news Monday, June 1, 2009
Family organizes own ‘celebration’ Thompsons promote basketball tournament, June dance party BY YOGESH JONNA ASSOCIATE OPINION EDITOR
photo by suzie reecer
Tickets for the 3-on-3 basketball tournament sponsored by Rodney Thompson’s family are displayed on a table during lunch by his mother, Diveeta Thompson.
RODNEY CONTINUED FROM 1A Other outdoor games had to be canceled as well because of the rain. Planned by the baseball coaches and parents, the “Driving without Texting” event took place under the pavilion by the baseball fields. Though it was indeed hampered by the rain, those in attendance were still determined to make the day a success. “Coach Sortir wanted to do a community event, so we decided to promote ‘Driving without texting,’” Derek Kinzer (12), a member of the varsity baseball team, said. “We wanted to make an event so we partnered with Lutheran, and the Lutheran Air helicopter was going to land on the practice field, but the rain was too heavy and the clouds were too low.” Even with the rain, the allure of friends and food was enough to make many students delay getting ready for the Prom and go support the team at the “Texting without Driving” event. “The food was the best part, even though it was rainy and cold,” Justin Hoffman (12)
said. “I gorged myself with hot dogs, and hung out with my friends,” Luke Berghoff (12) said. “I think the event was wonderful, even though not as many people showed up.” The texting without driving event proved to be a great way for the community to show support of the cause, even with bad weather. “It was so awesome to see the support from all of our friends and family that showed up, even though we didn’t get to play our games,” Mace Beech (12), a baseball player, said. “You shouldn’t text and drive. I’ve wrecked a car before, and it was really stupid.” Even with all of the commercials, radio announcements, rear view mirror ornaments and Homestead marquee messages, the fight against texting and driving rages on. The baseball team’s “Texting without Driving” campaign was one more way to promote increased awareness on this important issue. Even with the rain deterring some of the prospective attendees and forcing some of the activities to be canceled, the event fulfilled its intended purpose.
SPARTAN CONTINUED FROM 1A
mentor continued from 1a
two contestants took the same approach to the “Dress Like a Spartan” portion of the pageant. While Nate Ferrise (12) dressed like what most people associate a Spartan with (helmet, sword, etc.), others like Aaron Clark (12) seized the opportunity to wear women’s clothing to demonstrate the elegance of Homestead Spartans. However, Clark was not the only participant to wear a dress. Ferrise dressed to impress during the Formal Wear section, donning a dazzling gold show choir dress. No matter how bizarre the attire, the results concluded that creativity was rewarded. “If a guy doesn’t have a problem with wearing a dress, then neither do I,” Sam Sirois (11), one of the dancers who choreographed the opening dance, said. However, original outfits were not the only component that defined Mr. Spartan. Overall, the most entertaining acts were appreciated as well. From singing to interpretive dancing and stand-up comedy, contestants attempted to captivate the audience and appeal to the judges. Chris Ray (12), who was ultimately crowned Mr. Spartan, won over the crowd with his comedic poetry about his fellow seniors. “I think my talent set me apart from the rest,” Ray said. “One could argue that others beat me when it came to the dress up portions, but I truly believe my talent won it for me.” Although his per- “It was more fun than formance was memoI had imagined it rable, Ray also relied could be.” on his basketball team status and general chris ray popularity to come (12) out on top. Mr. Spartan Emphasizing the importance of presenting an entertaining talent, the audience enjoyed this portion of the pageant the most. “[I liked] the talent section because it gave the contestants an opportunity to show why they should be Mr. Spartan without any specific rules or guidelines,” Wes Ring (11) said. Even though much of the event was highlighted by comedy, it was specifically stated that Mr. Spartan was not made to ridicule standard beauty pageants. Some of the contestants used this as an excuse to avoid embarrassment. “I didn’t wear a dress because I wanted to keep some of my dignity,” Ray said. “The choreographed dance was extremely feminine to say the least, so when it came to the formal wear, I decided to keep my pride and play off the Senior Superlative ‘Most Likely to Have His Mom Tie His Tie’ that I won instead.” Besides its brevity, Mr. Spartan was a fun event for everyone involved. Nevertheless, it is yet to be decided whether it will become a yearly activity. “I definitely think Mr. Spartan should be an annual event,” Ray said. “It was more fun than I imagined it could be. It would be fun to have the winner return each year to pass down the sword.” Other students support with Ray’s suggestion. “[Mr. Spartan should be annual] because it gives the seniors one last chance to make their mark on Homestead,” Ring said. With the year winding down and the seniors preparing to graduate, Mr. Spartan did a good job of giving students another chance to recognize some of Homestead’s most interesting upperclassmen.
