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Volume 10 » Issue 1 Volume 10 » Issue 1 Semester Recap NMS Semifinalists Pg. 2

Homecoming Pg. 4

ACL Fest Pg. 6

The Real Cost of Football Pg. 11 NMS Semifinalists Pg. 2 Homecoming Pg. 4 ACL Fest Pg. 8 The Real Cost of Football Pg. 10


Students recognized for academic achievement Story by Sydney Cohen Staff Writer Elle Smith (12) and Vaidehi Phirke (12) are among only 16,000 students nationwide to qualify as a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship program. Each year, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) recognizes academically

Elle Smith (12) Vaidehi Phirke (12)

adept students from around the country and gives them opportunities in nationwide scholarship programs. After taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test® (PSAT/NMSQT) in October of 2018, Smith and Phirke both met the criteria for the awards and were selected to be semifinalists. Both said they prepared for the test by doing Khan Academy practice tests. “I’ve always been a dedicated student, so having that mindset throughout my educational career set me up for success,” Smith said. “I spent time outside of school taking SAT practice tests in preparation for the PSAT, and that seems to have paid off.” The NMSC compares PSAT

test takers in a state-by-state basis; to be a semifinalist, one must score in the top 1% of the state. Approximately one-third of the top 50,000 high scorers are recognized. “It’s nice to be a semifinalist,” Smith said. “If I am selected as a scholar, the actual scholarship money from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation is not a lot, but hopefully, this commendation will allow me to take advantage of opportunities and scholarship offerings from various colleges and outside organizations.” In order to qualify for any of NMSC’s awards, students must take the PSAT/NMSQT as a junior or senior. “College is expensive, and I’m trying to get all the help I can with paying for it,” Smith

said. “I was motivated by the fact that success on this test is tied to numerous scholarship offerings, and that’s a huge deal.” Semifinalists interested in the scholarship must advance to a Finalist standing through an application process which includes a principal recommendation and proof of high academic achievement throughout their high school career. Rewards will be announced between March and June 2020. Fourteen students were also named Commended Scholars, representing the top 3-4% of students in Texas. “It feels great because I put a lot of work into my studies and it’s paying off,”

Raider Band wraps up outstanding season at Bands of America Story by Manuel Lozano Staff Writer The Raider Band placed sixth at the Bands of America Regional competition on Sept. 28 at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex, receiving a score of 80.025 out of 100 in the final round. “When we were waiting to hear if we made finals, everyone was nervous, and I will never forget when the speaker announced all of the finalists,” Grace Olivares (10) said. “Everyone jumped with joy. It was like something you would see out of a movie.” The band prepared for months, practicing both as a team and individually to get their music and marching to flow.

“We practice a lot of things,” Shelby Weaver (9) said. “We practice our music, our dance, our choreo and our drills and sets for the show.” The Raider Band overall achieved their goal of getting at least a score of 80. The Raiders earned an average score of 16.225 out of 20 in music performance, an average score of 16.300 out of 20 in visual performance and a score of 47.500 out of 60 in general effect. “I was super excited because it was my first time and I knew we worked hard for it and earned it in the end,” Hayden Brewer (9) said.

In November, they competed in BOA San Antonio, where the Raider Band placed 15th, falling just short of going to the finals, with a score of 88.700 out of 100. They earned an average score of 18.050 out of 20


in music performance, an average score of 17.950 out of 20 in visual performance and a score of 52.700 out of 60 in general effect. The band is now in concert season and will prepare for future UIL contests.

Back Row: Zachary Feller, Logan Kettle, Quinn Langford, Kayden Brewer, Simon Stone aBeardall, Eliza Jipp, Abigail Fenton, Kartik Chatlani, Ethan Martin, Adeena Khan

Zachary Feller (12) said. “I want to play basketball in college, and coaches love seeing that students are just as committed to their studies as they are to their sports.” Although these students

are not able to continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarships, they do become candidates for scholarships honored by various corporations and businesses.

The Quill » Semester Recap

News » 3

Climate Change: A Hot Topic Story by Selin Kaya News Editor One of the most controversial issues in today’s news cycle is climate change. With people debating both sides of its existence, it has become a partisan topic. Students at Cedar Ridge are taking bigger actions in regards to their stance on climate change. Fossil fuels are a focal point in regards to climate change contributors. According to the US Energy Information Administration, fossil fuel burning was responsible for approximately 76% of emissions in the US in 2017. “That’s kind of the number one cause of climate change,” AP Environmental Science teacher Thomas Kellough said. “The Earth is getting warmer over time and it’s causing a

positive feedback loop. When something happens, a positive feedback loop makes that process happen faster.” According to National Geographic, 40% of plastic is used in packaging one time before being discarded. Additionally, 18 billion pounds of plastic waste ends up in Earth’s oceans. This has caused recycling and avoidance of single-use plastics to become a staple in some Raiders’ routine. “I try everyday to be aware of my carbon footprint and take actions to cut back on my impact,” Brynn Havern (12) said. “I try to avoid using objects that are single use and plastic by bringing my own.” Sustainability of animal agriculture has also been in question. According to the

New York Times, animal agriculture was responsible for 42% of emissions in the US in 2018. These emissions, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, are facilitating climate change. To combat this, Edward Gamez (12) has been vegan since August. “I’m no longer contributing directly to this horrible system that kills our planet and all of its beautiful creatures,” Edward Gamez (12) said. The facts suggest that climate change is happening, and it is up to us to decide how to address it.

