Authors Posts by Kirsten Gard

Kirsten Gard

Kirsten is a junior at DGS and a copy editor for the Blueprint. She plays Varsity badminton for DGS and is involved in NHS. She has a passion for writing and art, and hopes to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design.

by -
0 1014

While most seniors have two or three more months to mentally prepare themselves before they go off to college, senior Jimmy Schatmeyer has less than a month before he trades in his school books for work boots.

Schatmeyer is committed to the United States Marine Corps (USMC) for four years of active duty; he leaves for boot camp on June 15. Boot camp is held at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in San Diego, and it consists of 13 weeks of physical and mental training.

Schatmeyer decided to join the Marines in his sophomore year.

“Honestly [I decided to enlist] because I wanted to join something that was bigger…I figured that if no one else is going to do it, why don’t I do it?” Schatmeyer said. “I want to do something that really challenges me and makes me a better person, and I figured this is the best way.”

Within the Marines there are countless different jobs, and Schatmeyer discusses his goals and future within the USMC.

“I’m going to be a CM, which is a carpenter/contractor engineering type [job], so it’s in the engineering field. And then after two years I can switch my job if I really want to, so I’ll figure it out from there,” Schatmeyer said. “[After four years] I have to decide if I want to keep going, which I think I will, and then I just have to re-sign. I want to stay until at least Sergeant, and then see from there.”

In order to prepare for boot camp, many future Marines go to physical training (PT)  every Wednesday.

“It’s basically like a little workout that I do with my recruiter, and I run the workout that we do. It’s mainly circuit stuff and runs that we do; it’s fun,” Schatmeyer said.

Schatmeyer said that his parents are supportive of his decision, but that his father was harder to win over.

“At first, my mom was just supportive and my dad was really unsupportive, because he’s just never really liked that kind of stuff. I think my mom was more supportive just because my cousin on her side is also a Marine. But they are both really supportive now,” Schatmeyer said.

For Schatmeyer, nerves aren’t a problem–at least not yet.

“I’m really excited,” Schatmeyer said. “I think the night [I leave] I’ll probably be nervous, but for right now I’m really excited.”


by -
0 620

INcartooonBW copy2


A bill called the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA)  was recently amended by the Republican-heavy Indiana Senate and Indiana House. According to the “Indy Star,” it was originally passed with a 63-31 majority. This bill directly impacted the already inhibited members of the LGBT community. One of the reasons why this issue is so sensitive is because of the various beliefs, both religious and not, that are “against” members of the LGBT community having the same rights as heterosexual people.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The original bill stated: “Senate Bill 101 would prevent state and local governments from “substantially burdening” a person’s exercise of religion unless the government can prove it has a compelling interest and is doing so in the least restrictive means.”

A lot of people interpreted this law to mean that if you own a business and you have very strong religious beliefs against the rights of LGBT, you have the right to refuse to serve the LGBT community.

In my opinion, this bill is hurting our core American values; it is open discrimination.  As American’s, we pride ourselves on having a democracy and equal rights. It is appalling that in 2015 people are still unaccepting and discriminatory towards any group of people.

In recent years it seemed as though progress was being made for the LGBT community because gay marriage has been becoming legal in states across the US, including Indiana since October 2014. This in itself is great, kudos to you Indiana. However, the un-amended version of the RFRA seems to be a giant step backwards.Though the bill was recently amended, the fact that it was even passed in the first place is just despicable, and shows that discrimination and hate is still alive and thriving in “the land of the free.”

Some people argue that businesses who adopt this new law will only be hurting themselves; they will lose business and put themselves in debt, so why not just let them dig themselves into a hole? This is what some expected when Memories Pizza, located in the town of Walkerton, IN, refused to cater a gay wedding. The owners said they would not refuse service in the restaurant, but would refuse to cater a wedding. While many people boycotted the store and were enraged, there was an overwhelming amount of people who supported the restaurant’s decision. When the owners set up a Go Fund Me account (pretty much a personal online charity,) they raked in over $842,000 in just a few days by those who supported this bill and what the restaurant was doing. The restaurant had originally closed due to the anger of their customers and the threats they were receiving, but with all the money they received they were able to reopen.

