Lamar Life: Volume 21, Issue 6

Page 1



of the

Houston Rodeo A

Story by Brooklyn Carmona Spread by Annie Frietsch

fter two years of long awaited “yee-haws” and cowboyboots,theHoustonRodeohasfinally returned! The rodeo had been canceled and closed down the last two years due to COVID precautions. With the COVID vaccine out, it encouraged the reopening of the rodeo. “Thistimewasofficiallymyfirsttimegoingtotherodeo, and it was very fun and a unique experience to me,” 11th grade math teacher, Yuanxin Li said. “It’s something really unique to do in Texas, especially in Houston.” As the rodeo comes back, swarming crowds of eager Photo by Brooklyn Carmona Houstonians ready for carnival foods, rides, adorable animals, concerts, come along with it. “In the beginning, the crowd wasn’t that much,” junior Joshua Torres said. “It’s expected to have a lot of people, of course, but once it came to the concert time, it was like all you saw were just cowboy hats. It was a lot at the end.” Withsuchbigcrowdsflowingintowatch per formers, you may expect lines to be long at food stations and rides, but they were rather quick and efficientaccordingtoTorres. “Some vendors were really popular and had really long lines,” Li said. “But overall, the lines for food and for the rides were okay, and I didn’t really spend too much time waiting. There were just a lot of people walking around.” Other than the concerts, most of the crowd migrated to the food courts. Long lines of hungry patrons piled up and overlapped. It looked more like a mosh pit rather than lines in some cases, but Li argues the food was very much worth it. “I loved it,” Li said. “There was a lot of Texan food. I ordered the barbeque plate because nothing is more Texan than that I think. I ordered that Photo by Brooklyn Carmona and also shared the extra large turkey leg since I


couldnotfinishthatmyself.ItOther wasthan the sweet and savory delicious.” delectables of the rodeo, the rides, While some may argue that the games and fun houses were also food being sold at the rodeo wasn’t enjoyed by those who are more into worth the prices, others say they that sort of thrill and excitement. were not just worth it, but part of “My friend and I did this fun Texas culture. house, a scary one, and it wasn’t ”One thing I noticed about that scary, but we just acted like southern culture is that you guys it was so horrifying so we just know how to deep fry stuff,” Li screamed,” Torres said. “And I said. “In California, everything went to this coaster called the Crawas about avocados, kale and chia zy Coaster, it’s not that crazy but seeds. I think you’d have to be on we just screamed our lungs out acta diet if you go to California but ing like it was. The carnival games here, in Texas, everything is deep were also fun because I won, so fried.” that was pretty hype.”

Photos by Brooklyn Carmona

All in all, there are many things to explore at the rodeo, from fried oreos to pigs feeding their young. Students and teachers can agree that the rodeo is an exciting yearly experience, and are pleased with its return. “My favorite part is the overall experience of culture,” Li said. “You would never expect to see anything like this [in California] because the lifestyles are so different. I really like to experience the culture here in Texas, including the cowboy hats and the boots.”


Story by Marie Fisher

Benito Toscano:

New Teacher of the Year (-8, 5)

(8, 5)


(-8, 0)


ew Teacher of the Year Benito Toscano knows that student success is not attainable without good guidance and support, which he strives to provide to his math students. The Beginning Teacher of the Year award seeks a candidate who hold the respect and admiration of their students and serve as a role model within the community. “Mr. Toscano is notorious for the energy and humor he brings into the classroom, keeping students engaged and helping students take ownership of their own education to help them obtain a positive outlook on mathematics,” senior Brinden “Cyran” Mireles said. The best teachers are available for assistance but each student’s education is ultimately their own responsibility. It may seem as if some course content is irrelevant to life after high school, but many are wise enough to argue otherwise. “Toscano gives students a wider perspective on the subject,” Mireles said. “He teaches the mandated material, but provides insight as to why it is.”

(8, 0)

When stepping into his classroom, students are excited to learn. Toscano takes a subject, one that is highly unliked by some, and makes it fun and engaging. So, when the question is asked: “When will I ever use this in my life?” The answer is that, truthfully, math is in everything. From engineering to paying bills or calculating the insanely high cost of fuel for that upcoming summer road trip, math skills are underrated. “I have loved math since I was a kid, as it always came more naturally to me,” Toscano said. “I totally stole this quote from Mean Girls, but I love how math is the same in every country and every language.” Astherecipientofthisaward,Toscanorefle his teaching skills, connections and his achievements. “I think students see me as someone who works hard to help them understand a subject that has a very bad reputation,” Toscano said. “I always make time to try to talk to each of my students so that I can get to know them and form some relationships with the class. Especially coming off of COVID learning, I feel as though I’m just trying to have the kids feel a sense of normalcy.”

students. “Her energy in class is my favorite thing about her, there’s not a dull moment,” junior Mika Meissner said. Teachers aren’t always recognized for their contribution to students’ learning. They help students obtain information and expand their learning on different topics, but there’s much more behind the job. In the six years that Hicks has been here, the effort she puts into teaching and guiding students to understanding, as well as the hard work to make genuine connections with students and staff, are prime examples that she deserves to be our 2022 Teacher of the Year. “It’s an honor,” Hicks said. “There are a lot of good teachers at Lamar, I know there are people involved in many different clubs, organizations, etc. So, for me, I feel very proud to be considered Teacher of the Year this year,” Hicks said. Mentors allow people to communicate and learn from each other.They see where you need to improve and assist you along the way. During her teaching career, Hicks has had some amazing mentors that have guided her. They taught her valuable skills which have helped her grow as a person and as a teacher. By supporting her every step of the way, they lead her to be an amazing teacher, which contributes to this accomplishment. “One of the aspects that I love about this career is that every year, even every day, is a different experience with new rewards and challenges,” Hicks said. When students attend her class, Hicks creates a classroom environment that is fun and informative. By doing something different every class, she strives to make her class be a place where the students are excited to attend. She keeps the students engaged by picking out books that they are interested in reading, as well as giving the students several different topics to talk about. “I want my students to read books that are relevant to both their lives, and what’s going on in the current world,” Hicks said. “I’m lucky because I get to teach English. My goal is every class, every day, there’s something different.”


of the


Story by Elizabeth Kortum

Shelby Hicks


fter graduating from college, Shelby Hicks went and taught at an international school in Madrid, Spain. While she was there, she taught English, Science, History and Art class, as well as their woodshop class. Currently, she is the English teacher for the neighborhood 11B


On your park, get set,


Story by Ben Newman



f someone was to check out the school website This studnet has also witnessed their fair share of to see what our lovely school has to offer in mishaps in the parking garage. terms of parking accommodations they would “I’ve seen accidents happen with people trying to see a total of seven words: “‘PARKING’ Last park and they run into and they rear end other cars,” ModifiedonAugust31,20.”Thisvagueandcryp - Anonymous said. tic announcement begs the question: What is Lamar The parking situation as a whole is not very popuparking actually like? lar with the student body as sophomore Fiona Massey 10th grade English teacher Kyle Alfred has an inter- explains. esting comment on the parking situation. “It’s really horrible because there is not a lot of “Ihavedefinitelyalmostgottenrunover, access ”Alred for students who don’t have a parking garage said. spot or a spot at the church or have $200 a semester to Alred elaborated, speaking to the situation in more park there which is obligated for seniors and juniors,” broad terms. Massey said. “TheparkingsituationatLamarisfine - inThe the students mornnot lucky enough to get a spot in the ingbutleavingisverydifficult,”Alredsaid. garage “Ilive havetofindparkingonthestreet,whichcan about three blocks from Lamar become very competitive. and it takes me 35 minutes to get “Every morning I have to get home.” to the street I park on early and This has the This is an issue multiple one time I got there and all of the potential to teachers face, including French spots were taken and so I had to teacher Simon Chardey, who is park even farther,” Massey said. become passionate about the whole ordeal. “And one time I had to park in dangerous, “Ifcarsareflowingthrough a 2 hour parking spot because thattraffic,allofthosecars at the everything else was taken and I especially when exit have to stop until there’s no gotatrafficviolation.” nobody really more cars there,” Chardey said. This has potential to even “The police surveillance helps become dangerous, especially knows what some of the time but they are not when nobody really knows what they’re doing always there and as a consequence they’re doing when it comes to some people may come late and parking. when it comes they’ll spend 10 minutes outside “They [Lamar students] are just waiting to get in.” horrendous at parking but so am to parking. Chardey then detailed his own I, so it’s okay,” Massey said. personal experience struggling to This has led to several close get out of the parking garage. encounters with danger as “There was a time where I had to leave and pick Massey explained. up my daughters from their school, but was delayed “I have almost got into so many accidents beby the amount of time I spent in the garage” Chardey cause the people here are so bad at driving and don’t said. “By the time I left I was charged around 20 or 25 know how to drive,” Massey said. “My sister has even dollars.” gotten into an accident here.” Chardey’s grievances extend beyond time concerns. To prevent future accidents Alred has some sugHe also spoke of safety within the parking garage. gestions for all that use the parking garage. “Oftentimes, I spend lunch break in the garage so I “People need to be responsible adults and kids,” get to see quite a bit and kids speed up like they don’t Alred said. “If they had more people out there conknow the speed limits,” Chardey said. trollingtrafficattheendoftheschoolday,especia Chardey’s parking concerns were proven valid by right where the interest is, it would probably be better. an anonymous source who admitted to recent driving ButIknowthatourtrafficofficersareoftenpulled mishaps. away to deal with other situations. So, that’s an issue “I hit two different cars in the parking garage while that hopefully can be resolved.” they were both parked,” Anonymous said.




