“Seton High school’s Dance program takes on UDA Nationals” by Audrey McQuillian

This year Seton high school’s dance team was named the 2018 national champions at the Universal Dance Association (Nationals) in their small varsity pom routine, and placed 3rd in small varsity hip-hop. Seton’s dance team has continued to improve and improve throughout its years. Many people throughout the years have participated in some way. This year mayor John Cranley named February 25th in Cincinnati “Seton Dance Day;” the city of Cincinnati and Seton High school can honor and recognize all those who have participated in Seton dance for years to come.  While winning nationals is a large achievement for Seton’s dance program, the connection between the dancers is what defines the Seton’s dance program.

Many Seton graduates have in some way changed as a person from Seton’s dance program. Senior Carly Berning discusses how Seton dance has impacted her life, “I grew up dancing with Seton, and every season comes with about a million new life lessons. When I was in grade school and on the junior team, I adapted to phrase positive mental attitude. This phrase really stuck with me. I had talked to one of my coaches about what my goals for the season would be. I suggested that I wanted to learn how to take constructive criticism rather than taking all of their corrections to heart. This could improve my personal dancer. Then that turned into me using the phrase positive mental attitude every single practice of the rest of my dance career with Seton. I always work hard to get my team to stay really happy and upbeat.

Seton dance has influenced the lives of so many people, but it also takes full commitment, time, and effort. Every year Seton’s dance program takes time to honor each senior for their commitment to Seton dance. Caroline Jackson discusses her senior year, “I started dancing in 6th grade. My senior year was by far my favorite year, but not just because we won nationals. This year was different for me because I felt more in control with my own anxieties than I ever had been throughout my dance career. I was able to enjoy all the moments this year without my anxiety interfering with this season. I did have some moments when my anxiety got the best of me, but without the three years’ prior, the amazing coaches, and the amazing team I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy this year as much as I have.” Seton’s dance program makes sure to make their seniors feel special. Caroline Jackson continues to explain the feelings she felt when she was announced a national champion, “I was so excited; I knew this team deserved this win so much. This team never gave up and always pushed through the most difficult obstacles. Everyone on this team went through the season with clear eyes and full hearts.”

These girls spend many hours perfecting their routines for nationals. All these girls put their heart and soul into this program. Winning nationals was a well-deserved title for these girls who put in so much dedication into their passion.

Historic Catholic School Announces Closure by: Rylee Jung

Historic Catholic grade school, St. Aloysius on the Ohio (St. Al’s), announced its closure for the upcoming school year due to lack of finances. After 149 years of business, St. Al’s has fallen upon hard financial times from low enrollment and lack of parish support. Though small in community, the loss that is felt among the families and alumni of St. Al’s is huge. Current students and staff, retired staff, and alumni have come forward to share the importance of Catholic education and vouch for their tiny school with a big legacy.

Averaging around ninety students a year, St. Aloysius on the Ohio’s small, family-like community is its defining quality that everyone – students, alumni, and staff alike – agrees. In this tiny environment, relationships between the students and one another, the students and their teachers, and teachers with parents thrive. Current student Carter Jung explains, “It’s a small school, it’s very special to me…I have my friends there, I’ve been with them since preschool.” St. Al’s is a one class per grade school; therefore, students are with the same kids in every class, every year they are at St. Al’s. Teacher Jennifer Ostertag recognizes that her students “look out for each other. They show compassion and love to one another every day.” This closeness creates a bond that lasts beyond their grade school years. Alum Tom Jung, class of 1984, recalls that he is “still friends with at least half of the people that I graduated with from St. Al’s.” A family atmosphere is created by these strong bonds with one another. Alum Anna Hoferer, class of 2014, describes this feeling as “a close-knit family. There is no possible way to feel as though you are alone in anything because the whole community is always there for any support needed.” The family atmosphere then transcends to the school community and the relationships students have with their teachers. Principal Kristen Penley explains that the school community is “a tight knit group of dedicated parents, faculty, and students. The school environment is energetic and collaborative.” Current student Megan Armstrong notes that what she likes most about St. Al’s is the connection she has with her teachers. With a ten to one student teacher ratio, teachers are able to “truly know their students” (Penley).

