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					                                                  THE ECHO
                                                                                                                                                                                      Issue No. 5
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                                                     Urbana High School / April 2009 / Volume 98

Information on Referendum a Must For Success
by Aubrey Morse

	 For	most	students	at	Urbana	High,	local	elections	seem	un-
worthy	of	acknowledgement,	due	in	part	because	most	of	us	
are	too	young	to	vote	or	because	the	issues	on	the	ballot	do	not	
affect	us	directly.	However,	in	the	upcoming	election,	April	7,	
there	is	one	referendum	that	could	affect	UHS	students	as	well	
as	 the	 community	 at	 large.	 The	 topic	 of	 discussion:	 the	 fate	
of	the	Urbana	Park	District	(UPD)	and	the	outlook	of	public	
pools	in	our	area.	
	 	One	such	pool	that	is	a	major	issue	in	this	discussion	is	
Crystal	Lake,	which	is	in	dire	need	of	repair	or	replacement.	
According	 to	 the	 Farnsworth	 Group,	 a	 member	 of	 the	 U.S.	
Green	 Building	 Council,	 which	 conducted	 a	 “condition	 as-
sessment”	on	the	pool	in	2008,	the	facility	“is	now	27	years	
past	the	last	major	upgrade	to	the	site.	The	bathhouse	was	con-
structed	in	1958	and	the	pool	was	constructed	in	1980.”	The	

