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Girls’ swimming crowned state champions page 21

Rock Bridge High School • 4303 S. Providence Rd. - Columbia, MO 65203 • Volume 39, Issue 5 • February 23, 2012 •

Struggle over teacher tenure drags forward

CPS updates registration process

Nomin-Erdene Jagdagdorj

Home Access option reappears, new sciences classes also available


ublic school teachers in Missouri could be without tenure, the contractual right not to be terminated without cause, if the state congress passes a new amendment to the state constitution. The amendment would prohibit school districts that receive funding from the state or local taxes from entering contracts with teachers exceeding three years. It would also cut off schools that allow seniority to play a role in determining the job status of any teacher. If the petition for the measure acquires the necessary 147,000 signatures, it could reach ballots by November. According to Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s website, Missouri is one of 24 states that allows citizen-initiated constitutional amendments. Under the current Columbia Public Schools system, teachers receive tenure after serving the district for five years, principal Mark Maus said. Experience in other districts also counts toward tenure. Maus said the elimination of tenure would not cause drastic shifts in RBHS’ atmosphere. In the absence of tenure, the district may choose to evaluate teachers more frequently than a formal evaluation every five years under the current tenure system, he said. “Tenure can provide some comfort for teachers,” Maus said. “I would never want someone to think that tenure means they don’t have to keep working hard. And that’s the real difference — that our teachers, regardless of whether they’re in their first five years or the last five years, they continue to work hard in the classroom and continue to do whatever they can to help students.” story continued on page 2

Alyssa Sykuta


ast spring, requesting classes went a little differently for students than in years past. In addition to filling out a course enrollment card, students also entered their requests online through Home Access. While the system presented problems to guidance last year, it ran much smoother this year, guidance counselor Leslie Kersha said. Sophomores and juniors once again used the online method of entering class preferences earlier this month to ease the process for guidance counselors. “I think that a lot of the glitches that were in [the system] last year were cleaned up, so I do think that the process was smoother,” Kersha said. “That being said, there are still some things that will need to be kind of changed and modified for next year, so that it’s even better. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was definitely an improvement over last year.” While the school tries to keep improving the system for easier use, Kersha believes the online process of entering course requests is not only practical, but also good preparation for students seeking education after high school. “Part of what we try to do here is prepare students for … post-secondary plans, which for a lot of students that’s college, and when you get to that level, you are going to have to register for your own classes,” Kersha said. “And I think it’s something

photo by Asa Lory

In with the new: Science teacher Susan Trice assists junior Matt Bush on a chemistry problem. The district will add multiple new science class options in an attempt to increase the participation in the curriculum area. where students are on computers a lot, and it just makes sense for them to go in and enter their course requests, rather than having a person in the guidance office who sits there and enters all 1,800 students’ course requests.” Students also had a variety of new course options to choose from. Along with the addition of more online courses, the science department developed several new course selections, including Zoology, Entomology, Introduc-

tion to Exercise Science and Advanced Placement Environmental Science. Science teacher Kerri Graham said departments undergo an evaluation process each year to determine which aspects of their sections they can improve upon. The science program’s most recent goal is to get students more interested in taking science courses by offering a wider range of elective choices for students.

“One of the things that through our program evaluation that we have been really wanting to do is we’ve been wanting to find high-interest electives … for the student that might not normally be engaged in science or the typical Chemistry class might not get them excited about learning about science,” Graham said. “So we wanted to provide other electives that aren’t necessarily [Advanced Placement] electives for all students to take.”

Illegal immigration law passes senate committee Maria Kalaitzandonakes


Department chairs retire at same time Sami Pathan


photo by Halley Hollis

For the final time: Art teacher Sharyn Hyatt-Wade talks with senior Colleen Roetmeyer and junior Maddie Hicks about their art projects. Hyatt-Wade, Bill Priest (not pictured) and Mary Dix (not pictured) are all department chairs retiring at the year’s end.

s the school year begins the final four month stretch, three RBHS department chairs are spending their last days at the school as teachers. Social studies chair Bill Priest, art chair Sharyn Hyatt-Wade and English chair Mary Dix all plan to retire at the year’s end, leaving behind leadership positions in each of their departments. Department chairs are in charge of much of their department’s budget and thus play a large role in the distribution of funds for different class materials. New department chairs could signal changes to things like which books students read in classes or what certain projects are like. “They do a lot of the money stuff, taking care of what different teachers need for their classes and that kind of stuff,” principal Mark Maus said. “But as for curriculum, that’s done more at the district level, but there are certain things that they’ll work with different teachers on, but there wouldn’t be any drastic changes or anything.” For Hyatt-Wade, however, the changes go beyond purely financial or academic. As a department chair she feels in charge of where the department can go and often considers ways to improve the department’s workings, both in and out of the classroom. “To me, most of the responsibilities as a chair have to do with the vision for the department,” Hyatt-Wade said. “Not so much the day-to-day answering emails and that kind of thing, but, like when I first became division chair, I visited

all the galleries downtown to see who would show our [students’] work, got a relationship going with the Columbia Tribune and Columbia Missourian. We try to do that sort of thing, try to push the departments forward.” The search process for replacements begins in April with Maus and other department teachers interviewing possible candidates. Maus will make selections before the end of the school year to allow time for the appointees to adjust to their responsibilities. “We’ll always let anyone within the department know, and we’ll speak with all of them and that probably won’t be until more towards the end of the school year,” Maus said, “but also name that new person early enough so that they have some time to work with the outgoing department chairs so they can understand what some of the things to expect as the year goes on.” Neither Maus nor Hyatt-Wade believes the replacement department chair will have difficulty fitting into the system or transitioning to their new role. “The process will be seamless; we have such strong people that will be taking over. And really everyone is replaceable even though we think we’re so indispensable,” Hyatt-Wade said. “But this kind of thing happens quite often, and it’s always fine, so we just need to go with it.” Children’s Theater teacher Terry Overfelt also plans to retire at year’s end. For in-depth interviews with each of RBHS’ retiring teachers visit Bearing News at:

en. Will Kraus of Lee’s Summit recently proposed bill, SB590, looks to combat illegal immigration in Missouri. The bill passed the Senate General Laws Committee Jan. 24 and is now waiting to go on to the floor. If passed, the bill would require schools to ask for proper documentation of students, and if they cannot present “the student’s original birth certificate or a certified copy of thereof,” the school must label him as an illegal immigrant. The child could continue to attend school, but the administration would keep an official list with his name along with the names of English Language Study students. The names are meant to record and analyze the cost they have on the state’s budget. The General Assembly would hear the numbers, and the legislatures would weigh the pros and cons of the costs associated with the child. The bill says the list would not be used to deport any illegal immigrants. “Because of the Supreme Court case that says we must educate children even if they are illegal, there is a cost,” Kraus said. “Because the federal government made this choice, some of the money needs to come from there. … The numbers found through this bill would help Missouri do that.” ELL teacher Peggy White fears that through the bill’s inspection, the ELL program could face possible cuts which she believes could harm the ELL students’ abilities to succeed in America. “The bill will single out immigrant kids and ELL to show that the program is costing the state money, which, of course it is. Every program costs money,” White said. “It is imperative, however, that these children receive education just like the other kids in the school.” Kraus said the ELL portion of the bill was well-intentioned and “strictly for legal purposes.” He does not wish for any programs to be cut. Rather, he wants the federal government to reimburse the state. story continued on page 2

Inside this Issue

Janitors work for little praise

Families embrace differences

Wrestling powers to state

“Non-traditional” families prove that following convention is not always best. Their experiences range from starting a family with an arranged marriage to embracing adopted and autistic children. Finally, one family shares an inspirational story of experiencing and moving past domestic abuse.

Six members of the wrestling team participated in the state competition Saturday. Sophomore Sam Crane won the state title in his weight class. Senior Trent Johnson got fourth.



Accident supplies motivation photo by Asa Lory

For a select group of people, when the school day ends at 3 p.m. for students, the work is far from finished. The janitorial staff works diligently each night cleaning up after everyone else’s mess, often without any thanks.


Senior running back Brad Troyer will play football for Drake University next fall. Despite an accident four years ago that left him with one kidney, Troyer and his family have confidence in his ability to succeed on the D1AA team.


photo by Muhammad Al-Rawi

Visit Bearing News to find up-todate stories and info as well as The ROCK online at rbhs/bearingnews News Community Personality Profiles Features In-Depths Editorials Commentary Athletic Profiles Sports A&E

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2 ∙ News

February 23, 2012



W rld in brief

Chinese Vice President tours US, builds relations


ast Friday was the final day of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping’s five-day tour of the United States. The tour aimed to create a better understanding between the two nations. China’s current president, Hu Jintao, announced his retirement for later this year, making Xi the heir apparent to the presidency. The meetings between Chinese and American heads of state went without any significant developments as expected, with neither country backing down on key issues including trade deficits and devalued Chinese exports. Xi made a stop for tea in Iowa after touring the Pentagon with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and followed up with a visit to the Port of Los Angeles where he watched a basketball game. Both visits were mostly to foster better relations between the two nations. Protesters decrying China’s poor human rights record, particularly in Tibet, followed the tour across America closely. Xi defended his country’s record on human rights, saying China had ‘’made tremendous and well-recognized achievements in the field’’ in the last 30 years, but conceded there was still room for improvement. Xi is scheduled to visit Ireland and Turkey within the next two months.

photo used with permission from AP

Eurozone approves new bailout for Greece’s debt


ollowing more than 13 hours of talks, eurozone finance ministers reached an agreement Tuesday morning to approve a new bailout of 130 billion euros, or $172 billion, to save Greece from its imminent default. The bailout is the second in two years and faces many of the same criticisms as the first in 2010. Many consider the two to be unrealistic methods of solving Greece’s $265 billion debt, take away focus from more serious, underlying issues. However the biggest problem Greece may face is its shrinking economy. Extreme reductions in the nation’s operating budget, slashed minimum wages and harsh public-sector job losses all add to the struggle of the nation’s economy. Without economic growth, Greece will not be able to pull itself out of the red. In response to the Greek financial crisis, the eurozone is set to introduce a new permanent fund called the European Stability Mechanism of 500 billion euros, or $660 billion, in June. The fund would provide a way to handle future crises more swiftly. The bailout could possibly be a turning point in the European debt crisis, which has questions about the euro’s viability as well. Some hurdles still remain though. All 17 eurozone countries must still approve the bailout’s terms, but reports leaked from the International Monetary Fund show the bailout may be enough to stave off another crisis until 2020. sources:,

–Sami Pathan

photo by Muhammad Al-Rawi

Creating discussion: Seniors Rick Flinn and Syed Ejaz discuss plans for an honor court. The court would aim to give students a voice in administrative decisions in areas like punishment.

Honor court looks to give students voice New group proposes system to check administrative decisions Kirsten Buchanan


nstead of having administrators hand down punishments alone, seniors Syed Ejaz and Rick Flinn spent six months researching ways for students to have a say in disciplinary actions. With the help of the debate team, Flinn and Ejaz plan to pitch the idea of a studentrun judicial system, called an honor court, to administrators sometime in the future, although they have not set a specific date. Their vision is to have a group of student judges preside over student disciplinary cases. This panel would assist in giving punishments, except in extreme or sensitive cases. “Basically the whole purpose of this is to both provide students with education about the whole legal system … and eventually give them experience to people who want to go into professions such as law or perhaps being a judge or similar law authorities,” Flinn said. “Basically we’re just going to ask

administrators to listen to the majority decision in every case that the [student] judges decide.” One major step in setting up an honor court at RBHS is having administrators on board, Flinn said. Many high schools across the country have student Supreme Court systems; administrator Tim Wright enjoyed a similar policy at a former school. “Typically you don’t see [student court systems] in a public high school but I’ve also been involved in a situation where I was teaching in a private school … and we had a student review board kind of. It sounds like this honor court,” Wright said. “If there was a case of expulsion, there was a panel made up of the dean of students, assistant principal, a student representative that was elected by the student body and then a faculty representative ... and basically those individuals would hear the circumstances behind the code of conduct violation and make a recommendation [for punishment].” However, because of privacy restrictions,

Immigration could trouble Missouri school districts story continued from page 1 “Every program costs money,” White said. “It is imperative, however, that [ELL] children receive education just like the other kids in the school.” Kraus said the ELL portion of the bill was wellintentioned and “strictly for legal purposes.” He does not wish for any programs to be cut. Rather, he wants the federal government to reimburse the state. The bill “puts the district in a very difficult situation,” said Michelle Baumstark, Community Relation Coordinator of Columbia Public Schools. “We are not here to be immigration [services]. … We’re here to educate the children that come to us from the public.” The bill also requires all immigrants to prove their citizenship at any lawful stop, detention or arrest if the officer has “reasonable suspicion” of their citizenship and charged with a class C misdemeanor. Guzman and other immigration activists met with local Sen. Kurt Schaffer at a public meeting to explain why SB590 is detrimental to the community. Schaffer believes illegal immigration in Missouri is a nonissue and doubts the bill’s ability to pass. Guzman’s group hopes Schaffer’s prediction will be right but is not convinced. She worries the educational future of immigrants in Missouri is endangered, for both ELL students and the student’s whose parents are illegally residing in America. “If a parent is illegal, they will get scared of deportation and won’t send their kids to school … and if they cut the program where kids learn English they won’t be able to have a good life here,” Guzman said. It “just interrupts the kid’s education. It isn’t the school’s place to judge which kids they will teach. … Public school is not the immigration department. It’s a place of learning.”

Wright believes an honor court is more suited for a private school. He said the law prevents administrators from talking about specific punishments of one student with another, so the honor court would have to focus on generalities instead. Another difficulty Ejaz and Flinn anticipate is the process in which judges will be appointed. Flinn said he wants to see an application process similar to a college application where a student must prove to be an objective judge. “We’re probably not just going to leave it up to a popularity contest because obviously there is a potential for people [to be elected] because they’re popular and then let their friends off. That’s exactly what we don’t want to see,” Flinn said. “For now we don’t know essentially how the election process is going to work or who’s going to have input on it. We do however know that the administration is going to have a huge part in selecting these people and that they will have to prove their objectivity.”

Tenure decision still in flux story continued from page 1 Tenure “exists to protect academic freedom in the classroom,” social studies teacher Bill Priest said, who has been teaching at RBHS for 26 out of his 32 total years in the educational field. He cited an experience teaching in southeastern Missouri where a superintendent refused to give teachers tenure in order to keep them “at his mercy.” Situations like these where teachers are pressured to make “politically wise” decisions rather than “academically sound” ones would be more common without tenure, he said. But social studies teacher Austin Reed disagrees, arguing the risk of having this sort of administrator to be “miniscule” compared to the harm tenure does by protecting bad teachers. “If you’re a good teacher, you’re going to be fine in a school with or without tenure,” Reed said. “But [tenure] just makes it more difficult, causes more headaches, to fire bad teachers. If we really want to solve education, it

has to start with difficult issues, which involves firing bad teachers.” Maus said at CPS, removing a tenured teacher is a longer process because it requires administration to work with the teacher towards improvement. If these steps failed, the administration must document the problem and the steps they took to help the teacher improve, he said. While the steps to fire an incompetent teacher could become easier without tenure, Reed and Priest agreed RBHS teachers would approach their jobs the same way, an idea supported by 2009 research from Cornell that said tenure had little effect on teacher performance around the nation. “This school is a rarity in education. We’ve always understood that we’re here to focus on teaching and learning,” Priest said. But “it would be a very unfortunate message to people thinking about going into education, since not everyone’s going to teach at Rock Bridge High School or in Columbia Public Schools.”

If you’re a good teacher, you’re going to be fine in a school with or without tenure...” Austin Reed social studies

Community ∙ 3

February 23, 2012


Maplewood Barn


40th birthday

feature photo by Asa Lory

Isaac Pasley


ifong Park theater, which caught fire, is in the process of rebuilding. After almost two years of rebuilding, Maplewood Barn will once again be open. According to the theater’s official website, the new Maplewood Barn is slated for completion in time for the 2012 performance season, which begins in May. The old theater, located in Nifong Park near the intersection of U.S. 63 and Grindstone Parkway, burned down in March 2010 because of arson. The new barn is being built on the same site. “Maplewood Barn Community Theater holds a unique place in Columbia theatrical history; it is the original community theater in town and remains the only outdoor community theater,” said Michael Scott, a board of directors member. “When fire destroyed the historic barn two years ago, there was a tremendous outpouring of sympathy but also a clear message that mid-Missourians wholeheartedly sup-

ported the rebuilding of this local institution.” To finance the reconstruction of Maplewood Barn, Scott sent a $60,000 check to the city council in June 2011, which the council unanimously approved, according to Maplewood Barn’s website. The project officially started about two months later. This year will be the 40th season of theater productions at Maplewood Barn. The original theater opened in 1973, but the building itself had been around for more than 100 years before then. Throughout the last 40 years, Maplewood Barn has been a popular entertainment venue for Columbians. It is a theater center for both young and old participants. “It’s really fun, and the people there are really, really good people,” senior Ellen Thieme said. “It’s just a fun place to be.” Maplewood Barn is also important to theater students, as they play roles in the summer, among other things. “At Maplewood Barn we offer an intensive summer production series,” acting teacher Mary Margaret Coffield said. “The Columbia

Black History Month

African-American places remembered

photos by Halley Hollis

St. Paul’s Church: The National Register of Historical Places added St. Paul’s to their records for being one of the biggest African Methodist Episcopal Church in Missouri.

Catholic High School: This new school’s name comes from the nation’s first African-American priesty, Father Augustine Tolton, ordained in 1886. Broadway: This street was the dividing line in Columbia between African-American and white neighborhoods, splitting North and South Garth.

