Authors Posts by Jamie Barnes

Jamie Barnes


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Senior Angela Campbell is enrolled to attend University of Missouri (Columbia) next school year. She enjoys the friendly vibe of the people there and the beautiful campus with the city of Columbia surrounding it. She explains that Mizzou offers her an on campus hospital which will be helpful to her, due to her plans of going into physical therapy.

“I got the Mark Twain nonresidential scholarship for living somewhere other than Missouri, and for having a high ACT score,” Campbell said.

She explains that there are dorms that are available for students that offer the option of rooming with other students who are taking the same classes and studying the same majors as each other. This is called FIGS which stands for freshman interest groups. She hopes to be involved with her major, health sciences and rushing a sorority in her college years.

Senior Joe Vath will be attending Carthage College in Kenosha Wisconsin where he has received a partial scholarship to play golf. His goal for golf is to become the best player on the team within the four years that he attends. He acknowledges that balancing academics with athletics will be a challenging task, but he is up for the challenge.

Vath explains the reason he chose Carthage and his love for the game of golf.

“I decided to play at Carthage because I wanted to continue to compete in the game I love…I have spent countless hours on my game to get where I am today, and I believe that my hard work will pay off in college,” Vath said.

Senior Austin Balinski will be attending University of Wisconsin in Madison next school year. Balinski feels that the school has a nice balance of what he was looking for in a school that he would be attending for four years.

“It has the nicest campus out of all the schools I visited, and has a great mix of highly ranked academics with good sports and a big social scene,” Balinski said.

He explains that he spent a great amount of time on the application for the University of Wisconsin Madison, which made getting accepted a big deal because it had always been his number one school. He will be majoring in chemical or nuclear engineering, which he was directly admitted into the school for.


According to Balinski, one of the biggest struggles for him will be leaving his friends and meeting new ones, since a lot of his friends will be attending other schools, although he says he is looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends.

“I’m nervous to find out how difficult the classes will be…I’m most excited about the football games and meeting new people,” Balinski said.

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In efforts to raise money for the devastating earthquake in Nepal, the DGS Social Studies Department will be selling t-shirts in the cafeteria during all lunch periods starting Monday, May 11 through Friday, May 15.The shirts will be sold for $10 and are offered in three colors: black, red and blue. Over half of the money made from selling the t-shirts will be donated toward the fundraising of relieving the impacted areas in Nepal. DGS will be partnering with the Lions Club International Foundation to bring as much awareness to the cause as possible. These funds will be spent on materials and goods that Nepali citizens now lack after the earthquake such as food and shelter.


The 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on Apr. 25, which has caused destruction and loss of shelter for many. Over 7,000 people have died from this disaster, leaving thousands more hungry and homeless.

The shirt logo features the slogan “Pay atTENTion,” incorporating the Nepal flag to help raise money to purchase tents for the thousands that were left homeless from the natural disaster. The organization will also be leaving small jars at the ends of lunch lines for spare change anyone might have after purchasing lunch. There is also the option to donate online by visiting

 Nepal t shirt design

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Many high school students’ first jobs are normally things like a waitress at a restaurant, a cashier at a grocery store or a server at a pizzeria. For many it isn’t until after graduation and even after college that young adults start getting jobs that have a more serious status or a bigger paycheck. Some students at DGS, however, don’t have these typical jobs–they have odd jobs

DGS junior Anthony Calabria has been working for the package and shipping company UPS for six months and explains his role in the company.

“At UPS I do a lot of sales. I make labels to ship out packages that people bring in and if they don’t have a box I will pack it for them and find them right size box to put it in. There is also a lot of office work like printing services, faxes, making business cards and a lot of computer services,” Calabria said.

Calabria got word of the job through his brother and was immediately hired once he applied.

“I absolutely love the job and helping people. Everyone is very nice and grateful which is great and makes me happy and proud to work there,” Calabria said.

DGS senior Kyle LaCount also has a job that may be considered odd for a high schooler. LaCount works as a door to door salesman for the Illinois Energy company, which is an exterior remodeling company. He has been an employee there for four months.

“We specialize in going around door to door consulting people about exterior work they plan on taking care of down the line. I go around and set appointments (leads) for salesmen to come in and give them quotes on windows/siding/front doors/ any door/sliding glass doors/soffits/fascia,” LaCount said.