report,	which	can	be	found	on	the	Park	District’s	website,	also	
made	it	quite	clear	that	the	pool	itself	has	served	Urbana	resi-
dents	beyond	its	intended	“sustainable	life,	which	is	typically	
20	 years.”	 It	 has	 become	 apparent	 to	 the	 entire	 community	
that,	 “the	 facility	 requires	 substantial	 maintenance	 costs	 an-
nually	 simply	 to	 bring	 the	 facility	 to	 operation	 and	 then	 to	
maintain	its	service	through	each	season.”	Unfortunately,	the	
Park	 District	 does	 not	 have	 the	 sustainable	 funds	 needed	 to	
keep	 the	 doors	 of	 Crystal	 Lake	 open	 another	 year.	 But,	 the	
upcoming	referendum	may	be	able	to	change	this.
	 The	 tax	 referendum	 is	 supposed	 to	 take	 some	 of	 the	 in-        Above, Urbana’s Crystal Lake pool, which is closed until money from district permits the
creased	cost	burden	off	the	shoulders	of	the	UPD.	The	current	            renovation of its facilities.
tax	revenue	is	no	longer	sufficient	for	the	park	district	to	meet	
Urbana’s	needs,	such	as	maintaining	services	for	the	commu-
nity	and	keeping	parks	in	working	order.	In	order	to	keep	the	
                                                                          aquatic	facilities.	The	UPD	has	responsibilities	to	the	public	
                                                                          and	simply	telling	the	public	that	plans	will	be	discussed	does	       Student Wins Plasma TV
UPD	 going	 the	 referendum	 calls	 for	 a	 property	 tax	 increase	
of	15	cents	for	every	$100	of	assessed	property	value.	For	ex-
                                                                          not	seem	to	ease	concerns.	
                                                                          	 All	of	the	concerns	which	adults	are	still	facing	in	regards	
                                                                                                                                                 for Good Attendance
ample,	on	a	home	worth	$100,000	the	property	value,	which	
                                                                          to	the	referendum	seem	to	be	trickling	down	into	the	minds	of	
must	be	paid	to	the	Park	District,	would	now	be	$150	instead	
                                                                          students	here	at	UHS.	This	is	due	in	part	to	the	fact	that	some	       by Meredith Headtke
of	the	usual	$100.	Although	this	is	not	a	very	steep	increase	in	
                                                                          students	who	used	to	work	for	pools	in	our	area	no	longer	have	
the	long	run,	voters	still	see	the	referendum	as	an	issue.                                                                                 	 Sophomore	Alana	Fried	was	recently	the	lucky	winner	of	a	
                                                                          a	 place	 to	 depend	 on	 for	 a	 summer	 job,	 while	 many	 others	
	 Many	voters	do	not	know	exactly	where	their	funds	would	                                                                                 plasma	screen	T.V.		Fried’s	name	was	chosen	randomly	among	
                                                                          no	longer	have	a	place	to	cool	down	during	the	dog-days	of	
be	going	and	the	park	district	has	not	made	this	all	that	clear.	                                                                          students	who	had	a	96	percent	or	higher	attendance	rate	for	
                                                                          summer.	To	sum	it	up,	the	Park	District’s	pinched	pennies	are	
Although	there	is	information	on	the	UPD’s	website	to	help	                                                                                the	month	of	March.	This	means	students	could	miss	one	day	
                                                                          affecting	people	all	around	the	area,	no	matter	what	age.		
ease	some	worries	voters	may	have,	there	still	seems	to	be	plen-                                                                           and	be	eligible	for	the	drawing.
                                                                          	 The	Park	District	has	tried	to	make	information	about	both	
ty	to	question.	For	instance,	the	pool	issue	Urbana	still	faces.	                                                                          This	 is	 the	 second	 year	 that	 Urbana	 High	 School	 has	 done	
                                                                          the	pool	and	referendum	issue	accessible	to	the	public	through	
“The	 referendum	 will	 not	 replace	 Crystal	 Lake	 Pool	 or	 keep	                                                                       this	type	of	incentive	for	attendance.	Last	year	the	school	gave	
                                                                          their	website,,	among	other	media.	Al-
it	open	for	2009,	but	it	will	provide	‘modest	funds’	for	plan-                                                                             away	 a	 car	 for	 good	 attendance	 first	 semester;	 sophomore	
                                                                          though	the	Park	District	is	trying	to	reach	voters,	facts	need	to	
ning	and	concept	work	for	a	replacement	pool,”	said	the	UPD	                                                                               Robin	Robb	was	the	lucky	recipient.	The	car	was	a	donation	
                                                                          be	made	clear.	This	fact	is	all	the	more	important	when	elec-
website.	 This	 idea	 has	 left	 some	 voters	 up	 in	 arms.	Teacher	                                                                      from	Tatman’s	Towing,	but	this	year	though	the	T.V	was	not	
                                                                          tions	are	local.	“Only	a	few	people	could	turn	the	tides	of	the	
Michael	Pollock	believes	that	the	Park	District,	“needs	to	be	                                                                             donated;	the	school	bought	it	with	funds	set	aside	for	incen-
                                                                          vote,”	said	Pollock.	The	tides	of	this	local	election	could	in	fact	
upfront	about	the	facts	[involving	the	referendum]	and	what	it	                                                                            tives	for	numerous	things	throughout	the	school.
                                                                          decide	whether	are	not	we	can	make	waves	of	our	own	in	the	
supports.”	Pollock,	a	long	term	supporter	of	the	Park	District,	                                                                           A	few	years	ago	the	administrators	struggled	with	attendance	
                                                                          summers	to	come.				
believes	that	the	UPD	is	not	addressing	the	needs	of	outdoor	                                                                              rates	going	down	and	came	up	with	solutions	to	hopefully	im-
                                                                                                                                           prove	the	rates.	One	of	these	became	a	prize	giveaway	for	stu-
                                                                                                                                           dents	with	good	attendance.	“It	takes	extraordinary	measures	
                                                                                                                                           and	thinking	outside	of	the	box	in	order	to	address	the	issue	of	
UHS Hosts “Global Fest,” Brings the World to Urbana                                                                                        attendance,”	said	Assistant	Principal	Danielle	Cook,	who	is	in	
                                                                                                                                           charge	of	the	incentive.
by Mandy Facer                                                                                                                             								Last	year,	when	UHS	held	a	drawing	for	the	car	students	
                                                                                                                                           had	to	have	a	96	percent	rate	or	better	for	the	whole	first	se-
	 UHS	is	known	for	being	a	school	that	honors	and	appre- were	spread	out	over	the	school.		There	were	discovery	rooms	 mester.	The	school	had	about	530	students	make	the	rate	last	
ciates	 diversity.	 Students	 from	 all	 over	 the	 world	 with	 many	 with	 games.	 	 A	 school	 did	 Spanish	 Bingo,	 we	 had	 origami	 year,	which	is	about	50	percent	of	our	school’s	population.
different	cultural	backgrounds	come	here	to	gain	an	education	 classes	 and	 one	 room	 taught	 people	 Austrian	 Schuhplattler	
without	losing	their	individuality.		On	March	13	and	14,	UHS	 (Slap	Dance).”		The	festival	gave	students	unique	opportuni-
had	the	opportunity	to	host	Global	Fest,	a	festival	celebrating	 ties	to	interact	and	experience	the	many	cultures	of	the	world	
the	 many	 cultures	 and	 languages	 of	 the	 world	 right	 here	 in	 in	the	comfort	of	one	building.
Urbana.                                                                	 Global	Fest	also	gave	UHS	students	a	chance	to	help	with	
	 High	schools	from	all	over	the	state	made	the	trip	to	rep- the	festival	production.		Senior	Cara	Siegel	was	Global	Fest’s	
resent	different	languages	and	countries.		The	goal	of	the	fes- “Head	 Volunteer.”	 “I	 enjoyed	 being	 in	 such	 a	 great	 leader-
tival	 was	 for	 students	 to	 “immerse”	 themselves	 in	 different	 ship	 position,”	 Siegel	 said.	 Students	 from	 various	 clubs	 and	
cultures	 and	 gain	 better	 understanding	 of	 the	 world	 around	 organizations	also	lent	a	helping	hand	to	help	the	festival	run	
them.	 	 Booths,	 performances	 and	 games	 were	 organized	 by	 smoothly.
each	school	to	give	students	a	fun	and	authentic	taste	of	each	 	 Next	 year,	 Global	 Fest	 will	 move	 to	 Bloomington	 High	
country	or	language	being	represented.                                 School	after	a	12-	year	run	here	at	UHS.		“I	am	very	proud	of	
	 “We	 had	 language	 immersion	 rooms	 that	 represent	 each	 the	fact	that	Urbana	hosted	the	festival	for	so	many	years,	and	
language,”	said	teacher	Greg	Chew,	a	Global	Fest	committee	 appreciate	all	of	the	help	the	teachers	and	committee	members	
member	 who	helped	 organize	the	festival.		 “Arabic,	 Finnish,	 put	into	it,”	Chew	said.
Russian,	German,	Turkish,	Swahili,	Bulgarian	and	Indonesian	
    7 April 2009
                                                                       [NEWS]                                                                                                                   2
What April 7 Means for Champaign County Schools
by Cody Bralts

