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The Oshkosh West


This Issue: OPINION Diermeier: love doesn’t have to bite

page 2 3-4

Passion projects devote 20 percent to divadom

page 4 5-6


Senior aquatic ‘Cats glide toward State pool

page 5 7,10


Volume 110, Issue 5

Stars shine bright to banish darkness of suicide

Celebrating its 14th year of freezing, masochistic fun, the Special Olympics Wisconsin (SOWI) held the annual Polar Plunge on Saturday, February 15 to not only raise money, but also enjoy some entertainment at the sake of the brave divers. To support Special Olympics athletes, Plungers raise money through donations (a minimum of $75) to dive into the partially icedover waters of Lake Winnebago. Plungers ranged from students to law enforcement officers to Festival baggers, with many groups donning soon-to-be-soaked costumes. Last year, 1,900 individuals participated in the Fox Valley Polar Plunge, one of 12 locations throughout Wisconsin. This year, the organization strove to beat last year’s fundraiser by raising more than $425,000. “I did it to help raise money for the Special Olympics, even though people think I’m crazy for doing it,” said sophomore Evelynn Hitz, a participant in this year’s Plunge. “I was really excited for the plunging itself and hoped I wouldn’t freeze to death, but it was a great experience and I had a lot of fun.” The students involved with the O’Neil National Honor Society volunteered as one of the

largest groups of the day to take the plunge, topping out at a whopping 55 plungers. “I got i nvolved t h roug h O’Neil National Honor Society,” said junior Nicole Adrian. “It’s a way to raise funds for the Special Olympics and that’s why we do it together as a group, for the community.” The O’Neil gang chose to be clad in the attire of beloved comic characters to boost morale for the the event, hoping to impress the judges through heroic unity. “We all dressed up as superheroes,” Adrian said. “We thought it would be festive to all dress up together in a group and make it look cool in front of [Dean of Students Kevin] Wachholz, because he was one of the judges this year.” Junior Connor Arneson was enthusiastic to put on the superhero garb, claiming that the outfits provided a sense of superhuman spunk and strengthened the bond of companionship in the group. “I think the theme was good for a big group,” he said. “People could take the theme as serious or as silly as they wanted by either wearing like a Batman tshirt or a costume with a mask. Capes looked good but made it hard to move out of the water. I

page 10 SPREAD


Kiss with a fist: fighting the war on teen dating violence


February 21, 2014

Superheroes submerge for Polar Plunge



“Your source for Wildcat news”


Everything is awesome about the Lego Movie

photo by Marissa Sugrue O’Neil juniors regain their strength in the hot tub after the Polar Plunge.

photo by Marissa Sugrue Juniors Nicole Adrian, Kate Lichtenberg, and Jenna Rheingans take the Polar Plunge and leap into the freezing waters of Lake Winnebago on February 15.

went shirtless, but that was for strategy.” Each plunger was forced to muster up an amount of valor that would put the Justice League to shame, bringing courage and a little chunk of cash to take the dive into the frigid, whipping waters of Lake Winnebago. Junior Jenna Wojahn didn’t expect the dive to be too daunting on the balmy 20 degree day, but was bitterly surprised by the muscleclenching freeze that ensued. “I didn’t imagine it was going to be so shocking,” she said. “Walking around outside wasn’t very cold, and we live in Wisconsin so I thought the water wouldn’t be as harsh as it was. Once I got out of the water all I wanted to do was run to the hot tubs, but there were people everywhere telling me to walk. I didn’t want to listen to them.” For senior Eli Stanek, the only favorable part of the Polar Plunge was the relief experienced after exiting the wintry abyss, slogging with wet feet over the remaining lake ice covered by soggy stretches of carpet to the

hot tubs. But first, he forced his body to acclimate to the arctic atmosphere. “Basically the only thing that I was looking forward to is the hot tub,” he said. “I will walk to the hot tub, because I like to experience how my body reacts to such cold. It just panics, and it’s like pricklers. Last year I kind of shoved everyone out of the way; it’s an instinct and you get everything you can out of the water and your arms will be up and everything and you try to sprint. You can’t stop yourself; it’s so cold.” Junior Kate Lichtenberg felt the experience was worthwhile because of the chance to improve the lives of others. “Even though my body temporarily decided to stop working and I felt like I was suffocating in a pool of Jello, doing the plunge made me feel like a real superhero,” she said. “We got to raise a bunch of money for Special Olympics and we really pulled through as a group, and that’s what really matters.”

by Grant Bloom

page 11 13-16


‘07 Index alum Kaspar reports from Myanmar

page 14-15 Check out more Polar Plunge on our website!

photo by Marissa Sugrue The O’Neil National Honor Society superheroes strike a pose before the plunge. 55 plungers raised $4,309 to benefit the Special Olympics, ranking seventh among all the teams.

2 February 21, 2014


Volume 110, Issue 5

Ten second editorials...

On the Spot If you could combine two animals, what would they be?

“A turtle and a panda. They’re my favorite animals.” -Freshman Ashley Hogan

“A hippo and a cheetah. A fast hippo would destroy everything.” -Sophomore Zach Collins

Thumbs up the FFA’s flower delivery, for making a lucky few feel like Glen Coco last Friday. the Snowblasters, Polar Plungers, and anyone else who voluntarily went outside in the last three months. We applaud your sacrifices. the blood donors who gave the ultimate Valentine’s Day gift: a big sac of gore. the daily thrills of the Winter Olympics, from slopestyle to skeleton to the Sochi twoman bathrooms. the new Insomnia Cookies, at last satisfying that primal 2 a.m. urge for a snickerdoodle. Mrs. Conn and Mrs. Rubin for propagating their species in the most adorable way. Congratulations on the babies! Michael Sam, Ellen Page, and the countless others bravely breaking down closet doors and social prejudices.

Thumbs down the dismal state of the student lot. No, we didn’t switch to angled parking just because snow is on the ground. whoever decided to let a groundhog dictate the seasons. the lack of heat in the building during Index production weekend. Please excuse any errors; it’s hard to type with mittens. not having a day off until spring break. It’s almost like they’re trying to educate us or something. the hallways-turned-ice rinks, denting our tailbones and dignity. our photographers getting a parking ticket at the Polar Plunge. Where’s that warm, charitable spirit, OPD? Austin Wooldridge getting his pages done on Thursday, then spending his weekend with Legos and House of Cards.

The Oshkosh West


“A zebra and monkey. It would run fast and climb high and have stripes.” -Junior Carla Rodriguez

Oshkosh West High School 375 N. Eagle St. Established in 1903 Volume 110, Issue 5

General Adviser: Mr. Trent Scott

“An alligator and a cat. It would be cool and make weird noises.” -Senior Jeff Wilson

“A zebra and an elephant. It would be really cute and I love zebra print.” -Science teacher Sara Dobish

Managing Editors: Megan Diermeier Daphne Thompson Editors: Steven Ellefson (Sports) Taylor Ferrere (Sports) Rachel Fisher (Business) Claudia Koechell (News) Lauryn Lahr (Community) Noah Ludwig (Graphics) Brad Phillips (Web) Hannah Schacherl (News) Courtney Schroeder (Photography) Kaylyn Stanek (Features) Marissa Sugrue (Photography) Erin Thiele (Advertising) Emma Thompson (Features)

Austin Wooldridge (Entertainment) Asreen Zangana (Web) Laura Zornosa (Community)

Writers: Keoni Bailey, Grant Bloom, Blake Hartman, Valraye Herring, Charity Labuy, Courtney Labuy, Katy Lahr, Katy Myers, Sam Seekings, Elizabeth Siedl, Mitchell Slezak, Justin Xie Photographers: Daniel Ballman, Julia Colantonio, Ashley Corley

Non-Profit Organization Oshkosh Area Schools P.O. Box 3048 Oshkosh, WI 54902 February 21, 2014 Issue #5

The purpose of the Oshkosh West Index is to educate, inform, and entertain through eight publications each year. The paper will provide a forum for students’ ideas and opinions. All letters must be signed. Index editors reserve the right to edit all letters for reason of space, clarity, or libel. All letters express the opinion of their authors and not necessarily that of the Index staff. Drop off all letters in E25, direct them to, or mail them to Index, Oshkosh West High School, 375 N. Eagle Street, Oshkosh WI 54902. Index accepts advertisements from businesses, faculty, or students, thus creating a market for saleable goods.

Escaping the relationship Twilight zone Bruises blossom in a variety of shades. A sense of dominance of one partner in a relationship over the other has become nearly ingrained in our society, whether personified through the obsessive, controlling blood-sucker of the Twilight series, or played out in the latest girl-woos-guy romantic comedy. Surely, our culture is much like the frog in the pot: the water is boiling and we have yet to realize it. And although the phrase “relationship abuse” may inspire thoughts of black eyes or displaced jaws, the idea of a harmful, dominating dynamic can extend far beyond the fist. Emotionally, mentally, and sexually abusive relationships wreak havoc in the dark; many teens are slow to seek help in a culture that so readily recognizes a person’s worth based only on their association with another. This is especially true when no physical evidence of the abuse exists. However, emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical. Syrupy words of “I love you more than you can imagine,” can be easily twisted into a justification for controlling behavior. And unfortunately, citing the aforementioned examples, this obsession is often played off as glamorous devotion. Jealousy, control, and obligatory interaction are not the pillars of a caring relationship, but rather, the building blocks of a distressing, chaotic manipulation. Those involved in these dangerous liaisons often find themselves isolated, questioning their own personal choices, and trapped by a flowing stream of apologetic affirmations of “love.” Young women and men should never feel as though such possessive behaviors are to be expected, but the lack of widespread recognition of this behavior as abusive has no doubt led to entrapment in such relationships. If there is any lack of respect regarding personal choices about one’s body or values, it’s a harmful relationship. No pressure, smooth persuasions, nor “everybody does it” affirmations should be present in a truly healthy duo. For anyone currently experiencing emotional or mental abuse, know that your situation is just as damaging as a slap to the face. Reach out for help. However, even relationships that appear to be healthy may be detrimental to those involved if they are too consuming. When one cannot go to a party, take a class, or walk down the hall without their significant other, it is a definite sign that some part of their individuality has died. There is a grand difference between loving another person, and allowing that feeling to consume one’s love for themselves. Different projects, aspirations, and future plans are the elements that create healthy, lasting relationships, because the definition of a relationship consists of two separate individuals joining together, not one mingled being continuing to breathe the same air. When names are mixed together, lifestyles altered, and personalities changed, it may be time to reexamine just how truly beneficial the relationship is. In a society filled with tables for two, breaking the cycle of abuse seems like a daunting task. Reach out to those suffering from any sort of harmful situation. For those already coupled up, it’s time to take up a new flag of independence: go to different colleges and pursue separate passions. Relationships are much warmer without a vampire.

