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Valley High School 3650 Woodland Avenue West Des Moines, Iowa 50266 TheValleySpotlight.com

Valley Student Newspaper Volume 50 Issue 5

FREE December 16, 2011 valleyspotlight@gmail.com

Chlorine: It’s in their blood

Page 12

What’s inside Interest in Pinterest Page 2

Video game addict? Page 10

Foreign exchange students celebrate holidays away from home Pages 14-15


Construction Update As construction continues smoothly through the new threestory building, the auditorium plans have hit a large bump in the road according to the Des Moines Register. Plans for the new auditorium came in $9 million over budget and will cost approximately $1 million to re-plan. With the added snafus, the school district will be approximately $6 million in debt for the entire project after the completion of the auditorium.

News

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What your teachers do outside school

By Maggie Martin

Sometimes, seeing teachers outside of school is like seeing a dog walk on its hind legs. For those few occasions when we do see them, they are usually at another job like many different staff members at Valley—some still student-based jobs while others taking on completely different jobs. Economics teacher Mr. Tracy Johnson spends all of his hours in his job outside of Valley as a driver’s education instructor for Drive Tek. “It’s a death wish,” Johnson laughed, “Actually [I took the job] to help with household expenses. I have two kids eventually going to college.”

But others take completely different routes for jobs. Art teacher Ms. Tory DeVries took her part-time job at Anglo Diamonds before she became a teacher. At this place of work, students are not the main shoppers DeVries comes across. “Sometimes students come in with their parents, but high school students do not typically buy diamonds. Hopefully they will buy from Anglo when they get engaged too, but not for at least 10 years!” said DeVries. Some teachers, like French teacher Mrs. Vicki Gallagher, have their job outside of Valley because they really enjoy it. Gallagher is in her 14th year of working

at Hallmark Cards. “There is so much less stress than with my job at Valley. Hallmark is a fun job, helping customers choose products,” said Gallagher. Other teachers that spread their talents are history teacher Mr. Greg Hudson who teaches ACT prep, Mrs. Sonja Hansen-Smith who works with the Iowa Cubs during the summer, and Mrs. Carmen Clark who started her own company called Lilacs and Hula Hoops that makes bags to sell on Esty. Each teacher at Valley has made a special impact both in and outside of school.

Fights continue to break out: when is enough, enough? By Claire Boettcher

There must be something funny about two kids beating each other up, or websites specifically designed to share the world of school fighting would not exist. Fighting is universal and happens in almost every school. Valley is no exception. In the first semester Valley has been the boxing ring for seven recorded fights. At this point in the year fighting at Valley is girl dominated, with four out of the seven fights being between girls. “Fighting is a problem at Valley, at least with girls, because there have already been quite a few fights and it is only 2nd quarter,” said sophomore Mackenzie Main. The most recent fight was not hidden in the back hallways or even off campus, but in the middle of a classroom. The two boys involved started arguing over stolen property but it quickly escalated to a fight. And of course, someone’s phone was out recording. “I have seen fights but not as many as I have in one year at Valley,” said Youtube user EDIN5050. Sophomore bystander, Danielle Landals said, “It was the first fight I

have ever seen and it happened so fast. I really did not know how to react about the whole situation.” Associate Principal, David Maxwell, said, “It doesn’t seem like there are any more fights at this point in the year compared to last year.” Senior, Sarah Curran disagrees, “Fighting has definitely increased this year. Before now it was almost unheard of. Honestly, I think it is the underclassmen.” Whatever the cause of the disputable rise of fighting at Valley one thing is set in stone, the punishment for fighting has not changed. The first offense of fighting is five days suspension, and if the student has a second offense it is doubled. Sophomore Emily Roose said, “Valley does not have a fighting problem, because fights are going to happen anyway and they do not occur all that often.” “Four to five years ago we were dealing with gang related violation between Valley and Walnut Creek, and two years ago I was stopping a food fight,” he continued, “Compared to the past

and other schools Valley does not have a fighting problem.” Senior, Bernie Saggau is still not convinced but agrees on some levels, “There has defi-

nitely been an increase in fighting, but I do not think it becomes a problem until it severely diverts from the learning program.” .


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News Virgina Tech: New site Pinterest gains popularity Twitter Feed By Madison Denkinger

After hours of procrastinating on websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Stumbleupon and not doing homework, one might become bored and need a new distraction. Pinterest is a new website that could easily accomplish this goal. Pinterest is simply a virtual bulletin board that allows users to “pin” ideas and images that they find while searching the web. Not only can one search the web for ideas, but the site also gives the opportunity to search other people’s pin boards. “I like that Pinterest is any easy way to get ideas from people around the world,” said senior Kyra Fry. On Pinterest, a user can make pin boards that apply to their interests. Popular pin boards are used for room ideas, recipes, clothes,

and YouTube videos. To pin something, simply click the “pin it” button that is installed in the Internet browser upon registering to site. You can also re-pin other people’s ideas onto your own pin boards. At this A pin like Tay’s book pin can point, makbe liked or repinned on other people’s own pinboards. ing a Pinterest account isn’t as easy as logging into the website. According to senior Tay Ross, people interested in making

a Pinterest account must be invited first. Users can send invites to their friends, or one can go to the Pinterest website and click the ‘request an invite’ button. After entering a name and email address, the waiting begins. “The site has become really popular lately so it takes awhile to process,” said Tay. The wait isn’t as long for those who have been invited by a friend, but for others, it could take weeks to get the official invite from the site. Tay has now had her account since this past summer and uses it often. “I use it pretty much every day, it becomes extremely addictive, and they have a Pinterest app, so I’m on it quite often,” she said. For hours, one could share their ideas as wells as search the ideas from others around the world. It could easily become the newest homework distraction.

7 billion people in the world By Madison Denkinger

l out + wil er 0 6 e Peopl those und me i r numbe the first t r 15 fo . 45 in 20

The seven billionth person in the world was born recently, or so says the United Nations. Population is constantly changing which makes it nearly impossible to come up with an exact number, and the UN admits that theirs is only an estimate. Other groups such as the US Census Bureau find their estimates short of seven billion and don’t predict the seven billionth person to be born until later in the year or even in the years to come. Whatever the exact number is, reaching the

Average life expectancy for a human being born today is 67.6 years. In 1950 it was 46.6 years; in 2050 it will be 75.5.

seven billionth milestone is a major concern for our generation, as well as future generations. A rapidly increasing population poses many concerns. Throughout human history the world has struggled with problems such as hunger and large percentages of poverty. Over 900 million people are currently undernourished and about 80 percent of the world population lives on less than ten dollars a day. As the population grows, these numbers threaten to increase. A lack of resources is another issue that will worsen with popu-

The n 100+ umber o 900% will i f peopl n e b 2050 etwee crease n no , fr 4.1 w o mill m 455, and 000 ion. to

lation growth. Resources such as fresh water and oil are steadily decreasing in amount with dire consequences predicted. WorldOMeters, a website that shares information on world population, resources, energy, health, and more, predicts 42 more years until the end of the world’s oil supply. On average, the world population grows about 80 million people per year, and although the UN predicts the rate will eventually start to decrease, the population will continue to grow through out the next few decades.

