Letter From The Editor – Claire Ward

After a year of cramming to meet deadlines and proof-reading countless articles, this liberal feminist is moving away from DHS, and from being The Squall’s Editor-in-Chief.

BY Claire Ward

This may be the most anticipated and most hated article I’ve ever written. Oh well, here goes.

I’ve spent nine months as Editor-in-Chief of The Squall, and man has it been a wild ride. From people telling me I’m trying to push my liberal agenda on the school, to having a good portion of the freshman male population hate me because I’m “bossy” and talk about periods.

It’s been fun.

Now, this school finally gets a break from my feminist rants and corrective terminology. No more having to read articles about how white privilege is a big issue in this school, or that dress codes are sexist.

There’s one last thing I have to do before I leave, though.

This one goes out to everyone who read my articles and agreed with them. Who was grateful someone was finally saying there’s nothing wrong with menstruation, who liked it when someone wasn’t afraid to call out others for ignoring the Black Lives Matter protests and deaths of protesters.

To everyone who is glad I wasn’t afraid to stand up to my own beliefs; this article is for you.

Feminism isn’t an odd concept. It isn’t hard to agree with (yet many people still struggle to agree), nor is it impossible to achieve. Equality of all people in terms of social, political, and economic factors is a reasonable request. For some reason, we have to fight for it. And that’s what we need to continue doing, fighting.

People may not agree with me on all topics, but I think everyone can agree with me on one thing: I’ve sparked conversation here at Dexter High School. Whether good or bad, people have been talking about my articles and topics I’ve discussed. A feminist fire has been lit, and it’s up to everyone staying in this school to keep it that way.

All you feminists out there, stand up for your beliefs. Don’t be afraid to tell someone they’ve got an idea wrong, or that the comment they made was inaccurate or harmful.

All you who don’t want to label yourself as feminist, whether because there’s a stigma around the word or because a few people have soiled the word for you, stand up for your beliefs. Don’t let the fear of repercussions hold yourself back from actively vocalizing for equality of others.

All you who don’t label yourself as a feminist because you don’t believe in feminism, keep doing what you’re doing. There’s just one thing I encourage you to do: look into why others are fighting. Explore reasons behind why feminism is a relevant need in our society. Open yourself up to other viewpoints, and reconsider your own.

So, that’s it. After nine months as active Editor-in-Chief, I leave knowing I’ve left a lasting mark on our school and a good portion in it. It’s up to everyone else to keeping acting on it and make sure it resonates for a long time.

ALFK – Black Lives Are (Still) Relevant

The Black Lives Matter movement hasnt gone away.  Nothing will stop it any time soonYou still need to fight.

By Claire Ward

There is a war waged on people of color in this country. Statistically, over 250 black people were killed by police in 2016, and while blacks only make up 13 percent of the US population, almost half of the incarcerated population is black. Institutionalized racism was brought to light during the 2016 Presidential Election, and our current president brings to light the power of racism as a joining force against humankind. African Americans were granted full freedom legally in 1890 under the 13th Amendment, then further protected from legal barriers by President Johnson in 1965. The fight for freedom has been a long one, and it’s no where close to over.

It’s hard to talk about race in a place as white as Dexter. It’s hard to talk about race being a white person with a lot of privilege (if you’re still confused about privilege, send me an email) who hasn’t really had a chance to experience racism firsthand. It’s hard for me to sit here and say black lives are tough when I don’t live one. Sometimes, the hardest things to say are what need to be said the most.

Living in a community like Dexter, we are guarded. Sure, we can read the news and stay caught up on current events, whether nationwide or worldwide, but we don’t experience a lot that others do. Those in a big city have more chances to see violence, racism, and discrimination; the list goes on as the population increases. Yet, at the same time we are almost more exposed to racism than those in big cities. Cities are accepting, filled with people of all genders and races and religions. Here in Dexter, we are divided into the accepting of all, and the accepting of some (with conditions for why you can’t accept certain groups). This division can be felt more strongly due to the size of the school. We split into groups with similar beliefs to us, and a smaller population means these groups seem smaller and smaller.

I have seen blatant racism countless times at DHS. I have seen it in students, in media, in parents. From slurs yelled out in anger, to discrimination from social groups because of the shade of someone’s skin. I have seen racism in Ann Arbor, in East Lansing, in Detroit, and probably every city I have ever been in. Maybe this is because of the groups I’m in, surrounded by white people and very underexposed to different cultures. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent my life working to acknowledge and fight racism, in turn making me more cognizant of the racism, using the privilege I hold to benefit others. Whatever the reason, the fact is it’s still there.

