U. City High School 7401 Balson Ave. University City, MO 63130
U-Times December 2011 Volume 24 Issue 2
Juniors in Ms. Wilkinson’s 8th hour Child Development class show some of the “props” used in class. From left, Alyssa Williams, Tiaura Wilson, Breeonte Poe, Shatavia Patrick, Joanna Schroer and Natashia Wiley. “It’s not really a sex ed class,” said Esther Wilkinson about her Child Development class. “But we talk about prenatal care and the stages of pregnancy mainly because of some want to work on the fields where they’re working with babies, small children, or mothers who are pregnant.”
Lack of sex education brings consequences to students By Julian Johnson Photo Editor and Caroline Martinez Editor-in-Chief “I have been working at U. City High for ten years and have seen an increase of pregnant students over the years,” said interim principal Dayle Burgdorf. Although parental consent is a large problem when determining what should or should not be taught in a class, schools are an information center where students are expected to receive useful knowl-
edge that will help them throughout their lives, on a wide range of topics, including sexual education. “One of the biggest barriers is parental involvement,” said Patricia Wilson, nurse. “If the parents say no, then it will not happen.” Adding to the problem is the fact that many students do not feel comfortable speaking to their parents about sex or asking any questions regarding this subject, and parents usually feel the same way. “I will ask students many times if they’re comfortable talking with their parents and they say ‘no,’” said Wilson.
Avoiding this taboo subject, however, often leads teenagers to have erroneous information regarding sex. “There were girls in my health class in tenth grade who thought they could prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex by showering,” said senior Luke Babich. Kurt Tuegel, who has been a teacher at U. City for twelve years and recently began teaching health, said, “There’s nothing in here [the health class curriculum] about sex education.” Con’t on page 7
Inside this issue... Segregation Violence in U. City Popularity Heidi Morgan Cyber Bullying
2011-2012 U-Times Staff Editor in Chief Caroline Martínez Web Editor Carl Sechrist Sports Editor William Mitchell Photo Editor Julian Johnson Staff Writers/ Photographers Leah Booker Gabrielle Davis Antone Hayes Michael Johnson Alexander Phillips Adviser Mrs. Mary Williams
Philosophy The newspaper’s primary obligation is to inform its readers about events in the school and community and of the issues of national or international importance which directly or indirectly affect the school population. The newspaper, while serving as a training ground for future journalists as part of the school curriculum, recognizes all rights and responsibilities under the First Amendment. While establishing U-Times as a public forum, student editors will apply professional standards and ethics for decision making as they take on the responsibility for content and production of the newspaper. Inasmuch as the student staff encourages constructive criticism of any part of the newspaper, authority for content rests in the hands of the student members of the newspaper staff. Students will not publish material considered to be legally unprotected speech, or libel, obscenity, material disruption of the educational process, copyright infringement, or unwarranted invasion of privacy.
Contact Us We are located in Room 346 at University City High School, 7401 Balson Ave., University City, MO 63130. Our email address is marywilliams@u-city. k12.mo.us.
Policies Opinions expressed on the editorial page do not reflect the viewpoints of the school administration. All editorials (unsigned) represent a majority opinion of the Editorial Board. Signed editorials, columns, editorial cartoons, and reviews reflect the views of the author and not necessarily those of the U-Times Editorial Board. Letters should be limited to 300 words. The U-Times reserves the right to reject, edit, or shorten letters. Submit letters to Mrs. Mary Williams in Room 346, or to any U-Times staff member, or to marywilliams@ ucityschools.org.
U-Times December 2011
Media bombards teens with sex It’s everywhere...reality TV, music, movies, books, magazines
By Asia Garrison and Madeline Lewis Guest Editorial Writers
t is the year 2011, and we face a problem that wasn’t even a topic of discussion twenty years ago. The topic is sex. Sex is something we can’t escape or get around nowadays. Its presence in the media is prevalent in popular music, movies and TV shows that emphasize sexual relationships and teen pregnancies. Books and magazines focus heavily on using sex to draw in readers. Today, children grow up being bombarded by this topic, which makes them think it is normal when they get older. “In young people, it is more acceptable, and it shouldn’t be,” said Mrs.Conner, science teacher. “St. Louis is rated number two in the country for STDs, such as gonorrhea and Chlamydia. When I was in high school, pregnancy was rare, and it happens now a lot. It wasn’t even on our minds in high school.”
