The Invisible Illness

Mental illness can be as severe as other illnesses, but students say even though they are hard to see, they are still there

By Tess Alekseev, Heather Brouwer, Isabella Franklin, Evelyn Maxey, Kira Perry, and Rachel Wittenberg

At five years old, she was so angry with herself for upsetting her mother that she placed a sign outside her bedroom door saying she was going to kill herself.

“I was so scared of getting in trouble,” an anonymous student at DHS who will hereafter be referred to as Erin said. “I thought this [reaction] was normal, but my mom immediately freaked out and took me to the hospital. That was kind of the wake-up call, that maybe something wasn’t right.”

Continue reading “The Invisible Illness”

Stories Behind the Ribbon

The accounts of a DHS graduate, current students and staff

By Jacoby Haley, Tessa Kipke, Evelyn Maxey & Heather Brouwer

For Nathaniel Burrell, the signs that led to the diagnoses of the cancer were nothing particularly out of the order at first.

“It all started with some trouble going to the bathroom,” Burrell said.

As this trouble progressed, he started to become more worried.

“It came to a point where – it sounds weird to say – nothing was coming out,” Burrell said.

Continue reading “Stories Behind the Ribbon”

A Double Loss

Dexter water polo loses their game against Skyline and a key player

By Heather Brouwer

With three seconds left in the game, the boys’ varsity water polo team had time to make one more play in its game against Ann Arbor Skyline. Freshman Sam Sterlitz got the ball at half pool and made a quick pass over to senior Drew Golin, who flicked it over to junior Grisha Griffiths who was right in front of the goal. Griffiths proceeded to shoot and score right before the buzzer ended the game.

Junior Grisha Griffiths (#6) scores the final goal in the game against Skyline.

This final goal was unable to win the Dreads the game, as the final score was 16-5. Continue reading “A Double Loss”

The Hidden Gem Reviews

By Heather Brouwer

Knight’s Steakhouse, conveniently located on Dexter-Ann Arbor Road, has a wonderful ambiance. The lights are slightly dimmer than many restaurants, and the tables are small enough that in the slightly noisy atmosphere you can still hear the person sitting next to you, which gives off a more intimate feel.

There were options of booths and tables. The tables had extremely comfortable rolling chairs that are nice when you want to look someone in the face but don’t want to go through the trouble of making a ruckus by moving an ordinary chair.

Knight’s does, however, have a slightly older clientele base of middle-aged people. But it had a large variety of food options that are enjoyable to everyone as well.

Continue reading “The Hidden Gem Reviews”


Transgender students are at risk: Studies show creating safe, supportive school environments can have a big impact

By Megan Sarns and Julia Bell


From the highly publicized transition of Caitlyn Jenner to the Target boycotts, the transgender community is being widely discussed. However, with this new platform comes controversy as to how schools should approach such a sensitive topic. Much of the controversy is rooted in confusion and misinformation.

When talking about the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ+) community as a whole, the idea of “equality” is widely spoken of. The word has good intentions but a complicated meaning. It’s a common misconception that equity and equality can be used interchangeably in terms of ensuring fairness. Equality refers to providing every individual with the same resources and opportunities.  It’s an imperfect system because individual strengths and needs are not always accounted for.

“Providing equality to students can provide more privilege to some students and still not provide enough opportunity to others, when given the same assistance,” said Autumn Campbell, art teacher and Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) facilitator at Dexter High School.

Equity, on the other hand, does identify the strengths and needs of students and helps everyone in different ways. The goal is for every student to be at the same baseline for success.

Just like any group of students with specific needs, transgender and gender nonconforming students that attend DHS now, or will in the future, require a specific type of assistance to thrive.

According to psychological studies, individuals identifying within the LGBTQ+ community are up to three times more likely to have a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder. These conditions can sometimes lead to self harm, substance abuse, and even suicide.

“A lot of people don’t understand; they think these students are doing this because they want to or for attention,” DHS counselor and GSA facilitator, Kristie Doyle, said. “But when you look at the statistics, the evidence is there…these students are at a much higher risk for mental health conditions.”

This problem gained national attention when Caitlyn Jenner accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs in July of 2015. In her acceptance speech, she implored her audience to take notice of the staggering number of transgender youth that are bullied and abused by their peers and families to the point of considering suicide. According to a 2015 survey, 4.6 percent of Americans report having attempted suicide at some point in their lives. Within the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community, that number climbs to 20 percent; within the transgender community, it is 40 percent.


