Through determination and hardwork, bowler turns passion into successful career

For one Comet, bowling was once a mere hobby, but now, it is a career that is getting him noticed.

Junior Evan Haas is a varsity bowler on the Mason High School bowling team. Ranked second in Southwest Ohio, Haas has consistently averaged scores in the upper 200 range. Haas said family has well as his coach were big influences on his bowling career.

“My dad is the biggest one,” Haas said. “My uncle was also a bowler, and they’re both brothers. My bowling coach now, Joe Riestenberg, is also very influential to me because of how he’s brought me up and how I’ve always talked with him, and he’s been my friend for a while.”

Haas has memories of bowling with his dad when he was younger and said those memories inspired him to continue with bowling.

“I chose bowling because my dad was bowler,” Haas said. “I’ve always gotten up on Sundays and went bowling with him ever since I was three, so I just worked my way into it and kept on practicing, and that’s why I’m here now. He taught me how to do things and how to focus, and he was really the only coach I had ever had, so I had to learn on my own.”

Through being on varsity, Haas said he has learned more about the team aspect of bowling.

“Bowling is more of a team sport than anyone ever thinks,” Haas said. “Yeah, your scores get put into a website every time you go, but you have to have the rest of your team doing well and behind your back, so you don’t have to worry about anything else, and you can eventually win.”

Haas has gotten offers from colleges to bowl. While this makes continuing his bowling career after high school a possibility, Haas said he does not know whether or not this is something he will pursue.

“I’m still deciding between bowling and baseball, but I do have an offer to bowl at Wright State University, which is number three in the country,” Haas said. “I’m still thinking about it. I’m a junior, so I still have time to really figure out what I want to do, but it’s definitely an option for me.”

Haas admitted bowling does have it’s rough patches but said that even those can be equated with learning experiences.

“My favorite (memory) would be my 300 with my team watching and cheering me on,” Haas said. “My least favorite one was (when) I bowled one of my lowest games ever as freshman, because I just didn’t know what was going on. My teammates, the seniors, helped me through (and told me) that’s not really the end of the world because I got one low score.”

To young bowlers, Haas said not to be discouraged by initial low scores or afraid to get help from people.

“Once you start, you’re not going to be a professional or anything,” Haas said. “(Your scores) are going to start off low and occasionally get higher and higher, until you’re probably pretty good. I wouldn’t be afraid to get help from anyone, because everyone’s there to help you.”

Haas said that people should not underestimate bowling, because it is more fun than it looks.

“It’s a lot more fun than everyone thinks,” Haas said. “As you get better and better, it gets more and more fun, because you can show-off a bit as you’re practicing, because no one really knows how good you are until you go and show them, so it’s a lot of fun.”

Arts and creativity lost in shift to STEM

Originally published in the November 18, 2016 edition of The Chronicle.

Calculators instead of clarinets, Einstein instead of Shakespeare, systems instead of sonnets. Do you see a trend here?  It seems that in the push to expose students to more science and technology related education, the result could be a decreased emphasis on art and creativity.

STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – is a buzzword around the Mason City School District, but research shows that the arts provide students with a skill set that helps them excel farther academically.

Dana Arts and Cognition Consortium, a philanthropic organization conducting brain research, conducted a study in March 2008 that examined the effects of music education on attention and test scores.

The scientists took a group of 88 three to five- year-olds and collected their baseline test scores.They split the students up and engaged one group in music-related activities daily for eight weeks.They found that this group had significantly higher test scores in the non-verbal, spatial, and numeracy sections of an IQ test.

Senior Faith Kim has done Science Olympiad and taken multiple advanced science classes, and she said that the skills gained from playing the cello and making visual art has helped her to think more creatively.

“Doing art helps you to be more creative,” Kim said. “Creative thinking and problem solving, especially because those are huge aspects when you are making a piece of art, I think it transcends all subjects. Especially (with science) where problem solving and finding ways to solve your problems are a huge part of it.”

Kim said this is especially evident in physics.

