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World DACA THEDisaster March 2018

Topeka High School, 800 SW 10th St. Topeka, Kansas 66612

Volume 150, Issue 5

www.THSTower.com

Young immigrants caught in the struggle to remain in America watch in fear as deadline to renew DACA passes. FInd this story on

Page 6-7 Artwork by Shavo Lock


World TPS 501 Twitter Admin Revealed 2 News

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n only 10 months, the Topeka Public Schools Twitter account has practically doubled its number of followers. The account’s satirical, comical, and informational tweets have left people wondering who the person is behind the screen. One student from Topeka West, Lake Johnson, tweeted out “Let’s get 250 retweets to find out the mastermind behind this account!” In the tweet, Johnson had even included a conversation he had with the account over a direct message. The tweet garnered 83 retweets and 34 likes. Through a little sleuthing on the 501 website and process of elimination, the man behind the account has finally been revealed. John DeMeo, senior communications specialist, said that the TPS Twitter account has been around for awhile, but he started ramping up the account at the start of the school year. DeMeo said the Twitter account gets slammed on cold or snowy days with students asking for the day off. On Jan. 15, students were particularly interacting with the account and asking the district to cancel school the next day. After the superintendent decided to cancel school, DeMeo tweeted “One minute you’re the enemy and the next you are the hero. #SnowDayDecisionMaking.” The tweet received 17 retweets and 156 likes. The district communications team consists of four peopleMisty Kruger, Ann Williamson, DeMeo, and Katie Howland. Although Twitter is a huge part of communication between students and the district, the communications team reaches out to schools and the community in many ways. “The district communications team really has our hand in a lot of things that people probably don’t even realize,” said Kruger. “Any branded material coming out from the district at any level is coming, at some level, through here.” DeMeo agreed, saying that the communications team supports every school in the district through media support, graphic support, writing, and press releases. “It’s really like we’re kind of this hub where everyone kind of shoots through us and then we take it out from there,” he said. “Even though the school district might seem like some distant and unreachable entity, the communications team is passionate about what they do and strive to personalize the digital interaction between the community and the district.” Howland, communications specialist, said that she loves working in education and being able to give back to the district she came from. “I graduated from Topeka West. I’m actually from 501, so being able to come back from Topeka, come back to 501, and give back to the district has been really special.” DeMeo, Howland, and Kruger say they love telling and sharing the stories of students in the district.

The World Staff

Editor-in-Chief: Julia Howell Managing Editor: Bannon Beall The Tower Website: Lillian Holmberg, Editor Abbie Cruse, Co-Editor Sports Editor: Cameron Burnett Social Media Manager: Mazzy Martinez Business Managers: Jayden Huckabay Amber Ruiz Reporters: Everett Benson Shavo Lock William Hendrix Rose Pennington Nathan Swaffar Tyler Pressler

Advertisement Policy

The World has the right to accept, reject, edit, or cancel any advertisement at any time. Advertising shall be free of statements, illustrations, or implications that are offensive based on the opinion of the staff. Ads are not an endorsement of the adviser, the administration, or the USD 501 Board of Education.

Editorial Policy

Senior communications specialist Scott DeMeo posing with the TPS 501 twitter account that he runs. Photo by Lillian Holmberg.

“I wouldn’t do the job unless I felt like I got the chance to tell meaningful stories. I feel like we get to tell really meaningful stories across the district,” said DeMeo. “It’s different. I mean, we’re public school. It’s not really normal for public school to probably be too conversationally funny with people and kind of jab at different things, but it’s also human,” he said. “We all say we want our brand to have a personality, but if you have a personality, you don’t talk about the same thing over and over and over again. You talk about different things. Even with Twitter that’s what we try to do.”

The World opinion section is an accessible public forum for the publication readers. Kansas Senate Bill 62 guarantees the same rights for student journalists as are guaranteed for professional journalists. Editorials represent the collective opinion of the publication staff. Others opinions expressed in any Topeka High student publication are not necessarily those of The World editorial staff, the student body, faculty, administration, or school district. Signed columns and letters to the editor represent the view and opinion of the writer only. The content reflects student thinking and is not necessarily in agreement with administrative policies. Letters will be edited for content and length as well as spelling, grammar, and other considerations. Letters that are libelous, obscene, or an invasion of privacy will not be printed in the paper. All letters must be signed and verified before publication. The World will not directly answer letters unless a question is posed. The opinion pages area forum for the exchange of comment and criticism, and they are open to students and others interested in Topeka High School. Typed, double-spaced letters are preferred, but legible handwritten letters are acceptable. E-Mailed letters will not be accepted (since there would be no signature.) Letters should be limited to approximately 300 words, or about one-and-a-half pages doublespaced.

