While most people have possibly unattainable entries on their “bucket lists” along the lines of going bungee jumping or climbing Mount Everest, sophomore Caleb Latas had a slightly less lofty goal that he was able to cross off of his list last year: to be a mascot at least one time.
Latas happened upon his opportunity to be the school mascot, JJ the Jaguar, by luck. During an idle moment in art class last year, his chance to shine presented itself, and he jumped at the opportunity.
“I had Mrs. Crist for class and she asked if anyone wanted to be the mascot for the game that night. I said I would,” Latas said. “I’d call it history from there.”
Although Latas does not remember much about his first game, it clearly made an impression on him since he has been dressing up as JJ the Jaguar ever since. In his second consecutive year as JJ, Latas can be found encouraging spirit in character at pep assemblies and football games.
Latas has a good time with the job he volunteers to do because of the freedom that comes with it.
“I can just do whatever: dance, have fun and shake my booty,” Latas said. “There’s a lot of room for creativity in how I want to entertain people.”
According to Latas, the hardest thing about the job is getting dressed, especially in inclement weather. Depending on the weather, it can take him 10 to 20 minutes to prepare because of the amount of clothing he needs to wear to stay warm. However, Latas says in order to fully mentally prepare to be a mascot, “it takes about three years.”
Junior John Beck appreciates Latas’ talent and enthusiasm as JJ the Jaguar.
“I think [Latas] does a good job encouraging the crowd to getting the crowd involved and cheering on our teams,” Beck said.
Latas continues entertaining the school population simply for his own enjoyment.
“It’s fun,” Latas said. “It’s just cool being the mascot.”
Journalism staffs attended the 2012 Journalism Educators of Metropolitan Kansas City awards ceremony at Johnson County Community College on Wednesday, April 25.
The awards are as follows:
The JagWire website, second place
The Jag yearbook, second place
Senior Sarah Darby, Opal Heatherly Writing Award for Seniors Scholarship and Michael Dunlap Excellence in Journalism Scholarship
Sophomore Jack Lopez, second place in Newspaper Critical Review
Senior Sarah Fulton, second place in Newspaper Editorial
Senior Jill Applegate, honorable mention in Newspaper Single-Page Design
Applegate and senior Adam Henderson, first place in Newspaper Infographic
Junior Hanna Torline, honorable mention in Newspaper Sports Story
Junior Miranda Snyder, honorable mention in Newspaper Sports Action
Junior Kelsey Floyd, first place in Newspaper News Photography
Snyder and senior Sarah Gonzales, third place in Newspaper Multimedia Online
Junior Ellen Bodine, honorable mention in Yearbook Clubs Design
Senior Allie Love, honorable mention in Yearbook Portrait Copy
Senior Carly Granato, third place in Yearbook Student Life design
Seniors Rachel Mills and Katherine Beck, first place in Yearbook Theme Presentation
Senior Lauren Shurley, honorable mention in Yearbook Overall Coverage in a Single Spread
Bodine, second place in Yearbook Sports Design
Mills, honorable mention in Headline Package Presentation
Granato, second place in Yearbook Activities Photography
Senior Austin Becker, second place in Yearbook Sports Reaction
The JagWire website and newspaper were also named All-Kansas by the Kansas Scholastic Press Association. The newspaper was one of six 5A papers in the state to be recognized and the website was one of two in the state to earn the honor. A total of 48 schools submitted publications and 22 earned the honor.
“We’ve had a strong showing at every competition we’ve been at this year. We have a lot of talented journalists and a lot of students who are passionate about journalism,” Darby said. “I’m so proud all of our hard work has paid off.”
Every issue deadline, the Newspaper has two “worknights” designed to help our staff complete the issue. The first worknight of the month lasts from 3-5 p.m. and then the following week on a Monday after the short worknight, we always have a “long” worknight which lasts from 3-9 p.m. Being in a room full of crazy journalists for that long inevitably leads to some funny memories.
Most of my memories involving worknights involve jokes about taking clothes off. The journalism room has 30 computers, all generating heat, and when the air conditioning turns off through out the school after 4 p.m., the room only gets hotter. Many staff members bring their worknight clothes, often bringing shorts and a tank top to change into even in the middle of winter. Even with staff dressed as appropriately as possible, the number of times I have heard people say they’re going to take their pants off or start singing “It’s getting so hot in here, I’m gonna take my clothes off,” are hard to count.