n April 2, Muslims alcohol, smoking and swearing. If across the globe prayed any days are missed then it must be theirwayintothefirst made up. day of Ramadan or as it’s formally Finally, breaking the fast at known, Ramadan Mubarak. 7:42 p.m. at the time of the fourth Onthefirstday,Muslimslocated prayer, Maghrib, happens. Dates in Houston will wake up around 45 are commonly eaten each morning minutestoanhourbeforeofficially before fasting begins and in the starting their fast at 6:03 a.m. and evening when fasting breaks betheirfirstprayer:Fajr. cause they are good for keeping the Ramadan was established as a body full and providing nutrition. way to empathize with those who At the end of Ramadan, there is struggletofindtheirnextmeal. a big celebration It called Eid al-Fitr was also established as a month of and this year it will be held May 2. forgiveness; any mistakes made It starts off with a prayer and is folcould be redeemed or forgotlowed by a big feast. Afterwards, tenthroughthefiveprayers everyone and will gather around and through Eid. ask for forgiveness from the elders. During this time nothing is to Most Muslims start Ramadan be consumed, including gum, any young, however, it’s harder for a sort of mints and water. There are child to go a full day of fasting. also things that are forbidden at Children instead do a half day, still all times, even when breaking the waking up at the designated time fast. This includes consumption of but breaking their fast at noon.


Once they are used to it, they do a full day. Every year Ramadan is pushed back two weeks and this year will bethefirstoneafterCOVID-19. Mosques are opening back up, which means people can pray and celebrate Eid the traditional way. I’ve personally been fasting sinceIwasfiveorsix-years-old. I’ve also been in sports my whole life, so I’ve had to learn to adjust. Some days I would be able to go through sports while fasting and then other days I would fast during school and break it before practice or a competition. Fasting is not easy as it forces us to lose two basic necessities, eating and drinking. However, it teaches us to be grateful and not take anything for granted.

World Religions class travels to mosque


Story by Mikal Nazarani

n April 14, World Relife. Fisher, it is one of more pressing ligions teacher David “It can be hard to conceptualize religions in terms of understanding Fisher decided to break religion sometimes, but going to its practices and ideologies from a up the rigid monotony of the school a place of worship makes it that more in depth, educated perspecday by taking his two Religions much more real,” senior Henry tive. classesonaquick,walkingfield Morgan said. “It is important to teach Islam trip to the ISGH River Oaks IslamWhile there students were also because of the misconceptions that ic Center. given the opportunity to tour the are present,” Fisher said. “The maThis trip to the Mosque not only space, with the main attraction jority of what students know from offered the students some fresh air, the prayer hall. There, the Imam Islam comes from the news, which but also gave them the opportunity performed the Arabic recitation of is rarely positive.” to further delve into the vast relithefirstverseoftheQuran,Surah From a broader perspective, gion that is Islam. Students interAl-Fatiha. Fisher thinks studying the world’s acted with some knowledgeable “The visit to the prayer room religions in general is an important figureswithinthefaith. was the most powerful part,” and necessary facet of furthering “It was impactful in the sense Fisher said. “You can’t deny the one’s education. that students got a more genuine power in the room when the Imam “Religion shapes the world we sense of Islam from the Imam than performed the prayer, even if you live in to a great degree, whether they would from me,” Fisher said. don’t understand the language.” you’re religious or not,” Fisher “The people there were very recepMorgan echoed a similar sentisaid. “You don’t have to be relitive to us.” ment in his appraisal of the tour. gious to be affected by some of the At the Islamic Center, students “I really enjoyed seeing the major faiths in the world on a daily got to hear from the Imam, a title prayer room, I wish we could’ve basis. So, to understand where generally given to the leader of spent more time there,” Morgan these faiths are coming from are worship within the Mosque. The said. “While I didn’t understand the incredibly important in opening Imam spoke to the students of the language of the prayer call, I could one’s mind and understanding why fundamentals of the faith, listing still see how inspiring it is.” people from a certain faith see the offthefivepillarsofIslamandIslam was one of the larger units world a certain way.” their implementations within daily taught within Fisher’s class. For


Story by Taylor Kemp

Tennis aces Districts “I am really excited to be kera, who played mixed douplaying at State, especially bebles, placed second. cause this is my last year playing “I was playing with my sister high school tennis,” Koong said. and we played mixed doubles,” he “I’m really grateful to Coach Mikail said. “For this one, I Clary for all her support this didn’t prepare at all. I havyear. I really could not have en’t played tennis in like three tennis season made it this far without her.” months because I hurt my knee recently came to an At Districts, the tennis team really bad. So, I’ve been injured end, with many players won District Champion in boys for a while and I just had a protaking home the title of singles, boys doubles and mixed cedure done one it like a couple District Champions. doubles. weeks ago.” “I’m really proud of the “Winning districts this year is Many players appreciate boys,” Coach Jenna Clary really exciting,” senior Sophia the opportunity to play in high said.“WegotfirstplaceinRassin said, who was the District school, which brings a unique boys singles and boys doubles, Champion in mixed doubles. team aspect. andwegotfirstandsecond“It’s in definitelysomething - Iwant “Since tennis is such an mixed doubles. So, they were ed to do especially because it’s individual sport, it’s realdefinitelyveryfocusedand my senior year. We have not sent ly nice to kind of get a team committed when it came time to someone to State in a really long aspect through school,” Rassactually put in the work. They time, so we are doing the best we in said.”The tournaments are were willing to try their hardest.” can and trying to do better than always so nerve wracking, so At Regionals, senior Alex last years.” it’s just so much more relaxed to Koong won and will be advancAlong with the District Cham- have your teammates cheering ing to State. pions, senior Mikail Wijesekera for you. It just makes everything and freshman Mischa Wijeseso much more fun.”



Hole in Won: Golf takes home District title

Story by Ava Fisher

Spread by Annie Frietsch


he golf teams ended their season with a very successful District tournament. Thegirlsteamwonfirstoverallasa team, with senior Colombe Emal-Langrandplacingfirstindividuallyand sophomore Yana Zabarov placing second individually. The boys team placed second overall as a team, but sophomore Stephen Hernandezwonfirstplaceindividually. “I think the monumental experience was that I tied my personal record,” Emal-Langrand said. “So, that was really nice especially with it being the last tournament of my senior season. From this experience, I just want to take the memories. It’s my last game, my last tournament of my high school career. It was just a good note to end on. It feels great. Like not only knowing, I did it by myself, but I could do it with my team.” Coach Gary Kansas credits the team’s success to the players. “Personally, the kids played,” Kansas said. “I just put them in position to do the best they can and helped them with the best stuff like uniforms and ball and bags and stuff like that. So, it’s really all them. I’m giving them all the credit. I am very proud of Lamar that we can say we have the District Champion in the entire district at our school.” These results took much practice and effort,” junior John Thweatt said. “The golf team practices every other day for two hours. Practice makes perfect. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how good you are naturally, if you don’t practice. I mean, the results that you want just aren’t going to be there.”


