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FD Battle of the Bands Westlake High School

Volume 45

Issue 1

November 12, 2013 4100 Westbank Drive Austin, Texas 78746





Senior Winborne Hamlin and junior Charlie Childs row on Lady Bird Lake.

11 Band together


Four bands compete in the 19th annual Battle of the Bands

22 Float your boat Football coach Daniel Hunter looks on during the Chaps 62-0 win over the Akins Eagles Oct.4. Nikki Humble

Shelby Westbrook


Women’s rowing gains popularity in Westlake

30 A good sport

Former star athlete shares experiences as coach, teacher

38 Times have changed Westlake high school’s progress by the decade

62 Seniors sound off Bathed in red stage light, senior Duncan Waldrop connects with the audience during the Loose Wheels performance at the Battle of the Bands. Tim Whaling cover photo by Cade Ritter

Cover photo caption: Senior Aidan Sivy plays his baritone saxophone in Chromatic Funk during this year’s Battle of the Bands. The Featherduster, the newsmagazine of Westlake High School, attempts to inform and entertain in a broad, fair and accurate manner on subjects which concern the readers. The publication also seeks to provide a forum of ideas and opinions between the staff of the newsmagazine, the faculty, the student body and the local community about issues presented. All material produced and published by The Featherduster staff is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without the writer’s consent or that of the editors. Content decisions rest in the hands of the staff, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier. Opinions expressed in the columns that appear

in The Featherduster do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire staff, the school administration or the adviser. The staff encourages letters to the editor as an avenue for expressing the opinions of the readers. All letters must be signed to be considered for publication. Due to space limitations, not all letters will be published, and the editorial board reserves the right to edit them for purposes of placement. No material will be printed that is libelous, advocates an illegal activity or which the editorial board deems is in poor taste. The restriction includes letters to the staff, advertising and anything else the board feels presents an inappropriate message.

Students express opinions on editorial about Senior Girls tradition Editors-in-Chief Andy Brown Marco Scarasso Ben Wallace

Brains + Brawn

Asst. Georgina Kuhlmann

Marketing Jacob Prothro Cierra Smith

Peyton Richardson Asst. Colleen Pletcher Emily Martin Asst. Margaret Norman Asst. Kathryn Revelle

Web Team

People + Places

Hannah Turner

Sara Phillips Asst. Elizabeth Emery Asst. Jack Stenglein

Trends + Traditions Caitlyn Kerbow Monica Rao Asst. Madeline Dupre Asst. Olivia Kight

Rants + Raves Katelyn Connolly Rachel Cooper

Nikki Humble Alexis Huynh ZZ Lundburg

Business Manager Art Editor: Michaela Moss Editor: Ariana Gomez Reyes Alex Charnes

Phographers Editor: Tim Whaling Nick Appling Cade Ritter Shelby Westbrook Lucy Wimmer

Reporters Nelson Aydelotte Drew Brown Martin Celusniak Michelle Fairorth Sophia Ho Cooper Kerbow Sabrina Knap Nikki Lyssy Zhouie Martinez Jack Speer Sage Sutton Sarah Tucker David Tulkoff Jack Wallace Brian Wieckowski Michael Wiggin Micah Williams Damien Wills Ananya Zachariah

Adviser Deanne Brown

Rock ‘em, sock ‘em

Senior Nick Jordan works on the threading in a piece of metal to be used in a robot.

Chap Robotics prepares for another award-winning season to top last year’s


Cade Ritter

hile the stands are filled with students at every “We are not the biggest or the most well-funded team out there, but football game, an entire world of computer, mechanical and we think that we can compete with everyone,” Garrison said. “Taking design engineering is going on right under our noses. the next step for us [will be] going to compete with teams that do have “The First Robotics Contest tries to really celebrate education and everything. We’re just about ready to do that.” engineering just like we do sports in high school,” Robotics coach NorIn order to get mentors and sponsors to build robots, some of the man Morgan said. “There’s an MC, and a DJ, there’s big screens and officers from the team were invited to National Instruments to give replays. Teams are cheering and you have mascots. They try to create a keynote speech and discuss what the team has to offer. Moreover, an environment of celebration of what the kids have accomplished. some robotics team members had the opportunity to intern at NI over The kids in robotics start with nothing and get to see it out on the field. the summer and put their robot-building skills to the test. It’s something they can truly be proud of just like being on the football “We got to build a robot butler using NI products and we got to team, or band, or the one-act play.” demonstrate it at NI week,” Garrison said. The team looks forward to competing at FRC every February and The team not only got to showcase its summer project, but they also March because of the shared interest and passion among teams. presented last year’s award-winning robot as well. “Everybody is so involved, everybody is there and has so much “They wanted us up on stage demonstrating FRC teams, and so invested interest in what they’re watching, because everyone there we got to showcase our robot shooting a water bottle off of someone’s participated in the contest,” Robotics president senior Garrison Hefter head,” Garrison said. “It was really cool for me to get to go, not only said. because there were a bunch of other FRC teams in attendance there, Last year, the robotics team accomplished what they said seemed but also watching online. After the keynote, everyone was invited to impossible — winning the highest honor at come up on stage and talk to us, so I got a FRC, the Chairman’s award. The team also chance to talk to engineers and scientists took home Tournament Semifinalist, Engifrom all over the world.” neering Excellence and Division Semifinalist While the kids showed off their pride and awards at Championships. joy, a robot lovingly named “Biscuit,” NI “After last year, when we accomplished presented a video of the team’s hard work more than any of us really thought we were and commitment to robotics. going to, we knew we could do it again,” Gar“It’s a great honor,” Morgan said. “It rison said. “I remember at our first competiwas great to get to participate and be the tion last year in Lubbock, I was talking to only FRC team onstage out of 2,500 teams Coach about Chairman’s award. He told me worldwide that participate. It was great to that he didn’t think we would win, and then be a representative of all of the teams.”This we won. We got to prove him wrong.” year is promising to be an even larger sucThe team’s successes are largely due to cess than the last, with a multitude of new the long hours put into designing and creatmembers and a strong and large senior class. ing a robot to fit the contest challenges for Recently the robotics team also got to parthe year.Former robots have done everything ticipate in a college and carreer fair to show Nick Appling from play basketball to throw frisbees. off Biscuit. Sophomores Matt Deyoe, Jonathon Bunt and Elekos Praxis work after school on “There is nothing like the first time you “To have a chance to interact with stusee your robot [move] on the field every year, their latest robot in order to prepare for their upcoming tournament. dents that we can relate with right now was whether it does what you want it to or not,” pretty rad,” Garrison said. “Many of these Garrison said. “In fact, I don’t think it ever has done what we wanted kids would never have seen anything like this had it not been for us.” it to. I remember our basketball robot dancing around and almost Moreover, Morgan wills his participants to think further into the flipping itself the first time we put it on the field. But the fact that it can future about their beloved robotics program rather than just today. get out there and pass inspection is incredible, especially after spend“One of the things that I always challenge kids with every year is, ing weeks and weeks up at school until one or two in the morning.” ‘What is the legacy that you’re going to leave?’,” Morgan said. “Legacy The program’s recent wins are also due in part to mentorships from is not only about awards and championships, it’s about putting the engineering firms nationwide, as well as school support. With this sup- pieces in place so that more teams in the future can be successful.” port, the team is able to compete at the top level in tourmaments. —Hannah Turner


brains + brawn

up Changing things Counselors now have students for all four years

Unlike previous years, there is no longer a separate group of freshman counselors — incoming students will stay with the same counselors from the beginning of their ninth grade year until the day of their graduation. As a result, many of this year’s juniors and seniors have been surprised to find out that they now have different counselors. Counselors now have an extra year to get to know their students in order to get in touch with their interests and future plans. This way, they will be better prepared to help them apply to colleges during their senior year. In previous years, freshman counselors helped transition freshmen into high school. Now, incoming ninth graders have advisories for the first five weeks of school(changed from six), where they have the opportunity to meet their counselors. “I was not personally affected, but I agree with this decision,” senior Aaron Zou said. “For future students, their college applications will be stronger if they have been meeting with the same counselor for all four years.” Unfortunately, many seniors no longer have the same counselors who have known them for the past few years, causing the opposite effect that it will have on the ninth graders. Instead of a familiar counselor, seniors have one who doesn’t know them, and won’t be able to help them as well with college. “This is the year I need recommendation letters, so I have to ask my old counselor,” senior Laura Gilligan said. “I think the change in

counselors wasn’t helpful this year.” Apart from using last year’s counselors for recommendation letters, there are no other solutions for this year’s seniors. “In the future, it will be a better system than what was in place,” counselor Carol Niemann said. “Change is hard, but sometimes necessary.” —Martin Celusniak

Zhouie Martinez

Counselor Kathy Arendt advisess senior Maggie Stapper on college admissions. Starting this year the counselors are assigned last names of students that they will stick with through the rest of the student’s high school careers.

Principal implements freshman advisory, Student Congress Principal Dr. John Carter has made some changes this year including adding freshman advisory and Student Congress. Freshmen attended the new advisory for half of lunch Monday through Thursday for the first five weeks of school. “The freshman advisory was a result of feedback I received my first year as principal ... the feedback was that there was no effort to teach the freshmen what it means to be a Chap,” Dr. Carter said. The sessions were led by Teen Teachers and counselors. Some freshmen said the time spent was beneficial. “We played games and I got to meet a lot of new people,” freshman Ali Mashburn said. “I thought it was a lot of fun.” However, some freshmen said the program needs revisions for next year. “I think that they should make it less of a group building activity and more of a way for freshmen to get advice from upperclassmen,” freshman Sophie Werken-

thin said. addition made to help Student Because Dr. Carter also wantCouncil and give the rest of the ed the counselors to have a better student body a voice. Student connection with the students, he Congress was created to reprehad them come in to advisory on sent a larger number of peoples’ Wednesdays. voices, whereas Student Council Freshman members are the advisory will student leaders. continue next “I think that year, and the the Student administration Congress meetwill be able to ings are really work out some useful,” senior of the problems Carolyn Dunlap such as students said. “Usually ending up in the there’s a disconwrong advisonect between the ries and making administration smaller groups for and students; counselors. most students Tim Whaling “An original underestimate idea was that each Dr. John Carter talks at long — range facilities the power they planning meeting. counselor would have to change meet with their their school. advisory once a They just asweek and they would just have a sume that the administration small group of kids,” Dr. Carter won’t listen to them. However, said. “However, scheduling that the Student Congress bridges that turned out to be harder than was gap and allows the students to possible.” think through solutions to probStudent Congress is also a new lems they care about.”

Student Council and Student Congress work together to propose solutions to those problems. “Student Council is the governing body,” Dr. Carter said. “They are who I look to for a lot of decision making and input. The Student Council is a finite group of people. Student Congress helps Student Council get more input and come forward with a proposal. It’s the idea that two heads are better than one. You’re hearing more voices.” In response to rumors that teachers are not allowed to give students any group tests or quizzes, Dr. Carter said this policy has not changed.Group tests and quizzes are not banned, but teachers have to judge on when the work is group work and when it’s not. “There has to be some individual responsibility,” Dr. Carter said. “My grade can’t be based on your work — it’s not fair. But if I grade you on your ability to work with each other, that is a group activity.” —Sage Sutton


Under hire

uring the week of Sept. 23, the Eanes administration offered Paul Weil, a former dean of students at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Ill., a contract for one of the two open assistant principal positions at Westlake. Former assistant principals Wade Sanchez and Karl Waggoner had just left the school, and district director of human resources Lester Wolff sent out a posting for the job vacancies, one of which was filled by Westlake High School teacher Jaime Clark. Weil worked with principal Dr. John Carter at Stevenson, but Dr. Carter said he didn’t reach out to him about the opening. “We were colleagues,” Dr. Carter said. “It was a professional relationship. I didn’t really know him because he was in another department. We would talk and tell jokes, but that was pretty much it.” Superintendent Dr. Nola Wellman said Weil was ultimately selected over the other 59 applicants for the job based on his administrative and teaching leadership experience, as well as his personal characteristics. “He had taught in the foreign language area, and also had experience in an administrative position in a high school that was similar to Westlake,” Dr. Wellman said. “[Weil] is very personable — a person that you immediately feel like you are comfortable with. I also felt that students would like him as a teacher or administrator. He knew the systems of a high school, how to get things done with high school teachers, with high school systems and with the community.” However, Weil had been part of an investigation at Stevenson in April 2012 surrounding his communication with a student over text messages. According to the Chicago Tribune, the student accused Weil of sending him “awkward and creepy” text messages. These texts included “Pizza delivery boy? Hot” in reference to the student’s new job and “Don’t come home with a venereal disease” in reference to a trip the student was taking. Although Weil told police he considered the texts to be “friendly banter,” there was an investigation conducted within the school. Weil was not charged or reprimanded for his alleged activity, but he resigned from his position as Dean of Students. As the Eanes community learned of Weil’s past, members began to express concerns about the hiring process, and how it was that Dr. Wellman and the hiring committee at Westlake had come to the decision to pick him as their top candidate. Dr. Wellman said that the perceived breach of trust drove her to rescind her original offer to hire him on Sept. 24. “I felt like as the day went on that the emotions around [the situa-


brains + brawn

tion] were gaining so much momentum that there was no way to overcome them at that point,” Dr. Wellman said. “I thought it was harmful to the school, to the district and to Dr. Carter. It was too intense.” Wolff said that Weil was discouraged when he and Dr. Carter called him to inform him that he would no longer be offered the job. “He was happy to get a fresh start and excited about moving to Texas and getting back into administrative work,” Wolff said. Dr. Carter said he thought the community misunderstood the process behind selecting Weil, and that all candidates for jobs in the district are carefully considered. “The severity of the concerns seemed to convey that people didn’t trust our decision-making process, and that’s not what we intended,” Dr. Carter said. “We would hope that it would show that we did vet this and that we had done our due diligence, but some people don’t believe that at this point.” Eanes puts potential employees through an extensive clearing process. A committee is chosen by the principal, who then creates a set of criteria for the opening they are looking to fill. “In this particular case it was a committee of nine,” Dr. Carter said. “It was myself, four assistant principals and three teachers. Included were people who had kids in the school, so they had parent eyes as well as teacher or administrator eyes.” Eanes was looking for someone who could oversee security, Career and Technical Education and the World Languages department. The HR department then posted the opening on various state education websites. Once the applications were received, a final list of candidates was chosen, who were then interviewed by the committee. Weil was well received. “In the interview there were questions about discipline like ‘how do you approach discipline?’ and he answered them in a very studentcentered way, in more of a teaching way than a rule-bound way, which

Amidst recent assistant principal controversy, administration reexamines hiring policy Amidst recent controversy, district examines hiring policy is how we try to approach discipline, using a mistake as a teaching moment,” Dr. Carter said. Upon passing Weil into the final bracket of applicants, Dr. Carter personally called Dr. Wellman and Wolff to explain the controversy linked to his past. “He gave me all the background, he told me the whole story, told me there was no wrong-doing found,” Wolff said. “The candidate back then had expressed some regret and remorse. (Weil) had a good relationship with the student without question, kind of a mentor to the young man, who was not on track to graduate. He was using humor and sarcasm to try and maintain that relationship with an 18-year-old kid. My advice to Dr. Carter was to honor our processes. Then we’ll take the next step and see how it goes.” Weil was then given a letter of intent to hire. Eanes then made an announcement that it was planning on hiring him and Clark as assistant principals. Someone then researched him and found articles detailing the 2012 controversy on the Internet. This information was sent to the Austin American-Statesman, which ran an article detailing the district’s decision without any direct interview with Dr. Carter or Dr. Wellman, although both were quoted through the prepared statements they had given to the district public relations department. “Whoever first got [the background information], instead of coming to us, went straight to the paper,” Dr.

