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November 8, 2013

Advisory Continuing to evolve What’s By Cooper Warner

The anti-bullying campaign in advisory this year is definitely anti something, just not what administrators had planned it to be. Students are against being preached at, forced to reopen topics of discussion from elementary school, against being made out as either a bully, bystander or victim. Why focus on the negative? Why alienate those who already feel singled out? Why shake a nagging finger in students’ faces about being bullies when the vast majority of us are not? “I think [administrators] are tackling a giant that many students don’t necessarily think is a problem,” junior Alex McNunn said. “With their arsenal they have very little hope of success.” I do not envy the teachers and administration who have inherited an online world filled with problems that didn’t exist 20 years ago. The initiative to prevent bullying is really a focused attempt to change the culture of Valley; to promote character over cruelty, but it might be in vain. “The goal is to reinforce anti-bullying techniques learned in elementary and middle school,” history teacher Mr. Greg Hudson said. Instead of recycling verbiage from childhood lessons on bullying we should use advisory time to combat the underlying problems we face as a student body. We don’t need to repackage bullying with middle school YouTube clips and ultimatums, but rather work to strengthen the positive morals in students to foster a better school. “I think it’s good we are trying to decrease bullying in our schools but forced videos and lectures about bullying aren’t the best ways to inspire kids,” junior Roman Dean said. In order to succeed, we need administration and teachers to respect students enough to start a conversation about the kind of people we are and the moral code that defines us. Let’s do away with the script and talk about issues of character like adults, learn from one another, build respect and tolerance for others’ ideas and change the way we interact with each other. Negativity cannot define our school or our generation. If social media has taught us anything it’s that people have something to say and the right to be heard. If we inspire students to talk constructively about issues we might illuminate new solutions.

Shakin’ Bacon: What’s your spirit animal? Photo Credit: Abby Thalman

“Wolves because they are wild and fierce.” Senior Hannah Todd

“The bullying initiative is a little over the top.” -Junior Kyle Herman

Shedding light Staff Editorial Choosing colleges to apply to can be stressful for any high school student. How are we supposed to make all the decisions when we don’t even know how to decide? There are three major steps in making this decision: finding, applying and accepting. The end result will either make or break a student’sfuture. Students are faced with the task of actually finding and locating the college that best fits them. This is easier said than done. There are literally hundreds, thousands of colleges to choose from, and you can only choose one. A number of factors should be involved in this decision, such as: location of the campus, school population, courses, tuition costs, type of school (public vs. private, community vs. state, etc.), criteria for acceptance and life on campus. Many concerns rest in the latter—the campus. Students stress over the “appearance” of how the campus looks. Are the dorms too small or out of date? Are the buildings really that spread out? How

are the roommates decided? Are you going there just because your friends are going there? These details may seem insignificant, but they can become the deciding factor in a student’s choice. Another large deciding factor is the requirements for acceptance. Most colleges require a particular ACT or SAT score for enrollment. This can become frustrating for those students who are close to the right score—but just not quite. The most important factor to consider though, are the courses offered. Students should find the college that holds the most potential for his or her future career. It is best to spend time researching and visiting the different schools, discovering which has the most to offer. After narrowing down the college choices to the top three, students can start applying. This can be both relieving and stressful. The relief is that you have finally narrowed it down. The stress part is actually waiting for their reply. Most colleges take several weeks, if not months to respond—some sooner. The big idea to keep in mind is

to be realistic. You have to learn to accept whatever the outcome may be. Even though you get accepted into a college, it doesn’t mean you can afford it. Note that in-state residents pay less on college tuition than students coming from other states. This can definitely be a major tipping point in your decision. On the bright side, students can start applying for scholarship opportunities to help lower that cost. SENIORS: Try to see past today. Do you see yourself here, learning, studying and making friends? Does this campus hold your best interests in mind, both academically and realistically? Most importantly, does this campus reflect YOU and who you hope to become? Just take your time. There’s no point in making a rash decision. The best thing to do is to write out a list of all the pros and cons of your college options. SOPHOMORES & JUNIORS: Start looking for colleges NOW! Prepare for your future education by studying for and taking your ACT/SAT tests. It’s better to be over-prepared than not at all.

