Student Choice Essays (Journalism I Period 7)

The Sensational Stories of Period 7
Student Choice Essays (Journalism I Period 7)
DC Singers at the 2023 Christmas Choir.
DC Singers: A Crescendo into Greatness By Neva Ballinger

Dowling Catholic Singers (DC Singers) is one of the three choirs Dowling Catholic High School has to offer (DC Singers, A Cappella, and Jazz Choir). This audition-entry choir is directed by Mr. Quinn Tipping and is admired by fellow choir members of the DCHS choir department. Every year, auditions are held in spring to see who will be in the next year’s DC Singers members. This year’s auditions are fast approaching, and to find out more about DC Singers from an insider’s perspective, I interviewed junior Colin Heaston (bass), who has been in DC Singers for two years now.

Q: How has the experience of being in DC Singers been?

A: Being a member of DC Singers has been an amazing experience. The group has provided me with high-level performance opportunities, and it has allowed me to make connections with other people who share a similar passion for vocal music.

Q: What does a typical rehearsal look like?

A: The choir always rehearses during block 6. We start every rehearsal with prayer, and then we work on whatever music we are currently preparing. The class always has third lunch, so after lunch, our director Mr. Tipping will give us announcements. We will then continue singing for the remainder of rehearsal.

Q: In your opinion, is Mr. Tipping a good director?

A: I do think Mr. Tipping is a good director. He is a very knowledgeable and passionate director. He is always pushing the choir to a new level of excellence. We are very lucky to have him as the head of our choral department.

Q: What is the best part of being in DC Singers?

A: I think the best part of being in DC Singers is the community that the choir brings. The choir has roughly 50 members, and it allows you to meet so many people you wouldn’t have met otherwise.

Q: What is your favorite event of the choir year?

A: My favorite choir event is the Spring Concert. It is our final concert of the year, and it always seems to be the most exciting. Every choir has its most exciting set of music of the year, and the concert also has a performance from the Bass Clef Ensemble. There is always the lovely tradition of honoring our seniors and singing our choir anthem “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” to them to close the concert.

Q: What is your favorite piece you’ve learned in DC Singers?

A: My favorite piece from DC Singers is from the recent Lent Concert. It is a double choir piece titled “Bring Us O Lord God”. It is the most challenging piece I have yet to sing with the group, and I found it to be very enjoyable and rewarding.

Q: I understand that people in DC can audition for All-State. What is that process like?

A: Every spring, seven singers from each of the four voice parts are selected from DC Singers to audition for the Iowa All-State Choir in the fall. These singers will be sorted into trios and quartets that will prepare a challenging set of music for auditions. After months of rehearsal, these singers will audition, and the singers selected will sing at the All-State Music Festival in November.

Q: How does DC Singers compare to the A Cappella Choir and Jazz Choir?

A: DC is Dowling’s auditioned curricular choir. Acapella is another curricular choir here, but no one is required to audition for membership. On the other hand, Jazz Choir is an auditioned extracurricular group. It is a group of sixteen (four per part) that prepares a variety of jazz music throughout the year.

Q: Would you recommend auditioning for DC Singers?

A: I would definitely recommend that anyone interested in singing audition for DC. It is a great way to put yourself out there, unlock new opportunities, meet new people, and have a great time doing it!

As we can see, DC Singers is clearly a phenomenal group of musicians with many benefits to being a part of it. Auditions for DC Singers are being held the week of Tuesday, April 2. So make like a fermata and stick around for auditions!

DC Singers at the 2023 Christmas Choir. (Rick Ballinger)
Dom and Jess who met on Love Island getting married.
“Love Island” Superiority By Shannon Bigelow

While some argue The Bachelor is peak reality TV, Love Island is a more widely watched and enjoyed show. The reality TV phenomenon has had a chokehold on America, especially in the last decade, however, this recent popularity has in turn attracted some unnatural or ingenuine contestants. The show Love Island, on the other hand, is a long-standing, higher-quality show because of its ability to prevent fake or “clout-chaser” applicants. This is achieved through a stronger entering process as well as a more long-form show. 

Because of Love Island‘s long-form, everyday layout, contestants seem to forget they are even filmed! This makes for far more natural episodes. Contestants are far more comfortable in their environments when they are filmed every day for a summer. Furthermore, people’s words are less likely to be manipulated if there are more episodes that are longer.

Finally, there are more successful, lasting couples than any other reality show. This can be attributed to the great environment on the show and the deep bonding the contestants do.

Dom and Jess who met on Love Island getting married. (
Fresh pastries from Nadia’s French Bakery on March 23.
New Pastries In Town! by Magdalena Bubar

New Pastries In Town!

