Page 1


chronicle the

Franklin High School • 900 N. Resler, El Paso TX 79912 • (915) 833.2696 • Volume 16, Issue 6 • May 2009

day of

free speech




TAPE disruption Constitutional silence




tinker v. des moines


see pages 4 & 5


may • 2009

School recognized under updated Texas growth model troyQUEZADA• editor in chief

A year after not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress, the school has been designated a TEA Recognized institution, in part because of a new model instituted to measure progress continuously, rather than discretely. “I am so proud of our students and faculty who have worked so hard to earn this honor,” Principal Carla Gasway said. “Thank you to everyone on a job well done. Our students and teachers deserved this honor for their dedication and determination.” According to preliminary TAKS results, Silva Magnet and Trans Mountain Early College High School are projected to be exemplary. Bowie, Burges, Coronado, El Paso, and Franklin High Schools are projected to be recognized. Andress, Austin, Chapin, Irvin and Jefferson are projected to be Academically Acceptable. “We are pleased that four years of work on teaching a standards-based curriculum is showing results,” Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia said. “The results show that the district strategic plan to increase student achievement is

working well.” Some of the schools listed, including Franklin, made progress through a new model instituted by the State of Texas; the Texas Growth Model measures progress over time, instead of measuring progress year by year, when certain disadvantages may be more likely to affect test scores. “The model is a statistical mathematical model that uses current TAKS scores for each student and predicts a passing or failing score for students in grades 3 and 4 for 5, grades 5, 6 and 7 for grade 8 and grades 8, 9 and 10 for grade 11,” Garcia said. “The plan is to continue current practices with more involvement from employees.” The model helped the school get recognized in several subgroups. “Using the TPM [Texas Prediction Model], we were able to get our Economically Disadvantaged math up from 65.5% to 76.2% and Hispanic math up from 73.3% to 83.2% and our Economically Disadvantaged science up from 71.1% to 83.3%,” Gasway said. “Without the TPM, we would not be a recognized campus. I feel that the

2009 overall passing rates Passing Rate (%)

100 100

60 60

English Math


20 20


Soc. Studies Social Studies

Science Science

Math Math

English English

• Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia

Since the beginning of TAKS in 2003-04, Franklin’s scores have continually risen. Take a look at the changes that have occurred over the years:

92.3% 75.6% 80%

years of work on teaching a standards-based curriculum is showing results. The results show that the district strategic plan to increase student achievement is working well.”



















Science 80%






Soc.St. 96%






Overall TAKS Passing Rates at Franklin

Economy hasn’t deterred college applications sabrinaNUNEZ• reporter

As the United States undergoes a recession and students prepare to embark into the next stage of their life, students find themselves worrying more about the financial aspects of college, rather than a career choices or academic rigor. As senior university recruiter for the University of Texas at El Paso, Michael Talamantes works with admissions. Last year, UTEP experienced an increase in enrollment, as the university has continued to do for almost a decade. “In Fall 2008, UTEP enrolled a record 20,458 students, the seventh consecutive record fall enrollment,” Talamantes said. Despite the record-breaking enrollment last year, students were still supplied with financial aid when needed. “Over $121 million in financial aid (federal and state grants, college work study, and student loans) was disbursed in 2007-2008,” Talamantes said. “It is too early to tell what the final amount of financial aid is dispersed for this current 08-09 cycle because our financial aid office is continuing to help students who are still filing.” A large fraction of the university’s population comes from minorities, especially Hispanics. Because of this, UTEP is

TAKS pass rates by grade level


grade 11 80

Grade 10 Grade 9







Science Social Studies

graphs by Dylan Dwyer

School meets adequate yearly progress The school, with a mix of midmorning treats and early morning police visits, achieves AYP for TAKS performances lindseyRIETKERK• reporter & katieBOHLE• reporter

80 80

40 40

growth model is fair because it looks at the growth of 10th grades students from previous years’ results, and with the same growth these students should pass the Exit Level test.” Still, Gasway still said that progress is needed in certain categories. “We still have gaps in Hispanic math and science and Economically Disadvantaged math and science,” Gasway said. “To maintain recognized [status], we will have to get all subgroups to 80% next year, as the state has raised the bar. We are going to have to work on our gaps to make sure we make that standard.” “We are pleased that four

page • 02

granted more federal money and recognition. “Through this economic crisis, the ‘UTEP Promise’ continues to offer enough ‘free money’ to incoming freshmen and first time transfer students who report a family income of $30,000 or less,” Talamantes said. “Also, for our transfer population, we have a transfer grant which is a need-based renewable grant for $2,000/year for first time transfer students. On the merit-based side, our scholarships department has received the most amount of scholarship applications it has in years.” Counselor Judith Perez says despite the recession, students have options available to them to help pay for college. “Students need to apply to FAFSA in order to apply to financial aid [grants],” Perez said. “Students [can apply for] low-interest educational loans that do not have to be repaid until six months after graduation. Work-study programs through the university are also available.” Still, Perez believes financial concerns should not affect students’ college plans. “Apply for college; there are so many different kinds of scholarships, grants and loans available,” Perez said.

Due in part to stepped-up efforts by the district, increased attendance rates during the test and fewer electronic mishaps, Franklin High School met AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) standards after falling short last year. AYP for Texas schools is based on sophomore performance improvement, attendance, and graduation rates. If not met, schools could face certain citations from both federal and state governments. “We had fewer cell phone infractions,” principal Carla Gasway said. “Students took the test more seriously as we had an incentive for students who reached commended [status]. With funding from the PTSA, we also gave a snack to the 10th and 11th grade students the day of the math test for a brain boost midway through the test.” The threat of police cars chasing after negligent students may have helped boost attendance rates. “We did have administrators calling the parents of students who were not present,” Gasway said. “If the parent was not at home, our campus police officers went to the homes to pick up the students and get them to school.” Gasway commended the students at the ninth grade center for their exceptional attendance rate. “I’m extremely proud of our 9th graders at the 9th Grade Center, as 100% were in attendance the day of the math test,” Gasway said. The juniors exceeded previous year performances to a reach a high goal. “Ninety-nine percent of juniors passed the social studies test which is the highest we have ever had,” Gasway said. Gasway was very satisfied overall with progress. “I am very pleased with our scores and proud of all the hard work demonstrated by our students and teachers,” Gasway said.


may • 2009

BLEEDING HEARTS School shatters blood donation record

Preparing a receipt for a customer, waitress Daysi Carrasco says that the restaurant has flourished despite the difficulty of the economy. photo by Briana Sanchez

amandaRODRIGUEZ• reporter

Students, faculty and administration who participated in the two-day spring blood drive donated a total of 404 units, breaking the previous school record of 334 units. Out of the 651 schools in the nation who participate in the United Blood Society blood drives, the spring blood drive continued to take first place. “[The blood drive] was overwhelmingly successful because of the sheer volume of blood collected and the organization and effort that was put into this drive. This was a real team effort between the FHS administration, faculty, staff, students, volunteers and United Blood Services,” student activities manager Lisa Thompson said. The spring blood drive was held in honor of three former students and one former campus police officer. The deaths of Matt Hicks, Margaret Hussmann, David Cox and Officer Patrick Linam inspired donations. “The dedication [to the former students and police officer] helped us collect the units we did because these losses affected many students and our community personally,” senior Paulina Lerma said. The fall blood drive brought new height, weight and age restrictions which Thompson thinks benefited the spring drive. “In our first drive of the year back in December, I didn’t feel that the age change made a significant difference,” Thompson said. “It offset those students who could no longer donate blood because of the height and weight restrictions, but there were a lot of 16-year-olds who donated this time and I do feel it made a difference.” United Blood Services estimates that donating one pint of blood can save up to three lives. Donations will go to three United Blood Service locations around El Paso. “I am 100% confident that if those people whose lives were saved by blood donations could say thank you to our students, they would do so in a heartbeat,” Thompson said. While blood donations can make a huge difference in the lives of people who need it, donors are also impacted. “Donating blood is vital to the lives of others, but just as important is the pride it instills in the person donating: pride in themselves and their school, in knowing that they made a difference in someone’s life,” Thompson said. Some choose to donate to help the community, but others have experienced tragedies which gave them personal reasons to donate blood. “Many of my family members have been diagnosed with cancer and I almost lost my brother to a bad bike accident so I understand the importance of blood donations,” Lerma said.

page • 03

Local businesses report profits despite economic downturn natalieFELSEN• freshman correspondent

Tightly gripping a device to keep blood flow steady, senior Sandra Puentes talks about the altruism behind the act. “I’m very proud [of our] giving students. I know people who were crying while donating. I just think it’s really awesome I get to be a part of this,” Puentes said. photo by Briana Sanchez

In light of daily reports of a fledgling economy, local restaurants continue to report strong earnings. “I feel lucky,” Carl Myers, co-owner and Vice President of Ardovino’s Pizza, said. “We have actually had an increase of customers over the last year. I think this is due to the fact that we sell pizza. However, the customer has a variety of food and price options [according to their budget].” Becky Atkins, co-owner of Ripe Eatery & Market, attributes the business’ success to giving her patrons a quality product for a good price. “Our increase in customers is due to our reasonable prices. [In this economy,] people are looking for quality over quantity,” Atkins said. “We offer good food and a nice atmosphere for a good value.” Regarding the economic prospects of El Paso, Atkins is optimistic. “Our economy is a lot safer [than those of other cities]. There is less industry here, so the recession has not hit us as hard,” Atkins said. “The Westside is still growing due to the military. We are still trying to catch up to the demand for homes, while other cities have an excess of homes.” Myers agrees that El Paso’s distance from other major cities is a benefit. “Really, isolation is a benefit. We are in better condition than the rest of the country due to Ft. Bliss’ expansion and federal funding,” Myers said. “I’m looking forward to [the recession] ending here before the rest of the country.”

TSA sends freshmen team to nationals stephanieAVALOS• business mgr.

bloodfacts • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. • Only five percent of eligible donors give blood. • For more information about donating, go to www.unitedblood, call 915.544.5422 or stop by 424 S. Mesa Hills, 79912.

Transforming a blank computer screen into a computer game with a working replica of computer character Mario, freshmen Philip Martinez, Rion Thompson and Patrick Garcia will represent the school on June 28, at the Texas Technology Student Association national conference in Denver, CO. “For our competition, we made a video game from scratch using the Mario characters,” Thompson said. “Because of our group’s experience, the competition wasn’t difficult but time consuming.” With his eye set on the prize, Martinez focuses his attention on the game and away from his competition. “The older [students in the ] competition don’t intimidate me,” Martinez said. “I just put my focus back on the [video] game and make sure that Mario isn’t getting thrown off some random building.” While Thompson says he’s nervous for nationals, he still focuses at the job at hand. “Yeah, I’m nervous [for nationals],” Thompson said. “I’m not sure our game will win at nationals, but that’s the biggest challenge: making our game the best of the best.”


may • 2009

chris canales’s





Many people have learned in history class about Mary Beth Tinker’s decision to wear a black armband to school to protest the Vietnam War and her role in the landmark Tinker v. Des Moines Supreme Court case. Few, however, know what inspired her, and continues to inspire her, to stand up for freedom of speech. I met with Tinker after her keynote speech at the Journalism Education Agency Convention, a speech which commemorated the 40th anniversary of the ‘Tinker’ decision. I talked to her about the case, the events leading up to it and her current role in educating youth about the First Amendment right. This interview is part of my series of Q&A’s entitled tète-à-tète:

Inside the Phoenix Convention Center, junior journalist Chris Canales interviews civil rights activist Mary Beth Tinker. photo by Briana Sanchez

