Last blood drive of the year at HHS

give bloodBy Staff Writer: Jada Boprie

Your last chance to get stuck with a needle at school, feel a little woozy, and eat some free food will come on Monday, April 28, with the last National Honor Society Blood Drive of the 2013-14 school year. Howell High School has hosted three blood drives a year for as long as some can remember, and this time around is no different.

HHS students partners with the Red Cross to organize the event. The Red Cross supplies the nurses who draw the blood and arrange the distribution of the blood to the people who need it.

Students who are 16 should have signed up ahead of time, with a permission slip from a parent. Students who are at least 17 are allowed to be walk-ins. This year, there are 88 slots for students to donate blood, and the usual turnout is between 60 and 80. Donors should arrive at the auditorium lobby at their appointed times (unless they’re just walking in), sign in, take a number, and wait.

When their names are called, they will meet with nurses who do a medical history to make sure the student can be a donor. After the nurses draw the blood, donors should stick around the auditorium lobby for about 20 minutes to recover and eat a snack. After that, they are allowed to go back to class.

This year, seniors and NHS members Makayla Millington and Kathleen Laituri are in charge, with juniors Megan Bigliardi and Janice Kwan apprenticing. In addition to them, dozens of other NHS members volunteer to help look after donors and every NHS member brings food or water.

“We make sure everything is running smoothly as far as the students go . . . and we get the building ready,” says Millington.

Millington donates blood herself and understands what the students go through.

“The first time I was really nervous,” Millington says. She advises students to eat a good breakfast and drink water before they donate, and try not to be too nervous.

“Just think about the people you’re helping,” Millington says.

Athlete begins preparation for college

By Sports Editor: Danielle Hamiltonsports balls

Howell senior John Brennan has been an outstanding athlete his past four years. He has participated in football and basketball and has excelled in both.

Brennan was a huge part of the varsity football team his junior and senior years. He played linebacker and fullback for the Highlanders, was a two-year starter, and was a captain his senior year. Brennan was twice All-County first team, once All-KLAA first team, and once All-KLAA honorable mention, as well as All-State Academic honorable mention.

“It was a pleasure to coach John. Over the last several years, I have really gotten to know him and see him grow as an athlete and a young adult. I am sure that the things he has done here at Howell High School will help him be successful at the next level,” says head varsity football coach, Aaron Metz.

After deciding to not play basketball his junior year, Brennan came back to play his senior year and was a forward for the varsity basketball team. He helped lead the team to a district and regional championship for the first time since 1927.

“Winning regionals was awesome. It was one of the best atmospheres I have ever played in. It felt good to beat Grand Blanc because I had never beaten them while being on a varsity team before,” says Brennan.

Brennan stood out when it came to defense. He got key rebounds when needed and set picks to help his teammates out. He also was able to keep his opponents’ scoring at a minimum. Brennan was also able to come through and score at crucial times in big games.

John is one of the most mature and responsible athletes I have had the pleasure of coaching.  He is an extremely hard worker and relentless competitor. John brought great emotion, leadership, and passion to the team this year along with his size, speed, and athleticism,” says head boys basketball coach, Nick Simon.

“John was always one of the hardest workers in practice games. He’s a great athlete and friend,” says senior Tex Hastings, who was a part of the varsity basketball team this past season.

Brennan is not only a notable athlete, but he is a spectacular student-athlete. He has taken multiple AP classes including AP Calculus, AP Government, AP Comparative Government, and AP U.S. History. Brennan has kept up his grade point average throughout all his sports seasons and has a cumulative above a 3.8. He scored very high on his ACT as well.

After graduation, Brennan will continue to play football and study at Hillsdale College. To get ready for college football, he has already begun certain workouts given by his football coach at Hillsdale.

“I have been studying hard and doing the workouts four days a week to help myself get ready. I’m very excited to start college and get to work” says Brennan.

Brennan is still undecided on his college major, but is considering sports management or something math related.