Entertainment Company [does too]. They do stuff throughout the year. By having Maplewood Barn, Columbia gets a lot of theater.” Putting on a successful show requires the effort of many people, and Coffield said the board of directors is in charge of most of the operations. Other people chip in, too. “They are interested in any community members to audition to take their place,” Coffield said, “and they are also interested in community members who want to do technical theater. [The board members] draw on volunteers from all over the place.” Like many who remember Maplewood Barn, Coffield was sad when it was destroyed. The fact that someone did it intentionally especially shook her. “I feel bad for them because replacing a theater is expensive,” Coffield said. The arson “was disturbing to hear about.” The new barn will be an exact replica of the original historic structure, but will be built out of fire-resistant material. It will also be equipped with several modern amenities that the outdated building lacked, such as restrooms

and running water. “I’ve seen plans for the new building,” Coffield said, “and I’m really optimistic for the community that the new buildings will help them out.” The board of directors will also release a commemorative book for Maplewood Barn, “Theater Under the Stars: An Informal, Pictoral History of Maplewood Barn Community Players.” In addition, many Columbia residents have their own memories of Maplewood Barn. Coffield’s most memorable Maplewood Barn moment was when she brought a group of her theater students there during the 2005-06 school year. “My favorite was the time that Maplewood invited my Acting 2/3 students to do a performance on the Maplewood Barn stage,” Coffield said. “It was a nice time. I had a great experience working with the people at Maplewood Barn. They give a lot of people an opportunity to have fun and be entertained. An awful lot of my students have been in their shows, and I feel very happy for my students.”

Gospel Explosion celebrates music Alexa Walters


inishing Black History Month, gospel music spreads throughout the air at the Gospel Explosion and Soul Food Celebration. On Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. each local act attempts to engage the crowd with its gospel singing and draw enthusiasm. This type of music is often a way for people to express their religious beliefs. Originally church groups would sing gospel in order to accommodate for group participation following a lead voice. Missouri Parks and Recreation funds the event, which is hosted by St. Luke United Methodist Church, 204 E. Ash. “Our church strongly supports the Gospel Explosion,” Rev. Raymond Hayes of St. Luke United Methodist Church said. “It is a well-attended excellent community wide program. Gospel music is one the African-American cultural means of expression, with its roots in spirituals, blues, jazz and African music. It is a major influence in all popular music.” The free gathering is open to all ages and allows for a chance to hear local musical acts as well as attend a free soul food dinner afterward. The event brings Black History Month to a close with a celebration of religious music and cultural tradi-

tion. musical inspiration with others to keep “For more than 20 years we have end- traditions going and keep her faith close ed the celebration of Black History Month and an important part of culture today. with the Gospel Explosion and Soul Food “Ever since I was born, I have been goDiner,” said Bill Thompson, Parks and ing to church,” Ezeji said. “And I rememRecreation Coordinator. “At the roots of ber my dad used to sing for the choir at all African-American music is the spiritual church, so I just loved it and started to sing [ideal], which led to the creation of gospel the songs I had heard from church when and other music forms. To recognize this I was little. That’s how I got started. The heritage and impact it has on my life honor the link is that when I am going to the black through tough times in Check out Bearing News church, we my life, singing a gospel throughout have the Gossong helps me feel that the month pel Explosion. there is a God out there for a series Our musical watching over me and guests reprethat He will help me get about local sent this proud through whatever.” African genre. The Soul Ezeji is not alone in American Food dinner is her love for the musiwomen and a community cal art of Gospel. Each [event] and innew celebration passes their stories. cludes some down the importance foods that we of the music on the comconsider to be ‘Soul Food’ and part of the munity and on history itself, keeping the African-American tradition.” customs alive. This forms a tight bond This cultural festivity is about honor- between vastly changing generations and ing the African Americans in Missouri’s brings back a true tradition in the culture. past. This form of music has made its way “It’s important to the black church and through past generations to remain an in- people because it is our heritage,” Hayes tricate part of culture today. said. “It’s a heritage we are proud of, and Junior Grace Ezeji shares her historical historically we do not want it lost.”

4 ∙ Ads



February 23, 2012




Community ∙ 5

February 23, 2012


Things I love about

New trail proposed GetAboutColumbia funds new section Isaac Pasley


different for me to do.” In Scoville’s case, the trail extension will be beneficial because for him, biking is not just fun, but is a part of his regimen as a cross-country runner. “It’s a great way for me to stay in shape because I’m a cross-country runner,” Scoville said. However, “It’s [also] a great way to get around, especially on the trails.” The trail extension will benefit the community because bicycling has for a long time been popular among many of Columbia’s residents. “The new trail will bring a lot more people out onto the trails than there are now,” Scoville said. In general, the trail extension will benefit the city of Columbia because besides creating areas where it’s citizens can exercise, it provides a cheaper, sustainable and healthy alternative to driving. “All the trail projects are designed to encourage non-motorized transportation by providing safe option to driving a car,” Curtis said. “The trails not only allow people to walk or bike for transportation, leaving their vehicles at home, [but] they [also] provide a place for recreation and exercise.” art by Anna Sheals

icycling has long been a popular way to get around Columbia, and residents will soon have another trail to use for it. As part of a multi-part, $5.1 million federal grant, GetAbout Columbia and Columbia Parks and Recreation have proposed an extension to the County House Trail. Ted Curtis, director of GetAbout Columbia said. The project will cost an estimated $400,000. Currently, the trail connects the MKT Trail at Twin Lakes Recreation Area with the intersection of College Park Drive and Stadium Boulevard, a distance of about two miles. The extension, if approved, would lengthen the trail to Rollins Road, making it about two-and-a-half miles long. “There are two extensions to the County House Trail; an east alignment and a west alignment,” Curtis said. “Both go from Stadium to Rollins.” However, the city has also been considering many other possible routes. “These are just proposals, among many being looked at, about 20,

to be funded by the additional funding the City will provide,” Curtis said. “The Council will decide which project to go forward with.” According to the City of Columbia website, the latest of these proposals would extend the existing trail mostly along existing residential streets, with a new trail built connecting the ends of Radcliffe Drive and Cowan Drive. The new segment, upon approval, would be the second phase of construction of the trail. The first phase, the part that is currently open, connects Twin Lakes to Stadium Boulevard. The City of Columbia ultimately plans to lengthen the trail to Albert-Oakland Park in the northeast part of the city. There, it would connect with Bear Creek Trail, providing a direct pathway between Columbia Cosmopolitan Recreation Area and the MKT Trail. The extension to the County House Trail is going to be a useful addition to the city because it will give residents north of Stadium Boulevard direct access to downtown, junior Jack Scoville said. “I bike on the trails a lot, and I usually go downtown from my home,” Scoville said. The new trail is “something


Childhood games lead to lasting love of parks Lauren Puckett This is a blog entry from “Things I love about Columbia.” To see more check out “Bearing News,” located on the RBHS home page.


rowing up, I always had an uncanny ability for imaginary games. I had an entire collection of Barbies, but I hardly touched them; they were too simple. If I played with the Barbies, I wanted to be the Barbie, and not just a normal one — an FBI Barbie, with superpowers, fairy wings and spy goggles. I grew up directing my playmates about the confines of my basement: turning couch into castle and stairwell into storybook garden. And while my basement was a satisfactory imagination station, I loved it when my family would pack up the Ford Explorer and head to Rock Quarry or Bethel Park. It was at the park that I could let my legs and my mind run free, pretending the wood chips in my shoes were stolen files from a top-secret criminal headquarters. The trees became fairy schoolhouses, every branch a different classroom. The slides were tunnels that took me from Saturn to Venus in an instant. The smooth pebbles served as my currency, a method of payment when I purchased mud pies and stick spoons from the other children. As the years passed, I changed, and so did the parks, in the odd, subtle way that inanimate objects do. I aged and stopped asking why so many cigarettes littered the gravel. I played fewer games of hide-and-seek, having long figured out all the good spots available. I held hands with a boy for the first time, hiding among the tires of Rock Quarry Park, glad the shadows concealed my blushing cheeks. Eventually, the wood chips in my shoes became nuisance rather than pleasure. I saw the trees as lovely figures, but they ceased to contain fairy schoolhouses. The slides were too small for my body, and I could no longer fly. The park was there and it was home, but a home for an older Barbie, one who had responsibilities and less imagination. But one sunny May afternoon, I took a friend’s son to Bethel Park. He was four years old and as mischievous as little boys can be. He dragged me behind him from the swing to the see-saw, and I slowly rediscovered the roots of my imagination. He took me to the slide. Chewing on his lower lip, he couldn’t decide what he wanted to do. He was beginning to outgrow the slide; it was getting too “boring.” An old trick sparked in my mind, an old trick of Bethel’s creation, and I smiled. “Well,” I told him, “How about we stop sliding?” He looked at me with genuine interest, the kind you rarely see in adults. What could I be talking about? What idea did I have in mind? He waited, as I glanced up to the top of the slide and back at him. My smile turned to a grin. “How about we take a trip to Venus?” And Bethel took us there.

Up in smoke: bill raises tax on tobacco Maria Kalaitzandonakes


or the fourth time junior Nic Coyne is trying to quit smoking. His hair is thin in places where he pulled it out, and his knuckles make a careful map, recording when

his need for a cigarette was too much. “I’m not going to lie. I like smoking; I like the taste of it; I like how it calms you down, but I know I need to quit,” said Coyne, who first began smoking at age 10, stealing cigarettes from others’ packs, trying to collect as many as he could find. “I mean I can’t even get up off a

chair and walk 20 feet without having to stop and breathe,” Coyne said. “So it’s time to quit.” The gums and patches, which help most smokers quit, made Coyne physically ill, so he chews tobacco to wean himself off cigarette usage. Even when he dips, though, he gnaws on a straw or pencil to keep his mind

off cigarettes. Part of the motivation of a new bill, HB1478, proposed by Rep. Mary Still, is to decrease tobacco use, especially among youths. Most of his incentive Coyne said comes from the toll the habit takes on his body and from its expense. Coyne spends about $45 per week on cigarettes, a crippling cost for a kid’s budget, and HB1478 looks to increase that cost. “Research has shown that if you raise the cigarette tax, that less young people will begin smoking,” Still said. “Two reasons: it’s a health issue, and it’s a resource issue.” This bill would raise the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products in Missouri from 17 cents to 89 cents per pack. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Missouri has the lowest tax rate on tobacco products in the United States. This potential tax increase would make Missouri the 17th lowest in the country. According to the bill, the money produced by the tax will be earmarked to be used in public education, but other such promises made by the government were not fulfilled. Thus, social studies teacher Gregory Irwin is skeptical about the new bill. A bill which passed in Missouri in 1998 addfeature photo by Muhammad Al-Rawi ed a 21 percent tax to

riverboat casinos. The money gained through the new tax was intended to be an addition to the previously available funding for primary and secondary education; however, it ended up replacing the already available funding, rather than adding to it. “When [the casino bill] happened, they had to make cuts in all levels of education,” Irwin said. “As a voter, before I would want to pass this new bill [on smoking], I would want to be sure that they couldn’t do the same thing again.” Although the casino tax did not funnel the funding into public education as promised, it was successful in raising the money quickly and efficiently. Still said although her motivation for HB1478 is to add to available funding for public education at primary, secondary and collegiate levels, she would not be opposed to the money from the additional tax simply going into general revenue for the state. “Our state has severe budget challenges right now,” Still said. “I have been looking at what other states have done, and I noticed that all of them have considerably higher excise taxes.” Coyne worries although ‘well intentioned,’ the bill will be difficult for the consumer who, like him, cannot give up smoking and will simply have to fork over the extra dollar for each pack. Many days Coyne has to even decide whether to drive to school or to smoke because his dollar will only stretch so far. If the bill passes, Coyne does not believe it would be enough of a detriment for someone to quit smoking and instead just become an added expense. “People think it’s easy to quit,” Coyne said. “When I try to quit, it’s like every single second my head is exploding; I want one so bad.”

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Personality Profiles ∙ 7 Artist uses inspiration to design, sell sneakers The ROCK

Shannon Freese


he first design senior Collin Sees came up with was just for himself. They were a 15-dollar pair of Common Ked Champion shoes, but to Sees they turned into a blank canvas. When he first bought the shoes, Sees was unaware the hobby would blossom. Sees used thin-point Sharpie markers to create a masterpiece, transferring years of artistic training into something he was passionate about — shoes. “I was sitting in class, and I just got bored, and I was like, ‘Man, this is a good idea; I’ll draw on some shoes,” said Sees, who has taken art classes every year at RBHS. “I came up with some sketches and stuff. I like to use the fine-point markers.” Those shoes would be the first of many other pairs he would make for himself and his peers. Sees is in Advanced Placement 1 and Advanced Placement 2 Art, providing training to accompany his natural talent. “I’ve been doing art since I was young,” Sees said. “My parents love it because they just think it’s creative. I haven’t really ever met anyone who doesn’t like what I do or who thinks it’s a bad idea. Most people are completely supportive and think it’s pretty creative. All my friends and everyone that I’ve come across think it’s awesome.” Although art classes take up a large portion of his time, Sees finds inspiration in new shoe reviews, allowing him to create more complex designs, like the first pair he made. Sees drew nighttime on the inside of his shoes, which shifted to daytime on the inside of his heel. He sketched a desert scene on the backs with a C on one and an S on the other for his initials. On the toes, lightning progressed from yellow to green across the top, with roses at the end. After his desert-lightning shoes made their debut, they sparked an interest and eventually a business. Sees plans to keep the business going into college, but until graduation he will base his sales on high school stu-

photo by Halley Hollis

Maddie Davis Q: What is your name and grade?

A: My name is Cooper Viles, and

I am a junior. Q: What do you like to do in your free time? A: Hang out with friends. We like to chill. We like to have a good time and play basketball. Q: Do you play basketball for a team? A: Yeah, all of my friends play for [Columbia Youth Basketball Association], and we’re all on a team together. We play every Saturday. It’s just really fun because we all get competitive, but at the same time we know it doesn’t matter really. Q: Are you guys good? A: We’re a talented group of guys. Q: What do you like best about playing CYBA? A: Waking up at 7 a.m. every Saturday. Q: Is that your favorite part? A: No, I really like talking trash to the other teams. Q: How long have you played CYBA for? A: Since second grade. Q: Do you play any other sports? A: I play tennis. Q: How long have you played tennis for? A: About two years. Q: What’s your favorite part about playing tennis? A: Coach Ben Loeb, he’s funny and has good jokes. Q: Why did you start tennis? A: Something to do. I’m glad I did though because it’s a lot more fun than I expected it to be. Q: Do you practice a lot? A: Yeah, and over the summer especially. I play almost every day then. Q: So are you any good? A: No, I’m pretty awful. Q: Really? Why? A: I don’t really want to answer that. Q: What are five things you never leave your house without? A: My phone, my wallet, usually my license, my car keys and a good pair of shoes. Q: What do you think is interesting about yourself? A: What is interesting about me? I guess I’m good at a lot of different stuff. Q: Like what? A: I play a lot of different instruments, and I’m pretty good at playing them I guess. Q: What instruments do you play? A: I play guitar, piano, bass and drums. Q: How long have you played for? A: In sixth grade. Q: Why did you start playing all those instruments? A: To get the girls. Q: Are you in a band? A: No. Q: Not even the school’s band? A: No, I just never really got into that I guess. Q: What instrument is your favorite? A: I like guitar the best because I am the best at it. Q: Do you sing too? A: I keep my singing to the shower. Q: What are your goals in life? A: I want to be a male model and just not go to college. Q: Do you have any pets? A: A dog, named Mimi. She attacks everyone who tries to pick her up. Q: Even you? A: No, she loves me. She sleeps with me every night. We have a special relationship; she doesn’t like anyone else.

dents. Although the future of Collin Garrett Sees Custom Shoes is uncertain, Sees is majoring in product and industrial design. I’ve made “one pair for [senior] Andrew Echternach, [senior] Sarah Rosenhauer, a pair for my grandma, a pair for my sister, [senior] Brooke Eaton, [senior] Jack Schoelz, [RBHS alumnus] Chris Cornell and [senior] Nick Dale,” Sees said. “It might not be as popular at such a big university like [The University of] Texas — Austin, but I hope I’ll keep it going.” Echternach said he loved his pair and considers them an innovative piece of artwork. “Collin’s designs are completely revolutionary. Not only do they convey true artistic sensibility, but they also encompass a larger reality, and that is our shoes. ... Collin takes that art to a new level,” Echternach said. “I really like the shoes; they’re really personal. They’re all my nerdy things like Star Wars, Pokémon, Spider-Man and Nirvana. I honestly try to preserve them because I like to look at them, but I’ll wear them on special occasions.” Sees believes he is able to be so creative because of his interest in both shoes and art. He currently owns around 40 pairs of shoes, with Air Jordan 11 Concords being his favorite.

The shoes Sees creates depend on the people he is designing the pair for and what they are interested in. Sees takes this as his chance to prove himself with his new designs and ideas. “I give people the option of what they want me to design on the shoes. They come up with ideas and say, ‘These are the things that I’m into, and you can go to town on it,’” Sees said, “and then I do my best. And sometimes people will say, ‘I don’t really know what I want on mine; do whatever you want and then I’m able to put my creativity to the test.” res


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Drawing for spirit: Senior Collin Sees created a striped shoe to honor the University of Missouri — Columbia’s mascot, the tiger.

Luck at first stroke: After designing his first pair, Sees began his business: Collin Garrett Sees Custom Shoes.

Inspiration from a friend: At senior Jack Schoelz’s request, senior Collin Sees created a Batmaninspired shoe for only $30. photo illustration by Halley Hollis and Muhammad Al-Rawi

Change in culture provides new life views Different countries, religions bring unique experiences Shannon Freese


ome students at RBHS have parents who drag them around the country because of jobs, but senior Mehdi Ben-Ayed’s parents have taken him around the world. “I was in kindergarten when I found out we’d be moving,” Ben-Ayed said. “The main thing I remember was getting really excited by how cool the lunch cafeterias looked to me back then.” As a six-year-old, Ben-Ayed was not upset that his family would be moving to another continent — 5,270 miles away in Tunisia, Africa. He and his family relocated so far away from his birthplace in Columbia, Mo. because of his father’s job at the U.S. Embassy. “So we lived in my Embassy compound, which is fairly Tunisian, but there’s still the American culture. And there I learned English, Arabic and French,” Ben-Ayed said. “Everyone from all over the world was there, but mostly everyone was [from] somewhere in America.” Because it was an American embassy compound, it was called “Little America.” The embassy even named the classes after states in the United States.

