$6,291

Each month, it costs the Mason High School Chronicle exactly $699 to get 3,800 newspapers printed, folded, and delivered for Friday morning. Over the course of 9 issues, that’s a yearly total of $6,291 for 34,200 issues, not including equipment costs. Contrary to popular belief, the school does not provide the funding to print The Chronicle. Two students do.

Emily Culberson and Ashton Nichols are The Chronicle’s business managers, tasked with filling the tall order of $699 a month to produce the paper. Instead of spending their time conducting interviews and typing up articles, Emily and Ashton fill a role that’s quite honestly more important than that of the staff writers. They contact business owners, design ads, create pricing systems, and, most importantly, collect the money that fuels the newspaper. Without them, The Chronicle would be nothing.

Recently our editor-in-chief, Sheila Raghavendran, sent the staff this email: “We’re so lucky that we have Emily and Ashton, and a dedicated staff and an interested student body. Not every school can say that”. Attached was an article by Vicki Ortiz Healy of the Chicago Tribune, titled “Lack of money, interest forcing many high school newspapers to fold“.

High school journalism has been a major factor in improving my confidence and communication skills during my high school career, so hearing of its demise in so many schools reminds me of how lucky I am. I don’t shy away from approaching superintendents or angry football coaches. I understand the importance of time management and I know how to get things done against all odds. This article was a reminder that I have Emily Culberson and Ashton Nichols to thank for that.

23 Signs You’re a Chronicle Staff Member

1. You take every opportunity to add “chron” to normal words (Ex: Chronding, Chronsgiving, Chronsmas, etc.)

2. You groan every time Eric Miller puts on this song during lunch.

3. E. Mac’s deafening laughter just doesn’t get to you anymore.

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4. You get this face every time you make a negative comment about Canada. Or gingers.

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5. …And this face when you interrupt Marvar during his story idea.

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6. You’re more afraid of Gabrielle Stichweh than anyone ever. Especially when telling her your graphic ideas. Or discussing anything regarding women’s rights.

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7. You have no idea what Zane Miller is doing half the time.

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8. You still think it’s funny to call Sonia “Zero”. And probably will until the end of the year.

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9. You make it a point to only sing to Duncan on the Mackenzie twins’ birthday.

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10. You get alarmed if Ashton isn’t wearing anything with a horse on it.

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11. You majorly judged The Disch for her ratchet soup tupperware. But applaud her hilarious Friday powerpoints.

12. You’ve never felt anything softer than Eric Miller’s buzz cut.

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13. You never know what’s going to come out of Mr. Conner’s mouth.

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14. You’ve played with Sheila’s hair at least three times. This week.

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15. You laughed at Ariel creeping in the back of that last picture.

16. You know every story that Megan Pottle or Jessica Sommerville writes is going to be amazing.

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17. You’re always jealous of Kelly Noriega’s lunch.

18. You enjoy Arnav’s facial expressions.

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19. You look like this after Hell Week.

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20. You always accidentally talk really loud when Emily is making business deals on the phone.

21. You strive to be half as awesome as Gina Deaton.

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22. You laughed so hard at Madison’s facial expression when Matt got her a baguette for Christmas last year.

23. Fifth bell is always the highlight of your day.

Little Fish, Big Pond

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“The phenomenon of relative deprivation applied to education is called–appropriately enough–the “Big Fish – Little Pond Effect.” The more elite an educational institution is, the worse students feel about their own academic abilities. Students who would be at the top of their class at a good school can easily fall to the bottom of a really good school. Students who would feel that they have mastered a subject at a good school can have the feeling that they are falling farther and farther behind in a really good school. And that feeling–as subjective and ridiculous and irrational as it may be–matters. How you feel about your abilities–your academic “self-concept”–in the context of your classroom shapes your willingness to tackle challenges and finish difficult tasks. It’s a crucial element in your motivation and confidence.”

-Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath

As a current Mason High School student, I’m all too familiar with the feeling of being a little fish in a big pond. I’ve actually wondered if I wasn’t challenging myself enough with 5 AP classes because my chemistry lab partner managed to complete 10 in his high school career. I’ve been confused as to how my 4.7 GPA puts me at a class rank just around #70. I’ve felt, on many occasions, inadequate compared to my classmate’s eternal list of achievements.

But when I read the Chapter 2 from David and Goliath, I didn’t feel a connection with the young girl at Brown University who felt like a failure compared to her classmates and gave up her dream of science. Yes, I’ll be the first to admit that being a little fish in a big pond can be major hit to your self confidence, but I don’t think that means you automatically sink to the bottom. In fact, I’m glad I learned this lesson in high school: I am very, very, very rarely the smartest person in the room. But that’s irrelevant. What matters is your reaction to the situation, and you can choose between beating yourself up because you’re not #1, or you can choose to embrace the fact that there’s someone there to push you to be better.

I’ve experienced this in action every day I was a part of Mason cross country. The program is easily one of the largest in the state, and with a 107-girl roster, there’s no shortage of talent. I’ve seen plenty of my teammates get discouraged by not being able to crack the top twenty, but more often, I’ve seen girls take advantage of having teammates to compete with. There’s always someone to beat, someone faster to run with. As an underclassman I happened to befriend some of the faster girls on the team, despite the fact that I was 30th on the depth chart at the start of my sophomore year. My desire to run with my friends pushed me to higher and higher groups instead of being content with the pack I was with. Without my teammates pulling me up, I probably would have been satisfied with the effort I was giving in my first few seasons, never knowing I wasn’t even close to pushing my limits.

What’s more, the ability to thrive in a competitive environment is a vital skill for the world we live in today. The college applicant pool is competitive, graduate school admissions are competitive, the job market is competitive.  Gladwell’s proposed solution of swimming to a smaller pond won’t prepare us for the cutthroat world we’re about to enter, even if it does make us feel good about ourselves.

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t worried about being thrown into the very intimidating pond that is Johns Hopkins. But I find a little comfort in the fact that I’m used to not being the best, that I think I know how to thrive in a big pond. Or maybe I’m just naive. I guess time will tell.

Super Bowl Bound

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January 30, 2015

The Bengals’ championship hopes may have been dashed long ago, but Mason fans have a hometown favorite in this year’s Super Bowl. Josh Kline, a 2008 Mason graduate, will make his first Super Bowl appearance as an offensive lineman for the New England Patriots when they face the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday.

According to Josh’s sister, Kelsie Kline, Josh got his start at Mason as a multisport athlete, competing in both wrestling and football for the Comets.

“Josh has always been an athlete of many sports,” Kelsie said.  “He originally was a star at Mason in wrestling. He was a state champion his senior year. He couldn’t play the last part of his senior year in football because of mono and he was really upset about that.”

Head wrestling coach Craig Murnan coached Josh during his high school career. According to Murnan, Josh’s competitive fire is what drove him to play professionally.

“(Josh) was able to overcome adversity and I think he was a classic example of someone who went through the maturation process of a high school student,” Murnan said. “…He’s a pretty humble guy for the success that he had. I think that’s something that really good athletes and successful people have a way of having a level of confidence but yet carrying themselves in a way that is humble by their actions and words.”

Kelsie said that despite missing part of his high school football career, Josh decided to press on and play college football for Kent State University.

“People were looking at him and KSU fell in his lap and he signed with them,” Kelsie said. “…Then his senior year of college they went to the MAC Championships. They didn’t win but it looked really good for him. The Patriots were looking at him and he was on the draft roster and he got picked up and signed with the Patriots.”

Murnan said Josh thrived in highly competitive environments, which was another key in his athletic success.

“(Josh) thrived better when he was pushed and being surrounded by guys that were better than him,” Murnan said. “And so the result doesn’t surprise me where he’s at right now because I think a lot of it really had to do with the guy next to him on Kent State’s offensive line; the tackle was drafted in the NFL as well. He was drafted in the third round and Josh was an undrafted free agent. He was really the reason why Josh got a lot of looks by scouts because they were really looking at the tackle and they were like, ‘Man, that kid that’s the guard is really good’.”

