By Carter Phillips
When it was created during the 1800’s by such great writers as H.G. Wells and Arthur Conan Doyle, it was an imagination's outpour of things possible to come. Over a century later the genre's earliest iterations can still fill someone’s mind with the most splendid of visualizations.
When cinema began during the late 1800’s those visualizations came to life. Science fiction became magician turned filmmaker George Milies favorite ‘playground’ for his studio. The genre can be a way not only to image, but similar to horror, it can tackle contemporary issues as well as universal problems through use of metaphors.
Although the most pure of cinephiles may scoff at genre cinema, those who like to look up at the stars are treated with some of the greatest stories in all of film.
Forbidden Planet (1957)
Ad Adstra (2019)
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
By Brooke Markworth
The Sheyenne Speech Team has always had amazing things to offer. But like all activities, this year has presented new challenges. However, the Speech Team has overcome these challenges and are excited for the upcoming national tournament. State qualifiers, Shinjini Chakraborty, Sricharan Kotala, Micha Ndayisenga, Grace Widjaja, shared their experiences with Speech.
Which events do you compete in?
Kotala: Entertain, Serious Prose, Persuade, and Humerous Duo.
Widjaja: Humerous, Entertain, EPR (Extemporaneous Programmed Reading), Poerty, POI (Programmed Oral Interp).
Ndayisenga: I compete mainly in Inform and Persuade, but I also have done Extemp and Radio.
Chakraborty: I mainly compete in the public speaking events of Persuade, Inform and Entertain. I also love the hybrid public/extemporaneous speaking event of radio.
How long have you been doing Speech?
Chakraborty: I’ve been in Speech since freshman year, but I wish I’d joined in 7th grade.
Widjaja: 5 years.
Ndayisenga: This is my 2nd year doing speech, I started my freshman year.
What is your favorite thing about Speech?
Ndayisenga: My favorite thing about Speech is that it can help you in so many other areas of your life, such as your research abilities, speaking abilities, and it has greatly improved my writing skills too.
Chakraborty: It’s hard to choose what aspect of speech is my favorite, but if I was forced to, I’d go with the fact that it gives individuals a platform to be heard. In a world that wants so desperately to stick to its status quo, it’s nice to have an environment where one advocate for all sorts of change.
Widjaja: We’re a tight knit family and I love each and every one of those people like my own children and relatives.
Kotala: My favorite thing is being able to test my speaking abilities at competitions and see other people laugh and become interested in my piece.
Would you recommend Speech to others? Why or why not?
Kotala: I would recommend, because the community we have is very engaging and has a creative atmosphere for all.
Widjaja: Of course. Every single one of our voices matter. We each have a unique story to tell and speech allows you to do just that. It isn’t getting up in front of an audience on a large stage, it’s just you, a couple of people, and your voice.
Ndayisenga: I would definitely recommend Speech to others, because our team truly feels like a family and everyone is so welcoming. It is also a great activity to help you become a better student and person overall by teaching you important lessons about hard work and dedication.
Chakraborty: I would absolutely recommend speech to others. It’s helped me grow as a person, as I’ve grown more inquisitive and open-minded from researching topics and listening to others. I’ve also become more confident and strong by speaking out for what I believe in. I’d like to see others experience the benefits I’ve seen. It’s never too late or early to join in this activity, as people of all skill levels can thrive if they work hard.
Why did you decide to join Speech?
Chakraborty: The reason I joined Speech is actually a bit funny. I joined debate first, then learned by paying for the activity fee, realized I could join Speech for free. The two activate a 2-for-1 deal, so I basically decided to join speech after debate, because I wouldn’t have to pay more for it. Despite the fact that I joined for a silly reason, I’m quite glad I did. I’ve met great friends and advisors in Speech.
Widjaja: I joined because of my cousin, who was a senior at the time, encouraged me to join as a seventh grader. But I stayed because of the experiences, the memories, and the people. Speech has allowed me to meet people from all across the state and even further beyond.
By Aiden Sandhofner and Faron Blakely
Graduating high school is a great accomplishment, one that takes years of hard work and dedication. Graduating from college is arguably an even bigger accomplishment, one that takes genuine perseverance and untiring work. Seljon Akhmedli is on track to doing both... at the same time - something practically unheard of in North Dakota. All there is to ask is, how did she achieve a seemingly unachievable task such as this one?
