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Eagle Angle Allen High School Allen, Texas, 75002 Volume 29, Special Edition Magazine, May 2012

Piecing together


After their crowning, Prom King Mitchell Powell and Queen Deanna Barakat share a dance at the Allen Event Center on April 28. photo by Lauren Duncan

the eagle angle // May 2012 contents

Letters from the editors


features Cheater cheater pumpkin eater


Food for thought


Renaissance man


Different strokes for different folks


health Tan-talizing risks


Tackling type-1



“They just want to be accepted and loved. They’re talented, and they’re capable of a lot more than we give them credit for.” - Junior Georgi Roberts Sibling memories // 12 photo by Saher Aqeel

On the cover The number of minorities in Texas is increasing and aiding educational experiences for students. Out of the 19,450 students in the school district 42 percent were listed as non-white. Diverse District // 14 Part 1

Head case


The round table with David Barr


The best of sports photos


Coming soon


opinions You’ve got a friend in me


A hazing moment


Senior salutes


Typical tacos


Entertainment’s best


Superhero mashup


graphic by Nicole Welch May 2012 // the eagle angle


Kayla Graves & Nicole Welch

the eagle angle MANAGING EDITOR

Lydia Gardner


Esther Yang


Kailey Warren


David Barr


Katie Borchert


Lucas Lostoski


Aafiya Jamal Akshay Mirchandani Breanne McCallop Bryant Arias Carly Osterman Conner Martin Cory Fleck Dymielle Desquitado Elaine Kirby Emily Cantwell

Folake Olayinka Grace Lee Haly Nguyen Jennifer Wagoner Jessica Alaniz Jessica Nason Jessie Hamze Kacey Wilson Kate Conroy Kathleen Sinor Madyson Russell

Maggie Rians Mckenzi Morris Molli Boyd Neha Singh Nilanjana Pati Rebecca Barney Rebecca Moss Saher Aqeel Shaylon Miller Victoria Erb Zachariah Avellanet

Policy: 900 copies of each issue are distributed on campus to faculty and students. Content may be viewed online at Letters to the editor should be submitted to Any errors found within the publication will be rescinded in the following issue. Businesses who wish to advertise should contact Callie Wiesner, newspaper adviser, at 972-727-0400 x 1609. The Eagle Angle reserves the right to deny publication of advertisements. Advertisements are not necessarily endorsed by the staff or administration. All editorials reflect the views of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of the staff, adviser or administration. The Eagle Angle is a member of Quill and Scroll, the Interscholastic League Press Conference and JEA/NSPA.

View the eagle angle online at


May 2012 // the eagle angle

Letters from the editors T

his letter is one of the more challenging pieces I have had to write during my three years on staff. I have put this letter off for weeks, but now I must finally say goodbye. I’ve spent days thinking about how I can say my proper good byes to the editors, Mrs. Wiesner, the staff and my position, and I still don’t think I will say it correctly. I am going to miss my there new best friends, Kayla, Lydia and Lucas, that I have made this year, and all the great friends I have made on staff. I never fully realized how much I would truly miss the “board of editors” until I sat down to write this letter. On an almost daily basis we debated whether or not we should put up a tent in the middle of the newspaper room (equipped with a mini-fridge, of course) for overnight stays on deadline week. And even though I won’t miss our constant bickering over different newspaper topics, I will miss our random bursts of laughter we call melt-downs. Our inside jokes are practically endless and we constantly confuse our staff members by the somewhat odd conversations we have. This letter means the end of the three stooges, the end of fast face in the snow and the end of my editor position. I must also say goodbye to the adviser, Mrs. Wiesner, whom I have spent the past three years learning from. She has taught me how to become a better writer, photographer, designer and leader. The experiences I have gained are something I can proudly say I will take with me wherever I go. I have learned so much from everyone on staff this year and have enjoyed seeing how tremendously each staff member has improved from the beginning of the year. I will miss getting close with staff members on a daily basis and I will even miss the crazy sports team. I will always cherish the moments in K109 such as when I walked into the newspaper room listening to the “Nicole’s newspaper oath” by the sports team. This is sadly my last article I will write for The Eagle Angle. It is amazing how fast this moment came. I never imagined when I joined staff sophomore year that I would write this letter. As I write it I don’t want it to end, but I know it must. So this is my final goodbye to everyone I have come to know and love throughout my newspaper journey.

Lydia, Lucas and us throw newspapers into the air to celebrate the end of the year. photo by Will Reams


hen people ask if I’m excited about graduating, I automatically say yes. I’m excited to start the new phase of my life, to attend school overseas, to see the world and experience all that there is to experience. But then there’s a part of me that stops for a moment, that part of me that realizes that leaving high school also means leaving newspaper. I regret wasting my freshman year taking a technical theatre class. Sewing, paint brushes and stage designing? It wasn’t my thing. I wasn’t a fan, but I knew that I liked writing and I knew that it was something I wanted to do. So I took an intro class the next year. And I loved it even more than I imagined. Talking to people, listening to their stories and hearing a side of them that very few people will ever see is absolutely fascinating to me. This past summer when the editors met for the first time we set out to publish stories and content that people carried about, that people would actually read and talk about. Some

stories gave me goose bumps, some made me laugh, some made think but I think all of them accomplished our goal of increasing readership. Awards are nice, plaques are nice, but what makes me the happiest is when I see newspaper in hands and not thrown on the ground. We had a rough start this year but I can’t see myself doing half of the things that we accomplished with my right hand, Nicole. I’m going to miss Lydia’s unintelligible voices and Lucas’ wit but I know this isn’t the end of us. It’ll take a little getting used to - not sitting in the back of K109 slaving away to create a masterpiece - but I’m so excited to see all of the wonderful things that the paper will do next year. I’ll miss it, but I’m not sad. It’s the end of my time at The Eagle Angle, but it’s also the start of something new.

May 2012 // the eagle angle



In response to last summer’s SAT and ACT scandal, The College Board instituted new security measures to prevent cheating starting this fall. Photo illustration by Welch & Kayla Graves


In the

palm of your



A click of a button. In the age of the iPhone, iPad and Google, that’s all it takes to have access to all the answers. Cheating has never been easier. “Technology has made [cheating to where] you can disseminate information quicker and faster,” AP World History teacher Patrick Kealy said. “So you know, you can take pictures of tests and quizzes. Those kind of things didn’t exist five years ago.” According to a survey by Common Sense Media, thirty five percent of teens admit to using their cell phones to cheat. Within that survey, students admitted to storing information on their phone, sending text messages to receive answers, taking pictures of a test, searching for answers on the Internet and warning friends using their phones. AP Chemistry teacher Dena Leggett said she catches students cheating in different ways,

including using their cell phones and the Internet to look up information. “I don’t think they’re all intending to cheat,” Leggett said. “I think they see it as all fair game for information and if I find it on the Internet it’s reasonable. So knowing how to filter the information for valuable information but also filter the information for ‘How do I use this information with integrity?’” After a cheating scandal was uncovered in several Long Island, New York high schools in September 2011, new security measures were put in place by the College Board that will go into effect this fall for the ACT and SAT. The scandal involved high ranking students posing as other students and taking the exam for them. The new measures will require students to send in a picture of themselves when they register, present identification on the test day and identify their high school so their scores can go back to their school. “I think [the new measures] will make it harder [to cheat],” senior Vivy Phan said, “but for people who really want to cheat, they will find a way around it.” Even though 80 percent of high achieving high school students admit to cheating according to, sophomore Angela Olinger said the highly ranked students are more motivated to learn the material. “If you’re cheating you aren’t actually learning the information,” Olinger said. “So when it comes to test time you aren’t going to do well.” Phan, who is ranked third in the senior class, said that she has seen people try to cheat off of her in class by looking at her paper. “I’ve seen people [cheat] that I would never expect to cheat,” Phan said. “That’s really disappointing because I totally don’t see them the same way.” An anonymous junior* admits that she stole the answers to a quiz and shared them with her friend. She said that she cheats because she did not pay attention to the material or forgot how to do the problems. “I get my grade back and I’m like, ‘that’s higher than it would’ve been if I would’ve taken it by myself,’” the junior said. Olinger spends about four hours a day on schoolwork, but she said she does not cheat because stealing someone else’s work is unfair. “You never know if the person you’re cheating off of is going to be right or not,” Olinger said. “I would never trust anyone else to the point if we’re doing a group project I make


May 2012 // the eagle angle

sure it gets done right. Obviously it’s wrong to cheat, but even if you are going to cheat, it’s stupid because you no longer have control over your grade and you’re relying on someone else.” An anonymous sophomore* said he cheats when he does not want to fail. “My grades depend on it, and that’s only been a certain number of times,” the sophomore said. “But most of the time if that thought comes in my head, I think of the consequences and that it’s wrong.” Ninety-five percent of students who cheat do not get caught according to Online Education Database (OEDB). Even though the junior admits she cheats often, she also said she does not worry about getting caught. “It was more of a nervous feeling, [actually cheating], and hoping I wouldn’t get caught but knowing I probably wouldn’t,” the junior said. Still, she said she sometimes regrets cheating. “I kind of feel bad,” the junior said, “because this person is really smart and I’m just stealing their work.” OEDB also reports that only 16.5 percent of students say they do not regret cheating. Once when she was in school Leggett and her friend shared answers on a test after the teacher walked out of the room. She said she still feels guilty about her actions. “I just never felt good about myself, that’s always been my temperament,” Leggett said. “I’ve always been a pretty compliant person and a rule follower a little bit, and so I felt pretty guilty.” Even if a student makes the decision to cheat, Kealy said he feels the choices they make do not define who they are as a person. “This is the time to not necessarily make a mistake, but this is the time to find out that those kinds of choices aren’t the best choices to get what you want,” Kealy said. When he catches a student cheating, Kealy said he makes the student retake a different version of the assignment, so that he does not bring attention to the situation. “I just want to make sure they know the material,” Kealy said, “so I say ‘okay, let’s take this test again.’” Leggett gives the student a chance to confess by asking them to come forward and talk to her privately about their actions. If they do so, she said the impact on their grade is less harsh. “There has to be consequences,” Leggett said, “but I think within those consequences there’s a way to have a balance of grace and

truth. We want to have a little bit of grace so they learn, but we still want to be tough on them so they understand the truth and severity of what they’ve done.” This year, Leggett said she realized AP questions are online with the answers and justifications, and students could use those to cheat on her tests. “I’d be naïve to think students are not going to use [what’s online] as a resource,” Leggett said. “‘So it’s like, fine. Use it as a study resource. It’s very valuable for that. But the only way I can ensure that the information is not on the Internet is if I write it.” Leggett makes her students put their cell phones in a plastic bag face down on the desk before a test or quiz is handed out. Leggett and Kealy also use methods such as creating two versions of an assignment, changing assignments each year and writing their own tests to make cheating more difficult for students. “It’s a lot more work, but it’s what helps cut down on the cheating,” Kealy said. “And I’m not sure it cuts down on the cheating, but it cuts down on the scores of the people that happen to be looking at the next [test] because they might not know it’s a separate version.” Leggett also said older preventative methods, such as not handing back tests until all have been taken, no longer work. “It is so easy to take a quick photograph,” Leggett said. “The thought that we can maintain that level of test security that we used to be able to maintain, I just don’t think it’s very valid anymore.” Leggett said that there are different driving forces behind why people cheat. “Sometimes it’s just this pressure to get into a good college so you want that GPA, sometimes it’s pressure because you have too much on your plate and you’re going to fall apart,” Leggett said. “Sometimes it’s stress, and sometimes it’s laziness.” Phan said she agrees that students cheat because they are either lazy or pressured about grades. “I mean, grades are important but there is more to life,” Phan said. “You can’t stress out about it.” *Names were kept anonymous to protect identities.