	 County	residents	may	want	to	pay	close	attention	to	              tax	to	be	applied	to	school-based	referenda.	“Cities	like	            filled	their	50	percent	pledge	…	so	there	is	a	greater	and	
the	outcome	of	the	local	election	next	month.	A	proposed	           Champaign	and	Urbana	got	the	state	legislature	to	pass	               increasing	 responsibility	 for	 paying	 for	 schools	 through	
school	 sales	 tax	 increase	 to	 further	 fund	 school-based		     a	law	allowing	counties	to	increase	sales	tax	not	property	           the	local	taxes.”
projects	        for	         area	         school	       dis-      tax	for	schools,	but	to	allow	a	sales	tax,”	he	said.	                 	 Cumpston	cited	flaws	in	the	federally-mandated	No	
tricts,	 including	 Urbana,	 will	 be	 on	 the	               	     	 That	 one	 cent	 tax	 increase,	 to	 Pollock,	 makes	 the	 fi-      Child	Left	Behind	Act	(NCLB)	as	part	of	the	reason	for	
April	7	Champaign	County	ballot.	Should	the	referen-                nancial	 possibilities	 endless.	 “The	 tradeoff	 for	 this,	 and	    the	recent	strife	the	district	has	faced.	“Our	schools	have	
dum	pass,	it	would	increase	sales	taxes	by	one	percent,	or	         a	way	to	sell	this	to	the	public,	is	that	you	agree	to	put	           also	taken	big	financial	hits	in	the	last	few	years	because	
one	cent	for	every	dollar	spent,	for	all	residents	living	and	      it	on	a	sales	tax	which	affects	everybody	but	is	also	paid	           of	the	requirements	of	NCLB,	which	are	not	backed	up	
spending	money	in	Champaign	County.	Projections	are	                to	 a	 significant	 degree	 outside	 the	 county,”	 he	 said.	 For	   by	any	funding,”	Cumpston	said.	
that	the	tax	would	bring	in	an	additional	3	million	dollars	        example,	those	who	come	to	Champaign-Urbana	for	ball	                 	 That	 view	 seems	 to	 be	 common	 in	 other	 districts	 as	
annually	for	Urbana	Schools.	                                       games,	 who	 visit	 while	 on	 vacation	 or	 when	 they	 come	        well.	Many	educators	have	said	that	the	NCLB	act	has	
	 Proposed	projects	include	installing	energy-efficient	air	        here	to	see	families	…	when	they	buy	stuff	here,	they’re	             underfunded	its	own	projected	goals	by	punishing	schools	
conditioning	systems	and	lighting	and	considering	other	            helping	to	repair	our	schools.”	                                      that	 under-perform	 on	 tests.	 While	 the	 Act	 may	 have	
sources	of	energy	such	as	solar.	Renovations	for	Washing-           	 Urbana	 school	 board	 member	 Cope	 Cumpston,	 a	              	   helped	close	the	achievement	gap,	many	advocacy	groups	
ton	Elementary	School	and	district	libraries	along	with	            supporter	of	the	tax	increase,	said	that	the	passage	of	the	          such	as	The	Forum	on	Educational	Accountability	have	
new	multipurpose	rooms	are	also	included	in	the	proposed	     	     referendum	could	help	the	district	immensely.	“There	is	              noted	that	“since	its	passage,	No	Child	Left	Behind	has	
funding.                                                            no	other	revenue	stream	that	supports	schools	in	this	way;	           been	chronically	underfunded,	shortchanging	the	educa-
                                                                    our	funding	has	been	decreasing	steadily	and	school	facil-            tional	needs	of	our	nation’s	neediest	children.”	
Taxing Differently.                                                 ities	are	deteriorating	all	across	the	country.”	Cumpston	
                                                                    added	that	there	are	a	number	of	factors	that	have	led	to	            Making it a Community Issue.
	 When	people	think	of	school	taxes,	many	think	of	it	              this	 situation.	“Particularly	 in	 Champaign	 County,	 rev-
as	a	euphemism	for	property	taxes.	Property	tax	is	paid	            enue	 formerly	 available	 to	 the	 schools	 has	 been	 drasti-       	 Both	 Cumpston	 and	 Pollock	 also	 agree	 that,	 while	
by	 those	 who	 own	 homes,	 land	 or	 otherwise.	 However,	        cally	cut	by	tax	caps,”	she	said.	“We	desperately	need	the	           many	 citizens	 outside	 the	 district	 would	 be	 paying	 the	
while	property	tax	still	makes	up	the	basis	of	local	school	        money.”	She	cited	other	counties	such	as	Williamson	and	              sales	tax,	their	contribution	would	help	the	community	as	
funding,	the	proposed	referendum	would	be	based	on	lo-              Cass,	which	are	seeing	“dramatic	educational	benefits”	as	            a	whole.	However,	Pollock	says	that	“some	people	look	at	
cal	sales	tax.	Currently,	the	county	sales	tax	stands	at	7.5	       a	result	from	passing	a	similar	sales	tax	increase.                   this	not	as	a	community	responsibility	but	as:	what	am	I	
percent	and	is	added	to	the	cost	of	products	each	person	                                                                                 going	to	get	out	of	this?”	
buys	throughout	the	county.		                                       Is the State to Blame?                                                	 He	 said	 that	 the	 school	 district	 needs	 to	 be	 more	
	 The	 increase	 would	 affect	 everyone	 spending	 money	                                                                                progressive	 in	 getting	 the	 positive	 word	 out	 —	 citing	 a	
in	Champaign	County,	causing	those	not	associated	with	             	 Much	of	the	money	that	makes	public	school	possible	                similar	school	referendum	on	last	November’s	ballot	that	
the	Urbana-Champaign	area	to	be	affected	by	the	increase	           comes	from	the	state.	However,	due	to	recent	state-wide	              failed	by	300	votes.	“I	think	it	failed	primarily	because	the	
as	well.	This	factor	might	hinder	the	Urbana	School	Dis-            budget	 problems,	 along	 with	 stringent	 oversight	 laws,	          school	district	and	the	people	who	supported	it	did	not	
trict’s	 efforts	 to	 pass	 the	 measure,	 according	 to	 Urbana	   many	districts	have	not	been	getting	the	adequate	fund-               do	a	great	job	of	selling	it	to	the	public.”
High	School	social	studies	teacher,	Michael	Pollock.	“It	is	        ing	needed	to	improve	school	programs.                                	 At	best,	both	Pollock	and	Cumpston	hope	citizens	will	
more	difficult	to	pass	that	type	of	referendum	because	it’s	        		 Again,	Pollock	believes	that	a	number	of	factors	have	             look	to	the	benefits	of	the	tax	increase.	As	Pollock	con-
county-wide	not	city	wide,”	he	said.	“You	have	the	entire	          led	to	the	district’s	campaign	to	raise	taxes	for	new	and	            cluded,	“It’s	not	just	for	the	people	who	have	kids	in	the	
Champaign	County	including	rural	folks	who	generally	               continuing	efforts.	“The	problem	with	school	funding	in	              schools.	You	want	quality	education;	you	want	kids	who	
feel	that	the	tax	unfairly	impacts	them.”                           the	state	of	Illinois	is	that	the	state	has	pledged	in	its	own	       are	growing	up	with	the	ability	to	go	out	and	contribute	
	 Pollock	also	said	that	the	benefit	of	having	a	sales	tax	         constitution	that	they	will	pick	up	50	percent	of	the	cost	           to	this	community.	You	have	to	give	them	a	good	public	
rather	than	a	property	tax	is	that	it	brings	in	a	lot	more	         of	 public	 education,”	 he	 said.	 “The	 balance	 of	 the	 cost,	    education	and	that	costs	money.”
money.	The	 concept	 has	 been	 seen	 so	 effective,	 in	 fact,	    the	 other	 50	 percent,	 is	 supposed	 to	 come	 out	 of	 local	
that	 Pollock	 cited	 successful	 efforts	 recently	 by	 Cham-      initiatives.”	But	Pollock	said	that	the	state	has	not	kept	its	 For	more	information	about	the	referendum,	visit
paign	and	Urbana	in	lobbying	the	state	for	allowing	sales	          promise	on	the	funding.	“The	state	of	Illinois	has	not	ful-

