Monthly Archives: March 2013

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By Camille Gazoul ’15 | Staff Writer

Mock Trial Club competed alongside some of the most prestigious schools in Michigan on March 9. The club provides an opportunity for high school students to compete in a statewide competition where they prepare both defense and plaintiff sides of a case. This year, the suit was a civil case, club Adviser Peter Palen said.

“Mock trial club is a group of people and we meet once a week,” said group member Ellie Zak ’14. “We get a case and we have to develop both sides of the case, the defense and the plaintiff.”

The same case is given out to every Mock Trial team in late October. The club competed against other schools with the same case at the competition two weeks ago, Palen said.

The club is assigned three witnesses per side. The witnesses have statements that the club has to develop and assign people to, there are also three lawyers on each side, Zak said.

“We have to develop our case and we have to develop cross examination questioning, and direct exam questioning, opening statements, and closing arguments. Just everything there is in an actual case based on the information we get,” said Zak.

They give each club a couple pages of witness statements, like a Q and A about the witness that is related to the case. The participant is only allowed to testify about things that the witnesses already said, Zak said.

“So you have to keep it within the boundaries of the witness statement but you’re allowed to have fun with it,” said Zak.

After working on all the aspects of a case in their practices, the club eventually goes to competition. At the competition, the club is told which side they are to argue, for example it could be defense. Then the club would compete against the other team’s plaintiff.

“We’ll just have a trial with the other team. I was a lawyer on the plaintiff and I did a direct exam questioning of a witness, the cross exam questioning of a witness and I did the closing argument. I was also a witness on the defense side,” said Zak.

Mock trial puts on the case three times at the competition. As plaintiff once and defense twice or be the defense once and plaintiff twice, Palen said. The club does not know until the day of the tournament which side they will be or what team they are competing against.

“There are three regional tournaments that will take place: one in Pontiac, one is in Grand Rapids and one is in Ann Arbor,” said Palen.

Mock trial went to Pontiac to compete on Saturday March 9  where they competed alongside excellent schools like Mercy and Country Day, Palen said.

The club worked hard but their scores were not high enough to continue on in the competition, Palen said.

“I thought we did very well; it’s only our second year doing Mock Trial here at South so we’re still figuring out how to go about doing it well,” said Zak. “We went up against some really good teams. At our third competition one of the judges told us that we were two of the best teams he’d seen that day.”

Though the club did not move on to the next level, there are elements of the competition that the club excelled at like the witnesses and attorneys, club member Matt Murray ’15 said.

“Our group was really good at maintaining composure.  We are very good at keeping our confidence making sure that we presented ourselves well,” said Zak. “Our witnesses were very good, on cross exam questioning when the other team was trying to nail them they did a good job of maintaining their character under pressure and not giving them what they want to hear.”

Mock trial is a excellent extracurricular activity to be involved in because it gives students real life experience of thinking on their feet and teaches the students to have confidence, said Palen.

“They get up and they act out as an attorney would just like any other case, they get objected to by the opposing council, some students are doing opening and closing statements,” said Palen. “They’re under a microscope; there is close scrutiny of the participants because there is an actual judge that volunteers to judge at the competition.”

Now that competition is over, the club will not reconvene until next year when the new case is chosen, Zak said. But new members are always welcome.

“Anybody can join the club, you can be a freshman or a senior joining for the first time, you can be someone that’s kind of shy and wants to join the club because you want to develop your confidence, or you can be someone that’s extremely confident and wants to come in and blow everyone away,” said Zak.  “We’d love to have some new people on the team next year who are really interested.”

A wide range of people can join and even if a student does not know about the American legal system they can still have fun and do well in the club, Murray said.

“I was interested in the legal system so I thought it would be fun to learn more about it by working on a case,” said Murray.

His advice to people who want to join is “if you’re ready to work hard, you’ll be fine.”

Margaret Brennan ’13| Staff Writer

The A.I.M (All in Movement) assembly that took place on Tuesday, March 26 in the gymnasium featured highly regarded motivational speaker Reggie Dabbs. He has spoken to over 1.5 million students last year alone, according to Dabbs.

“My goal is to take every student from point A to point B. Point A is how every day is a normal day, and point B is today I looked at my life and say if I need to change, I’ve got to change,” said Dabbs.

The A.I.M movement was prompted by a group of 20 students who were selected at the beginning of the school year to discuss the school tolerance climate. The students then decided to make a survey regarding such matters.The results of this survey are what in turn emphasized the need for unity, acceptance and respect within the school, Assistant Principal Flint said.