Wellman said. “It inflamed it. It certainly made people worry with the viewpoint that it took. There’s other ways to look at the situation. If you only got your information from the article, it’s understandable. There was a bigger context. It makes it difficult when the court of public opinion is the one making the judgment versus the ability to look at the situation.” Alarm spread quickly throughout the community after the article was printed. Dr. Wellman, Dr. Carter, and school board members received passionate personal emails and phone calls demanding the offer be retracted. Handwritten signs that warned of cronyism were posted on street corners near the school. Due to the intensity of the complaints, Dr. Wellman decided to not offer Weil the position. “I thought the positive things he brought to the school would be part of the considerations,” Dr. Wellman said. “I at no time, nor today, think he’s a danger in any way or was detrimental to the safety or welfare [of the students]. I wouldn’t recommend him if I had any doubt about that. I think that’s where the discrepancy is. I was satisfied; this was a mistake on his part. He clearly knew it and would never do it again. Not all our parents would agree with that judgement. From the information they had, they felt like that was too risky, and I understand that.” The high school only last year expanded from five to six APs, but the sixth assistant principal position will end up not being filled. To avoid a situation like this again, Dr. Wellman and Wolff are proposing alterations to the hiring system, such as having a parent and high school student on the committee. At press time, the school board was scheduled to meet and vote on the proposed changes. “This is like everything else,” Wolff said. “It’s an opportunity for us to review, to see if there is something we need to do differently, or if there is something we’re not doing that we should, or if there’s something that we are doing that we shouldn’t. If there is something we need to tweak in our processes, we are certainly willing to look at that. This is something we are doing internally. This is something we are doing to be proactive.” Wolff said he wished community members could forgive Weil’s past transgressions, but understood the concern they expressed. “We all make mistakes,” Wolff said. This guy had a lot of good things about him, Dr. Carter believed it, the committee believed it; I believed it. The mistakes that he made did not appear to us to be career-ending, because he had been hired in a different district after that incident. Obviously some folks in our community felt differently, and that’s OK. We respect their opinion.” —Andy Brown and Ben Wallace

“It makes it difficult when the court of public opinion is the one making the judgment versus the ability to look at the situation.” —Dr. Nola Wellman




Senior John Kronenberger plays the bass guitar with the rest of The Loose Wheels during their performance of “Carwash.”

Tim Whaling




Tim Whaling

1. Sophomore Dave North and senior Devin North both play guitar during one of Gypsy’s songs. 2. As after-show entertainment, seniors Olivia Kight and Mackenzie Carlson perform various pieces while the judges deliberate. 3. Chromatic Funk members celebrate their popular vote victory after the winners were announced. 4. Senior Greg Doscher keeps the beat for Chromatic Funk.


Tim Whaling



Westlake rocks out for 19th year For almost two decades, Battle of the Bands has filled the Performing Arts Center each winter. This year, however, the 19th annual show was moved to Oct. 25 because there was a football by-week. The Featherduster and TEC sponsored and ran the event. Five bands were scheduled to play, but Lunatic Theory’s bassist fell ill and the band pulled out at the last minute. The remaining four bands — Blue Tongue, Chromatic Funk, Gypsy and the Loose Wheels — played music ranging from jazz to classic rock to reggae. Most of the participating band members were seniors, including four out of five of the Loose Wheels. This was the band’s fifth and final Battle of the Bands. “Battle of the Bands is one of my favorite shows to play every year,” Loose Wheels guitarist senior G.R. Chiappe said. “Being able to participate for five years was a blast, and it’s definitely bittersweet for this to have been the last one.” After all of the bands performed three to five songs, individual winners were chosen by judges and the winning band was chosen by audience members via text message. In the end, Chromatic Funk was awarded People’s Choice and its front man, senior David Alvarez, took home the best front man award. “We weren’t really sure if we would have enough swag to win, especially after hearing the other groups,” David said. “We just balled as hard as we could and tried to get that fun swag going. As for getting the front man swag, it was a nice treat to finish the night with, and I’m glad I got that participation swag for my last year.” Seniors Will Conant and Bobby Perry served as MCs. They filled gaps with musical trivia, videos and a Mad Lib story. “I had a great time hosting,” Will said. “The crowd was energetic and ready to participate, so it made everything a lot more fun. Plus, I always love watching the bands play. There are some very talented people at Westlake.” —Caitlyn Kerbow

Tim Whaling

Individual Winners


brains + brawn

Tim Whaling

Lead Guitar: Tre Pham Bass Guitar: John Kronenberger Rhythm Guitar: G.R. Chiappe Vocals: Payton Keller Drums: Pierce Waldrop Keyboard: Joey Listrom Horns: Aidan Sivy Front man: David Alvarez


Tim Whaling


Tim Whaling


1. Senior Joey Listrom plays the keytar in the band Gypsy during Battle of the Bands Oct. 25. Joey won best keyboardest this year. 2. Winner of best front man this year for Battle of the Bands, senior David Alvarez plays keyboard and sings in Chromatic Funk which won by audience vote. 3. Playing guitar while doing the splits, McCallum sophomore Tre Pham performs in the band Blue Tongue. Tre won best guitarist. 4. “[Battle of the Bands] is pretty fun, especially when you act ridiculous like we do. It’s also really interesting to see all the other bands because they are usually really good,” senior Adam Wilson said about performing in Chromatic Funk. Technical Entertainment Crew provides the lighting and sounds for the show. 5. Senior G.R. Chiappe sings and plays guitar in the The Loose Wheels. “It was a really sweet experience getting to play in Battle of the Bands for five years,” G.R. said. “It was kind of bittersweet being the last year, and it was really cool to play in the PAC in front of all your friends who come out to support you.”


Tim Whaling Lucy Wimmer


Tim Whaling

Tim Whaling

Dramatic flair

Theater department performs dark comedy for first production

Sophomore Zach Freeman practices his role as Louis. photos by Lucy Wimmer


Actors in the theater department were able to discover talthrust into two new roles. ents in themselves that they hadn’t used on stage before when they put Sarah was recast as the Leading Player, and Susannah was recast as on a different kind of fall production than they normally do. Catherine, Pippin’s love interest. The show, Pippin, was a new experience for the drama depart“The situation I was put in demanded a lot of work because I was ment because it is a musical instead of a play. Musicals at Westlake are only expected to have about one third of the lines I did have,” Sarah usually put on by the choir, so this was an opportunity for the drama said. “As a result, I spent many late nights practicing and performstudents to tell a story in a way that they ing in front of my bathroom mirror. were not used to, through not only their Although it was stressful, I think it paid “I think that it not only entertained, but that it off.” acting abilities, but song and dance as well. In the end, the most important astaught dozens of kids who had never been in “I think that it not only entertained, pect of Pippin was teamwork. A coma musical what it’s like to not only act, but to plicated show with an intricate story, but that it taught dozens of kids who had take on singing and dancing as well. It’s rais- Pippin demanded not only the dedicanever been in a musical what it’s like to not only act, but to take on singing and tion of its actors, but of its crew as well, ing a new generation of Westlake theater.” dancing as well,” junior Susannah CrowTEC, costume and makeup. —junior Susannah Crowell including ell said. “It’s raising a new generation “I feel the cast and crew worked of Westlake theater. It went really well, their butts off and put effort in durand caught a lot of people off guard.” ing and after school and our free time,” Susannah said. “Because we All three presentations of the show, which took place Oct. 25, 26, worked so hard, it was a really entertaining show, everything went and 28, went smoothly, courtesy of not only the actors but also the smoothly and everyone supported each other. We all worked toward Technical Entertainment Crew. However, earlier in production, there the common cause of making the show the best it could be.” was drama in the drama department, when, just a week and a half As one of the first musicals put on by the theater department, Pipbefore the show, two of the leads dropped out. This resulted in immepin broke ground and set a precedent for the future. In the words of diate recasting, and added pressure for most cast members involved, Pippin, “There is magic to do.” particularly juniors Sarah Holland and Susannah Crowell, who were —Sophia Ho

Left: Sophomore Lauren Gomez rehearses her role as Bertha during a dress rehearsal for the production of Pippin. “Theater is a way to express yourself artistically and is a place to be who you really are,” Lauren said. “Pippin takes you to a different world with fun songs and a heart warming story that everybody will love.”


brains + brawn

Aurasma by James Harrison

Right: Playing the title role of Pippin in the theater’s production, freshman Cal Ussery practices his part along with junior Sarah Holland. The production was on Oct. 25, 26 and 28.

Choir moves up the staff

Growth of chorale program results in addition of new director A Westlake record of 532 students is now a part of one of the largest high school choral programs in the state of Texas. Since more than a fifth of the school participates in the program, the administration and Dr. John Carter opened the hiring process for an additional director this past summer to help support this exemplary program. Edward Snouffer has been the head director for 17 years and was joined by Jenn Goodner in 2007. Last year they taught 410 students to create six different ensembles. As the program continued to grow, the need for a third director became evident. “We’re hoping to make the program stronger,” Goodner said. “Having the opportunity to connect with our students on a more personal level is one of the main ideas behind having a third director.” Over the summer Snouffer and Goodner took two weeks to narrow down the applicants to five candidates. After the five were interviewed, they made their decision and hired Steve Sifner, a recent graduate from Indiana University who majored in music education with a vocal emphasis. “[We chose him] because he seemed to have everything we really wanted,” Goodner said. “He’s young and energetic, he plays the piano and we thought he would be able to relate well to our younger students.” Together the three directors now have 11 classes to make eight different ensembles. Although they do a lot of team teaching in the classroom, Sifner is primarily responsible for the two freshman ensembles. “There’s a certain amount of nervousness that comes from just being a first year teacher,” Sifner said. “But beyond that, the wonderful thing about Westlake is that I’ve had such a wonderful network of support which you don’t get everywhere. And that comes from all over. It comes from Mr. Snouffer, Mrs. Goodner, the administration, the parents and most of all the students.” The annual choir retreat to Mo Ranch in September was Sifner’s first real introduction to the program. “Going to Mo Ranch made me realize how supportive the students are of each other and of [the directors] and of everything we do,” Sifner said. “And that’s something that doesn’t happen everywhere.” —Sabrina Knap

“Mr. Sifner is a great new addition to the Westlake choir department. He is super enthusiastic and has really taken the time to get to know everyone.” —senior Nicole Smith

Choir instructor Steve Sifner directs his freshman class and prepares the students for a new piece of music.

Shelby Westbrook

“The wonderful thing about Westlake is that I’ve had such a wonderful network of support which you don’t get everywhere.” —choir instructor Steve Sifner

“I like him because he is really cool and even though people mess around a lot, he keeps his cool.” —freshman Sam Ehlinger

“I’m so glad Mr. Sifner joined the program this year. He is such a great teacher and he’s very involved and loves what he does. He adds so much to every rehearsal.” —junior Sarah Almgren

Healthy growth

Student interest in HOSA increases


he Health Occupations Students of America club started at Westlake around five years ago. Since then, the club has grown seven times larger, from its original 20 members to around 150 members today. Over the past five years, colleges have recognized HOSA as a prestigious club, making membership look good on college resume applications. Also with the takeoff of the medical career field, students are showing an increased interest in HOSA, according to vice president senior Paige Southworth. “When I joined HOSA, it was a small, relatively unknown club, and my best friend Kimmie and I were two of the only freshmen,” Paige said. “Most of the club members were upperclassmen and we didn’t know anyone. Since HOSA has been recognized, we are getting students of all grades.” With more interest, increasing opportunities are afforded to the members of HOSA, as attendance grows. Numerous service projects such as helping out hospitals, competing in state and national events, mentorships under doctors and even a day with the San Antonio Spurs basketball team are all available for members who participate in HOSA. “It’s great to see such an increase of interest in HOSA,” president senior Kimmie Banks said. “More energy is being put into fundraising, and there is a large increase of participation in competitions. We try to get as many members to participate as possible.” Although HOSA does not have a set recruitment process, the club events are anCade Ritter nounced on the Chap Recap and there’s inforSenior Kimmie Banks (in red) meets with HOSA officers (clockwise from left) junior Sonal Duhka, junior Krinza Prasla, junior Saamiha Kenkare, junior Jenae Forni and mation about the club on Twitter and Facebook. To sign up for HOSA, an application with sophmore Sydney Criswell to talk about procedures being implemented. some brief information must be completed and dues of $40 paid. Students that join HOSA don’t and the cause of death, its a challenge” necessarily have to be set on a career in medicine, the club is open to Along with the medical aspect there is also a social aspect of the anyone who wants to come and experience what HOSA is about. club. Students from all grades join HOSA, participating allows you to With more members, managing the club brings up new challenges. meet many new faces of students who share interests in a medial field. Along with new methods of organization, 12 new officers and a second “I joined the first day of my freshman year, before I had even advisor, Helen Wilson, have been added to help supervise the club. walked my schedule,” said Paige. “When I joined I might not have “There are always improvements to be made,” Kimmie said. “The had a specific medical interest, but I thought that joining HOSA was a officers are dedicated to the club and we constantly improve on the great way to meet new people and make friends.” system we have.” Since Paige and Kimmie first joined HOSA, they have been very Participation is at an all time high, but there is still some confusion involved in the club, earning a place at the top of the leadership. The on how to join an event. All members including officers can compete in high number of seniors in leadership positions does mean that more competitions and experience a mentorship under a doctor or volunteer of an emphasis must be placed on training the younger officers so the at a local hospital. There are two types of competitions available. Ontransition can be successful after they graduate. line competitions in which a student answers questions and submits “Even though there are far more underclassmen officers this year, their work, traveling competitions around texas, where a student about half of the officers are seniors,” Kimmie said. “When we graducompetes against rival high school HOSA members in various fields of ate there will be a huge shift, and we have to to prepare for it as much medicine and forensic science. as possible; but the great thing that has come with more members is, “My favorite type of competition is hands on,” Paige said. “ At we don’t have to repeatedly say, this is HOSA, this is HOSA. Students one competition I attended, participants received policy reports and already know what it is and that is just great.” autopsy reports, from there they would have to figure out the scenario -David Tulkoff


brains + brawn


Gym Class

S DUMMIE ut really trying FOR

How to succeed in P.E. witho Technology is taking academics to bold new heights, pushing boundaries and unfortunately interfering with aspects of school that it probably shouldn’t. For instance, did you know that you can earn your gym credits online? The University of Texas and Texas Tech both offer online physical education (P.E.) classes that cost around $200 per semester, including textbooks. They require next to no effort besides memorizing sports guidelines and basic health concepts that a first grader could tell you, like the fact that smoking is more likely to cause lung cancer than maintaining a healthy diet. This means you can now pass gym class from a chair. Or your bed. Or your local Starbucks. Most of you are probably rolling your eyes right now, thinking “That’s absurd, no way.” Yes way. I realize that many people will expect me to slander this repulsively stupid idea. Online gym? Bit of an oxymoron there, isn’t it? On the contrary, I couldn’t be more thrilled. Adults are finally inventing new ways for us kids to cheat our way out of getting our heart rates up past their usual faint, sedentary beat every day in gym class. The way I see it, the world is divided into two kinds of high school students: those who get a creepy, sadistic kick out of pelting the rest of us with dodgeballs (which hurt a lot more than your gym teacher will admit), and those of us who come home every day and press wet towels gingerly against our dodgeball-shaped bruises, wondering why on Earth we’re required to pass two semesters of the gratuitous class in order to graduate. I’m sure you can work out which category I fall into. I’m a girl, and in gym that makes me a minority. Don’t come within 10 feet of me wearing those wet tissues you have the audacity to call a jersey. Don’t yell at me when I can’t use a modified caveman’s club to hit a baseball that’s hurtling towards my face. And no, our teams can’t be shirts versus skins. The activities we kids are put up to in P.E. are not all “fun in the sun,” — they’re tortuous and borderline abusive. Unfortunately, if you ever want to lay a finger on your diploma, you’ll have to suffer through a year’s worth of migraines and flag football. That is why I’ve resolved to worship online gym with the vehemence of an actual religion. If I hadn’t wasted my previous year flailing miserably through two embarrassing semesters of gym’s cruel and unusual punishment, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’d have signed up before you could say Online-P.E.-Is-The-Greatest-Thing-Since-Teachers-Actually-Started-Giving-Us-iPads-To-Use-In-Class. The world has granted us the equivalent of a conceptual gym course. You can either waste your time weighing the pros and cons, contemplating the fairness of it all, or you can put your pride aside and take whatever leniency you can get. Some still might argue about the cumulative effects that taking an online P.E. course might have on one’s ego, particularly its deterioration. After all, it’s got to be a new low in some record book or another. Yeah? So is getting the crap beaten out of you by adolescent boys who take capture the flag way too seriously. I mean, come on, it’s gym

Georgina Kuhlmann

class, people. You aren’t training for the Olympics. Last year I exempted my gym final. You can’t sink much lower than that. If I can legally slack my way through gym class in the privacy of my own home and still manage to graduate, then I’m totally fine with whatever names you want to call me. The rest of you can enjoy your mandatory daily shellacking in dodgeball and carrying around the stench of the locker room with you for the rest of your classes. Your friends will never hug you. When it comes down to it, I can exercise without a teacher. I can eat without a bib, too. Yes, maybe $200 is a lot to pay for a semester of online gym class. Your friends will not approve. They’ll ridicule you and call you terrible, unmentionable things. The coaches will glare daggers at you when they pass you in the hallway, and they’ll talk about you viciously behind your back. Your siblings will mock you relentlessly on their Facebook statuses. So hold your chin up proudly and glare right back at those who judge you. When your friends call you lazy and threaten not to call the ambulance when that inevitable heart attack finally hits, feel free to spit on them. Take a seat in your most comfortable chair, prop your feet up for that foot massage you ordered, and take a sip of your tall, chocolate chai tea latte, no whip. Pity those working up a sweat, struggling to lift weights in gym class while you memorize the standardized distance between two bowling pins to earn the exact same credit. Now who’s laughing? That’s right. No shame, whatsoever. Well, maybe just a little. —Michelle Fairorth


Area champs

In preparation for the Regional meet, junior Charles Tan practices after school Oct. 23. Westlake had just beaten Lake Travis Oct. 18 at UT’s Intramural Courts, 10-9, in the team Area final, triumphing over the Cavaliers for the first time this season. Charles knocked off Lake Travis’ Tristan Wise in the singles round. “It felt awesome beating [Lake Travis],” Charles said. “Right from the start we were all business since we had lost to them in both the regular season and District. Losing to Lake Travis is always bitter, and they’re a tough team, but I knew if everybody competed like they should, it would be our win.” The Chaps then advanced to the Regional semifinals in Tyler Oct.25-26 before falling to Plano West 7-10.