Violinist to perform at state Story by Hannah Blake Staff Writer

Symphony Orchestra violinist, Eliot Lam (10), has worked really hard in orchestra, and it shows. Eliot recently placed in All-State Sinfonietta Orchestra. Only 112 people from all Texas schools make state. “I was really happy when I found out,” he said. “I did big jumps.” Lam practiced every

morning, afternoon, and night to prepare for state auditions. The audition consisted of three parts. The first part included the top 24 people from each region performing live. The second part was pre-area, and half of the people didn’t make it to the next round. The third and final part was area when state judges listened to recordings of people who made it past pre-area. “I knew that I played good enough to make it but you never know for sure,” he said. Lam has been playing the violin for 13 years. His mom started him off early because

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Hot Takes

Students share their opinion on climate change

“People should be putting more blame on corporations, and industries all over should invest in solutions that cut down on their waste and carbon footprint. It’s difficult to have a less wasteful lifestyle when every aspect around you makes it hard to live sustainably. Something as simple as getting something to eat comes with waste that ultimately builds up and worsens the climate conditions.” Allison Place (10)

“I don’t eat red meat because I think the agricultural industry is the biggest cause of climate change. The only meat I eat is chicken and I’m currently on the way to adapting a plant-based vegan diet.” Lauren Prendeville (12)

“I think it would be helpful if people were more curious about climate change in general and would listen to one another instead of writing off believers of the crisis. One solution that would help is discontinuing the use of the ocean as a trash bin.” Addison Winters (10)

“People should be doing more to help the environment by using bikes more often because cars are not only mass produced for our convenience but the actual assembly process worsens the condition of the environment.” Luis Don-Villegas (10)

“I think people should pay attention to the climate change crisis but there shouldn’t be violence toward one another over it, if we don’t listen to each others viewpoint reaching a solution will be more difficult. Personally I try to reduce my waste by using reusable straws, bags and recycling anything I can.” Khloe Ragan (9)

Student Council opens food pantry Story by Townsend O’Hara Staff Writer

she is a violin professor. She was also a top player in state when she was younger. “I really like working hard,” Lam said. “I feel like if I put in a lot of work I could be the best.” Lam will have to work harder than he ever has for state. “I’m very excited for state,” Lam said. “We got samples of the music, so I will practice that right now. Once I get the whole song I will practice that.” Everyone who made it into state will perform at the TMEA Conference in San Antonio on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 2:00 p.m.

Since August, Student Council has been running the school’s new Food Pantry. The food pantry is a student-run project that anybody can participate in. The goal of the pantry is to collect an assortment of food for others in their community who struggle paying for these necessary items. “Our idea behind it all was to basically give back to the community,” Student Council Sponsor Shelly Jipp said. “There are a lot of less fortunate people in our area who are in poverty and cannot afford food to feed themselves and their

families. This is just one of the schools ways of giving back.” The donation dropoff is located in D111 and is accepting any non-expired canned foods, canned soups, canned vegetables, and any whole-grain breakfast cereals.


“I just wanted to positively affect the community for once and make a difference,” Seth Neimann (9) said. The pantry will run throughout the 2019-2020 school year, including a tally at the end to see how many cans the school collected.

HOMECOMING Homecoming game highlighted by royal court Story by Luke White Sports Editor


edar Ridge’s 2019 homecoming week was capped off with their football game against cross-town rival Stony Point on Friday, Sept. 27. The Raiders couldn’t pull off the win though, as they fell to the Tigers 32-42. However, the game didn’t just center around football. Multiple student organizations, such as band, color guard, and Royalty, were placed in the spotlight and got a chance to perform during one of the biggest football games of the season. During halftime, Royalty performed a traditional high kick routine with Stony Point’s drill team, the Tiger Dancers. According to Stevie McCall, the Royalty Director, it took an extensive amount of time to prepare for the two groups to prepare for their halftime performance. “One day Royalty hosts the practice, and the other day the Tiger Dancers host,” McCall said. “During those days they get to know each other and are paired up with their sister groups.” The dance team’s performance had extra meaning, as every dancer wore a red scrunchie to honor Lexi Scordelis, a Stony Point dancer that passed away in a car accident earlier this year. Cedar Ridge’s color guard team performed with the Raider Band during the school fight song, as well as during the homecoming court introductions. Each year, at least four students from each grade are voted on to the Homecoming Court by their classmates. The students also vote for a king and queen from the senior Homecoming Court. This year, Kaydon

Williams and Lexie Cooper were elected King and Queen respectively. “It was really exciting,” Cooper said. “We didn’t really expect it, and when they called Kayden’s name I was hoping they would call my name after. It was really fun that we both got to share the experience together.” Cedar Ridge’s Band, who performed after the game, instead of during halftime, competed in the Bands of America the next day at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex. In

“It was really fun that we both got to share the experience together.” a field of 26 bands, the Raiders got sixth place after scoring 80.025 points out of a possible 100. “I think that everyone was really excited,”

Nicholas Varela (11) said. “I mean that’s really just what we do in band, we get to support the school and we also get to have our competitions to recognize our school’s band. It was an exciting week for everyone.” The Homecoming football game gives many student organizations an opportunity to showcase their talents to the school community. Students at the game get to take in a variety of performances put on by hundreds of Cedar Ridge students. “The student section is a lot bigger on homecoming,” Varela said. “It was really great to see everyone come out to support the football team and all the student-athletes.” PHOTO BY: NIKITHA ADDANKI


International student experiences Texas traditions Story by Hannah Blake Staff Writer

