Students’ award-winning art goes on display

BY LAUREN FEDEN

Gold and Silver awards are not usually given out for art, but the scholastic art and writing awards do just that. Artists from high schools all over Nebraska submit works to be judged. The judges receive thousands of submissions and have to narrow them down to a few hundred.

Our school was awarded 28 awards and 15 individual students were recognized. All of the artwork is on display in the Omaha TAC building downtown. The building is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00PM and is open on Saturday from 8:00 to 12:00. The artwork will be on display from February 23rd to March 31st. Support your fellow students by visiting the display!

The students receiving the awards are ecstatic. “I was really excited and couldn’t believe that I had won anything,” junior Mariah Allen said.

Receiving this award is no small honor, and the students know that. “This award means potential scholarships and is looked very highly upon in the art world,” Senior Raina Watson said. “Scholastic art award alumni have done fantastic things and are role models for sure.”

The reward of the award is a great motivator, but it takes a lot to put something as personal as artwork up for judgment. “I was not confident in my painting and I wasn’t sure I would get an award,” Junior Anna Vu said. “When I got the gold key, it gave me more confidence in my art and talents.”

A lot of work goes into creating these pieces, but submitting the art is quite a task too. “We at the school pick a few, we photo them and submit a digital copy,” Art teacher Mary Todero said. “We are notified and get them ready for display and have to take them down to the Omaha TAC building.”

Be sure to check out the display at the TAC building this weekend and honor all of the hard work done by the Papillion-La Vista south art department.

Girls basketball shoots for crowd support

BY TRISTON FAIRCHILD

From dunks to fast breaks, the game of basketball is a high-flying, energizing, spectator sport that entices many to attend the games of girls and boys each week from grade school to professional leagues. Here at PL South, we have two competitive basketball teams, a girls and a boys, with the high flying players, the shooters, and the role players on each team. The uniforms are similar in taste, the cost to get in is the same, the games are on the same day, even back-to-back. The same number of players are on the court and the rules are the same, but when it comes to attendance, it’s a different story.

It doesn’t take much to compare the crowds at the boys game to the girls. The difference is noticed by many and the lop-sided attendance is in favor of the boys. The boys game is always much more populated than the girls. On the topic of support, Sophomore Baileigh Nuzum, point guard for the girls team, said, “It makes us feel unimportant.”

Why do more people go to the boys game than the girls? The question is not simple to answer. The current athletic director of PL South and former girls basketball girls coach of 16 years at Leigh and  Norfolk, Mr. Van Ackeren, believes, “The pace of the game is probably a lot of [the reason]. You think of dunks, speed, and a different style of play when you think of boys basketball. Although there are many girls who can play to the same speed as the boys.”

WEBgirlsbball2There is another idea about why there are fewer spectators at the girls game. Mr. Van Ackeren said, “ When I first started coaching girls, the games were on separate nights as the boys. The girls would play Thursday and the boys would play on Friday. Now, it’s structured to where the girls game is treated by many as a JV game because they play before the boys, just like the JV used to. I think if the girls played on a different night, there would be more support.”

Some say pop culture and American tradition have something to do with it. Senior Aaron Rothermund, guard for the boys team believes, “The game of basketball has become all about the flash, glitz, and glamour.”

Pop culture may think the same way, as NBA star LeBron James is always on Sports Center, whereas WNBA standout Brittany Griner is a far less frequent face on the channel. Freshman Taylor Beacom, point-guard for the girls team said, “I think showing boys on Sports Center puts out the image that boys are way more athletic, which isn’t true.”

The issue of lopsided support between girls and boys basketball extends beyond our school and has been for ages, but the reasoning may surprise some.

When asked about the reasoning of unbalanced support, Beacom said, “People think that girls basketball is less exciting because it is a little bit slower paced.”

In Mr. Van Ackeren’s experience, the boys and gilrs teams feed off of eachother. He said, “[In our school] The girls basketball support depends on the success of the boys.”

This may lead to less spectators coming to support their local girls team and may also explain why, as a culture, we are more apt to go to boys games rather than girls.

Freshman Malory Voyles, a regular at the boy’s basketball games, said, “Boys basketball is more fun to watch because it is way more aggressive. It’s also always been boys basketball as the main focus. Its a tradition.”

When asked what needed to be changed to encourage spectators to come to the girls basketball games, Nuzum also said, “The themes need to be better. We can try to make attending the girls games more fun by bringing in brand-new and never before seen themes to encourage crowd participation.”

