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Appleton, Wisconsin

June 2017


Issue VIII

North putting mental health front and center Students and staff speak up; new programming reaches out

By Jake Zajkowski

The YRBS is an anonymous survey administered to North freshmen and juniors. Of the total 732 students sur- veyed in the fall of 2015, 401 were freshman and 331 were juniors. Graphic by Kate Bennett

“The common thing to hear is ‘it gets better.’ Don’t get me wrong, it does, but I think a bet- ter thing to say is ‘it’s all worth it.’” These words are from Sam Stratton, an Appleton North ju- nior who has dealt with mental illness as early as the 4th grade. The month of May was Men- tal Health Month, and helped draw attention to an issue that affects everyone, students at North are no exception. According to results from the 2015-2016 Youth Risk Behavioral Survey question, which asked “during the past 30 days, how many days was your mental health not good?”, 60.5 percent of surveyed North students reported one or more days, compared to Outagamie County results of 64.2 percent. With more than half of North’s surveyed students reporting troubles with mental health on one or more days in a thirty day period, North has continued to emphasize awareness and re- sources. “I don’t know if we can ever have enough [resources]. I do think that Appleton North is making a cognitive effort to raise awareness about mental health,” said Mr. Eric Eastman, Psychology teacher and leader of Psych Club. “When you look at stats saying 20-25 per- cent of people in the U.S. suf- fer from depression, people still try to fight alone. They thinking they’re alone. Peer-led efforts work better, so students make other students aware of re- sources and peers that can help them and get them the help they need.” Though many fight mental illnesses like depression alone, some students are willing to talk about their experiences with

Appleton Area School District Superintendent Mr. Lee Allinger celebrates his time with the district. Photo by Andrea Calzada-Vera. Lasting legacies After 36 years of service to AASD, Superintendent Mr. Allinger retires

By Nora Ptacek

He began his career 36 years ago as a substi- tute teacher; now he’s the retiring superinten- dent of theAppletonArea School District. “It’s a tremendously impactful profession, and I’m fortunate to have had such a great opportunity with an excellent school district for so many years and to be a part of it at the teacher level, principal level and then central office. It’s been a real passion and a lot of learning for me as well,” said Mr. Lee Allinger.

The beginning “My interest in teaching started in 6th grade….you know we all find teachers that make that special connection and I was a young man who had a lot of energy and was maybe somewhat immature and [my 6th grade teacher] found a way for me to get connected to school in a very positive way so I really liked that,” said Allinger. When looking at career

mental illness. “If I had a message for people with mental illnesses it would be: don’t be afraid of admitting that there’s something different about you. Just because there’s something different about you doesn’t make you any less ca- pable,” North Senior Yasmeen Ashour said. Diagnosed with anxiety at a young age, Ashour went to therapists and tried dif- ferent medications to help her handle her anxiety. However, these weren’t completely effec- tive. “Whenever I wasn’t occupied or anxious, I would notice how tired, sad, and exhausted I was.” This led to another diagnosis of chronic depression. “Anxiety and depression are like two but- See Zajkowski , page 3

See Ptacek , page 2 After 30 years, Mrs. Fenlon steps down from Appleton Board of Education

By Nora Ptacek

“Well, you can think of yourself as an architect or as a shepherd,” is what Mrs. Sharon Fenlon’s daughter told her about her 30 years on the School Board, 23 of which she served as president. “When you’re an architect, that’s when you’re creating something, but when you’re a shepherd, you’re supporting, you’re leading, you’re being part of the process but not necessarily… you’re not the architect. So I think for most of my ca- reer I’ve been a shepherd, but there was one time when I was an architect,” said Fenlon. In her architectural act, Fenlon wrote a book and got grants to develop a display of the Hmong culture. “The idea

Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna recognizes School Board President Sharon Fenlon by proclaiming April 10, 2017, to be “Sharon Fenlon Day.” Photo courtesy of AASD

Local resources include: NAMI Fox Valley: 920-954-1550 or HOPELINE: text 741741 for 24/7 support for struggles North Psychologist Sue Davis and Social Worker Debbie Strick: or For a full list of resources, go to

See Ptacek , page 8

After 26 years, Dr. Mielke resigns from School Board, says he wants “to give younger people the chance to serve on this Board.” Page 3

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