Page 1

LIKE US wsspaper

[05] NEWS



FOLLOW US @wsspaper


As standards for academic proficiency for schools climb higher and higher through No Child Left Behind, more schools are being labeled “in need of assistance.”

[14-15] FEATURE


The fall play Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opens tonight in the West High auditorium. Meet the lead actors and get a sneak peek from rehearsals.

[23-25] IN-DEPTH

cover story

In light of the district’s disproportionate minority representation in special education programs, the West Side Story investigates racial stereotypes.

[34] A&E


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

all by myself

West students show their creative sides with these artsy do-it-yourself projects.

WSSpaper staff

Anna Mondanaro Katie Mons Amelia Moser Hannah Muellerleile 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

Designer Managing Editor Editor-in-Chief Design Co-editor, Photographer 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 ART by//jaeho lee


ycle this


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


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

Bailey Ryan ’14 gives Alison Brownsberger ’16 a piggyback ride during the Best Buddies Fall Fun Fair.

Please R

photo by//madie miller

{Design by SHIRLEY WANG }

FORMER TEACHER ANNOUNCED AS FINALIST Former West High English teacher Mary Szybist’s book of poetry, Incarnadine was announced as a finalist for a National Book Award on Oct. 16th on MSNBC. A National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship winner and a 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, Szybist is no stranger to literary accolades. In a review of her book Granted, The Christian Science Monitor said “with her intelligence and understated grace, Szybist may become one of the bestk n o w n

writers of her generation.” Now an Associate Professor of English at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, Szybist taught at West High over a decade ago. Former West High English teacher Carolyn Van Zante was asked if she was surprised about Szybist’s finalist status. “Not at all,” Van Zante said. “Mary is a perfectionist who works on her inspiration. What I mean is that the basis of the poetic idea is the inspiration, but the end product is the result of painstaking attention to detail.”



insta (in-stuh)

iDE Ssto ries

COMPilED by//fiona armstrong-pavlik

West High social studies teacher and boys tennis coach Mitch Gross was recently named the 2013 Outstanding Iowa High School Coach by the United States Tennis Association. Gross has coached the boys for 12 years to a 17827 overall record, culminating in four state championships, two of which the team earned in the last two years. “Coach Gross has been blessed with many excellent tennis players over his tenure. He has expertise [in] putting together teams that contend for state titles,” said Karl Wenzel, a member of the West tennis team. If West wins their third straight state championship this upcoming season, they would be the first 2A school in the state to do so.

Who inspires you?

@RoblesGraham: 2 Chainz is my inspiration

Zach Richmond ’14 Robles ’16 Graham

@chasebreh drake

Chase Duerlinger ’16

@missmyyuhmimi My grandfather, that life is precious and each day is a blessing Myriah Boyer ’15


Jimmy McMillian

Walter Robles ’14 COMPilED by//lucy blair

really, really strong

We have a lot of

younger people. we have some really good sophomores, freshmen, and even a few eighth graders.”

worthy of being instagramed, cool “are you participating in wolf shirt Wednesday? that’s so insta.”


@wsspaper asked West High students

-Amy Xiong ’15 of this year’s math team, which placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at the Mount Mercy competition.

2500 2000 NEWS BY THE NUMBERS: Run for the Schools

Runners registered for the Run for the Schools Race on October 20th, a 300 person increase from last year.

Thousand Hy-Vee cookies were consumed at the finish

COMPilED by//Amelia moser photo by//Amelia moser

JUNIORS NEEDED TO HELP PLAN PROM Leadership and prom may seem like two very distant words, but they are able to come together through Junior Class Officers. Havilah Peters, English teacher and organizer of Junior Class Officer encourages all students to sign up. “It’s a great resumé builder, and it is not nearly as much work as it sounds and it is a great way to get involved. If nobody wants to [be Junior Class Officer], then we will not have a prom,” said Peters. Contact Peters in room 104 if interested.

COMPilED by//amelia moser


{Design by Meredith cullen}

Iowa City gets a makeover Downtown By nick deerberg

Recently, downtown Iowa City has been seeing many changes. The downtown area has always been a work in progress, but it was never planned too extensively until recently. “This is the first time we’ve set an agenda for the future of Iowa City,” said Nancy Bird, Executive Director of Iowa City Downtown District.

Sycamore Mall

By julia truszkowski

After the closing of many of its stores, most notably Von Maur, the Sycamore Mall is to be renamed the Iowa City Marketplace and will undergo several changes. Mark Seabold, head architect and leader of Shive-Hattery’s commercial sector, said the project is still in its early stages. “The goal is to create a socially interactive retail environment in the Iowa City area with lots of different reasons to visit, including shopping,

Hancher By hilah kohen

World-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the musical Grease and West High’s graduation don’t often appear in the same sentence, but before the flood of 2008, they had all appeared in the same concert hall. Until floodwaters damaged Hancher Auditorium beyond repair, the iconic building attracted a wide variety of performances and created fond memories for many in the Iowa City area and beyond. Louis Ho ’16 still remembers how he felt as a seven-year-old violinist

In the near future, the city of Iowa City will be putting into place new developments, along with some local favorites, like the knitted sweaters that decorated trees last year. The downtown area will be seeing new buildings, new businesses and an extended beautification process within the next few years. They will even be cleaning up alleys. Despite these new plans, downtown Iowa City will always work in progress. “I don’t think we’ll ever be done,” Bird said.

art by//anna furlong

entertainment, dining and events,” Seabold said. “We will be working with the existing tenants as well as bringing in new tenants.” According to him, there are several potential occupants. “There is currently a lot of interest in this location from a number of local, regional and national tenants, but nothing that can be disclosed currently,” Seabold said. Attention from national businesses could affect the type of business the mall receives. “This is a great opportunity to incorporate new national trends in the commercial market into Iowa City, and Sycamore Mall is proving to be a great place to start,” Seabold said in a recent press re-

lease. “The mall has seen its share of vacancies in recent months, but this rebranding will open the area up to greater possibilities, while synergizing with its established tenants.” Seabold hopes for the new and improved mall to provide a unique experience. “By researching many different tenant concepts from schools to grocery to fabrication studios, the thought is to create a variety of

reasons to visit the Iowa City Marketplace and provide something very different from the other retail experiences in the local area,” he said in a press release.

in the Preucil School of Music’s annual concert at Hancher. “You go out there and the crowd is this enormous expanse of people in the audience. It felt really scary, but it was also kind of exhilarating,” Ho said. Five years after the flood, construction of new facilities for Hancher and the University of Iowa’s School of Music is well underway. “We are currently on budget and on schedule. [The week of Sept. 30], the contractor completed the largest [concrete] pour for the entire project,” said Rod Lehnertz, the University of Iowa’s director of planning, design and construction. The new Hancher building will include a three-level lobby, a cafe

with a view of the Iowa River and an 1800-seat auditorium. The facility will have more total floor space than three football fields and will be located above the 500-year flood zone. Devin Hedlund ’14 was in elementary school when she performed in the operas Carmen and La Bohème at Hancher.

She has high hopes for Hancher’s new facility. “I just hope it will be welcoming to a lot of different kinds of performances and that it’ll be able to host the kind of groups that it had before,” she said. “I hope it’s a nice, big performing space.”


Going paperless

{Design by lauren knudson}

EATS Club works to reduce printing for teachers, students By lauren knudson

West High’s Environmental Activists Teaching Sustainability (EATS) club is working to reduce the amount of paper West High uses, mainly by reducing printing. “[Paper reduction] is a thing that we can do and ... paper [usage] … really impacts the environment,” said Olivia Sheff ’15, a member of EATS. This year EATS has expanded their paper reducing program. “We started two years ago, but ... we started more at the beginning of this year with the paper counting systems,” Sheff said. Convincing people at West to reduce printing is no easy task. “I would have to say that the hard-

est part about limiting printing is monitoring everyone’s daily paper use and setting boundaries,” said EATS member Nidhi Patel ’15. “We sent out an email to all the teachers [asking them to reduce paper] and we speak at faculty meetings a lot,” she said. “[With students] we’ve talked about what kind of impact that it

has - we’ve compared it to how many trees that would be and ... how many animal deaths, how many things like that because animals tend to [have a larger] impact [on] students.” Some teachers are trying hard to cut down on paper usage on their own. “I was already doing foursheets-to-one-side style of

photo by//lauren knudson

printing and margin manipulation, [and] class sets,” said social studies teacher Brady Shutt. Although teachers are cutting down on paper, reducing printing is not always easy. “I worry that if people are just looking at it on the screen and they are reading it ... the analysis and long term recall is going to be diminished, because they are not active; they are not sitting there with a piece of paper that they are writing questions on,” Shutt said. EATS is hoping to expand their paper reduction program to the school district as a whole. “We are hoping that our kind of paper conservation program can get all around the district and just overall use less [paper],” Sheff said.

NCLB to require 100% proficiency A continually increasing set of proficiency standards through No Child Left Behind is making it harder for schools to keep up.

no child left behind

By matthew murry

35.9 % of iowa state schools are in need of assistance *increase of 6.8% from last year

For the eighth year in a row, the Iowa City Community School district has been deemed “in need of assistance” by No Child Left Behind, educational reform legislation spearheaded by the George W. Bush administration in hopes of improving the national education system. Schools’ proficiencies are judged by state tests; in the case of Iowa, the Iowa Assessments. “If you test above the 40th percentile rank, by state standards and percentile rank, then you’re proficient. Most of our students test well above that,” said West Principal Jerry Arganbright. While that may be true, proficiency for a district becomes more and more difficult to attain every

two years. “In the ten years since it’s been passed, they’ve raised the percent that have to be above the 40th percentile rank. After 2015, it has to be 100% of our students to test above the 40th percentile rank to be deemed not in need of assistance. This year the percent is like 94%. So 94% have to test above 40th percentile rank in order for us not to be on this list,” Arganbright said. When districts fail to meet proficiency standards, sanctions that force schools to provide extra educational assistance to families are imposed. With both West and City having top ACT scores in the state, it raises the question: are these standards too high? ICCSD Director of Instruction

Pam Ehly thinks so. “100% proficiency is not realistic. There are a variety of reasons that students might not be proficient in reading and/or mathematics including a disability [or] unusual life events that impede learning,” she said. Arganbright has a similar point of view. “I’ve never been hot on this idea of deeming schools in need of assistance or not in need of assistance based on the standards they set,” he said. “Frankly, I think they’re ridiculous, and unattainable. If you have any kind of diverse population of kids, it’s unattainable to say that 100% of our student body will test above the 40th percentile rank on those assessments. It’s not going to happen.”

8% of state districts are in need of assistance *Decrease of %.05 from last year 100% - the proficiency requirement for next year. *Collected from the Iowa Department of education Compiled by//matthew murry

The U.S.’s average 1200 tornadoes per year is more than any other country.} news NOVEMBER 2013 5

{Design by hannah merrill}


WhaTin the World?

An aquarium tank in Maidenhead Aquatics in Woking, Surrey was found empty. Staff were puzzled why all the fish in the 200 gal. tank were missing, leaving only a Bobbit Worm on Oct. 7. It has been presumed that it ate all the fish in a period of 10 years.


A Diplodocus dinosaur skeleton found in the United States in 2009 is being auctioned off at the Summers Place Auctions in West Sussex, England on Nov. 23. It is expected this skeleton will be bought for £600,000 which is roughly $972,000.



A Norwegian man recently broke the record for the world’s highest handstand. On Oct. 18, Eskil Ronningsbakken performed a one-armed handstand 2,000 ft. above a fjord. “It is 600m above the fjord all the way down, so if you fall there is no way back,” Ronningsbakken said in an interview for The Telegraph. COMPILED by//meredith cullen

After a car was left in a Beijing, China parking lot over a year ago, it is being dubbed the “Zombie Car,” on social media. Over the year vines have grown over the car, so thick and thorny police were unable to remove them. The previous owner, Wang Ping, revealed he sold the car three years ago, but couldn’t remember anything about the buyer.

FAST FACTS on the Facilities Master Plan, which will help establish the ICCSD’s third high school


RUmor BUster Black band uniforms? It’s official: the marching band uniforms will be replaced next year, but there is speculation over what these new uniforms will look like. Band director Rob Medd did reveal however, “[The new uniforms] will look very different than the ones we have now.” The band directors have drawn three different drafts for uniforms, and all include black pants.

CONFIRMED Cafeteria remodel? Since West High was built in 1968, the cafeteria hasn’t been updated. Principal Jerry Arganbright recognized how outdated the cafeteria and kitchen are, and confirmed plans to update these areas. A timeline hasn’t been set for these renovation projects, but they are in West High’s future.

CONFIRMED The Facilities Master Plan will create almost 3,000 more student seats in the school district.

There are 34 projects in the Facilities Master Plan: 18 of which will start by June 30, 2018.

An estimated $120 million bond initiative that will help fund the plan will be approved in 2017.

