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Volume 51 Issue 6

February 8, 2013



? e d i s n I s ’ t a h W


Champion gymnast Haylee Young competes nationally Profile page 12

Exploding your Twitter feed all day every day. FunnyMemePics Profile page 12

Set your budget back on track Lifestyle page 7

Twitter: @valleyspotlight

Pages 8-9

Find more basketball pictures on our Facebook page

Facebook: Valley spotlight



The other side of steriods Cook and dine By Jenna Baldus

By Meghan Munch

Over the past years, society has put increased pressure on teens to excel in the categories of looks and athletics. Steroids were originally prescribed to men who could not produce enough testosterone. The most common use for these hormones now is using them illegally. Athletes sometimes use steroids to enhance their muscles and performances. People use steroids without considering the consequences. An example of a bad side effect is hirsute, which is an extreme amount of hair growth. Another possible unpleasant result is weight gain. The fat gained from the steroids often creates a buffalo hump, which is fat in the back of the neck. Steroid fat also goes to the face and stomach. Along with the weight gain is the possibility of drastic mood swings like nervousness, irritability, and restlessness. Osteoporosis is the thinning

of the bones. Steroids can cause this to occur faster and stronger than normal. At Valley, there have been rumors of students using steroids. Dzenaela Dogic was asked her opinion of steroids and she said, “It’s their choice, steroids can either help or destroy a person. Steroids may help a person now, but in the future it could completely change them for the bad.” With all the bad side effects that occur with steroids, there are also some good results that appear when taking the drugs. The most desired effect of steroids is increased athletic performance. Steroids increase muscle power, performance level and help mentally prepare athletes for the games. The other effect is a strong sex drive, which is self explanatory. However, even with the positive effects that occur when taking them, steroids are still illegal.

#Solastyear By Sarah Bell

With the decrease in Facebook’s popularity, a new social networking site is becoming more “cool.” Over the last month alone, Facebook has seen a 1.1 percent drop in U.S. users. Although Facebook is still the number one social networking site, its popularity is decreasing. Facebook’s biggest competition is Twitter. Sophomore Anna Mable started using Twitter about two years ago, “It’s just easier to use, and more of my friends use it too.” Facebook is now being compared to the MySpace networking site whose popularity also plummeted. Facebook may still be the number one social networking site, according to some analysts, but not for long. Social networking analyst, Sam Laird thinks that Facebook will be “dead” by the year 2020. In order to retain its current users, Facebook creators have tried to provide innovative services and change its structure to keep things new and interesting. For instance, last year all Facebook users were required to adopt the “timeline” system on their homepage. The timeline feature organizes a user’s activity in chronological order. “I don’t like timeline on Facebook, it’s annoying and they didn’t need to do it,” said sophomore Nikki Sandhu. According to sophomore Dinka Brdar, Facebook’s privacy issues are more annoying than the timeline features. Brdar uses Facebook to keep in touch with friends, but she says that she is “tired of the constant updates for the privacy settings. The privacy settings change all of the time and I’m not even sure I know how all of them work.” Twitter’s focus is on daily events and commentary about the events in comparison to Facebook’s social connections. Sophomore Anna Mable said that she uses Facebook to periodically check in with friends but she uses Twitter daily to see what is trending. Twitter isn’t only used to follow friends and family, but it’s also used to follow actors, singers, comedians and athletes. Even President Obama and Pope Benedict XVI post tweets. Sometimes, it even pays off to follow media stars. Fans of Ellen DeGeneres’ twitter feed have even been

Twitter trumps Facebook

invited to attend her show. Social media can not only attract fans of singers, actors, and atheletes, but it can also be for educational rather than just for purely social purposes. In Mrs. Bird’s Digital Communications Tools classes, students are encouraged to communicate through Twitter. The students discuss class topics via tweeting. “More schools and colleges are starting to do this, and it’s a good way to interact with peers who you may not know,” said Bird. However, she also explained that some students think that tweeting shouldn’t involve school topics, or that it’s not cool. Twitter is rapidly gaining popularity, and perhaps it’s just a matter of time before the next newest and greatest social media format is developed. As long as there is creative computer talent, there will no doubt be more innovative formats for people to test.

Phase one of the extensive construction project is technically complete, but such large feats do not come without criticism and comparison. Some culinary arts students find that the old classrooms may have been more conventional than the new. Excitement and frustration are both evident in the hearts of students and teachers, including Mrs. Carmen Clark. “The construction is not complete; everything is not working just yet.” The renovated space allows the classes to have more storage spaces. “A bigger storage place to put the pots, pans, plates, and other cooking utensils are now available,” said junior Dzenaela Dogic about the new classrooms. As the cabinet space grew, the classroom size shrank. “The old rooms had more room to bake, measure, and to do your work,” said Dzenaela. “The new rooms are smaller and do not allow a lot of space to do really anything.” The limited food storage options are a major concern for Ms. Clark. “Refrigeration and space issues have been our biggest issue.” The benefits of the new classrooms are that, “We got all new gas ranges, washers and dryers, and a refrigerator and a freezer,” said Ms. Clark. The new equipment fits the new room, but not all equipment is working correctly yet. The new equipment promises a positive outcome. “The area

looks great,” said Ms. Clark. “When everything gets up and running it will be great!” Along with an updated kitchen and new foods room, Café V also received a new look and feel. “The restaurant has actual sets of chairs and tables, along with a booth,” said Dzenaela. Café V was updated and renovated, but due to a lack of students signed up for the class this semester, it is not currently serving guests. “It really looks like a restaurant now,” said Ms. Clark. With a separate room for Café V in the new building, students will be able to focus and serve their guests without having others disrupting them. Foods students like the more updated equipment and feel. “It helps with the cooking,” said junior Kyle Ledosquet. “It also has a modern industrial look which makes it feel like a professional grade kitchen.” “Come check it out anytime,” said Ms. Clark. “We are a little hard to find but it is worth the trip.” Walking into the new cafeteria doors, Café V will be the first door/classroom by the doors. Photo Credit to Jenna Baldus


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Photo Credit to Sarah Bell

Sophomore Dinka Brdar checks her twitter daily to see what her friends are saying and what’s trending. “I love to get on twitter and see what’s happening. I have been getting on twitter more than Facebook lately,” said Dinka.

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2 News

February 8th, 2012

New Legislation Avoids Fiscal Cliff By Jenni Aldrich

2013: a new year, new beginnings, and a new budget. President Obama signed legislation to avert the fiscal cliff into law on January 2, 2013 after negotiating with the Republicancontrolled House of Representatives and the Democratic-controlled Senate for several months. The bill was signed at the very last minute in order to not send the United States into another economic recession and possible depression. There are many details to the law but a few major provisions. The law postponed the sequestration, which is a mandatory 10% spending cuts for all federal government programs except Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The law also restored the Bush tax cuts for people making over $400,000 a year. The top 2% of Americans are now taxed the previous rates of up to 39%. Avoiding the fiscal cliff was a worry to many Americans, but now that the legislation is in place, Americans have mixed feelings about the bill. According to a survey of 1,026 American adults from com, 27% of Republicans approve of the fiscal cliff agreement, 39% of Independents approve of the fiscal cliff agreement, and 67% of democrats approve of the fiscal cliff agreement. The bill was approved by a strong vote in the Senate 89-8, but by a narrower margin in the House with a vote of 257-167. Although Americans feel more negative than positive about

AP classes: Challenges and Stress

By Katie Galles

how government leaders handled the negotiation, President Obama and Vice President Biden just about break even with Obama having a 46% approval for the deal and a 48% disapproval. Biden received almost the exact same ration. Americans were particularly negative on the work of Speaker of the House John Boehner who received a 31% approval and a 50% disapproval rating. There was also a significant “no opinion” rating for all three leaders, according to the poll. While the country has avoided a debt crisis, there is still more work to be done with the budget. President Obama plans to continue to reform different national programs and make prudent cuts in spending. Although the fiscal cliff has been avoided, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure economic prosperity for America.

Photo credit to

President Obama signs in the new fiscal cliff bill on January 3, 2013. Obama comprised with both Democrats and Republicans to settle on the bill.

