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WEST SI DE STO RY IOWA CITY WEST HIGH SCHOOL

2901 MELROSE AVE.

A SPECTRUM OF PERSPECTIVES A collection of LGBTQ+ experiences within the ICCSD.

IOWA CITY, IA 52246

WSSPAPER.COM

VOLUME 51 ISSUE 2

NOVEMBER 15, 2018


P H OTO F E AT U R E

KARA WAGENKNECHT

The West High student section throws piles of flour up into the air after City High kicked off the ball during the first kickoff of the game. West defeated the Little Hawks 54-13 in the 50th annual Battle of the Boot game on Friday, Oct. 19. “It’s always awesome to beat a crosstown rival and hold up that trophy. It’s great that we get to keep it on this side of town another year,” said wide receiver Jalen Gaudet ‘19.

FOR MORE COVERAGE, GO TO WSSPAPER.COM


CONTENTS F E AT U R E

PROFILES

C OV E R

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

S P O RT S

OPINION

04 12 24 32 38 46

LETTER FROM THE

FOLLOW US @WSSPAPER COVER PHOTO BY MADDI SHINALL COVER DESIGN BY CRYSTAL KIM

Dear readers, Congratulations on making it through the first trimester of the school year. Weather will continue to get colder, but I hope that seeing our newest issue of the WSS warms your heart a little. This issue is all about introducing you to issues and members within the West High community that you may not be familiar with. Check out our profiles of the students in the Best Buddies program and of our school’s male cheerleaders. The cover story this issue is a compilation of stories from some in West’s LGBTQ+ community, along with their experiences at our school. Reporters Anjali Huynh and Will Conrad hope their article pro-

04 100 YEARS 0 6 D I V E R S I T Y O R D I S C R I M I N AT I O N ? 0 8 T H E F I G H T AGA I N S T C R I M E 1 2 A H E L P I N G PAW 14 MEET THE BUDDIES 1 8 F I N D I N G H I S F O RT E 2 0 A L E GAC Y C O N T I N U E D 22 A SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

24 A SPECTRUM OF PERSPECTIVES

3 2 S E T T I N G T H E S TAG E F O R N E W FAC E S 34 MORNING MEALS 3 6 A C U LT U R A L C O M M U N I T Y 3 8 R U M B L I N G I N TO A N E W E R A 4 0 U N S E E N AT H L E T E S 4 2 R I S I N G S TA R : M ATAY I A T E L L I S ’ 2 1 44 SILENT TRADITION

46 SIMON’S ETIQUETTE 4 7 I ’ M N OT S O R R Y YO U ’ R E S C A R E D 4 8 E D I TO R I A L : L E GA L I Z I N G H AT E

EDITOR vokes conversation not only around the building but also throughout the Iowa City community. In the related staff editorial, the editorial board argues against the Trump administration’s proposed change to the definition of gender. Opinion editor Lucy Polyak also takes a stance in a column of her own on the tumult following Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Check out the back cover if you need some ideas on how to spend your day off. Here’s to a fantastic first trimester and an even better start to the second! Much love,

DENIZ INCE


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100

YEARS BY HARRY WESTERGAARD

FRANZ FERDINAND ASSASSINATED

GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN BEGINS

BATTLES OF VERDUN AND SOMME

UNITED STATES ENTERS WAR

GERMAN SPRING OFFENSIVE

1914

1915

1916

1917

1918

WORLD WAR I BREAKS OUT

POISON GAS FIRST USED

BATTLE OF JUTLAND

RUSSIAN REVOLUTION

ARMISTICE, WAR ENDS


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I

n the minds of many, World War I (WWI) lives in the shadow of the Second World War that followed 21 years later. The name has even been revised because of it; at the time, it was not called “World War I.” Much like the original Star Wars film, few knew it was going to inspire a sequel. Throughout the duration of the war, it was referred to as “The Great War” or “The War to End All Wars.” No war up to that date had ever incurred so much carnage between such a large number of countries. Despite the powerful titles that followed, the war was initiated by a single assassination. A radical Serbian group known as “The Black Hand” murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Because of this, Austria declared war on Serbia on June 28, 1914. After this, Germany declared war on Russia on Aug. 1, 1914. A couple days later, Germany declared war on France as well. In addition to these countries, Great Britain became involved in the war when Germany refused to remove troops from Belgium, which was a British territory at the time. This resulted in Britain declaring war on Germany. Because of this, Japan eventually declared war on Germany, due to an alliance with Great Britain. The U.S. then declared war on Germany in 1917 when the Germans continued submarine warfare. In short, sooner or later, everyone got locked into some alliance and turned against each other. WWI drastically altered the manner in which wars were fought. The advanced technology and methods used reflected the war’s place as the first war fought in an industrial age. Weapons

RUSSIAN EMPIRE

UK GERMAN EMPIRE

FRANCE

AUSTRIAHUNGARY ITALY

OTTOMAN EMPIRE

like tanks, trenches and different gases and poisons are examples of this. Despite its somber names, at the time, WWI actually represents a turn for the U.S. in the opposite direction. Ever since WWI, the U.S. has averaged a major war every twenty years. In remembrance of the one-hundredth anniversary of WWI’s conclusion, here is a collection of statistics related to one of the deadliest global conflicts of all time.

TRIPLE ENTENTE INCLUDED FRANCE, THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE, THE U.K. AND OTHERS

CENTRAL POWERS INCLUDED GERMAN, AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN, OTTOMAN EMPIRES AND OTHERS

THE HUMAN COST OF WAR RUSSIAN EMPIRE

GERMAN EMPIRE

FRANCE

AUSTRIA-HUNGARY

OTTOMAN EMPIRE

UK + COLONIES

Source: Multiple, including Wikipedia

MILITARY DEATH

MILITARY WOUNDED

CIVILIAN DEATH

=100,000 LIVES ART & DESIGN BY SIMON JONES


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DIVERSITY OR

DISCRIMINATION? Students express their opinions on the benefits of a diverse class and how race plays a role in the college admissions process. BY LILY MENG ART & DESIGN BY AMY LIAO

W

ith college application deadlines looming, many students are scrambling to polish up their essays and nagging their teachers to finish recommendation letters. Many factors like test scores, GPAs, extracurricular activities and essays directly impact the admissions decision. However, one concerning factor in the college admissions process for some West students is something that no one can control: race. Some Asian-American, African-American and white students at West believe that they are discriminated against in the college admissions process in some way.

Many American universities hold AsianAmerican students to a higher standard — they are expected to score about 140 points higher than white students, 270 points higher than Hispanic students and 450 points higher than African-American students on the SAT to be seen as equal to these applicants, according to Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Radford, authors of the book “No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal.” This has proven to be frustrating to some Asian-American students, like Steven Yuan ’19. “I’d say statistically, it does show that AsianAmericans, from a test score point of view and

“ I DON ’T TH I N K THAT A COLLEG E WOU LD ACCE PT A STU DE NT I F TH EY DI DN ’T F E E L LI KE TH EY WE RE RI G HT TO GO TO THAT SCHOOL OR … THAT TH EY WE RE U N DE R- Q UALI F I E D I N ANY WAY.” -ALAA ALI ‘19

probably also academic point of view, have to accomplish more to be considered as an equal to people of other races,” Yuan said. Additionally, it is difficult for AsianAmericans to stand out among peers of the same ethnicity, especially when many participate in similar activities. However, Yuan argues that this notion is a common misconception and that Asian-Americans do have special, unique activities that they are passionate about. He says that they do not all participate in “standard Asian” activities like piano, violin, tennis, robotics or math club, for example. “I know a lot of Asian-Americans. … They’re artists or painters. I know a lot of them who love to sing; I know a lot of them who love to act in plays. I’d say from my own experiences, Asian-Americans are just as diverse in terms of their interests and their talents as anyone else.” African-American students face discrimination in the process as well, especially from their peers. Alaa Ali ’19, a SudaneseAmerican student, believes that minority students are not accepted solely because of their race; their qualifications are also taken into consideration. The undertone that these minority students only get accepted because


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of their race is undermining these students’ accomplishments and hard work. “I feel like whenever there’s a student who gets into a very selective institution, there’s always that undertone … nobody wants to say that ‘Oh, well, they only got in because they were ... a minority.’ And I feel like that’s pretty unfair,” Ali said. “I don’t think that a college would accept a student if they didn’t feel like they were right to go to that school, or … that

their call.” Diverse classes come with a variety of benefits. Diversity in race, geographic location, socioeconomic status and interest and talents can expose students to people from various backgrounds. “A lot of people can benefit from not being around people who are just like them. Just like how having a diverse high school is something that will help you moving forward, having

BY THE NUMBERS

8

states have laws banning the consideration of race in college admissions

3.4%

of colleges say race has “considerable influence” on admissions decisions

“It is shown that affirmative action tends to still benefit the wealthy, underrepresented minorities over truly disadvantaged, poor, underrepresented minorities, but once again diversity is also measured in racial diversity and from a school’s point of view, if you change it to a socioeconomic-based affirmative action, then you won’t get as much racial diversity,” Yuan said. “If I had absolute power of the universe, I’d

2/3

or more of colleges say race has “no influence” on admissions decisions

Sources: Ballotpedia and the National Association for College Admission Counseling

they were under-qualified in any way.” In addition to Asian- and AfricanAmericans, Patrick Taylor ’20 believes that white students who aren’t recruited athletes and don’t have advantages such as legacy are also disadvantaged in the college admissions process, especially when institutions want to create a more diverse student body and put an emphasis on admitting students from different racial backgrounds. Although these students think that it is unfair to solely take race into consideration when deciding which students to admit, some selective institutions like Harvard University argue that this is necessary in order to ensure a diverse student body. These institutions argue that a diverse class will prepare students for an “increasingly pluralistic world” and that race can be considered when assessing an applicant’s application. Although Yuan agrees that Asian-Americans have a more difficult time in the college admissions process, he acknowledges that each university has its own institutional goals. “[Universities] want to shape a diverse learning experience in the classroom … I’m sure that the admissions officers will see me beyond just an Asian person, and … overall, they know what type of environment they want to have at their school,” he said. “Second of all, they know if I fit at that school, so I trust the judgment of admissions officers to make

“ I HOPE THAT ON E DAY PEOPLE WI LL B E AB LE TO HOPE F U LLY J U DG E OTH E R PEOPLE AS M LK SAI D, BY TH E CONTE NT OF TH E I R CHAR ACTE R , NOT TH E COLOR OF TH E I R SKI N .” -STEVEN YUAN ‘19 a diverse university or college will help you [beyond school],” Ali said. Harvard reported in a recent Pew survey that 71 percent of Americans said that efforts to embrace diverse student bodies were a good thing. Taylor agrees with the majority on the results of the survey. “It’s nice if you’re able to get all the class presidents from the U.S., but then you’re not getting a nice balance of personality types. So it’s good to make sure you get the student who is part of some quieter club but is still a very important and valid member of the community,” Taylor said. Moving forward, these students all hope to see changes to affirmative action but also argue that it would be hard to make everyone happy with the changes. Yuan would prefer it to be based on socioeconomic status instead.

probably do it by income,” Taylor agreed. “Currently, the system, I believe, is okay for the moment until colleges’ financial situations get better. It’s sad that some people have to be disadvantaged to allow others in. But on the other hand, the people who are given special advantages, … the idea is that they come from backgrounds where they wouldn’t have [an] advantage.” Yuan hopes that affirmative action will fix the way it classifies an individual into a group of people. He hopes that colleges truly do practice holistic admissions and focus on each person as an individual and the experiences they have gone through. “I hope that one day people will be able to hopefully judge other people as MLK said, by the content of their character, not the color of their skin,” Yuan said.


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THE FIGHT AGAINST CRIME BY NATALIE KATZ

F

or many college students still basking in the glory of the University of Iowa (UI) being named the number one party school of 2013, this year may have come as a rude awakening. For the first time in a decade, the UI did not make the notorious list of best party schools in the nation. While this may have been disappointing for students, many Iowa City community members welcomed this news with a sigh of relief. The UI campus started to become an increasingly dangerous place at night before 2013, and the rate of crimes continued to climb during the years that followed, due to the high correlation between high-risk drinking and violence. In 2013, around 60 percent of UI students participated in high-risk drinking according to a student health survey conducted by the UI. “Students are less likely to do things they wouldn’t do when they’re sober if they’re not drink-

“ WE ’ RE I N ON E OF THOSE STATES THAT HAS A H I G H E R R ATE OF B I NG E DRI N KI NG FOR ADU LTS I N G E N E R AL , NOT J UST COLLEG E STU DE NTS. THAT SETS TH E CU LTU RE AT TH E STATE , AS WE LL AS TH E CITY.” -TANYA VILLHAUER, UI ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR HARM REDUCTION AND STRATEGIC INITIATIVES

ing in a heavy manner,” said UI Associate Director for Harm Reduction and Strategic Initiatives Tanya Villhauer. “If they are drinking, they’re more likely to do things they regret and have violations with the police.” The violent crime rate has decreased by 11 percent since 2016 and high-risk drinking dropped to around 50 percent in 2018, according to Iowa City police chief Jody Matherly and Villhauer, respectively. Despite statistical improvements in nearly all measurements of safety, people in the community continue to feel less safe. Part of this uneasiness can be attributed to living in a college town. Along with more diversity and opportunities, universities “bring an increase in alcohol-related violations such as underage drinking and disturbances,” Matherly said. One such alcohol-related disturbance comes from a culture deeply rooted in football. While college football itself is prominent in nearly every college town, the way in which Iowa celebrates it makes it unique. Strong traditions of tailgating expose children to alcohol consumption at a young age. This, in addition to Iowa City integrating alcohol use into many events and festivities, normalizes drinking habits. However, this trend predates the existence of the UI, tracing back hundreds of years to when immigrants first settled in the Midwest, according to Villhauer. “There’s a lot of other cultural influences around alcohol more than just being a college town. We’re in one of those states that has a higher rate of binge drinking for adults in general, not just college students,” Villhauer said. “That sets the culture at the state, as well as the city. It expands beyond just our university.” Seeing how ingrained this is in Iowa City may prompt questions as to whether it’s too late to fix. Through the implementa-


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TEEN CURFEWS

12 11 10 A.M.

for persons under the age of

18

P.M.

