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TALON PRODUCTIVITY: THE

NOVEMBER 2013-2014

PAVING THE WAY TO SUCCESS

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180 S. Livernois Rochester Hills, MI 48307 Volume 76

A review on the R.A.T.S. interpretation of the Tony-award winning musical, “In The Heights.”

RHS Teachers from several departments share several of their “first” experiences.

Page 7

Page 11

Page 16

Issue 4

Nov. 26, 2013

The Talon wins a national award, senior Camille Douglas wins 5th place for News Story of the Year and three students come home with on-site contest honorable mentions.


2 I NEWS

RCS

RHS

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, several of Mrs. Laura Matthew’s Advanced Placement government students took to the Michigan election polls to gain knowledge about the democratic process. Students arrived at different voting locations at 6 a.m. and worked through the evening at several stations, including managing the M100 machine for the ballots, swiping ID cards to put names into the system, giving people their ballots and having people fill out applications so they could vote. “I thought it was a really great experience to be able to work the election polls,” junior Amanda Hudak said. “It was a sad turnout of voters, but cool to see how the election works.” Anne Kucher was voted library board director, Steph Mortia as first district council member, Thomas Wiggins as fourth district council member and Jeffery Curthbertson and Kevin Brown as council-members at large. “I believe hands-on, real world experience allows students to apply what they are learning in class, and it prepares them to be active participants in society,” Mrs. Matthews said. “Learning election laws and everything that goes into planning for and running an election is a significant part of our state and local government responsibilities.” Photo Courtesy of Jason Garber

A mental health forum was hosted by the RCS PTSA. Dr. James Jones discussed the signs of adolescents that are maintaining positive mental health and that adolescents may be have mental health difficulties. He also shared strategies for families to help adolescents keep mental health strong through the stressful years of middle and high school. “I think that the forum was interesting,” PTSA sponsor Shawn Grant said. “There were a few statements that seemed to particularly connect with the audience, such as the importance of parents needing to take care of themselves as much as they do their children. If parents do not take care of their own needs, they will not be refreshed and able to meet the needs of their children/adolescents.” The PTSA had several other forums about mental health scheduled for the school year. There is a Substance Abuse Awareness Forum at Adams High during the first week of December. The final forum for this school year is scheduled for April 3, 2014, and will be focusing on the mental health needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning students in schools. “The focus of mental health awareness was chosen after discussions were held with parents and students in the Rochester community and the topic was raised as a concern,” Grant said. “A balance of physical and mental health leads to a more balanced student experience, a goal that PTA Council has for all children.”

Photo Courtesy of EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection

Photo Courtesy of Oakland County Sheriff’s Office

STATE Sheryl Ann Lamothe of Canton, 52, shot her 54-year-old boyfriend in the stomach and groin on Sandalwood Dr. in Rochester on October 29. “I have no idea what would cause her to do something that drastic,” junior Shannon Sheldrick said. “He probably cheated on her or broke up with her and she decided to go to the absolute extreme.” Lamothe is now facing charges of assault with attempted murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. “It is really scary that something that we normally only hear about from far away happened so close,” Sheldrick said. “It makes the safety of my home feel less secure. She should be locked away forever. She should be locked up because she is a danger and she shouldn’t be on the loose.”

NOVEMBER 2013

U.S. In Paramus, N.J. there was a mass shooting at a local mall. There was a police evacuation; however, 400 civilians remained locked inside with the shooter. Afterwards, police found the gunman, 20-year-old Richard Shoop, dead inside of the mall. “Personally, I feel like a shooting like that could never really happen to me or around me,” senior Collin Barlage said. “Unfortunately, the reality is that no matter how much you prepare, you are always vulnerable to shootings.” Fortunately, no injuries were reported from the shooting. “At RHS to keep the school safe we take several measures,” security guard Nic Goodfellow said. “For starters, in the morning we check all the entrances and make sure they [are] secure and make observations of the students as they enter the building. Then during the school day we make sure the front main entrance doors are the only doors available, so the visitors can come in and put name, date, time and destination.”

WORLD At 200 miles per hour, a typhoon hit the Phillipines on Friday, Nov. 8. Almost 4,000 people were confirmed dead according to nbcnews.com and the United Nations estimates that almost 2 million people are homeless. The typhoon has also impacted people thousands of miles away in Rochester Hills. “My family just immigrated to America, so we still have lots of family in the Philippines,” junior Mia Mikka said. “Thankfully, they weren’t hit by the disaster, but I’m glad that I’ve seen all different nations on the news helping the effected.” The United States government contributed relief to the disaster in $37 million, food donations, clean water donations, shelter materials and hygiene kits to the Haiyan citizens. The White House put out an official response reaching out to the typhoon’s victims. “Our Philippine allies are responding to one of the largest disasters its country has ever faced, and we have been coordinating closely with them at every step.”

THE TALON


NOVEMBER 2013

THE TALON

I

NEWS I 3 of the team. He works with the District CIT as well as the Oakland County police department to help keep up to date with latest precautions and runs monthly meetings with the CIT at RHS. “We discuss any traumatic event that could impact students, staff and BY COLETTE CLOUTIER the community,” Mrs. Garr said. “A few examples could include a fire, The Critical Incidence Team suicide, bank robbery (lock-down), (CIT) was established in chemical spill or tornado.We discuss 2004 and was initially how we would handle each situation, called the District Trauma and we also do practice scenarios of Team. Its original purpose emergencies. We also discuss training was to be on hand when the the staff and students about our district experienced the death emergency procedures.” of an individual who was from a With a startling increase in schooldifferent cultural background. related tragedies across the nation, “We learned that we were not wellsecurity is a top priority throughout informed about other cultures’ mourning RCS and modern safety procedures are rituals and practices. This grew into emphasized. a focus on how to best handle other “Security protocols have changed traumatic events, such as suicide,” over the years to respond to national and Director of Community Relations Debbi local incidence; two examples are [the] Hartman said. “In 2005, money was made Sandy Hook Elementary [shooting] and available from a statewide Homeland the Boston Marathon bombing,” Mrs. Security Grant, which focused on school Garr said. “Elementary schools have safety. This installed security is when swipe cards at the District entrances, cameras Trauma Team have been installed became more in many facilities The RHS team is a spectrum of broadly and the high members from all areas of staff focused, schools have and was security guards in who interact with students and re-named the house.” community. All are concerned District CIT.” Members of the and conscientious members, The CIT CIT also possess serious about their involvement is essentially binders that on the team. just what contain protocol MRS. KARENT GARR, SECRETARY it sounds and procedures like: a team for emergencies of multiple, as developed in selected staff conjunction with members who the district and are first to respond in any minor or major the Command Incident Chief for incidents during school hours. The CIT’s Rochester. goal is to make and keep RHS a safe place “The big red binder contains most for students and staff. of the school’s information. It contains: Counseling registrar and CIT member current teacher schedules, a list of all Mrs. Karen Garr is confident in RHS’s students by grade, maps of the school selection of staff members for the team. and grounds, all emergency procedures, “The RHS team is a spectrum of emergency contact information and members from all areas of staff who more,” Mr. Cusumano said. “Basically, interact with students and community,” these binders have all the information Mrs. Garr said. “All are concerned and we need in case of a real emergency.” conscientious members, serious about Curious community members can their involvement on the team.” access more information regarding the The CIT is trained on how to handle CIT on the district and school web pages any incident that may take place during as well as checking with the Community school hours, and was established to make Affairs office of RCS. According to Mr. students, staff, and parents feel more Cusumano, RHS’s CIT is working hard comfortable and safe in the building. to be prepared to face anything ranging “I definitely think that parents and from small, daily issues to large-scale students feel safer knowing we have a complications. CIT,” counselor Mrs. Kelly Messing“We try to prepare our staff and Mirabito said. “We prepare for the worst students in case of an emergency by so that we are ready for anything that may conducting drills throughout the year,” occur ... we are here to make sure students Mr. Cusumano said. “We are committed are safe.” and dedicated to making sure RHS is a Assistant principal Mr. Pasquale safe environment for students and staff Cusumano is the administrator in charge to come to each and every day.”