As AP classes grow in popularity among American high schools, controversy has begun to rise. While some advocate these high-level classes, others question the effectiveness of AP programs. According to The National Honors and Merit Scholars Society, AP classes are helpful in providing students with academic recognition that leads to impressive high school transcripts and college scholarships. These potential benefits have encouraged students like sophomore AP student, Clara Ortgies to enroll in these high-level classes. “I want to get college credit,” said Ortgies. “Plus AP classes prepare you for college and life later on.” Supporters of the AP route also point at the financial benefits of taking college-level courses in high school. “Taking AP classes saves money because you don’t have to take them in college,” said AP sophomore Anna Davidson. Valley Associate Principal and AP advocate Rob Boley, claims that AP classes allow students to see what classes will be like in college. “Everyone should push themselves and take something to stretch their abilities,” said Boley. “High School is a safe place to do that.” On the other hand, those who oppose the AP program claim that AP courses are a waste of time and stress. They explain that once students finish high school, they often come to realize that the colleges that they want to attend do not accept credit hours from many high school AP classes. This is especially common at America’s top universities, where AP credits are seldom accepted. For example, the renowned Stanford University in California does not accept AP credit hours for common Advanced Placement courses including AP Biology, AP US History, and AP World History. Another proclaimed downside to AP classes involves credit hours that allow high school students to opt out of college courses. In an article written in The Atlantic, former high

Photo Credit to Katie Galles

Sophomore AP student, Clara Ortgies, studies for AP European History. “I like to challenge myself,” said Clara. “It prepares me for the future.”

school teacher and college professor, John Tierney, explained that AP courses allow students to opt out of introductory courses once in college. However, these students often find that they are better off taking these introductory classes, which often include material that is not covered in high school AP classes. “AP classes are difficult and stressful,” said AP sophomore Camryn Dreyer. This is a belief among students in the AP community that has raised a question regarding the effectiveness of taking Advanced Placement courses. With prestigious colleges rejecting many AP credit hours and introductory college classes becoming more important to take, are these rigorous classes really worth the time and stress? As the debate continues, students have to decide if the AP route is right for them. Senior Robbie Bonus, who has experience in AP classes, has some advice for those considering the AP track. “Make sure that you are interested in the AP class that you take and that you can handle the stress that comes with a college-level class,” said Robbie. “If you can, then take them because AP classes are weighted to give you a 5.0 on your transcript if you get an A in the class.” Physical and sexual abuse is the most often talked about piece of dating abuse. -1 in 5 teens that have been in a serious relationship report being hit, slapped, or pushed by a partner. -1 in 3 teenagers report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, choked or physically hurt by their partner.

But dating abuse doesn’t have to be physical. It can include verbal and emotional abuse and controlling behaviors. -More than 1 in 4 teenage girls in a relationship report enduring repeated verbal abuse. -One-third or more of teens who have been in a relationship have been with a partner who frequently asked where they were and whom they were with. -1 in 4 teens who have been in a serious relationship say their boyfriend or girlfriend has tried to prevent them from spending time with friends or family; the same number have been pressured to only spend

time with their partner. -Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend had threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a break-up. As technologies like cell phones and social networking become the norm for communication, they can also be used to abuse and control. -One in three teens (30%) say they are text messaged 10, 20, or 30 times an hour by a partner inquiring where they are, what they’re doing, or who they’re with. -68% of teens say boyfriends/girlfriends sharing private or embarrassing pictures/videos on cell phones and computers is a serious problem. -71% of teens regard boyfriends/girlfriends spreading rumors about them on cell phones and social networking sites as a serious problem. Source: Teenage Research Unlimited (

Spotlight Opinion 5 what's Shakin' Bacon? Shedding Light L-O- V- E. Four, very simple letters added up to make one of the most complex words. It is an emotion so great that it would be a blessing just to get to experience it once in a lifetime. But it seems nowadays, that it is becoming more a thing of the past, especially with divorce rates going through the roof. People are throwing love around so easily that you can never actually know if it is true or not. That being said, is it possible to experience it when you’re only sixteen? Or is what you think is a “love” actually just a “like”. Saying “I love you” has always been built up to be this huge event that is supposed to completely solidify a relationship. It is supposed to tell the other person that you have no doubts about them and that you’re all in. But what happens if you say it and you aren’t actually laying all your cards on the table? What if you’re just saying “I love you” in hopes of hearing it back so that you know you’re worth being loved at all? This question lands on the very heart of our self-worth and our self-confidence. If we aren’t able to look in the mirror and see how amazing and beautiful/handsome we are, how is it possible for someone else to see it for us? Being in love with our self comes before we allow someone else to be in love with us. We can’t let another human being be the main source of our confidence; we have to find that within us first. Of course, with Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, being single may feel like the end of the world. And it is very possible to feel like finding your confidence is never going to happen, but that doesn’t mean we have to make a flying leap into the arms of the next guy or girl who might be willing to show us that we’re worth it. Being single on Valentine’s Day is totally okay. It doesn’t mean we aren’t good enough it and it certainly doesn’t mean that we aren’t loved. All it means is that we are still looking for the perfect person to say “I love you too,” and mean it.

Obama: Cutting Self Protection?

What teacher would you trust the most with a gun? By Aaron Bell

Junior Ben Pollack “I would trust Mr. Kelly with a gun because he was stabbed. If he can take a knife, he could definitely take a bullet.”

By Devin Pickering

The Second Amendment right gives citizens of the United States the right to possess firearms for reasons of self and home defense, collection, and for the formation of a militia. On December 14th, 2012, Adam Lanza ran into Sandy Hook Elementary School with his mother’s Bushmaster assault rifle and proceeded to murder 20 children and six teachers, along with his mother and himself. This is not the first civilian who has taken a weapon and killed innocent citizens, and unfortunately, probably won’t be the last. “We have a violence on the streets that is the result of illegal handgun usage,” President Barack Obama said at a press conference. “And so I think there is nothing wrong with a community saying we are going to take those illegal handguns off the streets.” The president plans to change the Second Amendment right, and has made threats of initializing an executive order, which bypasses congress’ vote on the bill. This executive order will restrict the purchasing of certain items such as high powered assault rifles, large clip magazines, and ar-

mor-piercing full metal jacket ammunition. The use of an executive order takes the voting out of democracy, and turns the leader, in this case, the president, into a dictator. “Just like speeding limits, there’s always going to be someone who speeds,” senior Daniel Oakes said. “I say let people have their guns but they need to have background checks and mental evaluations.” If the new bill gets passed and made into a law, it will affect mostly collectors and large-game hunters using assault rifles. The argument to taking away these prohibited items is that no matter what laws, enforcement, or bans, people will always find a way to acquire these items. Citizens of the United States should be able to purchase any items that they can afford, whether they’re that high powered assault rifles, fully automatic rifles, 25 round banana clips, or even armor-piercing bullets. Who is one man to tell people what they can and cannot own? The land of the free is becoming a prison of restrictions and false freedom.

Senior Cory Warner “I would trust Mr. Young with a gun because I think he would shoot a man right where it counts...if you know what I mean.”

Junior Mackenzie Main “I would trust Mr. Mollison with a gun because he’s just huge. Have you seen him?!”

Spotlight is a publication of the students of Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Avenue, West Des Moines, Iowa, 50266. Advertising can be purchased at 515-633-4059. Spotlight strives to inform readers of current news and social issues affecting the lives of Valley High School students. As indicated in the Freedom of Expression policy, Spotlight will not print obscene, libelous or malicious material. Letters to the Editor, guest articles and editorials, etc., are highly encouraged but must be submitted to a member of the staff at least one week prior to publication. All letters must be signed with a specific name and not a group, unless prior permission has been obtained by the Spotlight adviser. Spotlight reserves the right to edit all letters for space available. Spotlight is a member of the Quill and Scroll Society, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the National Scholastic Press Association and the Iowa High School Press Association. Any questions or comments pertaining to Spotlight may be dropped off in Room 137 at Valley High School. If you have an article you would like to have published, please contact editor-in-chief Kelly Reeve or Mrs. Hicks in Room 137. Aaron S p o t l i g h t h a s r e c e i v e d T h e I n t e r n a t i o n a l F i r s t P l a c e Aw a r d f r o m Q u i l l a n d S c r o l l , F i r s t P l a c e Aw a r Photo d f rCredit o mtoA m eBell rican Scholastic Press Association , First Class Award with distinction in writing and editing from the Nation al Scholastic Press Association and First Class Rating from the National Scholastic Press Association (2012).

