The Bridge Magazine Volume III, Issue I

Page 1

Volume III//Issue I February 7, 2022






04-11 24-27 features

Rock and roll with the underground music community (page 4-5); Anonymity takes over the student Instagram community (page 6-7); Take a glimpse into the love of Mrs. Zabadal (page 8); Ebony Excellence Society talks community (page 9); Teacher offers sage wisdom on math and finances (page 10-11)


American teens reflect on Hong Kong (page 24); Student comments on school parking lot issues (page 25); Why perspectives on teacher’s mental health need to change (page 26-27)

12-19 28-31 news

Band advances to state once more (page 12); District makes an effort to close educational learning gap (page 13); Students girlboss with own businesses (page 14-15); Miisinformation causes conflict within school board and community (page 16-19)

20-23 entertainment

Thanksgiving feels neglected (page 20); Meet the seasonal products at Trader Joe’s (page 21); Believe in “Ted Lasso” (page 22); Check out the games to play on Cool Math (page 23)


Photos by Lucynda Robinson and Caton Puckett



Splashing into a swimmers headspace (page 28); New head coach prepares for basketball season (page 29); Runner takes on the 26.2 challenge (page 30); Athlete finds harmony between school and sports (page 31)

POLICIES General The publication has been established as a designated public form for student expression and the discussion of issues of concern to the audience. Student editors make all content decisions. The Bridge is a publication of Bridgeland High school advanced newspaper I, II and III students. The opinions expressed in this forum do not necessarily reflect those of the administration of Cypress-Fairbanks Independent school district. Complaints/ Concerns Any complaint, correction or letter to the editor should be formally submitted via email. We reserved the right to grammatically correct letters to the editor or trim to fit allotted space per Bridgeland Student Media policy. All corrections will run immediately. Professional Organizations The Bridge is a member of the Interscholastic League Press Conference, Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. Advertising Policy The staff reserves the right to refuse advertising deemed inappropriate for a high school publication, inducing illegal products or services. In cases involving political advertising, efforts will be made to solicit all points of view.

From the

Editors: These past few years have been some of the most challenging and interesting in our lives, a pandemic filled with stress, frustration and helplessness. After we thought it was all over, and nothing could get worse a bigger beast appeared. The pandemic revealed something else — a Social Epidemic, one filled with misinformation, mistrust and disrespect. It seemingly came out of nowhere, but in truth, it was a long time coming. Misinformation thrives thanks to social media, “hot takes,” and twisting information to meet narratives or agendas. Social media is part of everyday life, and it’s too easy to share information. Our nation’s increased polarization and division leads people to accept false narratives and lies, just to fit their views. Despite this we’re learning to navigate the depths of social media, and dodge the minefields of misinformation, hoping to seek out the truth. This Social Epidemic hasn’t

just brought misinformation but also disrespect and mistrust. On screens big and small, people are seen yelling, throwing, and simply not having patience or respect. When did we start losing respect, and patience? Since when did kindness stop becoming the norm? We started asking questions. We attended school board meetings and talked to those who work in education. We interviewed board memebers and district employees. What is truth? What makes the truth true? An influx of available information makes facts hard to find. So many websites have different affiliations, opinions and information. We wanted to write a story about the community, the school board, and the conflict that surrounds us all. If we’re curious, we knew you would be too. All the stories in this magazine are about how much we care, about this school, and the community, and our world. Happy reading.

THE STAFF Alfred Dozier, Editor-in-Chief Olivia Masterson, Editor-in-Chief Ashtyn Haggard, Editor-in-Chief Emma Zwick, Creative Director/Entertainment Brianna Keller, Copy Editor Michael Burns, Feature Editor Brooke Gamble, Opinion Editor Grace Kirkley, Lifestyle Editor Charleigh Thomas, News Editor Haylie Stum, Sports Editor Cameron Armer Meadow Cantualla Matteo Caruso Pernas Madison Clay Carolyn Gilbert Julian Higuera Mallory Loera Jeffrey Lookhoff Courtney Smith Alex Vanderlaan Eric Venkatesen Ryleigh Wilson Samantha Berry, Adviser Alexis Prieto-Berkey, Adviser




S t Ri k i n g A C h OR D

How the underground music community provides outlet for Bridgeland students

eing a teenager is rough. How we get through this time varies from person to person. Some take their teen angst to a football field or track. Some try to mold their frustration into a clay sculpture. Some take everything bottled up and spill it into their extracurriculars. For juniors Ryan Harris and Zoe Romero, music carries them through. Sure, music is universally a great coping mechanism, but rather than making a playlist, Harris and Romero make their own music. Two years ago, Harris discovered his love for the rock and metal genre which led him to start playing the guitar, drums and bass. He joined the band “Beretta” as a singer and guitarist more than eight months ago after he put himself out there on the social website for musicians, BandMix. Harris said that being a part of “Beretta” has drastically changed the course of his life. “I think before I was in a band, I was just going through the motions and I feel like I wasn’t doing anything in life except just going moment to moment,” Harris said. “But after playing in a band, I’ve learned to look at the bigger picture and learn about progress.” Beginning her music career with lessons at School of Rock, Romero was instrumental in the formation of her band “Serene.” After two years with the band, she considers them family. Beyond the relationship, she feels just turning on the mic or writing lyrics helps her plug into her emotions. ”I’m an angry girl in an angry world,” she said, “and I feel like this is the best way I can cope in any way possible. If I’m mad, I can yell about it. If I’m energetic, I can go dance around on stage. But also, if I’m feeling vulnerable, I can write. [Writing] makes me feel like I’m getting things out and it also makes me feel proud of myself for being able to communicate the things that I feel.” Music is a language all of its own. Whether on stage or shutting out the world with AirPods, it serves as a temporary escape. Harris thinks that being in a musical group adds an extra element to how music helps him break free from the chains of




adolescent struggle. ”Being in a band helps make me feel like people believe in me. There’s a lot of people out there that will just come and see us play and go, ‘Oh my gosh! You guys did so great!’ and it gives you confidence,” Harris said. “It makes you feel like you have something to strive toward and that you can get somewhere with your life. It creates a sense of being resilient and not just getting beaten down. It gives me something to look forward to all day.” Not only are young musicians serving as an example for vulnerability and self-expression, they also make their mark on the community. Through gigging and putting their inventive takes on songs, amateur artists put themselves out there openly through their craft. According to Romero, they are changing the landscape of music. ”I feel like we’re going to bring a different type of music to the table. We are the future of music, so I think it’s important what messages we’re trying to convey and how we present ourselves to the public,” Romero said. “I also think that musicians, at least young ones, are becoming less scared of expressing themselves and just being unique is kind of its own trend. More young artists is an amazing thing that’s been going on.” Taking on the responsibility of being in the public eye as a role model for aspiring musicians in the area is no easy task, and Romero and Harris don’t take that responsibility lighlty. Hours on end almost every day, both musicians dedicate most all their free time or make sacrifices to play or write new music with their band. Romero even fills her school schedule with multiple demanding

music classes. Along with working on their skills, they also have to work on how they are percieved to the public. Although it takes time to build a signature image, Harris says, however, setting a standard of being “unapologetically you” is the easiest task to take on because it is a tone that needs to be set now more than ever. “I feel like today everyone is stuck in their own little worlds where they feel they have to be like this photocopy of everyone else and follow all of the social media trends and be in a clique,” Harris said. “But, getting out there and expressing yourself and showing individualism and just being unique is so important for people now. We need to stray away from being another cog in the machine and stand out.” In the current social climate, social media can appear as an enabler of insecurity. People are constantly bombarded with what a photoshopped and fabricated “perfect life” should look like, and teenagers seem to feed into those intrusions. A 2020 study done by Students 4 Social Change reported that 45 percent of teens say they feel overwhelmed by all the drama on social media. Romero, however, feels that people embrace indifference more than ever before. More specifically, artists who showcase their unconformity are heavily celebrated. ”We’re living in an era where people are becoming more selfaware and are becoming more open to listening to others. Society is being so accepting of people that bring new things to the table, and people applaud an artist with uniqueness and individuality,” Romero said. “I’ll listen to a song that

will convey the way I’m feeling, and it’ll make me feel identified, like I have a place to be. I think that’s something that I hope I can give people.” It’s not easy to just throw yourself into the spotlight, being vulnerable for everyone to observe. Musical artistry is always up for interpretation and very prone to criticism, something that is challenging to grasp when you feel like you’re putting your heart on display for an audience. Romero says, however, that the opportunity to impact a person’s life outweighs the possibility of receiving harsh judgment. “There’s a barrier that I have broken myself that takes time to break, and it’s that barrier of taking that first step or putting your foot in the water. You’re scared of what people are going to think and you’re scared of backlash… However, there’s always going to be at least one person that’s going to listen to your song and feel something,” Romero said. “We play for those people that are here to listen to what we have to say… As long as you are you and you’re bringing something new to the table, someone is going to love it.” Comradery and courage; that’s what being in a band evokes. Lyrics and melodies are the framework for constructing a way to express yourself. But, it’s those around you with whom you share those lyrics and melodies that make building the articulation of your feelings so much easier. “I think it’s important that you’re doing what you love but also with people who also love it around you that will motivate you because there are going to be days where it’s so difficult. It’s having the people around you that also share that love that inspires you by seeing how good they are… Surround yourself with people that are going to push you and make you want to be better.” Story and Design by Haylie Stium








