The Green Pride The student news site for De Soto High School Journalism. Tue, 24 Dec 2019 01:24:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Student section do’s and don’ts Mon, 23 Dec 2019 16:29:33 +0000

     The resurgence of a large and loud student section at De Soto High School basketball games has changed the atmosphere a lot. More people are wanting to attend games to cheer on their peers and engage in a higher level of school spirit. But as the season goes on, there has been some conflicts between administration and the student section as to what is simply school spirit, and what is just disrespectful. 

     Since both administration and the basketball teams want to continue seeing an enthusiastic student section, rules have been laid out to eliminate any further misconceptions as to what is appropriate to chant during games.

    “Cheers that specifically target an individual from an opposing school can potentially escalate emotions amongst students and parents trying to enjoy the game. That could potentially lead to negative aspects taking place off the court. Our student body represents our school and town and the administration at DHS wants that representation to be positive and respectful,” said DHS Athletics Director Ryan Johnson. 

     While these rules are in place to prevent any negative consequences, some students feel that the student section is being restricted too much.

     “Certain chants obviously should not be allowed, but there also should be more of a leniency as to what can be chanted,” senior Adam Kowynia said. “Obviously we have no intention to make fun of the other team or player we chant at, but getting into their heads can distract them which increases our chance of winning if they’re distracted.”

     Other students feel as if the limitations decrease the amount of school spirit the student section has.

     “With the restrictions the administration has put on the student section, the energy lacks during games, and our student section is not to the same level as other schools,” said senior varsity player Colton Jones.

     Yet Johnson believes school spirit can still be achieved without the negative cheers.

     “Cheer for our team in a positive and enthusiastic way. Cheer for things that our team is currently doing on the court like the ‘D…D…D …Defense’ chant,” Johnson said. “Refrain from any degrading or negative cheers towards individuals from opposing schools and especially the officials.”

     While students have tried to bring the football atmosphere to basketball games, some feel that it is not the same with all the restrictions.

     “The students don’t have as much say as to what can be allowed at basketball games in contrast to what was chanted freely at football games,” Kowynia said. “We were also allowed to boo at the football games which has been removed as well.”

     Jones believes more restrictions have been put in place because the game is inside compared to outside, where everything that is said can be heard.

     Overall, there seems to be a disconnect as to what is showing school support and what is just disrespectful.

     “I think all chants are appropriate as long as they aren’t bringing up personal information about a player and their family,” Jones said. “Trash talk plays a large role in all sports and without it, there is no energy in the game, unless a highlight play is made.”

     Johnson wants to make it clear that the following chants have are not appropriate for games: 

  • chanting “Hellen Keller” at the officials
  • mooing at officials
  • calling players from other schools out by their name during the game, like during free throws.

    To clear up any more misconceptions, the KSHSAA Sportsmanship/Citizenship Manual has outlined that the following behaviors are unacceptable: “Any non-supportive chants, cheers or actions which are directed toward the opposing team; chants or actions which single out individuals; fans or cheerleaders reading newspapers, turning their backs, making disrespectful actions, etc. during introduction of opponents or shooting of free throws; yelling, waving, etc., during opponent’s free throws; derogatory/disrespectful yells, chants, songs, gestures, including ‘goodbye,’ ‘you let the whole team down,’ ‘air ball,’ ‘scoreboard,’ ‘you can’t do that,’ ‘this is our house’ at a visitor event, ‘dribble-dribble-pass,’ ‘bong-bong-bong-whooo’ while opposing team has ball and other such expressions directed toward opponents. Booing or heckling an official’s decision; criticizing the merits of officiating; displays of temper and arguing with an official’s call; derogatory remarks toward the official, coach constantly questioning calls.”

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Wildcat of the Week: Belle Wegner Mon, 23 Dec 2019 16:00:36 +0000

At De Soto High School, many people cannot say they have been out of the country — let alone India. Despite this, freshman Belle Wegner is an exception. 

Wegner has been going to India every year or two with her father, Rob Wegner, and other church leaders. 

“Our church was looking for global partners who we could collaborate with to work together in a Jesus mission,” Rob said. “That day I had specifically mentioned Sudan because the church there was under great persecution.” 