To fans and spectators across the country, the difference in crowd size between the two genders of the same sport may seem highly unfair and even unjustified. To change how girls basketball games are seen in our school and community, and even basketball as a whole, it starts with the student body. It starts with you.

10 Questions with STUCO’s Carl Thon

WEBcarlBY BAILEY WHITE

Making a change for the greater good isn’t always easy, but senior Carl Thon is doing it one step at a time. Carl is a part of the project “Spread the Word to End the Word”, which is a campaign against the use of an offensive term that used to be used against people with special needs, but has come to be used as a general insult in casual conversation. He has been working with the PL South student council and other students to try to make this needed change.

1. How did you become aware of the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign?

“I became the state secretary for student council my junior year. Through the state I became a part of Project Unify and Special Olympics. Project Unify works with schools to incorporate students with special needs into sports and in classes. This past year they emphasized creating r-word campaigns. I had always known that our special ed department was a great program, but I wanted to do something to help our school to get to know the students.”

2. What was your motivation to stand by this cause?

“My main motivation was the kids and the people that the R-word is associated with. Using the R-word takes away from the talents of people we all know. Every day we see kids with special needs and yet, we are willing to use the R-word in a conversation with our friends. People don’t realize that using the word takes away from what these kids can do.”

3. What is your main goal to accomplish with this project?

“The quick goal is to end the use of the word “retard.” The long term goal is to have the school get to know the kids in the special ed department. I want to walk into Taco Bell and see kids who are hanging out with a student with special needs. I want to see a world where everyone treats them normal and knows their names. I want to see kids walk down the halls and as they pass by a student, they give them a high-five or say “hi” to them.”

4. What are you doing in order to take action?

“Well, right now I just created the video that was shown at the winter pep rally. I look forward to helping and working with students with special needs. I hope to get to know more of the kids that are in the special education department. I have eliminated the R-word from my vocabulary.”

5. How has the school been involved?

“Certain students from the school have been videotaped for the film. I made it a challenge. It’s a challenge to 1) end the use of the R-word in students’ vocabulary and 2) to get to know the students and learn who they are and what talents they have. This campaign doesn’t mean anything if no one takes it seriously and if no one actually takes the challenge.”

6. How have other students reacted to what you’re trying to do?

“From what I have heard they have thought it was a great idea. Most people have shown support, which is great. I hope that people take it in a positive way and actually take the challenge. Mr. Cain, the head of the special education department, gave me the best reaction after seeing the video. He said, “awesome,” stood up, shook my hand, and then gave me a hug. That is what made the effort that I put in worth it.”

7. Have others joined you and started helping with the cause?

“I don’t know to be honest. I have kids that helped me with the video, which I have to give them a lot of thanks for working with me, and without them the video would have never happened. The special education department was a big help in the process. So much thanks to them.”

8. How are you connected with this issue? Have you had a personal experience with the topic?

“I actually have a family member that has autism and so I have grown up around him and through that gained respect for the person he is and what he has done. I have also been around kids with special needs my whole school career. In elementary school my buddy was Ben Herek. Then in high school I was working with Special Olympics and Project Unify. Working with the video I became buddies with Noah, a special education student, and seeing him day to day is great because he always has a smile and is always willing to talk.”

9. Are you taking action outside of the school community?

“Right now I am focused on the high school. Mainly because I am directly connected, and I think I need to start small. “

10. What will you pursue after high school?

“I am looking at attending the US Naval Academy. After graduating I will serve in the Navy. After retiring from that I hope to enter into politics and hopefully run for office someday. “

Paris terror tips the mental balance

BY ADAM GADSDEN

Think about, “What is Free?”

What if I told you, you can’t say that?

What if I told you, you can’t draw that?

What if I said I’ll kill you for what you believe, take your free speech and watch you bleed?

And what if I said American doesn’t necessarily mean free?

See, we live in a democracy with the idea we can speak, draw and write what our hearts desire. And hope we are safe by what our leaders say is a constitutional wall of fire.

On Jan. 7, 12 bodies hit the floor, and a worldwide scare was out the French door.

Hundreds of shots fired, the radicals roared – ”We have avenged the prophet” – with the promise of 72 paradise virgins in store.

Was the act justified? “Hell no,” many say, they were just drawings, easily erased away.