story by Rebecca Barney & McKenzi Morris // staff writers

Culinary arts teacher


hile preparing food at Blú on Thursday, April 19, culinary arts teacher Jordan Swim received the Teacher of the Year Award for his second year of teaching at Allen. “I think you just look at Allen High School and you just see so many tremendous teachers that work lots of hours,” Swim said. “It’s just a great honor to be a part of that group.” Swim was in the kitchen with his Culinary I class prepping for the last day that Blú was open when a group including Principal Steve Payne, Associate Principal for Curriculum Jill Stafford, Career and Technology Principal Karen Bradley, and Swim’s wife, Emily, and baby, Caroline, came into the kitchen. Swim received a plaque for winning the Teacher of the Year Award. “I was shocked and it was fun to see my wife and baby there,” Swim said. “It was just kind of a really unique moment.” Sophomore restaurant management student Elyse Simchik said she was surprised that Swim won teacher of the year. “But it kind of makes sense because everyone who talks to him, they immediately fall in love with him,” Simchik said. “He’s just very outgoing.” Sheila Hyde teaches restaurant management, principles of hospitality and hospitality practicum, and works closely with Swim. “I was very proud of him,” Hyde said. “I think it’s a great reflection on him as well as our program as a whole. When he came here last year he was in [the] back of the cafeteria with four tables as a restaurant. So to be able to go from where they were to where we are now is very astounding and it’s a reflection of his goals and his values and his work ethic.” Swim said he believes in the importance of career and technology programs that provide


Teacher of the Year students with an idea of what they want to do after college. “I think that a lot of high school students are trying to figure out where to go [and] what are things that they want to do, and career and technology programs such as culinary arts/ hospitality provides students with that first step on the path,” Swim said. Swim said that the new culinary arts facilities such as the kitchen and Blú restaurant have improved his class. “It’s provided real world understanding of a kitchen,” Swim said. “I mean, this is built for the students, and so for them to come in here and work in this kitchen and be a part of what’s happening really gives kids a great opportunity for growth and also to see if this is what they want to do.” Simchik agrees. “We get a more detailed perspective about what we are getting into and how it’s going to affect us,” Simchik said. Hyde said she thinks that Swim won Teacher of the Year because his team went to nationals in the ProStart culinary competition. “Mr. Swim has a very hands on teaching style,” Hyde said. “The students are taught culinary concepts at a very high level.” Swim said he was honored that he was nominated by his peers. “It’s just that you think about your performance in the classroom and you think about what’s going well [and] what needs work,” Swim said. “And most of all, you just kind of realize that we, as educators, every year need to grow our craft and we need to continue to be about the students.” story by Emily Cantwell // staff writer photos by Kayla Graves

May 2012 // the eagle angle


Paying it forward Junior expands charitable tutoring business, travels to Kenya this summer


ric, can you help me out?” Junior Eric Langston, who has consistently ranked in the top two of his class since freshman year, gets asked for academic help constantly. But between six AP classes, wind ensemble, piano practice, National Honor Society, Key Club, Interact Club, Science Club, National Spanish Honor Society, French Honor Society and practicing his euphonium, Langston cannot help everyone out on his own. “I hate people coming to me and not being able to help them out,” Langston said. “I have to prioritize and I can’t necessarily help everyone out that asks me for help. I’d like to be able to give them the help that they need.” To meet that need Langston hopes to expand his social outreach tutoring program ,called Forward Tutoring, started by his friend, Stephanie Nguyen, in the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science. On May 14 the tutoring program won first in North America, first in design and second globally at the Dell Social Innovation Competition. “We were really excited because it was unexpected to us,” Langston said. “Winning a competition of this caliber opens up a lot of horizons for the business to expand in the future.” Forward Tutoring is a business where customers pay for tutoring services solely through community service. High school students in need of math or science tutoring volunteer with various non profits, such as the Volunteer Center of North Texas, that partner with Forward Tutoring. Those that volunteer as a tutor receive service hours and have the opportunity to earn exclusive internships and scholarships offered by nonprofit organizations that the company is still in the process of confirming. “We want students in remote areas to be able to afford the education that they need,” Nguyen said. “We want them to get out into the community and see that they have the potential to help and be aware of what’s going on in the


May 2012 // the eagle angle

world.” Because of his involvement with the program, Langston received the opportunity to travel to Kenya to collect research for The Supply, an organization that builds secondary schools for children in impoverished areas. In February, Langston attended the Asian American Leadership and Education Conference, which educates Asian American youth and features influential Asian American speakers, because many of his friends were going and he was interested in the event. There, he discussed his involvement in Forward Tutoring with Eddo Kim, founder of The Supply, and received the opportunity to go to Kenya. “He talked to me even though he didn’t have much time,” Langston said. “I’m really interested in the type of work he does. He builds secondary schools in Kenya and this is his job. His life is based on helping out kids in this community and that’s something that’s really touching and something that I’d be very interested in doing myself in the future.” Kim told Langston about his high school program where students conduct social and scientific research on topics such as effective waste management, the effect of green tea on HIV and the impact of parents’ education on enrollment rates, for The Supply in Nairobi, Kenya. After Langston expressed an interest in going, Kim invited him to go to Kenya in July to help collect research for The Supply. “I hope to develop relationships with people in the community and really see the impact that what I’m doing has on them, and I guess really that’s my main goal,” Langston said. “I mean, the research will be fun, the contacts will be cool to have, but I’m most interested in seeing the impact that I can have on the people there.” Langston’s role in the business is to bring Forward Tutoring to Allen. He has met with Principal Jimmy Trotter to discuss launching the program at Allen and asked for a Forward Tutoring committee within Key Club. Langston also interns for Collin County

Justice of the Peace Judge Payton. His job is to oversee truancy court and supervise students’ community service. He plans on presenting Forward Tutoring to students at truancy court who are required to perform community service. “[Langston’s] really enthusiastic and passionate and he is really responsible,” Nguyen said. “He is a go-getter and he doesn’t hesitate to reach out to people and help in any way he can. I think that’s really unique and he takes a lot of responsibility for his commitment to Forward Tutoring and expanding it.” Langston’s mother, Randa Yates, said she thinks it will be good for Langston to see the different ways that people live in other countries, because in college Langston wants to study abroad in China. However, she said she has mixed emotions about Langston going to Kenya. “I’m actually really excited for him,” Mrs. Yates said. “I think it’s going to be a really good experience. I think it will be a humbling experience, but also, as a parent, I’m worried because Africa’s not the safest place to send your kid to.” Langston said he’s excited to go to Kenya. “I hope to come back with more social experience and more understanding of what other parts of the world are like,” Langston said, “because we live in this kind of sheltered community where we only see what Allen’s like and America’s like but it’s really different [in] other places.” In the future, Langston wants to major in biology or physics at his dream school, Stanford, and possibly minor in Chinese translation. “I wanted to speak fluent Chinese ever since I was 3 years old, probably,” Langston said. “It’s a complicated language and I’ve always been attracted to things that are challenging. So even from a really young age, I wanted to do the most challenging things.”

story by Emily Cantwell // staff writer photo by Saher Aqeel

Students find alternative routes for college As of last fall 68.3 percent of 2011 high school graduates are enrolled in a college or university, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. In a survey from the Institute for Higher Learning 80 percent of students who choose not to attend college stated financial reasons as an important factor. The average cost of a private four-year college is priced at an estimated $31,916 per year whereas a public two-year community college is priced at $11,692. According to the Office of Vocational and Adult Education 47 percent of students enrolled in public institutions were enrolled in community college. Other high school graduates choose to enter the military, attend a trade school or work.


nstead of starting college this fall senior Will Camacho decided to join the Navy. “I chose to go into the Navy because it offered more chances to see the world,” Camacho said. “I mean, I’m just out of high school and I don’t want to be stationary, I don’t want to settle down too fast.” Camacho took the Armed Services Vocational Battery exam this spring to gain entrance into the armed forces and become a part of the U.S. Navy after he graduates this May. Camacho said he heard about the Navy through his uncle, who works with the Navy Seals as a part of their deployment in Norfolk, Virginia. “I’ve only seen him three or four times in my life [because] he’s gone a lot,” Camacho said. “[But] he would talk about it, and I would be like ‘Yeah that seems pretty good.’ I looked into it and it’s fantastic.” Navy benefits include a college education and insurance through Tricare, a health care provider for uniformed service members. Camacho said these were a driving factor when he decided to join the Navy.


e can sense the critical stare of the judge as he wipes his sweaty hands on his jeans. He steps into the dimly lit auditorium and onto the stage. Even though this wasn’t his original choice for college, senior Dominic Pecikonis knows that going to Collin College will help him stay out of debt. “I was looking forward to experiencing moving unto campus,” Pecikonis said, “so it’s kind of a downfall.” Towards the end of March Pecikonis received financial aid information that made him realize he had to go to an affordable college and not Oklahoma City University. He was accepted into Oklahoma City University’s School of Theatre after his audition and received $6,000 a year in scholarships. However, it would have put him $80,000 in debt after four years of school. Although he was accepted into nine

“It’s not like I’m in [a] super tight of a financial spot, but college is expensive,” Camacho said. “[The Navy] covers all my housing, food and equipment, everything I need.” Camacho’s mother, high school Pre-AP/ IB Spanish II and IB Spanish IV-V teacher Nicole Yanez, said she has concerns about Camacho’s decision to join the Navy. “You don’t know what crazy people are out there,” Yanez said. “What if he gets stuck in there and he goes ‘Oh dang, this is not what I thought it would be.’ That would probably be my biggest concern, that he’s going to get in there and change his mind.” Either way, Camacho said he plans on enlisting for the minimum requirement of four years. He hopes to work as part of air traffic control on battleships, in Navy intelligence or as a core man, which is a nurse who helps the wounded on the battlefield. But Camacho said the possibility of risking his life as a core man makes him nervous. “I don’t like the possibility of getting shot,” Camacho said. “I will gladly be on the boat, carrying them over there[…]I’m more behind

the scenes, tech, than the actor.” Camacho said that after the Navy he’s not sure of the career path he wants to pursue but he has looked into voice acting and physical therapy. “I might make [the Navy] a career, I might not,” Camacho said. “Physical therapists are really hard to be, but I like to help people a lot. I wanted to be able to say, ‘I helped that person walk again’ or ‘I helped them learn to write.’ Just the joy of helping other people. But it’s a lot of money, lot of school. Time I have, but money not so much.” Although he said he knows his family will always be there for him, Camacho said he worries about losing contact with his friends while he is away. “People change over time, so when you left you had an idea of what [that] friend was, but when you come back they could be an entirely different person,” Camacho said. “Or that I’ll come back and we won’t have anything to talk about. Either the military will change me so much that I’ll become a different person, or they’ll be a different person, or both.”

schools, including SMU, Ohio University and Rider University, Pecikonis said that because he comes from a family of six he has to pay for his own college tuition. “I got accepted into a good [college] and I also know that a couple of my friends didn’t get accepted so I am kind of grateful,” Pecikonis said, “but it honestly made it worst that I had a chance to go but I didn’t.” Pecikonis said he did not want his student loan debt throughout four years of schooling to pass $40,000 so he decided to attend Collin College. He said his parents were upset about his decision to go there at first. “I thought that he was kind of settling by not going off to college,” Pecikonis’ mother, Mary Pecikonis, said, “but after he told me how much he would owe if he didn’t go to Collin College, I supported his decision.”

