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As Amer ica slides th rough internati on 19 rankings al 17from g p educatio n economy to the , citizens define w hat it me to be Am ans erican.

MARCH 15 2013

FOLLOW US @wsspaper






West will welcome a new vice principal this fall. Get the scoop on who got the spot out of 62 applicants from all over the United States.



These West students are using their powers for good and fighting for causes from animal cruelty to helmet laws.

[17-21] IN-DEPTH

LOSING OUR ALLEGIANCE With a slipping economic status and academic rankings, some believe America the Beautiful has fallen from its former glory. However, many citizens remain loyal to the States.

[28-29]HEALTH Does America need a fix? [pg. 17-19]


It is the policy of the Iowa City Community School not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, martial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, disability or socioeconomic programs, activities, or employment practices. If you believe you have (or your child has) been discriminated against or treated unjustly at your school, please contact the Equity Director, Ross Wilburn, at 509 Dubuque Street, 319-688-1000.


The West Side Story reflects the views of the staff and does not represent the school administration, faculty or student body. Guest articles may be accepted to represent an additional point of view or as a part of a collection of reader contributions. The staff will carefully scrutinize all reader submissions. All ads are subject to approval by the business staff. Those that are libelous, obscene or plainly offensive may be rejected. The West Side Story attempts to publish all letters, which must be signed, to the Editors, but may reject submissions due to space limitations, inaccuracy or poor quality. It is the responsibility of the opinion editor to verify authorship. Editors can make minor edits for the sake of clarity, length and grammatical correctness.

Our food makes a few stops between the farm and the cafeteria, and usually gains GMOs somewhere in between. Read on to find out what’s really on your lunch tray. Juliann Skarda Editor-in-Chief Shirley Wang Design Editor, Front/back Ed. Ashton Duncan Managing Editor Amelia Moser Copy Editor Frannie Rizzo Business Editor Hannah Merrill News Editor Pombie Silverman A &E Editor Olive Carrollhach In depth Editor, Artist Katie Mons Feature Editor Velarchana Santhana Feature Editor Blake Oetting Profiles Editor, Sports Ed. Abbie Skemp Photographer, Sports Ed. Jordan Rossen Columns Editor Brenna Deerberg Editorial Editor, News Ed. Frank Weirich Photo Editor Leela Sathyaputri Comics Editor, Artist Hannah Muellerleile Photographer, Designer Erin Weathers Photographer, Designer Amiela Canin Writer Megumi Kitamoto Writer Brittani Langland Writer Lushia Anson Writer, Designer Kaitlyn McCurdy Writer, Designer Aileen Norris Ad Designer Alyssa Mckeone Designer Tyler Voss Designer Sara Jane Whittaker Adviser Fiona Armstrong-Pavlik Web copy Editor Audrey Hopewell Web copy Editor Zora Hurst Web Editor Paul Curry Video Editor





{Design by Fiona armstrong-pavlik}

what’s new on:

weekly web posts: Intro to Newspaper students have been hard at work on photostories, reviews, tutorials and student profiles. They range from coverage of a typical speech and debate or show choir tournament to how to make a braided headband. See them all at

See all WSS videos here:

Let’s face it, Wednesdays are hard. Luckily, there’s Webcomic Wednesdays to get you through it. It’s genius art and hilarious ideas, and it’s sure to make the middle of the week just a little bit easier. See all the past editions and anticipate future hilariousness on our website. If you’re looking for major musical inspiration or just a new song or two, check out “My week in music” on the website, where Zora Hurst ’13 chronicled a song for every day of the week, ranging from the “math rock” to music for “techno hippies.”


The West Side Story wants students with any interest in writing, photography, illustration, design or journalism in general to register for Intro to Newspaper next year. If you’re not convinced, just watch Paul Curry ’14’s “We want YOU to register for Intro. to Newspaper” video. By the end, you’ll be running to change your 2013-14 schedule to make room for the best class at West. COMPilED by//audrey hopewell


{Design by shirley wang}


Sharing our plates If people are what they eat, then thousands of children around the world will be products of West student’s work. In shifts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 27, West volunteers will ready over 3,500 meals for shipment to various countries overseas. Event coordinators Chelsea Barry ’13, Megan Donohoe ’14, Justin Barry ’15, Abby Hellem ’14 and Mareda Smith ’15 are working to recruit as

many people as possible for this opportunity. Kids Against Hunger is a national program that has already changed hundreds of thousands of families lives across the globe. West team leaders encourage all students to get involved by signing up for a shift on Facebook or donating money online to those volunteering via COMPilED by//Olive Carrollhach



Add another to the list of perfect ACT scores at West High. Stephen Bork ’14 aced his second attempt at the test, but the news has taken a while to sink in. “My reaction was one of total incredulity. I felt [the test] went well but not terribly exemplary. I thought they got the wrong person,” he said. Bork learned from his first swing at the test, deciding to review specific sections more heavily in preparation for his re-take. “I had to review science stuff so I got a crash course book. It wasn’t massive review or anything,” Bork said. His suggestion for first-time test-takers is to relax. “For the first time, it feels big and important, but overcoming the fear of ‘it’s out to get me’ is more of a problem than filling out the bubbles,” Bork said. COMPilED by//blake oetting PHOTO by//ABBIE SKEMP

When Abby Walling ’15 heard about the effects of global climate change, she was determined to find a way to prevent it. Walling began conducting research on creating cellulosic ethanol from backyard grass, which could decrease the greenhouse gas emissions by 85% compared to gasoline. Hoping to spread the knowledge of this alternative fuel source, she began taking

her research to science fairs. “I feel relaxed at the science fairs because I enjoy discussing my research with people,” Walling said. Her science fair experiences have allowed her to win awards and scholarships. Walling will pursue her research by participating in an internship at a University of Iowa laboratories.



Jeah (gee-uh)

A term used to express joy or exuberance. Derived from “yeah,” made famous by Ryan Lochte’s twitter.

Daily use: “I mean, jeah.” Excited: “JEAHHHH!!!!!!”

4 28

COMPilED by//blake oetting

COMPilED by//brittani langland


@wsspaper asked West High students

What is your lucky charm? @NextRedMamba My old Twins hat!

Zach Richmond ’14Chase Blatz ’16


I keep a gold coin from NY in my pocket at all times Ben Nelson ’15


My mom doesn’t allow sugar cereals. Greg Ludwig ’13 COMPilED by//megumi kitamoto

Thousand dollar increase in minimum pay for beginning teachers. The minimum amount a new teacher can be paid is now $32,000.

Students who are National Merit Finalists at West High and City High.

COMPilED by//alyssa mckeone

04 NEWS MARCH 2013 { “I’m going back to Champaign, ILL. to see my friends from before I moveD.” - Amy Man ’14




United States (Kansas) A seven-month-old in Kansas ended up in the ER with a lump on her neck. Her body was trying to expel a feather she had swallowed through her skin. United States (California) Using Romney’s assertion that corporations should be treated as “people,” a California man tried to utilize the carpool lanes with only a stack of corporate papers as his passenger. He was fined.


Ireland The city council in Kerry, Ireland voted to legalize drunk driving in order to allow their senior citizens to socialize more frequently at the pubs.

Belgium In Belgium, a 67-year-old woman blames distraction for her botched drive to a nearby train station. She was three countries away in Croatia before she asked for directions. COMPILED BY//BRENNA DEERBERG

West High hires new assistant principal West High has been in the process of selecting a new assistant principal after former assistant principal Francisco Pepin left for a dean of students position in Calif. BY ALYSSA McKEONE

assistant principal and temporarily took over many of Pepin’s responsibilities. The application and interview process had several waves. After reviewing various materials each candidate submitted, head principal Jerry Arganbright and assistant principal Molly Abraham selected five candidates. These candidates were then interviewed by Arganbright and Abraham, a committee of teachers, other faculty members such as custodians and hall monitors and two parents. Students were anticipated to have more input in the selection of the new assistant principal but this wasn’t possible with many tests students have at the end of the trimester. “It made for a great process of people feeling like they were involved with who’s going to be the new assistant principal,” said Robb Medd, a West High band instructor. The process included a wide range of people which ensured that a variety of opinions were able to con-

tribute to the hiring process. “When major decisions happen in this school there’s always plenty of input from students and staff, not just people working in this building,” said West High math teacher Joye Walker. Committee members said the process of narrowing down a pool of around 60 candidates to five candidates was difficult and labor intensive. However, they looked for a set of certain traits that they believed would make a candidate a good fit at West. “We wanted to have someone that everyone felt comfortable working with,” Medd said. According to Medd, the committee also evaluated candidates on traits such as enthusiasm, communication skills and their ability to adjust to a new environment. “We wanted people with good people skills and the ability to work with the diversity of students and staff that we have at West High and in the community,” he said.

