Titans fight to the finish

BY LAUREN FEDEN & BAILEY WHITE | PHOTO BY EMI LESSER

All sports want to feel support from their school. The volleyball team felt this when the entire student body gathered to send the varsity team off to the state competition in a surprise rally organized by volleyball parents and teammates on Nov. 12.

“It was awesome, it was very surprising,” senior Michaela McClellen said. “We were like, ‘We actually have support’ – and everyone appreciated it.”

At state, Lincoln Southwest beat Papio South in their first set, 25-23, but the Titans answered that with two back-to-back wins, 25-23 and 25-13 over the Silver Hawks. The teams then traded wins, with Southwest triumphing 25-21 and the Titans finishing it with a 15-12 victory in the final set.

“It was exciting, nerve-wracking – it was a good experience,” sophomore Mallory Voyles said.

The Titans moved on to face off against defending champion Marian on Friday. Against Marian, the Titans claimed just one victory, in the second set, 25-23. Marian won the other three, 25-20, 25-17 and 27-25, to reclaim the state title.

The Titans ended the season with an overall record of 35-7 and ranked 9th in the state.

NEWS RAMBLINGS: Wins and losses

BY ELISABETH JACKSON | ILLUSTRATION BY KAYLIN PRATT

newsramble.WEBDespite the fact that you may or may not live in Papillion, NE, it is safe to say that the Alamo Theater opening will affect you. There’s finally something to do around here. Your cravings for theatrical entertainment can now be satisfied with the snap of your fingers and $20.

Papio South has been trying to appease you and your musical desires with its recent production of “Mary Poppins. “ Trying to find something to wear to its showing must have been hard as well. Something that matched the ever-changing weather and abided to the school’s dress code. Yet since the temperature’s dropping, you’ll have to dress like a nun on account of both.

Dunkin’ Donuts is closing 100 stores nationwide, which is great now that you could actually use a hot cup of coffee in the mornings. It looks like you’ll have to start going elsewhere for your everyday things. Just remember you can’t use Schramm Road, and Wal-Mart is going downhill, too, if you believe the headlines.

ConAgra Foods is going to save $300 million in three years with simple budget cuts here and there. It must make you question the reliability of your parents, “We just don’t have the money right now,” when you ask for a brand new car.

But who knows, maybe they’re just trying to surprise you for Christmas! Your parents must know the effect that the La Vista Christmas Tree being cut down had on you and your holiday spirit.

The energy required to participate in the weeklong event that is Black Friday just seems like too much this year.

It’s only been a semester of school, but it’s safe to say that more of Papio South’s students are ready to run the United States better than Kanye West and Donald Trump combined. American politics has turned into a Reality TV show, while Russia and Syria are having real first-world problems.

Back to the Future” had the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series this year, and it almost happened – just like the Huskers almost won some football games.

Omaha Public Schools got parents excited with talk of a new Sex Ed curriculum, leading to shouting and shoving. Everyone’s fingers are crossed for the safety of those attending the Learning Community’s meetings over taxes.

In the wins category, the Lady Titans Cross Country team recently came back with the title of State Champs, and the school’s Foreign Language Department scored a grant to create a new Language Learning Lab for Less. Details to come on that.

Meantime, our Announcements Guy might want to brush up on his accents. To quote him: “Have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day!”

Student campaigns for more accessible elevator

BY LAUREN FEDEN

The elevator. The coveted private lift to class. While there are students who see it as a VIP lift, it is a necessity for some to make it to class. Some students who depend upon the elevator have physical or mental limitations that make it difficult for them to use the key operating system. These students are in for some good news, junior Nate Kotila has raised the funds to replace the current key operated system with a card reader.

When the new system is installed next semester, students who need the elevator will receive a pass card. They will swipe the card instead of turning a key. This will allow students who previously could not manage the key to have a greater independence.