The mixture of people gave Ben- was, like, really tiny,” Ben-Ayed said. Ayed a new perspective on other cul- “I don’t specifically remember learntures and lifestyles. Instead of only ing French and Arabic, but I do actuseeing things as he did before going to ally remember feeling pretty stupid Tunisia, Ben-Ayed knows he is able to because I could not speak Arabic in look at things differently from most of the beginning. I just came out [of the his peers. compound] completely fluent because “I thought all cultures blended in, obviously I had to speak it all the time and now I can understand other cul- there.” tures because I got The cultural to experience all of differences hit them,” Ben-Ayed him hard on I can understand said. “It was really some days, espeother cultures chill.” cially on Sept. 11, Ben-Ayed met 2001. because I new people and enWhen terexperienced all of joyed the ocean, but it rorists hijacked was not always easy two airplanes them.” for him to adjust. The and flew them Embassy compound into the World reminded him of a Trade Center, Mehdi Ben-Ayed military base because Ben-Ayed felt the of the structure. repercussions of senior The classes were the event all the strict, and the teachway across the ers hit students at world. A group times, Ben-Ayed said. of his peers in Once a teacher even broke a wooden Tunisia beat him up simply because ruler on Ben-Ayed’s wrist. The harsh he was an American. style did not continue for all of the “I left the compound, and I was at time, though. my grandma’s house. Some people “It wasn’t too militaristic, but it still from around the block, in the ghetto, had its safeguards. We could leave. It were like, ‘Oh there’s the American was really laid back. It was like they boy,’ because I was fairly white and I called it ‘Little America’ in there, but it was a fatass,” Ben-Ayed said. “So I got

beat up because of Bush, and I don’t know why I got beat up. I don’t think they knew why they beat me up, but I cried, like a boss. I think they knew there was some kind of tension, and they released it all out on me.” The experience, however, changed Ben-Ayed’s worldview. The military style of the compound, combined with the cultural mixture, made him more open to seeing things differently and maintaining an open mind. When Ben-Ayed found out he would be returning to America, a sense of adventure and excitement overtook him. “Whenever I left it, I felt like I straight-up changed worlds,” BenAyed said. “It’s like I’m not who I am. I can go out and express myself.” Despite Ben-Ayed’s worldly views, he plans to stay in America for most of his life. Just like his parents, he believes this country offers more possibilities for his future. He does, however, vacation in Tunisia every summer simply to revisit what he once called home. Ben-Ayed enjoys revisiting his past. “I would live here because of the opportunity and ambiance of friendliness. I would live in Tunisia for my summers though,” Ben-Ayed said, “because of the tropical area and the diverse geography.”

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Features ∙ 9

February 23, 2012


Teenagers prepare for wisdom teeth removal Kirsten Buchanan


photo by Avantika Khatri

Planning for the future: Gifted coordinator Kathryn Fishman-Weaver, Jake Giessman and former Advanced Seminar and Investigations teacher Marylin Toalson talk amongst themselves Feb. 15. The Advanced Seminar allows students to explore possible careers through internships.

Interns discover jobs, careers Sami Pathan


enior Riaz Helfer spent his summer poring over hundreds of PDFs. The documents were tedious at best, but he trudged on, looking for papers that would meet the criteria of the professor he was interning under. Though he felt the task was boring and seemingly unimportant, Helfer was helping a team of University of Missouri— Columbia engineers possibly develop a new way to detect hidden land mines. Marking the increasing rise in popularity of student internships, in 2009 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said 54.3 percent of people aged 16 to 19 were employed or looking for employment, up from 50.2 percent in 2004. To Helfer the opportunity to explore a field of study before college gave him some insight into his future plans. “I’m interested in pursuing a career in science, but I’m not sure what exactly I want to do in science, and I haven’t yet ruled out engineering,” Helfer said. “So the exposure to the field, I think, will enable me to make a more informed decision in my future.” Junior Sumidha Katti’s internship with a biology professor at the University of Missouri—Columbia, however, is a direct result of what she plans to study after high school. She spends much of her time helping scientists work with bacteria and DNA. “I do want to go into medicine in my future,” Katti said, “and this kind of exposes me to the biological sciences and things like that. So [I] expect it would be pretty beneficial for the future.” Kathryn Fishman-Weaver instructs the Advanced Seminar and Investigations class, where she requires students to complete 90 hours of an internship. But the class isn’t all about experiencing the internship, as she requires students to write a summary about interning and then arrange a guest speaker or field trip for the class, to give high school students a chance to learn outside of the classroom. “These student internships are incredibly beneficial. I think it’s one of the few times in K-12 education where you can get outside of the school walls and, for a lack of better words, kind of do something real,” Fishman-Weaver said. “You need to be

motivated to get out there and really do stuff.” Often, a teenager’s main motivation to search for an internship is money. Senior Alex Upton, however, took his job shadowing sound technicians at the Blue Note knowing he would not be financially backed whereas Helfer, though he did not anticipate it, received pay for his work. “I actually did not expect to get paid, but then they offered to pay me so I took it,” Helfer said. “The decision to work there wasn’t really made because I wanted to get paid but just turned out that way, and I definitely did not complain about that.” Regardless of the lack of wage, Upton finds his internship to be rewarding on multiple levels. He feels the benefits of gaining on the job work experiences heavily outweigh not being paid for the work he provides to the Blue Note. “I knew I wasn’t going to get paid, and I debated over that for some time. But I figured in the future it would be better to say that I’ve already sort of worked in the field than to get paid,” Upton said. “I get a lot of enjoyment out of what I do. I probably wouldn’t have sought the opportunity out if it hadn’t been about my future, but it turns out that I really do enjoy it.” For most students, the key to a good internship is finding one that matches their vision of what a career will truly be like instead of finding a random internship they are not interested in. The number of students who come back from an internship displeased with how it went surprised Weaver, because she expects students to enjoy them, but she also said that learning from these decisions is part of the process of choosing a future career. “A lot of students come with dreams to be ‘X,’ so we hook them up with an internship in ‘X’ and they find out that, ‘It’s really just not what I thought it was,’” Fishman-Weaver said. “And how great is it to find out something like that when you’re 16 years old instead of three years into a program in college.” Though picking a career path has never been an exact science, internships help students get tastes of what different fields and occupations have in store and let high school students better prepare themselves for making future decisions about post-secondary studies. “I think fewer and fewer students have a career path that’s narrow and straight,” Fishman-Weaver said. “As all of our disciplines become more interconnected; you kind of have this life journey, and these internships are just dots along that journey, and they help you take away other lessons and define yourself as you go.”

I do want to go into medicine ... and this kind of exposes me to the biological sciences.” Sumidha Katti junior

or many teenagers, getting their wisdom teeth out is a quick, if not painless, operation. However, for one 17-yearold Maryland girl, the simple procedure turned fatal. Last April Jenny Olenick died during the routine surgery. Although complications like Olenick’s are rare, some teenagers are still nervous about going through the surgery. Senior Nhu Vu was not pleased when she heard she was growing extra teeth in her mouth. “I have four wisdom teeth, but they don’t hurt or anything,” Vu said. “Still I probably will have to have them taken out. I asked [my dentist] if I really had to get them out. He was like, ‘Well, it’s going to be uncomfortable in your mouth.’” Medical doctor and dentist Adam Andrews said most people’s wisdom teeth begin to grow during their teenage years. These third molars, wisdom teeth, are a set of four extra teeth that grow behind regular molars. Although they are not always a problem, Andrews said many people prefer to have them extracted. “There is generalized agreement in the medical and dental profession that the removal of third molar teeth is always appropriate when there is evidence of pathological changes” such as infection or tumors, Andrews said. “There is also generalized agreement that third molar teeth that are completely erupted and functional, painless [and] free of cares ... may not require extraction.” Our ancestors had room for the extra teeth in their mouth, but as humans evolved, third molars became a problem when their jaws became smaller. Andrews said there is a statistically significant increase in wisdom teeth problems after age 25, causing many teens to go through with surgery. “It was more of a choice on our part because the future problems that having wisdom teeth could make could be worse than getting them out and not having a problem later,” Eddington said. “It was my first surgery.” Andrews said the type of sedation used in third molar removal varies because of doctors’ and patients’ preferences. He said the most common method is to put them to sleep using intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. “The only thing I was really nervous for was the anesthetic,” Eddington said. “I didn’t know what that felt like but I don’t mind it now. I was just completely out of it and it was like sleeping, basically. I don’t remember anything.” Many teenagers are also anxious because they worry about pain or possible complications. However, Andrews said both are uncommon. For two to five percent of people, the blood clot in their mouth becomes dislodged and causes severe pain after surgery, a condition called dry sockets, according to WebMD. “There are many myths about the prevention of dry sockets, but the fact is that nobody really knows what causes them,” Andrews said. “Fortunately, the treatment for this process is to place a sedative dressing — medicated gauze — in the socket and wait a few days for the process to resolve. This treatment probably slows the healing process by a few days but makes the patient much more comfortable until the dry socket resolves.” Less common complications include permanent nerve damage, jaw and tooth fractures and brain tissue infections, according to WebMD. The chance of problems after the surgery and pain of surgery makes some teens hesitant to go through extraction. Only around 12 percent of wisdom teeth that aren’t taken out lead to infections or damage to other teeth, which is about the same as cases of appendicitis. However, doctors never recommend people have their appendix removed just to prevent appendicitis, questioning wisdom teeth removal. Eddington did not suffer from any complications or even major pain after his surgery, though. Andrews said Eddington’s case is typical. “Removal of four wisdom teeth should take less than 45 minutes under most circumstances,” Andrews said. “I cannot speak for every oral and maxillofacial surgeon, but I have always enjoyed removing third molars.” Complete healing of the hole Wisdom teeth erupt takes around a month. Despite around age 16 the minor risk of the surgery, Andrews said there is still some They are the last teeth to anxiety that many teenagers exfill the mouth perience, like in Vu’s case. She felt disappointed and fearful of the potential pain when her den90% of the population tist reccomended the surgery for does not have enough her. room for wisdom teeth “I’m scared because everyone who has had them taken out has said it hurts afterwards. [with four] it’s going to hurt really bad,” Vu said. “If it was my choice I would not get them taken out becasue I can’t take pain or needles. My parents are source: www.cincinnati-oralsurgery kind of making me.”

Teeth Trouble

art by Joanne Lee

10 ∙ Features

February 23, 2012


Kitchen staff enjoys service Shivangi Singh


s she sets the gravy to reheat and prepares the tomato sauce, Manuela Prantley puts together the school lunch menu each morning, handling each item with care. As the assistant manager and head chef of the RBHS kitchen, she fulfills similar duties for lunch time every day. In her job, each school day has started for her at 6 a.m. and ends around 2:30 p.m. Although the freshly prepared cinnamon rolls, cookies and coffee cakes have disappeared over the 15 years she has worked at RBHS, she said she is content with the current situation. Instead of preparing all the food from scratch, the food is now premade. There aren’t as many staff members anymore, not enough to handle such a responsibility of making fresh food. “I just really l like it,” Prantley said. “I like it more [than before] actually.” Prantley enjoys the camaraderie this set up encourages. The lessened cooking style doesn’t bother her either because she believes students prefer the processed foods of the cafeteria over specially prepared foods by the staff. “I don’t know why” they do, Prantley said. “But when we have special things, like pork rolls, they don’t seem to really want this. They just want to grab and go. That’s just how it is.” Junior Hylee Won does not like to wait in the line for her meals at school. She said she can sacrifice the healthier options the cafeteria offers for decreased waiting time. “Whatever is available first, that’s what I get,” Won said. “When there’s no one in line, I’ll get those [cooked foods]. But if there’s people in line, I don’t go.” Seeing this trend in students, Brad Faith, chef, is in the RBHS kitchen now to make the servings healthier. The changes are currently slated to affect elementary schools, but change next year is likely at RBHS too. “Most of the stuff [students eat at RBHS] is pre-processed in some form or fashion, so there’s very little scratch cooking involved with it,” Faith said. “Those things like Bosco sticks, that’s all pre-made. A lot of that stuff is preprocessed stuff, and it just gets re heated” Unhappy about serving students such foods, he aims to move away from the company manufactured foods to healthier, unprocessed options for the student consumer. “The more and more I can cut the processed foods out of their diet,” Faith said, “the better I will feel about it, the better nutrition services will feel about it.” It took Kim Acton, server and chef, months to develop the same contentment Faith feels with his job right now. In fact, the first day on the job in the cafeteria three years ago was such an overwhelming experience she didn’t want to come back to the job. “I didn’t really like it,” Acton said, “and I was really scared and I didn’t want to come back. But I am really glad I did come back because I really like it now. I like my hours. I really like the people I work with and just knowing what I have to do every day – not really coming into any surprises.” Like Ramilla Brown, server and coordinator of the Connecting Our Regional Economy group that RBHS caters to, Acton began to appreciate the friendliness and laid-back environment the cafeteria provided. The day-to-day struggles — food being placed incorrectly, the sometimes nasty remarks, leftover trash and a lack of respect at times — seemed insignificant in the cafeteria’s new environment. “All of our CPS jobs are hard, whether we are teachers or in the kitchen,” Brown said. “No matter what we do anything we do with the public schools and dealing with the kids. I think we all have a difficult job.”

photo by Muhammed Al-Rawi

Tidying up: A custodian works after hours Feb. 14 waxing the hallways. Evening janitors work until 11:30 p.m. Each month the janitors rotate jobs, doing tasks such as cleaning the gym, sweeping classrooms, as well as mopping and scrubbing the bathrooms.

Custodians labor for school Avantika Khatri


hen most people are asleep or winding down from a long day at work, thirteen custodians on night duty are still here cleaning up after 1,800 students, scrubbing graffiti off bathroom stalls, picking gum off walls, floors and desks and unclogging filthy toilets. Annabel, Kamal, Vaughan, Corey, Marcus, Dana, Fred, Joel, Tyrone, Adam, Terry, Susy and Walter endure such trials each day until 11:30 p.m., long after the last student leaves the building. Many carry through the entire day with additional pressure from other jobs bearing on them. Though not a glamorous job, being a custodian for Columbia Public Schools has its benefits. Dana Shepherd worked in many kitchens before assuming his position as the night shift’s working supervisor, and he has found a relaxing atmosphere here. “It’s not one of those jobs where someone is constantly on your back … that’s what I like about it. The physical part of it is not bad. It’s not a lot of heavy lifting. Lot of walking, more than anything,” Shepherd said. “I tell a lot of guys that … [while working] at McDonald’s you can’t even chew bubble gum. ... They don’t realize all the freedom and the gift they got when they’re here.” The job also provides variety to the night shift custodians. Each month jobs rotate so one person does not suffer through an unpleasant job for months on end. Shepherd issues jobs to the custodians at the beginning of each month, listed on two sheets of paper.

Life as a janitor 0.8%

of Columbians are janitors

$10.68 median hourly wage

each janitor works an average of

39 hours per week all occupation mean annual wage

50% less

This month Susy Gutierrez’s job was to “spot mop.” She needed to sweep all rooms on one side of the building, along with the locker rooms, room 115, the back hallway, gym, and stage area, all this with an appreciative “thanks” at the end of the description. “I go and sweep the floors and spot mop. We call it spot mopping because it will take a long time for us to mop the whole room,” Gutierrez said. “So if there’s, like, a big spot after you sweep it, you dust mop it. That’s what it’s called, dust mop. After you do that, then you go to that spot and mop it real quick.” Gutierrez finds this job the hardest, but she has no trouble once she puts her mind to the task. One of her jobs, cleaning the gym, requires Gutierrez to wait until basketball practice ends. If there is a home game, she can’t clean locker rooms or other rooms activities are in until everything is over and everyone is gone. Shepherd keeps records of these events and warns staff of daily and future building activities at the beginning of each day. Many of the details of working as a custodian are new to Gutierrez. As a high school student, she never realized the tedious tasks janitors performed each night. “Even when I was in high school, I think about it and I never really thought about what custodians did. And we used to think, ‘Well, that’s what they get paid for.’ You don’t think about them,” Gutierrez said. “I was really inconsiderate when I was young — not thinking about all that and everything. Now that I do that, it’s like, I’ve learned so much things that, you know, the cleaning part of a school, which things you don’t think about when you’re in high school.” Shepherd has experienced a similar lack of appreciation for his job. While sweeping the commons area last Valentine’s Day, Shepherd noticed kids throwing M&Ms at each other, even as he swept the floor in front of them. He could not tell the football players to stop because he did not have the authority, but when he told the coach, the coach said he was “going to make them run hard today.” “Only some kids ... some of these kids will bend over, and [say,] ‘Let me get that for you, sir,’ pick janitor’s up for you,” Shepherd mean annual said. “I’ve seen kids stack wage my chairs, and I’ve asked them to do nothing. Not all, just a handful that really ... care.” Night shift custodian infographic by Joanne Lee Adam Rowe experienced

$44,410 $22,210


no such respect. This month he became a “restroom specialist” on one side of the building. His job was to fill dispensers, clean fixtures, clean water fountains in hallways and locker rooms and wipe graffiti each night off the restroom stalls, with another “thanks” at the end. Students “drained the water out where you couldn’t flush the toilet. Stuff like that, man. [It’s] stuff like that that we got to deal with everyday. It’s nasty, man. These kids. They come here … all the [gra]ffiti. That’s ridiculous, man. I don’t know if it comes out of the school budget, but we need some new bathroom stalls, man. That’s my opinion,” Rowe said. “These kids at Rock Bridge High School, they can do anything and the custodians will [clean] it. No respect.” Though Gutierrez and Shepherd do not share the same views, Rowe noted one of his other jobs, one that sometimes puts him in campus frat houses, is far worse. Rowe works three jobs. He spends eight hours every weekday as a night shift custodian, six hours on weekdays at University of Missouri — Columbia Campus Facilities and eight hours on weekends as a line cook at the Country Club of Missouri, totaling 86 hours a week. Gutierrez used to work a similarly difficult load when she started custodial duties in the district. Her other job was at a factory that built emergency brakes for cars. She was working full time there and part time at RBHS, but her other job required her to stay overtime. She woke up at 3 a.m. to begin work at 5 a.m. Her eight hours should have ended at 1:30 p.m., but overtime kept her until 3 p.m. By 6 p.m. she needed to report to her then-part time custodial duties, and she wouldn’t leave until 11:30 p.m. “By the time you get home, your body doesn’t wind down right away. So I’d end up going to sleep around 1:30,” Gutierrez said. “I did that for three months, and then I ended up in the hospital. Didn’t have enough sleep. My body didn’t rest enough. So I just stopped with that. I just have one job and that’s it. I’ll get any overtime you could give me, but I will not work two jobs.” Though Gutierrez would like to return to school and finish her education to prove to her kids that she could also make it, she enjoys the environment at RBHS. “I like being in a positive environment, and that’s where I have been, and I really do love it here because I have no problems,” Gutierrez said. “You know, the custodians, the rest of the crew, they’re very respectful towards me even though at the time I was the only female. They don’t really treat me as a female, they treat me like one of the guys.”

