What is Titan Spirit?


According to senior Matt Parker, school spirit at PL South feels like “a moist towel that was once hot, but now is merely lukewarm.”

School spirit can be hard to measure due to the fact that it means different things to different students. But many students feel that the atmosphere at PL South is certainly not all out.

But before we can measure it, we should have an idea of what it is. To freshman Ruth Munoz, school spirit feels “welcoming, like you are a part of something.”

Senior Xanna Galgerud believes spirit is “cheering on fellow teammates, even if you are not feeling it or had a bad day. You are not just classmates, you are their supporters, It means a lot.”

Junior Josie Doxzon ties school spirit to involvement. She defines spirit as “being proud in your school and everything you do that involves school.”

To Parker, spirit looks like “human beings decked out in a variety of clothing that is blue, black, silver or a mixture of any of the three. The clothing is often branded with a ‘T’ as well.”

How much spirit do we have? Of the definitions above, the student body is most judged by support at games. The size of the student section is often equated to the amount of spirit in the school.

Judging PL South’s spirit by this measure, sophomore Logan Lawrence said, “it can improve,” Sophomore Logan Lawrence said. “More people coming to all events would definitely help.”

Galgerud agrees, saying, she counted himself among those who could do better. “I have not been the most dedicated Titan fan this year. I understand stuff comes up, but that is not an excuse to not make it to a single game all year. Even if you don’t go, you can at least talk to an athlete, a performer and tell them ‘Good luck.’ Tweeting, telling them, just that little act of support goes a long way.”

Defining school spirit by support at games often leaves out a large chunk of the school. A lot goes on other than the big spectator sports. There are plays, musicals, show choir competitions, math competitions, student council conventions, dances, track meets and so much more.

The spectator sports may “reflect poorly” on our school, but what hurts the spirit at the school most is the attitude smaller activities have that they do not matter as much to the school as the larger activities. With so much going on at South, it is often difficult for students to keep track of what and when activities are happening.

At the beginning of this year, dance team attempted to reach out to these lesser known activities to show support. This effort was spearheaded by senior Jenna Winkler. “I got locker signs together, we got Oreos for some activities. I wanted to show support to the rest of the school’s activities, not just the ones everyone supports and the ones the cheerleaders go to,” Winkler said.

The dance team put up locker signs for several organizations until they received discouragement and stopped.

It may seem like a trivial thing, but the gesture of the locker signs was not lost upon the receivers. “It was nice to be recognized. It made me proud to run for such an encouraging school,” senior Leah Ely said.

Galgerud would like to remind the student body that, “You spend as much time at school as with your family, so school is like your family, and you should look after them as you would your family. Support activities that go on around here.”

The nature of effective team support


Cheering from the student section, generating an upbeat vibe, and screaming your head off are all common happenings at a high school sporting event. When teams are winning, dominating to be exact, it generates an intense hype throughout the school that students can feel for the whole week of a game. The winning could have the potential to create an almost unstoppable force of students and community members alike, especially in spectator sports such as football or volleyball.

It’s hard to erase the memory of the packed gyms and hyped student sections of the Papio South volleyball games during their magical national-championship seasons. Many also remember the deafening shrieks and cheers from the Black Hole during the Titans-Monarchs football game.

Does this support carry over against any other opponent? Some students will stand behind the teams through thick and thin, cheering louder than before. Those who remain true to their teams can seem to ignite a flame within the team they are supporting. Sophomore Grace Blum, who is involved in cross country and track, said, “For the most part, our school does well at supporting each other. Especially in football and basketball or when a team is having success.”

To know how to support Titan activities, one must know what quality support looks like. Senior Jordan Davis, a state DECA officer, said, “Support means making the school a better place by playing or cheering with your heart, staying involved in activities, and watching the game instead of being distracted.”

Support can look different from student to student as well. Freshman basketball player Niko Spire said, “Support is showing a good attitude even when times are tough, along with doing everything the Titan way.”

Junior basketball player Justin Steenhoek said, “Support is going to the games and having Titan-wear on. It is also caring about the game and players and going to the game to spectate and cheer.”

About success and achievement stemming from PLS, Davis said, “Many Titans have achieved many things like Raegan LeGrand with her volleyball accomplishments, the girls cross-country winning state, and Nate Kotila renovating the school elevators.”

The people who have achieved a goal that they have been working toward have been supported by others, in some way. Sports teams can also generate a high amount of support from the student body.

