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ney i o ss m


Westlake High School

Volume 44

Issue 1

Nov. 6, 2012 4100 Westbank Drive Austin, Texas 78746

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31,2012 to January 4, 2013

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brains + brawn


A major headache ImPACT tests reveal concussion data

November 2012 people + places


The right rhythm

Student records in professional studio

trends + traditions


rants + raves


Getting back on his feet

Man works his way out of homelessness Editors-in-Chief Hailey Cunningham Monica Tan

Brains + Brawn Marco Scarasso Asst. Peyton Richardson Asst. Sara Phillips Andy Brown Asst. Emily Martin Asst. Jacob Prothro

People + Places Selah Maya Zighelboim Asst. Caitlyn Kerbow Asst. Rachel Cooper

Trends + Traditions Jessica Stenglein Laura Doolittle Asst. Josh Willis Asst. Monica Rao

Rants + Raves Ben Wallace Catherine Mear

Something fishy

Hotspots on Austin sushi scene

Asst. Michael Deisher

Web Master Nikki Roop Asst. Erin Armstrong

Business Manager Josh Willis

Art Director: Michaela Moss Ariana Gomez Reyes

Phographers Editor: Ryan Stankard Cade Ritter Carley McNicholas Mackenzie Franklin Shelby Westbrook Tim Whaling Zoë Nathan

Reporters Alexis Huynh Brendon McGrath Brian Wieckowski Cierra Smith Colleen Pletcher

David Tulkoff Elizabeth Emery Emily Martinez Emma Pennell Erica Schwartz Georgina Kuhlmann Hannah Turner Jack Speer Jack Stenglein Katelyn Connolly Katherine Spencer Kathryn Revelle Katie Mitchell Laura Jessich Liam Gerrity Madeline Dupre Margaret Norman Martin Celusniak Michelle Fairorth Nikki Humble Olivia Kight Sabrina Knap ZZ Lundburg

Adviser Deanne Brown

The Featherduster, the newsmagazine of Westlake High School, attempts to inform and entertain in a broad, fair and accurate manner on subjects which concern the readers. The publication also seeks to provide a forum of ideas and opinions between the staff of the newsmagazine, the faculty, the student body and the local community about issues presented. All material produced and published by The Featherduster staff is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without the writer’s consent or that of the editors. Content decisions rest in the hands of the staff, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier. Opinions expressed in the columns that appear in The Featherduster do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire staff, the school administration or the adviser. The staff encourages letters to the editor as an avenue for expressing the opinions of the readers. All letters must be signed to be considered for publication. Due to space limitations, not all letters will be published, and the editorial board reserves the right to edit them for purposes of placement. No material will be printed that is libelous, advocates an illegal activity or which the editorial board deems is in poor taste. The restriction includes letters to the staff, advertising and anything else the board feels presents an inappropriate message. cover photos by Cade Ritter and Zoë Nathan cover photo manipulation by Cade Ritter, Ian Harvey, Jack Stenglein, Tim Whaling and David Tolin table of contents photo by Cade Ritter At the Blast from the Past pep rally Sept. 21, host senior Spencer Flynn entertains the crowd from the stands.

Little f

sh in a


pond 12-year-old skips two grades, transitions into high school life


Zoë Nathan

During a passing period, freshman Saarila Kenkare stands out from the crowd.

Freshman Saarila Kenkare is not like most 12-year-olds. Most kids her age are in seventh grade. She is a freshman in high school, taking all Pre-AP core classes. Saarila skipped not just one grade, but two — third and fifth grades at Oak Hill Elementary. “I was looking at the curriculum for third grade after second grade and thought I could do it,” Saarila said. “I asked my mom [about skipping the grades], and she talked to the principal. I just took some tests for math, science, English and social studies.” Saarila has always been slightly ahead of the other kids, she just didn’t think about it. “My mom taught me to read when I was 3,” Saarila said. “I was always ahead in math and reading. When other kids were learning to add and subtract, I already knew it. I never really thought anything of it until I got older.” Despite the age difference, Saarila had no difficulty transitioning to fourth grade. “Fourth grade wasn’t scary at all because the maturity between a third and fourth grader isn’t that much different,” Saarila said. At the end of that year, she tested out of fifth grade. For her sixth grade year, she decided to take a break from public school. “I was home-schooled for sixth grade,” Saarila said. “It was good because I could go at my own pace, and days that I didn’t feel like working, my mom could take me fun places. I actually finished early and got my credits in early May. It was freer and not as defined.” The switch to Hill Country Middle School as a seventh grader was much more intimidating for her. “I started Hill Country in seventh grade and that was kind of scary,” she said. “It was just really big, and I didn’t know anyone. Kids were really nice. They knew that I was new so they asked me to sit with them on the first day of school at lunch. Everyone was really friendly.” Saarila said she doesn’t regret missing those elementary school years.

“I’ve made a lot of really good friends here,” Saarila said. Saarila said she comes from a family with a heavy focus on academics. The youngest of three girls, Saarila has two older sisters, Saamiha, who is a sophomore, and Saanika, a sophomore at the University of Texas. “I admire both of my parents,” Saarila said. “I think that they’re really smart. Both of my sisters, too.” Jealousy might also be a problem for a family with the same situation as the Kenkares, but Saarila said that has never been a problem between her and her siblings. “[Both of my sisters] are OK with it,” Saarila said. “It’s not a big deal. We don’t compete at all. We’ve always been really close growing up together. We’ve been more like three friends growing up together than actual sisters.” Saarila said that she doesn’t think she learns differently from any other student. She even said that she sometimes struggles with World Geography and Biology. “To learn well, I have to use different kinds of learning,” Saarila said. “I have to listen to the teacher in class and read the textbook for it to actually stick. I wouldn’t say it’s easier for me. I don’t have a photographic memory at all. I normally do get A’s, but I have to work for them. It’s not like it’s really easy.” On top of her academics, Saarila participates in several clubs as well as activities outside of school. “I take lessons for the violin and piano and I do a little bit of tennis,” Saarila said. “I’m also in Latin Club and do Certamen.” She said she considers math and science her strongest subjects. “I want to go to UT and I want to study engineering,” Saarila said. Despite certain obvious differences from her peers — Saarila won’t be able to get her driver’s license until her senior year — she said she doesn’t regret skipping the grades. “I feel like I’m everyone else’s age now,” she said. “It doesn’t feel weird at all.” —Peyton Richardson

“My mom taught me to read when I was 3. When other kids were learning to add and subtract, I already knew it. I never really thought anything of it until I got older.” —freshman Saarila Kenkare


brains + brawn

New kid

block on the

Principal shares first impressions, experiences The Featherduster: What initially attracted you to Westlake? Principal Dr. John Carter: The commitment to innovation initially attracted me to Westlake. Its reputation and its location in Austin, too. Of my 25-year career, I spent 18 teaching mathematics, so I know there are a lot of things going on in this area around mathematics education. I have some colleagues at the University of Texas, as well as Texas State University, so I knew there is a commitment to education in this area.

Ryan Stankard

FD: How does Westlake compare to other schools where you have worked? JC: Academically, it's pretty even [with the school in Illinois]. Students at both schools are very, very well prepared and college-attending. All the programs are excellent, as they are there, but what attracted me to Westlake is the commitment to creativity that you see in both the students and the teachers. FD: What examples can you give of that commitment? JC: Things like the iPad initiative speak volumes about both students' and teachers' willingness to look forward to the middle of the 21st century — not just thinking about what teaching and learning were like at the end of the 1900s or the beginning of the 2000s, but about what students need to be ready when they leave here. FD: Why did you make the change from teaching to administration? JC: I think anybody who makes the conscious decision to move from teaching to administration has the desire to make a broader impact than just in the content area. Teachers often go into high school teaching because they love their content and they love working with teenagers, and they want to have an impact on how teenagers may view their content or learn their content. As people move into administration, they often see the potential to impact broadly across and help students in all academic and athletic activity areas. I wanted to have a broader impact. FD: Looking around your office, it is obvious that you love math. What is the appeal? JC: For me, math represents a way to view the world. It's a lens through which to analyze and interpret different events and different things that occur around us. I know some students sometimes have difficulty seeing beyond the skills and the manipulations and the memorization you have taking place. But as you get further along, it actually becomes a lens through which you analyze and view the world and an exciting and interesting way to use [those skills]. FD: What has been your favorite part about your time here so far? JC: My favorite part is the students. You have a lot of fun, are extraordinarily welcoming, polite, focused and determined. There are so many positive things about the student body here, and Westlake is an extremely unique place because of that common focus on excellence and desire for success and willingness to work hard for it. Just walking down the hall, the number of students that greet me and say ‘Hi’ is pretty unique because there are a number of schools where the students would not talk to, or even greet, an administrator. The fact that students are secure enough in who they are to have a conversation with an adult is impressive. I’ll see students out in the community, and they’ll say ‘Hi. How are you Dr. Carter.’ Here, people are very welcoming — it’s about the whole person, not just the principal. —Hailey Cunningham

Principal Dr. John Carter cheers after sophomore Soren Stephens, junior Cierra Smith and senior Tate Bowden painted his head in preparation for the Homecoming game on Sept. 28. “The culture of this school is extraordinarily unique and special,” Dr. Carter said. “I don’t think students here realize this because they’ve always been here. Learning the culture [of Westlake] has been the biggest challenge of the new job, especially since I am in a leadership role. I listen and observe events and discussions to try to learn.”

Scan this to read about more new faculty members and their opinions.

The iPad pandemic iPads distributed among Eanes ISD schools, pilot program implemented in middle, elementary schools


rom Internet surfing, to playing games, to taking distorted pictures, the iPad is a technology fad that has entertained consumers for more than two years now. However, recently, leaders in the educational world have been trying to convert this media into a classroom tool. Within the past two months, eighth grade students and select elementary school students were assigned iPads as their new school resource. This idea was first brought to the school board by Eanes technology director Carl Hooker about a year and a half ago in efforts to save paper and move the district forward in the new technology era. Secretary of the Eanes School Board, Dr. Colleen Jones, explained the key reasons as to how the iPads are to move students forward not only in technology but in education as well. “I think we need to get beyond just the memorization of things, because you can Google anything,” Dr. Jones said. “So how do we get our kids to that higher level? Because we’re in the information age where everything you need to know is at your fingertips, how do we get you to elaborate on that to solve world problems, and use that information?” The technology is a part of the new standards and is expected to be used. “[The iPad] is not a replacement of everything,” Dr. Jones said. “I see it as one tool out of many.” Curriculum, technology and all the social norms eventually move on to different and new things. “I think we have to make sure our educational environment is suitable to those changes [in technology],” Dr. Jones said. In both West Ridge and Hill Country middle schools, all of the eighth grade students, as well as any younger students in eighth grade

math classes received their own iPads for the year. Reactions from excitement to anger have come from this decision. “I definitely had mixed feelings for the iPads,” eighth grade science teacher Isaac Lim said. “I was excited, but I was also very nervous. Excited because I know this is the future and it would make sense for the kids to have it, but nervous because eighth graders — I don’t trust them. I was a little nervous on how they were going to use it or how the behavior was going to change.” On the contrary, eighth grade American History teacher Barry Whites reacted positively to the news of the iPads. “For us to not let them use [the iPads] is more of a problem,” Whites said. “It would be slowing them down. It would be holding them back because it’s the era of technology.” However, in classes that are more interactive, some teachers are finding it rather difficult to incorporate the iPads. “We’re struggling a little bit more [to use them] because in science, we have labs and the iPads aren’t necessarily going to help,” Lim said. In addition, the issue of the iPads being a distraction rather than a school tool also arises. In most classes, if a student is off task, the teacher will simply remind him or her to put their iPads away. “I don’t believe the iPad itself was built for education,” Lim said. “Yes, you can get apps and stuff like that, but the iPad, when it was originally designed, was made to consume media, to get on the Internet and things like that. However, I do believe a thin device that helps you get on the Internet, and does the file stuff, like the iPad does, is the future. I just wish there were some functions on the iPad that we could turn off or not have included.” Many students even admitted to finding themselves off task more than working on their iPads for school related things.

iHave an opinion “I think they’re a good way to incorporate new technology into the school system, and I think the concept will be able to grow and expand into something much larger, such as a full online community of staff and students so that things like after school tutoring by the teachers and peers can be possible from the comfort of everyone’s home.” —junior Michael Kerbow 6

brains + brawn

“I personally think the elementary kids will have a really hard time learning how to use the iPads.” —sophomore Lauren Wofford “You can play games on your iPad when you’re supposed to be taking notes. I try my hardest to be on task, but I guess everyone has that moment of weakness.” —freshman Taylor Schmidt

“I’m doing a little worse in school since I got it, because it’s just distracting at home,” eighth grader David Sablatura said. Eighth grader Priya Nair still doesn’t quite understand why they even received the iPads in the first place. “Honestly I thought it was going to be cool and everything, but I didn’t think there was really a big point to it,” Priya said. “They’re kind of a waste of money.” Although most teachers are excited to have the new technology at their fingertips, there are still a few teachers who aren’t crazy about the idea because it doesn’t fit with their teaching style or their curriculum. “I’m not for or against [iPads],” Lim said. “What I can say is that the district has done a great job in terms of seeing the future of education. The reason it’s a con for me is that I feel like as a teacher, even though they see this far vision, I think that here and now, they haven’t really helped us to figure things out. A lot of it is just giving us freedom to figure it out on our own.” The iPad purchases didn’t stop with the middle schools. Every elementary school is getting roughly 200 iPads. Each school discussed among the faculty and technology staff as to who would get to be the pilot group for this year. Some schools did a 1:1 ratio of students to iPads in two grade levels, while others did 1:5 or 1:10 ratio throughout several grades. At Forest Trail Elementary, the faculty decided they would use the 1:1 ratio, and that the first and fourth grade were going to have the opportunity to use them this year. As the teachers were eagerly awaiting the arrival of their new tool, they had already started their planning. “I think the most important thing we [as teachers] can do for our students when the iPads arrive is to set a challenging problem, delineate which apps are applicable and get out of their way,” fourth grade teacher Debbie Lauderdale said. “Our kids are so capable and tech savvy and the iPads are so friendly and intuitive that it makes a perfect learning match.” Not only are the teachers excited for all the new opportunities they will have, but they believe the kids are going to be just as excited and will learn the behavior required for the iPads quickly, as their eager minds are ready to step into this new world of technology. “I think [the kids] are going to be really excited and the whole mind set that this is not a toy,” fourth grade teacher Laurie Ellis said. “I think that whole move from ‘this is not a gaming device’ to looking at it as a computer that you can walk around with is something that they’ve already come to embrace and will even more so when it’s 1:1 ratio.” Ellis continued to point out her opinion on the costs of the $18 million bond spent on the new iPads. “I think it’s a really efficient use of technology money just because it puts it in the hands of kids and the more they get [that opportunity] the more they’re going to be able to move forward,” Ellis said. The fact that the middle and elementary school students received iPads was not just a big difference for the younger kids themselves, but even for older students at Westlake. “I only see [my eighth grade brother] using his iPad for games,” sophomore Scout Hannon said. “I think it’s unnecessary and a waste of money for everyone to get iPads.” In addition, sophomore Ali Germann believes that the kids were losing more than just their textbooks. “The younger kids need to learn basic things for an educated lifestyle,” Ali said. “They need to be able to read textbooks, write with a pen, talk to someone face to face — all these things normal educated people do. You can’t just have some second grader all tech savvy on their iPad because part of school is learning how to do those kinds of things.” Even though this year is solely considered a pilot year to see how all the younger students are reacting with the iPads, it is highly probable that the entire district will be getting iPads within the near future. “I think that if it’s successful and viewed as a good thing, then eventually [all students] will get iPads, but I’m not sure.” Dr. Jones said. “It would have to be board supported and I think it has to be supported by the community.” Dr. Jones said that as the time goes on, and all goes well, the

Tim Whaling

Sophomore Tim Whaling is handed his iPad by mobile integration specialist Tim Yenca, only after signing all of the necessary paperwork, during iPad deployment day Sept. 5.

Cade Ritter

After receiving their iPads during their English classes on Sept. 5, a group of freshmen gather together at a lunch table in the Chap Court to play with their new devices. district will purchase newer iPads as they come out to have a greater variety. As to who gets the newer iPads, it depends on the needs of the students; the district will shift the older ones to the students who may not need all the capability. Dr. Jones said she believes that the teachers will have to adapt the new tool into their curriculum, it will no longer be a choice as much as a requirement. “I think if [the teachers] want to succeed in their next phase in their career then they’ll have to get on board,” Dr. Jones said. —Sabrina Knap

Shelby Westbrook

Tim Whaling

Ryan Stankard

At halftime during the Homecoming game against Bowie, seniors Allyson Smith and Keyur Mehta are announced queen and king.

Sophomore Grayson Liebes sprays a potassium ion solution into a flame from a Bunsen burner in chemistry class.

Seniors Mark Gorthey and Emma Bleake argue in the production of Noises Off Oct. 2.

Show your colors “The crowd was in the need of some enthusiasm. I didn’t choose to crowd surf. Crowd surfing chose me.” —senior Sarah Nehring at the Homecoming pep rally Sept. 28


Zoë Nathan

Cade Ritter

Diving through oncoming Bowie defenders, senior Elliott Condos gains some yards for the Chaps in the Sept. 28 game. Westlake beat the Dawgs 38-7.

Sophomore Andre Newlands swims laps at Rollingwood pool as a part of his swim team workout. Warming up for the duel meet against Austin High on Oct. 5, Andre kicks backstroke.

