Westerner - October 26

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OCT. 26, 2022


Counter-clockwise from top: junior Leena

Lugo and Choraliers, junior Rorey Catalan,

junior Ruben Rosario, and freshman pianistvocalist

Olga Stewart star in this week’s

student variety show: West’s Got Talent,

opening tomorrow night.

volume 64, issue 3

for the



mwwesterner.com + @mwwesterner

2 news/westerner

October 26, 2022

Variety show puts unique talents in the spotlight



Whether choosing their act, dedicating hours to

practice, creating their props and costumes, or making

the calls behind the scenes, students have crafted

every element that will appear on stage this weekend

during West’s Got Talent, Oct. 27 at 5 p.m. and Oct.

28-29 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.

This year, Westside boys and girls dance groups

along with Desi Dhamaka, the Indian dance group,

will return to the stage. In addition, many acts will

appear for the first time featuring magic tricks and

bottle flips. “It’s a really fun time to be on stage and

be in the spotlight,” said senior Evan Markham, who

will be performing with his band for the fourth time.

Musical productions make up 80% of the show,

but even among those, there is a lot of diversity including

solo songs, the Choraliers, a rock band, Warrior

Strings, instrumental duets, and the Pit Orchestra.

Made up of around 40 Warriors, Pit Orchestra

has been practicing every day this week to nail down

the final touches to their opener, closer, and five accompanying


“The pit has gone above and beyond. They are

preparing well, and are putting a lot of extra time

in,” said Pit Orchestra director Jennifer Mullen, the

Fine Arts Department chair.

Just like any show, WGT will face its own set

of unique challenges. During dress rehearsals, they

still have to adjust to fit the stage, where few groups

have performed before. “It is so hard to re-block

our routines on a stage vs the football field vs the

dance room, making spacing a very big challenge,”

said junior Warriorette Hannah Kallio.

Cast members spent the last three days figuring

out costume changes, finally hearing the acoustics

of instruments and voices in the auditorium, cleaning

up transitions from act to act, and incorporating

the tech crew. “The bar was higher than in previous

years. Students came in really prepared, polished,

and confident,” WGT vocal director James Schiffer

said. Tickets are $7 for students and $10 for adults.

The long


to safety



news editor

Facing starvation, violent death, and

imprisonment, asylum-seekers from South America

have been making their way north, searching for

safety -– and on Oct. 1, some of them arrived in Des


“In the jungle, we came to see dead people.

That’s what affected my son the most; seeing

somebody thrown to the side of the river, lifeless.

Further ahead you could start smelling the smell of

corpses. I tried not to let it affect me since all I was

focused on was continuing and not stopping. During

the final days in the jungle, we ran out of food and

water. We were left for two days without any food to

eat, practically starved. We couldn’t drink any water

from the rivers since it was all contaminated. To

drink water we resorted to cracking open some rocks

and from there came little spouts of spring water that

we could drink,” said asylum seeker Jackseli Milango,

whose son now attends Maine West.

On Oct. 1, two buses arrived in Des Plaines

carrying 80 asylum seekers. Most are from Venezuela,

making a dangerous trek to reach the United States,

mostly by walking. Along their 2,545 mile journey

through jungles, fields, and forests, they faced

hunger, corruption, and loss. “It was a tough journey,

and every time I recount it, I start crying. Because I

almost lost my son in the jungle, and it was traumatic

for me. I had to leave everything behind. Plus all the

countries we had to travel through were tough. The


to get


was Mexico. In

Mexico, we faced

lots of struggles with

immigration because they

charge you to pass. You would

do all this work just to get a permit, and in the end,

they wouldn’t accept it. Instead, they would rip it

right in front of you and send you back through the

entire process. However, we got lucky and eventually

made it through. I didn’t know if it was hard for me

because I was a single mother traveling alone with my

son. I will say that what I faced was hard,“ Milango

said. After arriving at the southern U.S. border, they

were taken into custody. Then, they were put on

buses by Texas Gov. Greg Abbot’s bussing program

and transferred here with little advance warning and

no direct coordination with the state of Illinois or

city of Des Plaines.

“Texas was worse since we were imprisoned.

You face something that you’ve never faced before

because you are literally in prison. I was held captive.

I had to take all my clothes off and shower with other

women completely naked; I didn’t want to do that.

They gave us uniforms, and it was quite cold in the

jail. All they gave us was aluminum blankets to cover

ourselves with. My experience in jail was hard. I tried

to keep calm by praying to God for help,” Milango


Milango and her group stayed at the Texas border

patrol facility for four days until they were bussed

off to Chicago. Chicago is considered a sanctuary

city and has welcomed 1,177 asylum-seekers since

August according to a full statement from the city

of Chicago. “The Chicagoland area is considered

a safe place for immigrants and migrants, at least it

was determined to be a safe place. Otherwise, people

would not have been sent here,” AP Government

teacher Daniel Fouts said. Des Plaines was one of the

cities that the buses ended up arriving at.

The city of Des Plaines had been notified through

a call by Gov. Pritzker’s office that there was a

strong possibility that a group of immigrants

would soon be arriving at Des Plaines. Pritzker’s

office had been tipped off about the Texas

governor’s plan but had no part in coordinating it.

“What we got was a separate phone call from the

mayor of Des Plaines just to give us a heads up as to

what we should expect to happen to our town,” 8th

ward Alderman Shamoon Ebrahimi said. Ebrahimi is

also a Maine West guidance counselor.

To prepare for the arrival and enrollment of

these asylum seekers, Maine West staff made as

many accommodations for them as possible. “When

students immigrate to this country, they often have

lots of needs. Housing is the most pressing, clothing

is often an issue, and school supplies and medical

care need to be accounted for,” assistant principal of

student family services Cristina Ramirez said. “Many

students and families qualify under a homeless

assistance law called McKinney Vento. It allows us to

provide a lot more support. So things like a clothing

allowance, allowance for school supplies, a lot of

things like that open up. Within the building, we

often have staff members in student family services

put money together to support families. Then the

school-based health center deals with all the medical

needs for the students.”

