February 2020

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stateof the

ARTto new

Exploring the

bounds of

film, clay, chalk

& pencil,

students push

their work



volume 61, issue 5

mwwesterner.com + @mwwesterner

2 news/westerner




February 14, 2020






Traveling to Iowa to see the Democratic campaigns unfold, six Maine West students

and social science teachers Gwynne Ryan and Tracy Parciak gained first-hand

access to the primary process. With only 263 days until the presidential election,

Iowa held its caucus last week, and New Hampshire held its primary on Tuesday.

While in Iowa, the students were able to meet and listen to Joe Biden and Elizabeth

Warren, two candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“West is an Illinois Democracy School so each year the social science department

aims for students to participate in activities that foster the idea of voice, community

and action. In Iowa, we participated in a youth summit with students” from around

the nation, Parciak said. “Several candidates where in Iowa with the lead-up to the

caucus, and we hoped to also see Pete Buttigieg but got stuck in a snowstorm and

couldn’t make it to his event.”

Elizabeth Warren grew up in a lower-class family without money to go to

college. Graduating from high school at age 16, she earned a full scholarship to

George Washington University and later became a Harvard Law professor. “Warren

understands the struggle that students go through to get to college and how hard

they have to work for it, so she really emphasized education,” senior Meg Casiple,

who traveled to Iowa, said. As an assistant to President Barack Obama, Warren

established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to protect consumers from

dishonest corporations. Since 2013, she has been a Massachusetts senator. Warren

is a focused on fighting climate change, bringing 100% clean energy to America,

making health care affordable for everyone, providing high-quality education for

every child, reducing student college debt, and holding corporations accountable.

Bernie Sanders is a U.S. Senator from Vermont, who began his political

career in 1981 when he became the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, where he transformed

housing, taxes, and women’s rights. In 1991, he became Vermont’s only

congressman in the House of Representatives, where he served for 16 years, before

being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006. Some of the issues that he is focusing on

are making college available and affordable to everyone, pushing for racial equality

and advocating for LGBTQ+ rights.

Joe Biden is now running for president himself,

after serving as vice president under Obama.

“Joe Biden really wanted to connect with his supporters

and made eye contact with everyone, which

made it more inclusive,” Casiple said. A native of

Pennsylvania, Biden was elected to the U.S. Senate

at age 29. In that role, he met with officials of the

Soviet Union in Moscow to ratify the Strategic Arms

Limitation Talk--SALT II and bring the number of

nuclear weapons to the lowest level in history. Now,

as a presidential candidate, some of his focuses are to end gun violence, provide all

military members with access to mental health centers and financial training, and

reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

Pete Buttigieg started his political career in 2011, when elected as mayor of

his home town, South Bend, Ind. As mayor, he worked on modernizing the city

and improving their economic situation, helping to turn their community around.

During his term, he also took a leave of absence to serve in Afghanistan, where he

was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. As a presidential candidate, some of his priorities

are ensuring every American has safe and affordable housing, all families have access

to affordable child care and schooling, and treating climate change as a national


Amy Klobuchar, the first woman to serve as a Minnesota senator, has passed

more than 100 bills into law, including legislation to end human trafficking and

legislation to fight the opioid epidemic. While campaigning, she has revealed a list

of over 100 things she plans to do in the first 100 days of her presidency, including

addressing voting rights, prescription drugs, and antitrust enforcement. Klobuchar

also released a $100 billion plan to help fight addiction and improve mental health.


news editor and asst. news editor


To select who will appear on the presidential ballot for each party in

November, early voting for the primary starts on March 3 in Illinois, with

primary election day on March 17. Early voting happens at the Des Plaines

Public Library and regular voting happens at each person’s assigned polling


Voter turnout at primary elections is often fairly low. “People often don’t

vote because they think their vote and their voice doesn’t matter in the

scheme of things,” an anonymous respondent of a Westerner survey of 145

students said, but this year may be different as a large slate of Democrats are

vying for the presidential nomination.

“People need to vote for people who would make good decisions for

them,” senior Joanna Skorupa said. According to the survey, 77% of students

would vote in a presidential election, but only 39% of eligible seniors are

registered to vote in the March primary. There’s still time, as registration

ends on March 1.


Tensions between the United States and Iran have spiked in 2020, endangering

American soldiers in neighboring Iraq and leading to hundreds

of citizen deaths in Iran and Iraq. President Trump ordered an airstrike on

Iran’s top general, Qassim Soleimani, while Soleimani was in Iraq on Jan. 3.

Iran retaliated with air strikes against American military bases. While President

Trump initially said no Americans were injured in the raid, more than

100 U.S. soldiers have since been evacuated and treated for traumatic brain


The main issue for a lot of people was that the U.S. actions seemed to be

random and unprovoked, despite the president’s claim that Soleimani was

planning to attack U.S. embassies. Even important government officials like

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, “did not see tangible evidence showing

that Iran planned to strike four U.S. embassies, despite President Trump’s

claims that an attack at multiple embassies was ‘imminent,’” according to


According to the Westerner survey, the majority of students were unsure

if it was right for Trump to attack Soleimani and Iran -- with 40% saying

Trump’s actions were wrong and 18% saying his actions were right.


Donald Trump is currently the third president in the history of the

United States to be impeached by the United States House of Representatives,

joining the company of Andrew Jackson and Bill Clinton. Like those

before him, Trump was acquitted by the Senate and remains in office after

his impeachment. He was charged with pressuring the Ukrainian president,

Volodymyr Zelensky, to create an investigation of Joe Biden, his political

rival, that would help Trump win re-election in 2020. To persuade the Ukranians

to do this, Trump held back $400 million in military aid that had been

approved by Republicans and Democrats in Congress to help the Ukranians

fight their war with the Russians. Trump also forbade any White House staff

member from testifying before Congress about what he had done.

Republican Senator Mitt Romney was the only senator to cross party

lines and vote to convict Trump and remove him from office. “Attempting

to corrupt an election to maintain power is about as egregious an assault on

the Constitution as can be made,” Romney said.

In the Senate, the Republican majority voted to not allow witnesses or

documentation as part of Trump’s Senate trial, leaving many Americans confused

or even angry about the outcome. Even though 69% of students think

Trump should have been removed from office based on his abuse of power

and his obstruction of Congress, 84% thought that the Senate would acquit

him anyway, according to the Westerner survey. They proved to be correct on

Feb. 5, when the Republican-majority Senate voted to acquit.

february 14, 2020 westerner/news 3

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future




news editor

Today marks the second anniversary of the horrific

mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas

High School in Parkland, Fla. that left 17 students

and staff dead.

After one of the deadliest shootings in American

history, many of the survivors vowed to not have

their friends’ lives be lost in vain, and so, from the

ashes, the March for Our Lives Movement was born.

And since the shooting in Parkland, student activism

in general has exploded, with political involvement

being one of the primary methods.

A month after the shooting, Maine West students

organized a walkout in memory of the 17 students

who lost their lives in Parkland and as a peaceful

protest against gun violence. Nationally, students at

thousands of schools marched out of their classes at

10 a.m. as part of nation-wide protests.

The problem of school shootings is acute. The

United States has had 57 times as many school shootings

as all of the other major industrialized nations

combined, according to data compiled by CNN.

Many current juniors and seniors remember lining

up along Wolf road and holding up signs during

the 2018 protests, or giving impassioned speeches

calling for more comprehensive gun legislation to

address the rate of gun violence.

For Elizabeth Sofinet, class of ‘18 and one of the

seniors involved with the walkout, the shooting in

Parkland epitomized why students and young people

need to become more involved in politics. Sofinet



Grab your phone and enter “Black History Month” into the

Google search engine. You will find that the observance of the

achievements and contributions of African Americans in American

History “began on Saturday, February 1, 2020” and “ends on

February 29, 2020,” according to the Google calendar. This month

serves as the annual recognition of the sacrifices, accomplishments,

and advancements of black Americans -- both the famous heroes

of our nation and the everyday people doing their best to make

their lives and their country better. No matter what Google may

say, honoring those achievements goes beyond the defined Black

History Month.

“When you don’t grow up around a certain group of people and

the only representation you have of them is in the media which does

not portray black people and people of color in the best light, that

results in stereotypes,” Nicholas Davis, social science TA, said. So

this is a reason to “celebrate black excellence and talk about history

that is not usually talked about.”

When one thinks of black excellence in this country, names such

as Barack Obama, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass,

and Rosa Parks come immediately to mind, but the

influence of American-Americans extends beyond this, so

we need “to educate our school and bring more awareness

about all of the great history and great leaders,” Allyson Adams,

sponsor of the African American Club, said.

Nationally, thousands of schools incorporate events and

activities to honor Black History month, Maine West being

among them. Members of African American Club adorned

the doors of classrooms with art, attention-grabbing facts,

and eye-catching photos relating to black history, and

informative segments have been featured in the Warrior

Weekly to spread cultural awareness to a wide audience of

students and staff.

Awareness is a word that deeply resonates with Davis.

Davis expresses that, “real celebration of a culture is when you

celebrate their accomplishments all year round.”

A similar concern was brought to light by Bryanne Roemer,

who teaches AP U.S. History. Roemer believes that

“black history isn’t something that should be taught in just

one month. Black history is American history, it’s something

that has to be consistently taught.”

said of the 2018 walkout, “We wanted

our generation to take action regarding

gun legislation, because if we were old

enough for our lives to be at stake, we are

old enough to speak up, and be heard.”

The gun homicide rate in the United

States remains 25 times that of other

high-income countries, according to

a report published in the Preventative

Medicine research journal last year, and

students believe laws need to change to

limit the risk of gun violence in America.