A friend referred him to the job, which he went and applied for and received that very same day.

“I like working there because it [has] helped my social skills. I’ve always been an outgoing person and have never had a problem talking to anyone, but now I can maintain an informative conversation with anyone whenever,” LaCount said.

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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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Within only the past couple of years, there has been an immense uprising in the use of technology not only in classrooms and education, but in our everyday lives as well.


The increase in the use of cellphones and other electronic devices has consumed our attention and taken away important time with family and friends. It’s also diminished the meaning of moments happening around us that we are now taking for granted. Having your eyes glued to your phone takes your attention away from the things going on right around you, causing you to miss out or not fully appreciate a moment to its full potential.


DGS Social Studies teacher Kristyn Campos explains that some of the most important memories are to be experienced in person.


“Some of my best memories from high school and athletics are not saved in photographs, they are in the experiences I had before all of this technology took over,” Campos said.


Social media is always on the mind; the obsession with constantly updating social media actually can become an addiction of sorts. This isn’t really a surprise though; how many people can you think of that are updating their Twitter every 5 minutes, or are entirely dedicated to at least one Instagram post a day? We all have that one person in our Snapchat friends with a 200 second Snapchat story that, let’s be honest here, we aren’t too interested in watching. It’s seems as if you don’t let people know where you are, what you’re doing, and what you’re thinking then it’s almost equivalent to you falling off the face of the earth.


There is constant attention being paid to the number of likes, retweets, and reblogs people receive, too. DGS Social Studies teacher Bryan Szweda believes we have lost the ability to enjoy the things we are doing.


“There have been studies done that have shown that we have grown so attached to our electronic devices that symptoms of withdrawal can become present when they are taken away…There seems to be a rise in narcissistic behavior by many people in posting the amount of personal information/large number of photos on social media.  Posting information or photos, and having people like them can become an addicting behavior where people are constantly checking to see how many likes that they have gotten,” Szweda said.


Posting to social media and using your phone isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there just has to be a balance of how much you spend time on it. In recent years, kids are being more and more socialized to depend and use their phones as comfort in social settings that they aren’t confident in or feel uncomfortable.


Sophomore Vivian Pierropoulos reacts the same way in these situations.


“ I feel like whenever I’m in an environment where I don’t know many people, I tend to just be glued to my phone rather than socialize and possibly meet others. Phones give us a sense of comfort so that’s what I use it for,” Vivian Said.
Technology has become a big part in the everyday actions of our lives. Chances are the first thing we reach for in the morning is our phones to check in on social media sites and keep ourselves in the know where a typical morning usually started with reading the paper enjoying your cup o’ coffee in years past. Being glued to our phones can come with the cost of missing out on great things happening right in front of us. It’s time to enjoy a car ride with all the windows rolled down, savor a meal instead of snapping a picture of it, and losing yourself in the moment at your favorite concert. All we need to do once in a while is stop staring at a screen and start to pay attention to the incredible things right in front of our faces that make life extraordinary.

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The holiday season is quickly approaching and we all know that this means; we open not only our hearts, but also our wallets to show how much we care. Picking out gifts for all the people on your checklist can leave you feeling stumped, but it shouldn’t mean you resort to throwing money around just to have a gift to give. There should be meaning and thought behind it, so dig down deep and look in your heart to give a thoughtful gift this year.


When it comes to gift giving, parents can be tricky to buy for. If spending a fortune isn’t your thing, parents love getting things you clearly put a lot of thought and time into.  Sometimes, the best gifts aren’t things at all, but acts that mean more to your parents than you think, like cooking a nice dinner or setting aside quality time. Parents love sentimental gifts that are from the heart; stick with something you know would put a smile on their face. If you have a little more cash to spend, have a professional  picture taken of you and your siblings to hang in the house, or make a coupon book with things like “one free car wash” and “one day off from cleaning.”


Buying for friends is tough. Do you get them all the same thing like a keychain that says “best friends” and call it a day, or do you get each one something different? I think it means more to a person if you take the time to think about what they personally would like and what would mean most to them. Buying an individual gift for friends can get pricey. If you’re on a budget, you can never go wrong with a handwritten letter or a simple DIY gift that’s from the heart, like home baked cookies/desserts or a frame with your favorite picture inside. Websites like Groupon and Etsy offer unique gift ideas and coupons that help spark your creative side when gifting.


