February 2023

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february 15, 2023



Juniors Youssif Massri and Cali Santos

prepare for this week’s productions

of the musical “Young Frankenstein,”

which opens tomorrow at

7 p.m. Read More about the show in


volume 64, issue 6


mwwesterner.com + @mwwesterner

2 news/westerner

February 15, 2022

DP Theater sidesteps controversy


after heated city council meeting



Turmoil erupted in Des Plaines

when Awake Illinois -- a group that

claims “anti-Americanism is permeating

public education today” -- announced

earlier this year that they

would be hosting their Coalition for

Kids event at the Des Plaines Theater.

Outraged citizens of Des Plaines

protested the event at the city council

meeting on Jan. 17, citing the anti-gay

agenda of Coalition for Kids. Several

LGBTQIA+ supporting organizations

had representatives at the meeting

including SPEAK Des Plaines

and Equality Illinois. Maine West students

attended as well.

When Awake Illinois called the

people protecting trans rights “anti-

American” and “anti-child” and

said that their first amendment right

was “under attack,” it brought on

the question of free speech or hate

speech and where the line is drawn. “I

am really thankful that the hate group

didn’t make an appearance. It would

have made me feel way less safe in

the place that’s my home, and I know

I am not the only one,” senior Alex

Dusold O’Connor said.

Two days later Onesti Entertainment,

the company that operates the

Des Plaines Theater, released a press

release announcing the event’s cancellation.

“It enraged me because hate

groups claim to be supporting kids,

yet denying trans kids a means of

transitioning or affirming their gender

is literally deadly,” O’Connor said.

Many celebrated the event’s cancellation

but felt Onesti Entertainment’s

public statement was insincere.

Ron Onesti, the owner of Onesti Entertainment

issued a press release that

detailed threats he was allegedly receiving,

including mailed bullets, calls

for neighbors to fill his trash can with

feces and countless threats upon the

Des Plaines Theater itself.

Trying to determine the truth

about these threats, citizen Elizabeth

Wolf – a long-time resident of Des

Plaines -- filled out a Freedom of Information

Act (FOIA) request to find

out whether or not Onesti’s claims

about the threats were true. A FOIA

request allows any citizen to receive

copies of police reports and any other

government documents.

Wolf contacted the Des Plaines,

Woodale, and St. Charles Police departments

in hopes of finding police

reports linked to Onesti’s property,

but no police report appeared to

have been filed, casting doubt about

whether or not threats had actually

been made.

In a Westerner interview with Onesti,

he said, “I didn’t give it that much

thought; you know if I was that worried

about it I would’ve called the

police. The media focused on what

they want to focus on: the threats,” he

continued. “These people are making

it about the threats and it’s not

about the threats. It’s the fact that

they were threatening me because of

my position which I didn’t have in the

first place. I had zero position, for or

against” the agenda of Awake Illinois

Tuning in to new hallway T.V’s



and the Coalition for Kids.

A common misconception about

the Des Plaines Theater is that the

business is owned by the city. While

the building is owned by the city, Onesti

owns the business running it. “The

renovation was publicly funded but

my business is a private enterprise,”

Onesti said. “That gives me the right

to do pretty much what I want there

but I don’t take that lightly.” Onesti,

who is in charge of booking events

at the theater, didn’t see Coalition for

Kids as an issue at the surface level.

But such a response brings up

more questions than answers. “I’m

sure you see if a band is bad before

booking them so would you not dig

and see what this is about?” Anita

Vaughan, a SPEAK Des Plaines

member asked.

Onesti said, “It’s not for me to vet

out every single individual; people are

saying I need to find out more about

the people that I have there; uh, not


Rather than staring at the same poster on the walls of each wing, 15

new TVs have sprouted up and changed the marketing game at Maine


Messages posted on the TVs vary throughout the wings of Maine

West. “In D-wing we have the same information as the other buildings,

but we also share CTE-specific information. This could be fun things

that are happening in CTE such as DECA events,” said department

chair of CTE Samatha Archer. “It just provides another opportunity to

promote and share information beyond just emails and posters.”

While the TVs may be an upgrade to paper posters, safety issues

have to be considered before thinking about the payoff. And these safety

issues stem from the possibility of students, either intentionally or

accidentally, damaging the new TVs. “They have been mounted very securely

on the walls, and we have security cameras throughout the building,

so we are not worried about students hurting our TVs,” associate

principal John Aldworth said. “Overall, our students are very respectful

of our space, so we are not worried about them intentionally damaging

the monitors.”

At roughly $900 a piece, the onboarding of the new TVs is quite

pricey, especially the size and quality that have been purchased, leading

to the question of where this fits in the budget. “We built the cost

into our budget last year. We just recently got the software to run the

signage, so we are still working with the company to find better ways to

utilize the monitors,” Aldworth said.

But the happy sentiment over the new TVs is not shared by all, as

many students question whether or not such a purchase was the right

choice. “I thought they were not worth the money,” sophomore Stefana

Spirova said. When Spirova first heard about them, “I thought that it

was a lie and that there was no way they actually put in so many TVs.”


Febrarary 15 , 2023 westerner/news 3




news editor, news editor, asst. news editor

To celebrate the achievements of Black

Americans throughout history, SOAR and

Black Student Union have a calendar packed

with events and activities for Black History


“We encourage inclusiveness and educate

people about Black History,” counselor and

BSU sponsor Allyson Adams said. “It’s an

organization anybody in the school can be a

part of.”

