Alright, this is officially really depressing. Seeing as we will no longer be in school next Friday, today marks our last Letters From The Editors blog. In a way it will be a relief to not have to continuously hound forgetful Hanna to finish her part of the blog, but it is also sad as it indicates the fact that our time as editors-in-chief is practically up. Being editor this year had to have been the most stressful thing ever but it was certainly one of the most rewarding. Seeing a paper in print and winning awards that you share ownership of is such an awesome feeling and I’m happy to have been able to experience that. To any of my newsies reading this, thanks for letting me be your editor and making my time as an editor so fantabulous. I have no doubts that the paper will be excellent next year and I know for sure we are leaving it in good hands. To next year’s editor(s), enjoy your time being an editor; I promise it will go by way too fast. And to everyone else reading this, be sure to check out our final and special senior edition issue of the paper next Friday, May 17.
It still really hasn’t hit me that the end of the school year is just a few days away. I think I can speak for the three of us that being editors-in-chief this year has been one heck of a ride. I can’t even describe how much I’ve learned this year. I feel truly lucky to have the amazing staff that we had, and I’ll be so sad when it’s over. Austin and Hanna have been terrific partners-in-crime this year. Although we’re all going our separate ways, I’ll always remember this year that we spent together. (Almost) eight issues later, and we’ve hit the end of the road.
On a side note: I just read over Austin’s post and I’m trying really hard not to judge him for saying “fantabulous” on our blog.
When I started writing this, I definitely didn’t think it was our last blog. I’ll be honest, I won’t miss writing this every week (Austin really does have to remind me each time), but the end of our editor blog means the end of the paper. My one piece of advice to the new editors is to rave more. We didn’t much this year partly because we are boring, and partly because we didn’t want to witness Austin dancing (or Kristina for that matter). And you should make all of the headlines in different fonts, only repeating Comic Sans and Curlz. Other than that, you should do everything exactly how we did. But jokes aside, I could not have asked for a better staff this year. Kristina, Austin and I complemented each other so well, and I’ll miss them so much. As an entire staff, I wouldn’t have wanted to stress and cry and laugh over this paper with any other group of people. At the last worknight dinner, I looked around the table and laughed a little bit. We have such a diverse group of people, and in no place other than the hot, stuffy j-room would we all end up playing “staff charades” and my horrible (yes, I admit it) couch game. I love you all, and you will be great next year.
The Mill Valley High School journalism department earned numerous honors at Saturday’s Kansas Scholastic Press Association State Journalism Contest, including the school’s second 5A state journalism title in the last four years.
Lead by seniors Kristina Milewski, Austin Gillespie and Jillian Mullin, the team of 14 students outpaced Wichita’s Bishop Carroll to win the state title, 39-35. Mill Valley also won state journalism titles in 2004, 2009 and 2010. Click here to read more about the contest.
The following students placed in the state contest:
Senior Kristina Milewski: first places in feature writing and in photo illustration and honorable mention in caption writing
Senior Austin Gillespie: third place in newspaper design and in headline writing and honorable mention in photo illustration
Senior Jillian Mullin: honorable mentions in sports photography, in yearbook design and in yearbook copy writing
Senior Ellen Bodine: first place in yearbook sports writing
Senior Kelsey Floyd: second place in academic photography
Seniors Miranda Snyder, Jenna Middaugh and Haley Woods: second place in video news story
Senior Miranda Snyder: honorable mention in academic photography
Senior Hanna Torline: honorable mention in sports writing
Senior Kelsey Winscott: honorable mention in editorial cartoon
Junior Sydney Wilson: honorable mention in editing
Junior Ryan Fullerton: honorable mention in news writing
Also competing in the contest were seniors Lisa Galvan and Mackenzie Eckman and juniors Alana Flinn and Riley McDonald.