But what would you do if it was your case and everything you believed in was being debased?

So think, “What is Free?” Americans say it’s what we are,
but to get that privilege so many troops are forever with the stars.

So, “What is Free?”

Do you have the right to speak your mind, without the fear of vengeance coming up from behind?

What would you do?

Think. Truly think.

Would you back down because of the threats terrorists proclaim?

When savagery meets the drawing board, could it be a fair game?

See, we play this game of tug-of-war against these terrorist thugs. We assume we are always right and think it is the key to be free, but just because you point out the blind does not mean you can see.

“Je suis Charlie”?

Did the French peeps die for a bigger picture, or will they just end up some type of scripture?

What is free speech? Who controls your expression?

Aggression? Oppression? Or maybe obsession?

What would happen if tomorrow we woke fearful of paying for each word we spoke?

So, think, what is free?

This is our fight, our job, our natural-born right!

What will history remember, how will we define life?

On this balance beam of freedom and fear, what will win out?

The pencil…  or the knife?

Police talk Ferguson force

BY JAMES MUELLER

Police and citizen tensions have always existed, but toward the end of 2014 and into the New Year, that tension became more media-brazen. The protests that awoke in the aftermath of Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson’s trial were the hottest topic on television and social media, and everyone had an opinion. Officer Anthony Foster, PL South’s school resource officer from the Papillion Police Department, and Officer Jim Haley, of the Omaha Police Department, both shared some thoughts, not only about the protests but police work in general.

Police officers go by the motto “to protect and serve.” Haley said that means “helping those in need.” Officer Foster elaborated, saying, “Protecting means making sure everyone’s safe; serving means that we’re here for the public. Police officers are here to assist the public, whether their car’s broken down or whether they’re in a fight or being assaulted. That’s what serving means – that we’re here for the public.”

The situation in Ferguson left many people asking if anything could have been handled differently on both sides. “The media probably contributed to getting it blown out of proportion,” Foster said. “I think the media could have handled that a little different.”

Being a police officer is a job that is reactive by nature, and being in​ Wilson’s position might be hard to figure out, but Haley said, “If I am being attacked, I will use whatever means necessary to protect my life and the lives of others.”

Foster said something similar. “From the information that I heard: If someone grabs at my weapon, the Supreme Court of the United States said that that’s a deadly force situation …. because why is that person grabbing my weapon unless they plan on using it?”

In terms of protesting, which is a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as long as protesters are not breaking the law, they can do it. “You can’t be violent, people can’t be hurt, can’t be blowing things up, assaulting people, but you can state your case,” Foster said. “It has to be reasonable, and you have to be responsible.”

When asked about what would be a good way to solve the problems in Ferguson and elsewhere, Haley said, “People just need to sit down and talk and not let outside instigators influence them.”

Foster said something similar. “Everything is yes or no. Is the law broken? Is it not broken? … I don’t think race is a factor. I think it’s what kind of person you are, and you are responsible for your own actions, whether you’re Caucasian, Hispanic or African-American.”

Law enforcement officers and video recording equipment is another controversial topic, but Haley said he was all for it. Foster agreed, saying, “I’m confident in my abilities, and I think video equipment showing what I’m doing is not only legal but it’s fair. … It’s to protect us as much as anything.”

The moniker Papillion’s Finest or Omaha’s Finest is used to describe the town’s police force. “It takes a special person to do this job, to wear a gun on their hip every single day and to go into situations where people are usually running away,” Foster said. “I think that’s what that means: I think police officers are supposed to be held to a higher standard. We’re the ones going in when everyone else is running away.”

Grow up! Relationships change as teens move into adulthood

BY LAUREN FEDEN  |  IMAGE BY EMILY TIMBY

Graduation. The word that marks the change of everything seniors know. While most would welcome the chance to say goodbye to high school, some have not yet considered what it will mean for the relationships they have built up over the years.

WEBtrustadultAfter becoming an adult, interactions with parents become different. Teresa Rolfzen, scholarships counselor, has experienced 3 children leaving for college. “You start to see them as adults and they are growing into different people,” Rolfzen said. “they start doing more for themselves.”

Being an adult comes with a good deal of independence. Not just independence from parents, but also independence to make decisions for oneself. “They are treated more like adults and their own individual selves,” Rolfzen said. “They have learned how to change tires, do laundry, pay bills – stuff we never knew they would.”