COMPILED by//Meredith cullen


Students audition for All-State By Anthony Pizzimenti

A disorganized, nervous and tentative group of musicians walked into the Fairfield High School gym Saturday morning with one objective: make it to All-State. 86 students (28 each from the choir and orchestra and 30 from band) traveled to Fairfield to vie for the top musical spots in the state, with some students leaving as early as 6:30 a.m. Qualifying for All-State is an achievement, considering the amount of competition for parts; some instruments were only allotted one spot. “My practice times have gone up 400% this month,” said violinist Mary Li ’16. Since the beginning of the year, orchestra, band and choir students have religiously practiced their respective instruments. Competition, as well as the recognition of being in All-State, spurs a drive and an aspi-

ration to be the best. “All-State just kind of provides the pressure to practice as often as possible,” Li said.




tHIS MONTH” -Mary Li ’16

cept” lists are what create drive and motive. However, pressure often takes the performer under its wing. The talent pool in the building is on a level of insane proportion. “I wasn’t worried, but it sunk in at the audition,” said tenor Noah Tiegs ’16. While the young musicians are involved in their All-State auditions, the teachers stand by with a belief in their trainees. Each instructor has seen what his students can do, and have confidence in their abilities. “Just trust Haas and Benson ... and grow as a musician,” Tiegs said.

making their displeasure known,” said Mitch Gross, social studies teacher and Coralville City council member. Most city elections in Iowa are Many people are being offered small and do not receive much large amounts of money to run for attention. However, the 2013 office. Coralville city council “People were offered and mayoral elections are up to 20 thousand dolgaining publicity. lars to run,” Gross said. Coralville has accumu“To … put it in perspeclated debt over the past tive, ... I raised 47 hunfew years through some dred dollars (in 2007)... controversial developpeople thought that was ment projects in the Iowa a little outlandish and River Landing. This controversy has Yair Abramoff ’15 now people are being offered 20 thousand dolcaught the attention of lars just to run.” Americans for Prosperity, a nonThe effect of those offers on the profit political advocacy group election is not yet known for certain, with strong connections to busibut Gross thinks the out-of-state nessmen David and Charles campaigning is backfiring. Koch. “I think it is actually having a “Some of the policies that the negative effect for those using [the city has adopted [have] obviously offers],” he said. “I think a lot of peoupset developers and certain ple are turned off by the presence of people, and they are definitely

current Events



The Iowa River Landing recently added what to its outside decor? A) Flowers B) Light posts C) Trees D) Sculptures

Iowa City just had a festival celebrating its history in what?

All-State is a huge event, attracting students from all over the state to come and show off their talent in front of judges. The atmosphere is that of a chaotic but prepared group of nervous teenagers, all hoping that the lists posted at the end of the day will contain their name. The “ac-

A) Literacy B) Music C) Education D) Art

Outside money influencing Coralville elections By lauren knudson

{Design by Danial DaniAl Syed} syed}

Americans for Prosperity and other Koch Brothers-funded entities. I’ve heard from more constituents upset about being contacted at their door and over the phone from these groups regarding the election then probably any other issue since I’ve been on city council.” Not everyone believes that it should be a problem. “I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing that they get money from outside organizations, but if the public doesn’t like candidates receiving money in this way then it could hurt them,” said Yair Abramoff ’15. Coralville resident Michael Cho ’17 doesn’t believe that outside interest groups should be able to influence the Coralville elections. “It doesn’t help Coralville as a city when we have outside influences,” he said. “I feel like it is just an election for the general public instead of the people of Coralville, which is what it should be about.”


Iowa is currently considering putting a passenger train from Iowa City to where? A) Minneapolis B) Chicago C) Des Moines D) Madison

Iowa City is working on bringing what service to apartment buildings? A) Bus Service B) Curbside trash C) Curbside recycling D) Controlled rent




Which West High group recently won a competition at Mount Mercy University? A) Jazz Band B) Debate C) Dance Team D) Math Team

Answers: 1. D, 2. A, 3. B, 4. C, 5. D COMPilED by//lauren knudson





For many, traveling the world is only a distant dream. That dream became a reality for Cole Peters ’16 and Jake Peters ’17 last year, who took the year off to tour the U.S. and overseas with their family. “My parents really wanted to go on this trip for a long time, and I guess this is the year they just decided to take off and go,” Jake said. In the summer of 2012, the family left in an RV and toured the western part of the U.S. The highlights of that trip, according to Jake, were the many beaches they visited and seeing Mount Rushmore, as well as the






// C


warm weather. The family then took a trip to Canada, where they went zip lining and stayed at some parks, and then came back to Iowa to stay for the winter. On Jan. 1 of this year, the family left for Florida, where they went to load onto a cruise ship, which took them to Australia and New Zealand, as well as parts of South America. Jake described the cruise as “probably one of the best experiences I have ever had,” and particularly enjoyed seeing the Great Barrier Reef. They also toured

China and Japan until the summer of 2013. The highlights included seeing the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. “In Asia we saw a lot of temples, and a lot of Asian culture,” Jake said. During the trip, their parents home-schooled the boys, and they would try to get as much school work done as possible whenever they stopped somewhere. Their mother even taught Cole Latin. “It wasn’t that big of a transition,” Jake said. “It was

pretty easy to go [from public schooling to home-schooling].” Other parts of the trip weren’t as easy. “The hardest part was staying in an RV with my parents and brothers for a long time,” Jake said. While the family was traveling in the RV, one person had to sleep on the ground every night, and they took turns doing so. They also couldn’t play sports while traveling in the RV, and only could contact their friends through social media. Despite these minor sacrifices, the trip turned out to be worth it. “My favorite part of the trip was learning about the different cultures, and seeing how people lived,” Cole said.






{Design by apoorva raikwar}

Bed, Breakfast

and Beyond

By shirley wang

politics, culture and philosophy. Welcome to the Historic Phillips House, the local bed and breakfast Built in 1927, the colonial-style mansion looks over the Iowa River and new home of Kate Miller ’14 on N. Linn Street, inviting all sorts and Alex Miller ’14. After months of deliberation, of guests through its door. The house is somewhat bare from the their family made the decision to recent move, but every piece of move across town in August to take furniture is thoughtfully picked advantage of an opportunity they out and rejuvenated, as antiques just couldn’t pass up. “I’ve been looking at [the house] often are. The kitchen smells like for about three years. [We decided tea and fresh bread and sunlight to buy it now] because it was the fills the solarium - all amidst the light chatter of people discussing right price,” their mother, Robin Christianson, said. While it may be called a bed and breakfast, the house serves more as a guest house - a convenient alternative to renting out a costly apartment and maintaining a home. photos by//alora kraus

“I love meeting the cool people who come in,” Kate said. “Everybody here is so friendly and they’re from cool places around the world.” The Millers have had guests from India, Indonesia and Japan, among other countries. Guests will stay for a week or up to 6 months at a time, typically working on research projects or teaching at the University of Iowa. “It’s fairly inexpensive for [guests] to stay here and the University’s paying for [their stay]. The University has a contract with us, so they’re sending people here,” Kate said. Many other bed and breakfast houses line North Linn Street as well, all popular for their short walking distance from the University of Iowa Campus, Cambus route stops and downtown Iowa City. “It’s different than a traditional bed and breakfast because you don’t have to make a huge breakfast every morning,” Alex said. “My dad will make a big breakfast a couple

times a week but he doesn’t have to do it every day.” Every morning, Alex and Kate’s father Kim Miller wakes up at 5:30 to start the coffee. A little bit later, Robin sets out food for breakfast, which she’ll clean up during her lunch break from her full time job as the manager of Infinity Skin Care in Coralville. A housekeeper comes every Wednesday to clean around the house. It’s a busy life - but it’s one that is certainly worth it for the Millers. “It’s a big change but it’s definitely been interesting. I never would’ve met these people if I didn’t live here,” Kate said.

Coming Soon...

art used with permission from//neummon monson architects

When the county said no, the Youngs said yes, pushing an ordinance through the Johnson County Board of Supervisors; an amendment that allowed the family of Elliot Young ’14 and Grace Young ’16 to begin converting the barn on their property into a fullfunctioning bed and breakfast. The proposal had previously been blocked because of zoning restrictions established to prevent

the over-development of rural areas. The Youngs expect to have their business running by next fall. “The architects we’ve been working with have already designed [the bed and breakfast] for the most part,” Elliot said. “We’ve been working with them fairly closely, so by the time we want to start building we will have a general plan or almost an exact idea of what we want to do with it.”


{Design by Velarchana santhana}

Swiss miss

The WSS talks to Julia De Martino about the differences between the US and Switzerland.

By jaycie weathers

Photo by//nick deerberg

The pilot of WSS

The first WSS advisor, Betty Tucker, describes the differences of the newspaper, past and present. By Lucy Blair

There, in the corner room of Melrose Meadows Assisted Living, overlooking her beloved school, West High, sits Betty Lou Tucker. She animatedly describes game nights, school days and how she sees the school light up. She was the very first West Side Story adviser in 1968. Even though Tucker only worked as adviser for four years, she is the one behind the newspaper that exists today. She explained that having a newspaper was especially important due to how new the school was. “The paper brought everyone together,” Tucker said. There was the yearbook, but that was only a yearly event and West, as a new high school, needed something to pull everyone together, according to Tucker. Early on, they held a contest to name the new school paper. Utimately, it was named after West Side Story, the musical which first premiered in 1958. While the name remains the same, lots of other things have changed about the paper since Tucker was involved. Transporting the paper was quite different, as they would arrive from the printer unaccompanied on a city bus from West Branch. “It really was quite a commute,”

Tucker said. “Everything started small,” Tucker said. She describes the 1968 version of the paper as basically a “big gossip column” for West High. Now, she said, there’s more opportunity to cover more serious issues. One reason that’s true is because communication has changed over the years. One can connect with someone much more easily since the 60’s, such as through social networking and email. “High school papers are so much more important today; it prepares you for the real world and makes you work together. Everyone is so much more involved today, [too],” she said. Tucker is the mother of West Side Story. Today, she reminisces about the paper, and her knowledge about West High in previous years is as impressive as her ability to remember the first issue. Her parting advice to journalists today? “Keep close to the students, and their interests and even their values,” she said. Tucker felt her own high school experiences helped her transition to West. She grew up in Davenport and went to what she described as a large and quite diverse high school that prepared her for the evergrowing population and diversity of West High.

Julia De Martino, a transfer student, used to live about 5,000 miles from West, in Switzerland, until the 16-year-old packed her things and moved to Iowa City. De Martino is living with Riley Finer ’15 and her family for the rest of the school year. “My godmother lived here when she was younger … she knew that I wanted to go away for a year, so she sent some emails to her friends that lived in America, and the Finer family was the one that answered first and was really excited about having me here,” De Martino said. Adjusting to American life was surreal for De Martino. “There are a lot of things from America that you see in the movies or on the news, and when I arrived [in America] it was like I was in a movie,” she said. “People in Iowa are really nice ... and more open. When they meet someone new, they are going to talk to them.” A little thing that surprised her about America was the perk of free refills at restaurants, because according to her, in Switzerland, restaurants would never offer that. The way the week works at West is something De Martino had to get used to when she went to school as well. “The hard thing is that the week is longer. Each day has the same schedule. In my town we have a

schedule for the week, not the day,” she said. De Martino described that in Switzerland, they would visit only a few classes a day, and every day of the week entails different classes, somewhat like a block schedule. “[On some days] we would finish school early or start later, depending on which day it is. Here, with the same schedule each day, you can’t tell the difference between Monday and Tuesday,” De Martino said. West has many options for elective classes and De Martino is taking full advantage of those opportunities by enrolling in a lot of art classes. “In my town I got two hours a week of [art class], and here, each day, I get three hours of art classes,” she said. De Martino embraces the change that America has brought especially the food. “[My favorite thing about America] is the peanut butter,” she said. “I [don’t know] what the best thing is here yet. For now, it’s that I have a bathroom in my room ... and the driving. It’s cool that you can drive at 16 here... There are so many things, I can’t choose one as my favorite.” Leaving your family and friends for a year to go to an entirely new country is no small feat. De Martino offers this advice to others who wish to live abroad: “Just be involved with what you’re doing.”

Photo by//abby burgess


{Design by Velarchana santhana}

PHOTOS by//Hannah Muellerleile

Dining diversely By aaron carter

With over 2,000 students attending West High, there is room for a lot of variety; perhaps this is best exemplified by events like the Diversity Dinner, hosted by the group Successful Students Inspired by Knowledge and Education (SSIKE), Oct. 17. SSIKE drew a lot of attention to this event, as people from a variety of clubs showed up to eat and converse with other students and clubs. The food, just like West High, was very diverse. The

food consisted of many foods that related to different cultures. They had classic American foods: chicken, pizza, salad, but they also had some Chinese and Middle Eastern dishes. The Diversity Dinner expressed the diversity of West High many different ways. The food, the setting and most of all the people. The way the students talked to each other and exchanged information about each other’s cultures helped make the Diversity Dinner live up to its hype.

ABOVE LEFT: Ala Mohamed ’17 is dressed in a traditional outfit. ABOVE RIGHT: The Olive Garden was one of many food sponsors for the event. LEFT: Parents wait in line for their food. BOTTOM LEFT: Molly Kuehn ’15 and Ceci White-Baer ’15 choose from a variety of options for their dinner. BELOW: Sisters Makalah Davis ’16 and Mariah Davis ’16 eat as they watch the SSIKE presentation.


