Category Archives: Student Life

Different But the Same, Celebrating Culture

by Nolan James – Copy Editor

Kentlake hosted its third annual Culture Night on Thursday, Jan 11, and, like last year, it proved rather successful. While there was lower attendance and less booths represented, Culture Night was a fun event with plenty of activities and food. And it was all free, too, so that everyone has the chance to experience others’ cultures.

There were a lot of stands representing a plethora of cultures, from the Pacific Islands to Cambodia. Each booth had different activities and/or food. Cambodia features a guessing game with melon candy. In the game, there are different spots, each with a picture on it, and you place the candy on one of the spots. The attendant rolls a couple of dice, and if they show the picture you put the candy on, you get the candy. They also had fried rice there to sample.

Cambodia wasn’t the only country with fried rice; Vietnam had different rice, as well as a game. In the game, roughly translated to “cover eyes and catch goat,” in which everyone stands in a circle and one person is blindfolded. That person tries to catch someone, and once they do they have to guess their gender and then name. The attendant, Mai Le, mentioned how it was interesting to learn some of the similarities between her culture and some of the others. “Culture Night today is really fun. I learned a lot of things about other cultures, and some of the cultures have similar games but a different story,” said Le.

One of the other cultures she was talking about seemed to have been Germany. The attendant for Germany, staff member Christina Bovee, mentioned the similarities. “I think it’s interesting because you have different people, different experiences, and you can share those experiences,” said Bovee, mentioning that she talked to Le and found out their cultures have similar lantern festivals. The Germany booth contained a lot of information of the country, which Bovee grew up in.

Throughout the night, there were different performances/activities featured in the middle of the commons. Le’s Vietnamese blindfolded tag was the last of them. The orchestra played at 6:30, and the Pacific Islanders performed a dance at 7:20, followed by the band playing at 7:30.

The Pacific Islanders had a very full booth. They had a lot of traditional food. The food there was Musibi, pajipopo, coco rice, lumpia, pineapples, chop suey, guava cake and bananas. One of the attendants, Kyra McFarland, seemed to enjoy the festival. “I like being able to share my culture with everyone and share out food because it is a big part of our culture,” she said. She also mentioned that they should have it on a day with less activities, as there was a wrestling game going on in the Gymnasium.

Another booth with a lot of activities was Japan. It was their first year participating, and the Japanese teacher, Kei Tsukamaki, said about Culture Night that “it’s a great way for students to share part of their identity that maybe we wouldn’t see otherwise.” She also mentioned that “it would be great to see more students be able to come and enjoy the event.” Japan featured traditional basket-making, origami-making, and the rice food onigiri.

There were a lot more cultures beside that. The Bahamas featured a fishing game, where the prize was Twizzlers, and Mexico featured a game and Mexican food. If you want to experience Culture Night for yourself, you’ll have to go next year. Culture Night wasn’t as big as last year, which was a bit disappointing because it’s a great event. Hopefully it can be made a bigger event next year, and attendance can be higher. Those of us who attended seemed to enjoy the event a lot. The food was good, and the cultures were interesting to hear about. It’s one of the best traditions we have at Kentlake, and we can only hope it will continue to be a tradition here for years to come.

New Spanish Teacher is Hired After Months of Subs

by Evan Williamson – Staff Writer

Andrew Snider has recently been hired as a replacement for Sra. Rosendin. He is currently working as KL’s new Spanish teacher.

Mr. Snider has traveled around the world. That’s where he learned how to speak Spanish. “I started learning Spanish when I was in high school,” says Snider. “I lived in Ecuador for a good while. Also, I taught English in rural Mexico. So… through those experiences I learned a lot of Spanish. I also learned Spanish in the classroom at Washington State University, I got my masters there. My wife, her family is from Peru so we speak Spanish with them. I’ve traveled around and my family’s got some Spanish in it.

