Shannon Leal ’14
Annemarie David’ 13
It is true. It is honest. It is real. It is close. It is love. There is no fakeness. There is no bad talk behind each others back. It is a bromance.
A true bromance between two guys is something special. It’s not something that can be found everywhere. It’s something that has to be searched for.
Jason Vietti ‘13 and Cody Anes ‘13 both say that they have a bromance. Not only do they describe their friendship as one, their classmates do too: Vietti and Anes won the senior mock elections for Bromance.
They have known each other since 6th grade. Since then, they have become almost inseparable.
It was a bus ride home that their friendship started. Vietti realized that Anes rode the same bus as he did so he started talking to him. A simple bus ride changed both of their lives. It gave both of them a best friend.
“He knows everything about me, and I know everything about him”, says Anes.
“We are best friends forever; we hang out almost every day,” tells Vietti.
They do everything together: talk all night long, work out, play video games. They never get bored of each other, and they know that they can count on each other in every situation.
“I would go into fire for Jason, and I know he would do the same for me,” tells Anes.
Arguments? They don’t even know how to argue with each other.
“We never really argue. The only thing we “argue” about is video games and who is better: XBox or PS3. That’s all we argue about,” explains Vietti.
Both are sure that they won’t lose contact with each other after they go their separate ways to college. They’ve gone through thick and thin, and a true friendship overcomes everything, even long distance.
“We are friends forever,” states Anes.
Vietti and Anes aren’t the only bromance at CSHS. Dereck Sissell ‘13 and Steven Kern ‘13 are also best friends.
They met in first grade, but their friendship started nine years later during their freshmen year. It took nine years to find each other. But now, they can’t even imagine being without each other.
It is a love for acting that connects them; both are very involved in theatre. They have been doing theatre all through high school.
“We are always together and love each other, and we can have fun together,” states Sissell.
“Sweezy [Sissell] is an easy person to get along with,” explains Kern. “We mostly just scream a lot of nonsense at each other, but for some reason we understand what all the nonsense means.”
Sissell and Kern are both sure that they will be always there for each other in every situation.
“Dereck is going into the Army. I’ll write him letters. It will become a major motion picture sequel to “Dear John”, but titled “Dear Sweezy”, tells Kern.
None of them could live without their other half.
A bromance gives each of them a brother and a best friend. It gives them a foundation when they don’t know what to do; it gives them a person they can call in the middle in the night, knowing he will listen to them; it gives them a friend for life.
Molly Holtrop ’13
It’s late Saturday. The night is young and full of high expectations. The cool summer breeze flows through the open windows of the car, streaming in with the pounding music. Thoughts are blurred, and adrenaline is pulsing. The winding road seems unending as they slowly reach their destination, a destination where drugs and alcohol are the main attractions; a high school party.
“I started partying when I was a freshman because of senior influences. Everything was so new to me that I just did whatever my friends did, which was party,” states senior, *Regina.
High school generally holds many vulnerabilities for its newcomers. Freshman year is very difficult for some. It pushes comfort zones and conveys new experiences. The act of fitting in becomes a must. This is when partying comes into play.
“The classes ahead of me were really big partiers. I guess that’s why I wanted to try it. They made it look like so much fun,” says senior, *Gretchen.
After partying once, it became something like a habit for these girls. Now partying means nothing more than a good time for these high school students.
“It’s fun to have all of your friends in one place. Everyone’s always having a good time in a drama free and stress free atmosphere,” states Regina.
Most high school students stay far away from the party life because of one word: consequences. However, for these girls, getting in trouble is something they don’t think they have to worry about.
“I’m smart when I party. You just have to trust everyone you’re with and you won’t get caught. There’s really no chance of getting into trouble,” says Gretchen.
On the opposite end of this, senior *Karen, has seen firsthand the troubles that come with partying.
“Getting caught made me realize my priorities and what’s important to me. I have to put things before parties, and now I think about the choices I make before I make them,” states Karen.
Parents also play a major role in why some students’ party and others do not. In some situations the parents even know their child is partying, but have learned to accept it.
