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Administration breaks down fighting policy. Page 2

Junior Parker Dyer embraces social media with style. Page 15

Cougars prevail throughout all sports. Page 16

Cypress Creek High School • 9815 Grant Road Houston, TX 77070 • Volume 37 • Issue 2 • December 2, 2013


December 2, 2013

Just walk away: Students should avoid fights Rebekah KISH News Manager

Walking through the halls when a fight breaks out: people crowd around, pull out their phones and chant “fight, fight”. Some join in and some walk away. Principals minute

Principals minute

Principal Sandy Trujillo said fighting is noticeably higher in the freshmen grade and dwindles as they mature. “We are hoping to mature the freshmen and sophomores quicker,” Trujillo said. “The CHAMPS academy has helped tremendously because of the consistency.” The amount of fights dropped in the course of two years. She said fights are almost completely nonexistent at the junior and senior level. “If you just walk away and don’t give them an audience, they close down - if people didn’t video it and watch it,” she said. Trujillo said the school does not have a reputation for fighting, but when students record the fight and post footage on YouTube, outsiders’ perception of the school changes.

Teachers to the rescue

The district does not expect teachers to get involved physically to stop a fight, but to do what they can verbally until police or administration arrive. English III teacher Donna Gerbitz said she tries to get through to the fighters by yelling, but does not try to break up the fight. “I like my body the way it is, I fear pain and if there are two or more very angry adolescents, it is a very fearsome thing,” Gerbitz said. Aquatic science teacher Julia Bishop said when a fight

breaks out she goes to the scene and sends someone to go get help. “I run out there to help make everyone calm down and separate,” she said. World history teacher Tommy MIller said that the district’s policy on fighting is very ambiguous. “If I break it up too much I can get in trouble,” he said. “I would say my goal is to break it up without anyone getting hurt.” Student safety is always a concern but adult safety is disregarded by students “We’re putting everyone in danger,” Amber Steely, science teacher said. “ I shouldn’t have to go through that at my workplace.”

Arnett said. If students turn in a recorded fight to the police, it helps them pick out the perpetrators and bring them to justice. “We can’t have people running around like animals, that’s not a good learning environment,” Arnett said. “The kids have to know that if they come here and fight they will be dealt with.”

What students* do when they see a fight during school:

Chaos and consequence

“At any given time, we have 3000 kids in the hallway,” CHAMPS academy assistant principal Rashad Godbolt said. “That’s a lot of kids, and when we have a disruption, those kids piling on to the fight makes the disruption worse.” When students crowd around the disruption and start videotaping, it causes a safety issue when officers and administration break apart the fight. “By [students] refusing to clear the area to allow us to stop them from getting hurt, or by not allowing me to get in there to use restraints, is causing a breach of the peace, [bystanders] are part of the disturbance,” CFISD police officer Patrick Arnett said. Arnett said it is against the law to interfere with the duties of an officer - this includes bystanding and recording. Withholding evidence from an officer can result in disciplinary action on the school level and possibly higher. “If you take a video of a crime and post it on social media or edit it, it’s like a form of tampering with evidence,”

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December 2, 2013

Dropout team to the rescue

Faculty members band together to bring students back Hala KHAN Reporter A team dedicated to bringing dropout students back to school reappeared this school year, and continue to recover dropouts throughout the current semester. Assistant Principal Jennifer Landry said the Dropout Recovery Team actually started helping students four or five years ago. “Some [years the team is] more active than others, but when the law changed and said that the students can’t get their GED for high school diplomas, all those kids who used to opt for GEDs, became dropouts,” Landry said. “So we had to start doing something about it.” Academic Achievement Specialist Maggie Watson said administrators and teachers got together and made a plan to fight back. “We wanted to make sure all kids were successful so we had to go out and get a plan together and get those kids back, [in order] to make sure every child goes back and gets an education so they can be successful in

the future,” Watson said. Watson said the team includes every AP, all the counselors, and numerous teachers that wanted to be a part of it.

“ We

will do what we can to help them get their diploma and walk across the stage.

Doris Holden-Smith Assistant Principal

“It’s just a school-wide initiative that we wanted to do together as a team,” she said. Landry said the team’s main goal

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Going above and beyond: Some members of the Dropout Recovery Team stand ready before going house to house finding students. Courtesy of Montray Porter

focuses on helping students get their high school diploma in any way they can. “It started with a walk,” she said. “We went house to house trying to locate the kids, really, you’ve got to find them first.” Landry said the team followed a list of students’ names they needed to call in order to locate them and bring them back. “The [most recent] thing we’ve done was another call because the list kept getting smaller and smaller,” she said. “[It’s] more manageable, so we’ve gotten quite a few kids back.” Assistant Principal Richard Alcorn said the team tries various methods to help them graduate. “We’ve done home visits to many students, we’ve contacted parents, gotten students into home school opportunities, or opportunities at Lone Star and brought some back to Creek,” Alcorn said. Watson said the team recovered many students from the calls and visits since the

beginning of the school year. “We’re back up in the 90’s, like we should be, on having our kids here [at school],” Watson said. Assistant Principal Doris Holden-Smith said the assistant principals have separated the dropout students to each academy. “The students that are on my list, that are in my academy, once I see that they are not here at school, I try to find out where they are, are they in school, because we want them to finish,” she said. “If they drop out the risk of finding a decent job is going to be hard.” Holden-Smith said they try to find programs the dropouts can take to see whether or not they’ll be able to make up the credits. “So if they come back, we will do what we can to help them get their diploma and walk across the stage,” she said. “On the days that we went out, we recovered more [students] than we lost.”