“With physics, which I am taking right now, the problems that we have to do require a lot of thinking and thinking in different ways,” Kim said. “(We use) a lot of formulas to try and solve a problem, and I think being able to think creatively helps with that.”

Language Arts teacher and Speech and Debate adviser Melissa Donahue said the arts provide students with skills vital to success in STEM fields.

“Speech and debate, from an artistic standpoint, carries over to the STEM areas,” Donahue said. “I have many students that really develop analytical skills, (and) critical thinking skills, that I know you certainly would need to use in the STEM fields as well. In fact, many of the people who are in Speech and Debate or take (it) as an elective typically go on to fields like medicine or engineering.”

Even work done behind the scenes in the artistic fields prepares students for many types of careers, Donahue said.

“You may think of Speech and Debate as something that’s going to involve more of your public speaking skills and performing in front of an audience,” Donahue said. “(But) there’s a lot of behind the scenes work and preparation I would imagine a lot of science, math, (and) technology majors also use on a daily basis.”

The arts provide students with additional skill sets that they would lack with just math and science, Donahue said.

“I think it’s that idea of having that confidence or communicating in front of others,” Donahue said. “Learning the social aspect of it, beyond just the intellectual or the educational aspect of it, I think it’s that social component, and the idea to be able to empathize or sympathize with others (that) an arts education or focus is certainly going to help you excel in that area.”

While Donahue said she understands the focus on STEM, the arts are not receiving as much credit as they should be.

“(It’s) almost as if we maybe belittle an arts education,” Donahue said. “(We) think that something like Speech and Debate, or performance types of courses, or music, or art education is less important because of the big push to science and math, so in some cases, we might gloss over (the arts).”

Science teacher Joseph Schnell said there is a connection between the arts and STEM that helps stimulate more parts of the brain.

“There have been a lot of studies done that the arts, such as music, stimulate the parts of your brain that relate to STEM,” Schell said. “And I think having a wide body of knowledge allows you to make more connections than you might otherwise be able to (make).”

Such studies include one from the University of Utah in which scientists analyzed more than 1,000 brain scans of people ages seven to 29 in order to better understand lateralization: the preference to use a certain side of the brain over the other, Live Science, a science news website, said.

They analyzed more than 7,000 regions of the brain when the test subjects were at rest and concluded that on average there was an equal number of neural connections on each side of the brain. The results debunk the myth that one side of the brain is predominantly used for creativity and the other for logic.

Potential modifications to STEM would be more beneficial to students, Schnell said.

“There’s been a lot of emphasis (on) trying to change from STEM to STEAM,” Schnell said. “It’s basically, science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, and including (arts) as a piece and sort of wrapping them all together. I think that is a more beneficial and worthwhile approach.”

Schnell said an understanding of one field, such as science, makes another, such as music, easier.

“They sort of feed each other,” Schnell said. “If I say that it changes pitch from high to low, that’s a change in frequency as well. It allows me to better understand what frequency means in a context that I’ve experienced before.”

Many people assume that they can only excel in one aspect of academics, Schnell said.

“I think a lot of people just identify one thing that they’re good at and they sort of shut out all the others,” Schnell said. “I don’t think that’s a great approach. A lot of times, problems that you are trying to tackle can be benefited from looking at it from a different perspective.”

An open mind will help students better see the connection between both fields, Kim said.

“Just (be) open-minded and try to see the relationships between the two because they’re everywhere,” Kim said. “I don’t think you should limit STEM and say ‘Art doesn’t go there,’ and I don’t think you should limit art by saying science can’t be involved in it.”

Exercises linked to stress relief and relaxation

Originally published in the December 16, 2016 edition of The Chronicle.

Yoga is more than trees and sun salutations.

A study done at the Ohio State University and later published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology said that yoga reduces inflammation and fatigue, as well as the risk of diseases such as heart disease and arthritis.

Senior and Yoga Club founder Nealofar Madani said that yoga has been beneficial to her in multiple ways.

“I’m noticing more flexibility (and) more balance,” Madani said. “I feel like (I have) more control and more awareness of my body, mind, and thoughts.”

Senior and former Drishtiq Yoga employee Maddy Walouke said taking up yoga can help students practice concentrating their focus on a single task.

