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Fe a t h e rd u s te r the

Westlake High School

Volume 40

Issue 4

May 19, 2009

4100 Westbank Drive Austin, Texas 78746

contents brains + brawn


trends + traditions


The queso question Forget college decisions! The real choice is in the pancakes.

people + places


2009 May

Good sports Ten moments of Westlake athletic prowess fit for the books.

Ella enchanted One sophomore’s secret obsession.

rants + raves


Just plane awkward The best thing about flying? It’s nuts.

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 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. photo by Barrett Wilson


Asst. Jake Bitting

Content Editor

Matthew Chang Hetty Borinstein

Leah Whitlock Helen Anderson Holly Heinrich

Web Masters Art Director

Copy Editors

Michelle Ling

Brains + Brawn

Barrett Wilson Katherine Finn

Anisha Ganguly Danielle Brown

Alex Bishop Sofie Seiden Asst. Jamie Mathis Katy Roden Asst. Cody Crutchfield Asst. Hillary Hurst

People + Places Katie Sorenson Asst. Hannah Kunz Asst. Caroline Hunt

Trends + Trads

Mary-Margaret Parrish Lauren Nelson Asst. Lizzie Friedman

Rants + Raves Jamie Lee Zach Wasfi Asst. Matt Frank

Photo Editors Ad Manager

Adrienne Cooksley

Subscriptions Mekala Keshu

Photographers Jacob McLaughlin Moira Bering Nathan Kallison Laura Aldridge


Abby Bost Abby Hanna Alexandra Bell Amrit Khalsa Annie Valliant Blake Mackie Brett Mele Chelsea Knepley Christina Shin Emily Huang Jasmin Khan

Jenna Stene Jenny Messer Jessee Haney Julie Dorland Kelsey Randle Leah-Marie Duran Lee Caffee Luci Ortiz Morgan Ridulfo Peter Sorensen Ryan McGrath Shelby Christopher Walter Bezanson

Retired gods

Aaron Retersdorf Ashley Carlisle Hannah Comstock Jake Webb Katherine Kloc Leland Krych Leslie Reynolds Maff Caponi Meredith Kolda Molly Moore Sam Womack Sarah Adler Shannon Soule Trevor Wallace Trey Scott


Deanne Brown




Baker’s graphics students use skills, creativity to animate Jumbotron, create for NASA In Dale Baker’s Electronic Media class, Westlake graduate Ian Henry found himself turning his interest in graphics into a project designing models for NASA while still in high school. A group of kids interested in animation thought the Jumbotron needed livening up and developed the dancing figures that flash onto the screen when the Chaps score a touchdown. And now Baker’s students are starting a new project — working to make Westlake’s sports channel as professional as any network show.

Parks Settle

“[Senior Parks Settle] used an application for generating fractals [the swirling elements of the design] and put it in Photoshop to add the finishing touches to it,” Baker said. “It involves plugging in numbers -— it’s a trial and error method.”

Even the beginning students learn professional-quality technical skills. Baker teaches his beginning Electronic Media class to create the front and back covers of a CD case. Their products conform to current music industry standards, so students with bands have packages they’re proud to show. More advanced students use his class to take their already polished abilities in new directions, or to higher levels. “He’s done a lot for the advancement of my art,” photographer senior Shannon Soule said. “He’s just encouraging, and always creates new opportunities…he allows a lot of freedom. We have guidelines for projects, but every student works in whatever medium they want to.” Today, this impressive, multifaceted program involves dozens of sophisticated computers. But, it began almost by accident, with a single computer in a traditional art class. When Baker began teaching art at Westlake in 1987, he noticed that students took a special interest in his computer, (back then, having a computer in the classroom was a novelty). As computers became more available, he started to incorporate them into his instruction. Now, he teaches classes entirely dedicated to computer-generated art. “It went from one computer to six computers to a computer lab,” Baker said. This transition accompanied a shift in the world of professional art. “[The movement towards graphic design] has seemed like a natural progression in art,” Baker said. “If you’re an artist now without computer skills, you’re kind of lost. Everything is digital now. There’s still a place for the fine arts, the drawing and painting. But the commercial aspect of art has changed a lot.” Baker’s classes are ideal for students preparing for careers as professional artists. Computer-generated art opens up a new and important medium for them. “The importance of digital art is that there’s a big market out there,” Baker said. “Many people are making a successful living as digital artists.” His goal is to give students the tools to do what they love. “[My students] learn the basic applications they’ll be using in a realworld situation,” Baker said. “These are skills all artists should have.” During football season, some Westlake graphics students get realworld experience, courtesy of the Jumbotron. TEC runs the cameras, graphics and replays onto the screen, but often it’s graphic design students (or students who overlap into both programs) that design the bright animations that illuminate the screen. Like the other aspects of Baker’s art program, he intends for it to be a student-run show — he provides his students with the skills and support to turn thoughts into images, and then steps aside to let them do just that. “I enjoy how much freedom he allows me to design what I want to design,” TEC president junior Travis Favaron said. “He’s taught me how to translate the ideas I have in my mind into a graphic/animation.” The combination of Baker’s guidance and the school’s equipment creates a professional-level training program. “It definitely helps you learn the skill set that is required in this



the Arts Andrew Stockton

1. Junior Andrew Stockton was inspired to create the above piece by a favorite musician. “His interest in music had an influence on the composition of this piece,” Baker said.


2. December graduate Katie Pipkin has won numerous awards for her work in drawing and electronic media. She created the piece at the left in Dale Baker’s Electronic Media class. “It’s a composite piece of different photographs she put together,” Baker said. “She has a knack for putting together color combinations and images that work well together.”

Katie Pipkin

field,” senior Jason Rafal said. “[Professionals] are using the exact same equipment we are.” After their success with the Jumbotron, the students have decided to launch the school’s sports channel (Time Warner 1400, On Demand) which has now been running for five years. “We’re trying to make it as if you were watching sports on any other channel on your cable TV,” Baker said. “We don’t want to make it look like a bunch of high school students with a camera up in the tower. We want it to look as professional as possible.” Westlake students’ proficiency in graphic art and TEC has captured attention at interscholastic competitions. When asked about student awards and contests, Baker mentions the Visual Art Scholastic Event and only comments that, “We do well.” As it turns out, that’s an understatement — last year Westlake received 19 All State and five Gold Seal Awards at VASE. Still, at its heart, Baker’s art program is about learning the skills you need to design your ideas. It’s unlimited in the way that graphic design itself is. This is an art class where the innate talents of drawing and painting don’t enter into the equation. “Once you get the skill level down and know the application, it’s only a matter of how creative you can be,” Baker said. “It reaches a different type of person than I would reach with a traditional art class. They’re creative, but many don’t feel like they can draw. [Graphic art] is just another form of expression, and a computer is a different tool for expression.” —Holly Heinrich

What it Is: Don’t De(s)sert the Arts is an

ideal art event — it combines a student exhibition with drinks and desserts, and a fundraiser for the school art department.

When it Was: Tuesday, April 21, 2009 Where it Was: The Research Center Best of Show Photography: senior Shannon Soule 2-D Art: junior May Sembera 3-D Art: sophomore Lisa Framolino

1st place Awards, Photography Open: senior Sam Womack Landscape and Nature: senior Jordan Asfhin Sports/Action: freshman Hannah Kunz People & Portrait: senior Shannon Soule Black & White Dark Room: sophomore Nathan Kallison

1st place Awards, 2-D Art

Drawing: senior Katy Doughty Printmaking: junior May Sembera Painting: senior Colleen Troxell Electronic Media: graduate Katie Pipkin Electronic Media Animation: sophomore Travis Warnock

1st place Awards, 3-D Art

Ceramics: sophomore Oriana Wright Ceramics Portfolio: junior Tara Jones Art I/Sculpture I: sophomore Sofia Proffitt Art I/Sculpture I portfolio: sophomore John Cummings Art II/Sculpture portfolio: senior Erin Wikelius


brains + brawn

In the traditional Gyline performance, senior Leland Krych dances for the audience. Members of Gyline are chosen by the Hyline officers.

During Zenith, the Funky Company performs the dance that won them the State title this contest season. “Out of all the dances at Zenith, Funky Company’s is easily my favorite,” senior Sara Brown said. “It is so fun to get angry and show what Funky Co. is all about.”

eyes All oncenter


The new-and-improved WCPAC makes its debut at Zenith April 23-25

Junior Ashley Charlton leaps across the stage in an officer dance. Ashley was chosen by her fellow Hyline teammates to lead as captain for the 2009-2010 season.

Jake Webb

Barrett Wilson

With the touch of a button, speakers start blaring Rascal Flatts (at the request of director Adam Bernstein) in the auditorium of the Westlake Community Performing Arts Center. From every corner of the audience, the sound is phenomenal. New hardwood acoustic panels are suspended on the walls adjacent to the stage, making the music sound as if the band itself was right there. “Yeah, the sound system is a little better than a home stereo,” Bernstein said. A handheld computer-controller is used to turn on and off the sound system, light system and projection screens. There are three screens now, as opposed to just one that was installed previously. The former Westlake Fine Arts Facility was officially renamed as the Westlake Community Performing Arts Center March 25 in honor of its entirely new appearance. However, most students will probably refer to it as the PAC. It has seemed like forever since construction began on the Fine Arts Facility. And if forever means 13 months, it has been. During that time the entire structure has been torn down and rebuilt on the inside. The total cost of the facility updates for the choir hall, band hall, concert

Shannon Soule

(main) hall, lobby and ADA improvements was approximately $11 million. Also, the Board approved $600,000 for video production and projection equipment. It was less of a renovation and more of a rebirth. “I feel fortunate to be a part of a program that’s supported by the district and Board of Trustees,” president of the Technical Entertainment Crew, junior Travis Favaron, said. As of spring break 2008, the TEC crew was done moving out and the numerous projects commenced. The new facility is now compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, including a newly installed elevator and a lift into the orchestra pit. There is all-new seating, a control booth, carpeting, acoustic clouds above the stage, signage for the recital hall, lighting, theatrical lighting in the recital hall, security systems and updated production equipment. There are also the aforementioned three projection screens. And that’s just the tip of the renovation iceberg. “[The screens] are great,” Travis said. “They can be used for productions, school assemblies, Safe Homes – pretty much any type of presentation.” “It’s not enough to just stand up in front of people anymore,” Bern

Toes pointed and hair flying, Hyline stunned the audience with their dance to “We Walk.”

Dancing to “O...Saya”, the New News took the stage April 22-25. “I was really nervous to perform on stage for the first time,” freshman Annie Berryhill said. “But I’m looking forward to being on Hyline next year.”

Barrett Wilson

Barrett Wilson

Senior Laura Margolin performs “Electric Skies” during the final showing Saturday night. Juniors Hudson Hoyle and Ian Stewart accompanied Laura with guitar, violin and vocal harmonies.

Shannon Soule

In a dance to “Center Aisle,” five Hyline members convey strong emotions through their expressions. Choreographed by Lori Murillo, this number added to the quality of the 39th annual Zenith.

All photos by Shannon Soule

Hyline captain senior Kimi Patton performs her solo to “Black and Gold” at each of the three sold-out Zenith shows. The captain’s solo is a longstanding tradition.

Jake Webb

stein said. “You have to have multimedia.” Now equipped with state-of-the-art everything, the WCPAC is ready for takeoff. The 2009 musical was held at Lake Travis High School while the facility was still under construction, but finally the performers and TEC crew can return to Westlake. “We were all definitely grateful to have a facility to work with [for the musical],” Travis said. “It was like taking a show on the road and a good experience.” But despite the learning that comes from adapting to a new facility, the TEC crew is anxious to get back to work in the WCPAC. “Everyone can finally be back in here, at home,” Bernstein said. Compared to the facilities that the TEC crew used for the musical, the new WCPAC has outdone all other high school performing centers in Austin with its new features and capabilities. “We were the first performing arts center at a high school in 1984,” managing director David Poole said. “Now this renovation has put us back at the front.” And along with the status of the most up-to-date facility in the Austin area, there are many opportunities for learning that are attached to

Barrett Wilson

the WCPAC. “It’s great having it all available to learn on,” Travis said. “I am extremely excited. It’s going to be an amazing theater to work in.” With more than 350 new lighting fixtures, HD video and an AMX control system, the WCPAC is ready for all the performances in the upcoming months. Among the first events of the new facility are the annual Choir Spring Revue, Jazz Band concert, annual awards ceremony, Student Council speeches, Chaps In Service awards and Zenith. “For us, Zenith is what we look at as the grand opening,” Travis said. “We use the entire system.” “This is professional level stuff,” Bernstein said. “All of the stuff we’re using is not typical high school equipment.” As a new resource for the school, students and Westlake community, the WCPAC is a facility that will provide many opportunities for entertainment in the coming years. “The WCPAC is state-of-the-art. It is the leader,” Poole said. “I don’t know of another performing arts center that has this level of sophistication.” —Adrienne Cooksley

brains + brawn


Juniors Mary-Margaret Parrish, Kelsey Woodbridge, Maura Widemann and senior Jordan McCullough chant during their squad, Supafly’s, role call.


Teen Teachers prepare for Pedernales with overnight trip to Wimberley Photos by Katherine Finn

Maintaining his role as Fran from the movie Dodgeball, senior Jeff Ballew strikes a pose with fellow Globo Gym squad members, juniors Hudson Hoyle and Alicia Kappel.


USA • Supafly Rock and Roll • First Aid Medieval • Star Wars Globo Gym • 10,000 B.C. Villinz • Tourists Make it Rain • Country Harry Potter • Arnold Breakfast • Zoo Revenge of the Nerds Duct Tape • Man vs. Wild

Juniors Rachel Bryson, Shayna Smith and senior Natalee Juno show off their Revenge of the Nerds squad pride. “We really wanted to win Harambe,” team member junior Abbie Matthews said. “We spent hours constructing a spaceship that our whole team could fit into and a giant TI-89 calculator. We also learned the entire Napoleon Dynamite dance. It all paid off because we won second place.”

In the reverse spider web challenge, seniors Julia Thrash, Scott Gorthey and sophomore Ross Barrett carry senior Kalen Faulkenberry across a web of rope. During a role call, junior Katy Roden and senior Lexi Bixler bring out their inner cavemen. Squad 10,000 B.C. came in first place at Harambe.

Senior Alastair Winston carries senior Allie Goldstick back to squad Medieval. “It was awesome working with [my squad],” Alastair said. “[After preparing for Harambe] we were pretty tight.” Junior Patrick Crown parades through team USA. “My squad was awesome. Everyone was super excited and we didn’t hold back,” Patrick said. “My favorite thing was our unwavering patriotism.”

Rage Against the Machine Robotics team engineers success in its two-year duration There is a small group of students who work late into the night, designing, discussing and constructing fully functional robots. These robots are put to work at competitions to test their strength and ability. The robotics program, now in its second year, is still relatively new. However, it has not taken long for them to gain success. The class has two levels available: Robotics I and II. Robotics II is for second year robotics students and all seniors, whether or not they have taken a previous robotics course. “Robotics I is a curriculum-based class in which students build and program Lego Mindstorm robots for different purposes,” junior Stephen Bracken said. “The class is intended to act as a foundation for the Robotics II class by giving a sort of introduction to robotics to students. Robotics II is the actual Robotics Team. We design and build robots for two major competitions each year, BEST and FIRST.” Last year, the team was comprised almost entirely of seniors. Thirty to 40 students have participated each year. Even working as a new team, they have been able to score high ranks at tough competitions. The team’s immediate success is largely due to their state-of-the-art software. “We use a variety of power tools and the C++ and Labview programming languages, and 3-D modeling software,” senior Max Seiden said. “With the 3-D modeling software, we are able to create exact representations of the parts that we need to manufacture. We can also see how individual parts fit together and print very accurate blueprints for these pieces, making the building process much easier. At the manufacturing end, we work with various materials such as sheet and block aluminum, wood, iron, Lexan plastics, density

Sam Womack

Working together, senior Farhan Sherali (left) and junior Jason Ahuja make improvements on a robot during class.

fiberboard, cardboard and various foam boards. In order to machine these materials, members of the team learn to accurately and effectively use the shop tools we have at hand.” For competitions, the teams are given a kit of parts to use, the only parts they are allowed to use to build the robot. This presents a challenge to the designers because they are very limited by materials. Each year, the contests they compete in have different themes, and with each theme, a corresponding task or game. “The theme for the BEST competition last fall was ‘Just Plane Crazy’,” Stephen said. “Going along with the theme, the task our robots were preseneted with was to build an airplane. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. There were several obstacles and tasks that had to be completed and dealt with in order for us to be able to build a plane.” In FIRST, the game was called ‘Lunacy’. It was a special contest celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1969 lunar landing. “Two alliances, each composed of three teams, would go head to head in each match,” Stephen said. “The purpose of each round was to score as many ‘moon rocks’ and ‘super cells’ in your opponent’s trailers as possible. Each alliance had three human ‘payload specialists’ who were allowed to throw ‘moon rocks’ and ‘super cells’ at the opposing trailers. The big problem to overcome this year was traction. Because of the theme of the game, FIRST decided to have it played on a very slick surface and only regulation, low friction wheels were allowed to touch it with the intent of simulating the reduced gravity on the moon.” With the limited amount of time that they are given in class it is very difficult to get everything completed within school hours. Many of the students end up staying after school during competition season, sometimes

as late as 9 or 10 p.m. “During contest seasons, we work on designing, building, programming and improving our robot,” Stephen said. “Not everyone does the same thing. In order to stay organized, we have several different teams. There are the Programming, Electrical, Build, Business and the Outreach Teams. Each week, the amount of time working on the robot per person varies from just a few hours to about 25 hours.” A big component in robotics is teamwork, so each team member plays a different role in completing the tasks they are presented. “What I do in class is start or continue projects that I am doing, but most of my work is done outside class,” senior Farhan Sherali said. “We do a wide variety of things from writing essays to making contacts and sponsors to building the robot itself. I spend about 10 hours a week with robotics, which may seem like a lot when written but when actually done the time flies and it’s more fun than work. Robotics II covers a wide variety of skill sets from public speaking to proficiency in the workshop. We have to do many things like promote our team, educate the community about the program, teach about robotics, raise funds and gain sponsors, write essays and obviously build robots.” Robotics isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone, so those considering taking the class must fully understand what skills they will need to succeed. “It is an applied engineering class, where we build robots for real world applications, rather than just prepare for an AP,” Max said. “If you are taking the course, you have to be prepared to work as a team. I enjoy that it is an opportunity to break away from structured curriculum but still be very scientifically and mathematically involved.” —Sofie Seiden

New 3 R’s: Reflect, Relax, derek {football}


Featherduster: What do you think football teaches about life? Derek Long: Football is a microcosm of life. It provides an opportunity that lets these young men deal with things on a lesser scale. They have to work with a group of people that may not be their best friends. They have to be able to handle disappointment, whether it’s losing a game, getting injured or not getting to start. Sometimes they also need to learn how to handle winning. Sometimes when they get attention from the news media for winning games, they start to think they’re better than other people. But I try to get them to realize that playing football doesn’t make them better than anyone else. They’re just good at football. They’re just the same as anybody in band, choir or journalism. FD: What do you think coaching football has taught you about life in general? DL: My philosophy has always been to do the best you can and do what’s right. You treat people with respect. FD: What are some of the best aspects of the Westlake football program? DL: I’ve been working with great coaches. They treat them [the players] like human beings, which is how they should be treated. Our coaches care about our players. We’ll go around the locker room after practice and ask them what they’re doing this weekend and what they’re eating for supper and how they’re do-

Eva Cranford

ing on the ol’ Xbox Guitar Hero.

takes precedence over practice.

FD: What are some of your best memories of coaching Westlake football? DL: Really, the whole 26 years has been pretty amazing. I’ve been fortunate enough to be associated with a lot of wins in Westlake football and there are probably not a lot of coaches in the state who can say that. Probably the best memories have been associated with seeing these young men mature and gain confidence and have success on and off the field.

FD: How do you keep your team grounded? DL: Football’s a game. Sometimes I think people get it out of perspective and start thinking it’s life and death. In reality it’s a game, and you go out there and play your hardest and at the end you shake hands with the other team. If you won you’re happy and if you lose you try to improve so you can try to win the next one. Winning is fun, but it’s more rewarding to see these guys when they come back 10 years later and you see the type of people they’ve become.

FD: How do you think you have shaped your team not just as players, but as people? DL: You live by example. The way we’ve done things, family is most important. We’ve gone by a credence for years where it’s faith, family, academics and athletics. If you make athletics your first priority, you’ll be unsuccessful. If one of our players or our coaches has something happening in their family, we let them deal with that first. That

FD: What do you plan to do in retirement? DL: My wife and I bought some mountain property up in Wyoming, and we’ll probably buy an RV and drive up there this summer. For about 10 years we’ve been going to Europe every summer, and we’d like to see more of America. I’d like to see the leaves change color back East. I’d like to see the Civil War

battlefields, because I’ve always been interested in that. FD: What will you make time for that you haven’t had a chance to do in awhile? DL: Football takes a lot of time. We have this sign in my garage that says “We interrupt this news to bring you football season.” A coach’s wife has to be a special person. [In retirement] I plan to spend some extra time with my wife and do some things we haven’t had a lot of time to do. FD: What are you most looking forward to about retirement? DL: Probably at this point, a little peace and quiet. The thing about being a head football coach at a place like Westlake is that people always want a piece of you. Not in a bad way — it’s just that they’re always on the phone, always needing to talk to you. Being that I’m kind of a homebody, I’ll probably enjoy going up into the mountains and listening to the wind. —Holly Heinrich


With a combined total of more than 140 years in the classroom, these 5 retirees reminisce, look forward to life after teaching

marlene clayton {calculus}

Featherduster: How long have you been teaching? How long have you been at Westlake? Marlene Clayton: I have been teaching for 40 years — one year in Dallas, 11 years in Waco and 28 years at Westlake.

FD: What has been the most rewarding part of your career? MC: Having students come back and tell me they are doing well, thinking that I am somehow a part of [their success].

FD: What influenced you to come to Westlake? MC: My husband got the coaching job at the University of Texas — he coached men’s golf.

FD: If you could change anything regarding your career, would you? MC: No, I loved it and I feel like the students I have taught will be making contributions in the future.

FD: How have your students changed over the years? MC: The students have not changed, but each year there are so many more demands and regulations for both the students and teachers. FD: Can you recall a special memory of teaching here? MC: I have sponsored a lot of clubs and activities here. I’m just amazed at how hard students work. Every year I get kids that are really bright. When the school had a teacher number in Zenith, I performed in the program for two years, and I did the dunking booth at Project Graduation one year. I will never forget those memories. FD: What do you feel your biggest contribution to Westlake has been? MC: A strong AP program in math. FD: What do you plan to do next? MC: My husband and I are going to travel some. I want to learn to play golf and just take some time off to enjoy life.