Students stepped up, too. When an email was

sent out on Oct. 11, asking for Spanish-speaking

student leaders to volunteer to help out the 17 new

students at orientation, many agreed to help. “These

new students were honestly amazing. Most were aged

15, and I had never seen so much enthusiasm about

attending school before,” senior Aref Rezai said.

Students who volunteered gave them a tour

around the school, explained how lunch worked, and

helped them get their ID picture taken. At the end

they all enjoyed dinner together as the newly enrolled

students joined their families to tell them what they

just learned.

Maine West has had a history of helping refugees.

In 1981, Maine West welcomed Vietnam refugees

who were fleeing post-war violence. They were

sponsored by a church, which helped coordinate the

effort. This year West has opened doors to students

from Japan, Ukraine, Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba,

Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Cambodia, and Vietnam. This

group of Venezuelan refugees have fled economic

instability and widespread violence.

“One of the beautiful things about our school is

that we accept students from all around the world all

the time,” Ramirez said.

October 26, 2022 westerner/news 3

Seniors have options to vote now - Nov. 8


news editor

Seniors who are 18-years-old will get their first

chance to participate as voters in less than two


A Westerner survey of 115 students revealed that,

if possible, 62% of Maine West students would

vote in the Nov. 8 election. “I actually have voted

in all elections. My parents taught me it was important,

and I went to the polls with them when I was

a child. It’s my responsibility to be part of my community

and my country,” Law in American Society

teacher Richard Rosenberg said.

While online registration has closed, the Illinois

State Board of Elections website can help voters

find information about in-person registration on

election day as well as locating their assigned polling

place. Voting ahead of time can only be done at the

Des Plaines City Hall.

Voting plays a major role in deciding the leaders

of Des Plaines, the judges of Cook County, the

governor, and our representatives in Springfield and

Washington, D.C. The ballot is long, and it may be

hard to know where to find information about all

of the candidates.

The non-partisan group SPEAK Des Plaines

distributes candidate information, explaining their

policies and beliefs. “We have an email list where we

send out information on non-partisan voting, and

we always receive feedback from people thanking

us for it,” SPEAK Des Plaines Community Engagement

Coordinator Jessie Maag said. Their candidate

information can be found at speakdesplaines.org.

The Illinois voter guide created by the League of

Women Voters has an inclusive bipartisan website at

vote411.org and lwv.org. This site offers registration,

facts on referendums, and information on how

to become a poll worker. “I really encourage anyone

to go through the training [to be a poll worker]. It’s

a really cool educational experience to learn what it

takes to be an election judge,” Maag.

Interested juniors and seniors can visit the Cook

County Clerk government website to get registered

and trained to become a paid poll judge. Judges

work a full-day shift but will learn the process of

voting. “It has been a really empowering experience

to work with other election judges because you

work with people with all different political views,

but that is not why you are there. You are running a

nonpartisan election,” Maag said.

Americans have the right to vote in free and

fair elections, while many citizens around the globe

do not. “If we don’t do the job of democracy, it

fails and we are seeing the beginnings of that today

when people don’t educate themselves with more

than one source of information,” Rosenberg said.

The importance of voting is strongly emphasized

by anyone concerned about democracy. “It’s

my duty to have students understand why voting

is important. I also have learned that many do not

understand why our unique responsibility is essential

to keep us far from fascism,” Rosenberg said.

This year, six state executive offices are up for

reelection:Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney

General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, and


For the numerous local and state judges that

will also be on the ballot, injusticewatch.org has

a non-partisan guide.

“Statistics bare out that if you start voting from

a younger age, you continue to vote from habit,” AP

Government teacher Daniel Fouts said.



SNHS preps for exhibition day



The fizzing of baking soda volcanos, the cracking

of dropped eggs and the calls of birds – all will return

to this year’s Science Day, an annual event planned

by Science National Honor Society, on Saturday, Nov.


This event was created to give local elementary

and middle school students the chance to learn about

science in a fun, hands-on way, while simultaneously

getting them accustomed to their future high school.

Science Day features a variety of stations and

activities, all planned by Maine West students. The

activities include many different aspects of science,

such as biology, chemistry and physics. Students get

to choose what station they run depending on their


“We usually have some kind of building activity,

like last year they built little planes,” said physics

teacher Phil Sumida, who is the Science National

Honor Society sponsor. “We do a bunch of biology

things too; we show kids cells or we take DNA out

of a banana.”

In addition to student-run activities, Maine West

also has hosted an outside performer the last few

years. Last year, they showcased different types of

large birds, while this year is featuring a reptile show.

One unique aspect of science day is how it is run



almost entirely by students. “I’m really more of a coordinator

than anything,” Sumida said. “The students

sit down and tell me what kinds of things they would

like to do. To be honest, the last couple of years I’ve

really done less organizing, because the leadership

team has done a lot more of those tasks.”

Students agree that they are given lots of responsibility

when it comes to planning the event. “There’s

a list of experiments, and if anyone is interested in

taking them, they go to different tables. Then they

start to search on Google and plan stuff out,” said

Science National Honor Society vice president senior

Kris Modi. Students are involved in coming up with

ideas, planning their experiments and running their

station at the event.

According to the people involved, the best part of

science day is getting to give back to the Des Plaines

community. “It’s good to get youth interested in

things like science. You can show that high schoolers

enjoy science, so it’s an inspiring day for younger

people,” junior Sofia Vincent said. While Science Day

requires a lot of time to plan, the reactions from the

kids are worth it.

“This one kid’s mouth was just wide open. He

looked like the Home Alone kid. You could see it on

the faces of the students that they were really pleased

that the kids were enjoying it,” Sumida said.


Children experiment with kitchen chemicals

at Science Day 2021.

4 features/westerner


Costumes and



features editor

Wearing Minnie Mouse ears, Batman capes, or a bedsheet for a ghost, trickor-treating

is often thought to be entertainment for young

kids. When teens dress up and go knocking door to

Is candy in

your future?

88% of Maine West

students think that highschoolers

should be able to


48% of Maine West

students still trick or treat

Data from a Westerner

survey of 115 students

door, they are often given dirty looks and told that

they are, “too old to trick or treat.” But is there

really a designated age when a kid has to stop

knocking on doors for sweet treats?

