Personal Columns

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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

https://www.lcif.org/EN/support-our-work/donate-now.php

 Nepal t shirt design

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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.

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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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“High school is the best four years of your life.”

Yeah, right, OK. I’m not sure I buy that.

“I can’t wait to graduate and leave this place behind.”

Really? I’m not on board with this one either.

As much as I’m not going to miss measuring time with bells, riding in yellow buses and changing into a Physical Education uniform every day, I can’t say that I’m ready to turn the page on the last four years of my life and never look back.

In the last four year I’ve grown a lot—we all have. Morphing from a 14-year-old teenager into an 18 year-old young adult is a big change and I don’t think anyone is leaving DGS the exact same way they entered. For most of us, this has been a positive change.

These years have given us the opportunities to experience different things and taught us lessons that have molded us, in one way or another. For me, this has meant a shy, awkward girl with no idea what being passionate about something meant transforming into a confident leader with at least a little direction for my future.

Four years after I first walked these halls, because of the wonderful people I’ve met and activities I’ve had the opportunity to experience, I had the confidence to walk in the middle of the large gym. It was during a pep assembly, under a spotlight, in a dress and I got sprayed with silly string. On purpose.

But there have been more than a few memories that I cringe to think about. I grimace when I think about how I ever thought blue eye shadow would be flattering on me, the amount of Facebook photo albums I have with hearts in the title (Homecoming 2<311!!!), or heaven forbid, my freshmen year self ’s idea of ‘flirting.’ Good, bad, amazing or awkward, high school has been a time in which I have become the person I am today.

Sure, I can almost taste the freedom that I’ll find in college. That being said, I also know how many home-cooked meals I won’t be tasting next year. I’m excited to meet new people, but I’m also dreading saying goodbye to the friends I have made in high school. As much excitement as I feel for the future, I still feel nostalgia for the piece of my life that is almost over.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t want to leave high school completely in the dust. I want to move forward, but I want to remember the person I’ve been throughout my time at DGS. I want to remember the people I’ve met, the mistakes I’ve made and the way I’ve grown.

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As a junior high student, finally getting to go onto high school felt like my biggest achievement even though it was bound to happen. It was all I could think about throughout my eighth grade year.

Although switching schools in the middle of my high school career wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, it did bring good news. My old high school required 52 credits to graduate, while DGS only requires 22.

My first thought was to inquire about an early graduation, and lucky me, I was qualified for it. I wanted so badly to move on with my life since high school was nothing like I had imagined it to be. The hallways were overcrowded and everyone was a stranger to me.

After meeting with my counselor and having her add up the credits that transferred and subtract it from the credits I need, it became apparent that within one year of a vigorous school schedule, I could graduate in three years rather than four years. Since I was determined, I took the opportunity.

Although this is my last year in high school, it has not come without an over abundance of work. I hold a job and a packed school schedule. Instead of eight class periods, I have nine, plus an online Consumer Ed class. On top of that, I work roughly 20 hours a week. This is easily the hardest I have ever had to work in school, but I am beyond excited to have an opportunity to graduate an entire year early 

I was so drawn to an early graduation because I have always been ambitious about my future career. I want to be a music journalist for the magazine, Alternative Press based out of Ohio. Alternative Press offers internships to students in college and living in the area. Granted I can hopefully be lucky enough to receive an internship to their company come 2016, but if I have the chance to make my dream come true sooner, why wouldn’t I take it?

Being able to graduate early means I can start on my career sooner than I imagined, and get myself into the real world quicker. Because I can graduate this year, I’m applying for colleges in and around Ohio for the upcoming 2015 spring semester and looking into that magazine internship sooner than I could have imagined.

 As excited and grateful I am for this opportunity, graduating early is not for everyone. Just because my high school career isn’t one I can say I loved dearly doesn’t mean yours might not be. Enjoy high school and all the opportunities that come with it. I know I did, and because of that I’m on my way to a promising future a year sooner than I expected.

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Marketing a product for the teenage population is a hard task to do. Teens can see something as a simple add for a TV show as lame or “uncool” and immediately vote it off as something they don’t like. It makes it incredibly hard for companies to market their product to teenage girls.

That’s why companies in today’s world act as piranhas and aim their advertisements at teenage girls, exploiting their insecurities and making them feel as if they aren’t good enough so the girls will feel as if they need their product to be a better person.

A company will take a certain aspect of a girl that a majority of the population doesn’t like, and make a product that “fixes the problem.” They will then make advertisements aimed at young women to help sell the products such as make-up and brightly colored clothing.

Because it’s an awkward time for teenagers, boy or girl, companies zero-in on the insecurities that many teenagers have. Girls then go and make the products that are aimed toward making them popular, making the companies wise and thinking that they can continue with the process of getting their products popular.

