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April 2018

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2 news April 13, 2018 W A prom BY CHRIS RIOS news editor Showcasing the different aspects of love, the spring play “Love/Sick” will premiere on April 19 at 4 p.m., with two more shows on April 20 and 21 at 7 p.m. “Love/Sick” is broken into nine different vignettes, each having a different angle on love, relationships, or marriage. Director David Harmon explains it as “a hilarious comedy with a ton of featured performances.” The quick changes between the short stories keeps the play moving at a rapid pace and allows for actors to shine in their individual roles. “It has different scenes with different couples in different scenarios,” senior Lucas Banks said. “All characters are tied to one specific scene and they won’t appear in any other. All these scenes come together to tell an overarching story.” Since everyone is a “‘lead,’ it offers a great chance to refine everyone’s acting chops. The show is considered an un-romantic comedy; you really won’t know which stories end well and which won’t,” Harmon said. Unlike the huge ensemble cast that would appear on stage during the musical, “the difficult Prized for artistic talent BY MASOOMA SULTAN reporter Director David Harmon helps juniors Phoebe Kohl and Ryan Spero add dimension to their vignette characters. NINA PALMER LOVE BY EVERY WHICH WAY FINE ARTS DEPARTMENT PREPARES NINE PLAYS IN ONE part of this show is that it’s very one-on-one,” senior Zack Nelson said. “It’s a lot tighter because there are only two people in one scene, and all the scenes are separate. So it’s hard to bond with other members that are in different vignettes.” To fix this issue, Nelson said, “they built incast bonding activities during their rehearsals to be able to create a more connected team.” There’s also an issue with handling a play where students act for only a short amount of time. “Because each pair of actors is only in one scene, it can be difficult to maintain focus,” Harmon said. “Some actors might be waiting as much as an hour before they come onto the stage for the first time.” “It ups the stakes with each vignette,” Nelson said. The play changes themes and perspective of love. There are scenes where a couple talks about how bored [they are] with their relationships, and there’s another story where a couple is reconnected after having being separated and divorcing their respective spouses.” Every scene is unique as to which aspect of a relationship it tries to showcase. With the continuous change in perspectives and complications, it shows that “love is complicated and it’s not always so straightforward,” Nelson said. With 11 schools participating, this year’s Central Suburban League Art Show will feature the best of Maine West on April 17 at Highland Park. According to photo teacher Melissa Lloyd, West teachers will choose a select 40 pieces of artwork to be shown. These selected artists are usually the foremost individuals in their subject and excel in aesthetic ability in their particular medium. “There is no way to indicate exactly whom will be featured, but it is the intention of each teacher to try and get work displayed from as many different students as possible. Students cut mats for their work, or dry mount some photographs; they are responsible for preparing them for display,” art teacher Mike Poehler said. This recognition of talent among the wide range of art classes at West has positively impacted students and their plans for the years to come. “My passion for photo has made me more excited for my future, in which I will be minoring in photography in college,” senior Emily Modloff said. to remember CLASS COUNCILS PREPARE MAGICAL EVENING FOR LIFE SKILLS STUDENTS BY SARAH SMAIL reporter Organized by the freshman and sophomore class councils and assisted by the paraprofessionals, Maine West is once again hosting the Life Skills Prom for Life Skills students. Taking place on April 27 from 5-7 p.m. in the student cafeteria, the prom is something that the Life Skills students look forward to each year. Throughout the Life Skills program, social skills are a key part of what is taught. While many of the students would feel overwhelmed if they attended a regular prom and may not feel fully comfortable in their surroundings, Life Skills Prom is designed for the students to practice what they have learned in class, while enjoying their time with peers. “This gives them an opportunity to experience prom in a setting they will actually be able to function in,” said special education teacher Mark McElligott. Each year, the Life Skills students from Maine West, Maine South and Maine East get together in order to celebrate. In total, there are about 50-60 students attending with around 20 other student volunteers. Students from both class councils and the Friends Connect Club, as well as special education teacher Lance Weber and counselor Shamoon Ebrahimi, help out. In order to make sure that everything runs smoothly for all the guests, additional support is provided for the students that have a harder time settling in. “I am there to supervise and provide assistance with anyone that needs it. Some students will need more support than others, and I am there to provide it,” McElligott said. This year’s theme, chosen by the Life Skills students, is “Red Carpet.” Freshman and sophomore class councils will provide a DJ and food, as well as a gift for each person attending. Each person will pay a price of $5 a ticket, with the class councils covering the rest of the cost. “My students are very excited about prom. They participated in voting for the ‘Red Carpet’ theme, so they are looking forward to seeing the decorations,” said Life Skills program teacher Jane Holper. Many of the individuals that volunteered last year are eager to continue helping this year. Last year’s theme was “Disney,” where student helpers dressed up as princesses and took pictures with various guests. “I’m looking forward to the excitement of the Life Skills students. Watching them walk in and be excited and happy is the coolest thing in the world because all the work that was put in was for them,” said sophomore and returning volunteer Kimberly Fairhead. Students at this year’s prom will be able to dress up with the student helpers acting like paparazzi and photographing the guests, making the students feel like celebrities. “It is great to see so many people smile and be truly happy. Everyone who is part of the dance has a great time,” Weber said.

