After working for four years toward a military-related academy, senior Devin Ellison has finally accomplished his goal. This fall, Ellison will be attending the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. which has an acceptance rate of only 23.3 percent.
The Academy trains servicemen who are charged with the duty of manning a fleet of ships, which operate as a military unit. Ellison said he always knew he wanted to attend a military academy.
“I wanted to apply to get into West Point as my first dream, but then I applied to all the academies too,” Ellison said. “They are all extremely selective, and I was nominated by Sen. Jerry Moran to attend the Merchant Marine Academy.”
Growing up in a military-based family with his grandfather in the Navy and his father a part of the Army and Coast Guard, Ellison is now able to join the ranks among his family members.
“My goal for the future is to graduate from the academy,” Ellison said. “After, I could enter into any service as a commissioned officer or work in a maritime industry if I wanted to.”
Ellison said he is grateful to the school for helping him achieve such an honor.
“The teachers and staff helped keep me focused,” Ellison said. “Sports taught me how to be mentally tough too, which I will need to complete the academy.”
Counselor Erin Hayes said the school is proud of Ellison, as well.
“It is so amazing for Devin to get accepted,” Hayes said. “[The staff] is all so proud of his accomplishment.”
Thirteen years of preparation have led me to tomorrow – graduation. This pivotal moment didn’t come easily; there have been loads of struggles here and there. But, high school works to prepare us for the difficult tasks that lie ahead of each of us. I have struggled with being motivated like everyone but, having a goal in high school, like being President of the United States, has taught me to strive for the best.
I have experienced the uncertainty and tension about what lies ahead, just like the rest of the class. There was even a point when I thought I could do anything just by trying, but it takes so much more than that to succeed. I am going to a great school, but it isn’t where I saw myself even three months ago. It hurt to be rejected from Georgetown University, but it is the instruction I have received here that has taught me to overcome the challenges of life, to fail, and then to get back up.
But, high school is about falling and getting back up, just like it was when I got rejected. It is about the challenges you are faced with and your ability to learn from them, and that is what prepares us for such tasks like a career and college in the future. I saw the failure in myself, but I couldn’t let it keep me down forever, it is time to move on.
I’m afraid for the future, I am afraid of going to college and leaving my family and friends, but high school has trained me, and hopefully the rest of the class, to not be afraid to fail. Tomorrow we conquer our biggest goal, graduating. The fear of what comes after is just like the fear of starting each year. I know we can do it together, because I truly do feel we are prepared by the staff and the school to do so, and for that I am forever grateful.
The Forensics team traveled to Kansas City Kansas Community College on Saturday, May 5 to compete in state.
Forensics teacher Jeanette Hardesty thinks the team did exceptionally well.
“[The team] finished very strong after their spring season. Congratulations to the seniors who have remained consistent and dedicated for the last three to four years. These students are; Josh Duden, Brayton Young, Hanna Brinker, Malaya Reece, Matt Eber, and Tyler Owsley,” Hardesty said. “It has been a privilege and joy coaching these seniors, along with the rest of the team.”
The results are as follows:
Junior Megan Marquardt, poetry
Sophomore Madison Plouvier, Serious Solo Acting
Sophomore Victoria Kilkenny, prose
Senior Malayia Reece, informative
Junior Lexi Riddle, informative
Junior Alex Maupin and Plouvier, duet
Senior Brayton Young, prose
Senior Hannah Brinker, Serious Solo Acting
Senior Tyler Owsley, Original Oration
Junior Alex Reeves, Extemporaneous Speaking
Senior Josh Duden and junior Hailee Windsor, duet
Sophomore Meghan Fuller and Windsor, Improvised Duet Acting
Riddle, Extemporaneous Speaking
Duden, Extemporaneous Speaking
Owsley, Extemporaneous Speaking
Young, Humorous Solo Acting
Senior Matt Eber and Reece, duet
The yearly inspection for fire safety was performed by the Shawnee Fire Department on Thursday, May 10. The goal of the inspection is to ensure all fire systems are working properly and to begin working on the new system to assure the exiting of all students from the building more efficiently.
The inspection included checking the sprinkler system, boiler and all fire safety lights to make sure they work and testing all extinguishers.
Firefighter Brent Fernendez said the school did well today during the fire drill inspection.
