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Deep in the



Westlake High School

Volume 43

Issue 3

March 21, 2012 4100 Westbank Drive Austin, Texas 78746

March {contents} Brains + Brawn


Center stage


Mover and shaker

Choir members hit home run in Damn Yankees production

People + Places

Senior links diverse background to passion for theater arts

Trends + Traditions

58 Rants + Raves 64

All in the family

Whataburger legacy shares secrets of family business

Brain freeze

The best of the best when it comes to Austin ice cream

Editors-in-Chief Hannah Kunz Lizzie Friedman

Managing Editor

Asst. Camille Lewis Asst. Monica Tan

Art Directors

Hirrah Barlas

Brad Dunn Emily Mitchell

Copy Editors

Web Master

Caroline Hunt Christina Shin

Nikki Roop Asst. Erin Armstrong

Brains + Brawn

Web Photographer

Becca Burt Selah Maya Zighelboim Asst. Marco Scarasso Hillary Hurst Cody Crutchfield Asst. Breck Spencer Asst. Ben Wallace

People + Places

Jenny Messer Julie Dorland Asst. Anika Hattangadi Asst. Catherine Mear

Trends + Traditions Hailey Cunningham Zelda Mayer Asst. Jessica Stenglein Asst. Josh Willis

Rants + Raves Danielle Brown

Shea Wendlandt

Photo Editors Barrett Wilson Asst. Karen Scott

Business Manager Emily Cohen Asst. Abby Mosing

Photographers Allie Carlisle Katherine Curtis Nikki Humble Ryan Stankard Tanner Thompson


Abby Bost Andy Brown Brian Wieckowski

Caitlyn Kerbow Christina Rosendahl Christine Schulz Elizabeth Emery Emily Martin Jacob Prothro Jared Schroeder Jennifer Prideaux Jono Krawczyk Keren Rempe Laura Doolittle MacKenna McDonell Madison Goll Martin Celusniak Michael Deisher Michaela Moss Monica Rao Olivia Lee Peyton Richardson Rachel Cooper Ryder Nicholas Sara Phillips Sarah Berg Sloan Simpson Taylor Cloyd Taylor Kidd


Deanne Brown

For more stories, visit

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.

Cover and table of contents photos by Hannah Kunz Striding over hurdles, sophomores Josh Latham and Nate Flanigin practice their endurance for the next meet.

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brains + brawn


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fo r e p s band

f o e l t t a B


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Junior Dylan Hill plays the guitar for Midtown Promenade. This year’s Battle of the Bands featured some new changes, including the raffling of a guitar donated by Lisa Hickey of Austin City Limits Music Festival, the profits of which went to the Africa New Life Ministry. Hickey also donated ACL passes to the first place band. Tanner Thompson

Sophomore Will Conant of Eskimo Pilots sings “Whale.” Hannah Kunz

Sophomore David Alvarez performs with Chromatic Funk. He was voted best keyboardist overall.

Senior Brad Dunn and junior Jono Krawczyk host Battle of the Bands. “Battle of the Bands was a great experiece for Brad and me,” Jono said. “We really got to step outside of our comfort zones.” Battle of the Bands was sponsored by The Featherduster and TEC. Shea Wendlandt

Sophomore Carter Smith throws bracelets to the crowd after Eskimo Pilots’ performance. Shea Wendlandt

Zoe Nathan

West Ridge eighth grader Pierce Waldrop plays the drums for The Loose Wheels, who took third overall. “I was just trying to have fun,” Pierce said. “That’s really what it’s all about.” The judges chose Pierce as the best drummer of the night. Shea Wendlandt

Juniors Dalton Jackson and Landon Hegedus of Breedlove go into the audience as part of their show. Dalton won best frontman, while Landon took best horn player. Breedlove won second place overall, as well as People’s Choice. People’s Choice was a new addition to this year’s Battle of the Bands.

1st place: Chromatic Funk 2nd place: Breedlove 3rd place: The Loose Wheels Best vocalist: senior Camille Lewis Best banjo player: sophomore Tanner Rowley Best guitarist: junior Dylan Hill Best keyboardist: sophomore David Alvarez Best bassist: sophomore John Kronenberger Best drummer: 8th grader Pierce Waldrop Best frontman: junior Dalton Jackson Best horn player: junior Landon Hegedus People’s Choice Award: Breedlove Guitar Raffle: junior Lauren Lardner

Tanner Thompson

Sophomores Aidan Sivy, Ben Pederson and Adam Wilson perform with Chromatic Funk. “We’re Chromatic Funk and we’re to funk-ify and funk-itize,” Ben said. “It’s a big deal.” Chromatic Funk won first place overall.

Seniors Henry Hibler and Adrian Holiday, members of the band JHAM, perform at Battle of the Bands. Shea Wendlandt

Senior Camille Lewis, who won best vocalist, plays for Dead Recipe. “All the bands were really good,” Camille said. “I was honored that I got to watch them all.”

Eskimo Shea Wendlandt

Shea Wendlandt


Spring forward Upcoming STARR exams prompt changes in lesson plans, concern teachers This year, the freshmen are taking a big leap into the future with a new standardized test, the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, or STAAR. This new test will be taken over all four core subjects every year. Teachers have voiced to the students their concerns about the end of course exam, and no one can be exactly sure of what will happen in the next few months. Janet Espinosa, chair of the social studies department, is working on preparing her freshman students for the STAAR test. “The TAKS test covered social studies as a whole,” Espinosa said. “When you took the TAKS test you tested over some eighth, ninth, and some 10th grade material. For the end of course, you are tested over just that one class. It’s much more specific and in much greater depth than what the TAKS test was.” The exam was designed to count as 15 percent of each student’s final grade. However, in a statement released Feb. 23, Commissioner of Education Robert Scott announced a change to the 15 percent policy for this year only, to allow individual school districts to determine whether the test will calculate into students’ final grades. Eanes is still planning to count the test, but it will be up to the school board to make any changes. “In December, we did put in the 15 percent STAAR requirement as part of the student’s final grade because it was going to be the law, effective this school year,” school board president Kal Kallison said. “Now that the requirement has been deferred for a year, the board will vote on a resolution at its March meeting to postpone the implementation until it becomes required for all districts, which should be for the 2012-13 school year. What remains unchanged is the policy about class rank and top 10 percent. The STAAR scores will not be included in the calculations of weighted numerical grade averages and the top 10 percent for purposes of class rank.” Widespread confusion about the STAAR exams prompted the

decision by the Board of Education to change the mandates for this year. “Each district was doing it a little bit differently,” Espinosa said. “That was a great concern to parents whose child might be competing with another child whose score didn’t factor in the same way. This was the first year and we didn’t know what was going to be on it, and a lot of times we were teaching with materials that were still geared to the old TAKS. There were a lot of people that were concerned.” Teachers and their students are not sure what the exam will be like. “There isn’t a lot of specific guidance as to what we should teach,” Espinosa said. “We end up taking kind of a shotgun approach. We give students as much information as we can and we have to be confident that we’re giving them good practice as well. We’re mostly teaching them how to think. If they can think and if they can reason, then they’ll do fine on the exam. We can’t prepare our students for that little fact that slips through somehow. I think that’s the thing that concerns us all the most. It worries us because we want to make sure that the students are well prepared.” With all of this worrying about not knowing how the test is set up, teachers are working harder on teaching and the students are studying harder. “I think after this first year, when we get a feel for it, we’ll be less anxious,” Espinosa said. “This year we’re just anxious because we have no idea. We don’t have any past data to go on. We don’t have anything to look at in terms of past performance. However, I’m confident. I think that our students will do whatever we ask them to do in order to prepare. I think that when we teach to the next level they will rise and I have every confidence that they will do just fine with the exam.” —Caitlyn Kerbow

TAKS vs. STAAR TAKS Tests on skills for grade level

STAAR Tests on growth and knowledge

Test contains basic, entry level information Has no affect on end of year grade

Test contains higher level information and challenges students Counts as 15 percent of students end of year grade No one has taken it outside the field studies which showed significantly lower scores than TAKS. A variety of questions have been released for teachers but since the test is not finalized no one knows what to expect. Teachers are forced to teach students more in order for them to score higher on the STAAR.

Has been taken since 2003 and students and teachers know what to expect Many practice tests have been released to use as resources for studying in classrooms. Students can succeed on the test when teachers only teach the minimum to pass the TAKS test and not the required Texas curriculum.

—information compiled by Emily Martin

If laughter is the best medicine, then the Westlake Improv Team must be pretty healthy. WIT is a club devoted to exercising the skill of impromptu humor and spreading some smiles. WIT was created in 2005 and currently consists of 16 members and four captains, seniors Chase Grammer, Mark Khoury, Kevin Salter and Tori Twomey. The members meet every Friday afternoon in the theater room. “Some days we just have fun, and some days we have a certain

Taylor Cloyd

Juniors Sarah Wampler, Dylan Hill and Blaise Compton play a game during a Friday afternoon WIT meeting. “It’s funny to be silly with people who don’t judge you,” Sarah said. “WIT is a fun way to end the week.”

objective,” Chase said. “For example, we have meetings where we experiment more with physical improv or teamwork and cohesion.” WIT meetings can consist of a wide range of activities. Improv games can be just for fun or can have the purpose of exercising the members’ talents, similar to those from Whose Line is it Anyway? “Every game has a certain skill that goes along with it,” Kevin said. “There’s more to improv than just being able to pull something out of a hat.” This school year, WIT performed in a December showcase and a mock show in January. In shows, the team entertains the audience with a series of improv games that constantly keep the energy moving. The team hopes to organize more shows before summer break. “My favorite game is the one where we all have random quotes and we have to incorporate them at some point into a scene,” Tori said. Even when they’re not doing shows, WIT members know how to have fun on their own. “Sometimes there are these great moments where people have sparks of genius, and since it’s improv, it never happens again,” Mark said. “You just have to be there to see it.” WIT members try to keep things in perspective with a positive attitude. “We have fun stepping out of our comfort zones with each other,” Kevin said. “The goal of this team is to be able to express yourself, make friends and have fun.” —Sara Phillips

School board decides to include underclassmen in WIFI program This year, roughly 40 faculty members, all upperclassmen and some select sophomores partook in a pilot program integrating technology into the classroom: Westlake Initiative for Innovation. With only one lost iPad and some minor breaks throughout the entire year, the administration considers the iPads to be a success. In the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, new iPads were distributed to improve learning styles and hopefully replace textbooks in some classrooms. “I’m the nerd who chose WebDAVNav+ as my favorite app,” English IV AP teacher Melissa Dupre said. “My classroom is almost paperless, and my students are definitely more organized and prepared. I will freely admit that it’s not quite perfect for my instructional needs yet, but it’s a giant step forward.” Many students agree with Dupre in how the iPads have improved their academics. “iPads have made my notes and books way more portable,” junior Anne Mirrop said. “It’s a lot easier to be organized.” An evaluation of the program was presented to the Community Leadership Team, a group of parents, students and faculty members involved in the community, in January by Student Council members. Using bond money already secured for new computers, the school board voted to buy iPads for the underclassmen for 2012-13. This means that every incoming student will receive an iPad in August. “The iPads have revolutionized the students’ way of learning and their school life,” assistant principal Steve Ramsey said. “Some students say they can’t imagine their schoolwork without an iPad anymore. With the iPad, we can improve our system to the most up-todate and advanced by the touch of a button. The students and teachers learn something new from each other every day.” Despite mostly positive feedback, some students and faculty are not convinced that the cost of the iPads is worth the efficiency. “It doesn’t matter the students’ grade because iPads are still used

for reasons which they weren’t intended for,” senior Karen Scott said. “Everyone in class plays games instead of taking notes. The amount of money spent isn’t worth the miniscule amount of proper use they get. We also used a 30 year bond to pay for the iPads, and in 30 years, the iPads will be obsolete.” Some teachers say they have had difficulty incorporating the iPad into the classroom. “Honestly, iPads are time and place,” AP Physics teacher Nancy Misage said. “It depends on the subject matter and it depends on the level of the students. So, for some students and subject matter it may be great. For my students, my subject matter, I have yet to find a way for it to be helpful.” As to what will happen with the iPads current seniors and juniors have, no decision has been made. The idea has been proposed to check the iPads in like a textbook or let the juniors keep the iPads for summer projects and announcements from teachers while on break. —Rebecca Prideaux

Izzy de la Luz

Senior Drew Nelson uses his iPad in the Research Center. iPads were distributed to students the first week of school.


Scout draws on passion of robotics for Eagle Scout project, starts camp

Programming inspiration courtesy photo

Senior Garrett Witowski’s love for robotics happened by ac“We plan on continuing it on for next year and for years to come cident. Before he began to spend long hours after school building and because the camp was such a huge success,” Garrett said. “The whole preparing the robots for competitions, he was just a normal Robotics I purpose behind the camp was to show the kids and the community student, not sure what to expect of the class. robotics isn’t just a money sink or battle bots. It’s a whole process. It’s “Freshman year in Biology, we were assigned the ‘Replicate a not just building a robot with an axe on it, it’s how to build something process we have studied this year’ project,” Garrett said. “I came up extremely complicated from scratch in six weeks. We have our own with the idea that it would probably be pretty cool to do the project non-profit organization, so all the money is coming back to the team. with a robot, so I started working in robotics on that project. [Robotics The non-profit is called WESTA, which stands for Westlake and Eanes teacher] Mr. [Norman] Morgan saw the dedication and commitment Science and Technology Association. It was established last year and that I had shown to the project and he approached me about coming to now that is where all of our donations go.” the FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff, which was the For InspiraThrough his years in robotics and with his Eagle project, Garrett tion and Recognition of Science and Technology Robotics Competition. has grown to be one of the leaders of the robotics team and is respectUnknowingly and hesitantly, I decided to attend, not really knowing ed by his teacher and peers. what I was getting myself into. I started staying at the shop late nights, “Garrett came to robotics as a freshman in Robotics I,” Morgan doing and learning everything I could. It turns out it was probably one said. “He initially did not intend to participate on the robotics team, of the best decisions I ever made.” but he soon began working on the team in the spring of that year. He Besides being involved in the Robotics club at Westlake, he was has grown as a leader, for example working with or teaching others also heavily involved in Troop 30 and on his way to becoming an about the LabView programming. Garrett’s camp was a big project Eagle Scout when he needed an idea for his Eagle to undertake as he had to convince others it was a project. Garrett searched until he finally decided worthy project as well as create, organize and lead the on a way to mix his two passions of Boy Scouts and project. He now has the confidence and ability to take robotics together. a project and lead it, where as a freshman, he would “I talked to different people about different not have been able to.” projects to do and then one day, Mr. Morgan apGarrett’s path to Eagle helped him learn valuable proached me about an idea he had for a potential life skills, as well as leave behind a great camp and Eagle project,” Garrett said. “A kid on a different legacy at the Westlake Robotics Club. [robotics] team did a camp similar to mine for his “Looking back on it, it’s showing me that scoutEagle project and now it’s a fundraiser for them. I ing isn’t only about the Eagle project; it’s about steps wanted to establish something similar for us, and along the way,” Garrett said. “All the knowledge you I soon started working on the project and coming get from things that seem pointless, like lashing or up with the idea behind it.” even camping, it gets you to work with people in your The camp, which occurred June 3, lasted from patrol and start to develop relationships, working 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and was designed to be a crash towards becoming a better citizen through the values course of sorts for the kids, helping them hone of scouting.” in on skills they would need in robotics in high Garrett plans on using this knowledge later on in school, as well as giving them a chance to experilife as he advances through college and into the workment with the equipment and see if they would ing world. courtesy photo like to do the class or the club in the future. “I plan on applying what I’ve learned [from the Students from schools in the community attend senior “I wanted to model the camp after the robotproject] towards getting the robot done on time or Garrett Witowski’s robotics camp. At the camp, they ics program at the school, so I took the Robotics I even ahead of schedule so that we have time to praclearned to drive Chap robotics’ FIRST 2010 robot. curriculum, dumbed it down and condensed it to tice instead of throwing things together at the last about four hours,” Garrett said. “It was basically minute,” Garrett said. “I definitely think that working what we do in a year, down to half a day. It was the project gave me a better perspective on how much teaching the kids basic programming, what different things can do time you have or how much time things are actually going to take. You and how different sensors work to get them familiarized; that way they learn about time management and how to manage other people so that have experience when I task them with a contest that can incorporate you can get things done in the quickest amount of time. Being an Eagle some of those skills. I think the kids enjoyed not only learning how to Scout follows you everywhere — companies look at that and are like, do things, but they really enjoyed the engineering side of it as well. It’s ‘Wow, this kid is committed to a project and knows how to run a projunusual to them and new exposure, but I think they enjoyed it.” ect,’ which is something companies like to see. Right now, I’m looking Garrett also plans on trying to keep the camp going into the future to major in electrical engineering, though it may change when I get to as a possible fundraiser for the team and as a way to expose the kids college, but that’s where I am right now.” and the community to the robotics program. —Cody Crutchfield

Never forget the Alamo

Team Appreciate makes it to quarterfinals at robotics competition basket 28 inches above the ground is worth 1 point, the two baskets 61 inches above the ground are worth 2 points and the top basket at a towering 98 inches above the ground is worth 3 points per basket. All of the hoops are aligned with retro-reflective tape used as vision targets for the robot. The other big difference of the court is the barriers on each side. There are three bridges connecting each side of the court, and three robots for each team, for a total of six on the field at a time. Points are earned for balancing robots on the bridges at the end of the match, with bonus points for balancing on the middle Coopertition Bridge. The area between the bridges is blocked off by four-inch tall by six-inch wide steel barriers. “This year’s FIRST robotics game looked challenging,” senior Michelle Huddleston said. “I knew we had to build an incredibly accurate ball launcher in order to score, and shooting baskets is hard enough as is. Luckily, Chap Robotics is a high performing team that consistently designs innovative machines, so we embraced this challenge.” The robot designed for this competition has a six-wheeled drive system and has one main component on top of the drive system, a shooter and ball collector. “I designed in Solidworks, a three dimensional computer aided design application,” Claude said. “The cannon that attaches to the top has the great advantage of being lightweight and maneuverable on the lateral and vertical axes. The launcher carries eight-inch foam basketballs on a series of three pairs of conveyor belts. At the end of the conveyor belts is essentially a football launcher turned

90 degrees so the wheels are on the top and bottom. The whole assembly will rotate to the floor to suck up the basketballs by spinning the launcher wheels backwards to store up to three of them and then spin forwards to shoot the ball into the basket.” Each two minute and 15 second match begins with a 15 second hybrid period in which robots have the ability to use their autonomous mode or use a Kinect sensor, provided in the kit of parts, which detects human motions. The rest of the two minute match is tele-operated, in which two human players will control the robot with joysticks. “Shooting is really important in this year’s game so we split three joysticks between two drivers,” junior Robert Ly said. “One driver controls the robot and collects balls while the other driver’s joystick controls shooting. We programmed the joystick controls in LabVIEW and the programmers and I are still experimenting with the Kinect but we programmed autonomous for back up just in case we don’t figure it out in time.” The robot will be competing in three events. The first was the Alamo Regional. The Dallas West Regional comes next, sponsored by JC Penny, at the Dallas Convention Center March 29-31. The last event of the season, The Championships, is in St. Louis, Missouri April 25-28. “I’m really proud of how much we have accomplished this early in the season,” senior Grant Wiseman said. “I’m looking forward to seeing our robot perform at both Regionals and ultimately at The Championships.” —Keren Rempe

Keren Rempe

Keren Rempe

At the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Alamo Regional Competition held March 1-3 at the San Antonio Convention center, seniors Claude Barker and Garrett Witowski took hold of the driving station while sophomore Ben Berry stood with anticipation behind the basketball baskets as the human player collected balls. FIRST robotics Team 2468, Team Appreciate, made it to the quarter finals where they won their first match. “It was electrifying to watch our hard work and effort perform in a heated competition,” Ben said. “Watching our drivers do lastsecond bridge balances left me biting my nails with excitement.” Team Appreciate left with the a unique trophy rarely given by the judges known as the Judges Award. The award was to recognize the team for sharing engineering with other countries and assisting in funding without profiting for themselves (see related story on page 8). The Alamo Regional was the culmination of six weeks of work following the release of the competition theme for 2012. Crowded in the robotics room with mentors, teachers and students, everyone listened attentively to the FIRST Robotics Kickoff Video on Jan. 7. It was revealed as Rebound Rumble, a basketball themed robotics competition. The arena is set up just like a basketball court, but with several small differences. Instead of slick wooden floors, there is carpet, and rather than one basket, there are four on each side of the court. The robot is trying to score in the different heights of baskets. One

Left: Seniors Marcus Clardy from Bowie High School, Andrew Davis, Garrett Witowski, Claude Barker and sophomore Ben Berry gather before the second match in the quarter finals of the FIRST Alamo Regional Competition. Above: Team 2468, Team Appreciate scores two points in the middle basket. “I think our robot was the most consistent in what we attempted to do,” robotics teacher Norman Morgan said. “The objective was to shoot two baskets and balance on the bridge every match.”


