All posts by Megan Kaliszewski

First annual Mr. Universe pageant raises money for Water Project

Click here to view photos of the pageant by Megan Fragola

The first annual Mr. Universe pageant put on by Student Council puts a spin on the traditional beauty pageant.

Normally, pageants consist of women in various outfits including fashion, sport or swim and performing a special talent before handling a difficult question and answer session.

On Jan. 30, a slight change was made to the typical pageant. The switch from female contestants to male contestants was the change.

Ten boys participated in the event including seniors Donovan Minger, AJ Lundstrom, Marcus Summerlin, Yadin Gloi, Jalen Hooks, Lane Helder and Tyler Hallam and juniors Monte Board, Joe Reitz and Jonathan Cameron.

The first round consisted of the contestants working the runway in their formal apparel.

In the second round, the boys showed off their athletic side in sports wear.

During the third round, the participants had a chance to show off their special talents.

Minger performed a handwritten rap, Lundstrom and Summerlin read a piece of poetry, Gloi attempted to impress the crowd with his karate skills, Hooks sang a cover of “Nothing Really Matters” by Mr. Probz, Hedler performed a magic show with a twist, Hallam did a juggling act, Board stuffed pencils and pens into his afro, Reitz danced to MIA’s “Yala” and Cameron dramatically read “Sam I Am” by Dr. Suess.

“I liked [the pageant] a lot,” sophomore Sarah Kirmeyer said. “I thought the acts were really funny and I liked the amount of contestants.”

The fourth round was a question and answer where each contestant had to answer one mildly difficult question.

After the rounds were over, each member of the audience placed a bid on the boys they thought should win. The bids were used as donations to the charity of the winner’s choice.

Members of Student Council counted the total of each boys’ cash and the crowned winner of the Mr. Universe pageant.

Lane Hedler took first place with $85.98 raised and 124 points earned. Jonathan Cameron took second place, and Marcus Summerlin followed in third place.

“I was happy I was able to raise so much money for the Water Project, the charity that I was competing for,” Hedler said. “They build wells in Africa, it’s kind of like a coalition of water initiatives, so I’m just really happy I could support [the charity]. It was really meaningful to me.”

The audience members considered the first male pageant a success.

“I thought it was a really good event and since it was new I did not know what to expect,” Sophomore Gabby Kingston said. “I really enjoyed it and the contestants did a very good job showing their outfits, talents and answers to the questions.”

Student stress levels rise during finals week

As students battle their stress on a normal day, they realize that their stress becomes multiplied during midterms.

Often times the reason of this stress is due to lack of preparation or the insufficiency of teaching of the material in the first place. They automatically feel as if they will fail their exams and quickly begin to panic.

“It all depends on how you look at it,” sophomore Maya Conn said. “I think some teachers have prepared us well, but some have not. Of course no one knows exactly what it is on the test, but I do think teachers could prepare us more by reviewing rather than making us just do [notes] or do book work.”

Some teachers will even try to give their students study guides days before the actual test to study from until the actual exam.

“I think I prepared my biology classes by providing a study guide to help focus their study time, but ultimately it is up to my students to actually prepare for the test,” biology teacher Cathy Howard said.

Students completely forget their grade is entirely on them and not on the teacher.

“I feel my students are prepared completely,” history teacher Lisa Heilmeier said. “My biggest concern is that students do not do their part because teachers give all the information needed, but often students do not review the material and because of that, do not know how to apply what they have learned.”

Students also tend to forget they have seen all of the material presented to them on the exam or use the material they learn continuously throughout the course.

Examples of continuous use would be in English or foreign language courses.

In English, the use of literary devices is vital to analyzing literature. Once the students learn the terms, it is their job to apply the devices to the work they do.

Due to the use of the terms being so repetitive, students must simply relax and realize they have seen the words before and the definition is somewhere in their brain.

Other subjects like Spanish constantly use everything the students learn throughout every single Spanish class they will ever take.

“The best thing about Spanish is that it is not a one-and-done subject,” Spanish teacher Dana Kester said. “[Students] do not learn a topic, word, or grammar structure and then never see it again; we keep using it everyday. So my objective when having my classes review for midterms is to remind the students of those topics, vocabulary words, or grammar structures they already know.”

Most teachers do not forget to prepare their students for a big exam. They understand exams are a big deal to their students and will work to help them.

“My teachers work really hard at making sure we thoroughly understand the class materials,” junior Nick Rinaldi said.

Students just need to relax and focus on studying ahead of time rather than waiting until the day before their exams.

“To relax after studying or after an exam I just eat Doritos and watch That 70’s Show,” Conn said.

They should also start taking more responsibility for their actions leading up to exams rather than blaming their problems on the teachers.

Teachers are there to help their students remember the material and are working hard to do so.

Kester said, “[Reviewing] is just a matter of reminding the students that they already know how to do this and are totally capable of it.”

Sports traditions around the country

Many schools all the over the United States have unique sports traditions that are similar to the high school.

For instance, at C.E Jordan High School in Durham, North Carolina, their marching band takes the field at half time in halloween costumes, a tradition that started in the 1980s when homecoming fell on halloween. Even though homecoming is not always on halloween for Jordan High, the costumes  are always worn during the homecoming game.