Kotila knows firsthand the challenges the current system poses to students. “For most people who use the elevator there is something that makes it difficult for them to handle the key, to insert it into the lock and then twist it to turn on the button. For me it is my small motor skills and having to sit in the wheelchair, but for others it could be trying to balance their crutches or having their hands full of books,” Kotila said.

ElevatorWEBFor Junior Will Thornton, it is difficult to operate the current system quickly. “It’s not that it puts me behind, but sometimes when I am running late it is cumbersome. Not that I would complain though,” Thornton said. Many students can relate to rushing through the halls at the one minute bell. Now imagine attempting to find, insert and turn a key under this kind of pressure. That is not an easy feat.

Not only is the current system difficult to use, but it also has caused tardiness. Senior Angelica Diaz has been late to class several times on account of having to wait for help with the elevator. “I can’t reach the keyhole so I usually ask a teacher. But that means I have to stand and wait for somebody with a key,” Diaz said. The new system will allow Diaz and other students to access the elevator independently.

According to Nate Cain, the head of the special education department, the new system will affect roughly 10-12 students a year with some sort of disability. “I think it will provide students with a greater sense of ability and that they are being thought of and cared for. The overall culture of our building is very inclusive and was quick to reflect the interests of this small group.”

As a member of this small group, Kotila noticed the effect the key had on him and other students. He was inspired to take action this summer. “I was a part of the student leadership summit this summer and I wanted to improve our school,” Kotila said. After he set his mission at the end of the summer, he was quick to achieve it.

After some research, it was decided that a card reader would be an appropriate replacement to the key system. A company was found and a fundraising goal was set. “I raised $600. The elevator company donated $500 after they heard what I was doing. During my speech to the teachers I passed a hat and they donated $800. The school booster club agreed to match the teachers’ donations. The extra money will go to the Estefen Rice memorial scholarship fund,” Nate said.

In four short months, Kotila completed his goal. The success will be made official next semester when the operating system is installed.

Brothers inspire: ‘Live Your Dash’

BY ABBY CURRIE

There are certain moments in life when we are obligated to make a choice. This is a choice of attitude. A choice that determines the set viewpoint we as human beings will peer from. A choice of what our outlook on life will look like. A choice to be an optimist or a pessimist. Every day we have a choice.

Stefen and Rueben Rice made a choice to live their dash. To understand the meaning behind this metaphorical statement one would have to know the Rice brothers. Rueben and Stefen were both diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy; a group of genetic diseases that cause a progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass.

Currently there is no cure. The Rice Brothers could have approached this in many different scenarios. They could have lived their life with a pessimistic attitude, but they didn’t. “Live Your Dash” started as simply a metaphor. This metaphor transformed into an idea. This idea bloomed into a memorialization.

Nate Cain, head of the special education department referenced a discussion the Special Education Team had about how to memorialize Stefen and figure out a saying that captured the Rice brothers. This meeting sparked an idea. An idea about that simple yet symbolic little line -that dash- that separates a person’s date of birth and date of death. Sometimes the simplest things mean the most.

brothersWEBThe “Live Your Dash” motto originally came from a pastor at Stefen’s church, delivered in a speech at Stefen’s funeral service, last spring. The pastor spoke of the Rice brothers and how they lived out their dash, even in their short time. ®ueben passed away a year before Stefen.

Matthew Hager, a part of the Special Education department said the Sermon was significant to determining the motto. “It was something that hit home with everyone in the church and philosophy that we found fitting to describe the boys and their character,” Hager said.

The fundraiser was then born in spring 2015 and given the name “Live Your Dash”. A fund was set up through Papillion La-Vista South’s foundation. According to Cain around $3,000-4,000 has been raised.

Wristbands inscribed with the motto were sold, and currently are available for purchase for $1. The Special Education Team also started a coffee business, Titan Brew, a student driven business. During 2nd hour special education. students deliver coffee or tea to staff members. It gives kids a chance work on meeting people and experience in running a business; the profits go to support “Live Your Dash”. Events for “Live Your Dash” will also be held at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Junior, Talia Rice, Stefen and Rueben’s sister was moved and inspired by the outlook her brothers had on life. “It impacted my brothers because they were always living to the fullest, and making peaiple smile. Everyone loved them because they were being who they were, they weren’t being anyone else and they lived their lives to the fullest,” said Talia.