RUMOR BUSTER Numbered stairwells for construction workers?

Students may have noticed numbers posted above West High’s stairwells this year. According to Principal Jerry Arganbright, these labels were put in place to adhere to fire department regulations. “Police and fire want to have as much information about [buildings involved in emergency situations as possible] —especially large buildings,” Arganbright said. The numbered stairwells are intended to help emergency responders pinpoint situations that need attending to.


Ms. Schollmeier retiring

After 20 years of advisIn a school of nearly 2,000 stuing West High students, Peg dents, it’s essential that a strong set Schollmeier is retiring at the of administrators are present. Afend of this school year. ter assistant Before working at West principal High, Schollmeier was emFrancisco Peployed in different areas of pin resigned, the education field. SchollWest High meier said that after teaching was left with elementary music and workan opening ing in college residence halls this past year. she “reached a point where Through a I wanted to make a change Colby Miller, new n applicacareer-wise.” assistant principal tion process Schollmeier said she looks that began in forward to travelling more, Dec. 2012, one person was selected reading and volunteering. from a pool of over 60 candidates. However, Schollmeier said The new assistant principal is Colthe thing she will miss most by Miller. He previously worked about working at West High as an assistant administrator at is “getting to work with a Roosevelt Middle School in Cedar bunch of different students Rapids. and parents. … You’re defi“I am looking forward to being nitely never bored.” able to work with high quality professionals, remarkable students and getting to serve a great community in Iowa,” Miller said. COMPILED BY BRENNA DEERBERG Jeff Wieck has been an interim “I AM GOING TO CANCUN, MEXICO TO HANG OUT ON THE BEACH.” - SENÉAD SHORT ’15 } MARCH 2013 NEWS 05



ABOVE: West High students traveled to Xicotepec as part of the trip last year.


Service to Mexico

The Iowa Rotary Club organized a trip to Xicotepec, Mexico over spring break. Several West High students will be participating in the volunteer opportunity. BY BRITTANI LANGLAND

When you think of spring break, you may imagine skiing on mountains, relaxing by beaches, or hanging out with friends. So doing long hours of volunteer work in a different country may seem out of the picture. For a few students, however, those long hours will become a reality. Students from West and City will be attending a service trip in Xicotepec, Mexico. This will be the 11th consecutive year for the trip, which is organized by the Rotary Club. The overall goal of is to improve the town of Xicotepec in every way possible. They will be traveling with University of Iowa medical and dental students who will help locals receive health care, including a deworming project for many schoolchildren.

West High students will help out trip with his father last year. Origiby doing a variety of jobs. Some will nally, he wanted to go on a medical be doing physical labor by help- service trip to Haiti after the earthing build houses and doing chores quake in 2010 but was unable to do at orphanages. Others will focus so. When looking for a different primarily on medical activities by service trip, his grandfather recomtranslating for mended the doctors and by Xicotepec trip. helping Red Miller applied Cross patients. to go and had They will also a great experiyour eyes and entertain and ence. interact with “The best the local youth. memory was “I am most seeing the how genereous excited about kids’ faces at making new the orphanage friends and receive new being able to shoes,” said make a difMiller. -Anna Mondanaro ’14 ference in the The Xicotec o m m u n i t y,” pec service trip said Zach Miller ’13, who will be offers the experience of a different attending the Xicotepec trip for the culture. second time. Miller went on the “It really opens your eyes and

It really opens

shows you

people are.”

shows you how generous people are even when they don’t have much to give,” said Anna Mondanaro ’14, who will be attending the trip for a second time as well. Bonding with the kids in the orphanage was the highlight of Mondanaro’s time there last year. She looks forward to going again this year. “I’m really excited to see all of the local kids that we made friends with last year,” Mondanaro said. However, not all the participants from West have been on the trip before. This will be Molly Lipman’s ’15 first year going to Xicotepec. “I’m going because it’s a really great opportunity to help some people that are very much in need of it,” Lipman said. It will not be all hard work however. Lipman said she is excited to play with local kids and learn to cook authentic Mexican food.


BELOW: Members of the West High Drumline play “Percussion Cadenza.” LEFT: “[‘Pity the Child’ is a song] I’ve been wanting to perform, so I was happy to have the opportunity,” said Nicolas Wagner ’13. MIDDLE LEFT: Katie Milani ’13 dances “Skinny Love.”



Kasra Zarei ’13 and Ji-Eun Choi ’13 cited a hope to motivate an interest in the arts when they organized an arts festival to benefit Iowa MOST — the Iowa Miles of Smiles Team, an organization devoted to funding cleft lip surgery for children. The event featured performances from students involved in the arts at West. “I think [performances are] really powerful and can ... move people to help,” said Brittany

Todd ’13. “It was really cool to showcase all the hidden talent, too. I didn’t know that half the people could do what they could do.” In the auditorium lobby West students and alumni displayed artwork. EATS club and local restaurants provided refreshments. “What is most appealing to me is that we’re using all the resources available to us to put this on. I want to inspire other kids,” Zarei said. “I think it would be cool to [make it a] tradition,” Nick Wagner ’13 added.

ABOVE: “It’s my first time [getting to show my art], so it’s nice to get my name out,” said Colleen de Matta ’14. RIGHT: Refreshments included food from Masala, Mondo’s, Java House,Yotopia and more. “I AM GOING TO COLO. TO SKI FOR A WEEK.” -YAIR ABRAMOFF ’15} MARCH 2013 NEWS 07

08 ADS MARCH 2013





Every day west high students show the world you don’t have to be masked to be a super hero.

Minimal to the max


Sarah Kolder ’13 is serious about minimalism, and she shaved off 7 inches of hair to prove it. Along with being co-president of COLORS, West’s gay-straight alliance club, and president of the theatre board, Kolder is a member of Student Senate, the American Civil Liberties Union and the University of Iowa chapter of the Association for India’s Development, attending their meetings regularly. On top of all of this, Kolder is an advocate for minimalism. “I’m a minimalist out of solidarity for the over half of the world that struggles to get enough food,” she said. According to Kolder, minimalism is a practice of kinship for the people of the world. Her passion for the cause was sparked last summer when she attended the International Diplomacy Youth Leadership Program at American University in Washington D.C. The group watched a video about a rich African actor attempting to step into the shoes of a hardworking villager surviving with little food. According to Kolder, watching the actor last less than a week in these conditions opened her eyes to changes she would like to see in the world. “That documentary really pointed out what I don’t want to be,” she said. According to Kolder, the villagers’ ability to find joy in life in spite of living in adverse conditions motivated her to speak out against materialism. To spread her message about the luxury that many take for granted, Kolder decided to shave her head.

Her goal was to make people consider the time and money required to maintain long hair. “A lot of people responded [to my shorter hair] with compliments ... or comments on how they could never pull it off. It sounds unappreciative, but it made me kind of sad. A lot of people really missed the point I was getting at … When I told people why I did it they were generally very impressed,” Kolder said. With shorter hair, Kolder respects those who may not have the same luxuries. For similar reasons, Kolder limits her shopping and amount of clothing. “My need for material objects is not greater than my [appreciation] and love for the world and its people,” she said. Kolder says a simple way for people to be more minimalistic is to drive a hybrid vehicle or limit driving time altogether when biking and walking are not suitable options. However, she believes a true minimalist should have a vegan diet. “The meat, dairy and egg [industries] contribute more to global warming than the entire transportation industry,” she said. Kolder believes a vegan lifestyle not only reduces one’s carbon footprint but also shows respect towards those who do not have the same luxuries. Kolder believes pursuing her cause of minimalism has broadened her outlook on the world. “My love for travel became a love for people, and from there it’s this ever growing appreciation for happiness and life,” Kolder said.


“I’m a minimalist out of solidarity for the over half of the world that struggles to get enough food.” -Sarah Kolder ‘13


Red and white on the green

As veterans return home, they strive to obtain a sense of ‘normalcy.’ This includes participating in fun activities and sports such as golf. Drew Haas ’13 volunteers with the GIVE Foundation (Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere), teaching golf to injured veterans. Influenced by his father, a professional golfer, Haas’ passion for golf started at a young age. “I enjoy golf because it is a game where you rely only on yourself to perform well. If you make a mistake, it is all on you, and there is no one else to blame. In one way or another, it makes you responsible for your actions,” Haas said.