Story by Brooklyn Slie

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime Theater places fourth at UIL competition


heaterhadtheirfirst “I think we were very successful All the hard work that was put performance of the with it,” Carpentier said. “I loved into the play can be a lot to hanproduction titled, “The the entire production and I thought dle, but all of the actors and crew Curious Incident of the itsparkedalotofinterest. managed Itdefito do it all and still put on Dog in the Nighttime” on March nitely brought our community of a great performance. fourth and placed fourth in the UIL actors together to really produce a “It’s a very physical thing, as competition. They recived alternate well made show.” well as a mental thing,” Newman advancement as only top three go Carpentier stated that he thought said. “And it can be really exhaustto the next level, meaning if anoth- there were many different ways ing.” er UIL team can’t perform, they’ll to present this play and the story Carpentier stated that even with be able to. it tells and that there were many all of the success the play got, there Even though the performance things that they could do as a cast were some issues that they faced and performers weren’t able to to help the students step up their while preparing for the perfor advance all the way, there were mance. performers who were able to “There were many chal win awards, like sophomore Ben lenges,” Carpentier said. Newman, who won the All-Star “We couldn’t get into the Cast Award. performance hall when we “Individually I think I needed to and we ran into some did good,” Newman said. “I casting issues where we had to wouldn’t know myself, because make some changes. The big I think it’s really hard to tell if gest challenge was the ensemble you’re good or not. But people all together, trying to make sure told me that I did great, so I that they were cohesive, so we wasn’t too surprised when I won spent a lot of time developing the award.” it because they were so intricate All of the actors and the backin the moving parts of the show Director Steve Carpentier stage crew agree that they are itself.” proud of this performance and Massey also stated some of everyone in the show performed the challenges that she faces as well. a stage manager and how helping “I think both nights the perforgame to be able to produce it. thedirectorsandactors wasdiffi mance went really well,” soph“I read it and I liked it,” Carpen- cult at times. omore and stage manager Fiona tier said. “I liked the challenges “Itwasveryhardtofindprops Massey said. “I think all the actors that it represented and I liked the fortheshow,aswellasfigureout did really well, as well as everyone fact that it had a good ensemble what the directors wanted while backstage.” along with the fact that it was very also keeping everyone else orgaEveryone involved in the play fluid.” nized and not getting them too is also proud of where they placed The preparations for the play upset over things,” Massey said. with their advancement. were a lot to handle, with long Evenwithallthedifficultiesand “I was honestly very surprised,” practices and production to be challenges both the cast and crew sophomore Lea Flores said. “I worked out. faced, they are all still very proud didn’t think we were going to ad“We had rehearsals from 4:30 to of the performance that they put vance like that, but I’m happy with 6:30 basically every day leading up on and where they placed in the how we placed.” tothefirstperformance,”Newman competition. Director Steve Carpentier is also said. “I thought that everyone put “I think the students really very proud with how the show in a lot of work during rehearsals, showed us what Lamar theater can came out and how everyone persince everyone had to be there and will be in the future,” Carpenformed in it. every day.” tier said.

“It definitely brought our community of actors together to really produce a wellmade show.”


Let’s talk about

Nepotism nep·o·tism

The practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.


f you ever apply to a job you are overqualified for yet you lose the position to someone’s son, you become a victim of nepotism. Imagine you’ve had a job for 20 years, then the son of the boss gets the spot that was yours. If you get a job you’re not suited for because of money or your family’s connections, you are contributing to nepotism. Nepotism affects everyone, whether it is positively or negatively. It starts and ends careers. And most importantly, it makes for incompetent workplaces and employees. The most severe example of nepotism are the Kardashians. Kris Jenner, mother of Khloe, Kylie, Kendall, Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, started off as a flight attendant. Although her family had money, they were not half as rich as they currently are. The Kardashians became well known after a series of events: Robert Kardashian, father, was a famous laywer on the O.J. Simpson case, Kim Kardashian was in tabloids and first gained media attention as Paris Hilton’s personal assistant and then Kris Jenner started the hit show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. However, their basis for talent is questionable. Although they all have make-up lines, clothing brands, apps and social media careers, none of them have a professional career of talent beyond the title of reality start, yet they are still million and billionaires. Kendall Jenner, the highest paid fashion model, was first able to model because of her family’s money and eventually because of the success of KUWTK. Kendall is heavily criticized for her lazy catwalk, lack of emotion, and overall inexperience when it comes to posing. Children of nepotism receive unfair favoritism and take opportunities from qualified people, making workplaces more incompetent and work a lower quality. Nepotism takes a toll on worker morale and work spaces. Although some offices have outlawed nepotism when hiring and will oftentimes make it so that the family member does not get interviewed by their family member, nepotism is still huge in big companies. So, one way to fix it is to stop glorifying and giving so much power to the people in charge. That might sound contradicting, but people in power are meant to keep things running and in place. Jobs have certain requirements to ensure that the employee can get the job done correctly. Most nepotism babies eventually gain knowledge on their field of work, but aren’t usually qualified or fit for their jobs. Of course, nepotism isn’t always bad, after all, we wouldn’t know actors like Timothee Chalamet and Jake Gyllenhall, along with models/influencers like Gigi Hadid and Lily Rose Depp. Some nepotistic children are talented and most learn to excel at their jobs, but for those that don’t, they simply hold a title and earn money for it. Regardless of how talented they are it doesn’t change the fact that they got their job unfairly, or at least they got to skip the process that most people go through. One can always argue that the world is unfair, and that giving someone a job for free isn’t that bad, but then everything would be acceptable. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Finding jobs in 2022 is hard, one encounters jobs that underpay their workers and jobs that get snatched away because of nepotism. It would take forever to stop all nepotism practices, but new generations should begin to stop them or at least not take part in them. Photos by Vogue and Versace



WE NEED MORE MOVIES LIKE t is not often we see topics like puberty discussed in children’s movies, however “Turning Red” seemed to have broken those barriers, with the whole movie being a metaphor for puberty. The movie follows Meilin “Mei’’ Lee, a 13 year old girl who turns into a red panda when she expresses emotional outbursts. The panda can represent the changes women go through during puberty. Hormonal changes like weight gain/loss, hair growth and bodily odor. The red panda is also part of a hereditary curse the women in her family go through, like how every woman goes through their first menstrual cycle. “I think it was refreshing to see because not a lot of films talk about that,” an anonymous student said. “And sometimes it’s just seen as something taboo and it shouldn’t be because everyone goes through it. So, I thought it was a nice touch to it.” This movie however sparked controversy amongst parents as many believe that children should not be watching movies with these topics. Puberty is known to be censored amongst children’s movies because it is believed that children should not learn about these things until a certain age or that they should not see these things in a movie. “I feel like it should be talked about more in school,” anonymous said. “But I feel like if we have more of that stuff in movies, we could probably just skip the talk with parents for most of the topics that we may have to touch.” On the other hand, some people could disagree, thinking that there are better ways to explain the topic. “I think they should learn through their parents because I feel like their parents can teach them better,” senior Zoey Gonzalez said. The panda, along with the temple, are part of the Asian representation movement in film and it is Pixar’s second movie to have an Asian lead character since 2009. “When I was a kid, I felt like an outcast from the other children in my elementary school as they


were all different from me,” junior Kathy Lam said. “Seeing our culture represented on screen makes us feel less alone and lets us know that there are many others that share the same culture.” The movie was well received by asians and many agreed it was a good move on Pixar’s hand. “I think it was great to see so much representation, especially since you didn’t see a lot especially in films,” anonymous said. “Kids are interacting with multiple people on many other days whenever they go to school. So, I feel like you will help them understand each other better and each other’s culture.” However there are some differing opinions regarding cultural representation. “I think the red panda is a little over-exaggerated,” Gonzalez said. The cast of Turning Red has actually reacted to the reviews the film has gotten. Rosalie Chiang, who voices Mei, said, “This is a coming of age film … I think different people of different cultures are going to go through it differently, but at the end of the day, the core messiness and change is something everyone can relate to.”