Cain said Stefen and Rueben left and unforgettable legacy, a legacy that showed there are no limitations unless you put them on yourself. Stefen and Rueben were both really good at making friends and for them even the sky had no limit. “The impact was showing people that having a disease isn’t the end of all things,having a disease doesn’t mean you can’t do things, does’nt mean you can’t have friends, doesn’t mean you can’t go places. It doesn’t mean you can’t experience life,” Cain said.

Cain was amazed by how Stefen changed the school environment. “It’s so cool to see from Stefen a culture shift in our building of people who have disabilities all over the place,” Cain said.

Hager hopes the motto will carry on in the PL South hallways for years to come. “Not only as a reminder of the Rice Brothers but also to help students to persevere through any obstacle.”

Hitting all the right notes to live the dream

STORY AND ILLUSTRATION BY MELANIE POOL | COURTESY PHOTOS

The fantasy of having a band brings to mind lights, sold-out shows, fame and money. So many high school students imagine starting a band and getting famous. But what does it take to actually start a band in high school?

“It doesn’t just happen and a lot of people don’t realize that. It’s not like you just think of what to write. It’s very strenuous and everybody has to give their part or it’s not going to work out, “junior Jacob Parsons said. Parsons is the bassist for the band Lead the Riot, which he started with senior Alex Sprague and junior Conner Stotts.

Outbreak99Sophomores Ashley Luckey, Kat Plata and Molly Reese expressed similar views regarding their band, Outbreak 99. They listed a variety of challenges such as tuning, harmonies and scheduling rehearsals.

But if the reality of starting a band is so much work, what’s the point?

“It’s just kind of natural, I mean being able to do the things I love like singing. Especially when I get to do it with some of the best people I’ve ever met,” Stotts said, proving that the while the reality of having a band is tough, if you’re in it for the right reasons it is an enjoyable, amazing experience.

While Lead the Riot and Outbreak 99 are stylistically different, the inspiration and passion music behind both bands are equal.       “Me and Ashley both really liked writing music and we were into the same music and we were just like, ‘let’s inspire people with our music,’” Plata said. While Outbreak 99 was inspired by the music they listened to, the members of Lead the Riot were all mostly inspired by their parents’ involvement in music. Sprague and Parsons both directly credited their fathers being in bands as the source of their inspiration.

While oftentimes band names are chosen for their specific meaning both groups just thought of something they thought would sound cool. The only exception to that is the number in Outbreak 99’s name – it’s part of the band’s name because Kat Plata and Ashley Luckey, the two that the group initially began with, were both born in 1999. As for Lead the Riot, while they didn’t choose the name for any reason the members do not regret their choice of name. “As we continue on it starts to mean more and more to us because we wanna make our only little group of Rioters,” Stotts said.

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Gender plays challenging role in school sports

BY ALEXANDRA HAYNES | ILLUSTRATION BY ACE BRADLEY | COLOR EFFECTS BY BAILEY PAUL

Gender Sport NewBoys playing volleyball? Not in Nebraska. Freshman Matthew Perl is a volleyball player, but he is not on Papio South’s team because he’s a boy. Other states permit male entrance to volleyball teams, but Nebraska does not.

Not in Nebraska
“We had talked to staff on parent night and were told that guys can’t try out at all because of Title IX,” Perl said. He was also given another reason – that boys are physically stronger. If Nebraska doesn’t allow males to play because of their strength, how do the other states keep their co-ed teams fair? “They have regulations for the boys to play in the back row or play until the team hits state and then not participate for competitions,” Perl said. “I’d be fine with that.”

Perl feels that the current lack of policy at home is unjust. He has played on a volleyball team before and has lots of previous sport affiliations, including swimming and basketball. Perl finds it cutting to not be able to participate in the sport of his choice.

