Lamar Life February Issue

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Volume 19- Issue No. 4

TABLE OF CONTENTS 4 IB Ambassadors -Answering questions


6 Black History Month -What it means to us

Lauren Koong Editor in Chief Class of 2022

8 National Merit

Finalists -Three seniors nab the honors

13 Noise Makers

-Spirit section add life to sporting events

17 Hall of Honor

-Coach Garry Johnson makes a smooth transition from the football field into the classroom 2

Anthony Luna Assistant Editor Class of 2019 Chloe Adeniyi Class of 2021 Aylin Alhazimi Class of 2021 Rebecca Asare Class of 2021 Hudson Bookout Class of 2019 Blythe Chandler Class of 2021

Student Media Adviser Cynthia P. Smith

Sophia Diaz Class of 2021 Madeleine House Class of 2019 Alexander Landowski Class of 2019 Anthony Luna Class of 2019 Mykel Wheaton Class of 2019 Lamar Life Magazine and Lamar Life Online are student publications of Lamar High School, an IB World School. The purpose of both publications is to inform and stimulate constructive thinking among students, faculty and the community. From fine arts to sports, Lamar Life staff members hope to responsibly ascertain and report facts and conduct ourselves as professional journalists. Opinions expressed in Lamar Life Magazine and Lamar Life Online are not necessarily those of the staff, advisor, Lamar High School administrators or advertisers. Opinions, tips and letters to the editor are welcome and can be submitted by emailing LamarLifeOnline@gmail. com.The staff reserves the right to edit letters for clarity or liability. Names may be withheld upon request and at the editor’s discretion.


Graves uses lunch and learn to answer students’ questions about new school Story by Sophia Diaz


ill students be able to eat lunch outside? Will they be able to leave our classrooms? How many teachers will students have? These are all question that principal Rita Graves has answered at a recent Lunch and Learn. In an effort to put students’ minds at ease regarding the new school, Graves made it a point to put rumors to rest. One of the big questions is whether students will be in class all day? A: Instead of being called classrooms, they will be called neighborhoods. Within each neighborhood, there will be 200 kids assigned but not all of them will be in there at the same time. There will also be four teachers in every class. Each neighborhood will consist of one science/maker lab, a meeting area, two small rooms with dry-erase board walls to work with teachers, an open area to work on group projects, a classroom library, restrooms and even vending machines. Some may wonder if the class schedules will remain the same with all of the changes being made. Will students still have four

classes every day? Will they have to walk to other neighborhoods? Many things will change but for the most part, everything will stay the same. A: Students will still have the basic A-day, B-day schedule and four classes each day. Class periods will remain the same and be 90 minutes long. They will spend four class periods in the neighborhoods and the other four outside

of them. Another big question that everyone has been asking is how lunch periods will work. Students are worried that they will not be able to have lunch with their friends or leave campus. A: The school will continue to have a closed-campus concept like it always has. It is not 100 percent certain what they will do but Graves is planning on having

a one hour and 10-minute lunch block. Lunch will be distributed in front of the neighborhoods for 30 minutes. Students will have the choice to stay in their neighborhoods, go to their friends’ neighborhoods, go down to one of the banquet areas that will be opened or go down to the patio with red tables. It is important to Graves that student are able to express themselves in every way possible. Neighborhoods will be set up so that there will be one assistant principal, one academic adviser and one clerk to serve two neighborhoods. Graves said she is trying to make things as fun and beneficial as possible for everyone. The band will have a huge band hall with a rehearsal room. There will be choir rooms, piano rooms, a competition length pool for swim, a three-court gymnasium and is even including a café where students can go study. This five-year process was not easy. “I think the level of support you’re going to get will be extraordinary,” Graves said. “I think the opportunities to do real-world work are gonna enhance your ability to not just learn new material but really apply it in real ways.”