Rob later found himself going to Sudan just a month later under an organization called the Bible League. Once he returned from his mission, Ron Vandergriend, one of the men who had gone to Sudan, came up to Rob and offered him the opportunity to join a group of church leaders in India doing mission work. Happily taking the offer, Belle and Rob went to India to do amazing things. 

When the Wegners visit, they do several different things. 

“We go to little villages, help kids out, feed them, and help them build new houses,” Belle said. 

The Wegners visit south India every one or two years and every time they visit, it is always a new location. 

From these life learning experiences, Rob thinks his daughter has learned a lot. 

“I think Belle has learned to appreciate a different culture by making friends, she learned to appreciate how well we have it in America, and her faith in God has strengthened,” Wegner said. 

Belle friends are also very proud of her contributions, including freshman Renae Kohles. 

“She’s always there for people and she’s always willing to make the world a better place,” Kohles said. 



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Emerging Tech field trip shows students new career paths Mon, 23 Dec 2019 08:16:12 +0000

Emerging Technology is a class that enables students to enhance their skills in 3D modeling and screen printing with an open curriculum. While the class is mostly a hands-on experience, it’s tough for some students in the class to think about future applications of these technologies. 

A recent field trip to Gear for Sports provided students in the class with an experience at a large apparel company that is partnered with brands like Under Armour and Champion. Emerging technology teacher Tim Mispagel, who has a prior history with the company as a graphic designer, was very excited when he was given the opportunity to take his students on the trip. 

“I was pleasantly surprised when I reached out to the company, my managers that I worked for when I was there were still there but just higher up,” Mispagel said. 

For Mispagel, the trip was all about the opportunities that could arise from seeing how the company runs and becoming familiar with the process. Gear for Sports has over 600 employees on staff, ranging from graphic design to fashion merchandising to typical IT specialists. This range of occupations was an emphasis on the class trip to give students an opportunity to think about future career paths. 

“You could be studying a career path that looks glamorous on the outside looking in, but until you get into a company and get to see what it’s actually like, only then will you be informed on the reality of the situation,” Mispagel said. 

The field trip informed Mispagel’s students about many different potential careers but also summer internship opportunities that the students could take advantage of in the near future. 

The Emerging Technology students of DHS had many personal favorite parts of the trip. Senior Taylor Burger enjoyed the fashion department the most because of the work they do in trendspotting. 

“It’s pretty interesting that they [fashion designers] had to go back into different parts of fashion and decide what will be the next big thing [in the next year or two.]” 

With many different fields that the students were able to see, it was easy for students to think about themselves and the potential careers that they would like to have. Senior Brody Canaan enjoyed talking with the graphic designers and seeing the process they use when working on their art. 

“The one([career] that I would see myself most in is probably graphic design because we talked to an actual graphic designer and she was working on a logo with a college and it was really cool to see that they work directly with big universities,” Canaan said. 

Because Gear for Sports is only 20 minutes away from De Soto, it allowed the students like Canaan to see a local company working with larger scale corporations and universities. 

“It was nice to see that there’s opportunities here and jobs that you can work here, and they talked about how they would see a shirt in a store and be able to say ‘Hey, I think I worked on that. That was very cool to me.” Canaan said. 

Whether the students are interested in the world of graphic design or not, all agreed it was an important experience to see how the company operates, as well as how all employees are a vital part of the overall operation. 

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Boys’ bowling prepares for senior-heavy season Sat, 21 Dec 2019 22:01:20 +0000

As the De Soto High School boys’ bowling team begins its season, many members of the team are setting high expectations for their senior-filled unit. This year, returning seniors are dominating the roster, with a few new faces being added to the team.

Head bowling coach JR Kindred believes that the upperclassmen on the team will achieve a lot this season. The team placed second at State in the 2018-19 season, and Kindred hopes to reach those expectations once again, if not exceed them. 

“With so many seniors that have been together since freshman year, they know how they bowl, and I’ve had a lot of opportunities to work with them, so I think this season is going to be even better than last year,” Kindred said. 

Although the season hasn’t officially started, Kindred has already seen the impact that the seniors are having on new members of the team. 