{Design by TYLER VOSS}

Rooting for family The WSS investigates the familial roots of West


High students, uncovering “celebri-trees,” “political fir-gures,” and even “royal-tree.” COMPilED by//apoorva raikwar & Danial syed

Addy Taylor ’14

“Taylor” is a fairly common last name in the U.S., and while they may be all distantly related, few have the ability to say that they are related to one of the most famous Taylors of all time -- five-time Grammy Award winner American singer-songwriter and guitarist James Taylor. He is a second cousin to Addy Taylor’s ’14 dad, making him her second cousin once removed. “It’s kind of cool to hear when one of his songs come one because it’s like “‘Hey! I know him!’” Taylor said. While she has never actually met the renowned musician, he still plays a large part in her family. “We have a family cabin in North Carolina and we have big family reunions so when we talk, everybody uses him as a center point of conversation,” she said. In any case, she’s got a friend in him.


Myriah Boyer ’15

Perhaps one of Iowa’s most famous natives is the 31st president of the United States, Herbert Hoover. Most students who went to an Iowa City School District elementary school can remember going on at least one field trip to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum and Library in West Branch, Iowa. While most got giddy just walking through Hoover’s actual home, Myriah Boyer ’15 likely thought nothing much of it because his mother is the sister to my great grandfather. Although it may have seemed like a bigger deal when she was younger, now she feels that, “having an old president as a cousin doesn’t impact [her] in anyway, besides being able to say he’s [her] cousin.” She does see some similarities between herself and Hoover, though. “Herbert Hoover … was very outdoorsy, so I see that trait in me and in my family. We are very nature-oriented. It’s been passed down in my family from relatives that knew him that Herbert was very determined and competitive, and I can be that way a lot of the time,” Boyer said.




“I am related to Leon Trotsky on my mother’s side. We look really similar, and I’m also related to one of the Mayflower voyagers. I’m also related to Sir Thomas Fairfax, Oliver Cromwell’s right hand man, lieutenant and commissioner of war,” said Callum Scott ’14. For many people, connecting with ancestors is a difficult task. This is not the case for Scott, whose relationship to one of his famous relatives is quite tangible. Simply put, Scott resembles Leon Trotsky very, very closely. When asked whether he saw himself in his famous family members, Scott replied, “Yes, we look the freaking same.” “But,” he continued, “[not in terms of] how they acted. I’m not a crazy dictator or a pilgrim or a Bolshevik revolutionary.” Scott attributes these “crazy” and “revolutionary” characteristics to his relatives’ time periods. “I think they would have been less violent if they had video games to keep them happy,” he said. “I’d like to be famous,” Scott added, “[but] it would have to be for something important. I want to be more than some footnote in an AP textbook.”



“I’m related to King Henry IV of England, and General Robert E. Lee’s father. My parents don’t consider themselves related to Lee himself, because Lee didn’t have any kids. I don’t really understand it,” said Rob Nelson ’14. Charles Robert Nelsen II, also known as Rob Nelsen, is ¼ British, ¼ German, ⅛ Finnish, 1/16 Chinese, and 1/16 Hungarian--more interesting yet, one of these bloodlines is royal--or at least it could have been. Nelsen’s family (on his mother’s side) is descended from the House of Lancaster, which contributed three kings to Britain. However, Nelsen’s ancestors were exiled from England during the War of the Roses, a series of civil wars that lasted from 1455 to 1487. Although the House of Lancaster technically won in the end, the victor, King Henry VII, started his own House, the House of Tudor. “It’s very amusing to me whenever I can say I’m descended from a House of Royalty that lost,” Nelsen said. “I mean, that sucks. It’s not really royal.” When asked whether he thought he’d become famous (for the same reasons his ancestors were), he replied, “not at all for the same reasons. My whole entire family on both sides is involved with science and industry. Even my royal ancestors supported the sciences. But as a career, I want to put technics and musical ability together. [By becoming] an Audio Engineer, I can take my musical ability and combine it with my technical past ... that’s what I’ll be famous for, if at all.”



Chike Ukah ’14’s grandfather is Igwe Nwosu Ukah, the chief of Mgbowo in Nigeria. “It actually makes me a prince of Mgbowo, which is pretty cool,” Ukah said. Although Chike has heard a lot about his grandfather, he has never gotten a chance to actually meet him. “People in my family are always telling me I look like him and we share the same middle name, Nwosu,” he said, “I think it’s pretty cool that somebody in my family is so well-respected by so many people.” Because Ukah has never been able to meet him, he feels that their relationship doesn’t significantly affect him in any way, “but it has given me a pretty cool twitter name [@PrinceUkah_35].”


{Design by LYDIA HINMAN}

FAR LEFT: Willy Wonka (Paul Curry ’14) talks to the Golden Ticket winners and their parents in his giant factory. LEFT: Augustus Glup (Derek Steffen ’14) enjoys a very large chocolate bar.

A look into the Chocolate Factory photos by//alora kraus

LEFT: Noah Tiegs ‘16 as the narrator opens the play. BOTTOM: Charlie (Arianna Rodriguez ’17) and Grandpa Joe (Jack Christensen ’14) observe Charlie’s Golden Ticket before going to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

A distraught Mrs. Glup (Alex Elridge ’14) is led by Oompa Loompas to where her son Augustus will soon exit from the giant chocolate tube he was sucked up.


A golden opportunity

{Design by JAYCIE WEATHERS} photos by//nick deerberg

Theatre West is coming back with a sweet new production. Meet the main cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which plays tonight at 7:30 pm and Nov. 2 at 2:00 and 7:30 pm in the auditorium.

By megumi Kitamoto

By blake oetting

By Julia Truszkowski

In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Grandpa Joe is wise and knowledgeable about the chocolate factory to which Charlie is invited. Much like seasoned Grandpa Joe, Jack Christensen ’14 is no newcomer to Theatre West. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which will be performed in the auditorium on Nov. 1 and 2, will be Christensen’s sixth show with Theatre West. “[It’s different from the other shows I’ve done because] I’m always at rehearsals, so it is much more intense. I really like Grandpa Joe because he is such a fun guy and a cool character,” Christensen said. To Christensen, Grandpa Joe is a very important role. “I’m not sure if I will audition for Annie [the musical in the spring], so this will be my big going-out show. I want to convey to the audience the message of having a good time with life through Grandpa Joe,” Christensen said. Christensen draws inspiration for acting from many different places, near and far. “I’ve always liked acting, and that shows in my extracurriculars because I do speech and I am going to direct the SPIT plays. [English teacher] Mrs. Peters really inspired me to continue after I took Introduction to Theatre. I am also inspired by Chris Farley because he is such a funny guy,” Christensen said. Although acting is very important to him now, he is not sure whether he will pursue an acting career. “I would love to continue [acting] as a side hobby,” Christensen said.

Lots of students have difficulty transitioning into high school. At a school like West High it is easy to get lost in the shuffle. Arianna Rodriguez ’17, however, has not only successfully integrated into high school, but separated herself from the crowd by grabbing the lead role in the upcoming play Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Rodriguez caught the acting bug in junior high after performing in a local production. “In 7th grade, I did a show called I Was a Teenage Zombie in which I played three characters. [This] got me excited about doing more acting … I like being able to portray someone else while being yourself. I also like the whole glamour of a production,” Rodriguez said. Rodriguez will certainly have the opportunity to experience such “glamour” by playing Charlie. She is not fazed by playing a traditionally male role; in fact, she thinks parts of the role come naturally to her. “It’s definitely different playing [Charlie] as a girl because … portraying innocence while still putting in a lot of emotion is difficult. Charlie’s curiosity does come quite naturally, though,” Rodriguez said. That’s not to say that Rodriguez didn’t have her share of nerves when auditioning for the play. She originally auditioned for the role of Veruca Salt but was quickly directed toward the lead. While Rodriguez has been “quite nervous for being seen as the little one in the group,” she has also been impressed with her fellow cast. “They have been really nice, and definitely very accepting,” Rodriguez said.

With years of experience on the speech team, being center stage isn’t a new experience for Paul Curry ’14, who is playing Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Curry has discovered that the atmosphere in a play is much different from a typical speech performance. “Acting in a play is more nerve-racking,” he said. “You only have one shot, you perform in front of an audience [only] once or twice.” In addition, Curry is adjusting to sharing the stage with his peers. “It’s very ensemble based,” he said. “You have to work with people and not hog the stage. The hardest transition is figuring out how to not look awkward.” Past acting and directing experiences have helped ease the transition for Curry. “I can act as Willy Wonka much easier than someone else, we share some similarities,” he said of his role, “I’m a wacky person.” A solid understanding of Willy Wonka’s personality helps him embody the character as well. “He’s a very sarcastic guy,” Curry said, “He can often be insulting and condescending, which is reasonable because he deals with bratty kids.” Playing the lead role places a heavy weight on Curry’s shoulders, but being a part of the play has proven to be a rewarding experience. “The most fun thing is that they give me a cane to play around with,” Curry said, “If you ever see any of the actors walking around with a black eye it’s probably because I accidentally hit them with it.”


What’s in this _________? candy

{Design by Lushia Anson}

Halloween night just ended, and kids across the U.S. are drooling over their plastic pumpkins filled to the brim with candy. Standard Halloween candy contains many ingredients we’d expect, like sugar, but what else is in the squint-your-eyes-small-font ingredients list? The WSS investigates. Chewing GUM (LANOLIN) Baa, baa black sheep, have you any oil in your wool? Secretions produced in sheep wool are often used in chewing gum. That oil or grease makes up lanolin, or “gum base,” as it is listed in the ingredients in major companies’ gum. Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.

Jelly Beans (Shellac) Getting an earthworm-flavored Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans may not be the only thing to look out for when you’re selecting a jelly bean; many types, including Jelly Bean brand, use what’s labeled on the packaging as “glazing agents,” meaning shellac, beeswax, or others to form the shiny coating on the outside. According to Health Magazine, shellac is developed by collecting secretions of a Thai insect the Kerria lacca. While it may seem unusual, it has not been found to have negative side effects.

Butterfingers (TBHQ) Next time you chomp on a Butterfingers, remember what allowed it to stay on the shelf and eventually make its way into your sticky fingers in the first place - preservatives. One such ingredient is tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ). This somewhat controversial additive in high doses can lead to side effects such as nausea, collapse and it can even be lethal. Fortunately, the Food and Drug Administration mandates a limit of .02% TBHQ compared to the composition of fats and oils in the total product, which mitigates these potential risks.

{ { {

COMPilED by//Amelia Moser photoS bY//aLORA kRAUS


Get ready for the real world Students at West have participated in internships and job shadows in order to explore possible career options.


career of choice. “Networking is a great way to land future internships and possible employment,” Johnson said. Internships also teach students valuable workplace skills and help students to understand attributes needed to be successful in their future job. Not only do they prepare for the future, but Johnson points out that they are impressive on college applications. Despite the experience that internships can provide, the pressure to plan out their entire lives can still haunt students. “I think seniors do feel pressure to know what they will study in college,” Johnson said, “but statistics show that the majority of college students will change their major multiple times.” In fact, students who are on track to a bachelor’s degree generally have more time to declare their major than students that decide to go to a two-year technical school, who must decide earlier, as they need to be in a specific program. Despite the additional time to choose, Johnson encourages students to use resources available at West. The Workplace Learning Connection (WLC) helps to arrange internships and job shadows, which will help many students in the long run. “I advise all high school students to take advantage of the job shadow and internship opportunities provide by the WLC,” Johnson said. “Going into college with a well-informed career plan can save students time and money in college.” Students interested in trying an internship or job shadow need to complete the WLC application, which requires a Teacher Evaluation and a Letter of Recommendation. The next step involves an interview, and finally, students can be chosen to participate.

on the spot

What was your dream job as a child? And now?


As high school comes to a close, many juniors and seniors find themselves scrambling to choose a career path, struggling to come to a conclusion for such a critical turning point in their lives. Many students choose to build up their resumés as much as possible to carry them into college and prepare them for a life in the workforce. In fact, students at West High such as Rachael Niehus ’14 have taken advantage of internship and job shadowing opportunities in the community. According to Russ Johnson, career coordinator at West High, many of the popular internships among West students have been in the areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), Human Services, Business

and Law Enforcement. Niehus has recently begun an internship at Garner Elementary School, where she works in a third-grade math class. “I wanted to be a teacher and work with kids for a while and thought it would be a good opportunity,” Niehus said. “[The internship] made me decide specifically what I wanted to do.” After spending two of her class periods every day but Thursday to answer children’s questions and grade papers (just as a teacher would), Niehus has chosen her path of study: to work with middle school students. Besides helping students to form an informed career plan, internships provide many other opportunities, according to Johnson. They can aid students in developing a network in their


Maeven Goodno ’17 “I wanted to be a secret agent when I was little. Now I want to be an artist.”

Irene Schulte ’17 “When I was a kid I wanted to be a doctor. Now I want to be an author.”

Tim Yim ’14

“I wanted to be a train driver ... because [of] ‘Thomas & Friends.’ ... After my grandfather’s coma, I want to become a doctor who can help other people.”

