically changing events caused by climate change. “There is some, but there will never be enough environmental protection coming from our legislators,” Mr. Shurter said. “They are basically owned and controlled by corporations. Yeah, I said it.” Senior Sydney Kerre thinks government officials should be seeking the help of environmental specialists when drafting policies. “I think a lot of people in government haven’t necessarily studied the environment in college (they’re more economics majors), so there should be more scientists that are upfront making those decisions,” Kerre said. “Politicians might not even know what they’re doing.” Educating the public about alternative forms of energy would be one way of getting their representatives to change the way they look at the environment. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is one form of alternative energy that Rochester Hills is experimenting with. Fracking is drilling into the earth and directing high pressure water mixtures at rocks in order to release natural gas. Mr. Ridgway supports this controversial form of alternative energy. “It is a carbon fuel with a small carbon footprint. It burns cleanly and it is cheap,” Mr. Ridgway said. “Your generation also

wants jobs and cheap energy remains a key component to sustainable economy. Plus, gas power plants can turn on and off quickly. So if you’re using wind power in the daytime you can quickly switch to gas power at night (not an option for coal). It has been done safely for decades and like it or not, we Americans are not going to give up our cars any time soon. Cars require lots of energy in a very little package.” Kerre disagree, citing the potential setbacks with fracking. Fracking can potentially contaminate nearby drinking water and increase methane concentrations in drinking water, according to “When I saw the [fracking] flyer in my mailbox I literally gasped,” Kerre said. “I could not believe it. It was right when we were learning about fossil fuels and then I get this flyer in the mail about fracking in Rochester Hills. That’s something that I didn’t think could happen around here.” While climate change is seen as an unstoppable force, Mr. Ridgway reminds the doubtful that there is still work to be done, and it’s not all gloom and doom. “I was in college on the first Earth Day,” Mr. Ridgway said. “The Rouge

River, the Clinton River and the Huron River were horrific – the Rouge burned regularly. Raw sewage flowed in all of them. The air pollution in some places in Detroit ate the paint off your car. All that has changed. My generation has made great stride to clean up after our parents. I am very proud of our accomplishments, but now it is your turn. We really never thought about climate change. Sure we worried about running out of oil, but not the results of burning it.” Specifically, Mr. Ridgway made suggestions for simple things RHS kids can do to help. Change to new, energy-efficient light bulbs,” Mr. Ridgway said. “Use heat and air conditioning sparingly. Yearn for a hybrid -- not a Hummer. Eat locally grown foods when possible. Recognize that it takes a lot more energy to make 1,000 calories of meat than it does to make 1,000 calories of vegetable.” Mr. Shurter agrees. “It starts with everyone doing his or her own part by reducing consumption and waste,” Mr. Shurter said. “[That] and trying to live and buy more sustainably. It is up to students to care so that we can create an entire generation of people that realize we need to change our ways. Our current students are our future consumers, scientists, and government officials.”


YEARN FOR HYBRID -- NOT A HUMMER. BETTER YET, CARPOOL, BIKE OR WALK WHEN POSSIBLE. The amount of fuel it takes to push a vehicle like a Hummer more than 20 miles or more is much more than it takes to fuel one Hybrid car 20 miles or more. This reduces gas output into the environment, helping you be more environmentally efficient.

3 EAT LOCALLY GROWN FOODS. Speaking of food, recognize that it takes lot more energy to make 1,000 calories of meat than it does to make 1,000 calories of vegetable. To keep a cow alive takes much more energy than to keep a plant alive. You may have read about the amount of methane that a cow produces (a lot). But think about it, one cow has to eat a lot of grass and/or corn/oats – most of which takes chemically produced fertilizer. Then there is the manure and the methane (think cow farts) all of which is loading the atmosphere with carbon. All of this used energy is released into the environment. It tastes great but it is very energy inefficient.

4 DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU GO TO THE POLLS TO VOTE: Some day you are going to vote … do so wisely. Make sure your elected officials know that you want the EPA and the MDEQ funded. You want environmental regulations AND enforcement. You believe that water will always be clean and plentiful – that is not the case in most places in the world – what makes you think it can’t happen here? Don’t listen to the bologna from the far right or the far left. Pragmatic regulation takes both parties. If you’re too far left or right, you end up howling at the moon – and accomplishing nothing.