First Tweet from the events: “A VT Alert was just sent, stating that gun shots were heard near Coliseum parking lot.” “The university’s position about weapons on campus is quite clear, ... guns don’t belong in our classrooms.” - Hincker “I want to thank you all, the extended university community, the nation for expressions of condolences.” “The response yesterday was short of overwhelming.” - Hincker

Find more tweets @CollegiateTimes

Spotlight Editor-in-Chief: Maggie Martin Front Page Editor: Brianna Miller News Editor: Maggie Martin Opinion Editor: Celeste Moreno Profiles Editor: Aaron Bell Feature Editor: Steph Tabor Entertainment Editor: Natalie Liedman Sports Editor: Maddy Arnold Impact Editor: Kelly Reeve Spotshots Editor: Renu Suddapalli Webmaster: Devin Pickering Staff Reporters: Claire Boettcher Madison Denkinger Abrianna Einertson Lara Plecas Kayleigh Pollock Kyle Shepherd Ashlee Thompson Leah Thompson Adviser: Diane Hicks 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 one of the Spotlight advisers. 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 and all 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 Maggie Martin or Mrs. Hicks in Room 137.


Opinion

Letter to the Editor Forgetfulness is no means for serious punishment. There is a fine line between carelessness and absentmindedness, but when dealing with the school’s identification policy, the line is more than apparent. Whether you are late to school or simply returning from lunch, you will receive five suspension points if you do not present your Valley student I.D. to the security guard or attending personnel. If one accumulates 15 suspension points they will lose the ability to waive semester tests, 15 more suspension points warrants a Saturday school, and any subsequent violations are means for parent-teacher meetings or even out-of-school suspension. Yes, student identification is important, as we do not want strangers roaming the halls of our school. However, this is not a valid reason to reprimand kids who forget their student I.D. cards. Anyone, and I mean anyone, could get into this school. For example, I forgot my lunch card about a month ago. I walked in the cafeteria doors and the security guard asked me for anything with my name on it and my student I.D. number; I showed a paper with a name that was not mine and gave him a fake number. He wrote it down, wished me a good day, and I walked away questioning the security of our school. If security is in fact the issue and reason for punishing students who forget their I.D. cards, then the problem lies solely in the “security” not in the cards. Obviously, the current method is ineffective because it is not effectively enforced. This rule should either be enforced to its intended extent or be struck from the student handbook outright. If anything, security guards should use the busy times of day, such as lunch, to familiarize themselves with the student population and to get to know the individuals on a more personal level. The guards should already be able to recognize those who come and go through the same doors every day anyway. They might as well make good use of our taxpayer dollars and establish respect between student and security rather than spending all day filling out crosswords at a tiny desk. Sincerely, Perturbed Student Name witheld upon request

Punishment Vs. Abuse By: Lara Plecas

In sixth grade, my parents told me if I was caught again chewing gum I would go to a restaurant in town and scrape the gum off of the bottom of tables. I never believed them, and I continued on chomping away at my Bubble Yum. One day my teacher called me out on it and said to go out in the hallway. I had to call my dad and tell him myself. Less than an hour later I was at Old Country Buffet scraping gum off of tables. Did I learn from my punishment? Yes, and for the next two years I refused to chew gum in school. Now I just laugh about it. What qualifies as a “good” punishment? When I was little, almost everyone I knew had been spanked at one time or another, but now if you asked elementary students, more than likely they will say it has never happened to them. Fourteen juniors and seniors were recently asked if they had been spanked, only eight responded yes. SpareTheKids is an organization that promotes antispanking punishments. Their mission is to “provide [families] and communities with a full range of alternatives to corporal punishment.” Their goal is to rid the world of spanking, whipping, etc. They travel the United States and give advice and courses on how to become better parents and spare the rod. Most of us have heard of the YouTube video of the judge whipping his teen daughter with a belt repeatedly because she downloaded games on her computer without permission. Spanking is an acceptable form of punishment, but after watching the video I came to the conclusion that in this case, this is NOT punishment, it is abuse. A key factor in punishment versus abuse is whether or not spanking is done out of love or out of anger. Does the parent/guardian do the spanking because they want to teach the child a lesson to never to do the disobedient action again? Or is the parent is angry the child did not listen to the authority figure? Spanking is okay. For years it has been proven has an effective form of punishment. Someone can get hurt in the long run either emotionally and or physically when the parent doesn’t know when to stop.

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Opinion From The Halls Mainstream VS Indie

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By: Lara Plecas

Which final are you opting out of and why?

“Keyboarding because it’s hard for me to sit still for that long and type, and then government.” -Clara Shoemaker ‘12

“US History and Early American Lit so I don’t have to come to school on one of the days.” -Sam Peak ‘13

By: Maggie Martin

The battle between mainstream music and indie music is never-ending, something made evident by diehard fans of one or the other. It seems today that you either have to be a pop singing air head or a chill indie music listener. Can’t we be a mix of both? Without all of the judgment? I know from personal experience that indie or alternative music has the depth that I like to listen to on days when I’m feeling inspired. But, some days when you just have to dance, Ke$ha’s trashy lyrics backed up by catchy beats just make me move. This doesn’t make me vapid or superficial, it honestly just means that I enjoy dancing. Plus, listening to Bon Iver on repeat just doesn’t cut it for me. One of my biggest musical pet peeves is when someone complains that “their band” has made it mainstream. First of all, what makes it theirs? Because they listened to it a year before it became popular? And why wouldn’t you be happy that your band is successful? Isn’t that the reason they make the music? (Minus the obvious answer of music-is-for-myself answer because if music is your career, you’re ultimately trying to make a living). That brings me to point two: the shifting fan. If you liked the band so much before they were popular, it would naturally make sense to enjoy them once they hit the radio, too. But oh no, once the first sound of their beloved lead singer hits their ears on something other than their iPod it is deemed “horrible” or the band has “sold out”. True, in some cases this does happen, but for the most part it is songs from the same CD that people raved about before that makes it on the radio. I’m not saying Ke$ha has to be your favorite artist, but give them all a chance and let yourself enjoy them and enjoy whatever music speaks to you no matter the connotations.