Getting a gift for your significant other raises a big question. Does spending a bunch of money make it more meaningful? When you want a gift to mean a lot to your girlfriend/boyfriend, there is no specific guideline to follow when it comes to spending money. Spending a small amount on something like making a collage of your favorite pictures together or dinner could mean just as much as getting a pair of concert tickets that you know they really wanted. Money doesn’t mean a better gift; go for something that you’ve put a good amount of research and thinking into, whether this means spending money or not.

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benefit holiday gifts

Black Friday- For


As the time gets later and the lines get longer, the excitement grows throughout the crowds. The wait for the clock to hit midnight gets nerve-wrecking for the busiest day of the year — Black Friday.


Black Friday occurs the day after Thanksgiving every year and has been noted to be the first day of traditional Christmas shopping. Each year retailers show off the deals they’ll be having that customers stand in line and fight over.


Senior Caitlyn Minnis explains what Black Friday is all about to her.


“I feel excited when Black Friday comes around, it signifies the start of the holiday season,” Minnis said.


For many its not only the excitement of the holiday season starting that they like about Black Friday, but its also the experience of the atmosphere that comes along with it.


Sophomore Trevor Troha has been Black Friday shopping five times and says what makes it fun is the crowds of people and long lines. He also explains what it is like shopping on that day.


“Inside, the line usually goes around the whole store and [the lines] are usually an hour or an hour and a half. Outside, before it opens the line is all around the building and if you’re at the end of the line, it’s usually a 3 or 4 hour wait,” Troha said.


Advertisements likes “Doorbuster deals”, “ 50-75% off” and “Black Friday blowout” are littered everywhere hoping to attract customers to come in and get the deals they want.


Diana Benoist, Student Assistance Program Coordinator, explains the shoppers’ motivation.


“It seems like there a “thrill of the victory” element.  If you get something at a great price, you feel like you’re somehow beating the system or “winning.”  I think a lot of people get caught up in the consumerism of the day, too,” Benoist says.


Cyber Monday

While deals heat up and crowds get restless in the cold waiting in hopes to be the first to the big sales, many prefer to stay indoors and get the great deals with just the click of a button.


Cyber Monday, a newer approach to the holiday Black Friday, has been said to be the easier and more efficient way to get annual festive shopping done. Waiting in line for hours before a store even opens can be irritating and time consuming.  “It is easier to shop online because if you deal with crowds sometimes they can be violent”, senior Summer Hardee said. Cyber Monday is a newer way to avoid lengthy lines and edgy crowds.


When it comes to hectic holiday shopping, it’s all about ease. Online shopping can give you great deals simply by clicking “add to cart” creating a convenient approach to stock up on bargains during the holidays. But beware of this tempting way to browse. “I think people spend more money online. If you see something you just buy it because there’s no one to talk to or find a coupon…like Black Friday, there are sales and people want to spend money, so they go where the cheaper price is,” CTE/FACS teacher Ms. Parpet said. Having the option for an electronic cart takes away the burden of having to carry items by hand while scrambling through aisles in search for the next deal.


Less stress equals more shopping time; being in the comfort of home takes away the the confrontations with uptight shoppers and brings the ease and simplicity of the same deals. Some websites even offer better deals online than in stores causing less hassle to get the same items at a better price. According to, Cyber Monday offers the best deals for certain items that can’t be beat in stores or at any other time of the year, making it the best time to pick up those gifts with a bigger price tag. Staying up hours on end can also take a toll on the excitement that holiday shopping is supposed to bring. Shopping via the web is a way to avoid the sore legs and tired wallets that midnight shopping entails.


Cyber Monday offers an alternative way to shop this year that saves time, money, and stress. “There is no wait, no crowds, no violence, and you get what you want” Hardee said. With all the benefits that Cyber Monday brings, holiday shopping has become easier and faster than ever.


As the hustle and bustle of people creep out from their Thanksgiving dinner to take on any Black Friday deals that come their way, workers at these stores have been ready and waiting for hours prior.

Being a retail employee working on Black Friday seems like no easy task. Those two words that are loved so much by shoppers, but despised by employees.

