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.”
The Prom king and queen candidates were announced at the last pep assembly of the year on Thursday, April 11.
Seniors Drew Smith, Austin Ross, Austin Gebhardt, Brayton Young and Greg Mason were nominated as the king candidates, and seniors Carly Granato, Emily Johnson, Haley Grigsby, Morgan Ottesen and Chloe Wistuba were the queen candidates.
The assembly featured a candidate game of charades.
“I enjoyed the candidate game and getting to see all of them do ridiculous things,” senior Austin Becker said. “There wasn’t a whole lot of time to plan [the assembly] but they found a way to get everyone involved.”
Junior dancer Jillian Mullin agrees with Becker after seeing the reactions to the silver stars and silver studs dance, which was performed at the pep assembly.
“I thought it was really fun and a really good crowd-pleaser to have the guys there,” Mullin said. “This was the first time we had the guy-girl dance at a pep assembly and I thought it was successful. It was a great pep assembly to end with. We had a lot of school spirit.”
With the lights dimmed on Wednesday, Sept. 28, students fell silent as guest speaker Calvin Terrell held up a T-shirt with a gang’s slogan, “Support your local white boy” across the front. He acquired the shirt when a former member quit and donated it to help influence the decrease in prejudice. He described the violent acts they committed as students grew uncomfortable.
JagPRIDE sponsored two speakers that coincided with the Kansas anti-bullying campaign, including Terrell. He delivered a powerful message to students dealing with issues of prejudice, violence and hatred.
“Calvin showed that if we stop and consider what is going on around us, we can make a change,” junior Autumn Rodriguez said.
Terrell reached the audience with personal experiences, including how witnessing the death of his friend affected him. After that moment, he made a change for the better. He used engaging activities with trigger words to demonstrate how easily people can be conditioned everyday.
“The atmosphere when Calvin came was indescribable,” Rodriguez said. “I felt like he wasn’t talking to us, but with us.”
Terrell not only embodied an inspiring message, but reached students through his presentation.
“I thought he was cool by easing into it and then addressing the topic,” sophomore Dakota Rogers said.
To address binge drinking and alcohol poisoning, jagPRIDE invited Debbie Allen as its second speaker on Monday, Nov. 28 to share the story of her 17-year-old daughter’s death that resulted from alcohol poisoning. Although her story earned sympathy from many, students felt she lacked in presentation.
“I understood the topic and the bad situation,” Rogers said. “But, she didn’t do a very good job of presenting [the information].”
Both speakers left a lasting impression. Terrell reinforced his message by providing all students with rubber bracelets engraved with the motto, “Every choice you make will either help or haunt you.”
“Calvin’s presentation was truly moving,” Rodriguez said. “[It] brought tears to my eyes.”
The tattoo artist’s gun buzzed constantly as he carefully worked on the tattoo on sophomore Danielle Robert’s wrist. She visited Bleeding Heart Tattoo in Lee’s Summit, Mo. on Saturday, Jan. 21, and decided to get the message, “I Love You 1960-2010,” in order to remember her father who passed away.
Tattoos continued to be a trend among students including Roberts due to their ability to help express themselves.
“The tattoo allows me to express how I feel about my dad,” Roberts said. “When people ask about it, I like informing them that there’s a story behind it.”
Although the tattoo satisfied Roberts, she disliked the necessary tasks beforehand. The shop required Roberts and her mother to fill out a lot of paperwork when they arrived.
“It was a long process that seemed to take forever,” Roberts said. “It was really annoying.”
Senior Marcus Grant decided to get a meaningful tattoo as well. Grant traveled to Westport on Friday, Jan. 13, and received the tattoos, “Life teaches,” and “love reveals,” on the inside of his arms. Grant got these tattoos because he always liked the quote and thought it contained a truthful meaning. Although he enjoyed the new tattoos, his favorite one consisted of a message for his mother on his chest that he got previously.
“I got the tattoo on my chest because my mom means a lot to me,” Grant said.
Grant also anjoyed the attention he received for the tattoos.
“I like tattoos because they make me stand out as much as bright clothing does,” Grant said.
Senior Madalyn McNally decided to get tattoos for this same reason when she visited Freaks on Broadway in Westport on Sunday, Jan. 15. She chose to get the Irish Celtic symbol to resemble her heritage. The tattoo contained a center with three spirals around it, representing past, present and future. It also represented mind, body and spirit and their correlation to one another.
“I chose to get the Celtic symbol because it is unique and it stands out,” McNally said. “You don’t see very many people with it.”
Despite their various reasoning, the students agreed that the best tattoos obtained a personal meaning or experience behind them.
“Tattoos are awesome when there’s some sort of story behind them,” Roberts said. “Those are the most powerful.”
Monday, Jan. 30 to Friday, Feb. 3
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:
Part 2: Monday, Oct. 3 to Friday, Oct. 7
With the first two wins under his belt, junior wide receiver L.J. Hatch knows that he holds an upper hand against other Kaw Valley League teams. Hatch is able to depend on his longtime teammate junior quarterback Skyler Windmiller.
