Hidden homelessness, roller derby rinks, and true survivors: this week on Best of SNO

We’re always encouraging the amazing journalism programs in the SNO Network not to shy away from tough topics – and, judging by the Best of SNO inbox this week, some student journalists have been taking that suggestion seriously. With an in-depth feature on homelessness, an inspiring story about a girl who survived against all odds, and one student’s strength to keep living, the BoS submissions this week were heavy. But heavy stories are real stories, and honest, heartfelt journalism is what we live for. Read on for our weekly picks.

Homelessness in Iowa: A hidden issueAndi Munford, Vivian Le, Waukee High School
“Des Moines City officials have been evicting people from campsites, in some instances, giving a maximum of ten days notice for the homeless to pack their belongings. It leaves many people struggling to find another place to stay, possibly exposing them to danger. “How can this be a sensible action?” Joe Stevens, Joppa Co-Founder prompted. “Our city is putting additional hardship on people who are already down and out, which is keeping people homeless.”

Anywhere but hereLaura Godinez, Lewisville High School
“But as soon as I look at the board and see the video we’re about to watch, I freeze. And suddenly I’m not there. Suddenly it’s summer; suddenly it’s August. It’s the day that turned into a nightmare at 2 o’clock. A nightmare that lasted four days, and on that fourth day it turned into reality. All my friends were gathered together, but none of us wanted to be there. Because being there made it real, and none of us wanted it to be real.”

Adventure in the face of adversityReid Valentine, Coppell High School
“The three of them embark on adventures all over the country, such as riding a train through Canada. This is how they intend to take advantage of the time they have with Thomas. Through a Facebook page titled “The Adventures of Big T”, started in September 2014, Thomas’ travels are posted and shared with over 200 people who have liked the page.”

To be chosen and lovedKaris Skaggs, Francis Howell North High School
“She’s going to die, why waste our time?” Maria Michalski remembers her doctor saying while she was sick with Leukemia, a cancer of the blood. She was living as an orphan in Vladivostok, Russia, and she wasn’t expected to survive under her circumstances. On the other side of the world, Brent and Christine Michalski heard about her from some friends in a letter and knew they needed to do something to help.”

My life on the rinkCaroline Puckett, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School
“I’ve seen the San Francisco Bay Bombers sling each other like rag dolls and show absolutely no mercy on the track; I’ve seen the broken bones and bleeding faces and bruised limbs women have in the movies. But, despite all the negativity and “Don’t do it”s I got, I decided to give it a try, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Want to see your own story featured on Best of SNO? We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. If you think you have what it takes, polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!

Barbies, bad blood, and ebola: this week on Best of SNO

One high school has us beaming with pride after ranking first place in an international journalism society, while another program in the SNO network was placed under unwarranted social media fire. It’s been an eventful week in the Best of SNO inbox — read on for our weekly picks.

Pony express ranks international first place, Quill and ScrollMary Burchill, Stillwater Area High School
“The Quill and Scroll is an international high school journalism honor society that focuses its awarding on high school writers and newspaper publications. 14,104 schools across the globe participate in the Quill and Scroll. After another successful year has passed, the Pony Express has been awarded first in the Quill and Scroll.”

Not-so-socially-acceptable mediaMimi Wright, Kirkwood High School
“Eden has nothing to do with our coverage– especially our decision to cover this issue that we felt was important to the community because it greatly affected our school. However, Miller chose to take to Twitter to attack Eden publicly about a sidebar on the same page as the staff editorial.”

Barbie becomes more beautifulIlisha Strassler, Santaluces Community High School
“I quickly became insecure and refused to go to the beach. Despite not even knowing what self confidence was, Barbie ruined mine.”

Anime plus ebola equals…genocide cult?Dane Dorius, Ames High School
“Now, there were certainly people only in it for the memes and the humor inherent in worshipping the anime version of ebola. But there were (and still are) people who took her seriously. This plague became the hope of mass genocide to these crazy folks. The reasons for the desire varied (and were often rooted in ignorance and stereotypes), but people wanted the entirety of Africa dead.”

