Letters from the Editors

Opinions of a teenager who may or may not be qualified to offer life advice but is going to do it anyway

By Nick LeBlanc

 

It’s been 17 years at Dexter, 12 in Dexter schools, four in high school, and three on The Squall staff.

High School has been a wild ride. As cliche as it might sound, DHS has provided all of us with ups and downs throughout our four year journey. We’ve made everlasting friendships and memories, and at the same time, met people we would rather forget. Continue reading “Letters from the Editors”

March Madness’s Sweet 16

Teams to watch out for in this year’s edition of March Madness

By: Nick LeBlanc and Alex Strang

Madness is in the air.  The sights and sounds of seasons being crushed, top seeds being overly confident in their ability to “win it all”, and lower seed hopefuls quickly ruining said hope is going to become all too familiar.

Before jumping into this year’s bracket, it’s important to first remember those whom have fallen in last years season of March Madness and learn from their mistakes.  In memoriam of No. 2 Michigan State, who lost in the first round to No. 15 Middle Tennessee; No. 4 California, who lost first round to No. 13 Hawaii; and No. 3 West Virginia, who lost to No. 14 Stephen F. Austin.  Bracketeers everywhere will never underestimate the power of an upset because of your mistakes.  Thank you.

“There will be more upsets this year than there has ever been before,” senior Brandon Wright said. “This year, there are no teams that are significantly better than others like there has been in the past with Duke or Kentucky.”

Jumping into this year’s bracket, here are some of the overly confident high seeds and hopeful low seeds to look out for.

Within the South region of the bracket, arguably the three top teams in the nation, No. 1 North Carolina; No. 2 Kentucky; and No. 3 UCLA, all have to fight for national championship glory within one region.  Having the most top heavy region shows as the top four seeds in the region all advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.  The only interesting upset came from No. 12 Middle Tennessee in the first round.  Other than that, expect either North Carolina, Kentucky, or UCLA to be representing the South region on April 1st in the Final Four.   

In terms of the south region, Sophomore Logan Eggleston thinks UCLA will come out on top: “UCLA is going all the way.”

On to the Midwest, the team to look out for is Michigan in the Sweet Sixteen.  They are red hot coming out of their conference championship victory and have something to prove as underdogs.  In terms of the Midwest No. 1 seed, Kansas, expect them to continue their trend of choking under the pressure of March Madness: they lose to Purdue in the Sweet 16.

“Michigan is hot right now, but not talented enough overall to win the whole thing,”  junior Janie Harshe, a Michigan fan, said.

In the West lies more uncertainty.  Teams like No. 12 Princeton and No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast had the potential to pull off their respective upsets against No. 5 Notre Dame and No. 3 Florida State, but fell short.  Now, after the round of 64, the only upset to take place in the West was No. 11 Xavier over No. 6 Maryland.  No. 1 Gonzaga, after coming off a 32-1 season, has the potential to not make the Final Four even after their tremendous season as the stout, No.4 West Virgina and No. 2 Arizona stands in their way.

After the defending champ, Villanova, was knocked out of the tournament by No. 8 Wisconsin, and No. 2 Duke was knocked out by No. 7 South Carolina, the East bracket is left wide open for the remaining teams participating in the Sweet Sixteen.  Expect No. 4 Florida to seize the opportunity and make it to the Final Four.

Before the tournament began, the Squall staff predicted Duke to be the winner of the biggest tournament of the year.  In a revised pick, the Squall is now taking Kansas to cut down the nets.  Personally, we believe UCLA will take home the trophy, but we also picked Michigan State to win it all last year, so take the advice with a grain of salt, because in reality, you have a better chance of winning the Powerball or getting struck by lightning than picking a perfect bracket, even from here on out.

Top Five Christmas Movies and Music

By Alex Strang and Nick LeBlanc

Right after Thanksgiving dinner is all cleaned up and you’re on the way to go Black Friday shopping, you start to hear songs that have become all too familiar: Christmas songs.  Without missing a beat, the Christmas tunes are released into the airwaves right as the conversation with Grandma on how you need a boyfriend/girlfriend has ended and you begin to leave your creepy Uncle’s house that you barely even know.

Every year, we listen to the same Christmas music and watch the same Christmas movies, but why do we listen to same songs and watch the same movies every December? Well it’s simple; they get us in the Christmas spirit. They make us want to down some eggnog, go spend an unnecessary amount of money on our family and friends, and go chop down a tree and haul it home. So, by the time December 25 rolls around, everyone is in the holly-jolly Christmas spirit.