With a “tiny but mighty” (Penley) mentality, the school really does show its might through academics. With a small community and small classes, teachers are able to give their students the individualized attention that other schools cannot give. Jennifer Ostertag explains that she feels grateful to teach at St. Al’s which gives her the “opportunity to work one on one with each student to help them achieve success.” Alum Caroline Klug, class of 2015, points out that “The curriculum at St. Al’s is at a higher level and the student to teacher ratio allowed me to learn something new every day and get help if I needed it.”  Alum Shay Espich, class of 2017, follows her point closely by saying that the teachers “focused more on the parts of the lesson that their students were struggling with and what activities would help them” more than their own work such as grading. The main focus on the school is the student’s success. Penley explains that “students have individualized attention with their teachers which helps build confidence and understanding.” The confidence that is key to successful education comes not only from the attention of the teacher but also a comfortable class environment. Tom Jung explains that “the more people know you, the more comfortable you are in your surroundings, the better you’re going to learn.” He goes on to discuss that all aspects of his Catholic education – Mass, May crowning, sacraments – allowed him to create a bond with his classmates which led to him not having “that fear of failure and that fear of being judged.” Carter Jung also adds that he enjoys his smaller class sizes because “people don’t talk as much. If there was a bigger class, there would be more distractions.”

With hundreds of alumni joined with current students, the legacy of St. Al’s is huge. Tom Jung explains that he lives out the legacy of St. Al’s by “sending my kids there…[and] being part of the infrastructure now.” Tom Jung currently is the athletic coordinator for St. Al’s and teaches Baptism class and attends PTC meetings with his wife Marci Jung. Alum Anna Hoferer says her legacy involves her entire family: “My family has been large supporters of St. Al’s for a while…from St. Al’s library to the food booth at the festival to the PTC board, my family genuinely loves to be included in anything St. Al’s related.” Jean Hoferer, dedicated her life to encouraging the students’ love for reading and being the St. Al’s librarian for many years – even using her old home as the library building. Now that the school faces closure, students, alumni, and staff must decide how they will continue to live on the St. Al’s legacy in their lives. Kristen Penley, after working at St. Al’s for fifteen years, “hope[s] our students remember their love of learning and the excitement they had to come to school each day” and says that “St. Al’s will forever hold a special place in my heart.” Current students Carter Jung and Megan Armstrong plan to continue “being a good listener, a good reader, and a good friend” (Jung) and “wearing some of their spirit wear” (Armstrong) to keep the name alive. Alum Caroline Klug plans to “continually remind myself of the lessons I learned there such as supporting my friends and family and being someone people can trust.” Another alum Shay Espich says she will continue the legacy by “being the great person that all of my old peers and teachers taught me how to be.” As a parent and active parishioner, Tom Jung plans on continuing the legacy of St. Al’s in a different way. Jung recognizes that St. Al’s is not the only parish that is facing decreasing numbers. Other parishes that once held large followings are now dealing with smaller budgets and less volunteers. Jung believes he “can bring some comfort and some morale boost to a bigger parish that might be shrinking” by having experience with a small school community. The St. Al’s name will continue to live on in the hearts and minds of its community.