Homeless Pete and the extravagant tattoo tentJordynn Zier, Cannon Falls High School
“Willing to take whatever risk, he bites his tongue and braces for what seems to be the opportunity of a lifetime. The buzz of the makeshift machine resounds throughout the tiny tent, and his decision is set in stone – or skin.”

Want to see your own story featured on Best of SNO? We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. If you think you have what it takes, polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!

Good vibes, gradual growth, and true heart: this week on Best of SNO

Two students overcoming some serious health concerns, a club focused on the promotion of nothing but good vibes, and one high school’s visit from an ABC evening reporter:  the Best of SNO inbox has proved there’s no shortage of interesting events taking place in schools all over the SNO Network this week. Read on for our weekly picks.

Journalism students speak to ABC evening reporter Natasha BarrettKamryn Kobal, Cypress Ranch High School
“On Wednesday, Jan. 20, Barrett spoke to high school Journalism students from across CFISD while at the CFISD January Press Conference that took place at Cypress Falls High School. Barrett attended and graduated from Cypress Falls in 1996, which allowed her to reminisce on her teenage years while sharing her experiences as a journalist.”

Painted red for heart healthSydney Wong, Lovejoy High School
“The paramedics delivered three shocks to her heart to get it started again. She received three more shocks after being put into the ambulance. Once she arrived at the Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene, the doctors there decided it would be best to put Meghan in a coma to protect her organs.”

I refuse to let cancer define meCourtney Brewer, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School
“On July 28, 2015, I sat in a doctor’s office at Central Baptist Hospital and was told that my recent thyroid removal had come back with diffuse sclerosing papillary carcinoma, an extremely treatable but extremely aggressive form of thyroid cancer. My entire world was rocked; just when I thought my battle was over, I was facing an entirely new beast. Today I celebrate six months since my diagnosis, and six months of growth as a person.”

If dance were any easier, it would be called footballAnna Brooks, Tunstall High School
“Is dance a sport? The question that makes every dancer want to fan kick anyone who asks. I believe the only way to prove that dance is a sport is not by telling of all the sit ups, and pushups, and pull ups, and however many other “ups” there are that dancers complete during practice, but rather by giving the facts, or perhaps a play-by-play.”

Good VibesKelly Curtis and Logan Finney, Sandpoint High School
“The Good Vibes Clubs is an offshoot of the Human Rights Club and a response to recent suicides involving high school students. The club is a safe place for students to meet and talk about their life with their peers in a positive manner.”

Want to see your own story featured on Best of SNO? We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. If you think you have what it takes, polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!

Singing success, designing dreams, and a Rubik’s robot: this week on Best of SNO

The Best of SNO inbox was chalk-full of seriously impressive students this week– from one student’s success on a popular singing-based television show to another’s construction of a rubik’s cube solving robot, these schools in the SNO Network aren’t wasting any time showcasing their spectacular scholars. And if that isn’t impressive enough for you, we’ve got one brilliant sophomore who’s developed an app for his school, and another talented student designing clothes for Project Runway. Read on for our weekly picks.

SongbirdAlex Walters, McKinney Boyd High School
“She begins to strum her guitar, singing tentatively at first. But as the music swells, she regains her confidence. Within the first 19 seconds, Pharrell Williams hits the red button and his chair turns. Gwen Stefani hits her button only a half-second later. Junior Madi Davis has made it onto “The Voice.”

Peytie Slater designs her destiny on Project Runway: JuniorAlyssa Slattery, Carlsbad High School
“While many high school students strive to fit in among the crowd, sophomore Peytie Slater expresses her originality through her clothing. Slater always had an interest in fashion design, and this year she had the chance to take it to the next level, participating in the first season of Project Runway: Junior.”

Senior Zack Gromko’s robot solves Rubik’s Cube; breaks Guinness World RecordIndre Zalepuga, Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School
“He explained that the initial record-holding robot did not appear too complex, as it had four arms and one camera, leaving several adjustments to the cube. “I wanted the robot to at least be able to beat me, but after I got one of the motors, I saw it could make a turn in roughly 0.06 seconds; I was pretty confident I could take the record,” Gromko said.”

Sophomore develops school appShajid Hasan, Cypress Ranch High School
“With the hordes of techies here at Cy Ranch, it is about time that somebody made an app for the school. Not only was this techie able to create this app, but he managed to do this all while juggling schoolwork, band, and other clubs. This student was no other than sophomore Shrivu Shankar, the boy wonder.”