Senior Ali Gray flies through the air during the Homecoming pep rally Sept. 28. “Being a flyer is really fun but can sometimes be scary,” Ali said. “You really have to trust your teammates. We worked really hard preparing for our pep rally routine, and it turned out great.” Mackenzie Franklin

Zoë Nathan

For the

love of the



he crowd roars at Chaparral Stadium as Westlake scores a touchdown. As the players and the crowd celebrate, one man rolls along the sideline in a motorized wheelchair. He looks out of place among the large, fit physiques of the players and coaches. However, Brent Dixon is not out of place. In fact, Dixon is in his element. He is a huge asset to the team and an inspiration to all. Dixon has spinal muscular atrophy, a disease that affects muscle movement and is passed down from generation to generation. As he gets older, the muscles in his body will deteriorate at an advanced rate. “I was diagnosed at 13 months old after [my parents noticed] problems in my development,” Dixon said. “They took a muscle biopsy out of my arm, and that’s how I found out I had SMA.” SMA is usually diagnosed sometime within 18 months after birth. Occurring in an estimated one in 6,000 births, SMA is the number one genetic killer of young children. One in 40 people are thought to be carriers of the disease. Dixon has never walked, never ridden a bike and never done many of the things that most people are able to do every day and simply take for granted. He is different and he has known it all his life. “I knew I was different from the very beginning,” Dixon said. “I remember watching my friends in Valdosta, Georgia learning to ride their tricycles and I was in my little wheelchair.” Growing up, Dixon never let that keep him down. He fought to be the best he could be despite what challenges were in the way. He made himself a promise to be something, no matter how badly the odds were stacked against him. “I knew that I had to reevaluate myself and learn to do everything they could do, just in a different way,” Dixon said. As Dixon got older, he found his niche in life by becoming involved in many school activities, and served as the mascot for both his middle school and his high school. “I was the first middle school mascot ever down there,” Dixon said. “That was pretty cool, and that’s kind of what got me involved in wanting to be around the football team.” Being the mascot was not all Dixon was known for. In 2007, while still in high school, Dixon was announced as the world record holder for “the largest collection of individual key chains,” with 41,118. Guinness Book of World Records presented him with the title. “In 2001, my mother won a key chain at a party and gave it to me,” Dixon said. “She said, ‘You should start collecting them.’ At that time, I felt down in my life, so I started collecting them.” What started off as a small collection had become a widespread project with the intention of breaking the world record. The project “went viral,” and Dixon began receiving key chains in the mail to help him reach his goal.


Football volunteer Brent Dixon rolls along the sideline just before the Cibolo Steele game Sept. 21. Dixon has been a part of the football program since spring 2011, and he serves as a source of motivation for all involved in the program.

For a wrap-up of the varsity football team’s season, scan this.

Football fan uses own disability to motivate team “I started to receive key chains from all over the world. My favorite one was a 3-D model of the Twin Towers. The woman that sent it included a letter that she wrapped around it. It said that her husband was a fire fighter that went in to the Towers and died trying to save people. To this day I still have that key chain.” Dixon graduated from high school in 2007 and went on to college at Valdosta Technical College, where he earned his certification in Graphic Design and AUTOCAD, which is a type of software for computer-aided design. After marrying his wife in 2010, work brought the newly-wed couple to Austin. Dixon was ready to start over in a new town, a new state and as a married man. Two years after moving, he is not disappointed. “We came over here ready to start a whole new life,” Dixon said. “I love it in Austin. [In Valdosta], there is nothing going on. It is pretty much just a movie theatre and a bowling alley. But in Austin, there is so much to do.” In early 2011, Dixon contacted Westlake head coach Darren Allman about possibly becoming involved in the football program. His wife had told him he should try to get involved in something so he could get out of the house and do something he loved. “I told him about my passion for football and told him my situation,” Dixon said. “He answered me back within a week, and I started attending practices on that same day, the first day of spring football 2011. I love football and wanted to be part of a team and an inspiration [to them].” He was named “motivational coach,” and since then, he has been on the sidelines for nearly every game and practice. He talks to players and picks them up when they’re down. “I’m here to motivate and inspire every player and coach to be the best they can be,” Dixon said. “They are blessed with ability to be out there on the field. Say a guy got intercepted or missed a tackle, I’ll come over and say ‘Focus on the next play’ or something along those lines.” To the players, he is a big part of the program, and somebody who inspires them every day, no matter the circumstances. “He is just a great motivator,” senior defensive lineman Austin Carrasquillo said. “He can’t play football, so whenever we play, we play for him, as well as our teammates and our school.” Senior cornerback Derek Cohen has been moved by Dixon. “He plays football through us,” Derek said. “He is a huge inspiration to us and to the football team.”

In Dixon’s first year with the Chaps, the team won a District title and finished with a 9-3 record, their first undisputed District title since 2006. “The District title made me feel at a loss for words,” Dixon said. “After the game, the team was holding the trophy and celebrating, and then they started chanting my name. They got me in the photo with the trophy. It made my day. It made the whole season and all we put into it worth it.” Dixon hopes that he is able to witness many more District titles and winning seasons in the years to come. “I plan on staying with the football team for as long as I can,” Dixon said. “I never want to leave.” Dixon would also like to get involved with the football program at the University of Texas. “I would love to be part of the Longhorn football team,” Dixon said. “[I would want to] be in the same situation that I am here.” In addition to being a huge Westlake football fan, Dixon is a huge fan of the sport. Growing up, he watched football every Saturday and played video games like Madden. “When football season starts, my wife says ‘well it was nice being married to you for the past few months,’” Dixon said. “She knows that I will be at practice and at games and watching games for pretty much the whole season. I just love football, I don’t really know why, it is just a cool sport.” Despite his disability, Dixon continues to live life, never letting anything keep him down. He believes that he can make an impact in the lives of others who are in similar situations. Because of this, he works with the Make a Wish Foundation as a wish granter. “I get to go to people’s houses, and talk to the kids about their wishes,” Dixon said. “It is an amazing organization and I am glad to be a part of it.” Dixon believes that it is his job to help others, showing people that his disability does not define him. To students who are struggling and trying to find their place in life, Dixon would tell them to keep fighting, just as he has throughout his life. “I want to make sure that everybody knows to never give up,” Dixon said. “[I want to] be a positive influence on everybody, take each day like it’s my last, and just have fun. God has really blessed me.” —Jacob Prothro

“I want to make sure that everybody knows to never give up...[I want to] be a positive influence on everybody and take each day like it’s my last, and just have fun. God has really blessed me.” —Brent Dixon

Football game honors student, raises awareness about disease A mass of people clad in white flooded into Chaparral Stadium. As the people rushed to buy concessions and get to their seats, Student Council representatives were pulling people to the side, giving them bracelets, risk-assessment forms and information about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Approximately one in 500 people have this disease; at least five students at Westlake have it and probably do not know. The game on Sept. 21 was to remember Ben Breedlove, a senior who passed away last Christmas from complications due to the disease. Ben was known around the world for his inspirational YouTube videos that talked about his brushes with death. The game was also to raise awareness about the condition and collect donations for the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association. Leading the project was Chap Pride member senior Christopher Bybee, who was originally contacted with the idea by Friday Night Fan Stand, a radio station that covers central Texas football. “I thought it was a cool way to honor Ben and remember him as the person he was,” Christopher said, “He left a big impact on the community and the nation.” Student Council worked hard to organize this event. “It’s important,” Chap Pride member and organizer senior Madeline Morris said. “Student Council is a group of students that really care about the community and want to give back.” Along with honoring Ben and raising awareness about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the game was also about bringing community together for a good cause. Some people were not even contacted by Student Council, but still did their part to help. “I was walking back and forth from the

tailgate to the stadium,” Christopher said. “There were these ladies selling white shirts, and I asked them what they were selling them for and they said, ‘The Ben Breedlove game.’ I explained that I had been involved in it and to me it was really cool to see that people went out of their way and took initiative to honor Ben. You know, we didn’t organize people to make shirts and sell them, but different organizations like the [Chap Club] went out of their way to honor Ben, and I think that everybody wearing white to the game really brought together the community. It wasn’t just a football game, but a way to honor a student.” The game also brought optimism for the community. “White is a symbol of hope for me,” Christopher said. “I think that’s the memory that Ben left—of hope for the future and just in life in general.” Student Council not only brought positivity and healing, but also collected donations. They collected $1,483.50 and distributed about 250 risk-assessment forms. Because October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Month, Student Council wanted to make the message about Ben and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy known. This event and all of the donations brought hope to a very special family, the Breedloves. “I think [the game] was important for students and for the community to take another step towards healing, and towards remembering what a positive message Ben had to leave for us,” Student Council sponsor Melissa Dupre said. During halftime Christopher and Friday Night Fan Stand representative Hannah Huffman presented the money donated from the game to Ben’s parents, Deanne and Shawn Breedlove, and his brother, Jake. They will proceed to give these donations to the HCMA. “After the announcer said ‘Please join me in honoring the Breedlove family’ and everyone stood up, I gave a quick glance to Mrs. Breedlove, and she had tears filling her eyes, just because I think she felt so honored.”Christopher said. “It was a special moment to see that everyone was honoring Ben and how special it was to her.” —Madeline Dupre

In our hearts

Cade Ritter

During halftime at game Sept. 21, the Breedlove family is presented with a check from senior Christopher Bybee on behalf of the Student Council. The $1,483.50 collected was donated to the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association. Shelby Westbrook

The Westlake High School Marching Band performs their half-time show at the Ben Breedlove Memorial Game. The Chaps lost the game to Cibolo Steele 10-35.


Tennis defeats Lake Travis to win District After five-and-a-half hours of grueling competition, the varsity tennis team won the District Championship 10-8 Oct. 11 against new District 15A member Lake Travis. This victory also marked the 200th career win of head coach Kim Riley. “It was incredible,” senior Casey Sutton said. “The team really stepped up and proved to everyone just how talented we are. This is my fourth year on the team, and this is the first time we’ve ever had a tough District match. It was a great experience

for all of us, and I’m just so glad we beat Lake Travis.” The victory was particularly sweet since, after starting the season undefeated, the Chaps were beaten by the Cavaliers 7-10 Sept. 27. The earlier season loss to Lake Travis was partially attributed to the absence of two of their best players. Both Casey, who was recovering from a recent procedure on her shoulder, and senior Raina Kishan, who was sick, were unable to play. Not only were they unable to help win matches to add to the team’s

score, but also other players had to move to different positions to fill their spots. “Unfortunately, sports seasons are long, and as much as we try to keep players healthy throughout the season, injuries and illness still occur,” Riley said. Though disappointed with the loss, the team was ready to bounce back. “We have a very resilient team,” senior varsity player Jacqueline Patterson said. “Even though the [Lake Travis] loss was kind of a blow, we tried to focus

on the positives to help us win.” The team expects to do well in post-District matches. The girls team has been incredibly strong this season, and the 13 senior players also add to the team’s strength. Combined with the will to work hard, close team members that are supportive of each other and a passion for the sport, tennis is ready to face any future competition. “We’re going to bring our Agame, and we’re definitely excited about it,” Jacqueline said. —Cierra Smith

Fall scoring explained In the fall, team tennis is scored by the players’ combined effort, unlike the spring season where individuals and doubles compete on their own. First, the doubles teams play six matches: three for the girls, three for the boys and one for the mixed doubles team. After that, players compete in 12 singles matches. The school that wins 10 matches first is the overall winner. The maximum number of matches possible is 19.

Kennedy Abney Above: Varsity player senior Hayden Murphy prepares for her serve. “This is my first year on the varsity team, and it is great,” Hayden said. “We are really excited for playoffs.” Matt Griffith

Left: JV player junior Austin Keating slides for the ball at practice.

Girls golf swings through tournament play

Melanie Florez

Sophomore Caroline Frye practices her swing after school and prepares for her next tournament Nov. 13 at Stone Tree in Killeen.

The varsity girls golf team finished fourth in its season opener tournament Sept. 24 in Georgetown and also finished first at Star Ranch in Cedar Park on Oct. 2. At Star Ranch, senior Sierra Sims birdied the final three holes to take individual gold with a one under par 70. Junior Robin Tan shot 75 for third place. All players broke 80 for a 299 tournament team record. The team then competed in San Antonio Oct. 5-6 for the Susan B. Komen Swing for the Cure tournament and finished in eighth place. The team will practice and compete in preparation for the District Tournament in March. “I like having tournaments leading up to District so I can mentally prepare for it and scope out the competition,” senior Angela Jin said. This season will be challenging for the Chaps in the area of experience. The girls lost three key players to graduation last year. “We have a pretty solid team,” varsity player senior Sumin Cha said. “It might be a close one this year so we all have to work hard to keep up with the

other teams.” The girls ended their season last May placing third in State, and senior Sierra Sims won the State title for the second year in a row. This spring, the girls may have to battle two new challenging opponents. They will be playing Lake Travis in District and may play defending State Champions Allen, who has been added to the region this year. “We’ll have to fight and scratch to get back to State,” head coach Chuck Nowland said. “Golf is a tough sport. Without a burning passion you don’t stand a chance.” The Chaps look to repeat their 2010 and 2011 State Championship performances. “Since I’m a senior, I’m especially excited for this season because it’s my last run,” Angela said. “We are determined to push ourselves and improve this year. I want to give it my all and don’t I want to let anyone down, including myself. We’ve grown so much as golfers and as people together, so it will be great to go out with a bang.” —Emily Martin

Sink or swim

Coach Isaac Grombacher stands by the pool during a typical afternoon swim team practice. “This is my 10th year coaching at Westlake,” Grombacher said. “Every year I am amazed by how hard my swimmers work to reach their goals.”

After brain tumor surgery, Grombacher defied the odds to swim in 2000 Olympic Trials


t’s the 200 meter butterfly of the Olympic Trials. The stakes are high and the competition will be nerve-wracking. Most of the competitors are swimming to win, but for 25-yearold Isaac Grombacher, a high ranking is the last thing on his mind. He only has one goal coming into these Trials — simply to finish. Grombacher, now head coach of boys and girls swimming at Westlake, has been a swimmer since he was 11 years old. His first taste of the Olympic Trials came when he attended them in Austin when he was 13. A little more than 10 years later, he qualified for them. Yet, with only three months left before the Trials, Grombacher received devastating news. Doctors ordered an MRI after he had been having headaches. When the results came back, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was 24 years old. “It turns out it was a really slow growing tumor,” Grombacher said. “I’d probably had it for 10 or more years.” Ten days after the diagnosis, surgeons removed the non-cancerous tumor. While the surgery was considered successful, Grombacher knew right away that his chances of competing were slim. His entire left side was left paralyzed. He could barely sit up straight. But he was determined to get back into the water. He begged the doctors to let him include swimming in his physical therapy, and he was soon moved to St. David’s hospital where he was allowed to swim. “Most swimmers are a bit awkward on land,” Grombacher said. “When they were trying to teach me how to walk, my physical therapist told me I wasn’t walking correctly. At one point I said to them ‘I never walked correctly. Let me swim, because I know what that’s supposed to feel like.’” He was still looking forward to the trials, but for the majority of his recovery he wasn’t expecting to actually swim in them. He assumed he would get to sit on deck as an athlete and watch the other swimmers, but three weeks before the Olympic Trials, there was a 100 meter butterfly race in Austin and Grombacher decided to use this as a test. Though his time was well off his normal pace, he was able to finish, and that’s all he needed to reassure himself. “It was the first meet I swam in after my surgery,” Grombacher said. “I entered that meet thinking, ‘If I can swim here then I can swim at Olympic Trials.’ I was able to swim butterfly there, so that kind of cemented it for me. I wasn’t even concerned about ranking. I’m sure I was close to last. My goal was just to make sure I could complete the 100 fly.” Although Grombacher was able to finish that race, it was nothing like

Mackenzie Franklin

the Olympic Trials, which would be twice the length of the race he swam in Austin and significantly more scrutinized. “The swim itself at Trials was harder than I ever imagined,” Grombacher said. “The first 50 of the swim, I was sort of respectable. It’s the endurance that I lacked. I had to work so much harder than everybody else to swim my laps. The fourth leg was just grueling. I remember thinking, this is the hardest 50 meters of butterfly I’ve ever done in my life.” Grombacher struggled through the race, but he refused to quit. “My most distinct memory about that race is with 25 meters to go, I came up to take a breath of air and got nothing but water,” Grombacher said. “And I thought for a second ‘this is it, I should just swim freestyle in. There’s no shame in what I’ve accomplished getting through here.’ But something inside me said ‘no,’ and I kept on swimming butterfly and I made it to the wall.” For Grombacher, making it to the Olympic Trials was a personal achievement. The crowd, which was aware of what he had endured, showed great appreciation for his remarkable feat. “The roar in that place was just insane,” Grombacher said. “It was the best moment ever for me in swimming. It was incredible.” Grombacher’s swim at the Olympic Trials turned out to be his last competitive swim ever. However, he said he has no regrets about his swimming career. In fact, the surgery helped him to have a more positive outlook and to be a more effective coach. “I remember not being able to open doors for myself [after the surgery] because I didn’t have the balance to do it,” Grombacher said. “If I can help somebody who needs it, I try to hold a door open for someone when I’m around. I realize every one of us is struggling with something all the time. The surgery shifted my perspective a lot, and I really appreciate everything I’m able to do.” With this new perspective, he met his wife, Spanish teacher Susan Grombacher, and they are expecting a baby at the end of February. “Swimming is definitely going to be a part of [the baby’s] life,” Grombacher said. “While I’m coaching at the pool he’ll probably be on the playground or in the kiddie pool. Swimming is natural for a baby, but the choice [to stay with it] will be up to him.” —Michelle Fairorth

“Most swimmers are a bit awkward on land. When they were trying to teach me how to walk, my physical therapist told me I wasn’t walking correctly. At one point I said to them, ‘I never walked correctly. Let me swim, because I know what that’s supposed to feel like.’” —head swim coach Isaac Grombacher


brains + brawn

Training for triumph Special Olympics team prepares for fall tournament


very Wednesday, a yellow school bus pulls up to the Westgate Lanes bowling alley. Student athletes step out carefully into the fall breeze and file in an orderly fashion. As they enter the dimly lit building, the sound of bowling balls crashing into pins welcomes them. Students have begun their two month training program for the Special Olympics. From 4:45 to 5:45 p.m., the members of the Eanes ISD Special Olympic delegation work to improve upon their techniques. Some athletes play in wheelchairs, some use declining ramps to get their bowling balls started and some athletes need help just to stay focused. Athletes smile and laugh when they send the balls rolling, whether they hit the pins or not. Parents cheer for their children’s efforts while volunteer trainers eagerly assist the athletes, accommodating their every need. After a full hour of practice, the students get back on the yellow school bus and return to Westlake, having advanced their skills a little further. “The Special Olympics is a wonderful way for our kids to exhibit their athletic abilities in an environment that’s more understanding and compassionate,” said Brad Singleton, father of a Special Olympics competitor. “It’s a lot of fun. They’re on a playing field that’s a little more level than with a typical athletic group. It allows them to improve their confidence, their team skills and social skills.” The Special Olympics is an annual and international program designed to give kids

with special needs the opportunity to achieve success through modified competition. The students also enjoy spending time with each other. “The Special Olympics are important to me because they’re fun and it’s a chance for me to spend time with my friends,” contestant and gold medalist senior Marissa Colorado said. “I’ve really learned to be more patient with other kids who have special needs and I’ve made some new friends.” The event is divided into three activities throughout the school year: bowling in fall, basketball in winter and track in spring. Approximately 500 students from various districts will compete in the fall bowling tournament, which will be held Nov. 11-14 at Showplace Lanes. “Typically 30 Westlake students compete each year,” head of Eanes Special Olympics Pegi Pickett said. “In the Eanes district, Olympians may begin competing at age 8 and continue until they are 22.” Beginning two months prior to each tournament, athletes participate in weekly training exercises specific to the game in which they’re competing. Training not only prepares the athletes for the games, but also helps them progress both mentally and physically. “We try to challenge our athletes to improve on their skill sets each year,” Pickett said. Athletes are also challenged by their various disabilities, but the support staff makes accommodations.

t After a successful bowl, graduate Danny Delano shows his enthusiasm for the sport. p Senior Marissa Uribe and middle schooler Javier Cruz wait to play at the first Special Olympics practice of the season at Westgate Lanes. u A Special Olympics volunteer helps a participant at one of the weekly practices. The fall bowling tournament will be Nov. 11-14 at Showplace Lanes.