C: What happened in the Tinker v. Des Moines case and leading up to it? MBT: I was raised in the Methodist Church, so my parents were part of something called the social gospel, which means that you are supposed to put your Christian beliefs into action every day on Earth, basically. You don’t just wait for Sunday; you don’t just wait for heaven. My mother was raised in the South, where she saw discrimination, and, even as a 14-year-old, she thought it was unfair. My parents raised us to be aware of these issues. When I was five, my father was working at a church, and the youth group there decided to challenge the segregated swimming pool in town. So, my father stood up for the kids who did that, and he lost his church. We had to leave Atlantic, Iowa and go to Des Moines. We heard about all that was going on in the South with the Civil Rights movement. Kids in Birmingham were getting fire hoses and dogs turned on them because they wanted to have equal rights, and it made a really big impression. Four girls were killed in Birmingham in 1963 at a church bombing. We had services in Des Moines to mourn them, and at those services there was a man named Bill Eckhardt and his son Chris Eckhardt. Chris wore a black armband at that service, and there had been other kids who wore black armbands in the South in favor of racial justice and to mourn racial discrimination. Then in 1964, my parents went to Mississippi with Freedom Summer, and when they came back they told us these stories about brave African American people there who were standing up for the right to vote. It was also the time the nuclear disarmament movement was starting. The year I was born, 1952, was the year that Bravo, the first Hbomb, was detonated. It was 1000 times stronger than the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. When I was in second and third grade, we would prepare for nuclear war by diving under the desks. So, a lot of people were getting more and more upset about nuclear weapons. In 1958, the peace symbol was invented, and it really meant nuclear disarmament. My parents got more and more concerned about that issue as well, because they believed in peace because they were Methodists. In 1965, when the war was building up, we would come home from school and watch it on TV and I would see these horrible pictures of children running from their smoking villages and our soldiers in body bags or lying injured on the ground. There was talk of the older kids, some at Roosevelt High School, my brother John at North High School, and Chris Eckhardt, doing something about it, and someone came up with the idea of wearing black armbands. It came from a man named Herbert Hoover, who was actually a distant cousin of the president Herbert Hoover, who lived in Iowa. He was part of a group that participated in a march on Washington that November for peace, and when they came home, they talked about what we could do to speak up about the war, and they came up with the black armbands. One of the boys, I think it was Ross Peterson, wrote an article in the Roosevelt High School newspaper about what we were going to do. The principals saw the article, and they weren’t sure about it, so they took it to the superintendent, and they made a ruling against armbands.

page • 04

“Over the years, I have realized that is how history is usually made, through the small actions of ordinary people living their lives and speaking up for something that they believe in.” • Mary Beth Tinker

Mary Beth Tinker sits down after a speech commerorating the 40th anniversary of the Tinker v. Des Moines decision. Tinker, who is now a nurse and civil rights activist, speaks to students around the country about the importance of their constitutional rights. photo by Briana Sanchez

C: So you all decided to wear the armbands even after the principals warned against it? MBT: Yeah, that was the difficult part. I generally wasn’t a person who would break the rules very easily, because I was the preacher’s kid and I always got good grades. My parents had taught me about some of the brave people in the South, like the Freedom Riders who took a bus into the South in 1961 and were beaten and attacked and they just kept saying, “We don’t care, even if we are killed, we are standing up for what we believe in.” Those are the kinds of examples that I had, and I wanted to be like them, so I finally decided to wear the black armband to school. When I got into algebra class, the teacher sent me to the office. I was scared and intimidated, so when they asked me to take off the armband, I did. I gave it to the girls’ advisor, and I went back to class. They called me back to the office later, and suspended me anyway. C: What happened between the time you were suspended and the first lawsuit? MBT: A lawyer named William Kunstler offered to take our case [pro bono], because we had a big family with not much money, so we wouldn’t have done anything about

this because we couldn’t afford lawyers, and neither could Chris Eckhardt’s family. He was suspended, too. There were five students suspended, and it actually might have been more like six or seven. The other kids – their parents wouldn’t support them, so they didn’t end up being involved in the lawsuit. The American Civil Liberties Union, which was created in 1920 to defend the Bill of Rights, thought this would be a good case because it had to do with the First Amendment rights of young people. It went to the district court, where we lost. I was young, just 13, and [my brother] John and Chris Eckhardt had to testify, and my father had to testify. Of course, I always thought we would lose the whole thing. I thought that kids had no power going up against important people like the school board. So then it went to the appeals court in St. Louis when I was 15, and I got to fly in an airplane for the first time. It was so exciting. We had to testify then, and it was eventually a tie, which really meant that we lost, so our lawyer appealed it to the Supreme Court. I’m so happy that the Supreme Court accepted it, because they didn’t accept very many cases. So, it’s really just a fluke of history, that’s what always amazes me. The small action that we

may • 2009 took turned into such a big, significant thing.


page • 05

C: I don’t think what you did, standing up for what you believe in, could ever be considered just a small action. MBT: That’s true. Just standing up for what you believe in is a big thing, but at the time I just thought I would wear a little armband to school and then at night I would be cooking dinner like usual, and then maybe that weekend I would go over to Connie’s house. C: I’m sure you have inspired and encouraged many kids. How do you get your message out? Do you have a speaking tour? MBT: Yes. I go speak at high schools and middle schools. Two weeks ago I was at a middle school in Ohio, and they turned out the entire school for a big assembly. The kids were talking about the economy because they had recently closed some auto plants there, and they were talking about the things that they really cared about the most. I like to talk to teachers, also, because I admire the profession of teaching and I think that nurses and teachers are kindred spirits and natural allies. I go to some juvenile detention facilities, too. I talk to young people about learning about the Constitution, the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. C: Do you think young people are being taught enough about these things in school? Do they generally seem to know about their rights and about civics in general? MBT: No, I don’t think students are being taught enough about civics or the First Amendment.I think No Child Left Behind has really been detrimental to the critical thinking of young people, and to their motivation to question, which is an important part of all learning. I know social studies teachers have been the under-funded stepchild of classes because No Child Left Behind doesn’t really test Social Studies knowledge. See all of the extracurricular activities that are being cut, like art and music, and a lot of times they are linked to students’ education on the First Amendment. For example, we have art shows about the First Amendment and free speech, and that is a way to really engage students. A lot of these programs have been cut for students, so civics has definitely been part of that. They have done studies showing that students don’t know the First Amendment. Many people don’t know the five rights of the First Amendment. I admire all teachers who are teaching kids about the Bill of Rights and about the Constitution, and not just to memorize it for a test, but also to bring it to life. So that is what I hope to do by going out and talking to students, and a lot of students are teaching me, too. They show me some of the things that they’re concerned about and speaking up about as well. It’s really heartening. C: How do you continue standing up for free speech? MBT: I tell students that when they do that their lives will be so interesting Tinker continued on p. 6

With tape over their mouths, sophomore Luis Castillo and other participants in the National Day of Silence gather outside the school. The event, which occurred on April 17, was a nationwide peaceful protest in favor of gay rights. photo by Briana Sanchez

Student asked to remove tape on National Day of Silence chrisCANALES • opinions editor

When sophomore Luis Castillo put a strip of tape over his mouth on Apr. 17, the National Day of Silence, he did not anticipate that this action would become an issue of free speech. Further, he had no idea that this action occurred on the 40th anniversary of a similar Supreme Court case. During his fifth period class, Castillo says, he ran into a problem. He was sent to the office and was asked by the administration to remove the tape. “[I had no problems] except with my fifth period teacher. He told me to take it off, but I told him I wouldn’t. I was sent down to the office,” Castillo said. “About 40 minutes later, when [the administration] finally finished discussing everything to see if I was protected or not, they told me that I was protected—that I could remain silent—but that if it was a distraction to the class, I was supposed to take it off.” Assistant Principal Matt Farley, who was involved in the decision to ask Castillo to remove the tape, said that the administration asked Castillo to do so only to prevent classroom disruption, as allowed by the Tinker decision. “We had to take action to the potential classroom disruption from all students participating,” Farley said. “Freedom of expression is a building block for our society, but at the same time we must still maintain order and fulfill our obligations as a school - education in a distraction free environment.” Mike Hiestand, a legal consultant for the Student Press Law Center, believes that the administration’s interpretation of the law was reasonable, but that the wording it chose in expressing its decision may have been incorrect. “I’d probably change the word ‘potential’ to ‘reasonably foreseeable’ or ‘likely,’ but that is essentially the Tinker standard,” Hiestand said. “Mr. Castillo was permitted to wear the tape when outside of the classroom setting, but school officials felt wearing it while in class would be disruptive.” Hiestand feels that this is reasonable. “While a complete ban would have been unconstitutional, school officials do have more leeway to regulate student speech during classroom time where the ‘disruption’ bar is going to be lower,” Hiestand said. Former judge and Arizona Assistant Attorney General Thomas

A. Jacobs, who writes books about the rights of teens, agrees. “If the school reasonably foresees disruption on campus, they may take measures to prevent it,” Jacobs said. “Of course, the question always is what constitutes disruption and what evidence is the basis of the suspicion that it will occur. It does not seem that a few students wearing tape over their mouths would be disruptive of the educational environment.” Hiestand feels that answering this question is vital for the administration. “I think school officials still needed to show that Mr. Castillo’s tape would interfere with the teacher’s ability to conduct his class normally,” Hiestand said. “If this was going to be a class where students were going to be working silently (study hall, a full-period of quiet testing, etc.), I’d seriously question whether school officials could make that showing. However, if this was a class where student participation was expected—or if other students were clearly being distracted by the tape—I think the school’s demand was probably reasonable.” Farley maintains that everything was done legally and that administrators followed existing policy. “Last year’s issue spurred us to take immediate action,” Farley said. “We contacted Ms. Gasway, Pupil Services, and the Secondary division, [and] we followed board policy and the Student Code of Conduct.” Farley believes the decision was constitutional, as it was only limited to the classroom setting. “They cannot wear the tape in class, but can exercise their right to be silent,” Farley said. “They can wear it in the hallway and outside on campus. The teacher sent him to the office. The teacher is expected to report or send students to the Assistant Principal’s office if they are disruptive or cause disruptions to the class.” Farley also said that the administrators did not force Luis to take off the tape. “He was great. We explained everything and he was more than willing to follow directions,” Farley said. “Students who place themselves in this type of situation face the possible consequences of in-school suspension or out-of-school suspension for disruption Tape continued on p. 7

may • 2009

Lunch with Lisa Ling

sabrinaNUNEZ • reporter & lindseyRIETKERK• reporter

To help celebrate 100 years of empowering women, the YWCA brought journalist Lisa Ling, a veteran in reporting the trials of women worldwide. all photos by Karina Soares

On gangs and drug wars

The Narco traffickers don’t have regard for human life, and I think it’s important that the United States take a stand against them. I’m not a militarized person, and I’m not a huge component of conflict or war, but in defense of our borders, I think that’s important so that it doesn’t spill over.

On the Afghanistan war As I am descending the steps of the Red Cross plane, I’m immediately surrounded by throngs of little boys who were carrying weapons literally larger than they were. I said to my escort, ‘How old are these boys? They look no more than ten years old.’ and my guide answered me, ‘They do not know, but if you ask them how to operate a bazooka, they do know’.

On co-hosting The View I committed myself every single day to try to say at least one thing that would be provocative. We talked about everything from presidential politics to Tom Cruise’s personal life.

On the Brady Bunch I’ve always dreamed of being on television. I used to have fantasies of being part of the Brady Bunch family. Of course I pretended I was Marsha, and I made my sister pretend to be Jan or Cindy, and my grandma pretend she was Alice. I’d be like, ‘Hurry up Alice’, and she’d be like, ‘Who Alice?’

On prison moms When I first heard this story, I was aghast. They’re going to raise a generation of prison kids! But when you talk to prison officials they say the incidence of violence when children are present is far, far lower.

On rape in the Congo Husbands leave their wives because their masculinity has been stripped. [Soldiers] come in at night, raping wives and mothers in front of their families. It has such a debilitating impact on the man figure in the home because he’s seen his whole family structure destroyed in front of his children.