Ambassadors work to spread the word about the IB Diploma Programme Story by Marbella Cano


nswering students’ questions about the International Baccalaureate (IB) program is what drives IB ambassadors. They are a group of students that serve as team leadership. “We are the leadership of the IB program at Lamar. We help kids get their diploma and help them know what the diploma program is worth, how to get it and make it less confusing,” senior Margaret Burruss explained. According to Burruss, students have many questions and are sometimes unclear as to what the IB diploma means or how it differs from AP courses, etc. “The IB corner is currently out of commission but it was made by students to help students,” Burress said. “It is run in the mornings and afternoons by students who have taken IB tests and who have taken IB classes - so you don’t get a perspective of a teacher who’s going to tell you what the test is about,” she explains. “You are going to get a perspective from someone who has actually taken the test, who knows that it’s hard and who’s still in the diploma program.” Teacher Alexander Brahm said being an IB ambassador is a commitment to Lamar where students use their experience to support other students. “The IB ambassadors are in charge of the IB corner in the library that we use for tutorials and help. They also help with the tours for perspective students,” Brahm said. “They are service ambassadors for the IB diploma program for people outside of Lamar and also teachers and students who’ve been on the campus.” IB Ambassadors go through an application process and are selected to represent the school based on teacher recommendations, participation and more. Senior Bria Mayes said she likes being part of the program because they help connect with their peers in ways that teachers may not be able to.


“The IB Program here is very open. That’s why we have such a large program and the purpose is to make it open to everyone,” Mayes said. “One common misconception is that it’s actually really hard to get the IB diploma. I’ve heard that the diploma can’t benefit you in the future in college or in post-graduation.” The IB diploma is and will be very helpful for students that join early, meaning 9th-10th grade as senior Nick Cerasula said. “We try to show everybody at Lamar what the IB program entails. We tell them all the details about it,” he said. “We try to introduce the freshmen and sophomores to it early so that they have a better understanding of what they are doing with their junior and senior year.” Cerasula also believes that this program helps you learn about “learning” and the concepts of it. “It gives them a very holistic view about learning and you learn not only about certain subjects but how these subjects apply to everything,” he said. Mayes has also added a few more details and information about what the program is working on at the moment. “We are currently working on naming the new neighborhoods in the new building and we’re trying to come up with some cool stuff,” she said. “We also just wrapped up our Socktober fundraiser and we are still trying to promote the IB corner. For more information, visit the IB corner or see an IB ambassador.


Addams Family delights audiences Story by Hudson Bookout


amar Loading Dock Productions presentedThe Adams Family. From an audience point of view, it was brilliant. The acting was amazing and the presentation was great as well. Actor Dexter Maryland said he went from never being in a play before to having the lead role in a production. “I have been in many plays for my church but never a play for school,” he said. “When I got the lead role, I was very surprised and very nervous. I knew there were many other actors who could have gotten that part. “It was challenging because I had to sing and act,” he said. Maryland said he had to be comfortable with himself and be comfortable with the other actors in the play. “It was hard making chemistry between me and the other actors and actresses. I didn’t know them at all before this play,” he said. Many audience members said that Lurch was their favorite character in the play but Maryland had his own favorite. “My favorite roles were Wednesday and Alice in the play,” Maryland said with a laugh. Maryland says that there were many difficult parts of this play, but the hardest part was preparing for the play, and all the nerves that he had to

overcome. “The hardest part was having to stay at school really late in preparation for the play,” he said. Maryland had his favorite actors and actresses but he also had his favorite parts of the play. “My favorite part was the reaction from the crowd. It was the best part of the process of the play,” he said. Maryland was challenged a lot throughout the play and also during the play. There are times when he felt like he messed up or did something wrong. “Everyone around me was supporting and helping me get through it and helped me do the best I could,” he said. Actress Freda Blog said it was her first performance in a play. “To say that it was my first time, it was really overwhelming but it was fun. I met a lot of new friends and I got comfortable performing in front of an audience,” the senior said. “I loved it a lot.” Memorizing the lines was the hard part for her. “I spent hours going over the lines each night,” she said. “My favorite part though was being able to work with Dexter. It was really fun going in this with someone like me, who had no previous experience.” The play was amazing and got standing ovations at each of the performances. The actors and actresses made it look easy on the stage. Congratulations to the Loading Dock Production!


