Daniela Aspian has lived in Omaha, Nebraska her whole life, but she is ready to see the world.
Aspian, a senior in high school who plans to study English at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, loves reading and writing, and studies Spanish. She is enrolled in an AP Spanish class and participates in Spanish Club.
“My mom is from Mexico and I want to learn Spanish to communicate with my grandma and my family,” she said.
Learning a new language is no small task, and to become fluent, speaking practice is essential.
In Aspian’s AP Spanish class, it is required of students to speak Spanish the entire class period, and they write essays in Spanish as well.
She has considered going to Mexico for an extended period of time to study the language and immerse herself in it.
“My mom is an interpreter, so I was pretty disappointed that she didn’t teach me Spanish,” Aspian said.
Aspian believes that learning a second language and becoming fluent in it is helpful in any career.
Omaha World-Herald Exploring Program students reported live from the field at the St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 10, 2018, experiencing the nerves and fun of approaching strangers and capturing their stories.
A World-Herald Exploring adviser seized on an idea for a St. Patrick’s Day parade story.
The parade featured people and politicians, but he would focus on the pooches.
And so the Explorers who showed up for this trial in journalism – Skutt sophomore Natalie Pearson, Millard West seniors Annie Punt and Madelyn Anderson, and fellow adviser Chris Peters – set out on a sunny, cold Saturday morning.
Six Irish wolfhounds strode near the front of the parade, a fitting breed for an Irish fest.
A fellow who called himself “Hillbilly” watched from the sidewalk with his English bulldog named Blue.
The sound of bagpipes blared. A tiny rat terrier named Savage wore a Christmas sweater. He was so excitable that it was almost impossible to get a photo of him.
There were puggles and labs and goldens. Many wore green bandanas.
The World-Herald adviser thought he was onto a good story.
Then he came upon Explorer Madelyn Anderson. It turned out she was writing about dogs, too.
She was doing a more thorough job of interviewing a woman with greyhounds than he would have done. He stumbled onward.
And that is the story of how a World-Herald Exploring adviser covered the St. Patrick’s Day parade.
For Chloe Marie Hedwig Fecci, it’s all about the vibes!
Fecci is very much one to follow her heart in everything she takes upon. For example, she chose to attend her private all girls Catholic school, Duchesne Academy, because of how amazing the atmosphere felt to her.
“The second I walked in, it felt like home,” Fecci stated beaming.
At Duchesne, Fecci is involved in both track and cross country. However, she prefers cross country more.
“I love the vibe of it and we’re all such good friends,” Chloe stated, once again smiling from ear to ear.
Other than sports and school, Fecci loves to watch YouTube in her free time, preferably “Buzzfeed Unsolved.”
“I like eating Nutella and chilling,” Fecci said, to sum it all up.
Delving into deeper topics, when asked what she thinks is the true foundation of friendships and romantic relationships, Fecci follows her heart and of course, the vibes, once more. Chloe says that each need to be built on trust and respect.
“You can’t love someone if you don’t trust them”, Fecci said.
Chloe wears her heart on her sleeve, and truly, would be a great new Dr. Phil.
When she laces up her ballet shoes, 17-year-old Madelyn Anderson doesn’t think about how little time she has for friends or social media. She doesn’t think about AP Biology or Contemporary Literature class.
Life as a dancer and a student is allégro: fast. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Dance has always been a way that I can express myself,” Anderson said. She tried soccer and basketball, but nothing fascinated her like sparkly costumes and on-stage twirls. “I have always been more girly. Putting on makeup and the pretty costumes is what I liked best.”
At the age of 2, Anderson knew she would continue to be a part of a dance team for as long as she could.
Each night, she spends four hours dancing for Fusion Dance Omaha. On top of that, she is highly involved in her school. Being a part of Advanced Journalism and many AP classes has caused her an extra three hours of work a night.
With all of this built up, leaves little time for social media and time with friends. A large portion of her friend group dances alongside her, but the many more she has made at Millard West High School have to wait for her time.
Going through the four crazy years of high school, she has learned prioritizing in order to reach her goals.
“If something is important to you, you’ll make time for it,” Anderson said. “You have to put the time and effort into things you want to see become accomplished.”
As most students her age live their lives off of their phones and procrastinating, she makes sure her world is lively and interesting. Through dance and academics, she knows she will succeed.
Annie Punt, 17-year-old senior at Millard West High School, has a history with sweets – Dum Dums and frozen yogurt to be exact.
Throughout her school career, Punt always favored writing. She often composed memoirs about her day in a journal throughout the summer months. Punt never dreamed that she could live up to the skill of her sister, a 22-year-old writer and Spanish teacher.
After composing an eighth grade English story entirely about a sugary sucker and receiving immense praise from her teacher and peers, she knew writing held a future for her as well.
During the summer of her junior year, Punt began to work at a local frozen yogurt shop. It was her first experience with an actual interview, weekly paychecks and an opportunity for genuine interaction with strangers. She developed a love for the getting-to-know-someone process as she saw two facets of her life intertwine. One revolving around yogurt, the other around a pen and paper. Her experience at a job further developed her skills as a journalist and conversationalist – as she utilizes her time at the register to talk about anything from Husker football, to weather, to Dum Dums.
Sophomore Yousra Abdulrazig attends Westside High School and enjoys watching movies and reading books.
Abdulrazig says she would like to visit India for the tasty food and fascinating culture.
One thing that Abdulrazig doesn’t like is animals.
In second grade, she was in Girl Scouts, and on bring your pet day, only one girl brought her dog. Abdulrazig was at the playground, and all of the sudden the dog starts chasing her, she trips and falls and the dog attacks her. She says it’s her dog horror story.