“The students and staff got everyone out in two minutes,” Fernendez said. “We are really happy to see most schools that have 500 students get out in two minutes, so it is impressive when a school with over a 1,000 can exit in that time.”
Though the school did well today during the inspection, another goal of the fire department being here was to work on the development of a new system to ensure students exit more effectively. Fernendez said because the classes change frequently, the process for attendance might need to be adjusted.
“We want to figure out how we can implement an accountability check system to get everyone out, which is difficult,” Fernendez said. “It is hard to check attendance and exit when it is on the computer because the computer stays in the school. So we are considering asking the school to also have a hard copy of attendance.”
The school passed in every category except a few lights need to be fixed, a small issue according to Fernendez.
“The school did extremely well,” Fernendez said. “Never has there been a fatality when the systems worked. So when kids go home they should check their smoke detectors and have a plan to ensure their safety at their house, too.”
The spring play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, will begin tonight, Friday, May 4 and run through Saturday, May 5 with both shows starting at 7 p.m. This is the first Shakespearian play ever attempted at the school.
Director Jon Copeland said the old English brings new difficulties for the students to overcome.
“The language has been a challenge,” Copeland said. “You have to be sure each actor knows exactly what they mean when they say each phrase of each monologue so that they can convey it powerfully and effectively to the audience.”
With over two months of preparation for the show, Copeland said the audience can appreciate the laughs the performance provides.
“The audience can most look forward to the comedy,” Copeland said. “This play is a lot of fun to perform and to watch. I enjoy every rehearsal because I get to be the audience every night for high energy performances.”
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. both show nights and tickets can be purchased at the door. Prices are $6 for adults and $3 for students with their student I.D. Sophomore Madison Plouvier urges the community members to come support the production.
“It is a fun show with lots of laughs,” Plouvier said. “Just because it is a Shakespeare show shouldn’t stop you from coming, it’ll be great.”
1. Why are you running for student body office?
Well first, a lot of my friends are and also I really care about a lot of the stuff at school and I want to make stuff fun and also as a student body officer you have more influence for change.
2. What makes you qualified for the position of secretary?
I am always really organized and everything I do and I am good at time management because I do a lot of activities besides stuCo.
3. What sets you apart from the other candidates?
I have new ideas and I want to make them happen, so that is different I think.
4. Why do you think student council is an important aspect of school?
StuCo does a lot of stuff for the school and we make a lot of decisions in place of the student body, so we make things happen and create opportunities that most wouldn’t normally have.
5. What are your goals for next year, if elected?
If elected I want to make pep assemblies better by getting the whole school involved instead of just a couple of people and I want to have more benefits when students do good stuff, like opting out of finals or having half day finals, but it will be hard to make that happen in a year.
Junior Stephen McEnery
1. Why are you running for student body office?
I have been on StuCo for two years and I feel I know how the system works and I feel like I have the ability and the responsibility to make my and my class’ senior year a good one.
2. What makes you qualified for the position of president?
I am the junior class vice president, I was the sophomore class treasurer and freshman representative, and I am involved all throughout the school I how the school works and the ability to handle schedule.
3. What sets you apart from the other candidates?
I suppose I have been involved in a variety of different groups at the school.
4. Why do you think StuCo is an important aspect of school?
It is important because we have the responsibility to build school spirit from day one. We have the responsibility of Homecoming and all the pep assemblies, and it is the student council’s responsibility to make sure all of that runs smoothly.
5. What are your goals for next year, if elected?
My goals for next year are to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to fully enjoy what our school has to offer and that all of our StuCo events are something our school can feel proud of, and that our school is something we can feel proud of.
After the end of the school year, associate principal Matt Fedde will be leaving the school and Kansas all together as he heads to Omaha, Neb. for a new opportunity within his home state.
Fedde said many things pushed him to return home, the biggest factor being family and an easier transition as his children start new schools next year.
“[My wife and I] are both from Nebraska and there is a combination of things that lined up for us to be able to go back,” Fedde said. “My oldest son starts middle school next year and my youngest son starts kindergarten. Living in Omaha will put us an hour or less from both sets of grandparents, so the kids are excited to go back.”
Being rather family oriented, in the end, that factor was the driving force for returning to his home state.
“I don’t want anyone to take leaving the wrong way, but when you are two and a half to three hours away from the family it makes visits a little less frequent,” Fedde said. “The family is what pulls everything together.”
