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Living As My Authentic Self

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Living As My Authentic Self

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

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Apex vs Fortnite

Apex Legends (Electronic Arts)

Apex Legends (Electronic Arts)

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Apex Legends (Electronic Arts)

Photo by: TNS

Photo by: TNS

Apex Legends (Electronic Arts)

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As most already know, Fortnite was easily the most popular game of 2018. Just recently a battle royal game by the name Apex Legends that is also free to download and play became available to the public on .Battle royale games are games that you fight till only a winner stands so there is only one winner compared to other shooter games like call of duty or halo that you can play free for all, team deathmatch, and etc. As 2019 started fortnite was still roaring with users but Apexs launch has stolen quite a few Fortnite users. When it comes to Apex, the main question the users have is will it also go cross platform like Fortnite? This means will they make it able for xbox users to play with pc and ps4 friends and vise versa. In an interview with euorogamer, A website focused on video game journalism the lead producer Drew McCoy confirmed that cross play for Apex Legends is in the works and will be coming during the games lifespan. This is great news to its fans and will continue to make this game more popular and compete with Fortnite better. In my opinion Fortnite is the better game because of getting new seasons and new characters to unlock makes the game more exciting for me. I also play with a lot of friends that have xbox and apex is not yet compatible so i will continue to play fortnite till apex goes cross platform. I know what to expect in fortnite considering I have seen playing it for close to a year now.
While apex is a whole new game to learn and get the hang of i am going to continue bettering my fortnite skills. One major difference between the two is in Fortnite you can drop in to the map by yourself, with a partner or in a squad, Meaning when the game starts you are flying in a plane and have to parachute out to start the game, landing wherever you would like. In Apex your only option is to drop in as a team of three. Another huge difference in fortnite you have the ability to build walls, ramps and roofs to protect yourself when someone is shooting at you. At first i did not like this but grew to like it as I learned that it will protect and keep me alive. When landing to load up in fortnite you then search houses for chests, guns, ammo, wood, brick, and metal, you can get these materials by using you sword to chop down the trees, walls, rocks etc. In apex the only way to get your supplies is by opening supply bins and picking stuff up of the ground in houses. I like playing both of the games but at the end of the day i would rather play fortnite because I have more fun and am better at Fortnite than Apex.
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Let’s Make Some Popcorn! (Correctly)

Picture courtesy of MCT Direct

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Picture courtesy of MCT Direct

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One might say that making popcorn is an easy task, but if you’re a student at Kickapoo High School, you would realize that that is not the case. Students believe that if they press the popcorn button on the microwave, then in five minutes their popcorn will be perfect. But in reality, five minutes is way too long, and your popcorn will be burnt to a crisp. This is a step-by-step guide to making popcorn, and not burning it and setting off the fire alarm. First step, pick out the perfect popcorn bag; whether that be buttered or salted, the kind of popcorn is the most important process. Second, approach the microwave. Once you have gotten to the microwave make not to immediately click the popcorn button, no matter how tempting it may be. Third, open the popcorn bad and look at the instructions on the back of the popcorn and look at the cook time. Then lastly, place the bag in the microwave and type the time on the back of the bag into the microwave and voila! You should have perfectly cooked popcorn and the fire alarm shouldn’t go off.

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thank u, next

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thank u, next

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When the weight of the world gets too heavy what do you do? For Ariana Grande, you pick yourself up and run to the studio. To kick off the new year, Grande released her fifth studio album Thank U, Next. Released just six months after her fourth album Sweetener, Thank U, Next sets the tone with pop songs filled with wants, needs, and emotional relief. The albums lead single “Thank U, Next” was the fastest song in history to reach 100 million streams and spent most weeks at No.1 by a female artist (4 weeks). Tracks go from wanting desire without commitment (bloodline), missing someone you’ve lost (ghostin’), making someone out to be better than they really are (In my head),
to interrupting relationships out of pure boredom (break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored). Songs like ghostin’ will have you reminiscing on your past lovers with lyrics like “He just comes to visit me/when I’m dreaming every now and then,”. More upbeat songs like NASA will have you dancing to the thought of needing space. Imagine is track No.1 on the album that illustrates the world revolving around a couple, as if they are the only two around. Overall, this album will have you celebrating your self worth and journey. When I think of this album the word that comes to mind is karma. No specific karma, good nor bad. I would recommend listening to this album on the days you need to pick yourself up and move on.
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NFL Mock Draft

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The NFL draft is approaching fast and will begin on April 25th. And with the first pick in the NFL draft I have the Arizona Cardinals selecting.