Cedar Ridge has a lot of fun traditions when it comes to homecoming week. These traditions may be normal for a native Texan, but can be very overwhelming for someone from out of the country. Line Brodthagen (11) is a foreign exchange student from Denmark. One popular Texas tradition is mum-making. A mum consists of a big flower in

the middle with ribbons and accessories hanging down from the flower. Some mums are very extravagant and go all out with fairy lights or giant cowbells. People have to buy ribbons and start making their mums a week or more in advance. It is tradition for students to wear mums to school the day of the homecoming game. Brodthagen purchased her

ribbon a week in advance and her host mom helped her make her mum. “I thought mums were kind of a weird tradition but also fun,” Brodthagen said. “I made a mum and it was pretty annoying to wear because it wasn’t easy to get around.” The week-long traditions all led up to the homecoming football game. The student section was bigger

than ever and there was a lot of hype and energy for the game. The Royalty drill team performed at halftime, the homecoming King and Queen were crowned, the drumline performed their 3rd quarter routine. On Saturday, Brodthagen experienced her first ever school dance in America. She went with friends and spent a lot of time picking her dress at the mall.

“Getting ready for the dance was my favorite part,” Brodthagen said. “I really enjoy dressing up and I don’t get to do it often.” The cafeteria, decorated to fit The Wizard of Oz theme, was packed full of dancing students. Homecoming week was packed full of traditions and school spirit, allowing foreign exchange students the full Texas experience.

The Quill » Semester Recap

Homecoming » 5

Alyssa Carter (11) and Gracie Moreau (11)

Sophomores Paul Furrer, Jacob Sedlacek, Alyssa Clark, Caleigh Devonish, Taylor Snoga

Jasmine Davis (12)

Homecoming Week in Photos

Daylon McKinney (11)

Seniors Kaylee Beardall, Alexia Watson, & Johanna Luckett Cedar Ridge Girls Basketball Team

Charlize Luong (12)

Freshmen Jaxon Morgan, Destiny Davis, Deanna Lange, Kate Ma, Khloe Ragan, Katie Burchett, Lucas Morgan, Ava Sparks, Rachel Adams, Ian Snopel, Scout Hutchinson

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Harper Wells (10)

Cienna Vaughn (11)

ENTERTAINMENT The ACL Experience Story by Ashley Anderson Entertainment Editor The biggest music festival in Austin was back for it’s 17th year. Austin City Limits 2019 had many big headliners, from Billie Eilish and Childish Gambino to legendary bands, such as The Cure and Guns n’ Roses. Here is everything you need to know if you are planning on making an appearance at next year’s ACL, along with a review of this past fest.

What to Bring

If you’re anything like me, you’re that person that always carries a bag around with you. Yes, you don’t need a bag, but, if you want to come prepared then here’s what you’ll need:

» Sunscreen for the hot Texas sun. » Water bottle or hydration pack. » Sunglasses. Again, for the Texas sun! » Comfy shoes because who likes when their feet hurt? I had to learn this the hard way.

» In case of limited sun and depend-

ing on the temperature, a jacket. In my case, it was unexpectedly chilly. The bag policy at ACL is a bit extensive, so read the website when you purchase your ticket to know what is okay to bring. “When in doubt, fanny pack it out” was what I

lived, but I also packed a drawstring bag.

Up and Coming Artists

While waiting for your favorite artist to perform, there is always a concert going on. At the smaller stages and leading up to the headliners, many up and coming musicians are there to gain a greater fanbase. At the 2019 fest, there were many new singer/ songwriters that were performing before bigger artists. King Princess, who went on before Lil Uzi Vert performed their spin on Alternative rock. The artist/band, Pink Sweat$ had a good crowd at the Tito’s tent and Banks put on a powerful show at the Miller Lite stage before Lizzo went on. So, while waiting for your favorite artist, stop by the closest stage to discover your new favorite artists.

ACL Eats and The Merch Store

To fulfill the hunger of thousands, there is ACL Eats. From pizza to hamburgers, there are too many options to try everything. If you’re vegan, like me, there are options at almost all of the food vendors, along with gluten free and vegetarian. Before arriving to the fest, the most efficient thing to do would be to connect your credit card to your wristband. It helps with a quick transaction by just scanning your wrist on the scanner and then typing in the pin that you created for the weekend. This allows for no wasted time at the food or merchandise tents and more time seeing your favorite performers. This was one of my favorite features because the lines went a lot faster and we always made it to the stage on time. If you want to have something to remember

the weekend by, they have two tents that sell artist and festival merchandise. They go quick so make sure not to miss out on having a T-shirt or sticker to let the memories live on. I was lucky with getting one of the last Childish Gambino shirts on the last day.

Working Your Way Through The Crowds

The attendance at ACL is known to be great so be ready to face the herd. The crowds at the main stages can get a little overwhelming so if you want to be in the front it may take some waiting. I actually ended up waiting for the whole day in the front to see the last performer on that stage which was Tame Impala. At the 2019 Fest, records were broken with the crowds for some artists. The turnout for the popular artist Lizzo was above 75,000 and they had to show her performance at the Honda stage next door on the big screens. This was the biggest crowd for Lizzo yet! If you don’t want to be pushed and forced to jump with the crowd, it might be best that you enjoy from afar. The overall experience of ACL is worth all of the troubles, and in the end, the great music and food outweighs them all together.

