8.31.2016

We All Know You Did It Brock Allen Turner: More Than Just Rape

We All Know You Did It Brock Allen Turner


People v. Turner is more than a rape case, it's a picture being painted of what is wrong with our society
Brock Turner's Mugshot
  I've never been one to fully keep up with a court case, especially not one that concerns the rape of someone on a college campus. Against all odds, I became interested in the People v. Turner rape case. People v. Turner convicted Brock Allen Turner of three counts of sexual assault. The rape in question took place on the Stanford college campus in January 2016. For some reason, this case has grown to be much larger than any rape case reported in the media as of late. Most news outlets would rather talk about a current sex offense than rehash what happened eight months ago and then go into the post sentence details. The People v. Turner case has turned into a phenomenon. This specific sexual assault has been treated differently than most court cases, and why should it be? Unfortunately, in the first moments of the assault being reported, the media made some mistakes that drastically shifted America's view on the accused Brock Turner.
  For those not familiar with all of the intricate details of the sexual assault, here's the basic story. Brock Turner was seen by two bicyclists on top of a young woman who was unresponsive late at night last January. When bicyclists called out to Turner, he ran. One of the bicyclists later told authorities that he saw the man "aggressively thrusting his hips into her".
The photo used by the media
  When the media began to report the accused rape, they used phrases such as "baby-faced", "promising", and "all-american swimmer" to describe Brock Turner. They reported on the case while accompanied by smiling yearbook photo of Brock Turner. America got acquainted with Mr. Turner, a freshman at Stanford with "Olympic potential". It wasn't until June that the news outlets even showed Turner's mug shot. Why was this assault being reported as Turner's "fall from grace"? Why wasn't Brock Turner being treated the way every other accused rapist is treated? The victim of the assault said this in her letter to Turner which was read in front of the court, "How fast Brock swims does not lessen the severity of what happened to me, and should not lessen the severity of his punishment... The fact that Brock was an athlete at a private university should not be seen as an entitlement to leniency, but as an opportunity to send a message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class."
  Just like every court case, new evidence arises at a snail's pace. The night of the assault police saw message notifications for the GroupMe messaging app on Turner's phone. One message said "WHO'S TITS ARE THOSE". The boys on the app seemed to have been sending tit pics to each other throughout the night but when authorities went into the app, the photo sent by Turner had been deleted by a member of the group. 
  Meanwhile, the victim, a 23 year old unconscious woman, had been found behind the dumpster and was taken to a hospital. She had been found with her underwear missing, the skirt of her dress pulled up, and her breasts were exposed. In her eleven page letter to Turner, she wrote "...I was in a gurney in a hallway. I had dried blood and bandages on the backs of my hands and elbow. I thought maybe I had fallen and was in an admin office on campus...A deputy explained I had been assaulted. I still remained calm, assured he was speaking to the wrong person. I knew no one at this party. When I was finally allowed to use the restroom, I pulled down the hospital pants they had given me, went to pull down my underwear, and felt nothing. I still remember the feeling of my hands touching my skin and grabbing nothing. I looked down and there was nothing. The thin piece of fabric, the only thing between my vagina and anything else, was missing and everything inside me was silenced."