As a staff, we have created a list of our favorite movies and songs.

Movies

5. A Christmas Story

Released over 30 years ago, A Christmas Story continues to be watched by millions of families each year. The movie follows Ralphie, a young boy who only wants one thing from Santa: A Red Ryder BB Gun. Despite everyone telling him “you’ll shoot your eye out,” he doesn’t give up hope. You will be able to find this on TV everyday in December on many channels.

4. Polar Express

Polar Express This is the most kid-friendly movie on the list. It is a Christmas fantasy where a train picks up children and takes them to the North Pole. Compared to the other movies on the list, this movie lacks the comedy.

3. Elf

Elf has been the most overplayed Christmas movie in the past decade as well as the most popular. As every teacher’s go-to Christmas movie, you might watch it five times the day before you go on Christmas Break. Popular comedian Will Ferrell plays a human elf that embarks on a journey from the North Pole in search of an important person in his life.

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is the funniest Christmas movie on our list. Chevy Chase plays Clark Griswold, the father of a dysfunctional family in this holiday season comedy. Although it is a family movie, we would not say it is family friendly. Despite only a PG-13 rating, this movie is full of crude humour and it may not be suitable for little cousin Jimmy, so parents and relatives alike make sure you have a blanket ready to cover the TV at various parts of the movie unless you want 20 questions afterwards.

1. Home Alone 1

Home Alone follows a boy’s adventures during the holiday season when his large family accidentally leaves without him when they go on vacation.  As an all-time Christmas favorite, this action-packed comedy does not disappoint. What makes this movie so great is that, when we were younger, we all had that fantasy of feeling all powerful, which is exactly how the protagonist, Kevin, acts.  Due to Kevin’s nature and our young age, Kevin was a Hero to us.  The combination of being a Christmas thriller and being filled with nostalgia means if you are going to watch one movie this December, make it Home Alone.

Music

5. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas by Michael Bublé

This Bublé classic gets the listener hype about snow that is related to Christmas. The reason why this song is not higher on our list is because more often than not, the weather feels like Easter on Christmas; thus, the song is rather misleading.

4. Little Saint Nick by the Beach Boys

Similar to the song in the five spot, “Little Saint Nick” is a Christmas classic.  However, this song also has a major downfall to it: Saint Nick is not little. While the song provides a good tune, as a staff it was difficult to rank this song higher due to the misinterpretation of the most important character related to the Christmas season.

3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Michael Bublé

Being one of the most iconic christmas songs means that it has been featured in hit Christmas movies like the Polar Express. The major downfall of the song is that it highlights the downfalls of a seemingly jolly holiday.  For example, the song says “he sees you when you’re sleeping.” While the staff recognizes that the fact that Santa stalks us in our sleep is a part of the holiday, we feel the negative, creepy aspects of the holiday could’ve been left out.  In addition, you shouldn’t need to threaten the kids within the song to get them to behave. If it is needed, maybe the kids need better parents.

2. A Wonderful Christmas Time by the Beatles

What happens when you mix one of the greatest bands of all time and one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States? A subpar album.  Nevertheless, within the album is a song that has been welcomed during the Christmas time from 95-year-old Grandma Gertrude to five-year-old little Timmy. The Beatles have managed to create a popular Christmas song that goes along with the sound of ‘70s that has actually lasted, which makes this song even better.

1. All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey

The Squall chose Mariah Carey’s song to take the number one spot because of the heavenly tune alongside the modern, pop style. While the old fashion songs are welcomed, having your ears blessed by Ms. Carey’s voice is a good shake up from the typical Christmas tune. We also feel that when she says “All I want for Christmas is you,” she is talking to the audience, and more specifically us.  The loving gesture that Mariah extended to us during the love-filled holiday is appreciated. As a staff, we would like to thank you Ms. Carey; we feel less lonely now.

Dexter Football Without Koenig

Goal of next coach will be to make Dexter football great

By Nick LeBlanc

Since Ken Koenig had more than 15 years of coaching experience, it was a surprise to many that, as head coach, he was unable to put together a winning season. In reality, Dexter has never consistently excelled at the sport.

According to Michigan-football.com, Dexter has only had eight seasons, dating back to 1950, where they only lost two or fewer games and were truly dominant.