Topeka High News @ths_news @THStower Email thstower@gmail.com Professional Associations A tweet from the 501 account in response to hostile tweets from students demanding a snow day. Photo via Twitter.com

Kansas Scholastic Press Association National Scholastic Press Association Journalism Education Association


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Student Opinions Up in arms

Artwork by Shavo Lock

World by Amber Ruiz aruiz957@tps501.org

Lately, there have been increased tensions nationwide because of an outbreak in school shootings. At this school, that apprehension has become a part of student life and conversations. In addition, school shootings have provoked increased stress levels. According to a survey of 250 students conducted by The World, more than 50% of Trojans have said they have felt some sort of worry about the possibility of a school shooting and 70% say they have contemplated what exit they would take if one were to happen. Jacob Gernon, sophomore, said he has had those thoughts more than once. He said he has thought about how easy it would be for a perpetrator to sneak a gun into his school. Gernon said, “You could just hold it under a big winter coat and hide it.” Often thinking about the possibility of a gunman at school, Gernon described his plan if there was a perpetrator at Topeka High saying, “If I was in fifth hour I would go here and if I were in

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sixth hour I would go to a certain door.” Gernon believes that there should be more gun control to combat the shootings. “It’s ridiculous that the shooter in Florida had the ability to retrieve a gun at 19 years old,” said Gernon. “The Second Amendment right doesn’t really extend to semi-automatics because it was written when they weren’t invented.” On the other side of the issue, sophomore Derek Harrison believes people should not worry about shootings and does not worry himself, partially because of people’s ability to own weapons for protection. As someone who supports gun rights, Harrison shared why he believes there should not be a ban on certain weapons. “It will make matters worse because there will be an increased circulation of illegal weapons and it certainly would not have stopped the shooting in Florida.” At Topeka High, 43% student population agree with Harrison on his belief that gun control is not the answer to the school shootings. Harrison said that instead of taking away

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“our protection” by establishing gun laws, the government should allow for more security by arming teachers. There has been a discussion about what schools should do in response to the school shootings to keep students safe and also encourage students to feel more secure. Recent national legislation and Kansas Governor, Jeff Colyer, have proposed and supported the idea of giving teachers the ability to carry weapons in schools to protect against shootings. The majority of Topeka High students believe that teachers shouldn’t be armed, but 31% think that arming teachers would be helpful in the impending fight against school shootings. Mysti Pressler, sophomore, believes that a more intensive background check is the answer to reducing the amount of gun violence, but arming teachers and restricted gun laws will not help as much, or at all. Pressler said, “People should have a mental evaluation, so that people are able to buy guns only when they are capable of using it for the correct purposes.”


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CHINESE PENPALS VISIT THS

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by Sean McCarty smmccarty986@tps501.org

Chinese exchange students and their penpals gather in the Library. Photo by Olivia Watson.

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uring a two week exchange trip, 14 students and two staff members from Quzhou Erzhong No. 2 High School, in China, spent four days at Topeka High School, and enjoyed the adventure that is modern day American public school. During their four day excursion, they shadowed their pen pals and spent their two weeks with host families in Topeka. Liang Chen, A Quzhou Erzhong student, said that his time here was, “Very

relaxed and easy.” Chen, enjoyed the freedoms at Topeka High. “In China, we cannot have phones or computers out ever, and we get more homework,” he said. Janie Vogel, the Mandarin Chinese teacher at Topeka High, said “I’ve always felt the foreign exchange experience will provide a totally different view of your life.” The exchange program allows kids to see different cultures and ideals. Andy Vogel, one of the directors of the exchange program, is trying to build a

