Is Cheer a Sport? Don’t get me started . . .

By Maggie Young

Sitting in yearbook class, I hear the editor ask whether or not cheerleading goes into the sport section or the organization section.  Obviously, it is a sport and as a cheerleader, I should know.

Once again, I am forced to justify to my peers that I am an athlete which then leads me to asking my advisor for this writing assignment.  Instead of getting angry, let me simply show you the evidence.

In a December 2016 article, Seventeen Magazine reported that the International Olympic Committee  voted to recognize cheerleading as a sport.

“The IOC’s recognition means that cheerleading’s governing body, the International Cheer Union, will receive at least $25,000 every year and have the opportunity to apply for additional grants. This period of recognition lasts for three years, and at any point during this time, IOC execs can vote to fully recognize the sport. At that point, the ICU can petition to be included in the Games.”

If cheer can be an Olympic event, it must be a sport right?

According to, The Women’s Sports Foundation has said a sport must have these  components:

“It must be a physical activity which involves propelling a mass through space or overcoming the resistance of mass. Stunting… check! Competing against/with an opponent is required. Competition… check!  It must be governed by rules that explicitly define the time, space, and purpose of the contest and the conditions under which a winner is declared.”

Whether the topic of discussion is competitive cheer or sideline, both fall under the definition of a sport. In competitive cheer, depending on the skill level, you could travel across the world to compete. As for side line, you get to reach a different type of satisfaction being able to cheer on your team and entertain the crowd at the same time.

Just like all athletics, Cheerleaders commit their time into what they do. For example, Thurston cheerleaders practice throughout the summer and throughout the year to reach their desired performance. If the time schedule is not enough, we find ourselves consuming more unplanned hours of the day to accomplish our goal.

Senior football player Dorsey Woolridge said, “Our cheerleaders never go unnoticed, they get the crowd pumped which is what gets our adrenaline going.”

Whether it is coming up with a play or coming up with a halftime performance, both require creativity. We spent hours trying to find the right songs and choreography that correlate perfectly with each other. Trying to fix bodies to create the same appearance takes time and most importantly, patience. Although it can get overwhelming and stressful, at the end of the day we are able to come together like all teams and provide the support and encouragement needed to keep going.  

Most people are only able to judge what they see and are not able to realize what is behind the scenes. In the midst of our practices, we condition. We spend time to gain whatever strength we need to jump high and stunt to our full potential. Many just see us make the task look easy, but all in all, it was a building experience that came along with lots of nosebleeds, sprained ankles, and most importantly comebacks to get to where we are now.

So next time, I hear someone ask about cheerleading as a sport, I am just going to refer them to this article.  

Maggie Young, Varsity Cheerleader, drops the mic or shall I say pom pom?

unnamed-1 unnamed

Just Keep Swimming

just-keep-swimmingimg_0198By Jasmine Quates

Whenever Dory faces adversity, she tells her friends in “Finding Nemo” to “Just Keep Swimming.”  Sadly, what does one do if they simply do not know how to swim?

In a 2014 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they found that  “An average of 10 people in the U.S. die from drowning each day.”

The study also showed that those who claim to know how to swim may not be as good as a swimmer as they think they are.

The American Red Cross also explained that “Only 56 percent of Americans can perform the five core swimming skills.”

These core swimming skills include the ability to: “step or jump into the water over your head; return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute; turn around in a full circle and find an exit; swim 25 yards to the exit; and exit from the water. If in a pool, you must be able to exit without using the ladder.”

Furthermore, the Red Cross survey found that only 33 percent of African Americans reported that they can perform all five basic swimming skills compared to 51 percent of whites.

Michigan is surrounded by the great lakes and the U.S is surrounded by four oceans. Water safety is very important especially for children.

Many people think if they don’t go around water then they have nothing to worry about if they don’t know how to swim. However, many people still choose to go on boat rides and spend the day at the beach. What if that boat crashes or tips over?