“Siberian tiger because they’re really cool and I feel it in my heart.” Sophomore Paige Weiand

“Lions because they are fierce and live in the African jungle and savannah.” Junior Jacob Geletta

“Narwhal because it’s like a unicorn and a whale because it’s awesome.” Junior Hailey Hilts



In The Halls:

What would you want to do in advisory? Photo Credit: Claudia Athens

Barbie world By Abby Thalman

“Field games like we did in middle school.” Junior Ojas Pradhan

“Therapy sessions with other words carry out conversations that pertain to us.” Junior Dinka Brdar

“I wish we had competition games between advisories.” Senior Yan Chan

“Study hall since some people have a full schedule.” Sophomore Jake Hoyng

Letter to the editor: To Valley from Paraguay Hola Valley, I am 5,165 miles away from home right now in Asuncion, Paraguay. I love how much culture Paraguay has to offer. It is not a country that has a lot of tourism, so there are a lot of things here you can’t find anywhere else in the world. One example of this is a special type of tea called Terere, where they put tea leaves, known as Yerba, in a special cup and then use a straw that they put in the Yerba before adding water. Sitting around and drinking this tea is a social event here, but I personally don’t care for the flavor. Along with drinks, they also have a lot of food that can only be found in Paraguay. Such foreign foods include: sopa paraguaya—a corn flour cheese bread, empanadas, mbeju—an unlevened fried bread and chipa—a dense baked bread of mandioca (a root that is similar to a potato) with cheese. A social gathering much like a barbeque back home is known as an

“asado,” where the natives gather to eat and socialize. The main course offers a variety of different meats to choose from. The people here claim their beef is the best in the world, but I think Iowa’s is better. Other social gatherings are parties, and there are parties ALL THE TIME. Even the parties for little kids

Emily holds a flag at her school in Paraguay. She will return to Valley for the spring semester. Photo credit to Emily Roose.

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. 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. 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 1642 at Valley High School. If you have an article you would like to have published, please contact editor-in-chief Ashley Skokan or Mrs. Hicks in Room 1642. Spotlight has received The International First Place Award from Quill and Scroll International Journalism Honor Society, First Place Award from the American Scholastic Press Association , and First Class Award with distinction in Writing and Editing from the National Scholastic Press Association.

Not pictured: Madison Ward and Gracie Cobb

are super fun and include lots of decorations. The parties for people my age are in clubs that charge an entrance fee, but everyone is dancing and having a good time late into the night. Something I’ve noticed is that everyone here is a good dancer; they dance for everything, parties, holidays and even cultural festivities in school. One cultural dance involves the girls dancing with bottles on their heads. Even when I’m surrounded by all of the fun, light-hearted cultural experiences, I still have my challenges—language in particular. Here the natives speak a mixture of Spanish and Guarani. My Spanish is still rough, but don’t even get me started on my Guarani—I only know a couple words. I hope that when I return home in 2½ months that I will be fluent in Spanish and know more in Guarani. Until then, Chao Emily Roose

Editor-in-Chief: Ashley Skokan Page Editors: Marisa Potts-Front Page Ashley Skokan-News, Cooper Warner-Opinion Taylor Mankle-Lifestyle Jenna Baldus-Feature Madison Ward-Entertainment Katie Galles-Profiles Gracie Cobb-Sports Meghan Munch-Spotshots Taylor Mankle- Webmaster Staff Reporters: Jacob Bernhard, Abby Thalman, Koral Glenn, Sarah Bell, Claudia Athens, Cole Schulte, Camryn Dreyer, Connor Ferguson Advisor: Diane Hicks

It used to be that skin and bones was beauty and girls that weren’t that size, were targeted for their weight. A size two was better than a size 12. Beauty was associated with Barbie dolls and plastic minds, meaning, beauty was only defined as a skinny, big-breasted, tall woman. If Barbie was a human, she would be 5’9 with a 39” bust, 18” waist, 33” hips, size three shoes, and weighing only 110 pounds according to Body Wars by Dr. Margo Maine. Barbie’s plastic physique is a visual example of shallow morals and low self-esteem levels. A doll constructed by the vision of society and how a woman should look. When in all actuality, her real life disproportions create a paradoxical vision. We target body image as a way to put down. We don’t see the rewards of beauty and confidence. Confidence outshines the plastic framework of a girl’s body image. But the tide is slowly changing. “Recently, it appears there's been a shift in the way society views the physical image of women. There is no longer a negative association with being ‘curvy;’ if anything, there's a negative association with being ‘skin and bones,’” senior Chase Schweitzer said. A trend has been evolving the perception of women in society. Efforts to beautify girls who are plus-sized have been enacted in the media. Dove, has created commercials that rather show off ladies of all different sizes, posing in their undergarments. Though we are making a shift to become socially acceptable of the different forms of beauty in our culture, there will always be negativity. People aren’t ones who can easily come to terms with differences. “The internal social detriment arises from people changing themselves to be more accepted- when you’re living as somebody you don’t want to be, you are going to experience significant mental strain,” Schweitzer said. Diversity in women’s stature is revolutionizing the way women handle their self-esteem. There are steps being taken to positively shape the social stigma associated with body image. No longer is Barbie some plastic representation of how women should be, but rather proof to how all women are different.


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