FD: How do you feel about winning the Teacher of the Year award your last year of teaching? MC: I am overjoyed! What is even more wonderful is the reaction of the math department. They are as happy and appreciative as I am. It is truly the icing on the cake for my career. —Mary-Margaret Parrish

The faculty selected calculus teacher Marlene Clayton as Teacher of the Year. Here, Clayton receives congratulatory flowers in honor of her award. Eva Cranford

FD: What will you miss most about Westlake/teaching? MC: Being around intelligent adolescents. There are so many “firsts” for them and it is so exciting. FD: What will you miss least about Westlake/teaching? MC: Grading papers. FD: Regarding the future, what are you most excited about? MC: Having some time to do different things my husband and I don’t have time for now. FD: What do you hope your students will gain from your class? MC: That I cared about them and I cared that they learned whatever math course I was teaching them. Jake Webb


jane ann


brains + brawn Featherduster: How long have you been at Westlake? Jane Ann Craig: For 16 years. FD: How many years have you been teaching in total? JC: Forty-one years. FD: What is your favorite thing about Westlake? JC: That education is valued in the home here so the kids always come to class and they are prepared. FD: What will you miss the most? JC: The students. FD: Was there ever something especially memorable that occurred to you here at Westlake? JC: Yes. In 1995, I was chosen by the American Bar Association for National Teacher of the Year. FD: Has anything strange or


green {latin}

funny ever happened in any of your classes? JC: Something funny happens every day. We laugh a lot. When I was a World History teacher, the funniest test answer I got from a student was that they claimed that the bluebonnet plague wiped out Europe instead of the bubonic plague. FD: If you could change something about education at Westlake, what would you change? JC: I would do away with the TAKS testing. FD: What do you hope your students remember you for? JC: That I made learning enjoyable so that they would want to continue learning in the future. FD: What excites you about teaching? JC: That every day is different. That I am my own boss in my

Featherduster: How long have you been at Westlake? Jo Green: 13 years. FD: How many years have you been teaching in total? JG: 34 years. FD: How did you come to know of Westlake and why did you choose it? JG: I’ve lived in Austin since 1972 and I also knew Austin teachers who told me good things about Westlake. I was actually asked three times to teach by Westlake before I accepted the offer. FD: What has been your best memory at Westlake? JG: The kids and how they are such welcoming students towards learning. FD: What do you plan on doing after retiring? JG: I plan to travel around and visit my three sons, who all live in different states. I also want to return to Italy and Scotland. I also am going to do some volunteer work at the opera, and continue my hobby of needle stitching.

Barrett Wilson

FD: What is your hope for the language department’s future? JG: That it continues to grow and keep its high standards. FD: What do you hope to leave behind at Westlake? JG: I want to leave positive thoughts about Latin behind because a love of classics is a life-long treasure as so much of art and literature and music have echoes of Latin and Greek. Some people think Latin is a dead language and do not appreciate the study or value its worth. FD: What do you want students to remember and to take from your class? JG: The love of learning and a respect for differences – both for cultural and for ability, an awareness of the world around them, and also to bring along the want of high standards and positive goals. FD: If you could have chosen a different career, would

classroom — that I have never been bored teaching. FD: What drew you to teaching initially? JC: In 1968, when I graduated from college, the only two main career options for women were nursing and teaching. I was thinking about becoming a lawyer, but it was such an uphill fight trying to get into law school. Even if I had graduated from law school I probably would not be able to get hired anywhere. I also had a very inspirational seventh grade social studies teacher. But back then, if other careers could have been more accessible I may have chosen another route. FD: What are you future plans? Will you continue staying politically active? How so? JC: I might do some volunteer work for political campaigns. I also plan to keep up with the

it have been different? JG: It would be the same, I love teaching. I was asked to be an administrator once but I choose to keep teaching instead. I prefer to work with students and I don’t like hall duty! FD: What’s the most rewarding thing you’ve received during your career? JG: The friends I’ve gained from both the students and faculty. FD: How has Westlake changed you over the years? JG: I’m more aware of the inequalities in education. Westlake is a very privileged school and not many are like it and the school taught me that. Most other schools do not have as many supportive parents, financial resources or experienced teachers as Westlake does. FD: Is there anything else you want to add? JG: I’ll greatly miss the students and faculty at Westlake, but I definitely won’t miss the TAKS test. —Jamie Mathis

Spurs games. Driving down to San Antonio three-fourths of the year could count as a career! The season lasts from September to May with about two games a week. There is a charter school down there which is sponsored by one of the Spurs for at-risk kids and I have been thinking about tutoring or mentoring there. FD: Why did you decide to retire? JC: I have to retire because there is no more room to put up posters anymore! I have posters dating back to the Eisenhower election in 1952. The bumper stickers go back to the 1960s. I also collect buttons and I have an American flag collection. I have pledges too, some without the phrase “… under God” because they used to not have that on there. I guess my collections relate to my work in some ways! —Mekala Keshu

Featherduster: How long have you been at Westlake? Scott Malcom: Seven years.



{assistant principal}

Sam Womack

FD: How did your career at Westlake begin? SM: My friend, Stephen Shands called me and said there was a job opening for an assistant principal, so I applied and got it. He put in a good word for me, I think. FD: What will you miss most about Westlake? SM: The students and all the good friends and people who work here. FD: What will you miss the least

about Westlake? SM: The lack of loyalty for people who put so much into their jobs and this place. FD: What has your biggest contribution to Westlake been? SM: That is for others to judge. I would like to think I made contributions in several areas. I helped several seniors graduate and I made people who worked with me laugh and enjoy their jobs. I have heard thanks from literally hundreds of former students and their parents for what I did for them — I don’t know if that is a contribution, but it is the type of administrator I wanted to be.

that I really did care about them and their well-being. I always tried to listen to what they had to say.

FD: Can you recall a special memory while being here? SM: I have way too many of those. I could write a book on all the great things I experienced here at Westlake. One thing I will always remember is the hard work the counselors and I did to graduate the seniors who were not in the top of the class.

FD: What do you plan to do next? SM: Work and stay busy. Hopefully I will do a little fishing and work on a long, long “to do around the house” list.

FD: What do you hope the students you worked with will take from you? SM: I hope students know Barrett Wilson

FD: How has Westlake changed over the years? SM: A lot has changed over the past few years. It is a different climate than it used to be — not better or worse, just different. FD: If you could, what would you change about your career? SM: I wouldn’t change anything. I can honestly say I have enjoyed every place I have ever worked and the good has always outweighed the bad.

FD: Regarding the future, what are you most excited about? SM: Traveling a little and spending time with my grandsons. One of my goals is to travel to the Pacific Northwest and see the Grand Tetons and the Dakotas. I want to spend more time in East Texas where my family is. I also plan to go to Vegas and double my retirement money. —Mary-Margaret Parrish


Working diligently, junior Jill Capatosto completes the final touches on a pencil piece.

in her cap

Junior Jill Capatosto wins prestigious Spanish scholarship; will study in Chile, Spain, Morocco over summer


fter a long and arduous lacrosse practice Jan. 27, junior Jill Capatosto sat down on her living room couch. She was greeted by her younger sister, who instructed Jill to close her eyes. When she opened them, she was confused to see her sister holding a star-shaped piñata and anxiously awaiting Jill’s reaction. “I asked her why she had a piñata,” Jill said. “Both of my parents were watching me, and suddenly my mom shouted, ‘You won!’ I didn’t believe her at all.” Jill was awarded the $16,000 Ruta Quetzal scholarship that will fund her trips to Chile, Spain and Morocco from mid-June to mid-July. Ruta Quetzal, which translates to Quetzal Route, began as the brainchild of King Juan Carlos of Spain in 1979. The Spanish ruler initiated the program with hopes of promoting intercultural exchange among young people of different nationalities, and named the yearly expedition after quetzals, colorful birds of South and Central America. “I first heard about it from Doctora [Gloria] Garza in November,” Jill said. Jill’s Spanish teacher Doctora Garza learned of the program from Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Bill Bechtol, and was fascinated upon further research. “It’s an incredible contest open to students around the world,” Garza said. “I told my level IV AP students about it, and Jill was one of two who decided to enter.” The application process began in December and each applicant was required to create a historical, literary, artistic or musical work based on Spanish or Chilean culture. Being a talented Art III student, Jill chose a visual medium. “I did a three-dimensional drawing of the legend of the Caesars’ enchanted city [a mythical city of South America] in colored pencil, and submitted it

in January,” Jill said. Still, she had only completed a small fraction of the demanding application. Other prerequisites included outstanding academic achievements and a developed understanding of the Spanish language, demonstrated in a Spanish-written letter from the student explaining why he or she wanted to go and confirmed in a letter of recommendation. None of these were a problem for Jill, who plans to take Spanish V AP next fall. “Doctora Garza edited my letter and wrote a recommendation for me,” Jill said. “She also helped me fill out the application, which was entirely in Spanish, and now she is helping me translate all of the forms and information they are sending me.” Ruta Quetzal’s curriculum emphasizes the importance of learning from ethnically diverse sources. Luckily, Jill is naturally adept at foreign language and looks forward to the challenge. “I’m really excited,” Jill said. “I’ll be taking courses taught by professors from Spanish universities on different subjects like art, math, music, anthropology and astrology.” Though her birthday meant she barely met the minimum age requirement, Jill was one of four students chosen from the United States by the Education and Science Offices of Spain in Washington, D.C. “I think it’s going to be really cool to meet people from other countries and see how they’re similar and different from me,” Jill said. “It will also help my Spanish a lot to be completely immersed in the culture and not have a chance to speak much English.” More than just an unusual summer vacation, Ruta Quetzal is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “This trip will allow me to see the world,” Jill said. “I’ll get to broaden my perspective on life and everything else.” —Alex Bishop

Sam Womack

Applicants were required to create a historical, literary, artistic or musical work based on one of the following topics: The legend of the Caesars’ enchanted city The world of the poet Pablo Neruda The adventures of Robinson Crusoe in the islands of Juan Fernández The conquest of Chile: Túpac Yupanqui, Magallanes, Almagro and Valdivia Alonso de Ercilla’s “La Araucana” 400 years of telescope astronomic observation: Galileo Galilei The Canal of Queen Isabella II in Madrid and the America’s: 157th anniversary Gabriela Mistral: first Ibero-American Nobel prize recipient

The epic of the Mapuche people


forces be with

Students consider, prepare for military education, career Junior Robert Andon is considering either the United States Military Academy at West Point or the United States Naval Acamdemy. Following in his father’s footsteps, he hopes to serve his country after college.


It’s your 18th birthday and you’re an Israeli citizen. Today marks the day that you will be drafted to join the Israeli Armed Forces for three years. Male or female, it makes no difference. Your life is about to change whether you want it to or not. For American citizens, the experience is quite different. At 18, most people are preparing to graduate from high school and begin a new and exciting life at college. But for some, serving their country is a better choice and a risk that they are ready and willing to take. “The military is a different experience,” junior Robert Andon said. “Each type of service will develop your character and prepare you before going into the workforce. The superior education provides leadership and project management skills that will get you a job with any company.” While the obvious abilities gained are helpful in furthering one’s career, there are a number of additional reasons why the military is an ideal choice for many. Some join the armed forces in hopes of making a lifelong profession out of their passion. “I have always had an enthusiasm for flying,” senior Marcus Duenez said. “Military aviation really fascinates me and I hope to eventually fly aircrafts for the Navy. I want to live out my dream by gaining knowledge and experience.” The desire to join the military can begin at any age. Meeting people and learning about their military lives can spark aspirations to serve the United States. “I first became interested [in joining the navy] my freshman year,” Marcus said. “I met an Air Force pilot and immediately wanted to find out more information.” For others, the interest began a bit closer to home. Receiving a military education can be a long-standing tradition in certain families. “My father went to West Point,” Robert said. “He still has friends from there. That’s another reason why I am considering the Naval Academy or West Point. You build a strong bond with others because of similar interests. Everyone is going through the same high-stress situations.” College is a significant matter to consider when joining the military. The United States Military Academy at West Point and the United States Naval Academy both offer advanced educations and training for the military. After graduating, one must serve for a certain number of

United States Naval Academy

•Annapolis, MD •Training to become professional officers in U.S. Navy and Marine Corps •Students on active duty as midshipmen •Four-year program, graduate with bachelor of science degree •Serve at least five years

United States Military Academy •West Point, NY

•Military training during the summer •31 core courses that allow exploration of many fields •Student body numbers 4,400 •Every cadet participates in competitive intercollegiate sports each semester

Shannon Soule

Shannon Soule

Senior Marcus Duenez strives to fly aircrafts for the Navy. His fascination with military aviation pushes him to work harder to acheive his goal of joining the military. years depending on his or her specific unit. After serving the required time, there is the option to either continue serving or be put on reserve for three years. These universities are undoubtedly not the typical college experience. In order to be considered for admission, one must be nominated by a U.S. congressman or senator. Cadets are also not charged for admission, but are required to pay for personal services, academic supplies and equipment. “The opportunities given at the academy are great because you receive a $300,000 scholarship, you earn a degree and you are guaranteed a job in the Air Force after you graduate,” United States Air Force Academy adviser Rich Cavallero said. Although some students aspire to head straight to the military, going to college first is a better alternative for a number of others. “I think it’s important that I go to college first,” Marcus said. “My plans are to earn a mechanical engineering degree that will further me along in the military and give me something to fall back on.” There are also disadvantages to joining the military. War is a prevalent issue and controversial topic discussed throughout the country. Nonetheless, for those thinking of joining the armed forces, the pros usually outweigh the cons. “War is an obvious fear and hesitation,” Robert said. “Although being sent is a strong possibility, it is still just a possibility. Someone has to do it.” Though the threat of war is a legitimate concern, it doesn’t deter most applicants. Some consider it the worst aspect of the military, whereas others are more preoccupied with meeting the physical requirements. “I can’t think of many [cons],” Marcus said. “Obviously meeting the physical requirements and boot camp, but you have no choice when it comes to that. Hopefully it is an obstacle that will be worth it.” Joining is an immensely important decision because you can’t decide to quit until you have served your committed time. It is crucial to thoroughly know and understand the responsibility that comes along with serving in the military. “If there is one thing people should know, it’s that once you’re in, you’re in,” Marcus said. Members of the military have chosen to take a different path. They have chosen to do a job that most are reluctant to do. Making the decision to join, especially at the age of 18, is a testament to how they feel about their country and their future. “The military gives you the chance to pursue your interests while serving your country,” United States Naval Academy adviser James Brotherton said. “It is truly an outstanding career field.” —Lizzie Friedman

Back on track Boys

Although somewhat expected, senior Ben Stephenson’s first place finish in the 3200m and second in 1600m at the District meet April 15-16 brought a lot of excitement. “It was great to finally clench a first place finish [in District] in the 3200m,” Ben said. “And though I didn’t get first in the mile race, I was able to run my fastest time yet and qualified for Regionals.” Then, just over a week later, Ben’s excitement turned to anger and frustration when an outbreak of swine flu in Texas prompted the University Interscholastic League to postpone all athletic and academic events until after May 11. Initially, the UIL released a statement that the Regional track meets would be cancelled entirely and District times would decide who advanced to State. Ben’s time at District would not have been good enough. But on April 30 UIL posted a new Regional schedule which has Ben and the other qualifiers competing May 15-16 in San Antonio and rescheduling the State meet for June 5-6. “Originally I felt pretty cheated,” Ben said, “but luckily they turned their decision around. I’m excited to be able to run in the Regional meet again and be able to compete for my spot at State.” Ben has run track and cross country since his freshman year, always taking second and third places at the District meets. This is Ben’s fourth time at Regionals, but in order to get

Varsity juniors Olivia Tomasco and Allison Ritchie hand off the baton during the DMR race at this year’s Chap Relays. Jake Webb

past it and on to State for the first time, Ben will have to beat runners who have already posted faster times in the 3200m and land in the top two spots. “[In the 3200m race] I have the best chance for qualifying for State,” he said. “Only three or four guys have run faster times than me so getting one of the qualifying spots for State isn’t out of the question.” The 1600m race will be a very exciting race, according to Ben. At another District meet in Ben’s region, two people ran a 4:16 and a 4:18. The guy who beat Ben in District has run a 4:15 this season and another guy in Ben’s region has run a 4:20. Ben ran a 4:21 at District for second place. “Five guys running within five seconds of each other sets us up for an amazing race,” Ben said. “It’ll be cool to see who among us has the guts to take those top two State-qualifying positions.” Ben knows that this could possibly be his last race in the Westlake jersey, a thing that really motivates him. “What probably affects me the most about being a senior runner is that I know this is my last chance,” he said. “Last year, if I started falling behind in a race there was a little voice in my head saying, ‘It’s okay, you can do better next year.’ That voice is gone. I know this is my last chance, and that motivates me to run harder.”


The girls District meet was held April 15-16 at Westlake. The varsity girls finished second overall with 134.5 points, just behind Pflugerville which scored 138 points. Senior Lexi Iverson qualified for Regionals for the fourth year and is very excited about the way the team performed. “It was very successful for me and the team,” she said. “I ended up winning long and triple jump and our 4x100 relay got third and the 4x400 got second.” Lexi said her expectations are high for long and triple jump based on the jumps turned in at some of the other Districts. “I’m hoping to get some of my best jumps in and see where they land me,” she said. “I just hope my last meet is a good ending note for my track career.” Senior Linh Tran had one of her best days at District as well. She finished first in both the 100m and 200m race. She already

Swine Flu outbreak prompts UIL to postpone all events; Regional Meet rescheduled for May 15-16

Varsity distance runner senior Ben Stephenson anchors the DMR relay race at this year’s Chap Relays. Ben qualified for the Regional meet in both the 1600m and 3200m race April 15-16. Jake Webb

owns school records in both races. She ran 12.6 seconds in the 100m, breaking her own and the school record by 0.1 seconds. “I wanted to lower them,” Linh said. “I still have a chance to do even better at Regionals. I usually run faster than this, especially during the summer.” Linh is relying on past experience to take her to the finish line. “This is my time to run for Westlake, and it does motivate me,” she said. “It’s my last time to possibly go to State and break some records.” Next year, Linh will attend Baylor University where she will walk on for track. “I am really excited,” she said. “It will be challenging and at the same time a great experience for me.” —Peter Sorensen For more information about WHS track visit

Double or

‘Dynamic duo’ wins at Regionals, ready to take on State Tournament



he boys tennis team of juniors Alex Durham and Russell Bader won the Kemah Boardwalk Invitational, which is the largest and toughest high school tennis tournament in Texas. They won 6-2 and 6-3 in the finals against Katy Taylor on March 26-28. “We pretty much killed everyone,” Alex said. “We’re a really good team and there are only a few other teams in the state who can compete with us.” On April 7-8, Alex and Russell won the District Tournament. They won four matches and lost four games the whole tournament. They beat the doubles team from Anderson in the finals 6-1, 6-0. “I felt great when we won because this was the first match where I think that Alex and I put forth some effort and played well together to win easily.” Russell said. The boys won the Regional Tournament, which was held on April 20-22. Their opponent was New Braunfels and the score for the finals was 6-3, 5-7, and 6-1. “I’m excited because we can now compete in State,” Alex said. “We knew we would make it, so now all we have to do is win.” The State Tournament will be held on May 11-12. Alex and Russell have been playing together for about two-and-a-half years. The long amount of time they’ve played allows them to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. “We are better at different things, so we help each other out all the time,” Russell said. “We don’t like to compare ourselves, but Junior Alex Durham rather we do some reaches for a shot things better than the while hitting balls with other.” his long-time doubles Tennis is one of partner junior Russell the reasons the two Bader. Alex and Rusbecame good friends. sell have played well But it’s not the only together this season thing their friendship and are heading for is based upon. the State Tournament “We have very opon May 11-12. posite personalities

Junior Russell Bader hits the ball while warming up in the morning April 29 at the Westlake tennis courts. Russell and his doubles partner junior Alex Durham beat Anderson in the District Finals to move on to State. Nathan Kallison

that really balance out well with each other,” Alex said. “He is more reserved (whereas) I’m louder and more outgoing. Tennis what got us to be friends, but I don’t think our friendship depends on tennis. I know Russell so well now that tennis is only a small part of what we do and how we get along.” The great playing relationship between these two athletes can be seen from their coach, Kim Riley. She is proud to coach them. “They have great chemistry,” Riley said. “Better than any team I have seen in my nine years. They are friends on and off the court and they respect each other tremendously.” Even though sportsmanship and teamwork are required for a successful win, these two players can sometimes bring out the competitiveness in each other. These athletes like to have some friendly competition. “Russell and I are best friends, so we fight like best friends,” Alex said. “Everything we do is a competition, but it’s pretty friendly. We talk a ton of smack and put money on almost every game we play.” Playing singles is just as fun as doubles for the players. But they would like to continue to play doubles together for a little while longer. “I love playing with Alex,” Russell said. “We have a lot of fun on the court together. Of course [I’ll continue to play doubles with him], why stop playing with someone when you keep winning?” These guys know, though, that they can’t get too cocky. They still know that they need to stay focused and make sure that they’ll win. “We rarely lose, but when we do, we usually talk about it a few days later and move on,” Alex said. “Even the best loses — it’s just part of the game.” The pair’s skills and sportsmanship are clearly visible and even their teammates have admiration for them. “They are by far the best and most dominant doubles team in the state,” varsity tennis player sophomore Robin Chou said. The duo is expected to make it all the way to State. The two players think they will win, but they still have to watch out for their toughest competitors, New Braunfels and Plano West. Still, their coach has complete faith in them. “I absolutely think they will make it to State,” Riley said. “They were fourth in the state last year as sophomores and they have improved enormously. Many coaches seem to think that they are the team to beat. They work so hard at their games that no other team will be as prepared as they will be for the State Tournament.” —Christina Shin


Feel Passing up the morning traffic rush, senior Gavin Cantrell enjoys the thrill of riding a bike to school.

Cyclist senior Gavin Cantrell supports alternative transportation Shannon Soule

Featherduster: When and why did you decide to begin riding your out in the real world. bike to school? FD: Do you ride every day? Gavin Cantrell: I’ve always done a little volunteering at Austin Gavin: My ride is about 8 miles, as I live in Barton Creek West. I ride Yellow Bike, but never really rode bikes much. So, I rode around the most days, if the weather is nice...people are always saying, “Wow, neighborhood a little and realized it was actually really that’s like, a long way, you’re insane,” but if they tried it, fun. Riding to school seemed like a challenge, but when it wouldn’t seem so bad. I dare the entire school to try I actually did it and found that it wasn’t so bad, I kept biking in the morning. doing it. FD: Do you do it mostly for fun, or are there global FD: How long does it take you? What’s the hardest part implications? of the trek? Gavin: Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see You walk into a bike Gavin: The ride usually takes 35 to 45 minutes, which in the world.” I guess I would like to see entire comshop, and there’s isn’t that bad. In the car, when there’s traffic, it’s about munities using bikes as transportation. That’s cheesy, always a bunch of a 25-minute drive. The hills on Bee Caves were tough at but bikes/public transportation would solve a lot of first, but they got easier as I got fitter. Now, the “hardest America’s problems. [And] it’s fun! Austin has a cool smiling bearded part” would be the construction by Bee Caves/360, just bike scene, and I really like bike culture. You walk into men wearing plaid because there’s no shoulder, extra congestion and lots a bike shop, and there’s always a bunch of smiling of lights. bearded men wearing plaid there to help. ready to help.” FD: Do you find the going dangerous? FD: Your final case for opting to bike? —senior Gavin Gavin: I follow all the same traffic laws I would in a Gavin: It’s nice to just slow down every now and then... car, but that can only keep me so safe. Some drivers are it’s empowering to decide how long it takes to get someCantrell so oblivious to everything around them, which I can’t where, and then go move yourself that distance. Everyhelp. thing depends on you, traffic doesn’t mean a thing. You FD: What are the benefits to riding your bike versus also see a lot more when you bike changgoing in the car? es your perspective. Everyone looks silly in their shiny cars, sealed in. Gavin: There are lots of reasons. Most people dislike our dependence It’s silly how people treat cars like an extension of themselves, or like on oil, Hummers, high gas prices, etc. I like bikes because they’re a personal bubble. And they never look at each other, even in traffic. human-powered and efficient. Bikes return 99 percent of the work It’s very odd and separating. Alienating, I guess. Once you see it from you put into generally return 25-30 percent. The other 75 outside your own car, you get it, and I wish more people tried that. percent is heat, exhaust, etc. Gross. It keeps me in shape, too. It seems —Molly Moore silly to pay to go to a gym to ride a stationary bike, when you could go

bur n

In the middle of one of Austin’s most athletic neighborhoods, Jack and Adam’s bike shop attracts many of the Barton Springs bicyclists. They offer gear, services and lessons.