“At first they had no idea I was partying. When they found out, I just started to lie about it. I had to. Eventually, they gave up trying to stop me from something that was going to happen. Now I just do it whenever I want,” says Regina.
All in all, Regina and Gretchen have little regrets about partying. They agree that partying has not affected their lives negatively. Yet, these girls have never once experienced getting an MIP or being ineligible for a big game. Nor have they lost a best friend to drunk driving or gone through alcohol poisoning. The negative possibilities while partying are endless.
“If I could go back I wouldn’t change anything. I would party even harder because I’m young and I’m living the life while I can,” states Gretchen.
The choice is different for everyone. However, certain choices lead to certain outcomes. The results can have long lasting effects on students’ lives.
Karen says, “I realize now that some things in life are far more important than a shot or two at a party.”
Annemarie David ’13
The North Atlantic Ocean is separating her from the people she loves, separating her from home country, separating her from favorite candy. Separating her from language. Separating her from everything.
Megan Grattan ‘14 is one of the first students to be an exchange student from Cedar Springs High School. She had the courage to leave her family and friends back home in the little town of Cedar Springs and go to Denmark for six months.
One of the most important things during an exchange year is that you feel comfortable with your host family. You have to know that they care about you and that they love you. You need to come back to your home country and truly say that you found a second family in another country far away.
“Life with a host family takes some getting used to. They always remind me that I am not a guest in their home, but I am a member of the family,” says Grattan.
Megan has been gone since the beginning of December, and she spent her Christmas and New Year’s Eve not only in a different country, but also without her family.
“It was on Christmas Eve, during our present exchange, that I began to miss home. It was strange being so far away from the ones I’ve spent every Christmas of my life with,” tells Grattan. “The Christmas/New Year holiday were probably the worst times of homesickness. I didn’t realize how much the simple comforts of home meant to me until they all vanished at once, like the scent of my mom’s laundry detergent and the comfort of my own bed at night. I really didn’t imagine it would be as difficult as it is.”
The holiday gave Grattan a big chance to try all the Danish food, which she loves.
On New Year’s Eve she jumped into the New Year six hours earlier than the people in Cedar Springs. When the clock struck 12 o’clock she jumped from a chair with seven other girls together so they could say they “jumped into the new year”. This was a different way for Grattan to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
Grattan’s favorite thing in Denmark is learning how to speak Danish. Even though it is a really difficult language, she loves it.
“It’s exciting when I can identify more and more words that I can understand,” says Grattan.
In Cedar Springs, Grattan was part of the varsity volleyball team, and in Denmark she is still able to play volleyball in a club.
“The way our team is coached and taught is very strange to me sometimes,” says Grattan. “It will keep me active and in shape for my last season of volleyball coming up in the fall.”
Students in Denmark are allowed to use their phones and to text during class; while, in Cedar Springs, teachers and administrators take students phones away for twenty four hours if students found texting.
“What I found to be very strange is the relationship between the students and staff. The students call staff members by their first names, which took me some time to get used to. The casual subjects and language between students and staff would be considered extremely inappropriate in America,” says Grattan.
While Grattan is having the time of her life in Denmark, her friends in Cedar Springs miss her a lot.
She stays in touch with her friends and family every day. They can be thankful that nearly everybody is connected with Facebook! Once in awhile they also Skype with each other.
“She’s practically my sister; I miss everything about her,” says Taylor Atkins ‘14. “I think in the time we are apart we will both grow in our own ways, but the craziness we have together won’t change at all.”
“I miss Megan a lot! She is one of my best friends, and it’s really hard knowing she’s so far away. School just doesn’t feel the same without her. I hate not being able to hang out with her after school or text her whenever I want to,” says Kylie Wells ‘14.
“Of course I miss Megan! She is one of my very best friends. Not seeing her at the locker next to me every day is horrible, but I am so happy that she gets to have this experience,” says Kate Miller ‘14.
Even though Grattan at times battles homesickness, she will get through it with the encouragement of good friends, a lovely host family, and the support from home as she has the time of her life in Denmark.
Grattan says, “However, this has been an experience of a lifetime so far. I still cannot believe I made a year abroad actually happen!”