Like Murnan, Kelsie said she was not surprised at the trajectory of Josh’s career.

“He’s always just been very humble about it and people were just kind of surprised because of that,” Kelsie said. “…So people say ‘Wow, where did this Josh Kline come from?’”

Murnan said that Josh’s success also reflects positively on the Mason community because of how highly Josh speaks of his time as a Comet.

“I think it elevates the status of the school and it’s a chance to give some recognition to all the great athletes that have come out of the school,” Murnan said. “He has a lot of pride in Mason and where he went to school and the community and what the community did for him.”

A New Testament

January 30, 2015

Whether it’s competing on the field or living a few doors down, Mason students have no shortage of interaction with students from private schools such as Ursuline, Moeller, Saint Xavier or Mount Notre Dame. With over 20 Catholic high schools in the greater Cincinnati area alone, it’s common for public school students to wonder what happens when textbooks get traded in for Bibles.

According to Greg Dickman, a religion teacher at Archbishop Elder High School, there’s a common misconception that all religious teachings are insistent upon one interpretation of Christianity.

“I would say a typical stereotype is that religion classes are going to be teaching very dogmatic teachings and that there’s not much room for discussion and open interpretation,” Dickman said. “In my class I try to keep it generally open-ended, there’s more room for dialogue. I’m teaching classes that don’t really emphasize the Catholic doctrine specifically, so they lend themselves to open discussion.”

Elder senior Michael Huschart said that religion classes have a variety of different topics ranging from Old Testament to Catholic Lifestyles.

“The one which I’m enrolled in now (is) called Community Service and we leave Elder every day for 45 minutes and go to local grade school and help with the kids or go to retirement homes,” Huschart said. “I personally have never taken more religion classes than I’ve had to, and you’d be hard pressed to try and find someone who did at Elder because most of the guys who are here have been taking religion classes every year since first grade or beyond.”

Elder junior Alex Mastruserio said he elected to take a course titled Comparative Religions, in which students can get a glimpse of different faiths such as Buddhism, Islam and Judaism.

“I chose this class to learn about other religions and how they relate to Christianity and Catholicism,” Mastruserio said. “It is an extremely open-minded class, we respect all the religions we cover, and draw parallels between their teachings and ours. We even have the choice of observing another religion’s practice, which is how I attended a Buddhist meditation.”

According to Dickman, Comparative Religions is his favorite to teach because it introduces his students to new schools of thought they might not have considered before.

“Most of these guys have gotten anywhere from eight to 11 years of a Catholic education,” Dickman said. “I like that course because I’m introducing them to completely different ideas away from Christian theology. They’re being exposed to different faith perspectives.”

Mastruserio also said he was surprised to learn that some of the Christian teachings are meant to be more symbolic than factual.

“I didn’t expect teachers to actually tell me not to take everything in scripture so literally,” Mastruserio said. “As part of a class I took two years ago we discussed the use of symbolism in Biblical stories such as the creation story. What a lot of fundamentalist Christians don’t understand is that not everything in the Bible is meant to be taken literally. It’s all very different from what someone might expect, no one is trying to convince us that the Earth is 6,000 years old.”

According to Huschart, the atmosphere in a private Catholic school isn’t a world apart from  public schools such as Mason.

“The biggest misconception I feel from public school students is that we are in a religion class every day for five hours and only being taught by strict old priests,” Huschart said. “But the reality is that the only difference between a Catholic high school and a school like Mason is that we go to a religion class and usually pray before our other classes. Other than that we learn the same things, generally act the same way, and participate in sports at the same level. So most of the misconceptions and stereotypes that Elder or St. X receive from public school students are false.”

Mastruserio said his experiences with religious education have taught him more than just Catholic doctrine.