by Megan Diermeier



Volume 110, Issue 5

February 21, 2014

Frosh to go global with innovative program complete the program will have special mented, as he experienced a similar learnstate graduation honors recognizing their ing environment as a high school student. work toward a global scholarship.” “It actually inspired me to be a teachWith the nebulous goal er,” he said. “It allowed me of cultural education in mind, to take charge of my learnHeinen and the chairs from ing for the first time, and I the English and social studies wanted to be able to do that department met to build it into for other students.” a functioning plan. They also For Br ydon, the probegan to include administragram’s benefits also reached tors to solidify the program. beyond the high school enviThe Academy will capitalize ronment. on the fact that, in the “real “It afforded me educaworld,” the different aspects Language chair Kathy tional opportunities in the fuof a job are not in a specified Heinen is spearheading ture that might not otherwise block, as they are most often the global studies program. have been afforded to me,” portrayed in a standard high he said. “When colleges saw school schedule. the global certificate on my “The idea at the moment is to have transcript, they immediately recognized students who are taking the core classes that I was a student capable of directing my of Spanish 2, English 1 Honors and World own education, and they love to see that.” Cultures together in a group for a three Teachers are not the only ones excited period block without passing periods,” for the change; current students are wishEnglish Department Chair Trent Scott said. ing they were able to participate. Freshman While the idea of such a block of learn- Emily Edsell believes that the curiculum ing may not initially appeal, Scott believes will help students connect with different that many may enjoy the opportunity of a countries and cultures. constant stream of innovative application “I think it sounds fantastic,” she said. (and possibly an extra .25 credits). “I think it’s important to recognize that we “It will provide a unique opportu- are not isolated in this city and we should nity for students to participate in a non- strive to connect more with the outside traditional learning environment,” he said. world.” “The three classes are not just individual Perhaps the only drawback of the blocks of time allotted for one subject, proposed program is its direct clash with but rather a cohesive lesson about a topic another new program for driven students. viewed through three different lenses.” Social Studies Department Chair Paul English teacher William Brydon is Stellpflug believes that this presents ambieager to see the Global Academy imple- tious students with a difficult decision. photo courtesy of Notebook

Oshkosh, in comparison to the rest of the world, is a relatively microscopic metropolis, and West is a n eve n sm al le r community within it. However, the Wildcat cu r icu lu m is about to grow into a broadened cultural learning center. A new global studies program, which will be made available to a select number of freshmen for the first time next year, seeks to provide students with a broader perspective of their studies. Teachers who are going to be working closely with this school within a school are looking to increase international awareness. “We originally got the idea to start this academy while applying for a Department of Public Instruction Global Studies Graduation Certificate, which recognizes a school’s global outlook,” said Modern Language Department Chair Kathy Heinen. “Students who

“Next year we are offering AP World History to freshmen at this school, and because the global studies program is more concer ned with cultural studies than historical ones, students who take this course instead of world cultures will not be eligible,” he said. A P Coordi nator Mark Bazata thin ks that the AP track and the global studies track will cater to different learning styles. “If you’re making the choice between AP and global studies, you are clearly going to do well either way because you are highly motivated; it’s just a case of which learning style you prefer,” he said. “If you prefer a traditional learning environment with fifty minute class per iods and lect u re notes, you should take AP. If you prefer a more hands-on project based environment, global studies is for you.”

by Sam Seekings

English department makes edits to sophomore curriculum Several years ago, the OASD English programs at both North and West infused the sophomore curriculum with a semester of speech to satisfy the Wisconsin state standards for speaking and listening. Now, with federal changes in educational standards, those skills will be woven throughout the discipline as sophomore year will now deepen its emphasis on reading and writing skills to examine a global pallete of culture. “The new curriculum, starting next year, is going to focus on world literature. We’re still going to be focusing on academic discussion and literary analysis,” said sophomore English teacher Kristi Levy. “But now we’re looking at a variety of texts that help students understand the roots and belief systems of other cultures

outside of Oshkosh, outside of Wisconsin and the U.S.” Changes to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are the primary catalyst for this shift in the classroom focus. “When we switched to the Common Core, it shifted how many standards there are that address public speaking,” Levy said. “It became more difficult to justify having an entire semester focused on speaking when we had less speaking standards to assess.” The changes to the CCSS are a domino effect in the classroom, according to junior English teacher Brian Phelps. “The changes are twofold,” he said. “One, it takes apart the semester of speech and folds it back into a normal year curriculum, and two, it amps up the amount of

comic by C² LaBuy

critical reading and writing students do.” The horror stories, anxiety, and stress of an entire semester of public speaking are often passed down as lore to freshmen from the English 2 graduates. Said freshmen are joyfully welcoming the refomatting of these public speaking standards. “I think the idea of having speeches spread out like previous English classes sounds cool; it’s less overwhelming,” freshman Miriam Griswald said. Junior Emma Key is not as excited for the future sophomores. “I think it might not be a good thing because I felt like those speeches were an easy way to get comfortable with public speaking and to prepare you for the speeches in English 3,” she said. Despite any hesitations, the new curriculum is being prepared to take effect next year, following four themes broken down by quarter. The first will introduce students to the initial cultural experience through original texts from different cultures, namely philosophy and mythology. The next step: globalization and the meeting of cultures. This quarter will look at the issue of colonization, the spreading of missionaries, and the effects when two very different cultures come together. Third quarter will be focused on the immigrant experience; specif ically, how they balance having one foot in each culture and how it affects their identity. The

final quarter will target emerging global citizens, emphasizing the understanding of different cultures and beliefs. Levy hopes that this will cause students to identify with the notion that not everyone has the same belief system. “Our students are going to become professionals in a world where, more and more, you are being asked to connect with people outside of our own culture, our nation,” she said. Levy believes that this will assist students as, after graduation, they may very well be working with people outside of their own culture “It’s not uncommon to graduate with a degree in business and work in Dubai or Tokyo, or at the very least work with people living in other countries,” she said. We need to make sure we’re preparing our students for a world where they’ll be asked to interact with people with different cultural backgrounds.”

by Valraye Herring

4 February 21, 2014


Volume 110, Issue 5

Passion for Fashion: Diva Day ‘sews’ seeds of generosity Sophomore honors English teachers have turned to the world of business for an idea on triggering passion and productivity in the classroom. “Genius Hour” allows students to focus on a choice project f rom If you go: beginning to compleWhat: “Diva t ion a nd execut ion. Day” fashion Once a week, students show benefitare granted a day to ing the Boys & work on a project of Girls Club their choice. The fire When: March for the new approach 1, 5:00 p.m. originally ignited with sophomore honors EngWhere: lish instructor Kristi Becket’s Levy, who was searchRestaurant ing for an opportunity to make her classroom extend beyond the walls of the building. “In terms of project requirements, the students must be able to verbalize their goals and determine a plan for how they will reach a targeted community or global audience. Beyond that, the sky’s the limit,” Levy said. Genius Hour was originally created as policy that Google had for their engineers to use 20% of their time on projects of their

own. The logic was that employees work- love clothes and fashion, so we wanted to ing on a project for enjoyment or interests do something involving clothes,” Christoof their own would bring productivity pherson said. “We also wanted to help out of everything else up as well. The tactic the local community.” proved to bear fruit and blossomed into The five all took their mutual love of other businesses and even schools looking clothes, and narrowed their interest down for that same prime productivity. to formal wear such as dresses for dances “Our student projand tur ned it into a ects really represent charitable event for the the vibrant tapestry community. of our student culture. “We realize that We have students dowe are all very fortuing everything from nate to be able to have building apps to hosta dress to wear to eving fundraising event, ery homecoming and -English teacher Kristi Levy blogging, creating web prom,” Christopherson series and so much said. “However, we more,” Levy said. “It is really exciting to know that some people in the community see what our students are passionate about are not as fortunate. We initially decided and where their hidden talents lie.” to do a dress drive for The Boys & Girls A group of students who converted Club; now, we are taking it a step further their interests into a project found their and putting on a fashion show for the Boys application through an event profiting the & Girls Club.” Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh called Diva The girls asked West for donations of Day. A group of five sophomore girls (Ra- gently used homecoming, prom, or formal chel Christopherson, Marissa Edwards, dresses for the event. After putting the Allison Nelson, Mary Neubauer, and Anna plan in action, the group of girls managed Kaminski) realized they all shared a com- to reach into the community and set up a mon passion for fashion. partnership with the Oshkosh restaurant, “We are all girls, obviously, so we all Becket’s, to host the event on March 1 at

“It is really exciting to see what our students are passionate about.”

5:00 p.m. Although they managed to put their event together seemingly without flaw, however, not all of Levy’s students can say the same. “I think a lot of valuable lessons have been learned in both the areas of success and failure,” Levy said. “Certainly, there are students that were disappointed with the results of their work, but even in those situations, major growth has occurred; growth is never failure. Diva Day is just one of the student projects that has been very successful this year.” This being the first year of the experimental system, Genius Hour has hit some expected bumps in the road. Levy views all the successes that have bloomed, such as Diva Day, as truly remarkable accomplishments. “The number one thing that I encourage is to pursue a true passion and determine how you can share that with the world,” she said. “It is very rare for learners to be in complete control of their product and I want students to embrace the opportunity and make the most of it.”

by Claudia Koechell

Hearts pump on Valentine’s Day for blood drive On a day bursting with love, West students showed a little for their fellow community members by participating in the Student Government blood drive on February 14. The event is an annual collaboration with the Community Blood Center, a nonprofit organization that distributes blood to local hospitals in Wisconsin and Michigan. This includes local hospitals in Oshkosh such as Mercy Medical Center

and Aurora Medical Center. “One hundred percent of the blood that local hospitals use comes from the Community Blood Center,” said Community Blood Center lead recruiter Jamie Sackette. “If you or a loved one go to one of the local hospitals, the blood that they use comes from the community.” This reciprocal connection between the blood donors and their community was a dominant reason for a number of the students who gave blood. Students such as senior Abbey Vadnais jumped at the chance to make a direct impact on their community. “There’s a lot of people out there that have to undergo surgeries so there’s a need for blood,” she said. “I’m able to give blood, so why not have the opportunity to help other people in my community?” In addition to saving lives, students photo by Claudia Koechell were encouraged by other influences. The Community Blood Center hosted blood drive on “My motivation to give blood was to February 14 with the hopes of gathering donors.

become a Gallon Grad,” said junior Ashley Moss. “If you donate eight times, you get a certificate for it, and it helps you get scholarships.” Junior Katrina Reigh is motivated by her own personal experiences in receiving blood from a donor. “When I was younger, my aunt gave blood for me when I had to have surgery,” she said. “I appreciated that, so I wanted photo by Claudia Koechell to do it for someone else.” Many participating stu- Over 80 people showed up for the blood-giving event, filling an abundents, especially first time dance of coolers that were to be sent off to save lives. donors, were apprehensive and uncertain at first, but sophomore Nick “I didn’t expect the blood drive to be Kuske thought the workers from the Com- so big,” he said. “The nurses are trained munity Blood Center did an excellent job and they know what they’re doing. As a making students comfortable and easing first time donor, I was feeling panicky, but the blood donation process. they made me feel comfortable.” Sophomore Erin Pyle echoed Kuske’s thoughts. “I thought it was going to be really scary, but it was not at all,” she said. “The people were really friendly.” Veteran blood donor and senior Jacob Schwochert hopes that his good health is able to assist those who are not as lucky. “I’ve always wanted to give back,” he said. “I’ve had a pretty good life, and I feel that some people out there don’t have as good of lives. I don’t mind going through a bit of pain to help them out.” photo by Claudia Koechell

Nurses prepare the area for the students willing to donate their blood for a good cause.