This law could snowball into something even worse, if you can refuse service to LGBT people, what is stopping you from refusing service to African Americans, Jewish people or those of other minority groups because you claim it is”against your religion” to serve them? There is no telling how far this could go.

This is no different than an African American being refused service because of their race-something that Americans spent years protesting and fighting against. The fact that a bakery can refuse to make a wedding cake for a homosexual couple solely because they don’t agree with it is outrageous. Just because you personally don’t agree with something doesn’t mean that you can take away basic human rights from people.

The fact that it is 2015 and bills that allow discrimination are even in the realm of possibility is simply ludicrous, and it needs to stop. The bottom line is: respecting everyone is something that has been drilled into our heads since childhood; however, this “golden rule” seems to have lost its luster in modern times.


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.

by -
0 560

Moving in general is always intimidating, but the challenges that come with it increase tenfold when it’s from one country to another.

Senior Anastasiya Lesyuk moved from Ukraine when she was 10 years old. Previously having lived in a small farm village, moving to the United States was quite the culture shock. There are countless differences and challenges that have impacted her, including the typical family dynamics and traditions.

Lesyuk described some of the biggest differences in family interactions; some things are different than what we are typically used to in the United States.

“It is very family oriented….We live with families together, like kids with [their] parents even after marriage,” Lesyuk said. “Families usually don’t live far away from each other, they come over almost every weekend.”

In addition to families generally being much closer, certain traditions such as Christmas are celebrated differently than the traditions that are normally celebrated in the United States.

“Christmas is different than the American one. We don’t give presents on Christmas, but it is one of my favorite traditions…it happens during January and it is our Ukrainian Holy Christmas night…We invite our family friends that are Ukrainian and there will be a big table with special dishes…then we have a prayer and we celebrate the whole night,” Lesyuk said.

One of the biggest challenges that comes with immigrating to a new country is leaving behind everything–school, friends and family.

“I was in a really close family, and just leaving it all behind and moving to America where I had only my aunt…and I didn’t have any friends or anyone…that was really challenging [for me],” Lesyuk said.





by -
0 778

At DGS there are countless athletes who work day and night to push their limits so they can be the best. Among these dedicated athletes is senior Amanda Thate. She has been involved in the DGS running program for six years and all of Thate’s hard work has finally rewarded her with the opportunity of a lifetime–to run for Kansas State University.

Thate is seen as a leader of her team and is always pushing herself to be better. She describes some of the personal goals she has set for herself in the future

“My goal for this year in track is to break five minutes in the mile and to break 11 minutes in the two-mile. My goals for college are to compete in conference and regionals…and to set new [personal records] as time goes on,” Thate said.

Despite being plagued with injuries throughout her seasons, Thate has remained persistent and dedicated to her sport.

According to Coach Egle Staisiunaite, “[Amanda’s] perseverance and toughness allowed her to remain positive, confident and enthusiastic. Amanda is an athlete who has a strong ‘go for it’ mentality, she is unafraid of failure, and remains confident in tough competitions.”

The numbers prove that Thate has improved throughout her high school career, and she has also gained important life skills.

According to Thate, she has gained the skill of time management and has learned to push herself to be the best she can be.

Due to her experience and skill, Thate is looked up to by her team.One of Amanda’s teammates, senior Anna Soriano, describes the impact Thate has made on the team.

“She’s very encouraging to other girls and her own work ethic does affect others in a positive way. Some of the younger girls could look at Amanda and kind of use her positive attitude and work ethic to shape their own,” Soriano said.

Coach Doug Plunkett sees Amanda in a similar light, stating “She has been one of the fastest and most successful athletes on the team since the first day of her freshman year. Her experience and work ethic help provide great examples for all of our younger athletes.”

Through her hard work and dedication, Thate has been able to consistently push through physical and mental boundaries; continuing to do so at Kansas State University will be the next goal she will seek to accomplish.