  Quinnen Williams Defensive tackle out of Alabama. The 303 pound defensive tackle is impressively athletic which is why I put him as the first overall pick. At the recent NFL Combine Williams ran a 4.83 40 yard dash. That is moving for a big guy like that. Williams will make an instant impact in the league as he will be able to take over a game in an instant. I compare Williams athleticism and aggressive nature to Nadomican Suh, one of the best defensive lineman in history.

  With the second pick in the draft I have the San Francisco 49ers taking Nick Bosa. The 49ers desperately need a pass rusher and Nick Bosa is the best in this class. The 6’4 262 pound defensive end is pure power and strength. Bosa will be  a game charger from day one and fix the immediate need of a edge rusher by for the 49ers.

  With the third pick in the draft I have the Jets trading their pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Jaguars selecting Heisman winning Quarterback Kyler Murray. With the struggles in the quarterback room the jaguars had this past season this is an immediate need for them. This year’s QB class is relatively weak but I believe it’s the best choice for the Jags to fix an immediate issue. I also believe Kyler Murray to be the best QB in this draft. The man has speed that will absolutely toast a defense, and a absolute rocket for an arm. He’s the best of both worlds.

  With the 4th pick in the draft I have the Raiders selecting Running back out of Alabama Josh Jacobs. Jacobs is coming from a string of absolute studs out of Alabama. The 5’11 running back not only has big play speed but also is a freaking bowling ball at 216 pounds. He is willing to put his shoulder down and fight for extra yards as well as run routes out of the backfield and catch passes. Jacobs is also a nasty blocker. This blue collar mentality will make Jacobs the perfect for the raiders heavy run scheme.

  With the 5th pick I have another trade, this between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins. I have the Dolphins moving up to pick Quarterback Dwayne Haskins out of Ohio State. Haskins is the best Pro-style quarterback in this draft and would fit the vertical downfield passing system in Miami. Let’s face is Miami needs a quarterback.

  With the 6th pick I have the New York Giants selected Quarterback Drew Lock out of Mizzou. Lock has the biggest arm in the draft, and absolute cannon for an arm. The weapon the Giants have at receiver make it this gunslinger a perfect fit to take over the team for a struggling Eli Manning.

  With the 7th pick in the draft I have the New York Jets selecting offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor out of Florida. This 6’5 350 pound beast in an absolute mauler in the run game and has the footwork and arm length to drop step and pass block against the some of the best pass rushers in the league. Although the Jets don’t have an immediate need on the line it could never hurt to protect their young franchise QB Sam Darnold.

  With the 8th pick in the draft I have the Detroit Lions selection defensive lineman Rashan Gary. The Lions biggest need this off season is a pure edge prospect with the risk of Ziggy Ansah not returning to the team. Gary isn’t the typical end player as he has the size and strength to play on the inside as well. I compare Gary to Aaron Donald, just much larger at 6’5 and 282 pounds.

  With the 9th pick in the draft i have the Buffalo bills taking Wide Receiver D.K. Metcalf out of Ole miss. The 6’4 230 pound receiver is a vertical threat in the pass game with his muscular frame making him hard to cover. Along with his 4.33 40 yard dash he’ll be able to burn the best corners in the league. A big wide out such as Metcalf is the perfect type for the bills and their young gunslinger Josh Allen to rifle the ball to.

  With the 10th pick in the draft I have the Denver broncos selecting Linebacker Devin White out of LSU. The broncos have struggled in past year with covering opposing tight ends and adding a quick and big backer such as White. White is 6’4 and 240 pounds and has great sideline to sideline speed. His size and speed makes him a hard hitter who can also fill the hole fast. The broncos are likely to lose current backer Brandon Marshall so adding a threat like White is an ideal situation.

  Expect many surprises in this year’s draft as many teams have big needs in the  off season.

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6ix9ine in Witness protection?

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  Daniel Hernandez, also known as 6ix9nie was arrested in october for racketeering in the new york area. He has been found guilty for illegal weapons, drugs, along with a child in a sexual performance, and  including racketeering. His sentence is, as of now, 32 years in prison maximum. With him facing so much time he decided it was time to take to the police and FBI agents. He has been giving them specific intel that he knows and only a few other rappers in the game know. He gave the investigators a bunch of  deep information. With him giving so much intel the investigators decided that when he is out of prison he will be put into the witness protection program to keep him safe.

  While he is in prison they are keeping a close eye on him and using him to get different information about other rappers and other people to the best of his abilities. They are making sure to keep a birds eye view of him as he could possibly be in danger from others, including gang bangers, killers, thugs, etc, they will have to make sure to keep him alive even inevitably lowering his sentence.    