Hope for the future Many West High graduates are off at college, worrying about passing finals. Some return to Iowa City now and then to greet family and friends, but few come back to devote themselves to a local cause. Founders of “Hope for a Helmet” Leah Murray ’12, Olivia Lofgren ’12 and Caroline Van Voorhis ’12 have continued to support the bill despite their new lives as college students. Hope for a Helmet is a campaign to pass a helmet law for moped riders under 18. They started the effort after their friend, former West student Caroline Found, died in a moped accident in Aug. 2011. “I don’t think anyone should have to start their senior year going to a friend’s funeral … I want to save [others] that emotional loss,” Murray said. Van Voorhis agreed. “You don’t realize how impactful it is until it personally affects you,” she said.

As the girls work to get the Transportation Committee in the Iowa Senate to address their bill, they are forced to try new approaches. Lofgren stressed the importance of people speaking up to persuade lawmakers. “This is when the people help the most — while we wait, it is crucial that people who support this bill email the senators expressing their support,” she said. The three grads and others who have joined the effort have been working to convince legislators through emails, petitions and, more recently, a letter to the editor that they sent to 21 newspapers across the state. “The ‘heros’ are all the wonderful people, friends and family who support us and our cause. We wouldn’t be where we are at today if it weren’t for them,” Lofgren said.

Haas has played on West High’s golf team since freshman year and is currently captain of the varsity team. Haas’ dedication to golf led him to donate his time and skills to the GIVE Foundation. Haas learned about the GIVE Foundation through his father, who helped establish it. “Over the summer, I usually spend one day a week down at Blue Top Ridge at Riverside Casino and Golf Resort doing whatever I can to help my dad and the veterans out,” Haas said. When volunteering with the GIVE Foundation, Haas teaches veterans basic golf techniques and etiquette.

He also helps program participants learn how to communicate with other golfers. “[Teaching injured veterans] is the least I can do for these brave men and women who have risked their lives for protecting our country’s freedom,” Haas said. For Haas, seeing the veterans smile as they play the game is a gratifying experience. “[The most rewarding part of teaching veterans is] when I can see they are truly enjoying themselves playing a game that I have helped them learn,” Haas said.

“I don’t think anyone should have to start their senior year going to a friend’s funeral … I want to save [others] that emotional loss,” -Leah Murray ‘12



By Brenna Deerberg

Three students at West High are clocking in to work while their classmates snooze and study. PHOTO by//abbie skemp

12 PROFILES MARCH 2013 { “I’m going to be working at Iowa City Landscaping.” -Kristen LinebacK ’13


It isn’t uncommon for high school students to work part-time after their tests are taken and their math homework is completed. It is uncommon, however, for a student to balance school and over 35 hours of work each week. Michael Clement ’14 spends his considerable work hours split between the Pizza Huts in North Liberty and Coralville, both of which are owned by the same people. With so many daylight hours spent between school and work doing “everything in the store but the de-

Most job-seeking seniors find employment at a place where they push buttons on a cash register day-in and day-out. For Lily Huber ’13, work involves much more than mindless monotony. Huber spends 30-35 hours a week as a caretaker for a 15-year-old, nonverbal, wheelchair-bound girl. After school, Huber picks up the girl from her bus stop and stays with her until her mom gets home around nine o’clock. Huber said a large portion of her job is “taking care of basic personal hygiene skills.”

’13 :Caretaker

“Anything that you and I would do to get ready for bed at night she can’t do by herself,” Huber said. Between caregiving and light housework Huber has a bit of downtime during which she does her homework. Additionally, Huber has several opens which she utilizes for homework time. While Huber doesn’t find keeping up with school to be a challenge, despite her busy schedule, she does face challenges in her job. “It’s exhausting because you’re caring for yourself and another person,” Huber said. “It’s emotion-

Not many high schoolers are given the opportunity to have control over a group of potentially older people, but as a shift manager at Noodles and Co, Rachel Stovall ’13 wields the power. Stovall, who works an average of 20 hours during a week with about 15 of those falling on week nights, is in charge of managing labor hours, keeping track of money and

’14 :Pizza Hut Employee

liveries,” Clement said it becomes a struggle to both get homework completed and more than four hours of sleep every night. “It’s kind of a budgeting act,” said Clement. “You pick and choose which grade you’re willing to sacrifice.” Working so many hours is also a budgeting act in that Clement uses the extra money to pay for miscellaneous expenses, like the $3000 school trip he plans to take. While working so many hours can take a toll on Clement, he said

getting to “have more social interaction with people who aren’t at home,” makes it worthwhile. “You can make an impact on someone who’s having a bad day,” Clement said.

ally exhausting [because I spend] hours at a time without talking to anyone.” Huber said the hardest part of her job is “not being able to ask her what she needs.” Despite the challenges, Huber said she loves her job and it will be useful in the future. “I plan to go into special education, so it’s a really great experience for me to have,” Huber said. “I really enjoy it.”

’13 :Noodles Manager

“making sure everybody is doing their jobs.” Stovall chose to take on this extra responsibility when her General Manager offered her the position after two years on the job. “I wanted to make more money and I wanted to have a position at work that reflected how long I’ve worked there,” Stovall said. While a manager position can cut

into Stovall’s homework time and free time, she said it is worth it because you become much better at your job if you work more hours. “I know which nights I have to work so I try not to leave a lot of homework for those nights,” Stovall said. “You get a lot more out of having a job if you work more.”


Choose your weapon We live in a country that values freedom of speech, and we are always surrounded by the commotion of people expressing themselves.The words we use to express these opinions may, however, mean a lot more than we think. BY LUSHIA ANSON PHOTOS BY// ERIN WEATHERS


and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me!” Our days of running on the blacktop during recess and chanting this at the “meanie-heads” who dared call us names are long over. As we grew up, so did our vocabulary, and as a result, many students today find themselves walking the thin line between what is offensive and what is appropriate. Not only do certain words have meanings or implications the user may be unaware of, but a person’s choice of words can play a big part in defining how they are perceived by others. There is an abundance of derogatory terms in the modern English vocabulary, several of which are the result of misuse. Words like “gay” or “retarded,” among others, are innocuous in their actual meanings, but are commonly used with negative connotations. “[I hear these words being misused] daily,” said Matthew Murry ’14. “I hear it in the hallways, at lunch, in class.” The use of words such as “gay” and “retarded” in place of a negative adjective such as “stupid” is not only offensive to individuals who are actually gay or retarded. According to some West students, word choice may also say a lot about a person’s character. “I think the English language provides a plethora of really great negative words,” Murry said. “If you can’t find a better one, it just shows how limited your vocabulary is.” According to Murry, offensive negative language is almost an instinctual response among many, and students may be prone to carelessly using those words without

considering their actual meanings. “[People] hear it, and it becomes commonplace, and they think it’s okay to say it, when in reality it has implications that they’re completely unaware of,” he said. “In all honesty, when kids say things that are put-downs, I really don’t think that they think about what they’re saying at all,” said teacher Jenifer Secrist. “When you react based on emotion, your thought process usually stops. I don’t think they’re using it... as a put-down to individuals who are [gay or retarded]. I think they really, in their mind, are switching it with the word ‘stupid.’” Dan Kauble ’13, an openly gay student, agrees that the misuse of these terms is not necessarily a matter of malevolence. “I kind of understand where people are coming from with it, because they sort of grew up with it ... I know that more than likely they have no clue what they’re saying ... I don’t really feel like they’re targeting gay people, but sometimes I do kind of feel like some people just use it and they know what it means, and that kind of angers me.” Even though misuse of these words may seem commonplace, many agree that it has recently become less heard in the halls at West High. “I think people have started to do a very good job of being aware of what they say and seeing that there can be negative repercussions to their words. I think... our school as a whole is getting better at it, but there’s still some work to be done,” Murry said. Secrist agrees progress is being made. “I think there are a number of [teachers at West] who do address

it … I think by pointing it out, and not letting kids get away with it helps,” Secrist said. Most students agree that awareness is the key when trying to reduce the misuse of derogatory terms in society. “I think making people aware that it can really offend other people, and that it brings negative connotations... is the most important thing, because once people know what they’re saying, and really understand the power of it, they’ll be less likely to say it,” Kauble said. “The big problem is that not all high schoolers are mature enough to realize that … their words can actually affect people. Yes, they see the posters and watch the videos put on in class or advisory, but they don’t pay attention,” said Hannah Twitchell ’15. “[I think the best way would be] showing directly how it hurts people and the effects it has. Not in any cheesy way that kids will only use to poke fun, but in a way that affects them. If their friends would stand up and say ‘that’s not okay,’ it would have so much more impact than a heartfelt, yet detached PSA.” Action is definitely being taken by students to combat the negative use of the word “retarded”. March is officially “Spread the Word to End the Word Month,” and Best Buddies is hard at work, selling bracelets and creating a banner people can sign to pledge not to use the word “retarded” in a negative way. “The reason why we’re doing this is because it’s really hurtful to the kids with special needs and their families,” said Alli Peterson ’14, the vice president of West High’s Best Buddies club. “I think definitely a lot of people don’t understand how hurtful it can be.”