“At tryouts, it was very encouraging to see that the seniors were actually helping out the underclassmen,” Kindred said. “During tryouts, it’s every man for himself, but it was nice to see them [the seniors] helping those out that were new.” 

Kindred was not the only person who noticed this atmosphere at tryouts. The seniors also realized their ability to help the newer bowlers. 

“The environment of the team this year is very relaxed and fun. Everybody was helping each other at tryouts, and I think it will be the same at practice,” senior captain Tyler Lovegren said.

Along with the amount of talent the seniors bring to the table, they also bring experience and leadership that can help the underclassmen members heighten their skills. 

“A big positive with so many seniors is that they can help groom the freshmen and sophomores that are being added to the team,” Kindred said. “We have two teams, varsity and junior varsity, so I don’t get the opportunity to spend as much time with every person. But having those senior leaders there, I can pair them up with underclassmen and they can give them some of the tips that I would want them to have.”

Another benefit of having so many experienced bowlers is the familiarity they have with the sport, which can transfer well to many of the newer members. 

“One of the biggest things [about being a successful bowler] is being used to the meet setting. Being a freshman or sophomore at a meet for the first time and having that kind of pressure is difficult. You have a lot of spectators around and a lot of competition, as far as other schools,” Kindred said. “So the seniors help to put them at ease, because they have been there before, and showing that they can perform well will give underclassmen encouragement.”

A lot of the younger members are appreciative of the seniors, and hope to meet high standards with their guidance.

“[The seniors] have all given me great tips. I am looking forward to learning how to be welcoming and observant to help me do better,” freshman member Colby Lovegren said. “I want to make State, and I think we can do it with this team.”

Having so much talent on the roster gives the team high hopes of winning something they have long awaited: the Cat Cup. The Cat Cup is a bowling competition between DHS and district rival Mill Valley High School, in which a winner is decided based on combined team scores. While many of the seniors have been on the team since their freshman year, they have never received this award. 

“I am most looking forward to beating Mill Valley in the Cat Cup,” senior member Brody Boehm said. “We haven’t been able to do that since I’ve been on the team, and I joined my freshman year.” 

“I want to get that Cat Cup, definitely with this team, because they’ve been there since the beginning,” Kindred said.

While having experienced seniors may be highly beneficial to the team, they are expecting to face various challenges throughout the season.  

“The biggest challenge this year to going to be trying to prepare and coach the underclassmen,” Boehm said. 

Another challenge is getting a team of this size to State. 

“I think the hardest thing this year will be getting the entire team to State, but also figuring out who to take to state since there are so many kids that can improve or are at the point to be on Varsity,” Tyler said. 

Even though Kindred has high expectations for the returning boys, he does not want them to feel more pressure because of their status on the team. 

“The biggest challenge is going to be trying not to live up to the standard of last year. We did really well last year, and it would be awesome to have another season like that, if not better,” Kindred said. “I just think the biggest challenge for them will be to not hang their heads if they don’t perform quite as well or don’t achieve the things they feel like they are required to. I just want them to do their best.” 

For Kindred, coaching the team this season will be exciting, but also very sentimental due to his strong connection to many of the senior boys. 

“The bittersweet thing about this year is that this is my fourth year as coach, so this will be my first full cycle of students that I’ve had since the beginning. It’s been a blessing to see how they’ve developed over the last three or four years,” Kindred said.

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Environmental Council sells sustainable holiday gifts Sat, 21 Dec 2019 16:31:15 +0000

     To wrap up this semester and look forward to the holiday season, the Environmental Council at DHS made sustainable and reusable gifts to sell as gifts. The money they raised will go to future projects for the club.

     “[The gift included] coffee beans, homemade, vegan cocoa powder, all in glass jars with reusable beeswax wraps on top that once you buy it, you can reuse it for a number of things,” said senior Environmental Council member Erin Pickert.

     The beeswax wraps were one of the main selling points because of its reusable aspect.

     “So me and Sydney Ames got a huge block of beeswax from a local farmer, and we shredded it up and ironed it onto the fabric. You can then wash it and you can wrap food like sandwiches and snacks in it, instead of a Ziploc bag or some type of wrap. It’s less waste,” Pickert said.