The journalism department also brought home four All-Kansas awards Saturday, the top rating given in the KSPA critique service, for the first time in school history. Mill Valley was the only school in Kansas to earn All-Kansas ratings in the four categories. The 2012 JAG yearbook (editors Rachel Mills and Katherine Beck), the 2013 JagWire newspaper (editors Gillespie, Milewski and Torline), Mill Valley News Online (editors seniors Miranda Snyder and Alec Santaularia and junior Shelby Rayburn) and MVTV (executive producer senior Brenna Iskra and assistant producer Jacob Patterson) earned the ratings. Cindy Swartz is the adviser of MVTV and Kathy Habiger is the adviser of the JAG, JagWire and Mill Valley News Online. Click here to read more about the awards.
Another week passed, already? I keep forgetting how little time is left in the school year. It seems as though the end is never nearing as I look at my accumulating to-do list, but in all actuality, we only have two worknights left. In newspaper speak, that roughly translates to no time at all. This week, for me at least, has been crazy stressful. On top of our senior issue we are working on, we have been hard at work on our state journalism contest entries. By this time, the average newspaper editor-in-chief would probably say, “Oh, I can perfectly handle getting all my regular issue stuff and state stuff done without getting stressed out.” But this is obviously not the case for me. Although one might think that after three years I would be much better at balancing these two things, the genius in me thought it would be a good idea to enter five different carry-in categories this year (as opposed to one or two like the last two years). But we found out news on Saturday that made all the stress forgivable. I’m trying not to spoil the surprises, so I’ll let Kristina and Hanna tell you how it went.
Austin can testify that I complained for about ten straight minutes of how much I did not want to start this blog. This probably gives you some indication to where my state of mind is right now as a senior. It’s not that I don’t want to write it, it’s just that I’m losing motivation for schoolwork; and it’s taking a toll. Saturday was our state journalism competition at the University of Kansas. We’ve been working on our state entries for a couple weeks now, and this weekend we finally saw the results. It has been tough to balance finishing up our last issue and working on our state entries, but the work has finally paid off. We won state!
We waited to post this blog until after we found out about state. And it’s a good thing, because we got first! First, I have to give props to Kristina for placing first in two categories at state. Seriously, that’s a huge accomplishment. And even though we are all ready to graduate, I can’t imagine not having newspaper next year. This staff has become my second family, and I’m so happy that we have seen so much success this year, but I’m also happy that we’ve grown so close. I can’t imagine being in a smelly, hot, loud room with a better group of people.
Well, readers, looks like we’ve made it to issue eight, our final issue of the thirteenth volume of JagWire. This issue of the paper isn’t just special because it’s our last, but also because it’s our traditional senior edition. Every year JagWire gears this special issue towards – you guessed it – topics having to do with seniors and graduation. Us editors and our adviser realize this issue is inevitably a little less “journalistic,” as the topics tend to become a bit cliché and sappy, but it’s a blast to work on nonetheless. It’s also one of the most read issues of them all as it is distributed to students as well as parents at the school’s senior awards ceremony. We may not be unraveling some hard-hitting news story in this issue of the paper, but we are certainly creating something that both seniors and their parents alike will hold onto to look back on long after they’ve graduated. For myself, it’s so difficult to believe that this is our last issue as editors-in-chief. While I know I speak for all three of us when I say we are beyond ready to graduate, it’s going to be hard to let go of this paper which we care so much about. For this reason, I’m determined to make this last issue a great one.
Our returning staff members are truly stepping it up this issue — and it makes me so proud! Sorry, I know it’s not journalistic to use exclamation points, but it was my first one this year and the placement was justified. Forgive me, journalism gods. It’s so strange working on our last newspaper issue of the year, I can’t believe this time of the year is already here. As Austin said, our senior issue doesn’t have any hard-hitting news in it, but is sure is a blast to write. We have a lot of stalking to do because we’re trying to put every senior into this last issue, and our reporters will go to great lengths to track every student down (finding lockers, seminars, first block classes… the works). I’m so happy to see every staff member doing their part to make this last issue the best issue.
My favorite part of this issue is the fact that all future editors realize that this is their time to step up. Everyone who is returning next year is designing a page this issue, either by themselves or with an experienced designer. And I’ve been so pleased with the effort I’m seeing by staff members. Just today, sophomore Amber Nguyen stayed after school with me for almost three hours to work on her page design. It’s really exciting to see staff members get excited about doing something new for the paper. But as I realize how the sophomores and juniors are stepping up, I’ve also come to the realization that this means Austin, Kristina and I will be stepping down. And as much stress as this paper has caused me this year, I can’t imagine not being a part of it.