Mike Holland

Choir, TEC put on annual musical “Those damn Yankees, why can’t we beat ‘em?” Lyrics rang throughout the Performing Arts Center during the opening number of Damn Yankees, this year’s musical. Senior Chorale donned their bowling shirts and aprons as husbands and wives in the song “Six Months Out of Every Year.” Directors Ed Snouffer and Jenn Goodner decided on Damn Yankees for this year’s musical for a number of reasons. “Most schools can’t really do that show because there are a lot of boys in it,” Goodner said. “Since we have so many talented boys as well as so many talented girls, it’s a great show because it has a lot of parts.” Leads seniors Ryan Conant and Leslie Rice played husband and wife Joe and Meg Boyd. “Being a lead was a lot more work and very time consuming, but so fun,” Ryan said. “I knew that I had always loved to sing and act, but in Damn Yankees I got to do both.” The musical cast was comprised entirely of choir students, so while some have a background in dance or acting, most were learning something different. “I had no previous acting experience,” Leslie said. “It was something completely new for me, but Mrs. Goodner was really helpful, and I loved doing something I’d never done before.” The show ran Feb. 2-4, but choir and the Technical Entertainment Crew started working far in advance. “TEC prepares for the musical throughout January,” junior Jesse Anderson said. “We started building the set on the first day back from winter break. Weeks before the show, audio technicians and designers worked on






Seniors Leslie Rice and Ryan Conant sing “Six Months Out of Every Year” during the first scene of Damn Yankees. “For every dress rehearsal and performance, Ryan, Trey and I would dance behind the curtain during the overture to get pumped up for the first scene,” Leslie said. “The best part [of the musical] was hanging out with all of the cast. We all became so close by the end of the performance. The whole experience was so much fun and I wish I could do it all over again.”


Junior Kyle Franklin sits at the stage manager’s panel before a show. “Damn Yankees was the first musical I have worked,” Kyle said. “I had a great time working on the production. The musical is special and unique because we have the ability to work with the whole choir, which is a lot of fun. It

creates an environment where you can work with your friends or meet new ones. I really enjoyed the whole community. When you really think about it, there are a lot of kids and parents, as well as teachers, involved in this production, and somehow in the jumbled week of rehearsals it all comes together into something that everyone can be proud of.”


Baseball team behind him, junior Andy Germann poses at the end of the song “Heart.” The number included sophomore, junior and senior boys. “I was so excited to have the opportunity to sing ‘Heart,’ Andy said. “Being able to perform it with all of those guys was a really cool experience. You don’t usually see that many boys in choir and there was a really fun and exciting energy during the number and I think the crowd really responded to it.”

acquiring sound effects and designing a matrix for our wireless microphones. Meanwhile, lighting designers corresponded with Mrs. Goodner to prepare for rehearsals. During rehearsals in the week before the musical, light looks were finalized, scene changes were polished, and many design choices were made.” Jesse was the stage manager, which meant he called every cue for the entire show. “Stage managing was an amazing experience for me,” Jesse said. “I was consistently amazed by the teamwork done by every member of the cast and crew to make the production a success. I was repeatedly shown that every crew member is important to the production, and it is a testament to them that the show went so smoothly.” Although TEC works year round on plays, football games and Zenith, the musical provides them with a different experience. “The musical is different from other productions we put on in TEC because we get to work so closely with choir,” senior Julie Maury said. “We have such a great relationship with the choir department that it makes it a great opportunity to bond with them while putting on an amazing show.” A total of 206 choir students were in the show, in addition to 40 TEC members on the crew. Every student involved invests massive amounts of time and effort in the show. In order to give the most possible students a role, participation is limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors. The week of the show, all the cast members stay at school until 10 p.m. for dress rehearsals. The month before, all class time is centered on the musical, and there are also after school dance rehears-


Seniors Gray Lantta and Megan Kelly dance during the song “Two Lost Souls.” The number, set in Limbo, featured 23 dancers. “The best part of the musical was being able to live out my childhood fantasy of being the bad guy,” senior Gray Lantta said. “And not just any old bad guy, but I got to be the devil. It was such a crazy cool experience. I’d really feel bad for the other leads because while they were portraying these deep and drama-filled characters, I was having the absolute time of my life just being the most deliciously evil character I could.”

the moment when an audience responds positively to your work.”


Senior Trey Slack sings “Goodbye Old Girl.” Damn Yankees ran Feb. 2-4 in the PAC. “[Being in Damn Yankees] was a lot more work and responsibility but it was by far the most fun [musical I’ve been in],” Trey said. Scan this QR code to see more photos from Damn Yankees.


Baseball players juniors BJ Crowell, Charlie Schwan and Sam Domino, and senior Weston Jezek sing “Heart.” The number was reprised during curtain call. “It was a great experience overall,” Charlie said. “Nothing really compares with

als, led by outside choreographer Jen Young. “Working with Jen was a lot of fun,” sophomore Aparna Chandrashekar said. “The choreography was simple but still left an impact— the small movements said the most. She was always so energetic and she encouraged us to get the moves right with our hats, maracas and tambourines.” Although rehearsals were upbeat, they also proved a challenge for many cast members. “Learning the dance numbers was the hardest part of the show for me,” senior Gray Lantta said. “Even though “Two Lost Souls” was so much fun to perform, it was still a mind bending challenge. During rehearsals I would be sweating hard core and constantly forgetting about simple steps, but we eventually transformed it into something truly amazing and fun to do.” The turning point of the senior musical is the bittersweet moment of realization that it’s the last one. “Working as a part of senior Chorale in ‘Six Months’ was fun but sad, knowing that this was our last musical,” senior Claire Herlin said. “At least we got to prove that ‘50s housewives can be sexy.” The musical brings students from many different organizations together to work toward the goal of putting a show on in a month. “The best part about the musical experience was having the chance to put together a production with all of your friends,” junior Andy Germann said. “We challenged and encouraged each other to be better and I think the show was better because of that.” —Becca Burt Photos by Hannah Kunz and Shea Wendlandt


5 { }

brains + brawn


Michaela Moss

Maintaining balance

New policy regulates number of weighted classes students can take


ust prior to winter break, the school board voted to initiate a new policy requiring each student, beginning with next year’s incoming freshmen, to take four non-weighted classes before graduating, three of them before their senior year. These guidelines were created in an effort to equalize the playing field for students who are involved in many extra curriculars. “The problem was that some students’ primary, or even only, academic goal was to maximize their chance of getting the highest GPA possible,” school board president Dr. Kal Kallison said. “In order to do that, they would work it out so that all or almost all of their classes taken at the high school were Pre-AP or AP. There is obviously nothing wrong with wanting a high GPA — it’s certainly a laudable goal — but we felt it is not academically healthy if students aren’t exposed to extracurricular areas that make one a well-rounded individual.” The policy will also help place students on equal footing. “We felt like it would even the academic playing field for those students who did want to stay in band for four years or in athletics four years,” Dr. Kallison said. “We didn’t want to penalize them academically for wanting to take those kinds of courses that we think would enhance their academic and graduate profile. By making everybody take at least four non-weighted courses, it doesn’t disadvantage those students who are, as an example, taking band for four years.” The administration and the school board are confident that this policy will give students the opportunity to explore the school’s broad curriculum without punishing their GPAs. “There are a lot of non-weighted courses in academic areas that we felt were important for students to be exposed to because they complement so-called core courses,” Dr. Kallison said. “Taking a course load that is absent of the fine arts, athletics — areas that are sometimes called enrichment — doesn’t make for a well-rounded student. But we feel like ‘enrichment’ is almost a misnomer because it implies, ‘That’s fine to have, but it’s only a plus.’ We feel it is necessary to graduate from high school with a background in some of these other, non-core

courses.” However, students will not be required to make their four regular courses “enrichment” classes. “There are so many non-weighted courses that students would have a choice of that I can’t imagine there aren’t four classes that aren’t attractive to a student,” Dr. Kallison said. “It could even be a regular English course, as opposed to an AP course because maybe regular English would better match their strengths and would really be better for that student.” According to the counselors and the school board, this recent rule will help improve the college admissions process for Westlake students. “We have seen more recently colleges utilizing a more holistic method of evaluating potential students for their university,” Dr. Kallison said. “Using this broader viewpoint, they’re looking at more than just GPA, more than just SAT scores. They want to know the kinds of courses the students are taking and certainly see that they’re taking very rigorous courses. But they also want to look and see what else they’ve done, in addition to those kinds of traditional courses, to make them some one with a full appreciation of other disciplines.” The desire that universities have to see students take “enrichment” courses does not stop once acceptance letters go out, according to Dr. Kallison; therefore, the corollaries of the school board’s new policy will benefit students well past their four years at Westlake. “In college, no one, even if they are taking a [specialized major] like engineering, can’t and shouldn’t take all engineering courses,” Dr. Kallison said. “It’s not allowed. You want people who graduate as engineers to take courses in the arts and in the humanities. You want them to be able to write, communicate well and design products with an appreciation for aesthetics. You get that richness if you have to take courses in lot of different areas, other than engineering. It makes them a better engineer, and it’s actually really good for that person.” —Hailey Cunningham

“We feel it is necessary to graduate from high school with a background in some of these other, non-core courses.” —school board president Dr. Kal Kallison

What do you think of the new regular class policy? “I think it’s great because it doesn’t ‘punish’ students in the music programs and allows them to do what they want to do without worrying about the effect it has on their GPA.” — sophomore Lucia Brunel

“I really think this is a move in a positive direction. It will allow students to follow their passions.” —counselor Jeff Pilchiek

“I don’t see the point. If students want to challenge themselves, they should have the freedom to do so.” — sophomore Tim Smith

SUP3RFLY Westlake DJ

Do the math

Eanes takes new approach to compacted math program


or many future Eanes students, the spirit of academic competitiveness will become evident even before entering high school. Recently, EISD modified its approach to “compacted math” — a curriculum consisting of two years worth of math material condensed into one school year. Up until last year, the compacted math program took place in the second grade. However, there were several problems with this. As a result of having to test for enrollment so early in their education, many capable children who potentially could have been entered into the program were not. “That’s a young age, 6 years old, to be assessing kids,” Eanes Math and Science Coordinator Jerri LaMirand said. “We were missing lots of kids who were not being accepted simply because they were not developmentally ready.” Another cause for the change was the existence of an already new, more demanding elementary school math program. “Three years ago, we had implemented Everyday Math,” LaMirand said. “We know it’s more rigorous than our state standards, so it’s helping prepare kids; they’re being taught above grade level.” Because of these two main reasons, district officials decided to change the compacted math program to sixth grade, as opposed to fourth grade, which was the other option that they had considered. They ultimately chose sixth grade due to the fact that there were already sufficient challenges for elementary students through the Everyday Math program. Starting this year, students enrolled in the compacted math program will take a combination of sixth and seventh grade math over the course of just their sixth grade school year. In addition to the pre-existing rigor found in elementary schools, the merging of sixth/seventh grade material was also a result of the fact that those two grades’ math content simply corresponded together the best, according to LaMirand. As for the results of the new policy, the number of eighth-graders taking Algebra I, rather than Pre-Algebra, has increased from 45 percent to roughly 60 percent. Consequently, the number of seniors enrolled in calculus, as opposed to pre-calculus, is also expected to increase.

“It is hard to believe that we will have even more calculus classes in the future, considering we already have 13 classes split among four levels,” calculus and pre-calculus teacher Jocelyn Bixler said. “I think that it is great that more students will have the opportunity to take calculus, as long as they are prepared and understand the level of commitment necessary to be successful in advanced math classes.” Besides the ultimate increase in seniors taking calculus, there was another incentive for this gradual shift towards a higher number of eighth-graders enrolled in algebra. “We knew that we had students that, if they did not take Algebra I in eighth grade, could not get into the AP courses in science,” LaMirand said. “A lot of kids struggled, or they tried to double up in math in high school, taking geomeMic try and Algebra hae la M oss II together, and that’s tough.” Junior Allie Ehle, who took both algebra and geometry during her sophomore year, is one of these students. “Doubling up in math was definitely a challenge for me, but it was worth it,” she said. Conversely, students such as junior Kate Nichols found that they simply could not take their desired science courses. “I’m in regular physics and Algebra II Pre-AP,” Kate said. “I tried to get into Physics AP and also last year to get into Chemistry Pre-AP, but they wouldn’t let me since I’m not in the right math. Normally I wouldn’t really care, but since I’m looking to go into the medical field, its important for me to learn as much as I can here in the science field.” The other result was that many students would try to skip their eighth grade math, Pre-Algebra. According to LaMirand, 50 percent of the SAT is based on eighth grade math. Because of this, students who skipped their eighth grade math course could encounter problems later on in their academic careers. “My feeling is, it’s always good to set the bar high, as long as you have a place for kids to go that aren’t mathematically gifted,” pre-calculus teacher Debbie Rodell said. “There’s nothing wrong with having big aspirations, as long as there’s a place for those who aren’t making it. I don’t want students having learning gaps. It will be very interesting to see what happens.” —Christina Rosendahl


Ain’t no mountain high enough Enthusiastic trail biker has high hopes for new athletic club Got a bike? Know how to ride it? Since the beginning of school, the Mountain Biking Club has been growing in popularity and appeal. This brand new club was created for bikers of all skill levels — anyone willing to work hard is welcome to join the rapidly growing sport. Club founder, junior Sam Morton, has been riding for a long time and has very high hopes for the club’s future. “I got into mountain biking the summer between middle school and high school in Colorado,” Sam said. “We were in Vail and the ski lifts shut down, so we had to ride up the mountain if we wanted to go back down. Back in Austin I got on my dad’s 20-year-old bike and it took off from there. I’ve been biking my whole high school career and I love it.” Austin’s biking community has been inflating in the most recent years and one is bound to run into multiple groups of cyclists on a drive home or on some of Austin’s local trails such as the Greenbelt. “I train on roads to build endurance, but I practice my technical skills on the Greenbelt,” Sam said. “I live right at the entrance which makes morning rides easier.” Competitions for local bikers can be found all around Texas and across the country. A cycling league was first started in California and has eventually made its way to Texas. These leagues are going to be an opportunity for any of the club members to get out and compete in nearby races. “We have plenty of people who just want to bike and try out competitions,” Sam said. “But, then we have people like me who have spent a long time training for things like this.” The club plans on training twice during the school week, doing one trail ride and one indoor gym workout. On the weekends, they will meet up for longer rides to work on endurance and technical skills on the trail. “We have actually had a lot more interest in the club with 14 people currently enrolled,” Sam said. “Right now for the sport to grow it’s just going to take people seeing it.” —Laura Doolittle

Going down the Greenbelt, junior Sam Morton jumps a bump in the trail during one of the Mountain Biking Club’s daily practices. “[My] favorite part about biking would have to be following trails on a lazy afternoon,” Sam said. “But racing is the real fun.“ photo by Barrett Wilson



Bending over

k c a B

Art by Cameron Abeshire

Stressed students seek relief through Laughter Yoga “We meet Saturday mornings at Zilker Park, by the big tree.” And thus, we began our epic journey. Wandering around the park, we nervously eyed exercising groups by trees of all sizes, but deemed the trees too small or the people too intense. After half an hour of seemingly aimless walking in circles, we were desperate enough to begin debating the merits of darting across a busy Saturday-morning Barton Springs Road to a larger tree surrounded by shirtless soccer players. Before we had worked up the nerve to cross the street, we turned around and there, in the distance, a sign of hope glimmered. The words “Austin Laughter Yoga” were the answers to our prayers. Not wanting to seem overly eager, we skirted around the “big” tree and opted for a brisk walk to pass the time until the class started, avoiding the inevitable awkward conversations. We checked our phones one last time to be certain it was 10:59 before approaching the depressingly small group gathered under the tree. As we approached, we glanced down at our Nike shorts and Lululemon jackets and noticed the instructor was donned in mom jeans and high-heeled studded clogs. Then the fun began. The instructor started off our Laughter Yoga class with a mini-lesson on the history of the art form. We were notified that we would be releasing our stress through forced laughter and, if we were lucky, the feelings of peacefulness we would create that Saturday morning could last us the rest of the week. We also learned that encouraging and cheering for others, even if fake, could make us feel

even better than achieving something alone. This led to a description of the clap we would use to end each exercise. It began with two claps with the palms touching instead of the fingers, while we chanted, “Very good, very good,” followed by throwing our arms in the air to yell, “Yay!” Then we were thrown into the ring. Vowel Laugh: We started our Laughter Yoga experience by clapping our hands above our heads, forming the letter A, and “laughing,” “Ha ha.” We then proceeded to shape the rest of the vowels, laughing accordingly — “He he, hi hi, ho ho, hu hu, hy hy.” Glancing around at a circle of five other adults in the middle of Zilker Park cackling out the vowels, we couldn’t have stopped our real laughter, even if we wanted to. Electric Handshake: To attempt to acquaint everyone in the group, we shook hands. While this might seem normal, keep in mind that this was Laughter Yoga. We reached our hands towards each other and right before they were about to touch, we were told to jump back, as if we had been struck by a bolt of laughter. The shocked looks on our faces were evidence enough of our complete immersion in the exercise. Soul Train Laugh: Up to that point in the “class,” we had been relieved to discover that we could simply follow along with the teacher mindlessly. However, we had come to this conclusion too soon. We were told to line up in two rows, facing each other. Everyone was then required to take a turn dancing between the two lines as the rest proceeded to cheer. Once we realized this, we had only seconds to improvise our solo walk, throwing us into fits

of stress more intense than the earlier laughter had been able to relieve. Chicken Laugh: By about 11:20, the teacher had just about run out of ideas for “exercises,” so, she asked one of her regulars for suggestions. One enthusiastic patron, with a large bulldog tattooed on her calf, began to fold her arms into wings and bawk like a chicken, giggling. As we watched, she sank down into a squat and, laughing harder, laid an egg. The rest of the class pretended to be birds while we could only stare at each other. “I am not laying an egg.” We don’t want to give the impression that we didn’t enjoy this experience. We did, and thoroughly. However, our laughter sprang more from the ridiculousness of the situation than from any exercises that supposedly originated in India. Now we have a go-to story to tell at parties and a stress-free week. Feel free to try it for yourself — you won’t want to miss this indescribable experience. As long as you can walk, cluck and, of course, laugh, you’ll be in good company. —Hailey Cunningham and Julie Dorland

If you are interested in participating in Laughter Yoga lessons, sessions are Saturday mornings at 11 a.m. at Zilker Park, across from the Umlauf Sculpture Garden by the notso-large tree.

