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WEST SI DE STO RY IOWA CITY WEST HIGH SCHOOL

2901 MELROSE AVE.

IOWA CITY, IA 52246

WSSPAPER.COM

VOLUME 50 ISSUE 3

DECEMBER 22, 2017

a l o n e. A look into how the ICCSD’s use of seclusion rooms impacted students.


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A LO N E

B E YO N D T H E GA M E

A B R OT H E R LY BOND

BEST OF 2017

RETURN OF A S TAT E C H A M P I O N

04 11 22 30 34

LETTER FROM THE Hello dear readers,

WSS

C OV E R

F E AT U R E 15 CONQUERING COLLEGE

PROFILES 18 THE BAND-NANA 2 0 T H E T E AC H E R T R A P 2 4 A PAT H I N T H E M I L I TA RY

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EDITOR

Ah, the day before winter break. The day when you’re supposed to watch countless movies that definitely “relate to the subject” and count down the hours until your final class period. The day before winter break is arguably the best day for West Side Story to come out, despite half the school leaving early for Mexico. It’s fine. As you allow yourself to become distracted by this very issue in your hands, I urge you to think deeply about what you’re reading. News editor Alyson Kuennen grew passionate about seclusion rooms after talking with Jane Elliott, the psychologist that created the “Blue eyes-Brown eyes” exercise. We decided to pursue the story, but hit a roadblock as Superintendent Steve Murley announced days after we added the story

PHOTO BY NICK PRYOR COVER PHOTO CAPTION: SKETCHED ON THE INSIDE PADDED WALL OF A SECLUSION ROOM AT NORTHWEST JUNIOR HIGH READS THE WARNING MESSAGE, “KEEP OUT.” ALSO FOUND ALONG THE WALLS OF THE SECLUSION ROOMS WERE FOOTPRINTS, SCRATCH MARKS AND UNIDENTIFIABLE BODILY FLUIDS. COVER PHOTO BY ALYSON KUENNEN

to the issue that the rooms would no longer be in use. We realized whether or not they are used in the future, they have already affected the lives of countless children. Reporters Anjali Huyhn and Anna Brown jumped into writing the cover story without much prior knowledge about seclusion rooms. Throughout the process they interviewed students who expressed great anguish over their elementary school punishment, and they grew passionate about portraying the sources’ emotions accurately. Hopefully this story will shine a light on not only the fact that these rooms were still used up until November, but have had a tremendous impact on those involved. Until next time,

NINA ELKADI


03

OPINION

DEC. 22, 2017

WEST SIDE STORY STAFF Ivan Badovinac Megan Boland Sean Brown Anna Brown Emma Brustkern* Abbie Callahan Grace Christopher Carmela Cohen Suarez Will Conrad Olivia Dachtler Frances Dai Jessica Doyle Thomas Duong Natalie Dunlap Nina Elkadi* Eman Elsheikh Ting Gao Ethan Goers* Ellie Gretter* Lydia Guo Reagan Hart Selina Hua Anjali Huynh Deniz Ince* Catherine Ju* Fatima Kammona Razan Karar Lauren Katz* Natalie Katz Teya Kerns Crystal Kim Alyson Kuennen*

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EQUITY STATEMENT

EDITORIAL POLICY

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, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, disability, or socioeconomic programs, activites, 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, Kingsley Botchway, at 509 Dubuque Street, 319-688-1000. Please contact westsidestorypaper@gmail.com for questions or comments.

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. 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. For our full editorial policy visit: wsspaper.com/policy

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a l o n e.


BY ANNA BROWN & ANJALI HUYNH

Throughout the ICCSD, spaces have been designated to isolate students from their peers when faculty felt their behavior was uncontrollable. However, improper use of these areas led the district to call for their removal by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year.

A

n eight-year-old child sits alone in a dark space with only a small window of light and no way to leave. Messages reading “KEEP OUT” and traces of vomit line the interior. They bang on the walls, but the room is soundproof, so their pleas are left unheard. Contrary to what one might think, this isn’t a juvenile detention center. It’s a room in a public elementary school. This space, called a seclusion room, is one method of dealing with students who are considered to have behavioral issues. A 2011-12 report by National Public Radio states that children were placed in seclusion rooms about 104,000 times in that

protect students from harming themselves. Each seclusion room in the ICCSD is a roughly 6-foot by 6-foot wooden box with padding, one single window of light and no handle on the door from the inside. These spaces are meant to help students with behavioral disabilities that have specific IEP plans: strategies developed by parents in correlation with the school on how to react in an instance where their child acts out. If a student does not have an IEP, these spaces are intended to be used only in severe circumstances, like if a student is physically assaulting another student.

school is Davonte Levy ’18, who vividly remembers the first time he experienced this form of disciplinary action. “I was probably in fifth grade when I got sent [to a seclusion room] for the very first time, and I hated it,” Levy said. “They pushed me in there and shut the door and locked it. You can’t open it from the inside. They’ll block the door … It felt like I was in prison. Kids punched the door and [were] angry. They wouldn’t let you back out until you said something that pleased them.” Levy believes that being secluded did not have a positive effect on his behavior; instead, it negatively affected his learning

“ IT J U ST MADE M E M O RE U PSET AN D MADE M E F E E L M O R E I SO LATE D.”

-J I LLIAN BAKE R ‘19 school year nationwide. Until recently, seclusion rooms were commonly used throughout the ICCSD as well. “We have had some temporary rooms that have been created in order to keep kids safe from themselves,” said Superintendent Steve Murley. “Those are part of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process that goes through special education … Iowa law says that you can seclude students in order to keep them safe or keep their peers safe, and they don’t have to be special [education] kids in order to be secluded.” Seclusion rooms, also known as behavioral discipline rooms, are designed to

However, the Iowa Department of Education found that around 4 percent of seclusions in the ICCSD during the 201516 school year were for minor infractions like stepping out of line at recess or talking back to a teacher. During this investigation, it was found that schools were misusing these rooms, not only by utilizing them in the wrong situations but also by leaving students in there for longer than the maximum time of around 50 minutes. Additionally, in some instances faculty did not correctly document incidents involving seclusion. One student placed in a seclusion room in multiple instances during elementary

experience. “I’m still mad about the [seclusion] room because it ruined part of elementary school. It took the [experience] away,” Levy said. ”I think it made things a lot worse for the kids. Sitting in the dark didn’t help kids calm down.” Jillian Baker ’19 is another student that was isolated in elementary school for talking back to her teachers. According to Baker, rooms in which students are isolated from their peers did not stop unruly behavior, but instead made the students feel like they were being branded as troublemakers. “[Being secluded] didn’t necessarily PHOTOS BY ALYSON KUENNEN ART BY ANGELA ZIRBES DESIGN BY LYDIA GUO


make me think about what I did—if anything, it just made me more upset and made me feel more isolated,” Baker said. “[It] made me feel like I was weird, and I don’t think it changed my behavior at all because even after I got out, I’d still end up back in [the seclusion room.]” Because many seclusions occur when children are young, forms of discipline like this have the potential to affect the psychological health of students later on in life, especially if seclusion is recurring. During the 2015-16 school year, 277 out of 455 incidents where seclusion rooms were used, or 61 percent, were for kids between pre-kindergarten and third grade. According to Dr. Megan Foley Nicpon, a psychology professor at the University of Iowa, isolating students for their behavior at a young age may send negative messages about who they are as people rather than the decisions they make. “There’s a lot of data to show that students with behavioral problems have more depression, anxiety, lower self-concept and you have to think that it’s probably related to the messages that they’re receiving,” Foley Nicpon said. “It’s kind of

“ SECLU SI O N AN D R ESTR AI NTS SH OU LD N OT B E U SE D TO D I SCI PLI N E O R PU N I SH CH I LDR E N .”

- DAN I E L ZE NO, ACLU OF IOWA POLICY COU N SE L

a chicken and the egg sort of thing. Are they acting out because they’re told these awful things about themselves, or are they told these awful things about themselves because of their behavior? It’s cyclical, and so how do you break that cycle with kids?” Because of this, Foley Nicpon believes that students’ poor classroom behavior could continue into junior high and high school. Memories associated with strong emotions are more vivid and memorable in young children; this results in emotional memories continuing to affect later behavior for long periods of time following the traumatic event. Baker believes that her behavior would not have carried on had it not been for labels given to her as an elementary student. “When teachers isolate you and label you as one thing regarding behavioral issues, or anything in general, you tend to gravitate towards the people that have the same label as you,” Baker said. “[This] is why my behavioral issues continued into eighth grade when they shouldn’t have at all.” Baker views this labeling as harmful to students that may not be able to control their behavior. She believes that it inter-

BELOW: Sketched on the outside door of a seclusion room at Northwest Junior High reads the warning message “STAY OUT.”