But what exactly is Title IX?

Title IX is a federal law covering nationwide policy on gender discrimination. It was designed to allow for better inclusion of females in sports. “Girls, generally, are underrepresented,” activities director Jeremy Van Ackeren said. “It gives girls the same opportunities and same kind of experiences as boys. Title IX does not work the other way.”

When athletic programs in some schools are dominated by male orientated sports, girls might not have as many opportunities. Title IX allows a girl to play on a boys team if there is not an equivalent all-girls team for that sport. It does not allow a boy to play on a girls team when there are more male teams altogether in a school (even if they don’t have a male equivalent for that specific sport). This is why Perl was turned away.

Raising the Net

In states that allow boys to play on girls volleyball teams, the nets are raised higher to accommodate for the differing ability by sex. “The other teams that don’t have boys don’t want to play against them because they’ll have to raise the net,” Van Ackeren said. “And if the boys have to play in the back row, they don’t get to hit.” With regulations not making the system perfect, there isn’t necessarily a fair solution to allow boys to play on a girls volleyball team.

Why classify ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ teams?

There are real physical differences between girls and boys. It isn’t that one sex is physically better than the other but that the biology of either sex is better suited to different abilities and has a differing range of skill. “Boys typically jump higher,” Van Ackeren said. This is one of the real reasons the net is raised for co-ed volleyball.

There has been much academic debate about the differing strengths between males and females in hopes of defining it. As of yet, no clear answers exist. The authors of the book “Playing With the Boys: Why Separate Is Not Equal,” Eileen McDonagh and Laura Pappano, argue that “coercive sex segregation does not reflect actual sex differences in athletic ability,” implying that the gendered teams that exist today aren’t designed to better fit each sex but are just to keep them apart. There are reasons people may want separate teams – personal comfort, and what they have been raised to expect – that gender, especially in sports, is a dividing line that shouldn’t be crossed.

Gender vs. Sex

What makes a girl a girl and a boy a boy? Gender is in the mind and sex is biology. “Girl teams” and “boy teams”, then, are supposed to be defined as such because of physical differences – that means they’re separated by sex, not by gender. But for students whose sex doesn’t line up with their gender, transgender individuals, this means they don’t have a place to play in sport at all.

Senior Sam Unverzagt is ready for this to change. “Being transgender and extremely athletic, I didn’t find a team where I found myself comfortable. You can’t really find that if you don’t fit with people of your biological sex,” Unverzagt said. “I think that anyone should be able to play a sport, no matter their gender.”

The NSAA is currently coming up with a policy regarding transgender students to rectify this issue. Unverzagt wishes it would have happened sooner to give him a rightful place to play.

A Final Thought
“This is all something to look at. Matthew’s situation makes you revaluate where we stand on this, especially with Title IX,” Van Ackeren said.

10 Questions with Caitlyn Crowe & Jared Ott

Caitlyn & Jared.BOLT

BY BAILEY WHITE

This year the theatre department has pulled out all the stops for its fall production, as this is the first time they have incorporated flying in a show. Caitlyn Crowe and Jared Ott portray the iconic roles of Mary and Bert in this year’s fall musical “Mary Poppins,” where they will be the first to fly through the audience.

What is your first memory of Mary Poppins?

Crowe: “It was my mom’s favorite movie, so we just watched it as a family and I always loved the music.”

What does the story of Mary Poppins mean to you?

Ott: “The whole story interprets, for me at least, to the theme ‘Don’t take anything for granted.’ When you start to appreciate what you have vs. what you don’t have, you become happier.”

How do your childhood memories affect how you want to portray your character on stage?

Crowe: “Watching ‘Mary Poppins’ as a kid, I always thought she was perfect. Now being Mary Poppins, I know I want to be the character kids come see and remember and they look up to that character like I did.”

How have rehearsals for this play been different from those before?

Ott: “Day to day rehearsal isn’t too different, but this year we added two extra weeks of rehearsal because it is such a beast of a show.”

What do you think other people’s expectations are for the musical?

