All posts by Nick Shepard

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” Brings to Life Classic Comic Book


by Nicholas Runyon – Artist

“One of the coolest things about the movie is that we’ve seen the god (Thor), we’ve seen the soldier (Captain America), we’ve seen the billionaire (Tony Stark). Now it’s time to see the kid, and what he can do.” Says Tom Holland (Peter Parker/ Spider-Man).

Jon Watts the director, does a great job of combining elements a John Hughes coming of age film with a modern day Superhero movie, With 80’s vibes with the music, breakfast club/ Ferris Bueller’s day off references etc.

One of the main reasons people love Spider-Man is the fact that nearly everyone relates to him. He is a kid in school, has money problems, doesn’t have the “stereotypical family”, has trouble talking to girls, etc. The great part about “Homecoming” is that it shows Peter Parker’s human of the things lacking in the previous two Spider-Man movie series was Peter in high school. That is such a big part of this character’s history that they never really went over before, and it’s really cool to see that finally shown. Peter’s high school struggles feel more intense than his crime-fighting, and that’s exactly the way it should be.

Tom Holland is the perfect Peter and Spidey. Andrew Garfield was a great spider-man, and Tobey Maguire was a great peter, but Tom manages to nail both versions. It is really cool to see parts of Peter bleed through while he is Spider-Man and vice versa. The supporting cast is very diverse, (this is a high school in Queens, NY after all) but the filmmakers received a lot of backlash and death threats from fans, because of several race changes. Most notably Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson. In the comics, Flash Thompson was a blond, blue eyed  Football jock who bullied Peter, however in modern day, bullies aren’t like that anymore, so in Homecoming Flash is portrayed as the kind of bully who is rich, and will make fun of the fact that pater is poor, etc. and while it is drastically different from the comics, it fits and is well done

Spider-Man: Homecoming is not an origin story like previous movies. Peter has had his powers for at least six months by the time Tony recruits him in “Captain America Civil War”. There is no spider bite, or the death of Uncle Ben, because we’ve seen it twice on screen before. Everyone knows Spider-Man’s origin by heart.

Michael Keaton provides Marvel with one of their best villains; Adrian Toomes/ The Vulture. Toomes is a blue-collar guy sick of being pushed around by the powers that be, determined to provide for his family, however he can. If a normal kid can become a super hero, why can’t a normal guy who is upset with the world around him become a supervillain? He is perhaps the most relatable of all Marvel Cinematic Universe villains, trying to stay under the radar and engaging in an illegal trade only to provide for his family. The movie starts right after the battle in NY from the first Avengers movie. Viewers see the aftermath from that battle and Damage Control who are underpaid, overworked people whose job is to clean up the mess made by superhero battles. This is their big break with over 1500 tons of exotic alien materials, until Stark Industries takes over and they all lose their jobs. Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) decides that instead of returning the alien tech, they should keep it. The movie jumps ahead several years to current day and we see The Vulture aka Adrian has been stealing Chitauri technology, to start a scavenging operation in the form of a black-market weapons ring.

The way Adrian/ The Vulture was portrayed in the movie was interesting, unlike in the comics where he is basically an old guy in green pajamas and wings committing crimes. He was like an actual vulture but instead of scavenging for carcasses of dead animals, he is scavenging for alien technology.


In the third act of the movie, Tony takes the Spider-Suit back from Peter, which parallels Spider-Man 2 when Tobey Maguire’s Peter gives up being Spider-Man for a while and returns, to a normal life. Peter spent a few days like a normal kid again, and finally goes to the Homecoming dance with crush Liz Allen (Laura Harrier). As it turns out, Liz’s father is Adrian Toomes. Toomes threatens Peter not to interfere with his work or he will kill everyone peter cares about. Peter leaves the dance and changes into his old homemade costume from before Tony makes him the tech suit. He tracks down the vulture hoping to stop him before he hijacks a stark jet with Avengers’ tech and weapons inside. Peter ends up being crushed and trapped by the roof of the warehouse that they were in. With Peter trapped under the rubble. Hearing him scream and cry for help shows that even though he is Spider-Man he’s still a kid he’s still able to get hurt just like the rest of us. Peter finally lifts the rubble an homage to the famous “Amazing Spider-Man #33.”

Michael Giacchino’s soundtrack is beautiful, especially with an orchestral version of the classic 60’s Spider-Man cartoon theme. the score fits the tone of the movie perfectly, and so do the other songs included like “Blitzkrieg Bop” by the Ramones. Hardcore fans were excited when a Ramones song was finally use in a Spidey movie, because both Peter Parker, and the Ramones are from the neighborhood of Forest Hills in Queens NY, so it was a cool Easter egg. “Oh Yeah” by Yello (the iconic song from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”) was used during a scene which almost recreated a scene from “Ferris Bueller’s day off”.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is definitely the best Spidey film in years, almost equal to with Spider-Man 2 (2004). And when you realize you have to wait until 2019 for the sequel, the only logical response is to quote Aunt May; “What the FU–!”