These kids ... they can do anything and the custodians will clean it. No respect.”

Adam Rowe night custodian

Features ∙ 11

February 23, 2012


Modern Medicine Long-term illnesses plague teenagers Maddie Davis


Patients suffer from misdiagnoses Kirsten Buchanan


s sophomore Anna Wright was growing up, her dad began to worry about her. Although she seemed healthy, she had stopped gaining weight and growing taller. “I fell off my growth curve, and I was a lot shorter than everyone else, so [my dad] started asking my primary care doctor about it. He would bring it up, and he researched it, and the doctors were always like, ‘No, it’s not a big deal. She’s fine. She’s just shorter,’” Wright said. “And they said it was nothing to worry about, so we kind of put it off for a really long time.” Trusting her doctor’s advice, Wright tried to live her life as normally as possible. However, it was difficult as she watched her peers grow; she herself remained short until her parents took her to a specialist. The endocrinologist ordered a growth hormone stimulation test. Wright took drugs to stimulate the production of growth hormone and then doctors drew her blood to see how much growth hormone she was producing. “I wasn’t producing hardly any [growth hormone]. That’s when [the doctors] knew there was a problem, and I’d have to start injections,” Wright said. “My pituitary gland doesn’t produce growth hormone on its own. Once you have one gland that isn’t producing a certain hormone properly, then it kind of messes with the rest of your hormones too, so I had blood sugar problems and a lot of other problems with my glands.” According to a National Patient Safety Foundation survey, Wright’s experience mimics that of nine percent of people who report their doctors have failed to make an accurate diagnosis for them. However, because of the high number of patients many doctors see daily, Timothy Fete, M.D., said small misdiagnoses are fairly common and insignificant. “In primary care offices, where you’re seeing a child with a runny nose and a cough, you can miss a diagnosis. [You can] say that it’s a general cold and it’s really due to an allergy, but it wouldn’t have much impact on the child downstream,” Fete said. “If a doctor says a child doesn’t have appendicitis and a child does, then the child can get dramatically sicker. Medicine [is] not … an exact science, and a lot is based on following clues. All physicians misdiagnose some small percentage of patients they see.” Misdiagnoses are also common because many unusual problems have different causes but end up producing the same final symptom, Fete said. For example, an infant who is fussy and seems gassy could have many problems: a food allergy, an anatomical problem, colic or an inability of the body to break down food. Although they are all very different conditions, they manifest in the same way. “The doctor’s job is to try to take the most complete history of what’s going on with the patient and to do the

best physical exam and pull that information together to come up with the most likely cause or a list of the most likely two or three causes of a particular complaint,” Fete said. “Generally the bottom line [is] anything a patient has as a concern can have a number of potential causes, so we have to do our best to find out what the true cause is with the history of what’s going on and with the physical exam and the least possible expensive exam to try and clench the diagnosis.” The National Patient Safety Foundation survey found 42 percent of people to have had a misdiagnosis or treatment error. This was the case for senior Nicole Montgomery. In constant pain from swollen joints, she went to urgent care, only for the doctors to give her the wrong treatment. Not getting better “made me really worried because I didn’t know if they were ever going to find out what was wrong with me,” Montgomery said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen.” Concerned, Montgomery went to a rheumatologist. The doctor finally found she had a drug-induced lupus, an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own immune system and causes swelling of the joints and severe arthritis. Going through the experience was not a positive time for Montgomery. “I still trust [doctors], but it makes me think twice now and consider my own knowledge about my sicknesses. Like if I feel like I have a cold and they say I have cancer, I’m not going to believe them,” Montgomery said. “Luckily, even though they gave me a couple of prescriptions, it wasn’t terribly expensive for us to pay for.” In both Montgomery’s and Wright’s cases, a specialist narrowed down a diagnosis; Fete recommends getting a second opinion to prevent misdiagnoses. Not only was it a relief for Wright to get better, but she also was happy to have the knowledge of what was wrong with her. “It was really good to finally have diagnosis, and there was hope for me to get taller and that I wasn’t going to be short forever,” Wright said. “But it was also kind of aggravating to know that we could have known a lot sooner had the doctors listened to my parent’s concerns better.” Living her life with uncertainty, however, had a lasting effect on Wright. Although she has one of her illnesses figured out and, because of the growth hormone shots, is now an average height, Wright battles reoccurring sinus infections and is currently recovering from her second round of mononucleosis. Because her original illness was not caught quickly, she struggles with not blowing these other problems out of proportion. “If you think something’s wrong with you, don’t take no for an answer,” Wright said. “Listen to your gut. I mean, don’t be overly pushy because doctors usually know what they’re talking about, but you also kind of have to listen to your body and make your own calls about whether or not you think something’s not right.”

hile junior Rachel Bryan’s friends skated around the roller rink, the number on her blood-testing meter was increasing exponentially. Despite Bryan’s attempt to keep her blood sugar at a normal level through insulin shots, the pump did not stop rising. In the middle of the roller rink birthday party, Bryan passed out. “I kept re-checking my blood sugar, but it kept getting higher,” Bryan said. “I eventually passed out and woke up in the [emergency room] with a nurse standing above me saying, ‘Yay, she’s awake’. I found out my meter was malfunctioning, and I really had lowblood sugar.” The roller-rink incident is just one of many setbacks Bryan has dealt with since being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age seven. Although unrelated to her diabetes, Bryan also has a condition called aquagenic uritcaria where her skin will break out in hives if exposed to water for longer than 10 minutes. “My older brother’s friend thought it would be funny to chase me around with a cup of sugar-water one time,” Bryan said. “The water because of my allergy and the sugar because of my diabetes; It was funny, and they didn’t mean anything by it, but then it got on me and it wasn’t very funny anymore.” With both conditions, Bryan does not get to experience things the same way her friends do. She often feels different from everyone else because of the precautions she must take. “I can’t just go places like my friends’ houses without bringing my diabetic supplies,” Bryan said. “I can’t just have a girl’s day and eat ice cream and cookie dough like everyone else without having high blood sugar.” Similar to Bryan, senior Corbin Schleider discovered his disease from difficulties he had in day-to-day life. Prior to visiting a doctor, Shleider researched his seizures, finding out that he had generalized epilepsy. “I had a few seizures and didn’t know what to think, so I decided to get tested,” Schleider said. “I’d looked into it and that’s the main reason I decided to go. They did an [electroencephalograph] and found out I had abnormal brain waves.” Schleider’s condition starts out with myoclonic jerks, similar to twitches, then leads to a blackout. Schleider then has a seizure that can last up to five minutes. After the seizure hits, he is unconscious for around 20 minutes. Despite taking medicine to control his epilepsy, Schleider cannot stop the seizures once they start. “I’ve had myoclonic jerks happen to me at school before but never a full tonic clonic seizure,” Schleider said. “I did have one at my friends house though. It was funny for me because when I woke up from it, my friends were freaking out and thought I was going to die or something.” Schleider has found that a stable support system is the key to successfully managing his disease. When sophomore Eli Stout was diagnosed with Graves disease, an illness that attacks his immune system, he looked to his relatives for help and support through the tough time. “My family’s response was worry and scared,” Stout said, “because Graves is an auto-immune disease; they didn’t like the idea of my body fighting against itself.” Having a supportive family did not help Stout’s initial reaction. The doctor’s first believed Stout had post-concussion syndrome from football but then discovered both his pulse and blood pressure to be high. Because of his illnesses, Stout had to undergo radioactive treatment. His reaction to the treatment caused him to have rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of muscle fibers. High levels of creatine kinase enzymes, which help muscles function, led to a shutdown in his kidneys and liver for nearly three months. “The biggest thing for me was realizing I wouldn’t be able to play football anymore because I could have just dropped over on the field,” Stout said. “But the worst part is all the blood work I have to get down and feeling tired and exhausted all the time. I realize that I’ll have to deal with it forever but it’s not that big of a deal anymore.” With all chronic illnesses, support from family and friends helps ease the difficulty. Research assistant to Vicki Conn, Ph.D., Natalie Markis at University of Missouri—Columbia agrees that any routine, especially that of diabetes can get tiresome. “I think the most challenging aspect of diabetes is self-management for a newly diagnosed patient [in the] modification of their diet,” Markis said. “The entire diabetic routine can lead to the patient [burning] out so having a good support system is key.” With solid backing from friends and family, Bryan finds positives in her diabetes. Because of having to manage her blood sugar, Bryan is able to perform math problems more quickly and accurately. While Bryan’s disease helps her in school, Schleider’s epilepsy has changed his view on life and helps him remain optimistic. “Because I have it now I feel like I can relate to so many more people,” Schleider said. “I’m way more understanding of people who have diseases that aren’t necessarily cancer. I have a story to tell now about what I’ve been through and what I’m still going through. I think having it has made me such a better person.” photo illustration by Muhammad Al-Rawi




Shivangi Singh


he sun had set, and the caretakers of the daycare were waiting for the last pair of parents to arrive. Sophomores Rashad and Sean Huggins’ parents, however, never showed up; instead, when the daycare facility called the parents, they said they no longer wanted their children. At the ages of three, the twin brothers went to a foster home, the first of five. The foster care attendants “didn’t want to split us up,” Rashad said. “They would ask people, ‘We got two kids, and we don’t want to split them up.’ [If] they wanted two [kids], then we would go, and if they only wanted one, then we wouldn’t go.” The journey ended, Rashad said, when a family that couldn’t have any more children met the brothers in St. Louis. After four months of indecision, the family adopted the eight-year-olds, this was an occurrence one-third as likely as with one-year-olds between 1999 and 2011 according to Intercountry Adoption Statistics. “I didn’t even [know] what [adoption] meant,” Rashad said. The family “told us. ... We were adopted, and I didn’t know what to say. I was surprised, and like, ‘What does that mean?’ and they told us, and they kept on telling us.” The twins learned they had two older, blood-related brothers, whom their grandmother had adopted before Rashad and Sean were born. She had adopted the older brothers for the same reason Rashad and Sean were put for adoption: a gang-affiliated dad and a mother on drugs. Incapable of raising two more children, their grandmother couldn’t also adopt Rashad and Sean. “I don’t know anything about,” his older brothers, Sean said. “I was surprised, but then I didn’t do anything because I don’t really know them.” Neither Rashad nor Sean has a recollection of his biological family or the life he lived before adoption; all he has are stories and papers. “I was trying to find out, maybe last year. I was going through files and stuff in my house,” Rashad said, “and I found a little paper, and it says stuff that we used to do and what I used to eat and what the foster lady said I used to do, and she gave it to my parents. ... My brother looks like my mom, and I look like my dad, but that’s all I know.” Junior Rachel Shenker, however, was able to find a height, an eye color, an old location and a name for her birth mom in adoption documents; for her birth dad, she learned nothing. She isn’t sure her birth mom knows his identity either. She hopes to one day learn more about her family and meet her birth mom, for whom she began a search two years ago. Shenker’s intentions are common to 72 percent of adolescent adoptees, according to Adoption Statistics: Birth Family Search. “I just want to talk to her and find out what we have in common, if we have anything in common,” Shenker said. “Just kind of get to know her, and I had kind of like to have whatever relationship she would like to have [with me;] even it’s just [being] Facebook friends —That’s fine.” Despite this unusual endeavor, however, adoption is a normal part of Shenker’s life. Her adoptive parents never made the situation a big deal and being adopted never bothered her. Still, she has tried to rationalize her birth mom’s reasoning behind putting Shenker up for adoption. “I think about it regularly. I understand, and I am not mad about it. My mom was young — early, early 20s, maybe late teens. She couldn’t handle having a baby at that time, and so

she did what she thought was best, which was putting me up for adoption,” Shenker said. “But I want to know why [she chose to do that] and what was going on in her life during the time.” Rashad Huggins said he is glad to have left his biological family behind. He said if he hadn’t, he would have followed in his father’s tracks and ended up in a gang or somewhere even worse. “I would either be dead or in jail by now because we were living in a bad neighborhood when we were with them, and they knew they couldn’t take care of us so that’s [why] they gave us away,” Rashad said. “I don’t know where I would be today if [my adoptive parents] didn’t adopt me.” Senior Nick de Jong knows exactly where he would be if his birth parents hadn’t given him up for adoption. With a biological dad of Apache and Oneida descent, senior Nick de Jong would be living on a Native American reservation in Lawrence, Kan., something his birth mom, who he meets once or twice a year, told him. His name would have been Anthony Tobias. “I have always wondered what it would be like growing up with them, but I can understand how hard it would be,” de Jong said. “My mom was 15; my dad was 16. They broke up right after [I was born] too. [I know] how hard it would be to be growing up and being kids still and having a kid.” De Jong’s adoptive mom knew his birth parents through business, and, as an adopted child herself, she felt strongly about de Jong’s situation. Eight weeks later, the first KansasMissouri border adoption through fax took place. Amy de Jong, Nick de Jong’s adoptive mother, said the process ran smoothly. She saw Nick as her son the moment she saw him. “He was our child whether he came from out of me or not,” Amy said. “What I always wanted to be was a parent. How I got there I really didn’t care.” Nick’s sister, sophomore Molly de Jong, said the fact that her brother is adopted is an insignificant part of her life. She feels just as connected to him as she does to her parents, with whom she shares a blood relation. “There’s nothing different,” Molly said. “I just asked questions [when I found out about the adoption], and we just kind of bond.” After being raised with his adoptive family, Nick also wants to adopt when he’s old enough to have a family of his own. “I feel obligated to do it because [I got] family [that way],” Nick said. “I know that I have benefited definitely from it — being raised in a really young household probably would really mess me up in some way, where here I feel somewhat normal.”


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Adoptees seek understanding



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Ill. F

Cultures support arranged marriage Maddie Magruder


he human race has few things under its complete control. Even though humans can’t regulate the weather or whether a bus will hit them, many people can count on controlling who they marry. When one looks at the world from another perspective, however, this may not be such a common thought. Various countries around the world, including India, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Japan, still arrange marriages for their youth. But arranged marriages vary by religion, and the common misconception that an arranged marriage means being forced to marry the person the parents select without a meeting is sometimes incorrect. Junior Mariam Al-Shaar, who is from an Islamic family, said she will eventually have an arranged marriage, but not until she is older and has approved the boy herself. “The guy comes and asks our parents for our hand,” Al-Shaar said, “and then we talk to the guy; we get to know him a little bit, see if we like him or not, and then we get engaged. There’s no rings or anything, and we can break it off if we don’t like” them. Since this custom has been a fact of her life since she was born, she has grown accustomed to the idea. She said she isn’t allowed to mingle with boys unless they are family, and her dad would only tolerate it if it were for something school-related. Junior Haifaa Nielsen, also from an Islamic family, has the same future as Al-Shaar. She isn’t allowed to spend time with boys outside of her family, especially a potential husband. When someone comes along and is interested in marry-

ing her in the future, the families will first meet each other. “Their family comes to our family’s house, and they have a meeting to meet us,” Nielsen said, “and if we like them, then we’ll say yes, and then we’ll go on supervised dates with them.” Not all of the initiative is on the boy’s shoulders, however. Al-Shaar said if a girl has a good impression of a boy, she can tell her parents about him. Then the parents can check out the boy, and if he likes her too, the boy can ask for her hand. Like with most Muslim families, the most crucial consideration for Al-Shaar’s family is religion, she said. An assumption exists that all children produced from the marriages will grow up in a Muslim home. “Culture has nothing to do with it,” Al-Shaar said. The boy “can come from anywhere in the world. They just have to be the same religion.” Some cultures that commonly have arranged marriages are starting to lose the tradition, as seen in India. Junior Raj Patel said even though his parents and their siblings all had arranged marriages, he probably won’t have one. “My parents gave me open choice,” said Patel. He “can have any girl, marry any girl [I]

like.” Patel moved to Columbia last year from India. He noticed major differences in the culture of the two societies. Arranged marriages were common in India, especially in the half-metropolitan cities, because of an overall stricter set of unwritten societal rules, including less smoking and drinking. But in the metropolitan cities, love marriages are becoming more prevalent because of India’s progression toward a more modern society. Junior Ipsa Chaudhary has also noticed the change in Indian society. Her visits show her the bigger cities don’t have many arranged marriages. Like Patel, Chaudhary’s parents also had an arranged marriage. Chaudhary’s grandmothers, knew each other from college, and they thought their children would make a good match. After meeting and talking a few times, the two kids, now Chaudhary’s parents, decided to get married. This may sound like American marriages, but Chaudhary’s parents weren’t in the situation most newlyweds are in America, present day. “I’d say they definitely love each other, but I feel like they never fell in love,” Chaudhary said. “When they got married, they were probably acquaintances, and maybe friends, but I feel like their relationship was just one of friendship.” Chaudhary said as a little kid, she figured everyone’s parents had more of a friend relationship, like hers. It wasn’t until she was older and met parents of her friends that she realized her parents’ relationship was different than the com-

I’d say they definitely love each other, but I feel like they never fell in love.” Ipsa Chaudhary junior

mon American one in today’s society a relationship developed merely from respect towards each other rather than love. Even though her parents had an arranged marriage, Chaudhary will be able to marry whomever she wants. She said her parents are open-minded about society, so they aren’t opposed to today’s “social norms.” “People make a bigger deal about falling in love and getting married,” Chaudhary said. “Of course, they want to have a say in who I get married to, but they wouldn’t force me to marry someone if I didn’t love them.” With the values of America instilled in society today, people may get the wrong perceptions of arranged marriages. Taking a peek around the world brings insight and knowledge to the human race. Chaudhary remembers her grandmother’s words when describing arranged marriage to her: “You’re not in love with the person when you marry them, but you learn to love them after you get married.”