If you are craving a sweet, buttery, and delicious treat, Nadia’s French Bakery offers a wide variety of baked goods to meet your needs!

Nadia’s French Bakery only opened its doors two months ago, but the shop is already loved and enjoyed by the entire Des Moines community.

Only two minutes after the doors were unlocked on Saturday, a line of eager customers stretched all the way to the door – a testament to the quality of these perfect breakfast foods, not the quality of service. In fact, the trip in and out of the restaurant went surprisingly quickly despite the constant stream of people through the door.

Upon immediate entry, I felt welcomed by the large, sunlit space and the aroma of freshly baked goods. I was greeted by smiles as I headed towards the counter.

I was unsure what to order at first; every single item on the menu looked delicious. However, the staff behind the counter was super friendly and ready to help me choose.
“Right now, the fruit danishes are really popular. But the pain au chocolats are also very popular,” said one of the employees. 

I ended up buying both of the recommended items as well as an almond croissant, a pain au raisin, and a butter croissant. I only got a taste of each, but they were all so good that I wanted to finish off every single one. I understood why the danish and the pain au chocolat were so popular immediately; they were delectable. The pain au raisin had the perfect mixture of sweet and savory. The croissants were perfectly buttery and flaky.

The next time you wake up longing for some delicious breakfast foods, head over to Nadia’s French Bakery at 2705 Grand Ave Des Moines, IA.

Fresh pastries from Nadia’s French Bakery on March 23. (Magdalena Bubar)
The double drive through at Hyper Energy Bar as cars go through to receive their drinks.
“Hyper” Review: What’s the Hype About? by Charlotte Carmichael

As we are coming down the end stretch of the school year you may feel tired and overwhelmed with the amount of school work that is piling up. Let me tell you, thanks to my local Hyper-Energy Bar located in Urbandale, as well as Waukee and Grimes I am thriving with energy through the rest of the year. 

According to Hyper-Energy, they say, “It’s all the little things that come together to create hyper happiness, it is the perfect blend of fantastic experiences.” Hyper-Energy is not your typical coffee shop where you go to study, be with friends, or just relax. When you arrive at Hyper you will notice it is a fairly small building with two drive-thrus on each side: this is because Hyper does not offer inside dining or seating. I like this idea because it allows flow and guarantees a fast trip or on-the-go. 

Hyper Energy Bar’s main attraction is unique energy drinks. They offer a variety of syrup flavors with an energy base making the perfect mix. Hyper has a main menu but also a hidden menu where you can mix any flavors of your choice such as vanilla, blue raspberry, strawberry, guava, orange, green apple, pineapple, peach, white chocolate, and much more. Some of my favorites from the real menu are Violet Voltage, (blue raspberry and watermelon) and Pink Power (strawberry, watermelon, and vanilla). I ordered the medium Sparkle drink, a mix of strawberry, blue raspberry, and guava and it is from the hidden menu.

I rate my experience and drink a 10 out of 10 because I don’t think it could get any better. The pricing of all the options is very reasonable starting with a small at $4.25, a medium is $5.25, and a large is $6.50 (Hyper Energy Bar). The energy drink is carbonated, with a smooth texture, and sour taste, which makes me feel activated and vibrant. The employees are incredibly nice and will help you choose what flavors fit you best. However, if you are not interested in energy drinks they also have lattes, frappuccinos, and fruit smoothies all for the same price as the energy drinks, and if you need a snack to go with they sell chocolate chip, lemon, and creme brulee muffin tops for $3.25. 

I would recommend trying Hyper-Energy Bar if you are looking for something new and different, their service is great and the drinks are a true characteristic of what the hype is all about.

The double drive through at Hyper Energy Bar as cars go through to receive their drinks. (
Example of Hyper Energy drinks.
“Hyper Energy” Review by Gianna Fucaloro

“I would choose Hyper over Starbucks anyday,” says Julia. On March 22nd, 2024, I sat in the passenger seat of Julia Mauro’s car, staring at the Hyper Energy Bar’s menu, in West Des Moines, Iowa. “There are so many drinks to choose from, and such a variety,” says Julia. As I waited for the long line of cars to receive their drinks, I thought about how much quicker people could receive their drink and bakery items, if there was an inside area to order at. Although it took about 10 minutes to order our drinks, it gave us more time to look at the countless amounts of drink options on the menu. I decided I was going to try a new drink, which was a large green apple and blue raspberry-based energy drink; I also spontaneously decided to order a confetti muffin top. My friend Julia ordered a medium violet voltage, which had blue raspberry and watermelon in it. 