Though St. Al’s is unique, it is a part of a large community of Catholic grade schools. In the Cincinnati area, there are a steady supply of Catholic churches and schools, and they each different missions to pass on the faith to the next generation. To the students, Catholic education gives them a safe environment to learn about the faith and what it means to them. It also is an opportunity to deepen friendships in a unique way and learn valuable lessons that are not taught anywhere else. Shay Espich likes going to a Catholic school because “faith is an outstanding virtue” and “Catholic schools put more work into being a family rather than just people who see each other for six hours a day.” Carter Jung enjoys his Catholic education because “You get to go to church a lot and respect and worship God and that can lead you to good things.” Catholic schools are able to implement lessons to deepen and challenge the students’ faith as they go through so they are able to have an understanding of what their faith means to them. Anna Hoferer claims that “a massive part of my Catholic school education is the principle that you should trust in God and believe that He will lead you to the right path.” Through preparing for sacraments, celebrating Mass, retreats, and volunteering together, Catholic schools give its students plenty of opportunities to own, live, and connect with their faith. To the staff and parents of the students, this Catholic influence is truly appreciated as they look upon the foundation that is being built. While looking back on his own Catholic education and the lessons it taught, Tom Jung recalls that “I really have an appreciation of how important that it is to the Catholic faith. To take time away from your studies and focus on God, focus on your faith, focusing on practicing your faith.” Retired St. Al’s teacher, Mary Ann Hensley explains that “Our religion classes center on the life of Christ and his disciples. We try to instill in the students the idea of living a Christlike life.” Kristen Penley discusses how the Catholic education has a positive influence on students because “we teach children that our faith is part of our everyday life…I like to believe that we work with the parents to establish a strong moral compass for their children.” Catholic education is critical for the blossoming Christian as the institution is equally focused on the education, and moral and faith development of the student. Caroline Klug adds that “Catholic schools make sure their students grow as not only students academically but also as individuals who know how to love and serve others and God in everything they do.” There is a community aspect that is built among the students that encourages them to go out and serve others while witnessing their faith and bringing home a gleaming report card.

Historic grade school St. Al’s may have reached its last year in business, but its legacy has just begun. As their former students search for a new place to call home, there is no telling what they will do to show their St. Al’s pride no matter where they end up. With the lessons that St. Al’s taught them with the support of the Catholic education community, one can be confident that these kids will go on to do great things.

Works Cited

St. Aloysius on the Ohio. Facebook. 23 January 2014, https://www.facebook.com/saotobolts/. Accessed 29 January 2018

St. Aloysius on the Ohio. Facebook. 10 January 2017, https://www.facebook.com/saotobolts/. Accessed 29 January 2018
St. Aloysius on the Ohio. Facebook. 30 May 2017, https://www.facebook.com/saotobolts/. Accessed 29 January 2018

Feminism in America by: Sherilyn Drexler

        Feminism. What comes to mind? For Americans, probably women’s marches, social media campaigns, and social or political activist speakers. Probably some controversy, based on debate over recent causes that have come to the forefront of the movement. Often, the true meaning of movements in America can become clouded by media sensationalism and social media hype. In its most basic form, feminism is really much simpler than one would think. Mady Nutter, PR and Marketing Representative of StrongHer, a feminist club at Seton High School, describes feminism as, “the economic, social, and political equality of the sexes”. And while that is the most basic meaning, in America, feminism reaches much farther than just that, and has been running deep for women since early American society.
While in the last few years the term feminism and the wave of feminists have taken the forefront, feminism has been central to America for many, many years. In the 19th and 20th centuries, it was about simply giving women a voice to those who didn’t have one. Movements arose to fight for basic rights; such as the ability to vote; the ability to receive the same education as a man; and for women to be able to hold employment positions that were previously only allowed for men. Now, it has become about using that voice to fight for inequality- especially ones that have become normalized in our culture. Beth Lauber, an English teacher at Seton High School, says that “In the beginning – late 1800s women just wanted to have a voice.  Now that we have a voice, it’s about using the voice to create a better, more equal, society for women around the world.” That couldn’t be more true for American women today, and social issues such as wage inequality and sexual assault have taken the forefront as issues in the western culture today.
One of the biggest examples of feminism in motion today is within the women’s march; a coordinated rally practiced throughout the nation, in hundreds of cities, attracting hundreds of thousands of participants, all protesting for a wide range of women’s issues. Speakers across all platforms came to speak on a wide range of issues: from the entertainment industry to government officials to leaders of social activism. The underlying message of the effort fights for inclusivity, possibility, and now more than ever, giving women of the next generation a world where they will be heard, respected, and have the freedom to brave their own paths without barriers.