P.M.

for persons under the age of

for persons under the age of

16

14

Source: Jody Matherly, Iowa City policy chief

tion of the UI Alcohol Harm Reduction Plan, Villhauer and her colleagues have facilitated improvement in decreasing the rates of high-risk drinking. Completing its third three-year stage, the Reduction Plan will enter its fourth phase in the spring of 2019. The plan incorporates a variety of intervention strategies at both the individual level and at a larger scale, one of the most impactful being the 21st Ordinance in 2010, which states that people under 21 could not stay in bars after 10 p.m. “That was a big change because we reduced access, and reduction of access to alcohol is one of the main effective ways to reduce high-risk drinking,” Villhauer said. The committee also reaches out to the community through their Partnership for Alcohol Safety. Made up of representatives from the campus, this group also includes the mayor of Iowa City, police, retail owners and community members. The goal is to acquire as many perspectives as possible to help improve the overall safety of the city for both students and community members alike. One strategy they have employed to help ensure safety is the Fall Party Patrols, a group of Iowa City police who conduct searches for potential parties that could get out of control. “It just expands our lens of what’s going on, what areas we need to address and how we can make it a safer, healthier campus,” Villhauer said. Little by little, alcohol rates have declined and with this change has come a slight decrease in the overall violence taking place in Iowa City. However, especially for high school students, being near the UI campus still poses its risks. The violence rate remains much higher than the state average, with rape rates nearly double that of the rest of Iowa, according to data collected by areavibes.com. As drinking on campus has gone down, another form of intoxication has begun to take DESIGN BY FRANCES DAI

its place. In 2018, marijuana use has been the highest it’s ever been and e-cigarette usage has skyrocketed, according to Villhauer. Both drinking and drug usage negatively affect brain development and can cause violent behavior. If drugs are entering the community more frequently, it will continue to increase the risk that those not participating in such activity will be put in. To this end, police officers play a major role in helping the community feel safe. “The police department cannot fight crime by itself. Our department strives to gain community trust so residents and visitors are comfortable reporting crimes,” Matherly said. “By treating everyone equally and respectfully, regardless [of] who they are or the color of their skin, it sends a message that our officers will be fair and consistent at all times, so the community can be confident that they have a professional law enforcement agency serving their needs and protecting them.” However, in some cases, by the time the police are alerted, the perpetrator will have already done the damage that drinking or drug use may have encouraged. To try to monitor drug use, the police department assigns officers to patrol in zones so there is an omnipresence in all parts of the city. “While it is important that we have a safe community, it is equally important that folks feel safe too,” Matherly said, recognizing that although Iowa City is statistically safe, it doesn’t always feel that way to the community. “The police department always encourages young people to not walk alone, especially at night.” Former West High graduate Elise Femino ’18 currently attends the UI and consciously tries to avoid experiences that could make her feel unsafe. However, sometimes, it’s unavoidable. “We have had people come to our floor drunk, rattling

on the doors in the middle of the night, so I always make it a point to lock my room,” she said. “Some of my friends have been in the bathroom wanting to shower when drunk people, including guys, will come in. One of my friends who had this happen was very shaken by it and was concerned about her safety in the bathroom.” Living in Iowa City has provided opportunities, such as enrolling in UI classes, for high school students that many other schools do not have access to. However, while with this privilege comes a higher risk for violence, it simply means that community members need to be aware and take necessary precautions. “We want to continue to share the work we’ve done here to help students understand the expectations,” Villhauer said. “Alcohol doesn’t have to be a necessary part of the college experience. As we continue to change that message, it’s going to be helpful to make sure we are all working towards the same goal.”

“ WH I LE IT I S I M PORTANT THAT WE HAVE A SAF E COM M U N ITY, IT I S EQUALLY I M PORTANT THAT FOLKS F E E L SAF E .” -J O DY MATH E R LY, I OWA CITY PO LICE CH I EF


10

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(319) 354-1901 Mon-Fri 11:30-8:30 Sat-Sun 10:30-9:00

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15 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City 319-337-2681 prairielights.com bookstore opens 1O am daily café opens 9 am daily

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PROFILES NOV. 15, 2018

As a s erv i ce dog , V i ctor h a s po sitively impa ct e d bot h ELL t e a cher Je ssic a St. J o hn a nd t he We st Hi gh community.

A H E L P I N G PAW


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PROFILES

NOV. 15, 2018

BY JENNA WANG

W

hile strolling past the ELL classrooms, you may have noticed an unfamiliar face sauntering by on four paws in a small, black vest. Your very first instinct may have been to pet him or to call out his name, just like any other pet. However, many are unaware that those actions are not allowed and that the black Labrador roaming around isn’t even a pet. The two year-old is actually a service dog named Victor who works with ELL teacher Jessica St. John. St. John met Victor through a program she volunteered with called Retrieving Freedom, an organization that trains and breeds service dogs. She began volunteering upon struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after working as a military police officer with detainees and convoy escorts for eight years in Afghanistan. It was that experience that gave her the opportunity to work with service dogs and eventually have one of her own. “I was called on the telephone by Retrieving

ing,” St. John said. “Once a dog has partnered with who they’re going to be a service dog for, they have to do training with that person.” During Victor’s foster home experience, he had the opportunity to be a ‘student’ at many different schools. “Victor’s foster was actually a kindergarten teacher, so [Victor] was in kindergarten for almost two years. He [also] went to college and did a leadership class with Wartburg students,” St. John said. “He’s actually named after [the] Wartburg mascot, Sir Victor. That’s why he’s famous.” Victor is now at West High, but is specifically there to support St. John and thus doesn’t have a big role with the students. However, St. John still likes to make sure that Victor plays a small part in the classroom. “I have students who have been through traumatic experiences and he kind of just takes the edge off the class. Kids can just feel more at home by [him] being here,” St. John said.

“He’s very well socialized. He can tell which dog wants to play with him and which dog doesn’t; if a dog seems too aggressive, he’ll ignore it,” St. John said. “I think one of the most helpful things is how social he is, because he can play with dogs of all sizes.” Victor, however, wasn’t St. John’s first service dog. Before him, she also worked with Rosie, a black Labrador who had a contrasting personality to that of Victor. “One time she saw a duck and jumped out the window of my car driving down the road. That automatically doesn’t qualify her to be a service dog, so I had to give her back to Retrieving Freedom and they found her a home as a pet,” St. John said. Unlike Rosie, Victor is able to better meet St. John’s needs in coping with her PTSD. “Typically when I’m at home alone or somewhere in the dark, he kind of lets me know what things are happening so I don’t have to be on high alert every time I hear a sound,” St.

“ I HAVE STU DE NTS WHO HAVE B E E N TH ROUG H TR AU MATIC EXPE RI E N CES AN D H E KI N D OF J U ST TAKES TH E E DG E OF F TH E CLASS. KI DS CAN J U ST F E E L M ORE AT HOM E BY [VICTOR] B E I NG H E RE .” -J ESSICA ST. J OH N , ELL TEACH ER Freedom and they said, ‘We have the perfect dog for you. I think you need to come and meet him.’ I said okay and I went down there and I met Victor,” St. John said. Having had Victor for more than five months now, she has gotten very familiar with Victor’s personality. “He’s very calm and well-behaved. However, he is very playful and energetic, so he has two sides to him,” St. John explained. “[He] trains with the vest so he knows this is when you’re working and out in public versus when you’re at home or somewhere where he can relax and let his energy up.” Victor’s parents were purebred dogs with good temperaments. After birth, he was sent to a foster home for eight weeks. “It’s not like a typical animal foster home. It’s families who are trained to teach basic training like sit, lay down and all those good manners. After one year, they go back to the Retrieving Freedom facility to do another year of train-

Nevertheless, there are certain rules that students must follow when interacting with Victor. “In the hallway or other places you cannot walk up to Victor and pet him. You should never call his name. You’re not supposed to really pay attention to him, because that distracts him from his job,” St. John said. “It’s hard to get people not to touch him or to not call him because it’s really distracting.” This is especially true whenever St. John takes Victor outside of school and the home. “Usually when I’m out in public, it’ll be hard to go anywhere without people stopping me and asking me a hundred questions,” St. John explained. “Ten minute trips to Walmart turn into an hour. Random strangers constantly ask me questions, but it’s good because it’s a learning experience.” Despite the seriousness of Victor’s job, he isn’t always in service dog mode, especially when interacting with other dogs.

John said. Victor’s services also apply when St. John encounters strangers. “When I’m traveling, or if I’m walking late at night, I just feel a little more secure because people think twice about approaching someone with a dog,” she explained. “Whenever I feel uncomfortable standing next to someone, I’ll say, ‘Victor, behind’ and he’ll go behind me. He doesn’t really know what he’s doing, but he’s creating space between me and the person behind so [that person] is not threatening [to me].” Since St. John began working with Victor full-time, she’s had to adapt to a significantly new lifestyle. “Anytime you take something on full-time with you, it’s a big difference, kind of like having a kid with me all the time,” St. John said. “Until you get used to it, it’s a little more stressful, but once you become comfortable with the dog, you start to reap more of the benefits.” PHOTO BY ALLIE SCHMITT-MORRIS ART & DESIGN BY SELINA HUA


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PROFILES NOV. 15, 2018

MEET THE BUDDIES BY ALEX CARLON, MARTA LEIRA & JESSICA MOONJELY

CHASE LONNGREN ‘20

A

thick, bright-orange crayon glides across the page. A semi-circle appears on the blank white paper, then a line. A cyclops forms, almost exactly like the one he saw in “Spongebob” last night. Chase Lonngren ’20 is doing what he does best: art. From a young age, Chase has been interested in art, but the first time he took a formal art class was at Northwest Junior High. Since then, Chase has become more passionate about art and is currently taking Black and White Drawing here at West. Chase’s favorite medium, however, is crayon, a unique choice that can be difficult to work with. “His ability to create the things that he sees amazes me. His preference is to do it in crayon, and drawing in crayon is very hard,” said art teacher Christian Aanestad. “I find it very hard to make a straight clean line, but he can make a crayon drawing look like he did it with marker, and that’s very impressive.” What Chase enjoys most about art is the creative opportunities and freedom to recreate the things he sees in his day-to-day life. He is also a fan of experimenting with diverse art styles and tools. According to Chase, art lets him “do some of everything.” Besides allowing him to create realistic art, Chase’s nearly photographic memory enables

“ H E I S OFTE N FOCUSE D ON MAKI NG SU RE OTH E R PEOPLE ARE HAPPY AN D HAS AN I N NATE AB I LITY TO CH E E R OTH E RS U P.” -JON LON NGREN , CHASE’S FATH ER

him to remember large dialogues or texts. “Chase is incredible,” said Best Buddies president Laurel Haverkamp ’20. “He recites scripts to shows he watches … I’ve heard stories about him reciting entire episodes of ‘Spongebob.’” Much of Chase’s work is inspired by his favorite TV shows. Not only can Chase draw characters and replicate scenes from different cartoons, but he also specializes in portraits, especially ones of teachers. “He usually picks certain characteristics of you, like my glasses and my beard,” said Special Programs teacher Steve Merkle. “He draws them in a way that does make it look like you. It is fun to see how he interprets different individuals.” Merkle started the Best Buddies Talent Show in 2000, and it has been a West High tradition ever since. Last year, Chase sang, danced, drew an elephant and recited a poem. In addition to performing four acts, he also designed the event t-shirts. “During the talent show, Chase is always excited to see all the people from past years, parents, friends [and] people that he enjoys giving high fives to,” said adaptive music teacher Diane Miller. “He never seems nervous to perform, and his focus is always pretty good in front of such a large crowd.” One of Chase’s biggest supporters is his dad, Jon Lonngren. “I am always proud of my son,” Jon said. “Perhaps one of my proudest moments was his singing at the Best Buddies Talent Show.” For Jon, many of his joys come from simply watching Chase interact with those around him. “He is often focused on making sure other people are happy and has an innate ability to cheer others up,” Jon said. “My favorite thing about being Chase’s dad is watching him learn, grow and improve each day.” Anna Haney ’19, vice president of Best Buddies, has been Chase’s friend since her freshman year. They enjoy going to the mall together and eating lots of food. “Chase makes me a better person,” Haney said. “He makes me value friendship.” In addition to being a good friend, people recognize Chase for being someone who is always there to help out. “He is a kind, inquisitive [and] happy kid. He is always trying to help and enjoys spending time with his family and pets,” Jon said. “He is always busy, too, with an agenda all his own, usually involving his latest art project.”


West’s Best Buddies chapter helps foster one-on-one friendships, provide job opportunities and teach leadership development skills to individuals with intellectual or developmental disorders. This collection of profiles focuses on five students involved in the program and what makes each of them unique members of the school community.

