The news site of Marquette High School

Marquette Messenger

The news site of Marquette High School

Marquette Messenger

The news site of Marquette High School

Marquette Messenger

MHSNews | Ask MHS Compilation 23-24
MHSNews | Ask MHS Compilation 23-24
MHSNews StaffApril 21, 2024

MHSNews | MHS Choir Students travel to New York City
MHSNews | MHS Choir Students travel to New York City
Angel DiSalvo, Staff Reporter • April 19, 2024

From April 3 - April 7, Marquette choir students joined the Rockwood Combined Choir on a trip to New York City. The choir performed with other...

Seniors Eeliyah Borland, Brady Payne and Frederick McCullough II work together to prepare icing to decorate their cupcakes. Their theme was Sesame Street.
Cupcake Wars
Katelyn Skiles, Staff Reporter • April 19, 2024

In the baking classes, they’re letting competition rise instead of just the dough. Josie Muenks, Baking and Pastry Arts teacher, introduced...

MHSNews | MHS Experiences Partial Solar Eclipse
MHSNews | MHS Experiences Partial Solar Eclipse
Stephan Bosnjak, Staff Reporter • April 19, 2024

Marquette students and staff experienced a partial solar eclipse on April 8th, 2024. MHSNews spoke to Hridhay Suswaram, Rick Regina, and Cathy...

True Crime Piques Interest in Forensic Science

Media by Sophia Dominicis
Iman Mohamed, senior, studies the blood splatter that she created while smashing a fake blood-soaked sponge with a hammer during her fifth hour Forensics class.

As Payton Smith, sophomore, walks to her next class, she puts in earbuds and begins the next episode of her favorite Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) podcast. 

Smith said she became interested in true crime after seeing reels on TikTok and that led her to true crime podcasts. 

True crime refers to real cases, either solved or unsolved, that have been popularized through books, movies, shows or podcasts. The top three most popular true crime podcasts of 2023, according to Cosmopolitan, are “Scamanda”, “Letters from Sing Sing”, and “Ridiculous Crime”.

There are billions of possibilities that could be the answer. It’s so interesting to see how people have tried to solve them and what could be missing in the picture.

— Payton Smith

Smith said her favorite cases are unsolved mysteries.

“There are billions of possibilities that could be the answer,” Smith said. “It’s so interesting to see how people have tried to solve them and what could be missing in the picture.”

Smith is taking Forensics at MHS and has decided to pursue a forensic science major in college. 

“I’ve always wanted to be the person that can solve those cases and answer those questions for people,” Smith said.

Because of the nature of crime scenes, Smith said many students don’t explore true crime. She suggests, however, that students who find it interesting get more involved in podcasts, books and classes. 

“Everyone has a different perception of information, and if everybody communicates with each other, maybe we can solve a cold case,” Smith said.

Dawna Barnhart, forensics teacher, often uses true crime examples in her classes.

“We’ve had a serial killer here in St. Louis, and I talk about him quite a bit,” Barnhart said. “He left tire prints, and I use that to talk about impressions.”

Along with the serial killer Maury Travis, Barnhart said she uses famous murder cases like the O.J. Simpson case, Micheal Peterson Stairway case, Casey Anthony case, and the Idaho College student murders to teach students how to use evidence to build a case.

Barnhart pulls from crime shows as well. She said “CSI: Vegas” includes different aspects of investigative work such as bugs, hair, fibers and fingerprints. She said her students always take more interest in true crime scenarios and activities than made-up ones.

Media by Annabelle Miller

Since 2020, Barnhart said there has been an increase in students taking Forensics, and she now teaches four periods of the class. According to the registrar, there has been a 41% increase in students enrolled in Forensics from the 2020-21 school year to this year.

Many of Barnhart’s students keep her updated on the shows, podcasts and news articles they find online.

“It’s cool when they come back and tell me ‘We just watched this on the news, and it’s what we learned about it in class’,” she said.

It’s cool when they come back and tell me ‘We just watched this on the news, and it’s what we learned about it in class’.

— Dawna Barnhart

Ben Buckallew, junior, initially took an interest in investigative work because of his family, especially his stepdad’s work as a detective. 

“He’s a detective who’s already in it, so it’s pretty fun seeing what he does,” Buckallew said. “I talk to him about some of the crimes he does and activities he does, for instance, blood sampling, and how that affects his job.”

He said his family often discusses recent crime stories, and his sister encouraged him to take Forensics.

Buckallew said his favorite topics in the class are fingerprinting and blood spatter investigations, which relate to his favorite lab they’ve done as well.

“We put on hazmat suits and jumped inside a tent,” Buckallew said. “With a hammer, we smashed a bloody sponge to get blood spatter on a cardboard paper.”

 Because of the class, Buckallew said he is considering a career in forensic science or investigative work. 

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  • Forensic students Abby Thompson, junior, and Grace King, senior, prepare for a lab in Forensic Science class. The students took turns entering a tent and preparing blood splatters.

  • Seniors Kaitlyn Yu, Piya Patel, and Carolina Navarro review the sample their group created. One person entered the tent at a time, while the others got into their gear.

  • A gallon of fake blood sits at the front of Ms. Barnhart’s classroom. The gallon of blood was portioned to groups in order for students to practice working with splatter techniques.

  • Michael Erdelen, senior, returns a bloody sponge to the front of the classroom. The sponges had been battered by the hammers throughout the day, and thus began to take on different shapes, resulting in unique splatters.

  • Forensic students work at different stations throughout the lab. Kaitlyn Yu, senior, reveals “for the computers, we were drawing lines in the direction of the blood splatter.”

  • A hammer lies in a pool of imitation blood. Students used the hammer to release blood inside of a sponge.

  • Senior Iman Idress prepares to review the poster she created while in the tent. Idress was the first in her group to suit up and prepare the splatter.

  • A hammer and paper clips reside in a cardboard box. Alongside gear used for Forensic Science, room 286 is home to a series of scientific and practical materials.

  • Senior Kabir Ghura hammers away at a sponge while in the tent. The sponge was soaked in imitation blood, and when hit, created a splatter effect.

  • Posters of blood samples from previous class periods lay on the tables of the Forensics

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About the Contributors
Annabelle Miller
Annabelle Miller, Editor-In-Chief
Annabelle Miller, senior, is the editor-in-chief of the Messenger. She has been on staff for two years. Annabelle is an outfielder on the Varsity Softball team and plays french horn for the MHS Wind Ensemble. Outside of school she likes to bake and read.
Sophia Dominicis
Sophia Dominicis, Social Media Editor
Sophia Dominicis, senior, is a Staff Reporter and Social Media Editor for MHS News. Sophia enjoys covering the stories of students that go to Marquette, as well as local current events. In her free time she enjoys participating in theater, being on the mock trial team, writing, and traveling.
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