Wayzata 50: The Special Issue
December 4, 2017
THANK YOU FOR PICKING UP OUR PEOPLE ISSUE!
When we started the people issue, we wanted to cover a diversity of people, not just the first person that comes to mind. We
wanted to showcase those who have hobbies that have a very specific audience as well as those who have a large presence
in our school. Our staff set out to cover freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors who make our school better. Although
the teachers are knowledgeable in the subjects they teach and the building is impressive, the students who walk through
the hallways are what make this space officially Wayzata High School. For this issue, we were inspired by Time Magazine’s
yearly Time 100 issue which “includes Presidents and Prime Ministers, CEOs and celebrities — but they are joined by others
of less fame but great force, in the power of their inventions, the scale of their ambitions, the genius of their solutions to
problems that no one before them could solve,” according to Time’s website. On a smaller scale, we strived to accomplish
the same thing by showcasing 50 people that are both well known by others and those who deserve recognition. Wayzata 50
may be a small portion considering the actual size of Wayzata High School, but we believe it will at least give the reader a
small taste of the variety Wayzata has to offer. As a newspaper, we want to question the defintion of what it means to be influential.
Influential is the guy who starts a skiing clothing line. Influential is the girl who builds bee boxes for an elementary
school. Influential is the two girls who start their own activism club. Influential is every single Wayzata student. We appreciate
you taking the time to read their stories.
Elisabeth Oster and Joe Kottke
Scroll down to see their stories
2,159 total views, 0 views today
A Name to Cheer For
Junior Johnny Latimore has been cheering at Wayzata High School since the winter of his freshman year and is the only male member of the team.
“Johnny has contributed to the team by bringing sass and a great attitude,” said teammate Kennedy Skipper. “He always encourages our fliers and makes every new person feel welcome on the team.”
According to Latimore, his cheerleading career has not always been easy. He was bullied by some of his peers when he first started the sport.
“At first it was really rough,” said Latimore. “A group of boys made fun of me for being the only boy on the cheerleading team. It made me question whether or not it was something I really wanted to do.”
According to Latimore, cheering was not something he wanted to give up on.
“Cheerleading is something where once you start, you can’t stop,” said Latimore. “I persevered through the opposition and I eventually got to a good place.”
Since then, Johnny has gained more support for his cheerleading skills.
“During the fall season of last year, the crowd started chanting my name,” said Latimore. “It felt really good to be recognized.”
“Johnny gets a ton of attention from the crowd and they absolutely love
him,” said Skipper. “He has grown very accustomed to being the only male cheerleader over the seasons and really embraces it.”
The cheer team has become an encouraging group that Latimore can count
on. “I’ve made close friends who are there for me completely,” said Latimore.
According to Latimore, his future career in cheerleading will depend on the college he attends. “I want to go to the Fashion Institute of Design and Arts (FIDA),” said Latimore. “But if I attend the University of Minnesota, I will definitely try to continue cheerleading in college.”
Communication is so…well, you know
The Wayzata Speech team is on the rise led by key teammates such as Junior Aryan Shah.
“Speech is a great way to become a better communicator,” said Shah.
According to Shah, he participates in the school speech team which starts in December and ends with the individual state tournament in April.
“Competitions are held every Saturday and usually take all day,” said Shah.
Shah said he participates in the discussion competition, which consists of three rounds, each an hour long.
“Sixty to seventy people are split into smaller groups and discuss a certain topic given on the spot. The top 7 move onto a final round,” said Shah.
Individuals are judged on their communication skills, politeness, and effectiveness, as well as posture and tone, according to Shah.
Team meetings are held once a month but students also meet with the coaches individually to present and hear critiques, said Shah.
Last year, Wayzata hosted the sectional tournament and took home first place. The state tournament is an individual competition so teams do not move on, according to Shah.
“It was satisfying and showed how the efforts put in by the team paid off,” said Shah. Individually, Shah placed 4th in the sectional tournament, missing out on state by just one spot.
Six students from Wayzata advanced to the state tournament last year, a school record. Those students include Seniors Saee Patil, Ananya Shah, and Simran Chugani along with Juniors Shreya Ram, Nitya Dandu, and Nabiha Amin. Saee Patil and Ananya Shah also went to nationals, and advanced past the prelims.
This upcoming year, Shah and the team have high expectations.
“We hope to win sections again,” said Shah “I also want to make it to state this year.”
A New Level of School Spirit
Junior Andy Nelson plays a major role in Wayzata High School’s planning of dances, events and fundraisers.
Nelson said he has taken part in student
government since junior high, and assumed the position of student council Junior Class President in 2017.
Nelson represents Wayzata as the Hennepin Division President with the Minnesota Association of Student Councils (MASC).
“It is a real honor to represent Wayzata in a wider spread of organizations,” Nelson said. “It’s great to bring back ideas from other schools to help better Wayzata Student Council.”
According to Nelson, Wayzata Student Council’s impact on the community has improved since previous years.
“This year, student council decided to have a full overnight lock-in for the senate to generate new ideas,” said Nelson. “We completely renovated homecoming to have a carnival instead of the long-lasting tradition of a homecoming parade.”
“We have the pleasure of hosting the National Student Council Convention here
at Wayzata this year, and it will be one of the biggest undertakings in Wayzata student council history. Im beyond excited Wayzata can spread and receive ideas
to and from other schools, all from our own school.” said Nelson. “At the Student
Council Convention, schools from across the nation will convene to discuss and share more about their organizations.”
As Junior Class President, Nelson will have a large say in the convention’s planning, according to Nelson.
“It’s my personal goal to find a deeper sense of school spirit in each crevice and area of this high school,” said Nelson.
An Artistic Mindset
It’s not uncommon to hear about young, talented artists
within the high school. What is uncommon is Freshman Erinn Grendahl’s art. Grendahl, inspired by the works of Salvador Dali and Alberto Vargas, produces pieces focused on an uncommon subject: pin-up girls.
“Vargas was one of the more prolific pin up artists of the 1940s through the early 1970s. His pin up girls just seem so effortlessly elegant in all of his work, which is something I strive for in my own drawings,” said Grendahl.
Grendahl, an East Middle School alum, has been seriously pursuing art since sixth grade.
“It started with some cartoon sketches, working with colored pencils and felt tip pens; when I realized that I was decent at drawing, I started to try new styles and mediums,” said Grendahl.
While she has experimented with different mediums in the past, she especially enjoys working with paints or simply a paper and pencil.
“[Drawing] is the easiest way for me to get the picture in my head out into the open for all to see,” said Grendahl.“I also absolutely love painting. It’s a lot less stressful than drawing; if you make a mistake, you can go over it later. While her works do extend from pin-up girls, most of her pieces are focused on people.
“There are so many emotions that can be portrayed by humans. With animals, you can leave the mood of the subject up to the interpretation of the viewer. While you can still do that with people, you can also be a lot clearer about what you want the viewer to feel,” said Grendahl.
Last August, Grendahl had the opportunity to sell some of her pieces at one at the Uptown Art Fair.
“I was lucky enough to get a spot in the Youth Uptown Art Fair to sell some of my pinup style art. I had a booth to myself, and I was allowed to keep all of my profits from the fair,” said Grendahl.
According to the Uptown Association website, the Youth Art Fair is a section of the Uptown Art Fair “giving young artists between 8-18 years the opportunity to
display and sell their artwork.”
Grendahl is not currently selling any art, but is looking for a platform to begin doing so, as she plans to continue to her work.
“I am not planning on making art my career, but I would like to sell art professionally alongside a full time job. Even if I don’t end up doing that, I still hope to work in a setting that allows me to be creative.”
Bees for the Betterment of Wayzata
Senior Maria Moy has spent her life volunteering in and around the Twin Cities. Her most recent project was done in an attempt to not only better her immediate community, but also the world.
“There’s a major bee and butterfly crisis going on right now. The populations are rapidly declining,” Moy says. This is what prompted her to take action.
Moy recently “planted milkweed, made a butterfly garden, and built bee boxes at Meadow Ridge elementary school.” Throughout the month of August, Moy put time into making and setting up 14 different bee boxes.