As I was handed the card reader, I was quite surprised when I saw my order was only $10.00, for the size of my drink and a muffin top! While we pulled out of the drive-through, I immediately put my straw in my drink and took a sip. My drink was refreshing, and something I had never tried before! After I took my first drink, I reached for my muffin top, which was filled with sprinkled frosting. My muffin top was delicious and extremely filling. It seemed to have a more cornbread base, which I enjoyed since the frosting was quite sweet. My friend Julia loved her drink, so I decided to take a sip of hers too! When I took my first sip of her bright blue drink, I instantly wished I got that drink instead of mine. 

Although the line took longer than I expected, it was worth the wait. The drinks brought joy to my day, and I will definitely steer my wheel towards Hyper Energy Bar instead of Starbucks, the next time I head out to West Des Moines, Iowa. 

Example of Hyper Energy drinks. (
The new spring Starbucks drinks: Iced Oatmilk Lavender Latte and the Matcha with the Lavender Coldfoam.
Spring In a “Starbucks” Syrup: Is it Worth the Hype? by Abigail Galloway

Starbucks Coffee is one of the most popular coffee shops worldwide, serving thousands of customers every day. Known for its new and innovative drinks, Starbucks has found a new way to bring spring to life through a drink.

Starbucks Coffee recently came out with a new lavender syrup that adds a subtle sweetness to any drink of your choice. According to Starbucks, the drink is incorporated into coffee, matcha, and refresher drinks. It can be found at all stores nationwide. Patrick Penny, a lead beverage developer on the Starbucks team, says, “We’re hoping to have captured the springtime feeling with this flavor.” 

I decided to go to my local Starbucks in Des Moines, Iowa, and test out the hype; I decided to taste test three different drinks that have lavender syrup incorporated in them:

  1. I tried the Iced Lavender Cream Oat Milk Matcha, and I have to say it was absolutely delicious. Matcha is a green powdered tea that I personally think is delicious, and the lavender cold foam on top adds a fresh, floral, yet creamy taste to the drink.
  2. I tried the Iced Lavender Oat Milk Latte. I had only had one lavender latte before, and it was in Los Angeles at a local coffee shop. Unfortunately, this latte did not measure up to the one I had in LA. However, I did enjoy the option to add more caffeine while being able to try the syrup.
  3. I tried the Strawberry Acai Lavender Refresher, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the cold and fresh taste of this drink. It reminded me of a perfect summer day.  

Overall, I enjoyed the new lavender syrup and think it is worth the visit to your local Starbucks to try any of the three drinks and possibly add the syrup to more! 

The new spring Starbucks drinks: Iced Oatmilk Lavender Latte and the Matcha with the Lavender Coldfoam. (
Caitlin Clark riles up the crowd.
The Caitlin Clark Effect & Impact Q/A by Noah Gaul

Caitlin Clark has without a doubt made a huge impact on women’s basketball. Her 3-pointers and quick maneuvers while playing have attracted a huge audience to the Women’s NCAA. Today I had a conversation with Carol Gaul, a first grade teacher at St. Francis School in West Des Moines, IA, the same school that Caitlin Clark attended. She has known about Caitlin since she was in first grade and spoke about the impact Clark has made on basketball. 


A: I love watching her shoot from half-court and swish the three points and I love how aggressive she is and how she tries to hype the crowd up.


A: I enjoy that I got to see her as a first grader grow into a high school player and now a collegiate basketball player and it’s been fun. Watching her learn her sport and be an inspiration to all the little girls out there that if you put your mind to something you can achieve your dreams.


A: I do think that she has changed the perspective in focus on women’s basketball. Little girls look up to her and are excited to play a sport where they can see themselves making a difference and doing great things.

Caitlin Clark has undeniably changed the landscape of women’s basketball for years to come, and the testimony coming from those who know her reinforces her positive impact on young kids and the sport as a whole. 

Caitlin Clark riles up the crowd. (
Tupelo southern BLT with a side of fries.
“Tupelo Honey”: Best Southern Restaurant in Town by Sarah Hassett

If you’re having trouble finding a good place to eat, check out Tupelo Honey in downtown Des Moines! They serve a delicious brunch from 9 AM to 4 PM on the weekends and have a large variety of foods to choose from. Tupelo Honey is a southern-based restaurant that makes all of their food from scratch, it also has a very cozy atmosphere. “I thought they had a good menu selection, their drinks were very good, and their prices were very reasonable” is a quote from Bob Hassett who dined there for brunch. He added, “their service was also very good and the waitress was very knowledgeable about their menu.” 

According to Yelp, an average person can eat there for $20-$30 from their large menu of southern foods. They offer meals such as sweet and spicy chicken sandwiches, chicken and waffles, breakfast bowls, and many other enticing menu items. They also have many alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to choose from. 