Social Justice Committee promotes equality at UHS
by Mandy Facer

	 Have	 you	 ever	 been	 discriminated	 against	             	      happen,”	Lehr	said.                                                   	 “The	 Oakwood	 Exchange	 was	 such	 a	 great	 learning	
because	 of	 your	 race,	 religion,	 ethnic	 back-                  	 So	 far	 this	 year,	 the	 committee	 has	 completed	 many	         experience,”	 said	 committee	 member	 and	 UHS	 sopho-
ground	 or	 sexual	 orientation?	 Do	 you	 see	 others	             projects.		One	of	the	most	recent	accomplishments	was	a	              more	Annie	Valocchi.		“It	was	fun	to	take	a	walk	in	some-
around	 you	 receive	 unfair	 treatment	 because	 of	 the	   	      special	parent	teacher	conference	session	for	Latino	stu-             one	else’s	shoes	and	I	made	so	many	new	friends.”
language	they	speak	or	for	staying	true	to	who	they	are?	     	     dents	and	their	families.		“We	had	translators	who	could	             	 The	 Social	 Justice	 Committee	 meets	 once	 a	 month,	
These	 experiences	 happen	 everyday,	 but	 why	 do	 we	 re-        help	interpret	the	conference	to	both	the	teachers	and	the	           and	 students	 are	 always	 welcome.	 	 “It	 can	 be	 the	 first	
main	silent	about	them?		                                           families.		This	was	a	huge	accomplishment	for	the	com-                meeting	or	the	last,	it	doesn’t	matter,”	Franklin	said.		“We	
	 These	 questions	 are	 addressed	 by	 UHS’	 ground-               mittee,”	said	Angelica	Franklin,	the	Social	Justice	Com-              have	the	chance	to	discuss	topics	that	some	teachers	are	
breaking	 new	 organization,	 the	 Social	 Justice	 Com-            mittee	Chair.		By	breaking	through	the	language	barrier,	             uncomfortable	with	in	the	classroom,	but	it’s	really	cool	
mittee.	 	 The	 group	 is	 determined	 to	 find	 the	 an-           these	students	and	their	families	could	share	their	voices	           because	anything	can	be	said	here;	it’s	always	interesting	
swers	 and	 help	 stop	 unjust	 treatment	 in	 our	          	      with	the	teachers	and	hear	back	from	them.                            conversation.”
society	starting	right	here	at	Urbana	High	School.                  	 Another	 recent	 project	 was	 the	 Oakwood	 High	                  	 By	attending	meetings,	UHS	students	have	the	chance	
	 Dr.	 Laura	 Taylor,	 the	 principal	 of	 UHS,	 started	 the	      School	 student	 exchange	 program.	 	 Student	 mem-                  to	share	their	views	on	how	to	make	Urbana	High	School	
Social	Justice	Committee	last	year.		This	year,	it	has	grown	       bers	 of	 the	 Social	 Justice	 Committee	 had	 the	                  a	better	place	for	everyone.
to	include	a	large	number	of	students,	faculty	members,	            chance	 to	 travel	 to	 Oakwood	 High	 School	 and	         	         	 “Social	Justice	Committee	is	a	place	for	everyone.	It’s	
administrators	and	volunteers	from	around	the	commu-                attend	 school	 for	 a	 day,	 and	 then	 Oakwood	           	         a	microphone	to	help	make	your	voice	heard.	This	is	our	
nity.		Faculty	member	Michael	Lehr	is	an	active	mem-                Students	 came	 to	 UHS	 for	 a	 day.	 	 Seeing	 the	       	         school,	 and	 we	 are	 the	 one’s	 who	 dictate	 it’s	 success,”	
ber	of	the	Social	Justice	Committee.		“I	think	it’s	really	         differences	between	schools	helped	students	gain	a	better	            Valocchi	said.
important	 for	 everyone	 to	 feel	 safe,	 welcome	 and	 val-       perspective	of	the	world	around	them	and	gave	new	ideas	
ued	here	at	school	and	that’s	what	we’re	trying	to	make	     	      about	how	to	make	UHS	a	better	place.	
    7 April 2009
                                               [FEATURES]                                                                                                                                                             3
      Everything you need to know about fashion this season
 by Mandy Facer