We have a system set up against people of color. Plea bargains are often offered to those who are faced with criminal charges, leading to 97 percent never reaching a trial. Innocent men and women fill penitentiaries simply because they cannot afford $40,000 bail, and may be faced with a longer sentence after going through the court process. It is easier for someone to spend three years in jail (where the government would rather have them) than anywhere else. Many people don’t know that companies like Victoria’s Secret, JCPenney, and Microsoft use prison labor to manufacture goods. Inmates can be paid to do work for less than a dollar, while prisons and the government make an $11 million profit on them. “Non-profit” companies, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), lobby politicians to make laws (like the Federal Crime Bill in 1994 that doubled mass incarceration) that make it extremely challenging for the African American population to escape prison. These companies go on to profit off of the prisons.

Black lives are constantly viewed as worth less than white lives. It has been 398 years since the first African was brought to the US in slavery. It has been 155 years since the Emancipation Proclamation. It has been 147 years since the right to vote was granted, but only 52 years since their right to vote was protected by law (which still isn’t guaranteed through voter registration laws). The black population has been fighting constantly, and have never caught a break in their battle for equality.

So next time you go to purchase something from a department store, do a little research and see just who your money is going to. Check yourself before you join in on your friends banter about African American culture, or partake in a peaceful protest against injustice in your community.

Black lives still matter. Just because the mainstream media isn’t telling you that anymore doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant. This fight is far from over, and it’s time we all use our privilege to aid in the resistance.

ALFK: Tackling Privilege

Tackling Privilege

By Claire Ward

Privilege

[privuh-lij, priv-lij]

noun: a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most

 

Chances are, you know the word “privilege” first hand. The social theory that certain advantages and special rights are only available to a particular group. Most of us at Dexter High School can point out the many privileges present in our lives every day, the many privileged groups we belong in. We live in a relatively wealthy community, with an almost completely white population, filled with a common and accepted religion. Rich privilege, white privilege, religious privilege. We are blessed to live lives that grant us these privileges. Unfortunately, many people choose to deny or ignore their privileges when the power status they’re given puts them in a place to benefit others. Maybe we all need to figure out how to use our privilege to the advantage of others, not just to help out ourselves. Here’s a little privilege check for you:

Continue reading “ALFK: Tackling Privilege”

19th Straight

Dreads Swim and Dive records 19th consecutive conference championship and looks ahead to the D2 state meet

By Andy Dolen

Dexter women’s swim and dive took on the entire SEC in the conference meet on November 4 and 5 at Wylie Elementary School.

Dexter went into the meet with high expectations of continuing its streak of 19 consecutive conference championships and looked to qualify even more swimmers for the state meet.

Photographer - Claire Ward Freshman Zoe Michos lunges forward in the 100 breastroke, looking to pile on more points for the Dreads. She made the state cut in the event.
Photographer – Claire Ward
Freshman Zoe Michos lunges forward in the 100 breastroke, looking to pile on more points for the Dreads. She made the state cut in the event.

Dexter started off strong with multiple top finishes, winning many events and essentially dominating the meet. The divers continued this momentum through the diving competition of the meet with regional qualifications from all the divers.

Photographer - Andy Dolen Freshman Alyssa Frost takes her mark on the block waiting for the start from the official.
Photographer – Andy Dolen
Freshman Alyssa Frost takes her mark on the block waiting for the start from the official.

After the break for diving, the swimmers maintained dominance in the pool with more first place finishes including some pool records.

Freshman Zoe Michos, junior Madeline Kaufman and senior Danielle Westman all earned state times, adding on to the accomplishments for the Dreads on the weekend.

Dexter’s final score for the meet was 471, nearly 200 points ahead of Tecumseh, the second place team.

“…I thought it was one of our best performances,” Head Coach Cory Bergen said. “All four divers qualified for regionals, and all swimmers swam well after their taper.”

Bergen also revealed the team’s expectations for the state meet: “We expect to be contending for one of the top spots [in the state]… we are well prepared, and I think we will have a good performance.”

Fun or Fear?

As clown sightings have reached record highs, a fear sparked in the ‘80s has returned

By Claire Ward & Lisa Zuiderveen

“I do not want any killer clowns anywhere near here, or fake killer clowns. No clowns of the killer variety.”

Senior Gigi Eisele has an opinion that many can agree with. She, like others student at Dexter High School, has heard the stories. The ones where a bunch of friends are hanging out on a Friday night, driving to a friend’s house when something catches their eye from the side of the road. As the car pulls back around to check it out everyone realizes what the figure standing on the side of the road is.

