Featured articles for The Tower Online.

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By Emily Shea ’15 | Staff Writer

It isn’t just a concert, it’s an experience. Music blaring, lights flashing, hearts pounding: these are the sights and sounds of music festival season.

Movement Electronic Music Festival is an annual three-day event held during Memorial Day weekend celebrating Detroit’s electronic music legacy, according to the festival’s website.

“I went to Movement a day last year and all three days this year,” said Izzy Yenchick ’15. “I really enjoy the music they perform, and it is a great way to take a break from school over the long weekend.”

Beginning the festivities on May 24 and ending May 26, people from around the world gather to enjoy all Detroit has to offer during Movement.

“Movement is a great way to relax during the long weekend, but also have fun,” said Griffin Sharp ’15. “I love festivals like these because I always have a good time, and Movement itself brings in a lot of people, which is good for the city.”

Detroit offers more than stereotypical electronic music, Sharp said. They host festivals for every kind of music, like the Downtown Hoedown.

“The Hoedown last year was so fun,” said Lanie Fitzpatrick ’17. “I really liked how festivals are set up, they have different stages and artists to choose from so I can go from artist to artist.”

Not in Detroit, but in Rothbury, is Electric Forest. Taking place from June 26 to June 29, this electronic music festival is similar to Movement. Expectations for Electric Forest are high, Eric Addy ’14 said.

“I expect the festival to be very crazy, unique and fun,” said Addy.

Music festivals are attractive to people of all ages but it seems to be very popular among South students, and the summer hosts many festivals for every music genre.
[info] To read about Shea’s experience at Movement, check out this article.[/info]

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By Kylie Capps ’14 | Staff Writer

After years of struggling with heart issues, Alex Peabody ’16 received a double heart and lung transplant in May of 2013, at the age of 15. Now, over a year later, the Tower asks Peabody on his current condition.

Q: What is the state of your health? Has anything changed since the story about you was published?

A: Yes. My health was going well through the winter then in March I had an allergic reaction. At first they weren’t sure if it was an infection or an allergic reaction, so they put me on a bunch of antibiotics to make sure it wasn’t an infection. Because of the allergic reaction my lung function went from 110 percent (expected) to 50 percent. I was having a lot of trouble breathing and was coughing up mucus, so it was hard to get around.

Q: How did the doctors respond to the problem?

A: They did three biopsies, one regular, one through my trachea and then they had to do one in the back in between my ribs, so they could get a bigger chunk to make sure it wasn’t any type of rejection. (They concluded) it wasn’t any type of rejection just a severe allergic reaction, but they still don’t know what it was from. They raised (the dose of) one of the medicines I am already on, but it suppresses my immune system even more, which is why I have to wear the mask. But the medicine also lowers the inflammatory response, which helps it go back to normal.

Q: Do you have to wear a mask everywhere you go?

A: No, just in really crowded areas like school.

Q: Why does your weight fluctuate?

A: The steroids make me fluctuate weight, which also messes with my blood sugar.


Q: Does the weight fluctuation bother you or is it uncomfortable? Will it continue to fluctuate?

A: It doesn’t bother me too much. When they lower my medicine it will become more stable.

Q: What activities have you been doing?

A: I have been riding my bike and walking my dogs a lot.

Q: What do you plan to do this summer?

A: This summer I am going to Europe with an orchestra for a month. My parents are going to be there at the same time to check up on me.

Q: Explain your Instagram video, why did you want to do that?

A: I wasn’t sure if people felt comfortable asking questions and I wanted them to feel comfortable. I just wanted to let them know I am open to answer anything.

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By Angelica Kalogeridis ’15 | Staff Writer

 Most graduating seniors go to college immediately in the fall, but for Maddie Kay ’14, the plan is a little different.

Against common tradition, Kay is planning on taking a gap year before going to college, she said.

“I’m taking a gap year because I don’t know what I want to do,” said Kay. “Before I go to school, I want to explore new things and find out what I really love.”

Going to college right after high school was never really a priority, Kay said.

 “I’m still young and I have a lot of time to figure out what I want to do with my life,” she said.

Depending on the student, a gap year can be a good thing or a bad thing, social worker Doug Roby said.

“Someone might have a real purpose for the gap year,” said Roby. “If you need personal growth to have the best experience in college, then the gap year may be a benefit.”