Nick Appling


Junior Grace Crawford rides her horse, Elle, on a sunny Monday afternoon at Rio Vista Farm & Tack Shop.

20 brains + brawn

When you spend time with your best friend, you probably go out to see a movie, grab a bite to eat, play video games or go shopping. When junior Grace Crawford has downtime with her best friend, she is feeding it, grooming it or cleaning its stall. Grace has been riding horses ever since she first fell in love with the powerful animal as a 7-year-old. “A few years ago I realized that this is what I want to do as a career for the rest of my life, so I’ve quit every other extracurricular activity — cheer, then track and then choir — for this,” Grace said. You might call her crazy. Grace would beg to differ. “[Horseback riding] is the best thing in life,” she said. “It teaches everything a person needs to know — responsibility, trust, patience, confidence, the ability to step out of comfort zones, the ability to control one’s emotions.” There are two types of equestrians — hunters and jumpers. Grace is the latter. Her main objective while riding is to attempt obstacles, clear them and finish obstacle courses in a predetermined amount of time. As a jumper, Grace hopes to one day be a part of the United States Equestrian Team and compete in the Olympics. She leaves school at 2 p.m. every day to practice with a private trainer, and recently participated in the renowned George Morris clinic. Morris is a highly respected 75-year-old trainer and judge of riders and horses in the hunter and jumper disciplines. “He basically invented Hunt Seat Equitation; he participated in the Olympics and teaches the Olympic team, so going to his clinic is a very big deal,” Grace said. “Months before the clinic, people were warning me about how mean and critical Mr. Morris is. I wasn’t worried or scared because I can’t be. I can be nervous, that’s OK, but I can’t be scared because then the horse will sense that fear. The clinic took place in Dallas at the Las Colinas Equestrian Center the weekend of Aug. 29 through Sept. 1. It had three divisions — eight people per division. “We would have to be at the grounds by 6:30-7 a.m. to feed our horses and muck out the stalls,” Grace said. “Then at 8 every morning we would all meet Mr. Morris in the arena to set the course for that day, and he would briefly explain to all of us what he would work on that day. The first division had to be on by 9 a.m., and each division lasted about two and a half hours. And let me tell you, when you’ve been riding a horse

Equestrian attends elite riding clinic, looks to goal of joining Olympic team for two and a half hours it gets very painful. Usually I ride for about an hour, maybe an hour and a half at a time back at the barn.” For Grace, the pain was all worth it. “I found Mr. Morris to be quite funny, and I really understood his critiques,” she said. “I took my new horse, Elle, to the clinic; I have been training her for five months now. A lot of hard work and patience goes into training a horse. You have to teach the horse techniques, how to stay balanced and straight, and how to yield. So at the end of the clinic for Mr. Morris himself to say, ‘Gorgeous horse, beautiful mover’ really made me think that all the hard work that I have put into training [her] paid off. Mr. Morris also told me I was a beautiful rider and compared me to Olympic and World Cup riders. This clinic was the start of something new. The sport has had a spot in the Olympics since 1912, but its dangers and risks have been a point of ongoing controversy. In fact, equestrian sports almost didn’t make it to the London 2012 Olympic Games. “It always was dangerous and always will be,” Grace said. “A horse has a mind of its own; they’re wild animals. I risk my life daily by getting on a 1,200-pound beast, but this is my passion and what I love to do.” Grace is quite familiar with the cliché phrase, “When you fall, get right back up.” She basically lives it every day. “I’ve been flipped on a jump, been dragged across the arena and sometimes even been stepped on,” Grace said. “But my worst fall had to be a couple of years ago at a horse show. My horse refused a jump and ran off with me going who knows how fast. I was hanging off the side of him trying to grab the reins to stop him, but there’s no way he would’ve stopped, so I let go, jumped, and hoped for the best.” Her legs landed in the splits and her head hit the ground, resulting in a concussion. “Sometimes I think, ‘Is all the pain really worth it?’ but I am only human,” she said. “Being faced with risk and pain is a part of life. Every time you fall, you get up and get back on, no questions asked.” One reason Grace is so willing to brush off the dust and keep going is because of the incredible, unmatched bond she develops with her horses. “I love their personalities, and they all have different ones; they’re like big dogs,” Grace said. “For a normal person it’s just a horse, but for a long-term equestrian, it’s so

much more than that.” Most of her fondest memories come from her experiences with her first and favorite horse, Henry, whom she recently sold. “When I first saw him we instantly connected,” Grace said. “Some horses just have that impact in your life. When I got him he was a great horse, but not very technically advanced, so by the end of our four year journey I couldn’t have been more proud of where I’d gotten him. Letting him go was the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with in my life. We’ve won so many prizes and high titles, and the way he listened to me still amazes me to this day. Every equestrian wants a dream horse like that.” Patience is the most important thing to have when it comes to horseback riding. Like any other sport, it can be frustrating at times, but riders must remember that they’re dealing with animals. “I remember the first thing that George Morris said — ‘It’s about the horse, and that’s it,’” Grace said. “And it really is.” —Ananya Zachariah

“[Horseback riding] is the best thing in life. It teaches everything a person needs to know — responsibility, trust, patience, confidence, the ability to step out of comfort zones, the ability to control one’s emotions.”

—Grace Crawford

photos by Shelby Westbrook Grace Crawford rides her horse, Elle on a sunny afternoon in late September. “It’s a chance to put yourself in the horse’s head and become one with the creature,” Grace said. “I love riding because it gives you that feeling of flight.”

On the water

Texas Rowing Center member coxswain senior Rubie Hays (left) coaches her team and steers the boat on Lady Bird Lake during a practice. photos by Nikki Humble

Athletes participate in the growing sport of rowing

Boys and girls casually walk to the edge of the dock while it and practice, it’s super fun.” they carry rowing boats measuring more than three times their The girls will be traveling to Oklahoma and Tennessee for compeheights. With a series of commands, the rowers are able to easily lower titions this year. The regional regatta will take place in May in Oklathe boats from their shoulders, flip them and gracefully set them in the homa. If the teams place in the top two at regionals, they qualify for water. The rowers then place the oars, take their positions and push off nationals in California. Rowers participate in multiple events at each from the dock. fall rowing competition. The fall season consists of longer regattas, typThe female rowing team moves like a fine-tuned machine, every ically 5,000 meters, while the spring season consists of 2,000-meter piece working in sync. Four sets of legs out stretch and eight arms sprints. Spring regattas are organized in heats, semifinals and finals. straighten in unison. The oars move through the water as one and the “If we take the lightweight four to nationals this year, it will be my boat glides across the waveless surface. third time going,” Rubie said. “I really hope that I will be able to go “Rowing is a really fun sport and a great way to exercise,” coxswain again.” senior Rubie Hays said. “It’s team oriented and you have a bond with Practices consist of rowing on the water as well as land workouts. all the girls on your team. During the races you’re full of adrenaline, Land workouts can either consist of using the ergs, doing body circuits, and when you end up winning a medal, it’s the best. lifting weights or running. Depending on the It’s just overall a really great sport.” season, the team will typically do one type of land Rubie and senior Katherine Playfair row comworkout more often than the others. Practices are petitively with the two competing rowing centers around two hours after school four to five days a located on Lady Bird Lake. Katherine rows with week, along with additional practices on Saturdays. Austin Rowing Club and Rubie rows with Texas “Rowing has made me a lot busier,” Katherine Rowing Center. Austin Rowing Club is a non-profit said. “I feel like it’s made me more productive, too. organization that hosts three events per year and I get home from school, and I actually do my work sends rowers to a variety of competitions to help because I know I don’t have time to screw around promote the sport of rowing in Texas. ARC is loand do nothing.” cated on the north side of Lady Bird Lake, directly Rowing opens up many doors for athletes, Senior Katherine Playfair takes a stroke during practice with ARC’s specifically helping them get accepted into college. behind the Four Seasons Hotel. Texas Rowing women’s 8+. She has committed to Harvard for the fall. Center offers kayaking, canoeing and stand up Many colleges are expanding their rowing propaddle boarding along with their rowing programs. grams and are looking for high school athletes who TRC is located on the north shore of the lake, next have rowing experience. to Austin High. The cost to row at these centers is $410 per semester at “While you still have to work hard in school, rowing gives you a lot ARC and $425 a semester at TRC. This fee covers the cost of the rowmore opportunities to get into schools that you might not normally be ing centers. Rowers pay an additional cost for uniforms and for each able to get into,” said Katherine, who has committed to Harvard. regatta. The price of regattas range from $60-400 per race. P.E. credit Rubie has been accepted into Iowa State and the University of Alais available for competitive rowers at either center. The centers offer an bama to be a coxswain on their D1 rowing teams. She has not officially intro to rowing course for anyone who is interested in participating in signed to either college. rowing. During the regattas, Rubie sits in the front of the boat where she “When you’re first learning to row, they have stationary machines uses a steering system, as well as coaches and motivates the rowers. called ergs, where you can learn the basic techniques of rowing,” KathShe is the “coach on the water” for the team. The coxswain is only used erine said. “Learning is definitely hard. When I was learning, I ended in the type of rowing called sweeping, where rowers use two hands on up flipping my boat three times in a row, but once you get the hang of one oar, as opposed to sculling, where two oars are used. In order to


brains + brawn

“Rowing has made me a part of an amazing community, and I look forward to getting out on Town Lake every day. It is an amazing workout that doesn’t just focus on strength, but also mental toughness.” —junior Charlie Childs

“My favorite part about rowing is how your team is your family. I feel closer to my team than my friends because they see me at my worst and my best.” —junior Ari David

(Top) Junior Rebecca Cravey (right front) helps her team carry the boat back to the boat house after practice. (Bottom) The Austin Rowing Club’s varsity women’s 8+ members junior Lulu Allen, senior Katherine Playfair, sophomore Sydney Criswell and junior Annie Laurie Gibson row on Lady Bird Lake during an after-school practice. a minimum of 110 pounds. If the coxswain does not meet the weight requirement, sand is added to the boat to compensate. Because the coxswain is not always necessary during every practice, she helps the coach time, takes scores for the rowers and rides in the launch boat. “Being a coxswain is a great leadership role on the team,” Rubie said. “I feel like there is a definite coxswain personality, someone who is good at taking orders and giving orders. It’s hard to keep the balance between being bossy and being assertive. I don’t want to come off as being rude or mean, and I have to keep in consideration that the rowers are working really hard and make sure to give them respect.” The sport of rowing is growing in Texas as well as in colleges around the country. “I think more people know about the sport than are coming out and trying it, but I think that will come soon,” Katherine said. “Right now I think we are just trying to get the word out about the sport, and hopefully soon the amount of participation will change drastically.” Rowing has affected both Rubie’s and Katherine’s lives in many ways. They are just two athletes of many who love the sport. “Rowing brings out the best and worst in people, so you’re able to see the different aspects of your teammates,” Rubie said. “I think that it’s a very unique sport in the sense that I don’t think anything else has the emotional attachment that rowing has. You see a side of people you might not normally see, and you can see people for who they really are. Rowing has taught me a lot. I’ve learned people skills, leadership, organization and respect for my coach and the rowers.” —Margaret Norman

“It’s a really great feeling to be a part of a crew. I have an awesome team, and there has never been a practice where I haven’t had fun, thanks to them. I have made so many great friends that I’ll probably stay in contact with throughout my life. I just wish I had started rowing earlier.” —junior Matthieu de Coatpont

“My favorite thing about rowing is the relationships I’ve made. I don’t just mean the friendships, but the desire to work as hard as you can so your boat can be successful. You truly respect and love all the people who you have devoted so much time to.” —sophomore Grace Malerba

“The experiences and bonds offered through rowing can’t be matched. You share each other’s pain, and through that you come to trust, respect and like the person you’re rowing with.” —senior Benjamin Hill

“Rowing has affected my life for the better. Aside from being a part of a sport that I love, it has helped me to become more disciplined and taught me what it’s like to work hard towards a goal.” —freshman Marina Gianakopolous


Regatta - rowing tournament Ergometer (erg) - indoor rowing machine used for land fitness training Lightweight - rowers who fall below the weight restriction race against others in the lightweight category Openweight - rowers who do not qualify for lightweight Launch boat - motor boat the coach drives in order to follow the team while they row Oar - device used to move the boat forward, connected to the boat at the oarlock

“Rowing has changed my life because I have made many friends and I have found a passion that I love. Rowing gives me something to look forward to every day, and it keeps me healthy.” —sophomore Alyssa Schaefer

The path to victory Boys varsity cross country team earns 2nd in District; Ben Jepson takes 1st

Senior Ben Jepson runs in the Chap Invitational Oct. 11 at Southeast Park. Ben finished in second place with a time of 15:24, and the Chaps finished second overall.

Varsity runners junior Holden Corbett and sophomore Jacob Slaughter run in the Chap Invitational Oct. 11 at Southeast Park.



ighty-six hundredths of a second is all that prevented the varsity boys cross country team from taking first at District. The team was edged out by Austin High Oct. 18 at Decker Lake. “It’s always going to be disappointing when you lose something you could’ve won,” senior Ben Jepson said. “But I’m proud of the guys for leaving all they had that day on the course.” Ben was Westlake’s top runner with a first place time of 16:43. Senior Bonner Garrison followed close behind with a time of 17:12 and junior Garret Downs followed with a time of 17:43. The team will advance to Regionals Nov. 2 in Arlington. The other qualifying team is Anderson in in third place. In preparation for future meets, coach Bert Bonnecarre said he wants the team to work on running together with closer spacing. “Individuals can finish in first place, but if the spacing for the whole team is not close together it is hard to win the team title,” Bonnecarre said. “In other words, we look for good relative position with very close split times between individuals; we race for the team title.” Before District, Westlake hosted the Chap Invitation Oct. 11 with more than 40 teams versus when it first started in 2009 with 12. “It was a very large and challenging field with some excellent individual match ups,” Bonnecarre said. Competition came from non-District schools such as Dripping Springs, who placed first. Katy High School, Cedar Park, Smithson Valley and Rouse followed behind Dripping Springs to put Westlake in sixth place. Ben led the team with a second place time of 15:24, his best of the season so far. “This race was kind of a break-out performance

brains + brawn

Gabbi Martinez

Gabbi Martinez

this season,” Ben said. “I just felt very strong and relaxed the whole race.” As the season continues, the whole team looks forward to placing better and hopefully sending a few wrunners to the State Meet. “In cross country, though it may sound cliché, you really get out of it what you put into it,” Ben said. “You have to come to practice to work hard and always have the mindset of improving yourself. Ben has been running cross country since the seventh grade. Once he entered high school he had the opportunity to run for varsity all four years, making it to State as a junior. Ben is the top ranked runner in Westlake as seen by his 4:23 mile and his best time of 15:24 at a meet. “I’m hoping to reach my goals later in the season when it counts the most,” Ben said. “My goals are to run in the 15:30s or better in the 5k and make it to the State meet.” Ben is set on running in college, though he is not too sure where he wants to go right now. He is mainly looking at Virginia, Colorado State and Northern Arizona. At District, the JV squad took first overall with sophomore Graham Parker running 18:34 and claiming first place. On the freshman team, Dougal Cormie ran a 18:38, taking first, and the team took second overall. “The entire team performed really well, considering District is a lot harder than most meets throughout the year,” Dougal said. The freshman team consistently placed in the top three in the most recent three meets, finishing in third place at the Corpus Christi Invitational, second at the McNeil meet and first at the Chap Invitational. Dougal has finished first at the last three meets. ― Drew Brown

Owning the court


Chaps dominate season, head into playoffs





photos by Gabbi Martinez

Aurasma by Cooper Kerbow

1. Senior Corinne Grandcolas hits a quick set by senior Molly Smith at the varsity volleyball game Sept. 24 at Westlake against Anderson. The Lady Chaps won the match in three games; winning their second District game. 2. During the District game against Lake Travis Oct. 15 at Westlake, outside hitter junior Michelle Irvin shows her excitment over a point. The Chaps won the match in four games. 3. Libero senior Elizabeth Dewey passes a tip at the District game against the Cavs Oct. 15 at Westlake. 4. Middle senior Kat Turman, outside hitter senior Meagan Mellenbruch and setter senior Molly Smith celebrate a point at the second District game against Lake Travis Oct. 15.

