What we’re reading now

MARVEL MOVIES:  http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/29/showbiz/marvel-explainer-movies/

EBOLA RECOVERY: http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/29/health/ebola-us-recovery/

WORLD SERIES: http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/kansas-city-san-francisco-definitive-world-series-showdown/story?id=26533045

SCIENCE AND RELIGION: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/pope-francis-sides-with-science-on-big-bang-theory/

ROBOT ASSISTANTS: http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2014/10/28/lowes-debuts-customer-service-robots-in-store

#HeForShe gone viral


In society, women often are stereotyped as bossy if they want to lead; men, stereotyped as weak if they feel the impulse to cry. According to actor Emma Watson, “This has to stop.”

On Sept. 21, Watson gave a speech at the United Nations as Global Goodwill Ambassador for U.N. Women. In Watson’s #HeForShe Campaign, she addressed gender equality, inviting  men to join the fight:  “Gender equality is your issue, too.”

“When, at 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of their beloved sports teams because they didn’t want to appear muscly,”  Watson explained, “when, at 18, my male friends were unable to express their feelings, I decided I was a feminist.”

Watson’s speech received critical acclaim, as well as hate. This included comments on Twitter and sexual threats. Despite the threats, there was support.

British 15-year-old Ed Holtom commented in a letter to London’s Sunday Telegraph: “Feminism is not about man-hating or female supremacy. It is by definition the opposite,” Holtom wrote. “It’s pretty simple really: If you believe in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes then you’re a feminist.”

Watson has won support from  other celebrities such as Beyoncé, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hiddleston.

Twitter and other social media continue to trend the fight for equal rights.

“If not me, who? If not now, when?” Watson said as the closing of her speech.

Her words have gone viral and may have paved a road for change, not only at the United Nations but globally.

Oinks like Jagger?


When thinking of the objects that bear Mick Jagger’s image, an extinct pig species isn’t exactly the first thing to come to mind. However, that was exactly what was in the head of Ellen Miller, an archaeologist uncovering fossils in the Egyptian desert and long-time Stones enthusiast. This deer-sized species lived millions of years ago when Egypt was swampy. The Jaggermeryx nadia looks like a very skinny hippo, and is an ancestor of modern-day pigs. Jaggermeryx nadia directly translates to “Jagger’s Water Nymph” in Latin. It was named for Jagger because of its large lips used for foraging along riverbanks. The pig’s name almost went to Angelina Jolie who is also known for her voluptuous mouth.

It may seem uncommon to name an animal species after a famous figure. In actuality it’s a very everyday occurrence. Barack Obama alone has over 10 species bearing his name. Insects are the most common animals to get celebrity names, and wasps are the leading species to be named after famous people. Ellen DeGeneres, Shakira, Jimmy Fallon, Lady Gaga, and Pink Floyd all have wasps named in their honor. Arnold Schwarzenegger shares his named with a beetle having abnormally large biceps. There are a variety of animals named after Steve Irwin, ranging from a turtle to a snail.

There are quite a few ways to get a species named after you. There’s always the option of making a significant donation to a scientific organization or wildlife park. However, that takes some big money ($2,000+). Becoming famous and having a defining characteristic takes a very long time, and is probably not an option for most. The easiest route to take is to discover the species on your own. Which is actually a lot more difficult than one might think. I personally believe your best bet is to marry an influential species-discovering scientist and see where that goes. If all else fails, you can unofficially name a species, or just settle for a self-named star.

Titan German club enjoys a traditional holiday


Oktoberfest was celebrated by the German club on Sept. 22. The holiday was commemorated with games, food, and music.

Oktoberfest has been around since 1810, but not everyone knows its original purpose. “Originally it was the celebration of a wedding between Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese on Oct. 17, 1810,” German teacher Tessa Hanson said. “People enjoyed it and turned it into a harvest festival.”

To celebrate, the German club ate brats, and drank root beer and spezi (a soft drink made with cola and orange soda). They also played traditional games such as fingerhakeln (finger wrestling), Beer stein holding (they filled a glass mug up with water and had a competition to see who could hold it at arms length the longest), and listened to traditional Bavarian pop music called Wiesn hits. A Wiesn hit is released at every Oktoberfest.

Even if you missed the German Club’s festival, you can still catch parts of the real thing or plan your own celebration. This year’s festival officially starts Oct. 20.

Titan Band off to a successful start


On Saturday, Sept. 20, the Titan Band successfully took home grand champions from their first competition at the Millard West Wildcat Classic band competition. After performing songs from Star Trek, The Planets, and the Jetsons, the band won grand champions, best effect, best music, best visual, and best color guard.