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PROFILES

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JADEN BUCKLEY ’19 & BYAMUNGU OMARI ’20

“B

uckley!” shouts Byamungu Omari ’20. He’s just seen his best friend, Jaden Buckley ’19, walk through the classroom door and can barely contain his excitement. For the past four years, Buckley and Omari have been best friends. Although the pair’s individual strengths are apparent to all they encounter, the two are undoubtedly at their best when they’re together. “[Omari and Buckley’s] dynamic works so well because whenever one isn’t having the best day, the other is there to cheer them up,” said friend and classmate Schuyler Houston ’21. “Having them in class makes it feel like a happier place for anyone who gets to interact with them.” The pair first met at Northwest Junior High when Omari was in seventh grade and Buckley was in eighth. From there, the friendship quickly took off. “Right away, we became friends,” Omari said. According to Haverkamp, there has been a no-

“ HAVI NG TH E M I N CLASS MAKES IT F E E L LI KE A HAPPI E R PLACE FOR ANYON E WHO GETS TO I NTE R ACT WITH TH E M .” -SCH UYLER HOUSTON ’21

ticeable shift in Omari’s personality since meeting Buckley. “In junior high, [Omari] didn’t talk very much,” Haverkamp said. “You would ask him questions, and he would just kind of laugh and not answer. And now I see him in the morning and I think he feels comfortable saying ‘hi’ to me.” For the past three years, Buckley and Omari have been in Merkle’s class together. The time spent together brought the boys closer than ever, as they bonded over a love of sports, singing and games. “One thing I always find really fun is watching [Buckley and Omari] play Connect Four because neither of them are that invested in the game,” Haverkamp said. “They’ll miss really obvious fours in a row, and it’s funny to watch them pick on each other — of course, in a loving way.” Along with Connect Four, choir is one of many activities Omari and Buckley have a shared passion for. “Jaden and I sing together, and he helps me to sing better,” Omari said. The pair’s fun-loving nature and passion for singing makes them an uplifting presence in the choir classroom. “Jaden and Byamungu are the heart and soul of Bass Choir, and they always keep the mood of the room positive,” Houston said, adding that at times the two are entertained by each other to the point of breaking out in hysterical laughter. “Sometimes during math, Jaden will have to go into the other room. He just can’t handle Byamungu, because they mess around so much,” Haverkamp said. At the root of Buckley and Omari’s friendship, Haverkamp says, is a sense of camaraderie and an unparalleled ability to make each other laugh. “I think it’s a very comedic relationship. I think they care about each other a lot, but they mostly just joke around with each other,” Haverkamp said. “They laugh a lot when they’re together. It’s a very funny friendship.” “When Byamungu is at school, he makes me laugh, and when I’m not with him, life is less funny,” Buckley said. When it comes down to it, the two truly enjoy each other’s company. “They’re a couple of goofy guys. They just like to sit around, laugh and have fun,” Merkle said. “It doesn’t even have to be a joke, and Jaden will start laughing. Then Byamungu laughs. And then you’re like ‘Well, what’s so funny?’ The part that’s funny is just them having fun.”


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LUCAS LOCHER ’21

I

n a world that is sometimes only skin deep, not everyone notices the hidden depths of Lucas Locher ’21. With a passion for comedy, community involvement and all things gaming, there’s much more to him than meets the eye. A cheerful presence both in the classroom and in the hallways of West, Lucas is involved in multiple student activities, including his class’ weekly recycling and newspaper delivery programs. “I like Best Buddies because they get to plan a lot of fun things,” Lucas said. “I really liked the drumming thing, for one. We played during a basketball game at the end of the year and did a talent show. Performing is my favorite thing to do with the Best Buddies.” Haverkamp says the talent show is one of the biggest events the club puts on and helps showcase each buddy’s individual talents. “[The buddies] work all year in the class to perfect their acts,” Haverkamp said. “It’s just so much fun to watch everyone perform and hear the applause from the audience.” Known among his friends as a fan of deadpan humor, Lucas put his jokes to the test at last year’s show, performing a stand-up comedy act. For comedic effect, Lucas completed his whole performance while wearing a bright red clown nose. “I thought [the act] was the funniest thing in the world because he has such a dry sense of humor that his joke delivery was [hilarious],” Haverkamp said. When he’s not cracking jokes, Lucas dedicates his time to mastering various board and video games. Some of Lucas’ favorites include Minecraft and Mario Kart.

“ TH E F I RST TH I NG I THOUGHT WH E N I M ET H I M WAS, ’ I ’ M GOI NG TO HAVE A GOOD TI M E WITH TH I S GUY.’” -STEVE M ERKLE, SPECIAL PROGRAMS TEACH ER

“Video games are a lot of fun. They can make me feel like I’m in a different world,” Lucas said. “They give me some time to myself, so I can be alone.” Bonding over a shared love of gaming, family board game nights have become the preferred method of quality time for the Locher siblings. “With my brother and sister, I like to play board games like Monopoly,” Lucas said. “Other people should try [game nights] because they’re a lot of fun and brought me and my siblings together.” “When we [play games], it’s almost always Apples to Apples,” said Lucas’ sister, Ava Locher ’19. “Lucas always cheats, though, by taking green cards out of the bin and sorting through the red cards for the ones he wants.” Despite the occasional Apples to Apples-related dispute, the Locher siblings have a tight-knit relationship. “I think their bond is just great,” Merkle said. “I’ve seen them cracking a lot of jokes together. His sister Ava is a [Peer, Assistance and Leadership (PAL) member] and is always in here at our Friday Fun Days.” To Ava, the decision to join the PALs and Best Buddies programs was simple. Seeing the impact the organizations had on her brother gave her motivation to lend a helping hand to others in his situation. “To my family and me, Best Buddies is a place where Lucas can make friends and grow and learn,” Ava said. “At Northwest, it was hard for Lucas to keep up and make friends because the program wasn’t as involved in the school as Best Buddies is here.” Lucas has already achieved a tremendous amount during his time at West, and he still has big dreams for what his future may hold. “In the future, I want to go to college,” Lucas said. “I’d like to stay in Iowa and study chemistry, which I’ve always wanted to try out but haven’t had the chance to yet.” Although he has yet to delve into the world of chemistry, Haverkamp says Lucas already carries the investigative qualities of a true scientist. “He’s always really curious and likes to know how things work,” Haverkamp said. “He’s also super observant. Any day that I don’t wear my glasses, I walk in, and Lucas immediately is like, ‘You forgot your glasses today.’” Through his extensive service to his school and irrepressible sense of humor, Lucas displays kindness and exuberance to all he meets. “Lucas is just a great kid. He’s fun to be around. The first thing I thought when I met him was, ‘I’m going to have a good time with this guy,’” Merkle said. “As I’ve gotten to know him more, my view of him has only gotten better.”


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PROFILES

HAFIZA EL-ZEIN ’19

A

s one enters the Strike Martial Arts Academy, they are met with a flurry of action: students swiftly kicking and punching their way to success. In the corner stands Hafiza El-Zein ’19, preparing to practice her tornado roundhouse kick. Though many people know El-Zein for her kind and welcoming nature, this is a side of her that not many get to see. El-Zein has studied taekwondo three days each week for the past seven years. Through her hard work and dedication, she earned a red belt, which is one step below a black belt. Although she is passionate about the sport, El-Zein says she hopes she will never have to use her skills in real life. “I want to learn to defend myself, but, you know, I’m very nice and don’t want to hurt people,” El-Zein said. Along with taekwondo, another favorite activity is performing in choir. In the past four years, El-Zein has made many friends through West Treble Choir. One of these many friends is Niyati Vyas ’21. Vyas’ fondest memories with El-Zein are cheering with her at the football games because of the spirit and pep El-Zein emanates. “Hafiza has taught me the value of kindness and positivity. She always has a smile on her face and makes others smile,” Vyas said. “She always looks on the bright side and sees the glass as half full.” Even when walking through the hallways, El-Zein makes connections with students and teachers alike. Her friendly character shines most brightly in interactions like these. “You can tell, just by the way that she’s greeted in the hallway, that she’s able to make impacts on people’s lives without her even realizing it, because she’s just such a nice person,” Haverkamp said. “Sometimes she doesn’t even notice that she’s doing it.” Another member of Best Buddies, Elise Seery ’21, shares this sentiment. “I think if I could use one word to describe her, it would be radiant, since she never fails to spread her positive energy,” Seery said. El-Zein channels this positivity through her numerous interests, many of which involve giving back to others like working at Oaknoll Retirement Community and baking cookies for family and friends. After graduating from West, she plans to attend a “4 plus program” at the Transitions Services Center. This program focuses on providing training for special education students to increase levels of independence at home and in their respective communities. She plans to later use her skills as a caregiver or an artist. It is this nurturing and kind personality that

“ HAF IZA I S ON E WHO’S LOVE D BY SO MANY PEOPLE , BY TEACH E RS AN D OTH E R KI DS. WH E REVE R SH E GOES, SH E ’S FU LL OF LOVE .” -SAM I NA NAZ, PARAEDUCATO R

NOV. 15, 2018

led to her nomination for homecoming court. To be nominated for this honor, students submitted statements of what makes El-Zein a special person at West. The nomination statement below was read at the homecoming football game. “Hafiza is recognized for being so sweet to everyone and always going out of her way to say ‘hi’. Even if she is going through a rough time, she never fails to make others feel loved and appreciated.” When El-Zein heard that she won the title “Hero of Troy,” she was touched. “[I felt] very excited,” she said. “It surprised me. I kind of thought ‘Oh my goodness, I did not know they were going to vote for me.’” This news, however, did not shock Seery, who sees the impact El-Zein makes at West each day. “I was not surprised in any way,” Seery said. “Hafiza is everything they were looking for with the nomination, and when they were announcing the results, I knew automatically that they were going to say her name because of the astonishing person she is.” Paraeducator Samina Naz, who has worked with Hafiza throughout her high school career, also believes that there could not be a more deserving person to be awarded this honor. “Hafiza is one who’s loved by so many people, by teachers and other kids,” Naz said. “Wherever she goes, she’s full of love.”

PHOTOS BY ADITI BORDE ART BY FRANCES DAI DESIGN BY LYDIA GUO


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FINDING HIS

FORTE Choir teacher Luigi Enriquez shares his life story from the cradle to the classroom.

BY LUCY POLYAK

W

hen the average person thinks of a choir director, the image that often comes to mind is a stuffy, elderly man with a baton. However, choir director Luigi Enriquez is far from that stereotype. Born in Quezon City, Philippines in 1994, Enriquez’s life story is a bit different than that of the typical Iowa resident. At two months old, Enriquez boarded a plane to the place he would later consider home: Cabanatuan, a city in the Philippines. Once there, he spent his earliest years growing up on a family farm. “I remember going with my grandpa, specifically on the weekends, on walks and just watching things,” Enriquez said. “We’d build lots of things and do farm things, like plant rice and harvest food, and we’d also always eat raw sugarcane.” At age nine, Enriquez found his life changing drastically. His mother had worked as a doctor in Oman for four years, but in 2001, she moved to the United States for a new job. A year later, she petitioned for the rest of Enriquez’s core family to join her. This process involved filling out the immigration file form I-130 and submitting personal documents to allow family members of someone working in the United States to join them. “I think I was too young to really understand what was really happening. I had not seen my mom for four years prior to that; that’s just the nature of things with immigrant families,” Enriquez said. “It was really weird to not see my mom for a very long time, and it was also really weird to see how much more industrial the United States is than the Philippines.” Once in the United States, Enriquez became heavily involved in music around his new city of Racine, WI. Since his grandmother was a music teacher in the Philippines, there had

PHOTO BY ADITI BORDE DESIGN BY AMY LIAO

“ I TH I N K I WAS TOO YOU NG TO REALLY U N DE RSTAN D WHAT WAS REALLY HAPPE N I NG. I HAD NOT SE E N MY MOM FOR FOU R YEARS PRIOR TO THAT; THAT ’S J UST TH E NATU RE OF TH I NGS WITH I M M IGR ANT FAM I LI ES.” - LU IGI EN RIQU EZ, CHOI R TEACH ER

always been music in their house. He began viola lessons through his elementary school at age nine and piano lessons at age 10. He also sang in his church choir, but aside from middle school choir, vocal music wasn’t a priority until his young adult years. In high school, Enriquez took on the role of piano accompanist for his school’s choirs. Through that exposure, he had the opportunity to play piano for the school musical, “Into the Woods,” during his freshman year. “Me and this senior girl were vying for this piano spot, and I was like, ‘Oh I’ll never get it,’ but I did. The theater director, who became my mentor since then, was like, ‘I really saw something in you, and I really trusted you with this spot,’” Enriquez said. “My sophomore year, I helped lead sectionals and things like that, and by my junior and senior years I was asked if I wanted to be the vocal director. Of course I said yes.” After spending so much time around choirs during his accompanist days, Enriquez decided to try singing in the choir his senior year. One day, his choir director mentioned auditions for Luther College’s winter choral festival. Enriquez auditioned and was chosen to attend the festival. Between that experience and helping with musicals, Enriquez came to the conclusion that he wanted to pursue music in college. “I had family friends who were graduates of Luther who would bring me things like Luther [concert] CDs; they would always [tell me] that it’s a great music school,” Enriquez said. “I was originally going to go home to the Philippines [after high school] to study medicine. I remember talking to my mom [after I graduated] and having that conversation like, ‘This is not what I want; it’s what you want.’” Enriquez made the quick decision to apply to


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Luther College just a few weeks shy of the start of the school year. After a number of phone calls and some snap decisions, Enriquez found himself part of Luther’s class of 2017. Once there, Enriquez had to make the hard choice of whether to choose to pursue a career in vocal music education or performance. “I think I was just really nervous about not doing well and how scary it is to lead a life of performing,” Enriquez said. “[But] I’m not saying that I won’t ever have a performance career. I think it was just the safer route [to teach], and I wanted to show my parents the results [of studying music] sooner than had I chosen a performance career.” Close to his graduation in the spring of 2017, a teacher Enriquez studied with while student teaching linked Enriquez to a Facebook post by head West High choir director David

Haas announcing an open colleague position. Enriquez decided to pursue this opportunity and apply for the job. “Several of Mr. E’s references were people that I hold in very high regard,” Haas said. “When all of them mentioned that he was one of the best student teachers and musicians they had ever observed, it carried a lot of weight.” Enriquez brought a very clear teaching philosophy with him to West High: peace and love first. “At the end of the day, kids need to know that somebody cares for them and is watching out for them above the music. I used to feel differently, that music must come first, but at the end of the day, the music is the easy part,” Enriquez said. “Building trust and building community with other people is difficult, but you need that in order to function well with the music.”

