The Green Pride

The student news site for De Soto High School Journalism.

Sophia Templin selected as Youth Delegate to UN

February 29th, 2012

De Soto High School junior Sophia Templin is one of four girl scouts from of NE Kansas and NW Missouri who are representing Girl Scouts of the USA which began Feb. 27 at the 56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

Templin is a junior class officer, member of NHS, managing editor for The Green Pride, member of Madrigals and participates in Debate, Youth Court, Lite Team and softball.

In addition to her duties as a Youth Delegate, Templin is assisting the blogging efforts of PLAN International’s program “Because I am a Girl,” a campaign to fight gender inequality, promote girls’ rights and lift millions of girls out of poverty.

>>>> Visit the blog at . <<<<<

The objective of the Commission on the Status of Women is to raise awareness for women, build equality and to eliminate discrimination against women across the world. Teen delegates will spend the week with non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), United Nations agencies, country missions and other youth delegates from around the world.

The girls will take part in four discussion areas:

  • Economic empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges.
  • Engaging young women and men to advance gender equality.
  • Financing for gender equality – structure and state budgets.
  • Nation experiences in implementing the agreed conclusions on financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

“As the largest leadership organization for girls in the world, we strive to provide girls an opportunity to discover new skills, connect with others locally and globally and take action to make a difference in the world.   The Commission on the Status of Women will give our girl delegates an opportunity to learn new skills, share their ideas, collaborate with others globally and ultimately take the lead to make a difference in the world,” Gina Garvin, Director of Brand & Marketing said.

Dowdy signs to play collegiate volleyball

February 28th, 2012

Deciding to stay close to home, senior Danielle Dowdy signed her letter of intent to play volleyball at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth on Feb. 27, 2012. USM is a NAIA institution and is a member of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Dowdy, who will be coached by Conan Salanoa at Saint Mary, earned first team all-Frontier League honors and was a member of The Lawrence Journal World All-Area Team in 2011.




Anna Henning: Featured Artist

February 24th, 2012

Senior Anna Henning recently showed some of her artwork at the Kansas City Art Institute’s annual Senior Exhibition. In return, Henning has received a $4,000 scholarship, $1,000 per year, if she attends the Institute next fall.

At the Exhibition, Henning showed a piece called Nostalgia, a sculpture using two masks on willow and cedar wood. As of now, she is working on her AP Art Portfolio. This year, Henning is basing her concentration on the human connection with nature. She has split her 12 pieces into three sections: humans being seperate from nature, their struggle to be natural again and once they’ve reached that equal point. Henning’s portfolio is made up of all different types of pieces ranging from watercolor, pastel, oil, paint, pencil and graphite.

Henning plans on pursuing art in the future, but if that doesn’t work out, she wants to pursue a career in anthropology or archaeology.


LTMS awarded Governor’s Achievement Award

February 23rd, 2012

Lexington Trails Middle School received the 2012 Governor’s Achievement Award for the first time in the school history this year.

The award is given by the Kansas Department of Education in order to honor the top performing schools in the state. Kansas schools become recipients of the award by reaching the Standard of Excellence in the Reading and Math Assessments, meeting the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements and having a 95 percent attendance rate.

To receive the award, the governor’s award is extremely prestigious and for the year 2011, LTMS joins 43 elementary schools, 11 middle schools and 18 high schools who have also received the award.

The schools must also be in the top five percent of all schools across the state.

“Last year, we received the Standard of Excellence and made AYP, but our scores were not high enough and we didn’t qualify in that top percent,” LTMS Principal Steve Ludwig said. “This year, they [the scores] jumped quite a bit, particularly in math.”

The 7th grade state assessment proficiency scores were extremely high last year however, LTMS wanted to stay above the rising AYP. The school would have been safe already, they just wanted to see their math scores improve. LTMS accomplished just that by scoring 100 percent proficiency in reading and 99 percent were proficient in math.

“Every year we push the kids to do better,” Ludwig said. “I think the big thing that has to do with what we did and how we got there, a lot has to be said that it wasn’t just math teachers and it wasn’t just the reading teachers. Everybody came together to help out when it came to State Assessments and when kids see the number of teachers involved it… sends a message to the kids. Everybody in the building thinks it’s important. That type of message is what gets the students to give their best effort.”

The middle school hopes for the same outcome, if not better, for next year’s academic scores.

Unpaid dues at record high

February 23rd, 2012

In order for the school system to function, schools rely on fees paid by parents for classes and school. Typically, this system works well, and students pay their dues. However, De Soto High School has a problem. DHS has the highest unpaid dues in the school district, coming in at $26,720.62. Without dues to support itself, DHS is in trouble. This debt becomes increasingly problematic as the year goes on, and supplies are in more demand.