Cougars give back through serving others

Organizations focus on volunteering to bring holiday joy Mykiah BROWN Business Manager A time for giving, the holiday season promotes volunteering and helping others within the community and school. Four clubs focus on the needs of others and achieving success, Family Career and Consumers of America (FCCLA), Key Club, Peer Assistance and Leadership (PAL) and the National Honor Society (NHS), donate their time and efforts during this season of giving. FCCLA, a club centrally focused on family and education careers, plans to put up a turkey with feathers from items the nursery kids need and will provide those items for them along with other events. “For the holidays we are participating in the Cy Hope food drive,” FCCLA President Gabby Long said. “Then we are going to do a Secret Santa for the nursery workers.” To motivate others to maximize their volunteering efforts and to promote FCCLA, Long has turned the food drive build off into a contest to challenge members to bring in cans of food. “For our statue we have certain colors we need,” Long said. “We have each class period bring certain colors so we make it into a competition of who can bring the most cans.” For Long, these events bring her joy because she is helping other people. “We’re helping the kids get what they need and it makes me feel good inside about myself because I’m doing something to make a change,” Long said. Key Club, an organization which prides itself on teaching leadership through helping others, aims to do a gingerbread build off in December and to visit the Grace Care Center of Cypress for Thanksgiving and Christmas to spend time with the elderly. “Another event will be the Thanksgiving Parade Downtown, a Christmas season drive and maybe decorating an animal shelter,” Key Club President Dalena Nguyen said. Nguyen said volunteering during the holiday season brings her happiness because

Key Club Build off: Key Club members collected canned goods and participated in the Cy Hope food drive build off. They won first place. Photo by Carlos Medina.

she appreciates the moments and giving. “You know it’s just something in the air that makes you want to help even more and give,” Nguyen said. “I think everyone gets cheerful and motivated.” Along with volunteering with younger children and the community, PALs takes on two families and provides them with items like clothes, food and gifts for the holidays. Additionally, PAL members hosted in the canned food build off. “It’s awesome to get out and see everybody’s Christmas spirit and it helps more people have it,” senior Laura Krolow said. “It’s just cool to know that I’m helping someone else have a good Christmas season.” NHS members involve themselves with events such as the teacher Christmas luncheon, a silent auction, a Special Olympics volleyball event, a food drive and

the Cy-Hope Thanksgiving meal. “I think [volunteering] is important because a lot of kids forget that there’s families out there that don’t get to celebrate the holidays,” NHS President Bradley Mumme said. Mumme hopes that through volunteer efforts, more people will apply to join NHS. “It feels really good to give people the opportunity to volunteer,” he said. “It’s like giving them the feeling of really helping someone can make them like ‘Oh I want everyone to feel that way,’ so they tell people about NHS.”

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December 2, 2013

‘Teaching them that their voice matters’ Senior voices heard through government assignment Adolfo MUNOZ Reporter With every day that passes, government teachers help seniors realize their voices can make a difference, one student suggestion at a time. Through the use of a class assignment, government students gain the ability to affect their classroom environment for the better. While the semester continues, they put forward suggestions to the administration concerning the school itself and later gain the opportunity to write letters to their congressmen and senators. “There is a method to my madness,” government teacher and varsity cheer coach Nicole Cuellar said. “What I am doing is teaching them that their voice matters. I want them to become active members of the society in which they live.” Using an assignment of her own creation involving major student interaction, she has opened the eyes of students for the past three years. This has remained an assignment solely practiced by K and AP classes, with L level government teacher and HOLA Club sponsor William Bozic maintaining his own assignments in his classroom. “Given the current political climate, the L level students are tasked with asking President Obama a question relevant to the national government and their lives,” Bozic said. “I want them to ask a question of the Commander-in-Chief. This is an American government class, so what’s more relevant? The American government.” However, the other new government teacher, football and soccer coach Jarrett Shipman has taken to the assignment, directing it within his K classes. He said that student day to day exposure to the school and its workings creates an opinion different than that of teachers on what can potentially be changed. “I think the student suggestions for me, as a teacher, make me better,” Shipman said. “I think it’s good for the school as well. I think that it’s good to criticize, to get yourself criticized, because you can always become a better teacher. Nobody is perfect, you can always get better.” Cuellar said she introduces the lesson by talking to the seniors and explaining to them that since they currently attend their fourth year in school, they have unique insight and opinions on school policies that other grades do not have. “They’ve probably, at some point, complained among their peers about something,” Cuellar said. “But they’ve never talked to anybody who could make a difference.” Students first identify what they consider concerns in the school, then create possible solutions. She then takes those student suggestions to the appropriate members of the administration. “They do classroom suggestion, which brings it a little bit closer to home,” Cuellar