Through the media, it is shown that teenage mothers have created a perfect family, but what isn’t shown is the obstacles those teen parents have to face every single day. The teenagers can no longer go to college or hang out with friends. Their plans for the future are now over. In nine months, the young adults have to mature ten years early and get ready for something that will cling to their lives forever. So the question becomes: is it good for the media to advertise sex? By advertising, young adults are more knowing of the things that can be done to prevent sex, but advertising sex makes young people want to have sex since it is seen everywhere. “Sex is all over the media,” said Mr. Tabscott, P.E. teacher. “All over commercials, all over chat lines. Birth control is easier to get, education about teen pregnancies is seen more, Planned Parenthood is easily accessible which all is a good thing.” Although true, knowing that there is so
much to prevent sex encourages teens to use these measures, but even birth control is not 100% guaranteed. The argument can go both ways. The media needs to cut down on how much they publicize sex. If the media is going to make sex such a positive action to younger people, then they also need to include the consequences of sex. With this, young lives can be saved from responsibilities they weren’t ready to handle for at least another ten years, and to enjoy young innocence while they can.
Ending violence in our school: worth the fight By Michael Johnson Editorial Writer
In these times when reports of the “knockout game” are consuming the headlines, how are we to view episodes of physical violence at school? Is school violence a fact of life, an inevitable product of teenage hormones and immature frontal lobes? What should we, as students, expect, and how do we feel about the recurring fights that punctuate our weeks? Most importantly, is there anything we can do about it? The U-Times survey on school violence confirms that most of us are not happy about the fights at school and agree that violence is not a healthy way to solve problems. Thinking that violence is funny or relieves the boredom is not surprising given the popularity of “professional” wrestling on TV, but I thought students would be less cavalier about real violence close to home. Perhaps knowing that the vast majority of students perceive those who fight as immature or idiots will provide some deterrence. We can only hope. It is clear that students share the frustration that our teachers and administrators must feel in dealing with the complex issue of violence in our school. The school already has much in place to combat school violence: zero tolerance, hall monitoring, a Principal’s Council of students to give feedback to the administration, celebration of positive student accomplishments, and a robust roster
of extracurricular activities. The visibility of these efforts must not be high enough, however, as many students are not aware of them. Moreover, the effectiveness of current interventions is clearly inadequate as fights are rampant and 10% of those surveyed are sometimes afraid to come to school because of safety concerns. I find this last fact inexcusable! It’s time to try some new approaches. Peter T. Coleman and Morton Deutsche of the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Teachers College, Columbia University, describe a comprehensive program to prevent violence in schools, which we could adopt and integrate into the fabric of our school. Their strategies include: 1. Put conflict resolution concepts and skills and anger management techniques into the curriculum. It could be a short course like driving school taught in detention, or it could rotate through seminars so everyone might benefit and learn to resolve difficult conflicts constructively. 2. Establish a confidential conflict management program with trained student and faculty mediators. They could deal with referrals from teachers, administrators, coaches, and students to tackle issues of bullying, harassment, and more. These groups help determine the source of the problem and solve it through discussion. Students Helping and Relating to Each
Other (SHARE), part of the national Natural Helpers, is one example of such a program. 3. Teachers, no matter what subject they teach, stimulate and structure constructive controversy in regular classes to promote the development of perspective taking, critical thinking, and other skills involved in conflict resolution. Ms. Ertmann’s biotech debates need to go viral! 4. Finally, adults throughout the system undergo collaborative negotiation training so that adults model for the students the desired attitudes and behaviors in their own interactions. According to hubpages.com, 80% of public schools experience violence, so we are not unique. Acknowledging violence in our school does not mean we need to accept it. We can actively participate in abolishing it if given the opportunity. Is the school district ready to invest in us? Are we up for the challenge?
U-Times December 2011
College prep sessions aid seniors By Leah Booker Staff writer Navigating the college applications and financial aid process can be one of the most difficult challenges for seniors and their parents. Part of this process is the college essay. Recently, U. City offered two after school help sessions for writing a college essay which about 30 students attended. Staff members who facilitated this event were social studies teacher Mr. Daly, senior counselor Ms. Miller, English teacher Ms. McKenna and College Bound teacher Ms. Greenberg, in addition to a professor from Webster University. “A professor came from Webster University to attend the meeting to help students with their common applications,” said Mr.Daly.
