Monthly Archives: March 2015

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Jackie Robinson West Cartoon

In 2014, a Chicago baseball team actually won a championship — not the White Sox or Cubs — but Jackie Robinson West; they claimed the Little League World Series (LLWS) title. Unfortunately, last year’s Little League national champions have been recently stripped of their title after Little League International (LLI) held an investigation and found that the team had submitted a falsified boundary map. As a result, LLI found the team guilty of using players who lived outside the team’s original boundaries.
These kids have been praised for their achievement last July, from parading on a double-decker bus through the city they play for, to receiving front row seats at the Major League Baseball Worlds Series and even meeting President Barack Obama. After basking in the limelight of championship honors, this team has been hit with the harsh reality of being labeled as “cheaters.” To label these kids as cheaters for something they didn’t have total control over is cruel, and taking their title away isn’t completely justified to their crime. Therefore, Jackie Robinson West should have their LLWS title reinstated — and don’t call me crazy yet.

The outcome of this entire situation rooted from the adults’ mistakes and has the kids of the team taking all of the heat. Where’s the justice in that? There has been past cases of the Little League handling situations that caused unnecessary collateral damage.

For instance, in 1975, following Taiwan’s fourth consecutive championship in 1974, Little League banned foreign teams from participating in the LLWS. They banned them while the league worked to strengthen rules against year-round practices and out-of-district players. To ban the entire rest of the world besides the USA from being able to compete in the league can’t be taken lightly, especially since the purpose behind it revolves around mistakes made by the league itself.

It just simply does not make sense to punish someone for something they weren’t responsible for. In this current case, the adults who manage the JRW are the ones who deserve the consequences for their own actions. The kids may have known that they did not live within the team’s original boundaries, yet it was the decision of the coaches whether or not to recruit players and submit their altered boundary map. Would a 12 year-old kid really be concerned about “residency boundaries” when they get invited to a team that would have a chance to win the LLWS?

Then there comes a question being brought into play: is it really cheating? If you think about it, the only thing that the players did wrong was live on the other side of town. This brings us to the issue in Major League Baseball with Barry Bonds. Bonds was a former professional baseball player who currently holds the all-time record for home runs (762). In 2003, Bonds was investigated for steroid abuse and was eventually found guilty. You would think that the league would take away his home run accolade — and you thought wrong. Bonds was sentenced a pathetic 30 days of home confinement. Compared to the punishment for JRW, it just doesn’t make sense.

The members of the team didn’t use illegal PEDs to enhance their skills, nor were they violating the age requirements. There’s really no unfair advantage given to them just by picking up kids beyond their borders. Yes, you can say that they have more access to more skilled players, but in the end, they are just normal kids who want to play baseball.

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    The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been showcasing the best performers for over 80 years, from dancers and singers to traveling broadway acts and marching bands. This year, one such performer is a familiar face to DGS– junior Tyler Jankowski.

    Last May, Jankowski was chosen as one of two students from Illinois to play in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the Macy’s Great American Marching Band. He will be performing with bass drum two, which is classified as the second smallest drum in the line-up.

   Although this opportunity is a significant achievement, it was not an obvious decision for Jankowski to apply.

“Last December we got a Christmas card from a family friend and their daughter made it [last year] so they were trying to convince me to do it for the upcoming year, so I was on the borderline at that moment,” Jankowski said. “I finally made a decision in February to try out and the reason was: there is nothing to loose it is just good practice at the least.”

The application process required Jankowski to stay fairly dedicated. He completed the typical written statement, but then had to make a video of himself demonstrating different skills: marching technique, foot timing, and rudiments, or playing patterns, on his drum. After applying, Jankowski had plenty of nerves and equal support for the news.

    “During the time between my audition and the day I found out I was very anxious about the result,” Jankowski said. “It was mostly the people who got me through the whole process. My parents being the first to know and the most supportive.”

Sydney Davis, senior drumline section leader and friend of Jankowski, has seen his growth and dedication to music. After finding out Jankowski’s achievement, she believed it was a no-brainer that he was given this opportunity.

“I knew that when Tyler told me he was applying for the spot in the parade that he’d have a great chance, and when the great news came in that he’d gotten a spot, I was really proud of him,” Davis said. “Tyler’s put a lot of work into music over the years and he’s very humble about his skill level, so I think that it’s great that he’s going to be recognized for his talents in such an awesome way because he most definitely deserves it.”

