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Around the World

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Around the World

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    One of the many trips being offered this school year is an educational based trip to Peru.

   Two of the Spanish teachers, Mrs. Nunez and Mrs. Stennett, organized an eight-day trip in order to teach students cultural diversity and the history behind Peru. This trip was open to any student and family member and currently has ten students traveling with a few chaperones.

   “I haven’t visited South Africa before, so I want to see that part of the world,” Stennett said.

   Students will leave early July 9th and will start their adventure almost immediately. Visitations to the Castle of Lima, Machu Picchu, and the capital of Peru will be on the student itinerary.

   Multiple trips to an elementary school will be included in the trip and will encourage students to interact with children and look at education through a new perspective.

   The basis of this trip is to encourage students to travel and experience new cultures and to develop a different perspective on the world.

   Students will be having authentic cooking classes, conversations about food and contrasting cultures, and will be cramming in information about the country.

   “Even if you can’t go on these trips, try and travel in your lifetime. It really does change your life and perspective on the world, it changes who you are,” Stennett said.

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GSTA Goes to Jefferson City

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GSTA Goes to Jefferson City

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   The 2019-2020 legislative session will mark the 21st consecutive year that Missouri legislators were presented with the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act (MONA).
   Currently, Missouri’s Human Rights Act offers protections based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, age and disability. MONA would add protection for sexual orientation and gender identity.
   Equality Day takes place on August 10th and is a statewide event where students and adults make the trek to their state capitals to speak to their legislators about LGBTQ+ legislation like MONA.

   This year, the Gay Straight Trans Alliance (GSTA) was part of the hundreds of people in attendance.
   “There were people from GLO, there were people from Central, there were people from St. Louis and Kansas City,” freshman El Backus said.
   Despite bipartisan support, the bill currently remains unassigned to a committee and is not predicted to pass before the legislative term concludes at the end of May.

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Getting Vaccinated

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Getting Vaccinated

Vaccinations are an important part of staying healthy and happy in both school and real life.

Vaccinations are an important part of staying healthy and happy in both school and real life.

Vaccinations are an important part of staying healthy and happy in both school and real life.

Vaccinations are an important part of staying healthy and happy in both school and real life.

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The end of the school year marks the beginning of the next. It also marks a new requirement for all new seniors for the 2019-20 school year.
“All incoming seniors must have received one dose of the Meningococcal vaccine after their 16th birthday in order to start school in the fall,” the Kickapoo high school website stated.
Meningococcal is better known as meningitis. Incoming seniors can get their meningitis shot at walk in clinics such as HyVee and Walgreens or their family doctor.
Students need to bring documentation of their vaccination to the school nurse as soon as possible.
Meningitis is a serious disease. All incoming seniors need to get their shot at the earliest convenience.
Come next year every senior must have their shot to attend classes and graduate.

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Smarter Than The Book

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Smarter Than The Book

A member of Scholar Bowl  quizzes another member for their upcoming competition.

A member of Scholar Bowl quizzes another member for their upcoming competition.

A member of Scholar Bowl quizzes another member for their upcoming competition.

A member of Scholar Bowl quizzes another member for their upcoming competition.

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Scholar bowl is a club where students compete against other schools and try to answer trivia questions as fast as they can. It is a very competitive club. They meet every PLT in room 230 with Ms. Odom to practice for upcoming competitions. Members quiz each other from a binder of questions that may be asked at the competition. They never know what questions will be asked it is different each competition. The students must attempt to memorize as much as they can.
They won their most recent competition against Carl Junction.
“The first game Scholar Bowl won by 420 to 390 and the second game we won by 430 to 290,” junior Robson Dasilva said.
On friday, May 3rd they are going to Columbia to compete against Parkway South and other schools. Scholar Bowl hopes to win and the members will leave school at 1:20 and spend the weekend in Columbia. The competition is going to be held on the Mizzou campus.
The members that are going to state are Dylan Morris, Katie Lynch, Anna Weiner, Taylor Cobb, Josh Lawson, Chase Sponenberg, Roman Taylor, CJ Wears, and Mike Owsley.
Although, all these members are going only four members will be competing. These include Taylor Cobb, Josh Lawson, Chase Sponenberg, and Mike Owsley.

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A Trip Around Ireland

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A Trip Around Ireland

The Credo mass is an example of what students will be preforming in Ireland.

The Credo mass is an example of what students will be preforming in Ireland.

The Credo mass is an example of what students will be preforming in Ireland.

The Credo mass is an example of what students will be preforming in Ireland.

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The Choir Department was given the opportunity to perform in the Limerick music festival in Ireland. This festival is made up of orchestras and choral groups from across Ireland and America.

This trip allows musically inclined students to perform in a international festival and experience different cultures at the same time.

  Not many schools get the chance to travel to a foreign country and participate in a musical festival among Irish and American Cultures.  Students attending this trip will be performing a mass by Mozart at the Limerick university and Christ Cathedral Church in Dublin, Ireland.

   The trip is from June 5-13, and five of those days will consist of rehearsals and performances for the festival. The rest of the trip will be spent touring the land of Ireland and touring coast lines, cliffs, and castles where students will get a chance to kiss the famous Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle.

  “My favorite part is sitting back and watching my students perform in all of these wonderful places. During the festival I won’t need to sing or direct or do anything, I just get to sit back and watch them perform,” Choir Director Nathan Cornelius said.

   Students on this trip will get the chance to build a passion for traveling internationally and witness other cultures through music. Not only is this a trip for students but it helps build the reputation of the Choir department and allows further opportunities to occur.  

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Parking Lot Changes

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Parking Lot Changes

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After years of complaints about the parking lot being a chaotic mess,it will be sealed and striped over the 2019 summer, and for the first time, assigned parking will be implemented. Chief Mentors will get first pick on spots, following with seniors and their tribe they were assigned in May, just like scheduling.
Juniors and sophomores will follow. Sophomore will be unable to pick a spot until their license has been obtained. “I think this is an efficient way because it will hold the people more accountable for following the rules,” sophomore Harley Zimmerman said.
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When The Votes Are In, Change Could Be Coming

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When The Votes Are In, Change Could Be Coming

The Missouri flag stands tall outside of school.