BY THE NUMBERS

4 61 7 %

of seclusion room incidents were used for minor infractions

feres with their education and prioritizes other students’ learning over the mental well-being of those placed in seclusion. “I do think an institution exists [that] puts kids who have behavioral issues, whether they are intelligent or not, at a disadvantage,” Baker said. “When you label somebody as a troublemaker, that gets in the way of their academic achievements … I don’t think that [teachers and administration] didn’t care about me, but I don’t think that they solved my behavioral

%

of children placed in seclusion rooms were in pre-kindergarten through third grade

why do you want to talk to us or want to hang out with us?’ I think that set a label on a kid and a person because everybody’s scared. They think, ‘I don’t want them to hurt me because they have been in the [seclusion] room,’” Levy said. Baker also felt that being secluded impeded her abilities to make friends and view herself in a positive manner. “Whenever I didn’t have problems with authority and I tried to make conversation with my teachers or I tried to initi-

%

of seclusion room sessions lasted over the maximum time of around 50 minutes

ican Civil Liberties Union spoke out against isolating students and called on Iowa to change its restraint and seclusion policies. In a news release, Daniel Zeno, the policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa said, “Iowa must update its rules to reflect growing consensus that seclusion and restraints should not be used to discipline or punish children. Children should only be subjected to these practices in emer-

“ TH E FOCU S O F OU R WO RK ... [I S] TO I M PROVE AN D E N HAN CE B E HAVIO R SU PPO RT.” - LI SA GLE N N , DI R . OF SPECIAL E D.

problems in the way that would have put my interests first.” Furthermore, students that were placed in seclusion rooms faced social isolation as well. Students sent to these rooms on multiple occasions felt alienated by their peers. This had negative effects on students’ perceptions of themselves. “People didn’t want to be around you because they think, ‘You’re always mad ... You’re always in the [seclusion] room, so

ate friendships, that didn’t happen,” Baker said. “I feel like whenever something didn’t work out the way it should have, I related it back to me just not being able to act right, and I remember being really upset about that because I couldn’t figure out how to act right.” Misconduct with seclusion in the district eventually caught widespread media attention and was featured in USA Today -over the summer. Soon after, the Amer-

gencies and when there are no other alternatives.” Following a complaint filed from the Department of Education and backlash from parents, the ICCSD began to change its use of seclusion. The district hopes to prevent future misuse of these rooms by removing them altogether, or, if this is not possible, repurposing them by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. “As a district, we weren’t meeting the


ABOVE: Sitting in the 6-foot by 6-foot seclusion room, Levy recalls the discomfort he felt from the foul smells, limited space and suffocating heat he had to endure. RIGHT: Levy looks through the single window of a seclusion room from the outside. While this particular seclusion room is better lit, Levy recalls that the room he was secluded in at Kirkwood Elementary would often be pitch black due to a curtain covering the window.

standard of care that we should when it came to seclusion,” said ICCSD School Board Member Ruthina Malone. “It was mainly based on the Department of Education’s report [that] a lot of the findings that were listed in there [were] that we were delinquent in the way we were handling a lot of our cases.” However, the audit of seclusion rooms has led to another problem: what to do with special education students that had IEPs that depended on these rooms. According to ICCSD Director of Special Education Lisa Glenn, students with IEPs will continue to have access to seclusion

spaces as needed. “The district will implement all IEPs as written, including those which include a safe seclusion area,” Glenn said. “When needed, the district will work with building staff to find a permanently constructed area for use in implementing the IEPs in the building … The focus of our work continues to be to improve and enhance behavior support for students at all levels, and to design high-quality individual plans for those who need them.” As the ICCSD makes the shift to adopt new methods of handling misbehaving kids, Murley acknowledges that this may

be a rough transition to make because seclusion rooms were formerly the norm within schools across the district. “This has been in place in the district and in other districts in Iowa for a very long time ... It’s not really a gradual change,” Murley said. “We’re going through some learning with this process ... We’ll probably experiment with some different kinds of spaces in different schools, and that’ll be a collaborative effort with parents, so whatever safe space we create meets their expectations too.” Other than auditing seclusion rooms, the ICCSD has taken measures to make sure


staff are aware of how to correctly address misbehaving students. Administration has retrained faculty in areas where seclusion rooms are still active to ensure no further misuse occurs. Additionally, the district is now experimenting with other methods to positively interact with students facing behavioral problems. For example, a room has been placed at Kirkwood Elementary next to the principal’s office with a table and various games to help students calm down. “Now, instead of putting students in the seclusion room, [staff have] this safe space where they can have the student go in and de-escalate,” Murley said. “There’s room at the table where if [a faculty member] needs to have a conversation with them [or] if the student just needs some room to do their school work without being in proximity to the other kids or whatever was setting them off, they have the room to do that now.” This method of direct communication, also known as talk therapy, is one strategy

“ YOU N EVE R K N OW H OW A PE RSO N ’S DAY CAN B E B E FO R E TH EY G ET TO SCH OO L O R AFTE R SCH OO L; J U ST I NTE R ACTI N G WITH SO M E BO DY CAN CHAN G E EVE RYTH I N G.”

- DAVONTE LEV Y ’18

that the ICCSD plans to use to replace seclusion. This was previously effective for Baker, who believes that having a supportive adult figure in junior high helped change her views on authority. “I had a guidance counselor that was there at North Central, and she really helped me with everything,” Baker said. “I took a step back … and realized that I shouldn’t be acting that way and that teachers were not purposefully being authoritarian figures. I learned to appreciate teachers a lot more.” Levy acknowledges the influence of interaction and reiterates that conversation, instead of seclusion, has the potential to change the entire educational experience of a student. “I think teachers should talk to kids more. That’s how kids and teachers can get better connections,” Levy said. “You never know how a person’s day can be before they get to school or after school; just interacting with somebody can change everything.”

ABOVE: While seclusion rooms are said to be disbanded within the 2018-19 school year, 11 of the 28 schools in the ICCSD still make use of them. Almost 80 percent of schools in the district utilized them at one point and nine rooms have since been repurposed.


10

A DV E R T I S E M E N T S DEC. 22, 2017

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F E AT U R E

DEC. 22, 2017

BEYOND

THE GAME Due to Iowa City’s intense love for Iowa Hawkeyes football, tailgating has turned into a prominent part of culture in Iowa City. Although it may seem like just a game, there are many more aspects to celebrating the Hawks. BY ELLIE GRETTER

H

awkeye football has been important to Iowa City since 1882, when it was first recognized as a varsity sport. In 1899, Iowa had its first undefeated season and was asked to join the Big Ten Conference. After nearly a century of bad luck, Hayden Fry was hired to try to revive the football program. In his 20 years of coaching, Fry led the Hawkeyes to 14 bowl game appearances and was eventually inducted into the Hall of Fame. Kirk Ferentz took over after Fry and has since led the team to crack the top 25 in the AP Poll six times. As the team has improved and gained a bigger fan base, these fans have wanted to expand time spent on celebrating their beloved team. Throughout time, a new trend has emerged: tailgating. Tailgating has evolved into an all-day affair on every Saturday gameday.


12

F E AT U R E

DEC. 22, 2017

TH E C U LT U R E The parking lots outside of Kinnick on football game days are filled with black-and-gold RVs, hundreds of cornhole games and enless amounts of food. These things, along with many others, make up what is known as tailgating in Iowa City. Over the years, this scene has expanded to cover a larger radius than just these few parking lots. Thousands of people throughout the Iowa City area tailgate at every game, whether it’s scorching hot, raining or below freezing. “It’s really a big event when people live in Iowa City, North Liberty or Coralville to tailgate, either at their houses, downtown or at Kinnick. So, I think it’s a really big part of the community,” said Rachael Saunders ’18. Due to the popularity of tailgating, many West students have been tailgating ever since they can remember. “I’ve been tailgating ever since I was really little.

It’s like a birthright when you live in Iowa City. You go tailgate downtown on Saturdays when the Hawkeyes play at home,” Saunders said. Along with all of the good memories from years of tailgating come experiences that you can look back on and laugh about. “I remember a few times my sister would run away so we had to go find her in the crowds,” Saunders said. “But it’s just a really fun time, especially when the Hawkeyes are playing well and winning—it’s super fun to do with your friends and family.” The positive environment at these tailgates is what causes people to keep coming back year after year. “[The atmosphere is] fun and energetic. Everyone is really positive about the game. It’s really fun to just hang out, throw footballs and eat,” said Sydney Sherwood ’19.


13

F E AT U R E

DEC. 22, 2017

A T R I BU T E What started as a simple Facebook post by Krista Young on May 25 to the Hawkeye Heaven Facebook page has transformed into something larger than anyone could have expected. The Facebook post proposed that after the first quarter of every football game in Kinnick Stadium, everyone in the stadium should turn and wave to the recently opened Stead Family Children’s Hospital. “When I first saw the post that the lady posted, I was unsure. But then she had thousands and thousands of shares and I was like, ‘Maybe they’re actually going to do this,’ and everyone just turning around and waving, just one simple thing, it’s amazing how [it] can bring you to tears,” said Molly Klutts ’19. The gesture has gained national attention and received the Disney Sports Spirit Award. However, The Wave symbolizes so much more than

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just a simple acknowledgement. “It symbolizes that Iowa City and even more than Iowa City has been getting into The Wave. We’re all there for them, even if we can’t financially help [the kids in the hospital], we’re there for them emotionally. We just want to show that we sympathize with them,” Klutts said. The Wave is not only emotional for the children and their families inside the hospital, but also for the roughly 70,000 fans inside the stadium. “I started crying [when I saw The Wave for the first time.] It was just very emotional because sometimes you just forget that they are up there and how much pain they go through,” Klutts said. “But to just stop for a couple of minutes and realize that they’re up there and they’re fighting for their lives. The Wave can just make them forget about it for a couple minutes and make them realize that we’re all supporting them.”

GUIDELINES TO KEEP IN MIND

1 2

No tobacco is allowed on the University of Iowa campus or inside Kinnick Stadium, including e-cigarettes. No hard liquor is allowed in UI parking lots. Iowa State Laws prohibit the drinking or possession of an opened bottle of hard liquor.

3

No open containers of alcohol on public property, including sidewalks and roads, will be allowed.

4

There are no speakers or amplifiers permitted. Small stereos are allowed but the sound can not extend past your tailgating area.

5

No open bars. No activity similar to the distribution of alcohol that resembles a bar is allowed. Any drinking games that require large amounts of alcohol, beer bongs or consumption are susceptible to intervention by police.

6 7 8 9

Liquid propane, charcoal grills and liquid propane heaters are permitted as long as charcoal is disposed of properly. Tents are permitted but must not extend out of your tailgating area. Inflatables such as drones and balloons are not permitted and cannot be tethered to vehicles. Tailgating is not allowed following games that start after 6 p.m.

