B LUEPRINT L.D. Bell High School • Hurst, Texas • Volume 45, Issue 1 • November 2013
SUPERTEACHERS Hernandez, Her Supporters pledge to keep up the fight
—see pages 6-7
photo by Tianna White
2 | Inside
12 | Relive this seasonâ€™s pep rally highlights
B LUEPRINT www.BellBlueprint.com L.D. Bell High School 1601 Brown Trail Hurst, Texas 76054 817-282-2551 ext. 7428 Editor-in-Chief Hannah Rusher Copy Editor Brenna Redmond Assistant Editors News/Features: Paulina Cortes Sports: Lane Manning Entertainment: Tianna White Opinion: Luke Phillips Photography: Ken Holloway
photo by Ken Holloway
5 | Sophomores gain experience In-depth
6-7 | Hernandez inspires with her courage News
8 | Lock Bloks installed on campus doors Entertainment
10 | Drake releases new album
Business Manager Madison Sinclair Fall 2013 Staff Sarah Andrews Katt Burk Jordan Finley Kaiâ€™lob Jones Suzette Lopez Neidi Moreno Meranda Paonessa Lexi Ramos Blanca Reyes Adviser Charis Weiss The Blueprint, the student newspaper of L.D. Bell High School, is published three times a school year. The editorials and opinions express the views of the staff and/or guest writers but are not necessarily the opinions of L.D. Bell High School or H-E-B Independent School District, its faculty or administration. As a public forum, we welcome letters to the editor, guest columns and news releases from faculty, administrators, community residents, students and the general public. Letters to the editor must be signed and should be delivered to N-22 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. We reserve the right to edit letters for libel and good taste according to community standards. The Blueprint is a member of the Interscholastic League Press Conference. Circulation is 2,100. Inquiries, comments, letters or requests for ad rates may be made by writing the above addresses or calling (817) 282-2551, Ext. 7428.
News | 3
Grand Nationals: Band descends over Indianapolis Hannah Rusher Editor in Chief
For the past decade, the L.D. Bell Blue Raider Band has been revered in most circles as legend. Seen as the underdogs in most competitions because of a lack of overall funding, Bell consistently brings the beauty of a tight knit team full of hard workers and sheer numbers to the table year after award-winning year. This year the band placed 10th at the prestigious Bands of America Grand Nationals in Indianapolis. “I’ve become extremely close to the band, especially those in my section since we’re forced together constantly,” senior Lauren Wieland said. “We’ve become one big family, and despite the upsets and arguments, we all love each other and are one another’s support.” Certainly one of the highlights of this year’s Bell vs. Trinity football game, all 12,500 patrons of the game could only sit slack-jawed as the marching band took the field. The band wowed the crowd with stunning choreography, impeccable costumes, and a sense of seduction that enticed the crowd and added to the portrayed message at
hand. By the end of the performance, critics and fans alike could hear a pin drop amongst the cold concrete of the stands, and the roar of applause that followed was deafening. In regards to the struggle of competing in Grand Nationals, Wieland commented on the honor and performance that is associated with going to Grand Nationals. “I’m looking forward to experiencing a whole new type of competition,” said Wieland before the contest. “Not only will it be a tougher competition, but I will be able to meet and see tons of new people from all over the nation. The experience and the memories are what I’m most excited for.” “It’s a huge honor to participate and very prestigious and Bell only goes once every two years because of expenses for the Band and the massive road trip we take to get there is really taxing on everyone,” sophomore Paulina Cortes said. “Our theme for this year’s performance is ‘The Siren Song,’” she said. “We have shimmery, scale like costumes this year for color guard, so that no one mistakes us for Sirens.
