Hometown Classic vs. Growing Franchise

Cottage Inn wins school lunch bid, threatens to take more business

-Tyler Valentine

For many years now, Classic Pizza has been a household pizza, so to speak, for most homes in Dexter. Everywhere you went, it was being served. Could this be the end of Classic’s reign in Dexter?

The 2016-17 school year has brought many changes and one of the most notable changes is the pizza being served.

For those who haven’t yet noticed, every school from Bates and Cornerstone to the high school has made the switch from Classic Pizza to Cottage Inn on pizza days. Smaller changes have also taken place in regard to lunch at the high school. A new froyo machine with toppings has been added to the DHS lunch options.

During the summer of 2016, Cottage Inn outbid Classic Pizza for the school lunch contract. A recent survey shows that high school students don’t mind the change and actually prefer Cottage Inn pizza for lunch.

“Cottage Inn is cheesier and it tastes more fresh,” said sophomore Autumn Edwards, who voted for Cottage Inn in the survey. “And, the pizzas are bigger.”

The switch will cause changes at both Classic Pizza and Cottage Inn. Within the last five months, Classic Pizza has lost business from Little League concessions, who switched over to Cottage Inn, Dexter Youth Football on Sundays, and now the school lunches. However, Classic Pizza is still served at Friday night football games and nearly every other high school sporting event, which is no big deal because “business is business” according to Classic Pizza owner Ralph Schlaff.

The stores are vastly different from one another. Cottage Inn is more updated with technology and new, efficient ways to make food, while Classic Pizza makes pizzas the same way they’ve been making them for more than 25 years.

“Not much has changed during the day; [it’s] a little bit of a slower lunch with us not having to get the pizzas to the schools, but other than that things aren’t much different,” Schlaff said.

According to Schlaff, Classic has considered delivering to other schools for lunch, but he said that other schools are just too far away.

Cottage Inn is fairly new to the pizza scene in Dexter, but that hasn’t stopped the growing franchise from rapidly expanding its business.

Though Cottage Inn is thriving in town, school lunches are a different kind of rush to handle. They have to make and deliver 200 pizzas to the schools everyday, which is a challenge even for an efficiently-run restaurant such as Cottage Inn.

Some people think Cottage Inn may have bitten off more than it can chew by adding 200 pizzas a day and on top of the already-thriving lunch buffet.

“I’m glad I’m not working during lunchtime; topping 200 pizzas doesn’t sound fun,” said Kyle Gilbert, a DHS senior and Cottage Inn employee. “But I know it is good for business.”

There is still a bright future for Classic Pizza. They have their sights set on returning to the DHS cafeteria in 2017.

“Next year we are going to work things out and enter a new bid and hopefully take back the school lunches,” Classic Pizza owner Ralph Schlaff said.

Also, Classic is celebrating 25 years of sponsorship by donating 10 percent of every Wednesday’s sales during the month of October to the Dexter Athletic Booster Club.

The future is also looking bright for Cottage Inn. Within the last year, the franchise has branched out to Texas and Florida. Cottage Inn is also planning on expanding to both North and South Carolina, as well as China.

Who knows, maybe a few years down the road there will be countrywide franchise that got its footing in our area.

Tech Takeover

DHS students and staff participate in a social experiment that transported them to the pre-smartphone era

By Caden Koenig & Joe Ramey

The era of phones becoming smarter is in the past, the era of phones being substantially smarter than you is now. All of that knowledge, just inside your pocket. Smartphone. A term that has become an everyday word, along with an everyday necessity. These devices are taking over the world, consuming your time along with your life.

The new generation, the “millennials” as they have been labeled, is now starting to assimilate into the real world. This generation was the first people to be around and use technology their whole lives. Whether it was the late 90’s and early 2000’s when camera phones were the rave, growing up with technology has caused them to be the most tech savvy in society today. The necessity to be with their technology is very serious, and most parents and older people do not understand this attachment that people have with their smartphones.

The idea of missing something if you don’t look at your phone every other minute is one of, if not the biggest problems facing teens today within the realm of technology. We were curious. So we put Dexter students and teachers alike to the test to see if they could endure a day without the thing they love most: their smartphones.