February 23, 2012


Comm on Traits of Autism



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Flaps hand s, rocks body

Prefers to play alone

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Autism transforms life view


Missouri voters approve amendment, “to be valid and recognized in this state a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman.”




Nomin-Erdene Jagdagdorj


ediatrician Meg Wang knew something was wrong with her son’s development when his language skills plateaued and he became less social than others his age at 15 months. Specialists told her to have his hearing checked. Massachusetts When his hearing was normal, they recSupreme Judicial ommended speech therapy. But little Court rules state equal changed. marriage rights for same Approximately 13 months later, sex couples — first Michael Wang, alumni 2011, was diagstate to allow gay marriage. nosed with autism. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Michael was diagnosed early. On average, a child is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder between 4.5 and 5.5 years of age, even if parents have concerns much earlier. About one in 110 children in the U.S. has an ASD, but boys are four to five times more likely to than girls. There is no cure for ASDs; however, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, treatment plans can significantly mend certain symptoms. Meg made sure her son had an early and intensive intervention, which she said had a large impact on his development. Michael attended an early childhood special education preschool and weekly speech therapy. At home, Michael received Applied Behavior Analysis, a science that improves behavior and is especially beneficial for autistic children. “It’s most helpful in those early years,” Meg said. “The brain is just more malleable, more pliable and can change more at that age.” Still, even with early attention, Michael had to work with his social skills. Of the three main parts of autism – the communication delays – the social disorder and the repetitive and stereotypic behaviors, “the crux is the social,” Meg said. It’s an area autistic children often struggle in, even if they excel in other areas. “I think in this world, one of the things that make people most happy is having relationships with other people,” Meg said. “He’s in college now, and, hopefully, he’ll get a degree and get a good job, but he has those social skills. He likes people and people like him, and that’s the most rewarding thing, I think, because I know he’ll be happy.” But growing up, every social milestone required step-by-step instruction. Meg taught him how to call a friend, and then they practiced it. He learned how to behave at a play date. Now, Michael is the most social member of the family, Meg said. He regularly schedules outings to Orange Leaf and likes to stay connected with his friends. Michael said his favorite things to do at home are “Facebook and texting other people and playing video games, like Mario and a little bit of Call of Duty.” Michael’s brother, junior David Wang, said he sees Michael’s social skills

Same Sex Marriage Timeline




The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled a ban against same-sex marriage violated the state constitution. Connecticut became the second state to allow same-sex marriage.


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New Hampshire ses a statute alg same-sex mare, bringing the total of states that allow sex marriage to six.

truly shine when he is with his classmates. “At school he’s more impressive than he is at home,” David said. “He’s usually talking to everyone, and everyone knows him.” Michael remembers his overall experience at Rock Bridge as “incredible,” “outstanding” and one of the times he will remember for the rest of his life. Michael’s social efforts culminated in his victory as Courtwarming king last year. He was honored and surprised, he said. He mimics the face he made when he first heard his name, lifting his eyebrows and opening his mouth as wide as it will go. “That was the most thrilling moment of his life,” Meg Wang said, “and the most thrilling of mine.” Even in his excitement, Michael knew not to brag. His humility was even more impressive than his social success, David said. Even with all of his hard work and progress, Michael’s autism has still been challenging for the family. One struggle has been with Michael’s obsessions — repetitive behaviors and thoughts characteristic to autism. “Sometimes he likes his obsessions, but sometimes they can create some depression and frustration, and he wishes he could get them out of his mind, but he can’t,” Meg said. “As a parent, I spend a lot of time listening to him struggling with those obsessions and trying to help him, and that can be difficult at times.” When he was younger, Michael was obsessed with asking questions that he knew didn’t make sense. He used to ask questions relating video games to real life, David said. He also repeated certain phrases. Michael’s sayings, based on dreams he had or songs he made up, still stick with the family today. “There was this one [saying] he was obsessed with, but we all thought it was funny, our family and our neighbors. So we all still say it and get a kick out of it,” David said. “It was like, ‘There’s a snowman outside, and I’m going to have a dime, and that’s all I want for Christmas tonight.’ But every long ‘i’ value was pronounced like ‘ee’. ‘There’s a snowman outseed, and I’m going to have a deem, and that’s all I want for Christmas toneet.’” Meg finishes the phrase in unison with David. They both still remember the phrase. “We know it because he said it millions of times,” Meg said, “because there was a time in his life where he just said it constantly.” Sometimes, Michael’s obsessions, repetitive phrases and sound effects mimicking a siren can be irritating, especially when David is studying. Meg said she encourages Michael to go down to the basement with her to make

these sounds, so David can have the quiet he needs. At home Michael has more freedom to act in ways that aren’t necessarily socially acceptable or normal. In public, Michael has learned to control his behavior. But David also had to learn to deal with Michael’s habits. When the two were younger, they spent weekends or summer evenings watching television late into the night. On one occasion, Michael prevented David from sleeping. In his annoyance, David almost resorted to violence. “Michael kept on saying something about video games, and I couldn’t get to sleep. So I yelled at him really loudly, and then I almost hit him,” David said. “But my mom woke up, and then she told him not to be so annoying when I was trying to sleep. But after that, I’ve never really impatiently lashed out at anything.” Michael’s autism has gifted the virtue of patience to the family. Because they know it causes slower auditory processing, Meg and David do not rush to get immediate responses out of Michael. Meg understands Michael is just as capable of understanding challenging academic concepts as everyone else, but he just needs “to go over it a hundred times for the ten times that someone else needs to go over it.” Michael’s autism has “also helped us all to be more patient and more understanding of people who have differences,” Meg said. “It’s also helped us to see that even people who have challenges … can still have a lot of great strengths because we’ve seen that in Michael.” For David having Michael as a brother has defined part of his personality and made him less concerned with what others will think of him. “It’s made me less afraid to be weird and awkward and quirky in public because I’m used to seeing my brother that way,” David said. “Seeing Michael succeed so much encourages me to just be myself around all my friends and to try to greet new people with open arms.” Michael is now majoring in early childhood at Moberly Area Community College. He hopes to become a preschool teacher or paraprofessional in public schools, Meg said. He wants to get married someday, which Meg said is very possible. She hopes he will live “very successfully and independently” but said she will always be willing to help him. Meg said it is important for families with autistic children to get them into early and intensive intervention, but they should also remember not to give up. “Don’t think, ‘Oh, they’ll never be able to do anything,’ because students with autism can… go on to be very happy, very socially successful,” Meg said. “Children with autism can do so much, and they’re such loving, wonderful people. And I think our family would be so devastated if we didn’t have Michael.”

He likes people, and people like him, and that’s the most rewarding thing.” Meg Wang mother

all art and infographics by Joanne Lee, Kelly Brucks, Kaitlyn Marsh, Maddie Magruder, Nomin-Erdene Jagdagdorj sources:,,,

14 ∙ In-Depths

February 23, 2012



Abuse alters ‘family’ definition, brings other members together Jack Schoelz

One in four women will experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime.


of domestic violence victims are



who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.



enior Allison Small* remembers her childhood through Halloween costumes. When she was six, she dressed up as Princess Amidala from “Star Wars” and waited anxiously by the door for her dad to come home and take her trick-or-treating. He never did. When she was seven and her father was home from rehab, she dressed up as a princess. She forgave him for any let-down from the previous year; he was back, and that was all that mattered. She spent the night parading around the neighborhood not only with her mom but also with her dad. But as the years wore on, Halloween gradually lost its playful spirit. Small still dressed up in costumes and went trick-or-treating. But she felt too old and wasn’t excited about the holiday. Now the costumes were only an excuse to get out of the house – to escape her father, who stayed at home to hand out candy. Small’s father was an alcoholic. Her parents had never married, but they stayed together when her mom became pregnant. When Small was four, her father went to jail for domestically abusing her mom. He spent the next three years on probation and in rehab. He missed Small’s sixth Halloween because he was at a bar with friends instead. The memory still sticks out painfully in her mind. “That was the night that I really started realizing my dad wasn’t the greatest. Up until about that age, your dad is your superhero,” Small said. “He had never disappointed me personally. I mean, he disappointed my mom and his family and his coworkers, but never dropped the ball on me.” According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, 85 percent of domestic abuse victims are women, and one in every four women will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime. An estimated 3.3 million children witness these acts of violence each year, according to the American Psychological Association. The event has an untold behavioral, physical, social and emotional impact on the child. “When [children] see broken or overturned furniture, their mother crying uncontrollably or bruise and cut marks, they become fearful, angered and confused,” said life coach Cathy Backlund, who specializes in working with domestically abused women. “Children are also pretty perceptive to knowing that something isn’t right and can feel the tension within the household, which is all part of witnessing or experiencing domestic abuse.” Small might have never lived with her father again after he went to jail, but a judge granted him unsupervised visitation rights. At the time, he was living in a home with other men trying to get their lives together. To ensure the safety of her daughter by supervising her visits, Lorraine Small* leased him a spare room. The money from the lease also brought in additional funds for the low-income family. It was supposed to be a win-win, but proximity had its disadvantages. “I wasn’t comfortable with [unsupervised visitation]. I do think that parents have a right to see their kids, but I think that the [child’s welfare] should supersede those

rights,” Lorraine said. “Unbeknownst to me, by letting him move in, I was not doing the best thing for her.” Around the same time her father moved back in, seven-year-old Allison began displaying concerning symptoms. She suffered from night terrors and dreamt of figures breaking into the house and setting her bed on fire, severe separation anxiety and episodes resembling panic attacks where she became hypervigilant. She was soon diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder, but the diagnosis didn’t seem to encompass her symptoms fully. Years later, when Allison was well into high school, her doctors diagnosed her with post traumatic stress disorder. “Everyone always thinks they’re pretty normal until someone says, ‘Hey, you’re not. This is how we can fix you,’” Allison said. “So that was kind of jarring. I was just glad to have a reason for what I was feeling.” According to the Alabama Coalition Against D o m e s t i c V i o l e n c e , domestic violence affects children in many different ways. Anxiety d i s o r d e r s and PTSD are common. But growing up in a violent home is also the greatest risk factor for children to become violent when they grow older. It can also lead to depression, a lower self-esteem, difficulties in developing trust, isolative behavior, mood swings and countless other symptoms. “Instead of experiencing ‘being a kid’ and learning from mistakes kids make, individuals in this situation learn to take on and carry unwarranted guilt that affects their ability to reason or learn from mistakes in natural or normal ways,” Backlund said. “Children’s normal upbringing, thoughts and feelings are disrupted with domestic abuse in the household.” PTSD’s symptoms include intrusive flashbacks, emotional numbing, increased anxiety and emotional arousal, reported the Mayo Clinic. But these symptoms are not constant. They almost always result from a “trigger” — something that reminds the patients of the events that resulted in their diagnoses. For Allison her father’s presence was a constant trigger. Lorraine, however, failed to connect her daughter’s disorders to her close proximity to her father. Lorraine did not understand “that constant exposure to a trigger, which would be her dad, would be continually disturbing for her. I didn’t understand what it was about,” Lorraine said. “I thought it was an incident that gave her anxiety. I didn’t realize she was re-experiencing the emotional discomfort and terror and trauma, not every day with him, but anytime he would veer off the norm.” But Allison didn’t hold a grudge against her mother for that misunderstanding. Her mother was a safe harbor. When her dad was home, Allison found herself spending

most of her time in her own room or in her mom’s. Her mother was someone she could confide in; Allison calls her mom her “best friend.” “Your mom is your mom. She’s going to do everything she can for you,” Allison said. “She was one of the only things that was consistent, and it’s hard to let go of something consistent.” So it was easier to let go of someone inconsistent. It was common for Allison’s dad to get mad. Dirty dishes, unfinished chores and other small matters could set him off. It was during one of these tirades that he grabbed Allison’s arm, triggering her PTSD and sending her running to her mother. Explaining the situation to her mother allowed her to come to a realization, and she felt the words slip off her tongue — she wanted her dad out of the house. “I had always been told you don’t have to like your dad, you just have to love him,” Allison said. “And then I realized I don’t love him. I can’t love someone who treats me like this.” The ordeal helped Lorraine realize she had misunderstood PTSD. Until that moment, she hadn’t known the extent of the emotional abuse her daughter lived with every day. She agreed. It was time for Allison’s father to leave. But he stayed for six more months. Lorraine finally got the motivation to confront him after she recieved an email from Allison’s acting teacher. That day in class, Allison had been part of a scene where one character abused another. The scene had triggered Allison’s PTSD, a fact which chilled her mother. “It brought back to me that this is serious,” Lorraine said. “I assumed that as she got older it would fade, and she would be able to use coping mechanisms like breathing and yoga and relaxation therapy and biofeedback — that it would just get better and better. But if you don’t deal with it, it doesn’t. I’m learning.” Soon after, Lorraine finally kicked Allison’s dad out of the house. One month later, it was Halloween. Allison spent the evening alone at home, napping on the couch with her dogs as she waited for trick-or-treaters. Some of her friends had asked her to hang out, but she had opted for a more peaceful evening. It was the first time in years she was able to spend the holiday relaxing rather than avoiding her father. The evening only demonstrated the shift in atmosphere now that Allison’s father was gone. “The environment in our house is much less oppressive,” Lorraine said. “There’s a lot more laughter. [Allison and I] both love to sing, and we hang out a lot more, and we sit together and spend time in the common rooms in the house. Funny how this happened: little by little, and you don’t realize how abnormal things are.” * names changed by request

Children’s normal upbringing, thoughts and feelings are disrupted with domestic abuse.” Cathy Backlund life coach

art by Kelly Brucks


Editorials ∙ 15

February 23, 2012


Supporting education

art by Joanne Lee

Tenure offers job security, maintains standards such an important job they perform: teaching request due process within 10 days of the notice. today’s youth. Proceedings for firing a teacher are open After instructing for five consecutive years to the public, and teachers may have up to 10 in a district, teachers in Missouri may apply for witnesses. The school board pays for the costs tenure, but tenure of the proceedings, but does not provide job the teacher must pay security. Districts for his attorney. can still fire tenured Tenure has no teachers. Schools connection to salary. may notify tenured Pay in CPS, and many teachers 30 days other districts, instead, before firing them in is on a scale. Teachers cases of inefficiency, who have been teaching insubordination or longer, and therefore The ROCK staff voted incompetence. This have more experience, notification allows earn more. However, teachers to resolve in economic downturn, conflicts within administrators may the 30 days, giving choose to release these them a chance to older, more expensive improve. teachers, hiring instead You voted Tenure also is inexperienced teachers the only guarantee to save money. After for due process, a Hurricane Katrina, chance for teachers New Orleans schools to have a trial fired most experienced before losing their teachers and personnel. The ROCK surveyed 180 students Feb. 16. jobs. Teachers may Only 45 percent of

Should tenure be an option for K-12 teachers?

Yes-22 No-12

Yes-84.8% No-15.2%

Taxation benefits economy, health S


moking, the most preventable cause of disability and death in Missouri, causes nearly 10,000 Missourian deaths each year, according to the Missouri Department of Health. To combat this problem, Rep. Mary Still, D-Columbia, proposed HB 1478, which would raise cigarette taxes by 72 cents per pack. This action deserves applause. Raising the tax serves two primary purposes: to generate revenue for public education and to better Missouri health in general. An increased tax will generate money “to be used for public education purposes,” according to the bill, and the Columbia Missourian reported the tax could generate as much as $400 million. In times of economic hardship such as now, there have been budget slashes across the board; increasing the tobacco tax provides a quick and necessary supplement to help resolve this problem. In addition to providing new funding for schools, the bill will act as a deterrent to those who smoke, as all excise taxes do. By increasing the price of cigarettes, some smokers will quit using tobacco products and save even more money for the state. Each year, Missouri spends nearly $2 billion to treat smoking-related illnesses, according to Missouri Department of Health. Of the adult state population, 23.1 percent smoke; of these people, 54.5 percent want to quit. Increasing the tobacco tax will provide a much needed incentive for them to stop, while generating revenue for the state in the process. Smoking has a strongly negative impact on


Rock Bridge High School 4303 South Providence Rd., Columbia, Mo. 65203-1798 Vol. 39. Issue 5 The Journalism: Newspaper and Honors Seminar classes produce The ROCK. Call us with comments at 573-214-3141. The ROCK’s purpose is to inform, educate, enlighten and entertain readers fairly and accurately in an open forum.

the currently floundering economy. Smokingattributed productivity losses cost Missouri about $2.5 million a year, according to the Missouri Department of Health. In addition, each household in the state pays $585 a year in state and federal tax dollars on smoking-related problems, like caring for newborns suffering because their mothers smoked during pregnancy. This problem alone costs Missouri $10 million a year. A simple way to mitigate all of these problems is to implement a better deterrent to using tobacco products, such as the higher excise tax HB 1478 proposes. Some critics may say this bill will affect the poor more than the wealthy, since it will be difficult for poorer addicted smokers to pay the price. Currently, smokers spend around $2,000 a year on cigarettes on average, according to statistics released by the Missouri Department of Health. That’s about 523 packs a year, which means each smoker would spend an extra $376.56. While this seems to be a lot, it could also be the necessary incentive for people to stop smoking, thus saving lives. Students should back the passing of this bill. Since representatives of Missouri, and more specifically Columbia, proposed the bill, it is a simple matter to contact our representatives, like Still, via email or phone and show our support by asking what we can do to help. In addition, encourage peers who are smoking to try to quit. While a major purpose of the bill is to raise revenue, it is equally important to try to improve the health and habits of the general population, starting with the youth.

