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Troy High School, 4777 Northfield Parkway Troy, MI 48098


theTROYINDEPENDENT THS teachers welcome babies, marriage


Courtesy of Brian Zawislak

Courtesy of Christina Chatel

Laughing, math teacher Brian Zawislak said the funniest thing that happened in his new daughter, Mia’s, life so far was “the time when she pooped in the bathtub. Of course she can’t control that yet, but what makes it funny was that her big sister Brynn was freaked out about it.” Mia Kathryn was welcomed into the world Aug. 19. For everyone wondering about the name, the varsity soccer coach was quick to say she is not named after famous soccer player Mia Hamm. They just loved the name. In the Spanish department, Lisa LopezKing’s son, Holden Paul Ruben, was born on July 1, along with Nicolina Calabrese-Passalacqua’s daughter Rosalia Piera, born on July 24. Math teacher Jeff Uberti welcomed daughter Tabitha Lauren on Aug. 13. Christina Chatel, yearbook and English teacher, said the hardest part about married life is “getting used to the new name [Mrs.

Above: Zawislak welcomed daughter Mia Aug.19. Top: Christina Chatel and husband Jamie smile at their wedding Aug.18. Chatel] after 9 years of being Ms. Vettraino!” Married on August 18 at the Rochester Community House in Downtown Rochester, Chatel says that her favorite part of the wedding was the first look. She was able to go up to her soon-to-be husband, tap him on the shoulder, and have him turn around to see her dressed in white. They got to spend two minutes talking and crying together before the wedding. Yet not the whole ceremony was serious: an ice cream truck pulled up, music and all, just as they were saying vows.

Suh, Morgan film Nike commercial at THS BY AMANDA MCCAFFERTY, SARAH REGAN, JAKE LOURIM AND ERIN WRUBEL It’s always an interesting week at Troy High when Ndamukong Suh and Alex Morgan walk around campus. The Lions’ star defensive tackle and Team USA women’s soccer forward, along with USC lacrosse player John Duddridge, were in a Nike commercial filmed at Troy last week. Troy athletic director Jim Johnson didn’t know when the commercial would run, but he said perhaps during the Lions’ Monday Night Football game Oct. 22. The advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy contacted Johnson about renting the facility. The production company Anonymous Content paid the school $10,500, district AD Mike Jolly said, and had to leave the facility as it was.

September 21, 2012


Boys’ Soccer

Troy’s unexpected game changer

Just one of the guys


Photos by Jake Lourim

Vol. 2 Issue 1

BY JAKE LOURIM As the sun sets on a warm fall Friday night, the Troy football team plows into the end zone. Cheers echo through the football stadium, but one cheer is louder than the others. When the football players run out of the locker room and form a screaming mob before the game, Jeffrey Brake, senior, does it with them. When they say together after a win, “J-IT”—Joy in Troy—Jeffrey experiences the same joy. When they go home frustrated after a loss, Jeffrey does, too. “It has made all the difference in the world to have all the players and coaches make him feel included,” said Jeffrey’s mom, Susan Chaplin. Jeffrey, 18, helps the football team at practices and games by distributing water and has for two years. He shows autism symptoms, has trouble speaking and shows signs of a condition called hypotonia, which causes low muscle tone and limits mobility. No doctor knows exactly what he has. But don’t be misled. Everyone knows Jeffrey. “He’s the nicest kid I’ve ever met,” senior wide receiver Tommy O’Donovan said. It started two years ago when Jeffrey’s parents were looking for a way to get him in“We scouted about ten different schools in a couple different studios around the metro area,” location manager Daniel Frederick said. “This is the location that worked because of the big range of views we could get with the trees and landscaping and the field.” A Nike executive lives in the area. However, with so many workout facilities nearby, Nike surprised Johnson by coming to Troy. “They thought the size and the setup of the [Troy] physical plan would be very conducive to what they were looking for,” Johnson said. Anonymous Content provided Troy with an elaborate shot plan. It spray-painted pine trees on the west side of campus to create a snow appearance and filmed a shoe shot in the snow. It brought in a hose to do a misty rain shot, and it put down wax to create ice just south of the stadium. Finally, it had a fence in the outfield of the JV baseball field and sprayed it with glue to create icicles. The special effects were maybe even more incredible than the talent, Jolly said. The crew also set up “video villages,” one on the concourse between the concession stand and the football field and one in the

