The Green Pride

The student news site for De Soto High School Journalism.

I Survived the Band Plague of 2012

March 27th, 2012

As a senior, I was so excited to go on the 2012 band trip to New York City over spring break. After over 24 hours on a bus, we finally arrived in Times Square where we had dinner and walked around.

The rest of the week all went according to plan. We toured Radio City Music Hall, the 9/11 Memorial, Rockefeller Center, The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Central Park, The Museum of Natural History and got to view the city from the “Top of the Rock.” We even got to go to a taping of the Today Show in an attempt to get on television!

We were all having so much fun together and were pretty bummed when we finally had to get on the busses for a very long trip back to De Soto.

We left at about 9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13. At about midnight, we made a stop so that everyone could get up, stretch and use the restroom. Unfortunately, one of the busses had a few kids who were sick and throwing up. No big deal. People get sick every band trip. We made another stop a few hours later and we discovered that more people were getting sick. Weird, but manageable.

At around 8 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14, we stopped at a rest stop in western Pennsylvania. Things had become crazy. The chaperones on the trip were running around trying to take care of the sick and the people who weren’t sick were worried for those who were, and that we would be next.

As more and more people got sick and the sick got sicker, we were all still in shock that this was actually happening. An executive decision was made to go to a hospital to make sure everyone was okay. All three charter busses hit the road and ended up at Frick Hospital in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania.

While we were there, students were given IV’s and anti-nausea medication to stop the symptoms and treat the severe dehydration that many students were suffering from.

After about six hours at the hospital, everyone was cleared to go back home.

While I was lucky to be one of the few of the 164 people on the trip that did not get sick, I, as well as the rest of the band, am incredibly thankful for the kindness that the people of Mount Pleasant exhibited.

At one of the rest stops we stopped at, the convenience store and the Starbucks donated rolls of plastic grocery bags and straws, respectively. The Frick Hospital staff were also incredibly gracious, making sure that the sick got the care that they needed and providing the well with snacks and drinks. The hospital also donated latex gloves, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and anti-nausea medication for the ride home. The local Costco, who heard about our situation, donated 12 cases of Gatorade.

A big thank you goes out, not only to those who donated the aforementioned things, but to band director Emma Willis, the trip nurses Darla Stevens and Mary Poulain and all of the chaperones. These people handled this unfathomable situation incredibly well.

While the health department is still investigating the incident, the presumed culprit is the norovirus, a highly contagious disease that is transmitted by contaminated food and water, person to person contact and coming in contact with contaminated surfaces. This virus causes vomiting and dehydration which infected band members experienced.

With everyone feeling better, this is now something that we can think back on and laugh about. NYC 2012 will be a trip that we will never forget!

Last year for DHS track captain

March 27th, 2012

De Soto High School senior Philip Kaul is widely known for his academic accomplishments, which include a 36 on the ACT, National Merit Scholar Finalist and leading the DHS Scholars Bowl team to a State championship. He is also an athlete and his leading the DHS distance team this track season

“[Running] is an opportunity to stay in shape and to have a good time with friends and it requires mental focus and helps me stay focused,” Kaul said.

He also has many other activities including numerous AP classes, and leading the DHS band as a drum major, but he still finds time to run.

“I have to juggle activities but it’s worth it,” Kaul said.

As a senior this will be Kaul’s last year running with the DHS track and cross country teams, making this a bittersweet season.

“I had a great time with all of my teammates and running with them,” Kaul said.

He will be attending the University of Kansas, as a music education major next year, and hopes to become a high school music teacher. He still plans to continue with his athletics though.

“Yes, [I will continue running], not competitive, but I will enter races for fun,” Kaul said.

Bowling wrap up

March 23rd, 2012

Meredith Boydston and Jake Lorenzo, the coaches of the bowling team, both agreed that it was a successful season for the bowling team.

“I definitely think we had a great kick-off season. While it doesn’t necessarily show in our win-loss record, our bowlers did a fantastic job. Not only did they successfully complete the first season of bowling for DHS, but they also learned more about the game,” Boydston said.

Also, both coaches agreed that the students could have used more practice. However, it was hard to get in enough practice since the bowling alley was 40 minutes away from DHS.

“We had to work with what we had. Several weekends the bowlers would go out on their own to catch some practice time with friends. Jake and I encouraged this as much as possible,” Boydston said.

Although no bowlers from DHS made it to State this year, the coaches beleive that all the participants gave good effort.

“The bowlers were bummed, but I think they understood that given our team size and experience compared to the competitors, they competed at their levels,” Boydston said.

As for next year, the coaches are hoping that the practices will be moved to a closer bowling alley. The bowlers should get even more time to practice according to Lorenzo. They will make sure that the bowlers are utilizing their time better.

“We’ll make sure we’ll give them adequate time to practice next year,” Lorenzo said.