The Missouri flag stands tall outside of school.

The Missouri flag stands tall outside of school.

The Missouri flag stands tall outside of school.

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Laws and new bills get passed all the time and high school students rarely know about them. Even when these laws and bills affect students in their everyday life. Three bills are on their way to being passed either in Missouri or other states that might affect Missouri very soon.
The first bill is the Phillips-Hill’s bill. This will allow students to work from home on online assignments during snow days instead of extending the school year.
The would be called “flexible instructional days” and would work the same as a normal day of school. The only difference is that students would stay at home during days where the weather is too bad to travel.
With the addition of Chromebooks in schools adding days where students worked from home online would be an easy adjustment.
“Flexible instructional days are a valuable tool for schools because they offer an opportunity to meet the educational needs of students without having to extend the school year too deep into the summer,” Senate Education Committee Chairman Ryan Aument said.
The second bill is the Cronkite New Voices Act, more commonly referred to as the New Voices Act.
“In 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that censorship of certain articles in a student news publication didn’t violate the students’ First Amendment rights,” Editor and Chief of The Standard, Cortlynn Stark, wrote.
This bill would allow Missouri student journalists to have more freedom with what they write for school publications.
“Censoring student journalists actually hurts the future of journalism. When you take away their First Amendment rights to publish, you damage their trust in the system that supports journalism,” Stark wrote.
Many people seem to agree with Stark as this bill has been being pushed to pass since November, 2017. If the bill passes a whole new era of student journalism could take place.
The third bill would cause the school year start date to be in late August. Due to high rates of tourism in Missouri a change such as this would affect many groups of people.
“The proposal by Rep. Jeff Knight, R-Lebanon, would set the starting date no earlier than 14 days before the first Monday in September,” Kurt Erickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote.
The sooner the school year begins, the sooner families have to end their summer vacations. This means Missouri is making less tourism money than what is wanted. Pushing the school year back even just two weeks would give students more of their break while also giving the state an income boost.

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Keeping Up With Scholar Bowl

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Keeping Up With Scholar Bowl

Scholar Bowl meets in room 230.

Scholar Bowl meets in room 230.

Scholar Bowl meets in room 230.

Scholar Bowl meets in room 230.

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Scholar Bowl is a club where students answer questions faster and more accurately than the opposing team. Scholar Bowl is very busy right now.
“We have the Trivia Night, Wednesday (February 28th) we have Reed Springs, we have History Bowl on Tuesday (March 5th), after spring break we have two big competitions, and then after that, we start districts,” sponsor Mrs. Odom said.
This isn’t all the club is doing. Scholar Bowl is intent on helping both themselves and others with some of their events.
“We have Trivia Night on Friday (March 1st). It’s our big fundraiser where we’re raising money for our trips and travel but we’re also raising money for Mrs. Moran in the counseling center because she’s in heart failure,” Odom said.
The members of Scholar Bowl are enthusiastic to be helping out while participating in a club they love.

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Feel The Vibrations

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Feel The Vibrations

A student in band plays the Marimba.

A student in band plays the Marimba.

A student in band plays the Marimba.

A student in band plays the Marimba.

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Drumline: one of the most underrated and mentally tasking sports at school.  The season goes from November to April but competition season doesn’t start until February. Their most recent competition was Saturday at Nixa high school.   The main, intense practices are from November through January but practice never stops even during competition season. Rehearsals are every Tuesday, Thursday, and sometimes on Friday. Practice can go from five to nine or six to nine. At the LPA assembly on February 21st, it was mentioned that drumline was ranked 4th in the United States but this changes constantly due to competitions always happening around the world. Big groups from California and Flordia compete which can knock drumline down a rank. Chase Sullins a member of drumline has been apart of drumline for 5 seasons. This includes Marching band and Winter drumline season each year. Judging in the percussion world is very intense. Last year drumline made prelims and semifinals. “Everything is seen from your feet and the way you play the music. They see super small things and add every decimal point it’s very very hard to make finals,” junior Chase Sullins said. Drumline works very hard on what they do and their schedules can be hectic. It takes a lot of time and energy. “It is a lot of time. It’s a huge time commitment and it cost a lot of money be prepared for the time dedication and money. It’s very hard for me on my schedule. I’m pretty much never home. That’s how it is for all of us,” Sullins said. Although it is a lot of work and a huge commitment, there are the experiences and the adrenaline of being on the floor doing what drumline knows best giving all they can when they hit the competition floor. “My favorite part is probably just my experiences. The experiences are really good like going to competitions and stuff. I’ve had a lot of troubles and a lot of good. It gives you a lot of discipline. The intense drumming is kind of like the military it’s like doing military drills it’s tough,” Sullins said.  Drumline doesn’t get the attention they desire at school. Few people go to their competitions other than band kids. Drumline’s hard work seems to be overlooked when compared to other sports. “I would really like to have more kids come out and support drumline. We usually don’t see a lot of kids other than band kids, we usually just see parents. It would be very inspiring to see more kids out there. There’s always a lot of support for football but not for drumline. That would make us really happy,” Sullins said.

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Are We Safe?

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Are We Safe?

To get into the building you must go through two sets of doors, the second set is only able to be unlocked if you buzz in using the intercom.

To get into the building you must go through two sets of doors, the second set is only able to be unlocked if you buzz in using the intercom.

To get into the building you must go through two sets of doors, the second set is only able to be unlocked if you buzz in using the intercom.

To get into the building you must go through two sets of doors, the second set is only able to be unlocked if you buzz in using the intercom.

