He Said, She Said: Gender Differences in School

By Shelby Teague and Daniel Faudoa

He Said:

Graduation rates are at the highest now that they have been since 1974, but the gender gap of males and females is still being dominated by females.  According to most recent studies, about 80 percent of males graduate high school, while 86 percent of females graduate high school.

Many people and researchers believe that the gender gap came about because classrooms have become feminized and geared towards teaching girls instead of boys.  Boys tend to be more hands-on, while girls just accept the lessons and do their best to learn it.  This isn’t the case for all boys and girls but, in general, this is the way things go. “I don’t believe it is all due to gender,” said math teacher Michael Saulmon. “It also depends on the students’ desire and will to learn.”  

According to Saulmon, he has more trouble teaching males.  He believes that girls are easier to teach because they have more of a desire to learn.  In some studies it is said that boys want to know how they can apply what they learn to their lives.  “Boys always ask those, ‘When will I ever use this in real life?’ type of questions,” said Saulmon. “It is all they want to know.”

Saulmon does not agree that classrooms are becoming more feminine.  “Classrooms used to be more feminine; now they are less geared toward females,” said Saulmon. “Most modern classrooms have become more geared towards males by incorporating visual and hands-on learning.”  This I have seen in the classroom.  Lately more teachers are using visual notes and drawing pictures to give a visual of what is being taught.  Whether it is from math to history, visuals are being used more often.  As a guy, I do believe the visuals reinforce learning.


Lately, technology has had a big impact on a student’s education.  According to Spanish teacher Mario Garcia, more girls use their cell phones during class than boys.  There are many new distractions that affect graduation rates and gender differences seem to be less of a problem these days.

I cannot just sit and listen to a lecture the whole hour.  It is more interesting when there is something that I can actually see, although I do not think it is gender geared.  I believe the difference is in their upbringing.  If someone has parents who are not involved in their academics, that student will most likely not care and lash out against teachers, while a student with parents who are involved and take action will care more about learning.

She Said:

Many aspects help or hinder a child`s ability to learn, but is gender one of them?  Many experts believe that the current environments in schools across the nation are more geared toward females, leaving their male counterparts to fend for themselves.  According to a recent study, almost one third of boys entering college read at an illiterate level, compared with only 25 percent of girls.  Is this caused by the school environment, or the fact that girls are simply more willing to put in the work than guys are?

I believe that gender does in some ways affect your ability to learn.  However, I don’t believe that the school environment is to blame.  In my experience, it is all about your drive to do well. In most cases, girls are simply more willing to put in the time to get the grade.  “I think that girls just are more likely to do their homework,” said Ashley Motley, senior.  While many guys are willing to do this as well, I think boys are more likely to take the easy way out.  Now this isn`t because girls are naturally more intelligent than boys, but I think it`s just a side effect of the society we live in.  In terms of the workplace, it seems like boys have more options than girls do.  It is perfectly fine, even acceptable, for a guy to flunk out of high school and get a job in the oil field. Girls really don’t have that option.

I also think that guys are much more likely to get drawn into extracurricular activities instead of their actual education.  According to Dave Croissant, business teacher, this is something that he has seen over his years at WHS.  “Boys get more focused on sports, more so than girls. It seems like they feel like just passing is ok as long as they can play on that field Friday night,” said Croissant. While many girls are also involved in sports, I think it`s more of a guy thing, especially here at WHS.  “All we ever hear about is football or boys basketball, girls’ sports don’t seem to matter,” said Motley.

All in all, I think it is more willingness to work rather than the school environment that makes it seem like girls have an advantage in school. With equal opportunity to succeed in the same environment, with both male and female teachers, girls just seem to excel.



Tiger Den Theatre Presents “Yearbook Reflections”

Sophomore Dolphus Grindle and junior Ryan Marting study a newly-released yearbook in the fall play "Yearbook Reflections."

Sophomore Dolphus Grindle and junior Ryan Marting study a newly-released yearbook in the fall play “Yearbook Reflections.”

Wiggins High School’s Tiger Den Theatre presented the musical “Yearbook Reflections” on November 15 and 16.

The play was under the direction of Mrs. Linda Epple and Mrs. Linda Baltazar, with musical direction by Mr. Jeff Everett and accompaniment by Mr. Michael Saulmon.

It starred numerous students from Wiggins High School, from freshmen to seniors, with a wide range of talents. “I knew a bunch of students that needed a showcase for their talents. This included everyone, even those that didn’t know they had the talents and didn’t want to sing,” said Epple.