The Quill » Semester Recap

Game On Story by Parris Kanwar Photo Editor

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)

A reboot for the Modern Warfare series, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare brings back its signature single-player campaign in a realistic environment, which will feature missions in European cities and the Middle East. In addition to the campaign, there will be multiplayer and co-op modes; including a new 2v2 multiplayer mode called Gunfight. Unfortunately, no zombies mode and a special operatives mode exclusive to PlayStation 4 until 2020. This will be the first Call of Duty to support crossplay, meaning players can play together any system. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was released on Oct. 25 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Entertainment » 7

New streaming platforms emerge in 2019

Talent at The Ridge

Story by Clariss Maya Castelan Staff Writer

Nov. 14-15 Cedar Ridge Theatre presents Stuart Little

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Set after Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is an RPG about Cal Kestis, a Jedi who survived Order 66 and is on the run from the Second Sister, an Imperial Inquisitor who hunts Jedi. Fallen Order has an emphasis on melee and force combat, which can be upgraded across three skill trees: lightsaber, forces, and health. Unlike previous Star Wars games, there is no lightsaber dismemberment, or a light and dark side choice system. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was released on Nov. 15 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Disney+ is a new streaming service that was launched on Nov. 12. You can stream thousands of movies and series and have unlimited downloads. Many of the classic Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic movies are available to watch. Disney+ also has all 30 seasons of The Simpsons. While it has already released High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, the streaming service has big plans for new shows and TV series such as Monsters at Work, based on Monsters Inc. It is offered at $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year.

Dec. 11 Orchestra performs at their Winter Concert

Pokemon Sword & Shield

The eighth-generation of Pokemon games, Sword & Shield both have the player collect Pokemon and battle Gym leaders to become the strongest trainer in the Galar region in a fully 3D environment. The main difference between the games is the new exclusive Pokemon, Gyms, and Gym leaders. Some of the new Pokemon are Zacian (Sword), Zamazenta (Shield), Farfetch’d and Sirfetch’d (Sword), and Galarian Ponyta (Shield). Both games will not have the full roster of the pre-existing Pokemon from previous games. The player will be able to customize their trainer. Pokemon Sword & Shield was released on Nov. 15 for Nintendo Switch. Each game costs $60 and be sold at all local retailers, such as Amazon, GameStop, Best Buy, H-E-B, Target, and Walmart.

On Nov. 1 Apple TV+ was launched and it is streaming official content for Tv plus. Unlike Netflix or Hulu, this new streaming service will not offer licensed content. For now, you can stream exclusive shows like Dickinson, For all Mankind, Ghost Stories, and more. The new streaming subscription costs $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year. Those who purchase a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, or Mac are eligible to receive one year free.

Dec. 12-13 Choir performs at Carols & Cocoa PHOTOS BY: SIERRA SPOHN, NIKITHA ADDANKI & MAKAYLA MEADS

What are you streaming? Empire

Vampire Diaries

The Ted Bundy Tapes

Breaking Bad & Atypical

Brian Crane (12)

Samantha Reynolds (9)

Gage Cornett (11)

Gabby Brown (12)

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Surviving the

Zombi e Apocalypse

Story by Olivia Janek Staff Writer

Zombie Apocalypse. It’s a term often used in fiction to define a world-ending scenario, one similar to a pandemic. However, instead of dying from disease, the dead are reanimated as zombies. A zombie apocalypse is often built in fiction to have zombies actively chasing humans to kill them, either for food sources or some unknown reason. A strategy for surviving the apocalypse depends on how

zombies behave, which can lead to wildly different plans being formed. However, the three major principles that can determine life or death in a zombie apocalypse are location, people, and preparation. For the sake of brevity, let’s assume that zombies cannot run. The zombie virus works as an infection that is spread through blood transfer and bite wounds. At this point in

Fear Factor Story by Sydney Cohen Staff Writer Boo! Did I scare you? You yelp and leap out of your seat. Your breathing speeds up and so does your heart rate. You likely have felt like this before. Fear is a common human emotion, and just about everyone experiences it sometime in their life. But what’s the scientific cause for fear? Fear is an emotion a

person experiences when the person believes they are in danger. When the body feels in danger in any way, a tiny structure in the brain called the amygdala sends signals to the nervous system activating many physical responses, such as increased breathing and heartbeat. These responses are known as “fight or flight” because the body is preparing to either run from the danger or try and fight it off.

The Quill Cedar Ridge High School 2801 Gattis School Road Round Rock, TX 78664 (512) 704-0201 Adviser: Maisey Edwards Principal: Jiae Kim

time, the cure is undeveloped. Zombies can be killed by being shot in the head or being rendered immobile. Alongside this, zombies are attracted to and can sense large groups of people.

Location, Location, Location

Focusing on North America, the threat of blood transfer immediately crosses out anywhere that is warm enough to have bloodcarrying insects, such as almost the entire southern point of North America. However, it is cold enough year-round in Canada to inhibit this threat. Before anyone moves to Yukon territory, it should be known that even though insects can’t survive far north, neither can we without food. Luckily, around the Great Lakes are a prime farming area with a viable water source. With location down, it’s also important to note that with more people around, surviving the apocalypse becomes harder. Thus, it’s important to remain far from major cities, and to be one of the first to get out.

The Allies

Because humans are very social creatures, and being left in isolation is enough to drive someone mad, the buddy system becomes imperative during the zombie apocalypse.

Look into friends who can hunt, work with machines or computer hardware, use weaponry, or have a keen sense of survivalism. Additionally, it’s important to have a healthy conflict-resolution system. As zombies aren’t the only thing to worry about when any team member could stick a knife in another’s back.