said. “I can implement their suggestions immediately, at the local level, if you will. If they’re reasonable, I put them into effect so they can see how their voice can make a difference.” As the assignment continues, the students prepare for the writing of letters to their congressmen, first at the state level, and then national level. “Ideally what will happen is the congressman or senator will write them back,” Cuellar said. “Then they will have something, again, proving that their voice matters.” She said she began the assignment in order during the 2010-2011 year in her K classes. Six semesters later, it has become a staple of her classroom. “In the past I’ve certainly had some good suggestions,” Cuellar said. “It just seemed to me that as a whole, this class has been very excited about it. They had things I never would have thought about.” She said student participation has been both enthusiastic and thorough. She cites various examples of unexpected issues brought forward, such as the placement of the vending machines, the availability of food during the C lunches, and the cleanliness of restrooms and the commons. “According to Ms. Cuellar, the reaction was pretty phenomenal,” senior Fatima Sabira said. “She got a lot of inside scoops from what the students knew compared to what the teachers knew.” Many students express their positive opinions about the assignment, with many believing they have finally found a way to make an impact in the school. “It was a new experience,” senior Nathanael Kupec said. “It was exciting to write about, to talk about, to express our feelings. Everyone was willing to write about what concerns them.” Cuellar’s assignment has been well received by members of the administration, and while she said she cannot lay claim to any changes in school policy, she knows that a difference is made by her work. “I did hear this year that they were putting together some type of student

Leading the class: Government teacher Nicole Cuellar explains to her fourth period government AP class an assignment involving the various parts of the political spectrum. Photo by Mykiah Brown

panel for school suggestions,” Cuellar said. “I don’t know if this was prompted by this, but I would hope so. I think it’s a great idea.” In the face of the odds of her student suggestions being implemented, she said she believes the important thing is that students, for the first time in their high

school life, have received the chance to offer something to others. “I teach a hundred and fifty kids, three hundred kids a year,” Cuellar said. “If I turn in three hundred suggestions and two or three get implemented, then I’d say that’s a success. It’s two or three more than they had before.”



Delivered from death: Teacher outlives liver failure Vynna CHITOLIE Reporter Suffering from major health issues during her childhood, English III teacher Donna Gerbitz survives an illness that should have taken her life. At the age of 13, Gerbitz developed a near-fatal infection that brought on acute fulminant hepatitis, or severe liver failure. Death loomed over her while her pancreas stopped functioning and her kidneys started to shut down. Her mother, Viola Pitschel, said the entire ordeal frightened her. “We prayed about it, it was not a good time,” Viola Pitschel said. “At first the doctor said it was the flu.” Gerbitz’s brother David Pitschel, said that [the family] did not know it was liver related until they visited a doctor in Arizona. “At first I was shocked it was so serious,” he said. “When the doctors asked my parent’s permission to try an experimental drug and informed them she might not make it through the night, I became extremely worried.” Gerbitz arrived at the hospital in a coma and remained in one for a week. She then stayed in the hospital for an additional six weeks. Gerbitz gradually lost 30 lbs which brought her down to a weight of 58 lbs. Because of her condition, Gerbitz fell into a depression, but she never remained alone

Strive to survive: English III teacher Donna Gerbitz survives severe liver failure. Photo by Hala Khan.

during her time of need. “My mother was my primary supporter,” she said. “Even though she was eight and then nine months pregnant, she drove in everyday to sit by my side and did whatever she could. I don’t know what I would’ve done without her.”

Even though her mother made it easier for Gerbitz to cope with living in a hospital, she never enjoyed it. “I don’t have many happy memories at the hospital,” she said. “It was frustrating and depressing and I got really homesick. No one seemed to know what was going on. To recover, they gave me massive doses of cortisone - a steroid. Fifty pills a day, four times a day. It caused a lot of swelling and rashes and my moods were all over the place, but it stopped the inflammation of my liver.” Although she temporarily lost her hair, the treatment worked successfully and Gerbitz survived without serious side effects. “I was very relieved that she was OK, but felt bad for her since she had lost her hair from the medication,” David Pitschel said. “She was very frail and underweight and had a long way to go to a complete recovery. I believe it was her toughness that helped her survive the ordeal.” It took Gerbitz between 18 months and two years to fully recover. “I had to get my liver functioning again and had diabetes for a year,” she said. “They did a test on my liver a year later and [the doctor] said there was no damage at all. The doctor said it was a miracle.” When Gerbitz could finally go home, she was surrounded by family and good home cooked meals. “I started to put on weight really fast and about three months of being home I started to get my muscular strength back,” she said. “ I walked a few steps by myself and that gave me hope. I had no physical therapist; I just did it.” After returning home, Gerbitz made the decision to complete her second semester of ninth grade since she skipped the first due to her illness, but regrets her choice because she experienced bullying upon her return. “The kids were not kind,” she said. “It was bad enough to be really skinny and not very sure on my feet, but to go to school with no hair? That was awful. I was different and they were so immature.” Even now, Gerbitz despises bullying and refuses to tolerate it in any of her classes. “I will stick up for the little guy,” she said. “I hate to see someone go through what I went through.” Gerbitz eventually overcame the bullying and easily caught up with the curriculum due to the help and encouragement of her parents. She thanks her illness for her strong-willed attitude. “I am definitely more determined,” Gerbitz said. “I see an obstacle and I just work at it until I can conquer it. I don’t ignore it, I meet it head on.” As well as newfound determination, her illness also gave her a new appreciation and outlook on life. “I appreciate life more than ever,” she said. “It’s just the little things, you know? Having hair, being able to have children, and just being able to be outside on a beautiful day.”