Kentlake isn’t the first place that Snider has taught at. He taught six years at the community college level at Green River Community College. He also taught two years at Washington State University while getting his master’s degree. So far, Mr. Snider is enjoying his new job. “I like it. It’s been a little bit of an adjustment for me, coming from the community college. For the most part people are really engaged and really wanting to pick up Spanish, which is really what it’s all about. I think most people are doing a pretty good job and are already making the transition.”

Mr. Snider has some new rules in his class. These rules may be different but are seemingly quite effective. “When I first got here the desks were in pods, like groups of 4 people. And a lot of people had their back to me and just were not engaged,” says Snider, “So, I took away the desks and the engagement has gone way, way up. In a couple of my classes we’re in like 90% Spanish already. A couple of the other ones we’re getting closer to that. So, just by moving away a physical barrier people are opening up a little bit more. Yeah… and it’s probably the best change I could have made. Everyone has focused a lot better, everyone is, for the most part, participating more. They’re more engaged with the material. Really, honestly this is one of the best moves I could’ve ever made. I would do it with every class; I do it with every class.”

Aside from his new job here at Kentlake, Mr. Snider has some hobbies that he likes to do in his free time. “I have a ton of hobbies but I don’t have a lot of time for them,” says Snider. “But, one of my favorite hobbies is that I like to learn new languages. On my own I study languages. Portuguese and French are what I’m working on right now. I like to learn, I like to read, and I like to go spend time with my family. I like to go out and run to the park with my son.” So Mr. Snider looks forward to spending his time teaching us students Spanish. He looks forward to a new chapter of his career here at Kentlake.

Featured Falcon: Mr. Valentine

by Sharita Jackson – Staff Writer

Bradley Valentine is the current boys’ basketball coach.

This is his second year as coach.

After Valentine finished high school, his coaching career started when he was offered an opportunity to coach a fifth grade basketball team. “I really enjoy teaching, coaching, and watching the students grow.” Valentine said.

From then on Valentine spent the next three years working with youth level sports before getting an opportunity to coach a freshman team at Kentwood High School for five years. “I spent the next five seasons as coach there,” Valentine said. Valentine started coaching for the junior varsity and as a head assistant for the varsity for four years.

He is now head coach of our boys’ basketball team. “The thing I most enjoy about coaching is the opportunity that every day presents, whether it is practice or a game; it is always a chance to be better than the day before. I also enjoy working our players every day.” Valentine said.

Outside of coaching, he is an instructional assistant with Joanna Schile and Kathie Weber, and he teaches one period of health class, each day.

Through the Audition Process With Elizabeth Gerken

by Elizabeth Gerken – Cartoonist

It’s the morning of auditions and my heart keeps beating faster every minute as I lay in bed under the mounds of blankets staring at the celling thinking of everything that could go wrong. My alarm beeps and nocks me out of my nervous daze and I lumber out of bed to get ready, trying to calm the anxiety just enough to get through the day. This works until about fourth period when my drama friends and I have class together and we can’t stop talking about what were doing for auditions and trying to weed as much information out of the people who had auditioned the pervious day in the hopes well be slightly more mentally prepared. However, much to my disappointment, none of this “investigating” clams my ever-increasing nerves in the slightest. For the next two periods I sit in uncomfortable chairs, desperately trying to push all my thoughts down for at least a second so I could grasp a bit of information from classes that will prove to be a waste if I can’t find a way to focus.

Finally, the school day is over and a whole new type of anxiety settles in as Mr. Chopyak explains how the auditions will work. We are dismissed to the space outside the PAC to wait to be individually called in to audition. People are pacing everywhere, reciting monologues, singing with their phones speakers up to their ear so their backtracking doesn’t mess anybody else up and the anxiety is palpable. My friends and I decide to practice our auditions in front of each other and offer advice, self-esteem boosters and emotional support before we are next on the chopping block.