ART BY FRANCES DAI DESIGN BY CRYSTAL KIM


14

A DV E R T I S E M E N T S DEC. 22, 2017

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CONQUERING

15

F E AT U R E

DEC. 22, 2017

COLLEGE

Harvard. Yale. Princeton. Stanford. MIT. The list goes on and on. Almost every student applying to college has heard of these elite schools as applications become an increasingly highstakes process. This perspective leads many to wonder: just what is the secret to getting in? BY JENNA WANG

STUDENT LAUREN ERNST '18 J

ust last year, more than thirty-eight thousand hopefuls from around the world applied to Stanford University, marking the record for the largest application pool in Stanford history. Only about two thousand were offered the coveted acceptance letter. It becomes no surprise that Stanford’s acceptance rate is the lowest out of all colleges in the U.S. at a mere 4.8 percent—enough to scare even the most qualified applicants. However, this prospect didn’t prevent senior Lauren Ernst ’18 from applying early to her dream school, even in an extremely competitive environment. In hopes of making the cut, Ernst prepared since freshman year. “I took the hardest classes available. Whenever there was an AP class, I took it,” Ernst said. “I think I took the courses that I enjoyed and at the same time were most challenging to me.” Ernst has committed herself to five AP classes senior year, making it difficult at times to PHOTOS BY ALLIE SCHMITT-MORRIS

focus on applications. Additionally, the competitive and stressful environment among seniors during college applications can make it just as hard to focus. Ernst has experienced this firsthand on a day-to-day basis. “I’ve talked to a couple of people and they’re like, ‘Well, if I don’t get in and this person does, I’m going to be kind of upset because I feel like we have very similar applications,’” Ernst said. With tension among students, the demanding pressures of perfection and comparison can lead to secrecy, as acceptance letters can become the definition of success among high-achieving students today. “I think some people don’t outwardly tell people because … if it’s your number one school and you don’t get in, then your confidence [is hurt],” Ernst said. “But then there’s people who are really excited about it, like me.” In situations where students always pressure

themselves to get the best grades, take the hardest classes for the sake of college or study for countless hours, Ernst has come to realize that essays, in fact, are one of the most important parts of the process but certainly not the easiest. “A lot of the prompts are like, ‘Why this place?’ I’m like, ‘Well, it’s pretty and they have a good academic program, and that’s about it.’ That’s not going to be sufficient to get me in,” Ernst said. With multiple essays to be written, Ernst has frequently had to look back on her life for the perfect idea. Along the way, she’s come to realize things she could have done differently in her underclassmen years. “The only thing I regret is stressing out about grades. Learning for a grade sucks,” Ernst said. “Learning for the sake of learning and having fun … is so much better. I wish I had started out with that perspective in freshman year and hadn’t been so grade-centric.” DESIGN BY THOMAS DUONG


16

F E AT U R E

DEC. 22, 2017

STUDENT OLIVIA MANALIGOD '18 M

usic has touched the lives of many students. However, only a few are passionate enough about their instrument to pursue a music major and a career as a musician. Olivia Manaligod ’18 happens to be one of those students. With a strong philosophy dedicated toward pursuing her passions, she is applying to many voice and opera programs across the country in hopes of becoming a professional singer, despite the risks. “It’s kind of something that’s really daunting, and not every performance major is successful. At the same time, if you want to perform and you really love music, you should definitely go after it,” Manaligod said. “I feel like you’re successful if you’re doing what you love.” For Manaligod, applying early to her dream school of Northwestern University seemed most fitting, partly because of her unique leg-

“ I F E E L LI K E YOU ’ R E SUCCESSF U L I F YOU ’ R E DO I N G WHAT YOU LOVE .”

acy status. Even though having her grandfather, mother and brother as alumni is beneficial for her application, Manaligod is well aware that Northwestern is one of the most selective colleges in the country. “I do feel a lot of pressure, especially when applying for voice programs and having so many talented people auditioning for the same things.” Manaligod said. Regardless of how well a student’s vocals

are, highly selective schools like Northwestern strongly emphasize academic rigor as well, which makes for a more competitive environment that Manaligod has already experienced close to home. “There’s a lot of people at West who like Northwestern. Whenever I mention I’m interested in Northwestern, people are always like, ‘Oh, I like that one too,’” Manaligod said. “I don’t try to compare myself to the people who have higher academics than me … If they get into Northwestern and I don’t, I’ll be very happy for them because it’s a great thing and I don’t think it’ll really say anything about me as a performer and person.” A huge part of the process in applying to many music schools is the audition in which students prepare their best work to perform at a scheduled regional audition on campus or to record and send online. Because most students view this audition as the gateway to their future, it can quickly become a high-stakes process. “I’ve been constantly thinking about recording my auditions. It’s been really hard to schedule it because I need to have my teacher and accompanists there at the same moment, and I’m also balancing my schedule and all the other activities I do,” Manaligod said. “That’s scary to think about because what if you don’t get your tape done on time, or what if you don’t have enough time to improve it? … You want everything to be perfect.” However, Manaligod has recognized that the challenges in auditions and applying to music programs have benefitted her by making her become more independent as a performer. The process represents a shift away from her experience of working closely with groups during the All-State process or rehearsing in musicals. “When applying to colleges you have your sup-

port system, but you feel like it's on you. I have my pianist and my teacher, but at the end of the day it’s really just about my voice,” Manaligod said. “[The process] makes you grow as a performer. You can’t rely on having others perform

with you so I have to become more brave, but at the same time it’s still scary … to work with other people,” Manaligod said. With the college application process near its end, Manaligod remains hopeful for her career as a musician, regardless of the results on decision day. “I’m looking forward for this [process] to be over. While I do love the songs I’m singing, it’s just so scary. As soon as I’ve sent out all of my applications, it’s out of my hands. It’ll be less stress on my mind,” Manaligod said. “I think whatever is meant to happen will happen and I’ll always have second chances … I’ll be fine wherever I go because I’ll try to make the best of it.”


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F E AT U R E

COUNSELOR KELLY BERGMANN T

hroughout her career as a counselor, Kelly Bergmann has noticed a growing trend of perfectionism among high-achieving students toward college applications at West and the consequences and myths that come along with it. “A lot of our kids are going for Ivy League schools. That’s [the] kind of the culture we live in,” Bergmann said. “A lot of the time, it’s the luck of the draw. Everyone has a bunch of fives on their [AP] exams, perfect scores on [SAT] subject tests; everyone has everything perfect. When it comes down to it, you can be perfect and still not get in.” The idea of perfectionism has led students to think in a closed mindset, where they believe that a successful future lies only in going to their dream school. This mindset, along with the fear of failure, leads to students striving toward perfection in a variety of ways, such as spending hundreds of hours poring over test-prep books, pushing parents to shell out hundreds of dollars on expensive programs, and coordinating every action to what they believe an admissions officer would find appealing. “I think now we’re living in this age where everyone wants to have a tutor, and they feel like if they don’t score anywhere from a 30 to 34, somehow, they’re a bad test-taker and they’re never going to get into college,” Bergmann said. This mindset can lead to other harmful effects, such as excessive competition and stress, especially with West’s tradition of excellence. “[West] has an extremely competitive academic environment. A kid can have a 3.9 and be ranked 200th in their class. That’s low, and that’s crazy because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a 3.9. It makes you human,” Bergmann said. “I believe a little bit of competition is good, but when the norm is perfection, that’s where things

get to be a little much.” This can make what is mostly an independent process encompass the results of others, creating an environment of comparison and tension. “It’s very nitty gritty. [Counselors] hear gossip a lot,” Bergmann said. However, during the application process seniors are usually full of stress, balancing their busy school coursework with auditions, essays, testing and extracurricular activities. At times, students may be overwhelmed and don’t know how to deal with the pressure. “I think [stress] is generally healthy. When you’re stressing yourself out so much that it starts to hinder your quality of life, that’s when it starts to become bad,” Bergmann said. “Should you be a little stressed and anxious? Yes. But can you breathe? Can you focus? Are you having a good quality of life? That’s where the barrier is.” Bergmann realizes that as a part of perfectionism in the college process, the numbers in the applications are extremely important. However, she recommends showing colleges the more human side of a person instead, observing that if everyone is trying to become perfect and are doing the same activities, everyone blends into the masses and no one truly stands out. “A lot of the high school experience is pushing yourself academically and [finding] what also makes you you,” Bergmann said. “Everyone else is perfect, so stop trying to be perfect and be a good person, and show that you have something

DEC. 22, 2017

to give the school because of who you are, not what your grades or test scores are.” One of the most important parts in showing the more human aspect is through recommendation letters. Bergmann emphasizes relationships—that when teachers and counselors write letters, the best letters they write are for students they genuinely know as a person through conversations, showing their interests and their personality rather than their grades. “Just be a good person and we’ll notice that. We can tell a difference between the kids that … have this human aspect to them versus the kids that are 4.0 perfect for this, tutor for that. We see those things. That’s what [sets] you apart from everyone else,” Bergmann said. The combination of perfectionism, competition and stress comes into play the most during decision day, which can make or break a student's aspirations. “If some kids don’t get into the school they’ve been dreaming of forever, that’s a huge shot to what they feel like they’re going to be able to achieve going forward. It’s going to be really hard and they’re going to struggle for a long time,” Bergmann said. “People that you feel like you need to deliver the news to are going to love you no matter what.” In the end, no matter the result, a successful future still lies within sight. “There’s a plan out there for you and it doesn’t depend on the school you’re going to. A lot of the times it has nothing to do with who you are or what you’re capable of doing,” Bergmann said. “Talk to the people that you really love and know you well. Focus on the other things going good for you. It’s a school’s loss and another school’s gain.”


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PROFILES DEC. 22, 2017

THE BAND-NANA BY REAGAN HART


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PROFILES

DEC. 22, 2017

Jill Fair is a supervisory paraeducator at West High who has engaged in many practical jokes on students and fellow teachers over her years of teaching.