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ABC News states that fifty school shootings have taken place since the Columbine shooting in 1999.
School systems take shootings very seriously. A new procedure called ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) is a plan of action that tries to keep students safer than they previously were under the old system of lockdown drills.
“ALICE is thinking about the situation and what you can do and what you feel comfortable doing if put in that situation,” Assistant Principal Chris Hunsaker said.
ALICE training for teachers started this school year. Later in the year students will be learning about the revamped crisis drills from teachers and be seeing them in action during intruder drills.
“We will have one intruder drill every quarter, I don’t know a specific date,” Hunsaker said.
The way schools and law enforcement respond to shootings
have changed dramatically since Columbine.
When the old lockdown system was designed to protect students from drive by shootings, gang violence, or random shootings outside the building.
“Even police officers were taught it would be a hostage situation. And most school shootings are no longer hostage situations,” Hunsaker said.
The first step of the new procedure would be to try to get the student body safely out of the building.
“If you knew you needed to get out of the building and you could get to it safely then you’re going to run,” Hunsaker said.
The next step, if it isn’t safe to get out of the building, is to block the intruder from getting into the room.
“If you knew that the person was right outside your door you’re going to barricade it and make it as
hard as possible for them to get in,” Hunsaker said.
And if neither of those options can be put into action and the intruder is already in the room, students and teachers are asked to contain the threat.
“If you knew that person was coming in the door, you’re going to do everything in your power to prevent the situation from getting any worse than it already is,” Hunsaker said. “You’re going to make things as difficult as possible for them to do the act that they’re wanting to do.”
Many teachers have strong opinions on the new procedures.
“I was skeptical. I’d heard through word of mouth a lot of different things about ALICE training, but I hadn’t received any of the training yet,” Hostetler said.
ALICE gives teachers and students a plan to rely on if an event like a school shooting was ever to take place.
“You cannot plan for a tragic event like a school shooting. They’re not all the same, they’re not carried out in the same way. So you really can’t be prepared for that, but what you can be prepared for is what to do in the moment,” he added.
School shootings are unique situations and should be treated as such.
“You don’t know until that day comes if they’re going to be in your classroom or the hallway outside of the classroom or the other end of the school,” Hostetler said.
ALICE could help teachers and students react in a high-stress situation outside of the school environment.
“It’s good thought process to have no matter where you go. Whether it be a movie theatre or some other public place,” Hunsaker said.
This will be new to a lot of students, but in the end, it could save lives and prepare them for situations later that may occur further down the road.
Trying to take out the intruder is the last step in ALICE, and it can save lives.
“The resource officer talked to us about training that he had been to. He talked about what happens if you just stay in your room versus if you just try to get out and what happens if you fight against a shooter coming into your room,” Hostetler said.
All the information about ALICE, such as a full history and tips on implementation is available at www.alicetraining.com.
“If we are running this efficiently, within seconds of a shot being fired people are getting out of the building or they’re blocking the room so an intruder cannot get into the room. That person is going to be left with empty halls and rooms they can’t get into,” Hostetler said.
ALICE is nothing for students, parents, or staff members to worry about. If a tragic event like a shooting was to ever happen, having a set procedure like ALICE is more likely to keep people safe.
“I think the training and their ideals are good, but the situation is something that I hate,” Hostetler said.

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Go Caps

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Go Caps

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`   In order to graduate high school, there are many requirements to receive a diploma. The classes and skills are taught to prepare students for higher education, and the work field. One component high school classes do not acknowledge is; soft skills. These skills are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.

  With the absence of this teaching, Go Caps has made its way to the Ozarks to fix the issue.

  Greater Ozark Centers for Advanced Professional Studies (GO CAPS), is a year long education program that specializes in career paths for juniors and seniors. With a morning (8-10:30 a.m.) or afternoon (Noon-2:30 p.m.) session, Students will spend half of their day at their home school, and the other half in the subject area of their choice. In the 2018-19 school year, Kickapoo had  six students in the morning session and 11 students in the afternoon session.

It has been available to all 5 high schools here since it began.  GO CAPS is in the middle of recruiting for 2019-2020 school year, which will be its fifth year,” A+ Coordinator Kim Harris said.

  The program offers five different strands including Medicine and Health Care, Business and Entrepreneurship, IT and Software Solutions, Engineering and Manufacturing, and teacher education.

  Depending on what field is chosen, the location of the Go Caps setting can range from area hospitals, the Efactory, Elementary schools, to Springfields Remanufacturing Corporation.

  A drawback to the program is transportation. Although some of the classrooms may be far from home, or homesite school, Go Caps provides options for juniors and Seniors without means of transportation.

“ If an SPS student does not have a car, the Go Caps team will arrange with our transportation department to bus the student from home site to the Go Caps classroom and back,” Education Director Dana Hubbard said.

  Along with bussing, students can apply for transportation scholarships if they qualify for free or reduced lunch rates. The scholarship could include a gas card to help out with the costs.

  The learning experience is  hands on. With a class size ranging from 11-25, Go Caps is able to put students in real life situations.



 “At the beginning of the year, you have to learn a lot of procedures, and terms, but once you are past that you get to do job shadows, and watch surgeries. We were able to visit acute care unit, the  ER, laproscopic surgeries,” junior Alyson Thomas said.

  Classes such as the Project Lead the Way are just a gateway to some of the experiences in the medical strand.  

  The program drives students to polish their professionalism skills by; learning project management, collaborating with businesses, making connections with future employers, and most of all explore individual interests.

  A frequent misunderstanding is the ability to receive credits. The program is a full year, and taking up half of the school day, it may seem difficult to fit it in your schedule.

  “Go Caps counts as three elective credits. There are also dual credit opportunities (with MSU) in each of our five strands,” Hubbard said.

  If the credits  hinder the decision to enroll, there are more benefits to consider. The program’s goal is to pair students with local businesses, and better a resume.

  “ Students interact directly with high level industry professionals, and have many opportunities to network and seek out industry mentors. Recommendations from industry professionals  have the power to add depth and breadth to a college application and/or to a resume,” Hubbard said

  Many upcoming juniors and seniors are uniformed or have overlooked the program.

  “Each year, we always have vacant seats in nearly every strand and each year we know there are students out there that are missing out on what can potentially be a life changing experience. We want to fill every seat available” Hubbard said.

 The experience can show students a closer look at different career paths, along with narrowing down college majors.

  “What a better way to explore than in HS when you are not having to pay for college courses?,” Harris said. 

In the next five years, Go Caps hopes to expand the Teacher Education program, as they currently only offer a morning session. Along with a possible addition to the five current strands.