Ready the Zombie Bunker

Preparation is one foolproof way to survive the zombie apocalypse. It’s important to formulate a plan with all of the pieces and people involved. Make a route on the fastest way to get out of the city and find out where to get wild food (study up on what is edible and what will kill you faster than you can say “zombie”). Don’t run for the grocery stores as that’s what everyone will be doing. However, do stockpile medical supplies and weapons. Because of a zombie’s hearing ability, melee weapons are best due to their lack of sound. Regardless of the different types of zombies and zombie apocalypses, outdoor survival and preparation are the essentials. Though there are specifics to the advice given above, a rough idea should be enough to get past the first day. And in the apocalypse, that could just be the deciding factor. It’s survival of the fittest out there, so make sure you stay the fittest!

Arachnophobia - Fear of Spiders Sometimes, the body has a fear response even if no danger is present. One example would be if you jump out of your skin over a loud and sudden noise. The fear reaction takes place before your brain can process what the sound was. A phobia is a strong fear response to a certain thing. Phobias blow fears out of proportion, causing a person to dread and avoid a certain thing at all costs. Phobias

are known to interfere with everyday life; for example, someone with aerophobia - fear of flying - will try to avoid riding a plane, even if his family is going on vacation overseas. For many people, phobias keep the afflicted person away from experiences that should be fun or exciting. So what are people at Cedar Ridge most scared of?

Ethan McCourry (12) has been scared of spiders for as long as he can remember. It doesn’t matter if the spider isn’t hairy, big, or even venomous - Ethan is creeped out by them all. “They’re really creepy and gross-looking. I just don’t like any kind of spiders,” he said.

Coulrophobia - Fear of Clowns

Shelby Jones (12) first got her fear after seeing the horror movie “It”. She says she is mostly over this fear, however, after having it for a long time. “They wear too much makeup and they’re way too goofy,” she said.

The Quill, the official student newspaper of Cedar Ridge High School, is a forum for student expression and news about students and staff at CRHS. The content represents the beliefs of the student author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the entire Quill Staff, the Quill Adviser, the Cedar Ridge Faculty and Staff, or the Principal. The Quill strives to avoid bias and/or favoritism. The coverage should be meaningful, timley and interesting. We will make every effort to avoid printing libel, obscenities, innuendo and material that threatens to disrupt the learning process or is an invasion of privacy. We will avoid electronic manipulation that alters the truth of a photograph. Letters to the editor are welcomed, and may be dropped off in room D116. Corrections will be printed when brought to the attention of the staff.

Quill Staff Print Editor-in-Chief Dante Motley Web Editor-in-Chief Grace Galdamez-Kirkconnell Assistant Editors Ashley Anderson Parris Kanwar Selin Kaya Nick Lesifko Elianna Lopez Luke White

Reporters Hannah Blake Sydney Cohen Alan Delgado-Rivera Nathan Hill Olivia Janek Aden Juarez-Esparza Samantha Le Manuel Lozano Clariss Maya Castelan Kelbi Nirenberg Townsend O’Hara Xitlaly Pastenes Sebastian Reeves

The Quill » Semester Recap

Features » 9

Color Guard prepares for Winter season A Day in The Life

Story by Kelbi Nirenberg Staff Writer The guard has a hectic schedule starting at the beginning of August until the middle of November. They get together during the first few weeks of August from 9.a.m until 9.p.m. where they not only work on their show, but build better relationships. Once school starts they limit practice to Tuesdays through Fridays from 5-8. “Band camp is a crazy roller coaster,” Ciera Lara (11) said. “During band camp there are long rehearsals that can be very stressful and tiring.” During marching season, color guard competes alongside the band against different bands in America. Competitions consist of long days and lots of stress, but can be very rewarding in the end. “They take 10-14 bands depending on how many are competing,” captain Hannah Saucedo (11) said. “These are very competitive competitions because every band is amazing.” This year, the marching band show was called “CheckMate.” In the show, the band soloist was considered the king and the color guard represented the queens. The concept of the show was the queens were trying to defeat the king and at the end of the show the

Story by Grace Galdamez-Kirkconnell Web Editor-in-Chief

queen killed the king. “I feel like our show this year was really creative and unique,” Cecilia Fenton (10) said. “It allowed the color guard to be showed off more than usual and I really liked that.”


Now that marching season has ended, the guard has begun to prepare for the next competitive season: Winter guard. They spend about six hours each week rehearsing, which is much shorter and less time-consuming but are more intense than marching season. “Rehearsals for winter guard are a lot different than marching season because we are inside and we’re on a tarp,” Jordan Rogers (11)

said. “We also go over a lot more dance and technique because we are seen more.” This year the guard will be split into two groups - Junior Varsity and Varsity. After auditions were finalized, the members then auditioned for their role in the show, whether its a flag, dancer, weapon (riffle, sabre) or some may get every position. The team is very excited for winter guard. Many members consider it harder but then Marching, including Jaydin Defelice (11). She has been part of the color guard for three years and was on the weapon line her first year and is excited to continue her exciting journey on the team. She also just became the captain of the team followed with Saucedo and Lara. “I’m really excited to start training for winter,” Defelice said. “Even though it’s the same thing over and over, we get better at what we do.” Over the next few weeks director Heather Stone will watch and see who catches on to choreography and who can get their tosses out. This is when the guard gets real stressed but is still excited to improve their skills. “I feel very nervous because high school color guard is new and is more serious than middle school guard,” Ina Mahmood (9)

said. “I am very excited to do more and perform, but I am scared that I will let people down.” Once the season begins, the guard will compete at different competitions like Texas Color Guard Circuit (TCGC), State, and Winter Guard International (WGI). They will be given a score in prelims and if they meet the score and placement they will move on to the finals. The finals score then determines their final placement. Last year the guard placed 15th in State and made it to finals. In finals they placed 14th with a score of 78.835. Color guard has grown exponentially over the past year and has bumped up in their class, making competitions and tryouts more intense. With two separate teams this year, advanced members get a chance to show what they got and push themselves to get tricks and tosses not everyone can accomplish. Being on color guard is a year-round, time-consuming and heart-racing experience. It helps you with basic life skills that will move on with you to college and into adult life, and can also be a place where you meet your best friends.