Black History Month Story by Rebecca Asare


and sisters that fought for equal rights,” she said. When asked whether Black any students marked Black History History month Month by expressing their roots and admiring their had any signiffavorite African-American figure. icance to her, From Rosa Parks to Michelle Obama to Childish Nadia Contero Gambino, students here have embraced the idea of emphasized black history today. Some say they see it as American history and want the fact that she was not of to make others aware so that history does not repeat African descent itself. but “I have dear “I don’t believe that Black History Month should just fit in one box. We’ve evolved to express ourselves friends that are close to me and in many other ways,” sophomore Tai Barnes said. the way they “Black hisexpress their cultory to me ture and history through the generations speaks truth. is a means This is very inspiring and I respect that.” of celebraAs Black History, many admire those who have tion for the sacrificed and fought for the liberty and equality of accomplishAfrican-Americans all over the nation. ments I, as a Students did their part by expressing and reflecting black young woman, have on their roots. Sophomore Annice Applewhite said her recognizachieved and ing Black History Month stems from growing up. an inspi“During this month, we have a lot of family time ration for others to cel- and watch the movies together in order to remember what they did for us,” she said. “I don’t think it’s overebrate their rated. I believe it’s extremely important and couraaccomplishgeous how the leaders of the past rose and fought for ments.” what they believed Instead of dressing up as their favorite icon, some students chose to face-paint, displaying their symbol was right. “The way I celeof culture. brate Black Histo“Black history is what I am made of. It’s a part of me. It’s my history and has brought up the past gener- ry Month might ations to be stronger and to adapt to hard and unfair. be corny but I love That mindset was what my parents grew up knowing Weston afros and and it is all that I know. Without black history, I prob- watching movies and talking about ably wouldn’t be the person that I am today,” junior them - movies like Devin Williams said. For sophomore Sade Dozier, Black History Month Selma, The Help was a month to commemorate the beauty of not only and HIdden Figbeing African American but being a black woman in ures,” she added. America. “Most importantly, to acknowledge all our brothers


By Mykel Wheaton

What does Black History month mean to you? Christy Cobb: “A time to put a focus on our history but it isn’t the only time we should focus on it. We should remember black history and incorporate it into every single thing we do.”

Deaundre Taylor: “Black History month to me means a month for all the world to look back at all the accomplishments that all the African American people have done.”

Dexter Maryland: “To me black history month means time to celebrate black excellence.”

Asking Around: Black History Month Which influential African American person do you most look up to? Malcom Wiley: “I admire my mother because she guided me through this life and gave advice on how to be a young successful African American coming up in America.” Tyron Chambers: “I am a huge admirer of the former president Barak Obama and Nelson Mandela, the late Bishop Garfield Thomas Haywood who is known as the father of Pentecostal of America.”

Colton Scott: “Barack Obama simply because he was the first African American president and he overcame all the things people tried to knock him down with because of his race.”