by Justin Xie



Volume 110, Issue 5

February 21, 2014

Records shattered as swimmers set sights on State Another year of swimLaibly said. “It was an ming has brought another year event we’ve done together of success for the boys swim forever because we swim team, with many of the State for OSHY outside of high swimmers from last season reschool a nd t hen to be turning to the pool for another together when we do the round. As the season slowly conference meet for high comes to a close, three of the school was the epitome of seniors have stood out above awesomeness. Especially being my senior year, to the rest. Luke Laibly, Adam get an individual medal at Tuchscherer, and Adam Long conference.” have grabbed triumphant ends Before Laibly gets in to their high school swimming the water, he takes careful careers. preparation in order to do Tomorrow at State, Tuchhis best. scherer will compete in the 50 “Before a race, I stress and 100 freestyle, junior Nate about 30 minutes out,” he Sommers in the 200 freestyle, said, “and once I am in junior Taylor Steeno in the the five minute range, I 500 freestyle, and Long in the am comfortable and talk 100 breaststroke. The 400 free to myself about what my relay consisting of sophomore photo by Taylor Ferrere plan is. I have always told Jacob Slezak, Steeno, Laibly, and Tuchscherer and the 200 Senior Adam Long comes up for a breath in his 25 of the 100 breaststroke at conference. Long myself ‘negative split’ in my head, though it rarely free relay swam by Long, broke the school record and attained a personal best with a time of 1:02:27. affects me, it’s just a habit. Slezak, Laibly, and Tuchscherit really helps being a senior because you’ve er will also vie for spots on the State po- had four years to train and you’re usually Other than that, I typically talk to Tuchdium. With years of experience swimming stronger than most of the people, so it helps scherer because we race each other literally every single time. I personally feel like and practicing with one another, Laibly had out a lot.” no doubt that Conference and Sectionals By protecting his spot on top, Tuch- Adam and I are a great combo because would be but a breeze for the swimmers. scherer not only made it to State but broke when he goes fast, I try to go faster, and vice versa.” “I definitely think that plays a major the 100 freestyle record. Despite the omnipresent inner-team factor in why we’ve been succeeding as “It feels really great, because I’ve we have,” he said, “because as being se- worked all four years to accomplish that competition, the boys never let rivalry deniors, we’ve grown up together and swam goal so it’s really relieving breaking it,” stroy their fellowship. “The one thing that we do as a team together, so it makes sense that we would he said. have a closer sense of what to do when we Long is not the only one who is ec- to pump everyone up is a cheer and I start do relays or individual stuff as opposed to static with everything he accomplished at it off with: ‘Wildcats, are you ready?’ and it gets everyone jacked,” Tuchscherer said. people who just kind of mash together.” Sectionals. While some bring out their inner tiger Head coach Carrie Bores has been “This is the first year making it on the able to see the boys evolve since the first A-team, which is awesome because last at the start of the meet, Long strategically time they dipped their toes in the West pool year I was an alternate for a relay,” he said. waits until opportune moment to prepare freshman year. “It’s even better that I made it in the 100 himself to race. “I jump around and slap my body to “I think the best memory would be breaststroke.” this season as I’ve watched them grow With the amount of work that the boys get myself ready for the race,” he said. into young men,” she said. “The bond that have put into this season, it is no surprise “I also splash myself with the pool water they’ve created with each other, the support that the sectionals swim meet was “pay before each race. It gets me used to the temperature so it’s not shocking, and it pumps that they have shown for the members of day.” the team and the lessons they have learned There were multiple school records me up. I’ve done it for a few years now and - such as to respect life, enjoy each day, and broken at the sectional meet including the I continue to do it before every race.” Knowing exactly what one must do to to respect yourself - has been a joy.” 200 free relay, 50 and 100 free by TuchYears of experience with each other scherer, 200 individual medley by Slezak, perform takes years of experience. With has played a large part in their seasonal 100 breaststroke by Long, 500 free by that comes a bond that cannot be broken, and for Laibly, is one of the reasons that he domination and Laibly is quite pleased Steeno, and the 400 free relay. with the results at the end of his final seaAlthough the team abounds with tal- enjoys swimming. “I stuck with it because I mostly wantson. ent, Bores believes that none of this could “We killed it,” he said. “We got first in have happened without a strong beginning. ed to feel like I belonged to something,” he both conference and sectionals for the 200 “Each individual needs to keep in said. “I met amazing people in the process, free relay.” mind that what we do as a team, someone, like Siri Smits, Maggie Werba, Natalie Besides qualifying for State in the 200 somewhere, helped you get to that point,” Bolin and all the other Bolins of course, free relay, Tuchscherer was lucky enough she said. “Yes, you as a person need to along with so many others.” With everything that Laibly has acto extend his run of qualifications. work hard, but your fellow team members complished in his swimming career, he “It feels really cool to make it in all supported you in some way.” the events I wanted to,” he said. “I never At the conference meet on February 8, must stay in tip-top shape in order to mainthought I’d be able to and it feel amazing. Tuchscherer, Laibly, and Slezak performed tain his high caliber swimming ability. “In the off-season I swim at the YMCA In the 100 free, I was seeded first by .05 a remarkable feat by taking first, second and that’s about it,” he said. “I do many seconds so there are people just as fast as and third in the 100 freestyle. me. Although there are a lot of fast people, “It was a pretty amazing sweep,” water-oriented sports, but weight lifting

Adam Long started swimming when he was six years old. His favorite race is the 100 breaststroke and he finished his season with a new personal and school record of 1:02.27. He is a four-year letter winner.

Luke Laibly started his swimming career in 6th grade at the local YMCA. His favorite race is the 100 freestyle because it’s a quick race. Laibly was able to break the 200 free relay record with a time of 1:29.56. He is a four year letter winner.

Adam Tuchscherer started swimming when he was eight years old and enjoys swimming the 50 and 100 freestyle. This year, he broke the 100 free with a time of 48.04 and the 50 free with a time of 21.88. Tuchscherer is a four-year letter winner.

not so much, and I really like to mountain bike. My diet consists of anything edible, especially Peanut Butter M&M’s and tons of protein.” While Tuchscherer is in the pool just as much as Laibly, he is a bit more lenient with his diet. “I survive on pizza and Doritos, and sometimes mac and cheese,” he said. After making a major commitment to this sport, some, like Long, know that their pool journeys end with State. “I do not [plan on swimming] after high school because I don’t want to commit to class and practice every day,” he said. Like Long, Laibly has decided to end his chapter in the pool at State. “I do not plan on continuing swimming in college, though I have been offered scholarships to swim at various places,” he said. “I simply want to be done with swimming. There is nothing more about it; I am simply ready to move on from swimming.” With the season coming to a close, Bores is already looking ahead to the 2015 season. “I always say each season brings on a new adventure,” she said. “We will be graduating a very talented group of young men. Each season is a new team of young men or women. No season is alike. Each team has to grow and support each other from what they are composed of. Students move on, they graduate, some decide not to come back. We will work as hard as we’ve worked before. We are a team with a lot of pride.” Laibly already knows who will be the ones to lead the team next year. “The Slezak twins, Slezak squared, are definitely going to be the core of the team,” he said. “They’re both extremely versatile, they’re great swimmers, have great attitudes, and they just know how to get the job done.” As the season ends tomorrow, Laibly reflects on how the team has reached it full potentional. “This is the best team I’ve ever swam on,” he said. “It’s been absolutely amazing. We’ve had some of the fastest swimmers that we’ve ever had and we’re doing spectacular. We’re swimming great and were getting the highest speeds in conference and sectionals we’ve ever had and records are falling.” With this being the last chance for Bores to make a positive impact on the boys, she leaves them with wise words. “I want them to become good leaders,” she said. “Treat each team member with respect. You may not be their best friend, but make everyone feel comfortable in some way. We are a team not only in the pool area. I wish our senior class the best of luck. They make me smile. A big smile

by B. Hartman & T. Ferrere

The 200 freestyle relay, consisting of the three seniors and sophomore Slezak, dominated the pool at sectionals, taking first with a new school record of 1:29.56.

6 February 21, 2014


Volume 110, Issue 5

Opinion: Wells report reveals evil in NFL At the conclusion of the Wells report on the Miami Dolphins’ workplace bullying scandal, questions over whether to think positively of the NFL and the environment of the country’s new national pastime must be raised. Moreover, the role of professional athletes to America’s youth must be clarified. With so many negatives seeping from the seemingly toxic NFL locker rooms and other sporting leagues around the country, the traditional role models chosen by the nation’s young people are quickly losing their luster. As the pages of a privately investigated report conducted by independent NFL investigator Ted Wells flip closed, the NFL and American sports fans can finally be content with the final nail in the house of cards that is the Miami Dolphins’ locker room. While strong winds have blown pieces out of the structure, such as general manager Jeff Ireland and Richie Incognito, the foundation has remained. While I understand that the NFL is a “man’s game,” it’s the definition of “masculinity” and “manhood” that the NFL appears to be embracing that I have a problem with. In the league, teams choose to deal with “men” whose conduct often echoes what passes for masculinity in America: players whose domestic issues make

the headlines, battle with drug or alcohol abuse, and have criminal records. The grandest issue to come from this environment is that as soon as a “nice guy” like Jon Martin is thrown into this infectious environment, he is ripped to shreds, told he doesn’t belong, and the bullies in power feel threatened. The only reason the team rallied together around one another was to keep the whole twisted card house from collapsing on their own heads. Football is an incredibly dangerous sport, and it is a microcosm for what this society values. The truth is that we hide behind the image of a politically correct society and equality while at the same time raising these bigots and homophobes on a pedestal. The only thing that remains to be seen is what tragic event will cause the veil to be completely r e n t from our eyes and these atrocities irrevocably corrected. Pe r h a p s t he Jon Martin incident will be the one

With the Wells Report, Richie Incognito, number 68 of the Miami Dolphins, is confirmed to have bullied his part-time friend and part-time victim, Jon Martin (71).

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gust that completely blows the cards down, but the fact of the matter is that society has consistently attempted to destroy the story of the victim. The subjects and aspects of Martin’s arguments that were being slowly picked apart and thrown to the wolfish media have now been confirmed and supported by Wells in his report. Racial bigotry, homophobic slurs, and violent claims against women are rampant throughout the report, but the most disturbing aspect is the support that this culture has received from both current and former players alike. Perhaps the veil will not be lifted from our eyes from one event, but from a combination of gusts from many different directions. The recent arrest of Darren Sharper, the release of the Wells Report, and the backwards reaction of some to the coming out of Michael Sam provides the American public with the potpourri of events that should cause reconsideration of our obsession with this self-destructive sport. The reality is that the aggression coursing through these gladiators’ veins does not magically disappear with the final whistle. It courses through their blood every day and the culture encourages peers to behave in similar ways. As reported in Wells’ investigation, Incognito was the ringleader of the poisonous Dolphins’ locker room and was the one who made fellow players Mike Pouncey and

John Jerry feel comfortable to harass not only Martin, but also other players such as Nate Garner and even an assistant trainer from Japan. The language and actions of these individuals is enough to make even those lacking a gag reflex retch. Nothing, I repeat, nothing, makes these actions acceptable, and parents everywhere should feel obligated to shield children from these individuals’ behaviors as they would from a convicted rapist or drug dealer. The racial bigotr y pervading the league has become a growing concern for many fans of the game. When Incognito or others use racial slurs for any reason, it contaminates the self-respect of young men and women of color who hear this daily, including Jon Martin. When grown men cavalierly express physical assault on a woman, in this case Martin’s sister, it normalizes abuse against women. When not a single person makes a dissenting statement against Incognito they have cowed to him. Apparently bowing to him one at a time as rookies has created a posse that’s afraid to say jack. This environment, while not outright condoning these actions, has the effect of encouraging these behaviors. The issue with the disturbing events coming out of the Wells report, is that the league continues to permit this atrocious behavior. This message is one that is slowly being phased out by society, but when the game that represents the interests of millions of Americans takes a dump on the dreams of an individual because of his private life, it tends to reverse whatever progress has been made.

by Steven Ellefson

Shoddy Olympic conditions undermine competition In the most powerful periphery country in the world, the plight of a nation is only being realized now that a platform of epic proportions has been provided. With the introduction of the Olympics to Sochi, Russia, the infrastructural insufficiencies that have formed the punch lines of jokes about Russia for decades are finally being brought to the attention of core countries that can no longer ignore the issues of the former USSR. These issues, while only now being noticed by travelers from the West to these Olympic Games, have been present ever since the decline of Gorbachev’s empire. Paul Stellpflug,

Social Studies Department Chair, travelled to mother Russia shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall and still sees traces of the inefficiencies that permeated the country in those times. “Just seeing the pictures and the news coverings, it seems so eerily familiar to the Soviet construction mindset,” said Stellpflug. From his travels in the nineties, Stellpf lug gained the understanding that the capitalist model is just something that the Russians haven’t learned yet. They have not fully been exposed to the concept and were told to hate it for decades.

