New Holtman’s Donuts gains popularity


imageShalini Indugula, Sarah Lyons, Kendall Kilroy | Staff Writers

Jelly-filled, sprinkle-covered, and bacon-smothered donuts greet customers with a sweet aroma at Holtman’s unique donut shop.

Holtman’s Donuts, which has locations in Loveland, Over the Rhine, and Williamsburg, opened up a new donut shop in West Chester last year. The new shop is recently gaining in popularity with Mason students.

Holtman’s Donuts is a family owned business that has been making fresh, high-quality donuts from scratch every day since 1960. Senior Marketing and Communications manager Maggie Rochon said that they put enormous effort into trying to make the best products for their customers.  

“We make all of our donuts from scratch every day,” Rochon said. “We only use the highest quality ingredients.”

In 2013 Holtman’s opened a shop in Over the Rhine Cincinnati, but the overcrowdedness and commotion of the small shop gave the customers a less satisfactory experience. Rochon said that the new location doesn’t change anything with their donuts, but simply allows more space to eat and relax.

“We really wanted to give our loyal customers the ability to hang out and enjoy without the hustle and bustle of our smaller shops,” Rochon said. “Keeping with tradition, the donuts are still made fresh and from scratch on a daily basis.”

Eighth-grader Taylor Clingaman is an avid Holtman’s fan.

“Holtman’s is my favorite place to get doughnuts,” Clingaman said. “They taste better and fresher than other bakery or store-bought doughnuts.”

Seventh-grader Will Murphy said he enjoys Holtman’s unique spin on donuts and likes them better than other places he has been.

“It’s definitely different from other donut places and I love their lucky charms donut,” Murphy said. “It’s not just like regular donuts and it’s really good. I can’t think of any place I would recommend over Holtman’s.”


NJHS Hosts First Talent Show


20180420_194314.jpgLisa Zhou | Staff Writer

Talents soar when people come together for a good cause.

On April 20 at 6 p.m., the National Junior Honor Society hosted their first talent show in the Mason Middle School auditorium in order to raise money for both Cincinnati Children’s and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Students prepared to star in the show, as well as the NJHS members offstage helping the event go off without a hitch with the intent of raising money to help many children in need.

The show allowed students to show off their unique talents on stage. Seventh-grade student and talent show participant Laurel Wang said she and her jump rope partner Camilla Sabine Bergset decided to participate in the talent show to showcase what Comet Skippers can do.

“It was a way for us to show what we can do and it sounded like a really great opportunity,” Wang said. “We decided to do the routine because we are both Comet Skippers and we wanted to inspire some interest in the sport, as well as demonstrate what we had learned.  I hope people were inspired to learn more about jump rope and see how much you can learn through the sport.”

While Wang and Bergset sported a jump rope routine, seventh grade Ava Mahoney and eighth-grader Elle Ziegenfuss sang a harmonizing duet to demonstrate their vocal talents for the school.

“I decided to do it because it’s great to have a lot of chances to get my voice out there and to help Elle get her voice out there too,” Mahoney said. “ So sometimes after school, we will stay a little after and go into the studio rooms with the pianos, we will just listen to the song on youtube and just kind of follow along with that, [and] work on the harmonies and solos. [The studios] are by the choir rooms, it’s kind of near the green room and the orchestra room.”(Ava Mahoney)

Not only were the talents interesting to watch, but the show gave students the opportunity to share their culture through them. Eighth grade student Rishi Manoharan and talent show participant expressed his passion towards the pursuit of music by playing a South Indian instrument called the Mridangam and by composing his own song.

“I have been learning the instrument Mridangam for the past four years,” Manoharan said. “I have also been learning Classical South Indian Music, Carnatic Music. I decided to venture into unknown territory with starting to compose songs. Composing music, listening to music, and learning music also gave me immense joy. I will never get tired of Carnatic music. Since I had the skills of rhythmic knowledge, musical knowledge, and composing knowledge, I decided to request that my close friend Aditya Thiyag and I perform this song.”

The passion shown by the performers and their dedication to the performance was seen by the audience as well as NJHS members who helped run the talent show. Mahoney pursues her passion for singing with the thought of engaging the audience along the way.

“I feel like it’s really good for other people to be able to showcase their talents and show other people and interest them and entertain them,” Mahoney said.

Creating the talent show itself meant a lot to the NJHS members too. NJHS Advisor Colleen Johansen explains how the talent show came to be, and the support NJHS wanted to give to those with cancer.

“ As a group, we all brainstormed ideas of things we could do that would involve students at MMS.” Johansen said.  “We knew we wanted to do something to honor our fellow comets who are fighting cancer, and those who we have lost to cancer. Maya Collins has had a direct impact on so many of us, and we wanted to do something to honor her as well.  She is so well know for her kindness, and ‘pay it forward’ mentality, and we know we wanted to continue her mission. We raised $2400.00. We will be donating $1200 to Cincinnati Children’s hospital, and $1200 to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.  Both donations will support research to find a cure for cancer.”