Where to buy your bike

Bicycle Sport Shop 517 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78704 Ph: Central Austin – 512-477-3472 North Austin – 512-345-7460

Ozone Bike Depot 3202-C Guadalupe Street Austin, Texas 78705 Ph: 512-302-1164 South Side Bicycle Shop 2210-M South 1st Street - Austin, TX 78704 Ph: 512-916-4422 Austin Tri-Cylists 923 Barton Springs Road Austin, TX 78704 Ph: 512-494-9252

Aaron Retersdorf

Barrett Wilson

Waterloo Cycles 2815 Fruth, Austin TX 78705 Ph: 512-472-9253 Freewheeling Bicycles 2401 San Gabriel Austin, TX 78705 Ph: 512-473-8700 Mellow Johnny’s 400 Nueces Austin, Texas 78701 Ph: 512-473-0222 Jack and Adam’s Bicycles 1210 Barton Springs Road Austin, TX 78704 Ph: 512-472-5646

Senior Billy Rainer and his dog Bradley ride together at the hike and bike trail in Barton Creek West. The two of them frequently visit various trails around Austin.

Senior Billy Rainer finds solace in mountain biking When some people were just learning to ride their shiny red bicycle without training wheels, senior Billy Rainer was learning to ride rigorous courses on a mountain bike. Billy has been riding mountain bikes since he was in second grade, when his brother-inlaw introduced him to the extreme sport. “The challenge of it, the places that it puts you, the beauty of nature and the exercise [inspired me to start mountain biking],” Billy said. He doesn’t compete in races, but prefers biking for pure recreation, spending many hours each month on trails with his dog or friends. With all the time he spends biking intricate trails in places such as Lost Creek, the Barton Creek Green Belt and Barton Creek West, Billy has never had a serious injury. “It’s very painful hitting the pedals with your shins or falling, but so far they’ve all been minor,” Billy said. Though biking on dangerous trails for long stretches of miles

may not seem like the ultimate sport for many, for some like Billy this is the ideal way to relax. “[The best part about mountain biking is] getting away from everything, from all the stresses of life and enjoying something so simple,” Billy said. Like any sport, mountain biking teaches you many new things, most of them not pertaining to the sport itself. “You learn things just by doing them, things with certain skills,” Billy said. “Not just things like mountain biking, but other things like meeting people and planning things like trips and preparing yourself for the ride ahead.” Pure elation and passion continue to motivate Billy to keep doing the sport he loves for as long as possible. “[I plan on riding] until I’m unable to physically do it,” Billy said. “I plan on doing it as long as I can. “ —Emily Huang

goodbye to P.E. Waive

How to avoid athletics and still meet your credit requirements


Think back to course selection time. With only two years left of high school, you groaned at the realization that your required one-and-a-half P.E. credits had yet to be completed. So what were your options? Your schedule was already full, and you didn’t know how to fit P.E. in. About 100 Westlake students are using a P.E. waiver for their credit. You’ve heard about it, but it seems so inconvenient. Actually, it is quite easy. At the beginning of the semester, fill out the P.E. waiver request form, which is only two pages. You have to choose which category you fit into. The first category, the Olympic level, allows you to miss one period per day. Students on this plan need at least 15 hours a week of supervised physical activity. Only about 35 students participate in category one. These students are usually tennis players, swimmers or horseback riders. The second category is more commonly used. Students have to stay at school all day, but they only have to complete five hours a week of their activity.

“I really like having a P.E. waiver because it gives me a way to have eight classes a day and still go swimming, which is something I love,” sophomore Geeta Bajaj said. In fairness to the other students, P.E. waivers can only be used during the school year. “We offer summer school, and those people have to pay; it wouldn’t be fair to let people do P.E. waivers [over the summer] for free,” assistant principal Scott Malcolm said. “Also, it’s too hard to keep up with during the summer.” Another thing to consider is the fact that your activity must have an instructor. He or she must write a letter that you attach to your waiver. This letter describes the program and explains how many hours you will be participating. During the semester, you keep track of your hours on a chart, which your instructor must sign. You turn this chart in at the end of the semester. While many students participate in classic sports outside of school, the things that Westlake students do for their P.E. waivers are

surprising. Some participate in rowing, swimming, lacrosse, ice hockey, wakeboarding, martial arts, kickball, bowling, rock climbing, gymnastics, dance or horseback riding. Some kids even complete their credit by working out in a gym with a trainer. “It’s helpful to people like me who do sports not offered at Westlake, such as rowing,” freshman Caroline Allan said. Since lacrosse is a non-sanctioned school sport, boy and girl members get P.E. credit through a waiver, but they do not have to go through the whole process of filling out the application. The P.E. waiver is a useful alternative to P.E. and athletics for students who do not have much room in their schedules. The second category does not take much time out of your schedule, since you can use weekends to complete the necessary five hours. “I think they’re great for kids who don’t have time to participate in our athletic program,” Malcolm said. “They’re for kids who are academically motivated.” —Abby Bost and Julie Dorland

Number of students that are doing: Tennis: 5 Rugby: 2 Working out at gym: 19 Soccer: 1 Bowling: 1 Lacrosse: 2 Swimming: 9 Rowing: 17 Cheer: 1 Volleyball: 2 Wakeboarding: 2

Horseback riding: 9 Dance: 8 Ice hockey: 1 Triathlon: 1 Golf: 3 Martial arts: 6 Cross country: 1 Rock climbing: 1 Yoga: 5 Gymnastics: 1 Kickball: 1

Senior Savannah Ritter sits in the lotus posistion during her yoga class. She practices yoga four to five times every week.

Katherine Finn



Alyssa Creagh

exercisefutility Student fails to see value of virtual fitness

I’m aware that correspondence courses aren’t truly supposed to be educational experiences. They’re a tool, a means of opening up space in a student’s schedule, a mere stepping stone toward greater knowledge if you will. Nevertheless, am I the only one who wonders why they have a correspondence P.E. class? I mean, I took it, and I still wonder who decided to replace actual activity with essays about the effects of bulimia and treadmills on our society. Instead of getting into better shape, I spent my summer in front of a computer screen. A computer screen with no happy e-mail program or group networking site pulled up, but a boring list of terms to define. My muscles were sore, not with the satisfying ache of a good workout, but with the painful tingling of having sat too long in one place. I’m the first to admit that I’d rather write an essay than run a mile, but I had to run a mile and then write an essay about it. Being the overachieving Westlake student that I am, I took the

UT correspondence program, and that was my first mistake. I’ve heard it, (now they tell me), from everyone I’ve spoken to, and I’ll pass the advice along: Texas Tech is your easy way out of both exercise and essays. My second mistake was assuming that the online graders were going to check my reports. I wrote pages and pages and then, trying to meet a deadline at the very end of the course, was forced to turn in a blank document. I waited for the grade to return, expecting an average-dropping assignment score. Imagine my surprise when the document comes back with, not only a passing grade, but a vivid ninety-six percent. Excuse me? While correspondence courses can teach you valuable information, Foundations of Personal Fitness may be the most worthless nine months I’ve spent on any subject. This contest is easy. Correspondence just got schooled by Westlake’s summer courses. —Hetty Borinstein

Top 5 reasons to take P.E. by correspondence 1. You enjoy long hours alone pondering the ABCs of personal fitness. 2. It’s a great excuse to escape from boring family outings. 3. To spend more time with your beloved computer. 4. You like the slow, painful process of boring your brain cells to death. 5. To avoid doing any real exercise.

Aaron Retersdorf

Swinging with ease, junior Kaylin Terry practices her put. Kaylin won first individually at District.

Right on


Varsity girls golf qualifies for State Tournament

As coach Chuck Nowland looks over his player’s scorecards, he couldn’t be more impressed. The varsity girls golf team has been consistently averaging scores from the low 70s to the low 80s, which are exactly the kind of scores they need to be shooting to take the gold medal at State. The girls have combined their amazing team chemistry and talent to make them one of the most successful teams in Texas. “Our team chemistry is like a strong bond that unites us with a positive force,” Nowland said. “It protects us from negative distractions that could weaken the team. Our bond has grown stronger from each tournament to the next, and all of the girls have learned to make sacrifices for the team as well as rely on teammates to come through in the clutch whenever one player has had an off day.” They have had one of their most successful seasons, winning six of the eight varsity tournaments in which they competed. “One critical key for our consistency has been our focus on preparing and playing to win vs. just talking about winning,” Nowland said. “This team understands that true champions are made from dedication, commitment, and from confidence born from steady, hard work. I like the way this team carries itself at a competition: a calm anticipation to execute instead of worrying about outcomes. We also have been blessed with tremendous balance throughout our lineup this year. Any player can go low, and that depth of talent breeds confidence as well.” Their winning streak continued at the District and Regional tournaments. At District April 14-15 the girls defeated second place Bastrop by 73 strokes, advancing them to the Regional tournament in San Antonio. All five girls received district honors and junior Kaylin Terry took first place by two strokes over Bowie’s Jacy Benites.

“One of my goals has been to win District individually after losing in a playoff my freshman year,” Kaylin said. “This year I was more determined than ever and it paid off. Next stop…winning State.” They faced some tougher competition and a more challenging course (Pecan Valley) at the Regional level, but managed to qualify for the State tournament by taking first place over Smithson Valley by 32 strokes. For the second year in a row, the girls will compete at the State Tournament May 14-15 in Austin at Jimmy Clay Golf Course. After a disappointing sixth place finish last year, the girls are focused and ready to give it their all. Despite all their success this season they are not getting over-confident. “For the State Tournament we need the mindset we’ve had all year,” sophomore Haley Haught said. “Even though we are the team with the lowest scores from Regionals compared to the other seven teams going to State, we need to keep focused and treat this tournament just like any other. Our dedication to the game of golf has brought us a long way, and I have faith it will bring us even farther.” The top eight teams from around Texas will be battling for the gold medal. “I know there will be seven other teams in the mix, and a few big names like Southlake Carroll and A&M Consolidated are expected to be right up there,” Nowland said. “I prefer to focus on our team and the course, however. If we play our kind of golf on Austin’s Jimmy Clay Golf Course, I like our chances to be fighting it out with the best of them. I know in my heart that our team will be ready for the challenge.” —Jenna Stene

Right: Following through her swing on the second hole, sophomore Danielle Suh practices at Lions Municipal Golf Course. Danielle finished third at District. Left: Freshman Emily Singletary strategizes as she prepares to put. A member of the Westlake two team, Emily finished the season with her team’s third place win at District.

courtesy of Chuck Nowland

Aaron Retersdorf

Driving it home Varsity boys golf dominates in District, heads to State Taking a soft swing towards the green, senior Trent Redfern practices golf every afternoon at Fazio Canyons at Barton Creek. Trent practices his putting, chipping and driving to prepare for competitions.

Adrienne Cooksley


Name: Senior Michael McCall Best shot: 72 Name: Freshman Wehman Hopke Best shot: 78 Name: Senior Greg Rosson Best shot: 74

Westlake is well known for its dedication to sports. It’s always crowded at our football games, even an away game. Students fill the stands for basketball and baseball. But few people realize Westlake has the number one-ranked boys golf team in the state of Texas. Westlake has dominated District for the past 10 years, with both varsities winning district again this year, and winning an exciting playoff round, where senior Trent Redfern birdied the final hole to advance Westlake past regionals. The team also had a third place finish in the 2001 State Championship. This year they are ranked number one in the state and are looking to win the State championship May 14-15 at Jimmy Clay Golf Course. This year the first varsity team is loaded with talent from the sophomores to the seniors. They won the Ryder Cup and the Johnny Keel varsity Tournament at Morriss Williams on Oct.16. “Our team has won four out of eight tournaments that we played in this school year,” sophomore Brenden Redfern said. “Individually, I have not finished worse than third place, and I have finished first twice.” The second varsity team has also done very well this season in numerous varsity tournaments. “Our team placed first in three tournaments and third place in another,” senior Greg Rosson said. “We won the Ryder Cup tournament against Lake Travis to begin this year’s competition. Individually I placed third in the Johnny Keel varsity tournament and fourth in the Seguin Invitational.” The team usually practices every day after school. It consists of putting, up and downs, wedging and full swing. The players must practice this at least two days per week and the remaining days are spent playing nine holes and practicing short game (putting). In order to succeed at this level, the players have to work hard to become outstanding at the game. “I play golf every day during the week for four hours at the minimum,” Brenden said. “On the weekends, I will get to the golf course around eight in the morning, and not leave the course until dark, so this means I am out there for 11 or 12 hours. I will occasionally take a day off, but only if I really need it. I would say I practice at least 45 hours per week.” The team has set lofty expectations for themselves this season. They want to win State in May at the Jimmy Clay Golf Course. “We have a great team with lots of talent and we have set our goals as high as winning the State title,” Brenden said.

This is no easy task. There are many schools all over the state competing for that championship this season. But Westlake still feels as though State is within their reach. “I expected us to be one of the top teams in the state and the team has met that expectation,” coach Callan Nokes said. “We are definitely one of the top two or three programs in the state.” Much of this success can be attributed to the head coach. Nokes was a member of the 2001 Westlake golf team under coach Mike Brent, and that experience led him to decide he wanted to coach golf. “Coach Brent took me under his wing and I became his assistant coach and I became a part of a State Championship followed by a third place finish at State,” Nokes said. “I loved the experience of those seasons, the kids, and the game of golf. I am a tournament golfer myself and it was a natural fit for me take over when he retired.” Though winning is great, other aspects are more important to the team members. “The best thing about golf is the friends I have made, the people I have met and the memories I will always have,” Greg said. “My favorite thing about golf is the competition,” Brenden said. “Also I love the amount of work that must be put in to be successful. You can’t get by on just talent in this sport; you have to work hard.” In every sport, there are certain events when something significant happens to a player that he or she will never forget. Golf is no different. “My favorite moment was attending the Masters in 2006,” Brenden said. “This is the most famous and respected golf tournament in the world, and it was unbelievable seeing all of the best players in the world. I will never forget the week I was there.” For some of the team, they hope that golf will be a big part of their future, including playing in college and even beyond that. “My plans for golf in the future are to first maintain a strong golf team here at Westlake,” Brenden said. “After my senior year, I plan to play golf at a large university. Ever since I started playing, I’ve always wanted to play golf professionally. So after college, I hope that’s where I will be. I want to be the greatest that has ever played, and I know it will take a ton of work and sacrifices to do so.” Though it has not always been a mainstream sport, Westlake has traditionally had a great golf team every year. And with the season turning out like it has, this year is no different. —Cody Crutchfield

Sweepin’it real • •

Rowers experience fun, intensity of challenging sport

The TRC Novice Boys team, including junior Patrick Crown, pictured fifth from left, works together to row an eight-person “sweep” boat on Lady Bird Lake.

• Combine the technical precision of golf, the endurance of long • distance running and the power of every single muscle in your body. That’s the sport of rowing. • “Rowing is very physically demanding,” junior Sara Hyten said. “I’ve • had more aches and pains in the past year than I’ve had in my entire life. On the plus side, my endorphins kick up so much that I’m always in a good mood.” Rowers — along with cross-country skiers — are considered among the most fit athletes. The standard rowing race is a two-kilometer course. Rowing a 2k, which, depending on the crew, can last seven to nine minutes, is the physiological equivalent of playing two back-toback basketball games. Besides physical fitness, rowing requires teamwork, for there is no star athlete in a team boat. In order to be fast, rowers must be in tandem with every other person in their boat, oars and bodies matching up perfectly. “Rowing really stresses teamwork,” senior Ariel Alvarez said. “If even one person is out of sync, the whole flow of the boat can be

Sam Womack

ruined. Everyone has to work together and move together to make the boat work.” Regardless of the hard aspects of rowing, most teammates say the sport is worth every sore muscle. “Despite the blisters, calluses, hard workouts and awful tan lines, it’s probably one of the best sports,” Ariel said. “I’ve tried pretty much every sport you could think of and…it’s by far my favorite.” Another factor that makes rowing enjoyable — the friendships. “Rowing allowed me to meet amazing people that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise,” Ariel said. “You get close to your teammates,” Sara said. “When you row with them, you have to depend on them.” In Austin, high school rowing opportunities are available at Austin Rowing Club and Texas Rowing Center on Lady Bird Lake. Both clubs have competitive junior rowing teams, with novice and varsity categories (novice is less than one year, varsity one or more years). P.E. credit is available each semester by school-approved waivers. —Jessee Haney and Brett Mele

Clarifications about rowing:

• Rowing does not give you disproportionate biceps — It is, in fact, a full body exercise. Rowers sit on rolling seats that slide back and forth, enabling them to utilize their leg, abdominal and arm muscles. • Sculling vs. Sweeping: These are the two different types of rowing. Sculling uses two shorter oars, whereas sweeping uses one long oar. The basic stroke sequence remains the same, but both are very different styles of rowing that require different technique and blade work. • Rowing vs. Erging: An ergometer, “erg” for short, is what you’d see at an indoor gym. It’s a machine that measures the amount of energy you produce when rowing and converts that into a “split” — how long it would take you to row 500 meters at the pressure you’re applying on the erg. Fall • Season vs. Spring Season: During the fall, competitions are long distance, usually five or 10 kilometers, depending on the regatta. When winter hits, most rowers undergo a rigorous, mostly land-based training. Spring season, also called “racing season,” consists of sprints one or two kilometers long.

Want to row? Austin Rowing Club 74 Trinity St Austin, TX 78701 (512) 477-7168 Texas Rowing Center 1541 W Cesar Chavez St Austin, TX 78703 (512) 467-7799



Freshman Rosie Maddox takes a slice at the softball. Rosie is one of five freshman on the varsity softball team. Barrett Wilson


Freshman smashes expectations out of the park Eyes narrowed, jaw clenched, freshman Rosie Maddox watched the opposing pitcher snap through the remainder of her windup. With a flick of her wrist, she released the bright yellow softball, whistling as it sliced through the hot, dirt-packed air. Shifting her weight back, Rosie gripped her lavender Synergy bat, preparing herself for the advancing pitch. Then, just as the yellow orb passed over home plate, she swung. There was the ear-splitting crack of metal on leather as the ball, its dull golden glow amplified in the twinkling lights of the stadium, sailed over the head of the infielders, past the bewildered outfielders, and over the fence. A home run. Rosie, one of the five privileged freshmen who made the varsity team this season — now in her ninth year as a softball player — has been participating in various leagues and teams since kindergarten. “I started playing at Western Hills when I was five,” Rosie said. “Then I moved to the Oak Hill League and played there until I was 12. During those years I played with different select teams [such as] all star teams like the Posse, the Kaboom and the Surge as well as teams that travelled around Texas like the Vibe, the Hot Tamales, the Red Hots and the Sizzle.” With all of her raw skill, grit and determination, Rosie progressed through softball so rapidly that she began playing with teams consisting of players up to six years her senior. “Ever since I was 11, I was always playing in higher divisions,” Rosie said. “By age 12, I was playing 18-U with all older girls. I was always the youngest but it didn’t really bother me because we all got along.” Due to her experiences playing with older girls, Rosie took her

placement on varsity quite maturely. She currently has the title of third and first baseman, as well as back-up catcher, and has an ever-increasing record of six home runs over the fence this season alone. “My most memorable moment would probably be hitting my first home run over the fence against Midland Lee,” Rosie said. “It felt amazing. It felt like that was what I needed to finally be accepted as a varsity player.” Rosie’s father, Todd Maddox, reminisces about the moment when Rosie’s bat smashed the softball over the fence and into the abyss for the first time. “I jumped about 10 feet in the air,” Maddox said. “When my feet hit the ground again, I was so proud of Rosie and happy for her. I knew how much it meant for her to do well for the team and that home run really helped. It made me feel like she belonged on varsity and that she was going to be a big contributor to the team’s success.” Already performing exceptionally as a varsity player this season, Rosie looks to the future with optimism. “I hope that we will have a lot of success, like doing well in the playoffs and possibly going to the State championship,” Rosie said. Rosie rounded each of the individual bases, beaming with unbridled joy as the crowd, all on their feet, roared for her outstanding hit. Her teammates gathered around home plate to greet her, screaming with pride and exhilaration. Rosie ran into their welcoming arms as she reached home plate, grinning from ear to ear. She had done it. A home run. —Hillary Hurst

A striking season

With a record of 22-12, the varsity girls softball team, with only one graduating senior this year, has done exceptionally well despite their adolescence. After finishing District in third place with five players hitting homeruns over the fence — senior Adriana Martinez with three, junior Mackenzie Whyte and sophomore Amanda Webb with two each and freshman Paige Euwer with one — head coach Haley Gaddis looks to future playoff games with confidence. “I expect us to be mentally prepared for playoffs,” Gaddis said. “We are in great shape to go the distance, so if we compete every pitch it’ll be hard to beat us. My expectations are for these girls to fight for what they want.” However, when the varsity team will actually make it to playoffs is questionable. Due to the outbreak of the infamous swine flu, on April 29 the University Interscholastic League announced the cancellation of all further UIL competitions until after May 11. The first round of playoff games must be finished by May 16 in order to determine who advances.