Six seconds of fame Izzie Ramirez, McKinney Boyd High School
“I mean, we’re basically nationally known now,” Lewis said. “We’re being seen all around the world for it. I’m in the UK, Switzerland, Germany. I just got a bunch of people from Argentina messaging me, it’s crazy. It’s pretty awesome.”

Want to see your own story featured on Best of SNO? We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. If you think you have what it takes, polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!

Famous alumni, brave students, and overcoming tragedy: this week on Best of SNO

The Best of SNO inbox seemed somewhat alumni-focused this week– from one high school graduate’s perseverance in the face of tragedy to another high school excitedly welcoming back a famous alumnus, it’s clear the amazing schools in the SNO Network have helped mold some pretty impressive people. Of course, we want to focus on the awesome students of these schools too; like the two extremely fortunate high school students who survived a terrible car crash, or the incredibly insightful student who opens up about what it means to be transgender. Read on for our weekly picks.

Award-winning journalist comes homeHannah Bernstein, St. Louis Park High School
“Friedman said he came back to St. Louis Park to revisit the place that not only introduced him to journalism, but profoundly affected his worldview.”

B-A grad overcame violence and tragedy to become a military heroNathan Davis, Bellwood-Antis High School
“I moved around the New York area a lot when I was young,” Comanche said. “The incident when I was a kid was definitely hard on me, but over the years I’ve come to terms with it, and I think it’s made me stronger as a person.”

A breakdown of what it means to be transgenderRose Rodriguez, Sartell High School
“I wouldn’t necessarily call it coming out. I would call it becoming me. For me, it was more of an inner struggle than an outer struggle. 99% of the people around me I knew would still love me and care for me the same way they had before. It was more inwards because I was the one who struggled with it the most. I would say that I had a more preferred experience than others.”

Sophomores survive car accident at Manchester Smoothie KingEmily Dickson, Parkway West High School
On the afternoon of Dec. 29, Eickmann and Crews were paying for smoothies at Smoothie King on Manchester when a car barreled through the front window of the store and hit them, pinning Eickmann against the counter, throwing Crews over the hood and injuring another employee.”

Steering in the right directionJuli Wright & Kahla Carmichael, Colonia High School
“In 2011 alone, 1.2 million people got arrested for driving under the influence. Every two minutes, a person is injured from a drunk driving incident.”


Want to see your own story featured on Best of SNO? We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. If you think you have what it takes, polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!

A musical breakdown of 2015, budding heroism, and pageantry: this week on Best of SNO

We’re all nostalgic creatures, so naturally, the start of each new year inspires us to reflect on the one that has passed– or, in this case, review the best albums from 2015. However, the majority of our Best of SNO submissions this week seem to be focusing on the present; one student shares their experience living as a Muslim American, while another opens up about living with social anxiety– and one student is actually given an award for their ability to be in the “now” when it mattered the most. Read on for our weekly picks, submitted and written by students just like you.

Top 15 albums of 2015Henry Youtt, Liberty High School
“Within the past year, the music industry has witnessed lasting progress in terms of redefining how the industry perceives the concept of genre. Along with a creative and intellectual shift in hip-hop, pop music and alternative rock both embraced strong disco influences. Evaluating the results of these trends among countless others, I break down the top 15 albums of 2015 (in my unprofessional opinion, at least).”

I Am Muslim, I Am ManchesterNurun Nahar, Manchester High School
“I am an American-born Muslim who has been living in the United States my whole life. Manchester is my home. The United States is my home. I am as American as my neighbors, my fellow classmates, or any other American-born student. Yet, by default, I will never be treated the same as any other American-born student based on the color of my skin, and the fact that I come from a family that practices Islam.”

FHN student presented award, honored for braveryAudrey Baker, Francis Howell North High
“I knew that I had to do something to help when I saw that he had stopped breathing,” said Fedderson. “I don’t remember what happened because it was all a blur, but I remember lots of people hugging me after it was over.”