DESIGN BY COLETTE CLOUTIER & DANIELLE KULLMANN


4 I NEWS

NOVEMBER 2013

COMMON CORE :

Language Arts and Mathematics Standards that were implemented in Fall of 2013 are now backed by the State

Michigan House and Senate pass funding for implementing the Common Core, but remove the Smarter Balanced testing component in hopes of more local control of the assessment and results.

“Until now, districts have not had the support but I don’t think we should be nationalizing our of the Michigan Department of Education as standards,” Mr. McMillin said. “The states are they have rolled out the new curriculum,” Mrs. too different; the kids in Maine and the kids in Lawler said. rural Michigan don’t need to be taught the same This new curriculum replaces the Michigan things.” Merit Curriculum. Some of the key differences There is an official website dedicated to include additional skills like thinking on one’s stopping the implementation of the Common feet, an in-depth understanding of course Core in Mich.: stopthecommoncoreinmichigan. material and more emphasis on non-fiction. Mrs. org. Similar websites exist for states such as Lawler describes the curriculum as focusing on North Carolina and Georgia. These sites aim ‘internalizing’ rather than ‘memorizing.’ to regain local control on education; however, “Say that there used to Mrs. Painter believes be 50 topics that a teacher that many citizens are had to touch upon in misunderstanding where the More and more jobs require class; students did a lot of standards came from. critical thinking and literacy memorizing,” Mrs. Lawler “The federal government skills. In order to compete for did not write these said. “Now there might be BY AMBIKA VOHRA these jobs, the United States standards,” Mrs. Painter 25 topics, which are covered must make sure students and studied and fully said. “They were written Senior Emily Giedzinski begins furiously understood.” under the direction of learn these skills throughout writing notecards, wondering how she will According to Secondary governors of individual their education. remember all of those vocabulary words for English Language Arts states, including state literature class that unfortunately all begin with MRS. ASHLEY PAINTER, TEACHER leadership in Michigan.” Curriculum Coordinator the letter ‘E.’ Although the intended objective Mrs. Ashley Painter, the Students may notice is for her to learn these words and utilize them Common Core is designed an increase in the rigor in in everyday life, she admits that truly learning to focus on 21st Century skills including their classrooms. For example, one of the many the words and focusing on the upcoming test problem-solving and literacy across the “I can …” statements written by RCS teachers is often mutually exclusive. According to curriculum. However, as with any significant after considering the standard “Read and Executive Director of Secondary Education shift in pedagogy, there is controversy comprehend complex literary and informational Mrs. Carrie Lawler, this memorization rather surrounding the new standards. texts independently and proficiently” is “I can than understanding of knowledge is what the “The controversy is based on the idea that read and synthesize difficult and challenging Common Core curriculum hopes to combat. these new standards are federal standards and primary sources such as data-based texts, court The Common Core, a set of standards therefore reflect an intrusion of the federal opinions and quantitative governmental reports adopted in 45 states was officially passed by government into what should be a local matter,” and present my findings in a PowerPoint or other the Senate on Oct. 24 after having been at the Mrs. Painter said. form of media presentation.” The Common Core forefront of discussion for three years. Even Republican State Representative and places emphasis on interpreting and making though the Common Core has been implemented Rochester resident Mr. Tom McMillin lead connections between a variety of texts instead of in Rochester Community Schools for the a charge against the implementation of the reading and discussing one text at a time. past two years, it wasn’t until the Michigan Common Core because he doesn’t agree with “More and more jobs require critical thinking legislature voted to fund the implementation using national standards in the classroom. and literacy skills,” Mrs. Painter explained. that staff members truly felt it was worth getting “I think we should have Michigan standards, “In order to compete for these jobs, the United behind.

States must make sure students learn these skills throughout their education.” It is not only the United States standards that emphasize student skills. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) runs the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test, which evaluates education systems worldwide by testing knowledge of 15-year-olds. In the latest released results of the 2009 test, the U.S. ranked 15 in reading and 21 in science out of 62 contenders. The PISA scores are lower in the U.S. than in the top-scoring countries including South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Japan and neighboring Canada. “In general, I think that our standards could be more rigorous, but I know that we have an inclusive system in the U.S. that other countries can’t compete with,” Mrs. Lawler said. “Many other countries sort out students and have high expectations for only those who will have an easy time reaching them.” Senior Gloria Kim likes the idea of higher expectations in the curriculum as a whole, but she is opposed to the early difficulty that may be instituted in elementary schools. “I liked having elementary and middle school as more relaxed years,” Kim said. “Those years were less stressful as a whole and were a good foundation. I had a chance to explore my creativity.” Even as the Common Core is implemented, Mrs. Painter acknowledged that there are lurking issues that simple education standards cannot fix. “The Common Core will not address students who struggle with poverty,” Mrs. Painter said. “Schools, communities and the government must also continue to address these other issues so that students get the support they need. This is the key to the future of education in America.”

THE TALON


NOVEMBER 2013

FEATURE I 5

SENIOR SKIP DAY(S?): The addition of a fall skip day frustrates many administrators and teachers, yet provides a “needed mental health day” according to many seniors.