Shedding Light

A disturbing trend has re-surfaced: sexual harassment. More disturbing than the trend is how common it has become, and how commonly it is covered up. It is everywhere in the media from allegations against presidential candidate Herman Cain to allegations against assistant Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, to associate head basketball coach at Syrcause University Bernie Fine . One of the most shocking aspects of the allegations against these men is that the harassment was not an isolated incident. There are multiple victims and many of these victims were pressured into silence. Many never received justice. A study released by USA Today revealed that during the 2010-2011 school year 48% of students grades 7-12 were victims of sexual harassment whether it be in person, or electronically. One third of these students said that the harassment made them feel sick to their stomachs and interfered with their study habits and desire to go to school. Sexual harassment is not confined to prominent national figures, it is happening in our schools, too. If this statistic holds to be true in our classrooms at Valley, nearly half of the students at this school have been victims of some form of sexual harassment. We should know where the line is and when not to cross it. It’s time to put an end to this wave of sexual harassment scandals- and it starts here with us students. If we can treat each other with a basic level of respect, self-respect, and dignity; we can make sure our classmates do not become a statistic.

My Observations by Dan Lowe ‘14

“Pre Calculus B, and Sports Entertainment and Marketing because all my other classes are for DMACC credit or choir.” -Dylan DeClerk ‘13

COMPROMISE-


Art outside the paint palette

Profiles

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By Devin Pickering

Senior Frannie Williams plans on making a career out of her unique hobby beyond the limits of Des Moines. Williams’ talent is cinematic art, the art of film making, producing, and directing. She is currently taking classes at Central Campus dealing with film and is the director of film for the Iowa High School Speech Association, or IHSSA. “I'm starting off slow now and hope to make several short films by the end of the school year," Frannie said. “I am interested in the world of independent film and want

Frannie uses her proffesional quality video camera to shoot her movies.

to establish a career in it. The film industry is really hard to get into so I know I'm going to have to work very hard to get connected and master my craft,” she said. Williams first started acting when she was 14. She took classes and did on screen work for TV, film, and commercial but it didn’t satisfy her. She wanted more control of the entire work, and decided to aim to be a director or cinematographer. Williams plans on continuing with film in the future and would like to make a career of it. “I really want to attend

Columbia College in Chicago and major in either directing or cinematography,” she said. Williams described that she juggles her academic career and her filmmaking career easily, because Central Campus allows her to spend half her day focusing on film making and the other half at Valley, working on her academics. Williams purchased a camera and equipment to support her aspiring career, and is very devoted to her unique hobby. She hopes to someday become a director of a major film, and follow her dreams.

Pursuing dreams of scoring a record deal By Aaron Bell

Brandt sings while playing his Epiphone g400sg guitar.

While most teens listen to music through their iPods, juniors Alec LeSher, Jared Neal, Logan Blosser and Lucas Brandt are on the other side of the headphones. These four students have been making music together since their freshman year, and they have formed a band that they call “Parafill.” The group has performed at local spots such as The house of Bricks, and Vaudeville Mews. The group has a pop/rock style, and they cover bands like Weezer, Greenday (Greenday’s old songs), and Blink 182, while also writing their own songs. They try

From left to right, Logan Blosser, Alec LeSher, Lucas Brandt, and Jared Neal pose for a group picture after their performance at the House of Bricks.

to play songs that teens enjoy, so that more teens will want to listen to them. On stage, Blosser plays guitar, Neal plays bass, LeSher plays the drums, and Brandt is the lead singer, but he also plays guitar. “We’re best friends, and we all love to play together,” said Brandt. Recording songs is not easy for the group. The process is “extremely hard and takes a long time” said Brandt. In order to have a quality sound, the group members have all purchased professionalgrade instruments, and they also use “Logic Studio 09”, a high quality

recording program to make their songs. In the long run, the many hours that the group puts into making songs pays off, literally, because they receive pay for their on stage performances. The group’s next live performance is this January at “The house of Bricks”. The group members have all been playing some instrument since elementary school. According to LeSher, drummer Travis Barker first inspired him to pick up the drumsticks. Going to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers is what inspired Neal to start playing bass. In Brandt

Blosser practices playing his guitar while LeSher sits at his drum set in the back.

and Blosser’s cases, simply enjoying music inspired them to pick up the guitar and start playing. “I just kind of got into it,” said Blosser. Playing in shows is a big part of the music business, so getting a “gig” is always a big deal for the group. They practice every day of the week before a performance to ensure they will sound great and impress listeners. “There are hardly any high school bands anymore,” said Brandt. This has inspired the group to want to stay together after school, hoping of possibly scoring a record deal.


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Profiles

Semester’s end brings change in language and country By Aaron Bell

Nim poses with a friend at “Camp Ramah“. He attends the camp every summer for two months.

To those who have not experienced Israel first hand, junior Nim Kaufman explains it can be summed up with images of religious importance, diversity, and a great time. For second semester,

Kaufman will be returning to Israel, but not only for a visit; this time he is going to live in Israel as a foreign exchange student. The reason Kaufman will be heading to Israel out of all places is because his parents are Israeli. He has been to Israel before, but Kaufman wants to go live there for a while and be a part of the culture. He will leave the U.S. in January after first semester finals are over. “I want to go to Israel because I’m Israeli and I also want to learn to read and write better,” Kaufman said. Although he can already speak Hebrew, Kaufman explained that he just “doesn’t know Hebrew like they do over there.” As of right now, the only classes that Kaufman knows he will be taking for sure are chemistry and math. “All the classes over there are advanced, so they’ll be really hard” said Kaufman. Luckily, the stay in Israel won’t cost Kaufman more than a plane ticket. This is because he will be staying with a friend from camp, and his grandparents also live there,

so they will be supporting him financially. Kaufman always thought the idea of going to school in a different country would be fun, but he never thought he’d be able to do it. These thoughts were especially clear in Kaufman’s mind when he learned that he might not receive class credits as an exchange student. “We talked to Mr. Mollison, and he will be looking at the classes to see what level they are” said Kaufman. “Valley will be letting me disappear for a semester if I don’t get credits.” Kaufman thinks that if he doesn’t receive credits, that’s not fair to him. “I’m still going to be attending school, so why shouldn’t I be getting credit for it?” said Kaufman. After the school year is over, Kaufman will be heading to Poland for ten days, then he will head back to Israel, as a part of Camp Ramah’s “Seminar” program. Camp Ramah is a coed, overnight, sleepaway summer camp in Wisconsin that Kaufman attends every summer. One may only become eligible to attend the “Seminar” program after attending Camp Ramah.