“It’s getting harder and harder for teenagers to focus on one thing mindfully,” Walouke said. “I feel like yoga is a really good way to practice and to exercise your mind to only focus on one thing. In doing that, it can help you be more mindful in the future in other things you’re doing.”

Madani said students can use yoga to counteract daily chaos and stresses.

“Especially for students, I know that there’s so much stress because of school and AP classes and standardized tests, as well as life in general,” Madani said. “It’s a great way to release stress in a healthy way and stay positive.”

Walouke said physical contact athletes participate in yoga to safely recover from an injury.

“In my experience, a lot of people start coming to yoga because they have some sort of pain,” Walouke said. “They’re athletes, they have some sort of injury that is not allowing them to do what they need to do, and yoga is a really good tool for healing and exercising those injuries in a really safe and healthy way instead of getting back on their feet and continuing because that would make the injury worse.”

Senior football player Josh Stewart said the football team uses yoga to properly recover after games.

“With the football team, we use yoga to our advantage for recovery after games,” Stewart said. “After games, we get in there Saturday mornings and we do our lift and we do yoga. It’s just to stretch us out and get all the lactic acid out of our muscles so that way we can recover faster.”

There has been a significant reduction in muscle soreness after starting yoga, Stewart said.

“I definitely see benefits just with the amount of soreness after games,” Stewart said. “We didn’t do yoga last season and I was sore all the time. This season we started doing it Saturdays and it’s made a big difference in my level of soreness.”

Bethesda Certified Athletic Trainer Kim Joest said that yoga is beneficial to athletes because it creates more flexible muscles that can easily remove lactic acid.

“Lactic acid builds up in the muscle,” Joest said. “We always describe it as dirty water–we want to get it out. By stretching and gaining flexibility helps get that back into the system so then it can be flushed out from your body.”

Madani said it’s advantageous for beginners to start simple.

“I would definitely say to start with beginner classes and move up,” Madani said. “There are so many opportunities for yoga. Start easy; don’t push yourself. It’s really cool to build–you’ll eventually be able to do poses you never thought you could do.”

Students should make their health more of a priority and take action to maintain it, Walouke said.

“A lot of students put their health as secondary, when your health is so important,” Walkouke said. “Students should be investing more time than they already are in things like yoga. That is going to make your mind work more efficiently as well.”

Author Discusses Depression and Her New Novel

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Author Jasmine Warga gave local residents insight into writing about–and with–depression.

On July 25, Warga talked about her debut novel: My Heart and Other Black Holes at the Mason Public Library.

Warga said inspiration for this novel came from her own experiences with depression.

“I don’t think that it’s at all based on hard facts of my life, but more like emotional truths in my life,” Warga said. “I think that I write books about emotional truths that I’ve experienced and that I’m interested in.”

Because of the similarities of the experiences between the main character and Warga, she said the process of writing this book taught her a lot about what depression is and gave her a better understanding of her own condition.

“I think I learned how manipulative of a disease depression is and how it really makes you such an unreliable narrator of your own life,” Warga said. “(I learned) how important and lifesaving it is about being honest about what’s happening to you and how difficult depression makes it to be (honest).”

Patti Ahting, the Associate Director of Mental Health Recovery Services, said Warga portrayed depression in a realistic way while instilling hope in her readers.

“She just did a really good job in describing how someone can feel so hopeless and helpless.” Ahting said. “But yet can connect with someone and (it is) through those connections and relationships that things can get better.”

Warga said that with a theme so personal, she felt very fortunate to have an editing team who focused more on the writing than on the content presented.

“I got lucky with the editor that I worked with,” Warga said. “She’s just so fantastic that I feel like she really understands how to help you write your best book. So, she didn’t really try to change the book in a way that felt not right to me.”

When it comes to advice for aspiring writers, Warga said that the most important thing is to keep writing, even when it’s extremely difficult.

“Writing, to me, is a combination of passion and discipline, but it’s really important to have the discipline piece,” Warga said, “I think too many people really only wait around for the muse, and the muse only works if you do.”