Band director Greg Hensel has also watched Tyler develop as a musician in the years he’s been teaching. He notes the self-accountability that separates the average musician from a player like Jankowski.

    “I have no doubt that there was a lot of practice involved when it came to preparing this, but it was probably not out of the ordinary for in to put in extra time outside of band,” Hensel said. “He sought out the process and worked on his own time to audition and prepare, which not many high school musicians can consider, or even think about accomplishing. I think this honor was well earned by Tyler and his dedication to music.”

    Hensel was not the only one to notice Tyler’s dedication, as his percussion instructor Dwayne Rawl also sees the work he puts in.

“Tyler is a great player. He knows what he’s doing, and even when he doesn’t, he works through it until he does. There isn’t a challenge he can’t face,” Rawl said.

Jankowski will be performing on Thanksgiving day, but that will not be the only moment he gets to experience from this opportunity.

“The whole band will be playing “Locked out of heaven” by Bruno Mars and “Shake it off” by Taylor Swift. While I am out there, I am going to be attending a leadership camp, sightseeing, marching the 2.5 miles, and meeting a whole lot of new people from all around the country,” said Jankowski.

Watch NBC on Thanksgiving day, Nov. 27, to catch a glimpse of the Macy’s Parade and the Macy’s Great American Marching Band.



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water polo

Senior Luke Gentile prepares for a pass
in an after-school water polo practice.

A new year, a whole new water game.
Water polo has made it’s debut here at
DGS, and is getting more recognition for
its intense physical and mental requirements
to play the sport.
Water polo is a sport that involves
being aware of what’s around you and
knowing who’s around you. The game
is a mixture of basketball and soccer,
which makes for quite a unique sport to
The playing team consists of six field
players and a goalie. After one of the
teams score they can switch out players
during their two timeouts or between
periods. There are many more rules
that make this sport distinct, but the
most noticeable difference is that it is
played in the water.
Senior Saule Gabrenaite talks about
how water polo is different to her than
other sports due to it’s difficulty.
“Water polo really is a tough sport
because it works your entire body at
any given time, considering you have to
tread and coordinate your movements
simultaneously. It’s just as much a mental
game as it is physical,” Gabrenaite
Pool Manager Frank Kuchta also
talked about how water polo is an uncommon
because sport due to the game
is played in the water.
“You have to learn how to catch with
your throwing hand and how to throw
without being able to stand and anchor
your footing,” Kuchta said.
The amount of both physical and
mental preparation for the sport gives a
slight challenge for the water polo club
being so new this year. The members
are still learning about competitive
water polo, but are finding it to be a
positive educational experience.
Senior Luke Gentile talks about how
the past and present practices have
evolved for him and his team.
“I would say that the sport is very easily
accessible, because last year no one
had any experience (outside of gym) at
the beginning, but we all improved to be
on the competitive level,” Gentile said.
As water polo players skills continue
to grow, so does the recognition it gets
throughout the school. All signs seem to
show that water polo will continue to be
a club at DGS.

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DGS is advancing 22 students to state for the business club DECA.


Tiffany Leung, president of DGS DECA chapter shares some of the club’s success she has been a part of this year so far.


“DECA is a phenomenal organization that has a place for everyone. This year, we competed at our Sectional Competition and had 22 students place in the top 10 in their event. Out of those 22, 12 students placed top 4. On March 12-14, we will be competing at our State competition,” Leung said.


DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) is a club open to all students at DGS who are interested in a future in the business field. It has over 70 members at DGS and is also composed of about 250,000 student members across the nation.


They compete in a number of academic and leadership activities such as marketing, finance, hospitality and tourism and business administration which strengthens their knowledge, leadership, and communication in the business world.



Senior Diana Masolak describes what students in DECA is all about.


“We choose an event having to do with business like Marketing, Restaurant Service Management, Finance, etc. and we compete with other students from schools at Sectionals… Basically, you do real-world things that take place in the business world,” said Masolak.


Students who did not place in the top 10 had the option to write a 30 page essay that deals with the purpose of business which would then qualify them for state.


This year, DECA qualified 35 students for State. Teacher and DECA coach Paul Krick explains the team’s goals for State.


“We hope to qualify many for National [completion] in Orlando.  At DECA Nationals there will be over 12,000 students competing,” Krick said.


Senior Peter Funk placed 7th at sectionals in the category Food Marketing and hopes to place better at State. Funk explains how DECA will help him later on in life.


