Here’s a series of photos to capture the spirit of homecoming week.
When Dexter was hit by a tornado on March 12, 2012, hundreds of homes and businesses were left damaged, and the town was scarred by the disaster but ultimately thankful for minimal injuries and no casualties.
A little more than a year later, much of the damage has been restored as many businesses and families have gotten back on their feet. One of the testimonies to this recovery is the reconstruction of the village car wash.
At the corner of Second Street and Central Street, the Village Car Wash and Laundry owns three separate buildings, including a car wash, laundromat and a small management building. Each of these buildings together have served as a landmark in the Dexter area since 1970, the year that the company was founded.
Its long history, however, was threatened when the winds from the EF-3 tornado struck. During the windstorm, the car wash served as a protective hiding place for several stranded travelers, but the structure itself did not fare as well as its inhabitants.
According to owner Pete Caffrey, “The tornado descended upon (the car wash) and blew certain portions of the roof off and one of the walls caved in. All three of the buildings were totaled.”
Despite this natural disaster, Pete and his wife Cheryl did not lose hope in their business. Wanting to rebuild from the ground up, the Caffreys sought insurance to recover their losses.
“We wish they had (covered everything), but we had to fight them tooth and nail for them to cover about two thirds of the costs,” Pete said.
Now, as the business has been completely rebuilt and refurbished with new equipment, the owners have a great outlook on the business. The owners hope that this will lead to better business and said that the reconstruction is a symbol of the town’s recovery from the tornado that hit a little more than a year ago.“We’re definitely excited, it’s all brand new, easier to keep up,” Pete said. “The car wash has much better lighting, the equipment has all been revamped and is better for the customers to use.”
They’ve been sixth in the state for two years running and the mens water polo team hopes to continue the tradition.
However, according to Assistant Coach Andrew Leonard, the loss of graduated players and the lack of a big senior class, the team’s position in the state will be more difficult to maintain.
Last year, co-captains Max Merriman and Michael Garcia brought the team to states with a win against the higher-ranked Skyline team.
This year, the varsity team consisted of seniors, juniors and sophomores; however, there are fewer seniors and only one junior. The rest of the team is made up of sophomores.
“Experience is the best teacher,” senior Max Korinek said. “That’s why we could struggle this year. It’s such a young team.”
There have been three tournaments so far this year, resulting in only three Dexter wins out of approximately 12 games. The team faced a state champ Rockford team, the state runners-up Huron and another top four-ranked team, Pioneer. All of these games resulted in losses.
The road to states will mean facing teams like Rockford, Huron and Pioneer again. While the the team had its first season win against Chelsea recently, they will have to play Saline and Ann Arbor Pioneer for district rankings.
After all the district games, if they place first or second, then they can advance to regionals against either Saline or Pioneer, which coach Leonard said could be difficult for the young team.
If this can be done, the water polo team will have to play state-ranked Ann Arbor Huron again, along with Ann Arbor Skyline and Okemos. But senior captain Andrew Watson said despite the rough schedule, the team will still enjoy the season.
He said, “It’ll be a tough season for us, but we’ll make the best of it and have a good time in and out of the water.”
Meet sophomore homecoming queen Alana Schwartz. She is 17 years old and a sophomore. She has Down syndrome, a mild case, which means that while she has a learning disability, she doesn’t have any of the heart problems associated with the condition.
One day Alana was sitting in front of sophomore Sam Bremmer on the bus. Alana was singing and having fun as usual.
“I wondered how she would react if she were homecoming queen,” Bremmer said.
This is why Bremmer decided to do something special for Alana.
Bremmer emailed student council adviser Al Snider in August to make sure Alana would be on the ballot when it came time to vote for homecoming court in the fall.
“She emailed me basically saying, ‘I know homecoming is usually a popularity contest, but I think it should be more than that,’” Snider said.
Once school started, Snider met with Bremmer and told her that Alana would have to receive votes in order to be on court, like any other student.
According to Snider, Bremmer said, “Well, what can I do to make that happen?”
Snider and Bremmer started brainstorming until Bremmer came up with the idea of making a Facebook page. Not long after its creation on Sept. 10, over 700 Facebook users were invited to the “Alana Schwartz For Homecoming Queen” Facebook page.
Diana Schwartz, Alana’s mother, first found out about the campaign when she saw the posts on Facebook.
“At first I thought, ‘No, it can’t be. Is this a joke or something?’ But then I kept reading and realized it was real. It brought tears to my eyes.”
A few weeks later, the balloting began.