It’s 7 a.m. and an R&B playlist marks the beginning of the day for varsity cheer captain Gabi Penafiel (12). In the midst of football season, her daily schedule proves to be both chaotic and full, but Gabi loves every second of it. After almost a full day of school, Gabi and Cameryn Alviar (12), her varsity cocaptain, stand in front of the gym entrance to greet all of the incoming cheerleaders with the question of the day. Fourth period cheer class consists of a coach and captain’s meeting, and is followed by a huddle with all the cheerleaders on the mat in which they discuss the day’s plan. “The meetings really help me to get motivated for the class and let me know exactly what I need to work on, and what the rest of the team needs to work on too,” she said. Before the class begins, they get into their ‘cheer huddle’ and get to work. After practice, the girls

and the coach meet again to discuss how the session went, and what to build on. Some practice sessions last longer than others, especially during the football season, when they stay until 6 p.m. on Tuesdays. The night before a game, Gabi sends out a text about what they should wear and bring for game day. “For game days, we try to keep the girls motivated and focused while we call cheers and lead cadences,” she said. “It really helps when we’re out on the field.” During games, Gabi and the other cheerleaders can be found pumping up the student section, leading a cheer, or playing cheer games with the other team’s cheerleaders on the sidelines. “Being on the field with my friends and teammates is my favorite part of the season,” Gabi said. “It’s a lot of work, and commitment, but I love it a lot.” From uniform fittings and summer time boot camps to late night homework sessions, being a cheer captain and a full time student fills a huge part of Gabi’s schedule. “It is tough to be so busy all the time and keep up with my classes, but I don’t mind it because I get to keep doing what I love,” she said.

Teacher Feature: Ms. Leslie Decker

Story by Townsend O’Hara Staff Writer

When you walk into Ms. Decker’s classroom, you shouldn’t be surprised to hear multiple languages flying around you. German teacher, Leslie Decker is a fluent speaker in three languages including German, English, and Dutch. Ms.Decker was born in Austin, Texas and attended The University Of Texas at Austin, graduating with a double major in German and

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Linguistics in 1998. During her time at school, she studied abroad in Wurzburg, Germany and Leiden in the Netherlands, where she learned to fluently speak Dutch and German. In 2000, she returned to Europe, working as an English Teacher in Prague, Czech Republic. In 2003 she moved back to the United States to attend graduate school in foreign language education. Finally, in 2006

she got a teaching job at Taylor High School as a German teacher and assisted with ESL. In addition to school and work, Decker has several other hobbies. “I go to language conversation groups regularly, not only to practice my language skills, but to meet new people, with which I’ve been very successful,” Decker said. “I also enjoy movies and

music, and regularly go to concerts and films.” In 2013, she landed a job as the primary German teacher at Cedar Ridge High School. Since then, she has continued to improve her students’ knowledge and skills in German, as well as her own. In August 2016, she received her Masters of Education in Educational and Instructional Technology from Texas Tech

University. Decker was lucky enough to participate in the popular TV trivia series “Jeopardy” in February 2012. Unfortunately, after making it through many rounds with a variety of contestants,she lost in the Semifinals. “I didn’t even watch myself,” Decker said. “Whenever it comes on I try to occupy myself with something else.”

Pass, Set, Kill!


Volleyball players reflect on their season

Story by Nathan Hill Staff Writer Cedar Ridge’s varsity volleyball team ended the season with a huge win against Stony Point (3-1). The Raiders finished with a record of 6-10 led by team captains Nia Spicer (12), Taylor Hamm (12), and Lauren Prendeville (12). The team played hard and managed to finish the season by battling through their weaknesses and embracing their strengths. “I think our biggest weakness was that we didn’t always play as a team, and our biggest strength was that we always brought out the best in each other and held each other accountable,” middle blocker Elena Bilhartz (10) said. With the season’s end, the players are already working to improve for the next season, hoping to secure a playoff spot. “I think next year we will have a good shot at playoffs,” Bilhartz said. “This year we had a pretty young team and everyone got to play at the high level and everyone on the team is very driven to play and get better.” Cedar Ridge’s JV team ended the season with a record of 11-5 led by team captains Isabella Jones (10), Eliana Fontana (10), and Emma Patmon (9). The team finished the season with a win against Stony Point, ending the season on a happy note. The team was satisfied with their hard work and effort to develop a great season.