The Art of Zlotky

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tudents at Topeka High who went to Topeka Collegiate knows the artistic abilities of art and computer teacher David Zlotky. Zlotky started as an artist, and now mostly does computer work, and digital photography. Zlotky has been the technology director, art, and computer teacher for over 18 years. Zlotky has had many works featured in shows, galleries, and competitions. Zlotky does everything in the process of creating a piece of work, including his own printing. He describes his photography as having its own story. “I like a hidden story within my work,” said Zlotky, “When I was painting I was really interested in

bridge between China and the U.S. to help solve global issues. “The goal is to help inspire the next generation of cultural ambassadors between the U.S. and China.” Those types of things start with good experiences early. “It’s friendships like these that are making the world a better place,” said Vogel. Amber Schmidt, a senior who has been a penpal for three years, also believes that students should be persistent in exploring other cultures. “Having international experience as a young person helps widen your views as to how the world works,” she said. “You get to experience first hand that there are other people of other cultures, and that’s okay. There’s not just one way to live your life.” Hong “Randy” Nan, one of the instructors that came over with the students, was in awe of the look of Topeka High. “We have small amounts of architecture at our school, but it is not like this, this looks like something you would see in England,” Nan said. Mr. Xiao Hua “David” Ye, the other instructor, likes the perseverance shown

by students in between classes. “I see that you guys get so little time to get to class, so it amazes me when I see students showing determination to get to class.” students at Quzhou Erzhong get 10 minutes between class. The people, and their overall experience, were some good things about the trip. It was something not a lot of people get to experience and they will take a lot away from it. Zhao Wei Zeng, also known as “Victor”, talked about the students of Troy. “The students here are very colorful, passionate, and active,” he said “This is something I’ve never seen in China.”

The school Quxhoe Erzhong No. 2 that the exchange students came from.

by Nathan Swaffar nswaffar737@tps501.org

illustration and some sort of sense of spirit or story within the piece of work, and I think some of my most successful pieces have that kind of quality and that carries into my photography. Some of my landscape photographs, I think you could play Lord of the Rings music while your looking at them you could imagine you’re on the path to Rivendell.” Zlotky started as a painter, but as the years progressed he became more of a photographer rather than a painter. During his time as a painter, he created one of his most successful pieces that he entered in an art contest titled the “Golden Age of Flight” sponsored by the Smithsonian National Air and Space museum. He placed second with a piece named

“Picnic with the Travelaire, 1926.” “The Smithsonian loved that picture and they still do. It’s hanging in the director’s office, and he has the choice of anything in the museum which is vast. I’m really honored by that.” Zlotky has also had artwork featured in the Harry Truman Presidential Library and Museum, which is a portrait of Georgia Neese Clark, the first Women Treasury under Truman. Zlotky sells his photography on his website, davidzlotkyphotography.com. He is currently working on a project for Topeka Collegiate, telling stories of Faculty and Staff through a sing photo and quote. “I don’t think it’s the camera who makes the photographer, I think it’s the artist in the photographer.”

Zlotky with his most recent photography projects at Topeka Collegiate (above). “Picnic with the Travelaire, 1926” hanging in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum (below).


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Topeka High’S Western renovation by William Hendrix whendrix082@tps501.org

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pon returning from Spring Break, students are going to notice fresh changes to the plaza by the western entrance, just off of Western Ave. Designed by Shawnee County Park Planner Bill Riphahn, Topeka High is receiving this renovation as a gift from the nine siblings of the Barrett family that attended and graduated from THS in 1944 to 1961. The siblings granted the school $52,000 to refurbish the space, and hope to officially dedicate the common by early May, before the end of the 2017-18 school year. They’d like to dedicate it to their parents, William and Myrtle Huss Barrett, THS

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ALESSANDRA’s ARTISTIC ADDITION by Shavo Lock mlock130@tps501.org

