The Surveyor The student news site of Cedar Rapids George Washington High School Thu, 23 Jan 2020 19:24:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Copyright © The Surveyor 2014 (The Surveyor) (The Surveyor) The Surveyor 144 144 The student news site of Cedar Rapids George Washington High School The Surveyor The Surveyor no no Good News track review Thu, 23 Jan 2020 19:22:43 +0000 “Good News,” the debut single from Mac Miller’s most recent album, Circles, arrived on January 9, despite the death of the artist on September of 2018. The album itself, released on January 17, is the successor to his 2018 effort, Swimming.
The song opens up with a droning bass and plucked strings playing a catchy and easygoing melody all in a chill-worthy, pop-style beat. The lyrics of the song all seem to revolve around him and what seems to be a struggle with his emotional health. The first few lines especially give off this lonesome and introverted quality to it as he talks about spending the day in his head, dreaming, and doing some “spring cleaning.” The way he delivers his lyrics in this groggy and somewhat lazy style definitely fits the aesthetic he seems to go for, which is always a plus. But it mostly seems like he’s swallowing on his own words and, at times, I catch myself replaying the line just to understand him. Looking at the lyrics again, it definitely feels odd to look at them without being reminded of his untimely death. Lyrics such as “I’m running out of gas, hardly anything left,” feels somewhat unsettling. He talks about if he makes it home from work, but sadly, he didn’t. The song doesn’t seem to go far in terms of production and the overall beat as it relatively stays in its own soft and lo-fi inspired flavor all throughout the track. The strong suit of “Good News” was definitely the lyrics, as they really put you into the shoes of what exactly was on his mind on a mental level — or at least, his mindset — while he was making the track. It’s downfall, however, is mainly how Mac speaks/sings throughout the song (for the most part).
All in all, I think “Good News” is a great track, provides a taste into Mac’s psyche, and of course has an original and catchy instrumental to go along with it.

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“She Kills Monsters” Review Thu, 03 Oct 2019 18:49:15 +0000 “She Kills Monsters” slaughtered expectations with its sarcastic humor, conversation over teenage issues, and it’s intriguing teenage drama. That breaks the audiences strict comfortability, with a mature edge. But what makes this play so unique from any other play is it’s daring action sequences. From kicks, punches and sword fights all the way to slit throats, this geeked out play as no shortage of wicked brawls that leave the audience staring in awe. 

This play wouldn’t be as action-packed without the strenuous process of learning fighting scenes. That adds a layer of complexity to the creation of “She Kills Monsters.”

“In total, there are over 20 parts of the play that require stage combat in varying degrees. It takes a significant amount of time to put these parts together safely and in a way that supports the overall story,” said Kyle Woolums, the drama director of the play

“It started out with just lines and running in circles, and blocking planned hits from the other characters. Then actors added their own pizzazz. And we repeat the same action scenes over and over,” Kobe Chindlind 21’, who performed as Miles, the boyfriend of the main character, Angus.

The actors and actresses strictly practiced action scenes for their first 8 rehearsals. And these action sequences molded the play into a unique performance, unlike any other play.

“Nearly no-one in the cast had ever done fighting scenes like this before,” said Liesl Bucknell 22’. 

From Angus fighting bugbears to the final boss dragon. The Wash drama department proved to us how complex of a stage performance they can compose. These scenes especially prove that.

Though the action was not the only contributing factor to the play’s entertainment. “She Kills Monsters” is full of teenage drama and real-life issues. Relationships, coming out of the closet, and a death in the family. The story visits a wide arrange of life hurdles. The story follows as the characters try to overcome these. This adds a layer of sophistication that gives the story depth, and kept the audience intrigued. 

“Theatre plays an important role in starting conversations about challenging aspects of life. It can also enlighten us about how to overcome certain challenges or at least give us more ways to process what life throws at us. While this particular play is themed around Dungeons and Dragons, it also speaks to more universal themes–bullying, homophobia, sisterhood, and grief & loss. These are issues that students in our community have to deal with.” said Kyle Woolums. 

While the chaotic and complex action sequences were a huge factor in the quality and performance of the play. It was the vulgar realism, message of acceptance, and bluntness that made this play a large portion of the audience can relate to. It was an overall entertaining performance.

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2019 School year changes Mon, 23 Sep 2019 19:06:27 +0000 The 2019-2020 school year has kicked off and there have been a few changes throughout the school. This year every student will be receiving a Chromebook, unless they or their parents have opted out. Students receiving a Chromebook must sign a paper detailing the requirements and regulations behind owning a Chromebook. These regulations restrict personal use of the computers, and try to assign a more academic role.  An interesting change is a switch from Powerschool to Infinite Campus. In the past, Powerschool was used for grading and scheduling, but this year Infinite Campus has taken Powerschools place. 

