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[05] NEWS

district update

Check in with recent decisions the Iowa City Community School District made regarding the diversity policy and the establishment of a third high school.

[10-11] FEATURE

1 IN 2000

The WSS caught up with random students at West to discover things that define them. Everyone has a story to tell.

[23-25] IN-DEPTH


More and more research is demonstrating the severe consequences concussions can have in athletics. See what West athletes and local experts had to say.

[34] A&E

Ic: a winter wonderland


Lushia Anson Fiona Armstrong-Pavlik Stephon Berry Lucy Blair Abby Burgess Aaron Carter Meredith Cullen Paul Curry Schyler Davis Nick Deerberg Anna Furlong Lydia Hinman Kelsey Keranen Megumi Kitamoto

CORRECTIONS: In the Nov. issue’s “What’s in This” the writer failed to cite the European Food Safety Authority, Livestrong and ABC News. In the editorial “Flagged down” the writer mistakenly cited a source as an administrator instead of a teacher. The WSS regrets these errors.

WSSpaper staff

Madie Miller Anna Mondanaro Katie Mons Amelia Moser Matthew Murry Blake Oetting

Katie Peplow Anthony Pizzimenti Lizzie Pruneau Apoorva Raikwar Velarchana Santhana Leela Sathyaputri Daniel Syed Julia Truszkowski Gage Van Dyke Tyler Voss Shirley Wang Jaycie Weathers Rebecca Wen Sara Whittaker Grace Young

Photo editor, Sports Co-editor Designer Managing Editor Editor-in-Chief Copy Co-editor Assistant Editor, Arts and Entertainment Co-editor Designer Writer, Co-Web Master Photographer Designer, Videographer Profiles Editor Artist Writer Web Copy Editor Photographer Design Co-editor, Feature Co-editor, Backpage Editor Design Co-editor Feature Co-editor Writer Adviser Business Editor, Designer

Cover photo by//gage van dyke


ycle this


Copy Co-editor Opinion Editor Writer Archivist Photographer Sports Co-editor News Co-editor Video Editor Co-Web Master Photographer Artist Web Sports Editor, Designer Writer, Artist Social Media Editor, Arts and Entertainment Co-editor Writer News Co-editor Sports Co-editor Artist, Designer Photographer Feature Co-editor Writer News Co-editor


Hilah Kohen Lauren Knudson Brittani Langland Jaeho Lee Brooke Lofgren Kaitlyn McCurdy Consuelo Mendoza Hannah Merrill

Akar Jani ’16 participates in Jazz Cafe on Dec. 14. in West’s decorated cafeteria.

Please R

photo by//nick deerberg

Need something to do over break? WSS has got you covered with these reviews of the best winter-related things to do in Iowa City.

@wsspaper asked West High students What are your family’s holiday traditions? @claire_shive11: My family always has breakfast in the middle of Zach Richmond present opening to make the presents last’14 longer.

Student to audition for Ellen



Claire Shive ’15

@jooyarose11 We always listen to the Charlie Brown Christmas music while opening presents Julia Crouse ’15 @NightHawkHatzky11 We play the most intense game of bingo imaginable. And then we go look at Christmas Lights around the land. Cole Hatzky ’14

COMPilED by//lucy blair

side stories

dingus (ding-gus)

someone who does seemingly idiotic things for comedic effect

2nd $6,189.45

“Man, I really like her, how do I impress the fine lady?” “I don’t know, be a dingus, I guess.”

COMPilED by//BLake oetting

Alumnus wins Rhodes Scholarship Joshua Aiken, who attended West for his first two years of high school while his father was a coach for the University of Iowa football team, has been named a Rhodes Scholar. Having nearly completed his double major in American culture studies and political science at Washington University in St. Louis, Aiken expects to attend Oxford University next year, with the possibility of 2-3 years free of charge, according to an article by The Register-Guard. He looks to get his master’s in sociology, and then move on to law school after that. COMPilED by//AMELIA MOSER


place: what the West High Poms Team achieved in the Iowa State Dance Team competition in poms. The team also placed fifth in jazz.

art by//leela sathyaputri

local holiday events

“The Ellen Degeneres Show” has contacted Jeremiah Anthony ’14 and invited him to audition for their program. “I don’t know if I’ll be on it or not. I have to first decide if I want to do the audition tape,” Anthony said. The process would include a filmed pre-interview that would be used as an introduction if Anthony got selected to appear on the show. “If I did the audition, it would have a lot of [background], probably … I would need content for the actual [interview] if I made it,” Anthony said. The spot would feature Anthony’s work with Liberation of Victims Everywhere, or LOVE, an organization working to end human trafficking.

dollars raised by the No-Shave November fundraiser at West.

COMPilED by//Amelia moser

A Christmas Carol @ the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts.

Dec. 20 @ 7:30 P.M. Dec. 21 @ 2 P.m. Dec. 22 @ 2 P.M. Winter Farmers Market @ Iowa City Market Place (Sycamore Mall)

DEC. 21 @ 11 A.M. -2 P.M. National Theatre Live: Frankenstein @ The Englert

DEC. 28 @ 7 P.M. Classic Comedy Film Series - “It Happened One Night” @ Iowa City Public Library

JAN. 2 @ 7 P.M.


“We lost six of seven starters and some key reserves last season. In order to get the team back

to a high level we are practicing through the winter to be ready for

spring.” -Colin Lord, coach of the returning state champion West High Ultimate Frisbee Team “The Wings”




School board policies cause controversy BY LAUREN KNUDSON & HANNAH MERRILL DIVERSITY POLICY

The Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) is attempting to tackle the job of evening out the diversity of schools in the district by adapting what is known as the Diversity Policy. The policy uses the free and reduced lunch (FRL) rate as its marker to even out the socioeconomic status of the schools around the district. This is a policy that requires all elementary and junior high schools to have a 15% or lower difference in FRL rates, and all the high schools to have less than a 10% difference in FRL rates. The policy is surrounded by controversy. Justin Barry ’15, a Student Senate school board representative for West, does not support the policy. “What they’re saying they’re trying to accomplish [through the diversity policy] is to increase academic achievement … I don’t see how [increasing diversity] necessarily will impact academic achievement,” he said. Sally Hoelscher, the president of the school board, disagrees. “The socioeconomic diversity in our district is currently unbalanced. We have schools with an FRL rate of 6% and schools with an FRL rate of almost 80%. Studies have shown that schools with more balanced FRL rates benefit all students,” she said. However, not everyone can see the impact that the Diversity Policy will have on academics, as it has yet to be implemented. “When they were voting on it and it was really controversial, I spoke out against it because it was 4 NEWS DECEMBER 2013

a policy, but they didn’t say how it was going to be implemented and how that would affect students, so I wanted to know about how we would directly be affected by it,” said Akash Borde ’15, another West Student Senate school board representative. Barry says this policy will have an impact on West High students. “They want … the high schools to be within 10% [FRL rate] of each other … It is a 13% difference right now, so some [future] students from West High will need to move to City High,” he said.




-Sally Hoelscher, school board president THIRD HIGH SCHOOL

Overcrowding is no new problem at West. For the past few years, the ICCSD and school board have been working to devise the appropriate plan of action, aiming to create equality in the learning environment and make fewer crowded hallways. Finally, the district has begun the process of constructing a new high school, something that many community members

ICCSD by the numbers


The Iowa City Community School District purchased land for a third high school at the intersection of north Liberty Road and Dubuque Street, shown above.

have been demanding of them for several years. The new high school will be built in time for the class of 2022 to enter the school in the fall of 2018. Planning and designing, according to Superintendent Steve Murley, will take place beginning this spring. Murley explained that there is little to do to speed up the process of building the high school. Additionally, the new high school will require the district to re-zone. That will begin this spring. “We will look at a first phase this spring that would be implemented in the fall of 2015 that would meet the Diversity Policy requirement for FRL eligibility balance,” Murley said. Building a high school is no easy task. Developing a mature high school like that of West or City High takes time, and Murley predicts it will require at least 48-60 months. Some community members worry about the new high school not providing the same opportunities that students can get at West or City from a variety of advanced placement and honors class to many sports teams and clubs. “I would contend that as with the opening of any of the elementary schools recently in the district, there will be a mix of veteran and new staff. For this high school, the plan calls for a variety of Advanced Placement course offerings dependent on the make-up of the student body,” Murley said.

Student enrollment increase 3.64%




0.26% 08-09






Ethnicity enrollment 0.4%

European African Hispanic Asian Indian

6.9% 8.6% 66.5%


Students on free and reduced lunch 25.8%











Money spent by the district

Salaries Benefits Services Supplies AEA

9% 18%






Boys swim team wins first three meets

The boys swim team is off to a hot start after winning its first three meets of the season and breaking five meet records at the Dec. 7 JHawk relays. The team, boosted by strong underclassmen swimmers, has an interesting dynamic, according to captain Zach Hingtgen ’14. “We have a really strong sophomore class certainly, and freshmen as well, and even though they might not be upperclassmen yet, they do a great job of leading by example, and I think that really motivates everyone else. Having that type of leadership from them is really a huge plus,” he said. Last year’s 6th finish place at state was not a disappointing one, according to coach Rob Miecznikowski. “The top 8 teams all scored over 100 points or better, which is amazing. Most years over 100 will put you in top 3 or 4,” he said. While many teams lost high placing seniors, West High returns every previous state-scoring swim-


CURRENT EVENTS mer. Miecznikowski hopes that the returners, bolstered by diligent offseason preparation, will produce improved results. “[Our goals for this season are to] post automatic All-American times in all three relays, break the state records in all three relays [and] add a few All-American times in individual events. Most importantly, win a state championship for West High,” he said. Swimming training is unique, according to Miecznikowski. Many swimmers are in competitive club teams in the offseason to say in shape.

“To be competitive in swimming you have to train and swim yearround. We live in a terrestrial world and are used to walking, running [and] using our arms and legs ... [while] moving in a world of little resistance from the air around us. Swimming puts you in an alien environment. Gravity doesn’t apply. Resistance is measured 700 times greater than on land. Most of these guys spend over a thousand hours a year in the water. 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. To adapt to the environment you will be competing in, you have to live in it. And they do,” he said.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day to be service day BY FIONA ARMSTRONG-PAVLIK

As of press time, the ICCSD is planning to hold school on Jan. 20, which is also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This will be the first time the ICCSD has held school on MLK Day since it became a federal holiday. It will not be a normal school day, though. Each school in the district has a planning committee for the day, which needs to focus on Martin Luther King, Jr., diversity and service. “How I took [the school board’s decision] is [Dr. King] was for the advancement of everyone, and he understood education is critical to that,” said academic dean and MLK Day planning committee member Maria Martin. At West, the service-oriented day will start with a student-produced video. Cameras are in the main commons, cafeteria, library and DESIGN BY//LAUREN KNUDSON

ninth grade wing for students to share their dreams as in Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. That will be followed by a documentary-style play titled In White America. During lunch periods, there will be a service fair where students will be able to talk to current volunteers and coordinators. “[The service fair] will give every student in the building the opportunity to add to their volunteer commitments or simply [start] if they haven’t already,” Martin said. LGBT activist and West High graduate Zach Wahls ’09 will also be at West to give a presentation. “We all know diversity goes beyond [ethnicity],” Martin said. Additionally, there will classroom activities throughout the day. Teachers can create their own lesson plans. Despite the early planning the schools have done, the school board may change the day to a day

off due to community members’ concerns about students not being able to partake in other activities on MLK Day if school is held. At a recent school board meeting, Superintendent Murley said that if MLK Day were to be a day off, possibilities for making the missed school day include not having a four-day weekend in late February, holding school on a Saturday, or extending the school year and rescheduling graduation. “It has a lot of implications to change the calendar once you’re in the school year,” Martin said. “If for some reason [the school board] were to make it a nonschool day, our plan would still be to show the student-produced video during our advisories early in January … [and] my understanding is that [Zach Wahls] would still be able to come in at some point,” Martin said.




