Authors Posts by Emily Lorenz

Emily Lorenz

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Leaving high school to join the United States Military is something that few choose to do. Some choose to do it to fight for their country, for a fresh start and to show how much they can accomplish by moving up the ranks through a line of the military.

For senior Tony Huerta, the decision to join the US Marine Corps has been something that he’s had with him for four years.

“I’ve had the decision made [in]8th grade to join the Marine Corps because of the hard work you need to go through to earn the title,” Huerta said.

Looking forward to the upcoming journey, Huerta feels that the impact and the skills that he will learn in the Marines will help him later in life with anything he tries to pursue.

“The Marine[s] will help me in my future by giving me strong core values like leadership [skills] and working as a team, important traits I can apply to almost anything in life,” Huerta said.

For Huerta, the hardest part about being gone for months at a time will be the training that each Marine must go through in the initial stages of learning how everything works.

“The most difficult part about joining the Marine Corps is the training…we train to be prepared for boot camp and [to] become Marines, so it needs to be intense. As it is, we also learn a lot of knowledge [about certain topics],” Huerta said.

Huerta leaves for boot camp the first week of August, a few months after he graduates high school. He has support from his family and friends and is grateful for the support system that they have provided him with.

“It’s going to be really hard [on my] mom and girlfriend because I’ll be gone for three months…overall they think that it is a good choice for me,” Huerta said. “I’m lucky to have the people that are close to me to be very supportive of my decision.”

 

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saraNEWS BRIEF – Senior Sara Guagliardo attended the IHSA state competition for journalistic writing last weekend on the campus of Eastern Illinois University. She placed fourth out of the 20 competitors in her headline writing competition.

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Prom is a magical time for high school seniors across the country. It is a time to end high school with a bang and start a whole new chapter in your life. But why spend so much money on it?

Prom is a once in a lifetime experience, but many girls take it to a whole other level. In 2014 CNN reported that the average amount spent on a prom experience was $978. That’s a down payment on a used car.

I understand that this is a once in a lifetime type of experience, but is it really worth that much money? Back in the 90s, prom was a big deal to students just like it is today, the only difference is how many details are looked at.

Librarian Kim Pakowski remembers back to her prom in 1991 here at DGS. Besides the date of prom, the overall experience is the same now as it was back then. The expectation for prom is something that has also stayed constant through the years. Pakowski feels what you choose to believe is what makes the night a hit or miss.

“I think like anything, there’s always the potential that the reality isn’t as great as what your expectations were…you’re spending a lot of money from what I understand. I think things are much more expensive now than what they were back when I was a student, so I think there’s a huge investment in one night. If you go into thinking that this is going to be the best night of your life, then there’s always that chance for disappointment,” Pakowski said. “I think if you go into it realistically as an opportunity to dress up and be with your friends and have a good time and try and avoid any negativity, it can really be a fantastic night, but it’s not the end. There’s so much more, and there’s so much after that there still is a lot to look forward to in high school. I think you have to keep it realistic.”
Prom is something that will last forever in ones memory There is no need to spend money like crazy in order to preserve it. Whether you spend $200 or $1,000 on everything you think you need for prom, a memory can never be bought.

Many seniors have been preparing for prom since the beginning of 2015 in order to get every detail right or until perfection. Something as big as prom has many details to go through and decisions to make regarding what you and your group want to do. As understandable as that is, do you really need four or five months to make sure one dance is the best ever?

Senior Tiffany Nguyen has been one of many high school senior students throughout the school preparing in advance for prom.
“I have been preparing for prom since January only because…I knew I had to alter my dress more than two times,” Nguyen said. “I’m looking most forward to getting together with the rest of the seniors that I never knew were seniors before, and prom pictures, but mostly after prom.”

Understandably, the most exciting part for many is what students choose to do after prom. Some are renting houses with friends to stay the night, some plan to go downtown and enjoy the day after. That is something I understand spending more money on, a day that you and your friends can spend together, but to spend nearly $1,000 on a dress, transportation and flowers that will be dead in a week for a five hour event, I do not.

Seniors should remember not to worry so much about how they want the night to be and focus on what it actually is. Prom is meant to be a time to say a goodbye to your peers that you’ve been together with for four years, not a time to spend money frivolously. Prom is something I believe you have to live in the moment for. There is so much more to remember from your four years of high school than just prom.

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As the DGS boys swim team prepares for sectionals and State, the scissors and razors come out of the drawer to cut their hair in different and creative ways. This is a way for the team to bond and to get ready for State when they would have to shave their heads to improve their scores.