Infinite Campus has a lot to offer in terms of checking grades and progress in class. While the administration generally has a positive view on the change, some students are annoyed with the change, claiming the new system is too complex, or dramatically different from Powerschool. Some teachers have moved away from websites used in the past such as Canvas, and are now implementing Google Classroom. 

George Washington High School principal John Cline spoke about the 2019-2020 changes saying, 

“Any change is a discomfort at first. Once we learn the ins-and-outs, it will create a lot of new opportunities.” said Cline.

Some Washington students though do not have such a positive look on the switch this year. One senior which asked to stay anonymous, stated,

“I’m not happy with the switch from powerschool. Not only is infinite campus confusing, you cant even see your GPA.”

Chromebooks are new this year. One concern about the new laptops, is some students who opt out will be at a disadvantage compared to those who accept them, but right now teachers must accommodate those who cannot access the internet. On the other hand, a laptop for everyone creates new opportunities in academic work. Students who previously could not access the internet have a means to learn, free of charge. Talks of grant money funding academic learning through paid wifi have been surfaced through administration. Overall, these new changes will affect our school. Making these changes better for students and staff is what Washington High School tries to prioritize. 

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Homecoming Week Mon, 23 Sep 2019 18:43:17 +0000 Homecoming is more than just the dance itself. Homecoming is a week-long event, simply known as Homecoming Week. All week, each day there is a new theme and they typically correspond with the Homecoming dance’s theme. Everyday there’s at least one event happening that has Homecoming involved. “Wash’s Homecoming week just hypes everyone up, in general. It gets everyone pumped up,” CiCi Johnson, ‘21 said. Washington kicks off the week with the Homecoming Court assembly, which presents the Homecoming Court candidates. The following day, Washington holds their annual Homecoming Parade and bonfire. Activities and clubs promote their activity by having a parade float and the cheerleaders, dance team, and a band provide entertainment for the night. “Homecoming week is special and it gets everyone into our school’s spirit.” Haven Johnson, ‘22 said. Two days later, the Homecoming game happens and this year it’s against Bettendorf.


On Saturday, from seven to eleven, the Homecoming dance takes place in Washington’s cafeteria. This year’s theme is Outer Space and it’s going to be out of this world!

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Vote for Homecoming Music Thu, 19 Sep 2019 19:02:31 +0000 Use this link to add songs to this year’s homecoming playlist!

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Sweeps: Overview Thu, 19 Sep 2019 18:36:31 +0000 The brooms will be kept in the closet as last years introduced policy of “sweeping” will not be brought back through the 2019-2020 school year. Many students were conflicted about the protocol, some hated it, others didn’t liked it, but it was a productive and interesting idea to get students were they needed to be in a uniform manner non the less.

“Having security guards now is a much better alternative. They know the kids who are in the halls and can pick them out.” says Tiffany Rule 21’ when asked how she felt about what has been in effect this year in replace of Sweeps. “The process is labor intensive and ties up valuable resources. Processing can also produce further delays in attendance.” Says Principle Cline. Mr. Blue and Mr. Ballard did not comment. 

Furthermore, the logic of sweeps didn’t stand with some students. “The punishment if you were even a minute late to class would result in you getting sent to the main office, making you even more late.” says Rule 21’. This was a very common complaint among students but has dissolved over time.

All in all, Don’t expect to see sweeping coming back anytime soon. With security now at wash, the environment has been kept controlled and civilized for the most part. 

We work to have classes starting promptly with engaging activities that students understand the value of and therefore are motivated to not miss them. Staff members are also helpful in encouraging students between classes.  We will track tardies and attendance and look for improvements.” says Principal Cline. 

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Washington Walkout Mon, 20 May 2019 16:52:03 +0000 Around 1:20 a.m. on Sat., May 18, two former Cedar Rapids Washington students were shot and killed in the parking lot of Iowa Smoke shop on the southwest side. There were a total of four victims,  with two victims currently in the hospital sustaining life-threatening injuries. The victims killed were 18-year old Royal Ceiz Abram and 18-year old Matrell Michael Eu’gene Johnson. Authorities believe it was a targeted attack and the investigation is ongoing. The Cedar Rapids Police Department identified three persons of interest, 21-year old DeShawn Hull, 24-year old Alexandra Smith, and 25-year old Andre Richardson. Richardson is a former Wash student who attended Wash from 2012-2014.