What are parents? Adults. What will all students become someday? Adults. When parent and child become equal, more respect is demanded by both sides.

“I would say there is still a lot of respect, but I think that we are a lot more open about our personal lives,” Marie Schellenberger, 9th grade English teacher, said.   “If I make a decision they don’t agree with, they still support it.”

Senior Danielle Pham thinks that she will be able to relate to her parents more. “I think I will be able to understand them more than right now,” Pham said. “Right now I don’t always understand what they do, but with more experience it could make more sense.”

In adulthood, even dating changes. “In the future, you are looking for more of a soul mate. That doesn’t really happen in high school,” senior Cody Redford said.

Pham thinks that after high school, “Dating will be more serious and you won’t have to spend every moment with them for things to be ok.”

It can be said that relationships after high school are formed on a deeper level. “It’s nice because after high school you find someone who is more compatible with you. You know more about yourself and what you are looking for in another person,” Schellenberger said.

The same can be said for friendships after high school. After being stuck with the same 400 people for four years, graduation can be a great opportunity to meet new people.

“The people who are supposed to be in your life after high school will be in your life after high school. If they are not there, that is ok,” Hamburger said.

After high school people are looking for a long-lasting career. Good work relationships in the Adult-world can have more long-term benefits than high school jobs.

“I think that outside of high school you will get jobs that you will need to be more professional for because those connections will carry on,” Redford said.

‘Connections’  can mean promotions and recommendations that are important to leading a successful career.

Through all the changes, Schellenberger urges that you “Don’t limit yourself. Remember that there is more whether you are miserable or you are ecstatic, there is far more beyond.”

Relationships built on trust are built to last

STORY AND IMAGES BY EMILY TIMBY

People tend to take for granted who they can rely on at younger ages. They always have someone telling them who to be friends with, monitor their every move, and make sure they’re safe There’s not as much to worry about. If not at home then at school where there’s only one teacher for each class in elementary school and they  seem to genuinely care about every student.

WEBtrustmomAt home could be the same or completely different. Seeing how family is at early ages can really shape how a child looks at relationships as they get older, “Your family is who you can   go to anytime, who you should be able to trust, and if you can’t trust your family, how are you going to trust anyone else?” Sophomore Jocelyn Mullen says.

Junior high and high school is where all relationships change. There are seven or eight teachers a day, more kids, more freedom, and not as much need for parental guidance. A lot changes and it’s the time people start developing how they really see others in their own mind set,.

WEBtrustkid“As you get older you have to deal with more problems and can also make more relationships. We also change as we get older,” Sophomore Matt Hansen said.

Trust plays a highly significant role in life as a teenager, it can make or break relationships. “It’s the hardest thing to earn and the easiest thing to lose,” Mullen says.

Communicating is a part of life, we do it every day. In school, at home, at work, or even just at the store. Trust isn’t for everyone though. It’s a privilege and very delicate. No one just goes to the store and shares their entire life story with the cashier. “It takes time and maintaining a good relationship, that’s when trust builds,”

One of the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships would be if it’s possible to rely on someone else without having worries. “Get to know the person before anything. I learned the hard way and it’s made me have stronger trust issues towards people. Always have your guard up until you know the person completely,” Junior Chastity Roland states.

During High school, kids start to get their first jobs, another place where trust plays an important role. Unless you know your employer personally, it’s hard to know right away if they’re safe to rely on. It would be thought that they’d be somewhat right in the head if they’re deciding who to hire but no one can tell for sure.

As part of being a boss, they have to meet everyone’s needs to a certain extent and do what they have to in order to keep employees, “You’re trusting them when they hire you to be… fair with you,” Roland states.

No matter the type of relationship, if it’s meant to last, it will. Though it can’t be controlled how other people act, it can be controlled who any kind of trust is given to. It’s not a necessity but, as said before, it’s the key to healthy relationships and the way to develop lifelong friendships.

‘Back to the Future’ Reality Check

BY ABBY CURRIE  |  MCFLY ILLUSTRATION BY KAYLIN PRATT  |  CAR ILLUSTRATION BY LOGAN RICH  | FUTURE BY ERIN LANEY

WEBmcflyOn March 22, 1989, the second “Back to the Future” was released. Screenwriters Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale tried their hands at prognosticating. In the sequel, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) take their time machine to 2015, discovering a world vastly different from their own time: 1985. When Doc and Marty travel to Oct. 21, 2015, they find flying cars. Doc said, “Where we’re going we don’t need roads.”
Junior Abi Hansen says it’s interesting how Gale and Zemeckis’ predictions were based on the idea that 2015 would be very advanced. “The flying cars and self-drying jackets were pretty cool, but we are nowhere near having these technologies.”