The Oxford University Press declared which word as word of the year? A) Science B) Selfie C) Phablet D) Digital detox

The Iowa Hawkeyes will play ________ in the Outback Bowl? A) LSU B) Iowa State C) Wisconsin D) Purdue


Iowa follows the national trend in a decrease in what? A) Murders B) Break-ins C) Gang violence D) Roadway fatalities

Community members participated in what related to fast food? A) A strike B) An eating contest C) A run D) A letterwriting campaign




Which West sports team has a winning streak of 56? A) Men’s tennis B) Wrestling C) Men’s basketball D) Women’s soccer Answers: 1. B, 2. A 3. D, 4. A, 5. C




Students pool together fundraising benefits BY AMELIA MOSER

New rules have been set in place regarding the way money raised from various school fundraisers is spent. Principal Jerry Arganbright recently sent a directive to the West High faculty indicating that events designed to help individual students raise money will no longer be tolerated, as they could jeopardize the school’s non-profit status. This could affect a variety of school programs. “I think it will definitely affect the [band] trips. It will obviously make it more difficult for some students to go, and fewer students will be able to go,” said West band director Rob Medd. In the past, students have been

able to sell various foods or products through school-organized fundraisers and put the money they earned for their respective programs toward certain things. In the case of band, students could use the money they earned individually to lower the amount they had to pay for the trip to Florida or -Rob Medd, Chicago, band director depending on the year. “[The new policy] takes away the incentive for fundraisers … if they raise the money, they [used to] have the benefit of using it for themselves,” Medd said. School Administrators of Iowa Legal Services Director Matt Carver wrote in a recent article





that providing direct benefits to individuals for fundraising could be counted as a “private benefit” and no longer allow the school to be considered a 501(c)(3). Being a 501(c) means the school is both nonprofit and tax-exempt. While Medd is concerned there will be negative repercussions, he can see why the new rule may be necessary. “I understand the logic of why you can’t use the tax-exempt status of the group to benefit individuals … at the same time, the ability for our students and group to take these trips - it definitely benefits the group,” he said. The band trips will still happen, but adjustments may be necessary. “I’m trying to stay optimistic that we’ll be able to use the funds to benefit the students,” Medd said. “We may have to do more fundraising and we might have to spread out trip payments to make opportunities possible for students.”



A man was found dead in his home in Cumbria, England after opening a mysterious container labeled “Pandora’s box.” Jason Airey’s father believed his son died shortly after opening this box containing unused synthetic cannabis.


Daisuke Skagami, a Japanese artist, used a banana to recreate portraits of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the “Mona Lisa” and several others. He used needles to puncture the banana’s skin which turned color through oxidation to create the images.

RUMOR BUSTER Semesters next year? Although district officials are looking at changing our year from trimesters to semesters, nothing has been decided and the change will definitely not be occurring next year, confirmed Dr. Arganbright. The idea was prompted when students were having difficulties taking classes from the Regional Education Center, run by Kirkwood and the University of Iowa, because they are on a semester schedule.

busted New sign? The sign in the West High lawn will be changing in the next couple months. Dr. Arganbright confirmed that the school is ready for an upgrade. The sign is designed and being prepared to put in during the spring. Dr. Arganbright says he believes students will enjoy it.

United States

A California property owner is selling the 12-acre gold mining ghost town Seneca in Northern California. The land is up for sale on Craigslist for $225,000.


South Africa

The world’s most expensive diamond, the Pink Star, was mined in South Africa and sold to an unknown buyer for about $83.35 million. It’s a flawless, 59.6-carat pink diamond receiving the highest possible GIA color and clarity rating.





Photos used with permission from//Jill hofmockel

Jim Walden, who worked at West for 14 years, passed away Nov. 12. ABOVE LEFT: Jim Walden’s school photo from a few years ago, before he was diagnosed. ABOVE RIGHT: Jim Walden works with Jill Hofmockel’s son.

Remembering Jim Walden 1954-2013


Skating on a pond or in the middle of City Park is where you would have found former West High librarian Jim Walden during this time of year. He had 58 pairs of skates hanging in his basement, and he was ready to offer a pair to anyone who didn’t have them. Walden had a selfless demeanor that always inspired others. On Nov. 12, the former West High librarian passed away from cancer. “Mr. Walden was one of the most genuinely kind people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet,” said West High graduate Josh Fortmann ’12. “Even before I knew him well, I was struck by how selflessly he made time in his day for any student with a question or a concern. As I got to know him more, I could see that selflessness reflected in a deep and constant desire to guide and help the students in his life.” His compassionate attitude was a good quality to have as a teacher. He helped impact the lives of many students at West. “I had the privilege of having Mr. Walden as my advisory teacher for three years. There was not one day of advisory that went by that he didn’t come in with a smile on his face,” said Alli Peterson ’14. “You could always expect him to end advisory with some words of wisdom to help us better ourselves as people.” Walking into Walden’s home, you would find books just about everywhere. His passion for literature led DESIGN BY//VELARCHANA SANTHANA

him to become a librarian. “[He] was a great man that would help you with whatever you needed,” said Chad Wilson ’08. “He always helped us with our research projects and taught us the best places to find information on our topics.” Along with being a librarian and advisory teacher, Walden also coached the West High boys track team. “[During] track, he always believed in me,” said Royce Peterson

Athletics were a huge passion in his life. “When he found out that my kids were interested in playing baseball, he went as far as finding baseballs on eBay, and giving them a five pound bucket filled with baseballs so they could practice,” said art teacher Christian Aanestad. “He helped restore my youngest brother’s baseball glove so that my oldest son could use it. I think that kind of personifies the kind of person he was.”

Jim Walden was one of those KindS of people that would do just about Anything for anyone.”

-Christian Aanestad, West High art teacher

’13. “He always made me believe I could do better.” In addition to coaching, Walden would provide support and enthusiasm for the team. “He would always come cheer us throwers on whenever he could, and he always had a smile on his face,” Wilson said. Not only did he encourage students to be their best, but he helped some of them achieve otherwise unattainable goals. “He would buy expensive track shoes for some students who couldn’t afford it,” said librarian Jill Hofmockel.

Although Walden loved being around people, he also liked being independent. “Oftentimes on spring break he would ride his scooter all the way to Montana, going probably 45 mph that whole way there on old country roads or back roads,” said former West High library employee Kelly Black. “He took his time getting there and would take pictures of the cities and state signs when passing through. He showed me some of his photos from his travels in front of the signs. I was always inspired by his independence … he did many things by himself and en-

joyed his ‘me’ time.” He also served as a second family for many people. “A couple of years ago there were some kids who were having a really hard time at home and didn’t have any place to live, and he offered his home and let them stay at his house for quite a while,” Hofmockel said. Walden would even secretly put money in lunch accounts of students who he knew didn’t have very much, according to Hofmockel. Many would strive to have a character like his. “One of the things that really impressed me about Jim was it didn’t matter what topic you brought to him, what student came in to him, his first initial response was ‘Oh, that sounds interesting, let’s go find out,’” said Dave Rosenthal, a Spanish teacher and soccer coach at West. Even while battling cancer, he was known to put others ahead of himself. “He didn’t want us to have to worry about [his illness], he didn’t want us to have to deal with it, he wanted to know what was going on now,” Rosenthal said, “He handled what he had to handle with a lot of dignity.” Walden touched many lives, and his selflessness and compassion will inspire people for years to come. “Jim Walden was one of those kinds of people that would do just about anything for anyone,” Aanestad said. for more coverage go to


Zach Cicha ’14

Sarah Kang ’14

Zach Cicha ’14 is taking is currently taking Biostatistics and will be taking Botany next semester. “Biostats counts as a math class, and it would give me a basic knowledge of statistics without taking a yearlong course like AP Stats,” Cicha said. “I am pursuing agriculture in college, and botany will give me a chance to work with plants.” Contrary to popular belief that college classes are significantly more difficult than any classes offered at West, Cicha said that the classes aren’t as hard as they’re cracked up to be. “Biostats has been surprisingly easy, but the lecture format is different than classes at West. Instead of 30 people in a class, there may be 70 or Zach Cicha ’14 80,” he said. Cicha has also discovered the ups and downs of college classes compared to classes at high school. “You have more freedom, and it is easier to miss a class than a class at West,” he said. “However, this also means that there is less individual attention from the professor.”



Sarah Kang ’14 has taken advantage of West’s PSEO program to attend the class Introduction to Social Psychology. “I plan on majoring in psychology, so I figured I might as well take a class and earn a few credits early,” she said. This is her first time taking PSEO classes, and Kang appreciates the opportunity because it allows her to observe college life before entering college next year. “I got a peek at what college life is like by taking this class,” she said. “College is so different from high school. In lecture, they don’t take attendance, so getting notes is your problem. You have to actively seek out help from professors, too. If your Sarah Kang ’14 grades drop, your professor isn’t going to pull you aside and try to help you. Taking PSEO classes teaches you to be more responsible.” Kang has already benefited from taking this PSEO course. “The class helped me to understand people better,” she said. “It also makes practicing patience easier because I now know why people act a certain way. I also learned persuasion techniques, and I can’t wait to use them.”


COMPILED By Kelsey keranen & Anthony pizzimenti

At West High, we have a few students who go beyond the educational quota and take on PSEOs: Post Secondary Education Options, or classes available for high school students at the University of Iowa. Taking classes ranging from calculus to Chinese, these motivated individuals troop off toward the university several times a week to experience college before they depart high school. art by//leela sathyaputri

Kazimier Smith ’15

Kate Anstreicher ’14

Kazimier Smith ’15, head of the Computer Science Club at West, has used the PSEO program to complete Discrete Structures, a computer science course. “I took AP Computer Science last year and I really enjoyed it, so I wanted to continue taking computer science courses,” Smith said. “I also plan on studying computer science in college, and I think university classes will help me prepare for that.” There are similarities and differences between educational practices at West and at the University. “The class I’m taking is similar to West classes in that we are still expected to do homework Kazimier Smith ’15 outside of class,” Smith said. “However, Discrete Structures is taught in a lecture format to a class of about 100 students, which is very different from West classes.” A main difference between West and university courses is the responsibility factor. “University courses also offer much more freedom: no one will notice if a student doesn’t attend class, and students can do a lot or very little work outside of class,” Smith said. “So the task of being successful is almost entirely up to the students; there is much less guidance than in high school classes.”