Taylor Swift Releases Controversial Single “Look What You Made Me Do”

by Symantha Edwards – Staff Writer

Taylor Swift ended summer 2017 with a dramatic introduction to her new album and apparent new reputation. It had been almost 2 years since her last single had been released, and we quickly realized that this is not the same Taylor swift.

As an artist, Swift has evolved from country singer to girl-next-door, and it is hard to keep up with it all. Swift has yet again changed it up on us with her new album called “Reputation”, set to be released in Nov. Fans can only assume that this is another phase, but what we don’t know is how long this “bad girl Taylor” will last. Who is this new Swift?

On Aug. 18 fans were shocked to realize that Swift had deleted every trace of pictures or posts from every social media account with no warning and no explanation whatsoever, leaving fans wondering what it meant. On Aug. 21, a picture of the tail of a snake with no caption had people checking her accounts by the hour, making theories and asking questions. Two days later, a picture stating “First single out Tomorrow night” sent fans into a frenzy. The next night, Aug 27, her first single off her new album was released titled “Look What You Made Me Do”.

Swifties worldwide began to dissect the song for any references to her former feuds with Katy Perry or Kanye and Kim Kardashian-West, and they were not disappointed. In the very first verse, Swift sings ‘I don’t like your tilted stage’ which is a reference to Kanye, famous for his tilted stage in his recent Saint Pablo tour (2016). The feud between these two artists started when Kanye stormed the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009 because he thought Beyoncé deserved the Best Female Video prize instead of Taylor. Fans also seemed to notice that Perry also had a tilted stage during her Super Bowl performance.

What was surprising about the video was the criticism that she rained on herself. In one scene in the video has Taylor as all her former selves and personalities, including her ‘you belong with me” persona. In this she is literally mocking the media for everything the they have accused her of, like acting too surprised when she won awards, or acting as the victim when things don’t go her way.

She also addressed her recent suing of DJ David “Jackson” Mueller who allegedly groped her during a 2013 fan meet-and-greet. Swift sued for only $1, to simply make a point and to empower girls around the world who don’t speak up. In one shot of her music video, a single dollar bill is shown amidst hundreds of diamonds and jewelry.

So now we all wait anxiously for Nov, when we can really see what more Swift has in store for us. Fans continue to ask the questions that might never be answered, and it leaves them to wonder, what if the thing Taylor Swift “did” is something she hasn’t even dropped yet?

Letter From ASB President Tyson Wenger

by Tyson Wenger Guest Writer

Thank you my fellow falcons, for an amazing 2016-2017 school year. I have been honored to be your ASB President this year, and proud of what we accomplished this year, this truly is one of the finest high schools in the world.

Growing up I lived in the Kentwood boundary (yes I know) and to say the least I was excited to be a Conk, but in middle school I found out that I moved into the Kentlake boundary. As a student at Mattson Middle, many of friends were preparing to attend Kentwood and we were all excited to go to school together and feed our friendships and finish growing up together. Coming to Kentlake was hard at first, I didn’t know many people and felt a little lost. I had a few other friends come with me which helped, but for the most part I was overwhelmed, and I know there are students every year that go through similar experiences.

It was when I started embracing who I am and getting out of my comfort zones when I started seeing real success at Kentlake, when I started to love this school.

This is a school of opportunity full of staff and administrators that want all of their students to succeed. I’m glad I figured that out as an underclassmen, because when I started to utilize these opportunities I blossomed as a student. Getting involved in clubs, sports, music, is the easiest way to find rewarding and lasting friendships and the easiest way to truly enjoy high school. It’s made me who I am today, and I know it can help anybody. If it wasn’t for amazing opportunities at Kentlake, I would never be the President, I would have never been Mr. Kentlake, and I would have never been a part of the second-in-state baseball team.

High school is what you make it, I would just like to thank everybody at Kentlake for helping it be an enjoyable experience for me, and for others alike. I don’t regret for a moment coming to Kentlake, it’s been an awesome experience. I wish all the underclassmen good luck in your future years, and good luck to the incoming seniors, enjoy it because it goes by quickly. Keep it classy, Kentlake.