Having worked together for 17 years, Gerbitz befriended AP Human Geography teacher George Heap. “I love her to death, she’s one of my favorite people,” Heap said. Taught by Gerbitz her freshman year, senior Caro Achar knows Gerbitz very well. “Mrs. Gerbitz is a fantastic teacher with


was brought into the hospital in a coma and my parents were told I might not make it. Donna Gerbitz

the baking skills of a god,” Achar said. “She’s always willing to listen to the woes of a stressed student. I never knew she was ill when she was younger, but knowing that information only betters my opinion of her. She’s a woman who is admirably strong in her convictions and character. She’s a fantastic teacher and person.” In Gerbitz’s classroom, a quote said by Bruce Lee, hangs on her wall. It says, “Don’t pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” “The easy life isn’t going to come along,” Gerbitz said. “You just have to suck it up when you reach the potholes in the road, you know? I’m just glad to be here.”

Acute Fulminant Hepatitis Is a rare condition that rapidly deteriorates liver function It develops in a matter of days compared to common liver failure that develops over the course of years It can result in excessive bleeding or clotting, cranial pressure, and infection Up to eighty percent of people with acute fulminant hepatitis can die within days to weeks Some cases can be reversed with treatment, but others require a liver transplant


December 2, 2013

Student section reaches fame across America Samantha CASAS Editor-in-Chief From the usual drumline routines to being featured on Channel 2 News, becoming Vine-famous, to making it on the World Star HipHop website, and even attempting to grab the attention of Ellen Degeneres, the spirit of the student section definitely reached its peak this school year.

Beginning with Drumline

It all started when percussion made it to PASIC, a national band competition held in Austin, Texas last year. “Our cheer sponsor Mrs.Cuellar and our cheerleaders kind of took it upon themselves to start helping them and I think that marriage is what generated the whole interest in the drumline,” Associate Principal Maggie Wiley said. Wiley said the chants and dances with drumline started a couple of years ago. “I’m not saying the drumline hadn’t been playing, but we didn’t have this rhythmic thing where everyone knew this chant meant this and I mean that came from those two groups saying, ‘Ok how can we make this work, when you play that one we’ll do this,’” she said. Varsity Cheer Coach Nicole Cuellar said her and the cheer squad cannot be everywhere at once, but try to let everyone know that their job is first and foremost to support the students. “I haven’t done anything extra with the student section specifically,” Cuellar said. “All the credit goes to [the students] for making it what it is.” Cuellar said the students finally take ownership of their school. “The teachers and staff only have a group of students for a couple years, but this is your school forever,” she said. “Although there is work to be done at school, you will remember the fun you had more than the tests you took. For that reason, students are having fun at the games and owning it.” In the beginning of the school year, Channel 2 news featured the cheer squad and drumline in recognition for their known school spirit. Senior Emma Jahn said she thinks the student section has become so popular because students care. “We know how much the boys care and it makes us want to support them and be loud for them,” Jahn said. Cuellar said students struggle to decide how far they are willing to go to promote school spirit. “The students have to decide how much spirit they have and how much they care to display it by coming up with new ideas and traditions,” she said. “School spirit is always evolving.” Junior and Bass 2 player Avery Armstrong said the student section has changed significantly from last year. “We went to PASIC last year, and that’s really where it began because everyone came together and helped us go to PASIC and donated all the money and stuff,” she said. “It just kind of grew out of that and it got bigger and bigger.”

School spirit goes too far

Besides the morning spirit rallies on Fridays, events like Lighting of the CC’s were created as a way to boost school spirit. Yet, at this years’ Lighting of the CC’s, an example of school spirit getting out of control played out when students went too far when a delay in the lights to come back on after the showing caused students to jump onto the field. “I don’t like that they jumped onto the instruments,” junior and StuCo executive for Public Relations Alec Lintz said. “I like that we had a lot of spirit, but I wish that we had contained it.” Band instruments were trampled on and the stadium gutters were damaged. Lintz said he told his friends to stay back because they were leaders of the school. “There was such an overwhelming experience

happening, it just happened at once,” he said. Cuellar said she was concerned more for the safety of everyone. “It was completely dark and we had people hurdling over the walls,” she said. “A lot of little kids were there, as well as older adults and I was afraid someone would get trampled and hurt. Band instruments and the damage to the wall are fixable. People are not. I am just grateful that no one got hurt.” Cuellar said she stressed to her students what happened was not very well thought out considering the number of people and the complete darkness. “I also wanted students to understand that it is a privilege we get to have that event at the district’s stadium and if we start causing damage or it becomes a safety concern, we could lose that privilege,” Cuellar said. “Kids got caught up in the excitement when the drumline kicked off and wanted to be a part of the action. Totally understandable, who doesn’t love the drumline.” Wiley said she was angry about what happened. “I was fearful for those people that couldn’t see,” she said. “I personally had my own children there as well as other people and one of them kind of got a little trampled. They were ok, but it’s just the fear of what could happen.”