“DECA Allows me to see possible career fields that I would have not known existed. It also allows me to practice professionalism in a actual work environment that I will use in the future,” Funk said.

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About one in five people in the United States have at least one tattoo on their body. In today’s society it has become a norm, yet many of tattooed and pierced Americans still find themselves being discriminated against. Judging someone solely off of how he/she looks is something that I do not agree with at all.


The job industry has made it hard for those who have tattoos and piercings to get a job. Even though not all workplaces discriminate against those who have tattoos, many businesses have made it a rule that tattoos must be covered up and piercings must be taken out.


When I got my first job I was forced to cover up my tattoos unwillingly. It was one of the rules that I had to follow in order to get a paycheck. On my job interview I had them covered up because I felt like I would be automatically stereotyped.

Senior Chody Vanlenzuela believes that getting a tattoo would tremendously affect her ability to get a job.


“I feel like jobs do discriminate against people with tattoos, because they may not see them as professional,” Valenzuela said. “Businesses do this especially because they expect their employees to look a certain way.”


But why would someone go through all this trouble just to get a tattoo? Many ask this question because they do not fully understand that tattoos may hold personal meanings behind them.


English teacher Allison Helms shares her opinion on tattoos.


“For me they [tattoos] are more of an artistic expression,” Helms said. “…A lot of tattoos are about recreating something emotional.”


The reason why I got a tattoo was because it was my way of showing my personality. I’m a creative person who enjoys all forms of artistic expressions. Having a tattoo allows me to express my creativity to others around me.


But, I didn’t realize getting a tattoo would automatically stigmatize me as rebellious. Well I wouldn’t call myself a rebel personally, considering the fact that I do have a tattoo; I don’t know if anyone would consider staying in on a Friday night and reading a good book as rebellious.


Senior Rae Kovarsky believes that tattoos should be allowed if they are not disturbing the workplace.


“If they don’t interfere with your work, then that’s OK. They should be allowed because it is a freedom of expression,” Kovarsky said.


Body modification has been around for decades upon decades, but it still has some stigmas against it. In the minds of some it is considered a way of showing personality, in the minds of others its considered being deviant.


Many teenagers plan to get tattoos and piercing in the near future, which means that jobs will encounter people just like me. With this in mind, many people need to more understanding and less judgmental.

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plar 2

The bitter cold thats going around this year hasn’t affected the fundraiser that uses freezing water to its advantage. Special Olympics Illinois holds its annual Polar Plunge  different locations around Illinois.

The Polar Plunge is when participants run into a shallow body of freezing water, and have the option of sitting in it, going knee deep or going completely under. The participants that are willing to take on the plunge must raise a minimum of $75.

The proceeds raised go to Special Olympics Illinois. The donations make it possible for special needs students to go out and play sports that they couldn’t in school. DGS multi-needs teacher Kevin Ahrens talks about the importance of raising money for Special Olympics Illinois.

“Special Olympics Illinois and Special Olympics USA, have swimming and soccer, bocce, winter event, cross country skiing and all these different things… it gives the opportunity to all these students to go and be involved and do different things outside of school, which is a time where you get to interact with your peers and make friends and hang out,” Ahrens said.

The Polar Plunge has been introduced at DGS, but it has not been over advertised.

PE/Health teacher Lyndsie Long talks about why students at DGS should participate in raising money and going on freezing plunge.

“Students should get involved because it is for such a good cause. Just like any fundraiser, it is being done for a good reason. Students should take advantage of helping others through a fundraiser…even if it is not the Polar Plunge,” Long said.

Junior Clarissa Moreno talks about how exciting participating in the plunge would be.

“I think it’s a great way to raise money, and I think it’s a fun experience for you and your friends,” Moreno said.

Special Olympics Illinois gives people a choice to plunge or not to plunge. Students at DGS can still participate in helping Special Olympics by simply raising money for the cause by asking around, fundraising, being a monthly donor or by helping students who want to plunge but can’t raise the money; for more information you can go on

On the Special Olympics website there are stories on some of the youth that are participating in the games, which are made possible because of the donations. The Polar Plunge is an interesting way to support the Special Olympics, it would be “Freezin’ for a reason.”

In case you couldn’t tell from the dozens of posters around the school and the thousands of tweets from students, DGS decided to forgo the typical Winter Dance this year and replace it with the more casual and relaxed Southfest. The hype for this event was enormous, with all the announcements, advertisements, emails and pictures, it seemed like there was no way to escape from having this event shoved in your face.