“It was actually hard; I didn’t expect it to be,” said Junior Rachel Wittenberg. “It’s not a necessity, but it’s definitely become a big part of my life.” The idea of not having her phone on her all day was a bit unnerving for the junior, and she even said she went looking for her phone a couple of times only to be let down when she remembered she agreed to partake in this social experiment and surrender her phone for a day.

Junior Michael Bergamo had something else to say pertaining to his experience, “It was a strange feeling not having it in my pocket all day,” further exemplifying the idea of your phone being a huge part of your day to day life. He continued by say- ing he actually did receive seven notifications, all of which were from his mom. Needless to say, there were some punishments because of his failure to re- spond. Our condolences to Mrs. Bergamo.

English teacher Zach Lindke also allowed the Squall to apprehend him of his life (phone) for a day. During the interview he had a couple interesting, as well as traumatizing things to say.

“I was so naked without it,” Lindke said when asked if he ever noticed himself going for his phone.

He went on to explain that he created a fake phone from construction paper and used that in place of his actual iPhone. Even going as far as putting a fake text message from his friends asking if he wanted to go get something to eat later, and attaching a rock to the back to make it seem as if the construction paper was the same weight as his phone. A close emulation.

Comical at the least, he then went on to say it was “hard to breathe without it” and sometimes he’d wake up in a panic attack when he couldn’t locate his phone.

“Coincidentally, I don’t think I had any no- tifications at the end of the day,” proving the point that you’re probably not missing as much as you think.

Lindke also went on to explain how he com- pared the lack of a smartphone to a ghost limb. Anomalies along the lines of feeling text vibra- tions that didn’t actually happen or the quiet bellowing of his ringtone when in fact no one was calling him.

Today, smartphones are used to do so much, from buying time with playing games, to taking memorable photographs that when looked back upon revive nostalgia. Last year 68 percent of the world’s population owned smartphones, and that number has only increased since.

To some, it is amazing what this new technol- ogy can do. For others, it is scary how connected we are to everything, but being this connected also has pros. The exchange of information between countries and throughout the world is pretty amazing, and to that we do have to thank technology.

Graduation Coach

Women’s basketball coach, Lauren Thompson, works with students to improve DHS graduation rate

By Megan Sarns

If you’ve been around Dexter Community Schools for a while, you’ve probably run into Lauren Thompson. With a list of credentials including (but not limited to) experience as a student teacher, substitute teacher, choir instructor, and women’s basketball and volleyball coach, Thompson is taking on a new role at DHS this year: graduation coach.

“My job is to make sure that every student at Dexter has the opportunity to graduate,” Thompson explained. “That can mean anything from providing resources and eliminating barriers…and working with counselors to create a plan for each student.”

Thompson provides academic support for students that otherwise may not get it, and that can make all the difference. “Kids like somebody holding them accountable,” she said.

Teachers don’t mind the extra help either. Teachers can recognize when their students might be struggling to keep up with their work, but with up to thirty students in each class, they may not be able to give every student the assistance they need. “Now, they know who to call and say ‘this student needs help.’”

Thompson was hired at the end of June, and the graduation coach program was recommended by superintendent Dr. Chris Timmis.

“In 2016, having a high school diploma is automatically expected,” Principal Kit Moran said. “[if a student doesn’t have a diploma] they are at a significant disadvantage.”

Because the graduation rate at DHS has dropped slightly over the past few years, having someone in the building whose job is specifically to deal with this problem and these students was found to be the best approach.

Leo Theisen, a senior at DHS, has always struggled in school. This year, he’s been working with Thompson and is already seeing improvement.

“My grades would be a lot worse if she wasn’t helping me,” Theisen said. “She’s helped me out with schoolwork and makes sure I turn in assignments.”

In addition to keeping an eye on his grades, Thompson works one-on-one with Theisen on his math homework and other problem areas.

“We have a relatively small [graduation] problem,” Moran explained. Currently, DHS graduates about 93 percent of their students. With each graduating class averaging around three hundred students, that statistic means that with every 1 percent drop, three kids aren’t graduating. “If [Thompson’s] intervention results in one kid getting a diploma that wouldn’t have otherwise, that’s huge.”

In regards to how her work could significantly impact the future of DHS students, Thompson said, “It’s a new adventure, but I feel very fortunate to be able to do this.”