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“I was there close to 20 years ago, shortly after the fall of the post-Communist Soviet Union, and although I wasn’t really expecting them to be a shining star of capitalism, they didn’t have a clue of the idea,” he said. This lack of the concept manifests in the images streaming from Sochi almost daily. Whether it is the rubble piles in hotel lobbies, or bathroom doors that need to be busted open from the inside because athletes are locked in, the infrastructure of the Sochi games has been subpar at best. While many are wondering why what was once among the two most powerful nations in the world has come to disarray and ruin. Stellpflug feels that the answer lies in the mindset that has pervaded the Russian mentality. “They are still operating at times with a Soviet mindset,” he said. “Many Russians don’t get the idea of customer service and putting your best foot forward. It just hasn’t been ingrained in them.” While Stellpflug saw the Russian conditions 20 years ago, senior Nick Osowski visited Ukraine, a former Soviet state, this past summer for a wrestling camp and saw some of the same conditions and mentalities. “All of the p e ople i n t he U k raine who seemed like they were old enough to have lived in the Soviet Union were really cold t o e ve r y b o d y and ver y serious, but every-

one around our age was kinder and more outgoing,” he said. This cold mindset, according to Stellpflug, is the reason that the former Soviets have been unable to step out from the legacy of the command economy. “This is just the kind of thing that happens under a command economy,” he said. “It isn’t communism; but the government still says build this, the workers ask how many, the quality, ehh, who cares?” The system has not necessarily had the motivation to produce more userfriendly innovations, but the cronyism that pervades the development of the Russian infrastructure is also at fault. Stellpflug feels that the mutual back-scratching is just another form of the patronage that pervaded the Soviet era. “It’s the same cronyism that existed then that is around today,” he said. “Putin has his billionaire buddy contractors getting all of this money, and they are using shoddy workmanship. And it doesn’t help that all of the regulators are fellow buddies. They are all in cahoots with one another. It’s just classic Soviet-style shambles of construction and providing services to people.” One thing that is important to note, though, is that the shoddy workmanship should not come as a surprise for a country known for its irregular patterns by Western standards. “Nobody should have been surprised about what we are seeing, especially the Russians, for crying out loud,” said Stellpflug. “It’s been this way for 80 or 90 years in Russia.”

by Steven Ellefson


7 Volume 110, Issue 5

Pilots weather cold, ski to success pilots fearlessly faced chilly conditions Eagles flight as a launch pad towards getoutdoors to watch a colorful assortment of ting a pilot’s license. For those with a passmall aircraft, fitted with skis and carefully sion for planes, the input of time and effort guided by expert airmen, skim over the is well worth the satisfaction of a flight frozen field. well-flown. Pilot Timm Bogenhagen par“I would say it’s kind of like an ex- ticipated for the first time in the Skiplane treme sport. It’s cool to see these airplanes Fly-In this year, and was pleased with the with the snow blowing while they’re flying results. by; it’s kind of exciting,” said manager of “I flew my homebuilt Challenger airChapters and Eagle flights, Trevor Janz. craft in from a private airport near Omro, “I think it’s great for teenagers to come to with a fellow EAA employee as my passenthis, and I want to see more. We need to en- ger,” he said. “I enjoyed seeing all the other gage more air planes to come out. and enjoyed The Pioneer a hot bowl Airport of chili and is open i n talking with the spring, other pilots. summer, Then I flew and fall, back out and we to Omro give Young with my Eagle rides, ten-year-old w h ic h a r e d aug ht e r, f r e e a i rand she plane rides, loved it.” t o a nyo n e Unli ke photo courtesy of Trevor Janz age 8 to 17. One of the 26 participating pilots, Timm Bogenhagen, poses with his the majority S h o w u p daughter, Emma, next to the plane he flew in to the event for the first of the popudu r ing the time. lation, Boday before genhagen four, and you can get a ride and become a is legally certified to fly, yet both he and Young Eagle.” many Oshkosh citizens have in common In the past, the Fly-In has drawn at- the fact that, after giving an aviation activtention from adult pilots and aviation en- ity a chance, found it enjoyable; perhaps thusiasts, but the EAA staff and members even more so than expected. hope to attract a younger crowd, especially “A lot of people think EAA is only with the added incentive of free flights with once a year; that it’s one week in July. They a licensed pilot. Other than age, the only think we stand for the Enormous Air-Show requirement needed from participants is Association,” Janz said. “A lot of people an interest in flying, whether it be a life- leave then, because they rent their house long passion or simply something to check out, or they don’t want to bother with all out. For the EAA, the more young people the traffic. They just need to experience it. involved the better, regardless of prior ex- They need to come, because this is right in perience up in the air. their backyard. I give so many tours at the “We definitely want you to come with museum to people who grew up here and your family and friends. You don’t even never saw it, even though they pass it all have to have an airplane,” Busse said. “You the time. They love our museum.” can come out, have some food, and talk Just as many of these fledgling fans of to everyone around here who’s flown in; flight have fallen for its museum, the EAA they’d be happy to show you their airplane, itself has nosedived into a passion not only invite you out for a ride in the future, teach for planes themselves, but anything able you anything you want to know about flying to take to the air. The organization is open or how to learn to fly, to and inclusive of all types of flight, from and definitely get you bulging blimps to specialized skiplanes, connected with a Young and every wing in between. Eagles flight. You can “The EAA is the experimental airget a free f light, then craft association, but I like to call us the you get your logbook, everything aviation association, because you can go online and if it flies, we love it,” Janz said. “We’re do groundschool, and promoting that, and by this event, we want start doing all the work to bring out the public and show them what it takes to learn to fly.” skiplane flying is all about. What I’m really T h o u g h s o m e happy about today is I see a lot of kids; a may choose to merely lot of young people who might want to do sit back and enjoy the something like this, and maybe could catch photo by Julia Colantonio ride instead, it is very the bug.” Landed planes sit and wait as the remaining flights coast onto the frostpossible to use a Young by Laura Zornosa coated field.

W hile the high school experience can d i f fe r d r a m at ical ly, most students eventually s h a r e in the stressful situation of acquiring a driver’s license, typically around the age of 16. Some avid young aviators, however, are so eager to spread their wings they pilot planes on solo f lights even before becoming licensed on the roads below. While no fliers quite this inexperienced took to the air on February 8 at the EAA AirVenture Museum’s Pioneer Airport for the Skiplane Fly-In, they would have been warmly welcomed on the snowy strip by the more seasoned veterans brave enough to battle the wintery weather. The Fly-In was originally open to pilots of all ages, but is now more widely available to the public as well, as EAA Air Tours manager Kristy Busse pointed out. “It was a get-together of pilots in winter, since we don’t do it as much as we do in the summer, regularly. It started out as just a couple of people coming together, donating food and a few dollars in a tip jar to keep it going,” she said. “It’s grown because the community’s learned about it, and now we have different activities for families: the pedal planes, the games, and the coloring stations. It started as friends just getting together and flying their skiplanes in.” The event was initially intended as a birthday celebration for Audrey Poberezny, wife of Paul Poberezny, who founded the Experimental Aircraft Association in 1953. Over the years, it has evolved and taken off into a celebration for the whole community to enjoy. “We obviously have to have perfect conditions, but it’s a really unique event,” said Busse. “We like to get everyone together to talk about aviation: what they’re doing year-round, their projects; and talk to folks who aren’t involved in aviation about the museum, the organization, and learning to fly. We just want to have a really good time and have some grub.” Refreshments, including hearty chili, soup, hot chocolate, and cake, were provided free of charge inside the Phillips 66 hangar, while eager onlookers and fellow

West loses former teacher Koenig Judy Koenig died peacefully at home on Saturday, February 15, 2014. Affectionately known by students as Mrs. K, Judy joined the business department at Oshkosh High School in 1969. She continued to teach both in the classroom and the community, supervising budding secretaries in the co-op program over the next 30 years. In addition, she started a program in Banking and Finance, served as yearbook business advisor, business department head,

and OASD Equality Officer. Ebullient and effer vescent, Judy war med ever y room she entered and attracted friends everywhere she went. She was passionate about speed skating, ballroom dancing, teaching, traveling, fishing, playing bridge, and e-mailing friends. Although it restricted her participation in a few of her favorite activities, she managed her twenty-five-year battle against multiple sclerosis with good humor and courage.

Former West teacher Judy Koenig

February 21, 2014

Respects paid to Civil Rights royalty On January 20, America remembered one of its greatest historical figures, Martin Luther King, Jr. Here in Oshkosh, members of the community met at the United Methodist Congregational Church to honor the great man. With music, a keynote speaker and refreshments, the night celebrated King, who heavily inf luenced the Civil Rights movement. The event was created by Empowerment Solidarity Truth Hope Equality Reform (ESTHER), an organization of faith communities working to act against injustice. Fox Valley celebrations of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day are rare, so ESTHER decided it was time to give more recognition to the historically significant holiday, according to ESTHER representative Jennifer Neer. “The idea for a community celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. started with the Oshkosh ESTHER group,” she said. “We wanted an event to celebrate the diversity of our community and that was free to the community.” The event was held in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Summer, a civil rights campaign to register AfricanAmerican voters in 1964 Mississippi. It featured speaker Dr. Martin Gruberg, an expert on the topic and a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. “Dr. Martin Gruberg was our keynote speaker,” said Neer. “He spoke about his experience during Freedom Summer as he traveled in the South. He also spoke about ‘Black Thursday’ and his involvement as a professor at UWO.” The night also featured the musical performance of the Second Chance Choir. The event itself was labeled a live and prerecorded musical celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ESTHER teamed up with other groups to make the second year of the event possible. “We partnered with several organizations from the community: Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church, Offbeat Press, SCENE, United Methodist Women’s Group and First Congregational Church,” said Neer. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in Oshkosh started in 2013 and grew nominally in the past year: roughly 70 people attended. Overall, Neer and ESTHER considered the event successful. “The audience felt a connection with the Second Chance Choir music. Other feedback from the audience was mainly positive,” said Neer. “They learned a lot about Freedom Summer and Black Thursday. ” After receiving feedback, ESTHER hopes to continue this event in the future, hopefully with more community help. We hope to continue and expand this event,” Neer said. “We would like to have more voices from the community plan and participate in the event.”