While sitting in the nook of a west wing window, students may hear a repetitive Class of 1921, and their sister, Pauline ruckus echoing off the walls outside. This is the result of a decision to renovate the Barrett. The siblings went on to western plaza. describe the refurbishment of the Alessandra Chavez, senior, has been plaza as a symbol of “appreciation selected for her artistic ability and will soon to the school, and teachers: past, finish four murals to decorate this plaza. present, and future.” Joan Barker with the Historical Society Principal Rebecca Morrisey has been involved from the start. said, “When the Barrett family first “It’s exciting, ” Barker said. “because it’s approached THS about making happening. You know, we’ve been working a donation, they wanted to do on this for a year and a half. ” something that both beautified the Barker explained that special paints from campus, and also benefited students.” California were purchased so that Chavez’s Morrisey went on to note that “the murals will last through rain and the everfamily wanted to design an area changing Kansas elements. that could be used as an outdoor “We gave her some motivational things classroom and an overflow area to think about and the main idea was for students during lunch, weather Topeka High themes. You know, think allowing.” about what makes us special; whether it With construction well underway, be a part of the building or our diversity,” having started on February 26, the Barker said. redesigned common area is set to be However, the most insight comes from a sprawling brick patio. It will feature the artist and her inspirations. a brand new brick sidewalk, leading “I definitely try to take after famous past a brick knee wall, where artists like Van Gogh and Dali,” Chavez several concrete said. “Mr. Moreno is pretty tables will be inspiring, too. ” placed for the Martin Moreno, art teacher usage of students at Topeka High, has known during lunch, Alessandra for over 5 years. and serving “She participated in several as an outdoor First Fridays when she was a classroom. The Plaza middle schooler, ” Moreno said. “We will also feature a plaque knew she was something special honoring the Barrett family. then, but - wow - she really is a very In conjunction with the gifted and focused artist. She is renovated space, Alessandra often so into what she’s doing. You Chavez, senior, is making will be saying ‘yo Chavez! Yo! Hey her mark in the same common area where she Alessandra!’ Then you go, ‘is that her name?’ But she is just blocking will be displaying four out everything and everyone while murals on the wall of working.” the building as her gift to the school.

Design for the renovated space; courtesy of Bill Riphahn and the Topeka High Historical Society.

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Two of the people from artist Alessandra Chavez’s murals. Courtesy of Alessandra Chavez.

In addition to painting, Chavez said she has also experimented with photography. “I did photography, but I’m not as good at that as art. In our art class, we would have sketch assignments, which I think helped a lot of kids.” Overall, Alessandra says that her experience with the murals has been very long, but fun nonetheless. “I started them in June,” Chavez said, “and finished them before winter break. So, yeah, it took awhile to do. But it was fun.” Besides the amount of time that it took to complete each piece, the process had other hardships. “It was really hard to take something small and then turn it to a large proportion,” Chavez said. Hardships or not, Chavez pulled through and ready to show off what she has worked so hard for. By the end of the other renovations, her pieces will be brought from storage and hung for all to see.


6 Features

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World

The DACA Disaster

For the purposes of this story, anonymity was granted to student sources in the form of a pseudonym for their safety.

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enior Shannon, who emigrated to the United States when she was less than a year old, has been living in fear for most of her life. Despite not being an American citizen, Shannon is currently working, going to school, and planning on attending college after high school. All of this is possible because of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. However, in the current controversy surrounding DACA, the future plans of recipients are becoming somewhat bleak. On August 15, 2012, President Barack Obama enacted DACA to protect undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. However, on September 5, 2017, President Donald Trump announced that those under the DACA umbrella would no longer be protected through the program as of March 5, 2018, and there would be no more applications accepted; effectively

ending DACA. Due to a California court ruling in early January, 2018, DACA was able to continue, although they won’t be accepting any new applications, just renewals. Putting in an application doesn’t guarentee protection under the program, though. It can take up to 5 months for the applications to be processed. During the time it takes for an application to go through, Immigration and Customs Enforcement could have swept through the home of someone protected by DACA. Usually, when you have one DACA recipient in a home, other undocumented family members can be found. This could spell trouble for many immigrant families. “If for some reason, my parents didn’t come home from work, then that means that something happened to them.” says Shannon “I would have to sell all of our possessions, get the money, and then travel to another state. From there, while my parents go through the process of leaving to Mexico, I’d have to think of something. I’m the oldest, so I would become the head of everything.”

by Mazzy Martinez mmartinez715@tps501.org

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by Tyler Pressler tpressler234@tps501.org

The majority of conflict surrounding DACA comes from the personal aspect, as it is more than likely that DACA recipients were brought to the the United States without any say in their immigration. More often than not, these recipients have little to no connection to relatives in their native countries, and would find themselves struggling to live well in a country they likely haven’t been to since they were toddlers. “If I were to leave, I could never come back,” said Shannon, “It would be impossible for me to come back. That means me leaving everything here, everything that I have ever known: education, my job.... I would go to country that, yes I was born in, but I have zero knowledge of it. It would be a whole new world to me.” There are around 7,000 people in registered with DACA, but the exact number is still debated. In the state of Kansas, there are about 5,900 DACA recipients, although there’s about 8,000 people eligible for DACA. The estimated total of immigrants in Kansas, however, is about 63,000.