The bee boxes she created are especially unique, because they are clear on one side. This allows students to get an inside look at the bees living together, she says.
These bee boxes are specifically targeted towards solitary bees. There’s roughly 400 different types living in Minnesota, according to Moy.
The fourth graders at Meadow Ridge are in charge of maintaining the project, which allows them to learn about other species in a hands-on environment. There currently is no Nature Center at the elementary school, but the bee boxes provide an alternative for outdoor learning.
“It’s a really cool thing, to know that you are making a difference. People have helped me so much through my years at Wayzata, and I think it’s really important to give back,” Moy says.
She encourages other people to find something they are passionate about, and to use that to make a difference in their own community. “Without passion, volunteering will feel like a chore.”
Wayzata’s Super Volunteer
Where the typical Y.E.S. board member has under four projects, Junior Amanda
Cushman goes above and beyond, co-chairing seven projects: “Super Kids Super Sharing,” the Humane Society, home raking for seniors, Ridgedale YMCA programs, Birchview Elementary School, Sunset Hill Elementary School, and Adopt a Highway.
Cushman started her volunteering career especially passionate about animals with the Humane Society’s Hoppy Hour. She became a permanent volunteer at the organization the summer before her freshman year, and now coordinates between the high school and the organization on a bi-weekly basis.
Cushman said that Y.E.S. was her first exposure to volunteering, “I didn’t have many volunteering opportunities with any kind of group or church. Volunteering gives me exposure to many different people and aspects of a community.”
Leadership and communication are two skills Cushman found most rewarding from the experience, “I’ve learned to be quick on my feet as a board leader. I’ve gotten a lot of great social skills by working with different people,” said Cushman.
“Amanda is a terrific leader in Club Y.E.S. She is very dependable and dedicated. If she takes on a job, get out of her way, because she will get it done. She makes
things happen and cares about making a difference,” said Club Y.E.S. Program Manager Brenda Badger.
Right now, Cushman is spearheading a major event called “Super Kids, Super
Sharing.” In January, Y.E.S. is hosting a district-wide donation drive. At each Wayzata Public School there will be buckets for donating new or gently used school supplies and student resources.
At the end of the month, the donations will be collected and brought to the Braemar Ice Arena for other schools in need to pick up for their students,
according to Cushman.
“It’s a great way to collaborate with schools not as fortunate as we are,” said Cushman. “I’m really excited for the event.”
Though Cushman is looking toward a career in environmental science or engineering, she does say she would like to continue volunteering throughout her life, “It’s been a long road [working with Y.E.S. Club] and a very impactful one,” said Cushman. “I really love helping and being around other people.”
A Creative Culture
Junior Jorgie Rassi spent the summer of 2017 interning for Milk Makeup Studios in New York.
“It’s all connections,” said Rassi. “My uncle Mazdack Rassi is the co-founder of Milk Studios and he has helped me get my foot in the door of the industry.”
According to Rassi, she spent four days of the week shadowing the Marketing Director of Makeup, and on Fridays she’d attend meetings with her uncle, discussing business plans and communicating with other companies such as Snapchat and Vogue.
“Seeing the creative aspect of the company was eyeopening. I was able to go to places such as Urban Outfitters to test products on customers and staff to receive
feedback,” said Rassi.
Rassi was able to work with influencers, sending makeup kits with Milk’s best products to people such as Bella Hadid, A$AP Rocky, and Zoë Kravitz.
“I worked in a team of three, sending products to people with a large group of followers who would be influenced to by the brand,” said Rassi. “We chose artists, musicians, and influential people who would represent our brand as being unique and supporting diversity.”
According to Rassi, through the internship with Milk Studios she has created even more connections.
“Many companies, especially older ones such as Vogue want to work with Milk Studios because of the culture they have created, and the youth present in their work,” said Rassi.
Through the completion of the internship with Milk Studios, Rassi has been offered other internships from companies, Vogue, Paper Magazine and other New York companies.
“Out of all the interns at Milk Studios, I was the youngest,” said Rassi. “It’s intimidating being around interns who are all college students at prestigious
universities such as Northwestern, but everyone is laid back and I learned so much.”
Rassi encourages everyone, high school or college students to at least apply
for internships and reap the benefits.
“Being exposed to the fashion industry made me realize the depth of their work,” said Rassi. “The industry uses science, journalism, communications, and so much more.”
According to Rassi, she hopes to continuing advancing her skills to work towards becoming a creative director, separate of her family legacy.
Senior Tora Husar took the role of President of Quiz Bowl this year. According to Husar, she leads members to participate in several tournaments throughout the year that test various categories of trivia knowledge.
Husar’s love for trivia has been apparent from a young age. According to Husar, at fourteen years old she auditioned for the popular TV trivia game show, Jeopardy.
“It was a disaster since I was nervous. The only question I answered was who was the husband of Beyonce,” Husar recalled. “Sophomore year I transferred to Wayzata High School and discovered Quiz Bowl.”
According to Husar, her initial interest in trivia combined with a friendly atmosphere Quiz Bowl members provide had her hooked. “it’s been one of the best decisions that I’ve made since beginning of school.”
The Quiz Bowl community is full of strong friendships and supportive people, according to Husar. “Even though you’re competing against one another, it’s not a cut throat environment, rather an environment where people are happy to be there and participate,” said Husar.
According to Husar, she has already moderated at middle school tournaments and hopes to moderate at a high school level as well. Looking ahead to college, Husar would like to continue playing Quiz Bowl and potentially write questions for high school tournaments.
According to Husar, Quiz Bowl has helped her seek other passions. “I’ve learned about many composers through quizbowl and I’ve actually learned to play some of their piano pieces.” Husar said. “I’ve also read a lot of books after learning
them through Quiz bow,” said Husar. “I think Quiz Bowl gives people the opportunity to learn and to go in depth about topics that otherwise you’d be unaware of.”
“Quiz Bowl is not just for people who spend all day reading textbooks,” said Husar. “The community has a place for people of every interest and personality type.”
The Making of a Soccer Superstar
“I am addicted to soccer, I just can’t get enough,” said Sophomore Patrick Weah. “I have been playing ever since I was able to walk. My mom just gave me a ball.”
Weah moved to Wayzata in 2011 from Liberia, seeking a better life, according to Weah. “In Africa, soccer is really the only sport that we
played,” said Weah.
As a starting forward, Weah led the team with 20 goals this season, leading the Trojans to the first state championship since 2005, according to Weah. “It felt so great to win the championship, we worked so hard and all the hard work payed off,” said Weah.
Weah scored the game winning goal in the state championship in a 2-0 victory over Stillwater, while being named to the All-Tournament Team.
In the spring and summer, Weah plays at a high level for the Twin Stars Academy U17 premier team, according to Weah. Ranked number 1 in the state and 38th nationally, the team was a national semi-finalist in the 2016 U.S. Club Tournament.
Weah also has taken part in the Olympic Developmental Program (ODP,) and played internationally in countries such as Spain, according to Weah. Weah plans to continue playing soccer at the collegiate level too. “Coaches from colleges such as UCLA, Stanford and Penn State have begun scouting me,” said Weah.
Next year, Weah will look forward to being a leader on the team with many Seniors such as defenders Drew Gallinson and Walter Smith, midfielder Erik Williams, forward Sandra Golzarian, and starting goalie Daniel Welshons all
In total, the Trojans are expected to lose 11 seniors. “I’m sure some of the underclassmen will step up,” said Weah, “other schools are losing key players too. I just think that will balance itself out.”
Small Kid, Big Spotlight
Getting on stage and performing for an audience can be a daunting idea for some. However, even more daunting would be performing as a fifth grader
surrounded by high school students. Gleason Lake Elementary student, Hugo Mullaney, has accomplished this exact feat.
Performing in theatre shows since second-grade, Mullaney has appeared in numerous Bluewater Theatre Company productions, including Winnie the Pooh, Les Miserables, and 101 Dalmations, just to name a few.
In Wayzata High School’s production of the musical, Mary Poppins, Mullaney received a leading role and portrayed Michael Banks, the young boy in the show’s central family that is visited by Mary Poppins and soon becomes
the children’s nanny and teaches him and his sister the most important values of life, and that anything is possible, which, according to Mullaney is how Mullaney won the part.
