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What’s Inside? Cover Story Pg 06-10 Flaws in the System Tower Talk seniors share their thoughts on different aspects of the college process.

Spread Design by Chloe Kopsky Cover Photo by Hadley Jones

News and Features Pg 05 Humans of Villa We continue to welcome new faces throughout the year. Get to know a few of them.

Pg 04 Kids of the Castle Faculty and staff give hilarious interviews alongside their children.

Pg 04 KEEN

Sports and Fitness Pg 15 Equality in women’s sports Women have come a long way, but what about in sports? Find out about how women are doing in sports in the 21st Century.

Tower Talk Staff


KEEN brings kids and athletes together. Volunteer today!

Lifestyle Pg 11 New sights in Saint Louis Union Station offers exciting attractions, including The Wheel and The St. Louis Aquarium.

Pg 12-13 Food in the Lou We’ll lead you to the best pizza in STL.

Pg 14 Gomez Album Review Gomez’s “Rare” gives a glimpse into her personal struggles and triumphs.

Chloe Kopsky

Art Director:

Hadley Jones

Senior Editors: Molly McLaughlin Brooke Perryman

Staff Writers:

Trinity Collins, Izzy Kohlberg, Monicah Thuita, Eveline Vestjens


Pamela Harris-Marcus Danielle Thurm

Printing Company: Missourian Publishing Co.

Spread by Trinity Collins and Hadley Jones


Faith * Intellectual Values * Social Awareness * Community * Personal Growth

From the Editor: Dear VDOH community, The Tower Talk staff has written some amazing stories in this issue. It’s time for some spring cleaning! Out with the old, and in with the new. If you’re looking for something fun to do over spring break, check out page 11 to see the new addition to Union Station. Or maybe you are sick of listening to your current playist, then see page 14 to get an insight on Selena Gomez’s new album written by one of our new staff members, Monicah Thuita. Speaking of new, maybe you have seen some new faces around Villa. If not look at page 5 to see Eveline Vestjens’ feature on our new students. Honestly, I cannot belive spring is already here myself. Pretty soon my fellow seniors and I will be wearing white dresses and walking out of the castle setting out on our journey to college. I am confident that when I graduate I will be a strong, independent women who is willing to help change the world thanks to Villa. If you want to hear more about the college process, see pages 6-10 written by the seniors on the staff, to get an idea of what applying to colleges has been like for them as well as the changes we would like to see in the process. If you want a deeper insight on women changing the world, read Izzy Kohlberg’s story on page 15 to learn about the difference women are making in sports. The Tower Talk staff has put an immense amount of time and effort into making this issue with creative artwork, photographs and an abundance of stories that will appeal to everyone. Whether you learn something new or try something new after reading this, we hope you enjoy!

Sincerely, your senior editor,

For more VDOH, follow... @villaduchesne @VDOHschool @villa_stuco

With the recent arrival of Disney+, a streaming service that features old and new Disney content, there are countless choices for your viewing pleasure. Happy watching! Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): You have an obvious passion for music. Watch: Camp Rock. Aries (March 21-April 19): You are adventurous, courageous and independent. Watch: Gotta Kick It Up! Taurus (April 20-May 20): You are artistic and value the importance of friendship. Watch: The Cheetah Girls. Gemini (May 21-June 20): You are never afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Watch: Lemonade Mouth. Cancer (June 21-July 22): You care for others and show how big your heart is. Watch: Princess Protection Program. Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): You are always open to trying something new. Watch: Jump In. Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22): You are practical, honest and somewhat mysterious. Watch: Radio Rebel. Libra (Sep. 23-Oct. 22) Your sociable personality allows to find the beauty in all situations. Watch: Cadet Kelly. Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You are motivated to find the truth in every situation. Watch: Get a Clue. Sagittarius (Nov. 22-December 21): You’re always up for adventure. Watch Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century. Capricorn (December 22-Jan. 19): You are an ambitious and dependable person. Watch Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior. Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): You appreciate having diverse relationships. Watch: The Color of Friendship.


News & Features Spotlight on

Story by Chloe Kopsky and Monicah Thuita Photo by Chloe Kopsky

Mrs. Gehm said...

Q: What is your favorite color and why? A: Blue, and I guess because any time I wear it people comment that it brings out my eyes. Q: What is Olivia’s favorite color and why?

A: Yellow. I think she just likes it because it’s cheery.

Q: What is your favorite food? A: Steak. Q: What is Olivia’s favorite food? A: Cheeseburger, easy. Q: What is your favorite thing to do together? A: Watch movies.

Olivia said...