The Misinterpreted: Why pageant girls matterAnabelle Baxter, Summerville High School
“But even in the face of our unjust disapproval and our attempts to defame them, the (successful) pageant girls continue to sparkle with nobility, they continue to serve the public, they continue to spread their influence.”

Living with social anxietyOlivia Kirklin, Liberty High School
“It affects my everyday life within my family, friendships, and simple functions,” Curt said in a written reply. “It doesn’t just take a toll on me, but the people around me also.”

Want to see your own story featured on Best of SNO? We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. If you think you have what it takes, polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!

 

Pledging allegiance, Kanye’s campaign, and the truth behind social media: this week on Best of SNO

When Kanye announced that he would be running for president in 2020 during the VMAs this year, we all had a good laugh; but an article that made its way into the Best of SNO inbox this week suggests a future President West may not actually be the worst thing for America. Another student spends her holidays learning about homelessness, first-hand, and one in-depth story reveals the dark side of our culture’s social media obsession. Read on for our weekly picks, submitted and written by students on the SNO platform.

The social media maskLily Stannard, John Carrol School
“[Social media] affects self-esteem also because everyone is looking at everyone else’s pictures, and they’re so edited and filtered that it’s not even a reality anymore, and people do things to make it look like their lives are greater than they really are.”

Kanye graduates from hip-hop to politicsBria Blassingame, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School
“Not only does opposing the Iraq War put Kanye to the left of Hillary Clinton, he’s pretty much against military adventurism in the Middle East of any kind. While the threat of war with Iran has receded significantly since President Obama’s landmark nuclear deal, for a while it looked almost inevitable. Props to him for taking such a firm, coherent stance opposing invasion.”

Think before you pledgeHarrison Otto, Boyertown Area Senior High School
“The whole idea of liberty is not to blindly accept authority or pledge obedience, but to question any form of authority in its entirety. It is because of this that saying the Pledge in a rote way is unpatriotic.”

Homeless for the holidays Jaya Flanary, Ballard High School
“The people that are served here don’t have a better place to be. They don’t have other choices. Who’s going to be here if they have a better place to be? Who wakes up in the morning and says, ‘I can’t wait to go to the soup kitchen,’ you know what I mean?”

The girl in the mirrorHannah Ortega, Lovejoy High School
“She walks to the shower to get ready for the day, and she tries to ignore the shame weighing down her heart as she passes the toilet that she made herself throw up into the night before.”

Want to see your own story featured on Best of SNO? We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. If you think you have what it takes, polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!

Flawlessly executed lip synching, tearing down norms, and (tech)Girl Power: this week on Best of SNO

One talented high school from the SNO network gained national (and celebrity) attention after their epic lib-dup video went viral. And, while we can’t all be stars, there are plenty of other SNOflakes out there striving for greatness– one school hopes to help break down the barriers that stand between young women and careers in the tech industry, while another aims to shed some genuine, positive light on how immigration really effects the U.S. Read on for our weekly picks, submitted and written by students in the SNO network.

Tear down the normElise Riley and Sophie Yarosh, St. Louis Park High School
“Gender is so complex and so contested that I don’t think we can or should give a clear definition to it. If anybody came up with a simple, clear definition of what (it) was to be a woman and who counted as a woman, it would have to be wrong.”

Immigration’s positive effects help the U.S.Hayk Martirosyan, Clark Magnet High School
“The American Immigration Lawyers Association found that most studies have shown that foreign-born STEM workers coming to the US showed 10-25 percent productivity growth between 1990 and 2010.”

Let’s hear it for the (Applied Tech) girlsKayla Ruiz, Palatine High School
“For the past several weeks, the seventeen students of eighth period Computer Integrated Manufacturing, or CIM, have been developing “flat-pack” furniture pieces under the guidance of teacher Alex Larson. This classroom, which holds heavy duty machinery, is a noisy environment full of whirring and clanging. And only three of the seventeen students are female.”

BAHS lip dub goes viralNoah Basinger, Broken Arrow High School
“The video spent over 24 hours as the #1 trending topic on Facebook ahead of Charlie Sheen, Drake and Barack Obama.”