“Boating accident statistics show that drowning is the single biggest cause of death in recreational boating accidents, accounting for more than 70% of boating deaths” (

  Many people don’t choose to wear lifejackets because they feel they don’t need to and it’s uncomfortable, but wearing a life jacket in a boat is just as important as wearing a seatbelt in a car. If you don’t know how to swim and you’re not wearing a life jacket when that boat crashes or you fall out, the result could be fatal.  Even if you are wearing a life jacket when you fall into the water,  you’re still not always safe.  If life jackets aren’t secured or properly put on, there is no point in even wearing one.

   “The victim has a life jacket on but not secured; the victim falls into the water; the victim’s body goes under the water while the jacket remains on the surface, and the jacket immediately slips off or separates from the victim” (  

When going to the beach, most adults are much safer than children because they have common sense. Children on the other hand don’t know right from wrong yet and the minute you turn your head and your child runs into the water then the fault is on you.

“Drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children aged 1–4 years” (

Once you become a swimmer, the positive results are many with physical therapy being a huge bonus.

Swimming is a helpful exercise for people with arthritis and joint replacements because it is light on the joints.

“With swimming, your joints are supported by the water, easing arthritis pain. For people with the most severe arthritis in their hip or knee, swimming can be done with a pull-buoy to give you a good cardiovascular workout without placing any burden on your hip or knees” (  

I have been a swim teacher for two years and last year I had a little girl who joined swim lessons to help with physical therapy. She was paralyzed on her left side and all of her toes were amputated. The doctor told her she would be unable to move her left side permanently. After one year of swim lessons, she is now able to use both arms for freestyle and she can slowly move her left leg while flutter kicking.

For some, learning to swim is hindered by a fear of the water.

Senior Brionna Strozier did not know how to swim when she first started Aquatics class at Thurston this school year.

“When I first started the class, I tried to hide in the locker room, but Ms. Donokowski found me and coaxed me into the pool.  We started slowly with some bubble blowing.  For three weeks, I just tried to learn how to float but it was difficult because of my trust issues.  Backstroke was the easiest way for me to actually start swimming.  By thirteen weeks, I felt confident in the deep end.  I had to pass a test on core swimming skills before that could even happen.  Now, I love the water and have a motivation to learn advanced aquatics and possibly lifeguarding.”

It is never too late to learn how to swim.

Choose Gratitude


By Shelby Coats and Abbigale Krull

The other day I was super jealous of my friends and how they can be carefree, have boyfriends, and just be teenagers. Since having cancer, I’ve had to be careful about everything and sometimes it, in teenage words, sucks. Sometimes I just want to be a normal teenage girl without cancer and without all the constant worries I have.

That thought is quite ungrateful because I should always remember that I’m grateful to be alive and that I shouldn’t take that for granted, especially because many people are not as lucky as I am.

On October 13, 2015, my life changed in the most dramatic way I could imagine.  The world as I knew it was over and in that moment, I knew my life would never be the same.  On the 13th, I was diagnosed with cancer; Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia to be exact.  When the doctor came in and told me, I literally could not breathe.  It’s a crazy feeling when you feel as if you know how your life is going to go, but then life says, “Nope, you are wrong.”  

Once diagnosed, I was immediately put into treatment.  I was taken out of school and started homeschooling which seems easy, but is not when you miss seeing your friends everyday.  I felt like my life was on pause while everyone else was still living their lives.  

Throughout my treatment, I did meet many amazing nurses and doctors who helped me with the transition.  During the first phase induction, I developed a blood clot which meant I would have to give myself a shot twice a day.  I was heartbroken because it hurt and I bruised myself often.  It was my mom who was my rock through everything.  She helped me with the shots, kept up on all of my medications, and always made sure I was eating and drinking enough.  

The second phase was more excruciating and I ended up in the hospital for a big bulk of the stage.  During my stay, I had a fever of 105 degrees and was absolutely miserable.  Making things worse, I had to get a walker when I developed lag foot.