The last time Dexter lost only two games was in 1989.  In comparison, Dexter’s rival, Chelsea, has had 17 of these dominant seasons.

Issues like instability in coaching staffs and lack of players on the team have all played a huge role in the lack of victories for the Dreads since 1989. The losing trend in Dexter carried over to Koenig’s reign and ultimately caused his resignation.

This may have been the true cause for the resignation; however, with outside pressure from the community, many feel as though community backlash due to the lack of winning seasons may have had an influence on the decision.

Athletics Director Mike Bavineau ensured that in no way would he let the thoughts of others influence that kind of decision.

“You can be super successful and you’ll still have people who will disagree with what you’re doing,” Bavineau said. “In that sense, I can’t say outside pressure was a factor in the process.”

Looking forward, the future of the program is still unknown since no head coach has been hired yet. What is known is that the job may no longer be held by someone working for Dexter Community Schools.

“We are open to anyone who wants to apply for the job,” Bavineau said. “We have already been contacted by multiple people and will begin the interview process once enough time has passed to give people time to apply.”

One thing Bavineau made clear is the new coach will have freedom to assemble his own coaching staff.

“Moving forward, we are going to allow the new head coach to bring in their own guys if they want because we don’t want to force the new coach into a situation where they don’t agree with the old coaching staff.”

Despite the questions and unknowns surrounding Dexter football, what is know is that whoever ends up becoming the new head coach of the varsity football team will have to try and provide something for the varsity program that no other coach has been able to do since 1989: wins.

“Throughout the seasons, I, and we, have learned to trust one another,” senior Seamus McCurren said. “The bond that Koenig helped create throughout the team is one I’ll never forget.”

Coach Koenig Resigns

After four years as the varsity football coach, Ken Koenig was asked to resign due to poor on-field results.

By Nick LeBlanc

Assistant Principal Ken Koenig was forced to resign after going 1-35 in four seasons as Head Coach of the Dexter varsity football team.

Superintendent Chris Timmis, Principal Kit Moran, and Athletics Director Mike Bavineau all were involved with the decision to have Koenig resign.

“We all have jobs to do,” Bavineau said. “We have to try to do what was in the best interest of the football program to help move it forward.”

While he is often only recognized as being the head coach, Koenig has been a part of the program since 2001.  When Koenig was introduced to the Dexter community, he immediately became involved with the football program.

After six years at East Detroit High School, Koenig started his career at Dexter as an assistant coach to the varsity program.  To earn experience within the program, Koenig would tend to his duties as the defensive coordinator for the East Detroit football team and then travel west an hour to help out the Dexter football team at practices or games.  Through his travels, Koenig began to learn the new program more and noticed some dysfunction that ultimately brought him to his assistant coaching job at Dexter in 2001.

“I saw a program that looked disorganized in my eyes,” Koenig said. “I said, ‘Listen, I think I can do something to help the program.’”

That disorganized Dexter team lost all nine of its games in 2000. Once Koenig arrived as assistant, the Dreads improved to 5-13 over the next two seasons.

Leading up to 2013, when Koenig became head coach, Dexter had had five different head coaches, four of which having held the position in the same year.  That’s when Koenig stepped up to the position after 12 years in the program.

“The kids in the program, in essentially18 months, had four different head coaches. All the changes in head coaches led to there being no head coach for Dexter in March of 2013, which means the program was way behind in offseason training,” Koenig said. “I contacted Superintendent Desmarais (Desmarais was an interim between Mary Marshall and current superintendent Chris Timmis) and essentially said, ‘I’m tired of watching our kids get stuck, and I wish to be the head coach.’”

Once Koenig was given the head coaching job in 2013, he had a few goals he wished to accomplish.

“I had a plan for the next five years, and the biggest part of it was to bring stability and financial freedom to the program,” Koenig said.

Out of these two goals, Koenig feels he was successful in accomplishing at least one of them over his four years in charge.

“Through the annual gold card sale, our golf outing, and our contract with the golf course neighboring The Big House (the Dexter football team helps clean up the mess left from tailgaters after every University of Michigan home football game), we raised a lot of money for all three levels of our football program,” Koenig said. “In [the financial] aspect, I believe we were successful.”

However, despite this success, the thought of being forced to resign weighed heavy on Koenig’s mind towards the end of his 16-year career.