According to a Westerner survey of 100

students, there isn’t. In fact, 48 percent of

West students trick-or-treat every year. In Des

Plaines, there is no age restriction on trickor-treating

nor is there a curfew time when

kids must be done knocking on doors. Yet,

teens are constantly turned away or shamed

for trick-or-treating. Thus, many teens refrain

from trick-or-treating, either feeling too old

themselves to trick-or-treat or feeling embarrassed

that they might get judged. “Last year, I trick-ortreated,

and I did

get a

few looks but

that didn’t stop me from trickor-treating,”

freshman Kaitlyn

Nutley said.

However, in two places in

the U.S., there are restrictions

and rules in place that stop

kids from trick-or-treating:

Chesapeake, Virginia, and

Belleville, Ill. In Belleville,

kids over the age of 12 are

banned from trick-or-treating

and face a fine of $1,000 if they

are caught.

Thankfully or not, this is

not the case in Des Plaines

or anywhere in the Chicago suburbs..

According to the Westerner survey, 88% of

students at West argue that teens should be allowed to trick-or-treat

while still being in high school. As one reaches adulthood, “I think 18 is a good time to

stop trick-or-treating,” senior Daria Szczepura said.

Even if they aren’t trick-or-treating, West students

still find ways to celebrate the holiday.. “I spend

What’s your favorite

Halloween memory?

•“Matching costumes

with my brother.”

•“Dumping all the candy out

at the end of the night.”

•“I got a stick of butter

from an elderly man.”

•“Having a matching Little Mermaid

costume, talking when we were kids,

and being best friends to this day”

Responses from a Westerner survey

of 115 students


time with my friends, and we watch scary

movies,” senior Kennedy Young said.

Many students go see new horror

movies in theaters, walk through haunted

houses, and visit pumpkin patches

to celebrate and still take part in the

spirit of Halloween. “My friends and

I typically go to Fright Fest at Six

Flags,” senior Anna Montanile said.

In the Westerner survey, students said

they still dress up for school or have

Halloween parties with their friends or

neighbors as part of their celebrations.

the case

of true crime


asst. features editor

With shows, movies, books

and podcasts dedicated to

retelling the stories of serial

killers, kidnappers, gang leaders

and other violent criminals, true

crime seems to be an in demand

genre in recent years. But why are

so many drawn to hearing about

these brutal crimes and why is

there such a demand for this type

of content?

For years, companies have

been releasing movies and TV

shows centered on serial killers,

raking in millions of views and

dollars altogether. These forms

of media may be providing more

influence than intended. One way

of this can be directly through the

show’s portrayal of these serial

killers, including who plays them.

“I think the

casting for

some shows

may impact

the way

people view

them or how

seriously they

take them. So

many horrible

p e o p l e

are being


now,” junior



said. Casting

familiar actors,

especially those who already have

a positive connection to fans, can

cause viewers to have a distorted

perception of the actual criminal.

It is typical for these forms

of media to include graphic

imagery and descriptions of

what happened to the victims

with little to no disregard for the

victims or anyone else affected.

These shows seem to feed into

viewers’ obsession with knowing

every gory detail and wanting to

fully immerse themselves in these

cases. “People are entertained by

learning about terrible things we

think will never directly affect

us,” junior Mickael Drimboi said.

Most watching these shows do

not have personal ties to those

directly impacted by the cases,

which allows them to separate

themselves from it and not take it

as seriously or to see the portrayal

as disrespectful.

The essence of “true crime,”

though, is that it is true – meaning

real humans were harmed and their

friends and loved ones still carry

that trauma. Using someone’s

death to create interesting shows

and movies can feel exploitative,

even for the viewers. “If

something horrible happened

to my family member, I’d hate

for people to find entertainment

in watching a show or movie

about it,”



Perez said.

T h e



and the


will shift

how the



the crime

and the

victims. “If

shows are

made, I think it’s

best for them to

bring out the victims’ story and

not highlight the killer,” Drimboi

said. Flipping this narrative so the

victims and their stories are more

prioritized rather than providing a

full life narrative about the killer

may help bring light to those

harmed in these instances and

prevent the killer from being so

glorified by viewers.


October 26, 2022

October 26, 2022 westerner/entertainment 5





In an artist’s merch store, the

entertainment editor

cool t-shirts, hoodies, and bags

get the main attention while

the cassettes, CDs, and vinyl

records get treated like white noise – except for among

audiophiles, who seek out the high-fidelity sound of

vinyl records.

Vinyl record sales have been increasing

since 2006, with a 22% increase just in the

first half of 2022. If streaming services

have made it so easy to access music right

away, what makes vinyl still relevant?

“I really love the way that vinyl

is not only about the listening

experience,” Joseph Thalackan, a

Maine West 2022 graduate, said.

“It’s about putting the record on

your player, placing the needle just

right, and watching the thing spin

as music begins to play.”

When placed from a

psychological perspective, the vinyl

revival also partly can be accredited

to a concept known as psychological

ownership. People want to be able

to say, “this thing is mine,” and with

a physical record, you’re able to own

your favorite albums from your favorite

artists. With psychological ownership,

you’re allowing your possessions to become

an extension of yourself, therefore having more

value because of the emotional connection that

fans have with it.

Although vinyl records have become

more popular, many are still skeptical of starting


a collection. For starters, new vinyl records in the U.S. sell

for $25 or more-– a sum of money that a lot of high schoolers

aren’t eager to spend. Lesser known or underground music can be more

difficult to find as well, which makes collecting vinyl more of a hobby

than a medium for accessing all the music you may want to hear. “Even

though they’re nice to have, I don’t own a vinyl because in this day and

age they’re a bit impractical and not worth the money when I already have

Spotify premium,” senior Sara Zogman said.

Regardless, the appeal of the records seems to outweigh their

drawbacks. A Westerner survey of 115 Maine West students revealed that

70% of students either own records or know someone who does. It’s

often a misconception that vinyl records only contain older music from

decades back. Tyler, the Creator, Harry Styles, Kendrick Lamar—all of

these artists produce vinyl with new releases,

with a larger audience coming from younger

generations. Obviously, these artists have a

much larger fan base on Spotify and other

streaming apps, but it’s important to note that

these are also artists that have made top-selling

vinyl records.

