Hovering overhead

Senior Aaron Kelley’s mom is a strict parent and is proud of it. She likes to know where her children are and what they’re doing at all times. In Jill Kelley’s mind her strong parenting style is a way to insure that the character of her children is at the highest standard possible.

“My mom used to be really mad at me when I didn’t text her where I was even if it was at school,” Aaron said. “There also have been times when I have to tell my friends that I can’t hangout because I haven’t been home enough that week.”

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#FIRSTWORLDPROBLEMS

Backpack weight

After weighing five random students and their backpacks, four of these five backpacks weighed over 25 pounds and all five students’ backpacks weighed more than 10 percent of their personal body weight. According to the American Chiropractic Association, this situation is dangerous to students’ health.

This situation also concerns Michelle Rabideau, a physician that specializes in family medicine, who suggested to DHS administrators that something needed to change in regards to students having to carry backpacks around school every day.

“I probably see an average of one a week with back pain, neck pain or headaches – but I find more if I ask at routine physicals,” Rabideau said. “Mr. Kit Moran stated that the interval between classes is sufficient for students to use their lockers, because some students figure out how to do it.

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Seeking alternatives

Jeremy Hannich, a youth minister at Dexter United Methodist Church, sat at the pew, praying for a safe trip as his assortment of church-goers were prepared to save some lives.

Hannich, who is an adult adviser of the trip, and a handful of high school students from Dexter UMC are headed to Belize for a mission trip. From April 4 to April 12, these students have decided to donate their spring break vacation to conduct a medical mission in one of Central America’s most long-suffering countries.

“I don’t really know what to expect. It’s my first mission trip, so it’ll be different to interact with some of the kids, our age, down there,” senior Olivia Stagg said.

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High school discusses weighted grades

The Board of Education met and discussed proposed changes to the weighted grade system at the high school at its regularly-scheduled meeting on March 17. Although Dexter High School already has weighted grades for all Advanced Placement courses and International Baccalaureate Higher Level (HL) courses, the proposed change will branch out to include IB Standard Level (SL) courses as well.

IB HL classes span over the course of two years, whereas IB SL classes cover only one year. HL classes are thought to be more difficult than SL classes, but both levels are considered rigorous based on their external moderation.

During the 2012-2013 school year, a committee that included administrators, teachers and parents met to discuss the possibility of weighted grades at the high school.

“Once we decided that we would weigh grades at the high school, the next question needed to be: ‘What classes are we going to weigh?’” Principal Kit Moran said.

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Hashtags and cilantro lime rice

Obsession. It runs rampant through the world of teenagers and trends. They become hooked, quickly, easily. From expanding social networks to popular restaurants, the obsessions continue to grow.

Chipotle
Senior Jen Bondie said she has been “obsessed” with Chipotle ever since the sixth grade.

“Starting in sixth grade my dad would take me to the Chipotle in Arborland and ever since I’ve loved it,” Bondie said. “There was a time in my life that I would go to Chipotle at least once a week.”

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Mens baseball optimistic even after loss of key players

The men’s varsity baseball team is coming off a season which saw them go 19-17. The team has several returning players, but also has five players who are new to the team.

Head Coach Don Little said he thinks this year’s team doesn’t have as much experience as last year’s, but they make it up in speed and pitching.

“Last year’s team had more experience and had some very smart baseball players,” Little said. “This year’s team is younger and lacks the experience, but we have better speed. And I like our pitching.”

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3D has a first

After hours and hours of outlining, writing, composing and brainstorming, senior James Fischer completed the largest project of his life, “Control, Alt., Delete” a musical he spent the better part of a year working on, despite the fact that the idea for the play came to him quickly.

“Once I got the main concept of the play, the rest was just putting the pieces together,” Fischer said.

Last spring Fischer began the process of hammering out the first student-written, directed and composed musical in Dexter Drama Directing Series, or 3D, history.

Four years ago, eight upperclassmen taking Erin Palmer’s drama class realized they wanted to do more than perform three plays each year.  The class wanted to write its own plays, thus creating the 3D series which has produced a variety of original and unusual work including “Scrubs: The Musical.”

Although each year Copeland auditorium fills its 150-200 seats for the series, this is the first year for a student-directed musical.

And although Fischer’s play is indeed a musical, he said he considers his play a drama with a little comedy.

“There’s isolation, and it shows how a human can connect with something that is not human,” Fischer said.

The musical involves the state of Alaska, a doctor, a penguin and a robot, contains 10 songs and spans about an hour.  Seniors Harrison Kane and Natalie Burdick are the only characters in the musical.

