Final Stress

   School almost out, meaning that finals are right around the corner. Finals week can be stressful and overwhelming. Disorganization is the main source of stress. Misplacing notes, assignments, and misusing time, are all contributors to the stress factor during this time of the year. Students need to learn to handle this type of stress but the needed information is often unknown to them. Here are four ways to deal with school-related stress. 

  1. Writing stuff down is a simple way to stay organized and prevent forgetting important stuff. Sticky notes and whiteboards are good.  
  2. Taking breaks in between study sessions is important. Setting specified time periods to study, and others for breaks gives a sense of control and may lower stress levels. Squeezing in some time for fresh air will restore energy and uplift your mood. 
  3. Eat healthily. This may seem unrelated but non-sugary foods are filled with nutrients that boost concentration. 
  4. Getting a good night’s sleep is vital during finals week. This can be hard to do because of all the studying and stress fogging your mind but, once well-rested, work will be much easier. 



The Hills are Alive

Spotify playlist pairings for 417 summer hiking adventures

Busiek State Forest Playlist

In the 417 area, there are hundreds of beautiful hiking locations right at our fingertips. Here are four convenient and beautiful summer spots, each with a corresponding playlist to listen to as you explore. These playlists have been carefully crafted based on the general tone of the location. You can access the code by clicking the camera icon to the right of the search bar on your Spotify app.

Busiek State Forest is a conservation area in between Springfield and Branson off of Highway 65. Busiek is a great summer adventure spot for those who love hiking, swimming, camping, and hammocking. Busiek State Forest is in Highlandville, MO 65669, about halfway between Springfield and Branson. The playlist curated for Busiek is made up of summer indie rock music. Busiek gives off fun summer vibes, and those vibes are mirrored through the song selection.

Waterfall Trail Playlist

The Waterfall Trail is a hidden gem located right near the Tanger Outlets. It has been preserved amid the city and is perfect for hammocking and exploring. The waterfalls are fairly small but beautiful nevertheless. The trailhead is located at 1902 Roark Valley Rd, Branson, MO 65616. The vibe of the trail is best captured through its nostalgic folk rock playlist.

Henning Scenic Overlook Playlist

The Paul & Ruth Henning Scenic Overlook is in Branson, MO, and is part of a greater conservation effort to restore the natural savannah of the Ozark Mountains. This location has breathtaking views and has many trails to explore. The general vibe of this location is so peaceful and awe-striking. The music on the corresponding playlist is mainly soft vocals and instrumental, to match the otherworldly feel of the location.

Greenway Trail Playlist

The South Creek Greenway Trailhead is located off of Highway FF near the intersection of Republic Road. This location is lovely but hidden away and fairly unknown by most locals. The Roundtree Branch of Wilson’s Creek runs right alongside the trail for a period until it runs into a forested area. The vibe of this location is a soft rock and roll feel, with indie undertones.

Enjoy these playlists and fun summer hiking locations as you spend time outside this summer!

Dating on a Budget

Dates don’t have to be expensive.


Photo by: Maya Hernandez

Freshman Elise Pope poses with her salted caramel and coffee flavored frozen yogurt, topped with chocolate chips and chopped peanuts.

   Coming up with ideas for fun dates without spending too much money can be a challenge, especially during a global pandemic. Here are some fun date ideas and locations that won’t break the bank and will still set the mood. Skating, whether it be on the ice or in the roller rink, is a great way to keep the fun factor in dates. Visit Springfield Skateland on Cambell Ave. for roller skating or Jordan Valley Ice Park for ice skating.

   Hot weather is rolling in, meaning ice cream and frozen yogurt dates are back. This may seem pretty basic, but with the right company, this simple date can be memorable. Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, Andy’s Frozen Custard, and Pineapple Whip are affordable and casual places to enjoy a frozen dessert. Cold Stone Creamery also has great reviews but it is a bit pricier.

   Bass Pro Shops brings all the wonders of a museum and outdoor store into one huge building. Be it a scavenger hunt or a stroll throughout the store, Bass Pro Shops is sure to make the datetime fly with its many attractions.

   At-home dates have grown in popularity during the pandemic, and why not? Spending quality time with your partner in a cool, air-conditioned house with free food sounds like a great idea. Movie marathons, karaoke, and making couple Tik Toks are a few ways to spice up at-home dates.

   If staying indoors isn’t your jam, try going out for a hike or picnic. Wilson’s Creek Greenway Trail has many positive reviews about its beautiful view and long hiking distance. Four dollars (per person) could get you into Springfield Botanical Gardens, where you can enjoy a picnic or visit the local gift shop.

   Taking a stroll in the mall is another popular idea. It is free, until you pass by the pretzels and the boba tea. The good thing about this is that you get to decide how much money you spend. As long as you have some degree of self-control, you should be okay.



Volunteer Opportunities in the Area

Volunteering is an important part of our community that allows people to branch out and help those in need. Volunteering is also a requirement for some programs at Kickapoo. As essential an act as volunteering is, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out which organizations currently need help. Thankfully, there are always opportunities in our community. 