“Color Guard lures the band, or the sailors into our grasp by singing songs that hypnotize them. We cause their ship to wreck and at the end, it’s rumored that we’re sacrificing someone. We have a lot of props this year, working with ropes and rocks and our flags. It’s very challenging, but still beyond exciting. It’s exhilarating with all the makeup and the costumes, it’s like being something creepy that you’re not,” Cortes said. However, for the common bystander to L.D. Bell’s performance, some meaning may be lost in translation because of the lack of verbal words in the musical performance. “If you don’t understand what a Siren is, the whole show may be a little hard to stomach,” Cortes said. “There’s also a portion of the show where the entire band collapses in this big heap because the sirens have lured them into their grasp. The whole performance is really just pretty seductive.” But, if you think that the band is all shiny costumes and rope handling techniques, you’ve got another thing coming. Cortes elaborates on the hard work and grueling training and practice that goes into putting every show
together. “We start in August and practice six days a week from 7:30 in the morning until 9 at night,” Cortes said. “When school starts, we practice every morning from 7 in the morning until second period starts, and to top it all off we have football games every Friday that are mandatory to attend.” On top of the time strain on band members, many must juggle Advanced Placement classes and International Baccalaureate workloads, causing a call to grow up and learn time management to be placed on members of the band. “Yeah, it’s hard, but our band directors really help us manage our work, and you always have people in band who are willing to tutor you and help in any way they can. That’s what sets us apart from other bands we compete against. We love each other and feel like we have a duty to help everyone succeed, and so we end up lifting each other up in the end.” “I think our band really works together, and that’s what makes what we do so special. We work together in the freezing cold and in the heat, doing what we love,” Cortes said.
Color Guard through the eyes of captain Amy Dang Paulina Cortes News Editor Senior student Amy Dang, captain of the color guard team and top of her class, tells us of her experience in the L.D. Bell marching band and this year’s Grand Nationals show. Dang has been in the Bell band color guard for three years. “Every year is so much fun, filled with memories of the season, show and trips we take,” Dang says. She also appreciates how “much you learn from the experience like teamwork and hard work.” This year’s show, entitled “Siren Song,” is about how sirens, mythological creatures, lure sailors with their voices in order to cause a shipwreck and steal their gold. “I like to think the sailors are being seduced and lured into this trap, by some dark beauty that is so intriguing yet deadly,” said Dang, who is playing a siren.
Being on color guard has benefitted Dang, she said. “It has made me a more responsible person, flex-
photo courtesy of Rebecca Mora
Amy Dang (front right) and her color guard team get ready to perform at the BOA Allen prelims.
ible and able to balance things out,” Dang said. She emphasizes the life-changing lessons that come with every season. She especially remembers the laughs, prayer circles, hard work and adrenaline of the overall experience. Dang has led the Bell guard since the end of May, through June, July and August band camps. She has helped her fellow guard members through stress, early mornings and football games, all while keeping up one of the highest GPA’s of her graduating class. Dang only hopes that whoever takes her place after she graduates will love and cherish it as much as she did. “What will I take away from this experience? Learning to enjoy every moment of everything I do. Three years went by so quickly but I’m glad I made everything worth while.” Dang and her color guard team will be dominating the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis mid-November after five long, hard-working months of endless practice.