A 13-year-old girl becomes a red panda when she loses her cool in Domee Shi’s heartwarming but wayward coming-of-age film. -The New York Times Story by Mojdeh Zare Background by Disney Pixar for Turning Red

Story by Taylor Kemp




I think that I have a really great support team here. The people that work in this building, for the most part, love it and feel the same way about educating as I do.


ach year, the Houston Independent School District (HISD) selects one elementary school principal and one secondary school principal, to acknowledge all of their hard work. This year, principal Rita Graves was selected as the HISD’s Secondary Principal of the Year. “I was awarded that title this year for secondary schools,” Graves said. “I’m not sure what comes with it other than the much appreciated acknowledgement that I’m doing a great job and that means a lot to me. I don’t know that I need anything else.” Graves has been a principal for many years working at Roberts Elementary School and then Pin Oak Middle School before becoming principal here. “This is my fourth year at Lamar and my 13th year as a principal,” Graves said. “I really feel like I’m in the right place, so it’s not a matter of which I like more but more if the work allows you to meet your mission and vision of what you think kids deserve and I feel like it does.” According to Graves, school is important academically, but its true value comes from helping students

- Rita Graves

see into the “real world” or helping We have had a large amount of studentsfindthemselves.success this school year. The robot“I want kids to want to come ics team is on the way to Worlds, to school,” Graves said. “I want the debate team is on the way to you, [the students] to have found a a national championship, the girls group of people and an opportunity basketball coach, Louise Madison, thatreallygivesyoufulfillment was just and named Coach of the Year helps you, not just grow academiand many teams recieved the title cally but grow as a person, in your of district championship. Are of confidence,yourleadership;do these accomplishments are examyou know things other than what ples of the success Graves sees in youcanfindinbooks?Anddo our students and staff. youhaveconfidenceinyourself? “I think that I have a really Because when you develop those great support team here,” Graves things it makes the transition into said. “The people that work in this college a little easier and then that building, for the most part, love transition into adulthood and your it and feel the same way about career a lot easier.” educating young adults as I do and When asked what Graves hopes when everyone is working towards for the future, she spoke of a hope- those common goals, then you see ful and bright future that will be success and success breeds happipassed on through generations of ness sometimes. It certainly does students. for me here.” “What I want to know is that, Graves is on the correct path to as a community, we’ve created accomplishing all she wants for something that lasts well beyond this school and its students. me and a purpose that stays intact “Our work pays off and being that [isnt] just about your academic able to continue seeing success like classes; it should be about more our one hundred-nine IB diplomas than that,” Graves said. “It should from the class of ‘21 and being be about helping you develop on able to see that success, despite your journey to adulthood as a well everything going on around us in rounded person but it can’t be at the world, is a pretty good feeling,” the cost of the academic pursuit.” Graves said.




eniors attended their Enchanted Garden-themed prom on April 2, to celebrate the end of their high their friends. school experience in style with all of their friends “My favorite part of the evening was probably all the and teachers. pictures being taken,” Martinez said. “I enjoyed taking The event was held at the Bayou Event Center and was pictures with all my friends.” a night the seniors will remember fondly as they embark on Martinez and Dillard were crowned prom king and the next chapter of their lives. queen at the event after their peers had been voting in the “Prom was fun,” Prom King Andrew Martinez said. “I weeks prior. had a good time hanging out with my friends.” “I was honestly shocked,” Dillard said. “All of the nomDue to the pandemic, prom was canceled for the previinees were beautiful people and deserving of the crown. It ous two years, which made the evening even more special. felt like a childhood dream come true!” “Most of the kids that I saw had fun and we haven’t had In order to be considered for king, Martinez felt that he a prom in two years so I feel like a lot of the students were had to really put advodate for himself. excited to have it,” 12th grade math teacher Jared Sarabia “I really just put myself out there more during that week said. and the two weeks of voting and tried to get as many peoFor many students, it was a great opportunity to celeple to vote as possible,” Martinez said. brate and socialize with their peers outside of a classroom Much like Martinez, Dillard advocated for herself too environment. and the reward was very meaningful. “I had an amazing prom experience! It was cool seeing “It is very sentimental to me because this is something all my classmates dressed up and having a good time tothat every little girl dreams of and now it’s a reality,” Dilgether,”PromQueenLaurenDillardsaid.“Iwasalso able lard said. to mingle with a lot more people than at school.” For both Martinez and Dillard, winning homecoming The students were not the only attendees who enjoyed king and queen is something that they will never forget. seeing each other out of school. “I will always remember my slow dance after being “I think it was actually really cool because you build a crowned with Drew (Martinez),” Dillard said. relationship with the students throughout the year,” Sarabia Now that prom is over and senior year is reaching its said. “Then you get to their senior events and it’s cool for end,studentsarereflectingontheirjourneytothisp them to see me because I’m not only a math teacher.” “It’s kind of bittersweet because I will miss everyone Students had different highlights of the evening but for here,” Dillard said. “But I’m also ready to begin the next the majority of them, the highlight was spending time with chapter of my life.”

Soccer scores a district win


Story by Sydni Fullmighter

arsity boys soccer recently made its way to victory winning the third conse tive district championships. They continu their streak of district wins through friends comradery and hard work, though ending the sea a bittersweet note after their second round loss area level to Bridgepoint High School. “This year we completed our effo- rts in win ning districts again,” Head Coach Jeremy D son said. “And again back to back, we won year and the year before. In the past four ye we have won three times.” This year yielded an overall successful journey for the boys soccer program as the JV team came out victorious in their playo and varsity managed to win multiple gam throughout the season, despite some hic along the way.

our full team but everyone still showed u practice,” senior Ethan Farias said. For varsity, although they were not able take their winning streak all the way to th state level this season was a success in d team bonding and sportsmanship. Leading to their title of district champions, they prac everyday and worked on building up strength defense skills and playing as a team. “This year the team had a lot of good che istry,” Davison said. “I think we had a good fam

ing it past the second round of area, but at the same t boys really played well together.” A focus was put on defensive playing and not letting the offe make goals as they trained for the season. “We focus a lot on possession and playing together because a lot of the during districts close themselves off,” Farias said. The team plans on moving forward with their tradition of team spirit and brother improving upon their technique and playing abilities by setting goals for next year. Goal as many games as possible and advancing past the second round of area.


Running into regionals

Story by Aleisha Paulick


he boys track team ran through districts on April 7, sprinting their way through each race. They now advance to the area and regional meets. Although district is a major event for many sports, Head Coach Gerrick Green treats it as a stepping stone into competition season. “We consider districts to be the championship season,” Green said. “Well, it’s the start of our championship season. It starts with districts and then goes onto the area meet and then to the regional meet and for those lucky enough to go to state.” None of this could have been possible without the effort and dedication that these athletes put into districts. “We worked our butts off,” sophomore Jayden Sonnier said. “So that when we went to districts, we would know for a fact that we are winning this and going in with confidence and reassurance.” As for the girls team, although they didn’t come out on top, they came close,losingtofirstplace by a mere two points. “There were a couple of setbacks,” Green said. “One of my girls was a cheerleader. She had a cheerleading competition the same time, the same day as districts. And so she missed a couple of events that would have ultimately probably helped us win. And then I had a couple of the athletes that were dealing

with injuries, which if they were healthy, would have helped us be a little bit more successful.” Currently the team is preparing for the area meet and then slowly prepping for the regional meet. “Just like with districts, we’refine tuning everything, we’re working on some of our mistakes we made at districts,” Green said. “Fixing, getting relays and everything together. Like putting the best people in the best positions.” One of the many goals shared by majority of the athletes, preparing for the regional meet is winning and getting PRs (personal records). “I’m really excited, I hope that we get more PRs,” sophomore Julia Morstead said. “I want our four by four team to break four minutes and four seconds, and I think that we can do it because we’ve been PRing the last couple meets.” Even though they’re on the last step of the season,theyaren’tfinishedleavingtheirmark. “It’s all about building the legacy, continuing to build a legacy,” Green said. “The previous years have been about forming the base. Now we’re building on the legacy. We want to be better every year. We want to continue to get better. We’re training our younger guys and ladies to take over and just keep that momentum going and build one of the most elite programs in the Houston area.”