Quinn Terrill ’13, the president of Best Buddies, stresses the importance of our generation rising up to take a stand. “Something that’s really going to play a factor into the r-word being eliminated ... from everyday use is mainly just time,” Terrill said. “It’s going to take a while for our generation to really click, and it’s going to be our generation that moves forward and stops using it.” Peterson has a personal experience with hearing the word “retarded” being used negatively. “When I hear the word ‘retarded’ being used it hits my heart hard,” she said. “It reminds me of over half of the years of my life I have lived being ashamed of my brother [Nathan Peterson], being embarassed to call him my own. The word retarded reminds me of all the laughter, the pointing, the name calling, and the looks my brother receives.” Though the word may bring back painful memories for Peterson, she has finally realized that the word “retarded” doesn’t necessarily have to be negative. “I have finally realized what ‘retarded’ really stands for. It stands for someone who is one-of-a-kind, is special, caring, generous, loving, and has a heart of gold. It represents my brother, the hero and light to my day. And I think... that word - for all the kids - represents the joy of what makes them special, and [it’s] something that could be used in a really positive way.” No matter how much our language evolves, one thing will be certain: words will always continue to make an impact on our lives. “I think some words do hurt,” Neuzil said. “ They may not break bones, but they [can] cause bruises.”


16 ADS MARCH 2013




America has fallen through international rankings of education and economic stability, but has America



Is America modernizing [socially, economically, etc.] at the same rate and/or faster than the rest of the world? Students polled: 372

No 28%

Yes 52%


he United States of America is the greatest country in the world. Or, at least, it might be. America is connected by a national identity that has almost nothing to do with cheeseburgers, but instead to do with faded papers locked behind glass in Washington, D.C. A nation united by everything we were when the Twin Towers fell, sewn together by Betsy Ross more than interstates or power lines and led by the peoples elected, though perhaps not trusted. That’s what America is. Here’s what it isn’t. America is not number one in GDP per capita or in life expectancy, according to the CIA World Factbook, nor is it first on The Economist’s indexes of Democracy or Quality of Life. Not on The Wall Street Journal’s index of economic freedom or the percent of seats in the national government held by women. Statistics-wise, America is not the best country in the world, at least if “best” is defined by “number one.” But to most at West and in Iowa City it is home. And that makes it very hard to give America a grade. To many Americans, the US is defined less by its borders and more

I don’t know 20%

by the things inside them. History, diverse in American history, so it is patriotism and the American flag hard to speak for the generation as a pin on a politician’s lapel. Ideas and whole,” said Yasmin Egaali ’13, who symbols many times associated worked for the 2012 Obama camwith a country may popularize the paign last fall. “No, I am not proud nation itself in the way of national- of all the government’s actions. I ism. Concepts like aggression and am proud to be an American, but I power are am also very common ly The Economist Intelligence Unit’s connected to a ss o c i ate d my origins with Amer- U.S. is ranked and I, first ica and furand forether perpetmost, take a th uate the idea lot of pride of national in that.” supremacy.* Many cite America A m e r i c a’s is still a proud histoyoung nary and their tion walking own heritage in the halas part of lowed halls their nationof once and future kings and emper- al pride, family trees and American ors of at once not Holy, not Roman soil becoming quickly entangled in non-Empires. With much of the a nation comprised mostly of imMillennial generation on the brink migrants. of caps and gowns, America’s world “Compared to most of the rest of leadership hangs in the balance for the world, we have a very strong when the red, white and blue is economy that encourages people to grown-up and gray. come here. We are a nation built by “I would say there is less pride [in immigrants, and people around the the current generation] and, in my globe still view the United States as opinion, that is attributed to the lev- a land of opportunity,” said Nathan el of discontent that different groups Schuhert ’13, president of the West have about different policies. Our High Young Republicans club. generation so far is one of the most And yet the 2000s have been

Index of Democracy

out of 167

plagued by bi-partisanship, national debt, an ever-more polluted environment and the recession. Now, with the economy finally looking up, some say America will find an economic and industrial rival in China in the years to come. “The relationship [between the US and China] fits as both a rivalry and an alliance. Again, United StatesChina relations have benefited both countries, especially in our economies. But we also compete against China because they are becoming stronger,” said Jonathan Ni ’14, a Chinese-American student at West. “I feel like the United States and China need each other to fully prosper; yet they each want to do better than the other.” According to the CIA World Factbook, China’s economy has grown around 10% a year for 30 years and is becoming a player on the global scale. “Although we have had some bumps in the road, [the] US is still very much ahead of any other country. Everyone says ‘China is emerging’ but I don’t think that China will ever get to the level of power the United States has,” Ni said. In 2012, the United Nations ranked China at 93 for GDP per person, as opposed to America’s 18, and China is expected to have lower

what the statistics say

What do you think is the government’s main motive? Students polled: 368

Pie charts represent student poll data. Percentages may add up to more than 100% due to rounding.

Achieving world peace 5% I don’t know 24%

Other 23% Winning the next election 33% Making progress 34%

growth rates this year in keeping with the European market’s troubles. America, however, could be on the upswing. “Regardless of worries about our country’s recession or other things, we still have amazing opportunities for anyone in the world to come here and make a living,” Schuhert said. One such opportunity is military service, demonstrative of national pride and civic duty. While many jobs were cut during the recession, the Department of Defense says it has increased the overall quality and quantity of the military. “National pride is constituted by a love for one’s country, the people that make it up, and the foundation that holds it together. Patriotism, community and freedom,” said Emily Houghton ’13, who is currently in the Delayed Entry Program for the Air Force and whose father is also enlisted. Military enlistment rates have only increased during economic struggles and the military has consistently met their yearly enlistment goals, which can be attributed both to pragmatism and patriotism. “Most of the people I know who have joined [the military] did so out of a combination of national pride, adventure, for those who are


Yes 41%

Representing the people 6%

new to the lifestyle, maintenance of lifestyle, for those who grew up in the service, the countless benefits and the vast job selection based on merit,” Houghton said. “Although [America is] not perfect, it has fought for and continues to fight for equality despite race, religion, gender [or] sexual orientation,” Houghton said. A new, more diverse generation of leaders, military or otherwise, will soon be rising to the challenges left behind by previous generations. How they face the old and what new challenges will be is for the world to yet guess. According to the Pew Research Center, only 59% of Millennials are white non-Hispanic. Undoubtedly, Millennials of every background will become leaders, workers and voters, all a part of the American system and contributing to the diversity of ideas and cultures represented as a whole. “[The current] generation is like any other generation: fed up with some things, okay with some things, passionate about some things. … Americans trust the government as much as they did in any point in history. There is a healthy degree of skepticism mixed with a healthy degree of optimism,” said Brady Shutt, AP Government teacher. “I

No 35%

Do you think the U.S. government will be able to turn America’s economy around? Students polled: 376

hope that there is a strong sense of civic duty in [the current] generation, and I feel very optimistic that there is.” Increased civic duty could mean higher political participation and a stronger democratic system as well as a larger assortment of opinions in the years ahead. “An average American’s civic duties are to be an active member of society, contribute what they can to the betterment of society and to respect the system and not take advantage of it,” Egaali said. On that, at least, there is consensus

on both sides of the political spectrum. “There is no doubt our generation will change the political system; our generation is definitely more involved than we get credit for,” Egaali said. *Carter, Travis, Melissa Ferguson, and Ran Hassin. “Implicit Nationalism as System Justification: The Case of the United States of America.” Social Cognition 29.3 (2011): 341-59.

NationMaster’s Index of technological achievement Ranked out of 68

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Peace Index Ranked out of 149





20 ADS MARCH 2013


Testing the standard With many colleges becoming test optional, the WSS explores whether college entrance exams can accurately measure a college candidate.