8.11.2016

Most Valuable Blogger: My Experience at the Iowa Summer Journalism Workshop

Most Valuable Blogger: My Experience at the Iowa Summer Journalism Workshop





The Personal Writing girls on a scavenger hunt

  Last month, I spent four days in Iowa City, Iowa attending the 65th Iowa Summer Journalism Workshop (ISJW) at the University of Iowa. I had never been to Iowa before so along with getting my first taste of the University of Iowa's campus I also took a bite into the atmosphere of Iowa City. Before attending the camp, the University of Iowa was on my radar as one of my top two college options. During the ISJW, I decided that no other college will ever come close to the University of Iowa. The University of Iowa is the college of my dreams as well as the perfect school for future journalists like myself.
  I was one of the four campers that partook in the Personal Writing Workshop. The other seventy campers were involved in workshops that focused on photo journalism, investigative reporting, graphic design, yearbook design, leadership, and sports reporting. My workshop was focused on writing reviews and the craft of blogging. Although everyone was segregated during the day, I still managed to meet people from other workshops.
  The main reason why I attended the ISJW was so that I could get some input on my personal blog and learn ways to improve my writing and web page. The personal writing workshop walks campers through the process of starting up a blog and how to  write different types of posts. The most important thing I learned from the workshop was to get out in the community, take some awesome pictures, and write about an experience directly after it happens. I'm still stuck in my old ways of waiting a few days or weeks after the experience but I'm working on the timeliness of my blog posts. 
  During the camp, I had the awesome experience of staying at Burge Hall. Burge Hall is currently the second largest dorm on the University of Iowa's campus. As a future Hawkeye, my chances of living in Burge are extremely high. It was interesting living in the dorms and getting a feel for campus life at the University of Iowa.
  The campus, for me, can make or break a school. I've been to a handful of colleges and if I hate how the campus is arranged I won't even consider applying there. 
  Downtown Iowa City surrounds the campus and currently is under a ginormous amount of construction which skewed my view of the city. The homeless population and construction downtown definitely ruined things for me. Needless, I don't love Iowa City yet. 
Taken by photojournalism student, Bella
  During first afternoon/evening on campus, I met the girls in my workshop and my instructor, Jarrin Williams. That night while we were working on our first assignment, I asked Mr. Williams to look over my personal blog. He was really impressed and gave me confirmation that I am in fact a talented blogger. Mr. Williams told me, "This blog is internship worthy... I mean, even scholarship worthy. This is so professional! Girl, you're making me realize that I've gotta step up my blog game!" I was really happy because I had started this blog on a whim without really knowing what I was doing. (That's a lie, I knew what I was doing... at least a little bit *smiles*)
  Throughout the rest of the week I visited and reviewed a coffee shop, went to the Johnson County Fair, and got to know Iowa City a little bit better. I also saw my first fire fly. Even though I've lived in both the suburban and rural Midwest my entire life, I had never seen a fire fly before. I just thought that they didn't live in Midwestern America! How wrong was I? Litters of lightning bugs surround the campus and it made my stay in Iowa City extra magical.
Ridge & Furrow aka The Brain
  With that said, I really love the campus at the University of Iowa. I loved passing by the stately Chemistry building (the shade is lovely) every morning and patting "The Brain" (Ridge & Furrow) multiple times a day. I didn't even mind the huge hill I had to climb every day to get back to the dorms from the journalism building. 
  On my last full day in Iowa City, Mr. Williams gave the personal writing workshop the opportunity to meet four summer staff members from The Daily Iowan, the student run on campus newspaper. I didn't even KNOW there was a newspaper on campus let alone that The Daily Iowan is one of the top five college level student run newspapers in the country. I felt a like a ditz for not picking up on that earlier... But after talking to the editor in chief, a sports reporter, an arts editor, and photographer, I realized that I definitely needed to work at The Daily Iowan when I was a student at the university. 
On set of the campus news!
  Being the general butt kisser I am, I quickly wrote up a thank you note to the summer staff members I met and dropped in the URLs of my personal and ISJW blogs. I ventured back to The Daily Iowan offices and chatted with the arts editor I had met earlier, Girindra Selleck, about my plans after high school and aspirations to work at The Daily Iowan. He told me that if journalism was something I wanted to do, there's absolutely no college better than the University of Iowa to attend. I suggested that he take a look at my blog and thanked him again for his time... The Daily Iowan is a daily newspaper so every second that they are in the offices, they should be working their butt off on the next issue. While the personal writing girls and I were meeting with the staff, the editor in chief, Lily Abromeit, expressed her concern that they didn't have a sports article to headline the sports section. She showed us the holes in the mock up paper for the next day as a visual. I didn't want to waste anyone's time but I felt the need to get my name into at least someone's head at the paper. As I walked away I asked myself, was what I did worth any of our time? I would soon find out... 
  Before the evening class session, I was walking through Adler, the journalism building while I was on the phone with my mom. I didn't have my glasses on. Little known fact, I cannot see people's faces unless they are two feet away from me. I didn't realize until I was almost past him that the arts editor I met earlier that day was walking past me. I hung up on my mom and managed to catch Girindra before he went back into the Daily Iowan's offices. I asked him if he had a chance to read my blog. He told me that he read it (score!) and that if I kept that quality up, I would definitely be working for the Daily Iowan by the time I was a Hawkeye. Another confirmation that my blog is quality... I must be doing something right!
Most Valuable Blogger at
the ISJW '16:
 Bailey Cichon
   By the last day of the camp, I had a huge idea brewing in my head: I should try to start a newspaper at my high school. There isn't a journalism program at my school which leaves a huge whole in the school cultural community. 
  I told my adviser my glass ceiling shattering idea. Mr. Williams was ecstatic to hear that I wanted to be the head of such a large project and volunteered to write up a letter of recommendation for my future adviser and my principal. "You're the best one to do it," he told me. In the mean time, I drilled the other three other girls in my workshop about their student publications. All of them will be seniors this year and are in editor positions at their paper back home. Since the ISJW, I've gotten 10 people on board with the project, an adviser, and future meetings with my high school's new principal and the activities coordinator. Though the Journalism Club isn't an official club (yet) I think we should be able to get a publication up and running by October. Fingers crossed!!
   Each year on the last day of the Iowa Summer Journalism Workshop, workshop advisers award a small handful of worthy campers with an certificate of achievement. Out of all of the people in my workshop, I won Most Valuable Blogger! Mr. Williams explained to the crowd that I produced quality work all week and showcased a real talent for blogging. I am extremely proud of myself for having been chosen for the award. Last November, I was a greenhorn blogger who was unsure of her presence online but continued to post and managed to retain a following. On August 2, 2016 I reached 2,000 page views. As I type, I am about to go over 300 page views on one of my blog posts. The month has gotten me moving at full speed. Founding a newspaper and a club is a very difficult task. There are many school board policies to read and hoops to jump through. Thankfully, I've found my niche and even the world can't stop me now! 