Seljon began her trek all the way back in sixth grade, when she started to take seventh grade advanced math. Her sixth-grade teacher met with the principal and her parents to see where her mathematical prowess could bring her. Together, they decided to skip sixth grade math and head straight into seventh grade advanced math. When seventh grade began, she passed all the algebra exams with an A and went into geometry. Soon eighth grade came around, and she started taking Algebra II. That summer she took Pre-Calculus and Trigonometry. The next fall, she took Calculus I at NDSU (North Dakota State University). Ever since then, she has been taking as many math and general Ed courses as possible.
Her hard work and tenacity have proven worthwhile because she is graduating from NDSU this year. When it comes to classes, she says that she is currently taking “Partial Differential Equations, Complex Analysis, Graph Theory, and then Axiomatic Geometry.”
All this work was no easy task. One would wonder if she felt overwhelmed? While the task was daunting, she is thankful for her family, more specifically her father. Her father got a PHD in Mathematics from Yale, so if she got wrapped up in a theorem or stumped on a question, she had her dad to talk it through with, so she could get a firmer grasp on what might be confusing her. Her father inspired her to pursue the mathematical route because “ever since [she] was a little kid, [they have] talked about different things dealing with math.” Fortunately, she had her family in her life to help her with her education, because she is obviously headed toward remarkable things.
Seljon has been equally successful at Sheyenne, with teachers in her life that have also helped. Ms. Stephanie Cwikla, her English teacher, said that Seljon “is incredibly bright, but she is also kind and sincere." She is very impressed that Akhmedli is graduating with a Bachelors so early, but also not surprised because of how brilliant she is. She also added: “She truly is special, and the world of mathematics is lucky to have her!” Mr. Gravdahl, Seljon’s advisory teacher, also has some impressive opinions about Seljon, saying “Seljon is one of the most impressive students [he has] ever met.” He also acknowledges that aside from the academic work that she has been putting forth “she is one of the most polite, respectful and humble people.” Gravdahl also noted that he is particularly impressed with her humility, since he didn’t know that she was graduating early until reading about her plans for college.
Seljon Akhmedli is obviously a remarkable student, not only when it comes to academics, but also when you see who she is as a person. Earlier this year, she applied to many places to pursue a PHD in mathematics - many of which accepted her - but she has already decided. She has plans to go to Northwestern University to get a PHD in mathematics this fall. She has made a large impact on Sheyenne, and we hope to see other students following in her prestigious footsteps.
By Carter Phillips
#5 The Sound of Music
#4 The Wizard of Oz
Although it was excluded in my top five classic films, The Wizard of Oz is one of the most watched and beloved films ever made. It is a bubble gum opera, delightful for all ages.
Adapted not from the stage but from the children’s book by L. Frank Baum, this classic exchanges the dark and twisted tone of its predecessor with a cheerful, musical one. From its beginning in the sepia coloring of Kansas, to the dreadful tornado that brings the naïve Dorothy’s to the technicolor world of Oz, the film is iconic.
It was neither an early color film or an early musical however, it was uncommon for films of the genre to have a clear narrative and as already mention, most were stage bound. Instead they were plotless spectacle that usually focused on composition, dance and choreography.
The Wizard Of Oz remains nostalgic, even for those who never experienced its' original magic. Although not as much a masterpiece or innovator as, for example, The Jazz Singer (1927), it is one of the most culturally significant films ever made. The film is as often parodied and referenced in modern culture all because it is still on of the most watchable films of its era.
The film is a cinematic phenomenon, which defines pop culture like a blanket covers a mattress. The film has gone on to ignite theories (such as the one which suggests the story is a metaphor for American politics) and conspiracies (like the film syncs with Pink Floyd’s album, The Dark Side Of The Moon) as well as stay relevant even after ninety years in our TVs and stuck in our heads.
#3 Singing in the Rain
#2 An American in Paris
#1 The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg
Over the ages, cinema has become one of the public’s favorite forms of escapism. What more does an audience want but an escape? They don’t go to a theater to see a mirror, instead a screen that hides all the vices which plague our world. The musical is perhaps the most escapist of all, as it makes fantastical of reality itself. As Twilight Zone creator and host Rod Serling said in the monologue of the series’ 23rd episode of its third season, The Fugitive: “Fantasy is the improbable made possible. Science fiction is the improbable made possible.”
What then is the musical? Maybe it is somewhere between, lurking in and out of other genres, waiting for a passerby’s glimpse into the heart of entertainment.