itting the ‘post’ button on Instagram is nerve wracking. “[@bridgelandlunchreviews was] not an inspiration, but One post, a comical caption, for everyone to see. I was like, ‘oh, if they did it and people liked it then they Worrying about what others will think, despite being might like this’, you know?” @bridgelandshlumber said. “It completely anonymous. It only took one person to initiate a made me feel a little less scared to make [the account].” game of “follow the leader.” An attribute all the new Bridgeland review accounts At the beginning of the school year, an unknown student share is anonymity. Every once in a while, they’ll reveal a created the @bridgelandlunchreviews Instagram account shoe or hand on an Instagram story, but otherwise keep to review school lunches and attracted a large their pronouns, names and other following - more than 800 as of Jan. 26. Their personal information a secret. humorous, relatable takes on the nutritional Some have plans to reveal their Of course I think I’m being offerings from CFISD sparked a movement identities, while others feel they rude, but it’s high school of more than 20 Bridgeland-themed will face judgment from their and I hope no one actually review accounts. followers. gets [offended] if I tell them “I just made it for fun,” “I’ve thought about [revealing @bridgelandlunchreviews said. my identity] just for the fun of it, that they look like Freddie Inspired by a group of friends who but the only thing stopping me is Krueger’s mother.” started a lunch review account for Cy the fear that people will come for my Ranch High School, neck,” @bridgelandshlumber said. “Also, @bridgelandlunchreviews was born. I feel I wouldn’t be as free to post whatever Originally, they only reviewed CFISD lunch options, but I want.” this culinary comedian drifted from school lunch reviews to Another common characteristic of these taking submissions of other foods. Feeling they are a role accounts is their content centers around follower model for others, they are flattered that others followed in participation and submissions. It is always a surprise their footsteps to create other accounts. when someone sees they have appeared on a Bridgeland “Bridgeland accounts like the [@bridgelandshaderoom], review account after a friend unknowingly sent in a picture. [@bridgelandfitreviews] and the most recent one, [@ Accounts like @bridgelandfitreviews received so much bridgelandshlumber] are all original,” follower participation, they said it became overwhelming @bridgelandlunchreview said. “Their content is funny, and difficult to maintain creating witty, unique content. entertaining and original. They got me busting out laughing “I actually wasn’t rude or brutal until I really just couldn’t in the middle of class.” find anything good to say,” @bridgelandfitreviews said. Each new account has a different mission. “Of course, I think I’m being rude, but it’s high school and I @bridgeland.badparking’s goal is to bring awareness to hope no one actually gets [offended] if I tell them that they poor parking in the student parking lots, look like Freddie Krueger’s mother.” @bridgelandfitreviews commentates on school fashion Other account managers said they are conscientious and @bridgelandshlumber entertains their audience with of their language and avoid profanity — offending their sleepy student photos taken by submissions. They were not audience is the one thing they strive to avoid. entirely inspired by @bridgelandlunchreviews, but rather “[We] look to lightly make fun of bad parking; if anyone motivated. @bridgelandshlumber’s creator said they liked has a problem with their car being posted, [if they send] the idea behind the lunch review account and decided to try a DM saying that they want it down, we will then take it creating one too. down,” @bridgeland.badparking said. “[It’s] just meant to be for fun and laughs, nothing serious.”

Story, photo and design by Brianna Keller




SMART sweethearts

HGAP teacher marries longtime love


n the age of Tinder and hookup culture, young love is often seen as nothing more than that: a juvenile fantasy. Feelings change and navigating a future with someone is difficult when in the process of acquiring an education. The number of high school sweetheart marriages has lowered by 75% since the 1940s. On the rare occasion that high school sweethearts do get married, the risk of divorce goes up. With these hapless statistics, the odds don’t appear to be in favor of these couples. However, in the few 2% of marriages that defy all odds and progress successfully, this isn’t true. In the case of Mrs. Kim Zabadal, AP Human Geography teacher and high school sweetheart, achieving such status was a hard one, but worth it. “He was in football and I was in sports medicine, and we were out on the football field and all the guys would always say thank you and then some derogatory comment after,” Zabadal said. “He would say thank you genuinely because he was appreciative of people being out there and providing water, and I thought that part of his personality was attractive.” The couple has been together since her sophomore year of high school, in this very school district, at Jersey Village High School. They graduated from Texas A&M together and got married spring of 2021. Mrs. Zabadal accredits their relationship success to the importance of friendship above all else. “Make sure that your partner is your best friend, but not your only friend,” Zabadal said. ”Throughout the 8.5 years Kyle and I have been together, we have created separate friends and maintained independence in our

Don’t base your college decision on your significant other. If they align, that’s fantastic. And don’t allow others to make you feel less than if they do align.”




ways of thinking. Allowing your partner to bloom on their own will make it so they do not regret any step of the way.” When entering a new relationship, it is easy to get caught up in the “honeymoon phase”. This period usually calls for a euphoric state, excessive PDA (Public Displays of Affection), and in some cases, cutting off friends. Though this usually comes to a close after a few months, the aftermath can be detrimental. Friends may not be waiting around upon exiting that loveydovey trance - in some cases, no one is left but said partner. It is important for both parties to prioritize their relationship while maintaining outside interests, hobbies, and friends. “We kept our PDA to a minimum; many times people we met did not know that we were dating,” Zabadal said. “This fostered a relationship far deeper than the surface that has set the foundation for the rest of our lives. It allows us to find joy in the mundane - just being in the same room makes the time better, but only when the time is something special and cherished.” True intimacy spans beyond the horizon of physical affection. Structuring a relationship off of emotional needs allows for a closer relationship to grow than any physical attribute could offer. The ultimate goal in any relationship is to be best friends, and the biggest part of friendship is communication.

“(One word to describe our relationship is) friendship, because I think that it’s more important to be friends than romantic partners. Not that romance isn’t important,” Zabadal said, “but at the end of the day when I go home from work, there’s no roses and chocolates on my bed every day; there’s someone that I have to hang out with, that I have to make decisions with. And we have to make important decisions.” The emotional turmoil that follows a serious relationship can be overwhelming at any age, especially in a high school environment. In order for a relationship to last, emotional maturity is vital so that each partner can be realistic about their compatibility with the other person. This is where many long-term relationships go south- the “C” word. College is a tough conversation to have, as some couples aren’t fit for long-distance, and find going to school together as the best. For some, this works, but oftentimes couples break up during their college years leaving the exes to attend the same school, often with feelings of resentment for having followed the other for no reason. Do what is best for more than a relationship- the rest will work itself out. “Do what makes you guys happy in your relationship,” Zabadal said.

Photos courtesy of Kimberley Zabadal Graphic by Brianna Keller Story by Grace Kirkley



Ebony Excellence Society builds safe space for cultures.


ormed with the intention of teaching others-about different ethnicities and African-American culture, history, and learning to celebrate it in today’s world, the Ebony Excellence Society is of the newest clubs offered. “The goal of Ebony Excellence Society is to allow a safe space for everybody to come to connect different ethnicities,” senior copresident Anaya Dozier said. In addition to education about different ethnicities and cultures, they also seek new philanthropic opportunities. This is accomplished through community service projects every semester and include focus on helping people of all ages. “For spring semester we’re planning on doing a nursing home community service,” senior co-president Maryam Ghazi said. “We go hang out with the individuals who live there and make their days better.” While they are helping the community, they wouldn’t accomplish this goal without some inspiration. For Ghazi, her inspiration came from the Black Lives Matter movement during her sophomore year. She and the founder, Sarah Long, a 2021 graduate, thought it to be a vital piece of Bridgeland culture missing that deserved to be explored. Because of COVID-19, this idea was put on hold as clubs were not meeting, but Ghazi persisted. “We all wanted to make sure we felt connected. And we all have a place where we

Anaya Dozier (left), Maryam Ghazi (middle), and Adam Graves (right) huddle for a picture.

can say, hey, this is what I’m experiencing,” Ghazi said. “This is what I’m feeling. And I want to know if other people are feeling the same way.” Wanting to see students of color represented throughout the school and community, she works to provide a safe space for community and conversation. “I hope this is a place where people can go to their friends and say, this is a good place to be. It’s a place where,” Ghazi said. “Or, if you’re not Black, it’s a place where you can learn about other people and what they experience.” For senior vice president Adam Graves, he felt his role would set a good precedent for the future, and bring more African-American students together. “I feel like it’s a good way to get other people to connect, and have a good experience and find themselves,” Graves said. Dozier has a vision for the club to expand and continue its goal for more diversity and inclusion. “I want Ebony Excellence Society to be not only a well-known organization, but a large organization where not only AfricanAmericans but different ethnicities come,” Dozier said.“Who have a place where they can open up, have a place where they know it’s going to be safe, and they can have a good time.” Story and design by Ryleigh Wilson Photo by Caton Puckett











ollars and cents. That’s what it all comes down to. Money, finance, debt, rates, insurance. It’s all a game of dollars and cents.