Tinker continued from p. 5

and so meaningful. That really has been my experience. So I talk to students for one thing. And then I am a nurse, and I work with young people at my hospital, so sometimes, believe it or not, the issue of the first amendment and free speech comes up in health care, actually quite often these days. I am involved with my nurses union, which is SEIU, and unions, over the history of our country, have been very important in advocating for the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment. C: What other issues are important to you? MBT: I also speak up more and more lately for gay rights, because when I was a teenager I became gay, so I know how difficult that can be for students and for young people. C: Have you followed the Harper v. Poway case in California in which a student was suspended for wearing an anti-gay shirt? MBT: Yes, in San Diego there was a boy who wore a t-shirt against gay people. I think it said that God is ashamed of homosexuality or something to that effect. Yeah, I support the rights of students to express themselves in this issue. I do think the school had a point about the safety of other students. Because, even in the Tinker case, the ruling was that you cannot impede on the rights of others. So, there is something to be said for having a safe school environment, and, as a person who works with young people in healthcare, I certainly want them to feel safe in school. For example, a few weeks ago I was in a school where they were hauling off a young student in handcuffs. So I asked why they were taking the boy away in handcuffs and they said it was because of truancy. So I said, “Really, handcuffs?” and the officer said, “Yeah, that’s so I won’t break his neck.” C: What is your opinion on the Harper v. Poway case? MBT: I can kind of see the point of the school in San Diego for saying that [it is disruptive] when you wear shirts that have anti-homosexual messages. But, on the other hand, in a way I still feel the student should have had his right and should have been able to wear the shirt. There are certain classes of people who have been historically discriminated against. We have Lawrence King in Oxnard, CA, who about a year ago around Valentine’s Day, he was killed. He was 14 years old. He was a gay boy who went to school and was kind of flamboyant, and people knew that he was gay. So, he gave a Valentine to his schoolmate, who killed him. The point is that these aren’t black and white issues. There is a lot of grey area. C: What do you think is the number one issue or problem concerning the First Amendment right in America today? MBT: Oh wow, you do ask the hard questions. Well, I would have to say it’s the involvement of the students in their schools. What I mean by that is that a lot of times students are kept out of the running of their schools. Decisions are made in the schools by people other than the students, and I think the schools in general would benefit from having a more democratic atmosphere and climate and involving the students in the decisions that affect their lives. As far as First Amendment issues today having to do with young people, I’d say another big one is the number of students that are being arrested and being put into juvenile detention at the schools. We have students outside school on the web or in various other ways doing things that the school may not like, and then

page • 06 sometimes there is criminal prosecution of the students. So, I’d like to see these things worked out without court cases when possible, without prosecution, and without having the students started into the juvenile detention system and juvenile justice system. C: In 2007, the Morse v. Frederick case yielded an important ruling on free speech at school sponsored events. Do you think the Tinker decision is limited to in-school events, or does it also apply to offcampus or out of school events? For example, in the Morse case the boy was standing across the street with a sign that read “Bong Hits 4 Jesus.” How do you think the decision applies there? MBT: Well, the majority opinion [in the Morse case] ruled that it was a school event because there were teachers, it was during school time, there were cheerleaders there, etc. So, how much jurisdiction should the schools have over students when they’re not in school? That is a huge question, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. C: In the Morse case, the boy never went to school that day. He came late, and went straight to a parade outside the school, but he never set foot on school campus. How does that add a twist to the decision? MBT: Well, apparently it didn’t for the justices. They still decided that he was in school and that the school had jurisdiction. I was heartened, though, to see the opinions of Justices Alito and Kennedy saying that students still had the right to political expression. I especially remember Ruth Ginsberg saying that we can’t just censor things the students may disagree with their school administrators on, because that’s going too far. C: You mentioned earlier in your speech that times are changing, that people are starting to go online, and that the change presents a new set of challenges. Do you think school officials should be able to punish students for what they post online? MBT: There are certain limits to free speech; you know, libel, threats, and things like that. So if you threaten someone online, that’s already illegal. So I’m not exactly sure what I think about all that, but in general I do think students need to able to express themselves online. C: You once said, on the topic of the Morse case, that “teens with their creativity, curiosity, and (to some) outrageous sense of humor, are naturals when it comes to holding the First Amendment to the test of time, even in these times.” Do you think teens have the responsibility to keep pushing the First Amendment right or do you think they should maintain the decisions that have already been made? MBT: I think teenagers, like all of us, and especially middle school aged and at times elementary school kids, have the responsibility to learn about the First Amendment, learn about the Bill of Rights, learn about the Constitution, and put them into action in their lives, to keep them alive. I admire the creativity, and the energy, and the humor of young people and your willingness to get out and speak up. One of the best things that I do as I go around the country is tell people about all of the things that young people are speaking up about. I love when someone asks me, “Why aren’t young people speaking up about the issues of the day or the issues that affect their lives?” and I tell them “They are speaking up, about so many things.” Whether it’s the environment, or war, or the rights of people, or animal rights, or pollution, there are so many things.”

news AFJROTC earns awards in annual pass and review

may • 2009

sarahYEDLICK• reporter

Showing their dedication to the El Paso JROTC program, AFJROTC marched along with nine other JROTC units and received awards for their accomplishments during this year’s pass and review. Units paraded in front of officials, including Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia. The unit was awarded medals for marching, trim appearance, participation and academic achievements. “In pass and review, each high school that has an JROTC unit gets to show their unit and what they’ve done throughout the year in drill and ceremonies. That includes marching, staying in stead, alignment and how sharp they look in their uniform,” Master Sergeant Jesus Del Rio said. This year’s pass and review was held at Burges on Friday, May 8. Out of all the JROTC units involved in the pass and review, Franklin’s JROTC was the only Air Force unit involved. “EPISD insisted on nine JROTC units; eight of them are Army JROTC. We’re the only Air Force unit,” Del Rio said. “We all work together; we do summer camps together, we do volunteering in the Franklin Mountains, picnics and pass and reviews. It’s been great working with the army when given the opportunity.” However, pass and review doesn’t consist solely of the parade of units. Cadets from each unit are awarded ribbons based on academic and military achievements. “Each award has specific guidelines or a description that explains what it means and why you’re getting it,” Cadet Colonel Ryley Mowrer said. “You get the award

Amn. Ashley Robles MOWW Merit

Lt. Col. Stephanie Hinojos Scottish Right of Freemasonry

Lieutenant Colonel Kimberly Rohrer, winner of the Military Officers Association of America medal, stands as part of the Franklin AFJROTC unit. Rohrer was awarded the medal for her display of exceptional potential for military leadership. photo by Chance Bunnell

for how much you contribute to the unit and how you present yourself. They’re for school and community work, how you look in your uniform, how you take your job, how you present yourself to the whole core and what you’ve done for them.” Twelve cadets won individual awards, including Lt. Col. Jabob Navar (Daedalian Medal), Lt. Col. Javier Martinez (General Military Excellence Award), 1st Lt. Katherine Briseno (S.A.R. Medal), Cadet Col. Ryley Mowrer (Scholastic Excellence Award), Capt. Esther Holguin (National Sojourners Medal), Lt. Col. Kimberly Rohrer (Military Officers Association of America Medal), CMSgt. Maxx Perez (Order of the Purple Heart Leadership Medal), Lt. Col. Stephanie Hinojos (Scottish Rite of Freemasonry JROTC Medal for Education and Americanism), Capt. Angelica ArizpeHelo (VFW JROTC Medal), Amn. Ashley Robles (MOWW Merit Medal)

Cadet Col. Ryley Mowrer Scholastic Excellence

CMSgt. Maxx Perez Order of the Purple Heart

SSgt. Claude Lorey AMVETS

and SSgt Claude Lorey (AMVETS Medal). “I won the Daedalian Medal,” Navar said. “It’s for positive character, being in the top twenty percent of your class and for keeping a positive outlook in JROTC.” Students are observed throughout the year in order to determine if they’ve met the requirements for certain awards. “JROTC consists of maybe 100 cadets. Throughout the year, we look at the work that they’re doing and how involved they are in JROTC, and that’s how they’re picked,” Del Rio said. Pass and review is more than just the formality of the military parade and awards ceremony. “It’s being able to go and march and present yourself, and know that what you’re doing, and how you’re marching is representing our school, our core and what you’ve accomplished this past year,” Mowrer said.

Capt. Angelica Arizpe-Helo VFW JROTC

Capt. Esther Holguin National Sojourners

Lt. Col. Jacob Navar Daedalian

FBLA advances four to nationals stephanieAVALOS• business mgr.

Four Future Business Leaders of America members representing EPISD will advance to nationals in Anaheim, CA on June 24. With an increased number of national qualifiers, sponsor Janelle Poe is pleased. Those students include seniors David Campbell (Sports Management) and Joel Hemmert (Public Speaking II), along with partners junior Amanda Brinegar and sophomore Stephanie Avalos (Desktop Publishing). “With the combination of great students, their enthusiasm and hard work, we’ve had the most success that we’ve ever had,” Poe said. Placing third for emerging business issues, junior Moriah Momsen explains that hard work trumps the size of the competition. “FBLA is a much larger organization than I had realized,”

Momsen said. “Schools like Rio Rancho have 300+ members, but the opportunity to do well in the organization is not left to large chapters. We were able to excel despite our small size of 12. Despite these larger chapters, Campbell managed to grab first place and a spot on the Hall of Fame. “I thought the competition was challenging, so when they called me up on stage and told me I had won first, I was extremely surprised, but very excited,” Campbell said. “Since I won first place, my face will be displayed on the hall of fame, which is pretty awesome.” Campbell looks forward to his final opportunity to represent the school at a national level. “Being able to represent Franklin at the state level is a big honor,” Campbell said. “Representing them at nationals, for my final competition before college, will be an even larger one.”

page • 07 Continued from P. 6

of class or semester-long placement in the Alternative Program for insubordination and failure to follow a directive from an Assistant Principal.” Castillo, however, believes that he was pressured to remove the tape. “They made me take it off. It would have been way more trouble than it’s worth if I didn’t,” Castillo said. Hiestand feels that Castillo made the correct decision in removing the tape. “If school officials tell you to do something, and as long as it’s not going to hurt you or someone else or damage property, students are probably best served by obeying,” Hiestand said. “If they feel that school officials acted unlawfully or inappropriately, the student should then lodge a complaint with the school and challenge the school’s actions through the established process (meet with principal, superintendent, etc.). In other words, even if your rights as a student have been violated, a charge of not following orders or creating a big scene might still land you in hot water.” In December 1965, Mary Beth Tinker was suspended for wearing a black armband to school in protest of the Vietnam War. Jacobs sees a parallel between Castillo’s case and Tinker’s. “It is similar to Tinker in that they both concern silent, non-confrontational, apparently non-disruptive protest,” Jacobs said. “If there’s a reasonable suspicion that the school environment will be or is being disrupted, then Tinker applies and the school may take measures to prevent or control the disruption.” Hiestand agrees. “[The cases are] very similar. Tinker is the law a court would apply, Hiestand said. “ Arguably, a piece of tape over one’s mouth in a class where participation is required could be more disruptive than a simple black armband, but school officials would have to make that showing, just as the Court said school officials needed to do in Tinker.” Castillo believes that his cause is just as worthy as Tinker’s. “It was the National Day of Silence, and this time it was for gay rights. Half my friends are gay, so I supported them. They were wearing tape over their mouth too,” Castillo said. “The tradition is to wear tape over your mouth, and it represents gays not being able to spread their voice. It’s symbolic; it’s for equality. People often discriminate against gays. They don’t have the same rights. It’s ignorance to think that gays don’t deserve to be happy. I don’t think that. I think they should actually have a voice.” Hiestand believes that Farley was considerate of Castillo’s message. “I’m glad that Mr. Farley appears to understand the free speech principles at stake and seemed generally respectful. Sadly, that is a lot more than I can say for way too many school administrators out here,” Hiestand said. “I can see where wearing tape in class could be disruptive. But it’s important that school officials not overreach and think about what they’re doing instead of engaging in a kneejerk reaction.” Castillo believes that his teacher’s reaction was just that. “It’s freedom of speech, it’s not disturbing anybody, and it’s protected by freedom of expression,” Castillo said. “It was a silent protest, so there shouldn’t have been anything that they could have done. I think the teacher was wrong, because it wasn’t disturbing the class. That teacher told me to take it off, and that’s where the problem started. That’s when everybody looked around and noticed the tape. I think it was the teacher saying something that disturbed the class, and not me wearing the tape.”

may • 2009


page • 08

Groups collaborate to celebrate second annual Earth Day Festival sarahYEDLICK• reporter

The Ninth Grade Center’s football field was host to the second annual Earth Day Festival, put on jointly by the Science Club, Environmental Issues Club and Spanish National Honor Society. The festival, dedicated to raising environmental awareness and celebrating the Earth, was held due to popular demand by students. “The students came to us and said they really wanted to hold this festival a second time,” science teacher Debra Gilbert said. “Students all around our campus who are more and more aware of how important Earth Day is are taking care of our earth and are conserving our energy and resources.” The festival was held on April 22 and boasted an attendance rate that doubled last year, with a turnout of approximately 600 students. Senior Nessly Torres, founder of the Earth Day Festival, saw a vast improvement in this year’s festival. “This year has been phenomenal. I think every year as we do it, there’ll be more and more people. It’s a good thing that we started it last year, so now hopefully when I’m gone they’ll still be doing the Earth Day Festival,” Torres said. The fair had a number of booths dedicated to educating students about current environmental issues and ways to help the environment. “We didn’t have [the environmental booths] last year. So this year, we focused a lot more on the environmental message,” Gilbert said. “The Environmental Issues Club was doing the environmental booths, so they had to get materials from Texas Parks and Wildlife, put together their displays and then they had to train themselves on how to do the presentation.