AntiGravity Yoga turns traditional poses on their heads My squeal of simultaneous excitement and fear echoes throughout the room as I fall backwards into the “cocoon” posture, putting a ton of faith in the fact that this huge piece of cloth will catch me as I collapse into what feels like nothing. I end up wrapped in the fabric, swinging gently back and forth, left to reflect on my day at the end of an AntiGravity Yoga class at Fit to the Core, west of 360 off Bee Caves. AntiGravity Yoga is a recently developed technique designed to help gymnasts and dancers explore the air, but tweaked to incorporate yoga so anyone can do it. A long piece of cloth, called a silk, hangs from the ceiling in a “U” shape to create the hammock. It doesn’t feel like a lot, but it can support up to 1000 pounds, so there is no danger of falling to the floor. Traditional poses like the downwardfacing dog are slightly different in a hammock. Instead of the downward-facing dog, it’s the flying down dog. Rather than having your hands and feet on the floor, your feet are raised above your head as you balance your hips in the hammock. To keep it safe, the classes at Fit to the Core have a limit of five

people, so the instructor can spot the more challenging poses and keep an eye on everyone. Since the floor can limit you from certain stretches, AntiGravity Yoga gives you a different stretch than typical yoga. There are poses called inversions where you hang upside down, so I wouldn’t recommend eating a huge meal before class. The exercises vary from stretching your hip flexors to a quick core workout. The pressure created on your hips and shoulders while you hang is like a deep-tissue massage, healing areas that are normally not tended to. I left class feeling loose and light. The day after, I was sore all over in the best way possible. As relaxing as it was, it also worked my entire body and left me feeling healthy and energized. —Becca Burt

Bikram Yoga class makes reluctant senior feel the heat “Lock the knee, lock the knee. Lock. The. Knee.” It’s 105 degrees at Bikram Yoga. You’re doing the standing head to knee posture, and all you can think about is locking your knee without falling over. At Bikram, you do each of the 26 postures twice, starting with deep breathing. The room is heated to 105 degrees to protect your muscles while you stretch, as well as detox your entire body through sweating. And trust me, you will be sweating. A lot. It’s normal to be sweaty after just the deep breathing. Gross, I know, but imagine how good it feels when you go outside after class. There were days over the summer when it was 110 degrees outside, but it felt nice out after a yoga class. The first half of class really gets your heart rate up, and the second half is the deeper workout. I’ll admit, my first experience doing Bikram was not a pleasant one. My friend who had invited me to come with her had failed to warn me that I would be spending an hour and a half in a hot box. The first class I went to was the noon class at the downtown studio, where there were plenty of yoga pros who could bend themselves in ways I didn’t know were possible. I thought I would be fine, I was pretty flexible. Nobody reminded me to breathe normally. Nobody reminded me to drink tons of water before class. Nobody reminded me that it’s okay to sit down if you need to. Before I knew it, I had blacked out, and was being half-carried out of the room by a man who, I later realized, was only wearing

spandex shorts. “Drink this,” he told me. I still couldn’t see at this point, so I had no idea what I was swallowing. I was skeptical, but the drink was cold, so I downed it quickly. As my vision came back, I saw that it was coconut water, and that the man who had helped me out wasn’t planning on kidnapping me. After a couple minutes, I took the walk of shame back into the yoga room, and finished the class with all but my pride intact. I had to redeem myself. A couple months later, I decided to risk further embarrassment and go back. This time I went to the Westlake studio, which was less crowded than downtown. I drank my weight in water, and proudly stayed conscious the whole 90 minutes. I did sit down a lot, but hey, I didn’t black out. The next class, I managed to do most of the postures, and by the class after that, I was doing every posture. What I love about Bikram is that it doesn’t matter how in shape you are, or how old you are. Everyone can do the class, maybe not to the full extent, but you don’t need to be able to put your leg behind your head. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, so there isn’t a hardest or easiest posture. If you’re doing it as instructed, there is almost no risk of injury because the room is so warm. “Twist like ropes.” It’s still 105 degrees, and you can barely hold the eagle posture because of the sweat running down your legs, but you hold it anyways, knowing that at the end of the class, it will all be worth it when you can finally lie down and say, “Namaste.” —Becca Burt

To sign up for an AntiGravity Yoga class, visit fittothecoreaustin. com and click on “Schedule.” To sign up for a Bikram Hot Yoga class, visit purebikramyoga. com to see studio locations and class schedules. To read another student’s account of their yoga experiences, scan this:


Get your game on Swimmers compete at State The girls swim team has finished its season strong. From practicing with the team at the Rollingwood pool, to training by themselves and with personal coaches, their hard work has paid off. Based on their results from their meets (District, Regional and State) the Chaps put forth solid performances. At the State swim meet Feb. 25 at the UT Jamail Swim Center, the girls 4 x 100-meter relay team placed fourth overall. The relay team included senior Olivia Muehlberger, junior Mackenzie Franklin and sophomores Emma Gilluly and Alyssa Woltemath. Individually, Mackenzie took eighth in the 100-meter free and ninth in the 50-meter free. Senior Mattias Glenesk also placed 11th in the 500-meter free. “No words can describe my happiness when we realized we had placed,” Emma said. “The hard work we put in all season definitely paid off. Being able to represent Westlake throughout the District, Regional and then again on the State level made the feeling of placing even more satisfying.” This is Mackenzie’s second trip to State. “The first time [I went to State], my 400 freestyle relay qualified when I was a freshman and we actually won State that year. It definitely gets less nerve wracking the more you go, as you gain confidence and get used to the pressure of a big meet situation.” Three out of the four swimmers on the girls 4 x 100-meter relay team are underclassmen so they’ll likely be back with the team next season to try and win State. On their road to State, the varsity swim teams earned the title of District Champs for both girls and boys Jan. 28. Senior Paul Corbae was named Male Athlete of the Meet. Westlake took first place in the girls and boys 200-meter medley relays and the girls and boys 400-meter freestyle relays. —Michael Deisher

Barrett Wilson

Barrett Wilson Upper Right: Senior Mattias Glenesk swims the 500-meter freestyle in the State swim meet. He placed 11th overall in the state. Upper left: Senior Paul Corbae practices his breast stroke at the West Austin Athletic Club. He will continue swimming in college at The University of Michigan.

Barrett Wilson

Bottom: Junior Mackenzie Franklin swims the 100-meter freestyle at the State swim meet. She placed eighth in the meet in the 100-meter free and ninth in the 50-meter free.

Golf off to hot start

“ “

We know we have some good, satisfying work ahead of us. That's why they call this pre-State. I know we'll be right there in just over two months. All our girls played hard [in the Mike Brent Invitational] and never gave up. We learned a lot about the other teams, but mainly we learned some important things about ourselves and about what we need to do to reach our potential this year.” —girls coach Chuck Nowland on the girls’ third place finish I am pleased with the efforts of all of the boys. I’m really proud of Stratton Nolen and Matthew Perrine for the continued consistently good play. We have finished second in every tournament this year which is both good, but frustrating as we have been close in all of them.” —boys coach Callan Nokes I have really enjoyed these past years playing golf for Westlake, we have won two State titles in the last four years and are on our way to win our third.” —senior Scotty Wilson

Barrett Wilson

Barrett Wilson

Junior Sierra Sims strikes the ball at the Mike Brent Invitational Feb. 24-25 where she finished second overall.

At the Mike Brent Invitational Feb. 24, senior Scotty Wilson takes a practice swing before putting.

LAX teams stick it to the competition

Softball team hits the ground running

Shea Wendlandt

Shooting a shot on goal, senior Matthew Gabriel jumps up and scores during the Cedar Park game. Westlake won 20-10 and extended its record to 2-0 overall.

Allie Carlisle

Shortstop junior Stephanie Wong hustles for a difficult catch against Westwood Feb. 16 during the Westlake tournament. Overall, Westlake won three out of four games. “I’m really looking forward to our District games and hanging out with my teammates the whole time,” Stephanie said. “We’ve got a bunch of talent this year, and hopefully we will go further into playoffs.” The varsity team played in the Corpus Christi ISD Softball Tournament where it placed second and players Elizabeth Carter and junior Cedar Slovacek received All-Tournament Honors.

Ryan Stankard

Members of the girls lacrosse team practice after school Feb. 28.

Wrestlers pin down District, send sophomore Ryan Elswick and senior Cooper Scott to State

Hannah Kunz

Junior Alex Cabezas wrestles against his Bowie opponent on Jan. 11 at the Westlake meet. The State meet was held Feb. 24 where senior Cooper Scott wrestled in the 220-pound weight class and sophomore Ryan Elswick competed in the 106-pound weight class.

Shea Wendlandt

Pumping up wrestler senior Jack West, the wrestling team huddles to get him prepared for his match. “Wrestling was a lot of fun, especially the competitions,” Jack said. “I really enjoyed the four years of high school wrestling, but the best part was when I seldom got my hand raised.”

Shea Wendlandt

Wrestling against Leander, senior Sammy Ivester wins his match 6-2 and extends his record to 24-13. Sammy has competed on varsity since freshman year and was the co-captain of the team along with senior Cooper Scott. Sammy wrestled in the 132-pound weight class.


Breaking it down

2,033 total points 1,055 total rebounds 70.8% free throw % 33.8% three point % 23 wins

Over N



ov. 19, the varsity boys were looking at a 2-4 record after some rough games at the Texas Invitational. The team could have easily lost heart and become an afterthought in Westlake basketball history; but instead, they decided to pick themselves up, weather the storm and try and get past this low point of their season. They played textbook basketball, working hard on every possession and making every second of the game count. Their plan worked. The Chaps soon found themselves with a 23-10 record, a second place finish in District and a playoff berth, showing themselves to be very different from the team with only two wins in six games. The beginning of the season was a tough one for the Chaps, with many difficult opponents on their schedule. It was a rough way of estimating how good the team actually was and showing them the adversity they would be facing throughout the season. (Continued on page 23)

Senior Blake Bond plays in the game against Bowie. Bowie went on to become the District Champion. Ryan Stankard

Taking a shot at playoffs Lady Chaps tie for second in District

The varsity girls basketball team made it to the playoffs only to lose to Georgetown Feb. 14 in the bi-District round with a score of 45-59. They were within 6 points in the fourth quarter but couldn’t pull off the win. The girls finished out the season with a 24-11 overall record and a 7-3 record in District. “Our season was great,” senior Angelica Martinez said. “We finished out strong and better than last year. I’m happy with my senior season and glad I got to play with the best teammates.” An undefeated Anderson took first in District. To secure a second place finish the Lady Chaps had to beat Bowie in the final game of the season. At their first meeting, Westlake beat Bowie narrowly 51-50, but the second round they lost by 2 points. In that game, the Lady Chaps pulled ahead in the last minute with a 3-pointer by junior Christine Northington. Ahead by one point, they just had to stop Bowie from scoring. However, the Lady Dawgs penetrated and scored a chip shot at the last second, causing Bowie and the Lady Chaps to share a second place finish in District. “Overall, our season was fun and pretty successful,” Christine said. “Each and every one of us contributed some-

thing to the team. We all pushed each other and supported each other which is what I believe led us to have such a successful season.” Nov. 10-12, the girls played in the Rivieria Tournament in Corpus Christi, which is a favorite memory among the team members. “The most enjoyable part of the season was our annual tournament in Corpus Christi,” senior Sarah Butler said. “That was when our team truly bonded and became cohesive. Due to our success in the tournament we were named as a ‘Team to Watch Out For’ by the Statesman.” This season was especially exciting for the Lady Chaps because of the dramatic improvement in their record from the past season. Last year, the team finished its season 9-22 and failed to make it to the playoffs. “We had a very solid team this year with no intention of repeating last year’s season,” Sarah said. “We all strove for excellence in the pre-season and were determined during the season to meet our full potential. Although our playoff run is over, this team built a strong foundation to build up the girls’ basketball program once again.” —Emily Martin and Peyton Richardson

Dribbling down the lane for a lay-up, senior Sarah Mason scores a lay-up during the Georgetown playoff game at Vandegrift High School Feb. 14. Westlake lost and ended its playoff journey. Shea Wendlandt

Continued from page 22 “The better play in District was a result of the hard scheduling pre-District,” head coach Tres Ellis said. “That’s why we go to the tournaments that we play, and we played a lot of teams that are ranked in the top 15 in their classifications in the State, so we want to be right there with them. Although we didn’t win all those games necessarily, it definitely was preparation for our District. We knew every night that we would have to be solid in District to finish the way that we did.” Soon though, the team stood at a solid 15-7 heading into District play, confident of their ability after facing an onslaught of difficult teams in the nonDistrict games. The hard pre-District scheduling worked, as the Chaps went on to do well in District play, finishing with an 8-2 record and a second place finish in District. The Chaps went on to burn rival Austin High twice this season and beat the eventual District champion Bowie on their home floor. “Our biggest win this season was at Bowie,” guard junior Will Morse said. “When we played, we were both tied for

first in District and we went in and won at Bowie, which was the first time in 10 years.” After a great District finish, the Chaps went on to the playoffs, where they would face Georgetown in the bi-District round. The team played valiantly, but unfortunately fell to the Eagles 46-52. “I feel like we were the better team, but we didn’t do the little things that we usually do better,” Will said. “They played hard, and we didn’t rebound as well as we could have and our shots were not falling. If you are not doing the little things well, sometimes not-asgood teams can beat you.” Even though this season has ended, the team is already trying to prepare for next season and the difficulties they will encounter then. “We are losing eight seniors this year so that will be tough, but we have a lot coming back,” Will said. “If we practice hard, get in the weight room and work over the summer, we can come back and even be better next year.” —Cody Crutchfield

Going up for a jumper, senior R.J. Rowan scores during the New Braunfels game at Westlake. The Chaps won 80-56 and extended their record to 15-7. Shea Wendlandt


Freshman Tommy Lampman vaults onto the mat during the field event portion of the Chap Relays. Tommy tied for third in pole vaulting.

Right on track F For the past 41 years, the Chap Relays have launched the Westlake track season, bringing together coaches, athletes and alumni. As many as 100 volunteers traveled to the Ebbie Neptune Field Feb. 25 to help execute the track meet that represented 14 schools, a total of 28 teams, for both boys and girls. “The Chap Relays embody what Westlake represents: excellence in competitions and community,” 1987 graduate and Chap Relays volunteer Mark Mangum said. “[I come back to help with the Relays] to help do my part in carrying on such a valued tradition and quality event, to be a part in providing a home venue for our Westlake athletes to compete to enhance their experience in track and to support coach Mark Hurst and the Westlake track program, both of which are significant to our school and community.” Equipped with such dedicated volunteers, the Chap Relays were executed smoothly, beginning at 8:30 a.m. and finishing 12 hours later. At the end of the day, the freshman boys and varsity girls swept the competition, taking home first place. Varsity boys just fell short to McNeil, while JV girls also earned a second place recognition. “I think that the Chap Relays were outstanding this year,” head track coach Mark Hurst said. “I was so impressed with all of the athletes, and their success was well deserved.” The girls team gained significant ground at the Chap Relays, with sophomores Jessica Ellis and Rebekah Priddy placing second and third in the 3200 meter race, and junior Carly Grandcolas and sophomore Corine Grandcolas achieving a first and third place in the triple jump. Freshman Nicole Summersett also set the Chap Relays record for polevaulting with a vertical of 11’1’’. “It was my first time running the two mile in track because I was injured all of freshman season,” Jessica said. “It was exactly as long and painful as I anticipated it to be. But we all did really well, and

Athletes hit strides with season opener Chap Relays photos by Shea Wendlandt

there were plenty of PRs from the distance girls, which is awesome for the first meet.” Additionally, the boys also did exceptionally well in their individual events. Senior Chris Irvin ran the 100-meter dash in 11.13 seconds for second place, while sophomore Ben Jepson finished the 1600 meter run in 4:33.03 for a second place as well. The athletes of the field events also reigned supreme with a first place in shot put for junior Charlie Boyce, a second place for senior Jacob Mansfield in discus and a first place award for junior Levi Zook in the pole-vault. “Pole vaulting is really exhilarating,” Levi said. “It was such a rush to place in first at the Relays, and I think that all of the Westlake vaulters have a great chance of placing this year as well.” Overall the Chap Relays proved to be an enormous success for both the athletes and those who overlooked its execution as a whole. “Everyone worked so hard, both current Chaps and alumni,“ Hurst said. “None of this would have been possible without the integral help of all who came. We are so grateful for their enthusiasm and support.” The efficiency and fluidity in which the Chap Relays were carried out also did not escape the notice of others. “I’ve been coming to the Chap Relays for 25 years, and this is the best that it has been,” McNeil head track coach Glenn Roberts said. With such positive feedback and a successful first meet under their belt, the Chaps have hit their stride early on, and hope to use their momentum to power through the rest of the season. “I hope that this season we can get another District title,” senior Catherine Choate said. “Last year we set the record for the most points scored in the District meet, and won for the first time in five years. Our team is so well-rounded, and I am so excited to see how we perform this season.” —Hillary Hurst

Running hurdles, freshman Sydne Fowler competes in the 100 meter hurdles during the Chap Relays.



distance that junior Charlie Boyce threw the shot put for first place

Neck-and-neck with an opponent from Leander, freshman Scout Hannon sprints the homestretch of the 200-meter race.

11’6’’ 1st and 3rd place

vertical that junior Levi Zook reached for a first place in pole vault

recognitions for junior Carly Grandcolas and sophomore Corinne Grandcolas in triple jump


vertical that freshman Nicole Summersett reached for a Chap Relays record in pole vault

Concentrating on his speed and precision, junior Rusty Hutson leaps over a hurdle. Rusty competed in both the shuttle-hurdle relay, the 110-high-meter hurdles and the 300-intermediate-hurdles race during the Chap Relays.


distance that senior Jacob Mansfield threw the discus for second place

2nd and 3rd place

recognitions for sophomores Jessica Ellis and Rebekah Priddy in the 3200-meter race

Seniors Brice Dolezal and Chris Irvin execute a clean handoff during the 400-meter relay. Along with senior Quentin Buck and junior Elliott Condos, their team finished in third place with a time of 43.25 seconds.

11.13 seconds

time that senior Chris Irvin ran in the 100-meter dash for second place

4:33.03 minutes

time that sophomore Ben Jepson ran in the 1600-meter race for second place Competing at the Chap Relays, sophomore Katherine Carmona runs in the 100-meter track event at Westlake Feb. 25.