BY EDGAR SOKOLI

Senior skip day is a well-known tradition that is carried out every year by the soon-to-be graduating class. On this day, students come together and agree to skip a day of classes. In the past, senior skip day was just that: one day in the spring that seniors took off as a mental health day. “I’m sort of okay with [the spring skip day] since it’s been a longstanding tradition,” English teacher Mrs. Julie Kuslits said. “However, the fall one was news to me last year and angers me. To add another day off to a four day weekend this year seemed greedy and juvenile.” English teacher Mr. Frank Gollon explained the background on skip day. “Just a few years ago, the seniors decided that one day was not enough and they planned to

go for one per card-marking,” Mr. Gollon said. “Participation was low that year, but each following year seems to be going for at least one first semester and one second.” Some seniors argue that skip days each semester are needed. “We don’t have enough breaks throughout the year,” senior Zoe Salwach said. “I think it’s a needed mental health day.” Other seniors say their choice to skip more than once is a result of the famed “senior-itis.” Assistant principal Mr. Neil DeLuca disagrees with the seniors, and believes that senioritis doesn’t permit a skip days. “I think skip days are ridiculous actually; it’s not supported by administration, it’s not supported by the school district, and it’s a selfimposed senior holiday,” Mr. DeLuca said. “I don’t think it’s needed; we have enough breaks during the school year, and I don’t know why seniors think they need to take a skip day.” Mr. Gollon wouldn’t mind if skip

days were eliminated altogether. district has imposed.” “Throughout time it has always Mr. Gollon thinks students who been Senior Skip DAY; not DAYS,” have their parents call them in aren’t Mr. Gollon said. “ really following I wouldn’t mind if the intent of the this tradition went day. the way of the “It does not You are approaching the finish dinosaur.” count as a skip line of a 12-year marathon; According to the day if your parents don’t collapse just short of the attendance office, call you in,” Mr. tape. seniors account Gollon said. for 412 of 1,678 The total RHS students, MR. FRANK GOLLON, TEACHER administration and more than 300 at all three high students participated schools are on Friday, Nov. 1. continuing to This means that 18% of the students discuss possibilities to eliminate were gone that day. the skip days, such as revoking A new trend has involved parents off-campus lunch privileges for calling their son or daughter in on those who participate, but this poses skip day to make sure the absence is complications. recorded as “excused.” “One thing I did come up with Mr. Deluca explains the potential was taking away lunch privileges, consequences for skip day. which would be an easy one to do,” “If it’s an unexcused absence, Mr. DeLuca said. “But then you’re you give them a zero,” Mr. DeLuca really releasing that monitoring to said. “If it’s an excused absence, you Burr Security Guards.” have to follow the absence policy the Perhaps the more damaging

consequence is getting behind in curriculum, according to Mrs. Kuslits. “I only had ⅓ of my senior classes at most,” Mrs. Kuslits said. “This is very disruptive, since we are in the ‘crunch mode’ almost constantly with these semester courses. Every day counts.” While the future of skip days is uncertain, Mr. Gollon has a piece of advice for seniors who are feeling like slacking. “You are approaching the finish line of a 12-year marathon; don’t collapse just short of the tape,” Mr. Gollon said. Mrs. Kuslits agrees. “We’ve all been there, and falling off the face of the earth in terms of motivation and output is not the answer,” Mrs. Kuslits said. “Some of you are awaiting first semester grades for colleges who want a closer look, so what a shame to blow it by giving in to a temporary feeling with a permanent outcome.”


6 I FEATURE

BY SARAH WALWEMA

Fifty-seven pints were collected at the fall blood drive hosted by student council and the Red Cross, potentially saving up to 171 lives. The annual blood drive, held by Student Council twice a year, provides healthy students the chance to help their community. “It started because there is a blood shortage in the country and high school students are a lot of people in a space,” student council advisor Mrs. Kelley Cusmano said. “They can access many donors at one time unlike other drives.” Junior Andrea Jovanoski is one of the students who participated in this event who has donated blood before. Jovanoski has type O blood, which is known as the universal donor. “I’m not really scared of needles or passing out or anything like that,” Jovanoski said. “I feel better doing it because they’re other people who need it more than I do.” While Jovanoski didn’t have a phobia of needles and giving blood, some students cite complications while donating. “It is a very low-risk procedure,” Mrs. Cusmano said. “I think a lot of times students have the ‘placebo effect’ and their adrenaline creates a dramatic situation (like passing out) when there doesn’t need to be.” While the “placebo effect “does happen to some students, others do experience complications. “The day I was giving blood, there were five people who had passed out,” Jovanoski said. “When I asked one of the nurses if it was normal she said that it was the first day that this had happened.” Some students wonder what becomes of their blood once it leaves the building. “I have had students and friends who have been in car accidents and donated blood has been used to save their lives,” Mrs. Cusmano said. “It’s a big deal.” RHS junior Gage Garmo is one of those people that had to have a blood transfusion after a tumor was found in his knee last year. “It was difficult, but we got through it,” Garmo said. “Like all cancers it was pretty serious, but it could have been worse.” In order to keep up with his school work and stay motivated, Garmo had to rely on others. “Mr. Merlo would come to my house and drop off my homework quite often,” Garmo said. “He really helped me out with everything.” It’s people like Garmo that Jovanoski thinks about when giving blood. “It’s crazy that other people are in the hospital dying because they need a donor’s blood to survive while I’m going through the day being fine,” Jovanoski said. “I thought about that when I was giving blood. I’m just happy because I think of the people in the hospital right now. It’s good to know that I’m helping out in the community.”

NOVEMBER 2013

BLOOD DRIVE

Social Studies teacher Mr. Kevin Briski donated blood at the RHS Blood Drive hosted by the Red Cross and student council. Photo by Sarah Walwema

If you meet the requirements, then you should definitely do it once in a while. You feel good about yourself afterwards.

ANDREA JOVANOSKI, 11

I have had students and friends who have been in car accidents and donated blood has been used to save their lives. It’s a big deal.