“We should be viewed as people, humans with feelings. We’re a part of the community”

“I thought maybe Trump would be more lenient towards us because there’s just so many of us,” said senior Jessica, “There’s a lot of us. There’s an abundant amount of people on DACA just at Topeka High.” Many young immigrants are up in arms about remarks made by the Trump Administration in defense of the decision to end DACA. However, contrary to some misconceptions, DACA recipients are often large parts to their communities. More than 95% of DACA recipients are working and/or attending school. With a lower incarceration rate than that of U.S. citizens. “We all contribute in a way, so I don’t think we should be viewed as criminals,” said Shannon, “We should be viewed as people, humans with feelings. We’re a part of the community” Yoselin Hernandez, senior, participates in a march supporting DACA. Photo by: Heidy Esparza-Carlos


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DACA DATA

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World All Roads Lead To State 8 Sports

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by Philip Canady pcanady235@tps501.org

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he Trojans advanced to the semifinals after a nail biting finish against Olathe East (13-9) with a final score of 73-72 at Wichita State Koch Arena. Sophomore Ky Thomas, was the top scorer of Thursday’s game with 24 points, eight assists and two steals.

hold on. We were trying to figure out what we had. We tried to see how we would come together as a team at first, so no,“ said Denney. “We really weren’t thinking state. Everyone has that goal and dream to get to state but as coaches and as a team we were trying to figure out what we had.” Over the season, the boys basketball team improved upon

Head coach Pat Denney gives a time-out pep talk to Darren Canty and the basketball team. Photo by Lillian Holmberg

“I had a lot of things going through my head. We were up 3 and couldn’t separate from them. It was a fast pace, back and forth game. I was also being face guarded full court so I was trusting my team to take care of the ball,” Thomas said. After a fortunate and extensive season, the boys basketball team earned the Dean Smith trophy and claimed victory at the Centennial League and substate championships, paving the way to the state tournament, which Topeka High has not participated in since 2012. The Trojans hold an overall record of 17-6. According to Coach Patrick Denney, at the beginning of the Trojan season, state playoffs seemed like a far-off dream with a team record of 0-2. “I think at the beginning of the season we were just trying to

their record and game play, winning nine of their last 10 games and are now on a eight game win streak. Varsity senior Darren Canty said that a change in the team dynamic led to the improvement of the record. “Playing together was the most important thing that we could do, because at the beginning of the season we had hidden agendas as well,” Canty said. “And after losing to Lawrence we just decided that we were gonna start clicking and then after the loss against Junction City is when things really started falling in line and we started playing like a team and once we start playing as a team we were unstoppable.” In order to come out with the best results for the tournament Denney believes no matter what happens the team has to stay focused.

“We just can’t get overwhelmed by the experience. I mean the first time you walk into Koch arena and you see the lights and everything and you know Wichita State plays there, it can be overwhelming sometimes,” Denney said. “I have a feeling our kids are going to embrace that and want to be apart of it and raise the level of play because they going to be excited.” With the teamwork of reliable returning players and talented newcomers such as standout senior Larry White, who averages 17.5 points per game, and notable sophomores King Sutton and Da’Vonshai Harden, the boys basketball team has surged past good teams in close games such as Hayden (72-69) and Emporia (61-57). White said, “Those were big games that we wanted to win. Those were games that people talked down on us and expected us to lose, so it just pushed us to another level to where we just proved people wrong and that’s what we’re still doing.” As of press time Topeka High and Lawrence Free State will face off to advance to the State Championship game Saturday, March 10.