The ROCK is a member of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and International Quill and Scroll. Advertising is $55 for a quarter page, $95 for a half page and $130 for a whole page. The ROCK accepts letters from students, teachers and community members signed with a valid signature only. The ROCK reserves the right to edit contributions if they are libelous, obscene or invasive of a person’s privacy. Any

teachers in the Recovery School District are veterans. The district released experienced teachers to save costs, according to the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. Tenure mainly provides a sense of security to teachers. Administrators may not prematurely fire them as a result of backlash from the public. Teachers who tackle difficult and often controversial topics, may continue to do so without fear of losing their jobs. Tenure allows teachers to teach without fear of censorship or arbitrary decisions. Chicago Public Schools fired Allison Bates in the 2010-2011 school year for failing to place her lesson plans in a red folder, as her principal had requested for her evaluation, the Chicago Reader reported. Yet, Bates had her lesson plans; they were just on her computer instead of on paper. Having tenure would have prevented Bates’ unfair dismissal. Tenure provides teachers time to defend their teaching methods. Districts can still fire ineffective teachers. Eliminating tenure would only generate insecurity in teachers, which will reflect in their teaching. Tenure allows teachers to improve their methods by giving them the time to improve. To keep tenure, speak against the petition and any related proceedings.

Should there be an increase in the tobacco excise tax? The ROCK staff voted

Yes-28 No-6

You voted



infographic by Joanne Lee The ROCK surveyed 180 students Feb. 16.


ffective classroom management arises from experience. A competent teacher’s students will gain 52 percentile points over a year’s time, whereas those of an ineffective teacher will only gain 14 percentile points, according to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Keeping good teachers means keeping experienced teachers, but experienced teachers won’t stick around if districts can fire them on a whim. According to the National Education Association, 46 percent of new teachers leave their jobs within five years. At such a high attrition rate, taking away an incentive like tenure will only increase the number of teachers that quit. Presiding Commissioner of Cole County Marc Ellinger started a petition in Missouri; if it receives enough signatures, it may put teacher tenure on the November ballot, which is one of the first things that could happen for teacher tenure. When teachers already earn so little — the starting annual salary in Missouri schools is $29,281 according to Teacher Portal compared to a national average of $41,673.83, according to Social Security Online — they need the little protection tenure affords them, especially for

photo by Halley Hollis

photo by Halley Hollis

“I think [the tax] should go up, then maybe a bunch of people would quit smoking.”

“Yes, I don’t really like smoking products, and I think increasing the tax would decrease sales.”

—Cassie Rawls senior

—Ryan Stanowski junior

grammatical errors at the fault of the writer will be printed. Editors-in-Chief: Avantika Khatri, Jack Schoelz, Shivangi Singh News Editor: Sami Pathan Community Editor: Maria Kalaitzandonakes Features Editor: Kirsten Buchanan Personality Profiles Editor: Maddie Davis In-Depths Editor: NominErdene Jagdagdorj Editorials Editor: Walter Wang

Commentary Editor: Abbie Powers Athlete Profiles Editor: Caraline Trecha Sports Editor: Emily Wright Arts & Entertainment Editor: Sonya Francis Design Editor: Jackie Nichols Art Editor: Joanne Lee Artists: Kelly Brucks, Anna Sheals, Theresa Whang, Photography Editor: Halley Hollis Photographers: Muhammad AlRawi, Asa Lory, Anna Sheals

Chief Financial Officer: Rose McManus Online Editors: Parker Sutherland, Daphne Yu Staff Writers: Blake Becker, Alex Burnam, Jude El-Buri, Shannon Freese, Nadav Gov-Ari, Thomas Jamieson-Lucy, Maddie Magruder, Kaitlyn Marsh, Isaac Pasley, Mike Presberg, Lauren Puckett, Adam Schoelz, Alyssa Sykuta, Mahogany Thomas, Alexa Walters, Luke Wyrick Advisor: Robin Fuemmeler Stover

16 ∙ Commentary

February 23, 2012


Runner finds inner motivation Emily Wright


his morning when my alarm went off, the last thing I wanted to do was lace up my shoes and hit the sidewalk. I would have preferred to curl up in my mound of comforters and ease back into sleep. But, no, I dragged my lazy body out of the warm bliss and onto the frostbitten pavement. My legs screamed to stop as I struggled to put one foot in front of the other. My muscles twitched with every step. My mind began to think I was so tired I might, in fact, fall asleep right there on the concrete path of my neighborhood. Then a realization struck me — why would I pry myself out of bed at such a ridiculous hour to run every day? As a distance runner, this was not the first time the question had prodded me. It usually comes to mind on those painful morning runs when drinking boiling water sounds more appealing than taking even one step onto the road. And each time I begin to question my daily ritual of running I convince myself there is a decent reason for it. So I gulp that wintry wind and motivate myself. To start, track begins next Monday, marking the beginning of my eighth season as a distance runner. I’m already seven eighths of the way there. I have one more season to set personal records — why stop now? People depend on me to work as hard as they are, to log miles so we can make history just as we did in the fall with our second place trophy at state. So for me to take an extra day of rest just so I can cling to my mattress would be completely selfish. My feet continue to brush the ground as my legs

press forward. I’ve been through worse. There was the time my junior year when, unknown to me, my iron levels plummeted. My legs felt like lead, slow and rusty, and I transformed into a sickly, pale anemic. Running felt like a disappointing endeavor, laced with failure, as I was unable to cling to my teammates’ pace, putting me further and further behind. There were times I wanted nothing more than to throw my tennis shoes in the trash and quit for good. But even then I vowed to make a comeback and stick with it. I think of how far I have come since day one of running before my freshman year, when I simply hoped to carve out my abs and get in better aerobic shape. I didn’t dream of being on varsity, and the thought never crossed my mind that I might be on RBHS’ first state trophy cross country team. No, in the beginning I was just in it for the abs. My improvements have been too meaningful for me to head back to square one. In the end, I realize sticking with something when things get rough is necessary to reap any sort of benefit. Had I quit running a year ago, I wouldn’t have proven to myself that I could rebound. And though I wouldn’t be surrounded by the needle-like pain of chilly air in the early morning, I would not have had the opportunity to work with my teammates toward a common goal. Ups and downs are part of life, and I have learned to stick with running, facing the lows rather than shying away from them. For me, running has been a metaphor for the struggles that life brings. So on my early morning jog, my pace quickens, defrosting my limbs and loosening my taut muscles. I can feel a rosy glow forming on my face. It feels good to be a runner.

photo by Muhammad Al-Rawi

Insufficient knowledge hurts users Kindness helps Adam Schoelz


’d like to tell a parable. I wish this parable were as simple as “a fool and his money are soon parted,” but because of the complexities of brand name marketing and the human brain, it isn’t. To put the truth out there, I’m just not comfortable with Apple computers. I’m not a huge fan of them. I dislike their draconian policy toward software development and the App Store and their inflated prices. However, I am not a rabid anti-Apple death machine either. I think that Apple is a spectacular design manufacturer, especially in its way of revolutionizing human-computer interaction every couple of years, and if one has the money there is nothing wrong with spending a few hundred dollars on a more intuitive operating system. The problem is not with Apple computers, per se; it’s with Apple fans. Or more specifically, my brother Michael the Apple fan. Now, my dear, dear brother who, by all accounts, is intelligent, amiable and has even been called kind, turns to a belligerent and hostile curmudgeon when it comes to the subject of computers. You see, while my brother Kevin is an equal lover of all UNIXbased operating systems, a popular sub-operating system, my brother Michael is quite discriminatory, eschewing not only Windows but also Linux, the freeware OS, for the warm and anesthetic qualities of Apple Macintosh computers. My brother Michael, a college student, stays in contact with my parents by check and stops in on the holidays to say “hi.” This Christmas, in addition to the usual presents and food, he had another request: an upgrade to his nearly dead MacBook. Such a request was not unreasonable. In fact, I think it quite admirable he would want to upgrade his laptop as opposed to replacing it entirely. However, he paid some $80 for two gigabytes of random access memory (RAM) to be installed. He, and many like him, have no idea what two gigabytes of RAM do or why $80 dollars is a silly price for them. People must stop treating computers as if they are magical boxes powered by mischievous elves. They’ve been commonplace for what — nearly two, arguably three decades now? Computers are fairly simple, yet their

seeming complexity drives people away. The large and scary words like GIGAHERTZ! or MICROPROCESSOR! make people want to crawl under the nearest wood crafting table or Amish community. In truth, computers are fashioned out of a few major parts, each with unique properties that make the screen glow and words appear. These are the hard drive, the motherboard, the microprocessor, the RAM, graphics/sound cards and the power supply unit. Then there are disc drives, monitors, keyboard, speakers and other components with more obvious effects. Now that list may still seem overcomplicated, but it’s really quite simple. This brings me back to my brother Michael. Despite my kind and completelynot-condescending offer to teach him the basics of computers, he refused even to try to learn. And though it may have been my tone, I think that it was more that he was unwilling to learn at all. All those parts have simple functions. Most people know what a hard drive does — it stores stuff. Most everything else in a computer is almost just as simple. Microprocessor does a certain number of actions per second — a figure measured in hertz. Thus, gigahertz measures how fast a processor runs in millions of actions per second. Graphics cards are the same thing, just with thousands of weak microprocessors running at once. Running programs are stored in RAM — this is why adding RAM makes a computer much faster. Power supply units, or PSUs, power the machine. Motherboards hold the whole thing together. That’s a pretty brief explanation, to be sure. It’s almost absurdly short. And yet that’s all a computer is. A plethora of lengthier explanations can be found in books and online. There is a whole world of information out there, easily acquired. It’s not terribly difficult to learn, but many people, like my dear brother Michael, just don’t seek it out. I was once like my older brother. I had little interest in how comput-

ers worked, being more invested in playing video games and generally screwing around. But then I decided to build my own computer — a good project I recommend to anyone — and a veil was lifted from my eyes. It’s the big secret: if you have valuable information, you can charge other people lots of money for simple things. If you have information, you can understand what is wrong when something has gone wrong. If you have information, you can control things. The ‘rule of knowledge’ applies to many things. To bring the idea of free information back to Apple, they control to a great degree what every iUser sees on the app store, and therefore control the flow of information to those users. On the hardware side, Apple has created a user base that largely does not care how the computer works, only that it does, and thus can control prices for computers and repairs. The same idea goes with media — newspapers, television, video games. Because people are not invested in knowledge, companies can take advantage of them to control their spending habits, their eating, even their vote. It’s important to know; otherwise one is just fumbling in the dark. We have to understand this integral part of our daily lives so that, as citizens, we can make informed decisions. The recent near-passing of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), demonstrates the importance of knowing. Many of the senators voting for the bill had no idea that the bill would authorize domain name system (DNS) blocking, let alone knowing what DNS is. And in this day and age, with the battle over the privacy of computers and the Internet being fought daily, it’s important to ask the right questions of the things we buy and the laws we create. And if we don’t know how something as simple and fundamental as a computer works, how will we be able to know what to ask of it?

We have to understand this integral part of our daily lives so that, as citizens, we can make informed decisions.”

humans change Abbie Powers


ith hair damp from rain and spirits trampled by life, the sincere concern of a friend caring for my well-being, three words, “how are you?” left me with a refreshing sense of hope and warmth. The words were nothing spectacular; in fact, they’re often said. But the attitude they rang with and the kindness of a friend were enough to make me realize that a person’s character can make things happen. While high school threatened to swallow me whole in homework, stress and unexpected disappointment, the nice words of a friend helped me see the good and light of life again. Over the years, the days I see the effects of kindness first-hand are the moments that have revealed to me the value of being kind. Kindness revealed itself to be more than just an action, just something people were expected to have. Being nice transformed itself into a valuable piece of potential, one with the strength to draw happiness. People are the only ones with the power to evoke change. This power is easy and disposable. They can ruin a day or make a day. Break a heart or build a future. Ruin selfesteem with one sour remark or set someone’s confidence on fire for days. People are the only creatures on earth who hold the power to knowingly affect an outcome. Why then, does it seem, we are not taking our roles as “people” seriously enough? They who bring us both joy and pain are the key to transforming oneself from an ambiguous figure sketched on life’s face to something deserving of self-fulfillment. People enjoy and relate to others who are considerate and understanding. Be a person who others want to be with. People are meant to have a fair chance to carry out their personal goals, dreams, to love what’s attainable, to be a person who helps. People care.

The world consists of roughly 6,995,884,902 people as of now, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. About 313,059,085 of these people live in America, a place where the simple lives we have should be forced to reveal themselves as the opportunity they are. Each person in this country, every single one, holds an amazing power and potential; each one is unique. On Saturdays when I get up early to help with a team of Special Olympics bowlers, I force myself to think of this personal purpose and all it does. Of course it would be lovely to get more sleep and seclude myself from the rest of the world on a Saturday morning, but the satisfaction that comes from seeing a group of less-abled people’s joy overrides my own selfish wishes. My small act of service is a tiny contribution to an organization that makes it possible for these bowlers to look forward to and immensely enjoy each and every Saturday morning. It may be difficult, confusing, scary to sort through this power once one realizes it’s there, but the goals and values found beneath the weight of decisions put worth into lives. Life gives people what they need to become who they are. As I age, I hope not to let down the strengths life has graced me with. I can only hope and try my best to do them justice. I intend to use the power I have to the world’s greatest advantage. This is one of the only times a person has the ability to be in complete control of life. Actions, words, thoughts, emotions — people are who they choose to be. You are who you choose to be. This enlightening realization has given me the spark I need, a spark everyone needs, to push forward and to live with a happy, satisfying purpose. So you fulfill whatever you choose. Everyone has the potential to be a kind person. To be a person who will make life better for others. To be a person who makes happiness.

Commentary ∙ 17

February 23, 2012


art by Joanne Lee


Sign language provides fresh view Kirsten Buchanan


y fingers traced a grin on my face. Smile. My forefinger rotated in a circle by my head. Wonder. I was silently talking — communicating with sign language. I first saw sign language at a rock concert on New Year’s Eve. Neither a frequent concert goer nor a rock enthusiast, I was planning to leave as soon as I could. When the music started, I winced, trying to think of an excuse so I could leave. I glanced around the room in desperation, and my eyes fell upon a lady standing by the stage. Her dark clothing and posture made it clear she was trying to be inconspicuous, so her standing there

wasn’t what caught my attention. Instead, her hands captivated me. I stared, enchanted, as she translated the rock music into beautiful hand movements. She was signing too fast for me to try guessing which actions meant which words, but it didn’t matter. The loveliness of the language fascinated me, and I left the concert with a New Year’s resolution — I wanted to learn sign language for myself. I began the very next day. Using online dictionaries and YouTube videos, I learned dozens of words, eager for more. Quickly closing my fingers showed capture. The thumb and index finger flicking out by the eye meant amazement. Touching the forehead and then pulling my finger away in a wiggling fashion indicated dream.

To help remember vocabulary better, I learned the signs to different songs. Although I was not using the grammar of American Sign Language — I was using English grammar instead, as many people do when they sign to songs — it was fun to practice using music I loved. The emotions I felt, however, went past enjoyment. My initial fascination with sign language was not how people wove together stunning hand movements; it was how they actually sung with their whole bodies, conveying not just the meaning of the word, but also the emotion of the music and how it made people feel. At the rock concert, the translator could have been sitting down, tediously interpreting the words perfectly into sign language. Instead she was standing, bouncing in time

to the music and changing her body language and facial expression to fit the various, different tones of the music. Instead of just signing the surface meaning, she captured the emotion behind each phrase. As I practiced more and more with sign language, I slowly imitated this talent of signers. Instead of just signing excited — moving the middle fingers alternately up the chest — I stood up straighter and opened my eyes wide, pairing this with a smile while I made the sign. Digging for a deeper meaning, however, extended beyond this new language. Although I’ve always been the sort of person to “judge a book by its cover,” I began attempting to look past the surface meaning and into the deeper meaning in all aspects of my life, not just with sign language.

Kids need spanking Lack of discipline causes bad behavior Jude El-Buri


remember the day I first learned how to draw a star. We had just moved into the new house. It had crisp white walls, clean beige carpeting and shiny hardwood flooring. To show off my new talent, I decided to display an array of stars on the brand new white walls with an inky blue pen. When my mom saw the gallery of stars, however, she was not pleased. In fact, to my surprise, she was quite angry. I knew what would happen next. She told me to fetch the wooden spoon from the drawer. Obediently I retrieved the spoon, returned it and handed it to her. I got three pretty painless spankings but muffled my urge to laugh. I knew if I laughed, I would earn one more. I learned a lesson that day. I learned that drawing on the walls was wrong. When I tore off the gel-like doorstop and ruined the wall, my excuse that I thought it was gum, it didn’t impress my parents. A spanking followed, and I learned never to do that again. This wasn’t the only sour lesson I learned. When I spat on my sister or cursed, a thorough

rinsing of my mouth with soap ensued. I eventually stopped doing such things. I learned from discipline. But parents today rarely discipline their children. Kids bottle themselves up in their rooms, engrossed in video games, texting friends or playing on laptops with eyes glued to screens. But really we have become an unappreciative, bored and lazy generation. T h e day I first heard a girl instruct her mother to “shut up,” I was truly shocked. If I told my mother to shut up, she would beat me with a spatula. I remember going to my neighbor’s house and seeing her mom spank her on the butt with a ping pong paddle. Once I saw a friend getting spanked by his dad with a fly swatter. That instrument was the worst. Not necessarily painful, but it

had dead insect guts all over it ­— how gross. Afterward my friends and I would tell stories of what we did to get spanked and what tools our parents used to perform the deed. Now spanking has become more socially unacceptable. Only 65 percent of Americans approve of spanking children, according to the Violence through Violence website. Contrary to what o t h e r s may believe, my parents spanked me when I was really young, and I think I turned out OK. It would be amazing to return to the older days when children were polite and respectful and our lives didn’t revolve around television and technology. Without discipline, children learn they can get away with things. They don’t give as much effort towards tasks if parents

When I spat on my sister or cursed, a thorough rinsing of my mouth ensued.”

don’t punish them for doing poorly or reward them for doing well. Discipline teaches children if there’s something they want to do, they can’t just do it. It prepares them to become decent adults with self-discipline. Disciplined children grow up to be polite, a characteristic often necessary for success, rather than rude or argumentative. I usually try to obey authority. During a heated argument in class, someone may insult me as part of his argument. Despite my urge to retort with an offensive comment, I hold it in and reply with something valid. With self-discipline, I realize I can’t just let any absurd comment pop out of my mouth, but I control myself, and that way, I can move on to something greater. When I look at the world around me, I’m filled with gratefulness for how my parents raised me. I’m happy they disciplined me and provided me with the things I need to be successful. All I have to do is use them. And now, at 17, I don’t really need so much discipline, but I still remember to think twice when I feel like leaving my parents a little presentation on the walls.

infographic by Kelly Brucks

When my grumpy substitute teacher snapped at a student, I wondered if he was just having a bad day instead of automatically declaring him a mean-tempered person. When my friend showed up to lunch silent, I wondered if she was tired rather than assuming she was angry at me. Using the mindset I learned from sign language, I looked past the surface to uncover the core of various situations instead of assuming things just from their appearances. Learning this new language has not only given me a means to attempt a conversation with a deaf person, but it has also helped me become more open-minded. For that reason, when someone asks me my favorite sign, I use my thumb and forefinger and mime picking an object up — discovery.