At the beginning of the third phase, I lost about 40 pounds since being diagnosed and my next “accessory” was a feeding tube that went through my nose, down my throat, and into my stomach.  Who would have believed that its existence actually started to make things look up.  I was getting stronger and my legs were even getting better through physical therapy.  My hair even started to grow back!  I was thrilled.  All of the good that happened in Phase 3 though, made Phase 4 so much harder.

It was my junior year and in Phase 4, I was getting weak and once again, I was losing my hair.  Thankfully, I was able to attend prom with my best friend Abby who was another constant ray of sunshine in my life.  She makes me see the light at the end of the tunnel when I am focusing on the darkness.

I have finally made it to maintenance which is so much easier.  I clearly had a challenging year and it will be with me forever, but it did make me stronger.  It made me a fighter.  Though my fight isn’t over, I know I’ll be a survivor.  I also made a resolution for 2017 to practice gratitude.    

In life, there are many things I am grateful for:  For starters,  I’m grateful for my mom; she is my rock. Without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today.   One day, I hope I can be half the mom she is to my children.

Another member of my family I am grateful to have in my life  is my puppy, Gidget. She is my world. When I look at her, my heart completely melts!  When I was still recovering from chemo, I got her, and she completely changed my life.

While still on the subject of family members,  I am so grateful to my grandma.  She made it possible for my brother and me to have a childhood full of love and happiness. We’ve all lived together for about 12 years and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

The next family member I’m so grateful for is my brother, Shane. He might be a huge pain sometimes but he is one of my best friends and I know he always has my back 100%.

The last family member I’m going to mention,  even though I could go through my whole family pointing out how amazing they all are,  is my aunt Claudette. She is another one of my best friends.

     Finally, there is my best friend, Abby. Where to start? She is my best friend in the entire world. We have been friends since 7th grade, and I know we’ll be friends until we’re old and gray. She has been by my side through the best and worst times of my life. She loves me for who I am.

     I am thankful for Girl Scouts which I have been apart of since the age of 6.  It has brought so many experiences and friends that I will be grateful for for the rest of my life.  

Another club I am grateful for is drama club. It was a place I was able to be myself and step out of my comfort zone. I found that I love acting and I found that I shared that love with a lot of other people. Those people became such close friends and people I could count on to not judge me and let me be me.

I am thankful for the  most amazing nurses. They were a light through all the darkness I was in. When I was in the hospital, which happened a lot throughout the past year,  they did their best to make me feel as at home and as happy as possible. I’m truly grateful for them because they truly made my life so much easier.

The last person I’m grateful for is Mr. Madigan who was my homebound teacher last year and someone I truly know I can count on. He volunteered to be my homebound teacher when he didn’t have to and I couldn’t be more grateful. He is one of the main reasons I will be able to graduate on time and with my class, which means the world to me.

To all of you.  Thanks!  Shelby 🙂


All the King’s Horses and All the King’s Men

By Darron Crump and Brianna Strozier

Would not be needed if Thurston’s Freshmen Physics students built a safe egg container for Humpty Dumpty.

Last April, the University of Chicago’s Department of Psychology’s Professor Sian Beilock conducted a study to see if learning by doing helped student progress in science class.

The findings proved that students should be physically involved in the learning process.

“In many situations, when we allow our bodies to become part of the learning process, we understand better,” Beilock said. “Reading about a concept in a textbook or even seeing a demonstration in class is not the same as physically experiencing what you are learning about. We need to rethink how we are teaching math and science because our actions matter for how and what we learn.”

At Thurston High School, 9th grade physics teacher, Mrs. Danielle Aguilar wanted a way to show progress in her class without a traditional test or quiz.  Instead, she gave a project that read, “This marking period, we have focused our efforts on learning about gravity, momentum, and the velocities of falling objects.  There has been a lot of math involved, and you have done wonderfully! Now, it’s time to put that math to use in an EGGciting project!! “

Mrs. Aguilar then introduced the project.

“Have you ever dropped an egg?  Even it you haven’t, it’s easy to guess what happens.  The egg almost always breaks when it hits the hard floor.  But what would happen if you dropped the egg onto a large pillow?  What would happen if the egg had a parachute?