 Spring is finally here, fashionistas of UHS! It’s time                                                                                                                 Because of the economy, spending tons of money
 to send your winter wardrobe into hibernation                                                                                                                        on fashion isn’t practical. However, looking good
 and embrace the fresh new trends of the season.                                                                                                                      is still important, especially with all the fun spring
 Pack up the UGGs, shake off the scarves and                                                                                                                          trends to enjoy. Finding an amazing look doesn’t
 clean out your closet to make room for the vibrant                                                                                                                   have to break the bank; it’s all about where you
 attire of springtime. Here to share her opinion on                                                                                                                   shop. This season, do your style and your wallet
 Spring Fashion 2009 is UHS Junior Macy Sanford.                                                                                                                      a favor by searching for bargains-you can still look
                                                                                                                                                                      cute while cutting back. Here’s how:
MANDY FACER: What’s your favorite spring fash-              MF: How can you transform an outfit from day to
                                                                                                                                                                      1. Cut out coupons: The Sunday paper is full
ion trend?                                                  night without changing clothes?
                                                                                                                                                                      of discounts at all your favorite stores in town; tak-
MACY SANFORD: I really like belts-they add extra            MS: Add a vest or nice jacket to make an outfit more
                                                                                                                                                                      ing 10 minutes to snip away can end up saving you
flair to a long shirt or a dress. I’ve seen them on poufy   dressy. Instead of jeans, wear leggings with heels at
                                                                                                                                                                      lots of money come your next trip to the mall. Also,
dresses and long tunics that look really cute.              night.
                                                                                                                                                                      websites like and
                                                                                                                                                                      have printout coupons that you present when you
                                                                                                                                                                      checkout for discounts off your purchase. And next
MF: What’s your least favorite spring fashion               MF: Spring shoe choice: Wedges or Strappy San-
                                                                                                                                                                      time you pick up Seventeen, check out the cutout
trend?                                                      dals?
                                                                                                                                                                      coupons. The magazine often has popular store
MS: Floral prints-I’m really not a flower person.           MS: Wedges because they’re really in for summer
                                                                                                                                                                      discounts for teen readers at retailers such as Amer-
                                                            and spring is the transition into summer fashion. They
                                                                                                                                                                      ican Eagle, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Aéropostle.
                                                            also add “oomph” to a dress or shorts and make your
MF: What color(s) should be in at least one piece           legs look longer.
from everyone’s spring wardrobe?
                                                                                                                                                                      2. Browse second-hand stores: Retailers like
                                                                                                                                                                      Plato’s Closet carry gently worn apparel from name
MS: Pastels and bold colors are both really in right
                                                                                                                                                                      brand stores. You never know what great finds are
now. Mix and matching patterns is also a new trend;         MF: What’s the must-have spring accessory for
                                                                                                                                                                      waiting for you in the racks of thrift stores!
stripes and checkered patterns work well together.          2009?
                                                            MS: Colorful jewelry! Spring is a really happy time,
MF: Which nail polish embraces springtime best?             so you need lots of color.                                                                                3. Sell your old clothes: Plato’s Closet will also
MS: It’s important to keep it simple-light pink goes with                                                                                                             buy your old clothes if they are “in style.” Next time
everything, but it still makes your nails pop.                                                                                                                        you think about tossing your old shirt, take it into
                                                                                                                                                                      Plato’s and see if you can get some cash for getting
                                                                                                                                                                      rid of clothes!

                                                                                                                                                                      4. Start at the back of the store: Instead of
                                                                                                                                                                      browsing the new arrivals, venture to the sales racks
                                                                                                                   All photos from and

                                                                                                                                                                      at the back of the store. You can generally still find
                                                                                                                                                                      nice clothes if you search around, but you don’t have
                                                                                                                                                                      to pay the new-release price. Plus, that adorable
                                                                                                                                                                      dress that just came in will probably be hiding in the
                                                                                                                                                                      back in a few weeks!

                                                                                                                                                                      5. Sign up for your favorite stores’ emails:
                                                                                                                                                                      Most stores send exclusive discounts or freebie
                                                                                                                                                                      coupons to email subscribers. Take the time to give
                                                                                                                                                                      the cashier your email the next time you check out,
                                                                                                                                                                      and you’ll probably never pay full price for anything
                                                                                                                                                                      there again!