Kate Anstreicher ’14 is taking Intro to Sustainability and Basic Acting at the University of Iowa. “I have always loved acting, and since Intro to Theatre at West didn’t fit into my schedule, I decided to register for it at [The University of Iowa],” she said. “I decided to take Intro to Sustainability because I hope to pursue environmental studies or environmental science once I go to college, and I thought it would be good to get a head start,” she said. Between the University and West High, Anstreicher believes there is a definite difference in maturity. “[University] courses force you to act like a college kid,” Anstreicher said. “Everyone with whom I have interacted at UI has been more mature than Kate Anstreicher ’14 high school students, so I had to work on that.” Also, the dependability that rests in the student has to be stepped up to a whole new level. “I also learned how to deal with quick assignment turnaround,” she said. “Unlike high school, when you often have two weeks to write an essay, sometimes in my sustainability class I have had to write a paper in three days.”



s u o m a f o oh-s

As millennials, we are presumed to be tech-savvy and obsessed with the internet: social media pioneers. While most students at West High would characterize themselves as active participants in this societal movement, there are a few who stand out. Lois Liu ’15 and Carsyn Knebel ’17 are what our remarkably creative generation has dubbed “internet famous” due to their activity on Tumblr and Instagram, respectively. The WSS caught up with these online sensations to hear about their budding fame.


call it, “Tumblr famous,” sporting around 8,600 followers. While her account is now large A new type of celebrity is emerging from our social media-centric, and active, it began with humble tweet-savvy and certainly Tumblr- aims. crazed generation. He or “It started as a she may be masked by a competition between computer screen, but his my friends and me, or her influence can be and I like winning wider reaching than our things. The initial goal most notorious socialites. was 100 followers … In a culture where the and I just kept going,” Kardashian family and Liu said. Paris Hilton are glorified Liu quickly realized Lois Liu ’15 for doing seemingly the perks of Tumblr, nothing at all, a relatable which allows users to teenager, like Lois Liu ’15, can have create a blog where they can post a significant impact. That is exactly pictures, stories or music. what Liu has done. She is, as users “It’s a very creative atmosphere



As social networks increase in the summer, after transitioning her popularity, people around the account to photos she has taken world are able to experience the herself. lives of others from the small “I don’t really have any advice [for screen of their computer or people trying to gain followers], phone. Pictures have the power but just post whatever you want,” to express emotions and convey she said. “Don’t post something ideas, sometimes better than words you don’t like posting just because alone. you think you’re going to become “[Instagram] is a fun way to see famous.” what other CARSYN’S FAVORITE people are doing and INSTAGRAMS see their p i c t u r e s ,” Knebel said. Knebel hit her 10,000 follower mark over




“I really liked the TV show ‘Dance Moms’ and so I started it [by posting Carsyn Knebel ’17 filtered, pictures of that]. Then, I changed it cropped and captioned her way to posting other people’s Tumblrto Instagram’s elite. With over ish pictures and then I decided this 10,000 followers, Knebel past summer to post is a proud member of this my own [pictures],” community. Instagram she said. is a photo-sharing app A lot of Knebel’s that connects users with photos consist of people all over the world simple objects around through pictures. her room or house, Knebel is no newcomer which provide a Carsyn Knebel ’17 to the Instagram world. glimpse into her life. “I started my account a “I get inspiration while ago, pretty much right when from other people on Tumblr Instagram came out … probably and Instagram. I follow a lot of two years ago now,” Knebel said. different kinds of accounts so I get Her account has changed a lot over inspiration from them,” Knebel time. said.

… a place for me to place my own America (from Taiwan). [The guy] photography,” Liu said. “I [also] was kind of a weirdo. I was like really like the attention. I like ‘send me a $50 American Apparel getting hate because I can be super gift card’. And he did,” Liu said. m e a n Despite the less back.” desirable aspects As one of having a wellTHE INITIAL GOAL WAS can guess, known Tumblr with that 100 FOLLOWERS ... AND account (she has m a n y been sent multiple .” fol l owe rs I JUST suggestive positive messages), Liu -Lois Liu ’15 att e nt i on exemplifies the is extremely common for Liu. She millennial obsession with the has attended a get-together for her internet’s capacity to connect, fellow Tumblr friends and even inspire and create with people been mailed presents from her fans. around the world. “I put out my address as a joke because I had just moved to





You know that girl in your English class? The one who wears the same pair of sneakers every day? Or that boy in your physics class who shows up five minutes late on a daily basis? Sure, they could be defined by these appearances. That is, after all, what we notice without any effort. However, if we dig a little deeper, strike up a conversation, or ask a question, maybe we can find a reason why. Based on the idea that everyone has a story to tell, West Side Story randomly chose 9 students to find the source behind COMPilED by//velarchana santhana the things that define them. photos by//abby burgess

Rowan McKee ’14

“I have four parents,” McKee said. “Three of them live in [California, but] I stay with my [biological] mom here in Iowa.” McKee is the product of a relationship consisting of more than two partners. He was born with two fathers and two mothers. “They used to be a quad, but then my step-mom, step-dad, and [biological] dad moved to California and my [biological] mom stayed here,” he said. He now spends his breaks in California with one family, and the majority of other times he stays in Iowa with his mother. “It’s normal for me,” he said. “When I’m in [California] I talk to my [Iowan] friends on Skype, and when I’m in Iowa I talk to my [Californian] friends on Skype.” McKee has had a relatively calm go of it, even with the recent tremor in the triad. McKee’s biological father is divorcing his stepfather and stepmother. “It’s complicated because my step-dad is my legal father,” he said. McKee’s stepfather and mother were a couple before they met McKee’s biological father and stepmother. He was conceived during the period in which they were a quad. A divorce doesn’t mean complete estrangement from his step-parents for McKee. “When they’re divorced, it’ll likely be after I’m 18. That means I’ll be able to choose when [I] see each parent,” McKee said. “I don’t think it’ll be any harder for me to interact with them, or vice versa.” That’s not to say the split will go out with utter indifference. “Honestly,” McKee states in a matter-of-fact manner, shifting his hands, and giving an uncertain grin, “[I’ll miss] them being together.” Through it all, McKee is keeping an optimistic perspective. “Things will continue to happen afterwards, for better or worse,” he remarked. “[The] story’s not over.” COMPilED by//stephon berry

Emma Sauser ’17

Emma Sauser ’17 is the daughter of Brian Sauser, an academic dean and the West High football coach, and Mandy Sauser, a special programs teacher. “It’s kind of weird being with my family 24/7 and never being away from them, but it’s nice always having someone there,” she said. “[Whenever I see them at school] my parents try to be as obnoxious as possible.” Having a parent teach at school is one thing, but having a parent as an academic dean is a whole other story. “I feel like people don’t want to do anything bad around me, because they think I’ll tell my dad,” she said. “Some people think he’s really strict and mean ... but he’s really just looking out for you. ” At home, “he’s not really that strict of a dad. One weekend, [we] were home alone and got to hang out together. We went to a football game, went out to eat, went shopping. [My dad] actually loves shopping,” she said. COMPilED by//apoorva raikwar



michael rash ’17

“I’ve swum with sharks, had a python around my neck, gone spelunking…” These are just a few of the things that Michael Rash ’17 has checked off of his bucket list. “[Something] on my bucket list that I haven’t completed is going to the Wonders of the World,” he said. “And maybe I can leave the world at some point and go to the moon.” Besides his aspirations to travel, Rash dreams of becoming a game designer or programmer. “Pretty much anything involving computers,” he said. “I feel like computers are something that are really interesting in my life. I always get bored with the real world. That’s why most people go to computers, to play video games ... I really want to invent a game that people will talk about. I want to invent a game that involves more fantasy elements and that all people will play -- not just males who are a big part of the gaming world.” COMPilED by//apoorva raikwar

for the full articles from the excepts below go to

My mom has always been a driven person. She’s wanted me to take every opportunity I can. She actually says ‘Y.O.L.O.’ on a daily basis.”

Kate Gylten ’15

COMPilED by//gage van dyke

[Gymnastics] is more than being able to do the splits. [Gymnasts] have to be incredibly

strong mentally and physically. I think what people don’t understand all of the time is that [gymnastics] is one of the most difficult sports.”

Ryan Ruckdaschel ’15

COMPilED by//megumi kitamoto

I think language is one of the biggest barriers dividing humanity. There are hundreds of language groups in the world today that don’t have the Bible in their heart language ... If

I can help to resolve this problem, let nothing stand in my way.”

I had watched like Home Alone and all that jazz … [I

thought] ‘I know what I need to do to get out of here.’”

Madie Mullinnix ’15

COMPilED by//lushia anson

josh anthony ’16 COMPilED by//kelsey keranen

I know that learning everything is more important than being able to answer the five questions on the test.”

megan kann ’16

COMPilED by//velarchana santhana

Music opens up my heart. It expresses how I feel.”

kimberly thompson ’14 COMPilED by//julia truszkowski





The WSS looks into recent changes in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or “food stamps,” and their impact on students at West. BY DANIAL SYED


alancing sky-high rents and king-sized inflation rates with shrimpy wages, America’s needy live a hard-knock life. A financial sucker punch is the last thing low-budget families need; yet last month, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), over 47 million Americans got their platters forcibly cleared.   America’s recent surplus of empty dishes stems from a spending cut; the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has taken a heavy blow.  SNAP has traditionally supported low-income families through “food stamps,” which can be used to purchase food.   More recently, these benefits have started flowing from electronic transfer cards.        “It’s a really big help,” said Pavielle Fitch ’14, when asked about the food stamps


program. “My mom and I have worse, plenty of food stamp benefibeen in the program ever since she ciaries, such as Fitch, never saw the adopted me; they gave her food cut coming. stamps to help her support me. If “A negative change would affood stamps are stopped, I’d have fect my family badly,” Fitch said, to start buying the upon learnfood.” ing of the reIn 2009, the duction.   “My American Remom only covery and Remakes enough investment Act money to pay (ARRA) helped the bills.” remedy high food Brandon costs by   increasHofeldt, maning average food ager of store stamp benefits operations of 20%, according to the Waterfront the CBPP.   To put Hy-Vee, hasn’t this in perspecnoticed the tive, this totals cuts’ effects. -Brandon Hofeldt, about 21 meals a “As far as Hy-Vee Manager sales go, the month per family of four.  Since its passing, about number of customers coming to 500,000 fewer households con- our doors … hasn’t changed sigtained at least one person who had nificantly,” he said. to skip meals due to poverty.    Hofeldt does, however, acknowlThese benefits were cut on edge that the cut may have longNov. 1; to make matters term ramifications on grocery stores. “It could




impact [ H y - Ve e ] eventually, if people have less money to spend on groceries,” he said. According to the CBPP, recent savings from food stamp cuts have gone towards state fiscal relief, which has specifically been used to maintain teacher’s salaries. This poses a challenging dilemma. “It’s too bad we can’t support both at the same time,” said Hofeldt.  “A student that isn’t nourished or wellfed can’t do well in school … but also, if the teacher is bad, that’s also a problem.” Just a few years ago, West High’s student body rallied to prevent teacher cuts; the food stamps reductions may be the only thing standing between West and another series of staffing dilemmas. Is the trade-off worth it? It’s hard to say.  In any case, America’s needy better brace their wallets for winter.