The stress of the first competition did cause nerves and stage fright, but the success of grand champions felt rewarding to some members in the end. Emily Nelson, a senior experiencing her first year of Titan Band, was very nervous and shocked to discover the outcome, “It was very surprising to win grand champs. I was not expecting to beat all those other schools because they’ve won state and other things in the past, but it was really rewarding. We’ve been rehearsing for the past three months and it was a big relief to actually see it pay off.”

After a great start to the season and under the direction of a new director, Mr. Ron Hardin, the students felt very confident and ready to tackle the next marching band competitions. Logan Banister, a senior saxophonist in the marching band, is very pleased with the change of direction within the band. “I think our win at Millard West was largely due to how we’re approaching things this year. Rather than being focused on winning, we’re focused on the process of getting better. We don’t worry about other bands and compete against our last performance and try to improve on that,” Banister said.

The Titan Band took a break the next weekend by hosting a band competition at the high school, and after that they continued practicing for their upcoming competition…the Capitol City Championships held in Lincoln. On Saturday, October 4, the Titan Band continued their winning streak after gaining the title of grand champions, best visuals, and best effect.

Mr. Hardin’s new process seems to be working well for the Titan Band, and PLSHS is excited to see how the marching band season will continue.  “Mr. Hardin’s focus on the process has had a huge impact on the group. We’re starting to all buy in to that process and it’s making us much more successful. It’s definitely a new atmosphere, but he’s brought a lot of great insight and expertise to help us grow,” says Banister.

After the success at the Millard and Lincoln, the Titan Band will continue to compete against their biggest opponent…themselves. Determined to improve from the last performance, who knows what’s in store at this weekend’s competition in Burke.

It’s not too late to get a Homecoming date


It’s that time of year again, time to sit back and scroll through your Twitter and Instagram feeds and either A. Cry, or B. Take notes. Yes, I’m talking about Homecoming proposal season. Since our Homecoming here at PL South is a little later than usual this year, we’ve all (maybe just me) been able to creep thoroughly on girls from other schools’ pictures to see what dresses are hot this season and also how they were adorably asked to the dance. That’s where the crying and note taking come in. Girls, you’re (again, maybe just me) crying because you’re thinking,”I’LL NEVER GET ASKED AS CUTE AS SHE WAS I’M #FOREVERALONE.” And boys, you’re taking notes on the creative and successful proposals. We’re getting down to the wire here, so here are a couple of ideas for you last-minute date seekers.

photo 1photo 2

Take a cue from our own Aaron Rothermund as he asked fellow senior Annie Westcott to the Oct. 11 dance using a candy Mad Lib. Of course she said yes! Tip: Girls love food. A lot.

Girls, don’t be discouraged! Take control! Senior Casey Schendt asked a friend from Papillion-La Vista High School using yet another food pun. How could he resist? Tip: Boys love food. A lot.

Time is running out, so before you suit up or dress up for the big night, grab a date to share this memorable evening. Girls, dry those tears! Put on a brave face and ask him if it’s taking too long! Boys, better late than never. Even a simpe box of chocolates will do the trick. Like I said, FOOD EQUALS GOOD HAPPY TIMES. Hope to see you all Oct. 11 looking spiffy with your equally spiffy dates!

All the news that’s fit to tweet



LOCAL SALUTE: Jennifer Malandra was not only back in Papillion, but winning things once again. Formerly, Jenny Rubin, Malandra was the very first athlete to be put in the Hall of Champions for her achievements in cross country and track. On August 23, at the Papillion Lavista School District Gala, she became the first alumni to be inducted into the PLV Schools Foundation Hall of Fame. After high school and college she went on to join the military and is now one of the only woman nuclear engineers working on her ship (the USS Ronald Reagan) in San Diego. Her advice for future inductees would be “The future is something you shouldn’t be nervous about, it’s gonna happen either way, if you’re ready for it or not. You really need to live in the present ”.

WEBnobullNO BULL: Just when you thought you’d seen it all, a giant bull shows up in your front yard and stays for a while. This was the case for Sam Denker, a sophomore who had the pleasure of having the brand new UNO Maverick Monument (a bronze bull that stands eight feet tall and weighs over a ton), in front of his house before it was moved to its permanent spot at UNO. For about 2 days, the giant bull confused and entertained the neighbors and drew the attention of passersby. However, being the talk of the neighborhood is difficult according to Denker, “You’re just trying to mow the lawn and everybody’s stopping by”. The monument arrived from Alpine, Utah, and after making a two-day pit stop at the Denker household, was installed at UNO using a 90-ton crane. This huge bull was a tribute to the 100th anniversary of the UNO Alumni Association and it’s new home is right across Health, Physical Education, and Recreation building on the main UNO campus. After the eight foot bull was ‘unleashed’ at UNO and vanished from his front yard, Denker says “I missed it, I became emotionally attached”.