A student not going straight to college right after high school is rare, Roby said. Only about 5 percent of South students do not go to college directly after graduating.

“But if you’re not ready for college, you need to be ready,” said Roby. “College isn’t cheap.”

Saving money for college, living on her own, travel time, and personal growth, are all within Kay’s plan for her gap year while living in Colorado, she said.

“I think I’ll be a lot more mature after this gap year is over,” said Kay.

After her gap year, Kay said she plans on attending the University of Colorado at Boulder. Right now she plans on majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies, but plans on taking this year to finalize that decision.

 “Right now I hope to become a professional feminist,” said Kay. “I want to go to places like India and Uganda where women are still treated like second class citizens.”

Students’ college experiences set the timeline for what’s next, Roby said. But there’s no set timeline for when that is.

“I am encouraging Maddie to take a gap year,” said her mother, Patti Kay. “Not only to support her decision, but because I think it is a responsible approach to attending Boulder next year.”

Maddie demonstrates a great deal of financial responsibility in choosing to go out to Colorado to live for a year, Kay’s mother, Patti Kay said. She plans to gain residency so that she will be able to attend the college of her choosing.

“Travel and experience are the best education,” said Patti Kay. “I couldn’t be more excited for her.”

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By Alex Boucher ’16| Staff Writer

Out sailing on a fall afternoon, a sudden gust of wind forever changed the life of Brenna Klick ’16.

That day, the wind was moving quickly, which caused the boom on the sailboat to swing around faster than expected, Klick said. The boom came around and collided with the side of her head, knocking her into the water.

“My coach grabbed me from the water, and after sitting in the boat for a while, I started tasting something like iron,” said Klick.

Brenna was taken to the hospital immediately after the accident, her mother Lisa Klick said.

During the weeks following the accident she was diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) and mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Klick said. On top of that, Klick has Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ), along with five other jaw problems.

Photo courtesy of Brenna Klick ’16.  After a  life-altering sailing accident in the fall of 2012, Klick suffers from severe Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS).

“As time has gone on we’ve found out that tons of people are in the same boat as I am,” said Klick. “Those people, just like my family, have found out that no one really knows anything about this condition.”

Symptoms, particularly in PCS can include headaches, memory problems, blurred vision, amnesia and fatigue, Dr. Michael Dionne, Medical Doctor out of Beaumont hospital, said. They can last for a variable amount of time, from days to multiple years.

“A significant concern I have with this condition is the psychological aspect,” said Dionne. “That could include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression.”

After the accident, Klick had to take a break from both school and sailing. Klick says she misses being in school and is also concerned about not having the ability to sail gain.

“I miss just the high school experience; I know it sounds stupid,” said Klick. “I spend 99 percent of the time in my room sleeping, so believe it or not I really miss school.”

Hanging out with friends can be difficult for long periods of time because she gets “over-stimulated,” Klick said. When that happens, she needs to lay down and sleep in order to get over the headaches.

“My head will feel like it’s in a vice and I have to vomit, but hanging out with my friends is worth it because I don’t get to see them very often,” said Klick. “Using the television, the computer and being in a room with people talking makes me feel miserable.”

Along with those restrictions, one of the main difficulties she has is her choice in foods, Klick said. Klick survives on a bread and water diet. Baby food is also something she can keep down as well.

“I can’t eat any chocolate, burgers, anything fried, or acidic,” said Klick. “I can’t drink anything with caffeine, basically anything a normal teenager would eat or drink.”

As far as her daily routine goes, she wakes up at nine a.m. and if all is well, does some exercise, Klick said. For breakfast, if she’s feeling well, she eats oatmeal. If it is a Tuesday or Thursday friends from school come to visit during their lunch hour.

“To have people come over and visit means a ton. I enjoy every minute they’re here,” said Klick. “I’ve been isolated in this house for over a year and a half, so you can imagine any human interaction is rare.”

To occupy her time she likes to watch black and white movies, Klick said. The movies with color bother her head, so she’s seen quite a few old movies.

“I have learned to really appreciate the classics,” said Klick. “I also sit and listen to my records a lot, which I love to do, it all sounds pretty fun, right?”

Movies are a huge help, as long as they are black and white or early color, because they are not as stimulating, Klick said. They have also taught her a lot.

