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Welcome To The Jungle!

Photo by: Josie Eiffert
Sophomores Bella Molea and Claire Linton twinning for Mondays theme of monkey see, monkey do!
Photo by: Josie Eiffert
Junior Zach McKinnis dresses in his tourist gear for Tuesdays theme of explore the jungle.
Photo by: Josie Eiffert
Freshmen from Mr. Arredondo’s fourth block class show off their band tees for Wednesdays theme of welcome to the Jungle!
Photo by: Josie Eiffert
Seniors Joey Morris and Jordan Taylor dressed in their workout clothes for Thursdays theme of Jungle Gym!
Photo by: Josie Eiffert
Sophomore Foster Barron wearing his PJ onesie for Fridays theme of The Lion Sleeps Tonight!
About the Photographer

Choir Contests

 The voices that sing the National Anthem every Monday morning have been working hard. 

   Choir is currently preparing for competitions. At the district competition on March 28th, choir will compete with solos and ensembles. Ensembles are small groups.

   Each group, solo and ensemble, will prepare a song that they will sing in front of judges. They can be rated one to three, one being the best score. If they score one, then they get to move onto state.

   Concert choir is competing at Willard on April 26th. They will compete against other large groups and schools.

   On April 30th, choir will travel to Worlds of Fun in Kansas City. At Worlds of Fun, they will compete and also spend the day at the park. 

   Choir is constantly working and improving. They are looking forward to what competitions have in store this season.

About the Writer

The King of Kings

Senior Austin Blecha, is our first openly gay courtwarming king, and he’s changing the game.

   “I was astonished when I found out I was nominated, I know how conservative and constricted Kickapoo is so I was even more surprised when I won,” Blecha said.

   When it comes to courtwarming, homecoming and prom, there’s a consistent pattern amongst the kings and queens of every dance. They are normally blond,  straight but possibly gay, white people. 

  “ I mean I can’t believe they voted for the gay guy, but let’s go us,” Blecha said.

   Blecha has officially changed courtwarming history. Potential winners that are different from the usual candidates can feel encouraged to become a nominee.

   “I have the greatest friend in the world, they nominated me and took me all the way to a king,” Blecha said.

Nationally Recognized


Mrs. Fink is the sponsor of NHS.

National Honors Society (NHS) is a nationwide organization that only select students get to be apart of.

The sponsor of NHS is Mrs. Fink and Mr. Wilbur is also an co-sponsor. 

NHS has many different focuses but here on campus, they focus more on volunteering.
“The students that are in NHS focus on service projects which are pretty much volunteering here at Kickapoo,” Sponsor and Teacher Jill Fink said.
In order to be part of NHS, you must meet the qualifications that are set in place.

“The qualifications are that you have to have a cumulative 4.0 GPA or above, you have to be a sophomore or older and you have to apply,” Mrs. Fink said.
NHS has many goals and they do their best to try to include all their members.
“The goal of our club is to mostly we’ve already got really good scholars and students our push is to try to get them to understand the importance of volunteering and giving back to the community,” Mrs. Fink said.

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Less Problems, More Proposals

   With dance season, comes proposal season, and students always come up with the sweetest ways to ask their friends to the dance. Courtwarming is just around the corner and we want to feature these creative students.

Courtwarming ask
Senior Mia Thompson, asked junior Will Nichols. “I like you a ‘latte’ and ‘donut’ want to go with anyone else.”
Senior Ellie Miller asked Nick Reid. “You have my heart, now will you ‘COMME (des Garcons)’ to Courtwarming with me?”
Junior Elizabeth Kennedy asked junior Ian Greene. “LPA without you would make me ‘berry’ happy!”
Madeline Thompson, sophomore, asked Cav Klein, sophomore. “Courtwarming would be ‘MIZ’erable without ‘ZOU.’
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Cheering For The Squad


The cheer team practices a stunt commonly done at tryouts.

   Cheer tryout applications are available in the main office but just signing a paper isn’t all that goes into the cheer applications. Cheer tryout forms are due March 11th and tryouts are on March 23rd through the 26th for Freshman through Juniors.  Tryouts consist of four consecutive days where each day is a new challenge.