As for inspiration, Fischer said composer Stephen Sondheim played a motivating role.

“When I listen to him, I just wanna write,” Fischer said.  “Heís my hero.”

Regardless of who he admires, Palmer said the best part of working with Fischer, is his talent combined with his character.

“He has a gift, really, whether it’s singing it, playing it, designing it.  Plus he’s very dedicated and humble about it,”  she said.

And while his is the only original musical being produced, senior Havah Roussel created the other original piece being performed, “Etta,” a one-act drama.

Roussel said she got the idea by following Palmer’s advice of “writing what you know,” and created a production of an elderly woman learning how to use an iPhone.

Such experiences allow students to gain valuable leadership skills and experience from directing their own production, Palmer said.  In addition, she said there are many benefit to having students run their own productions.

“It’s not about me.  What’s important is that the students get to run their own auditions, their own rehearsals, and really take a leadership role,” she said.

“Control. Alt. Delete” premieres March 6 and March 8, and Fischer said he’s ready for the performance, the largest undertaking he’s been involved with.

He said, “This is probably the biggest project I’ve even done in my entire life to be honest.”

Students take advantage of the privileges they are given

The kids of Dexter Community Schools are spoiled.  We have so many privileges and are given so many advantages that some school can only dream about, but we don’t respect the advantages we are given.

For instance, we were given brand new Apple computers and laptops over the past few years and kids are disrespectful to them.  They pull the keys off the keyboards and have no respect for the technology.

I feel like their mentality of this is: “Well, what’s the big deal? It’s just a stupid laptop.”

I hate to sound like my parents, but there are kids in foreign countries who are fortunate just to have the opportunity to learn and have paper and pencil.

And it’s not just kids from Dexter schools who are guilty of doing this.  It’s happening all over the nation.

I constantly hear about kids dropping out of high school because they, “Don’t like school,” but they don’t quite understand how fortunate they are to even have the opportunity to learn.

I don’t understand the youth of today.  Dexter Community Schools gives its students so much, and still we destroy everything we are given.

We pull the clocks off the wall, rip off the benches in the locker room, and rip the doors off the bathroom stalls.  Dexter kids do not deserve the things or the opportunities that they are given.

Winter athletes, coaches look back on seasons

Ice hockey, wrestling, swim/dive, and men’s and women’s basketball teams are hanging up their uni’s after closing out their seasons.

Hockey

Ice hockey finished the regular season 14-11 and lost to Chelsea 3-2 in its first playoff game to end its playoff run.  The team will lose seniors such as captains Ben Grover, Bryan Tuzinowski and Tristan Rojeck, key components to the squad’s success this season according to Coach Brian Sipotz who sang the team’s praises.

“Heading into the season, we had some very high hopes for this team,” Sipotz said.  We had some great leadership and an excellent crop of new players, so we knew it was going to be a fun year.  We trained hard in the summer and fall and had a great start to the season.”

Seeing the team’s strong potential, Sipotz said he wanted to challenge the boys by finishing out the season with some hard battles.

“After Christmas we had a record of 10-4 and had wins against some very good teams.  Since we knew we were going to have a strong team, we scheduled games against some very good teams late in the season.  We ended the regular season with a record of 14-11, and ultimately lost to Chelsea in a well-played first-round matchup.”

The season highlight for Sipotz was beating Chelsea in the regular season, something Dexter had not done in eight years.

“Overall the team had a good year, although the guys really wanted to play a few more games in the playoffs.”

Wrestling

The wrestling team finished 3-4 overall this year.  It will also be losing seniors like Zeke Breuninger and Jonah Hancock.

“I think it went really well,” Hancock said.  “This year’s seniors were very much the leaders of the group, so there is a lot of maturing that needs to occur before next season if we want to succeed, but the potential is there.  We had a good season.”

After coaching changes between freshman, sophomore and junior years, Hancock said a more permanent coach will benefit the team.

“ We finally have some stability with the coaching because we’ve had a lot of changes in the coaching situation,” he said. “These last two years were the first that we’d had the same coach, so the new stability really helps build a foundation of the program, and we’ll see what the boys can do next year.”

Men’s swim and dive

Men’s swim/dive placed second in the state, ending the regular season 7-4.  Senior Andrew Watson said he was pleased with the result.  In the past four years, the team has finished fourth, first, third and second in the state, respectively, so Watson said he couldn’t complain.  He also said he is optimistic about the future of the team.