Teenage girls need to realize that they do possess power. They posses the power to make or break these companies. They shouldn’t let their campaigns make them believe they aren’t amazing in their own way. They shouldn’t be influenced in what they say, it’s something you decide for yourself.

I hope that girls realize this so they can take a stand against companies bullying people into their standard of beauty. They can boycott a company and tell their families and friends to not shop there. If only a couple people do, no one will notice that people are upset with their company, but if thousands stand together, they will notice.

Many companies today have ads that sometimes have absolutely nothing to do with their products. Such as Abercrombie & Fitch, whose add for clothes almost always involve half naked people. The ad is aimed at girls and boys who are self conscious about their bodies enough and think they have to look like a model to wear their clothes, which isn’t the case.

As I’m sure many before me have said, beauty isn’t defined by what the the general population says is beautiful. It’s something you have to define for yourself. You can’t let a company say that how you wear your hair is wrong or how you like to wear your eyeliner isn’t the way it’s suppose to be.

The ads many companies put out are incredibly photoshopped to give the illusion that whomever is in these ads is perfect. Many realize that the models in the photos aren’t all a size double zero, and that their pictures have been edited to give the effect of a flawless person.

Some companies have taken the high road when it comes to photoshopping their advertisements to make the model in the ad perfect. Aerie, a popular teen clothing store, has vowed to stop using photoshop on the model in their ads. I think that is a fantastic way to make girls feel better about their body types, and makes sure they don’t feel bad about things they can’t control, such as how big their calves and arms might be.

As a teenage girl, I think companies making an advertisement that can make a girl feel bad about themselves is a horrible thing to do. I don’t think that whoever is making the advertisements aims to make girls feel bad, they just want an ad to draw in customers and be appealing to the eyes. They don’t start with the intention to target vulnerable girls into thinking they aren’t pretty because they don’t look like an airbrushed model.

Companies need to stop bullying their customers into thinking they aren’t beautiful the way they are. It’s hurting their self esteem and making them feel as if they aren’t good enough for anyone, which is never the case. Girls should embrace their individualism and stop thinking they have to fit a stereotype a company made up in order to make money off vulnerable women.

 

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So you want to be a lawyer, but you want tattoos too? No, not allowed. What about a doctor? Probably not. But you’re just trying to express yourself, right?

 

Although tattoos are becoming more and more popular, the debate over how accepted they can be in professional workplaces is still up in the air.

 

A tattooed subculture has become a less shocking sight to see with numerous people engraving their bodies with ink and memories to hold with them until they no longer breathe.

 

I’m a 17 year old with the world at my fingertips, it pains me that because I plan on being covered in tattoos as the years pass, I have to make a wise choice on what path I choose to take when it comes to a career.

 

Although it would seem the choice is easy, I cannot draw myself away from the tattooed person I plan and hope to be.

 

When I was younger I would always talk about becoming a lawyer and making a ton of money and working my own hours, but as I grew up I started following a new trend: tattoos and body modifications. I found myself more and more wrapped up in their beauty and the stories behind them.

 

I could easily just get tattooed in places that can be covered up with professional attire, but that would leave so much empty space on my canvas of a body.

 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that careers need to lighten up on self-expression. If someone wants to have a tattoo that can’t be covered up, why not let him or her? Maybe not a law firm, but there are several job settings that do not allow tattoos or facial piercings that I feel should.

 

Even now as an employed teenager, I am getting discriminated against simply for my decision to get facial piercings. I got my lip pierced twice in 2011, and I simply got it done for no other reason than I wanted it. I started working at my current job last July, and written in the handbook was that piercings and tattoos were allowed. I never had any concern about my lip rings, and for months on end, neither did customers or other employees.

 

Just recently, however, a customer called in to give a formal complaint about my piercings; asking for the manager and giving him my name. Though a complaint about how I do my job would have been valid, this man simply wanted to complain about my piercings, further proving the unnecessary discrimination given to people with out-of-the-ordinary but purposeful appearance differences.

 

Another example on an even larger scale is of a law that was passed in 2009 requiring Dallas police officers to cover up every tattoo they have with clothing or even makeup. But why is this? In the eyes of the public, having a lot of tattoos makes a person look suspicious and more like a criminal.

 

This seems so ignorant to me though. Coming from someone who has no criminal history and still wants loads of body art, I feel strongly about tattoos not being allowed in most workplaces.

 

And though I do feel this way, society has made it obvious that tattoos and body mods are not yet accepted in several places so the best I can do, or anyone for that matter is weigh out what is more important… any career path offered to me, or a body full of visual stories.