   On day one of tryouts, they go over a mixture of different types of stunts. 

    “On the first day they learn a cheer a chant and a dance and then we go over motions jumps tumbling things like that, Cheer coach Audrey Larson said. 

   On the second day of tryouts, they demonstrate there jumping ability.

    “They show us their jumps and there graded on there technique of there jumps and they demonstrate the level of tumbling they have so the harder the skill the more points you get, Coach Larson said. 

   The final two days they wrap the tryouts up with group stunts. 

   “Wednesday and Thursday they do group stunts and that’s when they practice learning the lifts, Coach Larson said. 

   Cheer does not need a set number of people to form a cheer team. It is based on a point system. They don’t always look for the skill they also look for personality. 

    “We really look for the potential we look for really good attitudes and if your willing to work you don’t have to be the best of the best you just have to want to be,” Coach Larson said.

FBLA Goes to State


Future Business Leaders of America, (FBLA) has recently won 37 amount of district awards and 48 students from Kickapoo are going onto State.

These awards vary from accounting to word processing. This has been the first time that Kickapoo has won this many awards.

FBLA districts were on February 4th at Missouri State. State competition is on April 19-21 at Missouri State. The top four groups that win at State will continue onto Nationals, which are in Utah this year.

“This is very exciting and has been the most we have won. I am ready and I am getting people prepared for their events,” Woody said. 

Furry Final Therapy


A Therapy dog sits and waits patiently to be pet.

Pet Therapy of the Ozarks is a program that offers certified service animals to come to schools, nursing homes, hospitals, and other facilities.
They started doing this in the library as a way to try and relieve students of stress that they may feel at the end of a semester.
“We had seen some articles about colleges doing it and we know how stressful the end of the year can be for students,” librarian Melody Netzer said.

This is the third year in a row they have visited. They came Thursday, December 12th during lunch hours. Last year they implemented tickets to try to not overwhelm the dogs.
“It is free and the only reason we do that is so we don’t overwhelm the puppies,” Netzer said.
Pet therapy is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to get out some stress or who just loves petting cute dogs.

Mission to Adoption

 The summer of 2015 opened up a whole new world of possibilities for the Barron family.

   Senior Madi Barron’s family has been very involved in Ridgecrest Baptist Church for years. Back in 2015, her dad, Wayne, was offered a last minute opportunity to take a mission trip to Ukraine, a large country in Europe.

   “He went and worked with a few different orphanages, but two kids specifically had stuck out to him,” Barron said.

   One of the kids was a 15 year old girl named Anna.

   “Anna was about to be out of the system and left to fend for herself on the streets,” Barron said.

  Anna had told the missionaries that whenever she was asked what she prayed for, she had always said she only wanted for a family to adopt her.

   “This stuck in my dad’s head as he traveled back to the states, he contemplated what this would mean for our family,” Barron said.

   After only a few family discussions, the Barron’s decided to adopt Anna. Anna officially became a part of the Barron family on December 7th, 2018.

    With the family being so close to the 2 year ‘Gotcha Day’ of their new addition, they are also in pursuit of another  kid from the Ukrainain orphanages, a six year old boy named Dima.


Senior Madi Barron with sister Anna. Photo courtesy of April Barron.

FCCLA update

    FCCLA is a club that does a lot not only to benefit the students that are in the club, but they reach outside of the school to kids in the community.   

   They went on a field trip close to the beginning of the school year to help students find a career path they were interested in. They went to Silver Dollar City,  it was a fun time for the students to go have fun and learn about their job of choice.

   FCCLA is hosting a little chief chef camp on December 6th. Where they are teaching little kids that choose to be there how to cook different kinds of food. Mrs. Cox will be the supervisor at camp, and help little ones learn how to cook.

French Club Winter Activities


 French Club is swinging into the holiday season at full force.

   Monday, December 16th French club is throwing their club holiday party.

   The members of french club are all excited to be able to sit back and hangout with friends in the club. 

   “All the people in the club are nice and great to be around. It has a good overall atmosphere,” President Paige Fintel said.

   Along with the upcoming holiday party, French Club is also decorating the language hallway with decorations such as snowflakes and their eiffel tower outside of the french room.