Aiming to boost participation among students

and staff, this year, “we are running a

door contest to decorate your door for Black

History Month,” Adams said. “That’s for the

whole school.”

Sponsored by the BSU, faculty at Maine

West are encouraged to decorate their doors

in creative ways, whether it be highlighting inventions

such as the potato chip, as displayed

on AP U.S. History teacher Bryanne Roemer’s

door, or successful Black Americans in the

dramatic arts showcased drama teacher David

Harmon’s A-Wing door.

At the student level, BSU plans on hosting

a Paint and Chill event after school on Feb. 22.

“Every student that wants to attend this event

will get a little canvas and we’re going to sit and

paint, and we’ll have a design already sketched

out on it and they can paint it,” Adams said.


Not only do the activities provide students

with an opportunity to express themselves this

Black History Month, but it will provide the

opportunity to showcase that expression. “I

love being part of Black Student Union because

this is a place where we can feel comfortable

around each other. there are never any

dull moments,” senior member of BSU and

SOAR Bruktawit Yigsaw said.

BSU’s celebration of Black History Month

does not end with in-school activities, as they

have plans to bring Black history to a more

personal level. This Thursday, “we have a district

wide event called Black Excellence is Everywhere,

and that is going to be held at Maine

East,” Adams said. “At that event we have

some former students and we have some Black

professionals in the Chicagoland area that are

going to be a part of it.” This event is focused

on the showcase of career opportunities and

provides mentorship for those in BSU across

Maine Township, with the panel being led by

five professionals presenting information on

their specific career paths.

“We can talk to alumni from Black colleges;

they will give us their experience regarding

college,” senior member of BSU and SOAR

Arrielle Henderson said.




sports, news, features, opinions, in-depth & entertainment


BSU Members (l-r) Andrea Habler, Brandy Mc-

Donald, Benice Gyebi, and Ore Adesayo accepted

a proclamation to honor Black History Month

at the Des Plaines City Council meeting on Feb.

6. Above, social studies teacher Bryanne Roemer

is one of dozens of teachers who have

decorated their doors, with the help of students,

to honor the unique and under-appreciated

achievements of Black Americans.

Westerner applications


Be a part of this national award-winning student newspaper. Scan the QR code or visit tinyurl.com/Westerner2023app





4 features/westerner

Speading some city love

February 15, 2023

Instead of sitting at home this weekend, why don’t you make Chicago your Valentine? With a three-day holiday ahead, make your weekend

something memorable by grabbing a friend or family member, getting out, exploring, and having some fun during these colder months. Here are

some fun and affordable ways to feel the love, no Hallmark card needed.



The Shedd Aquarium is offering

free admission for Illinois

residents on Feb. 14, 15, 16. From

dolphin shows to penguin exhibits,

you’ll be transported to waters

around the world without

ever leaving the city.



Illinois residents get free entry on Feb. 14,

15, 16. With new exhibit “First Kings of Europe,”

there’s even more ancient artifacts to

check out. Don’t forget to blow a kiss to Sue,

one of the largest Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaurs

ever discovered, on your way through

the main hall. Located at 1400 S Lake

Shore Dr., Chicago.



features editor and

asst. features editor

Lincoln Park Zoo

Always free year round and with

the warm spell of weather predicted

this week, a date with the gorillas and

lions is a great way to spend a day.

For people interested in long legs and

necks, check out the indoor giraffe


Gates open at 10 a.m.

Ice Skating Ribbon at

Maggie Daley Park

Right next to Millennium

Park with views of Lake Michigan

through the trees, the skating

ribbon is turning into a city

icon. Reserve a time slot at


English teacher Liana Bracker

describes the skating ribbon

at Maggie Daley Park as a place

that provides the perfect backdrop

for immersing yourself in

the city, and she likes to take her

nephews, such as Nico pictured

here, to take in the views there.

“I love that you don’t skate in a

circle the entire time and that

it is surrounded by trees and

the Chicago skyline. The vibe

seems to be more about having

fun and less about doing triplet

axles,” Bracker said.

School severing screen time



Hoping to increase student focus and cut

back on distractions during the school day,

District 207 barred access on the schools’

servers to social media apps on Chromebooks,

tablets, and cell phones as of Feb. 1, just a few

weeks after restricting personal email access

from school-issued devices.

While these restrictions may be aimed at

improving classroom performance among

students, many West students are skeptical of

the new policy. “I believe these restrictions will

definitely cause difficulties. Students use social

media apps like Discord and Snapchat to communicate

with classmates about different assignments

and school clubs. These policies will

create issues for communication,” sophomore

Jaiden Maisonet said.

Another concern among students is how

the lack of access to personal emails and social

media while at school will affect certain

students. “I think the main group of students

these new policies will affect are students without

home internet access. Some use school Wi-

Fi to access personal emails for scholarships

and college information

so they’ll have

“Students will find their

way around the restrictions

— it’s inevitable.”

a much harder time

figuring out a way to

do this,” junior Leena

Lugo said. They also

risk being left out of

the information loops

that exist between

classmates on apps like


Similarly, senior Alexander Haliotis said,

“Students in low-income households without

Wi-Fi will have to go completely outside of

school in order to get into any of their personal

profiles. It’s a huge accessibility issue.”

