How Businesses Helped Out

Shortly after the tornado struck Dexter, local businesses stepped up as the community tried to recover from the devastation

By Truman Stovall

In the aftermath of the tornado five years ago, businesses in Dexter and surrounding cities assisted in the relief effort. When affected families were in need, they took it upon themselves to generate money, food, and shelter.

A minute’s walk away from the path of destruction through the Huron Farms subdivision stands the local Busch’s Fresh Food Market. The Dexter branch of the southeast Michigan chain set up tables of food with artificially low prices to make basic necessities more affordable. The grocery store also asked regular customers to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar so that the remainder could be donated.

Equally close to where the tornado hit, the Dexter LaFontaine automotive dealership became a big player in the recovery.

Despite having nearly all of its cars sustain hail damage, Tony Duncan of LaFontaine insisted that the dealership got “very lucky. When [the two initial tornadoes] combined, that’s when it hit hard. We were up on a higher plane; it followed the valley.”

LaFontaine, like other businesses in the community and across the country, believed it had an obligation to use its relative fortune to assist however it could.

“We were doing relief work for a good two-week period. Our biggest thing was helping people who didn’t have a place to go or to eat,” Duncan said.

LaFontaine also helped a family that lost both of its cars find short-term replacements before coming to a permanent agreement later, and the dealership gave discounts on automobile purchases to customers who donated to relief funds.

The Ace Hardware in downtown Dexter, a place where many supplies were bought to rebuild damaged buildings, offered a variety of discounts and gave away many supplies for free.

Wings n’ Things, Chelsea State Bank, the radio station 102.9 W4 Country, and countless others all found ways to help make Dexter’s quick recovery a reality. Despite the tragedy of the tornado, it was a great demonstration of the selflessness of the Dexter community.

A Generation Immortalized

An inside look at the new banner, featuring sports, clubs and other activities, that now spans the length of the commons

By Truman Stovall

The DHS commons got a makeover recently: a new banner that spans its longest wall. It features a collage of action shots from sports, clubs, and other types of events.
“It was a project that originated with [Principal Kit] Moran this summer. He came up to me and asked, ‘Can you help make it come to life?’” Assistant Principal Karen Walls said.
Featured photos were taken by Robert Bowden, members of the Squall, the yearbook, or compiled by Hope Vestergaard. A photo of last year’s graduation day was taken by Walls herself. The company hired to print and install the banner is called Steve’s Custom Signs, Inc., located in Saline.
The goal, Walls explained, was to display something “representative of Dexter as a whole. We tried not to have too many faces [on the banner], but that’s very hard to do. We wanted to keep it timeless.”
For those whose faces do appear on the banner, the general reaction is positive.
Seniors Caroline Shoopman and Nick Palson can both be seen in a photo of a past Homecoming dance. Shoopman thought being visible was “exciting,” and Palson said it feels “amazing,” believing he had been immortalized in the school.
“When I saw the final product, it was cool,” Palson said. “I didn’t realize I was on it until a few days later… I get to be up there forever now.”
Both would be in favor of the school adding more signs like the one in the commons in the future. Palson cited the possibility representing more sports since only a few made the cut for a spot on the banner.
Currently there are no plans to add more signs, but the idea is being considered. Walls said it will “depend on funding. If we [have] the opportunity, we would do it.”

Dewey Scott Teaching: Flipped Classrooms

Switching around the way lectures are taught gives students the opportunity to ask questions about homework, rather than the lesson

By Truman Stovall

Mr. Dewey Scott, a math teacher at DHS, teaches a little differently than most. Four years ago, he decided to try out a “flipped classroom” in his AP Calculus class. This teaching style has been made possible by the expanded access to the internet outside of school for students in recent years.

In a flipped classroom, a lesson is prerecorded and posted on the teacher’s website so that it can be viewed at home by students. They take notes on the video just like they would in class. During school, they can ask any questions they had while taking notes and are then assigned homework problems due the next day.

Giving students as much time as possible to ask questions about the homework was one of the biggest reasons Scott was incentivized to start using a flipped classroom, “Before, we would get through a lesson and have maybe five minutes in class to start working on the homework. Then they would be on their own.”

In my experience in Scott’s class, I had many more questions about the homework than the lesson itself. A lot of it had to do with being able to pause and rewind the video of the lesson to see if I missed a step or what he did exactly. That wouldn’t be possible without interrupting the whole class during a traditional lecture. Neither would being able to watch the video at 2x speed in the library right before class after a long night of homework.

It also helps kids who miss class a lot, “Kids in AP Calc usually have band or NHS recycling. It helps them stay on top of things when they miss a day. They can also watch a video again before a test to review concepts.”

A current student in AP Calculus, Ryan Flattery, said that he likes the flipped classroom “because it seems like you get less homework.”

There is no better feeling than leaving class knowing that you don’t have any homework that night, and watching the lesson for the next day of Calc seems more like a relaxing break from homework than an actual assignment when you also have to write an essay for English and do 25 textbook questions for Biology.

While the flipped classroom improves upon some aspects of the course, it also restricts how much time a teacher can personally be involved with the students. While admitting it is easier to have each lesson prerecorded, Mr. Scott said that he “[misses] the teaching part a little bit. I miss the group dynamic. I get a little bit of that when I go over problems and when I go

back and forth between table groups when they’re doing the homework, but it’s not the same as going through each section in person.”

At the end of the day, it’s the teacher’s decision to make the transition to a flipped classroom. They have to decide if that type of style is right for them and for the curriculum. For what it’s worth, Mr. Scott has been doing so for four years, in only one of his classes, and hasn’t looked back yet.

It gives students more flexibility and more opportunities to understand the concepts they need to know to be successful. For teachers who haven’t yet, it might be time to start experimenting with the flipped classroom. They might end up creating a more enjoyable class for themselves and their students.

