SHS Seniors Participate in Colorado Close-Up

By David Huss

Three Sterling High School Government students and their sponsor, David Huss, went to Denver to take part in the Colorado Close-Up Program, from March 5-7. 

When the group arrived on Sunday, they participated in a welcome session with many other students from around the state.  After settling in, the students were led through an activity to determine what their own political position was and to pick a political party. After, they discussed hot issues that are currently in front of the State Legislature. Later that afternoon the student walked to NEW4 and toured the studio and visited with Tom Mustain and Kathy Walsh about the role of the media in politics. In the evening the Colorado Close Up congregation attended the theatre Chicken Lips, where comedians used their talents to teach leadership skills while involving the students in skits, much like Drew Carey’s “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

On Monday the group went to the judicial complex where the Colorado State Supreme Court sits and had two lawyers argue a case to a panel of student judges.  Senior Kylee Harless was one of these judges.  The student judges were then taken into the judges chambers to make a decision on the case. The students also observed the House and the Senate in action and toured the State Capitol Building.  Later that morning the students visited with a Professional Lobbyist and heard from the Lt. Governor Donna Lynne. After lunch the students were able to tour the U.S. Mint and observe house and senate committee meetings. In the evening the students had a question and answer session with House Majority Leader KC Becker before listening to an emotion filled presentation by Ethan Fischer titled “Life’s Consequences”.

 

Tuesday morning the group had breakfast at the Brown Palace with Senator Jerry Sonnenberg and Representative John Becker.  After breakfast, the students went to the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse and were privileged enough to sit in on the actual courts. This portion of learning about the Judicial Branch is always very eye opening! Later that afternoon, the group packed their bags and headed back to Sterling.

Pictured from left to right are: Sterling Sponsor David Huss, Representative Becker, Taylor Huss, Senator Sonnenberg, Kylee Harless, and Logan Kiefer.

“I believe that this experience has provided a deeper understanding of how our democracy operates, every high schooler should take advantage of this opportunity to learn about our government” stated Taylor Huss. Logan Kiefer thinks he will “ be more involved in politics after attending the Colorado Close Up Program”.

The Sterling High School Government students would like to thank their sponsors: The Sterling Rotary, The Bank of Colorado, Equitable Savings and Loan, Premier Farm Credit, The Sonnenberg Agency, Eric Van Wyk-American Family Insurance, Doug Hale-State Farm Insurance and Walker Pharmacy!  Thanks so much for supporting our students!

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SHS Dissects the Competition at HOSA Conference

By Kirsten Hernandez

From March 7-9, Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) held their state conference at the Denver Renaissance-Stapleton. There were 750 students that attended Colorado’s state conference. During the conference students attended general sessions, educational symposiums and competed in over 50 different Competitive events. A number of 26 students from SHS, Caliche High school, Haxtun high school and Northeastern Junior College attended the HOSA state conference. Of the 26 students, four made it to nationals which will be held in Orlando, Florida in June. 15 students made it into the top 10.

Lauren Zimmerman, a senior at SHS, has been a member of HOSA for all four years of high school. This year Zimmerman competed in Extemporaneous Writing.

Zimmerman said, “The best part about being a member of HOSA is getting to meet new people every year and learn new things.” HOSA has impacted Zimmerman’s life in several different ways, she said, “It has taught me to be a leader and work hard at anything you do.” Her favorite memory from this year’s state conference was eating pizza on the balcony or going to the recognition dinner with everyone. Zimmerman expressed her love for the program by setting goals and striving to help others and get them involved.

Cassie Schlueter, a senior from SHS, competed in this year’s state conference for the first time. Cassie made it in the top 10 in her event, Community Awareness. Although this was Schlueter’s first year being a member of HOSA it has already impacted her life.

She said, “It has really helped me decide what I want to do for my future through clinicals.”

Schlueter’s favorite memory from this year’s state conference was getting to know everyone she went with more. Schlueter said the best part about being a member of HOSA is getting the opportunity to compete at state, and guide her along her path through the medical field. She states that she would recommend this program to anyone who is considering the healthcare field.

Kodie Krueger-Wettstein, a junior from Caliche High School also competed this year. Krueger competed in Physical Therapy who earned her way into the top 10 as well. Her favorite part of state was visiting a symposium that included learning about the human body through anatomy and clay. This was Krueger’s first year in HOSA, and she would prefer to do it again. She states that the best part of being a HOSA member is experiencing careers that you are interested in and learn what the different opportunities are in those careers. Krueger plans to pursue attending HOSA, and is looking forward to more experiences to come.