4 | Sports
Concussions affect high school athletes Lane Manning Sports Editor They can be the cause of longterm brain damage in athletes. They force people to spend days in dark rooms isolated from the rest of the world, and when the people are released, they become sensitive to light and sound. What are they? Concussions. What is it? A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. In the last year, emergency departments have reported an increase in TBI’s, including concussions, from sports or recreational activities by 60 percent. How does this affect L.D. Bell? Concussions are a very dan-
gerous injury and can be sustained from any physical activity. L.D. Bell has numerous contact sports like football, soccer, baseball, and softball. Coaches and trainers, as well as the athletes themselves, are diligent to watch for concussion symptoms and take any necessary precautions. It is estimated that there are between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the United States every year. High school athletes sustain an estimated 136,000 to 300,000 concussions per year. Athletes ages 16 to 19 sustain 29 percent of all sports-related concussions. Numbers don’t lie. Concussions are bad news and are on the top of the list for safety in sports. One of the reasons concussions are so bad is because people do not know that they have a concussion when it occurs. And with that comes the risk of an even worse TBI. If not treated concussions can
Adrenaline drives rodeo team riders Madison Sinclair Business Manager Have you ever wondered what pushes somebody to go out and ride bulls? Adrenaline. “I’ve always seen rodeo and bull riding, and I had always wanted to try,” senior Cody Meyer said. We always see sports injuries come out of football, basketball and baseball, but we never see bull riders injured on TV. “I rode a bull out at Knapps and got bucked off; the front hoof stepped on my shin, and the horn picked me up by my leg,” said Caleb Killough, a former Bell student. “I got 19 stitches and nine staples.” Rodeo and bull riding are not about how many bulls you ride, or how many injuries come out of it. “It has helped me with responsibility and making friends,” Meyer said. If there has ever been a time in life when you felt like you didn’t belong
and like the thrill of not knowing, bull riding is the way to go. This subject is not fully recognized by many people. “I like the people, and to me, we’re like a big family that have each other’s backs,” Meyer said. Rodeos and bull riding have shown the nation that it can bring you fortune and fame. “If I was to make a career out of this, it would be PBR,“ Meyer said. To some high school students, bull-riding rodeos are their life and have taught them many things. “It has showed me what a team really is,” Meyer said. Other students have been impacted a little more deeply. Have you ever asked yourself how rodeo or bull riding helps you in the real world? “It doesn’t,” Killough said. “It helps you escape the real world.” These teens have learned not only how to be a team, but a family.
The Blue Raider football team finished the season with a 7-4 record. Quarterback Colson Romano, right, ended the year as one of the area’s leading passers, with 2,073 passing yards. The defense finished fourth in the area for team defense, limiting opponents to 243.3 yards per game.
Sports | 5
From a boy to a man
Castillo adjusts to high school team Kai’lob Jones Blueprint Staff Jonathan Castillo is a sophomore football player on junior varsity. Castillo is the starting wide receiver on the JV who heralds from Hurst Junior High, where his older brother Felix played football for L.D. Bell. Castillo also runs track and was a part of the 4x400 team that won district last year. Like all newcomers at Bell, he had to get adjusted to the Blue Raider ways. “The early morning meetings, weight lifting and the long practices are the biggest differences from playing football in junior high and playing in high school,” Castillo said. Football being one of the top three sport in injuries, trying to stay healthy is a challenge for some players. Castillo has battled injuries this year but always fights through. “I strained my hamstring ear-
ly in the season and took some hard hits through the season, but I always kept fighting and know my team winning is the most important goal,” he said. Castillo said he is happy to have great teammates. He and his teammates have great relationships. “Spending so much time together has made us more like brothers than just friends,” he said. “I wouldn’t trade them in for any other teammates.” The L.D. Bell football team is coached for the players to be a group of brothers and that no matter if they are on the sophomore, junior varsity, or varsity teams, they are all family. Memories last a lifetime and are important in an athlete’s career. “My favorite memories this season so far have just being able to play for a great team and great school and also doing my job and my best to help us get a win,” he said.