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APRIL 2014

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BY MELANIE WONG 1. 5 Seconds of Summer

5 Your Playlist

This band of four cheeky teenage Australians has become a worldwide sensation this past year after captivating the ears of literally millions of fans with its charming lyrics and upbeat tunes. With the recent release of their EP “She Looks So Perfect,” which landed the #2 spot on the U.S. Billboard chart in its first week, it seems that these endearing Aussies are continuing to expand their reign in the music industry. Genre: Pop-punk For fans of: All Time Low, Boys Like Girls Must listen: “Heartache on the Big Screen” & “Disconnected”


Artists to Add to

2. Banks

3. The Ceremonies

Genre: Alternative, R&B For fans of: Lana Del Rey, Fiona Apple Must listen: “Before I Ever Met You” & “Waiting Game”

Genre: Indie rock For fans of: The Smiths, The Cure Must listen: “Land of Gathering” & “Straw Hat”

With a euphonious voice that synthesizes electronica and ballad-like vocals, Banks has proven to be a unique and alluring rising star in the music realm. Her latest EP “London” combines deep, intimate lyrics concerning angst, heartbreak and obsession with dulcet melodies to create a refreshing blend of smooth harmonies that is embodied within this soulful singer.

This rock trio comprised of three brothers are gradually entering the spotlight and amassing recognition in the music scene with their psychedelic, nostalgic sound that reflects the tunes of the ‘80s. Their self-titled EP “The Ceremonies” contains a mixture of songs that may be described as classic rock with a hint of contemporary, feel-good rhythms and an infectious, energetic vibe.

4. Betty Who

5. Drowners

Genre: Pop For fans of: Katy Perry, Robyn Must listen: “Somebody Loves You” & “Heartbreak Dream”

Genre: Indie/alternative rock For fans of: The Strokes, Teenage Fanclub Must listen: “Luv, Hold Me Down” & “A Button on Your Blouse”

The synth-pop songstress from Australia smashed the music industry and earned acclaim for her spunky beats and dynamic sound across the globe in the past several months. Her EP “The Movement” showcases her lively, upbeat vocals and fun-loving, euphoric lyrics that subtly blend together to create an irresistible concoction of melodies that echo those of both old school and modern pop.

APRIL 2014

Hailing from the musical avenues of New York City, this indie four-piece are gaining attention through their wistful sound and sprightly guitar riffs that mimic the anthems of previous decades. Their self-titled album, which was released earlier this year, is an amalgamation of fun, catchy choruses and smooth, facile rhythms that complement one another to produce a record of jaunty, nostalgic tunes.

2 1



MARCH APRIL 2014 2014



























An era of television ended on March 31 when the CBS series “How I Met Your Mother” aired its final episode. The show spanned for nine seasons, featuring quite possibly the longest father-children conversation known to man. The series follows Ted Mosby and his group of friends in Manhattan as he relays the story of how he met his wife to his daughter and son. The entire point of the finale episode was to bring the show back to its main point: how Ted met the mother. In this regard the writers didn’t disappoint. In fact, the mother, Tracy, is absolutely perfect for Ted. She is compassionate, genuinely good and overall everything Ted was looking for throughout the show. Obviously the writers weren’t going to leave out such a major aspect of the plot, but they didn’t have to make her such a delightful character. Although Tracy is absolutely wonderful, she is probably the only decent thing about the episode. One of the major flaws within the show was that it took a lot of hopping around to get from where the episode began to how it would wind up. The hasty hopping resulted in a huge chunk of story being omitted in order to reach the point when Ted is granted “a second shot at happiness” through his children. The fatal flaw of the finale, is that the writers completely destroy the entire point of the show as the episode progresses. In a show entitled “How I Met Your Mother” it can easily be assumed that the show would focus on how Ted met the mother of his children. Instead, they killed off the mother as soon as possible and replaced her with Ted’s ex-girlfriend, Robin. Now this wouldn’t be as much of a problem if the writers hadn’t spent nine seasons explaining exactly why a romantic relationship between Ted and Robin simply wouldn’t have worked. While the series wasn’t entirely ruined by the episode, it was extremely disappointing to watch nine years of character development and plot progression be muddled as a result of lazy writing.








