The Mustang Moon The Student News Site of Mount Vernon High School Mon, 05 Oct 2020 19:55:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Runner Cites Friendly Competition as Motivator Mon, 05 Oct 2020 19:55:51 +0000 Eli Dickson has been progressively moving to the front of the line. Dickson, a sophomore, finished second for his cross country team Sept. 28 at the Solon meet. He finished eight overall with a time of 17:30.8.

Two weeks earlier, Dickson finished 10th overall in the MV-L Cross Country’s first win in Williamsburg on Sept 12. Dickson had a time of 17:49 and tied for second place with Carter Hall on the team coming down to the last decimal. Dickson said, “It was neck and neck, we finished at the exact same time,” a rare occurrence to tie with a teammate in cross country.

Dickson said that Zach Fall and Quincy Happel challenge him the most on the team. Dickson said, “Zach is the number one runner and Quincy is number three, so they’re the closest to me when it comes to finishing on the team, so it pushes me.”

It’s hard to bring up fall sports in 2020 without talking about the ongoing pandemic. Dickson knew he had to follow the social distancing guidelines but he still wanted to train with his teammates. Dickson said, “We still wanted to have good team chemistry, so the starting seven lineup would go on runs together during quarantine.”

Dickson has goals for this year after coming off a spectacular freshman year, he only plans on improving. Dickson said, “ I would be happy with any time under 17:00.”

The Mount Vernon-Lisbon Cross Country team races next at West Delaware on Tuesday at Hart Ridge Golf Course in Manchester. The varsity boys race begins at 4:45.

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We Need Better Homecoming Dances Mon, 05 Oct 2020 18:00:12 +0000 School dances are something that everyone looks forward to when they are younger, but the Mount Vernon homecoming dances don’t compare to the ones we visualize and ponder about over and over. We have this whole week of celebrating homecoming with the parade, king and queen ceremony, powderpuff, pep rally, alumni assembly, and football game, but when the dance comes around it doesn’t match the level of excitement as the others do. While we appreciate everything that the student council does, the homecoming dance should be more than a few decorations, water, and a phone with a playlist. 

First things first, we should get a snack and drink bar that could include some punch and cookies instead of just a drinking fountain. After dancing for a long time, burning calories and using a lot of energy, some refreshments would really come in handy to help us bust out some more moves. 

Better music would also enhance the experience. For instance, we could get a live band to play for a few hours, then after that we can play the songs that all of the students have picked out. Or we could get a DJ for a few hours, or the whole night and people can request songs then. Explicit music should also be allowed. Only a few of them have more than a couple bad words that are already a part of most teenagers’ vocabulary. 

Better decorations are necessary to make the school building feel special. A few streamers and balloons aren’t cutting it. We could possibly get some string lights hung all around the commons, school colored fabric draped on the walls, and a candle lit walkway coming into the school with people taking the tickets outside. If decorations are too difficult, then we could change the location to make the dance not feel like another day at school. Such as, The First Street Community Building, the LBC, or if it is nice enough, we could have it outside. The First Street Community Building would be a perfect place to have a throwback theme dance. Since Homecoming is about celebrating the school and recognizing former alumni, what better place to have a homecoming dance than at an old Mount Vernon school. 

Finally, to jazz up the dance and make it more enjoyable for everyone we should add some party games and competitions. Some people don’t like to dance and stand around, so we could include a group, couple, or individual dance off, and a few board or card games. We may not even need games because the snack and drink bar could fix that problem, but activities are a way that will get everyone involved at a dance. 

Prom is the bigger school dance that more money and effort is put into, but since the homecoming dance has more of a meaning to it and the whole high school gets to partake, we should put a little bit more effort into making it a special night. It doesn’t have to be as big as prom, just a bit more exciting. A budget may play a key role in not having refreshments, better music, and better decorations, but if needed, students would probably spend a few more dollars to have a better experience at homecoming. The only homecoming activities that they are having this year is a COVID-19 safe coronation and a homecoming movie/ hypnotist night. To sum it all up, it is time to make a more enjoyable change so students and future Mount Vernon Mustangs can have the best homecoming experiences.

