The Cal Connection The Student News Site of Caledonia High School Wed, 12 Feb 2020 18:09:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Humans of Caledonia: Eden Merren Wed, 12 Feb 2020 18:09:00 +0000 “I was driving home from dance team practice after responding to tons of texts from my mom about how the roads were horrible and I had to drive safe. I was nervous about the 30 minute drive home because the roads I have to take are some of the worst for winter driving.

As I pulled out of the high school parking lot, my car slid so I slowed down a little thinking I would be okay. I made it through the curve near Duncan Lake and was about to reach the intersection of 100th and Patterson, the first stop of the long trip home. As I approached the stop sign I began to press on my brakes. I felt the car sliding a little but I thought I would be fine.

However, as I got closer to the stop sign I realized I was still going too fast so I pressed on my brakes harder and I felt my brake pedal hit the floor and make a loud grinding sound. I had no idea what was going on but all I knew was I wasn’t stopping. As I held my foot down on the brakes all I could see was the back of the car in front of me, and before I knew it the bent hood of my car was blocking my windshield. It took me a minute to realize what had happened but when I did I started crying trying to pull my car off of the road.

After I pulled off the road as much as I could I called the first friend’s name that came up in my phone and waited for her to answer. When she did, all I could do was scream that I crashed my car and she was confused at first because that was all I was telling her. She asked me if I was okay and I said I didn’t know because I knew that if I was hurt I wouldn’t feel it right away because of the shock I was in. Honestly I was more worried about my car than me. I had saved up for 3 years to buy that car and it meant the world to me and since I was in the off season at my work I had no money coming in and didn’t have enough saved to pay to fix it.

I had asked the lady in the car I hit if she was okay and all she said was “I’ve called the police”, which, considering she had little to no damage to her car, I thought it was kind of rude. After I ended the call with my friend I called my mom who was not even the least bit happy with me. She told me my brother and my dad were on their way. The interesting parts of the story end there but I have never driven the same since I crashed and although I wasn’t hurt other than a bruise on my knee, that day left a pretty big impact on me.

For weeks, the sight of the back of cars made my heart rate go through the roof and I was terrified of driving in the winter. I had to learn how to replace different parts of a car because that was the only way I could afford to fix it. I had to take an online driving course so my insurance didn’t go up.

My mom didn’t trust my driving skills and to this day still argues with me about how it was my fault even though I told her I was trying my best but with bald tires on ice there isn’t much you can do. I bought new tires for this winter because I didn’t want to repeat that night.

Overall, it changed how I understand crashes because I never knew before that night that at only 30 mph the entire hood of your car crumples. Not to mention every time I drive through that intersection I’m reminded of that night in the freezing cold looking at the road covered in the shattered pieces of my headlights, the grill of my car, and bent pieces of metal. That is an image I’ll never forget.”


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Caledonia Vs. East Kentwood Varsity Boys Basketball Wed, 12 Feb 2020 18:06:28 +0000 Friday January 31st, Caledonia played East Kentwood at the latter’s home gym. Caledonia built a lead all the way up to 21 points in the third quarter. In the first quarter of the game, Caledonia’s defense helped them dominate the court in getting a big lead against the Falcons. In the second quarter, Carter Thomas blocked a dunk attempt that sparked a huge run to end of the half. In the third quarter, the pressure was applied to the Falcons as Koby VanderWoude, Luke Thelen, and Andrew Larson continued to score for the Scots. In the fourth and final quarter, aiming to make a recovery, East Kentwood rushed Caledonia making a 17 point comeback but the Fighting Scots pulled away with an 11 point win after multiple successful free-throws throughout the quarter. The final score was 82-71 making the game Caledonia’s first varsity boys win against East Kentwood since 2017.

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Losing Wisdom Wed, 12 Feb 2020 17:58:47 +0000 Wisdom teeth removal. 


For many high school students it’s a scary reality or a battle they soon have to tackle. 