After a wait that felt like a century, I was called in to go. My heart dropped and picked itself up again as I entered the doors to the sound of my friends cheering me on with words of luck and support. The room was silent, and Mrs. Wilson was sitting alone, in the middle of the fourth row marking down what I assumed to be notes from the previous person. My shake hands manage to hand her my audition papers and my knees somehow carry me to the stage. Mrs. Wilson is warm and kind trying to make me as comfortable as possible and to some extent it works. I introduce myself and the monologue ill be doing in my awkward try hard professional voice and she gives me the go ahead to start when I’m ready. After Taking a deep breath in a last-ditch attempt to calm myself down, I start and to my surprise it goes fairly well without any major mistakes. A sigh of relief comes out as quiet as I can make it because the first part was over, or at least I thought it was. After I was done, she applauded then asked me who the character was talking to. Taken aback by this new situation, I calmly explain the context and she says to do the beginning again but to think about the words like I was saying them for the first time. I do so, she compliments my choice of monologue and I walk along with Paige, the sound technician who was helping with auditions, to the band room where I would sing for Mr. Chopyak and Mr. Urmenita.

Sinning in front of anybody is horrifying no matter what the situation, but when you know that this could affect your placement in the hierarchy of parts, a whole new level of terror is reached. This was especially true for me since all I wanted was to audition and for once not be told the I was incredibly pitchy and needed to get better overall. So, I was thoroughly intimidated when I walked in to see the two of them sitting there waiting. I introduced myself after Mr. Urmenita asked, “Witch one are you?” then introduced my song and sang. I was a bit shaky out of nerves on some of the high parts but overall, I was proud of myself. This was reinforced when, upon me finishing the final note, Mr. Chopyak just said, “Beautiful.” At this point I was confident with my audition and the last thing that I had to do was have my range checked by Mr. Urmenita. I sang higher than I thought I could and not as low as I knew I could because I was still so scared my chest voice just seemed to not be willing to work.

They thanked me for auditioning and then dismissed me. A wave of relief crashed over me as I walked out of the band room with this huge weight l This was the first audition that I was confident

about and I was so incredibly proud of myself for even getting up and doing it. When I returned to the commons there was an influx of questions from friends about how I did and I was pleased to say it went well by my standards.

MLK Assembly Leaves Students With Mixed Emotions

by Evan Swearingen – Staff Reporter

For the first time, Kentlake’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. assembly was led by the Black Student Union on January 12. The assembly consisted of multiple readings of poems and speeches about current civil rights issues concerning race. Modernizing Martin Luther King Jr.’s message, the Black Lives Matter movement was the primary focus of the assembly this year, leaving many students of varying races with conflicting opinions and mixed emotions.

There was surprise from students about the subject matter of the assembly. From a non-African-American minority’s point of view, Paulo Tapasa said, “The focus point wasn’t necessarily on MLK Jr…the stance was moreso on the lives of blacks in America today and the Black Lives matter movement, which threw me off guard”. Tapasa along with many other students were expecting more of a traditional Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly. Specifically, about his history, what his message was, and what it means for students now.

It is undeniable that the assembly put some mixed feelings into the hearts of Kentlake’s students. As a part of Kentlake’s majority Caucasian population, David Ellithorpe said, “I definitely felt uncomfortable”, a statement to which many of Kentlake’s Caucasian students would agree to. On the other hand, African-American student Calvin Sloan said, “I think the way the Black Student Union presented [Black Lives Matter] was really well done”. It seems that there was a general explanation for the African-American students’ situation that was communicated through the assembly. As an outsider looking in, Tapasa said, “It makes a very confusing position in this country. With all the seeming uprise of conflict between blacks and whites, it makes where the rest of us stand hard to say”.

However, regardless of any separation between the different races of Kentlake, all students seem to agree that Kentlake is a safe school to learn in. Sloan said, “In the end, all of the teachers want students to succeed, and they work with every student, and in the end, the goal is to get us all to

graduate so we can become important members of society.” All in all, the overall goal is that no student is left behind.”

Final Exams Cause Stress for Students

by Fiona Higgins  – Opinion Editor

Take a deep breath. You smell that? That’s finals season.

