You ask that special person to the dance in some elaborate way, perhaps, having lit luminarias (candles in bags) in the middle of the street, spelling out the word “PROM.” Sadly, you never bothered to check the weather that night, and the candles ignited the paper bags one after the other until your yard was engulfed in a flame of youthful angst and desperation. Fortunately for you, they still accepted. The big day arrives, and depending on plans, starts fairly early with multiple day activities.
Whether Chaperoned or not, your date arrives to pick you up. He or she looking fine. Attempting an elegant walk down the stairs, taking every precaution to ensure that your face doesn’t hit the bottom before your glass slippers, you tolerate your annoying parents long enough to snap a few pictures of the happy couple and exchange boutonniere/corsages. Then, it’s off to dinner. After a lovely meal, it’s time to head to the dance, a chance to see all of your peers looking their best. You arrive to the dance and begin to socialize until Surprise! The prom night staple “Forever Young” by Alphaville begins to play. You and your date awkwardly sway back and forth, neither of you really knowing how to dance, but still making the best of it. After a couple more slow dances and fast-paced songs, you collectively decide to call it an evening. Still hot and sweaty, you end up on the dreaded front porch, the question “Will he/she kiss me” lingering in the air. High five bro! Sometimes dances don’t end up this way. There are many ways that a dance can turn out, this next one is probably the worst possible scenario.
Unfortunately, you are in no way creative. The way you asked your date out was by a simple piece of paper that says “Prom?” with check boxes on it. Luckily for you, they say yes. The day finally arrives, but you guys forgot to plan any kind of activity. Silly you. You also couldn’t find a ride, so your mom is now your chaperone. You and your mom arrive at your date’s house an hour early and their mom cooks a scrumptious dinner. Turns out the whole family are camo lovin’ obsessive right-winged extremists. Sadly, the dress and or suit is camo. After the dinner, you walk out to see your mom and uncle Billy chatting it up. You end up being an hour and a half late because Uncle Billy can’t stop talkin’ bout’ his huntin’ dawgs and his unnecessarily tall lift on his bright red truck. After an eternity of talking, your mom got uncle Billy’s number and you guys left to the dance. Once you show up to the dance, your friend Steve walks up to you and asks where your date is. “I don’t know. I can’t find her.” Just kidding.
For students attending Valley High School, this is the kind of thing that we miss out on. Some students may be missing out on one of the typical-teenage experiences that John Hughes seems to think will be an important part of our lives. At Valley, most of the school funding and resources go toward our school field trips and packets that will ensure students graduate, which is the reason we are here, right?. But is it possible that Valley could have a school dance? When asked, Valley high’s principal, Sharon Jenson said, “I do know that some students ask every year about a prom. As for a Senior dance, this sort of thing has never been proposed before. I don’t know what kind of expense other schools put toward school dances, but it’s something we have to look into.” Even though the funding for a school dance is unknown at the moment doesn’t mean Valley doesn’t have the resources to find out.
There are many reasons why Valley should have a Senior dance. A Senior dance is something that Seniors and Juniors alike have to look forward to because it’s a reward and acknowledgement for all of the hard work that has been done throughout the school year. At public schools, it is one of the most talked about subjects among the student body. Sydney Benson, a student attending Valley High said, “I feel like it opens an opportunity to actually feel like you’ve accomplished something, and getting that feeling of ‘Hey I finally did it.’” Some students feel that because you’re surrounded by all of your peers one last time other than graduation it is a way of communally recognizing your achievements. These are the people that you’ve learned and grown into successful graduates with.
