The senior prank typically is not done for a good cause, but that is what happened at Lakota East High School Friday.
Seniors surprised their classmates, teachers and administrators this morning with a school pride message on Main Street, which is the school’s main hallway, made entirely out of canned goods.
The 2,013 cans will now be donated to the survivors of the tornado that ripped through parts of Oklahoma City and its suburbs on Monday, as well as to Reach Out Lakota, a nonprofit that provides food, clothing and necessities to needy Butler County residents.
The Lakota East seniors have also challenged their underclassmen to match their donation by bringing in cans next week.
Surabhi Tewari, a junior at Lakota West High School, earned a top composite score of 36 on the ACT test. Nationally, on average, less than one-tenth of one percent of students who take the ACT earn a top score. Among all test takers in the high school graduating class of 2012, only 781 of more than 1.66 million students earned a perfect score.
Lakota West junior Surabhi Tewari earned a perfect score on her ACT. Photo provided.
Tewari had a GPA of 4.9 after her first semester this school year. While she has not yet narrowed down her top choices for college, she is interested in pursuing a career in medicine or engineering. According to her mother, Jaya Tewari, she often talks about Washington University in St. Louis and has dreamed of going to Duke University since her freshman year.
“Surabhi is oftentimes recommended for scholarships, awards and leadership positions,” said Lakota West counselor Andrea Bryant. “The staff thinks very highly of her and she has certainly earned their respect, including my own.”
Tewari is co-president of Lakota West’s math team and is also involved in InterAlliance and Relay for Life. She was voted next year’s co-president of student government and spends much of her time volunteering as a peer mentor and tutor for students with special needs in the district.
The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1-36, and a student’s composite score is the average of the four test scores. Some students also take ACT’s optional writing test, but the score for that test is reported separately and is not included within the ACT composite score.
Lakota East High School has already raised awareness and more than $11,000 for the Center for Spina Bifida Care at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, but that could only be the beginning as the school hopes its “lip dub” video goes viral and attracts the attention of Ellen DeGeneres.
The video, which was first shown publicly during showings at the high school on Friday, was posted online Tuesday evening.
The “lip dub” was filmed April 18 at the high school. Film students from East and the University of Cincinnati pointed the cameras, while the project leaders from the Lakota East National Honor Society told them what to shoot.
Students were lip-synching to the music, dressed up in costumes, danced in the background, as well as used roller blades, glow sticks and a helicopter in an impressive production that lasted only one Thursday afternoon.
“I can honestly say that I’ve watched the lip dub more than 100 times. And it just keeps getting better each time I view it,” said senior Sydney Aten, NHS president. “I get goosebumps. I shed tears.
“It’s unlike anything else I ever have and probably ever will experience. I love my school. I love my teachers. I love my community. They made this happen.”
The project was kick started during a school assembly in February, when a student at VanGorden Elementary inspired East students to get behind it.
Amelia Murphy, 11, received a standing ovation during that assembly when she shared her story to a packed gym. Murphy, who suffers from Spina Bifida, has had 62 surgeries, many on her brain and her spine.
“Spina Bifida is basically a condition with your spinal cord and your brain,” Murphy said. “Symptoms vary. Some people can walk and some people can’t. I have had half my surgeries on my head. It can be really tough, but my family has been with me through all of it.”
The support of her family, which includes her sisters, Claire, 13, and Emma, 16, doesn’t end at school or at home. She also gets special attention during her visits to Cincinnati Children’s, where her mom, Pam, works as patient advocate in family relations.
With the attention of the community, East hopes it attract national awareness for Spina Bifida by having their video shared or featured on the “Ellen Show”.
Just prior to the filming, producers of the show contacted Aten, who said a producer told her that they are supportive of the cause and their efforts. They also said they wanted to get the message out and are anxiously waiting for the release of the video.
The Lakota West High School bands have partnered with the Beckett Ridge McDonald’s for another fundraiser Thursday, May 16 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Beckett Ridge McDonald’s located at 8251 Princeton-Glendale Road (Intersection of Smith Road and Route 747 across from Beckett Ridge Kroger).
McDonald’s will donate 15 percent of all sales that evening to the Lakota West marching band to help offset some of the costs of the 278 students who will be representing the community as they travel to New York City to march in the 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The community is invited to participate in the fundraiser by stopping by McDonald’s and either eating in the dining room or going through the drive-thru during the three-hour fundraiser to support the Lakota West marching band.