In fact, only 13 percent of students

think current gun legislation in America

protects people, according to a Westerner

survey of 144 students.

Since 2018, there have been many new ideas trying

to eliminate the tragedy of school shootings from

the daily news. These proposals have ranged from

mandated see-through backpacks to educating and

arming teachers in the case of an active shooter.

While these measures largely provide countershooting

precautions, many have advocated for more

direct ways to prevent shootings. Everytown, a group

started by parents devoted to increasing gun control

in America, recently launched a digital campaign in

several states demanding stricter gun control measures,

including increased background checks and

restrictions on assault weapons and high-capacity


The ads directly confront lawmakers, putting the

blame on their lack of action. One ad in North Carolina

reads “1,300 North Carolinians are shot and

killed every year. North Carolina lawmakers, you are


As far as federal-level legislation has gone, the issue

remains just as stagnant as state-wide efforts to

make a decisive conclusion on where America stands

on the issue.

While the Trump Administration placed a ban

on bump stocks, an attachment that increases the

rate at which a gun can fire ammunition, in March

of 2019, the president has in many ways stayed true

to his conservative roots, favoring the National Rifle

Association’s lobbying efforts.

The conflict regarding gun control has remained



in the political spotlight, and while those in support

of gun control have not quieted, neither have those

who contend that it remains their constitutional

right to be armed.

2020 began with a rally in Virginia objecting

to legislation proposed by the state’s congress that

would put stricter laws on firearms and firearm sales.

Several thousand gun-touting protestors marched

onto the Virginia capitol, carrying signs with the

phrases “Come and Take It” or “We will not Comply.”

These changes in policy have come out of a Democrat-controlled

congress -- a political idiosyncrasy

in a historically Republican state.

The legislature proposed, and has since passed,

many of these bills. The establishment of red-flag

laws makes it easier for state officials to confiscate

weapons of individuals that are deemed a threat to

others or themselves, as well as limits of one gun purchase

per month are a few among these.

While restrictions on the possession of larger firearms

tends to be less controversial, the population

of Americans who believe in the power of guns as a

form of protection remains one of the most popular

arguments for the continued upholding of the second


Regardless of where one falls on the political

spectrum, there is no denying the importance of the

ability to express that position. One of the leaders of

the West walkout, Ahtziri Alviso, class of ‘18, said,

“I think that the most important thing we wanted

to achieve was to show students and young people

in general that we should not be afraid to speak our

minds and defend what we believe in. No matter

what race, religion, sexual orientation, creed, and

gender, we are all human beings and we deserve to

be heard.”

Without young voices being heard, some feel

that the political world becomes too homogenous,

and that progress isn’t entirely clear. “I think we can

get differing views with younger people in [politics],”

Schacke said. “Because either [politicians are]

old conservatives, and they have their set views, or

they’re the old liberals, and they have their set views;

there are no new ideas.”

4 news/westerner




February 14, 2020




Beautiful Ain’t

Always Pretty

Billowing smoke and distant fires have clouded

the skies of Australia, creating a science fiction

backdrop for the ongoing disaster.

Anne Fogarty, a Melbourne resident, described

it as something straight out of a movie theater. “It

was like a dystopian movie — cars lined up for

fuel, shop shelves were emptied, there were electricity

outages and no telecommunications,” she

told the New York Times in an interview.

A combination of the worst drought in years,

strong winds, and the middle of the summer season

have brought on catastrophic Australian bush

fires, generating smoke that can reportedly be

seen from the International Space Station. This

ecological calamity is intensified by the fact that

Australia is only about halfway through the summer


An estimated one billion animals and 33

people have died as a result of the ongoing fires,

and about 14.7 million acres have been burned,

according to CNN

This has left

many remaining


in dire


without food or shelter. “We need ongoing

monetary donations for food for animals

in bushfire regions. Rescues have enough

medical supplies to treat the surviving animals

-- and sadly, there are not as many as we

hoped. The remaining animals need food because

everything else is burnt,” according to

Australia’s Animal Rescue Craft Guild.

While donating money is one of the most

direct ways many have helped people and animals

in Australia, some volunteers are finding

different ways to help out. “I have joined the

Animal Rescue Craft Guild, and they want

people to make things for the animals in

Australia who are injured,” substitute teacher

Linda Zolt said.

Zolt is doing her part by knitting little joey

pouches and blankets made out of natural fibers

for the animals affected by the fires. The

group also wants volunteers to knit mittens to

help koala bears with burned hands.

Koalas in particular have been hit hard

during this fire season. In a statement to the

press, Australia’s environment minister Sussan Ley

claimed that somewhere around 30% of the marsupial’s

habitat has been destroyed in the fires.

“I think this is a big warning sign towards the

hazards of global warming,” sophomore Ryan

Weiler said. The issue of climate change has

been on the minds of many who are watching

the flames race across Australia. The Copernicus

Climate Change Service states that 2019, the year

that the fires began, was the second hottest year

on record for the Earth. The same concern was

felt by sophomore Heba Penumaka. “I feel like

people know about it but they don’t care because

they don’t think it’s directly affecting them,” Penumaka


The global community has gathered together

in their efforts to send aid to the people and animals

affected by the fires. Several benefit concerts

have been organized to raise money for wildfire relief,

and millions have been sent to various charities

like St. Vincent DePaul Society and the Royal

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.






33 people and ~1 billion

animals have died


~14.7 million acres of

land have been burned


2019 was the second hottest

year on record


“Shrek the Musical” will be dancing its way into the spotlight next week

as it brings the popular movie series to life with a bit of a twist. The musical

will premiere Feb. 21-22, at 7 p.m., with two more evening performances

on Feb. 28-29.

Shrek, played by senior Denis Dizdarević, is a lonely ogre who is forced to

be the hero for once as he stands up for the fairytale creatures that have been

exiled to his swamp by the local despot, Lord Farquaad.

This musical is Dizdarević’s first experience in theater. “I felt as if I had to

do something to get out of my comfort zone. I have never been involved in

theater, singing, or dancing before, and I thought it would be interesting to

give it a try,” said Dizdarević.

The hardest part for Dizdarević has been getting more comfortable with

the movements and dance moves that he needs to learn for the show. Director

David Harmon “encourages us to feel weird, and it’s something that has

been very hard for me, but beneficial,” Dizdarević said.

It’s also been hard for Dizdarević to get into character as it required learning

a Scottish accent, something that he tested out while reading Macbeth in

Anthony Tavano’s AP Literature class this semester. Nevertheless, he enjoys

the challenge. “I love doing imitations and accents,” he said.

Senior Logan Kulbersh, who is playing Princess Fiona, Shrek’s love interest,

said that “Shrek The Musical” has the “most talented and loving cast”

that she has ever worked with.

Dizdarević shares these feelings, saying that Mr. Harmon and the student

directors are “fantastic” in helping out, and that he enjoys spending time

with the cast.

“Working with new talent can be nerve wracking, but they’re doing amazingly

well, and I’m very proud of them and their progress,” said Kulbersh,

who has been in many Maine West productions.

Harmon says that despite the hurdles new actors face, he thinks that their

“approach to their rehearsals has been very professional, especially considering

that we have so many new people. It really feels like the heart of the show

is there, and if we have this approach, we will really have a successful show.”

The hardest part, according to Kulbersh, has been the self-doubt that

she’s felt along the way. With every performance, however, she regains some

confidence, each time trying to move “towards building myself alongside the


Ethan Webb, one of the two student directors, enjoys putting together

sets and working with cast members towards building something they can all

be proud of. “I think the final product will end up being really good and the

set pieces and everything coming together will look very nice,” Webb said.

get real

February 14, 2020 westerner/entertainment 5






Whether it’s bar fights and brawls in “Jersey Shore” or

beach dates on the “Bachelor,” reality TV has had viewers glued

to the TV for over a decade. But what really attracts viewers to

these “real” shows?

“For me, the most appealing part of reality TV is all the

drama that goes down. You can get a really high dose of that

on TV when it doesn’t really happen much in real life,” senior

Anne Panganiban said. True, reality TV shows come with

drama in spades, such as last season’s “Bachelorette” winner

turning out to be in a relationship while on the competition.

“These competition shows are a lot like sports, and people

watch both to root for their favorite team,’” AP Psychology

teacher Patricia Montgomery-Peng said. “Another reason people

may watch reality TV is due to a concept called relative

deprivation: if they see a person on the show do something really

bad or embarrassing, they will feel better about themselves

in comparison.”

Senior Cara Niewinski offers a new perspective on the appeal

of reality TV. “I think the ability to see into the lives of

others is what makes reality TV so popular these days. We love

stalking others on social media, and reality TV just takes that

to the next level,” Niewinski said.

Heightening the drama, the production editors of “reality

TV [shows]can twist a person’s words or actions into the complete

opposite of what they meant, but that also detracts from

the realness of it all,” Panganiban said.

And the “reality” of reality TV opens up a new can of

worms. For example, although the outcome of The Bachelor

is not predetermined, some scenes in the show are

somewhat choreographed by the producers, and

many more are highly edited to point the show in a

certain direction. But shows don’t always have to be

completely real to be enjoyable. “I still find it entertaining

even though some parts of the show are set

beforehand. The only part that ruins

it for me is when they change how a

person seems just for the sake of the

show,” Panganiban said.

There is far from a consensus on

this issue though. “Being ‘staged’

sometimes ruins it and makes it lose

its appeal, so the more real the show

is, the better it is,” senior Cara Niewinski


But people’s perceptions of

the authenticity of these shows

may be somewhat dangerous.