“Skyler and I have been playing together for a long time, so we really know each other’s tendencies,” Hatch said.
Windmiller has been playing alongside Hatch and has been his best friend for as long as he can remember. The two started in the fifth grade playing for the Little Jags. The boys have been playing together for six years, now at the high school varsity level.
“When we were little kids, we didn’t pass much, but when we did, I always looked for L.J,” Windmiller said. “It stayed the same way as we got older. Even though others kept improving receiving skills, I feel like he’d always be the one who could catch it.”
After receiving seven catches from Windmiller at Friday’s home game against Bonner Springs High School, it is apparent that Windmiller and Hatch have a connection for success.
“He and I can run one play, if it doesn’t work; I swear both of us will think the same exact thing,” Windmiller said. “It may not be what the coaches ask of us, but it always gets the play to work.”
As well as the two work together, both players know independence is key in attempt to make All State. The prestigious ranking is voted upon by coaches around the state for who the top player in each position is. Windmiller was ranked in the top five for quarterback during the 2010-2011 season, while Hatch is reaching for a first time recognition ranking this season as receiver.
Early in the season, Hatch knows the responsibilities placed upon him and Windmiller.
“We have to be leaders and help the guys that will be starting after we’re gone, the ones following in our footsteps,” Hatch said.
Junior Tyler Kile remembers when he was seven years old finding a stick in his yard and attempting to levitate his dog by pointing his new found “wand.” He repeatedly yelled the spell “wingardium leviosa” over and over, just waiting for his dog to hover up above his head.
Kile is just one of many in the current high school generation who has found joy and fascination with the magic of the Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling. The spell he tried to cast when he was a child is just one of the many magical aspects that draw readers to the series. His interest was first sparked when his aunt sent him the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, for his birthday in second grade.
Junior Devin Rudicel has also been a fan for much of his life. He first became fascinated by the series when he picked up the first novel at a bookstore in first grade and then could not stop reading it. As the series grew, so did his fascination.
“I had a marathon with my cousins one time where we watched the first through the fourth movies and we tried to quote as much as we could,” Rudicel said. “Oh, and we drank butterbeer too.”
Junior Carly Granato, who has been a fan of the series since second grade when her grandparents took her to the midnight premiere of the first movie, is a self-proclaimed Harry Potter enthusiast. She has read all the books over three times through, reading the fifth installment, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, several more times. She even follows Harry Potter blogs.
“It reminds me of my childhood. [Harry Potter] was one of the more enjoyable things from my childhood which is why I probably like it so much,” Granato said.
Besides providing a generation with entertainment and a common bond, Harry Potter has also offered an opening to the world of reading for many children and teens.
“I really think that Harry Potter reintroduced a lot of kids into reading. It was really popular and everyone read the book and talked about it,” Rudicel said. “Without Harry Potter, the interest in reading wouldn’t be so high.”
Throughout the country and the world various Harry Potter fan clubs exist, including one here. Senior co-presidents Marcia Ebb and Allison Weis founded the Harry Potter Fan Club last year and since then have been expanding in size and membership.
“The HPFC offers a magical escape into the wizarding world from school life for us ordinary Muggles [non-wizards],” Ebb said.
With its significant cultural impact, the Harry Potter series is almost certain to become a literary and cinematic legacy.
“I think it’s going to be one of the things that we’re known for,” Granato said. “Like in the ‘80s there were bright neon colors, rock bands and scrunchies. Harry Potter is going to be one of ours.”
For many Potter fans, the magic of the Harry Potter wizarding world is something that will stay a part of their lives for years to come.
“I think Harry Potter will constantly be in my house no matter where I go,” Granato said. “Actually, when I turn 18, I plan on getting the Deathly Hallows symbol tattooed behind my ear.”
Kile, on the other hand, plans to keep the spirit of the movies and books alive in a different way.
“I’m sure when I’m older I’ll have movie revival parties,” Kile said. “I’ll reread the books over and over throughout my entire life.”
With the first part of the final installment of the series hitting theaters Friday, Nov. 19, Potter fanatics around the school are preparing for the premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” with excitement. The film’s opening is possibly one of the most anticipated premieres of the decade.
“I already bought my ticket, and then I need to get face paint,” Granato said. “Last year [for "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince"] I went to the midnight premiere and what I did was Gryffindor colors, with a yellow stripe through my face and wore one of my Gryffindor shirts.”
Kile plans to dress up for the premiere as well, opting to go in full costume.
“I think I’m going to dress as Dumbledore, in loving memory,” Kile said. “I think someone needs to bring it back.”
The final movie is being split into two parts, with the second part coming to theaters July 2011. Despite that this closing movie will truly be the end of the era, fans all around cannot help but be excited for the series’ conclusion.
“For the first part, I’m expecting a really anticlimactic ending to cliff-hang us,” Kile said. “But for both parts I’m expecting the most epic movie experience of all time.”
For the 670 who purchased tickets to the Homecoming dance on Saturday, Sept. 25, the evening was supposed to have been memorable. It was memorable, but for all the wrong reasons, causing over 600 students to leave the dance early.