could keep the program alive easily. A tight budget could not be the sole reason to shut it down.” In response to the sudden upset, Scaringelli and fellow participant Maddison Smith (11) have organized a petition to restore the class. Disenfranchised after a year each enrolled in the course, they believe, if anything, the appeal will “show how much [students] love it.” Their activism, though, has evoked mixed reactions from other mentors. “I think the petition will be somewhat effective, but it won’t have a deep impact,” Hunter Smith (11) said. “I would be surprised if the dis-
For some it’s a game, for others it’s a pastime, but for Rodney Thompson, basketball was a way of life. It’s hard to believe that it has been 7 months since the class of 2009 lost Rodney Thompson, but his family members and a group of close friends have put together an event to commemorate his life, as well as his love for basketball. “I hope that it is a time to bring awareness,” Diveeta Thompson, Thompson’s mother, said. “To have fun and enjoy the day as a means of helping me not being alone and mourning in a negative way over the fact that Rodney is not here.” Seniors Juan Alvarez, Cody Ramer and Rachel Kruse were some of the students who sparked Diveeta Thompson’s interest in having an event to remember the life of Rodney. On July 26, 2009, what would have been his nineteenth birthday, Rodney’s family and friends will host a 3 on 3 basketball tournament as part of the celebration. The money from the competition will be used for the Rodney Thompson Memorial Scholarship Fund, as Diveeta hopes to give back in Rodney’s name as a promotion of education. Most importantly, the day is about how Rodney’s fellow students remember him. The goal is for the class of 2009 and other students not to mourn Rodney’s death, but instead to celebrate his life on his birthday, hoping all the while that he is still watching with his beloved grin. “I did not want Rodney to be remembered for the way that he died, but for the person that he was,” Diveeta Thompson said. trict did replace the counselor and we were able to continue the program.” While guidance counselors declined to comment on a future revival of the program, the principal asserts that an effort is underway. “We hope to brainstorm and see what we can come up with,” Smith said. In the meantime, former Peer Mentors will be contacted by their respective counselors to tweak their fall schedules. For some students, however, no elective could fill the gap left in their course list by the axed favorite. “The program, in my experience, has been beneficial to upperclassmen in many ways,” Allie Bley (11) said. “When you see the difference you can make in just one freshman’s life, you want to continue making a difference in all of them.”