Winning in three games against Del Valle Oct. 25, the Lady Chaps moved one step closer to being District co-champions. Prior to the Del Valle match, the girls played Lake Travis Oct. 15, beating the Cavs 25-16, 22-25, 25-22 and 25-10. This win gave the Chaps a 7-1 record, tying them with Lake Travis and redeeming them from their earlier loss to the Cavs in the first round of District. “[The win against Lake Travis] was one of the best wins of my high school career,” senior Corinne Grandcolas said. “Nothing tops a win against your rival school. I knew we had to win to have a chance to play Lake Travis again in a District championship [tie-breaking] game. I think I can speak for my whole team when I say we are ready to beat them again.” Outside hitter junior Aubry Hinners jump At press time, the second round of serves at the game against Austin High at District had not yet ended, with the Chaps Austin High on Oct. 22. The Lady Chaps playing one more game against Bowie Oct. won the match in three games. 29. If the girls win and remain tied with Lake Travis, they will be District co-champions, and the two teams will either play another match or toss a coin to determine seeding in the playoffs. “We’ve been working really hard and devoting lots of hours in the gym training and working up to this point,” junior Kaitlee Haralson said. “It would mean a lot if we won this game [against Bowie]. It will give us an edge going into playoffs.” The team competed in three tournaments before the start of District play, placing 11th in Pearland, fourth in Fraulein Fest and second in Texas Mizuno Showdown. These tournaments offered some of the best competition from around the state and allowed the girls to prepare for District. “I really loved hanging out with the team at tournaments,” senior Kat Turman said. “We do a lot of bonding while waiting around for our matches to start, and it’s a lot of fun.” The coaches and players have set many goals for themselves, and will continue to work hard in order to reach those goals. “Our main goal is to win all our matches in the second round of District,” head coach Al Bennett said. “We just need to reduce our errors and keep playing tough.” While this will be the last year of varsity volleyball for seniors, many will continue to play by participating on their college team. Corinne will play for Abilene Christian University, Amelia Mouw has committed to Colorado College, Molly Smith will play for Colgate, Kat has committed to Texas State and Meagan Mellenbruch is considering walking on at Texas State. “The coaches and team [at Texas State] are super cool, and I know that they’re going to push me to be my best,” Kat said. “Texas State is also close to home, and the people in my family are my biggest fans. I feel very fortunate in knowing that they can come watch me play whenever they want.” —Jack Stenglein




people + places

What’s in store? As the rain began to die down at 11:40 a.m. Sept. 20, a line of more than 120 people of all ages came to acquire Trader Joe’s coveted $3 box wine, among other specific products. The ever-expanding queue stretched around the block, obscuring the neighboring Panera and proceeding to loop back around itself. To put this in perspective, the crowd inside the store put the exterior’s line to shame. The seemingly-small store was filled to the brim with shoppers loading their carts with Cookie Butter and assorted produce as the line continued upon entry, taking up every inch of the store, and didn’t end until nearing the exit. Just three hours and 40 minutes prior, the new location’s doors officially opened to all Austinites, namely the health conscious on a budget. For those who are unfamiliar with Trader Joe’s, its core belief is that food should be of both good quality and relative affordability. To do this, they buy out products of prospering brands, take out preservatives and stock them on their shelves under one of their specialized labels. “About 80 percent of what we sell are private labels,” veteran manager “Captain” Chris Franklin said. “So anything with that private label on it is going to be free of all artificials.” As for the prices, Franklin said Trader Joe’s couldn’t be easier on the everyday man and woman. “One of the things I can say is very different from other places is that we don’t do sales or discounts or anything like that,” Franklin said. “We just try to charge the lowest price we can every day. That way nobody ever has to feel like they have to time a sale or need to sign up for a discount card.” Trader Joe’s is also well-known for its friendly and knowledgeable employees, called “crew members.” They strive to create a helpful and amiable environment.

Trader Joe’s opens Westlake location

“One of our biggest focuses is that we wanted to hire nice people from the area,” Franklin said. “We wanted people who really enjoy food, because that’s what they are going to be talking about to our customers.” According to Franklin, Trader Joe’s has what every successful, honest store needs: good people, good prices and, more importantly, good food. But it’s hard to believe that such a store is just now opening up to Austin, where healthy, organic grocery stores like Whole Foods have succeeded. Trader Joe’s has locations all over the country, from their origin state of California to New York City, and even Texas. Austin, however, didn’t have a pin on its map … until now. “I think it was just a matter of timing, of getting the right location and finding the right spot,” Franklin said. “The timing was finally right to come to Austin.” Many students have shopped at Trader Joe’s before, however these locations were either out-of-state or in Houston or Dallas. Freshman Andrea Grant is already accustomed to shopping at Trader Joe’s. “I used to live in California and we used to go there all the time,” Andrea said. “What I like most about it is the variety and specialty items they offer. I love their potstickers.” But for those still teetering on the edge, Franklin assures shoppers that Trader Joe’s will have no trouble pleasing Westlake. “We are going to offer some food that people haven’t seen before and we are going to offer friendly crew members,” Franklin said. “We are going to offer a new shopping alternative that’s going to be something that people in this area haven’t experienced before. I think that the people who come into the store are going to have fun while grocery shopping.” —Jack Speer and Jack Wallace

“We just try to charge the lowest price we can every day. That way nobody ever has to feel like they have to time a sale or need to sign up for a discount card.” —“Captain” Chris Franklin


people + places

Nick Appling

A fork in the road New food trailer park opens near campus

For years I have driven by an empty lot on 360 next to Tres Amigos. Every December Papa Noel would sell Christmas trees, but for the rest of the year it was an empty eyesore and a waste of space. Until now. The useless lot has been transformed into The Midway, a familyfriendly food trailer park equipped with a playground and picnic tables. The food trailers are a great place for a quick lunch during the week, and the park is open late after home football games, so stop by for a post-game snack. If you bring your student ID you can get $1 off. The plot of land that served no real purpose has been converted into a great space with great food. —Emily Martin

Bob’s Chicken Trailer Inside Bob’s Chicken Trailer are a few fryers and a lot of chicken. The menu is pretty straightforward. You can get as many pieces of fried chicken tenders as you want and sides to go along. The tenders are juicy with just the right amount of crispness. There are the classic sides like beans and coleslaw, but the best thing to get is the hand-battered french fries. They are the pinnacle of fries. Perfectly crispy. Perfectly crunchy. Perfectly delicious.

Coolhaus It’s hard to look cool eating a Coolhaus ice cream sandwich. With two large cookies and a giant scoop of ice cream sandwiched in between, there is no doubt you will become a sticky mess. But that will not matter after you figure out how to eat this delectable treat and stuff it in your mouth. After investigating the menu, there are many important decisions to make. First, you choose the cookie. The rotating lineup changes, but regulars include s’mores and chocolate chip. After you choose a cookie, you can move on to the ice cream. Don’t expect the classic flavors. This truck features flavors like Oreo Coffee. Any combination is bound to be great. Not in the mood for a cookie and ice cream? Get each component separately for a less filling treat. Also, check out their pre-packaged ice cream line in stores like Whole Foods and Central Market.

The Midway trailer park is open until 9 p.m. every night, except Tuesdays and Sundays, when it closes at 3 p.m. Shelby Westbrook

Doc & Roll As soon as you pull into the parking lot, the aroma of fresh lobster and warm rolls fills your nose and you gravitate towards the Doc and Roll truck. You can choose from different variations of the classic lobster roll, each including fresh, juicy lobster and a perfectly toasted bun. Not in the mood for lobster? Try one of the non-seafood sandwiches such as the Infidel Castro. This mouth-watering sandwich is piled high with Cuban-rubbed roasted pork, prosciutto, pickles, Swiss cheese and a special sauce. There are chicken and bacon options as well. But just a sandwich is not enough. Check out the sides of lobster mac-n-cheese and house potato chips. These are not your average chips; they are thin, crunchy and superbly salted. They are the ideal complement for any sandwich you order.

The Seedling Truck Across the lot lies The Seedling Truck from The Royal Fig. This catering company brings its gourmet style to the food trailer scene. The menu constantly changes, but you can always expect something delicious. Past menu items include watermelon and goat cheese salad, pork belly tacos and short rib grilled cheese. The ingredients are always fresh, and they use foods that are in season. In the morning the truck dishes out breakfast tacos starting at 7.

Snollygoster’s Aurasma by Jack Gage

Lucy Wimmer

Sophomore Allison Wendell sits on a toy horse at the new trailer park’s playground. The trailers offer a variety of different foods.

It’s always good to have a great sandwich place close by. When you want something more gourmet than Thundercloud, Snollygoster’s is the way to go. The menu changes every week, but you will always find a Philly cheesesteak and a Cuban pork sandwich. The Philly comes with the perfect amount of onions and peppers and a light buttery roll. The slow roasted Cuban pork pairs flawlessly with the Swiss cheese and pickles sandwiched in between the crispy flatbread of the Cuban. Every sandwich comes with a tower of freshly crafted sweet potato chips. Whatever you order, your mouth is bound to be satisfied.

Hometown Football coach travels across nation, settles into new career, home


Daniel Hunter stands on the sidelines at Chaparral Stadium as the sun sets on a warm, fall Texas night. The Westlake defense sits in front of the linebacker coach and history teacher as he makes an adjustment, their eyes tuned in on the whiteboard that Hunter holds. When Hunter talks, it’s almost impossible to ignore him, there’s just something about him that commands attention. Maybe it’s his quiet voice, brimming with a controlled intensity honed by years of competition, or maybe it’s the fact that students know where he’s been, and the journey he’s taken to get to Westlake. “The experience he has makes me trust him more,” running back and linebacker senior Alex Chavez said. “You can always rely on him to know about a play or a certain defensive call.” Hunter was born in D’Iberville, MS, a town of about 9,000 people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Growing up, he knew that there were only a few choices for him when it came to his future career. “The three highest things you could be in my family were either a preacher, a coach or you’d join the military,” Hunter said. In the small town of D’Ilberville, football was everything. Every Friday night, people from all walks of life would congregate at the tiny D’Ilberville High School stadium to watch their boys play. It was here that Hunter blossomed. In his senior year, he had the secondmost rushing yards in the state. “The whole town revolved around football,” Hunter said. “People there would sell [replica] jerseys, so you’d have people in the stands wearing your jersey. It was good to be a part of.” As impressive as his achievements on the gridiron were, Hunter may have topped them


people + places


on the track, where he competed as a hurdler and was a three-time State Champion. Colleges took notice of him, and he was recruited for both sports, but ultimately ended up going to Mississippi State to run track. “I wasn’t recruited hard enough in football by any SEC schools to consider playing it [in college],” Hunter said. “Track was where I got some offers, and I had to have a scholarship in order to afford college, so I took one [from Mississippi State].” At Mississippi State, he competed in the decathlon, which is a competition consisting of 10 events split over two days: the long jump, javelin throw, 100 meter run, 400 meter run, 110 meter hurdles, shot put, discus, high jump, pole vault and a 1500 meter run. Points are awarded for each event, and the competitor with the most total points wins. “Physically, a decathlon is very grueling,” Hunter said. “You get to your fourth event of the day and you’re exhausted. You go home and sleep for a while, and then you wake up and do five more events. Day one is physically exhausting, but day two is more mentally exhausting.” Despite missing one year due to a shoulder injury, Hunter made quite a name for himself at Mississippi State and was one of the best decathletes in the school’s history. “I was fourth at the SEC championships,” Hunter said. “At times I held various school records.” Following his graduation, Hunter decided to go into coaching and took a job as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M. He bounced around for a while, coaching at Jacksonville State in Alabama and Rend Lake Community College in Illinois. In 2004, he took a job as the top assistant track coach at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC. Already

established as a good recruiter, Hunter’s athletes shattered 20 school records in the 20067 season, and four of his athletes qualified for the NCAA East Region Championships. “Before that season we had never had anyone qualify for the meet,” Hunter said. As a college coach, Hunter traveled frequently, going all around the nation during the season. On top of that, a college coach’s job is rather insecure. When Hunter became engaged in 2007, he and his then-fiancee decided that they didn’t want to live like that, so he began to look for a more stable job. “We started looking at where we wanted to live, because we decided it would be best for our [future] family if they didn’t follow me around the nation, “ Hunter said. While searching in 2007, one job opening that caught his eye was a math position at West Ridge Middle School. He applied and a few days later, then West Ridge principal Karl Waggoner called and invited Hunter to come to Austin for an interview. On a whim, Hunter packed his things and headed West. “I remember driving here,” Hunter said. “I probably had $200 in my bank account, no job, no nothing, and a full tank of gas. Everything I owned was in the back of my truck.” The math job that Hunter wanted had been filled while he was driving, but Waggoner kept his promise and interviewed Hunter. Waggoner was impressed, and after the hourlong interview, he decided that he had to have Hunter as a teacher. “I knew I had to have a guy [on my staff] with his integrity, his character and his ability to relate to the kids,” Waggoner said. “I went to central administration and we were able to work it out so he could be a P.E. teacher.” Hunter received the news the next day. “[Waggoner] called me and said ‘I can get

Daniel Hunter teaches a world history class. He joined the Westlake staff in 2012.

On Oct. 18 at the Homecoming game vs. Del Valle, Daniel Hunter (R) reviews defensive plays with Jason Jones.

Nick Appling Shelby Westbrook

you on as a P.E. teacher,’” Hunter said. “And I said ‘well I don’t see myself in 15 years as being a P.E. teacher, but if that’s the way I can get my foot in the door I will do it.’” The stop at West Ridge may be considered a demotion; however, to Hunter it was a refreshing experience. “Coaching college is different because you don’t get to teach a subject,” Hunter said. “I like to get to know my athletes at an academic level, and I really enjoy people that are not athletes as well. Even now as a teacher, some of my favorite students are not athletes.” Hunter continued to teach at West Ridge until the conclusion of the 2011-12 school year when he transferred to Westlake. During the 2012 football season, he coached running backs, and following the season his title shifted to linebackers coach. Hunter said he has enjoyed his time at Westlake, and admires the attitude that the student-athletes possess. “The great thing about Westlake athletes is their maturity,” Hunter said. “Most have the ability to realize they have been given talents and gifts that many people don’t get, and they understand that only the ones who pair talent with hard work, preparation and most importantly the expectation to win will be able to get to the next level.” After jumping all across the nation, in a variety of coaching jobs, Hunter thinks he’s finally found a home at Westlake. “I love Westlake, the school, the students and the community,” Hunter said. “Westlake is a unique place and I believe students, teachers and coaches would like to never leave. I’m going to be here as long as God tells me to keep my family in Austin and here at Westlake.” —Jacob Prothro

What do students say? “Coach Hunter is a great coach but an even better man. He has a level head on him at all times. His patience is record breaking because there have been times where we messed up over and over and over again and he stayed calm and steered us in the right direction. He has made me a better player and a better person. He is a great person to take after.” —junior Gabe Duran “Throughout the years, getting to know Coach Hunter has been awesome. He has taught me so much and I look up to him as a role model. I think him coaching me from seventh grade to now has made me not only a better athlete, but a better person.” —junior Malek Jacobs