LGBTQ+

Transgender students are at risk: Studies show creating safe, supportive school environments can have a big impact

By Megan Sarns and Julia Bell

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From the highly publicized transition of Caitlyn Jenner to the Target boycotts, the transgender community is being widely discussed. However, with this new platform comes controversy as to how schools should approach such a sensitive topic. Much of the controversy is rooted in confusion and misinformation.

When talking about the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ+) community as a whole, the idea of “equality” is widely spoken of. The word has good intentions but a complicated meaning. It’s a common misconception that equity and equality can be used interchangeably in terms of ensuring fairness. Equality refers to providing every individual with the same resources and opportunities.  It’s an imperfect system because individual strengths and needs are not always accounted for.

“Providing equality to students can provide more privilege to some students and still not provide enough opportunity to others, when given the same assistance,” said Autumn Campbell, art teacher and Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) facilitator at Dexter High School.

Equity, on the other hand, does identify the strengths and needs of students and helps everyone in different ways. The goal is for every student to be at the same baseline for success.

Just like any group of students with specific needs, transgender and gender nonconforming students that attend DHS now, or will in the future, require a specific type of assistance to thrive.

According to psychological studies, individuals identifying within the LGBTQ+ community are up to three times more likely to have a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder. These conditions can sometimes lead to self harm, substance abuse, and even suicide.

“A lot of people don’t understand; they think these students are doing this because they want to or for attention,” DHS counselor and GSA facilitator, Kristie Doyle, said. “But when you look at the statistics, the evidence is there…these students are at a much higher risk for mental health conditions.”

This problem gained national attention when Caitlyn Jenner accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs in July of 2015. In her acceptance speech, she implored her audience to take notice of the staggering number of transgender youth that are bullied and abused by their peers and families to the point of considering suicide. According to a 2015 survey, 4.6 percent of Americans report having attempted suicide at some point in their lives. Within the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community, that number climbs to 20 percent; within the transgender community, it is 40 percent.

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In 2014, the death of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender high school student from Ohio, sparked a national conversation. When Leelah, born Jacob, attempted to come out to her parents as a transgender female, her parents refused to allow her to undergo transition treatment and sent her to conversion therapy instead. When she began coming out to her friends, her parents removed her from her high school and restricted her access to social media. She lost contact with the friends she was once able to confide in. Leelah committed suicide on December 28, by walking into oncoming traffic on the Interstate 71 highway. She was 17 years old.

Leelah posted her suicide note publicly on social media, posthumously turning her into a martyr for transgender youth across the world. Nevertheless, situations like these are all too common.

The reason transgender people are at a higher risk has been studied by countless psychologists over many years. Several factors have been cited, but one reason stands out above all the others: a lack of support within their families, peer groups, and communities. Even if a transgender student doesn’t have the support of their family or all of their peers, creating a supportive environment within school, a place where teenagers spend most of their time, has been known to have a big impact. Studies have shown that having a strong support system, wherever it is they can find it, can decrease a transgender person’s chance of committing suicide by more than 80 percent.

If a school is unable to provide accommodations to meet the specific needs of their transgender and gender nonconforming students, it doesn’t go without consequence.

Data posted by Trans Student Equality Resources in 2013 stated that 80 percent of transgender students report feeling unsafe at school, resulting in poor grades and difficulty advancing in their academic career, leading them to miss school regularly or drop out altogether.

“As an administrator, I want students to feel like they want to come [to Dexter High School] every morning,” Principal Kit Moran said. “There can be anxiety about a big presentation or a test…but when a student is anxious about coming to school and being harassed, that’s a problem.”

Working with the GSA, Autumn understands the importance of prioritizing the safety of these students.

“Our goal is to provide safe spaces for all students,” she said. “They shouldn’t have to wait for it to get better…it should be better now. All students should be able to thrive, not just survive, in our schools.”

There can also be consequences for the school if these students’ needs continually go unmet. Discrimination against any group of students based on race, class, sexual orientation or gender identity and expression by their school is a legal issue. Title IX, a portion of the United States Education Amendments of 1972, states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

In 2014, a memo distributed by the U.S. Department of Education extended these guidelines to include transgender students. The memo reads that “All students, including transgender students, or students who do not conform to sex stereotypes, are protected from sex-based discrimination under Title IX.”