  1. Camp Barnabas – At Camp Barnabas, you will be immersed in a camp devoted to inclusivity and friendship. Volunteering will revolve around helping out campers, being involved in activities and events, and participating in the general run and upkeep at the camp.  For more information, visit
  2. Crosslines – While volunteering at crosslines, you will be assisting in getting food to families in need. Whether that is directly distributing the food, checking in families, or answering questions and phone calls, your involvement will be crucial to the wellbeing of families in need. For more information and to figure out when you can volunteer, visit
  3. Salvation Army – The Salvation Army provides members of the community multiple opportunities to help out in the area. Annually need volunteers to help them out with things such as the holiday bell ringing. They also need virtual bell ringers for their online fundraising. For more information and to sign up to volunteer, visit
  4. Ozark Food Harvest – At the Ozarks Food Harvest, you will get the opportunity to provide meals to members of the community who are in need of food. In three-hour volunteer sessions, you will be distributing meals and food from the Ozarks food pantry. They are always in need of help, so to sign up, visit
  5. Humane Society – If working with animals sounds appealing to you, the Humane Society might be your perfect volunteering opportunity. Through a quick application process and a small orientation, you will be prepared to work with rescue animals waiting to find a home. Some of the volunteer work may include walking dogs, doing laundry, and training and socializing with the animals. To sign up, visit


About the Writer

Plasma Donation: Is this the New Way to Make Money?

Struggling to find money, many high school students over the age of 18 have looked to plasma donation for some extra cash. Plasma donation is the process of drawing blood and separating the cells from the liquid portion. The red blood cells and platelets are then used in hospital patients for treating bleeding and other disorders.

There are many plasma donation locations around Springfield including CSL Plasma and BioLife Plasma. Prior to donating, your medical history will be reviewed to verify your eligibility as a donor. The donation process typically takes around 1-2 hours from start to finish. First, your blood will be drawn and separated through a process called plasmapheresis. Then, the rest of your blood, minus the plasma, will be returned back to you.

“I started donating plasma the day after I turned 18 because my father from a young age taught me how it helped people. With plasma you can use it to help burn victims and even people with cancer and my dad said, ‘Why would you not help someone in need if you have capability for it.’ It stuck with me and now I donate as much plasma and blood I can to help others who really need it,” senior Jayda Thomas said.

Since there is such a high demand for plasma, these donation centers will pay you to donate. A prepaid card will be rewarded to you after a successful donation up to $700 a month; however, every donation site differs. Up to two donations every seven days is allowed. A refer-a-friend system is implemented in some donation centers offering extra money or points. If you are in need of money or are looking for a way to help out our community, do not overlook plasma donating!

Overcoming Writer’s Block

Simple, yet profound ways to overcome a lack of creative inspiration.

Writer’s block happens to even the best writers among us. When it takes hold, it can feel paralyzing. Whether you have a final paper due at midnight, or you’re simply trying to get your creativity flowing, writer’s block can be overcome. Please enjoy the following tips on overcoming writer’s block from the extensive experience of a master procrastinator.

One of the biggest issues I have when it comes to writing large pieces in a short period is remaining focused. You feel helpless to accomplish what you so desperately need to do. Try…

  • Asking deeper questions to get engaged in the work you are doing.
    • Self-reflect about the root of your lack of focus. Often, I am unable to focus because of the pressure of the end goal. If you are feeling overwhelmed with focusing on a large task, ask deeper questions. Why do you feel so overwhelmed? What steps can you take, right this second, to get one step closer to the finish line? What positive result can you look forward to at the end of the task?
    • Think deeper about the task at hand. Struggling with Calculus or World History? Try taking a broader perspective. Then, break down what parts of the task are causing the issue for you.
  • Eliminate distractions.
    • I will say this once (speaking as much to myself as everyone else) TURN OFF YOUR PHONE. The world will not end in the time it takes for you to do your homework. Don’t even use it as an excuse and say “I’m just changing my playlist on Spotify”. I don’t want to hear it. I have made all of these same excuses a million times. Put your phone in the furthest corner of the room and commit yourself to keep it there until you achieve what you intend to.
  • Attempt to fully immerse yourself in your work.
    • At the end of the day, accomplishing things brings satisfaction. Sit down and don’t get up until the work is done. It sounds simple, but it’s truly difficult. Plus, by setting aside distractions, you reinforce self-discipline. By disciplining yourself, you are showing respect for your own time, and respect for your boundaries. And when it’s all said and done, overcoming work ethic obstacles removes a huge burden of stress from your shoulders.