The team members shave unusual designs such as glasses on the back of their heads, mohawks and hair styled after Martin Luther. The team decides what they’re going to do and then get together to do the designs and patterns.

The reasoning for shaving their heads for meets is that it makes them go faster. This is known as swimmers drag, which is when they have all their hair on their bodies til the last minute. When they shave it all off, it improves their overall time.

Senior Thomas O’Hern explains that the reason the shave their heads is a great feeling to experience when first getting in the water.

“Shaving our heads every year is something we do for conference at the end of the year, it’s something [that] makes us swim faster…Although when you jump in the water for the first time after shaving your head, it’s a feeling that gives you a huge adrenaline rush and gives you a huge boost,” O’Hern said.

The tradition is not centered around DGS exclusively and is done by schools all over the country. Senior Kiehl Carlquist thinks that this traditions will continue to live on at DGS regardless if other schools continue to do it or not.

“Currently I think we are the only team in our conference that shaves as a team but for DGS alone, we have been doing this tradition for an extremely long time, and it will not stop,” Carlquist said.

Coach Bryan Szweda feels that this is a great way for the team to bond before their big meet.

“Part of it is most of the team shaves their head…for their end of the year swim meet so since they’re going to be shaving it anyway, it’s just kind of a fun way to bond as a team and do some fun stuff,” Szweda said.

With all that they do to prepare for their season, the hair doesn’t seem as big of a deal. Senior Andrew Chmela said that it helps them prepare for what is to come.

“There are very high expectations for conference, sectionals, and State for our team,” Chmela said. “I can’t wait to see it all play out.”

ISHA Sectionals for boys swimming is scheduled to be on February 21st at York Community High School.

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Throughout any given winter in the mid-west, schools have been known to cancel classes for freezing temperatures or excessive amounts of snow. Closing a school is something that many school districts fear doing because it’s unpredictable in how they will affect the students and their learning and what the overall result will be.

Having too many snow days can put students behind in materials that they need in order to do well in school. Making up days with all the material that needs to be learned is something many fear will become a problem. By having students do work at home it makes it so that they won’t be as far behind due to the snow days where no learning taking places.

According to CNN.com schools on the east coast have been having students complete school work online whenever a cancellation of school occurs. This has been put into place so that they do not have to make up those days at the end of the year.

For DGS teachers and students this could be something in the near future. Math teacher Kara Painter feels that the carrying out of online classes is something that would be hard for students to accomplish with few rewards in the end.

“I think having online classes would be very difficult to coordinate. Not all students have online access at home and some teachers would have a hard time preparing lessons at home in order to present them to students. Preparing an online class would be very time consuming for teachers and the outcome would probably not be quite as successful as a class at school,” Painter said.

Senior Katrina Nicdao thinks that having material online would make the learning process more productive and that students would learn to accept having to do school work on days off.

“Having class on a snow day would just be a regular school day so it might help the learning process because it would be continuous learning instead of random days off between lessons. If we had classes while having a snow day, students would make a big deal in the beginning but then just accept it towards the end of the day,” Nicdao said.

Senior Austin Alvarado feels that making up work online during cancellation days is unnecessary due to the fact that the amount of work being missed is minimal.

“I don’t see a point considering you don’t miss too much material over the course of one or two snow days…Snow days are all [students] hope for [in order] to get us through the winter,” Alvarado said.

Freshmen, sophomores, juniors and teachers would have to make up the days while the seniors do not due to graduation being on a set day. Junior Rachel Buonauro feels that if she were given work to do on a day off she would not take the time to do it.

“I would not [do work online] because I would take the time to hang out with friends or relax rather than do the material. I would procrastinate and not get the material done in time for class the next day,” Buonauro said.

Science teacher Kathleen Troyer feels that this is a possibility for DGS teachers and students in the near future.

“With our new school initiative of going one to one, I think online classes may become a realistic option in the future.  While students may be resistance to having school during a snow day/cold day, they may appreciate that option come June when they have to make those days up,” Troyer said. “As we continue to evolve and incorporate technology into the classroom, teachers and students will probably pilot new programs and ideas, maybe having an online snow/cold class will be one.”

For now, students continue to enjoy staying warm indoors while classes are canceled for snow days. The idea of online classes may be possible in the future for areas like Downers Grove. As winters get colder and snow becomes more unpredictable, schools stay cautious and aware of what options they have to keep their students on track for the school year.

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By Cece Divis

Some people have a hard time adjusting to changes that are made in their life, especially when immigrating to a new country. Food is one of the major changes from country to country.

 Junior Buchoy Boutros was born in Italy and came to America when he was 14 years old; he had to learn how to adjust and accept new cultural norms.