It’s cold in Illinois. Freezing air, blowing through the broken windows. It freezes him to the core. Not even the layers of blankets, pillows and clothes or even the tiny space heater helps. But he can’t do much. He can’t afford to move out. He can’t live alone. He can’t rely on only one person’s money. It’s too much. And then there’s the debt. Still in school, racking up student loan debt. Life in 2012 was tough for college algebra teacher Zachary Flynn, but he survived. Now, he starts most days in his classroom with finance tips, emphasizing money management skills to his students in order to prevent them from making the same decisions, or mistakes as he would call them, as he did. During his teenage years and through his early 20s, Flynn said he believed that the real world didn’t apply to him, but then he graduated college. It was 2009, right after the economy took a heavy hit and we entered what is now called the “Great Recession” and the unemployment rate skyrocketed. Finding a job was hard, and after applying to 400 jobs and never receiving a call back, he was stressed. “I just tried to survive for a couple years. And then I started to get way more serious into it once I started dating my wife and I knew she was going to be the one,” Flynn said, “I got more serious right then and there.” Eventually, Flynn found his way out of his financial troubles to thriving. Each month, his wife and he get together to budget. For starters, they put 10% of their paychecks aside for church because that is what they believe is the most important thing. Then, there’s utilities and insurance and food, clothing, water and rent. They log every transaction they make. “So it takes practice to make a budget. You’ll work out the kinks as you go,” Flynn said. Teaching for 10 years, he began his career in education at a private middle school for six years before being hired at Bridgeland. He has experience teaching most math algebras including pre-algebra, algebra, algebra 2, college algebra, advanced algebra, and also geometry. Currently, he teaches juniors and seniors in college and advanced algebra classes. Using his experiences and math expertise, he added budgeting tips and lessons to his curriculum. Senior Alexis Hunt took his college algebra class her junior year. She stumbled upon his class after deciding to drop Advanced Quantitative Reasoning (AQR) two weeks into the year, right before a test. Taking AQR was optional for her, but she still decided to. She ended up getting the highest grade in the class on that

test. As a senior who no longer has him, the thing she misses most is how he teaches. “He is a little bit of a chaotic soul,” Hunt said. “In my opinion, the type of teacher I like is someone who has fun and [someone] you can laugh with on the same level. But because they’re just so nice and they have that respect, they can grab that respect back. Like if we need to be serious at some point we are and then we can go back to fun later because we know it’s not like he’s gonna be screaming at us or yelling at us or calling us names.” Flynn formats his lessons as such: he introduces the concept and works out examples. To help students understand, he starts with working questions out on his own, then working out concepts with the class by random selection, and then allowing students to answer on their own. Because of this teaching style, Hunt never went to tutorials. She never felt like she had to. “He doesn’t look down on the students, which is something that even other good teachers do– they still have moments where there’s little respect shown,” Hunt said, “or there’s issues that come up and they just kind of ignore it, and he is definitely someone who [would] - not in a creepy way - go into the students’ lives and be like, ‘Wow, what’s happening.’ He’s there for the students. He wants to know what’s happening. ‘If you have a breakup. What happened? Tell me about it.’ Oh, and then we’ll just talk about it.” According to Flynn, the number one mistake anyone can make for college is borrowing money from the government and teaches students tactics for paying for college without going in debt. “[Students] are in the mode of applying for colleges, filling out your FAFSA October 1,” Flynn said, “Like

I just tried to survive for a couple years.

this directly applies to the seniors more than anybody else, but it’s good for any age — middle school, elementary school, definitely high school though the most.” Flynn’s family didn’t let him have much choice for college. He was never guided on how to budget growing up or how to attend college without borrowing money. His parents didn’t have a college fund for him and he was told he couldn’t go to a community college. He teaches his students the tips and tricks he’s learned during his life, such as navigating insurance and which to avoid, how to budget with a partner, different types of retirement plans and even talks about his own experiences with mutual funds and personal asset management. The internet is full of memes and commentary that school doesn’t prepare students for the “real world” and issues like taxes or finances. As Flynn brings these topics into his classroom, he wonders if any of his students listen to his advice. “Are there times you guys can be annoying? Absolutely. Are there times where I just go home and want to pull my hair out? Absolutely,” Flynn said. “But watching you guys walk in and graduate, or ever come back to us years later and say ‘thank you’ — that is the most gratification that you cannot get anywhere else.”

He is a little bit of a chaotic soul.

Flynn’s Finan University ce

Story, graphics and design by Ashtyn Haggard


Investing in a mutual fund is one of the best ways to grow money, according to Flynn. A mutual fund is a company that pools money from different people and invests it in stocks, assets and bonds.


The best way to pay for college is to apply for scholarships because borrowing money from the government will only add more student loan debt to an individual. It’s best to graducate college with as little debt as possible because paying it off takes time.


The more expensive a house is, the higher the insurance will be. Additionally, with a house, owners are responsible for any and all damages that occur. Renting usually means that these things won’t impact owners, making it a better option for new owners.




Double Time Band makes second consecutive appearance at UIL State Marching contest


n November 8, 2021 with their peformance of “Project No.5” the Bridgeland Band made history by qualifying for state for the 2nd year in a row. They placed 24th in the Preliminary Contest at the Alamodome. The marching Band previously qualified for state during the 20202021 school year, placing 15 overall in the finals, despite a crazy season caused by COVID-19 protocols. Head Band Director Shawn Mcanear is incredibly proud of the band for making it to state two years in a row. “For it to be a real version of state with all the bands participating made it really cool,” Mcanear said, “We’ve now arrived at a spot where we belong with the very top groups in the state.” The new marching season brought many new changes. For the first time, the band commissioned music written exclusively for Bridgeland. “Oh, I can’t even put it into words. The amount these kids have worked in my three years here and how much they’ve grown is just unbelievable,” Assistant Director Bailee Moore said. “The fact they’re able to work hard and improve and make state is just unbelievable, very proud.” In marching band there’s both visual and musical aspects to making a great show. Moore emphasizes the visual responsibilities, such as performing different choreography, striking poses and dances throughout “Project No.5”, all while playing difficult pieces. “To be able to go back to the state marching contest back to back years, and be able to be with them and go through that process and see the joy on their faces and do that kind of




thing is the crux of what we try and get those kids to focus on.” Visual Coordinator Willie Veenstra said. Math teacher and Visual Coordinator The first thing I thought about was Willie Veenstra has nostalgia, being back for the second been working with the year in a row. Being able to see the marching band for three glow of excitement across everyone’s face, as we walked off was like years. His main role is something I’ll never forget. to coordinate and make sure the visual aspects of the show are on point. As a former performer and drum major of the Bluecoats, a Drum Corps International band, he has a vast amount of experience to offer the band. “Everyone had this pent up energy from COVID that they all sort of let out in the competition. Everyone across the state of Texas had incredible shows,” Veenstra said. “For us to be a part of that and to win an area contest and to be at the state level was an incredible treat.” While the directors help greatly, it’s the drum majors who lead the band. Drum major Daniel Patino describes his job as more of a leadership role as he and four other drum majors conduct the band. This season may have proved a challenge following unprecedented COVID-19 changes, but Patino and the rest of the band found a rush of emotions going to state once again, for one final performance. “It was a culmination of a lot of things,” Patino said, “The first thing I thought about was nostalgia, being back for the second year in a row. Being able to see the glow of excitement across everyone’s face, as we walked off was like something I’ll never forget.” Story and design by Alfred Dozier Photos by Caton Puckett and Joshua Landry



n response to the unprecedented 20202021 school year, the U.S. Congress provided financial support to schools; the funds given to Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District allowed the creation of Closing the Gap days for the school year. Texas was given $1.3 billion dollars in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds out of the $11.2 billion given countrywide. To address learning gaps caused by the pandemic, CFISD was initially allotted $126 million in funds to aid in unexpected pandemic-related expenses, creating closing the gap. “The intent is to help students fill in some of what might have been lost in the intervening months since March of 2020,” Director of Instruction, Traci Underwood, said, “that’s basically the design of Closing the Gap.” Mrs. Underwood explains that Closing the Gap days are something that each campus in CFISD is doing. While campuses were given different options on how to approach it, Bridgeland focused on the four core classes: English, math, science and social studies and gave them a certain day. Teachers are given 30

minutes from the beginning of class to address skills that may be lacking in classrooms. “The skills are things not necessarily in the actual cwurrent unit,” Mrs. Underwood said, “but maybe a foundation underneath that unit.” According to Mrs. Underwood, it didn’t take long for teachers to discover gaps in learning. Since some students might not have as many gaps as others, teachers have to differentiate skills during Closing the Gap so the 30 minutes can be used effectively. “The differentiation part of it is what I think for us as a campus moving forward, we’re really going to try to do well,” Mrs. Underwood said, “we don’t want to just take 30 minutes of a class every single week for the whole entire year and not feel like we’re benefiting our students.” English IV AP & DC teacher Laura Braun sees Closing The Gaps days as something useful. She explains how skills in English only get more complex and in-depth. Closing the Gap days have allowed dedicated time for things such as AP Classroom, or multiple-choice practices. The only issue Mrs. Braun has is that Closing the Gap has to be on a certain day.