 

Self-expression is a powerful tool, and I strongly believe anyone should be allowed to express themselves any way they choose, even if it means getting a big tattoo all down their arm. There is no reason a teen like me should have to feel so conflicted when choosing a life for themself. The choice is mine, and no matter which I choose, I’ll never stop expressing myself.

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Winter is all about the snow trickling down from the sky, and the cozy houses to relax and stay warm in. Kids build snowmen and drink hot cocoa. And who can forget Christmas?

When I was younger, I always looked forward to Christmas morning when I would run down the old, creaky stairs of my childhood home into the living room to see what good ‘ol Santa Claus brought me. I remember the warm, comforting feeling I had in my stomach while tearing through the perfectly wrapped paper before seeing the gifts I was given.

The mystery and surprise I had as I opened each gift was a feeling ill never forget. But now, all I see is greedy kids that feel entitled to whatever they receive.

Though I like Christmas, I am sick of the sense of entitlement it gives to so many people.

I just think people get so wrapped up in the materialistic value of Christmas that they forget the deeper values embedded in such a holiday.

As the years passed, I noticed more and more friends and family falling in love with the presents they were given, and not with the way they spend their time on their Christmas holiday. I’m not trying to say that people should only celebrate Christmas for the religious aspect, but I think it’s more important to be grateful for all you have, instead of looking forward to all the gifts that will be given to you.

For me, Christmas has always been about family, and watching the faces of all my relatives light up with joy because we haven’t seen each other in a long time. Yes, gifts are exchanged, but nothing overpriced and out of this world for a kid my age. That was never the only thing I looked forward to.

I will never understand why people think they have to go all out for Christmas gifts.

It is nice to spend money on the ones you love to get them things they would love, but no one should ever think they are entitled to outrageous gifts.

Christmas is less about the presents, and more about the joy and spirit of happiness that should fill every soul on this earth.

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By Catherine Petric, photo editor

Your heart is pounding, your mind is racing, and you find it hard to focus on anything but the moment. You hear the sounds blaring from the speakers and you know that this is where you belong. For myself, it’s standing in the crowd in a tightly packed music venue as I watch dedicated musicians perform their life’s work. It’s my passion, and something I hold dear to my heart.

 

            I find it ridiculous when people think or say you can’t be devoted to music unless you play it. If you define passion in its most basic form, it is a strong and uncontrollable emotion. Now if you ask me, by that definition, being passionate about music is so much more than simply playing it.

 

Ever since I was about nine years old, I have always turned to music when I was upset. Whether it was little things like arguments between friends to major issues like the divorce of my parents, music was always a form of coping.

 

I was never a fan of talking, whether it been to a parent or a friend. However, there’s something about the angst filled guitar riffs and meaningful yet metaphorical lyrics of the music I listen to that always made any trouble I had seem only temporary.

 

On Oct. 12, I saw my absolute favorite band in the entire world— Being As An Ocean— for the first time. As I approached Mojoes, the venue that I have been to so many times before, my anxiety rose because I knew how emotional I would be by the end of the night when the fifth—and last band of that night, Senses Fail—performed their last song.

 

It wasn’t until they stepped on stage that an overwhelming feeling filled my body from head to toe. I shoved my way to the front and as I stood against the metal barrier that separated the band from the crowd, I came face to face with the vocalist of Being As An Ocean. I can’t remember a time when I have ever yelled as loud as I did that night as I screamed the lyrics to every song they played.

 

The last song of their set was my personal favorite, a song called “This Loneliness Won’t Be The Death Of Me.” As soon as the opening guitar intro roared through the speakers, I could no longer hold in my emotions.

 

My eyes filled with tears as I walked to the back of the venue in hopes to mask the intense emotion from the other concert goers. Because I had been so passionate about the lyrics and had taken that song to heart, the feelings the came from it were out of my control.

 

So, for me, as a kid who attends at least two “shows,” or concerts each month, the emotional attachment I have to the majority of them is equivalent to the passion one feels while playing an instrument. If passion truly is the strong and uncontrollable emotion provoked because of something else, then people who say someone can only call music their passion if they play it are completely wrong.

 

I don’t physically play music, but I’ve never been so passionate about something in my life.

 

Since I’ve been going to shows regularly, I have realized that this is something I want to make a life out of. When I grow up, I want to be a music journalist. Without music, I would have never come to that realization.

 

Because of music and the love I have for it, I want to actually devote my life to writing about it, attending the shows I have been to for years, and meeting the members of every band I have always looked up to.

 

I like to think of music as my life, and if anyone else feels the same way, whether or not you physically play music should be irrelevant. Passion is more than physical talent; passion is feeling something when you thought there was nothing left to feel.