 With the transition from Italy, many things changed for him, including the food choices.

 “There are many differences in the food in Italy compared to the food here in America. In Italy mostly everything is homemade and cooked fresh. Usually families grow their own ingredients for cooking,” Boutros said.

 Although he has been introduced to American food there are a few things that have bothered him.

 “The food here which is usually called Italian is not Italian at all, but Americans like to call it that so it seems fancy. It’s usually just store processed food to make the person feel like they are getting the ‘Italian experience’ when really they aren’t getting anything but a cheap copy of it,” Boutros said.

 Boutros describes the personalization of true Italian food, and explains how difficult it is to imitate.

 “There isn’t really a recipe for cooking, most of the time Italian’s enjoy adding random ingredients as they cook,” Boutros said.

 Boutros has been in America for three years now, but still prefers some aspects of his home country over America.

 “I miss Italy a lot…I prefer it much more over America. The foods are so fresh, and I enjoy the small outdoor cafes that are similar to the American Starbucks, but [they] sell more than just coffee,” Boutros said.

 At times it becomes difficult and he wishes he could go back to native country.

 “The transition was hard and I often wish to go back,” Boutros said. “I do [go back] during the summer, but overall I’d rather stay there. But I do enjoy Olive garden.”

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Transitioning from any country to America can be a daunting task for anyone who wishes to live here. The differences from food to the schooling system to our social interactions and the celebration of holidays can be very different.

 Spanish teacher Enrique Garcia, came from Puerto Rico when he was seven years old and had to make the change from his native country to here.

 “The biggest differences between the United States and Puerto Rico would include, in my opinion, [the] weather, food, customs, music, clothing and job opportunities,” Garcia said.

 Even with all the differences between the two countries the small similarities are what makes living in American feel not as terrifying.

 “The similarities include technology, education and family values,” Garcia said.

 Missing home once you have come to the U.S. can be a challenge for anyone that moves to a new place. It makes it hard to leave what someone is accustomed to and what they know for all new experiences. However it is possible that when someone moves to the U.S. they like it more than their native country.

 “I can’t say I miss anything about Puerto Rico as my family and I chat via Skype, Facebook, and cell as often as necessary. Therefore, hard to say I miss any one thing about the island as a whole,” Garcia said. “I will admit, I do miss the sunshine…that is the only thing I miss about not being on the island.”

 The major transitions between the countries are also something that many would be frightened of, but can be something that has a large reward.

“People who are hardworking and ambitious make anything of their [dreams] come true,” Garcia said. “One has to the love [the] freedom and numerous opportunities available in every field, and this country more than provides that.”

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Many movies that are made today have a purpose–teaching a life lesson or shedding new light on a situation. They can be feel good movies, comedies, dramas or a combination. “Before I Disappear” does not follow the norm of having one or two main genres, it instead falls into four or five genres.

 “Before I Disappear” is based on the short film “Curfew” that came out in 2012 and had been entered in countless film festivals and had won 57 awards from those film festivals. Shawn Christensen also won an Oscar for Best Short Film in 2013 for “Curfew” which is what prompted him to make it into a 93 minute movie.

 The movie starts out with the main character Richie, played by the writer and director Shawn Christensen, giving us a view of his life, which feels sad and pathetic to viewers.

 Richie is the type of character that if you were to see him in real life you would feel sorry for him and would want to give him a shower and a home cooked meal. He is a janitor at a dirty club that a biker gang wouldn’t be caught at. It takes you through this horrible night club where he finds a dead girl who died of a heroin overdose. From this point on, the movie just gets more depressing and confusing.

 The next scene is him in a bathtub with water up to his shoulders that is tinted red. He is once again trying to commit suicide, the keyword being trying.

 While lying there trying to die, the phone rings. Most people would not answer the phone in a situation like this, but Richie does. It’s his sister wondering if he can pick up his niece Sophia from school because she’s too busy.

 The rest of the movie is an extremely forced bonding situation between Richie and Sophia. They, like many other movies, have made the two main characters complete opposites so the bond between them is a bigger deal than man landing on the moon for the first time.

 At first I enjoyed how the movie jumped around from the different interactions that Richie had. It made it look interesting enough that it kept you guessing as to what was going to come next. But then after about 25 minutes of that I was so confused on what the main story line was I didn’t like it anymore.

 As a whole, the movie was something that I did not enjoy watching based on the on the fact that there were different little story lines and details that made the movie very boring. They were things that could happen to anyone and to me, that does not make the best movie.

 From all the awards that this film had won already based on a short film, I thought it would be a movie worth comparing to Casablanca. I was wrong.