In Poland, Kaufman will tour the country and visit historic sites including Auschwitz, the German concentration camp during World War II. Visits to the camp often turn someone into a completely different person. After returning to Israel from Poland, Kaufman will begin exploring the country. While there, he will most likely walk in places where the prophets walked, stand at the battleground where King David fought, and look at caves where David may very well have sought refuge from the Philistines. Kaufman even has thoughts about joining the Israeli army while staying in Israel next summer. “I want to join the army because I want to see if Israel is right for me” said Kaufman. However, he doesn’t know yet if Israel is a place where he would want to live.

“Israel is where I belong, it’s my background.”

Starting at the roots, first hand experience in Mexico By Devin Pickering

The path to becoming a teacher is a journey comparable to that of Odysseus’ in “The Iliad” – full of obstacles, monsters, and challenges. Spanish teacher Sue Boyle has experienced multiple obstacles like traveling to foreign countries such as Mexico in her process to learn the culture and become a better teacher. Boyle has traveled to Japan, Belgium, Mexico, and many more foreign countries since high school. She enrolled in a foreign exchange program while still in high school and found her most memorable experience to be in Mexico, where she spent a total of five sum-

mers and one year with a family she met through her mission group. “The hardest part about leaving [Mexico] is actually coming back,” said Boyle. During her stay in Mexico she learned a lot about the culture, gained a greater appreciation for other cultures and their traditions, and also gained a greater understanding of Spanish while staying in the heart of Mexico. Boyle describes the family she stayed with in Monterrey as a second home and she said “the only thing keeping me here is my family, friends, and my amazing job.” She stayed in Mexico from 1996-1997 and taught English to children and adults, earning three

Boyle [back] learns how to make homemade quesadillas with her host family in Mexico. Besides learning Spanish, Boyle took part in various activities such as helping in a construction program similar to “Habitat for Humanity.“

pesos an hour, which converts to roughly 50 cents an hour. “I started off eighth grade learning French, but obviously that didn’t work,” said Boyle. She took many trips around the world, but found her true calling while in college, and set her sights on becoming a teacher. Her special training in Mexico helped her ability in teaching the subject because she knows what it’s like first hand in the Mexican culture “[Spanish] is really learned by spending time practicing over and over again,” said Boyle. While she took extensive classes to help master the subject, firsthand experience also helps her teach Spanish with ease.


Feature

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Enjoy

Winter Solstice Have a Terrific Happy HanukkahKwanz

aa

Merry Kwanzaa?

By Brock Rustin

“I’m Muslim. We don’t really s you could er me an Atheist. I have a holiday in December. elieve in God but We celebrate Ramadan twice really rule out the a year, which is where you ce of a higher be- fast from sun up to sundown y family is Christian and pray five times a day. I’m y don’t really do not as religious until Ramanal things like go to dan comes around because then my parents expect me to every Sunday. wear a head-wrap and cover my body and pray often with liefs don’t really how we celebrate them. My religion is present nter holidays. We in my everyday life because it te Christmas, not affects who my parents want e of religious rea- me to date. It also affects what ut because it’s nice I eat because we can’t eat and get presents pork. I’m extremely open to he people closest people with different religions. I love learning about the other ” beliefs out there. There are parts of Islam that I differ guyen, senior from because I was raised in America and not in a completely Muslim community.” -Amela Mehic, junior

Quotes collected by Steph Tabor

“We have our own winter holiday, Diwali and Dashera, which are celebrated at the end of October/begining of November, generally. Around Christmas time, we put up a tree and also get presents, but that’s about it when it comes to celebrating Christmas. I don’t really know why we celebrate Christmas. . . It’s just kinda always been part of our family. “As far as the Indian holidays go, we go to the Hindu temple and celebrate those holiday with traditional functions. . . For example, to celebrate Diwali and Dashera, we go to the Hindu temple and have a special prayer geared towards our family. There are certain tradtions such as washing silver coins. Diwali, also know was the festival of lights, is similar to Christmas--We get presents to help celebreate the festival. “Personally, my family and I try to go to the Hindu temple once a month. We also have a small, mini temple in our house where we pray, too.”

heir beliefs

-Pallavi Aurora, senior

Winter break, it’s obvious what teachers are trying to get around: Christmas. Now, when a teacher slips and refers to it as Christmas break, an awkward, silent aura surrounds the overlooked Jewish kid in the classroom. Being the most dominant holiday celebrated among educators in America, it is frowned upon to refer to it as Christmas break.           �������������������������������������������������������� A surprising number of teenagers and families with religions other than Christianity still celebrate Christmas, excluding the whole nativity scene and play part. In elementary school, we never noticed when teachers asked their class what they planned on doing over Christmas break, because back then we never paid much attention to our peers’ religious views. Junior Kruti Doctor, whose family practices Hinduism, bought a seven-foot tall evergreen tree this year. “Indians love presents!” joked Kruti. They celebrate a prominent Hindu holiday similar to Christmas with lots of food and lights from late October to early November known as Diwali or “The Festival of Lights”. She has adopted traditions presented in her childhood days of elementary school and brought home the ideas to her family, who now celebrates Christmas every year. Sophomore Katherina Thai, who is agnostic, said, “I’m not Christian, but I still celebrate Christmas. Instead of the religious part, I celebrate with family and friends. We still have a Christmas tree and give gifts.” On the contrary, Muslims like sophomore Belma Velagic and junior Senadin Djedovic object to Christmas and don’t want to be involved in the ordeal at all… but they don›t mind when it’s referred to as Christmas break. “I really don’t care, I know what I believe in and I don’t celebrate Christmas so I don’t even think about it,” said Senadin.           Student teacher����������������������������������������� Jackie Aldworth stands alongside the politically correct way of wishing students a happy holiday break. But, French teacher, Vikki Gallagher, who adorns her classroom with Jewish as well as Christian symbols for the upcoming holiday believes that it is very possible to be considerate of other religions, and still refer to it as Christmas break if she feels like it. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the moment you step out of school junior Josh Higginbottom may drive by in his SUV decked out in Christmas lights blaring his Christmas song playlist. And the moment you turn the car on you will be attacked by a barrage of “Feliz Navidad” and “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.” Christmas is still the dominant holiday celebrated even in an ever-changing America of diverse cultures.