“Challenges can be anything,” Pickett said. “Some require an eight-foot basket for basketball, some athletes throw a softball instead of a shot put or walk the race instead of run. The Special Olympics makes adjustments for all athletes.” On the actual day of competition, new challenges face the athletes. Competing against 500 other kids, most of whom are strangers, WHS Olympians have to cope with “a loud and chaotic environment,” according to Pickett. “This certainly gets them out of their comfort zone, but it’s a healthy challenge for all athletes,” she said. Fortunately for the Olympians, the volunteers are invested in their success. The events are important to them as well. “It’s great to watch the kids who are participating learn and grow,” said sophomore Annah Geller, who volunteers every Wednesday. “I want to be a special education teacher when I grow up and I love working with them [special needs kids]. They’re so fun to be with.” The Eanes school district has sponsored the Special Olympics for two decades thanks to its diligent staff, attentive volunteers and most of all to its willing participants. “The Special Olympics organization as a whole is what makes me happy,” Pickett said. “It’s amazing to see what our athletes can do. I love to watch them improve on their skills every year. It’s so fulfilling to see them succeed and be proud of themselves.” —Liam Gerrity

photos by Cade Ritter

“The brain is like an egg: you’ve got the inside, you’ve got the yolk and you’ve got the thin outside casing. When you open it up, everything is scrambled and mixed up — that’s what happens with a concussion.” —athletic trainer Vicki Stafko

photos by Tim Whaling


Athletes recount their experiences from injury to recovery; trainers emphasize education, acknowledgement, reporting

Junior Meagan Mellenbruch was on her way to the main library from the Commons. When she stepped outside, she was hit by an intense, nauseating pain. “It was like having a really bad headache and going to a loud concert,” Meagan said. “The light made me sick to my stomach.” Two days earlier Meagan was at a national volleyball tournament in Indianapolis. Playing defense in the back row, she dove for a ball to her right and hit her head on the ground. She was quickly subbed out of the game. “When I went to the sideline, I told my friend that I thought I had a concussion,” Meagan said. “She said I was fine, and I thought ‘OK, maybe so.’” Meagan continued to play in the tournament for the next two days, though she dealt with a consistent headache. “When I went back to school, I still kind of had a headache — I realized I had a concussion,” Meagan said. “Just all of the noises and the light—I was literally in tears.” Meagan’s reaction to her concussion was similar to many others. Last year, athletic trainers Vicki Stafko and James “Doc” Allen saw 55 students with concussions. Only one of those athletes was knocked out, while the others remained conscious. “There’s a misconception out there that you don’t get a concussion if you don’t get knocked out,” Stafko said. “Ninety-five percent of the time people don’t lose consciousness. You don’t have to lose consciousness to suffer from a concussion — in fact, most people don’t.” Stafko and Allen make up Westlake’s concussion oversight team, devised as a result of last year’s passing of Natasha’s law, a state law that requires that any student believed to have suffered a concussion has to be evaluated by a physician. In addition to the requirements of the law, the oversight team has also been cognitively testing athletes believed to have concussions before clearing them to return to their sport. “Years ago we didn’t realize that not only did you get physical signs of concussions, but you also get cognitive symptoms,” Stafko said. “We wanted to really see if our athletes

were suffering from the cognitive symptoms as well.” Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing was developed in the early ‘90s by the University of Pittsburgh for the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers. “We baseline test all of our collision and contact sports athletes here at Westlake,” Stafko said. “Everyone thinks that it’s an intelligence test; it’s not. Basically it’s a series of tests within a test that measures your visual memory, your verbal memory and your reaction time.” The results of everyone who takes the ImPACT test are compiled into a databank to use for future reference. The test results compare the athlete to his or her previous baseline test, and to everyone else in his or her age group using normative values. It’s best to compare against personal baseline tests to get the most

are never taking the same test each time,” Allen said, “so there’s no way to prep for it or to remember what you did last time. The test is constructed so that that doesn’t happen. The test can also tell if you’re going really fast to sacrifice accuracy or going too slow. Also, if you bomb your baseline, it can tell that it’s an invalid test. It’s got lots of little tools that are built into it.” Like Meagan, most athletes continue to play their sport until they recognize that something may be off. Because of this, the trainers set up a time window for students who may have concussions to take the ImPACT test. “When you have potential concussion you have a 48-72 hour window when you should get the test done,” Stafko said. “What they have found out is that sometimes you can get a concussion and most of your symptoms don’t seem to come until hous or days later. You can get hit in the game, and you may not start feeling the symptoms until the next day, or days later.” Athletes who don’t recognize their symptoms and act upon them at the right time often further harm their brains. “We’ve noticed guys that play on Friday night might have a headache after the game and dismiss it, and then Saturday and Sunday they won’t have much of a headache,” Allen said. “We see them come back Monday or Tuesday after they’ve gone to school and have had to process a lot of information — their headache reappears and also becomes more severe with the more processing they try to do. Symptoms don’t always have to appear immediately.” Meagan had taken her baseline ImPACT test in the ninth grade for volleyball. After she suspected that she had a concussion, she took the ImPACT test again, and the oversight team compared it to her original score. Meagan failed multiple sections of her new test. “The quickest way to recovery is resting your brain because the brain is what is affected,” Stafko said. “When we say cognitive rest, we mean no homework, no texting, no Facebooking, no computers, no movies, no gaming and no music. We’ve found that

Last year, athletic trainers Vicki Stafko and James “Doc” Allen saw 55 kids with concussions. accurate reading of how serious the injury is. “If we don’t have a baseline, the doctors can look at your test by knowing the type of school you go to and the type of student that you say you are,” Stafko said. “Even if we don’t have a baseline we can still test, and the doctors can still interpret it.” The ImPACT test takes approximately 30 minutes. The test consists of many sections that effectively test an athlete’s memory and reflexes. “There’s a bunch of doctors in the area that use this test as well,” Stafko said. “They use it for the same purposes, to see if you have cognitive impairment, and if you have it, how much cognitive impairment you have. If you believe someone has a concussion, we can actually use this test to help rule out if they got one, if they didn’t get one and if they’re healed from one.” The test recognizes multiple details in the way that the recipient answers the questions. This includes a thorough symptom chart to rank signs and symptoms, as well as a legitimacy ranking. “People that take multiple post-injury tests

athletes or students who have been severely limiting all of those activities, get better quicker. We’ve had a couple of athletes over the last two years that have chosen not to be compliant, and it took them months to clear their ImPACT test because they were still having signs and symptoms.” These symptoms include headaches, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, balancing problems, nausea and focusing, among others. Meagan stayed home from school for two weeks for her recovery. “I slept for two weeks,” Meagan said. “I could not talk on the phone or anything. I just sat in a dark room and slept.” Approximately a month after her concus-

They’re not looking for “if” you have a headache, if you can’t process things or if you have other signs and symptoms. They just want to know if they need to do surgery immediately.” Stafko and Allen work with doctors and teachers to make sure that recovery for those with concussions isn’t too taxing. “It’s kind of a collaborative effort,” Stafko said. “We’re working with the doctors and trainers, as well as the teachers here at school because to get better, all of these kids need to go on academic restriction. Sometimes kids need to stay home from school for days, and then they return to school and can’t go through a whole day because school can make your symptoms worse again. We can all work together for the good of the child to make sure that they’re not going back to school too quickly, because you need to be symptom-free at school even before you return to sports.” Often athletes in the recovery process are exempt from school work and testing. “The STARR test is affected, the TAKS test is affected and finals are affected all because of concussions,” Stafko said. “It’s not fair to the kids because they were having cognitive issues. It takes them time to get back. In a lot of cases, athletes and parents deny the possibility of a concussion, usually excusing it as a headache. “The ImPACT test has really helped us because we can prove that these people are having trouble processing,” Stafko said. While some people’s symptoms disappear after their recovery, others continue to experience signs afterward.” Sophomore Katie Kimery hit her head on the floor during volleyball practice in the eighth grade and still feels symptoms. “When I hurt myself today it hurts 10 times worse than it would’ve hurt before my concussion,” Katie said. “I’m more sensitive to accidents and I don’t like loud noises.” Though Katie only suffered from one concussion, those who have suffered from multiple concussions in the past are more probable to get them in the future and may suffer from long term effects as well. “Years ago you would never say that the cumulative, cognitive effects of a concussion could make a huge impact, but now they’re saying that,” Stafko said. “You can suffer permanent cumulative effects.” The major lawsuit currently in action against the National Football League relates to this fact directly, as many former football players are suffering from brain damage as a result of their cumulative concussions. “They’re starting to do research and are proving that these players have Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, which means they’re suffering brain damage from all of their concussions from over the years,” Stafko said. “The bad thing is, with that particular condi

“I just hit it kind of hard and thought ‘Man I’ve never had a concussion before, but this might be it.’” —junior Meagan Mellenbruch sion, Meagan passed the ImPACT test and was allowed to play volleyball again. “It’s not like it used to be years ago,” Stafko said. “Now you have to be cognitively clear before we even think about letting you go you back on the field, as well as physically symptom free. Now, because of the state law, we also have to go through the gradual Return To Play program.” Junior C.J. Sanchez followed these rules after his helmet came off in a football practice and he hit his head on the ground last spring. “I had to go through the concussion protocol which was basically a daily series of different exercises that I had to complete without any signs or symptoms for 24 hours after the exercises,” C.J. said. C.J. trained with Allen and Stafko each day, mainly working on cardio by riding the bike for 15 minutes or running on the elliptical for an extended period of time. He also trained for coordination by jumping rope and jumping in place to test for dizziness. “The recovery took longer than I expected,” C.J. said. “It took about two to three weeks for me to pass the test. I was constantly dizzy. I couldn’t concentrate and some things were blurry most of the time. I couldn’t pay attention for more than five minutes.” More than requiring a good score on the ImPACT test, Allen and Stafko also require that concussed athletes see a doctor, though they do not accept emergency room physicians to clear their athletes. “Ninety-five percent of the time the CAT scan will be normal,” Stafko said. “There will not be a brain bleed with most concussions because all the emergency room is basically looking for is a skull fracture or a brain bleed.


Junior C.J. Sanchez

Zoë Nathan

Junior Meagan Mellenbruch

Ryan Stankard

Sophomore Katie Kimery

Carley McNicholas brains + brawn

tion, you don’t know you have it until they autopsy your brain after you’re dead. They compare it to having Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or dementia-like conditions.” The importance of treating concussions properly is enormous, and the healing period may vary based on intensity as well as age. “Usually in soft-tissue injuries, the younger you are, the quicker you heal,” Stafko said. “But in the concussion hierarchy, if you’re an adult, it takes you a shorter amount of time. The younger the kids are, because they’re still growing and developing, the longer time it takes to heal.” It’s also been found that females are more susceptible to concussions than males and take a longer time to heal. “With girls, because there’s less muscle in their necks, their heads have more of a whiplash effect,” Allen said. “It’s not the impact necessarily that causes the concussions. Your brain is moving back and forth within that shell [like an egg], if you have less structure to support that, there’s going to be more motion. That’s one of the theories for soccer girls. They’re trying to educate soccer girls to refine their heading technique and strengthen and develop their necks.” Concussions happen when the head experiences intense movements. Like the insides of an egg which are suspended in the shell, the brain is suspended inside the skull. The skull doesn’t need to be broken to scramble what’s inside. Contrary to popular belief, helmets don’t provide much protection against them. “Basically helmets are there to prevent skull fractures,” Stafko said. “No helmet is going to prevent a concussion from occurring. There’s really no way to prevent them — they’re going to occur. Obviously you don’t want to go head to head with anybody. You learn to space yourself and get the proper neck strength. Sometimes these things can’t be avoided. Everyone thinks that helmets will make you concussion proof, but that’s not true. They protect you from skull fractures, but the internal motion is still going on within the head.” In some cases, people suffer from the effects of their concussions for the rest of their lives. This group of people is called the “miserable minority.” Stafko and Allen have worked hard to make sure that those with concussions heal properly to avoid long term effects. “We’re trying to prevent cognitive issues because if these kids aren’t healed, and they keep getting hit, it’s just going to screw them up,” Stafko said. “Their cognitive skills are going to decrease, and they may never get them back. We don’t want you getting to the point where it gets so bad that it takes you weeks and weeks and weeks to recover. If you take care of yourself when you first show the signs and symptoms, you will get past this.” A problem that Stafko and Allen see a lot is that students who have concussions often don’t believe it themselves and may go days

athletic trainer Vicki Stafko Shelby Westbrook

and proper healing to avoid the worst case scenario. “You hear about it three or four times a year,” Stafko said. “It’s called the Second Impact Symptom. When you’ve got a concussion and your brain has not healed, and you take another hit again, which doesn’t need to be a violent hit, you get this chemical cascading that goes on in your brain. There are two things that can result from this. It either kills you, or you get permanent brain damage. You could be across the street from a hospital, but this happens so quickly, that you get instantaneous swelling. That’s what we’re trying to prevent. We want to make sure these kids are healthy enough to go back on the field and not suffer this type of consequence.” The increased research and knowledge of concussions has impacted the training styles of athletic departments from collegiate to pee-wee levels. “They’re actually changing their practice where they’re not hitting as much as they used to,” Stafko said. “We’ve modified our season practice to come more in line with what the National Collegiate Athletic Association is doing. They’re trying to reduce the number of contacts to reduce the possibility of concussions. People are even limiting the number of hits that the Pop-Warner athletes take. That’s a big push now, for education and modification.”

without reporting it. When these people take the ImPACT test, they are often proven wrong. “They all think they did well because they all think they’re OK,” Stafko said. “They don’t understand that they’re not. Before this type of testing you really couldn’t get this kind of grip on what was really going on. Cognitive testing is a very positive thing that we’ve done here. I think that we’ve caught some “We’re trying to prevent cognitive people that we definitely issues because if these kids aren’t wouldn’t have caught [without using the ImPACT test].” healed, and they keep getting hit, it’s Since the introduction of just going to screw them up.” the ImPACT test to Westlake three years ago and the recent controversies brought up in the news, Stafko and Allen have experienced an increase in the amount of concussions reported to them. Stafko and Allen would like to see some “More parents are becoming aware of the changes made in the future. issues,” Stafko said. “Not all of those were “In the fall, when you start football, you athletic that happened here at school, but have four days of non-contact practice where because all of those students were athletes, all you can practice in are helmets, to see if it we had to go through the Return To Play fits and to get acclimated and adjusted to havprotocol with them. I saw three concussions ing it on your head,” Allen said. “I would like happen, and I’m at a lot of events. We found to see an acclimation period like you do in the out about the rest of them through parents fall for the spring. The last two years, the peor the students self reporting. Some teachers riod that we see the most concussions is that also picked up on some signs and symptoms first eight to 10 practices in spring football. of students in their classes.” Hopefully the light will go off, and they will Stafko believes that educating students realize that there needs to be some accommoand parents of the ramifications that come dations made for spring practice.” with concussions will increase the number The modifications that Stafko, Allen and of concussions reported, as well as lessen the many teachers have made for those who have injuries and long-term effects that could hapsuffered from concussions have greatly impen if the original concussion is ignored. proved the healing process for many athletes. “It’s all about education: educating the “I think Westlake helped me so much,” parents on the signs and symptoms, educatMeagan said. “The teachers helped me keep ing them that this is what they need to do and up my grades the whole time. Ms. Stafko was educating the students,” Stafko said. so nice about providing me with a test and the Stafko and Allen stress self-reporting right kind of stuff to recover.”