host Ellen Degeneres. “I know Ellen does a lot for different schools and different people who can do cool things, and I know that we have the potential to do so,” Lintz said. “I thought it would be really cool if she could see us. Lintz said he was in charge of getting general members to comment the name, “Ellen Degeneres” on the Vines StuCo posted. “I’m willing to go anywhere, I’m willing to do anything and everything to get that,” he said. Soon after, students discovered the Homecoming Vine posted by StuCo made it to the World-Star HipHop website, a site where a chain of popular videos end up. “Going viral on Vine and World-Star Hip Hop was awesome,” Jahn said. “We already had bragging rights in the district as people saw how intense our student section was, but with Vine and WSHH, it just confirmed the things we enjoyed showing off.” Jahn said her friends and family thought it was cool. “People are always asking my friends and I about Creek when they see us wearing Creek shirts at random parts of Houston,” she said. “It feels pretty awesome going to the best school in Houston.” Jahn said she can not pinpoint what got the student section this far in popularity. “Class of 2013 likes to take credit for it, and yes maybe they kick started the rise of the spirit, but I’d like to say our class [2014] has really taken it to a peak.” Jahn also said it would be awesome to see the school spirit go past football season. “It’s super cliche that it would die down after season,” she said. “Getting lots of people to other sport games such as baseball and basketball and such [is a way to continue school spirit]. But these games have to be fun and that puts a lot on the cheerleaders to start making traditions without drumline.”

Lighting up the night: Students were given glowing sticks at the Lighting of the CC’s event. This was the second year Creek hosted this event. Photo

by Dairyn Salguero

Homecoming Vine, Ellen

After the Lighting of the CC’s event, Homecoming game turned out as the most famous yet, when a video posted on Vine, a social media app, of that night’s game received over 100,000 re-vines and counting. “Honestly, it’s so motivating to make each game better and try to get the student section more and more excited because that vine; I couldn’t believe it,” Armstrong said. Armstrong said she found out of the Vine because she followed Student Council on Vine. “I was going through my page, I saw the Vine and I saw how many re-vines it got and everyone asked ‘Hey did you see how many re-vines were on the Vine?’ It was crazy,” she said. “And on the drumline bus and on the way to the game we’d chant like ‘Hey look how many re-vines we have!” and it would just get us motivated for the game.” In the meantime, Student Council worked to get the student section known far beyond its usual spectators and attempted to get the attention of comedian and talk-show

List of places that revined States: Alabama Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Florida Georgia Illinois Indiana Kentucky Louisiana Maine

Massachusetts Michigan Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska New Jersey New York North Carolina Ohio Oklahoma Pennsylvania Tennessee Texas




Utah Virgina Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Countires: Bulgaria England Denmark South Korea Ireland Canada Germany


Ending with Cy-Fair

At the last game of the football season against Cy-Fair, although varsity lost 30-0, students kept the excitement up throughout the game. Students did what has never been done before by throwing streamers passed out by the cheerleaders into the air at a queued time. “I’m really, really proud, but I was disappointed that they didn’t clean up the mess they did at this last game,” Principal Sandy Trujillo said. “We were excited about seeing the streamers, it was really cool, yet kids just got up and walked away as if their mother worked at the stadium and left a few kids holding the bag. It just didn’t look good.” Trujillo said students have been allowed to do fun things, but with that comes responsibility. “I’ve been to a ton of high school games where kids get out of control, but I have not seen our students ever get out of control and when they do something that is slightly out of control, all an administrator has to do is make one statement and they fix it,” she said. Wiley said she likes the idea of the community gathering together to support something so positive. “I’d like to see how we can do that in other Cy Creek activities,” Wiley said. “Football gives a good way to do it, but how do we spin that in that same way so that we have that same level of energy behind many student groups.” Cuellar said it’s always the intent to keep school spirit going throughout the entire year. “But that is not my decision,” she said. “I am here to support the effort, not create it. That is up to the students.”

Make it rain: Cheerleaders passed out blue streamer rolls to the crowd at the last game of the season against Cy-Fair. Photo

by Jenna Moreland

Jessica Bott, Kristin Russell, Tyler Hooks and Frida Delgadillo contributed to this story.

Yellin’ for more: Senior Blade Labrada, a cheer escort, yelled towards the crowd during a Cy-Woods game. Photo by Colin Morris

‘I whip my hair back, forth’: The famous hairflippers bang their heads at the Varsity football game against Cy-Woods. Photo by Colin


Do’s and Don’ts of student section DO: Cheer a lot, even if we are losing. DO: Wear appropriate clothing. Stay classy, not trashy. DO: Learn the chants and dances. DO: Bring friends. DO: Wear Creek attire. DO: Sit when injuries happen on the field, even if on the other team. DON’T: Kick people out of their seats. DON’T: Leave once we start losing or drumline finishes. DON’T: Use foul language against the other team. DON’T: Leave your trash in the stands. DON’T: Jump onto the field. DON’T: Wear a rivalry team’s clothing.