Mrs. Pecikonis said that although she thought attending college would make him well rounded, she didn’t want him to feel that he had to go a university because his friends were going. “He tries to stay positive about it,” Mrs. Pecikonis said. “His determination and hard work would help him in the long run.” With most of Pecikonis’ friends attending different universities he said he feels kind of left out that he will not experience the campus life style, but he still tries to stay positive about it. “It’s a lot of talking to family and friends because every time I get upset they will cheer me up,” Pecikonis said. “At Collin College the theatre department is well-rounded. It has made me more excited to go there.”

story by Megan Lucas // contributing writer

story by Folake Olayinka // staff writer May 2012 // the eagle angle


Light conversation Fraternal twins Georgi and Ashton Roberts talk while watching their younger brother play outside. “No matter what the difference is in boundaries [or] difficulties that come,” Georgi said, “there’s still a way to be a sister, and even though sometimes it’s more challenging than it has to be, it’s still doable.”

Sweet moments

Three students discuss life with special needs siblings


ophomore Brianna Basinger and her family prepare to leave Chuck E. Cheese’s. Grace Basinger, Brianna’s little sister, who is 6 at the time, continues to play in the one story high skytubes, until they call her down saying it is time to go. A few minutes later, Grace comes down the slide, completely naked. Brianna said this is just one of the many “crazy things” Grace, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome right after birth, has done. But Brianna said while these countless events with Grace, now 14, may get annoying, she would


May 2012 // the eagle angle

miss them if they were gone. According to an Americans with Disabilities report from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2005, approximately 16.05 million individuals 15 years and older have some sort of mental disability. The Bureau further reported in 2009 that 77.9 percent of children in America were living with one or more sibling, resulting in a significant chance of a child with special needs having a sibling without a disability. “I think it’d be weird actually having a sister without a disability,” Brianna said. “Every day is like an adventure, and I’m just used to it.”

Down syndrome is caused by an extra chromosome in the genetic material, which means diagnosed children have 47 chromosomes instead of 46. Children with Down syndrome usually have distinct physical features and some degree of intellectual disability. However, Brianna has never described her sister by her diagnosis, but by her personality. “[Grace] is the cutest little thing,” Brianna said. “She’s so crazy and out there, but she also is the sweetest thing ever. If I ever am crying or sad or something like that, she’ll come and give me a big hug. She’s the purest hearted person I know.”

Junior Georgi Roberts has a sister with special needs and said that she wishes everyone could understand how big children with special needs hearts are. “They just want to be accepted and loved,” Georgi said. “They’re talented, and they’re capable of a lot more than we give them credit for.” Georgi’s fraternal twin, Ashton, was diagnosed with intellectual disability in the first grade, which means she learns at a slower pace than other people, but her social skills are not different. “[Ashton’s] probably the happiest person you’ll ever meet,” Georgi said. “Everyone loves her. She just always has a smile on her face and she likes to be friends with everyone.” Still, Georgi said Ashton struggled with bullying in elementary school. “It’s really sad as a family to have to call up to the school and say, ‘This is happening [and] it’s unacceptable,’” Georgi said. “It affects the whole family, it does, like if anything is said or if she can’t do something because of [her condition], obviously it makes us really sad.” Sophomore Melissa Davis’s older sister has Williams syndrome, which is characterized by varying degrees of mental deficiency, short stature and an elfin-like appearance. At 21, Melissa’s sister weighs only 87 pounds, still attends high school and also struggled with bullying. “We both went to day care when we were little, and for some reason these kids were calling her retarded,” Melissa said. “I didn’t know what it meant [because] I was little. Obviously it was bad, because everybody was laughing, so I stuck up for her. They’re very mean.” Brianna said that when she hears someone with special needs being made fun of, she feels offended because of her sister’s situation. “She was born with that disability,” Brianna said. “It’s not like [Grace] chose to be special needs, it’s not like we could have prevented it. It just happened. They’re making fun of her for the way she is and it’s not cool. Why would you make fun of someone who can’t even help it?” All of the siblings participate in Special Olympics and compete in the bowling event. Melissa’s sister takes part in track and bocce as well. She also competes in basketball, volleyball and swimming with Ashton. “They’re so talented you would not even believe it,” Georgi said. “You think you’ll show up and you’ll be like, ‘Ah, it’s just going to be so boring,’ but they’re good. It’s crazy.” Georgi said that having her sister in Special Olympics is no different than other teens having

a sibling involved in athletics, because disability or not, one just has to make time for it. “[Ashton] is so good at sports,” Georgi said. “She knows that [it’s] not the same as whenever I do my sports, it’s a different thing, but she finds pride in that. It’s not an embarrassment to her at all.” None of the families have a history of the respective disabilities and the sisters all said their siblings are beginning to realize that they’re different than other people. Melissa said she does not care if her sister knows or not. “There’s things she knows are different,” Melissa said, “and she knows she won’t be doing that stuff, but she’s okay with it and I don’t really see a problem if she knows she’s different or not. Everybody’s different.” Still, Brianna said she really does not want Grace to know that her disability sets her apart from others. “As much as I’d like her to fit in, it’s not always the case, you know, because she is different,” Brianna said. “Since my brother got his license, I got my license, she’s like, ‘Oh, I get my license next,’ and it’s hard because we can’t tell her that she isn’t able to get that and it breaks our hearts.” Georgi said that she wants her sister to know that she is different and to accept it. “I want her to embrace the fact that God made her different than everyone else because it’s meant to be a blessing,” Georgi said. “I believe that there’s purpose in everything. We’re twins, and so the chances of me having that versus her, there’s a purpose that only she can fulfill. I hope that she knows that and I hope that she can embrace that and that she finds independence and confidence in the fact that she’s made that way because she is such a blessing to everyone.” Ashton said one of her favorite things about Georgi is how she visits her in the cafeteria. “She’s a really good sister,” Ashton said. “I like how she makes me laugh a lot, [and] she makes me feel a lot better. I like how she [eats] lunch with me on B days. I really, really enjoy that very, very much.” To other teens with special needs siblings, Brianna said to be patient with them because they won’t get to do all the things others can do. “Let loose, let them live their life,” Brianna said. “They don’t get to experience life the way we do, so why not let them have fun wherever they go? Let them go down the Chuck E. Cheese’s slide naked once in a while.”

By the numbers One out of


children are born with Williams Syndrome.

One out of


children are born with Downs Syndrome.


out of 1,000 students in U.S. schools have some form of intellectual disability.


athletes participated in the first Special Olympics in 1968.


percent of students with disabilities reported they were bullied at one point.

story by Kailey Warren // online editor photo by Saher Aqeel May 2012 // the eagle angle




Cuban English Bringing Vietnamese in


Asian Canadian


Diversity H



African American




Japanese 14






May 2012 // the eagle angle

part 1

ere, she had to read the subtitles to understand the TV. Here, she was told to find a different lunch table because she’s Mexican. Here, other students call her Asian. But here, junior Andrea Guzmán has escaped the violence. “In Mexico there is this gang that kills people,” Guzmán said. “For example, if you’re partying they go there. These people think that you’re selling drugs or something so they kill you. They don’t even care. These people have problems with [other people] so it was full of police. And here is a river, but it’s like, dry, and a bridge, of course, so people can drive. So, they kill people there and the heads are there. They kill people and hang them [on the bridges.]” As of Jan. 1, 2012, the drug-related violence in Mexico has caused more than 46,000 deaths since 2007 when President Felipe Calderon took office and launched an army-led crackdown on the cartels, according to the Huffington Post. Guzmán moved by herself from her home in Torreon, Coahuila in Mexico to America a year ago and lives with her aunt and uncle. “The security is the most important [difference between Allen and Mexico],” Guzmán said. “The security in Mexico is so bad. I feel more secure here. Here you can walk in the streets and nothing is going to happen.” Guzmán is part of a 39 percent minority population growth that occurred in Texas between the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Census reports. While the U.S. Census records Allen’s population as 72 percent white, 42 percent of the 19,450 students enrolled in the district at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year listed themselves as nonwhite, according to information gathered by Allen ISD Special Programs Coordinator Bobbi Taylor. Taylor said that the exposure to different

ethnicities and their language gives students more of a global perspective. “As America continues [to grow], we’re a leader in our world,” Taylor said. “And as a leader in our world we need to be aware of other cultures and other languages and we couldn’t do anything but benefit from having more knowledge of these things.” Language barriers At the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, 57 different languages were spoken by students in the district including Pashto, Oriya, Italian, Turkish, Kurdish and Romanian. According to Taylor, the number of English language learners peaked two years ago, but has since decreased slightly each year by approximately 25-50 students. “We suspect that [the number] will kind of hit a plateau,” Taylor said, “because Allen’s landlocked, the economy got very bad, and we’ve got very little inexpensive housing here and we have a lot of our English language learners.” When a student enters the country they are required to take the Woodcock-Muñoz Language Survey to indicate what level of English they know and depending on their fluency they will be placed in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Sophomore Hiyab Hailu, who speaks Amharic, moved from Ethiopia, Africa two years ago to acquire an American education. She participates in ESL chemistry and geometry but takes regular classes for history, PE and principles of audio/visual technology. “In ESL classes everyone is new from other countries,” Hailu said. “It makes it kind of easier to make friends more than in regular classes. I used to think it was because of me, I don’t talk to people, like [I] don’t really talk and try to make friends, and sometimes there are people who just don’t want to talk to you.” According to information gathered by Taylor, 938 students within the district listed Spanish as their primary language, and 13.3 percent of students listed themselves as Hispanic or Latino. Although senior CJ Aquino was born in America, his parents moved to the U.S. from the Philippines and he describes himself as a Filipino-American. While he cannot fluently speak the native language, Tagalog, he said he understands conversations. “I like being different,” Aquino said. “I think it’s the fact that there’s a uniqueness in being a different culture than somebody else. I like knowing that I can understand a language that somebody else can’t. You share kind of a pride in your country and I like that.”