new schedule continued from 1a of the information they once knew. “I have always been a proponent of wanting students to have their finals before break,” Moake said. “Unfortunately, when I was here as principal, there was only one year we got to do that. So, if there is an opportunity for that to happen, I am very satisfied with that.” Along with members of the administration, students also enjoy this idea because after finals, they will have two weeks to relax without the stress of impending tests. “I really like having finals before break,” Jim Finley (10) said. “It gets them out of the way so that we don’t have to worry about them over break. It makes winter break more enjoyable.” In addition to this change in the placement of finals, several other alterations have been proposed to the schedule for next school year, including stricter requirements for student attendance. “Because the State Superintendent of Education has made some changes to the attendance and the number of school days, and what days can be used for your half days, the [last day of finals] has to be a full day — it can no longer be a half day,” Moake said. “In the proposed calendar, they’re looking at those days changing from half days to full days. The other thing that was being proposed is students wouldn’t have any time off for Parent/Teacher Conferences in the spring.” Another issue that is hotly debated between students and administrators alike is the date on which school starts. Next year, the school year will begin unusually late, on August 26, 10 days after this school year’s start date. Many students prefer their first day of school to come later in the year because it makes summer appear longer. However, students who look further in the future realize that by the time mid-June rolls around, they will be even more anxious for summer to start. “The later starting date proposed for next year is good now because the summer will seem longer, but it will be bad later because next summer will probably seem further away in the later months of school,” Finley said. Administrators also argue over this subject, acknowledging that students are likely to become restless in the June school days, when visions of summer and vacation deter their work ethic. “As far as school starting later in the year, I’m not necessarily happy about that because then it means you go later into June, and I think students are ready to even be out in May,” Moake said. Her words ring true for students, who even now sit in their seventh period classes, reading the last edition of this year’s newspaper and waiting what seems an eternity for summer to arrive.
Senior Moment Class of 2009 enjoys day off as graduation nears
ever, this year, such activities were replaced by a raffle game. “Last year they played a big game inWith a single week of school left, ev- volving a bunch of people from the class; eryone is anticipating the end of the year whereas, this year we didn’t have a big game and the beginning of summer—especially planned, just a few small games during seniors. Involved in a series of activities breakfast and between variety show acts,” last week to commemorate the end of their DeFreeuw said. “Other than that, there high school career, seniors enjoyed a com- wasn’t much of a difference from last year.” Although the activities showed a change plementary breakfast catered by Panera, Dunkin Donuts and the Mocha Lounge, from previous senior activities, students as well as a raffle game, a variety show showed their appreciation and enjoyment and lunch from Jimmy Johns. The variety of the new adjustments. “We were awarded a day of going to show involved many humorous acts and memorable events, including the legend- school, but had no classes and were able ary interpretive dancing of Mac Finley (12) to spend time with our friends,” Melissa and Derek Kinzer (12), which this time Harber (12) said. “The best [variety show] act was Chris Ray featured Collin and his poetry, McCracken (12) “The best [variety show] act was Chris Ray and Mac, Derek as well. Wanting to and his poetry, and Mac, Derek and Collin and Collin with their dancing. It make Senior Acwith their dancing. It was cool to see the tivities Day as talent that we never saw before from some was cool to see the talent that we enjoyable as posof the seniors.” never saw before sible, students MElissa harber (12) from some of the and parents alike seniors.” spent much time Senior Applauding in preparation of the performances the event. “The student government seniors had of fellow seniors as well, Kim Tyner (12) to plan the variety show, and help coordi- also liked the day’s menu. “The breakfast was quick and had decent nate the day’s schedule,” Alex DeFreeuw (12) said. “We worked a lot with the par- food; it was all enjoyable,” Tyner said. “The ent club, who had done most of the work coffee drinks tasted really good, and I loved the senior variety show. Derek and Mac are for us.” The preparation for this special day en- always hilarious, and Megan Meyer (12) compassed much communication with the and Kimi Holmes’ (12) performance was parent club. In addition, the acts presented one of my favorites.” Appreciating their time to shine, particiduring the variety show were selected from an audition conducted by student govern- pants in the senior variety show enjoyed the performances as much as their audience. ment members. “I had never performed in front of so Many changes took place in this year’s variety show as compared to those of years many people, but I thought it went very past. In previous years, games like Deal or smoothly,” Harrison said. “I’m glad I got No Deal and Fear Factor were played; how- the chance to sing in front of everyone.” by priya parikh writer
photos by suzie reecer
Top: Michael Breuning (12) greets his audience at the senior variety show before diving into a 10-minute standup comedy routine. Bottom: Seniors eat breakfast foods provided by Panera Bread, Mocha Lounge and Dunkin Donuts.