The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High


The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High


The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High


Spring Break shenanigans, senior style

Seniors and upcoming seniors share their spring break activities
Audrey Ghosh
Each year, as temperatures start to rise, students await the coveted spring break, a week-long vacation taking place from March 16-24. Students and staff appreciated the respite from school and the sunny weather that came along with it. “I enjoyed traveling as a way to spend spring break [and] have a last trip with my family before college. I wish spring break was a little longer so I could have spent more time and not have a quick turnaround coming back to school,” senior Norah Rutkowski said.

Amidst the hectic whirlwind of school life, as students prepare for upcoming AP tests, finals and college, a week-long spring break offers a long-awaited and cherished hiatus for students to wind down and enjoy freedom from the relentless grind of routine. Many choose to travel and spend time abroad with friends and family, while others wield this extra time to catch up on personal academic projects. No matter how it is spent, spring break offers a chance to explore another world, at least for a week. For seniors, especially, spring break offers a last chance to hang out with their high school friends before embarking on a new journey in college. For the juniors, or soon-to-be seniors, spring break offers an opportunity to set in motion the college application process by visiting colleges and going on university tours.


Six seniors at sea

Seniors Sarah Reifschneider, Haley Burrow, Lizzie Duenez, Jenna Emerson, Lacy Roberts and Caitlin Brandmill (left to right) pose for a picture. (Courtesy of Caitlyn Brandmill)

Friends and seniors Caitlin Brandmill, Lacy Roberts, Haley Burrow, Sarah Reifschneider, Lizzie Duenez and Jenna Emerson drove to Panama City Beach, Fla. as part of their senior spring break trip. 

“A personal highlight was being able to read on the beach and get some sun. I love laying out and relaxing,” Brandmill said. “My favorite moment, though, was when me and [Emerson] were trying to find sea shells in the water; [Duenez’s] mom was able to capture the moment [when Emerson] found a pretty big shell, and our reactions are really cute.”

The six seniors spent time on the beach, ate at local restaurants, rode the Ferris wheel at the pier and shopped on the pier. In particular, they visited Dick’s Last Resort, a southern-style roadhouse known for staff that is intentionally rude to customers. 

“We each got something written on our heads that made fun of us, so that was really funny, and the food was pretty good too,” Brandmill said. “There was also a huge candy store we visited, [and] I somehow dropped over $40 on candy there. We also did a ton of walking on the beach, [which] I loved doing during the sunset because it was so pretty, and the view was amazing.”


Adventure Awaits

Senior Norah Rutkowski and her parents traveled to Sedona, Ariz. for spring break, where they participated in activities like hiking, biking around the top of various canyons, climbing up to Flagstaff and skiing.

Senior Norah Rutkowski and her mom pose for a picture on a canyon. (Courtesy of Norah Rutkowski)

“We biked around the Grand Canyon, which was cool because we got to see a lot more than if we had ridden a bus, and we could cover more distance than if we would have walked. I [also] had never skied before, and I had a lot of fun learning how to do it,” Rutkowski said. 

Rutkowski particularly hoped to see peccaries, also known as javelinas, which are pig-like animals that live in the desert regions that Rutkowski and her family visited.

“My biggest regret would be [not getting] to see a javelina. We unfortunately didn’t see any, but that was out of our control,” Rutkowski said. “Regardless, I had been out of town [previously] for college visits, so it was nice to be traveling for fun.”


A sakura spring

Wearing a kitsune mask, senior Andre Neal poses for a picture in front of a Japanese-style building. (Courtesy of Andre Neal)

From March 15-25, senior Andre Neal visited the metropolitan cities Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan. After studying Japanese for three years on Duolingo, Neal looked forward to practicing his communication skills.

“The highlight of my break was using Japanese to communicate with people there; all the hours [on Duolingo] came to fruition during my trip. The locals were genuinely surprised at my Japanese, and it felt so rewarding to converse with them,” Neal said. 

Neal traveled to the region just in time for Japan’s Maruyama Park Spring Festival. The archaic festival celebrates the first cherry blossom bloom of the year and draws the fancy of over 200,000 people worldwide. 

“To match the aesthetic of the festival, I wore a Japanese haori and kitsune mask. There were a bunch of booths with traditional Japanese street foods and entertaining games. One booth had a haunted house attached to it. It was a very interesting experience overall, for there is nothing like that in the United States,” Neal said. 


Passing by Puerto Rico

Seniors Kaden Senseney, Ben Gingrich, Max Hipp and Griffin Fanderclai (left to right) pose for a picture in front of a beach in Puerto Rico. (Courtesy of Ben Gingrich)

Over spring break, seniors Ben Gingrich, Kayden Senseney, Max Hipp and Griffin Fanderclai traveled to Puerto Rico.

“We went on a fishing trip, visited a rainforest, hung out on the beach and went sailing. One day, we traveled into Old San Juan, tried a local restaurant and visited El Morro fort,” Gingrich said. 

Old San Juan, a picturesque residential district in Puerto Rico, features 16th century architure, cobblestone streets and the famous castle El Morro Fort

“My favorite part of the trip was learning about where my dad spent part of his childhood [and experiencing] his favorite foods, sites and activities,” Gingrich said. 


College core

Over the seven days of spring break, junior Ava Griswold visited Kent State University in Ohio, George Washington University in Washington D.C., James Madison University in Virginia, High Point University in North Carolina and ended her college tour with a visit to her sister at the University of South Carolina

Junior Ava Griswold poses with her mom in front of James Madison University’s Duke Dog Statue. (Courtesy of Ava Griswold)

“The highlight of my spring break was getting to see all these beautiful campuses but also getting to go on many adventures while on this long road trip with my mom and my sister,” Griswold said. “On this trip, we also had amazing food from cute little

hole-in-the-wall restaurants, ranging from firewood pizza places to grilled cheese shops to Mediterranean food.”

While touring colleges, Griswold was interested in both a hospitality with event management major and a dance major. 

“I [was] so worried about meeting the people in charge of the majors. I was also so nervous I wouldn’t find a college that I would like or that people would be mean. This was not the case, and I ended up worrying for nothing,” Griswold said. “I feel I was more than prepared regardless of any previous regrets. I try to live my life by taking hold of any possibilities I can get, as regret-free as possible, because then I am able to fully unleash my potential and live a more memorable and carefree life. This trip was fun, a little unhinged, enriching and something I know I’ll never forget.”

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Audrey Ghosh
Audrey Ghosh, Opinions Editor
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 12 Years on staff: 4 What is your favorite piece of literature? "Anna Karenina." Who is your hero? My grandma. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Pizza (with different toppings).
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