MRS. KELLEY CUSMANO, TEACHER

THE TALON


NOVEMBER 2013

FEATURE I 7

THERE’S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING Here are some fun facts about firsts from five teachers. BY MELANIE WONG

MRS. KAREN MALSBURY, BUSINESS TEACHER

MR. GARY CAMPBELL, SCIENCE TEACHER

MRS. ELIZABETH WARD, MATH TEACHER

MS. SARAH MONROE, SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER

MR. ANDRE HARDING, ENGLISH TEACHER

FIRST DATE

The movies

Homecoming in 9th grade

Restaurant in Farmington Hills

The movies

Prom

FIRST CAR

Purple-blue Vauxhall Corsa

Blue minivan

Black 1992 Pontiac Sunbird

Black 1999 Grand Prix

Maroon Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme

Bag packer at a grocery store; $5.00/hour

Groundskeeper at a golf course; $7.00/hour

The dry cleaners; $5.25/hour

Hollister; $5.15/ hour

Community center; $4.00/hour

New Kids on the Block in 1992

John Cougar Mellencamp in 1994

Lollapalooza in 1996

The Goo Goo Dolls + Third Eye Blind in 2002

New Edition in 2006

11-years-old in a corn field

12-years-old during gym class outside

14-years-old after school

14-years-old at a friend’s house

14-years-old in a basement at a house party

Golden retriever named Trina

Black lab mixed named Coco

Dachshund named Otto

German shepherd named JJ

German shepherd mix named Kizzy

Marine biologist

Engineer to build roller coasters

Mechanical engineer

Teacher

Professional basketball player

Emma Kershaw from 6th to 12th grade

Brian since 6th grade

Rainee since 6th grade

Tori Frost since kindergarten

Anthony Williams from kindergarten to senior year in college

FIRST JOB FIRST CONCERT FIRST KISS FIRST PET FIRST DREAM JOB FIRST BEST FRIEND


MAXIMIZE YOUR EVERYDAY.

8 & 9 I LIFESTYLES

EVEN THOUGH HIGH SCHOOL SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE TO MANAGE AT TIMES, THERE ARE WAYS TO COME OUT UNSCATHED.

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It’s November, and students and teachers alike are trying to keep sane until the much-anticipated holiday season arrives. Once the excitement of “starting the new school year fresh” has died off and the groggy reality of early mornings with puffy, bright red eyes and multiple cups of coffee set in, life may seem barely manageable. Social studies teacher Mrs. Laura Matthews, along with five RHS students, let in on their personal experiences and secrets on how to push past the pre-Christmas drag. A MOTIVATION TO EXCEED Whether it be a quick worksheet or an upcoming exam, students need a clear motivation to get through the daily homework they are expected to finish. Sophomore Shane Skelcy turns work and school into a fun system that fits his way of thinking. “I pretend school is a sort of game and my GPA is the points that I have to keep up and homework is the stuff that are points for the game,” Skelcy said. “Every day [when] I wake up is like a new level that has new challenges.” Senior Angelina Jeong has a different reason for keeping focused during and after school. “My testophobia [motivates me],” Jeong said. “Tests freak me out, so I try to study and stay on task so that I’ll know the information better during the test. This way I get relaxed and less tense during the testing time.” Yet others have more far-sighted goals as to why they strive to do their best academically. “I work hard so that I can get good grades to get into a good college,” junior Emily Freeland said. For Mrs. Matthews, teaching and

assisting students is something she sincerely enjoys. “The fact [is], I love my job,” Mrs. Matthews said. “I also like to balance work and family, like everyone in this building – so when I am here at work, I am extremely committed to getting my check list done and looking ahead [so that] I can go home and continue that preparation and also spend time with my family.” PRESERVING A SHARP MIND Still, the seemingly never-ending workload from Monday to Friday presents itself as a challenge. Senior Brian Ma shares a humorous example of how he is able to endure the long hours of study that are at times inevitable. “After about five minutes of work, I’ll get up from my chair, walk out to my kitchen, and peruse the food available to me,” Ma said. “I choose whichever food is most appealing to me at the time, and I also keep in mind how accessible it would be for me while I am doing work. Often times, I choose the safe route and grab a family sized bag of chips and return to work for about 15 minutes until I run out of food. When I feel more daring, I’ll grab a quart of ice cream or half a watermelon.” Jeong feels the same way, using food not only as physical fuel, but mental fuel as well. “Regardless of what time it is, if I’m sleepy or drowsy, I always take a snack break,” Jeong said. “Food makes me super excited about life, so I get really motivated to do more work, even at 4 a.m.” In contrast, Senior Gloria Kim looks to naps to both replenish her body and motivate her to work quickly.

“When I can, I take four-hour naps right after school,” Kim said. “It helps me recuperate from the sleepless night before, and it also helps me to stay awake as I do my homework through the night. I work better under pressure, so I work more effectively at night, knowing that the more effective I am, the [more quickly] I can go back to sleep.” Matthews channels exercising into inspiration for being productive and creative. “Running and pilates are my destressors,” Mrs. Matthews said. “I plan in my head and I problem-solve – I get great ideas! No music ... just the quietness, me and my shoes.” Skelcy concurs. “After I have [cross country] practice I’m around all of those happy people, and if I make people happy then I’m happy [too],” Skelcy said. “[I] have a lot of energy to get all of my homework done just in time for anything else.”

I seem to get my schoolwork finished faster because I am in a time crunch,” Freeland said. “In my off season, I tend to put off my homework until it gets later into the evening. Doing an extracurricular takes up a lot of time, but is definitely worth it to me because of all of the friends and memories I make.” Mrs. Matthews agrees. She operates around the clock from 4:45 a.m. to 11 p.m. as a full-time teacher, social studies teacher leader, debate club sponsor, street law supreme court teacher, youth in government coordinator, ACT preparation tutor and parent, yet she believes that keeping busy is essential to her way of life. “For me, being involved in 500 things is a good thing,” Mrs. Matthews said. “It makes you stay on top of your check list and not get too comfy. Ever since I can remember, growing up to now I have always been a busy and involved person – I thrive off of it.”

JUGGLING EXTRACURRICULARS On top of the required homework assigned daily, many students participate in after school activities, ranging from sports to clubs to work. Kim notes that this balance between school, extra activities, sleep, and a social life is difficult to achieve. “The only extracurricular I’m currently participating in is NHS,” Kim said. “I recently got a job, and I’m already struggling to juggle homework and working. Adding [other] extracurriculars to the mix would equal even more sleep deprivation.” Freeland, on the other hand, who participates in a few after-school clubs and two sports, thrives on the difficult balance. “Actually, when I do an extracurricular

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT Regardless of how high their level of productivity already is on a daily basis, students are still striving to meet their full potential when it comes to working effectively. “I would like to improve on actually doing work instead of not doing work in the forms of internet and life,” Ma said. “I don’t know, I’m pretty dang productive. At times. Rarely.” Freeland agrees. “I would like to finish my homework earlier so that I can get to bed earlier and feel rested the next day,” Freeland said. Senior Gloria Kim wants to incorporate exercise into her lifestyle. “Sad to say, but I literally have no time for physical activity,” Kim said. “I want

to be able to make more time to go on runs and see my friends.” ADVICE FROM THE BEST Mrs. Matthews emphasizes that the most basic key to success is time management. “Prioritize and plan ahead,” Mrs. Matthews said. “I know when those huge tidal waves for projects for Free Response Questions are going to come in, so I just plan accordingly to get them back to my students ASAP.” A “tool to success” that works well for Matthews is the use of lists to keep organized and on task. “I love checking things off lists,” Matthews said. “There is nothing like a time when everything on your list is checked off and your desk area is clean – [it’s the] best thing ever, even if it only lasts for five minutes!” Kim recognizes the trickiness of working effectively in the age of technology and social media. “Personally, I think it’s really hard to focus at home, and I get super tempted to fall asleep or scroll through Facebook/Tumblr for hours,” Kim said. “I would suggest going to a coffee shop or the library to get your homework done.” Jeong addresses the same issue. “Putting away phones and iPods and laptops would [definitely] help,” Jeong said. “Those are the sources of all my wasted hours.” Ma offers a creative approach for those who struggle with concentration. “I hear meditation is good for focus and life,” Ma said. “Other than that, don’t waste time on random stuff. Just get whatever you can done. “