At 10:15 a.m. on Mon., May 20,  Wash students organized a walkout to honor the lives lost from the shooting and to protest gun violence. The walkout was supported by administration and students were informed through the announcements. The walkout was located around the flagpole, where six students spoke. Members of the community also joined the students during the walkout.

Many students knew the victims and are fed up with the amount of lives lost from gun violence.

“We need to be better and do better. There have been countless kids in my grade who should be graduating with us next weekend who have been taken away from us.” said Lily Burns, ’19.

More information will be reported as it is received.

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The Legacy of Dr. Plagman Sun, 19 May 2019 16:41:06 +0000 As Graduation looms ever closer, and as the seniors prepare to walk across the stage on May 25, there will be one man who is notably absent.

Dr. Ralph Plagman served as Wash’s principal for 35 years until he resigned following the 2016 school year amidst an infamous scandal. The last class he oversaw is now preparing to finish high school and we want to revisit the legacy of this man.

In his letter of resignation, Plagman says he was asked to resign by district officials as a result of the sexual relationship between a substitute teacher, Mary Beth Haglin, and a 17-year-old student. Former district spokeswoman, Marcia Hughes, told The Gazette, “The statement represents Dr. Plagman’s perception of events and is not an official District statement. …Since the District’s investigation into this matter has not concluded, the district will not substantively comment on Dr. Plagman’s statement.”

Plagman investigated Haglin’s conduct when it was first brought to his attention with another administrator. This investigation lasted one day. It wasn’t until a few months later that Plagman brought this to the attention of the district when a video of Haglin and the student was posted on a social media network.

Despite this, Plagman retired after serving the district for 49 years and as Washington’s Principal since the 1981-82 school year. “I love Washington High School, where I have been principal for 35 years and one month, and all of the thousands of students, staff members, and parents whom I have been blessed to know and serve over all of those years. It has been tremendous honor and joy! I also have wonderful memories of my earlier years at Kennedy High School and Metro High School. In my retirement I will continue to be the #1 fan of the Washington Warriors!” Plagman wrote in his letter of resignation.

Since his resignation, Plagman’s name has seemingly become taboo, rarely spoken throughout the halls, and if his name is brought up, it’s followed by silence. This is because, despite a large support from the seniors and students he taught, there is a lot of controversy still surrounding his name. The question must be asked, does he deserve this?

Following his retirement, current and former students were outraged. So much so a rally was held at Washington, with attendees chanting and holding signs supporting their former principal. Izzie Wilcox, ’19, had just completed her freshman year when Plagman retired. She attended the rally with her brother and father, both Wash grads. “We just wanted to try and express to people outside of the Wash community what DP (a nickname given to Plagman) meant to us. It was a very cool experience because people from all areas of Wash came together to share our admiration for Dr. Plagman,” Wilcox, ’19, said.

A community member holds a sign in support of Dr. Plagman at the rally on Aug. 3, 2016, one day after his resignation. Photo by Kyle Phillips

Plagman was beloved by his students due to the attention and care he had for them. “DP knew every single student’s name and what they were involved in. He would go out of his way to speak to students about the different activities they were doing and personally congratulate them for different accomplishments. He never played favorites, and made even the smallest clubs feel valuable and a part of the Warrior community,” Wilcox  said.

Plagman was always remembered by his students even years after their graduation. Tom Wilcox, a 1992 Wash grad, stood outside the school while supporting his son and daughter who were rallying. “I pictured his last year as a series of applause and celebration, a victory lap,” Tom told The Gazette.

After Plagman’s departure, the school was left hurt and confused. The principal who represented Washington for so many years would no longer be there. “I know people fault him for many things and I know that like every human he had his issues, but all in all, I would not come out and say that he was a bad leader for this school. I think he did a lot for Washington High School and his departure damaged the spirit of Washington, not him personally, but that he was let go. We miss him,” Sarah Swayze, a Wash special education teacher, said. “It’s become a struggle for senior students to adapt. You’re stuck at this thing that you’re happy to be graduating and your stuck knowing that this man isn’t going to be leading your graduation.”

It was tough for students and teachers move on and try to let go of the past. “I was very angry and bitter. Once the realization hit, yeah he’s not going to be here, I realized that we all need to step up. He can’t be replaced by anybody, a single person at all. We all need to lift our game up to keep this train moving along,” Robert Throndson, a Wash math teacher and parent of two Wash students, said.