Grace Hoyland ’14

“I wanted to be an astronaut or a vet, but I have no clue now.” COMPILED BY//HANNAH MERRILL ART BY//LEELA SATHYAPUTRI



Right on the honey

{Design by JAYCIE WEATHERS} Infographics by//Hilah Kohen ART by//ANNA FURLONG

Bees pollinate tons of our favorite foods, but their numbers are declining fast. We asked local experts why. worst are neonicotinoid pesticides, his studies on a different popuor neonics. Migratory beekeepers lation: wild solitary bees, which Though Hawkeye fans might dis- who transport their hives from state don’t live in large hives and are agree, black and gold garb doesn’t to state to pollinate one specific crop native to the areas they pollinate. “[Wi ld always bring success. Just miles face yet another problem: poor nubees] do trition. away from the “A l m o n d the bulk crowds that farm bees of the polswarm Kinnick are get- l i n a t i o n Stadium every ting lots for prairie fall, beekeepers of almond plants … are seeing their p o l l e n , they do own masses dibut only the bulk minish. a l m o n d of the pol“Several of p o l l e n . lination our local beeTheir diets at small keepers have are badly p r o d u c e had problems source: Us Department of Agriculture u n b a l - f a r m s ,” with bees dyCampbell said. H e n ing,” said East Central Iowa Bee- anced,” drix said. keepers secretary Dave Campbell. A Stinging blow Though National data shows that they are Every year, bees pollinate ap- s t u d i e s source: not alone. Last winter, over 30 perproximately $15 billion in crops, have shown cent of commercial beehives, which according to the National Resources that the overall abundance of wild are crucial to crop pollination, perDefense Council. The U.S. Depart- bees has remained relatively conished. Exactly what happened to ment of Agriculture reports that stant in the past few years, their those bees is unclear, and both beethose crops comprise an entire diversity may still be in danger. keepers and scientists are buzzing quarter of the American diet. If “The diversity of bee species matfor answers. bee die-offs continue, plants from ters,” Hendrix said. “For one prairie peanuts to apples to cucumbers plant we studied, the more bee speCCD MYSTERY One widely suspected culprit in could bear much of the impact. cies were near the plant, the betSteve Hendrix, a biology pro- ter the reproduction of the plant.” recent honey bee shortages is colony collapse disorder, or CCD. It causes fessor at the University of While some causes of colony colbees that leave the hive to search for Iowa, says bees also play a ma- lapse disorder may also affect wild food to lose the ability to find their jor role in the local economy. bees, Hendrix said habitat loss could “It’s these wild bees and honey- be the primary cause of their demise. way back. “The result is a hive with a queen, bees that fuel those farmer’s mar“There are lots of places where bees larvae and young bees, but no old kets … [and] places like Wilson’s just can’t survive … They need a good bees and no honey or pollen being Orchard … It’s all about pollination. landscape, they need flowers, they stored. After a few weeks to months, It’s a huge economic value,” he said. need prairie restoration,” he said. Though some the entire hive dies,” Campbell said. The causes of CCD are varied local hives have Campand often unknown, but a few have suffered, have been identified since the disorder bell’s fortunate. emerged around 2005. For example, been “Knock on parasites often plague beehives. “If you were a bee, a varroa mite wood, but I myself would be the size of a dinner plate, haven’t had bee crawling over your body and suck- die-offs,” he said. ing blood ... [The fungus Nosema ceranae] causes severe bee diar- The wild side While honey rhea,” Campbell said. Chemicals used to rid crops of bees have sigagriculharmful insects can also damage nificant tural importance, Source: Time online magazine bees. Campbell said some of the Hendrix focuses

By hilah Kohen

Field of dreams

In the face of increasing uncertainty, beekeepers remain hopeful about efforts to restore bee populations. “I and others have evolved a fairly hygienic strain of bees that can tolerate varroas … [and] you only need to glance at all the many and diverse weeds that thrive around here to see that any bee that isn’t eating well has only herself to blame,” Campbell said. Hendrix said one of the best solutions for habitat loss is habitat restoration, no matter how minor. He said local prairies varying in size from acres to square feet can be enough to give wild bees a home. “All of the little restorations are helping … for example, I’m sure the prairie you have at West has a significant bee population,” he said. In that respect, Hendrix said, anyone can be involved in preserving one of Iowa’s most important resources. “It’s really a Field of Dreams type of situation,” he said. “If you plant it, the bees will come.”

Scan this for more coverage on








For many, keeping up with homework, tests and extracurriculars can be difficult to handle. But for some students at West High, these are just the beginning of their responsibilities. Kennedy Stewart ’14 has type one diabetes. Type one diabetes is caused by a failure of the pancreas, causing it to produce little to no insulin. Without insulin, the body is unable to efficiently transfer sugar in the form of glucose from the bloodstream to cells. “A pancreas is an organ a little on the left side on your stomach; this organ produces and gives you insulin and keeps your blood sugars at a normal range so you can eat however many carbs or fat you want without taking a shot for it. Unfortunately my pancreas stopped working and that is why I wear my insulin pump,” Stewart said.

Stewart’s insulin pump, a small device on her hip, introduces a specific amount of insulin depending on how many carbohydrates or sugars she consumes. Even though this may seem difficult, Stewart believes that developments in technology make diabetes much easier to handle. “My grandma used to tell me when she first got diagnosed they didn’t really know what to do; they couldn’t check their blood sugars because they didn’t have that technology so people were sick from it all the time,” Stewart said. Maggie Rompot ’15 shares a similar point of view. “Without a doubt technology has made diabetes easier to deal with. We’ve gone from having to use the same syringe countless times in a row, to having disposable syringes, to having insulin pumps. When I was diagnosed I was taking six shots a day, not including blood sugar tests. Now I only have to take one every three days with my






COMPILED BY//MATTHEW MURRY * American Diabetes Association

high or low blood sugars all day,” Stewart said. Stewart recalls a moment where her diabetes caused a major scare. “Two years ago I was in the hospital on Christmas break because I had DKA which stands for Diabetic Ketoacidosis. This is when your blood sugar gets way too high to the point where your meter cannot read the number anymore and it makes you very sick,” Stewart said. “I had to stay in the hospital for a few days with an IV of an insulin drip and fluids to get myself back to normal.” Although living with diabetes may seem like a daunting task, Stewart says that both type 1 and type 2 diabetes aren’t as hard to handle as they initially appear. “They’re both not easy to deal with, but they’re also tolerable and not the hardest thing in the world - you just have to have the right attitude,” she said.



The West Side Story found out some of the more common symptoms of both type 1 and 2 diabetes.

pump. [Also], the ways of testing blood sugar have gotten much easier and much more accurate,” she said. Although things may be easier, diabetes still requires attention. “Usually a diabetic tests when they wake up, go to bed, whenever they go to take insulin and whenever you feel off, which could mean your blood sugar is high or low. “High” meaning you didn’t take enough insulin, “low” meaning you took too much and you need fastacting carbs ASAP,” Rompot said. “Each day is a gamble; you never know quite how things are going to play out.” Stewart agrees. “I don’t run into daily conflicts with diabetes, but I usually have something go wrong every week due to diabetes, whether it’s my insulin pump battery died in the middle of class, or I ran out of insulin in my pump, or I don’t have enough test strips that day to check my blood sugars, or I’ve had



A R C E h A t M 0 A



s g in

to know about

9 8




Young adults can stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until they are 26 years old.

The g did n overnme ot ha nt s hut ve a zens gettin ny effect down on g Ob amaC citiare.

A recent study by th National e Center fo r Public Policy Re search fou nd that around 3 .7 million people ages 18-3 4 will be at least $500 we althier if pass on they ObamaC are and pay the p enalty.


2 FR




anies comp rage cove ance Insur t revoke quired o ac cann se of an jury. u a in c r e b ess o sickn

Controversy amidst the government shutdown has once again called into question the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ObamaCare). The West Side Story investigates several aspects of the legislation which you, as high school students, should be aware of.

3 4

s companie Insurance age be ny cover e d t o n n ca g conre-existin p f o e s u ca ditions.


erent he e diff b ft y a m ion o Costs on locat g ndin buyer. d ep e

Medi care is not all. affect ed

th eal t h o n ow will n e. r i are erag the as amaC r cov h Ob thei ess ngr an, so affect o l C ily ep car essar c e n



If hea a per pre lth i son ns al fe no r, the uran ready effe y c ce has p ct f an rom kee lan t a Ob p it hey w am aC ith are .

5 6

There have been extreme problems with the extension of ObamaCare due to issues with the website. It could take time to get, but the Obama Administration has recently said that phone lines should calm down and availability to clients will become more convenient.



But is it working? By Kelsey Keranen and rebeccca wen Photo by//Hannah Muellerleile

It is the policy of the Iowa City Community School Distric gion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, sexual orien nomic status in its educational programs, activities, or empl nity School District not to discriminate on the basis of race status, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, dis activities, or employment practices. It is the policy of the on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, tity, veteran status, disability, or socioeconomic status in its

{Design by hannah muellerleile} texture by//FLIckr: D Sharon Pruitt

s a society of supposedly modern, forward-thinking individuals, it is easy to forget that certain perceptions we hold so dearly are subtle impressions that can easily be defined as racial profiling. Consider how often we address correlations between ethnicity and school performance; without a second thought, someone might commend their friends for their “nearAsian” math test scores, letting slip a pressing racial stereotype. As a result of these racial stereotypes, educational pressures are unwittingly embedded into our education system. Recently, an article published in The Press-Citizen reported that “black students are disproportionately identified as special education students in Iowa City area schools.” Due to the racial disparity in special education classes, the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) was required to hire a consultant to analyze the overrepresentation of black students in special education and assist district officials in reconsidering students’ Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). This has been an ongoing issue in the district; according to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Education, the district has 29.4% of their African-American students in special education classes. The district was additionally given instructions from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) insisting that they appropriately re-place students into classes.

Ultimately, this brought about the racism, but perhaps should still be question: is school performance examined. ever based on ethnicity? “[The statistics are] numbers that West High administrators agree require more in-depth analysis of that this statistical aberration is gaps in learning and the eligibility something to be concerned about, process,” she said. but is certainly not intentional. In addition, Martin explained that “We, of course, don’t base disabil- being placed in special education ity on race,” said Assistant Principal programs “does not imply anything Molly Abraham, who then con- negative about people but identifies tinued to clarify that “special ed. a need for additional supports for classes vary; there are kids who need learning.” to spend maybe one hour a day in Student opinion does not stray far the learning center, and then there from Martin’s views on this occurare some kids who require the more rence. academic and functional programs.” “West is fair; it doesn’t really have West is re-evaluating their pro- anything to do with what the teachgram placement. ers do in placement, it has to do “Recently we received a report with the students themselves,” said from the OCR that we’re currently Keara Dennis ’14, a member of working on by looking over all of SSIKE, who continued to say that the IEPs,” Abraham said. “We try to the placement of black students in make sure that special ed. students these classes has little to do with always qualify, whether due to a dis- teacher placement and more to do ability or a need for eduwith external sources of cation support services.” pressure. Abraham also added While the racial that “generally, special ed breakdown within students are spotted in elspecial education proementary school, around grams may not have the time they learn how to anything to do with read. Very few high school racism, it leads one to students are put into spe- Keara Dennis ’14 wonder to what extent cial ed classes, and when social pressures may they are it’s more for mencause educational distal health reasons than educational crepancies. concerns.” While race may not be directly Maria Martin, academic dean associated with class placement, and advisor of Successful Students stereotypes can nonetheless play a Inspired by Knowledge and Educa- role in students’ educational experition (SSIKE) at West High, believes ences. these occurrences are not rooted in Francis Jayoma ’16 has expe-

ct not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, relintation, gender identity, veteran status, disability, or socioecoloyment practices. It is the policy of the Iowa City Commue, creed, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital sability, or socioeconomic status in its educational programs, Iowa City Community School District not to discriminate gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender idens educational programs, activities, or employment practices. enced a variety of pressures in school regarding his ethnicity. Despite having been born in the Philippines, he feels he does not always fit the stereotypical Asian mold. “Generally classmates give me two types of discrimination. One example is ‘Oh, he’s Asian: he probably has a 4.0 GPA, he’s so smart,’ but at the same time I’ll get a comment like ‘Oh, he’s not the right type of Asian: he’s a southeastern Asian. He’s Francis the dumb kind of Asian.’” However, Jayoma does not allow these comments to negatively impact his high school experience. “When I hear comments like that I play it cool and act like it’s nothing,” Jayoma said. Jayoma, when considering the Asian stereotype, insists that the stigma isn’t justified because it is based on a biased group’s perception of Asians and their mental capabilities. Jennifer Wu ’14 has had similar experiences in school. Upon moving to Iowa City in fifth grade, Wu, a Chinese-American born in the U.S., was immediately placed into an English learning class.

“I assumed they thought I didn’t speak English… [I] had no problems learning in a regular classroom setting,” Wu said. Wu’s experience with racism in school continued through high school, and new pressures to perform well arose. “My classmates did treat me differently at times- they seemed to think I understood everything in class,” Jayoma ’16 Wu said. “Most of the pressure I feel comes from my classmates, rather than my parents. Contrary to what many people think, Asian parents don’t always force their kids to work harder than other parents do.” Like Jayoma, Wu tries not to be stirred by racist remarks, understanding that often they are not intentionally malicious. “It’s so difficult to repel commonly-held beliefs that have been around for ages,” Wu said. “Even if statistics support certain educationbased stereotypes I think the cause is not that certain races have innate qualities, but that there is a case of self-fulfilling prophecy.”