The great debate

Students respond to summer’s drama over abortion legislation On June 25, the capital of Texas was rocked by the type of Capitol, many other citizens were pleased with the final outcome of grassroots movement that best represents the goal of American dedebate over the bill. mocracy. Hundreds of citizens of all ages headed to the capitol building “I think that the passage of this law was a really important step in in downtown Austin to protest or support Texas Senate Bill 5 (later better protecting the lives of children, as well as mothers,” Sabrina renamed Texas House Bill 2). The bill bans abortions after a fetus has said. “I definitely don’t see the fight for the protection of human life as reached 20 weeks and places tight restrictions on abortion clinics and over, but I’m glad to see that our state is moving in the right direction physicians across the state. on this issue.” Reproductive health policy has long The question now is how far in that been one of the most polarizing issues direction the state of Texas can leon any politician’s social agenda, so gally go. Regardless of concerns about constructive debate is often avoided. safety, the act of abortion itself remains A filibuster is a debate tactic used by memBut state Senator Wendy Davis of the constitutionally upheld by the SuFort Worth area took the opportunity preme Court. Furthermore, pro-choice bers of a legislative body in order to prevent of the state legislature’s special sessions advocacy groups and female-health a vote from taking place. It entails speaking this summer to quit tiptoeing around center Planned Parenthood filed a sucthe issue and to confront abortion policessful lawsuit, Planned Parenthood for a prolonged period of time and refusing tics head on. She did so with a maravs. Abbott, against the law. On Oct. 28 to yield the floor to other representatives, thon 11-hour filibuster that quickly a federal judge struck down multiple became one of the most incendiary provisions in the legislation, deeming although filibusters are limited to discussion moves state politics has seen in years. them unconstitutional. germane to the issue at hand. “I think that [the issue of abortion] “This decision gives me hope for Congressional members employing this gets ignored a lot of the time by politiTexas women, hope for a future in cians and the general media,” junior which our own bodies are truly ours,” procedure must continue speaking and standSabrina Sanchez said. “I was glad to Lily said. ing essentially without pause. More often than see that it was getting national attenAttorney Genreal Greg Abbott has tion and that people, especially young already filed an appeal with the 5th Cirnot, the goal of a filibuster is to retain compeople, were getting involved.” cuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. mand of the floor until the time allotted for Davis’ filibuster spurred a firestorm Court battles over the law are far from of Facebook statuses, viral blog posts over. Couple this development with debate on a proposal has run out. and tweets (even one from President Wendy Davis’ announcement on Oct. 3 Obama sporting the hashtag “Standthat she is running for Texas governor, WithWendy”), and those living in and the war over reproductive policy in Austin were able to march to the Capitol and protest for their causes. this state looks like it will remain under a glaring national spotlight for “I experienced something like never before,” said junior Lily Adsome time to come. Many do not consider that a negative outcome. ams, who participated in the rallies. “So many people, uniting together, “The biggest thing that I have noticed, especially in this community, to fight for something that they truly believed is that people either don’t know anything that is going in. Women were there, of course, to fight on with [the issue of abortion] or think that for their reproductive rights, but men were because it doesn’t directly apply to them, there, too, because they morally believed it it isn’t important,” Sabrina said. “As we was right. Everyone that was pro-choice continue to debate in the future, I would and against House Bill 2 wore orange, really like to see more people, includso when you looked out at everyone ing myself, educate themselves and together they were like a sea of form a strong stance on what they orange. It was very unifying.” believe.” The large crowd reA controversial topic like mained in the Capitol until reproductive rights will Davis’ filibuster was finished undoubtedly produce fiery and she was finally removed debates. Such dialogue profrom the floor. The euphoria vides the perfect opportunity of the pro-choice masses was for students to engage in civil deflated to a simmering frustraparticipation. tion. “[The evening of the “I was in the Capitol when the filibuster] was really interesting filibuster finished,” Lily said. “It was and it made me proud to be an heartbreaking. Everyone was booing, Austinite,” Lily said. “Being in that I saw people crying and it felt like a room with these incredibly passionate, crime was committed against us.” strong-willed men and women who were Indeed, House Bill 2 was eventuout there willing to fight for what they ally passed in further special sessions believe in, was something that was really called by Governor Rick Perry. But empowering.” despite the anger of protesters at the —Katelyn Connolly

What is a filibuster?




xC Ale


people + places




Senior Stefan Beard leaves family, makes transition from gang-riddled Chicago to suburbs of Westlake


The majority of Westlake students may not be thinking about much when heading home aside from what traffic will be like or what homework they’ll do first. They don’t have to worry about having to go out and sell drugs because there is no food in the refrigerator. They’re not worrying about choosing a different way home to avoid getting jumped by entering the wrong gang’s territory or caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting on the way there. Across the nation 978 miles away, this isn’t the case. On Sept. 19 in Chicago’s Cornell Park, 13 people were injured in a gang-related shooting, with one of the victims being a 3-year-old boy who will now need plastic surgery for wounds sustained to his face. It was just one of many shootings this year in the deadliest city in America, which in 2012 had over 500 homicides. This is the world that senior Stefan Beard escaped this summer to start a new life in Austin. The area of Chicago in which Stefan grew up was rife with gang violence, poverty, underage prostitution and drug use. “It was getting very bad [in Chicago] with the violence,” Stefan said. “I was not seeing a future for me, and I probably wasn’t going to be able to go off to college due to something like the streets holding me back. So that was like an OK, it’s time to leave this situation.” Stefan is the youngest of four children, three of whom are now living in Chicago and out of school. He had been living with his mother before moving here, but had also lived with his grandmother until his mom started working and was able to get an apartment. His father died in 2003, but was never really a presence in his life. Prior to moving to Westlake, Stefan had been attending Orr Academy High School in the west side of Chicago. The school was split apart by the gang activity taking place there. “Our school had three gangs in it, and then we had three floors,” Stefan said. “The principal tried to keep us segregated pretty much, but after school everyone comes down the same stairway, and so there would be a whole lot of stuff happening.” The violence happening outside of school consisted of shootings, large group fights and stabbings. Stefan eventually ended up becoming a part of the violent culture going

people + places

on in that community. “I joined a gang in the seventh grade,” he said. “My brother was like a role model to me, and then he got locked up. I had no one to look to, so I just started hanging out on the streets. Next thing I knew I was getting into a gang and in eighth grade I started carrying a gun to school. Then, when I got to my freshman year of high school, I actually calmed down a little bit. Then I just started to get in normal fights.” Stefan went from living in one of the most violent areas of the country to living and going to school in, relative to where he came from, peaceful suburban West Austin. Phil Dorr, a former resident of Austin and Chicago and a personal friend of Stefan’s former basketball coach, Lou Adams, offered to have Stefan stay with him in Austin after getting to know him in Chicago. Originally from rural Iowa, Dorr attended Baylor and then lived in Austin for a couple of years before moving to Chicago where he lived for 26 years. He moved back last summer and, with his daughter in mind, found Westlake High School through its academic reputation. After nearly a year of living here, Dorr had started to talk with Adams about Stefan’s situation and discussed the idea with both Stefan and his mother of him moving to Austin in order to have a chance at a better life than in Chicago. Dorr saw potential in Stefan and knew he needed to go somewhere where he could excel. “Stefan’s got a lot of talent, not just athletically,” Dorr said. “He’s got a lot of talent in life, and he probably wasn’t going to get that opportunity to display it.” While the decision was a hard one, Stefan is glad he decided to come to Austin. “One of my football teammates had gotten killed before I came here,” he said. “That almost actually stopped me from coming, but my grandma’s like ‘no, you’re going to leave,’ and all my friends were saying ‘no, you’ve got to stay.’ It was pretty hard. I know if I would’ve stayed I’d probably be locked up or something like that.” Stefan misses his mother, but plans on visiting her and his siblings back in Chicago during winter break. “My mom was actually happy for me because she knew

“I want to teach them that there is something out there for everyone, regardless of where you come from.” —senior Stefan Beard

city kids to have some place to go,” he said. “I want to teach them that there is something out there for everyone, regardless of where you come from.” —Cierra Smith and Nikki Humble

Cade Ritter

I wouldn’t have to worry about violence or losing my life at a young age,” he said. At his former school, Stefan played football and basketball, which helped him get away from being as involved in the gang culture. “I started football my freshman year,” Stefan said. “I think that’s what actually calmed me down a little bit because the coaches started talking to me like ‘if you’re going to play football, you’ve got to stop doing this, you’ve got to stop doing that.’ So that kind of slowed me down.” Stefan planned to play on the Westlake football and basketball teams but was deemed ineligible to play by the University Interscholastic League in September, even after an appeal. The UIL gave no specific reason, but Dorr and Stefan believe the UIL suspects recruitment of Stefan by the school. Stefan, however, said he did not know anyone prior to coming to Westlake, and Dorr also stated that no one at Westlake knew of him before he registered for school. “This isn’t about Stefan the football player,” Dorr said. “This is about Stefan the kid. Everybody’s trying to make it all about football. It’s not. It’s way bigger than football; he wants to graduate, go to college and do well. We knew he was going to play football in college, that wasn’t the issue. It was just a matter of keeping him alive and getting him to where he can really learn how to study.” Even though Stefan will not be able to play sports this year, he doesn’t think it’ll affect his college recruitment very much, and will keep his skills sharp by practicing with the football team. “When [the UIL] said no, I was like ‘alright, well what’s next?’” Stefan said. As for going to Westlake, it’s been easy for Stefan to get to know people so far. He likes many of his teachers and loves using his iPad. But he was most surprised by how safe and friendly Westlake is compared to where he lived before. “When I first got here it just felt unreal,” Stefan said. “Everyone was just so friendly and there was pretty much nothing to really worry about. Just go to school and come home.” After high school, he plans on majoring in business and is looking at University of Wisconsin at Madison, Texas Tech and has also received an football offer from Baylor. “When he leaves here it’s going to suck because, you know, he gets tired of me, he’s a kid and he wants to do his things, but I’m going to miss him,” Dorr said. “But on the same token I’m proud knowing that I helped get him to a good college or university versus where he was probably headed, and not because he wasn’t able to do it, but because he didn’t have a support system.” Stefan’s decision to come to Westlake has not only impacted his life for the better, but it’s made an impression on his siblings as well, who are all trying to move away from the violent culture and make a life for themselves in Chicago. His oldest brother, who was arrested for drugrelated crimes earlier in life, is also trying to get into college and play football. After college, Stefan wants to move back to Chicago and start his own business to help inner-city youth. “I want to do business, and if football doesn’t work out for me to take it all the way, I want to start a business for inner-





trends + trads

THROUGH Teachers reflect on years at Westlake, tell stories of history, change In 1979, Westlake High School was a very different place. It was a smaller school with a smaller student body. The area around Westlake was filled with trees instead of houses and stores. 1979 was also the year German teacher Scott Gardner and French teacher Libby Lucera began their teaching careers at Westlake. Over 34 years, they’ve seen a lot of changes, both small and large. “The Ninth Grade Center wasn’t here, the language hall wasn’t here, the only classrooms were right around the Commons,” Lucera said. “The Performing Arts Center was the gym and the cafeteria.” With around 850 students in all, classes were much smaller and so was the number of faculty. “Back when it was a much smaller school, you knew more of the students, even when they weren’t in your class,” Gardner said. “The smaller size meant it was more intimate. For example, Homecoming was a bigger deal. Every [grade] was responsible for decorating a wing and performing a Homecoming skit. We also had a homecoming parade.” Eanes has gone from a unknown suburban school with 80 students and three teachers to a nationally recognized and exemplary district in

1969 Westlake High School is established because of overflow in AISD and construction begins in 1970.

1971 Senior Scott Sparks dances to “Jalisco” at a pep rally and the Hat Dance Traditon begins.


trends + traditions

a large city. “Eanes is now a national, high achieving district,” Lucera said. “People from all over the country are interested in working here. Back then, I only knew about Westlake because my college teacher told me to apply [for a job] in the Eanes School District. I remember when I came out for an interview, I was certain I had taken a wrong turn, because there was nothing.” Before Eanes became an independent district, students went from Eanes Elementary to Allan or O’Henry Junior High, then to Austin High. In 1969, the school board voted to separate from Austin ISD because the size of the Austin district could no longer accommodate the growing size of Eanes. A large new number of students combined with the unwillingness for long bus rides pushed the Eanes community to make the decision to build a new high school. Even after Westlake was built, the district was still small compared to other districts in the Austin area. “You had the the two elementary schools — Eanes and Cedar Creek, and then Hill Country [middle school],” Gardner said. “Before 1969, our kids went to Austin High. So we weren’t as big rivals with them

1979 The computer club raises enough money to keep some of Westlake’s first computers going.

1980 Students take a trip to Pedernales with Elementary students for the first time.

the YEARS back then.” Before the 1980s, students and teachers were actually allowed to smoke on campus, because the health risks of tobacco were not as well known. Although the students were supposed to be 16 years old to be able to smoke, people often broke that rule, according to Gardner. “We had a smoking area right outside the library,” Gardner said. “Sometime in the 1980s legislature banned smoking on school campuses.” Changes in our country’s education system has led to more homework, more AP classes, more standardized tests and more stress for students. “I think we’ve gotten more competitive,” Gardner said. “Earlier, there wasn’t as much emphasis on AP classes. I think school’s gotten more stressful for kids.” One of the more recent changes at Westlake is new technology such as iPads and computers. However, only a little more than 20 years ago, according to Lucera, everyone would gather to look and work at the first computer implemented at Westlake. “Before the computers, everything was done by hand—grading,

1981 Westlake hosts its last Sugar Bear competition. Boys dress in drag and put on a pageant for elementary students.

1996 Westlake football, led by quarterback Drew Brees, competes in and wins its only State Championship.

bubbling grades and attendance,” Gardner said. Fashion has also changed throughout the decades at Westlake, with both girls and guys going through major fashion phases. “I remember during the late 1980s, early 1990s when girls really dressed up to come to school with matching shoes and purses and hair perms,” Lucera said. “Then suddenly the girls switched and started wearing jeans and flannel shirts.” Lucera and Gardner have had many second generation students come back to be teachers. Scott Gardner had band director John Parsons when he was a student, and Libby Lucera had Spanish teacher Margaret Ellis. “I remember Ms. Ellis so clearly as a student,” Lucera said. “It was so much fun having her come back as a teacher. She was such a good student in my class. She loved languages and she loved learning.” Although many things have changed at Westlake between 1979 and 2013, one thing remains the same. “Students haven’t really changed much,” Gardner said. “Teenagers are still teenagers.” —Colleen Pletcher

2011 The first iPads are distributed to juniors amd seniors during the pilot year of the WIFI program.

2012 Dr. John Carter comes to Westlake as the new principal.

Timeline compiled by Sarah Tucker


HAT Dancers share tradition passed down through brotherhood of travelling sombrero Tim Whaling


trends + traditions

Behind every tradition lies a story. The famous pep rally hat dance is a long-standing tradition. The seniors create a large circle around the acclaimed hat dancer wearing a Spanish style hat and vest whose intention is to lift the spirits of the student body. The band begins to play the familiar song “Jalisco.” And the dance begins. This year, varsity football center senior Bobby Dwyer continues the long-standing ritual that began in 1972. “[I was chosen to do the hat dance] because according to Judge Finley, [last year’s hat dancer], my footwork was impeccable,” Bobby said. “I was the best, in his opinion, to fill the leadership role. Whoever I pick for the next season is a surprise until I hand off the duty at the football banquet.” Bobby shares the honor of having performed the hat dance ritual with one other person still at Westlake, current assistant golf coach and Pre-AP World Geography teacher Lane Grigg. Grigg was the hat dancer during the 1992 football season. The hat dancer who proceeded Grigg, Kris Kochs, introduced ideas for the hat dance that would become legendary.

“There was a pair of gray Justin Roper boots that began to get passed down with the hat dance in 1992,” Grigg said. “The boots were torn and pretty beat up. I listened to rap music back then and Kris liked country. He passed them to me as a joke, and I gave them to the next hat dancer and the tradition kinda stuck.” Every pep rally, the designated player completely improvises the performance. “The great offensive linemen before me who had the honor of hat dancer count on me to carry [on the] tradition,” Bobby said. “Getting everybody excited with my dance moves [is my favorite part]. I break the game-day tension with my funny shenanigans. I notice [when doing the hat dance] everybody, no matter how I look, always thinks it’s funny and enjoys it.” The hat dance also gives the underrecognized players on the football team a chance to have the spotlight. “The hat dancer [is always] an offensive or defensive lineman — the guys that don’t usually get much recognition from the fans or press,” Grigg said. —Kathryn Revelle

School song falls flat Come on everybody, let’s raise our voices and belt out that anthem of academia, the Westlake school song. Wait, what? Hardly anyone knows it? How can that be? Surely it has nothing to do with the fact that our song is about as coherent as Gangnam Style and not even half as catchy. “Oh let’s sing of Westlake High. And songs to Alma Mater raise. True to friend and frank to foe, how dearly we love Westlake High! We shall strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame. Time and change will surely show, how firm thy friendship, Westlake High.”

Now, I don’t claim to be a musical expert, nor do I expect a simple high school jingle to be Grammy-worthy material, but, at the risk of sounding cliché, I feel like I can at least expect some sort of rhyme, or at least reason. Westlake is renowned for its musical prowess; our band is so intense that it seems to border on becoming a cult; our orchestra is top-notch and a fifth of the student body is in choir. Surely, amidst all this brilliance, we have the resources to improve the current song. I’m not saying that Westlake High School’s alma mater needs to become America’s next one-hit-wonder, but is it too much to ask for a revamp? Let’s break it down. —Georgina Kuhlmann

I would go so far as to say that “we shall strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame,” is the best part of the song, as it both rhymes and makes a full sentence. Splendid, just splendid.



