On The Prowl

Welcome to "On The Prowl." Estero High School's student run online newspaper.

Wildcats With Cats

By Victoria Kashkin

Many people would call domestic animals “Human’s Best Friends.” Cats and dogs are the most common pets to have in American households. Why not consider them as class pets as well?  There are benefits to having pets in all classrooms, especially those with small children. In addition, dogs and cats are great to be around, even when one has had a stressful day. Having dogs and cats at Estero High School would be very beneficial to classrooms around the school.

Cats and dogs are proven to reduce stress. One study from verywell.com showed, “if someone was doing a stressful task, they become less stressed when they are with their pets rather than with their friends or spouse.” These pets also control blood pressure better than drugs. In another study, groups of hypertensive New York civilians who have a furry friend were found to have lower blood pressure than those who do not have pets. Having cats and dogs in a Wildcat classroom could reduce a student’s stress level and blood pressure, increasing their mood and their performance in class.

Having a dog or cat may improve behavior, communication, and even interest to the subjects being taught in a classroom. Ms. Stephens, an English teacher at Estero High School, stated, “ If students had an animal in the classroom, they would have respect for that animal and act in a way that would not stress out the animal or cause a disruption to the animal’s well-being, thus being calm and mature.” Wildcats who have trouble with making human friends would not feel isolated if the classroom had a dog or cat, and would be able to communicate with the animal as if it were a student. Also, having a cat or dog in a classroom may improve interest and lower the rate of students skipping classes. Cats and dogs can make the classroom more fun with their unique and fun personalities.

People in opposition may express that Wildcats may be deathly allergic to cats and/or dogs. As a fellow Wildcat, safety always comes first. However, there are several hypoallergenic dog breeds and various hypoallergenic cat breeds that would be safe for those allergic to cats and dogs. Some cat breeds include: Siamese, Sphynx, Bengal, Siberian, Burmese, and Ocicat. Hypoallergenic dog breeds includes but are not limited to: Bichon Frise, Coton de Tulear, Poodle, Schnauzer, Afghan Hound, and Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, as stated on the Mercola Healthy Pets website.

Furthermore, having dogs and cats as Wildcat class pets may help homeless or sheltered pets find foster homes. Estero High could pair up with an animal shelter nearby in order to help get pets adopted, and perhaps share the burden of caring for the animals, the joy, and potentially the financial costs. “This will be a great community-school partnership,” said Ms. Stephens.

Teachers at Estero High are open-minded and I’m sure they would be barking about the idea of having their own furry companion as class assistance. Ms. Stephens would be a purr-fect example of such.


Estero High School Orchestra

By Kaitlyn Snook

The Estero High School orchestra has lots to offer. From a heartwarming, friendship- forming experience to sharpening students´ knowledge and performance of string instruments, the EHS orchestra is like no other. In fact, the Wildcats in the orchestra are preparing for their winter concert, ¨Southern Solstice,¨ along with the choir and Wind Symphony. Orchestra means so much to the many students involved.

Kaitlyn Snook, a viola-playing sophomore in her second year of orchestra, said, ¨We (Orchestra) will stay after school a few days to do a full run through of everything, kind of like a dress rehearsal. We also work on the pieces we’re playing a few months in advance.¨

In addition, she was also asked about what Estero’s orchestra truly means to her. She replied, ¨It’s awesome because everyone is friends to some degree and even if you don’t know everyone you can talk to them and it’s not awkward or anything. The band room is like a safe space for everyone because we’re all kind of awkward outside...but everyone is themselves when we’re in the class.¨

James Montgomery, a string bass player, said his practice habits included studying his music and even listening to the pieces played by professional orchestras. He adds that he also listens to others during class and pays attention to how they are playing. “To me, the orchestra really does mean a lot. It has become a fairly big part of my life, both academically and socially.”

The members of the Estero High School orchestra truly are passionate about their music and the friendships that they have made.

Vending Machine Blues

By: Logan Richardson

Since Hurricane Irma hit Florida, Lee County has continued giving students free lunch. This is good for family incomes, both large and small, which have been going towards rebuilding and replacing that which has been damaged and lost. Unfortunately, what people forget are those students who come too late for breakfast. Most of these kids have forgotten to eat at home or have simply did not have the time.  They come to school hungry as a dog and are desperate for another option. Fortunately for these students there are six vending machines lining the entrance of the cafeteria (and two in the back but, spooky stuff happens back there and I wouldn't risk it). Hungry students head towards the machines and dig around in their pockets and backpacks for the one (or hopefully two) dollars they have with them. After they put the money in and select their choice, that is where the trouble begins.