Chap Relay Alumni Volunteers Chris Bennett Class of ‘08 James Bennett Class of ‘92 Molly Buck Class of ‘09 Brion Cimino Class of ‘89 Chris Courtney Class of ‘89

Mark Didlake Class of ‘89 Trey Dolezal Class of ‘83 Tres Ellis Class of ‘87 Mark Mangum Class of ‘87 April N. Mangum Class of ‘85

Shea McClanahan Class of ‘87 Scott Norman Class of ‘87 Alex Owen Class of ‘95 Ben Pettinos Class of ‘89 Will Petty Class of ‘89


Kicking it up a notch

Boys soccer experiences great season, looks forward to State The varsity boys soccer team is off to a hot start this season. The Chaps have been blistering opponents at both ends so far with their prolific scoring and with their solid defensive play. With a 16-1 overall record and a 5-1 record in District, the Chaps look to continue their success throughout the remainder of their season and on towards playoffs. The team started off on the right foot, beating rival Lake Travis in the opening game 4-1, helping the Chaps begin their run to 15 straight victories. “The soccer team rallied around all the fan support and was able to beat a capable Lake Travis team,” senior Vishnu Reddy said. The Chaps began to trounce opponents, winning game after game, including first place finishes at the Governor’s Cup and the Pearland Tournament. They were able to capitalize on almost every shot on goal and played cohesively as a team. “We have good team chemistry,” Vishnu said. “We do everything to-

gether and finish when the opportunity arises.” Feb. 28, the team found itself at the losing end of the game for the first time this season, falling to Bowie 1-4, ending its undefeated streak. “Against Bowie we just got out of our game plan,” head coach John Campbell said.” We just didn’t execute the way we planned. Up to this point, we’ve been executing and against Bowie it just didn’t happen for us. The loss may be good for us, we might need to take a knock a little bit, sit back and adjust and come back better than before.” The team bounced back, beating Anderson 2-0 March 2, allowing them to still have a shot at the District title along with Bowie. As the Chaps move toward the playoffs, with their post spring break game against Akins March 20 at Westlake, they hope to make a deep run and maybe even vie for the State title. —Cody Crutchfield

Shea Wendlandt

Senior Walker Hume kicks the soccer ball down the field during the Bowie game Feb. 28 at the Westlake stadium. Westlake lost 1-4, making its record 16-1 overall and 5-1 in District. Walker and his brother, senior Tucker Hume, lead the team in goals scored at 11 and 14 respectively.

Achieving goals Chaps roll through District, prepare for State playoff run

Shea Wendlandt

Battling an Akins defender, freshman Kendall Ritchie pushes the ball down the field during the Akins game. Westlake won 8-0 and extended its record to 10-3-4 overall and 4-0 in District.

Kicking off the season in January, the girls varsity soccer team has played against 19 teams, earning an overall record of 12-3-4. “We came out of pre-District play ranked 26th nationally,” District 15-5A All-District second team member senior Caroline Furst said. “I think our team is more cohesive and driven. We hope to go into District play ready to fight. I know I am looking forward to beating Bowie and Austin High.” Currently the team is ranked the highest in the District bracket after winning its first four games against Anderson, Austin High, Del Valle and Akins. “[The] Anderson [game] was

a great example of how our team has grown over the season,” junior Hannah Meyer said. “We went from a 3-1 win to a 8-0 blowout.” If they continue to play well in District, they will have the opportunity to advance to playoffs in March. Last year, the team lost in Area playoffs to Klein Oak 0-1 with a District record of 7-3, and seeks revenge. “We are looking forward to playoffs and are hoping to make it to the State tournament,” District 15-5A All-District Defensive MVP senior Lindsey Harris said. “I think we are better than last season and are more driven to succeed this year.” —Taylor Kidd

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Junior Alison Bonham shows off her collection of cameras that she uses to carry out her hobby.


Aspiring artist pursues interest in photography, starts business


The pressure is on. The mother of the bride is breathing down her neck. It is almost 6 p.m. and junior Alison Bonham is losing light fast. Her nerves control her as she clicks away, capturing the timeless moments of the start of the newlyweds’ lives together. Every little thing is going wrong — her camera is low on battery and her memory card is full. This is all or nothing. Either she gets a great shot or she faces a bridezilla and a ruined reputation. Though Alison only started taking photography seriously in ninth grade, she has always had a fascination with cameras. After buying her first camera when she was 9 years old, Alison slowly started adding to her collection of cameras year after year, and since then has transformed this collection into a business. “I’ve bought cameras all my life,” Alison said. “I never bought them solely to collect them; I bought them to use.” Starting with a standard digital Rebel XS, Alison began experimenting with landscape pictures, and as she practiced more often, she discovered the impact that photography had made on her life. “I didn’t realize my passion for photography until about a month after using my camera during lunch [while hanging out] with friends,” she said. “I was hooked. That’s when I realized that photography is what I want to do every day.” Taking her photography to the next level, Alison decided to start a photography business. She opened a website where her potential clients could view prices, look at past projects and buy a few prints. Recently, Alison decided to expand her horizons and experiment with wedding photography. She has been a secondary photographer, an assistant and a primary photographer. “My experience in weddings is small, seeing as I’ve only been a secondary and a primary photographer twice,” she said. “Working as a secondary photographer was probably more stressful than when I was a primary because it was my first wedding and I had no clue what was going on. The second wedding I shot [as a primary photographer] was amazing. Absolutely amazing.” The approach that Alison takes on each and every project is what makes her photography unique. “People forget that they aren’t just hiring someone to take their picture,” Alison said. “They aren’t just hiring someone to look through the

Emily Cohen

viewfinder and hit the button. Or, at least, that’s not why people would want to hire me. They look at my work and say, ‘Wow, that’s so beautiful’, or ‘Oh, that’s so unique.’ Beauty. Uniqueness. Creativity. I have to have my creative eye turned on so that I can see things in a whole new way. Give me a door and I’ll be up, down and around every angle you can think of. That’s why people hire me.” Alison’s business, Mae Photography, is a major part of her life. She even offers her home as a studio furnished with lighting equipment she purchased herself. Clients, mainly high school students, can come to her house for an informal portrait. She also travels to outside locations for pictures. Alison says her number one goal is not financial. For her, it’s all about the learning experience. “Right now I’m trying to put money away for myself for later in life,” she said. “But a lot of the events that I’ve taken pictures for, I do purely for the experience. I don’t normally charge [for the portraits]. So far, I’ve only been paid for seven jobs out of 50.” Alison is determined to live her dream and continue to practice photography throughout college. Dreaming of possibly pursuing a career in the arts in California or New York, Alison has set the stakes high for her up-and-coming future. “I really want to keep up with photography,” Alison said. “Right now, I’m looking at Brooks Institute in California. I would probably get a Bachelor’s degree [in photography], but if I don’t do that, then I would probably just get a double major, in photography and something else.” People take tons of pictures in their lifetimes, and many may not even give the pictures a second thought. But with Alison, it’s different. She finds a special meaning, a connection with every picture she takes, making it not only unforgettable to her but also her subjects. “I consider all my pictures to be memorable,” she said. “Since I tend to edit each one of my pictures separately, I feel a connection to each picture. I try to give each one the proper amount of time it needs. I’m always so engulfed in the process of editing. I love it. I feel like it’s where I can really control images to make them not only my own, but the other person’s as well.” —Anika Hattangadi and Catherine Mear

“Beauty. Uniqueness. Creativity. I have to have my creative eye turned on so that I can see things in a whole new way. ” —junior Alison Bonham


Teacher shares artistic journey,

The right


Taylor Cloyd

“It was just a typical Friday night in New York,” photography teacher Moira Longino said. “It was [after] an anniversary music shoot that Vanity Fair did. I was walking back [from the shoot] and Bono was on the street corner. I said, ‘Hey, you might not recognize me, but I was just working at the shoot. Obviously I think you’re really talented. My name is Moira.’ And Bono said, ‘Moira…what a lovely Irish name for a beautiful lady,’ and he kissed my hand.” As an aspiring photographer living in New York, Longino’s circumstances would have been bordering on the fringes of the cliché scenario. They would have, that is, until she got the job. Organizing and archiving the negatives for 30 years worth of Annie Leibovitz’s iconic photographs, as well as overseeing shoots with the legend herself, Longino spent six months honing her skills under the wing of one of the biggest names in the industry. Leibovitz’s work has spanned across the covers of Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair; her portraiture has captured the faces of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Lance Armstrong, Meryl Streep, Mick Jagger, Demi Moore, Barack Obama and countless others. But before she earned this coveted job in 2000, Longino, a Cornell graduate, decided to take the next step to making her aspirations tangible. “I had fantasies of becoming the next great famous photographer, doing really glamorous shoots and flying around the world in a private jet,” Longino said. “[After college] I managed to get some contact info for [Annie’s] studio and sent them a letter of interest and some samples of my work. I hadn’t heard from them for a few months, and

then randomly one day I got a call from the manager and they said that they liked my work and wanted to speak with me. I brought in the rest of my work and they offered me an internship with Annie Leibovitz.” This opportunity provided Longino with a much more hands-on experience than what might be expected from such a big enterprise. “I actually had a really great position,” she said. “All of her archives are on film, so I was able to organize them and put them in logical order. I was able to look through all these famous shoots of Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, all these really great characters and people. It took me a lot longer to archive them than it probably should have because I kept stopping and looking at them.” During and after her time at Leibovitz’s studio, Longino held a position in the photo department at Newsweek magazine. She then moved down to Atlanta, working at the High Museum of Art while displaying her work in local galleries. After working at the High, Longino pursued a job opportunity managing a gallery in San Francisco. She then went to Cleveland as a newlywed where she went back to school at Ursuline to earn a Masters degree in Education, and finally moved to Austin when her then-husband received a local job offer. Once settled in Austin, Longino took a job as the head of the art department at a private elementary school, St. Paul. Considering the positions she had previously held, teaching might seem like another world for Longino. However, she began teaching long before her aspirations took her to New York. “I always have taught,” Longino said. “I taught community and

“I love kids. I thought that if I could get them passionate about something that I’m passionate about, that is equally as important as being on the cover of a magazine.” —photography teacher Moira Longino

uses past experience to enlighten students


A sample of Longino’s work:

art programs in high school at local facilities around the New Jersey area that I grew up in. I taught during summers when I went home for breaks in college and I taught undergraduate photography at Rutgers when I was getting my [Masters of Fine Arts] there. I love teaching. I love kids. I thought that if I could get them passionate about something that I’m passionate about, that is equally as important as being on the cover of a magazine. And I think some of that just comes with age. I think when you’re young it’s all about fame and glory, and then as you get older you start to realize that there are many things in this world that are equally as important, like family and knowledge and teaching and being able to do things on the weekend that you want to do.” Midway through her fourth year at Westlake, Longino is now teaching photography, English II and creative writing, as well as advising the nationally-acclaimed literary magazine, The Final Draft. Her experiences around the country seem to have shaped her from a young artist with aspirations of fame to a much wiser woman who is realizing her artistic vision. “I really like the artistic merit of photography,” she said. “I’m not so much into the business and glamour and the fashion — all this highend lifestyle. The amazing thing about photography is that you can show someone a view of the world and people in their environment, which is unparalleled to reading about it. To me, that’s why photography is important. It’s not about being published in a magazine. It provides clarity for me to be able to express how I feel about the world through art. It’s sort of selfish because, ultimately, it’s all for me. It’s not just to express myself; it’s for me to work through the way that I feel about things or people or a community or relationships. In many regards, I actually love teaching because hopefully I get to talk about those things that I feel about photography to students and hopefully with a few of them, it will resonate.” —Hillary Hurst and Camille Lewis

{ }

people + places


Mad for



Senior Madison Scott enjoys time with her horse, Mad for Smarty, after an evening of working at Bel Canto Farms. Mad for Smarty, a foal of Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones, was given to her by the owner of Three Chimneys Farm. photos by Hannah Kunz

Smarty Jones enthusiast follows racehorses, becomes owner of foal

The sun shines over the edge of a group of trees, casting a golden glow on the clearing. It’s silent except for the soft clopping of horse hooves on packed dirt, and the only clues that this is the 21st century are the cars parked in a gravel lot. Around the edge of the barn walks a dark brown horse with a white patch on his face, led by senior Madison Scott. This horse was a gift to Madison from Three Chimneys, the farm where the racehorse Smarty Jones stood as a stallion. She received this horse because of her connections with the farm. In the March 2011 issue of The Featherduster, Madison published a column describing how Three Chimneys flew her and her mother to Kentucky to meet Smarty Jones. “I wrote a summary of my experience following Smarty Jones’ foals and how his owner impacted my life,” Madison said. “I’m a huge fan of racehorses and Smarty Jones, and I’ve been following all his offspring since I was 13.” She spends around five hours each week watching horse race replays and recording the results, which she has been doing for racing since she was 10. “I keep documents on all foals [of Smarty Jones], watch videos of races and email updates to Smarty Jones’ owner and the farm that he stands at,” Madison said. “It’s pretty time-consuming, but I have great connections in the horse racing industry through this. Race replays

are one to two minutes, but entering the results into spreadsheets and document summaries [takes longer]. I’m the administrator with three other people of the Smarty Jones fan page on Facebook. I post summaries of race results, entries for later races in the week and news about Smarty Jones or any offspring.” Through these connections, Madison was able to spend last summer interning at Kids to Colonial, where she got to work for trainer Hamilton Smith at Colonial Downs Racetrack in Virginia. “I worked walking and grooming the horses and cleaning the stables,” she said. “Through my internship I also worked with the employees in the race office and on the front side — including the director of photography and those doing office work and marketing. These jobs don’t involve working with the horses themselves.” When she was in Kentucky in 2009, the owner of Three Chimneys, Robert Clay, told Madison that a colt of Smarty Jones needed a name. “They wanted to name him after me as Smarty Jones’ number one fan,” Madison said. “My mom suggested the name Mad for Smarty — Mad referring to me, Madison, and for all of Smarty Jones’ fans.” When the horse was racing, Madison followed him online, noting that he made more than $100,000, a good amount for an average racehorse. “I kept an eye on him,” she said. “He was retired at the end of September 2011 and went to the Three Chimneys to rehab a torn ligament.

Jen Roytz is the marketing and communications director for Three Chimneys, and we correspond on a regular basis. She called my mom in mid-December 2011 to say that Mad for Smarty was retired and they would love to offer him to me as a riding horse if we were able to take him. Several days later my mom told me we had the opportunity to own Mad for Smarty.” As such a huge fan of horses, especially Smarty Jones, one can only imagine Madison’s reaction when her mom told her that she was offered the horse. “When I found out I was actually pretty rational,” Madison said. “I didn’t jump up and down or cry. My mom just laid out the scenario and told me what Jen had told her. My first response was that we’ve never been able to have a horse, why can we afford one now after all these years? We figured out a plan, especially since I’m going off to college. I was trying to think through it all.” One part of the plan that Madison and her mother discussed was how to pay to stable Mad for Smarty. “I’ve been into horses and riding for six years, but I’ve never been able to own or lease a horse because of the expense — not just to buy it but for the board and upkeep,” Madison said. “I’m working at Bel Canto Farms in Wimberley to pay for his board. I do all sorts of things including riding and exercising the horses, giving beginner lessons and mucking out stalls. I go out four to five days a week, after school on some days and over the weekends. I also have a savings account for any unexpected expenses. We discussed it for a long time and decided we could take him, not that we could say no to this horse or this opportunity.” Mad for Smarty arrived at Bel Canto Farms in Wimberley Jan. 7. However, because of his torn ligament, Madison will not be able to ride him until later in the spring. “After three weeks from when I start working with him in midMarch to mid-May I will start riding him,” she said. “Training a racehorse to be a riding horse is a big deal. Right now he’s trained specifically to do just a few things, mainly to run. In the spring once he’s recovered from his injury, I have to retrain him in a round pen where

I can have him rather close and teach him to transition from a walk to a trot, from a trot to a canter and back down again, breaking his mentality of running and ignoring what the rider asks. I have to teach him what my aids will mean when I’m on his back. Riding a racehorse and a pleasure horse are completely different. A pleasure horse has to respond to body language, which right now Mad for Smarty doesn’t know at all. I’ll round out his knowledge so he’ll be a complete riding horse.” To document Mad for Smarty’s training, Madison started a blog at “I now have a blog where I write about Mad for Smarty’s training for my friends and family all over who want to follow this horse and for fans of Smarty Jones who want to see what Mad for Smarty ends up doing,” she said. Madison knows that her love of horses and horse racing will continue in the years to come. “In college I’m going to study equine science and management,” she said. “I’ll study all aspects of horses like nutrition, physiology and anatomy, genetics and breeding, things that I’ve read about in books but never learned in a classroom setting. I want to work on Thoroughbred farms in Kentucky breeding racehorses. On a typical day for the job I want, I’d go into an office. I wouldn’t be working hands-on with the horses. I’d guide breeding decisions and choose which mares would be bred with our farm’s stallions. I’d have a desk job, dealing with the regular business of the farm. There are few positions that I could spend every day working directly with the horses that I could make a living off of, especially if I want a family or a horse of my own.” Madison knows that she would never have been able to receive Mad for Smarty if she hadn’t spent so much time following racehorses. “Part of what makes this horse so great is that this fantastic opportunity came from my connections in the industry,” she said. “No one was holding my hand, helping me along. The only reason I have him is my passion for and connections to horse racing and all of Smarty Jones’ foals.” —Julie Dorland


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HEALING BEYOND THE HURT Others may not see them. Others may not know the stories behind them, but they subtly influence who we are and how we look at life. Emotional or physical, profound or slight, visible or not, they help determine our paths. Everyone has scars. { }

people + places


HEART of the

MATTER After more than a dozen surgeries, senior Paris Ontiveros learns to take each day as it comes

Karen Scott


ou walk through the halls, engrossed in your own thoughts. There is a sea of people. You see them, but you don’t know them. You don’t know their stories. When you pass by senior Paris Ontiveros, you probably wouldn’t guess that she had a stroke when she was 4 years old. That all her organs in her chest are on the opposite side of where they are supposed to be. That she was born with a hole in her heart and that it’s exhausting for her to walk up the stairs. Paris can’t recall a lot of what went on when she had her stroke, but one moment has really stuck with her. She’ll never forget that feeling she had of pure desperation. “The one thing I remember from [my stroke] is that I was about to be released from the hospital because I just finished recovering from a previous surgery and I was playing with my mom,” she said. “All of a sudden, everything went black. I didn’t know where anyone was. I couldn’t find my mom; I was screaming for her and that’s when I had my stroke. That’s one of the last things I remember of being a kid.” When Paris was little, she would ride bikes and do everything a normal kid would typically do. But after her stroke and the many surgeries and complications that have followed, she lost the ability to participate in countless childhood activities. “I have no control over my right leg from my knee down,” she said. “My stroke made my whole right side weak, but I never got the feeling back in my leg. That’s why I have a limp. It keeps me from doing a lot of things. I couldn’t be a normal kid who goes out and rollerblades. I lost that. I lost a lot.” Completing daily activities is difficult for Paris, let alone maintaining an active lifestyle. “I can’t play sports and do a lot of physical activities because I don’t have much energy and my heart is really weak,” Paris said. “It’s even hard for me to walk up the stairs. I don’t have enough oxygen and that will never get better. My doctors have done a lot, but I’m never going to fully recover.” From all her experiences, Paris has grown much closer to her loved ones. In doing so, it has helped her understand that she’s not the only one who has been through tough times. “I have definitely gotten really close to everyone in my family,” she said. “It took a while, but we’re finally good. It’s brought me close to my friends, too. They have been there for me through everything. It has also made me see who really cares. And [the best thing that has come out of all my struggles is] that it has made me stronger. I can’t explain it, but I can feel it. I just know. It’s made me more caring for others and more understanding because I’m not the only one that was going through hell.” Paris’ surgeries weren’t the only obstacles she had to overcome. She also battled with depression. The darkest time for her was for two weeks during her sophomore year. In those two weeks, however, she had time to reflect and she started thinking about her faith. “I was going through depression for a lot of reasons,” she said. “I missed two weeks of school, I was constantly crying, and I lost over 12 pounds. My face was sunken in and you could see all my bones. It was just nasty. But I didn’t want to eat. I locked myself in my room and cried. I was at this point with God where I would blame Him. I would ask, ‘Why me?’ But then, in that moment of complete sadness, I

started to realize that He’s helped me. He made me who I am today. I feel like He wouldn’t give a person something too hard if He knew they couldn’t handle it. God has always been there for me because through everything, I shouldn’t even be alive. The doctors said to my mom when I was little, ‘You should say goodbye because there is only a 5-10 percent chance that she will make it out of the surgery.’ So, just talking to my mom about all these things, I’ve realized that God has always been there. He’s the reason I’m alive.” Family also means a lot to Paris. For those two weeks, her brothers, Omar and Jordan, would do their best to put her in a better mood. And through her depression, Paris and her dad became closer than ever. “My oldest brother, Omar, [who was attending Texas Tech], called me every night,” she said. “We wouldn’t have to talk about any of my problems and he wouldn’t bug me about school and all the work I was missing. He just wanted to cheer me up. And Jordan, my other brother, just tried to make me laugh. He just tried to get me out of my room and make me feel better. And my dad and I got super close. He realized how bad I felt and how hard it all was for me. He got so scared [during that two week period] that I was going to hurt myself that he actually kicked my door down. He broke my door and door frame. But at that moment, we sat on my bed and he just held me.” The person who has played the biggest role in Paris’ life, though, is her mother. No matter what has happened, her mom has consistently been by her side. “My mom has always been there,” Paris said. “She is the one person who I could always count on. My mom would stay with me in the hospital and I always felt better when she was around because it was really scary. She is like my angel down here. No one understands what I’m going through unless they are going through it, but my mom tries her best. I could sit there and cry and be scared, and she would just hold me.” Overcoming all of her difficulties is something that Paris is very proud of. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but she believes it was worth it for the life she is living today. “If I had the chance to say something to someone who was struggling, I would tell them to never give up,” she said. “I have been in a really bad place. I have wanted to call it quits. I have said goodbye to people. I have gone through all that. I have been ready to finally be at peace. But it’s not worth it. It’s really not. Don’t give up because that’s only showing that the world has won. Get through it, and then have a story to tell to impact people. You may not realize it, you may not know it, but there is a reason you’re here. Stay strong.” “Just friends, family and God” is who Paris credits for recovering from all her surgeries and her struggles with depression. “I got through everything with a lot of love,” she said. “I just had a lot of love when I thought I least deserved it.” Through everything, Paris has discovered her true passion for writing. She now has a better understanding for people’s hardships and wants to use that to impact people. “I would love to write about my life,” she said. “If I could, I’d write a story or blog, just to be able to talk to people. And I would love to help people and reassure them that everything will be okay, eventually. I just want to make a difference.” —Jenny Messer