NOVEMBER 2013


10 I LIFESTYLES

CANDLE SCENTS AND YOUR MOOD:

Aromatherapy is the use of different oils and extracts that stimulate the nervous system. Candles infused with different scents can affect the way one feels at a time and enhance or decrease a certain mood that one has based on the smell. BY OLIVIA BENNETT

1 PEACE AND RELAXATION Vanilla and Cupcake aromas enhance an atmosphere of bliss. It calms one’s mind and creates a sense of warmth. Generally, these candles are great use at bathtime. What to buy: Especially in the wintertime, Bath and Body Works releases a Holiday line of candles that includes many sweet flavors such as Merry Cookie, Mint Chocolate and Winter Candy Apple

2 CONCENTRATION

3 SLEEP AND BEDTIME Lavender, vanilla, rose, and other fruity flavors are recommended for bedtime purposes. If you are extremely sleepy, one of these candles should help you fall asleep in no time. What to buy: Lavender and chamomile scents are sold anywhere, but the best place to get them is at random candle places. The Sleep line by Bath and Body Works

4 CLEAN AND FRESH

Cinnamon helps to improve one’s determination and will to work. If you’re ever in need of a boost of energy and have a lot of homework, just burn one of these strongly scented candles and you will feel motivated.

Citrus flavors enhance the feeling of a clean environment throughout your home/room. Often these scents are uplifting and create a better sense throughout their home.

What to buy: Most candle places carry different cinnamon flavors, usually laced or included with the scent of the season. Cinnamon, Cinnamon Sugar

What to buy: Citrus and other fruity flavors can be bought anywhere. Lemon Mint Grass, Citrus all by Bath and Body Works

DESIGN BY OLIVIA BENNETT

NOVEMBER 2013

THE ANTI-HIPSTER BY DANIELLE KULLMANN There is one singular reason why people hate hipsters., and that is because hipsters control their lives. From my experience, hipsters set the bar. They’re well-dressed, listening-to-a-band-you’ve-neverheard-of style, outdated foreign film references, and their “look at me I’m drinking black coffee at Dessert Oasis” attitude make you want to be just as smart, as mysterious-so you do what they do. And you abandon everything that makes you, you. As a society, we are drawn to the idea that by not caring about anything or putting any effort in we can still function and be happy because people will find us admirable and talented for being “normal.” But the truth is, being passionate about things is what makes our lives good. By idolizing other people, be it celebrities or godforsaken hipsters, you’re abandoning your natural ability to think for yourself. Not caring about things sure is easy, but caring about things is what makes life worth living. It isn’t easy, but even the hard parts become manageable. By being a “hipster,” you become a lame, mainstream replica of a fictional person who serves no functional purpose in society. If you want to be “special,” “admirable” and “mysterious,” try being truly good at something. Try caring about your life so much that you want to get up in the morning. Work hard and learn how to do something better than anyone else. Become the best at something. It’ll get you places. Stop following around an unachievable goal. If you truly want coffee, make it yourself; Dessert Oasis is far too expensive and the couches are always full anyway. If you want to be well-dressed, go for it, but don’t let it define who you are as a person. If you want to listen to music, listen to whatever you want-the music you listen to doesn’t determine your intelligence, determination or skill. What really defines you as a person are the things that you care about.

THE TALON


NOVEMBER 2013

On Nov. 21, the Rochester Alliance of Theatrical Students (R.A.T.S.) debuted their fall musical performance of “In the Heights,” a play that captures the struggles of working-class families face as they try to chase the American dream. What makes their performance of the 2008 Tony-award winning musical so unforgettable was not only the delivery from the cast and crew, but also the different style of music and dance. “In the Heights” centers on a variety of characters living in the neighborhood of Washington Heights, on the northern tip of Manhattan. At the center of the show is Usnavi (played by senior Gabe Bustamante), a bodega owner who looks after the aging Cuban lady next door, and dreams of winning the lottery and escaping to the shores of his native Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, Nina (played by senior Vanessa Rodriguez), a childhood friend of Usnavi’s, has returned to the neighborhood from her first year at college with surprising news for her parents, who have spent their life savings on building a better life for their daughter. Ultimately, Usnavi and the residents of the close-knit neighborhood get a dose of what it means to be home. When one walked through the auditorium doors, he or she was transported into the middle of the large Dominican-American neighborhood. Brick walls were placed up against the auditorium walls, giving off the street-like vibe, and the run-down look of the enormous buildings on stage really transformed this once sophisticated-looking auditorium into the ramschackel neighborhood of Washington Heights. Although the impressive stage work sets up the setting of the play for the audience, it’s the remarkable talent of the cast and crew that brought the musical to life. As the pit orchestra kept up with the fast pace of the Latino music, the cast played the up-beat, energetic style very well. Speaking of acting, the cast for the musical couldn’t have been better chosen. As the male characters continued to amaze the audience with their ability to quickly rap the activities of the neighborhood, the females stunned the crowd with their remarkable vocal range and amazing accents. As a result, there was not one number that wasn’t truly captivating. The only drawback in the musical was that sometimes the plotline was hard to follow. This is because of the fast-paced tempo of the music. One of the things fairly new to the R.A.T.S. productions was the imbedding of the rap genre and the use of a Spanish dialect. The first number contained the majority of the two seen in the play when the play opened with Usnavi rapping the cityscape into vibrant life over the rhythm and having a full conversation in Spanish with Abuela Claudia (played by senior Liz Lasc). At first, this new form of music introduced early on was confusing; however, as the play moved along, the emotion being portrayed in the character’s faces were good enough to express the rest of the story to the audience. In essence, the energy of the cast is what made this show so memorable. In the musical number, “Carnival,” most of the cast is on stage dancing, singing, smiling, and just having a good time. It is scenes like this that keep the audience’s attention from drifting, and even more impressive, the numbers that were not as animated, such as “Breathe,” were just as captivating. One could not take their eyes off of a stage full of energized, energetic performers. All that is left to say is, “Bravo, R.A.T.S. Bravo!”