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Dresses From KARE Team

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The food pantry, or Kickapoo Korner market, is overseen by Counselor Mrs.Moran and the KARE Team. For many years the pantry has helped students with personal needs, and offers dress donations to any student looking for a homecoming, or prom dresses. “It’s a part of the food pantry, and the Kickapoo corner. That’s what we call it.”counselor, Amy Moran said. The main use of the food pantry is to supply students with any supplemental foods, clothing, and most of all hygiene products. All items within the food pantry are available for student use, and are used to help any student in need. With this being said, the food pantry offers these dresses and many other products to make the students feel welcome and included within the school system. The program first started with spirit tee shirts. “We do like Kickapoo gear, like shirts, tee shirts, and sweatshirts. When people graduate, they donate those in case kids don’t have money to buy kickapoo gear, so when we started that we thought what else can we offer?” Moran said. KARE Team went on to host a dress drive to gather prom dresses. After shorter dresses were donated, they added Homecoming dresses to the market.
“So we started in the spring to get prom dresses, and we had a big donation of those several years ago and we still have a lot of those,” Moran said. As of right now the KARE Team has plenty of dresses, but will always accept any dress donations. With the dress donations the KARE Team and Moran just ask that the dresses are moderately new or lightly worn and are within current styles. Dresses that are too worn and are out of style will be donated to other second hand thrift stores. “We have fifty dresses back there at all times,”Moran said. If any student is in need of a homecoming or prom dress, they should talk to their counselor and from then all will be directed down to the pantry. Once entering the room a line of dresses are hanging up, and range in sizes. As the KARE Team has plenty of smaller sized dresses, the KARE Team is always in need of some plus size dresses. Donations within non perishable foods, hygiene products, School Spirit gear, and dresses are always needed to help kickapoo students in any way. To donate anything to the KARE Team contact Moran, as her email is located on the counselor’s webpage. Click below to be directed there.
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Never Again

187,000 students have experienced a school shooting in the past 20 years. This time, thoughts and prayers aren’t enough.

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Never Again

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187,000 students, more than 100 times the student population of Kickapoo High School, have experienced a school shooting in the last 19 years, according to a March analysis by the Washington Post. Since then, over 130 students from teachers and children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, to young adults and faculty members at Virginia Tech, have been killed as a result of these shootings.

In February, 17 students and staff members at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School were shot and killed by accused gunman Nikolas Cruz, a former student of the Parkland, Florida high school. Cruz executed the attack with an AR-15-style rifle. He purchased the firearm legally nearly a year before the massacre, USA Today reports.

Federal law states that it is unlawful to “sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition” to those who have been committed to a mental institution or are believed to

be mentally defective. NBC News reported in February that Cruz was examined by professionals Henderson Behavioral Health, and the Florida Department of Children and Families when his mental state was called into question in 2016. Cruz’s own attorney also described him as a “broken child” who suffered from brain development issues and depression in February. Still, he was able to legally purchase the firearm used to kill 15 students and two staff members at Douglas High.

But for the survivors, the usual social media circulation of “thoughts and prayers” was not enough. Instead, Douglas students stepped into the limelight to demand change in an unprecedented student movement.

These demands went on to incite demonstrations like the Walkout for Our Lives: a student protest pleading for stricter gun control laws, especially those regarding AR-15 and other assault-style rifles. The Washington Post reports that tens of thousands of students walked out of their schools in protest, including students of Central, Glendale and Kickapoo High Schools.

Student protesters watch as sophomore Jaden Carter discusses the importance of safety in schools. Photo by Tony Madden.

Douglas High survivors also organized a nationwide protest dubbed the March for Our Lives, which drew hundreds of thousands to march for gun control in Washington, D.C. The Post compared the size and scope of the march to that of student protests during the Vietnam War.

   In March, juniors Grace Laflen and Zoë Sweaney organized Kickapoo’s participation in the Springfield Walkout for Our Lives: a peaceful protest to push for stricter gun control laws, especially those regarding assault weapons.

   According to Sweaney, more than 300 students walked out of their classes to the football field on March 23, chanting “no more silence, end gun violence.” Organizers of the walkout spoke to the crowd of protestors for approximately 45 minutes before returning to class. According to a News-Leader report from the week of the walkout, students at Central and Glendale High Schools also walked out.

   “I do think that we made a profound impact,” Sweaney said. “I think that in their minds -at the state level of our government, and even the federal level of our government- they know that we are here. And I think they’ll keep that in mind from now on.”

   Sweaney was pleased to report that the walkout was executed well, with support from administration and nearly three times as many participants than expected.

   Sweaney told KHQ that more restricted access to AR-15 and other assault-style weapons and more intensive background and mental health checks in both the private and public sectors of firearm sales are the two main priorities on their agenda for the #NeverAgain movement. While  she does not advocate for a repeal of the second amendment, she says  that no amendment is immune to regulation.

   “Although our right to vote is constitutionally protected, everyone still must register and voter ID laws exist,” Sweaney said. “I think it’s important they know that although we recognize their rights, we also recognize the importance of regulating access to dangerous weapons.” She also added that people who “stay hidden” behind the second amendment are the greatest barrier to change.

   Sweaney told KHQ that in all, this bipartisan movement has one goal: to keep children safe at school at all costs. She says she often becomes concerned when politics become too involved with this goal.

Junior Zoë Sweaney speaks to approximately 300 students who walked out in late March- more than three times the expected outcome. Photo by Jack Patrick.

   “…even if they aren’t agreeable on every single platform we have, if in all they just want to make America and specifically schools safer, then we’re on the same side as them,” Sweaney said.

   Not all students agree with Sweaney’s views, however. A group of approximately 80 students wore tee shirts with various facts and statistics in response to the Walkout for Our Lives to stand up for their second amendment rights and honor those who routinely save lives with firearms.

   “…there is a different point of view that is sometimes not seen or heard,” junior Carson Fink said. “Wearing the shirt gave me a voice without being disrespectful.”

   Approximately 30 students bearing these shirts walked out of the west side of the building to the flag pole in a counter-protest. One student reportedly mounted an American flag on his truck and parked in front of the protest. He was asked to move the truck, and later faced disciplinary action. Fink was not one of these students. Multiple participants in this counter-protest declined request for interview.