     The point of the project was to create as little waste as possible, something that a lot of people tend to forget during the holiday shopping season.

     “More than anything, we are aiming to increase awareness of sustainable shopping during the holiday season,” said senior Environmental Council member Sydeny Ames. “We want to show students that locally produced, handmade products can make better gifts than a generic purchase at Target or on Amazon.”

     All of the materials they used for these gifts were low-waste and sustainable.

     “We bought our ingredients in bulk and used beeswax donated from a local bee farmer to make the beeswax wraps. The jars were all donated by Environmental Council members, and we purchased the twine and fabric at the thrift store,” Ames said. “We used second-hand, low-waste materials to create a meaningful product that can be genuinely beneficial to the recipient.”

     The funds that Environmental Council raised from this fundraiser will go to a multitude of projects.

     “The funds made in this fundraiser will go towards supporting future Environmental Council initiatives. Whether they are used for purchasing reusable gloves to wear when sorting recycling, or a bigger project like establishing a system for compost at DHS, rest assured knowing the purchase of these jars helps the Environmental Council practice sustainability within our school,” Ames said.

     This will not be the last time the club makes products to sell. They plan to have another similar fundraiser in the spring.

     “We’re doing another fundraiser in the spring. We’re planning on selling propagated house plants, along with a few handmade products” Ames said. “We haven’t worked out an exact date, but it will definitely be before graduation.”

     The Environmental Council looks forward to this being their first of many sustainable fundraisers.

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De Soto’s new program: Film a Compliment Fri, 20 Dec 2019 17:47:03 +0000

De Soto High School has brought a new program to students this year, with a simple yet meaningful purpose that can easily make somebody’s day. 

Film a Compliment is a new program that allows students to record themselves recognizing somebody who has positively affected them in some aspect.

“It allows people the opportunity to compliment others and to publicly acknowledge the positive impact of fellow Wildcats,” Principal Sam Ruff said. 

All of the compliments are posted and shared on Instagram, a user friendly and popular social media for many in high school under the dhswildcatnation page. 

DHS teacher and Student Council sponsor Katie Meserko was also a major contributor to the idea of Film a Compliment. 

“It’s constantly being on social media in the presence of positivity, and that’s the goal we want to set at DHS,” Meserko said. 

Any student is able to participate and email a positive video to Meserko at Videos are put into a stockpile and are posted often for students and others to see on the DHS Instagram page. (dhswildcatnation)

Students like freshman Trever Tilton have sent in videos to help promote this positive program. 

“I chose to compliment Nic Weaver because he is a good person and a good friend. He’s always happy, he always has a good attitude, and he’s always on top of things,” Tilton said. 

Overall, all students in the DHS community are encouraged to send a video talking about somebody who has influenced them in a positive way. 


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DHS junior wins photography contest Fri, 20 Dec 2019 15:28:25 +0000

The power of digital communication is becoming more prominent as modern technology continues to advance, and De Soto High School junior Alex Braley provides an obvious example of what the work of a camera can accomplish. While most students at DHS are aware of Braley’s photographic talent, he recently decided to showcase his powerful artwork on a larger scale. Braley entered the Merriam High School Visual Arts Competition, and the results are a direct reflection of Braley’s impactful work. 

“They hold the contest every year. This year there were over 1,000 entries overall, and they only selected 150 finalists that actually got shown in the gallery, where everyone’s pieces are up,” Braley said. “There are four categories: 2D, 3D, photography and computer-generated art. I entered photography, and I won first place.” 

While Braley received full credit for his award-winning piece, he gives recognition to the DHS art teacher Tim Mispagel, who helped him reach this point. 

“The piece that I entered was Mispagel’s doing. He gave us a project in AP Art, and he asked us to put our concentration, which is kind of like all the pieces that you focus on throughout the year, into one word, and I knew it was going to be so hard,” Braley said. “But from there, I came up with the idea for my concentration. I wanted to show how the body is beautiful and how it can be artful and pretty.”

Braley of course had inspiration for his piece, but most aspects were based solely upon his own ideas.

