Category Archives: Letter from the Co-Editors-In-Chief

Issue 11: Letter from the co-editors-in-chief

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Dear Readers,

To those of you who have been loyal readers of our sometimes sassy column, we appreciate your readership.

When we first began writing this column, we didn’t know what to expect. However, as our fellow staff members contributed enticing but controversial content, we knew exactly what we’d discuss in our column each issue.

As we complete our third year here at Lawrence High, we feel lucky to have met so many excellent people, especially the staff members of “The Budget.” Although our staff is composed of a rather diverse group of individuals, we all share one goal in common: report the news, even when the facts are controversial at times.

And after multiple threats of lawsuits, angry tweets and personal statements of harassment, we still truly have no regrets about how we’ve run the newspaper this year. Although many individuals were unhappy with the content of newspaper (one administrator even deeming it a “tabloid”), we are proud to have won 38 individual awards.

After sacrificing a social life for the newspaper and staying after school nearly every day for the majority of our senior year, we’re so thrilled to see our hard work pay off. We editors-in-chief, alone, were the recipients of 18 of the individual awards.

But it would be impossible to have had such a successful newspaper without our amazing staff.

This year, our newspaper won the state journalism title for 6A schools by the Kansas Scholastic Press Association as well as the top Journalism Educators of Metropolitan Kansas City title above 36 other schools. As we finish the year as one of the top newspapers in the state, we are immensely proud of our staff and the work we’ve done this year.

While being the leaders of the newspaper was certainly one of the highlights of our high school experience, we were lucky to each be a part of many other interesting programs, sports and clubs Lawrence High has to offer.

Academically, we were able to take AP courses that would challenge us on a daily basis and prepare us for college. As Kendra goes off the Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas and Ashley heads up the hill to the University of Kansas, we feel fully prepared for the new hurdles we’ll face in the next chapter of our lives.

Although our senior year and our experience in general at Lawrence High has been especially rewarding, we’ve been disappointed with how Senior Week has played out this year. Instead of allowing us to make our own name as the senior class of 2014, we were penalized for the actions of the senior class before us.

Even though some of the pranks were initially approved by the administrators, these pranks were soon retracted for little to no reason. For example, after only an hour of scooters being allowed in the hallways on Wednesday May 7, scooters were banned.

The greatest danger with this senior activity was that teachers were ill-informed by administrators as to what would be happening that day. Some teachers embraces the students on wheels as harmless senior fun, while others seemed not to understand what was occurring. This illustrates a lack of communication between administrators and teachers, and not the dangers of seniors scootering.

While the so-called “pranks” this year were neither destructive or dangerous, these actions were viewed as such by administrators because of the actions of only a few individuals.

We urge next year’s seniors to enjoy their Senior Week thoroughly, but we also urge administrators to allow seniors some freedom and respect to make good choices on their own.

Being a good leader in our eyes means sticking to your decisions, but also admitting when you’re wrong. As we hand off the newspaper to the underclassmen in this final issue of “The Budget,” we respect the editor-in-chief for next year, Zia Kelly, enough to give her the freedom to run the newspaper in the way she desires. We have full confidence that the underclassmen will uphold the newspaper to our high standards and make us proud.

Love,

Kendra Schwartz and Ashley Hocking

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Issue 10: Letter from the co-editors-in-chief

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Dear Readers,

Although racial tensions don’t always run rampant in the halls of Lawrence High, racism is still inevitable here in Kansas.

In an effort to bridge the gap, the district allots a great sum of money to the Pacific Educational Group to instruct teachers regarding how to have “Courageous Conversations” about race. The goal of this program is to create equality and discuss racial disparities, but it has proven to have adverse effects.

One of the most difficult issues with this program is how it is being handled. Instead of teachers volunteering their time to participate in these workshops, teachers must find a substitute teacher for the day they attend. However, there isn’t a large enough budget and there aren’t enough substitutes for all of the teachers to be able to go.

