Authors Posts by Asma Zaman

Asma Zaman

Asma is a junior at Downers South and is the co-news editor. She is also a part of speech team, student council, and key club.

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Each May, students all around the nation are united under one stressor: the AP exams. DGS is no different. The exams will run from May 4-15 and during this time nearly 570 students will be taking a variety of over 20 different tests. This year DGS has drastically changed their approach to the AP exams.

For the past few years the library has been used as the main place for majority of the testing. However, this year the administration has decided to move the exams to the Small Gym.

Assistant principal Vince Walsh-Rock explains why they decided to relocate the exams.

“What really caused us to change was because we have so many more tests. The advantage of that is [that] the library is free because that’s instructional space that kids need. The library just isn’t big enough for every single test. We will still use the classroom A100A classroom in the library, but between that and the gym that’s about it,”

With a $91 price tag on each test, many students, such as Junior Savannah Bell may feel an added pressure to perform well.

“I’m taking the AP Language and AP Psychology tests. I’m a little nervous because they cost a lot of money, but I’m pretty confident that I’ll do well since I am getting A’s in both of the classes,” Bell said

The multiple choice components of the exam are scored electronically, while the free response and essay portions are scored by trained readers every June. Students can expect to access their scores around July through College Board.

As the exams begin approaching students have a plethora of ways both inside and outside of school where they can prepare.

Many AP classes are offering after school review sessions for students who took the class first semester. AP Psychology teacher Paula Kenny explains the concept behind these sessions.

“We started our review sessions the second week of April with a session in the morning and after school. The review sessions use strategies that take into account how we learn or remember. We don’t reteach, but there [are] different kinds of review strategies,” Kenny said.

“Every chapter my students have to do the famous AP psych note cards for vocabulary because it’s like learning a new language. The notecards are all based on educational psychology research on how to learn. Even though kids don’t like them, I explain that this is based on how your brain learns the best,”

Aside from receiving college credit and saving money, the exams have numerous other benefits to them.

“Research exists that provides evidence that taking the AP Test in addition to taking the AP course increases performance in the commensurate college course,” Walsh-Rock explained.

Although seniors may be less than a month away from graduation, the AP exams are still one of the last, crucial tribulations of high school.

Senior Kevin Panthaplackal explains why the tests are important to seniors.

“AP tests are important for me because I want to get credit for all the hard work I put into the class this year. Also, I want to save my money and time in college,” Panthaplackel said

With the exams right around the corner Kenny has some last words of advice for students.

“Do not cram. There’s lots of evidence that tells us that when we cram, we’re not making connections, we’re just reading over it [and] it doesn’t go into our long term memory. It just goes into our short term memory for a couple of seconds and then it’s gone. We know that cramming doesn’t work because it’s very stressful and stress gets in the way of memory too,” Kenny said.

She recommends having enough time to prepare, getting good night’s sleep and eating healthy.

scantron b&w“Don’t eat something in high fat and sugar content because that’s going to gum up your brain. It interferes with the brain activity and it’s just not as efficient. This means that the impulses don’t travel so it slows you down and affects your concentration. So eat a decent breakfast, get some sleep, [and] walk in with a positive attitude.”

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This year DGS will be taking a new twist on its March festivities by supporting a new list of organizations, which include Locks of Love, Wigs for Kids and Beautiful Lengths by Pantene. As March rolls around the spirit for St. Baldricks continuously grows, but this year students will have more of a variety of organizations to look forward to.

Each of the organizations serves a different purpose, but all of them have the same goal. Locks of Love is a non-profit organization in which participants can cut their hair to donate to children without hair. Unlike St. Baldricks, the donated hair does not just go to children with cancer, but to children with any type of long-term diagnosis which causes hair loss. Similarly, Wigs for Kids also donates to children suffering from hair loss due to any sort of medical condition, while Beautiful Lengths by Pantene offers wigs exclusively to women suffering from hair loss due to cancer.

Student Athletics Director John Aldworth explains the benefits of having a variety of organizations.

“In the past we’ve had females who have decided to shave their head which I think has been incredibly brave and selfless. It came up last time we did this some people said, ‘You know what’d be nice? If people could donate their hair.’ It was just something we hadn’t done in the past and this would be a nice way to allow more people to do it if they didn’t want to shave it all off and still have a little bit of hair,” Aldworth said.

Social studies teacher Kim Pazdan believes that these different organizations will inspire more students to join the cause.

“I think it’s great this year that we are offering these new organizations with our St. Baldrick’s philanthropy. I do think more students this year will be motivated.  I have heard talk amongst many female students in particular that are looking forward to donating their hair and getting involved,” Pazdan said

Although students will be donating their hair to different organizations, the money raised will not be donated to the organizations, but instead will continue to support St. Baldrick’s.

“The beauty is that they can do both. They can raise money through St Baldricks even if they say, hey, I’m going to cut my hair and donate it. The money would go towards St Baldricks and then the hair gets donated the other organization [of their choice],” Aldworth said.

Junior Kristin Lea is is planning to cut her hair this year for Wigs for Kids. For her, cutting her hair stems from a deeper, personal impact that cancer has had on her life.

“I am giving my hair to people that for unusual circumstances who can’t grow their own. There have been a few cases of cancer in my family. I wish to support people who are going through these hard times and maybe even prevent it in the future,” Lea said. “If I reach my goal I am planning on cutting twelve inches. I decided to donate my hair because mine can grow back.”

Junior Bailee Krucek has donated her hair to Locks of Love in the past and describes her experience.

“I’ve danced with a girl since I was very little who had leukemia and lost her hair. I’ve always wanted to give back [even] if not [by] completely shaving my head.. 10 inches could make a difference in someone’s life.” Krucek said.

Junior Autumn Rasmussen will also be cutting her hair for Wigs for Kids during the assembly.

Junior Autumn Rasmussen will also be cutting her hair for Wigs for Kids during the assembly.

Barber scissors

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The DGS varsity wrestling team is no stranger to success. After a tumultuous season full of wins, losses and a second place trophy at Regionals the team is gearing up for another season with new coach, Sean Lovelace. Coach Lovelace explains how he’s feeling about the upcoming season.

“I couldn’t be more excited. We have a lot of talented and hardworking kids returning, and if we can continue to come together as a program, we have a chance to do something special,” Lovelace said.

The team  kicked off the season on Nov. 26 with a 44-26 win against Downers Grove North and although the team has seen a lot of success the wrestlers are still planning to ameliorate themselves for the upcoming season. Junior Patrick Azer has been wrestling for more than six years, but that isn’t preventing him trying to improve this year.

“As a team we have much room to improve and if everyone buys in this year I think that we can be really successful. The sport of wrestling isn’t just about winning and losing, it’s more than that and that’s what wrestling is all about; it’s a brotherhood,” Azer said.

For the wrestlers with improvement comes success in the future. Junior Ramarro Lamar has high hopes not just for himself, but also for his team.

“This season I have my goals set high in qualifying for the state tournament and having a spot somewhere on that podium. I also have a goal for my team to qualify and compete in the Team State tournament, and be the first to do so in DGS history.”

For Lamar, the sport also has a much more profound meaning to him. After a significant change in his life, Lamar found solace in the sport.

“When I first moved to Darien from Chicago, I was faced with the challenge of adapting to a different environment and finding my way to be successful. Wrestling opened an ample amount of opportunities for me and allowed me to adjust just fine.” Lamar said

As the team prepares to fight this season head on Coach Greg Maloney has an optimistic outlook for his team.

“We are going to continue working hard, believing in ourselves and each other, and remaining dedicated to becoming mentally strong, technically strong, physically strong, and community strong.”wrestling