Students announced as National Merit finalists Story by Jemma Leech


hree Lamar seniors— Rohini Chahal, Alexia Ivan and Rebecca Zivley—have been announced as 2019 National Merit Scholarship Finalists. With more than 1.6 million high school students taking the PSAT test in their junior year—it is an enormous achievement for any student to be named one of the 15,000 finalists. The judges looked at the candidates’ extracurricular achievements, awards and leadership positions as well as their academic achievements. All of the finalists will now be considered for National Merit Scholarships of $2,500 each as well as corporate and college-sponsored scholarships. Lamar Life talked to the finalists and asked them for their top tips for academic success. Q- Congratulations on being named a National Merit Scholarship finalist – what does that achievement mean to you? Rohini Chahal: This achievement helped me fully realize that everything I worked towards in high school paid off! It has helped me improve my college profile tremendously and guaranteed a slight edge over my competitors, which is always helpful. Alexia Ivan: Being named a National Merit Scholarship finalist means a lot to me because it has always been a big goal of mine. National Merit opens many doors for college admission and scholarship opportunities, and I am very grateful for the recognition. Rebecca Zivley: In my junior year, I decided to work towards becoming a National Merit Finalist because I knew that my college applications would be supported by a recognition from the NMSC. Achieving the National Merit Finalist distinction reminds me of how rewarding achieving a goal you’ve worked hard for can be. Q - How have you achieved your academic success? (i.e. has it come easily to you?) Rohini Chahal: Reaching my academic peak was encouraged by my diligent teachers, the support of my parents and my competitive peers. School was a mixed bag for me—some classes were easier than others, and some pushed me mentally and intellectually. I would have to say that junior and senior year were


especially tough with balancing the SAT, ACT, college applications, IB requirements, and SL/HL course loads. Alexia Ivan: I do not believe that academic success comes easily to anyone. Being successful in any field in life requires diligence and commitment. Rebecca Zivley: I have always tried my best in school because I enjoy learning and know that my academic successes will help me both in college and in my future career. Some subjects come more easily to me than others, but, with help from my peers and teachers, I have been able to develop new skills and succeed in classes that have been challenging. Q - What are your top three tips for academic success at Lamar? Rohini Chahal: Do your homework, because sometimes doing badly on a quiz but having your homework turned in will resurrect your overall grade. Seek the advice of your counselors. They are actually so helpful when it comes to deciding what courses to take the next year and offer amazing advice. Thanks Ms. Quintero! Personally, I try to do all of my work either when it gets assigned or during the weekdays. I like to keep the weekends aside to have fun with my friends and reconnect (without the stress of homework/tests) with my family. Alexia Ivan: Don’t procrastinate. Always study for tests and quizzes. Plan out your time effectively so you can still have fun and enjoy high school! Rebecca Zivley: If you don’t understand something, go to your teachers’ tutorials. Don’t wait until test day to get your questions answered. Stay on top of your work. Missing and/or late assignments can have a drastic impact on otherwise good grades. The more effort you put into studying and class assignments, the more academically successful you will be. Q - What is your best tip for taking the PSAT, SAT and ACT examinations? Rohini Chahal: By studying for the SAT sophomore/junior year summer, you will automatically be studying for the PSAT, so make sure not to skimp on diligently studying because before you know it, you’ll be cramming everything the week before the test. I also found it helpful to review some of the easier topics

(math) rather than take for granted that I knew them. Lastly, and this may not work for many people, but I usually review some difficult math problems the morning of the test to get my brain acclimated with thinking quickly. I also know some other people like to relax the morning of to de-stress, so it depends on the habits of the person. Alexia Ivan: I highly recommend taking many timed practice exams before your actual test. Rebecca Zivley: Study for your college admissions tests. Lamar has free PSAT/SAT/ACT resources available to students in the library. Practice until you can consistently achieve a score you are happy with. As much as colleges and universities like to promote the idea of holistic admissions, having a good SAT or ACT score is still extremely important if you want to get in to schools with competitive admissions.