APRIL 2014 BY A.J. PRISCIANDARO The captivating and darkly funny 1995 film “Fargo,” made by the acclaimed filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, was a comical look at average middle-class Americans and their mundane lives. Set in a snowy Minnesota town, the plot consists of a man who hires two criminals to kidnap his wife so he can collect a million dollars worth of ransom money from his rich father-in-law. Things end up inevitably going wrong: a female police chief who’s seven months pregnant and seemingly the only smart one on the force must solve the murder cases. Got that? For those who’ve seen this captivating movie (it’s on Netflix!), then the new TV show of the same name on FX is a can’t-miss. For those who’ve never heard of the movie…then this show is still a can’t-miss. The great thing about the new show is that it’s not just a copy of the movie in television series format-instead it takes the themes and ideas of the movie and creates a new vision for them, complete with an all-star cast. The male protagonist is tediously going through the motions in life in his snowy Minnesota town as a notvery-talented insurance salesman- this time his name’s Lester Nygaard and is played spot-on by Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins from the Hobbit trilogy). Lester is still messed around with by an old high school enemy, lives in the shadow of his successful younger brother, and his marriage seems to be on the verge of collapse- he and his wife’s hilariously awkward small talk over the breakfast table, are a great example of the comedic relief present in the show. Despite a somewhat slow pace to the premiere episode, viewers who stick with it are rewarded. Things get rolling when Lester has a chance encounter with Lorne Malvo, whose character is the most dynamic part of the show. Malvo is a mysterious and cold-blooded man who, based on his outrageous actions throughout the episode, seems to be symbolic of violence, chaos, anarchy, and anything else that sounds bad. Played brilliantly by Billy Bob Thornton, who manages to be pure evil and laugh-out-loud funny at the same time, his character owns the screen. At one moment when he’s pulled over for reckless driving, he slowly says to the cop with a blank expression, “Some roads you shouldn’t go down, ‘cause maps used to say there were dragons there, and now they don’t…but that don’t mean the dragons aren’t there…” You don’t know whether to be terrified or to laugh. Anyway, Malvo has a chance encounter with Lester and forces his own involvement into Lester’s affairs, and suddenly under Malvo’s dark influence Lester’s life gets a lot more interesting…good for the audience, not too good for him. Or maybe Lester is actually enjoying how Malvo has shaken things up. Deaths already begin to start piling up by the end of the episode, and it’s up to the local police team to try to contain the chaos throughout. Props to creator Noah Hawley for coming up with such an original idea for a show that easily could’ve been a cutand-paste copy of a superior movie. “Fargo” is scheduled to run just ten episodes, so if there’s a season two, it would be with an entirely new story and characters. For now, anticipating what other craziness Malvo will cause for the average people in this cold Minnesota town is plenty enough.




The chilling new FX TV series is an inspired and intriguing take on the dark 1995 film.


BY EMBERLY SKAGGS The Rochester Alliance of Theatrical Students (RATS) performed “Hide and Seek” at RHS from April 24-26. A missing child, a ranch way upstate and far from any city or even a grocery store, a psychopathic family and an expecting mother supposedly being haunted by a child in her own home. A plot twisting, gut-wrenching, dramathriller that was sure to capture everyone’s attention … after Act II began. The plot in “Hide and Seek” was reasonable, but the first act was all about introducing the problem at hand and the characters. It contained no form of action except a little argument between seniors Noah Hubbard and McKenzie VanVleck’s characters. The performances were amazing and the plot was incredibly creative, but it still left the audience craving more. It’s the kind of play that honestly needs a sequel to satisfy, due to the fact that it just didn’t complete the story it set out to tell.


BY CAMILLE DOUGLAS The annual “Night with the Stars,” put on by STUGO on May 1, was yet again a success that included many entertaining moments. Along with the typical mock election awards results, the event consisted of additional highs. Creative skits by senior presenters and hilarious introductory videos made by the intro to film classes kept the audience laughing and involved. Impressing musical performances by Vanessa Rodriguez and Eddie Alexander awed the audience. Rachel Nash serenaded Wesley Linn with a heartfelt performance of “All of Me” by John Legend, and Ujjwal Chande’s insane beatboxing piece resulted in an uproar of cheers. And to top the night off, Yousif Abbo ended the show on stage asking Teresa Azzam to prom with a sweet performance complete with a background slide show of the couple and balloons falling into the crowd from above. Overall, the night truly captured the spirit of the senior class.


MARCH2014 2014 APRIL



The Talon Staff Mrs. Julia Satterthwaite, Adviser

The importance of funding for student organizations

This school tauts the philosophy that it wants to prepare students to be “career and life ready,” but there are two major roadblocks that are currently making this impossible: the Michigan legislative body has generated an astronomical list of required courses, leaving little room for students to take electives that may pertain to their planned career trajectory, and the district continues to underfund and underappreciate the programs that actually are preparing kids for the “real world.” The first challenge seems almost impossible to address, but not entirely. Students, parents and other stakeholders need to continue to write letters to public officials explaining that the current list of required courses, which includes four years of English and math, three years of science and social studies, two consecutive years of a foreign language, and one year of physical education and of visual and performing arts, is too long. If a freshman or sophomore is interested in band or choir and takes a foreign language, he or she has NO elective choices. By junior year, the language and band or choir student has one elective choice. And once that band/ choir and foreign language student reaches his or her senior year, he or she has two elective choices. In order for this to change, everyone needs to continue to express their unhappiness about these stringent requirements and think carefully when heading into voting boxes about whether or not candidates are in touch with what high school students actually need.

The reputation of spirit and student support at RHS is less credible when clubs that are helping students and making a difference don’t get a chance to progress.

If you have the knowledge to do something well, money shouldn’t be something that stops you. Learning tools for a career such as FEDS for engineering should be emphasized; not underfunded.