Shining snowflakes


Every year, Nolte Academy of Dance puts on The Nutcracker ballet during the winter season. This year, several West High students participated in the ballet from Dec. 6-8. The WSS checked in with two participants of the ballet to ask them about the performance. Both performed as snowflakes in the photo above. COMPilED by//LUSHIA ANSON

West Side Story: How long have you been dancing? Matilda Mackey: I’ve been dancing ever since I was two, so … 13 years. WSS: How did you start dancing? MM: My parents just signed me up, because I would always dance around the house, so they thought it would be the perfect place for me. WSS: What role do you play in The Nutcracker? Matilda Mackey ’17 MM: I’m the Arabian, I’m the Ballerina Doll and I’m also in the Snow Court. WSS: Which one’s your favorite? MM: The Arabian, probably. WSS: What do you like about the Arabian? MM: I don’t know, it’s a different type of movement, and the style of ballet is different; it’s more contemporary, and I like that a lot. WSS: What are rehearsals like? MM: They’re long. We’ve had them on Friday nights and Saturdays, and, I don’t know, they’re very time-consuming, because you have to be there for long hours, and it’s tiring. But in the end it’s really fun, because we get to be with our friends and do what we love. WSS: What’s your favorite dance/scene in the ballet? MM: Probably the pas-de-deux, it’s toward the end … I like it a lot, because the music is really pretty. WSS: Have you been involved in any other ballets? MM: With Nolte, I have. We did Cinderella in the spring and I was in that, and a long time ago we did Beauty and the Beast and I was also in that. WSS: If you could dance any other role in the play, what would it be? MM: That’s a hard one. Maybe the Snow Queen, because I did that last year, and I loved it a lot. I’ve always loved it. WSS: What’s your favorite part of being in the ballet? MM: I don’t know, just being able to experience being on stage with everyone, and sharing that good atmosphere that we can just get without even talking about it. 14 FEATURE DECEMBER 2013

West Side Story: How long have you been dancing? Callee Grell: Let’s see, probably like 14 years? WSS: How did you start? CG: I don’t know, my mom just kind of got me into it when I was really little. WSS: What role do you play in The Nutcracker? CG: I’m the Russian lead, the Chinese lead and a snowflake. Callee Grell ’15 WSS: Which one’s your favorite? CG: Probably Russian. WSS: What do you like about it? CG: It’s the most upbeat one. WSS: What are rehearsals like? CG: They’re pretty quiet, you just kind of run through your dance multiple times, and the teachers give you feedback, and that’s about it. WSS: What’s your favorite dance or scene in The Nutcracker? CG: Probably “Waltz of the Flowers.” WSS: What do you like about it? CG: Just because there’s a ton of people on stage, and it’s really fun to watch and the costumes are really cool. WSS: Have you ever done The Nutcracker before? CG: Yeah, this is like my fifth year. WSS: If you could dance any other role, what would it be? CG: The Sugarplum Fairy would be pretty cool … probably just because it’s one of the main parts and it’s really hard. WSS: Have you ever been involved in any other ballets? CG: I’ve done Alice in Wonderland [and] Cinderella.



The Nolte Academy of Dance’s production of the famous ballet The Nutcracker featured several West High students, pictured here. BELOW: Life-size dolls, played by Matilda Mackey ’17 and Paul Amrani ’18, perform a dance for the gathering during Act I, Scene I. FOR MORE COVERAGE GO TO WSSPAPER.COM

TOP: The Nutcracker duels with the Mouse King in Act I, Scene I. ABOVE: Senead Short ’15 shares a smile with Clara during Act I, Scene II. BELOW: Hailey Nielsen ’16, Callee Grell ’15 and Matilda Mackey ’17 perform as snowflakes with fellow Nolte dancers during Act I, Scene II.







Christmas tree ornaments tend to be as unique as the family, ranging from traditional candy canes and angels to crazy preschool macaroni-and-glue projects, and the Thoeny family’s collection is no exception. Reid ’17 and Renata ’16 Thoeny always add an extra special decoration to their tree. “We have this ornament that my Old Oma (“Oma” is German for grandmother) knit when she was younger. It’s a snowman, but she messed it up because she forgot to do the curves, so now … we just call it ‘Frosty the Paramecium.’ It’s just an oval with a hat,” Renata said. Tradition is a big part of the Thoeny family’s Christmas celebration. On the other side of the family, the Thoenys have different ways of celebrating Christmas.

“Our great-great-grandma’s favorite Bible reading was always read at Christmas, and now we still read it [every Christmas],” she said. Lighting candles on the tree and singing “Silent Night” is another part of their greatgrandmother’s tradition. “We lit candles on the tree last year and it almost burned down,” Renata said. Continuing this tradition started many years ago is important to the Thoenys because it offers a way to remember a family member who is no longer living. Of course, there are other joys of the Christmas season for the brother-sister duo. “[I like] the wintery-ness and just hanging out with my family,” Reid said. COMPILED BY//JAYCIE WEATHERS

Holiday for the homes PHOTOS BY//LIZZIE PRUNEAU


In December, it is difficult to find yourself doing anything other than listening to holiday music and cuddling by the fireplace. Traditional holiday activities range from baking cookies to putting up decorations, but some families do things a little differently. The WSS set out to investigate some of these familial traditions.


Thomas Sparks ’14 and his family turn their kitchen into a bakery every winter to make loaves of banana bread for friends and family. “Last year my family and I made about 140 loaves of banana bread,” Sparks said. They have two Cuisinart food processors that help them create their gifts. Each loaf of bread is wrapped in Saran wrap after it has been baked and a bow tied around it. “Our schedules revolve around the bread; my sister and I have alarms set on our phones to take the bread out of the oven,” 16 FEATURE DECEMBER 2013


Molly Lipman ’15 gets into the Hanukkah spirit by decorating with menorahs – and lots of them. Her family proudly displays their collection of menorahs around the house. “When [my brothers and I] were little, we would pick out our favorite menorah each and then bring it to the judges, aka my parents, and they would give us style awards like most colorful or tallest. They would basically make up awards on the spot to make us feel good,” Lipman said. Their constantly growing collection varies in size, shape and color. “My dad’s really into art and really likes constructing random menorahs, so we have a ton of weird menorahs that he’s made. In the past few years, he’s made a giant menorah that is in our front yard currently, to replace what we’ve always wanted as Christmas lights,” she said. Because Hanukkah happened to fall over Thanksgiving this year, Lipman’s father created a “turk-norah”, a menorah that looks like a turkey, complete with the turkey’s feathers arranged like the traditional candles. “It’s fun that there is so much variety [for the menorah award ceremony] … on any given night, I like to pick out my favorite newer one or the one with the crazy candles,” Lipman said. COMPILED BY//JAYCIE WEATHERS

he said. Sparks said that he and his family really enjoy coming together to bake. According to Sparks, the funniest part of the tradition is going to Fareway every year and buying old brown bananas, set aside for him and his family. “We have been doing this since I can remember,” Sparks said. The family gives away most of their bread to friends and family and even sometimes teachers, “maybe getting me that little bit of extra credit,” Sparks said. COMPILED BY//ABBY BURGESS


Got Milk?

art by//Hilah kohen

The WSS examines the history of milk consumption and why it continues to be drunk today. By velarchana santhana

Got milk? Well, maybe you shouldn’t. Although the effects of consumption of other animals’ milk are still inconclusive, recent studies have found reason to believe that the consumption of milk may not be as beneficial as once thought. The ability to consume milk was initially not present in humans. Most mammals are only able photo by//Gage van dyke

to drink milk during infancy; children, [and] milk provides however, many humans are able about half of the protein needs for to digest milk from a young age one to two-year-olds,” she said. However, for people like Grace to their death. In fact, the ability to drink milk is due to a mutation Anderson ’15, the negative effects that occurred circa 7,500 B.C. in central Europe. According to the University College London, this mutation led to the production of lactase (an enzyme that digests the lactose of milk) into adulthood. The origins of milk consumption were most likely a result of farmers trying to utilize all aspects of their livestock, including their milk. Now, in the 21st century, the dairy industry is prominent and the media is filled with advertisements supporting the consumption of milk due to its supposed health benefits. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has found that the average American consumes about of milk outweigh the benefits. “[Milk is] really bad for your 25 gallons of milk per year. The Iowa Dairy Association reported health. It’s full of growth hormones that in Iowa over 4.35 billion ... also, it has tons of antibiotics pounds of milk were produced in in it. Since it’s pasteurized, your body can’t really digest it, and your 2011. Milk has long been cited as an immune system attacks it like it’s a important source of Vitamin D and disease. This makes your immune calcium. According to Anne Tabor, system really weak,” she said. Anderson stopped an expert consuming dairy on child about a year ago nutrition and receives her from the calcium in other University of Milk is not manners. Iowa, milk is detrimental to “Basically the an excellent calcium in dairy s o u r c e our health is pasteurized and of many unless a so it can’t even nutrients. be used by your “Milk is person has an body. So there’s not essential no benefit to it. to maintain Almond milk has good health; more calcium however, the and so do lots of nutrients vegetables,” she that are high -Anne Tabor, child said. in milk are nutrition expert Anderson is essential to not alone; in fact good health - namely calcium, Vitamin D, many educational campaigns Vitamin A, potassium, magnesium and organizations against the consumption of milk like NOTMilk and protein,” Tabor said. In fact, for young children, milk cite other negative effects on the individual’s health, ranging from may even be considered vital. “[Milk] is a primary source mild allergies and acne to heart of Vitamin D and calcium for disease. Many of these effects are

allergy or significant intolerance.”


due to the fact that a majority of humans (about 65%) are lactose intolerant to some extent after infancy, according to the National Institute of Health, while in the United States, only roughly 30 million people are. The difference in percentage can be attributed to the mutation’s origin which started in Europe and has been passed on to their descendants. The mutation’s presence in other parts of the world is much lower, thus resulting in more intolerance a r o u n d the world compared to the United States which has many citizens of European descent. Tabor disagrees with the idea that milk is harmful. “Milk is not detrimental to our health unless a person has an allergy or significant intolerance,” she said. A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health has linked milk consumption with an increased risk of hormonerelated cancers (prostate, breast, ovarian, etc.) due to the hormones present in milk. Tabor also refuted the legitimacy of these claims. “Over the last 20 years the hormone given has been researched and reviewed by many organizations including National Institutes of Health, World Health Organization, American Medical Association and American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,” Tabor said. “There is consensus that milk from these animals is safe.” It is safe to say that the controversy over whether or not milk should be in our diet will be prevalent for years to come.


Sign up for Mini Dance Marathon! Sunday, January 19 1-6 PM

$50 registration fee benefits the U of I Children’s Hospital See Mrs. Secrist in room 12 to sign up.