Although they may not be accessible at your

every convenience, the physical act of spinning

a record makes it so much more real, which is a


The white house

has its own vinyl

collection of

1,800 records

feeling that Spotify or Apple music could never replicate. “Vinyl is never

going away,” Thalackan said. “The albums I have on vinyl are the ones

I’m very passionate about. It gives those albums a special place when I

have a physical copy.”

A piece of our history...



asst. entertainment editor

A quiet white, sided house on the

outskirts of the Maine West football

and soccer fields. Surrounded by a garden

that is occupied by native plants

and butterflies in the spring. Built in the

1930s, it was the home of onion farmers

that once owned the land where

Maine West would later be built. The

farmhouse stood idly on the property

until a group of teachers decided to

make use of it. In the 1990’s, special

education and industrial arts teachers

renovated the farmhouse. Since then, it

has been called by one familiar name:


With the help of their students, they

added lights into the ancient basement,

a workshop in the garage, up-to-date

security systems, and most importantly,

ramps for those who for the next 30

years would make the homestead a

functioning classroom for students

in adapted classes who were learning

about independent living.

Many don’t realize that Homestead

is unique to Maine West. Other

schools in the

area have never

It gives them

the space to do

everything that

most people

would take for

granted.”- special

education teacher

Thomas Stettner

had a space like


and most likely

never will.


is the longest

standing building

on Maine

West property

and was built long before the school

was. Among staff, it’s widely known

that a large farming family built the

house and lived there. When the land

was bought in 1957 by Maine Township

District 207, the homestead was

already standing on it. At that point in

time, the house itself was at least two

decades old. As construction began

and students arrived in 1959, the administrators

left the homestead alone

and made no real use of it.

In the 1990s, Maine West teachers

got permission to use the homestead

and make it functional for student

learning. “Mr. Fabian was one of the

first special education teachers that

got to use the homestead, and the first

thing they did was introduce working

lights into the basement,” said Thomas

Stettner, a special education and science

teacher who is also a Maine West alum.

After the lights were installed, next

came safety exits and security systems

that made sure the house itself was up

to date. After that came one of the most


Complete with wooden floors and

homey furniture, the interior of the

homestead is used to learn a variety

of life skills.

important add-ons, ramps, to make the

house accessible to all students.

Once the homestead was open

for all special education teachers, they

realized they needed to remodel certain

parts of the house to make it easier

for students to use. They expanded

the kitchen to accommodate more

students, added furniture into the living

room to provide a home-like social

environment, and created a recreational

area upstairs to allow students to play

games and have fun once they had

completed their lesson for the day.

Most recently, a new washer and dryer

was installed to teach students how to

do their own laundry.

In present day, the homestead is

used by all special education teachers

and even the other schools in our

district. Teachers get to coordinate

the schedule based on the needs of

their lessons and the homestead gets

used quite often. “For some students,

learning in a classroom, they can

generalize the skills and take the skills

and use them in the community or at

home. For some students that is a little

bit harder and so the homestead allows

them to experience it in a different

way,” said special education teacher

Jane Holper.

Many students do not realize the

house is even there and do not know

what it is used for. Others use it almost

everyday and couldn’t imagine their

classrooms without it. It gives students

“the space to do everything that most

people would take for granted. They

get the help they need to be successful,”

Stettner said.

8 opinions/westerner


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.



Sabrina Bukvarevic, Caitlyn Claussen

News Editors:

Carlos Hernandez-Hernandez,

Mohnish Soni

Features Editor:

Michelle Kaner

In-Depth Editor:

Sabrina Bukvarevic

Entertainment Editor:

Karolina Glowa

Opinions Editors:

Salma Hassab, Timea Matavova

Sports Editors:

Daniel Solomon, Caitlyn Claussen

Photo/Art Editor:

Gabby Szewczyk

Digital Editor:

Andrei Badulescu

Assistant Editors:

Aleksandra Majewski,

Caiden Claussen, Teagan O’Connor,

Tom Noonan, Zonna Todorovska


Ysabela Ang, Damira Beganovic

Joey Bruno, Brooke Capper, Jris dela

Cruz, Cynthia Del Rio Martinez,

Rohan Doma, Emilia Ezlakowski,

Gabriela Febus, Paige Foster, Bethsy

Galvan Acevedo, Alexandra Kania,

Weronika Kmiec, Evlin Mathew,

Taryn McGannon, Emma McGreevy,

Nikhil Nair, Emma Penumaka,

Addison Stutheit, Anna Tooley,

Emily Wojnicki, Bruktawit Yigzaw

ADVISER: Laurie McGowan


October 26, 2022


attendance procedures

The process of being called out

of class is pointlessly demanding.

The current policy requires that

students must have their parents

call the attendance office and leave

a message regarding the absence.

Then, students must pick up a pass

from the attendance office, hand the

pass to their teacher, and then return

once again to the attendance office

to sign out.

What is the point of students

going back and forth between the

office and their classrooms? To put

it simply, it’s a waste of time and

causes problems. It’s not uncommon

for a student to show up to a class

and miss the first few minutes having

to run down to the attendance office

Up and down a scale of

seashells and across the

golden pillars of Atlantica,

“The Little Mermaid” will make a

reappearance as a black woman in

theaters in 2023. In this live-action

remake, Ariel is played by 22-year-old

actor Halle Bailey.

Bailey’s dark skin

color has sparked

foolish controversy in

the media, with people

retaliating against the

production of melanin

in a Disney Princess.

If by now you’re also

finding yourself having

mixed feelings over a

fictional fish whose

best friend is a Reggaeloving

crab, take some time

to reflect on why you’re

feeling that way.

Since being announced,

Disney as well as Bailey

have received immense

backlash due to the casting

choice. Critics have

absurdly refuted the

new role of Ariel

with the argument

that the movie

won’t have the same

feel to it, for Bailey




canonically does

not have “pale skin,

blue eyes, and bright

red hair,” as she

does in the original

animated film.