Writer’s block can set in when you are feeling uninspired. If you are looking for a way to reclaim that source of creativity, try…

  • Spending time outside.
    • Nature has so much inspiration to offer. Take advantage of that. Particularly if that assignment is a creative writing assignment, grounding yourself in nature can give you a lot of ideas to work off of when you return to work.
  • Read.
    • The very best writers read constantly. If you are having trouble with writing, try reading a piece of work from the genre you are working toward. Or simply read something you enjoy.
  • Listen to music.
    • Music is such a powerful force. It can create mental connections between memories, people, places, and ideas. Try listening to music that you associate with a particular period in your life or that you associate with the task you are trying to accomplish through writing. Ideas that you associate with this music can resurface and give you ideas for your piece.
  • Freewrite.
    • Try taking a break from the rubric. Instead, write about whatever is in your head. If particular anxiety is keeping you from making progress on your project, write about it. By expelling this anxiety on paper, it may make it easier to focus on the assignment at hand. Write without expectations and see what you create.
  • Get organized.
    • Your passion for the project you are working on may simply be drained because you feel overwhelming. Take a moment to breathe. Set aside what you have already done on the project and take a moment to truly organize your thoughts. There are many different types of visual representations that you can use to organize the concept you’re tackling. Things like a flowchart or an idea web can be immensely helpful and can serve as a reference point as you progress toward the end goal.

Lastly, if all fails, take a complete mental break before easing back into the project. Get a snack, take a walk, or drink some water. Any activity that can help refresh your body physically also will help sharpen your brain for productivity. Sometimes, in the pursuit of achievement, the best thing you can do is take a moment to recenter mentally, physically, and emotionally.


Why do we Wear Green on Saint Patrick’s Day?


Every March, we celebrate a very green holiday. The holiday is called Saint Patrick’s day, and it originated in Ireland around the ninth and tenth centuries. The holiday marks the death of Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick, who came to Ireland from Roman Britain originally as a slave but then returned after feeling called to spread Christianity among Ireland’s population. He converted much of the population to Catholicism and is honored and celebrated for these contributions to the church. 

So where does the color green come in? To understand this, we need to look back on why the color became associated with Ireland in the first place. Due to the country’s predominantly green scenery, the country is often referred to as the Emerald Isle. It is also the color that represents the Catholics of Ireland, according to Reader’s Digest. Since Saint Patrick is a Catholic patron, it makes sense that green would be worn to represent him. 

The color green doesn’t just have religious roots though. According to Irish urban myths and legends, the Faerie creature the Leprechaun, who is often associated with the holiday, is a very mischievous species who love the color green. According to Reader’s Digest, on Saint Patrick’s Day these invisible creatures mingle with the celebrating humans and pinch anyone who isn’t wearing the color. This led to the common tradition of pinching anyone who isn’t decked out in greenish tones. 

So there you have it. Green is worn on Saint Patrick’s Day not only to honor the religious ties to the color but also as a nod to the traditional folklore of Ireland. So this March 17th, pull out your green clothes and accessories and enjoy the holiday! 

More Than Material and Music

Answers to why we stand in front of the American Flag during the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem.

Sophomore, Gabby Burgess, holds an American flag proudly under a scenery of a blue sky.

Photo by: Emilia Belcolore

Sophomore, Gabby Burgess, holds an American flag proudly under a scenery of a blue sky.

I remember when I was young repeating over and over the Pledge of Allegiance with my mom because it was mandatory for all the kindergarteners to have it memorized. Ten years later, and schools around the nation are still reciting it. Now that I’m older and understand the basic meaning and reason behind the American flag, the National Anthem, and the Pledge, I understand why sometimes it can be frustrating for people to look around in their first period class on an early Monday morning to see their peers purposely disrespect what members of our past generation have worked extremely hard for. Is standing to put your right hand over your heart and listen silently to the speaker over the old intercom, the singer at the windy football game, and much more the least we can do as citizens of the United States of America? Or is it something completely meaningless to todays generation?

What does the American flag represent?

  Created in June of 1775, the first “official” American flag was established. Two years went by when the Second Continental Congress realized that the American flag needed to look more different compared to the British one. On June 14th, 1777, congress decided on a flag with red and white stripes and 13 stars in a circle of a blue field,  inspired by the design of Elizabeth “Betsy” Ross. The American flag means a lot of things to different people. Some think that it shows a symbol of our freedom, history, and government, while others believe it’s just a piece of material.

“The U.S. flag stands for our nation and the shared history, pride, principles, and commitments of its people. When we properly display this powerful symbol, we signal our respect for everything it represents.” -USAGov

  No matter what you may believe, there is hard evidence on what the colors, stars, and stripes truly represent. The flag’s alternating red and white stripes represent the 13 original colonies. The 50 white stars in the uppermost left blue rectangle represent the current 50 states and that make up America. USAGov says that even the colors have specific representations:

Red: valor and bravery

White: purity and innocence

Blue: vigilance, perseverance, and justice

  The American flag even has a section of code in the United States law books dedicated to the American flag, called the flag code. It was affective as June 14th, 1923,  by the National Flag Conference where U.S Navy and Army representatives were present. Title 4, chapter 1, section 9 states,

“All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.”

  Though there are no official consequences for refusing and violating the codes, it does display disrespect to the American flag and the United States of America.

What does the Pledge of Allegiance represent?

  Written by Francis Bellamy and created as early as 1892, the Pledge wasn’t officially certified by congress until 1942. Though laws have now been emplaced that specifically say students are not required to stand and recite it, it is encouraged, and specifically Kickapoo starts every Monday with it following by the National Anthem.