Sessions like these tend to help senior students the most. Seniors Shayla Jackson, Joi Miller, Valeria Toles and Erica Collins were a few who attended. “The teacher definitely helped me with my college essay, she made it more appealing, so that it would help more with grabbing the reader’s attention,” said senior Brooklyn Payne. “I’m really happy with my results.” Payne hopes to better her chances of getting scholarships and into the college of her choice. Some students weren’t aware there was going to be someone coming from Webster to talk to them. “I do wish that someone would have told me about the Professor from Webster attending one of the meetings. If I would have known, I would have been there,” said Payne. While at the event, Toles wanted to
learn how to write essays so she could finish her common application. Some advice she would give underclassmen would be to do your research early on your colleges and work as hard as you can in school so that you can have a nice transcript. In addition to the college essay writing session, U. City also had a financial aid night in Nov. to help students prepare for the expense of a college education. Both students and their parents attended. “I came here to day because I wanted to know a little more on financial aid,” said senior Julesa Webb. “I need to know more info on filling out the FAFSA form, and I also came out to find out what website to get on for scholarships. I’m interested in all of the different grants that I’m able to receive.
Senior Tamika Tillman attended financial aid night with senior Romyus Gause and his mother.
Still looking for scholarships and more information on college? Create an account at fastweb.org or commomapp.org or make an appt. with your counselor
Senior Valeria Toles and her mother peruse the pamplets on financial aid. PHOTOS BY LEAH BOOKER
Survey on school violence elicits mixed reactions Michael Johnson Editorial Writer
lthough much has been written about the root causes of school violence, little is published on the perceptions of students about it. So the U-Times did its own research on what the student body thinks. During the first week of November, a survey about school violence was distributed in several seminar classes. Eighty-one students responded: 24 freshmen, 14 sophomores, 21 juniors and 19 seniors (3 did not identify year). 75% have witnessed acts of violence at school. The vast majority of violence has been in the form of fights, but harassing, bullying and robbing were also mentioned. What is heartening is that most of us are peaceful sorts, who do not believe in violence at all (10 percent), only believe in using it for self-defense (75 percent) or to defend the weak (19 percent). (More than one answer was possible, so the percentages may add up to more than 100 percent.) Only 11 percent thought violence appropriate to settle disagree-
ments or in retribution for a violent act. A mere 4 percent believed in violence “for the fun of it.” When asked to complete the phrase “Violence at school…,” the most popular answer was “is shameful” (34 percent), followed by “disrupts my education” (27 percent) and “relieves the boredom” (27 percent). About a fourth chose “is funny.” This question evoked the most write-ins, ranging from the disgusted “is pathetic and lacks humor” and “is wrong, childish, selfish” to the detached “if it doesn’t affect me, it doesn’t bother me.” Most students describe kids who fight at school as “immature” (58 percent) or “idiots” (35 percent). Only 2 percent chose “cool.” Some (21 percent) thought the fighters were “proving their power.” Although 81 percent are never afraid to come to school because of violence, an alarming 10% are sometimes afraid, as often as once per week. “I don’t really feel safe at U-City,” one sophomore wrote. “I feel like people can just bother/bully me and get away with it.” Dayle Burgdorf, our interim principal, feels differently. “We have had fewer incidents of violence this year than ever
before. So to hear that some students still feel differently means we need to work harder at spreading the good news going on around school,” she said. Students were asked to rate the effectiveness of several strategies commonly used to curb school violence, including peer mediation, zero tolerance, cooperative learning and constructive controversy, and conflict resolution training. Of those presented, zero tolerance received the most positive support (32 percent), but opinions were overwhelmingly negative as to the effectiveness of the traditional approaches to combat school violence. Students were split 40-60 in their vote of confidence in the job the teachers and administrators are doing to tackle the problem. “Teachers and administrators do what they can, I guess, but students should already know how to act in school,” said one sophomore. Senior Quaniesha Green thought the responsibility extends outside of school walls: “They are doing a great job, but I think parents should be doing more.” Other comments reflected students’ appreciation for the complexity of the problem.