Despite many students expressing their dislike

for these policies, others in the building

see possible benefits to social media block-out.

“While a lot of students seem to be not in favor

of these new decisions, I believe this will

be beneficial for students,” fine arts teacher

Melissa Lloyd said. “Without access to social

media, there is more time to focus on learning.”

With these rules

being in effect for

just over two weeks,

students will have had

time to adjust to these

restrictions, but only

time will tell if opinions

will fluctuate on

the new policies.

As it is, students

with cell plans that allow for unlimited data are

still able to get to the restricted apps by using

their data plans. “Students will find their way

around the restrictions—it’s inevitable,” senior

Alexander Haliotis said.

— senior Alexander Haliotis

February 15, 2023 westerner/entertainment 5



As anyone who has read the actual story knows, Frankenstein

is not a big monster with bolts in his head.

But even those people will be on the edge of their

seats facing surprise after surprise when Maine West students

perform Mel Brooks’ musical “Young Frankenstein,” starting


Mary Shelley created the original story of Frankenstein

when she published her book in 1818. Mel Brooks used her

idea and put his own witty twist on it, creating a comedyhorror

movie in 1974. Now, director David Harmon has

selected his cast to put on a friendlier version of the show,

taking place at 7 p.m. tomorrow through Saturday and at

2 p.m. on Sunday.

“The main character, Frederick, is the grandson of the

famous scientist Victor Frankenstein but he doesn’t want

to accept that. He lives in the shadows of his grandfather

and has a lot of expectations laid on him by Frau Blücher.

Frederick starts to slowly accept his fate and steps into his

grandfather’s shoes,” junior Haven Wallgren Lemmerman,

who plays Igor, said.

While last year’s musical, “Beauty and the Beast,” had

moments of deep sincerity, this year’s musical is a comedic

send-up. “This is the funniest show I have ever performed

in. It is PG-13 so leave the kids at home and come prepared

to laugh,” sophomore Jaiden Maisonet, who plays Frau

Blücher, said.

Students started working on

the musical as long

as three









months ago. “You audition with a song by a character. There

were three songs to choose from this year representing the

female lead, male lead, and the ensemble,” junior Ethan

Mattson, who plays the monster, said.

After all the roles were cast, tech crew started to build

sets, organize props and determine lighting and sound. “The

sets add a lot to the show. Tech Crew makes them so intricately,

and they create really cool designs. During tech week,

the show really comes together since we can see the finished

stage,” senior Deroy Chitan, who plays Victor Frankenstein,


Costumer Ashley Benson leads costume design by bringing

in students for their fittings and curating a unique piece

for each character. “The costume really shows a part of the

characters. My first costume is torn and ragged, showing

how much of an uncivilized monster I am when first created.

Then during ‘Puttin’ On The Ritz,’ I end up in a suit,

showing how much my character has matured and learned,”

Mattson said.

The cast’s schedules are packed. Performers have to get

familiar with the story, memorize lines, work on their accents,

block their stage location, take dance classes, learn songs, attend

vocal lessons, and finally clean everything up. “Once the

musical started it became my whole life. Rehearsals are right

after school and we also have Saturday practices. When I get

home I only have time to eat, do some homework, and then

I’m straight off to my bed,” Wallgren Lemmerman said.

The cast has gotten close to each other over the weeks of

rehearsal thanks to laughs shared during rehearsals. “There

are a lot of different innuendos during practice that cause

someone to break character. Then someone will start chuckling,

and it’s so contagious that we all end up laughing,” Maisonet


Show tickets are $7 for students and

$10 for adults, which can be purchased

at the door or


Youssif Massri and

Cali Santos (above),

and Ethan Mattson,

and Alex Kazimierski

(below) prepare to

break into their roles

for opening night.


“Being in the musical got me

through last year, which is why I

wanted to do it this year. I am able

to connect with a lot of people and

I love working with all of the staff.”

-- senior Aubrey Brown (dance


“I get to hang out with my friends

after school. We get to build lots

of cool things, which is the main

reason I joined.” -- freshman

Christian Bardygula (Tech)

“My character is the inspector who

is portrayed as the main antagonist.

He really just wants what is

best for the village and is trying to

get rid of the monster and doctor.

He has a peg leg and wooden arm

that really adds to the comedy of

the musical.” -- junior Alexander

Kazimierski (Kemp)

“Frau Blücher is really emotionless

in the beginning, but every now and

then, she shows she cares. Once

Frederick is in town, she starts to become

more interested in the creation

of the monster because of a past

relationship with his grandfather, Victor.”

-- sophomore Jaiden Maisonet

(Frau Blucher)

“My character is the wackiest.

He’s this weird little hunchback

thing that is Frederick’s underling

and he helps him throughout the

show.” -- junior Haven Wallgren-

Lemmerman (Igor)

“Having something to do. Going

straight home can be boring and

the musical keeps me on my toes

-- it keeps me busy, which I really

like.” -- sophomore Irene Han





6 in-depth/westerner

February 1

Driver’s licenses: the key

to teenage freedoms

After taking months of driving lessons,

honing their skills, and finally passing the big

test, plenty of Maine West students have received

one of the most coveted possessions a

high-schooler can have: their driver’s license.