“I think that when some public school students think of religion classes they may picture a bunch of students being lectured on what to think, maybe being told something outrageous like ‘television is evil’,” Mastruserio said. “What I have been able to take away from religion classes is that religion is not a clear-cut defined thing. Most religions, Catholicism included, has a set of beliefs. I’m saying that it is up to the individual to interpret these values in their own ways. I’ve learned to respect other religions, because we don’t have that much all that much between us.”

Frequent Fliers

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November 14, 2014

The third time just wasn’t the charm for the girls soccer team. After two consecutive state final appearances, the bar was set high. The Comets, however, fell just short in the state semifinal round, losing 1-0 to Dublin Coffman. But according to senior Emily Calvani, the closeness of this year’s team made this season one to remember, despite the end result.

“We expected to be good but we tried not to expect anything because we wanted to focus on the moment,” Calvani said. “Our unfinished business was originally aimed toward winning state but I think it kind of changed meaning toward the end of the season. We were always known as the team that fought and had all the drama and I think we finally closed that chapter and became close by the end of the season.”

Head coach Andy Schur said this year’s team seemed to take the pressure from past success in stride as the season continued.

“They compartmentalized things and we all knew it was out there, we weren’t shy to mention it but we didn’t dwell on it,” Schur said. “I don’t think it hindered our play.”

According to senior Jamila Sylvester, the added expectation pushed her team to perform well.

“I think (the pressure) made us want to work even harder, especially all postseason,” Sylvester said. “(State) was our underlying goal. Last year was more of an underdog thing and proving people wrong, and this year was more about proving ourselves right.”

With 14 seniors on this season’s roster, Calvani said there was no shortage of strong personalities on the team, which created problems early on.

“At the beginning, we kind of clashed,” Calvani said. “It was really hard to get everybody to want the same things. But toward the end of the season we had some people step up and take on roles as leaders for the team. Eventually everyone just kind of meshed and it worked well. Toward the end everybody really gained respect for each other that we didn’t initially have.”

Sylvester said that clicking off the field translated into better on-field chemistry for her team, especially during the postseason games.

“When we didn’t have team chemistry, it was obvious,” Sylvester said. “You have to have communication and your teammates have to have your back. When there’s not good team chemistry, you can tell.”

According to Schur, there was a noticeable difference in his team’s togetherness as the season progressed.

“Some of that success on the field lends itself to having some chemistry to start to come together,” Schur said. “We just try to help guide them along the way to help them in understanding what’s important in life and what isn’t. I think once they figured that out, they realized the journey they were on was a lot more fun if they did it together.”

Calvani said that although they reached the majority of their goals, falling short of a trip to the state championship made it hard to appreciate their postseason success.

“I think because we’ve gotten (to state) the past three years, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal to us,” Calvani said. “We kind of took it for granted and we didn’t appreciate that we were in the state semifinals. Our goal was to make it to state and we didn’t do that, so that makes it harder, but as a team we definitely grew closer and built friendships that you can’t replace.”

According to Schur, the girls don’t fully understand the magnitude of their achievements yet.

“I don’t know if they’ll understand what they’ve accomplished until years from now, but I hope they appreciate what they’ve done because I don’t think many teams have been to state final four in three consecutive years,” Schur said. “It’s just really hard to do. I hope eventually they see that they’ve set some records.”

Ice Queen

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October 22, 2014

Figure skating isn’t all just rhinestones and glitter.

According to senior and nationally ranked figure skater Paige Osterwisch, figure skating routines have intricacies that most spectators don’t recognize.

“The judges are evaluating your five elements: spins, twizzles, line sequence, short edge, and long edge,” Osterwisch said. “They look at how difficult (my routine) is and how I perform.”

Junior Akane Ohara said that the key to mastering difficult routines is the repetition of the different jumps.

“People definitely underestimate the difficulty of figure skating,” Ohara said. “They say, ‘Oh, you do all of those tricks and twirls, right?’ But they don’t understand how much work and time goes into that. You start off with basic skills…and go up by level. Basically it’s all practice. (Your coaches) teach you the technique and how to place your body because a lot of it is just physics.”

But physics isn’t always kind, according to Osterwisch.