  Most of the time, the Pledge is learned from straight memorization without understanding the true verses in context. Historyplex broke down the Pledge phrase by phrase to interpret it’s true meaning:

I pledge allegiance – I promise my loyalty

to the Flag of the United States of America – to the flag symbolizing the USA, and all of its 50 states

and to the republic for which it stands – a country where people have the right to choose their representatives to form the government

one nation – a united nation

under God – God willing/ having faith in God

indivisible – a country that cannot be divided

with liberty – personal freedom

and justice – fair treatment from the law

for all – for each and every citizen of the country

  Of course, there are exceptions where people do not stand before the flag for religious reasons. Jehovah’s Witnesses sees saluting and pledging loyalty to a flag unbiblical, the phrase “under God” has created backlash from atheists and polytheists. Personally, I absolutely respect their beliefs as long as they can show the same respect in return with silence during the standing of the Pledge.

What does the National Anthem represent?

  September 14th, 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote the National Anthem one early morning after watching the British invasion of Ford McHenry during the War of 1812. Over 100 years later, President Herbert Hoover officially made the Star Spangled Banner the National Anthem for the United States on March 3rd, 1931. Some think of the National Anthem as just another song, but it has much more meaning behind it.

  One of the main reasons we stand for the National Anthem, (along with the Pledge) is to show respect for those who sacrificed their lives for others and to honor those who made it home after putting their life on the front line to protect current and future generations of America. Over 1.1 million Americans have died in U.S wars, and no matter what political view they might have, all military members are fighting for the same reason: to serve and protect their country. Another reason we stand for the National Anthem is to unite citizens as a whole. Everyone has their differences in opinions, beliefs, heritage, and so on and so forth, but at the end of the day we are all Americans who can proudly call America their home. Considering the United States is one of the most powerful, fortunate, and free countries in the world, everyone who takes residency among our lands can be classified as lucky compared to the underdeveloped countries in our world.

  In conclusion, we stand during the Pledge and the National Anthem before the American flag because it represents a sign of respect. Purposely being disrespectful not only reflects on the type of person you are, but how you value our country, and how unthankful you are for what the brave and hard-working veterans fought for. The National Anthem and Pledge bring together people from different backgrounds and unites us as a whole, because notwithstanding our cultural, political, and religious variances, the fact that we are all Americans united is stronger and more powerful than any enemy that attempts to tear our nation apart. So next time you have to stand up and say the Pledge or listen to the Star Spangled Banner in front of the flying flag, remember the background, meaning, and people that make up the history of them. Now, you can proudly put your right hand over your heart with a smile on your face after understanding the purpose behind the American flag. After all, there is much more to it than material and music.

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About the Contributor

4 Siblings Overnight

 Sophomore Vanessa Maturey went from one to five siblings overnight. In 2018 her life changed forever.

   Maturey grew up in a picture perfect family. A mother, father, and two kids, her and her older brother, Grant.

   “My family was at a funeral and my dad noticed his cousin wasn’t there,” Maturey said.

   They asked around and found out her father’s cousin and wife had been arrested, leaving his four kids in foster care. The kids were separated into two different  foster homes.

   “The night I found out, my parent’s called Grant and I into the living room. They said we were family and we had to help them, even though we are distant, family takes care of each other,” Maturey said.

   She and Grant were left speechless. Soon after, reality set in.

   “I met the kids at a McDonalds two months later in Wichita, Kansas. They were too young to really know what was going on other than the fact that they were meeting distant family members, but they were excited to see us,” she explained.

   They engaged in small talk and got to know one another a little better. It was awkward at first, but they settled in.

   “That same day we met they called my parents mom and dad,” she said.

   Their new siblings are Lily 9, Bryce 8, Peyton 7, Matthew 4. With the new additions difficulties arose.

   “We began fostering them, and I began resenting them,” Maturey said.

   She talked of being upset about not being the youngest anymore and feelings of having her parents taken away. Suddenly her parents were busy changing diapers, reading bedtime stories, and driving four kids to school, instead of listening to her talk about events with her friends, or what was going on at school. Maturey had immense feelings of jealousy and being forgotten.

   “We fostered them for over a year before we could make it official. It started getting easier,” she said.

   Routines started coming together. Her father would take the kids to and from school on his way to work, Grant and Vanessa drove together to school, and whoever was available when people needed to be places would volunteer. It truly takes a village to raise a family that big.

   “There are plenty of times I feel like a family, and then other times I get frustrated and feel disconnected,” Maturey said.

   There are eight people living in a house which once held four. Peyton and Lily share a room, Bryce and Matthew share a room, and Vanessa and Grant each have their own. This makes it moderately comfortable. 

   The frustration comes when the 

kids disobey and her parents get in a bad mood, or when no one can take Vanessa where she needs to go because the kids have a prior commitment.

   “The moment that stands out most of feeling like one big family, was at the courthouse when the adoption became official on October 11, 2019,” Maturey said.

   The time it took was well worth it.