HOSA impacts lives in different ways every year, and continues to prosper in health care. It certainly provides guidance to students and educators in directing them to their goals. Leadership is also focused on and taught to these HOSA members, and is a very important skill to learn in the healthcare field. These participating students encourage others to join HOSA for a great experience.

 

Tiger Scholar of March

By Amanda Ferguson

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about dancing in the rain.”

This is what Amanda Scherbarth says helps her get through the hard times. She says it’s a quote that has helped her in the past and she plans on using it when she going through the motions of college. Scherbarth wants to go to Colorado State University and plans to major in statistics. She says that the reason she wants to major in statistics is that when she heard about it she thought it would be interesting and “more down her alley.” As a senior in high school, she has done a lot, including being in cheer, FBLA and student council as executive president. Scherbarth says that her favorite part of it all was going to state FBLA during her junior.

Her favorite subject in school is math. She says that it comes easy to her and she understands it well.

As well as having a favorite subject, she also has a favorite teacher. For her it would be Mr. Blake, he is nice and very funny.

Scherbarth has a really passionate and kind role model: her mom. “She is always there for me” she said.

Her future plans besides going to college is hopefully “Living in Texas and working for their basketball team, the Spurs”.

Before getting too far ahead in the future Scherbarth, still has a kid side. She loves watching Disney, her favorite movie is Brother Bear. She loves to go fishing, hiking and hunting with her family. She is very family oriented. She reads books with her mom, like The Shack, which is her favorite book. She also saw it in theatres with her mom.

Her favorite holiday is Christmas. She says that it is very family oriented and she likes spending it with her three brothers.

As a graduating senior, there are a few things that Scherbarth wished she had done differently. She wished that she had started applying to colleges sooner. She “needed a game plan.” Scherbarth has some words of wisdom for underclassmen, “Don’t procrastinate. Get your work done, and make the most of your high school year”.

 

March’s Tigress of the Month

By Katlyn LaPorte

For her outstanding soccer playing ability and her many years of extreme dedication, Jaycie Dillenburg is the Tigress of the Month for March.

Dillenburg was born on Sept. 19 1998 to her parents Rick and Linda Dillenburg. She has one older brother, Kyle and one older sister, Jenna. She has a pet yellow labrador named Cindy.

Dillenburg has been playing soccer since she was only five years old; it is her favorite sport. Her biggest supporters are her parents, her boyfriend, her friends from out of town, and her teammates. Dillenburg plays as a forward.

“The best part about soccer is I’m always able to have a good relationship with my teammates and we always find ways to have fun throughout the season,” said Dillenburg. “The worst part about soccer is having wind every single day of the season.”

“My goals for the rest of the soccer season are to break records, make it to the state playoffs, and overall have fun and make memories,” shared Dillenburg. 

“I’ve broken two records already, and I hope to break the number of goals in a career and the number of assists in a career as well,” exclaimed Dillenburg.

Dillenburg’s favorite high school soccer memory is all their games against Frontier Academy.

“I’m going to play soccer in college and hopefully still play at a university after graduating from NJC,” said Dillenburg.

After graduating from NJC Dillenburg hopes to either go to CSU or Regis and potentially play soccer.

Another sport Dillenburg plays is volleyball. She likes volleyball because she had teammates that she always had fun with, it was coached well, and because they had a successful season when no one thought that they would.

She wants to give a shout out to Jade Feather, “Because she’s cute and always makes me laugh,” said Dillenburg.

Although her favorite hobby is playing sports, she also keeps up well in school maintaining a 3.9 GPA.  Her favorite subject in school is math. She loves the show The Office and the books The Series of Unfortunate Events. Her favorite food is Italian food and her favorite holiday is Christmas. Dolphins are her favorite animal. Her greatest high school memories were all of the memories she made in sports. She lives by her favorite quote, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

In ten years, Dillenburg sees herself graduated from college, having a steady career, and starting a family.

Dillenburg’s advice to the underclassmen is, “Have as much fun as youcan in high school, whether it be in sports or not. Don’t let people convince you not to go to high school events like sporting events, prom, homecoming, etc., because you only get those for four years of your entire life and some of your best memories come from those moments.”

 

Alt-Country Band Old 97’s Newest Album In Review

By: Ethan Robinson

The Old 97’s newest album, Graveyard Whistling, is a bold continuation of their hollering chorus, 24 years in the making.

Defined as alternative country, the Old 97’s are native to Dallas, Texas, and began their band career in 1993. Exposing them to a more nationwide audience, their music has been featured in several films, notably the song “Timebomb” in 1998’s Clay Pigeons.