Remember that this list is entirely subjective and opinions can vary, watch the films, make your own ranking and let me know in the comments. Are there any you think me and Aiden neglected to mention? Let us know.
To view these films through a physical copy links to the Carter Approved editions are below. The site chosen may help guide you to find preferred seller and also includes reviews for image and audio quality.
Licensing may lead these films to go out of print or receive newer releases with superior image and sound quality.
The Sound Of Music:
The Wizard Of Oz:
Singing In The Rain:
An American In Paris:
The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg:
To view the films through streaming services, information is below. The accuracy is only of the initial publication of this article. Licensing rights may lead these films to different services.
The Sound Of Music: Disney Plus
The Wizard Of Oz: HBO Max
Singing In The Rain: HBO Max
An American In Paris: HBO Max
The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg: The Criterion Channel
By Carter Phillips
What are the top 5 films everyone should see? That is a daunting task that I’ve been assigned and partly created for myself. The cinematic medium is subjective and has room for all opinions and tastes. What should make one film more mandatory than the other? If somebody prefers horror to comedy then do they have to watch Modern Times (1935)?
Well, I think it’s healthy for people to open themselves up to things they aren’t familiar with, including movies. In exploring new-to-you areas of cinema, you may discover your new favorites. A category in film that I think is all but forgotten by the mass public is classic cinema, so why not put together a guide of films that everyone should see? Not all these films will be for you, as I picked many which vastly contrast each other in tone, style, decade, genre, and country.
Before I begin the list, I should explain why some expected films may not be present. My reasoning for that is, you’ve most likely already seen them or have already been told multiple times that you need to. So, to make it a little more fun for myself I’ve excluded a couple obvious choices, those being:
Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), The Wizard of Oz (1939), the original Star Wars trilogy, Raiders of The Lost Ark (1981), and Ghostbusters (1984).
The following films are five which I think everyone should see but most likely haven’t. Five isn’t a big enough number for the breath of classic cinema, so I’m sorry for the cinematic blasphemy. This is my humble curation of five films that, in my opinion, everyone should see.
It may be contradictory for me to pick a film hopefully everyone has seen, but it is at number 5! I consider it to be a good introduction as it’s probably the most approachable film of this list.
If you know the film but haven’t seen it, the movie takes place in the fictional town of Amity. It’s known for its shores where locals and tourists can swim, fish, or tan by the beach; however a sudden spree of shark attacks leave blood in the water.
Police Chief Brody tries to shut the beaches down, but the mayor has to remind him that Amities economy relies on it. As the attacks continue a plan to hunt the shark arises. An unlikely group made up of Brody, an experienced fisher man named Quint and an oceanographer called Hooper sail out to kill the shark.
Keep in mind that this is a horror, so it has a fair bit of blood and scares. So, this may not be a film for those who have squeamish stomachs. I should also mention that there is a brief skinny dipping scene (no nudity is actually shown).
Part of what makes Jaws great is that it’s an example of a technique referred to as “show don’t tell”. It leaves much to the imagination, which inevitably is far scarier than anything that could be done with special effects. The effects are still impressive, as Roger Ebert stated when it first came out, “Some of the footage in the film is of an actual great white shark. The rest uses a mechanical shark patterned on the real thing. The illusion is complete. We see the shark close up, we look in its relentless eye, and it just plain feels like a shark.”
#4 Throne of Blood
Set in the Edu era of Japan, Throne of Blood is a unique adaption of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Again, for those who are squeamish at the sight of blood, this is a bit of a violent film for its time.
Through a mist of thick fog, dense woods and further too; stretches of empty dirt lies Spiderweb Castle (of which the film is named after in its country of origin).
A patriotic soldier and his somewhat meek comrade come across a demon who lurks in the forest. The demon tells that they are near distinct futures: one that the patriotic soldier will rule the throne and that his friend, Miki will be commander of the first fortress and that afterwards his son will become lord of the Spider Web Castle.
They laugh it off, skeptic of the prediction but as the first comes true a dreary foreboding envelopes their emotions. The patriotic soldier named Washizu wants to stay loyal, and in doing so can’t foresee himself getting the throne. His wife leads him astray, and in doing so he betrays his advisories for a cost seen later in the film.
Throne of Blood is a film about fate, greed and the path that takes people down. It also queries whether or not one is truly in control of they’re future or if they are simply destine for it instead. It’s a morality tale which I think should be learned by everyone.