Despite the possibly overbearing publicity, I think that with more attendance and a slightly tweaked approach, this event has the potential to be something very cool.

Walking into the fieldhouse, the atmosphere was kind of like a wanna-be club. There was a huge glowing archway that you had to walk under, a DJ accompanied by the usual sporadic and blinding multicolored lights and even a VIP section separated from the rest by a velvet rope. Along with the typical dancing, there was also an inflatable “Wipeout” type game, enough food to feed an army, a photo booth, bags and even Wii games.

In the beginning it was pretty awkward; I didn’t exactly know what to do with myself. There weren’t a lot of people dancing until around halfway through the event, and from what I saw, a lot of people spent a good chunk of time just standing around and talking until they got more comfortable.

I think one of the main reasons it felt kind of awkward was the lack of attendance. Due to the fact that this event was held in the fieldhouse, and that the attendance was lower than anticipated, there was a ton of empty space. If there were more people in attendance, this event would have been way more fun; it would have had that nice there-are-so-many-people-here-I-can’t-move-and-everything-smells-like-sweat vibe that we high schoolers love.

Southfest was definitely different from any school dance I had ever been to–and that was the point. Social Studies Department Chair Christopher Esposito gives us some insight on why the Winter Dance was cancelled in the first place.

“We track how many students come to the dances, and over the last six or seven years we went from a dance, a turnabout, that had 1,200 people down to last year–under 700,” Esposito said. “So what the students were telling us from attendance was that they didn’t want the event anymore….We tried to re-imagine it….Personally, I think this is the best overall event we have ever put on for the students of DGS, hands down.”

From what I can tell, the feelings about this new event were split down the middle. Junior Brandon McDaniels shares how he thinks Southfest missed the mark.

“There was a lot of hype building up to it over the past couple weeks, so I kind of expected it to be a really big thing that everyone would have been at, but it just wasn’t. However, it did begin to pick up a little as it went on, but it still didn’t live up to its hype, or to my expectations,” McDaniels said.

On the other end of the spectrum, freshman Lindsey Herrmann had nothing but good things to say about the event.

“I [had] a really good time, and [I would definitely come again next year]…there are a lot of different activities and things to do,” Herrmann said.

Junior Andrew Steichen felt that his expectations were blown out of the water.  “It exceeded my expectations indefinitely….I really enjoyed everything about Southfest. There [were] a handful of [other] options this time around besides the dance, and I think everyone found something for them,” Steichen said. “Would I go again next year? For sure.”

I went to Southfest banking on leaving after 45 minutes, and 95% of the reason I attended was because it was free. Since my expectations were set pretty low, I ended up being surprised by having a decent time.

The thing that threw me off the most, however, was the dress code-or lack thereof. The only guidelines for dress was that you had to wear black, there were no specifics on formality. For me, and many other girls, this was a fashion nightmare. Most people ended up wearing nicer clothing, but in the days leading up to Southfest, there were definitely a lot of frantic “OMG what are you wearing?!?” texts flying around.

Although I’m sure a lot of students enjoyed the freedom of being able to come casually, I would have liked it more if there was an established dress code. I’m sure the girl in a $200 dress and six inch heels felt out of place hanging out with people in leggings and tank tops decked out with black war paint.

Science teacher Jennifer Wolf answers the question that we have all been wondering: Will we have Southfest again next year?

“I think we’ll have to wait and see what student response it to this…it really depends on what the students want, but I wouldn’t rule it out,” Wolf said.

Overall, I think Southfest is a really different and fun idea, and with more attendance and a few small adjustments, it could be the event that students wait for all year.

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Alongside North Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago lies the new Chicago Blackhawks store. Originally, the store was ground level and stocked with a scarce amount of merchandise, with most of the apparel in the store designed for men. Since the 2010 Stanley Cup win, getting around the store had become a major challenge because people wanted to support one of the most prominent teams in the National Hockey League. It was time for a change.

On Oct. 10 2014, the Chicago Blackhawks introduced a new and improved store to the city of Chicago. The new Blackhawks store now occupies two levels opposed to the old ground level storefront.

When walking into the new store, there is a glass and metal staircase painted with the Blackhawks colors. Next to the staircase is an elevator, which is a nice feature for those who are either unable or just too lazy to tackle the entry staircase.

Steve Kramer, member of the Chicago Blackhawks Alumni Association, enjoys the renovation.