Although their popularity has deep roots in the Texan music scene, their songs are drifters themselves, referencing cities like New York to Chicago, where lead songwriter and guitarist Rhett Miller has made a living as both a musician and writer. Driven by an energy akin to rock-and-roll and punk rock, the Old 97’s at their core exemplify the foot-stomping narrative and character of classic American country artists, such as Hank Williams and Johnny Cash (whose song “Wreck of the Old 97” inspired their name). With spirited live performances, these qualities have built them a strong connection to their fanbase and have earned them status as one of the quintessential bands of the alternative country genre.

Graveyard Whistling, released this past Feb. 24, is the Old 97’s’ eleventh studio album and was announced in late 2016 with the single “Good With God.” The single features singer Brandi Carlile for one haunting verse, which Miller describes as representing “the voice of God.” For this almost existential anthem, Miller commented on his collaboration with Carlile, “Hollywood for years has lived off of male writers for female parts and most of the time they don’t ring true. Who has a voice that could do justice for being God?”

For Miller, that person was Brandi Carlile, who added immensely to the song’s reflective theme.

“Here I am writing from the perspective of a guy looking back on his life, trying to absolve himself of any culpability and failing [at it],” says Miller.

“There’s a lot of darkness hidden in this record,” Miller explains. “One of the big Old 97’s tricks is when we write about something kind of dark and depressing, it works best when it’s a fun sounding song. So it’s not until the third or fourth listen that you realize the narrator of this song is a complete disaster.”

The main catalyst for the album’s creation was a trip to Nashville where Miller spent time playing with songwriter John McElroy.

Miller said, “It reminded me that I don’t have to be too serious or too sincere or heartfelt. I just have to have fun and be honest. I felt like I kind of had free reign to go ahead and write these songs that were bawdier and more adult-themed.”

Miller’s skill for clever songwriting is evident more than ever, and the unrelenting energy of songs “Turns Out I’m Trouble,” “Drinkin’ Song,” and “Irish Whiskey Pretty Girls” embody this idea of an experienced band without a care.

“Jesus Loves You” is a sardonic tune coming from a cynical man pursuing a faithful woman. For this song, Miller has emphasized his role of being a storyteller and not necessarily bearing the views of whatever characters speak. Tied together with the melancholic track “All Who Wander”, Graveyard Whistling is established as a worthy piece of songwriting art.

The Old 97’s truly have made this a “return to roots” album, since they made a point of returning to the West Texas studio, Sonic Ranch, where they recorded their iconic LP Too Far To Care.  The studio is far out of civilization, in an old hacienda on the border-town of Tornillo, surrounded by a giant pecan orchard. This vast expanse and distinctly Western atmosphere has undoubtedly influenced Graveyard Whistling’s desolate twang.

For being so long-standing, Miller is somewhat surprised himself as he describes their progression as a band, We didn’t think we’d last until the year 1997. We thought the name would get a little weird when it became 1997, but we decided none of our bands had ever lasted that long, so let’s not even worry about it. But as it all started to unfold, we realized we could maybe make a living doing this, and we were all really conscious of wanting to be a career band. It was way more important to us to maintain a really high level of quality, at the expense, perhaps, of having hit singles or fitting in with the trends of the time, and I’m glad we did that.”

On March 18, the Old 97’s kicked off the Western leg of their tour in Greeley, Colorado, at the Moxi Theater. As always, they gave all that they had. Miller muses and wails, lead guitarist Ken Bethea leans into the crowd, and bassist Murry Hammond grins and speaks about hometowns, ex-lovers, and grain elevators.

As the band wails, “All who wander are not lost… Remember back when you got lost with me,” the audience is ecstatic, because they know that they’ll be getting lost in the Old 97’s for years to come.

Dishing It with Danessa

By Danessa Allen

As many people know, suicide is a growing problem in today’s youth. It’s not only a problem in Colorado, but all over the country. Even though many people see the problem, and as a teen that’s been to a treatment center not once, but twice, I understand the depth of the issue. In the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, and roughly 45,000 people die from suicide every year. On average, 121 people commit suicide every day. Surprisingly, in Colorado, between the years of 2008-2012, the age group of 45-54 had the highest number of suicides with 1,044 total. The age group 15-24 is the 5th highest suicide rate in Colorado. Colorado is the 7th highest ranked in the nation for suicides, but amongst the United States, suicide is the second leading cause of death of people between the ages of 10-24, and the numbers keep rising.