Brother opens eyes to lifestyle Mahogany Thomas


hree feet tall, with six different girlfriends and a wardrobe consisting of nothing but skinny jeans and polos is my little brother Langston. With an 11-year difference between us, our house is nothing shy of exciting. This is a five-year-old with his own definition of a “hot chick.” According to him, she must smell good, dress with style and love the Lord. He immediately, in his mind, disqualifies anyone his own age. Only attracted to girls ages six and up, Langston has an intelligence level beyond his own good. Langston even told me, a girl who never says “no” to anything and constantly stays busy helping everyone else, I wasn’t taking any time for myself. I’d work 20 hours a week, stay at school well into the evening and, in my free time, volunteer my time to whoever needed me. It wasn’t until my five-year-old brother told me he hadn’t seen me at dinner in a week that I realized I was doing too much. Only when Langston told me I was always missing family time because I was at school did I realize I wasn’t taking the time to have fun. But what really got me was when he told me I didn’t even know his favorite show was Scooby Doo because I was never home to watch it with him. How could this be? I was the student who constantly kept myself busy, so I wouldn’t have to focus on life or the people around me, only eternally hurting myself and my family. When he brought my overwhelming lifestyle to my attention, I realized I need to relax and enjoy my life for the good and the bad. Without enjoying life, I focused too much on the superficial situations rather than on the lessons I could have learned. It was the little things Langston did which made me come to this realization, like the time he came into my bedroom at five in the morning, hitting me on the head and tickling my feet. While I was initially mad and wanting to put his head in the toilet, it wasn’t until I thought about the planning that had to go into his sneak attack that I reazlied his behavior’s intellectual meaning on a larger scale. Langston knew if he hit me and stood there waiting for my reaction, he would be punched 20 times harder than he hit me. So why not try to make me laugh? It was more than the hit itself that made me think ­— it was how it related directly to my life and my decisions. Life was too short, and as Langston hit me and then tickled my feet, I realized it was a parallel for something larger. My observant little brother had a point; if I took the time to laugh a little, it did not matter who had punched me in the face or was not my friend. If I kept spending my time moping on the downs of life and keeping myself busy enough to forget about life in general, I’d miss all of the happy moments in between. I kept myself occupied to avoid the gaps of pain from lost friends and broken trust, but Langston showed me none of that mattered. Falling up the stairs is funny, having a burping competition can be entertaining and even leaving the TV on Cartoon Network volume blaring has its advantages. Langston brought about this new idea that I needed to take a break and laugh. The girl who was never home was not the sister Langston knew, and he told me. I was too busy and caught up in the hustle of life that I’d forgotten the humor it drops off along the way. Picking your nose and wiping the boogers on my mother deserves a good laugh, and Langston reminded me of that.

18 ∙ Ads


February 23, 2012

Athlete Profiles ∙ 19

February 23, 2012


Gymnast pursues childhood dreams Kern’s decision to participate in upcoming season sacrifices her love for golf Kaitlyn Marsh


ressing her feet flat into the corner of the springy floor, junior Angie Kern sprinted to the opposite side of the blue mat. Catapulting from a round off backhand spring into a double 360-degree rotation and holding her straight legs into her chest, she landed on her feet with her hands stretched above her. Even though her stunt was perfect on the outside, inside, her heart was split in two. In order to be fully ready for the start of her gymnastics season, in pre-season right now, Kern had to make a sacrifice. This past 2011 season, she gave up her varsity spot on the girls golf team. After playing her freshman and sophomore years, Kern announced a few days before fall practice started she would not be playing golf her junior year, causing the team’s hopes for another successful season to dwindle. “When I first made the decision [to quit golf], I felt like I was letting everyone down,” Kern said. “I was part of something, and I didn’t want it to come across like I didn’t care; [quitting, however], was going to be better for me in the long run.” Since she was five, Kern has been a competitive gymnast. Gymnastics has always been her ambition, a hobby and a way to pay for college. Starting golf her freshman year was a trial run, with golf practice being

somewhere she could go to be herself and let loose. But over time, she grew to love it. Conflicting commitments, however, forced her to make a decision between the two. “I’ve done gymnastics my whole life, and junior year is one of the most important for college scouting,” Kern said. “It was important for me to be able to constantly train so that I could get more experience than just coming in the gym a couple times in two weeks and not getting better.” Kern said trying to continuous-

ly provide meet scores, places and schedules to interested coaches and having the responsibility required in varsity golf were not easy. “It was very stressful trying to make golf and gymnastics practices,” Kern said. “I would go to golf practice and play nine holes, and then I would go to the gym and try to get something in. The idea I had to go back and forth four or five times a week was like, ‘Holy cow.’” Playing golf, however, did improve her skills as a gymnast, Kern

said. Golf helped alleviate Kern’s difficulties with confidence and concentration. “It was mostly trying to get in the zone, trying not to get ahead of myself because in gymnastics you can’t do that,” Kern said. “When you fall, you have to get back up on the beam and make the rest count because you don’t want to fall again.” Hoping to finish this gymnastics season strong, Kern will compete this spring in state, regionals and nationals, and depending on how she per-

feature photo by Halley Hollis

Incredibly flexible: Junior Angie Kern stretches before a gymnastics routine. A member of both varsity golf and gymnastics teams, Kern had to choose between one or the other. She has continued gymnastics to great success.

forms, Kern is expecting to sign with a college by fall of her senior year. If all goes as planned, she said she may join the girls golf team her senior year, reliving the past years, all filled with good memories and success in her golf seasons. In the year she hasn’t been part of the team, the golfers missed Kern’s skill, commitment and love for the game, according to senior counselor and girls golf coach Melissa Melahn. Mehaln said Kern is known not only as a talented golfer, but also as a family member. “I think to lose Angie as a varsity player is a very hard thing because she is what I would consider a true athlete in that she is a competitor at heart,” Melahn said. “To lose that spirit and that drive when we weren’t really sure who was going to step up and take that spot, it was hard to go into the season and prepare for something like that.” Even after the loss of a significant part of their state squad, the golfers stepped up and turned out a third consecutive district championship and their first state title. Kern was there on the sidelines, cheering them on. “I miss the walks and the weird conversations we have and having a good time even though we were trying to focus; I miss that and hopefully I will be able to be a part of that next year,” Kern said. “And if I don’t, I will still try to be a part of it anyways, going to matches and supporting my family.”

Bruin makes headlines, commits to play for Drake Maddie Davis


s the referee’s whistle blew, the football became airborne before landing in then-freshman Brad Troyer’s hands. Despite the catch, Troyer did not make it far on the field. While attempting to spin out of a tackle, his back landed right on another player’s knee. Thinking he only got the air knocked out of him, Troyer simply got back up. Not long after the game, he made a visit to the hospital to find out his kidney had been ruptured. The accident left him with one kidney. “Every part of the accident seems like a nightmare now,” said Troyer, now a senior. “I just like to use the situation for motivation now that I’m healthy. The pain I get in a workout is no match in comparison to the pain I had for those few weeks.” Even with only one kidney, Troyer does not believe he is at any disadvantage on the field. RBHS football coach AJ Ofodile agrees Troyer is not at risk because of his situation. “I was never concerned about Brad playing,” Ofodile said. “I leave that up to the doctors and trainers, and if they clear a kid, I just go with their advice. They make those decisions, and if they said he was OK, then I wasn’t concerned.” Three years after that painful memory, and with the OK from his trainers and coaches, Troyer signed with Drake University as a running back Feb. 1. Because of a welcoming staff and the chemistry on the team, Troyer ranked Drake above the other schools that showed interest. “All the other schools had really nice

coaches, but at Drake they seemed really genuine and were really interested in me,” Troyer said. “When I visited I clicked instantly with some of the guys on the team, and I knew it was right for me.” His parents also found Drake to be a good fit for their son. Despite Troyer’s condition, they are not concerned he is at a higher risk of injury because of one kidney. “We realize that football is a very physical sport, and as parents we will always have anxiety while our son is playing,” said Mike Troyer, Brad’s father. “There were no negative reactions to his kidney. [Drake] was amazed by his playing style. We are confident and pleased at Brad’s selection of Drake University.” With his parents backing up his decision, Brad is ready for the challenge a D1-AA team will bring. He is prepared to push himself further than before because of the step up in competition between high school and college football. “Everyone is going to bigger and faster in college,” Brad said. “I’m going to have to have the motivation to be stronger in the weight room and faster during speed training.” Because of Troyer’s speed and strength, Drake was willing to work with him through any health hesitations. The trainers and coaches have been positive as has Brad. “They really wanted to me to play with them, so they’ve been making it work,” Troyer said. “My dad and I always say, ‘You only have one brain and one helmet to protect that. And I only have one kidney and pads to protect it now as well.’ It’s the same thing, and the whole situation just makes me mentally stronger.”

feature photo by Halley Hollis

D-1 prospect: Bruins running back senior Brad Troyer proudly displays his future university’s colors. Troyer isn’t concerned about playing with only one kidney, after losing the other in a gruesome collision his freshman year.

20 ∙ Sports

February 23, 2012


Wrestlers place 8th at state tournament Jack Schoelz


s sophomore Sam Crane waited in the tunnel at Mizzou Arena before the final round of the 132-weight class Missouri State High School Athletic Association state wrestling championships, he felt ready to accomplish the goal that had eluded him the previous year. “Coming into my freshman year, I had a goal of winning state,” Crane said. “Freshman year I came up one match short, and then after that I just kept working out throughout the spring and summer, working as hard as I could to get a state title. I was just thinking in my mind that this is my year to win it, and I just had to go out there, think positive and come up with a win.” Crane won the bout over two-time state runner up Russell Coleman of Park Hill and led the Bruins to an eighth place team finish in the state tournament, a three place jump from their showing in 2011. This season marked the latest move in a rising wrestling program. In 2009 the team placed 48th at state with a single qualifier, and in 2010 it fared slightly better with a 32nd place finish with four qualifiers. This year the Bruins qualified six wrestlers for the state tournament, with sophomores Jason Kiehne and Cody Maly making their first state appearances. But with four wrestlers being eliminated before having a chance to place in the top six in their weight class — senior Harry Schauwecker, sophomore Quinn Smith, Kiehne and Maly — Schauwecker said the team should have placed even higher at state. But head coach Travis Craig said he wasn’t disappointed. “You just know that it’s going to be a hard tournament, and you’re going to lose some matches you could win,” Craig said. “It was a good tournament. Eighth place was good placement for us. We could have done better, but you can always do better.” With four state qualifiers returning for next season and a sophomore class of 19 — by far the biggest on the team, Schauwecker said the program will only get better. “What our head coach has been telling us since we were sophomores is that we were the building blocks for what was going to become a very good team, and that’s very true,” Schauwecker said. “With all the young guys, they’re going to be building an even better team, and they’re going to do even better next year.” The team shined at the district tournament, placing fifth overall. Crane said this feat was impressive, considering eight out of the 14 teams in RBHS’ district placed in the top 11 at state. But the improvement didn’t come easily. Each member of the squad put in extra time training since this time last year. To prepare for the state tournament, Crane trained with his older brother and assistant coach Taylor Crane during additional practices three to four times each week. Schauwecker said they had simple incentive. “Just the idea of how good we could be” motivated them to train, Schauwecker said. “We were ranked as a team almost the entire season, and, you know, that just helped motivate us to know that we should be winning a lot of matches and winning a lot of tournaments and doing well, so we just wanted to keep wrestling well.” Crane said that drive to get better will only continue. He’s already back in the weight room to train for the summer wrestling season, and he expects his teammates to join him. He said the team already has its sights set on a new goal. “By senior year [we want to] come out with a state team title,” Crane said. “That’s our ultimate goal, and I think if we work hard enough we can reach it.”


road to

feature photo by Muhammed Al-Rawi

Post-season intensity: Sophomore Audrey Holt and senior Will Echelmeier prepare for districts. You read about the sixth ranked boys’ basketball game Wednesday against Smith Cotton on Bearing News, www. columbia.k12. bearingnews. The girls’ basketball team will play tomorrow against Jefferson City at 6 p.m. at Smith Cotton High School. They hope to avenge last year’s loss to Jefferson City.

district championships

Basketball girls seek revenge against Jefferson City Emily Wright


t has been one year since the Lady Bruins basketball team met its devastating end in the district championships against Jefferson City Jays. It was a narrow loss with a final score of 34-33, shocking the favored RBHS team. At 6 p.m. tomorrow at Smith Cotton High School they will have a shot at revenge. After beating Smith Cotton in the district semifinals Tuesday night 59-16, the Lady Bruins will play Jefferson City for the 2012 district title. This time, RBHS plans to take home the trophy to move on to the state championships. “Our number one goal is to win districts,” coach Jill Nagel said. “We realize this year that didn’t happen last year. You can’t do step B until you do step A, so we are really just trying to stay focused on districts.” However, they realize this will not be an easy task. The unranked Jays have proven they will not go down without a fight. During their game against the Bruins Feb. 9, they led by 11 points through the first quarter. Though the first ranked Bruins made a comeback

and won 72-51, the Jays showed they have the ability to compete. “We know a lot of [Jefferson City’s] players,” junior Makenzie Skrabal said. “A lot of our girls play with one of their best players, [freshman Napheesa Collier]. She is really good, and Jeff City is pretty good this year. I don’t just think of it as a bump along the road. I think of it as a pretty big game.” Another obstacle the girls face is the absence of second leading scorer, sophomore Bri Porter. Last year, Porter tore her ACL and was out for the post-season. This year during the game against HHS on Jan. 25, Porter tore her ACL for the second time, forcing her into surgery that required disappointing months of recovery. Her sister, freshman Cierra Porter, is now part of the starting line-up to take Bri’s place. “Those are big shoes to fill,” Cierra said. “When we found out she tore her ACL again, I felt so sad for her. We will have to get it done somehow without her.” Nagel is confident her team can pick up the slack from Porter’s absence with their record. Since Porter’s injury, the girls have won every game, including those against third ranked St. Joseph’s Academy

and fifth ranked Fort Zumwalt has emphasized all season long. West. And with nine girls on the Skrabal said they will treat the disroster over six feet tall and the ad- trict championships like any other dition of game, going Cierra to through their the startusual preDistrict championships ing linegame ritual The past four years of dancing up, Nagel thinks in the locker t h e y room and OPPONENT SCORE YEAR have the keeping a depth to level head 42-41 play well on the court. Helias 2008 WIN without Through this Bri. they hope to 49-20 Timberland 2009 “ W e stay calm and WIN are very focused and consisultimately attent in tain a district 55-33 Timberland 2010 the way title. WIN that we “Of course approach there is going 34-33 2011 Jefferson City practice to be more LOSS and our pressure at preparadistricts beart by Anna Sheals and Emily Wright tion for cause you games,” Nagel said. “It helps the lose and you are done. In the regukids focus on what we are trying lar season you lose, you keep goto do. Bri has great teammates ing and you keep getting better,” around her that are there to pick Skrabal said. “So there’s going to her up, and we have people that be a lot more intensity, but we try can fill those roles in terms of scor- not to think about how good we ing and rebounding.” are because we don’t want to lose Tomorrow, the Lady Bruins to a team that we know we are betplan to enact the approach Nagel ter than.”

Senior spotlight

Do you have any superstitions?

Nicole Montgomery senior

Alyssa Elson senior

Kelsey Harrington senior

photos by Halley Hollis

photo by Muhammed Al-Rawi

Taking down his opponent: Senior Trent Johnson wrestles in the 145-pound weight class. He placed fourth overall at the state championships Saturday .

“I always chew on the same flavor of gum before and during the game. The team goes through the same routine before every game.”

“When we pray before a game, we always stand in the same spots and I always stand by [freshman] Sophie” Cunningham.

“I always do [freshman] Sophie Cunningham’s hair because she played really well one game after I did her hair, so I’ve done the same thing every game.” art by Anna Sheals and Emily Wright

Sports ∙ 21

February 23, 2012



Making a


Girls’ swim team brings home MSHSAA title

Thomas Jamieson-Lucy


ver a year ago the high school swimming program was almost cut from Columbia Public Schools’ budget because of low participation. Eleven girls made up the roster. Only one qualified for state. But Saturday night when the Bruins arrived at the Courtwarming dance after the state meet, the chant of “state champs” from the crowd greeted them. Earlier that day, the girls’ team had pulled off the first state swimming title in school history. “They fought for this and they deserve every bit of it,” head coach Karen Steger said, “no matter what anyone says about us.” The journey to a state championship was not one without ups and downs, though, which began with the programs near elimination and the retirement of longtime coach John Hamilton. In response to these events, participation in the girls’ swim program soared this year with a roster of 22. Sophomore Kortney Betz, the only state qualifier from last season, said the turnaround added even more meaning to the team’s state championship.