“AT TH E E N D OF TH E DAY, KI DS N E E D TO KNOW THAT SOM E BODY CARES FOR TH E M AN D I S WATCH I NG OUT FOR TH E M ABOVE TH E M USIC .”- LU IGI EN RIQU EZ, CHOI R TEACH ER

The students that Enriquez directs greatly value everything he brings to the classroom, from his friendly demeanor to his vast knowledge. One of these students is Maria Gamon ’19, who has been in Concert Choir and the Showtime show choir with Enriquez for two years. “He has a set of standards for everyone and is really professional about making sure all of his expectations are met, but he’s still going to have fun,” Gamon said. “He was an opera singer, so he’s probably really strict [with] himself, but when he teaches others he makes sure that he breaks things down and that everyone is doing their best and is following along.” Enriquez is grateful to be living a life and pursuing a profession that he is proud of. When asked what he would tell to his younger self, he said, “‘You’re gonna be ok. Don’t worry too much; just let it happen.’”


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A LEGACY CONTINUED

Ed Barker began as the first principal of West High in 1968. Fifty-one years later, his granddaughter, Emma Barker ’22, is the last of the family line at West, marking the end of an era for the Barker family. BY MARTA LEIRA

R

ehearsing onstage for the fall play and performing in the stands with the marching band may make Emma Barker ’22 seem like any other arts-oriented student. But what many people might not know is the legacy that the Barker family holds at West. Emma hopes to make her own mark at the school through the arts. Although she is only a freshman, she is already highly involved in Theatre West and the band program. At just seven years old, she began her singing and acting career and has aspired to become an actress ever since. “It’s fun being another person for a little while,” Emma said. “You get to take on a different personality.” Emma’s passion for theatre is similar to her grandfather’s passion for administration. Her grandfather, Ed Barker, was West High’s first principal and held this position from 1968 to 1979. From a young age, Ed had always known he wanted to take on this role. “When I was in high school, I admired my principal. He not only was the principal but

“ WH E N I WAS I N H I GH SCHOOL , I ADM I RE D MY PRI NCI PAL ... THAT ’S EX ACTLY WHAT I WANTE D TO DO.” - ED BARKER , FO RM ER WEST PRI NCI PAL PHOTO BY GWEN WATSON PHOTOS COURTESY OF BARKER FAMILY DESIGN BY MADELINE EPHRAIM

he taught government,” Ed said. “That’s exactly what I wanted to do.” In 1968, Ed was offered his dream job as West’s first principal. He began to prepare during the winter, but the school didn’t officially open until the fall of 1969. His goal was to create a culture of excellence that would last for generations to come. “It was quite an interesting job … [that first winter], there were no students,” Ed said. “That’s a pretty good deal you know, being a principal at a school with no students.” When the school officially opened, West taught students in grades 7-12 until the opening of Northwest Junior high in 1972. Ed strived to accommodate all students and to ensure that they had the opportunity to reach their full potential. “We worked very hard to have strong academics, not only for our top-notch students, but also for students who were not particularly inclined to enjoy school much,” Ed said. Throughout his time as principal, Ed became very well known for his innovative yet sometimes controversial policies: he created rules


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against drinking but also set up designated smoking areas at West. Additionally, he was a strong believer in the importance of sex education. “During those years, smoking was extremely common, not only with high school students, but adults,” Ed said. “I established a room that [administration] would not check on very frequently. That was probably a mistake, but smoking was not looked down upon as it is today.” Despite his controversial policies, Ed maintained order in the school and was well-respected by his students. Jim Barker ’81, Emma’s father, was a student at West while Ed was principal. One instance Jim remembers vividly involved a food fight that broke out in the cafeteria. “Everyone was grabbing food and getting ready to throw it,” Jim said. “When my dad walked through the door, it instantly stopped … to my knowledge, it has never happened again.” After being a principal for many years, Ed eventually became interested in the real estate business. “[My wife Ethel and I] came across a book on real estate. We followed up on the suggestions in the book,” Ed said. “I remained principal until it was clear that our business was going to flourish and then retired from education. Both careers were extremely fulfilling. I have no regrets.” In his first decade as a real estate broker, Ed donated the equivalent of the salary he earned as principal back to West. With this money, the school created the Ed Barker Soccer Field. His wife Ethel Barker, who worked at West as a substitute English teacher, remembers this donation fondly. “We told [the school] to use the money for whatever they needed, and they needed a soccer field,” Ethel said. In addition to Ed, ten Barker family members have attended or been directly involved in the West High community.

ED BARKER

David Barker ’79, the oldest of Ed’s children, had his dad as principal for three years. He and his wife Sarah Richardson ’80 were high school sweethearts. They met at a debate tournament that happened to be on the same day as the homecoming dance. They were together most of the day and decided to go to the dance together. “After the dance, we drove my dad’s car, a yel-

“ WEST H I GH I S TH E REASON MY FAM I LY MOVE D TO TOWN F I FTY YEARS AGO, SO [E M MA ATTE N DI NG WEST] I S A B I G DEAL FOR US.” -J I M BARKER ‘81 low 1977 Lincoln Continental, all over Johnson County and talked most of the night,” David said. “We were together a lot the rest of the school year … In the fall of 1978 we started the tradition of eating two Thanksgiving dinners, one with each of our families.” The two then went off to college: David to University of California, Berkeley and Sarah to Brown University. They both ended up studying

DAVID BARKER ’79

in different parts of Europe for a year. After almost seven years apart, the two got married in 1988 in Iowa City. All four of Ed’s children attended West. One of Jim’s favorite memories from high school involved a water tower that used to be on Melrose Avenue. This was a common destination where high schoolers unleashed their artistic skills in the form of graffiti. It became a tradition for kids to climb the tower before home football games and paint the top green and gold with sayings like “Beat City High.” It’s memories like these that make West so special for Jim and his family. “West High is the reason my family moved to town fifty years ago, so [Emma attending West] is a big deal for us,” Jim said. “Having kids is, in general, a great way to remember and relive your childhood, and even more so when they go to your old school.” Ed’s grandchildren continue to carry on the family legacy at West. Much like Emma, her two older brothers Nick Barker ’13 and Thomas Barker ’16 were both very involved with Theatre West throughout their high school years. “It’s fun to see Emma participating in similar activities to me — band, jazz band, Theatre West and SPIT — and to know that those programs are still thriving,” Nick said. Although they never had Ed as principal, his grandchildren still felt the effect that the family legacy had on their high school experience. Even after Emma graduates, the love the Barker’s have for the school will carry on. “West High is a very special place for us. Parts of it still look exactly the same, and it is fun to visit and remember old times,” David said. “Even during the years when no Barker children or grandchildren were at West High, my dad visited the school … Fifty years after West High opened, he still reads the West Side Story, and receives regular reports from Emma.”

JIM BARKER ’81


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While many students personally know the school counselors, other vital members of the department may not receive the same attention. Here’s an introduction to West High’s student family advocates (SFAs), John Roarick and Jamie Schneider.

A SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY BY DENIZ INCE

PHOTO BY GWEN WATSON DESIGN BY JENNA ZENG


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J

uggling career ideas is a typical high school experience, as students periodically change their mind between various professions. However, Jamie Schneider knew from a young age that she wanted to help others. “I just always knew I wanted to do something in the helping profession, and I didn’t really know what a social worker was until we kind of started studying different jobs in junior high,” Schneider said. John Roarick, on the other hand, did not exactly know what he wanted to do after high school. He found his passion doing community service. “[My family] did a lot of service based on certain Catholic values, and I really liked my work with [the] homeless shelter,” Roarick said. Before settling on a job, Roarick worked in a range of other cities and with a variety of other people throughout the country, but service remained a constant throughout his endeavors. “[I later] kept on serving others but not attached to the Catholic tradition,” Roarick said. “I worked in a community agency that works with chronically mentally ill adults and did schoolbased therapy.” Schneider also worked with adults before transitioning to high school students. She believes that their experiences with adults helps both herself and Roarick in their jobs today. According to Schneider, the types of services she and Roarick provide often shift around the age of 16, when older adolescents are grouped with adults. Though the role West’s student family advocates play in the school can be somewhat ambiguous, the work they do is vital to the mental, emotional, social and physical health of students. “We’re not called school social workers, but that’s kind of an easy way to describe us,” Schneider said. “It’s not abnormal that kids don’t know who we are [and] what we do, because we are in the background a lot, but we’re doing a lot in

“WE CARE ABOUT THESE STUDENTS. MENTALLY YOU JUST HAVE TO REMIND YOURSELF THAT IT’S A JOB THAT’S WORTH DOING, AND IT’S AN IMPORTANT JOB,” -JOHN ROARICK, STUDENT FAMILY ADVOCATE

the background to make sure that kids can be as successful as they can be in school.” The list of responsibilities for Roarick and Schneider is extensive, ranging from helping students in need of school-based support and connecting students to community resources to serving as a liaison between teachers and families and creating student support teams. “Sometimes school’s just really tough for students,” Roarick said. “West High is a very tough school, so if we measure our success on how well [one] does academically, that wouldn’t be fair because a kid can be headed in the right direction, but school can continue to not go well.” “I think our success is mostly measured on how that person is doing just as a human being,” Schneider added. “Are they safe? Do they have a place to sleep? Do they have food? Do they have shelter? Are they out of the hospital? You know, those bigger things. I think John and I think a lot about that because it is a bigger system that we’re working with.” The advocates consider themselves an exten-

sion of and support for the guidance department. “They’re a tremendous asset to what we do on a daily basis, and I think I speak for all the guidance counselors [in saying] we really appreciate them both,” said guidance counselor Greg Yoder. “It’s really nice having a male and a female because some students will tend to migrate toward one or the other. The two of them cover all bases pretty well. … So we feel very fortunate that we’re able to have them both because they both definitely serve our students very, very well.” In communicating with students, Schneider and Roarick utilize both brief check-ins, in which students may choose to stop by their offices, and longer planned appointments. A few ways students may connect with the SFAs include stopping by their offices and sending an email to either their counselor or an SFA detailing their intentions to meet. Schneider notes that she’s seen an increase in students coming in this school year. Both student family advocates want to be there to allow students to talk through their concerns. “We help them realize that a lot of people experience what they’re experiencing,” Roarick said. “They’ll feel a lot better after perhaps they do have a talk therapist in their world or they do talk to their doctor or they do finally talk to their parents about what’s going on. So we help encourage, give them confidence that it’s okay to reach out for help.” Simply helping West students proves to be rewarding. “We want to do what’s right. Helping these kids is what’s right, so, I mean, part of it is just our desire and our belief in certain social justice: serving those who are aren’t being served other places,” Roarick said. “We care about these students. Mentally you just have to remind yourself that it’s a job that’s worth doing, and it’s an important job.”

WHAT DOES AN SFA DO? Provide individual student support Promote parent engagement Promote the overall efficiency of the school system

Act as a liaison between school, parents & community resources in order to enhance student learning Maximize the educational opportunities available to each child Source: ICCSD


A SPECTRUM OF PERSPECTIVES A ARO N LI D R AL ‘19


Despite progress made toward treating LGBTQ+ individuals equitably, challenges and stigmas still remain. BY WILL CONRAD & ANJALI HUYNH

A

ppearances are not always what they seem. Iowa City was recently recognized as an exceptionally accepting community for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals, receiving a perfect score on the 2018 Municipal Equality Index. This national report for city support of LGBTQ+ rights accounts for municipality characteristics such as city nondiscrimination protections and relationships with city leaders. West High itself has a widely-promoted gender-sexuality alliance, called COLORS, supported by administration and staff. Teachers at large promote toleration of all individuals according to the district’s non-discrimination policy. However, despite these outward impressions of diversity and acceptance, results from a 2018 district-wide survey revealed that “LGBTQ+ and non-binary students feel significantly less safe in and around school than non-LGBTQ+ and binary students.” “I want the data to change. I want all of our students to feel safe. I want our staff to feel confident in how to respond,” said Laura Cottrell, the ICCSD’s Director for Diversity and Cultural

Responsiveness. “I want all of our schools to be welcoming in every way, shape or form. It’s my goal to move those numbers.” In response to these survey results, the ICCSD and West High implemented changes for the 2018-19 school year, with the hope of enhancing quality of life for marginalized students. The most obvious change was Student Senate’s alterations to homecoming court. However, this decision received much backlash, including remarks directly made against LGBTQ+ and non-binary students. “In an undercurrent of conversations that kids were having, there was obviously some not-great understanding and acceptance of gay students,” said Principal Gregg Shoultz. “We think that we’re a pretty progressive community, but that’s not uniform. There’s a lot of learning that has to go on.” Addressing these concerns, perspectives from students, teachers and administrators alike outline the West experience of an LGBTQ+ or non-binary student and how the school hopes to cultivate a more positive, safer environment moving forward.

“ I WANT TH E DATA TO CHANG E . I WANT ALL OF OU R STU DE NTS TO F E E L SAF E . I WANT OU R STAF F TO F E E L CON F I DE NT I N HOW TO RESPON D.” - LAU R A COTTRELL , ICCSD DI RECTO R FO R DIVE RSITY AN D CU LTU R AL RESPON SIVEN ESS

LG BTQ + LE S B I A N

GAY

B I S E X UA L

TR A N SG E N D E R

QUEER

Q U E STI O N I N G

PLU S

A fe m a l e w h o ex pe ri e n ces ro m a nti c o r sex u a l a t tra cti o n to oth e r fe m a l es .

A male who ex pe ri e n ces ro m a nti c l ove o r sex u a l a t tra cti o n to oth e r m a l es ; it ca n a l so be u se d as an alle n co m pa ss i n g te rm fo r a nyo n e w h o i s h o m osex u a l .

Ro m a nti c o r sex u a l a t tra cti o n towa rd s both m a l es a n d fe m a l es ; it ca n a l so be ex pa n d e d to i n cl u d e a t tra cti o n to oth e rs of a ny sex o r g e n d e r i d e nt i t y.