With it comes a plethora of new freedoms

and places to explore, but also a good amount

of responsibilities.

For many Maine West students, having the

ability to drive oneself without waiting for a

ride is the biggest freedom that comes with

getting a license. Having to ask a friend or

family member to tag along or be dropped off

can feel annoying for the driver and asker. Junior

Ava Williams, who got her license in July

of 2022, said, “I don’t have to ask my parents,

‘Hey, can I get dinner with my friend?’ I can

just be like ‘Hey, is it okay if I go’ and, I just

take myself.”

Sophomore Lana Gerstmayr, who got her

license in January, has similar feelings. “I can

leave school when I want to instead of waiting

for my dad, and I can drive someone to Dairy

Queen after a football game instead of having

to ride,” said Gerstmayr. “I don’t need to

depend on my parents being free to drive me

anywhere, so I can just drive myself, and pick

up someone if they don’t have a ride.”

Aside from being able to drive oneself,

many students now have the freedom of going

to more places. “I have a wider range of

options,” said senior Faith Almerigi, who has


In-Depth Reporter

been driving since February of 2022. “I can

drive myself to the mall if I feel like it, instead

of going to downtown Des Plaines.” Many

students at Maine West have access to their

own car or a shared family car, making their

driving experience even more enjoyable.

With a newly obtained license comes the

ability to drive others instead of being the one

to ask. “I drive my friends a lot,” said junior

Amelia Foy, who got her license in July of

2022. “I like to drive, and none of them like

driving. Most of them do have their license,

but I like to drive so usually I do. I just think

it’s relaxing; something about it is just nice. I

like listening to my music while I drive.”

With all these new freedoms come a few

unexpected roadblocks, gas being the mostcomplained

about. “I don’t like getting gas.

Especially, I won’t go at night. I don’t like

getting gas at night, I think it’s scary,” commented


Gerstmayr agreed, saying, “You have to

get gas and stuff, and if you don’t have a garage

you have to wipe off all the snow on your


In Illinois, drivers aged 16-17 have curfews

starting at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday,

and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. New drivers

are only allowed to drive one passenger

under 20 years old, unless they are a family

member, until they are 18 or have had their

license for a year. In addition to these restrictions,

some parents add extra rules for

their teen drivers to follow. “I had to be

home and my car had to be parked and

off by 9 p.m. every day,” recalls Almerigi

about the rules her parents used

to set.

For Williams, the biggest change

has been time management. “I now

have to time-manage more, to see

when I need to leave the house and

when I need to be back.” But while

unexpected, this was only a small

detour. “It honestly helps a lot with

time management, having to organize

everything,” said Williams.

“Being like, ‘Okay, I have to wake

up at 7 a.m. to leave by 7:45 to be

there by 8.’ So I wouldn’t say it’s

necessarily a negative; it’s a new

skill you have to learn.”

Being a new driver is a

bumpy but exciting ride.

Whether you’re worried

about the responsibility

of being safe and on

time or excited to go

driving with friends,

there’s no doubt that

being a teen driver is

an experience to remember.

Steps to Getting

Your License

1. Find the right Drivers Education course for you, whether at Maine West or through a private company.

a. Complete 30 hours of in-class instruction

b. Complete 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction

2. Obtain a driver’s permit.

a. Pass the written exam at an Illinois Driver Services Facility.

One is located at 1470 Lee St in Des Plaines.

3. Practice, practice, practice!

a. State law requires 50 hours of practice to be logged, 10 of which must be done during the night.

4. Go back to the Illinois Driver Services Facility.

a. Make sure to bring all required documents

b. Pass all needed exams

5. Go celebrate!

5, 2023 westerner/in-depth


the bumpy ride

Maine West drivers find comedy and

frustration on their path to a license


in-depth reporter

Driver’s Education, for many teens, is the beginning of a newfound

freedom. Like most other 15-year-olds around the country, it

means one thing: getting your license and access to a car. In order

to obtain said privilege, one must learn the rules of the road, hence

enrolling in driver’s ed. However, the process of driver’s ed isn’t always

so simple, at least not for many teens at Maine West who have

experienced everything from wacky to worrisome moments while

taking private driver’s ed classes.

Joe Chamlin, a sophomore, attended Walters Driving School

for lessons, which included the required time behind the wheel

with a teacher and other students. “One time, I was driving and

he made up nicknames. When you go too slow he’d call you

Grandma Moses and if you go slightly over the limit he calls you

Speedy. He also uses people’s names to make stories,” Chamlin


With hours of life spent sitting in a car with so many nervous

teenagers, instructors find ways to add some humor to

the process. “Like one time, there was this kid named Adam

and [the instructor] kept asking him where Eve was,” Chamlin

said. “He’d also make up names for every guy in my class,

like he’d call all of them George, and one time he confused

himself so much he actually thought there was a George in

my class.”

Chamlin isn’t alone in his experience. Sometimes, it

seems like instructors have reached the end of their creativity

in how to keep up a conversation while monitoring

student drivers.

“My first ever time driving, I was nervous,” sophomore Eden

Layous recalled. The teacher “starts asking me what my zodiac sign

is and guesses right, and doesn’t stop talking about how much he

loves Geminis for the next hour and a half. He also started talking

about a past relationship with a Gemini that ended horribly.”