Larry White, senior, rushes the basket for an easy bucket. Photo by Lillian Holmberg

The team, cheerleads and fans celerate the Substate championship March 3. Photo by Lillian Holmberg


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Meier takes first, fighting like a girl

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his year, the girls wrestling team flipped the boy’s team on the mat and took four girls to state while boys only took one. Lauren Meier sophomore, won first place in her weight category, 120. Vince Vehige, junior was the only wrestler to represent Topeka High at boys state. Vehige has been wrestling for three years and placed 6th in the 182 weight class. Vehige shared his experience of getting ready and going to state. “We had a game plan coming up to state since I was the only one that went, the whole entire time was the coach’s critiquing my wrestling skills. I spent the week preparing for state,” said Vehige. Vehige shared the excitement he had when he won over one of his opponents who he lost to in the past. When asked who was most influential in his wrestling career, Vehige said that Coach Singer was very instrumental in his growth as a wrestler. Meier has wrestled for three years and has been on the team for two years. “Wrestling boys, they are so much stronger, and a lot of times even skillswise you can be better, but they can just overpower you and it is really frustrating and it makes you question yourself and ask if wrestling is worth it.” This year, the girls wrestling team was able to compete in two all-girls tournaments at Mcpherson and Burlingame. “It was definitely a unique experience,” Meier said. “Wrestling girls is so much different and you use different techniques because they are built so much different from boys,” said Meier. “What’s cool about wrestling girls is that even though you know they’re your competition, after the match, everyone knows you have all been through the same struggle and prejudice and you understand you’re all fighting for the same thing.” Meier was proud to see that she won first place, but was more proud of herself for persevering through the challenges and prejudices that come with being a female wrestler. Girls wrestling has yet to have its own title, but coaches and other members of the sport are hoping to have an official KSHSAA sport in two years time. Meier is also hoping to be able to officially compete in girls wrestling by her senior year.

by Abbie Cruse acruse970@tps501.org

Shawntaesea Patterson

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Relay team competes at state swim by Cameron Burnett aburnett301@tps501.org

Fischer Carr, senior, and Eli Hollman, sophomore, cheer on a fellow teamate during the 200 Medley relay.

Lauren Meier, sophomore, takes first place at the girl’s state wrestling.

Vinnce Vehige, junior, far right, takes sixth at the state tournament.

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or the 2017-2018 men’s swim season, the Trojan swimmers made it to state. On February 9, the Topeka High Men’s swim team competed in the Centennial League Swim and Dive Meet. As a team, the Trojans placed 4th. In the 200 Medley Relay (consisting of senior Fischer Carr, sophomore Eli Holloman, sophomore Ethan Payne, and sophomore Bradley

Palmer) placed 4th with a time of 1:56.39. Carr, Holloman, Payne, and Palmer also placed 4th in the 200 free relay. Individually, Carr placed 6th in the 100 free and 7th in the 50 free. The swim team was managed by Paige Carpenter, Zoe Dunekack, Sophie Hodge, Leah Starbuck, and Danielle Swarts and was coached by Kenneth Bennett and Emily Hodge.

Bowling team sends three to state Bannon Beall

by bbeall238@tps501.org he Trojan bowling team had a successful season this winter, earning two medals at regionals and sending three players to state. Junior Maci Nemechek, senior Shawntasea Paterson, and freshman Cody Sullivan all participated at regionals. Sullivan placed third with a 653 series and Nemechek placed 6th with a 567 series. Sullivan comes from a legacy of bowling success as his sister, Topeka High alumni Carly Sullivan, won 6A regionals in 2015 and now participates in collegiate bowling

T Cody Sullivan

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Maci Namechek

at Newman University. After the three bowlers competed at regionals, they moved on to state. The competition was strong, but the Trojans put on a fair showing. Heather Campbell, a family and consumer sciences teacher at THS, became the head coach for bowling this year and experienced state level competition for the first time. “The lanes at state were tough. All the players struggled but Maci had a 200 game her last game pushing her series to 501. She placed 18th,” said Campbell.


World 10 Opinion angry teens use social media to change the world the

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s a teenager, I spend a lot of time being angry. If there is one thing that hasn’t changed between generations, it’s the intensity of teenage emotions. And as a part of the first generation that has never known a time without internet and social media, I find it immensely reassuring that we’re using them to our advantage. “Teenagers today” is generally the preface to some comment about how social media is ruining us, but maybe people are finally starting to realize that while there is a lot of useless stuff on the internet, teenagers are just as in tune to current issues as they are to cat videos or whatever they think we’re watching. Even if you take every precaution to avoid all news media, it’s almost impossible to. You can’t keep yourself from hearing about it online, or later at home or school. We may not have all the information or experience, but we’re more aware of what other people’s lives are like and more aware of everyone else’s ideas and struggles. We grew up watching people we will never meet suffer, and by God it makes us angry. And angry, informed teenagers are