“I can’t wait for that moment. To say, ‘Look what I did. Look what I have accomplished.’ I am going to be someone someday. I’m not going to be just this sad little girl who has limitations. I don’t like to limit myself.” —senior Paris Ontiveros

{ }

people + places



Ex-volleyball player’s injury leads to interest in medical field


Four days before her club volleyball team was going to Miami, Florida to compete in the Junior Olympics, sweat dripped down her face as she hit ball after ball during practice. Her eyes were glued on the last ball as she jumped to hit it and as she landed, her knee gave out, her left leg felt numb, and then an explosion of pain hit her. After that day, senior Tyler Martin's life was never the same. "In July of '09, I tore my anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament, medial patella femoral ligament, retinaculum, strained my posterior cruciate ligament and dislocated my knee cap," Tyler said. "My parents came and took me to the hospital, and I had an MRI done and had an appointment with my surgeon, Dr. Michael Andreo. I was shocked when he told me everything that was torn in my knee. He said that it would be nine to 12 months before I could start playing again. A week later, I had major surgery to reconstruct my ACL and to repair my MCL, retinaculum and MPFL. The surgery lasted nearly four and a half hours, which is long for an ACL reconstruction." The surgery was only the beginning. Tyler suffered from excruciating pain and needed a machine to help her heal. "When I was in the hospital the first time, the pain was so bad that not even IV narcotics provided me much relief," Tyler said. "For the next six months, I had to use a machine that kept my knee flexing and extending continuously so that it would not become stiff. I had to sleep in it every night and use it throughout the day. For the first couple of months after my first surgery, simple things like showering, getting something from across the room and walking became extremely challenging." Tyler's healing process was slow, and it required her to go to physical therapy many times. However, her knee would not bend past a certain point, so she had to have a second

surgery during November of 2009. "About a week after my [first] surgery, I started physical therapy," she said. "I went three times a week and was there around two to three hours each day. The first day I went, I could only bend my knee to 15 degrees, which is barely anything at all. I was supposed to be getting back my range of motion at a steady pace, but I was only getting about 2-3 degrees back each week. There came a time when I was no longer gaining back any of my range of motion — my knee was essentially stuck at about 105 degrees. Because of this, I had to have a second surgery to break up the adhesions that had formed in my knee." After many months of physical therapy, Tyler was healed enough to play volleyball again — the sport that caused her to tear her knee in the first place. "Nearly 10 months after my first surgery, Dr. Andreo gave me the go-ahead to start playing again," she said. "While I was very excited to be back out on the court, I was hesitant as well. I was absolutely terrified of hurting my knee again. A couple of months after returning to volleyball, I was still lacking full range of motion in my knee, which made it extremely painful for me to dive for balls and hit. The muscles in my leg were still extremely atrophied, which made it hard for me to move quick, cut and pivot, and jump. By the time school and club try-outs came around, I was still extremely hesitant and in constant pain while playing. Due to this accumulation of difficulties I was facing, I decided that it would be in my best interest to stop playing." Although Tyler suffered through pain and had to quit volleyball, she wouldn't change what happened to her. In fact, she says her injury was a blessing in disguise. "From the moment I went down on the court to this day, I have never once regretted [my injury]," she said. "At the time, I had no

Katherine Curtis

Nearly two and a half years after her first surgery, senior Tyler Martin has full range of motion in her left knee. Since her recovery, Tyler has run three half marathons. idea why it had happened, but I knew in my heart that God was up to something much greater than me. I remember sitting in the surgeon's office on the day of my first surgery and thinking that it was time for me to make a very important decision: I could mope around and feel sorry for myself, or I could make the most of my situation — I chose the latter. It was not long after my first surgery that I became fascinated with the work that Dr. Andreo had done on my knee. While I was laid up in bed, I did a vast amount of research on the multitude of diverse facets of orthopedic surgery. Almost instantly, I was mesmerized by the field of orthopedics and every individual aspect that accompanied it. Being surrounded by incredibly talented physicians and therapists fueled my interest and validated that this was not just the end of one dream but the beginning of another. I don’t view my injury as being detrimental to my life in any way at all." Tyler's exposure to the medical field enticed her interest to become a surgeon, which she believes is the path that God made for her after her injury. "My frequent appointments with Dr. Andreo lead me to be fascinated by the field of surgery," she said. "During junior year, I took [Mentorship] in which I shadowed Dr. Andreo the first semester and Dr. Carlos Brown, a trauma surgeon, the second. All it took was one day shadowing in the operating room for me to realize that being a surgeon is what God has called me to do with my life. Before getting hurt, I had never really considered a career in medicine; but because of my injury and the situation I was in, I was able to see what God’s plan is for my life. I know in my heart that everything happens for a reason. Being a surgeon is my purpose, and I will hold nothing back to achieve my dream." —Christina Shin


? scarred

Students recall unfortunate events which created long-lasting memories

“I have a scar [on my chest]. And it has a nickname. I got it from open-heart surgery when I was six days old. The end of my scar makes a little indention, and when my friends and I eat in a public place like Barton Springs, they tell everyone I have two bellybuttons. I get some really strange looks. It’s awesome.” —senior Aubrey Campbell

“I thought the boy I liked was going to kiss me so I leaned in, but instead he went in for a thumb war. I was mortified.” —junior Sarah Nehring

“I was going on a zip line and someone pulled my uil pants down as everyone walked by.” —junior John Dodd

“Well, long story short, my mom tried to give me a haircut when I was little and ended up cutting my neck on accident. You could say I was ‘the boy who lived.’” —senior Dan Smith

“Last year, I was playing wall-ball with my friends and I ran into a pole. My friends made me go to the nurse and it turned out I had broken some ribs which punctured and collapsed a lung. I barfed in the ambulance on the ride to the hospital. Now I can say I got my scar fighting bears in World War II.”

—sophomore Justin Dorland “I have a huge scar down my right side when I went roller skating outside in Colorado. I slammed into a metal fence and I got caught on a rusty screw; my family skated off without me, leaving me in the hands of helpful strangers.” —junior Rachel Nauert

“I got sick with the stomach flu when I was in sixth grade and projectile vomited down the stairs in our house and now I have a legitimate fear of white carpet and vomiting.” —junior Ryan Gunn

To read about more “scarring” stories, scan this.


ALL IN A LIFETIME Ben Breedlove’s passing makes mark on school, community, world On Dec. 25, senior Ben Breedlove passed away due to heart complications caused by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Though Ben’s death has been viewed with a sense of sorrow and loss, his fans, friends and family have embraced their love for him through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, creating an unprecedented way of grieving. Ben left a two-part video for his loyal YouTube followers in which he silently explained, by holding up index cards, his condition, his three brushes with death and his longing to be in a place of peace — the place he observed in his dream when he collapsed in the Commons on Dec. 6. His YouTube post was found after his passing, causing a wave of emotion and Internet traffic across the nation and world. This age of technology is transforming the idea of death into something never seen before, something that allows everyone to mourn a loss by sharing his or her thoughts online. Through social media, Ben’s passing has given many the chance to see that others located near or far, are feeling the same sadness. Journalists, celebrities and those affected are keeping Ben’s vibrant spirit alive through blogs, videos and online articles, and because of this, Ben’s story has touched millions. Here’s to you, Ben. —Lizzie Friedman “He loved making videos on YouTube and he would do it over anything. He loved his followers and wanted to make an impact. I think Ben is up there thinking this is so awesome that all of these people know who he is.” —senior Katelyn Brooks

Ben Breedlove flashes a smile as he makes a YouTube video. His channel, BreedloveTV, was very popular among his peers.

“I think that Ben was a very approachable, relatable person. On the other hand, he had to struggle with the disease he had. He had such a positive attitude and he brought hope to other people. [His YouTube audience] could see that Ben had this terrible burden, but was still able to be happy and enjoy life.” —Ben’s sister, 2009 graduate Ally Breedlove

Ben’s family has received Facebook messages, emails and letters from people in the U.S., the UK, Canada, China, Australia, Germany, Greece, France and Spain.

According to ABC News, more than 1,500 people attended Ben’s memorial service at Gateway Church.

courtesy photo

“I watched the video he left for the world to see, and him seeing me in detail, in his vision, really warmed my heart,” hip-hop artist Kid Cudi said in his blog.

“The videos are really moving. I watch them when I’m really missing him and they make me remember that he is happy where he is. At random moments I feel that he’s here with me enjoying the things that I’m enjoying. I’m just trying to do everything better because I know that he would want me to.” —senior Alex Faglie “Our family is amazed at the impact Ben has made. We received a phone call from someone we didn’t know who told us how much Ben meant to [him] and how inspired he was [by] Ben’s videos. We don’t know why Ben has made an impact, but we are so thankful he has.” —Ben’s mother, Deanne Breedlove photo from

“Every day Ben inspires me to be friendly to everyone, no matter my past with that person, no matter if I really know them or if they are just an acquaintance, no matter how annoyed or how bothered I want to be with them. Ben has taught me to love everyone.” —senior Hannah Glaw “The most difficult part is going through day-to-day life and not being able to even text or call my best friend. There are so many times in my day where something reminds me of him and I get out my phone to text him and by the time I get to his name, I realize that I can’t talk to him anymore. I lost the one person I could really tell anything to.” —senior Grant Hamill Katherine Curtis

A student models her wristband after donating money to the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association. The bracelets are a way of showing support for Ben’s family and those suffering from HCM.

“I view Ben’s passing as the will of some higher power. The things he did while he was on this earth and the reaction it received when he passed was no accident.” —junior Justin Miller

Many news sources have covered Ben’s story, including CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, MTV, People Magazine, OK Magazine and USA Today. Westlake Student Council donated $4,000 to the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association with the help of the middle school and high school students.

WHEN TRAGEDY STRIKES The perspective I gained by seeing my house burn

Standing in front of his mostly burned house, junior Josh Willis reflects on the night that changed his perspective on what’s important to him.


Emily Cohen

t happened in an instant. Before I knew what was going on or what I had done, I was in the street with nine other people, watching a raging inferno engulf the garage where I had parked my car the night before. I was not afraid, to my recollection. I was only numb. When I opened my eyes at 4:50 in the morning on New Year’s Day, nothing bothered me besides my mild case of insomnia. The carbon monoxide detector beeped; the power went out. I sat up and nonchalantly picked up my phone to use as a flashlight. At that moment, I heard my mother scream the indescribable phrase, “Fire! The house is on fire!” Without blinking, I ran down the stairs. My two brothers had five friends staying over that night so, without thinking, I knew that I had to help my parents escort all of the children out of the house. Four kids came down the stairs behind me, so I cleared the front door and pushed them down the path from the front of the house. I waited for the last three, and then ran behind them to the front yard, where I called 911. My parents came out shortly behind us. After calling the police, a burst of adrenaline kept me alert and making only logical decisions after we were all in a safe spot. After trying to comfort my mother, I took pictures with my cell phone of the unfolding scene. Little did I know that as I stood barefoot on the asphalt that crisp New Year’s morning, I was about to learn a few life lessons. The fire department arrived as we all got down to the street. My dad had run back in for my two dogs, but came out with only one. At that moment, I cared not for my house, my stuff, but only for the safety of the dog that we had rescued years before. After about an hour and a half, the firemen found her cowering under a bush in the backyard. Thinking back on that moment, I knew that I really didn’t care

about my belongings. The only time within this entire experience that I shed a tear was when I was missing my dog, not when I knew that all of the things that I loved so much were simply gone. Once I knew that everyone who had walked into the house, on two legs or four, the day before had safely walked out, nothing else mattered. As we look back on what was lost, it can be heart-wrenching, but memories are far greater and more powerful than any physical object. Days after the fire, friends and family worked with us to extract anything from the house that looked to be salvageable. The deeper I went inside the hollowed-out remains of what used to be a functional home, the more I was able to understand that the memories from within were brought out with us that fateful morning. I recognized what each part of the house used to be and what it used to hold, but it means almost nothing to me now. Only the night before I was watching the ball drop in New York on TV, dreaming of the day when I would begin a life in the big city. I was never really positive about where I wanted to go for school, only that I was madly in love with the sounds of a living urban environment. Within 24 hours, my mindset was changed. Most upperclassmen are excited to be leaving for college because they are ready to live on their own, far away from family. Almost two months later, my thoughts about college are still stained from what happened five hours into the New Year. The urge to escape family has since vanished, giving way to the need to feel thankful that they are still with me today. As my life falls back into the path of normalcy, I will walk with a positive scar, knowing how close I came to losing what really matters to me. I will walk with a scar that proves that no matter what I lose, as long as I have family, I will be happy. I will walk with a scar that reminds me of what is really important in this world. —Josh Willis


A place to call


In spite of frequent moves, theater enthusiast finds true home on stage, plans to continue pursuing drama


eeting senior Francesca Ward-Ramos for the first time is like shaking hands with 5 feet, 3 inches of pure Puerto Rican flavor blended with the all-embracing attitude of a theater goddess, and the littlest bit of Southern twang mixed in. The moment you ask her where she is from she'll just giggle and say, "Well, I'm kind of a mutt." Francesca was born in Puerto Rico, but moved to Arizona a couple of years later with her brother and parents because of her father's business. She learned to assimilate into different communities, moving from state to state and even out of the country for about a year. "In sixth grade, I moved to Florence, Italy and lived there for about a year, then back to Albuquerque for a couple of months and then to Puerto Rico again," she said. "Then we moved to New York for a couple of months and then here. I got four high school transcripts in three years.” Though she has moved around so

much, Francesca has found a true home on stage. “What is nice is that theater on stage is the most embracing community," Francesca said. "They are just very accepting and always nice. I’ll go to camps and people are always so open. That is why I do it too; it brings a nice sense of community. At St. John’s, my school in Puerto Rico, we used the public theater for our productions and in that theater, I felt completely at home. I have been going there since I was a baby, so I have a real connection to it. The first thing that I do every time I come to a new school is I find the center stage marker of the stage. On my first day at Westlake, I went to the blackbox, and I sat in the middle of the stage and just looked around, and I thought ‘Okay.’” Francesca remembers being one of those kids with a little too much energy. To keep her busy, her parents put her in all kinds of different activities until finally, she found what it was that would become her life’s passion.

Hirrah Barlas

Hirrah Barlas

“My parents put me in softball, kickball, Girl Scouts, everything you could possibly imagine to see what I was good at," she said. "I was no good at sports. They weren’t my thing. So, my mom signed me up for a drama camp when I was 6 and I starred as a little maid in The Emperor's New Clothes. I thought it was the coolest thing ever, and that kind of started it all. In fifth grade, I worked with the University of New Mexico. I was actually in one of their operas, which was really cool. Being around it, I realized that I liked acting a lot more, just flat drama. That ended up being where my passion was. [When I lived in New York,] the Hilton had a theater off Broadway and I was Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It’s funny; I was actually the only girl they didn’t have to put a fake nose on, because I have a little round nose. I did that for a couple months and it was a really cool experience." Francesca says that what attracts her to theater is the opportunity to let go and become someone else. "Theater is the one time where you don't have to be yourself — you don't have to think about any bad stuff that is happening in your life," she said. "When I'm in rehearsals and stuff, it's two hours where I don't have to worry about anything else like school, social stuff or anything. You worry about what your character is worried about. You can be as ridiculous as you want to and nobody has the right to judge you because that’s not you. You're in character. You are your character.” For Francesca, one of the most important things about being involved in a production is taking something enriching away from it. “You don't want to be in a production where you don't learn anything," she said. "You should always learn something from a production. You can learn something about yourself, something about your character, about life. When we did Dog Sees God, I know that a month before that, one of my best friends committed suicide and it was hard for me to be in the show. The final night, I was just bawling backstage, and that raw emotion, my vulnerability, needed to be there in order for the audience to be vulnerable and take something away from

that show.” There is a moment. An important one. Right before she gets on stage for a performance, Francesca transforms into someone else. And then, it begins. “Before every performance, I sit down, or lie down, depending on how much space I have or wherever my entrance is, and I focus on just a dart in my brain, and I forget everything from that day," Francesca said. "My entire face goes blank, my entire mind goes blank and my body gets loose. Then, I breathe in, and I'm the character. I'm not thinking about what I'm supposed to be as a character, I am the character. In Dog Sees God, I remember waiting backstage, and I was getting focused. I breathed in, and then I was Tricia. I opened my eyes and I walked on stage and I was like, ‘Okay I'm going to lunch.’ The only time I’ll mess up is if I get out of character, because you start to think about the script, maybe you’re like, ‘Crap I was supposed to exit stage left,’ and the minute you think ‘stage left’, and not ‘the entrance to the cafeteria,’ you're not in character. You’re just in the theater space, in a play.” Francesca plans to continue acting in college. Theater is what she knows, and on stage is where she belongs. "Theater will always be the contained chaos that I need in my life," she said. "I can't see my future without it." Francesca's life has been all about meeting new people, experiencing new cultures and gaining new insight. You could say she's Puerto Rican meets Alabaman, meets Arizonian, meets New Mexican, meets Italian, meets Texan. It's an unforgettable combination. As an international family, Francesca and her parents have come to love living in Texas while embracing their own unique culture. “My dad is from Alabama and my mom is Puerto Rican so they are complete polar opposites, and they are kind of silly together," Francesca said. "I love being Puerto Rican and I love my family there. My abuelita makes better food than anybody in the world. I definitely keep in touch with my Puerto Rican culture. I really don't think it matters where I live; as long as I'm with people who are willing to have an open mind, I will call it my home.” —Hirrah Barlas

Hannah Kunz

Senior Francesca Ward-Ramos stars as Gloria in choir’s spring musical production of Damn Yankees. This year, choir tackled this musical comedy set in the 1950s, which retells a story of the Washington Senators at a time when they were trying to defeat the New York Yankees. Below: In her element, senior Francesca Ward-Ramos sits in the center of the stage. This is a ritual for Francesca whenever she moves some place new.

