Author: mindy.haesemeyer

Hunter Koval accepted into the Thrive Program at UCM

Story by Mia Gatti – Staff Reporter

 

The University of Central Missouri’s Thrive Program for special education students accepted Hunter Koval into their program for the 2021-2022 school year. Hunter is an extremely hardworking student that is the first from Lee’s Summit North to get into this program. There is a lot of preparation and determination to get accepted. Only a small number of kids each year are accepted to attend UCM and Hunter is one of them.

Hunter’s teachers talk very highly of him every day. His family and friends are all so excited for him to start this new chapter of his life.

“Hunter is a very motivated young man to be successful and pursue his interests. He is very hardworking and wants to achieve what he sets his mind to. Hunter also loves to be social especially with the football team,” Lindsay Beachner, special education teacher, said. 

This is a new experience that Hunter is about the encounter and he can’t be happier.

“I am excited to go to the Thrive Program because I want to learn how to be on my own and be responsible. I am most excited to meet new people and have fun. I want to learn new things. I will get involved by meeting new people and going to activities. I hope to be able to go to some sports events,” Hunter Koval, senior, said. 

He has so many things to look forward to and a lot to get involved with.

“The Thrive Program is a great opportunity for students to increase their independence. It provides growth both academically and socially in an inclusive environment. We are excited for the potential for more students to attend in the future,” Beachner said.

Hunter is a student very dedicated to sports and loves to be with his family, they are really going to miss him. Hunter’s sister Kaleigh is currently a sophomore at LSN. 

“I am going to miss Hunter’s goofiness. He always makes me laugh and knows how to brighten a room. I think Hunter’s determination and dedication will allow him to succeed at Thrive,” Kaleigh Koval, said. 

Everyone in Hunter’s life is excited for this new chapter. With him being on his own and understanding how to be a more independent person, the Thrive Program will be a perfect path for Hunter to take. 

 

BIG 12 Basketball Tournament underway in KC

Story by Robert Hurst – Staff Reporter

The BIG 12 Basketball tournament begins this month. It is being held at the T-Mobile Center in downtown Kansas City. The 2021 tournament marks the 20th time that Kansas City will host the  Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship —more than any other Midwest city. Last year’s tournament was non-existent due to the Covid-19 Quarantine that launched last March, the month of the tournament. 

The Big 12 Conference has announced that a limited number of tickets will be made available for the 2021 Championship, scheduled for March 10-13. Seating capacity for the basketball Championship will be reduced in accordance with guidelines from local public health officials.

Simon Murray, a senior at Lee’s Summit North, kept up with college basketball this season. Simon Murray’s reaction to last year’s postponement was utter disappointment, “Initially, when I heard of the postponement of the tournament last year, I had a feeling that the decision was coming, but I felt a large deal of disappointment for the teams in the tournament. Being an athlete myself, the hours putting into working on your game and preparing for big moments inherently create a beautiful anxiety when you finally get a chance to display your hard work; therefore, having the tournament canceled surely left an unsatisfying feeling in the hearts of the players and I understood how hard it must have been for them.” 

Murray believes the limited attendance is understandable, “I believe this was completely called for and expected this to be the case. In fact, I think that it is beneficial, in the long run, to the health and safety of everyone attending the tournament games.”

Murray believes the safety protocols won’t hinder him from attending, “through an earlier planning schedule, I think the consistency of the safety protocols will not hinder me from watching the games live and rather help me to stay safe while at the event.” Murray will be rooting for Kansas State since his older brother is a student there.

Kelly Lepert, a science teacher at LSN, also keeps up with college basketball. With this tournament taking place this month of March, Lepert sees this as a sign of returning to life before the pandemic, “I sincerely hope people attending the tournament is a sign life is returning to normal.”

Lepert is rooting in an interesting way for the BIG12 tournament, “I am rooting for anyone playing against KU!” The NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament or famously known as, March Madness, is the next step for this season. Lepert believes March Madness must happen, “I absolutely see March madness happening this season.  It’s a huge source of income for universities so I think they will do as much as possible to continue it.”

Check out the BIG 12 Men’s Basketball tournament on your local or national TV stations.

Best of luck to seniors taking IB exams

Story by Prajukta Ghosh – Copy Editor 

The class of 2021 has been quite disappointed with the extreme protocols implemented in the school building to maintain a safe environment, however, that is not the only case that has killed the buzz of the senior class. There have been a lot of instances including the cancellation of school dances and senior activities which hindered the normalcy in its entirety. And not to mention the flip-flops between hybrid classes and virtual learning just added to the annoyance and challenges the seniors could have possibly imagined. 