J

ill Fair has a major pet peeve: students leaving trash in her classroom. This became an issue for her when one of her band students left a banana on her desk when she used to work in the Highland Community School District. None of her students would throw the banana away, and every day it would make her more mad. After a while Fair decided to get back at her students. “It sat there forever and someone tied the banana from the ceiling, so I was like, ‘that’s it, it’s game on.’ So I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a fake banana,” Fair said. Since the real banana was left in her space, Fair would put the fake banana in her students’ spaces. For instance, she would ask another

“ TH E STU DE NT ASK E D H E R H OW TH E CAT WAS DO I N G AN D WH E N SH E O PE N E D TH E APP O N H E R PH O N E , SH E SAW TH E BANANA . SH E COU LDN ’T B E LI EVE IT. I TH OUG HT IT WAS H I LARI OU S.” - B EN FAI R teacher to give the fake banana to one of her band students when they came into class. Then, that student would try to give it back to her in a more creative way. They called the fake banana, the band-nana. The banana war increased to the point that students’ parents and even Fair’s husband were involved in the prank.     “One of her students asked me to put the banana in front of one of our home security cameras that Jill uses to check on our cat. The student asked her how the cat was doing and when she opened the app on her phone, she saw the banana.   She couldn’t believe it. I thought it was hilarious,” said Ben Fair, her husband.       Eventually the banana was given back to

Fair, but she couldn’t come up with a way to get her students back. However, after a couple of weeks, Fair was able to prank her students back on a band trip to New Orleans. The students had to get their bags checked and afterwards Fair slipped the banana into the bag of one of the ringleaders. “We get down to New Orleans and he opens up his bag, and the banana is in there. I heard him scream ‘no’ from my hotel room,” Fair said. Fair enjoyed the prank war because it gave her students something to be happy about, even if a student was having a bad school day. This personal connection is why Fair became a teacher, and while pranking the band kids had been fun, she decided she wanted more. After reflecting, Fair realized that being a band director wasn’t completely fulfilling that wish. Therefore, last year, Fair decided that it was finally time to go back to school in order to receive her master’s degree in counselling to become a guidance counselor. Fair realized she would need to find a new job if she was going to go back to school so she decided to take the vacant supervisory paraeducator position at West. “There is too much required for [being a director and my classes] for me to give it the attention that it needs. I really wanted a job that was still in the school and I saw this job online and was like, ‘that would be cool,’” Fair said. Fair now monitors West’s hallways and writes parking tickets. Despite not being a teacher anymore, she’s still able to play practical jokes. This time Fair works with the students, targeting her coworkers instead. Steven Breitbach, a fellow West paraeducator, is one such victim and remembers a time when Fair found his old college football picture and added it to the current West High football poster. Even when she told him to check out the poster, Breitbach didn’t notice that he was on it at first.   “I realized that my college football picture was on the poster. The funny part was that the poster is made up of head shots of all the seniors, and my college roster picture was a head shot of me, so it actually fit in with the poster,” Breitbach said. “However, in the moment, I was also kind of creeped out because I knew that they had to search for it, so they definitely

were creeping on me to find it.” While Fair likes to keep things more light-hearted, not all her interactions are positive. There are some negative aspects to her job, such as students becoming angry after getting a parking ticket and the difficulties that the weather can bring. “I am not going to lie, it’s not fun in the cold, but it is what it is. I knew what I was signing up for,” Fair said. “I think I have talked [Breitbach] into pulling me on a sled for parking once it starts snowing.” The snow can make it difficult to walk around

“ PU LLI N G SO M E BO DY AROU N D I N A SLE D I S A WH O LE D I F F E R E NT STO RY. I F E E L LI K E I ’ M G ETTI N G TH E R AW E N D O F THAT DEAL . I ’ M A TEAM PL AYE R , TH OUG H , SO WH O K N OWS? MAYB E IT WI LL ACTUALLY HAPPE N .” -STEVEN B R EITBACH , SU PE RVI SO RY PAR AED UCATO R to check the parking lot, so Fair has been pushing Breitbach to pull her on the sled. Fair believes it might actually happen if she says it enough times. “As a kid, I always enjoyed sledding, but pulling somebody around in a sled is a whole different story. I feel like I’m getting the raw end of that deal,” Breitbach said. “I’m a team player, though, so who knows? Maybe it will actually happen.” With many pranks under her belt, it can be hard to remember them all. However, some are more memorable than others “I still feel like the banana is just out there lurking,” Fair said. PHOTO BY MADDI SHINALL DESIGN BY SELINA HUA


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PROFILES DEC. 22, 2017

THE TEACHER TRAP Twins Noah and Jonah Terwilleger ’19 give insight on their twin experience as well as how they switched places for an entire day this past fall.

BY LUCY POLYAK

W

hether it’s egging a house, plastic-wrapping toilets or spraying school hallways with Axe body spray, executing the perfect prank has always been a conquest for high school students. On Halloween of 2017, twins Noah and Jonah Terwilleger ’19 accomplished a long time prank goal of theirs: they went an entire school day pretending to be the other with very few people noticing, teachers and students alike. Being a twin means often getting mistaken for the other sibling. While Noah and Jonah both feel that it’s important for them to be individuals, they don’t get too upset these days about being confused for one another. “It doesn’t faze me at all. People have been calling me Jonah for sixteen years, [so] it’s not much of a problem anymore,” Noah said. An easy way to tell the two apart is that Jonah is often seen wearing red clothing while Noah usually dresses in blue. Their personalities are also fairly different; Jonah describes himself as someone who tends to go more off of gut-feelings and emotions than Noah, who leans more towards being analytical and objective. Despite their similarities and differences, the Terwillegers really enjoy having each other in their lives. In fact, having a twin has impacted each of their lives for the better. “When we were really young, we’d learn social skills [from] each other and so then we were able to go to school earlier. We were speaking earlier, we were able to do stuff just earlier because we had someone else our age who was also developing. If I didn’t have a twin, I probably would have started school a year later,” Jonah said.

PHOTOS BY TEYA KERNS DESIGN BY TYLER THOMASSON


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PROFILES

DEC. 22, 2017

Someone who knows the Terwilligers best is their cousin, Emily Hill ’20, who spends quite a bit of her time at West High with the boys. “They don’t get annoyed really easily. They’re willing to take whatever I throw at them, like roasting and such,” Hill said. “They’re both really fun to hang out with and it’s easy to talk to them … I remember when they were talking about switching places, [Noah] said that Jonah has to learn how to not smile, and I always thought that was kind of funny.” Although they had done things like trying to trick family members into believing one twin is the other, the Terwilligers had few stories to tell of twin antics. The two boys decided that this would finally be the year that they would attempt a large-scale prank. From this decision came the idea to switch places in class for the duration of Halloween. “We wanted to get an event like this done before we left for college because we’d never done anything like this before. Every time we had a conversation with someone about being twins, someone asked us, ‘So have you guys ever switched places?’ We always had to say no for the first sixteen years,” Noah said. “The idea of Halloween is to put on someone else’s clothes and become that person without actually becoming that person,” Jonah said. “So my thought was that I was actually going to be-

“ TH E I DEA O F HALLOWE E N I S TO PUT O N SO M EO N E E LSE ’S CLOTH ES AN D B ECO M E THAT PE RSO N WITH OUT ACTUALLY B ECO M I N G THAT PE RSO N . SO MY TH OUG HT WAS THAT I WAS ACTUALLY GO I N G TO B ECO M E TH E PE RSO N I WAS DR ESS I N G U P AS.” -J ONAH TERWI LLIGER ‘19

come the person I was dressing up as.” Sam Sunderland ’19 was someone who was excited to get a chance to watch the prank unfold. He sat next to Noah in grammar class during first trimester. He says that their teacher didn’t notice the switch and this made the prank all the more hilarious to watch. “Noah [told] me in the morning that he wasn’t going to be in class and that his brother would be. Right then and there, I knew it was going to be a good day … It kind of made my day because almost no teachers noticed, which made it awesome,” Sunderland said. Overall, the prank was a success as most people in the West High community didn’t realize they were spending their day with an imposter. Noah and Jonah received a lot of positive feedback from onlookers. “I thought it was really funny, but I could understand why some teachers would [possibly] get upset,” Hill said. “They told me [their plan] that morning, and I was like, ‘You guys are gonna be in so much trouble’ … I think most [teachers] didn’t know, but if they did they thought it was funny.” Even though it was a risk to try this prank, the twins were glad they had this experience. As to if they’re ever going to swap places again, Jonah had one thing to say, “Not for Halloween, at least. We won’t tell you when.”


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PROFILES DEC. 22, 2017

A BROTHERLY BOND Over the years, the Crowley family has had to overcome certain challenges of having a son with epilepsy. Despite this, brothers Aiden and Orion Crowley ‘18 have forged a special relationship that is stronger than words can express. BY JESSICA MOONJELY

A

fter coming home from school, the first thing brothers Aiden and Orion Crowley ’18 do is go to the swing on their back porch. They’ll turn on the radio, enjoy the fresh air and just swing. Few words pass between them, but both smile just the same. They already know what the other is feeling. There is a feeling of love that connects them without words. Before Orion was born, a blood clot formed in his brain, causing a stroke. This led to him having epilepsy, a neurological condition that can cause spontaneous seizing. The seizures caused Orion extreme agitation and frustration, and when he was five, he had his first two brain surgeries. His third and final major brain surgery gave him some relief from the constant seizure activity. It was then, at age seven, that he truly began to learn and develop. Orion’s seizures have always been one of the biggest challenges he and his family have had to face. “I remember when I was younger he would be walking and all of a sudden stop, freeze, and his arm would go out. At first, it scared me because I didn’t understand what was going on,” Aiden said. “My parents always reacted startled[ly] because as soon as his body seized up they were scared that he would fall down the stairs or something. So I was a little scared when stuff like that happened because I saw how my parents reacted, but I got used to it.” Now at age 20, Orion and his family have learned how to handle his seizures. Though the Crowleys have become accustomed to Orion’s

episodes over the years, it doesn’t make them any easier on their family. “A few years ago, I saw videos of his first seizures when he was really young. That was kind of emotional for me. Seeing how bad they were, that kind of scared me,” Aiden said. “I just had more appreciation for my parents [and] all the stuff they had gone through. [I saw] how

“ H E ’S ALWAYS B E E N LI K E MY B EST F RI E N D. WH E N I WAS YOU N G E R I D I DN ’T U N DE RSTAN D EVE RYTH I N G GO I N G O N WITH H I M , BUT I N EVE R TH OUG HT O F H I M AS D I F F E R E NT O R STR AN G E ,” -AI DEN CROWLEY ‘18 they handled all that on a daily basis, made our lifestyle seem more normal and all the extra work they go through. They never stop working. They’ll go from work to home, have to make food for him, feed him, they used to have to crush all of his medicine, get him ready and everything.”