Student body vice-president senior Miranda Wagner says the DJ’s choice of music negatively affected the dance.
“StuCo members asked their friends for songs they wanted to hear, and Ms. Crist went over it and took off two songs, then sent that list to the DJ to use as a guide, he was just not allowed to take requests,” Wagner said. “Any songs he played, they were his own personal choice at his own discretion.”
Counselor and dance chaperone Trish Chandler understands that the music choice was not appealing to students, but says that students still could have had fun despite the circumstances.
“Every student has the choice in every situation to make the best of things. You have got to come in and say, ‘You know what, I’m going to have fun with it.’ It all depends on that choice, what you are going to make of it?” Chandler said.
Embodying Chandler’s advice, junior Carly Granato decided to make the best of her Homecoming, even though she wouldn’t have normally enjoyed the music played by the DJ.
“This quote sums it up, from Maya Angelou, ‘If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.’ I just changed my attitude,” Granato said.
Rumors about the enforcement of the dance policy spread during and immediately after the dance, which Chandler says are false .
“Some students say it was Mr. Waldeck’s fault, which is not true at all. Afterwards he was getting blamed for a lot that was not true,” Chandler said. “I was even said to have had a whistle and binoculars, which just didn’t happen.”
One rumor in particular has been circulating pertaining to Chandler and other chaperones sitting in the bleachers, watching the dancers closely.
“It would’ve been better if there was better music and less teachers on the bleachers with flashlights,” senior Margaret Simanowitz said. “They were creeping.”
Chandler says this is a misconception and says her true purpose was to protect the students.
“I went up there because I honestly didn’t want to stand all night. And the walkie-talkies, those are at every school function, that’s really just a safety issue,” Chandler said. “What if something happened and we needed to contact Officer Midiros? Just a safety issue.”
Principal Tobie Waldeck also has had the issue of hearing things about himself that are not true.
“I’ve been told I handpicked every song. Totally not accurate,” Waldeck said. “I informed him that the music would be appropriate, but I had nothing to do with the selection of music.”
Another common complaint during the dance was the tighter adherence to the signed dance pledge.
“[The enforcement of] the dance policy ruined the dance basically,” Simanowitz said.
The policy is not new, but the adherence to the policy has drastically increased, unexpected for most.
“I can understand why the upperclassmen were disappointed,” counselor and dance chaperone Erin Hayes said. “I am assuming they feel like they didn’t have a voice, which was not our intention.”
Some students predicted these complaints, so they planned an alternate party. Senior Alexis Williams had her birthday party the same night as Homecoming to give students another option. Senior Vicky Griffith says that she was uneasy about the party at first, but at the end of the night, was happier there than at Homecoming.
“I was kind of iffy at first, because she was comparing her birthday to Homecoming,” Griffith said. “But it ended up with her birthday being better than Homecoming.”
The party was held at Okun Fieldhouse, with security and parent chaperones, and they allowed students to dance the way they chose.
“The alternate Homecoming was a safe environment, and if that’s what kids want to do, then do it,” junior Olivia Beashore said.
By the end of the night, roughly 600 students had left Homecoming, with a large portion attending Williams’ party.
“I’m disappointed that people left our Homecoming, for whatever reason,” Waldeck said. “I want kids to have a good time, but there has to be an element of decency in our dances.”
With such a large amount of students leaving, Beashore says the result damaged school spirit, but not because of the alternate party.
“It absolutely harmed school spirit,” Beashore said. “Not that the event took place, but the fact that our Homecoming wasn’t a place where students wanted to be.”
Griffith agrees, saying even without the alternate party, she would have left Homecoming.
“We probably would’ve gone to IHOP with everybody,” Griffith said. “That would’ve been more fun [than Homecoming.]”
Beashore says that changes need to be made in order to have a successful dance.
“If we are going to spend our school money to have a dance that no students want to go to, then stop having it,” Beashore said. “Or fix it so it’s a place kids want to be.”
However, not every part of Homecoming was viewed as a disappointment; Wagner says the spirit of the students during the week and the decoration improved from previous years.
“Every other aspect was just as good, if not better, than last year. The pep assembly was the most spirited assmebly we’ve had in a long time,” Wagner said. “The decorations at the dance were extremely improved. We’ve had lots of compliments. We’ve worked hard, but StuCo can only do so much.”
Because of the negative response to Homecoming, the cheer and dance squads had have to reconsider sponsoring their annual winter dance, which is their main fundraiser. They begin planning the dance in January, so the decision will be made before winter break.
“I don’t think we’re going to make enough money to even pay the DJ,” Rolig said. “We’re just not going to [make enough money].”
Looking for a solution, Hayes wants both the administration and the students to come together and compromise.
“I hope they give the next dance a shot and work to have a happy medium,” Hayes said. “Boycotting is not the answer.”
Waldeck, however, does not think there will be a change in policy.
“I don’t foresee it. The only change you could make would be to allow inappropriate dancing,” Waldeck said. “In a school environment, a school function, allowing is endorsing, and I don’t think a school should endorse it.”