In order to find someone to play “Michael”, director Grant Sorenson put out a casting call announcing for any middle or elementary school boys to come and audition.
What’s even more impressive about Mullaney’s journey to this production was the immense preparation the actor underwent for the role. When audition day came, Mullaney was the only candidate who didn’t need to look at lines or sheet music during the audition, speaking volumes to Mullaney’s dedication as an actor.
According to Mullaney, intimidation about joining a large cast consisting of high school students was, although daunting, not a deterrent.
“Okay…this is a bit big” Mullaney said after the show’s first rehearsal. According to Mullaney, after everyone became friends with the cast, crew and the directors, he “felt more comfortable”.
“Everyone’s really friendly, and everyone is sort of taking me under their wing, but it’s still a big learning process… everyone’s really nice to me.” Hugo has nothing but praise for his fellow cast and tech members, and it’s safe to assume they have nothing but praise for him.
But this entire process hasn’t been the easiest. Since rehearsals took place after
school everyday until around 6 in the evening, he said “I go to school, I go
straight to rehearsal, and then I go home, eat dinner, do homework, and then go
Despite the immense amount of work that comes with a leading role, theatre
and performing is something Hugo holds very close. Acting is something he takes seriously, and dedicates himself to each role he takes on, which will most likely only improve if he continues to act for the rest of his life, which he made clear he intends to do. “I was born to be an actor.” said Mullaney.
The World of Fencing
Senior Graham Maas is a national A rated epee (a type of sword used in fencing) fencer, which is the highest rating one can achieve.
“I earned the ranking through lots of practice,” said Maas.
According to Graham, he earned this rating in May 2017 at the Minnesota Open fencing tournament.
Back in March, the Wayzata fencing team won the state title and Graham took home second individually.
According to Graham, he has learned that most of his opponents think that they have the advantage because they are taller and have a longer reach, as he
is only 5’7’’.
“I’ve used this to give me the upper hand,” said Maas. “People think that I’m too short, but I use that to my advantage.”
According to Graham, he specializes in setting up his opponent and going for his feet and arms. Not having a long wingspan has forced Graham to adjust to a style that has made him lethal. He first saw this technique when he traveled to London for the 2012 Olympics.
Graham has been to some incredible places since he started fencing. He has traveled to Washington D.C., Atlanta, St. Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Palm Springs California, and Ireland for fencing, according to Graham.
Graham is usually shorter than his opponents, so he has to train more than they do. Correct form is essential in order to have the split second edge, Graham said. But his body isn’t the only thing he has to strengthen for matches. “Training mentally is just as important as training physically,” said Graham. “If you do not have your mental A game, you might as well give the opponent the win.”
According to Graham, he makes sure that he has a game plan going into every match.
To really succeed in fencing, Graham said he tries his best to have three things going for him: being physically ready, mentally focused, and having gamesmanship. “When all three of these things are working for me, I know I have the greatest chance to win,” said Graham.
A Rising Rockstar
Senior Aidan Burke has been playing guitar since he was 14 years old, for a rather unlikely reason.
“I broke my leg when I was 14. I had a lot of time on my hands so I learned guitar,” said Burke.
It didn’t take long for him to get sucked into the world of music making.
“I was addicted and started to write songs,” said Burke.
Since then, Burke says he has expanded his musical horizons, specifically exploring songwriting. “My favorite thing to play is new songs I have written.
When I write a new song and hear it live for the first time it is pretty amazing,” said Burke.
According to Burke, most of his music falls in the indie or alternative rock category. Burke noted that live performances play a large role in how he writes and performs.
“My biggest inspiration is going to concerts,” said Burke. “Seeing other people playing live and living in the music gives me a lot of inspiration to go home and write songs.”
Burke and his band (which is currently without a name) regularly play shows in venues across Minneapolis and its suburban neighbors.
“I have performed at the Depot, house parties, and a few bars and restaurants in Minneapolis,” said Burke, “The Red Sea restaurant is my favorite [to play at] so far; I have met a lot of cool people there, and the food is great!”
Burke and his band played their latest show Thursday night, and they plan to continue to performing in the foreseeable future.
Senior Olivia McGrath has been writing music since the age of seven, and started getting serious at the age of twelve.
“When I was seven, I wrote what I thought was my own song,” said McGrath, “I was really proud of it, but it turns out it was Because of You by Kelly Clarkson.”
According to McGrath, her music is ‘bedroom pop.’
“You’re in college and you have $3, that’s my style,” said McGrath.
According to McGrath, her music has a casual, DIY vibe, due to the fact that she doesn’t produce it for fame, but rather because it is something she loves to do.
“Whenever I have a feeling or I need to think about something, I’ll just sit down at the piano and touch a key. If it sounds good, I’ll keep going and if it doesn’t sound good, I’ll try again,” said McGrath.
Once McGrath is satisfied with the melody, she edits her song on GarageBand and adds the lyrics.
McGrath’s songs are about a wide range of topics, from her love of architecture to political issues, to dealing with mental illness.
“My songs used to be mainly about relationships, but as I’ve gotten older the content has become more diverse,” said McGrath, “If something makes you feel something, then you should write about it.”
With this in mind, McGrath said that she’s not always focused on the finished product.
“The final product isn’t always what I intend; the process is really what I love,” McGrath said.
“I’ve had people DM me and tell me that they really like [my song], that they memorized it, or that they saved it and that is really special to me.”
Although she doesn’t plan to study music after graduation, McGrath says she plans to continue pursuing her music as a hobby, and hopes to impact people with her songs.
McGrath’s acoustic EP “My House on Sunday” is available on iTunes, Apple
Music, Spotify, Deezer, and SoundCloud. Several singles and covers are also available on Soundcloud.
“Most of my content is available through streaming services or social media; the
more people who can listen to my songs the better. They can find my music by
follow @2ndspr1ng on Instagram, or download it from 2ndspring on Spotify,
mon_cheri-1 on SoundCloud, and Liv McGrath on Apple Music/iTunes,” said McGrath.
Senior and captain of the Swim and Dive Team Elly Morrison’s passion for diving began when she was eight years old. That inspiration for diving came from a diving commercial that she and her sister saw that stuck with them to this day.
“We showed it to our mom, and she signed us up for lessons that we’ve been taking ever since,” said Morrison.
According to Morrison, she practices year round about four days a week, with practices as long as three hours. High school season starts in the late summer and goes into fall, while club season takes place in the winter.
According to Morrison, there are a few things she considers accomplishments. The first one being that she qualified for state every year throughout high school, while placing in the top ten each time. She also earned the All American title, and committed to dive in college at Northeastern University, a division one school in Boston, Massachusetts.
Morrison said, “It had been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember and I’m very happy that I stuck to it.”
Although Morrison has had several achievements, there have also been challenges along the way, such as living in the Netherlands from 2010 to 2013. According to Morrison, her biggest difficulty was learning how to get along with her teammates who didn’t speak her first language.
“It was terrifying at first because everybody on my team spoke Dutch and I had no idea what they were saying,” said Morrison.
Despite this obstacle, Morrison said that her teammates ended up being extremely helpful, and she caught on to their language quickly.
Morrison said that this has made her better at diving because she was able to look at the sport through a different culture’s lens.
Morrison added that her biggest support system is her family, which is a large factor in getting her through these challenges.
“They are always there to lift me up and have encouraged me through all of my highs and lows,” said Morrison.
Some of the reasons why Morrison loves diving is because of her supportive teammates and coaches. Because of that, Morrison said diving is a good way to relieve her stress.
As for the next chapter in her diving career, Morrison said, “I’m looking forward to the new lessons this sport will teach me.”
Sophomore Tennis Star
Sophomore Jonathan Nudler started playing tennis when he was eight years
old. The inspiration for the game came from his parents.
“At first playing tennis didn’t click with me, but then I fell in love with it at 8 years old. Ever since then I have loved the sport,” said Nudler.
Nudler is a member of the Wayzata Boys Varsity Tennis Team and has been since seventh grade. He practices four to five times a week, both on and off
the court, for three hours a day, said Nudler. Last year as a freshman, he qualified for the state tennis tournament but fell in the first round.