Q: What is your mom's favorite color and why? A: Turquoise, I think, because it's pretty. Q: What is your favorite color and why? A: Yellow, because it’s happy. Q: What is your mom’s favorite food? A: Probably salad. Q: What is your favorite food?

A: Cheeseburger. Probably the ones from Six Flags.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do together?


A: Go to Six Flags.



EEN (Kids Enjoying Exercise Now) is a program that provides sports opportunities for children with disabilities. KEEN began at Villa in spring 2018 when a group of students decided they wanted to get involved with the organization. They began hosting tennis sessions for children with disabilities in the St. Louis Area here at Villa. Working through the logistics and coordinating with the organization administrators, the KEEN leaders rounded up 20+ volunteers and headed to the courts, excited to greet all of the enthusiastic athletes. Even at the end of the first session, volunteers were able to witness the growth of the athletes. During the first day, some children could not bounce the ball twice on their racket, but by the end of the sixth week, they were hitting the ball well over the net. KEEN volunteer Chloe Smith ’20 says, “The KEEN athletes show tremendous progress each week because of all of the hard work that they put in! It is amazing to develop a bond with the athletes and get to know them throughout the program.”  But tennis is not the only skill KEEN cultivates. Participants form friendships with other athletes and the volunteers, which is the most enjoyable part of all. Margot Nikodem ’20 looked forward to KEEN every week. She commented that “This program is the best experience, not only because of the special connections I made with the athletes, but also because it’s fun! I loved greeting the athletes when they arrived because they would instantly put the biggest smile on my face.” With such a positive first year, KEEN leaders were eager for their second, having rounded up even more athletes and volunteers. With familiar and fresh faces, athletes bonded with their buddies and continued to work on developing their tennis skills. This year, KEEN leaders hope to exceed expectations of past years and reach even more children. In order to do this, though, many volunteers are needed since athletes work one-on-one with a student volunteer throughout the sessions. Each week the athletes and volunteers stretch, warm up, practice drills, play games and even dance.  Whether you need to fulfill service hours or are looking for a fun way to spend your Wednesday afternoons, consider joining the KEEN team. This year sessions will be held on 3/25, 4/1, 4/8, 4/15, 4/22, and 5/6 (rain date) at the tennis courts here on campus and will be from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Please contact Chloe Kopsky ’20, Chloe Smith ’20, Margot Nikodem ’20, or Cece Nikodem ’21 if you are interested in volunteering. The KEEN leaders can’t wait to see everyone on the courts!

Story by Chloe Kopsky Artwork by Hadley Jones Page Design by Pamela Harris-Marcus

Humans of Villa


s the second semester rolled in, the Villa Duchesne community welcomed three students: sophomores Elsa Cline and Lorraine Prey and eighth-grader London Weiler.

Elsa Cline ’22

since her arrival in elementary school and is excited for the season to start again this semester. In addition to Cline, the sophomore class also welcomed Lorraine Prey ’22, who recently moved to St. Louis from Mannheim, Germany. Due to her travels, Prey has experienced many different education systems including a Co-ed German school, an online school, and now Villa. Her school experience in Germany began at the age of 7, which can be summed up with one word:

Lorraine Prey ’22

While two of these students are entirely new to Villa, Elsa Cline ’22 has attended Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School since sixth grade. Though she switched to Ladue for the first semester of the 2019-2020 school year, after a few months, Cline began asking her parents if she could come back to Villa. About two weeks before Christmas break, they finally allowed her to return. Many factors drew Cline back to Villa, but mainly she missed the sense of community which is cultivated through small classes and close relationships. Another reason for Cline’s return was the uniform: “It’s just easy in the morning and to just throw on the uniform and . . . walk out.” Mornings can be stressful for many, and this is an easy way to relieve the worry that comes along with picking a new outfit. Nevertheless, it was mainly because of the opportunities: “There are great opportunities here,” Cline stated. Some of the opportunities she later mentioned the clubs, sports and teams, and access to good colleges and a great education. Cline has been playing soccer for Villa

for her to handle. She shared that “[Villa Duchesne is] an amazing school full of a lot of opportunities that you can’t get at a regular school. Well, I mean the girls’ school.” Here, at Villa, she feels that she has a future and can learn by her own pace and style, similar to Cline. Finally, there is new eighth grader, London Weiler ’24, who has lived in St. Louis her whole life. Her decision to shadow at Villa was driven by her desire for a change. Like the sophomores, Weiler was drawn to Villa Duchesne during her visit to campus. “When I shadowed everybody was so sweet and welcoming and all of the teachers were great and I think [the campus] is so pretty,” Weiler stated. Currently, she is not in any clubs or sports; however, Weiler does play tennis on the side and shared that she is considering whether to join the tennis team next year. Overall,