ENTERTAINMENT I 11

IN THE HEIGHTS:

8.5/10

TOP PICKS OF THE MONTH ‘MARSHALL MATHERS LP 2’ by EMINEM

One of the world’s biggest musical figures is back with a sequel to the album he made in 2000 that made him a superstar and a household name. But a lot has happened with Eminem since that time period, including two more albums, a huge movie (“8 Mile”), a dark period of drug addiction, and then two more comeback albums. Being 41-years-old hasn’t stopped him from keeping his status as a major hitmaker, as the songs “The Monster” and “Berzerk” have proven. The biggest change on “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” is his maturity. Eminem is no longer the most controversial figure in music, like he was during the heyday of his early years when he released the original MMLP. Now his lyrics are less angry and meant to piss

THE TALON

BY CAMILLE DOUGLAS

BY A. J. PRISCIANDARO

off the world and are more casual and lighthearted. On “Headlights,” featuring Nate Ruess from fun., he even apologizes to his mom, someone he’s spewed so much rage at in his past music that she sued him for it. Make no mistake, though, Slim Shady can still kill a verse. His incomparable rhyming skills on the mic are evident in almost every track, including the standouts “Rap God” and the Kendrick Lamar-assisted “Love Game.” Overall, “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” is Eminem’s best album in years and a worthy sequel to the original.

8/10 8/10 8/10

Student production of Tony awardwinning Broadway musical ‘In the Heights’ is a success

‘THOR: THE DARK WORLD’ After starring in last year’s epic sixsuperhero spectacle “The Avengers,” the flying, hammer-wielding god played by Chris Hemsworth returns in the sequel to 2011’s “Thor.” So is Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, Thor’s love interest down on Earth, and his villainous brother, Loki. As for the plot, it’s pretty basic. Some generic evil elf-lord named Malekith has been resurrected, and there’s this weird evil red substance called Aether that’s been accidentally trapped in Jane’s body. Guess what - the evil elf Malekith wants to gain control of the Aether and take over the world! And then there’s this weird thing called the Convergence when all the planets align which means something bad’s going to happen … you know, ‘cause it wouldn’t be

a legit blockbuster superhero movie without some confusing plot element that no one understands and only brings unnecessary special effects to the climax. However, there’s one crucial difference that makes “Thor” more enjoyable than some other films in its genre - it’s actually funny, because the filmmakers don’t treat the material too seriously. Laughs come often, thanks to the humorous supporting cast of characters and the comments from Loki, especially when Thor needs his help to save the day. Thanks to the humor and easygoing vibe, “Thor: The Dark World” turns out to be an enjoyable superhero sequel.

7/10 DESIGN BY DANIELLE KULLMANN & A.J. PRISCIANDARO


12 I OPINION

NOVEMBER 2013

STAFF EDITORIAL: Senior skip day vs. Senioritis According to a study done by students at RHS, the reason for an increase in the lack of homework turned in is because of a new disease: “senioritis.” The disease metastasizes more rapidly than many would think, and even the most diligent of students tend to succumb. With the already established occurrence of procrastination, there is simply no room for another infectious disease such as this. After all, senioritis is similar to a runner reaching the edge of a finish line and deciding not to run through the inviting ribbon. Seniors are so close to finishing high school and so close to pursuing their interests in college. If they decide to withdraw all effort now, they may just sacrifice their later dreams. It is often hard to look at the big picture, and seniors’ lack of drive is certainly understandable. However, if seniors lose this drive, they will be strung along as passengers on a ride they didn’t sign up for: a reality check. There are people who have decided that after college applications or after receiving a college admissions letter, it is not necessary to put forth any effort

The Talon Staff Mrs. Julia Satterthwaite, Adviser

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

“Seniors deserve a day off. Some people criticize seniors for taking multipule skip days, but in reality the need a couple free days in order to stay sane.”

“Always try at school, but skip when you want. If you feel like skipping on Senior Skip Day, then do it, but always try your hardest. Senior year isn’t an excuse to be braindead.”

SYDNEY BAMMEL, 11

OLIVIA BENNETT, 12

in school since they will apparently be leaving soon. Many seniors deem “showing up” enough, and some even do not bother to complete even this minimum requirement. However, a college admissions letter is not a one way ticket. If seniors do not maintain their prior performance, it may just become an unwanted round trip ticket. Putting the grueling work of four years on the line for a few months of relaxation is illogical, and no matter how tired or burned out seniors may be, they should still retain their senses of priority. That doesn’t mean that seniors aren’t entitled to a break every now

and then. After all, seniors have been attending school for twelve years while passing monotonously from class to class and spending at least half of the day in the classroom. After twelve grueling years, the bottom line is that anyone would get fed up. This time consumption of school combined with the average of six months of a lifespan spent waiting at traffic lights does call for a break. Namely, a senior skip day: 24 hours out of the 12 years that seniors have been attending school. Many claim that students never earn the right to skip a day of school and others reprimand seniors for not

“It wouldn’t be fair for the seniors to cite senioritis as the reason that they are failing in school because all the other grades also havework to do.”

SARAH WALWEMA, 12

understanding that education is a privilege. They are not wrong; education is a privilege. However, at times, we would all like the right to forego a privilege just for a day. Skipping one day out of the school year is almost a rite of passage. Every now and then, a well deserved break should be given to a worn out senior with this chronic disease of senioritis….as a vaccination against other schoolrelated diseases. However, simply having the title of a senior does not excuse all lack of effort, nor does it justify throwing so much hard work away in an instant of poor judgment.

MAKING OUT IN THE HALLWAYS: JUST DON’T DO IT

Matt Byron, Staff Reporter Colette Cloutier, Staff Reporter Paige Farnsworth, Staff Reporter Kailie Fowler, Staff Reporter Erin Eyler, Staff Reporter Maura Losh, Staff Reporter Grant McPherson, Staff Reporter Aubrey Ritz, Staff Reporter Bilqees Salie, Staff Reporter Sam Sheppard, Staff Reporter Emberly Skaggs, Staff Reporter Edgar Sokoli, Business Manager 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 1st Hour, email them to Mrs. Satterthwaite: jsatterthwaite@rochester.k12.mi.us, 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) and National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) Comic by Kat French