“Losing in the first round of state was not the outcome I had hoped for. However, it was a learning experience that I will take with me as I go further in the sport,” said Nudler.
“Playing in the state tournament was an unbelievable experience. It was a very good atmosphere and the coaches at Wayzata are all very supportive,” said Nudler.
When not playing for the Trojans, Nudler plays for Colossal Tennis, a training academy that helps get players on the court in college. It is located at the Baseline Tennis Center, according to the Colossal Tennis’ Facebook page.
According to Nudler, he also participates in various national tournaments and sectional tournaments. Nudler won the sixteen year old tournament at the Level Three National Tournament last summer. In addition, he won doubles at Level Four and a runner-up at the University of Minnesota.
“What impressed me the most was the level of tennis I was able to sustain and produce over four days,” said Nudler.
According to Nudler, playing the game all relies on yourself.
“The best thing about the sport is that you are alone on the court and all the blame or credit goes to you for outcome of the match,” said Nudler.
Nudler also said that he enjoys the individual aspect of the sport.
As for the rest of his tennis career, Nudler looks to continue playing the game of tennis, but hasn’t decided on a future school yet.
“I have strong aspirations for playing tennis for a Division One school,” said Nudler.
Passion Behind a Lens
Senior Tiffany Ku has grown up with a camera in her hands. From her first flip
phone with a camera, to her “point and shoot” Nikon L820, to her professional-level Nikon D4300, she has always been passionate about capturing the moments around her, but it wasn’t until recently that her passion was taken to a new level, according to Ku.
“As I grew up and became more involved with social media, I started to get exposed to other student photographers, and that’s when I really became more invested in it,” Ku said.
According to Ku, last year her parents loaned her enough money to buy a professional level camera, and she decided to start her own business.
“It was a big jump for me to borrow that much money from them, but once I got the camera it started to feel like the photography business was something I could actually do,” she said.
Since the purchase of that camera, Ku has wasted no time in pursuing her passion. In the past year, she has done everything from senior portraits, couple shoots, graduation pictures to most recently, a wedding, according to Ku.
Through such a wide variety of projects, her favorite remains the portrait photography, Ku said.
“I like focusing on one person, because it allows me to show their personality
and highlight their positive attributes. I like to make them shine,” Ku said.
When it comes to turning dreams into reality, Ku gives the common advice of practice making perfect.
“I’m never entirely satisfied after editing a photo, but I continue working at
it and trying to improve.” She also makes good use of her resources. Ku said that she is constantly looking for inspiration and advice from other photographers. Pinterest is one of her favorite resources.
“I think it’s important to immerse yourself and try to learn everything that you can about your passion,” she said.
In the future, Ku plans on using her business as a permanent hobby. “I definitely
plan on photographing seniors for years to come.”
For many people, clothes are a way to express character and personality. Sophomore Max Swenson takes this a step further with his clothing line, Lineage Outerwear.
“The reason that I wanted to start a clothing line is pretty simple. I wanted to combine my two favorite things; Skiing and Fashion,” said Swenson, “I have always loved business and I wanted to make something that was mine; clothing that I could wear on the slope but also on the street.”
According to Swenson, the idea for the name Lineage Outerwear came from him looking up words on the internet that sounded cool and seeing if they were taken already.
“I found the word Lineage and that was it,” said Swenson, “The second part, outerwear, is because I eventually want to make snow pants and winter jackets.”
According to Swenson, his brand has already reached popularity he levels he wasn’t expecting; The Lineage Instagram has surpassed 4,000 followers
and the brand has sold out certain runs of their hoodies.
“One of my most inspirational moments was when I was skiing the other day and I saw someone wearing Lineage that I didn’t even know.”
Although the brand is popular, it doesn’t have its challenges. According to Swenson, it can be a struggle to balance school work and business work.
“Some weeks I will have lots of orders that I need to ship out which takes lots of time. Other weeks I don’t,” said Swenson, “When I am working on making
a new line or working on building strategic partnerships- which is something that is always going on- it takes lots of time and work.”
Along with balancing work, the biggest problem comes from standing up for his brand, according to Swenson.
“People try to say it doesn’t look good or that it’s stupid and this can be really discouraging. You always have to keep pushing through that,” said Swenson,
“In most cases there are more people that like it, it’s just that they don’t say anything. Haters love to hate.”
According to Swenson, his biggest goal is to reach a point in his career where he can walk downtown and see someone wearing Lineage.
“The future can hold a lot of things so I really don’t know where this could go. If everything keeps on growing at the rate it has been, I can see myself pursuing this full time,” said Swenson, “I just want everyone to know that everything that I do can be done by anyone.”
Senior Roland Hannigan has been participating in parkour training for three and a half years.
“Parkour is kind of like a mix between gymnastics and track and field,” Hannigan said.
“I started because my friend told me about a parkour gym in Edina so I tried a couple classes,” said Hannigan. “Before I started I just sat at my computer playing games all day so it gave me something to do and I stuck with it because it was fun.”
According to Hannigan, he trains with friends at various places all over Minneapolis and on the University of Minnesota campus.
“During the winter we go to the gym a lot more since most of the spots outside are covered in snow,” said Hannigan. “In parkour we have big meetups with people from all over the world who come together to train. These meetups are called jams and they take place all over the world every year. Personally I haven’t left the country for jams but I’ve traveled all over the country for many jams,” Hannigan said.
Hannigan said, “There are also parkour and freerunning competitions that have both speed and style competitions. I have competed in the qualifiers for a
few competitions for fun but I’m not good enough to make it through the qualifiers.”
Wikipedia defines Freerunning as “a version of parkour that adds acrobatic moves that are purely aesthetic, called ‘tricking.’”
Hannigan said that he had never been injured from messing up a trick, but he has had injuries from overtraining.
“My first injury was breaking a small bone in my knee that was caused from stress fracture because I trained too often without proper rest.”
Hannigan said that he has also made hundreds of friends from around the world from going to competitions across the country.
Hannigan said, “I would consider parkour a sport. Some people considered parkour an art of self expression but I just do it for fun so I don’t really relate to that.”
Miss Teen Minnesota
Wayzata High School Junior Devika Narayan was crowned Miss Teen Minnesota International 2017 this past April.
According to Narayan, she started competing in pageants for the first time at the MTMI pageant. Narayan competed out of curiosity and because the pageant organization is focused on community service, a passion important to Narayan.
According to the Miss Teen Minnesota International website,“The Miss Teen Minnesota International Pageant showcases the many accomplishments of Minnesota’s young women,” and, “motivates young women and their families to exemplify traditional family values, and to make a difference by getting involved in their communities.”
“That’s something that’s really important to me so I wanted to see what opportunities would come with such a title,” said Narayan.
According to Narayan, her opportunities with her title include working with organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association, American Heart Association, and Go Red for Women.
“The organizations that I work with are really focused on helping those who don’t have the resources that everyone needs, which is something I really respect, and is one of the main reasons for why I involve with the groups,” said Narayan.
Narayan stated that her favorite part of the pageant is the personal interview. “Being a talkative person, I’ve always loved talking about my ideas, my goals and what I think about anything and everything. The personal interview is one of my favorites just because you’re really able to talk to the judges and connect with them that differ from when you’re on stage,” said Narayan.
Meeting new people is another opportunity that Narayan has enjoyed. “I have made a lot of friends in the pageantry world. Meeting the other girls from around the world was a really cool experience, just because it isn’t every day over 70 girls from different cultures and countries meet in one area. Learning about their accomplishments and plans has not only inspired me but has also helped build lifelong friendships,” said Narayan.
Narayan stated her future in pageantry is unclear, but she would like to continue if the pageants continue to represent her values of helping others and giving back to the community.
“I think today there are a lot of pageant systems that don’t represent or promote the values they claim to. I am very fortunate to work within a pageant system that does represent the values they claim to; having a large focus on community involvement and volunteering,” said Narayan, “I’ve only done my state pageant and the national pageant so I might keep going in the future if I find other pageants that represent the values that I respect the most.”