December 2, 2013

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Students need to show spirit throughout year Staff EDITORIAL Paint on windows throughout the school spell out, ‘We love our boys in blue,’ posts of collages of pictures from the previous game are seen, footage is shared of the famous hair flippers from the student section. Yet, as soon as football season ends, all school spirit is lost. Where does it go? Students and faculty members love the atmosphere during football season, but only because of all the attention it gets. People

should make an effort to keep up the school spirit throughout the year for every sport. Students need to show other schools they are not just all about football, but for the support of all our sports and organizations in general. Most of all, other sports feel left out. Many athletes not a part of football complain of their lack of attention. They too can use the prep rallies and dress-up days, or something different that is unique

to their sport or organization. By adding new ways to help motivate our students and keep up the spirit for other sports, it gives people something to look forward to all year. Imagine the spirit of football season all year. The school spirit would promote a much happier environment and students can actually enjoy coming to school. Bottom-line, Cy Creek needs to show appreciation for more than just football.

Sam Says: Consider alternatives to college When our parents were in high school, their teachers and counselors did not hound on them about going to college the way they do today. It is as though we have two options. Go to school, or be a bum. There are many people who are successful and did not go to college and many who did go to college and are stuck in average-paying jobs. I am not saying you should or should not go to college, but do what you want to do, not because you are being pressured by teachers, family or friends. In the end, do Samantha CASAS what makes you happy, you never know when you will live your Editor-in-Chief last day. According to, a survey taken by the Bureau of Labor statistics in 2011 showed that 68.3% of students enrolled in college after high school, (43% of those in a community college. Here are just a few popular options people take when they graduate from high school besides attending a college or university.


Get a job. During high school and college many already have a job. Some keep their job after graduation. I warn you though, by not having an education, it will affect how much you get paid. But maybe a family member owns a business and you can take over or work for them. You got your career in the bag.


Intern. There’s nothing wrong with interning. Sometimes you get paid, sometimes you get smile with a well done for making an amazing coffee. Interning will make it easier for you to get a job in the field that you interned in. That is also a chance to figure out if that is really what you want to do for a career, it is like a practice run.


Technical School. OK, there is a difference between going to college or taking a class to teach you how to cut hair or use a specific computer program. It is in the same ball field as college, but without having to take all the extra classes. The only problem is, you will go in your career and get stuck in your position and not move up.

4. 5. 6.

Military. A job or interning just doesn’t cut it for some people. They want to go out and protect our country. God bless them for risking their lives, they’re more interested in hard labor and making a difference for everyone as a whole. Take care of family/friends. There are people out there who can not get a job at a company or leave their home. Instead they may be watching their siblings, parents or grandparents. You can get paid by the government, (if you qualify) to be a caregiver and help the people you love. Take a “gap year”. Graduating from high school is a major transition in your life to the real world. If you have the means to travel, do it. Just take some time off from life and have a nice vacation and explore the world around you. Graduated seniors can enter a foreign exchange program. And if you have the heart, and want to do more than just chill in a nice hotel, you can go and help starving people in Africa or teach a class to children who can not experience the education you just received.

Custodians become active at the end of the day. The main hallways are cleaned with two processes. One that involves a broom sweeping trash, and another scrubbing floors. The next day, their work from the previous day vanishes, due to students who just throw trash onto the ground without even thinking, making the custodians job more difficult than it should be. The custodians try their very best to keep the school clean, but students make it impossible because they simply don’t care. Students do not realize how much work the custodians put into cleaning our school. They do not get the credit they really deserve for their job. Students need to start cleaning up after themselves. Not only because the trash and mess belongs to them, but because the custodians should never have to pick up after students. Taking the extra step to the trash can will help the school take that extra step to staying clean.

Vol. 37, No. 1 • 2013-2014 Cypress Creek High School Attn: Journalism Dept. 9815 Grant Road Houston, TX 77070 281-897-4246 Fax: 281-897-4193 EDITORIAL POLICY Cougar Connection is published every six weeks during the school year by the newspaper staff at Cypress Creek High School. The publication has been established as a designated public forum for students expression and the discussion of issues of concern to its audience. Student editors make all content decisions. The opinions expressed are those of students and do not necessarily reflect the views of the adviser, administration, Cypress Creek High School faculty or CypressFairbanks Independent School District employees. Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Cougar Connection staff. Letters to the editor are welcome and should be brought to the journalism room, 1446. To be printed, letters must be signed, legible, 300 words or less, and contain the author’s full name. Unsigned letters will not be published. Letters will be edited for minor spelling and grammar mistakes. Should a letter be too long or contain errors in fact, excessive grammatical errors, or unprotected speech, it will be returned to the author for resubmission. Cougar Connection, an awardwinning student newspaper, is a member of the Interscholastic League Press Conference, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. Some material courtesy of American Society of Newspaper Editors/MCT Campus High School Newspaper Service. Cougar Connection is printed by Tristar Web Graphics of Houston. ADVERTISING POLICY The staff reserves the right to refuse advertising deemed inappropriate for a high school publication, including products or services that are illegal for minors. In cases involving political advertising, efforts will be made to solicit all points of view. STAFF Editor-in-Chief: SAMANTHA CASAS Managing Editor: JENNA MORELAND

Mopping up false rumors Everybody thinks the custodians do not do their job to acheive full potential because of the mess in the school, but really students Maci SMITH do not clean up Feature Editor after themselves. Four times a day, the custodians clean the cafeteria. For the amount of times the cafeterias get cleaned during the school day, it should remain clean. Rumors of custodians using the same mops to clean both floors and tables proved false after personally witnessing the cleaning process. Students have nothing to hold against janitors. Custodians have to deal with the blame of an unsanitary cafeteria, blame the students for the mess.