   Fink told KHQ that he does not believe that gun control legislation will stop school shootings or any other type of mass murders. He says the root of the problem lies within moral decrepitude in American society.

   “We have lost the value of the human life and our spirituality, and that is what I think we need to bring back,” Fink said. “We have lost our moral absolutes, and the lines of right and wrong are blurred…law-breakers do not respect the law.”

Approximately 30 students walked out in the Walkout for Our Lives counter-protest to stand up for their second amendment rights in front of the flag pole. Photo by Austin Frye.

   Fink added that arming officers and officials inside schools could prevent school shootings more effectively than more restrictive gun control legislation.

   “Armed professionals, who have been trained to be proficient, are the best defense against harm. This includes resource officers and police officers,” Fink said. “Law-breakers are not stopped by more laws but by professionals with arms.”

   Sweaney, however, is troubled by the idea of more firearms in schools.

   “…armed SRO’s do not deter shooters from entering the school… the problem was that they were able to get the gun into the school in the first place,” Sweaney said. “…we need to look at a solution that stops them from getting the gun in the first place, rather than confronting them during the face-off.” She added that the presence of more armed professionals could make schools feel like “prisons.”

Junior Carson Fink says that moral decreptitude in society is the root of gun violence in America, and new legislation is not likely to stop law-breakers. Photo by Tony Madden.

   In all, both Fink and Sweaney hope to see change in order to make schools in America safer for everyone. For Fink, this means bringing back common morality and “absolute truths,” while maintaining second amendment rights and increasing individual gun responsibility. For Sweaney, it means preventing firearms from falling into the wrong hands while avoiding the infringement of anyone’s constitutionally guaranteed right.

   “We just want to see change,” Sweaney said. “I feel like anyone who is against that is advocating for the status quo. And so many people are dying in the status quo.”

 

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Graduation Speakers

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As graduation approaches, the question arises… who will be speaking at our graduation? After a long process of practice and auditions in front of administrators, the two speakers have been selected. Seniors Heather Chaffin and Destinee King will be doing the commencement speeches this year at the class of 2018’s graduation. These two will have to speak in front of thousands of people on Friday night, but Chaffin doesn’t seem to be worried. I’m really comfortable speaking in front of a bunch of people,” Chaffin said. Graduation is May 11 at 5:30 at John Q. Hammons event center.

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Tobacco Tax Fails Proposed Rise, Outcome Disappoints Schools

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Tobacco Tax Fails Proposed Rise, Outcome Disappoints Schools

2) Missouri comes in fifty-first in the nation for tobacco taxes (including District of Columbia) with only 17 cents per pack.

2) Missouri comes in fifty-first in the nation for tobacco taxes (including District of Columbia) with only 17 cents per pack.

2) Missouri comes in fifty-first in the nation for tobacco taxes (including District of Columbia) with only 17 cents per pack.

2) Missouri comes in fifty-first in the nation for tobacco taxes (including District of Columbia) with only 17 cents per pack.

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(1) Of the taxed portions from a pack of cigarettes, the greatest amount goes towards Missouri’s Schools Money Fund.

Missouri’s lowest tobacco tax in the nation can have adverse effects, especially in a high school setting.

Lawmakers are proposing tax increases, which, they believe, may could help discourage young people from purchasing tobacco products.

   According to the Congressional Budget Office, a 10% increase in the per-pack cigarette tax would decrease smoking among citizens under the age of 18 by from 20% to 15%. It would also decrease the smoking among adults by from 11% to 8%.

   Missouri voters rejected the proposed tobacco tax increase in November of 2016.  Currently, 4 ½ mills (a mill is one tenth of  cent) for each cigarette goes to a Schools Money Fund, according to the Missouri Department of Revenue.

   That’s 17 cents for a pack of 20 cigarettes.  Other, smaller portions of the tax go to the Fair Share Fund and the Health Initiatives fund.
   Other tobacco products like cigars, smokeless tobacco and tobacco-free alternatives that still contain nicotine get taxed similarly.    10% of the manufacturer’s invoice price goes to the same state funds.

   According to Ozarks First, the Amendment 3 was a 2016  proposal which would increase tobacco taxes in Missouri from $0.17 to $0.60.  $0.60 is still only about a third of the national average.

   Funds from the proposed increases would have gone into an Early Childhood Health and Education Trust Fund; the Amendment failed with 59% of people voting against it.

   Comparison to nationwide prices Missouri has the lowest excise tax per pack of cigarettes in the country, coming in at $0.17 per pack. Compared to New York’s $4.35 tax per pack and the national average of $1.72 cents per pack, the difference is quite notable.  Currently, Missouri’s tobacco excise tax is a little more than a tenth of the national average.
   So what does raising the tax even by ten cents hurt? Maybe in a year, you get to buy 10 fewer packs of cigarettes, but public health would actually benefit from an increased tax.

   The current tax is on tobacco products excludes E-cigs, and many believe that a more updated version of the tax would not only bring in more money for state funds, but they could also discouage the use of vapes.

   E-cigarettes, such as Juuls, Suorins or any other smoking alternative, are not included in the state tobacco tax. According to Tax Foundation, only seven states have an actual tax on e-cigarettes, including California, Minnesota, Kansas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and North Carolina.

Science News For Students explains that within the past few years, the vaping and smoking have switched places.  In 2013, the number of students who smoked was nearly three times that as those who vaped.  But by 2015, nearly twice the number of teenagers vape as those who smoke.

   Knowing that the number of people vaping is on the rise, the government should take action in response.

   An additional tax on E-cigs and their accessories would discourage young people from purchasing them, says senior Christian Casertano, who knows a lot about vaping.

   “It’s already an expensive hobby,”  Casertano said.  “And I definitely don’t want to spend more money on it than I already do.”

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Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

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Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

A Protester makes known her argument at a rally. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A Protester makes known her argument at a rally. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A Protester makes known her argument at a rally. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A Protester makes known her argument at a rally. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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For centuries marijuana has been a large problem in the world causing a lot of crime and leading to drug trafficking across the world resulting in people being arrested. Marijuana, also known as many other street names including cannabis, pot, mary jane, weed, THC, and many others is found in all 50 states across the country whether legally or not. This drug has been recently legalized in a handful of states including Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska, Maine, and Massachusetts.