Ethnicities in the district Out of the 42 percent of the nonwhite population in the district, 4.3 percent listed themselves as multiracial. Junior Stephanie Lohse’s father is German and her mother is Chinese. Lohse moved to America from Germany when she was 7, and has traveled with her family to countries such as Norway, Canada and China. “It’s extremely important to be aware of different cultures and their countries, not only in jobs and when traveling,” Lohse said. “It’s kind of essential to your basic education because the world is getting smaller and we have to interact with so many people from different places. It’s just very significant.” Lohse said exposure to different cultures allows a person to not grow up one sided. “There are a lot of sides to a story and how people interpret it,” Lohse said. “When you come from these different cultures there are different ways of looking at things.” ESL team leader and reading I-III teacher Robin Benton said sometimes the students will discuss their own cultures and languages. “When you are from one country then you only see things one way because everyone sees it the same way,” Benton said. “But when you bring in another culture, and you ask them, ‘well what do you think about this topic,’ and they have a completely different opinion about what it is.” Benton said she teaches or has taught students from Ecuador, Chile, Mexico, Brazil and the Dominican Republic. “When I see my students, I see them as students,” Benton said. “I know that sounds cliché, but I do. Now we have just all different nationalities and sometimes the dialects are a little different […] But I’d say they’re the majority, the Spanish speakers, but we do have so many other languages. It’s very interesting.” According to the U.S. census, the Hispanic population in America, (referring to persons of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin), grew by 43 percent between 2000 and 2010. Hispanics create 14.5 percent of the U.S. population, making them the largest minority group in the country according to a 2005 U.S. Census. Accepting diversity Helping Everyone Reach Out (HERO) club was originally created by a 2011 graduate in order to allow students to learn about different cultures in the world. Every first and third Wednesday the members of the club meet in sponsor Casey Knight’s room. Each member volunteers to present information about a self-

selected country or qualities of a culture. The student chooses whichever topic they want to discuss. “HERO club in itself is a means for the students of Allen High School to get together and not only examine and learn about other cultures but truly experience them,” junior and 2012-2013 club historian Andrew Fischman said. “We have some kids who are actually pretty diverse, so we get together and we can actually learn more about other cultures and kind of feel like we’re a part of them for a day.” Knight said that the last school she taught at was 95 percent white, and while the school embraced diversity in a theoretical sense, Allen has the opportunity to learn from different ethnicities in a more practical way. “I’ve had African American students but really this is my first experience [with] having a lot of Asian and South Asian students, so it’s kind of cool,” Knight said. “I’m learning a lot. It’s fun.” Fischman, who is 75 percent Jewish and has dual citizenship in Israel, said that his own friend group includes ethnicities such as Mexican American, Italian American and Asian American. He said that the diversity present in high school can be attributed to the size of the student body. “Being a Jewish American, we don’t often appear different but one of the things of being able to go to HERO club to talk about my race personally and being able to see all the others,” Fischman said. “You truly get a feel for just how many different cultures are represented at Allen High School if you just chose to look for them.” Fischman also said that learning about others’ ethnicities is vital to the high school education. “It’s really important for a school to be diverse because the world’s diverse,” Fischman said. “And if students are exposed and shown a little bit more of every culture, not only do they appear a little bit more informed but they can truly get a good appreciation for other cultures and what they bring to the table.” Principal of Curriculum Jill Stafford said that the high school does not struggle to include any certain group of people to be involved in opportunities like the Career and Technical Education programs. “If you really look across [the school] we do a really good job of including all that’s represented in Allen in all of our academics and in [other] programs,” Stafford said. Benefits of immigration While Guzmán originally planned to live in Allen for a year, she said she wants to stay here to finish high school. She originally asked May 2012 // the eagle angle


her parents to let her go to America to study and learn to speak better English, although she has had English lessons since kindergarten. “[English and school] can help me in my future to get a better job,” Guzmán said. “I hope it helps me.” Although she is from the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), junior Rachelle Mian has moved every two years due to her father’s job as a diplomat. She grew up in different countries such as China, Italy and Japan, where she lived the longest. After her family returned to live in the Ivory Coast, Mian asked to move, and a year ago the came alone to America. She currently lives with a family friend. “I don’t feel comfortable in my country, so I wanted to come here for school, because I live all my life out of my country,” Mian said. “I never live inside. So when we got back home I didn’t feel like I belonged there so I wanted to get out.” Mian’s first language is French, and English is her second. Mian’s three older brothers live in China, Paris and Canada, but she said she wants to still live in America when she is older and attend medical school. “I want to stay here if I can,” Mian said. “I want to stay here and go home and help people, because I want to be a doctor, so I can help everyone in my country. People who don’t have the opportunity to come here and have a better life so I can give it to them. I can give back to the community.” Junior Tiffany Varughese, who was born in South India, said that the ethnic diversity in the high school makes students more tolerant. “I think stereotypes [go] away,” Varughese said. “And you kind of realize that everyone is completely equal and is the same it doesn’t matter black, white, brown, Asian, whatever, we’re all kind of the same people. We’re all still human and I think people kind of realize that just by seeing them in the hallway and things like that.” Aquino plans to attend Texas Tech this fall, and even though he said he has heard that it is not as ethnically diverse as other schools, he looks forward to adding to the diversity. “I think there’s been certain stereotypes that go with being Asian, like you have to be smart,” Aquino said. “But honestly it hasn’t really been a problem for me. I like being different, I like being a minority honestly because you have a culture to share. And you’re just different somehow, and I like that.” Part 1 in a series about diversity. Coverage will continue in the fall of 2012. story by Lydia Gardner // managing editor contributions by Madeline Martin


May 2012 // the eagle angle

A sudden change Staff member transitions to new culture S

crolling through my iPod I can’t help but feel a little different. My mind thinks about the past as I move my hands to the rhythm of the song pumping through my ears. I have a mix of Nigerian and American songs, a reflection of my transition to America. The transition has been hard but I have been altered for the better. I was 11 years old when my dad told me we were moving from Nigeria to America to begin a different life. I remember walking into the dim room in our house wondering what was about to happen. My mind was reeling over the things I had done in school. I was terrified that my parents would find out that I hadn’t done my math homework. My dad was holding my mum’s hand with a smile pasted on his face. Then I heard the news that changed my life forever: I was going to the U.S. I felt lonely, tearful and angry. I remember that when I was about to leave my country my mum said that I could only tell family because she wanted it to be a secret. I couldn’t even tell my best friend, Sonia. I never found out how she felt when I left and sadly, I don’t want to know because it would only make me yearn for our friendship. I didn’t know what to bring with me from my old world. My Nigerian accent wouldn’t fit in America. I packed some of my western clothes and parted with my native western attire (a long gown skirt and blouse that is sewn with a traditional African material). I remember walking into my room, sitting on my bed, gazing at the orange and white wall. Everywhere was so empty and I was sure that was how my life was going to turn out, void of anything from the past. I didn’t want to go to some alien country and I felt America didn’t want me either. As a little girl I always looked forward to traveling abroad for college but as I listened to the steady beat of my heart as we left Nigeria, I knew my parents decision to move to a foreign country had happened too fast. On December 18, 2008, my family and I arrived in the U.S. after a long, stressful flight from Nigeria to Louisiana. The only pleasure I took from the trip was gazing at the Eiffel tower when we made a brief stop at Paris. I gazed at

the tower like I was the crowned princess of France. I didn’t know if I would ever see it again. It triggered my past life and at that moment, in that place, surrounded by foreign people, I broke down crying. It went against every social rule because I was supposed to be happy for the opportunity of going to a well developed country, but I felt a deep sadness surrounding my whole life and at that time I had never felt more alienated. When we arrived to tour the Louisiana condo I was overwhelmed by the need to sleep on my new bed with my sore back and dirty clothes. I had to unpack my things and my dad enrolled me into Lafayette Middle School. I began to panic. Will I make friends? Will they like me? Will I understand their accents? More importantly, how will I change? Then I turned into a perfectionist. I didn’t want people to see me as “that Nigerian girl.” I had always wanted to belong, but it was never to an obsessive extent. But in America I was too Nigerian to fit in but also too American to be Nigerian, so I chose to become American. I watched Disney channel and I became familiar with American accents. I was willing to learn about everyone and everything. And so my obsession with music began during middle school. I was so engrossed with the different genres of music I started withdrawing from my familiar Nigerian tunes. I became an expert on all the songs of the Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana and Selena Gomez. But still going to a public school was much different than what I was accustomed to. My first day in Lafayette Middle School shocked me into reality. I preferred my old school Brainfield (a Catholic private school). After two months in Lafayette, I changed. I became relentless. I pushed myself harder to make greater successes. I always won awards after my exams in my country, but the award that was given to me in Lafayette was different because I felt I deserved it. I realized that through my hard transition from Nigerian to an American I experienced a dramatic culture change. I became Nigerian-American. I never let go of my Nigerian culture but I became the typical Nigerian-American teenager. I learned to overcome my insecurities that I was inferior because I wasn’t like everyone. After making new friends I didn’t feel alienated from society. I accepted the changes in my life and let go of the sadness.

story by Folake Olayinka // staff writer


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Phone: 972-727-8383 Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday: 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Sunday: Closed


While tanning beds were classified as carcinogenic in 2009 by the World Health Organization, indoor tanning rates have increased by 32 percent in women ages 18 to 21. Photo by Nicole Welch





Before entering the tanning bed, junior Katharine Duke slides on her goggles and applies a layer of lotion to protect her skin. Basking under the ultraviolet (UV) rays, tanning becomes her relaxation paradise. When she steps out, she does a paranoid check for moles that catch her attention, but it doesn’t look like her complexion has changed. She follows this routine to keep her skin darker. “I know that there is a risk of skin cancer,” Duke said, “but honestly if you’re not overdoing it and you’re very controlled and you’re using a good lotion on your body, there shouldn’t be a problem. It’s usually the people that overdo it, [that] have two memberships [and] come in every day to tan, that I would worry more about.” According to the Journal of American Dermatology more than 30 million people tan indoors each year, and approximately three quarters of them are women between the ages

of 16 to 29. From that group that tans, one in five will develop skin cancer according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. The most dangerous form of skin cancer, melanoma, is mainly caused by exposure to UV rays from the sun or artificial sun lamps in tanning beds, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Using tanning beds before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 75 percent, and according to The American Cancer Society, about 120,000 new cases of melanoma in the U.S. are diagnosed in a year with over 7,000 Americans dying from the disease. Duke currently tans once or twice a week for free at her job at Palm Beach Tan. Despite the fact that her aunt developed skin cancer when she lived in Hawaii, Duke continues to tan at a level five, the highest tanning bed level, because she said that tanning betters her skin by drying out any type of acne. “I’m not too worried because I know that the reason my aunt got skin cancer was because she was out on the beach in Hawaii, not wearing sunscreen all day, every day,” Duke said. “I think that’s a lot more exposure than what I’m getting with 12 minutes in a tanning bed.” Duke said she began tanning at age 13 by laying out on the beach in California and using tanning beds because she was asked to Prom her freshman year. “I was a little bit nervous [at first] because they have all these horror stories about people getting caught in a tanning bed,” Duke said, “but it’s actually extremely relaxing, and when you get out you just feel super relaxed. So, that’s part of the reason why I do it, it’s a getaway.” Dr. Tanya Rodgers, a board certified dermatologist and owner of the Skin Specialists of Allen, said that the ultraviolet radiation from the sun or an artificial tanning light changes and damages a person’s DNA. It causes abnormal or irregular growth of a skin cell that can lead to three basic forms of skin cancer which are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma or malignant melanoma. “Tanning gives you that instant gratification of a slimmer, more attractive, some people think a more youthful glow, to the skin,” Rodgers said.