If a school ignores these guidelines, they are at risk for a lawsuit that would not only cost the school district lots of money, but their reputation as well.

In 2014, four Detroit-area schools were being sued for allegedly discriminating against a transgender student. The schools’ administrations allegedly subjected the student to continuous verbal abuse and banned them from using the restroom that coincided with the gender they identified with. This was only one of many nationwide cases.

In December of that same year, a court in Maine awarded the family of a female transgender student $75,000 in settlement after they won a lawsuit against her school administration for requiring her to use a staff restroom instead of the student girls’ restroom.

In regards to how DHS is handling themselves in situations like these, Moran’s answer is simple.

“We cannot discriminate against transgender students [at DHS],” he said. “The law said students can go in the bathroom of whatever gender they identify with…schools who don’t follow the law will not be supporting their students.”

Moran stated that DHS, alongside all other public schools in the country, received a letter from the Obama Administration last spring compelling them to regulate students’ access to bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity, rather than their biological sex.

Over the past year, this policy has become controversial (a federal court in Texas blocked the edict in August), but thousands of schools nationwide have chosen to follow its guidelines. Many have expressed concerns that a more fluid regulation of spaces, that were once specific to following the gender binary, could promote an increase in sexual assaults. The facts say otherwise.

Sources such as the Transgender Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union state there is absolutely no verifiable data to confirm reports of transgender people assaulting non-transgender people in public restrooms, and that claims of this nature are often fabricated to perpetuate violent stereotypes against the transgender community.

In fact, if anyone is at risk, all data points to the transgender people themselves. Studies suggest that approximately 70 percent of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals have been assaulted or otherwise harassed while using public restrooms. However, “bathroom bills” only work towards resolving a small part of the problem.

A study done by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in 2009 found that the systemic discrimination and abuse faced by trans people extends far outside the bathroom.

According to their surveys, transgender people face up to double the rate of unemployment (keep in mind that this survey was taken during the economic recession, when unemployment rates were already high), and 97 percent of those surveyed reported that they had been mistreated at work. They have also faced a high rate of poverty and homelessness, with 19 percent of the sample having been homeless at some point in their lives.

Solving this problem begins with acceptance.

“We want [students at DHS] to take what they learn into adulthood,” Moran said. “We’re known for having high test scores…our kids go to good colleges, but we also want to be known for being accepting of every student. It’s not just about educating [your brain] on math and science…we’re educating the whole part of you.”

An Unforgettable Summer

One year after an African experience the author traveled to India to help out another a less-developed country

By Julia Bell

After 39 hours, four airports, 7,000 miles, and zero sleep, I have arrived in India! I am immediately struck by the people.  There are so many of them.

They are speaking so fast in a language I have never heard.  I notice them staring as I pass by, and I find myself staring back.  My eyes are drawn to their clothing. The colors are as warm and welcoming as the people wearing them.

I am handed a wide-eyed baby boy, no older than a year, and pulled towards a flip-phone to be photographed.  A few teenage boys huddle around to snap a picture, and then rush to show their friends.

I’m on a big white bus with colored paint striped across both sides. It rattles as the wheels roll further and further down the left side of the road. There are no stop signs, lights, or speed limits.

We pass a couple rickshaws, a few trucks loaded with fruit, a handful of motorcycles, and a countless number of cows. We swerve in and out of traffic to the tune of loud car horns, which are eventually drowned out by the Bollywood music on the radio.

I am standing in front of the Golden Temple, on bare feet that were rinsed upon my arrival. I am surrounded by people from all walks of life and I feel genuinely welcomed.  We are given a tour of the dining hall, where volunteers prepare free meals each day for roughly 100,000 visitors. It’s uplifting to witness so many individuals interacting peacefully despite race and religion.

I wake up sick in the middle of the night and spend all morning in bed.  The discomfort of illness is much greater when you’re a day’s distance from home.

It’s now afternoon, and standing in front of a pile of rubble I can’t help but overlook my troubles as I imagine those faced by the 800 slum-dwellers who have recently been evicted from the slums and forced to spend days on the road with nowhere else to go.