Fall Sports Wrap-up Volleyball Season record: 18-18 District record: 10-4 Advanced to first round of playoffs The Raiders lost to Hebron in the first round of the playoffs 16-25 17-25 7-25
Football Season record: 7-3 District record: 5-2 Advanced to first round of playoffs Lost to Hebron 27-0
Cross Country Varsity Girls- 3rd place team- qualified for regionals Grace Mayar, 3rd place Varsity Boys- 4th place team Connor Hudson, 6th place- qualified for regionals JV Boys- 4th place team
JV Girls- 2nd place team
The ‘real’ NCAA: Group should stick to purpose For most, people are oblivious to the circumstances that created the NCAA. The National Colligate Athletic Association was established in 1906 to protect athletes from the extremely dangerous nature of sports during that time period. The association, in fact, got its start because at the time of its creation football was in danger of being abolished. This was as a result of being deemed too dangerous a sport, due to prior disastrous circumstances that arose during games. In the year prior to its creation in 1905, 18 players died during games, causing heartbreak amongst families and a general distaste of the sport to arise. This prompted President Theodore Roosevelt to call 13 football representatives to the White House for two meetings on player safety. Thus, the NCAA was born, all with the ideas of protecting those who chose to partake in the harrowing sport. That’s right, folks: The NCAA was not established to relegate anything other than the safety
of players in college sports. The NCAA likes to harp on the fact that these players are “student athletes,” meaning that they should not receive payment for their services of entertainment and enjoyment Lane Manning to the millions of Sports Editor fans that cheer on their favorite teams. However, the NCAA consistently fails to remember its roots. They have overstepped their boundaries with the regulations on “incentives” for players, meaning that they can give collegiate players reasons to play and stay on the team, even if not in their best personal interests. Look at it this way: A player is given a scholarship
to play at a certain university, but during a practice before the season the player sustains a season ending injury that benches him for the rest of the season. The school can revoke his scholarship and leave him to pay his way through college, consequently forcing said player to either come up with $25,000 plus in payment or drop out of school. Scenarios like this happen all the time, and the NCAA hasn’t done anything to stop it, but they have blocked any payment to players by universities to come play for their school. What is the harm in letting a player sign some autographs for payment? It doesn’t affect player safety. What is the harm in a school providing incentives for a player to come play for them? It doesn’t harm other players. The NCAA doesn’t have the right to regulate the economic affairs of a school or a player. It should move back to their roots of regulating player safety as they were intended to, not monetary affairs.
6 | In-depth
A Real-Life SuperHero Brenna Redmond Copy Editor
just didn’t know symptoms what was going to “I want to be known as until late in happen, so at that the disease a person who can do International Baccalaureate phys- moment I was foand does not ics teacher Tara Hernandez has been cused on her and typically react things, not about what heroically battling with carcinoid my feelings about the way other Hernandez cancer since her diagnosis in April of that,” cancers do to I can’t do anymore.” said. “I tried to put 2012. radiation or Although her current state is not my feelings aside at chemotherapy. where her family and friends had that time so I could kind of deal with “I’m not really scared of dying or hoped she would be after such a long what was going on in my life with my of being in this situation,” she said. lapse in time, she is still fighting, and family.” “I think I’m more scared about the continues to fight her condition every- Hernandez has admitted to being a pain, the experience of pain. I’m most “stuffer” of feelings, and because of this scared about how other people are goday. Hernandez has taken everything she has taken it upon herself to attend ing to handle the loss, should that be that has been thrust at her in life with her doctor’s visits alone so as to be able what ends up happening.” stride, despite the fact that some of the to deal with her own emotions first, For anyone who has Hernandez as things that she has been told were not then handle her family’s feelings. a teacher, they know that teaching is “I’ve learned that they respect my what she truly loves to do. Her stuthe most comforting in the world. “I’m stubborn,” Hernandez said. decisions to handle the situation the dents might walk into class wondering “I’m extremely, extremely stubborn. I way I have handled it,” she said. “It’s if she is feeling all right, but when she really easy under gets going, it seems as if there is nothwant to be seen as a these circumstanc- ing that can stop her. competent, capable individual despite “There’s no real substi- es to stuff your “I love my students,” Hernandez feelings, to push said. “I love every moment of every anything that’s hap- tute for a teacher who them to the back day with my students. I think it’s repening. I want to be known as a person loves and is passionate and not ever deal ally important for them to be successwith them because ful, so, for me, being with them gives who can do things, about a content to acyou’re dealing with me what I need to actually fight this not about what I tually show up and be how everyone else disease, to actually push through. In a can’t do anymore. feels. [This