  • You will build a container for your egg that will survive being dropped from 5 feet (or more) above the ground.
  • You will be able to use the following materials ONLY:
    • 1 piece of cardboard
    • 12 inches of yarn
    • 1 drinking straw
    • Up to 5 sheets of computer paper
    • 3 full sheets of paper towel
    • 2 feet (24”) of masking tape
    • Other materials may be considered”

All ninth graders participated in the competition with groups of 3 -4 people.  Aguilar was pleased with the results.

“ Many students know and understand information but struggle when demonstrating their knowledge on tests.  A hands-on project allows for me to assess student learning in a different way. All students receive a test and a project grade for each unit in order to show a complete picture of their learning.  This project went exceptionally well this year.  Students were focused and worked well in their groups. They came up with a lot of creative, successful ideas!,” said Aguilar.

The most effective and successful designs had a cardboard box with padding (cotton balls, tissue, paper towels, etc) and a parachute. The most creative design involved origami cubes and balloons.

Teens love their technology but does it have Its Consequences?

focusBy Dorian Bauman and De’Nair Adams 

By the 1940’s, most Americans had a telephone in their home, but for some, concerns about phones making people rude were huge.  When inviting someone to a party, it was etiquette to send a written invite.  With a phone, people found it easier to just call.  Answering the phone properly was even up for scrutiny.  In fact, no one should have answered the phone with a simple ‘hello’, but instead it was important to many that one introduced themselves when first speaking.

A lot of things in the world have changed since then.  If calling someone for an invite was rude in the 1940’s, we wonder what they would have thought of app’s like e-vite.  Sadly, technology has made some people more rude, disrespectful and even careless.

”It seems our society may have lost its way especially when it comes to our phones,” said an article named Our Favorite Devices Could Be Making Us Rude in the September edition of Scholastic Scope.
Reporters Lauren Tarshis and Kristin Lewis discussed how technology is affecting today’s society. Most teens get too wrapped up in their phones instead of thinking about what’s happening in the real world.
A lot of teens end up hurt because of this.
“In 2014, more than 2,500 pedestrians ended up in the emergency room as a result of using their phones”  while walking.
Junior Micah Robison has encountered careless texting.

“When I was backing out of my parking spot at school, one of my classmates blindly walked behind my car without looking because he was too deep into whatever was on his phone.  Luckily, I am an alert driver,” said Robison.

A lot of teens don’t realize the consequences of carelessly using their phone.
Another consequence is that teens with technology are often just plain rude.
Ever go out to dinner with someone and they are buried in that phone?  Or you try to talk to someone and they cannot hear you over their beats?
Senior Darryis King can relate.  In fact, his girlfriend may often be on her phone when he wants to spend quality time with her.
“Babe, please just get off the phone.  We are together now.  We are important not that group chat,” King embarrassingly shared.

His girlfriend said, “I disagree.  I am not even on my phone like that and my phone was even broken for a week.”

Even while at the Movies, you can‘t escape the use of technology because people like to snap a quick selfie or even hold full cell phone conversations while others try to listen to the movie.
Junior De’Nair Adams knows exactly how upsetting that can be. He recalls going out to see a movie with his friends and having two rude boys sit next to him using their phones.

“I remember me and my friends went out to go see The Maze Runner and two kids sat next to us using their phones the entire time. Even going as far as to use their flashlight while we watched the movie which was extremely annoying and distracting,” Adams said remembering the memory.

No matter what your favorite device may be, make sure you are not being careless or downright rude in its use.

“I do not always listen to my beats when people are talking, in fact I sometimes turn them really low so I can overhear them talking when they think I cannot hear them,” confided Senior Malik Hill.

THS Says No to Bullying

Thurston High School Takes the Not in Our School Pledge

By Darron Crump and Brianna Strozier

Doc loves to boost his ego by bullying others, but one day he went too far when he went after Snow White asking her if she got her clothes from the “loser store.”  Some dwarfs laughed, one quickly posted the story on snap chat, and one bystander dwarf just wanted it to all go away.  Two dwarfs took a different approach though.  The upstanders stood up to the bully by letting him know that this was not okay in their school.