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Isabel Klawiter, Junior Firefighter Tue, 29 Sep 2020 12:45:15 +0000 Most high school students have hobbies or extracurricular activities, like theater, baking, or sports, but not many high school students contain raging brush fires in their spare time! Isabel Klawiter, a junior at Mount Vernon High School, does just that during her time volunteering as a Junior Firefighter at the Stanwood Fire Department.

Being a Junior Firefighter means being responsible for a lot of important work. Isabel is tasked with hauling hoses and air packs, maintaining equipment, and cleaning up scenes. “It’s pretty much the job of a firefighter, but you can’t go into like, burning buildings,” Isabelle described. The first Sunday of each month Isabel and the rest of the force have a meeting to plan things like work schedules and equipment maintenance. “The meeting usually lasts about an hour, and then we do training for about an hour,” Klawiter said.

Although she can’t go into flaming houses, there’s still a lot that Isabel can do to help at the scene of a fire. “If it’s in my district I can go to it. I can be on the outside with the trucks and work truck work, turning hoses on, getting them set up for people to go inside,” Klawiter said. While Klawiter has never actually served at the scene of a house fire, that’s because she only officially joined the fire department this last year, when she turned 16. She has, however, had the chance to serve at the scene of several brush fires since she joined the force. She operates a fire hose and keeps the fire at bay while the other volunteers dig firebreaks in an attempt to extinguish the inferno.

Firefighting has been a part of Isabel’s life for a long time. When Klawiter moved to Stanwood, her father joined the force, and so she and her older sister have been helping around the station since they were small. “Once I turned 16, I joined as a Junior Firefighter, just to kind of help the community. Now my whole family’s on it. I kind of just joined with my family I guess,” Klawiter said. “If we’re counting unofficial volunteering, I’ve been on for ten years now.” 

Isabel’s whole family is on the Stanwood Fire Department, her mom, dad, and older sister. Up until about a month ago, Isabel’s father was the chief of the Fire Department, and had been for four years. “Since we’re moving in about a month, we had to resign from all the positions, but he’s still helping out to get the new fire chief running,” Klawiter explained. This is because if someone does not live within the district of a local fire department, then they cannot move through the ranks, be paid like Isabel’s parents were, or hold any kind of position, and the Klawiter family is moving 40 minutes away from Stanwood.

However, once Isabel’s family leaves Stanwood, that will not be the end of local firefighting for them. Isabel likely has more fires in her future. While she can no longer be a member of the Stanwood Fire Department, Isabel plans on joining the fire department in her new town as a full-fledged firefighter once she turns 18. For her, professional firefighting is “kind of like, a backup, because if I don’t make it into what I want to get into, I’ll look into it a bit more. It’d be like a second to my career of choice, and I’ll most likely join a local fire department just as a volunteer.” 

While the debate team and chess club are interesting, Isabel Klawiter, Stanwood Fire Department Junior Firefighter,  has one of the most exciting after school activities there is, and plenty of firefighting in her future.

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Taking Center Stage Mon, 28 Sep 2020 12:45:59 +0000 Steen and her Acting Journey

Taking Center Stage

We all have that moment that will change our lives forever. For Ashlyn Steen, that moment was the year 2010 during the kindergarten performance of The Wizard of Oz. Little did she know that her first big acting debut would be as a munchkin in the lullaby league. While most 5-6-year-olds would spend their year adapting to a new environment, there was Steen, ready to put on a show.

Steen, a junior at Mount Vernon High School lives a normal life as a 16-year-old. She enjoys math and choir along with volunteering at Odyssey Theatre, a youth production program in Mount Vernon. While she has always found an interest in theater, it was a few years later that she made a discovery. “In seventh grade, we once again performed The Wizard of Oz, and I got to play the Wicked Witch of The West,” Steen said. “This is when I realized that this is something I want to do for a long time.” Maybe it was the magic of The Wizard Of Oz that made Steen so invested in acting, or maybe just her love for theater, however, she knew one thing, she wasn’t going to stop anytime soon.