Editor-in-Chief: Kelly Reeve Page Editors: Jenna Baldus- News , Madison Ward-Entertainment, Aaron Bell-Opinion, Jacob Bernhard-Sports Brianna Miller -Front Page, Renu Suddapalli- Feature, Ashley Skokan- Profiles Jenni Aldrich-Lifestyle, Kayleigh Pollock- Spotshots, Devin Pickering- Webmaster, Leah Thompson- Ad Coordinator Staff Reporters: Gracie Cobb, Brock Rustin, Meghan Munch, Taylor Mankle, Sarah Bell, Katie Galles Adviser: Mrs. Hicks



From The Halls:

What is the most disgusting or gross thing you have ever seen? By Aaron Bell

“I was at a pet store, and there was a guy standing by the fish tank that had goldfish in it. He stuck his hand in and grabbed one, and then Senior Cole Murphy stuck it in his mouth.” “I was at the mall in 9th grade, and I saw a guy walk into Victoria Secret, grab a pair of underwear, put it to his face and Senior Katelyn Strauss sniff it until someone told him to stop.”

Junior Emily Roose

“I was outside with my neighbor and he stepped in dog poop, and then he picked it out of his shoe with his fingers and tried to flick it all over me.”

“In ninth grade I saw Kevin McGlauighlin’s one long nipple hair after basketball practice. I plucked it out and ran Senior Dan Myers around.”

Senior Riley Kirk

“I saw Marcus Lattimore hyperextend his knee to the point that he kicked himself in face. It was the most gruesome thing i’ve seen.”

February 8, 2012

Security Measures: I.D. Cards and Personal Escorts By Sarah Bell As a student, I want to focus on my schoolwork and academics rather than worrying about where my student ID card is located. When I walk through the doors, I want to know that I’ll be in a safe learning environment, but I also don’t want to feel like I’m entering a prison-like facility. Sometimes, I think that our safety and security rules go too far. For instance, having suspension points assigned or receiving a Saturday school for not having my ID card with me seems rather harsh. The main reason students are required to have their ID cards when entering the school is to ensure that anyone entering is a student of Valley. In previous situations, non-Valley students have tried to visit our school. “It was during homecoming week when two Valley students asked me if there were new students here from Florida. Immediately, I knew there weren’t, and those non-Valley students turned out to be a 22 year-old and a 23 year-old from Florida and Tennessee!” associate principal Mr. Maxwell said. To prevent non-Valley students from entering the building, more security guards were hired and placed throughout the building. “I want to ensure students’ safety, but I don’t want them to

Photo Credit to Sarah Bell Senior Kathleen Fallon’s ID card gets checked by security guard Mr. John Yoder before she is allowed into the school. Many students think having ID cards is a great security measure at school. This helps to prevent students from other schools from being admitted entrance into Valley.

think they are in a prison.” explained Maxwell. When a student walks in the building through any door during the day, they are required to show their ID to the guard. It may seem like security is strict at Valley, but fortunately for us it’s nothing compared to John Jay High School

and Anson Jones Middle School in San Antonio, Texas. Students at these schools are required to wear a microchip implanted ID card at all times while on school grounds. The students who refuse to wear the ID cards say that they face harassment from teachers and administrators. Non-conforming students have also been banned from certain school activities, and from being allowed in common areas such as the lunchroom and library. An ID card that tracks your every move is too intrusive and invades your privacy. I know that if I were told I had to wear one, I would complain and hesitate to wear it. I think a new security system should be considered. A potential system could incorporate the use of card readers where students either swipe their IDs before entering the school or could enter their student number into the reader. There would need to be multiple readers so that students would not be delayed when entering the building. I understand that until a different method is devised for verifying a student’s identity, we all need to appreciate the fact that we have a safe learning environment. The next time I walk through Valley’s doors, I may be irritated as I search for my student ID, but I will grin and bear it.

Changed for the Better By Leah Thompson Johnston school district came up with enough money for each high school student to use iPads to access “21st century technology.” Only to be used for educational purposes, each student from grades 10-12 are given an iPad with a case and other accessories that are provided by the school. The students aren’t just handed these iPads to take home, they have to follow a number of rules to make sure they use them only for educational purposes, especially when a teacher needs the technology to help explain a confusing situation. Some of the classrooms in the West Des Moines district have iPads as

Bi-polar school By Leah Thompson

This infograph represents a rough sketch of how the school isn’t really consistent with the temperature, leaving the student body and faculty either freezing to death or dying from heat exhaustion. Most students have to bring a sweatshirt to keep warm around the new cafeteria, but try not to pass out at the gym and pool. If we can afford to get a new cafeteria and auditorium, then it’s possible that the heating and cooling systems could be enhanced. Wouldn’t it be nice to just have one consistent temperature range, so we didn’t have to deal with being so uncomfortable in school?

well. This school year, students that are enrolled in Chinese classes and digital communiation tools classes have access to iPads. Some classrooms are also allowed three iPads, if the teacher wants them in the classroom and has invested their time to take a special class. Just to think that each student has an iPad at Johnston makes me think that our student body has to be in a “special class” in order to get an iPad. What about those who don’t have the chance to go out to buy either an iPad or computer because it’s too expensive? Why can’t our school district come up with enough money for Apple to provide iPads for those students who don’t

have access to technology on a daily basis? Think of the educational apps that are out there: teachers talking to students by putting assignments on the schedule for the upcoming week (Edmodo), or just having the student take a picture of the assignment for further information online (Evernote). Since every teacher wants their student to succeed, why can’t the school provide the “updated technology?” Students would show more interest if they have access to cool technology. This generation is so technologically advanced, why can’t our school have that opportunity to take part?

When Money Gets Tight By Kelly Reeve

Immigrant workers and college graduates Juggling friends, sports, school take lower income positions that high and having fun is not only time consuming, school students would normally hold bebut it can be costly. According to the Washcause these older people face difficulty ington Times, the job market for teenagfinding jobs specific to their interests or ers is down 16% since 1990. Now in 2013, training. many high school students find it difficult The most popular employment to earn money. Most teens live with their opportunities for high school students parents and do not have to pay for things may be grocery stores because of the like rent or food, but it is necessary to keep availability of jobs. track of a budget in Most low income and order to save money minimum wage posifor the future, pay tions can be filled by for weekend enterstudents, but the comtainment, occasional petition is high for almeals, and other exmost any job. penses. The best way to get "I spend a job is to have good most of my money background experion shoes! I love buyence and/or be ining new shoes and I volved in activities in love when I can get school. Employers want them on sale!" senior to know as much about Alexis Smith said. At a person's work ethic, some point, most skills, personality, and parents stop paying character as possible for things like shoes before they hire anyand clothes, gas, car one. They can only see payments, and enterthose things through tainment. But how are activities and previhigh school students supposed Alexis Smith kept track of her expenses for an entire ous jobs held. month as an assignment for her economics class. “I If students to earn money learned that I should save more money,” said Alexis. have jobs, they can for these things if do more spend- ing. The top items they have a hard time finding job opportuthat students spend money on, accordnities? ing to economics teacher, Mrs. Ehlert, are "Fewer than three in 10 American food, clothes, and entertainment related teenagers now hold jobs such as running things. cash registers, mowing lawns or busing Mrs. Ehlert's advice for students restaurant tables from June to August," includes, "being aware of the elements said Hope Yen in USA Today. The article of a budget." She encourages students to later goes on to say that the sharp decline save money, be aware of spending, and be in teen jobs is mainly due to the recession. cautious of credit debt.




The Ag Team By Kelly Reeve

Photo credit to Jonah Jensen Seniors Bre Bagby, Jonah Jensen, Lee Thomsen, and Porshea Smith are students of the AgScience program at Central Campus. “As a part of the AgScience program, you are enrolled in the National FFA Organization which is one of the biggest youth leadership programs in the country that is based around Agriculture. You learn how to grow your leadership skills and you also get to meet many new people!” said Jonah.