“I would say communication and team chemistry helped contribute to a winning season for us,” Kaira Asis (10) said. Cedar Ridge’s Flex team wrapped of the season with a record of 10-6, securing a final win over Stony Point. They succeeded in achieving a winning record and owe it all to their teamwork and dedication. “Everyone worked together and trusted each other to do their part,” Lexi Pippen (10) said. “We trusted eac other’s judgement and worked to achieve a great season.” With their season all wrapped up, the Flex team also has goals for next season they are working hard to accomplish. “We all have goals to become better all around players and to get stronger as a team,” Pippen said. The Freshman team finished the season with a record of 16-4, beating out Stony Point to win their last game. They were led by team captains Samantha Reynolds (9) and Kyla Dearing (9). The team worked together to play a good season and sought to reach their full potential. “I feel like we reached our full potential, but we could have done better as a team instead of arguing all the time,” Cydney Vaughn (9) said. With this being their first year of

playing high school level competition, each player brought their skills and work ethic to the table when needed most to develop a strong season. “We had goals to do the best we could do and continue to work towards our goal of making JV next year. With the volleyball season wrapped up and ready to go for next season, we hope to see each team at their finest next year.





Going the Distance Story by Nathan Hill Staff Writer

The cross country teams finished off the season with an amazing effort. The teams were led by boys team captains Kellen Frickel (10) and Nathaniel Gregory (12), and girls team captains, Jordan Ledington (11) and Madilynn Pearcy (12). For these runners, teamwork was a key part of their success as a whole. “I feel like everyone plays a role in the teams success, including JV runners with their passion for the sport and for everyone’s success,” Frickel said.

“We’re all there for each other, and we support each other no matter how fast or how slow you are. We’re just a great team and we bond a lot,” Genesis Crawford (10) said. Even though they did not qualify for the district championship, they still achieved the individual and team goals they set at the start of the season. Frickel broke the 5K sophomore record with a time of 16:18, securing a spot in the record book. “I wanted to see my improvement from last year so I tried my hardest this season and accomplished my goal of breaking a record,”

Frickel said. Each runner had goals to become better competitors for themselves and teammates with support from their coaches and teammates. “We wanted to make it out of district, but we didn’t end up doing that,” Frickel said. “Our other goal was to all run a personal best at district and we all accomplished that and we had a faster team than we did last year.” With their personal accomplishments and satisfaction of how their season went, some runners reflected back on who and what motivated them during the season. Certain

teammates took it upon themselves to take up more of a leadership role to encourage their teams. “I feel like Emma Bartholomew takes up a team leader role because she is there to support the JV, freshman and Varsity teams, even though she’s one of the fastest,” Crawford said. “She’s just there for everyone who competes. We all are striving to become better and everyone is just trying to get to varsity next year so we are still doing practices outside of cross country.” While the 2019 cross country season is over, runners are working hard to improve for next season.


The Quill » Semester Recap

Sports » 11

The Real Cost of Football Story by Dante Motley Print Editor-in-Chief As Friday night lights flash on to illuminate hundreds of fields around Texas, thousands of fans gather in multi-million dollar stadiums to cheer on their local high school in the high impact sport of football. It is clear that football is a big part of the state’s culture. However, many wonder if high school football deserves the attention it gets. It is not uncommon to be unaware of the true cost, and the true rewards, of the collision sport. The amount of time, dedication, and resources that Round Rock ISD puts into the football program is tremendous, yet sustainable. But the developing science of Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and concussion study is beginning to show that these costs might be higher than previously thought. While the exact number the district spends on football is hard to pin down, some of the contributing factors in the cost of football include a $160,000 equipment allocation, which accounts for around 8% of the district athletic department’s budget, and 110 employees who are involved in the football program. However, many of those workers are first and foremost teachers, which is where a majority of their pay originates. This allocation of resources is not insignificant to the many students who see it as excessive. “In water polo, we have to use lawn chairs as goals. We have one coach and Cedar Ridge football has 13 coaches. It’s a little enraging that football gets that much money,” Daniel Dunsworth (12) said. Nationwide concerns about underfunded education, especially in art departments, has further exaggerated concerns about possible overfunding. And still, much of the football program’s costs are not covered by the district budget. Fundraising and booster clubs pick up the slack where the district can’t provide. “There’s not as much money going to football as people think there is. People are willing to raise money,” Sam Robinson, the Cedar Ridge head football coach and athletic director, said. “They aren’t going to take money from the classroom and put it into football.” The Cedar Ridge Football Booster Club, along with other sources of fundraising, has helped improve the program while reducing costs in a number of ways. They contribute to getting the team better equipment, pregame meals, and even purchased the inflatable tunnel the team runs out of before the game. “It’s a solid community of parents just trying to make a better game experience for the kids. They pick up for what the budget can’t provide,” Robinson said. At the district level, football brings in $490,000 in ticket sales, which is deposited in the district general fund to be distributed where it is needed. While some question the distribution of funds to football, new developments in health science have forced others to