Buddy Shepard ’13
Students across the nation are in the midst of making plans that will affect the rest of their lives. To some, getting up before the sun rises and getting screamed at by a commanding officer is the best life, but for others, going out into the world to discover who they are and what they want to do with their lives is more appealing. Still, some students are content with remaining close to home.
“I plan to go to college for Graphic and Design,” says Donna Soles ’16 describing her plans for the future.
In a new report by Gen-Y researcher Millennial Branding, a full 69% of managers agreed that relevant coursework is important when considering job candidates. Yet many other students have no idea what college they want to go to, not to mention, what career they want to have for the rest of their lives.
“I plan to go to college, but as for anything else, I don’t know yet,” says Shawn Sipka ’14 who even though he is still undecided at least has a plan of action for his life. According to The New York Times, a record 8.5 percent of entering freshmen were unsure of their career path in 2001, up from 1.7 percent in 1966. This shows Sipka is not alone in his indecision.
“In today’s society, it’s almost necessary to attend higher schooling after high school in order to be successful,” says Renee Fisher ’14.
Many students have role models in the forms of family and friends who want them to succeed.
“My mom, sister, and a few friends have been influential,” says Soles describing the network of help she depends on for college preparation.
Many students from Cedar Springs High School have plans that involve settling down and taking root right here in Michigan.
Soles says, “These plans will help get me a career I enjoy, and it will help me support myself and my future family.”
Cameron Klompstra ’14
The general perception of a teen dance party usually consists of too much bumping and grinding, the use of illegal substances and bad music. It seems as though the mobile dance hall, Night Storm, has altered the scummy and raunchy perception. Compared to Terry Hall, students thought Night Storm was an all around better experience.
“It was way better than Terry Hall,” said Leah Pasley ‘13. “The music was better and the D.J.’s interacted more.”
This wasn’t Pasley’s first time at a Night Storm Party, either.
“I went to one in Wisconsin. It was really cool,” said Pasley.
Night Storm is a unique reformation of the typical dance party for teens.
According to Night Storm’s website, “[they] primarily move throughout the Midwest states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa.”
Teens who tend to be prone to rule breaking, were neutralized by the strict security guards. “It definitely wasn’t a free-for-all,” said Pasley. “The guards actually cared about [drinking].”
“I overheard security guards talking about kids that were drinking that night,” said Casey Christie ‘14. “None of my friends were drinking.”
It seems as though security guards stopping the drug and alcohol consumption was rhetoric.
“I was on Adderall,” said one anonymous student. “It seemed like everyone was on something.” The teens abusing the rules, however, admit that Night Storm was at least putting an effort towards banishing illegal substances.
“Night Storm is for kids to have fun and party like the clubs on Jersey Shore minus the alcohol,” explains the anonymous student.
Night Storm’s mission statement states, “Night Storm’s main objective is to give high school and college age people a chance to experience the atmosphere that they either see on TV or hear of at the big city clubs that they are unable to visit because the clubs are usually 21+.”
“[Night Storm] is for kids who party like adults,” adds River Bilinsky ‘13. “It seemed like people were drinking.”
“Some people were wasted and stoned,” admits Mel Fisk ‘13. “It was out of control!”
There are clearly mixed emotions regarding the security at Night Storm, and their ability to contain the use of alcohol and drugs. Some would say that Night Storm was tame, and others would say crazy. Overall, CSHS agreed that Night Storm was a positive experience and would go again.
“It’s one thing to be brave when you don’t know what’s happening and you leave the situation. It’s another thing to [be brave] and walk into the situation when you know how terrible it’s [going] to be,” commented Danielle Phillips, Wyatt Phillips mother, referencing a quote from the book, Coraline.
The Phillips family has gone through a tragedy many of us can’t even imagine. On Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012 tragedy struck the town of Cedar Springs. A car crash involving three students permanently changed the lives of many. In the crash, Wyatt Phillips was killed instantly on impact. The word of the crash spread through the town of Cedar Springs like wild fire. Students and friends found out what happened via Facebook, Twitter, and phone calls. Phillip’s parents were told the news of the accident by a group of volunteers who do not get the recognition they deserve.