DHS bowler Mykaela Cross, thought that the season went great and that the the bowling team as a whole did their best.

“Everyone did the best that they could, and grew into better bowlers,” Cross said.

Video conferencing opens up world to students

March 23rd, 2012

In Chris McAfee’s Pre-AP World Geography class, students are learning in a new way. They’re video conferencing with people from around the world to learn more about the different cultures.

The video conferencing takes place in McAfee’s room at De Soto High School. According to McAfee, the students as well as himself, think that it’s an awesome way to learn.

“It’s like talking to someone in the Holocaust, it’s a lot more meaningful,” McAfee said.

The class has requested a conference with someone from Africa. Also, other people they will be conferencing with are with people about the culture of Asia, the Middle East and religious practices of Islam.

“We will also be chatting with any other people we can come up with,” McAfee said.

So far, the class has chatted with a man from Sudan, which is in the northern part of Africa, who survived the Sudanese genocide.

“It was interesting to hear directly from someone who was a victim of the Genocide,” freshman Josh Miller said.

DHS isn’t the only school doing video conferencing. There are more schools in a total of 43 states. Eighty percent of the 43 states said that video conferencing is helping educators meet their academic goals and helping students become more engaged with learning.

Video conferencing for grades K-12 in the United States began in the late 1980s/early 1990s. As the years went by, more states began using video conferencing to learn. Ever since gas prices began to rise, fewer schools have been able to afford field trips, so video conferencing is a great way to learn that is also fun for students.

DHS is lucky to have come across a great opportunity to engage in learning in a fun way. McAfee and his students are glad to have this option to learn.

A New Place to Call Home

March 23rd, 2012

           Moving can be rough, learning to adjust to something new or different from what one is used to can take its toll. Whether a person has moved to a new house, a new state or a new country, change is change and for some it’s hard to accept. People move for all kinds of reasons such as a new job, schooling, new beginning or simply just because they could. Of course there are other reasons, but those are few to mention. For teens, moving can simply become a burden.

           In order to move, a person has to pack, clean,  get rid of useless  items and then start to move and when that is done, the person gets to do the same thing all over again when they have reached the new destination. Then, for many teens, the real work begins.

           One of the hardest things for many teenagers who move to a new place is adjusting to a different school and staying focused. It is not easy changing schools, especially for those who move near the end of the school year. It is a tedious process dealing with paperwork, making a new schedule, finding classes, and making new friends. It can overwhelm a person. Not only can it affect one physically but it can also take affect a person mentally and emotionally. According to Better Homes and Gardens magazine, kids want stability and moving schools can affect their grades, moods and social skills. Those who frequently change schools normally have the hardest time adjusting and can develop behavioral problems.

                Not only can school change be a challenge, but making friends and getting to know a new place can sometimes be an even bigger one. It can be intimidating to try and make new friends in a strange new place. The easiest way to make friends is to be the person they truly are, join activities outside of school, and be friendly. Psychology Today magazine suggests that in order to make new friends, one can “stick their neck out” in order to make friends and it is okay if at first there is akwardness, it’s normal.

                The pressure to make friends and keeping up with school are two tasks that can become more difficult when a teen moves to a new place, but some must remember that sometimes change is good.

Boys’ hoops is successful once again

March 23rd, 2012

This season, the De Soto High School boys’ basketball team went 17-5 overall and finished the Frontier League in second place with a 10-2 mark. Although they fell in the Sub-State semifinals, the Wildcats showed great potential in their abilities and beat some tough competitors.

“Definitely the best season by far,” head coach Matt Rice said. DHS was competed with some of the state’s top 4A schools at the Sub-State tournament. These competitors include the back-to-back State champions from Sumner Academy, who edged DHS by only two points (56-54).

“We were just a fingertip away from winning and going to the next round,” Rice said.

The final game against Sumner was full of much emotion and tension. “It’s the best game I’ve ever been a part of, despite the loss,” Rice said.

The varsity team had a lot of memorable wins, one in particular being the win to Ottawa by 16 points. Ottawa, is considered by many, to be one of the best teams in the State and was undefeated until DHS beat them in the regular season.

The Blue Valley Southwest championship game at the Tonganoxie tournament was also memorable.

Rice thought that the boys competed very well at the Sub-State tournament, and although they may not have won, the boys team surely proved to Sumner that they could compete. Rice thought they controlled the game and if given the opportunity to play them again, they could beat them.

“I’m very proud of the guys, and especially the seniors. They’ve set a high bar for our future Wildcat basketball players,” Rice said.

Girls’ basketball exceeds predictions

March 23rd, 2012

fter being picked last in the league at the start of the season, the girls’ basketball team shocked the league by tying for second with Spring Hill in the Frontier League and ending with a 14-7 record.

“Last year we were 11-10. I thought that was successful also, but this year, I think the girls just played together well, and did what had to be done to win games,” head coach Jim Bonar said.