What other way would you want to celebrate your graduation other than a Senior dance, which offers a special night that isn’t like any other. It’s your last night to enjoy being young before you’re pushed out into the adult world. So it’s the perfect night to go and make memories. Maureen Morris, a teacher at Valley said, “I love to dance. For me, dancing connects me to something tribal and primal, and it’s a great way to become comfortable in our bodies through movement around other people. Besides, dancing and music is a celebration of life. I think that having a school dance is a good idea as long as the students are supportive of it and are actually wanting to go to have old fashion fun.” Also, admit it. Dressing up is fun. You finally have an excuse to wear that fancy dress that was collecting dust in the back of your closet. All the days that you played “dress up” when you were younger is finally coming back, but this time it’s being put to good use. There are some potential problems with Valley hosting a dance, too the truth is, sometimes school dances don’t end up the way that they’re supposed to. They aren’t always going to be about the sparkly dresses or the flashy appearances. Some people don’t like to attend school dances due to the fact that it’s a room full of sweaty dancing teenagers and loud obnoxious music. Another problem is the cost of attending a dance. People tend to think it’s a competition to see who can spend the most on the day and night activity as well as the cost of dresses or tuxedos. In 2013, the average family spent $1,139 to pay for their kids to attend dances, and throughout the years, the numbers have increased. There are some risks that must be taken into consideration. Most of the time with school dances, you’re allowed to bring a plus one. With this, we run the risk of someone who is over age being the plus one, and that plus one could bring illicit substances. We risk the chance that people may not even show up. Some people think that it’s unnecessary to host a dance because they fear that it takes away the meaning of Valley. Madison Riley, a student at Valley high said, “A senior dance does sound like a fun time and a celebration of completing your time at Valley. But then again when you have Valley host dances, you take away what makes Valley so special and you make it like a public school.”
Some students thought that a dance would be a great way to celebrate the conclusion of their high school experience. Savannah Smith said, “I think we should have a school dance because this is the class that your graduating with.” Another student, Carrae McDonald, said, “Most Valley students came here because they were struggling before and so the ones who are actually graduating are given a reward for their accomplishments”
However, there may be some student/staff who disagree. Kit Hansen, a staff member at Valley says “Our barbeque pretty much covers the celebration of completing school, and we shouldn’t have a dance to cover that. To me a dance makes us like a regular school. The amount of money that is spent to ask, to answer, to do day and night activities and the dance itself is crazy.” Another staff member, Jeremie James says “I understand the importance of celebrating our students, but we already do that with the graduation. And the dance feels like something superfluous or out of character. That’s something that I associate with a traditional school” Taking us back to the song “Forever Young” “Hoping for the best, but expecting the worse” How appropriate for a school dance. What do you think?
This One Goes Out to Steve Bull
By Danni Newell
A man who travelled in the shadows. The all-seeing, yet never seen. All-hearing, yet never heard. An elusive mystery among us, this is the story of recent retiree, Steve Bull.
Steve was Valley’s assistant custodian for four and a half years and somehow not many people knew much about him. Steve has lived in salt lake city since birth. He attended and graduated from Highland High School. Shortly after graduating, Steve decided to join in holy matrimony with his beloved wife, who he then conceived three children with. Two sons and one daughter, whom Steve claims were “quite the handful.”
Steve eventually found his way to Valley’s friendly hallways as the assistant custodian. He expressed his gratitude for Valley by saying, “I just loved Valley so much. I enjoyed working there and have no complaints or dislikes.” Unfortunately, the time came for Steve to retire. When asked about his post-valley life, Steve says it can be pretty boring and he tries to keep busy by exercising his favorite hobby, which is watching television. Steve said he has been unusually busy lately due to the fact that he is moving soon and has been packing things into boxes day-in, and day-out. Don’t work too hard, Steve. Thanks for all of your endless effort, dedication, and time you put into making Valley High School a better place, and we will miss you more and more as each passing day leads us into a deeper parallel of the endless void that is time, slowly tearing the thinly fabricated veil of infinite space.
Student Spotlight: Justice Carradine
By Alisse Osornio
Gentle guitar notes string out of my phone speaker, a slight pause, then the smooth, familiar lyrics of Post Malone’s “Feeling Whitney” are sung in soft, husky tones by one of Valley’s own students: Justice Carradine.
I had the privilege of speaking with Justice Carradine, a senior at Valley High School, about his daily life, which is a little different from most students’. His reach is far larger than any other student at Valley’s, with over 119,000 Youtube subscribers, 63,000 Twitter followers, and 301,000 Instagram followers, he is a force to be reckoned with.