Playing sports has taught me a lot of things like hard work, teamwork, perseverance, and dedication,” says Brennan.


Students receive opportunity to be part of the Michigan Youth Arts Festival, All-State Choir

MYAFBy Staff Writer: Marissa VanDaelen

Choir and the arts in general are taken very seriously at Howell High School but not everyone receives the honor of being able to perform at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival. Senior Keith Hutchins and sophomore Jillian Brennan are two of the few that have been selected to perform in the 2014 All-State Choir. They will perform at the closing of the festival on Saturday, May 10. The entire MYAF is May 8 through 10.

“The festival is basically where a bunch of different arts come together. I know there’s band, choir, and poetry out loud. Everyone comes together at Western Michigan University for one weekend in May and it’s just so amazing to be able to see and be a part of that. We actually have a great opportunity to go ahead and see the other arts do their performances as well as they are allowed to come see ours,” Hutchins says.

The All-State Choir is new for Brennan but she surely knows how to perform. Brennan has previously performed at a State Solo and Ensemble festival and she received a near perfect score. She was also one of 13 students, chosen state wide, to perform at MYAF. On the other hand, this will be the second year in a row for Hutchins who got the opportunity through an audition after regionals.

“I was able to audition last October for the Regional Honors Choir which was held in December, and after we went and performed at regionals, we had to audition for State Honors that same day and I made it. My score was good enough to put me into All-State Choir for the second year,” Hutchins says.

Likewise, Hutchins had a wonderful time at the MYAF last year which only makes this year that much more to look forward to.

“My first year I actually got to work with one of my favorite composers and conductors in the choral world, Dr. Z. Randall Stroope, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. It was so amazing to be there and live on campus for three days. It was also a great chance to learn from such a great person,” Hutchins says.

In addition, there are many people that attend the MYAF but not many people that are chosen to actually be a part of it.

I don’t know the number of people that are part of the entire festival but I know that for All-State Choir, there are only about 80 students selected from across the state of Michigan. I would estimate the total in the festival to be about 500 students from across the state in various art forms,” Hutchins says.

It’s incredible that two students from HHS have made the All-State Choir out of the many choral students in Michigan. The MYAF certainly seems like a rare opportunity that would be enjoyed by many if given the chance.

“I’m so excited to perform with a bunch of people that really care about the arts. You can tell when you get there, it’s just a different atmosphere than the choirs here in school. Obviously everyone here still cares about the arts, I’m not saying that, but when you go on a larger scale, it’s so great to share your music with everyone from across the state. It’s not just in Howell High School, it’s not just people you see every day, it’s people that you see at these functions because they truly care and want to be a part of it,” Hutchins says.

Tradition continues at HHS

Senior Survivor 2014 with a new twist

By Staff Writers: Alexis Klask & Kate Bauer

Screen shot 2014-04-24 at 12.38.30 PM

Preceding the week of prom, each year 12 Howell High School seniors participate in the jaw-dropping, nail-biting competition, Senior Survivor. However, this year the class of 2014 was granted to have 14 contestants compete.

Each year, for one week, the chosen students must stay at the school, sleep at the school, eat at the school, and even bathe at the school in order to participate. All compete in a number of challenges in hopes to win the immunity prize for the day, however, the hardest competition of the event is raising enough money.

Charities or causes benefitting in preceding years have been organizations like NAMI and The Zac Cain Fund. This year the Rainbow Connection, which grants wishes for sick and terminally ill children all throughout Michigan, will be the beneficiary. Competitors must raise money each day, and the two students, a boy and a girl, who raise the least amount that day will be “voted off”, or sent home.

The following competitors were asked the following questions: why they wanted to participate in Senior Survivor 2014, what was interesting about them, why they would win over the other students, and what they are most looking forward to.

photo 2Saryila Babaro (Black): Barbaro wanted to participate because she wanted to make a difference, and while she is more of a quiet person, she wanted to get herself out there. Barbaro believes she is going to win because she has a decent amount of outside support and is very competitive. She’s looking forward to the overall experience and wants to get close to everyone in the class. Barbaro is the first senior survivor from the Howell Pom team and something interesting about her is that her name is Italian. Final quote: “The Shack’s got Saryila’s back.”