way] way, they’re saving me.” It’s easy to look at in that classroom and I’m more capable As for why she comes to school evwhat you can’t do, but I prefer to look share that love with the of handling how ery day when she obviously does not they’re feeling at need to, her response was immediate: at what you can.” students.” that moment when “There’s no real substitute for a teach The same day I share it.” that Hernandez was er who loves and is passionate about a diagnosed, she discovered that her Carcinoid cancer is a type of tumor content to actually show up and be in grandmother was about to pass from that starts in the digestive tract, or the that classroom and share that love with another strain of cancer, different from lungs, and spreads to the cells of the neu- the students. There’s just no substitute roendocrine system. It is a slow-grow- for that.” her own. “It was very unexpected and we ing cancer that does not usually show Hernandez has proven to be just as
willful (if not more so) as the teenagers that she teaches every day. She understands the need to feel thankful and to live life as fully as is possible. “There are some things that I think would be really fun, whether or not I have the actual guts to do them. I’d like to go skydiving and I think that’s mainly because I teach about air resistance in my physics class and I thought it would be really cool to experience the things that I talk about. I think it’d be really neat to bungee jump because, well, that’s also something I talk about in my physics class. Although physically I don’t think that I could handle that right now.” Hernandez laughed when she spoke of the popular motto “YOLO” and how it related to her wanting to be a “daredevil.” “You only live once, although I Tara H have turned [YOLO] into YODO: you dez ra only die once. I can just picture myself screaming that as I’m jumping out of like i the airplane-YODO!” “ Because of the experiences that there Hernandez has encountered from hav- canc ing carcinoid cancer, her view on peo- tions ple has changed. thing “Every situation for cancer is each unique. Every single person I’ve “I love my studen come into contact with that being with them g has cancer, or has had cancer, or me what I need to has been touched actually fight this by cancer, or has had the situation disease.... In a wa of cancer in their family or their they’re saving me lives has been greatly impacted by the uniqueness of that situation. pass When you are talking to someone, hear battl their story.” O Most people have heard about the ion, Susan G. Komen Foundation or others at L.
In-depth | 7
to the Rescue Leafgreen uses running to benefit Hernandez Suzette Lopez and Blanca Reyes Blueprint Staff
photo by Tianna White
Hernadez works with her third period IB physics class. In spite of her cancer, Hernanarely misses a day in the classroom.
it, but it is obviously not enough. “We need really great people out e fighting for people who have cer. We need better treatment ops. We need a cure. We need those gs for each type of cancer because one is extremely unique.” Certitudes in life are never reliable. The nts... only thing we can regives ally count on in life is change. o “None of us is guaranteed a certainty s in our future. You could walk out just ay, as easily and get hit by a car or die in a e.” car accident or die of a heart attack and just as easily as someone who’s ling something like this.” One thing, in Hernandez’s opinis a sure thing though: the family .D. Bell High School.
“All the teachers here at Bell, every single one of them, has stepped up to the plate to support me, to be here for me, to encourage me, to help me with whatever I needed whenever I needed it. I would definitely say the Bell family has been my biggest support to help me get through this. It’s not one person, it’s a whole group of people.” For those students who have Mrs. Hernandez as their teacher, or for those people who are lucky enough to speak with her, they know of the love and strength that she brings to her classroom every day. She is truly an inspiration whose story deserves the highest of respect. Hear her story, and take her advice to hear the stories of others, because everyone has a story to tell. For more information on carcinoid cancer, or if you would like to donate to the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation, please go to www.carcinoid.org.
Terrible circumstances can bring the hearts of people together in order to fight for a cause. Math teacher Paul Leafgreen showed his devotion in helping people by bringing up a group of people to support his colleague Tara Hernandez in her cancer battle. Inspired by her courage, Leafgreen decided to run for her. His project, “Running for Tara,” raised $2,960 to help with her medical expenses. “The idea for ‘Running for Tara’ first came to me during one of my nightly runs,’’ Leafgreen said. “Most weeks I run four or five times a week,’’ and so he found a way to use this as an advantage. “Basically, I decided to donate a month of running to Tara Hernandez, and to try to use that to raise money,” he said. “I asked people to pledge on a per mile basis or one-time contributions.” Moreover, this unique act brought people together and showed just how much people support Hernandez. “There was an enormous response, with contributors from Bell faculty, administrators and support staff, current students, families of former students, and even the L.D. Bell softball team,” Leafgreen said. “I think it was a great showing, and I think it helped to show Mrs. Hernandez how much everybody is behind her.” At the end of the fundraising drive, Leagreen ran in the Honored Hero half marathon for Hernandez.
photo by Brenna Redmond
Leafgreen teaches his IB pre-cal class.