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Story by Madeleine House


“Authors we’ve read, we’ve gone to competitions and riting because one must and writingbecause one wants to are completely different experiences. we see how good other people are and we want to see ourselves do something similar,” she said. Writing without boundaries allows for imagination Gilbert-Smith said a lot of her and creativity to take control. inspirations come from author If you are passionate about Ray Bradbury, who wrote Fahrenwriting, Lamar has the commu“I want to show that you’re heit 451. nity you are looking for - the and other authors of Creative Writing Club. capable of doing something “Bradbury that time period are my inspiraFreshman Lillian Gilbert-Smith gave the Creative that you probably wouldn’t tions because I really admire how they work figurative language Writing Club its start. think about doing.” and poetry into their writing.” “Creative writing is really imIn recommending a start with portant to have in schools and creative writing, Bransom said, we don’t get a lot of it in class,” “Just start writing and reading a she said. “The club already exLillian Gilbert-Smith lot. You’re a better writer if you isted but no one was in it yet. have inspiration from people “I wanted to help show other who have had more practice than you.” people that you can be a writer even if you don’t think that you can. A lot of people have imagination that they Gilbert-Smith agreed. “Thinking too much about it and waiting and thinkjust don’t think they can use,” Gilbert-Smith added. ing ‘I need to get this perfect sentence,’ that keeps Club sponsor Mary Branson said she thinks it is yourself from writing. Take a few minutes a day to important to have an outlet for people to learn how to write down your thoughts and talk to people about write creatively to express themselves. “Inspiration for creative writing can come from several it,” she said. sources. People are interesting. There are a lot of things Bransom uses a prompt generator to get her students writing. to write about,” she said. Freshman Diana Ramirez explained the club’s inspi- “It basically just throws together words,” Bransom said. ration. “And students love it!” Gilbert-Smith exclaimed. “What we do is we come up with a lot of prompts. I like thinking outside of the box. There was one prompt that was more vague. It talked about a door in the woods and finding a random cellar. That started off the story that I’ve been working on for a year and it’s over a hundred pages long. That was a big prompt for me,” she said. Creative writing has both literally and figuratively opened doors for these students and teachers. The Creative Writing Club meets every Thursday after school from 4:00 to 5:30 in N324. Founders of the Creative Writing Club Lillian-Gilbert Smith and Diana Ramirez have a little fun at Freshman Roundup.

Writing club gets students’ creative juices flowing


Valentine’s Day door decorating contest gets students showing love


aint, chenille stems, pom poms and glitter covered the doors of many classrooms in the race to be winner for this year’s Valentine’s door decoration contest. “Well, my group and I have a close relationship with our biology teacher, Dr. Dang, so we came up with the idea to make something out of his face and put him on a Cupid for Valentine’s Day,” Danny Nguyen said with a smile. Sophomore Sade Dozier said she and her group wanted to do a little something different. “We wanted to celebrate Black History Month with Valentine’s Day,” she said. “In our modern society it is often seen that when it comes to rocking kinky, curly, coiled, nappy hair, pop culture dictates us to follow hairstyles of a more Eurocentric standard. For this project, we wanted to showcase the beauty and power of a black woman’s hair. This door screamed that being black is beautiful and that we need to love not only ourselves but others for the blackness in us.” Deciding on what to adorn doors with - whether it be

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Story by Aylin Alhazimi to make it catching to the eye or just to show a message - was the first challenge participants faced. “We wanted to say thank you for fighting for everything that you did and it was really important to us to represent our culture, us being women and sharing love,” Dozier said. Twenty-one groups participated in this year’s contest. There were several winners in multiple categories like Best Overall, Best Hi-Tech to even Most Viral. Senior Surina Belk-Gupta and her group won Most Viral. “We chose Mr. Brahm’s door because it was in a prime location. Our inspiration was the many levels and romantic complexities of Michael Scott,” Belk-Gupta said. “Not sure what most viral means but we were cool with it. It sounds nice. He gave us a lot of thumbs up and compliments.” Winners received a jean-pass day as a reward and praise from principal Rita Graves.