—Hillary Hurst


brains + brawn

With a combined 12-1District record, an earned run average of 1.44 and with a perfect game and no-hitter between them, pitchers Holt McNair and James Ferguson have become...


of pride



As a certain theory goes, pitching is the name of the game in baseball. Just like dominating line play in football, or that steady backcourt in basketball, first-rate pitching can, and usually will, go a long way. Nowhere in District 25-5A does that theory prove more true than in Westlake, where the Chap baseball team, led by seniors James Ferguson and Holt McNair, is sitting on top of the District standings. Barrett Wilson

Step up to the plate against Westlake and take a good look at the pitcher 60 feet in front of you. Chances are, you’re not getting a hit off him. If you can manage to get by James, the 6’3” ace with the 88 mph fastball, then good luck next game against Holt, a preferred walkon for Rice, who also throws in the 80s. Both are lefties and both, according to head coach Jim Darilek, are vital to the team. “Both James and Holt are leaders on our team, leading by actions and words,” Darilek said. “When they are pitching, the team’s confidence is always high. Pitching can totally dominate a game.” There might not be a better choice of words to use to describe James and Holt than “dominating.” Both have pitched either a nohitter or a perfect game this season, reaching the highest level of accomplishment a pitcher can attain in a single outing. Holt’s no-no came first, March 18 against Bastrop, a game the Chaps won 11-0. “It was the first no-hitter in a long time for me,” Holt said. “I had one in the summer of freshman year, but this was the first District one I’ve ever had. It’s such a good feeling to know that, unless I walked them, nobody got on base.” James, who is signed to play for McLennan Junior College in Waco, a feeder school to Baylor, Texas A&M and Georgia, pitched a perfect game, an outing in which nobody even reaches base, against Bastrop April 14. It was the first perfect game in school history. “The defense can’t have any errors, you can’t walk anybody, there can’t be any hits; you pretty much have to retire everybody,” James said. “It was my first one. There are a lot of thoughts going through your head; it’s stressful until it’s over. Then you really don’t know what to say.” To understand what makes these two so successful, their self-dubbed moniker “Lefty Pride” might serve as an answer. Having two left-handers on the mound has proved to be a winning combination for Westlake, as time and time again the southpaws continue to

daze and confuse anybody whom they face. “Having two left-handers is a look that most people won’t get,” James said. “A lot of people say ‘well at least we know it’s coming.’ But we are different pitchers on the mound and it’s our advantage throwing two lefties.” “It’s different because the ball is coming from a different side and lefties naturally have more movement on the ball, so it’s harder for a batter to hit,” Holt added. But it has been more than which hand they favored when they were young that has made them good pitchers. Practice and experience have served valuable as well. Holt has been pitching since fourth grade while James began in eighth and both were members of the varsity team their sophomore year. Holt picked up football last fall to get stronger and in better shape for baseball while James spent nearly every day in the weight room for the same purpose. ‘Lefty Pride’s’ commitment to excellence in the offseason has resulted in some pretty good outcomes on the mound. To date, the two have a combined 15-4 record, including an 11-1 District record. Between the two of them, they have struck out 96 batters. Average James’ ERA of .92 with Holt’s 1.96, you’d get 1.44. Merge that with a solid lineup (the Chaps average six runs per game in District) and you’ve got a team that has potential to make a serious run towards the State finals. Which has been the goal during their time at Westlake. Members of two straight teams to advance to the fourth round of the postseason, James and Holt, along with the rest of the baseball organization, have State squarely in their sights. “We expect to win State,” James said. “It’s what we’ve always dreamed about. It’s our goal our senior year.” Besides the fact that both are lefties and aspire to win State, James and Holt share other similarities as pitchers. Both throw a fastball, curve and changeup pitch and both tend to pitch backwards, meaning that if they’re ahead in the count 1-2 they’ll hurl a

fastball past an unassuming batter, who’s more than likely expecting an off-speed pitch. Yet while they have the same aspirations, throwing style and technique, there are other aspects of their game, namely their demeanor, in which they find differences. James concedes that he sometimes gets too intense on the mound and needs his cooler head to prevail more often, like Holt. “I don’t take it personally when somebody gets a hit or a homerun,” Holt said. “I’m just like, ‘I tried my best, you hit it well, point for you. But next time, I’m going to get you out.’” Holt, who has good location with his pitches, says he needs to increase his velocity. James, adept at bringing the heat, wants to work on the regularity of his off-speed pitches. “To keep getting better, I need to work on the consistency of my curveball,” he said. “If I’ve got it, then I can dominate. But if I don’t, I can struggle.” A 1-4 tournament record at the Centex Classic in early March wasn’t indicative of the team’s talent or desire to win, but the disappointing showing probably served as a wake-up call. The early problems arose from not only sloppy play, but also a divided locker room, with some players caring more about their individual statistics than the team. “Our team used to be divided and a lot of guys were playing for themselves instead of the team,” Holt said. “We had a lot of team meetings and told guys it’s about the team and not your averages. I think with the talent that we have, if we can play as a team then we can go far.” Leave it to the senior leaders, especially the pitchers, to step up and show their team the way to higher ground when adversity strikes. “The pitcher is definitely the leader out there,” Holt said. “He touches the ball every play and determines the pace of the game. It’s our job to lift up our team when we’re not hitting well or making errors. We have to help the team keep their cool and keep going.” —Trey Scott

Offensive attack in full swing Pitching might rule the headlines, but you can’t talk about the Chaps season — a District Championship season — without mentioning their explosive batting lineup. Made up of almost all seniors, with center fielder sophomore Collin Shaw being the lone underclassmen, the order is balanced and powerful from top to bottom. “Our lineup is unique because there isn’t one weak point,” left fielder senior Michael Todd said. “You can flip the bottom with the top and get the same result.” The result this season was an offense that scored a little under seven runs a game in District play and the emergence of Michael as the team’s leading home run hitter. In the regular season Michael hit five out of the park, the second-highest total for a Chap in the past five years. “Growing up, I always wanted to have at least one home run on the varsity level, “ Michael said. “Hitting this many really exceeded my expectations.” —Trey Scott

While rounding the bases after hitting his fifth home run of the season April 24 against Austin High, senior Michael Todd is congratulated by head coach Jim Darilek. The Chaps beat the rival Maroons 7-2 to cap off their Senior Night. Deanne Brown




Zilker makes improvements to worn-down northern section

For many Austinites, Zilker Park is a retreat — a place where the worries and stresses that accompany life can be shrugged off for a moment of relaxation and recreation. Within its 351 acres of natural splendor, the park holds a nine-hole disc golf course, nine soccer fields and several multi-use playing fields. With all the potential activities, beautiful surroundings and proximity to downtown Austin, it’s no wonder that Zilker has been called Austin’s most loved park. Like a desert wasteland, Zilker park “Zilker is one of the most unique spots in Austin,” sophomore appears barren during the construcAnurag Banerjee said. “I love going to the park either to toss a football, tion. The rennovations include go kayaking or just chill.” putting down new turf grass. Aaron Retersd The popularity of the park has its downfalls, however. After constant use and 70 years of visitors, Zilker is showing its age. The northThis was a fairly good thing, since it didn’t stop our work,” project ern 42 acres of Zilker Park reveal the worst of the wear and tear, as this manager for the Parks and Recreation department Tony Arnold said. portion has not received a major renovation since the park’s formation Later that year the first of three phases was completed, resulting i in the 1930s. the installation of distribution lines for a manual irrigation system to One of the most visible and detrimental effects is the dust. Austin replace the previous system which was unable to properly water the City Limits, the Kite Festival, the Trail of Lights park. and other events have torn down the already One of the largest environmentally and econom decrepit grass. The combination of the erosion ically friendly changes, however, was the creation and the poor irrigation system has caused large a pump station. An early completion in the second amounts of dust to be picked up in the wind. Acphase, this station will give raw water from Lady cording to the Parks and Recreation website, over Bird Lake to the manual irrigation system. 30 people were treated with dust-related health “The city used to pay $3 dollars for every thouissues at ACL in 2005. sand gallons of water for Zilker Park,” Arnold said “The concerts at ACL were definitely rockin’, “Now it will be just $2.85, saving the park more th but the dust was a-blowin’,” sophomore Andrew $150,000 just for the watering alone.” Guengerich said. “That was my one major annoyThe third phase of the improvement project wil ance.” include the most noticeable alterations to Zilker Because of the dust and several other contributPark: new grass. After the current grass (common ing factors, the city of Austin began the Zilker Park —sophomore Anurag Banerjee bermudagrass) was worn down from the traffic of improvement project in 2006. Overall costs of the ACL and other events, the Parks and Recreation improvements were paid by Presents, Inc., which department was determined to put in fresh turf (T runs ACL each year. The company donated a total of $2.5 million for way 419), commonly used on athletic fields. The planting of the grass the project. will hopefully take place in May. “They [Presents, Inc.] committed to this project before the down“The greener turf will help people enjoy the park more, since it wi turn of the economy, and discussed the idea of the project for two enhance the recreation opportunities and nature events for a whole years. By the time the recession started, the project had already begun. number of people,” program manager for public information Victor Ovalle said. Prior to the placement of the grass, an up-to-date irrigation system Zilker Park is closed to the public will be installed that, according to the Parks and Recreation departduring the construction. The project ment, “will automatically evaluate the daily evaporation and transpir is expected to be completed tion requirements of the turfgrass. Irrigation times will be automatic by May 2009. ly adjusted to apply the minimum amount of water needed to mainta a healthy turfgrass.” The final project of planting the turfgrass is scheduled to be completed towards the end of the year, barring anything drastic happenin The workload then falls onto the maintenance crew, who is charged with the preservation and cleaning of the renovated section of Zilker. This is often as important as the initial installation, since the attractiveness of the park falls into the workers’ hands. “The future maintenance is going to be the key for the success of the entire project,” Arnold said. “Without it, all of our work would go to waste.” —Jake Bitti

Zilker is one of the most

unique spots in Austin. I

love going to the park ei-

ther to toss a football, go

Aaron Retersdorf

kayaking or just chill.”

10 1 2 3 45 6 87


sports memories

43.58 seconds: A new national, and in that, state, record in the 100-yard freestyle, courtesy of swimmer junior Samantha Tucker. She also set a state record in the 200-yard freestyle, adding the proverbial cherry to the top of her ground-breaking performance at the State meet. “It was nice to see the results after all the practice I’ve put in,” Samantha said. “I’m truly blessed to be experiencing this as a junior.” While at times it might be overlooked at such a football-frenzied school, boys golf is beginning to demand attention. Not only did they capture their second straight District Championship this year, they also hold the number one spot in the State rankings. “Being ranked first in the state is a great tribute to the success we’ve had in the regular season,” head coach Callan Nokes said. “The boys have earned the recognition they have received and I hope we continue to enjoy success.”

In the span of a month, seniors James Ferguson and Holt McNair each earned two of the highest accomplishments a pitcher can achieve in one game. Holt pitched a no-hitter March 18 against Bastrop and James completed a perfect game April 14, also against Bastrop. “Having a perfect game, and trying to keep it that way, is stressful until it’s over,” James said. “It was the first [no-hitter] I’ve had in a long time,” Holt added. “It was pretty sweet.”

His third year on varsity was the charm for point guard junior Cody Doolin. Along with scoring a career-high 44 points against Akins, Cody won the District 25-5A Most Valuable Player and was named to the All-Centex Team. He’s also ranked as the 16th best junior in Texas, according to Rivals. “All the awards and stuff is credited to my teammates,” Cody said. “They do a great job and we had a great season. My post-season awards are because of what they did. They set me up to be successful.”

In six years as head football coach, Derek Long amassed a 5422 overall record, along with three District Championships and one appearance to the State Finals. So when Long retired in early February, the school board knew that they needed somebody who could reach the lofty standard that Long had set. Darren Allman looks to be the man for the job, coming off two identical 12-1 District Championship seasons with his former team, Odessa Permian. Allman has already instigated spring practice, a first for Westlake, and has high hopes for the future. “I’m a great fit for this place and it’s a great fit for me,” Allman said. “Westlake is a place that’s easy to get excited about. We will be competing for a State Championship this year.” According to head wrestling coach Pat O’Harra, after junior Peyton Burns lost to Allen’s Eden Bernstein in December he came off the mat and swore he would never lose to Eden again. He was right. Peyton defeated Bernstein Feb. 28 at the UIL Boys Wrestling State Championship to win the State Title at 152 lbs. “Winning was such a relief from all the hard work I’ve put in,” Peyton said. “When I found out I won, it was almost like it didn’t happen. A day later, the realization that I had won set in.” A two-year football losing streak to arch rival Austin High was snapped Oct. 31 with a 42-14 blowout. The win was keyed by a dominating defensive effort against Austin’s Emory Blake, an Auburn commit, as well as senior Ryan Swope’s three total touchdowns, including a pass to senior Mike Walker, which might have been the play of the year. “It was really important for us to beat Austin High, especially after losing to them the previous two seasons,” senior Hank South said. “We had a lot of pressure riding on us to win, and it was great to blow them out.” Throughout the District season, the girls varsity soccer team only gave up one goal and finished with a 12-0-2 record. They ran away with the District Title, finishing eight points ahead of second-place Pflugerville in the standings, and made a postseason run. An 0-1 loss to Bowie April 1 in the Class 5A Region IV quarterfinals ended Westlake’s first season under new coach Rennie Rebe. “Going undefeated and only giving up one goal in 14 games is a tremendous accomplishment,” Rebe said. “It’s an accomplishment we will build on for next year.”

9 10

New head basketball coach Tres Ellis, who last year held the same title at Austin High, faced off against his former team Jan. 18 at Westlake. The Chaps never trailed and blew the Maroons out 83-58. The next game, Feb. 6 at Austin, Ellis’ first game coaching in the gym he used to call home court since he left, wasn’t so close. But pivotal free throws and crunch-time performances helped give the Chaps a series sweep of their arch-rivals with a 66-64 win. “I hope this establishes a confidence that we can and expect to win every time,” Ellis said. “It was just nice to get the first games against my old school and players over with and won.”

After losing 11 seniors from a team that finished as State finalists a year ago, nobody knew what a team with 12 underclassmen could do for a repeat performance. Led by senior Elly Barrett, the best setter in the nation, according to head volleyball coach Al Bennett, the Chaps got right back to the State Finals. They lost to Amarillo for the second year in a row, coming up just short of a championship, but their road through the playoffs, where they defeated some of the best teams in Texas, is a testament to their teamwork. “We had a better season than was expected of us,” Elly said. “It was a lot of fun getting to know and play with the whole team.” —Trey Scott

Featherduster Face-off!

Where should I take SAT classes? More Than a Teacher or the Princeton Review?

$10 on the Rawlinator.

Luke Skywalker or Legolas?

Driver’s Ed in a box or online?


Where should we go to lunch, Sandy’s or P. Terry’s? Where should I go to find 1984? HalfPrice Books or Barnes & Noble?

Michelle Ling Welcome, loyal Chaps, to the greatest high school news magazine on earth! Truth-seeking students attempt to unlock the dark secrets of eternal satisfaction inside the school’s inner sanctum — the noisy but orderly Commons. Fear not, unassuming civilian! The Featherduster is here to rescue you from wondering endlessly about the questions of the universe! We’d name a few of ‘em, but we at the FD would rather plunge you right into the action!

Food Fight!

Got a hunger that nothing seems to satisfy? Craving something that will indulge your every sense? We’ve gathered some of Austin’s best eats with one question in mind — who’s better?

Yogurt Spot


kie Lounge

These days, when I want a dessert, I want an entire dessert experience. I don’t just want my coffee, I want my coffee while sitting n a big comfy chair next to a pseudo-fireplace. When I want a marshmallow-y snack, I want a mini-campfire to be placed on my table so that I may cook s’mores at my convenience. Fortunately, entering the world of full experience dessert shops are two new hangouts down on UT campus: Yogurt Spot and Cookie Lounge.

Yogurt Spot:

In order to really understand the difference between places like Yogurt Spot and the ol’ TCBY down the street, you must first understand the art of yogurt. There’s a difference between vanilla yogurt and plain yogurt, as I’m sure you know — one is sweet and the other a tarter, healthier alternative. I’d like to think that Yogurt Spot brings plain yogurt life. Upon entering the store, each customer grabs the one-sizefits-all, it-looks-big-but-believe-me-you’ll-fill-it cup, and walks past the seven or so serve-yourself yogurt dispensers. There are flavors ranging from the frozen version of the plain yogurt favorites to more creative offerings like cheesecake. Once you have filled your cup with enough fro-yo, you move to the 20-something choices of toppings and make your selections. Suggestion: pick a flavor theme and stay with it — many a time have I accompanied a friend to Yogurt Spot who got overwhelmed with all of the choices and made decisions that did not mix well. That’s the worst. Anyway, when you’re all done, you weigh your yogurt and pay accordingly. Besides, is there anything more satisfying than knowing you are getting exactly what you paid for? My pick: Green tea yogurt with yogurt chips.


of students prefer

Cookie Lounge to Yogurt Spot

Cookie Lounge:

Down near Towers there is an equally customizable dessert shop, attempting to create your perfect cookie. When you enter this very lounge-like setting (complete with couches and board games), you pick

Jacob McLaughlin

one of their selection sheets and choose your preferences. You pick your dough out of the 12 or so options, then you pick mix-ins from five kinds of chocolate to various types of dried fruit and nuts, and soon after you have your personalized, gourmet cookie (just one, just for you — unless you ask for more). While one treat usually isn’t enough to satisfy me, and it can be a little expensive (a large a la mode can run up to $5), I always enjoy a good, warm cookie. My pick: brown sugar dough with Belgian chocolate chips. And the winner? Well, let me preemptively explain that both of these places are always winners. Everyone should go. However, I must say that in terms of quantity of dessert per visit and repeated satisfaction, Yogurt Spot can never lose — and neither can its cousin Yogurt Planet. I seriously could eat it every day. —Sarah Adler


trends + traditions


Matt’s El Rancho

Who can resist the irresistible taste of salty chips and thick, cheesy queso? Even when I try to cut down on my pre-dinner snacking, it still seems that I have eaten the weight of the world in chips. Matt’s El Rancho and Chuy’s are two of the best Mexican restaurants in Austin, both famous for their chips and queso. But who is the best? For 50 years, family-owned Matt’s El Rancho has gained attention from Tex-Mex lovers near and far. Their crunchy tortilla chips have become a crowd favorite, and no one can ever resist the famous Bob Armstrong dip which includes queso, guacamole and ground beef. The portion of the dip is what draws the customers in. People who don’t want to spoil their dinner can order the small portion for $5.95. For the hearty eaters, the large is $7.95. Usually, I’m not a fan of guacamole, but when it’s mixed with queso and ground beef, it is truly a bowl of heaven. Matt’s flavor can’t

54% queso

Magnolia Café It’s 3:30 a.m. when my friends and I carelessly throw open the door to the local cafe, and are suddenly stopped in our tracks by the delicious and mouth-watering aroma that leaves us with our mouths hanging open in astonishment. As the door shuts behind us, we shiver with the anticipation of the delectable tastes and smells that await us. A thin green-haired waiter possessing a plethora of piercings greets us and asks us to take a seat on one of the turquoise benches by the door to wait for a table. While we wait, my friends and I joke and tease one another. As I open my mouth to make a “that’s what she said” joke, I suddenly close it again as I am hit with the realization of where we are. This is Kerbey Lane, a sacred haven, a place where the hungry find comfort and satiation. Respect must be shown. Although slightly less popular with the younger crowds than its biggest local competitor, Magnolia Café, Kerbey Lane continues to impress. I have been going to Kerbey Lane for as long as I can remember. I’ve tried Magnolia’s food. I’ve sampled their

Barrett Wilson

of students prefer Chuy’s

really compare to the taste of authentic Mexican food, but this restaurant is the perfect place for some good old Tex-Mex. Chuy’s restaurant has been open for business since 1982. The owners, John Zapp and Mike Young, had a hard time at first. They began trying to recreate a former old barbeque restaurant on only $20, but since then, their restaurant has grown and multiplied. Aside from their funky decor, Chuy’s has maintained their reputation for amazing food, including their delicious chips and queso. Even though Chuy’s chips are a favorite, their durability is lacking. When dipping, they break very easily, but as long as they taste good, who really cares? Their creamy queso is one of my favorites, but it doesn’t compare in size to the Bob Armstrong. So, which restaurant is the king of queso? It has to be the Bob Armstrong at Matt’s El Rancho. I have to say I love Chuy’s atmosphere, but food is of great importance. When you tally all the points, Matt’s El Rancho has the portion size, a good combination of flavorful ingredients and food for a reasonable price. —Jenny Messer

Kerbey Lane

“incredible” pancakes and their “mind-blowing” queso, and yet I remain a loyal devotee to Kerbey Lane. Kerbey Lane is never as a loud as Magnolia, making it easier to talk to your friends without awkwardly yelling into their ear or at their face every time you want to tell them something. The wait staff is also usually more attentive to you than at Magnolia. It doesn’t matter if it’s 1 a.m. and the place is packed with its usual quirky Austin visitors; you will almost never have to seek out your waiter in order to get a refill or to ask for cream for your coffee. The waiters, in addition to being incredibly competent, are very friendly and most of the time will joke around with you and your friends. Another reason I remain a frequent customer at Kerbey Lane is that they buy all their food from small local businesses, such as Oak Hill Produce and Nile Valley Herbs. This means that most of what is used in their food is locally grown and organic. I love being able to confidently chew each leaf of my delicious Caesar salad without having to worry about pesticides or other notorious chemicals that are so often found in our innocent-looking burgers and enchiladas. Kerbey Lane also allows you to make changes to their menu. Say you want their Basil Pecan Pesto and Penne without the basil or pecan. They will whip up exactly what you

want, and more importantly, they make it taste better than you could have imagined. I don’t like feeling closed in. Sure, call me claustrophobic, but there’s something about having every wall covered in elaborate artwork that always gives me the uncontrollable urge to run screaming through a window. This is another reason why I don’t usually enjoy my visits to Magnolia. I have no problem with the café’s support of local artists, but when every wall has been painted into an intricate and confusing mural (like the Magnolia Café on South Congress Avenue), I end up spending my whole meal fighting the insane sense of claustrophobia suffocating me. Unlike the psychedelic murals of Magnolia Café, Kerbey Lane tastefully displays the work of local artists without making it a distraction. But you don’t have to take my word for it — take a trip down there yourself. I promise you won’t regret it! —Amrit Khalsa


of students prefer

Magnolia Café

P. Terry’s


Sandy’s or P. Terry’s: A question of the utmost importance and difficulty. Here in the heart of Austin we have a geographical rivalry so strong that the two restaurants exert a kind of magnetic force on each other, so that if one were to — God forbid — go bankrupt, the other would simply implode. Add to this the fact that they both sell the same types of food, and you have one heck of a smackdown. So, to make this impossible decision easier, I have implemented a points system. Without further ado, the scoring:

P. Terry’s

Atmosphere: 9/10 (overall experience) P. Terry’s outside seating is always extremely clean — the trash can never overflows; the benches are neat. The ordering window is pristine, and usually has a few free newspapers next to the nicely arranged ketchup dispenser. Everyone who works at P. Terry’s has a sunny disposition, which makes ordering a pleasure. I took off a point for the bees. 7/10 (location and accessibility) Tucked into a corner on Lamar Boulevard, P. Terry’s is close to both downtown and spots like Zilker Park and the Botanical Gardens. However, accessibility can be a problem since it’s right off of a major street. 7/15 (parking) P. Terry’s parking lot is tiny and often Nathan Kallison blocked in by the drive-thru line, but there is additional parking on the side streets as well. I took off points because the drive-thru is cramped, featuring a tight U-turn, and the line frequently tails off onto Lamar. But despite being on an extremely busy street, it manages to maintain a cozy atmosphere. Food: 20/25 (menu length, variety and quality) One thing about P. Terry’s: it brings uniqueness to its foods. True, the menu doesn’t stretch much beyond the cheeseburger, but the fries are so different, and the strawberry milkshake is the best I’ve ever had. 15/15 (burger quality) Complete with “special sauce,” the P. Terry’s burger is amazing. Yes, it’s small, but it’s made with organic meat and fresh lettuce. 9/10 (food healthiness) Yes, it’s a burger joint. In the end, you don’t go to P. Terry’s to stay fit. You go there because it tastes really good. But they do try, so give them credit. As the official P. Terry’s website says, “The whole idea for opening a hamburger stand actually started as a reaction to reading the book Fast Food Nation. We were appalled by the direction the food service industry had taken. We wanted to change the way things are cooked, the ingredients...” This commitment is most evident in the fries, which are vastly healthier than any other fast-food joint’s. Price: 6/10 (price fairness) When you first go to P. Terry’s and see the prices, you will be astounded by their cheapness. However, when you get your meal, you realize that the portions are Munchkin-esque. I still think that the prices are fair, considering the quality of the food. 1/5 (discounts) P. Terry’s doesn’t really have any discounts, but their food is so reasonably priced, they hardly need any. Total: 74/100



of students polled prefer P. Terry’s to Sandy’s

Atmosphere: 4/10 (overall experience) The major drawback to eating at Sandy’s is always the atmosphere. It’s dirty. Really dirty. It may just be that it’s been having a bad day the last 50 times I’ve been there, but somehow I don’t think so. The seating area is disgusting, the trash cans overflow, and the walk-up area is nothing to brag about. The people behind the counter are standoffish, and they never give you enough ketchup, which is a pet peeve of mine. The food comes quickly enough, but at Sandy’s you never want it to come because it means interacting with the staff. 5/10 (location and accessibility) The restaurant is in a great location, but is severely lacking in accessibility. Sandy’s parking lot was, to put it baldly, awfully designed. The drive-thru line generally trails out onto Barton Springs Road, and there’s rarely enough parking. However, being right near downtown is a major plus. 1/15 (parking) I hate the Sandy’s parking lot. I can’t say any more about it, except that I’ve nearly lost my life there at least six times. Food: 25/25 (menu length, variety and quality) The first thing you see when you walk or drive up to Sandy’s is that you’ve got choices. The menu is sizeable, with many burger, drink and dessert options. The fries are pretty generic, but if you love fries, that’s not a problem. 15/15 (burger quality) Let’s face it: despite the many interesting items on the menu, you go to Sandy’s for the cheeseburger. And unlike P. Terry’s, Sandy’s gives you a mouthful. 2/10 (food healthiness) Sandy’s is not healthy, period. Don’t go there if you’re trying to lose weight. Price: 10/10 (price fairness) Just like P. Terry’s, the prices at Sandy’s initially seem too good to be true. But at Sandy’s when you get your food, they still seem that way. Better yet, when you eat your food, the prices get even more unreal. And on Thursdays and Saturdays, you can get an entire meal special for about $3. 5/5 (discounts) The Thursday/Saturday deal is the main reason I still go to Sandy’s. Total: 67/100

In conclusion, the showdown has been won by P. Terry’s, mostly due to friendly service and a clean atmosphere (hint, hint, Sandy’s). They also have an excellently constructed and easy-to-use website. But I have arbitrarily decided to award Sandy’s 10 bonus points for the Thursday/Saturday special. So my real final decision is this: On Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, P. Terry’s wins. On Thursday and Saturday, Sandy’s takes the prize. —Walter Bezanson

Read it and weep! Barnes and Noble

Half Price Books

Call me Ishmael. We will descend into the seven circles of hell, vanquish windmills, reanimate a compilation of various human parts and use as many not-so-witty literary allusions as possible in our quest to find out which book store is the ultimate champion.