8.05.2016

Five Things I've Learned as a Dress Consultant

Five Things I've Learned as a Dress Consultant

How exactly do you go about buying a prom or wedding dress? Here are some insider tips for dress shopping!

Dress consultant by day, blogger by night
Photo by Carly Rhyner, June 2016
  As I've mentioned in what feels like every single blog post I've ever written, I am a dress consultant. I started my job last January and since then I've learned so much about formal events and shopping in general. My days in the store are filled with measuring men for tuxedos, lacing up corset backed wedding dresses, dressing mannequins, and keeping the store looking fabulous. 
Vacuuming out a dressing room to keep the store looking fabulous
  The best part of my job has to be the displays. Since some of my first days of working at the boutique, I've been in charge of the jewelry displays. I also play around with the garters and shoes. I have the reputation of being the person who can find a necklace just by hearing a customer describe it. Most notably, the store I work at has won awards for our window displays, which are a team effort to change out every few weeks. 

This window display took a week to complete!
Another part of the spring window display!  
As much as I love my job, some days are exhausting and I feel like my brain is going to explode! I've learned so much since starting my job. I've of course learned how to measure people for tuxedos and how to use our computer system... but more importantly I've learned the process of buying a dress for a special occasion. Buying a dress isn't as easy as it sounds and it requires a lot of planning. To aid any future dress buyers, I've decided to tell the world the top five things I've learned as a dress consultant. 

8.03.2016

What Everyone Needs to Know About the Marshfield School Referendum

What Everyone Needs to Know About the Marshfield School Referendum

Details about possible cuts and the actual tax increase for the projected plan
French Club members paint a banner in preparation for homecoming activities
October 2015

  Marshfield High School will be proposing a referendum that will be voted on this November. The referendum (though the amount has not been finalized at the time of this post) will ask taxpayers to spend about $12 million dollars over the course of four years to avoid school budget cuts. 

Why does the school suddenly need more money? And how much are we talking?

  Voters approved a referendum in 2012 in which they agreed to pay $10 million above state levy limits over the next four years. In 2017, that referendum will end and the school will find themselves in a pickle. 
  The referendum that is currently in question will collect $3 million dollars yearly for four years. According to The Marshfield News Herald, the owner of a $100,000 home will pay a $25 dollar increase. If more money doesn't make it's way to the Marshfield Schools, $3.1 million dollars may be cut from the 2017-2018 budget. 

Where will I see these cuts? What will be cut?

  Middle school athletics will be eliminated as well as the French program and driver's education. An elementary regular education assistant will be let go as well as a library media coordinator. The learning technology budget and athletics budget will be lowered as well as employee benefits. The high school sports with the lowest enrollment will be eliminated. Four full time staff in core areas will inevitably have to be let go along with a talented and gifted coordinator and a social worker. Student fees will increase and administrator salaries will be cut and then freeze. Reduced funding for sports and clubs will occur. Department budgets will be cut by more than $600,000. The custodial staff will have to be reduced as well. Drama club and the productions will be eliminated. 

From a Student's Point of View: What Should You Know?