   “I’ve bonded with all of them, but probably the girls a little more,” Maturey said.

   Maturey told stories of doing the girl’s hair and teaching the boys how to play soccer.

   “I have learned a lot about the foster care system and I’ve found out how many kids need help,” she said.

   “Adoption is too often overlooked and so many kids like the ones we adopted need a home,” Maturey said.

   “I have so much love for them. I wouldn’t change a thing,” Maturey concluded.


Designer at a Discount!

  Keeping up to date with popular name brands should never come at an extreme cost. Here is a list of trendy items and their fraction of the cost Amazon dupes; 

  LuluLemon has been a commonly purchased brand since the mid 2000s and their prices have steadily increased along with their popularity. LuluLemon align 28” leggings are one of their most popular products, which cost about $98. The most common dupe for these leggings are the Buttery Soft high waisted yoga pants on Amazon, which cost around $22. 

It is no secret Ray Ban sunglasses are a popular sunglass brand for many teens, but is it really worth the cost? The most common Ray Ban glasses I see people wearing are the Round Metal Classic G-15 + Gold, which cost around $154 before tax and shipping. You would be lucky to find these in store and especially on sale, but fortunately Amazon has an almost identical pair for $19.99 and is offered with Amazon Prime.

Hydro Flask water bottles have been around for a couple years now and their popularity has only increased. Hydro Flasks are great water bottles, especially the 32 oz. bottle with the wide mouth straw lid, which tends to be about $49.95. To me $5o for a water bottle is a bit extreme, but once again Amazon is coming to the rescue. Amazon sells a “Simple Modern Insulated Water Bottle with Straw Lid 1 Liter Reusable Wide Mouth Stainless Steel Flask Thermos”, which is also 32 oz and cost about $19.99 and also comes with Amazon Prime! 



Environmental Club Is Back

The Environmental Club is up and running. Being back four days a week has allowed the Environmental Club to start meeting once again. The club is meeting on Thursdays after school in room S101. “It is going well, we have our officers selected.Our next meeting is next Thursday.We will be voting on posters and recycling routes next week.” Ms. Linke, the club’s sponsor, said. The elected officers for this club are as follows: Connor Dalan- President, Max Keltner-Vice President, Trinity Massey- Secretary, and Liam Karp- Treasurer. 


Spring Break Activities

Are you finding yourself without Spring Break plans? If so, there are plenty of activities available in town.

Lake Springfield’s park trail is a 2.2 mile loop trail that is perfect for beginners.

Springfield Lake
With this shockingly warm March weather, there is no excuse to not be outdoors. There are various activities to do on the lake like fishing, kayaking, hammocking, or even hiking the Springfield Lake trail.

Bowling is an easy and inclusive way to socialize with friends. Andy B’s, Sunshine Lanes, and Enterprise Park Lanes are highly rated bowling alleys in the Springfield area.

Wonders of Wildlife
If you have not yet gotten the chance to visit Wonders of Wildlife, this conservation themed museum is waiting for you. Treat yourself to a $40 educational attraction that will not disappoint.

Volunteering is a great way to pass time, helping out our community benefits so many people. This can include tasks as simple as picking up trash around town, donating blood at the community blood center, or even taking it one step farther and researching your own place to volunteer like The Kitchen, Inc., for example.

Safely Hang out with Friends
Socializing with friends and family is always a good way to take your mind off of school, or work, etc. Hosting a small, safe, gathering might be the way to go. If you are looking for ways to spice things up, consider having a “Dip Party” where everyone offers to bring a different kind of sweet or savory dip.

Busiek State Park
Busiek State Park is a forest and wildlife area just south of Springfield offering activities such as camping, hiking, biking, and contains a shooting range, all productive ways to spend Spring Break.

Wild Animal Safari
Springfield’s local drive-thru reserve is a fun way to keep yourself entertained. In this 5-mile reserve, you are given the opportunity to see hundreds of wild animals. Yes, this is much like the Dickerson Park Zoo, but who doesn’t want to switch things up every once in a while.

The Power of Misinformation

Reading is believing. Right?

I think it’s a teacher’s job to teach you how to get your information but it is most definitely on the individual to go out and seek that information and for them to educate themselves.”