Dressed in rainbow polka dots, big shoes, and that classic red nose, he stands on the side of the road with a balloon in his hand.  Speeding away, they can see him running at the car through the back window, moving faster than what seems possible in a costume like that.

This is the basic story for so many people across the United States lately. It started in Greenville, South Carolina, with the first report to police on September 29. From here, sightings spread around Greenville, and as word grew, across the U.S. By the middle of October, sightings had been reported in nearly all 50 states, 9 of 13 Canadian provinces, and 18 other countries. The threat of killer clowns used to be an idea that was laughed at, saved only for theaters. Now, it’s become a worldwide epidemic.

Police warn people of the threat clowns pose, especially over Halloween weekend. The typical playful costume has now become dangerous. Major retailer Target pulled clown masks and costumes off its shelves for the holiday, but places such as Party City still sold the costumes – even with “scary” versions.

One thing is for sure, stepping outside in clown attire is not safe anymore. Officer Jeremy Hilobuk warns students to be cautious, and “be aware that this is something to be aware of.”

So far, clown sightings have spread across the state, reaching from Manistee to Detroit, and endless cities in between. Flint and Jackson have both received reports of clowns, and with Jackson only 30 miles from Dexter we’re left to wonder how long until the clowns make their way into our town.

Eisele believes that DHS will   remain relatively safe from the clowns, but is not completely sure. “Someone did paint a clown on the rock,” she said.

Meanwhile, senior Madison Delacy believes students should keep clowns out of the classrooms; “I feel like clowns shouldn’t be a joke at school because some of them really scare kids,” Delacy said. “I don’t think it’s okay to go around wearing a clown outfit either. That’s just creepy.”

A survey of 100 DHS students showed 29 percent would run if they saw a clown, and 25 percent would do something violent. The 46 percent said that they wouldn’t do anything.

Others, like senior Luan “Tom” Nguyen, stated that they would turn to social media. Nguyen, an international student from Vietnam, said he would “take a picture, put [it] on Facebook and ask ‘If you saw a clown what would you do?’”

“I think it’s kind of funny when you see clowns walking around, but it’s not funny when it’s threatening people’s safety,” Nguyen said.

Many DHS students agree with this statement as 69 percent of students surveyed think that dressing up as a clown isn’t funny.

The anxious feeling many get when thinking about, looking at, or hearing about clowns is not rare. The term “coulrophobia” was developed in the ‘80s to give name for the irrational fear of clowns. Stephen King’s “It” was published in 1986, with the movie following in 1990. Other movies such as “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” and “Poltergeist” add to the terror. Serial killer John Wayne Gacy was running wild in the mid-70s dressed in clown attire, arrested for the sexual assault and the murder of 33 young men while under the name of Pogo the Clown.

Just as every fashion nightmare returns, so have clowns. Hilobuk believes that the clown issue, while “it’s kind of died down in the past few weeks” is still something students need to be cognizant of.

“[We] still need to be aware of it,” he said. “Something like that doesn’t necessarily go away.”

The majority of Dexter students claimed if they saw a clown they wouldn’t do anything, but some mentioned calling the police. DHS English teacher Barry Mergler said assessing the situation first is key.

“It depends; at a circus, okay that fits. Walking around at night, avoid it and keep moving. Maybe call the police if my kids were with me” Mergler said.

The clown frenzy that filled the end of the millenia seemed to die down for the early 21st century, but clowns have made a comeback.

As Delacy said, “Clowns are now like a weird trend to scare other people. As someone who is afraid of clowns, I’m not a fan.”

 

ALFK: Periods

It’s not that big deal. Period.

By Claire Ward

Every girl knows the pain of that dreaded time of the month. Aunt Flow, the Crimson Wave, Shark Week, Code Red, Bloody Mary, Leak Week, TOTM. No matter what you call it, it’s still a period.

Accompanied by cramping, bloating, mood swings, acne, appetite changes, muscle aches, backaches, headaches, trouble sleeping, and trouble with concentration, the worst week of the month ensues at the end of your cycle. Every woman, or 49.6% of the world’s population, experiences it during her life. So, why is it seen as such a taboo, unspeakable occurrence?

Just recently, I walked down the hall to the ladies room. I passed friends in the hallway, returning smiles and greetings, and receiving weird stares. I was carrying my little bag (containing feminine products) openly in my left hand. Both boys and girls gave me a look somewhere between disgust and shock. How could a girl walk through the hall showing very brazenly that she was on her period?