Hirrah Barlas

Karen Scott

Above: In Dog Sees God, senior Francesca Ward-Ramos plays Tricia. Though it was a difficult character to take on, Francesca’s performance was impressive and wellreceived. The moment she steps on stage, Francesca transforms into the character she is playing and fully becomes her.

Hirrah Barlas


Dano Knits 2012 El Paisano. They’ll be here before you know it.

Handmade knitted goods

Order and pay for your yearbook at or click the icon at

Everything is bigger in Texas, especially our pride.

state A

of mind

photo by Hannah Kunz

{ } trends + traditions 45

Texan How


are you? art by Emily Mitchell

You see a horse and think… a. There's my ride home. b. Can I touch it? c. Does that thing bite? d. What happened to that dog?



Your favorite sport is… a. NASCAR… 'nough said. b. College football because the pros don’t play with enough spirit. c. Does running through the mall to a store opening count? d. Sports… like where you sweat?


Your favorite type of music is… a. Anything with a banjo and a fiddle. b. Everything is good, but country rock is where it's at. c. Christian Rock station all the way. d. Rap and pop are on your iPhone 4S.



For dinner you load your plate with... a. Whatever you ran over on your way to the hoedown. b. A huge rack of BBQ ribs from a local joint. c. A big, juicy hamburger. d. A salad with low-fat dressing.

Your choice clothing item is… a. Your favorite pair of worn-in boot cut jeans. b. A pair of shorts that lets you enjoy the warm Texas weather. c. A dress that you can square dance in. d. Anything Kate Middleton would hang in her closet.

Your preferred hat is… a. Your lucky 10-gallon hat. b. A baseball cap to show your favorite team colors. c. A fashionable beanie to keep your ears warm from the wind coming off of the lake. d. Why wear a hat when you can show off your new blow out?

—MacKenna McDonell


Mostly Bs:

Mostly As:

Mostly Cs:

You are what most would call a redneck, but we still love you. You are as Southern as it gets, and that’s what makes you you. So wear your Stetson with pride: you’re truly a Texan.

You have some promising Texan stuff in you, but you have to let it shine. Catch some of the local music scene or visit some small towns to soak up some of that Texan hospitality.

Congrats. You are considered the average Texan. You have some quirks, but that is what makes you unique, just like Texas.

Mostly Ds: Why haven’t you been kicked out of Texas yet? You should probably pack up your designer duds and seek refuge in a large bustling city so angry Texans can't find you. If that’s not an option, study the manual we’ve provided on how to be Texan. Hopefully, you won’t be thrown into the Rio Grande.

If you failed our quiz, see the following pages for your how-to guide on all things Texan...

How to be Texan I love Texas more than Paula Deen loves butter, and heck, that’s saying something. Texas is my pride, my culture and most importantly, my gigantic southwestern bundle of joy. Through the hiss of the cicadas during the summers and the semi-snow days during the winters, there is no other place I would rather call home sweet home than deep in the heart of Texas. This ain’t no simple state, however. We are not only American, but we are Texan. If you want to consider yourself a Texan, you must adopt these 10 Texan commandments in order to live peacefully amongst the rest of us. —Caroline Hunt Become a regular at your local BBQ restaurant

Own a pair of

cowboy boots

Turkey plate, double beans, no onions or pickles, extra sauce, with a Coke and a peach cobbler. When I trek up those short few steps to the Bee Caves BBQ trailer, I order the same thing time after time. After eating all around Austin, there truly is nothing more comforting than being welcomed by the friendly owners who know my order before I even open my mouth to speak. That indeed, is Southern hospitality at its finest.

Drink Arnold Palmers

What’s better than a Shirley Temple? An Arnold Palmer. Nothing says Texas like iced tea, perfectly mixed with lemonade. I find that sweet tea is popular in the South no matter what, but why not make it a little more interesting? The perfect blend makes a refreshing beverage after a hefty barbecue sandwich, especially during the hotter-than-hotcakes summers.

Speak Tex-Mex ¡Hola! ¿Cómo estás? ¡Me encanta queso y La Honey Ham de Tejas! Fun fact: There is no such thing as queso in Mexico. If you ask for it, they will give you a block of Velveeta and probably laugh at you and your Texican logic. Here in our neck of the Southwest, we have “Texanized” Mexican food into a hybrid we savor the most — TexMex. So whether you enjoy waiting for hours at Matt’s el Rancho after a football game or like grabbing a quick taco to-go from Torchy’s, savor the moment you have with this incredible genre of food. No one makes it like we do in Texas.

When I was 6 years old, I got my very first pair of cowboy boots. It was Texas Day at Bridge Point Elementary school, so my mama felt it was only appropriate to whisk me away to Allen’s Boots right after my violin lesson, or rather should I say, fiddle lesson, to officially transform me from an American to a Texan. Ever since, I have bought and worn down my cowboy boots with much tender loving care. Cowboy boots are a Texan must. No questions asked, y’all.

Talk in a country accent around your

home-schooled cousins Every year around Thanksgiving when all of your honky tonk family gets together, something magical occurs. It happens to the best of us, when we lose our “American,” or better yet “Austin” accent, and start talking country around our extended family. It’s actually quite scary when one minute my mother is talking normally and then suddenly transforms into Dolly Parton once the cousins start arriving with the pecan pies. You can say you are an “Austinite” all you want. You are still a Texan and that accent can’t hide for long.

{ } trends + traditions 47

art by Emily Mitchell

What sports team do you support?

Identify yourself with a Texas football team Did you cry during Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley’s last senior game? Because I did. In Texas, there are only three seasons: winter, summer and a little something in between we like to call football season. Rain or shine, in the stands or in front of the T.V., we Texans love our football. If football were a religion, I would worship the Texas Longhorns, and Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium would be my Saturday Mecca. I love everything about the Texas Longhorns believe Bevo is not just a cow with horns, but a majestic symbol of Texas tradition and pride. Hook ‘em Horns, give ‘em hell and OU sucks.

"My favorite sports team is volleyball. I really love the effort the girls put in to dive for the ball. The shorts aren't a bad thing either." –sophomore Elliot Lebovitz "[I like] University of Texas football because it's our hometown team, and I've always grown up watching the Longhorns." –freshman Landon Hayden

Adopt a hunting dog

Drive a Ford truck

Every Texan family needs a man’s best friend. But, we ain’t talking ‘bout no Chihuahua. You need a genuine, get-er-done bird dog. Personally, I have always been a sucker for Labradors. You truly cannot find a more loving canine who retrieves like their life depends upon it whether it be a tennis ball, or that dove you managed to hunt down with your shotgun. Even if you aren’t a hunter, that dog will still be a loving companion. After all, they love to snuggle no matter how tough they try to be.

Words cannot describe the moment when my daddy pulled up in our family’s spanking new, burnt orange Ford F-150 truck one summer evening. One look at the “Hunt, Texas” license plate that was customized to say “Texfam” on the bumper, and I knew our family was officially Texan. The smell of the fresh leather seats almost beats the smell of rain, or even mowed grass. Seven years, a few oil changes and some hunting trips later, it’s still going sturdy and strong. After all, nothing beats a Ford.

Follow Texas Humor on Twitter

"[I like] Texas Stars Hockey: the environment is great, the team is really good and the crowd is really entertaining. Overall, it's a great team and a great time." –junior Sarah Guthrie

63% 4/5 Proportion of WHS guys who own cowboy boots:

of students were

born in Texas

I have never been much of a Twitter person, but whenever I get around to checking my account on my phone, I am sure to follow and often retweet Texas Humor. Sometimes it can be a little lame, but most of the time I find myself agreeing with everything they have to say, whether it be about Texas weather or football. My favorite tweet would have to be, “I’m from Texas. What country are you from?” It’s so Texan, and I love it. —Caroline Hunt



small Texas towns

1 2 3

(as chosen by students)

Fredericksburg Wimberley Gruene


in five


drive a truck

Out of 168 students polled

Speak in terms of y’all In Texas, there is no such thing as “you guys.” No sir, we say “y’all.” It’s efficient, it makes complete sense and, by golly, it slips off the tongue nicely with a little Southwest drawl. It goes well before a sentence and even after a sentence. Heck, it gets anyone’s attention just by itself. Next time you decide to travel North, play a game of “I Spy a Texan.” First person to hear someone say y’all and confirm they are from Texas wins the game.

Enhance your vocabulary Fix•in' to [fix-en to], v. This verb expresses what you are about to do. It doesn't mean that you're actually fixing something. It is essentially the state's unofficial verb. "I'm fixin' to go to the rodeo."

How•dy [hou-dee], interj. The standard, stereotypical greeting of Texans. Much friendlier than “hello,” this shows off Southern hospitality. Put on a cowboy hat and boots, and you’d fit right in anywhere in Texas. “Well, howdy, y’all!”

How to be Texan Own a



Laws to keep in mind when beginning your ranch •Chicken owners must have sufficient enclosure for livestock that is at least 50 feet away from neighbors. •No more than 10 chickens are permitted per household. •Each cow should have at least one acre of land for spacious roaming. •All livestock should have an ear tag or brand that identifies a specific owner. •Livestock in the home cannot be used for commercial purposes.

Tuck•er•ed out [tuck-erd out], v. To be completely and utterly exhausted. “I was too darn tuckered out to do my physics homework last night.”

Scan this to read about other at-home ranchers. Allie Carlisle

What is your favorite Southern

side dish?

A whole ‘nu•ther thing [a hohl nuth-er thang], n.

A Mashed potatoes: 33%


A whole another thing. This phrase doesn’t even make sense, but Texans use it every day anyway to mean that something is different. “That’s just a whole ‘nuther thing.”



Burn•in’ day•light [burn-in day-layt], v. Time’s a-wastin’! This phrase is commonly used to signify that somebody is moving slower than they should be. “Hurry up, you’re burnin’ daylight!” —Jessica Stenglein

—Olivia Lee and Sarah Berg

Right: Junior Skyler Curtis gawks as his 150-lb. pig knocks over a piece of furniture. Skyler named his Pot Bellied pig Samson after one of his favorite Biblical characters.

Go•ing down to, Go•ing up to [goh-ing doun to, goh-ing up to], v. For whatever reason, Texans seem to have a confused sense of direction. Saying that you’re going down to a place is the same as saying that you’re going up to a place, no matter what direction the city is actually in. “I’m going down to Houston this weekend.” “I am going up there, too.”

Having animals at your ranch sure is country, but it’s downright Texan to keep them as pets at home. Junior Skyler Curtis tells his story behind keeping the farm, literally, at home. "One night my brother, Kory, came home from college, and when he got to the door he had his back facing me," Skyler said. "He turned around, and there was a tiny baby pig in his arms. That's how it all got started." The Pot Bellied piglet was soon dubbed Samson. Now, he is a full-grown, 150-pound oinker that sleeps a wondrous 23 hours per day. Samson is an outdoor pig but is spoiled with the luxury of sleeping in the Curtis' closet. After a snooze, the potty-trained pig gobbles down oats and fruit that wait for him outside. Samson is not alone: Pugsley, the pug and boxer mix, is the other four-legged family member. "[Pugsley] and Samson are best friends," Skyler said.




Fried okra: 23%


Coleslaw: 4%


Corn on the cob: 11%


Mac and cheese: 29% Out of 168 students polled

{ } trends + traditions 49

art by Emily Mitchell

Ask Santa for a

gun Avid hunter carries on family tradition

Aiming his gun, junior Michael Edwards attempts to shoot a duck as a flock flies by. “I feel like hunting birds is more sporting,” he said. “They have more chances to escape because they’re moving. I think it’s harder and I find that it’s more enjoyable.”

Tanner Thompson

“I got a Benelli Nova 12-gauge shotgun in eighth grade,” junior Michael Edwards said. “It’s kind of redneck, getting a gun for Christmas, but I’d always wanted one.” Hunting plays a big role in the Edwards family. Two of Michael’s three older brothers hunt, and Michael’s dog is even named Remi, after the Remington Arms Company. From the time he was 4 years old, Michael would accompany his father and great uncle on hunting expeditions. When he was 8, his father started taking him to shooting ranges to practice. “My dad didn’t just give [the gun] to me and say, ‘Raise hell,’” Michael said. “He taught me how to use it. It took a few years before he actually let me use one out on a hunt.” Now, Michael hunts regularly,

waking up as early as 3 a.m. to arrive on time to hunt ducks in Dilley, Pflugerville or Stonewall. He also attends meetings with Delta Waterfowl and Ducks Unlimited, two organizations that raise funds to preserve wetlands. “Delta Waterfowl and Ducks Unlimited just want people to experience duck hunting in future generations,” Michael said. “They’re trying to raise money so that our kids can duck hunt.” Often times, Michael will bring friends who are not active hunters along with him on his trips. It is an activity that he recommends to everyone. “It’s a good experience,” Michael said. “It’s a great way to meet people, and it’s fun to just go out there.” —Selah Maya Zighelboim

Top five towns you need to visit

to call yourself a Texan


Scan here to read about more cool Texas towns.


Tour around the town, exploring the same natural beauty that inspired artist Georgia O’Keeffe.

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Take a walk down its historic Main Street before enjoying a movie at the Texas Star Dinner Theater.


After visiting Fort D.A. Russell to appreciate the art of the town, see the phenomenon in the sky which has been dubbed the "Marfa Mystery Lights.”



Relax in the Hill Country while tubing on the Guadalupe River after you tour the unique stores in the historic town center.


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Port Isabel

Start your day off by climbing the only public lighthouse in Texas. Then, cross the bridge to check out the beach scene. —Josh Willis

How to be Texan

Le a r n t o t w

Dance lessons at The Broken Spoke are available Wednesday - Saturday from 8 - 9 p.m. for $8 plus a cover fee.

o -step

Senior explores Southern side, tries to dance like a Texan Hannah Kunz

You cannot call yourself a true Texan until you have There were a lot of them. And no, not young men. tried to two-step, and what better place to slip on These men were middle-aged, and their skills proved those cowboy boots than at The Broken Spoke? So that they had been around the dance floor more than grab your partner, dosie doe and ride over to the self a few times. To my sudden surprise, one of them came proclaimed “last true dance hall in Texas.” It is there up to us and asked politely in his sweet Southern acfor your dancing pleasure every day except Sunday cent for a dance with one of my friends. She wouldn’t and Monday. dare say no to that, so off she went, dancing with a The Broken Spoke, located at 3201 South Lamar, complete stranger. I was a little creeped out at first is an Austin legend. It that some random The Broken Spoke was voted was built in 1964 by person would ask “Best Country Dance Hall in the Nation” by James White, and the her to dance, but I Entertainment magazine. rest, you could say, is then noticed that history. Country muthey were dancing sic stars such as Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker and with every stranger they saw. Old, young, children, even the king of country music, George Strait, have grandmothers. They just wanted to move their feet, played there. So it is no surprise that this dance hall teach people to two-step and get them comfortable was named the best in the nation by Entertainment dancing in front of everyone. magazine. It was entirely impossible for me to live in The night continued on and we had a blast. I Austin and not have gone to The Broken Spoke at least learned how to two-step and felt like I was a real once, so I gathered up my friends and went. Texan. And two-stepping, I learned, is not some slow, When I first pulled up to The Broken Spoke, it pokey dance. When you dance with one of the pros, seemed run-down and decrepit, but as I took my first you are moving so fast around that floor, you feel like step through the front doors, the atmosphere shifted you are floating. It is quite the work-out. entirely. There was howling laughter, loud voices and I had a great experience at The Broken Spoke. music. The patrons were wearing their cowboy boots, I can now say I know how to two-step, which is just hats, jeans and western shirts. dandy. People were so friendly and made me feel I walked through the restaurant section (known for welcome there. I felt this connection to Texas and its its chicken fried steak) to the back where the real fun people that I had never felt before. I was truly proud to began. There was a live band and throngs of people. be called a Texan. But, the first thing I noticed was the amount of men. —Hannah Kunz

Start moving your feet Keith Urban: “Somebody Like You” George Strait: “The Fireman” Tractors: “Baby Likes to Rock It” Hal Ketchum: “Small Town Saturday Night” Alan Jackson: “Chattahoochee” Ty England: “Should’ve Asked Her Faster” Mark Chesnutt: “Goin’ Through the Big D” Wade Hayes: “When the Wrong One Loves You Right” —Sarah Berg

{ } trends + traditions 51

A legacy restored.

We’re excited to announce the following for the 2012-2013 lease term... Fully remodeled cafeteria space with unlimited-meal meal plans New food program with retail food vendors Choose from an innovative menu with new, fresh, and healthier options!

Resident Life Program with newly hired Resident Life Program Coordinator Regularly scheduled community events -

Because we care!

Modernized elevators, lobby, lounge area & university-style study center with collaboration rooms Improvements to the pool area and furniture, with outdoor study lounge overlooking the pool

Rooftop sundeck with breath-taking views of Austin New and expanded state-of-the-art fitness center and equipment Female-only and Male-only floors as an option Hallway and building unit interior improvements Exterior painting, landscaping, lighting and patio remodeling Upgraded security system


and much,much more! Austin

Native Texan accompanies friends on pilgrimage, reevaluates priorities

Wish for the



ome people say the first step is the hardest. Well, they’re wrong… or at least that’s what I was thinking bitterly after 2,694 steps, my breath labored and sweat dripping down the side of my face. I was in the middle of climbing up seven hills to Temple Darshan in India. That’s a little over nine miles or 3,600 steps uphill. Coming from a sprawling city in Texas, where my shoes receive more wear and tear from the gas pedal than the actual pavement, those 3,600 steps were a big deal. In fact, every part was a big deal. This trip sort of fell into my lap, and I entered India not knowing what to expect. Senior Sree Kumar and her family often make this pilgrimage to participate in special prayers at this temple. This year, they decided to invite another family, who, in turn, invited me, along with senior Celeste Bergeron. So as a Jewish, suburban white girl born and raised in Austin, I packed my passport and walking shoes and headed to India. Culture shock is an understatement. On these sloping steps, almost everyone was barefoot, just like the other millions of people in India who can’t afford shoes, a true luxury I consider a necessity. Still, as I dragged myself up those stairs, everyone else around me rejoiced in the opportunity. The smell of incense pervaded each wide step, as many devoted pil-

art by Emily Mitchell

grims would lean over to light a candle as they climbed. Others painted the path in bright red and yellow powder. Every once in a while, a noticeable wave of excitement would pass through my fellow climbers as they took the steps two at a time. Chants, which I learned meant “In the name of God,” echoed throughout the crowd.

“We are fortunate here in Texas to face merely challenges.”