Final exams are always set at an unfortunate time. One the one hand, we get a long break in between our lessons before our finals in the form of Winter Break, letting us have a lot of rest and relaxation beforehand. However, that’s a whole two weeks with very little homework and absolutely no lessons before we’re immediately thrown into finals preparation, catching us all off guard.

So after studying our little unprepared brains into shape for the tests, they arrive. Or do they? There’s always a couple days right at the end of the semester that are reserved for finals; both of those days have two hour long periods that are meant for our last tests of the semester. That thought can be a ton of anxiety already; two or three tests all in one day? It sounds too draining. But a lot of teachers choose to spread their finals out around different days in the week or two before the end of the semester. That’s all well and good, but in a way, we might feel better if it was all in one or two days -at least that way, we could just get it over with.

At this point, we all know what will happen; we’ll walk in on the scheduled day for finals, steeling ourselves for any tests we may have, but are instead greeted with two hour doses of teachers attempting to get a jump on the next semester by doing two hour lessons. We get lulled into a false sense of security, only for one teacher to remind us that yes, indeed, we do have our final on the finals day. Frustrating, to say the least.

When I walked into high school as a freshman, I already knew that finals were going to be terrible. That’s what everyone tells you, that’s what the media tells you, and it’s the truth; they’re awful. The one thing you never hear is that their scheduled terribly.

We all have our own respective issues with finals, no matter what age, grade or gender. What can I say that all of us don’t already grumble under our breath while we’re studying for these things?

Seniors Reach Final Stretch

by Jason Thiel – Staff Writer

Being a senior is all about perspective. For some people, high school is their nightmare, their worst enemy, and they couldn’t be happier to escape it. For others, it’s a dream, filled with love, wonder, and adventure. Of course, those are two extremes, and plenty of us fall right in the middle, where some days we’re on one side, and some days we’re on the other side. All I can really comment on is how I feel about seniority.

Kentlake has arguably changed more in the last 4 years than in any of the years past. My graduating class has, to some degree, seen the end and beginning of eras. In the four years I’ve been at Kentlake, many faces that defined Kentlake for years before my class showed up, have left. Chuck Stowell, Dave Harris, Dr. Potts, Scott Simmons, Pamela Cressey, etc. From my point of view, which is heavily influenced by arts and academia, it seems like a huge chunk of the Kentlake “roster” has changed. The policies and attitudes of the replacements for these staff members are different, and that change has been noticed.

Any of us seniors can tell you that throughout all that change, it was rocky. The road through high school, or really anything in life, is quite bumpy. But if you play your cards right, even the worst things can have some sort of positive impact on your life. High school, for many is a defining part of who we become. It’s an experience that, at least for me, has forced me to decide where right and wrong is in many situations, as well as decide what kind of life I want to live, both morally and for a career. Not everybody decides on those things in high school, but regardless of when it is, this experience impacts you greatly. I personally cannot wait to leave and pursue my dreams and passions, and many others feel the same. But whether or not you think high school was good or bad is irrelevant. It shapes who we are and is the beginning of everyone’s journey through the world.

Looking to the Future: 2018 Predictions

by Josh Manning – Staff Writer

We are only half a month into the new year but that won’t stop people from making predictions for it. Some of the predictions that are frequently brought up is the possibility of nuclear war with North Korea. While the words North Korea might sound like white noise to some at this point, the reality is that nuclear war is only becoming more likely by the day. Their nuclear missile technology is increasingly strengthening and widening their range, they are now more than capable of launching an attack against several North American cities, easily destroying them in the process.

Another rather pessimistic prediction is that the current trend of the increase of scam sites, clickbait, hyper-partisan media, and media hoaxes isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. Because of the increasingly polarized media and overwhelming presence of bias present in the media, many moderates and disaffected members of both main bipartisan parties are continuing to distrust the media. Many like to joke about CNN and fake news, but unfortunately the problem extends to both sides of the political spectrum in terms of reporting dishonestly. The problem is too deeply rooted in narrowcast media in general which, unfortunately, isn’t going away anytime soon.