As the numbers of suicides in the United States continue to flourish among young people, many questions of why this is happening are coming up now more than ever. Why are this many people committing suicide at such a young age? Why are these kids so upset? Why don’t they just get help? All of these questions need to be answered, but the answers are far more complex that people believe them to be. The answer to the first question is almost unanswerable. Every person has a different reason or reasons for completing suicide, and I do not believe that adults in today’s society understand how much pressure that youth in the United States are actually under. It’s harder than most adults understand. Balancing school, work, a social life, alone time, sleep, and every other thing that teenagers deal with on a daily basis can sometimes be too much to handle.

To get more answers, I asked psychiatrist Jamie Soucie for her standpoint on this growing issue. The increasing suicide rates must be caused by something, considering after social media began taking over the nation, suicide rates have skyrocketed.

Soucie has some ideas as to why she thinks that this problem continues to grow, “I believe that suicide has become prevalent among young students because of a diminished capacity and/or lack of skills to respond to societal, academic, familial, and social pressures. Young people are consistently faced with meeting both real and perceived expectations that they believe must be achieved. This type of dynamic is not easily navigated without first developing the skills the manage such factors.”

She said, “Additionally, adolescents are experiencing one of the most challenging developmental periods of their lives, while establishing a sense of individuation and autonomy of decision-making. The combination of environmental, as well as biological factors create complexities that many of us aren’t prepared to address without some guidance or support.”

Soucie believes that suicide has in fact changed over the few years as a mental health professional.  She stated, “It seems that information about teen suicide is more readily available in recent years and it is less ‘taboo’ to discuss – however, there remains a very negative stigma attached to the topic of mental illness. The truth is, unless we educate our youth about mental illness, the signs of disorders such as depression or bipolar, it is less likely they’ll be able to notice symptoms of and ask for support.”

Soucie then began her opinion on the changes over the years. “Suicide, for me, represents someone’s complete lack of hope and a desire for their pain to end. Those considering suicide are not able to see any other options – that’s why it is so important for youth to know how to access supports,” she says.

Adolescent depression is believed to be a large contributor to the number of growing suicide rates, and Soucie has to agree.

“Absolutely, this is a contributor – the onset of mood disorders is not uncommon in adolescence, therefore, we will see corresponding suicide rates, particularly for those who are unprepared to manage their illness. Everyone can expect that they will have times in life when they struggle; however, the severity of these symptoms, as well as the duration of symptoms is a great importance,” she says. “The reality of depression is not something we can just ‘deal’ with –  it is a condition that often requires treatment. We wouldn’t ignore a broken leg, we would make an effort to have it treated by a medical professional. Mental illness is no different – it’s just less visible.”

It seems that in today’s day and age adolescents have more and more trouble asking for help. Soucie believes there is a reason for this.

“Adolescence often lead to very busy lives and focusing on mental health is not generally a priority that we teach our youth. Students who notice they’re struggling to find enough energy to function optimally throughout the day are not likely to identify this as a symptom of depression,” she says.

“An adolescent who finds it difficult to focus or concentrate in class may not question whether or not this is related to a mood disorder. If our youth are not prepared to notice these issues and their families are not aware of the symptoms associated with depression or bipolar disorder, we can only expect our youth to try adapting to the circumstances,” she adds. There is strong standpoint of educating adolescents about mental illness and it needs to be addressed.

“Yes, I believe education about mental illness is of great importance – not only for our youth, but for our families and the communities in which we live. It is my belief that, if we were more aware of these issues, perhaps we would all be more cautious of everyone’s feelings. We can no longer minimize adolescent struggles by saying that they no longer ‘just emotional’, conversely, we can no longer minimize the struggles that any individual within our home, workplace, classroom, or neighborhood are experiencing. It is each individual’s responsibility to notice when others struggle and to support them in asking for help,” Soucie says.

There is clearly quite a bit of a controversy when it comes to the topic of suicide, and it definitely isn’t a topic people feel comfortable talking about, but it’s a problem that needs to be addressed. As a teenager that has personally been to a treatment center for mental health, I can honestly say that more adolescents need to be education about this growing issue. When I went to treatment, I was at an all time low, I had nowhere to turn to, I felt completely alone, and I can honestly say being shipped away to someplace you know nothing about with total strangers is one of the scariest things I’ve been faced with. Keep in mind that I went to treatment twice, two different centers, with a lot of different people. There were people that had tried to end their life, same as I had, there were people who were paranoid schizophrenics, there were people with anxiety, people with eating disorders, to put it simply, there were a lot of different people in the same place for a lot of different reasons.