Another favorite memory of mine involves something we have called the quote pumpkin. The quote pumpkin is a plastic Halloween candy bucket that gets filed every year with funny quotes from our staff. The quote pumpkin is entertaining every day but on worknights, tons of quotes are added to the pumpkin. Here are a few of my (appropriate) favorites in the pumpkin right now:
“Children love me,” newspaper a&e editor Austin Gillespie
“AP style gold digger,” Gillespie
“The man cave is filthy,” newspaper reporter Sydney Wilson
“KRounds [Kaitlin Rounds], you sound like my diabetic cat when we don’t give it its meds,” newspaper managing editor Sarah Fulton
“Why are you wearing my jacket?” newspaper photographer Alec Santaularia
“Because I wanted to smell like a man,” newspaper ads manager Austin Gude
“I don’t hate this song, that would be like hating butterflies,” yearbook editor-in-chief Katherine Beck
“It would be funny if we threw out some random candy, like dental floss,” adviser Kathy Habiger on things to hand out off the newspaper Homecoming float
“Does anyone here have a phone charger?” Mama Flinn [newspaper reporter Alana Flinn’s mom]
Worknight is always a time when tensions run high, which consequentially makes everyone’s jokes that much funnier. Some of my favorite worknight memories involve Gillespie and I making fun of Sarah. He and I enjoy photoshopping funny pictures of Sarah and hanging them on the back wall. I, like Sarah, also enjoy the many jokes about people taking their clothing off. We have even talked about making shirts that say “Newspaper worknight: I took my pants off for this,” an idea that has, unfortunately, never come to fruition. Lastly, one of my favorite worknight memories in specific comes from not this year, but last year. Our adviser Kathy Habiger came running out of her office with photographer Taylor Young’s caption rough draft in her hand, screaming about how Taylor had decided to abbreviate March to Mar. Upon hearing this, then editor-in-chief Kaitlyn Butko began to promptly run around the room, changing every page’s folio from Mar. to March. What made if even better was the the song “We No Speak Americano” by Yolanda Be Cool was playing at the time, which provided the perfect setting for Kaitlyn to be scurrying around the room to fix her mistake.
Lesson of the week:
1. High stress situations can lead to some funny experiences.
Lesson 29 of being an editor-in-chief: Check.
Walking out to sophomore Drew Boatwright’s backyard, the clubhouse door appeared right away. As the pasty white door swung open, two stairs led down to the carpeted surface full of empty soda cans, blankets, video games, and a mini fridge. Two bright lights beamed down from the ceiling revealing his prized possession.
“It’s original and not like any other clubhouse I’ve ever seen,” Boatwright said. “It’s a kid’s dream.”
The summer after their freshmen year, Boatwright and his sophomore friends, Brendan Frieders, Max Taulbee, Aaron Geise, John Beck, Patrick Tapang, and Adam Willougby built their own clubhouse in Boatwright’s backyard. They mowed lawns and worked at various jobs until they came up with the $1,500 necessary to build the clubhouse. Once able to pay for the construction of it, they got right to work.
“We worked hard on it,” Boatwright said. “Even though professionals didn’t build it, we were still able to make it look pretty professional.”
In the clubhouse, the boys played games and hung out. They often invited friends over and made multiple memories. One memorable event occurred at the start of their sophomore year, when they thought someone broke into the clubhouse after a bank robbery nearby.
“We were really freaked out,” sophomore Patrick Tapang said. “We were scared to check inside the clubhouse to see if anyone was there.”
Although they discovered no one in the clubhouse after the bank robbery, the event turned into one of their favorite events. Other events occurred that the boys did not enjoy so much. Rain warped the roof until they got tarp over it, and animals snuck in at night. Once they resolved those problems, they found the clubhouse very enjoyable.
“I think the clubhouse was a great idea,” Boatwright said. “It’s such an enjoyment and we absolutely love it. It’s nice to have a place that we can call our own.”
Twenty-four students, comprising the top 10 percent of the senior class, have been announced as the recipients of the Kansas Honors Scholars recognition award. The program’s goal is to bring focus to academics and recognize those students who worked hard consistantly throughout their high school career.
The recognition ceremony, which invites the students, their parents, principals and superintendents to be recognized, will be held at Blue Valley High School on Monday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. Couselor Randy Burwell said that it is a good program overall.
“It is a great way for the student to receive recognition for their efforts,” Burwell said. “[The program] does a great job recognizing the top 10 percent of our graduating class and it is done by a group outside the school district, so all the other [scholars] in other schools around Kansas too.”
Each student who makes up the 24 selected as the top of the class will receive recognition at the ceremony, an engraved American Heritage Dictionary and the ability to win a $4,000 scholarship to KU. Senior Austin Becker said it is great to be awarded the title.