Along with his seizures, Orion has limited speech and mobility. He has had hand surgeries to keep his wrist and ligaments straight and also wears a brace on his right leg to help him walk. The left side of his brain is mostly unresponsive, but that doesn’t prevent him from communicating his emotions. “His biggest thing is his facial expressions. He’s very expressive. When he’s upset or something, he’ll raise his eyebrows and get in your face. And the way he’ll say things, he will get more serious and use his deeper voice, so you can tell when he’s happy or mad,” Aiden said. “You don’t necessarily need all of the vocal communication to understand what he’s feeling.” In fact, the difficulties Orion’s condition poses have strengthened the special bond Aiden and Orion share. “He’s always been like my best friend. When I was younger I didn’t understand everything going on with him, but I never thought of him as different or strange,” Aiden said. “He’s always been there for me. He’s always happy and will never put you in a bad mood. It’s always nice to have him around any time you’re feeling upset or sad. He’s always just got a big smile on his face.” According to the boys’ father, Bret Crowley, Aiden has felt a self-imposed obligation to Orion from a very young age. “I think Aiden was about seven when he told his mother and I that we didn’t have to worry about Orion’s future,” Bret said. “Aiden told us that when he grows up he was going to get a good paying job and build a big house so Orion could live with him and that he would care for


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PROFILES

DEC. 22, 2017

TOP: Aiden and Orion sit on the beach in Seaside, Florida listening to the waves. MIDDLE: The brothers and their mother Valerie count down the seconds until the sun sets and hits the ocean in Florida. BOTTOM: In summer 2016 the Crowley’s took a trip to Boston and New York. This is their first time in Fenway Park to see a game. Photos courtesy of the Crowley family

him when we could no longer care for Orion. It was a day of mixed emotions to say the least.” By the time Aiden was 12 years old, he had made around 20 trips to the Children’s Hospital of St. Paul, Minnesota where Orion was treated. “Aiden always went with us because we wanted our family to stay together no matter what. We knew that if we were to leave Aiden behind it would cause more issues than him being part of the process and we never thought twice about it,” Bret said. From time to time, Aiden will have to miss some events to take care of Orion, but says that he doesn’t feel like he’s really missing out. “It’s just part of being his brother. I love him and it doesn’t matter if I miss something for him,” Aiden said. “I’ve got to be there for him.” Music has also been a big part of the boys’ lives. Whether it be at home or during time spent in the hospital, listening to music has been a favorite pastime together. Orion loves beats and enjoys headbanging to them. Their favorite band to listen to is U2, and it’s become a family tradition to go to their concerts. Bret and his wife Valerie went to their first U2 concert just four days before Orion was born in 1997. Since then, they have taken the boys to three other concerts. “It was a memory that we will never forget, seeing Orion’s face light up when ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ came on and watching him sing along,” Bret said. Though Orion’s family understands his condition, not everyone is as educated. Although most people are accepting and understanding of

Orion’s condition, some speak to him like he’s a small child even though he is 20. Though not usually directed at Orion, “retarded” is a word that Aiden hears thrown around in society too often. “It doesn’t necessarily offend me because I

“ I WANT TO B E TH E O N E TH E R E FO R H I M EVE N WH E N MY PAR E NTS AR E GO N E . I WANT TO B E TH E O N E TAK I N G CAR E O F H I M . TH EY HAVE N ’T PR ESSU R E D M E , BUT I ’ VE ASSU M E D THAT R ESPO N S I B I LIT Y. THAT ’S WHAT I WANT TO DO.” -AI DEN CROWLEY ‘18 understand most of them don’t really mean it, but I think it does hurt. I think it’s offensive because people use it as a term to say ‘they’re not as good’ [or] to put someone down. But it’s the actual term for some people, and I don’t think they’re below anyone else. If anything

they’re just as good, if not better people than all of us. Anyone who has a mental disability is smart in their own way,” Aiden said. Aiden has benefited tremendously from his relationship with Orion, who has taught him numerous things and has helped to make him smarter as well. “You learn how to communicate with people better. I feel like I can talk to all different kinds of people more effectively and be able to relate to them on an emotional level,” Aiden said. “I think it’s really important for people with disabilities to have people in normal society there for them to develop relationships so they don’t feel excluded.” Aiden will carry everything he has learned from the relationships he has made into the future and eventually hopes to go into the medical field for nursing. But for now, he wants to stay in Iowa and keep Orion close. “I want to be the one there for him even when my parents are gone. I want to be the one taking care of him. They haven’t pressured me, but I’ve assumed that responsibility. That’s what I want to do,” Aiden said. When asked what he wishes he could say to Orion in a conversation without any restrictions on communication, Aiden only had one response. “The first thing to come to mind would be to tell him that I love him, but I think he already knows that,” Aiden said. “He doesn’t need to hear words to understand that.” PHOTO BY IVAN BADOVINAC DESIGN BY TYLER THOMASSON


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PROFILES DEC. 22, 2017

A PATH IN THE MILITARY


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English teacher Tom Lindsey opens up about his experiences as a Cold War veteran. By reflecting on his past, he shares advice for future enlistees he wishes he would have received.

PROFILES

DEC. 22, 2017

BY ABBIE CALLAHAN

W

hen it comes to the debate over war, many believe there is a distinct right and wrong. Between the anti-war activists that parade the streets and the warring soldiers that march the battlefield, it can be easy to feel strongly one way or the other. But there is a middle ground—a foggy haze of uncertainty. On this land walked an 18-year-old Tom Lindsey. As a child, Lindsey was determined to attend college and be the first in his family to obtain a degree. Growing up in a low-income household, he knew that going to college would leave him with a lifetime of debt to pay off. Lindsey originally planned on paying for college through a swimming scholarship, however it eventually fell through after a series of injuries. These injuries included breaking his ankle in ninth and 10th grade and breaking his hand junior year. This led Lindsey to look for alternative scholarships, and enrolling in the military piqued his interest. “Initially, I had absolutely no plans of joining the military. After a barrage of calls from recruiters, I finally caved and met with an Army recruiter to discuss the prospect of joining the [Reserve Officers’ Training Corps] program. During this meeting, my eye caught a brochure promoting the two-year GI Bill program. Coming from a family with limited resources, I opted to join the latter to help alleviate the financial burden and stress from my parents,” Lindsey said. By enrolling, the GI Bill could pay for his full tuition at a public college. He would receive a monthly housing allowance and up to $1,000 per year for books and supplies. The tradeoff was spending two years in active duty during the Cold War. “I used all of my GI Bill college benefits to help

pay tuition for my undergraduate degree at the [The University of Iowa], where I graduated with a B.A. in English in 1994. My undergraduate degree helped pave the way for my graduate degree at UI, which helped me procure my teaching license and enter the profession, [and] I’ve been teaching English since 1997,” Lindsey said.

bonuses.” At West, usually five to 10 graduates make the decision to go into active duty each year. Military branch recruiters trek through the halls of West High to talk to students about the many options they have when it comes to the military. The recruiters and students meet to discuss the student’s interests.

“ I ALWAYS E N COU R AG E STU DE NTS TO ASK TH E R ECRU ITE R TH E DOWN S I DES [O F TH E M I LITARY] , AN D I F TH E R ECRU ITE RS AR E GOO D, TH EY WI LL TE LL YOU. “ -PAUL BREITBACH, GUIDANCE COUNSELOR While he served in active duty from 1986 to 1988, he became disgusted with the way fellow soldiers were treated. After talking to many of the other men, he began to notice individuals of lower classes being taken advantage of. “They were screwed over. I saw it mostly with minorities and people in lower classes who did not do their research, so they didn’t know all the benefits, and therefore, they weren’t given the full benefits,” Lindsey said. “While serving in Germany, I had met several fellow soldiers who had been taken advantage of by recruiters and did not receive any signing bonus of GI Bill benefits when they signed up, even though they should have qualified for them. Some of these individuals had been persuaded by recruiters to sign up for four, six and eight years, not knowing they could re-enlist after two and receive more

" I N ITIALLY, I HAD ABSO LUTE LY N O PL AN S O F J O I N I N G TH E M I LITARY. AFTE R A BAR R AG E O F CALLS F RO M R ECRU ITE RS, I F I NALLY CAVE D ..." -TOM LINDSEY, ENGLISH TEACHER

¨I always encourage students to ask the recruiter the downsides [of the military],” said counselor Paul Breitbach. “And if the recruiters are good, they will tell you, but if they just brush over it, then you would have some reasons to be skeptical.¨ Many times counselors are asked to sit in during meetings with recruiters and students to supervise and be an unbiased voice in the conversation. ¨It’s important for people to ask questions so they know what they are signing up for,” Breitbach said. There are many different paths to choose from if one is interested in the military. One option includes attending military academies. Other options are directly joining a branch of the military or going into a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program at one’s university. This allows one to test the waters for a year. When Lindsey was making his decisions regarding college and the military, there weren’t as many alternative ways of going about it. In today’s day and age, there is a variety of choices. “I joined the Army because at the time I felt as if I had no other option to pay for college. Although I have no regrets, I did not like being in the Army, primarily feeling powerless,” Lindsey said. “However, I did the best to look for the silver lining and take advantage of some of the opportunities and overseas assignments.” PHOTOS BY MADDI SHINALL DESIGN BY MEGAN BOLAND


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E N T E R TA I N M E N T DEC. 22, 2017

“12 ANGRY JURORS” BEHIND THE SCENES

On Dec. 1 and 2, Theatre West put on a play, “12 Angry Jurors,” that was different from those they’ve done in recent years. West Side Story brings you some of the highlights of the show, as well as some of the challenges involved with a smaller production.

CREW TROUBLES BY EMMA BRUSTKERN Theatre West always has a goal of including as many students as possible. Therefore, the crew is generally robust and full of promising people to help with whatever is available. In comparison to other theatre groups, the crew plays a much bigger role. “I knew that there was a big production team with so many students involved and I was really excited to see how that played out. From what I had done with community theatre in the past, the set and props crews were really, really contained. With [having a large crew], you get to meet a bunch of different people,” said cast member Sean Harken ’21. Although this remains true, the show’s sin-

gular set with no scene changes left little for the crews to do in comparison to other shows. The sound crew had a total of one sound effect, the costumes crew finished their work weeks ahead of time, and each person on the hair and makeup crew was assigned exactly one person. Even up in the catwalks, the lights crew had a difficult time finding jobs for everyone. Generally, Theatre West shows have many spotlights, but “12 Angry Jurors” is an exception. “With no set changes, there’s not a lot of cues. Everything is already set up [because] there’s not a lot of change going on,” said Mitch Clements ’19, a member of the lights crew.