Water Polo Dominance

The men’s water polo team is showing improvement from last year thanks to leadership and young talent

By Truman Stovall

The men’s water polo team at DHS believes it is more capable of competing against top teams this year than last, and much of it has to do with new players and leadership.

Last year’s team was talented, but some key players were seniors. It’s hard in many sports to replace a solid senior class, but current senior Alex Janosi believes the team “definitely made up the talent that was lost.”

Janosi, along with Ben Daugherty and Kevin Kimmel, are captains who have all been with the team since their freshman years. Along with a new assistant coach, Steven Sobczak, the team’s leadership has started to focus more on improvement this year.

“A key part is having a better mindset,” Janosi said. “Last year, thinking we were great got in our heads.”

As a result, the team lost many games against top teams by large margins. This year, these types of games have been much more competitive.

A big game against Skyline was lost only in a penalty shootout, and the team was able to take down Pioneer in a tournament during an early-season tournament. It’s predicted that the district could be won by anybody this year, but Dexter is now in the conversation.

A big boost to the team has been new players, including senior Randy Gesell and the Sterlitz brothers, who transferred from California.

The transition was difficult for Gesell, who had “never even watched a water polo game” before joining the team.

“The first practice was really hard,” he said. “Swimming is too tiring, so I mostly play goalie. Sobczak is keeping us in shape though.”

He’s improving every day, though, and he might be able to help his team by playing outside of the goalie net later in the season.

Freshman Mitchell Sterlitz originally joined to “have fun and meet people” despite never having played water polo either. He doesn’t regret it, adding he “has fun just playing against other teams and winning.”

 

Laptops For All

DHS will have a 1:1 student-technology ratio this fall along with strengthened WiFi

By: Truman Stovall

Changes were made over the summer to the district’s arsenal of technology. Students will have more access to the internet than ever in the classroom, especially in the high school.

It was made possible through grants, whereby the Dexter schools administration was able to “[purchase] Chromebooks for all of Creekside and Mill Creek… [and] move their macbooks to the high school,” Superintendent Chris Timmis said.

Executive Director of Instruction Mollie Sharrar added that “additional laptops and carts in the high school will allow both teachers and students increased access to technology where they will be able to save and share documents easily. Hopefully, this will facilitate increased collaboration with the use of Google Classroom, Google Docs and Google Hangouts.”

A system for distribution will likely be ready by the first day.

“Teachers will probably check out a cart at the beginning of the year,” DHS Principal Kit Moran said. “It’ll have a barcode – it’s their cart for the year. Only half of them have printers, so we’ll prioritize classrooms that need them.

“Some classrooms don’t need carts, like Mergler, Mackinder, Mendez, and Stockwell; They have desktops already. English and social studies teachers will need one; Math teachers maybe not as much.”

Since there aren’t enough carts for every class (anywhere from 34 to 40), some carts may go unclaimed and be used like carts were in years before. Teachers without a personal cart still need one from time to time for a class period, so they will still have the option to set aside a time for one of them.

Or they may just borrow them from the teacher next door. All of this will be worked out by the administration.

Many students will consider the new and improved WiFi, which is promised to be stronger and better suited to handle both the demands on the new laptops and students’ mobile devices, the cherry on top.

Moran believes that, in the future, the school’s access to technology, when it can be used to help kids learn and prepare them for jobs and higher education, is “kind of cliché, but limited by our imagination.”

Get to know your DHS Floor Environments

By Joe Ramey & Truman Stovall

First Floor

Bring your sweats and your nice blankie because you will be freezing your bumcheeks off when partaking in classes on, or taking a stroll  through, the first floor of the school. Regardless of the time of year, this floor is notoriously cold, with certain spots being colder than others.

One in paticular is the hallway adjacent to the media center, with windows bordering the walls. This hallway is easily the coldest portion of the bottom floor. With all of the tile flooring, an extra layer of clothing is a necessity. The only exception to this floor is a full lunch room. Vents in the commons allow a concentrated flow of frigid air, usually to one table in particular.

Second Floor

Generally the home of the most thermally acceptable regions you’ll encounter at the school, the second floor is the place to be if you’re looking for a balanced temperature during a stressful school day. Mostly carpetted floors and plenty of windows make for a nice mixture of cool air flow and a comfortable standing temperature.

The second floor has it’s ominous spots though. The infamous cold hallway is the coldest spot in the whole school. An entirly cinderblock and window hallway causes it to be either as cold as it is outside or even colder. Make sure to have an extra layer just in case, depending on the day.

Third Floor

If you end up with a class on this floor in the second half of the day, nothing can save you from becoming a hot, sticky mess. Because the laws thermodynamics as we know them say that heat will travel upward, the collective body heat of every person in the school throughout the day winds up on this floor.

By sixth hour in the spring, this floor essentially becomes Vietnam. Yet some teachers on this floor, with an inconceivable tolerance to heat, refuse to open their windows even on the hottest of days. The air conditioning system is simply not capable of keeping this floor bearable to these suffering students. Just hope you’re not one of them.

The Anatomy of Finals

The three main components of finals at Dexter High School

By Caden Koenig, Truman Stovall, Gigi Saadeldin & Nick LeBlanc

Test-Taking

Test-taking is hard enough, especially with all of the pressure of final exams; nevertheless, being confident in an answer should be all it takes for you to fill in the bubble “A”, “B”, “C”, “D”, or even that unsavory “E.” Sadly, this is not the reality students are met with during tests due to individual thought processes, especially on finals week.

Too many consecutive answers have been a problem with multiple choice tests since their creation. Every time you fill in the same letter, your brain begins to think that the chances of the next one being that letter diminish exponentially.

Continue reading “The Anatomy of Finals”