When dining for brunch, I ordered their southern BLT sandwich with a side of their baked mac and cheese. Their baked mac and cheese had crunchy bits on top that added a nice crunch to the side dish. The sandwich was on a potato bun with apple cider bacon, grilled chicken, dijonaise, lettuce, and tomato. It was very delicious and I would recommend it to those wanting to try Tupelo honey. I also ordered their “Kiss of Lavender Lemonade” and I found it to be quite refreshing.

All in all, Tupelo Honey had a fantastic menu, good service, and very reasonable prices. When Bob Hassett was asked if he would recommend Tupelo Honey to a friend he avidly said, “Yes, I actually called some friends right after eating there and told them we needed to go out there for dinner some night.”

Tupelo southern BLT with a side of fries. (
Ferrari and Mercedes round the corner, neck in neck with Redbull in Monza, 2023
What is the Future of Formula 1? by Olivia Kiernan

“He wins in Spa! He wins in Monza! Charles Leclerc has won the Italian Grand Prix!” If you are a Formula 1 fan, you know what a blissful joy you would get from hearing those words once again. If you are not, stay tuned, there’s a lot of information and a crazy whirlwind of drama and scenic locals. It’s like keeping up with the Kardashians, but they’re all attractive, wealthy young men driving million-dollar race cars. 

Let’s start with just the basics. In F1 there are 10 teams, Ferrari, Mclaren, RedBull, Williams, Alpine, Hass, Mercedes, AlphaTauri, Aston Martin, and Alfa Romeo, (now Stake), and there are 2 drivers per team. I will not torture you in telling you each of their names, so I’ll stick with the big names for now. Sir Lewis Hamilton, (yes, SIR. He has been knighted by the late Queen Elizabeth) the driver for Mercedes for the past 13 years, Max Verstappen, driver for RedBull, winner of the last 4 consecutive World Championships, Carlos Sainz, a smooth operator for Ferrari, the only other driver in the past 22 races that has beat Max Verstappen, and Charles Leclerc, the second driver for Ferrari, and a fan favorite. I learned most of this information from the Netflix show Drive to Survive. It is a very good show with lots of good information, especially for beginners. Along with races, you can really take good notice of things, how the teams operate, the drama, and the time crunch that can ensue in the pit, where the team presidents watch the race, which is also where the crews replace tires on the cars when they need to be replaced. Lately, unfortunately, things have been pretty steady and predictable for F1. Up until 3 months ago, when there was breaking news that Lewis Hamilton was switching from Mercedes to Ferrari, displacing Sainz, the only other driver to win a race in the past 3 years. 

I ask this question because I truly wonder about this nearly every day. “What is the future of Formula 1?” This has been a passion of mine for almost 2 years now. Where will Carlos Sainz end up? Did Ferrari make a mistake and fire the wrong driver? Will Red Bull’s future continue to be prosperous? Or is their luck, like so many others before them, about to run out?

Ferrari and Mercedes round the corner, neck in neck with Redbull in Monza, 2023 (
Lily Schweizer, Izzy Staudt, Caroline Mauceri, and Libby Kueter in WDM Crumbl Cookie
Putting “Crumbl Cookie” to the Test by Caroline Maucieri

Many people question if Crumbl Cookie still lives up to its hype. The cookies blew up on social media in 2021 for their weekly rotation of unique flavors, but it’s been three years and they now have 800+ locations nationwide according to I visited the Crumbl Cookie in West Des Moines with my three friends to see for myself. For Izzy Staudt, Dowling Junior, it was worth the visit; she described it as “the best cookie store in the area.” From the moment we walked in, the scents and service were very impressive, but not all of the flavors were outstanding. 

As soon as the door slightly opened, we were greeted by both employees exclaiming, “Welcome to Crumbl!” The smell of freshly baked cookies filled the store and pulled us in. I was impressed by the straightforward ordering process, where we placed our specialized order on a tablet. This allowed us to pick the amount and flavors of cookies we wanted with the click of a button. When picking up our order, they displayed the cookies to ensure we were satisfied. In addition, one employee even offered to take our picture against their pink wall. 

Crumbl kept up with their rotating menu and we tried 5 of the 6 for that week: Raspberry Danish, Brookie, Confetti Cake, Dulce De Leche, and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunk. Dulce De Leche and Confetti Cake had great flavors, appealing displays, and gooey frosting. Lily Schweizer, Dowling Junior, stated, “The Confetti Cake cookie tastes just like the real thing.” On the other hand, Raspberry Danish was too overpowering on the berries and the brownie part of the Brookie was too rich. The Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunk was classic and done well but didn’t bring anything special. 

Although the atmosphere has remained positive and friendly, the cookies ended up being hit or miss, with not all flavors exceeding expectations. I don’t think it has fully maintained its hype and I believe it would be beneficial for them to focus on the quality of the cookies each week rather than unique and new flavors.