People have also

claimed that if the

roles were reversed

and Tiana from Disney’s “Princess

and the Frog” was re-cast as a white

person in a live-action recreation, fury



opinions columnist

to pick up a pass so that they can

officially leave again later in that

same period.

The school needs to provide

streamlined alternatives to this.

One system clearly isn’t enough.

A potential solution could include

using the 5-star app to send a digital

pass to indicate when a student

has been called out by a parent.

This way, anyone would be able to

immediately see whether a student

has been excused or not, without

inconveniencing anyone in the

process -- students and teachers

alike. Just last year, the school was so

persistent about using the 5-Star app

to administer passes for students.

Maine West students already use the

would raid the internet. However,

drawing equivalence between a story

framed around race and one where

race has no impact on the plot is


Tiana’s race

contributes to her story, representing

the inspiring history of African-

Americans and their struggles


endured in the 1920’s. Tiana

is also based off of a real

black woman: Leah Chase.

Erasing Chase’s background

and whitewashing Tiana

as well as disregarding

the magic of Voodoo

(which originated from

Africa) would be racist and


The point is, Ariel’s

white skin is of no

importance and provides

no aspect of the moral of

the movie. The fish girl

still marries the love of her life and

remains singing regardless of the

color of her skin, eyes, and hair.

5-star app to scan for points and use

the bathroom -- we may as well take

full advantage of the app.

Even something as simple as

a joint email from the attendance

office to the teacher and student,

indicating at what point a student

is excused, could suffice. These

methods are easier on all parties

involved and would be studentspecific

to avoid the reusing of these

electronic passes.

Now more than ever, when

consequences are being handed

out -- when tardies and unexcused

absences are penalized -- the process

should be made as straightforward

as possisble to eliminate extra runaround.

It’s known that Ariel has six

sisters, with each sister representing

the seven seas. Ariel represents the

Red Sea, which is bordered by Egypt,

Sudan, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, and


So if we’re pointing fingers and if

any Ariel were to be the “inaccurate”

race, it would have been the

cartoon Ariel from 1989. Not to

mention the fact that Sebastian the

crab is Jamaican, hence the accent.

Mermaid mythology has

also been developed in not only

Europe but Western countries too.

It’s a fictional, whimsical fantasy

shared among many cultures, not

just sacred and sanctioned to a

specific race.

Bailey has thrilled hundreds and

thousands of children and adults

globally, even our students here

at Maine West. “The new Little

Mermaid movie is exciting to me

because it’s another representative

for the black community. It feels

nice to have more portrayal for

my community,” senior Rashonda

Swygert said. We should be proud of

the inclusion and progress the film

industry has made, including with this


We’ve had this same exhausting

conversation for years, but to be

offended over an imaginary fairytale

is crossing the line. The majority of

Disney princesses are white, yet people

still have the audacity to complain

and fuss over Disney’s attempt to

diversify the modern versions of their

princesses. Representation matters,

especially for many young black

girls who deserve to see someone

celebrated who looks like them.

october 26, 2022 westerner/opinions 9

Ignorance is bliss

When most Americans buy overpriced tickets to go watch the latest movie,

the last thing they want is a history lesson. But as Disney studios release

their newest Captain America movie, a history lesson may be exactly what

American moviegoers need.

Joining the long list of Marvel characters, the next Captain America movie

will include Sabra, an Israeli police officer turned superhero and secret service

agent. Sabra, whose real name is Ruth Bat-Seraph, first appeared in an issue of

the Incredible Hulk as a militant Israeli nationalist. Sabra’s mutant superpowers

are used by the IDF, the Israeli Defense Force, to fight

enemies of the Israeli government.

This is where the superhero comic stops being just

a superhero comic. The depiction of Sabra moves

beyond being innocent and family friendly and becomes

problematic and dehumanizing. The enemy of the Israeli

government throughout this issue isn’t another nation,

or supervillain; it’s the innocent people of Palestine.

Sabra regularly dehumanizes Palestinians throughout

the issue, labeling these victims as “terrorists,” a phrase

most Arabs today have become very familiar with. The

character plays on disturbing stereotypes that do no

favors to the people of Palestine or of Israel.

The most blatant problem with Sabra as a superhero

is that her character represents the real conflict between

Israel and Palestine as a whole. Israel is a nation that received $3.8 billion from

the United States in 2020 alone -- a nation with infinitely more resources than

Palestine. This almost exactly mirrors the power imbalance between Sabra, a

genetically modified superhero, and the defenseless Arabs she vilifies.

Throughout Marvel comics, Sabra regularly devalues the lives of Arabs,

holding her nationalist ideals above the lives of human beings. In a scene

involving Sabra and the Hulk, a young Arab boy is caught in the crossfire and

killed by militant terrorists. The readers of the issue receive a somewhat shocking

line after Sabra discovers the dead boy’s body: “it has taken the Hulk to make

Sabra see this dead Arab boy as a human being.”

The irony behind this line is glaring, considering how many lives have been

lost during the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Since 2008 alone, there have

been almost 4,000 Palestinian lives lost due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

While there may not be an obvious connection between the Israeli-Palestinian

conflict and Marvel’s choice to reintroduce Sabra as a superhero, a clear message

is being sent.

What we consume ends up defining us. The media we are exposed to

helps shape our world views and opinions, and this places

a responsibility on media companies to use this power

and influence wisely. But instead, we see one of the most

powerful multimedia companies misusing their platform

and dehumanizing Palestinians, who

are struggling with this conflict

today, and painting the

Israeli character as driven

by violence at a time



opinions editor

when anti-semitism

is a serious concern,


The ability to turn off our

brains and mindlessly watch

a movie without considering

the social implications of it is

a privilege. It is a privilege that

children living through this conflict

don’t get to enjoy.

No Woman

Left Behind



trending tweet. A 20-

A second Tiktok. For most

Americans, this is the extent to

which the protests in Iran have

impacted their lives. Iranians,

however, are in a mortal fight

with an authoritarian regime for

their basic human rights.