Momentum and force threw Alec Dorau ’15 to the ground. When he stepped onto the field, he wasn’t thinking about his head colliding with the turf. But with a hard crash, his head hit the ground, causing a bruise that would change his athletic career and his life. Countless athletes can relate to the head trauma and consequences Dorau faced with the collision, but the crucial actions that are taken or not taken before and after the impact is what sets each athlete apart, and can determine their future. Awareness of head trauma, specifically concussions, has heightened immensely in the past decade. Concussions in high school athletics are affecting students in a range of sports. Legislatures and coaches alike have begun taking steps to reduce the number of head injuries sustained across all levels of athletics. “The NFL Players’ Association had been lobbying in state houses and created concussion legislation in Iowa, and then those legislatures kind of handed down those dictates to the girls’ union and the boys’ association, and they’ve kind of filtered down to schools,” said West Athletic Director Scott Kibby. Administrative responses have changed drastically over time, according to head football coach Brian Sauser. While a typical response to head trauma in the past may have been “walking it off,” coaches now require athletes to

take the imPACT test. “[The test is] essentially a cognitive test on the computers, with our trainer, and any time there’s any type of injury to the head they take that test to see if there’s any discrepancy in their cognitive levels, to determine if there was a concussion that occured,” Sauser said. “That’s the same test used in college and the NFL, so we feel like we’re as on top of the game as we can be in trying to prevent and dealing with concussions.”

Administrators of high school, college and professional football have taken steps to reduce the number of high impact hits the sport is famous for. Kickoffs, a major source of head injuries, have been scaled back, and officials now penalize vicious hits with greater degrees of severity. “You just don’t see kids maybe giving out some of the shots they may have given in the past. The amount of contact we’ve seen to the head has decreased drastically. A lot of that has to do with [the fact that] it’s a 15-yard penalty.

People do think about that almost immediately,” Sauser said. Dr. Christopher Hogrefe of the University of Iowa Sports Medicine Clinic thinks that such measures are a step in the right direction. “Some say that these alterations are insufficient, while others contend that they have gone too far and have completely changed football,” he said. “In the end, the rule modifications have made an impact on reducing the number of significant hits. Therefore, this amounts to progress in the realm of safety.” However, he still believes more can be done. “I would cite the work done with rugby players in South Africa,” he said. “There was a broad initiative by concussion experts in that country to educate coaches and players at all experience levels specifically regarding proper form in order to minimize or prevent concussions. In a violent sport that is very similar to football but lacks helmets, they were remarkably effective in reducing the number of concussions. They also created a vast infrastructure for evaluating and treating concussions in their country. These improvements are

quite feasible in the United States.” Despite these preventative measures, concussions still pose a major problem. For example, the

symptoms of a concussion can easily go unnoticed.

“If you really wanted, you could definitely hide the symptoms to an extent, if they were mild enough, but if you have really bad debilitating headaches, you probably don’t want to,” said soccer player Sam Hansen ’14. Concussions, caused by impacts to the head, can result in symptoms such as headaches, confusion and difficulty remembering or paying attention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Football player David Millmeyer ’14 believes that although it is hypothetically possible to play while concussed, it’s only to the player’s detriment. “There are ways to cheat on the test,” he explained. “If you cheat, you’re only going to hurt yourself, I guess. But there are ways that you could sneak through … you’re just hurting yourself, putting yourself at a bigger risk if you go back before you’re ready.”

photos by//Lydia Hinman and Abbie skemp

You only get one head, you only get one brain. I could have gotten another [concussion] and I could have been just messed up completely.” -Alec Dorau ’15

Former West High, University of Iowa and NFL placekicker

Nate Kaeding ’00 believes that being informed of the risks is crucial to players’ and parents’ decisions to play football.

“I want this sport to survive, and I want it to be great, but I feel like if they continue to do nothing, and ignore it, and continue to adopt this machismo culture that everything is all right, that ‘let’s just continue banging heads with each other,’ then you’re putting off a problem that’s eventually going to rear its ugly head and cause more problems,” he said. “People like football; it’s the most popular sport in America, as it very well should be … [but] … I think the parents need to consider the risks

and rewards and communicate that this time one with greater severity. “The second one was really bad. I with their kids.” For Dorau, playing football was got thrown … and got whiplashed not worth the risk. Dorau, who had and hit my head on the ground hard. been playing tackle football since It was terrible,” he said. “I couldn’t elementary school, experienced a really do anything. The sun hurt concussion the beginning of his my eyes, I couldn’t really move very sophomore year. well, I couldn’t stand up without almost falling “This was before the over, so I pretty much season even started, crawled everywhere. I before pads,” he said. just about passed out “We were doing this multiple times.” offense versus defense drill where on defense For Dorau, the potential repercussions you would just go of additional head and wrap up the guy Alec Dorau ’15 injuries were too great. with the ball. I don’t “I honestly really wanted to play,” remember what happened at all. I think somebody came and lowered he said. “I just had no choice. My their head and hit me in the head parents would not let me play with their helmet. That’s all I football. I understand where they’re coming from in that football is not remember.” After waiting nearly a month as important as your head. You to return to football, Dorau only get one head, you only get one experienced another concussion, brain. I could have gotten another

[concussion] and I could have been just messed up completely. I want to play football, but I don’t want to risk my life on one stupid decision.” Although preventative measures have been taken,

contact remains innate to multiple sports.

Kaeding believes that such contact will always be part of athletics, and the problem should be solved by raising awareness. “There’s inherent risk in the sport,” he said. “The only thing that coaches and administrators can do is to educate the players and parents on the risk, and [then] they have to go make the decision on their own.”








It’s not uncommon for students to be involved in some sort of musical activity, whether it is choir, band or simply private piano lessons on the weekends. Very few of these students, however, make their hobby an obsession. That’s not the case for one West High freshman. Caleb Thurman ’17 is a tenor two in West High’s bass choir, but he does far more than just sing. Thurman is an electronic music producer, taking inspiration from artists like Zedd, DJ Whiteshadow and Lady Gaga. “[Lady Gaga] has been a vibrant source of inspiration for me,” said Thurman. After investigating deeper into some of Lady Gaga’s DESIGN BY//ANNA MONDANARO

music, Thurman discovered Zedd and DJ Whiteshadow. Now, Thurman creates a similar sound as Zedd, but with the drum elements of DJ Whiteshadow. Music has always played a role in Thurman’s life, but it was never a very serious part until early in his elementary life. “I have this memory of when I was six years old and I was sad, so I got out a piece of paper, and I started writing stuff down and I tried singing it,” Thurman said. That was the first time Thurman realized that music was more than just a little background sound in his life, and was something he could use to really show what he was thinking and feeling. What started as a few words written on paper

eventually expanded to Thurman’s current music interest: electronic. In seventh grade, Thurman decided to try creating the music he had grown to love over the years. “When I first started, I was kind of like, ‘I don’t know how to do this, but I admire these people that I’m looking up to, so I want to try it,’” Thurman said. Feeling inspired, he went out and purchased Magix Music Maker 17, a computer program used to produce music, and began creating some of his earliest electronic songs. Thurman classified his first attempts at creating electronic music as “stupid music.” “It was sort of meaningless,” said Thurman.

Now, three years into his electronic music career, Thurman is using a more advanced computer program, Fruity Loops Studio 10, to create his music, and his most recent songs are being posted on his Facebook page and SoundCloud page for the entire world to hear. “I didn’t really see people liking my music, and I didn’t even like it when I first started, but I’m getting to this point where I’m like, ‘Hey this is really cool,’” Thurman said. He believes his music has grown to a spot where he is proud of the way it sounds, but he’s not stopping yet. In the future, Thurman wants to pursue music as a career because “it’s always on [his] mind.”

DECEMBER 2013 A&E 23



fashion profile: maya mahajan ’16 WSS: Describe your style. Maya Mahajan ’16: It’s a mix of east coast and west coast styles. WSS: Who inspires your style? MM: My father. I like how he’s able to look professional and be interesting at the same time. WSS: What are some of your favorite places to shop? MM: J. Crew and Cole Haan. The materials are good quality and Cole Haan shoes feel like walking on clouds. WSS: Has your style evolved? MM: Dramatically. Junior high was not the greatest time for my closet.

WSS: Do you have any favorite accessories? MM: I have a black pearl necklace from Mikimoto that I’m absolutely in love with. Pearls go with everything. WSS: Is there anything specific you look for while shopping? MM: Good quality textiles and timeless pieces that I’ll be able to wear forever. WSS: Does your style reflect your personality? MM: I usually dress the way I feel, or feel the way I dress, so yes. WSS: Do you have a favorite season

as far as dressing goes? MM: Fall because layering is fun, and I love sweaters. WSS: What kind of sweaters? MM: I like wearing simple sweaters with button-ups underneath them. WSS: Any advice for people finding their style? MM: Dress like the person you want to be. That in no way means dress like someone else. For example, if you want to be a doctor, try to start dressing the part. If you dress the part, you’ll start acting the part. COMPILED BY//REBECCA WEN


teacher mixtape: nate frese PHOTO BY//NICK DEERBERG

“Life on Mars” David Bowie “I can remember the David Bowie vinyl from when I was four or five and I always liked that song.” “All This Useless Beauty” Elvis Costello “It’s a lament about not appreciating the little things around us.” “99 Problems” Jay Z, Danger Mouse remix “Danger Mouse throws in a Beatles loop, music icons come together.” “Grounds for Divorce” Elbow “One of my favorite opening lines: ‘I’ve been working on a cocktail called ‘grounds for divorce.’”

“Antichrist TV Blues” Arcade Fire “This song, as a father, is everything I don’t want to be.” “Freedom 90” George Michael “Sometimes the clothes do not make the man.” “Across the Universe” Rufus Wainwright version “He’s a great singer, but it’s for my mom; we danced to it at my wedding.” “The Perfect Drug” Nine Inch Nails “Maybe [their] most underrated song, and it’s about being in love … with a girl, not drugs.”