The festival featured a booth that accepted old shoes to recycle through Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe foundation. The program has collected 23 million shoes since it was started in 1990, and has used them to build new track surfaces, courts, and complexes. “I collected 86 shoes, 41 pairs in total,” junior Lindsey Rietkerk said. “When I brought the shoes collected at Franklin to the outlet’s Nike shop, I got a very happy reaction and astonishment from employees.” Aside from the new addition of the environmental booths and Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe, the festival also featured a plethora of activities from a marriage booth to hybrid car displays, and live music was provided by a number of local bands. “The biggest activity was the marriage booth. We had marriage licenses, flowers to give to the bride, pictures and a veil,” science teacher Alicia Stevens said. “We know that by going to the little booths they got a little extra credit for the information, but along the way we hoped they would have fun and remember that it was an exciting time.” Although there were a number of fun activities, the focus of the Earth Day Festival remained on raising student’s environmental awareness and educating them on ways to keep the earth healthy. “[Earth Day] is all about their lives. It affects every single decision they make,” Gilbert said. “They’re going to be paying for water, for gas money and for cars, and they need to know how to get the most [out of their] money. This is their legacy. They’re going to be passing this on to their kids and grand kids, and they need to know how to conserve the planet Earth, how to conserve its resources.”

Like Sara, many young people find it hard to open up to their close peers about their sexuality. photo by Troy Quezada

Homophobia hurts all, speaker says stephaniaLARA• reporter

As she stands outside her father’s door, Sara * takes a deep breath. She hesitates; she wants to tell him something, but she doesn’t think he will accept it. As she walks in, she sits down next to him and tries to tell him her secret. It is her third attempt. But, as if he senses what she is about to say, he tells her, “I will disown you if it is true.” She goes silent; she is mortified. Disillusioned, Sara walks away, hoping that in the near future her father will accept the fact that she is bisexual. But Sara is not alone. In a survey of 1,067 teens provided by The Advocates for Youth Organization, only one teen identified himself as gay, although five percent said that they had engaged in same-sex sexual behavior. “For me, knowing that my father will never truly accept me is something that I have to cope with everyday,” Sara said. “Every time I try to tell him, the feeling of rejection is by far the worst I have experienced.” According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, homophobia is the irrational fear of all that is homosexual. But for many, this phobia takes on a more serious role in life than just a “an idle concern.” Though in general, the youth of today are more tolerant regarding the issue, there are some who are adamantly opposed.

“Homophobic conditioning Above: Junior Salvador Sandoval plays with his band. Top left: Sophomore Jessica Bixler promotes Earth Day with juniors Danielle Aguirre, Derek James and Meghann Pozzerle. Bottom right: Sophomore Valeria Contreras sits while her arm is painted.Bottom Left: Seniors Alex Schuppe and Martha Trevino “wed” during the festival. all photos by Briana Sanchez

compromises the integrity of people by pressuring them to treat others badly.” • Warren Blumenfeld “If I were to have a gay child I wouldn’t want anything to do with it,” John* said. “Gay people are not what God intended and it is not the way it is supposed to be.” But homophobia affects not just the person in question, but also the heterosexuals around them. Iowa State University professor Warren J. Blumenfeld has discussed in his seminars the profound effect that homophobia has on a broader social level. “Homophobia is pervasive throughout society and each of us, irrespective of sexual identity, is at risk of its harmful effects,” Blumenfeld said. “Homophobic conditioning compromises the integrity of people by pressuring them to treat others badly.” Many of those who feel “the pressure” to treat others badly have resulted in the permanent trauma of many. Ryan Patrick Halligan was a thirteen-year old boy who was bullied because of a gay rumor. After months of cyber bullying, on October 7, 2003 Halligan took his own life without ever having told his parents of the trauma he was experiencing. Continued on P. 9


may • 2009

page • 09

Continued from P. 8


Receptionist Gloria Balderrama clips out articles from The El Paso Times for the Franklin 2009 Scrapbook.”Sometimes I know what to look for, and sometimes I just find it,” Balderrama said. photo by Briana Sanchez


rhiannaTAPIA• reporter

Sitting at her desk, receptionist Gloria Balderrama grabs the daily newspaper and begins sifting through the local news. News, nothing. Features, zilch. Sports, bingo! Balderrama reaches for her scissors and begins clipping away at a sports article that catches her eye. Although Balderrama is a sports fan, she isn’t clipping the article for her satisfaction, but rather for the Franklin 2009 Scrapbook. “When Ms. Jordan was principal here, she told me that it was one of my responsibilities to keep a scrapbook,” Balderrama said. “We have about 15 of them; one for every year.” The scrapbooks contain articles written about students and academic standouts. “I gather articles from the El Paso Times,” Balderrama said. “The other little things I get from the different programs that I have. Sometimes I know what to look for, and sometimes I just find it.” Earlier this spring, attendance clerk Cathy Schneider was surprised to find that Balderrama keeps the scrapbooks, and that they go unrecognized. “This is someone we work with and I had no idea that this was something she does,” Schneider said. “There she is taking all our phone calls and she still sits there and still finds time to scrapbook. This is above and beyond her duty.” Though she keeps the scrapbooks for historical purposes, Balderrama designs and illustrates each page. “My idea [for the scrapbook] was to get all the little things in there in order to fill in all the gaps,” Balderrama said. “I try to find things that dress it up a little bit; to add an extra touch.” The “extra touch” doesn’t go unnoticed. “I just think that it’s astonishing,” Schneider said. “These beautiful scrapbooks are in the library for everyone to look at. It’s just really cool.” Though the scrapbook takes time to create, Balderrama says it isn’t a problem. “It’s not time-consuming because I’ll look through the paper in the mornings after the bell rings,” Balderrama said. “That’s when I find the time to put it together.” Thanks to Balderrama, Cougars both old and new are forever filed into the school’s memory. “A yearbook is one thing, a school newspaper is another, but every article that has ever come out about Franklin High School or a student from Franklin is in this book,” Schneider said.

“A yearbook is one thing, a school newspaper is another, but every article that has ever come out about Franklin High School or a student from Franklin is in this book.” • Cathy Schneider, attendance clerk

On a website created by Halligan’s parents, they advocate for a safe environment for other children. “For too long, we have let kids and adults bully others as a right of passage into adulthood inside a school building. We place accountable for this tragedy, first and foremost, on ourselves as his parents... but also on Ryan’s school administration, staff and the young people involved. As parents, we failed to hold the school accountable to maintain an emotionally safe environment for our son while he was alive. But accountability and responsibility should be shared by all involved - parents, bullies, bystanders, teachers and school administrators ... basically the whole system.” Psychology has deemed homophobia a matter too broad for simple explanations. Sigmund Freud found that homophobia is what he perceived as heterosexuals’ “vigorous counter-attitudes” to homosexuality. Dr. Henry Adams of the University of Georgia has found, through his research, that those who ranged high on the “homophobic scale” were the ones who were the most aroused by homosexual stimuli. “Many opponents of same-sex marriage and hate crimes and anti-discrimination legislation assert that homosexuality is not something that people are born with but rather something they “choose” later in life,” Blumenfeld said. “To them, homosexuals—and by extension bisexuals and possibly transgender people—-neither deserve nor require “special rights” for their chosen so-called “life style,” whereas, since “race” is an immutable biological trait that people are born with, certain protections should be provided to prevent the dominant group from persecuting minoritized ‘races.’” Jesus Smith, President of the Rainbow Miner Initiative, says that some homosexuals face discrimination not only from the general populace, but from the

gay community as well. “Homophobia is ultimately sexism,” Smith said. “Society has put in our head that acting as a woman is so wrong, that even acting like or putting the role of one generates hate. There is even homophobia in the gay community to those who act very feminine.” Homophobia can vary by cultures, yet in El Paso, the strong Latino community produces a different point of view. “The culture has a lot to do with coming out. El Paso is very patriarchal, very ruled by the man, making many gay people fearful to come out,” Smith said. “Yet overall El Paso is a very open place.” Through an effort to provide education to those who do not understand what homosexuality is, Smith formed the Rainbow Miner Initiative. “I wanted to create a place where people were able to be free to be themselves without any self conscience and to help them through the process of coming out of the closet and helping others as well,” Smith said. For many, religion still dominates their decisions regardless of the open-minded environment and first hand accounts by many of their surroundings. “Everybody has their own flaws, but the fact that people try to justify [this lifestyle] is what bothers me,” senior Martha Trevino said. “Jesus came to this world to touch all those that needed help; he can help all of them, but society tries to find an easy way out instead of helping them.” Despite differing opinions, Juliet* says that society must come together. “People need to clean up their own backyards before they start cleaning other ones,” Juliet * said. “What people chose in life doesn’t define who they are as a person. It’s sad that many forget that.” *Names have been changed to protect privacy

edgy emily



• news





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a n c i n g to “Speeding Cars” by Imogen Heap, seniors Vanessa Puga, Hannah Arras, Melissa Barazza, Lauren Gutierrez and Kara Ortiz dance together for the last time. The dance, choreographed by the seniors in Fusion brought many tears to performers and audience members. The tradition of a senior Fusion dance lets the dancers say goodbye to dancers and their time on stage as Fusion members. indsey Gerson performs “Dance for Peace” choreographed by Vanessa Puga. Each of the five dancers in the piece had a value written on their bodies that exhibited the purpose of the piece. Values included peace, believe, love, change and hope. “Dance for Peace” was set to John Legend’s song “If You’re Out There.” photo by Karina Soares



unior and Fusion member Clarissa Quinn dances with a black hat in “Switching Roles” by professional choreographer Bon-E Cadena. The piece, danced to “What Cha Think About That” by Pussycat Dolls with Missy Elliot included jazz and hip hop. erfecting her makeup, Elizabeth Polinsky prepares to portray a mime in “The Streets,” an a cappella piece choreographed by Sarah Mende. In this rhythm tap piece, dancers enter the stage as various characters of everyday street life. Characters included a dancer, a nerd, a businesswoman, a rock star, a little girl and a janitor.



asu Limbu struts in her solo in “The Pulse,” choreographed by Sara McCammon and Mandy Barraza. A total of twelve dancers danced to the hip hop song “Seventeen Years” by Rat-A-Tat. Emily Anne Rodriguez and Carissa Castelo also had solos. n a classical jazz piece, Lauren Gutierrez and Hannah Arras raise their hats to do splits on the floor. Choreography was created by BonE Cadena to “What Cha Think About That” by the Pussycat Dolls with Missy Elliott.



may • 2009

By the numbers

My American

‘wow’ moments

With graduation approaching, seniors are looking forward to leaving home for their new schools and other students are thinking about college applications more and more. Here are some college statistics for your information:

$14,629 21.4% 671 $9,899 67.3%

Average undergraduate tuition, fees and room and board rates for college students in 04-05

Seniors graduating from Franklin this year

Percentage of students nationwide who attend their first choice college

Freedom of the press statement Student publications guard freedom of the press as a right of all people in a free society. It carries with it freedom and responsibility to discuss, question and challenge actions and statements of the student body, administration and other public figures. Student journalists hold the right to speak unpopular opinions and the privilege to agree with the majority. The Chronicle is a public forum of speech that is produced by students of Franklin High School once a month. Bylined columns represent the writer’s opinion while editorials are designed to persuade, warn, criticize, inform or inspire. Letters to the editor must be signed and may be edited. The editorial board reserves the right to refuse any letter or advertisements that are not in the best interests of the school. Views expressed in editorials are not necessarily those of the administration, newspaper staff or journalism advisers. Further information may be obtained by calling 915.833.2696 or 832.6600. Adviser: J. Tanner Principal: Carla Gasway

2008-2009 Chronicle Staff Troy Quezada • editor in chief Emily Hansen • news editor Chris Canales • opinions editor Chance Bunnell • photo editor Karen Zamora • features editor Fernanda Vazquez • features editor Anthony Zaragoza • sports editor Collin Hunt • copy editor Joel Hemmert • reporter Dylan Dwyer• Bus. Mgr. Stephanie Avalos • Bus. Mgr. Justin Ayers • cartoonist Amanda Brinegar • ctr. spread Briana Sanchez • photography Hayden Pendergrass • design Alfonso Avalos Kathryn Bohle Elizabeth Canales

Dominique Egger Mariah Kemp Corinna Knaust Stephania Lara Sanna Lutsoja Paige Melendez Sean Myerly Sabrina Nunez Rebecca Puentes Lindsey Rietkerk Amanda Rodriguez Rhianna Tapia Sarah Yedlick Nick Zebrowski Natalie Felsen • 9th grd. correspondent Jai Tanner • adviser Carla Gasway • principal


CTo Collin Hunt for placing

2nd at UIL State for Headline Writing

CTo Franklin for being recognized for TAKS

CTo juniors for having a

Sanna Lutsoja from Estonia came to the US ten months ago. During that period, she has had thousands of shocking, surprising and embarrassing situations fitting into a new culture. Here are some of her most memorable.

