Grades Vs. Learning

Getting the perfect grade has become a priority over learning new information among DHS students

By Jimmy Fortuna-Peak

What do you want get out of high school? is a common question DHS students receive on their first day of their freshman year. Many will have different answers to this question such as an athletic scholarship, great memories with friends, finishing with academic honors, etc. While these are all important, very few actually care about learning the information taught in class.

A recent survey discovered that more than 60 percent of DHS students care more about the grade they receive in class than learning the new information being taught. While this news may be puzzling, being that the point of going to school is to make us smarter, there are some factors that have led students to think this way.

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Religious Holidays

Despite more than 60% of students practicing Christianity, DHS should consider minority religions’ holidays

By tess alekseev

“Imagine if Christmas didn’t fall into winter break. People would be outraged,” sophomore Aden Angus said when asked how not getting Jewish holidays off affects him.

It seems unrealistic (because it is), but, just for fun, imagine if it didn’t. Imagine the number of students that would miss school on Christmas, Easter, or other major Christian holidays. In Dexter, it would be a ridiculously large number, easily large enough to cancel school.

So why is it not the same for Jewish and Muslim students?

The answer, of course, is that there isn’t a large amount of those students, at least not enough to disrsupt the overall school day. However, it disrupts the school day of those affected in a major way.

So, how do we fix that?

It seems easy: promote awareness of religious holidays amongst the staff and students. The problem lies in how the school would go about it.

Schools in Ann Arbor utilise a three-star, two-star, one-star model, which dictates importance of the holiday in question.

Three stars denote a major holiday, and teachers may not schedule exams, reviews for exams, tryouts, or dances on those days. Two stars indicate other significant holidays, and students absent during these days are treated as if they had been out sick. One star holidays have no restrictions.

DHS Principal Kit Moran said he encourages his staff to be aware of non-Christian religious holidays, but since Dexter isn’t religiously diverse, it is “fair and reasonable to not know [the holidays]. The star model used by Ann Arbor is admirable, and a good model, but not the right path for Dexter.

“I don’t think there’s been enough need to generate change, but if it were to become a big enough issue to disrupt the school day, we would have to tend to that.”

English teacher Alexander Heidtke is in support of awareness and respect for religious holidays, and their observer’s absence due to them.

“Finding a way to incorporate the non-Christian religious holidays based on inclusiveness, respect, and, at least, awareness, it’s the next step,” he said. “If people know they exist and respect them, then we move forward, in terms of coexisting … It’s hard to bring anything up without offending someone, but sometimes it’s so monumental that you have to offend someone in order to do the right thing.”

It isn’t only hard to move past the prejudice in the school. Another obstacle is the bureaucracy involved in setting up a policy of awareness and respect.

“It’s hard, because religion isn’t commonly brought up, and in Dexter, it isn’t diverse,” history teacher Kevin Cislo said. “It’s easy enough on an individual basis, but a policy is hard because it requires administrative action.”

Yasmin Segev, a DHS senior, is a student who has been negatively affected by the lack of awareness.

“Something I remember, I don’t think it happened this year, but in previous years, was marching band rehearsal landing on the first eve of Rosh Hashanah,” she said. “Rehearsals go from 7:30 to 9 p.m., so it took up the entire eve, and I didn’t get to celebrate with my family.”

When asked about her opinion on collisions between school and religious holiday observance, Segev had a few suggestions for the administration.

“I think that students should be allowed an extension on homework and to not go to after school events, without consequence, if there’s a major holiday for a major religion besides Christianity, at the least,” she said. “A better solution would be not allowing major events to be planned for major holidays in the first place, though.”

Religion in DHS, of 63 students surveyed.

Irma’s ‘Perfect Storm’

Hurricane Irma, described as the “perfect storm,” tore through Southern Florida and surrounding islands, devastating families and destroying homes



Here is the destructive path of Hurricane Irma. Irma formed on Aug. 30 in the Atlantic Ocean and hit the Florida Keys on Sept. 10. Source:

Hurricane Irma wasted no time after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey to start her own path of destruction. On August 30, 2017, the monumental storm struck parts of Cuba, the Virgin Islands, and southwestern Florida. Victims of the storm in the United States stretch from Naples, Florida, all the way to Albany, Georgia. Irma hit Florida as a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 115 MPH.

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Expedition Baja

A new culture experience makes the author think twice about what Americans could be like

By Bailey Welshans


Flying over Californian mountains on our way to San Diego. The picture doesn’t do the justice.

On July 30, 2017, I embarked on a week-long adventure to the poorest part of Baja California, Mexico. After a 4 a.m. wakeup call, six hours of flying, two hours of waiting in the airport, and more than four hours of driving, my team and I arrived in Vicente Guerrero – the place where we would stay that week.

Our host then proceeded to tell us that we couldn’t drink the water, and we could only take two-minute showers. Although we were surprised, we were troopers and followed that two-minute shower rule. That night, we tried the best, and most authentic, tacos I’ve ever had. Our hosts helped us translate, and the locals were giggling. I have no doubt it was probably because a group of 30 foreigners were terrible at speaking Spanish. Continue reading “Expedition Baja”

Just Another February Day

Who really wins on Valentine’s Day? The multi-million dollar industries more than the couples who express their love

By Jed Howell

Each year in the weeks leading to Valentine’s Day we are bombarded with advertisements of expensive diamonds, fancy chocolates, and flower bouquets that couldn’t possibly fit in a vase. All of these items come with a hefty price tag, but for what? So that on February 14th your significant other remembers that you love them? As if you don’t the other 364 days of the year. Not to mention the profit that companies make off cheesy cards and  heart shaped chocolates that cost nearly nothing to produce.

Personally, my problem with Valentine’s Day is the idea of having a designated day of the year to show affection. If you love someone enough to enter a relationship with them, then you should be affectionate as often as possible. Valentine’s Day is also more stressful than any normal day. Unrealistic or unclear expectations often result in catastrophe. I’m sure we have all agreed with our significant other that we would not exchange gifts when, in reality, they were expecting some sort of gesture. This day creates a feeling of manufactured or artificial love that couldn’t possibly be expressed any other day of the year.

The other problem with Valentine’s Day is the business side of the holiday. It has been estimated by the Greeting Card Association that each year more than 190 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent. This statistic excludes cards exchanged by children. Businesses thrive on the idea that a paper card with a heart on the front can prove that you care about someone. We have literally put a price on love, $133.91 to be exact. Yes, that is how much each American spends for Valentine’s day on average.

As consumerism tightens its deadly grip on yet another holiday, we may officially place Valentine’s Day in the category of “Hallmark holiday.”  The day of love has been tainted by price markups and big business.