The MMS Talent Show has certainly become a show for those with passion, talent and a big heart. Johansen hopes that the legacy of the talent show continues in years after, helping both those in the school and out.

“Our hope is that this is the start of a tradition here at MMS.” Johansen said. “We have a lot of students here, with a lot of talent to share!  When we can highlight how mason shines, and also contribute to our community at the same time. It is a win-win situation!”


Nintendo Labo Acts as a Building Platform For Kids


Dominic Scott | Staff Writer

When opening the Nintendo Labo box, gamers are met with a pile of cardboard sheets, but adding just the tablet screen and the two controllers of the Nintendo Switch can turn just about anything into the latest toy marketed for kids.

Released on Friday, April 20, Nintendo Labo is a creation platform created by the gaming giant itself that revolves around the creation of cardboard toys called “Toy-con controllers.” These can range from anything between robot suits to brushbots to fishing rods, and when the Nintendo Switch with the joy-con controllers are inserted into the cardboard slots, the toys come to life and can be controlled by the user. The communication between the switch and the joy-cons can make a lot happen, like create a real working piano or steer the brushbots with the vibrating controllers. Along with this, Labo comes with it’s own “toy-con garage” which allows users to create and program their own creations to some extent.

An aspect of the product that appeals to most people is the variety of possible creations and the diversity between all of them. Seventh grader Ava Hartmann said she is excited about the different ways to play the platform provides.

“I thought it was a pretty cool idea and that a lot of people would like it,” Hartmann said. “I think there’s a lot of things you can do with it, and it’s really cool to see all of the different ways you can use it. I feel it will be a big change because there’s a lot of different (projects to build play with).”

Eighth grader Emily Cebulskie connects the product to the success of another product by Nintendo, the Wii, which also revolves around movement and activity rather than basic controller gameplay.

“It’s kind of like how the Wii works,” Cebulskie said, “You have to stand up and do stuff to actually play the games. My brother has one, so I’m pretty sure a lot of other people will want it, too.”

While hopeful for the product, seventh-grade coding and robotics teacher and previous Nintendo Switch owner Martin Fish is skeptical about how Labo will fare in the market, as it costs roughly $70 per kit and kids could lose interest very fast.

“I think it’s going to be a very limited audience because of the cost,” Fish said. “I think that once the kids get these and build them it’s going to be one of those things that they use for a couple hours and then they don’t use it anymore. It’s unfortunate, but I think that’s what’s going to happen, and it won’t be something we see releases for in 2019.”

While doubtful about Labo continuing in its current state, Fish sees lots of potential in the toy-con garage, being a robotics teacher himself. Fish said Nintendo could do well and run with the toy-con garage feature, as the creative platform could be a great selling point.

“I would love for this to become a truly kind of making platform where you design, build, and program your own kind of device or whatever it is that you’re creating, because right now it looks very kit,” Fish said, “If it gets into that kind of range, then I would think that it would become very strong.”

Mason Middle School Walkout: Students Advocate for Stricter Gun Control Laws


Jack Lelii | Staff Writer

Lucy Harris | Staff Writer

While some students stayed in their seats for 17 seconds of silence, other students chose to walk out of school to join a national youth movement to end school violence.

March 14, National School Walkout Day. Millions of students took the time to honor the 17 victims of the tragic Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Some students voiced their opinions and decided to walkout.

Mason Middle School was one of the schools that took the time to honor the 17 victims of the Parkland school shooting. At 10:00 AM, all participating students and teachers took a moment around the flagpole, planted flowers, made signs, etc. Eighth-grader Della Johnson participated in the walkout.

“It was 17 minutes of honoring the lives lost. We held up signs and put ‘enough’ on them, and it was a really good day,” Johnson said. “The mood at the walkout was silent and respectful, nobody was really shouting or was angry, we were all pretty upset about it, but no one was violently protesting. It was peaceful and silent. We released balloons in the air (there were 17 of them), and they kinda represented the lives that have been taken and we were honoring them. We planted orange flowers because orange is the color of the walkout, and we were representing the shooting that happened. It was just really great.”

Millions of people are voicing their opinions using social media, making petitions,  protesting. America is getting hit hard with criticism, because some other countries aren’t having these same problems. According to Council on Foreign Relations America has about 40-50 percent of the world’s guns. The United States also has the highest homicide-by-firearm rate among the world’s most developed nations. Johnson said America’s gun control policies are inadequate, and shootings could be prevented by having stricter gun control.