Round 1: Price Barnes & Noble’s rank in the “overtly expensive to the point of cruelty” book stores of the year is second only to Borders. Of course, for your sacrifice, each book has that hot-off-the-press, new book smell, and there are no dog-eared pages or bent covers. This is not the case with the rest of the merchandise (i.e. silly bookmarks, magazines, kitschy gifts, tempting chocolate). Revelation: most of these goodies can be found at H-E-B. There, I’ve been informed, “everything’s better.” Half Price Books, as the title suggests, has books at halfprice. The books are Moira Bering “well-loved,” with At Barnes and Noble, junior Jillian Letemendia searches for a good book flaws and a debilitatto read. “I love Barnes and Noble, it’s a great place to study and find ing “used” status, but if you can blind all kinds of books,” Jillian said. yourself to these minor disadvantages, that obligatory birthday cash your great aunt bestowed upon you will buy a lot more books. And, for that last-minute English Lit requirement, Half Price has that copy of Othello, 1984 or Frankenstein, with annotations supplied by the previous owner. Winner: Half Price Books. It’s all in the name. Elementary, my dear Watson.

Round 2: Organization In Barnes & Noble, there is a clear system of organization. Books are classified by genres and then alphabetized upon their sleek wooden shelves. The staff knows where the books are, if the books are available, and, conveniently, whether or not you’ve put in a reservation online. There are artful tables of specific genres, and even an entire music section with stations that let you sample tracks from any album in stock. Half Price Books makes hunting for books a little bit like searching for treasure. While there are places for each specific genre, within these parameters you’re on your own. The staff can’t possibly keep track of all the books coming in and out of the store each day, and maybe that’s why they’re so happy. Occasionally, if the book you’re looking for is popular enough, the staff can lend you a helping hand. Otherwise, grab elves a copy of Treasure Island and set sail, me harties. Winner: Barnes & Noble. Though the staff might be a little more formal, they have mystical powers of book lore surpassed by none!

Round 3: Selection If Barnes & Noble is anything, it’s current. Their extensive library is

bolstered by the fact that, if they run out of a book in one location, at your request they’ll have it shipped from another. They have a decent selection of manga and graphic novels and a well-stocked list of classic and current music titles. Even their trashy romance novel selection is extensive, or so I’ve been told. Half Price Books has an extensive selection of books, but what, exactly, you might never know. Their music caches are varied and interesting, if you don’t mind rooting through old N’Sync tapes for half an hour before finding that $1 symphony of excellence. The comic book collection is epic, and there is an extensive market of first edition books to peruse, though they both ring up to sizable prices. The bookmarks, gift-cards and other merchandise are very Austin-weird, and, best of all, very affordable. Winner: It’s a tie. While Barnes & Noble has more contemporary items, you can’t beat Half Price for that occasional perfect discovery.

Round 4: The vibe Barnes & Noble feels sophisticated. The staff members are helpful but studiously occupied, the music in the background is always seasonable and vaguely enjoyable, the restrooms are boring but clean, and the books stand crisply on their perfectly aligned shelves. There are chairs in which you may read, chairs in which you may study and chairs in which you may drink your mochachai-latte-whipped-cream-with-soy-milk. But do not assume that these comfortable chairs come without a price, my friend. While I’ve never had any library demon descend upon me in a fiery rage, neither have I ever doubted its existence. The eyes of the lady at the register hold the truth. Moira Bering If Barnes & NoSitting in Half Price Books, junior Alicia Kappel reads an interesting book. ble feels sophisticat“Half Priced Books has very great finds and a comfortable environment ed, Half Price Books with helpful staff,” Alicia said. has an authentically Austin atmosphere. The staff members are funky and personable, willing to give their best shot at hunting down another one of those wily books, and there’s a never-ending stream of strange but interesting-looking customers. There are few chairs, but this rarely seems to stop people from enjoying their books; many can be found leaning against a wall or a corner, absorbed in whatever tome they’ve discovered. Overall, Half Price is funky and happy. If it doesn’t maintain the same spotless aura as Barnes & Noble, that might be the trade-off for a book store that feels comfortable and homey. Winner: Which to choose, the prince or the pauper? When in doubt, be completely biased and choose your favorite. I thrive in the slightly dusty and disorganized Half Price vibe. Therefore, despite what a few of my more culturally minded friends may say, Half Price Books walks away with this victory. So grab your wallet, your car keys and pick up all the books on your list at Half Price. I’m willing to bet you’ll have enough money left over for one of their cute, handmade bookmarks, and, yes, maybe a cassette tape or two. —Hetty Borinstein


trends + traditions

Lord RingS of the

STAR WARS Although I’ve always said that the two could never be compared, sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. Therefore, without further ado, let us delve into the intense task of judging The Lord of the Rings against Star Wars. First off, allow me to clarify that by Star Wars, of course, I am referring to the glorious originals, not the crappy Jar Jar Binks-infested, whiny Anakintainted, pixilated abominations

that George Lucas calls the first trilogy. And by The Lord of the Rings, of course, I mean the movies, not the books which, as we all know, are so incredibly godly you can’t dream of comparing them to anything else. And I am definitely not talking about the animated Lord of the Rings that you likely didn’t even know existed because it was such a terrible, low-budget piece of junk that they didn’t even bother to film the second half

10 Things that The Lord of the Rings has that Star Wars doesn’t:









by Ka th

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Fin n

•  Gandalf quotes like, “You shall not pass!” •  Gimli’s random comic relief scenes •  Pipe-weed smoking (along with smoke rings and smoke ships) •  Bilbo’s crazy hissing lunge attack at Frodo •  Aragorn’s sexy mug (although not quite as sexy as Harrison Ford’s) •  The creepy, implied FrodoSam romance •  Agent Smith from The Matrix playing Elrond •  Ringwraith screams •  Legolas’ never ending quiver of arrows •  Sam’s ‘taters — “Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew.”

after releasing the first part. Anyhow, back to business. So how do you go about comparing a trilogy about hairy Hobbits and old Wizards to one of hairy Ewoks and old Jedi? Well, you could just scoff at the idea like Sir Mr. Scoffs-a-lot over there in the corner currently scoffing at you as you read this article, or you could just punch him in the face and keep reading. It seems that the most reasonable thing to do is to pick out

the pros of both trilogies and see which ones outweigh the others, thus creating a clear victor. Before I go any further, you should likely know that I do not dislike either of these trilogies in any way whatsoever, therefore, my judgment should be balanced. In fact, I worship Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. Literally, it’s a serious problem. There is this shrine in my room where I pray on my knees and beg for forgiveness and…nevermind.

10 Things that Star Wars has that The Lord of the Rings doesn’t: •  Harrison Ford’s sexy mug •  Chewbacca’s Wookie call •  Jabba the Hutt (as he puts a toad in his mouth) •  Aliens playing smooth jazz in a cantina bar •  A giant, planet-annihilating Death Star •  All the evil commanders that Darth Vader kills off by Forcechoking them •  Yoda speak •  Jedi mind tricks •  R2D2 beeping and booping about •  The incestuous Luke/ Leia relationship •  Did we mention Harrison Ford?

So, what is the final verdict? I say…TIE! That’s right! I thought I should pick the most utterly unpleasant result anyone can bear to hear: a stalemate. Which means…Yes! You read this article all for nothing! Muhahaha! You will never catch me! NEVER. —Lee Caffee

Scallywags Silent killers: an objective study Sometimes there is just too much awesome in the world. And when this surplus of awesome occurs, a cataclysmic event happens that pits two facets of awesome in an adrenaline-junkie-mastercraft-doing-the-900-pulling-the-revert-attempting-to-simplify-the-biot-savart-law-while-drinking-a-piping-hot-large-bowl-of-cappuccino thrill-ride.’s not right. Oh yeah, actually a high school newspaper compares them on a one-page spread. Anyway, the two contenders of awesome facing off are pirates and ninjas. Yes, yes, we know there must be some parameters. The only pirates we will be addressing are European pirates that sailed between the 1600s and the 1800s, and their weapons are limited to what each can carry, so no, you’re not going to see a pirate traipsing about with a ship’s cannon under his arm, unless it is a cyborg pirate...but let’s not go there. So here we are, the match is about to begin, but who will reign supreme? Let’s consider the stats chart that I used for my last story, “Battle of the Unihorns.”

Art by In digo Colt on and Han nah Com stock

Non-relating Historical Figures Pirate


Weapon of Choice


Wakizashi (small katana)

Favorite Catch Phrase

“Blargh,” the “B” and “l” are silent Sample the local draughts, pillage the bar and then kidnap my date for blackmailing purposes. Maple-smoked bacon. Smells of sea salt and sexual frustration. A Black Tiger Shrimp. I’m trying to branch out...Parrots and monkeys are cliché. The British Royal Navy would just give up.

“That’s what she said.”

When going on a blind date, I like to... Office supplies are... My house on Wednesday... My partner in crime is... Sometimes I wish...

Arrange the date around some important social event, so I can assassinate a political figure and get my groove on. That pirate is an idiot. Is clean! Book club meeting tonight! My shadow...okay that was cheesy. But shadow. I didn’t have to make my own shoes.

Well...that was useless. So, do you really want my opinion? Because this isn’t going to be some hokey Disney ending where everyone lives happily ever after. The ninja would just go to town on the pirate, he would rip out the pirate’s jugular and fashion it into a bagpipe before the pirate could even begin to say “blargh.” There you have it, hot off the press, a story that shouldn’t be a story but is a story anyway because it holds vast amounts of awesomeness in its creases, an awesomeness so awesome that if the story was a gaseous planet resembling the sun and the awesomeness were rays streaming off the story, they would empower Birdman so much that he could simultaneously defeat Mentok the Mind-Taker, X the Eliminator and Vulturo all at the same time. —Leland Krych

We are all familiar with the term “best thing since sliced bread.” But what did people say before sliced bread was invented? What amazing thing did they refer to in order to let those around them know how awesome something was? My friends, they referred to these amazing showdowns. Showdowns of such epic proportions that the gods themselves and those with a really good cable package would bend their necks to see them. Unfortunately, since none of these showdowns have never actually occurred in the real world, phrases like “the best thing since Rawlings versus The Punisher” never came into very heavy usage. But if they had, it would have been epic.

S uper Rawlinator —Trevor Wallace

Punisher This battle begins when The Punisher tracks a criminal, a mob underboss from the (sort of) notorious Dripping Springs crime syndicate, into the halls of Westlake High. Unfortunately for The Punisher, his numerous incidents of illegal vigilantism justice come back to haunt him when he comes faceto-face with the terrors of the Raptor Security System. It quickly becomes clear that former student body president John Hume was a politician who kept his promises (i.e. that he would replace the Raptor Security System with REAL raptors) when 30 live raptors race towards him from the band hall. The Punisher makes short work of them using several well-placed grenades and a semi-automatic machine gun. However, this is merely a diversionary tactic. Beloved security guard Flash rushes to warn Principal Rawlings. Mrs. Rawlings, unaware of the Dripping Springs mob underboss, is forced into action in order to preserve the safety of her students against the dangerous vigilante which has just slain two and a half score dinosaurs, which may or may not have been able to open doors but certainly couldn’t open the body armor of a certain former Navy SEAL. What happens next would explain why our school has maintained an alarmingly high security budget. Mrs. Rawlings unleashes:

Contingency Plan X! A giant robot (which was secretly built by the robotics team in a dungeon below the NGC) rises from underneath the floor of the Commons and our beloved principal hurries into it to become: The Rawlinator! In the end, this bout turns into a team-up when the two fight to a standstill in the Ben Hur lot until The Punisher is able knock off Rawlings’ helmet with an RPG and inform her of the much more dangerous evil-doer lurking in the school. No one is harmed and the only damage done is to cars belonging to juniors, thankfully leaving those in the senior lot untouched.




It is the battle between the immovable object and the unstoppable force. Wolverine is a killing machine with a healing factor that allows him to recover from anything. He even has the unbreakable metal adamantium grafted to his bones making his skeleton as well as his bone claws (yes, they’re bone. No, this wasn’t in the X-men trilogy. Yes, you should start reading comic books). Rorschach is an insane killer who will never compromise. Powerthirst is the only energy drink made with lightning. Give Rorschach a Powerthirst and he’ll be like a fighter jet made of

biceps that will never compromise. This battle would be a fight for the ages. From the get-go it looks like Wolverine has this one in the bag. Once he immediately regenerates from a grappling hook gun to the face, Rorschach appears to be out of tricks. Until he discovers his new ability: Bear Blasting! The two battle among the bodies of deceased rabid bears for hours until two things become clear: there is nothing Wolverine can’t heal from, and Rorschach will win at everything forever. In the end, Rorschach uses his superior intellect to find a way to kill Wolverine. Perhaps he lures him into a block of cement or fries him with a giant laser. Maybe he even hunts down Cyclops and acquires the Murmassa blade from issue #40 of Wolverine. It’s not important. What is important is that while Wolverine is almost invincible, nothing can stop Rorschach once he has gratuitous amounts of energy. He’ll have so much energy Mother Nature will be like, “Slow down,” and he’ll be like, “Shut up, you!” and he’ll kick her in the face with his ENERGY LEGS!

Fights you never knew you always wanted to see




e Kat

cD Ma

wdown uperman This battle is one which has been well-debated. Will the much smarter Batman be able to outthink the significantly more powerful Superman? Does Batman have enough Kryptonite? Is Superman willing to go all the way and strike the killing blow? Why was the movie Batman versus Superman scrapped and replaced by Catwoman instead of being released in the summer of 2004 as it was initially intended? Dear reader, I ask you to please dig through the many comic books you d no doubt own (hey, I can Kate MacDonal dream) and uncover your copy of The Dark Knight Returns issue #4. Batman fights Superman in an

alternate future where Batman is elderly and retired and — what’s this? Batman wins. The two also fight briefly in Batman: Hush, and — oh goodness. Batman wins again. Comic books have decided it, brains triumph over brawn. Psychotic over-preparedness is superior to god-like power and farm-boy good looks. You can complain about this, but it won’t do you any good. My suggestion box feeds directly into a paper shredder and my editor can’t fire me because I’m not paid (that, and I’m pretty sure she secretly has the hotts for me. But who doesn’t?).

Batman The reason Batman always wins in comic books is because the only people who read comic books are comic book fans (duh). Seeing Batman win because he’s smarter allows comic fans to live vicariously through him and imagine a world in which they can somehow use their brains to overcome the kids who made fun of them in gym class just because they couldn’t throw a stupid football even though their hands were sweating so they slipped when they threw the ball which wouldn’t have even mattered if they had thrown it dead on anyway because the sun was in their eyes and — anyway… Batman wins, just accept it.

Katherine Finn

ooming down an expanse of sun-kissed highway as her hair billows with the wind’s every turn, freshman Emily Guthrie enjoys the excitement and exhilaration of driving. Each time her foot pushes down on the accelerator, the adrenaline flowing through her veins matches the sounding engine of her cobalt blue Mustang and her self-serving smile slowly increases in length. She feels as though she is unstoppable. That is, until she hears the violent, clashing noise of the school bell as it rings throughout every corridor and classroom and is forced from her dream to return to reality: she can’t drive yet. “Every teenager wants to be able to drive themselves where they want to without having to constantly deal with their parents,” Emily said. “It’s horrible to have to depend on other people to get places all the time. I can’t wait to drive, but Driver’s Education presents a problem because it takes so much time and it’s not within the school curriculum, so I have to do outside research to make sure I’m doing it right.” Obtaining a driver’s license is a top priority for the majority of teenagers. The small, white photo ID acts as a symbol of maturation and freedom as it allows an ounce of control and adrenaline to flow into the lives of teenagers living at home. However, attaining this coveted card can be quite a cumbersome task, as an aspiring driver has to take Driver’s Education, perhaps the most hated yet necessary class of one’s educational career. “Unlike a lot of classes I’ve had to take, everything you learn in Driver’s Ed is applicable to everyday life,” senior Shelby Bowman said. “It is definitely an annoying class to take, but in the end the boredom and time is well worth it.” The Texas Department of Public Safety requires driving hopefuls, ages 15 to 17, to


Sa om W ac k

complete 32 hours of classroom training before the student is eligible, upon passing his/her permit test, to obtain a Texas Instruction Permit. This is then used, under adult supervision, to complete the remaining requirement for Driver’s Education, 14 hours of in-car instruction. “The majority of Driver’s Education was watching instructional, boring, yet horribly entertaining videos,” senior Stephen Dawkins said. “We had to watch like 20 ‘Red Asphalt’ movies that were so melodramatic about the risks of driving. Every student is also required to do seven hours of driving and seven hours of observing. There were definitely a lot of scary yet memorable moments, as some people have a really hard time learning to drive.” When it comes to Driver’s Ed, there are many options for wannabe drivers. One can enroll in a traditional driving school; a printbased, parent-taught course or an online parent-taught course, all of which fulfill the DPS requirements for Driver’s Education and many car insurance company discounts for young drivers. The most common venue for Driver’s Education among Westlake students is Austin Driving School. Located behind the Popeye’s on Bee Caves Road, this driving school offers classes year-round, with each session consisting of three weeks of instruction for two hours each day. Though it is the most expensive choice costing $340, Austin Driving School is primarily considered for one key reason: it doesn’t include parental instruction. Therefore, the tension that already lies within the straining relationship that most teenagers and parents possess doesn’t have to be brought into the driving arena, leading the sometimes tumultuous process of learning to drive to be a bit less stressful. “If I had done a parent-based form of education, my relationship with my parents would have been strained, and I wouldn’t have learned anything,” junior Kasie Ifesina-

Teenage desire to drive, many options lead Driver’s Education to be daunting task

chukwu said. “My parents feel anxious when they drive with me so it would have just been a lot of yelling. Also, I liked having others in my class. It made the experience more bearable, and I learned a lot from observing their mistakes.” Though parental absence may be a perk of taking Driver’s Education at a traditional driving school, the high price, in comparison to other choices, and the interesting characteristics of classmates and driving instructors may make the experience a bit too eventful for some. “There are a lot of interesting characters at Austin Driving School, sometimes too much so,” junior Michael Bell said. “There was a greasy, Italian instructor who would constantly talk about his conspiracy theories, leading class to be more of a joke than anything else. Also, there were some spastic driving instructors that just made the class more annoying and boring.” Though parental involvement is a necessity for the other forms of Driver’s Education, these options’ cheaper cost and more flexible schedule make them attractive to many. Unlike a traditional driving school, where a pupil has to sit in a classroom for two hours at a time, parents and students can tailor the required curriculum to their schedule and slow down or quicken the process. “I liked being taught to drive by my parents because I was able to do everything at my own pace,” senior Brian Watt said. “I also thought it was nice that I didn’t have to do driving hours with other teenagers because many teenage drivers are dangerous and somewhat scary.” The print-based, parent-taught version of Driver’s Education, most commonly referred to as Driver’s Ed in a Box, includes instructional videos and cds, a workbook and a 362-page textbook. Costing $239 and consisting of somewhat cliché and archaic driving instructions, this choice is seen by many to be the least attractive of those available due to its

higher cost, tedious worksheets and sleepinducing curriculum. “Driver’s Ed in a Box has a lot of quizzes, worksheets, and paperwork, and is pretty dry,” senior Sarah Mullinnix said. “I didn’t like it because it was very tedious, but I’m glad I did that instead of having to sit in a classroom with who knows how many weirdos.” Though the online parent-taught version of Driver’s Education isn’t exponentially more exciting than its print-based counterpart, the online version maintains a faster pace, is shorter in length and is the cheapest of all alternatives, costing only $159. The program is also easy to use and can be accessed from any computer, not cluttering your desk space with mounds of worksheets and paperwork as the print-based version does. “I have liked doing the online version of Driver’s Education because I’ve been able to go over all the information at home at my own pace,” freshman Grace Hanna said. “Though it’s not the most interesting topic, the online version does have some cartoons and pictures on the slides that made it pretty easy to understand and go through.” Researching Driver’s Education on the Web later that night, Emily comes to one important conclusion: Driver’s Education, no matter the format, will not be the most memorable or fun experience of her life, but it is a necessity nonetheless. As she clicks through a handful of the 38 million links that pop up during her Google search, she decides to take the online version of Driver’s Education. With its cheap price tag and her ability to go through the material at her own pace, in her own home and without the presence of any eccentric classmates or instructors, she decides it is the best choice for her. After discussing the topic with her mother and signing up for the course, she does another Google search, typing in the words “cobalt blue Mustang convertible.” —Ashley Carlisle

The Princeton Review More Than a Teacher Eanes Community Education 2400.