After clarifying — twice — that we are indeed singing about Westlake, the song goes on to become a jumbled mess of half-expressed ideals and grammaticallychallenged sentences. That someone is “true to friend and frank to foe” is brought up, but listeners are not enlightened as to whether the phrase is talking about the school’s policy or student character. This fragment is followed by a completely unrelated “how dearly we love Westlake High,” which seems to act more as a placeholder than the expression of passion it implies.



12 34 Don’t let the Latin fool you. ‘Alma Mater’ is a term used to denote one’s school, which means that the second line is just repeating the first. Literally it says, “let us sing about Westlake High, and raise songs to our high school.”


Last come the final lines, the conclusion, the powerful ending that should leave students blazing with academic fervor and pride. Hold onto your hats everybody, because this is going to blow you away: “Time and change will surely show, how firm thy friendship Westlake High.” Excuse me? Is anyone 100 percent certain of what that cryptic final verse even means? It seems to imply that time and change will show the steadfast friendship of the school, but in a roundabout way that leaves me wondering “how does a school display friendship? And how will that be tested by time and change?”


Tradition of mums endures M

la ae ich


Left: Seniors Mina Glenesk, Magda Contreras and Bryanna Hunt smile as they receive recognition at the Homecoming pep rally as members of the swim team. Right: Cheerleaders’ varsity letter jackets sit on the sidelines during the Homecoming pep rally.


trends + traditions

Grease plays on the television in a cramped room on the second floor near the Commons. A group of women sit around tables talking about the latest football game. This room is known as “The Mum Room” and the women who work on the mums are known as “The Mum Moms.” Mums are a Southern tradition that has been popular since the year the school opened its doors in 1969. Westlake borrowed the idea from an event The University of Missouri first began in 1911. The college invited alumni to attend one of the large rivalry games to bring in more revenue for the athletic program, thus creating the idea of Homecoming. A key aspect of the festivities was the giving of mums. Mums at Westlake, similar to the ones at The University of Missouri, were originally small corsages with real chrysanthemum (where the name “mum” originates) flowers. The school found itself overwhelmed because florist deliveries would arrive ahead of the event and the mums would begin to wilt before the Homecoming game. Their popularity faded. In 2001, mums made a comeback, but with significant changes. They evolved into a large arrangement with an extravagant focal point flower. The

now artificial flower is pinned on to a piece of cardboard called a “hat.” Hanging from the hat are school-colored ribbons and trinkets that are customized to each student’s interests. “2001 is when they were brought back by the PTO as a fundraiser,” Mum Mom Caroline Bowers said. “That was the year that 9/11 happened, the 2001 mums had patriotic flags on them.” Mums continued to be a popular staple at Westlake after 2001, and by 2002 mums were in high demand. The Mum Moms filled even more orders when, in 2006, they started making armbands for the boys and gold mums for seniors. Later on, the underclassmen would get their own designated colors. The hype of having your own mum is getting to showcase it the Friday of the Homecoming game. There is an unceasing jingle of trinkets from the mums that has been heard every year at Westlake since 2001. “The ribbons, the feathers, the girls seeing the mums homecoming day go to the pep rally is my favorite part of making mums,” Mum Mom Katrina Gase said. “I love how the tradition is still going. I went to high school in Austin and it is cool that it is still something that goes.” ―Kathryn Revelle

photos by Cade Ritter




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trends + traditions

Cade Ritter

Aurasma and photo by Tim Whaling


Lucy Wimmer

Shelby Westbrook


5 6

4 Cade Ritter

Shelby Westbrook


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Aurasma by John Byron Hanby

Shelby Westbrook

Senior Justin Brown expresses his excitement during the Homecoming pep rally upon hearing that he would have the chance to paint principal Dr. John Carter’s head.

The drumline plays a cadence after the Homecoming pep rally. Seniors Ben Baron, Tanner Rowley and Sean Taylor don old red band uniforms, a band Homecoming tradition for senior guys. Senior Aidan Sivy performs with Chromatic Funk during Live Music Lunch Oct. 18. “It was just a few guys getting sweaty and having fun(k),” Aidan said.

Newly crowned queen and king of Homecoming 2013 seniors Maddie Bitting and Dallen Nelson smile after their names were announced. “I remember slowly walking to the center, completely surprised,” Maddie said. As the band plays “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting),” Hyline members senior Theresa Cu, junior Alex Denton and senior Alayna Garcia dance on the field during the Homecoming pep rally. Senior Walker Payne supports senior Carter Smith as he struggles to do pushups during the varsity football game against Del Valle. “That was my first time on the board and the guys weren’t used to supporting all that weight,” Carter said. “It was a wee bit shaky.” Senior Audrey Olvera screams and waves a t-shirt during the Homecoming pep rally. The senior class has won the Spirit Stick at every pep rally this year.

Vintage VOGUE

Students rock past fashions of iconic characters


re you tired of these wanna-be hipsters and the expensive, high-styles at the mall? Are you reminiscing of the glory days when high-waisted jeans weren’t just for moms? Are you fed up with being the only ‘90s kid who understands? Well, hope is not lost. We’ve compiled a collection of some of the best outfits from the past and recreated them, with the help of our vintage fashion consultant, junior Winnie Case. —Alexis Huynh and ZZ Lundburg

by G art

Kuhlmann eorgina


trends + traditions

Remember those days when The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was the current Modern Family? When Will Smith was the ultimate style icon? We remember when the classic overalls paired with geometric patterned, multicolored tops were in style. Here we have senior Andy Brown modeling what we think Will would wear. The oneshoulder overalls with the headacheinducing shirt are a perfect pair, no?

photos by Tim Whaling

The beloved “‘70s” (That ‘70s Show was filmed in the ‘90s). Bell-bottom jeans were all the rage, and, while the flower children praised John Lennon, they ushered in an era of fringe, hip huggers and tie-dye. Luckily, we found a velvet pair of pants that Mila Kunis, who plays Jackie Burkhart on the show, could totally rock. Alexis has indulged her bohemian tendencies and modeled the ‘70s outfit: a classic pair of velvet pants, a floral, flared top and a braided headband. We’re positive that Hyde would have loved it, especially with the pants priced at $3.

That ‘70s Show

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

We’ve all seen Clueless, right? If you haven’t — have you been living under a rock? It’s a movie of perfection, a glorious world where a girl gets whatever she wants, including a rad closet of the latest ‘90s fashion. All the little treasures we found to make this lavish dream a reality were at our local Savers. The skirts were a pretty simple find. While browsing through the long — and we mean long — racks of women’s shorts and skirts, the plaid material definitely stood out like fuzzy dice hanging from your rearview mirror. The staple Clueless fashion consisted of short skirts, blazers, knee high socks and platform heels. Winnie, Alexis and ZZ are modeling the infamous skirts, little boy vests and expressions that Cher, Dionne and Tai would never be caught without. Clueless Shia LaBeouf, who played Louis Stevens, may not have been the most attractive bachelor in the ‘90s, however, his fundamental sense of fashion makes up for it. His famous Hawaiian button-up and solid t-shirt pair is unforgettable and here, helping us re-create his outfit today, is the one and only freshman Cooper Kerbow. With his lopsided smile and awkward hand positions, Cooper models Louis’ style perfectly. The shirt was a simple find in the men’s t-shirt department and Savers had a vast supply of Hawaiian button-ups (we don’t understand why anyone would want to throw them out) for a mere $5.

Even Stevens



... it’ll last longer

It’s no big secret that teenagers are part of an expanding world of technology. Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat and other social networks make this generation of adolescents more connected than ever to their peers. Believe me, I’m one of them. I, however, see a negative side of this social media craze. Teenagers, particularly my fellow teen girls, seem to think that a memory does not exist unless there is photographic evidence on their smartphones. Facebook albums are created for Friday’s football game. Cell phone pics of that concert you went to are arranged into a collage for Instagram. Vines condense outings to Barton Springs into six-second snippets to be easily consumed, and your 50 closest friends now have Snapchat pictures of you shopping at the mall. Instead of actually enjoying themselves at some fun event, people spend most of the night trying to get the perfect photo of themselves and their BFFs squeezed cheek to cheek to fit in front of an iPhone camera. We don’t see our memories as real unless they are posted for the world to see. As a kid, whenever my mom made me stop playing to take a photo, I would always complain. I wanted to get back to just being with my friends and having a good time. Now, doing things with friends always consists of taking time out for a photo shoot.


trends + traditions

Don’t get me wrong, social media has some value. The problem is that it has diverged from its original purpose into a way to get recognition and praise from our peers. It is now the unspoken belief that the more ‘likes’ your status has, the more people care about you. We crave validation and love in the form of a virtual thumbs up. Our online profiles don’t even represent the real us. They show to the world the people we want to be. The people that we want others to see us as. When we see the picture perfect slice of someone elses life, we can forget that there is always a darker side that is not seen. It is so easy to compare yourself to the unobtainable image of our peers that we don’t focus enough on doing what makes us happy. The constant cyber connection is extending into all aspects of our lives. Almost every phone has a camera and it is easier than ever to snap that perfect shot. But think about the value of the photos; I’ll bet that the majority of the pictures on your iPhone are selfies. We don’t see this in older photographs because who would want to waste valuable film on pictures of themselves when they can look in the mirror? If you had a photo limit, would you still take pictures of your Starbucks latte? And one more tip: stop caring so much about other peoples’ memories and start making your own. Without your phone. —Peyton Richardson

“Teenagers ... seem to think that a memory does not exist unless there is photographic evidence on their smartphones.”

Teachers as tots Identify these precious pipsqueaks a




Michaela Moss




These are pictures of some of Westlake’s most lovable teachers before they became the educators they are today. Can you recognize who is who in infant form?

Alan Abbe Denise DeMartino Jon Watson Cindy Todd Cathy Cluck Melissa Dupre Scott Gardner


sy pho


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a- 3, b- 4, c- 1, d- 2, e- 7, f- 5, g- 6

Marco Scarasso

The World’s End concludes Edgar Wright’s ‘Three Flavours Cornetto’ ice cream trilogy with a bang Comedy movies have made few successful tries at reinventing themselves in the last decade, either falling under the "dramedy" label or being excessively and unnecessarily raunchy. The average screwball comedy has been made increasingly prevalent, and has undergone a devastating gradual decline in quality of both writing and cinematography. The once cutting-edge humor of Adam Sandler has somehow lost its charm. Hollywood has been churning out numerous movies littered with juvenile humor and thin plots, as well as manufacturing barely relatable or believable characters. The comedy genre has been slowly degrading and appears to be near its appropriate end. Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have made it their quest to right comedic cinema’s wrongs and do the genre justice. In the last nine years, they’ve released three films that do just that: Shaun of the Dead (a zombie movie), Hot Fuzz (a buddy cop film) and this summer’s The World’s End. They have tackled explored and overused film categories and somehow managed to renew both their credibility as decent sub-genres and the types of subject matter that can be utilized as plot devices. Their newest endeavor takes on topics such as robots, the apocalypse and alcoholism. Hear me out on this one… The World’s End weaves the tale of a reunion among five friends of young adulthood, and one man’s attempt to preserve his most precious memory, a daunting 12-pub crawl known as the “Golden Mile.” Pegg plays an alcoholic middle-aged man (Gary King) with the mind of a lively teenager whose aim is to reunite his old friends (whom he hasn’t

seen or spoken to in more than 20 years) and finish the pub crawl they undertook long ago. His mates have all matured and settled into the mundane lives many middle-aged adults strive to maintain, whilst he drives the same decaying car, wears the same ‘80s punk-scene fashion ensemble, and speaks with the same slang and catalogue of inside jokes that his friends have long forgotten. King and his entourage, consisting of Peter Page (Eddie Marsan), Oliver Chamberlain (Martin Freeman), Steven Price (Paddy Considine) and Andy Knightley (Frost), proceed to half-heartedly (with the exception of King) consume 12 pints in one night. Now, what I haven’t yet thoroughly mentioned is the massive plot twist that occurs after the first few pubs are visited. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I’ll just leave a few keywords: robots, aliens, disembodied voices, modern art, drama, drunken slurring and ice cream. This movie’s pacing isn’t quite as fast as some of Wright’s other films, but it allows room for more character development, and this is very important to the plot. Unlike any of Wright’s previous films, The World’s End pays due attention to character depth, especially prior bad blood between Andy and Gary. While it may be a comedy movie, The World's End could be one of last summer's best and easily funniest. If you enjoy British wit, nostalgic sci-fi premises, and all that jazz, this is a good one to add to your watch list. —Jack Speer

Six albums to tune into this autumn

The 1975


Pure Heroine

The 1975

Miley Cyrus


The 1975 is an alternative, indie-rock English band straight out of Manchester. Its EP, IV, came out May 20 of this past year and grabbed attention with two eccentric hit singles, “Chocolate” and “Sex.” On Sept. 3, the band released its selftitled debut album, The 1975, which received the praise of celebrities such as Harry Styles and Ed Sheeran. My personal favorite tracks would have to be “M.O.N.E.Y.” and “The City.” Each song has powerful contributions from the individual band members. Lead singer and guitarist Matthew Healy has unique, robust vocals, with his British accent adding intoxicatingly whiny inflections to each note. Guitarist Adam Hann, drummer George Daniel and bassist Ross Macdonald are not to be forgotten. Their instrumental input is essentially the lifeblood to the cool factor of this band, and their dynamic transitions keep the looping rhythm sections fresh and hypnotic. —Nikki Humble

Miley 2.0 has successfully gleaned the glitz and “rebellion” from every crossover hip-hop hit of the last 10 years, and sewn them together into a twerking, Frankenstein’s monster of excess and YOLOs. At her best, she offers annoyingly catchy and warm hippop. “We Can’t Stop” has an addictive chorus over a warm, grinding bass line. “#GETITRIGHT,” despite the horrible name, is a surprisingly well-crafted R&B song, with “Get Lucky” clean guitar stabs and a climbing, juicy retro synth. At her worst, it’s really bad. “SMS (Bangerz)” is grating and gaudy and everything awful about her new image rolled into one, not to mention lyrical gems like “You know I’m on that meow.” “4X4,” with its weird combo of skittering trap hi-hats and Latin guitar samples, ends up sounding like a demo beat from a $30 keyboard. In the end, Bangerz is a lot like whipped cream: fun, dumb and devoid of any substance. Or, in other words, pretty much what you thought it was. —Ben Wallace

One year after the release of her dazzling EP Love, Ella YelichO’Connor (aka Lorde) debuted her first full-length album, Pure Heroine. Including the chart-topping single “Royals,” Pure Heroine offers tracks that are offbeat, edgy and surprisingly insightful. Instead of churning out formulaic music about bad boyfriends and drugs, Lorde mocks unattainable luxury, describes teenage restlessness and shares her relatable fears and insecurities. Most of her songs, such as “Ribs” and “Buzzcut Season,” have mellow undertones and are best enjoyed during downtime, although a few of the more upbeat tracks like “Team” are potential radio singles. None of the songs on Pure Heroine are very fast or peppy, so this isn’t an album for those who like mainstream pop music. Each song takes its time, but you won’t get tired of listening to them over and over again. At just 16 years old, Lorde has something that a lot of artists are missing these days: raw talent. With her velvet voice, creative rhythm and original lyrics, Lorde is one of the best new artists of the year. —Sara Phillips

TOP TRACKS: “Chocolate,” “Sex”


TOP TRACKS: “Glory and Gore,” “Buzzcut Season,” “Ribs”


The rainon my parade Kings of Leon had been the talk of the day, and when the clock struck 8, I found myself standing among thousands of people in front of the Samsung Galaxy stage. My calves ached from standing on tip-toes for hours, but that wasn't going to stop me. I pushed my way forward, but before I could find a spot with a better view, Kings of Leon took the stage. The crowd buzzed with excitement, and while I only knew a few of the songs, I still managed to have an amazing time jamming to the music. Finally the end approached, and the band finished with a bang. People began to leave, rushing across the park to catch what remained of The Cure’s performance. As the mob thinned out, my friends and I pushed our way toward the stage. Then some teenage boys began to chant “One more song! One more song!” and I knew they had heard the same rumors as I had. We waited for the band to return as the stage crew began to pack up the equipment and person after person sulked away from the crowd, faces down-turned as they lost hope for an encore. Little did they know, moments later