On Top of the Pyramid

Story by Lauren Koong


Cheer claims national victory

t the Cheer America Championship, the varsity cheer team won a division National title, as well as the Grand National title. “It went really well,” senior Kimberly Anderson said. “All of our stunts hit; everyone was really energetic. We had JV there as well, so they were cheering up the crowd and it was just a really fun experience.” The performance was met with much applause and celebration. “It was so exciting,” senior Carissa Fernandez said. “We were all really nervous before we went on but seeing all the other teams made us more com-


fortable, so when we started warming up, we got more excited and we were ready to perform.” This national competition was the last one of the year. “It felt great,” cheer captain Lauren Dillard said. “Last year we didn’t get to compete, so we got so excited to compete again. There was a lot of emotion going on but this is what we love to do, so we came together and we did it and we pulled it off.” For senior Abigaile Denham, this win was unexpected. “Personally, I think we did a lot better than I thought we would,” Denham said. “The team is really supportive

and we all work well together and really try to help each other with all the different parts of the performance and I think that’s what really helped us win.” While the satisfaction of winning was rewarding, for many cheerleaders, the real reward is the team bonding. “I love the team,” Fernandez said. “The team bonding, working together, is such a big thing for us. Since we throw people in the air, it’s really important to communicate with each other and I think that’s one of the most exciting parts.” For the cheer team, their consistent effort and hard work throughout the season paid off. “Our cheer team is amazing,” Dillard said. “I feel like we get recognition but I don’t think people realize how hard we work. It’s not just sideline cheer; we work hard. Most of the girls on the cheer team don’t just cheer; we have a million other things to do but we work really hard to represent our school.”

Place your bets on ‘Rettes


he Rangerettes competed the hip hop ensemble because everyin Galveston for Nationals body was really hyped and people on March 27, winning eight were actually dancing with us and it awardsintotal.Theyreceived was first very fun,” sophomore Kaitlyn placeinOfficerOpen,OfficerLyrical, Arechiga said. OfficerContemporary,Officer-Mod Sophomore Lauren Lozoya went ern, National Champs Small Team into more detail about the hip-hop Officers,TeamHip-Hop,TeamJazz, event and what made it such a memoTeamKickandSmallTeamOfficers. rable performance experience. Sophomore Eva Ryan gave some “We got the crowd going with us insight as to what the energy was like and even the other schools that were leading up to the competition. our biggest competition cheered us “I think everyone gets a little bit on,” Lozoya said. nervous for performances and compeAlthough fun, the competition is titions,” Ryan said. incredibly high stakes and was a little This sentiment was also echoed by dauntingatfirst. the team’s coach, Rose Troche. “The stress levels are super high “I was nervous, like I am for every before we go out there,” Lozoya said. single competition, but we were exThis is coupled with the scope of cited,” Troche said. “We had a good the competition, which only adds to season overall so leading up to this the intensity. moment we just really wanted to end it “This competition in comparison doing our absolute best.” to other competitions was the hardest Despite the pre-competition jitters, because we had to go against schools Troche believes that the nervous antic- from all over the nation and the state,” ipation was not for nothing. Johnson said. “They were our best performances However, the team was quite preyet and winning national titles was just pared for the challenge brought on by the cherry on top,” Troche said. the competition. Inparticular,therewerespecific “I did better the day of because my performances that stood out to many adrenaline and my energy were super high. It just made me dance members of Rangerettes. the best that I’d ever danced “The most fun event was probably

before,” Arechiga said. Lozoya also spoke of rising to the challenge of Nationals. “I had more energy and more of an adrenaline rush, so when the pressure is on you are forced to do your best,” Lozoya said. Part of their success is owed to the practice they were able to get in beforehand. “Last year at Nationals was our only competition, but this year it was our third one, and our last one, so we had a bit more preparation for it,” Lozoya said. All of these sentiments and the whole experience of nationals were summed up by Troche. “I was just proud of the journey of both practices and competitions. There was a lot of growth in all events and we were consistent throughout the entire season and that made everything just so much more special,” Troche said. “It made it more fun because we were prepared and just went out there and enjoyed ourselves.”



Mischa Wijesekera



lmost two decades ago, Jeffrey Shalin decided to ditch his sion for teaching. Every day when Shalin walks into his 10C English classroom, he

He has. Shalin has worked hard as

lives. envisioned walking the halls of Lamar.

Shalin said. He always admired teach his own family. “My father, my mother,

Shalin decided to follow “I started off as an elemen tary school teacher. My dad

JEFFREY SHALIN was a high school teacher, so I’ve always been around high school students,” Shalin said. “I started putting two and two together and I thought I’m more suited for high school.” Outside of school, this Texan enjoys spending his free time doing yoga and working in his garden. “I’m big into yoga and vegetable gardening,” Shalin said. “As you get older, you need these things to keep you balanced.”

“You can’t just go into something and say, ‘Oh, it’s gonna turn out right.’ The more you put into it, the more you get out of it.” - Jeffrey Shalin Shalin uses his family’s farm land to maintain a vege table garden. “I have land in the country near Columbus,” Shalin said. “Its’ 50 acres and it has a nice house and vegetable garden.” He loves working in the garden and keeps track of it year round. “Its’ nearly never not growing anything. Right now there’s onions growing,” Shalin added. “In a couple of weeks, I’ll be planting the

whole garden for the spring with tomatoes and eggplants.” Outside of maintaining his garden, Shalin consistently goes to a local yoga studio. “I go to a local studio, but I also have a yoga room in my house. I do yoga and meditating, not every day, but it seems like it,” Shalin said. “That’s another thing that I do to keep me level and calm.” While this English teacher doesn’t always try to incorporate yoga and gardening into his lessons, he often mentions his hobbies to his students in the classroom. o“Y ga and vegetable gardening are all about preparation. Teaching like this, in this open concept, the more prepared you are, the better results you get,” Shalin said. ou “Y can’t just go into something and say, ‘Oh, it’s gonna turn out right.’ The more you put into it, the more you get out of it.” Shalin has taught for 18 years, but the time has passed quickly for him. “What’s amazing to me is when I say I’ve been teaching for 18 years, it doesn’t feel like it,” Shalin added. “It feels like half of those years be cause each day you feel like you’ve made a difference.”

Story by Mace Klein

Lamar artists win silver and gold from National Scholastic Art Awards


inners of the Scholastic Art event had their art displayed at the Spring Street Studios in Houston, an art studio that displays a range of works from local and student artists.