“[When] the officer came to get me, I literally started walking to him, and I fell. I just fell. I couldn’t move [during] the realization that this was really happening and he was so kind and he just sat with me and…he was so strong, and patient with me. [This tragedy] is the worst thing that can happen to a parent,” said Mrs. Phillips.
The officer who came to tell the family the news is part of the Kent County Victim Services Unit. The Victim Services Unit is an organization that helps families grieve after a tragedy. This situation could be a car accident, a homicide, a suicide, a drowning, a fire, as well as a natural or an accidental death. The Victim Services Unit talked with the Phillips days after the accident.
“They checked in on us. They came to the funeral. They were making sure we had food, they stopped by afterwards to make sure we were okay. If [only] we could all take action like they did,” explained Mrs. Phillips.
The Victim Services Unit is made up of volunteers and heroes. Other individuals who made a difference in the Phillip’s family were two students from Cedar Springs High School, Mike Stoken ‘14 and Charlie Saylor ‘14.
Stoken and Saylor made bracelets in remembrance of Wyatt. The bracelets cost $2.00 and said “Wyatt Phillips; always in our hearts” including a drama symbol and a redhawk, both things that Phillips cherished.
“It was something to remember him by,” Saylor stated. “We all have our memories, but we have the bracelets there so we know he is always with us no matter what.”
“I didn’t know him that well, but I wanted to help out the family,” commented Stoken.
The Phillips family was absolutely amazed by what Saylor and Stoken wanted to do for them. Saylor and Stoken weren’t very close friends with Phillips, but felt they needed to do something for the family.
“When I heard they were selling bracelets, I thought what a nice thing for people… and the kids that know us,” stated Scott Phillips, Wyatt’s dad. “ I didn’t know either of them, and these are kids that had no obligation; They just [went] out, took initiative and did something.”
Overall, $300 dollars was raised from the bracelets. Stoken and Saylor were going to give the money to the Phillips family, but the Phillips decided to match the money and donate it to the Victim Services Unit. A total of $600 was donated.
“I’m happy that the money [went] to the [Victim Services Unit] because they never get recognized,” explained Saylor.
On the night of Thursday, Jan. 10, the Phillips, Stoken, Saylor, Autumn Fish ‘13, and Bryan Taylor ‘15 went to the Kent County sheriff’s department and presented the money to the organization. Mrs. Phillips delivered a speech to the Victim Services Unit, thanking them for everything they had done during the past months.
“I think the ceremony [went well]…and doing it together gave us a little more closure. Wyatt will always be with us in our hearts,” commented Fish.
During the speech, Mrs. Phillips became very emotional while telling the organization how much they truly mean to her.
“I thought it was really tough for her,” stated Taylor. “It was really nice that she was planning her son’s memorial all over again. It was beautiful.”
The Victim Service Unit has done so much for the Phillips family. They truly would like them to know how much of an impact they made on them.
“To volunteer to go into a crisis situation is a tough job, and for people to volunteer [and] to add comfort is wonderful,” stated Mr. Phillips.
These two groups are very similar in the way they took action after the accident. The Victim Services Unit and Saylor and Stoken took incentive and helped people grieve.
“The personalities that make up Charlie and Michael are the same personalities that make up the Victim Services Unit. These are strangers that don’t know us, that felt called to help us. [These] two groups [are] separated by years and experience, [but their] personalities are very much alike,” said Mrs. Phillips.
“You tend to rush to help the people you know well. You don’t tend to rush to help the people you don’t know well and that’s a wonderful trait,” commented Mr. Phillips.
The Phillips family would like the town of Cedar Springs, the students, Philips’ friends, their neighbors, and the Victim Services Unit to know how much everything they did for them truly meant. The Victim Services Unit is made up of many heroes, volunteers, and brave individuals who want to make a difference in someone’s life, and their bravery and support are appreciated.
As the book Coraline stated and Mrs. Phillips discussed, “When you are scared, but you do it anyway, that’s brave.”
Kaitlyn Caron ’13
It’s been around for decades. It’s stressed out students and parents for years. It’s nearly necessary, but an absolute pain to fill out. Many high school seniors aren’t even sure what it is, what it will do for them, or whether it is even worth their time.
