Titan Trailblazers


It’s that time of year again, and this year’s senior class is about to graduate. These chosen seniors portray all that this school has to offer with being involved in sports, fine arts, or clubs. Although these seniors are leaving and are off to bigger and better things, they will always have one thing in common: being a Titan.

Brandon DavisBRANDON DAVIS, Diesel Technology, Central Community College

“I learned a lot of leadership from being in band, and that kind of helped me find my strengths and weaknesses.”

“I want band to stay fun. Things are changing and it’s becoming more about the numbers and performance instead of having a good time and enjoying what you’re doing. I hope it keeps it’s school spirit.”

“Stay headstrong and keep your head high, but not too high.”

Lauren FedenLAUREN FEDEN, Art & Chemistry, Hastings College

“I’ve learned how to manage my time and I’ve made some amazing friends.”

“My legacy is the Titan Legacy (oh).”

 “My most memorable moment was my sophomore year for student council, we decorated our corner for homecoming as Forest Gump, and it was fantastic and I was so proud.”

Nick HettingerNICK HETTINGER, Psychology, UNL

“Everyone deserves a chance no matter where they come from. Everyone has the ability to become something great if they allow themselves to.”

“[School] instilled a strong work ethic in me.”

“I always tried to reach out to all sorts of people and I tried to talk to a variety of people and always tried to accept people the way they are and not be a different person around people.”

Miranda KuzelaMIRANDA KUZELA, Russian & computer science, UNL

“Being involved helped me to learn time management skills and made me appreciate free time more.”

“I canceled my birthday dinner with my family the night of Titanium rehearsal, so my friends surprised me and the whole group with cake and then sang happy birthday to me. I cried, but tears of happiness.”

 “I want to be remembered for my dedication to learning, especially languages, and hopefully it might help people stay motivated about their own educational goals.”

CAITLYN COTTON, Nursing, Hastings College

“There are a lot more people that care about me than I think. Everything I’ve learned from coach Cooley will forever impact my life.”

“I want my legacy to be for people to remember me as a great person to be around and to look up to.”

 “I gained mostly leadership skills and a lot of life lesson from school.”

Jordan DavisJORDAN DAVIS, Psychology, UNL

“Everyone comes from different places and you can’t judge someone from an outside point of view because everyone has a different background.”

“For DECA when they elected me was one of the best feelings of my entire life.”

 “Take in all that you can and don’t forget that life goes on after high school because I think that people can forget that.”

Triston FairchildTRISTON FAIRCHILD, Business, Colgate University

“DECA really helped me in pursuing my scholastic goals because a lot of subjects didn’t interest me but business did, and it opened me to opportunities that I can use in the future.”

“Sacrifice now, pleasure later.”

 “Has to be when we beat Millard North my junior year when we won on a last second field goal.”

Adam GadsdenADAM GADSDEN, Emergency management, UNO

“Biggest thing I’ve learned from high school is that grades don’t define a person, there’s much more to them than that.”

“Probably when Mike Smith came to speak to us was one of the most impactful things that happened in high school”

 “Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams no matter what people are telling you. You’re the one that has to die when you die so live the life you want to live.”

Nate Koeppe copyNATE KOEPPE, Engineering, UNL

“If you want to do well, all you have to do is work hard.”

“During finals I brought a sleeping bag to school and took a nap after every final.”

“I was number one.”

Jenna WinklerJENNA WINKLER, Biology, Morningside

“I learned how to multitask and prioritize.”

“Even when you don’t think you can go any further, someone will believe in you, and if they don’t, believe in yourself.”

“If you want to do it, do it. Try out for the basketball team, take a choir class, ask that boy out. As Mr. Haselhorst often says ‘fail forward.’”

Success without that ‘small loan’



Success in high school seems almost impossible to many people because we’re taught that we need a high school education, college, job experience, etc. before we can ever reach a career that will make us a living wage. Through determination and motivation, one may be able to start their journey to success early. I proved it could be done with my company, Cotton Skate Company.

Initially, we had no idea that our love for skateboarding would become a business that was actually viable. On June 16th 2015, we created and posted our first video on YouTube. To begin our journey to success we started posting videos weekly just as a way of introducing ourselves to a wider audience than just locals. Initially, we weren’t reaching our goals with views, but as we began to follow our schedule, we started getting recognized.

Tony and I posted the hyperlinks on Instagram, Facebook, and just about anywhere else we could. In a spur of the moment decision, I created a Facebook page for the company to try to reach out to more than just my friends on my personal account. To almost everyone’s surprise, it actually worked. Within the first night, we were able to reach over 100 likes from friends, family, and random people who had seen our videos on YouTube. The influx in viewers was amazing.

After watching Tai Lopez videos on YouTube for hours on end, I decided that opening a shop may be a good direction to go for my future. As a result of this I put pencil to paper and drew up some designs to put on the shirts. Within four hours I had an online shop and started to build our credibility.

For a short time, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I thought I was just building a website and starting something that’d be fun to get into. I soon realized that I had began something that I would grow to love more than anything else. Money wasn’t the driving force, but the income was substantially appreciated. Of course it wasn’t enough to get my own Lamborghini and drive it around in the Hollywood Hills, but it was a decent amount for a 15-year-old to have.