BIG MONEY: Last year, the bar was set incredibly high when a record 13.8 million dollars in scholarships was given to the graduating class of 2014. With the number steadily rising every year it’s hard to tell if it can be topped in 2015. Scholarship Secretary, Mrs. Rolfzen says “Every year it just seems that it keeps going up.” Let’s hope this years senior class can keep with the pattern.

WEBcupcakeTASTY DEVELOPMENT: Unless you are horribly out of the loop (or are strange and don’t like cupcakes) you probably know about the new cupcakery that has opened on the corner of 84th and 370. Smallcakes bakery opened in June, and has sold around 20,000 cakes so far. This chain has been featured on the FoodNetwork and was named USA Today’s “Best Cupcake”. If you so desire, they are available online for shipping in individual jars and come in a wide variety of flavors. After they arrive they are good for about 4-6 days, not that they’d last that long. The cupcakes are baked fresh every day to keep the cake nice and moist. This store’s best sellers are Peanut Butter, Birthday Cake, and Chocoholic. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the Chocolate Cream and the Red Velvet. Plus, at $3.25 each, these suckers are a bargain, especially if you get the four cakes for $10 deal. Not a bad way to ask someone to Homecoming, if I do say so myself. So grab your sweet tooth and head on over to Smallcakes for the most generously frosted cupcakes in town.

WEBchikON THE LOOKOUT: Late at night on Aug. 15, a topiary cow head was stolen from the Bellevue Chick-fil-a. While this poor cow still remains headless, a $250 reward for its return has been issued. The cow, named Betsy, has sentimental meaning to the manager’s family, and they haven’t had a good night’s sleep since their cow’s head has been snatched. If you have any knowledge of its current whereabouts please contact (402)292-2337 and don’t forget to take a selfie with it.

Students score scholarships


Millions of dollars in scholarships are given out every year to athletes of all sports for their talents and abilities. People end up watching these athletes of the Division 1 level on television and watch the ability of these student-athletes. What many may not know is that we have a few of these athletes here at PL South in Seniors Luke Sellers and Ryan Earith as well as Juniors Josh Manchigiah and Raegan LeGrand. All four of these athletes have been offered scholarships at the Division 1 level, a 2% chance and certainly an accomplishment for athletes. The first scholarship offer is generally the biggest and most anticipated of them all and when asked how they felt after their first offers, the other athletes are in agreement with Senior Luke Sellers when he said he felt “overwhelmed with excitement.”

When athletes receives multiple scholarship offers, they have a big choice to make. They have to choose, or commit , to one school by February 14 of their senior year. Many athletes, however, verbally commit earlier, such as Ryan Earith who, over the summer, committed to South Dakota State University.

Earith said his decision was based on the fact that he “really liked South Dakota State because of the feeling of family and how comfortable it was there.”

WEBLeGrandinActionRaegan LeGrand recently committed to play volleyball for the University of Southern California. “I fell in love with the West Coast, campus, weather, and the family atmosphere,” she said.

“I love the coaches and the high caliber of play,”  the Titan volleyball player said about USC. “It’s a place where everyone has the same goal: a National Championship.”

Both athletes said they were happy with their commitment and for the most part felt they knew what was in store for them.

Sellers and Manchigiah are still undecided on where they will play.

“I am still young and have a lot of time to decide,” Manchigiah said. “I would really like to have an Iowa and Minnesota offer soon. Time will tell,” he said.

Sellers said he, too, is still waiting on his options. “I haven’t committed yet because I believe I can earn more offers and broaden my choices,” he said. Among one of the the offers he would like to receive: “I really like Nebraska because of the great tradition and atmosphere they have, all while being close to home.”

Committed or undecided, these athletes have achieved something many athletes do not. They have a chance to play college sports at the highest level while getting their education paid for. Although these athletes have had hard work pay off they all agree with Sellers when he said “the work’s just starting. My focus is on state this season and becoming a better player and person through my sport.”

College isn’t for everyone

Some have career plans that bypass classrooms


With so many careers out there to choose from, it’s often hard to find something that fits you. There’s college, trade school, tech school-all kinds of different places that will help you be successful in what you choose to do. There’s even the option of taking community classes at Metropolitan Community College. However, school in general isn’t for everyone. The majority of high school graduates go to college, this is to show the small percentage of students who don’t choose that, that there is still stuff out there for them to do.

High school is the time in kids’ lives where they can test out all the different classes to figure out what they want to do for the rest of their existence. Every high school has classes that are required for one to be able to graduate; “core classes” they teach you the basic things that everyone needs such as math, science, history, and english. They’re geared more towards helping students get into four year colleges because those require a certain amount of credits.