“A.I.M is a one hundred percent customized group unique to Grosse Pointe South,” said A.I.M co-founder Max Roeske’13. “We’ll have break down meetings soon to critique and go over what went well, what went poorly and what could be changed,”

The main themes for the assembly then became those three magic words, unity, acceptance and respect. Dabbs executed these themes by including personal anecdotes as well as incorporating humor and his musical talents by featuring his saxophone, according to assembly attendee Darius Harris ‘14.

“He (Reggie Dabbs) had a few good jokes, if he was boring people wouldn’t have paid attention to him but for me when he first started talking I was hooked,” said Harris.

Post assembly, students were sent to their 7th hour classes to engage in a student run class discussion where A.I.M members lead students to vocalize their opinions on the effectiveness of the assembly. In these discussions, students talked candidly about their experience here at South and in some cases their oppositions towards the speaker’s message.

“Personally I saw the assembly as a little too late; the issues he talked about are things that need to be installed earlier, like in the elementary and junior high years,” said Nikki Kamienski’13. “For us I don’t think the message he conveyed was all that purposeful to our stage in our lives.”

Though Reggie’s message that one person can make a difference didn’t resonate with all the attendees, converse opinions showed that there is always room for improvement at South and Reggie was the start of the change, math teacher  Jacqueline Shelson said.

“However, many students came away thinking that the message was not for them. They like their lives; they have a good group of friends, a stable family life, and do well in school,” said Shelson. “That is great, but many people are not as fortunate. It is important that every student knows that he/she can make a difference,” said Shelson .

Moving forward from Reggie’s visit A.I.M plans to have meetings where they compile opinions taken from the class discussions in hopes to continue the momentum of the movement, according to Flint.

“Whatever we do moving forward is going to come from the kids, we want this to be a student lead movement so they hold the cards (for the future),” said Flint.

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Spring Break has finally arrived and students are anxious to kick back and relax for a week. Whether staying in Grosse Pointe, travelling to visit relatives or leaving the country, this vacation is always eagerly anticipated by all.

As a time to rejuvenate for the final haul of school leading up to summer, students should use this break to have fun and enjoy spending time with their friends and family. Students have been working seemingly nonstop all year and with winter sports all wrapped up, many athletes can take a long deserved break, too.

However, while full advantage should be taken of this break, certain precautions need to be taken to ensure that regrets are minimized and safety is increased.

To start, everyone would do well to remember that the legal drinking age is still 21. Athletes, especially those playing a spring sport, should be even more aware of this.

While Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are all hotspots to travel to over break, the code of conduct still applies to athletes while they are off school property. This means that even in areas where the drinking age is 18, students caught are still subject to repercussions by the school for their sports. Nobody wants to sit out a third of their season for poor decisions made over Break, so be sure to make smart choices and be responsible.

Next is the buddy system. All too often, stories appear on the news of a young teenager having huge issues at a party or in a hotel room during his or her Spring Break. By always having a buddy or staying with a group of people, one’s chances of being hurt, getting lost or finding themselves in serious trouble are severely decreased.

It may sound childish, but it is effective. No one wants to experience anything bad on his or her Break, and a simple system like this can prevent multiple mishaps from occurring.

Students should also note that the closer one travels to the equator, the stronger the suns rays are. Teenagers often kill their skin trying to reach that perfect tan to show off to their friends upon their return; however, a week of compliments on one’s skin tone is not worth the everlasting damage the sun can leave on the skin.

Applying sunscreen everyday will still allow for a tan to develop over Break, while preventing skin cancer and other damage to the skin. Plus, no one wants to sit in the shade for the remainder of their Break because they naively failed to use sunscreen the first couple of days in the sun.

Lastly, there are just a few quick tips that can help all students keep their belongings safe. For one, if there is a safe in a hotel room, make sure to put it to good use. Passports, wallets, iPhones and ID’s can all be stolen from hotel rooms if left out. Locking doors and shutting windows when leaving hotel room is also important.

If anyone is traveling abroad, it is critical that he or she realizes the rules and regulations of a different country may not be the same as the US. A legal predicament can easily ruin one’s vacation, so make sure to do a little homework on laws and procedures before taking off.

Spring Break is and always should be a fun highlight of the year. It is a much-deserved break that signals the last stretch of school before summer. Safety must always come first and foremost to South students.

If these basic precautions are put to good use, the fun will follow, allowing classmates and friends to return safe and sound with multitudes of memories to share.

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Marissa Day ’14 | Managing Editor

Photo courtesy of Carrie Halliburton. Courtney McGuire shows off her dance moves during a practice with her instructor.
Photo courtesy of Carrie Halliburton. Courtney McGuire shows off her dance moves during a practice with her instructor.