On the topic of supportive people, Davis said, “We have people who are more accepting and supportive such as Kyler Caverzagie. Some students also show support by encouraging players and going out of their way to show them that they matter.”

When a team feels the passion and energy from a quality crowd it might impact their play. Junior soccer player Jaden Torbensen said, “When a team gets that support they’re almost unstoppable.”

Senior basketball player Lexi DiGiacomo said, “Effective support here at Papio South is to support activities by having the leaders at the school at the game and having students wishing the players good luck. The players can also stress to their classmates how important an upcoming game is.”

The impact of full support of an activity has been seen many times at PLS. “Winning metro soccer was huge, and the community and school came to support. We ended up beating the No. 1 ranked team, Omaha South, and afterward the fans and team were celebrating on the field. It was pretty special,” Torbensen said.

Girls basketball had a similar experience this year.

“With full support, we were able to win a district championship and go to state,” DiGiacomo said.

With the school and community banding together to support a common purpose or activity, great things have been accomplished. The level of support is entirely the choice of the student body. What kind of school do you want to be a part of?

10 Questions with Kyler Caverzagie


Getting involved is the first step towards truly appreciating all our school has to offer. Going to sporting events, joining a club, just putting yourself out there to get the whole High School Musical experience we all want deep inside (minus the whole singing and dancing between passing periods). Junior Kyler Caverzagie has taken Papio South up on all it has to offer by embracing his inner Titan.

How have you gotten involved at our school?

kylercav.BOLTI am an ambassador, a member of DECA, I run cross country and track, and I go to all of the basketball games I can.

 How do you balance spectating and school?

I make an effort to go to all the basketball and football games and other activities so that I can support my fellow Titans, then I make time to do my homework once the games are over.

Why do you make time to go to all of the games?

I make time to go to all of the games because i think supporting other students in the activities that they do is important. As an athlete I know how much support from other students means to me and how it can affect my performance. Any athlete that sees that they’re being supported by their school benefits from it.

Why do you think there’s such low game attendance this year?

I think that there’s low game attendance because the students aren’t as enthusiastic about the teams, and they don’t think standing in the student section and cheering on other students is as fun as it has been in past years.

How do you try to increase school spirit at games?

I increase school spirit at games by being loud and starting cheers and trying to make the student section themes fun and by participating in them, just to make the whole game enjoyable for the students.

How do you show school spirit?

I show school spirit by trying to get other students to attend the games, by really participating in the themes of the student section and by cheering for the Titans loudly.

 Why did you step up to lead the black hole at basketball games?

I stepped up to lead the black hole because I thought that the black hole needed to be more enthusiastic and loud for the teams than we have been, so I decided to give it a shot and try it out.

 What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done to increase school spirit?

The most outrageous thing I’ve done to increase school spirit was at the Titan-Monarch game this year the student section theme was happy holidays, so I dressed up in a christmas tree costume.

What is your favorite part of going to the games?

My favorite part of going to the games is watching my friends compete, as well as coming up with creative cheers and chants for the student section so that they can get pumped to be out there supporting the Titans.

What is your message to the student body about getting involved?

Students should join clubs and sports to get involved and find what they’re interested in. High School’s about getting out there and finding something you can enjoy doing. By joining a team or club you’re able to meet people that like what you do, and you’ll enjoy school more.

Divisions abound among students

Ever since Judd Nelson pumped his fist in the air in “The Breakfast club” (1985) the game of high school movies took a change. why do people divide themselves and others? Can a diverse group of people come together despite their differences?

Senior Tyler Vail thinks people that have different interests can still get along. “For me, my experiences in high school, people I didn’t think I’d necessarily be good friends with right away, after getting to know them, these people are kind of cool, and that’s kind of what they did in the movie. They had some nerds and some bullies. I just feel like it’s more giving people a chance before judging them,” Vail said.

Divisive PairWEBJunior Quinn Degroot thinks movies that depict highschool aren’t accurate. “Most movies set in high school like ‘Mean Girls’ or ‘Clueless’ are over exaggerated to show the differences of cliques, which is one thing that actually does happen in any high school,” Degroot said.

Vail says bullying is often over exaggerated in movies. “I think the way they bully people and make fun of people in some of the movies it’s not really how it is in high school. Someone’s being really mean to some people, someone’s going to step up and say something,” Vail said.

Vail thinks people categorize people because it’s the easiest thing to do.