Digging in dirt and tending to farm animals is not a normal part of a typical school day, but for some students, it is a passion and part of education. Seniors Jonah Jensen, Bre Bagby, Porshea Smith, and Lee Thomsen attend Agricultural-Science classes as a part of Central Campus. Every weekday, these four students travel to Central's farm located on the County Line Road near the Blank Park Zoo. "My favorite thing about the program is the irony of it. We're a bunch of city kids learning about agriculture. It's cool to be able to watch and be a part of so many kids branching out and finding a niche in agriculture, whereas they couldn't at their home school," said Lee Thomsen. As part of the Ag-Science program, students take Animal Science and Horticulture classes and are enrolled in the National FFA organization which was previously the Future Farmers of America (FFA), but now includes all forms of agriculture. The FFA is one of the largest leadership programs for youth working in agriculture in the country. The four Valley students join approximately 140 other students from the metro area that range from sophomores to seniors. On a daily basis, students work with barn animals including sheep, cattle, and various smaller animals. They also learn about and work in their 10,000 square foot horticulture greenhouse. When students are not doing hands on work, they spend

small amounts of time in classrooms at the farm. "I chose to take the Ag-Science classes at Central Campus because I have always been interested in Agriculture and I want to pursue a career in the AgBusiness sector of agriculture," said senior Jonah Jensen. The Ag-Science students currently work to organize a $250,000 grant to their program in hopes of building a horse stable and pastures. Future students could keep their own animals at these facilities which would enhance the hands-on learning style of the program. "Both classes are about 40% classroom work and 60% hands on work," Jonah said, referring to the animal science and horticulture classes. Jonah got involved in the program by asking his counselor about opportunities and applying for the program at Central. Any student, sophomore through senior, can do the same if they are interested in the program. "Students should get involved because you basically get half a day off - you spend your morning or afternoon at the ag lab working with animals or planting flowers. It's a ton of fun," Lee said. Central Campus also offers a variety of classes to provide students with real world experience. Some other classes available at Central include: Marine Biology, Nursing, and Graphic Design. Many students at Valley attednd Central Campus to help them prepare for college and beyond.



February 8, 2013

The Signs of Sadness By Gracie Cobb

Highs and lows are apart of everyday life, but sometimes the low points can take over. When one feels so depressed that he/she cannot find happiness without help, it is known as clinical depression, defined as “a state of depression and anhedonia so severe as to require clinical intervention” (www. Cinical depression is actually a chemical imbalance in the body and brain and is treated just like any other medical concern. Clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings such as sadness interfere with everyday life for weeks or longer. At some point everyone deals with short periods of depression, but for most people these feelings come and go over time. Depression affects more Americans than one may think. Nearly 19 million people in America suffer from some type of depressive illness, which costs the country over $30 billion each year to treat. Nearly one in nine adolescents has depression and nearly twothirds of children with depression do not recieve the help they need. ( High schools across the country are starting to recognize this and are bringing in professionals to help students sort through their thoughts. Along with helping students pick the right classes and make changes to their schedules, counselor Ms Katie. Johnson and the other counselors attempt to help students suffering from depression as best as they can. “When a student comes to us with symptoms of depression, we are here to listen to the student, help them open up about how they are feeling, and see if there's anything

we can do to help their situation” Ms. Johnson said. While it is helpful to have counselors to help students that deal with depression, many times the problems are serious enough that they require the work of a trained professional. “Many times depression is beyond the help that school counselors can offer,” Ms. Johnson said. “As school counselors, we can help you and your family determine if that may be necessary and refer you on to where you can get further help,” she said. Thousands of children and adults across the country fall victim to depression. “Depression can affect anyone; it is not limited to just one gender, race, socioeconomic status or ability level,” Ms. Johnson said. Just like any other medical illness, depression is treatable, but it is important to recognize the symptoms. “Symptoms of depression can include, but are not limited to: prolonged feelings of extreme sadness and hopelessness, worsening performance in school, withdrawal from friends and activities, lack of energy and motivation, low self-esteem, lack of concentration, changes in eating or sleeping patterns, and suicidal thoughts,” Ms. Johnson said. Depression is serious and many people do not know how to react or handle the condition. “If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression, it is very important to let someone know. While depression is nothing to be ashamed of, I would suggest only telling people you can trust,” Ms. Johnson said. Depression can affect anyone, and being there for someone or opening up to someone you trust are the first steps to defeating depression.

By Kayleigh Pollock

5% Yes

Chatting in a Snap By Brock Rustin

I recall, back in the day, when you had to be face to face to a person to see them naked (not by experience of course). But then came along email, AIM, Skype, “Sexting” and now, Snapchat. Providing naked friends at your fingertips for ten seconds or less. The app enables users to send a picture of themselves to their friends, and control how long they can view it. After the ten seconds or less the picture is viewable, the photo is deleted forever, which makes the app so appealing to sex deprived teenagers everywhere. All sexting aside, Snapchat offers a completely non-profit picture sharing program that provides endless entertainment to both kids and adults wallowing in boredom all over. For a little ghost sticking its tongue out for no apparent reason, Snapchat has proved to be widely successful and taken the world by storm. Since September of 2011, the app has seen exponential growth, most notably in the last six months. On October 28th, 2012 Snapchat users reached a whopping one billion pictures exchanged. On Thanksgiving Day, users were sending over 1,000 snaps per second. Hundreds of snapchats are roaming the halls throughout every period of the day. Students are getting better and better at snapping awkward looking “selfies” in the middle of silent sustained readings. Faces that most would die from embarrassment had they been seen in public, are plastered on friend’s phones for seven seconds at a time. The only way to save a picture sent by a fellow snapchatter is to screenshot the picture, but speed is key. After a recipient takes a screenshot of a picture, the sender is instantly alerted so they know that it intrigued their friend enough to save it, possibly for blackmail in the near future.

ow @DidYouKnowVHS eaves the nest (Yes that’s how it y spelled), by Jack Dorsey, Evan d Biz Stone

ow @DidYouKnowVHS on Tweets per day, and the found5 million to continue its growth

ow @DidYouKnowVHS w minutes of Superbowl 45 Tweets per second

ow @DidYouKnowVHS ccounts are created every

facebook chat

Maggie Clausman (Junior): I always have it open in another tab but I never use it.


shopping, you can avoid long lines, stuffy fitting rooms, maybe a rude is that it is very time consuming, unless you know exactly what you hion Pinterest, and Tumblrs show you all of the beautiful things, but o they tell you where the item is from. Wanelo does both, and it offers y chains, It is no wonder Wanelo is such a hit with users.

uses the internet to shop online ns spent $186 billion in online transactions. nline sales are projected to go up to $250 Billion



Valley Spotlight : How distracting is social networking and why?

81 % of users research online 26 % use internet auctions 66 % have purchased a product on


Grace Nichols (Senior): It’s more distracting than ever before because it’s so easy to access on our phones. Sam Wiese (Junior): It can be pretty distracting while trying to do homework, but on the plus side it provides a break from studying. Ashley Buising (Junior): I would spend so much time on the internet that I wouldn’t do my homework, so I deleted my Facebook. Ben Rasley (Senior): I think it’s distracting because it gets in the way of friendships and relationships just because of a tweet or a post. Alexis Luscombe (Senior): It’s distracting because there is a constant need to know what is going on.