During their first official meeting of the 2016-2017 school year, NIOS (Not In Our School) had student and adult committee members role play the above scene.  The roles were quickly evident and could be part of any high school bullying scene at any school in the world.

Ms. Kim Jackson, Thurston High School Social Worker, is the head chairperson of Thurston’s NIOS.

“I wanted to influence our student community at Thurston to be accepting of differences. I thought it would be nice for students to make a group change to the student culture. It takes a lot of planning and I have lots of staff members helping out with everything, but I also want to make the program sustainable for the student body to be able to run it as well,” said Jackson.

During jumpstart, students pick up their schedules, get id pics, and complete other tasks before the start of a new school year.  At one of the stations, students were asked to take the pledge.

“I make a COMMITMENT to take a stand against bullying. I will treat others with RESPECT and KINDNESS. I will have the COURAGE to not be a bystander. It is my RESPONSIBILITY to show COMPASSION and TOLERANCE.”
Not only were students asked to sign the pledge, anyone who wanted to join the NIOS committee could sign up.  Over 60 students are part of the committee along with seven Thurston staff members.

In addition to providing a safe place for discussion, NIOS students will be trained in leading a school community that stands up to bullying and intolerance in their schools.

Recently, members of the committee learned about a new app created by a young teen who was once bullied.  The app is called Sit with Us and was created by 16 year old Natalie Hampton so no student ever has to sit alone at lunch again.
“When you walk into the lunchroom and you see all the tables of everyone sitting there All Things Considered.and you know that going up to them would only end in rejection, you feel extremely alone and extremely isolated, and your stomach drops. And you are searching for a place to eat, but you know that if you sit by yourself, there’ll be so much embarrassment that comes with it because people will know and they’ll see you as the girl who has nowhere to sit. So there’s so many awful feelings that come along with it,” said the app creator on NPR’s radio show All Things Considered.

This 16 year old proves that young people can change the culture of a school.  The students of NIOS are one step closer to building a similar community at Thurston.

nios2 nios


Thurston High School is Taking a Stand


By Seniors Kristin Robbins and Tyler Korff

High School is said to be the best four years of your life.  It can be a time for friendships, dances, sports, and learning new things.  For some though, school can be a place of cruelty.

No matter the school, bullying happens everywhere.  There is no sense denying the problem is there, but rather to make the choice to be an upstander.

At Thurston High School, two new groups are emerging this year in order to take a stand against bullying.  In this week’s article, the student correspondents would like to talk about SAGA.  Next week, two other student correspondents would like to talk about NIOS.

A club that was once called GSA: Gay Straight Alliance is now being vamped into SAGA: Sexuality and Gender Acceptance

One of the main focuses of the organization is to tackle LGBT issues.  Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender is a widely accepted initialism.

“ We’re trying to promote a more accepting and tolerating atmosphere at Thurston,” Co-President Jessi Kwek said about the student led organization.

A survey conducted by (a national anti-bullying movement) found that youth in LGBT often face bullying much more frequently than their straight peers.  According to the 2016 survey:

  • 82 percent of LGBT youth had problems during the previous year with bullying about sexual orientation.

  • 64 percent felt unsafe at school due to sexual orientation.

  • 44 percent felt unsafe at school due to gender identification.

  • 32 percent did not go to school for at least one day because of feeling unsafe.

  • 44 percent experienced physical harassment.

  • 22 percent experienced stronger violence.

  • 61 percent never reported the attacks.

With such disturbing statistics, it is not surprising that organizations to support LGBT youth should be in schools across the country.

At Thurston, SAGA is trying to fundraise to bring awareness to the entire school and eventually outside of the four walls of this school. With the money from the fundraisers, they plan on bringing in guest speakers to help lead discussion on LGBT issues. Also, they would like to start a campaign of acceptance around the school whether it be posters or even positive press like this news article.  Above all, Saga wants the school to be a safe environment for everyone so that anyone can be themselves.