—athletic trainer Vicki Stafko

Making a

splash Wrestling coach Pat O’Harra glides on the glassy water of Lake Austin on Oct. 15. Barefooting requires specialized equipment such as a padded wetsuit and unique handles.

photos by Zoë Nathan

Wrestling coach Pat O’Harra wins American Barefoot Club National Championship


ome teachers knit in their spare time. Some teachers read the newspaper. But when government teacher and wrestling coach Pat O’Harra isn’t in the classroom or on the mats, he is at the lake. Most people use skis or boards to ride the wake, but O’Harra lets nothing come between his feet and the water. “I first started barefoot water skiing when I was in a water skiing club in college,” O’Harra said. “I saw some people doing it. My jaw hit the water and I said ‘I am going to do that.’” Although barefooting requires the same technique as regular water skiing, it can be quite difficult to learn and requires the use of different training tools before being towed behind the boat. “I learned it on a boom, or a training pole that hangs off the side of the boat,” O’Harra said. “I picked it up pretty quickly. Once I was on my feet, then it was just a matter of learning new tricks.” While barefooting, the boat moves about 45 miles per hour, which is 10 miles per hour faster than regular skiing. Falling at these speeds can be painful and dangerous. “If I know the fall is coming, it’s easy to tuck and roll,” O’Harra said. “The more I skip across the water, the better. It dissipates the energy. It’s when I stop right away that it hurts. That happens a lot on backwards falls. I got a slight concussion last spring from a backwards fall.” Barefooting requires the use of a barefoot suit, a type of wetsuit that has padding and flotations built into it, and different handles which allow the skier to do various tricks such as tumble turns, surface turns and toe holds. “My favorite trick would be a back to front, which is my best trick,” O’Harra said. “It’s when I’m skiing backwards, and I let go with one hand and turn on my feet and ski forwards. I’m trying to master the front to back, but it is harder, and I can’t do it consistently.” In order to maintain his form and skill level, O’Harra practices four days a week during the summer and two days a week during the school


year. Because the wakes of other boats are detrimental to barefooting, he skis at dawn. “We need to have pretty smooth water to barefoot,” O’Harra said. “Boat wakes are the worst, which is why our competitions are on private ski lakes. On public waterways, we tend to practice at dawn to avoid other boats. Wind is also bad. Sometimes they delay tournaments, especially the jumping competition, if it is windy. It could be dangerous to catch a toe and fall into the jump.” O’Harra has been competing in tournaments since the spring of 2001. Eleven years of training and practicing culminated in the 2012 American Barefoot Club National Championship at the barefoot ski ranch in Waco, where he competed in Men’s Division Three, the 35 to 44 age group. O’Harra won the jump competition with a 38-foot long jump and the overall competition by less than a point. “All I needed to do to win the title was land a jump, because I knew it would be long enough,” O’Harra said. “But if you fall, it doesn’t count. I was very nervous, but once I stood up behind the boat, I knew I had won. It was a huge relief. All the years of trying and disappointment were over.” Along with practicing and competing in tournaments, O’Harra plans to give private lessons in the spring. He will charge $75-100 per lesson and will be teaching regular skiing and wakeboarding as well as barefooting. “I help my barefoot club put on a junior development clinic every summer,” O’Harra said. “It’s awesome seeing someone’s face when they realize they just skied without any skis — very rewarding. It never gets old.” Going out on the lake and barefooting provides a source of relief and recreation for O’Harra. “I have had my best days when I have a good time on the water,” O’Harra said. “I just get out on the water and nothing else matters.” —Jack Stenglein

Grace under pressure Volleyball player enjoys senior season, prepares for life after high school


espite a broken finger on each hand, outside hitter senior Grace Weghorst is leading the varsity volleyball team in kills with 271 and aces with 42. Next year, she’ll take her skills to Massachusetts and play for the Harvard University Crimson. She has verbally committed, and this fall she will sign with them. For the past eight years, volleyball has been her favorite sport. Yet, as a kid, volleyball wasn’t her activity of preference: she wanted to play football. “My brothers played football so I asked my parents if I could,” Grace said. “They said ‘no,’ so volleyball was the next best option, and it worked out well.” It was a perfect match. She has been a starter on varsity since her sophomore year and played for the Austin Junior Volleyball Club since she was 10. She now plays for their top team. “I’ve always been athletic and competitive,” Grace said. “Being able to put that into a sport with little contact is why I love volleyball.” Head coach Al Bennett cites her ball handling skills and ability to play left-handed as the playing attributes that make her the Division 1-caliber athlete she is. “Grace is an incredible athlete with unbelievable body control,” Bennett said. “Her vertical [jump] is 33 inches, and when her adrenaline is flowing, she jumps closer to 36 inches. You combine that with a quick left hand, and she is very difficult to defend. Most teams do not see that many left-handers, let alone one who is so explosive and quick.” Though a large portion of her time is spent at games and practices, Grace always gets her work done. She has managed to get into one

of the most academically prestigious schools in the nation with that level of work ethic. According to Bennett, she participates in Fellowship for Christian Athletes and other nonschool groups, which is something colleges are looking for. “She is a Westlake student-athlete, and our reputation precedes her,” Bennett said. “You combine all of her academic and athletic skills, and she is a perfect candidate for Harvard. It is not just all brains, or all brawn — you have to have social skills and a social conscience.” At Harvard, she currently plans on majoring in economics in preparation for her dream job in astrophysics. “I want to go through Harvard and play all four years,” Grace said. “Then I want to go into the financial side of astrophysics. I’ve always wanted to be a business owner and have been interested in science and especially outer space.” Even though she is excited about college volleyball, she’ll still miss her high school team. “I’m going to miss the traditions of Westlake volleyball,” Grace said. “All the dancing traditions and little things we do, like singing the Alma Mater and Fight Song as we get to the school after driving back from an away game.” Grace’s teammates respect her and will miss her next year when she goes to college. Senior middle back Anna-Christine Parrish looks up to her volleyball abilities as well as her love for the sport. “I respect Grace’s passion for the game and all the hard work she has put into it over the years,” Anna said. “She loves the game so much.” —Katie Mitchell

Volleyball goes 12-0 for District shutout Senior Anna-Christine Parrish and junior Meagan Mellenbruch defend against Lake Travis in the Oct. 9 game. The Chaps went 25-17, 25- 27, 25-19, 28-30 and 16-14 against the Cavaliers in the second round of District.

Shelby Westbrook

Ryan Stankard

Senior volleyball player and Havard commit Grace Weghorst goes high against Austin Oct. 16. The Chaps capped off Senior Night by winning the match in four games and improving their District record to 10-0.

The varsity volleyball team had an unusually rough start, posting a 11-17 record in tournament and pre-District play. After turning things around, the girls went on a tear, rattling off 12 consecutive District victories. “The beginning of the season was a little rough, but through time together, we really became a team,” defensive specialist senior Taylor Meister said. “With tons of new teammates we really developed a synergy. We plan to make it to playoffs and possibly make the State Tournament.” The team has defeated rivals Lake Travis, Austin High and Anderson twice each in District play. Lake Travis was the toughest opponent, forcing the game count to five in both contests. However, the Lady Chaps were able to shut down each of the other District opponents in just three or four games. District playoffs began Oct. 26 and the girls are optimistic about their chances. “I’m so excited about what this year will bring,” outside hitter sophomore Michelle Irvin said. “We have done amazingly and I see us going very far.” —Kathryn Revelle


Bring in this coupon and receive a at the Village at Westlake or Barton Creek Square Mall. Closed Sundays. Offer expires July 31, 2013 © 2011 CFA Properties, Inc. Chick-fil-A Stylized® and the Chick-fil-A Cows® are registered trademarks of CFA Properties, Inc

Color Guard member overcomes challenges of cerebral palsy

True colors E

very morning at 7 a.m., Color Guard is out in the stadium rehearsing alongside the marching band. They wear black work-out clothes and wave and toss blue flags. Among them, sophomore Macy Freireich practices. Macy has cerebral palsy, a brain disorder that affects movement, along with third nerve palsy, a condition which causes her left eye to constantly remain shut. “When I was born, [the doctors] came out with the worst,” Macy said. “They said I was blind, that I would never walk. I was never going to be able to go to a public school. I was never going to be normal. My parents just didn’t accept that.” Her parents started her on occupational, visual and physical therapy when she was one month old until she was 3 years old. She also had a series of surgeries for her third nerve palsy when she was just a couple months old, including an eyelid lift in Washington, D.C. and an eye muscle correction in Dallas. “I was lucky that I was right in the heart of the new research,” Macy said. “They were able to help me out really quickly. Thanks to my parents and having a really supportive family, I’ve always been treated like I’ve never had a disability. That really has helped me overcome it.” As part of her therapy, Macy wore a cast on her leg and a sling on her arm when she was young in order to force her to strengthen the other side of her body. Her physical therapist and nanny used to play a game with Macy where they pretended she had gotten into a car accident in order to lighten Macy’s stress. “As a little girl, no one wanted to hear that, ‘Oh, we had to strap you up because you’re disabled,’ so they made it a game,” Macy said. “That was a clever thing. It’s not normal. A doctor would just be like, ‘Oh, let’s put her in all this stuff.’ [My physical therapist and nanny] made it a game for me, and I think that helped me adapt easier to what I have.” Macy started doing physical therapy again about three years ago. Starting in December of 2010, she had four botox treatments with four month intervals, where she had 70 injections of botox in her arms in order to lessen her muscle spasms. She also takes Sinemet twice a day, a Parkinson’s medication that

helps with her mobility. “Before I went back to therapy or used botox or Sinemet, my neurologist told my parents and me that my condition wouldn’t get better,” Macy said. “I took that as a challenge and did the things he thought were unthinkable. I’m grateful he put me up to that challenge or else I wouldn’t be where I am today.” Macy continues to make progress in terms of her movement. Earlier this semester, she learned how to do something that most girls know from a young age. “I just learned to put my hair up in a ponytail on my own, which is just crazy that I haven’t been able to do that for 16 years,” Macy said. “Most people take that kind of thing for granted.” Macy finds that oftentimes third nerve palsy is more of a problem than her cerebral palsy. It is the first aspect of her disability that most people notice about her, and it has been the subject of unwanted attention and teasing. “When I was little, I would go home crying because all these people would make fun of me,” she said. “I still get stares today from little kids who are just staring because they have never seen that before. They’ve never seen one eye shut constantly. When guys see my Facebook, they’re like, ‘Why are you always winking?’ I’m not. That’s just what I look like. When I was little I used to tell kids that I ate too much sugar, and my eye fell down. I would kind of laugh at them because they were laughing at me.” Last year, Macy joined Color Guard. She practices every morning from 7 to 8:40, after school on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6:30 and an hour before the football games on Friday. “I wanted to do it mainly because it’s something that nobody expected me to be able to do, and I love setting myself to a higher standard than anyone expects me to,” Macy said. “I’m not Ms. Perfect that gets everything right the first time. I go through this as happygo-lucky as I possibly can. I’ve had my bad days. I still have bad days. I really think that the moral support with the girls on the team and them being there for me genuinely has helped me.” Macy likes the support she finds among Color Guard and band. “I love the atmosphere of having 240 kids around me, where no one is judging me,”

Shelby Westbrook

Sophomore Macy Friereich kneels in the Chapparal stadium during the Color Guard performace at a Westlake football game. “I love Color Guard because it’s a challenge,” she said. “It’s the challenge of having a pole and being able to control this huge thing of silk. It’s supposed to look effortless, and it’s nice having an effortless [look] when I put so much work into it.” she said. “Everyone is working hard. No one expects any kind of praise out of it. I love how everyone is so down to earth. They’re very proud of what they get done.” Color Guard has helped Macy reach new potentials and given her a greater confidence. “I was never able to do push-ups last year,” she said. “When I was a baby, I crawled on my right elbow and my left arm. A lot of things I wasn’t able to lift. Joining guard has inspired me to do everything that everyone says I couldn’t do. I’m not the best. I’m not perfect at it, but I can do it.” —Selah Maya Zighelboim

Singing her heart out Musician works toward dream of being recording artist


any singers dream of going to New York and making it big. Senior Rachel Altounian has made this her ultimate goal. She is applying early decision to New York University and hopes to join the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.    “I have always dreamed of going to NYU, especially after my sister went to the school,” Rachel said. “It’s also incredibly different than other schools; they don’t teach you how to sing or play well, but how to actually make it in the industry. I really want to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter for a while, but eventually I want to become a label songwriter where I’m only writing songs for major label artists like the Justin Biebers and Katy Perrys of the world. [My passion really lies in] the writing.”     This summer, Rachel was able to experience her dream through a summer program at ReMu. She was one of 36 people picked from a pool of 80 applicants. While there, Rachel took classes in intro to music business and intro to music production. She and the other students were taught the basics of producing music, recording and copyright among other things. Students were also given the opportunity to take specialty classes with songwriters, managers and performers.     “I really like the connections that I made,” Rachel said. “We got to work with a lot of really cool people, and I still talk to a bunch of the professors. It was very surreal [to work with] all the people we were working with, but also the people who I was there with were all super talented. I know there are networks I can access in the future.”     Besides taking classes and learning about all the aspects of the music business, Rachel was also given the opportunity to record music in a professional studio.     “It was really fun,” Rachel said. “I had recorded before, but I had just been behind the microphone. I had never been on the other side of it so this time we got to actually record [other people], and we recorded ourselves as well. It was cool to be in control of everything.”

   Recording at ReMu was not the first time Rachel had been in the studio. Last year she had the opportunity to make a four-track demo at a studio in downtown Austin. To further help her record music, her parents had a recording studio installed in their home.     “[The first time I recorded in a studio felt] awesome,” Rachel said. “It’s great to hear everything come together like it does in my head.”     Besides pursuing music outside of school, Rachel is an active member of Chorale.     “[My favorite thing about choir is] the people,” Rachel said. “I love [choir directors Ed] Snouffer and [Jenn] Goodner. It’s just a unique place, and it’s a unique group of people. No matter who they are at school, when you’re in the choir environment everyone’s so nice to each other.”     In addition to being in Chorale, Rachel is also a member of Madrigals, the top choir at Westlake, a position she auditioned for at the end of last year.     “I love Madrigals,” Rachel said. “I really like the music we make as a group because I’ve

“I really like how [music is] universal. I can listen to a song that was by an American artist or a Korean artist or by anyone and no matter what language it’s in, you can feel the same things in every language.” —senior Rachel Altounian


never been in a group where it’s been equal guys to equal girls. The ratio and the way our voices blend just give you goosebumps. It’s so fun; we’re all friends, and it’s really nice to have a group like that.”    On top of both Chorale and Madrigals, Rachel takes private lessons once a week to learn proper singing techniques. Between Chorale, Madrigals, private lessons and her own self-practice at home, Rachel spends around five hours per day singing during the school week. She spends even more time singing on weekends. During these moments, Rachel writes songs. So far, she has completed 40 songs and has about 100 half written. For her songs, Rachel draws inspiration from events in her life and the lives of her friends and family.     “I have a box at home, called my inspiration

box, and every time I get inspired I’ll pull out a piece of paper and I’ll just write down really fast like one line and I’ll put it in there,” Rachel said. “Usually something will build from the line — either I’ll be sitting at the piano and I’ll do a riff and I’ll be like ‘That fits this line really well’ and I’ll pull it out [of the box], or I’ll pull out a line and write from that.”        While recording and performing her music, Rachel covers many songs by artists ranging from Adele to Nirvana.     “I look for one of two things if I’m covering a song,” Rachel said. “I look for an artist who is either similar to me or completely different from what I do. I like to either change something a lot or take something from an artist that I really admire who is in the same genre as I am and hopefully do it justice.”     One of the most difficult songs Rachel has covered is “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana which she performed during Spring Revue last year.     “What was really challenging about that was that it’s such an iconic song and it’s Nirvana,” Rachel said. “To try to change that, but make people still want to listen to it [was challenging]. I added strings and I had a cello, viola and piano on it. Arranging that and trying to pull it off was definitely very frustrating.”     Rachel has set many goals for the future. In the long term she would like to win a Grammy Award for songwriting and write for Sony Music Entertainment or Interscope Records. Although those are more far reaching, she intends to establish a fan base in Austin and have songs on iTunes by the end of the year. In order to build her fan base, Rachel has made her music accessible online through the website Soundcloud and plans to play shows of both original and cover songs at local venues such as coffee shops.     “For the most part I’m putting my music out there more,” Rachel said. “I have a website with all my music on it and a fan page on Facebook, and as soon as college applications are over I’ll be playing shows around Austin and that’ll probably build to the Central Texas area in general.” Rachel became interested in music at a young age; both her brother and sister play instruments while she sings. Rachel began singing more seriously in middle school, but it wasn’t until her sophomore year that she began to write songs, taught herself how to play the guitar and the ukulele and retaught herself the piano. Throughout the beginnings of her music career and as she heads into the

her the entire way. “[My parents have] always told me that I could do whatever I want to do, [and] they actually meant it,” Rachel said. “They’ve never once been like ‘You need to look at a more reasonable job for yourself.’” Rachel’s friends

are her biggest fans and always cheer her on.    “Rachel’s sense of music and talent blows my mind,” senior Jacqueline Brustkern said. “She not only has a great knowledge of the foundation and theory of music, but also knows how to create music and make it sound beautiful. Ever since I’ve known her, she has been growing in her talents, and she has developed into a really amazing singer/songwriter. I have no doubt her determination and talents will carry her far into the future and the world of fame.”     Rachel looks forward to her performances around Austin and her future performances with Madrigals and Chorale.     “I really like performing,” Rachel said. “I know that a lot of people don’t, but it’s one of my favorite feelings. [I like] the nerves right before you go on stage, and then, everything kind of feels like it’s going to fall off your body. Then you actually start playing, and lose yourself and eventually you just kind of ignore the

audience, but the recognition at the end of a song is the best part.”    Rachel puts a lot of effort into every performance and carries her passion for music into all of her songs.     “When I get really into a song, I get on music highs,” Rachel said. “I just want to keep playing and when I hit the keys really hard on the piano or belt something out, there’s no other feeling like it. You can feel the blood rushing through your body and everything echoes in your head, and it’s just something that’s completely different from anything.” —Jessica Stenglein

Carley McNicholas

Senior Rachel Altounian strums her guitar while singing. She plays six instruments total in including the piano, ukuele and French horn. Currently, Rachel is working with an Artist & Recording partnership in New York City shopping for labels.

Scan this to hear Rachel’s music on Soundcloud.