Within the sophomore class, there were 12 groups of 20 ballots.
“Typically, a person gets three or four votes, within a group of 20,” Snider said. “Alana was getting 13, 14, 15 votes out of a group of 20.”
According to Snider, Alana received about 250 votes out of 300 sophomores.
When Diana heard about her daughter’s victory she was ecstatic.
“It’s very touching that the school, and the sophomore class especially, wanted to do this for Alana,” Diana said. “It just really touched our hearts.”
Alana remained unaware of Bremmer’s campaigning until the day court was announced.
“It was really hard to keep this from Alana,” Diana said with a laugh. “It was really hard to pretend that nothing had happened, but we did it somehow.”
On Friday Sept. 27, the administration, Alana’s mom and sister came with Snider to see Alana’s reaction when he told her that she had been voted homecoming queen of the sophomore class.
Snider explained to Alana what she would have to do the week of homecoming as queen, including walking at halftime of the football game and riding in a car in the parade.
“The whole time she was very receptive to it. She didn’t overreact,” Snider said.
“Until I walked away,” he added with a grin.
Once Alana turned around, she was so excited she jumped into her mom’s arms.
“It was a very special and touching moment,” Diana said.
Bremmer said she was “blown away” when Snider told her the news.
“I started crying when I heard, and then Mr. Snider pulled me out of class to tell me, and I started crying again,” Bremmer said. “I was just so excited. I couldn’t even think straight.”
At the homecoming football game, it was Bremmer who escorted Alana, sophomore homecoming queen.
“This has been a very happy, positive experience,” said Diana. “Because of her special needs, we didn’t think anything like this could have happened to Alana.”
This event has brought significant media attention to Dexter. In the week following Alana’s victory, the story was covered by publications such as The Dexter Leader and mlive.com.
According to Diana, this can be a learning opportunity for those who have made fun of kids with special needs in the past.
“This will teach young people that kids with special needs have feelings too, and they need to experience the good things in life,” Diana said. “These kids don’t get opportunities like this very often, and when they do, it’s a very special occasion.”
Upon its release Rockstar Games “Grand Theft Auto V” sales broke $800 million globally within 24 hours.
Divide that number by 60, the average price of the game, and you get the number of people who jumped at their first chance to virtually assume the role of a hardened gangster.
Virtual gangster and senior Tim Ewen said, “The whole GTA series makes up some of my favorite games. I really like the upgrades from IV to V. The graphics are better and the gameplay is more intuitive.”
Countless people gave the game such great reviews that I had to give it a try for myself.
Upon putting the game into my console I was greeted by a hooker on the load screen, followed by flashing photos of sketchy looking people. To some one not seasoned by the cold hard streets of GTA I, II, III, and IV, this might seem inappropriate or even offensive. I wasn’t too surprised.
The game started with some captivating and high-action missions intended to give the player a feel for certain new controls and give a little back story. After completing the setup to the story mode, I got to dig into what I really enjoy: wreaking havoc on the city of Los Santos.
I noticed while playing that the driving is a lot more sensitive than previous Grand Theft Auto games which gives you more control over the things you can do.
Like the previous games, there are five stars in the upper in right hand corner of the screen. A star illuminates for every level of how wanted you are by law enforcement. I started my rampage by stealing some cars and plowing down people.
The fuzz came after me with full force. My streak ended in a bloody shoot out with the police. It sounds terrible, but there is definitely an addictive element to this game. The release of the game caused many absences in school for a day or two to come.
“I didn’t sleep any more than five hours for the first three days,” Ewen reported, “It’s too addicting.” The game takes about three days to complete if you’re a go hard like Ewen.
The game play is captivating, and the story is great. We all owe Rockstar Games a thank you, for once again allowing kids and young adults to let out their murderous rampages virtually. My overall rating: five out of five.
He would escape if he could, but he’s stuck there like he is every other day. Just dreaming of what it would be like if he were allowed to leave.
Chicken sandwich, some fries and a milk all make it onto the tray. Same options as every other day of the week.
Still thinking of all the other foods out there that he could have, junior Scott VandenHeuvel carries his food out to his table where he can sit and talk to his friends.
“There’s more stuff out in town than the school can provide,” Scott said. “The school needs more variety.”
One way to provide this variety would be to have an open-campus lunch. Supports say this system would allow students more options to choose what they want to eat and give them more freedom, but some feel the safety risks outweigh the benefits.
Math teacher Brian Baird said, “We have to be careful with protecting young adults. That’s our job: safety and security.”