by Katy Lahr


love and war: community se

Bleeding love

To the romantic, the coming of February 14 arrives flush with visions of vermilion bouquets, cherry-flavored truffles, and heartfelt declarations of love. Yet for some, one week after Valentine’s Day, the roses droop, the chocolates are stale, and once-sweet words have soured to bitter insults. Such is the cycle of abuse suffered by an estimated one in three US teenagers – the physical, mental, emotional, or sexual harm inflicted by a romantic partner. “When anybody feels like they don’t have free will in a relationship, or they don’t feel respected and valued, there’s probably something unhealthy about that relationship,” said West social worker Stacey Davis. “I think there’s lots of types of abuse that can be pretty subtle, that can make the abused partner start to think that they’re the one that might be off.” This February marks the fourth annual Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, 28 days devoted to the eradication of this often-invisible endemic. For teens with hearts previously untested on love’s battlefield, discerning between healthy argument and harmful vitriol is often difficult, and the abusive cycle can seem like an exhilarating roller coaster. “When you first get into a relationship, you’re in the honeymoon phase and everything is wonderful and all you want to do is spend time with that person,” said Jean Klawitter, Development and Marketing Outreach Coordinator at the Christine Ann Center, a local shelter for victims of domestic violence. “Then it goes to tension building where you start to irritate each other, and it builds and builds and builds. And then there’s the explosion because you can’t deal with the tension, and there’s a big thing that happens. Then it goes back into the honeymoon phase, and it just continuously goes over and over again and the honeymoon phase gets shorter and shorter until that good phase just goes away completely.” Whether the eruption consists of physical punches or verbal jabs varies from couple to couple, but the devastating effects on a student’s psyche are consistent. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, violent relationships in youth put victims at an elevated risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, and risky sexual behavior. About half of the victims of both dating abuse and rape attempt suicide, as opposed to 12.5% of non-abused girls and 5.4% of non-abused boys. Many of these mental issues stem and compound from the isolation inflicted by the abuser – forcing the partner to sever ties with friends, family, and other anchors of the outside world. “A hallmark of an abusive relationship is isolation,” said Davis. “An abusive partner will say things like ‘I’m so crazy about you; I just want you all to myself, so let’s not go out with anyone else tonight’. But you think you love this person, and when the physical abuse starts you realize you don’t have any support around you anymore. You lost your friends because you never went out with them and you’re alienated from your family because you didn’t spend time with them. So when you find yourself in that scary situa-

tion you don’t have anybody to turn to.” As a result, only an estimated third of abused teenagers ever report their situations, with many more attempting to ride out the kamikaze relationships. “It goes back to the cycle of hope and fear, because the person they love wasn’t always mean to them,” said Jessie McHenry, Teen Advocate at the Christine Ann Center. “No one would ever stay with someone if they were mean from the start. So at some point they were nice, and fun, and so they hope that that’s going to come back. Or if there’s threats being made, or they’re afraid of being alone or what other people are going to be thinking, that’s what keeps them in that relationship.”

Teenage dream

Despite the risks, teen dating culture continues to flourish. A student walks slowly down a high school hallway, filled with quick glances and an even swifter volley of judgment. A relationship has ended, and a new niche must be carved into a society where having a significant other is a status symbol, a definition, and a yearned-for role. Suddenly, the snickering behind a pair of gossipy hands becomes unbearable, and the bruise marking the student’s arm instantly loses some of its sting. In a culture brimming with romantic comedies, Valentine’s Day paraphernalia, and the ubiquitous “date night,” having someone to call your own often guarantees instant societal satisfaction. “Listen to the lyrics of music sometimes, or watch the movies that you guys watch,” said Klawitter. “All teenagers are dating in movies; [relationships] are all of the lyrics if you listen to what the words are really saying.” In a culture so consumed with the notion of girlfriends and boyfriends, a teen eager to fit into the social strata of high school may latch onto a relationship no matter the consequences. Even if it means being battered and bullied, the benefits of being in a relationship often seem to outweigh the prospect of being alone. This is especially true for those yet to develop an identity separate of their partner. “I think a lot of people tie their self-worth to having a significant other, which irritates me, but I can’t really speak because I’ve been in a relationship for five years,” said senior Becky Procknow. “But I definitely think there’s pressure to be in one in high school.” Along with the impetus to be involved with someone from the other sex, ego and embarrassment can prevent an abused partner from departing a relationship. “I think a lot of people stay in an unhealthy situation way longer because maybe your friends didn’t like this person in the beginning, and they all warned you, and you said they were all crazy, and now you’re embarrassed to go back and say, ‘You know what? This wasn’t such a good situation for me,’” said Davis. “Don’t ever let embarrassment keep you in an unhealthy relationship.” Although maintaining a sense of individuality and independence while in high school remains at the top of the priority list, Davis acknowledges that teenage relationships - good or bad - may be impossible to avoid. “I think it’s human nature to couple up. I think that’s just what we do. I totally agree that we want to celebrate independence and strength,” she said. “And I always tell people if you feel good being by yourself, and you know you can take care of yourself, and you

The Christine Ann Center, located on Algoma Boulevard, provides shelter and education for vic

enjoy your own company, and then you meet somebody that brings something to the party so to speak, good for you; that looks like a healthy relationship. If you’re in a relationship and you can’t imagine your life without them, then you need to reexamine where your priorities are. Maybe it’s still a healthy relationship, but maybe you’ve got to go out and build a little more into your life individually to bring to that relationship. One person can’t be everything for anybody.” The perception that the strongest relationships are meant to be all-consuming is readily familiar in current pop culture. The depiction of controlling liaisons as the strongest devotion possible only encourages teens to recreate the illusion in their own lives. One often-referenced example is Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. Brooding vampire Edward Cullen’s possessive control of self-loathing human Bella Swan turns into an idealistic devotion once it hits the silver screen, turning a display of a damaging relationship into the apple of thousands of teenagers’ eyes. “That’s again a way that abusive or unhealthy relationships start: ‘I have to spend all my time with you,’ and then instead of recognizing that as maybe not so healthy, people see that as, ‘holy cow they love me so much; I am so special,’” said Davis. “That’s really seductive initially and by the time you find out, it’s not healthy at all; sometimes you’re in so deep you’re embarrassed to ask for help or don’t have a lot of people to ask for help.”

A man’s world?

Beyond romanticizing the destruction of individuality, popular culture has also labeled one gender as the common, unconstrained perpetrator: men. “I think, well maybe not

y seeks to stem dating violence

photo by Megan Diermeier er and education for victims of domestic violence.

abuse, but the whole mantra of ‘guys are dicks,’ I think that is quite prevalent,” said Procknow. “[The belief that] men treat women badly - I think that that is definitely prevalent in society.” Despite public sentiment that wo m e n a r e t h e ones who suffer the most from abusive relationships, men are also potential victims. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one out of 14 men have been physically assaulted by their significant other, leading to an estimated 835,000 an nual repor ted cases. However, these numbers only represent the physical

aspect of the accord. “Think about it, have you heard about girls calling their boyfriends 20 times a day, calling their boyfriends names? Those things are a bad relationship,” said Klawitter. “Girls can do it just as easily as boyfriends. It’s not always the black eye or twisted arm; it’s all the other pieces that make a relationship.” The fact that there may not be any physical evidence of abuse, combined with the typical expectation of what a ‘man’ should be, makes it even more difficult for male victims to come forward. “I think men don’t come forward very often if they’re being physically abused because they’re embarrassed and our society says that the man’s the abuser, not the woman,” said Davis. “So I don’t think we see that much of it, but I think that’s changing a little. I think where you see a lot more females being abusive to males is with the controlling kinds of things and probably verbal abuse as well.” Even if a woman were to express her desire to engage in a physical altercation, most of society wouldn’t take notice. A dramatic moment in a movie may end with a slap across the face by a woman, often interpreted as a justified demonstration of empowerment. However, McHenry would argue that such displays are just what they appear: a form of abuse. “Even with our teen program, we are working on getting a curriculum for aggressive teen girls because they are showing more of those aggressive behaviors,” she said. “Like my favorite, I hate this line: you don’t hit a girl. You shouldn’t hit anyone. There’s def initely that perception that yeah, she’s a fe-

Break the cycle

Confronted by stereotypes and expectations, those caught in the cycle of abuse often require aid in wading their way through the muck of potential retaliation and adjusting to life without the perpetrator. However, as they are sucked into the relationship and isolated by their partner, so too are they cut off from their friends and other reliable networks of help. “The most important thing is they have a really awesome support system. Which, unfortunately what happens in dating relationships, is your friends might get sick of you partying, or seeing you in this relationship that’s destroying you, so they start to say, ‘I’m not going to hang out with you anymore if you continue doing this,’ which just isolates that teen to where they don’t have anyone,” said McHenry. “So the best thing they could do is reach out for the help and that person that supports them, even if they feel at that moment like their friends aren’t supporting them, they might actually still be there. It’s really just talking about it.” Those currently involved in a harmful relationship are strongly encouraged to contact the Christine Ann Center or reach out to another trusted friend or adult, such as the school counselor or social worker. Although resources remain present for those currently chained to their partner, a more proactive approach is far from being fully developed. “We do a very good job, but I think the schools could do more. An anti-bullying policy isn’t the only thing the schools need,” said Klawitter. “What those answers are, I think everyone’s trying to figure out the perfect combination. If you remember your health class, you must have had someone come in and talk about healthy relationships, but how many times have you heard that talk in school? Once in health class, your freshman year. Have your relationships changed, has your maturity changed? You’re not hearing that message now, and maybe how it would affect you now is way different from how it affected you then. So I think the school could do more, and education is always huge.” Developing greater literacy and acknowledgment about this topic at the school level is not the only way to help prevent future cases. According to, 81 percent of parents believe that teen dating violence is not an issue, or admit that they don’t know if it’s an issue. However, parents and the relationships they portray at home remain a large factor in how their child may respond to conflict within their own. “You know what makes them more susceptible is what they’ve seen and experienced at home,” said Klawitter. “I think if they grow up in a home where they don’t know how to have a healthy relationship, that’s going to get passed on and passed on. If you grow up in a house that’s chaotic and all the relationships in your life are chaotic, having a relationship with someone of the opposite gender isn’t going to go any better.” Despite the focus on negative relationships, those at the Christine Ann Center emphasize that education should focus not on what’s wrong or abusive in a relationship, but how to do what’s right and respectful. For, as long as autonomy and communication is recognized, teenage relationships can be engaging, memorable, and even mature. “[Austin and I] have been successful because we’ve learned to be independent of one another,” said Procknow. “For example, we’ve never planned on going to the same college because we both need to pursue our own passions which fits each of us best. At first we had some issues with that, but we grew out of it and thus have thrived.”

by Megan Diermeier and Daphne Thompson

Healthy or harmful? Give yourself one point for every “yes” answer, and zero points for every “no.”

The person I’m with...

• Is not supportive of things that I do. • Discourages me from trying new things. • Rarely listens when I have something on my mind. • Is not liked very well by my friends. • Says I’m too involved in different activities. • Texts me or calls me all the time. • Thinks I spend too much time trying to look nice. • Gets extremely jealous or possessive. • Accuses me of flirting or cheating. • Constantly checks up on me or makes me check in. • Controls what I wear or how I look. • Tries to control what I do and who I see. • Tries to keep me from seeing or talking to my family and friends. • Has big mood swings, getting angry and yelling at me one minute but being sweet and apologetic the next. • Makes me feel nervous or like I’m “walking on eggshells.” • Calls me names or criticizes me. • Makes me feel like I can’t do anything right or blames me for problems. • Makes me feel no one else would want me. • Threatens to hurt me, my friends or family. • Threatens to hurt him or herself. • Threatens to destroy my things. • Grabs, pushes, shoves, chokes, punches, slaps, holds me down, throws things or hurts me in some way. • Breaks or throws things to intimidate me. • Yells, screams or humiliates me in front of other people. • Pressures or forces me into having sex or going farther than I want to. --Score: 0 points Your relationship sounds perfectly healthy. St. Valentine would be proud.