   This has caused the black market to almost shut down which is an illegal way to order drugs on the “Dark Web”. Legalized states are also not arresting the marijuana drug dealers now which helps the crime rate go down for it causes lots of disagreements which in some cases leads to death.

  One of the biggest pros and the most drastically improved area in the business is the tax revenue. This money can be used to fix roads, fund public projects, improve schools, hire more police and firefighters, and many other things. Another pro is its use for cancer treatment to help with radiation.

  A big reason a lot of these states decided to make cannabis legal was that of the many medical conditions that are “untreatable” is now being treated with marijuana. These conditions include Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, migraines, post-traumatic stress disorder, (also known as PTSD)  cancer, problems due to chemotherapy, and the list goes on. Having access to these medical cannabis products means improved public health. This results in more public funds to better our community.

   The legalization makes our police and courts focus on the more violent crimes taking place in our country. Police and the court system were very overwhelmed with bringing in individuals for just possessing marijuana. These individuals were treated as they were carrying meth, heroin, or cocaine. This was causing a major problem of an overcrowded prison system.. which leads to either funding more prisons or letting out people who shouldn’t be.  With all the pros that come along with the legalization of marijuana also come many cons too.

   Marijuana can be addictive, many users can become very depended on it over time just like alcohol users. Even though it is not as addictive as the harder drugs like crack and meth cannabis can still be very addictive and depended on

some users. Stopping the use of the substance cold turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms like irritability and anxiety, but the same could be said about cigarette smokers. More studies will need to be done to determine if marijuana is really as addictive as the opponents of cannabis legalization claim.

   Another downfall of the use is that users have decreased mental health. Users suffer from restricted blood flow to the brain, memory loss, and increased likeliness of depression. Cannabis alters your perception; like alcohol, this could lead to impaired driving. Opponents also claim that this could lead to an increase in harder crimes like robbery and violence because of your altered judgment. This drug is also considered a gateway drug, once a person tries marijuana they are more likely to want to try another drug to get that “better high”.

This issue will only be a more prominent

discussion in the world and will lead to more bills being passed and more meetings.

A Protester makes known her argument at a rally. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Bernie Sanders voices his opinion at a rally of his. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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Me Too: How two words revolutionized the conversation on sexual misconduct, and what it looks like in high school.

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Me Too: How two words revolutionized the conversation on sexual misconduct, and what it looks like in high school.

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Me Too.

In mid-October, all corners of the internet saw this rallying cry from sexual assault and harassment victims of all classes, colors and creeds. The phrase was popularized by Brooklyn activist Tarana Burke and actress Alyssa Milano, who urged the public to come forward with their stories of sexual assault, harassment and rape.

“…it’s a statement from survivor to survivor that says ‘I see you, I hear you, I understand you and I’m here for you or I get it,’ ” Burke said to CNN.

Twitter reports that the hashtag “#MeToo” has been tweeted over 1.7 million times. According to Facebook, 12 million people shared their “me too” stories in just 24 hours.

These “silence breakers” were honored in TIME’s Person of the Year issue in December. Women and men, actors and food service workers, executives and activists, politicians and artists alike all came forward to discuss their stories of sexual assault and harassment, and the impact it left on their lives.

This cultural phenomenon, in which the conversation on sexual misconduct has become less taboo and more public, comes shortly after scores of public figures were accused of sexual misconduct.

Most notable of these is Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who was accused of raping three women, and sexually harassing or assaulting dozens of others, according to The New York Times. Former Today Host Matt Lauer, comedian Louis C.K., House of Cards star Kevin Spacey and talk radio host Garrison Keillor are just a few of the over 120 people on TIME’s list of public figures accused of sexual misconduct.

According to a KHQ poll with over 300 responses, more than half of the participants are or have been victims of sexual assault, harassment or rape. Some were inspired by the “Me Too” movement to share their stories with the Kickapoo community.

“I think [the movement] is really important…it happens all the time,” senior Sarah Crooke said. “It allows people to have a platform to talk about issues.”

Crooke was sexually assaulted by two male classmates in a science class when she was in eighth grade at Carver Middle School. While a substitute teacher supervised the class, the boys repeatedly groped her, even after she told them to stop. In the class of nearly thirty students, only one of Crooke’s classmates quietly spoke up against what everyone could see was happening.

“It was just so disgusting because they wouldn’t stop,” Crooke said.

After Crooke reported the assault and the two male classmates were served with a brief out of school suspension, Crooke and her family pressed charges. In court, only one of the boys confessed to the assault, and was not punished, according to Crooke. The other classmate, she says, denied the accusations, but was still found guilty. Crooke says that this classmate served probation. She then filed and was granted a restraining order against him.

Crooke and her family were not pleased with how the assault was handled by authorities at Carver Middle School. Despite being granted a restraining order against the student who denied assaulting her, he continued to attend the same school as Crooke. She had to rearrange her own class schedule so that she did not share any more classes with the boy who assaulted her. She was also told by an assistant principal to walk into the nearest classroom to hide from this student if she ever saw him in the hallway. Crooke recalls feeling that she wasn’t taken seriously, and that she felt like an inconvenience for the school.

“I felt really bad about myself. Like I could’ve prevented it even though I know I couldn’t. I did push both of them off of me. I said no and everything,” Crooke said. “They just acted like I was a problem for the school because it raised an issue. They just didn’t really help me out.”

Carver Middle School principal Dr. Dana Powers, who was not the principal at the time of Crooke’s assault, says that school board policies are followed in any concern or discipline issue. Powers directed KHQ to the Springfield Public Schools Handbook for reference, but did not comment on whether there is a specific protocol for students who have restraining orders against other students. Neither the SPS School Handbook nor the SPS Board of Education policy prohibiting discrimination, harassment and retaliation make any reference to policies regarding restraining orders.

   Crooke’s problems did not stop there. Shortly after she reported her assault, one of the students who assaulted Crooke confronted her and threatened her with retaliation, stating that “snitches get stitches,” and “bitches end up in ditches.”

   “I felt really bad about myself when he threatened me and it made me question my own personality and actions, wondering if I did anything wrong,” Crooke said.