“Comedies help me get away from everything,” said Klick. “Especially when I’m starting to feel depressed.”

Life at home has changed a lot, Lisa Klick said. Things are now very quiet. Normal talking noise is not something Brenna can handle, but there also cannot be slamming doors or clanking plates. If they travel somewhere they must also have Brenna’s medication in case she begins to feel badly again.

“Brenna is a very well-adjusted kid; if she weren’t then we would really have our hands full,” said Lisa. “We consider this the ‘new normal’ for now. It is easier to take that way, I think.”

Brenna isn’t able to spend a lot of time with her family watching television because it hurts her eyes and head, Lisa said. When she rides in the car Brenna always sits in the backseat because it is darker and she sees less from the outside.

“She has discovered some really super people that she never would have met before. There are quite a few out there in her condition, or something similar,” said Lisa. “No one knows what this is like unless you are going through it, too. It really is nothing like anything we’ve ever encountered.”

Dealing with school has been a stressful experience to say the least, Klick said. The school has given her a tutor, math teacher Alan Vassel, to help teach her the math she can’t learn on her own. For a while she had two tutors coming, but with her unpredictable health she wasn’t able to keep a consistent schedule, so they dropped back down to one.

“It’s really hard to concentrate or even stare at words on a paper with a brain injury,” said Klick.

Despite doing her best to stay caught up and having a tutor, she is incredibly behind, Klick said. With her inability to focus for a long period of time, the constant headaches and the various medications doing schoolwork is very difficult.

“The first year after Brenna’s accident dealing with the school was very difficult,” said Lisa. “Everyone was doing their best, but I was given a lot of misinformation that hindered Brenna’s education and condition.”

Although there are so many new things they have to deal with, they try to do things to distract the family from what is going on, Lisa said. Some fun activities they do are, going on short walks, talking trips to Eastern Market and checking out flea markets.

“We try to also do any other thing that may be outside or dimly lit,” said Lisa.

Brenna is not desperate for anything, but having people around to spend time with her and distract her means more than many people know, Lisa said.

“Even if you don’t know Brenna, take a chance and give her a call, what is it going to hurt?” said Lisa. “Everyone is so busy these days, it is easy to forget that there are people out there that need you.”

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Ethan Sloan ’16 | Staff Writer

One stage. One microphone. One poet. Lauren Pankin ’16 placed first in the Mackinac Island Poetry Slam on Saturday, May 17.

“I was surprised,” Pankin said. “ I thought I got third place because there was another slammer who got up there and cried on stage.”

Each slammer reads three poems in three separate rounds, said student teacher and poetry mentor Tom Budday. Each poem must be original and last less than three minutes and ten seconds, or there will be a point deduction.  Then the five judges score each poem ranging from one to ten, one being the lowest and ten being the highest. The highest and lowest scores are dropped, and the other three are averaged.

“It [the judging] is more about getting people involved in poetry,” said Budday.

The amount of people in attendance fluctuated throughout the day, starting at about 50 and reaching a peak of about 200, Pankin said.

Ten South students attended the slam, four were first time slammers, English teacher Harry Campion said.

Pankin is the first person from South to win first place at the Mackinac Slam, Budday said.  Paul Attard ’15 placed fifth overall.

Pankin read her poems “An Education”, “God Bless” and “America the Beautiful”.

“It (slamming) gives kids a voice. I think that’s the most important thing,” Pankin said. “Regardless of what you get up there and say, it’s an opportunity to be heard, it’s an opportunity to have someone there watching you in the audience who is an empathetic listener, and that’s something you don’t really get as a teenager.”

This was Pankin’s first time slamming at Mackinac and her seventh time slamming overall, she said.

“I always get really excited when I read. It’s actually one of the best feelings ever,” Pankin said.  “I get really nervous beforehand, but the second I start reading I just feel really happy up there. It’s like you’re impacting the audience in some way and that’s a very powerful feeling.”

Attard read his poems “#realtalk”, “Sunshine in America” and “Words my Father Refuses to Hear”. This was his first time slamming ever.

“It was an interesting experience,” Attard said.

After nine years of coaching Mackinac slammers, this will be Budday’s last year working with South students, because he is moving to Champagne, Ill. at the end of June, Campion said.

“I’m going to miss the weekly workshops the most,” Budday said. “It’s something to look forward to each week.”