Kings of Leon would be returning to play a final three songs. The band walked back out to the stage and heavy raindrops began to fall as the stage lights illuminated the sky, exposing the imminent storm heading our way. But a little rain never hurt anybody. As the band began to play, the rainstorm reached full force. The crowd sang on, shouting lyrics in the pouring rain. Eventually, it was time for the last song of the night. Kings of Leon struck the opening notes of “Sex on Fire,” and the crowd erupted in cheers. Amidst a sea of people, I jumped up and down in soaking clothes. It was one of the best nights of my life. We yelled the chorus so loudly that I would be surprised if the audience of The Cure, standing on the other end of the park, didn’t shake their heads in jealousy. As the song and the crowd crescendoed, I stood with my hair dripping and my makeup running and I couldn’t help but feel like I was in the closing scene of a classic movie. While others may say that the rain ruined their ACL experience on Saturday night, it truly made mine much better. —Margaret Norman

Kendrick Lamar does not disappoint The crowd roared as hip-hop rapper Kendrick Lamar strode across the Honda stage. I was nearly squashed against the front gates as the crowd surged forward, eager to get as close to the stage as possible. An ACL first-timer and the most prominent of the few hip-hop artists at this year’s festival, Lamar had drawn a massive crowd of fans to one of the biggest shows at ACL. I restrained myself from vaulting over the gates to jump up on stage and instead watched as others attempted to do so. They were promptly wrestled to the ground by stern, blue-shirted ACL security guards who were not amused with the crowd’s antics. All around me people jumped up and down, screaming at the top of their lungs, and


rants + raves

I was almost knocked down as I tried to move with the general sway of the crowd. Lamar’s set mostly consisted of songs from his platinum 2012 album, Good Kid, m.A.A.d City. The fans went wildest when he performed his hit songs, “Swimming Pools (Drank),” “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” and “Poetic Justice.” People were crowd surfing and dancing, swept up in the music, and by the end of the show the crowd was screaming for an encore. Lamar relented, launching into his most popular song, “Money Trees.” Kendrick Lamar’s concert was an incredible experience that I will never forget and I cannot wait for next year’s ACL. —Micah Williams

photo by Molly Stotts and Aurasma by Drew Brown

First weekend hits the right note The first weekend of Austin City Limits was the best weekend of my life. To start, the weather was marvelous. I’ll admit, it was a bit warm on Friday, but Saturday and Sunday were as mild as Pace salsa, whereas the second weekend of ACL was as soggy as a tortilla chip left in that Pace salsa. On top of that, some of my all-time favorite bands played. I’ve been a fan of Vampire Weekend for three years, but this ACL was the first time I had ever seen them live. Reverent tears welled in my eyes when they played “Campus,” as I remembered the many consecutive hours I had spent listening to that song. For me, seeing Vampire Weekend was, to put it lightly, like a Christian meeting Jesus. Along with Vampire Weekend, I saw Muse, Arctic Monkeys, Fun., Passion Pit, Portugal. the Man, Walk the Moon, MS MR, Noah and the Whale, Franz Ferdinand, Phoenix and Atoms for Peace. Out of those, Franz Ferdinand was my favorite. My friends and I jumped up and down almost nonstop for an hour as we shouted, “Right thoughts, right words, right actions!” and “I know I won’t be leaving here with you!” Sadly those poor saps who attended the second weekend of ACL did not have the chance to see Franz Ferdinand. Or MS MR. Or Noah and the Whale. Or Phoenix. Or Atoms for Peace. After seeing the disaster that was the second weekend, I was immensely thankful that I had escaped that fate. Instead of walking through a disgusting mixture of mud, hay and dog poop that is Dillo Dirt or swimming my way around the park, I frolicked over luscious grass. Instead of eating soggy food, I ate perfectly prepared, deliciously dry popcorn. Instead of shaking my fists to the sky on Sunday, I danced like I was in Footloose. I guess it sucks to suck. Doesn’t it, second weekenders? —Madeline Dupre

l sandwich Make your own

ideas of gang rape and female submission. Walmart is currently selling a boy’s t-shirt with “cool story babe, now make me a sandwich,” plastered on the front. Once you know what to look for, the examples of consumer sexism are overwhelming. “Oh, it’s just the crazy media,” you say. “No one takes that stuff seriously.” But we do. We, as a society, are so used to treating women as inferior beings and second-class citizens that we don’t even realize what we’re doing. Women who sacrifice careers for family are frequently looked down upon, despite the fact that they often work as hard as any officiallyemployed people. Those who sacrifice family for a career are often considered selfish however, and women who balance the two face scrutiny and judgment. They are still expected to bear the brunt of the housework and childcare. Girls are conditioned from a young age to be polite, submissive and flexible. They’re encouraged to take up less space and grow up quickly. They are fed the same lies over and over again until they almost believe that they can only be fulfilled through love, that skinny equals pretty and pretty equals happy. Sexism is evident in women’s health legislation and unequal pay. It is evident in the way female musicians and actresses are frequently valued for their sex-appeal rather than their talent. It is evident in companies using naked, airbrushed breasts and hips to sell their products, and in the way I’m afraid to walk down the UT drag at night because a significant percentage of men think that the difference between “yes” and “no” is a blurred line. The days of legally-enforced inequality between the sexes are supposed to be over, but if that’s true, why did Wendy Davis stand for hours before the Texas Senate, fighting for women’s rights to control their bodies? And why was she ultimately ignored? Why is domestic violence so prevalent yet unacknowledged? Why am I even explaining this if it’s not a problem? Social justice has progressed by leaps and bounds in the last few centuries and women have more freedom now than they have ever had throughout history. But a few battles do not win the war and there is still so much that needs to be done if we want to achieve a better future. A future in which gender doesn’t dictate how a person is treated. A future in which women are not exploited and degraded by the media and where both sexes are fairly represented. A future in which all people are equal. I am a feminist because I believe in that future. —Georgina Kuhlmann Georgina Kuhlmann

Am I a feminist? Of course I am. Feminism, contrary to popular misconception, is not a lifestyle, a religion or a political stance. It is not a hatred of men, nor is it some complex plot aimed at female world-dominance. It is not an ideal limited to liberals or women. Feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men.” In short, feminism is the radical notion that women deserve the same treatment and rights that men receive. If you think that we don’t need feminism here in America, land of freedom, progress and equal opportunity, answer me this: How do you explain the wage gap, rape culture and the struggle for control of women’s reproductive rights? How do you explain the way the female body has become an object used to attract the male gaze in advertising? How do you explain the paucity of women in leadership roles and the relentless double standards of society’s expectations for girls? Just because women have the vote does not mean that all is well in the world. According to The Economist, women in full-time jobs were paid 82.2 percent of men’s median weekly salaries last year, and female CEOs made only 69 percent as much money as their male counterparts. Furthermore, while 2012 was a landmark year for women in U.S. politics, they still only made up 20 percent of the Senate. With females accounting for half of the population, that’s a serious lack of representation. If you want to see sexism in action, just take a look at the entertainment industry. Nearly every movie released in the last year (including Now You See Me, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Monsters University, Man of Steel and White House Down), fails the Bechdel Test, a set of criteria requiring a movie or show to have a) two named female characters who b) have a conversation c) about something unrelated to a man. The Bechdel Test doesn’t ask much, yet for the media moguls, fulfilling these three criteria is a nigh-impossible task. And rather than being exceptions to the rule, films that fail the test are the norm. Women in movies, television and games are, as a whole, reduced to formulaic clichés to fill the roles of secondary characters, eye-candy or love interests. I’m sick of seeing the same tropes repeated over and over as producers are too narrow-minded to expand their presentation of female characters. We are bombarded by degrading advertisements at nearly every waking moment as women’s bodies are stripped and airbrushed to promote everything from salad dressing, to cars, to personal hygiene. A bottle of Axe shampoo, for instance, promises that “the cleaner you are, the dirtier you get,” accompanied by an illustration of a man surrounded by fawning, twig-thin babes. Even when it’s supposed to be funny, it reinforces society’s skewed perception of women. The female body is photo-manipulated into a human-shaped beer glass to advertise liquor. Companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch are under the impression that the best way to advertise clothing is to have models wearing as little of it as possible. Images in fashion magazines invoke

When it comes to social progress, a woman’s work is never done

{ staff editorial }

A new type of bully

Students should be more aware of their online surroundings this site seems playful and benign to a highschooler looking for a source of gossip. However, neglecting a trend that feeds predators and bullies alike has consequences, as suicide takes third in causes of death among minors. Sadly, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen students act this way. The Facebook page “Westlake Insults” was created last January, encouraging students to submit inappropriate comments about classmates. The insults may have seemed “funny” and deemed likable by students, but the line between hate and humor is often very blurred when hiding behind the shield of a computer screen. On the Westlake Seniors Facebook Page, there have been several instances of conflict. From battles over t-shirt sales to the most recent debates over Senior Girls, students have spent quite a bit of time drafting lengthy arguments and stating their opinions. This conversation is fantastic, until we irresponsibly use profanity and hate as a debate tool, going as far as to attack the personal beliefs of others. Addressing such situations in a classless manner has consequences, and it’s our responsibility to be aware of the poten-

Alex Charnes

“Kill yourself, or I will,” the anonymous message read. This entry on the networking site Ask. fm triggered the suicide of teenager Hannah Smith in England early August. After thorough investigations into her suicide, Smith’s parents were shocked to find that the social networking site was partially to blame. is a Latvian social media network where users can respond to questions entered by anonymous sources. This site is wildly popular among students at Westlake not only because it feeds curiosity, but also because it gives kids the opportunity to say things they normally wouldn’t had their name been displayed. The questions range from “What is your favorite color?” to more disturbing inquiries like “Are you a virgin?” or “Do you realize everyone hates you?” Even worse, users often choose not to use the privacy setting— luring adolescents into an addictive viral trap where their pictures and full names are visible to the world. Bloomberg Businessweek said the site has more than 70 million users, half of whom are under 18. Like many other online danger zones,


rants + raves

tial misinterpretations of our words. We’re constantly told to be mindful of what we post on the internet. We are aware that colleges, authorities and potential employers can see our posts, and yet we still lack basic etiquette on how to treat other people. The truth is, even from behind a computer we must think before we speak. People will still feel the sting of an insult, and you will still humiliate yourself through malicious remarks. With the dawn of the computer age, bullying is done virally and often involves public embarrassment, timestamps and legal evidence. It is hard to eliminate this inevitable problem, but we can do our part to prevent letting sites like and Facebook profiles like “Westlake Insults” diminish not only our own character but also the confidence of our peers. It is our hope that students would understand the dangers and implications of creating a profile online, and the personal obligations involved in maintaining a positive online presence. Students constantly compromise their integrity for the sake of a witty joke or fiery Facebook fight, and frankly, it needs to stop.


school bus Student gets manhandled while trying to get off bus






If you have a car and a driver’s license, I’ll pay you to switch lives. I still have to ride the bus to school because I never bothered to take Drivers Ed. But believe me when I say I detest every grueling minute of it. That’s not just my massive pride talking. I’ve been through enough embarrassing school bus-related incidents to be thoroughly traumatized for life. I’ve squatted in the aisles too many times to count because there were more butts than available seats. I’ve sat next to kids whose dandruff-to-hair ratio should have been illegal and endured a perpetual plague of radio stations like 96.7 KISS FM. Arguably worst of all, I’ve had to sit with the kids who apparently know nothing about personal space and think it’s perfectly fine to rest their incredibly bony elbow on your thigh like an armrest until your leg goes numb and that pins-and-needles feeling sinks in. But, like everyone else, I dealt with it, however grudgingly, while continuing to bang my head against the wall every weeknight. But oh boy. Something awful happened a few weeks ago. It was uncalled for and mortifying and I’m considering filing a restraining order. I also realize I might be slightly prone to exaggeration, but that’s beside the point. So here’s the deal: if you ever had to ride the bus home with a friend in elementary school, you know that the bus driver requires a note from the office. Turns out the rules are the same for getting off your own bus at a different stop. I know this because, although most kids whose parents live separately normally ride two different busses, mine live so close that both of their houses are on the same route, literally six stops apart. Back in elementary or even junior high, that may have been a problem, but by the time you’re in high school, the bus drivers either trust you enough to get off at the right bus stop or they really don’t care what happens to you. It’s never been a problem for me. That is, until a few weeks ago, shortly after my bus driver was reassigned. When I found out the old driver was leaving, I was about ready to let the balloons drop and throw confetti into the air. He was the kind of guy who knew that the bus was bigger than the other cars on the road and that if we crashed, he and about 90 percent of the students would probably make it out alive. And, of course, no driver can be worse than that. I realize I’m wrong on Wednesday, when I try to get off the bus at my dad’s for the first time since the new driver arrived. I say try, because as I’m walking off the bus I feel someone’s hand gripping my arm.

The first thought that occurs to me is “Whoever is grabbing my arm is going to seriously wish they hadn’t.” Then, “Wait a minute, who is that?” I turn around and, you guessed it, it’s the bus driver. He’s holding my arm with this look on his face like he’s just caught me redhanded for first degree murder. This isn’t Criminal Minds, buddy, get your clammy hand off my sweater. I decide to speak up. “Can I go? This is my other stop.” It’s like the concept is entirely new to him. There’s a long, pregnant pause. “Your other stop?” Oh, he’s onto me alright. “Yeah, this is where my dad lives.” This isn’t exactly rocket science, dude, just let me go home so I can make some ramen and do my homework. He gives me the once over, as if he fancies himself a mall cop or something, and if he wasn’t holding my arm, I would smack myself in the forehead. Or him, more likely. Look around you buddy. We’re in a harmless, suburban neighborhood at five in the afternoon, not some sketchy chemical plant. What could you possibly think I’m getting up to? Let me go, and I promise no nefarious shenanigans will go down on your watch. Apparently, he thinks otherwise, because he frowns and says, “You can’t get off here. This isn’t your registered stop.” Well that’s brilliant. In that case I’ll just camp out here on the bus for the night. Just what I’ve always wanted, really. Meanwhile he’s still squeezing my arm with this ridiculous viselike grip that guys who drink beer use to shake hands. Goodness, just call the cops on me already and let them drag me away. By this point the other kids are starting to get suspicious, and they’re craning their necks to see what’s going on, and I just want to go home and my arm has lost circulation because his palm is still wrapped around it and he’s cutting off my blood flow. Viselike grip, indeed. An eternity later, he tells me that if I want to be registered for two stops I’ll need to call Transportation Dispatcher. Which is wonderful, but it doesn’t fix the problem at hand. You know, me not being able to leave. But it’s cool. This guy is only doing his job, and I’m glad he takes it seriously enough not to show up with a raging case of pink eye, squinting blurry-eyed through a tissue, like our previous bus driver. He and I could get along, really, if he would seriously let go of my arm which I’m now in danger of permanently losing to amputation. In the end, he tells me he’s “on a tight schedule,” so we come to an agreement. He lets me off the hook “just this once,” and I’m free to go on my merry way if I promise to call transportation and sort everything out. Then, FINALLY, he lets go of my arm. I pick my jaw up off the floor and thank him. And trust me when I say I practically fly off that bus. The first thing I do when I get home is sign myself up for Drivers Ed. —Michelle Fairorth

Uncharted waters

Junior Nikki Lyssy catches a wave in Port Aransas Sept. 28. She was there as part of the Realtrex program, which offers outdoor opportunities for blind and visually impaired teenagers.