While there are hundreds of plays performed on Broadway there is one in particular that stuck out to her. “My favorite Broadway show is ‘Hamilton,’” Steen said. “Although it may seem stereotypical, that is because it is so phenomenal. A show can’t become popular without being that good.”

As inspirational as Broadway might be, that isn’t where Steen gets all of her motivation. “I really look up to my sister Maddie Steen, Quinnie Rodman, and the class of 2019. They were very good. Quinnie Rodman was someone I really looked up to when going up in the theater world. I went to the ‘Drowsy Chaperone’ and she played the gangster. I think I pretty much based my entire acting career on that show. My style and everything.”

Speaking of style, Steen performs and competes in multiple types of theater. She participates in spring musicals, fall plays, and speech. With everything she’s done, she definitely has a few top shows and characters. “My favorite character I’ve ever played is Billy Flynn from “Chicago.” It was really fun being killed by multiple women,” Steen said. “My favorite part of that show was being a puppet master over Sophia Andrews.” Her favorite show she’s ever done is “Once on This Island,” the fall musical of her freshman year. “Once on This Island” won the state title and then went on to the International Thespian Festival. This was a big achievement for Steen as she was only a Freshman at the time.

Similar to the Thespian Festival, Steen has also taken part in All-State. “My favorite part of All-State is meeting so many people who are invested in theatre and share the same interests.” When preparing for All-State, there are a few tricks to help out along the way. “Learn your auditions right away. When you learn them don’t stress about it, because you have a spot,” Steen said. “It’s not a big deal, just do your thing, and have fun with new people. Just try not to stress because everyone’s in the same boat.”

While Steen is just starting out on her journey, she has learned a few things from her years of experience. “The key to acting is letting loose and not worrying about looking silly. You can hold back, but when everyone else is letting loose and trying hard and you’re not, then that is when you are going to look silly.” One of her favorite things about acting is the environment. “It’s one of the most welcoming environments so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and talk to people because they’ll help you,” Steen said. “If you have questions or aren’t sure about something, just ask about it. Everyone is not only willing to but wants to help out.”

Steen has thought about pursuing acting more seriously in the future, but as of now, it is up in the air. “I would like to do something like directing or becoming a teacher. Something behind the scenes, and something involved with acting.”

Steen may not know where this journey is going to take her. Maybe a director or a teacher like she said, or maybe taking “The Wizard of Oz” to the next step on Broadway. Who knows? If one thing is for sure, it’s that she’s going places. To do that, all she has to do is follow the yellow brick road.

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Varsity Girls Place 4th at Solon XC Meet Sun, 27 Sep 2020 14:28:02 +0000
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Klinkhammer ‘the teammate everyone wants’ Fri, 25 Sep 2020 19:59:21 +0000
Defensive tackle Connor Klinkhammer engages a Vinston Shellsburg player Sept. 18. The Mustangs won, 21-13. (Mitchell Gage)

The Mount Vernon football team is on a roll this fall with four wins and no losses. In the middle of this success is defensive tackle Connor Klinkhammer.

Named scout team player of week one, Klinkhammer is an absolute menace on the field. He is confident the team will go 7-0 this season. “Offenses are scared when this defense walks onto the field,” he said. Klinkhammer thinks the Mount Vernon football team is the toughest team in the state.

Klinkhammer, a senior, has a solid three tackles on the season and his coaches are glad that he joined the team this year. Head coach Lance Pedersen thinks he is a great addition to the football team. “He has worked extremely hard during the out of season and is making an amazing contribution to our football team,” Pedersen said. “He is very coachable, has a great attitude and works hard every day in practice to get better.”

Klinkhammer attributes much of his success to his D-line coach, Preston Pedersen. Klinkhammer said that Preston’s refuel model and weight training helped him out tremendously with gaining weight and strength for the football season.

“Connor is the teammate everyone wants,” coach Preston said. “He is selfless, funny, a hard worker, and maybe the coolest thing about him is that he makes everyone better around him. I’m thankful that I get to be around him each day.”

Klinkhammer said that he is proud to play with his teammates. “I couldn’t ask to be playing aside any other group of guys,” he said. “They are the most hardworking people I’ve ever played with in any sport. They make me better every day.”