A Future in Food
Senior Molly Carroll was awarded the Norman Borlaug Science Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences last year.
“I won it for independent research I have done in fields relating to food science and agriculture.”
The achievement includes a $1,000 scholarship upon successful enrollment in the University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.
According to Carroll, Borlaug’s research is based solely off the science of food and resource production, and how it affects the world. Because of this, a lot of money is donated so more people can get involved with agriculture.
“I talked to the U of M to get more resources on it and I thought it sounded really cool, and it would be easy for me to write a paper on it because I’m into it,” said Carroll.
According to Carroll, she was chosen as a state delegate from the global youth institute to go to the world food prize.
“There was a whole conference of professionals and researchers of food science,” said Carroll, “It was amazing to be in a room with all these people that have actually changed the world and improved life for so many people in need.”
Carroll has had strong ties to science since a very young age.
“I’ve always been interested in science, and my mother was a scientist so we’ve
done some experiments together when I was little, so that’s pretty much where I
Her love of science continued into high school, “I took biology and AP biology. Right now, I am taking Ecology of Food, which is the basis of all the agricultural
processes,” said Carroll. “I’m really interested in food science. It’s something I want to do as a career.”
Saved by Grace
For Sophomore Grace Kyllo, the Teen Gala has been part of her life since her 7th grade year. Kyllo is the co-chair this year.
Kyllo said she spends her time planning and getting the prizes for prize boxes and dessert table and other things necessary to plan the event.
Many students from various schools come together every year and participate in the St. Jude’s Teen Gala, according to Kyllo.
The event was started by her cousins in 2014 after her cousin Marit was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2008, according to Kyllo. The cancer soon spread to Marit’s spine.
“A personal connection makes participating in this event more meaningful than just volunteering,” said Kyllo. “I have a really close relationship with Marit, so that is why I was able to go to the event as a middle schooler.”
Marit spent the entire six months of her treatment at St. Jude’s hospital and was cured, according to Kyllo.
“We are all very appreciative because she came home happy and healthy, leading to the inspiration to organize the event,” said Kyllo.
“I enjoy being on the committee because I get to be with people from many different schools who share the same passion as me to help St. Jude,” Kyllo said.
Students can register online, make their own personal fundraising page and promote it on social media. The goal for each volunteer is to reach $280 by Dec. 31st, according to Kyllo.
According to Kyllo, what separates her from the others is her strong relationship with Marit, the inspiration for the start of St. Jude’s Teen Gala.
Participating in the Teen Gala sparked Kyllo’s motivation to pursue finding cures for diseases.
“Knowing that the money is going towards finding cures; I have a lot of passion for supporting St. Jude,” said Kyllo.
According to Kyllo, The Gala is patterned after the Golden Globe Awards. There is a red carpet experience and everyone dresses up.
“Participating in St. Jude’s Teen Gala has been a really great experience for me and it has become something I am very passionate about,” said Kyllo.
Dreams by Music
Senior Elliot Floum became intensely interested in music during his seventh grade year. “I really wanted to know how they [music producers] make these sounds from scratch. I started making music on an app and eventually upgraded to music software on a laptop.”
Floum began playing the piano in fourth grade, and joined percussion in middle school. He joined the WHS band as a percussionist and became a
member of the Wayzata Drumline as a sophomore.
Although Floum loves to play percussion, he said it is not something that he would want to do as a career. “Since I first started making music, being a music producer has been a dream of mine,” Floum said,
“Music has impacted my life greatly. The music I create and listen to has affected what I wear on a daily basis and even the people who I hang out with on a typical day. My free time is usually taken up by music, whether it’s playing the piano or quads [Floum’s drumline instrument] or electronic music.”
Floum said his process for creating songs varies. He creates original melodies or samples songs and edits them to his liking. Then he creates a harmony if needed, usually consisting of a few chord progressions and finally the drum pattern is added.
“Sometimes it will take twenty minutes to make a song, or even up to a month if it doesn’t sound right to me. I might even totally change the whole melody,” said Floum.
Floum says the key to successfully creating music is to be free with the music you plan on creating because most of the time it turns into something bigger and better than what you think.
“Also, it helps to know how to play instruments, or if you can, try and learn an instrument you’ve always wanted to learn,” Floum said, “It’s amazing what you can do with only one instrument.”
High School Cadet
Senior Nathan Melnychuk started his military career last summer, at the army’s intensive ten-week Basic Combat Training (BCT) in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
“It’s the basic training for everyone who wants to go into the army,” said Melnychuk.
At camp, Melnychuk was shoulder to shoulder with trainees from age seventeen to cadets in their forties.
Though Melnychuk has no familial ties to the military, he says he has always wanted to join and has always admired and respected the service men and women of our country.
“I learned a lot about life while I was there; loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. It taught me that giving up and quitting will never be an option, no matter the situation,” said Melnychuk.
According to Melnychuk, there were physical tests required to graduate from BCT.
“Some were easier than others,” said Melnychuk.
According to Melnychuk, requirements included completion and passing of physical tests, some involving two minutes of sit ups, two minutes of push ups and a two mile run; there were skill tests measuring ability in rifle marksmanship and grenade throwing, as well as an obstacle course.
The training was mentally and physically grueling, according to Melnychuk. The camp started each day at four-thirty A.M. with strengthening for about two hours, then specialty training like first aid and rifle marksmanship would follow breakfast. The cadets ended their days at nine P.M.
“The food wasn’t the best quality, but it got you through the day,” said Melnychuk.
The future soldier says he’ll go through the military scholarship program, which allows him to go to university partially on a military grant as he trains one weekend each month at a nearby army reserve.
If he were to stay in the military long-term Melnychuk says, “It’d be pretty cool to get into the airborne school someday.”
A Sense of Belonging
Junior Sabrina Akselrod is the co-president of the Jewish group at the high school, along with Caleb Marx and Alex Metchnek.
“It’s called JSU, it’s Jewish Student Union. It’s a national program around the United States and they open them only in public high schools so it’s a student run group,” said Sabrina. “We get most of our ideas from the actual national JSU. They have a website that has a bunch of activities for us to do.”
Sabrina has been a part of the JSU group at the high school since freshman
year. This year she decided she wanted to get even more involved in JSU and become one of the co-presidents.
“I really like Judaism, it’s something that I connect to so much and it’s something that is in my life on a daily basis and I really want to give back.” Sabrina said.
“When I was a freshman and I came into school and knew about three Jewish
kids, I joined the group and there was automatically 10 people right there,” said
Akselrod. “I was very surprised that there were actually other Jewish kids and it gave me a sense of belonging.”
The group meets every Wednesday after school to learn about Jewish culture, according to Akselrod.
“Usually we have a guest speaker, somebody that I would contact from the religious community or from the Jewish confederation to come speak to us about any topic,” said Akselrod.
“We’ve had a guy come in from Israel talking about what he does there, how he helps after terrorist attacks,” said Akselrod.
According to Akselrod, everyone is welcome to come to the meetings and learn about culture, so they have new people coming and going every week.
“When we don’t have a guest speaker we play really funny games. We have Jewish apples to apples that we play. We have jeopardy but we call it jewpardy. We really put a lot of thought into what we do,” said Akselrod.
Akselrod is also involved in National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY.)
According to NCSY’s website, the conference works to connect with “Jewish teens through innovative, cutting-edge social and recreational programs to develop a positive Jewish identity.”
According to Akselrod, religion is extremely important to her, along with her involvement in the Jewish community.
“I’m proud to be a Jew. That’s not something that I’m not afraid to say out loud and I’m not afraid to get other people’s opinions on it,” said Akselrod. “I have some-thing that I am proud to be.”
Junior Aidan Merkel doesn’t have just one or two dogs: she has a new litter of puppies every two weeks. Merkel’s family fosters puppies for eight weeks through Can Do Canines, an organization in New Hope that helps people with disabilities by training service dogs, according to Merkel.
“My mom actually brought it up when I was in fifth grade. She thought it would be a great thing we could do as a family, and we’ve just loved doing it so much that we continued through now,” said Merkel.
“Most of the puppies we train become autistic assist dogs, diabetic assist dogs, and hearing assist dogs,” said Merkel.