“There were only two seniors and four juniors who went to states this year, so the majority of the states team was underclassmen,” Watson said. “Because it was a young team, I think next year they’ll be great.  The next two years are going to be really powerful for the swim team.  We still ended up doing really well this season; we finished second in the state which was kind of a surprise.  We didn’t think that was going to happen.”

  Head swim coach Michael McHugh said he was nicely surprised by the team’s performance after the loss of key athletes at the end of last year.

“The team performed very well this year,” McHugh said. “I was a little worried about what we would be capable of this year as we lost all of our state team members from our 2012 State Championship team and all of our All-State performers from a year ago.  We were a very young team this year with only two seniors qualifying for the state meet and to finish 2nd in the state is a testament to how talented these guys are.”

He said he is hopeful for the future as well.

“It’s early to think about goals for next year, but I would say to maintain the high level program that we have is always a goal,” McHugh said. “I think we will be a better team next year, a little bit deeper and more experienced which should really help us perform even better.”

Men’s basketball

Men’s basketball racked up a 14-7 (10-6 in the SEC) season, the team’s best since they finished 13-7 in 2010.  However, the team lost in the first game of districts to the Pinckney Pirates in a one-point game, 41-42.

Senior captain Derek Seidl expressed his remorse over the loss.

“We really shouldn’t have lost,” Seidl said. “We were up the whole game, and we blew it at the end. They were below .500 on the year.”

The Dreadnaughts were up 10 at halftime after leading the whole first half.  But the lead slipped away.

Senior London Truman said the season went well but came to an abrupt end.

“We started off really well, undefeated 10 games straight,” he said. “Then we lost to Ypsi.  After that we knew we would have to work a lot harder to beat good teams. Toward the end of the season, we knew playoffs were starting soon, so we started working extra hard because we knew we’d have to compete with some of the top teams in the state.  And unfortunately we came up with a loss in the first district game. We got up early, and we kinda just coasted instead of playing hard and putting the game away, and they came back and got some good plays.  But next year I’m expecting good things from them. I think they’re going to have a really good season.

However, with the team signing new coach Tim Fortescue, replacing Randy Swoverland, just weeks before the season opened, Truman said the team performed to the best of its abilities during the difficult transition.

Next year the team is losing six seniors including Seidl, the team’s leading scorer. However, there are five players who got playing time that will be coming back, three of whom started at times.

Women’s basketball

Women’s basketball coach Mike Bavineau said he was satisfied with the girls’ 12-10 season after having lost five seniors last year.  The team finished 10-6 in the SECs, taking second place.

“I thought that we had a pretty successful season considering we just came off a year when we went to the final four and graduated five seniors, lost a junior that didn’t come back out, so basically lost six players off of a team that was very successful,” Bavineau said. “We had to replace them with sophomores, so I think overall we did a pretty good job of becoming a better basketball team.  Obviously we would have liked certain outcomes to be different, but that didn’t happen.  But as a team, they all worked hard. They did what they could every day to become better, and that’s all one can ask for when coaching a team.”

Bavineau said the team should increase in strength in the upcoming seasons, provided that the girls stay on and keep at it.

“We hope that we can keep those juniors and sophomores that played on the team and will come back and play,” he said. “Obviously the more experience you have playing a varsity sport the better you get.  So we hope we can continue to grow and progress, but that’ll all depend on how hard we work in the off season.”

'Gravity' proves to be more than just a realistic science-fiction drama

This past October the movie “Gravity” was released.  It’s a science-fiction drama featuring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, the same director behind “Children of Men,” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”

I’m not a huge fan of science-fiction because it seems to be notoriously corny, but this movie is done in such a realistic way that I wasn’t bothered.  The movie starts off slowly in terms of plot, but every scene is so visually breathtaking that again, I wasn’t bothered. It’s enough to just enjoy the cinematography if nothing else.

However that doesn’t mean there wasn’t more to love.  Being that there are only two characters in this story, the movie’s cast is an all-star lineup.  The acting is phenomenal.  Especially from Bullock, who (spoiler alert) early on becomes the sole character in the story.

This definitely isn’t a light-hearted movie.  It is a drama after all, and it will have you feeling things undoubtedly.  You will go from inspired to stressed, to relieved and then stressed again.  As the story progresses you spiral out of control from one tragic event to another.

As you watch Astronaut Ryan Stone (Bullock) near her breaking point as she is stranded hopelessly in open space,  It doesn’t make you want to be an astronaut. But I think it’s admirable that a science-fiction movie has finally been made with an improved level of realism.  But for anyone not thinking about being an astronaut, it’s a great movie.  I give it a 4.3 out of 5 stars.