“The nice thing about these days for the English department is that we get to circle back on skills that can sometimes fall through the cracks,” Mrs. Braun said. Mrs. Braun emphasizes that she tries to make Closing the Gap days engaging, but she also makes sure to explain to students the purpose behind Closing the Gap day; she says that it works well. “So I’ve had pretty good buy-in,” Mrs. Braun said, “but I was also very conscious of the group of students that I work with and how they know this, how we can use this time to directly benefit them.” Junior Michaela Austin sees Closing the Gap as unnecessary; she explains how during Closing the Gap days, nothing in class happens, and it just feels wasteful. She also thinks It’s just a review of things learned in the past and common sense topics. “I think they take a lot of time off work, and I know we get behind on work because we have to do Closing the Gap,” Austin said, “So I don’t really like them that much.” Story and Design by Alfred Dozier Graphic by Brianna Keller




GIRLBOSSES of Bridgeland

Young women take on task of starting businesses




Another student, junior Meliyah Diaz, owns a business named Lovely Cases, which sells phone cases. “As far as acquiring the materials to make the phone cases, I typically purchase everything wholesale from AliExpress,” Diaz said, “There are a lot of materials that go into making them like blank cases, heat resistant tape, sublimation paper, and more. The process is fun, yet tedious. I print out the designs using a special printer and then transfer the design onto the phone case with the process of sublimation.” The products sold by some of these creators have even improved over time. The longer the business has been owned, improvements in both the types of items and the creation of the items comes into play. These changes will sometimes happen according to which season it is or other current events. “Initially, starting off, I was making bookmarks, aprons, cup wraps, and things like that,” Nichols said, “Then I moved into making bags to put pencils



tudent business owners provide products to consumers of all ages and generate revenue for themselves by means of creating handcrafted quality goods. “It’s grown a lot,” senior Amanda Nichols said, “Starting off, all I had was me and my sewing machine and my bedroom, just going at it. I’ve been able to invest in an embroidery machine so I can make better quality products.” Students like Amanda Nichols, owner of a small business that creates a collection of sewn items called Amanda Faith Designs, start small businesses for the love of their craft and a little bit of extra cash on the side. “I initially started sewing when I was about nine, but I didn’t start my business until I was about 12,” Nichols said, “What initially got me to start it was when I realized how passionate I was about sewing. It was really just adding a business aspect to something I was already passionate about.” These small businesses create a quantity of different products, mostly or partially - made by hand with items sold at local stores. Similar to Nichols, sophomore Cloe Lehmann owns a small business called Angel Ann, specializing in creating special-occasion cards and home decor. “I started last year,” Lehmann said. “Last year, I mainly used colored pencils and painted for my cards. This year, it hasn’t been strictly digital, but almost everything is digital because I got the IPad Pro and I now use the Apple Pencil and ProCreate. It’s really been shifting [my] technique.” The assembly of these items are specific to each creator because of the variety of items sold, yet all of the items are still created in hopes of pleasing or helping those who purchase them.

I would like to think that my products have brought people at least some sort of joy or usefulness in their lives."

and things like that in. Then when COVID hit, I moved into making masks. But now, I’m able to use my embroidery machine and make more custom orders.” A challenge adults believe is faced by students that own small businesses is the ability to make time for both school

and your business. Though this may be true for some students, often both of these priorities are balanced. “I’m currently in tumbling, ice skating, and in and out of competitive cheer and dance,” Diaz said, “However, finding the time for my phone case hasn’t been a huge challenge so far. They’re genuinely fun to make, so I don’t mind at all taking the time to make orders. Usually when I get home from school is the ideal time for me to make the cases.” Growth and goals push these small businesses, just like they do for any major business. Rome wasn’t built in a day; customers and the demand for items from small businesses create the growth necessary for small income. Twenty percent of small businesses close within one year, yet with the help of loyal customers, they have the potential to grow and to thrive. “Right now I don’t really know how to grow my business, but I do have goals for it,” Lehmann said, “I’m trying to grow my Instagram and trying to grow like a following of people who support me. Also, on every card that I sell I have my name and information on the bottom so when the card is mailed out everybody sees that it’s my work.” At the end of the day, the creation of these items is not always just for the money. They’re also made with the hope of creating joy in the people who obtain them and a desire to give the customer something to slightly better their life. “I would like to think that my products have brought people at least some sort of joy or usefulness in their lives,” Nichols said, “You don’t realize how important items are to you until it’s taken away, and I just have the hope that one of my products is one of those things to somebody out there.” Story, photos and design by Carolyn Gilbert Photos courtesy of Cloe Lehman



f p or o t s



As the jewelry shop with the most, Rofeda’s is your go-to for the best glitz and glam. For just $12 on Etsy you can bag a necklace made of citrine, turquoise, jade, rose quartz, and more! @rofedas



ANGEL ANN This home decor and card store is sure to knock your socks off. Angel Ann’s custom hand drawn cards are the perfect gift to those you love, and so are the handcrafted decor products! @angelannart



AMANDA FAITH DESIGNS A superb sewing and handcrafted goods shop, Amanda Faith Designs can offer you anything from cases (shown), drawstring bags, pillow cases, masks, and more….all from the heart and into your home. @amanda_faith_designs



Printed to perfection, Lovely Cases’ cases are pleasing to the eye and available for IPhone 6 and up. For just $12, the case for you could be just clicks away and cure the need for something new. @lovely._.cases







ll it takes is one click. One Facebook post spreads faster than a forest fire and within days, the facts have been lost among interpretations and fights in the comment section. More articles pop up about the same topic but with different information and different agendas. All people want is the truth, but it’s hard to find the truth in an ocean of conflicting beliefs. A virus of misinformation, political division and disrespect sweeps the world. In addition to a deadly pandemic, society faces a new challenge—a social epidemic.

The Room Where it Happens

Saturday Night Live aired a skit on Oct. 2, 2021, poking fun at school board meetings. Yet, anyone who has attended one of those meetings in the last two years can relate to the skit with a little less laughter and more of a wince. When a late-night comedy show turns its attention from pop culture and politics to community events there’s a problem. A school board is the governing body within a school district where board members are elected officials. In the recent 2021 election, CFISD reported 11% of registered voters in the district voted. All incumbents on the ballot, Dr. John Ogletree, Don Ryan and Bob Covey were not reelected for respective Positions Five, Six and Seven. Dr. Natalie Blasingame, Lucas Scanlon and Scott Henry won the vote. While less than a quarter of eligible voters participated, school board meetings have seen a rise in engagement and attendance in the past two years. Comparing the August 2019 meeting to the August 2020 meeting, the length increased by 234% and it wasn’t the only one since August 2020 to run into the late night hours. This increase was partially because of the global pandemic and with added participation also came conflict between parents and the school district regarding health, social and political concerns. “In recent months, there has been an increase in in-person participation at school board meetings, although online viewership was much higher in the summer of 2020—which is a good thing,” General Counsel for CFISD Marney Sims said. “Unfortunately, there also appears to be some misunderstanding and misinformation about school district practices and procedures.”




As part of her role, Sims advises the district and board trustees on legal matters such as board meeting procedures. Part of the policy outlines meeting behavior to prohibit speakers from mentioning people by name, talking outside of agenda items and extending past their two allotted minutes. Because of repeated disruptions from audience members over the past two years, the board voted to amend the policy to allow speakers to regain lost time because of interruptions. Tasked with maintaining order, Sim’s must often remind attendees of policy and procedure. “This is a meeting that we’re having in the public, but it’s not a meeting of the public,” Sims said at the June 24, 2021, board meeting where speakers focused on Critical Race Theory (CRT). Anyone can sign up to speak on agenda items during the public comment portion of the meeting—even nonmembers of the community. During the June 24 meeting, a high school student spoke to the board about their experience in their freshman English class, specifically about the reading list for the year. “For our end of semester reading project, I was expecting the classics such as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ or ‘The Great Gatsby.’ However, to my surprise, the only books we had to choose from focuses on Black Lives Matter and police brutality stories. Of course, having been fully educated on the current events preceding the election, I immediately knew what this was all about. I was overcome with rage as I flipped through one of the novels about a Black girl whose best friend was killed by a White cop,” the student said. In the conclusion of their statement, the student said they are “ridiculed at school every day for my political beliefs and skin color.” “This is the 1960s all over again but flipped inside out,” they said. “History repeats itself and it’s our job to save this great country we call our home. It starts here with the next generation.” After speaking, members of the crowd responded with a standing ovation. However, the student failed to mention they did not attend CFISD as pointed out by then board president, Bob Covey. Sims sought to clarify from the student and for the audience that the student was speaking on behalf of their experience