“You see someone who wears football jerseys they automatically are a jock, they’re mean and dumb and stupid. You see someone you know, for me, who’s in show choir and stuff, automatically no one in there is an athlete. Which is not necessarily true, there’s soccer players and baseball players and there’s cross country runners. So I think that people do it because it’s easy, you know, what society tells us to do,” Vail said.

Junior Kolbi Spire thinks people categorize others due to insecurities. “If they can categorize someone else as a ‘nerd’, they will feel better about how others see them,” Spire said.

Degroot thinks there are multiple barriers that divide people. “Some barriers that separate people our age are: general beliefs, intelligence, skill in things like sports or other activities, and even social class or wealth of a person’s family,” Degroot said.

Sports and other extracurricular activities can simultaneously divide yet bring together a group of people. According to Vail people divide into groups because those specific groups make them comfortable.

“You see a lot of activities together because they find themselves comfortable around those people. Sometimes they don’t open up. Like in the summer, during baseball season I’m with the guys all the time, every day. So it’s just comfortable for me to go to practice with them, and work out and afterwards, when we’re done, to hangout with them as well,” Vail said.

Spire says that students create their own barriers. “Nothing is stopping them from making friends outside their group except them thinking it’s not okay because others tell them that,” Spire said.

A difference of opinion can also isolate different groups of people. Degroot says people can become conflicted when their opinions are polar opposites. “A group of students with different views that another group has could disagree with them, which could cause some kind of verbal or physical fight,” Degroot said.

Vail agrees that students different opinions can cause disputes. “In this school, in this society there always has to be a right answer and someone always has to be right,” Vail said.

Maybe “The Breakfast Club” isn’t a realistic image of high school, but Spire said, to some, divisions serve a purpose. “I think some people like the divisions because it just makes making friends easier for them,”she said. “For others, I think they want to make different friends, but society tells them that’s not OK.”

‘School’s not my thing’


It’s no secret that in even the most spirited schools, there will always be those students who just can’t connect to the swing of things. Getting involved, going to school events, taking pride in belonging to a certain school, some high school students just can’t get into school spirit. But the world operates in a big chain of causes and effects, so if students can’t connect to their school, they have reasons why.

The nearby air force base means that Papillion La Vista South, and other high schools in the area, have a large number of students with parents in the military. This means there is a decent number of students used to moving a lot. Junior Billy Reynolds isn’t from a military family, but is familiar with the concept of moving. Reynolds says he has trouble connecting to the school because he didn’t grow up in Papillion, he moved to Papillion from Lincoln in eighth grade.

Another reason students might feel less connected to their school, especially among upperclassmen, is senioritis, or the idea that the school’s seniors are checking out of high school before their graduation day simply because it’s their last year of high school. “I think they look at it more as ‘Oh I’m leaving in a year, I don’t need school spirit,’ rather than, ‘Oh, I’m leaving in a year, I should care about this place while I’m here,’” Senior Rachael Packard said.

There is, of course, the favorite explanation for why students wouldn’t feel connected to their school. It’s somewhat a cookie-cutter answer, but that doesn’t necessarily take away from its validity: students have a better time in high school when they get involved in things, and students who don’t get involved have a harder time caring about school spirit. “I think it kind of depends on what you’re involved in, so I know that people who aren’t super involved in anything don’t really have pride in their school,” Packard said.

Having some special circumstance that causes a student to feel disconnected to the school is all well and good. But what about students who are just generally opposed to the concept of school? There are students at every school who don’t get involved because they don’t like school or they just don’t care about it. People like this can get on your nerves, but they can have their own reasoning behind why they feel the way they do. “I support the attainment of knowledge, but I don’t necessarily think school is the best way to attain knowledge.” Senior Ethan Klanderud said, “If school gave me more choices in what I could learn and had more flexible hours I’d be happier.”

Outside interests take top priority


While some choose that they want to be heavily invested in school activities only, there are the “needle in a haystack” students who, instead, choose to spend time outside of school doing something unrelated.

Tony Pelletier BS Half CabA prime example of a student heavily invested in something outside of school would be Tony Pelletier whose passion is skateboarding. “I skateboard because it’s not something that’s easy to do. It’s the fact that I can’t do something until I put my mind to it that makes it fun,” Pelletier said. “When I land a trick it’s amazing, it makes me so happy when I finally get to land a trick I’ve tried hundreds of times.”

Pelletier says no matter how many times he fails, one land is a success. “I skate everyday, even in the winter if that’s what it takes to get my practice,” said Pelletier. “I skate for Cotton [Skate Company] which has allowed me to take this love to new levels. I get to skate with my friends and get more publicity than I would just riding around.”