BPA makes you career ready and life ready. It seems only logical that more funding be put towards these great clubs.

Ambika Vohra, 12

Danielle Kullmann, 11

The Talon staff believes the Michigan state requirements need to be reduced or changed. For example, once a student has completed algebra and geometry, he or she should be able to stop taking math if it’s not part of his or her career plan. Also, if a student participates in a Varsity sport, he or she should be exempt from the physical education requirement. Finally, the list of what’s required should be changed to reflect the 21st century skills that students will need when they leave this building; classes like personal finance, oral communications and even production-focused classes like newspaper and yearbook are better aligned to make students “career and life ready.” The second issue that permeates the culture in the administrative offices in Rochester Community Schools is the general lack of support for elective courses that

truly prepare students for the real world. The amount of money some groups receive is lackluster. Although students are required to pay a thirty dollar club fee for 18 of RHS’s clubs and organizations, that funding alone is not enough to support the activities and opportunities. Too often the overflow expenses fall on parents for their kids to get valuable realworld experience. The groups such as Business Professionals of America (BPA), Falcon Engineering and Design Solutions (FEDS robotics), Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), The Talon and yearbook all could use more money. The “powers that be” should consider providing transportation, hotel costs, and registration fees for conferences and conventions to keep kids in these invaluable activities that are incredible résumé builders and often the place where kids find their life passions.

For example, recently HOSA members were unable to go to a State competition they qualified for because they didn’t have sufficient funds for travel and hotel costs. Not being able to compete results in the loss of a well-deserved opportunity for the students to learn. Activities such as the FEDS robotics team (members pay $100/season plus the $30 club fee), The Talon (members pay $11-$35/field trip and $399 for a summer journalism workshop), and BPA (in addition to the $30 club fee, members pay $150 for the state competition plus additional money for food and $500+ for Nationals) continue to earn high honors in the state and the nation, serving as points of pride for our school. They are certainly deserving of appreciation at the very least, maybe banners with awards we’ve won, and funding for our trips and learning experiences at best.

Aubrey Ritz, 12

Build relationships with parents before leaving for college your loved ones are definitely worth that is simply my parents’ deep love for all the struggle it took to get there. My me and their wish for me to have the problem was and is still taking that best, happiest and most successful life leap of faith and putting in the time and that I can possibly have. Sometimes effort to make their ways of it happen. This showing it or of BY MELODY ZHANG is something supporting me were They say that sometimes not the ways that It’s second semester of senior year, that I wish I had you don’t know what you only realized I hoped for or had and just like any other senior, I have had until it’s gone -- and recognized their started reflecting on my past four years sooner, with maybe that’s true, but I enough time to care for me -- and in high school: what I accomplished, know my parents will never many things have start building a how I’ve changed and what I wish I really be “gone” from my good foundation gone misunderstood could have done better. On the last with my parents because of this list, the number one thing I wish I life if I don’t let them. could have invested in more these last before I headed MELODY ZHANG, 12 lack of open communication. four years is my relationship with my off to college and to live Much of this lack parents. on my own. was due to my own A relationship is obviously not a Forever. reluctance or impatience. simple “task” that can be checked off Looking past the many fights, The closer I get to graduation and or finished; it is always an ongoing disagreements, and pointless to college, the more I see now that process, and that’s what makes it arguments that ended up nowhere for my parents and I have both always most difficult to invest in. However, both parties, I know that beneath all wanted the best in me -- we were healthy and happy relationships with


just people who worked and thought differently on the same team. Working the technicalities of what success or happiness meant to me and how I wanted to get there was largely up to me to communicate and be more transparent about. I know that my parents love me more than anyone else; when I come to accept and understand this from them, the rest just becomes details (essential details, but details nonetheless). They say that sometimes you don’t know what you had until it’s gone -- and maybe that’s true, but I know my parents will never really be “gone” from my life if I don’t let them. So mom and dad, if you’re ever reading this while I’m in college or beyond, just know that I’m willing to try over and over again to understand and honor you better, because it’s never too late.