24 A&E DECEMBER 2013


photographer of the month: julia crouse ’15





Donald Glover is known as a jack-of-all-trades. He is an actor on the NBC show “Community,” works as a stand-up comic and produces innovative rap music as alter-ego Childish Gambino. While the 30-year-old entertainer may be recognized by his ability to impress people in multiple mediums, he truly seems to shine as a musician on his latest album, Because the Internet. The album, which includes 19 tracks, dropped on Dec. 10, featuring collaborations with Chance the Rapper, Jhené Aiko and Azealia Banks. And while these syntheses of young talent are impressive, Glover, the orchestrator of the project, stands out with this exceedingly intelligent lyrical precision and meaningful subject matter. While the album doesn’t quite live up to CAMP, his debut studio album, Childish Gambino solidifies his position as a musician who will be around for years to come, assuming he isn’t also a skilled ceramicist. Whereas CAMP came off as impressively introspective, Because the Internet struck me as a societal critique. This perception could be influenced by Gambino’s online manifesto against “web sheriffs,” insisting all his music is and should continue to be, free. And thank goodness his material is free, because I didn’t have to spend $10, but I got to listen to gems like “telegraph ave.” and “3005.” Both of these singles, released weeks


prior on his SoundCloud account, are dance tracks of the finest quality: not too flashy, maintaining and extending the message held throughout the album, aggrandizing the motifs of death, purpose and loneliness. Don’t be worried though, those somber moments are quickly washed over by delightful choruses. Laced in between these dance tracks are several interludes which cleverly connect inflections in the album. For instance, dial up, a 45-second ambient palate cleanser sets up the more fun loving, traditional hip-hop song “the worst guys,” featuring Chance the Rapper. It seems as though throughout the album, whenever Glover’s own voice is going to be diluted, he implants little moments which clearly he created: moments which transcend the album past rap stereoytpes, removing all negative connotations of the genre; making it musical poetry in the purest sense. These interludes set up the more psychedelically influenced songs on the album, like “zealots of stockholm [free information]” and “urn.” These take a turn from CAMP, which sounds more like pop, but nevertheless symbolize Childish Gambino for what he is in the music industry, which this album only reestablishes: a nerdy, brilliant, socially conscious rapper who simultaneously seems out-ofplace and perfectly in place because he is everything that rap currently isn’t, but what I hope it will become.

DECEMBER 2013 A&E 25

winter is

COMPILED by//JULIA Truszkowski PHOTO by//madie miller

what to listen to

COMPILED by//Anthony Pizzimenti PHOTO by//BROOKE LOFGREN

where to sled


It’s officially time for winter break, and many West students may not know what to do with their abundance of free time. The WSS is here to help with things to drink, do and listen to.

It has started to snow, the weather is turning colder and pumpkin spice is being replaced with peppermint. Winter is upon us, whether you like it or not. This season also brings us to a favorite pastime, which can get you either safely to the bottom of the hill or literally bleeding through the seat of your pants: sledding. There are some exceptional places to take part in this delightfully dangerous activity across Iowa City. Firstly, we’re going to take a look in our own backyard. The remains of the beloved sledding hill on the West soccer field still remain, but with slight twinges of jealousy and brushed steel. If you

want to take a daring risk, try some bleacher-dodging fun going down that slope. In other news, the corrugated hillock on the south side is enticing, but can end up in some unpretty person-to-training net accidents. Another spot to nosedive is the back hill of Weber Elementary. The hill takes in a lot of water and subsequently ices over. If you dare to plunge down Brokeback Mountain (named for the back injuries, not the movie), you’re going to have a bad time. All in all, Iowa City is a roving land of sledding areas. If you choose to go somewhere else, make sure to be safe, wear a helmet and make a video of it.

Just as our windows begin to frost, 2013’s major artists have brewed up a batch of modern spins on holiday classics to combat the cold.

have you ready to rock, even on the dreariest of winter days.

“Winter Wonderland” by Leona Lewis

Somewhere in the formula for being the next big pop star is a cover of this over-covered holiday song. Following in the footsteps of Taylor Swift, the Glee cast and the other 276 iTunes results when searching “Last Christmas,” Grande doesn’t bring anything new to the table. But hey, it’s catchy.

Taken from her full-length holiday LP, “The X Factor” winner Leona Lewis belts out this classic seasonal tune. Staying close to her pop/R&B roots, she jazzes the song up with signature riffs to showcase her stellar voice. This cheery song will set the mood for decking the halls. “White Christmas” by Bad Religion

With electric guitar riffs and a strong drum beat, Bad Religion’s holiday album Christmas Songs is unlike most jingle bell-infused melodies. The band puts a punk rock spin on the typically mellow classic. The drum-heavy beat will

26 A&E DECEMBER 2013

“Last Christmas” by Ariana Grande

“Winter Dreams (Brandon’s Song)” by Kelly Clarkson

Taken from her long overdue holiday album Wrapped in Red, packaged and sealed a decade after her being crowned “American Idol,” is this feel-good love song. Enhanced by jingle bells and xylophones, the song gets you in the holiday spirit. It’s perfect to play while ice skating and holding mittened hands with your holiday honey.

what to drink the java house

A local Iowa City favorite, The Java House has been serving up tasty drinks since 1996. Seasonal beverages, such as their Venetian lemonade in the summer, their apple cider in the fall or the hot chocolate in the winter always hit the spot. Today’s cup of hot chocolate was no different. The Java House’s hot chocolate is the perfect remedy to blustery, cold winter days. It is served piping hot with an optional whipped cream. The creamy texture of the milk used blends perfectly with the ever-so-bitter notes of cocoa. At $3.45, this drink isn’t cheap, but if you’re looking for a delicious cup of steaming hot chocolate on a winter’s day, you’ve come to the right place.


tierra coffee Tierra Coffee is a quiet place that fits in perfectly with the stereotype of a Parisian café. With a very friendly staff and chairs outside that are much too cold to sit in during this season, it is located near the Coralville New Pioneer Coop. After asking the barista’s recommendation, I ordered a Milky Way, which is hot chocolate with caramel. There is also a whipped cream option that is free of charge, which I highly encourage people to get, because it contrasts beautifully with the warm, sweet hot chocolate that is awaiting underneath. In the background of people sipping their hot chocolate and college students cramming for their finals, there is a nice soundtrack of holiday music playing. If you are looking for a place to warm yourself up with good hot chocolate, I would definitely recommend Tierra Coffee. COMPILED by//MEGUMI KITAMOTO ART by//ANNA FURLONG


westsidestory @WSSPAPER



THE Trojan PINBOARD n o i t a N

Dropping the weight

This month’s sports updates

Varsity wrestler Chris Walters ’14 has been wrestling since the age of six, and is no stranger to success. As a sophomore, Walters placed second in state and achieved All-American honors (placed in Nationals). In his junior year, he placed third in state. Despite all this, he has still had to overcome the struggle all wrestlers face: cutting weight. Wrestlers are asked to drop 10-20 pounds within a week, or gain weight in order to move up a class. “When I cut down to a different weight class, I feel really tired all the time and don’t want to do anything,” Walters said. “But after weigh-ins when I get to eat and drink, everything goes back to normal.” Wrestling requires careful monitoring of one’s own diet. During practices, wrestlers lose about 12 pounds, which is mostly water weight. During breaks and off-season, some wrestlers gain weight, which they have to lose again once the season starts. “My sophomore year, I wrestled at 120 lbs., and after winter break I came back and weighed 142,” Walters said, “I had to drop back down to 120 in three days. It wasn’t that fun.” Nevertheless, Walter’s work ethic inspires his teammates. “[Walters] can deal with adversity better than most people can. He just keeps on going,” said Tanner Rohweder ’15, “Breaking mentally is never an option for him.” Walters’ teammates look up to him as a leader. “Chris is excellent at leading by example,” Rohweder said. “We feed off each other’s energy and it helps us and our team grow as competitors.”


wins honors Former West High student Shelly Stumpff, now a sophomore at Wingate University, is known for her success on the volleyball court. She earned SAC second team all-conference, Shelly Stumpff ’12 second team all-region, and SAC freshman of the year honors, and freshman of the year in the region. Stumpff also placed on the all tournament team for both the conference and the regional tournaments. “I was honored last year to win all the awards I did, but more excited to be able to have almost our entire team back from last season,” Stumpff said. Former City High graduate Abby Saehler, a freshman at Wingate, and former West High graduate, Lexi Potter, a junior at Wingate, play for the Bulldogs alongside Stumpff. Potter won SAC freshman of the year, one year before Stumpff achieved the feat. Together their team has reached two consecutive Elite Eight appearances. “It is really nice [having Iowa City teammates] because we can all relate to how far from home we are, especially when we are craving some Pancheros,” Stumpff said.


Armed for a

’14 Wyatt Lohaus PHOTO BY//GAGE VAN DYKE


The varsity boys basketball team is coming off two undefeated state championship seasons in a row, but they don’t want to talk about it. They are focused not on the past but on the future, which they hope will include another State Championship title. The last two years, the team has gone 56-0 with coach Steve Bergman at the helm, a feat never achieved in the Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC). Now, after key players have graduated from last year’s team, the question is raised:



can the team achieve a three-peat? Tanner Lohaus ’16, younger brother of team leader Wyatt Lohaus ’14, is one of the sophomores on this year’s team and looks to play a big role in winning another State Championship. “Honestly, I don’t care what my role on the team is; I’ll do anything to help the team win,” Lohaus said, “Whether that is being a rebounder, a defender, a scorer, or even if I sit on the bench and cheer my team on, I just want to win.” This drive is exemplified not only

by Lohaus but the whole team. Wali Parks ’16, another underclassman on this year’s team, is looking to help out the varsity squad. “I think we still have a very good chance to do it again, even with J-Mo (Jeremy Morgan ’13) leaving last year,” Parks said. “We still have great senior leadership from Wyatt [Lohaus] and Chike [Ukah ’14] and key role players who will step up this year.” COMPILED BY//AARON CARTER


rising stars Connor McCaffery ’17: basketball

photo by//GAGE VAN DYKE

Donovan Doyle ’16: wrestling

West Side Story: What is your height, and what is the position you play? Connor McCaffery: Six foot five, and I usually played point guard for AAU, but for West, over the summer in practice, I played point guard, shooting guard, small forward and also power forward. WSS: How do you compare the style of AAU to playing for West? CM: At West we play a lot more half court offense and have sets that we run; it is a lot more structured. For AAU my team just plays one on one against their defender and shoots threes. It is a lot more laid back. WSS: What are your expectations for the team this year? Any goals? CM: We should be a great team, just like last year. We have to come out every game and compete. WSS: Is there anyone that stands out as a team leader? CM: Wyatt Lohaus. WSS: Do you feel any pressure with having such high expectations for the team

and yourself? CM: No, not really. I know what I can do, and what this team can do, so we should be able to live up to the expectations. WSS: How do you feel about making the varsity basketball team? Do you have any expectations for yourself and the team? CM: I felt great when I started practicing with varsity. At the start it was hard getting used to, but I’m playing better now. I think the expectations are high this year for our team and I’m just going to do whatever I can to help the team win. WSS: What is it like having your father as the head Iowa Basketball Coach? CM: It is a good thing because he knows a lot about basketball, and he can tell me what I do right and what I do wrong after almost every game. I can also go to Carver pretty much every day. I can go and shoot, play pick-up games with the players, things like that. COMPilED by//Aaron Carter

Donovan Doyle ’16 wrestles with his opponent from Dubuque Hempstead during his match on Thursday, Dec. 12.

Varsity wrestler Donovan Doyle ’16 has been wrestling since age four. Even at a young age, Doyle was practicing three times a week for an hour and a half each practice. He quickly learned the harsh reality of the sport. Doyle has experienced the struggles of being on a varsity team, and working to gain and lose weight to make a certain weight class. “A lot of times you feel like your energy is just drained, and school is difficult,” Doyle said. “But it’s worth it because you feel stronger than all your opponents.” Cutting and gaining weight isn’t just a simple act, but an art that takes time to master. The practices that wrestlers experience are extreme. Their methods include practicing with sweatshirts on in order to cut more water weight, running and lifting constantly, and always monitoring their diets. At the head of this steam is Mark Reiland, the varsity wrestling coach. Doyle thinks very highly of Reiland. “He knows how to push us,” Doyle said. “He’s one of the best guys I know, and a great coach.” photo by//madie miller COMPilED by//Aaron Carter AND MAdie miller





The season begins for basketball, bowling, boys swimming and wrestling.