#3 Wild Strawberries
Wild Strawberries is an inmate film that takes place during the climax of a life. The life is of Isak, an elderly man who is journeying to his honorary degree. He’s a man who seems to be loved by those around him, but despised by those nearest to him. It’s about the people he meets along the way, whether for the first time or for perhaps, the last. Its about him accepting that his days are dwindling and that he can’t change what happened in his past.
Through his sunken eyes, the audience relives his memories and experiences his dreams. In those sequences, the viewer learns more about him, than those which take place in the contemporary. The concept of limbo plays a big part in the film as Isak finds himself wandering in and out of reality, like a dementia victim saying goodbye to his memories for the last time.
[This paragraph has spoilers, skip it if you have yet to see the film]
The film has what I would describe as prolific innuendos, for instance a scene in a car that in each row, sits stages of love: In the back sits the young who are optimistic, in the middle a slowly aging couple who are sick of each other and in the front are the embers of a dead relationship. (That’s a scene which might have drawn inspiration from the Japanese travelogue drama, Mr Thank you.) Isak who’s wife had died years previous and his daughter-in-law who is abandoning her husband. Or another scene in which one of the friends Isak makes along his journey asks him if he is religious. He glances at him for a moment, and then continues recounting a poem of Swedish lore. Why doesn’t he answer? Is it that he is afraid to admit he is? Or has he lost his faith? The answer may be obvious to some viewers but likely varies.
Maybe what makes the film great is not just how his past hangs over him, but how those who he embarks his journey with remind him of either himself, or those he once knew. The film is an arthouse endeavor into melancholy, regret, nostalgia, and philosophy; told through the lens of surrealism and blank neo-realism.
Set in the nazi occupied Casablanca (a city in Morocco), the film defines the golden era of Hollywood. Nobody but nobody wants to remain in Casablanca, they want to flee into America, the epitome of a new world, and therefore a new life.
The film is an allegory for America’s transition from anti to pro war with the lead character Rick representing The United States. He says that he, “Sticks his neck out for no one.” The shooting began only six months after America joined the war.
Rick is played by one of my favorite actors: Humphrey Bogart. Bogarts characters were the coolest in they’re movies. They were also men who’s emotions fluttered recognizably in the most subtle of expression changes.
Bogart was cast alongside Ingrid Bergman, a Swedish actor who became a star after moving to America. She plays an old love of Bogarts who is now in a relationship with an important politician, played by Paul Henreid (also well known for his role in Now Voyager) who is vital for the war effort.
The problem is that the old lovers still have emotions for each other, as the song suggests, “The fundamental things apply, as time goes by.” The song in question is sang by Dooley Wilson who is the piano player known as Sam, as well as Ricks best friend. He’s a black character who is treated equally by those around him, making the chemistry between the characters, as well as a lack of stereotypes refreshing during a time when Hollywood focused on attractive white people.
The plot thickens when Rick is able to get two plain tickets to America, those being a mcguffin in Casablanca. He has to choose between leaving to America and taking Bergman’s character with him or letting her go without him and taking the politician instead. The climax of the film is one of the most iconic in cinema history.
What makes Casablanca more essential over other greats like Citizen Kane or 2001: A Space Odyssey, films which I consider to better, is that it is much more approachable for a less mature audience. It’s not likely to bore as those would and yet it can still be appreciated.
#1 King Kong: The Eighth Wonder of the World
The story of King Kong is that of a filmmaker who ventures into the mysterious Skull Island after hearing rumors of a giant beast whom the natives worship. So with him he brings a moderate sized crew and a young woman named Anne Darrow.
The film depicts the all to real circumstance of a woman’s choices in 1930’s America being decided not by herself but by the men around her, the screenplay after-all was written by a woman whom had been on many voyages exactly like the one in the movie (however with a less interesting destination). The misogynistic crew members are shown but aren’t celebrated. The film takes place through Anne’s perspective and is a somewhat early example of a box office success that has a female lead. Other examples include: The Story of Temple (1933), Jezebel (1938), Dark Victory (1939), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Gone With The Wind (1939)
King Kong is a film about a man who cares more about making money than the safety of other people. He represents all the engineers who’s rollercoasters failed and all architects who’s ships sank with passengers on board. The film too, is about forbidden love, also unrequited love; a common trope of genre films from the era such as: The Phantom of the Opera (1925), The Mummy (1932), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Mad Love (1935),.