Sophomore Faythe Harris is an example of someone who discovered a talent for singing with her solo “Failing.” “I didn’t even know I could sing,” said Harris. “I’m just glad I conquered my fear of singing in front of people.”

Senior Ashley Motley starred as Sandra and Mrs. Miller in the play. “It’s sad to think that I only have one play left,” said Motley, a seven-play veteran. “I love the plays.”

The cast encountered a few struggles throughout the course of preparation. One of the biggest struggles was the music. There was a lot to learn with lines, plus the words of the songs, and with how to sing them. Mr. Everett and Dr. Saulmon volunteering their time was a big help, said Epple.

Another struggle was trying to work around everyone’s busy schedules and the school calendar. Sports, club commitments, and other personal matters made it hard to find enough time to practice as much as needed.

“I was surprised with the outcome of the play,” said Epple. “It was a ton of work and a long haul, but I admired them sticking with it, and they put on a good show.” She says that we can expect a lighter comedy for the next play, something fun.

DVDs of the play are available now for $5 from Mrs. Epple.


Is Black Friday Taking Over Thanksgiving?

By Brooke Bostron

Every year, approximately 139.4 million people participate in Black Friday. Every year, the amount of money pulled in on Black Friday increases dramatically. Last year, spending went up 13 percent from the previous year, reaching a high of $59.1 billion.

Is Thanksgiving becoming a forgotten holiday? As soon as Halloween is over, all the Christmas decorations and deals begin to fill the stores. Most stores are now starting to open on Thanksgiving Day at 5 or 6 o’clock in the evening. Thanksgiving is overlooked by Black Friday; some people can’t have a nice Thanksgiving dinner because they are already camped outside their favorite stores, waiting to sink their teeth into the best deal they can find.

Senior Ashley Motley is one of those people. “I like Black Friday shopping because it is a good bonding time for my aunts and me,” said Motley. Motley and her family all stay the night at her grandma’s house so they get the bonding and Thanksgiving experience. Then, all the girls wake up and go Black Friday shopping together. It’s a tradition in their family. “The tradition brings our family closer together; it has become one of my favorite times of the year,” said Motley.

But on the other hand, some people would rather stay home and spend Thanksgiving with their families. “I feel like Black Friday is a waste of time and it is overrated. It seems like people are planning for Black Friday instead of planning Thanksgiving with their families,” said sophomore Laura Walker. “I greatly feel that Black Friday and Christmas are taking over Thanksgiving.” Walker also noted that she feels it is very disrespectful.

Some families have grown to accept Black Friday and make it their traditions, whereas other families have overlooked it because it takes the glow away from Thanksgiving. Some families live for the sales made on Black Friday, and become extremely greedy the day after giving thanks for life. Nevertheless, 139.4 million people will bundle up on Thursday night and set out to get the sale of the day.

WHS Juniors Attend Blue Horizons Writer’s Workshop

By Lexi Ashbrook

November 21, 2013, eight Wiggins High School students were given the opportunity to attend the Blue Horizons Writer’s Workshop at Morgan Community College. The workshop included three presenters who were experts in three different types of writing. Jon Erickson focused on short stories; David Mason, Colorado’s Poet Laureate, focused on poetry; and Katie Collins focused on journalistic and technical writing.

All the students that attended were juniors. The attendees were Lexi Ashbrook, Caleb Cardwell, Lacey Eikenberg, Shelby Hart, Malachi Madison, Victoria Medrano and Amanda Sears. English teacher Linda Epple took the students to the workshop. Each student was asked to bring a special piece of their writing, which they would share with one another when they broke off in small groups.

The workshop featured two forty-five minute sessions where Erickson and Collins presented ways to write short stories and collect news for articles. There was also one two-hour session where David Mason presented his poetry, ways to write poetry, and the difference between prose and line writing. Mason explained how poetry is simple, but allows the reader to be drawn into the words and rhythm of poetry itself.

According to Lacey Eikenberg, the writer’s workshop was fun and beneficial to all the students who attended. “I had a really fun time; it really inspired me to write like Jon Erickson. I admire his descriptive and creative writing,” said Eikenberg.

Malachi Madison also attended the workshop. He said he thoroughly enjoyed it. “I liked David Mason the best because I really enjoy poetry, so it hit home for me when he started discussing it,” said Madison.

The workshop also served pizza for lunch and during the breaks, prizes were drawn for teachers and students. Items from journals to published books by David Mason to writer’s blocks were given out as prizes during the break sessions.