“When a character is on reality

TV, they’re going to act as

over-the-top as possible to attract

as many viewers as possible.

This definitely sets a different

standard than what’s in

the real world,” Montgomery-

Peng said. This has the impact o f

that would otherwise

racist, sexist or inap-

subtly normalizing behaviors

be seen as outrageous, obscene,

propriate in relationships.








Anyone ready for a day off? Thanks to Abraham Lincoln and George

Washington, students across the country will get this Monday off as

the nation honors their birthdays and their legacies.

In a Westerner survey of 145 students, some expressed confusion

about the origins or purpose of the holiday, citing it

as a way to honor the current president. Most, though,

recognized the purpose of honoring Lincoln and Washington

as presidents who “led us through hard times, so

we should respect their memory,” one student said -- alluding

to Washington leading the nation into victory

against the British and serving as our first president,

as well as Lincoln battling to preserve the United

States through the misery of the Civil War. Nearly

every student also cited their enthusiasm for getting

a day off from school.

Washington’s birthday was declared a national

holiday in 1885 under President Chester A. Arthur, and

many states -- including Illinois -- honored Lincoln’s February

birthday separately as well. Later the celebrations were combined

into the current Presidents’ Day.

There is controversy surrounding whether or not Presidents’

Day is a significant part of society that should be

celebrated. In a world with many pressing issues, some

believe the holiday should transform into something

that holds more relevance in society, such as Immigrants

Day or Leadership Day. “Leadership day would be something

different. We would have our students think about what makes a good

leader, why we should pay attention to the outside world, and why we should

be involved in choosing good leaders,” US History teacher Richard

Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg believes that President’s Day has gone from

being “something we valued to just a tradition, but if

someone were to take it away, there would be a lot of


On the other hand, some believe that Presidents’

Day is a day to celebrate the importance of the

presidency. “It is fitting to have a day where

you honor the people who were courageous

enough to serve their country,” AP Government

teacher Daniel Fouts said. “I’ve always

understood it as a day to honor those who

have held that position in our government.”

To honor Presidents’ Day, Fouts gives students a

former president’s quote, discusses the meaning of

the quote, and applies it to modern day life.

Regardless of the controversy, Fouts believes

that Presidents’ Day is essential to the unity of this

country. “This holiday is important because it

allows a country to bring together its patriotic

feelings; it’s symbolic and ceremonial. It’s a

reminder of what brings us together,” Fouts



6 entertainment/westerner





One Maine West student is finally

turning four.

Counting down the days to a birthday

is nothing but exciting especially

for those born on Feb. 29, also known

as a leap day; their birthday officially

comes every four years.

A leap day is an additional day put

into the calendar to ensure that our year

lines up with the Earth’s movement

around the sun. Although our typical

calendar holds 365 days, the Earth orbits

the sun in 365.2421 days. To make

sure that our astronomical year is consistent,

an extra day is added every four

years to make up for the lost time.

The chance of one having a leap

year birthday is 1 in 1,461, according

to History.com, and sophomore Anthony

Sylvester falls into that category.

Born on February 29, 2004, Sylvester

will officially be turning four years old

this month. “I like that my birthday is

so rare. It’s really cool, and it’s unique

that my birthday only comes every four

years,” Sylvester said.

When his birthday isn’t on the calendar,

Sylvester celebrates on the 28th.

However, when leap year comes, Sylvester

has a big celebration. “When my

actual birthday comes, I get more gifts,

and we have a huge celebration; it’s definitely

a perk to having such a unique

birthday,” Sylvester said. This year, Sylvester

will be celebrating in Clearwater,

Fla., with family friends.

Because Sylvester is technically

three years old, there are bound to be

jokes. “People always say I’m the biggest

or smartest three year old they’ve

ever seen,” Sylvester said. “I think it’s

really funny.”

Although Sylvester is turning four

years old, he doesn’t allow it to make

him feel any different. “I don’t think

it makes me any different, though. It’s

just something


makes me

unique. I still

tell everyone

I’m 15

years old,”


said. He embraces

being 1

in 1,461.

While children relish the chance to doodle with

their crayons or paint on easels while wearing oversized

smocks, those opportunities diminish as we get older,

even if the creative energy doesn’t.

By high school, students

dedicate more of

their limited time and energy

to traditional academics

and often forget to set

aside time for creative experiences.

“I think it’s important

to have both, because

having art in my day

is my relaxing time where

I can let go and express

my ideas and emotions

through what I create,” junior

Nell Jakoniuk said.

Since there are so many

classes to choose from and only eight periods in

a day, it’s unfortunately not possible for everyone

to take an art class, even if it is something

they are interested in doing. For those who

are faced with this dilemma, there are many

other ways to incorporate art into your daily

life. Whether by studying the pieces displayed

throughout Maine West or going to see performances

such as musicals or concerts, these experiences

“provoke imagination and introduce

unknown worlds,” according to the National


for the Arts.

S i n c e

there is no

“right” way

to make art,

some people

who possess

the patience

can even

teach themselves


the help

of a formal

teacher. “I

started drawing

when I

was little. I watched YouTube videos and copied what

they did, but then developed my own style,” junior Janejira

Nasaree said.

Off the Arts

february 14, 2020

Painting, music, and even creative writing are all

forms of art that allow for one to express their thoughts

in a personalized way. “It’s made me think more in

depth about my ideas and express them in ways that

are interesting to other

people,” Jakoniuk said.

As the act of creation

is often an immersive,

self-defining experience,






asst. entertainment editor



student artists are often

faced with the question

of how they plan to incorporate

art into their

lives and careers after

high school. Aside from

working as a conventional

artist, many careers

allow for people to combine

their creativity with another

skill and

open doors

to many potential




planning on

majoring in

art education

so I can

teach it,” senior

Emily Orstrom said. “I would also like to go into

the real world and do graphic design.”

Even for young artists, there can be opportunities to

display your art and even profit from it. Nasaree has gotten

this opportunity by being asked to create murals at a

local cafe, Brew Lounge, located on Lee Street. She has

some freedom with her work, and gets a taste of what it

is like to work on commission. “They give me a theme

or topic, and I go off on my own and do what I think

would look good,” Nasaree said.

Some might be hesitant to get into drawing, dancing,

music, photography, or sculpture because they worry

that they won’t be good at it or aren’t the “artistic type.”

Whether by checking out instructional books from the

Maine West library, watching YouTube or app tutorials,

or taking a class through the Des Plaines Park District

with a friend or family members, “it doesn’t matter what

skill level you’re at, you can just let go and be creative

and no one really judges your work,” Jakoniuk said.

february 14, 2020 westerner/features 7

Still Marching



One hundred years after the 19th amendment granting women the right

to vote was passed, America’s fight for equality persists. While women faced

many different issues in the 1920s, several of their primary concerns remain

problematic even a century later.

Maine West students attended the 2020 Chicago Women’s March on Jan.

18, marching with Voice for the Nameless to show their concerns on issues

ranging from climate change and voting rights to healthcare and reproductive

freedom. Issues of equality for all people, of all races and genders, were




core to the focus of the march, too, as were concerns about guns in America.

The Women’s March movement launched with massive nationwide protests

on Jan. 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration of President Donald

Trump. The largest single day protests in history took place as millions of

people marched in support of gender equality, civil rights, and other issues.

More than 250,000 marchers took to the streets of downtown Chicago that

January, with more than 300,000 showing up the following year in 2018.

Now, The Women’s March has become both a celebration of these different

groups and a protest against the inequalities they face in America and


“What I loved about the march

was how welcomed you felt and everyone

came together like a family to

march for what we believe in,” junior

Ramina David said.

“Everyone that goes has one

goal. That goal was to speak up

for women’s rights and important

issues; it was amazing to see not

only women but also men,” senior

Makayla Marroquin said.

“You saw people of all ages and

it is really cool to see young kids

active. I also loved seeing all the

creative signs and the community

feel that the march had.” senior Val

Etzwiler said

“What I loved about the march

this year is the amount of people who

still came despite the bad weather. It’s

nice to know how much people actually

value speaking out about important

issues,” senior Chloe White said.









From immigration policies, to gun control legislation, to climate

change -- these issues create feelings of anxiety and helplessness for

many Americans. We worry about the problem, but it seems too

large for us to do anything practical to address it.

Yet, there are ways to show these issues matter and that solutions are


Nathan Sivak, the Youth Education Coordinator at RefugeeOne, a refugee

resettlement agency, believes social advocacy is one way to contribute to

social justice issues. “It just means caring and being brave. The biggest killer

out there is apathy; so many people just don’t care. When we realize that

we are a community and it’s not just us and our cell phones, the world will

be better. We are a part of the same human community. Advocacy is caring

about your brothers and sisters and fighting the forces trying to hurt them,”

Sivak said.

A member of Amnesty International’s local Chicago group and a former

area coordinator, Blaine Mineman believes that the success of advocacy is

rooted in the strength of numbers. “A group of two to four of us would sit

around a table and talk about things we wanted to do. With two or four people,

however, we realized nothing would happen,” Mineman said. “It dawned

on me that we needed to get more people involved, and the way to do that

was talking to folks in Chicago. Last year we got over 16,000 petitions signed

on the streets in Chicago, some of which helped obtain a favorable outcome.”

On the other hand, junior Laura Grum, who is a member of Voice

for the Nameless, a social advocacy club at West, believes that

one voice is enough to spur change. “It only takes one person.

Humans tend to conform to the behavior of others, even if it’s

not what they believe in, but that halts our world from progressing. We have

the ability to change the world, all we need is the will to do it,” Grum said.