Seven of our student artists were awarded silver and gold metal keys for their participation in the Scholastic Art event on Jan. 27. There were three gold-key winners, four silver-key winners and six honorable mentions. The event was divided into different categories based on the medium the artists chose and the artists had several weeks to work on their artworks. “Depending on the class, they had anywhere fromthreeweekstofiveweekstoworkonthe artwork for Scholastic,” art teacher Robert Stiles said. Eliza Crawford 12th grade (Red Landscape), Gold key, taken by Eliza

The students were allowed to choose any medium they wanted, including digital art, and over the course of three weeks, they worked incredibly hard to perfect their works and get ready to submit to Scholastic. It would take another few weeks for the artwork to be judged privately and the winners to be announced. “I think that there was a good amount of time to complete the artwork ”sophomore and silver key winner Pamela Fajardo said. “Just other work I needed to do took away some of that time. The most challenging thing was trying to get all the details in the painting and making it look natural.” Weeks later, an email was sent out announcing the winners, along with the information that the artwork would be displayed at Spring Street Studios. The showcase would provide food and beverages and feature all the students’ artwork in the Houston area. “We did about as well as I thought we would and I think it’s the best we’ve done at Lamar, so I’m pretty

excited about that,” Stiles said. “I’m very happy with the overall quality of the work and I thought that the students who did well were the ones who invested the time and really thought about their work.” It was a lively event with art teachers and their students showcasing various mediums such as ink, photography, comic making, quilt making and painting, to name a few. “I was very happy with the award,” Fajardo said. “Especially since it’s thefirsttimemyarthasbeen award ed something and also just being able to know that my hard work achieved it.” The competition occurs every year and students are highly encouraged to participate for the chance of recognition, scholarships, and to build their resumes. This is more than just a great way for artists to practice their skills as the competition allows them to have their work displayed. “Iwoulddefinitelydothisagain since it’s a great opportunity to work on your art skills and you can work towards something,” Fajardo Zoe Villalobos 9th grade said. taken by Zoe

(Stages of Grief), Gold key,


Mary Beth Tinker virtually visits the Lamar Life class


ary Beth Tinker, of I know I learned a lot. I hope the rights, despite being students.” the Tinker v. Des other students learned a lot as well. Tinker’s talk was a both educaMoines Supreme I think it was super eye-opening tional and encouraging to the stuCourt case, paid a for the class, especially to see that dents, who asked many questions. virtual visit to the Lamar Life class, this is an issue someone can face “She was so inspiring,” sophospeakingofherexperiencefighting no matter how young they are, and more Gray Siegel said. “She taught for student rights. howimportantitistofightme forthe their true power of my voice and InTinker 1965, wasoneoffive rights.” howjustspeakingconfidentlyfo students to wear black armbands Stone reached out to Tinker to what you believe in can make a to protest the Vietnam War. After see if she was available to give great change on your community.” getting suspended, Tinker sued a guest lecture to the Lamar Life Her experience, which is still the school for violating her First class. used by courts today to determine Amendment right, which was then “After we faced some issues whether schools may infringe upon brought before the Supreme Court. with censorship within this pubstudents’ First Amendment rights, This case was a landmark case that lication, I realized how important provided a unique lesson for the established precedent for public it was for our class to know about students. school students’ First Amendment their First Amendment rights and to “I really liked her visit,” senior rights. hearafirsthandaccountoffighting Mikal Nazarani said. “I’m glad we “I think it went very well,” for those rights,” Stone said. “I got the opportunity to talk to her Lamar Life assistant editor Kathwanted to turn this incident into a and learn about her experience with ryn Stone said. “It was great to learning opportunity and I wanted this issue that is becoming increashave her come speak; to show the staff that they have ingly prevalent.”

Story by Lauren Koong



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e live in a world of prominent issues within a global causing. It is much easier to shut information. Not society. In American terms, there someone down than it is to engage necessarily knowl- should be freedom of speech. Howin meaningful, nuanced discourse, edge,butdefinitely ever, this is the same argument used and even those who try to engage in information. Anyone from anywhere by political extremists and twitter open debate are still affected by the can contribute, speak up, chime in, trolls, who maintain that their contoxicity permeating from the liberal disseminate, inform and misinform. spiracy theories and divisive rants are culture of canceling and the conserWhether rich or poor, majority or legitimate within the realm of free vative ideology of censoring. minority, advantaged or disadvanspeech. So where does that leave us? To be blunt, we are becoming stutaged, the platforms are all the same. Speaking from personal opinion, piderinthewaywehandledifficult Inthiseeting fl andcosmicblipthat I think censorship is unproductive conversations, and this is incredibly is life, we are fully connected, fully and unconstructive, regardless of the detrimental to the youth as they venabletoshare–forthefirsttime opinion in being censored. This censor- ture into a world with an increasing human existence. This has prompted ing is especially harmful when it is lack of critical thinking. Conversaanoverwhelminginfluxofopinions, selective censoring, and even more tions need to be had, opinions shared, for in the online world the social damaging when censoring youth ex- regardless of the subject matter or norm of shutting up and not attacking pression. Yes, the adolescent mind is potential controversy. Rather than people with your minimally-efforted fickleandevolving,itsoutlook shutting uid fl down ideas, we should be thoughts on a subject you’re bareaddressing them with subtlety and lyqualifiedtospeakonhasyetto logic, reasoning and planning, sincermanifest itself. This may come off ity and openness. as cynical, and it probably is to an As an editor for a student-led extent. To be fair, there are undenipublication, this issue is even more ablebenefitstothisradicalchange pressing and relevant to my journey in communication: the uneducated as both a youth and a writer. I am can become educated, the minority not situating myself on the extreme, can be heard, the politician can be opposing end of the spectrum, critiqued, the hipster can be bashed, saying any and all opinions should the racists can be caught, and I can be published without consultation write this opinion piece. or fact-checking, for that would be But what about the opinions that hypocritical. I am simply saying: aren’t needed, nor helpful? The ones and changing as it navigates the jour- please don’t kill critical thinking, nor that are intrusive, misinformed, and ney of growing up and entering the inhibit the many voices of a globalpotentially damaging to the working adult world of public discourse. But ized generation struggling to combat frameworks of the youth, whose despite this capricious, skittish nature what seems to be a countless list of perception of the world is still in the of the youth psyche, it is incredibly problems imposed and left behind by midst of being constructed through important that the younger generathose who are censoring. the opinions they receive from fami- tion gets the opportunity to vocalize ly, friends, community, and now the their thoughts, irrespective of whethinternet? Should they be targeted? er or not they agree with their own Should they be shut down? Should sentiments later on. Youth censorship they, in other words, be censored? isn’t just an issue of making the Thisisadifficultandenigmatic - youngis feel unheard, but also an issue sue to tackle. Removing the nuance, of killing critical thinking. political and social complexities, and It is safe to say we are becomspeaking in simple terms, censorship ing increasingly black and white, shouldnotbeajustifiableinhibitor choosingto of beextreme,definiteand one’s opinion, especially for opinions stubborn in our arguments, failing that positively tackle and address to realize the polarization we are


Story by Mischa Wijesekera

Another Unadventerous Movie: Uncharted



ic screen, so does the audience’s two hours that felt like 20. The n Feb. 18, the movie Unhope of a pleasant movie. filmconcludesperfectlyandfor charted directed by Ruben After the wholesome brother to thefirsttimeintwohours, une Fleischer and starring Nabrother moment, the movie switch- pectedly.SullyandNatecarryth than “Nate” Drake (Tom Holland) es to the present day and quickly treasurefromthefragilestr and Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark fulfillsamoregenericplotline. ahelicopterandthetreasur Wahlberg) hit theaters. The fan Bartender and street-smart Nate is pectedlyfallsdeepintotheoc favorite video game, Uncharted, serving drinks when treasure Withhunt darkshadowsloomingover was now transformed into a Hollyer Sully enters the bar. It takes at thecreditsceneperfectlyset wood blockbuster that predictably most ten minutes and Sully’s memstageforUncharted2byshowing fell below everyone’s expectations, orablephrase,“I’mofferingyou amysteriousfigurelockedbehin even the game’s most dedicated a way out of here, a chance to see bars.Asthefigurebringshishea followers. Within weeks of the places you’ve only read about in up,theaudience’smouthdrops release, Uncharted accumulated an books,” for supposed street-smart aweattheappearanceofNate’s unfortunate 40% Rotten Tomatoes Nate to fall into Sully’s welcoming deadbrother,Sam. score. arms. Otherthantheintroduction Uncharted is Wahlberg’s secAsthemovieprogresses,Sully conclusion, Unchartedfeltoverly ondmoviebustinfiveyears,the and Nate go on an ad disappointing. But, - look firstbeing Transformers: The Last venturetofindthefive ingpastthegeneric Knight. Similar to Uncharted, The billion dollar treaplotlineand Last Knight fell out of favor among sure Ferdinand predictable fans and failed to generate sustainMagellanlost characters, able revenue. But all of Unchartcenturies ago. the future ed’s unfortunate failures should not The journey looks solely fall onto Wahlberg’s shoulto find the brightfor ders. lost treasure UnchartAfter laboriously watching starts off ed 2 and uneventful movie trailers for thirty somewhat the phe minutes, Unchartedfinallybegins nomenal with Nate falling out of an airplane. interesting, filled with conclusion Nate’sfirstshotisat-mostsome backstabbing of Uncharted what engaging, but is cut short as and lies. But, this actsasicingon the screen quickly switches to a intial engagement the cake.Hopeful fl ashback. soon dwindles as the audily,thepredictableplo Theflashbackperfectlysetsthe ence learns the entire basis propellinedoesn’tcontinue Uncharted to scene and captures the audience's lingthestoryforwardislie after lie 2 and Fleischer isabletolearn attention by portraying Nate’s lovfromthedisappointedfans. - AsSu ing relationship towards his brother and backstab after backstab. From Sully to Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali), ly and Nate seek to find the hidd Samuel “Sam” Drake (Rudy Panthe backstabs become so repetitive treasure Uncharted in 2 ,Fleischer kow) and his passion for history. it is predictable. shouldseektofindthehidden Unfortunately,astheflashback slowly fades out from the cinemat- Themoviefinallyendsafter tounlockabettersequel.

