By: Diana Hadley

Students are a common sight at the Indiana Statehouse.

On most days there are lines of students in different sizes following their teachers through the stately hallways to see with their own eyes where government works.

During the 2017 legislative session, many high school journalists have been part of the student population, but not as visitors—as citizen advocates working on legislation.

Several high school journalists (including Austin Hood, Warren Central) met with Rep. Ed Clere-R New Albany and Rep. Ed DeLaney-D Indianapolis on December 7, 2016 to draft a New Voices bill that would protect student journalists. Other organizations that would be interested in the legislation were invited to the initial discussion.

House Bill 1130 emerged as the focus of an effort that would travel through the legislative process for the next four months. 

It was granted a hearing by the House Education Committee, and students testified for the bill. It passed that committee 13-0 and the full house 88-4.

As many bills died, HB1130 gained momentum. It received a senate hearing, and students began the new legislative phase with testimony and senate contacts. 

HB1130 passed the senate Education and Career Development Committee with a unanimous voice vote, but amendments to it created controversy that sent it into a tailspin during the third reading. Uncertain of passage, the bill’s senate sponsor did not call it for a vote, a move that killed the bill as it was numbered but preserved the language for another bill that might carry it forward.

Such a bill was found, and with five days to go in the session advocates gave final testimony to keep the bill alive.

Rep. Clere had said he would fight for the bill until the last minute of the last hour of the last day of the session. As the last day of the session approaches, all advocates appreciate his effort to do that. 

Whether the bill passes this year or has to return for another try next year, students who have been involved have learned about government by doing. 

They know how to draft and promote a bill. 

They know the joy of “their bill” passing a committee hearing, and a full chamber.

They know the frustration of seeing their bill hit the wall an hour from a third reading vote.

They know that the fight for it is hard—but student voice is worth the fight.

Diana Hadley

Executive Director, Indiana High School Press Association

April 18, 2017


By: Student Webmaster

The school year is winding down and many seniors are beginning to think very seriously about their plans after graduation. Throughout their educational career, students are told to study hard and get good grades so they can get into college and get a good job. The notion that a college degree is the only viable and consistent path to a successful future is sold hand over fist to students of all ages.


This path to success by way of higher education, however,  seems more treacherous and uncertain than ever. Put simply, the narrative of graduating from a post secondary institution in four years directly after high school and then settling into perpetual economic comfort is now more fiction than fact. The American system of higher education is broken and if it isn’t fixed soon, the consequences are only going to become more serious.


From the time that Harvard College was founded in 1636 to midway through the 20th century, higher education in the United States was almost exclusively reserved for the nation’s elite. In 1910, there were 37,000 students receiving bachelor’s degrees from American institutions. Due in large part to ambitious Federal programs, including the New Deal-era G.I Bill and Lyndon Johnson’s Higher Education Act, and widespread sentiment that higher education is a tool for social mobility, enrollment in and the number of colleges expanded rapidly. In 2010, American colleges and universities awarded 1.6 million bachelor’s degrees.   


This rapid expansion of the American university system, though pure in intention, has yielded concerning and potentially damaging results. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 41 percent of those who start college don't finish. Students who dropout of college, overwhelmingly lower class with few if any family members with degrees, are left with large amounts of debt and nothing to show for it.


In short, the number of students attempting to attain four-year degrees is too high. Those not cut out for college life are cast out, riddled with debt and few prospects for their promised socioeconomic mobility. With such a high number awarded every year, these degrees become devalued in the market place. Many are finding that even after their completion of college, a good paying job is no longer guaranteed.


There is no one solution to this problem, but a more efficient education system begins by dissociating the American dream with higher education. Scores of well-paying jobs in manufacturing and the skilled trades are available to high school graduates. Moreover, many of the expanding fields in the American economy require more vocational-based training rather than traditional liberal arts education.


The future of higher education in the United States is a complex issue. A comprehensive and responsible solution will not be easy to come across, but if the path to finding one is gone down soon the problem will only grow larger.

By: David Able-Lopez

Everyone knows that high school life can get pretty busy. From homework and tests, to clubs and part-time jobs, it is not unusual for students to have a packed schedule. And when we do have free time, we try to fill it up with anything we can to keep ourselves entertained. But often times, we get lost in the noise of everything. We somehow get swept up in our personal matters, yet manage to lose sight of ourselves.

When was the last time you did nothing? Like, actually nothing? Not nothing, as in sleeping or “mindlessly staring at your phone with Netflix on in the background”, but nothing”in the most literal sense. As in, only the bare minimum necessary to continue living. Which basically equates to just breathing. 

It’s not a new idea by any means, but just as it is important to be able to focus on doing something, you should also be able to defocus and do nothing. Doing nothing reminds you that the world does not revolve around you. The world won’t come crashing to a halt just because you took a break. Sometimes, we don’t even realize how self-absorbed we are until we take a step back and look at everything from a broader perspective. 