“Personally, my opinion on gun control is that there needs to be more of it. America hasn’t been really big on gun control, well the government hasn’t been at least,” Johnson said. “We’ve seen in governments like the UK or Australia, with more gun control present, that there has been less school shootings and less shootings in general. I feel like that’s more of what we need to do in order to prevent innocent lives being lost.”

Not only did MMS do a walkout, the school permitted a petition that students could sign. At the first two lunches, there was a poster that you could sign that is for gun control. Many kids went up and signed it, in hope that the posters would go to the government. However, seventh grader Mikaela Wainscott does not believe that the petition is going to do anything, or go anywhere.

“We’re one school. It’s not going to the government because only a small percent of people signed it,” Wainscott said. “But if it was the whole school (that) signed then yea, maybe.”

MMS teachers and administrators weren’t going to accommodate a walkout in the first place because of safety concerns. Wainscott said she didn’t attend the walkout because of that same reason.

“I have mixed feelings about it, because there is a part of me that says ‘guns shouldn’t be available for younger kids,” Wainscott said. “I wouldn’t participate in something that could get you in danger, like going outside and letting everyone know. Possible school shooters could know that everyone is going outside and they can be like ‘oh they’re going outside so it’s going to be easier to attack.’ So it’s easier for them.”

Teachers and principals also have a concern about the students safety. Greater Dayton area middle school principal Justin McCollum said that he had mixed opinions about his students doing the walkout and voicing their opinions.

“We had walkouts over two days –Feb. 28 & Mar. 1– with about 289 students participating overall,” McCollum said. “I truly like to hear students’ thoughts and voices, but I personally feel that walk outs do not have a long standing effect that impacts change. We have had 17 school shootings this year with 40 students injured or killed this year in public school systems, we need to take a look at the reasons students make this decision.”

McCollum said that he had to make many safety adjustments before he allowed his students to walkout.

“To keep students safe, we kept them in the building and gave them a location to be heard and show their support for this cause,” McCollum said. “It is hard for me to allow students to protest school safety by going outside where I cannot control the dangers. Our staff takes student safety incredibly seriously and we want to make sure as many of our students feel safe within  our buildings as humanly possible.”

As the debate of gun control bounces back and forth over America, laws and adjustments are trying to be made. Seventh grader Braeden Fedders said that he thinks that gun control policies should be stricter in America.

“It doesn’t make sense to me because, in Ohio, (you can) go to the store if you are over 18 and you can buy a gun,” Fedders said. “You can also, with that gun you can buy things to add on to it, to make that gun somewhat automatic or fully automatic it should not be allowed. Why do you need a fully automatic weapon to kill a bear or a burglar that’s in your house. You don’t need that, all you need is a handgun. You do not need that, I just feel they should be, like they should. Obviously, guns should be legal. I believe in guns. Guns are really good for protection from other people or animals and stuff. But you do not need a fully automatic gun, there is nothing you need to add to a gun.”

Another conflict that is going on with gun control is mental illness. The debate of whether it’s the guns or mental illness is ongoing. A large amount of people think it’s mental illness, because usually the shooter has some kind of ‘illness’. Fedders also believes that mental illness is the real cause behind the person with the gun.

“I feel like there’s three things that need to be fixed in order to solve this school shooting issue,” Fedders said. “One is mental health. People of America need to fix themselves, like we need to focus more on mental health. I feel like it should be something that needs to be checked. Maybe it could be checked annually, or maybe even monthly, or something like that. We just need to focus on that with more of teachers and parenting to focus more on the mental health. I feel like friends and peers should, they should talk about and tell an adult if they think if someone is having mental health issues. I really think someone needs to do that.”

A thought is that there needs to be more security in schools. More resource officers, metal detectors, etc. Fedders said that schools need to have more officers, or just more security outside and inside schools.

“Now, the second thing is the security, I think we need better security,” Fedders said. “Well, with the Parkland shooting there was that security officer at the school and he was there and he decided not to do anything. He feared for his life so he left school and we can not let that happen. And also I don’t think we should rely on human resources like security and an officer. We need equipment, maybe even like a metal detector, a gun protector, or something of that sort. And maybe not every school because not everyone can afford it or maybe someone wants to donate that. And the other thing is, obviously is gun laws. I feel like, as I said earlier, you should not have, some of these weapons should not be illegal and well, you don’t need these attachments to a gun like that.”

While some turn to increase of security, stricter gun control, etc., others turn to building stronger connections between students. McCollum said that he thinks stronger connections with students, could prevent these incidents.

“Student voices are important in school safety issues and I truly believe students are the remedy to all school violence,” McCollum said. “As humans and students, we need to be more empathetic of others, be less judgemental of differences, and learn to step in to help each other. If everyone was treated with respect, many of these tragedies would be avoided.”