Spanish teacher and former attorney Uzma Sattar also believes that one

can practice advocacy in their everyday lives. Being the first Muslim woman

who wore a hijab when she attended the University of Chicago’s Law School,

the experience propelled her to use her platform to empower those around

her. “One of the fortunate or unfortunate realities of being a visibly Muslim

woman is that you’re often one of the only ones. Everyone knows who you

are,” Sattar said. “I try to use that to an advantage for other female Muslim

students to see that they too can become educators and have a voice in the

system.” Sattar believes that there is a spectrum of everyday individuals who

-- even though they aren’t famous or well-known -- are raising awareness that

will not only positively impact them but the culture of inclusivity.

Standing up for others who are mistreated or speaking out against dangerous

ideas isn’t merely a noble calling; instead, it’s a requirement for a functioning

nation. “When people become complacent is when our nation will

die. Complaining about the world doesn’t help get anything done, it only

creates animosity. I believe we have a duty; if you think there’s something

wrong, you need to advocate to change that. It doesn’t mean you are liberal

or conservative; it simply means you are alive,” Kevin Zickterman, co-coordinator

of Amnesty International’s local Chicago’s group, said.

Sivak believes that teenagers have the potential to be a force of change.

Introduced to RefugeeOne at the age of 24, Sivak has remained involved in

their mission ever since. “These days, high school kids are amazing. They are

much more awake, their head’s in the game, and their heart is in the right

place. They have the ability to create the change they want to see, and that is

very inspiring,” Sivak said.

In the long run, advocacy becomes a combination of service, core values,

hard work and action to create change you want. “Advocacy most importantly

teaches me that if I want big change, I have to think big,” Zickterman said.

8 IN-DEPTH/westerner

February 1

show your (wallet) love


Showing how much you care is expensive.

According to CNN, on Valentine’s

Day, Americans spend almost

$20 billion on gifts for others, with individuals

spending an average of $143.56 on gifts.

For those who have love but not money,

Valentine’s Day can be a surprisingly stressful

holiday. However, with a few dollars, a

little creativity, and a trip to your local Dollar

Tree, it’s possible to spend less money and

still make someone’s holiday.

For a fun take on traditional Valentine’s

Day cards and gifts, look for ideas on Pinterest

or Martha Stewart’s website for clever

choices for family and friends. The Michael’s

store website and Michael’s Pinterest boards

show hundreds of easy homemade gifts that

you can create using materials you might already

have at home.

For any of the DIY card ideas you might

find online, try writing about an inside joke,

a reason that you appreciate that person, or a

poem for him or her. “I like that with a DIY

gift, you can show thoughtfulness because

it’s something meaningful that took time to

make,” senior Jeidy Cruz said.

(Almost) everyone likes candy. So with

a Valentine-themed bucket from the dollar

store and a few bags of their favorite candy,

you can make a gift basket to satisfy your

Valentine’s sweet tooth. “Chocolate is one

of my favorite gifts to give because it can be

romantic and relatively inexpensive,” senior

Marco Jimenez said.



Eating spaghetti under the stars, like

in The Lady and the Tramp, might be

the romantic plans we immediately

think of when we think of Valentine’s Day.

Yet 78% of Maine West students do not

have plans this Valentine’s Day, according

to a Westerner survey of 142 people. Since

most students say they aren’t interested in a

romantic evening anyway, now is the time to

text your friends and figure out something

fun to do.

Movie night is a classic. If you’re short

on time, it’s a great way to bring together

your friends for a night of fun. To up your

movie night game, try branching out beyond

popcorn. Ask your friends to be in charge

of different types of snacks. Chips, candy,

soda, and maybe even a heart-shaped deep

dish pizza from Giordano’s would be great



Real flowers last a week, at most. So what

better way to show your long-lasting appreciation

for someone than with a bouquet of

paper or fabric flowers you made yourself?

With a vase and different kinds of flowers,

you can make a nice, never-fading decoration.

“Flowers are a classic Valentine’s Day

gift. They’re a nice gesture for everyone, not

just girls,” senior Kevin Letts said.

For a more sentimental gift, you’ll need

small index cards and a container, ideally a

Valentine-themed mailbox from the Dollar

Tree. On the sticky notes, write as many

things that you appreciate about the person

as you can think of. Fill up the mailbox and

raise the flag.

In the end, the sentimental

meaning behind the gift is way

more important than it’s monetary





plans for procrastinators


options. Mr. Beef and Pizza on Mt. Prospect

Road also have a heart-shaped pie available.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your

movie-watching environment is important

too. To make your space comfortable, bring

out the blankets and pillows. Try to plan out

a spot for you and your friends to sit and a

spot for you and your friends to put your

food. If you have time, try stopping at the

Dollar Tree for some Valentine’s Day themed

paper plates, napkins, and cups. But even

without, you’re bound to have a great time.

If you don’t want to set up for a movie night

at home, one student from the Westerner survey

suggests seeing Sonic the Hedgehog movie

in theaters.

Instead of watching shows, you can invite

your friends over for video games. One student

from the Westerner survey wants to “stay

home and game with the boys.”

For those who’d rather go out, ice cream

Happy Valentin

is always fun. You and your friends

can go traditional with an Oberweis

or Coldstone cone, or get a McFlurry

or Concrete Mixer. At least two people

from the Westerner survey hope to have a

frozen treat on Valentine’s Day.

If you’re feeling adventurous, one student

from the Westerner survey suggests going on

a geo-caching date. Go to www.geocaching.

com to find caches near you.

While preparing your movie-night extravaganza,

try to think of some shows/

movies to watch beforehand so you and your

friends don’t need to spend an hour searching

through Netflix. If your friends are busy,

then maybe a movie night get-together isn’t

the best plan. In this case, you should treat

yourself. Whether it means getting a fun face

mask from Target, playing video games until

you’re afraid of carpal tunnel, or baking

cookies, do whatever makes you happy.


if you

don’t have

plans for Valentine’s

Day, try

to reach out to

the people you care

about and see if you

can plan something fu

over the weekend!

alentín - Fröhlichen Valentinstag ♥♥♥

4, 2020 westerner/in-depth

sing for me







Day - ديعس بح ديع - Szczęśliwych Walentynki - Feliz día de San V


When the door opens during

your 7th period class

today, it may not just be

someone coming back from the

bathroom. As a fundraiser for Tri-

M Society, members are delivering

Valentunes in classes this


“My favorite part is

watching the look on students’

faces when they

get called forward to be

serenaded! It’s hilarious!”

said Tri-M sponsor

James Schiffer.

Throughout this week,

students could purchase

Valentunes for

$2, which got them the

chance to pick a song

and have it serenaded to

another student during

class this afternoon. The

nice thing about Valentunes

is that you don’t need

to be dating someone to send

one; for many, it’s more fun to

send them to their friends.

Everyone in class gets to enjoy

hearing the Tri-M students sing and

seeing the reaction of the recipient,

and of course, it will be amusing for

those who decide to buy them for their

friends as a joke.

“Most of the time, recipients of the Valentunes

will sit there with a smile on their

face until the song is over, but the best reactions

are from the students who know they

were bought one as a joke and have to sit

there embarrassed until we’re done,” said senior

Tri-M officer Rylan Turner.

Organizing students from band, orchestra

and choir to sing in multiple groups, “as

a TRI-M officer, I lead a group and sing with

them,” said senior Tri-M officer Caroline


Luckily, their hard work pays off as many

students really enjoy the opportunity to send

Valentunes, and it makes for a good time for

Tri-M members too.

“My favorite part of doing Valentunes is

getting to either impress or utterly humiliate

random students and staff around the

school while singing songs with a group of

my friends,” Turner said.

“It’s a fun way to see what you have in

common with people,” said Barnett.

Unfortunately, these traditions are only

available for a short amount of time, so make

sure to take advantage of them while you


“Valentunes are $2! They go on sale

Monday, February 10th through Thurs. Feb

13th. They will be delivered on Valentine’s

Day, February 14th during seventh period,”

said Schiffer.

living with the love




when the cold of

the winter season

seems more brutal than

ever, it’s a truly cruel reminder

that no amount

of hot chocolate, layers of

clothes, hats, gloves, fireplaces

or shivering are enough to comfort

our brittle hearts.

Unfortunately, the heinous existence

of a day dedicated to love can

make February seem like a sneak-peek at

the inevitable mid-life crisis we’ve heard so

much about. Fear not! We’ve heard the cries

for help and we’ve compiled some survival

tips to get you through this critical time period.



Avoid restaurants!

I hope you’ve got food at home or some

extra money for the UberEats service fee

because most restaurants are a no-go. Most

of them will probably be filled with adults

staring deeply into each other’s eyes, and you

might even have to witness and clap for some

poor sap that pops the question to his date at

dinner. So unless you can enjoy your meal

with a sprinkle of loneliness and discomfort,

we suggest you eat at home.

Spend some time with friends!

Spend the evening with friends because,

I mean, let's be real, most of them are probably

single anyway: we are teenagers. Hanging

out with other people can remind you

that, like most people, you’re not alone and

that there are plenty of people around you

that care for you and will also be willing to



go take 23 different poses of selfies with you

at the Bean in Chicago for the 1000 time. Of

course, there’s also the added bonus of bonding

over the fact that you’re all way too busy

to be in a relationship, and that you could

never fit a romance into your packed schedule.

Valentine’s Day really does prove that

mates can be more important than dates.

A chocolaty silver lining

The best thing about Valentine’s Day is

the fact that most chocolate will be halfpriced

the day after. As Lizzo says, “Got to

take a deep breath, time to focus on you,”

and there’s almost no place better to start indulging

yourself than in an overstocked Walgreens

candy aisle on Feb. 15. Finally and

most importantly, remember that the fact

that you’re single is a CHOICE. You could

totally get a date if you wanted to.