Senior Emma Mutrux reasoned, “Obviously they are not doing an adequate job, since there is still rampant violence. At the same time, I am not sure there is anything they can do. It’s a personal choice to fight, and seems embedded in the culture of the students who fight.” A number of students mentioned getting to the reasons behind the fights to prevent them. Impassioned comments from junior Patrick Harting get to the point: “I feel fighting in this school is dishonorable and weak. The people who fight are weak. The school system is weak. All fights are caused due to rumors and bullying.” Students offered suggestions about what may help. One junior opined, “Administration putting kids in Alternative is a good thing but they are not solving the problem; it is just keeping violence out of the high school. The kids need to be taught how to solve the problem, and taught skills to avoid them.” A freshman expressed, “We need more structure in this school and encouraging assemblies to help the kids understand that they need to stop fighting.”
Population shifts in district change face of segregat By Caroline Martinez Editor-in-Chief
History and data Although segregation became unconstitutional in 1954 with the Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education, U. City didn’t begin to keep records of student racial populations until 1967. In 1966, only seven African Americans are seen in U. City’s yearbook; before that there were none pictured. This, however, does not mean that no African Americans attended U. City High until 1966. Holston Black, parent of a former U. City student and a strong local advocate for African American achievement, said that after Brown vs. the Board of Education, “there was at least one or two [African Americans attending U. City High].” U. City went from an all Caucasian school in 1965, with a few possible exceptions, to a currently almost all African American school. Black explained that “housing patterns establish a lot of the problems we have today.” He specifically mentioned redlining and “white flight.” Redlining occurs when banks and insurance companies identify an area by the ethnicity of its residents and discriminate against them, often refusing to provide insurance and mortgages to everyone in this area. Later ruled illegal, redlining was a common practice in the 1960’s. “What the U. City city council did was put out an ordinance that forbade people to put up ‘for sale’ signs. Caucasians were getting afraid and moving out,” said Black of the city’s attempt to reduce redlining. The Supreme Court disapproved of this, however, and “for sale” signs were allowed again.
universities, such as Elliot Wilson, class of 2011, who is currently attending Harvard and twins Justin and Julian Nicks, class of 2009, who attend Washington University. Further complicating the issue is the fact that the city is basically divided at Olive Boulevard by race and income
“ I feel like one group doesn’t ostracize the other, but there’s more of a connection between people of a common race.” -Senior Shayla Jackson level. This dividing line separates Flynn Park and Jackson Park from Pershing and Barbara C. Jordan elementary schools. Perceptions about student achievement vary from school to school. Kaicee Woods, junior, says that people’s perceptions about students who attended Jackson Park
Caucasian African American
U. City School District Demographi 1967-2011
Percent of Total Enrollment
“I don’t see where it’s any better now than when it was 60 years ago,” said Black. “The majority of the problems that were present before are still present today.” University City’s current population, 44.2 percent African American and 49.6 percent white, indicates there should be a larger white population attending the high school. However, Caucasians only make up 15 percent of students in U. City’s school district. “Caucasian people who have money don’t want to send their kids to a school where there are a lot of fights and not a lot of focus on education,” said senior Shayla Jackson. The general perception in the community is that U. City is full of drugs, fighting, and a lack of academic focus, which explains why many U. City residents send their children to private schools. “Certainly you can get a fine education at U. City High, but it’s hard to understand that if you look at the data that is published,” said Ellen Bern, U. City school board member. “Historically we have not done a good job marketing ourselves and we need to promote the many positive things and address our weaknesses.” Black takes it one step further and refers to the education at U. City as “the least expensive private school in the country.” He feels students would receive the same education they would at John Burroughs or Clayton if they remained in U. City, and they wouldn’t have to pay any extra price for this quality education. The perfect example of this theory is his son, who went to Princeton University after graduating from U. City in 1984, in addition to scores of other students who attend prestigious
and Flynn Park are different. “They think that where you live and where you come from determines how you act and who you are,” said Woods. The demographics of the individual district schools begin to shift once students enter middle school. “About three-fourths of the white students in my class left the district by seventh grade,” said senior Emma Mutrux. Woods said that in elementary school she was friends with mostly white students. Now that Woods is a junior a U. City, she is friends with both white and black students “It looks like it’s a white and black issue, but it’s a socio economic issue,” said Bern. Sixty percent of the students at U. City receive free or reduced lunch, which is proven to have an effect on academic achievement. “You see that... people who have reduced lunch don’t take as many AP classes,” said Jackson. In 2007, 14 African Americans were enrolled in AP clas es and 28 Caucasians. This year’s AP enrollment shows 7 African Americans taking AP classes and 33 Caucasians, according to District records. “[Some] parents would rather see their child get an “A in basket weaving than in an AP class,” said Black.