“We’ve made some progress with dues, but we still have some people who haven’t paid. It becomes a burden to the school district,” Principal Dave Morford said.

While there is little they can do, the school district has not turned a blind eye to DHS’s problems.

“The district tried to implement a collection service a couple of years ago. Kind of like some companies do if you write a bad check. It didn’t really work very well,” Morford said.

While there are usually unpaid dues at De Soto, this amount is atypical.

“It has gone up, but I would probably base that on issues with the economy. We always struggle with dues. We talk about a free public education, but it’s only free in the sense that it’s required,” Morford said.

There is a national program called Free and Reduced, which parents have to fill out a form for.

“What the Free and Reduced program does is, pending their application, they may have those dues waived or those lunch fee waved, or have those dues cut in half and those lunch fees cut in half,” Morford said.

While the debt is severe, there are several things we can do as a school. One way to cut down is to take care of your school books.

“You have to remember that you’re borrowing a book, just like you borrow a book from the library,” Morford said.

In addition, large amounts of silverware and trays are being thrown away at lunch.

“At lunch, instead of taking the extra step to put up the silverware, they just throw it away. We have dug hundreds of forks and spoons out of the trash. That’s laziness to me. If someone won’t take one more step to put it where it’s supposed to go,” Morford said.

New terrorism regulations threaten liberty

February 23rd, 2012

On Dec. 31, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was signed into law. Among the provisions of the act was a section detailing the power of the president to detain, without trial, those suspected of being affiliated with terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda. This provision allows near infinite executive power and very nearly infringes upon several Constitutional rights held dear by most Americans.

At first glance, the bill does not really seem to do anything new. The president already claimed the power to indefinitely detain members of Al Qaeda without trial, as partially evidenced by Guantanamo Bay. The NDAA seems to merely reaffirm this power. However, there are several important distinctions between this legislation and previous anti-terrorism laws.

First, in the past, the president has interpreted legislation in such a way as to make indefinite detention without trial legal. However, it was never explicitly stated to be allowed. The NDAA represents a specific stamp of approval of this action by Congress. Any shaky legal ground that President Obama was working on has now solidified substantially.

However, the more frightening part of this legislation is its provisions allowing “the legal authority to keep people suspected of terrorism in military custody, indefinitely and without trial.” This language, and other language within the bill, changes the requirements so that a person does not need to be suspected of actual membership to be detained. He need only be suspected of supporting terrorism. Such provisions will essentially allow the executive office of the president to bypass existing Constitutional rights to due process and presumption of innocence. Unlike most criminal charges, where you must have a trial date set and charges filed, those suspected of terrorism can be held in a military court indefinitely, without being charged with a crime, until “the end of the conflict.” That is, until the end of the War on Terror.

The biggest issue with this is the degree to which it eliminates normal safeguards against government totalitarianism. Because there is no trial required, there is no one to say whether or not the suspicion of terrorist affiliation is correct. Because there is no trial, this bill is the equivalent of “guilty until proven innocent.” What is the difference between indefinite suspension waiting for a trial that may never be set and being put in prison on presumption of guilt?

The fact of the matter is that there is no real constitutional or moral justification for such legislation. Some argue that the president needs greater power to combat the new threat that terrorism poses, but if we compromise our values in order to win the War on Terror, it will be too late. They will have won as soon as fear pushes us to abandon the ideals that have made America what it is today. If winning such a war requires us to become a less free America, it will be a hollow victory indeed.

GOP primaries and candidates so far…

February 23rd, 2012

Yay! Time for yet another boring story on the Republican Primaries! I know that this process is incredibly dull and boring, and I admit my eyes glaze over when I hear about it, but it is still important and something to keep track of. So here’s my opinion of the various candidates:

Mitt Romney: The perpetual front-runner and establishment favorite. I feel that he is too liberal, and we would have another McCain situation on our hands.

Newt Gingrich: Incredibly smart, with a lot of baggage. He did a great job in the 1990s, but has a lot of enemies in the GOP, and has crossed the aisle a few too many times, such as the global warming commercial with Nancy Pelosi.

Ron Paul: Libertarian, interesting ideas. To be frank, he is the crazy old uncle of the party. He has a whole lot of interesting ideas in the domestic and economic areas, but his foreign policy is nutty and dangerous. He has a place in a republican administration, but not as president.

Dropouts include; Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah, Michele Bachmann, US Representative from Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota, Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfather Pizza and Rick Perry, Governor of Texas.