just what we need. A great example of this is how the students who survived the recent Parkland school shooting are taking to social media to voice their ideas about gun control. Their activism has sparked the Never Again movement, centered around the goal of stricter gun control. Marches, rallies, hashtags, and even NRA boycotts, some by prominent companies, have followed. The students’ immediate response was to take to the internet, use the resources they had to reach out to people who could change things. They got noticed, praised and criticized, and continued to communicate with supporters and opponents, all through social media. Millennials and Generation Z kids grew up with the internet, watching terrorist threats, school shootings, and political unrest in America and the rest of the world unfold through glass. Some of us are desensitized by it, but most of us are frustrated. Why do we care so much about these things while the adults— the people who are passing the world down to us— stand aside and seem perfectly complacent? Since when did growing

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up mean becoming so passive about human lives? Even if it isn’t always a good thing that teenagers tend to post before thinking, it may at least hold us accountable to change the things we think are wrong. We won’t be able to erase and forget about the movements we saw come and go, or the people we saw rise and fall. You have the argument that teenagers aren’t experienced enough or that our sources are too unreliable for our input to be valid. And to that I say: help us. Instead of shutting us down and discrediting us for trying to make a difference, educate us. Fund our schools.

Give honest feedback. Participate in civil conversation. The fact of the matter is that better we understand politics now, the better leaders we’ll be in the future. I’d consider myself a realist, even a pessimist at times, but thinking 30 years into the future and imagining the world my generation will create fills me with a strange, lofty feeling I believe is called hope. We have more resources to start effecting change, right now, than ever before, and I am in love with the fact that we are using them. If the present is any indication, then I can’t wait to see what we’ll do in the future.


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Opinion11

Feminism is not a dirty word by Bannon Beall bbeall238@tps501.org

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n the world of #Me Too and leaked locker room talk, some people are finally starting to realize what most women have known all along; sexism is not dead. In fact, it is alive and flourishing across racial, socioeconomic, and political lines. Despite all of the glaring injustices women face all over the world, feminist movement is still ridiculed and considered by many to be outdated, unnecessary, and corrupted. One of the most popular arguments against feminism in today’s society is that feminists really want to be superior to men, rather than equal. Naturally, the rebuttal for this argument is typically the citation of the various dictionary definition of feminism such as “the theory of political, social, and economic equality of the sexes” and “organised activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests” from Merriam-Webster. However, neither side seems to truly understand or want to understand each other’s point of view, and trite comebacks don’t seem to be getting anyone anywhere. The fact of the matter is, there are people who call themselves feminists but do not adhere to these dictionary definitions or the core beliefs of the majority of people who identify as feminists. People are free to believe what they want to and proclaim it as loudly as they wish, but that does not mean that they speak for everyone that identifies themselves in a certain way. Just as not every conservative person wants to

be associated with neo-nazis, not every feminist wants to be associated with people who genuinely hate men treat them as such (also known as sexists). Another shockingly common argument against feminism is that it is null because women are no longer oppressed in any capacity. While it must be nice to believe you live in a world where women everywhere have access to an education, women are treated fairly and appropriately in the workplace, girls aren’t forced to be child brides or sold into sex slavery, and rape doesn’t go unpunished on a regular basis, no one should be afforded that blissful ignorance. Just because you may not feel oppressed in your daily life, does not mean your experience is universal. Not every woman has faced or will ever be impacted directly by sexism, and that is a great thing. Unfortunately, many women are still affected by discrimination and harassment because of their gender. A world exists outside each person’s personal experiences and if every person took a moment to look around once and a while, good things might start to happen. It is only by the luck of fate that you were not born in someone else’s shoes.


THE TROJAN MARCH TO STATE

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1.) Coach Denney holds up the sub-state plaque. 2.) Larry White goes for a free throw. 3.) Larry White goes in for a shot. 4.) The THS Drum Line pepping things up outside in the Western Plaza. 5.) Kee’Andre Smith flies towards the basket. 6.) THS Coach Denney shakes hands with Olathe East Coach Jim Super. 7.) Larry White & Ky Thomas pose with the Dean Smith trophy after defeating Emporia on Feb. 24. Photos By Lillian Holmberg and Philip Canady.

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Topeka High Newspaper Issue 5  
Topeka High Newspaper Issue 5  
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