The film balances many different genres, some which shouldn’t clash well but yet do. It’s at times a Romance, at other times an Adventure, even a Horror; but most of all it’s a Fantasy film. It’s a grand spectacle with innovative special effects that although not as convincing today, as still impressive and complex.
Its most known for its stop motion, but it also used matte paintings, rear projection, front projection, mirrors to alter the image, animatronics, sound effects in reverse, miniatures and an early green screen equivalent in which what wasn’t meant to be shown was wrapped in black velvet. All of which was achieved in 1933 years before technicolor (a major color process) was perfected and popularized. Often times several of the techniques were all used in the same frame.
In most of the skull island scenes, the special effects team would layer the scene by putting matte paintings (glass which is partially painted to create a realistic image) in front of the miniatures and also behind. That created depth. They would often too, have to project live action footage, frame by frame onto tiny projection screens where the people were supposed to be.
The five films presented are not chosen just because they have good reviews, or because they may be famous. They are chosen because in them an audience can observe the human condition. Through the eyes of the camera you can see history, culture and art; most of all you see a portrait of humanity playing in the realms of fiction. Each film is an emotion, and after its watched, it’s also a memory. I hope I have given a unique list and perspective of the films. That I think, is part of what makes cinema great, all films are subjective and bring with them an infinite amount of opinions and emotions yet they all consist of the same memory.
By Jacob Fisher
Students at Sheyenne have recently attended their first Wednesday under an open school model, where learning at your own pace in the classes you want is the norm. Roaming the halls will give you a sense of how massive a change this model is: students are arriving back after buying a pizza for their friends, groups are congregating in the halls to talk about their future plans while working on homework, and a few individuals have even cast AirPlay onto the lunchroom TVs to play Subway Surfer. Some students, however, are focusing a bit more on their classes and extracurriculars.
Stephon Blanchard and Sam Widjaja of the Esports Club express positive comments about the change while playing League of Legends to practice for the next game. “[It was] confusing for the start, but, honestly, I think we’ll get used to it.” Sam exclaimed, going back to gameplay with Stephon.
One student who was working on homework in the FTLA, Anabel Routleedge, mentioned that the new Wednesday plan has helped her catch up on school work. “I have had time to talk to teachers for anything I don’t understand, and [they] can help improve what you are doing for homework and make sure you are doing things correctly.” She planned to go to AP US History later.
In Mr. Kurtti’s room, students were busy working on their English papers. One was Bailey Grinde, who was doing the same with a large coffee sitting next to her. She, along with most other students, experienced the opposite change last Spring: full online learning without much motivation to get anything done. Due to the difficulties of working at home, she ended up failing the last semester of English I and is now taking it in the same semester as English II. It was safe to say she hated the online schedule. “You weren’t in person so the teacher couldn’t explain anything and it was hard to understand. It was hard to figure things out for yourself.” However, she is loving the new Wednesday schedule. “It helps me because it gives me freedom of what I need to do. I get an hour, or however long I need, and I get to sit with the teacher and get help and turn in missing assignments. I wish everyday school day was like this.”
Isabel Wedding, another English II student, also chimed in with similar thoughts to Mr. Williams, saying that the encouragement to raise your grades to not attend Wednesdays sounded effective. “I think this will push students to get their grades up so they don’t have to come in. They will say ‘Oh, I can sleep in!’”
Wednesdays should be spent at home for many students in the future if their grades are proficient.
By Carter Phillips
If you’re a senior you’re likely familiar with the profile of a graduate procedure but may be bewildered by it. That said, who better to explain it than a freshman? Actually, this freshman sat down with Assistant Principal Nate Schleicher and Assistant Superintendent Allen Burgad to find out more.
According to Nathan Schleicher; assistant principal at Sheyenne High School,”The purpose [for it,] is for students to reflect back on their education and recognize their own growth not just in math, reading, or science, but as a citizen in our community. We want our graduates and citizens in our community to be well-rounded people with skills to succeed in whatever path they choose.”