Rick Santorum: Conservative former Senator of Pennsylvania. He came in second in the Iowa Caucuses and is very strong on social issues. He is my personal favorite, and one who I hope gets the nomination.

Santorum was seen as a long shot, and someone who would soon drop out, but he turned out to be a dark horse, only losing Iowa by eight votes to Mitt Romney, and later declaring it a draw due to technical issues.

Santorum is a hard-core social and fiscal conservative, he is pro-life, anti-gay marriage, pro-Second Amendment, anti-Obamacare, a tax-cutter and he plans to cut $5 trillion in the next five years.

I believe Santorum is the man America needs to restore and secure her role as the leader of the free world for the foreseeable future.

Runners continue training in the off-season

February 23rd, 2012

The cross country and track season starts early at De Soto High School. Team members start training during the winter season to condition for next fall.

Unlike other teams, conditioning for the cross country team goes without notice, but it helps the team improving stamina and endurance helping them at their meets.

Without training in the off season, runners like junior Angel Vasquez would plateau and his career would not be as successful as it is now.

“Success in distance running boils down to a couple of things. One is consistent, year-around training. The second is the amount of miles that you run,” head coach Chris McAfee said. “Given two athletes of equal ability, the one that trains the most consistently while compiling the most miles is the one that will be the most successful.”

Runners are not required to run, but McAfee encourages them to, so that they can continue to improve the distance they are able to run.

“The best example I can give is weight lifting. If you and I are of equal strength and you lift weights for one year and I lift weights for 10 weeks, you are going to be stronger than I am. The same thing in distance running- the more consistent you train, the better you are going to be,” McAfee said.

The bond between team members is strong because the only thing they can do on a run is talk with each other and the bond that this team shares is hard to find in other activities.

As the team continues training during their off season, they continue to build endurance for the next cross country season at DHS. Their training is not as recognized as the other sports at DHS, but their success tells the crowd otherwise.

Powerlifting team has high hopes for State meet

February 23rd, 2012

Powerlifting, led by weights coach Brian King, is one of the few activities at De Soto High School that many people do not know much about. Powerlifting is basically weights class on steroids. Students go to meets and compete in three different categories: Squat, Bench and Hang Cling.

It is similar to wrestling, in that students are split into divisions according to weight. There is the Junior division, which is sophomore and freshmen boys, the Girl’s division, and the Senior division which includes junior and senior boys.

Many kids enjoy participating in the meets because it offers competition and different ideas on how to train.

“I like going to the meets because it shows you what’s out there,” senior Tessa Scott said. “You think you’re really strong here in our weight room, but then you get to these other schools and see how they do, and it’s definitely a push to do better and get stronger.”

DHS takes about 20 kids to each meet on average, and King is hoping to take 30 kids to the state meet. The De Soto Powerlifting team generally finishes in the top third or fourth.

Junior Lauren Mabe set a meet record Jan. 28, and won her weight division. Senior Ryan Hicks has medaled in the hang cling at all the meets he’s been to so far this year, and sophomore Jared Jennings has been lifter of the meet for the past two meets. This means that he can lift the most weight per pound compared to the other students who compete at the meets.

“The kids get in the competitive setting and most have been setting personal records at every meet. We’re getting better every time we compete,” King said.

The next meet will be held on Feb. 25 in Belton, MO.

Ten students make State band

February 23rd, 2012

On Jan. 7, 13 De Soto High School students traveled to Salina to audition for the State Honor Band sponsored by the Kansas Music Educator’s Association.

In order to audition for this band, students must have been a part of the Northeast District Band, for which auditions took place back in November.

Of those 13 students, 10 students were named either a member of the band or an alternate. A list of these students follows:


Junior Rhiannon Caldwell, piccolo

Senior Hannah Stevens, flute

Junior Emily Churchwell, flute

Junior Maria Pileski, flute alternate

Senior Joseph Buery, clarinet

Senior Philip Kaul, alto saxophone

Senior Parker Riley, alto saxophone

Senior Hayden Abbott, trumpet alternate

Junior Jonny Hodges, trombone

Senior Austin Showen, mallets


“It’s a really big honor [to be in this band]. One of the top honors that a Kansas state high school musician can do is to make this band,” band director Emma Willis said. “It says a lot about the hard work and dedication of the students in this band as well as overall skills and musicianship.”

DHS and Buhler High School have the highest proportion of students in the band, making up 20 percent of the 1-4A band.

The 1-4A State Band will perform at the KMEA convention on Feb. 25 at the Century II Convention Center in Wichita.

The Green Pride

The student news site for De Soto High School Journalism.