Camille Douglas, Editor-in-Chief Danielle Kullmann, Web/Design Editor Sydney Bammel, News Editor Sarah Walwema, Feature Editor Olivia Bennett, Lifestyles Editor A.J. Prisciandaro, Entertainment Editor Melody Zhang, Opinion/Photo Editor Zach Libby, Sports Editor Erin Eyler, Staff Reporter Paige Farnsworth, Staff Reporter Kailie Fowler, Staff Reporter Michael Kainz, Staff Reporter Maura Losh, Staff Reporter David Martin, Staff Reporter Grant McPherson, Staff Reporter Sam Medved, Staff Reporter Aubrey Ritz, Staff Reporter Bilqees Salie, Staff Reporter Emberly Skaggs, Staff Reporter Edgar Sokoli, Staff Reporter Ambika Vohra, Staff Reporter Melanie Wong, Staff Reporter The Talon Policy The Talon presents an open forum for student expression to be used by the Rochester High School community to promote and express thought and action. The stories, opinions and bylined content in The Talon do not necessarily represent and should not be interpreted as the views of the Rochester Community School Board of Education or any of its staff, faculty or employees. The Talon is devoted to professional journalism and fairness in all reporting. The Talon will adhere to a standard of responsible journalism and will refrain from publishing material which is legally libelous, obscene or could disrupt the operation of the school. Letters to the Editor If something annoys you about us, school or life in general, write a letter to the editor. If something amuses you about us, school or life in general, write a letter to the editor. If we got something wrong, write a letter to the editor. If it’s coherent and under 300 words, we’ll run it. Drop signed letters off in B123 before or during 3rd Hour, email them to Mrs. Satterthwaite:, tweet a link to us @rhstalon, post them to The Talon’s Facebook page or any other form of 21st Century communication you prefer. We look forward to hearing from you.

Memberships Michigan Interscholastic Press Association (MIPA), National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) and Colombia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA)


APRIL 2014


SENIORITIS TAKES OVER CLASS ‘14 BY A.J. PRISCIANDARO It hit me like a hundred-pound textbook had fallen on my head. My first three years of high school had seemed so easy … sure, there was a late or missing assignment here and there, an occasional poor grade on a test … but every day I had the drive to put effort into my school work, and that’s what mattered. It showed in my grades and my admission to the college I wanted to attend. But then something happened I can’t explain. A few months into my senior year, not long after the news broke of my letter of acceptance, that same drive, that willingness to pay attention in class, to get my homework done each night, to study for my tests … just seemed to vanish. I have no idea where it went. Instead, a dark force drifted into my classroom every hour, swirling around my head and not letting me focus on my work. I swear, I tried to listen to my teachers’ lessons, but their voices just sounded like gibberish through the foggy cloud, forcing me to turn and talk with my classmates all hour. Things took a turn for the worse. I was becoming forgetful and unorganized. One day I looked into my backpack to find that I had been using a single folder to hold the papers for all my classes. There were homework assignments that I was supposed to turn in that I had never heard the teacher speak of before. When I did attempt to do my homework, it was no use. The words on the page seemed to dance in circles around my vision. One time I was convinced that my math assignment was my foreign language homework. I couldn’t focus on it unless I had my music blasting in my ear, and when I had my music playing, I just got distracted with my music which in turn got me distracted with the internet. The dark force would softly whisper softly in my ear sometimes when I was sitting down, “Just go watch Netfliiiiiiiix…,” or “How ‘bout you get some sleep and copy this from someone tomorrow?” The nightmare continued as my grades dropped. In school, all the apps on my phone just seemed to taunt me. There were tweets to look at, photos to check out and messages to send. The app store kept churning out addicting, new games. I would open Snapchat, close it, then reopen it 10 seconds later and there would be, like, 20 new stories I had to watch. The weirdest thing was that I felt so drained of enthusiasm and focus whenever I tried to do schoolwork, but whenever I was around my friends I was happy and full of energy. What could possibly be happening to me? It was like a virus had taken control of my academic life. Then I heard the mention of it in the hallway one day. It was just in passing of some random teachers, but I heard the word clearly come out of one of their mouths- “… senioritis.” I was intrigued. I looked it up on WebMD -- no results. I called my doctor and asked him about it. He just hung up the phone on me. That’s when it occurred to me to ask my friends if they were experiencing the same crazy symptoms that I was. It was a longshot … but it turned out that it was happening to them too. In fact, after more inquiring, it seemed the entire senior class had caught a case


Seniors who have been infected are spreading the disease to their classmates at RHS, but a few are starting to take drastic measures in an attempt to avoid the nasty bug. Illustration by Erin Eyler

of this deadly sickness. It was a pandemic. As of now, nobody knows a cure -- all I can tell you is that it’s getting worse. The week before Spring break was the most harmful I’ve ever felt it. I can’t figure out why it’s just the seniors who have this and not the other grades. Maybe it spread to us

from last year’s senior class, I don’t know. So current juniors, I’ll leave you with a warning. Is senior year still fun? Yes. Is this ungodly virus going to ruin your future? Only if you’re that one person who will maybe catch a horrible case of it. You just have to learn to live with it … because it’s unstoppable.