For those wondering where the idea came from, he responded, “The federal government passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015. This legislation allowed states to adjust the way that schools and school staff are evaluated. In North Dakota, the State Department of Public Instruction (DPI) decided that we want students who graduate to be “Choice Ready” meaning that students are prepared for any path they want to choose: college, career, or military service. The state of North Dakota worked with school and community leaders to determine that in order for students to be “Choice Ready” they have to demonstrate skills that best help in our rapidly changing world.” These skills (Creativity, Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, Compassion, Reflection, Resilient and Responsibility) are what now constitute the Profile of a Graduate, which many seniors are reflecting upon in their Profile of a Graduate website. These website becomes part of the required “capstone presentation, where the student reflects on all their learning in school and is able to explain that learning and growth to an audience.”
West Fargo Public School’s Assistant Secondary Superintendent[PC1] , Allen Burgad says that such a capstone project is something being established in other schools. He shared that, “many schools not only in the area but in the region and the United States” are embracing more reflection on the education experience. According to him, “people are becoming more thoughtful [about] that [and in regard to], how do students learn? How do students socially interact well? How do students succeed in college beyond just having a good ACT?”
Schleicher, when asked about how the skills apply to life after high school, commented,” The Profile of a Graduate skills are life skills. They are important now and will always stay important. For the presentation: Think about a job interview. People can spend years learning and preparing for a specific job. In the end, an individual will or will not get that job based on his/her ability to communicate that he/she has the skills necessary to do the job well.”
In other words, he suggests that this procedure is not simply necessary because it may help students achieve in they’re future careers, but that it examines important traits in a personal life. This procedure shows that to get a job which fits your interest, you are also required to be a good co-worker, who is reliable, collaborative, and a professional communicator.
Nonetheless, it begs the question: If this procedure is new and people have had success prior to it, why is it necessary?
Dr Burgad responded by saying, “Its hard to measure these skills and I think [that] the description is somewhat defined by what communication looks like and what collaboration looks like so I’ll adventure to state that students that are successful in college probably have a strength- or these characteristics or attributes of profile of a graduate.” As he puts it, the skills have been present all along, now students are being asked to think about them more intentionally in the hopes more will leave high school with these tools for success.
He later added, “These skills here are something that I always have to continue to go back to once a month and do better in my job. You have to be very thoughtful because it’s changing. You can’t work in isolation anymore; relationships are so big and it takes effort and it takes reflection on those skills that are important to [be successful]. I think it’s beyond just being an individual in college and graduating.”
On the surface, this might seem like another project or another requirement, but as Schleicher and Burgad explained, it is rooted in the skills students will take with them to college or the workforce. For seniors, the profile of a graduate should be a system of pride, in which students can mark they’re best qualities.
By Aiden Sandhofner and Faron Blakely
Racism is an undeniable problem in not only America but throughout the world. The only way we can get close to solving this problem is by bringing attention to it. Katelynn Altman, a sophomore at Sheyenne High School is doing just that. She has spent the past couple of months creating a website for people that have experienced racism.
Altman wanted to start this website because her friend did a similar thing for a project in her English class. She has always been deeply passionate about making sure that people are having an equal experience and are welcome throughout school. Katelynn has also seen and heard people make racist remarks throughout Sheyenne. Altman says, “One main incident was in the hallway and a white student said the n-word to a black student. I told them that they shouldn’t say that, and they kind of just gave me a bad look.” She is trying to spread the word as much as possible through fliers and even getting our principal,
Mr. Williams, to make an announcement throughout the entire school. Mr. Williams even set up a meeting for her and the faculty around the school, just so that all the teachers are aware that it exists.
Katelynn is excited because this is going to be her first website that anyone can see and not just her teacher. As of right now, she has about four people who have shared their story, one of them even being from Liberty Middle School. Altman is making attempts to expand to Liberty, but right now she does not know how to, but is making efforts to learn. Until then, she has a separate tab on her website that is specific to middle schoolers. Katelynn thinks the website is a great idea because racism is not just a problem specific to Sheyenne, but it’s everywhere you look. She has given them the opportunity to be anonymous if they wish so they can feel better about what they are talking about. If they aren’t anonymous then they have the option to include a picture of themselves with paint on their hands, detailing the racial remarks that they have been called throughout their life.
Altman is in plans to continue doing this website when she is out of school as well, so that people are still able to speak up when they aren't at school. Altman has plans even after she graduates from high school, hopefully finding someone to pick up where she left off and keep their stories being told.