Protestors have flooded the

streets and workers have walked

out of their jobs in Iran in the

weeks following Sept. 16, the day

when 22-year-old Mahsa Amini

died after being captured by

Iran’s morality police three days

earlier for violating the country’s

compulsory veiling laws.

Amini’s suspicious

death in the custody

of Iran’s Guidance

Patrol sparked

outrage, fueling

the frustrations

of women across

the country due to

Iran’s enforcement

of restrictive laws

regarding women’s


In Iran, women

must wear a hijab

in public, have

their husband’s

permission to travel, and cannot

even freely divorce unless under

specific circumstances. In Iran,

a woman’s worth is considered

half that of a man’s – even their

testimonials in court are given

half the value of a man’s – and

the treatment they receive from

law enforcement and the Islamic

Republic reflects that sentiment.

In light of Amini’s death,

Iranian women have taken to the

streets, burning their hijabs and

cutting their hair in solidarity

with each other. Almost all

Iranian women have faced the

wrath of the morality police

at some point, and many have

been jailed at some point in

their lives as well. Men have

walked off their jobs to protest,

too. 23 people under the age

of 18 have been killed in these

protests, according to Amnesty

International. The young people

know they face grim futures if

they don’t take action.

Iranians have turned to

social media to call for action

from other countries, and the

responses have fallen short of

what Irani women deserve.

The United States has shown

time and time again how able

and willing they are to intercede

in conflicts within the Middle

East – it was only last year

that troops were withdrawn

from Afghanistan after almost

two decades of occupation.

Iran, a country overflowing

in oil, has fallen

victim to Western

imperialism for

years. Yet what is

impairing Western

nations from

coming to the aid of




protestors against

a regime they claim

to denounce? The

answer is simple:

they have nothing

to gain from it.

Every time

imperialist nations

have acted in the

Middle East, including Iran, was

for their own benefit. No one

needs to go to war with Iran to

impose the kinds of sanctions

that can make a difference,

and now isn’t the time to be

indifferent to the cries of the

oppressed people of Iran.

Seeing as Western

governments will likely do

nothing, the question is what can

we do for the people of Iran? As

is with most situations like this –

use your influence. Contact local

legislators. Use those tweets,

Tiktoks, and petitions; trending

topics attract news and news

coverage pressures nations to

act. The best thing you can do

for the women of Iran is use the

voice you have, the very voice

they’re fighting for.

10 opinions/westerner






In an ideal world, Gov.

Ron DeSantis of Florida,

would be in shackles – feet

dragging on the cold, grey

concrete grounds of a

correctional facility, serving

a sentence along with other

human traffickers.

But we don’t live in an

ideal world.

Instead of behind

prison bars, DeSantis

remains innocent behind

the walls of his excessively

windowed mansion in

Tallahassee, Florida. He

is free to continue his corrupt and vile

campaign of relocating undocumented

immigrants from state to state, trying

to create as much chaos and destroy as

many hopes as possible.

About a month ago, DeSantis

rounded 48 Venezuelan asylumseekers

coming into Texas through the

Mexican border, promising them a safe

future in the sanctuary city of Boston,


DeSantis doesn’t live or govern in

Texas. He also doesn’t live or govern in

Massachusetts. So, what’s his motive?

Like children hurling their green

vegetables onto their parents’ plate,

DeSantis is making a spectacle of

flinging dozens of asylum-seekers onto

the responsibility plates of states that he

believes have hindered legislative actions

against securing the southern border.

Governor DeSantis and Governor

Greg Abbott of Texas are outspoken

about a “disaster” at the border that

they claim to be caused by President Joe

Biden. And yet, this year was a recordsetting

year for border arrests by federal

officials. According to the Texas Tribune

newspaper, the Biden administration

arrested more than 2 million migrants

at the southern border in the year that

ended Sept. 30.

Republicans, like DeSantis, long for

greater control over immigration policy,

though, so such governors resort to

outrageous acts that consist of physically

removing migrants in large numbers

from their states. We’ve seen this before

when the U.S. banished unwanted

populations of undocumented workers



asst. opinions


to Mexico in the 1950s. The

motives of these removals

were clear then and are clear

now: people like DeSantis

want to keep “unwanted”

immigrants out. These

Republican governors

utterly contradict everything

America supposedly stands

for: to welcome people from

all corners of the world.

To somehow prove his

point about the “crisis” at

the Texas border, DeSantis

sent two planes from Florida

to Texas to pick up human

beings and ship them to Martha’s

Vineyard in Massachusetts, an island

with few social services and a small

wintertime population.

Even more strange is the fact that

Florida isn’t even on the U.S. and Mexico


He literally went out of his way,

using Florida taxpayer money to hire

chartered planes, to get his slimy hands

on these 48 asylum seekers. Despite not

being a sanctuary city, Martha’s Vineyard

graciously came together and scrambled

to help these individuals seeking

refuge in our country. They provided

everything from toothbrushes and food,

to translators and legal counsel.

Without sugar-coating it, these asylum

seekers were blatantly lied to and

disregarded as actual human beings in

search of a better life. However, DeSantis’

political stunt has been under speculation

for whether his actions would

qualify as human trafficking or smuggling.

Although it helped no one, his stunt

cost the people of Florida an estimated

$12 million – money that could certainly

be put to better use for their own hurricane


Despite treating people like cattle,

DeSantis remains in the comfort of his

own home, chuckling at the thought of

his maneuver going virtually unnoticed

by law enforcement. Even with the

title of “governor,” the government

shouldn’t turn a blind eye on Ron

DeSantis, who deserves to be behind

bars for his actions.

Revealing their

October 26, 2022

true colors

Millions of lives are at risk. For decades, Republicans have been

working to rob women of their bodily autonomy in the name of

being “pro-life” and under the premise of giving the power to the

states. Well, they got what they wished for. Or did they?

Roe v. Wade wasn’t overturned on a

whim; the debate over abortion has been

going on since the decision in 1973. Many

have raised questions about what it means

to be pro-life in the first place, citing that

most of the exact same politicians trying

to “protect the lives of the unborn” have

done less than the bare minimum to protect

the lives of the marginalized groups already


This year, during a national shortage

of baby formula, 192 Republicans in

Congress voted against providing aid to

help produce more forand fix the shortage.