Console Games Go Mobile


A.J. Laughlin, Logan Palmer and, Isaac Schachleiter Staff Writers

150 million. That’s the number of people who launched Fortnite in 2017. Many of these people also played on mobile, released March 11.  People rushed to get invite codes from their friends. EPIC games selected a few gamers that signed up to give the game. Each person would get three invite codes that they could give to their friends who could get the game. Some people even paid to get invite codes from their friends. EPIC did this because there would be too much stress on the game. After Fortnite’s release on mobile, other console games started releasing their own mobile games.

Seventh-grader Caden Davis said his friends kept bothering him to get a coveted invite code.

“I was actually the first one to get it when it came out because of the invite codes,” Davis said. “I signed up right away. I gave them out like right away because they were always bugging me about it.”

Davis said that it will be more fun because you can play with your friends on different consoles… Kids will be able to crossplay with kids that they previously couldn’t play with.

“It will help because it’s easier to play with people if they don’t have the same console or any other console,” Davis said. “I would support more console games coming to mobile.”
Many people have consoles and still use them regularly, but when phones started to come into the picture, they changed gaming forever. The phone allowed people to play games on the go. This can provide the gaming on the go that they need.

Seventh Grader Ogden Nijakowski says that mobile games will help to strengthen relationships with friends. He also says that this will let kids be able to play at different times.

“ I actually kind of like it because you can play a more variety of games.” Ogden said, “Yes it will help strengthen relationships if it’s a multiplayer game. I would support more games coming to mobile.”

Seventh-grade science teacher Rachel King said mobile games cause a major distraction. Because kids can play with their other friends which would make kids want to play that much more during school.

“I’m finding that they’re very distracting,” King said. “Students are getting more addicted to them they’re like ‘oh hey I’m going to go sneak and play them’ while they’re doing their class work. They are not finding the balance of what they are going to do in their free time instead of what they are going to do in the classroom.”

King also said that these games aren’t just a distraction for kids to play, but a distraction because the kids talk about them all of the time.

“There are all kinds of games that people play,” King said. “I’ve seen everything, all different kinds of stuff, and it’s not even just like playing it, they’re just talking about it. I would support more console games coming to mobile with maybe some restrictions.”

Cooper Builds Connections Between School and Community


Claire Patton | Editor

Rebeca Hefferan | Staff Writer

Round table discussions aren’t just for knights anymore. For Deputy Superintendent Jonathan Cooper, his round table discussions include engaging people from all over Mason.

Cooper is already making changes, including the start of coffee chat-like meetings which he calls CommUnity Conversations. These chats occur in places such as coffee shops, temples, or houses, and include several people from all over Mason sharing their ideas for a better community. The plan for these conversations is to unite the community and the district together as Cooper begins his job as deputy superintendent. “The CommUnity Conversations are really a chance for me to connect with people around our community,” Cooper said. “We really listen closely to exactly what their hopes are, dreams are, for this school district. And not only for our school district, but how we can connect with the community as a whole to support our student’s future. That is the big idea, end-of-the-day concept of what the CommUnity Conversations are all about.”

Lina Patel has attended many meetings with Cooper, including hosting a CommUnity Conversation of her own. Patel said CommUnity Conversations are a key way for Cooper to implement impactful and important changes as he steps into the role of superintendent.

“I do think there are a lot of changes, and opportunities for change,” Patel said. “It just depends on what the school district wants to prioritize. I think we definitely have the right people in place, but to bring the plan together, the CommUnity conversations are ways for Mr. Cooper to give and get feedback and especially to listen.”

Cooper has been at Mason City Schools for the past three years as Chief Innovation Officer, where he has been able to prove his capabilities as a leader and team member. Cooper explained he doesn’t stand alone when working, describing his job as a part of a team.

“I am a team member to your principals and teachers,” Cooper said.  “I am with them to provide them with the resources they need. I give them the professional development that they deserve. I meet with the leaders in the building to give them coaching and support. When difficult situations do arise, I usually work behind the scenes to be a creative problem solver and how are we going to make sure that is not going to happen again.”

After Prom Co-Chair and community member Beth Wilson believes that Cooper will be actively involved in the district.  

“I would hope that he can get involved, and some of my hopes are he goes to as many things as he can,” Wilson said. “Students and families can already see him at different events, and things like band, theater, and recognition (ceremonies). He seems like he enjoys getting involved.”

Lisa Oldham, parent of three students in the Mason Schools, believes that hiring Jonathan Cooper as the new superintendent is a decision that is going to build on the ideas and plans already placed on the schools to make it a truly better place to live.

“I do not necessarily consider it as a change, but it is as if it is an evolution,” Oldham said.  “Every new leader that comes on board to any program, they are making their impact and putting their stamp on where they want to go. I think that what Jonathan Cooper is starting to do, and the path that he is going to take, I think would be defined as a vision–one that will be defined in the next few months. I am excited for what he is going to bring, for he is so in touch with the stakeholders, community, parents, and students, I feel like coming out of that, we are going to be moving in a very good direction.”