volved in an activity. Jeffrey loves football, so his family talked to Sheila Gannon, a special education teacher at Troy High, who volunteered to see if Jeffrey could help with the football team. At that time, Jeffrey was a sophomore, so Gannon talked to JV coach Tim Mullen, who happily agreed. By the middle of the season two years ago, Jeffrey was on the football field, helping with the water. “It was an instant success within a day or two,” said Jeffrey’s dad, Dan Brake. “Hundreds of kids were all saying ‘Hi’ to Jeffrey.” Not just football players, either. Soon after he started, boys and girls running around the track greeted Jeffrey at practice. Dan asked Jeffrey how that happened. Turns out the players invited Jeffrey to sit with them at lunch and introduced him to everyone sitting with them. They were just getting started. They soon gave Jeffrey his own uniform, and this year it has his name on it. “His personality is imitating people he admires,” Chaplin said. “He feels really included and involved when he does that stuff.” At the banquet two years ago, the players signed the football and dedicated it to Jeffrey. So this hasn’t worked out quite like every-


outfield of the JV baseball field. The athletic parking lot was the base camp, and a camera was set up in the visiting press box. The first day began in the gym with Suh’s portrait. Later, the crew filmed Suh running and pushing a sled and later Duddridge in lacrosse shots. Though Anonymous Content filmed the commercial during the week, it caused little disruption to school because it was filmed almost entirely at night. The company wanted to use its own lighting without natural light, so Suh came in between 7 and 10 p.m. Tuesday, followed by Duddridge later Tuesday night and Morgan Wednesday night. Still, the production required some logistics. The school closed the athletic parking lot from Monday night to Thursday morning so that the crew could set up Tuesday. Troy had to clean out the girls’ locker room so the athletes could change. Johnson said Nike brought a lot of workout attire and shoes and that the athletes changed clothes about every 20 minutes. The commercial used generators and

The future is always unforeseeable. This statement proved to be true for the Troy High varsity soccer team when rules changed this season. Boys who participate in the Academy, the most prestigious club league in the country, are no longer allowed to play in the high school league. Instead, they must play for their club team year round. Troy High has five of these players: senior Matt Smolinski, junior Craig Duggan, junior Allen Wang, sophomore Willie Maddox and senior Zac Doepke. When tryouts began this summer, the coaches not only had to adjust to players graduating but the loss of key players as well. “The team was bummed but we make do with what we have,” coach Brian Zawislak said. The team is currently ranked No. 8 in the state with a 10-1-2 record. “[The team] responded well. Everyone—the coaches and the players— has had to step up their game and has done a great job,” Zawislak said. Doepke, current co-captain and starting center midfielder, is a part of the Academy but able to participate in his senior season. Unlike most of the current Academy players, Doepke is a part of the developmental Academy and plays in the winter, taking the fall to participate in the high school season. Doepke by no means has taken his leadership role lightly. He has come to every game with a mindset to win and performed beyond expectations. More than just the current soccer squad has been affected by the amendment in the soccer world. Smolinski, the Colts’ starting goalie since his freshman year, had to make the difficult decision to continue to play for the Academy rather than wear his Colt jersey for one more season. By no means was this decision an easy one. The choice came down to college scouting opportunities and availability of better competition. “With no consequences I would have picked them [Troy High],” said Smolinski. “It was a really hard decision.”

bright lights, so the crew notified houses west of Troy High of a disruption. Johnson didn’t know if the residents were compensated. The school had to keep the alarm off and the auxiliary gym open for a staging room. It had to provide access to the training room in case the crew needed medical supplies. Troy trainer Mike Sime volunteered to help, but the company had its own doctor. “We haven’t had to provide a lot of manhours to them,” Johnson said. The Troy staff showed the crew all equipment, such as raising basketball hoops. It provided access to both press boxes, the stadium and all the power. The production company had a caterer on site all evening. School activities, however, weren’t really affected. The Troy football team had to be off the field by 5:30 p.m., and the soccer team played a road game Tuesday night. Troy did have to move cheerleading and wrestling open gym from the auxiliary gym so it could put the flooring down for the commercial. The production crew was gone by 3 a.m. Thursday, and so were Suh and Morgan.