Initially, I must admit, I was nervous to speak with a student with this type of media presence. Looking at his accounts online was intimidating. Rest assured, he is not the intimidating person you may think. He was very polite and down to earth. I was interested in knowing how someone gains mass attention like this. “I’m from West Jordan, and I’ve been singing my whole life. I also play the guitar, piano, drums, and ukulele. I used to make song loop Vines in seventh grade, and one day they just kind of blew up.”
Justice often tweets song snippets on Twitter, some of his more popular ones gaining over 3,000 retweets and 8,000 likes. The numbers are daunting, I wondered how he feels about his presence online. “I don’t really care about any of it. Social media really isn’t important to me I really don’t even like it. I actually hate it. I just like my privacy. I’m not really on my phone much either, so it’s annoying needing to use it.” He was very humble and earnest throughout the whole interview, even concerned about coming off full of himself.
When looking at Justice’s social media accounts, the comments were endearing, fans professing their love for him over the internet. That fame can sound great, but it can come with some costs. “Sometimes at the mall I will get recognized, but only by like 13 year old girls. I think fan accounts are funny, but they can be scary. One time, someone found my address, and people will send letters to my friend’s houses that are to me,” Justice Said.
Another thing I noticed as I was looking through his online media was an alarming amount of accounts using Justice’s pictures as if they were Justice, which I assume is done to gain online attention. When I asked him how he feels about them, he said, “I don’t understand why people do that! But I’ve catfished them back before.” Catfishing is a nickname, derived from an MTV documentary about using someone else’s pictures on a social media account and saying it is you. He definitely has a light hearted view on social media that makes you forget he has all these fans and followers. I asked Justice about the more negative sides of internet stardom for him personally, “ I wish people couldn’t find out where I live, and I wish my friends had more privacy. Some people will try to become my friend because of it, but I can usually tell when they’re not being genuine. I’m pretty good at reading people. I’ve always been pretty aware about what I post online but sometimes I do get hate comments from guys, but I just ignore them.” Justice was so eloquent and well spoken. His friendly demeanor makes it so easy to get along with him. His high quality videos show off his amazing talent and people are noticing, Valley should too.
Senior Year and Life After Valley
By Madison Riley
Oh, senior year! The best school year you will experience! Or..is it? Students in their last years of high school may experience existential thoughts, wonder and ponder things along the lines of, “What now? Where can I go?” After all, a handful of graduating students may only know how to be a student. They may not have any work experience, not know the steps towards purchasing a home and vehicle, have any type of savings for college, etc.
As a senior myself, I was bombarded with the thoughts about where I will be going after I graduate from Valley. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to discuss this topic with a handful of past Valley HIgh School graduates. I discussed their time at Valley and how they are doing in their lives currently, in hopes of setting preparatory goals for not only myself, but other seniors at Valley.
As the discussion with the students flowed on, I realized that seniors experience immense amounts of stress during their last year of high school. Students might develop depressing thoughts and due to the amount of work that needs to be done in a certain amount of time to ensure they will graduate.
John Krumpelmann, a graduate from the Class of 2017, filled me in on the stresses of senior year. He said, “I definitely felt alone, Which was odd, due to the fact that everyone is involved in your senior year. Every teacher, my counselor, my mom especially was heavily on my back about graduating. Which, is understandable. But that did make me want to quit and drop out more than I should have thought about it.”
Of course these troubles don’t follow you after that sweet, sweet diploma is in the grasp of your fingers. That breath of fresh air as you realize you are finally free to--oh, wait, maybe not. Julian Newland, a graduate from the Class of 2017, said that diving into life after you leave your graduation ceremony is like having your name called in the Draft for war. You’re clueless, lost, and even a little scared. He said, “Life after graduation is uncertainty. I hate to dramatize, but it is like a post war feeling. A lot of questions arise about what your purpose is. So, for a lot of people, I’ll say post graduation is a period of recovery from the initial... ’what now?’”