With CommUnity Conversations, everyone is able to have a voice and express their ideas to Cooper. He also is willing to fix problems with others, behind the scenes and even late at night. Cooper knows that the schools belong to everyone, and are not just his.

“I truly believe that the school district at Mason City Schools; this is our community,” Cooper said. “I have great ideas of where I would like Mason City Schools to go. This school is just as much your parents’ school, your school, our community’s school as it is mine. And now that our family has moved into the community, even more so, we need to do this, and it is not just Jonathan’s ideas. It is our school together.”


NHS Nerf Madness Raises Money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society


Karissa Allen & Hayleigh Johns | Staff Writers


Nerf Madness participants join forces and fire away at cancer.

Nerf Madness, an event for grades 4-12, annually raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This year, the competition was held on Friday, February 24th in the MI 4/5 gym. Students competed in two brackets that were separated by grade, ready to aim and shoot for the win.

Nerf Madness not only helped the the Leukemia and Lymphoma society, it helped students meet new people in older and younger grades. Seventh grader Andrew Yowler said he enjoyed meeting high school students.

“It makes us meet a lot of new people that you really wouldn’t meet,” Yowler said. “I got to meet some high schoolers there and they were pretty chill.”

This year’s event grew from last year and raised more money. The National Honors Society always hopes to raise more money every year and advisor Sheila Nimer said this year’s event grew a bit from last year. This means there can also be room for growth in the future years.

“We hope to (raise more money every year),” Nimer said. “I mean, our goal is to always outdo the year before. Last year we had 80 teams and this year we have 84, so we will be able to raise more money than last year.”

NHS advisors aren’t the only ones planning this event. It’s really the students of the NHS that plan these fun experiences. Nimer explained how Nerf Madness is a way for students to plan and organize an amazing occasion for the benefit of others.

“It’s great, as a National Honor Society advisor, it’s really all students that plan this event,” Nimer said. “It is so amazing as an adult to see students really come in on their own and plan an event from start to finish.”

New Brain Research Indicates Schools Should Start Later


Grace Waters // Staff Writer

Moonlight shines through your window, your eyelids droop, and you yawn in exhaustion, but you are not at home in your bed–you are in your desk at school. This scenario is reality for Mason Middle School students who start school at 7:15 a.m.

Not getting enough sleep can be a danger to students.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, being sleep deprived often leads to emotional and behavioral problems such as irritability, depression, poor impulse control and violence; health complaints, tobacco and alcohol use,  hard times decision making and focusing, and lower overall performance in everything from academics to athletics. The Mason City School district is considering switching to later starting times, but with that are many pros and cons to which they must pay attention.

Throughout the school year, many students complain about school starting too early. Chief Academic Officer for Mason City Schools Heather Sass said that there are things that they have to consider and balance if the district does decide to switch times.

There’s evidence to show that the early start times do have an impact on students and  we want to do what’s right by students,” Sass said. “We have to balance that with the logistics of what it costs to transport kids in a good way, so we are trying to find a balance between that and we want to engage our stakeholders in that discussion.”

The Mason CIty School District is going to look further into switching times and look at the research and studies that have been done about the early start times. Sass explains what they are going to use to consider this change.

“What’s really allowing us to take a look at the start times is the fact that we are doing this facilities expansion,“ Sass said. “We’re changing our facilities footprints. We will go from five schools to four, and that means our third graders will be in (Mason Intermediate). Eventually all of our second graders will be right at (Mason Early Childhood Center) That’ll shift our transportation to have one less set of start times and one less set of buses that go to a different school.”

Assistant principal Mark Murzynowski said that there are morning people and people who are not. He said that typically teenagers need a little more sleep.

“I think it all depends on the individual too, because there are some individuals, like myself, who function much better early in the morning,” Murzynowski said. “Then as the day progresses, (they) start to die out or it’s the other way around, but studies show that your age group, which is basically the 11 to 14 year old range. typically need a little more sleep, so it would one, be nicer for you guys to sleep in, and two, function will be a little bit better with that.“

Students have a variety of feelings towards school starting too early because of this, there are also many students who have trouble focusing in the morning. Eighth grader Jenna McCowan explains how she feels about students and how much easier she believes it would be for students to focus with a later starting time.

“We would be able to focus more if school started later because our brains are more developed and open to new concepts later on in the morning,” McCowan said. “ I don’t want to get up at 6:00 or 5:00 in the morning to start learning and go straight to first bell, where I can’t learn because I’m halfway asleep.”