Plagman was a man with a vision for this school. He knew what he wanted the school to look like and be known for, so everything he did was to promote his vision and make this school ideal for every student. Plagman worked towards his vision by promoting Advanced Placement (AP) testing and advanced courses. He made every student feel welcome and important, without any bias. “The thing that I’m discovering I liked most about him, was that he had a really clear vision of what he thought our school was about, and everything he did was intended to support that vision,” Adam Witte, Wash English department chair, said.

Plagman cannot be mentioned without talking about his support and the relentless push he had towards AP testing. Washington has sat atop the AP index for so long largely due to the determination Plagman had to get every student to participate in difficult classes. Plagman would show a massive thermometer on the announcements everyday and fill it up as more people signed up for AP tests. He would speak directly to the students, urging individuals to sign up for more tests. Plagman also would provide numerous incentives for students. Plagman made AP testing part of the Washington culture. “Dr. Plagman had a vision for what our school needed to be, and part of that vision was we need to keep the kids at the top. We need to keep the top high achieving students, who honestly have a choice of where to go to school, to keep them here, we need to serve them better than the other schools that they could choose to go to. So his push for AP was part of a bigger plan on keeping kids here who had a choice, keeping families here who had a choice,” Throndson said.

A common sight for young freshman in their first days of high school was Plagman walking into random classes and taking a seat at a desk. Then as if it were planned for weeks, the teacher would hand him a seating chart. Plagman would then sit in the class studying the seating chart, memorizing names and connecting those names to faces. He would then return the seating chart and venture off.

Plagman legitimately cared about every student that stepped into his school so much that he’d work hard to memorize every single student’s name and what activities they are involved in so they’d feel welcome at Wash. “He cared for every single person. He used to come into my room at the beginning of the year, because we have large freshman classes, and ask me for a seating chart and he’d sit in the back of the class room and memorize names. Then when he was out in the hallway he’d genuinely say to somebody ‘Hello Sally! Nice job in the soccer game last night, and good luck in the concert tonight’ so he just had a very caring heart and it was genuine,” Peter Westphalen, ’86, and current Wash choir director, said.

DP loved to recognize even the smallest accomplishments. What made it so special was how proud he was of his students. Whenever someone did something that he thought deserved recognition, he did so with genuine pride. “I think that he was incredibly highly respected by staff. I knew that his expectations of the choir department were extremely high, however his support was so great that you wanted to please him, and when you did something that represented Washington in a great way. I’m talking anything- I’m talking IJAG, I’m talking choir, band, athletics, student senate. Anybody did something, he was excellent at recognizing their efforts, so he instilled a huge sense of pride in being a Washington Warrior,” Westphalen said.

Even after his retirement, Plagman still recognizes and congratulates Warriors successes as much as possible. “DP knew everybody’s kids, he knew every kid here, what they were active in, he talked to them whenever he saw them, whether it was in school or out of school. And even after he left he knew what my kids were involved in, and when somebody would be in the paper for something good he would make sure to let us know,” Throndson said.

Plagman helped push the students at Wash to achieve their potential, especially students of color. In January 2016, Washington was one of four schools in Iowa to be honored with the Breaking Barriers Award for African-American students. This award was given by the State of Iowa. Wash was honored based on statistics from the past three years, during that time period.

54% of African-American students statewide were proficient in reading and math, while 74% of African-American students at Wash were proficient in these same subjects. Washington was the first high school to win this award and as of 2018 is one of just two high schools to have been awarded this for African-American achievement. “He prioritized making sure cultural diversity, especially embracing our racial diversity, was not a problem to be solved, it was a priority to be embraced, it was our greatest strength, and so I knew who we were and I valued that,” Witte said.

CDO, an annual cultural diversity workshop, is an event that highlights the cultural differences of students at the school. Although there are many people that have helped make this into a major part of the Wash school year, Plagman did a lot to help this activity grow. “He pushed for [CDO], he fought that, even when the district was trying to get rid of it, he fought for that. The district did not what that to continue, Dr Plagman fought for many years to keep that going. It is because of him that that has stayed here as long as it has, because he fought for it, he saw it as an important part of representing every student that was in this building,” Swayze said.

Another group that Plagman supported was the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance). Although he is not the only person to thank for this group he, helped support it in the early stages so it could become a beneficial group for the school. “The gay straight alliance, he made sure that that was here, that it was supported. He made sure that every student had a place to belong. He was considerate, a very considerate man,” Swayze said.