For Caledonia junior Julianne Kidder it was unexpectedly not a horrible experience. “Mine wasn’t really bad… I was scared at first but I didn’t have any swelling or bruising.” She went on to explain “. . . I did come out of surgery ‘peeing myself’ thinking about kites.” 


On the contrary, junior Audrey Torres said the procedure held different beginnings and outcomes, “I went in super nervous and I came out with a lot of swelling but in the end my family has some hilarious stories of me.” 

“You could say I lost some wisdom that day but gained a little wisdom too,” Julianne finalized.

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Hockey Team Secures a Conference Win Tue, 04 Feb 2020 18:05:04 +0000 The Lowell Caledonia hockey team played an outstanding game against Grand Haven on Friday, January 18. Fans filled the stands for the start of the game at 8:00 pm at Kentwood Ice Arena. The students helped raise the energy in the arena as the game began. In the first period, the score stood 1-0 with Lowell Caledonia taking the lead. Dylan Olsen and Austin Douma had the assist in this goal. This put the team in a good spot for the rest of the game. At the end of the second period, the score stood at 2-0 as LC continued to lead over Grand Haven. Caledonia students began to take on the glass as their classmates were getting closer to securing a win. Austin Douma had scored the goal, assisted by Owen Carpenter and Zach Schneider. In the third period, the hockey team secured the win when Isaac Hautala scored a goal keeping them in the lead 3-0. Assisting his goal were Ryan Kieliszewski and Austin Douma. The student section cheered with excitement as the team won the game 3-0 over Grand Haven. Following this, the team went on to win the OK Red conference tournament. 


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Fighting Till The End Tue, 04 Feb 2020 17:13:37 +0000 “Last summer at Nationals, after a long week, I was fencing in my last event before it was all over. I was fencing a direct elimination, which means to lose after only one loss, to about 15. During this, you only have three periods of three minutes to do so. With 0.9 seconds left in my last period, we were tied 11-11 so I decided to try and end it there, thinking that I would be able to pull it off and win to move on. Unfortunately, I lost the point by a close move and was out of the tournament losing 11-12. However, it is funny to look back on because my coach never lets me forget that I hold the club record for losing in the smallest amount of time and so I have yet to live that down.” –Jessica Salinas

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The Rise Of Sky Walker Leaves Fans Disappointed Mon, 03 Feb 2020 18:06:58 +0000 Calling all Star Wars fans! If you enjoyed The Last Jedi, this movie might not be for you. If you didn’t like it, this could potentially be your new favorite movie. The Rise Of Skywalker is the ninth and final film in the four-decade-long Skywalker saga. Following the previous events, it focuses on the long conflict between The First Order and the surviving members of the resistance. While some saw this film as too different, others thought it was just different enough compared to all the other movies. The Rise Of Skywalker viewers claim that the film fixed issues that the franchise had in the previous movies, like adding characters instead of exploring the ones already introduced. The Rise Of Skywalker digs deeper into present characters and leads a way to let your mind wander before actually showing you. The surprise at the end of the movie can either break it or make it for you, as it changes what you thought would happen and your perspective.

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Amber Lewandowski: What made her the soccer player she is today? Mon, 03 Feb 2020 18:06:35 +0000 “I’m the soccer player that I am right now because my parents push me very hard and I want to make them proud. I also want to play soccer in college, so I want to try to hopefully get noticed by other college coaches. My aunt’s friend, Kylie Nylen, has inspired me to push harder on the field because she went to Western Michigan University to play college soccer and I want to be able to do that too. While she was playing, she ended up breaking a girl’s nose. That proves how physical college soccer is and I want to be able to stand my own ground against other girls. I just want to keep pushing myself to be the best player that I can be.” -Amber Lewandowski

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Conformity in North Korea Fri, 31 Jan 2020 19:10:03 +0000