   Crooke immediately reported the threat, and expected the student to be reprimanded; section 3.H.I of the SPS middle school Discipline Guidelines in the SPS school handbook states that after a student’s first threat of violence toward another person, they will receive 10 days of out of school suspension. Crooke was disappointed to see that the student who threatened her was never suspended, and he was allowed to continue playing sports.

   “After he didn’t get in trouble for threatening me it made me feel worthless. Like nobody at the school cared about me or my safety,” Crooke said.

   Crooke warns other students that sexual misconduct in high school does not always have to involve physical harassment. She says that boys will often become aggressive when sexual advances are turned down- specifically those involving sexting.

   “[Boys] get aggressive…they’ll bully you just because you don’t like them or you’re not interested,” Crooke said. “They don’t care about your feelings. They don’t care if you justify your explanation or your reasoning. They’ll still just try to get what they want.”

   This often puts pressure on young girls to send nude images of themselves, Crooke says.

   “…if you say no, they’re just going to keep trying. And even if you don’t reply, they’ll keep texting you, keep Snapchatting you, trying to get in contact with you,” Crooke said.

When she attended Carver Middle School in 2014, Senior Sarah Crooke was sexually assaulted by two male classmates while a substitute teacher supervised the class. After she told them to stop, the boys continued to grope her. Only two people in the class of nearly 30 students spoke up to help Crooke. While one of the students admitted to the assault in the ensuing trial, the other denied it. Crooke was granted a restraining order against this classmate, but he was not moved to another school. Crooke had to change her own class schedule so she shared no more classes with the student. She also remembers an assistant principal telling her to walk into the nearest classroom to hide if she ever saw him in the hallway. When the student threatened Crooke, stating that “snitches get stitches” and “bitches end up in ditches,” the student was not suspended and was allowed to continue playing sports at Carver. “I felt really bad about myself. Like I could’ve prevented it even though I know I couldn’t. I did push both of them off of me. I said no and everything,” Crooke said. “They just acted like I was a problem for the school because it raised an issue. They just didn’t really help me out.”

   Another student who asked to remain anonymous felt betrayed by an older male friend when he sexually harassed her over social media direct message. According to the anonymous student, she originally felt comfortable around this friend, despite his occasional personal questions. The harassment began when this friend described to multiple people that she wanted to have sex with him, how her virginity was a “huge turn on,” and discussed the sexual injuries he may accidentally inflict upon her.

  “I felt kind of betrayed a little bit. Because I had told him things about myself,” she said. “I just felt so uncomfortable…I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone talk about me in that way.”

   The student, like Crooke, said her situation was not handled well by school officials. When she reported the harassment to her counselor, she spent a total of four class periods in the counseling center in one week to talk about it.

   The anonymous student says that counselors advised her to engage once more with the student who harassed her, then block him from her social media accounts. The male student was then told by school officials to leave the girl alone.

   Counselor Amy Moran says that when a student reports that they have been sexually harassed, it would be reported to administration.

   “…that would be dealt with through discipline…’first offense: high school says 2 days ISS to 3 days OSS,’” Moran said, quoting  the SPS School Handbook.

   But to the anonymous student’s dismay, she says that no other disciplinary actions were taken against this male student.

   “I felt like he just got a slap on the hand, and I feel like I wasted my time,” the student said …he doesn’t get reported. He doesn’t get ISS even.”

   This student feels that her situation was not taken seriously by school officials, and she does not have faith that it will be taken seriously by the student body, either.

   “Somebody would be like, ‘that’s not even that bad,’ or like ‘I hear people say that in the hallway,’” she said. “It doesn’t make it right.”

   Crooke says that despite all she went through in middle school, she fears her story won’t be taken seriously either.

   “…it doesn’t seem like a big deal to a lot of people. It’s not as serious as rape or anything like that, but it’s still important and needs to be talked about,” Crooke said. “It happens all the time to people you know.”

A student who asked to remain anonymous felt betrayed by an older male friend when he sexually harassed her over social media direct message. According to the anonymous student, she originally felt comfortable around this friend, despite his occasional intrusive questions. The harassment began when this friend described to multiple people that the anonymous student wanted to have sex with him, how her virginity was a “huge turn on,” and discussed the sexual injuries he may accidentally inflict upon her. When she reported the harassment to her counselor, she was told to engage with the student once more before blocking him on social media. According to her, the male student was not disciplined. “I felt kind of betrayed a little bit, because I had told him things about myself. I just felt so uncomfortable…I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone talk about me in that way,” she said. “I felt like he just got a slap on the hand, and I feel like I wasted my time.”

   Spanish teacher Krista Wyrick is thankful that her story was taken seriously by her superiors when she was sexually harassed by a male coworker in 2004.

   What began as a collegial relationship between Wyrick and her male coworker quickly went downhill, she says. One day, he began leaving lewd messages and links to pornographic websites on Wyrick’s desk for her to find in the morning. She recalls feeling uncomfortable and found herself hurrying to leave in the afternoons.

   “I felt uncomfortable and I didn’t want to be in there…for the first week I just made sure I would leave by 3:00…I was really stressed because then I had no time to plan,” Wyrick said. “I didn’t feel safe to be in my room alone.”

   Shortly after the first week of feeling uncomfortable and unsafe at school, Wyrick reported the harassment and the coworker was terminated almost immediately. Still, Wyrick felt uncomfortable. She felt that she had done something to welcome the harassment.

   “I felt like I invited that behavior just because I was being friendly and saying hello…I felt like it was my fault in some way,” Wyrick said.   

   Wyrick urges people not to normalize any case of sexual harassment, especially in which someone makes a comment on physical appearance.

   “If you know that there’s been an injustice or if you feel uncomfortable you have to report that. You have to tell someone,” Wyrick said. “I think we just accept a lot of what people say just to get through the day.”