 

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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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Changing The Game

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Changing The Game

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   Football is a dangerous game. A game so dangerous that the National Football League (NFL) recorded 281 concussions last year according to ESPN.com. The NFL is making strides this year to possibly help combat this.  The NFL has, for years been fighting the rise of concussions by patrolling head to head hits. Despite the NFL’s efforts, the number of concussions has continued to rise. This season two new rules have been put into play on the gridiron to hopefully help lessen the amount of concussions we see in this NFL season. The rule making heads turn around the league and causing arguments all over the Internet is Rule 12 Section 2 Article 8 in the NFL rule handbook that states, “It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.” according to operations.nfl.com.

  This rule makes it clear that any lowering of the helmet will result in a penalty, but what’s not clear is for whom and when does this apply?

  Anytime linemen go to battle on the line of scrimmage and a player’s helmet is “lowered” then is that a penalty? When an offensive player lowers his head to run over a defensive player is it a penalty?  This rule is unclear on so many levels. The NFL    has made it unclear how the rule will be officiated.  During the NFL pre-season there were countless penalties called under this rule. Frankly some of the hits looked as if they were by the book tackles without any head to head, or helmet contact at all.

   A safe tackle is considered one in which the head is up and the tackler can see what they hit. In the heat of the moment, in a fast paced scenario, it’s very unlikely for a tackle to be made with perfect form.  With questions around the league about how this rule will be officiated, will players be penalized for ducking their head to avoid injury to themselves?

From reading the rule, to watching it in effect during the NFL preseason, the rule is going to be one that continues to cause issues.    The rule itself may be foggy, but the main objective is clear: cut down on concussions in the NFL.

  The second rule implemented by the NFL this year is Rule 6 Section 1 Article 6, that states “Before the kicker approaches the ball and the ball is kicked, all kicking team players other than the kicker must be lined up and remain in their established positions no more than one yard behind the restraining line.”

  This rule is in effect during the kickoff play, which is, arguably the most dangerous play in football.

  In years past players on the kicking team had a five yard allowance to run before the ball was kicked, allowing build up of momentum before breaking the restraining line (where the ball is placed on the kicking tee). Now with only one yard between the players and the restraining line, as well as players not being able to move before the ball is kicked, kicking team players have little to no time to build up speed and momentum before reaching the first line of blockers.

  “League studies showed that concussions were five times more likely to occur on a kickoff than an offensive or defensive snap,” according to Sportingnews.com

  With concussions being five times more likely on this one play, then should the NFL not call even more attention to this phase of the game?

 Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is more and more of a real and frightening thought for past and present players alike.

  Boston University CTE center defines CTE as a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma (often athletes), including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head that do not cause symptoms.”

  CTE can only be diagnosed after death so it is impossible to gauge how many past and present players are affected by the disease. One thing is certain, CTE is caused by repeated blows to the head and this includes but is not limited to concussions.

  With the NFL being under so much fire from fan bases and past players alike, about claims of CTE and other brain injuries, this brings up the question, does the NFL really care about player safety or are they just trying to cushion the blow of outside criticism?

  With the new rule changes this year in the National Football League, the league is hopeful that the number of concussions this season will be much less than last years. Hopefully the new rules will impact the game for future generations and make it a safer game for all to play.

All photos courtesy of Tribune News Service.
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Beat Of The Drum

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Beat Of The Drum

Alex Southard and his beloved drums.

Alex Southard and his beloved drums.

Alex Southard and his beloved drums.

Alex Southard and his beloved drums.

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Nothing gets an assembly going like our drumline.  Our drumline is one of the most appreciated sport of the arts we have at the school.

   The energy they bring to the gym every assembly  is what many students look forward to. The crowd always gets the loudest when you hear that first sound of a drum come from the hallway.

   Senior Alex Southard has been in drumline for six years.   

   “I started playing in sixth grade, but I didn’t really start taking it seriously until I got into high school. But now it’s my life,” Southard said.

   Southard’s skill is shown at assemblies for everyone to see.

   “We play some groovy cadence stuff for assemblies because it’s super fun and everyone loves it,” he said.

   But there is much more to drumline then what is seen at an assembly.

   “Competition is a whole other world,” Southard said.

   The amount of time spent getting ready for competition is monumental compared to assemblies.

   “It takes months to master a show. We perform on a big tarp while playing amazing music, running, and dancing,” Southard said.

   While performing at assemblies and  competitions is fun, Southard’s favorite thing about drumline is the social aspect.

   “The best part about drumline is making memories and the people I’ve met. In these last four years I have made many friends that I will remember forever,” he said.