We were told that, as a reward for crossing these seven hills, we would receive seven wishes. Traditionally, people wish inward out, starting with prayers for themselves and their family and moving gradually to their communities, country and eventually the world. As I thought about my own wishes, I felt awed by the dedication and religious fervor of the pilgrims that day. These people, leading much harder lives than I could even imagine before,

were driven so passionately by their beliefs. They kept going. In the name of God. Mr. Kumar assured us that these seven wishes didn’t necessarily have to be a religious experience for us. He said that wishing is just reaffirming our priorities, values and aspirations. So I thought about what I needed, what I wanted. I thought of the woman I saw on a crowded street, her calloused feet covered in scabs, carrying her child. I thought of the middle class family’s home I visited, smaller than a typical American garage. And I thought about the men and women who carried on with hope, who yelled so passionately, “In the name of God!” I was struck by the realization that my “big problems” aren’t that big at all. While I worry about my upcoming physics test, many don’t have access to clean water. We are fortunate here in Texas to face merely challenges. I can take my car to the shop when it breaks down, but who is going to clean their water? Who is going to pull them out of the vicious cycle of poverty? It is obvious to wish for ourselves and our families because that is what we know and care about. But our priorities need to include the greater world — at least in our top seven. We shouldn’t be deceived by that expansive, blue Texas sky. The world is a much bigger place, and even in Texas, we need to keep the world in our wishes. —Zelda Mayer

{ } trends + traditions 53

Finger lickin’ good Students’ barbeque picks

Out of 168 students polled

Cooper’s (Llano)•10% The County Line (Austin)•16% Rudy’s BBQ (Austin)•36% The Salt Lick (Driftwood)•21% Other•17%



Black’s Barbecue (Lockhart) City Meat Market (Giddings) Kreuz Market (Lockhart) Opie’s BBQ (Spicewood) Smitty’s Market (Lockhart)

photo by Taylor Cloy

No line is too long for Franklin BBQ frequenters It’s 8:50 on a Saturday morning. I’ve driven just east of I-35, parked, and am now standing in a line behind eight other people. Some of them have been here since 7, and within the next half hour the line will double. It’ll be a long morning — I won’t be out before noon — but the effort is worth it for a taste of Franklin BBQ. My prediction was right: by 9:15 the line has grown considerably. Patrons of the beloved trailer-turned-storefront are bundled up to keep warm. Some have brought lawn chairs and coolers to make the wait more comfortable. A small group throws a football in the parking lot to pass the time. And I people watch. When you think about it, the kind of Austinites who congregate at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning for some barbecue must be the weirdest of the weird. So I entertain myself, occasionally making small talk with those around me. By 9:50 a.m. the line has reached the end of the building. Reading this might beg the question: why line up at 7 or 8 a.m. outside of a barbecue joint that opens at 11? The answer is simple. Franklin is so popular, they will actually run out of food before they can feed everyone. That’s not an exaggeration. Their store hours are “11 a.m. — sold out.” A blonde employee comes out with a brown sheet of paper at around 10:40, when the line of people has extended through the parking lot and continues to grow. She asks each party how many pounds of what kind of meat they plan to buy, keeping tally of her results. After returning inside for a brief moment, she comes back out and walks about two-thirds of the way down the line and yells: “Excuse me! After this point, I cannot guarantee any brisket!” No one budges. No one. This pattern repeats itself with ribs, chopped beef and so on. And the brave food-lovers of Austin stay strong. All are willing to wait more than three hours for a chance at some of the nationally acclaimed barbecue. You just don’t mess around with this stuff, apparently.

When the store finally opens its doors at 11, cheers can be heard down the line as people are ushered inside. Even though I’m at the front, things move pretty slowly. I take this time to skim some of the magazine articles featuring Franklin BBQ that now hang on its interior. The Austin Chronicle awarded it “Best Brisket in the History of the Universe.” Here and there it appears in national food magazines, as well as being hailed “Best BBQ in Texas” by plenty of critics and consumers alike. It’s almost ridiculous. Then I remember what state I’m in. When I finally get to the front of the line, Mr. Franklin himself is cutting the meat (I only know this from seeing his picture on the wall, and I’m still a little star-struck.) I order some of the Best Brisket in the History of the Universe to take home and a chopped beef sandwich to eat there. They serve you your food on butcher paper and a plastic tray to keep things simple, and for cleanliness, they have rolls of paper towels in the middle of each table. Forget the line. Don’t consider pricing. Just come here hungry and thank me later. Describing something as hearty as brisket with the word “fabulous” just seems weak. But it really is the best I’ve ever had. The world-famous brisket is juicy and tender. The chopped beef sandwich is drenched in the strongest sauce imaginable. If you want to experiment with even more sauce, there’s also an assortment of them near the drink fountain — each one emulating a famous BBQ region’s special take on the classic staple. At 12:45 when I’m walking back to my car, swearing I’ll never be hungry again, I realize that everything there is the best anything I’ve ever had. —Camille Lewis Hours: Sunday - Saturday 11a.m. - sold out Location: 900 E. 11th St., Austin, TX 78702 Telephone: (512) 653-1187

A taste of savory, Southern barbecue without the meat As a Texan, I have become accustomed to eating barbecue, but now that I’m a vegetarian, I’m finding it harder to stay away from this delicious Texas cuisine. Every now and then, my friends and family want to go out and get some brisket, causing me to practically break down in tears as I eat my tasteless salad and watch them devour tender pieces of meat. I am morally against eating meat, but since I’m tired of missing out on barbecue, I decided to set off on a quest to cook my own vegetarian version. Before even attempting to cook this meal, let me inform you that there is no chance for vegetarian barbecue to taste even



First purchase two large tofu patties and a variety of your favorite vegetables from the local farmer’s market. If you want a less cliché form of meat substitute, I prefer Portobello mushrooms because their taste and texture are most similar to meat. Every stove is different, so test your heat settings before beginning.

3 4 5 6

remotely close to what meat eaters are used to. However, the meal itself doesn’t taste bad, just different. As a precaution before you begin, if you have never used a grill before, don’t even try it. I know it’s not an authentic method of cooking barbecue, but using a frying pan makes cooking the meal struggle-free. I originally planned on using an actual grill, but I didn’t realize that it could easily burn my face off. Everything was sailing smoothly, when all of a sudden fire spat directly in my face. Learn from my mistakes and use the stove. —Taylor Cloyd

Pour a thin layer of olive oil on a nonstick pan so that the patties won’t stick. Be sure to flip the patties regularly to maintain a perfect balance of taste. Begin cooking vegetables on the other burner.

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Now, drown those suckers in vegetarian-friendly barbecue sauce. Once everything is cooked, set your meal on a plate. Voila! There is an original take on Texas barbecue. Dig in!

Apply seasonings as you heat the veggies.

{ } trends + traditions 55

Standing out from the


Emily Mitchell


Good ol' Southern girl ventures north, feels out of place I guess you could call me a Southern girl: I love college football, I have a slew of redneck relatives and there’s nothing I love more than sipping on sweet tea while enjoying a beautiful countryside sunset. So when I got the opportunity to travel to Minneapolis for a journalism convention, my first venture to the Midwest, you could only imagine my reaction. Make no mistake: I was excited, but I had this sneaking suspicion that I wouldn’t fit in. First of all, I owned no winter clothes whatsoever, with the exception of one white peacoat. I mean, how is a girl with one stinkin’ peacoat expected to survive in the frigid arctic tundra that is Minnesota?

Second of all, I was afraid of all the tormenting I would receive for muttering “y’all” every six words. Despite my hesitations, I went to the airport, and like a true Texan, chowed down on some delicious Salt Lick barbecue. What originally sold me about going to Minneapolis was the fact that it was home to the Mall of America. So on our day off, my fellow female journalists and I immediately went shopping and roller coaster riding. All that walking was exhausting, and the only remedy was ice cream. Ordering it was one of my first interactions with a Minnesotan. My server was a young, prematurely bald guy with the

cutest accent. But the second I said, “y’all,” he stopped dead in his tracks. The look on his face made it seem as though I were an alien. He instantly looked up and said, “Where you guys from?” He claimed we had accents, which I clearly didn’t understand. He was the one who was elongating all his vowels for no apparent reason. But I displayed my Southern charm and politely explained to him that we were from Texas. Even though we just had different accents, it felt like there was a severe language barrier. At that moment, I missed my redneck roots more than ever. I missed my granny’s signature homemade corn bread and seeing my dad’s alligator skin

cowboy boots walk out the door in the morning. The snow that was getting caught in between my eyelashes was starting to not only blur my vision, but also my perception of things. I could even hear the Minnesotan accent in my own voice. That’s when I knew I had to come home. Ultimately, I enjoyed everything about the trip. I got to experience what seemed like a different culture with some of my greatest friends. Granted, there is a .02 percent chance that I will live in the North when I get older. But at least now I know that the North is a great place to visit, as long as you have at least two peacoats handy. —Jenny Messer

Cowgirl releases inner farmer, shares future plans


There comes a time in every teenager’s high school career when she experiences regret. For me, that time is now. Don’t get me wrong, living in a suburban community and attending an academically rigorous school has its advantages, but Westlake lacks one essential program: Agricultural Science. There was no opportunity for me to explore my inner farmer, or for other students to look at future careers in agriculture. At the very least, these teenagers missed out on a class that puts emphasis on the importance of local farmers and ranchers. I feel that since students are not given an opportunity to explore the possibilities of farming or ranching, they think they have to either go into the business world or become a doctor or lawyer. For generations, my family has owned ranches. Since settling in Fredericksburg in 1846, my an-

cestors have been stewards of the land. Somehow I feel like it is in my blood and bones to follow in their footsteps. This is the life I imagine for myself down the road. I know that most people want to end up in the suburbs with their white picket fence lifestyle or in a hustling and bustling city, living life in the fast lane. But me? I want to settle down away from the city, where I can go outside at night and see the beauty of the stars. My dream is to move to a small town in Texas. I want to marry a cowboy and ride off into the sunset just like in the movies. And my future kids? They will be wearing cowboy boots from the time they start to walk. My passion is being outdoors and living life at a slower, more contemplative pace, so that is just what I am going to do. —Hannah Kunz

Scan this to read about a native Texan’s strong sense of state pride.

What a future Heir to restaurant chain prepares to take on family business

To any true hamburger enthusiast, that orange-and-white striped A-frame building could only mean one thing: you’re about to have a really good burger. The first Whataburger was founded in Corpus Christi in 1950 by late entrepreneur Harmon Dobson. Currently, ownership of the company is divided equally among Dobson’s three children, Hugh, Lynne and Tom. Some day, that ownership will even be passed along to each of their children, including Lynne’s daughter, junior Claire Wooldridge, and her brother.

1950 Harmon Dobson opens the first Whataburger in Corpus Christi







The first Whataburger building to have the A-frame shape opens in Odessa

Breakfast and 24/7 service are offered at Whataburger

Various chicken products are added to the menu

The Whatagames tradition begins

Whataburger celebrates its 50th anniversary

Claire attends her first family business retreat

Claire is one of Dobson’s five grandchildren set to inherit a portion of his business. According to Claire, they each are becoming more and more involved in the company as they grow older. As a part of their involvement, the cousins, along with the parents and several associates, take an annual business retreat to various locations where they receive company training. “Normally, one day is spent as a company update,” Claire said. “We learn about how we’re doing compared to our competitors and things, like what we’re going to put on the menu, and new operations.” Additionally, the group also participates in other retreat activities meant to prepare them for their roles in the company. “At the one last May, we had a guy come in and talk to us about public speaking, and all five of us actually had to give speeches to the whole room,” Claire said. “I was pretty nervous at first because I don’t like speaking in front of people; I thought it was so stupid that we had to come up with an entire speech in 15 minutes. But I realized later that it was a good exercise.” These annual meetings also serve as reminders to each of the inheritors of exactly just how much responsibility comes with their future ownership of Whataburger. “A big part of the San Diego meeting last August was beginning to understand what our part really is in all of this,” Claire said. “You do have the option to sell your part of the company when the time comes. It’s a really stupid choice you could make, to have it not be a part of your life anymore.” Like many students, Claire says she does not yet know for sure what she will choose to pursue in terms of a career. But she does know she will be keeping her one-sixth portion of the Whataburger ownership. “I really don’t know what I want to do,” she said. “I used to think I really wanted to be part of the company, obviously having the ownership part too, but also doing something like running it. I thought that one of us would have to be the chief executive officer. But I’ve realized it’s more like a board; we can hire the CEO. None of us have to do it.” There is one very unique perk that also comes with Claire’s position that not many people know about. “I think one of the best parts about being involved in the company

like I am is — it’s kind of funny — but it’s called Whatagames,” she said. “It happens every two years, and it’s a huge convention. There was one last year and I missed three days of school for it.” Inspired by the Summer Olympics, Whatagames consists of competitions among 16 teams meant to encourage restaurant quality and camaraderie among employees. The teams are chosen based off of their success in undergoing months of rigorous assessment; Whataburger personnel pose as customers and evaluate the restaurants’ performance through various tests and undercover inspections. “The whole convention consists of competitions,” Claire said. “There are three nights. On opening night, we eat dinner in one of those big hotels made for conventions. We always get a huge room, and the first night is just a welcome. My mom and my uncles get up and speak in front of everyone, about 2,000 people. The second night, we always have a famous speaker. One time we had Jim Lovell and the last one was Colin Powell. We got to meet him, and that was really cool. The third night, we do the awards.” Among the final teams, there are gold, silver and bronze medal winners. Each member of the winning team gets a $5,000 cash prize. “I like it so much because you see how hard all the people are working for the company and how much they appreciate you,” Claire said. “It’s crazy because it’s the five of us kids. We’re all in the spotlight, and everyone knows who we are, but we don’t necessarily know all of them. It’s kind of weird. You get to understand how big the company is and how big of a deal it really is.” Amidst all of the business talk, Claire and her family still have time for the occasional bite to eat at Whataburger. “I don’t really go there as much as one would probably think because I’m trying to eat better, but when I do, I’m really picky,” Claire said. “I get a number seven, double meat, double cheese, plain and dry, with lettuce — and occasionally bacon — on Texas toast.” Along with the experience of watching a company grow and succeed, being a part of a family business has had other impacts on Claire. “It’s definitely brought me and my cousins closer together, knowing that we’re going to be in this together for life,” she said. —Christina Rosendahl

Junior Claire Wooldridge visits one of the locations of Whataburger. Claire is already very involved in the company and will one day inheirit a sixth of its ownership. Barrett Wilson

{ } trends + traditions 59

Nestled in the heart of the countryside, the Red Rock General Store is the place for residents to get just about anything.


Sophomore enlightened by simple lifestyle of small town

It’s the little things


hen you look at a road map of Texas, the clustered urban highways of the major cities pop off the page. All the dot towns that are scattered around those clusters tend to fly under the radar. I’ve always been curious about what I’d find if I stumbled upon one of those towns. They take up such little space on a map, and I wondered if they were much more than blots of printer ink. Texas stands out because of its size, but could such a small sample size of Texans really represent the ubiquitous, world renowned “spirit of Texas?” Curiosity drove me to hit the highway without extensive navigation until I came across a place that captured what it means to live in a “small dot” kind of town. After wearing out my tires on dirt roads, losing cell reception and filling up my tank at a sketchy gas station, I came across Red Rock. One glance was all it took. I knew I’d found the place. Although Red Rock is only 38 miles southeast of Austin, an hour’s drive on narrow ranch roads, I couldn’t help but feel like I’d stepped back in time. When I got out of my car, I was a little thrown off by the lack of background noise. Even in my own neighborhood, there is always some sort of resounding din that fills the air: lawn mowers whizzing across lawns, cars screeching into driveways or kids running around shouting and laughing. But that wasn’t the case in Red Rock. Three cars were parked somewhat haphazardly along the sides of the road, but nobody seemed to care. I felt like I was in a library, like I needed to stay quiet out of respect for the town’s tranquility. Except for the occasional passing train, the wind rustling the trees was the only thing that pierced the pristine silence. It’s a peaceful place, and those who live there appreciate that. One word to describe the area would be quaint, but simple captures it more accurately. On the main street, there’s a well-stocked general store that sells everything from Mountain Dew to hardware equipment, and a feed store for the resident cows and horses. In a 50-foot

Andy Brown

radius, you can find everything you truly need. There are no excess department stores or five-star restaurants because nobody really needs them there. “I prefer the slower paced lifestyle out here [compared to Austin],” Red Rock General Store cashier John Pilot said. He said that he’d always lived in cities but was drawn to the smaller population and less congestion. “I could see myself living here for the rest of my life,” he said. Pilot is one of 57 people who call Red Rock home. He compared it to one huge family, where “everybody is in everybody’s business.” That might sound intimidating, but based on the cordial smiles I saw on the faces of the customers in the store, this tight-knit bunch seems to get along just fine with one another. It’s a tribute to people coming together and finding the right place for themselves. Most students at Westlake probably couldn’t see themselves living so far away from bright city lights, malls and entertainment venues. However, the citizens of Red Rock have come to love it. They don’t care that their town is relatively unknown, or that they’re surrounded by livestock. Red Rock is the classic Texan small town: simple, humble and beautiful in its own way. It’s one of hundreds of other towns that are nothing but the miniscule dots on maps to some, but mean the entire world to those who live there. Some might say Texas is highlighted only by its handful of globally interactive cities and tarnished by its perceived worthless, “nothing” towns, but Red Rock and towns like it are integral parts of what makes Texas the unique state that it is. They’re the places that have given Texas its true identity— not the packed urban sprawls of Dallas or Houston. The contrast in lifestyles between Austin and Red Rock may be staggering, but the friendly atmosphere that fills the air in both places exemplifies the tradition of neighborliness that we, as Texans, should all strive to define. —Andy Brown

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Central Austin (512) 473-2600 | North Austin (512) 349-2200 | Westlake (512) 519-3300 |


rock we roll

Danielle Brown

How use of music as a modern fundraiser would benefit organizations, create opportunities within district This year, the effects of statewide budget cuts have sent shudders through Texas public schools. Some have been forced to close down due to lack of funding; some can’t even afford desks. According to the Texas State Teachers Association, 12,000 teachers have lost their jobs. Teachers here at Westlake have had to take on an extra class period despite class size increases — without a pay raise. Texas has seen $5.4 billion budget cuts, which the TSTA is demanding to be restored. The strain that the decrease in monetary support has put on the smaller things that need to be paid for is obvious. This is where we need fundraising to help cover the costs of what we want for our school. Bedrock is a modern-day fundraising company which sells a digital album that can help put money back into our programs and back into our school. Instead of chocolate bars, magazine subscriptions or some sort of cheaply made product nobody really needs, Bedrock uses music to raise money for schools. They offer a digital album featuring all local artists, which a student sells online after signing up to fundraise for their school. The proceeds from each album are divvied up between the musicians, the school and Bedrock. The process is set up so that schools optimize from the sale without having to invest in a physical product. It’s comparable to buying a CD off iTunes. Currently, the album available is the Bedrock Music Collection: Volume 1, containing 14 tracks, which sells for $12. Some of the artists include well-known local bands like Explosions in the Sky, Los Lonely Boys and Nelo. From the soulful country sounds of Sahara Smith with her song “Are You Lonely” to the rock Latino style of Grupo Fantasma with their song “Realizando,” many different genres of music are represented on the CD. The company is planning to release new music

collections several times a year. But the schools aren’t the only ones that benefit directly from using a fundraising system like Bedrock’s. For each album a student sells, they earn points that they can exchange for prizes. Depending on the number of points accumulated, students can cash in for gift cards, guitars and even three-day ACL passes. Top selling students can even win a scholarship for their continuing education. Started in October 2011, the company is still in its infancy. Bedrock’s founders have worked extensively with the music industry with projects such as Austin City Limits, C3 Presents, Front Gate Tickets and ACL Live. The concept to start a fundraising company came from the community conversation to help focus on the needs for our community to get behind education. Bedrock believes education is important for the future of our economy and our country. Austin High, Khabele, Leander and many other local schools have already started using Bedrock to raise funds for their schools. The money raised is for the school to use where it sees fit. The funds collected can go to a class trip, new water fountains, art supplies or even teacher bonuses. If our school wants to join behind a common cause, a club wants to raise money for a certain project or an elective program wants to raise money to cover supplies, we should use Bedrock as a tool. It is a modern twist on the old fashioned door-todoor fundraising model that offers a new product that people actually want. Artists gain new exposure, students win cool prizes and schools get some monetary relief in our strained economy. Everybody wins. It’s effective and new. We should use Bedrock because well, their system rocks. —Danielle Brown To find out more about Bedrock, scan this.