Additionally, students are not even given the opportunity to get involved in these conversations. Students of color, however, are invited to attend leadership symposiums with individuals of their respective race.

Because discourse regarding race is rare in the classroom, some caucasian students go as far as to vocalize how they feel “left out” and “disadvantaged.” Some individuals have even complained about the lack of a White Leadership Symposium.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education case in which public institutions were desegregated. But while this was a step forward, progress remains stagnant here at LHS.

In the hallways, we still hear racial slurs and stereotypes during every passing period. The n-word is even used frequently enough that students using that language fail to understand the meaning and history behind the derogatory word.

As illustrated in “Film industry blatantly whitewashes characters of color,” non-caucasian people don’t get the same opportunities. Out of the 2,809 statues that have been presented for the Oscars, only 85 have been awarded to people of color. While this fact may not demonstrate blatant racism, it does show the inequities that persist, even today.

So here at Lawrence High, we have the ability to diminish some of these inequalities as we collaborate in the classroom. As we work together to make LHS a good place, let’s work to embrace our differences rather than denouncing those unlike us.

 

Sincerely,

Kendra Schwartz and Ashley Hocking

Issue 9: Letter from the co-editors-in-chief

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Dear Readers,

Although movies, magazines and books deem it “the best night of your life,” when May 10 arrives, many seniors are just ready to get it over with. Chaotic dress shopping, stressful dinner planning and desperately searching for the perfect promposal.

The road to prom may look like fantastical, but it can often diverge into into a less than magical night.

The actual dance may only begin when the clock strikes 9, but the preparation prior inevitably causes conflict. The first quarrel to ensue can be an internal one, as you search for the perfect gown.With varying body types, some girls struggle to feel comfortable in certain trendy styles found in stores.

As illustrated in the story, “Body positivity is necessary for good health,” society has created a notion that girls should look a certain way: stick thin. On “the most important night of your life” this idea is amplified to the point where girls starve themselves just to fit in their dream dress.

Another problem that can arise when finding a dress is the price tag that accompanies the dress that catches your eye. According to Glamour Magazine, the average teenage girl spends $1,139 on total prom costs. This average has increased a whopping 40% in the just past three years.

Once you’ve found your perfect dress, you’re faced with another obstacle: making plans as a group. Dealing with everything from finding the perfect restaurant to a mode of transportation that pleases all parties can make your head spin.

You may want to spend this monumental night surrounded by all your closest friends, but differing personality types can dilute this dream. It’s easy to end up too preoccupied trying to please others and end up missing out on your own fun.

After you’ve jumped over those hurdles, finding a date to prom is the optional step. As time has progressed, teenagers have begun to put more of an emphasis on being asked to prom than the actual dance itself.

Whether you’re asking someone with a large sign or with a creative use of food, the ultimate answer you’re seeking is a “yes.”

But whether you decide to go stag, take a date or go with a friend, you can have fun with whomever you’re with. Whether you find the perfect dress at a thrift store or Sherri Hill, it’s your decision to hit the dance floor in it. And whether your plans fall through or everything falls into place, prom is what you make of it.

Sincerely,

Ashley Hocking and Kendra Schwartz

Issue 8: Letter from the Co-Editors-In-Chief

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Dear Readers,

We realize this issue of “The Budget” could be deemed our most racy issue thus far. In our first column, we explained that we do not intend to be “controversial.” Our goal is to write about what our readers — the students — care about.

In this issue, we covered a range of topics including religion, drugs, virginity and sexuality.

The story, “Twitter parallels debate in KS Legislature,” touched on the topics of sexuality and religion. We decided to cover this Twitter fight because although seemingly outdated, the argument over same-sex relationships continues across the country. As we learned more about the recent Kansas House bill, we wanted a discussion of our own to happen at LHS.

Though we were thankful that the bill did not become law in Kansas, we were disappointed to a similar bill pass in Arizona before being rejected by that state’s governor. Like the KS bill, it would have allowed businesses to deny services to gay and lesbian customers based on religious beliefs. Although in liberal Lawrence, most individuals would view this bill as preposterous, there are still local advocates for a bill like this.