APRIL 2014

‘Draft Day’ will excite NFL fanatics for May’s upcoming draft BY ZACH LIBBY


DOWN A DIVISION LEVEL BY ZACH LIBBY Every two years, the Oakland Activities Association (OAA) sets forth a different format in which some schools get moved down a division or two and vice versa. For RHS, the Falcons will move down to the White division after being in the Red for four years. Head coach Erik Vernon is disappointed with the results of the realignment, but is also excited for the new opportunity. “Personally, I wanted to stay in the Red,” Vernon said. “Going to the White still is fine; it’s not something that I am disappointed in but I would have liked to stay in the Red. You play certain teams and build rivalries over time. I enjoyed playing Troy, Lake Orion and Clarkston. “I am very disappointed,” Vernon said. “Part of high school football is that you play in different types of rivalry games and there should be some continuity. I understand if there was a rhyme or reason for moving but there wasn’t for us moving down.” According to Rochester’s athletic director, Luke Beech, the new realignment of the divisions was based off of strength of program and enrollment. Despite the change, Beech feels that both divisions are equally competitive and there’s little difference between the two. “There’s a rule in place: Adams, Clarkston, Lake Orion and Harrison can never be in the same division,” Beech said. “Other than that, the Red and White are interchangeable. That’s why they are basically the same.” “The difference between the red and white division is nothing,” Beech said. You have Clarkston, Lake Orion, Stoney Creek, Bloomfield Hills, West Bloomfield and


The fact that Rochester will lose their more in the Red. In the White, you have rivalries with the likes of Troy, Lake Orion, Farmington Hills Harrison, Southfield, Oak Clarkston next season because of the move, Park and more. There is no difference.” the OAA has decided to established the annual Head football coach Brad Zube of Stoney Creek agrees with Beech in that each division crossover game as a way to establish new or continue rivalries. By having Adams in the presents a huge challenge and provides some white division, Rochester will now play Stoney of the best talent on the field in the entire Creek in week nine. state of Michigan. “It's great for the district and great for our “Both the Red and White division are players,” Zube said. “We were all hoping to incredibly difficult,” Zube said. “There is no ducking anyone! It's some of the best football be placed in the same division this year but it didn't work out. We scheduled in the state. Either division Adams for Week one and is a major challenge. You locked in Rochester for Week have to beat the best and I think that it’s a great 9 to assure we all play each compete with the good opportunity for us to play other. teams if you want your “High School football program to be successful. some really good teams. makes a lot of great memories “If you qualify for the It puts us in an excellent and one of those memories playoffs out of the Red or the White, you know you position to make a run at for our kids and the Falcons is our annual game,” Zube belong and you know your the playoffs. said. “It's always a physical team will be ready. A lot of teams make the playoffs MIKE HALSEY, 11 hard fought game. I know we both appreciate the OAA for out of bad leagues and allowing us to play this game then get blown out in the that means so much to both schools.” playoffs. If we get in we want to earn it.” Knowing that Rochester will have both Zube also said that the coaches were Rochester schools and highly talented schools looking to have the divisions set up on their schedule like Harrison and Southfield, regionally, meaning that each division would Vernon believes that playing smart, sound be divided into schools at close proximities. football will allow his team to be successful “There has been talk between some of the athletic directors about making it into a North during the 2014 season. “We just have to be discipline and have to OAA, South OAA and maybe like a Metro make sure we aren’t out of position,” Vernon OAA based on geography,” Beech said. “For said. “They may have individual talent that instance, the north would be Clarkston, Lake is super fast but still it’s a team game and if Orion, Oxford, all three Rochester schools, we can get all of the guys on our team to buy and possibly the new Lapeer High School. into doing the right things and playing sound That’s been thrown out there but hasn’t football and solid defense, we should be fine.” stuck.”

Starring Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner and Denis Leary, “Draft Day” is about general manager, Sonny Weaver Jr. (Costner) trying to improve a Browns team that has experienced two straight losing seasons. Despite the propaganda given to him by the highly talented prospects, linebacker Vontae Mack from Ohio State (Chadwick Boseman) and Florida State running back Ray Jennings (Arian Foster), Weaver Jr. decides to trade his three first round picks out of panic for the No. 1 overall pick from the Seattle Seahawks. Having the first pick of the draft means that the Browns now have the opportunity to select Heisman trophy winner, Bo Callahan of Wisconsin (Josh Pence). Owner Anthony Molina (Frank Langella) approves the need for a splash move in this year’s draft. However, head coach Penn (Leary) dislikes the idea because the team already has a starting quarterback, Brian Drew (Tom Welling). “Draft Day” also adds a love story between Garner and Costner. The film depicts Garner’s role as Costner’s girlfriend, who also happens to be pregnant. Movie-goers see their secret relationship and struggle to keep it out of their professional lives. “Draft Day” depicts an accurate representation of what goes on during the day leading up to draft night. The stress of general managers, coaches, war room scouts and owners trying to improve their franchise in a few, short hours is portrayed in a matter of 110 minutes. Director Ivan Reitman’s cast for his 26th film is spot on, despite the boring script and little character development. To support his leading cast, Reitman brings in supporting characters that have had NFL experience or are award winning actors. The list includes Terry Crews (Earl Jennings), Sam Elliot (Coach Moore) and Houston Texans running back, Arian Foster (Jennings). Even though the character development could be improved, Reitman’s depiction of the frustrated and angry Cleveland Browns fans who have suffered over the past few decades is spot-on. In the beginning of the movie, Weaver Jr. (Costner) listens to the sports radio station on his way to the Browns’ facility. The radio host talks about how the fans of Cleveland are loyal and dedicated, despite experiencing their team being moved by Art Modell or the consistent losing. Overall, this film would be an NFL fan’s ideal movie as they prepare for the upcoming draft in the beginning of May. Non-NFL fans will also like it for the continuous love story with Garner and Costner, as well as the suspense that goes along with any entertaining film, but may get irritated with the lack of character development and dull script.