— Hannah Laflen

Misinformation has infiltrated every part of society: through our news cycle, our social media, our political arena, and every other branch of access. It influences our very perception of the world, yet remains veiled and largely unaddressed.
Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 Election have exposed the vast reach of this social issue.
However, misinformation has been prominent throughout history. Publicly-disseminated ‘half-truths’ arise at the very points when history is being made.
When isolated and amplified, it is this same tactic that is used to dismiss unquestionable historical events like the Moon Landing and the Jewish Holocaust of World War II.
One key distinction that must be made when it comes to false information is the line between misinformation and disinformation. Misinformation is incorrect information that is allowed to spread, oftentimes through online mediums.
Disinformation, however, according to Meira Gebel of Business Insider, is “intentionally, maliciously deceptive”.
Disinformation is a form of false information that is used to manipulate the actions of the listener towards a specific outcome. Misinformation, on the other hand, is unintentionally inaccurate. Misinformation may seem less harmful, however, both forms of media lies can be easily spread by an uninformed reader.
Even readers who consider themselves to be “informed” can unintentionally aid toxic misinformation spread by sharing an unvetted source through social media. This reoccurring cycle of falsification thrives on a lack of media literacy.
Media literacy is knowing what you’re sharing and where exactly your information comes from: not just according to the word of an influencer or celebrity but from tangible and backable facts.
In the 2019 book “The Power of Misinformation: How False Beliefs Spread” by James Owen Weatherall, and Cailin, O’Connor, this concept of false beliefs is heavily discussed.
One major question Weatherall and O’Connor address that we must ask ourselves is whether or not true democracy can survive in the era of false information. Because democracy is founded on principles like truth and justice when the fundamental concept of truth is uprooted, what is left of democracy?
The direct correlation between the level of trust we endow the ‘truth’ and our trust for others political and socially is clear. The less we trust political figures and our fellow citizens, the less we can believe facts produced by such sources.
In recent years, a general increase of individualism and a shrinking political structure is said by a Pew Research Center study to have increased over 65% of U.S. adults believe that a lack of trust in the federal government and one another makes it harder to solve problems.
The problem with misinformation is that in certain cases, even when a piece of information is exposed as false, it still has power over our culture. The misinformation that we fall prey to reveals the cognitive and perception-based vulnerabilities within our view of the world. In other words, misinformation shows us what we can and will be fooled by. The fact that we are vulnerable to certain forms of deception is terrifying and media literacy must be cultivated to combat it.

The following interviews were conducted between reporters and students Hannah Laflen (Senior), and Cooper Peck (Junior), concerning their personal opinions on misinformation and media literacy.

Interview with Hannah Laflen:

How would you define misinformation?
“I would define misinformation as a piece of information that is extremely exaggerated, or points fingers at someone. And obviously any blatantly false information…I think they [radicalized new sources] are one of the biggest contributors to the misinformation.”

How has misinformation affected your perspective of politics?
“I have realistically been on both sides of that political spectrum. I grew up in a really conservative town with a really conservative family. And by going to school and educating myself, and learning more of what I didn’t know before, I have kind of made a full one-eighty.”

How do you feel about the factual discrepancy between radicalized news sources?
“I do look at information from both ends of the spectrum, CNN and Fox…It does make me angry though, that people are so critical about where you get your news information, that people have to look on both sides…and have to verify their information through multiple sources.”

Do you think that a non-politicized media is possible?
“I truthfully don’t think that will ever happen. I think that we are always going to have differing news sources and I think in reality that’s good but I don’t think there is a reality in which we will see that.”

Whose job is it to teach students how to gather news in a factual and well-rounded fashion?
“I think it’s a teacher’s job to teach you how to get your information but it is most definitely on the individual to go out and seek that information and for them to educate themselves.”

How has your involvement in government classes helped you?
“Taking government classes and AP Government has contributed to my knowledge…Knowing information from both sides, and both sources and comparing them is so important. Getting that information and educating yourself on politics in general, and widening your sources is what has given me my opinion. Having an in-depth knowledge or looking at politics and the history of politics has given me my perspective.”

Interview with Cooper Peck:

How would you define misinformation?
“Very similarly, I think it comes down to when they [news sources] make information fit with their opinions.”

How has misinformation affected the decline of trust in the media?
“It has definitely gotten worse and worse as people become more and more radicalized.”

How has politics influenced your view of misinformation in the media?
“Just knowing how much bias is out there both in the media, and seeing it through events, it has made me fall more towards the middle on political ideas, simply not knowing who I can trust”.

Who does the responsibility of teaching media literacy fall upon?
“I think it should take place at a younger level, but it is more of a personal responsibility you bring upon yourself…I have gotten more interested in how politics and government work but I also have a twin brother who I am around all the time and he doesn’t have an interest in that stuff. It just comes down to personal responsibility and involved you want to be.”

Our Next Student Body President

Election week was a busy week for Junior Orlando McElderry, who was running for the position of 2021-22 Student Body President. There was a list of things for each candidate to do, and the pressure for the outcome of the election was strong. As election week came to an end, and the results were counted, it was soon announced that the votes had resulted in a tie between Junior Ami Thompson and Orlando McElderry. A tie-breaking re-vote would be cast the next day during lunch periods. 

At the end of the second voting day, the re-vote had proven McElderry the winner and the next Student Council President. 

Election week is now over, and McElderry has experienced the beginning stages of preparation for next year’s presidency. When asked how he is feeling about his new position, he states, “I feel weird. Usually I’m the guy in the back who has friends and does his part, but definitely not the popular guy,”. Following the announcement of his victory, McElderry has felt the attention of the student body on him even more so. “I have gotten a lot more attention from everyone. I feel out of place,” he states. 

Despite feeling this way now, McElderry has positive hopes for the school year of his presidency. “Next year is looking bright. Hopefully getting to go back to five days will be a blessing, but also all of the activities and environments that we missed out on we can make up for,” he says.