However, putting on a smaller show provided some advantages as well. For the costumes crew, the lack of elaborate costumes to create gave them extra time to start on their next big project: the spring musical, “West Side Story.” “It was cool because we got to see ahead what the costumes for next show are going to look like,” said Ari McClure ’20, a member of the costumes crew. “I think it’ll be pretty convenient since we can get stuff done ahead of time so there’s not a rush at the end like there was with [Les Miserables] or [Wizard of Oz].”

FROM THE 1950s TO NOW

Samantha Young ’18 does Brandon Burkhardt’s ’18 makeup for the final dress rehearsal on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

Fans of “12 Angry Men” may remember men smoking cigarettes and old-fashioned slang, but the Theatre West production is a far cry from this vision. Rather than being set in the past, this version took place in present day New York. The show centers around 12 jurors deciding whether or not a young boy from the slums should receive the death penalty. Katy Nahra, director of Theatre West, believed modernizing the show would reveal hidden truths about how society hasn’t progressed as much as we may think. “We’re actually doing it in the present day to demonstrate the point that not much has changed and that [racism] is still a problem in America,” Nahra said. The choice to change the setting caused only minor changes, such as adjusting some dia-

logue. The shift also accounts for the change in the title, which was changed to “12 Angry Jurors” in order to include women in the production. In addition, the setting had an impact on how the actors portrayed their characters. “With our show, we’ve decided that in today’s world, with everything that’s going on, people would just come out and say what they’re thinking,” said Meg Moreland ’18, who played Juror 8, the protagonist of the play. When dealing with such real-life issues, there’s always a worry that a cast won’t accurately portray it in the right light. The actors took special care to do the play justice and they hope that their production tackled some issues head-on. “We want to open up for discussion,” Nahra said. “If there are discussions that are spawned because of this, that’s good. It’s a good thing to get people talking.


27

CREATING CHARACTERS While viewers get to see how the jurors behave on stage in the jury room, only the cast gets to experience all facets of each juror’s personality. Normally, actors involved with Theatre West write a character biography before they begin practicing in order to better understand and connect to their characters. In the case of “12 Angry Jurors,” these character biographies were essential in the production. “You really just have to go off of the character you created. You don’t get [a] name, you’re a number of the juror that you are,” Moreland said. “[After writing character biographies] we all connected with our character more and we thought more about the reasons why they were saying what they were saying … and what in their life made them the person in this jury room today.” Sean Harken ’21, a newcomer to Theatre West, played Juror 7. In his case, Harken had to interpret his character’s apathy towards the trial. “A big part of his character is he doesn’t really care about the trial. He’s this really big baseball fan and he has tickets to a baseball game the same night … they’re trying to decide if [the

E N T E R TA I N M E N T

DEC. 22, 2017

boy] is guilty or innocent,” Harken said. “He’s kind of like, ‘I’m going to vote with whatever I think people will agree with more, the faster I get out the better.’ I don’t think he understands the magnitude of what his vote is for choosing if this boy is going to die or not … He’s just focused on what he wants.” In contrast, Moreland’s character took a much deeper and analytical approach. As Juror 8, Moreland was the first character to believe the boy was not guilty, and actively tries to convince the jury of his innocence. “I had to think about what kind of person would really be thinking to that depth just right off the bat. For me, that would be someone who has experienced death in their life and has lost someone close to them,” Moreland said. “When we wrote our character bios, I talked about how my character could have lost like her husband or something, someone very close to her where she now puts so much value on life that the thought of sending the 16-year-old boy off to die without really talking and understanding all angles of this case would be very hard for her.”

“ WE ’ R E ACTUALLY DO I N G IT I N TH E PR ESE NT DAY TO DE M O N STR ATE TH E PO I NT THAT N OT M UCH HAS CHAN G E D AN D THAT [R ACI SM] I S STI LL A PRO B LE M I N AM E R I CA .” -KATY NAHRA, DIERCTOR

Brandon Burkhardt ’18 and Damarius Levi ’18 hold back Ethan Seylar ‘18 after Meg Moreland’s ’18 iconic line, “You don’t really mean you’re going to kill me, do you?”

“ YOU R EALLY J U ST HAVE TO GO O F F O F TH E CHAR ACTE R YOU CR EATE D. YOU DO N ’T G ET [A] NAM E , YOU ’ R E A N U M B E R O F TH E J U RO R THAT YOU AR E .” Paige Harken ’18 performs at dress rehearsal before opening night.

-MEG MORELAND ‘18 DESIGN BY MEGAN BOLAND

PHOTOS BY OLIVIA DACHTLER


28

E N T E R TA I N M E N T DEC. 22, 2017

WINTER BREAK

&HOMEMADE BAKES BY NATALIE KATZ

1 cup butter at room temperature 1 cup brown sugar ½ cup hot chocolate mix 2 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 ¾ cup flour 1 teaspoons baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup chocolate chips 1 cup frozen mini marshmallows

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 2. Cream butter and brown sugar together on medium speed until combined (about 1 minute). 3. Add in hot chocolate and mix for 30 more seconds. 4. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated. 5. Turn mixer to low and add flour, baking soda and salt and mix until just combined. 6. Add chocolate chunks and marshmallows, stirring until evenly mixed in. 7. On a lined baking sheet, drop heaping tablespoons of dough about 2 inches apart. 8. Bake for 8-11 minutes, until edges are slightly browned. Recipe adapted from Cookies & Cups


29

E N T E R TA I N M E N T

DEC. 22, 2017

Winter break is just around the corner, which means nothing sounds better than spending time in the snow. What could beat coming inside to a roaring fire with steaming hot chocolate and candy canes? Warm cookies fresh out of the oven. Typical winter classics have taken on a new twist, combining the best of both the traditional and modern worlds in these fun and easy-to-make recipes.

3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt ½ cup finely ground candy canes 1 ½ cups softened butter 1 cup granulated sugar 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Mix flour and salt together in a medium sized bowl. 2. Using food processor or hand grater, grind candy canes to a fine sugar consistency. 3. Beat butter, sugar and candy cane sugar together with an electric hand mixer until fluffy (about 4-5 minutes). 4. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until combined. 5. Add flour, a little bit at a time until combined. 6. Separate into 2 or 3 chunks, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 20-30 minutes. 7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. 8. Flour work surface and roll dough until ¼ inch thick. 9. Transfer to baking pan and bake for 8-10 minutes (edges just browning). 10. Cool completely and decorate with royal icing, if desired. Recipe adapted from Art and the Kitchen

PHOTO BY PAREEN MHATRE DESIGN BY JENNA ZENG


ALBUMS

SONGS by Portugal. The Man Thanks to a couple commercials this year, “Feel It Still” has become a funky gem audiences will remember for a long time.

by Imagine Dragons A true sleeper hit, “Believer” is an experimental shift in the band’s sound that fascinates with every listen.

by Ed Sheeran The first of the two singles released from the album “Divide” to become a hit, “Shape of You” is an addictive song that calls back to TLC’s “No Scrubs.”

by Luis Fonsi

by Dua Lipa

“Rainbow” by Kesha Kesha makes her comeback on the happiest record of her career. There’s vulnerability found in “Praying,” but the rest is fun jams worthy of a party playlist.

“Divide” by Ed Sheeran Pop’s favorite red-haired acoustic singer-songwriter blends a more mainstream sound into his guitar-laced love songs.

“DAMN.” by Kendrick Lamar Lamar has captivated audiences with his raps since earlier this decade. His new album does the same.

“Reputation” by Taylor Swift Swift returns with a darker sound and lyrics that cut deep, exposing how she believes her enemies and the public tarnished her reputation.

“Melodrama”

by Lorde

Lorde’s grand return is just as dramatic and breathtaking as the title promises, filled with color and a performer who has grown even more since her tremendous debut.

Latin music exploded this Dua Lipa’s sultry vocals and a tropical house beat year, and this is the catchy advise the listener to take hit that started it all. these new rules to heart next time a relationship breaks their heart.

“Feel It Still”

“Believer”

“Shape of You”

“Despacito”

DESIGN BY FRANCES DAI

COMPILED BY LUKE REYNOLDS

2017 is coming to a close and with it follows the releases and fads that dominated pop culture. West Side Story recaps the biggest entertainment trends this year.

“New Rules”

2017

BEST OF


by John Green The young adult tour de force returns with a very personal story about OCD and juggling an unknown future.

by Angie Thomas

Praised by the likes of John Green and Jason Reynolds, Thomas’ debut novel is a harrowing exploration of what it takes for a girl to raise her voice.

MEMES Distracted Boyfriend Although originally a stock photo people can buy to use across various platforms, meme creators added text over the faces and the fun truly began.

Cash Me Outside

When Danielle Bregoli said these three words after the “Dr. Phil” audience wouldn’t stop laughing at her, no one could have predicted the lasting impact she would have on meme culture.

Streep shouted while Debbie Reynolds received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the SAG Awards in 2015. Two years later, she’s now singing song lyrics.

Meryl Streep Shouting Lyrics

Disney Channel’s newest show has been a progressive shift for the network, featuring an Asian-American lead family, teenage pregnancy and a gay deuteragonist.

Netflix’s hit series based on Jay Asher’s bestselling debut divided the public but remains gripping.

The HBO miniseries adapts Liane Moriarty’s best-seller into a chilling and darkly funny thrill ride.

Szechuan sauce was a hot commodity of McDonald’s in the ’90s, but after being mentioned in “Rick and Morty,” the demand skyrocketed until the restaurant brought it back for a limited run.

Szechuan Sauce & “Rick and Morty”

The CW teen drama adapts the cult classic Archie Comics into something darker than the bright technicolor of the original art.

on CW

on Disney Channel

on Netflix

“Riverdale”

Redgate’s second novel tears apart the patriarchy and gender norms while being hilarious and touching.

by Riley Redgate

“Noteworthy”

“Andi Mack”

Silvera’s follow-up features a boy grieving his ex-boyfriend while exposing the darkness in their past relationship.

by Adam Silvera

“History Is All You Left Me”

on HBO

“Big Little Lies”

“13 Reasons Why”

“Turtles All the Way Down”

“The Hate U Give”

TV SHOWS

BOOKS

People immediately took interest in the bridge of “Look What You Made Me Do” and put the lyrics into various scenarios. Fiona from “Shrek,” Lizzie McGuire and even Cole Sprouse have been Taylor-fied.