“We use basic dog training when it comes to training the puppies. My family mostly does the basics–sit, stay–nothing too intense. Can Do Canines applies levels that each puppy should reach and it’s our job to make sure they reach them,” said Merkel.
“Training means making sure they attend puppy classes where they learn new abilities with the reward of a treat. It is also making sure that each dog reaches the level they need to in hopes of becoming a service dog,” said Merkel.
“It is pretty crazy at home as my family has six dogs in addition to the puppies, but it’s also a lot of fun, because we all love dogs,” said Merkel.
On what happens after the eight week training is over, Merkel said, “The puppies either are given to a family to train, a prison to train because the prisoners train puppies for community service, or to a person who needs a service dog.”
“The first time I gave up a puppy was really hard because they had become a part of my life and my daily routine. It was really hard to say goodbye, but I now have the benefit of knowing that I’m helping someone else in need,” said Merkel.
A Remarkable Change for Wayzata
A noticeable change in the Wayzata High School community has been sparked by junior Mimi Schrader, and her creation of Club US, a unified program of special education programs, and students alike.
“The lunch room used to be so divided, where the unified kids would be isolated to one table, but now if you walk into the cafeteria, they’re sitting with members of Club US and making new friends,” said Schrader. Schrader first became interested in special education when she took the class Unified Physical Education (P.E.) during sophomore year, the first year it was offered.
“I learned more from Unified P.E. than I did any other class. It made me realize we need to do more,” said Schrader.
Schrader shadowed the Unified program at Orono High School and went to Mike Doyle, the Wayzata Unified P.E. teacher, and decided Wayzata needs a Unified program.
“The summer of 2017 consisted of a lot of paperwork and planning, but by the new school year we became a club,” said Schrader. “I expected at most 50 people to join, but now we have 156 members.”
The club consists of four committees, each with a chairperson, according to Schrader. The Fan in the Stands (FITS) committee consists of supporting
Lakers sports events, the Fundraising committee includes events such as the Polar Plunge, Special Olympics, and Dance Marathon according to Schrader. The Weekend Committee involves out of school activities such as bowling and getting ice cream, and the TPals committee plans in-class My-Time activities, according to Schrader.
“The club has sparked an outstanding growth of social skills, and interest into activities such as gym class,” said Schrader. “Response from parents prove this point further. These kids who in the past were isolated are hanging out with friends, and getting calls.”
For Schrader, special education is a probable choice as a career, but according to Schrader, even if her future doesn’t hold it as career path, she will apply the extensive experience and knowledge she’s gained from Club US to whatever she does.
Pottery and Parkour
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in potter and Wayzata High School Junior Ben Mattinen.
Mattinen took up an interest in pottery after seeing his older siblings enjoying the medium while they were in high school.
“I just finished my Ceramics 3 class, but I do a lot of stuff at home now,” Mattinen said.
After Mattinen had began to refine his pottery skills, he took to selling his artwork on Etsy, as well as doing privately commissioned work. “I make a lot of vases and mugs,” Mattinen said. “Basically whatever people want.”
Mattinen spends anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours a day on his work.
According to Mattinen whether the pottery is more sculptural work or on the wheel, it determines the amount of time spent on a piece in a day.
Mattinen describes pottery as a cross between technical skill and artistic expression,
“Sometimes if you’re doing more sculptural stuff, it can be more of an art form and you can use more of what inspires you, and then when you’re on the wheel it’s a lot more technical,” explained Mattinen.
Mattinen recently submitted some of his work for Scholastic Art Awards through the high school. Scholastic Art Awards allow high school students of all grade levels to showcase their skills and earn awards for their work in 3D and 2D mediums.
On a different note, Mattinen also took interest in parkour for a while, giving it up only recently to focus more on pottery in hopes of progressing more as an artist. “I just started doing a lot more pottery and I found more enjoyment in it because I could progress quicker and actually make stuff where, with parkour,
I’m just doing flips and what not, so it’s not as rewarding in the end,” said Mattinen.
She Can Make it Anywhere
Senior Maggie Gathumbi participated in a week long college course at New York University during the summer of 2017. The program allowed students to explore the field of law professions and receive first hand experience with the career field, according to Gathumbi.
“The camp consists of going more in depth with a profession, such as journalism or songwriting. I chose the pre law program because I considered being a lawyer for a long time,” said Gathumbi.
“Law has a lot of different sides. It’s very versatile,” said Gathumbi. “It really interests me because I’ve always been a people person and a huge believer of working in a society where everyone wants to benefit from each other.”
According to the High School Academy: School of Professional Studies, the courses offered include a combination of college level work, opportunity to participate in real life experiences, and study specific career fields. The program allows students to explore different areas of study while discovering New York City and granting college level knowledge to each student participating.
“We got to go to different courtrooms and see many aspects of the profession. I loved studying law and I now plan to go into that profession when I get older,” said Gathumbi.
“If I could do the program again, I would in a heartbeat. I met so many interesting people and my professor was amazing,” said Gathumbi. “I would highly recommend the program to anyone who loves New York City and who wants to explore a particular profession.”
Gathumbi said, “My days consisted of going on a field trip, like to a criminal court or civil court from 9 a.m. -12 p.m.. We would then have a lesson from 1-4 p.m. and after that, we were free to do whatever we wanted in the city.”
“I got to go with friends to places all over the city, such as Times Square, Central Park, and Greenwich Village. It was pretty cool because
it made me feel super independent,” said Gathumbi.
According to Gathumbi, the programs available for the summer of 2018 include topics that vary from art and design to marketing strategies. There are over 30 courses for students to engage in and explore the variety of career choices.
Not Just a Dance Routine
Bharatnatyam is a form of classical Indian dance with religious and spiritual
themes, according to Junior Ruchika Kamojjala. For her, it is a way of connecting to Indian culture.
According to Kamojjala, she is the only child of her first generation Indian parents.
“It’s always been hard for me to balance out my Indian culture with my Americanized way of living. Growing up, I struggled with a huge identity crisis because of it and I often felt confused on how to relate to my culture,” Kamojjala explained.
Kamojjala has been practicing Bharatnatyam since she was seven years old and has performed at several cultural events and competitions since then.
“My fondest memory would be from when I was about ten years old when one of my friends and I performed for a competition,” said Kamojjala.
“It was our first year performing together competitively, and we won first place,” said Kamojjala.
“We went on to win two more first place awards in the following years and it’s always going to be a special memory we both cherish,” said Kamojjala.
Last summer, Kamojjala performed in an Arangetram, which she said is a performance that signals the end of training for students of Bharatnatyam.
“Practicing for the Arangetram was very difficult. It was a year of balancing school work with my job, and with six hours of practice during the week,” explained Kamojjala.
“Over the summer it got even harder since I wasn’t able to hang out with friends or really do anything other than dance.”
After all of the work Kamojjala put into practicing for Arangetram, on the day of the dance she was barely nervous.
“The lights were so bright I couldn’t see anyone in the audience and the adrenaline eventually made my nervousness go away,” said Kamojjala.
Once it was over, Kamojjala was glad she put in the work.
“It just made me feel super thankful for all supportive friends and family I have in my life. I’m so lucky to have been able to do it,” said Kamojjala.
Kamojjala plans on continuing to dance and share her culture through performing at various events and competitions.
It’s Just Business
Out of the numerous clubs throughout Wayzata High School, Senior Kallie Klopfenstein is the Captain of the Wayzata Alpine Ski Team, a member of
National Honor Society, and a member of Club Y.E.S. However, her most demanding role is being the President of DECA, according to Klopfenstein.
According to DECA Inc., DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) is a competitive international business club, in which 153 students at Wayzata participate. According to Klopfenstein, every member of the club competes in two events: role play and a prepared event. Every member also competes in Districts, several members advance to state, and some even qualify for Internationals.
“DECA is a year-long club that starts in September and goes until the end of April,” said Klopfenstein.
Within the over one hundred DECA members from Wayzata High School, there are eight different officers, including Klopfenstein’s position= as President.
“My job is to make sure the club runs efficiently and all the members take advantage of the many opportunities that DECA offers,” said Klopfenstein.