{DESIGN BY KATIE MONS} Do yo PHOTOS BY//ABBIE SKEMP u to jud think sta n ge a colleg dardized te e can didat sting is a e? COMPI usefu LED l way B Y // BLAK E OE T TING

Justin Ham “I do lin ’1 n 3 some ’t think it one’s judge cause s intell i a sta there is s gence be ndar dized kill in tak ing test.”



pril 1 marks more than a day for juvenile pranks and trickery. For many high school seniors, it couldn’t be more serious. In a couple of weeks, on this date, hundreds of students at West High will discover their collegiate fates. Countless hours of studying, volunteering and participating in extracurricular ac-

tivities were fused into applications, and students have anxiously awaited the results. One aspect of these applications which has long come under scrutiny is standardized testing. According to SAT, the nation’s most frequently utilized college entrance exam, “The SAT and SAT Subject Tests are a suite of tools designed to assess your academic readiness for college … The SAT and SAT Subject Tests keep pace with what colleges are looking for today, measuring the skills required for success in the 21st century.” The validity of this statement has been questioned though, with many colleges and universities, including highly ranked institutions like Bowdoin College and Bard College, becoming test optional. Do these tests accurately measure intelligence? Or are they no longer appropriate in sizing up a college applicant? Molly Lipman ’15 believes they are still viable in measuring a college candidate. “I think you need a standardized test because your resume is all relative to your opportunities you’ve been given. A standardized test puts

Austin Parso “I do ns ’1 n 3 tests ’t think s t anda are a rdize s use stand Abiga d fu a il Bro “I thi teach rds like w l as othe wn ’1 nk st r i 4 er op riting a s n inion d a o a r good rdize s.” d tes meas you’r tin ur e accur at, but it e of whe g s not re ate.” alway s

perspective on people’s intelligence and ability all together,” Lipman said. Adam Dellos ’14, however, doesn’t think the tests should be used when applying to college. “I don’t think they accurately portray school life because I don’t think you can prepare like you can for a test in an everyday class,” Dellos said. Dellos also approves of the collegiate trend of becoming test optional. “I think it makes [the colleges] value all parts of you, not just a test grade,” Dellos said. Michael Barron, executive director of admissions at the University of Iowa, offers professional insight into how schools use information from standardized testing. “These tests don’t measure intelligence like perhaps an IQ test might. They are intended to help us predict how a student might perform in the first year of college. Admission tests like the ACT and SAT give us some indication about what a student has learned in school. These tests also allow us to compare students across

high schools and on a national basis,” Barron said. Barron also commented on colleges becoming test optional, and the likeliness of that happening at the University of Iowa. “Test optional is an institutional choice that should be made on the basis of how an institution wants to make admission decisions. In the case of the three Regent Universities in Iowa, the admission formula known as the Regent Admission Index (RAI) has four variables, one of which is a test score.  Because there is a Board of Regent’s policy on using test scores for admission consideration, I doubt that we would consider becoming test optional,” Barron said. Although the University of Iowa and many other post-secondary educational institutions continue to utilize the ACT and SAT, these tests have an undoubtedly decreased influence. However, unless they are found to be definitively useless, college entrance exams will continue to play a large role in an acceptance or denial from college. Gear up juniors, it is time to test.



{Design by Pombie Silverman}


photo by//erin weathers

In Feb. 2013, Graham Bly ’13 became a member of the musicstaff on the University of Iowa radio station KRUI 89.7 FM after completing an online application, participating in a series of interviews and completing an introductory course for the specific jobs within tfo radio station. “I am given about 50 to 100 albums to listen to and I recommend to the DJs what would be good. I look for musicality and tonality when selecting songs. Mostly I just leave it to the DJ because you can trust his taste,” Bly said.

gold panda “CASIO DAISY” This song inspired me to start playing the synthesizer, and I like how he produces a unique sound. junior senior “Move your feet” You can get a sweet escapade on this song. aesop rock “NONE SHALL PASs” This song uses broad vocabulary, and that gives [the song] great description. dan english “jean gray” He’s a local musician, and he puts a lot of heart into his songs and is a great guitarist. This song is named after the woman from the X-Men series. hellogoodbye “The Thoughts That Give Me the Creeps” This song inspired me to play the ukulele. atmosphere “The Women With the Tattooed Hands” This is a very good song. It’s like spoken word with song because the lyrics don’t rhyme. modest mouse “dramamine” There are metaphors for life and a lot of messages in disguise [in this song].


graham bly ’13 22 A&E MARCH 2013 {“I’m going to court because I crashed my car.” - Michael Krupp ’15

gorillaz “Fire coming out of monkey’s head” This is just a great story.



My Bloody Valentine mbv




A rebel group advances in Mar Sara as they try to defeat the tyrannical Terran Dominion. After the Terrans succumb to the rebels, the game is over. This is the premise of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, a real time strategy PC game. Members of the new West StarCraft team have taken this game to the next frontier: interscholastic competition. “When the other player finally types [“good game”], a sense of relief goes over you,” said member Anthony Pizzimenti ’16. The team, founded by Kai Gui ’15, is comprised of 12 members and represents West High in the High School Starleague [HSL], a national league where high school teams compete in StarCraft II. “In January, I got Neil Wu [’15] and Edward Yao [’15] back into [StarCraft II] … After I found

out about the [HSL], I felt that we had to register and compete,” Gui said. The HSL is split into four location-based divisions and operates in a round robin format, meaning all the teams in one division play matches every week against one another. The top four teams in each division compete in a single elimination bracket until one group is determined the winner. In StarCraft II, the teams do not take turns but rather play continuously, strategizing as they play. In order to prepare for their matches, members of the team play the official ladder and watch videos of other players to spot weaknesses in their game. ”If … another team has a single especially strong player, I’ll have some people practice specific strategies and builds to take him/her down so we have a better shot at winning,” Gui said.

The team played their first match on Feb. 24. The team won one round and lost the other. To improve for future matches, the team plays practice games in order to work on their strategies and learn how to respond to strategies of other teams. “We also review replays to see what we’ve done wrong and what we’ve done well to improve upon and continue to do,” Pizzimenti said. Despite the amount of time and dedication required, members of the team believe it is all worth it. “Starcraft [II] makes me squeal with joy but also flip over tables,” said member Logan Zhang ’16. To these members, the formation of a team allows the unification of students who share an appreciation for playing StarCraft II at a more serious level, making it more than just a game. “As cheesy as it may sound, StarCraft is a separate art that is beautiful in its own way,” Yao said.

After the long-awaited return of their 1991 masterpiece Loveless, My Bloody Valentine returns with their third LP, m b v. My Bloody Valentine keep their iconic breathtaking, amorphous noise-rock sound, perfect to blare into headphones and wind away. Standout track “She Found Now” drowns in deep, textured strums and unfolds with a mesmerizing buildup. A few tracks later, “If I am” immediately pulls you in with its hypnotic, fuzzy dream-like guitar fuzz. Beneath the distorted sound, you can barely hear Bilinda Butcher’s melodic croon. m b v is like unwrapping a carefully crafted present—beneath all of the wondrous, guitar-infused complexity lies an astonishing album. COMPILED BY // POMBIE SILVERMAN

Retraction In the Feb. issue of the West Side Story, artist Sophia Aley’s painting was mistitled as “Gravity.” The correct title of the painting is “White Light.”







Downtown is the epitome of an arts scene, containing numerous arts museums, concert halls and pieces of local artwork. However, Andy Brodie and Andrew Sherburne, founders of FIlm Scene, felt it was missing one thing: an independent film venue. “We have a lot of great places for live theater like Riverside and the Englert, spaces for literature like Prairie Lights ... spaces for other performing arts, spaces for live mu-

sic. But we don’t have a dedicated space for film, and that’s been a really big gap in Iowa City’s arts and culture circle,” Brodie said. In response to this cultural absence, Brodie and Sherburne started Film Scene, a non-profit arts organization dedicated to film as an art form. This September, Film Scene plans to claim its first venue: Scene 1, a small theater located on the Iowa City Pedestrian Mall. “It’s going to be 85 seats, one screen, have a cafe, lobby space … You can walk through and there

will be a little art gallery space and cafe seating and a concession stand,” Brodie said. While expectations for Scene 1 are high, Scene 1 is not Film Scene’s final goal. Film Scene plans to expand into the coming Chauncey building. “The design is a glass box on the first floor so the two cinemas sit inside that. We’re also going to put a movie screen on the side of the parking garage that we can take up and down … We want to create a film culture and a film community

and that includes educational programs,” Brodie said. The motivation for these educational programs is not just a love of entertainment. “It’s really important to have a high degree of media literacy, especially in the 21st century. Being able to understand visual images, audio and oral things is almost as essential as being able to read and write a written language ... It’s really important people aren’t just passive consumers of media,” Brodie said.


October 19, 2012

8:00am - 3:00pm Mount Mercy University Students & Educators in public, private and home schools are invited to “Step Up for Diversity.” The Student Diversity Leadership Conference will empower and inspire attendees to be more understanding and accepting of all avenues of diversity. This years’ conference will focus on taking a stand for diversity, being proud of who you are, accepting and helping others accept that diversity is the key for success, growth, and knowledge.