at Tomball ISD. Seemingly, members of the crowd interpreted this as a challenge from Sims to the student and called out to not “crossexamine” the 15-year-old. With the increased participation came an influx of student and alumni statements. Junior Ryan Lam spoke at the June 24 meeting about his perspective of the implicit bias training held at Bridgeland in the Spring of 2021. In his statement, he said that teachers are not sharing their personal opinions and urged parents to step back and let teenagers drive the conversation. Lam and his mother, Tana Lam, are actively involved in meetings and the district. After attending and watching meetings online, Ryan Lam has seen shifts in behavior and decorum from last year to now. “Mostly, I’ve spoken about how school doesn’t really teach us what’s going on in the real world — they like to shelter us way too much about that,” Ryan Lam said. “I guess the big change is not physically but mentally. Verbally, people are more violent toward each other at these school board meetings. The ones last year, for the few I did attend, no one was screaming while other people were talking. There weren’t protests outside each one; it wasn’t just like a fest of propaganda.” School board meetings are shy of a discussion and more of a battle within the community. And, some could say, a political sounding board. While the district tries to alleviate concerns from parents, these meetings continue to be highly politicized environments. “I assume many of you are here today out of concern that unmonitored teachers are injecting their opinions into our hyper-political lessons in order to inject us with their own biased opinions,” Ryan Lam said at the June 24 meeting. “Shed your fears because not only do these teachers not tell us their opinions anyways in politics, these lessons never happen — not that teachers can share their opinions anyways, unless they want to be beaten to death by parent emails. Honestly, teachers have to shut us up half the time — we talk about politics so much.” The relationship between parents and school boards continues to be tense around the nation. In the June 22, 2021, meeting of Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia, the public comment portion of the meeting was ended early because of audience disruptions during statements relating to the thenproposed protections for transgender students and the suspension of a teacher for public criticsm of the proposed policy. After the meeting was declared an “unlawful assembly,” sheriff’s deputies cleared the room. Three parents who were signed up to speak at the meeting and were not able to are suing the district. This is in addition to a lawsuit against the district for equity programs. A federal judge dismissed the latter on Jan. 20, 2022. Division and polarization have an impact on these

meetings with an “Us vs. Them” mentality. Lately, the line seems to fall on the Republican vs. Democrat divide — although school board elections are intended to be nonpartisan. However, in an official release from the Texas GOP on Dec. 6, 2021, the party announced “an initiative to play a greater role in non-partisan races and ballot propositions.” The release states the party “will assist county parties in electing conservative candidates in often-overlooked school board and municipal elections.” The release outlines “major successes in recent non-partisan races” and mentions CypressFairbanks specifically saying “GOP-supported challengers unseated three long-time incumbents.” As unprecedented interest from political organizations in school district affairs takes root, the challenge for school administrations heightens especially as community discourse intensifies over aforementioned issues like COVID-19, Critical Race Theory, LGBTQ issues and more. “It is always our goal to seek to understand parent or community concerns with two-way communication,” Sims said. “We work to bring consensus and resolution on issues, though it is not always possible.”


This is a meeting that we’re having in the public, but it’s not a meeting of the public,”





Conflict in the Comments

The spread of misinformation is more widespread than it may appear. False accusations and assumptions caused by unconfirmed or fabricated information influence people and create conflict. Misinformation, especially surrounding controversial subjects such as CRT, spreads fast. According to Dr. Vida A. Robertson, an associate professor of English at the University of Houston and CRT expert, Critical Race Theory is the study of how race affects policies, practices and social institutions such as the criminal justice and healthcare systems. The Texas Association of School Boards addressed the differences between it and Educational Equity, stating that CRT is not part of social studies curriculum and has never been part of social studies curriculum in Texas. It is clear that this statement has not alleviated concerns as it was a major player in the recent school board election. “I’m here to talk,” Tom Nobis, a community member, said at the June 24 meeting. “There is Critical Race Theory even though people say there’s not. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been having all these people here to talk about it. Reverend Martin Lurther King Jr. said that our children shouldn’t be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of the character. I believe that indoctrination and racial divide is divisive and not unifying. CRT logic is just as bad as gendermodification logic that says if I play dress-up, I must be a girl. If I’m White, I must be racist, an oppressor, you don’t know.” In June 2021 Texas House Bill 3979 passed, banning the teaching of CRT in school districts. As many as 22 states have either passed or introduced legislation concerning CRT in education. According to Dr. Robertson, the fear surrounding CRT comes from misunderstanding or having the wrong information. “[CRT is] often being used as a shortcut for talking about programs and efforts that are intended to move us away from the racist practices that are kind of built into our society,” Dr. Robertson said, “and so much of the backlash comes from just ignorance.” With such a widespread resource like the internet




just a few clicks away, information is never lacking. However, while the internet can serve as a tool for research and forging connections, it can also be a dumping ground for “hot takes,” political discourse, and divisive comment threads. According to a study by Pew Research Center, more than 64% of Americans believe that social media has negative impacts on what is going on in the world. As social media and technology change and evolve the way we consume and share information, it’s important to learn critical skills like media literacy. Media literacy is a term used to define the practice of developing critical thinking skills in verifying information for bias and credibility and even examining how messages shape our culture and society as explained by Media Literacy Now, a “grassroots movement to create a public education system that ensures all students learn the 21st century literacy skills they need for health, well-being, economic participation, and citizenship.” “I’m appreciative when parents read something on social media that they believe is false and reach out to us for the facts, and then correct the misinformation for others to read,” Superintendent Dr. Mark Henry said. Social media, specifically misinformation found there, is frequently brought up during school board meetings and in emails and phone calls to campuses. Bridgeland principal Mike Smith routinely speaks to parents and students to address information that could be falsely reported on social media. “When I look at social media or watch any of the news stories or even watch some of our school board meetings, I have seen where people have stated that things have occurred that may not be occurring or taken out of context of what actually has occurred,” Smith said. “In the community, I’ve seen some more misinformation being spread on social media, [but] not so much within the campus.” Social media sites serve as major players in the epidemic of misinformation. The Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, highlighted in testimony the social media company’s role in the spread of incorrect, hateful and even illegal speech. In a signed affidavit, she claims Facebook undermined efforts to fight misinformation citing fear of political leaders. Fighting and drama has become synonymous with Facebook. In fact, popular Houston radio station KILT airs a segment reading Facebook fights for its listeners. Teachers became a target of social media criticism in the past year, and pressure from the pandemic combined with beliefs that teachers are interjecting opinions into school curriculum have made the profession more stressful. Consistent with districts across the U.S., CFISD faces labor shortages. Axios reported a 575,000 drop in local and state education employees in October 2021 than in February 2020, from the Nationwide November 2021 Job Report from the U.S. Bureau of Statistics. Positive social media posts hide the stressful environment of educators, as sub shortages, high

MISINFORMATION MISINFORMATION MISINFORMATION MISINFORMATION MISINFORMATION MISINFORMATION MISINFORMATION MISINFORMATION MISINFORMATION MISINFORMATION MISINFORMATION MISINFORMATION MISINFORMATION MISINFORMATION MISINFORMATION MISINFORMATION 19 MISINFORMATION expectations from communities, online criticism and a desperate need to return to normal. Become too much for teachers to bear. Economics and sociology teacher Angie Buck, said that pressure from social media could be a contributing factor to teacher shortages. While social media helps teachers connect with students and parents, Buck said that “toxic positivity” can make teachers feel like their frustrations are not heard or they aren’t allowed to complain. “Right now, social media for teachers is extremely negative,” Buck said. “And so number one, it helps you to feel like you’re not alone if you’re feeling those feelings, but also it can be a trap. It can be very hard to break out of that negativity that you see right now. The expectation of having new lessons everyday, while covering classes and missing planning time causes stress for teachers. Buck describes it as feeling “unprepared in some kind of way.” Teachers use social media to voice opinions whether that’s positive or negative. “But a lot of those issues that teachers are bringing up right now and are stressing about and are feeling pretty terrible about are things that truly do need to change in our education system,” Buck said. “And they’re just not being addressed. So I do think teachers are leaving for those reasons for sure.”