Each morning of my remaining time in India would be spent volunteering at a summer camp. I would make my way down a steep and winding road to a field where I would be greeted by dozens of energetic children, eager to play. I spent countless hours kicking soccer balls, jumping rope, and drawing.

I found myself drawn to a young girl named Bindiya. Neither one of us could understand the others’ language, and we found it difficult to communicate with words.

Although I couldn’t tell her how much I loved India or how much I missed my friends and family, she always seemed to understand what was going through my mind.

In the afternoons, I would continue to gain a better understanding of the culture and people of India, as I explored the country and built relationships.

One afternoon, I found myself standing in a field with water up to my waist. I grabbed bundle after bundle of rice seedlings and transplanted them into the water. The sun beat down on my back and I quickly became exhausted. I sat down for lunch with a new appreciation for each grain of rice on my plate.

A few days later my backpack was tied to the back of a horse, and my boots were tied to my feet.  The monsoon rains poured down as I hiked my way through the Himalayas.  As the sun disappeared over the mountains, I climbed into a tent and fell asleep under the clear Indian sky.

As my time in India drew to an end, I bid farewell with a visit to the Taj Mahal.  To consider this ivory-white, marble mausoleum a New Wonder of the World is an understatement at best.  I stood among an enormous crowd of people, most Indian but many tourists, gazing in awe at the famous symbol of love.

After 21 days, 10 miles hiked, 9 games of cricket, and 40 cups of chai, I returned to the United States.  It was hard to believe how quickly the weeks had passed. I was excited to see my friends and family back home, but I wasn’t ready to leave my new friends and family on the other side of the world.

I will cherish the memories of this experience for the rest of my life, and I hope to return to India soon.

 

 

The Social Hierarchy of DHS

By Caden Koenig, Joe Ramey & Claire Ward

As new seniors feel entitled to the crown of the school, views on the average day changes every year. This change is meant to fit the mold on how the seniors imagined their final year of high school. So, with this comes the basic rules of Dexter High School’s social hierarchy.

Freshmen:

Wow, congrats! You guys survived your tween years and lives as middle schoolers. You have finally made it to high school.

The next four years are going to be some pretty fantastic years. But since you’re coming into our (Seniors ’17) school, we would like to set some guidelines.

Of course there are some obvious ones that don’t need to be mentioned, but I will name a couple just to get the ball rolling.

First, we would like to talk drinking fountains. They are helpful if you have a water bottle or even need to wet your whistle. But turning the fountain head towards the person so when they push it, not realizing what had been done, get water on their shirt and pants is despicable. Most people spot the prank before it happens, and c’mon, you are in high school now.

Next: the hallways. We have five minutes between each class. This time is great to talk to your friends, get a drink of water (as previously stated), and say hello to your significant other (more to come later). One main common mistake everyone has to adjust to, especially freshmen year, is that blocking the hallway isn’t okay.

Blocking the hallway includes, but is not limited to the following: stopping in the middle of the hallway, creating a long line at the drinking fountain, and sitting outside a classroom that is locked. This is high up there on things you can do to annoy other people at DHS, but there may be one that tops the list.

Public Displays of Affection (PDA). Trust us. We get it. Most of the relationships you experience are short and full of puppy love. Now, everyone has gone through this stage, so we all try to understand and remember. Nevertheless, we also know you can wait until 2:51 PM to have that makeout sesh (session) with your significant other. We all would appreciate it.

As far as the things you can do. As you enter high school you are given a lot more freedoms at school. Teachers start to trust you and you start to get privileges you haven’t experienced at school yet.

For example, nobody dismisses your table for lunch anymore; once you get to the lunch room, you can eat. Believe it or not, this is just the beginning. You have a bigger selection of classes, more extracurricular options, and a wider variety of teachers to help and provide different teaching styles.

Starting high school is a big step in your life. And take it from the seniors writing this article, it goes by super fast. So soak up every fantastic, stressful, boring moment you get in the four years you are about to start.

Sophomores:

The less than notable year that is your freshman semesters of high school are over. You are now a real, functioning facet of our high school that we (and most other high schools nationwide) like to call sophomores. Your days of Earth Science noodle structures and spoonfed criteria are over.