Juniors Kaitlyn Nolan and Abbie Matthews look over their homework in the Princeton Review class they attend. “It takes up a lot of time, but the practice I get will pay off in the long run,” Abbie said.

When this number is mentioned today it stirs up a variety of different reactions. To some, 2400 might be the number that kept them from getting a 100 percent on their Algebra test; to others, it’s the approximate number of students who go to Westlake. But for most, particularly juniors and seniors, this number goes beyond a simple numerical value. It is the number that will determine whether or not they get into their dream school. It is the number that most students fantasize about, but only a few can achieve. It is the perfect score on the SAT. Let’s start from the beginning: The SAT Reasoning Test (formerly Scholastic Aptitude Test) is a standardized test for college admissions in the United States. Since the creation of the SAT, many colleges have taken SAT scores under huge consideration for determining their incoming classes. As colleges want students who excel academically, they set a minimum score students must earn on the SAT to gain acceptance. This has put an enormous amount of stress on high school students across America. To help give students an edge, a variety of preparation classes have emerged. Now, hundreds of different prep courses are offered to high school students across the nation to help them raise

their scores on this test. Since the 1980s, Austin has been the home of a variety of SAT prep centers, including More Than a Teacher, The Princeton Review and Eanes Community Education.

More Than a Teacher

More Than a Teacher has long been one of Westlake students’ preferred programs when preparing for the SAT. Started in 1989 by Paul Shultz, it was originally intended to teach small groups of students how to attack and conquer the SAT and has grown into one of Austin’s most attended SAT prep programs. With more than 10 locations in the Austin area, More Than a Teacher serves more than 1500 students every year, 300 of whom are from Westlake. “Our goal is for each student to maximize their SAT and/or ACT scores so that they can attend the college of his or her choice with as much scholarship money as possible,” Shultz said. “In general we like to see students increase their scores 200-400 points.” Although a 200-400 point increase may seem to be a bit unrealistic to some, More Than a Teacher works hard to hire some of the best staff possible to ensure success among its students.

I feel smarter already.

Katherine Finn

“We have some of the best teachers in the industry,” Shultz said. “Also, we don’t get paid unless the scores go up. This creates a huge incentive for us to make sure that every student is successful.” In addition to its top-notch teachers and effective and engaging classes, More Than a Teacher offers something that many other Austin area prep schools lack: a money-back guarantee. Though SAT prep classes often tend to be pricey, usually $500 and up, More Than a Teacher feels that if students do not acquire the results they were looking for after taking the course, they should get a refund. “At More Than a Teacher, we guarantee that each student will increase his or her score by 100 points from the highest score before the class,” Shultz said. “This is a money-back guarantee. Also, we have a satisfaction guarantee that permits students to keep working with us at no extra charge until they are fully satisfied.” With classroom programs typically consisting of nine two-hour classroom sessions, covering every type of question students may encounter on the actual test, More Than a Teacher seems to be achieving their goal, acquiring more National Merit Scholars than any other prep school in Austin.

“Over the last two years, more than 110 of our students received National Merit recognition,” Shultz said. “When we have asked previous students to send in their SAT scores, we have seen a typical increase of over 200 points. Also, we end up having less than 2 percent of our students claim a refund through our money-back guarantee. This indicates a very high level of satisfaction in our clients.” Overall, many students seem to be impressed with the outcome of More Than a Teacher for reasons that go beyond point increases. “More Than a Teacher helped me out a lot,” junior James Timmins said. “It showed how certain problems were similar and how to do them efficiently. I would definitely recommend it to others because the teachers know their stuff, and they’re all really friendly. Plus, there’s not as much homework as other SAT classes.” Although limited homework and friendly teachers may seem like a great deal, some students aren’t completely satisfied with the course. “More Than a Teacher was not as great as I expected,” junior Jillian Letemendia said. “I felt that my scores didn’t really change that much from what they had been previously, maybe only going up 30 points.” While More Than a Teacher does have some students who do not receive the expected point increase, there are several factors outside of the company’s control that could be held accountable for this. “In general, the students who do not receive great results through our program are those who do not put forth much effort,” Shultz said. “Our program is not magic. A student must do the work in order to see a great score improvement. However, the amount of work in our class is not overwhelming. We only require one hour a week of homework for our course.”

The Princeton Review

The other well-known SAT prep class taken by Westlake students is The Princeton Review. At The Princeton Review, a wide range of opportunities are given to students who wish to improve their SAT scores. A student may choose between private tutoring, small group tutoring, classroom courses or online courses when preparing for the SAT. The Princeton Review has also perfected its teaching strategy in ways they believe most benefit the average student’s scores. “To make our courses even more effective, we have built upon our time-tested strategies by sifting through thousands of questions from every available SAT test administered since 2005,” president John Marshall said. “We examined how the test changed, analyzed question and answer patterns and applied what we learned to create an amazing new curriculum. Our new SAT course focuses students’ attention on the key topics that impact the score the most.”

However, although The Princeton Review test prep centers, like Princeton Review and has created a one-of-a-kind program, it still More Than a Teacher, other smaller test has some downfalls. Unlike More Than a centers prove to be equally effective. Eanes Teacher, The Princeton Review gives quite Community Education also holds prep classes a bit of homework for students to complete through the RMASS educational center. after every class. Though homework does “We differ from programs such as The prove to be very important when taking these Princeton Review and More Than a Teacher in classes, it has caused some of the students’ many ways,” director Patrick Minnihan said. unwanted stress. “The first difference is that we believe that “I did my prep course at Princeton Review all students should have the opportunity for and it was held every Tuesday, Thursday and test prep and to go to college, not just those some Saturdays,” junior Kelli Bagwell said. “I that are well off. The other programs tend to did most of the homework, but they gave a lot charge hundreds of dollars for their services so it was really hard to do both school work which some families just can’t afford. We and SAT work. It was basically just a lot of charge $89 for our class and that includes our practice problems and practice essays.” study guide and practice tests.” While this homework did come as a burIn addition to cheaper prices, the RMASS den to some, many students, including Kelli, program at Eanes Community Education prowould say that the end result was well worth vides the prep course in a much shorter time the time and dedication. than the major test prep centers. “The Princeton Review helped me out so “We understand that students live busy much,” Kelli said. “It gave a lot of really good lives and don’t necessarily need to be babysat strategies and different ways of looking at the while taking all these practice tests for the questions that I never would have gotten on SAT,” Minnihan said. “In our class we have my own. After taking the course, my scores students take a shortened practice test for went up by almost 100 points.” each subject and then are shown tips and This point increase does not seem strategies for each section. When they leave evident to Kelli alone, as more than they have an understanding of what is on the 90 percent of The Princeton test, how to take each section of the test, and Review’s students have gotten what areas they need to go into some of their top choice home and work on. We schools due to their immanage to get that all in proved on one Saturday.” SAT While all three testing scores, centers seem to have their accordpros and cons, it appears ing to that for the most part, takMarshall. ing any course will most “The Princlikely provide students eton Review has with about the same launched a comresults, so long as prehensive three-year they put forth study to ensure that the time our curriculum would and ef—junior James Timmins best prepare you for fort. the SAT,” Mar“It is my belief shall said. “We that some students need the also created 10 structure of an SAT prep course, additional SAT others do not,” Westlake counselor practice exams Carol Niemann said. “Research and hundreds shows that familiarity with the test is of practice questions and drills.” what changes your score. There is not Even though The Princeton Review does any one test prep program that has a have its success stories, it also has students magic formula others don’t have. There may who are not as impressed with the program. be a better fit in terms of instructor, etc., but And, just like More Than a Teacher, The it is not ‘the best’ for everyone. In taking the Princeton Review also offers a money-back SAT, focus on your weaknesses because fixing guarantee to those students who did not these areas is the quickest way to improving receive their desired results. your overall score. I liken the process to a “Personally, The Princeton Review didn’t dancer on stage or a football player in the big really help me that much,” junior Divya Kathgame. You don’t perform a dance on stage or uria said. “What I heard wasn’t very beneficial a play on field for the first time in front of the for me. Most of the strategies seemed, to me, a audience. You practice and practice, working little inherent. What helped me the most was on the parts that are not flowing until you get taking the practice tests on Saturdays.” it right. That’s when you are ready to perform for the audience. In the case of standardized testing, college admissions are the audience.” —Shelby Chirstopher Although most people know of the major

More Than a Teacher helped me out a lot. It showed how certain problems were similar and how to do them efficiently. I would definitely recommend it to others.”

Eanes Community Education

trends + traditions




he Drag — the best place to hang out on a warm day in Austin. The motley collection of eclectic stores, great restaurants, and the mellow crowd make it an Austin hotspot. It comes with both pros and cons — such as the hardship of finding a parking spot on the traffic-jammed street. You may even come across the many homeless people begging for spare change, or the shoplifters that run full speed away with their stolen merchandise. It’s even hard to walk around without knocking into a hunchedover college student with their weighed-down backpack bursting at the seams.


Laura Aldridge

But the pros far outweigh the cons. If you are looking for a well-priced meal, The Drag is the place to go. You can easily pick up a burrito at Chipotle, or chow down on a pizza at Mellow Mushroom or Austin’s Pizza. There’s also the unique collection of clothing stores, from the indie-couture of Urban Outfitters and American Apparel to the sport-chic apparel of Tyler’s. You can even take pictures with the famous “Hi, how are you?” creature painted on the side of Blue Velvet. Although the jammed sidewalk may be crowded and the homeless make you clench your purse a little tighter, the Drag is an Austin must.

FIGHT Laura Aldridge


outh Congress is the epitome of keeping Austin weird. From its renowned restaurants to its quaint boutiques, SoCo is one of the most desirable weekend hangouts in Austin. Blowing the mall out of the water, South Congress is becoming a more shopper-friendly landmark, but most have to pay the price because of its negative obstacles. First of all, it is nearly impossible to find a convenient parking spot. After finally locating one, you walk block after block, and when you reach certain boutiques, you find the clothing spectacular, but the prices to be out of your price range. Be sure to never go alone because some areas are on the sketchy side. But, if you can overcome these adversities, SoCo is extremely enjoyable for people who seek

to be original. Stores such as Lucy in Disguise, Tesoro’s and Uncommon Objects are great for finding innovative clothing, costumes or valuables. If you don’t come to shop, there are amazing restaurants for any type of palate. To begin the day, it is best to stop by Magnolia Café, whose pancakes are more than satisfactory. Later in the day, if you seek authentic Mexican cuisine, Guero’s Taco Bar is your domain. If your taste buds scream for pizza, look no further than Home Slice. As for dessert, nothing soothes your desire for ice cream more than Amy’s Ice Cream. There is no better way to get a taste of Austin. A stroll down South Congress will provide a sense of what makes our town so incredibly unique. —Caroline Hunt and Danielle Brown


PC Lizzie Friedman

Security: PCs may get more flack for catching viruses, but Click, click, click, click, freeze. Your computer just this is nothing more than hackers targeting the larger audience, not froze for the third time this week as you attempted to open a new a reflection of system quality. In side-by-side hacking comparisons, window with Internet Explorer. Sound familiar? Only if you are a PC Mac OS X was much easier to hack than Windows. True, more viruses user. affect PCs. However, merely installing one of any number of free virus Enter the world of Macs. These days, the purchase of a Mac is prevention softwares and maintaining it will be more than enough comparable to entering a cult of other Mac users who have crossed to allow for all of your risky Limewire usage without ruining your over from the dark side of PCs and banded together to create a comsystem. munity of people who enjoy computers that actually work. Freezing Gaming: The Mac gaming library is topped by World of Warcraft and viruses are practically non-existent, and the computers are apand The Sims 2, the former a black hole for your time and money, the pealing to the eye, as opposed to being bulky plastic eye-sores. Not latter a three-years-obsolete friend simulator. Every other worthwhile only that, but the operating system is also quite superior. game is only available on PCs and if it does appear on a Mac, it will “I reject the hegemony of uninnovative beige and black boxes be at least two years after its release, by which point you no longer and of the sick and defective operating system they run [on],” sophcare, because its new and improved sequel is burning up Windows. omore Douglas Vaaler said. “I know that something better exists.” Add this to the fact that almost all of the higher-end graphics cards are Unlike Windows Vista, Mac OSX Leopard makes Macs easier only PC-compatible, and the Mac is thoroughly outclassed as a gaming to use. I myself experienced the frustrations of upgrading to Vista machine. with my old PC — it only made my computer lag, freeze and even Freeware: The PC supports over 55,000 free downloadable prostopped me from playing some of my favorite games that worked grams, known as freeware, at a recent count, compared to a mere 4,500 with Windows XP. Let’s get to the point — Apple pays attention to for the Mac. Which library would you rather have access to? many details when creating its software and also adds many apCustomization: Perhaps its greatest advantage, PCs allow the plications such as Spaces and Dashboard that make its computers consumer to build their machine from the ground up, customizing it to more user-friendly. maximize their own needs — gaming, business or anything in between. If you are one of those people who simply can’t stand the Mac Macs, on the other hand, come in three varieties: Mac Mini, iMac and Operating System, then Apple has created a solution for you. Mac Pro. And try fitting a new CPU and motherboard without having to When you buy a Mac, the computer comes with imbedded softreplace your graphics card and hard drive on a Mac. ware called Bootcamp that allows you to run Windows natively Price: Another advantage of building your machine is that you puron the computer if you so desire. In fact, the best computer to chase the components individually, hand-picking your favorite brand run Windows is arguably a Mac. With other tools such as the and model, and put them together yourself, eliminating the labor and iLife suite that come with the Mac right out of the box, it is unpackaging costs. A several thousand dollar machine can be bought (and doubtedly the most valuable computer on the market. Although assembled on your own) for a mere $500. But let’s humor Steve Jobs Macs are usually pricier than PCs, the extra money pays for a solid and compare prebuilts. At, $916 can get you a very investment of good-quality product. solid AMD Phenom 910 Quadcore Processor, 4 GB of RAM, a NVidia “The Mac itself is a radical idea,” Douglas said. “It is the idea that GeForce 1 GB video card, a 500 GB hard drive, a backup 500 GB human creativity can create a new platform that enriches our very hard drive (why not?), speakers, keyboard, mouse and a 19-inch existence. The difference between the Mac and the Windows PC is that monitor, all of which add up to a very fast, efficient and complete the Windows PC is an insult to human intelligence, while the Mac is a machine. At Apple, that same $900 (actually, $949) will go only as glorification of human intelligence.” far as an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2 GB of RAM, no monitor, no —Leah-Marie Duran mouse or keyboard, no speakers, a 320 GB hard drive and a stock video card. Advantage? The guys who don’t charge you an additional $300 to paint the machine white and round the edges. Mouse: What creatively challenged “genius” at Apple decided that one mouse button made more sense than two? Can we get him to a secret prison in Eastern Europe please? —Maff Caponi La

nN ure




trends + traditions

On the coast, on the court, on stage, off the wall elson



nK all



nN Laure



On March 16, 1966, the first Vans store opened in “My Generation” wasn’t rocked by some “cha-dude” surfer slipAnaheim, California. The owner, Paul Van Doren, had a unique on. No, it was moved and grooved, changed, by a simple pair of black company that manufactured and sold their rubber-soled shoes high tops. Vans may be “Off the Wall,” but Converse captured the directly to the public. The #44 Deck Shoes which are now called music and its mojo. Converse are a symbol you can step with, a Authentic shoes were sold to 12 customers the first day the store 100-year history holding the heels of your feet. opened, and the legendary Vans shoes were introduced to the world. By the I doubt when Marquis M. Converse opened his Massa1970s, Vans became popular among skateboarders in Southern California for chusetts rubber factory, Converse Rubber Shoe Company their rugged rubber soles, and are still preferred by many skateboarders today. in 1908, he knew of the legend he would inspire. His However, it wasn’t until 1982 that Vans received national acclaim when they were shoes’ fame started in the ‘20s when he was approached worn by Sean Penn in the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High. After recovering by basketball legend Charles Taylor and asked to crefrom bankruptcy caused by drained company resources, the Vans company came ate a functioning pair of athletic shoes. Converse back in 1988 and expanded their presence globally. Since then, they have hosted many complied, and Taylor became the world’s skateboarding events and continued selling their iconic sneakers. first endorsed athlete. The pair worked Although Converse shoes have been an American original for about 40 years longer than together to build up the Converse emVans, no other shoe brand portrays the essence of cool and laid-back American style like Vans. pire and in 1923 released the legendary To begin with, Vans are revolutionary in the fact that their classic slip-on shoes introduced in 1979 Chuck Taylor All Stars. require no laces. This means that people can walk with confidence and casual-cool style without Whether dawned by greasers, having to worry about re-tying their laces throughout the day. However, for those people who prefer poppers, protesters, rockers, rebels, shoelaces, Vans also offers their popular Authentic style shoes with laces. hippies, discoers, athletes, punks, In addition to Vans’ variety of styles and laid-back skater look, they also have thicker soles preps or victims of grunge, Converse which make them more comfortable. And who doesn’t love their signature checkered patterns stood for something eternal — a symand skateboard stickers? Let’s be honest, Converse shoes may be classics, but Vans present a bol of rebirth, an icon for freedom and more modern and more awesome style. change. —Leah-Marie Duran —Lauren Nelson

Homework or shopping?

Barrett Wilson

Work Play

Students strive for balance between fun now, success later

Whether driven by work or driven by play, high school is a defining time of life. It determines the college someone will attend, where they will end up and ultimately what they will accomplish down the road. These four years have the ability to set the course for how you will end up living your life. Spending a Friday night studying rather than socializing may earn an “A,” but is devoting one’s teenage years to work rather than play the right thing to do in high school, or should having fun be the main focus while you’re young? “You should work because you want to be successful in life, and that takes motivation and perseverance,” junior Emily Wells said. “Once you’ve achieved your goals, you’ll have the means to spend more time doing what you want, but it takes hard work to get that far.” Even now, “doing what you want” may take enormous amounts of hard work. For senior Trent Redfern, golf consumes a majority of the time that he would otherwise spend with his friends. However, he is willing to sacrifice that leisure time in order to play golf. “It’s the thing I enjoy doing the most and I want to make it my profession one day,” Trent said. “A game like golf takes a lot of time and dedication to become good. It has paid off in high school because I really enjoy doing it, and it will pay off in college because I will able to continue doing it when I’m older as a career.” This ambitious attitude consumes many Westlake students, but not all of them. Some students prefer a laid-back outlook towards their time spent in high school. “When I’m older I want to remember high school and college as the craziest and most fun time of my life,” senior Lauren McCoy said. “As a senior, I want to live my life to the fullest, and if that means sacrificing

a few grades, then so be it.” Others agree with this idyllic lifestyle. “I think play is more important because life is pointless if it is all work,” senior David Germann said. The idea of enjoying the social aspect of high school while you don’t have to handle all of the responsibilities of adulthood is one that many would agree with. However, working hard now to play later is also a weighted argument. “I think a little of both is important, but working right now is vital to succeed in college and in landing a good job,” junior Brennan Wong said. “Plus, if you work hard now, you’ll have more time to play hard when you’re a little older.” Preferring to reap the benefits later by having a diligent schedule now is a practical plan, but above all else, learning to balance work and play is a valuable practice for later in life. “I think it is important to have the right balance between work and play because if one works too much, they will be miserable, but if they don’t put in enough work, they won’t get the grades to do well in life,” sophomore Trevor Hershey said. Numerous students agree with this ideology of balance. “Having both work and play in your life are equally important,” senior Elena Whitlock said. “You need to be able to enjoy and experience life while you’re young, but you also need to ensure that your future will be just as fun-filled. I want to do well in school, but not at the expense that all I do is study. I definitely want to experience high school the way it’s supposed to be.” —Leah Whitlock


people + places Hannah Kunz

Sam Womack

n ine Fin Kather

“[I’ll never fo rget] being the lead in the m usical! I had the time of my li fe getting to perform and do what I love w ith all my close st friends on stage with me.” —Susanne B urgess


ac Wom


“[I’ll n of the ever forg time Bands b et] singin I real I felt like p ecause it g at Batt l big it ly am. Ou eople co was the f e other gets easy r senior c uld see w irst I san fish in a to feel ju lass is so ho hard g in front large sea st like an l . chan y know m of many p But whe c to lea e, I felt eople w n scho e lik h ve m ol.” y ma e it was o my rk on this —Kel sey F arrel l

“I’ll n e Tech ver forg e n danc o Day p t the e i with ng in the p rally a n t clas he whol stands d s.” e sen ior —Au drey Csas zar


enio s ’s r xt yea e n r ep t e fo ge s acc e ll o c il Advic t n l work...u

cho o Iver s on o your s d y ll a u —Alanna “Ac t you.” year . S enior d e x la e too r k on’t ge t ink.” D . s olombec k G c u x h s t le is A ld — “S eniorit sy a s you wou a e s isn’t a veryone E . e g e ll d up ou t co t worke ing re ss ab t e s g , s o n t a me eed y th by any e is no n don’t take an “Do not, llege, and ther — ck a h w o c a e r d go e s t o ome s cho ols a h Alfad a r a S — .S abou t it nally.” so t o o per be popu y ll a n fi and u’ve ople yo f riend s e w p e e n h t ll with ake a ry t o m king memorie s t ’t n o D “ dan a m e t im hlo e Jor d C n — e p S lar. bou t.” cared a pe rk on it ult o w d n diffic arly a bo ok e l be e x t remely d your p a r c s il ior an wis e it w our s en Au s t in “Star t y becau s e other o, t ruly enjoy oy the t ime y Als enj rio dicall nd finish well. g s and in h t rd y a in ll Wo t o finish o t on s of Au s t —Kenda D . s d n f rie ve le f t.” a h u o y courtesy of Bailey Herrington


Jake We

“[The thing I’ll never forget w as] Spring Break 2009, P laya del Carm en, because it was the mos t amazing trip that I have ever taken. So many people went that it was just our h igh school ba sically. When I came back I was in a state of depression for at lea st two to three days from the withdrawa l of fun and ha ppiness.” —Spencer Kay e