Artificial intelligence is another technologically driven prediction. As far as completely intelligent AI, it isn’t predicted to come by 2018. However, as for how far we’ve come in terms of AI, for example Siri, Cortana, Google Assist, etc., the companies responsible for them are expecting to make great strides in terms of making more and more human like responses to questions. We might be able to have an entirely human-like conversation with the AI in our phones by the end of the year.

Virtual reality is also on the rise as of recently. Even though it is the next frontier of modern video gaming, only the upper middle class to rich can really afford it, but at the rate that it is progressing and the rate at which new virtual reality consoles are being made, it is predicted that virtual reality gaming will become something mainstream, joining the ranks of the Xbox and the PlayStation.

Politics will likely become an even more sensitive subject. Whether we will see an impeachment is hard to say, due to the prediction of impeachment usually just being a clickbait and controversial way for the media to seek attention. However, the reality is that Trump’s approval ratings are the lowest of any modern president after one year in office, which could factor into the midterm elections that are quickly approaching in November of this year. Essentially, in terms of impeachment, the likelihood is the highest it has been in a while.

I think this year shouldn’t be looked at too bleakly, it should just be expected that many changes will take place as they do every year but just slightly more with some higher consequences. These are also just predictions, not prophecies, all the bleak predictions could end up just being false alarms, but unfortunately to know the truth of what will really happen this year we can only experience it for ourselves.

Make it Past January: How to Keep your New Years Resolution?

by Harris Yun – Staff Writer

Every new year, we have a tradition of making goals for ourselves that we want to achieve throughout or by the end of the brand new year. Usually it’s something we’d always wanted to do but never had the excuse to start, like going to the gym, or eat healthier. Other times it’s large lifestyle changes, such as going vegan or ‘stop procrastinating so much’. The one thing all of these have in common, though, is the fact that by Valentines day, over 80% of us fail to keep these resolutions.

With that in mind, it’s time to make a change. It’s time to switch from unachievable, oft-forgotten resolutions to more realistic, easily fulfilled resolutions. Instead of setting yourself up for failure, set up easier resolutions. Waking up 5 minutes earlier every day because you’re always late to class is much more realistic than raising all your grades to an A. Going to the gym more isn’t only the most failed resolution – it’s also extremely vague. Try walking for 30 minutes twice a week; it’s both easier and much more specific. Realistic resolutions are much more likely to have an actual impact on your new year, and they feel so much better because you know that yes, you actually can do this, and yes, you absolutely will.

Start 2018 right. Don’t make an impossible to achieve resolution, and instead start the year out positively. Push back against the global climate of negativity threatening to sweep over the nation and accomplish something this year.

Aaron Carino: The Next Mr. Urmenita?

by Evan Swearingen – Staff Writer

Kentlake Pep Band is a program that requires great guidance—and last October, Senior Aaron Carino directed the pep band for the homecoming game. In November, he conducted Kentlake’s own wind ensemble during the veteran’s day assembly.

Carino has always been involved in our school’s band program, and as president of the band ASB staff it’s not hard to see that. He’s always has an interest in Kentlake having a field show too. Carino says, “Ever since I started watching drum corps international and also seeing other high school bands with actual marching bands, I wanted to start that new revenue into pep band, too.” Carino’s passion seems to be in field performances, and his enthusiasm shows it. Carino says, “The homecoming game was more my style”. He seemed to really enjoy practicing it at home. Carino says, “…I always practice in front of a mirror at home [for the halftime show]. I was ready for it.”

Of course, that’s not to say that the veteran’s day assembly wasn’t an enjoyable experience and an impressive feat for him. Carino says, “While the homecoming game was more about having fun and keeping time, the veteran’s day assembly was about showing emotion into how I conduct so that the whole band can replicate how I feel and how I can give that feeling out to them.” The homecoming game seemed to give Carino some time to have fun, while the veteran’s day assembly was more serious and allowed him to express not only his emotions about veterans’ day, but everyone’s through the band.

It is exciting to see that Kentlake’s band director, Mr. Urmenita, training a student in his craft.