A busy election week is only to be followed by an even busier year for McElderry, but for now, all there is left to do is wait and hope for an excellent 2021-22 school year.

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Camp Barnabas Campfire 5K

Camp Barnabas is holding an outdoor event to get campers and volunteers alike excited for their upcoming spring and summer sessions. The evening begins with a  1/10 mile walk for campers, where runners and volunteers alike will be cheering on from the sidelines. This provides the perfect opportunity to keep those with special needs involved while also keeping their health in mind.

As soon as this kickoff walk ends, 5K runners and walkers along with those participating in the 1-mile run/walk. All these events along with more festivities are taking place this Saturday, March 6th. Volunteers and participants are encouraged to dress to the theme of “Campfire” and those with the best costumes will have the chance will win a prize in the customer contest. This event is not just for Barnabas campers and volunteers, Members of the Student Council along with members of the Volunteerism Program will be volunteering at this event as well! Countless local organizations and community members are contributing to this event all for the benefit of Barnabas camps.

For more info go to 

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Lady Chiefs Entered the Top 50


Girls Basketball

Making a statement and carrying on the tradition of Kickapoo Girls’ Basketball. Once again, the Lady Chiefs have made it onto the top 100 ranked high school basketball list. According to MaxPreps, the Kickapoo Lady Chiefs are ranked #46 in the nation. Every week, the rankings are updated and Kickapoo continues to rise on the ranking list.

In 2016, the Lady Chiefs were ranked #52 in the nation, according to MaxPreps. They finished 29-3 on the year and won the Class 5 State Championship. The current Lady Chiefs are looking to collect another plaque and banner to hang around Kickapoo.

“I feel like it is my responsibility to pass it (Kickapoo Lady Chiefs basketball tradition) along to the future players,” Senior, Indya Green said.

The Lady Chiefs stand as #2 in the state and hold a record of 19-2. With 4 regular season games left, the Lady Chiefs hope to add on to the current 15-game winning streak.

As the post-season starts in 3 week, the Lady Chiefs will have to advance through districts and sectionals to move on to the Missouri Class 6 State Tournament.

click on image to watch interview with Indya Green

Senior, Indya Green

Tossing, Turning, and Thinking

KHS Winterguard athletes prepare for a new season with new regulations and a new mindset.


Senior Emily Young performs with the colorguard at an Friday football game. Photo credit to Lauren Arnold.

Kickapoo’s Winterguard season will look unconventional this year due to COVID-19 the recent spike of cases nationwide.

   Winterguard is a choreographed performance art in which performers use rifles, sabers, and flags as props. Within this discipline, precision and energy are vital to emotionally impactful performances.

   This season, however, cohort separation between students has been challenging. Because some rehearsals take place during school hours, not all members can be present for all practices.

   Additionally, their typical style of choreography has required alterations, and their usual outside consultants are unable to support the group this year. The combination of obstacles has altered the overall experience for performers.

   Thankfully, the style of the sport makes social distancing slightly easier.

   “With the equipment work we do, we are used to being farther apart so social distancing hasn’t been too difficult for us”, comments Colorguard sponsor and KHS Social Studies teacher Sherri Peterson.

   Winter Guard senior Benjamin Ralston speaks about the impacts of the new barriers.

   ”It is hard to enjoy something as much as you normally do when you can’t do it to the full extent it’s intended”, Ralston says.

   More than that, he comments that the synergy of the group has been affected. Synergy is the combined efforts of the members amplifying together to produce a greater, collective work. This group result can be better (or worse) than the performance of the individuals.

   Simply, positive synergy is irreplaceable in Colorguard. And because of the limitations in place, the team dynamic has been altered.

   However, according to Peterson, these changes are pushing the students to maintain their momentum now more than ever.

“I think they are excited to be able to do what they love doing, performing – even though it has been different”, Peterson says.

And despite many obstacles, they will be able to do just that. 

   “Both of the winter guard circuits that we compete in have chosen to offer virtual competition seasons”, Peterson says.

   These circuits have been giving their teams the option of whether to register for competitive or non-competitive performances. 

   Practically speaking, this means that the KHS Winter Guard will submit a video performance and will receive scores and feedback.

   “They have been very motivated to excel at the performance opportunities we have had so far this year”, says Peterson.

   The team picks a theme each season; this season’s theme is centralized around thinking. Inspired by a famous bronze sculpture titled The Thinker and crafted by Auguste Rodin, the show will focus on the mind. According to Peterson, the performance will juxtapose classical elements with a modern twist.

   Peterson says, “We are going to use bright, vibrant colors and a collection of different types of musical genres.”

   The purpose of the show is to convey to audiences the power of thinking. This year, that power has been shown. With quarantine and societal unrest came a spiral of unhealthy thought patterns for many individuals. Mental health suffered. But creativity flourished. Books were written and art was inspired based on our shared struggles. The performance highlights thought as the art form of the mind. It also inadvertently speaks to the power of thought during these trying times. 