The Social Epidemic

The epidemic is personal. School districts and communities are left to navigate the virus of misinformation, political divisiveness and disrespect. Waves of information, both true and false, are constant. “Misunderstanding and misinformation are a challenge for large organizations, surrounding communities and school districts,” Sims said. “We work to provide accurate and prompt information to our parents and community members on all topics affecting our students and schools and respond to falsely represented information as timely as possible in order to address concerns and answer questions.” In the end, optimists like Mr. Smith find a silver lining. “Whether students go to the board meetings and express their concern or let their principals know or go through the superintendent student leadership committee,” Smith said. “I do think it’s important for us as administrators to hear that voice.” STORY BY ALFRED DOZIER, ASHTYN HAGGARD, OLIVIA MASTERSON, CHARLEIGH THOMAS DESIGN BY EMMA ZWICK

There weren’t protests outside each one; it wasn’t just like a fest of propaganda.” RYAN LAM




The Forgotten Holiday



hanksgiving is a holiday that no one seems to care for except a small percent of people. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with the holiday, but for some odd reason it seems that everyone else is so caught up in Christmas and skips right over it. Thanksgiving is a holiday… sure it’s nothing incredible but it still deserves it’s time to shine. It is an opportunity to sit around a dinner table with people that you care for. Thanksgiving is meaningful and it’s exhausting seeing people setting up their Christmas decorations in early November. Halloween was barely cold in its grave and you’ll see Christmas decorations being set up in the neighborhood. Setting up sparkly red and green lights around the house, putting up Christmas trees and setting stockings over the fireplace. There would be nothing wrong with those decorations... if it was after Thanksgiving. Turn on the radio and flip to Sunny 99.1, you will hear Christmas music. This year it started on the 12th of Nov. with classics like Last Christmas by Wham!,White Christmas by Bing Crosby and All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey. These songs

are great, but not a whole 13 days before Thanksgiving great. That’s straight up disrespectful and nothing anyone says could justify it. It’s like your friend having a birthday party going on throughout your birthday. It seems like the whole world has it out for Thanksgiving. Even Christmas movies start to air the month of November. Classics like Home Alone, Elf, The Santa Claus and It’s a Wonderful Life. With recent movies like Netflix’s new Love Hard releasing on the streaming service Nov 5th and immediately rising to the top of trending, It stayed at the 1 spot for two weeks. The history of Thanksgiving starts with Plymouth in 1621 with these pilgrims sharing a meal with the Native Americans. It wouldn’t become a national holiday until 1863 as declared by Abraham Lincoln at the height of the Civil War as an attempt to encourage caring and supportive communities. People forget to be grateful for everything they have in their life. Because at the end of the day that’s what’s so important about Thanksgiving- being grateful and being able to share a turkey with the people you love.

Poll taken on how many students put their Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving compared to after.

Story by Matteo Caruso Pernas Graphics by Lucy Robinson, Sophia Prill




TRENDING at TRADER JOES n o i t i d e A winter s the holiday season arrives, people flock to grocery stores to get the newest winter snacks. From peppermint flavored cookies to cranberry infused pastries, holiday goods are flying off the shelves. After religiously stalking the website, I was finally able to get my hands on the early holiday releases from Trader Joe’s. After the high expectations set by their fall products, I was bummed to see that the winter products didn’t live up to the same standards. Story, design and photos by Emma Zwick



Starting with a favorite, these are basically the Trader Joe’s brand of peppermint Oreo cookies encased in a layer of dark chocolate and some candy cane flakes. Personally, I don’t prefer peppermint, so I didn’t expect to like this candy too much; however, there is a nice balance of chocolate to peppermint cream to cookie ratio. I much preferred it to its coatless counterpart, the Candy Cane Joe Joe’s.

I absolutely adored this product, mostly because gingerbread houses seem like too much commitment. This little project was fun, short, and didn’t include any difficult building processes, with the only downside being the absolute hideous shade of green that they chose as one of their frosting colors.


MINI GINGERBREAD PEOPLE Not being a fan of gingerbread in the first place, I despise these little gingerbread people cookies. Like any other child, I like the satisfaction of biting tiny heads off of the cookies, but there aren’t many things to like past that. The cookies taste too much like ginger, and although they try to balance it out with white chocolate frosting on the bottom, it still doesn’t hide the obsessive amount of ginger and nutmeg put into these cookies.

DARK CHOCOLATE MINT STARS Again, because I don’t really like mint, especially when combined with chocolate, these weren’t exactly my favorite candies. However, they were tolerable in terms of taste, and even had a mini version that I ended up liking much more because of its bite-sized form.

Being completely honest, the maker of this drink seemed like he was reaching when he made the title for this product. The drink tastes like glorified sparkling flavored water, and has the same energy as the carbonated juice that your mom puts in a wine glass on holiday dinners, making it feel way more fancy and grown up than it actually is. Overall, I didn’t really like this drink.





SPECIAL Critics, viewers “Believe” in TV’s latest hit show


he Apple TV series “Ted Lasso” is taking over the entertainment industry. Season one of the critically acclaimed series dominated the Emmy Awards, being nominated for over 20 Emmy’s in 2021 and 2022 and winning the award for Outstanding Comedy Series. Season two lives up to the expectations set by season one, creating awareness for real world issues while keeping a comedic atmosphere. STORYLINE “Ted Lasso” season two tells the story of struggling AFC Richmond, a soccer club in England, battling to return to the English Premier League. Coach Lasso, played by actor Jason Sudeikis, attempts to make Richmond a family rather than a soccer team. Through comedic portrayal (and the tragic killing of Richmond’s mascot by a soccer ball), Lasso’s team bonds and becomes a unit on and off the pitch. From the first episode, therapist Dr. Sharon Fieldstone is brought to the club to console and talk with players about their mental struggles. Dr. Fieldstone plays a vital part to the team, and specifically Ted, for the rest of the season. Through this season, Richmond is forced to adapt and accept two former players. The quickest one the squad warms up to is Roy Kent. In season one, Kent played with Richmond but retired due to age and injury. He makes his return to the show initially as a TV soccer analyst but eventually agrees to help coach his former club. Jamie Tartt also makes his return to Richmond, but under different circumstances. Jamie burned bridges with players and coaches with his cocky attitude and focus on self fame in season one, but attempts to make amends with




the club and integrate with the team physically and emotionally. Each episode added another tangle to the plot and added conflicts between everyone at Richmond. Like last season, the story progresses until AFC Richmond ends the season. Assistant coach Nate longs for fame and recognition the whole season, and that creates many issues for the team. Season two, however, contains more conflict, ending the season with a shocking twist that sets up the premise and antagonism of season three. The story is well put together (save for some plot gaps and cheesy moments) and it flows well from episode to episode. ACTING The actors did a terrific job with their characters. The viewer can feel the chemistry that the cast has created with the fictional persona they play on screen. Jason Sudeikis and Hannah Waddingham appear to have the most chemistry as they connect well with each other on screen, and that’s visible to the viewers. Phil Dunster, as “Jamie Tartt” and Brett Goldstein as “Roy Kent” work off of each other well. They have competitive personalities that clash, but that provides comedic relief to, at times, dark moments. Character development shined throughout the second season, transitioning well from season one. All of the main characters completed yet another emotional arc that let them grow as individuals, and ultimately as a team. The acting and character development was amazing throughout the season, and it will be interesting to see how relationships between actors and characters develop and change in the upcoming season. EMOTIONAL APPEAL The closeness of Lasso to his

coaches and team leads to a bigger issue that both unites and divides the team. After his divorce in season one, Ted struggles with anxiety attacks. AFC Richmond’s team owner Rebecca Walton, portrayed by Hannah Waddingham, guides Ted through his panic and brings in a psychologist to help Ted and the team. Lasso’s struggles raise awareness about mental health and illness and answers questions about therapy. The show incorporates a real world issue into a team of professional athletes and normalizes mental struggles. “Ted Lasso” accurately incorporates mental struggle as mental health becomes normalized across America. The writers and actors did an amazing job of adding those struggles to realistic situations and handling them in an effective way that viewers can connect to. SETTING As far as settings go, “Ted Lasso” did a decent job. The background was simplistic because Richmond is a soccer team, so it contained mostly a soccer field or a soccer facility. Setting is the area that the show could improve on more, as each episode the soccer field background gets older and more bland. With this being mainly a soccer show, that could be hard, but the writers of this show have proved that they are creative, so modernising and changing settings could make this show even better. Season two of “Ted Lasso” did not disappoint and followed season one well. The writers did a fantastic job of character development and paced the story along well. It’ll be interesting to see how the story continues in the upcoming final season, expected to release in the summer of 2022, and how the show will come to an end.

Story by Alex Vanderlaan Graphics by Michael Burns

BALLOON TOWER DEFENSE Enter the battle monkeys popping balloons like it’s their birthday. Lead your team of monkeys to stop the balloons from passing their territory. If too many balloons get away then you fail. Go for as long as you can as you face the wave of endless balloons. The reason for why they hate balloons? I guess we will never know.



Ranking top six “coolest” flashgames Story and graphics by Eric Venkatsen



The title already explains a lot. Move a cube around a map of fast moving blue circles that reset your progress each time you hit them. Work your way past endless failures attempting to gain the title of winner. Some levels will give you safe spots, and some will give you yellow dots to collect. But in the end, the only way you’re beating this game is if you cheat.