Carmen Conforti Graduates as Valedictorian

Conforti, Carmen

by Symantha Edwards – Staff Reporter

Senior Carmen Conforti came to Kentlake from Rainer Christian school district her freshman year, and while we all know it can be hard to come to a school where you know hardly anyone, Conforti said it was one of the best parts of high school. “Coming from a different school district and not knowing anyone was great because I got to meet a lot of new people, most of which I am still friends with today,” Conforti said.
While she enjoyed all her years at Kentlake, if she could do one thing over again, it would be her freshman year. Conforti said “I know its cliché, but my freshman year I didn’t really get involved like I have the last 3 years, so I would want to do that over again.”
Along with keeping a 4.0 GPA all throughout highschool and being valedictorian, she is also giving a graduation speech. “I’m doing it with Haley (VonGoedert), who is so sweet and I love her, so it’ll be cool, it will be weird though because it’s the last time we will all be together.” Through all the goals she has accomplished throughout her high school, she said that she had one teacher that really helped her high school experience be one of a kind. “Ms. Rychlik is really funny and awesome, she’s like my mom, and I love her.” When asked if being valedictorian took away from having a fun and exciting 4 years at Kentlake, she disagreed. “Of course, there were times I had to miss out on things so I could study, but overall I didn’t miss too much.”
We at Kentlake will definitely miss Carmen and the whole senior class, and we wish them all luck with their future hopes and dreams.

Charlotte McGuire Discusses Future Plans

by Fiona Higgins – Staff Reporter

Senior Charlotte McGuire, a determined and dedicated student, is graduating this year with the achievement of maintaining perfect attendance for all four years of high school. From visiting Victoria in Freshman and Sophomore year for Kentlake Band to balancing difficult classes, she has certainly shown herself to be ready for the University of Washington, which she will be attending in the coming school year.
To incoming freshmen, McGuire’s advice is: “Try to be as involved as you can. I wasn’t very involved for a couple of years, but once I got more involved with activities, like going to games and all that, I was proud of myself that I did go. It gave me more of an experience because I’m not going to high school again.”
McGuire hopes to become a family psychologist or therapist once she graduates from college, because according to her, “I really like knowing how the mind works, and I want to help people with their problems.”

Haley Vongoedert Reflects on Achievements

by Symantha Edwards – Staff Reporter

Few students have reached the heights that Haley VonGoedert has in her time in high school. A member of numerous sports, clubs, and one of the two valedictorians of the 2017 class, VonGoedert has proven herself an integral member of the falcon community.
Reflecting on her time in school sports and clubs, VonGoedert said, “I’ve done volleyball for four years, I have done track for two years, I’ve been in The Sound of Music, I’m the president of breakfast club, I’ve done national honors society and I volunteer at Sawyer Woods every week.”
“I thought I could really relate to a lot of different students through these clubs. I really have loved that throughout high school. I don’t just have one small group of friends, I feel like I know a lot of people in different groups, so that’s what I love most about getting involved in school.” VonGoedert said.
Even though she was busy with clubs, VonGoedert also became one of the two valedictorians for the 2017 class, along with Carmen Conforti.
“…we’re hoping to give a speech about it. We just reflected on the fact that it’s not hard to do well in school. Well, I mean, we’ve worked hard in school, and that’s great and we’re proud of that, but the main thing we think is that we’ve had really good relationships with teachers and peers, and that has become the people we are.” VonGoedert said.
She also reflected on how she was able to do so well in school, even around her busy schedule.
“School is my top priority. I’m just really nerdy and I like that aspect of school. I like to be competitive about it a little bit, but most of all, it’s like a self-motivation. You have to want it yourself. More than your parents want it for you, more than your teachers, or your peers. You have to go for it.” VonGoedert said.
VonGoedert has been extremely successful in every facet of high school, and will undoubtedly go on to do incredible things with the rest of her life.