   Worldwide, people have relearned the value of each moment this year. Because many sports and fine arts groups have experienced problems with meeting regularly, this has made every moment count.

   Peterson says, “We’ve just tried to appreciate the opportunities we get to have together as a team – have fun…and always focus on enjoying the memories we are making”.

   In the end, the focus placed on the hardships we experience is either positive or negative. 

   “We often talk about challenges and obstacles as we prepare for performances…[placing] a focus on being positive-minded, mentally tough, and confident in your preparation.”

   The Winter Guard season this year is unconventional. However, these performers have adapted to the best of their abilities and have continued working hard despite numerous obstacles.

   Peterson says of her students, “They have done a great job, been positive-minded, and acclimated to changes or other obstacles extremely well”. 

Gift Ideas for All Family Members

Unsure of what to get your family members for the Holidays? Read through this short list for some common 2020 Holiday gifts!

What to get for Moms:

  • Air fryer

    • Ranges from $40-100 on Amazon
  • Personalized birthstone necklace

    • Around $30 on Etsy
  • Heated or weighted blanket

    • Around $40 on Amazon, TJ Maxx, & Target

What to get for Dads:

  • Personalized cutting board

    • $35 on Etsy
  • Make your own hot sauce kit

    • $40 on Uncommongoods
  • Yeti Mugs

    • Ranges $20-30 on Amazon

What to get for Sisters:

  • Custom face or pet socks

    • $12 on amazon
  • Fun clay or wire earrings & rings

    • Very common on Etsy for under $20
  • Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser

    • $15-20 on Amazon

What to get for Brothers:

  • Leather travel pouch

    • Ranges from $20-50 on Amazon
  • Door hanging pull up bar

    • $35 on Amazon
  • Mens Ugg Neumel Boot

    • $130 on Ugg website, tons of colors

Holiday Lights


Gardens Aglow at the Japense Stroll Gardens, photo curtosey of Michael Burgess

One of the many joys brought by the holiday season is the incredible Holiday light shows throughout the country. Luckily for us, there are plenty to visit nearby. With this year changing our holiday season in many different ways, this is one activity we can enjoy without putting our, and others, health at risk.

Finley River Park is located just outside of Springfield. This is a drive-through attraction that provides a fun experience for all ages, with opportunities to deliver letters to Santa, and a list of other holiday light shows for families to visit in the area.

Another plus is that the whole city of Ozark is currently having a Christmas light contest in replacement for their Holiday parade, so while this show may be a little out of the way there and plenty more light show displays you’ll get to see as a result of your journey.

Located in Battlefield near McBride Elementary, this light show is put on by one of our own Kickapoo Cheifs. Jaxon Baker has been doing this light show for about 6 years and it never fails to draw a crowd. Synced to music on 97.1 FM this light show never fails to amaze the community.


Located on Farm Road 146 this beloved farm visited by Springieldians for ages, gets into the holiday spirit with this drive-thru light show. Candy Cane Lane goes throughout the front sector of the park covering the field with lights. With a $5 entrance fee, and hot cocoa available for purchase, this light shoe provides the perfect opportunity to get into the holiday spirit in a safe and healthy way.

This light shows had been a fan favorite of Springfield for many years. This light show put on by the Bagwell family is located in Brentwood neighborhood is another one synced to classic holiday tunes. When visiting this attraction tune into 105.5 FM and watch the lights dance in coordination with the music. Although their is almost always a line to this attractionn the wait is completley worth it.


Last but not least on our list is Gardens Aglow. Located in the Japanese stroll gardens at Nathaniel Greene Parks, this light show is a walk through experience. This one is harder to enjoy socially distanced than the others, btu masks are requried. This event features the stroll gardens being compltley decked out form head to toe in holiday lights. This even will completley emrese you in lights, with hundreds of diffrent paths to take and holiday music filling the air, it is impossible to not feel the holiday spirit at this attraction. Admisson fees are $5 for Adults (13 and up), $2 for children (12-2), and infants are free (ages 2-0). This attraction provides fun for all ages with the endless lights and food vendors at the entrance.


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Happy Holiday Facts

Happy Holiday Facts

After the chaos that 2020 has brought us all this year, lighten the mood with these holiday fun facts!

  1. American’s usually spend around $1,500 on gifts each year.
  2. The song Jingle Bells was the first song ever to be played in space.
  3.  The NORAD, also known as the North American Aerospace Defense Command has been tracking Santa’s journey around the globe since the year 1958.
  4. Spiders are usually unwanted animals but in Ukraine, they are considered symbols of good luck at Christmas.
  5. There is a Christmas tree in Canada that is worth $15 million.
  6.  In November of 2013, a house in Texas was 42 feet wide and 10.1 feet tall… it was all made of gingerbread!
  7. Americans spend around $2 billion on holiday goodies each year.
  8. 8.5 million lights are involved to decorate Disney World during the holiday seasons.
  9.  The popular tradition of putting up a Christmas tree is more than 500 years old.
  10. In Arizona, there is a 30 foot Christmas tree composed of tumbleweeds.

*All photo credits courtesy of MCT Direct*

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