Data provided by U. City School District, 2011. BAR GRAPH BY LISA PARKER.
at s. o-
He made it clear that it is better to get a “C” or a “B” in a challenging course than to get a better grade in an easy class. Black believes the school needs to educate parents more on this topic “A lot of the white people take classes together, like the AP classes,” said Jackson. “Unless you take a class with someone, you don’t really interact with them. This affects our bond as a school.” Although social groups mix at U. City, and people don’t feel racial tension, there is still a separation that exists between African Americans and Caucasians, which can be clearly seen in the school cafeteria and in different level classes. “I feel like one group doesn’t ostracize the other, but there’s more of a connection between people of a common race,” said Jackson.
1980’s newspaper interviews reveal little change While researching this story, extensive notes from interviews for a segregation article published in U. City’s school newspaper were recovered from an alumnus who was on the staff in the 80’s. In particular, interviews show that racial breakdowns are an issue that U. City has been dealing with for years. One interviewee related the following: “I used to hang out with white kids, you know sometimes, when I was at Brittany and stuff, but now we don’t hang together because I’ve learned, you know, that like you talk to him, but you don’t go over to his house because he lives in a different neighborhood. It’s bad vibes. When you go to his neighborhood, you know, you look around, you say, ‘wow!’ you know, and you see white people just looking at you. You just won’t feel safe or secure unless you stay on your side of the line.” A Caucasian student quoted in the recovered interviews describes how the only time she ever spent time with African Americans outside of school was after a musical. These problems described by students who attended U. City in the 80’s are similar to the problems that those interviewed today describe. In addition, Black echoes the same sentiments when discussing segregation prior to the 80’s.
African Americans and Caucasian students are both in this AP Literature class, but African Americans can be seen sitting on one side of the class while Caucasians sit on a different side. No one in U. City is forced to be separated by his or her race, but students often self segregate. From left to right, seniors Michelle Hodge, Connor Crowe, Autumn Jacobs, Ellie McCray, Abby Shea, Sam Katz, and Luke Babich.
“People feel more comfortable with people of their same race,” said Sarah Stricklin. “There’s the same music, same activities.” Mostly blacks sit at this table on “A” lucnh. From left to right: Malik Mumun, Amani Borders, Andrew Taylor, Ashley White, and Raheem Tolbert.
“Something is not happening in the homes or in the schools, but this disparity cannot be allowed to continue,” said Black. “This country needs the best out of all our children and adults. Recognition is the first step with coming to grips with obstacles and problems.” Black, who created the Academic U awards 25 years ago and was the president of U. City’s Parent Teacher Organization while his son was a student in U. City, continues to act as an advocate towards decreasing the achievement gap between African Americans and Caucasians. At lunch, whites and blacks often sit at segregated tables. Around the table sits juniors Jacob Stueck, Jacob Hammond, Carl Sechrist, Kyle Wagner, Mike Sarber and Sam Polzin. PHOTOS BY CAROLINE MARTINEZ
U-Times December 2011
Social status depends on your friends Antone Hayes and Gabrielle Davis some people, there are others who stand alone Staff Writers and really don’t care about the situation. Determining what makes a teenager or “I feel like I am alone and don’t need nostudent popular is a complex process. A body to tell me who I am and what I am,” said few things to consider are whether or not a Junior LaRon Eason. “I am thoroughly bread.” The relationships a person may be in student is an athlete or is involved in other In a U-Times survey students were asked to How much money a person has extracurricular activities. Popularity is also confidentially mark the factors that determines often related to the clothes an individual popularity from a scale ranging from one to six A person’s looks wears, who a persons hangs out with, and (one being the lowest rating). The most com5% 8% with whom she or he is in a relationship. mon response was that the people a person 22% “I think there is a such thing as being pop- The clothing a person wears associates with are the greatest factor in deterular and being lame because if you are really mining popularity. A person’s looks and the 18% athletic, dress good and you go to parties, clothes a person wears were also factors that then you are known,” said senior Nelson Adranked high in establishing status. kins. “I think I am the most popular person The least important aspects in determining 33% 12% in the school (LOL),” said Adkins. popularity among the given options were the Although popularity is important to some sports a student plays, how much money a students, there are also some who think it is student has, and the relationship a student pointless. may be in. Although these ratings were lower “I think people are all equal and there is than the rest, they were still voted upon in Sports a person may play no such thing as being popular and being high numbers. People you associate with lame,” said senior Cierra Mitchell. Conspicuously absent from the survey were Survey conducted in November 2011 of 100 students. PIE CHART BY LISA PARKER. Many students believe that being “popuany questions about academics. It is possible lar” and being “lame” could go both ways. that one’s attention to academic success could be people and a lot of people know you, you can still be “I think that you can be lame and popular at the same lame by doing lame stuff,” said senior Derriante Gaddy. more important in determining status than the other time, because even though you might know a lot of more superficial categories. Even though being popular or lame is important to
WHAT MAKES A PERSON POPULAR?