“The Honored Hero run is a run that raises money for cancer research and to honor people who are battling or have battled cancer,” he said. Leafgreen ran the 13.1 miles 17 minutes faster than his personal best, a feat he attributes to Hernandez. “I was running for Tara, and I just kept pushing myself,” he said. Leafgreen was able to start a very beautiful act that brought people together in order to help an important woman. It was a way to show their love and admiration for Hernandez. It was a reminder to her of all the people that she has impacted throughout the years and let her know that she will never be alone in this battle. For Leafgreen, this project also serves as a reminder for others. “One person can make a difference,” he said, “even if it’s one mile at a time.”
8 | Features
Raiders remember military veterans Luke Phillips Opinions Editor “My dad is the person in my family that I admire,” said student Aaron Archer, son of Robert Archer, an active U.S. Marine. Like all students who have fami-
ly members in the military, they love and miss them while they are away in battle. Everyone knows how hard it is to be in service. Soldiers have it hard in other countries far away from their loved ones. Archer’s father, for example, will be gone and back several times until he retires.
photo by Suzette Lopez
The new Lock Blok devices were installed on classroom doors over the summer.
Lock Bloks help make doors on campus easier to secure Madison Sinclair Business Manager After the multiple school shootings that happened in different parts of the country, parents and children across the nation are worried about school safety. The HEB school district has come up with ways to provide a safe and effective way for parents to have a sense of comfort. One addition is the Lock Blok. This new device in every classroom allows teachers to lock their doors without using a key. “In an emergency, it makes it easier to secure the room,” Child Development teacher Janna Hamm said. Many faculty members and students have felt as if a weight has been lifted off of their shoulders. Bell has not had any legitimate reason to use the Lock Bloks, even if they are being unintentionally used. “When a student leaves the room, they accidentally hit it and it locks the
door,” sophomore Amanda West said. When a tragedy revolving around a school strikes, the majority of people watching CNN or the local news are parents. When some hear of this news, they felt the need to hold their kids a little tighter and laugh a little more. “I feel safer if something bad were to happen, now that I am in a bigger school, “ West said. With the tragic school shootings that have occurred, the country has been on alert at all times. “It makes it easier for me to lock my door without having to use a key,” said John Osborne, world history teacher and assistant basketball coach. “They are effective when they work correctly,” Hamm said. The teachers here at Bell want to protect their students in an efficient manner. Because of these new devices, they are allowed to do so.
Everyone knows that they are giving their lives to defend this country, and that they will return home as fast as they can. Military people deserve a lot of respect for their service. Though we miss our family members, they are doing everything they can do to finish their tour and return to their families,
where they’ll be welcomed home. “Though my cousin Alex is the only member of my family that serves in the military, I still miss him,” Teresa Magge said. She said she misses him very much, but as a member of the Navy, he is in different parts of the world every day.