Students who attended Warsaw Driving School, which is now

closed, worked with a teacher who called herself “Gangster Anna.”

“There was this one time she came to class wearing no shoes,”

sophomore Althea Amon said. “She sat at her desk and put on

makeup, but she made herself look like an actual clown.”

Sophomore Damira Beganovic also shared some other crazy experiences

she had while in private driving classes there. “We went to

get ice cream this one time, and there was a car in the drive-through

area. We were all crossing, so she jumps onto the hood of this random

person’s car and starts screaming, ‘There are children crossing!’

“The guy in the car looked astonished, and then she goes up

to his window and starts cussing him out,” Beganovic said. “We

ended up getting ice cream” but the experience was an eye-opener

for everyone



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


Dear Couples,

Public displays of affection are

quite the sloppy spectacles, many

of which are most audaciously performed

in the hallways of Maine

West. Who wants to examine such an

act? The answer is, nobody. And yet,

these immature children disguised

as teenagers care nothing for what

the civil student population wants

or does not want. As a result, countless

students have fallen victim to the

viewings of such overt face-sucking

and groping.

Affectionate teenagers, we kindly

ask, could you calm your hormones?

Your significant other will make it

out alive from their math class; there

is no need to pat them down like a

security guard searching for contraband

at the airport. As unlikely as it

seems, you will survive one hour of

not having your hands all over another

human being. Amazingly, your

partner’s heart will continue to pump

blood -- you can continue to expect

to get your daily kissy face selfie and

heart emojis during class – but we all

don’t need to be part of the experience.

And even more mind-blowingly,

you can simply save all the loveydovey

affection for times

when you’re not in public.

We’d like you to consider

these two words: innocent

bystander. That is

what the rest of the Maine

West population is. We are

innocent bystanders, constantly

being traumatized

by relationships that likely

won’t last longer than a

month – no, a week. Still,

these couples, ones that

will inevitably disappear

faster than the blink of an

eye, leave a lasting psychological effect

on those of us that are just trying

to get from class to class. Trust

we aren’t “jealous” of you and your

two-week-long relationship. We just

want to save ourselves from the trauma

of seeing our unrestrained emotions

in action.

We would also like to introduce

you to another wonderful word: privacy.

Privacy is defined as “the state

of being free from being observed

or disturbed by other people.” Except

the people that would now be

free from being disturbed would be

Annoyingly Simple


Simply Annoying?

As you surf the web, drive down

the street, or turn into a store aisle,

you may notice that there has been a

recent influx of logo redesigns over

the past decade. It’s a pattern of rebranding

with a rather minimalistic

style that makes them “fit in” with

the modern times. The simplification

of the design makes the logo

easier for consumers to process and

digest, an ideal choice for redesigns,

but to what extent should companies

go to modernize their logo?

Minimalism itself isn’t the issue.

The problem is that certain companies

are focusing too much on jumping

onto the minimalist bandwagon

that they forget to hint at their company’s

purpose, which is supposed

to be reflected in their logo.

Petco is an example of a redesign

gone wrong. The positive connections

made by consumers that are

associated with the iconic but now

retired blue cat and red dog are now

gone. Instead they are replaced with

lifeless purple letters that fail to convey

the same level of familiarity and

dependability. There was a flood of

outrage across Petco’s social media

when this change occurred. Now,

instead of standing out, Petco joins

the thousands of other companies

with effortless lowercase letters as

their logo.

Despite the unavoidable disapproval

that follows a redesign, there

are certain companies that have had

smoother transitions with minimalist

logos, thanks to their attention to

stay true to their name. Take for example,

Olive Garden. Their current

logo is less detailed than the previous

one, but the addition of the olive

February 15, 2023

‘Could you




us innocent bystanders. It’s unlikely

that the eyes of other Maine West

students ever bothered you while

you’re trying to perform a mid-hallway

tonsillectomy. When we say privacy,

however, we do not mean the

E-wing stairwell or a random conspicuous

corner. Newsflash: we can

still see and hear you.

If the question you are asking

yourself right now is: Where are

we allowed to “hang out” if during

school isn’t an option? Then relationships

are probably not for you yet,




branch reflects the restaurant’s name

more effectively than the grapes in

the older versions. They not only

modernized their logo, but enhanced

its original features rather than hide

them away behind dull letters.

If a company decides to utilize

a minimalist style in their logo redesigns,

they should focus on preserving

the original authenticity and

distinctive characteristics that made

them unique, instead of attempting

to fit a mold that would drown in

a monotonous sea of bland, uninspired

logos. Otherwise minimalist

logos will slowly become another

mass-manufactured product of corporate

companies: dull, soulless, and

easy to make.

February 15, 2023 westerner/opinions 9

Shining a

light on


After working for a decade to

develop it, the College Board began

its pilot program this year for a

new course: AP African American

Studies. 60 schools across the U.S.

agreed to teach the course, which is

said to cover the contributions and

experiences of African Americans

in fields including the arts, political

science, geography, and more.

Some Republican politicians,

however, would prefer that students

stay ignorant on this oftenignored,

frequently-silenced part

of our nation’s history. Most






notably, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s press secretary

said the class is a “vehicle for a political agenda.”