“It is definitely an honor,” Becker said. “It is a good thing to be able to award the kids who worked hard throughout high school.”
Below is a list of the Kansas Honors Scholars:
How long have you have you been wrestling?
Five years, this year being my sixth.
What are your personal goals for the upcoming season?
State champion for me and state champions for the team.
What have you been doing in the off-season to prepare yourself for the approaching season?
Worked hard in the weight room and in open mat during the summer, then worked hard in fitness and conditioning, and after school weights during the school year.
What has been your best memory wrestling for the school?
Well every time me or the team wins, Leo (Beck’s) strip teases, IHOP, the revolt against the coaches, where we tried to beat them up and the nicknames.
If you could receive advice from anyone in the world who would that be and why?
Well I don’t know everyone in the world, so I guess the one with the best advice.
If you had to describe yourself with one word, what would that be and why?
Fresh because I am never stagnate and ‘Ain’t nobody fresh as me I’m just so fresh and so fresh and so clean’ – OutKast.
What are your plans for this Halloween?
Bag jacking, taking candy from trick or treaters.
Christian Youth Theater, or CYT, is a theater designed for kids ages 8-18 and has been a major part of seniors Emily Longhofer’s and Hannah Beck’s lives. CYT has been around for more than 10 years and has three locations they call north, south and east. Each location does three shows a season and has between 50-85 kids a show.
Beck and Longhofer are involved in the south location, which performed over 30 shows in the past 10 years.
Though school is also important to Beck and Longhofer, CYT takes hours of time out of school.
“It takes all of [my time]. I don’t have any spare time. It’s hard to manage school and CYT,” Longhofer said.
Though CYT often takes away from schoolwork, Longhofer feels it’s worth it.
“It definitely affects school, but it’s 100 percent worth it. It helps me grow as a person,” Longhofer said.
Senior Kelsie Schuman used to be involved with CYT. She participated in shows starting in fifth grade and ending in her freshman year.
“When you do CYT, it’s the only extra curricular activity you can participate in,” Schuman said. “I wanted to spend more time doing activities at Mill Valley.”
During performances, Beck and Longhofer often have to leave school for shows.
“You have to make a lot of sacrifices for this. It means I can’t be involved in school or have a job. This is my life,” Longhofer said.
Many hours a week are put into shows and rehearsals.
They spend close to 9 hours rehearsing and about twelve with travel.
Because of the hours put into it and missing school, free time is limited for both.
“It involves all of our life, we have no free time, no spare time or anything it can be hard,” Beck said.
To be a part of a CYT show participants have to take a class they offer. CYT offers classes from acting, dancing, make-up and more.
“We both take dance classes, so it’s more time we spend there, but we love it,” Beck said.
For Beck, CYT has been a part of her life for years.
“I saw a show when I was in fourth grade. I saw kids up there that were my age and I got really interested into it,” Beck said
Seeing a performance got Longhofer involved as well.
“I went to see a show, and after I thought it looked fun I talked to Beck who gave me the information,” Longhofer said.
Being involved in CYT has given both Beck and Longhofer many opportunities.
“We’ve gotten the chance to go dance in NYC, go to San Diego and hopefully soon we will be able to meet CYT people from around the nation,” Beck said.
Some opportunities have continued into schoolwork and Beck partners her drama class with an intership through CYT.
Schuman made the decision to discontinue participating in CYT.
“I chose to stop doing CYT because I became closer with people at Mill Valley,” Schuman said.
Beck and Longhofer admit they cannot spend near the amount of time they would like to at school.
“It means we can’t be involved in school, which is why you have to make a choice and sometimes it’s tough,” Beck said.
The friendships made at CYT have had an impact on their performances.
“I’ve met so many people and had so much fun, I really want to be a dance teacher and hope I can choreograph shows for CYT one day,” Longhofer said.
Beck doesn’t know if CYT has a career for her.
“I’ve definitely thought about it, it would be great but I’m not sure about what I want to do or where,” Beck said.
Beck and Longhofer can agree on their favorite part of CYT.
“Our faith really keeps us going, the people there are amazing and we know we have Jesus,” Longhofer said.
Relief comes when a show is finally ready to perform.
“It’s a great feeling when it comes together, you feel proud,” Longhofer said. “I’ve never seen a show not come together, everyone gets it together.”
After hours put into a show and rehearsal the feeling of friendship, relief and hard work come together.
“I love the impact we can have on other people,” Beck said. “I get to serve the Lord and do I what I love. It’s awesome.”