“ You can come for support. We want people to feel that they have a safe environment to come to if they need to,” said current member Zach Lassen.

The Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (CDC) published a study in 2011 showing that LGBT youth are at much higher risk for suicide as well.

“LGBT teenagers are two to three times more likely than other teens to commit suicide.  If the family of the LGBT youth does not accept them, they are eight times more likely to commit suicide than other teens.”

Knowing they have a safe place to go at Thurston created and led by students is a huge step for this high school’s LGBT community.

“ You can come for support. We want people to feel that they have a safe environment to come to if they need to,” said current member Zach Lassen.  Zach represented SAGA on homecoming court.
“ You can come for support. We want people to feel that they have a safe environment to come to if they need to,” said current member Zach Lassen. Zach represented SAGA on homecoming court.
 We’re trying to promote a more accepting and tolerating atmosphere at Thurston,” Co-President Jessi Kwek said about SAGA.
We’re trying to promote a more accepting and tolerating atmosphere at Thurston,” Co-President Jessi Kwek said about SAGA.

Thurston High School Presents Under the Sea Homecoming

By Senior Andrea Cruise

After giving each member of the homecoming court a wrapped rose, student council steps back to see who opens the red one. “…and your 2016 Homecoming King and Queen are Trevor Pevovar and Ariel Franklin!” echoed over the pandemonium at Thurston’s 2016 Homecoming half time celebration.

With every great homecoming game and dance, there is a spirit week that leads up to it which is diligently planned by student council.

This year’s spirit week started early on the Friday before with Disney Day. Students and staff were repping their favorite Disney characters from Minnie Mouse, to Darla, and even Simba.  The halls of Thurston High School were Disney-fied.

Monday was Detroit Day where students moved to repping their favorite motor city whether it was decking out in Detroit sports gear or wearing Enjoy Detroit, Made in Detroit, or just that Old English D.

     “I was so upset that I didn’t wear my Detroit gear,” Teacher Sara Bullington laughed, “the one day I don’t have to buy something to participate is the day I forget and come to work dressed normally!”

Tuesday was tie dye day and since not everyone has hippy clothes on hand, the student council sponsored a tie dye party the week before allowing students and staff to get their creative juices flowing in the name of fashion and spirit.

Wednesday was Beach Day where students were decked in hula gear, shorts and whatever else is needed to be ready for a day at the beach. Seniors Megan Abela and Trevor Pevovar took it to the maximum when they brought out sun chairs and tanned in senior hall at the end of the day. Counselors Tuesday Williams and Ann Hann brought floaties, beach towels and goggles to school and wore them the entire school day. We are not sure if they hit the pool on their break.

        Thursday was the annual class color day and red, blue, white or black were worn by each class. This is always one of the days with the most participation because everyone is stoked to rep their class colors, especially the seniors.

        Thurston didn’t have school on Friday, but they had their third annual tailgate before the football game. With a photo booth and minute to win it games, the tailgate was a huge success.

       Although Thurston lost their homecoming game, the excitement and energy was still there; especially during halftime. The marching band performed the second movement of their 2016 show: The Universe. The Varsity cheerleaders did not disappoint with their halftime performance. The King and Queen were crowned during halftime as well, and Homecoming Queen Ariel Franklin gave up her crown to fellow peer, Shelby Coats, who is battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and manages to come to school with a positive attitude about her senior year.

“Hard work and perseverance pays off and made my dream possible.  I was a bit overwhelmed by the whole experience.  Life challenges make us stronger and wiser and I wanted to share the crown with Shelby Coats for all the challenges she overcomes daily.  Winning was not about the crown for me but instead a boost of self confidence.  Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be queen.  My grandmother, cousin, and sister were all crowned in high school.  I want to thank my teachers, friends, parents, family, and especially Beruit Bakery who helped me campaign with shawarmas,” said senior Ariel Franklin.

         Saturday was Sweetest Day and what better way to spend it by going to a dance? The dance wrapped up the week’s celebration with an Under the Sea theme. Thurston’s student council showcased the theme seamlessly with blue waves covering the walls, balloon stands with sea creatures coming out the top, mermaid cutouts and seashells adorning the waves on the wall. Thurston students did not disappoint and were dressed to impress and ready to have a good time.