At Cupertino High School in Cupertino, California, the water polo teams catches everyone by surprise. After their king and queen are crowned at half time, the team runs to the corner of the stadium and across the field in nothing but speedos.

West Stokes High School in King, North Carolina, has their cheerleaders do pushups for every point on the scoreboard after a touchdown. They also throw peanuts and stuffed footballs to make the crowd “Go nuts for the Cats” during boring parts of the game.

A more local school, Hudson High School, also has some unique traditions.

Before each game there is a pasta dinner for the team.

When the Explorers score a touchdown, children ring the “Explorer bell.”

At the end of the season, flag boys pick the “super-fans” for next year. Explorer girls paint letters and then at the end give them away to an upcoming senior.

Another high school, Archbishop Hoban, has a quite interesting tradition.

Before Hoban plays their rival, St. Vincent-St. Mary, they spend their entire school day in complete silence. The night before that, all of the seniors stay overnight and decorate the school.

This became known as Mum Day, and it has been happening for over 50 years. It started in 1962 when Student Council wanted to do something to increase spirit, and ever since then, it stuck.

They also have a collection of cheers to do during their game, and they do spirit fingers before kickoff.

Hoban senior Emily Dunn said, “I love the traditions we have at Hoban. It unifies us as a student body and really builds spirit no matter what the scoreboard says.”

The high school does an especially good job on keeping the entire school unified before and after the games.

Student Council kept the student body involved on picking the spirit day themes for homecoming week by tweeting out ideas.

The school organized a Davenport Derby and holds  a homecoming festival filled with a parade, food trucks and games.

The band drum line plays cadences every day after school during homecoming week in a different location each day.

On other Fridays besides homecoming, sometimes there is a tailgate beforehand. There are always cadences held on Fridays near the auditorium.

Homecoming game or not, there is always something going on before football games.

During the football games, the student section chants multiple cheers, and they jump up and down on the bleachers before kickoff, much like Hoban does spirit fingers.

When the team scores, a senior boy does as many push ups as there are points on the board. This is extremely similar to the way the West Stokes High School cheerleaders do push ups.

The senior girls and boys are the only ones who lack a spot on the bleachers because they stand along the fence. They also paint letters on to themselves, much like Hudson, even though this is against dress code.

“Certain traditions exist that we try to honor. I would never debate with [these traditions]. Because it is tradition it is acceptable,” Principal DiMaruo said.

Many schools have traditions that are similar to others and some that are unique. Either way, no matter the location, all schools hold one thing in common- the unity to their team and to each other.

Attacks in Ferguson disrupt daily life

Events taking place in Ferguson, Arkansas have been making headlines in newspapers all over the United States for the past month.

On Aug. 9, a cop received a call over a theft occurring in a convenience store.
That day the cop came across a boy who fit the description of the robber that had on reported to him. Events occurring during the encounter between the boy and the cop have differed between the individuals

interviewed.
According to New York Times.com, some witnesses say the boy punched the officer in the face. Other witnesses say the suspect never moved toward the cop at all.

The story has changed, but the ending result has not. Michael Brown, a 18 year old unarmed teenager was shot and killed by Officer Wilson.

Ferguson held a candlelight vigil to honor Brown on Aug. 10, which began as a peaceful memorial, but soon turned into a violent protest.

That night, USA Today.com stated that more than a dozen businesses were vandalized and looted and over

30 people were arrested that night, along with 2 cop injuries.
On Aug. 11, the first day of school was cancelled for safety of the children that could be walking that day. A large amount of death threats in relation to the shooting of Brown were said to be received by the police.

USA Today.com said Brown’s mother released a statement that day stating, “I would not want them to get out there and use my son’s situation for their personal violence. That is not what I want them to do. We are out there marching for justice for my son and peace for my family.”

Although the parents of Brown told the public they did not want their son’s death to be the cause for rioting, rioting continued to break out in Ferguson.

Along with Brown’s mother, President Barack Obama also spoke about the events in Ferguson to the public.

“I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to the remember this young man through reflection and understanding. We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds,” Obama said.

On Aug. 24, Brown’s funeral was held where over 100 friends and family members gathered to view his body. The family hoped for peace on this day.

“All I want is peace while my son is being laid to rest,” Michael Brown Sr. said.
Sept. 26 was the day Officer Darren Wilson testified before the grand jury.
On Oct. 10, a four day peaceful protest began during the investigation of Brown’s death.
Waiting for the grand jury’s decision, Brown Sr. preaches peaceful protest while the people wait for the outcome.

An advocacy group, St. Louis Forward, posted a video featuring Brown’s father continuously saying that violence is not the answer no matter what happens. The decision was made by the grand jury on Nov. 24, declining indictment of the shooting and killing of Brown.

Despite what Brown’s father said, the protests have continued after the decision by the jury.
According to NBC News, the President plans to meet with young civil rights leaders, politicians, and law enforcement from around the country to build trust between the community and the police.

President Barack Obama said, “Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and around the country have shone a spotlight on the importance of strong, collaborative relationships between local police and the communities they protect and serve.”