As mentioned in “Drugs directly affect audiences at concerts,” our generation seems to need substances to enjoy otherwise fun experiences. It’s gotten to a point where some can’t even attend school without being under some kind of influence. Although we’re not surprised that some of our peers are seeking additional “help” in enjoying their lives, we are disappointed to see this change.

One of the toughest subjects to discuss was tackled by one of our opinion writers in “Virginity isn’t a state of body.” Even as we walk through the hallways of LHS we hear about the sexual exploits of strangers that weekend. Because the average age to lose your virginity is 17, we’re not surprised to hear this topic frequently discussed by our peers. However, we want to end the stigma attached to the concept of “virginity.”

As illustrated in the story, “Sexting victim says stop it with the pics,” a staff member was victimized when his phone number was scrawled across the walls of a local coffee shop. In the piece, we made the decision to reference the explicit words written next to his phone number to paint a true picture of his experience. Though it might have seemed like a harmless prank to the culprit, it has legal implications due to the fact that the staff member is a minor.

As stories are pitched each issue, we try to pick ideas that aren’t just racy but important to our generation’s societal development. We ultimately hope that our newspaper launches a discussion among our classmates.

 

Sincerely,

Ashley Hocking and Kendra Schwartz

 

Issue 6: Letter from the Co-Editors-In-Chief

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Dear Readers,

As we co-editors-in-chief delve into second semester, we’ve begun to realize that this stretch to the finish line is what we make of it. This is the beginning of the end. With reduced schedules and core class credits not needed, we seniors have had to make a conscious effort not to let senioritis affect us.

However, we’ve had additional pressures to apply for admittance to a number of universities and to craft essays in application for a substantial amount of scholarships. As mentioned in the article “Rising tuition yields creative solutions,” there are a plethora of ways to ease the burden of the expenses of college.

Even though the deadlines for some national scholarships have already passed, a multitude of local scholarships became available to Lawrence High School seniors on Jan. 24.

Students who plan on attending out-of-state institutions are still eligible to receive any of the local scholarships. Information regarding these scholarships can be viewed on the school website, http://lhs.usd497.org/StudentServices/. Local scholarship applications are due Feb. 21 at 3:30

p.m., so get started on those essays!

Although we encourage all of our peers to pursue these scholarship opportunities, there are a number of other ways to pay for college. For some students, this can mean taking out student loans. Others may choose to attend community college for a few years before moving on to a four year school. Whatever you choose, make sure you have chosen a path that will ultimately prepare you for your ideal career.

Beyond scholarships, we seniors will participate in a number of “lasts.” For choir students, as illustrated in “Choral students prepare for Showtime,” many seniors will sing their last chords at LHS in Showtime. For senior participants, this year will be their last opportunity to splash around in the mud at the annual Mud Volleyball event. And for seniors, Winter Formal marks their last all-school dance at Lawrence High.

So, despite the slowly approaching end to our senior year, seniors, let’s make the most of our last semester at Lawrence High. As alluded to in the Q&A “Get to know Winter Court,” candidates were each asked, “What will your legacy be at LHS?” And although many of these candidates had their own unique perspectives, we’d like to ask this same question to the senior class as a whole.

What will our legacy be? Don’t let the class of 2014 be remembered for school vandializations or senior pranks that went too far. Seniors, let’s go down in history for being the class that underclassmen could truly look up to. Let us be the graduating class that made LHS a more positive, accepting place for our fellow classmates to attend.

Seniors, let’s make this semester count.

 

Sincerely,

Ashley Hocking & Kendra Schwartz

Issue 5: Letter from the Co-Editors-In-Chief

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Dear Readers,

It’s no secret that the holidays are the perfect time to give back.  Although we touched on this topic in the last issue of The Budget, we’d like to discuss what it really means to give back.