Thurston’s Senior Correspondents Bid Farewell

13246156_10153485034371610_6675014597234563264_o (1)

Thurston’s Senior Correspondents Bid Farewell

By:  Laurynn Abram, Jasmine Anderson, DeKobye’ Bibb, Arlissa Brock, Marlon Cox, Sommer Gibson, Kaylei Kerr, Aaron Mack, Ashley Major, Simbiat Oyedele, Kelvin Salter, and

Tovias Washington


We spent the last year and for some of us our junior year as journalism students.  Writing weekly for the Redford Observer was an amazing experience and each week we anticipated the paper being delivered to school so we could brag about the story we wrote.  Working on our yearbook is memorable, but writing for a newspaper that the whole city sees is on a whole different level.  We want to say thank you to the Observer for allowing this wonderful opportunity.  As we reflect on our four years at Thurston, it is bitter-sweet.  We will miss so much, but so look forward to what is to come.

Senior Arlissa Brock will be attending the University of Michigan-Dearborn in the fall.

“As we wind down to the end of the year, it feels good going through all the final events because you’re getting ready to have a new beginning. It’s also scary though because you’re transitioning to the ‘big leagues’, the real world. I think I’m ready to enter this new chapter of my life. I mean you kind of have to be ready. I don’t want to be thrown out to the wolves, I have to survive. So if it’s anything I’ve learned from senior year, it’s that you find out who you are and how much you can handle,” said Brock.

Senior Ashley Major has been a journalism student for two years.

“The final days of high school are counting down and it will be the last time the Class of 2016 will be together in the same hallways and classrooms. It will finally hit me that I am officially done with high school when I walk across the stage, grab my diploma and walk away from Thurston High School as a graduate of 2016. I am excited to start this new chapter of my life. I am attending the University of Toledo in the fall of 2016. I am overwhelmed that I have done so well in school and I am the first person in my family to go away to college out of state. I will be sad to leave high school and start my new chapter in my life, but life goes on and things get better,” said Major.

Senior Kelvin Salter was the Editor in Chief of journalism class and is headed to Western Michigan University.

“What many students fail to realize, however, is that completing your senior year isn’t the end of the journey – it’s just the beginning. Reflecting on this year is bittersweet, back in February, going with my mom and god-mother to take senior pictures, to taking senior pictures with my friends, jumping all the way to May to my Prom send off and being crowned Prom King; It’s all one big fond memory that’ll forever go down in history,” said Salter.

Senior Marlon Cox is ready for what the future holds.

“Senior year was actually the best year out of the four years of high school. Prom was the best day because we could hang out with friends and see all of our family together at the prom send off,” said Cox.

Another two year veteran of journalism, Kaylei Kerr, will miss Thurston.

“This has been one heck of a year and I couldn’t have spent it with better people.  It is kind of heart breaking going through all of the lasts: my last band camp, my last total soccer, my last football game, my last marching band at Ford Field, my last competitions, my last time on stage for nationals, my last recital, my last night at the studio, my last banquet, my last time in high school.  I’m kind of nervous to be honest, but really excited to start a new chapter,” said Kerr.

Senior Aaron Mack wants to thank his parents at this milestone.

“Mom, Thank you for encouraging me and pressuring me to do good in school. I am very grateful to have you in my life because you are the best mother ever.  Dad, Thanks for being my mentor and telling me what’s right from wrong. I love you and you are what I am going to strive to be like,” said Mack.

Co-editor Simbiat Oyedele and two year journalism vet will attend Central Michigan University.

Always a good student, she was surprised that “senior year was the fastest and most stressful year for me.  I wasn’t really prepared to grow up so fast and wish I had more time to live my life as a kid.”

Laurynn Abram, journalism class comedian, said leaving Thurston is bittersweet.