 Vocal Chords Required: Not Your Average Choir
by Aubrey Morse

    Chances are you may have heard sweet music              ously, they still had fun in the process. “It was fun to do                                              amazing time. The trip will include college visits to Bel-
playing over our intercom system a few weeks ago,           and it was an interesting experience,” said freshman                                                     mont and Vanderbilt University, a high school music
but why you ask? No, our school did not suddenly real-      Angela Pham. Despite the pressure VCR was under                                                          exchange, and trips to the Grande Ole Opry and the
ize we all just want to have a giant dance party during     to create a CD in such a short amount of time, they                                                      Country Music Hall of Fame.
our passing periods; it was in fact for a good cause.       knew it was worth it, both for their fundraising efforts                                                    The students have worked very hard to get to this
Our school’s a capella group, Vocal Chords Required,        and themselves. “The process leaves us with some-                                                        point. VCR selection is very particular. Open auditions
also known as VCR, was trying to raise money for a          thing tangible from the high school, like we put all our                                                 are held early in the year and are quite rigorous. The
trip to Nashville, which they will go on this weekend.      effort into this one thing and created it. It will be a nice                                             students who make it in to VCR are required to be at
    What students heard over the intercom a few weeks       reminder of the year and high school as a whole,” said                                                   practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays no later than
ago was the hard work and time VCR put into a CD            senior Terrel Young.                                                                                     7:00 in the morning. The students are, however, al-
that was a complete collaborative effort. The VCR              VCR has been fundraising all year for the trip, from                                                  lowed three absences. But if they arrive at 7:01, they
group recorded in one night, and tried to make it the       selling Fannie May candy bars to facing the frigid                                                       are docked one absence. So, although the expecta-
best recording possible. “The kids took it seriously;       temps of winter and caroling around town. Collectively,                                                  tions are high, the students strive to reach them. This
they tried to sing their best because it was going to be    through their fundraising efforts, the students raised                                                   is above all what makes Vocal Chords Required tick,
recorded.” said choir teacher and VCR director Mrs.         $8,500. And their efforts have truly paid off. This com-                                                 and fuels their striving spirits.
Franklin, “I was very proud of them.”                       ing weekend, the group will travel down to Nashville,
    Although all the students took the occasion seri-       Tennessee to learn new things and hopefully have an
    7 April 2009
                                               [FEATURES]                                                                                                             4
      College Bound
ACT: What to Do
                                                                                       Preparing for the ACT: Study Tips
and What to Expect
on Test Day                                                                             by Cody Bralts

                                                                                        The ACT is one of the most important tasks you will complete during your junior
by Brian Lee                                                                            year, especially if you are planning on going to college. While we know it is im-
                                                                                        possible to provide an exact right way for you to take the test, here are some
For most juniors, test day                                                              tips to make the whole experience a little less stressful.
is one of the most stressful
days of the year. Here we
have a list of a few basic
tips for that dreaded day to
                                                                                        •Don’t study the day before the test. Studying until the wee hours of the morn-
                                                                                        ing of the test will not help you by any means. Instead, start studying now. And
keep you on track. Remem-
                                                                                        on the night before, go see a movie, eat out, or just relax.
ber: you can always take
the test again if you feel you
did not do your best! Good
                                                                                        •Read for at least an hour a day — not including school work. Yes, that means
                                                                                        picking up an actual book or newspaper and reading it! This will help on all parts
                                                                                        of the test because reading faster and comprehending the text in the ACT better
>>Follow the rules–do not                                                               will save you time and improve your score.
pick up your pencil or eras-
er after they call “hands off
                                                                                        •While taking the test, relax! Doing badly on it will not determine your success
                                                                                        in life. But my all means do your best, as your score will be a determining factor
from the desk” because they
could take your test away.                                                              of being accepted to a college or not.

>>There is no penalty on
                                                                                        •Don’t be depressed about your practice score. Scores will not increase easily
                                                                                        but practicing will give you endurance for the actual test.
guessing so filling in all
answers increases your
chances of getting a high
                                                                                                              ACT: Study Books
>>Use your time wisely by solving easy problems first,       by Cody Bralts                                             Cracking the ACT, 2009 Edition, published by
especially during the math and science portions. Don’t                                                                  the Princeton Review.
spend too much time on one question, move on to the          The ACT For Dummies (Paperback)
next if you are stuck.                                                                                                  This study guide has been the
                                                                                   While the title might say it’s for   goto for many test-takers recent-
                                                                                   dummies, it simply is not the        ly. The guide is published by the
>>Think carefully and be accurate on all sections of                               case. Currently rated a 4.5/5,       Princeton Review, which was
the test. Making silly mistakes in math calculations                               the highest in satisfaction on       founded by a Princeton alumna.
could really hurt you.                                                   , The ACT For Dum-         The Princeton Review is pretty
                                                                                   mies provides useful information     reliable and has been the stan-
                                                                                   that will make the test much less    dard for many educators and
>>During the reading section of the test, most English                             intimidating. Rather than trying     students alike. The publisher
teachers advise reading the passage carefully while                                to relearn the basics of English,    also puts out SAT and AP study
noting important things in the text before answering                               Reading, Math, and Science, The      guides. While the study guide
questions. If you read the questions before you read         ACT for Dummies instead focuses more on tips, tricks,      is reliable and provides a wealth of knowledge and
the passage, you are more succeptable to getting con-        and knowing when the test is trying to “trap you.” One     strategies for the test, reviewers give it a
fused.                                                       featured reviewer on says, “my score            3.5/5. Some people in the Amazon reviews have noted
                                                             went from a 22 to a 26, and then to a 29. Some of that     difficulty with reading and science, so if you are weak
                                                             has to be due to this book.”                               in those areas, you might want to look over a different
>>Try your hardest to calm your nerves before and                                                                       book. The guide provides two practice tests.
during the test. While some pressure will help you           384 pages, retails for $16.99. Found wherever books
perform better, being extremely nervous will distract        are sold.                                                  640 pages, retails for $19.95. Found wherever books
you from focusing on the test.                                                                                          are sold.