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10 | Features
Choe goes above and beyond to help her students Hannah Rusher Editor in Chief Certain teachers help students reach their goals, making them feel like that “A” was not such an impossible feat, all while leading enlightening class discussions that further them into becoming who they were meant to be. A group of teachers who instigate such situations come to mind, and a few in particular stand out. One is Math Studies teacher, Bobbi Choe. Choe is dedicated to the success of her students in her International Baccalaureate classes as well as her other major school roles. Along with Math Studies, she also teaches Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and is the varsity cheerleading coach. Despite some students’ assumption that she allows cheerleading to dictate what is important to her, think again. Every day, she strives to make sure that her students’ academics are her priority and that the most important aspect of her duties at the school is making sure that no child is left behind. “I really appreciate the fact that Mrs. Choe always has a smile on her face,” senior Rebecca Mora said. “She can relate very well to her students and is very understandable and flexible with our busy students. I’ve also never had a question in class unanswered. I think she does a spectacular job as she juggles her job, her cheer team, and her family.” Choe’s passionate love of her job and willingness to go to great lengths to make sure that her students succeed are evident in her love of her classroom and in the way she touches her students’ lives with her kind personality and understanding disposition. She says that helping others changes her life and gives her meaning. “I truly believe that teaching is my purpose in
life, and my passion,” Choe said. “I believe that as a teacher, I can make a massive difference in the lives of my kids, whether that be in the specific subject that I teach or with supporting them day to day. You can either help them with Math, or make sure to walk them through a disaster that they had that morning, and being the part of their morning that helps them through the rest of their day.” Choe said that people influenced her in her early life and drove her to see the positive side of teaching and how she could use her talent of explaining something difficult in a simple way. “My mother was a teacher, and so I had this great example to show me what it was that I wanted to do in life, and I knew it would give me a great sense of fulfillment to do it,” Choe said. “I knew that I could really do something that would affect people in a positive way, so that was the first thing that really pushed me towards being a teacher. I also had amazing teachers in high school who made me really decide that I wanted to help others in the way that they helped me. “There really are moments where I realize how much I love what I do. It may not even be the classroom, and may just be in morning tutorials or in my office when I’m trying to help someone out. It’s that moment where my student realizes that they can actually solve the problem on their own… that is absolutely the happiest moment for me. I know that people can be so frustrated with math and think that it’s never going to happen for them, and when it finally does and their face lights up and they understand… it’s the best moment for me in the world. I never want math to be something that makes someone feel like it’s holding them down.” With her filled schedule of being leader of the cheerleading team, a role model to all of her students,
and a mother to a small son, Choe balances all with poise and grace, while still making sure that her duties around school are finished to the ninth. “Even though I have a hectic schedule, I try to be available to my students as often as possible,” Choe said. “I know if it was me in that situation and I was relying on one teacher for my entire grade, I’d want them to be as accessible as possible, and that’s why I allow my students to come down to C Gym and interrupt practices so that I can help them. I want to help my kids in any small way. Because I love Math so much I try to make things as simple as possible when I’m teaching. I try to make it simple for others, try and make it relatable. I want others to enjoy it too, more than anything else. As long as you enjoy my class, I feel like my purpose here has been accomplished.” Flitting around her classroom, Choe pulls a plaque in the shape of a cross, adorned with flowers and cheerful colors down from her wall, saying all the while that if she had to pass any knowledge about life on to her students, it would be her love of God and how that influences her in the classroom. “I got this from church when I graduated from TCU, and it’s the most inspiring thing to me that I own. It says, ‘When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I could say that I have not a single bit of talent left because I used everything you gave me.’ So, in short, I believe that as a cheerleading coach and as a math teacher, if God gives me the talent and ability to do something, I should do it to my fullest, and even if some days I’m not in the mood or I don’t feel as if I can do it to the level that everyone expects me to, I try to push and make myself get to that level because I know it’s affecting somebody else.”