Let’s say our hypothetical student puts in $1.00 into the beverage drink machine, they press the button that reads “Root Beer” (Side Rant: If you are going to advertise regular root beer, and trick people into buying diet root beer, I think there should be some sort of punishment for that.), two seconds later the text scrolls by saying “Sold Out.”  “No problem” they think as they press the button reading “Diet Coke” and once again the machine reads “Sold Out”. “Ok how about this one” they say and eagerly press the one that reads Dr. Pepper. You know how this ends. So then they press all of the buttons each saying Sold Out, with the exception of the ones that instead of saying “sold out” now reading “$1.75”. Then they put in another dollar that they managed to find and then press one of the buttons that said “$1.75” and their heart skips a beat and their eye twitches a bit when they see the all too familiar text of “Sold Out”. Now FAR beyond their breaking point they slam all the buttons hoping one of them will give them a drink...no such luck.

This situation has happened to my peers and I more than enough, and frankly everyone is quite over it.

Another major problem with the vending machines is that there is such inconsistency with what is full and what is not. A vending machine on the left of the cafeteria could be fully stocked while the one on the right could have one or two bags of Doritos. The problem is how outdated and malfunctional the machines are and that the school tends to ignore the problems that are constantly brought up to them.

The office tries to minimize the problem by handing out vending machine coupons, but I hope you’re not thirsty, it’s only a normal human feeling, as they don’t work on the drink machines and their poor condition make you feel like they won’t survive their trip into the machine. I mean, it’s almost as if they don’t want you to buy things from the vending machines.


Another problem is that how everything is “healthy.” I stress the word healthy because I, for one, don’t see the point in giving out healthy items when their are sugary ones right next to them, i.e the Rice Krispy Treats next to the “healthy Doritos”. Now I know some people might have some medical condition that requires them to eat the low fat/sodium diet, but if so,why not have both healthy and unhealthy options? That's a win-win anyway you slice it. If I’m going to pay for Doritos and see that it's “reduced sodium” and I know that it just isn’t going to be quite the same.

One of my good friends has told me a story we all known too well. He starts of by saying that he puts in a single dollar into one of the food vendors, only for it to take his dollar and say “please use exact change”. Another friend described his experience with the vending machine as well. He was hungry and the machine took his money. This poor student went hungry the rest of the day.  

Finally, let me discuss one of my tales from the crypt. One vending machine provides the best drinks of them all. It is also temperature controlled on the inside, and is .75 cents more than regular drinks. So you have to be really thirsty to be ready to blow two dollars on a really (REALLY) good tea. So one day I get that thirst, but looking into my wallet, and I see that I only have $1. Disappointed, I go to talk to one of my friends, tell him about my woes and he says, “no problem man I got you” and hands me a one dollar bill. Overjoyed, I run to the machine and jam my two dollars in and get a southern sweet tea (now called “sweet tea.” A small critique, but that's just me) and after I press the selection buttons, it falls, hits the glass that stops people from just grabbing the teas, and lands in an empty space in the vendor. It took me a minute to register what just happened. After that I went to office and they gave me my previously mentioned “coupons”. I was heartbroken.

This problem won’t go unnoticed for long and someone will have to do something, and just as my dad told me when I was young, “all good things come to those who wait.” So if we are patient and resilient then good things are sure to come.


Junior Varsity Girls Soccer: Estero v. South Fort Myers

JV Girls Soccer Game:  Estero v. South Fort Myers

By: Nayara Londono

Tuesday, November 14th, was the night that our girl’s Junior Varsity  soccer team played an astonishing game against South Fort Myers. Early on, #26, Kayla Sandell, was passed the ball by her team mates down the field where she had a clear shot and scored a goal. #1, Madeline Mancini also scored two points during the first half of the game. #15, Amilia Nigro scored two points prior to half-time.

Estero’s goalie of the night was #0, Sophia Reddish. Reddish blocked three goals throughout the night which made it impossible for South Fort Myers to score. By half-time, Estero was in the lead with five points.  