>>Teachers and experts alike all agree that it is cru-       The Real ACT Prep Guide:
cial to your performance to eat a good breakfast on          The Only Official Prep Guide
test day. ‘Good’ does not mean coco puffs and choco-         From The Makers Of The ACT
late milk--try for something with more protein. Bringing                                                                            reviewer points out the similarities be-
some snacks for the break times will also help your                                                                                 tween the three provided practice tests in
focus.                                                       The title pretty much says it all. It is, in fact,                     the guide and the actual test: “The three
                                                             the only ACT-approved study guide. This                                practice tests are exactly the same as you
                                                             might be your best bet if you are looking for                          would see them during test day.” So if you
>>Make sure you are ready the night before your test         a guide that most reflects the actual ACT.                             don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised
with good pencils and erasers and a calculator that          This is also perhaps the most well-rounded                             come test day, you should probably put
works. if you are rushing around in the morning to find      of the three study guides. Says a reviewer                             this book at the top of your list.
things, you will become more stressed. Also, getting         on Amazon: “This is the only ACT prep book
to the test center well before your test starts will allow   that contains 3 actual, retired ACT tests, and                         623 pages, retails for $24.95. Found wher-
time for the restroom and to get yourself situated and       hence it is the best book available.” Another                          ever books
comfortable during the test.
   7 April 2009
                                                [FEATURES]                                                                                                  5

 College Bound
College Picks:                                                     College Applications:
                                                                                      Essay Writing Tips
Top 3 Rankings                                   by Judy Gaylen
Found at
                                                 Arguably one of the most important parts to a college application is the essays, or personal statements. Ad-
Engineering                                      missions officers read tons and tons of essays every year so we have talked to various English teachers and
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA     conselors at Urbana High to compile a list of a few key tips and helpful hints to keep in mind during the ap-
2. Stanford University, CA                       plication process.
3. University of California at Berkeley, CA
                                                 1. Be original, show personality, and be unique-- When you are writing, keep in mind that those read-
                                                 ing your essay will be looking for something to remember your essay by. Make that task easier by writing about
Business                                         your thoughts and ideas that will impress admissions officers.
1. University of Pennsylvania, PA
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA     2. Plan your essay-- If you brainstorm ahead, your essay will show clear signs of organization. Outlines and
3. University of California at Berkeley, CA      lists will also help you start writing if you are completely stuck.

                                                 3. Ask for help-- Asking teachers, friends and parents to read your essay will only help you in the long run.
Fine Arts (graduate school)                      A fresh opinion on the subject will help you write and revise more clearly. As they always say, two minds are
1. Rhode Island School of Design, RI             better than one!
2. Yale University, CT
3. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL    4. Plan ahead-- Don’t wait until the last minute or after you’ve finished the entire application to start your es-
                                                 say. If you begin the process with the essay, you will have more time to go over it, make changes and produce
                                                 the best final draft you are cabable of.
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA     5. Take a break-- After you have a rough draft that is complete, stop working on it for a couple days. This will
2. University of Chicago, IL                     allow you to come back with fresh peace of mind and a different perspective. A lot of times, something that you
3. Harvard University, MA                        might have been stuck on will work itself out in your head while you are not thinking about it.

                                                 6. PROOFREAD-- Carefully spell check and grammar check. By having silly spelling errors, you are show-
                                                 ing admissions officers that you either do not care enough to make your application perfect or that you are not
1. Harvard University, MA
                                                 ready for college. Don’t forget this step!
2, University of California at Berkeley, CA
3. Yale University, CT

Political Science
1. Harvard University, MA
                                                                    Road Map to College
2. Stanford University, CA                                            Important steps to get you there
3. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, MI

History                                          by Judy Gaylen
1. Yale University, CT
2. Princeton University, NJ
3. University of California at Berkeley, CA      If you are a junior (or even a sophomore) wanting to go to college, it is important that you start exploring
                                                 your options as soon as possible. Here, we’ve made it easy for you to start the daunting process with a few
                                                 important steps.
Biological sciences
1. Stanford University, CA                       >> Narrow down your choices-- With hundreds of colleges in the United States, you should start to
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA     think about maybe seven or eight (at the most) top choices. There are many things to consider when picking
3. University of California at Berkeley, CA      these top few; If you want to stay in Illinois or go out of state, if you want a big university or a small, private
                                                 one, if you want to be somewhere warm all the time or if you want to go to a specialty school such as an art
Chemistry                                        school.
1. California Institute of Technology, CA
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA     >>Take the right classes in high school-- If you do in fact plan on going to college, have a meeting
3. Stanford University, CA                       with your counselor to make sure you are taking the right college prep classes. Colleges also love students
                                                 who challenge themselves, so consider AP Prep classes in creating your schedule.

Computer Science                                 >>Take the ACT and/or SAT-- The majority of colleges will ask you for your ACT or SAT score so it is
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA     important that you take these tests very seriously. Taking the tests multiple times may help you improve your
2. Stanford University, CA                       score, but multiple tests is not always necessary.
3. University of California at Berkeley, CA
                                                 >>Plan college visits--Once you have narrowed down your options, you may want to do even more
Mathematics                                      research by visiting campuses. A very important step in choosing the right college is see whether or not you
1. Princeton University                          could feel right there. One walk through the campus could help you make up your mind instantly.
2. Harvard University, MA
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA     >>Apply--The application process can take up to a year. Starting your apps the summer before your
                                                 senior year is probably a smart idea, but applications can also take as little is one afternoon to fill out.
                                                 Applications do cost money so try and narrow down your list to 4 or 5 so you aren’t spending a lot of
                                                 unecessary money.
    7 April 2009
                                                            [OPINIONS]                                                                                                          6
                     Books                                                                                      Music
The Host