10 features/westerner

Into the Darkness


features editor

Benjamin Franklin once said that only two

things in life can truly be certain: death and taxes.

Despite its inevitability, death is a gravely sombre

topic, and knowing it’s coming doesn’t make

it any easier to swallow, especially when it comes

early and tragically.

Stunned by the recent death of Kobe Bryant,

for example, English teacher Gustavo Segovia remembers

that he initially refused to believe it. “It

was devastating to see that happen,” Segovia said.

“I was hoping more than anything that it was fake.

Everything stopped; it was one of those moments

where you will always remember exactly where you


It’s always tragic to see someone die, especially

when they are young, but students felt a lot of confusion

about the depth of their sadness for people

they’ve never met -- whether Kobe, Juice Wrld, or

Cameron Boyce.

To senior Aliyah Bilotich, a fan of rapper Mac

Miller, her sadness seemed to exist in what the

person stood for just as much as the person themselves.

“I feel like music is a big part of everyone’s

life, so the people who sing these lyrics that inspire

us mean a lot,” Bilotich said.

Sometimes these artists’ lyrics help fans relate

to them and their life experiences personally, giving

the feeling that these people are just like everyone

else. “Fans grew up with their art, whether it

be movies, music, or TV shows. Or they were close

in age to the person who died, and it hit them hard

when they realized, ‘that could have been me,’” an

anonymous student said in a Westerner survey of

141 students. That sense of fear comes from realizing

one’s own vulnerabilities.

“I play basketball, and a lot of my life revolves

around the sport. Kobe was the first basketball

great I had ever heard of, so in a way he is kind of

a hero not just to me but to everyone who feels the

same,” another anonymous student replied in the

survey. Grasping the fact that a hero who seemed

February 14, 2020




of students felt impacted

by the death of Kobe Bryant,

according to a recent

Westerner survey of 141


untouchable is actually as fragile as anyone else can

explode part of the way we viewed the world.

Of course, the deaths of these incredibly important

people receive lots of media coverage, and

just like in life, Kobe merchandise sold briskly

among fans who wanted something to memorialize

him. “Sometimes, business is business. You’re

going to have people who want to profit off of it,

even if it’s a death. On the one hand, it seems rude,

but on the other hand, some people feel better if

they get things with which to remember the person,”

Segovia said.

Looking for ways to express their sadness, fans

in Los Angeles bought so many purple and yellow

flowers that florist shops sold out in L.A., and other

celebrities looked for ways to show their love for

Kobe, too. Director Spike Lee, for example, wore a

purple and gold tuxedo to last Sunday’s Academy

Awards that had a #24 embroidered on his lapels.

Many artists have had posthumous album

releases, including ones with new music such as

those by Queen, John Lennon, and Nirvana that

were some of their biggest albums ever. Even now,

many of the most popular songs from decades past

have spread their message into today’s world. “I

think sometimes it’s what the artist would’ve wanted,”

Bilotich said. “It makes us realize how great

they really were. Through their music we feel like

we get to know them, and that makes them a great

part of our lives.”



Check this out!



You can tell a lot about a person by

their choice in books. The same is

true for a school.

Unsurprisingly, the top ten most

checked out titles in the LRC revolve

around the lives of teenagers and the

universal problems that they face,

whether in the past, present, or

future. “I think students want to

read books that excite them and,

more importantly, speak to them

and their experiences,” librarian

Geoffrey Greenberg said.

Over the past five years, students

have gravitated toward young adult

realistic fiction. Titles such as The Hate You Give,

Eleanor and Park, and Looking for Alaska have all been

checked out over 40 times in the past five years. Although Eleanor

and Park is set in the 1980s, many students were still able to relate

to the problems they faced. “Eleanor and Park is one of the best books

I’ve ever read,” junior Gabi Krieger said. “Rainbow Rowell managed to

expose the reader to real-life hardships such as domestic abuse, poverty,

and forbidden love.”

Students also appreciated the honest depictions of life in high school

author Rowell portrayed in Eleanor and Park. “I really liked how she

doesn’t sugarcoat things and how it shows that things don’t always work

out,” junior Madelyn Jones said.

On the other hand, The Hate U Give is centered around a very current

issue: police brutality. “It tackled the issue in a way that doesn’t feel

too heavy,” librarian Nicole Coover-Thompson said. This makes it an

ideal book for high school students.

“I liked The Hate U Give because it emphasizes the racial tension that

the black community experiences even after equality is actively sought

after,” Krieger said. “I think it’s an important book that should be read in

high schools because it’s entertaining as well

as educational.”

My Bloody Life, the autobiography of a

former gang member, is one of the most

popular nonfiction titles the LRC offers,

having been checked out 75 times in the

past five years. “A lot of kids are interested

in reading about true crime and serial

killers,” Greenberg said. “Students find

these books engaging and talk to each other

about them, which I think makes them more

popular.” Other genres experiencing surges in

popularity include graphic novels and fantasy


One priority of the librarians is to make it

easier for all types of students to find books

where they can relate more directly to the

authors’ point of view. “We have been pushing

a lot of authors of color, queer authors,

and stories that are representative of the

students in the building,” Coover-Thompson

said. “Those titles in particular have

become very popular.”

Ultimately, the most popular books

contain issues that are relevant to teens.

Since all of the most checked out books

were published after 2000, “it will be interesting

to see, ten or twenty years from


now, to see if these books will have stood


the test of time.” Coover-Thompson said.

February 14, 2020 westerner/opinions 11


The student-produced newspaper of

Maine West High School, the Westerner,

is dedicated to maintaining the

values of truth, integrity, and courage

in reporting. The Westerner provides an

open public forum for free and responsible

expression of student opinion, as

well as balanced coverage of issues of

student interest. The staff encourages

discussion and free expression between

all members of the school and community

and maintains its responsibility to

inform and educate the student body.

Unsigned editorials represent the majority

viewpoint of the editorial board.

Letters to the editor, which are subject

to editing for length and clarity, must

be signed by name and may be published

upon approval from the editorial

board. Opinions in letters are not

necessarily those of the Westerner, nor

should any opinion expressed in the

Westerner be construed as the opinion

or policy of the adviser, the Westerner

staff as a whole, the school staff, the

school administration, or District 207

school board.



Sarah Smail, Malaika Zaidi

Associate Chief Editor:

Suzy Linek

Chief of Digital Media

and Graphics Editor:

Abigail Milovancevic

News Editors:

Jameson Beckman, Jenna Robbins

Features Editors:

Malaika Zaidi, Alexis Huerta

In-Depth Editor:

Abigail Milovancevic

Sports Editors:

Suzy Linek, Monyca Grimmer,

Daniel Vicens

Opinions Editor:

Sarah Smail

Entertainment Editor:

Hana Dempsey

Photo Editor: Greta Martin

Art Editor: Xiao Lin He

Digital Content Chief:

Nitin Nair

Assistant Editors:

Clare Olson, Jenna Daube, Aileen

O’Connor, Sarosh Khan


Maha Zaidi, Katy Wilczynski, Natalie

Castellanos, Andrew Stutheit, Lucy

Ellsworth, Khushi Patel, Blazej Ezlakowski,

Lili Vaughan, Jake Thvedt,

Sariff Alviso, Niki Vujcic, Joanna

Vogt, Tej Parmar, Monisa Yusra,

Marc Rizkalla, Kevin Schill, Anahi

Sosa, Dominika Szal, Johnny Nguyen,

Karim Usman, Zaid Usman, Pratiksha

Bhattacharyya, Angelica Garin,

Kira Palmer, Lily Chen, Mia Reyes,

Miguel Patino, Darcy Buchaniec

ADVISER:Laurie McGowan


Tissue Issues

Rule number one: Don’t touch your eyes. Rule number

two: Wash your hands with soap and water. Rule number

three: Cover your mouth when you cough.

The list goes on and on, and with the cold and flu season

upon us, staying healthy is increasingly difficult.

In order to stay healthy, we need to stay vigilant. For

example, after blowing your nose in class, ask to wash your

hands or at least sanitize them. When was the last time you

cleaned your phone and laptop with antibacterial wipes? They

are harboring germs right now, and every time you touch

them and then touch your face or rub your eyes, you’re getting

closer to viruses and bacteria.

As students, we have a responsibility to ourselves and to

the people around us. When we come to school while sick, it

not only hinders our class performance, but it also makes our

fellow classmates susceptible to whatever we’ve caught. Understandably,

taking a day off can make the rest of the week

stressful, as we try to catch up on missing assignments. However,

choosing to take a day to recover will better energize

you for the rest of the school week and better protect those

around you.

Unfortunately, students are generally more vulnerable to

catching a cold because of fatigue. From late-night studies to

past midnight Netflix binges, we are terrible at getting ourselves

to bed. According to the Mayo Clinic, lack of sleep can

weaken our immune system. As a result, we are more likely to

get sick and less likely to recover in a short amount of time.

Though well-intentioned studies have repeatedly advocated

for teenagers to get nine to 10 hours of sleep, it’s simply unrealistic.

However, it is possible to organize your time in a way

that enables you to not only finish your homework and watch

that Netflix episode but to also get a good night’s sleep.

Beyond what we can do for ourselves, our school can improve

student hygiene, too. To start off, Maine West should

supply tissues in every classroom. Many times we feel a sneeze

coming on and we look around the room anxiously, hoping

to spot a box of tissues. We search high, we search low, we

search the neighboring classroom, and despite our investigation,

there are no tissues to be found. We’re left with two

options: go to the bathroom for toilet paper or, desperately,

use our sleeve. Neither of these options

is appealing or sensible, which is why

West needs to supply boxes of tissues

in each classroom. Furthermore,

having a bottle of hand sanitizer in

each classroom would enable us

to quickly clean our hands

without leaving class.