A n u m b re l l a te rm fo r peo p l e w h ose g e n d e r i d e ntit y d i f fe rs fro m th e sex th ey a re a ss i g n e d a t b i r th ; of te n , th ese peo p l e w i l l g o th ro u g h a tra n s iti o n of so r ts , e ith e r p hys i ca l o r m e nta l , fro m o n e g e n d e r to a n oth e r.

A n u m b re l l a te rm fo r individuals w h o a re n ot h ete rosex u a l o r ci sg e n d e r.

Ad d resses i n d i v i d u a l s th a t a re sti l l u n s u re of w h a t g e n d e r i d e ntit y o r sex u a l o ri e nta ti o n th ey i d e nti f y w ith o r a re a fra i d to co nfo rm to o n e l a be l .

I n cl u d e d i n th e a cro ny m to a d d ress non-binary individuals a n d a d d iti o n a l sex u a l o ri e nta ti o n s , s u ch a s a sex u a l o r pa n sex u a l , a s we l l a s i d e nt i t i es th a t a re n ot yet recog n ize d .

PHOTOS BY MADDI SHINALL DESIGN BY CRYSTAL KIM


B RE N O SADE R ‘19

E RI N N ETO LICKY ‘20

GAI N I NG G ROU N D Out of the groups represented in the LGBTQ+ community, lesbian, gay and bisexual members have perhaps had the most success in campaigning for civil rights legislation and visibility. Over the past 20 years, Supreme Court rulings legalized same-sex sexual conduct and eventually same-sex marriage. The rapid success of the gay rights movement has fostered more accepting coming-out experiences at West. “No matter what, [coming out] is something you’re going to struggle with, but once you take that leap and actually come out, the [overall] West High environment is completely supportive,” said Breno Sader ’19, a gay student. Michelle Kim ’20, a lesbian student, attributed newfound acceptance to the adjusting period that teachers and students have had to become acquainted with different sexualities. “People are getting used to it,” Kim said. “It’s been a thing for a while that people don’t care about it.” Albeit, the West community is still not perfect. “There’s been a few occasions with people who aren’t okay with the fact that I’m gay,” Sader said. “Sometimes it’s that they don’t understand it and they’re curious about it, so they ask [generalizing] questions that they don’t really realize are homophobic.” Psychology teacher Travis Henderson credits

this ignorance to the idea that many students in the building who are heterosexual or cisgender are unaware of the mental dilemma faced by LGBTQ+ students. “Part of the privilege of heterosexism is not having to think about their sexuality. Part of the privilege of being cisgender is not having to think about gender,” Henderson said. According to Sader, rather than outwardly speaking against the LGBTQ+ community, peers are more likely to express discriminatory comments or homophobic actions discreetly. “It’s not the remarks that I hear exactly; it’s just people who I know who are uncomfortable being around me,” Sader said. “They don’t like the fact that I’m gay; they don’t think it’s right, so they don’t want to be around me.” Now, according to Henderson, discussions have shifted more towards promoting acceptance, not awareness. “About half a decade ago, the fight was more about visibility,” Henderson said. “I don’t think people are asking for tolerance anymore or recognition of their existence. It’s not tolerance, it’s acceptance. It’s that [others] understand [the LGBTQ+ community’s] world view and they can empathize to some degree. And I think it’s 100 percent reasonable to be asking for those things.”

Erin Netolicky ’20, a bisexual student, believes part of this acceptance would come from greater discussions of LGBTQ+ individuals in history. “There’s so many strong, powerful figures [whose] sexuality is not mentioned at all or covered up,” Netolicky said. “Not having anyone historical to look up to furthers this perception that it’s just a millennial thing or just a Gen Z thing and that it’s not real.” Many students and families still fear ongoing discrimination in life outside of the school environment, as well. “My mom wasn’t at first accepting of it. She was very worried about what the world would do to me,” Kim said. “She sees all this stuff in the news about gay people being discriminated against just because they’re gay. My mom was clearly afraid that I would have a disadvantage at life because of my sexuality.” According to Netolicky, simply understanding others’ experiences is one of the most powerful actions society can take moving forward. “It’s important to remember that [LGB students are] humans too,” Netolicky said. “We shouldn’t be othered because of things that we cannot change. I feel that we’re more alike than we are different. Realizing what similarities there are is the first step to bridging that gap.”


“AS LO N G AS SO M ETH I N G I S NOT ‘ TH E N O RM ,’ IT WI LL ALWAYS F E E L U N SAF E FO R PEO PLE WH O DO N ’T I DE NTI F Y WITH THAT N O RM .” - EM I LY BUCK ’19

47%

of t ra n sg e nd e r p e o p l e a re s ex u a l l y a s s a u l te d w it h i n t h e i r l i fet i m e a t l e a st o n ce .

39%

of t ra n sg e nd e r s u r vey p a rt i c i p a nt s ex p e ri e n ce s e ri o u s psyc h o l og i ca l d i st re s s .

62%

of LG B stu d e nts fe e l t h ey b e l o ng at We st co m pa red to 83% of n o n - LG B stu d e nts .

88%

of LG B stu d e nt s a nd 8 6% of n o n - b i n a r y stu d e nt s h a ve h e a rd h u rt fu l co m m e nt s a bo ut s exu a l o ri e nta t i o n o r g e nd e r. Sources: U.S. Transgender Survey & University of Iowa’s July 2017 “LGBTQ Student Experiences in the ICCSD” policy brief

B REAKI NG BARRI E RS For many students, using public bathrooms is an occurrence that happens without another thought. But for transgender individuals at West, this seemingly ordinary event transforms into a time of ridicule and self-questioning. Aaron Lidral ’19 made the transition from female to male during his junior year of high school and subsequently began using male restrooms. However, upon doing so, he started hearing laughter and snarky remarks. “Within a couple weeks, I started noticing I’d just get weird looks and [comments like], ‘Why are you in here?’ … I felt unsafe,” Lidral said. After facing harassment, Lidral went to school administration out of fear for his own safety. However, school administration did not take adequate action, forcing Lidral to change his mindset altogether. “Last week, I could hear [a group of guys] saying, ‘Why the hell is he in a stall? Stand up like a man,’” Lidral recounted. “I just kept my head down, washed my hands and walked out. That’s just how I’ve had to approach it.” Lidral’s concerns for personal safety are mirrored across the country, as transgender people are at high risk in public spaces. According to a 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 47 percent of transgender people are sexually assaulted within their lifetime at least once. During 2014, 46 percent of participants were verbally harassed and nine percent were physically attacked. Moreover, this discrimination, harassment and discomfort can lead to severe trauma at disproportionate rates for transgender students. 39 percent of transgender survey participants experienced serious psychological distress at a rate eight times higher than the U.S. population at large. Emily Buck ’19, COLORS president, says that despite Iowa City’s progressive climate, discrimination is still a large part of the transgender and non-binary student experience. “It seems like a lot of the struggles that non-binary folks and transgender folks go through are not widely seen in the school, even though they blatantly happen,” Buck said. “That creates a lot of invisibility for the trans and non-binary experience at West.” The bathroom issue is an important one faced

by the transgender and non-binary communities. This is because it is harder to protect students in areas where teachers or administrators are not always present. “I would say that the school should do more to protect transgender individuals, but it’s just really hard, like how can you protect someone in a bathroom?” Lidral said. “That’s the main area where I think anyone who’s trans feels unsafe. Everyone’s vulnerable in a bathroom, but trans people especially.” Last school year, West administration took steps to make the school a more inclusive environment by establishing a gender-neutral bathroom. Although this was a milestone for the West transgender community, discrimination still remains a struggle. Moreover, there is a great stigma against transgender individuals even within the LGBTQ+ community. Harpur Barahona ’20 is a transgender female who experienced this stigma firsthand. “During eighth grade, I was still figuring it out but also coming to terms with being who I am,” Barahona said. “There is a lot of stigma against trans people, and at the time, I didn’t want to identify with it, even though I knew that this is what I was … Then, I was trying to keep it back and go with different things so that I would be more normal even within the LGBT community, because there’s some people who go against one another in the community itself.” “As long as something is not ‘the norm,’ it will always feel unsafe for people who don’t identify with that norm,” Buck said. “[Gender] is just now [becoming] an issue, and there has not been a lot of time to allow for change, especially in mindsets … It’s understandable that non-binary and transgender folks feel unsafe, no matter the political climate.” Barahona had a simple message to perpetrators of disparaging remarks. “I want to know if it’s worth it,” she said. “Because do you really feel good about yourself after making someone else feel like that? It really doesn’t make sense how you can be negative for no other reason than being negative.”


TH E LOCKE R ROOM High school locker rooms are a pertinent battleground for LGBTQ+ rights. According to a 2011 study by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), 39 percent of LGBT students avoid these spaces. In addition, just 23.2 percent of LGBT students participate in interscholastic sports, compared to 47.8 percent of all high school students that same year. The lack of openly LGBTQ+ student athletes partially stems from the language used in a typical locker room. “Out on the Fields,” an international study in 2015, found that 84 percent of gay men and 82 percent of lesbian women reported hearing homophobic slurs in the locker room. The study also found a direct correlation between these slurs and the number of closeted athletes. The barrage of these remarks is intimidating for many closeted LGBTQ+ athletes. Evan Risk, an openly gay assistant boys track coach at City High, has heard his share of homophobic slurs used at practices. “I was coaching this summer, and I heard some kids use that type of language to call each other ‘fags’ or ‘gay,’” Risk said. “I think a [closeted] kid hearing that and not understanding that they don’t mean it while he’s already scared and doesn’t want to [come out will] set him back further.” Openly gay high school coaches are scarce. Because many LGBTQ+ students do not see people like them in leadership positions on their teams, they may become discouraged from coming out. “When I think back to my high school experience, if I had come out, it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal,” Risk said. “But if I had an openly gay coach, or knew of one or knew of a big-time professional athlete who was gay, I think that would have really helped me.” Perhaps most alarming, 79.4 percent of LGBTQ+ students feel they cannot have an open dialogue about their identity with their P.E. teacher or coach. West High Athletic Director Craig Huegel stresses the significance of having even one trusted adult.

“It’s important that you have an adult,” Huegel said. “It could be the custodian, it could be someone working in the lunchroom … but you need someone … that you feel comfortable having that conversation with.” Huegel believes ensuring supportive cultures on teams is crucial, as athletics can unite a diverse population and benefit those involved. “I think that’s the great part about sports: we have a common goal,” Huegel said. “No matter how you’re different, there’s one common thing we can all get behind and support … We want your teammates to support you no matter what personal problems you have, or what makes you different.” Recognizing the importance of open participation in athletics, West’s athletic department has made strides in recent years to ensure opportunities for transgender students to participate. “If we are able to allow those students to participate, they do. Students are allowed to participate with the gender that they identify with,” Huegel said. “[West is] certainly not perfect, but by and large, for the most part, kids are pretty accepting of others.” However, some transgender individuals still make the choice to participate on the team that matches their sex at birth. “I [didn’t] participate on the guys [swim] team just because I’d face a lot more microaggressions, like in the bathroom,” Lidral said. “I knew I would feel out of place on the girls team, but I thought I would actually feel more out of place on the boys team, just comparing myself to them constantly.” Moving forward, the best initiative athletes and coaches can take is to be aware of the impact of their interactions with others. “Last week I went to the safe-school training … [and] one of the teachers made the point that this is about more than just respecting each other,” Risk said. “If a kid is in a really bad spot, and you’re not an accepting teacher or coach, then that’s pretty serious and could lead to serious things for that student.”

“TH I S I S ABOUT MORE THAN J UST RESPECTI NG EACH OTH E R .” - EVAN RISK, CITY H IGH ASSISTANT TRACK COACH

74 % re po rted t h at t h e i r sch oo l s h a ve a n a d eq u ate a nt i b u l l y i ng po l i cy.

39% of LG BT stu d e nts a vo i d ed l ocke r roo m s .

84 %

of g a y m e n a nd 82 % of l e s b i a n wo m e n re po rt h e a ri ng s l u rs i n t h e l ocke r roo m .

Sources: Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network & “Out on the Fields” international study


PU SH FOR PROG RESS In response to inadequate results on the district survey regarding LGBTQ+ and non-binary student experiences, district and West administration have cultivated an enhanced community. One previously-mentioned change was redesigning homecoming court. Due to a recommendation from a district task force committee, West altered the previous homecoming court selection process to become gender-neutral and category free, making it more inclusive of the student body. Another measure that the school district is taking to improve the LGBTQ+ school experience is instituting Safe Zone training taught by University of Iowa staff as an option for teachers. According to the Safe Zone Project, Safe Zone training provides “opportunities to learn about LGBTQ+ identities, gender and sexuality and examine prejudice, assumptions and privilege.” Previously, teachers had the option to put up stickers acknowledging that their classrooms are safe spaces for LGBTQ+ students. However, over time, these stickers will come down, replaced by signs given only to teachers who are trained and qualified to be Safe Zone instructors. “Hopefully, we can get every teacher safe-zone trained,” Henderson said. “They’ll have the knowledge to understand the issues and help students who are in a crisis.” Sader believes this change is a positive step in encouraging teacher support of the community. “I think that training is a fantastic idea,” Sader said. “I think that, again, education is key. If those teachers are educated on helping students, they should definitely earn those plaques.” However, though significant changes were made to make West a more inclusive community, Shoultz does not believe that this process is complete. “I think [that] we’ve been a leader in the past couple [of] years,” Shoultz said. “If you look at some of the work we’ve done, it’s pretty strong work, but it’s a process. I think we have done some things that have been at the forefront, but I don’t think that by any stretches of imagination we’re done.” Students believe that one way West can continue improving is by providing more instruction on the issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community. “There’s work to be done, and all of that work is educational,” Sader said. “You have to teach people about the LGBT community because as human beings, we’re afraid of the unknown … The

“ I DON ’T F E E L RI G HT MAKI NG THOSE DECI SION S WITHOUT VOICES F ROM PEOPLE WHO ARE ACTUALLY LIVI NG IT.” - LAU R A COTTR E LL , D I STR I CT D I R ECTO R FO R D IVE RSIT Y AN D CU LTU R AL R ESPO N SIVE N ESS

more educated you are about different cultures, the more improved your life is going to be.” Lidral praised these efforts, pointing to his own experience with teaching students about the transgender community as a reference for why LGBTQ+ individuals should be discussed more in the academic setting. “In AP Psych, our teacher, [Travis] Henderson, has done a pretty good job of including gender and not forgetting about trans people in our lessons,” Lidral said. “That’s just nice to hear about. I think getting trans people into different discussions is a really good way to normalize it.” As the new director of special equity projects, a division that emphasizes improving quality of educational life for minority students, Cottrell is looking for student voices to assist with helping improve even further.