“I knew I wanted to do the stamps, because I saw a picture on Pinterest of word stamps all over a person’s face and I thought it was super cool. The lighting and everything else was my idea. I knew I wanted it to be a black background with the silhouette. The framing I just kind of messed around with,” Braley said. 

Being Braley’s first award-winning piece, the photo was undoubtedly well done. However, Braley still noticed some flaws in the piece. In response, he has attempted to incorporate those flaws into the message of the photo. 

“There’s a lot of things that I want to change about this photo to add to it because if you look closely, you can see that one of her false lashes is coming off,” Braley said. “It annoyed me at first, but then I felt like it goes with the theme of beauty and feeling beautiful even with imperfections. But the photo itself is really growing on me.”

Even though Braley has noticed some small imperfections within his piece, he still takes pride in his photo and appreciates the details that make it special. 

“I’m honestly really proud of this picture, which is kind of fun to say because I usually take pictures that I’m not super excited about, but this one I knew was a good picture,” Braley said. “The coolest part is the piece of hair that goes above her nose and then around her lip, because if it went straight down it would look kind of weird. I think the way it is just frames the picture really well.”

Junior Kaitlin Torres, the model in Braley’s photo, also feels that Braley’s piece deserves praise, not only because of his hard work, but also because of the how the image has impacted her.

“The photoshoot meant a lot to Alex, because he clearly had an artistic vision. The photos turned out great and winning the contest was reassurance to Alex that his vision worked,” Torres said. “It was cool for me too because the photos are so body positive, and that’s how I’m trying to live my daily life.”

Winning the contest has impacted Braley’s life in numerous ways, especially when it comes to his photography skills and his confidence as a whole. 

“It’s just really exciting because this is probably the first actual first place award that I’ve ever won, and I’ve never felt like my work has been good enough for first place,” Braley said. “It’s such a big competition, and the fact that I got first out of all those pieces is crazy. It really inspired me to create more.”

Braley wants to further his photography career and plans to create more pieces as his skills continue to grow. 

“I want to make more stuff now and keep growing, because I know I can do better than that picture,” Braley said. “I know this photo is not the best that I can do because I still have so much more to learn.”

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Displaying the future of the Wildcats Fri, 20 Dec 2019 14:51:18 +0000

This school year, De Soto High School administration started a wall entitled “Class of 2020, Congrats on Your Future.” The idea was presented by Principal Sam Ruff and started with the help of the Culture Club. 

“It’s the committee that really focuses on student-teacher engagement and showing students’ success,” said teacher and dance coach Emily Thayer.  

The wall is meant to provide an opportunity for senior students to showcase their plans for the future. This could include a wide range of achievements, from college admission letters to army recruitment letters. No matter what the seniors plan to do, they can display it for the school to see.  

“It is really about what the class of 2020 and what their future is, or their next choice,” Thayer said.

Many members of the staff and student body have enjoyed seeing the success of the DHS students. The wall is said to be a part of De Soto for future generations of wildcats to have the opportunity as well.  

“It is just a way for our kids to show that they have been accepted into that next level and that we are proud of them,” Thayer said. 

The wall is only growing as more seniors seek to demonstrate their success. The underclassmen are encouraged to recognize and honor the goals their peers have met. Students often work hard without recognition and this wall is a way to encourage them on their path to success. Some students on the wall have already received kind words of encouragement. 

“Seeing the papers on the wall and being congratulated for that is a really big deal, so I think they should continue it,” senior Kyra Halvorsen said.


The process for submitting a  form for the wall is very simple. If students hand their forms to Thayer, she will ensure the papers go on the wall with the help of other staff members.

“Congratulating the seniors, supporting them and being happy for them is something that they [underclassmen] can take away from that,” Halvorsen said. 

The wall is a fun way to encourage the students of DHS and will continue expanding. The seniors who have participated in the wall recommend the opportunity to their fellow seniors, as well as the future generations of wildcats. 

“It is cool seeing other seniors applications and knowing where they will go,” Halvorsen said.


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Does Christmas become overrated the older you get? Fri, 20 Dec 2019 03:19:42 +0000

Once the magic of Santa, Elf on the Shelf and other holiday festivities are gone, is the holiday of Christmas all that jolly?