Let’s face it: the FAFSA is confusing.
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s a form that high school seniors are advised to fill out before they enter college.
“Any student going to college should complete the FAFSA every year they go to college,” explains guidance counselor Mrs. Lucinda Garnsey.
The form is set up a lot like a college application. It asks for your basic personal information, such as your full name, phone number, address, and social security number. Then the form goes more in-depth, asking questions as specific as the student’s ACT composite score, annual household income, and marital status. Some big components taken into consideration when granting money are family income, living situation, ethnic background, and whether or not your family is on Medicaid.
According to Aquinas College, students can sit down and file the FAFSA as early as January first of the year they intend to enter college. The earlier students file their FAFSA, the better. Many individual scholarships within the FAFSA are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each state is different, however.
“January first to March first is the window [for Michigan.] You should fill it out as soon as you’ve made a decision. By March first, you will be equally considered,” advises Garnsey.
Filing the form is easiest if you do it electronically on FAFSA.com. This website advises you to pay a Student Aid Advisor to help you complete the form. The website claims that it is very easy to make a mistake on the lengthy form, and a simple mistake could cost you thousands of dollars in financial aid. While this may be true, is it really necessary to pay somebody to full out the form for students?
“No,” answers Garnsey. “A college financial aid advisor will typically do it for free if you set up an appointment with them.”
She also highly recommends that you utilize your local resources. Becky Powell, a retired Financial Aid Advisor from Montcalm Community College, comes to the high school every Thursday. If you set up an appointment, she will meet with you and your parents and fill out the FAFSA for free. Her contact information is available in the office.
“You could get your entire tuition, books and room & board paid for, if you’re lucky. After and above that can be spending money,” shares Garnsey.
Coping with student loans after you graduate can be a tedious pain. The FAFSA won’t completely eliminate student loans in most cases, but it can lighten the burden on students’ and parents’ shoulders alike.
Annemarie David ’13
What is the best gift you got for Christmas?
1 “A trip to Disneyworld from my mom” - Emily Umphrey ‘13
2 “A car from my parents” – Taylor Pierson ‘15
3 “DJ equipment from my grandparents” – Nicholas Morris ‘15
What is the best gift you gave for Christmas?
4 “Love to my family” – Sydney Watson ‘16
5 “A framed letter to my mom” – Kaitlyn Evola ‘15
6 “A bunch of toys for poor families” – Shelby Strenus ‘15
What is the worst gift you got?
7 “Coal from my mom” – Gabrielle Howard ‘16
8 “A tooth brush from my mom” – David Johnston ‘15
Cameron Klompstra ’14
Some CSHS students are wishing to leave behind memories and look forward to new and different things in 2013. But one thing will always be certain; the memories we share, both heart breaking and heart warming, will always linger in our chests.
“My favorite memories are of my friends going to the beach in the summer,” says Bethany Bosch ’15. “I’ll miss that.”
“I want to leave the drama, car accidents and #YOLO and #SWAG in 2012,” says Kristen Schreiber ’14. “I’m looking forward to nicer people in 2013.”
Schreiber was also thrilled when she excelled in athletics.
“The best thing that happened to me in 2012 was making varsity for cheer,” Schreiber said. “I’ll have the memories of hanging out with friends, too.”
“I’m definitely looking forward to college and the summer,” says Kendahl Oberdorfer ’13.
“The best thing that happened to me was winning the Best Friends Award with Ashley Benzer.” Oberdorfer is also hoping to forget the social networking site, Twitter. “I hate Twitter!”
Bosch, along with Wood, was annoyed with the “world is going to end” scare.
Wood was disappointed that the world didn’t end on the notorious date, Friday Dec. 21. The infamous date that the Mayans predicted the world would end in turmoil.
There are many things to leave behind in 2012, as well as many things to look forward to in 2013. Perhaps, the things that we are hoping to forget the most, like the pointless drama that envelopes high school students, the many car accidents and the death of one student, Wyatt Phillips, will be the things that we miss the most. Instead of dwelling on the negatives 2012 brought us, we should cherish the moments we had.