   Southard plans to continue his drumline career after high school.

   “ I plan to march for Missouri State, and eventually tryout for Gateway Indoor,” Southard  said.

   Gateway Indoor is a percussion group out of St. Louis that competes nationally.

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Graffiti of Springfield

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Springfield, Missouri is home to many interesting things (the world’s largest fork?), but nothing rivals the beautiful street art featured downtown.
Perhaps the most Instagram-able art is the famous butterfly. During the summer, it isn’t odd to see people posing in front of the painting as if they had wings.
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Cry Pretty

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Photo Courtesy of Tribune News
A country singer, Carrie Underwood, released her sixth studio album, Cry Pretty, on September 14, 2018. The album consist of 13 songs. They are soulful and full of meaning. The songs show another part of Carrie that most fans are not use to seeing. Not all of the songs have music videos, but you still feel the meaning in each word she sings. The songs Bullet and Love Wins are definitely the most inspirational, and the words convey messages still talked about today. These topics consist of gay rights and gun violence. In today’s climate talking about these issues is important because it helps
open the minds of people in society, and brings light to some major issues. The album has taken some political risk, but nonetheless the songs aren’t just about the country, roads and drinking that most stereotypical country music holds, they’re about love and convey real meaning, but Carrie keeps her country style and full throat voice. I’m not a big fan of country music. I’ve never listen to it, but I decided to try something different. And I was pleasantly surprised. If you’re a fan of country music and songs with what, I believe, are meaningful and full of life, I highly recommend the album Cry Pretty.
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Swimming

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Swimming

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In his fifth and final studio album, the late Mac Miller drowns the listener in captivating songs of R&B, soul, jazz rap about heartbreak, self love, and healing. But do not be mistaken, this is not a breakup album.
“I’m just talking about things that I’m proud of myself for, things I’m afraid of, or things that are just thoughts and emotions,” he told Beats 1 host Zane Lowe.
The whole album itself, flows at the same pace and keeps you listening. The leading single, Self Care tells how Miller is overcoming struggles and making the decision to treat himself right.
The emotional and nostalgic feel of 2009 with a beautiful orchestra playing at the beginning will have you reminiscing on the past.

More upbeat songs like What’s the use? , which has a subtle cameo of Snoop Dogg, tells how Miller is dealing with personal devastation.
The title goes wonderfully with the album as a whole, the album flows you along song to song, each telling a story and has important meaning behind each one. Overall, the word that comes to mind when I listen to this album is patience, I’m not quite sure how to explain why but maybe because the album seems to keep you calm and focused, even the upbeat songs. I would highly recommend listening to Swimming on your lowest, chillest, or simply days you just need to be in your head.

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Sierra Burgess Really Is A Loser

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Sierra Burgess Really Is A Loser

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The Netflix original movie Sierra Burgess Is a Loser was supposed to be a homage to every self conscious girl who feels like they have no purpose or have no idea who they are. Instead, the movie portrayed its main character, Sierra Burgess as a vindictive and manipulative loner whose only purpose in life is to win the heart of a boy. Sierra is the basic stereotype for this sort of character. She has good grades, is in band, has one friend, who is just as nerdy as her, and she is bullied for every step she takes. She is even played by a plus sized actress, which is a step up for the teen film industry. When we first meet Sierra, she is going through what most high school seniors go through, college stress. Her counselor asks her the question of “What is Sierra Burgess?” but Sierra has no answer, causing her to stress. Her counselor suggests she takes up tutoring, so that her applications stand out. That’s when she decided to put her number around the school. When the head mean girl of the school, Veronica, decides to give Sierra’s number to a cute guy as a joke because he has “loser friends,” things start to take off. Sierra gets a mystery text, It happens to be Jamey, the cute boy. Sierra has no idea why or how this boy has her number but she plays along, hoping that it isn’t all too good to be true.
When Jamey calls her Veronica it is all clear and Sierra is crushed. She decides to play along anyway. The movie tries to justify Veronica’s horrific bullying with the fact that her mom is plus sized and her dad left. The mom is just a coverup for trying to be a ‘diverse’ movie and giving a mean spirited girl a scapegoat. The main problem I have with this movie is that it glorifies the act of catfishing. Catfishing is pretending to be someone else, and engaging in a fantasy that could eventually lead to emotional harm for both involved. Sierra is catfishing Jamey into believing that she is Veronica, when in fact she is not. Jamey eventually asks “Veronica” to FaceTime and (Sierra being an idiot) says yes. Coincidentally, the real Veronica ends up needing a tutor and Sierra offers to help her in exchange for a favor. Her plan is to FaceTime Jamey with Veronica’s face, but with Sierra’s voice in the background. When Sierra says something, Veronica acts like it is lagging. The FaceTime ends up being a success, and the catfishing continues. Overall, this movie was trying to send a major message to teenagers that you don’t have to be the most beautiful, skinny, or the most popular to win the favor of people, but it ended up being like every other Netflix original, with the same cast, bad acting, and the glorification of nasty internet ways.
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Kneeling For Nothing