Pizza, wings, burgers, ice cream! The Papa’s Restaurant series has it all. Choose between different games depending on the food you would like to serve. Take orders and prepare the most gourmet dish you can for your valuable customers. Be careful because customers do leave reviews. The better RUN 3 the food the more Enjoy 60 levels of running through a money you earn. series of tunnels in space as well as multiple

different paths you can take to lengthen your journey. As your progress you collect different space monsters that have different abilities. Choose the one that fits your play style best and work its way to the end. Don’t fall out of the tunnel, or you will have to restart each and every time.

DUCK LIFE 3 Who said ducks can’t break records? Train your duck to be the fastest at everything; to run, swim, fly and climb faster through a series of training courses. Then, compete in races and win big rewards. Once a duck becomes strong enough, it can challenge the ultimate champion FIREBOY AND WATER GIRL duck. The best tag team game ever created. Team up with anyone you want to complete an endless amount of ruins. Fireboy can’t touch water and Watergirl can’t touch fire. If the two are mixed it doesn’t end well. Work together to unlock doors, open passageways and collect gems to work your way to the end work your way to the end.






LETTER from an American to a Hong Kong teen


n response to the increasing civilian protests, the president of China’s Communist Party, Xi Jinping, has passed the National Security Law by a legislative unanimous vote on June 30, 2020. The major components of the National Security Law include prohibition of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with external/foriegn forces. This national secuity law has been one of many substantially increasing attacks on the freedom and democracy of the people of Hong Kong. Young people like Joshua Wong have been leading the rebellion for freedom across the nation. In a nation with a similar theme of youth leading social and political movements, America and Hong Kong share stark differences as well as similarities. Regardless of geographic location, a teenager is a teenager and the Hong Kong struggle for democracy could not live on without them.

HK TEEN I wonder what you would have to say to the average American teenager; a person who attends public school on the daily, drives to work, ends the night on FaceTime with their friends. A person who complains about the essay they have to write about some old man from the 1600s, or the history worksheet they haven’t started about Latin America. They take it for granted, don’t they? This morning I passed the school officer in the hall, waved a friendly hello then hustled to fifth period. How do you interact with your police? The ones who sprayed your friends, your sister, your brother, your cousin with tear gas. The ones who hit the girl in your math class with a rubber bullet. They take it for granted, don’t they? It was my friend’s eighteenth birthday the other day. Once we’d finished singing her the happy birthday song, we shouted all the things she could do legally now. ‘Now you can vote!’ We yelled. ‘You can buy a lottery ticket!’ We laughed. ‘When are you going to enlist?’ We joked. When were you supposed to be able to vote? Who would you have picked? Would it have mattered to your government who you picked? We take it for granted, don’t we? I know a girl who marched in a Black Lives Matter protest downtown. She uploaded videos to her social media and she continues to spread awareness. People asked her about it, praised and scoffed at her. Are you able to return to regular life after attending a protest? How quickly would they find you? We take it for granted, don’t we? I’ve never known a world in which my democracy was in true danger. A world in which I do not have the choice to connect with foreign cultures and people. Where I could not engage in an education that doesn’t lie to me. Where I could not openly critique the institutions around me without guaranteed punishment. The part I mourn most is that you’ll never even get the chance to read this. I take it for granted, don’t I?

Story and design by Brooke Gamble

From an American Teenager





I’m walking here

Dropoff in student parking areas creates chaos, danger


here is no reason that it should take me, a student that lives three minutes from school, 20 minutes to get into the parking lot. There is no reason that an adult man or woman, should be making aggressive motions at me, a 17-year-old who learned to drive not only two years ago, in the middle of a public school parking lot, for just trying to be on time to my first-period class. There is no reason I should have to explain why an adult shouldn’t be flipping off children in a school parking lot. Dropping off in the student parking lot inconveniences student drivers. With more than 3,400 students in the school, more than 900

have parking passes and use the school parking lot. Getting out of the school in the evening is hard enough seven periods, but for new drivers who need time and space to park because they are learning how to park correctly the first time (making the entire process slower). Parking in the morning is tedious enough without having to fight parents. After a few weeks of getting to my first period barely on time and frustrated, I finally had to ask myself why parents were doing this. Is the original drop-off line too long? Not compared to the lengthy, multiple lines you’d have to go through to enter the student parking lot. Do parents not know about the original line? Maybe. Although there

isn’t exactly an answer to why, a solution should be found. With that being said, what will it take to protect the student parking lots from becoming drop off zones? Students are frustrated and talk about this annoyance often. How can this be solved? The easy solution would be for all parents to collectively agree to use the intended drop-off areas. To avoid crashes, protect students and help us make it to class on time, stop dropping off in the student parking lot. Please. Sincerely, A student driver who is mad about being constantly, illegally cut off by parents in a student parking lot. Story and design by Emma Zwick Photo by Caton Puckett








Story and design by Mallory Loera Graphic by Gabie Palermo

the unseen Stuggle of teachers during the pandemic


ental health issues have soared these past two years and teachers are unfortunately one of the undermined groups that bear the brunt. Ungraded work slowly piles up and continues to be pushed aside. The ability to complete a small task is inhibited greatly, as both their school lives and their personal lives are difficult to balance. ‘Grade this, you need to plan that’ the gnawing of constant reminders is a challenge to avoid. Planning, teaching, grading, over and over again. Welcome to the world of an overworked teacher. Students, parents, the school board overlook teachers; awareness being spread about their overall well-being is obsolete. Generic advice on how to deal with stress being given from those who have it all together hardly helps students, let alone teachers. ‘This is what you signed up for, teaching should be your main priority’ words that often leave teachers left with little to no means to help themselves. They’re not just adults whose only purpose is to teach and grade; they’re people with thoughts and feelings. There are limited mental health resources offered to teachers. Since they are adults they are expected to deal with the struggles that come their way. Although this isn’t the case, studies show that only 36% of educators receive the resources to manage their stress. Further proving that many teachers who are left to deal with their issues on their own and don’t receive the help they need. What matters the most is that teachers are receiving resources for mental health care but the quality of care needs to essentially be superb, or at the very least satisfactory. Resignation from teaching positions is becoming more prevalent than ever, and this can be directly attributed to the amounts of stress that teachers are left to carry alone. Statistics indicate that there is an increase in teachers who wish to resign because of the pandemic. One in four teachers considered quitting, an alarming statistic that people don’t talk about. No one seems to be asking why this is. One example, could be directly tied to the repercussions from the pandemic that led teachers to truly doubt whether or not there was an element of worth or any personal gain in continuing to teach in conditions that left them feeling mentally defeated. Additionally, teachers tend to find themselves in a debacle when trying to manage their home lives as well as their school lives. Many teachers have families and relationships that require a lot of dedication and effort in order to keep everything maintained. Teachers find themselves role-playing as certain jobs they might not be prepared to do. Such

as, breaking up a fight between two students, helping out troubled kids with tough personal lives, taking on other’s problems as their own and overall taking on too many responsibilities. While considering these factors, it should be evident that teachers would get aid from the school districts for their extra efforts but that isn’t the case majority of the time. 42% of teachers say that administrators don’t help them when it comes to relieving stress. Teachers’ pay is too low; it’s no secret that teachers make minimal salaries, which is uncanny because they take responsibility for carrying the futures of students. Devoting the majority of their time to ensure that they’re leading students to success. Educators deserve to be paid more, $15 to $23 an hour is not enough considering the amount of effort teaching takes and the responsibilities brought upon them. It has been proven that working for a minimal amount of money for a job that takes up too much time leads to the rise of severity of mental health issues. Teachers are practically essential, they work all day during the week and may even take time out of their weekend to catch up with grading and planning. A higher salary would evoke motivation and drive to be the best they can be for their students. Taking the time to recover and replenish is proven to be very beneficial, so It is crucial that these types of breaks are encouraged. Yet, mental health breaks are often frowned upon. Much like students, teachers are held to the standard of good attendance. The habit of overworking isn’t uncommon, and teachers fall victim to it, so there is no use in shaming. Taking the time to recharge to avoid being mentally drained in the classroom shouldn’t be deemed as laziness. It has been proven to be effective, having to commit to hours of hard work plus dealing with grading and planning at home is too much for one person to handle. Mental health breaks would guarantee that teachers are able to take all of their tasks one step at a time. As students, we could do our best to remind teachers that they are anything but alone. Send friendly reminders to teachers that they are doing great and are deserving of compassion and encouragement. Educators deserve so much more recognition than they receive and it is time to take a stand and advocate for the people who are relied on the most. Collectively pushing for more resources to be offered to teachers who find stress management to be difficult would overall benefit the classroom environment.