Katelynn is not the only person in Sheyenne who is working to fight racism. Sheyenne has recently spread the word about a club named DFC (Diverse Female Cultures). Counselor Ms. Raile is the advisor of the DFC and would like to touch on more about the club itself and how it’s working with Altman's website. Raile says, “I didn’t start the club; they just needed an advisor and they asked if I could do it and I was thrilled. We were happy to help educate staff about what it's like not being born a white kid.” The DFC is open to anyone but is focused more on talking about female empowerment and what it means to be a female in a diverse culture. Not only that, but it is also about not just ignoring color, but embracing it, and letting it define you. The DFC has been working with North Dakota State University’s Black Student Organization, their girls have been mentoring the Sheyenne girls about helping them prepare for college or what it’s like coming from somewhere with a more prominent African American population coming to Fargo. The DFC has also wanted to mentor some of the Liberty kids as well, because of how much they have learned from the Black Student Organization. Principal Williams came and talked to the DFC about “what it's like being “The Black Guy” at Sheyenne High.”
Clearly there is a shared movement to having productive conversations about racism at Sheyenne. This is a good start but there is a long way to go, thanks to the DFC and Katelynn, that road is a bit shorter.
If you have experienced any racism at our school, and want to share your story, then we recommend you direct message Katelynn on her Instagram, @faceracism.sheyenne. If you are unable to access Instagram, then you can also send her an email at, firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to hear their stories, we strongly recommend that you look at her website https://faceracismnet.wordpress.com/racism-in-sheyenne/, just so you can see how much of a problem it is. Ms. Raile also wants to welcome you into the DFC, if you are thinking about joining you can contact her at email@example.com
By Jacob Fisher
In the 2019-2020 school year, COVID-19 halted Sheyenne to a standstill. Numerous activities, such as the Boys’ Soccer program, were cancelled entirely. The school went completely online to the detriment of much of the student body, affecting everything from grades to mental health. However, curricular changes, such as those for learning models and distance schooling, might prove to be beneficial. In fact, faultily and leadership are planning to embrace the lessons learned due to COVID-19 as soon as this Wednesday.
Mr. Williams, the new head principal at Sheyenne, along with the rest of the administration team, are spearheading this operation. The plan is to have Wednesdays be more “flexible”, with students coming in to receive help in subjects they are struggling in, to being able to practice with their team for sports and clubs, and even the possibility of staying home for the day.
“The idea with Wednesdays is to provide some intensive interventions for students to help them get caught up, whether that is credit recovery, whether that is getting caught up in some of their classes … and also providing students with the opportunity for enrichment,” Mr. Williams explained the morning of the announcement. Williams plans for the enrichments to be curricular to extracurricular activities students could take part it, such as their own personal projects. “Let’s say we have a student who loves art. Maybe they want to come and work on a sculpture, or they want to work on a painting. I think we should provide them with that opportunity.”
Interventions, Williams elaborated, should be implemented based on grades and teacher recommendations. He wishes for these interventions to be like a doctor’s order – required for the wellbeing of the student, for the benefit of the student.
Williams plans to have every student in the building for the first Wednesday of this program, but after that, if a student is proficient in classes and willing to work from home, he is optimistic that they will be able to do so.
“I think it would be foolish for us to require you to be in the building if you can learn outside of Sheyenne,” Mr. Williams added. “However, the opportunity for all students to come will still be there. You would have autonomy for where you would want to go for either enrichment or intervention.”
The first day of this program is planned to be March 3rd, 2021.
By Hailey Boehme
The counselors at Sheyenne High School are always around to help. However, it is very normal to have questions about the process of creating a meeting time, talking through conflict, and working through the stigma that is often felt with mental illness. A few counselors including Mitchell Grunig, Jessica Raile, and Krystal Haugen answered some commonly asked questions in hopes to aid those who are on the fence about meeting.
What are your roles as a counselor?
Grunig: My role as a school counselor is to support all students with academic and emotional challenges. Often we are meeting with a student individually to explore what challenges they are struggling with. Students come to see us for questions about their schedule, concerns about self, friends, family, or to talk about life. We also help support staff making sure they have the skills and knowledge to meet students' needs in the classroom.
Haugen: School counselors at the high school level get to help with everything! Personal, academic, career, etc. We are trained counselors in a school setting. We work with students individually and in the classroom when we can.
Raile: We specialize in personal/social/emotional health, academic, and career support for our students. We track credits and graduation progress for all of “our kids” (we split by last name alphabets, except all AVID kids are with me regardless of their last name). We can offer support for personal/social challenges students might be facing. We can help students communicate with their adults and teachers if they need help with that. We do some career stuff, but Mrs. Aipperspach is the PRO for that, so often we bring her in to work with students that are looking for career info.