“I’ve waited for this moment since I got here.  Now that it has come, I’ve come to realize that I’ll miss everything about this school:  All of my friends, LINK, Yearbook, and so much more.  I leave for Toledo University on August 15 and I feel the same about going to college as I felt about coming to high school, kind of afraid, but at the same time, I’m ready to go and experience new things,” said Abram.

Jasmine Anderson is also nervous about college.

“The thought of walking out of here June 2, is a great feeling and an accomplishment I know my grandpa would be proud of,” said Anderson.

Two year journalist and Eastern Michigan University bound DeKobye Bibb said, “My senior year has been a life changing experience. I’ve grown into a contributing member of society. It’s been hard but I’ve been properly prepared for the moments that are yet to happen thanks to my support team and past experiences. I’m thankful for these opportunities and eager to start my life as an adult.”

Meanwhile Sommer Gibson who will be going to Oakland University said, “Well here we are the end of the road. I survived, I made it to the last day. I honestly can’t even tell you what these past years have felt like. What once felt like it would take forever to come is now here. I guess it’s true what they say time flies when you aren’t looking and speeds up when you realized you missed it all. Well it’s been real and I thank you for all the time you have given me.”

Last but not least is Tovias Washington.  “Above all, I have my family and wonderful friends to thank.  This is not goodbye, just a see you later Thurston.”

Goodbye America and Thurston

By Anna Spoddeck

My American adventure, the one I had been dreaming of for a long time, came true September 1, 2015. It started with other exchange students from the German airport Frankfurt/Main and we flew into the big wide world. We were so excited when we arrived at the airport in NYC and I couldn’t quite believe that my journey had finally begun. Looking forward to an amazing year, I remembered what my sister, a former exchange student, had told me: an exchange year is not just an unforgettable and rewarding experience, it is also a big challenge: thousands of miles away from home, learning to organize everything on your own, not knowing anybody and dealing with the different language.

With a great host family, it is so much easier to overcome those challenges.

For more than half a year, Katherine, Gale, Brian and Kimberly are not just my host family, they became my real family. They gave me the feeling that I have belonged to them all along.

I am so grateful for their love, care, hospitality and tolerance which made me enjoy my stay even more. Together we have experienced so many adventures:

We drove to Brian’s marching band competitions which were something totally new to me.   At Christmas time we went to the Meadow Brook Theatre to see my talented host sister Kimberly in the “Christmas Carol.” We also saw the Trans-Siberian Orchestra performance at the Palace.

At New Years, we travelled to New York and I got to know my “host grandparents” who welcomed and accepted me like their own granddaughter with so much kindness and love.

On the way there we went to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

The biggest highlight for me was our spring break trip to Washington D.C. and Virginia Beach. The feeling to explore the capital of the USA and to be that close to the White House was incredible!

But you don’t even have to go far from home to make amazing experiences. Debbie and Craig, friends of my host family, who are now my friends too, explored the “motor city” with me. In Germany, Detroit is popular for its car production. We went to the Ford Rouge Factory to watch the manufacturing process of a pick-up truck, which made it even more impressive. We also visited The Detroit Institute of Arts and the Henry Ford museum. I learned so much about American history there.

Indeed I feel at home in America not just at home with my host family. Every day I go to my high school, Lee M. Thurston High school. My teachers, classmates and friends make me feel that I belong there. Everyone is so helpful, respectful and open.

In the beginning, I was part of the swim team. I have experienced great team spirit and nobody is disrespectful to others. I am so impressed by the pride of Americans for their country!

Whether it is Homecoming and football games, Halloween, rides at cedar point, bonfires with American marshmallows, I love it all!   Especially at prom, I had a wonderful evening with my friends.

Yet there are three weeks left with anticipation for my last tennis practices and tournaments, Graduation, and of course the reunion with my family. I am already feeling endlessly sad when I think about my farewell. I know that I am coming back one day. My gratitude and thank you’s go to my host parents, my friends, my local coordinator Chandra, my teachers and classmates and everybody I met.

It would be a dream for me to welcome my new family or friends in Germany. We would like to give back a little hospitality. And maybe with that someone else’s dream would come true.