Now that you’ve passed your easy breezy first year of high school, you are no longer the bottom of the totem pole. The Pythagorean theorem is a thing of the past, right? Wrong! Don’t make the mistake of failing to challenge yourself this year. Take advantage of the provided classes that can set you up for success in your dreaded junior year. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is carrying over your lazy tendencies from freshman year to your sophomore year. Don’t be that student.

Along with freshman year tendencies, your actions shall NOT carry over. Your decision to make your mark freshman year is one of (hopefully) deep thought and time. Whether that mark was positive or negative, the same shenanigans you pulled freshman year will not fly. You’re a different person, a year older, and you represent our school. If you do decide to take the route of immaturity, leave it all in the classroom. Another one of the biggest mistakes you can make is taking it to Twitter.

Read a book for God’s sake. Like the ones you (didn’t) read freshman year English. Organize! Keep that backpack clear of all trash. You’ll need the space for the textbooks that you should be carrying around and using to your advantage. There’s no complaining when all of your resources are in front of you. Don’t be that guy who’s too scared to ask Mr. Heuser for help on an essay. He’s like the coolest guy ever. Take your time and ask the questions that need to be answered. After all, you’ll need to know by next year.

Prepare, prepare, prepare. The three things you are called to do your sophomore year. Just as you would prep for a hurricane or other natural disasters of sorts, you are to prep for the coming storm. Your junior year; and that storm is brewing.

“On to the next one” – lyrical genius ‘Jay-Z’

Juniors:

Brace yourselves. This year really will suck. I know, I know, that sounds like the most cliche thing in the world. At the beginning of junior year, things seem okay. They can even seem pretty good. Then all of the sudden you have two papers on Tuesday, a Pre-Calc test Wednesday morning, an APUSH project due Thursday, and a basketball tournament over the weekend. These are usually the times where you find yourself laying face-down in your bed, too overwhelmed to even eat. You don’t want to get to this point, so here are some helpful tips to prevent having a mental breakdown every other hour.

Get a planner, keep the planner on you at all times, and actually use it. Time management is so important when you have what seems like a million assignments. You want to stay ahead as much as you can. When you get an assignment, start working on it the earliest chance you get. Do not put off studying until the night before, and don’t wait until 10 on a Thursday night to start a paper due in class the next day. Do your big assignments the same day you get them, and get as much done as early as possible. You can do that 10-minute vocab assignment at lunch; you can’t write a full essay.

Every spring, juniors prepare for the SAT/ACT. You should too. Take a prep course, review your basic math and reading skills, and actually get a decent amount of sleep the night before. Knowing the material is important. What’s more important, though, is not stressing out about the standardized test too much. Your future really does not count on the SAT. Yes, the SAT is important; however, you can retake it, and once you get to college it won’t mean anything. More and more schools are making the decision to not require SAT/ACT scores as sometimes they aren’t accurate reflections of the student. That being said, you still have to try. Many schools still want to see your score. Just try not to stress yourself out about it too much.

With all the stress, you can’t forget to have some fun. Go to the football and basketball games. Go out to the corn maze. See the school plays. Do what you enjoy doing. This year may be your hardest year academically, but plenty of things can be done to lessen your stress.

But, congratulations! You made it to the upperclassmen years of high school. No longer can people tell you, “you were a freshman last year; you can’t say anything about hating them” or “you’re literally 12” because you aren’t anymore! Just make sure you know where you belong; you aren’t seniors yet. If a senior wriggles in front of you at the game, don’t yell and complain. They don’t care that you’ve been there since 3:30. They’ve been in your place before and have seniority.

This is the year you get to have fun, but not too much fun. You’re finally free of the shackles freshman year places on you and that follow you (aka haunt you) as you complete sophomore year. Concentrate on school work, get stuff done, but don’t let it stress you out to an unmanageable point.

Seniors:

Guys, we made it. We’ve suffered for three years to get to this point, but we’re finally here. This is the year we get to rule the school. Here’s a little advice on how to spend your final year in grade school.

Make the absolute most of it. Go to every football game, every basketball game, dress up on spirit days, go to school plays, go to Homecoming and Prom (especially Homecoming — it can be as much fun as you make it, so make it amazing), build relationships with your teachers, and mend old relationships with classmates. Pretty much do anything you want to do (within reason, and don’t be rude about it either).