Lack of sex education in school curriculum Con’t from page one Because it is not part of the curriculum, sex education is not really covered in U. City’s health class. “They tell us to use condoms, but then they don’t teach us how to use them,” said senior Dominique Patrick. The curriculum at U. City has not been changed in the past six years even though it is lacking in information regarding sex education and a number of students get pregnant at U. City High every year. “We have had freshmen girls come in here and they’ve already had a child,” said Tuegel. Esther Wilkinson, who teaches Child Development, said she usually has one or two girls who are pregnant or have already had a child in her class. Some of these students struggle to come to school and finish their education. Wilson does not believe students at U. City have an adequate understanding of sex. “They need to have a better program in place for them,” said Wilson. “I think students in high school know the consequences [regarding sex], but don’t understand them.” Wilson said that when students tell her they are pregnant, she doesn’t give them any options. “They have to make that decision themselves. That’s why I refer them to places like Planned Parenthood or the County Health Department,” said Wilson. “Most students decide to keep the baby anyway.” One such instance of this is senior Jamecah Murphy, who has decided to keep her child. Last year there were 16 prenant teenagers in U. City, according to district records. In recent years, the numbers have basically flatlined. “Being a pregnant teenager was never how I pictured
myself being at this age,” said Murphy. “But I’m going to live with my decisions and try and make the best of it.” Murphy and her boyfriend, senior Markus Jones, have been together for five years and are very committed to being the best parents they can be. “I don’t want people to feel bad for us or look down on us for making a mistake because we are prepared for the challenges that we will have to overcome,” said Jones. Wilson tells students who are pregnant that they will need additional support besides their girlfriends. “I think they [students] feel comfortable talking with us [school nurses]. I try not to steer them in the wrong direction,” said Wilson. The school’s nurse gives students a confidential place to speak about their concerns with their body, but the school has no actual class where students can learn about sexuality. Perhaps it is time that the problem of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases is addressed. Although the ABC (Abstinence by Choice) program, which promotes abstinence, has been in place in U. City for a number of years, there is no program that teaches students about how to have a healthy sexual life or about the physical and emotional implications of having sex. The ABC program’s funding from the government was also cut, which has not helped to improve this program. “They need to cover more,” said Wilson. “They really don’t even talk about sexual choices. Now the real question is--it’s not what we want; it’s what the community wants--are they truly willing to support this?” Wilkinson agreed and said, “They [the school district] should look at birth control and dangers of unproteced sex.”
Kinesis Concert Dec. 10 Sophomores Tyrell Patrick and Uriah Davis, from Dance 4-5 partnered for a performance. “They worked really hard to get a feeling of togetherness,” said dance teacher Ms. Morgan. PHOTO BY KAICEE WOODS
U-Times December 2011
Morgan stresses technique William Mitchell Sports Editor The art of dance is not only a hobby but a lifestyle for U. City dance instructor Heidi Morgan. Possessing an enormous appetite for dance, Morgan has taken on the responsibilities of being the choreographer and dance director of the kinesis dance club and the spring musical. Morgan was born in Minneapolis, MN but raised right here in U. City. She began to love dance at a very young age. “I started when I was five, but took four years off between 6th and 10th grade,” said Ms. Morgan. Taking this time off was a huge mistake, she says, believing that these
are some of the most crucial years for the development of dance in children. However, this short break from dance did not stop her. With encouragement from her parents, her biggest influence as a dancer, she returned to dancing. “They have always worked hard and encouraged love and understanding for all,” said Morgan about her parents. She later came across her first teaching experience as a sophomore in college and took to it immediately. Morgan has developed a love for seeing students become interested in dance and the desire to pursue futures in the arts. “Always put your heart and soul into your work,” said Morgan.