All of the students who competed in the Concours Oral (French competition) last year
  I will be a junior at Marshfield High School this fall. I understand that many people in the community aren't involved with the school and the budget cuts that coincide with failure to pass the referendum do not affect them directly. For that reason, I've decided to write this guide to the referendum. 
  For everyone who doesn't know already, Marshfield has a lot of large projects going on right now. The Everett Roehl Public Library project is wrapping up and a STEM Center is scheduled to break ground at the UW Marshfield - Wood County. A street referendum will be voted on this year along with the topic of the hour: the school referendum. Marshfield has been pleading their case to tax payers for years, begging them to think of the community and pay just a little bit extra in taxes. Though I'm not a tax payer yet, I can imagine that this can be annoying after the fourth or fifth time. The street referendum affects the citizens directly as well as all of the visitors to the Marshfield area. The school referendum only affects the students, teachers, and the rest of the people affiliated with the school. I'm here to tell you that the things being cut are more important than some may realize.
French Club & French Honors Society
Students at last fall's Lip Dub
  I was surprised to read that driver's education would be cut. Here in the Marshfield area, students can chose to pay for driver's education through the academy or take driver's ed during the school year as a class. For some students who have a hard enough time paying for school lunches, school driver's ed is a blessing as it costs less than hiring a private instructor. The ability to drive should be an option for everyone. 

Foreign Language is a Necessity for the College Bound Student

  My French teacher, Madame Kit Chase makes sure to tell her French students the importance of not only foreign language but learning French. An extremely large part of the world speaks French, which is the second or third most spoken language on Earth.
  I am a firm believer in offering a variety of languages in schools. For some students, Spanish just doesn't click. Kids get discouraged at the idea of learning a foreign language because they've only ever had Spanish.They think that they aren't good at foreign languages as a whole when in reality, they just don't understand Spanish. 
   Personally speaking, I moved to Marshfield my sophomore year of high school. My old school district started teaching Spanish in elementary school and offered German in high school. I have always wanted to learn French and when I came to Marshfield, one of the things I was excited for was finally being able to learn the language of my dreams. I've been in Spanish classes for about 90% of my life but it still didn't click. I had no interest in it! Since starting French, I feel like I am really learning a language. 
  Two to three years of a foreign language is required for college entrance. For students who are college bound, having two languages to chose from is a blessing. A large number of students at MHS take French and many of the students participate in French Club and French Honors Society. Marshfield's French Club is at least three times the size of the Marshfield Spanish Club. (Believe me, I designed the foreign language club's year book page last year!). So many students actively participate in the French program, it would be a real shame if it got cut. 
   

  Don't Forget the Little Guy

Cast and Crew of the fall play, "Almost, Maine"
Fall 2015
  Have you ever attended a musical or play at the high school? If the referendum doesn't pass, say goodbye to your theatre date nights. Another important club that is at risk of being cut is the drama club. That means that the productions will cease as well. Theatre is where many of the kids who don't fit anywhere else house their sanctuary. Whether they are on stage or behind the curtains as part of the crew, theatre is key club in our community. Theatre gives students something to be apart of. It takes their mind off of daily stressors and worries and provides a place to laugh and have fun with their peers by creating a live work of art. Musical theatre pushes musicians and dancers to perform at a high level both on stage and in the orchestra pit. 
Cast of "The Sound of Music"
Spring 2016
  Productions also bring the students together and give actors and crew an opportunity to meet people that they wouldn't have had a chance to interact with during the school day. The drama department works hard to give the community the best shows possible year after year. All of that hard work pays off! Last year, the Marshfield Drama Club sold out of tickets TWICE during The Sound of Music. Selling out of tickets is a huge accomplishment in an actor's career. The entire student body involved in the production was beaming with joy when they heard the good news. We also won TOMY awards (Wisconsin's High School Theatre Tony Award) for our orchestra during The Sound of Music. Why would we cut a program that showcases all of the talent in our school? Why can we afford to fund a varsity, JV, and freshman football team and basketball team but not fund two productions a year that involves students that don't fit in anywhere else? Why are we cutting the little guy, the outcast, the un-athletic, and the talented performers that also bring revenue back to our school. Drama is not a money pit, it's a valuable part of school culture. 
  I''m not bashing sports but in a time where we are potentially slashing huge student organizations and valuable teaching positions, why do we need three teams for one sport? I think that instead of cutting drama or the French program, we could eliminate the freshmen teams in sports, decreasing the cost of running the teams. I love going to swim meets to watch my friends compete and playing in the pep band during football and basketball games. I think that football and basketball are important sports and connect the community to the school. I just don't see why three teams are necessary. 

Now it's up to the community to decide what's next for the school's staff, clubs, and teams. 

  Overall, I encourage every member of the community to get out and vote on the school referendum this November. If this referendum does not pass, our students will lose teachers in their core subjects as well as important clubs that make the student culture thrive at Marshfield High School. The difference in your taxes will be almost unnoticeable and it will really make a difference in the Marshfield community. 

Sources: Hub City Times
All of these opinions are my own