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Andrew Bossio (Orange): On the reasoning of why he wanted to participate, Bossio said he wanted to be among the great senior survivors and that he is able to raise a lot of money for a good cause. He feels that he is going to win because not only is he the best looking, but he will raise the most money, for sure. Bossio is looking forward to meeting a bunch of new people, and an interesting fact about him is that he works at the Howell Nature Center. Final quote: “TEAM ORANGE”

photo 3Tanner Damaske (Royal Blue): The reason Damaske wanted to do the competition was that it looked fun to hang out at the school all day and all night. Damaske believes that he will win because he has a lot of friends that can support him (at this stage in the interview, he paused and looked up at his lunch table and meticulously stared them all down while raising his voice) and that he has good skills. Damaske is looking forward to hanging out with people he doesn’t know for a week, and an interesting fact about him is that he is funny and cool. Final quote: “#TheMascot”

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Jackie Dobbie (Sapphire): Dobbie wanted to compete, because, put simply, it’s a high school tradition. She was never really apart of anything as far as tradition goes and feels this is for a good cause with healthy rivalry. An interesting thing about Dobbie is that she is crazy and has no cares for what people think of her, and she also has great hair and is a fantastic dancer. Dobbie thinks she is going to win because she knows how to get people going and is very loud and spirited. She’s excited to be a part of a “family” for a week and is looking forward getting to know everyone. Final quote: “I am the Mother Dobbie and everyone that buys my shirt is a part of the ‘DobSquad.’”

995415_498203533593836_1015300260_nMarliegh Gerkin (Irish Green): Gerkin has been a fan of Senior Survivor and has been wanting to participate since her brother passed up the opportunity his senior year. Gerkin believes she has what it takes to be the ultimate survivor because she is willing to do whatever it takes to raise more money than the other contestants. She is most looking forward to getting all the grades together and raising money for the Rainbow Connection. Final quote; “Buy my shirts and donate to Team MarGerks! I won’t disappoint!”


Sydney Healy (Lime Green): Healy wanted to partake in Senior Survivor because it’s something everyone looks forward to as a freshman. Healy has a lot of spirit given that she is a cheerleader for HHS and believes she will win because of that, and because she is a very talented, persuasive talker. She’s looking forward to the overall experience as well as the family of Senior Survivor. An interesting thing about Healy is that she raises money year round for Angelman Syndrome because her 14-year-old brother is diagnosed with it, and she wants to make a difference and find a cure. Final quote: “Lime Green will be the ultimate survivor.”


Shea Kinder (Violet): Kinder was motivated to join Senior Survivor after a personal experience. After the passing of a friend, she believes she is the most determined to raise money and help support the Rainbow Connection. She is, surprisingly, most looking forward to the food challenge. She believes that after being taught to ‘try everything once’ she will have an advantage over the others. She is also looking forward to hanging out with the seniors she doesn’t really know. Final quote: “Team Kinder all the way.”

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Karter Maki (Purple): Maki wanted to participate because he knew Senior Survivor would be an experience he would never forget. He believes he is a big supporter of the school and that he will be a contestant who raises the most money for the charity. Maki is most looking forward to getting to know and compete in activities with the other survivors. Final quote: “Team Maki.”

photo 2Zach Noonan (Red): Noonan was driven to join the cast of Senior Survivor because he has a passion for raising money for charity and believes he will provide people the most entertaining route to donating. To get an understanding about what exactly this year’s charity is, Noonan and Dobbie ventured to the Rainbow Connection, which Noonan thinks will give him a leg-up in the competition. He is most looking forward to the entire experience and getting to participate in activities and spend time with the other seniors. Final quote: “Team Attack.”