Behind the cardboard: Evaluating the Disney magicJake Hamilton, Carlsbad High School
“In the back of my mind I’ll always picture some greedy businessmen making a profit each time these victim’s hunger makes them buy overpriced food, but maybe that’s not the point. I saw kids save the galaxy and defeat Zerg, sail the seas looting treasure, survive a haunted mansion. And as for myself, I had fun for ten hours surrounded by lands from my childhood and new friends.”

Want to see your own story featured on Best of SNO? We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. If you think you have what it takes, polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!

Furry friends, the power of awareness, and Ms. Bond: this week on Best of SNO

Some important questions made it into the Best of SNO inbox this week; for instance, have you ever asked yourself why there hasn’t been a female James Bond? We also received multiple in-depth articles on both mental health and animal shelters this week– what are the odds? Read on for our weekly picks, submitted and written by students just like you.

Step into my mind for a daySydney Kinzy, Parkway West High School
“I have ADD,” sophomore Megan Larsen said. “It is a disorder; it’s not some quirky thing that you have and it’s cute. It’s not. It’s a disorder, and I dislike having it.”

Giving a voice to the voiceless: The Humane Society of Forsyth CountyLogan White, Lambert High School
“Contrary to popular belief, shelter animals have some of the sweetest dispositions, but they also have some of the saddest stories. Most of the furry residents at HSFC were taken out of shelters with high euthanasia rates or even abandoned completely. The world is a huge place, and yet, most animals have no one to rely on.”

Diseases of devastationCayla Vanderzanden, The Lambert Post
“My best advice to anybody that is dealing with a mental illness; would be to find something that helps you. Discover something that you can use as a healthy coping mechanism.”

A day at the shelter – Minju Kang, West Ranch High School
“B.A.R.K. (Benefit All Rejected K-9s) is a club on campus designed to help neighboring shelters with fundraisers and volunteering service. The members of West Ranch club, B.A.R.K. are greeted by Nancy Anderson, owner of The Brittany Foundation. She takes the girls on a tour, introduces all the animals, and demonstrates how to properly clean out the kennels.”

Can there be a female James Bond?Aparna Verma, Catonsville High
“We may find a female James Bond in our movie theaters who won’t be seen for her body, but for her strong, emphatic personality.”

Want to see your own story featured on Best of SNO? We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. If you think you have what it takes, polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!

 

Family ties, dancing through adversity, and Zombies: this week on Best of SNO

According to the Best of SNO inbox this week, Minnesota is now host to actual zombies– or at least, a bunch of people running around dressed as Zombies and being filmed while doing so. Here are some other things we learned this week: Dancing is very hard work. Clocks are really very clearly not bombs. And, there is no better way to strengthen a father-daughter bond than a pair of matching tattoos. Read on for our weekly picks, submitted and written by students just like you.

Student dancers reach the high barre of excellence – Emily Dickson, Parkway West High School
“People don’t realize all the hard work you put into it because you’re supposed to look effortless. Especially if you dance outside of school, it’s hard to get recognition for your work because a lot of the athletes here perform on sports teams with the school.”

Tick Tock goes the– bomb?Summer Thomad, Southwest Career and Technical Academy
“To put it simply, if Ahmed Mohamed was not an “Ahmed Mohamed” then none of this would have taken place.”

Heart surgery strengthens a father-daughter bondJessie Biondo, Francis Howell North High School
“A couple weeks later, the two decided to get tattoos together. They got lyrics from “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John. Abby’s was on her rib cage, and Denny’s was on his back. Denny has been singing that song to Abby since she was little, so it holds special significance to their relationship.”

Life as a zombieKatie Reneau, Owatonna High School
“A zombie movie is being filmed in Owatonna called Zombies. The film features Tony Todd, also known for his role in Candyman, and America’s Next Top Model runner up Raina Hein. There have been multiple film shootings around Owatonna that have allowed people to participate as extras in the film.”

How it feels to be blackTorie Richardson, St. Teresa’s Academy
“To be black means to come from a line of people who stood up for what they believed in unconditionally. Who were so smart they sang in code. It means coming from inventors, from geniuses, from hard workers. To be black is to be different. It is not better. But, unlike what I’ve been taught from the world around me, it is not worse.”

Want to see your own story featured on Best of SNO? We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. If you think you have what it takes, polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!