Wyrick was repeatedly harassed by a former coworker during her first year as an educator at Kickapoo. What began as a friendly working relationship quickly transitioned to the coworker leaving lewd messages and links to pornographic websites on Wyrick’s desk. She recalls feeling uncomfortable and unsafe in her own workplace. Wyrick says she would often leave work as soon as possible each day to avoid interaction with the coworker, which interfered with her lesson planning. She eventually reported the harassment and the coworker was terminated almost immediately. “I felt uncomfortable and I didn’t want to be in there…for the first week I just made sure I would leave by 3:00…I was really stressed because then I had no time to plan. I didn’t feel safe to be in my room alone,” Wyrick said. “I felt like I invited that behavior just because I was being friendly and saying hello…I felt like it was my fault in some way.”

   Moran also says that victims of harassment should always report sexual misconduct. She says that students must be reprimanded  for these offenses before they go on to become destructive citizens in society.

   “Usually if they’re doing it to one person, they’re doing it to more than one person,” Moran said. “Every kid should feel safe in this building.”

   Crooke, Wyrick and the anonymous student also urge all victims and survivors of sexual assault, harassment and rape to come forward with their stories.

    “Be strong,” Crooke said. “Don’t back down.”

 

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Epsilon Beta’s Teen Tech Week Set to Begin After the Break

This+flier%2C+aside+from+being+hung+on+the+walls+throughout+the+school%2C+is+also+available+in+the+library.++It+details+the+activities+that+students+can+complete+in+order+to+receive+a+prize.
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Epsilon Beta’s Teen Tech Week Set to Begin After the Break

This flier, aside from being hung on the walls throughout the school, is also available in the library.  It details the activities that students can complete in order to receive a prize.

This flier, aside from being hung on the walls throughout the school, is also available in the library. It details the activities that students can complete in order to receive a prize.

This flier, aside from being hung on the walls throughout the school, is also available in the library. It details the activities that students can complete in order to receive a prize.

This flier, aside from being hung on the walls throughout the school, is also available in the library. It details the activities that students can complete in order to receive a prize.

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The big initiative for the last several years among librarians is to offer activities that aren’t oriented around school in order to give students a brain break and make the library a more appealing environment.  This initiative is coming to Kickapoo with the help of Epsilon Beta (formerly book club) and librarians Melody Netzer and Shannon McDonald and will take place from March 18-30.

  “The focus of the event is to use have activities that we already have that not a whole lot of people know we offer, highlight it and make it more fun,” Ms. Netzer said.

Epsilon Beta president Lauryn Kisting is optimistic that students will have fun participating in the event.  

  “It’s something to take your mind off the daily monotony of school,” she said.

  Kisting explains that the idea behind teen tech week is to help teens start creating more.

  “There’s different activities that kids can do throughout the week to get placed in a drawing.  Most of the activities include creating bookmarks, take a shelfie, reading more, and using technology to get teens more involved in the library and books,” Kisting said.

  Kisting believes the event will bring about real benefit because technology has become a more integral part of life, and being involved in it is the way to succeed.

  “It’s Important to get involved in technology because it’s the future. It’s becoming more prevalent in our generation, and it’ll be a staple for future generations,” she said.

  Netzer explains that, while this tech week is the first of its kind in our school, she anticipates a lot of participation.  She’s set up the event to be rewarding for anyone who participates.

  Completing one of the seven activities will get you candy.  But completing at least five will put you in a drawing for a prize, a grab-bag including various library-related prizes like coupons to use the vinyl printer, earbuds and coupons for the 3D printer.

  “It’ll be fun.  It’s nice to hot have to focus on school all the time, ad the prizes are going to be really cool,” Kisting said.

  This tech week will hopefully pave the way for similar future events.  Netzer explains that she wants to begin monthly events for the library with Epsilon Beta starting in the next year.

  “We want all the students to feel like the library is a space to be utilized.  It’s supposed to be the living room for everyone to gather,” Netzer said.

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Neosho Youth Baseball Selling Raffle Tickets for AR-15

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Neosho Youth Baseball Selling Raffle Tickets for AR-15

AR-15 carbine. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

AR-15 carbine. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

AR-15 carbine. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

AR-15 carbine. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

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A youth baseball team in Neosho is raffling off a AR-15 to raise money throughout the year just weeks after a 19 year old kid went into a Florida High School and killed 17 people with an AR-15. The coach of the team, Levi Patterson told the Kansas City Star they planned the fundraiser before the shooting occured.

 

The gun was offered by a players dad who owned a local gun shop. No player is required to sell tickets.

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Birch Pointe Rehabilitation Center Opens

In the history of Kickapoo High School, we now have our first neighbor.

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As of January 24, 2018, Kickapoos’ new neighbor, Birch Pointe Rehabilitation Center, has announced their grand opening to the public. This 17 million-dollar project has been in motion since late June of 2017 and is now open for business seven months later.

In Birch Pointes’ entrance, there is a glass window that leads into the physical therapy room, where patients who need it, will receive it.

     Reliance Health Care collaborated with Miller Commerce to build Birch Pointe as an addition to the Medical Mile.

In the front seating area of Birch Pointe there is couches and tables for residents and visitors. In the seating area there is a bistro.

     Birch Pointe is a seniors’ rehabilitation center. The three different communities at Birch Pointe are Long Term Care, which cares for patients who plan to stay at the facility for a longer time; Short Term Care, for those who are just coming out of the hospital and need physical therapy before they are able to return home; and Dementia Care for patients who have been diagnosed with some form of memory loss.

  Each community has their own dining and recreational areas along with singular and conjoined bedrooms.

  Administrator at Birch Pointe, Gene Vestal says that he doesn’t foresee any traffic problems in the future regarding the after school and before school rush.

  “You guys just can’t park in our lot due to the transportation of our patients coming in and out,”  Vestal said.

  Receptionist Rachel Mertz has high hopes for Birch Pointe and its long term effects on the community.

Birch Pointe includes conjoined rooms for patients who don’t mind sharing rooms with each other. All conjoined rooms include separate beds, wardrobed and TV’s.

  “I hope our facility brings a new standard of care in the community,” Mertz said.

Birch Pointe Rehabilitation Center, across from Kickapoo is open for business and is now welcoming patients and visitors.

  Birch Pointe is open 24/7 for residents transferring in and out of the facility. There are set times where the residents’ family members can visit them.

“We want to ultimately be a place where the community can come together for their families and loved ones,” Vestal said.
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