Mill Valley High School journalism students earned top honors in the Journalism Educators of Metropolitan Kansas City annual awards night Tuesday, April 16.
Seniors Hanna Torline and Austin Gillespie both won the Michael Dunlap Excellence in Journalism award given annually to the top student journalists in the Kansas City area. They received a plaque and a $500 scholarship. Torline and Gillespie are two of three editors in chief for the JagWire newspaper.
Gillespie is excited that he received the scholarship.
“I’m pretty proud,” Gillespie said. “Hanna [Torline] said she saw three tubs of portfolios that had to be handed back so it seemed pretty competitive.”
Lots of work went into choosing individual entries for the scholarship and for the staff entry as a whole.
“We spent some time looking at everything we’ve done this year and chose what we were most proud of and thought was our best work,” Gillespie said. “We chose pieces that we thought had the best chance going up against stuff from other schools.”
Torline and senior Ellen Bodine won the Opal Heatherly Writing Awards for seniors, given annually to students who demonstrate exceptional reporting and writing skills. They received a plaque and a $150 scholarship.
The JagWire newspaper staff earned the following awards:
Junior Connor Oswald and senior Mackenzie Eckman, honorable mention in news writing
Senior Austin Gillespie, first place in news facing page design, second place in infographic design, first place in critical review writing, honorable mention in web blogging
Senior Kelsey Floyd, third place in feature photography
Senior Hanna Torline and sophomore Callee Linton, honorable mention in feature writing
Torline and senior Kristina Milewski, first place in news feature writing
JagWire staff: third place in overall design and third place in sweepstakes
The JAG yearbook earned the following awards:
Seniors Ellen Bodine, Jillian Mullin, Lisa Galvan, second place in theme presentation
Mullin, first place in yearbook feature writing and second in yearbook overall design
Juniors Taylor Cowan and Kylie Lewis, honorable mention in yearbook portrait page design
Junior Erica Leonard, second place in yearbook clubs design
Sophomore Mikaela McCabe, second place in yearbook feature copy writing
Mill Valley News Online earned the following awards:
Third place, online photo gallery
First place, multimedia package
MVTV earned the following awards:
Junior Michael Remijio, honorable mention in broadcast sports story
Kathy Habiger is the adviser of the JagWire, JAG and MV News Online. Cindy Swartz is the adviser of MVTV.
This week has been pretty darn fantastic. On Wednesday, April 16, we attended the JEMKC (Journalism Educators of Metropolitan Kansas City) awards ceremony and us newsies and yerds did quite well. We blogged a couple of weeks ago about how we had been stressing out over all the contest entries we were working on submitting, and I guess you could say it was all worth it. Mill Valley journalism placed several of our entries in many of the categories, and as a whole journalism program we got third place in the JEMKC sweepstakes. A couple people from our staff also took home some scholarships, so that’s pretty cool, too. And kudos to all of the other schools who won stuff as well; it’s crazy how many talented high school journalists live in the Kansas City area.
Austin is being modest. The two people that took home scholarships were him and Hanna Torline, so congratulations! That definitely earns bragging rights. As Austin said, we went to the JEMKC awards night on Wednesday. It was so great to see all the journalism spirit; schools even brought their mascots to cheer them on. Two weeks from now, state qualifiers are going to the 2013 Kansas Scholastic Press Association contest. Last year, we got second place at state, so we’re determined to get first this year.
I remember when the editors-in-chief last year came in and announced the results from the 2012 JEMKC awards ceremony. It was really exciting, but at the time I didn’t understand how big of a deal the awards were. Now I see how much competition there is in the Kansas City area. There are so many amazing newspapers and yearbooks being published. Keeping that in mind, it’s flattering that our paper won so many awards. But now we are looking forward to the state competition, and bringing home first place. With so many talented staffers this year, we really have a good shot.
Sitting quietly at his desk, an anonymous senior slips his hand into his pocket and pulls out an electronic cigarette. He quietly lifts the e-cigarette to his mouth and bends his head down to blow vapor at the ground.