Making hand sanitizer

pumps available at the

entrances of each wing

would also provide us the

opportunity to minimize

You’re certainly

not the first person

to feel this way. This

type of sentiment is

known as impostor syndrome—the

feeling that you

are inadequate despite evident

success and competence. In a

Westerner survey of 145 stu-

Are you an impostor?

Picture this: you are at your graduation

ceremony after surviving four long way about their achievements.

dents, 62 percent said they’ve felt this

years of high school. You’ve devoted so When you get your moment

in the spotlight, it may

much time and energy in your work

and have been named Maine Scholar as feel as if you perpetrated a big

a result of your excellent GPA. Everyone

is congratulating you on your suc-

should have gone to someone

scam, receiving recognition that

cess, especially your family, whom you else -- not really deserving of

have made very proud.

the honor you won or not really

prepared for the job you

It feel like a dream come true, right?


were given. Whether you were

Though you are celebrating your aware or not, you had a certain

success, it feels as if something is deeply,

uncomfortably wrong.



Because here you are -- still the same

person who was late to school last week

because you left your lunch at home

and barely scraped by with an

“A” in a class. “Do I really

deserve this honor?”

you ask yourself.



glorious image of what a winner

should look, act, or feel like.

The problem is that in this

mental image, you left out the fact that

successful, winning people are everyday

individuals just like yourself, meaning

they’ve experienced all the emotions

you have, made the same stupid

mistakes, and probably procrastinated

just as much. They, too, woke up every

day feeling like garbage and wondered

how they were going to function on five

hours of sleep.

Often, you end up with the unrealistic

perception that someone who has

won the big awards or scored the highest

honors or tallied the highest grades

should possess much more knowledge

SINCE OCT. 1, 2019,






*According to the CDC


illnesses being spread

from student to student.

If we introduced these

health practices at Maine

West, we could become

more hygienic and successful

avoiding the germs

of the season. If necessities

like tissues and hand sanitizer were placed

in each classroom, or at least accessible nearby, as students, we

will have an easier time protecting our health.

and a sharper intellect than you currently

do. You must not deserve it, your

mind tells you.

You’re just an impostor.

The best way to overcome

these feelings is to remind

yourself that the perceptions

you have of other people are

based solely on what you

see. You can’t perceive what’s

actually going on in other

people’s heads nor what they

do when no one is watching,

but let me assure you that

many of their thoughts and

actions are similar to yours.

If you’ve ever walked away from a

conversation feeling stupid and contemplating

the things you said, it is highly

likely that the person on the other end

was doing exactly the same. You aren’t

as different as you think you are. Over

the course of your life, you will look

at other people’s accomplishments and

may feel like you aren’t good enough.

Remember, however, that what you

see is merely their highlight reel, which

covers up their much longer compilation

of bloopers and failures.

12 opinions/westerner




Dragging our heavily laden garbage cans to the curbside

each week, we look to the city to dispose of our waste in

some quiet location where we can safely forget all about

it. We produce an impressive amount of trash and do an

impressive job of taking zero responsibility for the consequences

of it.

In fact, we are so skilled at producing waste that, according

to the Environmental Protection Agency, the United

States produced 267.8 million tons of trash in 2017.

That’s an average of 1,636 pounds of trash created by

each one of us in one year.

1,636 pounds of trash made by you.

1,636 pounds of trash made by me.

Though we want to curb our waste

production, it isn’t an easy task as most

products are designed to be used once

and thrown away, producing a never

ending stream of garbage. It nearly





seems impossible to live completely

waste-free when there is so much to

throw away.

Yet we can say goodbye to singleuse

drink bottles and caps, plastic silverware,

plastic bags and straws, and single-use soap bottles.

In general, choosing non-plastic, renewable materials

can greatly reduce the amount of waste we create. Buying

clothes made from bamboo or recycled water bottles would

also help extend the life of our planet.

Much of our national waste also comes from packaging

materials. We click to order products from online companies,

and when they arrive, we dig through layers of cardboard,

bubble wrap and styrofoam. After we’ve unwrapped

our packages and popped all the bubbles in the wrap, we

throw it out with little thought on where it ends up.

While we complacently go on with our lives, this waste

often finds its way into our oceans, rivers, forests, and soil.

In order to combat this ridiculous amount of trash,

though, many have started advocating for zero-waste living.

The idea is to replace plastics and synthetics with plant

based products and other compostable materials. In one

viral challenge, people are trying to limit a year’s worth of

waste into what can fit into a 16 oz glass jar. While this may

seem like a drastic change, it’s not as hard as it seems. You

may not opt for collecting your trash in a glass jar, but we

can all try to eliminate the use of single-use plastics.

Looking at the way global warming and pollution has

progressed, we are long-past the time to start living renewably.

Though we may have to rethink our daily choices,

moving in the direction of renewable resources and natural

based products is the first step to healing our wounded


way with Words

Since we were young, our parents have

ingrained one rule into our minds:

‘The Golden Rule.’ Do to others as you

would have them do to you.

This phrase seems effortless; after all, we

know that if we desire respect, we must give

respect to others. If we desire to be treated

kindly, we must also treat others

kindly. As easy as it may seem to

commit to this way of life, this

saying is easily comprehended yet

quickly disregarded.

Within this motto, one word

stands out: “do.” Though it appears

to be an insignificant word, it fills

the phrase with power. It creates a

call to action. Have you ever heard

the phrase, “Think about others as

you would have them think about

you”? Perhaps, “Feel something

about others as you would have them feel

something about you”? Unsurprisingly, neither

of these phrases has caught on because

they don’t focus on action.

“Do,” however, implies action. Not just

any action either, but an action that directly

follows our words.

Imagine that you are invited to be the best

man or maid of

honor at your

best friend’s wedding.

You watch

as the happy

couple vows to

be faithful to

each other, to

stand by one another

in sickness

and in health.

But, only a few hours into the reception, you

see the groom with another woman, not his

bride. All of a sudden, his promises have become

empty. The words he spoke just hours

before, now mean nothing when his actions

speak for themselves. He spoke of faithfulness,

but evidently, he didn’t even intend to

be faithful. Though this is an obvious exaggeration,

it provides a visual of the uselessness

of words without action to solidify them.

Evidently, the divergence between what

we claim to care about and what we actually

care about can be staggering. Many times,

our actions reflect our truer values. Noam

Shpancer, Ph.D, of Psychology Today writes,

“If you want to know what you like, believe

in, and find important, then look at your

behavior. You may surprise yourself. Often,

what we tell ourselves we value is not what our

actions bespeak. When you see a gap between

your words (or thoughts) and your actions,

trust the actions, not the words.”

february 14, 2020





asst. opinions


We say one thing then do another. And,

perhaps unfortunately, our actions speak the

truth. This idea can connect to a surplus of

circumstances we face daily, for example, relationships.

Let’s say you and your friends decided

to grab some food at Brandy’s. While eating,

most of you converse and enjoy

each other’s company. All except for

one friend, who keeps their eyes fixed

on their phone throughout the entirety

of the meal. You can clearly see the two

types of people in this scenario. Based

on their behaviors alone, you could tell

who wanted to be there and who never

intended to socialize.

Take this a step further, and look

at religion. Often times politicians or

other leaders will pull quotes from the

Bible to further elevate their argument.

Perhaps they mention that James 1:19 says,

“Be swift to listen, slow to speak, and slow to

get angry.” This politician, who claims to be a

Christian, ridicules his competition, ranting

about how they should control themselves

and listen to the needs of the public. However,

as soon as the politician finishes his tangent,

he treats his assistants rudely, swears at the

“If you want to know what you like,

believe in, and find important,

then look at your behavior. Often,

what we tell ourselves we value is

not what our actions bespeak.”

— Dr. Noam Shpancer

intern who didn’t

bring his coffee,

and storms out of

the room. This exemplifies

two major

issues. First of

all, if you haven’t

figured it out, the

angry politician is

the hypocrite. Not

only did he take

Christianity out of context, but he directly

contradicted his previous statement.

And, unfortunately, it isn’t only Christians

who can be hypocrites. Many so-called religious

people hypocritically twist scriptures for

their own purposes, and the disconnect between

their words and their range of policies

and actions tells you everything you need to


Shpancer emphasizes that “to understand

the true goal of a certain action, look at the

actual outcome. Quite often, you can discern

where someone truly wants to be by looking

at where they keep ending up.”

If you wonder whether or not you are being

consistent as a person, evaluate the things

you do. You may realize you haven’t been the

person you desire to be. By far, the most difficult

part of becoming a better person is facing

your flaws. If we can take this simple step,

then we can reap the benefits of being our

better selves.

February 14, 2020 westerner/opinions 13


Or so we joke.

Coined by George Orwell in his book 1984, Big

Brother is used as a term to represent a government’s

surveillance and total control of society. The idea of

being watched by our government sends shivers

down our spines and instills fear in us. After all, we

do live in a country that continuously endorses freedom

and established the Bill of Rights 229 years ago

for our protection.

We like to think that we’re not living the same

patrolled life as the citizens of Oceania, but considering

recent events, we’re closer than we think.



Let’s begin with United States Ambassador to

Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. You’ve probably never

heard of her, but if you have, you might know how

terrifying her life has been. Yovanovitch’s job was to

help Ukraine “transform into a country where the

rule of law governs and corruption is held in check,”

she said in her sworn testimony in the impeachment

hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives.