“I know it is a courageous thing to reach out, but I hate having these conversations about what to do without having their voice at the table,” Cottrell said. “I have no voice from transitioning students, [and] it would be very valuable if I could get their feedback … I don’t feel right making those decisions without voices from people who are actually living it.” Henderson reinforces that communication, validation and acceptance are ultimately what students in the LGBTQ+ community need. “It does a lot of harm to have to live through your teenage years, some of your most formative years, and not be able to be yourself and really live your identity in that critical time,” Henderson said. “Obviously, we’ve got a lot of work to do, but I think we’re taking steps in the right direction.”


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32

SETTING THE STAGE FOR NEW FACES

E N T E R TA I N M E N T NOV. 15, 2018

BY ANNABEL HENDRICKSON

From memorizing lines to managing different sections of tech to coordinating and directing rehearsals, it takes a miracle to get a play done. Although West High puts on a fall show every year, this year’s “Miracle on 34th Street” will be unique through its new faces, both on the stage and off.

TECH Emily Hill ’20 is the stage manager for Theatre West this year. Hill has been involved with theater since she was young and has enjoyed working backstage at West for the last few years. As stage manager, she sits in during rehearsals to take blocking notes about where the actors stand, coordinates and instructs all the sections of tech that help put together the show and makes sure that everything is getting done in a timely fashion. “With stage management, I get to interact with people who are on all sides, like people backstage, people on stage, people doing music and stuff,” Hill said. “It’s really fun getting to meet new people.” One interesting aspect of “Miracle on 34th Street” is the musicians. Rather than playing in the pit like the usual musical, the musicians will actually be playing on stage in the background. “[Miracle on 34th Street] has lots of different elements,” Hill said. “There’s lots of stuff to do backstage, lots of props and things and there’s also lots of parts for people. We can include musicians in the show, which I think is something we’ve been looking for.” Another new feature to Theatre West this year is the new tech director, Christian Aanestad. Aanestad is an art teacher who joined Theatre West when the position opened up last year. “I think the main difference is our new tech director, Christian Aanestad. Having Christian here is really nice,” Hill said. “He makes everyone feel included and is doing a great job making sure everyone in the back is organized and all the set stuff is getting done.”

ACTING

One addition to the cast of Theatre West this year is actor Zoe Nolte ’22. She will be playing one of the lead roles, Susan Walker, a six-year old girl who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. Nolte has been dancing at her parents’ dance academy, Nolte Academy of Dance, for as long as she can remember but just started acting a couple years ago through a show that her mother produced. “When I was younger, my mom needed extra people because she produced shows,” Nolte said. “I just stood in the back with some little kids, and I guess I just fell in love with [acting].” Although Nolte has done community theatre several times in the past, this is her first time acting in a school production. According to Nolte, the atmosphere at West is very different than

that of the community theatre. “Everyone in the West shows are in classes together, so they’re already friends when they audition,” Nolte said. “You just become a big happy family by the end of it.” The cast this year is especially different. The 2018 graduating class held several of the lead actors from the past few years. With their graduation, many spots have opened up for new students to help out with this play. “We do have quite a few new people, especially on cast,” Hill said. “The senior class we had last year was really big and they did lots of stuff, so we did quite a lot of recruiting at the beginning of the year, and we have a lot of new people this year.”

“ I J UST STOOD I N TH E BACK WITH SOM E LITTLE KI DS AN D I GU ESS I J UST F E LL I N LOVE WITH [ACTI NG].” -ZOE NOLTE ‘22


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

NOV. 15, 2018

DIRECTING The director for “Miracle on 34th Street” is English teacher Katy Nahra. As the director, Nahra is in charge of the rehearsals and running scenes. “We decide ahead of time what scenes we’re going to run, then run the scenes however many times I feel like we need to,” Nahra said. “We also work on characterization and just solidify line and parts and blocking and all that good stuff.” One unique aspect of the production is incorporating younger children into the scenes. For a few of the scenes, children of teachers at West are going to be up on stage when needed. “So we actually invited a bunch of little kids of people that we know to be a part of just a few

of the scenes, like the parade scene and the toy department scene, where it would make sense for kids to be waiting for Santa Claus and things like that,” Nahra said. “It’s a different kind of atmosphere. When you have the little kids, they dictate what we do and for low long.” The spring musical influences the fall play, so Nahra uses the musical to decide on which play they’re going to do. “We pick [the musical and the play] together so that we’re sure that we’ve given chances to as many people as possible. If we do a smaller play, we wanted to make sure we do a bigger musical so that we can invite more people to be a part of it,” Nahra said. “This year, we’re doing something kind of dark like Sweeney Todd, so we wanted to do something much more lighthearted and family-friendly to help compensate.” “Miracle on 34th Street” will take place on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Tickets can be purchased the week of the show in the main office and in the main commons during all lunches “[I] hope that everybody comes and sees it,” Nahra said. “It’s great to get ready for the holidays. It really gets you in the holiday spirit.”

PHOTOS BY ADITI BORDE DESIGN BY RAIN RICHARDS


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

NOV. 15, 2018

MORNING MEALS BY ANNABEL HENDRICKSON

West High students share their favorite options for the most important meal of the day.

Y

ou’re sitting in your second period class taking an exam. The air is silent, with only the gentle scratching of pencils on paper filling the room. Suddenly, a familiar pang hits your stomach, instantly followed by a feeling of dread for what comes next. The hunger rolls through you, rising up with an earsplitting rumble in the midst of the quiet atmosphere. Pencils stop; heads turn. You really should have eaten breakfast this morning. Right now, you’re facing one of the consequences that comes with skipping breakfast. Many teenagers across the country face this same issue. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 20 to 30 percent of adolescents skip breakfast every day. Here are some of the typical breakfasts that students at West enjoy.

“I have a waffle with syrup and then I have Canadian bacon and melon. Sometimes not the bacon, though.” - Sebastian Cochran ’21

PHOTOS BY SEAN BROWN DESIGN BY BRENDA GAO

“My dad makes me bacon and an egg sandwich.” - Katherine Kouba ’22


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E N T E R TA I N M E N T NOV. 15, 2018

“I had cereal.” - Colin Eberl ’20

“I had Starbucks, a caramel macchiato.” - Heather Craig ’19 “I had scrambled eggs. They were good.” - Dylan Gysell ’19

“I had squash soup. It was left over from last night, and I really like squash, so I heated it up this morning to eat.” - Eva Oleson ’21


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E N T E R TA I N M E N T NOV. 15, 2018

A CULTURAL COMMUNITY BY ANNA BROWN

CHINA

RACHEL DING ’19

Traditional Chinese dresses were shaped through the varying time periods and dynasties of Chinese history. During the Qing Dynasty, changpaos, known as qipaos for females, emerged and eventually modernized to become sleeveless, high-necked, embroidered and form-fitting dresses with slits on one or both sides. While qipaos come in a variety of colors, red is the most traditional, as it represents happiness and good fortune in Chinese culture. “I think [qipaos] are pretty simple compared to other cultures, but that’s what makes them stand out, just how simple and elegant they are,” said Rachel Ding ’19. During the Chinese Republican era following the Qing Dynasty, qipaos became a symbol for women’s liberation, as only men were allowed to wear changpaos. As feminist ideals spread, wearing changpaos became a silent protest for gender equality, and over time, shifted from political expression to an aesthetic piece of clothing that represents one’s heritage. “[Traditional dresses] are really beautiful and there’s nothing like that in [America],” Ding said. “It’s cool to have traditions that you can be proud of and that you can share with other people.”

MEXICO

MIRIAM AGUIRRE ’21

When one thinks of traditional Latin American clothing, folklorico dresses with frilly skirts probably come to mind. However, different regions have different styles of clothing due to the colonization of indigenous people, which affected each region’s cultural heritage. Not only has exposure to other cultures shaped traditional Mexican clothing, but geography has as well. Miriam Aguirre ’21 said that the northern side of Mexico where her mother is from is cold most of the time, and as a result, clothing is traditionally white with complimentary vibrant colors. However, in the southern, warmer climate that her father is from, traditional clothing is more colorful. Vibrant colors are an important aspect of traditional Latino clothing, as they pay homage to their ancestors’ efforts to create dye from earth’s natural resources. Yet, Aguirre believes that what makes traditional Latin clothing stand out is its history. “[There is] a really deep and rich history behind a lot of what Mexican clothes [look like],” said Aguirre. “There are some commonalities between all of these countries … because it is Latin America, … but there are really cool things where you can see how [regions] branched out and built on [different styles].”


A little girl stands in front of the mirror, grabs the hem of her ruffled skirt and twirls the bright fabric with flower patterns around her body. Across the Atlantic Ocean, another child ties her hair in a headwrap to make intricate shapes. Thousands of miles northeast of her, a third child fastens the button of her qipao and smooths out the silky material while a fourth child wraps a fan-like skirt around her waist. They are all proudly wearing traditional clothing from their respective cultures: Latin America, Africa, East Asia and South Asia.

CONGO

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

NOV. 15, 2018

DASIA TAYLOR ’21 SARAH BIGABA ’21

Dashikis are one of the most common traditional outfits in Africa. This article of clothing is a long, almost dress-length shirt with traditional African patterns along the collar. According to Dasia Taylor ’21, personalization makes African dress unique, since the colors and patterns used can vary based on what the wearer prefers. “With African clothing, you see [a] blob of color here and then there’s another blob there,” Taylor said. “It’s always very vibrant … and just beautiful.” Because of the light fabric and loose form, dashikis are popular to wear in the heat and climate of West Africa. During the 1960s, they became a symbol for African-American struggles in the United States and gained popularity in mainstream culture. “People … look into [African] history, and they want to make it into a trend, but … Africans really did get treated [poorly] in the past,” said Sarah Bigaba ’21, who is Congolese. “This is something that we actually value, and this is our life. Don’t fetishisize it.” However, Bigaba believes this does not apply to those who truly appreciate the cultures they are representing. While Taylor was not born in Africa and does not have immediate relatives living there, she feels a connection with her ancestors whenever she wears traditional clothing. “I feel honored because the places where these articles of clothing were made are where my people came from,” Taylor said. “[My ancestors] made these beautiful articles of clothing, so it’s like I get to live what they did.”

INDIA

SHREYA KHULLAR ’22

In addition to lehengas, which are embroidered, full ankle-length skirts worn with a blouse, another style of traditional Indian dress for females is the bharatanatyam costume worn during a traditional dance of the same name. For the dance, bharatanatyam costumes are worn with a pleated cloth adorned with designs in the front that open like a fan. The costume is tightly wrapped around the dancer’s body and held by a jeweled belt. “I just think the [traditional dress] accents the dance really well,” said Shreya Khullar ’22, who was born in Delhi and whose mom teaches bharatanatyam. “I feel like with both the culture and dress, they just really compliment each other.” According to Khullar, jewelry is imperative to bharatanatyam and traditional outfits. Many people go all-out, wearing big necklaces and earrings. This is especially true for bharatanatyam where there is typically a headpiece tied around dancers’ heads, adorned with flowers. However, Khullar believes one of the most unique aspects of traditional Indian clothing is the embroidery and detail of the outfits. “There’s a lot of little beadwork and everything,” Khullar said. “A lot of it is made by hand, … so you can go a different [route] every time [since] everyone has different styles of stitching.” PHOTOS BY ANJALI HUYNH DESIGN BY VIVIEN HO


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RUMBLING INTO A NEW ERA


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BY FATIMA KAMMONA

The male cheerleaders tell their story about their journey to performing under the bright lights.

B

eing criticized for going against the status quo didn’t come as a shock to either Hunter Kopf ’19 or Keshawn Shaw ’19, seeing as they are the only males on the West High cheer team. “First, [people] were saying I was gay for joining [cheerleading]. I was like, ‘No, I’m not,’ and then [people said], ‘He’s abnormal, he’s just some kid being weird,’” Shaw said. However, the distaste for having a male cheerleader at West didn’t just come from strangers. “My friends were making fun of me, calling me bad names and stuff,” Kopf said. “But, my parents were supportive of me.” After seeing a poster in the library urging people to try out for the cheer team, Kopf talked to friends on the team, who encouraged him to go for it. “I was like, ‘Alright, the worst thing that can happen is I don’t make the team,’” Kopf said. “So I tried out and made the team.” With stressful tryouts and difficult practices, Kopf has a new outlook on cheering. “[The practices] were harder than what I thought they were gonna be like. I respect the

girls for being able to do all that,” Kopf said. “When I first started, I was struggling to keep up with them. They [have] high energy. They just keep going and going and going. [I had] to take a break and sit down and get water; I couldn’t keep up with them.” Shaw’s cheering career began when last year’s cheer captain, Megan Herring ’18, told him to join. Initially, he believed that it would be ‘girlish.’ “But then I thought, ‘I’m always there at the games so why not,’” Shaw said. “I just did it as a joke at first, but I [got] there and I [was] having a super blast time; it was so much fun. If I didn’t try out, I would probably regret it now. Cheerleading is my life.” However, Shaw recalled facing hostility within the team, especially considering that there is a lack of high school male cheerleaders. “[My teammates] gave me looks [and] thought I was there just to look up their skirts,” Shaw said. “But to be honest, looking back at it now, I can see what they got it from [because] it’s not common [in] high school.” Even though both Kopf and Shaw faced nega-

tive responses, one incident in particular sticks out for Shaw. “Someone had told me that they had heard from the student section that, ‘You’re a disgrace to all men and black people,’” Shaw said. “I was like, ‘That made me really irritated because … I’m already being targeted for being a male in cheerleading, but now it’s [about being] a black male cheerleading. It’s already [a lot of] pressure … but I had to get past it [and keep] moving forward.” Despite initially facing opposition from other students, their teammates believe that Kopf and Shaw bring a lot to the team. “I think it’s great. They really bring a lot with stunting and just the energy both of them have,” said cheerleader Lexi Goodale ’19. “They’re both enthusiastic, like kind of wild people if you know them at all.” Though Kopf and Shaw have faced negative backlash, they have heard positive responses as well. “This generation, this grade is more accepting and more inclusive,” Shaw said. “From what I see around the halls, they’re more inclusive.”