Lily Schweizer, Izzy Staudt, Caroline Mauceri, and Libby Kueter in WDM Crumbl Cookie (Caroline Maucieri)
Keshas Animal (2010) album cover.
“Tik Tok” My Life Away by Ephraim Messer

From first place on the Billboard Hot 100 to first place in my heart, Kesha’s Animal, has been nationally recognized as a masterpiece. According to Billboard, “Tik Tok” topped the charts in 14 different countries, and she’s had two number-one albums, Animal and Rainbow (GRAMMY). Animal though, has always been my personal favorite, and while not every song can be as wonderful as “Backstabber”, they all bring something unique to her debut album.

Her first song, titled “Your Love Is My Drug” starts the album off with both a musical and lyrical theme that winds through the entire album. With an upbeat rhythm, a catchy chorus, and synths that practically bounce through you, this song starts the album strong. While taking a cheerful approach to the addictiveness of love, she plays with topics like love, poor decision-making, and happiness which can be seen throughout the entire album.

The next song, “Tik Tok”, has always been a favorite. While maintaining many of the previous song’s musicality and general theme, it achieves its own sort of excellence. The verses have a sort of rhythm, not quite a spoken verse, but a monotonality, that stays throughout the entire song. What’s interesting about this song, is that instead of getting boring, the monotonality adds and makes singing and memorizing the song all the easier.

“Take It Off” takes “Tik Tok”’s crazy, and dials it up. For me, it wasn’t a song that I instantly loved, but the more I listened to it, the more I began to fall in love with it. It has minor undertones, almost casting off the happiness the other ones boasted; and I really liked it. “Kiss N Tell” doesn’t take on anything new, but shows how comfortable she is with this style. It vaunts her love of electronic dance rhythms and lyrics that make you smile.

“Stephen” is one of the most underrated songs on the album. It combines a genre that only Kesha can really master and mixes it with a song that could be straight from the 80s. It has a sense of longing; something she can’t get, but wants so dearly. This is a theme that most of this album doesn’t really touch on.

“Blah Blah Blah” takes us back to the prior vibes of “Tik Tok”, with trashy lyrics and fat, juicy synth. Even featuring a rap, this song keeps the album feeling recognizable, yet novel. The mood, though, is abruptly taken back with “Hungover”, which ironically happens to be her deepest song. It’s catchy (as is every song on this album), but still has a tinge of sadness.

It wouldn’t be Kesha, though, if she didn’t have a song about making a fool of yourself at a party, which is exactly what “Party At A Rich Dude’s House” is about. The guitar riff is really enjoyable, and while it’s not a stand-out song, it doesn’t subtract from the album.

“Backstabber”, though, is a masterpiece. While combining everything we love about this album, with a message we can all relate to, Kesha tells us the story of that “friend”. And sometimes hearing someone talk about that “friend”, in the way we all think about them, just feels really good. “Blind” is another song that doesn’t necessarily stand out, but is anything but boring.

“Dinosaur” is an interesting piece. To me, it reminds me of something that a cheerleader would call out, and a stadium would respond to. While the song itself would probably be the most subpar on Animal, it does have its funny parts and doesn’t subtract from the album. “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes” is another song that almost mourns. Somehow, she mixes the upbeat thump of the drums and the electricity of the instruments, yet makes you feel something. “Boots and Boys” is a fun listen, but doesn’t offer anything else to the album.

Here though, is where possibly the best song on the album emerges. “Animal”. It casts off the crazy and the dirtiness and embraces something warm; something innocent. It’s not as if it’s a breath of fresh air, but as if it’s a breath of fresher air. It’s like we were sailing over the clouds but now we are touching the stars.

“VIP” directly comes after, and as Kesha seems to love to do, hits us with a song that gives downright dingy vibes, and a melancholy tune. The song itself is really engaging, but more than that, it prepares us for the last song. “c u next tuesday” is the final song on the album. When I first listened to the album the entire way through, this ending really stuck with me. It’s not quite upbeat, not quite crazy, but not tame. It dances, but not in the way that the others do. It has a different type of bouncing.

What stood out to me though, was that it truly gave me deja vu. The entire process of listening to it felt like a journey. I didn’t feel necessarily changed, but I didn’t feel the same. I’ve always been one to connect with music, but never have I ever connected like this. It was a one-of-a-kind adventure that I’m delighted I was able to undergo.

Kesha’s Animal (2010) album cover. (
Texas Roadhouse rolls.
The Best Appetizer by Kathryn Nelson

Are you looking for a sweet and appetizing appetizer? Look no further! Texas Roadhouse has the best rolls with a sweet twist to them. The light, airy, and fluffy rolls pair excellently with their cinnamon-whipped butter. The Texas roadhouse rolls are a true staple when dining at the restaurant. 