After halftime, our girls returned to the field full of energy. Nigro scored two points in the second half. Once again, Sandell and Mancini each scored another point. Mancini completed a hat trick by scoring three goals. Within the last few moments of the game, #3, Katya Samson, scored the last goal of the night. This put the score at 8 to 0 against South Fort Myers. The game was very exciting! Support our girl’s Junior Varsity soccer team on their next game! GO WILDCATS!


Estero High School Welcomes A New Drama Teacher

By: Christine Sells

Kea McElfresh is the new Theatre and Television Production teacher here at Estero High School.

Ms. McElfresh is not entirely new to Estero High School. She has often come to see the productions performed by the Drama Department. It was these shows and the intrigue of the idea of teaching TV production that drew Ms. McElfresh to Estero. “I was excited when the drama and TV Production class opened here at Estero. I enjoyed watching shows here and knew I would love to teach here.” said Ms. McElfresh.

Ms. McElfresh has long been involved in drama and the theatre arts. She was in many community shows and performances including, Peter Pan, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Little Shop Horrors, just to name a few. Before teaching at Estero High School she work with the Miami professional improv group, “IMPROMEDY,” for six and half years. When faced with the decision to continue this line of work or to devote herself to teaching she choose teaching and loves her decision. “I couldn’t imagine my life without teaching so I chose and haven’t looked back.”  

Ms. McElfresh tells the story of her five year old self and her answer to the age old question of “What do you want to do when you grow up?” She very simply replied with, “Nothing. I just want to play all day!” Teaching Theatre and TV Production has allowed her to achieve this dream. “I am happy to report to my five year old self, that I happily play all day!”

Still, Ms. McElfresh admits that teaching has sometimes been stressful. “I never used to worry about wrinkles before I began teaching,” she jokes. Despite the stress, the joy she gets from teaching is evident in her classes. As a student of Ms. McElfresh myself, I can say that her love for theatre and her students shines and infects her students with a similar love for performing. Other students have stated that Ms.McElfresh is “approachable”, “focused”, and overall a bubbly and “relatable” person.

“My hopes for Estero [students] this year are very basic,” said Ms, McElfresh. “I hope students are open to the prospect of opportunity. I hope they are willing to open their mind to new ideas and [have] rolled up sleeves ready to work!”

Dear Freshmen

Dear Freshmen...

By Christine Sells

Congratulations! You’ve survived the sweaty uniformed terror that is middle

school. You are now a freshmen and are probably feeling pretty proud of yourself,

but slow down before you get too cocky. There are some important things you

need to know to make your first year of high school a little easier or at least make it

easier for those of us who were already here.

The hallways are a disaster with everyone trying, or not trying, to get to class. The

best way to solve this is to stay to the right of the hallway. You all are going to be

driving soon if you aren’t already so you should know how important it is to stay in

your lane.

Furthermore, do not stop in the middle of the hallway. Did you get that? Do NOT

stop in the middle of the hallway. Whatever your friend has to say can wait or can

be texted to you. It’s not worth backing up everyone and causing them to

awkwardly bump into everyone else.

Now inevitably, you will be assigned homework. With block scheduling it is all

too easy put off your work until the day before it is due. That can only end two

ways: one, you end up in tears because you have so much to do and no time to do it.

Or, two, your work ends up terrible because you rushed it. It’s better to get your

work done the day it’s assigned. Additionally, weekends are good opportunities to

knock out all your homework so you don't start the week off already having 40

million things to do. This will only get compounded with the 50 million things that

will get placed you on during the week. No, I’m not exaggerating. Go ahead, count

them, 90 million.

Still, there is more to high school than school work. Yes, really. The social aspect

is what can make or break your high school experience. Take this year to truly

discover who you are as a person. Try out all new activities both in and out of


You are going to make friends and lose friends, but you’ll find that group of people

who are going to be there for you when you need them most (unlike the Avatar).

They will become your family. These are the people that you are going to

remember for the rest of your lives.

High school is not easy and it won’t always be fun, but you can’t give up on

yourself. You have to push past the hard times because it will get better and you

will be better off for it.

One last thing before you return to your regularly scheduled lives: don’t stop in the

hallways. Have a great year!