What is this, the rapture? Nope, not the rapture. Just a girl on her period who’s tired of feeling like she has to hide it.

Most girls tend to agree. Senior Brigit Hammond feels “[the shame] is dumb because it’s a part of nature that [girls] literally have no control over.” Every day about 40 percent of the school will be on, just ending, or starting their ride on the Crimson Wave. There should be no reason for them to hide it, nor be criticised for symptoms.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is caused by the changing influx of hormones, and is used against women every day. Boys use it to make fun of girls. Any time a female classmate has a bad day and makes a grumpy comment, she will be asked sneeringly if she’s on her period.

Hammond states she “is sure [boys] would get a little cranky too” if they were suddenly bleeding. Even when boys are cranky, they aren’t asked if they’re riding the Crimson Wave.

The menstrual cycle is used as a tool to ridicule women for a wide range of things. Any woman with an opinion to voice can be seen as bossy. If she speaks up against this sexist double standard, she may be asked if she is on her period, if that is what’s causing her to be so “angry.”

Let’s not forget when Donald Trump accused Megyn Kelly, Fox News TV Personality, of having “blood coming out of her wherever” when she asked him questions he didn’t like at a presidential debate.

Women are sick of being told their hormones are controlling them. Choices girls make that may seem angry or fueled are because girls are angry and fueled. In a world full of double standards and inequality,
there’s plenty to be angered about.

Boys are fully allowed to be angry. They can express their emotions without hormones being mentioned. They can walk to the bathroom without shame. Girls want nothing but the same treatment. We shouldn’t be shaming for natural processes. Every one of us is alive because of periods. Period.

ALFK: Dress Code

A sexist issue that involves more than short-shorts and tank tops

By Claire Ward

All Dexter High School Students know that this school only has two temperatures: inside the inner rings of Hell, or exploring the arctic tundra.

Unfortunately, the fall seems to be the time where DHS students are enhancing their learning in the walls of Satan’s home. Okay, maybe not exactly, but you get the point. This school gets hot, and it’s hot outside.

With record high temperatures this summer and zero rain, the past few months have been a doozy. We’ve spent the time laying around in swimsuits and diving into lakes to cool us down.

Come September, we have to hang up our bikinis for fingertip-length, solid, not too tight, no holes above the thigh, plain, mom shorts.

Continue reading “ALFK: Dress Code”

Summer Album Reviews: Lil Yachty & Frank Ocean

Lil Yachty fails to impress, while Frank Ocean’s new
album leaves plenty to discuss after a four-year wait

By: Andy Dolen

Summer Songs 2 – Lil Yachty

Lil Yachty, aka Lil Boat, has been buzzing as of late, and it’s mainly due to his collaborations with many big-name rappers such as Chance The Rapper and new hit artist D.R.A.M. When rappers have a glimpse of fame, it’s seen as an opportunity to jump on it, just as Lil Yachty has done with his new mixtape “Summer Songs 2”.

The rapper’s unique tone and verses have had people excited to finally hear an album of his own; however, it was not as hot as expected. Just like Frank Ocean’s new album, Yachty only released his album exclusively to Apple Music.

“For Hot 97” and “All In” are some of the few songs in this album where you can actually listen to the whole song without it being repetitive This is most likely because these are the two songs with the most features from other artists.

Lil Boat’s best songs seem to have a limited amount of lyrics. Listening to Yachty’s kaleidoscopic verses for an entire song become annoying, but when he comes in the middle of a song with a good verse it definitely lights up the track. I’m predicting Lil Yachty remains as mostly a feature rapper with some other big name artists, but may not become his own star for a while. Rating: 2 out of 5.

Blond – Frank Ocean

The visionary artist’s highly anticipated new album was finally released this summer after years of begging and some disappointment by his fans. Four years after Ocean released his best selling album “Channel Orange”, he has decided to show another side of himself and his versatile singing voice.

After listening to Frank Ocean’s new album “Blond”, it was easy to see that Frank was striving for more of a quieter, meditative sound, and it didn’t fail to impress. “Blond” not only shows a sense of the old Frank Ocean, which the world has been waiting to hear for four years, but also shows his true artistic talent, range of vocals, and rhythms in a storytelling-type album.

After years of staying on the down low Frank still decided to keep his music exclusive and initially will only release it to Apple Music subscribers, but this most likely won’t last for long. After this much anticipation, I predict that “Blond” will be in the top three rated albums of summer 2016. Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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.