The team is working together to stay safe and healthy. There are safety regulations added into football to keep the players from spreading Covid. The players have to be spread out during warmups, they have to wear masks to watch film, and they have to sanitize every piece of equipment they use during practices and games. One tradition the players will miss is team meals on game days.

The Mustangs (4-0) play the Union Knights (0-4) at 7 p.m. tonight at Cornell field. If you decide to go, watch out for the stone cold defensive tackle with the number 69 on his back!

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Glad to be Back: Avery Plathe Keeps Safe at Club Soccer Fri, 25 Sep 2020 12:30:47 +0000 As the dangerous virus, COVID-19, rages across the globe, many sports teams are being forced to change their daily routines to stay safe and healthy. With interactions between people becoming more and more dangerous with each passing day, multiple teams have been forced to completely shut down and cancel their seasons. Many large gatherings of people, such as tournaments and games, have been canceled putting a lot of stress on local businesses who rely on the sea of sport-loving fans to provide a stable income each year. The strain also falls on young athletes.

“It’s been weird,” Avery Plathe, a junior from Mount Vernon High School, said when asked how the outbreak has affected her club soccer season. “That’s the best way to describe it.” 

Plathe is a member of a soccer club that has multiple different members from about eight or nine different schools in Iowa. Because there are people from so many different schools on Plathe’s team, they have to take extra precautions to keep safe during the pandemic. Even if one player or coach tests positive, the entire team will be forced to quarantine for two weeks and miss all practice and tournaments during that time. Every player is required to wear a mask when they are not playing and have to use their own soccer balls to help cut down on contact spread. In addition to wearing masks, the club has developed new strategies to avoid infection.

“The league my club plays for has stages,” Plathe said. At stage one, the team is limited to a set amount of things they can do. As the stages progress, the team is allowed to interact more and more. “Stage four is when we finally get to play other teams and we just reached stage four.” By adopting this strategy, Plathe’s league can ensure that teams are safe before they begin competing against each other and potentially spread sickness.

Despite the use of this new method, many of Plathe’s tournaments have been canceled to ensure the safety of the players. One of their most important tournaments, the Scott Gallagher tournament, was among the cancellations. Normally, families and friends would flock to Missouri to see their favorite teams play. Hotels would be filled to the brim with people eagerly awaiting the game. During the tournament, stands of hundreds of fans would watch the field, chanting and cheering on the players. This year, teams and fans have been asked to stay home where they can safely social distance because it simply is not safe enough for the public to gather. With players and fans being sent home empty-handed, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses who would normally generate income from the tournaments begin to struggle. On a much larger level, effects of major sports cancellations have been felt globally and many small businesses who rely on the income of sporting events have gone under.

“Last week we should’ve gone down to St. Louis for our Scott Gallagher tournament, but we couldn’t because of COVID. They don’t want people staying in hotel rooms,” Plathe said sadly. To be safe, the team is only allowed to participate in tournaments that are a day long. If a tournament lasts longer, the team will simply not attend, unless it is a short drive from their complex. In a situation like this, Plathe’s club will mask up and commute back and forth each day to avoid staying cooped up in a hotel room with other players.

With major tournaments being canceled, soccer teams playing fewer games, fans being sent home, and overnight stays being cut, some people might simply assume that soccer just is not nearly as much fun this year as it has been in the past. Plathe would disagree. “It definitely didn’t get any less fun. If anything it got more fun. It’s nice to finally have something that’s somewhat normal back in our life.”