NOVEMBER 2013

OPINION I 13

BLACK FRIDAY

RUINS

THANKSGIVING

BY AMBIKA VOHRA Thanksgiving is about remaining humble, appreciating family and showing gratitude ‌ or so it was. Perhaps the spirit of all holidays used to have a distinct meaning that required celebration, but holidays today simply revolve around the commercial aspects. Black Friday advertisements start before Halloween comes to an end, and before Thanksgiving even has a chance to arrive, advertisements are littered with Christmas holiday cheer. Some say it adds to the festivity, but that is only jumping the gun. After all, Black Friday starts earlier and earlier each year. It was the early bird special, and now it has transformed into the night owl special. Instead of spending quality time with family, true to the consumerism identity of America, people head out and go shopping. The tradition of giving thanks for what one has is now being ironically replaced by adding more to what one already has. In 2008, a Wal-Mart employee was gruesomely trampled to death on Black Friday as the slew of customers burst through the doors. It is horrifying to think that people would simply walk over an employee, consumed by greed for that trivial linen pillow or wooden spoon. The laptops, cell phones, tablets and new releases of games are also attracting factors. No matter how great the deal, media still reduces Thanksgiving to shopping and a turkey, and the worst part is that the nation falls for it. In fact, it is not all that the nation falls for. Valentine’s Day is also a commercialized holiday now, complete with ads for jewelry, chocolate and flowers. The romantic holiday has become less of a day of joy for couples and more of a worry for the men,

Comic by Erin Eyler

who have to scramble around town looking for the freshest bouquet of flowers as if it were a mandatory component of being in a relationship. Some say that shopping together does present family bonding time. However, this is not time well spent. Thanksgiving should be about winding down to a more simplistic life at least for one day. Having family remain spectators to a shopping spree is not truly

spending time with them; it is spending time in the presence of them. While this may be the same thing in a dictionary, realistically these actions are far apart. People in the same room can be extremely distant from each other; similarly, a family shopping together does not display bonding or significant meaning. The transformation of these originally significant holidays is a concern, especially with the current generation constantly being

labeled as indifferent and materialistic. In spite of this criticism, businesses will forever try to exploit holidays to reel in profits. People ultimately have the choice of whether or not to preserve the meaning of the holiday in their own households. Instead of shopping, families can decide to cook together. Instead of an extravagant holiday, families can celebrate simple bonding with family and friends.


14 I SPORTS

NOVEMBER 2013

GRAPPLING SEASON begins for wrestlers

SEEING STARS CONCUSSION LAW STRIVES TO PROTECT ATHLETES BY EDGAR SOKOLI

Sophomore Zach Turner saw stars. increase in suicides, high school athletics While attempting to block a kick during groups are now recognizing the potential a routine football practice play, Turner’s long-term effects of a concussion. mouth guard came out of his mouth and One of the requirements of the new when his helmet collided with teammate law is that information about such and fellow linebacker Mark Matynka’s potential injury must be given to parents helmet, his head snapped down and and athletes. Before participating in his jaw clamped shut. The result was sports and physical education classes, dizziness and sensitivity to light, and his parents and students must read a form doctor diagnosed him with a concussion. about the dangers of concussions and “My doctor asked me a thousand sign off that they understand the risks. questions,” Turner said. “He “Nearly a third of patients at two recommended I go to school only half leading sports concussion clinics reported days for a week because of the strain a having previously suffered a concussion concussion places on your brain, but I which went undiagnosed,” according to went full days anyway.” the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It’s because of “I’m at a scenarios like Turner’s higher risk that in June Michigan for future I’m at a higher risk for became the 39th state concussions; if future concussions. If to adopt a new law you get three you you get three you can’t that stipulates when an can’t play high play high school athletics athlete is about to return school athletics anymore, but I’m not too to competition after a anymore,” worried about playing concussion. Turner said. again. “I wasn’t allowed to “But I’m not too ZACH TURNER, 10 worried about play football for a week,” Turner said. “I then playing again.” had three days of light The Michigan running and two days of hard, extensive Department of Community Health states running; then I got right back into it.” that, “The law also requires immediate Concussions occur when the head removal of an athlete from physical experiences a trauma and is violently participation in an athletic activity who shaken, often called “getting your bell is suspected of sustaining a concussion. rung.” While the National Football The student athlete must then receive League has been in the spotlight clearance from an appropriate health regarding concussions after multiple professional before he or she can return cases of permanent brain damage and an to physical activity.”

The USNLB states that, “An estimated 300,000 sport-related traumatic brain injuries, predominantly concussions, occur annually in the United States. Sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of traumatic brain injury among people aged 15 to 24 years.” Symptoms of a concussion may include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and loud noises, inability to remember what happened at the point of impact and dizziness. Concussions can have a lasting effect on a person and multiple occurrences of such injury can result in permanent brain damage and an increase in the risk of suicide. Senior Sophia Menzo dove for a ball during a volleyball game and snapped her head against the gym floor. “I was extremely sensitive to light and sound, so I spent a majority of the time laying in my bed with the light off,” Menzo said. “I couldn’t drive at night because of the brightness of the headlights. I couldn’t focus or remember anything. I failed almost every test I took.” Senior Spiro Pliakos was shielding a ball from going out of bounds in a soccer game when he got slide tackled from behind and hit his head on the turf. “It took me about three weeks to recover and I didn’t go to school for a week,” Pliakos said. This new concussion law strives to raise the awareness and decrease the potential long-term risks for athletes.

BY ZACH LIBBY Rochester’s varsity wrestling team is coming off of its best finish last season in the program’s history, losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Novi Detroit Catholic Central at Battle Creek. It was a road that was highlighted by defeating rival Oxford High School in the district finals, avenging their loss to the Wildcats last year in the regional finals. The Falcons will welcome back their individual state champion, senior Shwan Shadaia. Shwan dominated opponents last season, winning all but one match (54-1). That loss was to 215-pound division state champ Brandon Sunday of Temperance Bedford, in which Shwan normally competed in the 189-pound class. Shwan brought home many individual titles, including OAA League, district, regional and Oakland County, as well as defeating Clarkston’s bull-dozer Chris Calvano in a close 4-3 victory in the state finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Shwan’s twin brother, Shane will also be returning in the 171-weight class. Placing seventh last season at the state finals, Shane will try to finish higher at the Palace. He will have plenty of competition in his weight class, including Andrew Garcia of Detroit Catholic Central and Shon Powell of Birmingham Brother Rice. Shane should end up wrestling in March to win individual states. One of the most underrated wrestlers in terms of individual rankings is heavy weight Cameron Daniels. Going 42-10 last season, Daniels was one win away in the individual regional finals from competing at the Palace. Daniels will have an opportunity to up go against archrivals, Zach Wood from Oxford and Lake Orion’s Paul Scott. As of the 2014 preseason rankings, Daniels is ranked #10 at the heavy weight class. As for the team as a whole, according to michigangrappler.com, Rochester is ranked No. 15 in Division 1. Although the varsity lineup has lost some key spots, the Falcons should be ranked higher. Having one of the best wrestlers in RHS history and having key additions in Shane Shadaia and Cameron Daniels, it should make a dominating squad in Oakland County and the state of Michigan. The Falcons will wrestle teams that they are already familiar with. If Rochester wins their district, they will go up against the winner of the Romeo district, which will likely be Oxford in the regional semi-finals. For individuals, Shwan Shadaia will be the first wrestler in school’s history to win two state championships. For this year, the road to win states for Shwan will be easier than last year.