London Weiler ’24

predetermined. As it turns out, by the fifth grade, students’ high school ‘path’ gets planned out and their future career field is decided. A great example is that if a student is a quick learner, they shall be placed on a level that gives them a challenge and prepares them to become something that requires a higher level of education (doctor, scientist, etc). Students lack the ability to determine their future field, unlike most students in the United States. When it comes to her online experience, she said that “[she] was in an online school for the last year which [was not so great], so this is a lot better.” Prey explained that with online school she felt very isolated, lacked friends, and the workload was simply too much

Story and Page Desgin by Eveline Vestjens Photos provided by Elsa Cline, Lorraine Prey, and London Weiler

Weiler is excited to be part of the Villa community. Although Cline, Prey, and Weiler were drawn here for their own reasons, they are enjoying their time here at Villa. We are so privileged to welcome these students and cannot wait to see where their journey takes them. When you pass them in the halls, make sure to say “hi” and get to know them better.


www.thecollegeprocessisflawed.com/search?q+college&rlz ID: 352933797836


Welcome, prospective student! College Counseling

Application Fees

Resume Stress

Roommate Search

Trade Schools

Explain a time in which you received helpful advice.





Help Wanted: College Counseling

illa Duchesne has one of the best college counseling programs in Saint Louis. We are truly blessed to have professionals to help with the stressful application process that all graduates will eventually endure. With the support of our college counselors, it is assured that we will submit the best applications to the colleges of our choice. However, not every high schooler in Saint Louis has the benefit of dedicated and experienced college counselors. In our College Counseling Department, each member has their own role to play. Firstly, Mrs. Carrie Wegman sends out all of the senior transcripts, greets the college reps, and organizes testing, which includes coordinating testing accommodations with Student Success Coordinator, Mrs. Christine Phillips. In fact, it is Wegman who points out how lucky our students are: “The personal attention that students receive is phenomenal. Coming from a public school really makes me think about how unique Villa is.” Secondly, Mr. Danny Tejada assists seniors with their applications and leads workshops for students and families about topics like applying “Early Decision”. He also visits colleges to find more information for juniors and seniors, as well as gathering and disseminating scholarship information. Thirdly, Ms. Jenny Alessi also helps seniors with applications, networks with other college counselors and representatives, and helps facilitate the testing here at Villa.  Finally, Mrs. Allison Malbrough is another resource for seniors when it comes to college applications. Additionally, she assists in the planning of sophomore seminars and Saint Savante sessions for the juniors and seniors. Most of their work overlaps, but each individual and their roles are essential in making the process go smoothly. If a student does not have a college counselor to help them throughout the process, challenges will definitely arise.  Let me paint you a picture: let’s say you’re a first-generation college applicant. Without the experience of your parents, you might have little to no understanding of each step in a complicated journey. This is where a counselor comes in. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2020 30% of all college freshmen are first generation college students. That means nearly one out of every three students needs the help that a college counselor could provide.  For instance, not too long ago, I submitted my Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the schools I applied to. I thought that submitting my FAFSA was the only thing I needed when applying for financial aid. Tejada is my personal counselor, and he told me that I needed to fill out another financial aid form, called the CSS profile. He told me that some of my schools required me to apply for this along with my FAFSA. I would have never known about this if Tejada hadn’t told me about it. I would have submitted my applications to those schools without knowing that my applications were not complete.  According to our own college counselors, one of the most difficult aspects of the application is the financial aid component: “Parents need to be involved as well,” explains Alessi. She continues to say that “getting their financial forms in and also finding all of the opportunities out there” can be intimidating.  If a student doesn’t have counselors in each of these roles, how would students, and parents know the ins and outs of the entire process?  Imagine how hard it would be to complete this step, with all of its required forms and information, if you were on your own. I am a first-generation college student, and I never would have known some key aspects of making my application unique if I had not had an amazing college counseling department to point this out to me. I want colleges across the nation to come up with a plan to make the application process less stressful. Unfortunately, I do not think that will happen in the near future. I hope that high schools can take the initiative to provide and train enough counselors for their students, so that they can make stand-out applications for colleges and universities. Some advice for underclassmen and upcoming seniors: take advantage of Villa’s college counseling department because they will make this process so much easier for you. I hope everyone will take more opportunities to get help from Villa’s counselors because they are a phenomenal resource for us to go into the next level of our lives and education.


