The Harbinger Online

News Brief: 2/8

Students Nominated as U.S. Presidential Scholars Candidates

Seniors Bhavish Dinakar and Lily Wulfemeyer have been nominated as candidates for the United States Presidential Scholars Program by the U.S. Department of Education. The program is designed to honor graduating students who have shown academic excellence in their testing scores and throughout their high school careers. In recent years, the scholarship was altered to honor those who show significant ability in technical education and careers.

This year, there are 121 candidates nationwide. If they are selected out of the 121 candidates, Dinakar and Wulfemeyer will travel to Washington D.C. in April where they will accept an honorary medal. Though the award does not come with a monetary prize, colleges tend to offer extensive scholarships for the finalists.

Throughout her high school career, Wulfemeyer has tutored elementary school students, volunteers at a Vacation Bible School and translates children’s books into French in order to teach Haitian children English. Despite her portfolio, Wulfemeyer never intended to be a candidate for the program.

“To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really have it on the radar and didn’t realize what the criteria for the selection was,” Wulfemeyer said. “Getting the nomination was a nice surprise and a huge honor!”

Haircuts Provided to Homeless

Free haircuts, lunch and fellowship were provided to homeless men at City Union Mission on Jan. 31. The project began when local photographer Jenny Wheat posted her idea to cut hair for those in need on Facebook. Wheat had seen similar projects done in other cities and wanted to see if she could bring the mission to Kansas City. Within hours, over 50 people volunteered to help out with the project. Wheat reached out to City Union Mission soon after her project was underway and they gladly took charge of organizing volunteers and supplies. Webster House restaurant and The Roasterie Coffee Company also agreed to provide food and drink for the men and volunteers.

The goal of the project was to raise the self confidence of the men involved and prepare them for potential job interviews.

“On the day of the event, everyone had an amazing experience working with the men at City Union Mission,” Wheat said. “We are already talking about doing the event again!”

Senior SHARE board member and active volunteer, Charlie Jensen said, “Obviously, a haircut isn’t something that is essential to surviving as a homeless person, but it can do a lot for someone’s self confidence and in terms of getting a job or moving forward in their lives, you never know what a little bit of self confidence could do.”

New Barbie Dolls Being Released

After decades of long legs and tiny waists, Mattel, the company who produces iconic Barbie dolls, announced on Jan. 28 that they will now be producing Barbies in various body sizes. The 2016 “Fashionistas” line will display Barbies that fall under the categories of “Tall,” “Petite,” “Curvy” and “Original.” Along with three new body types, the line will also include seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles.

Many changes to Barbie have been made over the years including multiple career options and moveable feet so that Barbie can wear more than just heels. Though according to Feminist Club board member Ellie Van Gorden, altering Barbie’s body is the most significant change yet.

“It is giving kids a realistic view of women,” Van Gorden said. “A ‘perfect body’ or ‘beach body’ does not exist. Every body type is perfect in it’s own way.”

Similarly, senior director of Barbie Product Design, Robert Best, is motivated by the fact that this new change will broaden children’s early understanding of beauty.

This is radical because we’re saying there isn’t this narrow standard of what a beautiful body looks like,” Best said in an interview for Barbie online.


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