Seventh grader Caden Graham said it was easier to focus at Mason Intermediate, which starts at 8:15, and that he was more awake and active at that time rather than 7:15, which is the MMS start time.

“I do think it was easier to focus at MI because school at MI started an entire hour later,” Graham said. “It’s a huge difference waking up at seven last year and now waking up at 6. I was more awake last year and not half asleep like this year. It’s not as easy to focus now at MMS, I’m almost asleep and trying to learn. I am not motivated to do anything at 7:27 in the morning.”


Preventing Drug Use at Mason Middle School


Kareem Sultan & Trey Spikes | Staff Writers

“Hook me up,” some kids may say when offered drugs. Mason, however, wants to hook you up with reasons to just say no.

Statistics show that some middle school students across the nation use drugs and that seven percent have tried tobacco cigarettes, sixteen percent have tried alcohol and ten percent have tried marijuana, according to Officer Ketterer.

But statistics alone are not enough to keep kids from doing drugs, according to Mason D.A.R.E officer Nathan Ketterer.

“I don’t think statistics are enough to convince students to stay away from drugs,” Ketterer said.  “To prove my point, an example we know as a fact is if you don’t wear a bike helmet when you ride a bike and you fall and hit your head, that injury can kill you.  Likewise, if you don’t wear a seatbelt in the car and you get in a wreck, you will most likely be ejected from the vehicle.  That would likely result in death, yet people still don’t wear seatbelts.  So just telling them the statistics doesn’t seem to change their mind.”  

D.A.R.E education is a program which teaches all about drugs and prevention tools. Ketterer said one of the strongest ways to prevent drug use is more D.A.R.E programmed education.

“A prevention tool we use is we offer a lot of education to students about drugs,” Ketterer said.  “We discuss those statistics, the side effects, health concerns, and real situations that have occurred as a result of drug use.  With all of this education, some people still choose to use drugs.  Why and how can we convince them to stop is a great question.  It seems that despite all of the information we tell them, something negatively influences them to not care or not believe what we are saying.  That is very tough to figure out.”

Ketterer said it is important for middle schoolers to share experiences with people they are close to and work together to make good decisions.

“What I believe needs to happen is students need to share their experiences of the education they are learning at school and share it with their family,” Ketterer said. “Talk about drugs with family.  A strong family who talks a lot will have a better understanding of the dangers of drug abuse.  That unified family connection will help prevent drug abuse.  Also, friends and students need to help each other by talking to each other and using positive ways to influence their peers into making good decisions.  If the overall student body spoke up more about preventing drug use, then that would help influence those kids who are considering trying drugs to not try drugs.”

Counselor Lindsey Sweat said that using drugs in middle school can lead to serious problems in the future.

¨Lack of motivation and lack of confidence, resulting in high school and college dropouts, and even more dreadful results of early drug use can affect kids later on,” Sweat said.

Eighth grader Humza Asgher said that D.A.R.E had a very strong impact on his life.

“I think that D.A.R.E will impact my life because the D.A.R.E teacher told us a story about how somebody was a straight A student all the way until high school and then used drugs once and then got addicted and then that one try of drugs ruined his life and that the story will stick with me. A small story like this has already made a strong impact on my opinion on drugs,” Asgher said. 

Seventh grader Omar Chaudhry said how what he learned in D.A.R.E still affects him and how it impacted his life.

“D.A.R.E showed me how drugs are harmful in specific detail,” Chaudhry said. “It showed me that drugs are a path that I absolutely do not want to cross.”

Mason Middle Students choose to walk home, safety becoming a concern


Sanjana Velu| Staff writer

Walking home can be fun for students, but it may not always be the safest route to take.

In the past, many Mason Middle School students have chosen to walk home after school, but speeding cars and oblivious students can cause the safety of students to become a concern.

According to Safe Routes to School National Partnership, in 2009, about 23,000 children ages 5-15 were injured and more than 250 were killed while walking or bicycling in the United States. Even though this is based on our entire country, Mason High School Honors English teacher Olivia Kinross said there are many local safety issues in Mason that may contribute to an MMS student getting injured.

“I think the congestion between Tylersville and the two points-of-access for MHS on Mason-Montgomery causes some really dangerous situations for walkers,” Kinross said. “Specifically, I’ve witnessed drivers attempting to enter/exit the car rider lines at both MMS and MI running red lights, blocking the flow of traffic in the intersection, failing to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalks, and exceeding the speed limit.  And I’ve also seen, several times, MMS kids racing across Mason-Montgomery in front of Johnson Orthopedic–not at a light/in a crosswalk. One of the groups narrowly missed being hit by a driver on Mason Montgomery who was going slowly, but the kids darted out at a spot of poor visibility.”

Though some, like Kinross, say that walking home poses a danger, Mason Police Officer Stephanie Neal said she believes walking home is safer if students are walking with others, and that the Police Department has safety measures put in place for students.