   “It’s been very interesting. It definitely wasn’t how I thought my last year of high school would play out because my dream version of senior year didn’t include COVID-19. Senioritis definitely set in, although virtual schooling probably made it even worse. I’m definitely happy to actually be back in the building because it provides me a small sense of normalcy,” Athena Thies, senior, said. 

   In addition, some seniors this year would also have to prepare and study for the IB exams that are scheduled to be held in May. The decision whether to call off the exams or not was put on hold for a while considering the pandemic, however, the student body has recently received confirmation that the exams are on for this school year. And according to the recent updates, there are going to be few modifications made in terms of IB exams for seniors during the May testing seasons.

   “IB has decided that schools that count off for exams should offer exams, schools that are still under lockdown or online learning would not have to offer exams. For this year IB has eliminated some portions of the external exams where multiple papers exist, so in some of our courses there may be three papers and IB has eliminated in those cases one of the three, however, the internal assessment will continue the exact same way,” Dr. Robert Rossiter, IB coordinator, said.

   So far the only thing we could and should wish for the senior group this year is they do an awesome job in their respective IB exams and ace all portions of the IB requirements entirely. A little encouragement to keep moving forward with full energy and complete enthusiasm is going to help them pull off the tests in a great format regardless of the situation.  

How full-time schedule differs from hybrid schedule

Opinion Story by Kaia Monaco – Staff Reporter

 

Despite having only been back to a full-time schedule for two weeks, it is already clear how different school will be from now on. Not only will students be adjusting to a schedule they haven’t experienced in almost a year, but will also have to adapt to going to school with 2,000 other students once again. 

Now that everyone is back, the lunchroom is uber crowded. Despite the gym also functioning as a lunchroom, students are still not very separated. Everyone is sitting right next to someone else, with their masks off to eat, so this seems like a super spreader for Coronavirus. 

The worst part of having all 2,000 students back is the hallway congestion. Students are packed into the hallways and onto the stairs to the point of almost not moving. You are constantly right next to someone, and it is impossible to know what they have been exposed to. Plus, in the hallways and lunchroom alike, it is incredibly difficult to contact trace. 

The effects of all students being back are seen outside of the building just as much as inside. The traffic coming to and leaving the school has returned to its normal, hectic state. It is now incredibly difficult to get out of the parking lot at the end of the day, making me really miss the hybrid schedule. 

Overall, now that we’re back to a full in-person schedule, school is much more crowded. This was a given, however, I was not prepared for the volume of students that would be attending school once again. It is nice to be working with teachers and other students again, but it is stressful being surrounded by so many people at all times.

Freshman year is not what I expected

Opinion story by Morgan Hubert – Staff Reporter

 

As a freshman at Lee’s Summit North, I came expecting an experience much different than what I received.

   I had dreamed about growing up and going to high school when I was younger. I had a grand idea in my mind that I would love it and it would be the best years of my life. I thought that I would hang out with my friends all the time, have a ton of freedom and love all of my classes, but everything has changed now that I am here.

   Going into freshman year I had no clue that I would have to start off my high school experience with online school, eventually, go into hybrid learning, and then go four days a week. I had no clue that I would have to wear a mask while being at school and not be attending school with all the students at Lee’s Summit North. 

   At first, I was not able to see most of my friends because they had to show up in the second group. Now that we are back to four days a week, I see my friends more than I did, but now that there is no Bronco Time, I still do not get to see them as much because there is no time in the day to socialize with them. One of the best parts of the school days is seeing my friends and now I do not get that long to do so. Covid-19 has changed high school expectations and experiences for everyone. Now that the LSR7 district is offering online school completely, many of my close friends have moved online or are planning to. 

This year has definitely been a rough start to the four years that I will be here, but I am pushing through the struggles. I am still working hard in school and trying my best to learn through these times. During the hybrid, it was mentally exhausting because I was so overwhelmed with the work that I was having to do. Every assignment was due at 11:59 pm and if it was not submitted, you would get counted off. It was hard to keep up with the work as well as keep track of every single assignment. It felt like the same day over and over again and that was hard. Now that we are four days a week, it is a lot easier but I still sometimes get stressed with everything going on and on Wednesdays, I still have work to do for all of my classes and I still have problems losing track.