10:14 AM 2 / 8 / 2013

Make Your Own

By Taylor Mankle


As people continue to crave attention from others, a new social network called the Path is coming to prominence. For experimental purposes I have taken a few minutes out of my schedule to set up an account and see what the Path is all about. To start it all off, I thought I better get the whole experience and test my luck on the computer, with the full website version, instead of my phone. Right off the bat on the homepage there was an easy and fast sign-up sheet. All I needed to do was put in my name, email, and select a password; it was as simple as that. After this process, it got a little confusing; because little did I know this social media platform was mobile only. So I frantically looked for a solution to my growing conundrum but no answer came to sight, until I realized the link to the app download. After a fast download and a realization of how long it took me to figure out it was strictly a mobile network I got to work on making my Path. The original set up was nothing special. You get to select a picture for your profile and a cover for your Path’s wall. After that, it got a little weird. You would have thought connecting a former social network with a new one would be against the point but that is an option on the Path. Right after you sign up you have that option to search through your contacts and your Facebook friends so you can add them as friends on your Path. Then once you do this, you have the option of importing information you posted on other social networks including Facebook and Four Square. After you import these, the Path adds them to your very own personalized path, sorted by date. Posting on the path is different from the other social networks because you have many options of what to post about. You can post pictures, pin your location, share what music you are listening to or movie you are watching, or just make a normal comment on your path. This variety of choices sets it apart from the other social networks. It gives you the freedom to do what you want and share what you really care about with the people of your choice. The Path; prides itself on the ability to connect with close friends and family. It is a neat concept to allow yourself to not only put down but also share your life’s path; it’s kind of like a journal entry of what you were doing at what time. You can also search through your path and your friends; you can search by month, season, or category for music, pins, pictures, etc. While Path is a very interesting idea and I can see it becoming the next Facebook, it does have a few quarks. For one, it is encouraging the idea that your friends want to know what you are doing when you are doing it and with who at all times, this is just not true. I could care less if Billy is now at the gas station or that Jessica is listening to some Bieber. It’s not my top or even my bottom priority. This was not what bothered me the most, however. Path has decided it is important to have its users let their friends and family know when they go to bed and wake up. They have their own share option for it, that’s taking it too far. Most importantly, the Path has officially been Taylor Mankle tested, so go out there and try it today.


Did You Kno 2006-Twttr le was originally Williams, and

Did You Kno 2009–2 billio ers raise $35

Did You Kno The final few XLVI – 10,24

Did You Kno 11 Twitter ac second

Shop Till’ You Drop

By Renu Sudda

There are many ups and down to online s annoying customer or two. But the down side i want to buy from exactly which store. Sure fash none let you buy the item with just a click nor do such a wide variety of items from clothes to key


74 % of the population u

- In 2012, American By 2014, on

Top 5 products bought online 1. Clothes - $18 Billion 2. Furniture - $7 Billion 3. Techonolgy - $9 Billion 4. Jewelry - $11 Billion 5. Music - $10 Billion


Conversation Hearts 22%

Nerds 12%

What is your favorite Valentines Day Candy?

Hersey’s Kisses 20%

Kit-Kat 30% Sweet Tarts 16%

115 Students Polled By Kayleigh Pollock

Flaming Food By Brock Rustin

Greece may have a failing economy, but their food remains unscathed. In the heart of greater Des Moines, cultures are thriving. Among the Thai markets, Lebanese restaurants and sketchy Chinese bazaars, resides a smaller, often overlooked Greek restaurant, whose business is ablaze. “Olympic Flame” embodies its Greek homeland, bringing to Iowa what most cultures are unable to do the food, the excitement, and the girls. Ohh the girls! Although it does not exactly radiate sanitary conditions (the tables tend to be sticky, the food makes up for it one thousand times over.) From a diverse selection of cheeses to baklava, the authenticity and variety is overwhelming. One of the most popular, delicious appetizers available is called Saganaki, Kasseri cheese is set alight right in front of your table. After being dipped in egg batter and fried, the cheese is covered in alcohol and displays a dazzling array of colors, allowing you to douse the flame and consume the gooey masterpiece while it is still bubbling with flavor. Open 10:30 AM to 9:00 PM from Tuesday to Saturday, Greek food is at your fingertips all day long. Meals average from five to 16 dollars, providing quality food for a very reasonable price. The gyros, are worth the trip downtown alone. If you are feeling adventurous, I would suggest you make the visit on Friday, anytime from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM to see the other side of Greek culture, the belly dancers. After you have feasted both

your stomach and eyes, you will find yourself craving the food you never knew existed, for the rest of your life.

This unique downtown restaurant brings Greek culture to the people of Des Moines.

Lunch Monday 10:30 AM -2:30 PM Lunch & Diner Tuesday-Saturday 10:30 AM -9:00 PM 514 E Grand Ave. Des Moines, IA 50309


Entertainment 11

Love is in the Beat By Jenna Baldus

Since early fall, musical groups including, Vocalese, Vox, Ignition, Choralation, the new jazz group Velocity, and many soloists have been working to prepare for the Valley Sweet Heart Show that will take place on February 14. “In past years, Ignition has not been great at performances,” said sophomore Jordi Stone, member of Ignition. “This year we are bringing a whole new heat and energy to the stage. Many have said that we are beginning to level up to Choralation.” “The preparation that goes into show choir includes group work like cleaning choreography and working vocally on balance and blend,” said junior Sean Graves, member of Ignition. “It also takes individual work learning and memorizing individual music parts.” “The show is very student directed,” said choir teacher Mr. Ryan Deignan. “It is very reflective of their passion of what they are performing.” Students take time outside of rehearsals to help ease the stress for upcoming performances. The stress can build up quickly when it comes to performances. With stress comes excitement to prepare for the performance. “I love when friends and family

come to watch, that’s what gets me most excited,” said sophomore Jessica Martens, member of Choralation. “And I just really love our set this year, so it’s not that hard to get excited to perform it.” Each of the jazz and show choirs have prepared a unique set of songs that feature multiple soloists. Some of the soloists from Ignition include Jordi, Sam Dayton, Koral Glenn, Katie Graham, Jacob Geletta, Katherine Smoldt, Beka Conrad, Sean Graves, and Natalie Dean. Jordi has been singing since the age of four. “The feeling I get when I perform for others is unimaginable,” said Jordi. “I stand up and I can feel everyone on the stage smiling and emitting every ounce of energy. It is the best thing in the world.” Preparing can be a long journey for some, but as they sing and let the music take them, they become excited. Jessica said, “We have put in a lot of hard work, and we are all excited for the upcoming show.” “The student body can expect us to put our heart and soul into entertaining everyone watching,” said Sean. Performing opening solo in Drive By, Sean will get to share his love of music with other singers and the audience.

It Was Glowing Down



February 8th, 2013

Nothin’ but a Little Golden Man By Taylor Mankle

A small 13.5 inch tall, 8.5 pound brittanium man covered in metallic gold can mean so much to many people in the film industry: it represents honor and is synonymous with greatness. It is called an Oscar. Through the 85 years of the academy awards, many careers have been made and dreams have come true in the entertainment industries. The Oscar’s are the most coveted award ceremonies out there and this presentation is the biggest of them all during the award season. The Academy Awards will be held

this year on Sunday February 24th. The history of the awards is vast and one of the most important stories of the film industry. Starting in the early 20th century, cinema had become something that an average Joe could enjoy. As the movies became more and more popular, film connoisseurs decided to award the most memorable and overall best motion pictures of the year. The inaugural academy awards were held in Hollywood at the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in 1929. The motion picture Wings won the first outstanding

picture in Oscar’s history. The Academy Awards have come a long way since the late twenties and have become the cream of the crop awards as the big ceremonyin late February attracts hundreds of famous Hollywood stars. The main three awards, leading actor and actress in a leading role and best picture, create quite a buzz in the media this year. Actress in a leading role nominees are; Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), Quvenzhane Wallis

(Beasts of the Southern Wild), and Naomi Watts (The Impossible). Best Actor nominees are; Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), and Denzel Washington (Flight). The nominees for best picture surrounds Argo, Amour, Life of Pi, Les Miserables, Lincoln, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Silver Lining Playbook, Django Unchained, and Zero Dark Thirty.The 85th annual Academy Awards will be shown on ABC at six p.m. central time, and will be hosted by Seth MacFarlane.

the Vikings to the playoffs. Both comeback players were high contenders for the league’s Most Valuable Player, but in the end Adrian Peterson won MVP, and Peyton Manning won Comeback Player of Year. Not only was it a comeback year, but it was also the year of the rookie quarterback. A rookie starting in his first season used to be a very rare occurrence in the NFL, this year it took place and worked out well on three different organizations. First off, the number one draft pick Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts lead his team back to being a force in the AFC ending their season with an 11-5 record and a trip to the playoffs, this was a huge feat after the Colts dismal season of 2-14 the season before. Individually Luck also surpassed the rookie total passing yards with a season record. Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins had a great season as he also led his team to the playoffs. His combinations of run

and pass fast action play shocked defenses all over the league as he put up huge numbers and W’s for the redskins. Last but not least, Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks was probably the most surprising rookie of them all. After being drafted with the 12th pick in the third round, he beat out all of his quarterback competition to gain the starting position for the Seahawks and leading them to the divisional round of the playoffs behind what many NFL analysis called the most dangerous team in football. All three of these rookies were at the top for the list of Rookie of the Year, but the victor of Rookie of the year was the versatile Robert Griffin III. Above all stories lies the Super Bowl, and a very unpredictable super bowl at that as the Baltimore Ravens faced off against the San Francisco 49ers. After the Ravens took a commanding 28 to six lead at halftime the Niners came roaring back

after a half stadium blackout which caused a 40 minute delay. It seemed like the 49ers had it won after a huge comeback to within five yards of a touchdown to take the lead, as the clock was running out, but an unforgettable goal line stand by Ray Lewis and the Ravens to cap off his fantastic career, closed the door on the San Francisco 49ers. It was a super bowl for the ages as the Ravens held off the 49ers in the fourth quarter. Final score 34-31 in New Orleans.