The Blue Horizons nonprofit organization has been sponsoring the writer’s workshop for nine years. They love introducing new things to students in the world of writing and in the world of poetry.

Wiggins FFA Sends Four Speakers to Districts

By Trevor Dye

Four Wiggins FFA members competed in district speaking competitions in New Raymer on Wednesday, November 20. Two students competed in the Creed Speaking, two members competed in the prepared speech, and two members competed in the extemporaneous category.

Freshman Connor Kaufman competed in the Creed Speaking, and said, “I did well on the speaking, but could have done better answering the questions.”  Kaufman placed in the bronze category at districts. Charlee Teague also competed in the Creed speaking, and was awarded silver.

There were six schools; each school brought six students, and two students competed in each category. The students were then judged on their speech and questions they answered.  The majority of the students placed in the bronze category, some in silver, a few in the gold, and one champion, who will advance to state.

Sophomore Tucker Teague competed in the prepared speech contest, and said “I did amazing. I had an outstanding performance.” Tucker went on and placed gold, and took third place overall.  Junior Amanda Sears also competed in the prepared speech, and placed bronze.

Senior Shelby Teague was awarded silver and took second place in the extemporaneous, losing to Ross Stump, who took second place at nationals last year.  Junior James Calnan also competed in the extemporaneous category, and placed in bronze.

The FFA advisor, Mr. Ernst, feels that “they all did pretty well.” He was proud of the kids, but thinks that the judges messed up and had some major mistakes. He thought that a couple of students should have gone to state, and he was very frustrated with the judges.

The FFA will go to District Leadership Conference on December 4.

Senior of the Month: Dalton Risner

By Shelby Teague

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength or knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” These are the words that this month`s senior of the month, Dalton Risner, lives by.  The 6’ 5”, 300-pound lineman is no stranger to success, according to his 13 full-ride offers to Division I football programs. Risner said that he is most proud of the fact that he comes from such a small school and has had so much success doing what he loves, playing football.  Last year, he was ranked by ESPN as the number three center in the nation, which is quite a feat for someone coming from a 1A school, said Risner.

However, don’t let his football excellence fool you. The senior also carries a 4.0 grade point average and was a state finalist for the Wendy`s High School Heisman Award.  Counselor and coach Matt Sees felt that Risner`s work ethic and dedication contribute to his success. “I`m most impressed by his work ethic; whether on the field, in the weight room, or in the classroom, Dalton is always willing to go the extra mile,” said Sees.

“It`s important that you work hard during your sophomore and junior year, because that’s where it counts,” said Risner.  “Getting involved in as many extracurricular activities as possible is also important because it separates you from others.”  Risner is actively involved in History Club, National Honor Society, and FBLA, in addition to being an all-year letter winner in football and track.

After high school, Risner plans to attend Kansas State University on a full-ride football scholarship.  “I had many other offers, but I loved Kansas State because of the family atmosphere,” said Risner on his choice to become a Wildcat. Risner also said he looks forward to joining a successful program with great coaches.  Although he hopes to get a shot at the pro`s, he also plans on becoming a coach or sports broadcaster to continue his love for the game even after his playing time is over.

Wiggins NHS Hosts Food and Toy Drive

By Laura Walker

Wiggins National Honor Society is hosting a food and toy drive from November 19 to December 9 to help benefit people in Morgan County.

The club is looking for any donations of food or toys. The food will be later donated to Caring Ministries and will help people in the Morgan County region. Cassie Sonnenberg, the National Honor Society sponsor at Wiggins, said that their goal this year is to get as many donations as possible and have food donated that has nutritional value, not just ramen noodle.

Toys that are donated will be later given to the Toys for Tigers program that will wrap them and give them to around 75 to 100 children in the Wiggins area, according to Sara Kopetzkey, a coordinator for the program. “We give to children from ages ranging from birth to eighteen, so we look for any toys or gifts that suit those ages,” said Kopetzkey.

With this program you may also give a cash donation to them and they will buy a gift or gifts with that money to give to the children. According to Kopetzkey, the Wiggins NHS was the second largest donator last year, and they were able to give gifts to a lot more children than they normally would.

“NHS will be keeping track of the amount of toys and food each class in the high school donates, and the winning class will receive Tiger Stripes from Student Council,” said Sonnenberg.

The NHS program would like to help as many people as they can and would like as many donations as possible. The donation time ends on December 9, and the kids can drop their contributions off at the high school’s main office or in Sonnenberg’s classroom.