Drake releases third album, ‘Nothing Was the Same’ Kai’lob Jones Blueprint Staff Grammy award winning artist Drake put out his third album this year entitled “Nothing Was The Same.” Drake’s last album, “Take Care,” sold 631,000 the first week and came in at #1 on the U.S. Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and U.S. Top Rap Albums, so he had a lot of pressure trying to outsell his previous album. Drake is known for his lyrics being about failed romances, relationships
with friends and family, and maintaining the balance with growing wealth and fame. Some songs have themes of loneliness, heartbreak, and mistrust. Drake says it is hard maintaining balance with his growing popularity being a big celebrity. In an interview with MTV, he said with this new album, he wants “to get back to that kid in the basement. To say what [he] has to say. And [he’s] trying to make it last.” Unlike the past albums, Drake has said he will stay away from talking
about his exes and past relationships and focus more on his life right now. “I don’t need to be in love right now. I think for the first time in an album I’m content—not satisfied—but proud of where I’m at as a person,” he said in an MTV interview. The album includes compilations with Jhené Aiko, Majid Jordan, Detail, Sampha, and Jay-Z. Drake revealed the album’s cover artwork as an oil painting by southern California’s Kadir Nelson, the designer behind Michael Jackson’s posthumous album
“Michael.” “What that album art is to me, is the fact that this is my most clear, concise thoughts from now, and my best recollection of then,” Drake told MTV about the album’s artwork. The same week that “Nothing Was The Same” was released, it ranked #1 on the U.S. Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, U.S. Billboard 200, U.K. R&B Albums, Danish Albums, and Canadian Albums. Drake is at the top of his game and is not looking to stop.
Opinion | 11
Texting while driving disrupts students’ attention Teenagers today do not realize the dangers behind texting and driving. As members of the Blueprint staff, we believe that you should keep your phone away while behind the wheel. Just two weeks ago, an Allen High School senior died when she drove off the road and her car struck a brick wall. The police said it appeared she was texting with her boyfriend and sister when the accident occurred. Every year there are over 100,000 vehicle accidents involving drivers that were texting. You glance down to see your mother has called you 11 times, and what is your first instinct? To check it and avoid further bloodshed, of course. However, anything can happen when you take your eyes off the road. Parents fear getting a phone call from a hospital, ambulance or police officer stating that their child has been killed. Now, consider the horror and
disquiet that arises from your parents once they realize the reason for their children’s slaughter has been because of a two-word text message. Texting and driving can be prevented, and laws are being passed that are helping to remove the temptation cell phones bring. Every year there are more than 100,000 people
—compiled by Blanca Reyes & Suzette Lopez
—Juan Monslavo, sophomore
The Conjuring. —Elba Jimenez, junior
that are killed in text related crashes. Don’t be a statistic. Keep your eyes on the road at all times.
Facts about Texting and Driving: •
Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting.
—Analy Garcia, junior
Using a phone while driving delays a driver’s reaction as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.
Of those killed in distracted driving, 995 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction (18 percent fatalities).
How does your family celebrate holidays? With the holidays coming up, annual traditions are coming out of the attics and closets and being dusted off again. We went around and asked a few people if they had any special customs for the holidays. Stefani Anthony visits her grandparents in New Jersey. Her family also partakes in opening all of their presents on Christmas Eve. “We just can’t wait,” Anthony says. Xavier Ross always gets a real tree. “No one really does that anymore,” Ross says with a laugh. Then, his little brother, the youngest of the family, puts the best decorations on the tree. “It goes from youngest to oldest,” Ross explains. Meranda Paonessa’s family takes part in the 12 days of Christmas: a present every day until Christmas rolls around. That is a very traditional way to celebrate
Raider Reaction Which horror movie is your favorite?
Christmas, if I do say so myself. Nicole Haynes has a silver tree every year. “Oh! We also have Alexis Ramos ham. Can’t Blueprint Staff forget the ham.” Everyone celebrates the holidays differently: some celebrate it in a very traditional way and some, not so much. However you celebrate, I hope it goes well. Merry Christmas and happy holidays, Raiders!
—Morgan Cimino & Vaneshia Allen, sophomore & junior
Have something to say? Write us! Share your thoughts about school or life. The editors of the Blueprint are ready to listen to your thoughts, comments and remarks. If you want to send us a letter or a note, deliver it to Mrs. Weiss in room N-24 or N-22.
12 | Photo Essay
Blue Raiders show their SPIRIT Highlights from this fallâ€™s pep rallies photos by Ken Holloway and Jordan Finley