Oh, but it’s also not so bad. Some graduates are confident and ready to take on the world the minute they leave their graduation ceremony. After all, you are in control of your life now. Corinne Vonstorch, another recent graduate, is actually doing great. She said, “Life is a lot less stressful. I make a lot more money. I have a job at Netflix. I know what it is like to be independent.” That was wonderful news, you know you are doing good once you realize you can hold yourself up. John also gave me feedback on what his life is like now, “Life is good. I do have a lot of more free time now. I work a lot, I’m saving up so I can buy my own place. I’m just in the tutorial part at the game of adulting, it seems, hopefully I level up soon. I make good money, which is a good thing.”
When you tune in closely to what Julian stated, you will see that he hinted that senior year is like going into war, defeating the enemy, then feeling lost and confused once returning home. That may not be the case for everyone, though, some students are lucky enough to start right after they leave high school, or shortly after. That is certainly relieving for John. He Salt Lake Community College in November. “I start SLCC at the beginning in November, I am going to study for a career in Human Resources,” he said.
When you start college, you may have in mind exactly what career you’re going to go after, but for Julian, he is back and forth. Julian has a scholarship waiting for him, but he is not so sure whether or not he wants to take them. Which is understandable, you wouldn’t want to accept a scholarship for something you may not really want, right? Julian said, “My mother works at the University of Utah. I do have a scholarship available for me, but I’m not sure if I should take it. I wish to obtain a degree in filmmaking, but I also make music. I just really don’t know if I should take that scholarship, maybe I’m not prepared.”
Being a student at Valley, you are aided in preparing for jobs, college, adult roles, etc. Valley has some strict rules that are almost exact to what a professional job would have. When you are not going to be present, you must alert whoever about it, and too much absenteeism results in expulsion. Being a student at Valley high school can be a wonderful experience because you can interact and actually build a friendship with your teachers. There are some very interesting teachers here. Some teachers, like Melinda Fatani, aid you in preparing for a job as in learning about proper job interviews, how to build a flawless resume, and how to keep a good job. John stated that, “I honestly do not know what I would do without Valley. That place saved my life. I wish that I took more advantage of Valley sooner than jamming all of the work into the last quarter of the year”.
Following John’s statement, cramming all of your required work into the very last few weeks can be draining. Perhaps, senior year would be an easier ride if there was a set of goals to achieve every quarter and 100% completed by “Save Your Bacon Day.” Goals in the means of making up a .25 credit every other week (if needed), trying to find ways to fill up Power Time cards more quickly, attending and adding more classes every quarter, etc. I personally wouldn’t know, though, due to the fact that senior year for a lot of students and myself began not too long ago, starting senior year can be hectic. Both John and Julian gave some advice for us seniors, and maybe even juniors. Julian said, “Life is inherently meaningless, a series of cosmic coincidences. Things only matter as much as you make them. You control your fate.”
John gave some excellent advice, “Do not skip class. Build a friendship with your teachers. Put school first, please take advantage of all the SLCC opportunities Valley gives you. Please make sure you know where you’re going. Right now, most of my friends are at the U or SLCC paid by scholarships, saving up money, or just had the right direction. I am here, working, trying to work up the money to pay for my first semester.”
Senior year can be pure chaos, but, it is also a windswept and euphoric time of your life. Regular schooling goes from Kindergarten to 12th grade, and now, here you are. You made it into your last years. The journey has been rough, crazy, wild, but it has been pretty amazing, hasn’t it? Today will be a story you may tell to your children, just like our parents’ days are stories to us. We all have favorite teachers, classes, peers at school. John dwelled on his time at Valley and told me, “Brian Gentry was my favorite teacher. Man, I enjoyed him. He challenged me, he was a wonderful man. He seemed real, like the one man you learn so much about life from. I also loved Jess, and Kami. I was really sad to hear that Brian and Kami would not be returning to the 2017-2018 year.”
We have to admit, Valley High School is a magical school. Valley is unlike any other school, it will always be a part of you even long after we graduate. You have Valley to credit for the successful lives we are all going to lead, that honestly, we maybe thought we may not ever get before starting Valley.