Percentage of students who study business, the most popular major

Average amount of financial aid awarded per person to undergraduates in 03-04

DTo last minute, end-ofthe-year projects

DTo North Korea for

testing a nuclear weapon

DTo the seniors who are

99% Social Studies pass rate

leaving for college whom we will missing

CTo a great “Neon” prom

DTo Jon & Kate’s infidelity

page • 12

sannaLUTSOJA• reporter

Security struggles My first baffling experience was in Chicago at the security check line when I saw people in front of me taking their shoes off. I was really confused and didn’t get what was going on. Then I found out that in America everybody is required to take off shoes in the security line because somebody might have a bomb in their shoes. How odd is that? In Estonia, my home country located in northern Europe, security is a priority, but we don’t have to be barefoot on a gross, dirty floor. No time for my feet Arriving in El Paso at my host home for the first time, I was waiting for the moment when my host parents were going to tell me that I could take my shoes off, but the moment never came. Really? Do they really walk with shoes on light carpets? In Estonia, mud from rain clutters sidewalks and streets, and taking shoes off is a time for my feet to breathe. Here, rain is seldom and I’ve just gotten used to not having my habit of barefoot-free time. Sleep overs are a no-no? Breaking in my shoes onto American soil, I realized that relationships between boys and girls aren’t anything like they are back at home. As a girl, having guy best friends and spending the night in a guy friend’s house is totally normal and totally cool with my parents. But in U.S. culture, it’s assumed that when a guy and a girl hang out a lot and are like two peas in a pod something “has to happen” between them. Spending the night with guys and girls together is a forbidden sin here, but for me, as a European, if my parents told me not to, it would feel like my parents didn’t trust me. Hot, hot, hot! The first time that I ever tried something spicy in my life was when I tried picante sauce at Leo’s. My mouth was burning, hot as hell, and this was only the mild sauce. I couldn’t believe that people actually enjoyed this kind of stuff. I had never eaten any kind of spicy food or Mexican food. I hadn’t ever heard words like burrito, taco or quesadilla and I had no

idea what these things would look like. Burrito, to me, sounded like a term dealing with death. We’re we going to bury something? Now I love Mexican food, especially spicy food. I will have to train my peeps at home to enjoy it too when I go back to Estonia. Secondly, I have to get over my addiction to fast food that I have acquired in America. I was literally shocked when I saw all these packed fast food restaurants on every corner with everybody offering the same basic junk. I told myself I wouldn’t eat hamburgers everyday, and now, when lunchtime rolls around, it is hard to say no. Shall we drive or drive? City culture and streets were a mix of strangeness and shock. It felt bare to see only a few people walking on sidewalks. Streets are not packed with taxis or people wanting to catch one. Folks live primarily in houses; yet in Estonia, people live in apartments in the cities. Here, there are apartments, but they are not like the 20-story buildings that dot Estonia. Everything is so spread out here and every third car is a truck or an SUV. Turning up the style excessive dial Appearance wise, in El Paso, light eyes are as rare as brown eyes in Estonia. Fashion wise here, emos, punks and heavy metal kids have taken their look to a new extreme. In Estonia, pajama pants are meant for bedtime only, not class time. I can’t tell you how stunned I was when the whole football team dyed their hair blonde. Ready for your own “wow moments”? I could just talk and talk about my experiences, my funny situations and my embarrassing times. Living abroad, not only visiting as a tourist, gives you an idea of the culture as a whole that you would never understand if you were only there for a mere trip. Up for the adventure? The process to become an exchange student or to become a host family to an exchange student is very easy. Just go to to learn more about Youth for Understanding, an exchange student program that sends thousands of students abroad each year, and you can experience something that will give you your own “wow moments.”


may • 2009

your VIEWS

on the news

As the popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace are on the rise, a newer program, Twitter, has also been gaining attention in the media. How do you feel about Twitter? Andrew Ames, 12

Twitter destroys all complex thinking. What can you say in 140 characters or less?

Seth Beltran, 10

I think for older sickos it can be taken as if they’re stalking someone but for people that talk to their peers it could be a relationship builder.

Mia Herrera, 12

Twitter is like the Myspace for adults. It’s adults with nothing better to do. Everyone wants to be their own celebrities. R. Anderson, teacher

I don’t think I’m interesting enough to people to update on my activities every five minutes.

Nate Rudnick, 11

I can see its use in news and how it gets breaking updates out to the people fast but for personal use, I don’t see a reason. Zach Al-Tabbaa, 12

It’s pretty helpful because you get to connect with friends and relatives and it seems more adult.

page • 13

Twitter: a stalker’s bliss

nicholasZEBROWSKI • reporter

Twitter is a stalker’s paradise. It is a useless Internet site that “allows” you to tell others what you are doing at that precise moment. It serves no other social purpose or utility. Anyone telling you otherwise is lying. The creators of Twitter pride themselves in making a pointless panacea to the world’s problems by allowing people to spout their meaningless chatter; such as, “Troy Quezada is eating a sandwich.” When you post random things on there, do you honestly believe that anyone cares that you made a grilled-cheese sandwich? No. The creators were probably the guys who stood outside of windows and stared at little children. Twitter is just another outlet for those who can’t stop talking, but instead of annoying everyone with their useless “Captain Obvious” comments, they do it over the network that 20 years ago was breaking the technology barriers of the time. The only positive feature of this supposed faux social networking tool is limiting verbose bloggers to 140 characters. The thing is nothing more than a call for attention. It isn’t new or innovative: Facebook and Myspace have done the same thing for years. Children, please, do like God intended and leave the Twittering to the birds.


The wonderful world of Twitter troyQUEZADA• editor in chief




Who is Sonia Sotomayor?

x x x x x x x

Samantha Benitez, 11

haydenPENDERGRASS • design/opinion



What is Twitter? You have no idea how many times I have been asked that question, but in all fairness, Twitter is rather new. In the shortest terms possible, Twitter is just a way to communicate to your friends (or followers) about what’s going on. Updates posted to your Twitter profile are called tweets, and they can only be 140 characters long. So, rather than tell your life story in a tweet, you can tell ¼ of your life story! However, unlike Facebook, Twitter is more useful, because instead of meaningless updates, I can get useful information, like whether Kris or Adam will win American Idol, or whether there’s rain on KFOX’s interactive radar. But in all seriousness, Twitter is extremely useful for finding out breaking news or networking skills. Like most people, I could care less whether they don’t have your size of shoes at the local market. And, take note! Famous people also use Twitter; Ashton Kutcher, Oprah (Goddess Divine), and Paula Abdul use the service. And just finding out about Abdul’s crazy antics is worth the price of admission. However, because there is no way, like Facebook, to look at other users’ pictures, Twitter is mainly used for adults, and, as such, many younger users tend to ditch the service after a few days. Twitter is much more useful as a networking or public relations tool. For example, the new television show Glee (whose review is conveniently located on page 17, and which was conveniently written by me), utilizes Twitter to drum up support and publicity for the series. Simply posting a tweet gets people interested. Some actors of the show, who have Twitter accounts, drum up support by posting their daily happenings. Simply said, Twitter is more ingenious when used as a way to network, publicize and inform. And, believe it or not, some people actually do want to hear about your day-to-day faux pass. Rather than literally answering the question “What are you doing,” answer the question in a way that will please your followers. Your day-to-day mishaps are interesting, and Twitter can be used almost like a story. But, why should you get a Twitter? Because of Twitter’s no-nonsense and simple web utility, it’s easy to use it to your benefit. www.twitter. com/troyquezada

“She’s in America’s Next Top Model.”

Michelle Troxoerler, 12

“She’s a student.”

Jason Velez, 12

“She’s that person from Mortal Kombat.”

Jordan Crocker, 11

“She’s a McDonald’s manager.”

Eric Barker, 11

“A poltician.”

Noor Abushagar, 12

“A Professional dancer.”

Chad Fitzsimmons, 12

“She has her own talk show.”

Paulina Rosas, 12


“She’s the Supreme Court justice nominee.”

may • 2009

Republicans revamped



collinHUNT• copy editor

nicolasZEBROWSKI• reporter

When Republican Senator Arlen Specter switched parties to become a Democrat, it should have been a wake up call to the GOP. Although Specter’s motives are somewhat questionable (early polling showed Specter losing to GOP Primary challenger Pat Toomey by more than 20 points), one of the public reasons he gave for the switch was the way the Party turned his back on him after he voted for the stimulus bill. His switch brings light to a larger issue-the direction of the Republican Party. Currently, it is on the wrong track. Over the last few years, the GOP has acquired an increasingly radical image perpetuated by entertainers such as Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. For some reason unbeknownst to the rational human being, those two individuals, Limbaugh especially, have become the spokespeople for the Party. Limbaugh has called for Obama’s recovery plan to fail, even in the midst of an economic recession with millions depending on its success. Limbaugh and other like-minded Republicans have taken the forefront in the opposition against the new Democratic administration. The only problem with that is that many of these radicals don’t fully understand the situation. In Limbaugh’s eyes, there is no middle ground, only the political right and the political wrong. The situation reached a new low when ex-vice president Dick Cheney backed Limbaugh, the entertainer’s version of a Republican, over ex-secretary of state Colin Powell’s, a moderate who has been directly involved in policy decisions over the last 20 years. The radical views perpetuated by the extremely right wing individuals only cause the Republican Party to lose credibility as well as votes. The only way the GOP can be the Grand Old Party again and not just Going Out of Power, is by being a more moderate party and not just the party of incendiary rhetoric. By catering only to the radical base of the party, it repels more moderate voters. The party needs to expand its umbrella to be more in touch with mainstream society. There are about 56 million registered Republicans, 72 million registered Democrats, and about 44 million independent or third party voters. The key to winning an election is by appealing to those independents. Former President Ronald Reagan lead an effective term because he focused on the big picture of domestic and foreign policy, but also created a sense of optimism. It didn’t mean that he was the perfect president or that he made all of the right decisions; however, it meant that he had broadened his reach. Before the Republican Party can achieve all of the policy goals it wants, it must first reform its image in order to be in a position where it can.

on the news

The Texas State Senate approved a bill recently allowing college students 21 and older to have concealed weapons with them on campus in hopes of decreasing the possibly of another Columbine or Virginia Tech shooting. What’s your view? J. Houze, teacher

I think people should have the right to own guns, but students between the ages of 18-22 who have had less experience in life might easily get mad, upset, and the next thing you know something happens. I think it’s a huge mistake.

Page Kemp, 11

I don’t agree with it at a college campus, maybe in a workplace, but because there have been so many violent outbursts like Columbine and Virginia Tech, I don’t think it’s safe.



In a time of conservative conflict, a shift profound in the leadership and workings of the GOP is necessary for its survival

your VIEWS

page • 14

Jimmy Rash, 11

David Sambrano, 11

There are crazy people out there who are going to get guns and bring them onto the campus whether they are allowed to or not, so allowing law abiding citizens to have a gun would stop a crazy person from actually shooting at the school.