“I mean, going 1-35, you can kind of expect [being asked to resign],” he said. “The thought is always in the back of your mind that this could be the last bus ride or that this could be the last time on the field.”

Timmis, when asked about the resignation, didn’t mention wins and losses.

“We were fortunate to have him leading our football program for the past four years,” Timmis said. “As a direct result of Ken Koenig’s leadership, DHS football has the foundation to complete the turnaround started by Coach Koenig and his staff.”

To an outsider, the record over four years may seem to purvey that the Dreads weren’t motivated; however, players said quite the opposite is true.

“Koenig and the rest of the coaches always helped us to never give up and always play our hardest every game,” senior Travon Reid said.

Other players shared similar experiences inside Koenig’s football program.

“He always encouraged us to push the intensity in our practices,” senior Seamus McCurren said. “No matter the status of our season we always tried to push the intensity for the next game.”

We Are United

As a result of the election, tensions have risen between Americans throughout the United States including DHS.

By Nick LeBlanc

We’re not robots. Seems like an obvious statement. We have a heart, legs, and arms.  The outstanding thing is that, with our advanced minds, we have the ability to learn about the world around us in ways no other creature can. We can aspire to be anything we want.

However, such a mind can lead to thoughts that are detrimental to its beauty.  Hate, division, arrogance to name a few.  After November 8th, some of these negatives have become more prevalent.  The issue is the lack of unity driven by hate from each side.  Hate cannot drive out hate: only companionship can.

Before the election, the only thing that was talked about was the statistics.  There was never a mention of the social aftermath that would ensue.  Obviously, people will always disapprove or approve of a candidate, but in this year’s election, it has led to something destructive.  For those who disapprove, it is more destructive than productive by dividing yourself.  For those who approve, it is more destructive than productive for attacking others instead of working towards unification amongst all.  The introduction of Donald Trump into the government doesn’t change the fact that our country is ruled by the people for the people. Us. Not Donald Trump.  Approach every second like it’s an investment, and put your energy into things worth obtaining.  Then the United States will truly be great.

With that being said, you can’t let something hold you down. You can’t let your defense for something or someone summon hatred within your mind, because the potential for success within our beautiful country is so high that such thoughts would only destroy such a value that we often take for granted.  With such a widespread division at Dexter High School and nationwide, people need to come together so we can reach our potential and positivity in life as Americans.

The worst thing we can do as a people, and as a student body, is attack one another over our different views.  Such actions would merely add fuel to the flame.  No, what is needed is unity.  We are Americans.  Whichever man or woman sits in that Oval Office would never be allowed to purposely attack fellow Americans who help this country be the best in the world.  So why should we? We help each other, we love each other, and some even die for each other.  No matter who is the head of the executive branch, I am proud that I live in a country where freedom rings, because behind the worry, behind the love, behind the hate, we are all one people: Americans.

Athletes in the Crowd

Here are some key athletes from their respective teams who you should keep an eye on for the rest of the season and beyond

By Caden Koenig and Nick LeBlanc
Alex Janosi- Water Polo

“Our team goal is to be the best ranked Dexter water polo team ever, which is fourth in the state,” senior Alex Janosi said.  Janosi is in his third full year on varsity and is a co-captain. As the season progresses, Janosi realizes this season could be his last year playing water polo as he is undecided about what the future will hold. “I really want to make the most of what we have this year; we have a lot of skill,” he said. Janosi and the rest of his team are excited to see if they reach the “best team ever” goal.

Jack Shelly- Cross Country

For most people, being the best on their team is the goal. Not for senior runner Jack Shelley. “I would really like to be top twenty in the state,” he said. Shelley, now 30th in the state, has been running since he was young and has been running for Dexter since freshman year. However, Shelley doesn’t plan to stop running af    ter graduation. “It’s a deal breaker if I can’t run at a school after high school,” he said.

Annette Schultz- Swimming

Annette Schultz started swimming at the age of six and started USA swimming at 10.  Since then, Schultz has held state records during her three years of varsity swimming and was named Michigan High School Swimmer of the Year for the 2015-2016 school year.  As Schultz’s high school career comes to an end, the process of college searching has begun. “I have a few colleges in mind,” Schultz said. “Right now I’m just trying to keep my options open.”