Free to attend Register at

MARCH 2013 ADS 25



The Women of Troy gave up their bid for state at the Wells Fargo arena on March 4. The girls lost 53-72 to the Mason City Mohawks. West finished with a winning record of 18-6. Stand-out players included senior Ally Disterhoft who averaged 26.3 points and almost eight rebounds per game. “Even though the season didn’t end how we’d have liked, I am blessed to have been able to play with great seniors this year and hope that next season is even better,” said Danielle Craig ’15. PHOTO BY//FRANK WEIRICH



West High alum Amie Vallarini has found her way back to West High by becoming the new girls tennis coach. While Vallarini was at West she took home 5th place at state her senior year. She later received a 4-year scholarship to play for the University of Northern Iowa, and for the past 9 years has coached in Princeton, NJ. Her love of competition drew her to the coaching position. “I just wanted to be a part of a team again,” Vallarini said. “My goal is always to shoot for a state championship.” PHOTO BY//STEVE TROESTER

ABOVE: Ally Disterhoft ’13 goes up against a Mohawk Feb. 27. RIGHT: Lauren Larson ’13 and teammates celebrate after defeating City for a state bid.

in the big leagues COMPILED BY//ABBIE SKEMP

On March 5, former West High student and goalkeeper, Kyle Zobeck signed with Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas. Zobeck recently graduated from Valparaiso

home field advantage COMPILED BY//ABBIE SKEMP

University after leaving West High as a double First Team All-State and All-Conference in soccer. “I owe a lot to all of the coaches I had [at West] … they provided me with a lot of great memories that I will keep for the rest of my life,” Zobeck said. The length of Zobeck’s contract has yet to be disclosed. PHOTO USED WITH PERMISSION FROM//KYLE ZOBECK


Three West High students, Mickey Pelfrey ’13, Kegan Wakefield ’13 and Chris Walters ’14, came home with third place rankings in their weight classes, 195, 138 and 126 respectively, from the state wrestling tournament at the Wells Fargo Center in Des Moines on Feb. 15. Wakefield suffered injuries earlier in the season, but recovered in time to improve upon last year’s state finish.

“It was good to accomplish something better than seventh,” Wakefield said. Not all wrestlers qualified for the tournament, so there were familiar faces cheering in the stands. “We had a lot of the guys who didn’t qualify [in Des Moines] supporting us,” Pelfrey said. “Maybe next year [the team will make state again] and I can support them.”

Kegan Wakefield ’13 Mickey Pelfrey ’13

wrestlers pin down titles

Since the start of West High’s soccer program in 1985, the boys’ and girls’ teams have played each home game on the Northwest Junior High field. “At the old field every player was worried about injury because of the quality of the field. There were certain spots [the team] just knew were difficult to play in,” said Quinn Terrill ’13. Last season, however, the Go For the Goal fundraiser dug up enough money to build West High their home field. Despite the quick construction, the field was unable to be utilized in the 2012 season, but this spring will tell a different story. “I’m really excited that the home field will be at West High so, hopefully, we have more people come to our games and support us,” Terrill said. ART BY//LEELA SATHYAPUTRI


Girls’ golf is entering a new season, and are recruiting players. 15 can be on the team, but if more people express interest in joining, tryouts will be held. Currently, 14 girls are on the team and practice is set to begin March 11. To join, one needs to supply her own clubs, but the school provides a golf bag. If interested in joining, contact Mary Goodfellow, the assistant coach. Returning golfer Kenzie Dawkins ’15 says that there are many benefits to joining the team. “You get to know a lot of amazing people, and we are really supportive of each other,” Dawkins said.





The number on West High students’ minds. For two consecutive years, the boys have swept the state championship title, giving them 52 straight wins. This is Coach Steve Bergman’s fourth state win since 1998. LEFT: Making a drive to the basket, Jeremy Morgan ’13 ignores a Dowling guard. When the quarter-final entered OT on March 6, Morgan nailed a dunk to seal the win, 63-59. RIGHT: In March 9’s championship against Bettendorf, Wyatt Lohaus ’14 goes up for the shot. Lohaus scored 22 of 54 points for the Trojans. “It’s sad because I’ve been playing with those guys for a long time and not only are they my team, they’re my friends, too,” Lohaus said. LEFT: A strong presence in Wells Fargo, Trojans showed their support. “The crowd has a big impact on the game. Seeing your friends in the stands cheering gives you a lot of momentum,” Morgan said. FAR LEFT: Always in the paint, Myzeah Batie-Gaddy ’13 nails a layup.

ABOVE LEFT: Keeping a Dubuque Senior Ram away from the basket, Austin Swank ’13 keeps his defenses up in the semi-final March 8. ABOVE: Sharing the excitement with teammates, Jason Stewart ’13 celebrates after a play during March 8’s game. On winning state, Stewart said, “[The game was] bittersweet because I won’t be able to play with my guys anymore, but it’s awesome to go out on top.” LEFT: The last team standing, the team poses with their hardware. After close calls and late nights, the team was thrilled to come out on top. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I don’t think the guys would either,” said assistant coach Nate Frese. “I’M GOING TO THE BAHAMAS TO SCUBA DIVE WITH AQUATIC BEASTS.” - WILL CODE ’13 } MARCH 2013 SPORTS 27

From fields and


The food in local grocery store aisles and on school lunch trays may not be POMBIE SILVERMAN as safe as you think. BY PHOTO ILLUSTRATIONS BY//ABBIE SKEMP




e hear “genetically modified organisms” and assume the extreme: glowin-the-dark crops, multicolored fish or Megashark vs. Crocosaurus. However, GMOs are quite common in daily use and most of us consume them every day. Inspite of their prevalence, many questions remain about their health effects as well as their impact on the earth. Genetically modified organisms [GMOs] and genetically modified foods [GMFs] are defined by the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety as “any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology.” GMOs include yeast, bacteria, plants and animals and make up GMFs. So why do they exist? “We need to produce more food in the next 40 years to feed our world’s population than we have produced in the 10,000 preceding years. It is hard to find more land, so the answer is science and technology,” said farmer Jim Christensen. “Genetically modified foods … are the best chance we have to feed a hungry world in the future.” According to the USDA, last year 91 percent of all corn and 97 percent of soybean crops planted in Iowa were genetically engineered. In addition, stacked-traits — crops with multiple genes — made up 64 percent of Iowa’s corn crop. “Science has worked to ‘modify’ genes since the 1940’s … Today, the science is more sophisticated, but the results are the same,” Christensen said. “We are feeding more people with fewer resources than any time in history because of the ability to modify specific genes to improve the efficiency of food production.” However, director of the Iowa Organic Association Amber Anderson Mba disagrees. “Most people believe that we need a lot of food to feed the world and that GMFs will solve the problem, but we can still [accomplish that and] have diversity in crops as long as we manage it,” Anderson Mba said. “No one said we had to have a

10,000-acre farm to accomplish it.” telling you what food has GMFs While GMOs are promoted as a and what food doesn’t,” Szmyrgala nutritional solution, according to said. “I’m concerned with allergens Anderson Mba the same area could placed in [GMFs]. Companies often produce a variety of foods with mix peanuts into food and genetifewer inputs if diverse ecological cally modify them. Lots of people systems were employed to raise the don’t even know they’re allergic to crops to begin with. peanuts, so people just don’t know “[The production of GMFs] if what they’re eating is safe. There doesn’t value diverse food, but aren’t strong regulations with GMFs rather a large-scale production. We … the FDA doesn’t have much powrisk losing genetic diversity [among er to oversee what goes into other crops] and contaminating native food products, so that poses a big species, especially [species] that question mark over peoples’ heads.” could be beneficial in the future,” Anderson Mba believes that when Anderson Mba said. it comes to GMOs, most people However, Christensen thinks othare ill-informed, simply because erwise. the products have no label require“Plants and animals have always ments. had to adapt to the dynamic envi“We just accept [that the process ronment around them in order to of creating GMFs involves] taking survive. This science simply allows a gene and putting it in another orus to speed up ganism, but we need this natural to be more careful. change,” he We don’t know the said. consequences GMFs Still, Andercould cause in 20 son Mba’s bigyears or so. I’m not gest concern opposed to GMFs, with GMOs but we’re not hanis the uncerdling them respontainty of the sibly and there are product. better options,” An“[A farmer derson Mba said. in Southwest Growing up on Iowa] had a farm, Anderson hogs that kept Mba understands spontaneously that “farmers adapt -Amber Anderson Mba to fit what the econaborting and Iowa Organic Association Director omy needs” and that he couldn’t figure out why. Turns out, one type GMOs are easier to manage and of GMO corn induced that in sows,” yield greater amounts of crops. Anderson Mba said. “If feeding this However, she prefers to have other corn to sows can lead to spontaneoptions, such as adding labels to ous abortion, is this something we GMFs. really want to eat every day? I keep “In Europe, GMFs are treated questioning—if we inject a piece of as something that is unsafe until DNA randomly into an organism, proven safe. However, in the United what are the chances that we will States, GMFs are safe until proven have only one desired effect, and not otherwise … with labels, people will a single negative consequence?” be able to make informed decisions For University of Iowa nutritionist on what they are buying,” Anderson Susan Szmyrgala, the biggest worry Mba said. regarding GMOs is the unknown ef“GMFs can make more food, more fect on human health. nutritious food and more affordable “There have been studies from the food. However, the FDA should Academy of Nutrition and Dietethave some regulation on what goes ics that don’t show negative side efon,” Szmyrgala added. fects of GMFs, but there aren’t labels

If feeding this corn to sows can lead to

spontaneous abortion, is this something we really want to eat every day?”