Dizziness, fatigue and headaches can all be common side effects of modernmedicine, but can certain medications lead someone to commit murder? Coming to theaters everywhere today, director Steven Soderbergh (also directed Contagion and Magic Mike) releases his latest dramatic thriller, Side Effects, starring Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta Jones, and, Channing Tatum. This R rated flick follows a young and successful New York City woman, Emily Hawkins (Mara), as she deals with anxiety and depression as a result of her husband Martin Hawkins (Tatum) being sent to prison. With her life completely upside-down, Emily seeks the help of a psychiatrist, Dr. Banks (Law), who was known as the best doctor in town and he prescribes her with every anxiety and depression treatment available. Through the many medications that Emily tries, she still sees no improve-

ments. When her husband is released from his incarceration and there is still no change in her mental state, she is perscribed a developing medication called Ablixa. Although this pill begins to help return Emily’s life to normal, things suddenly take a turn for the worse when she begins sleep walking, exhibiting out of character bursts of violence, and even makes a panic stricken call to 911 claiming she had witnessed a murder. If that wasn’t enough, Dr. Banks is found to have compromising pictures of Emily in his possession showing the two were involved in a relationship much more personal than just therapy. Is Emily a cold blooded killer or merely an innocent patient of a twisted doctors’ medical care? And what about the husband? We won’t know until February 8th because after all, “Sick people sometimes make things up.”

A Season to Remember...The 2012 NFL season one for the books By Taylor Mankle

From the awe inspiring comebacks of Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson to the sensational rookie quarterback performances this year out of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson, this NFL season has been one for the ages. The year of the comeback was a very big story this year as two elite NFL players came back from injuries that they had collected last season. Quarterback Peyton Manning recovered from a neck injury, and running back Adrian Peterson from a torn ACL. Not only did both players come back from their injuries, but they also went on to play at the top of their games. Manning lead his new team, the Denver Broncos, all the way to the number one seed in the American Football Conference (AFC). This season, he accomplished fantastic numbers, throwing a total of 4,659 yards and 37 touchdowns. Peterson also had an excellent year with rushing for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns, while leading

"Sick People Sometimes Make Things up" By Madison Ward

Pwnin’ noobs By Aaron Bell

“Owning” (a game)

Thumbs on joysticks, gaming headphones on, and a mindset on destroying the opposing team are the only objectives that run through senior Husein Mehmedovic’s mind as he gets ready for a big tournament. Husein plays Call Of Duty games professionally under the gaming organization, MLG; otherwise known as “Major League Gaming.” MLG

through online play and interaction through Xbox Live, which enables gamers to chat and play games online through Xbox. During tournaments, Husein and his team members are designated specific player roles. “There are two types of players for most games. The ‘objective player’ is the guy who is supposed to capture the flag, plant the bomb, or do whatever the game “type” says to do. The other type of player is the ‘slayer’, who must control spawns and control the middle of the map to make sure the objective player can get done what he needs to do,” Husein said. G etting noticed is the start of playing professional gaming, and it’s not that hard to do Photo Credit to Husein Mehmedovic according to Husein. Husein (far left) plays with his team during a pre-game session. The team “The YouTube must get together and practice in order to place well in tournaments. community is a good Out of the usual 64 teams at tournaments, Husein’s team usually places way to put your in the top ten. gaming out there,” is an organization that includes gamers said Husein. “Lots of people post videos from all around the world who compete of their game play on YouTube and are in tournaments for prizes and fame in the invited to play with clans after their videos gaming community. are watched enough times. My advice is to Husein met other online gamers go try a tournament because not a lot of that played for MLG. Husein was brought people always go. Most people usually think into “clans” for the game, and his career as a they aren’t good enough, but you don’t professional gamer began. “You get to meet know until you try it out.” a bunch of new people by playing with friends online. After I kept getting better and better, I started to get noticed by the good gamers and they would invite me to play in their clans,” said Husein. Husein now plays in tournaments all around the country. “I missed the first week of school for the tournament, which was August 21st through the 24th in Clearwater Beach, Florida,” said Husein. “I was sponsored by ‘Astrogaming’ on the trip. They paid for everything and flew me out to Florida for the tournament.” There were 128 teams at the tournament, and Husein’s team was ranked 7th going into it. The rankings that determined the bracket system at the tournament are based off of how teams played at their previous professional tournament. Husein and his team went on to win the tournament, landing a check for $1,000 in his pocket. To date, Husein has won over $10,000 from gaming tournaments. Photo Credit to Husein Mehmedovic Husein’s team, Envyus, consists Husein faces his computer screen as he plays Call of four players. “We enter tournaments of Duty Modern Warfare 3. The next tournament under different names depending on who’s he will compete in is in New Jersey from Februsponsoring us,” said Husein. The team ary 16th to the 18th. Husein will be playing Call members live in various parts of the country. of Duty Black Ops 2, with his team, Envyus. Husein was able to meet his team members



A test perfected


By Jenni Aldrich

The nerves, the dread, the anxiety, the exhaustion, the relief, (and sometimes) the disappointment. Also known as taking the ACT. A test almost every college in the United States requires, and a test many high school students dread. But for one student, his ACT score is nothing to dread. Junior Shaan Madhan received a perfect 36 score on the ACT, when he took it on December 12, 2012. The ACT was developed to test high school level students on basic information they should have learned throughout their schooling, and includes tests on: English, Math, Reading, and Science. Students also have an option of taking a writing test. Getting a 36 on the ACT requires not missing a single point in any section. This kind of score does not come without work, “I worked every other week for an hour with an ACT tutor- Keith Stende- for four sessions,” Shaan said. “I was kind of nervous before the test, I felt pretty good about how it went.” Receiving a 36 is not the only impressive thing on Shaan’s high school resume. He has over a 4.0 GPA and is involved in the Honors Program. He spends about two hours every night studying and doing homework, although Shaan said he can be “a bit of a procrastinator.” Even though Shaan receives high grades in all his classes, he said his favorite class is foods, “I like to cook,” Shaan said. For many 16 year olds, getting a perfect ACT is unheard of and almost impossible, but Shaan worked hard to make it happen, and he was not the only one who was excited. “My parents were very

happy and very proud of me,” Shaan said. Shaan is also involved in tennis, Principal’s Advisory Council, and world culture’s club. He is looking into Duke University, University of North Carolina, and New York University for the future, but is not sure of what he wants to study. “I haven’t decided what I want to study, maybe medicine or business somehow connected to sports,” Shaan said. With all the hard work and studying Shaan did to prepare for the test, there is one piece of advice he would like to give to future ACT test takers, “Eat a good breakfast, it really helps.”

Photo Credit to Jenni Aldrich

Junior Shaan Madhan works on his laptop during school. He spends two hours each night working on homework to maintain his over 4.0 GPA.



February 8, 2012

Y U NO FOLLOW @FunnyMemePics!?! By Aaron Bell

21,000 followers and hundreds of funny pictures later, seniors Tyler Hendershot, Nim Kaufman, and sophomore Kyle Herman have gained near celebrity status in the twittersphere with their account @FunnyMemePics. Last spring break, the three friends and Kyle’s older brother Brandon came up with an idea to create a twitter page that would tweet funny pictures. “We were at work at Holiday Park baseball fields, when Brandon came up with the idea for the account,” said Tyler. “He already had an account named ‘Man Funnies,’ but it got suspended so we decided to make a new one.” Pulling together the new page wasn’t an overnight task for the boys, but it was easy to get followers as “Man Funnies” promoted and re-tweeted @FunnyMemePics. “Choosing the name for the account was pretty easy,” said Brandon. “All we did was get an idea from a name generator. The one we got was one of the few available usernames so we took it.”