However, stereotypes do not al- days are downgrading themselves ways push an ethnic group to per- and they sign up for lower level form well in school. In relation to classes; friends want to move tothe disparity in the district, some gether and join because they think students at West feel that minority it’ll make them fit in with their groups can also be coerced into be- group.” lieving that they are not capable of Amouzou, like Jayoma and Wu, performing well in school. believes that, ultimately, racial ste“I think that there are more mi- reotypes do not make the person norities in certain classes because who they are. yes, peer pressure does play a role,” “My experience at school, I believe, said Sandra Amouzou ’15. “But in isn’t that affected by my race. Sure, the social aspect, wouldn’t you want occasionally, I get the ‘I don’t fit my to be in classes with your friends in- stereotype’ comments, but I always stead of a bunch of other kids who brush past it and realize that doesn’t you feel are completely different?” define me as Sandra. Who I am is According to Amouzou, societal what defines me,” she said. pressures and racial proIn response to everyfiling play big roles in day situations or interthe suppressed or comactions where racism plimented capabilities of might be implied, Marstudents. tin believes that it is im“If someone from one portant to be aware and race is told that they are educated. intelligent or unintelli“We are such a diverse gent or whatever because community; the intent Sandra of their stereotype, they behind our words and Amaouzou ’15 might try and match actions is important. If those stereotypes, projecting back someone says something [racist], to society what society wants from educate that person. Be attentive them,” Amouzou said. to our intent and what our words Dennis agrees with Amouzou, could mean to the receiver.” adding, “minority students these

How does West compare?

A breakdown of how the diversity of West’s special education programs and school as a whole compare to the state. May not add up to 100% due to rounding.

West High School

White Black 17% Asian 9% Hispanic 3% .4% .05%


West’s special education programs

State of Iowa SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS

White 52% White Black 3.2% Black 41% Asian 2% Asian 2% Hispanic 5.3% Hispanic 5% .5% .5% .1% 0%


Responding to Sexual Abuse and Harassment Since 1973

Can I

RVAP What are

Confidential + Free

kiss you?

you into?

Support Advocacy Counseling 24 hr Crisis Line

Consent– Get it. Got it? Good!


Experience from a Stronger Past... Commitment to a Brighter Future

on november 5, vote for


Newlin Schnake

for Coralville City Council

Together we can restore the confidence‌ and the Pride. Paid for by Jean Newlin Schnake


618 1st Avenue

Coralville, Iowa 52241

(319) 354-1700






BY megumi kitamoto

Watching Michelle Seo ’14 perform on the violin is like watching an experienced worker at his or her job. She holds her violin confidently and plays all of the notes with ease. Her talent may seem effortless, but it could not be possible without an immense amount of passion and hard work. Seo’s journey with the violin began at the age of five. “My mom signed me up for violin. I wasn’t very serious about it, and I did not really know what I was doing,” Seo said. That mindset has changed significantly in recent years. In addition to making All-State Orchestra for

four consecutive years, Seo was selected as one of the three winners of the annual Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Young Artists Concerto Competition on Feb. 24. Her latest achievement was being one of only two students in the state to be selected for the National High School Honors Orchestra. Seo sent in an audition tape of herself playing a required piece and a solo of her choice, both of which were three minutes long. She will go to Louisville, KY March 5-7, 2014 to practice with 120 other people in the ensemble, and then perform with her group on the last day. “I had some doubt about applying to [the National High School Honors Orchestra], but my private teacher (Linda Judeisch) and Mr.

Thelander (West orchestra director) encouraged me,” Seo said. Seo doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon; her future plans revolve around the violin as well. “I want to go to a conservatory, like the Peabody [Institute of the John Hopkins University], Curtis Institute of Music, Manhattan School of Music or the Colburn School. I chose to go to a conservatory because I like to concentrate on one thing, and that one thing is music,” Seo said. She is already beginning preparations. “I practice four to six hours depending on the day, which comprises of practicing scales, etudes and my solo pieces. I have friends

who go to Peabody who have given me some teacher preferences. I also chose easier classes so I can accommodate my practice schedule,” Seo said. Thelander, orchestra director at West High, thinks that Seo is capable of pursuing a career. “Michelle is a hardworking conscientious student. She has considerable musical and technical talents, but she is very encouraging and supportive of other students,” Thelander said.






West Side Story: Describe your typical outfit. Avery Kout ’16: I usually wear either jeans or colored jeans and a cute shirt. Then I add accessories to dress it up. WSS: Who inspires you to dress the way that you do? AK: My mom always dressed me in cute clothes as a child, and she’s into fashion so it just kind of took off from there. WSS: Where do you like to shop? AK: I really like going to different boutique stores and different stores while I am on vacation. I also like American Eagle Outfitters and my mom’s closet.

Are you, or do you know anyone fashionable, artsy or musically inclined? Interested in contributing to the arts briefs? E-mail for a chance to be featured or feature someone.

the fashion profile: avery kout ’16

WSS: Have you always had the same style or did it change? AK: I think I’ve always had the same general style, but it varies from day to day. I also like to keep up with the trends. WSS: What are your favorite accessories? AK: In the fall I love scarves, but I also like to wear big chunky necklaces. WSS: Do you think your style reflects your personality? AK: I definitely think my style reflects my personality, because I wear lots of colorful things and they help me feel more confident.

WSS: What’s your favorite season to dress up for? AK: Fall and spring because there a lot of different things you can wear during these seasons. WSS: What advice do you have for people trying to figure out their style? AK: I look at what other people in the halls are wearing and ask yourself if that’s something you would want to buy. It helps you figure out if there’s a specific item that you want, or if that’s something you can see yourself wearing. COMPILED BY//CONSUELO MENDOZA {DESIGN BY MEGUMI KITAMOTO}

photographer of the month: sasha wemmie ’17 COMPILED BY//MEGUMI KITAMOTO

[Over the summer] I went on a cruise to

Russia, Finland, Sweden and Estonia. [I visited] a Lutheran church in Finland

and thought it would be a good photo.”


review: katy perry-prism By stephon berry

Since the release of the “Roar” single, the thirst for Katy Perry’s “Prism” has been overwhelming. With every single, anticipation ate away at the sanity of Katykats everywhere. Though it’s not the mega-moody and angst-centric album Teenage

photo used with permission from//

{Design by megumi kitamoto}

Dream was, it’s a crowning achievement augmented with a trove of diverse jewels. It truly is, to quote Katy, “a perfect storm.” Her disco jam “Walking On Air” commands you to dance, then lulls you in with a smooth falsetto and drops you back into that cacophony of synth and shaka-esque stereo nectar. With this song she tests the boundaries of her contralto range.

Katy’s third single “Unconditionally” premiered as a song accompanied by a lyric video that incorporates two female models. Besides that amaturelyacted lyric vid, the song stands out. I’d have to say that even though it follows a bit of a cliché template, it’s becoming my favorites of the album. “Lengendary Lovers” reveals a hidden talent of Katy’s. Her rapping skills are reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar. I’m becoming extremely fond of Katy’s Hip-hop/pop bent. It’s a formula she should stick with. Now let’s get down to the notso-pleasant parcels and pieces. In all honesty, I was disappointed with the rest of the album. It went from being a cornucopia of distinct musical ingenuity to the world’s most indecisive power ballad “Ghost,” which chronicles the conclusion of her “epic” love story with Russell Brand, and attempts to remove the frosted lenses she’s been seeing him through. She follows that song with “Love Me.” There is one plus to this song,

student mixtape: daniel gardarsson ’14 From rap to Icelandic music, Daniel Gardarsson ’14’s taste in music is very diverse. “Icelandic music emphasizes lyrical value, which is something I now seek out in songs,” Gardarsson said, who lived in Iceland for 10 years.

“Party Talk” Craft Spells This song combines synths and electric guitar to make a really great beat. The lead singer’s deep voice is also faded which makes the song sound really interesting.

“Sister” Young Fathers This is currently one of my favorite rap songs. Young Fathers originated in Scotland, but each member is from a different region of Africa so they bring a variety of cool influences to their music.

“Comptine D’un Autre Été” Yann Tiersen This is a really calming song played entirely on the piano. It’s a great song to study to or to listen to before going to bed.

“Kinder Blumen” Real Estate It doesn’t have any lyrics, and it has a really happy melody that puts you in a cheerful mood.

because it empowers people to learn to love themselves before attempting to gain someone else’s love, because, after all, “If you don’t love yourself/how in the [world] you gonna love somebody else?” A downside to the album is that around 25% of it won’t have context if you don’t know what happened with the Russel Brand fiasco. It’ll probably just seems like a haphazard combination of highs, lows and Chanel. I looked it up and honestly, that’s still what a good amount of it sounds like to me. Conversely, songs like “It Takes Two” demonstrates a personal message for that special someone and... I’ll just leave it at that. Overall advice? You’re better off just purchasing those first four singles from iTunes and leaving the rest of the album, unless you like accolades of Chanel, Chanel, Chanel. Then? Go ahead and add “This Is How We Do It” to the package, but don’t be fooled by the title. It’s definitely no Montell Jordan.

COMPilED by//megumi kitamoto photo by//nick deerberg

“Stingum Af” Mugison This is a song about running away into the countryside of Iceland. [It] reminds me of my trip to the Westfjords, which is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.



it’s us


We’ve all heard that we live in an age of technology. But it’s not just technology. We live in an age where everyone is part of that technology; the creativity, function, data and creation; we cover the entire process without even taking our eyes from our screens. Companies listen to us. The app usage, social networking, observations and angry emails from disgruntled users (with nine frowny faces) are taken into account and processed (except for the ones with more than nine frowny faces) and put into a system designed to create the perfect product. Once that product is released, they tear down the system and rebuild it to create a better, perfect-er … thing. The newest installment of the “Grand Theft Auto” series was released on Sept. 18 this year. The game has been in development since 2008. That’s four and a half years of sleepless nights and thousands of cans of Red Bull (ironic, no?) and more than $137 million spent, into an incredible creation. It’s a work of art that can be credited to the creators, but it’s really us that are the underlying creators of this game. “Grand Theft Auto V” became a billion-dollar game in less than 72 hours. Part of the basis of GTA V is is from two other games: “The Ballad of Gay Tony” and “The Lost and the Damned.” The reception for those games was so good that RockStar then decided to smash them all together to create Grand Theft Ballad of the Damned, then put a billion-dollar bow on top and called it “Grand Theft Auto V.” And the biggest thing about the process is that it works. Apple created the iPhone 5S to appeal to teenagers with all the spending power. Samsung created a better version of the iPhone to appeal to bigger and better teenagers. This never-ending cycle will bring the best and the worst out of the industry. Long-standing powers will fall and new towers will be built, all competing for the attention of their truest critics, best designers and angriest emailers: us.

ultra famous

West High graduate Shamis McGillin makes his mark on the fashion world, one window at a time. BY BLAKE OETTING

“You can do whatever you want” is an undoubtedly cliché proverb, shoved down students’ throats. A large majority of teenagers take this with a large grain of salt. Whether this is because students’ goals seem unattainable or because of their inherent angst, the adage definitely has lost profundity. One past West High student, however, embodies the mantra wholeheartedly. Shamis McGillin ’12 was always an artist. While in high school, he was a graphic designer on the West Side Story and also took full advantage of West High’s art department. He says this early development was crucial. “I couldn’t have asked for a better high school experience. I mean it when I say that the teachers of West are unbeatable. Many of the teachers I met there were key to my success as they were the first people aside from my family to really believe in me and challenge me. West also has an amazing art program that is unmatched. There are very few schools that offer extensive art programs which have


become staple programs at West,” McGillin said. McGillin attends Columbia College in Chicago. Being at one of the largest art colleges in the United States, McGillin has had lots of opportunities to collaborate with other artistically inclined students, as well as initiate many projects. “I am currently creating a Chicago arts and culture publication called ULTRA Magazine. In August I began shadowing a Visual Merchandiser based out of New York City and have been involved in the process of designing store windows around the city. My most recent project is a collaboration with a Chicago-based designer who has dressed many celebrities, including Lady Gaga,” McGillin said. On top of all of this, McGillin had the opportunity to photograph for InStyle Magazine. “It was unreal. I didn’t think they would take me seriously, but it ended up being a fantastic and humbling experience. I shot for one

of the few jewelry lines I work for. The two months of planning that went into the shoot were the most stressful. Meetings with magazine agents were quite intimidating as well. Even when the shoot is done, it’s not guaranteed to make the cut, so there is a lot of pressure. Shooting day was actually the easiest part. I had a great team of people and had a lot of fun. I was really in my element. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything,” McGillin said. McGillin is truly living his life’s passion, but still has some things he wants to accomplish. “I would like to shoot ad campaigns for larger fashion labels in the industry and hopefully land the covers of Vogue and V Magazine. It’s not solely about which covers I land or even the money. I really just like creating and hope that my work will allow me to travel the world and create a platform for me in which I can make a difference,” McGillin said.

the reader- clare lanaghan ’15 John Dies at The End David Wong and Jason Pargin “There are zombies and aliens; it’s really, really good. I read it at the the end of last year. It was weird and confusing and you never really knew what was going to happen next.” Nothing to Envy Barbara Demick “I read it sometime last summer because I heard about it in a radio interview and I was interested in communist history. It was interesting to draw comparisons between North Korea and South Korea and even the US and my life.” COMPILED BY//STEPHON BERRY

The Gone Series Michael Grant “I like that they make you ask yourself questions. Questions about reality and would you eat your friend. Would you? I believe that everyone over 15 dies so they have to learn to live in this 15 or younger world. But of course there’s radiation and mutations. Overall it’s a pretty easy read, though it’s intense and gory.” Song of the Lioness Series Tamora Pierce “I really like this author because all of her series interweave in this universe so even in other books you’ll get references to characters. Heads up, all of her books are about really strong central women.”