“So definitely there is an aesthetic attraction where people just want to look better.” A person can detect skin cancer if they see an abnormal growth on their skin. These abnormalities range from a pink or red and smooth, slightly translucent spot on the skin, to a mole that starts to change in color and size and takes on an appearance that is distinct from the other moles on the skin. “[Moles] can develop on areas that are covered by hair, such as the scalp,” Rodgers said. “It can develop on mucous membrane skin, so it can develop on the rectal area, it can develop on the back of the eye, in the mouth, on the genitals, on the palms or the soles of your feet. So it really can develop anywhere.” Rodgers said the tanning industry is appealing to young adults because tanning can become addictive. She said that when the skin is exposed to the light or warmth of a tanning bed or in the sun outside, endorphins are released which makes the person feel good. “We know that sun exposure is a key risk factor,” Rodgers said. “We know now that with more use of tanning beds in this country that we watch the rates of melanoma rise, especially in the younger population.” According to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than two million cases of basal cell carcinoma are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Junior Charlotte Griffin said that her grandfather developed this form of skin cancer from working on a farm when he was younger. Sunblock was not available yet, which made him susceptible to too much sun exposure. “All I think about [now] is that I need to put sunblock on whenever I go outside, even if it’s just for 20 minutes,” Griffin said. “Even if you’re going outside to tan, put sunblock on because you’ll still get color even if you have sun block.” To become cancer free, Griffin said her grandfather had to get 16 stitches on his face and wear lotion that made his skin dry, itch and burn all the time. But Griffin said that her grandfather’s skin cancer brought their relationship even closer than they were before. “You wouldn’t think that it would be that huge of a deal,” Griffin said, “but thinking that when you go outside, and if you aren’t careful

How do you tan? yes

17.24% yes


May 2012 // the eagle angle


10 0







spray/lotion yes

93.97% 40

*results taken from 116 girls




story by Dymielle Desquitado & Shaylon Miller // staff writers


tanning bed


about how much sun you get and the people that shrug off the sunburn, you go 10 years from now and you [could] have skin cancer.” The only type of healthy tanning is artificial tanning such as tanning cream, lotion or spray because a person is not exposed to UV rays. Sophomore Alexis Kirkland’s parents own Golden Beach Tan in Allen, but she does not use tanning beds because she is not 16-and-a-half yet, which is the legal age to use tanning beds in Texas. Instead, she has used airbrush tanning once every two weeks since 7th grade. “A lot of people have called me fake or whatever they want to say,” Kirkland said. “Some people said that I [tan] for attention, but that’s totally not true because I do it for me. It makes me feel better.” Even though her parents own a tanning salon, Kirkland’s mother does not influence her daughter to use tanning beds. Kirkland said that her mother also educates her customers about the risks of tanning in tanning beds so they are aware of what could happen. “I just think that as far as high schoolers are, they shouldn’t overdo it as far as tanning every single day,” Kirkland said, “because truthfully, it’s not good for you to tan every day.” Rodgers said that because children have thinner skin than adults, the risk of damage to skin cells is greater because radiation can penetrate deeper into the skin. She suggests people wear hats, go to shaded areas and apply sunscreen about every two to five hours while outside to protect skin from the sun. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, tanning can also cause premature aging of the skin with wrinkles and a leathery look, eye damage, immune suppression and an allergic reaction. Despite these overall risks, Duke continues to tan under artificial tanning lights. “I feel really comfortable with [tanning] just because I know I’m not overdoing it,” Duke said. “I know when it’s a good time to just cover up my face. I’m not super worried about skin cancer.”













graphic by Kayla Graves

Frustrating, not debilitating

Type 1 diabetic students maintain everyday lifestyles


A hard dance Sophomore Alexandria Johnson does ballet despite being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 7. “I would say that dancing has affected my diabetes because it helps it stay in control,” Johnson said. “[And] you’re exercising a lot.”

ater covers the floor. Blood trickles down her face. Fiveyear-old Alexandria Johnson holds a paper towel on her head after slipping on the wet floor. She calmly asks her older sister to tell their mother they need to go to the hospital. Johnson knows she will need stitches. That was the moment she decided she wanted to become a surgeon. But, Johnson had to change her dream when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 7. “It’s really hard to be a surgeon when you’re diabetic because it’s a long time in the room performing the operations,” Johnson, now a sophomore, said. “If my blood sugar went high or low then I could mess up on the patient and get plenty of lawsuits.” Type 1, also known as juvenile, diabetes is an insulin dependent disorder where a virus attacks the immune system, resulting in the dysfunction of the pancreas. Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone secreted by the pancreas, needed to regulate blood sugar levels. People with type 1 diabetes are prescribed insulin, because their bodies do not produce it. Johnson was diagnosed with type 1 after passing out during a club soccer game. “You are scared inside, but you’re the adult and you have to hold yourself together no matter what,” Dea Johnson, Johnson’s mother, said. At the age of two, junior Sara Peper’s parents thought she was seriously ill because she experienced uncontrollable urination, extreme vomiting and shaking. Her parents rushed her to the doctor who then sent them immediately to the ER. Peper was in diabetic ketoacidosis, which occurs when blood sugar levels are so high that the person slips into a coma. “It could have been incurable inoperable cancer,” Beverley Peper, Peper’s mom, said, “but to know [she] had diabetes, I was relieved. I knew it was something we could learn to live with.” A common misconception with type 1 diabetes is that it is a disease that older, out of shape people get. However, it is a genetic mutation that affects the endocrine system and is not related to a person’s lifestyle. Johnson’s paternal grandmother and great grandmother also have type 1 diabetes. “My family did not have medical issues,” Mrs. Johnson said. “I went from someone who was laymen to someone who is researching everything to do with this medical condition, anything and everything.”

Through education and experimentation, diabetics learn how to count carbs and monitor eating habits. They have to balance carbs with fat and protein in each meal. “Generally, [my diet] is the same as it is for everyone,” Peper said. “Everything in moderation. I count everything that goes into my mouth.” The carbohydrate counting approach is based on the premise that carbohydrates, which are found in most foods except for meat and fat, are the main source of blood glucose and have the greatest effect on blood sugar. “I am buying the apple sauces that are already pre-carb counted instead of the jars and you know to take the curst off bread and it takes off a [certain] amount of carbs,” Mrs. Johnson said. “And all of a sudden, you are a nutrition specialist, because you have to be.” Every three months, type 1 diabetics visit an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in the endocrine system, in order to ensure that the kidneys and other vital organs are functioning correctly. During the visit, the endocrinologist checks the patient’s A1C level, which is the amount of protein in a person’s blood. The results of an A1C test show how one’s vital organs are functioning. Diabetics can receive insulin through insulin pumps and shots. An insulin pump is a battery operated device that is worn on a belt or put in the person’s pocket. It delivers insulin continuously to its user though a small tube easily inserted into the abdomen, thigh or arm. Johnson received a pump at 9-years-old then switched back to shots the summer before ninth grade. “When you’re little you get these really cute pump packs which is basically like a fanny pack,” Johnson said. “You get older [though] and you’re like, ‘I’m not going to walk around in that’ so, I think starting in fourth grade, I just started putting it in my pocket.” Johnson said that diabetes does make her feel bad for herself at times but it is not horrible and she has learned to deal with it. “I don’t really remember being normal,” Johnson said. “I don’t remember not having to take a shot. [Diabetes] is something that becomes a part of you. How would I describe myself? Well, I am a blond 16-year-old who really loves to dance and has diabetes. That’s just me.” story by Madyson Russell & Maggie Rians // staff writers photo by Kayla Graves May 2012 // the eagle angle



While visiting from Texas State, Natasha Helmick looks at past soccer awards with her mother, Micky, and bother, junior Zachary. photo by Saher Aqeel

Kick in the

right direction


It was a routine soccer play for senior Jamie MacInnes. He was running shoulder to shoulder with his opponent in an attempt to slide and steal the ball. Simple. He slid. Won the ball. But as he slid he felt something smack him in the back of the head. Hard. It was his opponent’s knee. For 30 to 45 seconds everything went black and white. Yet, somehow he got up and finished the game. How he did it, he can’t even remember. After going home, MacInnes’ mother noticed that something was off about her son. He wasn’t hungry like he usually was. He said he was feeling sick. His eyes looked strange. She decided to take him to the hospital. It was there that MacInnes, then a freshman, found out he had sustained his first concussion playing club soccer. Since then, MacInnes has been taken to the hospital two more times for concussions. “I just knew it hurt really, really badly,”

“It’s been really,

really, really


because you

never lightning say

strikes twice, but that’s kind of

what happened to our

family.” -Micky Helmick


May 2012 // the eagle angle

MacInnes said. “I wasn’t thinking clearly enough to think, ‘oh, this could be bad.’” According to the New York Times, over 1.6 million Americans sustain a concussion from playing sports every year. New research from the American Journal of Sports Medicine has found that younger athletes and females show more symptoms and take a longer time period to recover from a concussion than athletes that are older or male. In Texas, a new law known as Natasha’s Law was implemented last fall to make sure that coaches, players and parents are informed about concussions and how to possibly prevent them. Natasha’s Law Named after Natasha Helmick, an Allen graduate and current sophomore at Texas State who acquired several concussions due to soccer in high school, Natasha’s Law was signed by Gov. Rick Perry last June. Natasha said that head athletic trainer Mike Harrison was contacted by lawyers and legislators from Texas who wanted to create a law to help with concussions. They needed someone who could testify in support of the bill and Harrison said he knew just the person. “They needed someone who had experience in it, someone who’s been through it and Mike was like ‘I have the perfect girl for you,’ and he contacted my head athletic trainer at Texas State who got a hold of me and my mom got in contact with me,” Natasha said. “[I] told them my story, told them what happened to me. They said you’re perfect, let’s start getting a speech together and you’re going to be speaking at the capitol, and that was all while I was recovering from my fifth concussion.” The law requires students and coaches to learn about the dangers of concussions and how to prevent them prior to playing. They are then required to sign a form stating they understand what the dangers of concussions are. Other components of the law include that the concussed athlete must receive medical attention within 24 hours of the injury and they must get cleared by someone qualified to in order to play again. “You can’t restrict the game anymore than it’s already been restricted,” Harrison said. “They’re going to happen. It’s a part of being in athletics, there’s what we call an assumption of risk. You know you’re going to get hurt playing this sport, whether it’s a broken leg, whether it’s a concussion or possible death. It just happens.” Before their season starts every athlete has to take the ImPACT test, a neurocognitive test that looks at things such as visual memory, reaction time and word memory. If an athlete is suspected to have a concussion they will have to take the

test again. The results are then compared to the test they took at the beginning of the season to see if the athlete has a concussion. Junior softball player Korynna Lara sustained a concussion playing in a game this year in what she described as a freak accident where another girl ran her over and kneed her in the head. She had to go through the ImPACT process for her concussion. “It was bad, all my subjects had gone down really low,” Lara said, “and then once I did that I couldn’t text, I couldn’t watch TV, I couldn’t read, I couldn’t do anything.” Doctor James Sterling is an ImPACT credentialed physician at Texas Orthopedic Associates and when he diagnoses someone with a concussion he said his first thought is that he needs to make sure the athlete and his or her family understand the seriousness of the injury. “That’s a very complicated process, to try and tell an athlete they can’t play, they can’t practice, or they’re probably going to have take three weeks [to recover],” Sterling said. “You can’t text, you can’t go to school academically.” While the law is still relatively new, Natasha said that it is going to help a lot of athletes with concussions in the future and believes it has helped this year as well. “It’s going to take time to get better and better,” Natasha said, “but I think it’s been amazing for just the first year and how many stories I’ve heard and how many people it’s helped.” MacInnes said putting regulations on concussions is a good thing because of how different and unpredictable concussions are compared to other injuries. “I mean if you have a broken arm the doctor can look at it, be like your arm’s broken, and then they’ll tell you when it’s fixed, you can say yup it’s fixed,” MacInnes said. “With a concussion you have no idea.”

their talent, their Christian faith keeps her from questioning what has happened. “When God closes that door, he opens a window,” Mrs. Helmick said. “Zachary’s got a very good, brilliant brain, and he’s looking to become a doctor and so this is the message that God is kind of sending our family is that I want you to use your brain more than your physical thing, and that’s what we’re going to have to do.” Zachary said that had it not been for his sister’s law, he may not have seen the doctors that diagnosed him with his concussions. “I would still be having terrible headaches to this day from just getting hit in my head over and over with the ball,” Zachary said. “I wouldn’t have given my brain any chance to heal over that time period.” The family said they feel happy that they have has already seen how Natasha’s Law has helped student athletes in different areas of the state. “I’ve already been in touch with so many people from so many different school districts where this law has helped out and that’s the most important thing,” Mrs. Helmick said. “I think both my kids are such really good, well rounded human beings, they’re like ‘oh we love this sport, we’re die hard athletes,’ but they’re both very caring, big hearted individuals and they’ve seen how this has helped other people and I think that’s the most important thing going forward.” Even though concussions have been challenging for her family, Mrs. Helmick said she is happy that something good has come out of their troubles and that she sees the good through the phone calls she gets from parents of athletes with concussions wanting to talk with her about their child. “It’s been a really, really, really tough thing because you never say lightning strikes twice in the same spot,” Mrs. Helmick said, “but that’s kind of what’s happened to our family.”