Representatives of the Lakota West band program will be on hand to answer questions about the band program and the upcoming trip to participate in the 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.
There are no flyers required to bring for the band to receive the donation.
Additional fundraisers will be held at the Beckett Ridge McDonald’s throughout the spring and summer.
Public showings of video will take place at 3:15 and 6 p.m.
RAW VIDEO OF STUDENTS MAKING LIP DUB, AS WELL AS COMMENTS FROM THE LAKOTA EAST LIP DUB TEAM
The Lakota East National Honor Society had a unique plan to raise awareness and funds for the Center for Spina Bifida Care at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
They decided to do a “lip dub”, where roughly 3,000 students, teachers and community members participated in a video where they lip-synced five popular songs from artists, including the Black Eyed Peas, One Direction and Smash Mouth.
The original idea gained local support from University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono and Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo. However, all along, the school wanted to drive up national awareness by getting the attention of Ellen DeGeneres.
Students email blitzed anyone they thought could be connected to her show, tweeted #WeWantEllen and @TheEllenShow, as well as sent out close to 600 letters to producers pitching their story – their idea – their cause.
“Ellen is open to accepting challenges,” said senior Sydney Aten, NHS president. “She is not only a figure who has respect from multiple groups of people, but she can connect with almost everyone. We wanted to find someone who everyone looks up to and admires.”
The video was filmed April 18 at the high school. Film students from East and UC pointed the cameras, while Aten and her NHS team told them what to shoot. Students were lip-synching to the music, dressed up in costumes, danced in the background, as well as used roller blades, glow sticks and a helicopter in an impressive production that lasted only one Thursday afternoon.
The week before the filming, producers of the “Ellen Show” contacted the school. Aten said a producer told her that the “Ellen Show’’ is supportive of the cause and their efforts. They said they wanted to get the message out and are anxiously waiting for the release of the video.
That day is here, as the video will premiere Friday at Lakota East High School. There will be two showings, which are open to the public, at the school. The first showing will be at 3:15 p.m. and the second showing is at 6 p.m. Seating will be available on a first come/first serve basis.
In photo, in front from left to right; Ryan Fisher, Frederick Tessier; back from left to right; John Trygier, Eric Ambrus, Alex Bunk, Nick Zhao, Alexandre Tessier and Isabelle Tessier. Photo provided.
A robotics team comprised of students from the Lakota, Loveland and Mason school districts placed third at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics World Championship recently in St. Louis.
The top 128 robotics teams in the world qualified for the event, which was held at the Edward Jones Dome and drew teams from 35 states and 17 countries.
The local group, Team 4530 Infinite Resistance, consists of freshman Eric Ambrus, sophomore Isabelle Tessier, senior Alexandre Tessier, freshman John Trygier and freshman Ryan Fisher, all from Lakota West High School; Loveland sophomore Alex Bunk; Mason sophomore Nick Zhao; and Lakota Ridge eighth-grader Frederick Tessier.
The team has been invited to compete at the Asian Pacific International Open in Sydney, Australia, in July. The group decided Friday that they could afford the cost of the trip. To donate to the team, visit 4530robot.org.
Lakota West bands have partnered with the Beckett Ridge McDonald’s for a fundraiser this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Beckett Ridge McDonald’s located at 8251 Princeton-Glendale Road (Intersection of Smith Road and Route 747).
McDonald’s will donate a percentage of all sales to the Lakota West marching band to help offset some of the costs of the 278 students who will be representing the community as they travel to New York City to march in the 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Representatives of the Lakota West band program will be on hand to answer questions about the band program and the upcoming trip to New York.
There are no flyers required to bring for the band to receive the donation.
Additional fundraisers will be held at the Beckett Ridge McDonald’s throughout the Spring and Summer.
Lakota East senior Kaitlin Lange was named 2013 Ohio Journalism Education Association Journalist of the Year at the annual Ohio Scholastic Media Association state conference last week at Kent State University. Lange is the managing editor and a three-year staff member of Spark Magazine, an award-winning publication produced by high school students.
Kaitlin Lange. Provided.
Lange is the sixth Spark journalist to receive the honor since 1998. Previous winners include Melissa Harris, Sara Thomas, Matt Faig, Betsy Brown and Sarah Massey.