Through his history within the district for a decade, Fedde said he attributes his success in finding a job in Omaha from his experiences here.
“This is my 10th year in the district and nine have been at Mill Valley,” Fedde said. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t have even got an interview had it not been for the school. The things I have been exposed to thanks to Mr. Waldeck and even back to Dr. Novak were things that were everything for me to get the position.”
Leaving at the end of the school year, Fedde said he will miss the students and fellow staff members most.
“It will sound strange I guess, and the cliché is to say I will miss the students most, but I will really miss a great deal of them,” Fedde said. “The school is where my babysitting pool comes from and, when you work with people long enough they are like family. Leaving them will be tough.”
As he prepares to move, associate principal Marilyn Chrisler said she is sad to have Fedde go, but it is excellent chance for him to return back to his home state.
“It is a great opportunity for Mr. Fedde and his family in the end,” Chrisler said. “He is from Nebraska and it will give his kids the ability to be around friends and family of theirs. We are very excited for him and his new ventures ahead of him.”
In the end, Fedde is appreciative of the time he has spent at the school.
“I appreciate everything everyone has done for me here,” Fedde said. “You meet students who, whether or not they know you like them, are neat kids. I just want to say thank you.”
From the conversations to teaching classes, student teacher Katie McKee experiences what it is like to be a full-fledged teacher while still finishing her degree.
As she teaches English teacher Justin Bogart’s classes, which include Sports Literature, AP Literature and Composition and sophomore English, she reflects on why she chose to be a teacher in the first place.
“I had some very influential teachers and coaches at the high school level that I developed really strong relationships with, and it proved that I wanted to do the same for others,” McKee said.
Although she now works towards becoming a teacher, it wasn’t always so. Not so long ago she worked towards a different degree.
“I originally wanted to go into psychology and I even claimed it as a major, but I eventually changed it to education,” McKee said. “I think there is a lot of psychology in education actually. I specifically remember in the first grade saying I wanted to be a teacher, or work at Pizza Hut. I definitely know I want to be a teacher now, though.”
There is more to teachers than just their personal drive to teach, however. McKee describes her passion for marathon running in combination with teaching.
“I have always been an athlete, and running a marathon has always been on my bucket list,” McKee said. “I am very competitive, especially within myself, and marathons are an outlet for me at the end of the day. Running and finishing my first marathon is probably one of my best accomplishments.”
Today, McKee is a student at Washburn University, but she loves the University of Kansas and claims the school’s basketball team as her favorite sports team.
“I love Jayhawk basketball, let’s just talk that one up,” McKee said. “I like that KU holds such an outstanding tradition, which is one of the things that makes it my favorite team.”
Now that McKee’s time nears its end with the sophomore and senior classes, her last day being Thursday, April 26, she says she had fun spending time with students that she had the privilege of teaching.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time here,” McKee said. “I love you guys so much.”
In recent weeks the Silver Stars Dance team, the Cheer team and the Silver studs have been preparing for the Silver Star Extravaganza on Saturday, March 31 at 6 p.m. The extravaganza is the last of the performances for the 2011-2012 season for the dance and cheer teams and will feature multiple team dances, several solos and duets and, of course, the yearly performance by the Silver Studs.
Junior dance team member Hailee Windsor said she is looking forward to the performance this weekend.
“I am so excited for our performance this weekend,” Windsor said. “I am excited to have everyone see our dances and, of course, to see the guys dance, too.”
The variety show is one of the largest fundraisers of the year for the team and this year they hope to be able to buy new costumes for next season. Junior dance team member Kylie Andres hopes the turnout will be helpful in the team ventures next season.
“It is so important because it starts us out for everything,” Andres said. “It pays for our costumes, choreography and camps all next year, so it is probably one of our most important fundraisers for the team, overall.”
Among the dancer’s various performances, the silver stud’s performance is one prepared for with non-members, specifically males, of the dance team. Each is asked by a dance team member to be a part of the dance and, in the end, they perform together at the show.
Being the last show of the year, the team plans to perform all their group numbers, and various duets and solos too. Windsor says people should come because the surprises in store.
“People should come see us because we showcase dances they have never seen before,” Windsor said. “We always cheer for them, and we would love to come support us too.”
The Extravaganza will be in the school auxiliary gym tomorrow night, Saturday, March 31. Tickets are $7 at the door.