The Helmick Family To date, Natasha’s younger brother, junior Zachary Helmick, has four diagnosed concussions, three of which are from playing soccer. The concussion has taken him out of competing for the future Olympics. Zachary was a part of the Olympic Development Program, where he has been invited twice to the southeast regional camp, one of five regional camps held across the country. His last concussion also most likely means he won’t be able to play soccer any longer. Zachary and Natasha’s mother, Micky Helmick, said that while it’s hard for her that both of her children can no longer play despite

Effects on Life Some of the side affects from multiple concussions include a decline in motor skills and academic performance, sensitivity to light and sound and depression or anxiety. Zachary said that he can’t think too far ahead to the more serious effects that concussions can have, but said it is possible that he could be in the same position as some of the former professional athletes that have recently been in the news because of problems from concussions. “In reality it could be me, it could be my sister it could be anyone that is suffering or has suffered from a concussion,” Zachary said. “You just don’t know. Every person that has had one has a different story and different case. All

you can do is hope for the best and try to be as preventative as you can.” Another effect concussions can have on life is loss of memory. Natasha said that she can’t remember a lot of her long term memory from seventh grade or before that. “I can remember a couple events, maybe a couple of graduations, moving up from one grade to another, but I really don’t remember a lot,” Natasha said. “So fortunately enough for me my father took a lot of videos and a lot of pictures mostly of my games or just of everyday life and those are the memories I have to rely on, is watching it through film and even though watching it through film is supposed to generate the memory back, it doesn’t.” If an athlete is still allowed to play, concussions can change the way they play. MacInnes said that he is more cautious in how he plays. “Normally I would have just gone, wouldn’t have even thought twice about it,” MacInnes said. “I would have gone, sprinted out after it, jumped up try to head it. If not, I’d probably headbutt the guy in front of me and wouldn’t think anything about it. Now, though, I’m a lot more cautious, I’ll kind of look around, make sure there’s nobody coming flying at me doing the same thing I would have used to do. And if there is sometimes I try and brace myself for the hit more and protect my head more than actually focusing on winning the ball.” Sterling said he has had to tell student athletes to stop playing before and although he feels sad for the athlete, he knows it is for the best. “It’s not one of the things I like to do is to tell athletes to retire, especially when they’re in high school,” Sterling said. “But certain things happen to happen and for the safety and the future of the athlete, the athlete’s brain and what they’re going to do in the future, sometimes you have to make those decisions because you don’t want them to have chronic problems.” While more attention is now being paid to concussions and concussion treatment, Sterling said that Allen is one of the schools in Texas that is doing a good job with concussions and helping the athletes recover. “There’s a couple of schools in Texas that I think are doing it absolutely perfectly right and I think Mike Harrison is doing a great and his athletic training staff has done a great job along with the support of your AD and your coaches,” Sterling said. “I think Allen is a shining diamond in terms of doing the right thing for the athletes.”

story by Akshay Mirchandani // staff writer May 2012 // the eagle angle


The Round Table with David Barr As sure as a Dirk Nowitzki three-pointer in the final seconds, Allen sports had another successful season. The football team kicked off the season with a memorable 11-0 season. The wrestling team won yet another State Championship and dominated their competition. The tennis team featured some incredible play by Jayce Miller and his partner Megan Ziots. In nearly every sport, Allen went above and beyond expectations and kept the winning traditions going strong.


What was your most memorable experience in the sport that you played this year or what were your final thoughts on your last season of high school sports?


May 2012 // the eagle angle

Jarrod Trotter, wrestling

“We could have done better than we did. It is baseball and we lost a lot of close games, lost a few, three or four, by one run, but overall we did pretty well. I feel we performed to our capability and that’s all we could ask for.”

“We pulled together and truly performed as a team. We worked hard and enjoyed a really successful season.”

Carl Crear, baseball

“Our last games was really fun. Shannon Moroney, who’s our goalie so she never plays the field, got to play the field and she scored our final goal and it was cool.”

“I think we did really good. Before the season started I was kind of worried. Then we started out slow, but we really came together as a team and had a good season and ended strong.” Jacob Rothbauer, basketball

“I’d have to say having everyone be as committed to the team as I was. That whole spirit of dedication was cool.” Chris Corbett, cross country

“I think we did really well. We definitely didn’t accomplish all of our goals, which was winning State, but we still did pretty well. We were the only team to go 11-0 so I’d consider that pretty successful.” Jonathan Williams, football


“We dominated. We just went out there and did what we were supposed to do. We started out strong and finished strong.”

Jayce Miller, tennis

Kalee Smith, soccer

“We accomplished something we haven’t done in six years and that’s win a district championship, so it was a great year overall.” Justin Newby, golf

“The team really started getting closer together as we all started to get excited about showing off what we could before districts. It was just a really exciting time like riding [in] the buses and spending the whole day at a track meet with those people.”

Shannon Goodwin, track





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BEST in sports



May 2012 // the eagle angle

Fever pitch (far left) Sophomore Troy Chezem (#18) is ranked as one of the top 50 pitchers in the area according to HS GameTime. The varsity baseball team ended the season with six district wins and eight losses.

Flying high (left) During the March 23 track meet at the high school stadium, sophomore Ericka May performs the high jump. The varsity track team ranked 5th place at districts and were regional qualifiers.

Tight grip (above) The varsity football team was ranked No. 1 in the district but lost to Trinity in the playoffs on November 19. Bitter sweet (far left) Junior Kelly Holden (#12) celebrates a point scored against Lovejoy with the Allen varsity team on September 6, 2011. The varsity volleyball ended the season during their first playoff game. Eye on the ball (left) Senior Courtland Tolbert (#44) moves in for a play against Plano Senior. The boys basketball season ended to Coppell in the playoffs, but they finished third in district.

photos by Nicole Welch, Taylor Brill and Kaitlyn Trujillo May 2012 // the eagle angle



’ve always loved attending the Allen football games. My dad took my brothers and I while we were in grade school, and we would sit in our spot in the end zone. It was a hard place to watch a game from and anyone who has sat in those old, temporary bleachers can attest to this. Some of the bleachers were broken, and some of the seats were directly behind a play clock that completely blocked the view of the field. The bleachers were always cramped, because there just wasn’t enough seating. The bathrooms seemed as if they hadn’t been clean since 1978. It was obvious we needed a new stadium. So I was excited to be granted an opportunity to visit the new stadium along with season ticket holders to get a look inside. I walked in next to a group of excited season ticket holders, one woman told me the stadium felt like an “NFL stadium,” to her. There were at least 300 people in the grandstands at 3 o’clock on a Tuesday. I guess I had never really completely gotten that this stadium truly does bring our community together. Some will argue that a $6 million dollar stadium could have brought the community together as well, but the one thing I didn’t hear anyone talk about the entire time I toured the stadium was the cost. I heard more about “community” and “bringing people together” than I do at church. I asked one woman if she could compare the stadium to anything, and she told me “Nothing compares to this stadium.” Nothing? I mean I like the stadium too, but something has to compare to it. I walked to the top of the section and stared down onto the field. A woman remarked to me that “watching the band from up here will be incredible,” and a couple who were 12 year season ticket holders just kept saying to each other “wow, this is awesome.” Is the stadium worth the price? I don’t know if I can answer that, because as I stood between the crowds of season ticket holders, some old some young, some black, some white, some with children, others whose children had long since graduated, I realized that this stadium truly does bring people together. And that’s priceless.



May 2012 // the eagle angle

Allen’s new $60 million football stadium is set to open Thursday, Aug. 23 in their season opener against Southlake Carroll which will be nationally broadcasted on ESPN. The stadium will hold 18,000 people and include a video replay scoreboard as well as a two story press box, an underground weight room and a training center for the golf team. The stadium comes as an upgrade from the old stadium at the Freshman Center which held 14, 200 people and relied on the use of temporary bleachers, some of which were damaged. The new stadium has received criticism from many people outside of the community, and has been featured in stories in the New York Times, The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, and The Dallas Morning News among others. The criticism comes from the belief that $60 million is too much to spend on a high school football stadium. However, supporters are quick to point out that the stadium was part of a $119 million bond passed by 63 percent of Allen residents. The bond included the newly constructed Performing Arts Center and the new K-hall addition to the school, as well as a “commons” area that includes the school store and restaurant used by Culinary Arts students. stories by Lucas Lostoski // sports editor


The crowd roars. Stomping their feet. Howling for the Eagles to score. The ball is snapped into the quarterback’s hands. He runs forward, plows through the line and plunges into the end zone for the score. Junior Brook Cooper looks around, watching the crowd go wild, as he himself starts jumping up and down hoping that he will excite the fans a little more. After all that is a mascot’s job. This year there were four mascots, senior Aaron Locklear, senior Blake Bjostad, and Cooper. Locklear was Tuffy, Cooper was Tuffette and Bjostad was Big Boy. Cooper and Bjostad have been the mascot at school for two years, Locklear one. With the new stadium coming next year, the mascots are excited for the big opportunity. Cooper said he is excited that he will be one of the first mascots to be in the new stadium. “I am thoroughly excited for the new stadium,” Cooper said. “I’m excited that I will be the first mascot to mascot in [the stadium]. I’m excited to be the first year to go through the new stadium.”


story by Molli Boyd & Breanne McCallop // staff writers


“I’m excited [about the new stadium]. Seeing the progress on it every day is just ridiculous. I consider it like the eighth wonder of the world. I keep looking outside at it every single day and it looks bigger and better every single day. It’s going to be fun and we’re going to kick the crap out of Southlake.” -Bradley North, junior offensive lineman “I think it’s a great opportunity that our community gave us this beautiful stadium and it’s going to be awesome next year.” -Natalie Sizemore, junior Escadrille member “I feel like [the stadium] will be a great draw on the weekends to bring the community together to root for their beloved team.” -Sheila Hurst, 2-year season ticket holder

photos by Kyle Juntunen May 2012 // the eagle angle



PAL Cameron Love plays a game of UNO with his PALee at Norton Elementary School. photo by Saher Aqeel

A new

best friend


Before I visited Norton and Boyd Elementary to observe the Peer Assistance and Leadership (PALs), I thought that the program was just something where high school students left school for a period to play with a couple of kids. However, after visiting the two schools, I learned PALs do much more than that. PALees are elementary or middle school kids who are placed with a PAL because they could benefit from the partnership. The PALees play games, go outside to play or have conversations with their PALs during their visits. 11-year-old Aidan, a PALee from Norton Elementary, has a difficult time talking to other kids and making friends. I was surprised at first because he seemed to have such a bright, friendly personality. When his PAL, senior Cameron Love, brought him to the room

A PAL is a friend. Someone who is always going to be there

no matter what might happen. And a PALee is not always going to be a kid who has a serious problem.

where they have their meetings, Aidan was happily chatting about his day so far. But when I started to talk to him, he became shy and nervous. During the first part of our conversation he looked down at his shoelaces, stretching them out and undoing the knot, barely answering my questions. When I asked him how Love had helped him this year, he looked down and wouldn’t talk. He looked like he was close to tears. That’s when I asked Love to sit near him. The change in his personality was instantaneous. I realized how important Love was to him and the level of comfort he gave him. Aidan told me how he was scared to speak because he’s afraid others will judge the way he talks loud. He said he was nervous to make friends because he feels other kids don’t want to be his friend. He feels rejected.