Senior Tyler Creps views the “Back to the Future” interpretation of this year as far-fetched. “In the 30 years that have passed, we are far from these inventions that have yet to exist, but can’t blame them for making such bold predictions,” says Creps.

According to NPR (National Public Radio), science is advancing in ways the public doesn’t realize. Although cars aren’t flying through flying carthe air in the roll of traffic, flyingcars have been successfully tested. Garcia-Navarro hit on the topic of flying cars on the radio show. “A company called Aeromobile successfully tested a two-seater car-airplane hybrid last year,” said Navarro.

Another reason flying cars may not exist in this day and age is because of the major safety risks. According to Adrian Berry of Newsweek, if flying cars were to sell they would be set on autopilot. “Otherwise there would be so many accidents, because people are not very good at driving in two dimensions,” said Berry.

There is also a successfully tested model of the hover board according to NPR host Robert Siegel. “They cost $10,000 but the Hendo hover board company has created a working model that looks surprisingly similar to the one in the movie,” said Siegel.

Maybe Zemeckis and Gale’s prediction weren’t so far off after all. According to Newsweek, Syd Mead, a futuristic consultant believes Doc and Marty’s 2015 may be closer than most think “When you overlay a future on to a recognizable present you’re already halfway there,” said Mead.

Although “Back to the Future” missed the reach on some aspects of 2015, they did predict others correctly. But the question is: Did “Back to the Future” inspire some technologies of today? These technologies include video calling, multiple video screens, voice control, smart houses, and finger print security.

Junior Andrew Agner thinks it’s interesting how the film brought on these new inventions. “It’s cool how the film has spurred companies to develop items seen in it.” Not only has the film inspired inventions of today but also inventions currently being attempted.

According to Newsweek this idea of motivated inventions may be correct. Ross Dawson explains that since viewers yearn for these dream technologies that is what inventors strive for. “Entrepreneurs can see if there is a desire and they then work hard to be able to create the technologies that we’ve discovered that we want.”
Newsweek revealed Zemeckis’ true intention for the film. “The goal was to make a funny and entertaining film, not ‘to make a scientifically sound prediction,’’”said Zemeckis. Even though the films movtive was not to predict the future, aid in the ideas was enlisted. “The film did recruit a handful of future consultants to help with these predictions,” reported Newsweek.

It has become clear to many that the generation of 2015 have become as disconnected as every. “They got right that we have gesture-based computing now, whether it’s touchscreen, or just waving your hands at things,” commented Glen Hiemstra of Newsweek.

This loss of connection can be seen in Doc and Marty’s future as the abandoned 80’s game, video glasses, and the droid walking the dog. Today the most prominent disconnector is our phones. So what will society become in 30 years?

According to Hanson society will continue to get more and more disconnected. “They’d probably see that people are less connected, face-to-face, and won’t have as many close relationships as people do now,” said Hanson.

The big question. What future will our generation end up living? This will call for Doc and Marty to fly the rusty old time machine to year 2045. What will Doc and Marty Discover when they land?
According to Hanson, some of the technologies seen in “Back to the Future” might appear in the next 30 years. “By 2045, I think the video glasses and self-lacing shoes could be a reality,” said Hansen.
Agner believes better predictions of weather will be seen in 2045. “I believe there will be a greater focus on preventing climate change,” said Agner.

Creps has a vision of a 2045 where society will improve for the better. “In the future I hope that we will be further advanced in medicine and closer to finding another source of power other than the fossil fuels that we are currently using today.”

Senior Erin Laney took a look at the big picture of 2045. “Certain aspects of society have advanced while others have reverted back to what they were in the past,” said Laney. The future is a curious place, and we as humans have a drive to wonder. Maybe 30 years in the future the world will evolve for the better.

WEBfuture

How do we love thee? Let’s count the ways

BY EMILY TENCER  |  ILLUSTRATIONS BY KAYLIN PRATT

1. Funny Valentines

As much as we love a Valentine with Harry Potter’s Neville Longbottom saying “I’ll Neville let you go,” funny valentines can be an obvious sign of playing it safe, no matter how incredibly enjoyable and entertaining the cards are. If you want to impress your significant other, these funny valentines located on Twitter and Tumblr can produce mixed signals of sarcasm, friendship, flirting, and possibly laziness. Buying a box of Valentine’s at the local Target and printing off funny Valentine’s is a great way to get the conversation to spark, but a horrible way to make a move.