“Everyone is smoking them,” he said. “There are so many people who already have them and who are smoking them at school.”
E-cigarettes have recently been growing in popularity among students at school. The e-cigarettes have been advertised as healthy, tobacco-free alternatives to cigarettes. The studies are not conclusive, however, and some point to the fact that very little is known about the side-effects of e-cigarettes.
Some students like the senior, who is 18, claim that the device has helped them quit smoking regular cigarettes. But other students use them for social reasons.
“It sounds kind of bad to say, but [I use them for] popularity,” a junior source said. “It’s a hot topic right now and they looked interesting … It’s been going on at least for the past year at Mill Valley without anyone noticing.”
The junior wished to remain anonymous because he is underage, and, as of July 2012, smoking e-cigarettes is illegal in the state of Kansas for those under 18. A citation would include a $25 fine for those in possession and a minimum $200 fine for those furnishing to a minor.
According to a JagWire survey of 305 students, the fact that e-cigarettes are illegal isn’t stopping underage students from using them. In fact, 25 percent of the students surveyed who were under 18 admitted to having smoked an e-cigarette.
Although principal Tobie Waldeck said that he has dealt with e-cigarettes only twice in his 23-year career, in the same JagWire survey, almost 50 percent of all students said that they had seen someone smoking an e-cigarette during school.
“I’ve seen them a lot,” junior Alex Lauderdale said. “I think it’s a stupid way to get bad attention.”
Junior Lydia Archibong has also seen a student using an e-cigarette at school.
“I only saw it one time,” Archibong said. “The teacher was totally oblivious. I think teachers should just pay more attention to what kids are doing.”
Even if a student is caught smoking an e-cigarette by a teacher, the policy for punishing that student is unclear because the current school handbook bans “smoking, chewing or possession of any tobacco product,” which does not technically include e-cigarettes, as they contain nicotine but not tobacco.
After being informed that e-cigarettes are illegal for those under 18, the administration quickly took steps to change the school policy and ban them in the handbook for next year. Before the change in policy is finalized, it will have to be approved by the school board.
“This item will be included in all handbooks, to remove any doubt,” Waldeck said. “The device itself is not an item that should be in school. Even if a school district doesn’t have a specific policy, Kansas law takes precedent … We want to make sure that we provide a safe environment. They are unlawful and it’s an inappropriate item for school.”
For those over 18, Waldeck said that e-cigarette situations will be “handled on a case-by-case basis.”
“Currently, the policy is clear,” Waldeck said.
Many students would disagree with this statement, however, as 50 percent of surveyed students said they “had no idea” whether e-cigarettes were banned in school or not.
English teacher Justin Bogart said students use the e-cigarettes at school because they have yet to be specifically addressed in the policy.
“I think they are using them to test the boundaries of what’s appropriate at school,” Bogart said. “[But] no, I have not seen them [at school].”
While many teachers don’t notice students using e-cigarettes, some students are not willing to turn their peers into administration.
“I don’t care because it’s not affecting me and they can get their own consequences,” sophomore Kiera Lee said. “Plus, I’m not going to be a snitch, so they can do whatever they want.”
Freshman Catherine Westin believes that regardless of the legality or school policy, students should not use e-cigarettes at school.
“[E-cigarettes] can distract students from their school work and others,” Westin said. “You wouldn’t smoke regular cigarettes in class, so why would you smoke electronic cigarettes?”
I distinctly remember this time last year. I was just a little junior being a busy bee editing all of the Arts & Entertainment pages, wondering what I would be doing on staff the next year. Would I be editor-in-chief, just as I had aspired to be since my first year on staff? And what about the staff itself – would we be just as awesome, even after losing over 15 super talented seniors? The answer to both of these questions turned out to be yes, but now is the time in which all of the staff members returning next year are probably asking themselves these questions. All of the people coming back next year had a brief meeting with our adviser, Kathy Habiger, last week and it was so weird not being able to be included in it. Although it was a sad reminder that my time on staff will be coming to an end relatively soon, I am eager to see how our future editors step it up in order to prove themselves as we finish our last two issues. Issue seven will be sent to the printer next week and after that we’ll only have issue eight, our special senior issue, to crank out.