In 2014, the death of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender high school student from Ohio, sparked a national conversation. When Leelah, born Jacob, attempted to come out to her parents as a transgender female, her parents refused to allow her to undergo transition treatment and sent her to conversion therapy instead. When she began coming out to her friends, her parents removed her from her high school and restricted her access to social media. She lost contact with the friends she was once able to confide in. Leelah committed suicide on December 28, by walking into oncoming traffic on the Interstate 71 highway. She was 17 years old.

Leelah posted her suicide note publicly on social media, posthumously turning her into a martyr for transgender youth across the world. Nevertheless, situations like these are all too common.

The reason transgender people are at a higher risk has been studied by countless psychologists over many years. Several factors have been cited, but one reason stands out above all the others: a lack of support within their families, peer groups, and communities. Even if a transgender student doesn’t have the support of their family or all of their peers, creating a supportive environment within school, a place where teenagers spend most of their time, has been known to have a big impact. Studies have shown that having a strong support system, wherever it is they can find it, can decrease a transgender person’s chance of committing suicide by more than 80 percent.

If a school is unable to provide accommodations to meet the specific needs of their transgender and gender nonconforming students, it doesn’t go without consequence.

Data posted by Trans Student Equality Resources in 2013 stated that 80 percent of transgender students report feeling unsafe at school, resulting in poor grades and difficulty advancing in their academic career, leading them to miss school regularly or drop out altogether.

“As an administrator, I want students to feel like they want to come [to Dexter High School] every morning,” Principal Kit Moran said. “There can be anxiety about a big presentation or a test…but when a student is anxious about coming to school and being harassed, that’s a problem.”

Working with the GSA, Autumn understands the importance of prioritizing the safety of these students.

“Our goal is to provide safe spaces for all students,” she said. “They shouldn’t have to wait for it to get better…it should be better now. All students should be able to thrive, not just survive, in our schools.”

There can also be consequences for the school if these students’ needs continually go unmet. Discrimination against any group of students based on race, class, sexual orientation or gender identity and expression by their school is a legal issue. Title IX, a portion of the United States Education Amendments of 1972, states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

In 2014, a memo distributed by the U.S. Department of Education extended these guidelines to include transgender students. The memo reads that “All students, including transgender students, or students who do not conform to sex stereotypes, are protected from sex-based discrimination under Title IX.”

If a school ignores these guidelines, they are at risk for a lawsuit that would not only cost the school district lots of money, but their reputation as well.

In 2014, four Detroit-area schools were being sued for allegedly discriminating against a transgender student. The schools’ administrations allegedly subjected the student to continuous verbal abuse and banned them from using the restroom that coincided with the gender they identified with. This was only one of many nationwide cases.

In December of that same year, a court in Maine awarded the family of a female transgender student $75,000 in settlement after they won a lawsuit against her school administration for requiring her to use a staff restroom instead of the student girls’ restroom.

In regards to how DHS is handling themselves in situations like these, Moran’s answer is simple.

“We cannot discriminate against transgender students [at DHS],” he said. “The law said students can go in the bathroom of whatever gender they identify with…schools who don’t follow the law will not be supporting their students.”

Moran stated that DHS, alongside all other public schools in the country, received a letter from the Obama Administration last spring compelling them to regulate students’ access to bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity, rather than their biological sex.

Over the past year, this policy has become controversial (a federal court in Texas blocked the edict in August), but thousands of schools nationwide have chosen to follow its guidelines. Many have expressed concerns that a more fluid regulation of spaces, that were once specific to following the gender binary, could promote an increase in sexual assaults. The facts say otherwise.

Sources such as the Transgender Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union state there is absolutely no verifiable data to confirm reports of transgender people assaulting non-transgender people in public restrooms, and that claims of this nature are often fabricated to perpetuate violent stereotypes against the transgender community.

In fact, if anyone is at risk, all data points to the transgender people themselves. Studies suggest that approximately 70 percent of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals have been assaulted or otherwise harassed while using public restrooms. However, “bathroom bills” only work towards resolving a small part of the problem.

A study done by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in 2009 found that the systemic discrimination and abuse faced by trans people extends far outside the bathroom.

According to their surveys, transgender people face up to double the rate of unemployment (keep in mind that this survey was taken during the economic recession, when unemployment rates were already high), and 97 percent of those surveyed reported that they had been mistreated at work. They have also faced a high rate of poverty and homelessness, with 19 percent of the sample having been homeless at some point in their lives.

Solving this problem begins with acceptance.

“We want [students at DHS] to take what they learn into adulthood,” Moran said. “We’re known for having high test scores…our kids go to good colleges, but we also want to be known for being accepting of every student. It’s not just about educating [your brain] on math and science…we’re educating the whole part of you.”

