The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online


Standing in the rain, Band Director Eric Bradshaw watches the marching band show during halftime. New to the district, Bradshaw set a lot of goals for the program. Getting the performance at the first home game with everything being so new, Bradshaw said. That was a big goal for the program.

FEATURE: School Hires New Band Director

Eli Roust, Photographer October 17, 2023

After former band director Randall Fillmore announced his retirement last year, Eric Bradshaw was hired to take over the program. Since starting Free State, he has added newer music and marching patterns...

Junior James Spear dribbles the ball through Lawrence High players. The junior, who is playing his first year on varsity, acts as a defender.

SPORTS: Boys Soccer Program Sweeps Lawrence High

Elizabeth Hare, Assistant Social Media Editor October 16, 2023

Following a win for the varsity boys soccer team last year against Lawrence High School, this year's schedule declared that Oct 12, the Firebirds would be facing off against the Chesty Lions in the annual...

Studying math, sophomore Willow Marable takes notes using her iPad and stylus. While Marable misses having a laptop, she still prefers taking notes online instead of on paper. “I would use my iPad to take notes, because it’s easier to organize and faster to edit than pen and paper, and it also has autocorrect,” Marable said.

NEWS: MacBooks Out, iPads In

Stella Mosier, News Copy Editor September 8, 2023

Starting off this school year has been majorly different for every high school student in the district. The transition between the iPads and MacBooks has shown major differences in technology, which has...

Seniors Bradie Ward and Samantha Packard hold the 6A first place trophy with their teammates around them. As of this Saturday, both Packard and Ward are back-to-back state champions. Photo contributed by Free State Swim and Dive.

Girls Swim and Dive Wins Second Consecutive State Competition

Thomas Patton May 22, 2023

Girls swim and dive secured back-to-back state titles on Saturday, May 20. The team held first place from start to finish, winning by 132 points over the next closest team. The team never strayed away...

Senior Ben Williams and Keith Popiel are going to be working in the pool cleaning business once again this summer. After Popiel joined his familys pool cleaning business he invited Williams along the way.

FEATURE: Students Prepare for Summer Job

Emi Stone May 17, 2023

When nice weather comes out and pools open up, seniors Keith Popiel and Ben Williams come in. For the past four years, Popiel has been working for a family pool business and invited Williams along the...

After receiving advice from her students, orchestra director Judy Erpelding marks her music. Although the director normally makes the artistic decisions, Erpelding will often consult her students and hear their opinions on what sounds good and what they should try out. “[The students] are the heart of the program, not me,” Erpelding said. “I know they will carry that on and I will miss them. Making great music with them, being able to challenge them, taking their inspiration.”

NEWS: Judy Erpelding Announces Resignation

Lilly Wall May 11, 2023

After serving as the Director of Orchestras program for 11 years at the school, Judy Erpelding has announced her resignation, effective May 26.  With this position being her first teaching job, she...

Picking up a box of juice, JustFood warehouse manager Wayne Briggs collects donations of leftover food from the cafeteria. Briggs picks up extra, unopened food from the kitchen twice a week. These donations, often at least 50 pounds, are taken to the pantry, where anyone can take food free of cost.

FEATURE: JustFood Receives Leftover Food Donations

Lilly Wall May 4, 2023

During April, 855 pounds of leftover lunch food from both public high schools were repurposed to feed the community through just one partnership. Starting in the fall of 2022, USD 497 looked locally to...

A student holds a board stating 0 days since a mass shooting. According to the Gun Violence Archive, as of April 19, the number of mass shootings in America exceeded 140 for the year of 2023.

EDITORIAL: Mass Shootings, Massive Failures

Natasha Torkzaban April 28, 2023

Firearm deaths occur five times more than drownings. Instead of teaching your child how to swim, you might consider firearm defense training and school shooter drills.  According to CNN, there have...

 On top of extracurriculars, work and activities, students are feeling overwhelmed by their academic demands. Junior Rachel Bruffett sometimes feels overworked when having to do loads of homework and study for upcoming tests. “I feel like during the week its just really fast paced and I only get to recover over the weekend, then do it all over again,” Bruffett said.

FEATURE: Turns out to be Burnout

Phoebe Morris April 28, 2023

According to a poll from @fsjournalism on instagram, 94% of Free State students have experienced academic burnout. Normally towards the final stretch of the year students want to leap into summer, but...

Student poses with a transgender flag during a student-organized walkout. Students from across the district walked out from class on March 28 to voice their opinions on the introduction of anti-trans bills in Kansas. ““[Trans] rights should be like anybody else’s rights: being protected, and being valued, because they are human rights, obviously,” event organizer junior Adriana Cazares said.

EDITORIAL: Talk around Trans Bills

Lilly Wall March 31, 2023

For many students, school sports are a central source of stability and a safe space to feel valued among peers. On April 5, Kansas legislature voted to override Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of House Bill...

Moving from assistant to head principal at Free State, Mrs. Amy McAnarney is excited for her 8th year in the building.

New Leadership: Amy McAnarney Moves Into Head Principal Role at Free State

Alicia Narum September 7, 2022

Free State’s new Principal, Amy McAnarney, is fired up for this school year. After Myron Graber’s retirement last year, former Vice-Principal McAnarney was selected to become the school's Principal....

Courtesy of the Lawrence Public Schools

NEWS BRIEF: Lawrence school board appoints GR Gordon-Ross to fill vacant seat

Allison Mayhew, Alicia Narum, and Natasha Torkzaban September 1, 2022

On August 30, Ronald “GR” Gordon-Ross was elected by the Lawrence Board of Education to fill Andrew Nussbaum’s vacant spot. Gordon-Ross was one of three finalists out of the 13 applicants.  “One...

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