After a short wait, I was seated at a table in no time. The service was excellent with a waiter who helped my friends and me out with the menu and she was sure to give us enough time to pick out a dish. The best part about Texas Roadhouse are the rolls that are brought to you immediately with your table, so there is something for you to snack on while picking out a main course! This is something unique about Texas Roadhouse that many other restaurants don’t do. My friends and I couldn’t get enough of the rolls and ordered a second platter of them. “The rolls were very fluffy and paired well with the cinnamon butter,” said my friend Piper Harrington who I dined with at the restaurant, along with my other friends who loved the rolls as well. Overall I had a really good experience at the restaurant and will definitely be going back for the rolls!

Texas Roadhouse rolls. (
Main characters after their fall into a river.
“Anyone But You” Is For You by Molly O’Halloran

The movie Anyone But You starring Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell was one of the greatest rom-coms of the modern day. The movie was released on December 22, 2023, and it took over the media. The mix of comedic relief and its great casting of main characters are the leading factors to the movie’s success (The Wrap). 

A great reaction was produced from the audience and viewer Tyler Skeen said: “Anyone But You,” by director Will Gluck and co-writer Ilana Wolpert, has the charm, wit, swoony romance, and, most importantly, star chemistry that has been solely missing from recent lackluster entries in the genre” (Skeen). 

Going into the movie I was doubtful that it would ever live up to the rom-coms created in the 90s, but due to the media’s explosive response, I decided to attend. The movie begins with the main characters having a cute meeting in a coffee shop and spending the rest of the night together. There is an instant chemistry between the two, but it ends quickly as the pair miscommunicates in the morning. The one-night stand turns into contempt against each other. Then years later the pair is unexpectedly brought together for a wedding because they each have a relation to one of the spouses in the wedding. With both characters attending the wedding, the movie takes place in beautiful Sydney, Australia. I enjoyed how the plot was laid out in setting up the characters’ meeting and then bringing the two together again. Along with the plot, the location of the film was breathtaking. 

As the wedding week began, the two had to put their hatred aside as they both did not want to disrupt the wedding party. The facade was hilarious as the couple attempted to be in a romantic relationship even though they could not stand each other. But as the movie progressed, the main characters slowly turned from enemies to lovers. The movie had a perfect mix of comedy and romance with the couple growing closer to one another. 

I thoroughly enjoyed watching this movie due to the plot and the chemistry between the characters. The media’s response to the movie is a great reflection of the movie’s success. Anyone But You should be used as a reference to aspiring rom-com writers to bring back the wit old com-roms featured.

Main characters after their fall into a river. (The New York Times)
Taylor Swift Eras Tour.
The Greatest Film Of All Time Was Made! by Madison Oppelt

Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour movie has broken countless records. From the box office to streaming, it is one of the most talked about movies today. As a one of Taylor Swift’s loyal fans, a “Swiftie”, I went to the Eras tour live in Kansas City, Missouri; I have seen the movie twice in theaters, and many times on streaming. I first saw the Eras Tour movie on its release day, Friday, October 13th, 2023. The theater was sold out, and it was great to be able to experience the film with so many other Swifties. This was not your classic, quiet theater experience. The audience was standing up, singing along and dancing during the movie, which made it feel similar to the live concert. 

The second time I saw the movie in theaters was for my birthday party at the end of October. The theater was not full, so it was just me and my friends singing and dancing along to all of the songs. It was great to be able to experience the movie with a small group of people. I absolutely loved the Eras tour movie. The video quality was excellent and the sound was incredible. The lead actress in the movie is Taylor Swift. The film is a true reflection of the live concert. Although the movie is 3 ½ hours long, the film kept the audience engaged, and the time went by quickly. 

I asked Sarah Kinnison, a junior, her opinion on the Eras tour movie. Sarah is one of my friends who experienced the movie at my birthday party. She said, “Although I would not consider myself a Swiftie, I did enjoy the Eras tour movie due to the broad range of songs that are included. You never get bored listening because there is such a huge variety of songs.” According to IMDB, the movie consists of 9 of Taylor Swift’s albums throughout her incredible 18 year career. According to USA Today, the setlist consists of the Lover era, the Fearless era, the Evermore era, the Reputation era, the Speak Now era, the Red era, the Folklore era, and the 1989 era. Swift then sings two surprise songs, and ends with the Midnights era. Taylor Swift sings a total of 45 songs in the film, which makes the movie’s run time 3 ½ hours. Although the movie is long, it is worth spending the time to see Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour movie.