   “A lot of the stuff that we’ve done so far have been fun crafts that I personally love to do,” Fintel said.

   Decorating the hallways with holiday decorations will give a nice boost to the schools holiday spirit. 

   Fintel was chosen as the president of the French club due to her love for the language and ability to speak it well. 

   “I really enjoy being president because it’s allowed me to expand my leadership and communication skills,” Fintel said.


“You’re a Wizard, Harry!”


Harry Potter Club is a new and upcoming club that began this past school year. The club meets every Wednesday after school for roughly 30 minutes. There are ten permanent members, and three club leaders. Senior Paige Fintel is the club founder, and thought of the idea with two of her friends, Katelyn Egger and Alex Schmidt. The club meeting begins with a fact about Harry Potter. Then they discuss a futuristic question that is different every week.
The members are working on designing t-shirt designs that embody the clubs message. In the meanwhile, they are planning a Sorting Ceremony. In the first Harry Potter movie, each individual student is sorted into one of the four houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuf, Slytherin, and Ravenclaw. These houses reflect the students personalities and individual interests. The club wanted to recreate this ceremony as close as possible. Paige rented out the Library Center’s teen section for the ceremony, and it is set to take place on October 23 from 5-8 PM. Since they do not have a real Sorting Hat, they have a squid hat to take its place.
After the meeting I spoke with Paige about the beginning of the club. One thing that she really wanted to stress to newcoming members would be, “We do a lot of crafts and activities. It’s a lot of fun and it’s only 30 minutes.” The other leader of the club chimed in by adding, “You really don’t have to know anything about Harry Potter. It’s more of a social experience than anything” Schmidt.

A Spring Hike

Food For Fines


Information presented in the school library.

The school library is giving kids an alternative option for paying library fines. If students have an outstanding library fine you can bring in items from the list presented in the library or stop by for more information. These items will be donated to C.A.R.E (Castaway Animals Rescue Effort). One item can take care of fines up to five dollars.
These donations will be accepted until May 21st in the library. Some of the items that people are being asked to donate include dog and cat collars, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and dog food.
The school got involved with C.A.R.E because they had recently participated in a food drive.
“It’s because of Ozark food harvest. We participated in that
food drive and a kid suggested we do something for C.A.R.E and collect food for them,” Librarian Mrs. Netzer said.
The school decided to participate in this to help students pay fines. They hope it may encourage kids to want to bring books back and pay their fines.
“We did it now because sometimes students have fines that follow them to high school from middle school or elementary school. It makes students want to do it more if they feel like they are helping. It kinda helps kids get out of the fine hole,” Mrs. Netzer said.