Intervarsity Press
A regional map of North Korea found at

Imagine living in a world where your family as well as yourself are severely malnourished. All you want is a cure for the knotting hunger in your stomach, but you and the rest of the country can do nothing about it. The poverty around you is consuming the citizens as the military gets stronger. Everything you do is restricted and is limited by the government. This is a daily struggle for the citizens of North Korea, a country with a dictator in power.  In North Korea, every part of the citizens’ lives is regulated by the dictator in power, Kim Jong Un. This includes religion, travel, media, food, military, and speech. Though this may seem shocking, heartbreaking and unethical, it is in fact a reality for the people of North Korea. North Koreans have conformed to their current government by media restrictions, the current food situation, travel restrictions, and religion.

Let us introduce you to a situation that may seem unimaginable. 

To start off, how much time do you think the average American spends on the internet a week? According to The Technology Review, the average American spends 24 hours a week online. We use the internet for almost everything, including communicating with people, researching, learning about what’s going on in the world, etc. Using the internet has become an integral part of our daily lives, but imagine if you could only use the internet for knowing what’s going on in your country. Our collaborative team spoke to a South Korean citizen named Derek Stelma who has been to North Korea as part of a Non-Government Organization. He went to North Korea nine years ago and is very knowledgeable about the current situation in North Korea. Sharing the news about the current situation and the large conformity of its citizens is very important to him. In a personal interview with him, he stated, “They have an intranet, not an internet. So the information they access is just basically inside North Korea.” This goes to show North Korea’s media restrictions are very strict and shows that North Korea doesn’t want outside media to be shown to their citizens. North Koreans are forced to conform to not having the knowledge of what’s going around the outside world, and many North Koreans want the current situation to change.

While continuing our conversation with Stelma he told us something shocking; he said the Non Governmental Organization, or NGO, tries to help out the citizens. They hide secret USB ports in 2 liter bottles filled with rice to throw into rivers so that North Koreans can get a taste of what’s going on in the outside world. However, battling back against conformity could lead to serious punishment for the citizens. According to the article “Brutal and inhumane laws North Koreans are forced to live under” by Mike Wright and David Urban, “The NGO, Freedom House, reports that listening to unauthorized foreign broadcasts, watching foreign TV shows and possessing dissident publications are considered ‘crimes against the state.’ Those caught face execution or being sent to labour camps.” As you can see, conformed North Korean citizens will risk their own lives just to discover media from the outside world.  

In North Korea, not knowing where your next meal is coming from or not knowing if a medical issue you have will be taken care of is not an uncommon situation. According to UN News, An estimated 11 million people in North Korea — over 43 percent of the population — are undernourished. They are at risk of becoming malnourished because their diets lack sufficient vitamins, fat, minerals, and protein.” This goes to show that almost half of North Korea’s population is in need of better food and water. Without solving this problem the percentage will only grow higher. Malnourishment can lead to all sorts of health problems, but these problems will only go unsolved due to North Korea’s lack of medical assistance. UN News reports that There is a shortage of drugs and medical supplies and equipment, making it very difficult for medical authorities to meet the needs of all the people in a way that would pass basic humanitarian thresholds.” The lack of food and supplies creates a downward spiral for the vulnerable North Koreans, and they have no choice but to suffer hunger as the government puts their money into the military rather than its own citizens. Many of the citizens are constantly hungry, but are forced to conform to North Korea’s militaristic ways.

Traveling to most people may seem like something of a day to day activity, but in North Korea leaving your country could cause you to have a criminal record. Even with this restriction many North Koreans risk their lives every year to escape the corruption of their country. According to The Telegraph, “Those who are caught face time in labour camps or execution. Even those who successfully make it out of the North can still be persecuted by government agents and there are reports of defector’s families being punished in their absence.” So, even if a person manages to get out of the country, the family of that individual is at risk. From this information the extreme restriction in the country and the corruption that goes on in North Korea is clear to see. 