KSD Out of Country Travel Cancellation

by Trenton Curtis – Staff Reporter

The music department will march.
However, instead of performing in Victoria, Canada this year, instead the music students will participate in the annual Lilac Festival torch lit parade in Spokane.
The annual Lilac Festival is a celebration that started in 1938. The festival runs May 18 to May 21, with the torch lit parade starting at 7:45 PM Saturday evening.
Due to a unanimous vote, the Kent School Board cancelled the music department’s annual trip to Victoria, Canada, where they usually march in the Victoria Days Parade. The trip was cancelled due to concerns regarding potential undocumented immigrants not being able to cross the border back into the United States.
Students are undecided whether the Lilac Festival will be a good substitution. Junior Megan Monohan said, “I think that it would an appropriate substitute however it won’t be the same since it is a very different experience. In a sense of performing in a parade, yes. But everyone will still have the sense that they were cheated. And I think that regardless of the parade, people enjoy Victoria more as a location.”
District executive director of communications, Chris Loftis said, “You cannot go on a field trip with 60 kids and come back with 59.” With this statement, the school board is acknowledging there is an undisclosed number of undocumented immigrants who attend school in the Kent District. The board made the decision to cancel the trip to Victoria because they did not want the undocumented students to feel excluded. “This is about equity not equality,” a board member said during an emergency meeting.
Several students in the music department have voiced their displeasure with the board’s decision. “To be honest, it’s more than just a bit heartbreaking” sophomore and trombone player Braden Ross said in an interview with the Seattle Times.
Sophomore Cayla Dreisbach said, “I feel that it’s really unfair for the KSD Board to not only cancel this trip because of ‘suspected’ undocumented kids but to also give different excuses each time we ask. They also took credit for the Lilac Festival that JU [John Urmenita] had to scramble to arrange and the KSD board didn’t touch any of the paper work, trying to cover themselves up. If illegal immigrants are smart enough to get into this country, they sure as hell will be smart enough not to leave, especially due to the recent political conflicts.  They’re also thinking about defunding the arts so it’s just another step towards that I believe.”
Regardless of the location change, there are aspects of traveling with the band that will still make it a positive experience. Jason Thiel is still looking forward to “spending a weekend with all my graduating senior friends.”
Monohan said, “Well, it’s a torchlight festival, so I am looking forward to still playing the music. I think it has been very cool every year and that it is different than every other school.”

Something Doesn’t Add Up… KSD Budget Cuts Affect After School Buses, Tutoring Availability, and Hiring for Next Year

by Delanie Meisner – Editor-in-Chief

As a consequence of underestimated revenues, overestimated expenditures, and other ‘converging factors’ over the past few years, on April 7, Kent School District instituted an immediate spending and hiring freeze for the rest of the 2016-2017 school year in order to reverse the proclaimed ‘budget crisis’.
Here, department budgets not only were reduced, but then frozen as curricular leaders tried to spend the rest of this years’ monies on supplies. In order to spend the rest of the money, leaders must justify how the money will be spent on student learning.
Not only were the department budgets frozen, decisions were made regarding programs the school offers. The activities buses that run on both Wednesdays and Thursdays have been reduced to Thursdays only. Curricular leaders and administration wanted to continue the Thursday activity bus so that students can still get extra help after school, clubs can continue to operate, and students can ride the bus after serving detention.
Teachers were also cautioned against food being thrown away in classrooms because the school is running out of garbage liners and will not be able to purchase more this year.
For a budget to work properly, expenses and income must match. There must be a comparable amount of money entering and exiting the district. However, this is not the case of the KSD budget. Mike Newman, KSD Chief Business Officer said, “Simply put, over the past several years, we’ve experienced a decreasing fund balance due to higher costs and lower revenues than previously predicted.”
According to the KSD website, approximately 40% of the budget shortfall is accredited to an overestimation of student enrollment. It said, “Like all school districts, KSD has to predict future class sizes using standard population forecasting – new building permits, housing starts, and new apartment construction. However, some of those projects predicted for the KSD service area did not materialize. In addition, there was an increase in the number of students participating in Running Start as well as a new local charter school. That combination reduced actual enrollment by some 500 students from earlier predictions.“
The district also puts partial blame on the State for some of the problems. It said, “Action by the Legislature to fully fund basic education (McCleary) would have assisted in providing the resources for the compensation increases.” Additionally, the district said, “Had the legislature replaced the “ghost dollars” (I-728, I-732, and the K-4 Enhancement) with real resources, those would have equated to over $35 million for students in the Kent School District.”
This 2016-2017 school year, the materials, supplies, and operating cost budget was cut by 20%. These actions were supposed to help the district to get back on track fiscally. On some levels, this worked, but according to the graphs provided by the district, there could still be a $10-20 million deficit if spending were to continue as usual.
Due to this potential deficit, the spending and hiring freeze was enacted. The spending freeze entails that, “Any materials, supplies, textbooks, and software that is not essential to completing this school year, will not be purchased. We are also placing a temporary stop on all overtime, extra hours, and special projects, much of our professional development that’s planned, as well as out of district travel not already approved.” Newman said.
All essential services such as transportation, food and nutrition, mandatory testing, and repairs will continue to be funded.
The hiring freeze means that for the rest of the 16-17 school year, all open positions will not be filled. All open positons will be up for review next year to determine necessity. As of right now, there are no plans to reduce the workforce, so no one will be laid off this coming school year. However, if the budget problems persist, a reduction in force will be considered in future years.
As a result of the budget deficits, students can expect to be in classes that are at full capacity. “In 2017-18, classes will be larger and more classes will be in overload–although no classes will be over the negotiated class size cap. In addition, in some smaller elementary schools, to best utilize human resources with reduced numbers of students, HR allocated for split classes in certain grades.”