 Bottom line, I would skip this movie as a whole and see it in its original short film version. The plot was better off left sweet and simple there was no need for a lot of details.

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Dancing is not something that comes to mind for many when thinking about competitive sports. Many don’t know how many hours dancers put into practice when they can never actually master dancing as a whole.

The DGS Fillies practice multiple times a week for many hours to try to be the best in the state. Last years Fillies placed 7th overall in the state and they hope to place even higher this year.

Coach Dawn Jovic thinks the team overall could make it into the top 10 at their upcoming competition.

“We compete in the 3A category, which is the biggest and most competitive category in Illinois competitive dance.  There are over 80 teams in our division,” Jovic said. “The Fillies and I are hoping to make it into the top 10 at the State Finals once again this year.  My personal goal [for the team] is to place within the top six.”

For dance, one has to be in time and coordinated with the other members of the team. Junior Leanna Ivanova thinks that to be able to win, a team has to work and think as one to ultimately achieve the same goal.

“I personally think being a team player is really important. As a dancer on a dance team, you need to understand that you’re working with 17 other girls for one main goal,” Ivanova said. “You’re not always going to be center or in the front row, but at the end of the day, you are working just as hard as all your other teammates to win.”

Assistant Coach and Special Services teacher Amanda Cerf wanted to get involved with the Fillies because of the energy the team gave off.

“The Fillies are an amazing, state-bound program that is a great symbol and group to represent DGS. I love the DGS community and wanted to further my involvement in that,” Cerf said.

The most important thing to some of the dancers is how dancing makes them feel. Senior Allison Stears thinks the combination of dancing and the music playing makes dancing an experience rather than a chore.

“The best part about dancing is losing myself in it,” Stears said. “The combination of the choreography and the music just takes me to another place. I forget about everything else that is going on and it’s like I am in another world.”

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DGS annual Awards Night showcases the best and the brightest DGS has to offer. Awards from the community, scholarships, recognition for the top two percent and the Outstanding Senior Department awards are some of the different recognitions given during the night.

Awards from community organizations and honors from school departments consisted of different achievement and scholarships given to various seniors for essays they wrote or actions they took. Senior Melissa McLean feels her career at DGS and her community involvement helped her win the West Suburban Teachers Union award.

“The award was a lot about community involvement,” McLean said. “Based on that criteria I was involved in the community through sports, service work, my church and activities at DGS.”

The top two percent for the 2014 graduating class was recognized for their academic achievement throughout their high school career. Senior Jason Chang feels the most rewarding and troubling aspect of staying on top of academics was keeping on task and concentrating when needed.

“It’s pretty cool being recognized for the effort I’ve put into what I’ve learned…The biggest part for me was being able to stay on task. It took a lot of effort to stay focused on working and not just watch[ing] TV or goof[ing] off,” Chang said.

The presidential Award for Educational Excellence is a national award given to students who have shown academic excellence throughout their academic career. The students chosen are dedicated to their school work and showed hard work throughout their high school life. 154 DGS seniors were given this recognition, the highest DGS has ever seen.

The outstanding seniors are seens as the best and the brightest that DGS has to offer. Only one student can win each of the 13 awards presented. The award is given to a student who was recognized by his/her teachers and department heads for his/her dedication to the subject and outstanding achievement from his/her four years of high school.

Senior Shirali Shah feels that winning this award will help her strive to be a better student, making her realize she can achieve anything she works towards.

“Receiving this award helped me to believe in myself a little more and…helped me realize that I am capable of achieving a lot if I keep working hard,” Shah said. “I was never someone who strived for this award…There was never a moment in time when I thought I was ever going to receive this award.”

Each senior who won an award was not notified in advance of their winning and some were completely shocked to find they have won. Many of the seniors who were recognized for their excellence went above and beyond in their high school careers and show promising futures in what they choose to do. Senior Nate Leung attributes his success to the support he received from his family and fellow classmates.

“This award will definitely motivate me to continue working hard in the future. However, I have to remember that none of this came by myself alone,” Leung said. “I would not have been where I was today without the support of my family and fellow classmates.”

 Senior Sam Boroumand credits the helpfulness of the DGS school as a whole to helping its students be prepared for the future they have to come.

“I think DGS has prepared all of [it’s students]…for the future. This school has provided us [with] so many opportunities to grow and develop our passions and skills through classes, activities, clubs, athletics, school events and so much more,” Boroumand said. “I think South’s continuous commitment to service events, charity organizations and the Mustang Way has all taught us how to be compassionate and respectful individuals when we step out into the great big world after graduation.”