Nobody’s story was the same as anyone else’s, there were kids that were abused, that had fallen into drug and alcohol use, kids that have been in treatment 10+ times, kids that didn’t go home for their birthdays or missed holidays because they were in treatment for months at a time. Everyone in the treatment center had a reason to be there, but at the time, those people didn’t value the precious gift of life that we are given each day. In my experience with suicide, it is one of the scariest things imaginable, you get to a point where you cannot deal with life anymore, you’re not thinking of the people you love and care for in that moment, you’re only thinking about all the emotional pain you’re enduring whether you brought it upon yourself or not. Being in a treatment center is terrifying, you’re in a unfamiliar place, you have to sleep in a room with a stranger who has a mental disorder, and you don’t know what you’re doing. As someone that’s been to treatment, I can understand the severity of the problem, and how far it’s actually gone. Talking to the people in treatment has really made me see how hard that teenagers have it in today’s day and age. Many of the adolescents I met had many different reasons for being there, but mostly it was the pressures that they put on themselves. Many of the kids there hadn’t had their families visit them in days, sometimes even weeks. Treatment takes a large toll on these young people, and I believe that the problem is only getting worse. In treatment, you are not allowed to be ‘friends’ with the other kids you meet in the center, so after treatment, you’re ultimately on your own. It is extremely hard after treatment because you made these bonds with all these different people, and then you never talk to them again.

Treatment all together were some of the worst days of my life. I was at the lowest points I had ever been in during my life, but it also taught me the most. Treatment taught me to cope with my problems in a healthy way, and really encouraged me to get better. Adolescents never really think about mental illness, because they aren’t educated enough about the topic to realize the severity of it. Suicide awareness and prevention is something that needs to be talked about, and people of all ages need to be educated about the topic so they know symptoms of depression and other mental illnesses that can lead to attempted and completed suicide. This topic is now talked about more than ever, and it needs to keep being talked about, to raise awareness and to help find some ways it can be prevented.

Sterling High Goes to a Four-Day School Week

By Amela Nevaljalovic

A four-day week is the only thing being heard on the hallways of Sterling High School for the past couple of weeks.

Principal Beardsley had given several presentations to students’ parents and explained a little bit more thoroughly what this is and what are some of its benefits are. For example, students who come to school by car would save a lot on gas and with all the school sports and afterschool activities, it would really be good for the school’s budget and keeping programs such as arts.

For many of us at Sterling High, proposing a four-day week was an idea that has been accepted pretty well among the students.

A lot of students are really supportive of the idea and  teachers do not have many arguments against for it. 2017-2018-official-4-day-calendar-2-21-17

Sophomore Briar Hulse said “I think it’s a great idea, honestly. I do not know how it will affect future generations but they would already be used to the schedule. On the other hand, sophomores would definitely enjoy it because they could use that extra day for homework or rest.’’

Freshman Dylan Cranwell said, ‘‘If having 40 minutes extra for four days in order to have that one day off, then it’s worth it! We can have three-day weekends and that’d be fun and I don’t see many downsides of it’.

Freshman Courtney Shepherd said ‘‘ Mondays should get off because nobody likes Mondays. Besides that would be like a little break, especially for freshmen’’.

Sophomore Katielynn Freeman said that this would be great for appointments and that a Monday would be perfect for this . ‘Kids can get things done with doctors/dentists and would not miss school at all’.

Of course, there are students who think that this idea is not the best one.

Sophomore Nevaeh Archuleta said ‘I do not like the idea at all and in fact it makes me upset a little bit. Sure it helps with the school budget and having more learning time but what about the athletes? For example, I am in soccer and I already have late practices and with days longer I wouldn’t come home until really late at night. Or what about people  who are members of clubs such as FBLA and others? It really would not be convenient at all and that’s why I think it’s a bad idea.’

Freshman Ana Pacheco said similar thing about the four-day week being a bad idea, ‘‘I don’t like the idea because we will have longer school hours and a shorter summer and I do not know any other schools that are doing this’’.

Hulse also said that the parents who do not want to pay extra for day care can hire teens that wants to earn money for that day they are off as one of the better sides of it.

Vice principal  Mark Applehans said that the four-day week is a mostly budget proposal and that with passing of this proposal the school will save money on transportations, utilities and teachers. ‘’We had to cut 1.25 million dollars from our school budget and a four-day  week seems like a perfect solution’’, said Applehans.

On February 21st, 2017 four-day week has been passed by the Sterling High School board with votes 5:2. As of next school year Sterling High students will have Mondays off and their stay at school will be extended to 35-40 minutes a day.