Score: 1-2 points A couple of things in your relationship seem unwell, but they aren’t necessarily warning signs. Communicate with your partner to build your relationship healthily. Score: 3-4 points You’re spotting some red flags: don’t ignore them, and consider talking to a peer advocate for more advice. Small behaviors can snowball into a dangerous situation. Score: 5+ points You may be in an abusive relationship. It’s time to reevaluate your situation, think seriously about your safety, and seek help. Quiz adapted from

Help is a phone call away. 920.235.5998 Christine Ann Center Helpline 800.261.5998 Toll-free Wisconsin Helpline 911 In an emergency

10 February 21, 2014


Volume 110, Issue 5

‘Bright Stars’ blends talent, social awareness Shortly after 5:00 this evening, people of the Fox Valley will gather for a night of dinner, entertainment, and suicide awareness. This unlikely combination comes courtesy of the third annual Bright Stars Face Off, a talent competition that raises money and educates students on mental health and suicide prevention. Bright Stars Chairperson Patti Calhoun has a personal connection to the origin of Bright Stars.

“My son was a hockey player. Just over three years ago, a second hockey player from Oshkosh died by suicide,” she said. “After losing two hockey players to suicide in a few years, I thought long and hard about what I could do to make a difference in Oshkosh to educate kids about suicide and mental health issues as well as depression.” Calhoun ended up creating Bright Stars, an event that highlights talent in the Fox Valley while also raising awareness about depression, mental health, and suicide. Now in its third year, the event has successfully raised funds as well as consciousness. “The last two years, we have raised over $100,000. With the generous support of sponsors, we have been able to provide schools with packets of information on where to get help if students are having suicidal thoughts or they are feeling depressed,” said Calhoun. “We have been able to provide QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer) training to people to become trainers, as well as those who just want to know the warning signs of potentially at-risk students.” Judging by the success of its previous years, Calhoun has high hopes for this year’s competition and its ability to spread the message of suicide prevention. “This year, we hope to continue on our journey to educate the community and to help prevent the tragedy of suicide from happening,” she said. “It is with great pride that this past year we finally saw a decrease in the number of suicides in Win-

nebago County. Obviously, our goal is no deaths by suicide.” Calhoun also has high expectations for this year’s Bright Stars competitiors. “We have some remarkable talent this year,” she said. “We have contestants from Kaukauna, Appleton, Oshkosh, North Fond du Lac and Laconia, from singers to dancers to a band to a guitar duet.” The tryout process is intensive to ensure that the evening is truly a showcase of the area’s finest. “The process works like this: we had two tryout dates in early November. After the two tryout dates are complete, we pick the top 12 acts to be in the show,” said Calhoun. “We expect the contestants to continue working on their talents over the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. Then in January, we have a dress rehearsal. At that time, the judges help to tweak the performances, so the kids are ‘show-ready’.” Freshman Ava Fojtik was ecstatic to discover she had made the cut. “Getting the call that they wanted me was very flattering and a bit surprising-I mean, there were at least a dozen kids with the voices of angels that they could have chosen, and sometimes it feels like all I do is mess around on some keys in between Netflix marathons,” she said. “But I’m very excited to be a part of the show. Everyone else involved is so talented and passionate about what they do that it really inspires you to work even harder on what you love.” Fojtik is excited to share her talent with the community. “I’ll be playing Lorie Line’s arrange-

ment of ‘Clocks’ by Coldplay on the piano. I chose this piece because it’s an interesting song for people to listen to; almost everyone recognizes it, even if they don’t know it by name,” she said. “I’ve been playing for four years and have been playing this song for about a year and a half, so I’m quite proud of how it’s turned out, and I think you can hear that in the music.” First, second, and third-place Bright Stars winners are awarded a monetary scholarship. Additionally, contestants can win a prize based on the amount of money they raise throughout the show. “The winner of the evening is determined by the judges’ voting, which is 70% of the total, and 30% of the money put into the fishbowls for each of the acts. First place receives a $300 scholarship, second place receives $200, and third place receives $100,” said Calhoun. “Whichever act raises the most money in their fishbowl from the audience receives the Helaine Lasky Philanthropy award. Helaine is very dedicated to the cause of dealing with mental health issues and preventing suicide.” Above all, Calhoun stressed, Bright Stars Face Off is about bringing the community together to raise awareness and prevent suicide. “We hope to educate the audience on the statistics of suicide in our area and also let them know what they can do to help to prevent suicide,” she said. “Where there is help, there is hope. That is my key message to anyone who struggles - that it is okay to ask for help.”

by Lauryn Lahr

Inspired to succeed Discover the opportunities that Marian University has to offer you! At Marian University, you’ll be inspired to succeed through its more than 50 majors, outstanding residence facilities and dining options, more than 40 clubs and organizations, and our 19 NCAA athletic programs, including Track and Field.

Achieve your goals today by applying online at!

45 S. National Ave. l Fond du Lac, WI 54935 l Founded 1936 • Sponsored by the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes


11 Volume 110, Issue 5

February 21, 2014

Locking together stellar writing and wit, a true masterpiece is built Craftsmanship is a trait known to anyone that has ever played with Lego bricks or appreciated the infinite possibilities that come along with these Danish pieces of plastic. The word does not simply denote that the end product is externally acceptable, but encompasses a deep sense of pride in the rigorous process that preceded it. This description perfectly represents The Lego Movie. From the brilliant minds of Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street), the film allows not only children but adults and teenagers to take in their immense sense of whimsy. With snappy writing, enthralling animation and a welcome abundance of rapid-fire humor, this film lives up to and oftentimes exceeds the storied history of these beloved blocks. The story itself seems as if it came straight from the mind of an exuberant 10 year old. Emmet (Chris Pratt, Parks and Recreation) is a faceless construction worker that has spent his entire life following the rules given to him by President Business’ (Will Ferrell, Anchorman) anti-creative dictatorship. However, he literally falls into his destiny and onto the Piece of Resistance, a cap for the Kragle, a weapon that Business plans to use to make permanent his vision of a perfectly uninspired world. Emmet mistakenly becomes regarded by the underground resistance of the Master Builders as the Special, the most important, most interesting person in the world. With the help of Wyldestyle (Elizabeth Banks, The Hunger Games series), Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman, The Shawshank Redemption) and even the dark and brooding Batman (Will Arnett, Arrested Development), the unlikely Emmet must save the omnipotent creativity of their purposely crumbling world.

Image from The Lego Movie Facebook

For anyone who has ever completed a Lego set, the story for the film may look straightforward on the outside, but the process to get to that endpoint is enjoyably complex: a complexity that starts with a stellar script. The screenplay of the picture is by far the most creative and playful to come out of an animated film since Toy Story. Most digital adventures today rely on an uninventive plot structure and humor, which leaves little reason to go back for more. The Lego Movie is different. Written by Lord and Miller themselves, humor and a creative lightheartedness seem to be of immediate importance, as the lines are not only a scintillating rapport between the characters, but one that drives a message promoting the reclamation of a sense of childlike wonder. Just as the writing of the movie is spot on and hilariously honest, it is the voice actors that truly bring these hollow pieces of plastic to life. Pratt does a fantastic job portraying the extraordinarily ordinary Emmet, as he crackles with enthusiasm that makes him one of the most and honest characters. Banks’ Wyldestyle truly conveys a perfect, juxtaposed companion to

the ignorant nature of Emmet. As with all his films, Freeman acts as a truly powerful voice of Vitruvius, as he stands for the moral good of rebellion and commands his loyal troops valiantly. The supporting characters of Arnett’s Batman, Liam Neeson’s (Taken) Bad/Good Cop and Alison Brie’s (Community) Unikitty all add an extra f lair of vibrant diversity. Ranging from Neeson’s impressive dualism to Arnett’s gravelly, yet hilarious portrayal of the Dark Knight, to Brie’s spectacularly adorable rendition of the marshmallow-marrying Unikitty, these characters represent the farreaching scope of imagination that Legos truly represent. However, this amazing voice work would be for nothing if the characters they are attached to weren’t authentically Lego. In a word, the animation is breathtaking. From the exquisite lighting, to the variety of settings and characters, and even to the painstakingly detailed scratches on the bricks themselves, this film takes the idea of computer animation to an entirely new level. Being that animation director Chris McKay’s previous work is Robot Chicken; the classic stop motion feel is

present throughout the movie. It seems as though the entire film has been painstakingly made by taking pictures of the character’s every movement, as the visuals are strikingly lifelike and richly detailed. The rendering of the film also adds to the humor, as it switches from traditional animation to random splices of physical sets that add to the off-kilter reality of this landmark movie. The exhaustive visuals largely become the biggest draw for kids in the film because while the script is accessible to children in some regards, the humor moves at such a high rate of sugary speed, that the adults at times seem to be the only ones able to laugh. While it may seem like a problem, it shows once again that Lord and Miller are not aiming squarely at a juvenile audience. The film takes its 100 minute runtime and makes it feel as if the audience has been placed on a track for a 100 meter sprint. There is no time to breathe, no time to comprehend, only time to laugh heartily and to continuously be a witness to the sheer genius of The Lego Movie. Despite its physically empty characters, The Lego Movie displays some of the most imaginative and soulful storytelling to come out of the plastic Hollywood hills in decades.

by Austin Wooldridge

Bursting with harsh southern charm, McConaughey shines bleakly worsens the condition of those suffering from the virus. Despite Woodroof’s inklings of homophobia, he teams up with Rayon (Jared Leto, American Psycho), a transgender woman, to sell the drugs and together create the Dallas Buyers Club. Among the success of their transactions, they must face off against the ever-intruding Image from Dallas Buyers Club Facebook FDA and the local hospital From the brilliance of director, Jeanfrom which they are siphoning Marc Vallée (The Young Victoria), the patients. independent film, Dallas Buyers Club, McConaughey instantly pulls the embodies a palatable blend of crass south- audience in with his portrayal of Woodern charm, enthralling drama, and forlorn roof, as he brilliantly captures his brash heartache. With a measly budget of $5 personality, crude humor, and outrageous million and just 25 days to shoot the movie, antics. The remarkable progression of the this picture is truly amazing. What makes character is notable. Before receiving his the film most captivating is that it was diagnosis Woodroof was extremely ignoinspired by true events. The film tells the rant and hostile, but throughout the film the story of Ron Woodroof, the man behind the audience can see him develop significantly Dallas Buyers Club. through his struggles, transforming into At the peak of the AIDS crisis of the a more caring, understanding individual. 1980’s, rodeo-cowboy-electrician Ron This wild change is fueled by the patients Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey, Mud) which he ultimately cares for. discovers he is HIV positive and is inLeto was able to deliver a dynamite formed he most likely only has 30 days performance as Woodroof’s partner in to live. Woodroof is able to acquire an crime, Rayon. Clearly the most captivating AIDS trial drug, ATZ, from a local hospi- character of the film, Leto truly showcases tal. However, this source soon runs dry. In Rayon’s sweet and gentle nature along with his rapidly deteriorating state, he obtains her inner demons. The sibling-like relapharmaceutical drugs from Mexico, and tionship of Woodroof and Rayon is without after a month, he notices significant im- a doubt a beautiful spectacle of the film, provement in his condition. Fueled by the fueled by the chemistry between McCodesire to make money, Woodroof smuggles naughey and Leto that perfectly transcends large quantities of these unapproved into the characters. drugs to sell to fellow AIDS patients, as Brought into the middle of the AIDS opposed to the ATZ drug trial given in epidemic is Dr. Eve Saks, portrayed by United States hospitals, which he perceives Jennifer Garner (13 Going on 30). The

audience first sees Saks as a doctor who is deeply invested in her patient’s wellbeing. Throughout the film she struggles with her conscience regarding the risky ATZ drug trial that the hospital is administering along with valiant and dangerous actions of Woodroof. Garner conveys Saks skillfully, adding depth and emotion to the character. What also proves true about this film is its exceptional scenery. Taking place in 1980’s slums of Dallas, Texas, it aims to highlight the good and the bad, from its exuberant rodeos to its ragged trailer parks. Furthermore the subtle lighting of the shots never overpower the story onscreen but successf ully conveys a certain gloom in which the characters live. Along with the expert setting, the soundtrack fits in seamlessly with the progression of the film and adds a nice element which tops the movie off. In its entirety, Dallas Buyers Club is exceptional in both plot and performance. With a focus on the importance of the journey, not the outcome, the film transcends the Hollywood status quo. The momentum of the story, intense chemistry between the actors, and overall impact of the message prove to make Dallas Buyers Club an alltime favorite.

by C2 Labuy

With impressively buzz-worthy performances from the leads, Dallas Buyers Club epitomizes the power and tenacity of the indie film community.