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I do not support making Colin Kaepernick the face of the Nike campaign. I personally believe that it is disrespectful and a spit in the face to the men and women that serve and have served our great country under the flag and National Anthem. However, I don’t believe that Kaepernick intended for it to be viewed as disrespectful. I think that he just wanted to do something to get the NFL talking about him again because he is not a very good quarterback and he was probably going to get traded. No matter the intended outcome of his actions I do realize that he was just exercising his right to protest, I just don’t agree with the way he went about it. I am truly glad that he used his “celebrity” status to stand up for something that he believes in.
Honestly though, I don’t think that he is the right person to speak for the “oppressed black people and people of color” since he grew up in a white household and he did make it into the NFL so he wasn’t too oppressed if you ask me. Also, for Nike to name him as the face of their ad under the phrase “stand up for what you believe in, even if it means losing everything” is ironic. He DID NOT lose everything! He simply lost one overpaid job for another. That is not everything when there are people dodging bullets on a war front, hiding from the government in order to go to school, and when many people don’t have houses, food, or drinkable water. Kaepernick used his status and the issues of the world to benefit himself and Nike helped him to do so when they endorsed him.
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NBA Playoffs Review

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The NBA season has been an up and down roller coaster this season. The Cavaliers got taken to seven games by the Pacers, yet bounced back in the second round to sweep the number one seed Toronto Raptors. Lebron James has been solidifying his case as the best player of all time averaging over his last 30 postseason games, 33.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.4 assists while shooting 55.7% from the floor. These are some of the best numbers we’ve ever seen and are witnessing one of the best players of all time. The Warriors are back to their dominant ways as they currently lead the Pelicans 3-1 in their series and will look to finish them in game 5. The Celtics currently lead their series 3-1 over the 76ers in a battle of inexperienced playoff teams as they both have multiple players getting their first real taste of the postseason. The Celtics have outcoached and executed the 76ers this entire series and will look to finish them in game 5 as well. The Rockets are currently up on the Jazz 3-1 but this series has been a lot closer than the series would indicate. These two teams have fought back and forth for every game but game 3, but the Rockets firepower has ultimately been too much for the Jazz to handle. These series haven’t been too close, but once the conference finals come around there will be some very competitive basketball.

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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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Giving Back To The Community

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Summer is the perfect time to contribute to your community. With all the free time you get in the summer you can join an organization or just donate a little bit of time to something you believe you can help with.
volunteering is a great way to feel better about oneself through helping others. It also helps someone appreciate what you have and gets you involved with a community. One could also make new friends who care about the same causes and ideas as you.

 The school year students also have many options to contribute such as key club, the food pantry, Girls for Good, Pay It Forward, RADD, NHS, and many others.  However, during the summer it’s a bit different there are many organizations and groups that offer may different ways to help out. Some of the organizations include Give 5, Ozarks Food Harvest, Community Partnership of the Ozarks, Convoy of Hope, Red Cross, Community Blood Center of the Ozaks and quite a few others.

The Ronald McDonald House

Helping families whilst their child or family member is ill through providing housing, health care, and resources is another way to help others.

 

The Humane Society
Volunteering with dogs is always enjoyable and a great way to help sheltered animals in our community.

 

 

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Track and Field

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With track season already starting a lot of the members are look to have the same results as they did last year.

“Yes our main goal is not only have the same results as last year, but also do even better than last year,” said senior William Lynch

Also with returning seniors they look to the younger classmen to fill in the shoes of some great athletes last year; Devin Kruse, Maverick Mcgee, Chris Lawson.

“ I believe that our younger classmen will step up to the plate and who knows some of them might do way better than we expected,” said senior Adrian Davis.

With the younger classmen looking to impress the coaches, the upperclassmen are having some big time people returning, that include three time state qualifier Kennedy Aurentz, state champion Jaden Wiley and state qualifier Cy Warlick.

“ I’m really excited about this season, because I feel like that I can turn some heads this year and hopefully achieve my goal of finally winning the shot put state  title,” said junior Kennedy Aurentz.

So look for the track team to make a big impact this season and make history .

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