But he also talked about how Love was like another friend. He was someone who would encourage him to make more friends and to not become scared. He was someone who gave him some hope. It seems kind of strange that a high school student and a few interactions could give Aidan hope, but he did. As I watched them play UNO against another PAL group, I couldn’t tell that Aidan had a fear of talking to other kids because he talked and laughed along with Love. He was so comfortable. It was as if Love was his brother. Five miles away at Boyd Elementary, 9-yearold Elizabeth has a PAL because she wants more company. After moving from Mexico when she was 5, she had trouble speaking English fluently, but she said that the reason she wanted a PAL was to have someone else to talk to. At first, it was kind of weird to hear that she had a PAL

but after talking to her, I realized that her PAL, senior Michelle Krejci, made her happy. The minute Krejci took her out of lunch to spend time with her, Elizabeth instantly started talking. When I asked her about how she felt about her PAL she answered by telling me, “She’s like my best friend,” and I could see it as they played Jenga and talked about their day. I think that’s really what it is. A PAL is a friend. Someone who is always going to be there no matter what might happen. And a PALee is not always going to be a kid who has a serious problem. They’re everyday kids who may be going through some struggles here and there but in the end, they just need a little assistance and attention from someone. And that’s what the PALs are there for. story by Grace Lee // staff writer

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May 2012 // the eagle angle


We Fit Your Lifestyle!

How did I end up here? I

can’t help but wonder, “how did I end up here?” Here in this room with the smiling counselor siting in front of me and my crying mother sitting next to me on this horribly uncomfortable couch. “Sometimes it’s best if we recall these traumatic things,” the counselor says. “When we talk about them it makes it easier to move on. Lucas, do you care to share?” And that’s when I remember everything about that day, the day I started to believe in fate. We had been in our classrooms for over two hours, waiting out the tornadic weather when we were finally released. What ensued was mayhem, every kid running into the parking lot, rain falling faster and harder than I can ever remember, thunder booming. My shirt was plastered to my body when I called my mom and told her to pick me up by the tennis courts because our usual meet up spot was too busy. So I walked across the parking lot through puddles of standing water, the rain falling even faster, not knowing then that I was walking head on into the semi-truck known as fate. I can feel myself walking across the street toward the tennis courts, but this is when reality seems to have been offset in my brain. Nothing seems real. My mom pulls up and I get in the passenger’s seat. People all around are still running, trying to shield themselves from the driving rain. Some cover their heads with their backpacks. The car is put in motion and we begin to roll out of the parking lot. I glance down and specifically remember seeing the speedometer, 15 mph, and then I look up. And it’s already too late. He came running between two cars going the opposite direction of us. I don’t think he ever saw us, because I know I never saw him, not until he was a foot away from me, not until he had crushed our windshield. I did not know him. I had never seen his face until that moment, that moment that seems frozen in time, when I saw his face, a face of pure, unadulterated shock that I still cannot get to leave my mind. His body flew from our windshield onto the unforgiving sidewalk. I hear my mother scream from the driver’s seat, which feels 1,000 miles away from where I sit and his body lies. “Call 9-11. Luke, call 9-1-1.” I sprint from the car towards him and he is instantly surrounded by two other students, a teacher and three policemen. “Don’t touch him,” they say as they check his pulse. My mother is crying hysterically now and there’s nothing I can do to calm her. Her tears are like the rain, there’s nothing I can do to stop them from falling down. I shed no tears, I am

unbelievably calm. Or maybe that’s what they call shock, I don’t know. But all I can do while other motorists look on and while the policeman tends to the injured boy, is console my mother and pray, pray the prayer she taught me before I even attended a day of Catholic school, “Hail Mary…” The policeman tells us to get back in the car, tries to tell my mother that it’s okay, that it’s an accident. If that’s supposed to calm her, it doesn’t. She just keeps screaming through snot and tears, “That’s someone’s baby, that’s someone’s baby.” The police take our statements and I calmly explain what happened. I am shocked at how calm I still am. For the next three minutes, which seem to last for hours, I pray every prayer I’ve ever been taught: the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Glory Be, the one at the end of the rosary that nobody knows the name of. How long has it even been since I’ve prayed? I can’t remember. But I hope God doesn’t hold a grudge against his doubters. The policeman comes over to our car and tells me to drive us out of the lot so the ambulance can get through. I change positions with my mom, gliding across the water filled street, as if this were a dream, hoping this were a dream. It’s not until I get to the light on Rivercrest that I realize I am shaking. I tell myself it is from the cold, wet clothes, but I can’t stop shaking. My mother cries hysterically next to me, begging for us to go home, “I want to go home, Luke. I want to go home.” I remember back to my first day at Westminster Preschool in Erie, Pennsylvania, walking down the hall holding my mother’s left hand while my twin brother held the right, and pleading with her, “I want to go home, Mommy, I want to go home.” Home, where it’s safe and familiar and the world makes sense. Where the world won’t be spinning so fast. I drive until I reach our neighborhood, where I turn and say the first thing to her besides, “it wasn’t your fault, Mom.” “Oh s---,” I say. “Mom, that just happened.” And she looks at me through foggy, red eyes and nods, not finding the words. We pull up to the house, the rain still falling. As I get out of the car, my mother trails behind, holding her chest, breathing so loud that I begin to fear she is having a heart attack. I put the key in the lock, but it doesn’t turn. I’m shaking so violently now I can’t unlock the door. My mother finally turns the key for me and runs three feet into the house before she collapses in a fit of sobs. I call my dad at work and tell him

what happened. He promises to come right away and for the first time in my life, I hear my father, a man who cut off his thumb in a wood chipping accident, a man who has watched his mother battle Parkinson’s disease, I hear him cry. His voice breaks and he asks, “Is he going to be okay Luke?” I say “yeah,” even though there’s no way I can know. My dad arrives shortly after, bursting through the back door, and runs to my mother to hug her, any hint of tears that I heard on the phone now gone, as he reassures my mother that everything will be okay. The phone rings and I answer it. It’s the police officer, who tells us the boy was moving and talking in the ambulance. He tells my mother to not beat herself up about it. She cries some more and proceeds to beat herself up about it. We still don’t know his name, the name of the kid we struck during the mayhem. We go to bed not knowing, but I wake up at 7:45 a.m. to the sound of my mother crying on the phone. She hangs up in tears, it was the kid’s mother. His name is Tyler Bell, he has a bleed in his brain and he’s in the ICU. His mother tells my mom, she understands, she’s praying for us (praying for us) and that we can text her for updates. I immediately fall to my knees and just repeat over and over, “Please God, please.” And for the first time tears stream down my face, only for a few seconds, but I do cry. We have a meeting with Mrs. Atencio at 3 p.m. The rest of the morning includes me trying to get my mind off of what happened, but every time I close my eyes I see his face looking at me on the windshield in that frozen moment. I watch Sports Center and listen to a Ron Paul speech, just try doing stuff I like. I get on Facebook until I realize no one is on Facebook at 10 a.m. So my mom and I go on a walk. We don’t talk much, but we don’t cry. Mainly we just think. Then I drive her to Dairy Queen, and she eats for the first time since the incident. I smile, remembering back to the Dairy Queen in Stow, Ohio, where my mother used to take me back in first grade whenever I had done something ice cream worthy. And that’s how I ended up here in this office, with the smiling counselor sitting in front of me and my crying mother sitting to my side on this uncomfortable couch. What do I remember? “Nothing, really, just that it didn’t feel real. It still doesn’t feel real.”

story by Lucas Lostoski // sports editor May 2012 // the eagle angle


Finally leaving it all behind in K109


ver since I was young my friends and family knew that I would go on to accomplish great things and change the world. I have not let them down. I have managed to rise so far above their expectations that I know they would be proud. I mean, just look at what I have done for our school. When I first joined newspaper I expected an educational class, where I would possibly explore future careers in journalism. I had no idea the impact that I would have this year. I now realize that with every issue I reached out to literally tens of readers. I have seen how my strongly opinionated columns have managed to sway people to the right point of view, mine. In my entire one year career I have never received one letter of hate mail, and I love you all for that. Actually, I haven’t received any letters at all, but I digress. Despite my importance to the staff, I need to make a very important announcement to my loyal one or two fans. This is the last story that I will ever write for The Eagle Angle. It has not been an easy decision but after consulting my friends and family (Hi Mom) I have decided that it is time for me to retire from the news writing business. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Cory, how could you do this to us? You are the only reason that we read the newspaper.” I know, and

it pains me that I will leave you, but I just can’t continue to work under the conditions provided by The Eagle Angle. For starters, I have yet to receive my own office.You would think that this is an easy request to fulfill, and yet somehow the leadership has fallen flat and I am stuck writing my stories next to the other members of the staff like some sort of animal. They also force me to write my stories on the same 24-inch Macs that the other writers use when I specifically asked for a 26-inch one. The violations of my rights as a worker go beyond these small atrocities. The editors behave like slave drivers and force me to follow absolutely ridiculous guidelines. For some reason our editors-in-chief expect me to follow something called deadlines, or arbitrary dates that our editors choose at random, but I am somehow supposed to produce a story on demand by this time. I have tried to explain that I cannot control when my genius will strike, and that publishing the newspaper can wait until I am ready, yet they refuse to listen. Perhaps the greatest and most tragic experience I have had on the newspaper staff is witnessing the barbaric ritual known as copy editing. This is where I present the editorial board with my perfect piece of writing, as per usual, and out of pure hatred they use their red pens to spitefully tear apart my wonderful story.