Blind teen takes on surfing, parasailing The water licked lazily at my toes and feet as I waded into its waiting arms, anticipating the excitement to come as a surfboard beckoned me. As I became used to the lukewarm water, my heart took flight in my chest, my spirits soaring as I climbed onto the familiar board, crawling until I’d found the perfect position to wait for the absolute best wave. As I lay on the board waiting, I began to think about the truly amazing opportunities I have had because of the Realtrex Organization. When I was first asked to join this group of blind and visually impaired students who are taught the ropes of camping, cooking and navigating the outdoor world without sight, I thought it would provide me with amazing experiences, but I had no idea that they would encompass such a wide range of activities. When I found out we were going to Port Aransas for an educational yet fun weekend of surfing, cooking and parasailing, I was beyond excited. On Sept. 27, my sister Kendal and I hopped into a minivan with eight of our fellow Realtrexers and rolled down to the coast. The excitement I felt as I anticipated the rush of doing things I’d never done before was incredible. Everyone else was feeling it too, as we all chattered about various things. As we drove, we were told that we were going to be surfing Friday night and parasailing Saturday afternoon. I was exhilarated; I’d only ever read about parasailing in books. Because the trip is also educational, we were taught how to budget money properly for meals, parasailing lessons and other such things. Since surfing didn’t require a cent, all we had to do was show up and wait. Every year, a nonprofit volunteer organization called SurfRider comes to the beach to help us surf without sight. I’ve been surfing before with SurfRider, but every time is different because the waves, the weather and how deep I am in the ocean changes each time. At times, it can be scary not having a strong sense of exactly where the shore is, and the ocean is the one place my cane doesn’t give me information, but I truly trusted the guide who I was with. As my guide held the board back from galloping out to sea, I felt my heart drumming in my chest as I heard the “swoosh” of an approaching wave. My heartbeat kicked up 300 notches as I anticipated the huge whitecap approaching. “Aw, not this one,” my guide said, yanking the board back, and my heart deflated slightly. I’d misjudged the size of the wave and what I originally thought was a huge one was only a baby ripple. However, I wasn’t out of hope. Friday night’s weather was virtually perfect, and the summery climate helped to create the perfect combination of waves. My guide, having decided that this was the right wave for me, shoved the board onto the crest. I struggled to my knees, gripping the board with both hands for support, then eased myself upright on my feet for one astonishing second before voluntarily jumping off the board and splashing into the salty water. This pattern of standing up and then leaping into the waves was familiar for me, because it takes me a few minutes to understand the water’s mind, so to speak, and how it is working at that particular moment in time. As the waves


rants + raves

courtesy photo

continued to break, I began to stand for longer increments of time: 10 seconds, then 20, then, finally 30, before I took a final plummet into the water with a huge splash. At that point, I’d been at it for an hour, and decided I was done for the night. To be honest, I was slightly disappointed with the size of the waves. I’d hoped for bigger and scarier waves to give me the rush I usually enjoy while surfing. I wasn’t too sad, though; after all, I knew that the next day’s main event, parasailing, would be completely new. When the time for parasailing finally arrived and our lessons were paid for, my nerves felt like they were going to burst. Deep down in my heart, I was grateful that our counselors had decided to keep this adventure secretive until the day before it was to take place, because I know I would have talked myself out of it. When I was first told we were going to be parasailing, I thought, “Am I going to be alive to tell this tale?” The second thing I thought was, “What type of regret would I have if I didn’t give this a shot?” Luckily, the guides could read my mind, because they showed us all a verbal video which described exactly what we would be doing. In great detail, the calm voice on the video explained that we would be strapped into a harness and suspended 500 feet into the air, attached to the back of a boat. Because of the video, I had a much clearer idea of exactly what I was in for. As we sat on the boat and our captain drove toward the bay, I prayed that I would make it out of this adventure in one piece. As the three groups ahead of mine floated 500 feet above the boat and then came back in one piece, I began to think I actually might too. “Are we ready to go?” the parasailing instructor asked. I ignored the pounding of my heart as I was hooked into a harness that functions more like a chair. Kendal was strapped in next to me, and our counselor Eric was in between us to help balance the weight efficiently. “This is going to be awesome!” we screamed as we were lifted first five, then 10, then 20 feet into the air. From that moment, the only way I can think to describe it is like flying. I felt like the birds in the sky. This bliss only lasted for 10 minutes, but I was amazed at the coolness of the air, the beauty of our surroundings, and the silence that permeated the air. When the journey was over, I wished it had lasted indefinitely because it was so incredible. The rest of the weekend flew by in a blur of activity – spaghettimaking, watching a movie and finally, packing to head back to reality. As we drove home, I thought about all of the experiences I’d had over the two days I’d been away. Things that I’d only read about in books suddenly came to life in a way I never imagined they could. Things that I previously thought I couldn’t do because I was too afraid to became some of my best memories. Thinking on those memories now gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling, and I am forever grateful to the Realtrex group and SurfRider for making these dreams come true. Most important of all, the experiences of surfing and parasailing taught me that anything is truly possible if you have faith and trust in those guiding and supporting you. —Nikki Lyssy

A powerful message


Project Purple speaker inspires Westlake student to share story of personal battle with self-abuse When I watched sophomore and freshman classes file into Here’s the truth. Mental illness is not a competition, no matter how the gym, I expected the usual assembly, full of rolling eyes, texting and many scars you have or how many times you’ve been hospitalized or whispering as old people shook their fingers at us and encouraged (or how many pills you’re on. Pain is pain, and it’s a ruthless battle. There demanded, in some cases) that we not do drugs. But we got something is nothing beautiful about wearing your history on your legs multiplied no one expected. Instead of the boring nagging of the typical school in three straight lines for every time you wanted to die, and “inspiring” assembly, Chris Herren told a heartfelt story, and three brave students isn't the blood on your wrists or the scratches on your hips. “Moving” stood up and told tales of their own, making it a moving experience. isn't the horror show of sadness I called my life. At first, I was happy just to miss class, and figured the assembly I told lies for a long time, pushing my long sleeves up to "cat would be a chance to talk with friends. But the thing is, Herren has a scratched" wrists, my way of inappropriately begging someone to bepresence and a story that commands your attention. By the time he lieve in my pain, yet no one ever noticed ‘until I told them. began to talk, the gym was silent, and the students were listening to What Herren told us was the truth. No one in this world will save the tale he had to tell, and the scary statistics that came with it. you but yourself. You have to be brave enough to ask someone for help, Herren's story inspired — and frightened me as well. He talked to take a chance on yourself to heal. In a battle like mine it isn't the about how he fulfilled his dream — to play for the Boston Celtics. He big victories, it’s the small ones, and the tiny steps to healing that you then went on to talk about how that dream was shattered by his addicallow yourself to take. tion to drugs, specifically cocaine, OxyContin and heroin. As a recovWhat I hadn't realized when I entered that gym was that the assemering drug addict and a new, sober man, he said his dream, today, is bly would be one of my small steps, one of my small victories. different. He goes from school to At the end of the assembly, school, speaking about his past, Herren asked if anyone had and laying out his deepest secrets questions or anything to say, and in the hope that he can help just surprisingly enough people did. one kid take a chance to change. Three kids stood up and spoke However, Herren didn't just about their lives, and how drugs talk about drugs. He also talked or self harm had affected them. about self harm, an issue that afOne girl's father was a drug fects kids more than anyone else, addict. Another was suffering because 79 percent of self harmfrom trichotillomania, more ers are under the age of 18. commonly known as compulsive I am one of them. hair pulling. The last, a boy, was While most kids spent their a recovering self harmer. These summer laughing with their kids, brave to stand up and talk friends, lying by the pool, and about issues that are usually hidstaying up late, I spent mine den due to shame, tugged at my under constant vigilance, afraid heart strings, and while I didn't to go swimming or wear shorts Tim Whaling stand up myself, I'm going to try for fear of people seeing the scars Project Purple speaker Chris Herren shared impassioned anecdotes and a lifetime of realizations in October when to be as brave as them. and scratches on my legs, and Herren and these kids have inhe spoke to the student body. going to bed as early as possible spired others to follow suit. Even because in short, sleep helped now, more students are coming me forget I was alive. I was a living, breathing person struggling with out of their shells and sharing secrets with their friends previously depression, anxiety, and self harm, among many more issues. My sum- thought to be shameful, the kind of thing that could be seen but never mer consisted of me thinking of sharp objects and medication as my talked about. We all have the skeletons in our closet — and I have friends, and therapists and real people as my enemies, because they plenty of my own, but suddenly, with everyone letting their secrets out, were a reminder of how easy everyone else seemed to have it — how I was inspired to do the same, not necessarily in words, but in deeds, easy everyone else seemed to find it simply to be. wearing shorts for the first time since school began, and although most My room and my mind were my prison, and I was stuck inside of my scars on my legs still remained hidden, it was an important milea body I didn't want, taking out my anger and hurt and sadness on stone for me. Contrary to my previous beliefs, no one started screammyself. ing or examining me closely. I survived to fight another day. The truth is, too many kids these days find issues like my own The thing is, Herren’s story didn’t just make me think. It crept un"tragically beautiful.” Eating disorders are not cute. Depression is not der my skin and stayed in my mind, a constant reminder of the choices trendy, self harm is not inspiring, and anxiety is not moving, despite we make and how they can affect us. His story made us all listen, made what television and social media may try to tell you. Much too often, it us put up our distractions and hand over our precious attention. His is glorified or glamorized by people who want to find meaning in it, or tale makes people want to change, made me want to change, and it want to hide the shame of such a thing. People begin to believe that the makes kids want to be stronger, to be themselves. You’re only as sick as only way their pain can be perceived as real is marks on their skin, and your secrets, and maybe, with help, our hearts can begin to heal. begin to act on those thoughts. —Anonymous

Tim Whaling

Group forms with goal to support everyone

A sign of change With the absence of student organizations supporting mixed gender/female sports, seniors Jessica Ellis and Nishiki Maredia have started Your Fan Club, a group that plans to provide what they say is a step in the right direction towards an all-encompassing solution. The Senior Girls bake and make signs for their designated football players, and similar volunteer opportunities have opened up for other male-dominated sports. Jessica said YFC is aimed at reaching an equal distribution of support across Westlake. “We’re creating a system very similar to Senior Girls, but can be applied to absolutely anybody who needs a little support or congratulations,” Jessica said. “We have several people per team or activity who make signs or bring candy for the whole team.” When Jessica started high school at Westlake after moving from London in 2008, she had trouble grasping the concept of the Senior Girls program. “I told some of my friends back home about it, and one of them said something like ‘is that legal?’” Jessica said. She wanted to do something about it, but she felt she wouldn’t have any influence concerning the subject until she was a senior herself. “I waited until senior year because then my peers would be Senior Girls, and I felt like I might have a better understanding of it by then,” Jessica said. So this summer, Jessica pitched the idea of Your Fan Club to Nishiki and several other girls via Facebook, and by the beginning of the school year, there were 13 members in the club. “I know there are a lot of girls here who really do enjoy baking, so I figured I could get the concept to catch on for other sports and organizations,” Jessica said. Jessica knew she needed to call the club something that was catchy and easy to remember, but that didn’t specify gender or age. “I came up with Your Fan Club when I pictured someone walking into a math class holding a plate of cookies for an athlete, like


rants + raves

Senior Girls do, and saying ‘these are for you, they’re from your fan club,’” Jessica said. “It just sounded so simple, and the more I thought about it I also saw YFC easily becoming #yfc. Let’s be honest, if it doesn’t sound good as a hashtag, it’s not going to work.” Since the group started, nine boys have also joined, including senior Nam Tran. Nam said he joined the group because he has played under-recognized sports such as tennis and cross country, and that Nishiki’s comment on a post in the “Seniors 2014” Facebook group about YFC inspired him to get involved. “YFC is the thing that people can do to start making a difference,” Nam said. “It’s going to be a gradual process. You don’t change something like that in the span of a couple weeks — it’s going to take a couple years to really change the tradition and culture of Westlake.” Jessica said she thinks the club will give students the opportunity to support their friends in ways that were previously unavailable. “If people really love the baking and the spirit, wouldn’t your best friend on soccer or golf be overjoyed to get a plate of brownies and a sign in the Commons on her game day that she’s been training just as hard for as the boys?” Jessica said. The group has grown to 31 members, but all are seniors. Jessica said it’s important to get underclassmen involved so that YFC survives after they all graduate. Nam said he will make an effort to get as many younger members as possible. “I’m definitely going to advocate for this group and try to get more people to join,” Nam said. “The more people that join, the better.” Nam said YFC is only part of what will be a shift in the norm at Westlake, and that he is excited to be part of it. “YFC is not the only solution, but I think it’s a step in the right direction so that all sports are recognized and so that all athletes here feel like they’re part of something bigger than just the team they’re on,” Nam said. —Andy Brown and Olivia Kight



gitta a S

Oct. 23 - Nov. 21: As a Scorpio, it’s natural that you’ll want to sting everything that might get in your way this month. However, Pluto and Jupiter have aligned and their vibes are suggesting otherwise. Oh, wait. Pluto’s not a planet.

ua q A

Nov. 22 - Dec. 21: Reaching for something in the distance, so close you can almost taste it, release your inhibitions, feel the rain on your skin.


sce i P





Jan. 20 - Feb. 18: When the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planets, and love will steer the stars. This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

us r u a

April 20 - May 20: ¡Olé! This month, it’s time to hop on the wild ride of life and take the bull by the horns as the orbit of Mars will align with the moon to create the perfect opportunity for adventure. Anything is possibull.

o Le July 23 - Aug. 22: PUT THE NETFLIX DOWN.




Feb. 19 - March 20: Namaste, Pisces. Take a deep breath and let yourself fall into the river of life. Go with the flow, because it is only taking you where you need to go. Beware, however. If it starts smelling a little fishy, you’ll need to fight against the current.

ini m Ge May 21 - June 20: If you’re the ugly sister, have no fear. Actually, just kidding, that sucks.

rgo i V Aug. 23 - Sept. 22: Sometimes good things fall apart so fitspo can turn into motivation, because everything happens for a reason. #blessed. Pumpkin spice latte. #nofilter

icorn r p Ca

Dec. 22 - Jan. 19: BAAAA. Channel the spirits of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, for each individual goat will guide you through this time of distress. This means it’s OK to pass on your troubles to other goats.

ies r A March 21 - April 19: The stars are calling you to channel your inner Miley. It’s time to stop caring what people think. Lick that hammer, because this life is a wrecking ball.

er c n Ca June 21 - July 22: Time to be spontaneous! Don’t be crabby, because the planets are aligning to give you a pinch of energy. Take advantage of this window of time, and crab walk your way to good fortune.

b ra i L Sept. 23 - Oct. 22: The earth is orbiting the sun this month to make the days sunny and the nights dark. This routine will let you know when it’s bedtime.

—Elizabeth Emery and Olivia Kight rants + raves


Bad grammar

Pubescent body odor and something that smells like stale urine fill the stagnant air that dwells in the stairwells that lead to the math to science halls. You will meet your maker when you scale those musty stairs, no matter if you’re the ultimate couch-potato or top cross-country runner. Climbing up one flight is bad enough to make you want to break your own legs just to obtain a coveted elevator pass. However, if you are destined to make the first to third floor trek, common symptoms will undoubtedly include burning calves, asthma and/or heart attacks, inability to speak, hot flashes, lightheadedness and increased probability of fainting. Factor in half the school using the stairs at the same time to make their commute, and it becomes exponentially worse. Keep in mind that the stairwells are always over-capacitated and full of chatty kids determined to take their sweet time making the ascent. So keep telling yourself that someday you’ll be in good enough shape to tackle the steps without breaking a sweat and dream of a world with escalators for all.

we dont need no fancy grammer. y use punctuation and correct speeling when writing is dead anyways. its all the rage to turn off autocorrect and just stop caring. apostrophes and full words take up two many characters on twitter and capitalizing letters is such a drag. their is no need to write complete sentences everyday. whoever invented the english language should of made it less confusing than maybe are grammer would be alittle better. we dream of a day when red and green lines dont appear in word docs becuz who realy pays attention to those th1ngs. and for all u grammer geeks out their quit commenting “*you’re” on all are facebook posts. its time to embrace eachothers style of writing. #badgrammer5evah (cuz 5 is more then 4)

Middle school rivalries HCMS vs. WRMS. It’s a Westlake thing. Yeah it is. They make shirts about it. From day one of sixth grade, all middle schoolers are taught to hate either the Cougar or the Wildcat. It’s an Eanes Civil War of sorts, and a bloody one at that. The rivalry pits brother against brother and neighbor against neighbor. You can feel it in the air at the pep rallies. The cheerleaders scream “Beat HCMS/ WRMS,” the band feverishly strikes up a tune like “Louie Louie” and the raucous crowd goes wild over the mere thought of tearing its rival school to shreds. Those Tuesday night football showdowns are some of the hottest tickets in town, and there are rumors that the athletic department is planning on adding an extra 2,000 seats behind the South end zone to accommodate the annual madhouse. Nothing changes in high school. We sit on opposite sides of every classroom, glaring at each other and reminiscing about the days when we didn’t have to be on the same team. But, let’s be real, HCMS athletes have carried this school for years. GO COUGARS!

Stuff we like

Birthday balloons They are everywhere. Laughing at you as you walk up the stairs to science class. Taunting you as you try to squeeze through the door in between libraries. Assaulting you as you maneuver the sea of desks in any classroom. Virtually inescapable, ever-present birthday balloons. Legend has it that popping one of the sacred balloons will doom you to an eternity filled with cupcake-less birthdays, but nobody has mustered up the courage to test that theory. We the courteous are left to simply trudge through the halls of an already overpopulated high school anticipating the next time a frantic birthday girl will zoom around a corner, leaving us in a hopeless tangle of confetti and sad little helium-filled globes. Sometimes the balloons bear intriguing messages like “It’s a boy!” and sometimes they even burst into cacophonous song whenever they bump against anything! Leave your swag at home kids. The seeming charm of floating birthday decorations is a menace that must be stopped.

Michaela Moss

Volume 45 - Issue 1  
Volume 45 - Issue 1