For the first time, the team placed at the Hays tournament, taking fourth. Other memorable games for the team were wining their first games against Spring Hill, who they tied for second place in league. The girls also swept Lousiburg, Paola and Eudora, beating all three teams both times they played each other.

Not having any seniors may have seemed like a problem at the beginning of the year, but will now benefit the team next year. With no seniors graduating this year, next season the team can easily pick up where it left off.

“We have everyone returning. We have no seniors so that’s very exciting, but we do have some JV players that we do have our eye on who improved drastically, and we are trying to figure out exactly where they could fit into our varsity program for varsity minutes,” Bonar said.

Next season may seem like months away, but many basketball players are already preparing. This year’s success has set high expectations for next year, but it is obvious that this girls basketball team can do anything they put their minds to as long as they work together.

Mild winter weather is cause for excitement and concern

March 23rd, 2012

This winter we have experienced temperatures that are usually common in March or April. Trying to ignore the unusual mild weather is nearly impossible.

In November, the high temperature was a surprising 54oF in December, the high decreased to a pleasant 41oF. During the month of January, the high decreased again to a mild temperature of 39oF and for February, the high returned to an enjoyable 44oF.

These very mild temperatures are not common in Kansas, which is known for its harsh winters. One of the negative effects of a mild winter for students is that there have been no snow days.

“Not having any snow days this year is not cool, and I never got to go sledding,” freshman Kelista McGraw said.

Not only has this warm winter deprived students of treasured snow days, but it has also affected businesses that rely on the winter weather.

Businesses from hardware stores selling salt and shovels and retail stores selling winter clothes have found that sales have gone down due to the mild weather. Due to the situation, the economy is receiving another blow on top of these already challenging economic times.

Besides its negative effects, people are still enjoying the beautiful weather.

The weather has not only allowed people to enjoy more time outside, but it has also reduced the demand of natural gas to heat homes. The decreased demand for natural gas has caused some natural gas provider to shut down production and layoff jobs.

While people don’t mind not having to shovel the driveway or put 10 layers on before walking out side, the negative effects that have been caused by this mild winter have done more damage than thought.

This mild winter has been enjoyable, but lets hope that next year’s Kansas winter weather goes back to its typical ruthlessness.

Spring sports begin preparation for upcoming season: Softball

March 23rd, 2012

On Feb. 27, the De Soto High School softball team started off the season with the first day of tryouts.

Junior Allie Flinn describes the first day of tryouts as “tough, but everyone pushed through, and there is a lot of people coming out to play softball.”

The outlook for this season is bright. This year, compared to previous years, there has been an increase of freshmen with playing experience.

In addition, with a loss of only a few seniors from last year, the leadership and experience on the team remains strong.

“We only have one senior [MaKenzi Shackley] this year, and we have enjoyed watching her mature both on and off the field, and she is doing a great job of leading,” head coach Junelle Woolery said.

Shackley will be helping to lead the team, along with many returning juniors.

“My personal goal for the season is to remain constructive and have everyone help each other out while acting as a team,” Shackley said.

The team’s record last year was 17-4 with a loss to Sante Fe Trail in Regionals.

“Last year we were focused, but we let the pressure get to us and we played too tense,” Woolery said.

Every player and coach’s goal is set high. The girls are determined to improve upon last year’s record, and make it past Regionals.

“My goal for the season is to win State,” Flinn said.

Each year, the team’s success has increased progressively. This year, the team’s first game will be on March 29 against Baldwin. It will be both JV and varsity’s start to hopefully, a successful season.

Spring sports begin preparation for upcoming season: Track

March 23rd, 2012

Just as winter sports are wrapping up, spring sports are starting. Track and field practices started Feb. 27 and are everyday after school until around five. With the plethora of new members on the team, in addition to the veterans the coachs are hopeful for a successful season.

“We have a few returning state qualifiers that we are expecting big things from this year. Our team isn’t as experienced as last year’s group but we do have a lot of talent on this year’s team,” head coach Brian Dinkel said. “I think we will probably see results similar to what we saw last year. We have a few kids that are running well enough already that we expect them to place really high at the state meet.”

Some of the returning State qualifiers from last year include juniors Elise Miller and Angel Vasquez and seniors Philip Kaul and Jordan Kline.

Last year, the girls took third in league and 16th in State. The boys track took second in league and eighth in State. The two teams are hoping to do the same, or even better this year.

The first track and field meet is the Baldwin Relays meet and will take place on March 30.

“Track is really hard, especially if you’re out of shape, but it will all be worth it in the end. I’m looking forward to running in the first meet,” freshman Kelsea Burns said.

Track season will be interrupted by Spring Break. Participants have already made plans to practice over the break, in order to be prepared for the first meet.

The Green Pride

The student news site for De Soto High School Journalism.