They also blocked the continuation of the

Child Tax Credit that reduced childhood

poverty in the United States by 30%,








according to National Public Radio. As a bonus, they blocked

legislation that would have provided a federal right to birth control

use, which would help eliminate unwanted pregnancies.

Rather, it was always about controlling the bodies of those with

uteruses, as a bill from South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham demonstrates.

As previously mentioned, a big part of the pro-life argument

against the protections of Roe v. Wade is that the power to decide

should rest with the states. In other words, every state is free to decide

their own rules and regulations addressing abortion. It shouldn’t

be the woman’s choice; it should be the state’s. This was the argument

that Pro-Life Senator Graham himself preached. However, his new

bill does not line up with that stance in the slightest. It goes in the

complete opposite direction.

Graham’s bill is a nationwide abortion ban at the 15th week of

pregnancy, with superficial exceptions for rape, incest, and health of

the mother. The 15th week is approximately eight weeks before the

widely agreed upon fetal viability point in the United States. 23-24

weeks is about the earliest at which a fetus has even a small chance

at surviving outside the womb, given it is supported by staff and

machines in a professional medical facility.

At 15 weeks, chances of survival are zero.

This is one of the most strict nationwide abortion bans that has

ever been seriously considered, stricter than abortion bans in 21

states. Still, it is more forgiving than current abortion laws in another

16 states. It wouldn’t matter which kind of state you currently live in

because, as a federal law, all 50 states would have to enforce it. Wasn’t

the whole point of overturning Roe to hand the power to control

abortions over to the states? Why are Republicans like Graham now

backpedaling and trying to enforce laws on abortion at a national


At first, the “pro-life” politicians wanted states rights. They got

that, and it suddenly isn’t enough. There is a certain demographic

of people who will continue to suffer at disproportionate rates with

stricter abortion restrictions: people with uteruses, especially those in

lower socioeconomic classes.

About half of women who have abortions live beneath the

poverty line, according to the New York Times. Six out of 10 are

already mothers, and half of them already have two or more children,

according to the CDC, so abortion bans are going to impact existing

children, mothers, and fathers, too. What is left for us to monitor

in this situation is just how many of our representatives will back

October 26, 2022

Tennis gets state three-peat,

finishes 4th at sectionals



Taking fourth overall at the

conference meet, Maine West

girls tennis went into the postseason

at the top of their game.

The took fourth in the secional

meet, too.

For the third year in a row,

junior Lilliam Dockal made it

to the biggest competition of

the year: “my biggest success

this year was qualifying for state

again; it meant a lot to me,”

Dockal said. During sectionals

on Oct. 15, Dockal placed

fourth overall. She capped the

season at state on Oct. 22 with

a record of 2-2.

At conference, junior Emily

Halat took the conference title

at number two singles. In the

number one singles spot, junior

Lilliam Dockal took third, and

second doubles pair senior

Raya Prichisky and junior Yanet

Conde placed third, too.

Halat set a new personal

record of 23-4 during the

conference tournament. “Emily

is not only a talented player but

she is so kind, courteous and

respectful to her opponents,”

coach Tricia Detig said.

Finishing in first place at

the Grayslake tournament on

Sept. 9, the girls tennis team

has made major improvements

throughout the season. Their

strong performance continued

through their final regular

season match, when they beat

Addison Trails, 6-1.

Placing first in the Grayslake

tournament was one of the

many highlights of the season

with almost all players winning

their categories. “This was

really impressive given our new

additions to the varsity lineup

this season,” Detig said. “The

key to their success was staying

disciplined, determined, and

motivated. Even though the

lineup changed, the team has

worked hard to help each other


One of the many memorable

events of the season was senior

night vs. Addison Trails. “Our

coach bought this tennis ball

piñata, and we spent half an

hour trying to get it over the

tree to get it hanging up, and we

got it stuck in the tree multiple

times,” Halat said.




Practicing prior to the conference meet,

junior Emily Halat ended up taking the

conference championship for second

singles during the Oct. 7-8 weekend.


Young talent leads girls XC


For most of the season, freshman Lauren

Capper ran second for the Warriors, after junior

sectional-qualifier Amelie Mach, including at the

conference meet at Glenbrook North.



Fresh off a 9th place finish in the conference

meet, the Maine West girls cross country team’s

top runners competed at regionals on Oct. 22.

Two runners finished in the top 50. With a time

of 20:31, junior Amelie Mach finished 25th and

is headed to sectionals this Saturday.

“Amelie has had such an amazing season

this year,” head coach Liana Bracker said. “She

not only has the athletic ability but the desire to

run hard. We cannot wait to see how fast she

will fly on Saturday.”

Freshman Lauren Capper, who is also

on the Maine West swim team this season,

came in second for Maine West at Saturday’s

regionals and 41st overall with a time of 21:23.

Sophomore Jaime Daube, senior Kennedy

Young, junior Jacky Nava, and junior Ana

Gomez qualified to represent the Warriors at

regionals, too, based on their conference times.

As West’s top senior on the course this

year, captain Kennedy Young was focused

on building community among the team, too.

“Running and spending time with your friends

is really the best part,” Young said.

With the courses differing in terrain and

weather, there are a lot of obstacles for runners

to overcome that are unique to each race.

“Having a good mental state and believing

in yourself is the most important part of the

sport,” Bracker said.

The environment that the team has created

plays a huge role in the team’s success. “They

are all very hardworking and they all have a

positive attitude that helps us accomplish our

goals,” Bracker said.

There were a lot of fun moments in the

season for the team such as going to Kenosha,

Wisconsin for the Bill Greiten Eagle Invite on

Oct. 1, where Mach placed first in her race with

a time of 22:08 and the team placed 6th out of

10. By the time she reached regionals, Mach had

cut two almost two minutes off her time.

At each race, runners are aiming to shave

time from their personal record for the season.