A SWIMMER’S mindset


A deep dive into the minds of Bridgeland Aquatics

wimming is difficult to master on its own, even more so when competing. It takes a toll on those who compete. Swimmers have to learn proper hand placement, how to rotate their hips correctly and speed for their sets. Most importantly, they have to learn how to hold their breath underwater and know how to come back up for air. It’s a mindset only swimmers have. Sophomore Henry Hugele has put in hard work to perfect this rigorous skill. “We do drills that help work on our breathing,” Hugele said, “usually we find a breathing pattern that works for us and lets us find our optimal speed.” Finding their breathing pattern can be hard or easy to learn depending on the person. It’s one of the more difficult skills for people to learn because if they have their head submerged underwater for too long, they begin to lose consciousness. Having to push through water with only their body for 100 meters or more is difficult. Not only that, they have to make it in a certain amount of time. It’s bascially track but underwater with things added on like the pressure of water on them when they swim and having to hold their breath and wait to breathe. ”Sometimes, even one extra breath can cost you two more extra seconds,” sophomore Scarlett Deluna said. In order to succeed, they have optimism, believing they can get to the other side of the pool. They can’t be negative towards themselves. “You want this and this is what you have to do,” Hugele said. “You have to have the right mindset while being a swimmer because it’s a big mental game.” Not only is it hard for swimmers to hold their breath or be fast, but it’s also hard having people tell them that swimming is not a serious sport; so not many people show up to their meets and cheer them on. The hate swimmers have to face every day is that they are constantly compared to

You have to have the right mindset while being a swimmer.




other sports constantly told that they don’t work as hard as other athletes, or aren’t as interesting to watch as other sports like football or basketball. Moreover, the stress to achieve excellence is high in swimming. It is hard to try to be the best when a swimmer can only be in the water for so long. Because of the high risk the pool can pose, like getting a muscle cramp, swimming is very dangerous especially in a deep pool. They have to do workouts outside of the water to work on their whole body to gain arm, leg, and ab strength. They also have to run a lot to gain stamina. ”The stress of competition can take a big toll on our mental health,” sophomore Carine Abdelnour said. Not only is swimming a lot on their body, it is a lot on their mind. Even though swimmers go through all of this, they also love this sport and will constantly try their best to succeed, not to please others, but to please themselves. “You gotta be able to leave everything in the water,” Jayden Cannon said. “When you want it badly enough, that’s when it’s fun and exciting. And just, like, the rush you get, you know? It’s like when you dive into the water everything else just goes away and swimming becomes everything you think about.”

Sometimes, even one extra breath can cost you two more extra seconds.

Story and design by Meadow Cantualla Photo courtesy of Erin Ware Background photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

Setting the



verything you want is on the other side of hard. That is the new motto that the boy's basketball program is going by this year. As the new coach, Coach Jon Pillow is ready to flip the program around. Pillow came from coaching for ten years at Pasadena High School. He came to Bridgeland because he wants to help improve the program. As the new head boy’s basketball coach, Coach Pillow is focused on building a winning culture and creating a family atmosphere. "It's about setting the culture; trying to improve on last year's record," Pillow said. Coach Pillow stated that he is a family-first type of coach. He needs everyone Coach Pillow works with a player on on the same page and defense skills during a 5th period practice. focused this year. Coach Pillow firmly believes they can make it to the playoffs but needs his players to buy in and believe in the process. As long as each player puts in the diligent work, Coach Pillow believes the playoffs are attainable. "You got to push through the hard work for what you want," Pillow said The boy’s basketball program has a lot of work in front of them. If they want to make it to the playoffs, they have to know the other teams in the district are looking to beat them. Coach needs them to have the right mindset to set the tone for every game. He plans

to push them to their limits every day because he's determined to get the best out of each player, which he believes will translate to a winning program. "A successful basketball program, in the coaching world, [is] if you look at the bench during the game, and they're excited about what's going on,” Pillow said. “That means you have the right culture." Coaching at Pasadena High School and now Bridgeland, Coach Pillow knows there are greater expectations. One thing he has expressed are the four C’s: character, class, commitment and courage. In addition, he demands integrity, always doing the right thing and making sure players are working to improve their game and not taking shortcuts. He expects the same in the classroom if this team is expected to cultivate a winning program. But everything goes back to their motto: you gotta work hard if you actually want something, it doesn’t come straight to you without work. “And then all goes back to my motto,” Pillow said. “Everything you want is on the other side of hard.” Story, photos and design by Madison Clay Graphic by Courtney Smith

Watching the teams scrimmage, Pillow coaches the players through drills.




MARATHON man Student tests his endurance in cross country race

nder 1% of people have ever completed a marathon in the United States, with the quickest time reported being two hours, one minute and 39 seconds. Enter Sean Bartholomew who is a rare breed of high schooler. He’s completed 26.2 miles in under seven hours, and throughout quarantine, he ran three to four miles daily, and he could always keep running. Sean decided to run a marathon because he has always wanted to do something physically demanding. He found out about the marathon REVEL Big Cottonwood through his brother. “My brother was at the gym and he was talking to someone after they just ran around ten miles on the treadmill,” Sean said. If you are going to run 26 miles, wouldn’t you rather run them looking at a great view. What better place to


do that than the Wasatch Mountains, from its amazing forests to canyons and foothills in Salt Lake City, Utah. It offers spectacular scenery and a speedy downhill slope. Many people can’t finish a marathon whether that’s because of the distance, exhaustion or the running itself. It’s the mental side of things that goes unseen. “I personally meditated for a few weeks before I ran [the marathon], and it really helped me when I was running,” Sean said. When running a marathon, the average runner loses about 800 milliliters of water an hour. If the race takes about six hours you will lose about 4,800 milliliters which is about 4.8 liters. “I had a hydration backpack that helped a lot because when my mouth was dry and my face was dripping sweat that refreshed me and helped me keep going,” Sean said. As mentioned before, there are many reasons why running a marathon was challenging for Sean; however, the biggest was the cramps. For many, this would’ve been the stopping point, but for Sean, he wanted to complete this not only for himself, but so he could one day tell his kids that he ran a marathon and completed it. “I would do it again because it was painful but a great challenge,” Sean said. “It was a lot easier doing it with my brother; without him, I probably would’ve had a worse time.” Story by Cameron Armer Graphics by Michael Burns, Ashtyn Haggard Design by Ashtyn Haggard




on the court in the classroom Seniors learn to balance extracurriculars, academics


ompleting a pass, he turns to coach and continues down the field. It’s after-school practice, and the football team prepares for the weekend’s game. He is hit with thoughts of basketball. Thoughts of driving for a layup. Thoughts of celebrating a big win with his team. His mind races and before he knows it, he's back on the field. He hits the ground at the 30-yard line. Coach applauds. Many student athletes participate in a variety of sports. From football to soccer, each sport requires specific sets of skills. Senior David Fontenot plays for the varsity football and basketball team. He knows the attention each sport needs in order to succeed. "The two sports are very different, but similar in many ways. They require different types of training and knowledge, but at the same time they have similar team fundamentals," Fontenot said. "Football is helping me learn how to be a better teammate. In a lot of ways, these two sports assist each other. This football season is definitely going to benefit my role on the basketball team." Students like Fontenot have to organize their weeks according to the sports they’re training. Basketball tryouts were Wednesday, November 3. As

tryouts approached, Fontenot started to transition his mindset. He set aside an hour each day to toughen his confidence on the court. "I’m slowly preparing myself for the upcoming season. I’m working on everything, from layup drills to my shot. Good thing is that football has gotten me into the best shape I’ve ever been," Fontenot said. "I am really glad I joined the football team. It has made me a better player on and off the field, and I’m sure I'll see more benefits once I get back on the court." Senior William Simmons, shooting guard for the varsity basketball team, knows a thing or two about striking a balance. Simmons multitasks and manages his time to develop schedules to handle his extracurricular activities. On top of basketball, he trains for track and field and participates in band and debate. He works to find time each day for each organization he is a part of. Simmons finds it important to give everything he does more attention than he's asked for. “Balancing my schedule between basketball, track, band, and debate has been a challenge. The desire I have of being

a part of all four extracurricular activities makes me find ways to cope. The main thing I do is plan ahead. In all four activities I am given a schedule three months in advance. I take all schedules and develop a plan,” Simmons said. “Although maintaining multiple extracurriculars may be stressful it betters me as a person, giving me high integrity and allowing me to uphold responsibility.” Some days, Simmons finds his extracurriculars overlapping. He balances debate meetings, sectionals for band, and basketball games all on the same day. Simmons believes his many responsibilities help build his character. “Not only does it help my physical and academic aspects; it plays a big role in my mentality. Tackling all these different responsibilities forces me to be focused and determined,” Simmons said. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for being a part of all of these organizations. I recommend participating in everything that you can, sports or not, it’ll help you in the long run.” Story and graphics by Michael Burns Design by Ashtyn Haggard, Michael Burns




Cecilia Nguyen reacts when the watermelon explodes during a health science project. Photo by Jené Booker Ensemble for Sweeny Todd performs their opening number. Photo by Caton Puckett

Gabie Palermo focuses during rehearsal. Photo by Caton Puckett Jess Cadena and Josh Cremer try to get their boat across the pool during a Physics project. Photo by Caton Puckett

Emily Marks and Mallorie Garner cheer after a point won in a playoff match. Photo by Michelle Padilla Brooke Lamendola draws her self portait during the SFA art day held on campus. Photo by Caleb Smith

Randall Salters helps to hype up the student section during the first football game against Klein Cain. Photo by Caton Puckett

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