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Feature

s u i t a v p i a n a t G a s h c Fe e rest of us! Pan H Celebrate

Make it a beautiful

Boxing Day Merry Christmas for th

“I celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah because my parents are different religions. My beliefs don’t really affect how I celebrate the holidays I just need to be sure to be home to light the Menorah every night during Hanukkah. Our tradition is that we spend 10-15 minutes each night lighting candles and stuff. Sometimes we play dreidle or other Jewish games. “Personally, I go to the temple on Jewish holidays and that’s it. I’m a reform Jew so I don’t grow a beard or wear a suit every day but I participate in holiday affairs. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe any less than the orthodox. “I feel that people have the right to express whatever they were brought up with. My family just happened to be Jewish when I was brought into this world so that is what I believe in. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Having my dad Jewish and my mom Christian is actually not that big of a deal. My mom goes with us to temple services occasionally, so there is no problem with it. I’m glad that my parents are different religions because then I get to experience two different ideals.” -Tommy Stern, senior

“I’m Jewish. Winter holidays are really easy for me. My family usuallytakes a break to travel to unique places around the world and see the traditions they do there. We celebrate Hanukkah so we light the Menorah and play dreidel each night. We also have a big meal with traditional foods on the last night with family and friends if we are in town. I go to synagogue on the High Holy Days and celebrate holidays including Hanukkah, Passover, and Sukkot. It’s not that I don’t agree with it, but there are 613 rules that Jewish people are supposed to follow and I honestly don’t think anyone really knows them all.“

“My family is Lutheran. Every year to celebrate Christmas, we go to the Christmas Ever service at Lutheran Church of Hope. Even though some people find gay marriage to be wrong, I find it more to be live and let live. No one should be judged on their lifestyle choices. I also find premarital sex to be a personal decision. If you decide to wait until marriage or not, that’s up to you. Either way, it’s important to give yourselfto someone special and not regret it later. “

“I am Catholic but there are certain aspects of my religion I don’t agree with 100 percent. I believe that choices such as premarital sex and gay marriage shouldn’t be bound by ones religion, but should be open to the person’s own opinion.” - Andre Renaud, senior

“I guess conside “I believe in the multiple higher powers that the don’t be I can’t r ancient civilization did. I believe that the multitudes existenc of gods and goddesses watch ing. My over mankind in their own but they way. I think that admitting tradition to what you believe and not church e swaying is enough for practice . . . You just know when “My bel you find what you believe. affect h My mom is Lutheran, my fa- the win ther is Catholic. I was never celebrat raised to practice a certain because religion, but to believe in the sons, bu to give a higher power I chose.” from th to you.” -Alex Finn, senior

-Anh Ng

-Molly Huerkamp, junior

-Leah Bailin, senior

Students stand up for th Image from randomviewpoints.files.wordpress.com


Entertainment

11

Give the gift of revenge this holiday season By: Natalie Liedman

ABC’s new fall show, Revenge, proves to be successful due to the suspenseful dialogue and intense plot. The show is a spinoff of Alexandre Dumas’s Count of Monte Cristo, which focuses on one goal: the art of revenge. In the pilot of the show, flashbacks show young Amanda Clarke and her father David enjoying their summers in the Hamptons. When Amanda was eight, her innocent father was convicted of treason, and he was left to die in prison. Amanda spent the next ten years of her life in a juvenile court, but later inherited the money from her father’s business. Amanda swaps her name with another wom-

an, Emily Thorne, and focuses to get revenge on the people that were involved in destroying her father’s life. She used the money to buy a beach house on the Hamptons, in order to spy on her egotistical and guilty neighbors. Although Amanda’s plot to get revenge seems easy, she deals with many obstacles. Many people who were involved with her father’s imprisonment question her knowledge of the past, and also question her identity and wealth. Amanda relies on her friend Nolan Ross to keep her identity safe, and to spy on her victims to find out more her dad’s past.

#thatawkwardmomentwhen...

In each episode, Amanda focuses on one person that was involved in her father’s downfall. She then tries to figure out how she can give them the proper amount of revenge. To make the show more organized, the directors should provide more flashbacks in a few episodes to help viewers understand as to why her childhood was affected by these people. Although many characters are present in the show, most are thoroughly developed, and play an important role in Amanda’s plot of revenge. As a new show, Revenge brings in many viewers, particularly to young adults and teens.

The show brought 10.2 million viewers on the pilot episode, and won the highest viewed telecast of the month. It airs at 9:00 on ABC.

Albert Rojas

Rylee Bassett

Bachelor

Bachelorette

By Ashlee Thompson

Mr. Goldsmith- Teacher

Sam Yunglas-Senior

“When you attempt to light water on fire and light your whole arm up.”

“When you say something that someone had just said right before that.”

Jenna Zahren- Sophomore

Jasen Emamian- Junior

“When you go behind someone to hug them and realize it’s the wrong person.”

“When you walk out on stage during Footloose and see Will Ward in short shorts.”

Grade: Senior 1.How will you escape the snow this winter? You know . . . 2.What is your favorite song? “Drop It Like It’s Hot” 3.What is your most favorite winter activity? Making snow angels 4.How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? 30 minutes 5.If you were immortal for a day what would you do? Get hit by a cop car, then sue them, and get money 6.If you could be a celebrity who would you be and why? Mr. Krabs because he makes bank 7.What’s your favorite smell? Cheese 8.Soda or pop? Pop 9.What’s your favorite cereal? Berry Captain Crunch

Grade: Senior 1.How will you escape the snow this winter? Embrace it 2.What is your favorite song? “I’m Sexy and I Know It” 3.What is your favorite winter activity? I hate the winter 4.How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? An hour and a half 5.If you were immortal for a day what would you do? Jump off the Eiffel Tower 6.If you could be a celebrity who would you be and why? Natalie Portman because she hooks up with Ashton Kutcher 7.What’s your favorite smell? Warm Vanilla Sugar 8.Soda or pop? Pop 9.What’s your favorite cereal? Fruit Loops


10

Entertainment

Addiction or Devotion? By Brianna Miller

Spending on average of three to four hours on weekdays and many more on the weekends, teenagers develop a love for video games, Especially males. Not just one game but numerous games. Most recently EA and Activision, top video game producers, put out the newest versions of Battlefield and Modern Warfare. Both goals of game: to kill the enemy. In truth, both of the games are equally popular, although many will favor one over the other. Both have their pros and cons but what really sets them apart from each other are the users. The user selects squads, which consist of four players; squads are then placed into teams, about three squads in each team of 12.

Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3(MW3) are both fast- paced games and require teamwork. Between the two games, Battlefield and Modern Warfare, it was an easy answer when Tyson McQuerry, Luke Tang, and Calvin Brown, juniors, were asked which they favored more. “Battlefield” they said. “It’s fun to blow stuff up, and trash talk to people. Especially those from other countries!” said Tyson. Releasing, exactly two weeks from each other, Battlefield 3 was released on October 25 and MW3 released on November 8, Game Stop was the place to be. Both games currently sell for $59.99 at GameStop. Although MW3 has pros

and cons, “ modifications have been enhanced in both games in hopes of making the gamer more attached,” said Luke. MW3 has made adjustments from the previous MW including “pretty cool graphics, not a lot of server connection problems, and stuff flies around and explodes”, said Luke. Some of the modifications from Battlefield 2 to Battlefield 3 are, “new guns, better upgrades, and better vehicles”, said Calvin. “The fast game play is an occasional delight though [MW3]”, said junior Max Rivers. In MW3, the modifications made were “less annoying deaths that always happen in COD”. As there are some new players to these games, Tyson’s advice to players is, “Don’t act like a n00b! Moving up in levels is not as easy as they may seem in some games, but does show the dedication and addiction many have.

Adopt-a-family proves successful By Ashlee Thomspon

Advisories are encouraged to do special holiday activities. Some have parties, some exchange gifts, and some try to bring holiday cheer to others. Over the years, Mrs. Brenda Engstrand’s advisory has adopted a family for the holidays. This year, they are creating a special holiday gift for Elijah, a 3 year old boy and his aunt from the Des Moines area. Engstrand received Elijah’s wish list and announced it to all five of her US History classes, along with her senior girl advisory. His list included clothing and bed sheets. The only toy he asked for was a Nintendo DS. Classes started collecting money and bringing donations for Elijah and his aunt. Cleaning supplies, winter clothing, bed sheets and a

Nintendo DS were all donated. The classes collected a total of $220. Money was given to a few students to go out and shop for the last items that had not been donated. “I’m glad we could give him things he could have never had,” said junior Emily Swallow. Gifts were delivered on December 13th to give Elijah and his aunt the best Christmas possible. “We did outstanding. The students were very generous to Elijah and people in need, I am very proud of them,” said Engstrand.

Mrs. Engstrand’s US History classes and senior advisory brought presents for the Adopt a Family Program through the West Des Moines Human Services.

Top 5 music artists that keep getting their hearts broken for our selfish musical benefits 1. Taylor Swift 2. Adele 3. Christina Perri 4. Adam Levine 5. Enrique Iglesias


Sports

Valley girl swag

13

By Abriana Einertson

Victory has graced yet another team here at Valley; the dance team. Their competition was held on Friday, December second in which they competed in two categories: Jazz and hip hop. Last year the girls placed very well in the state competition with a third place finish in hip hop and sixth in jazz. This year though, the team was able to jump up two places in the jazz category with a solid routine finishing in fourth place. “State is the prime time in our season where we push through the tears and sweat to accomplish our goals and our dreams. We get one chance to show the judges, our peers, and our state what Valley dance team is made of. We got two minutes to prove our strength as a team and this year, that was all we needed. We are state champs and I could not be more proud!” said senior Katie Znerold. “Practice, practice, and more practice!” That is what some of the members of the team said they did to prepare for their first place finish in the hip hop category. They outscored

every team with the highest score in any hip hop routine throughout the entire competition. Junior Michaela Berg said, “I am so proud to be a dancer on the Valley dance team! It is so great to be a part of a group of girls that I have grown so close with.” The music used for their hip hop routine was very sassy and it had swag. Both dances were very neatly pulled together and performed with grace, passion and attitude. Junior Kathleen Fallon said, “We have worked really hard this year and we have improved immensely.” Senior Hannah Buchanan shares the joy, “This is such a great way to end my years here at Valley. I feel so privileged to be a part of this team; they are like my second family. We worked hard for what we got, and I could not be more proud. Valley girl swag!” The team is all very satisfied with the outcome and they are ready to come back next year even stronger and with even more improvements.

Photo by Kruti Doctor

The dance team brought their swag to state. They resulted in a fourth place win in jazz and a first place win in hip hop. Many students came to support the girls at the competition. Surprised by their first place win, emotional dance team members and coaches Jenna Kollings and Jayme Ammann celebrate.

Football takes title 17-14 By Maddy Arnold

Valley won its fifth state football championship, since the playoff system began, 17-14 against Bettendorf last month at the UNI Dome. The fans that made the commute to Cedar Falls were treated to a game of classic high school football, a battle of the defenses. The first quarter was scoreless. Valley and Bettendorf both struggled to gain first downs against each other’s dominating defense. The first points of the game came from Bettendorf’s special teams. A blocked Valley punt results in a Bulldog 7-0 lead in the second quarter. Valley was quick to answer. On the ensuing drive Valley marched 88 yards down the field. The drive ended in a six-yard touchdown run by sophomore Tyus Mason. The teams went into the locker room at halftime tied 7-7. The start of the second half saw much of the same defensive battle as earlier in the game. With just under five minutes left in the third quarter senior Nick Gales kicks a 29-yard field goal. This put the Tigers up by three points. The fourth quarter began with Valley on top 10-7 but Bettendorf was not about to give up. After running the ball against Valley’s defense proved unsuccessful, Bettendorf quarterback Nick Heimendinger completed a 94-yard touchdown pass to senior Nick

Huges. This put the Bulldogs on top 14-10. With only six and a half minutes left, Valley’s perfect season and hopes for a state title were hanging in the balance. Nervous fans waited for the Tigers to strike. Unable to make any progress on the next drive, Valley punted the ball away. Just as soon as Bettendorf gained possession, senior Nolan Lodden stripped the ball giving the Tigers another chance. Mason struck once again with a nine-yard run into the end zone. This gave the Tigers the lead 17-14. With a little over a minute left in the game it came down to the defense one final time. The Tigers had to stop the Bulldogs and they did. Mason intercepted the ball to give Valley possession for the last time. Bettendorf had one more chance but not enough time to make anything happen. After the clock expired the Valley Tigers were state champs. Senior quarterback Jeff Pullen finished the night with 82 yards passing. Junior Clint Boffelli was his favorite target totaling 70 yards receiving. On the defense, seniors Tarin Phillips and Spencer Hellman led the team in tackles and senior Ryan Knoff had two sacks on the night. The football team finished the season with a perfect record of 14-0 and are class 4A state football champions.