‘Cause She’s Dead

This Hulu original adapts Margaret Atwood’s chilling dystopia exactly as it should be: riveting and horrifying.

on Hulu

“The Handmaid’s Tale”

The author of “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” writes another laughout-loud and adorable story about unrequited crushes and the power of love.

by Becky Albertalli

“The Upside of Unrequited”


32

E N T E R TA I N M E N T DEC. 22, 2017

WINTER BREAK ACTIVITIES

IN IOWA CITY BY CAECILIA SHOPPA

Are you staying at home for winter break? Are you worried about having nothing fun to do while your friends are gone? If so, don’t fret. There are tons of exciting things to do this holiday season in Iowa City. From traditional to brand new, Iowa City’s downtown district offers fun and festive activities for everyone to enjoy.

CHRISTMAS MOVIES AT FILMSCENE Is there any other way to spend the holiday season than with a movie marathon? If you want to spread your holiday cheer with others, FilmScene in downtown Iowa City will be showing a Christmas classic: “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Throughout winter break, “It’s A Wonderful Life” will be shown at 10 a.m. Dec. 23 and 24, as well as 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 28. This holiday classic is perfect for any family and will certainly bring back childhood nostalgia. The tickets will be free for kids and $5 for teens and adults. Chairs and food will be provided. All holiday lovers are invited and encouraged to bring friends and family to get into the holiday spirit.

DEC 23 & 24 rd

th

10:00 A.M. DEC 28

th

3:30 P.M. $5 TICKETS


33

E N T E R TA I N M E N T

DEC. 22, 2017

HOLIDAY POP-UP SHOPS

ALL DAY DEC 22 & 23 nd

rd

Do you need some last minute holiday presents? Are you awful at wrapping gifts? Thanks to the Iowa City Downtown District, there is no need to run to Walmart amongst the holiday bustle. With the open space in downtown Iowa City, it is the perfect place to welcome the Black Hawk Mini Park pop-up shops. This new and exciting event will not only save you the hassle of mall shopping, but will help small business owners expand their company to more people. From handmade glass, knit socks, hats, mugs and delicious treats, there is something for everyone in these shops. Open all day from Dec. 21 through Dec. 23, the shops have been made possible thanks to the AKAR Architecture company. Using AKAR’s designs, each shop will have its own unique theme and design to match what it is selling, creating a warm and cozy environment for all walks of life.

SCAVENGER HUNT FOR ELVES If you and your friends are staying home, throw it back to elementary school with a classic scavenger hunt. Starting on Nov. 25, downtown businesses hid elves that are waiting for you to find them. Each elf has its own size and color and may be hidden in places you always go to or somewhere you have never thought to look. Once you find an elf in one of the hundreds of downtown businesses, fill out an “I have found” card and turn it into the Iowa Book, Englert Theatre or Children’s Room at the Iowa City Public Library. You need to find at least 15 elves in order to be entered for a grand prize drawing. This is a great way for people to learn about the downtown district and make memories with family and friends. For a list of the participating businesses, visit the downtown Iowa City website.

FIND 15 ELVES BY DEC 24th

DESIGN BY LYDIA GUO


34

SPORTS

DEC. 22, 2017

RETURN OF A

STATE CHAMP After winning the state championships, four West High student-athletes talk about their experiences and journeys to that victory, along with the pressures and expectations faced as a returning champion. BY DENIZ INCE

PHOTOS BY KARA WAGENKNECHT DESIGN BY THOMAS DUONG


M

ost student-athletes dream of becoming a state champion at some point during their high school career. Only a handful can achieve this feat, with an even smaller portion able to come out on top multiple times. Nelson Brands ’18 is one of that handful, having won state wrestling his sophomore year after not qualifying as a freshman. Last year, he repeated as a wrestling state champion. “[Winning state was] really fulfilling, like all the hard work paid off. Junior year was pretty much the same except kind of putting a stamp on it,” Brands said. Similarly, Bailey Nock ’18 went into the 2016 cross country state championships as the underdog. She let this motivate her and ultimately finished first. “These people online had ranked me seventh; nobody [thought I was] going to win. My motivation was basically [to] prove people wrong,” Nock said. “It was amazing. It was like I wanted to cry but I couldn’t. I just remember [it] being the happiest moment of my life.”

“ [MY SE N I O R YEAR ,] ALL EYES WE R E O N M E , WH I CH WAS O PPOS ITE F RO M TH E PR EVI OU S YEAR WH E R E N O BO DY WAS LOO K I N G AT M E . BUT I ’ D SAY TH ROUG H OUT MY J U N I O R YEAR I HAD G ROWN SO M UCH AS A RU N N E R .” -BAILEY NOCK ‘18 But for these two, the road to an individual state championship had different obstacles. Brands, on one hand, felt a sense of confidence, but Nock had a different experience. Following a third-place finish her freshman year, Nock entered her sophomore year as the top returning finisher from the state championships, earning herself the No.1 individual ranking. After winning her junior year, she received more attention from the media as a senior, this time favored to come out on top. “I did not handle it in any way that I should’ve. I saw that I was No. 1 and I let it get to me. It completely destroyed me mentally,” Nock said. “[My senior year,] all eyes were on me, which was opposite from the previous year where nobody was looking at me. But I’d

say throughout my junior year I had grown so much as a runner. It was just like putting everything aside—Tweets, newspaper articles, headlines saying what I’m going to do at state—and focusing on each meet.” On the other hand, Seybian Sims ’18 and Micah Frisbie ’20 were members of the boys basketball and boys soccer teams, respectively, that won last year. Both teams return to a predicament this year, having graduated a senior class of players that greatly contributed to their teams. “We were definitely projected to win since the beginning of the season, just because we had Connor [McCaffery ’17] and Devontae [Lane

“ I J U ST WANT TO G ET TWO, THAT ’S ALL IT I S.” -SEYBIAN SIMS‘ 18 ’17]. Just because they expect us to win doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed. We still have to play for it,” Sims said. Only a freshman when he won his first championship, Frisbie witnessed one of the most surprising state soccer tournaments, as West won after entering as the No. 8 seeded team. “It was crazy and I know the public didn’t think it was actually going to happen and we didn’t either, but it happened,” Frisbie said. Sims returns to try to rebuild the team this year, saying that he will be taking the season one game at a time instead of letting his mind jump directly to the state tournament. “Some of the guys might feel pressure [to repeat], but I don’t feel pressure because there’s nothing to feel pressure about. We’re projected high, I guess, but you just play.” Frisbie feels similarly, though his team last year was not favored to win. “I definitely want to win state again but I know it’ll be really hard,” Frisbie said. “I don’t think it’s as expected because everybody knows that we lost a lot of seniors.” Regardless of the sport, many West High individuals and teams have come back to repeat, with Brands being one of the most recent examples, but Nock’s last performance didn’t go according to plan. “My mistake [when my opponent passed me] was thinking that she would come back to me instead of I need to go get her,” Nock said. “It was frustrating of course because it’s your senior year … but I didn’t want to remember high school cross country for that so I kind of just set it all to the side. My family was still all at the finish line; they were still proud of me.” But the hopes to win are still alive, with many teams and individuals drawing inspiration from last season’s performance. “When I got [my state champion ring], I put it on right away, took pictures with it, posted it everywhere. It was fun, I liked it,” Sims said. “I just want to get two, that’s all it is.”

35

SPORTS

DEC. 22, 2017

BY TH E

N U M B E RS

3

TEAM STATE CHAMPIONS

9

INDIVIDUAL STATE CHAMPIONS*

IN 2016-17

58 234

TEAM STATE CHAMPIONS

INDIVIDUAL STATE CHAMPIONS*

IN WEST HIGH HISTORY *Doubles tennis state champions count as two individual state champions in these statistics


36

SPORTS

DEC. 22, 2017

TEAM TRADITIONS BY WILL CONRAD

BLONDE HAIR, DON’T CARE As winter hits, temperatures get colder, days get shorter, and for the West High boys swimming team, hair gets blonder. It’s not hard to notice one of West High’s consistently most popular athletic traditions simply by walking down the halls a couple of days after the conference swim meet. The boys bleach their hair around this time of year, resulting in a golden-haired look for the number of athletes who participate in this endeavor, which only grows each year. Rather than going to a barber shop or applying the bleach themselves, the swimmers turn to a group of dedicated parent volunteers. One of the senior swimmers’ parents are in charge of a box which contains bleaching supplies every year. Inside this box is supposedly everything needed to create the look that so many teammates showcase each January. At

the end of the year, this box is always passed down to a new senior swimmer’s parent. When it’s time for the process to take place, all swimmers crowd into a room to begin. Swimmers rotate through the stations set up for bleaching, all the while eating and talking about the upcoming postseason meets. “It’s a big team bonding experience. It’s good we come together and show we’re all swimmers. It’s an hour long experience and everyone’s always having a good time,” said Ethan McAreavy ’18, whose mother is in charge of the previously mentioned box for this season. It’s unknown for how long this tradition has existed, but each year more and more of the team participates in what is a social bonding event for both parents and athletes alike. Although the new hair color is temporary, the unity these swimmers show lasts far longer.

SYNCHRONIZED SUCCESS While synchronized swimming has never been a recognized sport at West High, the activity is very much alive on the girls swimming team. Each year, near the beginning of the season, the entire team takes part in a synchronized swimming competition. Swimmers divide into different teams based on grade and are given five to ten minutes to craft a routine that is then judged by coaches. The winning team is allowed to pick a set of exercises that the losing team has to do. As this ritual takes place before meets start popping up on the calendar, it gives young and new swimmers an opportunity to get acquainted with older members of the swim team, and allows older, more experienced members to have a day off to bond with their teammates. “It’s a chance to come to practice and interact with people that maybe aren’t always in your lane, normally,” said Madeline Ohl ’19.