Some students feel disconnected from the school due to the fact that they don’t play sports. With 7.6 million students playing sports across the country, the immense amount of students already involved could be intimidating students and making them believe that they are not as much a part of the school.

Malia Steele feels that if you are involved in something outside of school, you have a completely different outlet that is just as challenging or even more so. “I do competitive cheer because it gives me something to do rather than just doing nothing. I do it because it gives me a challenge to take on with my friends and it’s always fun to do,” Steele said. “I don’t feel disconnected from the school because cheer gives me something else to focus my time toward rather than being a part of sports.”

11267427_1594648284089073_7856893534291369211_nWhile some students choose to spend their time doing physical activities, there are also students who spend a lot of their time with music. Jack Jones is a junior at Papio South who has spent his time playing music since the sixth grade. “I guess my first encounter with making music was a band that I started in sixth grade, but then I started playing guitar towards the end of my eighth grade year and it has really become my identity and what I’m known for,” Jack said. “I do a lot of stuff related to guitar. I’m in bands outside of school, I work at a music store, I plan on recording some songs with a UNO student, and I’m in a band called Us and Them and I will be playing with them this summer.”

Currently occupied students won’t stress the fact they aren’t a part of the Black Hole or a sports team because they have another outlet that allows them to spend their time doing something they love.

Does America do student life better?


School spirit here is uniquely American. America celebrates its teams like no other country, school districts and universities banding together to wear merchandise and compete nationwide.

School merchandise? Cringe! For the English, wearing your mandatory uniform is enough school spirit for a lifetime. No way was it cool to find, after learning that I was enrolled here, t-shirts with Titan logos on them in stores – they were laughable, until I saw that people actually wore them.

Don’t get me wrong, three years here and I’m now a proud owner of Titan merch. I’m not bashing your team spirit; it’s fascinating. Fierce student bodies are like microcosms for your competitive, highly capitalist economy.


1116155_699817106710977_192255056_oWhile the English potter around in pleated skirts and tucked in shirts, Americans rock up to school in different clothing everyday. Where Physical Education is just a lesson for games in the UK, choosing athletics and sports are viable educational pathways for the Americans. The countries handle their students very differently, and the students think differently of their schools in return. Nationalism is never wracked up in England, for a pledge to the Union Jack isn’t recited. For you lot, you rise at 11:45am to do so to the Stars and Stripes.

We, the Titans, are coming under flack for not having enough school spirit. Compared to the state of affairs of the English, though, you guys are doing fine. In fairness, Brits do have less to support – with English high school students (in my hometown) being from ages 12 to 16, we’re still at the age where it’s cool to hate everything. Sports and school orientated clubs just don’t get funded, either. For my old school, extra-curricular activities were few and far between, although they started trying to kick things off as I left. Icknield High School have a Debate team who now have won several competitions! They’re not celebrated much beyond the English department, though.

No matter what country you’re in, schoolwide celebrations are hard to enthuse. In the US, though, you really try – Pep Rallies don’t exist where I’m from. Half of our student body love getting out of class and feeling some atmosphere, making some noise. The other half (mostly the Seniors) watch with cynical disdain. Coming from the pep-less England, I say loosen up! A little spirit, however silly, ain’t bad.


* Pictured: Alexandra Haynes herself in Icknield High School’s art department, Luton, England. She came to Nebraska in 2013.

Prom expectations have cinematic start


“You know I’ve never been to one of these things before and when I think about how many people wanted this, and how many people cried over it and stuff, I mean, I think everybody looks great tonight. Look at Jessica Lopez, that dress is amazing and Emma Gerber that hair do must have taken hours and you look really pretty. So why is everybody stressing over this thing? I mean it’s just plastic, it’s really just (she breaks the crown).” (Mean Girls).

Prom. A four lettered word, which some people dread, and others star in their calendars months in advance. Media plays into this. Prom scenes have been all the rage in movies. With the classic Prom Queen and King, and the illusion of perfectness.

Just think about your favorite teen chick flick. Mean Girls, for example, when Cady breaks the crown into tiny pieces and gives it to everyone in the crowd. Every kid watching at the moment probably felt inspired, and maybe even excited for Prom when they grow up. Then after that, everything is better. So ask yourself this: when does Prom occur in the movies? Usually, in the end. When all loose ends are tied up, and everything goes well.   That is not real life though, because Prom is not the end for us high school students. We still have graduation, college, and many other things to look forward to.