12

Sports

Just keep swimming

By Leah Thompson

Young team starts strong

By Maddy Arnold

Photo by Kelly Reeve

For two hours after school, the guys work on drills, techniques and skills to make their swimming stronger to help them defeat Dowling Catholic on December 17.

Swimming twice a day, three and a half hours every day, the Boys Swim team members are constantly put to the test: are they mentally and physically strong enough to take on the challenge of being a swimmer? Many of these guys are on varsity for the first time, and are ready to do what head coach Shawn DeBoef expects from them to get the team to state. Despite all of their tough sets at practice, the boys have some fun as well. When fresh snow hits the ground, the boys have been known to leap out of the pool mid-practice, dash outside and roll in the snow, then dive back into the pool, much to the coaches’ amusement. “It’s always good for a laugh,” DeBoef chuckled. According to DeBoef, some of their stronger swimmers are expected to be state qualifiers, such as seniors Nate Harris, Stephen Davick, and Coner Elliott, along with others that attended state last year. There are 46 boys on the swim team, 21 of them on varsity. Some are on varsity for the first time, so the team isn’t where DeBoef wants them to be at the moment, but he’s sure that the boys will get there by the biggest dual meet of their season: Dowling Catholic, on Saturday, December 17. “Dowling has a solid team, they have the depth they need to defeat us, but I know that we will have a chance to win as well,” DeBoef said. “We have a long way to go before we are in a position to defeat Dowling, but I believe we can get the depth we

need to be a successful team.” In total, there are 14 meets finishing at Marshalltown on January 16. Most swimmers will finish the season with the conference meet, while a select number of boys will move on to Districts. Their last home meet is against Waukee on January 12, though there are only four home meets this year. Already having three successful meets under their belt, the boys are now feeling the pressure of swimming their best to help the team get more points on the score board. After defeating Lincoln by 19 points last Thursday, the boys are slowly on their way to state. Juniors Jaden Van Dike and Derek Yu have been keeping DeBoef on his toes. The two have been dropping a lot of time early in the season. They put all their effort into the practices, and get their “game-face” on when it comes time to their events, whether it’s the 100 yard breaststroke or the 100 yard backstroke. DeBoef and assistant coach Steve Davis are helping the boys prepare for many meets to come later this month and early January. Dowling Catholic, Johnston, Dubuque Senior, and last year’s state champs Muscatine are the teams our boys want to conquer. Other teams such as Waukee and Ames (who are also having a building year) will challenge the boys at Conference. As of now, DeBoef believes the boys will place in the top ten this year, but is open to the possibility of pleasant surprises.

Taking the courts again this season for the girls varsity basketball team are only four upperclassmen, all seniors. The rest of the roster is made up of five freshman and three sophomores. “I would describe our team as a team with good leadership mixed with young talent. The upper classmen have done a nice job of building team chemistry and helping the young players feel a welcomed part of the team,” said head coach Eric Boyle. Despite a small senior class and an age gap between the players, the team claims that chemistry is one of their strengths. “I really enjoy all of the younger girls. They are all pretty talented and we mesh well on the court. Only having four seniors we try to lead as much as possible but also we try to show the younger ones our expecta-

tions,” said senior Shannon King. Seniors Elly Hansen, Lauren Jensen, Shannon King and Ally Swartz have the challenging job of leading this young and inexperienced team this season. So far they have been successful, starting the season off 6-0 as of print time. “I feel the season is off to a good start… We have made positive steps each night we have taken the floor. I hope we continue to work hard as the season progresses,” said coach Boyle. With huge wins over every opponent played so far, including rival Dowling Catholic, the girls varsity basketball team has high hopes for the season despite their young team. “Our team goal is to get a conference title and then to go to Wells Fargo Arena and take state,” said Shannon.

Athletes of the month

By Leah Thompson

Kyle Larson

Senior Kyle Larson is a two-time place winning wrestler. Kyle is a leader who works hard at every practice, and it pays off in the end. He is a vital part to the team because he is a tremendous leader and he has a great work ethic. Not only is he part of the Wu-Tang, he is a successful wrestler as well. “Kyle leads by example. He is always one of the last people to leave. He does all the little things right!” coach Travis Young said.

Sarah Curran

Sarah Curran is quite the “go-getter.” She is a swimmer and a creator of the Recycling Club, and is now the captain of the Tigerlillies, the synchronized swimming club at Valley. Sarah encourages people on the team to give their all and have fun, too! “Besides being a good student, she is also very supportive of all the members, and she is often a key part of getting things done,” said coach Susan VandeVenter.


Impact wanted to become an exPia Springsklee “Ichange student because

I was intrigued by the idea to live like an American, IN AMERICA! I was also looking for ‘a new challenge.’ The biggest difference between Valley and my school back at home is that we were always in the same classroom with the same people, and the teachers switched rooms. My school back at home went from grades 5-12 and had only 850 students. I thought it wouldn’t be hard to be away from my friends and family for the holidays, but now I’m starting to feel not so cool about that anymore.”

germany

Ghana

“The food here is definitely different, but good. The biggest diffrence between Valley and my school in Ghana is that you get flogged when you mess up or get in trouble. You should also know that you do not see lions walking the streets of Ghana and Kojo is not a nickname.”

Kojo Otchere Badu

Emilie Eickhoff Belgium “I wreally ant-

ed to learn English and discover the American life. It is especially hard for me to be away from my family for Christmas because it is a family tradition which is really important to me. The food here is not that different, it is just more salty/sweet and a lot comes from a box!”