Right: From left, Ali Tauchen ’17, Grace Tafolla ’15, Bella Lozano-Dobbs ’15 and Mollie Mason ’14 line up before the start of the Nov. 26 game versus Ames. PHOTO by//GRACE YOUNG



Above: Kristina Bauer ’14 wishes starter Bella Lozano-Dobbs ’15 good luck before the game versus Ames Nov. 26 Right: Mikaela Morgan ’15 goes up for a shot versus Ames on Nov. 26. Morgan was the leading scorer for West with 19 points.




Far Above: Alex Henderson ’16 reaches for the ball during the tip off while playing Washington during the sophomore game on Dec. 13. Above: Micah Kelsay ’14 wrestles his opponent from Dubuque Hempstead during his match on Dec. 12.

LEFT ABOVE: Chike Ukah ’14 goes through pregame drills before the team plays Washington on Dec. 16. LEFT BELOW: A West swimmer gets ready for the start of the 200 medley relay. LEFT: Emily Halverson ’17 goes up for a rebound while being guarded by Ames defenders during the game





on Nov. 26.

The boys basketball team has won a state record of games in a row


(as of press time).



PHOTO BY//NICK DEERBERG FAR ABOVE: Chike Ukah ’14 shoots a free throw versus Washington. West won the game 68-37. ABOVE: Walter Robles ’14 takes a few practice bowls during the bowling team’s practice.


ABOVE: David Dileo ’15 passes the ball while being defended by Washington players on Dec. 13. LEFT: The boys swim team cheers during the 400 freestyle relay.


ABOVE: Yuhka NIki ‘17 does a backwards spiral. TOP LEFT: Grace Anderson ’15 does scratch spin. TOP RIGHT: Yuhka Niki does a spin. TOP MIDDLE: Cedar Rapids RoughRiders enter the ice arena. BOTTOM MIDDLE: Grace Anderson ’15 does a layback spin. CENTER: Yuhka Niki performs a difficult variation in the upright position. PHOTOS BY//GAGE VAN DYKE HOCKEY PHOTOS USED WITH PERMISSION FROM// JIM SHANKLIN



Ice skating away By aaron carter

Gliding through a winter wonderland, twirling and spinning on skates, and dancing on ice: this has been Yuhka Niki’s ’17 passion since the age of seven. Although Niki, an avid ice skater, didn’t start to train until she was nine, she has been in love with the sport ever since. “I love the feeling of being on ice and learning new moves,” Niki said. “I also liked meeting new people and making new friends.” Niki looks up to professional ice skater Mao Asada as her inspiration and tries to emulate her work ethic and the way she composes herself off the ice. “She makes new goals for herself and reaches them,” Niki said. Niki hopes to follow Asada’s path to the

Olympics. Some sports fans tend to overlook ice skating as a sport. “I think the reason why skating doesn’t draw as much attention as other sports is because it has more of an artistic aspect to it than most sports do,” Niki said. “The artistic side to skating is almost as important as the athletic part.” Niki embraces both aspects and trains to meet both requirements, hoping to blend together the athletic and artistic demands to reach success. “[Niki is] a very hard worker, and she’s very talented,” said Terra Hill ’16. “She also has a great attitude, and is great to be around.” It seems that Niki’s hard work has paid off, as she won first place in her last competition in Wisconsin: just the first stroke in the long skate to success.

In high school it is a much


and aggressive

style of play. It is much more physical than [last year].” -Ian McKay ’17



The artistic side to skating is almost as important as the athletic


-Yuhka Niki ’17

Hot with hockey

By anthony pizzmenti

The balance between sports and school is a highly contested issue for many varsity athletes. The demanding schedule of academic life combined with a rigorous sports agenda involves careful planning and execution, just like school and sports themselves. The Cedar Rapids High School Hockey program is a second to the United States Hockey League (USHL) Roughriders, who are the headline team from Cedar Rapids. The USHL Roughriders attend high schools in the Cedar Rapids area, and as they can be drafted into the National Hockey League (NHL) straight out of the USHL, their main focus is hockey. High school players, however, have to balance school workloads with hockey practices and games to excel at both. “The high school level is a lot faster paced and the other players are really good,” said Joe Brophy ’16. “You have to work really hard to keep up with a lot of the other players to be any good.” As the high school team practices three days of the week plus games on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, time consumption is definitely an issue. Training can last from 6:45 to 10:45 nightly, and

with the amount of work increasing through the year, it can become overwhelming. “I have to go to school and do homework after school and after hockey,” said Brophy. “[Other than that] hockey doesn’t have much effect on my life other than I need to get out of school early sometimes,” he said. Ian McKay ’17 also plays and practices with the varsity squad in Cedar Rapids. “In high school it is a much faster paced and aggressive style of play,” McKay said. “It is much more physical than [last year], and you are also playing with juniors and seniors who have been in the league a while.” Much like Brophy said, the amount of practice required to play at a high level is a big commitment, and often demands scratching other activities in favor of hockey. “I can’t hang out with friends as much anymore and I miss out on a lot of events,” said McKay. Since moving up from lower levels to high school is a large step for many players, it often comes as a shock to have to vigorously trade off school and hockey. “Sometimes nights get can late. I try to finish my homework before I head to practice but that doesn’t always work out,” McKay said. DECEMBER 2013 SPORTS 33

Trial and error The Iowa City School Community School District has recently announced that they will be considering transitioning to a semester schedule for the 2015-16 school year because of inconsistencies with university classes in the trimester system. The apprehension before finals and receiving grades can be an overwhelming feeling. However, after some possible administrative reforms, current underclassmen may not have to experience this distress as frequently. The Iowa city Community School District (ICCSD) is considering changing from trimesters to semesters in the 2015-16 school year. With this change, the ICCSD’s school year will operate similarly to neighboring school districts including Clear Creek Amana, Regina and Solon, who all work under the 18-week semester system. The ICCSD is not alone in this decision; the Cedar Rapids Community School District is considering switching to the semester system as well. And while taking fewer finals would certainly be a relief, the benefits of a semester system are few and far between compared to those of a trimester system. Switching to semesters will help students who take both high school and university classes, but the change will not benefit West’s students as a whole. Students at West who take university classes are a small portion of the school’s population, and chang-

ing scheduling systems will disrupt class planning for all students. In the current trimester system, which lasts for about 12 weeks, there is more room to take single trimester classes. That allows students to have more diversity within their schedule and to try new electives for a shorter period of time. Plus, taking electives in high school is much more inexpensive than taking electives later, in postsecondary education. It would also be more advantageous for students to try new classes in high school and have a solidified major before entering postsecondary education. Having semester classes might even discourage students from taking electives entirely. After all, plenty of students sign up to take a trimester of metalworking now, but a whole semester might be too much for some. The transition to the semester system may be stressful for students, faculty and administration because it would cause many changes in the way West offers classes. In addition, if a student makes the wrong choice for a class and wants to drop, having a trimester system provides more time for them to do it without consequences like hav-

ing the class show up as dropped on a transcript. With an immense number of classes that are one trimester long, the requirements are hard to change in accordance with the semester system. Physical education would have to be offered for a longer period of time, and government and economics class requirements may be difficult to replace when used in a semester system. Replacing all of those trimesterscheduled classes with ones that work in a semester schedule means they would need to be replanned not because they aren’t adequate, but because they wouldn’t fit in the school calendar.

Should the ICCSD switch from trimester terms to semester terms?


The WSS editorial board voted against the change.

Editorial Policy

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


index december Winter break

Snowmen, sledding and not having to do homework for two weeks.

plus 10

College applications Jan. 1 is deceptively close, but admissions decisions still seem impossibly far away.

minus 3

Candy canes Sugar, sugar, sugar! Also minty, but mostly sugar.

plus 1

Lack of snow days It keeps snowing, but we’re still going to school. What gives?

minus 3

Equity Statement

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

Quality of life

2013-2014 Editorial Board Lushia Anson Fiona Armstrong-Pavlik Stephon Berry Abby Burgess Meredith Cullen Schyler Davis Nick Deerberg Megumi Kitamoto Brittani Langland Kaitlyn McCurdy Hannah Merrill Anna Mondanaro

Katie Mons Amelia Moser Matthew Murry Blake Oetting Katie Peplow Velarchana Santhana Julia Truszkowski Tyler Voss Shirley Wang Jaycie Weathers Grace Young

Road conditions I am thankful for sand, salt and anti-lock braking systems, but getting in a car with snow on the road is still unnerving this time of year.

minus 4

Total: plus 1 COMPILED by/FIona armstrong-pavlik


Bare minimum

After weeks of strikes by fast food workers, Senate Democrats have proposed a new minimum wage bill.

One of the most readily recurring issues on the American political scene has surfaced again: raising the minimum wage from $7.25. President Obama has consistently voiced his support for the movement, most recently signing a congressional Democratic proposal to increase the wage to a $10.10 hourly rate. The dispute centers over how a raise could affect productivity and eventually the economy in general. And while these concerns are legitimate, the debate boils down to something much more simple: whether it’s the government’s job to ensure everyone who works for a living has sufficient funds to provide for their families. The “American Dream,” which suggests that all people in our democratic nation have the ability to grow and live a life with financial stability, is losing more and more credibility the more the federal government denies millions of its

citizens the ability to pay for basic necessities like food and shelter. The extremely low minimum wage is a large part of the problem. To start off, a family with two parents who both work full-time at minimum wage jobs will earn $30,160 a year. The poverty cutoff, assuming they have two children, is $23,550. Additionally, according to the United States Department of Labor, 3.6 million U.S. workers work at minimum wage. Families who live under these conditions struggle with basic needs every day. The federal government does not grant them proper funds for them to rise on the socioeconomic spectrum, or even lead comfortable lives. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 will grant an extra $11,856 to workers in need. The increased disposable income will give our citizens who work at minimum wage some breathing room. The random medical emergency or national

holiday is exceedingly costly, and a higher wage will allow minimum wage workers to pay for them. Why do they have this right? Because minimum wage workers are the backbone of our nation. Without them, Walmart, McDonald’s and countless other corporate powerhouses would fail. There seems to be a growing sentiment that if you work at a fast food restaurant, you are lazy and deserve to live in or near poverty. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, many minimum wage workers cannot progress past these positions because of the conditions our government places them in. To answer the question raised earlier: yes, our government has the responsibility to facilitate equality and prevent workers from being exploited. Raising the minimum wage is a step in the right direction in forming a nation where each individual has the same opportunity to succeed.

Whether the higher minimum wage is achieved through budget reallocation or by higher taxes on the wealthy, it must be done. More people will be able to advance in society, or at the very least lead better lives, bringing back credit to the idea that the United States is a place where every individual can be a success.