It started out as a night of making s’mores with friends. It turned into two months of intensive burn therapy on 22 percent of junior Luke Rowan’s body. On July 31, Luke and juniors Bobby dad did not leave my bedside for five days. Perry and Charlie Person were intent on He didn’t even change clothes. He slept in a starting a small fire in Charlie’s backyard and recliner chair that did not recline.” roasting s’mores. When the boys couldn’t find The doctors declared that Luke had burned any proper kindling, they settled for a log, 22 percent of his body, and had second plus some grass and gasoline. Charlie poured a degree burns. Doctors worry about a patient cup of gasoline into the fire pit and lit it with dying if the burns exceed 25 percent of a a lighter, before Luke had the chance to pour person’s body. He underwent five surgeries his. The wind blew the fire toward Luke, and to heal his torched skin during his 10 days of his cup burst into flames. His arm and hand hospitalization. holding the cup caught fire immediately. “My nerve endings and hair follicles were When he dropped the cup, the flames spread still alive, so skin grafts were not necessary,” to his lower body and the surrounding grass Luke said. “But that also means that I could around him. Half of Luke’s body was engulfed feel everything.” in flames. The first Saturday that Luke was hospital“I started running around,” Luke said. “At ized, 27 of his friends and family drove to San Cade Ritter Antonio to visit him. first it almost felt like a joke. TV and movies always make out catching on fire to be kind of “They just came in and out and in and out,” Five months after the accident, junior Luke Rowan has almost fully humorous. As time went by, I realized [that it] recovered. Luke said. “It made me feel like I wasn’t alone kind of hurt.” in my recovery. People cared. I kept telling With his body up in flames and the surmyself, ‘You keep a positive attitude and you’ll rounding ground on fire as well, there was no safe place to escape. heal faster.’ I honestly believe that I healed so fast because of my at“Nothing was going through my mind,” Luke said. “I didn’t stop, titude.” drop and roll. I was on fire for about 10 seconds, and Bobby and CharThe doctors confirmed that Luke healed faster than almost anyone lie kept yelling ‘Jump in the pool!’” they had ever seen. Looking at Luke now, you would have no idea that his accident even Being in the hospital and at home for such an extended period of happened. However, the night of the fire, when he looked down at him- time gave Luke sufficient time to think about his situation and how his self, there were three-inch blisters accident changed his perspecgrowing all over his lower body. tive on life. Luke was rushed to West“It made me more aware of lake Medical center, and then how important relationships Starflighted to a hospital in San are with people,” Luke said. Antonio that specializes in burn “It makes me really try to have victims. less enemies and more friends. “It’s the type of phone call Because the support of everyyou never want to receive as a one I love, I got through this a parent,” Luke’s father JJ Rowan lot quicker than if I had been said. “From that point forward, alone.” everything is kind of a blur. The After Luke came back to the only focus is the well being of world outside of his recovery, your child.” many people had heard his story. From friends to teachers, people Luke did not take his parents’ concern for granted. He was very questioned and even poked fun at Luke. aware of his parents’ unwavering care for him. “It’s not a sensitive subject really,” Luke said. “It’s all in good fun. “My dad drove about 105 [miles per hour] all the way down to San I know in their hearts they’re all just glad I’m okay and glad I’m still Antonio,” Luke said. “My mom rode with me in the helicopter. My here.”

“It made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my recovery. People cared. I kept telling myself ‘you keep a positive attitude and you’ll heal faster. I honestly believe that I healed so fast because of my attitude.” —junior Luke Rowan


Dressed for success

Young fashion blogger awaits bright future

The internet has taken over our lives — there’s no doubt about it. Everything we do has some sort of connection to the world-wide web. So, it isn’t a surprise that sophomore Miranda Waldron Curry has been trying her luck in gaining internet fame. Miranda has been writing and posting photos to her fashion blog,, for nearly four years. “I was just looking for a way to get my voice out there,” Miranda said. “It was just something I did on the weekends. [I was] just writing a few posts here and there, nothing major. And now it’s something that I’m more conscious of all the time.” Miranda uploads pictures of outfits that she has put together, updates on style around the world and information on events in Austin, becoming a recognized blogger. “It’s amazing to know that people know who I am,” Miranda said. “This year, for the first time, I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘You’re Miranda — I’m a huge fan.’ It’s awesome.” Throughout high school, Miranda plans to continue posting to her blog. She wants to go to college for something in the fashion or design industry, and her blog could give her a head start in applying for college. “I’m hoping it pays off,” Miranda said. “It’s something that is going to help me in the future. By high school, people kind of expect you to have everything already figured out. I know a lot of people don’t. Fashion is one thing that I’ve always known. I’ve always been really passionate about it. ” Thanks to her presence online, Miranda has also taken many opportunities to be involved with events around Austin. “I got to go to Austin City Limits last year with a press pass,” Miranda said. “I was hired by 77Kids, which is an American Eagle brand. I got to be right in the middle of everything. I took photos, went to different shows, and of course, got to see what the performers were wearing. It was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had.”

Miranda networks with other bloggers, reads magazines and looks at what people are wearing when she goes out. She creates posts with the information that she finds and adds her own flair and voice. “The most important part of my blog is self expression,” Scan this code to visit Miranda said. “It’s about the Miranda’s blog. fashion, but I talk about more than that.” Miranda has looked at fashion as an important aspect in cultures around the world. Because it is so universal, she tries to post about fashion that is affecting the world in which we live. “I try to pull in a lot of real-world issues,” Miranda said. “I guess you could say, ‘Fashion that matters.’ I’m a huge fan of American Apparel because everything they sell is made in America. It’s a huge issue right now, and fashion has been trashed in a way because of it. Fashion is amazing, and it’s an art. There’s a lot of it that’s about the best shoes or whatever, but there’s a lot more to it because it plays an important role in our society. It really matters.” Since Miranda is working alone, her blog can take up a lot of her free time. She’s learned how dedicated the people in the fashion world are. “I’ve also realized how much work something like this can take sometimes,” Miranda said. “I’ve spent up to five hours just going through photos and notes from shows. I worked on a post about fall fashion for three weeks on and off because I did so much research. It gives me a lot more respect for magazines.” Miranda hopes that she can make a dent in the industry. “I wish I could be Coco Chanel,” Miranda said. “She changed fashion. She might as well have invented pants for women. It’s amazing. Everyone knows who she is. She created the modern fashion industry. I’d love to be a revolutionary designer.” —Caitlyn Kerbow

Fashion blogger sophomore Miranda Waldron Curry models this fall’s trends outside of her home. Caitlyn Kerbow

What is your




“We always go to a coastal destination and eat British food in protest of American culture.” —junior Lewis Christie

“We watch Little Miss Sunshine each Thanksgiving because our family is so dysfunctional, and it makes us feel better about ourselves.” —senior Casey Sutton

“Purple mashed potatoes.” —sophomore Charlie Childs


people + places

“Every year my whole family and I go up to Colorado and everyone dresses as either turkeys or Pilgrims, and whoever has the best outfit gets the big turkey leg.” —sophomore Scout Hannon

“Every night at dinner we each take a leaf and write something we’re thankful for and put it on the tree. By Thanksgiving, it’s covered in leaves.” —freshman Mary Grace Copa

Saying grace On the third Thursday of November, we sit around the dinner table and think about why we’re thankful. Someone might blurt out food as he hungrily eyes the sweet potato pie. Someone else might say family and prosperity.This is what we’re thankful for. Family rejoices when reconnected with electronics “Everyone grab a plate and sit at the table,” my mother yelled to the household. My little brother, J.Reilly, and I both shot her an extremely confused look. She stared back, concerned. “What?” she demanded. J.Reilly and I exchanged looks. The next 30 minutes were guaranteed to be awkward beyond measure. “Well,” my mother began, ”because our house was completely ransacked of all electronics, we don’t have the option to eat in front of the TV like usual.” My brother, my father and I took our plates and slowly crept towards the dining table. My family never made use of the dining table unless we had a guest coming over or homework to do. But because burglars robbed our house of every technological device the previous day, we had no television to silence the unfortunate small talk that would come about if we were forced to make conversation with one another. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family, but it’s just not our style to sit down with each other at meal times and talk about our day. On the incredibly rare occasions when mother dearest tries to get us all to sit down at the dinner table, the conversation consists of the cliché “Good job, Mom. The carrots turned out really well,” and the oh-so-typical “How was work today?” and of course, the dreaded “How did that math test go, Olivia?” Let’s be honest — no one in my family is truly interested in the small and insignificant details of one anothers’ lives. The next week was a tough one. We had no computers, televisions or iPads to keep us entertained and distracted. I thought dinner would

be the only thing I had to deal with, but I soon found out otherwise. There is a five-hour interval in between the time when everyone gets home from school or work to when we all start going to bed. Typically, this time is used to stare at flickering screens just like every other household in this technology-dependent society. Unfortunately, our normal routine wasn’t an option. If we couldn’t use technology to entertain ourselves, what were we supposed to do? The first few days were extremely uncomfortable. Everyone was experiencing electronic withdrawals, and we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. This must be what recovering drug addicts feel like, because I could’ve sworn I started shaking and twitching a few times. As the week went on, we grew more and more accustomed to speaking to each other. It seemed that this whole communicating with your family thing wasn’t as bad as we thought. We started to play card games and help one another with homework, and by golly, we even started Ariana Gomez Reyes having legitimate conversations. I think my mother and I actually shared a laugh. Just when it seemed as though our primary social skills had returned for good, the new TV came in. That very night, we ate spaghetti on the couch with our eyes glued to Glee. No eye contact was made; no words were spoken. We returned to our routine of grabbing our dinner plates and plopping ourselves down in front of the television. I had forgotten how much I needed my daily sitcoms and spontaneous musical numbers. Thank God for technology. —Olivia Kight

Bastrop resident almost loses home in fire All we planned to do was go to the library. My mom was on a trip, and my dad and I were by ourselves. We drove out of the garage, and as we headed up the main road, we saw a billowing cloud of smoke rising from a greenbelt. We turned around and went back home, looked at the news and found out what was going on. There was a fire, and all Steiner Ranch residents should evacuate. My dad and I looked at each other, and my stomach started shaking. “Should I go pack?” I asked. “Yeah,” he said, “but there’s nothing to worry about.” I didn’t believe him, but I wanted to. He sounded like an adult trying to reassure a child. I remember thinking that the moment was like one of those questionnaires that you fill out on the first day of school, with questions like “If you took five items to a desert island, what would they be?” Of course, I took my slightly more materialistic items, but after that I just stood in my dark room. What were my desert island items? I surprised myself a little bit by grabbing my two favorite

things from when I was a little kid: my Jessie doll that was once glued to my hand and a safety blanket that I called Sheepie. It was automatic — I took those things everywhere when I was a little kid as security, and I really needed that feeling of comfort. After we packed up our car, my dad and I drove around aimlessly for about two hours, listening to reports on the radio and deciding what to do next. We checked into a hotel at the Arboretum. The next morning we looked at the news and learned that we would probably be staying there for a few days. We needed to figure out basic things like school, food, transportation and groceries. These normally mundane things had suddenly become a big deal. After another day, things started to look better. When it was safe to go back, we did. With relief we found out that our house was fine. Three blocks away, only skeletons of houses and trees remained. Even though everything was okay, the whole experience really shook me up. The uncertainty of possibly not seeing my house again devastated me. I am enormously ap-

preciative of all of the firefighters who did their jobs so well that my house was okay. Without them, I would not be able to say how grateful I am that my home were undamaged by the destructive fire. It is one of the best feelings in the world when I am able to say that my house is still solid and not ash. —Madeline Dupre

Michaela Moss

Athlete injures feet at Six Flags, learns to appreciate mobility


z Reye

people + places



of braces, boots and casts. I was on crutches (and sometimes in a wheelchair) for all but a few weeks of seventh grade and I underwent surgery on one foot and cortisone shots in the other. During the summer before eighth grade, I wore a boot on one foot and a brace on the other. That fall was spent with my right leg trapped in one brace before I was released, almost two years after the injury, in the spring of 2012. That season I went back to swim team and joined track. After all that sitting and months of pain, running isn’t a chore for me. It’s not something I endure for exercise or PE credit. It’s a privilege. All I care about is the way my feet don’t scream their protestations at every step; the way I can trust them to know where to go and when to bend. And it’s not just running. After months of immobility, even the simple actions of carrying my own books, lifting up my brother, jumping off the swing and kicking off the pool wall are aspects of the day that I relish. I’ve been free for about nine months now and the novelty of motion hasn’t worn off yet. I don’t think it ever will. —Georgina Kuhlmann


When you can’t run for months, when you can’t jog or hop or skip, when you can’t take your baby brother’s hand as you cross the street because you are holding onto crutches, you realize how much mobility matters. After an unfortunate day at Six Flags involving high heels and forgotten sneakers, I tore the tendons and strained the ligaments in both sides of both of my feet. In my rush to get out of the house in time for the 6:15 band bus to San Antonio, I had left my change of shoes in the hallway and was forced to chose between bare feet and heels at the park. As the concrete was baking in the Texas sun, I chose the latter, thinking I was saving myself from pain. I was wrong. Over the course of the day I tripped, fell, wobbled and twisted my ankles more times than I care to count. However, I was excited and reckless, full of sugar and on an all-day roller-coaster-induced adrenaline rush so I ignored the steadily mounting pain. I limped home that night wincing over what I thought were nasty sprains, blissfully unaware of the true damage I had done. Over the next year and a half, I was in and out

A new leaf

Immigrant feels trauma of family separation


When she hears the sound of a dark blue Jaguar pulling up wish that I could forget everything and go back [to Mexico] — go back in front of her small apartment, she can’t find words to describe her and be normal and live with my entire family again.” joy. She cries as she dashes out the door to greet the man coming out The change has also affected Catherine’s mother. of the car. She wraps her arms “My mom was an orthodontist tightly around him and stays like for kids in Mexico,” Catherine that for a while to savor one of said. “Since we came to the Unitthe few moments she has with her ed States, she had to change her father. job to a teacher and then a dental Like other students, senior assistant because the United Catherine Gonzalez takes part in States won’t let her continue her school clubs, pep rallies, Homejob as a dentist until she goes coming dances and does her best back to school for two more years, to maintain high grades in all even though she has already studher classes. She wakes up every ied dentistry for about 11 years in morning at 5 a.m. to work out, Mexico. Being a dentist was what participates in the school choir she loved doing, but she sacriand ice skates at the North Cross ficed her whole career for me and mall during her free time. HowevMichel. Also, without my dad, er, she lacks the regular presence she’s had to be more independent of someone very significant in her and work every day from 7 a.m. life: her father. to 6 p.m. It’s been tough for her, “I miss my dad,” Catherine [for] all of us.” said. “He is extremely important Although Catherine’s distance to my life because I have the best from her father has been an esperelationship in the world with cially difficult challenge for her, it him. He’s the only guy I’ll ever helped her understand what she trust — my best friend. He means values. the world to me.” “I am the happiest girl when Catherine was born in MonI see my dad,” Catherine said. terrey, Mexico and lived there “When I hear his car, it’s like for the first 11 years of her life getting a new pony for Christmas with her older brother Chris, her when you are 3. I wish others younger brother Michel and both would appreciate what they have; of her parents. it’s sad when they don’t realize. “I loved it,” Catherine said. But honestly, before, when I lived “Life back in Mexico was carefree with my whole family, I don’t and simple. I miss it.” think I knew how important my At the age of 12, Catherine and dad was to me or how family matthe rest of her family decided to ters more than anything. I had to move to the United States for a experience this to value someone better chance for opportunities I love.” and a safer lifestyle. Her father Catherine believes that being had to return to Mexico after only thankful means not only appreone year in Austin because of his ciating what she has, but also Cade Ritter life coaching job in Monterrey. accepting the adversities that she Senior Catherine Gonzalez poses with a photograph of her and her father. Catherine moved to Austin from Monter- faces and learning from them. Chris went back with him to join rey, Mexico when she was 12 years old. Her father and one of her brothers went back. his then-girlfriend. Because of “I don’t regret coming, but Catherine’s father’s job secuit has been a colorful ride,” rity back in Mexico, he and Chris Catherine said. “It’s just been a haven’t been able to move back to Austin. challenge, but hopefully getting into college, making a life of my own, The Gonzalez family has been separated for the past seven years. my little brother following his dreams and doing whatever he wants Catherine only gets to see her father once or twice a year, for only a to with his life will make it worth [our family separation] with the couple of weeks each time, and Chris even less than that. opportunities we get here and not in Mexico. Maybe there will be a “[This situation] has definitely affected me emotionally,” Catherine reason in the end for this struggle, and I’ll end up being more thankful said. “I sometimes can’t even concentrate during school because I than ever.” think of all the different things that are happening. Sometimes I just —Erica Schwartz

Facing the future

Shelby Westbrook

Psychology teacher discusses diagnosis of breast cancer,


The phone rang with news that would change her life. The biopsy results were back, the doctor said. Psychology teacher Dara Frazier had breast cancer. “I clearly remember getting the phone call from my doctor Thursday, Aug. 16,” Frazier said. “I had gone in for mammograms and tests before that, but the message from my doctor was ‘I wouldn’t worry about this. It’s a low percentage of people that get cancer as a diagnosis.’ I remember being in the grocery store that Thursday morning when the phone rang. I could tell my doctor was upset to have to tell me.” The doctor had already scheduled appointments with an oncologist and a surgeon. Frazier met with the oncologist the very next day. He told her more about what the lab results included and said he wouldn’t be involved in her treatment until after the surgery. Later, Frazier met with her surgeon. “[The surgeon] said that one breast had to be completely removed,” Frazier said. “She said the cancer is not invasive. It had not spread to other places. We had caught it early. It’s a stage zero cancer, but there is enough of the cancer in different locations on the left side that it has to be removed. On the right side, it was only in one small location. She said we could do a lumpectomy, where they just take out that part. The problem is then you have to follow up with radiation

treatment, and there’s always a chance the cancer could come back.” Frazier decided to have both breasts removed in order to avoid radiation treatment and the risk of the cancer’s recurrence. “The women in my family have all lived to be 80 something or 90 something,” she said. “I’m only 50. I thought that was a lot of years to allow the cancer to come back. My doctor, my husband and I made the decision to go with what they call a bilateral mastectomy, where they’ll remove both breasts.” Another factor contributing to her decision was the reconstruction of her breasts, which Frazier decided to have done in the same surgery. “My poor grandmother had breast cancer,” Frazier said. “She was 75 when she was diagnosed, and back in 1975, they didn’t even talk about reconstruction. That was probably [because] mainly male doctors did not see that as an issue. I’m very thankful that here in the 21st century it is assumed you will have reconstruction. Insurance pays for it, along with the removal surgery. There’s been a shift in the thinking of our society, so I’m thankful for that.” Frazier missed the first day of school to meet with her reconstruction surgeon. “On the second day of school, my first day with the kids, I told them

“I’m a person of faith. I know my entire church, my entire extended family, my circle of friends, just about all those people are praying, and that makes a difference to me.” —Psychology teacher Dara Frazier