According to Klopfenstein, to obtain the role as DECA President, one must apply for the position, run for office, and participate in an interview with the advisors.
Some of her achievements include qualifying for state every year and qualifying for Internationals in Anaheim, California.
“Attending Internationals was unlike any other conference, because there were
so many talented students from around the world,” said Klopfenstein.
“I’ve gained leadership skills and learned the process of improving my ability to work in teams,” said Klopfenstein.
Although she has accomplished a lot, Klopfenstein said there are challenges with being President: “It’s hard to individually meet every member. This year we have so many members, and I wish I could personally get to know everyone.”
According to Klopfenstein, challenges make it clear that nothing will ever be perfect but in almost every case you can control the situation.
“DECA has made it clear to me that I want to study business in college,” said Klopfenstein.
Warning: Graphic Content
Senior Grace Sather discovered her passion for graphic design at a much younger age than most.
According to Sather, she has been working with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator since the age of 12.
“My dad works as a graphic designer for Medtronic,” said Sather. “He taught me how to use Photoshop programs in sixth grade. My middle school art teacher was very confused when she found out I already knew how to use them.”
Art has always played a huge role in Sather’s life, even in her early years. “I
used to draw all my favorite things when I was younger, especially Pokemon
characters,” said Sather.
Sather has taken many opportunities to improve her graphic design skills,
including her trip to Kansas University this past June for a week-long graphic design camp.
“I had two classes throughout the week,” said Sather. “One was a brand-identity course, which involved creating a logo brand, patterns, and mock-ups for a product. The other was about packaging design, where we came up with a unique package for a product already in the market. bI chose the fidget spinner.”
According to Sather, she has also taken advantage of the graphic design classes Wayzata has to offer.
“I saw immense growth in Grace as an art student,” said Graphic Design teacher Lea Anne Jasper. “Her work quickly became more sophisticated, showing her awareness of design principles and the application of them.” Sather’s poster design was chosen last year to advertise the annual Shades of Brown event at Wayzata High School, according to Sather.
“I never thought about it before as a possible career until I didn’t like science anymore,” said Sather. “Now it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Sather plans to attend Kansas University next fall with a major in visual communications. “After I finish college, my dream job would be partnering with a band and designing album covers and tour merch. I would be a great balance of two things I love: music and art.”
A Hostel Environment
Junior Noah Anderson spent three weeks of his summer backpacking in Europe, participating in dangerous vices such as nearly dying in a storm.
For several sophomores, the AP European History trip, a trip through major European cities, run through the school for AP Euro students, is an important part of their year. According to Anderson, he wanted to spend half the money and triple the time, deciding to travel Europe separate of the school with close friend Junior Piotrek Kostanecki.
“We wanted to do the Euro Trip but redesigned with more destinations and less rules,” said Anderson.
According to Anderson, Kostanecki and himself planned a very limited budget, which capped off at $50 a day, with most going to hostels.
“The hostels had a social atmosphere like no other, and there was a main area where people would group together and share stories,” said Anderson. “Although, there wasn’t a lot of privacy it was nice to appreciate my own bed.”
“We met a lot of cool people in hostels, I think my favorite was this guy in his 20’s,” said Anderson, “His name was Shawn and he was from the UK. He was just super outgoing and had a lot of stories to tell.”
In preparation for the trip, Anderson packed the bare essentials, bringing only clothes, towels, a toothbrush and a hammock. According to Anderson, packing light helped Anderson and Kostanecki maneuver up and down mountains easier, which also helped when staying in hostels.
Throughout the trip, Anderson and Kostanecki travelled in the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany.
“We visited Prague, Berlin, Munich, Dresden, Vienna, and Bad Gastein,” said Anderson.
“There was this small skiing town in Gastein, Austria that was open to hiking. We hiked up four different mountains in two days, some mountain ridges had sheer drops on either sides,” said Anderson.
“It was probably the best part of the whole trip.”
According to Anderson, other highlights of the trip included visiting a Central Park-esque overgrown forest at the edge of Prague and nearly dying in a rainstorm.
“We were hiking a mountain in Gastein called Graukogel, and we got caught a third of the way up the mountain in a storm when it was getting dark. We were freezing and drenched, and didn’t have anything to stay warm, but we made it and it was fun,” said Anderson.
According to Anderson, his trip in Europe was a very influential experience.
“I would definitely go backpacking again if given the opportunity. I would highly recommend the experience to others, especially staying in hostels because they are a great place to meet interesting people and make friends,” said Anderson. “In places with open borders like Europe, you’ll find people from all across the continent to talk to every day.”
Passion for Percussion
Passion, curiosity and commitment can take you anywhere, according to Junior Ian Ko. In this case, “anywhere” is over 1500 miles away from Wayzata.
As a musician, Ko has spent nearly a decade of his life playing percussion. Percussion consists of a wide selection of instruments that are played by striking it with a hand or a stick/mallet, these include different types of drums, mambas, tambourines, cymbals and more.
According to Ko, percussion had an alure like no other groups of instruments. Starting off in middle school band, Ko started percussion for an “obvious” reason, “I just wanted to hit drums,” said Ko. Ko’s desire to just “hit drums” has led him to participate in Wayzata High School’s wind and drum ensemble, become the top snare in the school’s Marching Band, land a spot in the top orchestra of the Minnesota Youth Symphony (MYS) and travel to Cuba to play with Cuban orchestras through MYS. According to Ko, his achievements in percussion have opened up new doors for him to all types of experiences.
In the summer of 2017, Ko traveled across Cuba with MYS to play with Cuban orchestras and perform for audiences.
Cuba reopened its borders to the United States after the Obama administration reopened its Embassy in Havana, allowing restricted travel to and from the two nations, according to the CIA factbook.
“It [Cuba] was definitely a life-changing experience,” said Ko.“The inspiring and down-to-earth citizens really touched me, despite the state the country is in right now.”
This “state” is the underdeveloped and restricted society of the nation as a result of years of communist rule. According to Ko, this aspect of the nation is something that touched him throughout time spent in Cuba.
“We also took the time to meet the natives, play with Cuban orchestras and
conductors, and explore the different cities and new culture,” said Ko. “The country gave me a new outlook on music and appreciation for the country and percussion.”
According to Ko, his involvement and his passion for percussion is a result of
the diversity of the instruments.
“I think percussion is the most fun and most diverse section due to all of the different instruments you get to play,” said Ko. “As time went on, percussion has not only grown into a thing I love, but the music I play has become something I really appreciate.”
Engineering a Future
You really have the power to make anything you can imagine,” said Junior Preeti Pidatala on the subject of computer science. Since freshman year, Pidatala has used this fascination to actively participate in robotics team at Wayzata High School.
Currently the lead of programming and Wayzata’s robotics team captain, Pidatala works to help members develop skills and to create a positive environment.
“I manage and assign specific jobs to each person on my programming sub-team, so that everyone has something to do. My job also includes helping to plan our outreach/ volunteering activities as well as our fundraisers,” said Pidatala.
“The biggest challenge for our robotics team is community awareness. Even though our team has been around for over 10 years and has placed in the top 10 at regional competitions, most people in our community and school don’t even know that we exist,” said Pidatala.
Through her role in robotics, Pidatala’s main goal is to make careers in computer science more acceptable for women to take on, according to Pidatala.
“Because of the huge gender gap of students in tech, our team worked hard to recruit more girls onto our team and show them how cool robotics and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) really is,” said Pidatala. “To me, it’s extremely alarming to see how few females are involved in technology compared to men.”
Last year, Pidatala was named Aspirations in Computing National Honorable Mention by the National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT.) According to the NCWIT website, the award provides females with an interest in computer science “with ongoing engagement, visibility, and encouragement for their
computing-related interests and achievements from high school through college and into the workforce.”
“After I received this award I got many opportunities to expand my knowledge of computing and technologies. For example, I got to go to the Microsoft Headquarters and learn about rising technologies like Visual Reality and self-driving cars.”
Pidatala was also accepted into the Junior Academy, a virtual program that is affiliated with the New York Academy of Sciences, according to the Junior Academy website.