Nick Fileccia- Football

After not playing football since the eighth grade, junior Nick  Fileccia is hopeful that his return can help the Dexter football team. Nick hasn’t let his time off slow him down: “My goal is to have the most touchdowns,” he said. So far, Fileccia has scored three touchdowns and is pushing to get more. Watch for Fileccia, No. 13, on Friday nights.

Fall Sports Update

A quick overview of some of Dexter’s primary fall sports as the season winds down

By Nick LeBlanc and Alex Strang

Football

This season, the Dreads have shown improvement through six games.  What has been the constant downfall of the team is the lack of personnel, which has caused players to get tired as the games have progressed.  The Dreads still have a positive outlook despite the 0-6 record: “Every week before a game we try and put together quality practices,” senior Seamus McCurren said. “We had a good week of practice before Tecumseh and managed to get into the redzone four times in the first half.”

Soccer

The Boys Soccer team is a main contender for the SEC White division this year.  With a record of 14-4-1 (7-2 in conference play), the Dreads like their odds to compete in districts and beyond.  After defeating Chelsea 2-1, senior Austin Graham said, “I have confidence in my team this year. I think we can win states.”

Cross Country

The cross country team took 3rd in the most recent divisional meet and is looking to improve and win the the next one. “We are a very young team with a strong brotherhood,” senior Tyrus Wood said. “We are looking to bring home a big victory at the end of the season and do better than we did last year at the state meet in November.”

Volleyball

With only four seniors, the volleyball team is finding success with underclassmen stepping up to play big roles on the court. The Dreads (21-14) hope to end their season on a high note. “Our season is going a lot better than expected and I am excited to see how we do in districts later this season,” senior Captain Mary Gallagher said.

Field Hockey

The field hockey team is once again a state championship caliber team, with an undefeated 10-0-2 record. “Right now, we are tied for first in the division,” junior Marin Waddington said. “We hope to win the state championship.”

Tennis

So far this year, the Tennis team has been suffering from a lack of participants. Students who had never played competitive tennis were joining the team midseason.  Despite this, the team is still winning. “We placed second in the SEC’s and managed to overcome some challenges we faced during the season,” senior Brandon Wiegers said.

Teachers or Proctors?

Mill Creek Middle School makes drastic changes through introduction of an online-based class program

By Nick LeBlanc

During the summer, the middle school made significant changes to students’ curriculum.  Now, instead of the traditional teacher led classes, classes at the middle school aren’t teacher led, they’re computer led.

This new style of class, which is called Summit Basecamp, is inspired and partially funded by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, and Summit Learning.  The goal this new program is to allow students to take control of their own learning and learn at their own pace.  Rather than having teachers assign work, the curriculum allows students to pick their own projects, leading to less student-teacher interaction.  The goal behind the new classes is to encourage development of important skills like time management and responsibility.  Such skills are deemed to be important for college.  However, despite the benefits, the new curriculum could clash with the traditional curriculum at Dexter High School.

“The positive and the negative with this new program is that students can set their own pace,” Assistant Principal Ken Koenig said. “It’s a positive because students can learn on their own pace, but it’s also a negative because if the pace that the student has is too slow then they will not complete the course within the school year.  This might lead them to have to retake the course at the high school due to the fact that we don’t abide by their style of curriculum.”

Despite this, Mill Creek Middle School Principal, Jamie Bronson, has been looking to implement these type of classes for a while.

“Mill Creek has worked for the past several years to create programs that allow more real world application, self directed learning and personal learning plans,” Bronson said.

To create a self directed learning program, Mill Creek teachers underwent training during the month of June to better understand the Basecamp platform.  In addition, the administration at the Middle School has spent countless hours over the summer working on the curriculum and setting up logistics for the program.  The work done on the program during the summer has led to the creation of classes that current 7th and 8th grade students are going through now.

“It’s quite a dramatic shift in teaching and learning,” Bronson said. “It’s a platform where there are some activities students can work at their own pace but also teacher instruction on projects and concept units.”

This change led to a change in the technology offered as well.  Over the summer, to make the classes possible, the middle school purchased new chromebook laptops.  Despite the implementation of the new system, not all classes offered at the middle school are based off of the Summit Basecamp program.

The work done over the summer has created something that the administration at Mill Creek is excited about.  The opportunities the new Summit Basecamp program claims to possess is something the District of Dexter hasn’t seen before.

“Basecamp is so much more than I can put in a single interview,” Bronson said. “Kids are doing great and teachers love the mentor aspect of the program.”