Dancing with the Stars may be in its 16th season, but South’s program is just getting started. The second annual Dancing with the South Stars will be held Friday, April 12 in the Main Gym, Junior Class Adviser Carrie Halliburton said. The event will take place at 7 p.m. and tickets will be on sale for $10.

This year, the event will feature five new teachers dancing, with last year’s champion Tom Schultz participating on the judging panel. As of now, there are two male staff members and three female members that are competing in the event. Like last year, the teachers will be working with the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in preparation for the event.

One of the challenges Halliburton and the class councils faced this year was finding available teachers, particularly males. While several were interested in being a part of this year’s show, schedule conflicts along with school and personal events were too hard to move around, Halliburton said.

“We had a little bit harder time finding the male teachers this year,” said Halliburton. “Everybody wants to come see the event but just finding the time to be able to be in the event (is hard); people are busy, we get that.”

Photo courtesy of Carrie Halliburton. Chris Booth practices his routine for the event in less than three weeks.
Photo courtesy of Carrie Halliburton. Doug Roby practices his routine for the event in less than three weeks.

Social studies teacher Chris Booth was hesitant to participate, but joined because the event is for charity, he said.

The most challenging part of the event will not be the dancing itself but the crowds, Booth said. After he gets past the initial few seconds, the dance routine just becomes a fun experience.

“Getting in front of a few hundred people, the first 10 seconds will be the most challenging,” said Booth, who did an event like this at his previous school. “I’ve just got to make sure I have fun and not worry about it, once you get passed the first 5-10 seconds everything should be good.”

Halliburton said the biggest change is the program’s partnership with Beaumont Hospital. This year Beaumont will be working with South to promote cardiovascular health, said Beaumont’s Community Affairs Manager Suzanne Berschback.

“We have been doing a program that’s in its third year that’s called ‘Day of Dance’ which is partnering with the community dance schools, and we do a celebration of cardiovascular health by trying to get everybody up and dancing,” said Berschback, who is working with Halliburton on the program.

Having Beaumont as a partner will help spread the word about Dancing with the South Stars to a larger demographic of people, in a professional and unique way, Halliburton said. Because of their partnership, the councils will be able to use nicer posters a bigger stage for the competitors, allowing them more creativity in their routines.

Of the teachers who are participating as contestants, English teacher Sandra McCue said she is both excited and nervous for the event. Although she was hesitant about agreeing to be a part of something outside her comfort zone, she looks forward to challenging herself and helping the school as well.

Photo courtesy of Carrie Halliburton. Social studies teacher, Sandy McCue, works to perfect her moves as the date of the event approaches.
Photo courtesy of Carrie Halliburton. Social studies teacher, Sandy McCue, works to perfect her moves as the date of the event approaches.

“I am really looking forward to learning something new,” said McCue. “I like to stay in my comfort zone for things and (dancing is) definitely outside my comfort zone so I’m looking forward to getting an opportunity to challenge myself and to find out what I’m capable of because I haven’t had any real dance success before.”

Although she has had no prior dance experience, Spanish teacher Christine Spada hopes she can bring a unique aspect to her dance. Rather than doing traditional ballroom dance, Spada plans on incorporating Spanish or Latin dance in her routine.

“Being a Spanish teacher, I would like to learn a Latin dance since dance is such an integral part of the Spanish/Latin culture,” said Spada in an e-mail. “I have traveled to many different Spanish-speaking countries, have seen many different dances, and have always wanted to learn these different types of dances.”

While the teachers are planning their dances, the class councils are busy planning other events, Halliburton said. Instead of last years’ bake sale, there will be a larger, more collective sale called ‘A Taste of Grosse Pointe,’ which invites local restaurants and bakeries to bring samples of their food to the event.

Spada
Photo courtesy of Carrie Halliburton. Christine Spada busts a move with her trainer in preparation for Dancing with the South Stars this April.

In addition, Beaumont will have several health tables and representatives present during the event to meet with anyone interested in getting on track for a healthier lifestyle, Berschback said.

While the councils are working behind the scenes to make this years’ Dancing with the South Stars a success, teachers are planning what they want to do in for their dance routines. Although teachers already have some ideas for what they want to do, some students are giving their input as well, McCue said.

“There were a few students who wanted me to wear a dress and light it on fire and be like Katniss from ‘The Hunger Games’ but I told them that was not a viable option,” said McCue. “They have been giving me good ideas, but I’m not sure I’m going to use any of them.”