LS O O H C S H IOWA HIG

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male cheerleaders

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female cheerleaders

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PHOTOS BY KARA WAGENKNECHT DESIGN BY JENNA ZENG


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UNSEEN ATHLETES Being the best isn’t everything for all athletes. For many, success means winning, but for others, it might be cheering on teammates. Athletes unseen from stardom share how their passion allows them to make an impact on various sports teams. BY THOMAS DUONG PHOTOS BY KARA WAGENKNECHT DESIGN BY THOMAS DUONG


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I

n the state of Iowa, West High ranks among the top schools in terms of athletics, boasting 234 individual champions and 58 team state champions since the school’s opening in 1968. With wooden cabinets filled with glimmering trophies and enlarged photos of winning athletes lining the walls, it seems that only the most successful athletes garner attention and praise for their accomplishments. The work ethic and dedication of the rest of the team is seldom acknowledged. These lesser-known athletes are not playing as many minutes, nor are they participating at a level in comparison to the starters. According to a study conducted by Bernadette Woods and Joanne Thatcher, professors at St. Mary’s University and Aberystwyth University, respectively, athletes who played fewer minutes typically experienced mainly negative personal and competitive results as substitutes, with fewer positive experiences. However, many West High athletes find that this is not the case. For Sydney Allen ’19, a member of the girls varsity basketball team, the opportunity to play during a game has been dependent on the situation, typically decided under the coach’s discretion. Although athletes may feel detached from the team and demoralized due to the lack of playing time, Allen finds encouragement and an identity within the team. “Coach [Mayer] always says, ‘If tonight’s not your night, do something else even if you’re not playing on the court. Figure out something to do to help the team,’” Allen explained. “I feel like just being there helped us. If we didn’t have anybody else on the bench, it would just be them on the court.” Following a state championship victory as the underdog, Allen finds motivation to contribute to the team, whether it’s playing on the court or cheering on the bench. For many athletes who do not receive playing time, staying persistent can yield great results. With the graduation of her former teammates and some early-season injuries, Allen believes her playing time will drastically increase. “I’m so looking forward to it. I’m so pumped,” Allen said. “We’re kind of looked at [as] defending state champs now, and we’re going to prove that we still have what’s going on.” By understanding her place on the team, Allen grows around her role and establishes a more positive experience for herself and her teammates. Not only does the possibility of more playing time arise, but she also reaps more enjoyment out of fulfilling any role on the team, no matter the position. “I feel like just being there, just being a part of the team … there’s like a feeling you get from

“ IT DOESN ’T MATTE R I F YOU ’ RE PLAYI NG OR NOT, YOU ’ RE STI LL A PART OF TH E TEAM , AN D YOU ARE N ’T J UST PUSH E D TO TH E SI DE .” -SYDN EY ALLEN ‘19 2017-2018 SPORTS AWARDS AT WEST

54

percent of athletes awarded a junior varsity letter

46

percent of athletes awarded a varsity letter

16

percent of athletes with conference awards COMPILED BY THOMAS DUONG

being on the team,” Allen said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re playing or not, you’re still a part of the team, and you aren’t just pushed to the side.” Similarly, Tysen Skopec ’19 has competed for a spot on the varsity cross country team for all four years of high school. As the younger brother to his three sisters, all of whom run Division I cross country in college, Skopec negates the notion that he must fill their shoes as an elite runner and instead relishes his own races and people around him. “Junior year, when I was doing a varsity race because the varsity team wasn’t there for that race, we were doing our dynamic warm ups, and Cedar Rapids Washington was next to us in their team huddle. I [heard] them saying, ‘And you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around …’ That’s the moment that sticks out to me,” Skopec said. Because memories hold higher importance for Skopec, he diverts his attention towards the joy that running brings him as much as possible, rather than focusing only on times and places. “[Former cross country coach Brian Martz] always had this thing where if you could catch a squirrel with your bare hands and bring it to [him], you [would] get a varsity letter. No one [has] ever caught one, and no one ever will. If someone is fast enough to catch a squirrel, then they would already be on varsity and have a varsity letter,” Skopec said. “We [still] ran, the squirrels were just a side thing whenever we saw one.” Since only a select number of athletes see playing time, some coaches adjust their coaching plans to include all athletes, regardless of skill or ability to play. Girls cross country coach Mike Parker wants to create an environment where everyone can enjoy the sport. “We coach them accordingly; I think that’s what allows people to love this sport. If you come in and you’re not very good, but you just want to do it to stay healthy and I’m constantly telling you you’re not doing enough to be a varsity star, then you’re probably going to lose your love for this, or you’ll probably quit,” Parker said. “We don’t want that. We [want to] create an atmosphere where people can come and get coached at the level that they want to get coached at.” Although coaches strive to lead their teams to success in their respective sports, most realize that every athlete on the team is different, motivationally and physically. Being an unseen athlete may come with different experiences than a star athlete, but their own contribution is just as important to them as anyone else’s. “When we go to meets and we win trophies, we give them to someone on the team,” Parker said. “Not someone that ran really well, but someone who did something really well.”


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RISING STAR: MATAYIA TELLIS ’21

FREE THROW PERCENTAGE

50

TOTAL REBOUNDS

66.7

27

FIELD GOALS MADE

PHOTO BY KARA WAGENKNECHT DESIGN BY MADELINE EPHRAIM


After moving from Platteville, Wisconsin prior to her freshman year, Matayia Tellis ’21 compares and reflects on her first year of participation in West High athletics, as well as describes her future hopes as a student athlete.

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BY KARA WAGENKNECHT West Side Story: Why did you start playing sports? Matayia Tellis: I started to play sports because it brought me out to more people. I did it to basically meet new people and communicate. WSS: Which of the sports that you play is your favorite and why? MT: As of right now, basketball. [It’s my favorite] because I’ve been playing it since second grade, and I just love it. When I’m angry or something, I just go play basketball and shoot around. WSS: When did you start playing basketball? MT: I started playing basketball in second grade. That’s when I actually started [getting] better. And then third grade is when I actually started to play [competitively].

“ WE KN EW WE COU LD [WI N]. WH E N WE F I RST WALKE D I N WE WE RE LI KE , ‘ WE GOT TH I S GAM E . TH I S I S OU RS.’” - MATAYIA TELLIS ‘21 WSS: How do you think playing other sports like volleyball and running track have influenced you to be a better basketball player? MT: For volleyball, it helps my hops when I’m playing defense or shooting the ball. And then track [helps] my speed, so I can [keep up] with [Lauren Zacharias ’19] and Audrey [Koch ’21]. WSS: How do the athletics in Wisconsin compare to here? MT: [The athletics here] are way better. The Statistics accurate as of October 2018

coaches take more time to help you, and they push you way more than they did where I lived. [In Wisconsin], they focused on one player, [but] here, they work with every individual. WSS: Who has been someone that has inspired you the most to keep playing? How have they inspired you? MT: My mom. Even though I wanted to quit two years ago, my mom was like, ‘No, you’ve been working so hard to play basketball. You should keep doing it.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, you’re right. I’m going to keep doing it.’ She works out with me, she comes to every game and she’s just there all the time. WSS: Do you have a motto or inspirational quote you live by? MT: “Always work hard no matter what, because someone can take it from you.” It’s something my dad tells me all the time. When I came [to West], I was playing varsity my freshman year and I was like, “Dang, if I want to start next year, I have to work hard.” My dad has always told me that anyone can come take my spot anytime. WSS: What was it like playing in the state game as a freshman? MT: Wonderful. It was amazing. Looking up at the stands, I was like, “Wow, this could be us next year again.” We knew we could [win]. When we first walked in, we were like, “We got this game. This is ours.” When we actually did it, we were like, “Oh my God.” It was powerful. WSS: How do you think the dynamic of this year’s team will be different than last years? MT: It’s a big difference without Rachael [Saunders ’18], Logan [Cook ’18] and Emma Koch [’19] — big people we don’t have [anymore]. We are all guards and I feel like we can run a little more than last year, but other than that, I don’t know. WSS: What are you looking forward to the most this year? MT: Probably getting to know everyone … better, like my coaches. We have three freshmen this year, and I want to get to know them a little more. WSS: How are the dynamics different from your club team and high school team? MT: With my [Amateur Athletic Union] team we all know how [our teammates] play. Here, I was like, “I don’t really know how they play [or]

what do they expect me to do.” We started doing fall league, and I was like, “Yeah, we got this. We can definitely play like each other.” … The only [people] I work out with here are [Zacharias] and Audrey [Koch] … When I first got here I didn’t really know how everyone played and I didn’t know if anyone would come out and talk to me. WSS: How have the coaches at West influenced you last year during the season to keep going? MT: This quote that Mayer always says, “If it’s not your game, find something to do that helps our team.” I know I had a lot of bad games last year, and he pushed me so hard. He was like, “I know you can do it. I believe in you.” He’s the best coach I’ve had so far.

“‘ I F IT ’S NOT YOU R GAM E , F I N D SOM ETH I NG TO DO THAT H E LPS OU R TEAM .’ I KNOW I HAD A LOT OF BAD GAM ES LAST YEAR AN D H E PUSH E D M E SO HARD.” - MATAYIA TELLIS ‘21


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SILENT TRADITION Head coach Garrett Hartwig instilled mandatory quiet time two years ago to provide time for the varsity football team to focus on game day. BY SOPHIE STEPHENS

T

PHOTOS BY OWEN AANESTAD & KARA WAGENKNECHT DESIGN BY BRENDA GAO

he rules are simple: be completely silent. No audible conversations. No getting up and walking around; just sitting, relaxing and taking a few minutes to get a clear head and prepare for the night. This is what head football coach Garrett Hartwig expects for 15 minutes. This allotted time, deemed “quiet time,” happens before each game to allow players to mentally prepare themselves. The 49 varsity players sit in the cardio or weight room as far away from each other as possible to avoid any distractions. There is no verbal communication allowed. They have 15 minutes to themselves to clear their minds and get ready to play that night. “Quiet means different things to people,” Hartwig said. “[The room] is just dead silent to walk into, but players listen to music, look at social media [or] some actually do homework … They may communicate through text messaging or social media, but there’s no talking whatsoever. Some students and players take a 15 minute catnap; some just sit and think. It’s just a period that’s completely dedicated to them for 15 minutes before the chaos of the game.” Hartwig implemented quiet time for the varsity football players two years ago. He got the idea from his time playing college football, where his coaches allotted time for the team to mentally prepare for their games. After the 2016 varsity team tried and enjoyed quiet time, Hartwig made the 15-minute period a mandatory part of the team’s Friday night routine for subsequent years. Hartwig believes the most important part of quiet time is its repetitive nature and partially credits it for the football team’s success in recent years. “I think preparing for a football game or any athletic competition is about routine,” Hartwig said. “I think that the body is triggered for physical exertion through activity and consistency, and this [routine] is part of it. The more consis-


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tent your routine is, the better you will perform. Your body goes through a process of preparing, and this is a time where the body gets all the way down to a completely-relaxed state, and the mind hopefully as well. You’re hopefully feeling and thinking at the highest level you can for competition.” Varsity fullback and linebacker Will Hoeft ’20 says that quiet time does not personally help him play better during a game. However, Hoeft believes it is important for the team to have enough time to get themselves prepared for a game and get into a relaxed and focused mindset, whether it be a home or away game. “I think that football is a pretty mental game sometimes and it just requires a lot of time to get yourself in the right mind frame to go out and do your job and do it well,” Hoeft said. Although some players may not credit quiet time to better performance on the field, they do accept that quiet time is a required part of every Friday night game and use the 15 minutes to do whatever they personally need to do to get focused. “It’s not a big factor into how we play, but I think it just helps everybody focus, to just know that they [have] to get ready and when that ball is kicked on that first kickoff, that they [have] to go,” said running back and defensive end Xarminto Lubuelo ’19. “After quiet time, everybody is in their own zone and getting ready how they get ready … After it’s over, you just go get your pads on and get ready for the game.” While quiet time is a ritual for the team, much of the student body is not familiar with it. This has led to some misunderstandings concerning the team’s schedule, routine and other activities. One common misconception about quiet time is that the varsity football team gets released from class after sixth period to participate in quiet time. However, the football players are actually released after sixth period to have ample time to eat before the game. Since a large majority of the team has seventh period open during football season, their early release does not actually affect their school work. Because of the way both the school and the football schedules are set up, if the team were to be released at 4:00 p.m. and start practice at 4:30 p.m., there would be no time for players to eat before the game. The conflicting schedules also mean that the athletes do not have ample time to mentally prepare for the game. Players that do have seventh period classes would leave the school day and go directly to practice. According to Hoeft, this would mean no time for eating, getting organized or going through other processes of preparing themselves, like getting their uniforms ready and doing quiet time. Although the players are released early from

“ TH I S I S A TI M E WH E RE TH E BODY GETS ALL TH E WAY DOWN TO A COM PLETE LYRE LA XE D STATE AN D TH E M I N D HOPE FU LLY AS WE LL . YOU ’ RE HOPE FU LLY F E E LI NG AN D TH I N KI NG AT TH E H IGH EST LEVE L YOU CAN FOR COM PETITION .” -GARRETT HARTWIG, H EAD FOOTBALL COACH

school, the team takes this time seriously. Players utilize the extra time away from class well, as this time is a vital part of their game day routine. “When we get out, everybody knows it’s not really a time to fool around even though we [have] time before the game,” Lubuelo said. “It’s a time to get your stuff ready, get your protein or nutrients … I don’t think anyone takes advantage of it and just goofs off.” Many students at West have demonstrated confusion towards the football team’s schedule, citing that other sports are not released early for home games or meets, prompting arguments of special treatment toward the football team. However, both Hartwig and varsity football players say it’s fair for the team to take time out of the day to get ready for the game, including eating before the long nights. “Every sport is different, and when it all boils down to it, all the sports get different things that other sports don’t,” Hoeft said. “It makes sense why people are a little upset but … [for] wrestling, sometimes we get team dinners and sometimes we get charter buses with a lot of space on them. For wrestling, we’ll miss a couple of days of school to go to a tournament out of town. For baseball, we get sandwiches up to the game. I feel like there are special treatments each sport gets that some other sports don’t.” Although football does receive extra time for home games that other sports may not, players believe the time is a vital part of the team’s Friday night routine. Leaving school early allows the team to prepare both physically and mentally for the challenging night ahead. “It takes a while to get ready mentally and there are a lot of logistics that go into football that people don’t know about,” Hartwig said. “I mean, we have walkthroughs, we have quiet time, we have mental checks just to make sure that players remember game plan situations … and it may sound trivial, but it’s helped us to be successful over the years.”