Min: 750 / Max: 800 Story by Trinity Collins Photo by Danielle Thurm


College Counseling

Application Fees

Resume Stress

Roommate Search

Trade Schools

Please write an essay on a topic you feel strongly about.




Entrance fees to a higher education


eniors spend months working on college applications and anxiously wait to finally hit ‘submit’. Students carefully craft each response on the Common App to guarantee their application will stand out among the thousands of other applicants. Like other seniors, I was proud of the work I had spent countless hours on; however, when I was asked for the three-digit code and the expiration date for a credit card before submitting my applications, I was confused to say the least. These colleges want the highest test scores, a perfect GPA, impressive extracurriculars, and an enlightening essay, but somehow, they still have the audacity to ask prospective students for money. Furthermore, the application fees are not small, with the most expensive costing $90. Most students apply to many universities, so as you can imagine, this number adds up quickly. According to the Director of College Counseling, Mr. Danny Tejada, the average Villa student for the class of 2020 applied to eight schools. If the mean application fee is $45, this means that roughly each student in the senior class spent $360 on application fees alone. If this isn’t shocking enough, it also costs to send standardized test scores, which are required by most schools. Zoe Schoen ‘20 was stunned by the cost of sending scores: “The price of applying to colleges adds up very quickly. For schools that accepted super-scores, I sent up to three different ACT scores each costing me $13.” After applying to two schools she realized that she had already spent $78 on test scores alone. Being a skeptical person, I wondered what each institution did with this abundance of cash. Here’s what I found: According to their admissions statistics, in 2019 the University of Southern California had around 66,000 applicants accepting only 11%, or about 7,560 students. Their application fee is the second highest in the U.S. costing each person $85. This means that in 2019 USC made approximately $5,610,000 off of their applicants. This school in particular rejected more students than they accepted, so are colleges openly taking money and using it towards amenities the rejected applicants won’t ever enjoy?  I found that colleges first use application fee money to cover any costs of the review process. This includes things like the salaries of college representatives and anyone who conducts interviews on behalf of the school. But even this does not explain why a single student has to pay up to $85 just to be considered for acceptance. I brainstormed some practical solutions pertaining to the excessive application fees currently in place at so many universities. First, any profits made off of application fees could go towards need-based scholarship funds. Even if I did not attend a school I applied to, I would feel more at peace knowing I contributed to someone’s education.  Also, universities could consider fully refunding any student that got denied acceptance. Only students who were admitted would be required to pay since they have the potential to enjoy the amenities the application fees cover. This way, colleges would still be able to cover any costs of the review process and make a small profit that could go towards improving the student experience.  Lastly, colleges should consider only charging applicants the necessary amount to cover the costs of the review process. This way, the colleges would not lose or gain any money throughout the application process and students would benefit because the fees to apply to a school would be a fraction of what they are now. Although all of these answers are not perfect, I believe that they propose a better approach to the costly application process that is in place now.  With all of this being said, some universities do recognize that the college application process is costly and have actually done away with application fees altogether. Some of these schools include Drake University, St. Olaf University, St. Louis University and Tulane University; however, many colleges have not lowered their fees at all. One alternative solution to this ongoing problem includes an application waiver. You can apply for this if you meet the requirements indicated on the application fee waiver form. All you have to do is fill out minimal paperwork and then indicate the waiver on each application if approved. This is a simple solution that can help make the cost of college apps less daunting.  Personally, after I applied to colleges, I realized that I am lucky that these fees did not prohibit me from applying to an array of schools. Some people may not have the extra money to apply to all of the schools they want to, especially if they are trying to save money to cover college tuition and expenses. Looking back, I wish I would have been more selective about the schools I applied to. I could have saved money if I had been aware of how costly the process truly was and the different resources that were available for me.  In conclusion, the entrance fee to a higher education is steep. Unfortunately, it does not seem like this issue is going to drastically change in the next few years, so I would encourage prospective college students to plan ahead and carefully consider applications for schools that have higher fees in order to stay on top of this costly endeavor.

Min: 911 / Max: 1000 Story by Chloe Kopsky Artwork by Hadley Jones




College Counseling

Application Fees

Resume Stress

Roommate Search

Trade Schools

Please write about a difficulty you have endured as a result of applying to college.