Taylor Swift Eras Tour. (
Image supporting no school, meaning a 4- day school week.
Opinions on 4-Day School Weeks by Isabella Simons

The talk of 4 day school weeks has been a stirring thought throughout schools in the metro area of Iowa. There have been a few schools that have switched to the 4-day school week idea. I sat down with Dr. Arnold in her office as I asked her about her opinions on the thought of Dowling switching to a 4-day school week. 

Q: What are your thoughts on moving to a 4-day school week? 

A: I am not opposed to the thought of a 4-day school week. 

Do I think it would benefit our school and change our school dynamic that much? No. 

Q: Would you ever consider moving to a 4-day school week?

A: There are benefits and drawbacks to the idea of a 4-day school week. I don’t think there are enough benefits however to make Dowling as a school move to a 4 day school week school. 

Q: How would it benefit students/staff? 

A: Students would obviously love having a 3-day weekend every weekend. Teachers would also be able to have more teacher meetings to talk about plans for the upcoming week. It would also give teachers time to grade papers on a day off where they can focus on just grading so that they don’t feel far behind. It could also benefit mental health because students would get a day off to reset. 

Q: What would be the drawbacks to a 4-day school week? 

A: It would be losing class time and we would potentially have to go further into summer unless we extended our school day hours. But a big effect would be teachers not being able to see their students as much.      

Q: Would we go further into summer or longer school day hours? 

A: Well I know that the teachers’ favorite part of their jobs is the fact they get a summer break too and I don’t think they want part of their break taken away either so we would probably end up doing longer school days.

Image supporting no school, meaning a 4- day school week. (Reynolds School District)
Alternate Cover for Eternal Sunshine.
Ariana Grande Tops Charts for the First Time Since 2020 by William Sweers

On March 8, 2024, Ariana Grande released her 7th studio album, titled Eternal Sunshine; her first album since 2020. This album has been greatly anticipated by many fans and critics. It is a very well-thought-out and put-together piece of music and has been deemed worth the wait by many fans, including myself. This album has remained on the top of many charts since its release (as of March 27, 2024) and has broken personal records for Grande.

According to The New York Times, Eternal Sunshine is “one of Grande’s most meticulously crafted and texturally consistent releases”. Consisting of 13 tracks, of which there is an intro and an interlude, the album lasts a little longer than 35 minutes. While the album is on the shorter side for Grande’s work, almost all the tracks are very cohesive with each other. Additionally, almost every track is very strong and coherent, both by themselves and with the rest of the album. 

Because of the consistency of the album, favorites vary widely between fans. However, my three favorite tracks include “Imperfect for You”, “Bye”, and “Intro (End of the World)”. “Imperfect for You” is a vulnerable song where Grande admits some of her faults and how she seems to forget about them when she is with her lover. “Bye” is an upbeat track suspected to be about Grande’s divorce from Dalton Gomez, where she sings about putting herself first and finally leaving a relationship that is damaging to her well-being. “Intro (End of the World)” opens the album, in which Grande creates imagery very contrasting to the name of the album. She paints an image of the end of the world, where the sun no longer sheds its light. Grande also asks the question, “How can I tell if I’m in the right relationship?” as the first line of the track, a question Grande seems to focus on for the rest of the album. 

Grande’s new album is currently occupying the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 and is the only album in 2024 to reach the top with over 200,000 units, according to Rolling Stone. Eternal Sunshine is also “[Spotify]’s most-streamed album in a single day in 2024 so far”, according to Billboard. Additionally, the second single from the album, “We Can’t Be Friends (Wait For Your Love)” peaked at the number one spot on the Hot Billboard 100 during the album’s debut week, making it the second track from Eternal Sunshine to reach this spot, alongside the album’s lead single “Yes, And?”. The 10 other tracks eligible for placement on the chart earned themselves a spot as well, according to Billboard. 

As fans enjoy the album, many are hoping for the announcement of a possible tour to accompany the album. In an interview review on the Zach Sang Show, Grande has said that she is yet to decide on whether a tour will happen, due to her busy schedule.

Alternate Cover for Eternal Sunshine. (The Montclarion)
Sophomore Alexis Requero, Westin Arnold (pictured in white) poses with freshman Nery (on the ground), and Freshman Suan Sang.
Trying Out For The Beautiful Sport: Soccer by Luke Tuang

“You got this. To the corner, come on!” yelled sophomore Juaquin Antenzano as I was running my mile around the soccer field. I was just a part of hundreds of boys who tried out for Dowling Catholic soccer, and there were many people with various abilities and skills.

There was a huge turnout of freshmen and sophomores as the first day of tryouts commenced and there was a sense of competition already. The JV1 coach stated that we had to work hard and put in the effort so they could determine the right teams. “If you are here to have fun with your teammates and friends, most certainly that is fine but we will put you on Jv3,” stated Coach Hyunh. 