2016 Apples Almanac

DHS, you’ve tasted and you’ve voted.  Here are apples to pick up the next time you venture to the Cider Mill

By Heather Brouwer and Lisa Zuiderveen


Honey Crisp (8.0)

The rating is very accurate for this apple. Known for its crisp, juicy, and sweet flavor it’s no wonder Honey Crisp is so popular among the masses. Honey Crisp are good for any recipe, sweet or savory. From cheese recipes to caramel desserts, Honey Crisp adds a sweet zing to all of the recipes they are involved with. The aftertaste is a mix between sweet and tart.  Every bite fills your mouth with its juicy sweet combination.


Pink Lady (7.0)

The name Pink Lady is not very accurate for the apple itself. Pink Ladies are a very diverse. Some of them have yellow, red, and a light green skin all mixed together. But even with the confusion of the “pink,”  they are well known for their unique taste. All the diverse colors probably are what makes Pink Ladies have all the great combinations of your favorite apples. If you didn’t know already, many apples are man made. The Pink Lady is a combination of the Golden Delicious and Lady Williams. It surpassed one of its parent apples in ratings (see Golden Delicious below). John Cripps did a good job of making this apple crisp, but it has some sweetness to it with a sharp taste by enhancing it from the parents. If you didn’t recognize the Pink Lady, you may know it by it’s other names: Cripps Pink, Lady in Red, and Rosy Glow.


Macintosh (4.0)

Macintosh apples are small, red, and look deceptively sweet, despite the fact they are horrible snacks.  They only stay crisp for a few days after they are picked, and then they go soft and mushy. Macintosh apples also have very little juice which exponentially adds to their unappealing texture.  Plus, they are more bland than oatmeal without brown sugar.  There is also that awkward aftertaste that makes you wonder why you ate the apple in the first place.  Yet, by taking this apple and cooking it with cinnamon, you magically transform it into something amazing (Think Cinderella before she goes off to the ball).


Fuji (6.3)

Fujis are typical middle-class apples.  On the apple taste spectrum, Fuji apples are right about in the middle. They aren’t as sweet as a Honeycrisp or as sour as a Granny Smith. They still have some of both components with the sweeter taste being more predominant.  Fujis have a pleasant crispy texture, but they also tend to have a thick skin which can hinder an apple connoisseur’s experience. The aftertaste is sweet, but not unbearable like that of a Paula Red or a MacIntosh. Fujis also have a fairly average appearance: a regular-sized, red and yellow apple. And, just like almost every other apple out there, cooking them in cinnamon makes them so much better.


Paula Red (3.0)

Paula Red shouldn’t even be considered an apple. If anything, it tastes predominantly like a pear. It’s parentage comes from Macintosh, so the hard exterior and interior make sense. There needs to be a name change to make sure no one confuses this with a real apple. Something like apear or pearplle, so everyone knows that what they are about to bite into shouldn’t be considered 100 percent apple.


Granny Smith (5.3)

If you can eat a lemon, then Granny Smith apples are for you.  For most people, Granny Smiths are just too sour. Despite their sour taste, Granny Smith apples are nice and crisp.  Also, their bright green skin is unique for most apples and appealing to the eye. These apples tend to leave behind a slightly tart aftertaste. Aside from eye-watering sourness of Granny Smith apples, these are great for baking into pies at grandma’s house or cooking into apple sauce for a lovely fall snack. Granny Smith apples are also great for caramel apples because the sweetness of the caramel offsets the gut-wrenching bitterness of the apple.


Red Delicious (4.0)

There are two types of red delicious: the ones you buy in bulk and the ones you hand pick. Like anything else, red delicious is better hand picked. The ones served in the school cafeteria are disgusting and most likely purchased in bulk. Red Delicious are soft and sweet, which for some is appetizing. For others, the softness is mushy and gag worthy. If they are bruised anywhere, it possibly might be the most disgusting thing you will ever bite into.


Golden Delicious (4.8)

Golden Delicious apples are basically pears.  They taste like pears, they feel like pears, and,sometimes, they can even look like pears.  So, if pears are your thing, pick up a bushel of these next time you swing by the grocery store. When they are fresh, Golden Delicious apples are fairly crisp and don’t leave much of an aftertaste for you to grumble about the rest of the day. However, for many, Golden Delicious apples, and pears, can be exceedingly sweet, and are easily bruised.  Since most Golden Delicious apples in Michigan come from Washington State, you should always be prepared if they’re already bruised when you find them for sale in the cafeteria.

*Ratings of Apples are based off a 64 person taste test