Tionne Thomas, senior, who is in Morgan’s fourth hour class takes her advice and believes Morgan takes dance to a new level for everyone. “... Technique, technique, technique,” said Thomas who also takes dance outside of school. “She helps me to better my technique and prefect my dance movements,” When dance is not the sole focus of her life, her husband, Eric Morgan, and their 8-year old son, Jeffery, occupy Ms. Morgan’s time. She enjoys supporting her husband, Coach Morgan, with the U. City wrestling team and her son with his various sports activities. She also enjoys antique shopping during her spare time.
Dance teacher Ms. Morgan demonstrates one of her techniques. PHOTO BY WILLIAM MITCHELL
Cyber bullying on the rise with use of Facebook, Twitter Leah Booker Staff Writer Megan Meier is a 13-year old who committed suicide. She hung herself in her room, due to a boy named Josh who she talked to on MySpace for more than a month before he ended their friendship, telling her that she was cruel. Meier’s parents found out six weeks later that the MySpace profile was created by a parent who lived in their neighborhood, which is in St. Louis County. The neighbor created this profile because she wanted to find out what Megan was saying online about her own child. Meier’s story is extreme, but other young people have suffered from cyber bullying on their favorite social networks. According to www.cyberbullyingstatistics.org, over half of adolescents
and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying. “I think you have a social networking site like Facebook people can abuse it,” said principal Dayle Burgdorf. “We have teenagers that are on that site all the time and there are more chances for comments to be made. I think that some people talk on Facebook and don’t even actually realize that they’re bullying.” Administration is starting to address bullying at our school by having gender meetings with freshman, but the school doesn’t have an active “no bullying” campaign. It is much easier today to intimidate people over the Internet or Twitter because so many people have access to smart phones and computers and spend
quite a bit of time sending texts, checking statuses and tweets. “Internet bullying happens more because people talk about each other a lot but don’t have the nerve to let other people know that they are talking about them so instead they just post it over the Internet,” said junior Antwon Miller. In the meantime, well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs, according to www.cyberbullyingstatistics.org, Mr. Beezley, counselor, was once physically bullied as a child and believes an individual must know what bullying actually is before it can be recognized as happening in your environment. “Most bullies have been bullied, so that makes them think that it’s fine,” said Beezley. “Some people who lack self
esteem sometimes bully others to feel more important.” According to www.cyberbullying. com, about half of young people have experienced some form of cyber bullying and 10 to 20 percent experience it regularly. “A good piece of advice to give someone who is being bullied is always find a trusted adult because sometimes your peers say they have your best interest but it’s sometimes hard to keep your trust in them,” said support counselor Ms. Essex. “Adults know who to contact. Never be silent and never be intimidated, don’t feel ashamed because it’s happened to a lot of us.”
Profile of the artist as young man William Mitchell Sports Editor
Junior Roosevelt Posely shares one of his drawings, titled “Alliance,” with junior Cortese Mitchell.
““Whatever dream that you have, pursue it to the fullest,” said junior Roosevelt Posley. Roosevelt, a current U. City artist and student, aspires to make his dream, which was formed during his childhood days, a reality in the world of art. Watching the artistic abilities of cartoonist on anime shows including the Looney Tunes, Dragon ball Z and Doug inspired him, though his biggest art influence is Japanese artist Tite Kubo. Currently in Ms. Claunch’s drawing class to improve his overall skills, art is one of the most important aspects of his life. He is most interested in painting. Posely said, “There is a lot more color combos and it definitely takes skill to do all of them with a paint
brush.” Posley wants to work for the comic company Dark Horse, the creators of movie based comic stories such as Blade, HellBoy and Sin City. Since it is Posely’s junior year, he is applying to The Art Institute of Chicago and looking into several other colleges and universities that specialize in art to seek further understanding of art. “I’m planning to make art a career,” said Posely. “I would love to see my art come to life in a T.V. show one day.” When he is not creating art, Posely is envisioning his next masterpiece or relaxing with his family and friends. With much support from his friends and family he strides forward toward his dream. “A few words that describe his art are creative and traumatic,” said junior Kory Smith. “They just go hard.”