I think this is Texas, and we have a right to bear arms and we have the right to protect our selves. We should be allowed to take our guns wherever we want.

As the end of the year looms, juniors are beginning to think about where to apply to college; however, many have yet to discover that they face tuition costs that have risen over 40% in the last five years, along with the prospect of a stifling amount of debt upon graduation (60% of college students leave owing at least $19,000). On the campaign trail, President Obama promised to make college affordable for every American. Now it’s time for him to make good on that promise by overhauling the system and focusing on two key issues: the federal financial aid process and college endowments. Whenever you apply to a public university, you fill out what is known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. This is supposed to calculate your expected family contribution (EFC for short), or how much you and your family should be able to chip in for an education. However, it soon becomes clear that this innocuous acronym has another meaning. You see, in the eyes of many families, the EFC also stands for every frickin’ cent! That’s because it is based on 1967 estimates of the cost of maintaining a “lower standard of living,” according to the Department of Education’s website. Bear in mind, that’s from a time when gas cost 33 cents a gallon, the Beatles were in their heyday and a new car cost a tenth of what it does today. Even indexed for inflation, the government’s formula calculates a family of four can live on $2,250 a month; no room for modern amenities like Internet, cellphones and cable exists. As for private schools, it’s even worse: they have their own formulas and applications, known as the Profile, listing every last asset in minute detail. This includes things like cars, the home equity, even how much your siblings have in their bank accounts, anything that’s worth a buck goes on that sheet. So, in addition to beans and weenies and no retirement fund, your folks will need a second mortgage on the house, and Dad will be driving a Vespa to work. The worst part is, most of these institutions are sitting on endowments worth billions of dollars and don’t even need the tuition money to stay afloat. Yes, their funds have lost insane amounts of money in the market, but at least they have

the comfort of having accounts in the 10 digits. You would think that in these hard economic times that a little generosity would go a long way. In the last few years, Congress has been forcing some of these schools with super-sized nest eggs to shell out a bit or risk losing their tax-exempt status; however, this isn’t nearly enough. For example, the University of Texas-Austin has a $7.2 billion endowment and has 37,406 undergraduate students paying approximately $20,000 a year in tuition. If all the undergraduates at UT were given a free four years of college, that would still leave the university with over $5.5 billion left in the slush fund. It might just be me, but that doesn’t sound like a school that’s strapped for cash. So, with a system structured this badly, what can be done to fix it? First, the FAFSA needs to be brought into the 21st century, and a calculation needs to be made for each family to determine how much it would cost monthly to maintain that household’s standard of living in today’s dollars, not 1967’s. In addition, the FAFSA should take into account an accurate cost-of-living index for each geographic area: today, the biggest index adjustment is a 14% bump for San Francisco. However, compared to the cost of living in El Paso, sunny California costs approximately 82% more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, Congress needs to put an end to schools hoarding heaps of endowment money. To use the University of Texas as an example again, their $7.2 billion could buy 156 private jets, 36 thousand Lamborghinis (almost enough to give one to each undergrad), or 18 million iPhones. But more realistically, with an annual operating budget of $500 million and all other things held constant, UT-Austin could afford to charge no tuition until 2022 and still stay afloat. So while Obama may have focused on things like appointing tax cheats to cabinet positions, expanding the national debt in his first 100 days in office, it’s time for him to focus on some more pressing matters. He ran on a platform of change and hope for the future, and when asked about whether they can afford a college education, kids should be able to answer, “Yes we can.”

may • 2009


page • 15

Revival of fine arts tradition is successful amandaBRINEGAR • reporter

Art was brought to life, illuminated by the entire fine arts department in the Jazz in Art production. Color, music and movement merged to stimulate all the senses. The show, penned by theatre teacher John Poteat, opens as Marge and Gladys, two older women played by Sarah Baker and Emily Rodriguez, hobble on stage searching for a certain painting in a vast museum. Marge is inspired to find the painting because she believes it looks like place mats on her table at home. Both Baker and Rodriguez own the stage as the eccentric sexagenarians. From pursed lips to squinted eyes, Baker plays the sardonic Marge who isn’t impressed with the famous “Circles” painted by Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky ( Jorge Horcasitas). It appears that they are “less pastel” than her place mats. The two bump into Kandinsky (though he has been dead for 140 years), who proceeds to explain the philosophy behind the geometric painting. For him, art is about existence. Kandinsky proclaims that art is a bigger idea, and his thought provoking words are left hanging in the air, as fusion dancers begin to animate his piece of work. The dancers appear on stage holding glowing hula-hoops and circles with tints of blue, orange, yellow, red, purple, and green. Pushed up against an inky black backdrop, the shades of color seem to leap off the stage. Truly, Kandinsky’s circles have been brought to life. The acting is superb and Fusion’s finesse pleases the eye and keeps the crowd engaged, as jazz music, played by the band, permeates the stage. Gladys, the perkier of the two, who still has a dose of hormones, makes eyes at Kandinsky, and it is she who understands the larger purpose for the work. After a brief soliloquy by Gladys, Marge simply grunts and pulls her friend away, and with that, Part I of the show concludes. Despite a brief technical snag as projected photos were changed, Amin Karabash, as Jean DuBuffet, brings us back into the realm of artistic expression. DuBuffet, an older painter, sits on a park bench, offering tidbits of life wisdom and artistic perspective as birds chirp and horns honk in the background. In his portrayal of Jean DuBuffet, Amin Karabash successfully breaks the fourth-wall and eloquently connects with the audience. Karabash surrounds you with his amiable personality and creates a convincing character. At first glance DuBuffet’s famous “New Orleans Jazz Band” painting looks like melted tar fused to a canvas, but Dubuffet’s smooth spoken insight soon tells otherwise. Although the piece of art is rough and dark, DuBuffet explains that ugly and beautiful are one; we need them both. DeBuffet leaves the stage with one last powerful line, “Beauty isn’t much with out her ugly cousin around to help us appreciate them both.” Immediately after Fusion returns to the stage. With props that look like they were taken directly from DeBuffet’s piece of art, Fusion breathes life into the painting. To the rhythm of swing music played by guitarists, the dancers begin their second performance with snaps, claps, and swooshing of feet. The dance is light and lively as the dancers pretend to play instruments with big smiles on their faces. The final dance leaves you with an upbeat attitude and the entire show gives you a new perspective on the meaning of art. Bravo! Let’s hope this kind of event is a repeat performance.

New Orleans Jazz Band by Jean DuBuffet

Seniors Cesar De La Vega and Luis Flores provided high points in the show. Here they are performing “The Rant.” photo by Elizabeth Canales

Guitar troupe astounds with notable performances and variety justinAYERS • reporter

7:15 and there is silence. The theatre is still and the stage is empty. Two students wielding well-worn acoustics go on stage, as the lights dim and the music begins. Thus, the spring 2009 guitar concert begins. There’s nothing better than listening to live music, especially when it is good. And this was good. The sweet ecstasy of sound envelops me as the forlorn notes of “Minor Swing” fills the air, complimented by the haunting resonance of a mahogany viola. This is immediately followed by a spectacular rendition of “Black Orpheus.” Perhaps the most natural and comfortable guitarist players was Caesar de la Vega, who committed most of his performance to perfection of his songs. His pinpoint accuracy on the fret board was a spectacle to behold. De La Vega’s skills at song writing became apparent with his bold, yet reserved composition “La Historia,” and the bluesy dueler “The Rant.” His three years as a student in Schyga’s class has obviously served him well. His compatibility with any player is an impressive asset, perfectly executing dual performances with ease. His mastery of the classical acoustic guitar was so surreal it gave the impression that it was an extension to his own body. He was the landmark player of the night. He performed three songs, all of which were original compositions. Carlos Barba also showed considerable skill, and his carefully controlled yet speedy execution was an amazing sight to behold. His style of playing is notable for the great dexterity and blinding speed of his left hand. Each note, played in quick succession, rang clear through the dim auditorium, rapid scales hammered into the skulls of the onlookers. His best song of the night was “Solemnity,” a passionate solo attempt that was unique as much as it was excellent. Ashley Lucero was also a key player, opening the concert with Barba and lending her equal talent to make the guitar duets more eloquent and elegant. The intertwining lead and rhythm guitar on “Minor Swing” and “Black Orpheus” created a natural, organic sound that could only be achieved by these two. The duo of Abraham Fragoso and Lucero also introduced their outstanding magnum opus “Vientos Del Mar.” Brian Flemming was also notable for his excellent cover of the song “Classic Gas” by Mason Williams, which is

famously performed by Eric Clapton. Another significant player was Daniel Bonilla. Bonilla played “The Storm” – a very traditional piece, that was similar to Arabic or traditional Eurasian folk music. It showcased Daniel’s steps away from his preferred instrument (bass guitar), and later he wielded an acoustic alongside other performers such as Luis Flores. His most notable song, “If It Means A Lot To You,” was almost as good as De La Vega’s song “Blue Biscuit” in the fields of intensity, focus, and passion that was put into the performance. Luis Flores also graced the second half of the concert, performing well on the songs he helped to write, such as “The Rant,” “The Storm,” and “Blue Biscuit.” His performance along with others really added a whole lot to the concert experience. The final portion of the concert was made up of muddy metal grooves, which arrived as a shock after a night full of mournful flamenco and bossa nova. Erik Medina assaulted the auditorium with his churning metal progression “Taste Of The Casket.” This maelstrom of a song literally blew me away – the technical soloing and constantly changing tempos and riffs would leave anyone’s head spinning. Next up was “Promethean Chains,” another metal composition to rival the prior song. Abraham Marilenarena took the gold for fastest scale ascension and soloing. “Making Music” was next (introduced as “Megatron” by the players) and showcased Adam Clarks’ prominence with the electric guitar. The night was ended with Daniel Bonilla and Luis Flores performing Jonah And The Whale, an orchestral epic that ended the concert with a bang. The show lasted for nearly two hours; it was a night filled with creative original compositions and excellent covers. The highlight of the night was when the duo of Caesar de la Vega & Barba performed Caesar’s song “Blue Biscuit”; it was structurally and audibly similar to “Oceans” by Pearl Jam, but easily better than it. That performance alone suggested both of the players would have successful careers as songwriters. All players’ mastery of the varied scales used that night was an immense spectacle to behold, and one that any attendee will keep in recent memory for a long time. For those who could not attend the excellent concert or for those who want an encore, a music CD featuring studio recordings of these songs is due out by the end of the school year.

may • 2009


page • 16

Swoon : a

bad novel behind an appealing mask

photo courtesy of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing mariahKEMP• reporter

Swoon seemed like a good idea online, where I was able to read an excerpt of the novel several weeks in advance. Needless to say, the wait for the release of another enticing teen thriller was a roller coaster. My relationship with the book was lovehate. On one hand, the synopsis and description sounded tantalizing, however I just could not stand the obscene amount of nicknames that the author, Nina Malkin, splattered on the numerous pages. And then I read the book and regretted the amount of time I wasted wishing to read it. Candice (aka Dice/Candy/Clair) is stuck in Swoon, Connecticut, and may or may not have visions, and summer is ending fast. But then Sinclair Youngblood Powers (aka Sin) arrives as a ghost inhabiting the body of her cousin, Penelope (aka Pen). He is Sin in human form, and of course Candice/Dice/Candy must fall in love with him, though he is a twisted jerk. The novel only begins to fail with the enormous amount of nicknames. Every single character has a nickname. Annoying enough with just the main characters having nicknames, every character encountered has one as well. Malkin made the first mistake with the name-calling. Her second mistake is being utterly confusing. One moment the text is written in present tense, and instantaneously it is then in past tense. Dice is supposed to have visions, but they appear about

Written by Nina Malkin, the work is misnamed. It is a teen novel with a confusing plot, incapable of making readers swoon. three times throughout the entire 421 pages. Lame. The text is considerably confusing because of Malkin’s shifts in tense, description, and tormented plot. The third, but not final mistake, is when the author uses Sin as a demonic spirit seeking revenge. His way of payback? Making every person in Swoon aroused. If a semi-pornographic novel was searched for, Swoon would pop up like an annoying ad batted away. The novel is fiction, meaning authors can get away with just about anything, but the amount of sexual thoughts provided by the characters is plain stupid. Teens just don’t think that obscenely. Another Malkin mistake is an aggravating one. She makes Dice seem like a respectable young woman with an amazing vocabulary…in her thoughts. However, as soon as Dice opens her irritating mouth she voices the dumbest comments known to man. Grammar seems to have left the building whenever Malkin writes. Disappointing and not worth the work of reading the novel, Swoon should be ignored. When walking through the bookstore, readers should run quickly past Swoon. The novel is confusing and immature, and portrays all teens as horny idiots who fall in love with jerks. If readers want to spend eighteen dollars to be highly disappointed, be my guest.

Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto (Kirk and Spock) contemplate how they will fare in the battle against their nemesis Captain Nero (Eric Bana). photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Star Trek hands-down top action film of year seanMYERLY• reporter

Star Trek is, without a doubt, the best movie so far this year. Even the most skeptical of viewers can’t deny that. The ability to appeal to the masses is completely necessary when making anything for the public, and Star Trek has even attracted viewers who have never seen the original television show. The film starred Chris Pine as James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock, and these relatively obscure actors can now say they’ve played two of the most recognizable characters in science fiction history. Both characters challenge the connotations of nerdiness and dorkdom that often accompany all things related to Star Trek. Like in the original series, Kirk is a charismatic farm boy who can charm women. Spock is a hyper-logical intellectual Vulcan who shows no emotions, but nevertheless makes the viewers experience his emotions vicariously. Star Trek is essentially no different than any other film that has a hero storyline; the only noticeable difference is that it does it better than most movies, if not all, made around the same “unexpected hero” concept. After a kamikaze-style spaceship crashes into Captain Nero’s Romulan

ship, killing James’ father shortly after his son’s birth, it’s clear that James was born to defeat those who are responsible for his father’s death. Star Trek might not meet the intellectual standards met by the other series and films of the same name, but it does keep its logical integrity while complementing it with a type of robust swagger matched only by the best traditional straight action movies. Director J.J. Abrams is well known for being the co-creator and director of the famous television series Lost, but his directorial career for films is rather short; the only other film he directed was Mission: Impossible III. This worried many fans of the Star Trek series, as someone who wrote the atrocity that is Armageddon now holds their beloved series. Abrams made them proud, however, as he captured the essence of the series and brought it back to life. Initially slated to come out December 25, 2008, Paramount delayed it to May to appeal to a wider audience. They were successful, as Star Trek was easily the best summer action movie. Moreover, it is probably the best movie to be released this year.

Angels & Demons tones down controversy, but diverts from novel

troyQUEZADA• editor in chief

Adapted from the Dan Brown book and directed by Ron Howard, Angels & Demons aims to please. photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

While Angels and Demons is not nearly as provocative as its predecessor The Da Vinci Code, it still provides good talking points on the supposed “war” between science and religion and does a fantastic job of putting religion in perspective when it comes to the “relentless march of science.” The film begins when Dr. Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) receives a visit from Vatican police about a possible threat against the Catholic Church, from an ancient enemy. Together with brilliant scientist Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer), Langdon hunts down the assassin in order to try and stop him from executing his plans. While the acting seemed choppy at best, the movie is a contender to win the award for the Worst Film Adaptation ever. The film is reminiscent of the book, but be aware that you are expecting too much if you anticipate a verbatim recreation.

However, the film brilliantly replicates the sights of Rome, most of which were off-limits to crews. The recreation of the Sistine Chapel, as well as the Vatican, are outstanding and serve as one of the high points of the film. Most plot lines remained intact, and the film was easy to follow. Much like his other film, Frost/Nixon, director Ron Howard utilizes hand-held cameras efficiently, and effectively portrays a symbol of urgency with use of the devices. Still, with some scenes, particularly with time, it seems hard to believe that someone can almost be killed at 9:00, and still be in time for the Vatican debriefing at 9:10; save that for James Bond. Some scenes don’t translate well, but these scenes are few and far between. Overall, while the film doesn’t always follow the novel, Angels & Demons is a fast paced suspense/action flick that delivers only when it needs to.

may • 2009


page • 17

“Don’t Stop Believin’” in Glee troyQUEZADA • editor in chief

A Terminator lays broken and shattered, much like director McG’s career, in Terminator Salvation, easily the biggest disaster in 21st century film making. photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

Terminator Salvation is $200 million wasted seanMYERLY • reporter

People all across the world heard Christian Bale’s five-minute rant on the set of Terminator Salvation after a light operator distracted him during a scene and he threatened to break the lights. Some protested and vowed to boycott anything with his name attached to it. It’s no surprise that he was so angry. We should all forgive him, as he was sucked into working on director McG’s Terminator Salvation disaster. McG ruined the Terminator franchise with this joke of a sequel, managing to deplete Salvation from all character development to the point where you could care less about anyone. Only a director like McG could do this to a series that has three other successful movies and a television series under its belt. Did you dislike Bale’s voice as Batman in The Dark Knight? Too bad, that’s all he uses in Terminator Salvation. After Skynet, a computer system, becomes self-aware and revolts against its creator, a nuclear holocaust commences in which the terminators wage a war against the humans. The machines try to exterminate the humans, who band together to create the Resistance. The plot line is typical for a movie in this series. When you get a bad writer/director combo, anything can be screwed up. Writers John D. Brancto and Michael Ferris have a less-than-impressive track record, including Primeval and Catwoman. McG also directed Charlie’s Angels and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, and his terrible cinematography is even more prevalent in Terminator Salvation. Only McG could make such a bad film with a $200 million budget. The CGI in the film started off amazing, but it became progressively worse as the movie progressed. Arnold “The Gov-

ernator” Schwarzenegger was completely computer generated, and they burned his face off early because the budget was clearly depleted. It’s sad that many of the most expensive movies are the biggest disappointments; Wolverine, Knowing and Fast and Furious have been on that list, and now Terminator Salvation is a sorry addition. With a budget of $200 million, I cannot see where it all went. From my estimate, it must have gone something like this: -$150 million for special effects. -$25 million for baiting Christian Bale into a bad role. -$24 million for great trailer and amaz- ing marketing despite the falsity. Where did the other $1 million go? -$500,000 for catering. -$499,999 spent on action figures for McGto play with. -$1 for scripting. Or maybe Christian Bale really did trash the lights and they had to spend $200 million to replace them. With an economy like this, why is Warner Bros. spending a quarter of a billion dollars on something that fell so hard? It’s like investing in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last summer. Christian Bale hasn’t always picked the best scripts. Among his notable failures are Reign of Fire and Shaft. Sure he hit it big with the great American Psycho and the boxoffice hit The Dark Knight, but Terminator Salvation’s failure overshadows much of the good he has done in the past couple years. Terminator Salvation was one of the most anticipated films this year, and I wanted to love it. The problem is that when a movie is this mind-numbingly stupid, I feel insulted for supporting such a hack artist. It’s almost as if McG had a commentary after the credits saying “Ha! Thanks for monetarily green lighting the sequel!”

I can’t tell you the last time I actually enjoyed a show and was entertained at the same time. Glee, written by the head-writer of the FX hit, Nip/Tuck, scores big in the new show about a high school glee club (show choir), and its effects on its underrated cast. A series of unknowns are cast in the overnight sensation, including Canadian actor Cory Monteith and Broadway actress Lea Michele as the two protagonists. Matthew Morrison is ingenious as the glee club teacher, himself a former star of his high school show choir. The plot centers around a group of underdog high school kids as they sign up for a reincarnation of their Ohio high school glee club. They each discover their true passion in singing, only the school doesn’t think so, so the teacher (Morrison) must recruit “popular” kids to drum up support; in comes Monteith as Finn Hudson, the star quarterback. While it does sound corny and overdone, Ryan Murphy does an excellent job of twisting the cliché into a valid, flowing script. Each actor seems natural in his role, and onscreen chemistry seems legit. Look for some of the most entertaining minor characters you have ever seen in a series. Jayma Mays is hilarious as a germaphobic school counselor who guides Mr. Schuester (Morrison) into leading the club, and Jane Lynch is fabulous as the head coach of the cheerleading club (she has some of the

funniest lines in the series; when her cheerleaders aren’t doing a good job, what does she say? “You think this is hard? Try getting waterboarded, that’s hard!”). Jessalyn Gilsig (Boston Public) is a nice foil to Mr. Schuester’s character and she plays his craftaddicted wife (all her money goes to a Pottery Barn credit card). Still, look for some of the best covers of classics in a long time. Both Michele and Monteith’s cover of “Don’t Stop Believin’” is excellent (available on iTunes), as is a rival Glee Club’s cover of “Rehab.” And, producers say more covers are on the way, all of which will be available on iTunes. Based on these first episode renditions, it’s fair to call some of these actors singers, as well. The show will premiere September 16, and the first episode is available on iTunes (free) or on Check their Twitter on for the latest info on the series. With any luck, this show will develop a following and endure for a while.

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may • 2009

New album sees ‘Relapse’ to Eminem’s Slim Shady days

Palahniuk’s Pygmy falls short The cult author’s latest release, billed as a harsh skewering of American culture, fails to live up to the hype. collinHUNT• copy editor

Author Chuck Palahniuk, known for his distinct, nihilistic brand of humor, attempts to subvert society as we know it with each novel; however, his newest release, Pygmy, falls short, leaving the reader wondering at Palahniuk’s true intentions. The novel is the story of a 13 year-old terrorist operative from an unknown country who flies to an unspecified American city to wreak havoc, along with dozens of his comrades, in the American heartland. Antics ensue as Palahniuk portrays everything from the WalMart pet aisle to a devout Baptist church through the eyes of one of the people who tries to destroy our society.

page • 18

seanMYERLY• reporter


There is a fine line between funny and offensive, and as usual, Palahniuk skirts, and occasionally steps over, that line with ease. However, the main fault with the book is that it doesn’t go far enough. What began as a satire of American xenophobia, which Palahniuk points out may be completely justified, turns into a sappy, jingoistic lovefest by the last few pages. While Pygmy is a worthwhile read for Palahniuk fans, there is a distinct possibility that it might turn away half of those fans by the ending. But then again, perhaps this is all part of Palahniuk’s counterculture plot: subverting our notions of what his books should be.

Relapse could not be a more appropriate title for Eminem’s latest album. Released May 19, the CD takes us back to Eminem’s original sound and down the road of lyrical dysfunction. With constant references to Valium, Methadone, marijuana and alcohol, the verses reveal that Mathers has relapsed in more ways than one.  With Relapse, Eminem returns to the days when he really was Slim Shady. Encore, released almost five years ago, was Mathers’ worst piece of work, and critics feared that this would be an extension of that mediocrity.  These worries were given credibility by terrible choices of singles to release: We Made You and 3am. Out of context, these songs make little sense and seem like they were bonus tracks instead of Eminem’s real offering. 

Though it seems difficult for a song to be out of context in a CD based around the same subject, Relapse follows a story that starts with the abuse and ends with the rebirth of Slim Shady, Eminem and Marshall Mathers. With the introduction track, Dr. West, Eminem establishes that this is an album that accounts for Mathers’ five years when he was AWOL from the music scene. In the introduction alone, it draws the listener in, running into 3am, which explains how his drug problem affected his life and influenced his works. This is a verbal memoir by Marshall Mathers who, for the first time, talks about the death of his best friend, rapper and fellow D12 member Proof, in 2006. He relates that his drug problem was extremely problematic after Proof died, and that you lose proof, so you use. At 36, Mathers needs to

photo courtesy of interscope records

determine if he will move on from his signature immature manner that has carried with him since his first album, The Slim Shady LP, debuted over a decade ago. Even though Relapse is a great surprise for most people, is it that people genuinely like this album, or is this simply his first bearable

release in a long time? While Relapse is a good album, it’s mediocre when compared to Mathers’ other offerings; however, the real surprise lies in that Eminem has persuaded us to relapse our tastes, ultimately making us forget all about Encore.

