by -
0 1000

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.”


by -
0 1

kailee 2Kailee Miller was a loving daughter and sister, a resilient teammate, a supportive friend and a dedicated student. As a senior at DGS and a captain of the Varsity soccer team, she left her mark on every person she met. Kailee Miller passed away March 30, 2015.

Miller was a part of the DGS girls’ soccer program all four years, an Honor Roll  student  and a member of Woodridge Storm Soccer Club.

Miller valued her family: she had three older brothers.  Kailee Miller’s mother Karen Miller explained what it was like for her daughter growing up.

“She grew up playing sports with the boys, [she] learned early how to stand up for herself while developing a very strong sense of humor and playfulness,” Karen Miller said. “My brother said to me, we all tried to teach Kailee how to be a good person — strong in her commitments, how to work hard and give her all, and how to treat people right and respect everyone. Somewhere along the way, the tables turned, and she showed us how to live.”

One of  Miller’s brothers Mark Makutenas explained what it was like to watch Miller grow up.

“Kailee might have been my little baby sister, but watching her grow up, and how she lived, she’ll always by my hero,” Makutenas said.

Miller’s grandmother Lee Jepsen explained a quality of Miller that is her favorite.

“She possessed the wisdom to recognize someone in need, and freely offered a kind remark, a friendly smile, maybe a silly grin to make them laugh, a warm hug, anything to lift their spirits and make them feel better,” Jepsen said.

As a friend, Miller was there for good times and bad times.

Miller’s uncle Kris Jepsen shared how he saw Miller with her friends.

“She was a true, loyal friend, one who would always listen and be there when needed, someone you could trust till the end, no matter what,” Jepsen said.

“Kailee shared that smile and love of life with everyone she came across. She comforted and protected anyone she thought needed it,” Karen Miller said.

Miller’s longtime friend senior Miyax Leon explained what it was like being friends with Miller for nine years.

“The friendship I shared with Kailee was truly one in a million. I know it’s cheesy to say, but she was genuinely my other half. In the nine years that we were best friends, she became more than that–she was truly a part of my family, and I was a part of hers…We always had each others backs no matter what,” Leon said. “Even though she is gone, she will always by my best friend, or what we used to call each other… my forever friend.”

Senior Brandon Smikoski explained how his friendship was with Miller throughout high school.

“She impacted me beyond belief…She was always happy and would do anything to make sure I was happy… I don’t think I would have [gotten] through these four years without her,” Smikoski said.

Senior Ava Porlier explained something that everyone should know about Miller.

“[What] Everyone should know about Kailee is how caring she was for everyone… Her energy was contagious and you could never be in a bad mood around her,” Porlier said.

It was Miller’s loving personality that caused her presence to touch the lives around her.

Those who knew Miller saw not only her love for those around her, but also her adoration for puppies. Senior Eric Denby reminisces on a time he saw Miller’s love for puppies shine through.

“She found a “lost puppy” in the middle of my street and would not leave the dog until it was back with the owners, even though I told her it was my neighbors’ and it was fine,” Denby said. “She was walking around with this dog for 15 minutes making sure it was safe, and was even thinking of putting it in her car and taking it home until the owners came outside and called for it to come back.”

Seniors Nicole Plzak and Ryan Taylor explained how Miller has impacted them during their years of knowing her.

“There are so many things I wouldn’t have done if it weren’t for her, and I’m so glad I got that push out of my comfort zone,” Plzak said.

Miller’s positive and upbeat personality never faded no matter what the situation.

“She was always the happiest girl, and never failed to put a smile on anyone’s face,” Taylor said.

Social Studies teacher Paula Kenny had Miller in psychology class.

“She came to class every day with a smile on her face. Every single day…all kids have good days and bad days, but she never took it out on me or out on us…She appeared to look at the world as though the glass was half full,” Kenny said.

Senior Annalee Roselieb also explained how Miller’s way of life helped make every moment something special.

“Kailee had a way of turning every moment into a moment to remember,” Roselieb said.

Miller’s determination for soccer was shown by giving her full potential at every game and practice. Math teacher Michael McGinnis knew Miller as a student and as a player.

“Kailee is what most teachers and coaches wish for. We try to teach good habits about being positive, working hard and everything in-between. Kailee was all of that and so much more. ‘Sports don’t build character, it reveals it,’ Kailee had all the character [someone] would want in a student or athlete, and the best part was her energy was contagious ,and she made everyone around her smile and shine,” McGinnis said.

Senior Jenny Adams was a teammate of Miller’s on the Woodridge Storm for nine years, and shared some of her favorite memories from then.

“Taking her grandpa’s RV to Morton every year for a soccer tournament was always so much fun,” Adams said.