“I think it is okay as long as you walk with a group,” Neal said. “I think safety in numbers is probably the best bet when you’re walking home, or doing anything that’s involving traffic, and it’s probably best to walk with friends. We do extra patrols throughout the areas, we patrol school zones, we have campus security up here at the high school, and all around the Municipal Building, so we have some things that are set in place for students that want to walk or ride their bikes.”

Neal isn’t the only one saying it is safer to walk with friends. Seventh grader Natalie Hansbauer feels safer when she walks with friends and prefers it to riding the bus.

“It just feels more protected when you’re with someone else,” Hansbauer said. “I’d rather walk home, because it’s more fun than riding the bus home. You can stop (at restaurants) and get something to eat.”

Student safety isn’t the only concern, though. Principal Tonya McCall said she will occasionally receive reports from the community about the behavior of some students walking home.

“There are many years that kids walk home after school and the entire school year I don’t hear a single concern by a community member about those kids walking home,” McCall said. “There are other times that we will get reports of a group of students and their behavior, whether it’s they are not following the traffic patterns, or they are walking across the street and not waiting for the light to change, or they just appear to have general rowdy behavior.”

Kinross said she was almost hit by a car once while crossing the street with her daughter, and believes the drivers and ignorant students contribute to this safety issue.

“I tried to walk across from MHS to pick up my MI student back in August,” Kinross said. “On our second day trying the new system, when my daughter and I began to cross from MI to MHS at the light, with the posted crosswalk sign on “WALK,” several cars turned left in front of us as we were in the crosswalk. That’s illegal and so unsafe! The third car that turned in front of us nearly hit us. Since the other cars had been moving along, I’m sure that third car had limited time to survey the scene before entering the intersection, but probably because the previous cars exiting the car rider line turned left, the traffic just kept flowing. Luckily, I was watching–the driver didn’t even notice us until we were inches away–and pulled my child back. I yelled and the driver mouthed an apology. A police car was waiting at the red light and he ticketed the driver. We haven’t walked since.”

Though many people find walking a bit risky, McCall said she doesn’t feel it is her job to prevent students from walking home, but thinks it is more of a parent’s choice to make.

“I don’t feel as if it’s my call as a building administrator to say whether or not kids can walk home; I think that’s a parental choice,” McCall said. “I think parents know better whether or not their kids are mature enough to handle walking home versus getting on the bus, and can they handle that freedom of, they don’t necessarily go from Point A to Point B, from school to home, that they can potentially make a detour, and so I feel as if that’s a parental choice to make.”

Some students, however, are unconcerned about the safety of walking home. Eighth grader Bree Harp said she walks home almost every day and usually feels safe.

“I feel like we live in a good area,” Harp said. “I don’t really ever feel unsafe or worried about my safety.”

Some think walking home can benefit students, too. Neal said it is fun for students to have different ways to go home, and it helps students feel more independent.

“I think it’s a form of independence for students, and it kind of gives you a little bit of freedom to get some exercise, and enjoy being outdoors as opposed to riding the bus,” Neal said. “You can ride the bus some days and walk on nice days and just enjoy being outside.”

Seventh grader Annika Reed said she also enjoys walking more than riding the bus, but sometimes feels unsafe due to ignorant kids.

“There have been students that just run across the street,” Reed said. “They don’t even look, and my dad has actually almost ran over one of them.”

Although there have been injuries of students while they were walking home in the past, McCall said we shouldn’t confuse the idea of walking home with the idea that bad things may happen, and we will just have to work through it together.

“I think the thing we have to keep in mind is sometimes, unfortunately, bad things happen. As a school we can’t prohibit traffic accidents,” McCall said. “We’ve had students that have gotten injured in the community, but I don’t know that that single injury was directly related to the fact that the student was able to walk home. They could have been home and gone back out and done something. What I don’t want to do is confuse the idea of kids being able to walk home with the fact that sometimes bad things happen. We do our best to remind parents and students of the traffic rules and then work through any issues we have.”


TBH Lowers Middle Schoolers’ Self Esteem


Vinaya Sivakumar | Online Manager 

Krithika Sambamurthy | Online Advisor

Katelyn Griffin | Infographic Creator

One app. One button. One friend. That’s all it takes to determine your public image and your self-esteem.

TBH, meaning To Be Honest, is an app that has swept the nation. On the app, users get positive polls with questions like “Has the best attitude…” and are given four options out of the people on their friends list. When users select a person for a poll, the subject receives a message saying that either a girl or a boy picked them. This app has been growing more popular among students and is a rising concern for parents.  

Kimberly Rader, parent of eighth grader Kennedy Rader, believes that the app could damage self-esteem because not receiving compliments from others could cause teens to worry about why they are not receiving positive feedback.