Practically juvenile

The addition of the state-mandated EverFi to economics classes at West High adds practical financing skills to the curriculum. “I’m-a-big-kid-now!” the little voice on the Huggies pull-up commercial chants, a three-year-old’s dimpled cheeks grinning at the camera. As that adorable but (let’s be honest) little kid slowly grows up and becomes not-so-little, he or she will have a wealth of experiences. Tying shoelaces and riding two-wheelers will go from mysteries to afterthoughts. Later, in high school, the things learned on a daily basis change pretty radically. How to write a thesis that lists your arguments (and how to write one that doesn’t), which types of intermolecular forces are stronger and why there were so many French revolutions are all suddenly crucial. Those things are definitely important. But it’s still true that most of us aren’t going to need to know De Moivre’s theorem to get through our daily lives as 40-somethings, getting up and going to work and maybe picking the kids up from school on our way home. What we need is a

required class (because who takes education. sensible classes when they aren’t Understanding this stuff before we required?) that provides real-life make our way into the world of the skills—and that’s what the new ad- workforce seems pretty important— dition of EverFi to econ. classes at most of us would probably be able to West does. figure it out as we go, but there’s a The cutesy online “financial litera- big difference between messing up cy program” provides cartoon-style your essay for English 10 and messgames and tutorials about things ing up your taxes. And students are almost every single U.S. adult has more than willing—a 2011 survey to deal with: by Capital One budgeting found “55% of and paying teens ... say that Is EverFi Financial Literacy bills, investthey want to learn ment, filling Program a positive addition more about how out tax forms, to the economics curriculum? to manage their understandmoney —paring credit ticularly learning scores and about investing even avoid(88%), saving ing identity (87%), budgeting theft. Univer(82%), checking The WSS editorial board voted in sal skills that, accounts (80%) support of EverFi. before this, and financing for were largely big purchases like absent from a car or a home a high school (79%).”


The required CPR class added last year is another example of this transition to a real-life-skills focus. According to the American Heart Association, “Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival, but only 32 percent of cardiac arrest victims get CPR from a bystander” because many don’t know how to perform CPR. Obviously taking the course your senior year of high school isn’t going to guarantee you’re thrust into a situation where it’s necessary, let alone guarantee that you perform CPR successfully, but it’s worth a try. Growing up is tough. Our parents and teachers can’t definitively tell us what college we’ll like the most or who we should marry, or where we should get a job. But at least this— the boring, nitty-gritty parts of being over 18 and out of the house— will be taken care of.



PR Nightmare


The West Side Story elucidates on the continuing importance of public radio as it faces possible additional government funding cuts. For the first time since Romney talked about how much he likes Big Bird, the fate of public broadcasting in the United States has been brought to Iowans’ minds. Congress may cut $36 million from the Corporation of Public Broadcasting’s budget, possibly eliminating programs for Americans in the process. While removing public funding would not shut down public broadcasting, it would diminish the programs offered. In a world where digital media are favored over print and broadcast, Iowa Public Radio has continued with its dedication to accessible, high-quality programming. Public broadcasting provides fact-based, educational programming to over half of all Americans each month. Nationally, the 934 existing public radio organizations like IPR reach nearly 65 million Americans with art and music events each month. Currently NPR reports that thousands of new listeners tune in every month, despite continuing budget cuts which impact the 10 percent of IPR’s funding provided by federal, state and local governments. Already, a plurality of NPR’s budget comes from donations made by “viewers like you,” through congressional agencies such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Ask-

ing this group to cover a 65 million dollar gap will not only most likely be ineffective, but places the 21,000 jobs Iowa Public Radio provides to citizens at risk. However, it’s not just employees and listeners that benefit from IPR’s funding. Much of the funds the CPB provides goes to pay music royalties, allowing them to support many local and up-and-coming musicians featured on the air. Additionally, the CPB plays a fundamental role in funding broadcasting stations in areas with rural populations, which are vital in states like Iowa. Without those funds it would be difficult for many local broadcasters in the state to even serve their audiences. Currently, a plurality of NPR’s budget comes from donations from individual people, and only 4.6 percent comes from federal, state and local governments. The proportion of government funding of public broadcasting in the United States is already dramatically less than that of the BBC in the United Kingdom and CBC in Canada. Yet this has not dissuaded congress from placing funding for public radio on the chopping block. However, these proposals haven’t been ig-

nored, but have instead been met with large protest. Interest groups like 170 Million Americans, aptly named for the 170 million monthly users of public broadcasting in the United States, campaign for the preservation and continued government funding of public broadcasting. They argue that lessened governmental funding of public radio would likely result in more advertisements and a decrease in actual content. Although high school halls are not abuzz after the latest airing of A Prairie Home Companion, Iowa Public Radio has proven to be an essential part of the culture in the Iowa City community. Private listeners have do not have the resources, nor should they have the responsibility, to fund public radio on their own.

Should public radio be exclusively privately funded?

1-15 The WSS editorial board voted against public radio recieving exclusively private funding.

QUALITY of life


Snow Days I feel a great deal of pity for those of you who must endure school in June, but not enough so that I regret one second of those snowdays that I don’t have to make up. plus 5

Spring Break Regardless of aforementioned snow days, I believe I can speak for everyone when I say that we need a well-deserved break. Enjoy, everyone!

plus 10

Warming up I fear that our days of frigid air are numbered. No longer will I be able to don my down coat and cozy sweaters. Alas! My poor wool socks shall grow lonely for my feet. minus 7

Impending AP Exams* *Read: Impending doom. I have yet to decide which, if any, AP exams I will be subjecting myself to. For those of you who have already decided—I hope the stress makes you just as miserable as I am. minus 9

Prom This is negligable. It is always a bit irritating when all you hear in the hallways are conversations about corsages, but it may be fun in the long-run. I find myself apathetic. no effect







itting in the BeiDa cafeteria on my last day in China, I pick at my roast duck, glumly watching the cats chasing each other beneath the rickety bamboo tables situated in front of the buffet line. It’s been an entire month of sideways glances, smoggy air and Asian dramas. An entire month of suffering through the obvious differences that separated me from the native population. Ever since I was small, I had considered myself to be Chinese. My mom was Chinese and I had black hair. That just about settled it. I did my time in Chinese lessons, made dumplings for the new year and filled in the “Asian-

American” bubble on the ITBS tests. Filling in “other” would qualify me as some half-breed, neither here nor there. Filling in Caucasian would be admitting to myself that I was just like everyone else, which in a school with as little integration as my own was almost as bad as “other.” Throughout my childhood, I had met numerous people who would expect me to excel in classes such as science and math, and cluck their tongues at me when I slunk out of algebra with a solid B. They would blame it on my American side as if somehow, this half of me was inferior, a handicap, a part of me that should be kicked under the rug and forgotten. Needless to say, I was enthralled when my mother announced that I would be visiting China the summer before eighth grade; this would be some sort of lifechanging adventure, where at last I would be accepted. However, my first step onto Chinese soil only revealed the first of my many disappointments: a crippling language barrier. All

I could do was wave frantically, force “NI HAO!” through a painfully wide smile and hope for the best. The differences between Iowa and China were staggering. In Iowa, I could speak to my family and expect a response; at reunions, no one would sit silently and stare at me, scrutinizing my every move. In Iowa, there were no rickshaws, with no opportunities for me to slide into the back of a car, to find myself facing a driver who would lift his gnarled finger toward my face and screamed “Wuiguoren! Foreigner!” as if he were terrified just by the way I looked. This rickshaw driver swept away the last of my denial. I wasn’t really anything, just an unfortunate mix of two races that so heavily clashed. “Kelsey.” I look up at my mother, who is standing in front of me with two enormous suitcases in each hand, her poorly-proportioned sun hat covering the majority of her small, pale face. “I’m going to go and hail a taxi -

come out when you’re ready to go.” Sighing, I sweep the remainder of the food into a wastebasket and hand my plate to one of the white-clad dishwashers standing dutifully before their buckets of soapy water. Turning out of the building, I bid my own silent good-bye to the cats, the street vendors, the rice porridge. In that moment, I am not entirely sure how this trip will change me. In mid-October, sitting in an isolated desk in a windowless junior-high classroom, I look up as my salt-and-pepper haired homeroom teacher slides a packet across my desk. Turning to the back, I squint at the bubbles, beginning to fill in my name and grade. As always, I halt at race. This time, however, my pencil does not hover unsurely between two options, nor do I frantically dive for “Asian-American.” After a moment’s hesitation, I determinedly, almost defiantly, press the tip of my pencil against the bubble labeled “other.” And I fully intend to stay that way.