There’s always the option on putting limits on who can leave, such as basing it off of grade point average, but for Baird it’s all or nothing.
“Teenagers don’t make the best decisions, even with a longer time frame. Ten percent would ruin it for the other 90 percent,” he said.
Baird also said when leaving the school, students are faced with the risks and pressures of drinking or smoking, car troubles and accidents.
“As a teacher I couldn’t live with that,” he said.
Senior Amelia Sadler agrees that an open-campus lunch would cause problems. But sshe sees it as more of an educational issue.
Sadler said, “I don’t think it’s a good idea at all. A longer lunch results in a longer school day, and it’s also environmentally negligent.”
Allowing students to go out for lunch, she said, would give them the opportunity to skip classes after. It’d be easy for a student to go out and not come back for the afternoon.
“A majority would not bother to get back in time,” she said.
But junior Brian Darr disagrees. “Eventually it wouldn’t be a problem,” he said.
But for Baird, the safety of students should be a priority in school along with their education. An open campus could jeopardize both of these.
“Maybe we have to offer more (food) options in the building,” he said.
But for Scott, it’d be easier to just go out into town for his lunch. But until then he’s stuck in the same lunch room every day knowing that there’s only so much the school can do.
My name is Zac Sharp, and I am a junior. I play both basketball and baseball. I am Native American from the BlackFoot Tribe and the Cherokee Tribe. I have two siblings who graduated from Dexter High School who now attend Central Michigan University. After high school I hope to go to college to play baseball.
School lunches are the worst. My first year I loved the variety that they had and how they changed it up every day.
However, by senior year, I am completely sick of the food that I have pretty much eaten every day for four years.
My freshman year I loved the cookies, but now they seem like greasy, disgusting, undercooked pieces of fat that taste delicious. I am disgusted by them, but I continue to eat at least one every two weeks. And I don’t understand why.
Also I don’t understand why Classic Pizza is offered four days a week. Tuesday they’re fresh. Wednesday they’re leftovers. Thursday they’re fresh. And Friday they’re leftovers.
I don’t even enjoy pizza anymore. The cafeteria has completely ruined pizza for me.
I also don’t understand why lunch is so expensive. On Tuesday if I was to buy two pieces of pizza and an Arnold Palmer, that would be $6. That’s ridiculous, considering the school probably pays about $5 for an entire pizza, which is 12 pieces. They are making an absurd amount of profit for every pizza bought.
School lunches are bad quality and overpriced. I don’t understand why some kids would rather pay for overpriced garbage than just bring a lunch from home. A lunch from home is healthier, cheaper and honestly better tasting.
As Dexter grows it gains more businesses that allow it to transform from a village to a city. And as the demand for exercise grows the exercise businesses in town do too. Many citizens in Dexter have memberships to SNAP fitness and the Dexter Wellness Center, both of which have their own positives and negatives said frequent members.
The newest of the three is the Dexter Wellness Center. The Wellness Center which opened June 1 has many forms of fitness to offer.
In the gym there is an indoor walking/running track, ellipticals, treadmills, bikes, and other cardiovascular machines, free-weight training equipment, a lap swimming pool, warm water therapy pool, a basketball court, an outdoor sand volleyball court and locker rooms with showers and saunas.
Along with the new equipment, the Dexter Wellness Center offers classes for those who prefer to work in groups. Some of the classes it offers include aquatics, yoga and pilates, private swim lessons and group exercises. It also offers massage therapy.
Another benefit to the Dexter Wellness Center is the childcare they offer for those parents who need someone to take care of their kid while they focus on a strong workout for themselves. The gym offers a variety of memberships for individuals, seniors, couples and families.
Although the gym has a lot to offer, it can be pricey and not everyone can afford the luxury of the new Wellness center says senior Evan Morrison who was a member at the Wellness Center.
“I love how extravagant the Wellness Center is, but I just didn’t use my membership enough for the cost. Maybe if I went more it would have been worth it,” he said.
Another facility for working out is Snap Fitness. Located in the heart of Dexter, it’s open 24/7 so a person can access the gym when it suits them best. With similar workout equipment to the Wellness Center, Snap also has its positives and negatives says senior Garret Weng a member at Snap.
Snap Fitness always being open is convenient, but that’s not always a good thing. During late hours there isn’t a consultant or trainer there to help Weng said.
Senior Katherine D’Angelo said sees both places as having their niche.
She said, “They’re both good because Snap is open all the time, and The Wellness Center has a lot of options. They’re both convenient depending on your situation.”