Junior Ben Saul says that the media gives us false ideas about Prom. “There’s the whole perfect stigma that you’re in the gym and the most beautiful girl is the Prom Queen and the most handsome guy is Prom King. Now a days I feel like that stuff is not as prominent,” Saul said,   “The whole stigma behind it with like you have to be perfect, it makes people stressed out and it ruins a little bit of the environment.”

Saul is currently one of three Junior Class Officers, who are working this year’s Prom theme. “We go to stores and, after we determine the theme, we buy the supplies. We also got the invites. So over the few months we’ll be constructing that stuff and getting it together. And eventually, the day of Prom, we will set it all up in the Ralston Arena,” Saul said, “I think it would be cool to know that I built that entire night for people to enjoy.” Which also brings up a good point. Prom doesn’t magically pop up on one night as it seems to do in the movies. It takes a lot of work and dedication, and all for one night.

Saul also went to prom his freshmen year. “I remember it was really crowded and there wasn’t much space to dance, but that year was really cool because the Prom King definitely wasn’t the biggest guy in the room,” Saul said.

Senior Brooke Tweedy also said that Prom is a lot different in real life than in the media, and wants to be nominated for Prom Queen. “I’m not really into that whole stereotypical Prom King and Queen, I want it to be different, I want to change it,” Tweedy said.

Tweedy, like Saul also said that Prom King and Queen portrayed in media is a little false. “I believe Prom King and Queen should be involved in extracurricular activities, but at the same time it doesn’t really matter.” Tweedy said. Which brings in an image of the football player and cheerleader as the King and Queen, which is sometimes-but not always-portrayed in movies.

Senior Agot Alier said that Prom is different in media. “Sometimes it’s so different. TV shows make it seem so much different,” Alier said. “It just matters that you have fun with the people that you’re with and you make the most of it.” Alier wants to be nominated for Prom Queen this year, but not for the same reasons as most people. “I don’t necessarily want to be Queen, but I think it would be fun to be on Prom Court,” Alier said, “You could look back on it later and be like ‘hey I was on Prom Court.’”

Even though we get many myths from the media about Prom, there are some things that are true. In Mean Girls when Cady broke the crown up into pieces, it was kind of dramatic, but it also had a good point. In the end even though we all have different friends and different interests, Prom somehow brings us together. “When I go to Prom, I talk to people I don’t usually talk to, because we are there as a school and not as individuals,” Tweedy said.

The Post-Prom that never sleeps

Let the chips fall where they may. Las Vegas is coming to Papio South for the 2016 Post-Prom party. The school will be filled with blackjack, poker and many other Viva Las Vegas games. Post-Prom will be held at Papillion La Vista South High School after prom ends at the Ralston Arena.

post-prom sign WEB.FINAL.copyHead Principal Jeff Johnson has taken charge of Post-Prom this year due to band parents and junior parents stepping down from planning it. The past few years, band parents have hosted Post-Prom for juniors and seniors.

Johnson is not worried, though. “We will have gaming tables, music, dodgeball, food we are making a whole night for prom!”Johnson said. It’s a tradition in the making, and Mr. Johnson is hoping to

make it after successful events at other schools in the area. “Papillion LaVista South has been planning Post-Proms for 13 years while Millard West have been doing it for over 40 years.”

Kelli Knox attended Millard West for high school and also attended the Post-Proms. “I remember there being a lot of excitement. The whole staff was involved with it.”

Millard West students looked forward to Post-Prom every year Mrs. Knox said, while Papio South has low attendance which has led to lower ticket prices and changing location. Johnson said he became involved with Post-Prom for one reason “The most important thing is to keep kids safe, some kids make poor choices, and I want to know everyone is in school the Monday after prom.”

Junior Siobhan Cook said she liked what this year’s Post-Prom fliers promised, “I’m looking forward to the food and the games. Especially the bubble soccer and the taco bar.”

The fliers promise lip sync battles, bubble soccer, music and much more.

Senior Hunter Bauman said he loved the games, food and prices for this year’s Post-Prom. “The only thing that could make Post-Prom better is an ice cream bar, because ice cream bars make everything better.”

Mr. Johnson said he needs to see all juniors and seniors at Post-Prom this year, “I just want everyone to have a fun, safe night.”

Prom is one big party that can last all night, Mrs. Knox pointed out “Why have a party with only four people, you can do that every weekend. When do you have a chance to party with 500 people?”