56 Katherine Finn

people + places



Sophomore struggles with OCD

By looking at the various volleyball posters placed around the school, you would be able to tell she loves the game. By reading the words Death Cab for Cutie stamped across her T-shirt, you could probably guess her favorite genre of music. But one thing you will not be able to figure out simply by glancing in her direction as you cross paths in the hallway is that sophomore Ella Praisner has a case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that shapes the way she lives on a day-to-day basis. “It’s a wide range of things, really,” Ella said. “Germs, odd numbers, symmetry and completion. Germs are probably the most common, but I have it more intensely than most people. I wash my hands a lot and have to carry around a little bottle of hand sanitizer in my backpack.” In a school of more than 2,400 people, one can only imagine how much bacteria lurks in the hallways. But for Ella, the thought of so many germs makes her feel uneasy. “Most people would agree that hand rails are gross, and if you think that’s gross, imagine being a germaphobe,” Ella said. “But they don’t necessarily just gross me out, they make me feel really uncomfortable.” Besides the obvious germs, such as those in school hallways and bathrooms, which have a serious affects on Ella, different forms of germs take a toll on her as well. “When people grab stuff off of my plate, it totally freaks me out,” Ella said. “One time I was at a volleyball tournament and somebody grabbed some of my food. I started crying and couldn’t breathe. I had a panic attack.” But germs aren’t the only thing in the back of Ella’s mind. Along with her germaphobia comes her great fear of odd numbers. “I really like things to be in even numbers,” Ella said. “I drive at an even speed if at all possible, I set my alarm in the morning for even times and whenever I’m buying things, I try to buy an even number of items. If I end up only having five of something, I just throw another item in there to make it six.” The obsessive component of Ella’s OCD comes into play when she continually makes rituals of everyday actions that other people would not even consider. “When I drive to school, I have to leave at the exact same time, drive the exact same route and change lanes at the exact same place every day,” Ella said. “I will just start one ritual and keep following it.” Attending sessions regularly, Ella works with her therapist to improve her habits. “Since it’s so bad, I go to the therapist for one hour every week,” Ella said. “We work on one habit at a time, depending on which one is worse. Right now, we haven’t been working on germs because this is flu season and everyone is coughing all over the place and sneezing

everywhere so it would be way too much for me to handle. We try to judge the intensity of each therapeutic activity on a scale of one to 10 to see which ones I can handle. We usually shoot for between two and four. Anything above that would just be diving into it and taking on too much.” “I get homework each week, too,” Ella said. “This week, we are focusing on odd numbers, so I had to go home, take an odd number of Post-it-notes and write odd numbers on all of them before hanging them around the house. It forced me to look at them, no matter how uncomfortable they made me.” Even though her OCD is a major factor in Ella’s life, it is not always obvious to the people around her. Not everyone can comprehend its intensity or the effect it has. “People don’t think it’s a big deal,” Ella said. “As a joke, one friend threw a Band-aid at me during volleyball and I almost had another panic attack. I ended up having to sit out of the game because I couldn’t re-group. People think it’s funny, but it’s really not. It’s a serious problem.” Already struggling with her disorder, the fact that Ella has both Attention Deficit Disorder and insomnia doesn’t exactly help her situation. Required to take the highest dose of Adderall recommended by the Food and Drug Administration, Ella takes 72 milligrams as a regular dosage. To help put into perspective how intense her ADD is, the typical ADD patient usually takes around 32 milligrams, which lasts 10 hours, whereas Ella has to take 72 milligrams every six hours. “Sometimes it can be extremely hard to focus,” Ella said. “I get off track with all of my unnecessary thinking. I can become obsessed with one topic and want to know every detail about it and I can’t stop thinking about it. Like with a test. If I don’t know the answer to a problem, I can’t stop thinking about it. Other people do that too, but I become obsessed with the question and have to take out my notes the minute the test is over so I can try to stop questioning myself. I have trouble sleeping as well. My ADD and OCD really keep my mind going at night, which keeps me up a lot longer.” On average, Ella gets about five hours of sleep, after already having taken medicine to help with her insomnia. “I’ve gone nights without sleep, and the most I’ve ever gotten on a school night was eight hours,” she said. Dealing with OCD, ADD and insomnia has had a huge impact on Ella’s life. The absence of all of these conditions would change the way she lives daily. “If I didn’t have OCD, I probably would be a better teenager,” Ella said. “Teenagers aren’t supposed to be as organized and clean as I am. And it would be a lot easier at school if I didn’t have to worry about handrails and those sorts of things.” Although she is attempting to gradually calm her habits, Ella’s OCD is not something she fears. “Everyone thinks that Westlake is full of pretty, perfect people,” Ella said. “But there are probably people that have problems just like I do. I can work on it, but it will always be there. My close friends know me by my OCD and know me by my habits. It defines me.” —Katie Sorenson


people + places

Love islove Gay Straight Alliance works to promote tolerance

Four o’clock on a Friday afternoon found senior Jackson Wimberly preparing for the year’s first meeting of the Gay Straight Alliance. Five minutes later, having finished laying out the gay-themed snacks (Rainbow Skittles) and writing the day’s agenda on the board, he looked around at the turnout — 10 of his closest friends looked back at him. Past year’s GSA member count had left his expectations low concerning student interest, and it was the first meeting, so, with a characteristic roll of his body and clap of his hands, he called the meeting into order. And then the door opened. “I was shocked at the first meeting,” said Jackson, the GSA’s president. “I thought we might get 10, 15 people in there, and all of sudden 35 kids pour in. It was pretty surprising. Over time, attendance has waxed and waned, sure, but we have had a pretty consistent following of around 30 people. But most clubs don’t have a turnout this size and for something as specialized as this and as potentially controversial as this is, I’d say we’re doing pretty good.” With a formidable team at hand, Jackson embarked on his first project, the fruits of which you

Victor Maury

Day of Silence

On April 17, around 40 students participated in the Day of Silence, a nationwide event to raise awareness about LGBT issues. They each carried around the following message: “Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence (DOS), a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward building awareness and making a commitment to address these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today. What are you going to do to end the silence?” “I really love participating in the Day of Silence because it is a very effective way of getting an imporant point acroos in a peaceful, constructive, communal way,” senior Miranda Apfel said. “And while some people are jerks about it, playing like ‘let’s get silent people to talk,’ or saying it’s dumb or even better, gay, most people seem very receptive and curious about the day, which is a nice sign.”

have likely seen either walking down the halls or sitting in a classroom. But whether or not they have sparked conversation or prompted you to find out more, the Everyone Is Welcome stickers are helping to provide the club with the visibility it desires. “One of our main goals is making sure everyone knows that the club exists and that we’re doing things,” Jackson said. “The second you walk in the classroom, you see that and it’s on your mind. I mean, I’m sure that’s true all the time, but I’m sure there have been conversations going on, people saying, ‘What’s up with that club? What are they doing?’ Even if it’s negative dialogue, at least people are talking about it.” Perhaps a not-so-obvious agenda behind the stickers is what they represent, though the message is fairly clearly stated on every one. “We went to all of our teachers with a pledge essentially stating that they wouldn’t tolerate any hate in the classroom and, not advocate for gay rights, but advocate for tolerance and a safe learning environment, where everyone could feel safe and not be afraid that they are going to be made fun of or put down for who they are,” Jackson said. Because the most dominating force of combat against acceptance at Westlake is a lack of presence, Jackson and the club members are doing what they can to alert the citizens of Westlake of their existence in a friendly manner. “I want to build bridges with straight kids at Westlake, because I think the real issue is that there is the perception that there are no gay people here, that there aren’t many gay people or that they are this foreign entity, this hoard of homosexuals trying to change our marriages and change the way we think,” Jackson said. “But I think that if people knew that we are here, we are your friends and we are around, it changes the dynamic.” This openarmed sentiment is extended to everyone. “I am trying to make the club very open, very accessible to all sorts of people, including people that aren’t necessarily okay with gay people,” Jackson said. “I think there is a degree of, ‘If I’m not sure of

this, am I a homophobe? Are they going to call me a homophobe?’ Welcoming those people who have questions, who aren’t sure of what’s going on, is an important part of building that bridge and making them okay with trying to promote equality in an atmosphere where it’s alright to be gay.” And for those who have questions, Jackson holds the mantra “no such thing as a dumb question” to ring true. “And you know just talking about things is important, because there is a degree of resistance to ask certain questions,” Jackson said. “I think many times straight people are afraid. I always get a lot of, ‘Which one of you is the girl?’ That’s not how it works. But after having that talk, they are going to know that. It’s stupid, but if they are cool enough with me or with one of my friends to ask that question, those are steps that are being taken. It’s all about building relationships. I’d rather people ask stupid questions than remain ignored.” There is one sect of the English language so intertwined in the teenage vocabulary however that Jackson isn’t so Sam Womack cool with. GSA regulars (from left) senior Dana Yanoshak, junior Marco Marroquin, sophomore Maya Hunt, senior Sarah Mullinnix, sopho“Just walking down the hallway on a daily basis, I hear more Shivani Morrison and junior Jared Peterson socialize while waiting for election results that will designate the group’s leaders a whole chorus of gay, queer, fag, dyke, not directed at me, next year. Maya and Marco were elected president and vice president, respectively, freshman Christa Clark was elected group but towards each other,” Jackson said. “My problem with it counselor and a tie for secretary occurred between Shivani and junior Michael Bell. is how commonly used it is. It’s such a common insult and its meaning hasn’t been abstracted. It still means you’re honest discussion with someone and get to the core of the issue than feminine, you’re different than me, you’re not a man; it’s so demean[mess] around.” ing. What people have to realize is there are students all around you Not that they are in desperate need of members. With a consistent who are gay or know gay people who hear it and are going to get hurt group of about 30 people meeting every Friday afternoon, this year’s by it.” GSA is the largest in recent memory, a force of manpower the club To battle this is putting to good use. With several events under their belt like the vastly present probObama rave and events in the making like a Relay for Life team and lem, Jackson uses the a coordinated potluck picnic on April 25th with fellow GSAs around mighty trident of huAustin, the team is beginning to move past the stickers. But the group’s mor, sometimes even activities don’t stop at the school doors. spinning the offense “In addition to school-related things, there have been several as a bargaining tool. protests related to Proposition 8 and other gay rights issues,” Jackson “They’ll say ‘fag’ said. “You know there is the whole political side in the discussion of and I’ll be like ‘Excuse gay themes and so for people who are interested in that, I have given me, boys, you owe me them lots of information about events, protests and groups they can a GSA meeting for get involved with. And I have had several members of the club go to that,’” Jackson said. some of these things.” Though humor ofThese efforts all led to the Day of Silence, the trademark awareness ten serves as superbly day of Gay Straight Alliances nationwide. It is an event that is intended durable bricks for his to call attention to Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender issues, most bridge building, it can specifically to teenagers who have been bullied into silence, as well as sometimes be part of the intolerance that they have faced. It took place this year on April 17, the problem. and everyone was encouraged to participate. “I use humor, “We have the Day of Silence which is an important, nationwide which is kind of a event where people who participate don’t speak for an entire day,” double-edged sword Jackson said. “Its purpose is to raise awareness about bullying and because making a those who aren’t ready to be vocal about how they feel about these joke about gay people issues. There’s a lot of fear and this event demonstrates that in a pretty or being gay myself large way.” means that they’re But regardless of the club’s success, Jackson’s main prerogative is like, ‘Okay, that’s not simply to keep the presence alive. a taboo subject. He’s “Not having the club means there is nowhere for you to go,” okay talking about it, Jackson said. “I don’t think that the actual activity of the club is as I’m okay talking about important as its existence. It sends the message that this is the kind of it,’” Jackson said. environment where it is okay to be gay, it’s okay to come out and there “But, I probably do it is a place for you.” more than I should —Molly Moore and it does demean For up-to-date information on upcoming events and protests around Austin, you the group of people. I can go to to find out more. would rather have an

Sam Womack

Club president Jackson Wimberly, in his natural , dancing state, prepares to lead his team for the last time before abdicating his throne to presidentelect sophomore Maya Hunt. Dancing is a present force in many aspects of the club, including a successfully-organized dance rave in the Commons this year in honor of President Obama’s election.

day life




Custodian sees what others don’t Imagine coming to school almost two hours before everyone else in order to clean bathrooms and hallways. For some it sounds like a nightmare, but to others such as Roberto Martinez, it’s a lifestyle. Martinez has been working as the head custodian since 1993 but worked as a regular custodian for six years before. He and many others normally work from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every day, five days a week plus occasional weekends to make sure the school is close to godliness. “We’re here every day of the week,” Martinez said. “We need to be here to prepare for school events sometimes, so I end up working campus-wide. We always have a busy schedule. Our main busy [time of the day] is during lunch. I am all over the place; I’ll be in the Ninth Grade Center cafeteria, the Chap Court, hallways — the entire campus.” He is optimistic when it comes to the characteristics of the students, but admits that sometimes they are hard to deal with. “We have our good students, and we have our bad students who sometimes don’t understand respect,” Martinez said. “Most students are respectful and we don’t have any problems with them but there are those who are not and who don’t treat us well. What bothers us a lot is when students don’t clean up after themselves during lunch because we spend hours cleaning the floors and the tables, and when students don’t respect that, it’s just more work for us.” Martinez thinks that students should be more aware of how much effort is put into keeping the school clean. “I know Mrs. [Linda] Rawlings is very supportive of us,” he said. “She tries her best to help us out, but there are always going to be those students who forget or just don’t care. Over school breaks, we spend weeks on the floors of the Commons and the Chap Court and so on, so all that hard work we put into it is damaged when students don’t clean up after themselves.” Cleaning doesn’t just take place during the day and in the mornings. The custodians have to be at school at night and on weekends as well. “Most of the custodians come clean up at night,” Martinez said. “Each person has around 30 rooms each to clean, and we clean the bathrooms, the cafeteria — everything. We all work very hard to make sure things are clean in the school and everything is in good shape. During the summer we work very hard on all the floors and hallways in the entire school.” Sometimes, what is funny to the students is just more work for the custodians. They have to come here early in the mornings to clean up what someone has done at night when no one is at school. “The pranks impact us a lot in the cleaning department because we have to get every custodian to come help clean it up even though they might be busy doing something else,” Martinez said. “What most

people don’t know is that only four of us work on campus in the mornings. And if we have to all be working on the same thing; that means time is being taken away from other jobs that need to get done.” As a custodian, Martinez sees a lot of things no student or teacher ever sees. “There are a lot of things we see here early in the morning that we try to get out of here by the time everybody comes in,” he said. “Some pranks are a very big deal. Most of the time students don’t see any of the pranks during school Head custodian Roberto Martinez has been at because we Westlake for 22 years and has served as head have them custodian since 1993. cleaned up Jake by that time. And that happens very often — more often than anyone would think. It may be fun and games for them, but for us it’s more work because we have to try and eliminate the pranks before the students and teachers come in; that way nobody is offended.” After working in various restaurants for years as a chef, Martinez decided to change things up a bit and work in a school. He always wanted to know what it would be like, and head custodian sounded like the perfect job. “Working here is so much different than working in a restaurant, but the skills needed to work with people are the same,” Martinez said. “Of course, it’s on a much larger scale and it’s a lot more fun being around a bunch of students, teachers and coaches all day.” He is very close to other staff, faculty and students in the school. “I get to talk to a lot of the teachers, coaches, principals and students,” he said. “The teachers and students know me pretty well; I am the head custodian so they go to me if they need anything. Sometimes the students and I will sit around and talk about fishing and stuff like that.” After all the work put into keeping the school clean and safe for everyone, the custodians find everything worth it. “Even with all the pranks, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” Martinez said. “Every person’s opinion on work is different and we really enjoy what we do. We have become close to people in the school and to each other. I wouldn’t want anyone else’s job.”

Most of the time students don’t see any of the pranks during school because we have them cleaned up by that time.” —Roberto Martinez

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The Jackson Five

Freshman raises Alzheimer’s awareness


ix years ago, freshman Rachel Johnson’s paternal grandmother, Merle Whittman, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Rachel was just 9 years old. “I have [a few] good memories of her, like when she gave me my first $1 bill,” Rachel said. “I remember lying on the floor and talking to her.” But instead of being able to cultivate a close relationship with her grandmother, Rachel watched her slowly forget her past, her friends and eventually, Rachel. Alzheimer’s is a progressive and fatal disease that attacks the cells of the brain. The most unnerving thing about Alzheimer’s is its effect on memory. Over time, it can take away a person’s ability to retain names and events — everything that makes them individuals. “[My grandmother’s] memory comes and goes,” Rachel said. “She gets really incoherent.” Alzheimer’s affects an estimated five million Americans and it’s the eighth leading cause of death. Even so, many are unaware of the devastation this form of dementia can cause. Though there are several treatment options, no cure has been developed, and often doctors can do nothing more than ensure the comfort of their patients. It’s a difficult reality for families to face. “It’s really hard to see her, because she doesn’t remember me, even

Puppy l ve Junior Emily Wells found the love of her life wandering down Bunny Run over a year ago. The dog, which Emily named Lily, was a mixed breed stray with a lot of problems. She was very nervous and cowered around men, sure signs of a history of abuse. But Emily took Lily as her own and was determined to heal her. “We talked with her owners and they decided they couldn’t take care of her, so we took her in,” Emily said. “First, we took her to a place called Taurus, but they didn’t really help. When I started my internship, I did a basics class with her and now we’re moving into more advanced classes. Her self-esteem is rising, but the process will take awhile.” Witnessing potential in Lily, Emily became intrigued by canine behavior and began volunteering at the Town Lake Animal Center. She put in 72 hours last summer at the shelter and spends every Saturday there from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. “My favorite thing to do at the shelter is taking a dog out to a pen alone,” Emily said. “Most dogs need someone to give them attention. I’ve had a 120-pound German Shepherd sit in my lap and I connected with him better than if we had just played fetch.” This passion for dogs has also grown into an internship for Emily. For her Independent Study Mentorship class, she spends Tuesday

though she’s known me all my life,” said Rachel. “I try to be as supportive as possible for my dad.” Rather than focusing on her personal grief, Rachel founded an organization called Forget Me Knotts, for which she makes and sells handmade bracelets to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. “I had been thinking about doing something for [my grandmother], because she won’t be with us much longer,” Rachel said. Each bracelet costs $1, and all of the proceeds go to the American Alzheimer’s Organization. “They all come with a white bead, but for every person that you know who’s been affected by Alzheimer’s, you get a blue bead,” Rachel said. Personalized bracelets can be ordered from Rachel’s website,, an outlet Rachel hopes to expand. “I’m thinking of putting up a forum where people can submit their stories and pictures,” Rachel said. “It’s my dream for the whole world to get involved with this so we can actually find a cure.” World-changing goals aside, Rachel’s advice for others with an Alzheimer’s patient in the family is surprisingly down-to-earth. “Just enjoy being with the person as much as possible,” Rachel said. “Tell them you love them. That’s something I wish I could have done.” —Hetty Borinstein

Intern, volunteer follows passion for canines at local animal shelter

nights, early Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons at the Lee Mannix Center for Canine Behavior where she observes and teaches certain canine behavior classes. “Emily’s main focus is learning about dog training and handling,” Shari Elkins, a trainer While petting one of her favorite dogs, junior Emily Wells gains volunteer hours at the Town Lake Animal Center.

Katherine Finn

at the Lee Mannix Center, said. “She assists in classes with handling dogs and training her own dog and rescue dogs. She also sets up the class area with leashes, bowls and water and then breaks everything down after class.” Emily plans to continue both her volunteering and internship over the summer and says she “absolutely” sees this in her future.

“You can only learn this stuff through experience, so I really want to keep it up,” she said. “My goal is to be an animal behaviorist.” Through the skills and personality Emily has shown, Elkins thinks that a canine behaviorist would be a perfect career for Emily. “She’s a real go-getter,” Elkins said. “She jumps right in to learn, gets dirty and is a big help. She’s empathetic and great at predicting what trainers, dogs and dog owners need.” Elkins believes Emily has already learned a lot through her internship. “By being with and handling the dogs in person, Emily has learned more than what books can capture,” Elkins said. “Their expressions and body language can only be truly understood by observing lots of dogs.” But through her experiences, Emily has learned more than just canine behavior. “I used to have the attitude that if I didn’t get something on the first try, then I should just give up,” Emily said. “Now I take on challenges, work hard and eventually everything pieces together like a puzzle.” Emily has become addicted to the changes she knows are possible for dogs and their owners. “I like giving people the tools to get their dogs back,” Emily said. “You can save more and more of them than you think.” —Katy Roden

There comes a time in every teenager’s life when he must poke a timid head out of the nest to make his first tentative steps into adulthood. While this process is necessary for everyone, many seem not to have ventured peacefully away from the comforts of youth, and only did so after receiving a swift kick from their parents. My first trip into the bustling and baffling world of people post-high school came with great coercion from my father. While I had been enjoying spending my summer days sleeping until noon and then catching up on reruns of The Tyra Banks Show (we all have our guilty pleasures, don’t judge me), he somehow did not see this as a productive use of time. He came booming down the stairs one day and woke me from a delightful 11-hour sleep with a proclamation: I was to clean myself up and come down to his office with him; his secretary was taking a vacation and I was to take her place until she returned. While answering phones and faxing papers for a building of per-

petually aggravated lawyers did not appeal to me much, the prospect of receiving my own paycheck was incentive enough for me. I came to the office that first day dressed in my best attempt at “business casual” with a professional grin plastered to my face. His secretary’s last duty before she left for her vacation was to train me. She had been working in the office for several years and was highly competent and well-liked by her employers. However, she could not comprehend the extent of my technological incapacities, and therefore her training, which consisted mostly of, “I don’t know…basically just answer the phones and take messages and stuff…” baffled me completely. Not only had I never dreamed that there could be so many functional buttons on a telephone, but their system of computer messages was complex and arcane to me. Having, as I said before, about the technical prowess of a cave-dwelling arthropod, the prospect of using a fax machine terrified me, and I prayed no one would need me to make copies of anything. “What happens if I miss one of the calls?” I asked her. “Well, that would be bad. Just try to leave the desk as little as possible.” So there she left me, waving a sunny goodbye as she headed off on her long-awaited vacation. I sat frozen, afraid to get up even to go to the bathroom or get a drink for fear that someone would call and I would not be there to answer. Finally, the phone rang, causing me to jump. “Law office of Phillip Lieberman,” I practically shouted into the phone. “Yes, is Mr. Lieberman in?” the voice responded. I frantically attempted to remember all the extension numbers, and when I thought I had typed the correct one, I feebly called, “Someone’s on the line for you, Mr. Lieberman.” There was a pause, then, “Uh…it’s still me,” from the same voice. Mortified, I apologized profusely and explained it was my first day, before attempting to connect him again. After I hung up, I noticed a small red light flashing on the phone. I speculated that perhaps it had been there all along, and I had simply not noticed it before. But after several minutes, the phone began to beep, and the light to flash. My heart raced as I realized the caller had been left on hold for the last 10 minutes, and even if I knew how to conMarco Marroquin nect him, I could not possibly

How my brief excursion into the working world helped me see the advantages of unemployment face the humiliation of admitting my blunder and answering his call again. So, I did what any responsible adult would do: I hung up on him and never spoke of the incident again. So what if the lawyers were losing a potential client? It wasn’t worth me losing my dignity. The week went by, one assault on my ego after another, as I realized time and again my incompetence in the working world. The time dragged by excruciatingly slowly, sometimes with stretches of an hour with no phone calls. Then, suddenly all the lines would be busy, as if everyone in the Austin area seeking a lawyer had coordinated a time to call and confuse the secretary. The callers consistently seemed to have complicated names and strong accents, which prevented me from understanding them even after asking them to repeat several times. I finally began to give up on ever understanding the correct pronunciation, and would usually settle for telling the lawyers, “There’s a Twuooamcwshees…on the line for you,” and then transferring the call before they had a chance to correct me. I coped with my stress in the way that I assume most adults do — by taking the easy way out. Sometimes, when callers’ names or messages were too complicated, I would merely tell them that the lawyer in question was not in, and that they should call back later (preferably, after I’d already gone home and when someone else could deal with it), or simply told them they had the wrong number. While my employers would surely have been disappointed to hear of my cutting corners like that, no one knew about it, so everyone was happy. And plus, how else are people supposed to deal with their problems if not ignore them and wait for them blow over? I got away with exerting the minimal amount of effort for a few days, but eventually (and inevitably) my ineptitude was discovered by one of the lawyers. A woman had called whose name was so complicated that I could not bear the thought of trying to repeat it, so I told her that she had the wrong number. “Oh, what number is this, then?” She asked. Panicking, I told her the first number I could think of, which happened to be from a list posted on a wall next to my desk. A few moments later, one of the lawyers emerged from his office and asked me why he had heard me giving out his home phone number. “We don’t customarily do that, you know. I don’t want people calling me and harassing me at home,” he snarled. Petrified, I tried to explain. He left me alone with a scornful grunt, and I wallowed in my humiliation. Perhaps it was his tone, which seemed to suggest that I was a brainless excuse for a secretary who should be replaced by a machine, or perhaps it was the fact that he had the kind of yellow teeth and wrinkly skin that made children fear aging with every fiber of their being, but his reprimand was enough to make me want to curl up under the desk and never come out. After that, every time one of the lawyers walked by I hung my head in shame. I was certain that they were all irritated by my incompetence, and I felt sure that every time I turned my back they would all whisper about my latest screw-up. I figured that if the real working world was this filled with paranoia and conspiracy then I would be happy to live off my parents’ charity until they kicked me out. The usual secretary returned from her vacation in only a week, but it felt to me like months of agonizing labor. When I was finally dismissed, I took my check for $187 and slunk away. Now every time they call me to ask if I can temp, I try to be mature and not screen their calls. Instead, I merely make up an excuse about a dying great aunt or a sudden onset of pneumonia and politely decline their offer. —Leslie Reynolds