What is the best way for students to go about scheduling a meeting time?
Grunig: Two options. Stop and down and talk to Mrs. Fercho or Mrs. Steffen about getting on our schedule or send us a message. The most important thing is to get on our schedule as we can get busy as the day goes along.
Raile: I am currently working from home, but am constantly still meeting with students on TEAMS. The easiest way to get on your counselors’ calendar for an appointment and have our awesome admin assistants schedule it for you. You can also send a Schoology message to your counselor to get something set up, but sometimes the back and forth of messaging can be hard to get a date actually set and confirmed!
Haugen: The easiest way is to swing into the counseling office and schedule with our awesome administrative assistants, Mrs. Fercho and Mrs. Steffen. If that won’t work, you can always send your counselor a direct Schoology message to schedule.
What is one thing you wish new students knew about the counselors at Sheyenne?
Grunig: You can come to see us for anything. We can get students most anything they need from food to school supplies. If we do not have an answer for you, we will find one.
Haugen: We can help with almost anything. If we can’t help, we usually know someone who can! We enjoy working with students and because we do so much more than just emotional counseling, there is no stigma when coming into our office to schedule. Visiting your counselor here is a pretty normal thing to do at Sheyenne.
Raile: I think new to Sheyenne students should know that our counseling office and counseling department staff are very easy to work with and it isn’t a “weird thing” to be seen in the counseling office to or have your counselor check in with you. I think maybe in other places students see the counseling office as intimidating or embarrassing and it really isn’t like that at Sheyenne. We see students ALL DAY LONG for so many reasons- from questions about college and future classes, to questions about how to study for the ACT, to personal issues like anxiety or depression and ways to cope with it, to students looking for ways to improve their grades, and everything in between.
What is a normal day like for you?
Grunig: Each day is a unique day. Counselors do not have a structured schedule like teachers. Most days start with responding to any emails that I received overnight. I also meet with students individually throughout the day. When I have downtime, I respond to messages from staff, students and parents. I also attend meetings with counselors and principals to help plan events like testing, class registration, and graduation.
Raile: With working remotely this year, my day is definitely different than typical years, but I stay busy. I am pretty much on my computer or iPad all day long either meeting with kids and teachers virtually or sending emails/checking grades. I miss the casual conversations and joking with students, but I am really happy with how many of my A-C and AVID kiddos are totally cool with connecting with me via Teams instead of in person.
What does a meeting with a school counselor usually look like?
Raile: As students get to know me they see I am pretty informal and easy to talk to. I try to be approachable and listen to what the student needs to tell me. Sometimes students are nervous talking to me at first, but usually after 1 meeting they are more comfortable and continue to meet with me as they need to. We talk about as much as the student needs/wants to talk about. Sometimes students get emotional, and that is totally ok. I am glad to be someone students can let their guard down with and know they will be safe and not judged. What we talk about in our meetings stays confidential unless a student gives permission to share (maybe there was a death in a family and students are ok with the teachers knowing why they have been down, etc.) OR I believe the student is at risk for harm or in danger to themselves or someone else. People who work in schools are “Mandated Reporters” which means it is the law for me to get additional help involved if I worry about a student’s safety.
Haugen: I think our goal is always to make a student feel comfortable and supported when they are here. That can look different for every student. Our goal is always to listen and help students find solutions or ideas to solve problems and plan for the future.
What is your best advice for a student who is hesitant on reaching out for help?
Raile: I think the best advice if a student is maybe a little nervous would be to send your counselor a quick Schoology message and ask if you could talk with them sometime. They can help you set up your first appointment if the idea of walking into our office and asking for one out loud seems too intimidating at first. My favorite part of my job is working with students directly and getting to know them!
Grunig: It is always challenging to ask for help but the more you do it, the more comfortable you get. Asking for help shows strength and self-awareness. Skills that you need to continue to build every day. We are here for you!
Haugen: We have 5 counselors at Sheyenne, so get to know yours early and you won’t be afraid to ask for help! We adhere to confidentiality as well so what you say with us, stays with us (as long as everyone is safe-we are also mandated reporters and safety trumps confidentiality).
The Mustang Post
All feature news content is produced by students in the Newspaper program at West Fargo Sheyenne High School.