U The pressures of filling a resume


PAs, test scores, grades and extracurriculars are a few factors that play into whether a college will accept or decline an applicant. Nowadays, with college acceptance rates dropping each year, high schoolers feel an immense amount of stress when it comes to applying for college. For instance, Harvard, one of the top schools in the country, admitted 4.5% of its 43,330 applicants, compared to 4.6% of 42,749 applicants a year ago, according to Education Dive. Knowing that everything they put on their application counts, seniors in high school often try to make themselves sound like the ideal student for the college of their choice, in hopes that they will receive an acceptance letter. However, when it really comes down to it, an application can only reveal a modicum of the individual student’s value, and yet colleges base their decisions primarily off a sheet of paper that has come to define the student. Senior Mary Goldschmidt said, “I spent around 50, if not more, hours trying to perfect my college application. At times this process felt extremely overwhelming and was hard to manage with all my prior commitments.” If more colleges today were willing to see students for more than just their grades and extracurriculars, then maybe teenagers would feel less pressure when it came to the application process.   There is no doubt that the college application process can be grueling and even unfair at times. Students put all of their effort into getting the right scores, maintaining their grades, balancing sports or clubs, all while summarizing their entire life in a 15-page application, which only gets a few minutes to make an impression on college admissions evaluators. All the time and effort that goes into the process contradicts with the time spent reviewing the applicant. To break it down, most admission officers are “expected to read five applications per hour, which equates to twelve minutes per application,” according to Erica Curtis, Former Admissions Evaluator at Brown University. In this twelve minutes the evaluator reviews the application, standardized test scores, the transcript, the personal statement, and any supplemental essays that students spend months working on.  It is understandable that college admission officers have thousands of applications to get through in only a couple of months; however, how can they see if a student is well-rounded in all categories of life by only taking a few minutes to get to know them?  Additionally, when colleges put such an emphasis on students’ transcripts it can often distort a high school student’s relationship with learning. From the time students are freshmen, some start to shape their entire high school experience based on where they want to go to college. In fact, many students start to think of their classes, assignments, service projects, and leadership roles as a means to an end. Then, by the time they get into college they are emotional wrecks who feel like they have no passion or direction in life. What admissions offices should be encouraging high school students to do is be authentic and compassionate, not only in ways that will benefit others, but in ways that will benefit themselves. 

In fact, many students start to think of their classes, assignments, service projects, and leadership roles as a means to an end.


Min: 616 / Max: 700 Story by Molly McLaughlin


College Counseling

Application Fees

Resume Stress

Roommate Search

Trade Schools

Please write about a system that has evolved over time.


U The daunting task of finding the perfect roommate


he process of finding a college roommate has evolved over the years. Originally, students did not know their roommate until they stepped onto campus. Through advancements, many colleges and universities added survey forms the students could mail in, and the college would match roommates based on the answers. Students also had the option to request a mutual friend as a roommate. As technology has evolved, schools can now offer many options when it comes to finding a roommate. For example, most schools post online forms with questions regarding things like cleanliness and sleep schedule. Schools also utilize Facebook groups, flyers, and other forms to help students connect. For those unfamiliar with Facebook, there are online groups prospective students can join to post a short paragraph and photos of themselves directly to their school’s class of 2024 students. These posts serve as personal ads, where girls look for roommates, suite mates or new friends. Once users find someone they want to contact, they can send a direct message to get to know them better. Despite the ease of using a Facebook group, finding friends and roommates in this way can also be problematic. Personally, I found my roommate for next year on the University of Kansas’ Facebook class of 2024 group. While searching for my roommate, I caught myself not reading the paragraphs first, but looking at the pictures and judging our perceived similarities. After realizing I was doing this, I scrolled through the posts again, this time reading the messages first. Focusing on the messages, I found I had a lot more in common with some of the girls I skipped over simply because their pictures didn’t resemble my own. The second time I went through, I also looked at the feedback on each post. I noticed a large range in the number of “likes” different posts received. After comparing at least 20 posts, I noticed girls got more likes when they posted photos in swimsuits and at parties, as opposed to the girls who posted more conservative pictures. To test out the influence pictures have on the interactions made in these Facebook groups, I made another post requesting suitemates. The first time I made the post with no pictures and got no interaction, so I reposted the same information, this time with pictures of both my roommate and me. Within days, we received requests to share a suite. This made me wonder whether finding a roommate through Facebook is effective. Will it lead to girls feeling the effects of stigma from social media? Would transitioning back to the old way of surveys and mutual friends be more beneficial for girls’ self-confidence or does Facebook allow girls to chat and connect with people they feel best match their personalities? In my years at Villa, I have learned that you shouldn’t judge someone before you know them, and perspective college freshmen should keep this in mind when searching for a roommate.