[about my breast cancer] because I wanted them to know that I was expecting to be out for about a month of school,” she said. “If you don’t want to take this class for a semester because you don’t like the idea of having a sub for a month, you can get a schedule change. That does not hurt my feelings. That does not bother me. I felt like it was fair for them to know that going in.” As she had had a major surgery once before, Frazier wasn’t very nervous going into it. “I had a tumor taken out of my chest when I was 21,” Frazier said. “It was not malignant; it was not cancer, but it still had to come out. I know what to expect as far as going to the hospital for major surgery. I know I’ll be sore. I know it’ll be important to stay on the pain medications. I know I’ll be in the hospital for three or four days. I’ll go home, and I know I won’t be able to lift things or raise my arms above my head or drive for a while. I have plenty of people who are offering to help. People have been so supportive and so nice.” Frazier’s last day at school before her surgery was Oct. 1. She spent Oct. 2 having pre-surgical procedures. Oct. 3 was the day of her surgery. Austin Community College Psychology professor Kathy Statos took over her classes while she was gone. “I was [nervous about leaving my classes] until I found a wonderful sub,” Frazier said. “Statos has also done some subbing at Lake Travis, so she has high school subbing experience, and she teaches Psychology at the college level, so I feel good about leaving things in her hands.” The surgery successfully took place Oct. 3. “My surgery went well and as expected,” she said. “It took about nine hours. I remember getting a shot to relax me and the nothing until waking in recovery about 7 p.m. My throat was sore from the trach tube but no pain — lots of painkillers.” After the surgery, she had two tubes coming out from under her arms and two more coming out of either side of her abdomen to drain excess fluid. She was bruised and swollen and unable to stand or walk for more than a few minutes. She even had trouble washing her hair. The support she received from others helped her overcome the obstacles.

bilateral mastectomy surgery “I’m a person of faith,” Frazier said. “I know my entire church, my entire extended family, my circle of friends, just about all those people are praying, and that makes a difference to me.” Having breast cancer has made Frazier reevaluate the way she lives her life. She has started trying to eat food, especially animal products, without added hormones. “My cancer cells are hormone receptive, meaning estrogen and progesterone, the female hormones, make it grow,” she said. “It makes me think about hormones in our food. I am a meat eater; I am a milk drinker, but I have been more careful about buying milk and buying meat that is raised without hormones from now on. Of course I wasn’t careful about that, growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s and ‘80s. It didn’t occur to us that it would ever be a problem. It’s probably a good thing to be aware of artificial hormones that we don’t really need in our diets.” Frazier recommends that people do what they can to avoid cancer, including boosting the immune system and avoiding alcohol and drugs. “My doctor says there is research showing we all get cancer, maybe five or six times in our life, but our immune system is able to overpower it,” Frazier said. “His opinion is that cancer is probably a failure of the immune system. He is a believer in bumping up the immune system as much as you can, eating healthy and taking certain supplements like Vitamin D. That’s a good thing to be aware of, to have as healthy an immune system as you can.” Frazier has since recovered with the help of family, friends and community. “I’m getting very good care and support from family and friends, including Westlake people,” Frazier said, “so I still have much to be thankful for.” —Selah Maya Zighelboim

For women 15 to 54, breast cancer is the

deadliest cancer. Women with breast cancer are more likely to struggle with early menopause, fertility, body image and financial instability.

1 in 8 women will get invasive breast cancer during her life.

1 in 1004 men will get invasive breast cancer during his life.

Cravings for

red meat and alcohol

could be symptomatic of breast cancer.

Younger women face more

aggressive cancer

and lower survival rates than older women.

15 percent

of women with breast cancer have a relative who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. To read about Hill Country Middle School special education teacher Adrienne Harmon’s battle with breast cancer, scan here.





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Isn’t it time you spread your wings?

It controls us.

It motivates us. It destroys us.

We never seem to have enough. So we ask ourselves, how do we keep money from dominating our lives? With the hard economic times, our country struggles day by day to fix what seems unfixable. The solution doesn’t start with the whole. It starts with the individual.

ZoĂŤ Nathan


Scan this code to learn how students answered in a poll about money spending habits.

ffordable ustin

Fun things to do that won’t break the bank Tired of your usual weekend activities? In need of some new ways to liven up your everyday routine? Well here are three Austin destinations that can help solve your problem. These are diverse and fun ways to spend your time. And the best part? They’re all cheap. —Katelyn Connolly At the Austin Farmers’ Market in the Triangle, one can buy fresh produce direct from the farm. There’s also live music, cheese, sake tasting and the freshest fruit in Texas.

Austin Farmers’ Market: The Sustainable Food Center Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. year round on Guadalupe Street downtown. It’s the perfect place to find healthy and delicious food, support local farmers and socialize with friends in the open air surrounded by colorful booths. The website,, lists a wide variety of produce that is in season at any given time of the year. There’s nothing like fresh produce and fresh air to wake you up on a Saturday morning. Ryan Stankard

The Blanton Museum of Art is located at 200 East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The Blanton’s collection contains work representing a wide variety of genres.

Blanton Museum of Art: Located on the University of Texas campus, this is the largest university art museum in the nation. It holds more than 17,000 works of art, including pieces in the styles of Italian Renaissance, American West, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism and Latin American. The Blanton is sure to cater to anyone’s art interests and spark more curiosity about different styles. Admission is free on Thursdays, and every third Thursday of the month includes activities such as tours, artist talks, The Blanton Book Club and Yoga in the Galleries, all of which are open to the public. Carley McNicholas

The Austin City Limits Music Festival took place in Zilker Park on Oct. 12-14. ACL featured eight stages with 125 bands. Zilker hosts this event, along with many others, throughout the year. The park is free and open daily.

Zilker Park: Home to such events as the spring’s Zilker Kite Festival, and of course, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Zilker can be tons of fun any day of the year. There are hiking and biking trails, sand volleyball courts, disk golf and plenty of space for frisbee with friends and pets, providing a free alternative to exercising in a gym. The park is also home to Barton Springs Pool (for a $2 charge) and access to Town Lake. Zilker is open to the public and provides loads of outdoor fun year round. Carley McNicholas


trends + traditions

Dollar for dollar

Saving money has never been easier

Are your pockets always empty? Are you always asking your parents for money? Well here are a few quick, easy ways to do what you want and still save money. —Margaret Norman

Ryan Stankard

Making the ends meet 17-year-old prepares for financial independence

dds are that at the normal Westlake household, there’s no need for teenagers to worry much about shelter, food or salaries. There are few concerns about laundry, transportation or insurance. However, this safe, dependable lifestyle will end when students leave home and start their adult lives. For junior Greg Logwinuk, this point will come sooner rather than later. Greg plans on moving out of his parents’ home immediately after graduation. In order to be financially capable of this, he has been working at Pei Wei to try to save money. Because he enjoys working, he has altered his plans for the future and has changed how much focus he puts on school. “When I was planning on going to [Texas] A&M, all As was my goal,” Greg said. “Right now, I have mostly Bs and some As. Now, since I’m not planning on doing that, grades are still important to me, but not as important as they used to be.” Greg sees himself possibly going into restaurant management or delaying entry into college. His short-term plans are to move into an apartment near the Hill Country Galleria with three co-workers as soon as he can. They already have a lease set up for a two-bedroom apartment that they will split the rent of four ways. He said he shares a connection with his co-workers. “I really feel close to my co-workers,” Greg said. “They’re really down-home to me and I really like them. We’ve all had run-ins with the law. I’ll just put it at that. My coworkers know exactly what that’s like so I can really relate to them on stuff like that.” The choice to try to become financially independent has forced Greg to use his money wisely. “Before I really start planning for the future, I want to be financially stable,” Greg said. “At the moment, I spend as little money as possible and I save as much as I can.” Because of his situation, Greg has grown to appreciate money in a different way. Working for his money has increased the value of the dollar for himself. “I’ve had to pay bills before, and I make my own money,” Greg said. “Apart from the furniture in my room, I’ve bought almost everything with my own money. People don’t realize the value of hard work. There’s also the rewarding factor of having earned that money. When you’ve worked for it, it’s a completely different feeling of satisfaction when you have it: knowing that I worked for this, I earned this, this is mine and no one else’s. When you actually earn that money it means so much more to you than if someone just gives it to you.” Greg deals with various reactions when he tells people about his situation. “I feel like I’m treated more like an adult than most kids my age,” Greg said. “When you tell people about your relationship with your parents, that you plan to immediately move out, that you have your own job and make your own money, kids our age scorn it more than

Carley McNicholas

Junior Greg Logwinuk stands in front of Pei Wei at the Hill Country Galleria where he works part time five days per week. you would think. They say, ‘You have to work for your money? Why would you work? You should go to parties every week.’ Co-workers and adults who are in the work place don’t look down on me as much as they used to. I’m a 17-year-old kid. There’s no way you’re going to completely eliminate the ‘You’re a kid, and I’m an adult’ factor.” Because of Greg’s choices regarding his future, he has had to change the target of his focus. “When you’re in this situation, you can’t be thinking about others,” Greg said. “You’ve got to think, ‘How will it help me?’ and that sounds like a selfish thing to say, but it really isn’t. You’ve got to realize that once you’re this age, you’ve got to be planning to go to college and be working to get the grades to get a good job, or you’ve got to be working now so that when you get out of high school you have a job and you’re not spending months looking for a job on your own.” Greg also believes that succeeding in his type of situation is based off of the formation of strong friendships. “I can see how much a friendship is needed in a situation like mine,” Greg said. “The most important thing to do is find a young adult or a friend that you can trust telling everything, who won’t betray your trust, someone who you can trust with everything.” Though his lifestyle is different from those of the students he goes to school with, Greg is content with the turnout of his situation. “I do regret some things but I realize that in the long run, I’m going to be better off than most people,” Greg said. “I’m no longer disappointed in anything because I’ve learned to expect the worst. Nowadays for most kids, the smallest inkling of their plan goes wrong and they lose it. My whole plan can fall to the ground and I’ll just say ‘Oh OK’ and just start over. I do regret some of the things that have happened, but I wouldn’t change it. I’m completely happy.” —Monica Tan

“When you actually earn that money it means so much more to you than if someone just gives it to you.” —junior Greg Logwinuk


Bottle half ia Ar na ez

om G s ye Re



Water you doing buying water?

Don’t pay for water. If you are reading this while buying a bottle of water, (which would be odd, but go with it), put your wallet back in your pocket and spend your money on something more worthwhile, like a Nalgene bottle. Don’t pay for water. Why not, you might ask. You’re thirsty. You have money. Sometimes it might be worthwhile to blow a couple bucks on a convenience, right? Wrong. Dead wrong. No studies have shown this, but it is a personal belief of mine that your IQ lowers with every dollar you spend on bottled water. Offended yet? You should be. Do you know where that bottled water you just dumped your hard earned (or not) cash on actually comes from? I’ll give you a hint; it’s not from the crisp, pure streams of the white-capped alpine peaks of an untouched mountain range, as the labels would have you believe. (Do you read the label? IQ points slipping away…) Most of that mumbo jumbo is only there to justify the amount of money the bottling companies charge you to drink something that is necessary for survival. Kind of messed up, huh? The water in that bottle is no more “pure” than the substance that spews out of water fountains. That’s not a speculation, it’s a fact. The Austin Water Treatment Utility has been recognized as one of the best of its kind in the country, and according to its website, it “exceeds federal and state requirements for clean water and environmental compliance.” The water coming out of your sink is not sewer water, it is not pesticide-infused and it is not poisoned by the government to make you lean towards one political party or another. All conspiracies are easily debunked.

Water = water = water. Don’t pay for water. And yet some of you may see the logic in this, and continue to pay for water. Why would you do that, you silly geese? If you buy a $1.50 bottle of water every day for a year, you’ll pay $547.50. If you fill up a $7 Nalgene bottle every day for a year, you’ll pay $7. Does that one even need to be explained? We live in a community where splurging is sometimes accepted, but when it comes to paying for water, you might as well be burning down the money tree that grows in your backyard. Don’t pay for water. Oh, but you have a reason. Buying bottled water helps conserve the environment. Really. So the 18-wheelers filled with water bottles that transverse the country burning through gallons and gallons of fossil fuels and the emission-filled plastic production that goes into making these bottles, not to mention the amount of plastic recycling that doesn’t happen is helping the environment. Good call. Have you taken an IQ test recently? My father once told me that the savviest marketer in history was the guy who figured out that people would be willing to pay for water. I couldn’t agree more. People took their need for water for granted, and when somebody however many years ago slapped a dollar sign on it, they realized that they needed and wanted it. It’s sick. But you can fight the system, you can end this absurdity, you can be above the crowd. You dont’t have to pay for water. So don’t. —Andy Brown









their minds

For a while now, the economy has been unstable. Major companies, banks and even countries have received bailouts. The government has introduced several programs and regulations in an attempt to fix the economy, but have any of them been successful? Is the economy getting better? What should be done to help repair our economy? Is it even repairable? I sat down with economics teachers David Paschall, Jason Jones and Mary Wolters to find out. —Martin Celusniak

The Featherduster: At what time in your life was the economy doing the best? David Paschall: “The economy was the strongest in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Tax rates for the richest 2 percent were at the highest levels during President Eisenhower’s administration. They are taxed at the lowest rate since 1915 now. Corporate tax accounted for 60 percent of tax revenue then, and it is about 25 percent now.” Jason Jones: “In my life, the economy was the best during the 1990s. I think it was a result of Ronald Reagan’s theory of Supply Side economics.” Mary Wolters: “In my adult life, the economy was thriving in the second half of the ‘90s — this was the result of a surge of investment spending and continual improvements in technology which increased productivity, resulting in higher real incomes, lower unemployment and increases in economic growth.” FD: What do you think is wrong with the economy? DP: “We focus too much on how the stock market does. We should focus more on the productivity of domestic production. Running a deficit during times of crises is not a bad thing if the government is using the spending to stimulate the economy and strengthen our nation’s infrastructure.” JJ: “I think one of the major problems with our economy is the over-taxation of businesses and individuals.” MW: “Our current economy is being adversely affected by the still unhealthy housing sector, which has reduced household wealth and consequently consumption, fiscal problems in the Euro zone and the fallout from the financial sector problems of a few years ago, which has resulted in banks’ reluctance to make loans. The growing deficit and increasing demands by our aging baby-boomer generation on


social security and Medicare will also continue to be problems.” FD: What should the government be doing? DP: “We have the opportunity to save billions of dollars in January if we reduce the military budget by 10 percent. Congress could then decide to invest half of that in rebuilding national infrastructure (roads, bridges, schools, etc). The other half could be a tax rebate for everybody who would then either invest it or buy consumer goods, which would further stimulate the economy.” JJ: “It’s pretty simple — lower taxes. If you lower taxes, then people have more money to spend or invest in the economy.” MW: “I wish I knew the solution; some [people] feel that more government spending is the answer; others feel that the immense size of our government is the problem.” FD: What, if anything, is currently helping the economy? Is there anything the government is doing to help? DP: “I think that as more baby boomers retire, the job market will open up more for young people, especially those who are trained in a skill like construction, plumbing, electrical work and health fields, especially geriatrics.” JJ: “There are very few government programs that are going to help the economy. The best thing to do is get out of the way.” MW: “The housing market is finally showing signs of improvement, and consumer confidence has recently increased. As spending begins to increase, businesses should have the confidence to increase their investment in capital and hire more workers.” FD: How is the economy affecting you personally? DP: “I am glad for the provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act

that have already started, such as extended coverage for young people and those who have pre-existing conditions. As more of the pieces of that act fall into place, I think we will all appreciate it more.” JJ: “The high gas prices definitely affect me. If the supply was increased, the prices would drop.” MW: “My husband is an architect and developer with a ‘new urbanism’ project in New Braunfels. Despite healthy demand for housing in the area, the project has been slowed by home builders’ difficulty in acquiring construction loans from reluctant banks. We see the impact of the fallout from the bad decisions made by some of the nation’s largest financial institutions.” FD: What do you think about Ben Bernanke reducing interest rates? DP: “A little inflation right now wouldn’t be bad, as it would stimulate investment for the working class. Reducing or maintaining artificially low interest rates doesn’t seem to be helping anybody.” JJ: “I think that it’s a short-term fix to a long-term problem.” MW: “The Fed has kept the federal funds rate at nearly zero for some time now, so there is not much more they can do with shortterm rates. Their current quantitative easing program seems to be aimed at steering investors to the stock market, with the intent of increasing wealth and thus stimulating spending.” FD: What do you think about our dependence on foreign oil? How can we fix this? DP: “Our over dependence on oil in general is killing us. I don’t understand the reluctance of Congress to support more green energy initiatives. If Congress gave green energy producers the kind of multi-billion dollar subsidies that they give the oil companies, we could develop the world’s best and safest alternative fuel supply.” JJ: “It handcuffs us in the Middle East. We have trillions of cubic feet here in the U.S., unknown quantities in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. There is no reason to import it from the Middle East.” MW: “Our dependence on foreign oil makes us captive to political situations which might affect that supply. Solutions? Development of alternate fuels, more efficient cars and perhaps more public transportation.” FD: What do you think about the outsourcing of labor? How can we fix this? DP: “Outsourcing jobs only helps multi-national corporations. Yes, it makes goods bought at Wal-Mart cheaper, but then it has the impact of reducing U.S. worker wages to the point that we can only afford to buy cheap, imported goods from Wal-Mart. If we heavily tax corporations that ship jobs overseas, or encourage (through tax credits) corporations who build new factories in the U.S., we will increase good-paying jobs.” JJ: “It’s terrible for our economy, but it’s hard to blame companies for going to where it’s cheaper. If our government wants to stop them, then they need to take the handcuffs off them here at home.” MW: “We’ve been outsourcing our labor for a long time — lots of manufacturing has gone overseas for years. But this became more of an issue for the public when the jobs that were outsourced included higher skilled jobs — basically anything that could be done by computer or phone could be done anywhere. The problem is that jobs are lost here. There probably needs to be greater partnerships between businesses and education systems to ensure that students are developing the skills that they will need to find jobs.” FD: Do you have any advice for graduating students? DP: “Young people should take a good look at how they invest their money, or their parents’ money, in college. Spending a couple of years taking basic classes at a community college is a much better investment of education dollars.” JJ: “I’m currently paying off student loans, and I would advise students to utilize student loans as a last resort. That interest is a killer.”


by M

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aT an

Are you a

ela Moss

art by Micha


When at the store, you...