It’s almost too much to bear, watching all of my brilliant ideas be brutally massacred at their hands. I have spent many a night crying myself to sleep just thinking about it. I hope that all of my loyal readers will understand that this retirement is long overdue. Despite the fact that I am leaving for college, it was important that I leave the newspaper on my own terms. I know that this will make many of you angry and that you will want to take action against the newspaper, but I would ask you to please not take it out on them. It’s not their fault. For most people things like copy edits and deadlines are at least somewhat useful. They just failed to recognize the exceptional talent that I was. I have no doubt the newspaper will continue to grow and possibly expand its readership to dozens school-wide (although this is a much bigger challenge without me). I am leaving immediately and there is nothing that can make me return to the staff, although an apology letter and bouquet of flowers would perhaps make up for some of their wrongs (I prefer daisies). With that I will leave all of you with my love and with this passing thought. Good riddance. story by Cory Fleck // staff writer

Keep an eye out, I’m not done writing yet


p until March, when I became an intern for the Allen Americans in a great twist of fate after a story, I was a die-hard fan that went to almost every game. Because of this, I have a very small filter when it comes to how I act at games, which includes, but is not limited to, shouting, screaming and waving my arms like a chimp with rabies. The first time I sat up in the press box with the other intern and journalists was, for lack of a better term, awesome. We were served catered food and I could see absolutely everything in the arena from my seat. Here’s where things started to go downhill concerning my coolness. Guns ‘N Roses’ “Welcome To The Jungle” is played to welcome the team and fire up the fans before the game starts. Instead of standing up and clapping politely as the team skated out onto the ice like the other people in the press box, I stood up and did what I do at every other game. I danced. It wasn’t just bobbing my head and clapping my


May 2012 // the eagle angle

hands either. I went full Carlton from Fresh Prince. It’s a miracle my flailing limbs didn’t hit the poor souls who were sitting next to me. As the game progressed, I thankfully had enough sense to not sing along to the victory song that played whenever the Americans scored, but I did dance in my seat. The journalists were very nice, as was the other intern, but their eyes said, “Yup, she’s a newbie.” In spite of my awkward and obnoxious behavior, everyone in the press box welcomed me to the organization. I can’t say I’ll stay completely silent next season, but I’ll definitely come back to help out. I’ve changed my mind dozens of times on what I want to do with my life, but I think I have finally found my dream job. Although I plan on majoring in sports journalism, I think hockey is my true calling. After years of writing, I hope to become an announcer for the NHL. It’s what I’m meant to do and what I want most for myself. I’ve caught the hockey bug and I don’t intend on letting it go.

It isn’t the violence of the game that interests me. It isn’t talking to fellow fans who stay even after two overtime periods that draws me to the sport. It isn’t even the fact that I find a lot of hockey players ridiculously attractive. It’s their drive. These men withstand hit after hit, and punch after punch to score. They skate harder, even when they can hardly stand. They give their all when they are bloody and gasping for breath. I want to spend time with them and talk to them because their sheer dedication to their sport and their fans is so astounding to me. The idea that I sat next to journalists who have done this is incentive enough for me to want that kind of future for myself. Joining the newspaper staff was only the first step. In a couple years, instead of sitting in the Allen Event Center press box, I could rub elbows with sportscasters in the American Airlines Center. Keep an eye out for me. I’m not done writing yet. story by Elaine Kirby // staff writer

Torchy’s Tacos nothing to write home about


rowing up in Texas, Mexican food was a necessity at my house. I remember the times my mom set up a make your own taco bar complete with lettuce, tomato, guacamole, pico de gallo, shredded cheese, fresh tortillas and hard taco shells, straight from the oven. So when I first heard about Torchy’s Tacos opening up in Allen, I knew I had to see what all the fuss was about. Torchy’s Tacos, which replaced the Tin Star on W. McDermott Drive, is one of two Torchy’s restaurants in the Dallas area. Walking into Torchy’s, I didn’t quite understand the theme. The Torchy’s devil, featured on their logo, hung from the ceiling. Lining the walls were red road reflectors, which did not give off a Mexican restaurant vibe at all. Disregarding that, I got to the end of the crowded line to order my food. I chose the chicken fajita because, despite growing up around two beef lovers, I hate beef. While the cashiers were friendly enough, they did not go out of their way to make you feel welcome. Surprisingly, the wait was not long at all and to make it better my food was hot when it came out. I eagerly dug into my fajita. It was made with grilled chicken breast, grilled onions and peppers, cheese and pico de gallo, all on a warm flour tortilla. I expected a very spicy fajita due to the peppers, but it ended up tasting only mildly so. While the flavors of the vegetables were fresh, I was slightly disappointed that they overpowered the taste of the chicken. Another downside was the mess I made while eating the fajita. Next time, I’ll have a fork close at hand. I also ordered refried beans, a Mexican staple at my house, on the side. I had high hopes that these beans would taste delicious but

not greasy, because the beans served at places like Taco Cabana, while delicious, are quite greasy. I should have realized how awful the beans at Torchy’s would taste when I saw their unappetizing orange color. I should have realized when I saw the fake looking Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. I dug into my beans and it took all that I had to not spit them out. The Parmesan cheese was so overpowering, it was all I could taste. These were definitely not like the beans I remember from home. Adding to the confusion of this restaurant’s identity was their dessert menu. They only have two desserts, Little Nookies and dark chocolate brownies. Feeling adventurous, I decided to try the Little Nookies. Like everything else in Texas, the Little Nookies are deep-fried chocolate chip cookies dusted in powdered sugar. I felt like I was biting into homemade cookie dough with a crunchy coating. They were ooey gooey, delicious and light, despite the crunchy outer shell resulting from the fryer, but I felt this dessert would be more at home at the State Fair than a restaurant. I was disappointed to see that the food was served simply in black dishes. Restaurants such as On The Border always serve their food on vibrantly colored plates and that is one of my favorite parts of eating there. I feel as if this Tex-Mex restaurant has lost the Mex and gone a little too Tex. Overall, the food was good and decently priced, but not worth a second trip. I will enjoy my mom’s home cooking and Taco Cabana until Torchy’s finds where it went wrong. story by Victoria Erb // staff writer photos by Saher Aqeel

Taco fever



My pulled pork taco at Freebirds was spot on. While there are certain ingredients you have to get on your taco, you can choose from their different shells, cheeses and toppings. Allen location: 190 E Stacy Rd (Villages of Allen)

Taco Bell


I had never tried Taco Bell until I ordered their Doritos Locos Taco. I was slightly afraid the taco would be too overpowering, but it was actually very good. I need to “Live Más.” Allen locations:

505West McDermott Drive 215 South Custer Road 380 East Stacy Road


Taco Bueno

While the flavors of Taco Bueno’s tacos were alright, they were expensive and messy. I give them a no bueno.

Plano location:

720West Spring Creek Parkway

May 2012 // the eagle angle


“The Avengers” aims high, doesn’t disappoint


rom the beginning, “The Avengers” could have gone wrong in so many ways. Writer and director Joss Whedon had the unenviable task of weaving together six distinct main characters, each with their own separate origins and stories, into one movie. Achieving that alone would have been quite an accomplishment. But the fact that the movie actually turned out so well? Now that’s impressive. Superhero movies tend to be notoriously hit-or-miss, and fortunately “The Avengers” is a solid and resounding hit. It manages to avoid just about every pitfall that the genre poses, while delivering an extra dose of the high adrenaline action and adventure that the genre demands. The film takes its time introducing and establishing each of its characters through a series of expository scenes early on that inform viewers who don’t already know the back stories of the characters while still entertaining those who do. The plot, centered around super

villain Loki’s plan to invade Earth by opening a portal to his home world, is easy to follow and never gets too convoluted. But the real centerpiece of “The Avengers” is the team itself and the characters that make it up. Each of the six Avengers has their own personal arc of character development throughout the movie. While some are more prominent than others, the film gives each character equal importance. Unsurprisingly, there’s quite a bit of focus on Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, whose deadpan delivery proves perfect for Whedon’s witty dialogue. More unexpectedly is the amount of focus given to Mark Ruffalo as a mild-mannered Bruce Banner, who is both haunted by and somewhat frightened of his destructive alter ego. The movie constantly reminds its audience that these characters all come from different worlds (literally, in some cases) and don’t work together easily. The chemistry among the cast is great, and watching the characters’ interactions as they come together as a team is half the fun


May 2012 // the eagle angle

of the “The Avengers.” The other half is the action, dialogue and humor (make sure to stay after all the credits for a small but hilarious extra scene), all of which the movie has in abundance. Whedon loves to subvert expectations and turn familiar tropes on their ears, usually in abrupt and funny ways, like when a villain begins what seems to be a classic evil speech only to be interrupted and smashed into the floor by the Hulk. It’s moments like these that elevate “The Avengers” above the status of just another entertaining summer blockbuster. With box office sales shattering records ($200.3 million in its U.S. opening weekend), it’s probably safe to say that this isn’t the last time the Avengers will assemble. If future installments can match the sharp writing, thoughtful character balance and pure entertainment value of this one, the reemerging superhero genre is in for quite a ride. story by Conner Martin // staff writer

Student Choice Awards Although there were several movies, albums and television shows that came out this school year, the Eagle Angle wanted to determine the school’s entertainment favorites. Surveys were passed out during lunch for two weeks, with a total of 520 participating students.




Mission: Impossible

The Vow

Brad Bird, known for his work on Pixar’s “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille,” made his liveaction debut this December with the fourth Mission: Impossible film. Tom Cruise reprised the role of IMF agent Ethan Hunt.


Romance After a car accident, a married couple, played by Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams, suddenly find that words are often stronger than actions.

21 Jump Street Two former classmates, played by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, reconnect at a police academy working as undercover agents.

Best Picture

The Hunger Games Harry Potter and the The odds were definitely in the favor of Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Jennifer Lawerence, Josh Hutcherson and As the highest grossing film of 2011, the second part of “Deathly Hallows” signaled the end of Daniel Radcliffe’s role as the boy wizard.

Liam Hemsworth, who star in this year’s boxoffice hit based off of Suzanne Collin’s “Hunger Games” trilogy.


TV/Web Favorite TV Show

Album of the Year

Best New Artist

The Band Perry

‘21’: Adele Her unique voice, soulful lyrics and powerful personality have made 23-year-old British singer Adele one of the most talked about celebrities this year. Her second album, “21,” explores themes such as anger, heartbreak and dissatisfaction, and scored six Grammy’s. Photos courtesy of the official websites of Harry Potter, 21 Jump Street, The Hunger Games, adele. tv and CBS news.

A sibling band may sound silly or childlike, but with singles like “Hip to My Heart” and “If I Die Young,” siblings Kimberly, Reid and Neil Perry have taken their country-pop genre to a whole new level.

Song of the Year ‘Someone Like You’: Adele Co-written with Dan Wilson, an American songwriter and producer, this simple, yet soulful ballad topped charts in several countries overseas and become her second number one hit in the United States, making her the first female soloist to reach the Billboard Hot 100.

Big Bang Theory Experimental Physicist Lenard Hofstadter and Theoretical Physicist Sheldon Cooper constantly get in socially awkward situations.

Favorite Website


Founded in 2005, YouTube has become one of the most popular video-sharing websites in the world. Now available in 54 different languages, YouTube has become a social hub for viewers. May 2012 // the eagle angle


$5 off next purchase expires June 30, 2012


The Eagle Angle 2011-2012


The Eagle Angle 2011-2012