Category Archives: Features

Students consider risks and rewards of drivers’ licenses

By Morgan Rich
Staff Writer

Driving is a way for teens to have not only more freedom, but more responsibility.

“I’m nervous by the thought of getting into a car crash or another car swerving into me,” said Makaila McGonigal, a junior at Daniel Webster Broadcasting and Digital Media Magnet High School.

According to, two out of five deaths among U.S. teens are the result of a motor vehicle crash.

Compared to older drivers, teens are more likely to drink alcohol while driving and less likely to wear seat belts, the site reported.

Another big reason for vehicle crashes among teens is texting while driving.

“To be a safe driver, I would turn my phone off and not worry about it until I’m done driving,” said Serena Henry, a sophomore at Webster High School.

According to, to be a licensed driver, students must be at least 16 years of age, hold an instruction permit for at least six months and complete at least 40 hours of supervised driving.

“I’m excited. I can’t wait to experience that feeling of having so much responsibility,” said Kahlai Harman, another sophomore at Webster High School.

Local safe-driving programs can be found on Web sites such as and


Senior scrapbooks a Webster tradition in English classes

By Jasie James
Staff Writer

Webster English teacher Patricia Pegues has seen some crazy things in her yearly senior scrapbook project.

“I have seen traffic tickets and pictures of tattoos,” she said.

The assignment is a yearlong project in which students can collect different items to create a scrapbook of their senior year.

Pegues said the students create the book “while writing over 1,500 words of reflection and goals.”

Eighteen items are required to be in the book, and each student must write 50 words about each item.

The items can range from photos and ticket stubs to speeding tickets and receipts.

Students also must include two graded essays, a college essay or completed application, a graded test, a resume and two pictures of school activities.

Pegues started doing the assignment five years ago.

“I just thought that it would be fun for each student to have his or her own personal memory,” she said.

For many students, the senior scrapbook assignment is almost a tradition.

“I first heard about the project my freshman year because all the seniors were complaining about it,” said Webster senior Chelsey Cochran.

Cassie Hale, another Webster senior, likes the scrapbook.

“I thought that it was kind of cool that we got to do a project like that,” Hale said.

Pegues said her favorite part about grading the different scrapbook items is that she gets to see how differently each student thinks.

Pegues also said she likes to see what is important to each student.

Learning from mistakes

Webster teacher Randall Padek supervises TRAICE students as they head to lunch. Students in TRAICE must wear orange construction vests to identify themselves and eat at a different time than their peers. PHOTO BY KEAUCHA WILSON

By Brad Bain, Cassie Hale, Rebecca Mallard and Keaucha Wilson
Staff Writers

Webster teacher Maurice Johnson said TRAICE is a place where students can learn from their mistakes.

“Most of the worst students are the ones not wanting to work and learn from their mistakes,” said Johnson, who also teaches world history, African-American history and economics at Webster.

TRAICE — which stands for Tulsa Resource and Adolescent Intervention Centers of Excellence — is where students are sent when they are past the point of a discipline card, but their actions do not require a suspension.

Johnson said students come into TRAICE, and 40 percent of them leave changed.

“There are times even when some good students have bad days,” Johnson said.

Randall Padek, who teaches environmental science and biology, is also a TRAICE teacher at Daniel Webster Broadcasting and Digital Media Magnet High School.

Padek said some of the students coming into TRAICE surprise him.

He said most students are in TRAICE for not following teachers’ directions or for being tardy to class.

“It helps the teacher when TRAICE is a place students don’t want to visit,” Padek said.

TRAICE students wear orange construction vests to identify themselves.

They  have to arrive first thing in the morning just like a normal class.

They sit quietly in a room, isolated from their peers and usual teachers.

For lunch, they must eat a sack lunch containing only a single ham and cheese sandwich, milk and a piece of fruit, Padek said.

“I do think that they are treated fairly,” Padek said. “The reason they wear the vests is to isolate them as a student and to show others that they must re-learn the rules. The same goes for the sack lunches.”

Some students disagree.

“I can understand that they want to isolate them, but there are other ways to get the point across,” said Vanessa Sparks, a Webster senior. “They don’t send kids work, and they need to fix the lunch policy.