This is your last year with the protection of a house to come home to each night, and having all your closest friends around you all the time. You don’t want to wake up on graduation morning and realize you regret how you spent your last year in Dexter. Pretty soon all of us will be spread out around the country, maybe even outside of the country, and will be forced into a world of financial management and all-nighters writing term papers.

Work hard to get where you want to be in the fall of 2017. If that happens to be Stanford, you’d better already have your application essays written (if this is where you want to go, I have no doubt your applications are almost already completely finished and you’ve already had multiple interviews with admission reps). If that happens to be WCC, start getting your application together, because the process can be long. The point is, this is the last year you have before you aren’t guided through life. Now is the time to bust a little ass to give yourself the best opportunity to thrive once next September comes around. Working hard doesn’t stop after acceptance. You can’t just screw around after declaration day. You still have to work to maintain your grades; colleges can always revoke acceptance.

With all this newly found seniority, occasionally check yourself. Just because you’re a senior doesn’t mean it’s cool for you to push around the freshmen, or make fun of them for being confused as to where the fifth floor is. The poor little guys looking like Nemo on the first day, alone in a big open ocean, is just trying to find someone they know. If you see a freshman — or anyone for that matter — looking completely lost or helpless, give them some help. I promise, it won’t bring you down in social status.

This is our last year. We have 278 days from today before we are officially Dexter High School graduates. Whether that number seems large or small to you, it will go faster than you believe. We have 278 days to make the most of. Here’s to us. The only thing left to say is that this year is going to be L17.

High School Hiatus: The Gap Year

By Michael Bradshaw & Blake Leonard

As the May 1st college decision deadline approached, many students were stressing over their final decision, while others were showing off which school would be their home for the next four years.

Yet, there was a small group that didn’t have to answer the annual “Where are you going next fall?” question.

A gap year is defined as a one-year hiatus from academic studies to allow for non-academic activities. There are many options to fill this “one-year hiatus.” One of those options is a service-based year.

Continue reading “High School Hiatus: The Gap Year”

Hometown Girl Feels the Love From Our Senior Survivors

By Mika Brust & Lexi Heath

Come spring every year, Senior Survivor begins. At the end of the week, the proceeds raised by each team are combined and given to the charity of the winning team. However, this year was different because all teams agreed to raise money for the same charity – Reilly Trammel and her family – before the Senior Survivor competition began.

Meet Reilly, a 13-year-old girl who loves science, excels at math, and one day plans to be a Senior Survivor, too. She is surrounded by a loving family and is from the neighboring town of Chelsea, attending Mill Creek Middle School.

In the beginning of August, Reilly was delivered some life-altering news. She had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma; a type of cancer in the lymphatic system, part of the immune system. In the lymphatic system, cells grow abnormally and can spread throughout the body. As the cancer progresses, the body is less susceptible to fighting off infection.

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Vaping: Blowin’ Clouds at DHS

By Lucas Bell

We are all familiar with walking into the bathroom and being greeted with the faint aroma of French vanilla, bubble gum, or even a  field of strawberries.  At first one might think the administration has decided to furnish the  restrooms with Yankee Candles to enhance the experience. Unfortunately, this is not the case. What we are dealing with is vaping.

“I vape because it is a way to get nicotine that’s definitely safer than smoking,” The Squall’s anonymous vape insider said.

The popularity of vaping has grown immensely nationwide over the last few years. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention  reported in April of 2015 that numbers of students vaping or using e-cigarettes more than doubled in a single year, rising from approximately 660,000 to 2 million students from 2013 to 2014.

At DHS, students have noticed a similar trend. “I have definitely noticed an increase of people vaping at the school, especially in the bathrooms since I was a freshman,” senior Alex Schwartz said.

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Saad Selim: More than a Sub

By Riley Gore & Blake Leonard

Although Saad Selim may seem like like just another substitute, there is more to him than meets the eye.  Selim was born and raised in Mosul, Iraq, a city controlled by ISIS as of June 2014, and lived in Baghdad most of his life.

  In Iraq, Selim attended The University of Technology of Baghdad and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering and Avionics.  He owned his own HVAC Heating and Cooling company in Baghdad and spent his time travelling Iraq working as a contractor for the United States Army. He travelled from base-to-base fixing walk-in coolers and air conditioning units, and even worked on United States Airplanes.

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