In America we have been granted the freedom of religion by the first amendment, although in North Korea they are not as lucky to be granted this right. According to The Telegraph, North Korea’s official religion is called Juche, a fusion of Marxism and Korean Nationalism created by Kim Il-Sung. North Korea is an Atheist state, as well as irreligious with main religions being Shamanism and Chondoism (Hinduism), as well as small numbers of Christian North Koreans. There is no freedom of religion in North Korea, even though the North Korean Constitution said it was guaranteed. Those who are discovered practicing other religions could face persecution and end up in labor camps.  Those who end up in labor camps “face dire living conditions and are likely forced to provide hard labor,” according to USCIRF. Derek Stelma said, “Being caught with the Bible is one of the highest crimes against the country.” As Stelma explained in his interview with us, life and freedom is very limited for North Korean citizens. Even something as simple as practicing one’s religion of choice is stripped from them. Once again, this shows how much the citizens of North Korea are forced to conform in their current government situation. The consequences of going against the North Korean ways of life are so large that conformity is a life or death decision. 

To conclude, North Koreans are forced to conform to their current situation. They have to deal with struggles with media, their well being, travel and religion. Many North Koreans want a change in their current lives, and people like Derek Stelma have seen it first hand. Under the rule of Kim Jong-Un, North Korea remains among the world’s most repressive countries. The government greatly diminishes basic liberties as defined by the United Nations, including freedom of expression, religion and conscience, assembly and association. It prohibits political opposition, independent media, and civil society. It’s truly easy to see the rights and freedom you have in America when compared to this communist country. Currently, there are many ways to help the people of North Korea, including finding an NGO or other group to donate supplies that will be sent overseas to those in need. Now that you see how fortunate we are to be living in America, what will you do to make a difference?


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Just Mercy challenges the audience to never give up Fri, 31 Jan 2020 18:11:44 +0000 Fresh, new civil rights movie, Just Mercy, premiered December 25, 2019. The movie follows the point of view of young Harvard graduate, Bryan Stevenson (played by Michael B. Jordan), as he moves to Alabama with a goal to open a law firm for prisoners put on death row who cannot afford a proper lawyer. Stevenson’s first client was Walter McMillian (played by     ), a man who was charged for the first-degree murder of an eighteen-year-old girl. As he and his fellow attorney, Eva Ansley (played by ), investigate further into McMillian’s case they find that he may have been falsely charged. After years of fighting against the local courts, and many trials, McMillian is freed from jail and returns to his family. 

Furthermore, this film follows the rewards and painful setbacks of the legal system and pulls the heartstrings of any viewer as they see how McMillian’s family is impacted throughout his difficult journey to freedom. While Stevenson is busy trying to help his client, he also faces many cases of racism from the local sheriff and guards at the prison. Just Mercy teaches people to never give up, and fight for what they believe in. 

In conclusion, Just Mercy is a touching movie that everyone with a heart for justice should see. This movie leaves its audience just as courageous as the main characters themselves.

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“For Kobe” Fri, 31 Jan 2020 18:11:27 +0000 Many students in Caledonia High School and around the world were shocked by the news Sunday afternoon of the passing of former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star and legend Kobe Bryant. 


As Monday rolled around, shouting “Kobe” when shooting a basketball or even a paper ball into a classroom trash can felt much heavier and sad.


 Junior Isabella LaFranca stated “I was honestly really sad because he did a lot for not just basketball but for the world. He was a genuinely good person. It hurt even more because of how young his daughter was…” She went on to explain how every victim of the tragedy deserved to be honored too (John and Keri Altobelli, their daughter Alyssa, Sarah and Payton Chester, Mamba basketball coach Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan). 


Junior Morgan Baisch expressed her view as she felt that “It’s super sad his daughter was in the crash.” Going on to say, “It was a huge loss for the whole world… not just basketball.” While Junior Lane Purvis conveyed another insight, “It really is sad, his poor wife and family.” 


They all agreed on one statement: Kobe Bryant and the victims will be missed dearly.

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