Min: 544 / Max: 600 Story by Hadley Jones Artwork by Danielle Thurm


8 9


College Counseling

Application Fees

Resume Stress

Roommate Search

Trade Schools

Besides education, please write about another passion you may want to pursue in the future.



U 4-year colleges: Why are they expected?


illa Duchesne is a college prep school, and the focus on our post-high school education begins sophomore year with the various seminars hosted by the college counselors. Typically, there is only one path being discussed among peers: attending a four-year public or private university across the country. When our teachers, parents, and peers discuss post-high school educational opportunities, the option of attending a trade school is almost never mentioned. A trade school, often referred to as a technical school or vocational school, is an institution that educates students who are interested in becoming; dental hygienists, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, cosmetologists, etc. For the most part, trade schools are not as widely discussed at college prep schools because four-year universities offer a wide variety of opportunities. The stigma surrounding trade schools suggests that students who attend them must have not been as prepared for a four-year university. Most trade school students perform well in high school and many of them are accepted into fouryear universities. However, they want to accumulate skills in their given field as soon as possible. Many adolescents are realizing that any source of education, whether it is from a four-year university or a trade school, will prepare them for their future occupations. According to The U.S. Department of Education, 9.66 million students attended trade schools in 1999, and the enrollment continues to rise as 16 million students reportedly attended trade schools in 2014. There are students who will not benefit from a traditional university education, so it is important for them to choose a school that fits their individual path. College experiences are subjective, and every person reacts to a certain environment in a different way. Some people will excel at four-year universities while others will shine at trade schools. Students should foster their talents while they have the opportunity because they will have room to improve moving forward. I have witnessed first-hand what a trade school education can do for students. My mom attended cosmetology school following her high school graduation since she always had a passion for hair. She aspired to have a salon of her own and understood that school would be the first step to making her dream possible. Almost 25 years after entering cosmetology school, she is the proud owner of two hair salons, and her business skills and customer service knowledge came from the hands-on training she received in beauty school: “My decision to go to cosmetology school has opened up many doors for me. I have had creative freedom throughout my career, and I was able to turn my passion into a profession. Over twenty years have passed and cosmetology school is still one of the best decisions I have ever made.� It is important to be educated and well rounded, especially since the world is constantly changing. In 2020, students have countless opportunities to explore their passions if society gives them the space and freedom to do so.

Min: 489 / Max: 500

9 10

Our Mission: Tower Talk aims to provide the Villa Duchesne community with a forum in which individuals can acquire knowledge and SUBMIT develop opinions. This isbyinBrooke accordance with the Goals and Criteria of the Sacred Heart Network. The Tower Talk staff works to Story and Artwork Perryman explore issues that directly affect the Villa Duchesne community in a fair, accurate and respectful manner.

Lifestyle St. Louis attractions offer plenty to do


ot heading out of town for Spring Break? Not to worry; there is nothing better than a staycation, especially when there are so many fun things to do right here in St. Louis. Among the new attractions at Union Station, such as The Wheel and St. Louis Aquarium, plus the abundance of restaurants, there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained. For starters, I recommend checking out the St. Louis Aquarium which is open Sunday through Thursday from 9 A.M. to 5P.M. and Friday and Saturday from 9 A.M. to 8P.M. The Aquarium holds up to 13,000 different animals, 257 species, and a total of 44 exhibits, allowing visitors to interact with animals. This means getting to meet sloths, owls, and even sea otters. One of the coolest attractions is getting to touch and feed stingrays and sharks. The sting rays are extremely friendly and are not afraid to glide up against your hand. I highly advise purchasing tickets before your visit as they quickly sell out. The ticket price for adults are $25 and for children $18. There are multiple parking garages and lots near Union Station that have an hourly rate of around $2 to $5. After your visit at the aquarium, head on over to the 1894 Cafe on the second floor of Union Station for a bite to eat. The cafe is perfect for people looking for more kid-friendly food as it serves chicken fingers, burgers, and salads. Additionally, the menu items are under $10. However, if you are looking for a more upscale restaurant, then you should try The Train Shed, which has a modern feel and trendy decor. Here you can get a salad for $8, pizza for $14 or even a steak for around $19. If you have room for dessert, check out the St. Louis Union Station Soda Fountain. At this 1950s themed diner, you cannot go wrong with getting a housemade soda, a “Freak Shake”or an ice cream sundae. Keep in mind the “Freak Shake” is not your average milkshake as it is layered with candy, cookies, cupcakes, and even potato chips, so prices can be up to $18. Luckily, they also offer traditional milkshakes for only $7, which are just as delicious. To end your day, take a relaxing ride on The Wheel for a view of the entire city. The ferris wheel is open from 10am10pm, though I recommend going at night as it only enhances the multi-colored lights on the wheel. Tickets are $15 dollars for adults and $10 for children. You can buy online or wait in a fairly short queue to get them. The ride lasts 15 minutes and four people are allowed in each cart. If you have not ridden it already, then I would definitely try it. It’s worth the hype. The Aquarium, restaurants, and The Wheel are just a few of the attractions that caught my attention when I went to Union Station. However, there are so many other available activities such as the carousel, mini golfing, a ropes course, the Mirror Maze, or even the Grand Hall 3D Light Show or Fire and Light Show. With so many new attractions, you can never get bored right here in St. Louis! Story, Photos and Page Design by Molly McLaughlin