by Heather Gernenz

	 Imagine	 our	 world	 invaded	 by	 an	 unseen	 enemy	 that	
humans	become	hosts	to.	These	parasitic	aliens	are	called	                         Need some good music suggestions? Ever wonder what your classmates are
souls;	they	are	very	gentle	 beings,	essentially	nonviolent	
                                                                                   listening to on their iPods? We’ve polled the yearbook staff, our staff and
and	concerned	with	the	greater	good,	with	the	exception	
being,	of	course,	that	they	invade	other	planets	and	take	                         some random students to find out what five songs they currently listen to.
over	the	species	who	live	there.	At	first	everything	appears	                      Happy listening!!
the	same,	but	in	fact,	one	by	one	humans’	minds	have	been	
taken	over	and	their	consciousness	erased	by	the	souls.
	 This	is	the	horrifying	picture	Stephenie	Meyer’s	stun-
ning	 new	 novel,	 The Host	 paints.	 Just	 as	 she	 has	 created	
a	series	for	people	who	don’t	read	books	about	vampires	                  Playlist Name: Yearbook Staff Picks   Playlist Name: Echo Staff Picks      Playlist Name: Judy Gaylen, Editor
with	Twilight,	Meyer	has	done	it	again,	this	time	produc-
ing	a	book	for	people	who	don’t	read	books	about	aliens.	                 Song	 	           Artist              Song	 	           Artist             Song	 	           Artist
The Host	is	set	in	enough	of	a	realistic	setting	that	even	               Addicted	--	Enrique	Iglesias          I	Hate	This	Part	--	PCD              Everybody	Nose	rmx	--	N.E.R.D
those	who	aren’t	sci-fi	or	fantasy	fans	will	enjoy	this	sto-              Tied	Down	--	Colbie	Caillat           Don’t	Trust	Me	--	3O3                The	Glory	--	Kanye	West
ry.                                                                       Hustler	Musik	--	Lil’	Wayne           You	Found	Me	--	The	Fray             Baby	--	The	Roots
	 When	the	soul	called	Wanderer	comes	to	earth,	she	ex-                   I	Like	The	Way	She	Do	It	--	G-Unit    I’m	Good,	I’m	Gone	--	Lykke	Li       Free	Chilly	--	Lupe	Fiasco
pects	it	to	be	the	routine	procedure	of	insertion.	However,	              Cinderella	--	The	Cheetah	Girls       Warning	--	Notorious	B.I.G.          Halo	--	Beyoncé
when	she	comes	to	after	the	last	jarring	memory,	she	finds	
that	the	captured	human	whose	body	she	has	taken	over,	

Melanie	Stryder,	refuses	to	fade	away.
	 Wanderer	is	not	content	with	the	Pleasantville	life	the	
souls	 create,	 possibly	 due	 to	 the	 fact	 that	 she	 still	 has	 a	       Playlist Name: Alana Fried, So.                          Playlist Name: Denzil Clemons, Jr.
human	 shouting	 in	 her	 head.	 Melanie’s	 former	 life	 and	
loves	 are	 not	 an	 easy	 thing	 to	 suppress,	 and	 Wanderer	
soon	 finds	 herself	 pining	 after	 the	 man	 and	 young	 boy	               Song	 	        Artist                                    Song	 	        Artist
that	Melanie	had	to	leave	behind.	Stalked	by	a	seeker	(the	                   1001	Nights	--	DJ	Chipz			                               Stanky	Legg	--	GSpotBoyz
closest	thing	that	the	souls	have	to	a	police	force)	who	is	                  Play	Your	Part	(pt	1)	--	Girl	Talk                       Gossip	--	Lil	Wayne
determined	to	find	out	from	Melanie’s	memories	where	                         Penny	Lane	--	The	Beatles                                Wifey	Type	--	V.I.C.
the	last	of	the	human	resistance	hides,	Wanderer	escapes	                                                                              Me	and	My	Goons	--	Plies		
to	the	desert	to	search	for	the	man	that	she	and	Melanie	
                                                                              Caribou	Lou	--	Tech	N9ne
both	love.	                                                                   In	the	Ayer	--	Flo-Rida                                  Put	it	Down	--	T.I.
	 If	you	are	looking	for	an	action	packed,	fast	pace	read	
then	you	might	as	well	pass	this	book	by.	This	intricately	
woven	 story	 moves	 slower	 with	 a	 complicated	 plotline	
and	questions	that	take	time	to	be	answered.	Don’t	let	the	

slow	 pace	 discourage	 though;	 things	 like	 a	 complicated	
love	triangle,	fight	or	flight	decisions	and	the	pondering	
of	what	it	really	means	to	be	human	will	be	plenty	to	keep	
you	entertained	and	have	you	wishing	that	it	would	never	

“If you had $1 million, what is the first thing you would buy, and why?”
                                                                                                                                   “I would buy a real
                                   “The first thing I                                                                              flash outfit ‘cause
                                   would buy is an Eco-

                                                                                                                                   I’m the fastest man
                                   Friendly house!”                                                                                alive.”

                                   Mr. Sly, Science                                                                                Troy Smith, Sr.

                                                                                                                                     “I would buy an
                                   “A unicorn because                                                                                island so I would
                                   then I would be the                                                                               always have
                                   only person with                                                                                  somewhere to go.”
                                                                                                                                     Andrew Kang, Sr.

                                   Rayana Hascall, Fr.

                                                                                                                                                                “We would buy a
                                                                                                                                                                farm full of horses
“I would pay Lil
                                                                                                                                                                and salamanders
Wayne to be my
                                                                                                                                                                because they look
height man because
he’s a monster!”
                                                                                                                                                                Marissa Marrone
Jad Terrell, Jr.                                                                                                                                                & Lizzy Harden,

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