Outliers explores unquantifiable contributors to success fernandaVAZQUEZ• features editor

From the #1 bestselling author of The Tipping Point and Blink, comes Malcolm Gladwell’s third thoughtprovoking novel, Outliers: The Story of Success. A dose of Gladwell drive, motivation, hard work and confidence are characteristics that are essential for succeeding – or at least they are what society stresses. However, sometimes success is beyond a person’s control and lies deeply under the roots of that person’s ethnicity, culture, or even birthday, Gladwell says. As introduced in the novel, Chris Langan grew up in a broken household in Montana with a stepfather that repeatedly abused him. Although he grew up in poverty, he has been labeled as “the smartest man in America,” with an IQ between 195 and 210 - higher than Einstein’s. Despite his astonishing

intelligence, he never succeeded. Why are there many ambitious human beings with Einstein minds not worth one million dollars? Gladwell may have found the missing piece of the puzzle. He explains the contributions of different circumstances in society and how those circu mstances shape a person’s future. Through all the nine chapters, Gladwell utilizes different examples, interviews, intriguing information and discoveries that will shift the way you view success. But don’t mistake this novel for an encyclopedia coated with facts and the tales of the poster boys of success. Gladwell’s direct writing style opens each chapter with the story of an individual or group’s accomplishment, such as the atypical generation of New York Jews that were born during the 20th century, and later transitions to the details that molded this abnormal realization. Chapter 2 introduces Bill Gates, applauded for his massive success as the master of the software world. Gladwell then flashbacks to

Seattle, where Gates’ high school happened to have a computer club that was extremely rare at the time. Gates had the rare opportunity to use the computers at the University of Washington, which happened to have free computer time between three and six in the morning. By the time Gates dropped out of Harvard after his second year, he already had more than 10,000 hours worth of experience as a programmer before starting his own company. Astonishingly, the Beatles got in 10,000 hours of practice in Hamburg strip clubs before becoming one of the most well-known bands worldwide. Gladwell also reveals the similarity between professional hockey players and their birthdays or how well a pilot’s conduct has to do with the culture he or she was raised in. Gladwell demonstrates the other side of success. His influential and thoughtprovoking analysis will have you questioning just how much is depended on the individual, and not its surroundings. For more information or to read interviews on Gladwell and his novels, visit

Why are there many ambitious human beings with Einstein minds not worth one million dollars?

may • 2009


page • 19

Girls’ track makes history dominiqueEGGER• reporter

A shiny, new district trophy now sits among the rest of the awards. On Apr. 18, for the first time in school history, the girls’ varsity track team won the district meet by a landslide. But for some, it is not over yet. The regional meet on May 21-24will decide who will advance to state It was not an easy road, the runners and coaches say. “Hanks has had such a strong team, and this year was no different,” track coach Daniel Rosales said. “Their coach always has them ready. They have won districts so many years in a row, they always seem to have momentum going into the season.” But even Hanks could not bring the team down. “I put faith in myself, in my coach, and of course in my teammates,” junior hurdler Christine Holbrook said. “When I felt like giving up, I pushed harder. Like my coach always says, ‘The best time to practice is when you don’t want to.’” The team began the season at the bottom of the school rankings, but over the weeks, they came out on top. “We just seemed more focused this year,” Rosales said. “The main difference was that last year the girls knew we had a shot at winning districts. This year there were no excuses.” The varsity team said they tried their best, and in the end, it paid off. “My biggest competition was myself,” Holbrook said. “Not

because I’m the best, but because track is a very mental sport. If you believe in yourself and push yourself, you can win.” With 10 varsity runners qualifying for regionals and a new trophy, everyone is proud of this year’s accomplishments. “Running onto the field to get our trophy definitely held the greatest joy,” senior sprinter Shelby Kuyawa said. Sophomore Kimberly Escobar feels the same way, especially after qualifying in the 4 x 200. “It was an amazing experience to be the first [Franklin] team to win districts,” Escobar said. “We’re the first team at Franklin to make history. Even with the intense competition at the regional meet, Rosales is still hopeful. “Rachael Mack is our best chance at going to state,” Rosales said. “I believe she has been ranked in the top 3 in the state in Long Jump and Triple Jump all year. She is ranked 4th in the 100 at Regionals. If she performs like she has done all year she will be making the trip to Austin.” At the district meet, Mack qualified in five events, the most of all participating athletes, including the 4 x 100, 100, 200, long jump, and triple jump. Adriana Rodriguez came in as a close second, qualifying in five different events. Everyone feels the team did their best and is confident for next year’s season. “These girls are amazing athletes but most of all they are strongly

Senior Adriana Rodriguez, also known as A-Rod, placed in five events at the district meet. photo by Briana Sanchez

motivated,” Holbrook said. “Their determination combined with their talent gives us an amazing team. We are all very hard working and there is no way we would go back to districts without a fight. That’s cougar pride.” Rosales is also proud of what the girls have done this year. “Track is such a unique sport because it does not go on wins and loses during a season, its all about how you do that day. Our girls did their best that day,” Rosales said. “Some were disappointed, but you could see it in their faces when they were running that they were giving it everything they had. Did Franklin do its best? This is the first time the varsity girls have ever won a district championship. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

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A triple jump of 45 feet, 9 inches at regionals earned junior Andres Estrada a spot at state, to take place on June 5-6 in Austin. photo by Chance Bunnell

Heavy medals Junior jumper heads for state

nicholasZEBROWSKI • reporter

Junior Andres Estrada is no stranger to jumping. When he has a spare moment he can often be seen doing Capoeira, a Brazilian mixture of martial arts and dance. He executes flips that only a few others can do. On May 22, Estrada added another thing to a list of things few others can do, jump 45 feet, 9 inches. His triple jump distance was enough to earn him a second place berth at the regional meet held in Lubbock and a trip to the state meet, which will be held June 5-6 in Austin. “When I arrived, I was seeded 4th place in the triple jump,” Estrada said. “I wanted to focus on whatever event I had a chance in, and that event was triple jump because I knew I had a chance there.” However, Estrada wasn’t given a chance; he had to work for it. “I felt really out of shape and weak at the beginning of the year going into the season, but as the season progressed, I started to regain my strength and eventually I got better and better,” Estrada said. “It was extremely hard to get better.” The difficulty only motivated Estrada more. “I had to do a lot of intense workouts just to get back into shape, and then I had to do more work so that I could actually get better,” he said. “I took it as my motivation.” Although the rigorous work ethic and unyielding dedication were factors in his success, Estrada was aided by another unlikely factor: the Swine Flu. “Even though the Swine Flu took a toll on a lot of people, it helped me because the amount of time we got after district was long enough for me to train longer and harder,” Estrada said. “I got to the top of my game which was a great advantage.” Despite the successful performance, Estrada contends that he did not do as well as he could have. “I made a little error in that jump [at the regional meet] and it put me at a disadvantage to the guy that beat me,” Estrada said. “I don’t think I’ll have that disadvantage at state because before state I can make all the little corrections I need to make my technique perfect. I want to be 110% .” In order to be victorious on the track, a runner must have more than just mechanical rehearsal of technique. “I think what helps me be successful is that I have the heart and dedication to win state,” Estrada said “I have a great school to represent, no I take it back, I have the best school to represent so I want to do it to the best of my ability.” However, Estrada does not take all of the credit for his success. “Without my coaches, Hady, Felix, and Paul, I probably wouldn’t have made it out of the district,” he said. “It’s not my victory to take because I didn’t do it alone.”

may • 2009


page • 20

Music, art come alive onstage

joelHEMMERT• reporter

Using circular props that resemble the classic painting “Several Circles,” Fusion dancer Edna Ibarra illuminates the stage and brings Kandinsky’s artwork to life. all photos by Briana Sanchez

Fine arts merge, produce show kathrynBOHLE• reporter

It’s late in the evening and a lone artist is down in his study. Brushes are flying and a picture is forming on the canvas. The artist, driven by instinct alone, fills a dark background with colors and swirling geometric shapes. All the while, a melodic harmony is whistling through the air embracing Wassily Kandinsky and his new masterpiece, “Several Circles.” Another artist twenty years later is walking down the street and sees a band on the side with an open tuba case, playing for tips. After studying the art of the psychologically disturbed and finding a new passion for naïve and primitive art forms, the new masterpiece (“Jazz Band”) of Jean Dubuffet is completed. Most likely, Kandinsky and Dubuffet never imagined that almost one hundred years later, a group of high school artists would be putting together a production to bring these paintings to life. The paintings for this production were specifically chosen because of their composition and the conditions in which they were painted pertaining to music. “The interesting thing about Kandinsky was that while he painted and created his work, he actually did listen to music. That was the reason for [choosing] Kandinsky,” art teacher Barbara Antebi said. “The Dubuffet was chosen because it’s an image of jazz musicians playing.” The 8th Annual AP Art Show houses a variety of different arts: jazz band, theater, guitar, dance, and art. “We received a grant from the El Paso Jazz Connection to do an educational initiative where we use the entire fine arts to bring the paintings to life,” Antebi said. Antebi and dance teacher Pamela Turley collaborated to put on a similar production eight years ago,

the last time a show like this was done. “We did two paintings at that time,” Antebi said. “It wasn’t quite as extensive. We didn’t have scripts written and we didn’t have original composition.” This year, theater teacher John Poteat, guitar teacher Stefan Schyga, and jazz band director Bruce Beach have all joined the artistic entourage. “The reason we wanted to do it was so that the student body would begin to understand that nothing in life is just a solo entity. Especially in the art world, it encompasses you and pulls you in from different things,” Antebi said. “Like you go see a show in the theater and it’s not just the music, it’s not just the script, it’s not just the dancers, it’s not just the scenery, or the costumes or the make up. It’s a compromise of everything together.” Poteat, who has to write short skits to start off and end each piece, favors the program. “It’s a great project and something which should be done more often,” Poteat said.Turley, who is responsible for choreographing two dances for the show, is also an advocate for merging the arts and being well rounded art-wise. “This is a wonderful format for students to share their work with the public and help the students improve their skill and relationship with their work,” Turley said. “All art is so interactive and we see this as two contemporary paintings being put together through dance, art, theater, and music.” Turley has run into obstacles throughout the process of choreographing though. “[It has been] challenging to have to bring a picture to life, stay true to that picture, and have the music written and chosen for you,” Turley said. “I’m used to choosing the costumes and music, so it’s a bit limiting as an artist, but it’s fun and challenging at the same time.”

Junior Moriah Momsen, senior Kara Ortiz, and sophomore Jessica Muñoz

Seniors Sarah Baker, Jorge Horcasitas, and junior Emily Rodriguez

The jazz band and four guitarists were given the task to make a couple of classic paintings come alive. On May 22, Franklin artists hosted the 8th annual AP art show and the jazz band, four guitarists, art students, and dance students made art come alive through their interpretations of two different paintings. “This is a collaboration with the art, band, guitar, and dance departments,” jazz band director Bruce Beach said. “We have chosen a piece of music that we feel fits [the painting we were asked to interpret].” The jazz band interpreted “Several Circles,” the masterpiece created by Russian artist, Wassily Kandinsky. “We decided [to interpret the painting through the song “Moanin’” by Charles Mingus],” Beach said. “It was a simple piece that the jazz band had already performed this year and everyone liked it, so it worked out.” The intent of “Moanin’” is to evokes images that relate the painting for students who have never seen it. “[The song “Moanin’”] reminds me of circles, street lights, and somehow the moon and cocktails,” junior jazz band player Christian Chesanek said. Four guitar students, Cesar De LaVega, Ashley Lucero, Abraham Fragoso and Abraham Larena, also interpreted a painting entitled “Jazz Band” by Jean Dubuffet in an original musical composition. “We showed the painting to the guitar students and they wrote the music to the painting,” guitar teacher Stefan Schyga said. “We also gave the music to the dancers and they [created] a dance to go along with the music.” De La Vega had an instantaneous reaction to Dubuffet’s “Jazz Band,” which portrays jazz musicians playing various instruments. “When I saw the painting, I immediately wanted to start snapping my fingers and got an upright base thing going in my head,” De La Vega said. “I thought of something fun to listen to - not too busy, but not too slow.” The student-produced song merged a variety of styles. “The song is a mix of bossa nova, swing, and jazz,” Lucero said. “It has a lot of our own influences, so in a way it came out with our own soul to it.” Art teacher Barbara Antebi advocated the merge of fine arts, so that students could obtain a better understanding of what life encompasses. “The reason we wanted to do this was so that the student body would begin to understand that nothing in life is just a solo entity,” Antebi said. “It’s a compromise of everything together.”

Junior Arlene Navarrette

The Chronicle: Vol. 16, Issue 6 - May 2009  

Volume 16, Issue 6

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