“The new store is much better. There is more inventory to choose from and it’s brighter and easier to get around,” Kramer said. “It is more interactive and high tech as well. It’s just a fun store to shop in.”

The second level of the store is decked out in a white marble floor, which gives the store a clean and open look. The second level is where all the merchandise is displayed. This level also has windows overlooking the city and river, allowing shoppers to have plenty of light throughout the store.

Junior Patrick O’Connor has seen both the old Blackhawks Store and the renovated store; O’Connor enjoys the new one much more.

“I like it because of the Blackhawks logo on the stairs and all the jerseys they have to offer. I also like that they made the store bigger because the old one was too small,” O’Connor said.

The Chicago Blackhawks are not only winning on the ice, but now off the ice, as their new store attracts all the fans.

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Binge watching is the act of watching a whole season of a TV show from beginning to end in a quick succession. Since Netflix is accessible to so many, the trend of binge watching has reached a peak and is becoming a serious addiction to many people in America.

According to Digital Marketing Ramblings, 61% of people who have Netflix binge watch every few weeks. Has this trend become a part of DGS students and teachers lifestyle?

English teacher Zack Kuhn binge watches shows like “Breaking Bad,” “The Wire” and “Deadliest Catch.” The only show he regrets watching for five seconds was “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“If you have enough time to binge watch a show, it’s a glorious experience. I recommend lots of junk food,” Kuhn said.

Sophomore Jori Tyler is someone who enjoys watching Netflix, but has some regrets regarding binge watching shows.

“Only some nights [I regret binge watching, like] when I didn’t get all my homework done and stayed up too late,” Tyler said.

Tyler has binge watched seasons of “One Tree Hill” and “Glee” and she is now onto watching “The Vampire Diaries.”

“It took me a month and a half to get through 187 episodes of ‘One Tree Hill’,” Tyler said.

“The most recent findings on binge-watching associated people who binge on television with depression, loneliness and an inability to control their behavior, but no one is actually diagnosing frequent watchers with depression,” According to National Public Radio (NPR).

Social Studies teacher Elaine Marinakos watches shows like “The Walking Dead” and “Blacklist.” Marinakos also described how a lot of teachers watch Netflix because it helps them keep up with their favorite shows.

“Most of the year I have very little time to indulge in watching much of any television.  Furthermore my kids usually monopolize whatever little TV time there is.  So during school breaks and especially summer break, I am able to catch up on shows and TV that colleagues and friends recommend or tell me they love,” Marinakos said.

Senior Nick Kersting claims to always binge watch TV shows on Netflix. Shows that he enjoys watching include “Marco Polo,” “Friends,” “Archer” and “Criminal Minds”. Kersting doesn’t see binge watching as a wasteful time or having less time for homework or other school activities.

“Not at all, I don’t regret it,” Kersting said. “I have nothing better to do at the time.”

At the end of the show, it all comes down to the person with the remote control in their hand to stay and watch the next episode or to break free from the screen.


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The DGS speech team placed third at State overall with eight individual qualifiers and four State finalists and three qualifiers in two events. The team headed down to Peoria on Feb. 20-22 to compete in the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) State competition.

DGS senior Zachary Kennedy was the double State champion in Original Oratory and Humorous Duet Acting. For him, becoming State champion was something he had wanted to accomplish to end his last year of speech.

“I wanted to be State champion…. This year I vowed I would go down in history as a State champion,” Kennedy said. “But not only that, I did something that is almost unheard of: I was double State champion….

This is the best possible way I could imagine to end my four year speech career.”

Not only did he accomplish his personal goal, but the team’s goal as well. Senior Jessica Ley, who placed sixth at State in Radio Speaking and Prose Reading, talks about what the speech team’s goal was and how they achieved it.

“Overall though, as seniors especially, we just wanted to have fun…. this year we acted much more as a unit which pushed us to be successful not only for ourselves, but also for those who have worked so hard to help us get to where we are today,” Ley said.

“As a team we had a goal of finishing in the top three at State, which in the world of speech is a huge deal. I am proud to say that my friends and I did just that and took home third place,” Kennedy said.

Assistent head coach Christopher Blum talks about how he felt the season went and what he plans for next year.

“I was extremely proud of all the kids and coaches. There are a lot of hours that go into coaching for the IHSA series and their hard work and dedication reflect that in their success,” Blum said. Our plans are to continue to educate and cultivate execellence in public speaking, acting, debate and interpretaion.”