Here’s my simple challenge for you: Do nothing for five minutes. Nothing. No thinking, no worrying, no focusing and no listening to music. Do absolutely nothing. Theoretically, it should be the easiest thing in the world, right? But in practice, it’s harder than it seems. Why is that?

It seems like technology has made us so accustomed to constant stimulation that it feels awkward if we are doing nothing. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to do something to keep us busy. We’re not sloths, after all. Even without technology, we would look for trivial things to occupy our minds. That’s just who we are. Doing nothing makes us bored. But that boredom then becomes our motivation for doing something meaningful.

I’m not saying it’s okay to be lazy. In fact, I want everyone to give their all doing what needs to be done. But don’t forget to do nothing every once in awhile. As backwards as it may sound, get out there and go do nothing!


By: Ramatou Soumare

Often, my columns revolve around current events and how they affect an African-American Muslim girl like myself. In light of recent events, my focus has shifted on the immigration and Muslim aspect of my life. This is the year that immigrants, Muslims and all other minorities are fearful for their future, especially with the change in presidency. 

The only reason America is “the Beautiful” is because it’s foundation was built on the hard work and determination that immigrants brought. My entire family is made up of immigrants and not many people know or understand that I am the first person in my entire family to be born in the United States. 

When people dismiss my feelings about Donald Trump’s policies regarding immigrants or Muslims, of course that angers me. These policies have everything to do with me. They affect what I can or cannot do or achieve in the future.  They affect my friends and their families as well. It affects thousands of innocent lives that come to America with hope.

Every day and night I used to fear for the outcome of my family. I wondered every day if they would be deported and sent back to their birth country. I wondered if I would be left alone and torn from my family, simply because I was born here and they elsewhere. Everyone in my family came to America legally on school or work visas. 

They came here with the vision that America was a place for opportunities, hope and a way for my brothers, my sisters, and all my cousins to have a better education, and a better life. 

For example, my mother spent 20 years working hard day and night, filling out application after application, background check after background check, interview after interview, test after test, before she could proudly call herself a US citizen. I remember the day of her naturalization like it was yesterday. It was a day filled with joy, and tears and satisfaction. My mother knew that coming to America was worth something and she’d finally achieved what she was looking for.

My father also went through the legal process of becoming a legal resident. For more than 10 years he wasn’t able to visit his home in fear that if he left the country he wouldn’t be able to come back. While waiting for his documents both of his parents passed away, some of his siblings got married, he had nieces and nephews that he’d never met. It was a heartbreaking time. He recently received the proper documents which gave him the opportunity to go back home. 

Immigrants is not the problem. Muslims are not the problem. 




By: Editors

Diversity is an asset, not a liability

It’s no secret: Warren Central is a large and diverse school. Students from a wide array of backgrounds, races, religions and socio-economic levels are proud to call the Warrior Nation their home. February is Black History Month and there is no better time to reflect upon the tremendous asset of living in a society where inclusion is a core value. 

It hasn’t always been like this. For much of the 20th century, into the 1990s, Warren Township was in large part a white middle class community where minorities were few and far between. Urban sprawl from areas in Center Township, coupled with the en-masse movement of white families to the suburbs, known as “white flight,” and court ordered affirmative action programs yielded the demographics of the community that we live in today. 

According to the D.O.E., the student body at Warren Central in  2016 was 54 percent black, 27 percent white, 12 percent Hispanic of any race, 1 percent Asian and 6 percent mixed race. 

When discussing Warren or the East Side as a whole, the phrases “I remember when it was a good school” or “I remember when it was a good place to raise a family” are often carelessly thrown around. What these phrases usually mean is “I liked the East Side better when it was less diverse.” 

Warren Central now is better than it has ever been. From FrontRunner to the Finance Academy, there are more opportunities for students to be successful now than ever before. And beyond academic opportunities, we are more diverse than ever. 

Beyond academics, the diversity of the student population allows for an irreplaceable real world experience.  It is impossible to attend this school without being exposed to students who come from radically different walks of lives than your own. 

This is a tremendous asset. Warren Students are better prepared for a rapidly diversifying world, where successful individuals are comfortable working side-by-side with someone with a much different life than their own, than their counterparts in more homogeneous suburban schools. 

That being said, there is work to be done. Despite making up almost three-quarters of the school population, students of color at Warren Central are less likely to be active in student leadership, including as Student Council Officers, and to participate in higher-level classes than their white counterparts. 

We live in a time where diversity is not viewed as a positive force by all. There are those who would like to see a less diverse America, where “traditional Americans” are favored above those who are perceived to be outsiders. Unfortunately, the latest election cycle reflects this trend and the new administration has worked to curb immigration from majority Muslim nations. 

Diversity is not a liability. We, as a school, as a community and as a nation are stronger because we value a mixture of race, culture and thought. The Owl encourages our readers to celebrate the diversity that has made this community so great.