Leon describes how having Miller as a teammate impacted her life on the soccer field.

“The biggest thing she impacted me with in high school was soccer, and being able to push [me] harder every day even when I couldn’t do the last sprint or the last 18. She was and will continue to be an amazing friend, captain and teammate,” Leon said. “Every day the DGS girls soccer team steps on the field, we play for Kailee.”

Describe Kailee in one word

Full of life- Sr. Anna Roselieb

Fearless-  Sr. Ava Porlier

Exuberant – Sr. Eric Denby

Goofy- Sr. Brandon Smikoski

Spontaneous- Sr. Ryan Taylor

Positive- Sr. Max Soderlund

Memorable-  Sr. Hailey Freko

Fearless- Sr. Rebecca Allen

Unforgettable- Sr. Abbey Czyz

Bubbly- Jr. Natalia Pinto

Loving- Jr. Hannah Rossi

Smiley- Jr. Lexi Dimovski

Outgoing- Jr. Sara Forensler

 Amazing- Teacher/Co

ach Michael McG


Smart- Teacher Paula Kenny

Beautiful inside and out… you can’t describe her in one word that’s almost impossible for Kailee. – Sr. Miyax Leon

kailee 3


by -
0 633
Junior Peter Szpytk sings and dances in his solo in Act 2 of Spamalot.
Junior Patrick Mitchell (center) and the knights ofthe round table are introduced in a song in Act 1.

Junior Patrick Mitchell (center) and the knights of
the round table are introduced in a song in Act 1.

Every spring the DGS theater department puts on the biggest production of the year — the spring musical. This year the musical is a little different than previous years; they have ditched the angsty melodramatic musicals, the hard hitting emotional ones and the ever classic ones, to present a musical unlike most. This year they presented the viewers with Spamalot.


Spamalot is a spoof of Monty Python’s classic film “Monty Python and The Holy Grail.” The musical is about the tale of King Arthur and his knightmen on an epic quest to find the legendary holy grail, though it takes a slapstick approach to the tale of King Arthur, complete with feared rabbits, knights who lose their heads and limbs and flatulent frenchmen.


Joy Belt, the musical director of the play and choir teacher, explained as to why she and director Christopher Blum picked Spamalot as this years musical.


“ Mr. Blum and I go through a very large process of looking at a class we have, and then we go through anywhere to 20 to 30 musicals to see what would match personalities, skill level, and this show [kept] coming back [up] as something that would fit the people that we have in class,” Belt said.


Over 150 kids worked to put this whimsical musical together. Actors, backstage crew, make-up artists and choir kids had worked on it for about ten weeks, starting way back in the third week of January.

Senior Emily Rzeszutko talked about what she personally was going to do to bring out the comedic aspects that made this musical so memorable.


“ I’m planning to just really get into each character/role I have and play up the comedic aspects it brings to the show,” Rzeszutko said.


The show itself is filled with one-liners, breaking the fourth wall and songs that make fun of other musicals for having songs that ‘start off slow.’ Blum had also touched briefly on what the cast did to bring out the witty lines and songs heard throughout the show.


“ The cast is quirky itself. So these kids are just having a fun time with the material, and in a true Monty Python fashion. Their goal is to entertain and provide comedic relief,” Blum said.


With all the work that went into putting the musical together, the cast also managed to have a good time with it, putting in special guests as knights (Vice Principal Vince Walsh-Rock made an appearance during Saturday’s show.) Junior Patrick Mitchell, who played Sir Galahad, had talked about why the musical was fun for him.


“My favorite part of the show is the classic humor. “Monty Python’s The Holy Grail” is a classic and many of the jokes are quotable and hilarious,” Mitchell said.
After a long time of preparation for the humorous performance, the musical had it’s opening night Thursday, April 16 and went through Sunday, April 19.

by -
0 629

As Uber grows in the Chicagoland area, more people are starting to recognize the taxi service. Uber or “UberCab” is an international company located in San Fransisco, California. It develops markets and operates the app also called Uber. The app allows users to submit trip requests in 55 countries and over 200 cities worldwide.

 Both the drivers, who are regular people, as well as the rider can connect through GPS, so both people can stay updated on each other’s whereabouts. In addition, the company charges the riders credit card when the trip is finished.

 Uber drivers are required to have passed a DMV and background check. They must have their own car and the car must be insured. Because of these minimal requirements, the service attracts a vast array of people.

 Junior Brandon Thom’s father is currently working for Uber part time.

 “My dad’s business wasn’t doing so well, so he wanted to make up for it by doing something part time…all he needed to do was submit his information for a background check and information and pictures of his car and insurance,” Thom said.