11 Connection OPINION

Online Editor: COLIN MORRIS Business Manager: MYKIAH BROWN Business Team: ANDREA ANDERSON, AUDREY JONES News Manager: REBEKAH KISH Features Manager: MACI SMITH Entertainment /Opinion Manager: TYLER HOOKS Sports Manager: KRISTIN RUSSELL Photo Editor: VERONIKA SCHIEBLER Design Editor: CARLOS MEDINA

Cleaning the Mess: Custodian Jammie Ware, wipes down the cafeteria tables with a mop used only for tables. Photo by Caline Forward




December 2, 2013

reasons to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Audrey JONES Business Team

Action packed

Best. Cast. Ever.

The movie is a guaranteed action thriller. Killer monkeys, violent district rebellions, destruction of arenas with one arrow, etc.

The actors with main roles in the movie were also in other great films including “The Last Song,”“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” and “Zombieland.”

J. Law . . . she’s perf.

Love triangle

Gentlemen - Jennifer Lawrence, who also played Mystique in “X Men: First Class,” is the leading lady of this movie as Katniss Everdeen. That speaks for itself.

The love triangle between characters Gale Hawthorne, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark gets more intense in this movie. Don’t worry, it’s a better love story than “Twilight.”

J. Hutch, c’mon

Awesome director

Josh Hutcherson plays lead character Peeta Mellark, the baker from District 12 who turned a warshocked game victor and heartbroken boy after “The Hunger Games.” He also has a jawline that can cut glass. Talk about attractive.

Director Francis Lawrence has experience in other book adaptations like “Water For Elephants” and the hair-raising zombie apocalypse story “I Am Legend.” Although there are no zombies involved in “Catching Fire,” Lawrence will do the book justice.

Everyone will be there

Bring tissues

It’s one of the most anticipated Fall movies of 2013. You don’t want to miss seeing it in theaters.

The movie has some heartwrenching scenes in it that will make movie history. Ever heard of a jabberjay? Have a box of tissues next to you ‘cause you’ll need it.

Flawless fashion One of the most visually pleasing things about The Hunger Games was the clothing and costumes of the wealthy people of Panem. In “Catching Fire” we’ll see a rejuvenated version of the couture with the dark twists of revolution that Katniss’ character creates.



Coffee burns cash, not just tongues Kristin RUSSELL Sports Manager How much money do you think you spend on coffee in a month? Twenty bucks, maybe more? Some can go weeks without coffee, though others are under its vicious spell. Not that that is a bad thing, but our wallets are not too happy about it. We now live in a do-it-yourself world, so let’s apply that to our coffee standards. Accept the coffee challenge; go one month without going to Starbucks or any other coffee shop. If I can do it, you can too, and your wallet will thank me later. Tips to brew the best cup of coffee: 1.Avoid using pre-ground coffee. 2.Use filtered water, not tap water. 3.If you have extra coffee and you plan on drinking it later, stick it in the fridge and re-heat it later. 4. If you have coffee you don’t plan on using, freeze it on an ice-tray so when you make iced coffee it will not get watered down. The Arnold Palmer of coffee Can be done hot or cold 2TSP of hot cocoa. (personally I use the Williams Sonoma peppermint hot coco mix.) 1/2 a cup of milk 1/2 cup of coffee(already made)

Spiced coffee A cup of coffee already made, cinnamon Sugar, Nutmeg Cloves, Vanilla

In a small pot, heat up the milk on a low temperature until the edge starts to form bubbles. Next, add the hot cocoa powder and stir. Combine with the coffee.

Add a TSP of cinnamon and sugar. After you add a spice stir the coffee thoroughly, and small quantities of the nutmeg, cloves. I’d recommend a pinch for just a little flavor. Add a TSP of vanilla and enjoy hot or cold.

December 2, 2013



Toodaloo Dr. Seuss: Theater students move on from musical Caline FORWARD Reporter Stepping away from the piles of feathers that dust the floors backstage, director and theater arts teacher Marilyn Ocker looks back at the six amazing nights “Seussical The Musical” lived in lights. Beginning the production of the show only two days after the school year started, Ocker faced the wrath of auditions, clothes designers, fundraisers and even a few busy elementary “Whos from Whoville”. “Musicals are what I like to call a necessary evil,” Ocker said. “They’re fun, but there’s so much to do.” And even when things seemed like they couldn’t get any more busier for the theater kids, Ocker did the unthinkable: brought elementary children into the play. “Having children in a play is one of those things you probably shouldn’t do, but I [thought] it was going to be fun,” Ocker said. Senior Brice Phillips, who played the role of Horton the Elephant, claims that downtime was rare in this musical. “Everyone’s musical in this Seussical,” Phillips said. “Even if you weren’t the strongest singer or dancer, you still [had] to do it with style.” Fitting the Bird Girls, the Whos and their town of Whoville all onto the tiny theater stage, Ocker and Phillips felt disappointment bite at them when they saw the audience attendance outcome. “I put on a show that I think people will come and see and maybe one-tenth of our community came to see it,” Ocker said. “But it was worth the fun and experience for the theater kids because they’re not going to get this kind of