elcome back to Food In The Lou! For this issue, I went around the Lou to taste another STL favorite: thin crust pizza. My appetite took me to Imo’s, Forotto’s, and Firecracker Pizza. According to Feast Magazine thin crust pizza in Saint Louis dates back to 1947 when Amedeo Fiore decided to add Pizza to his small Italian restaurant’s menu. He created an original recipe and made it three different ways– tomatoes and cheese, tomatoes and anchovies, tomatoes and sausage. From this simple beginning his business skyrocketed, and so did the popularity of thin crust pizza.


Story, Spread Design, Photos and Artwork by Hadley Jones

Imo’s Pizza

12304 Manchester Rd. 63131


9525 Manchester Rd. 63119

Firecracker Pizza

4130 Manchester Ave. 63110

Kind of pizza: 12” bacon Sauce: Almost no sauce Cheese: Heavy amount, gooey Crust: Perfect, not too crispy Overall taste: 4/5 Price: $11.60

Kind of pizza: 12” pepperoni Sauce: Little sauce Cheese: Heavy amount, lots of seasoning Crust: Chewy middle, crisp edges Overall taste: 5/5 Price: $13.00

Kind of pizza: 13”x 9” Mushroom and basil Sauce: Perfect amount, more bitter than sweet Cheese: Heavy in the middle, gooey Crust: Crispy on edges Overall taste: 3/5 Price: $13.50


Selena Gomez releases another hit


e have missed Selena Gomez’s musical presence. After taking a four-year hiatus due to her struggle with Lupus, a disease where one’s immune system attacks healthy tissue, Selena Gomez has finally released her third solo album, “Rare”. Her previous album, “Revival,” focused on overcoming her struggle with numerous mental health problems. She comes into herself with “Rare.” It contains numerous up-beat and empowering songs such as “Dance Again,” “Look At Her Now,” and “Ring.” In the fast-paced electric sounds of “Dance Again” she exhibits confidence with lyrics like “Happiness/ Ain’t something you sit back and wait for/…/Confidence/ Is throwing your heart through every brick wall.” This song will imbue listeners with the courage to get up and go after what they want while still having the energy to dance their hearts out. One of the highlights of the album is when she uses the contrasts of the music and the lyrics to mimic the positive sides of a relationship and heartbreak. For instance, in the song “People You Know,” Gomez sings: “And what hurts the most is that people can go from people you know to people you don’t…/we were on fire/ now I’m breathing ashes and dust.” The lyrics describe the feeling of growing apart from people and seeing them change. Although it was devastaing for Gomez to lose a friend, her album suggest that change is a part of life and is sometimes necessary. Another example would be in the fast tempo of “Let Me Get Me,” in which she talks about not letting her thoughts run wild and ruin her happiness and instead truly enjoying life with her friends and family. Similar to any project Gomez creates, this album is also heavily influenced by her life, specifically, her on-and-offagain relationship with Justin Bieber, which is rumored to be the central influence of the album. Considering that after the announcement of Bieber’s engagement on July 7, 2018, Gomez promptly checked herself into a mental health facility according to a Page Six article titled, “Justin Bieber a factor in Selena’s trip to rehab, insider says,” it would seem that she really was having a rough time dealing with the news. Gomez also hinted to the album being influenced by Bieber in an interview with Apple