Florida’s Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. called

the course “woke indoctrination masquerading as education.”

He added that the content “violated Florida law.”

This outrage from Republican leaders comes as no surprise,

considering that we live in a country where simply acknowledging

America’s history of slavery and the systemic

racism that still persists throughout the country is deemed


That’s right: being truthful is now labeled as being unpatriotic,

as though lies are what make us great.

In the last few weeks, we’ve seen actual legislative backlash

against the College Board: Gov. DeSantis has banned

the course from being taught in the state’s high schools,

claiming it violates state law – despite not naming any laws

in his response letter to the College Board — and that the

AP course “lacks educational value.”

DeSantis is one of the main GOP leaders heading efforts

to restrict the history taught in American high schools,

often excluding the experiences of queer people and people

of color. Just last year, DeSantis passed his infamous

“Don’t Say Gay” bill, which restricts talk of sexual orientation

or queer identity for Florida students in kindergarten

through third grade.

Heaven forbid students should learn about the experiences

of queer African-Americans, or feminist African-

Americans, or even the Black Lives Matter Movement -- all

topics that have provoked public anger among Republicans

for being mentioned within the AP African American Studies


To deny high school students – who are on the brink

of becoming full participants in this democracy as voters

– exposure to a fuller truth about our nation is a choice

to foster ignorance and hatred at the expense of growth

and understanding. Maybe, under some leaders, that’s the

objective after all.

Dear leaders of

our school,

We here at West have noticed

your constant efforts to make this

school a better place. On behalf

of all students, I want to voice my

support for the recently implemented

policies. In fact, I love them so

much that I’d like to share a few of

my own ideas.

Firstly, I think we should further

raise lunch prices. On the one

hand, I feel that the lunch catering

company is not getting

enough profit, but

on the other hand, if

the prices are raised,

students will be incentivized

to bring

lunch from home and

choose healthier food

options. I also think

that advisory should

be held four days a

week to allow students

to truly flourish.

Having advisory

4 days a week will give students

more relaxation time since most of

advisory time is spent daydreaming

out windows, pondering the meaning

of existence, and meditating on

the redemptive qualities of the next

three day weekend.

I would also like to suggest that

every student be required to wear

the “on time, every time” motto

sewn onto their shirts so that kids

are reminded to get to

I’m confident that the

kids who don’t

attend class on

time every time




currently are

simply forgetting

to do so, and that shoving

it in their face more would remedy

the issue.

As a student, I’ve noticed a lot

of suspicious activity in the bathrooms.

Therefore, I also think installing

surveillance cameras in the

bathrooms would prevent students

from vaping in them. However, students

violate school policy throughout

the building, so I also believe we

should invest in hallway

patrol robots to ensure

kids are on time, every

time. These robots would

significantly reduce hallway

incidents and would

be cheaper to maintain

than paying security

guards, although that last

point is irrelevant because

this school spends their

budget on whatever they

want anyways.

Lastly, in regards to

the more recent restrictions on social

media, I think the policy is too

flimsy. Instead, when students are

found on their phone in class, teachers

should look through their posts

and search history and then turn

them into the next day’s vocabulary

lesson. The humiliation aspect of

this will encourage kids to stay off

their devices.

I hope you seriously consider

these possible new policies and by

doing so, continue to improve the

school in innovative ways. Please get

back to me at your earliest convenience

and perhaps we can schedule

a meeting in your free time.




Girls basketball

dominates East

for senior night


sports editor

With an early season double-overtime win

over Highland Park fueling their confidence, the

girls basketball Warriors have posted some big

victories this season.

Going up against their rivals, the Maine East

Blue Demons, on Jan. 27 for senior night, the

Warriors won 54-19 by capitalizing on every inch

of the court. “My favorite game of the season

was when we destroyed Maine East on our senior

night. We played incredibly intelligent basketball

and amazing defense,” senior Ximena Acuna

said. They were able to play amazing defense and

run away with the game. They also were able to

play well rounded basketball and enjoy the game.

Coming off their victory over Maine East,

the Warriors trounced Niles North, 66-26, on

Feb. 3, which cemented a third place finish in

conference for the Warriors. This wasn’t the only

memorable victory of their season.

In their December game against Highland

Park, the Warriors pulled out a 63-57 win over

the Giants after a full game of play and two overtimes.

“My favorite game of the season was the

double overtime game against Highland Park. We

were extremely tired and had to work incredibly

hard to win that game. They are a good team so

it was also a pretty big deal to be able to beat

them,” senior Shannon Walsh said.

The Warriors notched another win over

Highland Park on Jan. 13. Despite the fact that

the girls team has had a solid season, there have

been many instances where people chose to

watch the boys basketball game over the girls

basketball games. “It does bother me that people

brush off girls’ basketball. We put in a lot of

work and try our very best to win games,” senior

Abby Sutton said. An example of this is when

the majority of Maine West students went to the

boys away game against Maine East on Jan. 27

for them to lose 87-67. This was the same day as

the girls senior night 54-19 win over Maine East.

The girls have a 9-17 record while being 6-4 in

their conference – which puts them ahead of the

boys in both categories..

The girls team didn’t let this affect their season.

They were able to have fun together and

truly connect. “It was really funny when the

freshman tried to draw portraits of the seniors

for senior night. It was also incredibly sweet and

tightened the bond of the team,” Walsh said.