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Nathan Pajur (Charcoal): Pajur feels like he is going to win because he is driven to win and will try hard. He wanted to participate because it looked really fun to connect with the class, and the competition isn’t all about winning since the money donated is going to a great cause. Something interesting is that he broke competitor Tanner Damaske’s hand while wrestling. Pajur is most looking forward to a week in the school and a tent in the library. Final quote: “#TeamPajur #DoYouLift #PajurDanger.”

319474_447796871918035_554888003_nKeiffer Roth (Yellow): Roth believes he will take the title of the ultimate survivor because he has more skills and drive than the other contestants. He claims he won’t back down from a challenge and will be able to collect the most money. Roth is most looking forward to staying the night at the school and finally finding out if it is, indeed, haunted. Final quote: “Team Keif.”

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Vanessa Swain (Sky Blue): Swain is looking forward to the survivor experience because she has wanted to participate for forever. Swain believes she should be supported over the others because of her dedicated support to various sports teams and school events, and the obvious fact that sky blue is the best color. She is most looking forward to getting to know all the other survivors on a more personal level and raising money for the Rainbow Connection. Final quote: “Everyone should hop aboard team Swain Train.”

65251_469909206391352_1192876214_nKathleen Traskos (Pink): Traskos has been waiting to join the Senior Survivor cast since she was a freshman. She loved how everyone looked up to the survivors and had so much fun and knew she wanted to be a part of it all. Traskos believes she will win with the help of her rare skills of being able to raise and lower her cholesterol at will and her rapid pace, which lies somewhere between a snake and a panther. When asked what she was most looking forward to, she replied with Star Wars: Episode 7. Final quote: “Remember, on Wednesdays we wear pink, and by Wednesdays, I mean all week.”

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Bryce Webster (Maroon): Webster wanted to compete because he loves the school, and while it looks fun, he is excited to make new friends. Webster thinks he will win because he has a lot of different select groups of friends and knows people who will contribute to his bucket. An interesting fact about Webster is that he is completely obsessed with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. He is most looking forward to the challenges because they never know what is coming. Final quote: “Team B-Web or none.”

Senior leaves an impressive legacy at HHS

1486867_518480934916785_1649252914_nBy Staff Writer: Rachel Cichon

At Howell High School, you are never more than five feet away from a stressed out student. It seems everyone is constantly freaking out as they attempt to juggle their schoolwork and extracurricular activities. This proves untrue for HHS senior Makayla Millington, an inspiring student who balances a horde of responsibilities but possesses the unique ability to stay cheerful and upbeat when faced with daunting tasks.

“I guess I have to prioritize and figure out the things most important to me.  I try to take things as they come and just try to not to get overwhelmed by looking at the big picture,” says Millington on how she manages her time.

Millington is a member of the National Honor Society, A Cappella choir, and the varsity tennis team. Her schedule is almost entirely AP classes and she has held a job at the Howell Carnegie District Library since the beginning of her freshman year. During the summer, she gives and receives tennis lessons and also attends voice lessons.

To keep all of this from becoming too overwhelming, Millington keeps a planner and makes many lists to keep her organized. Her planner is enormous and impressive with nearly every space penciled in.

“I have to watch because I get overwhelmed and start freaking out, and that’s when I have to slow down and take a deep breath. What’s discouraging is when you look at your planner and you have so much to do and so little time!” says Millington.

Although her activities are often stressful and time-consuming, Millington values each one and wouldn’t give up any of them if given the opportunity. Her passion for everything she plunges into is extremely noticeable in her role in NHS as a blood drive coordinator.

Three times a year, Millington and long-term best friend, senior Kathleen Laituri, joined this year by juniors Megan Bigliardi and Janice Kwan, put together a blood drive. Their role requires them to sign-up students to donate and to promote the blood drive around the school. Each year, Millington and Laituri set a personal goal to sign a certain amount of students up to give blood.

On the day of the blood drive, they arrive before the school is even officially open to begin preparing for the event in order to ensure an efficient drive. Millington attempts to have everything ready by the time nurses arrive so that they can start setting up their medical supplies immediately.