New girl in town Fox launches new comedy starring Zooey Deschanel Quirky, fun and big blue eyes — that’s Zooey Deschanel. The outrageous actress has made it back into the public spotlight with her role as Jess Day in Fox’s new comedy, New Girl. Deschanel runs true to form in her interpretation of Jess, a hilarious, yet socially impaired girl-next-door type looking for a place to stay after a recent break-up. At first, her character seems over-thetop, with a personality so strange it is almost unbelievable, but after so many laughs you have to admit, this girl is funny. Saying the first thing that comes to her mind, Jess never fails to make uncomfortable moments with her roommates and brings an unwelcomed feminine edge to the bachelor pad she found online, thinking its residents were actually three older women. If you loved seeing Deschanel blurt out senseless songs about sea horses in Yes Man, you won’t be disappointed. Jess Day seems to coin every phrase into a song, especially when social situations get a little awkward. Topping off the strange antics of Jess are her three unlikely-paired roommates, Schmidt, Winston and Nick, who each add a comical lifestyle to the loft that they all share. Schmidt is the amateur version of How I Met Your Mother’s character Barney Stinson. He frequently finds ways to shorten the names of everyday items to single syllables like oven to “oves” and hangs out with his two best bros from college. He spends his days sipping back bro juice and hitting on every girl within a five mile radius, sometimes including Jess. His roommates have even designated for him a douche-bag jar in which he puts

money, sometimes as much as $50, when he says snobbish things like “Where’s my pea coat?” Schmidt is my personal favorite with his pretentious lines and frat-boy state of mind that shouldn’t belong to a 29-year-old man. To balance out every show there is always the nice guy, who in this case is Nick. He is easy to live with and has obvious chemistry with Jess. Nick is somewhat insecure and doesn’t seem to have much luck with women after his on-again, off-again relationship with ex-girlfriend Caroline. He is the logical one who keeps Schmidt in check and is always there for Jess. The third roommate, Winston, a former basketball player in Latvia, is recently unemployed since his Latvian basketball team “found another black guy.” While there isn’t much focus on Winston as a character, he does bring the occasional sassy attitude to the loft when needed and is constantly putting Schmidt down. Another character we see often is Jess’ best friend Cece. As a model, she constantly has to ward off the advances of Schmidt and Winston by tricking them to do small tasks for her or by just being all around hostile. This great combo of characters balances out the show evenly, never allowing for a dull moment. Airing every Tuesday at 8 p.m., New Girl will get anyone who watches hooked for life. This 30-minute feel-good comedy is short, sweet and the perfect addition to your Tuesday. —Catherine Mear

Reality Bites Great shows lose slots to not-so-real TV I was all into FlashForward. I watched it with my mom every Sunday night. It had such a complicated plot and there were so many twists and turns — I never knew what was going to happen next. When the first season came to a close, the investigator was trapped in a burning building. I already knew who had caused the mass destruction across the planet and had seen them escape. Then the building exploded. The screen read, “To be continued.” I didn’t know if the investigator made it out in time. I would never know because FlashForward was canceled. There would not be a second season. I will live with the mystery for my entire life. I will never get over this. And what’s worse is what took my beloved show’s time slot: Reality TV. ABC couldn’t keep ratings up enough to let a good show with an actual plot line air, but The Bachelor has been on for what seems

like a billion seasons. It just doesn’t seem right to me. The Kardashians have their own series and two spin-offs, there’s a show about people running across an obstacle course, and a show filled with white trash Italians partying it up in Jersey. Television all around just makes me mad. I already have enough drama in my life, why would I want to worry about someone else’s problems? Most of the time they’re scripted anyways. I don’t want to see a rose ceremony filled with crying girls, toddlers screaming about makeup or a special on people dying their poodles crazy colors. Honestly, I would rather watch reruns of Friends than anything else. I try to catch every new show that comes out each season and give it a chance to survive. Most of the time, I like it. It’s usually something that I would record every week. But more often than not, it ends up being

cancelled and replaced with a crappy reality show. I will admit that I watch American Idol and on occasion I’ll watch Survivor for a few weeks. But those shows have been on air for a decade because it takes talent to sing and it takes skill to survive on an island. It doesn’t take any talent to sit in a house with 10 other girls while screaming and crying. TV needs better writers and more support for the good shows — those shows that put you on the edge of your seat and leave you wanting more every week, not another competition that ends with someone crying because they’ve been sent home. If you find a show you like, keep watching it. Give it good ratings by making sure not to miss it. Hopefully, it will last into the next season. Or maybe you should just try not to get too attached. —Caitlyn Kerbow



Local ice cream shops go beyond just chocolate and vanilla

de la

crème Lick Ice Creams

photos by Allie Carlisle and Karen Scott

2032 S. Lamar Blvd. Sunday - Thursday: 12:30 - 10 p.m. Friday - Saturday: 12:30 - 11:30 p.m.

I’m not an ice cream connoisseur by any means. Vanilla is vanilla; chocolate is chocolate, no matter who produces it. But one shop has turned me into such an ice cream snob that I will never look at a pint of Blue Bell the same way ever again. Lick Ice Creams, located on South Lamar, has the most exquisite array of all-natural ice cream flavors accompanied by the finest ingredients to create an out-of-this-world ice cream experience. When you first walk into Lick you are greeted by a large case full of a variety of flavors and a large portrait of a happy looking cow on the left wall. The shop itself is super clean and has a cozy modern atmosphere. Now let’s talk flavors. I sampled almost everything they had to offer with flavors from Cilantro Lime, Carrots and Tarragon, and Breakfast Bacon to the reinvention of classics like Fresh Mint and Chocolate Chunk, Vanilla Bean and Honey, and Chocolate. Whoa. My mind was blown. The flavors were spot on. The texture was perfect. I ultimately picked Breakfast Bacon, Grapefruit and Ginger and Goat Cheese with Honey and Thyme as the three scoops for a medium-sized cup. The prices might be considered a little high, but I say for the quality of the ingredients of the ice cream it was worth every cent. Due to the small size of the shop, there is a lack of seating — a choice between a large bench on the left wall and small stools on the ground. I chose to eat my ice cream outside on the steps. Lick is modern ice cream for the modern palate. The quality of the ingredients, the interesting flavors and the overall experience has made me a dedicated customer. The flavors, whether or not they are dairy free, change seasonally, so you will always be able to expand your culinary horizons. —Danielle Brown


26 Doors Shopping Center 1206 W. 38th St.

Monday-Thursday: 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. Friday: 7 a.m. - midnight Saturday: 8 a.m. - midnight Sunday: 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Gelato is a small snack that will not result in guilt. Tèo, located on 38th Street across from the Seton Hospital, sells small servings that contain about half the amount of calories of small servings at other ice cream shops. Using all natural ingredients in their coffee and gelato, Tèo’s gelato contains significantly fewer carbs than typical ice cream. Gelato is made with whole milk rather than the heavy cream and butterfat used to make American ice cream. The small gelato and coffee shop brings genuine Italian gelato right here to Austin. Tèo greets you with bright colors and an appealing array of choices; their gelato flavors include the classics usually infused with small bits of fruit, chocolate or candy, depending on which flavor you choose.


Tèo’s gelato is just classic enough for the person who orders the same flavor at every ice cream shop to experience an interesting twist when they take their first Tèo bites. Homemade every day, the gelato served at Tèo has the customer closing his or her eyes and daydreaming of a world made of gelato. Each bite contains a unique taste of sweet anomaly that isn’t present in other ice creams. Tèo’s gelato and espresso has also been voted as one of the top 10 gelato shops in the nation by Forbes magazine. The small shop invites you to sit down, sip a cup of coffee, enjoy a gelato and just relax. Tèo is for those who are reluctant to change their tastes, but are willing to take small steps. —Monica Tan

909 West Mary Street Unit B Open daily 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.

If you are looking for a unique treat with a lasting impression, Thaifresh is the place to go. The homemade ice cream served in the small restaurant next to Thrice Café off South Lamar will permanently curb the standards on which you base ice cream quality. Thaifresh offers a variety of ice creams, ranging from the strange but delicious pepper flavor to the best-I’ve-ever-had chocolate. The dessert gives off a hint of ethnic spice and satisfies anyone who craves something different and delectable. After you take your first bite of Thaifresh ice cream, you can almost literally see the world get a little brighter. A bit surprising, most of Thaifresh’s ice cream is vegan. How could such amazing ice cream not even contain the fattiness of milk? Thaifresh is for people who wish to experience a variation of one of their favorite desserts spun off beautifully in the traditional cooking of a foreign country. Aside from the incredible ice cream, Thaifresh also serves traditional Thai cuisine that leaves your mouth watering, and not just because of the spiciness of their tasty green curry. Priced reasonably, Thaifresh is a great place for anyone looking for a quick lunch or dinner. The small restaurant also offers cooking classes for anyone who wants to learn how to make traditional Thai dishes. It includes a market that sells vegetables and ingredients that you can’t get at your ordinary grocery store if you want to make your own Thai-inspired dishes. For anyone who likes exploring cultures, Thaifresh is perfect. The food is tasty and the people are nice. And best of all, the ice cream is phenomenal. —Monica Tan


l F l i a c S a e h F ‘Stac tyles r e 1


1. The Fu Manchu Description: Your mustache has grown to new lengths and dangles past your chin. The longer it is, the wiser you are — automatically. How? Ancient Chinese secret. What it says about you: Everyone refers to you as “Sensei,” whether you are one or not. 2. The Curly Q Description: The Classic, with a little styling. Take the ends and curl them in; you might even want to invest in a mini curling iron. What it says about you: Care for a baguette? Maybe some escargot?


3. The Whiskers Description: The ends of your mustache stand straight up and out, like hairy death spikes. What it says about you: If you’re not part catfish, then you’re probably clinically insane and/or the world’s greatest super villain.


4. The Pencil Description: If you cant really grow a mustache, but you want one, then the Pencil is the way to go. With this ‘stache, people won’t be able to tell whether you grew a mustache, or drew one on. And that’s the way you like it. What it says about you: You spend a lot of time “people watching,” and by that we mean “stalking.” 5. The Classic Description: Think Ron Swanson. Nothing too flashy, just an upper lip accessory to match your aviators. What it says about you: You’re an old fashion guy; you keep it simple. That, or you’re a cop.



6. The Wrestler Description: Think Hulk Hogan. What it says about you: Picture this: You ride up to the cage match and rev your motorcycle’s engine, to get the crowd going. Then you get off, rip off your shirt (size small, even though you’re 6’4”), step into the ring and knock your opponent out with one punch. If you have this mustache, you’ve probably been in this situation before.


7. The Goatee Description: A funky patch of hair that surrounds your mouth. It adds, “like a cool vibe to my face, man.” Whatever that means. What it says about you: You are a self-acclaimed “ladies’ man” and often sing Justin Timberlake songs aloud in public. You also enjoy stroking your chin when you are thinking. 8. The Lumberjack Description: Full blown beard = full blown man. What it says about you: You are at the pinnacle of manhood, chopping down trees with your beard billowing in the wind.

photos by Tanner Thompson

—Tanner Thompson and Madi Goll


surf the web If you’re searching for substance on the Internet, allow us to guide you to some of the most powerful and innovative websites of today — and by that we mean the most hilarious websites of all time.Olivia Lee

—Keren Rempe, Sarah Berg and Olivia Lee We all have at least one parent who is technologically dysfunctional. Now, the embarrassing texts can be shared with other kids who have suffered the same humiliation of non-tech-saavy parents. You may have previously been acquainted with this site from class, but don’t let that turn you off. This holy site begins the creation and spread of ideas that will mind blow you into oblivion. Ted Talks, each with a different focus, are lectures unlike any other with a broad spectrum of topics. There are talks on magic, opera, video games, math, self-sustaining ecosystems and so much more. May we suggest Ken Robinson’s lecture on how schools kill creativity for your first Ted Talk.

When you feel unimportant, this website makes you realize you’re not the only one. Simply say something about your day and accompany your pathetic sentence with an acceptance of my life is average… MLIA

The front page of the internet, a combination of memes, GIFs and rants about getting high, this anonymous blog site is created by a community of people who combine all their hysterical trololololz and upload it to one soulful website. To reflect on history, it is essential that we evaluate everything and anything that may resemble Adolf Hitler, including cats. Join the Kitler community and abolish all evils from the world. While we are on the subject of felines we must suggest a new popular website finding its way to the front page of Reddit, http:// It is comprised of exactly what it sounds like — facts about cats posted daily, tagged along with adorable photos of cats.

Feeling nostalgic with the loss of Kim Jong Il? With expressions of a god and the esteem of a majestic leader, look as he stands proud and strong and gazes upon several items which people have placed in his presence. What this website holds in its glorious hands are spectacular photos of Kim Jong Il, the dictator of North Korea, bluntly judging everything in sight.

Emily Mitchell


World-wide fad encourages millions to make unhealthy life choices

Dying to be thin


ith ruby red pursed lips, the girl in the picture is bent over at a 90 degree angle as to show off her perfectly defined collar bone, which peaks out of her chest like a spike on a chain. Her slender thighs are easily four inches apart, and the sepia tone lighting finishes off the photo in an attempt to make it look heavily edited. The caption for the photo is “#thinspo,” an unfortunately popular trend I discovered on the photo sharing and editing app “Instagram.” The photo has a disgusting 540 likes and the comments say things like “beautiful, I wish my arms were that toned,” and “so skinny and perfect.” But skinny does not necessarily make perfect, and this outrageous concept, “thinspiration,” encourages self-harm and is detrimental to the already fluctuating self-esteem of the average teenage girl. Thinspiration is the idea of looking towards a skinny model, quote, video or idea for motivation to lose weight. The basic concept may have started off as a form of healthy motivation, but since the social media boom, Thinspiration has been abbreviated to “Thinspo” and has become a media phenomenon that trends on popular networking sites like Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Flickr and even Youtube throughout the world. This trend has now transformed into a harmful breed of blogging that promotes eating disorders. On Youtube, the videos feature overly skinny girls describing their calorie consumption for the day, or showing off the “gap” between their thighs. The blogs often consist of photomontages picturing bony models showing off their flat stomachs framed by protruding hip bones, with captions featuring slogans in favor of starvation. If one dares to explore the comment sections of the sites, they would find

internet users searching for “ana-buds,” a partner the dieter will use to assist in the drastic weight loss plan encouraged by the concept. These accounts are typically followed by self-conscious teenage weight watchers in attempt to find their incentive to lose weight in the wrong ways. By reading the quotes and blogs posted by people under account names like “Beautybones07” and “Searchforperfection,” the girls damage themselves. The alleged “motivational” posts of these accounts encourage rapid, excessive weight loss that assists in the increasing rates of eating disorders and depression. In 2010, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa killed more people than any other mental disease, and 10 percent of women who contract an eating disorder are predicted to die in the first 10 years of the disease. Alongside its ghastly death rate, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, half of the people known to have bulimia or anorexia are also diagnosed with depression. The material posted under the “Thinspiration” trend fuels uproar of self-hate and suggests malnutrition. So why does a phenomenon like this exist? People would never think to glamorize heart disease or STDs, so why do these bloggers find it okay to dress up anorexia in unique lighting and an artsy frame and show the world the supposed grace of being thin? The simple explanation is that they have crossed the fine line between promoting healthy dieting, and promoting eating disorders. The image of emaciation that these bloggers promote is unnatural and unrealistic and should be replaced with that of healthiness and self-acceptance. —Elizabeth Emery

Hannah Kunz

{staff editorial}

Truth be told Br ad



Students solidify cheating as chart-topping problem

“Did you do last night’s calculus homework? Can I copy it?” You’ve heard those desperate pleas before. Maybe you’ve been the one saying them. They’re in the halls, in the Chap Court; they are uttered all the time. During the brief 6-minute passing periods that break up the day, people have a purpose: to find the answers, to get testing tips and to cheat. Academic dishonesty seems to be securing itself as part of the Westlake culture, and enough is enough. We, the staff of The Featherduster, believe the deceitfulness must come to an end, the plagiarism put to a stop and the Honor Code imposed. Enforcing academic honesty will allow both underclassmen and upperclassmen to reach their full potential and to journey to college with both a sense of integrity and a feeling of confidence in their individual knowledge and intelligence. Recent incidents involving violations of the Honor Code have uncovered this pressing issue of academic dishonesty. In this case and at this point, the actions of each individual shall fall to the wayside and make room for the bigger problem that deals with Westlake as a whole. Something’s broke, and we better fix it. People cheat for a number of different reasons. The expectations of the students of our generation have been set very high, steadily increasing with each graduating class. Factor in a lack of time and the looming pressures of college and you have yourself one good recipe for an over-worked, over-tired, stressed student. Though cheating might alleviate this stress in the short-term, it will certainly come back, haunting us in the long run.

“I think there are different degrees of cheating. Westlake doesn’t have a problem with large-scale cheating on tests as [cheating] on daily work that people are too lazy to do themselves.” —senior Caroline Allan

In order to correct the problem, it’s important to uncover the cause. The set standard for students will likely not lower, but rather, an alteration to the structure of school in general must be proposed and implemented. Clearly, students are having trouble understanding course material and staying afloat as tests approach and essay due dates draw near. Maybe some have fallen victim to laziness, procrastination or let’s face it, an early case of senioritis, but as a staff, we feel those excuses don’t justify cheating. Different tactics should be used in hopes of creating a more stimulating, and of course, a more honest environment. Perhaps rearranging the way in which material is taught could be the solution. If students had more time to work problems, ask questions and thoroughly review the lessons with their teacher and classmates during the school day, going home to watch or listen to a lecture at night, the obvious sense of anxiety and confusion might dissipate. While cheating currently corrupts Westlake, the administration must receive some praise. They’ve taken steps to decrease the infamous competitive stigma of the school. By doing away with class rank below the state mandated top 10 percent and through Epicosity’s “No Homework Nights” district wide among other things, they’ve taken off some pressure. Obviously the anxiety of students hasn’t been completely obliterated, but realizing the problem of academic fraudulence is the first step. It’s time for us to put our best foot forward and recognize that when it comes to school, honesty is always the best policy.

“I don’t think that cheating is any more of a problem in Westlake than it is at any other school. In my opinion students here cheat most frequently by copying each other’s homework. Students don’t have enough time to do their homework or they aren’t self-disciplined enough to do it, so they copy someone else’s. What they don’t realize, or learn too late, is that homework is the most important part of the learning process. When students copy someone else’s homework, they’re only cheating themselves.” —statistics AP and pre-AP algebra II teacher Laura Ringwood

“Cheating on homework is a common thing mainly because it’s just homework, so most people don’t think it’s a big deal. I’d say that cheating on tests or exams is much less common because people know it causes an unfair advantage. Cheating happens at Westlake, but not on a large enough scale to be considered a serious issue.” —junior Matt Moore


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deep in the heart  

volume 43 issue 3

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