Valley has teachers we all built friendships with. We made friends we will never forget, some of us found sweethearts to fall in love with. The post graduates miss Valley tremendously. Julian and John looked back on Valley and said what they missed about Valley. Julian said, “Teachers. Terry, Jeremie, Ian, Jacinto, Allison, CJ, Lanny, Tracy... My friends. We’d play ball outside with each other, such great guys they were. Being a library aid. I had journalism with Jeremie, power hour, and then Jeremie again. My experience at Valley was perfectly ideal, that’s why I will never call it an ‘alternative school’.” Then, John, “I miss seeing my friends that went there. I miss seeing my girlfriend every day. I miss having so much fun in every one of my classes, I had a friendship with all of my teachers. I wish every body could experience Valley. It is the best school, I have never been so close with the teachers anywhere else. Valley cared about me. If I could, I would go through it again. I hope all schools become like Valley. Not a single stereotype Valley has outside of the school, I have never seen. I will always stand by Valley.” In conclusion, no matter what, senior year is going to be difficult, we know life will always be challenging, but that is the beauty of it. Hardwork is incredibly rewarding. If senior year is frustrating and it seems as if everything is bombarding you, Valley has, it seems, millions of ways to help us out. Talk to your teachers, talk to Allie, create a graduation plan with a counselor, Valley is here to help you. Valley is here to give some relief on where you will go after you graduate, and helps you get to that place, wherever that place may be . High school is a crazy, awkward, odd time of your life, but you should enjoy being here. College, perhaps, may be even better, work hard towards it. Take advantage of Valley’s opportunities to earn credit, try to make your last moments here smooth. After all, senior year is the best year yet, right?
Student Spotlight: Caroline Yazzie
By Aejia Keothammakhoun
In a fast paced modern society, with new technology being developed constantly, we can forget art forms of the past. The world around us is filled with cars, trains, and all kinds of high tech planes. So finding someone unique, like Caroline Yazzie, dedicated to Equestrianism, aka horseback riding, comes as strikingly unique for today. What you may not know about Caroline when see you her walking down the hall at school, with well mastered contour and eyeliner, is that she is an advanced horseback rider. Caroline keeps to herself often, but has quite the impressive list of achievements and skills.
“I have a whole plan for the world war or an apocalypse, I would fight with my horses, either with a bow or gun."
As a confident athlete, Caroline can fiercely defend her sport of equestrianism for naysayers who don’t believe this is a sport, saying, “It is highly competitive, just like any other game. I am an athlete because it is just as physically demanding as any other sport, such as football, soccer, or ballet. It’s just with a different technique. You have your own mind and so does the horse, so it’s like you’re on your own mini team.” Caroline also trains just as hard if not, harder than other athletes. When the season is in, she trains rigorously every day for at least seven hours. One may think that this is overworking the horse, but Caroline believes it is important to keep the horse challenged. Perhaps she keeps her horses up to par due to the probable event of an apocalypse. “I have a whole plan for the world war or an apocalypse”, Caroline explains, “I would fight with my horses, either with a bow or gun.” In this post-election society, there’s no reason to blame Caroline for preparing for the worst. She is here to fight back and knows what she wants. Caroline performs in many different kinds of competitive complex shows and rodeo events. “Succeeding in my shows and consistently taking first place in most of them,” shows that she’s not here to mess around and takes great pride in her work. In addition to that, being able to train her own horses is a rewarding experience for her. She has much to boast about, as her winnings have included belt buckles, blue ribbons, a bridle and saddle pads.
“I would rather make people pretty,”
Throughout the interview, I couldn’t help but notice Caroline’s crisp makeup. She told me that if she was wasn’t going to be a veterinarian when she grows up, that she would pursue a career in cosmetology. “I would rather make people pretty,” she said. I spoke with Caroline’s mother, Cindy, who remarked that Caroline is a funny, dedicated, and caring girl, no matter the circumstance. So not only is she interested in helping horses, she wants to help people as well, an all around humanitarian.