Unfortunately for her, she was too good at her

job and made the wrong people mad. As Yovanovitch

was occupied with a noble cause, President

Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was slinking

in the shadows attempting to get a visa for corrupt

former Ukrainian prosecutor: Viktor Shokin.

Giuliani wanted Shokin to help find information

about the Bidens. Unaware of Giuliani’s intentions,

Yovanovitch got stuck in the crossfire by denying

the visa, thereby blocking Giuliani’s plan.

See the



for yourself

Who Watches the Watchmen?


Lily Chen


Now, let’s take a step back. Why was the Trump

administration working behind-the-scenes with a

corrupt Ukraine who had been kicked out of his

job? Well, with the 2020 election approaching,

the Trump administration was hoping to bag a reelection

in their pocket. By spreading rumors about

former Vice President Joe Biden, an up and coming

opponent to Trump in the polls, the Trump administration

could possibly damage Biden’s campaign.


On top of that, the Trump administration took

advantage of Ukraine and here’s why. At the moment,

Ukraine and Russia remain in heated conflict

at their border. The United Nation estimates that

13,000 Ukranians have been killed in the fighting

since 2014. Checked off by Congress, the

United States had agreed to send Javelins missiles

to Ukraine -- our ally against Russia -- for defense

purposes. Trump knew the Ukrainian president

was desperate for U.S. support

-- knowing that a visit

“How could our

system fail like this?”

she asked. “How is

it that foreign corrupt

interests could

manipulate our


—U.S. Ambassador

to Ukraine

Marie Yovanovitch

to the White House and U.S.

military aid would send powerful

message to Russia. In a

released phone call transcript

from the White House between

Trump and Ukranian

President Volodymyr Zelensky,

the public learned that

as a “favor,” Trump offered

aid to Ukraine if they’d announce

an investigation into

Biden and his family. In fact,

Trump’s exact words were,

“I would like you to do us a

favor, though, because our

country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows

a lot about it.” The word “bribe” may not be explicitly

said, but that’s what it was. Republicans and

Democrats in Congress had approved $400 million

in military aid for Ukraine, and that

the president was holding it hostage for his

own political gain. Not only is our president

spewing bribes, but he’s taking advantage of a

country trying to do better. We call ourselves

the greatest country on Earth,

but we have a leader using our tax dollars

and our foreign allies for his corrupt

and misguided personal advantage. It’s all

about what’s best for him personally, not what’s

right for our nation.



Among the numerous and perplexing

chain of events, ultimately, some of

the most scary evidence reveals how

Trump’s personal lawyer was working

with people who were surveilling our

own ambassador: Marie Yovanovitch. As a

American leader trying to do honest work with

Ukraine, the Trump administration’s interference

is both disappointing and frankly troubling. According

to released phone records from the House

Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Lev

Parnas, an associate of Guiliani, was in contact with

Robert Hyde, a Trump donor running for Congress

in Connecticut.

Hyde claimed to have Yovanovitch under surveillance

-- watching what buildings she was coming

and going from and whether she had her phone and

cell phone on -- and was texting updates to Parnas.

In a text thread between them, Hyde said, “They

are moving [Yovanovitch] tomorrow. The guys over

there asked me what I would like to do and what’s

in it for them.” Later he said: “Guess you can do

anything in the Ukraine with money...what I was

told.” As much as we want to believe this conversation

is straight out of a dystopian movie, we can’t.

Unfortunately, it’s our real-life government, and as

Americans, we are ultimately responsible for it. Dating

back to March 2019, the texts indicate bribery

and even hint at threats towards Yovantovitch.

Like a lamb to the slaughter,

Yovanovitch continued doing

her job, failing to realize the

bigger arrangement that was at

play. She was only a pawn in a

game of chess that she couldn’t

win. When fired on May 20,

2019 by Trump and sent back

to Washington in the middle

of the night, Yovanovitch began

piecing the puzzle together. She

was told by a State Department

director, “that I needed to be on

the next plane home to Washington.

And I was like, ‘what? What

happened?’ And she said, ‘I don’t

know, but this is about your security.

You need to come home immediately.’”

We entrust our nation’s future and our individual

liberties to our political leaders. We have elections,

voting, free speech, and anything we might

need to speak up and out against corruption. Yet,

at a certain point, we have to slow down and think

about where we are. After hundreds of years with

our Constitution, it seems as if we’re taking steps

forward, but also taking steps back. We advocate for

our rights, but we have our government spying on

American citizens to further a president’s personal

political agenda. If we

can’t trust our government

to abide by the

law, who else can we

trust? As the 2020 elections

approach, we need

to find a way to do better.

We may appear to

be a strong first world

country, but within, our

nation is facing a dangerous

situation. Let’s

not become the country

Orwell envisioned.



14 sports/westerner

February 14, 2020




sports editor

Taking first in conference, the girls basketball

team defeated Deerfield, 60-29, at home on senior

night last Friday, and senior Angela Dugalic set a

new record by pulling down her 1000th rebound,

only the second West player ever to accomplish

this feat. Dugalic is now also the third highest

scorer in program history.

Just as remarkable, the seniors are

now 40-0 in conference over their four

years at West. “It’s unbelievable: in

four years, not one loss in conference.

Those girls have never lost a

conference game,” athletic director

Jarett Kirshner said. “They’ve

also won every regional and sectional

game they’ve played.”

On Saturday they won over

Fremd, 59-42, and took on the always-fierce

Evanston girls on Wednesday.

The Warriors last faced Evanston

in a 55-50 overtime win

last year that earned West

the sectional title.

Looking into the start of

postseason, next week, the

girls plan is to “just

go as far as

they can. State is al- ways the

goal; we just have to work together,”

Dugalic said.

But Kirshner is confident that the girls --

when they play in regionals on Tuesday -- will whip

past the winner of the Maine East v. Von Steuben

game, as well as whichever opponent comes out of

the New Trier regional. “To be honest, nobody in

our regionals scares us,” Kirshner said.

The team’s three close losses this

year -- to powerhouse teams from Illinois

and Indiana -- don’t rattle them.

They are “hustling at all times and

knowing good things always happen,”

coach Kim DeMarigny

said. Last month, they went

up against some of Illinois’

toughest programs, facing

Geneva (60-45) and Simeon

(53-50), but the Warriors won

both. Unfortunately, late into the

regu- lar season they have had only 10

of the 12 players on the roster due to injuries,

including senior Lena Albo a starter who

sprained her ankle while playing against Highland

Park (72-29).

The Warriors take no opponents for granted,

but some victories have been especially sweet.

“The toughest win this season had to have been

going against Maine South because we were

going against a competitive team and it determined

the Dundee Crown champion for the

tournament,” junior Jane Rothweiler said.

Cultivating talent for the future, freshman

Jaclyn Reidl has been a starter since Thanksgiving.

“Playing this position has been really

helpful. I think getting used to playing at this level

and also being around all my teammates will really

prepare me for the next few years on the team. I’ve

gotten some good game experience and learned a

lot from all the coaches and players, but especially

the seniors,” Reidl said.

Dugalic, ranked No. 6 as a forward

and overall No. 24 in the nation

by ESPN, has been providing

ample momentum for the Warriors.

Additionally, by impressing

scouts, reporters and selectioncommittee

basketball coaches,

Dugalic, has been named a

McDonald’s All-American. As

part of that elite 24-player roster, she

will be playing in the 43rd annual

All-American Game this April in

Houston, Texas. Dugalic committed

to the University of Oregon

last spring and will be joining one

of the top NCAA programs when

she takes the court in Eugene,

along with four other Oregon recruits

who are also on the All-

American team.

With DeMarigny leading

the program, Kirshner knows

Maine West is in a lucky spot,

having two state appearances and a

state cham- pionship in the four years

she has been head coach. “Coach De

Marigny is the winningest coach in

the state for her tenure of coaching. Nobody

has had more success in that short of a time,” Kirshner







Fresh off a home game against Collins last Saturday, the Warrior boys

basketball team is looking to capitalize on their last two weeks of the season

before heading to IHSA regionals on March 2. Starting the month with a

9-12 record, the Warriors’ conference match-up against Vernon Hills tonight

may be senior night, but the Warriors still have three more home games

ahead, ending against Maine South on Feb. 25 in the Rider Gym.

Late into the season, the Warriors have had a solid showing against many

teams, pushing the offense and defense as well as passing the rock. “One of

the best highlights so far this season had to have been when we beat Maine

East on their court. Playing them is always a tough game because of the rivalry

and there are always a lot of people that show up to support, especially

coming out with a win after we lost to them last year,” junior guard Jared

Pearson said.

Hosting the upcoming regionals at Maine West is “huge because we are

used to playing here and we know how to win on this court, so that will definitely

help us out,” senior Sean Collins said. Having home court advantage,

the Warriors hope to get a little bit of an edge this year. “We generally shoot

really well at home, and we always have a bunch of superfans at our home

games, which will definitely help with the atmosphere of the gym. Overall,

it is always a great advantage to have a home playoff game because of the support

and comfort it brings to our team,” Pearson said.

Having many things to still pick at and break down before the team dives

into regionals, the boys have key strengths that make the team a nimble competitor

for anyone they face, if only they can find consistency. “We are streaky

shooting the ball. We have many shooters on the floor at all times, but we

have hit some droughts along the way this season. A great thing about that is

we rest our hat on our defense. Our defense gives us an opportunity to win

any and every game, no matter who we’re playing,” coach Tom Prokopij said.