{Design by Katie peplow} art by//hilah kohen

Students show their creativity through easy and useful do-it-yourself crafts,

finding inspiration through sites like YouTube and Pinterest.

By Lushia anson photo by//yiming liu

Scan this for minsu’s bows facebook page

Minsu Song ’15 Many a girl has examined her outfit in the mirror, wishing she owned the perfect accessory to go with her ensemble. For Minsu Song ’15, this is never a problem. Song makes custom-made bows and hair accessories and sells them online through her Facebook page, “Minsu’s Bows.” Song has been making bows since last year, and was first inspired after seeing YouTube user Macbarbie07’s video on how to do so. “I figured I might as well try making them,” she said. Eventually, Song decided to turn her bowmaking skills into a business, using her Facebook page to advertise and take orders. “I would wear them a lot at school, and a lot of people complimented them,” Song said. “[I thought] you know, I have a lot of bows, so I might as well turn it into a business.” Song likes making bows while watching her favorite television shows on Netflix. “It helps especially with school … I’m tired, and so I don’t want to think,” she said. “This is something I can do mindlessly, and I don’t have to concentrate too hard on.” Personally, Song likes using colorful or floral fabric to make her bows. “Usually the fabric I buy won’t just be a block color, but some sort of fun pattern,” she said. “Bows are fun, because it doesn’t have to be a clip,” she added. “It can be like a headband and stuff, and I’ve made a couple bow ties.”

Kristina Bauer ’14

Kristina Bauer ’14 started delving into the worlds of sewing and crafting in 8th grade. “I got kind of bored, so I decided to do something productive with my time,” she said. She was inspired by her mother and grandmother, who both sew, and became more interested in sewing after her mother made her homecoming dress a couple of years ago. Since then, she has created many things, including a t-shirt quilt, the project of which she is most proud. To make the quilt, Bauer cut up “a bunch of t-shirts that either I’ve gotten or my dad’s gotten of things that we’ve done over the past years.” She made six rows, and arranged the rows by color to make a rainbow. Bauer gets many of her ideas from Pinterest. “I go onto either the DIY or crafting tab … and I pretty much just look and see what colors I like, and what designs,” she said. Other projects Bauer has worked on include melted crayon canvases, bracelets out of safety pins and beads, and paintings. She has also been working on her Halloween costume, a look-alike for the American Girl doll Kit Kittredge.

Photo by//allie biscupski

photo by//moon fangman

Ceci White-Baer ’15 Ceci White-Baer ’15 buys denim shorts and embellishes them. “They’re really easy to wear and just to hang out in, because it’s okay if you get them gross or dirty or ripped,” she said. White-Baer starts by buying cheap jean shorts from thrift stores. “I like getting [jeans] from Goodwill, because they’re super cheap, and I mess them up a lot, and so it’s really easy to sort of get a bunch of pairs and experiment with them,” she said. After that, she cuts the shorts using a template of another pair of shorts that fit her well, and bleaches, dyes or studs them. To bleach them, she leaves the shorts in a mixture of 1 part bleach and 1 part water. She glues the studs on using craft glue. White-Baer gets her inspiration from stores like Urban Outfitters and Forever21. “I’m sort of inspired by the shorts that stores make, because they’re really creative … sometimes they have cool prints or cool colors,” she said. She also gets ideas from the shorts her friends wear and Pinterest. “I go on Pinterest a lot. It’s kind of my guilty pleasure,” she said. White-Baer is thinking about selling some of her shorts online. “A lot of people keep asking me to make them for them and I just never get around to it,” she said. “I’m thinking about maybe doing an Etsy store or something: not very expensive, but something affordable that people could buy.”


Stay up to date on everything


by following us on all your favorite social media sites.

WSSPAPER @wsspaper @wsspaper 32 ads NOVEMBER 2013

{Design by LYDIA HINMAN}

{Design by LYDIA HINMAN}

Not Not

horsing around

COMPilED by//Lizzie Pruneau

The WSS checks in with student horseback riders. Niki Asa ’16 WSS: Why did you choose riding? NA: I chose horse riding because I really like horses, and it’s a sport that really makes you work hard and it pays off in the end. It’s a really good character and confidence builder. WSS: How long have you been riding? NA: I’ve been riding for 7 years. WSS: Do you have your own horse, and if so what is its name? NA: My horse’s name is Chance.

Carly Mead ’17 WSS: Why did you choose riding? CM: I chose riding because it’s been in my life since before I can remember; it’s my true passion. WSS: How long have you been riding? CM: I’ve been riding for twelve years. WSS: What kind of riding do you do? CM: I do English riding. More specifically hunter-jumpers WSS: What is your favorite thing about riding? CM: The connection between you and the horse. Your teammate can’t speak, so it takes an incredible bond to communicate and work together as one.

Catelyn Foerstner ’16 WSS: Why did you choose riding? CF: I chose riding because I started when I was really little and I’ve always loved horses. It was like a Christmas present for me and I kept with it for a long time. WSS: How long have you been riding? CF: I started riding in Kindergarden, and rode until second grade. Then I quit until fourth grade, and have been riding ever since. WSS: What is your favorite thing about riding? CF: My favorite thing about riding is the really cool the bond that you have with animals, and when you work with a horse, it’s not just about you, you [and the horse] are a team. WSS: Do you have your own horse, and if so what is its name? CF: I don’t own my own horse, but I mostly ride [horses] Caesar and Tigger and Arthur.

Far Left: Catelyn Forstner rides horse Tigger. Left Top: Hannah Van Roekel jumps horse Richie. Left Bottom: Niki Asa rides horse Chance. Middle: Carly Mead with horse Bella. Above: Megan Thomasson with horse Liam.

Hannah Van Roekel ’15 WSS: Why did you choose riding?

HVR: I chose riding because I really liked horses, and I had an interest in them. It just felt like something different to do, not like basketball or track, and also my parents were against it, so it made me want to do it. I just really like it. WSS: How long have you been riding? HVR: I’ve been riding since I was six. WSS: What is your favorite thing about riding? HVR: My favorite thing about riding is the horses themselves, because they’re really compassionate...they are patient and good listeners. WSS: Do you have your own horse, and if so what is its name? HVR: I don’t have my own horse but I lease them and train them for somebody else, and It’s really cool because I get to ride different horses.

Megan Thomasson ’15 WSS: Why did you choose riding? MT: I chose riding because I thought it was different from your everyday sports and I thought horses were cool animals. WSS: How long have you been riding? MT: I have been riding since I was six. WSS: What is your favorite thing about riding? MT: My favorite thing about riding is the bond that you create with your horse and how you feel after you accomplish something with him.


RUNNING A MILE FOR LINE On Oct. 13, the West High community participated in the 9 Line Mile of the Ponseti Races, a mile dedicated to Caroline Found.

Left: Hannah Fairfield ‘14 meets up with other participants of The Ponseti Races. Below: West graduate Lauren Larson ‘13 leans on the shoulder of Biology teacher Jenifer Secrist

ABOVE: Maya Bassuk ‘14 signs the National Anthem while Ernie and Catherine Found hold the flag on stage. RIGHT: Two participants of the Ponseti Races wearing Live Like Line shirts run the course of the Ponseti races October 13th.

ALL PHOTOS by//MADIE MILLER Right: Jessica Bowman ‘14 and other West High Poms members perform at The Ponseti Races. Far Right: Adrienne Jensen ‘14 runs with Caroline Found’s sister Catherine Found .

for more coverage go to




Jenny Pigge ’17: swimming COMPILED BY//BRITTANI LANGLAND

PHOTO BY//ALORA KRAUS Jenny Pigge ’17 prepares for her event during a swim meet on Sept. 10.

West Side Story: When did you start swimming? Jenny Pigge: I started when I was eight. WSS: What made you want to swim? JP: My sister was a competitive swimmer, and she encouraged me to swim. WSS: What is it like being a freshman on the varsity team? JP: I really like it because I get to meet a lot of upperclassmen which is probably my favorite part about it. I get to know more people. WSS: What is the difference between junior high and high school swimming? JP: Junior high swimming is way more relaxed and the workouts are easy. High school swimming is a lot more serious, and since West has such a good team there are expectations to win. So we have to work a lot harder. WSS: What are your thoughts on your season so far? JP: I am pretty happy with my season so far and I dropped a lot of time in my best event (100 butterfly), which was my goal. WSS: What has been the most challenging part

Olivia Moore ’17: cross-country COMPILED BY//CONSUELO MENDOZA

West Side Story: When did you start running? Olivia Moore: I started running cross country in eighth grade at North Central. WSS: How does it feel to be a freshman on the varsity team? OM: It feels really good, and I didn’t expect to do as well as I have been. WSS: Was the transition from junior high cross country to varsity cross country difficult? OM: It wasn’t really difficult, but we do a lot more stuff than junior high cross country. High school cross country is much more intense and competitive than junior high. We run more days per week, and we run much longer distances. In junior high, cross country was just something I did for fun, but now I am much more serious about running. WSS: What is your best time? OM: 15:26 for a 4k. WSS: What are your future running goals? Do you ever want to run a marathon? OM: One goal I have is to run a marathon sometime in my life. I don’t have a specific goal time for any of my races, because I like to just push myself to be my best every single time. Overall I

of being on varsity? JP: For high school swimming, it is a really short season, so it’s more pressure - like you have this amount of time to make this goal. So that and working really hard every day and not getting a break. WSS: Who is your role model? JP: Lilian Zhu ’14; she is the team captain. She is really good not just with her swimming but also academically. She does everything and she handles it all really well and is a good leader. Also, my coaches. WSS: What is the best part about high school swimming? JP: My favorite thing about it is that with high school swimming it is really team-oriented. We are all really close and we support each other. The meets are crazy, people get so loud the room vibrates, and everyone is cheering for each other. With competitive swimming it is much more individual because you are still trying to beat the people on your team, but with high school swimming we are all trying to win it as a team, and I really like that. Olivia Moore ’17 finishes her run during practice on Oct. 28. PHOTO BY//GAGE VAN DYKE

just want to keep running for the rest of my life. WSS: What’s the hardest workout you’ve ever run? OM: 3 mile pace drop: where you run 3 miles straight and every mile you get faster. WSS: How do the coaches push you to be better and how do they support you to be the best you can be? OM: They help me by challenging me and telling me I need to believe in myself more than I actually do. WSS: How do you prepare for big meets and races? OM: I drink a lot of Gatorade the night before and I try to go to bed early. WSS: What’s the worst injury you’ve had from running? Have you gotten injured this season? OM: I sprained a joint in my toe this year. The injury really wasn’t that big of a deal. All it was is the joint that connects my toe to my foot hurt whenever I put pressure on it. It hurt, but there wasn’t much I could do about it.



{Design by madie miller}

Aaron Armstrong ’15 “I’m in the drumline so playing in front of the student section is always really cool and exciting.”

What’s your favorite part about home football games?


Aileen Weeks ’15 “There’s no better feeling than cheer[leading] in front of the student section. The best games are the ones you can stand in front and feel the energy from the stands.” Tommy Duffy ’16 “Cheering for West with all my friends. I love the atmosphere.”

Jessie Harder ’16 “I love watching football in general, but it makes it extra exciting that it’s West playing.”

COMPilED by//aaron carter

Kyle Jenkins ’17 sets up a shot during practice on Sept. 19.


JD Goodfellow ’17 laughs with Chad Rubin ’14 during a break in practice on Sept. 19.



photo by//ALORA KRAUS

photo by//gage van dyke

photo by//gage van dyke

ABOVE: West JV girls cross country leads Hempstead at the start of the race on Thursday, Oct. 17.

ABOVE: The varsity boys cross country coach, Brian Martz, gives a pep talk to part of his varsity team before the start of warm-ups.


Emilee Benedict ’15 nears the half way mark of the JV girls cross country 4k race. 36 sports OCTOBER 2013


ABOVE: JV girls anticipate the start of the race at the starting line of the University of Iowa Ashton Cross Country Course. LEFT: West JV boys take off at the sound of the gun at the University of Iowa Ashton Cross Country Course.

FOOTBALL LEFT: Tyler Eads ’17 makes a catch during the game against Dubuque Hempstead on Oct. 4.

PHOTO by//Hannah Muellerleile

PHOTO by//Hannah Muellerleile

PHOTO by//madie miller

FAR LEFT: Securing the ball, players charged through defenders to a victory on Oct. 4. for more coverage go to

SWIMMING & DIVING LEFT: Tory Rose ’15 hugs coach Rob Miecznikowski at the last home meet of the season during Senior Night, where all seniors were recognized.

BELOW RIGHT: Becca Hilmer ’15 preps for a dive. BELOW LEFT: Cameron Cook ’17 adjusts her cap before getting on the blocks.

PHOTO by//madie miller

PHOTO by//madie miller

“I really like the team aspect of volleyball and how everyone is very positive.” Molly Mason ’14

Mikaela Morgan ’15

“I love my teammates because they can always make me laugh. Even if we aren’t playing well, we are having fun.” Hannah Fairfield ’14


38 ads NOVEMBER 2013


New P.E. class offered

Are the workouts

working out?