46

OPINION

NOV. 15, 2018

SIMON’S BY SIMON JONES

SIMON SAYS: TREAT TRAFFIC THOUGHTFULLY How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Traffic Etiquette

F

amous billionaire-playboy Benjamin Franklin once said: “Nothing is certain except death and traffic violations.” I’m not a historian by any means, but I think the significance of that quote lives on through the generations. Now, ‘traffic’ doesn’t necessarily denote vehicular traffic; it can also mean the flow of people in the halls. The hallways are the arteries of West, and it has a metric ton of clots. Picture this: you’re dangerously close to the end of passing time, and you’re practically sprinting down the stairs. Egads! A group of people in exactly the wrong place! They stand there uncaring, blocking your path, and in the end, you’re late to class. Others and I have had this happen to us too many times to count. To say it lightly: it’s kind of a nuisance. Now, I could rant for the rest of this section, but I don’t think anybody wants to hear a guy (who already takes up enough space as is) hypocritically complain about how there’s not enough room and flow in halls. So instead of that I’m just going to give a few pointers: 1. Please watch where you’re walking. It sounds like a simple thing but so many people don’t do it. 2. Try to keep to the right side of the halls (There is no left side; there’s only a right side and a wrong side). 3. For the love of heck, stop standing in circles jabbering in high traffic areas like around the coffee shop.

It’s really that simple. Treat traffic flow in the hallways like you would traffic flow on the roads, and if you’re an underclassman who can’t drive yet, grow up faster, jeez. And speaking of roads, the ones at West suffer from the same ailments that the halls do. I’ve already said that I’m not a historian, so I should probably say that I’m not a mechanic either. I don’t know jack about cars, but one thing I know for certain is that high schoolers can be pretty terrible at controlling two-ton hunks of metal and rubber. It’s a good thing that the DMV (oh the horror, not the DMV!) thought that it’s probably a good idea to have people complete a driver’s education course before putting them in front of the wheel. Anything less and it’s a recipe for disaster. People are taught how to not kill people (and themselves), which is definitely a great idea, but they’re not taught how to be a respecting, cooperative driver. One of the reasons that really inspired me to write this column was nearly getting hit by some guy in an SUV, who refused to yield to me and take his turn. I’m pretty sure that most people like being alive (myself included) and car-repair-debt free, so to say it was an impression on me would be an understatement. I exaggerated that a bit, but the point still stands. The overall problems in the parking lot have been sitting in the back of my head since as long as I could drive to school. I’m not saying that everyone is at fault here; I’m just saying that there is a certain group of people who don’t really regard the so-called ‘unwritten rules of the parking lot’, and this needs to change.

I’m going to give a few more pointers on driving through West’s roads (and totally not because it’s consistent and convenient for my designer): 1. Park in actual spots, don’t take ‘fake’ spots in the front. If you have to walk, you have to walk. Simple as that. 2. Yield for the buses. (I rode on a bus for two years, I know what it feels like to be crammed in them for long periods of time.) 3. Try not to speed; you might hit something or someone (no one likes car crashes). Also, going over speed bumps really quickly is a good way to kill a car’s suspension. 4. Two words: take turns. And that’s all folks! All you have to do is watch out for others, have grace and have haste. And be careful too, West doesn’t need any car accidents on campus. (Think of the nightmare amount of paperwork that would mean!) It would be a pipe dream to believe that every single person at West could perfect their traffic flow. We’re all human, and we make mistakes. But what matters is that we at least try. Bad traffic wins when good commuters do nothing. PHOTOS BY MADDI SHINALL ART & DESIGN BY FRANCES DAI


47

OPINION

NOV. 15, 2018

I’M NOT

SORRY YOU’RE

SCARED One West Side Story reporter responds to men asserting their fears of false accusations following Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation. BY LUCY POLYAK

P

resident Trump recently said, “It is a very scary time for young men in America, where you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of. This is a very, very — this is a very difficult time.” Mothers are saying it’s a scary time to raise their sons. Men across the country are saying that it’s a scary time to take a woman on a solo date. But guess what? I’m not sorry you’re scared. The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court sparked a debate all around the world over the treatment of women and victims of sexual assault. Many people have come forward to publicly shame those who have recently shared their stories of sexual assault by yelling about their personal fears of being falsely accused. This is absolutely unacceptable behavior. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford showed incredible bravery by speaking out about her experiences in the public way she did. Similar acts of courage are seen in women and men alike around the world who are as equally tired of hiding their shame. This past year’s movement of recognizing and aiming to end the epidemic of sexual assault, spearheaded by amazing women like Tarana Burke, has taken too many courageous steps forward to be erased by anxious malefactors. There’s a simple solution here: don’t sexually

“ THE WORLD NEEDS TO RAISE ITS CHILDREN TO SEE ALL HUMAN LIVES AS WORTHY OF HAVING A VOICE THAT IS NOT ONLY HEARD BUT ALSO LISTENED TO.” - LUCY POLYAK ‘19

assault people. The world has always been a scary place for people not in the seat of power, but survivors finding their voices does not turn the powerful into the meek and powerless. The scale has not shifted that drastically in such a short amount of time. The only way to tip that aforementioned scale to an even, fearless line is to teach respect. This comes in the way of families, schools and communities being willing to take time to teach others about the values of empathy and compassion. The world needs to raise its children to see all human lives as worthy of having a voice that is not only heard but also listened to. When someone says “I am hurting,” you listen to them. When someone says “I am being serious,” you listen to them. When someone says “No,” you listen to them. America — we can be better than this. We can vote for elected officials that are better than this. We can create a world that is better than this. It starts with what we do in our own communities, but it can’t end there. We need to show each other love during this time of hate. We need to build united fronts, not walls, against the evils that humanity has to offer. To the Brett Kavanaugh’s all across the world who fear the power that the voices of the oppressed hold, we’re coming for you. And we’re not sorry you’re scared.

PHOTO BY MADDI SHINALL ART BY FRANCES DAI DESIGN BY RAIN RICHARDS


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E D I TO R I A L NOV. 15, 2018

EDITORIAL: LEGALIZING HATE After word circulated that the Trump administration may establish a strict legal definition of gender under Title IX, the WSS editorial board unanimously voted that there exists no credible basis for this act of delegitimizing transgender individuals.

T

he transgender community is under attack. The Trump administration announced on Oct. 21, 2018 that it is considering redefining the concept of “gender” as an unchanging identifier established at birth. These politicians have justified their actions by saying that the scientific sex one is born into holds more value in the ideas of the law than how one may perceive their own gender. The first major flaw regarding this decision is the lack of acknowledgment that sex and gender are two entirely different concepts. According to Stanford Medicine, “Sex is a biological trait that is determined by the specific sex chromosomes inherited from one’s parents.” Gender, on the other hand, is specified by the same source as “socially, culturally and personally defined.” Assuming these two labels are the same thing would not only be detrimental to the well-being of an entire demographic but would completely disregard scientific facts as well. The Trump administration has already made decisions that affect transgender students. On Feb. 18, 2018, the United States Department of Education announced that it would no longer listen to complaints from transgender students on the national level regarding exclusion based on gender identity, saying that Title IX exists to prohibit discrimination only on the basis of sex. The department, meant to make schools a safe environment for students to learn and apply themselves, is allowing open discrimination with no consequences. According to a study published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics from October 2018, trans-male adolescents had the highest rate of attempted suicides, at 50.8 percent, which contrasts with that of male adolescents, at 9.8 percent. When half of all trans-male young adults are attempting suicide, does the Trump administration need to target them even more? The focus should be on lowering this rate rather than implementing policies that will have a detrimental effect on at-risk transgender stu-

dents. This potential action is not only discriminatory but is also transparent in showing what the Trump administration’s true intentions are for this “legal definition of gender”: to rid an entire demographic of people of the laws that protect them for no valid reason. It is now clearer than ever that President Trump is not holding to his promise to help the LGBTQ+ community during his time in office. Additionally, the government has no say in how people wish to label themselves. Whether one fits traditional gender labels or “radical gender ideology,” as the transgender community was called by Roger Severino, Director of

SHOULD A LEGAL DEFINITION FOR SEX BE ESTABLISHED UNDER TITLE IX?

0 26 THE WSS EDITORIAL BOARD VOTED AGAINST THE ESTABLISHMENT A LEGAL DEFINITION OF SEX

the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services, in no way affects the politicians making these decisions. Frankly, assuming that the transgender community is simply an Obama-era fad delegimatizes this community to a point that is nothing short of repulsive. Everyone deserves equal protection under the law, regardless if others agree with their “lifestyle” or not. Furthermore, the proposed legislation of defining a restrictive legal definition of gender forces America to move backward in history. The national legalization of gay marriage has only been valid for three years following the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision. It has not even been half a decade before politicians are setting their sights on the LGBTQ+ community again with this policy redefining gender. This action would be a major hit to the rights of this community in general, which could pave the way for more roll backs of LGBTQ+ rights such as making same sex marriage invalid once again. Stripping away the rights of their constituents should not be the priority of America’s lawmakers. If someone identifies as a gender that does not match their sex, they should not have to be trapped in a body they are not comfortable in. This decision is just the first step in creating more laws that would require people to live by set descriptors. In this way, it would begin a process of legalizing discrimination against the

“ STRI PPI NG AWAY TH E RIGHTS OF TH E I R CON STITU E NTS SHOU LD NOT B E TH E PRIORITY OF AM E RICA’S LAWMAKE RS.”


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E D I TO R I A L

NOV. 15, 2018

transgender community. Already, the ability to discriminate against members of the LGBTQ+ community is in effect. Based on state laws, there are 31 states that allow the termination, eviction or the refusal of services based on sexual orientation. Our home state of Iowa, though, does not allow any type of discrimination. On July 1, 2007 the Iowa Civil Rights Act was expanded to protect sexual orientation and gender identity, meaning that public businesses or businesses supported by the

government in Iowa, such as restaurants or hospitals, cannot refuse service based on a customer or patient’s gender identification. This decision by the Trump administration only encourages discriminatory policy-making. While they cannot immediately rollback actions such as the legalization of gay marriage, the passing of this policy can encourage states that were on the fence about LGBTQ+ protections to adopt more aggressive policies by using the changing of Title IX policy as justification.

In summation, there is no need for the Trump administration to implement this legal definition of gender. The government has no reason to dictate such personal aspects of the lives of its citizens, nor does it have any reason to delegitimize this entire population of people. This choice would be wronging an innocent population and would simply be nothing other than a blatant discriminatory attack on the transgender community of America.

“ WH E N HALF OF ALL TR AN S MALE YOU NG ADU LTS ARE ATTE M PTI NG SU ICI DE , DOES TH E TRU M P ADM I N I STR ATION N E E D TO TARGET TH E M MORE? ” STATES THAT LACK CLEAR DISCRIMINATION POLICY Source: Human Rights Campaign

(IN BLUE)

PHOTO BY MADDI SHINALL ART & DESIGN BY SIMON JONES


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S TA F F L I S T NOV. 15, 2018

THE SEASON OF GIVING THANKS IN ORDERING ENOUGH FOR YOUR FAMILY TO EAT IN A WEEK, BUT FORCE-FEEDING IT ALL IN ONE NIGHT I’ll take a turkey, a container of mac and cheese, three tubs of mashed potatoes and two pies.

TAKING LARGE PORTIONS OF FOOD BEFORE ANYONE ELSE IN YOUR FAMILY CAN PROTEST Being kind is important, so I’ll make sure to leave some food for others!

COPPING ALL THE GOOD DEALS BECAUSE THEY’RE JUST TOO CHEAP TO RESIST Okay kids, grab three each. These things are crazy cheap, and I’m super thankful.

AMERICAN CONSUMER CULTURE SNAGGING THE CHEAPEST GIFTS FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON, BUT GETTING STAMPEDED ON IN THE PROCESS

MAKING SURE THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT DOESN’T END, EVEN IF SCHOOL SAYS IT SHOULD

Kids, the time to relax is over. Exam next week, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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EQUITY STATEMENT

EDITORIAL POLICY

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


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Community members stand together at a “Support Trans Lives” rally at the Pentacrest on Oct. 25.

GWEN WATSON


WHAT SHOULD I DO ON MY DAY OFF? Take this quiz to find out what WSS recommends you do on your day off between trimesters.

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Turn the radio up!

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SP

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Nov. 15, 2018 West Side Story  

Nov. 15, 2018 West Side Story  

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