Students share their own harrowing work experiences “I worked at a Montessori school over the summer, taking care of 2- through 5-yearolds. I had to change a lot of diapers, and it wasn’t until the last day that I figured out we were supposed to wear gloves for that.” —senior Savannah Ritter “I work at La Madeline, and one day I stole a parfait from the bakery. The next day my manager pulled me into her office and asked about a missing parfait. It was pretty awkward when she made me fess up and feel bad about taking all 80 cents of a dessert.” —senior Micaela Lacy “I work at Capital Family Practice and I once filed 15 to 20 charts that weren’t supposed to be filed. They all had recent faxes attached that the doctors had to see. I spent two hours searching through seven ceiling-to-floor shelves to find all of the charts I put up.” —senior Sean Elwood

80 rants + raves


[staff editorial]


New GPA calculation method sparks controversy over course selections


taring at the course selection sheet in front of you, you ponder the myriad choices that these seemingly insignificant pieces of paper present. The counselors have warned you that the classes you take now can impact not only your chances of getting into your preferred college, but also your major and potentially your career. If you plan to go into a pre-med program, you might load up on chemistry and biology classes. If you aspire to be a professional cellist, perhaps AP music theory is an obvious choice, along with a period of applied music. Or maybe you’d prefer to taste-test a variety of options by taking a balanced smattering of AP classes and electives. However, if you are a sophomore or a freshman, your choices have just become more difficult. Starting with the Class of 2011, the system for calculating GPAs and class ranks has been revamped. Depending on the classes you take, even high grades in elective classes could hurt your GPA and class rank. In the new system, GPAs will be weighted, meaning that multipliers will be factored in, and class ranks (also weighted) will incorporate not only core academic courses and foreign language classes, but all electives as well. Essentially, what was once two entirely separate numbers will now be computed in the same way. The change stems from the Eanes Board of Trustees’ desire to create balance in the system and reward those students who receive high grades in their elective classes, as well as to encourage students to take their electives as seriously as their academic courses. But for a great number of students, the change poses a dilemma. With the sheer volume of AP classes taken at Westlake, many students are torn between wanting to keep up with their AP-hungry peers in class rank and pursuing their interests in athletics and fine arts. In order to restore fairness for all students, the Board of Trustees needs to rethink their new system of GPA and class rank calculation. Students should be given the option to take their electives pass/fail so AP students can continue them without fearing for their rank, and others get the chance to include their elective successes in the calculation of their GPA. It’s simply unfair for students to be forced to sacrifice their electives for making it into the top 10 percent. For some students, an easy 100 in an elective can prove beneficial to their GPA. On the other hand, those who have GPAs above 100 due to multipliers in AP and Pre-AP classes see a 100 in an elective as a detriment. For the multitudes of driven, involved Westlake students on the AP track, taking the electives that they love can lower their class rank significantly. Therefore, current sophomores and freshmen, as well as incoming freshmen, are becoming increasingly more serious in terms of their elective choices, giving up athletics and music classes to take extra AP electives that may or may not be interesting to them. The administration may look at the GPA calculation change as a positive thing, since, in the end, it does encourage students to take more AP classes, which reflects well on the school. Particularly in terms of Westlake’s ranking in Newsweek, the number of AP tests taken and the AP passing rate are the most important criteria. But

Rachel English

when does academic encouragement cross into the territory of ruining students’ high school experiences? To get ahead in class rank “for the sake of their futures,” students forgo the few classes they actually enjoy. Here’s the bottom line: Students should not be punished for working hard in a class simply because it is an elective. And the truth that gets swept to the sidelines is that though AP classes may be essential for the futures of some Westlake students, not all of us are headed toward careers that will profit from a heavy courseload of APs. And students serious about their electives often put more time and effort into these activities than any of their other classes. What about prospective musicians who dedicate three periods of their day to music-related classes? That’s three regular classes potentially weighing down their rank, three regular classes that they spend valuable time preparing and practicing for, three regular classes that are vital to their futures. The Catch-22? After taking three regular music classes, they audition and are admitted to their chosen music program, but because they took those classes, their class rank prevents them from being admitted into that college. Planning ahead and pursuing their college interests in high school ultimately hurts them. Making electives a liability in class rank forces students to take seven APs, sacrificing their mental health for the benefit of their rank. Yes, we have to be serious about our futures, but it’s harsh of the administration to force students to grow up so quickly and sacrifice rare opportunities to explore and grow as individuals. There’s always a trade-off: for the sake of helping some students with an extra 100, others get held back. This is difficult territory to deal with; however, it should be the school’s main priority for everyone to succeed. Yes, it’s essential to think about the future. But it’s also important to spare the present a thought.

places to go when Austin heats up Everyone knows that feeling you get over the summer when you have nothing to do and don’t feel like sitting at home. We’ve all experienced the stage of our lives when boredom and the Texas heat interfere with summer. These places can help keep you cool this summer, in many ways.

Sno Beach: An exceptional snow cone stand with a multitude of flavors, Sno Beach is located at 1806 Barton Springs Road and is a necessity for hot days in Texas. It’s not just shaved ice; this ice is as light as a feather and melts on your tongue like snowflakes. From “Tigers Blood” to “Leche Quemada,” it’s like an ice storm of great flavors in your mouth. You can even top off your snow cone with cream. Sno Beach is a paradise within a Barton Springs Road parking lot.


Barton Springs: Located within Zilker Park, Barton Springs is one of the coolest places in Austin, literally. It stays about 68 degrees year round and is a great place to cool off in the heat of the summer sun, to get a tan or have a picnic. To enter, it costs $3 for anyone 18 or older, $2 for anyone between the ages of 12-17 and $1 for anyone under the age of 11.

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Cathedral of Junk: Built in Vince Hannemann’s backyard, the cathedral of junk is an interesting and fun place to visit that gives off a “club house” feeling. It has many different rooms built of all kinds of pieces including old bike parts, soda cans, cables…anything that he could find to make it unique. It’s located on 4422 Lareina Drive in South Austin and is free to everyone, but donations (money or parts) are accepted.



Austin Duck Adventure: The Duck Tour is a great way to see the city and get a chance to go on the lake. During the tour you can to hear all about Austin while driving past the State Capitol, the Governor’s Mansion, the Bob Bullock Museum, Congress Avenue, Sixth Street and, at the end, Lake Austin. You can experience Lake Austin without even getting out of your seat. The bus doubles as both an automobile and a boat, and everyone knows you’re coming because you can hear the free duck call toys they give you from a mile away.



Bowling: There are many different places to go bowling around Austin. Some of my personal favorites are Westgate Lanes and UT Underground. Both places are great for hanging out with friends and catching up. At the UT bowling alley, you can play arcade games, pool and bowl under black lights. Westgate Lanes is more of a family style place with a number of different lanes as well as a snack bar.


Blazer Tag: For those who love hideand-seek, this is the game for you. Located at 1701 W. Ben White Blvd., Blazer Tag is an enjoyable game that anyone can take part in. You are given a pack with a phaser and a team color. Then, when the game begins, you battle to be the winner by shooting anyone who crosses your path wearing a different-colored phaser. You know that adrenaline rush you get, and you know you walk out dying for water, don’t deny it. Then you run to the screen to see where “insert crazy name here.”



Fishing: For those who have the patience to fish, Commons Ford Park is the perfect place to do so. The park is located on Lake Austin and has 215 acres of property where one can do many different things. So if you wish, you can plan a fishing trip, enjoy the hiking trails, go swimming and observe the wildlife all in one day. It makes for a perfect day trip and is very relaxing. Also, don’t forget your fishing license or you might get a hefty fine.


The University of Texas Tower: One of Austin’s best-known landmarks is the UT Tower, which can always be seen lit in either orange or white. You can get a great view of the UT campus and Austin from the observation deck, which has recently been remodeled and reopened to the public. The facility is now accessible to those in wheelchairs so everyone can take pleasure in the Austin skyline.

Mt. Bonnell: For the romantics out there, Mt. Bonnell might appeal to you. The highest point located in the Austin city limits at 785 feet, Mt. Bonnell has been one of Austin’s oldest attractions since 1850. Admission is free, and it’s the perfect place to watch the sunset. You get great views of the skyline, Lake Austin, the 360 bridge (or Pennybacker to those of the Stone Age) and much more. It can be a great place to have a picnic with your friends or just hang out in a very peaceful atmosphere.


Urban Bat Colony: Almost every night between March and November, people gather below or on top of the Congress Avenue Bridge, awaiting the departure of 1.5 million Mexican Free-Tail bats. At around sunset, the bats wake up from their sleep and leave their homes from under the bridge. However, fair warning, watch where you stand, you don’t want to end up with bat guano on your head.



Disc Golf: In Austin, Disc Golf is becoming very popular and in high demand. The two nearest locations are the 18-21 hole course at Pease Park, or the two 9-12 hole courses at Zilker. The Pease Park course is considered by many to be the toughest in Austin. Some holes are very long and spacious, but most are in the woods. On the north and south sides of Zilker Park, one can also find other disc golf courses. Depending on what kind of game you want to play, the course located on the south side would be the easiest.

Zilker Park: One of the most popular parks in Austin, Zilker Park is located at 2100 Barton Springs Road and has recreational opportunities for everyone. You can canoe or kayak on Lady Bird Lake or take a ride on the miniature train, the Zilker Zephyr. Also, you can go for a bike ride on the hike-and-bike trails, play on the playscape or take a dip in the Barton Springs Pool. For sports lovers, there are sand volleyball courts, a nine-hole disc golf course, two multi-use fields, a rugby field and nine soccer fields. Every summer, the outdoor theater offers audiences a musical, free of charge, which runs Thursdays through Sundays. This summer’s performance is “The Music Man,” which will run July 3 through Aug. 15. —Chelsea Knepley

Mistakes on a 84 rants + raves

I am currently on a 10-hour flight to Paris, France — in the smallest international plane known to man. It is RIDICULOUSLY tiny. I swear the coach seats would not have been able to accommodate a slightly overweight grown man. I’m already hunched over trying to write this, so you get the picture. Anyway, for the last three hours I have felt an incessant kicking on the back of my seat. After about the fifteenth kick I decided to turn around and use my best “grown-up voice” to ask the kid, yes I believed it was a kid, to cease and desist. Unfortunately, as I turned around and began my rant, I realized that the person behind me was in fact sleeping, and was not a child. As his eyes began to open I quickly whipped my head around and sank slowly back into my seat and have now come to the glorious revelation that 1.) the man has Restless Leg Syndrome, and 2.) plane flights are awkward and I am resorting to car rides and cruises from now on. With summer approaching, bringing with it exotic vacations to Brazil and Tahiti, you must accustom yourself to the many awkward situations and figure out how to avoid them. Here is your chance. Please fasten your seatbelts and prepare for take off. 1. Using the bathroom. The bathroom is by far the most awkward place on the airplane. Not only do you have to wait in ridiculously long lines, but you also have to attempt to do your business in a cubicle that is about two feet by three feet. Not okay. Plus, if you seem to find yourself using the restroom frequently on flights due to the extra large Dr Pepper you consumed beforehand, you begin to notice the deranged faces of the people on the walk back, wondering whether or not you should seek medical attention for your uncontrollable bladder. Gross. How to Avoid: NEVER drink anything before boarding the plane. This is just setting yourself up for disaster. Also, it would be in your best interest to not wear jeans. Try going with something “stretchy” so if the need arises, you can take care of business quickly. 2. The Middle Seat These three words should inflict the same amount of horror in you as the original Exorcist. In addition to the complete lack of elbow room and inability to move whatsoever, you are usually smooshed right in between two of the creepiest people on the planet, thus forcing unwanted conversation. Also, in order to get anywhere, such as the bathroom or overhead bin, you must awkwardly assume ape form and monkey yourself over the other passengers in your row. How to Avoid: Always aim for the aisle seats. These seats prove to be the best seat on the plane as there is no need for any track skills of hurdling over fellow passengers, and there is plenty of leg room for you and all of your glory. 3. The Incessant Talker Nothing on an airplane could be worse than having your own personal ‘Chatty Cathy’ jabbering in your ear for seven solid hours. On top of the awkwardness of not knowing the person, the conversations al-

ways seem to be small talk. You know, the good ol’ “how are you, where are you from, what school do you go to, do you have a boyfriend” talk. No, we do not want to talk to some random stranger, much less share our innermost secrets with him or her. How to Avoid: Headphones. These are key to block out any unwanted talking. Just casually slip in an ear phone at any break in conversation, they should catch your hint and hopefully will leave you alone for good. 4. The Onlooker We’ve all had the experience. You bring a book or your laptop on the plane to occupy you during the long flight and you feel the person next to you lean closer and closer, trying to read or look at what you are doing just because they weren’t smart enough to bring their own. Not only this, but usually they don’t catch the hint when you turn your computer ever so slightly the other direction; they just lean closer. How to Avoid: Buy a screen cover for your laptop. This protective black covering makes it impossible for any unwanted eyes to see what you are doing. If you are reading a book or a magazine, bring multiple so that the person next to you can have their own item to read. 5. Sleeping By now, most of us have realized that airplanes are not five-star hotels. They come with the tiniest seats possible with no room to really relax. The lack of a comfortable place to put your head, besides the nasty hospital pillow, along with the angry person ” yelling at you for putting your seat two centimeters back, makes this one of the most awkward situations on any flight. Plus, there is always the chance that you may snore, or that your face may land on the passenger next to you. How to Avoid: The tray table is now your best friend. Pull it down and sleep away, for this is the answer to all of your prayers. All it requires is some awkward bending, but that’s better than using your fellow passenger as a pillow, right? 6. Overhead Bins Angry faces and annoyed sighs are just a few of the many delights that overhead bins may bring you on your trips. Boarding and exiting the plane are the prime times for these “cubbies” to truly work their magic. You are almost guaranteed to create an amusement park line full of impatient and moody people as you try to squeeze your oversized carry-on into such a small space. These lovely inventions also seem to run out of room just in time for your bag to try and join the pack so, while the rest of the plane is waiting to exit or get to their seat, you are the one who is stuck trying to figure out where to put your elephant-sized bag. How to Avoid: Instead of bringing a bag the size of a small human on the plane, try something smaller, like a backpack or purse that is able to fit under the seat in front of you. This will save you from the scowls and grunts of the annoyed passengers and also allow easy access to anything you may need during the flight. —Shelby Christopher

The Middle Seat: These three words should inflict the same amount of horror in you as the original Exorcist.

plane A survival guide to avoiding awkward situations in flight

I was flying by myself in sixth grade and there was this creepy guy next to me. When I couldn’t get my peanuts open, he offered to help and ripped them open with his teeth. I was grossed out so I pretended to eat them, then put them away.” —junior Mallory Douth

One time, the guy sitting behind me didn’t wear shoes. He kept putting his bare feet on my arm rest, touching my elbow. Might I add his feet looked and smelled as if he had never showered. My mom had to turn around and tell him to move his feet multiple times.” —junior Maura Presley When I was flying by myself, they put me next to this 9-year-old kid who wouldn’t stop bugging me. It was so weird because he was three years younger than me. He kept offering me candy and trying to steal my iPod. I had to pretend I was asleep the whole plane ride to get him to stop.” —freshman Meredith Trank

Moira Bering

86 rants + raves

Out of this world Ounce for ounce, Yogurt Planet leaves customers coming back for more


ood comes. I eagerly take a bite. Something is terribly wrong; there is an unfamiliar taste in my mouth. I am confused. As I chew, I carefully taste each new, foreign aspect of the dish and wonder, “What has prompted this change?” I am horrified. My once cheerful mood is replaced with one of dissatisfaction. When it comes to food, things need to be done a very certain way to please me. Yogurt Planet’s consistent reliability is one of the countless reasons why it suits me so well. I can choose what I want and how much I want without having to depend on someone else to make it for me. Being my very own chef, I have a routine that I follow to the T whenever I visit: I get a cup, add exactly one layer of the Mango yogurt followed closely by three layers of the Original Tart flavor. Advancing on to the topping section, I look past the candies, chocolates and cereals they offer. I am focused only on the fruit. I start out with two and a half heaping spoonfuls of strawberries, followed by one or two helpings of mango, depending on how I feel that day. Then maybe six blueberries, a scattering of a few chunks of pineapple, exactly two blackberries, all of which is then topped off with mochi (a rice treat so delectable that I am unable to explain it without stuffing some in your mouth). I pay and quickly scan the small room for the nearest vacant table. Once spotted, I sprint straight to said table, skirting past fellow classmates and strangers alike. Ignoring their stares and glares, I immediately begin to devour the delicious mess in front of me. I enjoy my yogurt and the fact that it tastes exactly as it did last time. Yogurt Planet is a fairly new development that has exploded in popularity this past year. There are now two locations in Austin, one in The Triangle at 4601 N. Lamar Blvd and a very recent opening in The Hill Country Galleria. These frozen yogurt shops are completely selfserve, leaving the flavors, toppings and quantity up to your own design. It’s a simple concept: you pick a cup size, fill it with your choice of yogurt, add various toppings and finally pay a small fee of

39 cents per ounce of yogurt. If, for some reason, you’re not in the mood for yogurt, you can also purchase smoothies and shaved ice for relatively cheap prices. But with the good comes the bad too: If not handled properly, it is way too easy to get a bit crazy and wind up with a mound of uneaten melting yogurt. So caution, caution I really do say, use a light touch on the dispenser throughout the whole way! The décor is, well, cute. A television rests on the walls of green tile for seated customers to watch while slurping away at their frozen dessert. Seating may pose a problem, though, since this petite shop is almost always bursting with people, inside and out. Yogurt Planet prides itself in serving “all natural premium yogurt,” claiming that frozen yogurt is beneficial to the intestinal tract for balance in digestion. It is also said that frozen yogurt with live cultures can help overcome lactose intolerance, prevent infections in the digestive tract and is a source of protein, potassium and calcium. It seems like there are new, competing yogurt forces sprouting up all around Austin. Yogurt Spot and Tomunchi are just a couple of the presently open frozen yogurt shops while a few more are in their beginning stages of growth. With these new shops opening all around, I, however difficult it may be, will try my very best to dabble in them. Although I am sure that the overall quality and taste of these opponents will be similar in all features, I am not yet convinced. When I enter, I will carefully inspect each corner of the shop, making sure that the cleanliness of the facility passes my fierce examination and keen eyes. If the standards are indeed sufficiently met, I will move to the yogurt, testing each flavor and making all too sure that the familiar smooth consistency is there, unmarked by blemishes and unwanted chunks. If these rivals somehow make it to this point, then I will scrutinize each fruit topping until I am certain that the level of freshness is at least adequate for my palate. I do not trust them and they will have to work for my approval. —Jamie Lee

Hannah Kunz Yogurt Flavors: Original Tart Green Tea Blueberry Cappuccino Vanilla Cookies n’ Cream Pistachio Strawberry Raspberry Mango Low-Fat flavors: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake Sugar-free flavor: Vanilla

Toppings: Cap’nCrunch Yogurt Chips Almonds Cookies n’ Cream Carob Chips Coconut Fruity Pebbles Brownie Gummi Bears M&Ms Chocolate Chips Peanuts Sprinkles Coco Pebbles Jelly Beans Granola Mochi Chestnuts Blueberries Kiwi Banana Raspberry Mango Blackberry Strawberry Pineapple Peach

Stuff We


Did anyone ever stop and think about how useful a giant, sleeping blob of fat really was in battle? We did. And you know what? We think Snorlax was the best Pokemon ever. Ever ever. True, it was hard to find that pesky Pokeflute to wake him up, but once you got that big boy moving, BOOM, throw that Great Ball, then BOOM, new level 30 Pokemon in your party. After that you just had to choose what move to use in battle. Amnesia? Headbutt? Rest? Too many decisions. Regardless of what you choose, you can be sure Snorlax will do it as lazily and slowly as possible.

Katherine Finn

Winnie the Pooh Piglet, Christopher Robin, Eeyore, Roo, Kanga, Tigger…the magic never stops when it comes to Winnie the Pooh. I mean, the heffalumps. The heffalumps. So large. So beautiful. As our esteemed editor-in-chief opened The House at Pooh Corner for the first time during our Featherduster staff story-time, we…we cried. Yes. Tearfully. Such wonderful imagery, characters so well-developed, a boy with an imagination of silver who needs to wear longer pants… oh, the memories. After all, a story with a title like In Which Pooh and Piglet Go Hunting and Nearly Catch a Woozle is a winner, right? We personally are sure that dear old Winnie is directly responsible for the quality of the people who are writing this today. Incidentally, can you tell that none of us have even looked at our “treasured story collections” in about seven years?

Crazy Craving

If you heard the name Crazy Craving, you might not know who we’re talking about. Let us jog your memory (since it’s probably blocked out due to trauma): you’re watching TV on a Saturday morning, and all of a sudden you’re running for your life and potentially wetting your pants at the sight of the Honeycomb cereal mascot. That, my friends, is our favorite ‘90s nightmareinducing cereal monster known as Crazy Craving. He spent many years shocking us in commercials where the mere thought of Honeycomb transformed kids, much like ourselves, into rabid Honeycomb-hungry-Tasmaniandevil-like monsters. He would start screaming “ME WANT HONEYCOMB!” and there was no question about whether or not to give it to him. The makers of this cereal were seriously demented when they thought that a werewolf-complex would be a good advertising tactic. The truth is: we bought the cereal out of sheer terror that if we didn’t, Crazy Craving would eat us for breakfast instead of his beloved Honeycomb.

Inside Jokes



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Refrigerator cheese! Ha ha ha! Oh, mutually included person, what a hilarious joke this is for only the two of us! Let us revel in our shared experience! Remember when we saw that guy at that place who said that thing in that way? That was a moment that those who were there will eternally remember and everyone else will be constantly and obnoxiously reminded of.

Adrienne Cooksley and Katherine Finn


The Featherduster Volume 40 Issue 4  
The Featherduster Volume 40 Issue 4  

The fourth issue of the fortieth issue of The Featherduster.