September 21, 2012 - page 2

Courtesy of Julie Welch

The Troy Independent -

Above: Julie, left, and Christy painted their faces and donned patriotic apparel in the Olympic Stadium. Top left: Julie, a member of the girls’ varsity volleyball team, holds up her team sweatshirt at a womans’ beach volleyball match. Top middle: Julie and Christy attended diving, woman’s and men’s gymnastics qualifiers and finals, volleyball, track and field and woman’s soccer events. Both said their favorite sport to watch is gymnastics. Top right: Christy holds up an American flag at a gymnastics event.

Representing the USA BY CAROLYN GEARIG Most THS students watched Olympic gymnast Jordyn Wieber perform routines at 8 p.m. on NBC, but sisters Julie and Christy Welch watched gymnastics events, often hours earlier, live in the Olympic arena. And then, they met Wieber.

Julie, a senior, and Christy, a sophomore, traveled to Londdon in July and August to see the Olympic games. The family began planning their trip to London six years ago shortly after the London location was announced. Their mom, Kathy Welch, attended the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics when she was seventeen and wanted her daughters to have a similar experience. The Welchs stayed in London for three weeks, the entire duration of the Olympics. They began their adventure with the Opening Ceremonies on July 27, a four hour ceremony opened by Queen Elizabeth II that featured a performance by Paul McCartney, a parade of athletes and the lighting of a cauldron of flames. “The atmosphere and special effects at the Opening Ceremonies were so impressive and exciting,” said Christy. “Just watching the thousands and thousands of people play their parts so well was very cool. I was constantly in awe.” The Welchs got tickets to diving, woman’s and men’s gymnastics qualifiers and finals, volleyball, track and field and woman’s soccer. “Gymnastics was the most memorable because it’s been such a big part of my life for so long,” said Julie, who started gymnastics at age three and now coaches through Troy Gym-

School confirms Young’s transfer BY JAKE LOURIM

Jake Lourim

James Young is no longer in Black and Silver. Officially. Troy athletic director Jim Johnson confirmed Wednesday that Young, a twotime All-State basketball player, has transferred to Rochester. Johnson and varsity basket- James Young ball coach Gary

nastics. team and was smiling all the time. It’s also sweet that she’s Christy also loved the gymnastics events. “In particular, from Michigan!” I thought the men’s events were Both Julie and Christy amazing because the gymnasts agreed that the beach are so strong yet graceful,” she volleyball semifinal, a said. “They’re doing incredibly competition between the difficult skills that were so breathUnited States and Brazil, taking to watch.” was their favorite memWhile they spent most of their ory. time attending Olympic events, “It rained through the the Welch’s saw sights in London entire game yet almost including Westminster Abbey, the every seat was filled and Big Ben clock tower and the Lonboth the US crowd and don Eye. Brazilian crowd were Julie said that although London very spirited,” said Julie. has a reputation as being a “cold” “It made the whole game city, she found the people to be more intense and excitvery welcoming. “Everyone was ing to watch.” Sydney Alexander, sophomore, took this picture of super friendly and willing to help,” “Everybody was so she said. “The volunteers for the Julie, left, and Christy when she saw them on her excited for all the events games were exceptional. They were television while watching womans’ volleyball Aug. 9. and even outside of the happy to help or answer questions “During the Olympics, whenever the cameras were arenas everybody was so which I felt like really added to the on the crowd I said it’s Christy and Julie just in hope spirited,” Christy said. “On that I would see them,” she said. “This time I said it event days you would see atmosphere of the games.” Julie and Christy met members of and it was actually them. I was so excited to see them a ton of people walking the Russian men’s gymnastics team in their USA outfits.” around the city with faces as well as Wieber, who hails from painted and carrying their DeWitt, Michigan. Christy said she loved meeting Weiber be- country’s flag. At each event we were at I would stop watchcause she was her favorite athlete at the games. ing the sport for a moment to look around and just take in “[Wieber] is an amazing gymnast,” said Christy, who has how many people were there watching. The crowds were so also done gymnastics for over ten years. “No matter what upbeat and it was an all around unforgettable experience. It score she got, she always seemed to be so supportive of her was life changing.”