Crowe: “I think people expect it to live up to the standards of how great the movie was. A lot of people haven’t seen the Broadway version, so I think people are expecting Julie Andrews’ Mary Poppins, but it’s very different. I still think our production will live up to the greatness of Mary Poppins.”

What do you do to prepare before a scene?

Ott: “I jump around a bit to get my energy up, and say a bunch of words in my accent just to make sure it’s toned to the right British accent. Because there are a lot of them with slight new nuances that make them different.”

What are you most looking forward to for this play?

Crowe: “As soon as they announced what the musical was last year my mom bought me the CD. I’ve been listening to it every day, so I had it all memorized before we even got the parts. I’m really looking forward to singing the music I’ve loved for so long and the neat opportunity to be able to fly.”

What was your first thought on the idea of flying for this play?

Ott:“BACKUPS!!!”

As a senior, how does this musical differ from those before?

Crowe: “I’ve been in the musical since freshman year, and we’ve done amazing musicals each year, but this year having such a large production to be a part of is exciting in itself, along with the fact that I’m one of the leads… It just feels right, since it’s senior year, and I’m just excited that my last musical does get to be different.”

What legacy would you like to leave for the drama department after you graduate?

Ott: “I’ve thought about this a lot. [Matt] Parker and I share presidency over drama club, and we’ve really made an effort to have more initiative this year. It’s easy to take the lazy road, but our goal as president of the drama club is to make everyone feel important, and to bring immediate fervor to drama-related activities.”

Warm up to local baristas

BY RILEY TOLAN KEIG

Outside the leaves are changing colors, and the air is getting chilly. Do you know what that means? It means grab your hot beverage and get some studying on because fall is here! Before you rush to the nearest starbucks though, check out these local coffee shops. Not only will they warm you up, but you’ll get to skip the long lines that you’ll find at Starbucks or Scooters.

  1. Caffeine dreams. If you’re in the midtown area, then this is the place to go. From the outside this place might look a little sketchy, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. It’s decked out with comfy couches which makes it the perfect place to study. They offer a variety of drinks and even have a selection of food to eat. Plus they have pumpkin spice latte’s, and Pumpkin Spice Chai Lattes. Caffeine dreams is located at 4524 Farnam Street. The business hours are; Monday-Thursday; 6:30a.m-11p.m, Friday;6:30a.m-12a.m, Saturday; 7:00a.m.-12:00a.m, Sunday; 8a.m-11p.m.
  1. Archetype Coffee. This coffee shop has a modern look with a bit of hipster blended in. It’s simple and not crowded in decorations. Speaking of simple, so is their menu, but it won’t disappoint! Archetype Coffee is located 3926 Farnam Street.
  1. Pettit’s Pastry. This one is a little closer to home. It’s been family owned since 1954, and it’s still going today. They have pumpkin spiced lattes, and even caramel apple ones. Also just like it says in the name, they have pastries that are made every morning. Plus, it’s a drive thru so you don’t even have to get out of your car to get your coffee or pastry! Pettit’s Pastry is located in downtown Papillion at 344 S. Washington Street, across from the Junior High School.

Keeping Christmas alive

BY RILEY TOLAN KEIG

Believe it or not, teens have lost some holiday spirit since they were children. For some, Christmas is still, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, but for most it’s a little less exciting. Papillion La-Vista South high school students talk about what it’s like to be a teen during Christmas. Senior Sarah Kosmicki shares how she keeps her Christmas exciting.

SarahWEBKosmicki likes to keep Christmas spirit alive in school. “I make it more exaggerated. I’m not afraid to show what I believe in.” Kosmicki said. She keeps her Christmas fun by wearing earrings to school during December. She wears Santa, snowmen and even Christmas wreath earrings. People around school notice them too. “I either get a smile, or a laugh, or someone complimenting them.” Kosmicki said, “I feel like they’re more happier when they see me.” Junior Eric Allen explains what Christmas means to him as well.