Senior sets new

school records

at conference


After winning conference in

the 50 yard free and 100 yard

free, Blezien is headed to sectionals

this weekend, with his

eyes ahead to state.

February 15, 2023



Breaking two Maine West records, senior

Maxwell Blezien rewrote school history

when he became conference champion this

past Saturday in two events. Blezien swam

the 100 yard freestyle in 48.21 seconds, and

he posted a time of 21.82 seconds in the 50

yard freestyle -- the fastest times ever clocked

in Maine West history.

Being among the best-ever Warriors is

the result of a long grind of practices and

meets, stretching back years. “It took a lot

of work to get to the

point where I am now. I

am happy with how far

I have come,” Blezien

said. Next, “I have my

eyes set on state.”

To qualify for state,

“Max will have to drop

less than half a second

in the 50 and a second

in the 100. That may not

sound like much but, at a

championship like that, it

is the difference between

first and 10th place,”

coach Chris Trella said.

“I am confident that

Max will succeed because

he has worked so

hard now for four years,

and I know he’s not going

to hold anything

back for his senior year.

He’s got the heart of a


This weekend, at sectional championship,

the Warriors will go up against some of the

top teams in Illinois: “New Trier, Evanston,

and Glenbrook South will all be there,” Trella

said. It’s “easily the fastest sectional championship

in the state.”

While swimming is different from sports

like basketball or football in the aspect of

passing a ball or having hard contact, it is

still a very team-oriented sport. That chemistry

plays a huge role in the success of the

swimmers. “Our team is like a second family,”

junior Ben Huk said. “Being close makes

practices and meets more enjoyable but also

helps us compete harder.”

While the boys took a rare break last

Thursday to have their annual synchronized

swimming competition, having challenging

practices provides essential endurance needed

to compete with at the

elite level. “There is no

substitute for hard work,”

Trella said.

Even though the team

is challenged every day,

they know it is helping

get them better. “Practice

is hard and we don’t

get much rest when we

are doing our workouts.

While it isn’t fun a lot

of times, we know what

we’re doing can be the

difference between places

and times at our meets,”

Huk said.

There have been

many memorable moments

in the season, but

a top memory includes

the team’s second place

finish at the Maine East

Invitational and a hard

fought win against Leyden.

“The personal records and good placements

shows how far we’ve come and makes

us more motivated to continue our training,”

Huk said.


Blezien after breaking

the school 50 and

100 yard freestyle record.

Senior Max Blezien practices with the varsity team last Wednesday, one of his

last times in the pool before breaking two school records.

February 15, 2023 westerner/sports 11





Sophmore Maddison Story flips head

over heels.



asst. sports editor

Signing off for the year, the Maine West girls

gymnastics team finished their season at regionals

on Jan. 31. This also marked the end

of coach Amanda Harrison’s gymnastics coaching

career here at West.

One of the many successful athletes this season

was senior Matilda Mendoza. Throughout the

season, Mendoza was working hard even in tough

times to be able to finish off her senior season in

a positive way. Mendoza said, “In the practices before

[Maine West’s “Winter Wonderland” invite], I

felt very insecure about my abilities and skills so

I was very nervous about the big invite.” At the

Winter Wonderland invite she placed third overall

along with placing in all of her events. The focus

for this year’s team was improvement, and by the

end of the year each varsity athlete grew on average

Maine West’s 2023 gymnastics team

2.6 points.

This year, the team’s favorite traditions that got

lost due to COVID were brought back. Events like

their banquet at Club Casa and an overnight lock-in

at Maine West all started back up again this year.

“This year there were a lot more team bonding activities

that we brought back like our pasta parties

and the lock in. Everyone loves it. It’s fun for everyone

and unites the team,” Mendoza said.

Competitions weren’t all stressful; there were

plenty of fun moments,too. “I had the most fun at

the conference meet, and I didn’t have an asthma

attack after my floor routine,” sophomore Addison

Derusha said.

Harrison was West coach for 11 years and has

accomplished much in her time, with three appearances

at state, several athletic records broken by her

athletes, and being named CSL North head coach

of the year this year. Harrison said, “I have so many

Freshman Gisele Mansour does

a split leap in competition.

great memories of all these years. I have had huge

support from the athletic department which contributed

to my success.”

Throughout her years of coaching, particular

students stood apart. “One of the years I had a

girl returning who had made state the year prior

but then had to have knee surgery over the summer.

This gymnast was very frustrated as she didn’t

return with most of her skills,” Harrison said.“I

told her many times throughout the season to trust

me, if she wants to go back to state, I will get her

there but be patient. She ended up placing fifth at

sectionals on floor and made state for the second

year in a row. No Maine West gymnast has had back

to back appearances at state. The greatest memory

was not the going to state, but her perseverance to

go to state!”


Slamming success


sports writer and asst. sports editor

With a new girls team on the mat, too, the Maine West varsity wrestling

program ended this year with a winning conference record of 3-2, placing second

overall. Sophomore Luca Burgio and senior Jason Hidan were also named


The senior wrestlers set high expectations for themselves and the team. Hidan

went 3-2 this past weekend at IHSA 3A sectionals, ending his varsity career

with an overall record of 20-8 and CSL all-conference title.