Fralick, along with two other administrators, saw Young at Troy’s first football game Aug. 23. He hadn’t yet come to orientation the previous Monday but said he would come in for the makeup orientation Aug. 30. Instead, he registered at Rochester High Aug. 31. His mother came to Troy and dropped off his uniform and books that day, and Young has not talked to the school since he transferred, according to Johnson. “We were very shocked and very surprised,” said Johnson, who does not know why Young transferred. Young could not be reached for comment. His move immediately changes the OAA race. Troy was slated to move up to the OAA Red with Young. Rochester was supposed to move to the White. Young averaged over 25 points per game last season to lead Troy to a 17-5 season.

Student Government plans DJ, parade for Homecoming BY ERIN WRUBEL

School just started, but Troy High’s Student Government is already busy. This year’s Homecoming theme is “Troy High Rocks,” centered on the diversity of music genres. Seniors are swinging to Country music, juniors are embracing the classic Rock and Roll, sophomores are chilling with reggae and freshmen are dancing to pop. Unlike past Homecomings, some new ideas were debated this year. Instead of the traditional parade on Northfield Parkway, a tailgate was going to be the opening act for

the football game in attempt to have more involvement. However, the parade is still the pre-game activity for this year. “It’s tradition,” Student Government secretary Sarah Chmielewski said. “It wasn’t time for change yet.” Although the parade will continue, there are some subtle changes regarding Homecoming. Student Government adviser Ryan Werenka gave a preview to what’s expected this year. “We are having who, I believe, is the best DJ in Michigan this year,” Werenka said. Werenka picked this DJ because of his reputation and the work he does beyond the music, such as concert lighting. Also, there is a transformation in tickets for “Troy High Rocks!” Werenka did not give details, saying only “they will be very hard to lose.”

The Troy Independent -

THE TROY INDEPENDENT The official student newspaper of Troy High School Carolyn Gearig, editor-in-chief Jake Lourim, editor-in-chief Peter Mansky, cartoonist Sarah Regan, advertising manager Erin Wrubel, advertising manager Anna Larson, social director Amanda McCafferty, social director Marcey Shehata, social director Brendan Battle, staff writer Liza Burakova, staff writer Marissa Ceccato, staff writer Annie Chen, staff writer Sarah Chmielewski, staff writer Peter Hao, staff writer AuJenee Hirsch, staff writer In Chan Lee, staff writer Katherine Maher, staff writer Annie Papageorge, staff writer Alex Roettenberger, staff writer Tommy Rowbal, staff writer Katie Schlafhauser, staff writer Erin Tepatti, staff writer Jennifer Doptis, adviser

The Troy Independent is the official student newspaper of Troy High School, produced by students in the third hour Writing for Publication: Newspaper class. The Troy Independent is an open forum and thus encourages members of the school community to submit letters to the editor and guest columns. Interested in joining our staff? Sign up when you complete your 2013-2014 scheduling cards.

Movie Review

‘Amazing Spider-Man’ doesn’t live up to name BY BRENDAN BATTLE After 2007’s lackluster “Spider-Man 3” released to mediocre reviews, Marvel decided to reboot the web-slinging movie franchise based on the comic book of the same name, with a new director, new cast, and a retelling of the story of how teenager Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) becomes the superhero Spider-Man. This time around, the origin story does a better job of fleshing out the titular character than the 2002 film, but impatient moviegoers looking for some fast action will be disappointed. The story moves along at a snail’s pace,

September 21, 2012 - page 3 BRAKE, FROM PAGE ONE one planned. It’s worked out much better. “I was a little apprehensive. I wanted to make sure first and foremost that he was safe on the sidelines,” Mullen said. “It’s worked out better than I could’ve imagined at the beginning.” Jeffrey doesn’t only help the football team. He also does the Special Olympics in swimming and basketball and bowls with a group of special kids. He rides horses, snowboards and plays indoor soccer. He and his dad also go up north to Cheboygan for a few weeks a summer to spend time on a sail boat in Lake Huron. But there’s something extra he gets from spending time on the football field with other kids. “Because he’s always really wanted to be part of the bunch, and they’re all pretty friendly,” Chaplin said, “he likes being around them. It makes him feel more like a part of Troy High.” Jeffrey is as much a part of Troy High as the turf. After two years, nearly everyone recognizes Jeffrey, and they almost always greet him at practice. Last year, kicker Sean Murphy even made sure to say hello at Troy Daze. It’s not just at practice, either. Jeffrey gets hellos in school regularly. “You can see him floating down the hall,” Gannon said. “It’s such a beautiful thing.” After the first JV season, Jeffrey’s parents wrote a letter to Mullen thanking him for everything he and the team had done that season. Mullen read the letter to his team, and that got back to Jeffrey’s family. Since then, the appreciation has gone both ways. Varsity coach Gary Griffith invited Jeffrey back for a second season last year, and the Brakes happily accepted. He missed the early part of camp because of other activities, but was there the rest of the season. “It’s been incredible, the whole thing,” Gannon said. “I can tell he certainly feels part of the team and more connected to the school. That’s good for all students if you can find that connection. “There are a lot of Jeffrey Brakes out there. It would be great if we could think about their interests.”