Foreign Exchange Students es between Valley and their school back home was the size. They said that Valley was much larger. “Valley is double my school in terms of students,” said Emilie. Greta Hayer said, the biggest difference is that if you don’t do well in school in, you just get kicked out. Most of the students said that another challenge was being away from home for the holidays. “It is my first Christmas away from home,” said Laura Navratil-Cruz. Coming into a family that you don’t know could also potentially be a large challenge, but for most of the students, the families are very welcoming and accommodating. Tomás Gouveia said “My host family is the

McClure family. They received me at their home as a stranger, we didn’t know each other, we just talked twice by Skype. They have three cool kids, they’re great. I couldn’t have a better host family. I’m glad they picked me as their host son.” Although there are many challenges in becoming an exchange student, many of them have found that it is a very unique and rewarding experience. “Being an exchange student has changed my life,” said Greta Hayer. Through the immense challenges of meeting new people, getting involved, and learning in a new culture, most of these students seem to be fitting in well at Valley.

15

“I wanted to become independent and I want to try new things. I missed my friends and family a lot at first, but now I am getting used to living without them. I think it will be fun having a holiday here. It’s going to be a sweet remembrance to me. The biggest difference between Valley and my school at home is that I don’t have to wear a uniform at Valley. The food here is greasy to me, and I gained a lot of weight. I do want to go to college in America, but I haven’t decided where yet.”

Ji-Eun (Emily) Jung

South Korea

“I didn’t choose to go to Belgium. I really just wanted to go somewhere that speaks French. I love Belgium from the chocolate, waffles, and fries, it has everything you really need to survive. The biggest difference between Valley and the school that I am in now is that if you don’t do well in school in Belgium, you get kicked out. It’s like ‘you’re here to study so study.’ My host family is awesome. They’re some of the nicest people I have ever met. I am with a rotary exchange program so I will have a total of three host families, each for three to four months. My second family lives in the countryside and my third in a renovated castle.”

Valley Student in Belgium

Greta Hayer


14

Impact

Portugal Belgium

Germany

Tomas Gouveia

“I wanted to learn better English, make a new experience, seen a new country, and live in a host family. I miss things I didn’t even think I would miss. I get to do a lot of cool stuff with my host family here so that makes it a little bit easier. My biggest challenges in coming to Iowa were getting a scholarship to come and getting the weight of my luggage down to less than 23 kg! Here at Valley I am involved in orchestra and the swim team. Back at home I was involved in swim club, orchestra, rowing club, and ballroom dancing. I really like to meet new people.”

Anne Sauer

“It has been my dream since I was in 6th grade to become an exchange student! I wanted to discover a new culture and to improve my English. The number of students is a big difference between my school and Valley! There were 96 seniors at my graduation last year. Also, just to clarify, Belgium is not in China.”

Karoline Deckers

“I became an exchange student because I wanted to learn a new language, and I especially wanted to learn English. In Germany you begin leaning English in third grade. When you speak a new language fluently, it helps when you get a job in the future. My host family here is very nice. We speak English at my host home but one of my host parents speaks German so he can help me when I have problems saying something.”

Marc Müller

Germany

“I wanted to become an exchange student because I want to have different experiences, know new cultures, and meet ‘different’ people. My cousin was an exchange student so she encouraged me to do this. It is a little hard to be away from my friends and family around the holidays because I’m used to being with them. It’s going to be one more challenge and one more experience. I got to experience the American Thanksgiving. (In Portugal we don’t have Thanksgiving). At Valley I played golf in the fall and it was a great season. We won the state championship and I got second place overall so it was a season that I will remember my whole life. Now I am the girls JV basketball manager and it has been fun. I hope to play a spring sport for Valley.”

“The biggest chalLaura Navratil-Cruz S lenge in coming to Iowa is leaving my famP ily and friends. Being away them for the holidays A will be the worstfrom part for me. It will be hard this will be my first Christmas away I because from home. I have always wanted to live in so I hope to live here sometime in N America, the future as well.”

The Experience of a Lifetime:

Story by: Kelly Reeve Photos by: Kayleigh Pollock, Kyle Shepherd, and Greta Hayer

Imagine for a moment that you don’t know anybody. You don’t know where you are, you don’t know the culture, and you are not completely confident about the language of the people that surround you. Imagine that you are required to go to a school in which you know no one. Now imagine that your life would be like this for whole year. “The biggest challenge is the first few months. Learning the language is super difficult and really, really exhausting, but it gets better. School [in Belgium] is also completely different. I basically cried every day after my first week – it was so confusing,” said Greta Hayer, a Valley student that is currently studying

in Belgium. This year, nine foreign exchange students came to Valley through various international exchange programs; Kojo Otchere Badu, Karoline Deckers, Emilie Eickhoff, Tomás Gouveia, Ji-Eun (Emily) Jung, Marc Müller, Laura NavratilCruz, Anne Sauer, and Pia Springsklee. Valley also has two students that attended Valley that are studying abroad this year, Greta Hayer, and Jeremy Hutton. “This was my dream since I was in 6th grade! I wanted to discover a new culture, new people, and improve my English,” said Karoline Deckers, from Belgium. When these students sign

up for the exchange programs, they have no choice of where they are placed. For most programs, the student gets to choose the country, but the student does not have a choice of state, city, or school. A family in their country of choice then selects the student, and they are placed in that home. When the students get to their new destination, they are encouraged to jump into activities right away to start meeting new people. “One of the first things we do is go through the list of clubs, sports, and activities,” said counselor Mr. Eric Traynor. Eight out of nine of the exchange students at Valley are involved in at least one activity.

Tomás Gouveia, from Portugal, wants to take his sport to the college level, “I don’t know where I’m going yet but I hope to know soon. I’m trying to get a scholarship for golf.” Marc Müller, Anne Sauer, JiEun (Emily) Jung and Kojo Otchere Badu are also considering college in America, but they also do not yet know where they want to go. Through the adventure of discovering a new country, the students see many vast cultural differences. A few of the students including, Karoline Deckers, Laura Navratil-Cruz, Emilie Eickhoff, Pia Springsklee, and Tomás Gouveia all said that one of the biggest differenc-


“My favorite holiday character is Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. He goes hard and is a team player.” -Sophomore Jack Lepic

“My favorite drinks during the holidays are apple cider and hot chocolate.” -Senior Jordan Franklin “My favorite holiday food is crowned ham with mashed potatoes and gravy and seafoam salad, with Snicker salad for dessert.” -Sophomore Yash Manektala

My favorite holiday memory was when I thought Santa was real. -Junior Susan Cruz-Rodriguez

“My favorite drink during the holidays is Sierra Mist and cranberry juice in a punch bowl.” -Junior Joel Kruse

From left to right, Mrs.Mottet, Ms. Miller, Ms Clark, and Mrs. King enjoy hosting an annual ugly holiday sweater party.

Happy Holidays

from the Spotlight Staff


Newspaper December Edition