 Thom says that Uber has been a good side job for his father, especially because he can pick and choose his hours.

 “He really likes it because he is good with driving and he knows his way around Chicago, so it’s easy for him, and it also doesn’t feel like work to him. He also likes how he can do it whenever, and how he can make over $150 on a good night,” Thom said.

 Although Uber has its supporters, the company also has its opposers. Special Ed teacher Allison Rennie says that her experience with Uber was not so pleasant.

 “I was in Boston this year on vacation, and I did not have a rental car, I used Uber a few times. Probably two of the times I used Uber the driver was taking us the long way around, I think to drive up the fair,” Rennie said.

Rennie says that she noticed the trick being played right away, and was able to call the driver out on it.

 “The thing with smart phones is you can actually map the ride and so you can see where you’re going even though we weren’t too familiar with the area, we knew they were taking us in the wrong direction,” Rennie said. “So we had a pretty bad experience.”

 Although Rennie had a poor experience with the ride, she was able to call the company and get a refund.

Uber seems to have a promising future ahead. With a catchy company name and a excellent idea behind the app, connecting riders and drivers has never been easier than this. Uber allows cities to be more accessible, while at the same time allowing more opportunities for the riders

by -
0 664

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.”

by -
0 595

Yesterday, DGS had lightning strike its campus causing a series of electrical issues in the building. The strike affected power lines on 63rd street, and there was a school-wide power shut down after 4 p.m. in order for ComEd to continue their repairs.

Associate Principal Omar Davis discussed the severity of the damage of the school’s structure and the status of the school’s repairs.

“There isn’t any major damage to the building structure…In terms of our infrastructure, electrical feeds into our building, those are fine too. For the most part, our building is sound in terms of [permanent damage]. We all know that process of a fuse blowing… we are working with the electrical company to come out and change over those fuses… they’re pretty high in voltage so we definitely want a specialized individual to come out and do that,” Davis said. “We can’t really put a time on [the repairs]. We are confident that things will be back up and running to 100 percent by the start of school on Monday… Right now we are at 90 percent in terms of functionality of classrooms.”

Davis also explained how some devices remain unable to work properly.

“We may have individual classroom speakers [or other devices] that were plugged in that may not be operational anymore. Sometimes when that power surge goes, the devices stop working and become burned out. We may have a few of those but, then again, those are replaceable.”

This morning, a team of administrators held a meeting to discuss the impact of the electrical issues on students, staff and classrooms. Davis opened up about the meeting’s discussions regarding these conflicts.

“There’s lots of problems to solve but a few of the things that we do look at in the building first to make sure we have working is, in no particular order, our cafeteria,water,heating, cooling… and our classrooms,” Davis said. “The meeting this morning was just to give our department chairs an update of what happened with the lightning strike, the work done overnight,…and now working today to move classes, if necessary, so that instruction can continue in those classes.”

The repairs ComEd performed restored a majority of the school’s power except for some areas within the B Hallway including the B hallway elevator, auditorium, little theater, a few classrooms on all three floors and the B hallway closet that affects wireless connectivity for some classrooms.

Among these areas, one of the growing concerns were shifted towards the effects to the B hallway bathrooms. Davis explained the cause for these malfunctions.

“We had a few issues in the men’s bathroom on the third floor in the B hallway…,” Davis said. “An electrical issue in the building does not affect the water…when you have automatic flushers and don’t have the manuals, that automatic flusher will not operate.”

Davis commented on the successes of resolving issues leading up to today.

“We made out pretty good. We made out in terms of having classes that were needed to move were moved and everyone’s happy,” Davis said. “It was a good day. It was a little crazy, but we made it through.”

Compiled by Joe Stellato and Sara Guagliardo

by -
0 697


Principal Schwartz’s message

A severe thunderstorm took it’s toll on Downers Grove South’s power. During third period lightning struck causing a power outage, which led to the use of back up generators.

Sophomore Jared Vosicky explained his initial reaction to the power outage.

“I was like ‘ah, what’s going on?’… My teacher [said] it felt like the school got struck by lightning and then freaked out and thought there was a fire. So, I got up and ran out of my classroom,” Vosicky said.

DGS Dean Angela Earwood explained the unlikeliness that DGS students will have an early dismissal because of the lack of transportation.

The news so far as explained in Principal Schwartz’s message is that the building does have partial power; it has two lines missing with a generator working as a back up. Some staff members  turned off their lights to conserve energy till the end of the school day.

Compiled by Jamilla Jackson, Joe Stellato and Guadalupe Valdivia


by -
0 862

    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.



by -
0 679

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.

by -
0 629

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.”