12 February 21, 2014

Volume 110, Issue 5


Bromedy turns fantasy lore as men share actual emotions Contrar y to the typical romantic comedy genre, That Awkward Moment portrays the male perspective of relationships, offering a refreshing film more comedic than melodrama. This fresh theme is presented in quirky ways, revealing to all that men might just eat ice cream when they are down in the dumps, too. Centering in on a tight knit cluster of friends, the rollercoaster of friendship runs from the very highest to the very lowest points. This original bromantic comedy delves into the depths of love from within the male mind. Three college friends, Daniel (Miles Teller, Project X), Mikey (Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station) and Jason (Zac Efron, The Lucky One) seem to be making it fairly well in Manhattan, when suddenly the inevitable end of Mikey’s marriage causes the friends to make a pact to remain single, seemingly bringing them closer together (and closer to their college days). Just when it seems the friends may have it all yet again, their measly bet begins to invade their love lives. When faced with reality, temptation from several suitable women threatens to snag their hearts into rupturing the pact. Quickly, meaningless flings turn more serious for the three bachelors, despite their promise to stay single in support of their heartbroken pal, Mikey. The harder each of them tries to cover up their secret commitments, the more complicated maintaining their love lives and friendships become. The pals’ strong ties to each other make it continually more difficult to reveal the truth. Through this struggle, their once fervent friendship is strained to a potential breaking point. Each friend’s romantic situation begins to esca-

Image from That Awkward Moment Facebook

late to defining moments; however, each regularly denies any tangible relationship. Once tiptoeing around the naked truth is no longer an option, the friends are forced to expose their private lives, thrusting a dagger into the core trust of their friendship. The men continue their lives, seeming to not be affected by the absence of their former buddies, making reconciliation almost unattainable. Lacking the presence of their better halves, the prior comrades suffer the consequences of fracturing loyalty and eventually find their way back. With smart casting and believable situations, it is easy to right into the movie’s world. Efron of High School Musical trades in his teen heartthrob, cookie cutter image for a smooth, artistic lady-killer in this hilariously profane movie. Teller portrays a laid back, individualistic adult stuck in a high schooler’s mindset, making him easily lovable when compared to his heavily sarcastic friends. Jordan once again proves that he is a dynamic actor, as his

heartbroken but mending character allows the audience to have a sense of sympathy. As each friend struggles with each other, internally and romantically, the ups and downs of true friendship manifest. The willingness of the friends to stand by their aching pal Mikey displays the evident love and compassion within friendship, even though they lack perseverance. The witty, improvisational rapport of the actors displays a candid chemistry. While the numerous women in the film come and go with little development, some are able to stick around. Despite the friends’ efforts, these exhaustive women change the guys’ lustful hearts for the better. Produced by Efron, the storytelling of this film is thoroughly developed. Details of each character’s life shape and enhance the storyline, resulting in unanticipated plot twists. Multiple clever settings and situations enable the tale to genuinely be told from the male perspective. The friends cleverly coin many phrases, such as the

“so” moment in a relationship, which describes where a relationship heads once one person begins to want more than what their current relationship stands has to offer. From the frequently visited local pub to romantically breaking into a private park in an attempt to woo their lady friends, the thoughtful men, and wingmen, pull out all the stops to have a great time. Putting an interesting spin on romance, That Awkward Moment is sure to provoke tears to be shed, an accelerated heartbeat, and, most importantly, sidesplitting laughter. Moment proves to not be very awkward, instead incredibly entertaining while providing direct insight to the mind of a man. The universal themes of friendship, love, and overcoming struggles make this film relatable to all audiences. Although the title says otherwise, That Awkward Moment provides a well-produced reimagining of the romantic comedy which can resonate with both male and female audience members. With a fresh perspective and an injection of welcome testosterone, there is not an Awkward Moment wasted.

by M. Slezak and E. Seidl

Against Me! destroys societal barriers to deliver the Blues From the largely underrated genre of punk comes Against Me!’s sixth studio album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues. Each song blisters along at less than four minutes, totaling as a half hour listen; however, it is a bargain as the listener will be jamming to it on repeat. The album, keeping true to the band’s signature gritty sound, delivers an energetic blast of angst accompanied by trashing guitars and wailing vocals. In its entirety, Transgender Dysphoria Blues embodies what it means to be a modern day punk. However, what is truly enthralling about this work is from whence it was conceived. The album mirrors the life of the band’s vocalist and lyrical mastermind, Laura Jane Grace. In May of 2012, Grace came out as a transgender woman, having dealt with gender dysphoria since childhood. She found courage to embrace her true self with support from her wife and fellow band mates. Each song on the album explores struggles faced by the transgender community. Grace dealt with hardship not only in her personal life, but subsequently

had to cope with two band mates leaving Against Me!. However, regardless of the troubles (or maybe because of them), this album has presented itself as a gem in the music industry. Transgender Dysphoria Blues largely creates a narrative of a transgender woman trying to find her way in world. It is both captivating and thought provoking. Although the album largely focuses on the LGBTQ+ community, it’s relatable to a wide audience. The album also addresses issues of loss, drug-abuse, identity issues, and suicide. Grace’s struggles are the key component and driving force behind the album, which can be seen in title track “Transgender Dysphoria Blues.” With a powerful drum beat, the song embodies true hard rock vibes while exploring serious issues that many in the transgender community face, such a transphobia. More deeply ingrained into the lyrics are Grace’s personal thoughts on taking the leap into transitioning, as can be seen in the line, “And you know it’s obvious, but we can’t choose how we’re made”. The tune gives a preview as to what else is to come in the album, both in lyrical theme and melodic style. The following track ,“True Trans Soul Rebel,” bursts with legitimate potential to be an anthem of the trans community. The quick bass line and thumping drum beat instantly pulls the listener into the song. Soon accompanying is the thrashing guitar riff and the soulful lure of Grace’s vocals.

The tune expresses the incredible difficulties that transgender individuals face on a day to day basis. With the overall powerful message and energetic chorus, this track is worthy of being the album’s lone single. The highlight of the album is the sixth track,“F**KMYLIFE666”. The song begins with rhythmic guitar and is soon joined by the thrashing bass and drums. Once Grace starts to sing the first verse she creates a soothing melody which is rare in a punk song. Following the first verse, the soulful chorus will leave goose bumps. The intensity of the lyrics strangely inspires courage and heart ache simultaneously. The track is a tragic love song for the ages. Further in the album, “Dead Friend” relays a message of loss and heartache. The track runs a high tempo and the upbeat chorus pairs well with its slower verses. The catchy lyrics are irresistible to sing along to. Not only does it have a good rhythm, but the message is also heart-touching, captivating the mind and soul. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one or friend will instantly connect with this song, a transition to “Two Coffins.” The only acoustic track stands alone against the mostly one-tone sound of the album with soothing guitar, a soft drumbeat, and a profound melody. Grace explores the concept of death in not only reference to loved ones, but to oneself. Her lyrics juxtapose the joy in life with the disheartening realities of mortality. The tune that has the power to provoke tears, yet bring on a sense of content. The album comes to a perfect end with “Black Me Out.” Embodying strength and anger, this track fully showcases Grace’s frustrations. Rebellious lyrics, strong vocals, and raging guitars convey a sense of

Image from Against Me! Facebook

power and resilience, ending in brilliant punk rock fashion. Transgender Dysphoria Blues is a progressive masterpiece. This perfectly crafted album brings a new light to the genre of punk as well as the issues that the album highlights. The album is a hopeful beginning to a change in punk where music is more than just music. Capitalizing on traditional punk traits, Against Me! redefines the genre by infusing contemporary societal issues with wrenching lyrics and pounding instrumentals.

by C2 Labuy



Volume 110, Issue 5

February 21, 2014

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like artistry of death

photo courtesy of

At 8:00 a.m. on a brisk winter morning, 110 enthusiastic students embarked on a Valentine’s Day journey to BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life at the Milwaukee Public Museum to discover what truly makes the heart beat. These Wildcats witnessed a vast display of modern, mummified corpses. Students seized the opportunity to explore one of five exhibits traveling through America. “It wasn’t what I initially expected. I could see more than the full bodies; I could see the blood vessels, the nerves, and basically every little part of the human body,” said junior Mira Wallace. “The cell part especially applied to my biology class and I can see how it easily ties in with other classes that went like Anatomy and Physiology and Medic a l

Terminology.” Through a process called plastination, doctors are able to preserve human bodies in various positions by replacing water and lipid tissues with polymers. That way, the corpses retain the highest quality of educational specimens of the body while remaining preserved. This overwhelming authenticity rendered many students shocked as well as oddly intrigued. “We got to see a different point of view instead of just dissecting cats. I could see the human body and what it looks like kind of all torn-up and exposed. Seeing how you look from the inside out is kind of scary,” said Wallace. “Set up to guide viewers through stages of life, BODY WORLDS & the Cycle of Life begins with the phases of fetus development. “It was cool to see how within a couple weeks the fetuses grew bigger,” said senior Katherine Ruark. “I could see it on their faces in the eyelashes and teeth. I kept thinking how real they looked and then I realized that they weren’t just detailed dolls. They were real. How they were so little and could still look so much like a grown human was so weird.” Despite uneasiness that accompanies a room full of fleshless corpses, students appreciated the experience. “It was kind of scary and sad, but those were really interesting to get to see in depth,” said junior Chloe Knudtson. “I’ve never seen anything like that before. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime feeling for me to see things like that just frozen in time.” Body Worlds strategically exposes a broad portrayal of human life. Fetuses transitioned to adults and isolated

organ systems are introduced in a variety of displays. Going further than organ structures, the bodies are creatively organized for optimal anatomical viewing. “There was one called ‘The Dancer’ that had on a single ballet shoe that was pretty artsy,” senior Macy Koch said. “I liked the theme they put in the exhibit, putting full bodies in action poses.” One of the biggest displays is a man split vertically in slices, which displays an astonishing strata of the human anatomy. “There were two full-body figure skaters that really got my interest,” said Wallace. “I could see a lot of the muscle definition between a man and woman right next to each other and the whole outline of our muscular system.” Whether marginally disturbed or extremely fascinated, students found meaning in the the exhibit of life. “I thought it was really interesting to see the lungs and how much of an effect that smoking has on the lungs and how much smoking can really hurt a person,” Knudtson said. “They didn’t just put a healthy lung next to a chronic smoking lung, they showed prints of a lung full of tar and lungs with tumors. I thought that amplified consequences of smoking.” Full body displays, cross sections, and individual bodily systems provided an interesting selection for every student regardless of nausea. “It was neat to see everything that was inside a body and how it all fits inside,” said senior Zach Walker. “Like, how does thirty feet of intestines fit inside of a five foot nine person?” Students handled the content with maturity. Captivated by depictions of the human body, students found themselves enthralled by each aspect of life that the exhibit offered. The man behind the bodies, Gunther von Hagens, invented the

genius plastination process, and arranges all displays. “I think the coolest section was the blood vessel part. They shed everything down except for the blood vessels,” said Walker. “It got demented to think about the time and finesse it must have taken a person to do that to a body since blood vessels are everywhere. It opened my eyes to the things in our bodies that we would never see in textbooks or basically anywhere else otherwise.” Visiting BODY WORLDS & the Cycle of Life seemed to be a valuable experience for students. “It’s kind of weird sometimes, but it’s still tasteful as a whole,” said UW Biology teacher Sara Dobish. “Walking around and listening to [students] talk about it was the best part of the trip. A group of kids that I was near had a lot of good, philosophical conversations about what they were looking at. The purpose of the trip wasn’t to be so structured as it is in classrooms. I enjoyed seeing students get interested in what they were looking at.” With over 200 bodies in the exhibit, students were able to scrutinize the inner workings of life which furthered understanding of their own bodies and internal anatomy. “Being able to see the whole human body in such an exposed, physical state might have grossed or freaked out some people,” said Knudtson. “But I have always had the feeling that I would go into the medical field, and seeing all the different parts of the human body like the muscles and the structures of the body was important. The exhibit helped a lot of people figure out what they wanted to go into, whether they want to go into the health field or not.”