“It’s a terrible idea,” Rader said. “Middle school is so hard anyway and now you have this added thing, because now you’re going to constantly know what people think about you, or you’re going to want to know what they think about you. What happens when you don’t get those compliments? You’re going to think constantly, ‘There’s something wrong with me. Why am I not getting anything on this app?’”

People often screenshot the poll that they got picked for and post it on social media in hopes to find out who chose them. As a result, others that were contenders can see that they didn’t get picked. Eighth grader Kylie (Max) Kensill said that TBH does more harm than good.

“I think it’s more negative because people could get hurt by it,” Kensill said. “Someone could say something negative about them or if nobody chooses them for anything. They could get positive compliments, which would boost their day, or negative complements which would make them sad.”

Seventh grader Jack Transue says that this app doesn’t and shouldn’t induce addiction nor is very negative. Instead, he believes that it’s entertaining.

“I don’t think it’s really addicting as it’s just fun. I don’t really see why anyone would get an addiction to tapping a button all day.” Transue said. “Personally, my self esteem isn’t judged by an online app I find in a little electronic box. That won’t drive me to be sad or happy.”

TBH has been downloaded by six million people in the past three months. Seventh grader Annika Reed believes that downloading the app is really not worth all of the drama that is caused by it.

“Someone said (on TBH) that they liked me and I didn’t like them back,” Reed said. “They felt really hurt and told on me. Parents got involved and it was just a big mess because I didn’t feel a certain way about someone and that apparently can make them feel bad.”

All of the questions on TBH are filtered so that bad questions don’t pop up.  As a result, seventh grader Anna Bennett has a more positive outlook on TBH.

“Lot’s of the (TBHs’) are good because when you put in a question they have to look at it first, so it’s probably fine.” Bennett said. “It just depends on how you see it. If you don’t really care and if you just use it carelessly, then it’s probably fine.”

There are many different viewpoints and perspectives that can come from a social media app. TBH was first invented so that people can get positive messages throughout their day.

“It seems like it was designed with good intention.” Rader said. “It seems like it was designed to be positive, but we all know that the middle school brain will take this positive thing and it will turn, it will switch, it will change.”

Kids with Stress, Dogs with the Solution


Isabella Marinelli, Faith Newstedt, & Sydney Young | Staff Writers

Paws and all, dogs impact how kids can learn and grow.

Dogs are not only lovable companions anymore, they also can help students at Mason Middle School with their stress and anxiety. Studies from have shown petting a dog can reduce blood pressure, as well as anxiety levels.

According to The Benefits of Therapy Dogs, therapy dogs was help kids slow down and work with their stress because many students stay up late to finish homework or assignments. Special Education teacher Kimberly Rolph brings therapy dogs in every Thursday for her students to read to and to pet.

“It is good therapy, it is really good for kids that are nervous about reading and feeling like they might make a mistake,” Rolph said. “If they read to a dog, there are studies that have shown that they are less apprehensive to do so, so instead of being afraid to read out loud, they’ll read out loud to a dog especially if their anxiety is getting in the way. I have used it for both of those reasons and it’s just a real nice calming. For kids that have autism, it’s really good for them to walk a dog, brush a dog, just to touch a dog, and just to be in the same environment even if they are not touching it.”

In a 2015 study from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they found that 12 percent out of the 58 percent that had dogs showed signs of anxiety, while the 42 percent that didn’t have dogs, 21 percent of them showed signs of anxiety. Eighth grade counselor Karen Long says that when she or her girls were sad, her dog would come and cuddle with them and be right there.

“My dog she was a sweetheart. She was one of those dogs who looked like they were smiling,” Long said, “I would just go after work and cuddle with her. She did the same with my daughters, too. Whenever someone wasn’t feeling good or they were sad, she would always be right there. I have a couple kids who actually have dogs because it’s part of their treatment. I also know an adult that’s the same for them, so it’s kind of cool. And they provide unconditional love and you don’t even have to do that much for them.”

Eighth grader Sydney Minick explains how she is haipeir and in a better mood when she is around her dog.

“Normally I like to pet it or cuddle with it. “ Minick said. “I am happier when I am around my dog, I think anyone can say that. My mood is higher and just better. I think it is a very good idea and it’s a good way for students who feel anxiety and stuff like that.”

Seventh grader Sanjana Nair explains how when she feels stressed or has had a hard day that she will go and cuddle with her dog to calm down.

“Usually when I am stressed or have had a hard day or something, I go to my dog and I pet her, and she just kind of seems to know what’s going on she kind of gets that feel.” said Nair. “She will cuddle up next to me and let me pet her for a few minutes and that really calms me down. She makes me feel really happy. Whenever I see her and whenever I come home from school, she is always really excited and that makes me feel really happy.”