Allen explains what it’s like to be a teen during Christmas with a humorous view. “Actually, no one told me Santa wasn’t real. So I still believe in Santa.” Allen said. “I got a letter from him one time, it was awesome.” (Don’t take this literally. He really doesn’t believe in Santa). Even though Christmas may not be as magical, Allen still finds the season enjoyable. “I like the whole season. The weather, and the fun things people do. I wouldn’t say there are any pros of Christmas personally, because I’m not as close to my family.” Allen said. Despite the fact that Christmas isn’t his favorite holiday, Allen likes the season. “I just get really excited about the season, and the cold weather. I get more happy about it now.” Allen said. Sophomore Madison Miller explains how different Christmas is for her.

Madison Miller says that Christmas is less special, but she keeps it fun. “It hasn’t changed much for me, but it feels less special than when I was a kid.” Miller said. Miller’s family helps her with keeping Christmas exciting. “My family is still really childish, and we have a lot of fun.” Miller said. “We put bows on our heads, and we play games. It’s usually general chaos.” Freshman Darby Ronning recalls what Christmas used to be like as well.

Christmas for Ronning is less exciting than it used to be. “It’s less of a big affair, and it’s more quiet.” Ronning said. She said that she had some fun times as a child during Christmas. “Once, in the 3rd grade, I hid in the Christmas tree box. My dad made my mom look in it and I scared her. He made me do it.” Ronning said. She then recalls how she found out Santa wasn’t real. “In the second grade my babysitter told me that Santa wasn’t real. I had to pretend around my parents that I still didn’t know, so she didn’t get fired.” Ronning said, “I was like oh, well I kinda figured that he wasn’t real.”

Kosmicki and Miller both had the same thing to say. “Make it exciting. Don’t be afraid to act like a kid.” So put on those Santa earrings, and show everyone what Christmas should be like again.

Exchange students see life through a new lens

BY MICHAELA THOMAS

In a world full of diversity and cultural differences, venturing across the globe to experience and learn about another culture is a way to be connected.

This is the opportunity foreign exchange students Flemming Boehlke, Hanae Ichishima, Haavard Kraakevik and Png-Chun Wang “Jean” chose to take. That brought them to Papio South.

Pam Albano, a PLS para, has embraced the chance to host exchange students, this year housing Kraakevik. “I think this opportunity is huge for them. I think it’s good for any young person to live outside their culture, and I like being able to give them that opportunity,” Albano said.

Misleading stereotypes can be found in any culture.

Before coming to America, Wang, who is from Taiwan, imagined the life of an average American to be similar to life in “American movies, such as ‘High School Musical.’”

Ichishima, from Japan, said she believed in this country she would “eat pizzas or hamburgers every day.”

Kraakevik, from Norway, expected all Americans to be “big and lazy.” It didn’t take him long to change his mind about that. “When I first came here, I noticed that almost everyone is involved in some sort of physical activity or sport, and I never would have thought that you guys would be like that,” Kraakevik said. “I feel like we are the lazy ones.”

Putting stereotypical beliefs aside, there is no doubt that people around the world are not the same. But just how different are cultures?

Boehlke, from Germany, said, “Overall it is the same, but school is very different. Back home we don’t have big schools like you do here. We have the same students in every class, so we don’t change classes – the teachers come to us.”

Ichishima added: “The biggest cultural difference is the food. I think American food is big and salty. Americans seldom eat raw fish and rice; Japanese love them.”

People worldwide gather to celebrate holidays and festivals, and these traditions show the diversity of cultures.

Kraakevik said, “Back in Norway, we celebrate both Christmas and Easter, but one of the holidays I will celebrate before I leave is Norway’s national day on May 17. On that day, I plan to dress up and run around with the Norwegian flag.”

Wang also said she planned to incorporate one of her national holidays into her American experience. “We will celebrate the Taiwanese Holiday here and I’ll tell [my host family] the story behind it and we’ll do things together as I did in Taiwan.” Sometimes the only way to truly understand a new culture is to dive in and experience it.