After about ten months of working every single day to stay relevant and getting in contact with hundreds of people, we finally struck oil with a small local business in Colorado called All Day Denver Decks. They agreed to partner together and start working side by side with us. We made a joint design within the first week and we began putting it on our product, which in turn caused All Day Denver Decks to put our product on their shelves.

Now, am I saying that you are guaranteed the same success? Yes and no. People who are willing to dedicate hours on end to one purpose are the kind of people who are guaranteed success. But those who pick something up, try it out and put it down two minutes later will be wasting their time.

Let me make this clear though: Do not commit to anything in a hope to just make money. You must find something that you love and that you will be willing to put hundreds of hours into. The reason being, if you don’t make money, at least you spent that time doing something you love rather than wasting your time doing something you don’t enjoy.

Running a company effectively takes a lot of time to learn. I would recommend you learn how to do so before jumping in with both feet, but you can get your feet wet through simply starting local.

This is not limited to skating or clothes, but can actually be applied to just about anything if you can successfully market yourself. Marketing is something I taught myself, but there are many opportunities available if we know where to look. At Papio South, there are multiple marketing classes that you can sign up for and learn everything you need to know. For those seniors graduating, you have an even broader spectrum of options to choose from.

What am I getting at? I’m telling you that there is never a time too early to start! With the tools we have access to, anybody can start to make some money without a small loan of a million dollars.

Aiming for more street cred


In August of this year, Straight Outta Compton was released in theatres, earning over $200 million in the worldwide box office. The movie poster has already become a meme, people switching out the word ‘Compton’ for something closer to home.

Straight OuttaWEBPapio South’s most popular club saw the slogan ‘Straight Outta Gaming Club’ attached to junior Isaiah Bourland’s presidential campaign. His posters can be seen around the school’s hallways, where they have gained a lot of attention.

“I thought the ‘Straight Outta Gaming’ posters would be a good idea, because people who have watched the movie can relate to it,” Bourland said. “A lot of people see me and say ‘hey, you’re that kid with the really awesome posters’ or ‘hey, I’ll vote for you’, I think it helped my chances of winning and hopefully it helped to spread the word about Gaming Club.”

Bourland is a new student at Papio South, and this is his first year in Gaming Club. He moved here from Grand Island Senior High last year, and he was drawn into Gaming Club because of its uniqueness. “It was cool because I’ve never heard of a club like that before, in any of the schools I’ve been to. So I thought it would be fun,” Bourland said.

At the beginning of the year he was involved with Cross Country, but Bourland chose to limit his participation in other activities to better focus on Gaming Club. “Gaming is something that brings us together, almost more than any sport or activity because in gaming there’s almost no limits to what you can do. There’s something there for everyone,” Bourland said.

Now that Bourland is president of Gaming Club, he has many plans to improve the club. “I want to get more member voices heard,” Bourland said. “I want to know what our members want out of Gaming Club, and I want to make it a more personal experience for people.”

Bourland also wants to attract more people to it. “I think at the moment there isn’t a lot of advertisements for it, so I don’t think it gets the attention that it deserves, but as long as we keep continuing with the plan for big events, then I think we can slowly get more attention to Gaming Club.”

Virtual Reality enters the education sphere


Imagine a whole movie shot in 360° video, placing you in the center of the action. Now imagine the action filling your vision, the camera shifting seamlessly with the movement of your head, recreating natural eyesight. This isn’t a technological pipe dream – this is already happening.

Virtual Reality has been a concept long sought after in the hearts of gamers and sci-fi geeks alike (although those groups often overlap). Now that it has been produced, tech circles have constantly raved of its amazingness – but how amazing could it be in everyday lives?


The goal of VR is accessibility. Your games will be suddenly accessible to you as a person – you will temporarily BE the character in your favourite series. Accessibility also involves non-recreational use – like the Veteran’s Day parade walk being streamed to disabled soldiers, giving them the sensation of, visual, participation.


If you think these clunky headsets are good-for-nothing until they transport the wearer into a new world, à la Sword Art Online, you should make a stop at your nearest Best Buy and slip on a Samsung VR. The visual immersion is EVERYTHING – with visual realism, the body reacts. You feel like you’re moving simply because you can see yourself doing so.

This stuff works.


These headsets are soon to join everyday life, with schools – Papio South among them! – buying into VR tech to give social studies students hands-on tours of important worldly monuments and sites. For visual and kinetic learners, this is a way to connect to a lesson plan like never before. Jared Wagenknecht, a teacher already on board with this, says that he is “fascinated by VR’s ability to let you walk in someone else’s shoes, both figuratively and literally, to gain a different perspective”. He adds that gaining those perspectives is “why we teach social studies.”

“For the most part, students seem pretty excited about it,” Wagenknecht said. “It’s nice for students to be the ones in the driver’s seat rather than having to watch their teacher manipulate some form of media in front of the classroom.”


VR brings up several interesting questions for the future, which is guaranteed to never be rid of it. The biggest question may be, “Could it be dangerous?” When the sight and mind spend so much time in a simulation, can the physical effects from your reaction to stimuli – like a raised heart rate from a jump scare – be long lasting? Theoretically speaking, could a person develop something like PTSD from an in-game trauma that became believable to the brain?

There is so much left undiscussed and still to discover about virtual reality technology, but it’d be a lie to say it isn’t an exciting addition to our world.

The line between fiction and actuality just got blurrier.

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.