“When we started out, we made our own memes but as we started gaining more and more followers we needed help and got more off of the internet,” Tyler said. The three typically get their pictures from websites such as Memebase. com and Pictures on their page range from Bill Murray’s face drawn over the top of Abraham Lincoln’s face on a five dollar bill, to funny interpretations of president Obama’s speeches, to the wellknown “LOL guy” and “forever along guy” memes. Over time, @FunnyMemePics started to gain followers by the thousands, and promotional offers started to come in. “We’ve had 10-15 offers for getting paid, but some seem like scams so we tail away from them,” said Tyler. But recently, @FunnyMemePics purchased their first promotional ad from the account @Gentleman7. He retweets @FunnyMemePics, which has resulted in approximately 4,000 new followers for @FunnyMemePics. Additionally, @

FunnyMemePics now makes money by tweeting links for their publisher. “Every time someone clicks on our link that we tweet for our publisher, we get two cents. Also, every time they like the link we tweet, we get ten cents,” said Tyler. This brings a massive amount of tweeters onto @ FunnyMemePic’s page. The three like to tweet a wide variety of pictures, aimed at constantly pulling in new followers. “We like to tweet different kinds of pictures to entertain different kinds of people,” said Tyler. “We tweet all sorts of comedy ranges, from very messed up to very cheesy. We just want to try and relate to everyone.” Sometimes a tweet goes a little too far and their account loses followers. “One time I tweeted a picture about Jesus telling a sexual joke, and it didn’t go to well,” said Nim. “We ended up losing followers and we had some people tweet at us saying they were mad.” From Iowa to Florida, and even New York, @FunnyMemePics has gained

Photo Credit to @FunnyMemePics

A tweet from @FunnyMemePics, referring to the 2013 superbowl game.

followers. “I was in New York talking to this hot chick and we were talking about Twitter. She showed me a funny picture on her phone and it was coincidentally from our page,” said Nim. Likewise, Tyler met a girl in Florida who also was following @ FunnyMemePics.

Blisters, Rips, Strains, & Sprains By Ashley Skokan

Photo Credit to Haylee Young

In her spare time, junior Haylee Young teaches classes at Chow’s Gymnastics, “I enjoy doing this because it gives me the opportunity to work with the younger girls and reminds me of the time when I was in their position.”

Years of hard work, blistered hands, and determination have finally paid off for gymnast junior Haylee Young as she looks ahead to her future at Iowa State. One of Haylee’s most memorable moments in her gymnastics career was her performance at 2012 Nationals in Hampton, Virginia. “It was there that I had the best meet of my life with a score of 38.0 points out of 40 all around. I placed 7th in the country out of 58 girls,” said Haylee. At the age of three, Haylee took her first leap into gymnastics. Originally from Maine, she moved to Woodstock, Georgia at the age of four where she began training at Georgia All Stars Gymnastics.

“My parents put me in class there because an expert in juggling school and gymnasthey thought the training would help me in tics. “I practice 25 hours a week, Monday other sports,” said Haylee. “At the time, I was through Saturday. During the summer we playing t-ball and soccer. I did all three for a train 29 hours a week to fine tune and up little while until it became too difficult with grade our skills.” During competition season, Haylee gets the gymnastics training schedule.” Since the age of five, Haylee was in the developmen- the opportunity to travel throughout the tal program at Georgia All Stars where she country to compete with and meet other gymnasts. “My competition season usually progressed through many levels. In 2010 (her freshman year), Haylee consists of around eight meets, including State, Regionals and her family and Nationals. moved to West My gymnastics Des Moines travels have alafter her dad lowed me to go received a job to some great transfer. Haylee locations such and her youngas Chicago, Miner sister, Molly neapolis, Hilton (now 11), enHead, Kansas rolled at Chow’s City, Orlando, Gymnastics Tampa, Charleswhere they ton, South Caroboth moved lina, Cancun and their way up El Salvador.” to level 10, the “Being in the highest level gym so much before “elite.” has helped me “The Photo Credit to Haylee Young build strong reschool system in West Des Junior Haylee Young reflects on her long-time career as a lationships with Moines does an gymnast, “Being a gymnast teaches great discipline. It helps my teammates,” me to manage my time and be a dedicated student athlete.” Haylee explains. outstanding job “We not only working with the Chow’s gymnasts to meet both school spend time together training but also outand training schedules,” said Haylee. Be- side of the gym, too. Through the years, cause of her various competitions and rigor- both in Georgia and at Chow’s, I have made ous practice schedules, Haylee has become some great friends. We are close and will al-

ways stay in touch.” Haylee explains that her parents have always been her biggest fans and supporters, “They have provided me with encouragement, support and advice along the way. I would never have made it this far without them.” Throughout the years, Haylee has experienced a variety of injuries due to the high impact sport. She has broken thumbs, toes, and an arm, and once had to get stitches on her head. “But through them all, my commitment to the sport I love never wavered. Fighting through the setbacks has given me a great deal of confidence that carries over into all areas of my life.” During her sophomore year of high school, Haylee was offered a full ride scholarship to Iowa State. “I was very excited about the offer and verbally committed to them to continue my gymnastics career as a Cyclone. I look forward to my college years gaining new experiences and new friends.” Haylee also adds, “This opportunity made the hard work and sacrifices through the years worth it all.” As Haylee reflects on her future as a gymnast, she states, “I love what I do and enjoy the challenges it presents. The skills that I have been able to accomplish provide me with a lot of pride and satisfaction. It also makes me want to continue improving. It is many hours of practice and hard training, but the results make it all worth it. It gives you a certain level of confidence to try new skills and overcome fears.”

Spotlight Meet Coach Weber By Jacob Bernhard

At the end of last summer, twotime state champion coach Ryan Cooley stepped down as head coach for the varsity baseball team. Coach Cooley will be replaced by his assistant coach of 7 years, Brady Weber. Weber was assistant coach for the 2005 and 2006 state champion Valley Tiger’s baseball team. Coach Weber played high school baseball at Urbandale, and went on to be a 4 time letter winning catcher at the University of Northern Iowa. Although Coach Cooley and Mr. Weber may have similar coaching resumes, the differences between the two are apparent. “Cooley can motivate kids to work and focus like nobody I have ever seen before,” said Weber. “I try to approach the game more technically and strategically, and that is why I think we worked so well together. Our coaching styles complimented each other’s well.” As well as varying coaching styles, both coaches also have very different personalities. “Coach Cooley is a sociable guy. He is so interesting, because you never know what he is going to say next,” said Weber. “I am more low key and quiet. I approach things more methodically.” Senior Ben Miller has played for

both coaches, and understands the differences in personality. “Their personalities are a little bit different, but their goals are very similar and they are both great coaches,” said Ben. The Tigers are returning few starters from last year’s 34-10 state qualifying team, but although there are few experienced players, the team is still a talented bunch. The team is led by returning seniors Tanner Hinkle, Ben Miller, Brock Everett and others. “It’s tough losing multiple key seniors, but it shouldn’t affect what we can do as a team,” said Ben. “I am looking forward to seeing myself and others improve until the season starts, and I am positive that those missing spots will be filled.” Although most focus will be on the team’s on field performance, Weber wants to also work on developing and improving his players. “My main goal as a coach is to develop the kids, both personally and athletically,” said Weber. “Everybody wants to win state, but development is always the key.” Weber is also looking to improve the tigers hitting approach, base running, and consistency of pitching. Along with the heightened responsibility for Coach Weber, the seniors are also gaining more responsibilities.

Sports 15 Working Toward Wells

“There are many seniors stepping up to try to motivate all the underclassmen and other seniors to get their mind on the goal,” said Ben. “We know what we can do, and we know what needs to be done. Under the right coaching and the strong leadership that we have in the seniors, we have the team to make our spot in the books.” The inexperienced ball team will look to compete this summer on the field, but for now they are just looking to push through the growing pains of a young team with a new coach.