W April 13, 2018 news 3 FLORIDA SCHOOL SHOOTING BRINGS SECURITY CHANGES More frustration, better preparation BY MALAIKA ZAIDI reporter To create a safer environment for students and staff, Maine West has been revising their safety procedures and polices. By reducing the number of doors open in the morning and keeping them constantly monitored, the administration is hoping to make it easier to track who has access to the building. In a change that impacts morning sports practices, all doors are now locked until 6 a.m.; students can enter the building after that only via the main entrance or bus concourse. “We always evaluate what we do and how we do it to make sure were doing everything the best way possible, and we will continue to do that. The catalyst was the shooting in [Parkland] Florida and the fact that these are becoming more common,” assistant principal John Aldworth said. “What happened was an eye-opening experience. We’re not as concerned though because we feel it’s a family environment here, so we focus a lot on preventative measures.” TIGHTENING THE RULES Along with changing access to the building itself, the doors of the student caf have been locked, with a safety monitor present at each one. Safety monitors have been more assertively tracking the hallways to make sure they are aware of who is present within the building at all times. With the introduction of the senior lounge, the In a Westerner survey of 210 students, the percentage of students who said they had been stopped by a security guard or safety monitor 3-4 times in the past week... 35% 30% A210 study lounge, and the autonomy of blended learning days in some classes, students have become accustomed to more freedom within the building and feeling that as along as they aren’t being disruptive, they don’t need security checks. “I believe making changes can be a good thing, but the guards checking whatever you’re doing every minute in the hallway can irritate some of the students who just need to get where they need to be,” senior Emma Tamillo said. POLICE SUGGEST CHANGES Percentage of students who said they had been stopped 1-2 times. Administrators have been making sure that all students at West are as safe as possible through conducting best-practice drills for emergencies, including a scenario such as a shooter. The hard lock-down drill conducted two weeks prior to the school shooting in Florida was monitored by the Des Plaines Police Department. “We all sat down and said this is not what we should be doing in a hard lock-down. Our protocol that’s been in place, for a long time, was to just hide in the classroom. What we noticed was, in many classrooms, you can’t hide,” principal Dr. Audrey Haugan said. The Maine West executive committee is working with the Des Plaines Police Department to get advice about the safest protocol: a Homeland Security measure called “run, hide, fight.” “Sometimes hiding, running, and fighting works. Not only one protocol works, so practicing one method isn’t effective,” Haugan said. NEW PLANS AHEAD Based on better understandings about how violent people behave and best practices during any emergency, changes will be implemented next year in the manner of how drills are conducted. There will be new protocol for all emergency management plans, including fire drills, soft lock-downs, and tornado drills. Despite whatever inconveniences they may create, the current step-up in security enforcement is something students recognize as an attempt to better manage the safety of more than 2,000 students. “The changes the school has made does provide me with a better peace of mind, thinking about the recent tragedy, because that shows they are making an effort to keep us all safe,” The Westerner asked 210 students: What do you think should be done about security at West? “We need a thorough policy that focuses on safety, not on me going to the bathroom.” “I think our security is good. The kids need to be more respectful.” “On one hand it’s nice that the guards are taking initiative and keeping a closer eye on students. However, during a free period, one doesn’t expect to be stopped for trying to go to the bathroom or to their locker.” “I just want to print something or go to the bathroom during my lunch study, but they are a little bit too strict.” “If we monitor the entrances, we can ‘make sure there’s no guns’ but the new rules of monitoring in and out of the caf are ridiculous.” “You guys are doing fine.” “Security needs to be improved by having more people capable of taking down a potential threat.” “Having security around the cafe is really intimidating and it makes me and my peers feel like we are in jail.” “Metal detectors.” “It would be better if things could go back to how they used to be. I get that not all students can be trusted, but until I personally do something wrong my freedom should not be cut back.” BY DOMINIK BRONAKOWSKI news editor Raising Awareness Responding to the desire to create a community of support for improving everyone’s mental health, Mental Health Awareness Club has been formed by seniors Cassandra Andrews and Grace Tomenillie and junior Sobin Puthenthara. They met next on April 25 in C215. “The overall mission is to educate students and staff about mental health issues, and break the stigma about mental illness and issues surrounding mental health,” sponsor and AP Psychology teacher Patricia Montgomery-Peng said. In a Westerner survey of 210 students, over 45% of students said they have dealt with mental health issues, so the creation of this club aims to have a large impact on how students talk about these issues. 42% of students who do suffer from mental health related issues have sought assistance from Maine West counselors, but Mental Health Awareness Club is not a group counseling session. Club sponsors, however, know resources to help any students who may need outside supports. “We meet as a club to discuss issues related to mental health and breaking the stigma surrounding mental health,” Montgomery-Peng said. The group itself is not necessarily an environment where students come to talk about their personal issues; these students are referred to NEW CLUB HOPES TO EDUCATE STUDENTS other trained school officials like school psychologist Cristina Ramirez. “I think it’s great that students and staff are bringing attention to this. There are a lot of things about mental health that people are unaware of, and the club helps provide facts so students and staff can truly learn why some kids suffer from one sickness or another,” senior Mental Health Awareness Club member Aidan Grubbs said. For example, “in the club, we learn the difference between each disorder ranging from OCD to schizophrenia.” “At our last meeting, Ms. [Allyson] Adams discussed her mental health board, Mental Health America of the North Shore, which was the driving force behind starting the club,” Montgomery-Peng said. Adams and Ramirez also facilitate a Youth Advisory Board which consists of students from a range of schools, from Maine West to Fremd High School. “We talked about the counseling profession. We discussed future topics related to mental health and getting a guest speaker to come,” Montgomery-Peng said. “We have a therapist coming to our next meeting to discuss several issues. We ended the meeting with a relaxation activity that students can easily replicate on their own. Students are encouraged to ask questions and have open dialogue.”

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