MAX HARPER Max Harper before fielding the ball in a game at Avondale High School. Photo courtesy of MiPrepZone Max Harper gets ready to field the ball in a game against Avondale. Photo Courtesy of Kelly Harper

Q: How do you feel about being in the Top 30 in Oakland County for soccer? Explain. A: I was really surprised actually. I mean, it’s obviously, like, really cool and just awesome. Q: What did it take for you to get to this point? What makes you so successful? A: Practicing a lot. One of the reasons was because of districts last year and me being able to score in the last two minutes to tie the game and then helping my team get to state semi-finals. I wouldn’t say I’m that successful, however, I just work hard. I’m determined to do my best. Q: Who have been your role models (in sports and in life)? Explain. A: Okay, this is really lame. I don’t know what to say. Well obviously, my mom because I love her and she is awesome. Sports- Alex Morgan, that’s an easy one, she’s awesome. She scores a lot of goals.

Drew Harm rips a shot his freshman year against Romeo. Photo Courtesy of Drew Harm


A: It’s Evan Longoria because he wasn’t looked at coming out of high school; he didn’t get any division one offers to play baseball, and now is a star in major league baseball today. Q: What are your goals for this season? A: I want to win the OAA red and I would like to be the team MVP as well. Q: What role will athletics play for you in college? Explain. A: It will keep me focused so, I won’t have time to do any stuff that I shouldn’t be doing. Q: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from playing baseball? A: Being a good teammate and you need to support your teammates in order to be successful as a team.


Q: Who is your sports hero and why? A: I guess it’s safe to say that Alex Morgan is. She’s helped win a bunch of Olympic gold medals and she scores and she works hard. Q: What are your goals for this season? A: To win a game. We’re off to a rough start but hopefully we can win a game coming today. Q: What role will athletics play for you in college? Explain. A: I’m playing college soccer at Kalamazoo College so hopefully I’ll work my way up to play almost a full game and keep up with my studies though because that’s a big one. I’m going pre-med. Q: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from playing soccer? To never put your head down because you never know what could happen as long as you’re determined to make stuff happen and happen for you.



Q: How do you feel about being in the Top 30 in Oakland County for baseball? Explain. A: It’s cool and I’ve never gotten that award before. It feels good. Q: What did it take for you to get to this point? What makes you so successful? A: Practice and hard work has gotten me to this point. I’m mentally focused. I think that’s the most important part of baseball. Q: Who have been your role models (in sports and in life)? Explain. A: My dad for sure because he’s taught me everything about being mentally prepared. Q: Who is your sports hero and why?

APRIL 2014

Q: How do you feel about being in the top 30 in Oakland County for lacrosse? Explain. A: I feel very honored and proud of what I’ve accomplished. Q: What did it take for you to get to this point? What makes you so successful? A: I think I’m just a very driven kid in general. I think I’m athletic and competitive so I push myself. I’m my biggest critic so I don’t like to mess up. Q:Who have been your role models (in sports and in life)? Explain. A: My parents are definitely my role models in life. For an inspiration, I just think about not being able to play sports so I do the best that I can do in sports. Q: Who is your sports hero and why? A: I don’t know if I have one single sports hero, it just kind of changes as it goes along. Right now I’d say Smith on the Red Wings because he’s taking a beating right

Maddie Moote dribbles the ball downfield. Photo Courtesy of

now but he’s not letting it get to him and he’s still playing. Q: What are your goals for this season? A: I’m just hoping that we have a good, successful season, win a couple playoff games and see where that goes. (I want to have) a winning season and maybe even win our league. Q: What role will athletics play for you in college? A: I think it will play a pretty big role seeing as I’m playing at Albion next year. It will take up a lot of my day, so I’ll be having to juggle that with school and stuff when we go on the road. I think it will also help because it will teach me some time management. I’ll have to choose what my higher priorities are. Q: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from playing lacrosse? A: Not taking anything for granted.