With promising young talent, the freshman team won their conference,

with a 5-0 conference record this season. “Watching our athletes grow is probably

the most fulfilling thing,” coach Thomas Maddex said.

This year Maine West was able to form a girls wrestling team, who competed

at IHSA girls wrestling sectionals this past weekend. Five Warriors girls

wrestled on Friday, and three moved on to semifinals on Saturday: sophomore

Ava Reyes, sophomore Lily Garrett, and junior Ellie Garrett. Wrestling at Sectionals

on Friday “was a huge step forward in my career,” senior Katerina Conrad

said. “Most of us are beginners, so it forced me to work harder and push

more. It was a moment in history for us all to be there; we were making history


Senior night against Maine East was a big win for the Warrior girls, too, with

Conrad and Lily Garrett both notching victories. Conrad, who is working towards

wrestling in college, said, “My parents are both Maine West alumni, and

it was a dream come true for me to rock across the mat that night.”

For Conrad, her sectional appearance capped off a successful senior year

that included big wins at the Maine South Quad Invite. “I pinned my Taft girl,

I won by points for the Maine South girl, and I pinned the Plainfield Central

girl,” Conrad said, describing her path to victory that day. With her wins, Conrad

is upholding a long tradition of Warrior wrestlers in her family. “My biggest

motivator is my dad because I don’t want to let him down especially because

this sport has been in my family for years. I’m the first girl in the family to do

it, so it’s a big honor, and a big responsibility for me.”

12 sports/westerner

Bringing home the GOLD





(left to right) William Martin, Eamon

McHugh, Daniel Kryczka and Micaiah

Henderson won silver at the regional

snowshoe competition.

The Life Skills program also has a lot of

basketball to look forward to in the month of

February. National Honor Society and the Life

Skills program will be competing against each

other in a Friends Connect game on Feb. 16.

“I am really excited to shoot some hoops. I

have been practicing a lot in P.E. and shooting

threes,” Henderson said. This game is an opportunity

for students to come together and

collaborate on the court.

“We look forward to this fun event each

year. Our Friends Connect basketball team has

so much fun playing against peers and practicing

for our upcoming basketball tournament.

It is such a great day,” Life Skills teacher Laura

Pettyjohn said. “We can’t thank our NHS club

enough for hosting this event for our program.”




inning the state gold medal in the Special

Olympics snowshoe race, Maine West student

Daniel Kryczka dominated the competition

in the 50m division at the statewide games, held

in Galena Jan. 30 through Feb. 2. Kryczka qualified

for state after a top performance at regionals,

where other students in the Maine West Life

Skills program also earned medals in snowshoeing.

The Maine West team of Michaiah Henderson,

Eamon McHugh, William Martin and Kryczka

earned silver in the snowshoe relay race. The boys

also competed on their own: Kryczka placed first

in the 50m and sixth in the 100m; Martin placed

third in the 50m and first in the 100m; McHugh

placed fifth in the 50m and fourth in the 100m;

and Henderson placed second in 50m and third

in the 100m.

For the first time in three

years, Maine West will be hosting the

Christian Volkmann basketball tournament

again. This tournament is in honor

of a late student, Christian Volkmann, who

passed away 10 years ago. Volkmann always

looked forward to this event and loved to

participate in the basketball games, making

this tournament a special time for everyone

involved. Many schools in the area participate:

Maine South, Maine East, Maine East

Transition Program, Warren, Highland

Park, New Trier and Niles West/North.

Students on each team get to spend time

with friends from other schools while also

competing against one another.

Cheer soared to sectionals

February 15, 2023


Daniel Kryczka won the gold medal

at the Special Olympic snowshoe


“I am excited to take down the other teams.

We are going to dominate and eliminate them,”

McHugh said.

“We are so lucky to have Maine West peers

and staff that help volunteer for the day, without

them our tournament wouldn’t be such a

success. It truly is an amazing experience for

our program and our community,” Pettyjohn

said. If interested in volunteering, go to C107

or C109 to fill out a volunteer form, or contact

Laura Pettyjohn.



Varsity cheerleading won second in conference

on Jan. 12 at Glenbrook North.

Placing in the CSL conference competition

initiated the step forward to sectionals

on Jan.28 at Buffalo Grove. “Finishing second

in conference was a big deal because it’s

the first time I have ever placed at a competition

while being on varsity. It’s a really nice

feeling knowing how important the competition

was and how we have improved as a

team,” junior captain Hannah Good said.

Maine West cheerleading has only made

it to state one time, in 2008, but placing

second in a tough conference validated all

of their hard work this year, even if state

ultimately eluded them. “It is especially rewarding

to see all of the growth our athletes

make from football season to competition

season,” coach Mia Romano said.

With much on the line, the team has rituals

to help get them focused and motivated

before going onto the competition floor.

“We like to scream and let all of our nerves

out by playing music to hype ourselves up.

Anything to get our adrenaline going,” senior

captain Lina Aboebied said.

The environment this team created is

why they have had so much success this season.

“We always make sure to meet at school

a little early the day of a competition to

warm up and get ready together,” Romano

said. The family they have created is what

has fostered the success of their season.

“Cheer is a team sport that requires collaboration,

trust & diligence,” coach Jay

Funches said.


Senior captain Lina Aboebied performs

an arabesque with the support

of the stunt team.

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