A) Strictly buy items only on your organized list. (15) B) Sneak a few extra treats into your cart just because, you know, YOLO. (20) C) Head for the school supply aisle to pick up that notebook you needed, but then become distracted by the newest video game, find some cute shorts, and finally snag some dog food (you don’t even have a dog, but it was on sale). After checking out, you drag your three shopping carts to your car and realize you forgot to get a notebook. (25)


You get $100 for Christmas, so you... A) Spend it all immediately in one trip at one store. (25) B) Never spend a penny of it unless absolutely necessary. (15) C) Save for a few months, but then go on one, giant shopping spree. (20)

75-91 Points:

You hate spending money and are an obsessive saver. While stockpiling is an admirable quality and you’ll be the least likely to worry about your future, it’s OK to splurge every once in awhile.


$pender or a $aver?

Your spending habits can tell a lot about your personality. With tempting new gadgets being released and clothing prices rising, you can blink once and be drowning in debt. This quiz will help you realize whether you’re a carefree spender or a frugal saver and what that means about you. (Tally your score by adding the points at the end of each answer). — Michael Deisher

If you won the lottery, you would...


A) Buy a new car, but then put the rest in a savings account. (20) B) Spend it all in the course of a few days. (25) C) Keep it safe in a bank account and let it collect interest over the years. (15)


When your bank account says “insufficient funds,” you...


A) Call the bank: there must be a problem. You always make sure to have all of your money stocked in your account, and check on it hourly. (15) B) Buy what you wanted with the spare cash you have in your pocket that you’d saved for food. Who needs to eat anyway? (25) C) Put the item back and vow to come back another day when you have the cash. (20)

You buy something because... A) It looked so lonely sitting on that shelf by itself, you just had to give it a home. (25) B) You absolutely needed it. Your life literally depended on that one item. (15) C) You saved up enough money and are confident in your purchase. (20)

Your Score: 109-125 Points: 92-108 Points: You are the average saver. You don’t mind spending your money, but if you splurge you might feel guilty. You are perfectly balanced with your spending and saving habits.

You are a spendaholic. Consider locating the nearest rehab center and attend the weekly “Spenders Anonymous” meetings. You can’t function unless you have your daily fix of shopping.


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The price of beauty

Sophomore Olivia Kyle is made up with both high-end and drugstore products. Can you tell which is which?


Carley McNicholas

High-end cosmetics were applied to the left side of our model’s face, and products from a drugstore were applied to the right side of her face. So did you guess correctly? Our guess is, you couldn’t tell the difference. When it comes to makeup, some girls only buy expensive products. But with other opportunities to spend their money, it might be better to try something new. With only a few exceptions, drugstore products are just as effective and won't empty your wallet. It's time to replace your monthly Sephora runs with Walgreens hauls and quit stressing over the expenses of brand-name products. Bargain brands are becoming increasingly more realistic, and saving money is always in style. —Alexis Huynh and ZZ Lundburg

Mascara Lancome’s Definicils is a wet mascara formula that lengthens your eyelashes and when applied thinly, separates your eyelashes with the numerous bristles on the wand. The only downside about this mascara being applied thinly is the fact that unless you apply a couple coats, more like five or six, you won’t be able to achieve the dark, voluminous look. Other than that negative aspect, this mascara is great, but not worth $26. You can easily find a drugstore mascara for a third of the cost that can give you the exact same effect. For example, Covergirl’s Lashblast Luxe does a good job of separating the lashes and is buildable and shimmery. This is only $8 and a very reliable mascara. Definicils is just not worth the buy.



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Bobbi Brown’s gel eyeliner is a durable, smooth eyeliner. It does not smudge and is a very dark and defined black. This liner costs $22, but it has the same qualities any other drugstore gel liner has. We compared this to Maybelline’s Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner and found that they were identical. Their eye pencil is less than half the price of Bobbie Brown’s. Maybelline’s is just as good as Bobbi Brown’s, and stays on for just as long. If you prefer high-end, we feel that Bobbi Brown is a good choice, but it is nothing special. We highly recommend Maybelline’s eyeliner because it’s more reasonably priced for what you get.


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Foundation Lancome’s Dual Finish pressed powder foundation is known for its ability to last the entire day, cover blemishes and decrease the amount of oil on your skin. Although it is more costly, at about $37, the foundation does everything the manufacturers guarantee. Lancome’s is more expensive, but better quality. The color of Covergirl’s $8 Clean Collection pressed powder foundation when exposed to heat or humid air seems as if it “rubs off” and leaves your face oily to the touch. For us, the Dual Finish is well worth the cost.

Carley McNicholas


When looking for a lip gloss or lipstick, always go for the all-in-one, moisturizing, long-lasting and smooth feel. Covergirl’s Outlast Lip stain has all of these qualities. The color stays for hours, doesn’t fade and costs only $8 at any drugstore. One bad attribute about this product is that when left in a warm environment, it tends to apply chunky. We compared Covergirl’s to MAC’s $15 lipsticks, and found Covergirl’s drugstore lip stain is the better contender. Though MAC has many color choices, the texture is creamy enough that it easily comes off.

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A penny saved is a penny


Why keeping pennies doesn’t make cents Do you hear that incessant jingle? No, it’s not the sound of $60.2 million foolish. Christmas spirit. You’re listening to the sound of years of frustration, It’s been argued that retiring the penny would increase prices as moans from strained backs and tears from false hope. You’ve suffered businesses would round everything up to the nearest nickel. However, from the embarrassment, the frustration and the pure abhorrence. this is illogical as retailers currently use 99 cent endings in their prices They weigh down your pants, dent your car and fall all over the place to trick buyers into thinking that they’re purchasing the product for in the worst possible situations. They’ve been a nuisance for decades. less money than an even zero cent ending. Should pennies be elimiPennies. The coin minted by the United States in 1787 has since nated, sellers would round everything down to 95 cent endings to malevolently turned on us. We can no longer buy soda pop, candy, continue this subconscious effect in order to attract more buyers. The magazines or comic books with the nostalgic cent. Rather, we argument to keep pennies can also be countered with sales tax are mocked by the penny’s current complete worthlessand multiple item purchases to reduce the effect of higher ness. More than that, the penny has ruthlessly attacked prices. Many countries including Australia, Finland, our piggy banks for the last six years. It’s time to take Sweden and Canada have stopped production of drastic measures. The penny must be eliminated. their smallest types of currency with very few The U.S. Mint makes 30 Look at the facts. It costs 2.41 cents to make problems. a penny. We’re losing money on pennies yet The main purpose of having the penny, or million pennies every day, we still produce the coin as if we’re not $16 money in general, is to facilitate the exchange with about 1,040 created trillion in debt as a country. While we’re at it, of goods and services. However, the majority the next lowest circulating coin, the nickel, of places that we would normally use coins, every second. The penny repalso exceeds its face value in production, like parking meters and vending machines, resents about half the coins costing 11.8 cents to make. These coins have don’t accept pennies. We’re given the dreaded cost more to produce than they’re worth since coins as change when we buy products, yet we made by the U.S. Mint. 2006; the amount of money lost since then behave no convenient places to use them. We all — ing around $340 million. Along with this direct hate that guy who holds up the line by fishing waste of money, the effects of penny production also through his pockets for exact change. Getting rid attack from behind. The amount of time that we spend of pennies would eliminate the time we waste waitmanaging and fiddling around with pennies has cost us ing on that guy. quite a shameful sum. It’s been measured that the opportunity For sentimentalists who enjoy picking up pennies and cost, or the amount of money that we would make in the time that we find schmaltzy nostalgia through the 2.41 cent cent, it’s time to let go. produce, distribute, transact and fiddle pennies, is approximately $1 Sure, the penny has been here for what seems like forever, but the billion a year. On top of that, a percentage of the money we pay for product you get for a cent has died down to less than nothing. The taxes is allocated towards the survival of pennies whether we like it or penny has hit rock bottom. Today when you see a penny and pick it up, not. Taxpayers lost $60.2 million from production and distribution of all the day you’ll merely have a piece of metal that’s worth absolutely pennies last year, up from $27.4 million in 2010. They’re taking the nothing. money right out of our pockets. We aren’t penny wise anymore, just —Monica Tan



The register screen flashes $17.24 in pale green lights. You slide a crisp $20 across the counter and tap your foot impatiently, waiting for your change. A minute or so after the cash register slams shut, the pretty sales attendant holds out her hand with a small, unrecognizable clump inside of it. “Your change is $2.76,” she says with a goofy smile. You grab the lump and upon closer look, it's actually a box — made


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of money. You unfold the top and hidden inside is 76 cents. Although this form of returning change to a customer is mostly found in Asia, money origami is rapidly becoming popular all over the globe. The Featherduster is proud to teach you the ways of dollar bill paper-folding. Below are detailed instructions on how to create an origami heart and turkey. —Michael Deisher

Heart 2

1Fold a bill in half, hotdog style, and then unfold it to make a crease.

Fold the bill in hamburger style to make another crease, and then unfold it again.

3 Fold the right side of the bill up so that it lines up with the center crease you made during the hamburger fold. 4 Repeat step three with the left side. 5 Turn the bill over and fold the sides in. 6 Fold the top layer of the current shape down, but not too much of it.

7 There should be two flaps at the top of your shape. Fold the middle of the flaps down, just as the picture shows. 8 Almost there — fold the corners of the bill in to create the rounded heart shape we’re aiming for.

9 Turn the bill over and voila. You have a heart made of money. Give this exciting gift to a friend or special someone.


photos by Ryan Stankard

1Pleat the bottom of the bill to form the tail. (The pleat fold is just how you make paper fans with a regular sheet of paper.) 2 Fold in half hotdog style. 3 Fold the ends together to secure the tail. 4 Fold the corner, opposite of the tail, diagonally one side at a time to form the body. 5 Fold the body up towards the tail. 6 Fold tip of body down to form the head and now you have a tasty Thanksgiving treat.

Austin and Georgetown


HOME SIMPLE OF TEXAS 901 South Mopac Expressway Barton Oaks Plaza One Suite 300 AUSTIN, TX 78746 Phone: 512-934-1188 Fax: 866-299-0205

The Pennell Family Supports Westlake High School


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handcrafted beverages

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photo by Cade Ritter

Local sushi restaurants reel in customers Zushi Sushi Walking into Zushi Sushi was a pleasantly overwhelming experience. At 7:34 in the evening, it was incredibly crowded and filled with the noise of 60 people talking at once, as well as the clattering of plates and water glasses. Even though it was busy, a friendly and engaging hostess led us immediately to a table. A waiter came over to our table in less than two minutes, which was very quick considering how crowded the restaurant was. She made small talk with us as we ordered our drinks and even suggested which appetizers to get. We purchased the edamame and the soft shell crab Kara-Agge for the appetizers, both of which were delicious and brought to us in less than five minutes. The edamame was salty and served hot, and it was much better than I expected it to be. I was a little nervous about the crab Kara-Agge, because it was something I had never tried before, but as soon as I tasted it, I realized that it was a good choice. It had a crispy shell with a softer inside. Before the main course, we also ordered miso soup which was a nice addition to the meal and had the perfect amount of saltiness.

1 Zoë Nathan

Roll on

1. One of Sushi Zushi’s signature rolls is the Strawberry Roll. 2. A speciality of the Roll on Sushi Diner, the Philadelphia Rolls offer a unique taste of spicy Wasabi that is balanced with sour cream and avocado. 3. An appetizer at Sushi Zushi is the Vegetable Gyoza filled with nine different types of vegetables paired with a soy-based dipping sauce with shichimi peppers.



Unique restaurants with a homey, down-to-earth feel are just what Austinites strive to find on a daily basis, and they’re not too hard to find if you know where to look. A little ways down Burnet Road, connected to a retail and living complex, Roll On Sushi Diner sits, awaiting new customers strolling by who decide to try something new. And something new is exactly what they’ll get. Opened just a year ago, Roll On was started by two brothers wanting to bring a new style of sushi for everyone to enjoy. The one-of-akind menu and welcoming staff are some of the many things that draw people to this new restaurant. They opened in August 2011 and have plans to expand to multiple locations in the future, according to co-owner and general manager Chip Reed. From sushi like a “Cholesta roll” made with mashed potatoes,


For the entree, I ordered four California and four Oaklawn rolls. The California rolls were stuffed with fresh guacamole, small carrot strips and tuna. They weren’t spicy but had a wonderful flavor. The Oaklawn rolls were incredibly spicy but phenomenal. They were topped with a special sauce that gave it extra flavor, and had a crunchy inside that gave the rolls a zesty taste. The only complaint that I have is the fact that the dim lights created an atmosphere which made me want to fall asleep. It was contradictory to the bouncy energy of the restaurant. However, Zushi Sushi is fairly priced. Our meal was about $85, which is approximately $20 per person. For wonderful sushi, this is certainly cheaper than most authentic sushi restaurants. I loved Zushi Sushi and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for reasonably priced and delicious sushi. Zushi Sushi is located at 1611 West Fifth St., Suite 105, and is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays. —Colleen Pletcher

Zoë Nathan

Mackenzie Franklin

chicken fried steak and green beans to the always popular California roll, you are bound to find something that fits your mood any day of the week. A popular, and personal favorite of mine is the “Guaca-rolly,” which is made with tempura shrimp, spicy tuna, rice, cilantro and of course a delicious guacamole topper. But let’s not stop there. If you have any room left in your sushifilled belly, there is a dessert menu that calls your name from miles away. How does peanut butter, banana and bacon wrapped in a crispy egg roll with chocolate sauce drizzled on top sound? This is none other than their famous dish, “The Elvis.” Is your mouth watering yet? How about fried Amy’s ice cream with strawberry sauce? I think I’ve convinced you enough. Now go. Go and enjoy sushi like you’ve never had before. You’re welcome. —Laura Doolittle

At the end of the day, senior Carley McNicholas enjoys her made-to-order sushi roll at How Do You Roll on 454 West Second Street.

Zoë Nathan


Upon entering the Arbor Walk Shopping Center location of How Do You Roll, you are magically transported into a fantasy Japanese world. Not really. With an extremely high ceiling and blandly painted walls, the atmosphere of this restaurant is anything but authentically Japanese. But in How Do You Roll’s defense they weren’t going for an Asian feel to their brasserie. It’s easy to tell that they wanted to have a more modern look, with





How Do You Roll dominant colors of orange and green randomly painted around the interior. The unique thing about this sushi restaurant is that you get to pick and choose everything you want on your roll, hence the name “How Do You Roll.” I started off by choosing a traditional seaweed roll instead of a modern soy roll. I then chose white rice over brown rice. It was now time for me to pick out my vegetables. I chose three: avocado, cucumber and tofu skins (keep in mind that any extra veggies other than your given three are an added cost.) Deciding to stray from my usual unagi roll, I chose spicy escolar as my fish. After the chef rolls everything up and then cuts it, you’re given the option of adding sauces and or any toppings. I added spicy mayo and masago. If you don’t feel like creating your own sushi masterpiece, there are pre-made rolls available, which range from $5.95 to $9.95. Before completing our order and paying the cashier, I decided to grab a few sides. I chose a bowl of miso soup and some seaweed salad. My roll, the two sides and my dad’s roll all added up to around $19.89 after tax — an amazing deal for the quality of the food. My mouth was watering and my stomach was grumbling at the sight of the food on our tray before we’d even paid the cashier. Once seated, it was finally the moment of truth. Was their food good, or would I have to leave the restaurant empty-stomached? I unsnapped the chopsticks, placed them in my hand and dug in. Of course, I went for the Offered at Izumi Sushi, the shrimp sashimi is paired with white rice and a soy based sauce.

sushi first. After chewing it slowly and letting all the different flavors sink in, I nodded my head in approval. The sushi had passed the test. It was the perfect mix of seaweed, sweet sushi rice and fish. The slight crunch of the tofu skins tied the tastes together. The freshness of the ingredients was a big surprise for how cheap it was. The seaweed salad had big shoes to fill. Pinching a clump of the green strips, I stuffed them into my mouth. I was in heaven. The sweet and salty flavor of the arame seaweed, plus the crunch of the sesame seeds made this the perfect snack for a Sunday afternoon. All that was left was the miso soup. I didn’t expect much, as it was only 99 cents, but that didn’t stop me from trying it. To my surprise, it was the best soup I’ve ever had—not just the best miso soup, but also the best soup out of all the soups out there. The slight fishy taste was the perfect accent to the strong, sweet flavor of sushi. My only complaint for the miso would be that there wasn’t enough tofu in it. The whole meal was fantastic and reasonably priced, making me a very happy Michael. After finishing my food and wiping my face, it was time to leave. Walking out the door, I had a full stomach and a smile on my face. The food was good, cheap and the setup of the restaurant was trendy, though it took a while to get used to. Even though the atmosphere wasn’t to my liking, the sushi was still fresh, the staff was friendly and the soup lifechanging. —Michael Deisher Mackenzie Franklin