Increasingly, members of our society fail to remember that the holiday season is about appreciating what we have, and not just what we have the potential to gain. What we should truly keep in mind is what we have to give.

In the article “Students overcome economic obstacles,” students at Lawrence High are encouraged bring holiday cheer to less fortunate families through the Adopt-A-Family program.

According to the Kansas State Department of Education, 40.68% of LHS students are “economically disadvantaged.” However, our second hour classes annually contribute more than any other school or business in Douglas County for Adopt-A-Family.

Although here at LHS we do our part to keep the spirit of the holiday season, elsewhere, capitalism has taken over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a number of other holidays.

This year, Black Friday started at an earlier time and cut into some families’ Thanksgiving feasts. In the past, although held at insanely early times, Black Friday shopping only took place the day after Thanksgiving. However, this year department stores opened their doors and took employees and shoppers away from their families for commercial pursuits as early 8 P.M..

After being seated around a table discussing what we’re thankful for, a few hours later we seek more material items. Oddly enough, often what we claim we’re grateful for at the table are the things that money cannot buy.

As illustrated in “Students ‘drift’ away from safety,” to some, video games seem to be valued by our own generation more than spending time with loved ones. Games like Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts made shoppers rush to the store a few weeks ago. Although these games came out prior to the holiday season, the best deals on items are strategically discounted in the gift-giving season.

Ironically, when families do stay together for Black Friday shopping, the idea of Santa Claus giving gifts is completely shattered. Even the concept of the surprise gifts on Christmas morning is diminished by kids picking out their own toys late on Thanksgiving night or early morning on Black Friday.

Not only does Black Friday ruin family time, but it has led to a the deaths and injuries of almost 80 people. Websites like BlackFridayDeathCount.com keep toll of the deaths and injuries sustained each year. That’s an easy way to ruin Thanksgiving.

So, students, if you were lucky enough to survive Black Friday this year, keep in mind the consequences of capitalism, and remember what the holiday season is supposed to be about.  

 

Sincerely,

Ashley Hocking and Kendra Schwartz

Issue 4: Letter From The Co-Editors-In-Chief

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Dear Readers,

As a result of the many articles in this issue concerning the rivalry between Lawrence High and Free State, we decided to discuss some of the events that occurred in the past three weeks.

Prior to every football game, the sports announcer says, “Sportsmanship is forever.”

However, members of the student bodies from both schools failed to follow this advice at times.

Crude T-shirts, vandalism and twitter fights reflected poorly upon individual students from each school.

Roughly 30 members from the senior class at Free State were banned from the football game on Nov. 1 because of $200 worth of damage to our school. These seniors covered the Chesty statue in tuna and a FSHS shirt. They also spread toilet paper across the front of the office building of LHS.

In retaliation, LHS seniors made signs for the game reading, ‘Where’s Your Seniors?’. Additionally, they dressed a fake skeleton in a FSHS cheerleading uniform.

The majority of the remaining members of FSHS’s student section were seen donning shirts that read, “LHS Where All the Peasants Go.”

As a result of these controversial shirts, many LHS students felt personally victimized by the implication that Lawrence High students are lesser. Free State’s comment on the socioeconomic status of Lawrence High students hit a large number of students on a personal level.

Although rivalries are a great way to raise school spirit and camaraderie, many students felt some took it too far.

A few FSHS parents were upset the LHS administrators “let their students vandalize” the FSHS football stadium.

In reality, LHS students simply followed the tradition of throwing newspaper shreds in the air at kick-off. Simultaneously, FSHS students jeopardized the health of potential allergic students by throwing up baby powder.

Despite tensions between the rival schools, LHS students have shaken off the implications that we are inferior.

We believe both schools crossed the line, especially on social media. Individuals stereotyped their rival school, and disregarded how their messages would affect their peers.

Student body, we urge you to be the bigger school and push all prejudice behind you. Staying true to your school doesn’t always mean bashing another. Lions, let our motto regarding sportsmanship be put into practice.

 

Thanks,

Kendra Schwartz and Ashley Hocking