“I enjoyed the atmosphere and vibe there but I could sense competition already with the freshmen and sophomores. I like the coaches and camaraderie I had with other players though,” stated sophomore Alexis Requero. Alexis was just a part of the bigger picture at tryouts and was there for the vibes along with having fun with his fellow teammates. His fellow teammates had good sportsmanship and chemistry with him and each other because they were performing good passes, touches, and just had a good connection with each other. He had honestly known that putting in that work would get him the result he wanted: the Jv2 squad with his senior companion Brandon Mondragon, and fellow junior Euan Kilbride.

A day of tryout usually began with warmups, and stretching with teammates in a circle. There was usually a question of the day as an icebreaker and also to get to know each other as the rigorous tryouts underwent.  Freshman Suan Sang was scared to even go to tryouts because this was his first sport for Dowling and he didn’t necessarily know what to expect. He only relied on fellow upperclassmen’s advice and his surroundings as tryouts went on. Sang admires the sport and one of his inspirations, Cristiano Ronaldo, had influenced him to do the renowned worldwide sport of soccer. He wishes to be a winger on either side of the pitch or a center-attacking midfield aka CAM. Sang has been studying the likes of Kaka, Messi, Vinicius Junior, and Phil Foden. 

There have been many returning tryouts such as Westin Arnold who is excited to undergo the season with new and returning players. Arnold possesses speed and better technical skill improvement ever since last year’s season. “I really enjoy being competitive but also meeting with new people,” stated Arnold.

As tryouts come to a close, many players are anxious to hear the results of which team they will be placed on. Many upperclassmen wish to be a part of the Jv2 squad because they feel the chemistry is better with each other. Tryouts are very rigorous but in the end, the coaches are there to see who is good and motivated for the team.

Sophomore Alexis Requero, Westin Arnold (pictured in white) poses with freshman Nery (on the ground), and Freshman Suan Sang. (Luke Tuang)
Gilroys bar seating.
Gilroy’s Galore by Ava Van Ee

On a warm, sunny Monday night, I sat down with my family to try the restaurant Gilroy’s for the first time. Overall, the restaurant’s food was delicious, their service was helpful, and the process was quick and easy. “Wow! This was better than I expected it to be!” said first-time customer Brent Van Ee after his first meal at Gilroy’s.

For his family of 4, he ordered the salmon, the creamy chicken pasta, and two Philly cheesesteaks, all of which are some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes. The portion sizes were worth the price and the food was steamy, but most of all, it was tasty!

I tried the salmon, which came with a side of green beans and a side of crispy potatoes. The salmon was a little dry, however it was extremely flavorful. The crunchy green beans and buttery potatoes dipped in the creamy bearnaise sauce complemented each other perfectly!

If you want to try it for yourself, Gilroy’s is located at 1238 8th St., West Des Moines, IA 50265. This particular location opened in April of 2016. Since then, the restaurant has been serving up lunch, dinner, and a side of live music from local artists (once the weather warms up). It’s no wonder Gilroy’s receives an average of over 4 stars on websites across the internet! My family and I threw in our own rankings too, ultimately deciding that Gilroy’s was worth returning to. Mara Van Ee says it best: “5 stars! Their food was amazing! I will definitely be going back!”

Gilroy’s bar seating. (Gilroy’s Kitchen)
The Outside Scoops menu and a dark chocolate raspberry ice cream cone.
I Scream You Scream We all Scream for Ice Cream by Catherine Wilwerding

With many different ice cream shops, local and chain, I had to try something different at The Outside Scoop in Ankeny and share my thoughts. 

On Saturday, March 23 I went to The Outside Scoop in Ankeny, Iowa. I would rate it a 4/5 stars. I have many reasons why I would rate it a 4/5 and they include:  

  • They had over 60 flavors. While the variety to choose from was nice the decision was also overwhelming.
  • The employees were very friendly and helpful. With that many flavors, it was impossible to choose without trying the flavors. The employees were very helpful with letting me and the people I was with try more than one flavor each.
  • However out of all the flavors I choose the dark chocolate raspberry. The raspberry was a nice contrast to the dark chocolate and broke up the harshness of the dark chocolate. 

Nevertheless, the ice cream was not earth changing, so I couldn’t rate it a 5/5 but instead a 4/5 review for The Outside Scoop. I would recommend The Outside Scoop and plan to go back soon.

The Outside Scoop’s menu and a dark chocolate raspberry ice cream cone. (Catherine Wilwerding)
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    adviserApr 9, 2024 at 1:26 pm

    I LOVE Love Island, too!