   I sometimes hear upperclassmen talking about how they hate the new class schedule and how they want the “real” and “first” one back. I always wonder what was so great about it because I have never got to experience it. I have never got to see how high school really is. I have not got to see what the original schedule was like and why students liked it so much better. I hope to get to experience that some time and see what high school is really about.

   

Innovation Track: putting you on the road to success

Story by Katie Langle – Junior Editor

 

 If you want college credit at an affordable price, Innovation Track might be the right fit for you. The Innovation Track gives students a way to earn up to 30 hours of college credit at Longview Community College. These courses count for both high school and college credit. All credits transfer directly to any public two and four-year university. 

   “[I joined the Innovation Track because] it was a way for me to only attend high school part-time as a junior. It also allows me to complete college credits for a lot lower price than if I were to take them at a university,” Sophie Richardson, junior, said. 

   The Innovation Track has a variety of benefits that come with it. One of the major benefits of the Innovation Track is the cost. Innovation Track allows students to take classes for $53.50 per credit hour. The regular tuition rate is $107 per credit hour. Qualifying students also receive free textbooks and tuition. If Transportation is a problem, students have the option to ride the bus from Lee’s Summit North to Longview. 

   There are a few requirements to join this program. Students must be a junior or senior and have a minimum 2.5 GPA. A qualifying ACT or Accuplacer score is also required. Students must submit an application to be considered. 

   “I believe LSN set a deadline for Feb. 24th.  However, I will take applications later.   I would like students to apply early so we can meet during enrollment conferences (March 9-11) to discuss classes.  MCC class enrollment for Fall 2021 opens the first week of April.  I want students to get first choice of classes,” Erin Barnett, LSR7 Innovation Track Coordinator, said. 

   If you are interested but missed the open house on February 9, an informational video can be found on the LSN enrollment page. More information about the Innovation Track can also be found on the Innovation Track’s website. 

The Lee’s Summit North Theater Department wants you

Story by Maria Smith – C0-Editor-in-Chief

 

   The Lee’s Summit North Theater department not only puts on plays and musicals they are also a club with a ton of activities and people who support one another. The club is getting a bit of a makeover this year. With a new teacher and a mission to recruit some new members, they are using this time to their advantage to change up how they work. 

   “Currently, one of our main focuses is preparing for next year’s season/activities. While we are also working hard on our Spring show, we’re trying to make our department bigger, more self-aware, more diverse/inclusive, and even more of a home environment,” Elaine Watson, senior, said. 

   They are still finding creative ways to meet and do some of their annual traditions despite the pandemic. 

   “It has been an adventure this year depending on if we’ve been virtual or in-person. We’ve had virtual events, such as our Tea Time social and Kahoot Party tri-social that we hosted with LSH and LSW. We’ve done a no-contact White Elephant gift exchange. We also completed our community service project, TOTSeat, in October where we collected canned goods for Lee’s Summit Social Services while still maintaining limited in-person contact,” William Palmer, theater teacher said. 

   There is one thing that the club wants you to know. That you are welcome no matter your experience level or the time of year. 

   “We accept anyone and everyone. There is truly a place for everyone here. Whether you want to be on stage or not. Boss people around or not. Have previous theatre knowledge or not. Our differences are what bring us together the most. Even if you can’t be a part of our family, we could use all that support we can get,” Watson said. 

   They meet the first Tuesday of every month and more information about the club is available on the theater website which is accessible from the LSN homepage. It is never too late in the year to meet a new group of friends so get out there and find your place.

Bringing out the best potential in her students

Story by Prajukta Ghosh – Copy Editor

 

Education is a weapon that can lead to a battle of progression and ultimate defeat of ignorance in one’s lifetime. It could be ideal for kids to rant about the struggles of being a student, however, it is even more challenging to be a teacher and not let personal frustration and annoyance take over their student’s time to learn. Mrs. Tracy Wrisinger, Math teacher at North is celebrating this unique profession of tutoring students and being a part of their daily struggles with a positive aura and radiance. She is constantly striving to make sure students make the best out of her classroom and find new ways to resolve consequential problems. 

   “I loved teaching, but my first job was not in an ideal scenario. I left teaching to work on my MBA and my law degree. However, I continued to find an outlet for my teaching. I taught at a number of community colleges and at my alma mater, William Jewell College,” Wrisinger said.  