APRIL 2014



ADVISORY COMMITTEE Maria Broecker performs a header on the ball during one of her games. Photo Courtesy of Maria Broecker

MARIA BROECKER Q: How do you feel about being nominated to serve on the advisory panel? Explain. A: I feel grateful for all the people that influenced me to work hard. I have great support from my parents, teachers, coaches and church leaders. It is an honor to know that all my hard work and dedication is being recognized. Q: What did it take for you to get to this point? What makes you successful? A: It took hard work and sacrifice to be successful as a student and an athlete. I set goals for myself and I am determined to meet those goals. I also have a favorite quote that I remind myself; “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful” Q: Who have been your role models (in sports and in life)? Explain. A: I don’t have any particular sport’s role model; but just the type of athlete who acts respectful, humble and is a hard worker. In life, my Dad inspires me. He has worked very hard for everything he has and has taught me that hard work pays off. Q: Who is your sports hero and why? A: Eden Hazard, a Chelsea midfielder, is my sport’s hero. I started following him before he became popular. He


Q: How do you feel about being nominated on the advisory panel? Explain. A: It was kind of surprising but it was also an honor because it was a good feeling to think that someone would have that thought about you and that thinks you’re a good person. Q: What did it take for you to get to this point? What makes you so successful? A: As a player, motivation and determination is something that’s a big thing for me: just having the mindset of being on top of everything; like nothing’s good enough. Q: Who have been your role models (in sports and in life)? Explain. A: Freshman year, Maddie Chicolte was our captain, and I had known her and her younger sister for a while and she had always been someone I looked up to because she just really cared for good leadership qualities. She was always happy, giving positive feedback. Q: Who is your sports hero and why? A: Probably my dad actually, he was really athletic and he’s

came out of nowhere and is now considered one of the best players in the world.

always pushing me. And then probably my club soccer coach, [who] has always been great in pushing me and taught me so many new things about being a good player and a good teammate. Q: What are your goals for this season? A: We lost a lot of seniors last year so it’s been hard to get back into things, but I think that we just need to pull together as a team more than anything else; because being a team is what I think is most important with communication. Q: What role will athletics play for you in college? Explain. A: I definitely want to go to a college for soccer, getting a scholarship. It’s going to be hard to balance academics and sports but in high school it’s been hard balancing the two and time management. Q: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from playing soccer? A: Probably the biggest lesson has been really to deal with losses and fails and coming back up from them.

Luke Deel advances the ball downfield. Photo Courtesy of Renee Deel

Q: What are your goals for this season? A: Next year, as one of the Captains, my goal is to lead my team to work hard and work together. I believe that a team that “gels” is always a great team. Q: What role will athletics play for you in college? Explain. A: My goal has always been to play soccer in college. I understand that playing sports in college is difficult and there will be sacrifice. I have handled it so far, and know I can handle it in college. Also, playing sports help with stress and keeps you focused. Q: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from playing soccer? A: The biggest lesson I learned from playing soccer is to be resilient. I have had to come back after injuries and after tough losses. You need to put it behind you and keep moving on.



APRIL 2014

If you tend to burn easily in the sun, you most likely have a cool skin tone, but if you tan easily you’ll have warm tones. Someone who has cool undertones would look good in a cherry red while someone with warm undertones would look better in a deeper, tomato red. Senior Camille Douglas (left) wears a popping red color while senior Pranita Balusu (right) wears a dark red, mermaid style dress.

Know your curves. Certain dresses emphasize your hips and other areas more than other dresses. Be aware of what you’d like to emphasize and just how much skin you’d like to show. Some dresses are more conservative in the front but reveal more of the back. Remember that more skin showing is not always a good thing; sometimes things are better left to the imagination. Above senior Pranita Balusu wears a deep blue dress with a v-neck that places emphasis on her slim figure.


Seniors Maahirah Salie (middle) and Camille Douglas (right) help Sarah Walwema (left) tie up a bright red dress that compliments her skin tone.


Make a bold statement by having a unique style of a dress. There are more out there than you may know. Prom will include dancing for a significant portion of the event, so make sure you pick something that you’re comfortable in. Remember that there are other styles than A-line and mermaid. From left to right seniors Sarah Walwema, Ambika Vohra and Pranita Balusu show different prom dress styles.

Photos by Paul Lee, Alyssa Latarewicz and Danielle Kullmann


Find a dress that accentuates other features you have, such as eye color or hair color. Camille Douglas has light blue eyes, so she picked a dress that compliments her eyes and makes them stand out.

Photos by Aubrey Ritz

Sometimes less is more; don’t be afraid to be simple. Having a lot of jewels can distract from your beauty. Above senior Ambika Vohra wears a lace dress with a matching ribbon.

April Issue 2014  
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