“It is all about competing against yourself,”

Bracker said. “It isn’t really about where you


With the team’s top runners ready to return

next year, the Warriors see a lot of promise

in what’s ahead. That’s part of a team culture

that looks to build long-term success. Aiming

to get more young Des Plaines runners excited

about cross country, the team even ran a meet

for middle schoolers on Oct. 4. “Middle School

Night is a great way to make connections with

the younger kids and inspire them to maybe

join cross country or track when they get to

high school,” Young said.

12 sports/westerner






editor in chief

With whirlpools, ice,

and foam rollers all in their

arsenal, the West athletic

training staff and student

volunteers scramble behind

the scenes and on the sidelines to jump in when

injured athletes need help to get back into play.

In the athletic training room, located in

G-Wing by spec gym, the athletic training staff

provides free, expert treatment for athletes. This

provides a valuable resource for students since

it can be coordinated without even leaving the

building and without incurring the expense of

visiting a different medical facility.

“Our philosophy is to not only treat the signs

and symptoms of an injury but to identify and

treat the cause of an injury. We are able to set

up a detailed care plan for an injury and work in

conjunction with the student athlete’s treating

physician to explore different treatment options

that assist our athletes to return to play at an

optimal level,” head athletic trainer Ryan Melligan

said. “This care starts with an initial evaluation

that emphasizes patient education through

rehabilitation and injury prevention.”

Student athletes have access to many services

that other schools may not offer: cryotherapy

(whirlpools, ice bags, ice cups), thermotherapy,

light therapy, ultrasound, electrotherapy, manual

therapy (cross friction massage, foam rollers,

active/passive stretching), and strength training.

Through these services, athletes are provided

with the best chance at returning to their sports.

While athletes from all sports visit the trainers,

contact sports lead the way in the number of

injuries treated by Melligan and Kaylla Juarez,

Maine West’s other athletic trainer. With football

being a high contact sport, a high percentage

of injuries come from football players. This

makes game days especially long days for Juarez,

Melligan, and their team of trainers.

On days with home football games, they get

to school early to begin the setup process that

will keep as many athletes as safe and healthy as

possible. “After I have my first of many cups of

coffee, I bring out a lot of equipment because

we always have to be prepared for whatever may

happen: water, Gatorade, splints, extra helmet

equipment, crutches, tools, tape, bandages. I


The Sports Medicine Club and trainer Ryan

Melligan have provided sideline support for the

football team this fall.


then prepare the hot tubs and cold tubs,

stock the taping stations in preparation for

athletes, and prepare the final injury report

for coaches so they know who is in and out

on game day,” Melligan said.

From helping athletes tape and warm

up, to being out on the field throughout

the entire game, the athletic training staff is

always prepared to help Maine West athletes.

“When I strained my quad during the track

season, they gave me a bunch of exercises

that got me back into track after a few weeks.

I also learned better ways to train that could

prevent me from hurting my leg again,”

senior Aidan Cusack said.

Melligan is not alone on the sidelines

though, students in the Sports Medicine

Club help the athletic training staff while

also learning about the sports medicine

field. “Our head trainer has taught us how

to react when someone goes down versus

when someone goes down after being hit,”

senior Bryanna Alvarez Perez said. “There is a

difference, and it could include a serious injury

like one to the spine. We have been taught how

to tape small injuries like ankle rolls and jammed

thumbs and we are also CPR certified.”

These student aides gain the knowledge

of basic anatomy and physiology in relation

to injuries. “They are also trained in assisting

with general first aid, once the proper skills are

obtained, and game day procedures. Students will

come in every day, or when their schedule allows,

to assist me. We have a lot of fun and it’s a great

way to make friends while also looking great on a

college application,” Melligan said.

If students are interested in a career in the

rehabilitation field, the Sports Medicine Club is

an option that is open to all. “I feel like I have

gained knowledge and confidence for the future.

I’ve learned the basics in the training room and

attending football games is just one way that helps

me to be prepared for the world after high school

as I plan to be an athletic trainer,” senior Faiza

Rogaria said.

October 26, 2022

Boys XC road trip

gets top results


sports editor

Leaving school at 6:30 a.m. on Oct. 1 to run in

Wisconsin for the first time in three years, the boys

cross country team placed second in the University

of Wisconsin-Parkside meet against 10 other schools,

making the early morning and long trip worth it.

The players and the coaches enjoyed their

Wisconsin experience overall. “The highlight of the

season for me was taking our boys up to a rural course

in Wisconsin; the course had beautiful hills and just

amazing scenery,” coach Nate Hassman said. During

this meet, junior Ryan Hauptman was able to finish

second in his race.

He ran three miles in

17:46 minutes. While

the average person

runs at a speed of

4-6 miles per hour,

Hauptman runs at

an average speed of

10 miles an hour.

This invite had a

memorable feature:

“It was amazing

to start the race

off with a canon,”


Junior Ben Huk runs at the

confernce meet, hosted by

Glenbrook North, where he

finished with a time of 19:26.

Hauptman said.

“Even though the

course was hard,

I knew I was at a

good pace since they

had clocks at the first

and second mile.

This helped me push


Maine West also

performed well on

Sept. 24 at Bartlett High School. They placed 12th out

of the 20 teams competing. Their best runner that day

was sophomore Frank Ferraiolo, who ran three miles

in 17:44 minutes and finished 10th out of 73 runners.

That was one of his best times this entire season. “I

felt great that day. I made sure I ate healthy foods and

drank plenty of water. If you don’t take care of your

body, you won’t be able to perform,” Ferraiolo said.

The boys routinely went to IHOP after their

weekend meets to laugh and rest together. “My

favorite moment of the entire season was when we

went to IHOP after one of our weekend meets and

the whole team laughed at me for saying chocolate

chip pancakes were a healthy choice,” Hauptman said.

The pancakes were rewards for intense training

throughout the season, though. Hassman and

Hauptman described their workouts as incredibly

challenging: waking up at an early hour to run,

repeatedly running timed 400-meter dashes and

regularly doing five-minute planks. Meets tend to be

even harder than practice. “A lot of the kids they race

against go on to be D1 athletes. I’m proud they have

enough desire to be able to compete,” Hassman said.

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