Plagman wanted every member of the Wash community to feel like they were a part of something and that they were supported. He did this by attending everything, Plagman had a superhuman ability to seemingly be at two places at once. He went above and beyond what was asked of him to make sure everyone was welcome. “Having him at every game just told the kids how important they were and every music thing and just everything, he was everywhere all the time. Insane. Since he’s left, I’ve tried to go to as many things as I possibly can, I don’t know how he did it. I can’t keep that schedule, going here, going there. There are multiple activities every night he would make sure he was at,” Throndson said.

A part of Plagman’s personality that drew the staff and students towards him was how easy he was to talk to about any issue you may have. If someone wanted to talk to Plagman then he would make time and he would never forget a meeting. “This is what amazed me about Dr. Plagman, he attended everything, but yet always had time for everyone, and never made you feel rushed when you were meeting with him,” Westphalen said.

Plagman  was a person that drew respect and admiration from almost everyone that interacted with him because he was a person that genuinely love this school and every person inside of it. “I love the man, I don’t always agree with him, we would often have discussions where it would be like ‘I’m not sure we’re doing this right’, but he would always tell me why he felt he was doing it correctly and it would always be in the best interest of the kids. Always in the best interest of the kids,” Throndson said.

Without Plagman, Washington High School would be drastically different. Plagman made Washington a school that is respected and revered, he led this school to becoming one of the best in the state and country. “He put us on the map, we can very easily be an urban high school. He put us on the map. When you say you work at Washington High School people say, ‘oh wow’, or when I say my kids graduated from Washington High School, ‘wow’,” Throndson said.

Although Plagman no longer comes to Wash everyday his legacy lives on. His spirit lives inside every student that had the privilege of learning under him, and for those who never studied under him. The teachers he hired will continue to preach his beliefs and ideas while promoting the growth of the school as it becomes something better than even Plagman could’ve hoped for.

“That’s part of what continues to live on. All these people that he brought together, this cohort of teachers, and it’s not like Doc Jones teaches the same way as Mr. Kleman who teaches the same way as Mr. Scherrman, those are really different people but they’re all excellent and when you’re surrounded by people that are excellent, you want to be excellent. So I think that’s part of where his spirit lives on, is just because this is the house that Ralph built, and we continue to live in it,” Witte said.

There may be a day in the distant future that Plagman’s name holds no real meaning at this school, one thing will remain constant, “It’s a great day to be a Warrior!” -Dr. Ralph Plagman.

Additional reporting by Abby Throndson, Jaydin McMickle and Jared Barger.

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Home Wi-Fi access for 1 million students Wed, 01 May 2019 16:24:02 +0000 The Cedar Rapids Community School District (CRCSD) is providing a Google Chromebook to every student for academic, and personal (let’s be honest) use during the 2019-2020 school year. It will eliminate the use of paper and make assignments more accessible to students.

Students will also be able to take them home to work on homework. However, the problem with that is that not all students have access to Wi-Fi at home. So they would be unable to get on canvas, powerschool, and other sites.

Google Docs does offer an offline mode to work, but not all features would be available. And if the district does eventually go all electronic, this would pose a problem.

But the District just received some good news. Students that don’t have internet outside of school that are selected will be part of the 1 million Project. This initiative provides 3GB per month of wireless data to high schoolers across America.

This initiative is hoping to ensure that all students get the research done that they need to succeed. They know that Washington has a lot of potential and they are helping to make “all learners future ready.”

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Wrestling Studs Wed, 01 May 2019 16:19:38 +0000 University of Iowa freshman, Washington Alum class of 2018, and wrestler Will Foreman made his mark here during his 4 years. Foreman set a school record for the most wins during his career. He finished his quest during his senior season with a 124-29 record.
Washington wrestling coach, J.P. Graham coached Foreman to this achievement.
“It was pretty cool because the previous record holder I coached was in 2005, so the record had been standing for a long period of time,” says Coach Graham.
Some wrestlers in the state have more wins than Foreman but their conferences have more matches. Foreman had to keep an extremely high win percentage to break the record.”In our conference you have to be extremely consistent to reach over 100 wins,” Graham continued.
And consistent he was. He put up an 81% win percentage.
Foreman has moved on from Wash but Graham has the privilege of coaching his younger brother, Joe, to achieve great things. He looks forward to helping Joe follow in his brother’s footsteps. “Joe is right around 50 wins right now so he would have to beat a lot of people to break the record, but it is possible,” said Graham. “Will and Joe have very different styles. Will is very aggressive on his feet and looking to take people down. Joe is better in the top position, getting people where he wants them.”
Despite the different styles, both brothers work hard to be the best they can be and look to keep the Foreman wrestling legacy alive wherever they go.

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