“We were challenged to come up with a solution to help decontaminate water to aid people in need around the world,” said Pidatala. “The coolest thing about this academy is that the winning solutions are actually produced and put into action globally.”
According to Pidatala, she hopes to further her interest in computer science with a possible major in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in college.
“Many people have a negative stereotype on engineering and technology; they consider it to be boring,” said Pidatala. “As a team, we really want to help people see past their stereotypes.”
Stella Olson and Ishani Roychowdhury are not the type of people who stand idly by. This disdain for inaction is what led them to found the activism club.
Olson said the pair got the idea after the Presidential inauguration last January.
“[When we got back from Washington D.C.] we noticed a lot of people were talking about how much they hated Trump but no one was doing anything. We wanted people to get involved.”
According to Roychowdhury, Activism group is aimed toward high school students in an effort to get people involved in community issues.
The activism club is not focused solely on politics, it is also for community problems as well. According to Roychowdhury, the group’s goal is to help any way they can.
“It’s kind of a mix of all things that are wrong with the world, things that we see and our group sees as being problems in society.”
Roychowdhury highlighted that the group is open to all points of view.
“At our school, the viewpoints are so diverse you never know who you’re going to get coming into the club so we try to be open to everybody.”
“[People] can be so close-minded that [they] focus only on [their] views and don’t see others, but there’s a lot of value in listening to what other people believe.”
Olson relayed a similar sentiment.
“We try to keep it very open. When we did the blanket tying, that had nothing to do with political views. It was [about] helping people in our community.”
Olson said that meetings typically consist of group discussions and working on projects.
“We’ll have brainstorming sessions if we’re at the end of a project. For example, when hurricanes hit, we talk about ways to fundraise for [relief efforts]. It’s just kind of whatever is currently happening, we want to focus on”
According to Roychowdhury, these projects include volunteer work or assisting different charities.
“We do different things for charities; we have blanket tying parties, and we’re trying to get a Feed My Starving Children group together to go volunteer.”
Activism is a huge and very important part of both Olson and Roychowdhury’s everyday lives.
Olson’s interest in activism stems from her belief that younger generations have to learn how to voice their concerns and opinions effectively.
“I want people to know there are things they can do, there are movements they can follow, there are actions they can take that will actually make a change.”
Roychowdhury has a similar view, pointing out how activism has changed with the new generation.
“We’re part of a more open generation; we’re open to talking, we’re open to having verbal conflicts, but we’re not open to actually going out and making sure things get done. It’s important for us to be held accountable. If you
want to make a change, if you feel like there should be a change, find a way to make the change.”
Denniston Van Dyke
Sophomore Alexander Denniston was exposed to musical theatre at a young age, due to being raised in Chicago.
Recalling one of his earliest experiences at the theatre, watching his sister perform, Denniston said, “I remember I saw this show and I wanted to know what happened backstage.” This curiosity led Denniston to pursuing acting in musicals, making his first stage appearance in a production of Miss Saigon at the Music on Stage theatre company just outside of Chicago at the age of four.
Since his debut in theater in 2006, Denniston has been a part of 22 different productions across Illinois and Minnesota. “I just kind of did it for fun. I still do it for fun,” Denniston explained.
At the age of seven, Denniston took to the stage in Metropolis Main’s production of A Christmas Carol as Tiny Tim. “I just remember everything was really cool because they had a really big budget,” Denniston said, referring to the professional production. “I also remember that everyone was just so
good and into it- there wasn’t anyone who didn’t want to be there.”
Through his experiences in both professional and community theatre, Denniston has discovered that, despite the skill present in professional productions, often community theatre is supported by people with more enthusiasm. “Professionally you execute things perfectly, and you may not do that with community theatre but it feels like you have a lot more joy behind it,” Denniston said.
Denniston has refined his skills through theatre clinics and voice lessons, in addition to his experience on stage.
Most recently, Denniston starred as Bert in Wayzata High School’s production of Mary Poppins. Denniston drew inspiration for the role from Dick Van Dyke’s performance in the 1964 Disney film of the same name.
“The physicality of his performance I copied,” Denniston said. “I tried not to copy his accent. Dick Van Dyke has said himself the accent was really bad.”
While the film was a staple of his childhood, meriting many rewatches, Denniston said he never thought he’d actually have the chance to be in Mary Poppins. Denniston now credits Bert as one of his favorite roles and Mary Poppins as one of his favorite shows he’s been involved with.
Persevering Through Paralysis
Senior Jane Friday had paralysis in most of her body when she was just a freshman.
Friday was diagnosed with Guillian-Barre Syndrome, a disease that causes damage to the nerves and causes paralysis.
According to Friday, she caught a cold one day and it got worse from there. “I got sick and my feet went numb. I thought it was because I was cold, but it didn’t go away,” said Friday.
According to Friday, she went to multiple doctors and received multiple incorrect diagnoses before she was diagnosed with GBS. “I got tested for mono, flu, and thyroid,” said Friday. “I was in so much pain.” “I woke up one day and I couldn’t really move my legs,” said Friday.
According to Friday, she first lost the ability to move her feet, then her legs, and eventually her upper body and arms.
“I was in two different hospitals. Children’s hospital Minneapolis was where I got diagnosed and was in the ICU. I was moved to Gillette’s Rehabilitation Center about a month later. At that point I could move my toes, but not my legs,” said Friday. According to Friday, she had multiple types of therapy: physical, occupational, recreational, music, water, aroma, accutherapy, massage, psychiatric therapy, and guided imagery. “Physical therapy was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced,” said Friday.
“It was the worst because I could not move my legs on my own.” “Water therapy is where I started relearning how to walk,” said Friday. “It started with floating. Eventually I moved to standing. Then I started walking with support.”
During her time in the hospital Friday said she also experienced the feeling of her nerves dying. “GBS really only caused pain and for me to be intubated. The medications I was on also caused amnesia and the withdrawals from them caused things like hot flashes and nausea,” said Friday.
“I left the hospital on May 22,” said Friday. “Soon after that I went mini golfing.” According to Friday, she spent two and a half months in outpatient therapy. “In outpatient I did a lot of balancing activities and exercises to
strengthen my arms, hands, and legs,” said Friday.
According to Friday, since recovering from Guillian-Barre Syndrome she occasionally gets numbness in her feet, has a tremor in her hands, gets bad cramps in her feet, has no reflexes in both her knees and her elbows, and her feet turn out when she walks. “It’s how I relearned to walk and now I walk like donald duck,” said Friday.
Friday said, “I’m not over GBS, per say, but it was a good way to show my character. It showed me the strength that I have and have two able legs now so it’s going to be okay.”
Giving Back to the Garden
Sophomore Caleb Hoversten has dedicated hundreds of hours every year to a variety of projects. Whether he’s raking for those that are unable, planting an entirely new garden, or helping around his church, Caleb is in the business of giving back to his community as much as he can.
Hoversten said he found his passion for volunteering from his mother, but first found enjoyment from it while working with friends.
“The project I’m most proud of is when a group of friends and I dug up a garden and replanted the entire thing,” said Hoversten. “The project took almost ten hours total.”
“For this project, we shoveled all the grass off of the fields, and then we fertilized the entire thing, but it took ten hours because all of that takes a lot of time,” said Hoversten.
According to Hoversten, the satisfaction from volunteering is worth the work, and although it gets tiring, it would feel worse to not do it.
Hoversten noted that volunteering is one of his biggest and most important parts of his life.
“I’ve been lucky to have a lot in my life, and for me, it’s really important to give back,” said Hoversten.
According to Hoversten, he dedicates time to volunteer at Wayzata Free Church, such as when they broke ground to build a new gym facility.
“The previous gym was really worn down, and the church decided that it was time to build a new one,” said Hoversten. “The church’s youth was a big part of this project and the church overall. It was great to come together to collectively serve this project.”
According to Hoversten, although volunteering isn’t planned to be his biggest commitment, he hopes to continue working on projects.
“I don’t have any projects set in place right now, but I sure hope that I will do something soon,” said Hoversten.
“In the future I will volunteer as much as possible, and since I’m an extroverted person and I’ll be able to meet new people through volunteering.”