Last Thursday, the returning staff members met to discuss leadership positions for next year. Now is the prime time to really show that they want to be a leader for next year’s newspaper. Within the next few weeks, the staff will also be looking at applications that new staff members sent in last week for next year. It’s strange knowing that we only have one issue left before our time is up as editors-in-chief. It’s so sad not to be a part of the selection process for next year, but I know the staff will be just as strong.
As Kristina mentioned, the staff members are soon going to start picking new members for next year. I can’t believe this time has already come. I remember last year when we told everyone who made staff that they had been picked by dressing up as Harry Potter characters and running around with an owl delivering “owl post.” (That was my idea, and I’m very proud of it). Now, we aren’t going to be involved in the process of picking new members, and I’m pretty sad about it. maybe I’ll just be like former editor-in-chief Sarah Darby, who followed us around last year just because she didn’t want to miss the excitement. In fact, I’m sure I’ll be like that. There’s no way I’m missing it when they go around and tell the newbies that they made staff. I’ll be there whether I’m invited or not.
I’m often denied of my right to play my music in the journalism room; if you ever go in there while us newsies are busy at work you would most likely hear at least three songs blaring from the computers simultaneously. Hanna (Torline, my fellow EIC) and Kristina (Milewski, my other fellow EIC) especially seem to despise my taste in music. Newsflash, you two: not all I listen to is my 168 songs long Britney Spears playlist. Yes, I like a lot of mainstream top 40 songs, but that’s not all I listen to. I also like a lot of alternative and indie music, and I do love me some country occasionally (Hanna and I are sometimes in agreement when she decides to play the latter).
But it’s not just me whose music selections get shot down. Hanna is often scolded for her choice in country music by practically everyone that happens to be in the journalism room while she’s playing it. Kristina, on the other hand, never receives any negative reactions when she plays her music. All of this got me thinking yesterday; no one is in the position to determine what “good” or “bad” music is. Every person perceives things entirely differently, music included. Some people like Chinese food, some people like Italian food. Some people like cats, some people like dogs. Some people like funny movies, some people like scary movies. And the list just goes on. What I’m trying to say is that no one gets judged for their taste in these sorts of things, but music is a different story for some reason. That’s just silly, people. Some like pop, some like country and some like dubstep. I know this isn’t anything that’s never been said, but people seriously need to quit complaining about other people’s taste in music. Alright, I’m done ranting now.
On another note regarding music, I have been listening nonstop to some new stuff that I’m absolutely loving. Take a look at what’s currently on repeat on my iPod and enjoy.
- “The 20/20 Experience” – Justin Timberlake’s new highly anticipated comeback album that has been sitting pretty on the charts since its Tuesday, March 19 release date
- “The Way (feat. Mac Miller)” by Ariana Grande
- “An Awesome Wave” – The genre-defying album by British group Alt-J that recently debuted in the U.S.
- Azealia Banks – An upcoming female rapper and singer (listen to her super quietly if your parents are home; she’s not afraid to throw out a lot of those good ol’ profanities)
- “Highway Don’t Care (feat. Taylor Swift & Keith Urban)” by Tim McGraw – Hooray for Taylor going back to her country roots.
- “Stay (feat. Mikky Ekko)” by Rihanna
- “Just Give Me a Reason (feat. Nate Ruess)” by P!nk
- “Ashtrays and Heartbreaks (feat. Miley Cyrus)” by Snoop Lion
The candidates from prom king and queen were announced Wednesday, April 3.
The king candidates are seniors Ryan Bath, Tyler Dubas, Brett Hamilton, Grant Schrepfer and Rafeal Segura-Trujillo
The queen candidates are seniors Schylar Burleson, Bailey Crosbie, Kayla Hamner, Abby Ostronic and Grace Rohrer.
Prom will be held on Saturday, April 13 at Club 1000 and the theme is “An Evening in the Orient.” Voting will take place at the door. Students can purchase prom tickets from registrar Deana Thom in the counseling office.