While the competition is ultimately light-hearted, it is often tightly-contested as every team wants to avoid the exercises put forth by the winning team. Although swimming is often a hard-nosed, intensive sport, this practice lets swimmers get a break while still building team chemistry. “It’s kind of a day to goof off, but also to get closer to your teammates,” Ohl said. Over her three years of swimming, Ohl’s experiences with this event have changed, as well. “When I was a freshman I was kind of talking to people in my grade, but this year I started to get to know people older than me and younger than me, and it was cool to see the team as a whole, rather than just your grade level,” Ohl said. Over the years that this tradition has taken place, it has been a definite success with not only athletes but also with coaches who seek to strengthen the team atmosphere.


37

SPORTS

DEC. 22, 2017

While new faces are always circulating through West High athletics, team traditions and superstitions remain and help to build team chemistry.

MID-FIELD MEETUP

To many, during football season a track becomes merely the perimeter to a football field. Likewise, during the track season, a football field often becomes simply a place to cheer on ongoing races. The West High girls track team, however, has found a way to turn this area into a space for an important tradition for every meet. After each meet, whether at home or away, the whole team meets in the center of the field, not only but to stretch, but to share accomplishments from the day and grow closer together. With the amount of success that the team has had on a fairly consistent basis, small, individual wins can often get lost. This post-meet huddle aims to eliminate this. Often times during the huddle, athletes will share small things such as a particular

GOT MILK?

Playing competitive football can leave one completely exhausted, and it’s no secret that many players on the Trojan football team often walk off the field starving after four quarters of hard work. A former parent of one such player, however, came up with a practical idea to combat this, and since then the team has employed this practice as a tradition. Sarah Fletcher, parent of former West High football player Noah Fletcher ’15, began a ritual in which she bought a bottle of chocolate milk for every player on the team for them to enjoy after games. “She’s not supported by any fundraising, she pays for it completely out of pocket,” said Will Laverman ’18, a member of the football team. Rather than employing typical practices such as setting up fundraisers or getting donations from multiple parents, Fletcher has continued to provide milk for the team herself, even after her son graduated. Of course, as with any tradition, there are bound to be funny anecdotes throughout its

existence. Although praised for nutritional content and taste, chocolate milk can sometimes be overwhelming in large quantities. “There are times when you don’t want the chocolate milk, and then they give you the chocolate milk, and you reluctantly take it and end up drinking two bottles of it and that does not exactly sit well. It’s a lot to be putting in your body,” Laverman said. Although the team’s performance is likely independent of this added bonus, the post-game ritual can sometimes serve as yet another motivating factor for athletes. “Sometimes coaches will tell us things like ‘That chocolate milk’s gonna taste so much better after we win,’” Laverman said. Over the years, this single dietary item has managed to become an intrinsic part of Trojan football and continue to refresh players after games. Despite new generations of star athletes replacing the players before them on Trojan Field every year, Fletcher’s West High tradition shows no sign of slowing down.

runner setting a personal record, or staying competitive in a tough field. This attitude of togetherness is nothing new, and is continually encouraged by the coaching staff, according to Claire Ronnebaum ’18. “We’re [encouraged] to try and watch everyone’s races and have input throughout the meet all the time,” Ronnebaum said. Coach Mike Parker started this tradition when he initially came to West and has continued ever since, inspiring everyone on the team to perform to their greatest capabilities no matter the circumstances. Although this tradition is so ingrained into the track team by now that it almost feels second-nature, it is as important as ever as the girls’ team continues to strive for greatness at every meet.

ART BY ANGELA ZIRBES DESIGN BY JENNA ZENG


38

SPORTS

DEC. 22, 2017

RACE

THE TO SUCCESS BY LAUREN KATZ PHOTO BY SEAN BROWN DESIGN BY SELINA HUA

The stereotype that African-Americans are comparatively better athletes has evolved into part of the sports culture within the U.S. West Side Story reflects on the possible causes and implications this stereotype has on participation in sports.


39

SPORTS

DEC. 22, 2017

G

abe Caruthers ’19 had just finished a few seconds ahead of a competitor in the 200m dash at Wartburg College his freshman year in high schoo when his opponent said, “It’s because you’re black.” “Before the race started, this kid that I was up against told me that he was going to win,” Caruthers said. “I then finished [ahead] of him and he just looked at me and then said that.” Whether or not he was joking, Caruthers wasn’t sure. Caruthers used to love racing his friends at the playground in elementary school and knew he had natural ability. But as the years passed, it annoyed him that people assumed his ability equated to his mixed race. “I was always like, ‘No, not all black people are fast, that’s not how it works,’” Caruthers said. “As I got older, though, I realized that the only people who say that to you are the people that you’re faster than, so it’s just a way to bring you down.” According to Dante Eldridge ’19, many echo the stereotype that African-Americans can run

“ I ’ VE ... H EAR D CO M M E NTS I N BASK ETBALL TOU R NAM E NTS ABOUT A TEAM B E I N G GOO D B ECAU SE TH EY HAVE A M O R E PO PU LATE D TEAM O F AF RI CAN AM E RI CAN S.” - R ACHAEL SAU N D E RS ‘18 faster and jump higher so often that it’s unconsciously interpreted to be a correct statement. This stereotype is perhaps perpetuated by reports from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports that found 69.7 percent of NFL players were African-American as opposed to 27.4 percent white. This comparatively higher participation rate of blacks was also reported in the NBA and WNBA. The belief that African-Americans are comparatively better athletes may have begun with barrier-breaking athletes like Jackie Robinson,

according to Rachael Saunders ’18. “If you look back in history to Jackie Robinson, the first African-American in Major League Baseball.” Saunders said. “His success in the major leagues opened the door for other African-American players.” Saunders noted that in addition to Robinson’s legendary career, his background may have also played a role in the ‘It’s because you’re black’ stereotype. “Maybe some people [when hearing about Jackie Robinson’s background] equate growing up in the slums, in poverty, and being tough and fast, to influencing athletic ability,” Saunders said. Diane Williams, a doctoral student in American Studies and Sport Studies at the University of Iowa, outlined possible cultural influences that caused people of color to participate in specific sports. “When it comes to sports and race, participation rates are often related to histories of access and resources: who has access to what sports, and who has the resources to participate,” Williams said. “Access can mean a lot of things—who is welcomed, allowed to play, in charge, who has familiarity with the sport and who has role models that look like them that have played the sport.” Before schools were integrated in 1954, African-American students had comparatively limited sports opportunities but were able to play football, basketball and track, partly because these sports required less equipment and were more affordable at the time. All-white schools with more funding allowed students to play sports like swimming, tennis and golf, where facilities required payment for use. Following integration, African-Americans tended to participate in the sports that they were already familiar with: track, football and basketball. This significant separation of race among sports may contribute to the high percentage of black athletes on rosters today, particularly in football and basketball. Saunders has noticed this separation regarding which sports different races compete in. “I don’t know why, but it’s interesting to see, for example, a more dominant Caucasian population swimming. This, as opposed to the current basketball teams, which are dominantly African-American,” Saunders said. “I’ve definitely heard comments in basketball tournaments about a team being good because they have a more populated team of African-Americans or people of color.” Williams noted that stereotypes about African-Americans’ physical abilities may have emerged to rationalize unequal access and resulting disparities.

“In the case of African-American communities and swimming, for example, state-sanctioned segregation contributed to the limited access to public pools and swimming lessons, leading to higher drowning rates for African-American children and stereotypes about African-Americans’ abilities, based in racist assumptions and disproven science, that still exist,” Williams said. Saunders pointed out that deciding to play a sport that doesn’t require the use of facilities may have more to do with proximity rather than a family’s income.

“ IT ’S EVO LVE D I NTO M O R E O F A J O K E AN D SO M ETH I N G THAT EVE RYBO DY ’S B ECO M E N U M B TO.” - GAB E CAR UTH E RS ’19 She also noted that family members’ legacies influence what sport their child decides to participate in, acknowledging that her decisions are perhaps a byproduct of her parents’ background in athletics. “My mom was a swimmer, so I swam when I was younger. Then I started playing basketball because my dad played basketball. So maybe it was just familiarity, parents putting their children into sports that they did,” Saunders said. In a 2016-2017 report, the Iowa Department of Education Bureau of Information and Analysis found that of the total 7,154 male athletes PreK-12 in Iowa City, 1,398 were black and 4,091 were white. Although this may indicate a reversal from the higher participation of blacks in sports, Saunders believes that different sports are popular in different regions and that the heavier percentage of both male and female white athletes in Iowa City has more to do with where certain demographic populations are concentrated geographically. Iowa City contrasts with major metropolitan areas, like Chicago, in this regard. While it’s still present, Caruthers acknowledges that the “it’s because you’re black” stereotype has perhaps lost some of its impact as it worked its way into the culture. “It’s evolved into more of a joke and something that everybody’s become numb to,” Caruthers said. “The idea that black people are good at this [or that] sport has become an [unconscious parameter] for what sport kids should get involved in, in an unspoken ‘do this, don’t do that’ way.”


A: Mural, art hallway; B: Sign, Arganbright Auditorium; C: Recycling bin, outside gym; D: Theatre West callboard, English hallway; E: “Where Excellence is a Tradition,” flagpole staircase; F: FTK picture, main floor; G: West High traditions sign, outside Little Theater; H: Fresh vending machine, main lunchroom; I: Girls athletics poster, trophy case; J: Job postings board, outside main office; K: Mural, art room; L: West High Athletic Wall of Fame; M: Music memes, choir room; N: “Work Hard Be Nice,” outside main office; O: Sign, orchestra room; P: Fresh vending machine’s payment label, lunchroom; Q: National Merit board, front entrance; R: “Dreamer or Achiever” poster, outside main office; S: Gym floor “Trojans” lettering; T: Giant book, courtyard; U: Information board, outside guidance office; V: Grapevine board, English hallway; W: Sign language mural, art hallway; X: Utensils dispenser, cafeteria; Y: Faculty parking sign, front parking lot; Z: Counselor assignments, outside guidance office

AT WEST

A-Z

DO YOU THINK YOU KNOW EVERY NOOK AND CRANNY OF WEST HIGH? IF SO, TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF WEST AND SEE IF YOU CAN FIND EACH OF THESE LETTERS THROUGHOUT THE SCHOOL.

Profile for West Side Story

December 2017 issue  

December 2017 issue  

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