2. Coupon Book

The number one go-to gift seen every year is the dreaded coupon book. People will make up their own coupons to give to their friends, families, and significant others. Things like “one free hug” or “one free back massage” are seen all the time, and coupon books are becoming very boring. Junior Ellie Milton is not a supporter of the coupon book gift, “I feel like a coupon book is something you give when you’ve waited to the last moment to get a present.” Although the idea is very sweet, the gift is very lame, and shows procrastination. If you plan on wooing your significant other, your coupon book better be something amazing and not basic.

WEBchocolate3. Flowers and a Box of Chocolates

Basically everybody loves chocolate, and pretty much anyone can agree flowers look super pretty and are a classy gift. There is nothing wrong with going for flowers and a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. Yes, it is pretty basic, but it’s a classic tradition that every generation has passed down and is still popular to this day.  Senior Kaitlin Swantek is a fan of the classic gift, “The cutest thing a guy has ever done for me was probably when I received my favorite flowers and a box of chocolates just because. Cheesy but cute!” A bouquet of flowers and a box of delicious chocolates are a traditional Valentine’s Day gift, and if your date refuses your iconic gift, there is something wrong with them, not you.

4. Romantic Dinner and Movie

Everyone’s favorite date is the classic romantic dinner and a movie. Take advantage of the amazing restaurants around you and treat your date to some awesome food. You can never go wrong with a delicious meal and a great film.  “The perfect Valentine’s date would be to be taken out on a date or out to eat or to the movies! Something simple,” says Swantek. Senior Kaleb Ethington believes the perfect date needs to be planned specifically for your special someone, “The perfect Valentine’s date is when the girl has no clue what the plans are. The date doesn’t have to be fancy or anything, just focus on doing cute things that you know your date will love.”

5. Concert Tickets

Although concert tickets can get a bit pricy, they are always a great date and gift for the people you care about. Learn which artists your significant other enjoys, and if you happen to love the same band, take them out to a concert you both can have a great time at. “I think concert tickets are a good present. It’s something you both can use instead of flowers that die in a week,” says Milton. Search for upcoming bands playing at local venues and see if you can steal a good deal on tickets!

6. Serenading

For some people, serenading can be really enjoyable and very special, but for others, it may be uncomfortable. Senior Cole Lempke says, “If you serenade someone, it better be good.” Before you pull out the guitar and start belting your favorite love songs, ask your friends for their honest opinions so you don’t make a fool out of yourself. Senior Andrea Torres says, “Serenading someone is either incredibly sweet or really creepy. There is no in-between.” You never know what the outcome will be, but if it’s good, the moment can be very special. “I think being serenaded by someone would be really impressive and adorable. It would take a lot of courage to sing and/or play an instrument for your crush,” says Swantek. Serenading your loved one can be either a good or a very poor decision, so make sure you’re ready to brace for whatever outcome.

WEBbear7. Giant Teddy Bears

Now we begin to venture into the realm of ridiculous gifts and expectations, and behold…the giant teddy bear. Everyone loves a cuddly stuffed animal, but giant teddy bears can be super ridiculous. First of all, they’re super duper expensive, and usually are above $75. Second, once your special someone gets a giant teddy bear, all it will do is take up room and sit there, because what else do you do with a massive stuffed animal? Senior Eric Rasmussen says, “Giant teddy bears are always a good idea only if you get to spend ten dollars or less on them.” Instead of wasting many dollars on a huge stuffed animal, use those dollars to find a more meaningful present for your significant other.

8. Puppies and Kittens

We see it all the time on Twitter, and especially during Homecoming and Prom season, people will give their dates a puppy or a kitten with something sweet written on the animal’s collar. “I wouldn’t be opposed if someone got me a puppy,” says Milton. “If my boyfriend handed me a puppy I’d be like, ‘Okay! This is the best Valentine’s Day ever.’” Let’s be honest: puppies and kittens are awesome, and a super cute gift, but giving animals to your date is a big responsibility and a poorly timed decision for high school students. If you receive a puppy during high school, you only have a few more years left with it before you leave for who knows where, and suddenly it’s not your puppy anymore but your parent’s.