Music titled, “Selena Gomez on ‘Rare.’” Her dramatic heartfelt song “Lose You to Love Me” talks about having to move on from a certain someone to love herself because she lost herself in loving and caring for them. Additionally, she implies that she was fooled by his false promises of love and was manipulated into thinking she deserved to be treated badly. Furthermore, in her free feeling pop song, “Cut You Off,” she confesses that she needs to get this person out of her head, saying “The truth is I think I’ve had enough/ professionally messing with my trust/ How could I confuse that **** with love? /…/ emotionally messing with my health.” Seeing as Gomez’s tenmonth relationship with The Weekend was not as high profile, people have heavily speculated that the lyrics are about Bieber. It would be an understatement to say that Bieber and Gomez have had a rocky relationship in the past. Gomez also speaks about her time out of the spotlight in “A Sweeter Place.” With an electric beat which resembles the classic musical mode of Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” with it’s mix of hip-hop by a feature from rapper Kid Cudi, she says “got two feet on the ground and felt what real is like/ what it was like living out of the scene, out in the wild/ learning to breathe up in the clouds, far from the crowds.” Here she speaks about how liberating it feels to live her life for herself rather than making other people happy. Needless to say, Gomez needed a break. From dealing with her breakups, to having a kidney transplant, it was essential for her to take time to just live her life, “lucky for us”. During the time, she created a beautiful album where she presents herself as a self-loving person who knows what she deserves. Regardless of what you think about Gomez’s relationships, this album is about heartbreak and moving on, which many can relate to. Gomez explains in a RADIO.COM interview, “I wanted to get out a lot of the feelings that I was experiencing, but in a way where it was, more saying, I’m frustrated and I’m feeling these things and it’s complicated, but I’m okay with closing this chapter, and I’m okay with moving forward.” “Rare” will strike a chord with anyone who has endured hard times. This would be a great album to put on shuffle while you are going through a hard time. Story and Page Design by Monicah Thuita Artwork by Danielle Thurm

Sports & Fitness Female athletes bring change


ver the winter break, my family and I took a trip to Greece to visit my little brother. While I was over I took a great intrest in the female athletes over in Athens. And they had many questions for me, they were very surprised to hear that I also played soccer. They asked about how the Women were able to make a carrer out of playing soccer, considering the womenover there are not know to play soccer. Title IX is a civil right that allowed female athletes to have the same opprutunites as the male athletes. We are coming up on the 50 year anniversy of Title IX and nothing has changed, female athletes are still fighting to be taken seriously in the professional world. Former Women’s Soccer National Team 1987-2004 players Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy took a stand against the unfair treatment of the women’s team compared to the men’s team. Male athletes are paid the same amount every game, but the women’s team’s salary used to change based on the way they played. The women’s team salary has since steadied, but today they are still not paid the same amound as their male counterparts. This fight is not just about equal pay, but also about offering women the same opportunities as the men. Author Caitlin Murry, in her book The National Team: The Inside Story of the Women Who Changed Soccer, explains how many of the players had to stop playing because the unsteady income made it hard to live. Many had families to provide for and college bills to pay off. Fast-forward 20 years from 1992, the year that the women first protested against the pay gap, Megan Rapinoe, 34-year-old forward for the women’s team, alongside teammates, Alex Morgan and Becky Sauerbrann sue U.S. soccer for gender discrimination. The women’s team not only is more popular when it comes to attendance. But because of the high attendance rates, the women’s team brings in $50.8 million and the men’s team brings in $49.9 million. The women’s team brings more money in, meaning higher souvenir rates, more T.V. exposure, and advertisement opportunities but the men still Story and Page Design by Izzy Kohlberg Photos by Wagner Portrait Group

get paid more. Women’s sports in the U.S have changed drastically. When went from participating in “feminine sports” like horseback riding and skating, to playing some of the most aggressive and physical sports in the world. Women have had to not only fight to be taken seriously as athletes but to be paid the same amount male athletes were being paid. They had to fight, stating they were here to play sports, to do what they loved. During World War II, while the men were off fighting in the war, owners of baseball teams needed someone to play baseball. The women joined in, but they were looked at as bad baseball players in skirts, rather than as athletes. They were paid, but nowhere near the same amount as men. Before 1972, when girls played sports in high school, they were only allowed to play certain sports. The Women’s Sports Foundation states that one in 27 girls participate in a sport. If the girls were permitted to play the sport of their choice, they were lucky if they were funded with enough money to pay for uniforms, transportation or coaches. Title IX is a civil right that began in 1972, that states “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Basically stating that whatever sport you dream of playing, there is no one stopping you. Title 9 is supposed to give young women athletes the same opportunities that male athletes have. This law states that no matter the gender, the athletic teams would receive the same amount of money for their team. They could not be denied the benefits or be discriminated against. And even the smallest inappropriate comment, would be a violation of the Title 9 law. Because of this law, young women athletes in the 20th century grew up able to play the sport of their choice.


Profile for Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School

Tower Talk March 2020  

Edited by Molly McLaughlin '20

Tower Talk March 2020  

Edited by Molly McLaughlin '20