The semester break gave the Warriors a chance to test their strengths --

against a tournament roster that included teams like Notre Dame and Glenbrook

South -- at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic. Pearson was named to the

“All-Hardwood” honors team and was one of the tournament’s top 3-point

scorers, posting 11 throughout the tourney, and had a 27-point game -- the

best of his career.

“One of our best highlights this season was getting into the final four in

the Hardwood Classic, which is a really tough tournament. The team has

definitely come a long way since the beginning of the season, and we still

have room for improvement in order to be successful,” Collins said.

With five games of the regular season left, “our goals as of right now are to

get above 500 on our record and also win a regional,” Pearson said.

February 14, 2020








With two individuals placing in the

top ten, the fencing team hit a season

high point on Feb. 1 at the Great Lakes

High School Championship meet. Held

at Stevenson High School, they faced

schools from all over Illinois and Wisconsin,

as sophomore Vasil Ivakimov

won first for men’s epee and junior Sara

Starcheski placed sixth in women’s foil.

These wins come from hard work at

practice and a lot of intense training on

their own time as well. “Everything has

to be conditioned and trained into you;

your footwork, bladework, posture, endurance,

and actions need to be as best

as they can be. Most of our time in practice

is spent locking these essential skills

down,” senior Ben Sanfilippo said.

Head coach Paul Zafiropoulos

spends practice focusing on drills and

friendly assaults with the team; professional

fencer Doug Scott meets with

the team, too, and pushes them to new

levels. “They love fencing and they are

competitive. Coach Scott instills that

in everyone on the team,” Zafiropoulos


Practices make a tremendous difference

for these players, as many of them

have never fenced before. Unlike most

other varsity sports, there is no local

feeder program to build skills among

young fencers, so the learning curve

is steep.

Sophomore Emma Gibbon stood

out this season in women’s epee. “She

performed incredibly well at the individual

tournaments and had a very

good chance at getting a medal each

time despite only being a sophomore

and a second-year fencer,” Sanfilippo

said. At the JV tournament in December,

Gibbon just barely lost her final

match to get into the top eight and

ended up ninth out of approximately 45

other fencers.

Eric Rivera, a sophomore on men’s

foil, similarly performed very well, and

first year saber fencers Josh Davenport

and Zach Yost were “able to win bouts

reliably,”saber captain Nick Weyna said.

This year the team excelled by also

having a bigger team and a lot of camaraderie.

“We play fun fencing games

once a week just to take a break from the

fencing drills, or the team goes out for

something to eat after a Saturday tournament,”

Zafiropoulos said.




Nearing the end of the season, the varsity wrestling

team takes on sectionals tonight where West will face a few

of their big competitors, including Deerfield, Evanston,

and New Trier.

“Now is the time that we have to focus on doing all of

the little things right,” head coach Chris Brassell said.

Senior Jack Roback, a 20-match winner and all conference

wrestler, knows what the Warriors will be up against.

“The Deerfield competitors have a lot of heart; they never

give up. Seeing them in competition gives me something

to work for. Evanston is very fast and has a lot of experience;

New Trier has money, they know what they’re doing,”

Roback said.

The team, in general, has had a pretty successful season,

stacking up wins. At conference, senior Rahil Sadruddin

placed third, along with Roback who placed sixth. On Jan.

18, the boys took down Fenwick and Loyola at home, beating

Fenwick 30-27 and Loyola 39-36. Led by their seniors,

Jack Roback, Abrar Mubeen, CJ Wooten, Ian Huff, and

Rahil Sadruddin, the Warriors took down Niles North on

Jan. 10 at home, with an ending score of 53-24. Now, they


to win it


sports editor


Giving one of their best performances

of the season, the gymnastics team

placed fourth at regionals last week with

a score of 120.725. Junior Emily Divelbiss

placed sixth in the all-around event, senior

Lily Sanchez and senior Maribel Rodriguez

both placed seventh at-large.

At the conference meet on Jan. 31, Sanchez

had the score of 7.47 out of 10 for the

beam; on the floor, Sanchez ended with a 8.27

out of 10. “Lily also had one of the best floor

routines of her season,” coach Amanda Harrison


According to Harrison, senior night on Jan.

23 stands out as the season peak. “I had girls step

up to the plate on events they hadn’t completed.

The girls were just having fun. They did their routines

and applied new skills -- all very supportive

of one another. We may not have won the meet, but

we all had an amazing meet.” On vault, Rodriguez

ended with a score of 8 out of 10 and on floor Rodriguez

ended with an 8.4 out of 10. On the bars, Divelbiss

ended with a score of 7.75 out of ten. Also, on the

beam Sanchez came up with a score of 8.1 out of 10.

In the opinion of Sanchez, “our meet against Highland

Park was definitely





are hungrier than ever to continue their success tonight.

Beyond working on the mat, the wrestling Warriors

gave their time to volunteer at the Des Plaines Public Library

this winter, making blankets for children in need.

Coming off of a rough patch with lots of injuries, the

team is hopeful to return to full strength and continue to

be well prepared as they head into the most important part

of the season. “I’ve been injured for about a month, but I’ve

been working to recover,” junior Adrian Hernandez

said. “There’s about two or three people

out with injuries right now, so it’s important

that everyone stays healthy.”

Brassell agrees, “We’ve had

some setbacks, but we’ve just

been focusing on the process

and the things that we can control,

specifically our attitude and our

effort. They are the key aspects to our

training and anything in life.”

Junior Hyusein Isuf

and senior Ian huff prepare

for sectionals






one of my hardest meets. I had fallen on the bars during

warm-up, and it reminded me of when I broke

my foot. It was just a very scary moment again. After

that, everything started falling apart and slowly

my thoughts took over my body; it became very

challenging.” This challenge did not slow Sanchez

down with her scores, though: 7.35 out of 10 on

the vault, a 6.3 out of 10 on bars, a 7.2 out of 10

on the beam, and a 7.65 out of 10 on the floor.

As the season advances, gymnasts are always

aiming to extend their repertoires of skills,

which enhances their ability to score higher in

meets, too. “It’s always so nice and memorable

when a girl in the gym gets a new skill. We’ll

all start cheering and it honestly becomes

such a prideful moment, and I don’t think

you can find that in many sports,” Sanchez


Even though they may not have won

as many meets as they wanted to win, the

gymnastics team became a family. Senior

Casey Fitzgerald highlights this point by

saying, “we are a close team and practice

can be really fun. We always have music

playing and when everyone starts singing,

dancing, and laughing there is no

other place I’d rather be.”

16 sports/westerner

Bring It On

February 14, 2020

“A funny memory this season would

have to be during the football

games. Before each game started

we would all dance, laugh, and take

pictures no matter how cold, leaving

many moments to remember,”

junior Karis Pacini said.

“A funny moment had to be when

Christina mistook the term auto pilot

for airplane mode when our coach

tried to explain that we can’t be

sloppy with our routine and just go

through the motions,” senior Captain

Nikolina Vujcic said




sports editor

Overcoming injuries that sidelined three team members and reworking

their routine to maximize their strengths, the varsity cheer

team managed to land a second place finish at the CSL conference

meet at Evanston in January. “When we heard the announcer call out

that we got second place, that was an amazing moment to not only celebrate

but to also inspire the driving force that we needed to perform

at sectionals,” junior Janiya Murray said.

With the team facing many different challenges -- from overall

difficulty of tumbling and stunting increasing to the ever changing

formation of stunt groups -- the team had to adapt and work hard to

attain the outcome they wanted. “No matter what the setbacks were,

“we all knew that we had the perseverance and dedication to finish our

season in the best way possible, reaching our team goal. Although we

were worried about the spirit being shifted, we all knew our own designated

jobs and how much effort we would need to reach our fullest

potential,” junior Karis Pacini said.

Although the team may not have placed where they wanted for sectionals,

they felt their intensity of effort and nimble stunts gave them

an outcome that made them proud. “Competing at sectionals was astonishing.

We were last to perform out of all the teams so we knew we

needed to take all the hard work from the season and give it our all

on the mat because we only had three minutes to prove ourselves. The

rushing feeling of nerves and confidence is something I never want to

forget,” Pacini said.


Freshman Lina Aboebied, performing

as one of the flyers, starting preparing

for the competition season with assembly

performances in the fall.

Breaking the Surface


Competing for the conference title tonight, followed by their sectional

meet on Feb. 21, boys swim continues the tradition of bleaching and

shaving their hair to unify before these peak meets.

“We’re feeling confident after the work we put in so that we are able to

beat records and make it to the top,” senior Axel Arzola said.

During a recent swimming meet versus Highland Park, the boys

placed first in the 200 yard medley relay, senior Ricardo Selvas placed first

in the 50 yard freestyle, and Bryers took first in the 100 yard butterfly.

By shaving their heads, “this shows our true commitment to the sport

and [it] is a chance to show everyone how serious we take these bigger

meets. We plan to make this year count,” senior Nate Bryers said.

The diving team has had a record-breaking season. Senior Ray Ure

and junior Alex Fleming posted scores against Deerfield that made them





two of the top five divers in Maine West’s history. “In order to break the

school record, I put in a lot of work during the off-season. I was working

on dives during the spring and winter; then I put in a lot more dry-land

work during the preseason and in season to strengthen my core and other

muscles,” Ure said.

The Warrior swimmers have been able to set a new standard for the

team under their new head coach, Chris Trella, who is a Maine West

graduate. Trella has implemented a new workout and practice plan that

allows the team to meet twice a day. “I think the team has vastly improved

under Coach Trella. He really knows what we need to do in order to

compete successfully. Specifically, he has taught us a lot of good workouts

and stretches in the weight room along with good swim sets that really

help us go faster when it comes time to race,” senior Petar Lazarevic said.

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