Just call your grandma Story by Mikal Nazarani


istraction is inevitable. In These are only a handful of the with gifts, who nourished me with the pandemonium of the multitude of memories I’ve made love and food, who helped instill modern world, trying to and shared within the walls of my in me the ethics of my community, escape the raging and perpetual noise grandmother’s home. Having my who brought a cultural outlook to my of people, news and phone buzzes grandfather teach poker to me and americanized identity, who simply canbeadifficult,nearlyimpossible my cousins, watching Cartoon provided affection and company, and process. We are too tuned in, too Network late at night, heading to Ican’tevengrantherfifteenminutes caught up, to be able to take a step the fridge for the rare treat that is of FaceTime. back. We’ve come to accept the Pakistani cream soda, admiring the It’s a problem, one that is perconstant hubbub and commotion of display plate painted with little faces sistentandinsidiousa - -poorreflec life, and subsequently we’ve come to of my grandparents and their eleven tion of my psyche and behavior. It’s the point where we deem ourselves grandchildren. These experiences not an issue of intentional negli“always busy.” Too busy to sit down and others continue to persist and lin- gence, but more so an issue of chronand read, too busy to pick up a new ger in my mind. Time spent with my ic laziness and an inability to realize skill, too busy to call our grandmas. grandparents was a formative part of theeeting fl natureofsuchaprecious To be clear, I love my grandma, a my childhood, an integral component relationship. It is also a widespread lot. For me, my grandmother’s home to my upbringing. And yet, despite issue, with grandparents everywhere is synonymous with warmth, comthe seemingly impactful and lasting feeling pitiful and forsaken, due to munity, and good food. As a child I nature of these childhood and earthe incompetence of their grandkids, was always looking forward to week- ly-adolescent experiences, I suck at who would rather use their phones end sleepovers, anticipating with ex- calling my grandma. for mindless scrolling and posting citement the dinners that had a 50% There is no explanation for this, thirst traps than engaging with those chance of being classic Indian staples noranyreasonablejustification. who really My matter. and a 50% chance of being chicken most common excuse is one carelessThereisastruggletofindan nuggets. The following mornings ly thrown out by everyone my age, outlet, a means to rewind, to disconwere early ones, with scalding hot overused to the point where its senti- nect and reconnect with what’s really tea cups of sugary chai on matching ment has lost any and all value: “I’ve important. Everything seems hectic, saucers, followed by long car-ride been busy.” And while my words are and the outlets we often turn to are conversations on the way to get tinged with guilt, it isn’t enough to falsehoods, presenting themselves as breakfast, backed by warbley, old weigh down on me for the remainan escape when in reality they take bollywood songs emitting from the der of my day. Instead, I simply go us deeper into the tumult and “busycar radio. In the late afternoon we’d back to whatever I was “busy” with, ness” of modern life. Distraction is go swimming in the shade, with me which is never anything that actually fickleandeeting. fl Familyisboth and my sister racing each other as warrants the use of such a word. eeting fl andlasting.So,callyour my grandmother brought out mango This comes off as apathetic, and to grandma. juice and my late grandfather would an extent it is. Here is an individual try to spray us with the freezing cold that played a crucial role in my childwater from the hose. hood development, who spoiled me


Story by Ben Newman

From sketchbook pages to gallery walls Senior IB Visual Arts students hold exhibition


hrough the IB art course, students are problems.” taught both the important tenets of art and Despite not having his own work up on display, how to apply them to their own work. Stiles still found immense reward in the experience for Over the course of two years, students cre- himself. ate several works, applying these skills and techniques “Seeing their work on a gallery wall, it’s thrilling that eventually culminate in an end of the year art for me to see the students’ reaction,” Stiles said. “I’ve show,putonforalltoenjoy.April9,thischance seen the forwork as it’s been created, but to see the stuartistic recognition came to fruition, with the student’s dents’ reaction and to see their work presented, in all work on display at Hardy and Nance studios downitsgloryandfinalform,isalwaysincredibly town. inspirational to me as a teacher.” IB art teacher and artist Benjamin Senior Mateo Stossi, whose I’ve seen the work as Stiles shed some light on the course works were on display, also exit’s been created, but and how long this exhibition has pressed a sense of payoff in the to see the students’ rebeen in the making. exhibit. “It varies from student to “It’sdefinitelyveryrewarding action and to see their student, but the program is a two work presented, in all display my artwork, seeing it all put year program, with some of the together all organized on a wall,” its glory and final form, work either started or done the year Stossi said. “ It’s very personal and is always incredibly inor two before,” Stiles said. “So, very rewarding.” students typically spent about two It is a memorable experience for spirational to me as a years working on the body of work any artist to show their work in a teacher. that they’ve completed.” gallery. For Stiles, these works represent “It’smyfirstexhibition,so - Benjamin Stiles aunifiedbodyofwork,withthe I’m very excited about it,” Stossi process of making them integral to said. “It’s just such an amazing feelthe cultivation of the students as artists and people. ing to see everything you’ve worked on for years be “I think that the way you are challenged to think as on display, as well as developing yourself as an artist anartistabsolutelybenefitsyouandsociety, on the wall. andIt’s the a very good feeling.” artist as a human being, and lets you be in touch with The elation over the exhibit extended to Stossi’s your creativity in interesting ways,” Stiles said. “As peers such as senior Lauren Hotte. well as allowing for unique and creative ways to solve “It’s a place where a bunch of artists who have been


working hard for the past two years can just come together and show their style and what they think is important, and say what they think is important about the world through their art,” Hotte said. Kyrsten Crawford, the mother of Eliza and April Crawford, two IB art seniors, also had some words on the importance of the show to the students. “To have this culminating project where they’ve been able to see the end of what they’ve been working on for the past couple years, where their art is up and displayed, they can then see it in a new light that really highlights their work,” Crawford said. Andoneofthemajorbenefitsofthestudent’swork being on display is interacting with people seeing your work. “I’ve gotten some good feedback from other parents and my classmates,” Stossi said. “It’s all very positive and very encouraging.” Hotte related a similar experience. “ I saw a few people looking at my art and it was really cool to see that people are actually taking it in and really interested in coming up with their own interpretation of my art, ” Hotte said. Senior Mikal Nazarani, who attended the show, was blown away by the work on display and thought the work was especially important to people his age. “A lot of adolescents are going through a lot of the same stuff and dealing with the same angst,” Nazarani said. “It’s interesting to see how people express it artistically through so many different mediums.” He continued about the true triumph of the exhibit. “Whenpeoplethinkofvisualarts,thefirstthing they jump to is painting, but seeing the range of mediums and materials and ideas people use in expressing themselvesdefinitelyheldup,”Nazaranisaid. This praise comes into focus as Hotte further combines these sentiments into a cohesive image of what the show was really about. “We were all able to curate work over two years so this is a big moment for everybody as we’re all able to show off our work, talk about our themes and see the growth that we’ve had over time,” Hotte said.