THE TALON


NOVEMBER 2013

SPORTS I 11

DA’SHAWN HAND PICKS ALABAMA OVER MICHIGAN

Q&A with

COACH JOHN PLEASANT

Q: Describe your expectations for the 2013-2014 Boy Basketball team heading into the new season?

A: We can’t control that we will be the smallest team in our league. We can’t control that we will more than likely be the least “athletic” team in our league. However, we can control how hard we play, if we box out on every shot, if we communicate well, etc.

Q: Describe discipline matters that you have had to handle during your role as a coach?

A: We have had very few discipline matters in the seven years I have been here. In fact the previous six season, we have only had one discipline issue during the basketball season.

Q: Describe your priorities as a coach and a person?

A: My priorities as a coach is to strive daily to have our student-athletes maximize their potential. First, to maximize their potential as a person. Second, to maximize their potential as a students. Lastly, to maximize their potential as a basketball player.

Q: Describe your coaching experiences at various competitive levels with High School athletes?

A: I coached JV girls basketball for one year, and this is now my 7th year coaching the boys program. Each team I have been able to be a part of has been rewarding in different ways. Every season is a journey, and so much can be learned and gained along the journey.

Q: What division or league in the OAA will Rochester be competing this year?

A: We are in the OAA Red. My guess is that Clarkston, Southfield, and Adams will be the pre-season favorites. However, it is a very good league. North Farmington, Pontiac, Soutfield-Lathrup and Rochester make-up the rest of the league, so every night it will be very tough.

Q: Describe your program’s overall philosophy?

A: Our philosophy is the team. Nothing is more important than the team. Everyone will have different roles, no role is more important than the other. We all have to sacrifice our own self- interest for what is best for the team.

Q: What role does academics play in your program and in your role as a coach?

A: Academics is one of our cornerstones. We have been pretty lucky in terms of our team academic success, and that is obviously due to the kids we have had, their parents, and the RHS teaching/support staff.

BY ZACH LIBBY Defensive end Da’Shawn Hand, the No. 1 ranked high school football player in the country, according to Rivals.com has decided to play college football at the University of Alabama. He also had offers from Michigan and Florida. The five-star lineman from Woodbridge, Virginia announced his decision on NBC Sports Network November 14. “They’ve got a winning tradition and all the coaches care about their players and they don’t lie to you, they tell you how it is,” Hand said. “I know when I go in, I’m not going to be No. 1 on the depth chart, and I know I’ve got to do a lot of hard work. But they had the most freshmen playing this year, so anything’s possible.” Since his spring visit to the U-M campus and the Notre Dame game in September, the Wolverines were considered a lean after Hand dropped Viriginia Tech from his interests. Hand chose Tuscaloosa because of its acadmic program, specifically it’s engineering prgram. As well as their recent championship success, and turning prospects into NFL draft ready players. “I love civil engineering, and they have that major,” Hand said. “It was hard, but I think I made the right decision.” At 6-feet-4 and 260 pounds, Hand would have been an excellent pass rusher coming off the edge for defesnive coordinator, Greg Mattison’s unit. He would also have joined local defensive end commit Lawrence Marshall and possibly Malik McDowell, both from Southfield High School. Michigan’s 2014 class recruiting class already has 15 players, which ranks No. 18 in the FBS, accoridng to Rivals.com. The list consists of seven three-stars, six fourstars and one five-star. The class is lead by New Jersey cornerback Jabrill Peppers, the No. 2 ranked player in the country. According to Detroit Free Press writer Mark Snyder, if Hand chose Michigan instead of the Crimson Tide, they would have been the first No. 1 and 2 ranked players to go to the same school in Rivals history. Peppers messaged Hand on twitter after his announcement, congradulating him on the decision. “Aye man, congratulations!! Would’ve loved for you to join the family, but it’s hard to say no to Bama. I’ll see you at the TOP!,” Peppers wrote. Alabama now has 23 commits in their 2014 draft class, which is ranked No. 1 by Rivals.com. Hand will play in the Under Armour All-America Game in January in Houston Texas at the at the Alamodome.


16 I PHOTO STORY

NOVEMBER 2013

THE TALON WINS A PACEMAKER IN BOSTON Four members of The Talon staff traveled with adviser Mrs. Julia Satterthwaite to Boston for the Journalism Education Association (JEA)/National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) Fall National High School Journalism Convention from Nov. 14-17, along with almost 6,000 journalists from around the country. Students visited the Museum of Fine Arts; attended one-day workshops or media tours of the Garden and Fenway Park; visited Feneuil Hall, Quincy Market and the Freedom Trail; chose from 200+ different minisessions to attend; participated in on-site write-off competitions; networked with professional journalists from The Boston Globe; attended a Celtics game at the Garden and celebrated during the awards ceremony when the paper earned its first-ever Pacemaker Award, the highest honor for scholastic journalists. “I liked participating in the sports write-off because it was exciting to compete with the best journalists from around the country,” senior Zach Libby said.

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1. The Talon staff won a Pacemaker Award, often described as the Pulitzer Prize for scholastic journalists, for their work during the 2012-13 school year. The Talon is one of 27 newspapers to win this honor in the country, and is the only school from Michigan. Photo by Rod Satterthwaite 2. Senior Camille Douglas won 5th place in the nation for News Story of the Year for her Common Core story from the February 2013 issue of The Talon. Photo by Julia Satterthwaite 3. Students participated in on-site write-off competitions. Seniors Camille Douglas and Zach Libby and junior Emberly Skaggs won Honorable Mentions for their feature, review and sports stories, respectively. Photo by Emberly Skaggs 4. The Talon spent the trip with members of The Squall staff from Dexter High School, including (from left to right): Morgan Van Hoof, Carolin Schade, Lauren Kimmel, Abby Mesaros, Levi Kipke, Jon LeBlanc, Bryce Pederson, Cameron LaFontaine and their adviser Mr. Rod Satterthwaite (bottom left). Photos by Julia Satterthwaite and Morgan Van Hoof 5. Students visited the Museum of Fine Arts and walked through an exhibit from women photographers from Iran and the Arab world, which included this portrait overlaid with words of contemporary Iranian woman writers in Persian script, taken by Shirian Neshat in 1996. Photo by Julia Satterthwaite

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6. The main constant throughout the trip was eating delicious food, including: cannolis from Mike’s Pastries, lobster scampi from Union Oyster House (the oldest restaurant in the U.S., established in 1826), and cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. Photos by Julia Satterthwaite


November Issue 2013