This year, knowing how much fun Jeffrey has, the family made a point of arranging his summer to make room for the first day of practice Aug. 6. “He looks forward to football season all year,” Chaplin said. “He starts asking us in May what happens in August. It’s very much a morale boost for him.” Since then, Jeffrey’s been out there every day. When it was six hours a day in scorching heat, he was there. When it poured for four hours straight, he was there with a raincoat, smiling. Friday nights might still be his favorite part. Jeffrey said last Friday that the Troy touchdowns were the most fun. “It’s those moments where he’s actually part of the crowd,” Dan Brake said. “When they score their first touchdown, he’s right in the middle of it. It’s just moments like that where he can actually be a regular guy.” “For me, [it’s] to see him when he gets excited, jumping up and down and running out on the field,” Mullen said. “Seeing where he started and where he is now, it’s a huge improvement, physically and mentally. I don’t think that would’ve been quite possible without this opportunity for him.” The players have embraced Jeffrey and treated him like one of them. Jeffrey’s mom says he feels part of the team, like he has a responsibility. But as much as Jeffrey’s gotten out of this experience, the players have learned just as much. Jeffrey may be different, but he teaches them a life lesson they won’t get anywhere else. “I think they learn a degree of compassion and tolerance,” Chaplin said. “Jeffrey’s obviously different. They see that he loves the game and he has something in common with them.” “They have a young man who they probably wouldn’t cross paths unless they had this opportunity,” Gannon said. “Especially in high school, hopefully they take that with them.” That’s why the name for Jeffrey’s disability isn’t important. “We get caught up on labels,” Gannon said. “I think [the players] have learned that even though people are different, we probably have more similarities than we’re aware of.” So when the football players run out and form their traditional huddle Sept. 21 at Lake Orion, and then again next week on Homecoming, Jeffrey will be with them. Turns out he’s not so different after all.

the downside of starting back at square one, story-wise, and problems that teenagers can relate to over his 50-year hishaving to tell the story of how both a hero and villain came to tory. This movie does a good job of adapting the comics, as be, but the action picks up about halfway through. Peter/Spiderman deals with the death of his uncle, juggles The action scenes where Spidey battles The fighting crime with his everyday needs and the Lizard (Rhys Ifans) , a brilliant scientist turned The Amazing needs of his elderly Aunt May (Sally Field), and into a human-reptile mutation, are nothing Spider-Man has complicated feelings about his love interest, short of explosive. Whether the fight takes Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Now playing in place atop city skyscrapers or in New York’s As the credits began to roll with several unansubway tunnels, you’re in for a real thrill ride. theatres swered questions, such as the location of Peter’s Plenty of punches, kicks and explosions are missing scientist parents and the fate of Peter and thrown in for fans of action, but it’s not the acGwen’s relationship, but it’s clear that there’s a tion that’s the focal point of this movie. It’s the sequel in the works. I’m fine with coming back for characters. another movie, but hopefully it will deal with the issues this Spider-Man is not your typical superhero as he has battled darker Spiderman reboot faces; a sluggish origin story and his inner demons as much as supervillains and has dealt with not quite enough action for a superhero movie.

PETER’S PALETTE by Peter Mansky

The Troy Independent -

September 21, 2012 - page 4

Student Manicure and Pedicure $34.95, save $5.00! A $1.00 donation will be made to Troy High School for every manicure and pedicure combo purchased by Troy High School students and faculty members