Mateo Stossi

Grace Jones, Leah Calderon and Lauren Hotte

April and Eliza Crawford


Spectacular space events of 2022 Story by Brooklyn Slie

Hop on, we’re going to the moon!

Source: NASA

In 2022, we are going to be looking at lots of lunar missions. NASA is finally going to debut its Space Launch System, which has more thrust than Saturn V. The Space Launch System is a heavy-lift launch vehicle that will provide exploration past Earth’s orbit. The SLS is one of the few rockets that can carry astronauts and cargo directly to the moon on a single mission. This rocket also has plans to fly many more missions, like human missions to the moon and Mars, along with robotic scientific missions to the moon, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter.

The SpaceX Starship

Although NASA’s Space Launch System is a big step up for their agency, Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship promises to rule the skies of 2022. This Starship is said to be the most powerful rocket ever launched and will get its first orbital launch in 2022. This rocket is reusable, has twice the amount of thrust than Saturn V and can carry 100 tons into orbit. This Starship was inspired by Musk’s dream to have a self-sustaining base on the moon, and eventually on Mars.

Source: SpaceX

Look, it’s Jupiter!

Source: NASA

2022 will be Jupiter’s year as it will finally be shown some love. The European Space Agency’s Icy Moons Explorer is scheduled to head off to Jupiter mid-year. Once it gets there, it will spend three years studying three of Jupiter’s moons: Ganymede, Europa and Callisto. These are a few of the moons that are said to have subsurface liquid water, which make them potential livable environments. Additionally, in Sept. 2022, NASA’s Juno Spacecraft will be swooping 220 miles into Europa, which will be the closest look we’ve ever gotten at the moon.

Time Traveling in 2022

We will see new information an d exploration in the edges of space and time. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will go through tests and return data sometime midyear. This telescope has seven times the collecting area of the Hubble Space Telescope. It operates at longer wavelengths of light, which means it can see distant galaxies. By the end of the year, scientists should be able to see the start of galaxy formation.

Source: NASA

Crash Testing The Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, is a NASA space mission that will be used to smash into an asteroid to test technology to defend Earth in case of any potential comet hazards.

Other facts: • NASA will be participating in more international trips to Mars and one of the new technologies created will be helping us understand if life ever existed on Mars. • There will be more close encounters with the Sun. • The Deep Space Optical Communications will launch NASA’s Psyche mission to help communication between space crafts and Earth. • We will be investigating small words of the Solar System.

A STUDENT’S PERSPECTIVE Space is a very interesting topic that we barely the idea of going to space, sophomore Sophia Laurenknow about. There are so many space-related events zo is quite the opposite. that will be going on this year it’ll be hard to keep “Of course I would go to space,” Laurenzo said. “It track of them all. Students may not know about all of sounds like a fun, unique experience.” theseeventsandsomewillfindtheminteresting Laurenzo iswhere also fascinated by the idea of space and others may not. everything in it. “I don’t really know anything about space,” sopho“Since I haven’t been [to space], it almost sounds more Juliana Juarez said. “I do know that there’s still a like a fairy tale,” Laurenzo said. “It sounds so interestlotofthingstofindoutaboutspace,butIdon’t ing.” know much about it.” There’s so much crazy, unimaginable stuff that’s There are also some students who are 100% on in space we have no idea about. Sure, we know about board with going to space where others are wearier galaxies and planets but what’s beyond that? Our uniabout the technologies involving it. verse is never ending. Who knows what crazy, extra“It just doesn’t feel safe, and I don’t think I would terrestrial things are living in our galaxy. ever feel comfortable going to space,” Juarez said. “Justimagineflyingupinaspaceshipandgoingto “It’s scary.” a different planet,” Laurenzo said. “It’s surreal.” While Juarez is one of the many who is unsettled by


Paw-ndering Lamar’s Pets By Annie Frietsch

Did you know that playing with pets increases production of serotonin and dopamine, the chemical that makes us relaxed and happy? From a sassy pig to calm turtles to feuding cats, we have representation of all kinds of pets at Lamar. Junior Dylan Lerma-Whitten got a special surprise during the pandemic: a pig named Abraham. “My dad was like one day, ‘Oh yeah, we got a pig,’ so he just brought that onto us...surprisingly, you just treat it like a dog,” Lerma-Whitten said. He still does not know where he originally came from. Abraham mostly stays outdoors but comes inside to sleep. “He’s only happy when there’s food in his mouth,” Lerma-Whitten explained. Something surprising about Abraham is that he is very hairy and sheds a lot. Lerma then explained who in the family was Abraham’s favorite. “My dad and only my dad,” Lerma-Whitten said. “He hates everyone else. If you have food and you’re not giving it to him, he will snap at you!”

Both photos by Dylan Lerma-Whitten


Junior Cristina McInnis has two rescue tabby cats named Teddy and Jojo. Jojo is from the Houston SPCA and Teddy is from Friends for Life. “Jojo thinks there’s this huge power struggle, when in reality Teddy is just submissive and does not care about anything,” McInnis said. “But Jojo takes him being alive as a threat. My sister is Jojo’s favorite, but ever since she went off to college, I am both of their favorites.” She refers to herself as the “bridge that bonds them” because they will only hang out with each other if she is there. “Sometimes I’ll catch them both sleeping on my bed or sleeping next to each other and I have to pretend like I don’t know,” McInnis said. Overall, Jojo is the dominant cat of the duo, but with the help of McInnis, they coexist. One piece of advice she has about cat owning is to regularly cut their nails to avoid getting scratched.

Photos by Cristina McInnis

Lamar Life staffer and sophomore Ben Newman has had two turtles for most of his life. “One of them is called Roadrunner because he’s fast, which is contrary to what you would expect from a turtle,” Newman said. “The other one is called New T because when we got him, he was the new turtle. But now it’s been ten years.” His care consists of feeding them, giving them crickets and adjusting their lights. Some of their care also consistsofseparatingthemwhentheyfight,orgett them unstuck from a log decoration. “Roadrunner is more quiet,” Newman said. “He’s lessbrash.NewTismostdefinitelyabully.He’smore aggressive. He’s got, you know, an alpha male type personality, and Roadrunner is calm and quiet.” His advice to all new turtle-owners was to separate them when they eat, wash your hands all the time and make sure they have enough space because they grow fast.

Photos by Ben Newman



scholarships you $ probably didn’t know existed By Brooklyn Carmona

Tall Clubs International

Amount: $1,000 *No due date listed* Minimum requirement: 5’10” Female, 6’2” Male

hispanic scholarship fund (hsf)

Amount: $1,000-$5,000 Due: December Minimum requirement: 3.0 GPA

hsf/wells fargo

go on girl writing scholarship

HSF/Future con leche

Amount: $2,500 Due: December Minimum requirement: 3.0 GPA

Amount: $500 Due: March Minimum requirement: Original fiction work <2,000 words

Amount: $4,000 Due: December Minimum requirement: Hispanic heritage

Stuck at Prom Scholarship contest

Amount: up to $10,000 Due: May 8, 2022 Minimum Requirement: make the best prom attire from Duck brand Duct tape!

$25k be bold scholarship

Amount: $25,000 Due: May 1, 2022 Minimum Requirement: “no essay” scholarship awarded to applicant with boldest profile.

Gates millennium scholar


Amount: Full tuition to your university! Due: January Minimum requirement: 3.3 GPA


3325 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77908

Vol 22 | Issue No. 6 | March-April

Staff Lauren Koong.......................Editor-in-Chief Kathryn Stone.....................Assistant Editor Mikal Nazarani...........................Copy Editor Kadee Harper............................................Adviser Italy Alexander Nico Al-Karkhi Elise Barnette Brooklyn Carmona Ava Fisher Annie Frietsch Sydni Fullmighter Destiny Goodall Stephen Hernandez Destiny Keeton Mace Klein Elizabeth Kortum

Sofia Munoz Ben Newman Aleisha Paulick Kayla Pearl Mia Rosales Yezen Saadah Jazmin Segura Grey Siegel Brooklyn Slie Ana Torchia Brock Wills Mojdeh Zare

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