As you become older, you don’t have the excitement that keeps you staring at the ceiling for hours imagining what Santa will bring you. The fun of decorating the perfect Christmas cookie to leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve is gone. As fictional beliefs are no longer in place, it can be less exciting for a holiday as a young adult.

When the readings of The Night Before Christmas come to an end, there are still other parts of the holiday with age that become more important. Specifically, the aspect of a family becomes more important than it was as a child. Getting to reunite with distant relatives or play family games over the holiday can be something teens cherish. As many of the beliefs about the holidays are no longer there, teens with younger siblings can enjoy the holiday by helping their families carry out the traditions.

Another aspect to focus on is gifts at this time of year. When a Christmas list used to be full of Barbie dolls and monster trucks, teens become much harder to buy gifts for, as most of their requests are clothes. Everyone has their own personal style and preference of fit, making it hard to spend money on an item you aren’t sure if they love. At this point, many results to gifting money or gift cards so teens can purchase their own preference of attire, which is nice, but takes away the element of surprise we used to adore from ripping wrapping paper apart. 

Holiday traditions also begin to fade as when children grow older, with some parents relying on taking family vacations over the holiday. Vacations can be very costly, so instead of parents spending money on what they see as “pointless” gifts, they replace the Christmas experience with a trip full of family memories. 

In my experience, this is what my family has resulted to. For the past three years, my family has traveled to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to stay with family to Ski. Making this a new tradition, my parents get us things like hats, ski goggles or travel necessities as our Christmas gifts that we can take along with us on the trip. As I am very lucky to have a financially stable home at the time of  Christmas, I don’t necessarily need anything. So as I will say, the actual day of Christmas has lost most of its excitement, but the memories I have made on my vacations with my family are something I wouldn’t trade for any tangible gift. 

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Wildcat of the Week: Austin Bradley Thu, 19 Dec 2019 16:46:45 +0000

Being involved in extracurricular activities is highly encouraged at De Soto High School. While many students choose to actively participate in different sports and clubs, senior Austin Bradley has chosen to take his involvement to a new level, especially when it comes to transferring his skills outside of the hallways of DHS. 

Bradley is involved in many organizations at DHS, including A&M crew, National Honor Society, boys’ soccer, Scholars Bowl, Environmental Club and Cats Care. Being a member of these groups has helped Bradley form skills that are useful to him in his everyday life. 

“[Being involved] has helped me a lot because I’m naturally very introverted, and I’ve learned to force myself out of my comfort zone through the years so that I’m not just sitting at home being a little loner,” Bradley said. “You definitely learn how to get along with people when you’re having to work with them in different organizations.”

Although each activity Bradley participates in provides specific benefits, Bradley feels that Cats Care, an organization based upon volunteer work within the community, has been the most influential. 

“I think Cats Care has been the most impactful for me because it’s all about volunteering, so getting to do some of the things that I have done through that organization, like working with elementary students over at Starside or doing food pantry related things, has been the most meaningful to me,” Bradley said. “It’s helped to remind me of the importance of helping others going on through the rest of my life, because I want to be a person who gives and volunteers.”

Bradley also takes part in the school’s Eudora Technical Education program, which has given him the opportunity to gain experience in career fields that interest him. 

“I am in FFA with the Floriculture and Greenhouse Management class. I am also in an animal science class, which kind of incorporates some veterinary stuff,” Bradley said.

Bradley has used his involvement to his advantage, especially when choosing a clear path after high school and for his long-term goals. 

“I’m going to K-State, and I am going to be in the pre-med program. For a major, it could be something like biology or plant science, like horticulture, but I’m going to be in the pre-med program either way,” Bradley said. “I want to go on to be like a family physician and work in a rural area where they are a little bit more under-served.”

Bradley has used his experience with DHS programs and organizations to shape his future, and is the perfect example of why extracurricular involvement is so highly encouraged. 

“I think the biggest thing that [being involved] has done is cemented the fact that helping people is what I want to do in the future because it’s given me so many opportunities to help people and give my time,” Bradley said. “It’s helped me realize that whatever I do as a professional career, I want to do something where I am serving other people and giving of myself in some way.” 

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