Living As My Authentic Self

Fighting a battle with himself and with society, the summer before high school, senior Connor Grimsley changed his life, and the lives of those around him. Around age 14 most teens begin to discover their identity, the things that make them unique. For Grimsley it was a never ending search. “I felt misplaced, I felt sort of like I wasn’t who I was supposed to be. I was distanced from others because I couldn’t even feel my own self. I was sad and I didn’t know who I was. I hated myself to sum it up,” Grimsley said. Growing up he always knew he was different. He was more interested in boy activities than girl activities. He was not interested in Barbie dolls and did not play with them except for with his sisters. Even then he would only play with them if he could be Ken. He liked sports more than makeup or dresses. And he had more guy friends than girl friends. All of these were examples of what made him different. But it was after watching a youtuber who was transgender named Benton the summer before his freshman year of high school, Grimsley understood why he may be different. He said what the youtuber was saying made sense and applied to him. He realized then that he might be transgender too. “Looking back, all the signs were there that Connor was transgender, I just didn’t get the clue. He hated dresses…pink and purple were not- allowed in his wardrobe. More often than not I was buying clothes in the boys section from age six on because that’s what he liked to wear,” Grimsley’s mother, Christy McClary, said. Being transgender was still a fairly new idea in society and it was not something many people talked about. It wasn’t until around 2015 that it started becoming a conversation topic. Grimsley had no idea his family’s views on being transgender and the thought of what his family was going to think was something he couldn’t fathom. “When I came out to my mom, she was supportive about it. She told all of our family over Facebook. My grandma unfriended her, called her a horrible mother. My uncle stopped talking to us, my aunt, my entire moms’ side of the family stopped talking to me and my mom. But my dad’s family, on the other hand, was 100% supportive,” Grimsley said. Although expressing who he was and his transition caused him to lose half of his family, that did not hold him back. He has a tremendous amount of support from the rest of his loved ones. And his peers are also very supportive. “I got treated with more respect, and I wasn’t talked down to anymore. Like you know the whole mansplaining thing, that never happens to me now. And when I approach another guy they automatically reach their hand out to shake my hand where as before they wouldn’t shake my hand,” he said. Everything really started to change in Grimsley’s life after he came out. He changed his name, was able to express himself freely as the person he knew himself to be by dressing the way he wanted to and participating in things he enjoy wanted to. People even saw him differently than before. He was not a shy, introverted middle schooler anymore. He was outgoing and vibrant to those around him.
When he was still living his life as a girl, it was like people weren’t taking him as seriously and didn’t treat him like he was as mature. People would put him and his thoughts to the side. Grimsley perceives himself as “definitely much more confident” and “much more present, and I just feel like I’m more here now, instead of by myself in my own little bubble; I feel like I’m more out there.” “He now is confident, happy, and knows who he is as a person. It amazes me every day how different he is now that he is his true self,” McClary said. Telling others you’re transgender is difficult because “it is not something you just bring up in conversation.” he said. Many people close to him didn’t know about his transition. “My girlfriend right now, she didn’t even know until my birthday,” Grimsley said, “She told me that she was 100% surprised, that she never would have guessed.” His girlfriend, Kickapoo graduate Lauren Smittle, supported his journey from the moment she discovered he was transgender. “At first I was like “what?” but then really thinking about it I was like “he’s a regular person like anyone else and there really isn’t anything much different about him than anyone else,” she said. Keeping his past to himself has prevented a lot of discrimination that others who have transitioned have received. He has not been hated or bullied for who he is by his peers. However, being who he is has prevented him from participating in certain activities. “When I came from Cherokee to Kickapoo, before the school year even started, I met up with the counselors and the principal, I told them I wanted to do tennis. They told me that they would put me on the girls team because it wouldn’t be “fair.” So even though I wanted to do sports I didn’t because they told me I would be put on a team where I wouldn’t be comfortable,” Grimsley said. He had played tennis for fun and wanted to try out playing on a team. He didn’t think who he was would prevent him from participating, but he understood why. He included that he cannot join the military because he is transgender. He is also afraid it will affect his other career option of being a teacher. His only other encounter of discrimination was on a choir trip. Although he does not personally refer to these encounters as discrimination. “I’d signed up to be in a room with one of my guy friends, but I wasn’t allowed to according to school board rules. So I was put in a room by myself on a separate floor because it was too late to put me into my own room on the same floor,” he said. Grimsley is also very involved in the GSTA club at school, He and the GSTA club participate in activities with the LGBT community. He sees and hears discrimination from the others and wants those who encounter it to hear his message. “What they have to say doesn’t matter because if you’re who you are that’s just how it is and you can’t change that. That’s just a part of who you are and you can’t change who you are. You can’t just think oh I wanna be something else and just flip a switch. It doesn’t work. You can’t just chose to be gay or transgender or whatever. You are just who you are,” Grimsley said.

Senior Superlatives!

Please take this survey for senior superlatives for the fourth issue of the magazine.




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  • Do you have healthy sleeping patterns?


    Do you have healthy sleeping patterns?

  • Feature

    Welcome To The Jungle!

  • Feature

    Choir Contests

  • Feature

    The King of Kings

  • Mrs. Fink is the sponsor of NHS.


    Nationally Recognized

  • Are You Eco-friendly?


    Are You Eco-friendly?

  • Test Your Kickapoo Knowledge!


    Test Your Kickapoo Knowledge!

  • Feature

    Less Problems, More Proposals

  • The cheer team practices a stunt commonly done at tryouts.


    Cheering For The Squad

  • FBLA Goes to State


    FBLA Goes to State

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Kickapoo High Quarterly