In addition to the state honor, Lange is also entered in the JEA national Journalist of The Year competition in San Francisco in late April. There, Lange will be going up against seniors from 35 states. If she wins, she would receive a $5,000 national prize in addition to her $500 state award.
In this year’s OSMA state contests, Lange earned the only superior in first-person narrative, was part of in-depth teams that earned a superior and an excellent, had an honorable mention entry in news feature, plus a first place on the LEHS Spark broadcast team in the day-of video story competition.
“Covering all those school board meetings paid off for Kaitlin,” said Dean Hume, who serves as the magazine’s advisor and as a Lakota East journalism teacher. “She covers hard news and soft news with equal resolve and thoroughness.”
Lange, who is also a varsity cheerleader, is planning to study journalism at Maryland, Indiana or Ball State.
In fall 2011, a surprised John Cougar Mellencamp called his brother in West Chester to let him know what he had just seen in Los Angeles.
“John told me that he just saw my son’s picture on a billboard on Hollywood Boulevard,” said Joe Mellencamp. “He said that he couldn’t believe it.’’
The billboard, which was also on display in New York City, Paris and China, was part of a Calvin Klein campaign that helped launch Ian Mellencamp’s modeling career. Around that same time, Ian was asked to do some work for Fashion Week in New York.
“When Ian told me he was going to go to New York (in 2011) and take a short leave of absence from work here, I felt that he would be back in four or five weeks,” said Joe Mellencamp, who as president of Beacon Electric in Cincinnati was his son’s boss.
“He left and he hasn’t been back yet.”
Ian, who graduated from Lakota West High School in 2001, has been living in New York for two years. More recently, he has been featured in ad campaigns for Diesel and Cole Haan, as well as appearing in a Maybelline Color Whisper commercial. According to models.com, he is ranked No. 41 among other male models in the world.
Ian Mellencamp, nephew of John Cougar Mellencamp, is making a name for himself in the modeling world. The Lakota West graduate has billboards all over the world. He also appeared in commercials and been featured in numerous ad campaigns. Photo provided by New View Management Group.
“He has become, what you call, ‘a New York it boy,’” said Chester Ricks, agent and agency director at New View Management Group in Evendale. “He is the hot, rising new model with the new look – the long hair and the ‘boy who doesn’t have a care look.’”
A big-time modeling career, however, wasn’t on Ian’s radar when he began doing it in Cincinnati for extra cash.
“I was pretty oblivious to the fashion world,” Ian said. “My agent really wanted to try Fashion Week out. That entails running around the city for the week meeting all kinds of clients and companies. I basically didn’t know who 90 percent of them were.”
Eventually, Ian learned who the designers and photographers were and now is in demand in the Big Apple.
While he enjoys his new profession, Ian’s passion continues to be music.
When he was younger, his father brought him on stage when his band, Pure Jam, performed. He also attended his famous uncle’s concerts.
“Music was always really accessible growing up,” Ian said. “My uncle knows that I play music and he has always been very supportive. He has also offered me advice and input, but mainly it is on my shoulders to do what I want.”
Ian credits John Cougar Mellencamp with introducing him to folk music and artists like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.
Ian is trying to start a solo music career that blends folk with electronic rock. In addition, he has taken up acting.
“Honestly, I thought he was an outstanding left-handed pitcher,’’ his father said. “I think he would be a better pitcher than model, but he decided that he wanted to be a model. I think his mother had a lot of influence on him because he obviously got her looks – not mine.”
A recent choral performance by four southwest Ohio youth groups raised about $9,100 for the Alzheimer’s Association of Cincinnati.
Lakota West’s choir director Anthony Nims. Photo provided.
Founded three years ago by Bret Albright, choral director at Taylor High School, and Anthony Nims, Lakota West choral director, this year’s Sing For A Cause featured more than 150 singers and 100 instrumentalists.
Shows were held March 23-24 at the College of Mount St. Joseph and included performances by both schools’ choral groups along with the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra and the May Festival Youth Chorus. The program was conducted by William White, director of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra.
All groups joined together to perform the Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dong Nobis Pacem. Professional soloists Amita Prakash and Brandon Morales joined in the show.
“The spectacle of 250 high school students on stage performing together was something to behold,’’ Nims said.