“There’s a lot of falling involved,” Osterwisch said. “Right now I’m working on my double axle, which is the last double jump before the triple jumps. If you don’t go full out, you’re going to fall. Basically, you just have to go for it. Your coaches will show you how to do it but you’re the one who has to go out there and do it. You can’t do anything halfway in skating.”

According to Ohara, ‘going for it’ is the only way to successfully master a jump.

“(A jump) doesn’t come unless you go for it,” Ohara said. “If you don’t go for it, then you don’t understand what’s right.”

Making the leap had big payoffs for Osterwisch. She placed third at the US Figure Skating National competition in the Solo Dance category.

“The season started back in January,” Osterwisch said. “I did a minimum of three competitions to qualify. You gain points throughout the year. I ranked high enough to make it into the top six in the midwest. The regions are midwest, pacific coast, and east coast, and the top six from each section make it to nationals in Colorado Springs, which is where I placed third.”

Making the Switch

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September 19, 2014

It has been a long time coming for lacrosse coach Paul Limpert.

After 12 years as head coach of the girls lacrosse team at Mason, Limpert has been named the head coach for the boys team, the role he said he has waited for.

“Twelve years ago when lacrosse started as club sport at Mason, I was part of that start,” Limpert said. “Coach Horning and I were supposed to coach the boys together. But I was also club president at that time and I couldn’t find a girls coach, so I switched to the girls. Really, for the next 12 years, I just waited. It’s really been an ambition of mine all along to make that switch and this was the time to make it.”

According to athletic director Scott Stemple, the transition into a new head coaching position is an extensive one.

“(The athletic department) allows a certain amount of time for resumes and letters of interest to come in,” Stemple said. “We go through and review the candidates we receive and make a determination based on where we see our needs. After the review and interview process, Coach Limpert, we felt, was the best candidate after vetting all that. In the final rounds, we involve the superin- tendent, Dr. Kist-Kline, because at the end of the day she has to feel comfortable recommending that person to the school board, who ultimately makes the decision.”

Limpert’s switch to the boys team leaves his old position as girls head coach up for grabs, and Stemple said the application process for the job has already begun.

“The postings for that have just started internally and we’re starting to receive applications,” Stemple said. “My hope would be to have that process completed by October.”

Meanwhile, Limpert said he will turn his attention toward conditioning the boys team, a transition made more difficult by the tactical differences in the game.

“In the girls game, they don’t want any contact whatsoever,” Limpert said. “So men’s lacrosse has totally different tactics, but when it comes down to it the basic skills you need to be successful are being good with your stick. You need to understand how to move the ball.”

According to Limpert, learning the individual strengths of his players is the toughest part of coming into a new team.

“I would like the boys to live up to their potential, whatever that happens to be,” Limpert said. “I don’t know what it is right now, but they’re good. They’re a very good team but I want them to be great.”

 

O-Line to Sideline

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Photo from Bentley Image Bank
Pictured: Paul Barry (#78)

Randy Hubbard’s first steps onto the lacrosse field were on the day he became head coach.

“I played football and basketball and ran track,” Hubbard said. “Mr. Hyatt and Mr. Russell talked me into [coaching lacrosse]. They needed a coach when it became a school sport, but I turned it down for about six months until my wife talked me into it.”

According to Hubbard, he had to spend a lot of time studying up on the sport before he began his new coaching job.

“I did a lot of watching videos,” Hubbard said. “I called a lot of the college coaches in the area and talked to a lot of high school coaches about what [lacrosse] was like and strategies. I finally got smart and hired people who had played it before. They came and helped me and taught me a lot of things.” Continue reading

Fact versus Fiction

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Photo by Madison Krell

Wednesday, February 12 was a day as safe as any other at Mason High School, according to Principal Mindy McCarty-Stewart. But after false rumors of a potential school shooting hit the halls, many students and parents were in a frenzy over school safety.

According to McCarty-Stewart, the administration had indeed received a report from a student the day prior regarding a friend speaking of a school shooting at Mason, but the situation was immediately assessed and taken care of by law enforcement. Continue reading

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