Photo Credit to: Jacob Bernhard Stillwell teacher Mr. Brady Weber will be the new baseball coach for the season this spring. “My main goal as a coach is to develop the kids, both personally and athletically.”

Skating with the Stars By: Gracie Cobb

From the moment junior Alyssa Weaver’s skates hit the ice she is focused and calm. She embodies the grace and beauty of a world class figure skater. Alyssa has been figure skating since she was five years old. “My mom used to watch skating, so when I brought home a paper from school advertising ‘learn to skate’ she thought it would be fun to sign me up,” Alyssa said. Alyssa practices at Buccaneer Area and Ames Ice Arena, where she and her coaches work one on one to prefect her skating technique. “I work by myself mostly, but generally there are still other people on the ice,” Alyssa said. Throughout the years, Alyssa has learned many different skills and techniques that she can use on the ice that have led her to competitions. “My favorite part about skating is definitely learning and do ing the jumps,” Alyssa said. While learning the jumps may be fun, she often has problems adding all the choreography and artistic elements into her performance. Alyssa is able to do some pretty cool tricks, but the coolest one she says

is her “tano” toe-loop. The move involves a spin on the tip of her toe with her arms

overhead. Although it may seem simple, these tricks take the average skater years to master. Alyssa competes in the ladies singles category in competitions. She mostly competes around the Midwest, but does not turn down an invitation to compete on a larger stage. “My biggest competition was actually in Colorado,” Alyssa said. Alyssa has big goals for herself when it comes to skating and works hard each day to achieve them. “Honestly my biggest goal in skating is just to continue with it as long as possible. I want to continue improving and push myself to see how far I can get, no matter how old I become,” Alyssa said. Alyssa hopes to continue skating in the future possibly as a career. Whether she walks the road alone or has the continuing support of her family, nothing will stop her from pursuing her dreams. “While I greatly appreciate their support, it’s not terribly important to me because even if they didn’t like skating I would do it anyway” Alyssa said.

Dec. 18th vs. Ames: 32 Alex Conklin, Joey Whitehouse Jan. 15th at Ottumwa: 25 Braze Nolin

Jan. 25th vs. Dowling Catholic: 37 Josh Brunk, Alex Conklin Feb. 1st at Urbandale: 30 Sam Wegner, Nic Cory

Photo Credit to Alyssa Weaver Alyssa Weaver practiced her double flip at Bucaneer Arena last Friday. She also practices her spread eagles at the training session pictured.

#PetePredictions Winners! How many points will Peter Jok score each game? Avg. Points Per Game: 25.1

*see more Girls and Boys Basketball pictures at and at Valley Spotlight on Facebook

By Jacob Bernhard

*games not listed had no correct predictions

By Jacob Bernhard

With only one senior and five juniors, the girl’s varsity basketball team is mostly a young team with a lot of talent. The tigers started off the season winning 12 of their first 18 games. The young team relies on their offensive game to out gun teams. The girls are third in class 5A in points per game with 61.9. Sophomore Grace VanderWeide leads the team with an average of 14 points per game, but scored as high as 31 points against Ames on December 18th. . No matter how much each player contributes as an individual, senior Suha Hanoon insists that team is always the most important. “It’s a team effort, we all want to win and encourage each other,” she said. The girls practice together at least two hours a day for five or more days per week. Because of so much time together, they are a close-knit team that clicks, on and off the court. “We have team dinners and some girls get together on the weekends and hangout,” Suha said. “This is the closest team that I have ever been on.” As the only senior on the team, Suha understands her role as a leader and tries to embrace it. “I knew that I would be partially responsible for leading this team,” said Suha, “but as the year has progressed, more girls have stepped up to help lead towards our goal.” First year coach, Josef Sigrist has put an emphasis on team basketball by promoting unselfishness and hard work. Another way that Sigrist helps encourage the girls to work hard is by rewarding them with t-shirts that say “working towards Wells Fargo.” The girls can earn the shirts in a practice or a game when they do everything they can to work towards Wells Fargo,” said Sigrist. The goal is clear for the girls: make state. Although, they are a young team, they have gained experience throughout the season and hope to contend for the title in February.

Photo credit to Kelly Reeve Juniors Madi Agey, Brooke O'Hollearn, Kasey Feldt, sophomore Grace Vander Weide, and Coach Larson discuss their next play during a timeout during the Dowling game at home on January 25th.



February 8, 2012

Flipping on to Nationals By Katie Galles

Cheerleaders place 5th in their division at Dallas, Texas

After winning the Iowa State Championship in November, the Valley cheerleaders arrived at Dallas’ National High School Cheerleading Championships with high expectations. After a tough competition, they were able to walk away with an impressive achievement. The team began preparing for the National Cheerleader’s Association (NCA) High School Championships following a one week break after competing in the State Championships. “When we started practicing, we had to change the routine a little in order to add difficulty,” said head coach, Beth Ferguson. The practices were often rigorous and time consuming, consisting of tumbling, stunting, jumping, and conditioning. However, the hard work allowed the team to finish nationals in a triumphant 5th place. “We practiced almost every day for two hours,” said sophomore varsity cheerleader, Kaylee Shelton, “but all of our hard

Photo credit to: Mackenzie Moran

The team poses with their 5th place trophy after two successful performances Championships.

work was worth it.” The Championships were held at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, Texas on January 12th and 13th. The




cheerleaders performed their routine, twice, once on day one, then again on day two. The routine consisted of group stunts, tumbling passes, jumps, and a dance. Both

Augers, Ice, and Hooks By Devin Pickering

According to, ice fishing is one of the most dangerous sports in the winter. In 2009, at Lake Erie in Ohio, 100 fisherman had to be rescued by helicopter because of the thinning ice while ice fishing. The average statistic says that four or five fishermen die per year in North America while ice fishing, due to thin ice, alcohol, and hypothermia. The recommended ice depth is four inches, but most ice fishers will go on the ice with

a mere two and a half inches underneath them. The dangers of this sport include thin ice, hypothermia, drowning, and falling due to high winds. There is a specific process in order to successfully fish in the middle of winter, and senior Brandon James is an expert on the topic. “You will need multiple things in order to ice fish,” Brandon said. “You’ll need an ice auger, warm clothing, an ice fishing house, a heater, and a fish finder.”

Brandon has been ice fishing every winter for many years, and has brought a couple of his friends with him as well. Hegoes ice fishing on local lakes that the DNR website says have the deepest and thickest ice. “I always check the DNR, it will tell you the depths of most of the lakes and if it is safe to fish there, also the maximum weight for safety.”

performances were a success and, once the scores from both days were averaged together, the team was able to pull off a score of 88.28 out of 100. “We got 5th place out of 6,” said sophomore varsity cheerleader Mackenzie Moran “But we were only a few points behind the first place winners.” Coach Beth Ferguson is very happy with the way her team scored at the competition, even saying that they performed better than they ever had in previous years. “I am very happy with how we did,” said Ferguson “That’s the first year that I can say that.” With nationals completed, the season is coming to an end and the cheerleaders will have a break until summer, when the next season begins. “As this season comes to an end, I start planning for next season,” said Ferguson. Along with Coach Ferguson, the team is also looking forward to next year’s season with high hopes.

Congratulations to the boys swimming team for placing first at districts!

Spotshots Tiffany Heeren

Melanie Wiederien


Shelby Davick



“I broke my arm after jumping off of a playground. I landed on my arm and then had to have surgery.” #scars Comment Like Elijah Soria

Senior “I slipped on ice at recess in sixth grade.” #scars #chin


Chloe Stewart

“Some friends and I were walking around in the middle of the night and we were headed towards a dead end. We saw a figure of an older creepy guy so we all started running the other direction and one of my friends pushed me while she was trying to get away and I landed on gravel.” #scars #knee Comment Like Conner Katich


“I had surgery on my left knee. It was dislocated three times and had many problems so I had surgery to fix it.” #scars Like Comment

Comment Junior

“My dad dropped me on my head when I was six months old.” #scars Comment Like

Brought to you by the Spotlight Staff. Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

“I tripped...Story of my life.” #scars #ankle



Spotlight February Edition  

Spotlight February