On top of all these responsibilities, Millington also donates blood herself and has an arsenal of tips for surviving the donation (specifically, drink lots of water and use the bathroom beforehand). She considers planning the blood drive to be one of her favorite memories of her time at HHS, and enjoys that she gets to plan it with help from friends.

Millington originally met Laituri in the fifth grade when they were assigned to be each other’s pen pals. Comically, Laituri had two pen pals and could only keep one. Using the keen logic of a fifth grader, she chose the pen pal with the best handwriting: Millington. Years later, they still maintain an incredible relationship and have bonded with each other over more than their penmanship.

“We’re in choir together, we do blood drives, and she helps me with sole ensemble in choir,” says Laituri.

Choir is another of Millington’s fondest high school memories, as it allows her to exercise a love for singing while spending time with her closest friends. She is currently a member of A Cappella choir and especially loves participating in the A Cappella choir tour.

“Those are just three days of good memories, because you get to hang out and meet new people while seeing your old friends,” says Millington on why she adores the three-day journey. “Elementary school at Christmas with Highlander Chorale is another great experience.”

Millington’s time in choir has left a lasting impact on more people than just herself. Choir teacher Mr. Rod Bushey reflects on the four years he has spent with her and questions whether his classroom will be as lively without her presence.

“I was talking the other day about what it’s going to be like without Makayla. She has the sweetest disposition and she handles her peers so well,” says Mr. Bushey. “Her people skills are over the top. Her ability just to deal with people is remarkable, and she is just lovely.”

Millington is an “A” student who has taken a slew of AP classes and managed to become sixth in her class rank. Some students would flounder with only a portion of the workload she has taken on, but Millington is a driven student who puts aside time for herself to complete and understand the material, ensuring her success.

“I just like to learn,” says Millington. “I guess I’m a pretty motivated and independent person.”

It isn’t easy to juggle all of this, and Millington will admit to having the occasional meltdown, but she is generally able to clear her head and complete the tasks at hand. It isn’t unlikely for people to deal with stress by playing sports, and Millington is no exception. She uses her position on the varsity tennis team to evade stress.

“Sometimes I just have to cry and let it out emotionally. I think playing tennis really helps, it’s a couple hours every day to just forget about what’s stressing me out at school,” says Millington. “I love the tennis season because it makes everything so much better, because I get to stay after school and hang out with my teammates and have a good time.”10295715_579043762193835_1725707143388586924_n

Millington’s last tennis season at HHS has only begun, but they are off to an impressive and positive beginning. In their first match against four other teams, Millington won gold on her doubles flights.

“Tennis in general has been a huge, good memory. Beating Grand Blanc last year was pretty satisfying.” reminisces Millington. “We played Pinckney yesterday and won – so we’re off to a great start!”

Another stress-alleviating activity for Millington is her job at the library, where she shelves books as a page. Millington began the job early in her freshman year and has enjoyed it since. Not only is the job a calming way for her to reflect on the school day, but it is a good match for her personality and schedule, as she is able to work around her busy schedules and is never forced to take on too many hours.

“I love my job at the library. I started working at the very beginning of my freshman year so it’s been all of high school by now and I could not have asked for a better job!” says Millington. “I love everyone that I work with, and it’s a perfect job because it’s so flexible with my schedule which is that’s super convenient. Plus all of my coworkers are the best. I just have a good time at work, and it’s super low stress.”

Millington leaves a lasting impression on everyone she meets, and this is clearly visible at her workplace, where everyone is amazed by her ability to shelve a cart of books in a mere half hour. It’s extremely uncommon for a student to find a job as young as Millington. Many juniors and seniors struggle to find employment, but Millington persevered, aided by her benevolent attitude and mannerisms.

“Makayla is an outstanding young woman. I first met her when she introduced herself as an incoming freshman and I was incredibly impressed – she was always professional, always polite and always on time,” says Millington’s boss, Emily DeJaegher, who has a vivid memory of Millington sending her a handwritten thank-you letter within a few days of her interview.