by Keoni Bailey

On Saturday, February 1, 18 determined West students led by club advisor and business teacher Jeff Becker fought the treacherously cold winter weather to compete at the Region VI FBLA Leadership Conference in Chilton, Wisconsin. These students competed in a wide variety of events ranging from global business to graphic design to hospitality management. The club dealt with a unique challenge. For 14 of the Wildcat representatives, it was their first FBLA competition. First year participant and junior Colin Boyle felt sure of his performance and the abilities of the team. “I felt a few rookie jitters, but felt very confident about the knowledge of my topic and had a ton of confidence in my teammates,” he said. Competing against 500 local students on over 20 regional high school teams, students embraced the competitive atmosphere. Considering West had a fairly young and unseasoned squad, Becker was very pleased with the outcome of his team’s performance. “I think we rocked the house. Other schools brought way more students than we did and hardly had any kids either place or advance,” he said. “Out of the 18 kids we took, 16 placed and eight advanced to State. I would say that is pretty incredible.” As the afternoon wound down, there was only one event left on the agenda: the award ceremony. “The award ceremony is very nerve racking,” said junior Lindsey Sweeting.

“There’s over 50 events that they need to call the results for, and they don’t go in alphabetical order. You sit there hoping for a top five finish, and you keep wondering if you put in all of the time and hard work for nothing.” West had 14 students place in the top eight and six are advancing on to state. Becker has confidence in the outcome for Wildcats at the upcoming competition. “State is very difficult, but everyone has a shot. I would say I will have four groups place at State, and possibly have eight students advance to Nationals,” he said. Students are also very excited about the rare shot to represent their school at the State tournament. “I hope we can go to Appleton and give it our best, meet some cool people, and hopefully move on to Nationals,” said Derr. Competing at the state level requires an immense amount of knowledge regarding the student’s topic. Although the State tournament may be a few months away, many students are already beginning to prepare for their event. “Because my event is impromptu speaking, there isn’t much I can do to prepare for the business side of it,” said senior Katrina Schiedemeyer. “I plan to broaden my horizons on general business topics and practice speaking within the time limits, so hopefully I can be ready for whatever they throw at me.”

by Logan Myers

graphic by Noah Ludwig

FBLA looks to cash-in through State experience Congratulations to the FBLA members going to State!

Dispatch from Former I work in a country that former Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice once described as an “outpost of tyranny.” Seven years later, Barack Obama made a historic visit to the very same nation to “extend the hand of friendship,” a reference to a pledge by the president to engage with the world’s most repressive governments, if only they first “unclench their fist.” Myanmar, a Buddhist-majority country formerly known as Burma, has done just that in recent years and is the talk of the town these days in Southeast Asia, undertaking an ambitious reform program after decades ruled by one of the world’s most brutal military dictatorships. When early last year I was offered the chance to write for a magazine in the country, I couldn’t say no. But that was not before an 18-month stint in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation and a country of astounding ethnic, cultural and geographic scope, among some 14,000 islands across an archipelago that straddles 3,000 miles of the equator. Three months after I graduated from Northwestern (and more than four years since I helped put my last issue of The Index to bed), I found myself in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, a sprawling and chaotic Southeast Asian metropolis of 10 million people, where I had taken a journalism felphoto by Andrew Kaspar lowship. I had been seeking adventure and, A Buddha sits amid a complex of pagodas near Inle Lake in Myanmar. The Southeast Asian country is in the midst of reform following decades of dictatorship. as a journalism major, was looking down the barrel of a very intimidating job market stateside, so I bought a ticket to a summited four volcanoes, drank one shot of cobra blood, a potent force for change and sometimes wholesale revolucity sitting pretty much opposite and witnessed the funereal slaughter of more than a dozen tion, the former military rulers of Myanmar deprived their the globe from my former Chi- water buffaloes, among other quantifiable firsts, it was people of the Internet as best they could. It was part of a broader effort to silence criticism of the government, and cago campus. After spending 18 time to move on. that gag was particularly stifling on the press. Private daily A Buddhist temple in months at a newspaper The former “outpost of tyranny” beckoned. Bagan, Myanmar. editing job that was In 2011, something quite unexpected happened in newspapers, until last year, had been banned since the professionally unfulfill- Myanmar. The government began to enact reforms that early 1960s. Weekly journals were required to submit each ing but nonetheless served focused on democratization of the long-oppressive state. issue to the country’s censorship board before publication, as the vehicle for my bap- In the years since, more than 1,000 political prisoners and these authorities’ red pens spared nothing deemed tism into the life of an ex- have been released, a free press has been allowed to carve even remotely sensitive, critical or controversial. Today, the media has been one of the biggest benpatriate in a region of the out a role for itself in the national conversation, and Aung world that immediately San Suu Kyi, an internationally renowned democracy icon eficiaries of a reforming Myanmar. The censorship board enthralled me, I began who was placed under house arrest for the better part of 20 was abolished, and one week before my first day on the job here, eight daily newspapers published their first issue to look elsewhere. years for her activism, was elected to Parliament. Having These are heady days here for the advocates of people as the freshman class of a trade that had been illegal for power, but the legacy of a half-century of brutal military 50 years. Myanmar may well be the only country in the world right now where print newspapers are thriving in an dictatorship remains. Years of Western sanctions and gross economic mis- industry otherwise struggling to survive. And in Myanmar, there’s much to be debated, and management by the military regime have left Myanmar a backward place in many ways. Blackouts are common, a profound need for a vibrant press to facilitate these but at least we have electricity in Yangon, the com- discussions. I work in a country that can unenviably boast of mercial capital of a country in which 70 percent of people have no power at all. ATMs were non- grappling with the longest-running civil war on the planet. existent until late 2011, and if stricken with a medical ailment any more serious than a common cold, you seek treatment outside the country—assuming you can afford it. The hospitals here are just that bad. Internet access is limited, and the a ccess t hat does exist comes with agon izi ngly slow connection speeds. But the sorely u nderdeveloped telecommunications i nf rast r uct u re, at least, was as much an intentional shortcom i ng as it was the product of inept governance. Fearing online activism, which has globally proven to be

photo courtesy of

Index alum reflects on time as journalist in Myanmar

‘Outpost of Tyranny’ More than a dozen different armed rebel groups exist and have fought for decades—some more than 60 years— against the central government, seeking independence or at least a measure of greater autonomy. These ethnic rebel groups are now engaged in discussions with the government, and many of them have signed ceasefires— the precursor, it is hoped, to a lasting peace. Ethnic reconciliation, transitional justice, constitutional reform—these are the issues at the forefront of the conversation here, and beyond this there are stories to be told of personal triumph, social injustice and economic rebirth. For 50 years, a proper accounting of the life and times of Myanmar’s people has been suppressed. In the daily telling of this tale, I am privileged to call an incredible cast of characters my colleagues. One was kicked out of university because his father opposed the oppressive military regime. Another picked up a gun to join in a campaign of armed resistance against the very same government. My boss spent eight years in jail, a prisoner of conscience who was put behind bars at the age of 18 because he was a young democracy activist. These are the people I work with and live among. Collectively, their story is one of struggle for very basic freedoms that most Americans take for granted: the right to speak one’s mind, the right to vote, the right to publicly gather in groups of more than five people. Until recently, an attempt to do any of these things meant jail time, torture or death. I’ve interviewed a blogger who rose to prominence as an e-dissident, and was eventually sentenced to 20 years in prison for his outspoken online opposition to the government. Freed in 2012 as part of several amnesties that the reformist government has granted since it took power, Nay Phone Latt now leads an organization that teaches rural communities digital literacy. Successive generations of Myanmar’s people have struggled for democracy, beginning long before Nay Phone Latt and his contemporaries took the fight to the Internet. Before 2011, plenty of historical precedent—from student activists gunned down en mass in 1988 to protesting Buddhist monks beaten into submission 19 years later—had proven “hope” to be a silly thing to invest in. In conversations that I’ve had with locals over the last 10 months, however, their hopes today for a better tomorrow have inspired me. But it’s not all roses in the new Myanmar. Not by a long shot. The military maintains a strong hold on the

photo by Andrew Kaspar The fisherman of Myanmar’s Inle Lake are known for their distinctive “leg rowing,” which frees their hands to net the day’s catch.

political trajectory of the country, and the debilitating grip of poverty continues to hold back the vast majority of people from realizing their full potential. Deeply rooted prejudices persist, sometimes resulting in frightening bouts of deadly intercommunal violence. And the laudable progress that has been made in opening up this country’s media environment looks precarious at best. Four journalists were detained on Feb. 1, charged with revealing state secrets and possibly facing the death penalty. In mid-January, my own magazine was called out by name in state media, along with The Associated Press, both accused of “falsely reporting and instigating

unrest.” At the time of this writing, two members of our foreign staff had just been denied visa renewals, and were forced to leave the country. By the time the Index goes to print, I could well be the next de facto deportee, as my visa expires at the end of February. The press, which had for more than a year reveled in the newfound joy of an almost unfettered right to write, is beginning to feel the squeeze of a government that may be having second thoughts about its reforms. Anyone who claims to know the fate of Myanmar over the coming years is a fool. The optimists who insist that there is no putting the “genie” of democracy back into the bottle are naïve. The pessimists who see little hope for a country long under the boot of military oppression are equally misguided. This uncertainty is precisely the reason I’m here. There is a fascinating story that needs telling, and the fact that a happy ending is far from assured but not out of reach, that every day brings signs of progress and backsliding in equal measure, is a journalist’s playground, a daily raison d’etre. We write to inform, and on the best of days, our words have some influence, educating the electorate and helping to guide public policy. With pen and notepad in hand, I too believe today that a better tomorrow is possible. For now, this graduate of the OWHS Class of 2007 has chosen Myanmar. Where will you find yourself in six years’ time, and for what reason? There is much to be learned, and retained, from a life born and raised in the Fox Valley, but beyond the walls of Oshkosh West High School, a baff ling world awaits. Exposure to this, in my experience, is at times challenging and rarely comfortable, but incalculably rewarding. Whether it’s Southeast Asia or South Sudan or Schenectady, whether it’s journalism or humanitarian work or business prospecting, buy a ticket and take the ride. It’s well worth the trip.

photo by Andrew Kaspar A pair of Buddhas inside a temple in Bagan, Myanmar. The region’s recent progress into democratic principles is under attack by traditionalists and prejudicial hardlines.

by Andrew Kaspar

Vol. 110 Issue 5  
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