Erika Mundt teaches a new class that is available to students this year. It is called Ultimate Fitness and it is similar to Performance P.E. However, it does not take place in the weight room. During Ultimate Fitness activities such as pilates, yoga, suspension training and kickboxing exercises are offered, considered more intense than a regular P.E. class. Elements of nutrition and wellness will be emphasized in this course.


Physical Education is a required elective for every student. With the exception of seniors in a varsity sport, students gather in the gym for a break from their classes to participate in physical activities, every day for one trimester. According to general P.E. teacher and boys basketball coach Steve Bergman, the goal of physical education is to “transform people into being healthier.” “We have more cardio, but still give kids a choice to do the games where they can move around and still get their heart rates up,” he said. In contrast, some students disagree with the method of execution of this goal. “People find ways to slack. Being forced to exercise only makes people hate it more,” said Addy Taylor ’14. “Teachers should introduce students to various ways to exercise on their own rather than only team sports so they are not dependent on others to stay healthy.” Bergman believes that it is vital for students to work hard in P.E. He thinks that a good grade in P.E. reflects positively on a

student’s character. Because of this, it can be a class that colleges pay special attention to. “I’ve been told in certain circumstances colleges have looked at P.E. grades especially if it’s a really competitive situation,” Bergman said. Despite this some students believe P.E. doesn’t benefit all who are required to take the class. “P.E. should not be mandatory for kids who already devote much of their time outside of school to sports,” said Daniel Machlab ’15. “Kids who are already in good shape shouldn’t have to waste their time playing games in gym class.” A minority of students enjoy the break from their classes that P.E. classes offer. “I like being able to move around and not have to sit in a desk all day,” said Matthew Harper ’16. The required class may be more appealing to students if the activities were more engaging and encouraging. “I think P.E. is boring and that the administration should work on improving the curriculum to be more fun,” said Ally McKeone ’16.


Which P.E. class would you want to take?

Student survey on physical education

24% 40%

regular P.E. fitness

regular P.E. arena

Do you enjoy going to P.E. class?



no opinion


47% no



ultimate fitness


If yes, which P.E. class was chosen?


If no, which P.E. class was chosen?


regular P.E. arena

37% regular P.E. fitness

regular P.E. fitness

27% regular P.E. arena




3% 10%

ultimate fitness

ultimate fitness *309 students were surveyed. Due to rounding, not all percentages equal 100.


n a j o PINBOARD THE Tr n o i t Na


Sports updates that caught our eye this month.


a broken



A bright career

Recently Jill Arganbright ’99, West High graduate and daughter of current West High principal Dr. Jerry Arganbright, was inducted into the University of Northern Iowa Hall of Fame. Jill received a full ride to UNI, on both an academic and athletic scholarship. “Like any parent, we are always proud with any activity [the kids] are in,” said Dr. Arganbright. “Jill had a passion for both volleyball and academics, and I think both my wife and I are proud of her achievement.” Jill played setter for the UNI volleyball team, where she broke both

the single-game (66), and career record (2203) for assists. She currently ranks 12th in the nation for assists in a career. She was also one of two players in the history of the Missouri Valley Conference to be selected four times for AllConference honors. She was also selected as First-Team Academic All-American in 2003. “To know that I had to do well in school in order to reach my goal [medical school], I had to keep up my grades outside of volleyball. Both were and still are very important to me,”Jill said.

She’s won all 12 meets she has competed in, and she has set the record for every pool Jacintha Thomas ’15 she’s dove at this year. Jacintha Thomas ‘15 hopes to continue her undefeated season as she prepares for the State Championships on Nov. 8. Thomas has a 6-dive score of 328.95 which is the second best score ever achieved in the state of Iowa. Thomas keeps a positive attitude as she strives to score five points greater than her season best to claim the Midwestern Valley Conference record this season. “This season I had to realize that a meet isn’t over because of one missed dive. I’m starting to realize that if I miss a dive I can still come back and win the meet,” Thomas said. COMPILED BY//MADIE MIILLER


things you 10 didn’t know

Yokom places first




1. He is the announcer at West High sporting events. 2. He is a 5th-generation Johnson County resident. 3. He was the first ever Homecoming King at City High. 4. He had a speech impediment in elementary school. 5. He has nine dogs, two cats and seven koi fish. 6. He enjoys fishing, except his koi fish which he says are “off limits.” 7. He has been teaching at West High for 27 years. 8. His 20th wedding anniversary will be in March. 9. His middle name is Ralph. 10. He is “a prepper,” meaning he is preparing for the end of the world by storing food and things in his basement. He refers to himself a “Prepper Teacher.”



Ashlynn Yokom ’14 recently won this year’s regional cross-country meet and qualified for state. Yokom has been breaking numerous records ever since she joined the crosscountry team freshman year. According to Yokom, her proudest achievement is when she broke the all-time West High four kilometer record by 11 seconds, with a time of 13:57 in last year’s state meet. “I’m putting in just as much effort as the person in last place,” she said. “I have put so much of my time and effort into this sport in and outside of practice.” Although Yokom is driven to succeed on a personal level, her priority is still the team as a whole. “My biggest motivation is not always winning, but my team.” Yokom said. “I am out there for my team, not just myself, and I want my team to win.” COMPILED BY//AARON CARTER


Flagged down

{Design by fiona armstrong-pavlik}

In past spirit weeks, Student Senate has tried to hold Americanthemed spirit days. School administration, however, would not allow it on the grounds that it could alienate some students. Although the argument hasn’t been dragged along as long the Sadie Hawkins dance proposal has (let it go, it’s never going to happen), student senators and notably the executive board have been pushing for an Americanthemed day as part of one of the school’s spirit weeks. Upon proposal in meetings, however, school administration shut down the idea. The main argument the administration makes is that international students – for example, those who are refugees or part of a student exchange – would feel uncomfortable. Those who don’t applaud America would feel obligated to participate in something they don’t believe in, according to administration. Student Senate-sponsored events must be all-inclusive, and those who may not feel patriotic toward America but still want to partake in spirit week would be put at a disadvantage. With everything said, students are not required to dress according to the spirit week themes, and would not be subject to any discrimination. However, the WSS does acknowledge that an American-themed day could potentially lead to some strife. The intention of an Americanthemed day is not to alienate

anyone. There is not a clear characterization of a generic American - of how a citizen should act or what they should think. American culture is, after all, a melting pot, and students could represent that in whatever way they choose. This is why an American-themed day should be viewed more as an international day - a day set aside for the express of pride for whatever country students chose to associate with, through the use of colors or other spirited outfits. And if some students take this as a gateway to dress as they would for an American-themed day, so be it; all nations are welcome. While an international day is a really oversimplified way to express patriotism, it is one way to do so. Of course, a few colors won’t be able to cover the breadth of nationality, but it still allows students to openly express their pride on a special day set aside, united under the purpose of spirit week. Upon the suggestion of international day, though, school administrators again dismissed the idea because it could still be misconstrued as offensive. Why do spirit days matter, and why is it such a big deal that we can’t have an American-themed day?

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.

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.

According to Brady Shutt, Student Senate advisor, students often rally around ideas that are blocked by the administration, even if the idea isn’t that big of a deal. We as students are given so many rights, and thus feel astounded when we’re put under limitations. However, the basis of this limitation seems unfair. To label international students as victims widens the gap between them and American citizens. Red, white and blue suddenly become colors that paint enmity against diversity - as if supporting our nation is a suppression of others. Passion comes from an admirable place, and the practice of the using our voices as students should be encouraged.

Quality of life

index november

Thanksgiving Soooooo close. Although countless relatives asking about college plans and significant others is definitely a downside.

plus 7

End of first trimester I guess it’s time to learn all the stuff I’ve ignored for the past 11 weeks before it shows up on a final.

minus 5

Leftover Halloween candy Self-explanatory.

Should an Americanthemed spirit day be allowed?


plus 2

Barely any nice weather

The WSS editorial board voted against the school administration’s decision.

The transition from summer to fall was unusually brisk, and I’m still sad about the lack of warm-but-not-hot weather in between. minus 3

2013-2014 Editorial Board

Opening night of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Lushia Anson Fiona Armstrong-Pavlik Stephon Berry Abby Burgess Meredith Cullen Nick Deerberg Megumi Kitamoto Brittani Langland Kaitlyn McCurdy Hannah Merrill Anna Mondanaro Katie Mons

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

It’s about candy (among other things). And it’s going to be awesome.

plus 2

Total: plus 3 COMPILED by/fiona armstrong-pavlik

opinion SEPTEMBER 2013 41

Iowans for democracy


Americans for Prosperity, a national political organization, has been taking unusual measures for such a small election. It sounds like the beginning of a weird joke, but a “super PAC” really is getting involved in Coralville’s mayoral and city council elections. The group is Americans for Prosperity, which typically sponsors Republican candidates. Coralville’s election is nonpartisan, though, and the group has not officially endorsed any candidates. Coralville, which is home to nearly 20,000 people, is hardly the kind of city where an election like this could have lasting repercussions on a larger scale. Unless it’s already been setting a trend with its tax increment financing. The way Coralville has been funding expensive developments, most notably the Iowa River

Landing, has certainly been controversial. And Americans for Prosperity disapproves. With plenty of other towns following suit, it’s definitely a cause for concern for conservative groups. While the Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Elections Committee solidified campaign donations as a first amendment right, it still does not make sense for Americans for Prosperity to spend so much money and time on such a small election. Maybe the group thinks they can save the rest of small-town America from crushing debt by turning Coralville around and using it as a cautionary tale. However, having a national group get involved in an election of this

scale will drown out the voices of Coralville’s citizens – the people who will actually be impacted by this election. Plus, the way Americans for Prosperity has been going about its campaigning is excessively negative. Cold calling Coralville residents to sway their opinions about tax increment finacing and offering $20,000 to candidates hardly sounds like democracy at work. While huge funds and phone banks make sense for larger elections, it seems wasted on this one. There aren’t any debates to broadcast or advertisements to run. Plus, the focus on Coralvilles debt and financial policies has made the elections one-dimensional. Things like parks, roads, and schools have

taken a backseat to this campaign’s obsession with debt and taxes. Granted, a city the size of Coralville being nearly $300 million in debt isn’t something to take lightly - but the people who take issue with that should be Coralville’s residents, not the Koch brothers.

Is Americans for Prosperity’s involvement in the elections justified?


The WSS editorial board voted against the group’s involvement.

Guest column: Heads up, hands down


Everyone has a bad habit. Yours could be anything from persistent procrastination to a daily double-helping of ice cream. We all know how much better off we’d be if we conquered our pesky problems, but it’s hard to give up behaviors that are so deeply ingrained into our lives and into who we are. Perhaps you’ve been biting your nails for years; you don’t even remember when you started. Maybe you jiggle your knee or tap your desk when you’re stressed out or nervous. Your bad habit might not even seem that awful: hitting the snooze button ten times does make you feel more rested, after all. My bad habit is similar to these, but it can have devastating consequences. I have trichotillomania, 42 OPINION NOVEMBER 2013

which means I pull out my own hair. Like most people with trichotillomania, commonly referred to as “trich” or “TTM,” I started pulling when I was relatively young. According to the Mayo Clinic, trich usually develops between the ages of eleven and thirteen. The causes of this unusual habit are not fully known - theories range from a chemical imbalance in the brain to stress, to genetics. People with trichotillomania pull from anywhere, especially from the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes, but it varies from person to person. Severity also varies: I am lucky to have a mild case. Trichsters can pull hairs both without realizing it and consciously, and may experience temporary stress relief from the often-repetitive action. However, frequent pulling can lead to bald spots or uneven hair length, which in turn can cause extreme self-consciousness and anxiety. People with trich tend to do anything they can to hide their

condition, wearing head coverings and wigs and painstakingly putting on fake eyelashes or drawing on eyebrows every morning. We trichsters would do anything to just stop pulling. Some people even shave their heads to try to interrupt the behavior. The worst part of trich, though, is that it tends to be chronic; unlike most bad habits, it’s extremely difficult to stop and is usually a lifelong struggle. Even if we may not be able to completely stop pulling, there are still things we can do to help ourselves and others. There are many tips and strategies online for managing trichotillomania that other people have shared, such as stress management techniques and ideas for keeping your hands busy and away from your hair. And we can always raise awareness. The stigma of trich can be crushing; in a society that values appearances and closely associates hair with beauty, it’s difficult to tell

people that you can’t stop pulling yours out. Trich sufferers often feel isolated, depressed and alone. They are embarrassed of their condition because they feel like they’re the only people who can’t stop pulling out their hair. I didn’t even know that my bad habit had a name until last year. That’s why I am choosing to tell as many people as possible about my trichotillomania: to raise awareness of this relatively common yet potentially debilitating condition and to let my fellow trichsters know that they are not alone. Please feel free to ask me about trichotillomania. I’m ready to own my bad habit. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR may be sent to farmstrong@wsspaper. com. The WSS reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. GUEST OPINIONS should be sent to farmstrong@wsspaper. com and should be approximately 300-500 words.