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Anna Moore Chills with the Cello Thu, 24 Sep 2020 12:00:56 +0000 She relaxes as she draws the bow across the thick strings, coaxing a deep rich sound from the cello.
Anna Moore, a junior, loves to play the cello, a string instrument larger than the violin, but smaller than the bass. Moore has been playing since fifth grade, when she switched from the harp because she “felt left out” when her teacher would explain how to handle a bow. She didn’t have much difficulty choosing a new instrument, cello was the easy choice. When her mom asked why she chose the cello, Moore responded with, “It speaks to me.” Since then she has taken off, not only playing at school and at home, but attending multiple honor orchestras, Dorian Summer Camp, and even private lessons at Preucil School of Music to improve on her beloved instrument. This year, Moore intends to put her skills to use and try out for All-State. She also hopes to join a cello choir during the second semester this year.
Moore loves to start her day in orchestra. “I love being around other music nerds,” she said. “We just have a happy little environment.” She feels she’s able to be herself with her companions and have fun along the way, doing something she genuinely enjoys. The cello and orchestra have allowed Moore to grow personally as well. As someone with anxiety, she has utilized the auditions and performances that come with her instrument to take out of her comfort zone, in order to build self confidence. Most importantly, she said, all the work she has put in over the years has “given me something to be proud of.”
Cello has become a bigger part of Moore’s life as she’s spent more time with it. She’s met many lifelong friends including her best friend, whom she met at Dorian Summer Camp. The camp, hosted by Luther College, is one of her favorite places to be because everyone attending is invested in music. “It’s nice to be around people that have the same passion as you,” she said.
For now Moore’s only plan is to keep improving on the cello. She is unsure what the future holds for her, but she’d enjoy doing something small, like teaching cello lessons, to make sure the instrument stays a part of her life. “If I were to do something, it’d be some sort of teacher,” she said. “Teaching little kids would be fun!”
Whether or not she gets to introduce kids to cello, Moore encourages everyone to pick an instrument. She herself is planning on expanding her musical vocabulary and has already begun learning the guitar and piano over quarantine. “Music is really cool, it doesn’t matter if it’s band, singing or orchestra,” she said, “My one piece of advice is to get involved in something, and music is a great way to do that.”

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A Less Than Wonderful Vacation: Remy Merrill is Trapped at the Airport Wed, 23 Sep 2020 10:43:42 +0000 Everyone knows that Coronavirus has canceled an outstanding number of vacations for everyone, and this holds no different for student Remy Merrill. Being a member of the MVHS Choir, Merrill planned on attending the Fine Arts Association’s New York Trip that would’ve taken place in March. However, her plans to go to the Big Apple were shot down by the now ever-present virus. This led to some complications though as her family had already scheduled their own adventure to California the week of spring break. Wanting to join up with her father, brother, grandparents, and cousins, she needed to find a last-minute flight to Palm Springs.

Since the entirety of Remy’s family was already in California, for the first and possibly last time in her life, she would board a plane alone. Of course, this was all fine and dandy until her connecting flight from Cedar Rapids to Minneapolis was delayed. “I was in a panic when I got off my delayed flight, and I knew something bad was going to happen,” Remy said. “When I realized I wasn’t going to make my connecting flight my heart dropped and I felt stranded.”

Remy arrived at her gate just in time to see the boarding end and the doors close, dashing any remaining hope that she had of making it. “I was balling,” Remy said. “Everyone is looking at me.” But she didn’t care. After getting it all out and being comforted by a random old lady who hugged her in the bathroom, she managed to find another flight to Palm Springs that would leave just nine hours from the one she missed.

Now a new problem arose: what is there to do in an airport to waste nine hours of time? The short answer is to walk and spend lots of money, so Remy did just that. She walked and walked, always having to carry the entirety of her luggage with her, through the stores and shops and hallways and bought an overpriced book and read it while eating an overpriced lunch. She also facetimed her friends back home, who laughed at her expense.

On top of the stress of missing a flight, having to figure her way through buying tickets, and navigating the hasslesome airport, Remy had to deal with the stress of the virus. Back in March, few followed proper regulations. No one wore masks, and all Remy had to cover her face was a bandana. “I remember sitting next to this lady and she was talking about testing positive,” Remy said. Remy got into the habit of washing her hands often and now no longer likes the smell of sanitizing sprays.

Even with all that mess behind her, arriving to meet her family wasn’t the end of Remy’s trouble. The return flight was entirely canceled and her family had to buy new tickets just to make it home. This led her to write a not-so-friendly review of Delta Airlines detailing her experiences. Despite all of the strife and turmoil, Remy won’t let it deter her from future travel, so long as she doesn’t take the journey alone.

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Classroom Photo Gallery Tue, 22 Sep 2020 19:43:12 +0000
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