“I get we were ‘bad’ kids, but you don’t have to treat us like we’re poor or something. Even people in jail get a halfway decent meal.”

Taylor Morris, a sophomore at Webster, said she also had trouble getting her work while she was in TRAICE.

“They could definitely work harder to get your work. I went an entire day without receiving anything from teachers,’’ Morris said.

Johnson said he passes out schoolwork to the students in TRAICE so they can keep up with their classes, but it’s up to them to do it.

Daizhan Ferguson, a sophomore at Webster, is in TRAICE for excessive tardiness.

Ferguson said he is not in TRAICE that often.

He said he doesn’t like it, but he does his work.

The TRAICE students have to do community work around the school.

Ferguson doesn’t mind going out and cleaning up.

“I do that at home,” he said.

Brittney Edgehill, a freshman at Webster, was sent to TRAICE for walking out of class.

“I like Mr. Johnson. He’s OK,” Edgehill said.

She said she doesn’t really learn from TRAICE.

Sparks, however, learned from her experience.

“I’m a good child. I don’t belong in there. Being in there will make you think twice before acting up,” Sparks said.

Students, teacher discuss role of music in their lives, society

By Garrett Garroutte
Staff Writer

Carl Curtis, a music teacher at Daniel Webster Broadcasting and Digital Media Magnet High School, has been involved in music since the age of 14, which according to him, adds up to about 40 years.

Curtis plays the piano, and his favorite type of music is jazz. His favorite artist is Chick Corea. Music is important to Curtis.

“It gives me a sense of accomplishment and focus,” he said.

Curtis said music is important to the world.

“It is a piece of every culture in the world and has been around since the dawn of time,” he said. “Turn on your TV or radio and see if you can get by without hearing music.”

Curtis said music has helped try and right the wrongs in the world.

He said it was a big part of the peace movement and the civil rights movement.

Dylan LaCrone, a Webster student, has been involved in music since fifth grade. He plays flute, saxophone and piano and has a music scholarship to the University of Tulsa.

He said music is very important in his life.

“It has brought people from low points in their life,” he said.

Gabbie Wright, also a Webster student, has been involved in music since fifth grade and plays a variety of instruments: flute, bassoon, piano and piccolo.

Wright said music just makes her happy and keeps her busy at the same time.

Her favorite type of music is metal, “because the concerts are really fun,” she said.

Kristy Fleming, another Webster student, has been involved with music for 12 years.

“Music has helped me see the beauty of everything,” said Fleming.

She said she enjoys folk music.

“It’s the voice of a common man,” Fleming said.

Fleming plays the violin, viola, cello, bass, mandolin, banjo, vibraphone and dobro.

“Music has defined not only my personality, but every other area of my life,” she said. “Music is the purest facet of the human experience. It goes beyond words.”

Victims mistake abuse for ‘tough love’

By Meisha McDaniel
Staff Writer

According to a study by Teenage Research Unlimited, nearly 80 percent of girls who have been physically abused in their intimate relationships continue to date their abuser.

“I thought the abuse in my relationship was tough love when I was younger,” Tiffany Burns, a 21 year-old, said, reflecting on her abusive relationship during adolescence. “When you’re young and naïve, it’s so hard to get out.”

According to CBS News, 30 percent of young women ages 15-24 are in an abusive relationship.

“I’ve seen more prevalent cases in the last five years. Young ladies are more tolerant of more behaviors that should not be tolerated from young men,” said Cassandra Smith, a social worker based at Daniel Webster Broadcasting and Digital Media Magnet High School.

Why do so many young women today end up in abusive relationships?

Cases show similar patterns of abuse in the household or young women lacking father figures.

“My dad was just a terrible jerk. I had that problem dating older men, and I always found myself in awkward situations,” Madi Barbee, a Webster senior, said. “But luckily I don’t have that problem anymore.”

Smith said girls and younger women are particularly vulnerable.

“Young girls need to feel validated, so they seek older partners. If you’re a young woman — say, 16 — an older man will still prey on their vulnerability,” Smith said.

Teen males also fall victim to domestic violence.