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question the effectiveness of those funds. As previously mentioned, $160,000 is allocated for football equipment. According to Dwayne Weirich, the district athletic director, the district provides enough money for schools to have safe equipment and a field to play on. However, “safe” equipment has recently come under fire, leading a number of schools across the country to drop the sport. About 5% of football players at Cedar Ridge have experienced a concussion. The football department sees one concussion about every two weeks, but Matthew (Doc) Owens, the athletic trainer for Cedar Ridge, says they are doing their best to prevent them. “I hate concussions. We can’t see it, can’t feel it, can’t touch it,” Doc said. “Are we doing what science is telling us to do right now to prevent brain trauma? Yes, but it’s an evolving science. And are we doing enough to protect him for 2030 years down the road? I don’t know.” Concussions are caused by mild to moderate brain traumas. Yet, repetitive small head collisions that don’t cause concussions come with a risk as well: Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a nerve degenerative disorder that is only detectable after death. It generally manifests decades after football players stop playing. It generally correlates to cognitive, behavioral, and mood problems, but it is unclear if CTE is the cause of these issues. One recent study found that a player’s chance of getting CTE increases 30% for every year they play football at any level. While steps have been taken to prevent concussion and CTE in football, such as eliminating unnecessary drills that cause head impacts, Dr. Daniel Daneshvar, a CTE specialist from Boston University, says there is a lot more that can be done. ”While it would be hard to eliminate risk from hits or repeated hits from a sport like football, it doesn’t mean we wouldn’t be able to minimize those risks,” he said. The effectiveness of pads and helmets against all forms of head trauma is still questioned. “The problem is when you’re talking about mild injuries, like concussions, it’s not clear what the effect of helmets are,” Dr. Daneshavar said. “Specifically, you might play in a riskier style if you feel more protected. And you might actually expose yourself to more concussions or repetitive head impacts that are sub concussive. So it’s kind of a mixed bag.” With Cedar Ridge football players putting in 15 to 20 hours a week, it is easy to see why some are concerned about their health. But the district and the school insist they are doing their best to protect players despite it not being recognized. “I feel sometimes football gets judged a little unfairly on that deal because you know how studies can look worse when you read them,” Coach Robinson said. So while football may bring in the big bucks, it is still unclear if the financial cost of football is worth it, or if it is ineffective in preventing physical tolls.


Basketball hosts first annual Evening Madness

Story & Photo by Nick Lesifko Design Editor On Nov. 11, Cedar Ridge hosted their first annual Evening Madness in the big gym. During this event, the boys basketball team faced off against the girls team in many competitions such as a game of H.O.R.S.E, dunk contest, skills challenge, shooting competitions, and other varieties of challenges. Students and parents from the stands were also able to compete with half-court shots in the middle of two competitions. “My favorite part was the dunk contest because they had cool lights and I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Townsend O’Hara (9) said. During the Madness, the players got their head coaches in the mix of the events. Coach Black, the boy’s basketball coach, and Coach Lewis, the girl’s head coach got into a couple of one on ones. Coach Lewis ended up taking home the win in all three of the events they participated in. By participating in a half-court shot contest and a skills contest it was a close one

until the end. “I came out pretty confident cause I knew I could do what I wanted. But when the crowd got hyped for me it was just an amazing feeling and I knew it was game over,” Elijah Caro (12) said. The fan-favorite event was the dunk contest. The varsity boys competed against each other by dunking for two rounds. The first round consisted of everyone in the competition getting one minute to do as many dunks as they can. Once everyone went, the final two contestants had one dunk to complete. Caro and Zach Feller (12) competed in the finals, with Elijah taking the win home by jumping over Jaden Finley (11). As the event ended, people left with happy faces and wanted to see more. The Cedar Ridge basketball teams started off their season on a happy note after this event. A great way for the students to meet the players.

SPORTS Football makes seventh playoff appearance Story by Luke White Sports Editor The Raiders’ 2018 season came to a heartbreaking end in the second round of the playoffs against The Woodlands. With the game knotted at 50-50, The Woodlands kicker Fabrizio Pinton’s 55-yard field goal as time expired gave the Highlanders the victory. The Raiders began the season on a high note with a statement win over Temple on Aug. 30, defeating them 35-29. The team went on to lose their district opener to Vandegrift, last season’s district champions, 7-28. On Sept. 27, the Raiders dropped their Homecoming matchup against archrival Stony Point, 32-42.

However, on Oct. 25, Cedar Ridge took on Round Rock in a game they needed to win in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Raiders pulled out a 58-47 upset victory following a stellar performance by running back Deuce Vaughn (12). The team rode a three game win streak to gain the district’s fourth and final playoff spot. Cedar Ridge went on to face Cy-Woods in the first round

Varsity Scores

Following a successful 9-3 campaign in 2018, Cedar Ridge reached the playoffs for the seventh year in a row in 2019. The Raiders were led by quarterback Jalen Brown (12), running back Deuce Vaughn (12), and linebacker Devin Taylor (12). The season was clouded with uncertainty at the beginning, as the team lost many talented players, such as wide receiver Jaylen Ellis (now at Baylor), defensive end Edge Dillard-Williams, and linebacker Kris Laws, due to graduation. This required many players to step up at their position to help the team have a successful season.

on Nov. 15, but fell to the Wildcats 28-42. However, this marked the Raiders’ seventh straight season in which they qualified for the playoffs. “We’ve had good players and good parents that push their kids and have helped us out when we need them,” head coach Sam Robinson said. “We’ve also got a lot of assistant coaches here that have put in a ton of time developing kids.”

While the season may not have ended the way team wanted it to, the players made memories that will last a lifetime. The team is ready to put in hard work during the offseason so that they can come back better next season. “We have to be a more balanced team,” Robinson said. “We’re working really hard right now, just cleaning up some small details so

those little mistakes go away during the games.”

For the Record Varsity: 6-5 JV Purple: 7-3 JV Black: 9-1 Freshman Purple: 7-2 Freshman Black: 7-0-2

35-29 (W) - Temple

49-27 (W) - Leander

49-42 (L) - Vista Ridge

77-69 (W) - Westwood

26-14 (L) - Cedar Park

42-32 (L) - Stony Point

58-47 (W) - Round Rock

42-28 (L) - Cypress Woods

28-7 (L) - Vandegrift

31-21 (W) - Hendrickson

38-21 (W) - McNeil

Causing a Racquet

Photos by Sydney Cohen, Parris Kanwar & Samantha Le

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