Unsurprisingly given her job, Millington loves to read in the rare occasion she has free time. Her favorite book since childhood is the Secret Garden, but Life of Pi is another novel dear to her heart. Although she sometimes struggles to find time to watch them, Millington also loves movies, particularly Marvel films.

“I’m in World Lit and AP English and we have read lots of essays.  AP English is definitely my favorite class because I think it’s so interesting…I’m an English nerd,” laughs Millington.

Millington’s English teacher of two years, Mrs. Dawn Webster, agrees that Millington has a penchant for English. “She impacts the dynamics of the classroom and does a nice job contributing to discussion and bringing up issues outside of the class that are still relevant.”

If given the chance, Millington also likes to play piano. She once took piano lessons along with voice and tennis lessons, but felt it had to be cut if she was going to keep up with everything else going on in her life. Similarly, she had to give up student council, which she was a member of for three years, because it was one of the few activities she felt she could afford to cut from her schedule.

Above anything else, the biggest motivation and inspiration to Millington – other than her own personal strength and determination – is her family. Millington comes from a close, tight-knit family that spends a lengthy amount of time together, particularly on vacations and at her sister’s softball games.

“I have a little sister who’s in seventh grade, she plays softball and we go to all her games. We also go on vacations – we go up north a lot. We have a cabin up there that’s really fun and we do all the up north things: kayaking, boating and all that,” explains Millington. “My family is the biggest motivation, and my little sister is a big inspiration to me.”

With all of her abilities, responsibilities and skills, as well as her unrelenting determination and unfailingly cheerful disposition, it is no surprise that Millington will be going on to do great things with her life. She has already received a full tuition to Liberty University in Virginia. She received the tuition after applying to the school’s Honors Program and was commended by the National Honors Program for her PSAT score.

To alleviate travelling costs, Millington has made the bold decision to stay in Virginia even during the summer and on most holidays. Although she admits that she will miss her family and friends, she’s excited to begin the journey that will lead to the rest of her life.

“It’ll be a big change, but I think I’ll be okay because I’m not a huge homebody. So I think I’ll be alright, although sometimes when I’m hanging out with my family it kind of hits me. But I’m looking forward to it,” she declares courageously.

Millington wants to major in journalism and aspires for a career in either print media or print publication. She’s also considering editing or TV broadcasting. If Millington’s high school achievements are an efficient way to measure success, she’s certain to achieve anything she sets out to do if she employs her unrelenting perseverance, discipline and natural intelligence.

Although Millington has no regrets with her life thus far and is happy with everything that occurred to her at HHS, she laments that there are other things she would have liked to do and try.

“I always wished I had done another sport, like running or cross country. I wouldn’t have gotten rid of anything, but the school has so many cool programs and there are a lot of classes I could have taken. Maybe another language – like French – or an art class, just to get a feel for the different wings of the school,” Millington muses.

1236072_465313160233563_1689345360_nMillington should serve as an inspiration to any student who is unsure of whether or not they should commit to something important to them.  if Millington can balance all of her activities and take every opportunity thrown her way, there is no doubt that anyone in HHS is capable of achieving something equally impressive, whether they follow in Millington’s footsteps or try some of the avenues Millington was unable too.

Above all else, Millington should be admired for her dedication to every goal and responsibility she sets for herself and her example should give students the courage to push themselves to their highest potential.  She possesses the unique ability to rise above challenges and prove herself in the face of arduous tasks, making her a worthy inspiration to any Highlander.

Millington’s legacy at HHS will end very soon, but it will take much longer for it to be forgotten. Although she will be missed, the end of Millington’s senior year is a bittersweet farewell as those left behind know that wherever she goes, she will be achieving amazing things for herself. Students should feel proud to have had the opportunity to learn alongside her.

“It’s kind of crazy to think about leaving home, but I think all the seniors are all going through that right now,” says Millington. “I’m scared, but I’m really excited,”