I am the “lucky” twin. The one spared a life of being trapped inside my own mind. I was that annoying 10-year-old; I didn’t really know how lucky I was. I just thought I was totally awesome because I shopped at Aeropostale, and I went to the pool by myself to hang out with the “cool” kids. Many people ask if I read the book. No, I don’t wish to witness, secondhand, my parents’ struggles and affairs or relive my brother’s seizures and shrieks. Once I listened to a YouTube summary of the book, and scanned the internet for reviews. I couldn’t look my parents in the eyes for days. This book has affected me. It’s made me confront things I didn’t want to think about. It’s made me reflect on how my twin brother’s

tuberous sclerosis has made me think differently than other kids my age; most people will hopefully never witness a seizure. After seeing so many, it doesn’t faze me anymore. It’s forced me to mature faster. It’s made me stronger. I wish I had the chance to go back and change my name in the book. I’ll always be connected to my parents’ adultery, even. My mother once said, “Many men have problems expressing their feelings, [but] your father shares his with thousands of people.”

Should the minimum wage be increased?

20-3 The WSS editorial board voted in support of an increase.



We all know families have struggles. Parents fight, and siblings have drama. But your family secrets are called that for a reason - they stay within the walls of your home. Though for most of you, your father didn’t compile a book about it. My father had a book published on my parents’ failing marriage, my twin brother’s autism and the flood that destroyed segments of Iowa. My parents’ marriage seemed DESIGN BY//FIONA ARMSTRONG-PAVLIK

perfect - I liked to think so, anyway. However, my father’s “new office” was actually his new apartment. My siblings and I only spent one night there. There were no obvious signs of distress in my parents’ marriage, so I assumed everything was okay. My parents were good, or at least good enough to put up a facade to those closest to them. When the book was first published, I never thought about the fact that some of my friends’ parents would read it, or that it would make an appearance in People magazine. Or become featured in The New York Times. I assumed that his memoir would fade to the backs of bookshelves, barely getting any attention, like most books. In the book, one of the main subjects is my twin brother’s disability.


Perks of being a deviant

College craps



In a world where everyone is different, you’d think binaries would be the opposite of our solace. But different isn’t always good - it’s not always what people want to see, and it’s not always what makes parents, peers or the pack happy. That’s something I learned early, as most children do. At age seven, I’d decided I wanted to become a dancer or singer, much like Beyoncé or any of the other femmes fatales featured in the 2002 remake of “Lady Marmalade.” With the TV tuned to B.E.T., I would wait patiently for the song to come on, and then, with my imaginary spotlight burning holes in my retinas, I’d visualize myself on a runway, commanding just as much attention as Christina Aguilera. I can clearly remember one instance. My mom had a few of her friends over and the song had come on. She had goaded me into performing (as if I’d needed it) and I had dolefully obliged, but anyone watching could’ve seen by the look on my face that I was having the time of my life. I’d strut up and down the black and red area rug occasionally adding a cartwheel or a shimmy, applause and adulation cascading from every woman in the room. I was planning on ending it all off with a backbend into a backflip that I’d been practicing. Then my stepfather entered the room, and the mood changed almost instantly. His presence swiftly assassinated any compliments lingering on the tongues of onlookers. He made it all too clear that he’d found my odd obsession with effeminate vocals and sensual waist work unbecoming of a young man, at least in the way I obsessed over them. That was the first time I felt ashamed of something I enjoyed. 36 OPINION DECEMBER 2013

How could someone hate something that I loved so much? Regardless, I lived to please. So I put on my best macho man guise and removed dancing from my aspirations. That became the norm: I’d do something a little bit outside of my gender template, and he’d correct it with a deprecating slight or the occasional pop. That’s when I began to pay a lot of attention to how my older brother and all of my friends acted, and I realized it wasn’t an act. It was effortless, and I envied the approval that they didn’t have to work to receive. It didn’t matter how well I was doing in school or how helpful I was around the house. I never got a nod or any other affirming gesture. So I began to imitate them. After all, if you can’t beat ’em ... you know the rest. It was one of the greatest mistakes I’ve made with my life. All of the stuff I’d repressed led to a loss of identity. I still occasionally teeter on the edge, but for the most part I can say I’m all right. I don’t want to make my stepfather an irredeemable villain. Thing is, not everything he pushed me into turned out horribly wrong. He indirectly helped me find some sports that I actually care about. Sadly, that led me to abandon a lot of things that I’d already cared about. Had I continued with them, today I might be some good, but I can only speculate. I’ve begun picking some of those things back up and although I’m definitely not as good as I used to be, I’m getting there. I’m just happy to be moving back toward me, and away from whatever I was trying to be. So if you’re ever faced with the dilemma of being you or being accepted, just remember: there are perks to being a deviant.

I am assuming the topic of college apps has been re-hashed more than the Obama and the Choom Gang’s water pipe. But I feel it’s important to mention West High seniors’ yearly passage out of secondary education. After all, college apps form the backbone of senior year’s backbreaking work. It is my duty as an upperclassman to inform the lower-class-men-women and children of the struggle that is to come senior year, and maybe they can learn from my mistakes. First I’d like to address those underclassmen who don’t really plan on going to college (for non-financial reasons). “After all,” you’re probably saying out loud to this piece of paper in the middle of class, “I’m a rebel. I don’t want to do what my parents want me to do. I don’t like them anyway.” Deep-rooted family problems aside, college is actually a wonderful way to not need parents. It’s like an organized, socially acceptable form of running away that doesn’t make you homeless and stupid. Often I talk to people who want to stay out of school and in Iowa City because that’s the “independent thing to do.” No, it’s not. The second you break your leg and realize that your weed money plus living expenses nowhere near covers the cost of a brace, you’ll be hobbling back to Mommy and Daddy to make sure you don’t die. Fortunately, many Trojans are on the straight and narrow, excited about going to Kirkwood, Kaplan or Harvard. However, some of these West Highers have a common misconception: colleges take a holistic approach to choosing who to put in their classrooms. False. The Com-

mon Application activities tab only allows about 22 words to describe an after-school activity you partake in. So good luck writing about your extensive ventures in speech and debate - you’re forced to narrow years of practice and tournaments into a couple sweet words. At least the essay allows you to express yourself, right? Wrong. A truly good college essay takes a real life event, cuts away all the nittygritty reality and replaces it with a cute, idealistic story in which you really learned a lesson. It is not really the college’s fault that the application process is as watered down as the Choom Gang’s water pipe I mentioned earlier - there are so many applicants per year to these colleges that sacrifices must be made for efficiency. In fact, many schools have an incentive to not consider your application. Take, for example, the application for UC Berkeley. The application process, run through a website that reminds me of, is long-winded and packed full of constant, random information boxes that remind you how selective the school is. Or Carnegie Mellon, whose application brochure from the mail contains different information about required SAT subject tests than the university’s website. I realized that if I were a first generation Hispanic immigrant who wanted to apply to a college instead of a rich, privileged, barely mature white guy, I would have no idea where to start. Thus, little underclassmen, you need to start early. College apps are like a presidential race. The earlier you start, the better, and it’s all about portraying an easy to digest, family-friendly version of yourself that will easily be elected. So stop lying on a couch, get up and start lying on an application! DESIGN BY//FIONA ARMSTRONG-PAVLIK

P.O.S. of the month

1996 Toyota Corolla

Lilly Pypes ’14

The speedometer will randomly stop working, so I have to hit underneath the dashboard to try to get it to work.”

The car only has one hubcap. One time while I was driving one of the hubcaps fell off, so I pulled over and threw it in the back.”

There is rust on the sides of the car, and my dad hit my car the other morning, leaving a lot of dents on the side.”

The radio will randomly stop or it will fastforward through parts of the song it’s playing. To get it to start playing again I just hit a bunch of buttons.”


Complete the

lyrics With Theresa Juhl



WSS: I came in like a wrecking ball, I never hit so hard in JUHL: I will crush Miley Cyrus WSS: Don’t you ever say I just walked away I will always JUHL: do my homework WSS: I never meant to start a war, I just wanted you to JUHL: Give me coffee WSS: All I wanted was to break


your walls, all you ever did was JUHL: Stalk the halls


WSS: I’ve never seen a diamond in the flesh, I cut my teeth on JUHL: candy canes WSS: We don’t care, we’re driving JUHL: Corvettes WSS: My friends and I we’ve

cracked the code, we count our dollars on the train to the JUHL: movies

“WAKE ME UP” by Avicii

WSS: I wish that I could stay forever this young, not afraid JUHL: to ride a rollercoaster WSS: So wake me up when JUHL: my phone is charged COMPILED by//ANNA MONDANARO





4 for more coverage go to

scan this with your smartphone to link to our website

Local Lights No-shave November With the holiday 32 male staff memseason upon us, the bers at West took the WSS checked out the pledge to go razor-less to raise best local light displays. Check $6,189.45 dollars for West’s 2nd out what they found. Annual Mini Dance Marathon. Compiled By// Megumi Kitamoto and Velarchana Santhana Find photos and videos online.





“Doctor who” 50th anniversary On Nov. 23, the “Doctor Who” 50th anniversary special was shown in over 1500 theaters in 94 countries. See reactions from West High students on the web. COMPilED by//Danial syed picture obtained from//the bbc, associated press

38 DECEMBER 2013

Catching Fire Review The latest installment of the Hunger Games films was released Nov. 22 to a sea of hungry fans. The film seems to have struck a chord with its audience; watch the review to find out more.



state dance team competition

The West High Dance Team went to the Iowa State Dance Team Competition on Dec. 6. View photos on the WSS’s website.


photo by//BROOKE LOFGREEN AND ABBY burgess

facts about brian sauser Did you know that Mr. Sauser hasn’t eaten potato chips, doughnuts or drunk coffee since 2003? Find nine other facts about him online.



compiled by//Brittani langland

COMPilED by//Meredith cullen AND SHIRLEY WANG


Past presents West students took a trip down memory lane and shared some of their old holiday photos.

TOP LEFT: At age 3, Martin Goree ’15 says hello to a shopping mall Santa Claus. MIDDLE LEFT: Lauren Dunkelberg ’14 beams in front of a pile of unopened presents. BOTTOM LEFT: Clutching a present, a 6-year-old Micah Otterbein ’15 grins in excitement. BELOW: Maddy Cookman ’17 poses with Santa. BOTTOM RIGHT: Kiara Mitchell ’14 smiles in front of a decorated Christmas tree.


2014 “ “ “ “ “ “

New year’s resolutions The year has come to an end, and 2014 brings a chance to start over. What’s your New Year’s resolution?

COMPilED by//Brittani langland

To not rush at the end for yearbook deadlines. I want to pace myself, so I don’t go into robot panic mode.”

Resolutions are too mainstream. Besides, I’m perfect, I don’t need to change my habits.”

Nidhi Patel ’15

Tyrek Allen ’15

My resolution is to drop a lot of time in most of my events in swimming.” Elaina Martz ’17

I want to increase my practice times for violin.” Taryn Nishimura ’14

I want to learn the cello and the banjo, and maybe even write a book for the heck of it.”

Maja Dilly ’17

To be more organized.” Hassan Ali ’14


December 20 issue  
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