With so much commotion going on, employees must constantly stay alert and be ready for any fight that might break out over the hefty discounts on items.

Senior Anthony Huerta works at Target, which is one of the busiest stores on Black Friday. He explained how insane the work can get due to the amount of people in the store.

“It’s crazy and hectic because everyone loses their cool [because] they just want to check out and get out. There’s [a] line to check out to the register and it’s huge,” Huerta said. “It’s about halfway through our store and security is on constant guard and usually [one to three] people get kicked out.”

Even though working Black Fridays can be extra crazy, Huerta doesn’t mind working because of the extra cash employees will make.

“They give us some extra money to our hourly pay for working Black Friday so why not?” Huerta said.

Making extra money may be the plus side of working on Black Friday, but instead of relaxing and spending quality time with family members on Thanksgiving, must make sure they’re ready for their long shift ahead.

While Thanksgiving is about being thankful, retail employees are fearful for the madness of the bargain-hunting crowd that will soon emerge through their doors.

Stacey Polen, Career and Technical Education teacher, explained how businesses values’ are completely opposite of thankfulness during the Thanksgiving holiday.

“If you see it from the side that you have a family member affected by it, you can’t even celebrate a holiday anymore because people are so hyped up about going out to shop,” Polen said.

Lauren Hoel a Physical Education teacher, explained how she doesn’t think anyone should be forced to work Black Friday. She also explained what she would do if her children ever had to work on Black Friday.
“I don’t think anyone should be forced to work a holiday that takes time away from family, especially teens.  I also know that is not always an option when you have a job,” Hoel said. “If my son or daughter had to work Back Friday, I would make our family celebration fit their schedule.  Eat earlier or later, or whatever it takes to make sure we have family time. That’s really what it’s about, or even celebrate on a different day if we had to.”

On the other hand, there are workers who are eager to work Black Friday for the first time. Senior Toni Rae Pileggi explained that if she works Black Friday this year, it will be the first one she works.

“I love going shopping every year on Black Friday and I think it will be really fun to work in all the chaos,” Pileggi said.

Anti-Black Friday

Although Black Friday seems like a harmless way to find good deals on otherwise expensive items, many believe that it also encourages our materialistic society to become excessive with its spending habits and negligent towards family obligations.


Providing an outlet for compulsive shopping places a higher value on spending money rather than saving it. This reassures our object-oriented culture to continue to spend money even if it’s not practical or necessary. DGS teacher Joette Conger explains that Black Friday only creates false needs for a culture already used to gorging itself.


“It just feeds consumerism….our consumer culture needs to stop,” Conger said.


Thanksgiving is a holiday where people realize the value of time with family and reflect on good aspects of their lives.  According to, Black Friday shopping makes the American people, “crazy rather than thankful”.


Although some families make Black Friday a family event, it usually doesn’t end up that way. Among the chaos and disarray of the event, it’s hard to get in any quality family time.

Senior Romi Beaubron explains how she never got any real time with family when she went Black Friday shopping.


“I don’t think we really enjoyed that time with family…it cuts into Thanksgiving,” Beaubron said.


It is agreed by many that there are many more important things to do on the holidays. Freshman Meredith Maloney explains what she would rather be doing during her Thanksgiving break than going Black Friday shopping.


“I would be spending Thanksgiving with my family, and sleeping in”, Mahoney said.


Black Friday seems to do more bad than good because of the rush to get out and go shopping it decreases the value of family time and strengthens the distorted image of our material-obsessed society. Spending time with family over the holidays is a priority in the minds of many, and is more important than spending all day in a vast sea of deal-craving shoppers.

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This year the city of Downers Grove recognizes the 50th anniversary of DGS. Since the opening in 1964, the school has evolved in multiple aspects. While there are many celebrations taking place throughout the year, the majority of students know very little about the history of their school.


It is well known that parents like to use the line “Well, back in my day…” to start up a good lecture, but how different are teenagers now than they were 5_0 years ago? It seems that high schoolers today are under more pressure than ever, juggling school, work, sports and activities.

The feeling of cramming before a math test and staying up until unreasonable hours of the morning to finish a paper is something most students have experienced. The pressure to do well seems to be coming in from all around; it’s being felt from teachers, parents and even peers. Throughout time, it seems that the expectations for teenagers has grown exponentially.