   She had attended the University of Missouri-Columbia where she planned to study journalism, for two years before she made her decision to transfer to William Jewell. She had earned her bachelor’s degree in both Mathematics and Education along with a master’s in business education and her Juris Doctor from Southern Methodist University. She has come to love teaching more than ever and every day in her classroom she tries to ensure that students develop and master skills that will be best for them once they graduate from high school. 

   “I have always had the mantra that no matter what I’m facing, someone is facing something worse. I also try to assess whether it will matter in five years. If not, it’s not worth worrying about now,” Wrisinger said. 

   She is also the head coach for Avid. She tackles seniors for the avid classes. Her actual journey to learn how to study in college began when she learned several skills from one of her peers that now she teaches students in her avid class. 

   “I actually didn’t learn how to study until college. I had a friend who taught me a lot of the skills we learn in AVID. My grades improved dramatically,” Wrisinger said. 

   Her motive is to help students earn full credit for their accomplishments and enjoy their high school and college experiences the best possible way they can.

Wednesdays in the 2020-2021 school year

Story by Lily Temple – Staff Reporter

 

 This year, the LSR7 school district, along with others, has been having no school on Wednesdays. It has been a time for students to catch up on assignments or to get tutoring from their teachers. Teachers have been able to use the time to plan and to talk with other teachers about the upcoming days and work with online students. Several students and teachers rave about this alternate schedule and hope it continues next year. 

   “Personally, from a teacher’s perspective, I have really enjoyed Wednesdays as asynchronous school days this year.  In previous school years, I would work on weekends or stay late after school to finish grading and preparing lessons for the future units in my classes.  But now I’m able to do a lot of that work on my Wednesdays.  I think students have also benefited because Wednesday has become the built-in day each week to do any individual or small group tutoring.  In a way, those days have made up for the missed Bronco Time,” Kevin Krumrey, Science Teacher, said. 

   Having the extra time on Wednesdays allows students and teachers to get more done. With the constant changes this year students and teachers have appreciated having Wednesdays as a constant. 

   “It has been very helpful because with all of the changes Wednesdays have stayed the same and allowed students time to get help and get caught up on school,” Ellie Stafford, sophomore, said.

   Wednesdays have been a day for students and teachers to relieve their stress. Whether that means, catching up on assignments, or getting ahead, students have shared that Wednesdays take a lot of stress off their shoulders.

   “It is helpful to have an extra day to not stress out and just get caught up on all work no matter what the class structure is like,” Sarah Green, junior, said.

People seem to love Wednesdays and would be very happy if a four-day week was the new normal.

   “I would LOVE to continue having no school on Wednesdays! Even though we have experienced a lot of shifts this year, I feel like having a whole day each week dedicated to lesson planning and collaboration has helped me improve my teaching this year. In turn, this also improves learning experiences for my students. I think students wouldn’t mind having a day off to catch up on school work. I think we all need a breather sometimes,” Abby Fossey, English teacher, said.

   Students and teachers alike have expressed how much they love having extra time on Wednesdays. It is clear that no one would be opposed to making the four-day week permanent.

 

Virtual snow days

Story by Morgan Hubert – Staff Reporter

 

 Throughout last year and this year, students and teachers have been doing the most to figure out how to keep moving through school and keep teaching students while the students are able to learn. With Covid-19, it has been hard but they found a solution. The solution being, virtual learning, otherwise known as AMI days. 

   Along with starting the school year fully virtual, they also made a new rule about snow days. The rule being, if the district has made an announcement for a snow day, we have virtual learning. We can have up to five virtual learning snow days before we do not have required work and they will start adding school days to the end of the year.

   “I personally like the new virtual snow day rule. Last year I enjoyed all the snow days but since they turned into AMI days I like that we will only have five,” Ashley Farmer, freshman, said. 

   In the past, there had been many days added to the end of the school year and even though some students liked the snow day, they did not like making the days up at the end of the year.

   There are times when teachers have planned to do something in person that can not be done online. Therefore, they have to give alternate work or no work at all.

   “I feel like it is much less work compared to being in school,” said Famer. 

   Even though school will be online through the AMI days, teachers might now give as much work as they usually would. This causes teachers to have to fit more things into their schedule since no more school days are added at the end of the year. 

   This school year has brought many new ideas including virtual snow days, and it looks like it will be sticking around for a while.