WEBruffHowever, some students have other career path plans and aren’t thinking about college. “After I graduate I am planning on either going straight to work at DW Drums or SJC Drums… I’d rather be making less money doing what I love than sitting at a desk bored out of my mind,” said Senior Austin Ruff.

As long as you’re trying your hardest and using high school as an opportunity to prepare for future career choices, it doesn’t matter whether you go to college or not. Either way, it’s always helpful to have a goal and a plan leading up to reach that goal. So if going into high school you know what you want to do in the future, you can mold your schedule around that and take the electives that will help prepare you.

WEBchristian“I plan on getting my tattoo license and beginning my career as a tattoo artist and I have taken every art class,” said Senior Christian Persing said.

Grade school is free education and when students get into junior high and high school they start seeing opportunities they couldn’t in lower grades.

Some kids don’t plan on going to college so they don’t see the value in school but there are so many other things that they could get out of it if they did try. Sophomore, Tyler Walth chose the military route, “I want to join the Navy and I signed up for ROTC and plan to take it all four years to prepare for Navy life and work… My uncle, who is ex-Navy inspired me to look into joining. He’s just a big part of my life and made the navy sound really cool,” Walth said.

In some cases, it may just take a little family support and encouragement for students to achieve their dreams and reach their goals. What makes you happy is what really matters in the long run. “My family is very supportive, though I’m sure they would have preferred a different career path for me, they know this is what I need,” explains Christian.

College doesn’t spark everyone’s interest, sometimes they want to do something that doesn’t require a college education. If you’re confident and hard working, doing what you love will be worth it because you will make it.

District inks new contract

Print budgets, and habits, change throughout school


Every school year there are changes from the last year. This school year, the Papillion-La Vista School District made a huge change that is expected to save time, money and paper. The district has a new print contract through Ricoh.

Last school year our school spent $54,124.91 on printing costs alone. With the new plan in place, Papillion La-vista south high school could make the same amount of copies as last year and save over $15,000. These funds saved can go toward new growth in the school district like the new junior high school or the new elementary school.

The new contract has included a new maintenance contract and new copiers (called MFD’s) in all district buildings. “A couple of things [motivated this change], we had a person in our print shop retiring and some of our equipment contracts were expiring, so we were looking to upgrade,” District accounting and purchasing coordinator Scott Billings said.

The ultimate goal of the plan is to save money. The new plan is expected to cut printing costs in half.

Through the new plan with Ricoh, it costs half a cent to print through the print shop, it costs 1 cent to print through the copy machines in the building, it costs 1.65 cents to print to a black and white printer, and 7.2 cents to print in color. In addition, the new machines are much more efficient.

Not only will the new contract save money, but it’s good for the environment, too. “There were giant stacks of forgotten papers printed,” Billings said. “I’m sure we will save many thousands of cases of paper.”

The new system will help prevent forgotten documents by not printing them until the person is there to pick them up. “When teachers print to the PLSD print service they have to go there, swipe their card and choose what they actually want to be printed,” Kati Settles, assistant principal of Papillion La-vista South High School said.

The district will be able to better keep track of what is being printed with the new plan. “We’ll know what user is using what machine and how much and often they print,” Billings said. “This will give us a better idea of what is being printed by schools.”

Papillion-La Vista South we have 5 copiers and 8 printers  for use free of charge.“We are unique that we don’t charge students to print,” Settles said. “One thing I have learned is that we are very fortunate to be doing what we are doing.”

Students will not have to swipe a card to print like the teachers do. They can print from any computor lab. Each lab has a designated printing location.

No change happens without some bumps in the road. Compared to last year, Papillion La-vista South high school has a significantly lower amount of printers. When one of them breaks down there is one fewer printer available to teachers and students.

Students may have noticed how teachers have been printing less. From using less worksheets to not printing off handouts, teachers have been affected by the lower number of printers. In addition to the boatload of changes that come at the beginning of a new school year, students and teachers at south had to adjust to new printing system. “It would have been great if it could have been done sooner, but in order for it to be on this year’s budget it was not official until late July and then there was a slight delay with getting the copiers in,” Settles said.

The Health academy is one example of students and teachers using less paper. Health academy students receive a laptop from the district, which allows their teachers assign online homework.

Junior Caitlyn Crowe, a student in the health academy, described the process for assignments. “We use word to write it out or we use the program that they give us and then we use DROPBOX to turn it in,” Crowe said.

Going from having many machines in the building to having only 13 is big a change. This change will require a lot of adjusting from all students and teachers. “It’s not that I don’t prefer it; it is that I am not used to it,” Crowe said.