responsibility anywhere else in the school and that’s what’s amazing.” Washing the feathered Bird Girl outfits one last time, Ocker resumed her busy theater life by holding auditions for a new melodrama, “A Drift In New York,” that will premiere in January, and leaving the “nerdy” life of Dr. Seuss’s characters. With the actors and actresses hard work, Ocker watched the show appreciatively from her spot in the back of theater, admiring the roles the young actors needed to work on and what needed to be applauded after the show. “[Seussical] was probably the most stressful part of the entire year,” Phillips said. “But I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Horton hears a what? (Above): Senior Brice Phillips performs onstage during a show for Seussical The Musical. Photo by Gennesis Gonzalez.


Dr. Disbelief (Left): Sophomore Isabella Agurcia performs onstage during a show for Suessical The Musical. Photo by Holly Hearn

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Social media flare causes new perspective on fashion Tyler HOOKS

Entertainment/ Opinion Manager #OOTD (outfit of the day), one of the most popular hashtags on various social media sites, causes quite the epidemic in displaying trendy looks and fashion for everyone. Fashion transcends into the digital age. Social media now plays a huge role in dictating trends. Whether Instagram, Tumblr, or other micro blogging; they all contribute to that next best thing. Junior Parker Dyer, a student known on campus for his sophisticated style with a 50s flare, credits some of his style from the Instagram “Whatmyboyfriendwore,” and retailer Nick Wooster. “I follow people on Instagram that are into the same style. They’ll tag the information about their clothes and I’ll go and check out the website,” Dyer said. “I take pride in the way I dress and I get compliments on the way I dress on a daily basis.” Fashion, an industry that moves faster than a New-York-minute changes constantly, and people feel the need to always stay in the know. Walking into a store today almost feels foreign. Why would anyone make the journey with apps that can give you everything at your fingertips? Things like Instagram and other efforts in social media have revolutionized the way we shop for things-- the presentation changed. Though Junior Carley Cooper shops online, she said she prefers to shop in stores like Francesca’s, Urban Outfitters, and American Eagle. “Social media does affect me a little but not really. I get on Pinterest for style inspiration, but I normally buy clothes in the store, because I like trying them on in person,” she said. Anyone can find anything they want not only displayed on the glossy pages of their favorite magazines, but on friends, family, and people come across by simply typing a name in a search bar. Fashion no longer exists on the pages of Vogue or Elle, but the trendy girl on Instagram who couldn not wait to share what her boyfriend is wearing next, or the aging hipster our generation looks to.

Cover Look: Parker Dyer on the cover of the November/December issue of the Cougar Catwalk magazine.

With a single click looks transform, wardrobes grow, and originality thrives. Dyer said the way he dresses expresses his creativity. “My sense of fashion is something that comes naturally, it’s all about what you believe fits for yourself and what you enjoy wearing and how you like to look,” he said. “I get really excited about it and think back to all the outfits I can wear [things I find] with.”


follow people on Instagram that are into the same style.

Parker Dyer 11

Read more of Cougar Catwalk online at Instag lam called ‘W : Looks from on hatmyb oyfrien e of the Insta dwore’. grams Dyer fo



December 2, 2013

Ahh...CC what?!

Sister act: Juniors, sisters Taylor and Randi Campbell laugh together before the start of a match. This is Randi’s second year on varsity and Taylor’s first year. Photo by Skylar Campbell

Cougars of all shapes and sizes show their excellence through all type of atheltics. Win or lose, we never lose the pride we have for our school. Go cougars!

Cougar take over: Senior Joe McAleavey pins down a Cy Falls wrestler at the opening meet on Nov. 21. Photo by Veronika Schiebler

You just got served (left): Junior Lindsey Miller serves the ball to Cy Ranch. The lady cougars won over the rams with a 4 set victory. Photo by Gennesis Gonzalez. ‘I say

Cougars what’s your battle cry: Members of the cross country team huddle together to get pumped up before the meet at College Park. Photo by Holly Hearn

That bump and grind: Senior Terrell Aldridge jumps in the air and bumps sides together with Junior Tyree Simpson at the Cy Lakes game after making a touchdown. Photo by Jenna Moreland

Dancing with dads: Seniors TaNia Brown and Simara Askew dance with their dads during the halftime show at the Cy-Fair game. Photo by Jenna Moreland

blue, you say white’ (above): Junior Sami Stevens cheers in front of the Silvies and band during the Cy Falls game with the help of her bases. Photo by Jenna Moreland

Swimming suggestion: Senior Maddie Dixon listens to Coach Jeff Chandler’s comments as she gets out of the pool after warming up for intrasquad meet. Photo by Megan Chan

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