9.   Tiffany’s

Another item seen all over the “relationship goals” account is the iconic baby blue box. Girls seem to retweet pictures of jewelry and boxes from Tiffany’s all the time, and it’s a bit ludicrous that they expect a gift like that for Valentine’s Day. Rasmussen says, “Getting something from Tiffany’s is one of those things that girls tweet about but if someone actually did get it it’d be over the top and weird.” Spending a lot of money on jewelry is a risky move that will continue to raise your significant other’s expectations for better, pricier gifts. Milton says, “You shouldn’t expect your boyfriend to get you something from Tiffany’s if he doesn’t have a job or something to buy you $300 jewelry, but if you’re dating someone like Chuck Bass then yes, you should expect that.”

10.   Promise Rings

As the years go by, we tend to see promise rings become a common thing, and you begin to wonder if people are actually making the commitment because they like the idea or because they seriously want to get married. Promise rings are an iffy subject, and it very much depends on your relationship. Ethington says, “Promise rings are stupid. Being in high school, chances are you’ve been dating for a month or so and don’t know everything about the other person.” People need to take in mind that a promise ring is basically saying that you plan on marrying that person in the future, and that’s a big decision to make when you’re only in high school. Torres says, “I love the idea of promise rings, and if a couple has been together for a long time and know that they want to be engaged in the future, then I don’t have a problem with it. It’s those naiive couples that rush into it.”

V-Day? Try “Be”(yoncé) Day

BY CASSIDY ADOLF  |  IMAGE BY NIKKI WILLIAMSON

The wise philosopher Beyoncé Knowles once said, “All the single ladies, put your hands up!” That’s right, ladies, it’s OK to be single. Even though Bey went home to her husband and left us dancing in a circle to the hit “SINGLE LADIES,” it’s still fine. And for all you lonely ladies out there, you probably feel the presence of that day approaching more than the ones who are “CRAZY IN LOVE”… You guessed it, I’m talking about Valentine’s Day – DUN DUN DUUUUUN!

But wait! Don’t go! This isn’t a story about all the ways to say ILYSM or some lovey-dovey Nicholas Sparks movie review. NO WAY. No lovers allowed. Unless, that is, you are a Beyoncé lover. Yes, ladies, this year we are going to Be-yoncé. No, you don’t need to go out and find a husband and have a baby real quick, because, let’s be real, you can’t really Be-yoncé – you don’t even have a boyfriend. But we can sure try! All the single ladies, put your hands up, we’re “INDEPENDENT WOMEN,” work Valentine’s Day like she, Bey, would.

Being Beyoncé is literally only something she can do, only because of the fact that she’s from an alien goddess planet. We all know that if we are ever, in any way, compared to or associated with Beyoncé in any way shape or form, we could live our lives completely content, even if there was a fire. So what more could you want on a day filled with all of the things that you don’t have, like boyfriends, flowers, yadda yadda yadda, than to feel like a goddess? This, girlies, is your guide to make V-Day, Bey-Day.

STEP 1: HIRE A FAN HOLDER

If you know anything about Beyoncé, you know that her hair is always somehow blowing behind her like a beautiful mare running through a meadow. It’s like God created a breeze to follow her everywhere she goes. Since He spent a little extra time on her, we can just hire someone to hold a fan in front of us on V-Day. Or force a sibling, whatever you feel.

STEP 2: WAKE UP FLAWLESS

If you’re brave, you can construct a replica of Beyoncé’s Tom Ford body suit that she wore for her 20 minute Video Music Awards performance and wear it whilst out and about. I mean, why not? Beyoncé confesses herself that she has to wear four pairs of stockings in order to look that good, so just do what you have to do.

If you’re going for a more subtle look, creep on Bey’s Instagram account (@beyonce) for some of her latest fab fashion moments.

STEP 3: FIND YOUR INNER SASHA FIERCE

Lastly, have a concert. I don’t care if you go perform at a local venue, in your bathroom, or for your mom and dad. Just live your single life as Beyoncé would if she weren’t married to one of the biggest names in music and the mother of a beautiful daughter named Blue. It’s fine, we’re not bitter, girls. Really, single ladies, Valentine’s Day or any other day, living the single life has potential to be a Beyoncé-tastic day. As I once read on a mug I found on Pinterest, “You have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyoncé.” It is so true. Use those hours and Be Yoncé!