U-Times December 2011
Payne breaks gender barriers By Alex Phillips Photo Editor The return of some of last years wrestlers including seniors Tarique Jefferson and Linden Peoples bring promise to this new season according to new team members like senior Dante McKinnie. This year’s team looks solid with about 12 wrestlers, including a girl, senior Brooklyn Payne. Payne has some female company from Merinda Morley, junior, who acts as the student manager and also works out with the team. Payne is an active student athlete who plays field hockey in the fall and became involved with wrestling this winter for the first time. Morley, like Payne, also plays
field hockey, and is part of U. City’s soccer team. “I love doing wrestling and the exercise will help me prepare physically for college field hockey,” said Payne. The fact that wrestling is a predominately male sport has not scared away these two ladies who have embraced this sport with their full commitment. “I’m tough enough to handle anything,” said Payne.”Yet I don’t recommend this sport to other girls, unless you are tough enough to handle the physicality.” Sometimes the pain involved in wrestling will be so intense that it will make wrestlers want to quit, but the rewards of this sport are
worthwhile for wrestlers, especially for those who, like Payne, have parents who are very supportive. “There was several times when I wanted to quit, yet, I did not,” said Payne. “I do it for my dad who comes to practice, and has assisted me with learning moves and techniques that helped him get his massive collection of medals.” Head Coach Eric Morgan is excited to see the results of his hard work and dedication. “I make champions. That’s what I do,” said Morgan. Morgan has coached many successful athletes, including state finalists such as Jeremiah Hathorne, Tarique Jefferson and 2010 state champion Demarco Kemp.
Senior Brooklyn Payne takes down fellow wrestler Tarique Jefferson. “Wrestling Tarique is super hard because he has so much experience and he’s bigger than me,” Payne says. PHOTO BY ABBY MUTRUX
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Companionship strengthens team
By Julian Johnson Photo Editor
The bond between players in U. City’s basketball team is very powerful and has increased the chances of their success on the court. This solid bond is one of the strongest features of the team. “We have a lot of team chemistry. We are all brothers and we do it for each other,” said forward senior Jeff McGhee. McGhee has been playing basketball since the age of 5, and he has been playing for U. City since his freshman year. “I consider it an honor to play on the team and to be able to represent my school and my teammates in a positive way,” said McGhee. “Jeff is an amazing player. He is
“The best part was towards the end of the second quarter,” says senior Travon Williams about U. City’s game against CBC. “We made a run going into half time; that’s when I thought we had hope.” PHOTOS BY MADELINE LEWIS AND KAICEE WOODS
very humble and a great person to be around, on and off the court,” said junior Asia Garrison who is the team’s manager. McGhee’s great love for basketball has helped him form a strong relationship with his teammates. “We are like family. We are all brothers,” McGhee said. Team members view each other as a family, and they use this special bond to motivate one another on and off the court. “The U.City atmosphere is great for turning young men into successful adult athletes,” said Head Coach David Gammon, “and with having such a great group of guys, I am sure that we will have a great season.” Gammon has high expectations for the freshman, junior varsity,
Darnel Tillman has been playing basketball for one year in U. City and belongs to U. City’s varsity team. “Defense is the strongest part of the team,” says Tillman.
and varsity teams. “All three teams look very solid, and I expect all three levels will experience a great deal of success,” said Gammon. One of the returning student athletes is shooting guard senior Maurice Washington who has high hopes for this year’s varsity team. “This year we are going to pass our 17-11 record with a 20-5 record,” said Washington. Last year Maurice transferred from Bishop DuBourg Catholic School after his freshman and sophomore year. During his junior year he played varsity for U. City with teammates who have known each other since middle school. played varsity for U. City with teammates who have known each other since middle school.
Avion Ashford, number 33, has been playing basketball since his freshmen year. “It was a good game,” Ashford says about the game against Normandy. “We kept the lead and ended winning.”