Izumi Sushi If you’re on the lookout for a cool local restaurant to grab some sushi, Izumi is the place for you. Located by the Village HEB at 701 S. Capital of Texas Highway, it offers an excellent range of Japanese cuisines for both lunch and dinner. With seating available indoors and out, Izumi is cozy but not crammed. Cherry blossoms painted on the red walls make for the beautiful ambience of a fancy Asian restaurant, although nice clothes aren’t required to eat at Izumi. I chose to sit at the sushi bar, where you can watch sushi being prepared. Although it isn’t exactly the same as Benihana’s entertainment, it’s interesting to be able to observe the chefs in action. As an appetizer, I ordered the edamame, which cost about $4. It was good, but not spectacular enough to order again. Out of the extensive menu, which included unique dishes such as a Westlake Hill roll (tuna, salmon, yellowtail and asparagus), a Heart Attack roll (tempura jalapeno, spicy tuna, cream cheese and spicy

mustard) and a Holy Crab roll (soft shell crab, radishes, kani kama and wasabi), my mom and I chose the rainbow roll and spider roll for our entrées. They were a little pricey, but well worth the $12 each. The rainbow roll, which has assortments of fish and avocado, is refreshing and tasty. It isn’t spicy, and each roll tastes different than the last because of the variety of fish. The spider roll was equally delicious. Containing soft shell crab, avocado, cucumber, masago, radish sprouts and a sweet sauce, the spider roll is very flavorful with a nice crunch. Every dish is like a work of art, with bright colors and delicate sauce patterns. They’re almost too pretty to eat. Almost. Out of every sushi restaurant I’ve been to, Izumi offers by far the freshest and most impressive dishes and is worthy of four out of five stars. The prices at Izumi prevent me from eating there regularly, but if you’re craving some sushi or just in the mood for something different, this Westlake dining spot is sure to have what you want. —Sara Phillips

art by Justin Dorland

Life and limb

Zombie exercise app motivates slothful people I couldn’t feel any pain. The strain on my legs, the ache in my feet, the shortened labored breaths, all lost in the overwhelming presence of fear. I could hear them behind me, with their mutilated groans, their dead limbs dragging on the ground. Suddenly I heard a voice in my ear, “Zombies 50 meters away.” I was running for my life. With school every day and homework every night, it’s often hard to find time to exercise. I’ve lost the motivation to try or even to push myself to finish when I do. Exercise avoidance has led me into an inescapable cycle of fatigue and lethargy. I’d heard about an app that motivated sluggish people to get on their feet and challenge themselves physically. I needed to try it. Zombies, Run! is an app that takes you through a zombie apocalypse scenario while you are running. The app, compatible with Apple, Android and Windows devices, has altered the lives of many lazy people as they have found their incentive to work out through the urgency of a relentless zombie invasion. The app feels like a game. In that sense, if you don’t run to your full potential, you will get caught and you will die. As you run, characters talk to each other and quickly


rants + raves

acquaint you with the situation at hand. You become a character in the midst of an apocalypse as your companions tell you where to go, how fast to run and where the zombies are. The dialogue comes every few minutes, with your personal music mixed in between the insistent conversations with your fellow survivors. While trying to escape your impending doom, you are notified when to collect survival items such as ammo, medicine or food. These supplies are to aid you in your survival and also help you build a base in which to hide. The more supplies you get, the more levels you pass and the safer you are from the ruthless, filthy zombies. This app is not for the faint-hearted. As you run, you can hear the zombies behind you, dripping with blood, hissing and grunting. The closer they get, the louder they get. Those who prefer pleasant jogs should be warned. This app is for those who have reached the point of such slothfulness that they cannot be motivated by anything but the pure, raw fear of being eaten alive by merciless zombies. In the settings, you can choose the amount of time you’d like to exercise, the game volume and whether or not you’d like

to enable zombie chases. These chases incorporate spontaneous full-out sprints into the game for those who want to be challenged. The app also conforms to each user’s physical capabilities and preferences as it tracks his or her pace. You can also run anywhere you want, as the game will adjust to your personal path. Made for fitness, the app will notice when you slow down, and will integrate faster zombies and more zombie chases to make sure that you get the most fitness you can from the app. Like a friend, Zombies, Run! will force you to do what you need to do. In this case, exercise. The app is a hefty $8 — expensive for a zombie apocalypse. However, the story line is well thought-out, and the structure of the app is organized and easy to follow. The best part about Zombies, Run! is that no run is the same. You will never get bored as each time you go on a mission, you are faced with different obstacles, often harder than the last. This app is well worth the price for those who can’t seem to find the right amount of motivation to work out. Most efficient when used alone at night, Zombies, Run! will get you to exercise as if your life depended on it. —Monica Tan

Zombie survival guide Tips on keeping your brain intact

The zombie apocalypse is one of humanity’s worst nightmares. How it will begin is a matter of speculation. Perhaps North Korea’s deceased beloved leader Kim Jong Il will rise from the grave, intent to prove once and for all who is the best golfer. More likely, some wacky scientist will mix some diseases which should never see daylight. One thing will lead to another and soon we will have a full-blown zombie apocalypse on our hands. So what are the best tools for zombie destruction? Where should you set up your haven from the undead? This guide aims to answer these questions and prep you for the invasion. —Marco Scarasso

Biting etiquitte During the course of your desperate attempt to survive, there is always the chance of getting bitten. The moment you are infected you become a danger to any other survivors you are traveling with. Furthermore, if you hide your bite and don’t tell anyone, you become that guy. You know, that one character in the movie who ruins the barricade for everyone. Your friends would prefer to remember you as the zombie-slaying extraordinaire you were rather than the rambling monster trying to claw their throats out. Come on, don’t be that guy.

Weapons Chainsaw: While it is often

Blades: Want to feel like a samurai

imagined as a zombie’s worst fear, a chainsaw should probably be yours. Also, unless you’re Leatherface, you probably don’t have much experience with chainsaw combat and would likely get hurt.

while cutting down the living dead? Bladed weapons, ranging from a katana to a machete, give you the option for a silent approach to zombie killing. Of course, you do risk a greater chance of getting bitten.

Crossbow: The crossbow is a great way to dispatch a zombie when you don’t want the entire horde to hear you. Usable by an experienced marksman and widely available, the crossbow is a great weapon to compliment any zombie survivalist’s arsenal.

Grenade: Fire in the hole! Consider these to be the words that lead to your death. Sure, you killed a group of zombies, but you also broadcasted your position to all of their brain-craving budddies, and will most likely end up hurting yourself as well.

Location, location, location Abandoned Prisons: What was

Gun Store: This is often the first

made to keep people in can easily be converted to keep things out. The fences that contained now protect, the cells that once caged now serve as rooms and so on. Often prisons are stocked with food, weapons and supplies — all vital for survival. Just make sure it’s abandoned, as the last thing you need during the apocalypse is a sociopathic criminal as a bunk-mate.

place a person thinks about going at the beginning of a zombie invasion. It’s also most likely the place they’ll meet their death. First of all, the owner of said store probably won’t be too keen on sharing his massive armory. In addition, a large amount of people trying to all enter one location will surely attract unwanted attention — a large angry crowd and guns don’t usually mix well.

Military Bases: Crawling with military personnel, full of supplies and fortified, these make one of the best locations to live out the apocalypse. High end weaponry can be found in these locations, making an offense possible. Warehouse: No windows. Few doors. Solidly built. This is a great place to live out the zombie invasion as it is often equipped with all basic facilities.

Hospital: Hospitals seem like a perfect place to form your haven because they are stock full of medical supplies and food and are fully staffed by medical professionals. However, the likelihood of an infection is higher in a hospital, and you could catch a disease from the many patients. Along with that, many people will flock to hospitals, thus making infirmaries a Thanksgiving feast for zombies.

¡Viva Lupe! 1


New Mexican restaurant opens in Westlake, replaces Macaroni Grill

Walking into Lupe Tortilla is like making a trip down to a traditional Mexican kitchen. The authenticity of the decorations made me feel like I was entering a fiesta in full swing. The excitement of Lupe Tortilla brought a change of pace to the traditional Mexican restaurant and as a result, left me with a great first impression. Lupe Tortilla has a family atmosphere, so plenty of kids are seen running around outside on the patio. Personally, I thought this made the restaurant feel more relaxed, which I enjoyed. There are TVs all around and plenty of decorations hanging that make the restaurant more authentic. Although Lupe Tortilla is a chain restaurant, it felt like it was family owned. I had never seen such an exciting atmosphere in a Mexican restaurant. Although the interior ambience was great, the outside was very hot and had no shade. There were no fans on the patio, so there was no way to escape the heat. After about 10 minutes of sitting outside, we were all ready to head in. Because Lupe Tortilla was recently opened, the hostesses were very disorganized. I had to wait about 10 minutes, but once we were seated, the service was very good. I was immediately greeted by a smiling waitress who welcomed me and helped me figure out

what to order. The waitress quickly arrived with our drinks and had our food out in about 15 minutes. The food at Lupe Tortilla is tasty, and the portions are very large. A plate of food can be split between two people with some left over. I ordered one chicken taco, but had so much left over meat and side items that I was able to make a second. When I asked the waitress for another tortilla, she graciously brought it, and I noticed it was freshly made only a few moments before. Lupe’s is one of the few restaurants in Austin that makes their own corn tortillas from scratch. Everything from the tortillas to the chicken was extremely fresh, and it was one of the most delicious and satisfying plates of Mexican food I have ever eaten. Overall, the food was very good, but the restaurant was expensive, if main plates were not shared. All three of us ordered drinks and a main dish, which added up to more than $40. The average price of a dish was around $11, which I think is a little overpriced, but I will go back to Lupe’s because of the food and atmosphere. It definitely isn’t as cheap as somewhere with poorer quality food, but taking that into account, this new Mexican restaurant has still become a favorite of mine and much of Austin. —Katherine Spencer

1. This spicy salsa is made from an original Lupe Tortilla recipe. 2.The interior of Lupe’s is dominated by a huge “Texas Mex” sign with many tables that are able to seat multiple people at a given time. 3.Lupe’s fajita nachos con poblanos are made with beef fajitas, frijoles, jack cheese and grilled poblano peppers served with guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo.



photos by Carley McNicholas

Need for


At K1 Speed, senior Josh Willis and other racers rev their engines in hopes of finishing in first place. Ryan Stankard

Students put pedal to the metal, have fun on rainy day


With Texas’ unpredictable weather, it’s hard to find things to keep you busy year round that not only can be done in all weather, but are also fun. So where did we decide to go on a rainy Sunday afternoon? K1 go-kart racing, of course. With karts zipping around the track at 45 miles per hour, we were a bit out of our element when we walked into the giant warehouse off West Braker Lane where K1 Speed is located. Checking into an Arrive and Drive session, our excitement built, but then came crashing down as the woman working the register told us that we would have to wait an hour and a half until it was our turn to get behind the wheel. A bit disappointing, but not a major setback. At least we knew to make a reservation next time. We paid for our licenses, which all first time drivers must have, and one race, a total of $26 for each of us, and sat down to wait. The time went by quickly thanks to the power to access Facebook and Twitter on our phones and dancing to “Gangam Style” in the lobby. Finally, our names were called over the loudspeaker. We hopped off the couch with a renewed vigor and headed to the race area. After a quick rundown of the rules, racing flags and how to work the cars, we were allowed to get ready to race. All racers are required to wear head socks under their helmets, which we decided made us look like cat burglars. Putting on the helmets made us feel like Ricky Bobby and made us more

excited. We were strapped into the karts and finally released onto the track. Driving out, we started slowly, but then the K1 employees turned up the speed (they control your top speed remotely), and we went flying forward. Although it was tricky to navigate the sharp turns at first, we got the hang of it after clipping the walls several times. Each race lasts 10 minutes, and throughout each lap we were passed and bumped more times than we could count. We had a competition among ourselves to see who would come in first, because the other racers far surpassed us in skill. Most of the drivers in our race were big, beefy redneck guys who we could tell spent a good majority of their weekends — and probably any spare time they had — at K1. In fact, they glared Jessica down after she crashed and couldn’t figure out how to reverse, shutting the whole track down momentarily. Talk about embarrassing — nobody wants to be that person. We got the feeling that they took the saying “If you ain’t first, you’re last” to heart. At the end of the race, we pulled into the staging area and stepped out of the vehicles, exhilarated after the experience. We may not have been the best drivers — Josh came in eighth, Laura in 10th and Jessica in dead last — but we had fun. Although next time we would make a reservation, K1 Racing was the perfect way to spend a rainy day. —Jessica Stenglein, Josh Willis and Laura Doolittle

The Khan Family Proud Westlake Parents Two Austin Area Stores Thank you for buying local!! Like us on Facebook communications management consulting


“Pain free golf� Dr. Mike Bhatt Titleist Doctor

Since the last election, a lot has changed. The economy improved, Osama Bin Laden was killed and the Iraq war came to a close. However, America is still rebuilding. Many of the issues that faced us in 2008 are still unresolved. Westlake students weighed in on the problems that the U.S. is still tackling.

State of the union

The Featherduster recently conducted a poll on our website,, over hot-button subjects that are on Americans’ minds. Fifty students, of both genders and all four grades, represented the student body by sharing their opinions on social, economic and political issues.

What political party do your views align the most with, The Republican Party, The Democratic Party or Independent?

How do you think Obama’s presidency has impacted the American economy?


40 percent


Strongly to Generally percent Hurt:

36 percent

24 percent

Strongly to Generally percent Helped:

art by Monica Tan

If you could vote, who would you vote for?

8 4


Would not vote


Gary Johnson (Libertarian)

40 48


Mitt Romney (Republican)


rants + raves


Barack Obama (Democrat)

“I have no faith in the American political system. I think that we need to abolish the bipartisan system and allow more voices to represent the various stances that Americans hold. I’m not impressed with either party because they make more promises than they can fulfill.” —English II teacher Moira Longino

Social issues

“If people are allowed to kill themselves with tobacco smoke, which has proven in 60 different ways to cause cancer, then why is marijuana illegal to smoke when it is proven to have healthier side effects than tobacco?” —senior Anndrea Heffington

Yes: 50 percent No: 50 percent

“I think that marriage is a given right that everyone should have and it shouldn’t be based on gender.” —sophomore Landon White “I think that Mitt Romney is ridiculous for getting a spray tan and looking extremely orange to pathetically attempt to get the Latino vote on Univision.” —senior Krysztof Tellez

Legalization of Marijuana

Lowering of the Drinking Age Yes: 36 percent No: 64 percent

“I think Romney should win because he supports small businesses and he’ll repeal Obamacare.” —junior Olivia Barrett “I support Obama because he is the lesser of two evils.” —freshman Michael Henderson “Q: What is it called when one candidate surges ahead of another in election surveys? A: A ‘Poll’ Vault.” —U.S. History teacher Tom Conway

Increase: 8 percent Stay the same: 20 percent Decrease: 72 percent

Over the next four years, do you think the U.S. should increase or decrease its military presence in the Middle East?

Legalization of Gay Marriage Yes: 80 percent No: 20 percent

Universal Healthcare Yes: 56 percent No: 44 percent

{staff editorial}

For ages

Elementary schools shouldn’t be giving kids iPads Thinking back on our time in elementary school, we have fond memories of swinging on the monkey bars on the playground, playing with Legos with our peers and setting up blocks in the shape of a skyline. But what if that whole time had been spent in front of a screen? Now, Eanes district elementary schools are giving select students iPads. The memories of childhood bliss that we experienced in our day will now not be available for the new generation but replaced with high scores on games that will be forgotten by the end of the school year. While technology is a virtue and Google is a godsend, these products are the epitome of an unhealthy obsession that is becoming more and more prevalent with people around the world. What would elementary schoolers use an iPad for anyway? To look up the sum of two


Ariana Gomez Reyes rants + raves

and two? If we teach younger generations that problems can be solved by using the Internet, the future will contain no thinkers, no scholars, no individualists — only technology-dependent people. We shudder to think the scene in WALL-E with the fat people placed in front of their screens, unable to do anything else because their bones have deteriorated, may actually become a reality. The United States already has a higher obesity statistic than any other country, so all we need is to give every single man, woman, and yes, child their own personal technological device to be at his or her side 24/7. Boom, we will have a social apocalypse that may not come in December but is definitely looming. Putting more emphasis on technology and less on social interactions in school could make a very negative impact on children’s development. Kids need to create social relationships now (with live human beings) so they can learn how to communicate and work well with others in the future. The molders of the next generation should be focusing on letting kids be kids. We as a district shouldn’t even start worrying about teaching children to type things into Google until they can actually spell their own name. For the sake of the world, replace Angry Birds with hopscotch, Pinterest with hide-and-seek and drop the electronic devices from the elementary school curriculum.

stuff we like Batman’s and Bane’s voices The battle between the forces of good and evil shouldn’t be funny. But let’s face it, it was really hard to contain laughter during this summer’s blockbuster, The Dark Knight Rises. Amidst the intense fighting scenes, there was a whole fluctuation of tones ranging from a low grunt to a mixture of high pitches and incomprehensible mumbles. Christian Bale sounded like he was struggling vocally throughout the film, trying to sound intimidating as Batman. And who knows what the heck was up with the voice of Tom Hardy’s character, Bane. Who would’ve guessed that hearing the sound of Tom Hardy’s voice without the glorious British accent would be so enjoyable. There is just something about the distinct Bane voice that is undeniably awesome, that makes you want to quote him all day long. Forget the British, the “Bane” accent is in.

Miley Cyrus’s new haircut Boredom, a need for change, an effort to attain her fans’ attention with shock value or maybe a test of her fiancé’s love — any of these could be the reason why 20-year-old singer/songwriter Miley Cyrus decided to reduce her newly blonde cascade of hair to a six-inch fluffy quaff atop her side shaven head. Though the country/pop star is in steadily decreasing demand these days, she’s still finding ways to attract the public eye with stunts like engagement, tattoos and public inhalation of illegal substances. None of these, however, are as big an eye skinner as her latest exploit: her new haircut. Information on Cyrus was first leaked on Aug. 13 between 10 and 11 a.m. Thousands of displeased fans shared their views over various social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Fortunately for Cyrus, there were some who rushed to her defense, claiming that she had every right as a grown woman to do as she liked with her hair; which is great, but maybe cutting her hair so that it looks like it was mauled by an angry kangaroo shouldn’t be a symbol of feminine pride.

Kony 2012 We worked so hard. We copied link after link, well really just one link. But regardless, last April, the internet community was united in its disgust of the actions of one man: Joseph Kony. We would give all of our efforts to bring this man to justice, or at least until we got bored. And just look where we are today. Kony has been Michaela Moss “neutralized,” the LRA has been defeated, and the Invisible Children organization has received the Nobel Peace Prizes they undoubtedly deserve for saving the poor children of Uganda. Wait? What? None of that happened? Everything is exactly the same as it was in April? I mean c’mon guys, Uganda be kidding me.

The ‘90s If you can’t jump up right now and do the “Carlton,” then you are not a ‘90s child. And just because you were born in 1999, doesn’t make you a Cosby kid either. For those of us who actually grew up in the ‘90s, we remember rushing home from school and tuning in to Nickelodeon to witness the glorious transformation of Will Smith from a rapper to an actor in a town called Bel-Air. The ‘90s were a time when Amanda Bynes had a substantial career (and not a substantial alcohol problem), and parents would actually let their kids watch television worry-free because they were watching wholesome shows like Rugrats or Full House. It was a time when seeing the Olsen twins on TV didn’t make you want to barf. I mean, come on. We started the Pokémon trend. What do kids born after Y2K have to reminisce about? Disney Channel? A show dedicated to a teenage girl who whines about how hard it is to live two lives? Our generation is just hoping for a channel dedicated to 24-hour re-runs of our shows. Or maybe even a where-arethey-now reunion of these legendary programs so we can get back to the good ol’ ‘90s.

The money issue  
The money issue  

vol 44 issue 1