Dye hard



I have always been fascinated by stars. They are impossible to count, soothing to look at and pose a challenge when I try to link them into constellations. I never really thought about them being anything significant, only as something in the sky over Earth for humans to look at while camping or driving home from the airport after a long trip. Like everyone else, I learned about space in science classes, but, until recently, my mind hadn’t fully wrapped around the concept of what outer space really was. Shooting stars are actually pieces of metallic rock flying through space at an incredible speed, leaving a visible trail of heat. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t grant wishes or possess any magical powers of the sort. The number of shooting stars I see after looking at the night sky in any given 10 minutes is kind of mindblowing. How can that many pieces of rock be racing through space all the time? Then I remember how insanely huge space is. Outer space is constantly expanding. Every time I think about this fact, I have a mini panic attack. How does outer space expand if there is no existing place for it? What does it look like? When will it stop? Will it ever stop? I’m sure an ingenious physicist can run a bunch of calculations and analyze research, but I am skeptical about any conclusions he or she would draw. The bottom line is that no one knows. Space is such a vast frontier that I doubt we will get close to making any life-changing discoveries in my lifetime. An expedition called Mars One is planning to launch volunteers to Mars to live and study, basically until they die. It’s a one way trip to Mars that people are volunteering


for. As in, you never see your family, friends or Earth ever again. Would you donate yourself for the sake of science? In an alternate universe, I would be the first person in line with my own space suit in hand. It’s a thing of movies to colonize planets, but this is going to be a reality in 2023. I’m so curious to see how this expedition will turn out. Another thing that keeps me up at night is the thought of other lifeforms in the universe. We know a miniscule amount about the universe so it’s probable that we aren’t alone. Maybe we don’t have the technology to detect life or maybe other life is more intelligent than us, so we don’t even have the ability to comprehend anything more complex than ourselves. As much as we like to believe that we are the smartest organisms in our galaxy, we certainly have many things lacking too. For example, our language isn’t even complex enough to even describe a color. Try it now with the color pink. You can’t, can you? You can describe things it is associated with or the way it makes you feel, but there are no distinct words to talk about the color pink specifically, the way we could with other words in English. For me, the concept of outer space is scary because I can’t fully wrap my head around all the unanswerable questions that goes along with it. Admittedly, I have become obsessed with trying to learn more about it, which as a result, causes me to stay up later pondering the possibilities of space. Hopefully now you will be inclined to Google your heart out, as I do several times a week, because space is really awesome.

Every haircut I can remember having has started with a compliment. “What a beautiful color!” the hairdresser always exclaims. Something like that, anyway. And, usually, I promise whoever is cutting my hair that I will never, ever dye it. After all, once you start dying your hair, you never stop, they tell me. I don’t even know what color my hair is, really. Red. Or orange. Maybe copper? Old ladies often approach me to talk about my hair. Some tell me that theirs used to be just like mine before they got older and it turned grey, or they say they wish it had been. The first few times I remember this happening, I cried. Talking to strangers was never my forte, and all those lessons in preschool about stranger danger certainly didn’t help. As I got older, I learned to just smile and nod. After all, I couldn’t take credit for its color -- my genes just did it on their own. And denying that it was anything special would just drag the conversation on longer. Of course, if asked, I would pledge to never dye it. I always get asked about where it comes from. I don’t know; I was born with a hair color, not a genetics textbook for a brain. I never wanted to be a redhead, though. Growing up, almost all of my friends were blond, although that might say more about the neighborhood I lived in than anything else. Until my Barbie phase ended, I always imagined that I would one day dye my hair blond too. As the haircuts (and promises) built over the years, my rebellious

spirit started itching to do something. I considered my options carefully. Not dying my hair was obviously possible. But that would be too easy. I’m only going to be 17 once, after all, and doing something purely for rebellion would be too immature later in life. So I bleached the tips of my hair and colored them fuchsia with hair dye I bought at Hot Topic the only time I have ever gone in. It looked stupid, but it felt good to do. Minus the part where my eyes watered for an hour straight because of the bleach. Granted, dying only the tips of my hair probably wasn’t what all those old ladies and hairdressers had meant when they told me to never dye my hair. It wasn’t the most rebellious thing I could have done, but it was just rebellious enough. My parents were confused. My friends were confused. I felt like I was in junior high. I also stopped wearing colors because I was afraid the top half of my body would be too flashy. It only lasted for a month. It was time to grow up. They’ve been gone for a week now -- and I might not look as rebellious anymore -- but the pink tips will live on in spirit.







While the coveted sweaterwearing, pumpkin-spice-lattedrinking, no-shave-November has arrived bringing a plethora of positives, it can’t be fall without flu season lurking in the background. It really wouldn’t be that bad if the sick kids stayed home and breathed their own germs instead of making everyone else, but the high number of overly-dedicated students at West makes that seemingly impossible. More of my peers than I would like to acknowledge come to school with an entourage of infectants in tow, and with the red, cracking, runny noses comes a melody arguably worse than a beginning orchestra concert. If Satan had a soundtrack, it’d probably just be 20 teenagers in a classroom sniffing their noses for 53 minutes straight. I know I am not the only one who has experienced the case of the incessant snuffler, but let me paint you a picture in case you are one of the lucky few to have escaped the torture. Imagine you are sitting in fifth period on a Tuesday and the teacher is giving a lecture from the SMARTBoard. There are already three huge issues with this scenario, but hold onto your snotfilled cranium because things are about to get a heck of a lot worse. On top of it being Tuesday, by far the worst day of the week, and despite the fact that you’ve been sitting on a full stomach waiting for ten minutes for the teacher to re-calibrate the SMARTBoard for the fifth time, the biggest source of agony comes from the nasal cavities of the fortunate students who surround you. In a joyous harmony, they 44 OPINION NOVEMBER 2013

serenade you with an intricate rhythmic sniffling, repeatedly interrupting any train of thought that had been cruising through your mind. Even though it’s probably one of your secret white girl fantasies to have a husky male sing to you, this is not a pleasurable experience. Since I am probably guilty of being the snuffler at one point in my life, I’ll keep my criticism to a minimum, but c’mon guys, really? It literally takes ten seconds to stand up, walk to the nearest tissue box, blow your nose, dispose of the tissue and return to your seat. If it takes a tenth of a second to sniff your nose, at the rate of about four sniffs a minute you would have spent as much time sniffing during a class period as 21 trips to the tissue box would have taken. If you use the excuse that not all teachers have tissues in their rooms, I hear ya but barely over the chants of “bring your own” echoing in my mind. On a side note, teachers, I’m sure there are enough students in your classes like me who would gladly bring in a box of tissues if it meant just ten minutes of peace and quiet. If I had any sign of a spine, I might actually say something to the offender. But I don’t foresee that happening anytime soon, so this is my plea for help. If you or one of your friends is a known snuffler, save us all the agony and take a trip to your nearest Kleenex supplier. Your sinuses, and peers, will thank you.

See, I’ve always felt a little embarrassed, or ashamed, or something, that I couldn’t deal with this regimented, institutionalized education. I mean, it seems so trivial. It’s simply school for crying out loud. But I can’t deny the fact it made me, makes me, so damn unhappy. Doing things I enjoy, pursuing what I love, and exploring the world around me, all suspended for the minutiae of high school. Life postponed, put on hold for the gratification that will come when I get all A’s to get into a good school, so I can get a good job that makes a lot of money, so I can save that money, so when I retire, I can finally do all the things I’ve been wanting to do since I was a little girl. I call bullshit. This life is the only one I’ve got. I’m not going to spend any more of it sitting in a cramped desk, having a predigested, predetermined, premade education forced down my throat, going to bed worn out and waking up exhausted, feeling spent, detached and alone. I’m done with that. These college essays that I am spending hours on ask me for the wonderful, unique, amazing things I’ve done so far with my life. Let me tell you, the list is short. I’ve spent all my time studying and finishing homework, being forced into the mold of a perfect candidate for college and having the unique, creative side of me beaten out with AP curricula, honors classes and sleep deprivation. Sure, yes, I’ve learned a lot along the way, which I love. But I want something more out of my life than just problem sets and Scantrons. I want to get out of these beige walls and get out

into this strange, wide wonderful world and actually do some amazing things. In the end, I decided to graduate early because I want to pursue a different kind of education. I am going to begin a creative education, one that is original, skeptical, curious and always in a pursuit of more: more knowledge, more doing, more learning, but never one regimented by the pages of a textbook or confined by a desk. I have plans to travel this world, to read books that aren’t assigned, to have free time (!), to finally nourish my starving right brain. Though this is my senior column, a place where I get the chance to say goodbye in 500 words, this column isn’t really a farewell. I originally planned for it to be a two middle fingers in the air to high school, but then I thought that might not be so constructive. Maybe its purpose is to offer a little bit of an explanation to why I’m graduating early, but I don’t owe anyone an explanation. Actually, I think it’s for those who feel how I feel. If nothing else, this is a little bit of meager consolation; a way to say: it’s okay. Some people just aren’t fit for the rigamarole of high school, the endless cycle of thoughtless learning in our education. I wasn’t. That doesn’t make you unintelligent or mean there’s something wrong with you. It just is. And if you still have more time in high school to fight through, I’m sorry. But the sweetest part is, time passes. And it will end.





Mitch Yoerger ’15

On the inside the vents are busted and it’s really messy.”

Once while [someone] was riding in my car he got super mad and punched my dashboard and cracked it. He also ripped out my passengers air vents.”

One time I took it through thin snow with ice underneath on a back road and I ran into the curb hard and my hub cap flew off. My friend Corbin Countryman ’15 put zip ties on it so it would stay on the tire.”

It has dents all over [the car].”


Complete the

lyrics With Melissa Nies


“WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY?” BY YLVIS WSS: Cow goes “moo” Frog goes “croak” And the elephant goes NIES: honk WSS: Ducks say “quack” And fish go “blub” And the seal goes NIES: snark WSS: Big blue eyes Pointy nose Chasing mice and NIES: around he goes

WSS: Tiny paws Up the hill Suddenly you’re NIES: name is Bill WSS: What does the fox say? NIES: Too late, you’re dinner!


WSS: Boys and girls of every age Wouldn’t you like to see a NIES: stage WSS: This is Halloween, everybody make a scene

Trick or treat ‘till the neighbors gonna NIES: sell their house WSS: I am the one hiding under your bed Teeth ground sharp and NIES: creepy WSS: In this town we call home Everyone hail to the pumpkin King Our man Jack is King of pumpkin NIES: lantern WSS: Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! NIES: Away we go! COMPILED BY//DANIAL SYED


{Design by megumi kitamoto and Grace young





for more coverage go to

scan this with your smartphone to link to our website


the battle of the boot

Despite a 14-7 defeat, the West High student section cheers on their team at Bates Field on Oct. 11. Find videos and photos online. photo by//nick deerberg


West High v. waterloo east

Rosy cheeks from frigid temperatures completed the pink-out for breast cancer awareness and bullying awareness day for Colors. West won the football game 63-0 on senior night. photo by//lydia hinman

iowa city book festival Iowa City takes pride in its literary diversity, because it is one of the six cities of literature in the world. Bookworms gathered Oct. 10-13 to celebrate local literary talent.


COMPilED by//kelsey keranen and rebecca wen


run for the schools

Students, teachers and their respective families took to the streets on Oct. 20 for the annual Run for the Schools. COMPilED by//amelia moser


gallavanting in the Galรกpagos

As the 2012-13 school year came to a close, West students adventured the Galรกpagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador for two weeks. Take a look at the video online.


photo by//Hannah Muellerleile

a memorable field trip At the annual Iowa High School Press Association conference at the Iowa Memorial Union on Oct. 24, the West Side Story staff won first place in Graphics, among other achievements.


west side story file photo



{Design by katie mons}


Last year, the West Side Story compiled a photo essay on Humans of Iowa City, based off of Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York.” This time, it’s a little closer to home.

Becca Hilmer ’15 Lucky Bah ’17

Irena Charles ’17

HILMER: “Tell me something about yourself.” “I don’t really have anything unique about myself. I’m a diver, but that’s it.” “Well, what made you do diving?” “I like to flip.”

Maezz Khalid ’14

Ron Melsha, janitor COMPilED by//ALORA KRAUS

BAH: “I can twist my fingers all the way back.” CHARLES: “I’m open to a lot of people. If there’s anything interesting about someone, I’ll try to get to know them for it.” MELSHA: “How’d you get your job as a janitor?” “I don’t know if you want to go way back, but I used to work in construction and there were no benefits. I just got to an age where I needed them.” KHALID: “I’m going to be a U.S. Marine. I get shipped out July 28.” 47


(Your story here)

Halloween brings candy, fun, and of course, mad-libs.

Halloween traces its roots back to an old ________ (noun- country) ritual, in which _______ (plural noun) would celebrate the fall harvest by ________ (verb ending in ING) around a ______ (noun). Today, Halloween is a very special holiday for West High students. Student’s have been ______ (verb ending in ING) hard and are exhausted. According to _________ (noun - teacher at West), “My students are ______ (adjective), so they deserve the right to dress up as a ______ (noun) and ______ (verb) on people’s doors.” But some West-Highers have chosen not to partake in Halloween. Senior Paul Curry recalls that “Last time I went trick or treating, I received a ______ (noun) and it was so _________ (adjective) that I ______ (verb ending in ED) my friend ________ (noun- student at West) who was dressed up as ______!” (noun- celebrity). Whether good or bad, Halloween is sure to be a _________ (adjective) experience for everyone.


November 1, 2013  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you