The Impossible Astronaut BY ASHTON DUNCAN


hen my parents told me I could do anything when I grew up—to reach for the stars—they were lying. Or at least stretching the truth a bit. When I grew up, I wanted to be an astronaut. Mars One, a Mars colonization project that aims to land in 2023, is accepting applications, but you have to 32 OPINION MARCH 2013

be 18 to apply. NASA requires astronauts to be at least 5’2”, and I guess that makes “the stars” one inch further away at my disappointing 5’1”. The undiscovered country, it seems, is determined to remain that way to me. I also wanted to be a pilot. Not a flight attendant, oh no. I cringed at the prospect of showing people how to fasten their seatbelts or use their seat cushion as a floatation device. I even participated in the Junior Flyers program at the Muscatine Airport. It was awesome; I was even co-piloting, until I looked down. Wrong move. I considered architecture, but two things insured this occupation’s dislodgement. First, that my first-grade self had

thoroughly confused architect and interior designer, despite hours in front of HGTV. Second, that once I realized what the profession truly was, I had already developed a dislike of math that too often comes with a love of English. A teacher. I had already determined I would have to teach high school. I have no patience and a great dislike for runny noses and apathy. Then I got to high school. I realized that the transition from junior high is actually a reversal to kindergarten. I scrapped this idea. A writer. What’s the difference between a park bench and a writer? A park bench can support a family. A doctor. A professor. A senator.

An editor. An ambassador. A journalist. A procrastinator, lollygagger, candlestick maker. I have wrung I Have a Plan through the gamut and abs olutely-d e ci d e d-for-sure what I was going to do with my life more than a couple times. Yet the closest I am to knowing my intended major is knowing I intend to have a major. Or two. I haven’t gotten that far yet. The truth is, I still want to be an astronaut. And I want to be a teacher, writer, journalist and senator, too. Simultaneously, if possible. While I’m not Barbie, if I can’t reach for the stars I can certainly still wish on them.




s liberal, feminist high school seniors, we believe that the government should actively fight social injustices, woman should make just as much money as men at the same job and P.E. should be optional for everyone in grade 12. As band nerds, we understand the destructive power of one out-oftune euphonium, and the (very) cloaked beauty of dissonant tones.

Thus far, our beliefs match up quite nicely with our affiliations— why is that? Do our lengthy manes send electrical impulses to our brains that whisper “you’re either a feminist or a masochist,” or would we fight for equal rights were we not females? Do the brass instruments’ triumphant call or the subtle singing of the woodwinds move us to act as tone snobs, or is our snobbery an attempt to show off to the other people in our sections? Whatever the case may be, it’s undeniable that we, as humans, strive to fit other people into easily understandable molds. We are going to save a little ink and a lot of time here by assuming you’ve heard that every year since junior high, and leave it at that. What you haven’t heard, however, is how you yourself could be

packaging yourself a certain way in order to fit in. Let us first point out how considerate this is of you—you’ve made everyone else’s task of fitting you into a box much easier. We have one suggestion the next time you decide to join a group or take on an ideology: ask yourself if you’re making a choice because it’s what you want, or because it’s how you want to be seen. Are you joining the math club because balancing equations gives you chills (in a good way) or have you always been told how good you are with numbers, so being in the math club will help you stay within the comfortable stereotype which has been so kindly fostered for you? What we’re trying to say is that if diagramming sentences gives you a secret thrill, but your buddies in choir protest vehemently, you

Ask yourself if

you’re making a choice because it’s

what you want, or because it’s how you want to be seen.”

should throw them for a loop by writing for Favonius. Your choices define you, and if you’re not making them on your own, you’re sacrificing who you are. And it’s pretty hard to be happy when you’re being someone else. Oh, and guess what? We secretly like being in shape, and P.E. can be pretty fun.



t is strange to think that people can look at you, not know you and judge you based on what brand of shoes you wear, what kind of activities you participate in or even which school you attend. No matter what you do, you automatically get a label. And honestly? Most of the time, those labels are wrong. We have noticed, especially in

light of the recent Diversity Policy, that there is a split of sorts in the community that has led some to jump to conclusions about those who attend school in the East Side or the West Side. Most people seem to have the idea that the East Side is a poverty-stricken slum, whereas the West Side is full of snobby rich kids. As with most stereotypes, the only actual evidence behind these assumptions are the few who do fall under them. But is it right to generalize a group of people based on a few? No, of course not. However, stereotypes are everywhere in society, and they are readily accepted as truth. Granted, the stereotype that surrounds both City and West students has been around for longer than either of us can

remember. However, the Diversity Policy has brought it to the forefront, due to its emphasis on free or reduced lunch levels. Income-related issues have always been a touchy subject, but when you bring them up to teenagers, things are bound to get messy. There has always been a rivalry between City and West, but until now, we liked to think of it as a strong, yet relatively harmless “sibling rivalry” (thanks for that phrase, Mr. Gross). But now, it has gotten to the point where both sides are throwing meaningless insults and accusations at the other. And for what reason? What is it going to prove? West pointing fingers at City and saying “you are lacking in everything” and City screaming “you are all rich snobs” is not going to actually help

anything. The tension between the two schools today is absolutely ridiculous. We are not saying that we have to come together, hold hands and dance in a circle, singing Kumbaya, but we at least need to learn to respect “the other side.” For schools that are both full of wonderful people and facilities and amazing opportunities, throwing around generalizations that are both hurtful and (mostly) false is the worst idea. Instead of trying to win the battle, or coming out as “the correct side,” we should focus on trying to solve the problem so it benefits as many people as much as possible. Once West and City move past these petty arguments, both schools will come out on top.









Ashton Duncan’s father

Daughter’s note: This was not the question my dad wanted to answer. He wanted to enrich all of our lives and job market competitiveness in a soliloquy complete with hand gestures and “back in the day” segues as I transcribed his wisdom for our generation [so as to avoid his agonizing hunt-andpeck typing]. Finally, I told him to behave and answer the question. So here’s some advice, but only under note of duress. The hand gestures remained.

*letter is fake, advice is real.

Dear Wraps, You know her. You know her likes, her dislikes. You know if she’s trendy or if she’s techy. What she reads, what she watches. These are the things you know and talk about, things you guys probably have in common. If you’re friends who have a lot of differences because you challenge each other, you should still know what they like because you should know how they are different from you. Friends talk about what they think is cool and what isn’t. You don’t have to like all of the same things, but it’s almost like giving yourself a gift when you’re get-

West side effects

ting someone you know very well something. If your interests are similar enough and you are interested in the same things, you have to think not about what to give them, but what you wish someone would give you. It’s really just that simple. If you can’t really determine what to give someone, you really don’t know them. You either need to get to know them better or put them on the shelf with that of acquaintances. If you can’t summon up the knowledge of something your “best friend” would like to have, then you’re not close enough to give them a present and you should skip it or give them money.


Netflix queue left to watch

Dad, help! My best friend’s birthday is coming up and I have no idea what to get her. How do I find out what she wants without ruining the surprise? --Keeping It Under Wraps*

Movie run time

Time as Netflix customer

Number of people who are Irish

Monthly papa

Popcorn consumed


Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May.

School year






“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” - Charles Caleb Colton

TOP LEFT: Posing with a hippopotamus eating a mouse, teacher Margaret Shullaw and Anna Schuchert ’15 coordinate cardigans. Having a younger twin “was a fun experience,” Shullaw said. TOP RIGHT: Bow tie twins Jonah Pouleson ’13 and teacher Mitch Gross share a passion for fashion. “We both look super fresh all the time,” Pouleson said. LEFT: Both clad in plaid, teacher Nate Frese and student Will Code ’13 share more than similar sweaters. “We both love singing and are arranging to ABOVE: In room 10, teacher Patty do a duet together,” Burger and Addy Taylor ’14 check their phones. “I can’t tell us apart except for Code says. the orange sweater,” Burger said.




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The West Side Story wanted to know what makes students tick. We asked for a threeword phrase to live by, and the result contained these words of wisdom, inspiration and happiness.

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en ’15

Joshua Ch

March 15, 2013 issue  

West High's newsmagazine

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