“From going to almost getting cut to totally winning state is just a really big accomplishment,” Betz said. “I’m just happy for me and my whole team.” However, a state championship did not happen because of a larger roster. Size alone could not solve all the team’s problems. Steger said it wasn’t cohesive early in the season, visible in the first dual meet where the Bruins lost to Glendale 92-88. “The Springfield dual did not go well,” Steger said. “I don’t think the team seemed like they were there for each other. They were put in a new situation because they’ve never really swam in a dual meet before, and I think it just threw everyone off.” It wasn’t until the final week in January at the Springfield Invitational that the Bruins truly became one. RBHS won the meet only three and a half points ahead of Glendale, which gave it momentum heading into the end of the season. “The second time we went to Springfield at the end of January and it was a whole different story,” Steger said. “We pulled out a win, more people cheered for each other; we were more [like a team]. It wasn’t as individual. They finally saw that if they wanted to place high at state, they needed to come


together. I think that was a turning point in our season.” A few weeks before the team went to state, things were beginning to click, and at the state meet it all came together. A testament to the team atmosphere at the state meet came in Betz’s events. At the state meet most swimmers race two individual events and two relays. Betz swam in three relays and only one individual event. She said this was because she believed it would be better for the team. “I love relays. I love whenever it’s for the team. There’s less pressure on yourself, but you get more pumped up for the relays,” Betz said. Steger “made the decision, but I totally agree with it.” In the individual events the top finisher was sophomore Chelsea Tatlow, who claimed victory in the 100 backstroke. The only other race RBHS won was the final event of the day, the 400 freestyle relay. The girls showed their willingness to put team first in this event. Sophomore Madeline Simon didn’t even know she would be swimming their relay until a few minutes before the event started. “I just really wanted to do well for our team because she put me on it right before we were about to swim,” Simon said. “I wanted

to prove that I could be on it.” Simon not only demonstrated she deserved a spot on the relay, she helped the relay team win the race as the whole team cheered them on. Although RBHS would win the meet whether or not they won the relay, Steger said winning the relay was a great finish to the meet. “The whole team was standing behind [the assistant coaches] and I,” Steger said. “They knocked Parkway Central out of the way to stand on the bleachers. They were jumping up and down, screaming at the top of their lungs knowing that even if we didn’t win that relay, we were still going to win a state title, and then winning that relay was amazing.” As the swimmers celebrate their championship season, they already have thoughts of defending their title in 2013. Steger said she believes the success the Bruins had this year will boost participation in the program, which will make it stronger. “We only lose two seniors that were state qualifiers,” Steger said. “It looks like we will be vying for defending our title next year.” To see in-depth coverage of the entire season including the state meet visit www.



photos by Shawn Crouch

1) Gliding to the finish: Senior Bri Noltie swims the 100 breast stroke at the MSHSAA state championships. She finished 11th. 2) Preparing to race: Sophomore Kortney Betz waits on the blocks before her only individual race, the 50 freestyle. 3) Going the distance: Senior Kate Walker races the 500 freestyle, placing 14th. 4) Warming up to race: Freshman Libby Walker pauses at the wall as she gets ready for the 500 freestyle, where she placed third.

22 ∙ Arts & Entertainment

February 23, 2012



Film Festival graces Columbia, Missouri with its presence every spring. True/False, as it’s colloquially referred to, is a nationally recognized, award-winning festival celebrating documentaries and non-fiction filmmaking. The festival takes place annually in March. This year the festival starts Thursday, March 1 and ends Sunday, March 4. The festival shows about 40 films based off current issues, some of which have even been broadcasted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The films are broadcasted at many venues across the city, including Ragtag Cinema and the Missouri Theatre. Two recent venue additions for 2012 include Jesse Auditorium and The Picturehouse. This year the festival is expected to draw more than 25,000 visitors, serving as a great economic boost for the local economy. Other events being held in accordance with the festival include parties, debates and field trips. True/False offers a unique experience for any film junkie, challenging viewers and filmmakers alike to reimagine the possibilities of nonfiction film making.

Finding the right price for every wallet Broke student budget? don't miss these

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Big spender budget?

Bull's eye budget?

check these out

consider these March 1st


These Birds Walk


Dir. Dan Lindsay & TJ Martin; 2011; 113 min. Thursday, Mar 1 / 7:30PM / Missouri Theatre

Dir. Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq; 2012; 75 min. Thursday, Mar 1 / 7:00PM / Forrest Theater

907 Alley A :: 573.442.2239

Football coach inspires his rough team of inner-city teens to turn a perennially losing program into a contender. We are treated to one of the greatest sports docs of all time.

It’s a terrifying tale of an orphanage in Pakistani, where young boys have an enticing love-hate relationship. It seems more like a movie than a documentary.

all logos used with permission from local business owners

Mon-Thurs 11:30AM-2:30PM & 5PM-10PM, Fri-Sat 11:30AM-2:30PM & 5PM-12AM, Sun 5PM-9PM Columbia’s new sushi bar and restaurant. Great sushi and two outdoor patios.

March 2nd Vivan Los Antipodas Dir. Victor Kossakovsky; 2011; 105 min. Friday, Mar 2 / 5:30PM / Globe Theater

l’estate di GIACOMO

The Rome

Dir. Alessandro Comodin; 2011; 78 min. Friday, Mar 2 / 3:00PM / Little Ragtag

114 S. Ninth St. :: 573.876.2703

Born deaf, Giacomo Zulian has recently undergone implant surgery. Summer of Giacomo, a hybrid film that rewards viewers, thrusting us into his world as he navigates a life full of sound for the first time.

Victor Kossakovsky’s thrillingly idiosyncratic yet substantial doc journeys to four sets of the Earth’s antipodes — the places you’d end up if you drilled directly through the planet to the other side.

Mon-Sat 11AM10PM, Sun 12PM9PM Traditional, homestyle Italian restaurant with a full-service bar, a wine list and madefrom-scratch desserts. Daily lunch and dinner specials.

March 3rd The Bully Project

The Island President

Dir. Lee Hirsch; 2011; 99 min. Saturday, Mar 3 / 3:30PM / Jesse

Dir. Jon Shenk; 2011; 101 min. Saturday, Mar 3 / 10:30PM / Jesse

Alex returns to seventh grade knowing that once again he will be punched, choked and called names, with every school-bus ride a terrifying test of endurance. Bully is essential for anyone who cares about the safety of American students.

The Maldives is a country made up of hundreds of islands, and because of global warming, they’re close to becoming the next Atlantis. The president is determined to maintain his country above the rapidly rising water.

Sparky’s 21 S. Ninth St. :: 573.443.7400 11:30AM-11PM, Seven days a week Didn’t think you could put that in ice cream? They did it anyway. Outside the building sits a wooden dog which was the inspiration of the ice cream shop’s name.

March 4th Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry

Secret Screening Gold

Dir. Alison Klayman; 2011; 91 min. Sunday, Mar 4 / 1:30PM / Jesse

Dir. In person; 2011; 84 min. Sunday, Mar 4 / 3:00PM / Blue Note

Ai transmutes protest into a mindexpanding, heartfelt and sometimes brutally funny form of expression. Klayman captures the passion and commitment of the man who best represents a China at war with its conscience.

A portrait of an artist who has fallen must now ascend — assembled like a fiction film, with access to the world, charting highs of whitehot passion and lows of blackest depression.

Sycamore 800 E. Broadway :: 573.874.8090 Mon-Fri 11AM-2PM for lunch, Mon-Sat 5PM10PM for dinner, Mon-Thurs the bar is open until 11PM, Fri & Sat The chef uses local purveyors when possible, and the menu features produce, cheese, meat and value-added products from Columbia and the surrounding areas.

Not into documentaries?

10 TOP

opinion by Thomas Jamieson-Lucy art by Theresa Whang

all titles available for instant streaming

A thought provoking movie that takes place within in a mental hospital during the 1960s as one patient rebels against the structure imposed by the nurses.

This movie is intense, based on a true story it follows a group of soldiers that attempt to capture a Somali warlord, however disaster strikes when a U.S. Black Hawk helicopter goes down in enemy territory.

This comedy is about a guy who meets his girlfriend’s parents for the first time. However, things turn into a hilarious disaster before too long.

This inspirational follows a boxer in his search for finding a place in pro boxing. He is trained by his half-brother who struggles with drug addiction and crime.

This thriller follows a man with short term memory loss on his quest to find the man that killed his wife. With his lack of memory things soon become chaotic.

This is the funniest T.V. show I have ever watched. It is a sitcom that follows a dysfunctional family after their father is put in jail for embezzlement.

The final movie in the Toy Story series and arguably the best of the three, the best kids’ movie there is.

A suspenseful and action packed T.V. series about a High school chemistry teacher with terminal cancer who decides the start cooking meth in order to pay his medical bills and ensure his families future.

A mysterious T.V. series that is full of twists and turns, it keeps you guessing down to the last episode.

Two Irish brothers begin killing off all the criminals in Boston. This movie is funny and full of action at the same time.

Arts & Entertainment ∙ 23

February 23, 2012


Meet Mayday Parade’s drummer,

Vocalist Jake Bundrick

If you like alternative rock head over to the Blue Note on the Tuesday, Feb. 28

to check out Jake Bundrick and Mayday Parade for a fantastic show!

Sonya Francis How did the band originally come together?


e all just happened to be practicing in the same warehouse at the time, sharing the same unit. Defining Moment — Derek, Brooks and Jeremy — were touring and doing what we, Kid Named Chicago — Alex and I — wanted to do. Most of the guys were friends prior to the band forming. I had met everyone in the band a year prior.

Does playing in a band, particularly drums, ever become overwhelming?


t’s always amazing to play every night. The only nights I don’t have too much fun are when I’ve got blisters on my hands, and I’ve got to play for over an hour. You’ve got to learn to zone out the pain.

Has the creative process of making music changed since your first album “Tales Told by Dead?”


t definitely has. When we started, it was just six guys writing music together. No one else had any input. Once you involve labels, that’s where it gets a little tricky. Labels are the money source paying for your recording/advertising, so they want to make that money back by selling records or MP3s. Because of this, they like to have input on what songs make the record or if a song isn’t “radio” enough. Add in a producer and you’ve got yourself a crazy stew that isn’t very tasty. We’ve found that if you let the band be the band and write the songs themselves, then the end product is much better than mixing a bunch of people’s ideas who don’t even play music. That’s a great way to suck out all of the passion in a record.

What advice do you have for bands that want to be in your shoes one day?


ork hard or don’t even try. Not only do you have to be good at your instrument, but you have to be a tight band that’s willing to take criticism from each other. On top of that, you’ve got to write good songs. That’s the hardest part. It took me seven or eight bands before I found the right band to be in. Always remember: not everyone’s a great writer, so don’t feel bad if you don’t write your songs. If that’s the case, then do what you do best with your instrument to make the song better than it already is. This industry is rough. Everyone downloads your music, so don’t expect large amounts of money like in the ‘80s. Do it because you love it.

photos used with permission from Josh Terry, band manager

Have you ever performed when you just weren’t feeling it that night?

What has been one of your most interesting tour experiences?



hat happens all the time. We play over 150 shows every year, so you’re bound to have a few bad nights. Sometimes you’ve just got to take all the emotion you have built up and leave it all on the stage. It’s great therapy.

Many of your songs are very passionate, and it would be hard to believe that they weren’t written from personal experience. How have situations from the past affected the songs that you all help to produce?


ost of the songs we write are from personal experience. We do have the occasional song that is hypothetical. It may have not happened to us, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t think about something like that happened. I call it the “what if” scenario.

ne night we were coming back from a movie with We The Kings. We were in our van at the time on our day off while on tour. Everyone wanted Taco Bell, so we started chanting, “Taco Bell ... Taco Bell” while pounding on the roof of the van. Hunter, We The Kings guitarist, was laying on the bench and too lazy to hit the roof of the van, so he decided to use his feet against the window on the sliding door of our van. He must have wanted Taco Bell really badly because he smashed our window out with his foot. From that point on, we call him Hurricane Hunter.

Do any of you still get nervous before putting on a show?


Have the friendships between the five of you changed since the band received fame?

eremy and Alex always get nervous. I don’t know why. I quit getting nervous years ago. I just go out there and have a blast. There’s no reason to be scared. Everyone’s there to sing with you and lose themselves for an hour.


If you all had to pick one of the greatest experiences of your careers, what would it be?

e’re pretty much the same dudes. I’ve noticed we’ve all gotten a lot more lazy as time passes. When I say that, I mean [we] don’t work as hard as we should answering emails or tweeting on Twitter. We’ve hired a few people to help manage the shows every day. So that stress is no longer on our shoulders, but the smaller things like Twitter or Facebook do lack sometimes.

Band Information Originally from Tallahassee, Tenn. Shares the same producers as “Paramore”— David Bendeth Created three albums since 2007: “A Lesson in Romantics,” “Anywhere But Here” and the latest self-titled, “Mayday Parade.” Favorite charity is Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation


nything from traveling the world, to being on a magazine cover. For me, headlining a stage at Soundwave in Australia was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.

Is the “she” in each of the songs someone specific, a variation of girls or an imagination of what those feelings would be like?


t all depends on who wrote the lyrics. Derek and I do most of the lyric writing, but “she” may pertain to a recent girlfriend or made up girl.

It hasn’t been too long since your album came out October 4. How do you think your third album is being perceived this time around compared to the last two?


t seems like people are loving it as much as we love it. People are still coming to our shows, and they’re still singing all the songs — new and old.

What’s the story behind “Jamie All Over?”


t’s about a dream and how dreams are always confusing because they never make sense. This dream was about an actual girl from Bainbridge, Ga. named Jamie and how you wanted to have that dream over and over. Is there anything “Mayday Parade” would like to say to RBHS students before arriving?


ave your energy [for] the show [at The Blue Note this coming Tuesday] and do everything you can to lose your voices!

If you like Mayday Parade, you may also like... “The Maine” “The Early November” “The Academy Is”

24 ∙ Backpage

February 23, 2012


Setting the scene

"Alm st Maine" Lauren Puckett


ehind the closed doors of room 408, a world is slowly and carefully coming to life. It’s the world of a little town, said to reside in the uppermost part of Maine—right where the Northern Lights paint the sky. It’s the world of Almost, Maine, a place that never really got organized, so, as the playwright himself says, it’s just Almost. A troupe of 19 actors and actresses from RBHS are becoming the relatable citizens of Almost. They fall in and out of love with one another in unusual ways, from casual bar conversations to conflicts at the ice skating rink. They give awkward hugs and even more awkward kisses. They portray one of the hardest aspects of human nature — love and the pain that often comes with it. “Almost, Maine” consists of a series of vignettes, all happening at the same moment on one particularly fateful winter’s night. Rehearsals are practiced separately so that special attention is paid to each scene and its particular actors. “Every scene has only two or three people, so rehearsals are not with the entire cast,” senior Alicia Gakima, who plays the role of tomboy Rhonda, said. “Instead, they’re with specific scenes, which makes it different from most plays. But, because of that, we get more rehearsal time to improve our characters. You get to know your partners well and work one-on-one with Director Mary Margaret Coffield.” For many of the actors, the play has already exceeded their expectations. The script of “Almost, Maine” is intensely metaphorical and mature. It consists of everything from literal “bags of love” to passionate kisses in front of the curtains. Everyone has “approached the play with a real focus and desire to make it as entertaining and meaningful as possible,” Gakima said. Even when the lines run together and the actions are difficult to perfect, the cast finds ways to make every moment exciting. Making her scene entertaining and true to character has been one of Gakima’s key challenges. The scene involves several strong kisses, and Gakima must try to convey the conversion from awkward tomboy to playful girlfriend. “The scene that I’m doing in this play is definitely a lot crazier than some of the scenes I’ve done in the past, but I really don’t mind,” Gakima said. “We get some of the best responses when we perform because the scene is nothing that anyone would expect. And because of that, I always try to keep bringing more energy to the stage.” This stress-free yet energetic atmosphere of the year’s winter play sparked back in the summer, when Coffield first started looking into John Cariani’s “Almost, Maine.” She doesn’t remember exactly how she stumbled upon the script but believes it “must have been magic.” “Every summer I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the winter play is going to be,” Coffield said. “And this past summer, I remember I was feeling frustrated because I wasn’t finding something that really tripped my trigger. I think I must have found ‘Almost,

Maine’…and was intrigued by the thought that I could do this play with multiple kids. And the more I studied the play, the more I thought, ‘This is perfect.’ It was very serendipitous, really.” Coffield took a leap of faith by hosting auditions for a play which, as she says, “only escapes corniness through the sensitivity of the actors.” An unexpectedly large number of students showed up, eager to try their hand at the romantic scenes. Coffield says she “can’t remember a time with a play where it was more painful to cast.” Every actor brought something new, she said, but in the end, she felt she cast each role to it’s best fit. Junior Sam Keller’s fit was country boy Randy. The new and unique role of “Almost, Maine,” being Keller’s second acting endeavor, brought on several challenges. “The hardest part is not necessarily taking [the scene] seriously,” Keller said, “but there are some funny parts of the scene where it’s tough not to break character. When me and [junior Asa Lory] have to literally fall in the scene people start cracking up, and so it’s hard not to break character.” And while staying in character was a difficult hump to overcome, Coffield has emphasized again and again how “the actors must play the roles with real depth,” almost like that of a film on the silver screen. Breaking away from the typical, performance-based theater and moving toward a movie-style acting has meant all different kinds of adjustments and preparation for each and every actor. “I’ve had to read the scene over a billion times,” Keller said, “and I’ve done character analysis with [junior Troy Guthrie] where we go through and think, OK, what would he be doing now? What would he be thinking there? And how would he say that? So that really helps me tap into the character, since I haven’t ever fallen in love with my best friend before.” Molding this emotional reality was only one of the steps on the road to tomorrow, the opening night. The actors must also face technical difficulties: specialized music, lighting, set design, sound effects and costuming. Earlier this week, Coffield painted the PAC floors white, dotting them with cotton fluff, in order to produce the illusion of snow. Seniors Courtney Cooksey and Colleen Roetemeyer created a projection of lights and colors to depict the aurora borealis. All of this is in preparation for the laughs and cheers of a vibrant high school audience. “The technical stuff for this show is really hard,” Coffield said, “because there are some unique lighting effects that have to be timed perfectly. And we’re trying to recreate some phenomena of nature, such as the Northern Lights, shooting stars, starry nights, snow, the sense of a place and external environment which is hard to create. And we have to do it in a way which is at least somewhat realistic because the acting style is very realistic and concrete.” And while the acting and set design is sure to draw eyes and ears, Coffield says there’s an even further reason why students ought to attend the unusual magic which is “Almost, Maine.” “I mean, don’t you think [the audience] is going to have fun?” Coffield said, laughing. “That’s the real reason to go. The audience is going to feel so happy. It’s a valentine after Valentine’s day.”

Senior Justin Smith plays the role pf Phil, with senior Casie Levy as Marci.

art by Kelly Brucks photo illustration by Muhammed Al-Rawi

February 2012  

Print edition of The ROCK, February 2012

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