“Girls also take advantage of boys, but there isn’t as much as evidence. One of 20 males will report an incident on dating violence, and that’s unfortunate,” Smith said.

For further information, call the Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE or visit

When you think you have it all …

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is the second in an occasional series of first-person accounts of a teen mother’s experiences during pregnancy.

By Brittany Wilson
Staff Writer

Sometimes when you think you have it all, it can all just drop, like falling off the side of the Earth.

On Jan. 4, I heard the worst news ever. I did find out my baby is a girl, but they also told me my baby girl may have a heart defect.

They told me to come back on Jan. 24. That’s when they told me they still saw it. I cried in my family’s arms for so long.

That same day, they asked me to do a test called amniocentesis, to check my baby’s chromosomes. I agreed to the test, because I will do anything for my baby.

The test I went through, not just a teen but NOBODY should have to go through. It hurt really badly. I screamed to the top of my lungs when the needle went into my stomach.

I was out of school for a week, on bed rest. The final test results came back the following Thursday.

Walking into Ericka’s office to find out the test results was almost as painful as the test itself. I had a really bad feeling about the results, but I kept praying they would be good.

I wouldn’t have had a bad feeling, but considering she normally tells me over the phone, and this time she had me come in to talk to her, it scared me.

She sat my mom and me down and explained a piece of paper she was showing us. It showed that my baby’s top layer of her eighth chromosome is missing.

More bad news: She told me my baby would have multiple disabilities. I pray every night that something is wrong with that test and that my baby will be just fine.

I’m now 28 weeks pregnant. Thank you for reading about my teen pregnancy, and understanding my pain as a teen mom.

Looking to the future: Seniors prepare for life beyond high school

By Rebecca Mallard and Keaucha Wilson
Staff Writers

Seniors at Daniel Webster Broadcasting and Digital Media Magnet High School are working hard to pursue their dreams of playing sports and going to college.

Courtney Asberry is a senior at Webster.

Asberry plans to go to the University of Central Oklahoma.

Asberry said her parents are the main ones saving up for her for college.

She is waiting to see whether she has a scholarship in basketball.

Asberry’s worst fear in college is “getting lazy and not keeping up with school work.”

Asberry passed all her End-of-Instruction tests.

She said the hardest one was algebra.

“My greatest memory at Webster is the experiences I had and the growing I did. I’m going to miss seeing my family every day and my friends,” Asberry said.

She said she is sad for all the students who dropped out, because they worked so hard to get to their senior year.

Jakii Moore is another senior at Webster. Moore plans to go to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, located in Miami, Okla.

He said he is getting a full scholarship for football.

“My worst fear in college is getting lost on campus,” Moore said.

He said he is going to miss all his friends, coaches and teachers.

Moore passed all his EOIs. He said the hardest one was history.

Moore said all the students who have dropped should have just kept with it.

Kendra Marshall, also a senior at Webster, plans to go to Northeastern State University.

Marshall said her dad is saving up, and she is getting a loan.

“My biggest fear is getting in debt,” she said.

Marshall is going to miss her best friend, Unique Moore-Bell.

“I’m going to miss my families and their jokes,” she said.

Students who dropped out could have figured out another way to pass the test, Marshall said.

Webster senior Martha Aguayo wants to go into the Navy, but her back up plan is Oklahoma State University.

Aguayo is saving up for college and a car to get around.

“My biggest fear is not making it through the first semester,” Aguayo said.

She said she is going to miss knowing all the people on campus and being comfortable with them.

“I’m going to miss spending time with my family,” Aguayo said.

She passed all her EOIs. She said geometry was the hardest.

Aguayo said it’s sad to see people drop out due to testing when there are other options.

Evan James teaches geometry at Webster.

James said the reason most students have a harder time on the geometry EOI is that they have to learn everything they learned in algebra and apply it to geometry, and in geometry, they have to be able to read the picture.

James said dropping out is a bad idea.

“I don’t think it was a wise decision, because if they don’t have a high-school education, then they will have a minimum wage (job) and have to work two jobs to survive,” James said.

Dee Guess, registrar at Webster, said it saddens her to see students drop out because they don’t realize the value of their education.

“Eventually they will want to come back to school but will be lost,” Guess said.