One Love, One Heart


Story by Blythe Chandler

alentine’s Day is a day traditionally celebrating love between couples, friends and family. But what about love during the rest of the year? The world continues to swarm with constant negativity and disconnect, with a brief pause on Valentine’s Day. Sophomore Sofia Puccini believes that violence is the main cause of this hate. “I believe that though we have been prospering in several aspects, we have been degrading because of political conflicts, as well as violence that

humanity overlooks people’s idiosyncratic notions because of pride, etc. It has us in a state of confusion of how we express love. Until we get the basic of brotherly love in humanity, we will continue to have these same challenges.” Our world is far from perfect and can always use improvement. A student shares advice on how to advance the place we live in. “To make our world a better place, we need to try and be the best citizens we can be, as well

has been occurring throughout the nation,” Puccini said. Even though our country is steadily growing economically, it feels about as warm as an ice cube. With the fast paced, money-based economy we live in, it is undeniable that love is constantly getting the cold shoulder. For sophomore Sade Dozier, her thinking is simple. Teamwork makes the dream work. “Instead of always prioritizing how to get profit, we need to work inside our country. We need to bring people together instead of separating them by their differences. We should educate each other about who we are and be respectful of that,” Dozier said. Now you may be asking yourself, “What can I do to spread love?” This is a very deep-rooted question with tons of answers that seem hard to swallow, when in reality it can be quite simple. When we as people learn to accept and respect each other, despite our differences, unity will bring itself. Teacher Tyron Chambers passionately expressed his thoughts on agape love. “I think that we need to express the thought of agape love, brotherly love, amongst humanity. Humanity holds grudges, humanity gets mad,

as acting in the welfare of others and not just ourselves as individuals. We should be handling things rationally and not with violence, we need to make sacrifices.” Recently, America has been facing lots of conflict that could easily be prevented. It feels like we are butting heads with ourselves and this is a battle we will always lose. The constant problems we are having play a huge part in the lack of love we feel in our country. What would you say to a government official to resolve the problem we have in our community? Student Nic Bell voices what he would say to a worker of the government. “Stop giving so many problems and just give some solutions. Be able to compromise more or we will never be able to get things done,” he said. “Beginning today, be an inspiration to spread more love in your community. We are all human. We are all Americans and we all need love.”

“Be able to compromise or we will never be able to get things done.”


Story by Anthony Luna

Jessie Smollett’s alleged false claim makes it bad for real victims


n January 29, the story of actor Jussie Smollett’s racially motivated alleged attack surfaced, evoking a wave of support from those in Hollywood and from his fans on social media. The actor claimed that two masked men approached him at 2 a.m. as he was walking home from a subway station. He went on to claim that the assailants tied a noose around his neck while shouting homophoic and racial slurs. With Smollett being a black and openly gay actor, many were quick to use this as an example of the growing issue of racism and homophobia under Trump. Eventually, as Chicago police began to investigate, it became clear that the entire incident was fabricated and was orchestrated by Smollett himself. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the two men who were main suspects, named Abel and Ola Osundario were paid $3,500 to stage the attack. Shortly after, Smollett was arrested for filing a false police report. The fact that the actor filed a false police report and wasted the time and resources of law enforcement is wrong. Thus the felony charges are justifiable.

But a larger concern is the repercussion that this will have on real instances of hate crimes. Because this occurrence happened in the view of the public eye, it undermines those who have suffered because of prejudice. Being in the limelight means you unwillingly sign up to be a role model for those who look up to you and see themselves in you. As such a large representative of the queer black community, his actions make the real-life crimes against queer people of color seem less credible. As a society, we are inevitably going to move on from this event but I think it’s important that we don’t forget that racially motivated hate crimes do happen. It’s irresponsible to let one incident undermine the credibility of these stories and to speak for an entire community of real victims. That being said, while I entirely disagree with everything Trump stands for and believes in, I don’t think this should speak for the entirety of his supporters. As queer people of color, we are held back by aspects of ourselves that we didn’t choose to have and when one of us is actively working against the entire community, it just makes it that much harder to overcome adversity. While I understand that the actor was suffering from depression and there were hints of a breakdown soon, what Smollett did was wrong, bottom line. I’m disappointed to say the least.

Congratulations to the Teachers of the Year


Theory of Knowledge teacher Alexander Brahm (right) won the title of Teacher of the Year and social studies teacher Edis Moreno (left) was named the New Teacher of the Year. Congratulations to both of them!