DGS Associate Principal Vince Walsh-Rock says that since his freshman year at DGS in 1979, the attitude of the average student has become much more involved.

“Students now overall are much more engaged in their high school experience,” Walsh-Rock said. “Academically, the expectations have definitely increased.”

The homecoming game festivities used to include much more violent ways of showing school spirit.

“We used to have a bonfire at homecoming…whomever we were playing in the homecoming game, they would make a model of it…and we would burn it at the bonfire,” Walsh-Rock said.

Past DGS students also liked to push the limits of fashion, and the limits of the dress code. In the early years, some of the biggest fashion trends included bell bottoms, paisley prints, paper mache earrings and the controversial mini skirt.

DGS has transformed in many obvious ways  since the school was  founded. From the workload to the changing homecoming rituals, the past 50 years have made a definite difference in the lives of DGS students.


In the past five decades, teachers at DGS have evolved just as much as the students. Although it may not seem too far in the past, students and faculty at DGS have changed in many ways. From academic standards to student-teacher interaction, what seems normal now wasn’t always the case.

Craig Roselieb, DGS band Director, has been a teacher at DGS for 24 years. He attended DGS from 1975-1979 and thinks the overall vibe that the teachers give off has changed the learning environment for the better.

“Students and faculty have changed immensely,” Roselieb said. “I’m certainly glad we don’t have smoking in the building anymore…and the addition of the Athletic/Activity Code has changed the environment to make it more socially appropriate to be safe and have fun without the use of illegal substances.”

Many rules have changed for the staff, to keep the learning environment safer and more efficient for students to focus on school work. Senior Nathan Robinson feels the use of technology has changed the way students learn for the better.

“The most significant change I think has been with the increased use of technology in the classroom and the hallways,” Robinson said. “Everyone at South is doing an assignment posted on Google or turning one in and they have their phones out during the passing period either texting or listening to music.”

Not only have staff regulations changed, but the teachers themselves are different than they were in the past. Teachers in today’s educational setting have much more one-on-one connections with students. They emphasize that they are there for students to come to them with questions and to support them through their academic goals and achievements.

“Gone are the days of awkward social experiences and hallway intimidation, and in are well connected thoughtful exchanges between students and between faculty and students,” Roselieb said. “Students in today’s school environment have learned to care for each other much better, and I really admire the way teenagers these days are so much more personally and socially adjusted from when I was in school.”


DGS’s appearance years has changed immensely from the time it was first opened in 1964 to now. The overall structure of the building, the modernization and the way it affects the learning environment are some of the ways the physical appearance has evolved.

Jim Meizner, Fine Arts Department Computer Aide and the Voice of the Mustangs, has been a teacher at DGS since the fall of 1965. He has seen the structure of the building change from when it was just two hallways and a gym to now, a four hallway and multiple large gym like areas.

“One of the most recent additions is the expansion of the West Events Entrance…along with the horse,” Meizner said. “The area where student commons and cafeteria area was expanded, which was really nice [for the students].”

The modernization of DGS has come about with the recent burst of new technology added to the school. It has made it easier for the students to keep up with school work and stay on top of their grades.

Science teacher Terry Totz has been working at DGS since 1982, and he feels that one of the most welcomed changes to the school is the increased use of technology.

“The factor that has changed the most here at [DGS] is the addition of technology,” Totz said. “With the advent of computers and the internet there is so much information, and it’s so much more up to date…Communication is much easier in general.”

For students, the building and the way it’s designed has an advantage that most students don’t see. While many students like to think certain aspects of the school could be changed, they are mostly small things that could make the school a better place.

Senior Clara McIntyre feels that something as miniscule as a new window treatment could liven the school and give it a new, happier feeling.

“I would want to change the window treatment and the window structures…they are ugly and it kind of gives [the school] a prison [feeling]..and we feel like we’re locked it,” McIntyre said.

As time goes on, DGS will undoubtedly continue to stride for excellence. Making sure the school and its students and faculty get what they deserve is a high priority for the district.

“I would say for the most part, the district has done a nice job in making additions and renovations to accommodate students. They at least have some areas of future planning like a one, five and 10 year plan. Most of those are…renovating so that they’re more compatible, Meizner said. “Overall in my opinion…its been good.”