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Story by Jemma Leech

Washington gives a voice to the students A

drian Washington is the voice of the Lamar student body in more ways than one. Not only is he on Student Council, in National Honor Society and Med Club and secretary of BSU, but Adrian is also the Twitter-King of the Lamar Student Section and the loudest unofficial cheerleader at Lamar sporting events. The @LamarStuSection Twitter account was started by the Class of 2018 and Adrian was its natural successor from this year’s senior class. “It used to be run by my friend Josh,” he says. “We always used to go to the football games together and stand in the student section—we were always the two most hype ones—so Josh felt it was only right that the account got handed down to me to run. “When we first started it last year, it was just for football but this year we’ve included all sports and other school events like Homecoming, Spirit Week and the blood drive.” Adrian’s inclusion of other sports on the Twitter feed has widened his own interests too. “We tweeted a lot about volleyball this year and we had the best time at the volleyball games. It was so fun. We recorded ourselves cheering at the games and showed the students on Twitter what we were doing, so that they’d want to come. It’s about saying, ‘This sport is fun too, not just football.’ One of my teachers is a softball coach, so that’s what I’m going to be trying next,” he said. With the account’s follower numbers more than three times what they were last year, Adrian takes his job seriously, knowing that Twitter is such a public space. “Our principal, Ms. Graves, always likes and retweets whatever we post and Lamar’s official twitter follows us now. Even the HISD Athletics account found us too, so that’s a big thing. Mostly I am just free to post what I think would be fun to post but I know what the limits are. They trust me to post the

right thing and stay within the boundaries,” Adrian said. Adrian, who will be studying Pre-Law at Xavier University in Louisiana next year, is passionate about giving students a voice within the school and that is why he also serves on Student Council. “Sometimes students can feel like they can’t ever get what they want but on Student Council, we really take what they want and what they experience and we try to make it better, to make school more fun. Some kids have a negative feeling about school, so we really try to give them more spirit. “Ms. Graves is a really understanding principal—I love Ms. Graves—and she really cares about what the students think and how we feel. She doesn’t just throw things at us. She asks us how we feel about it. That’s what Student Council is about. We are the student body’s voice and we try to make school better for them,” the senior said. Follow Adrian and the student section on Twitter: @LamarStuCo

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The End of the Season...

Wrestling: District Champions


s the season comes to an end, the wrestling team was determined to go out with a bang. At the district tournament, all of the girls placed in the top three while two of the boys placed. All five of them advanced to regionals.

Team captain junior Allison Mejia was the only girl to place first at districts but it took a lot of sweat and determination to get so far. “It was just a crazy experience. I felt like all that hard work was for this moment,” Mejia said. “I’d been dreaming of this since forever because freshman year, I was disqualified. Sophomore year, I was out because of a concussion, so this year was my


Story by Lauren Koong first time at districts and I placed first!” However, Mejia had to overcome many difficulties to fight her way to the top. “All the girls I wrestled were like 5’5”. I’m 4’10” so these girls were all taller than me. It’s harder for me to be in my weight class and stay on weight because I’m short, so my weight is based on my stomach but for those girls, their weight is based on bones so they have more advantages than I do,” Mejia explained. “They don’t have to suffer or go through the same struggles I do, so it was really scary and nerve-wrecking because all these girls were so strong.” According to head coach Carina Reyes, this year’s district results were much better than previous years. “For districts overall, compared to last year, we did a lot better,” Reyes said. “It’s just crazy to me because last year I was coaching but it was just me by myself and I had no help but this year, I have an assistant coach and I narrowed down the team to where if you’re in the class, you are competing. It made it much easier to individualize the training.” On top of more personal training, the key to success is having a good support system. “Who really helped me the most are my coaches and the girls’ team because they’ve been my supporters since day one. They’ve made sure that I was on task with school, on getting on weight,” said Mejia. “They were hard on me but they were good on me too. They gave me the support I needed.”


Story by Alexander Landowski


inishing a baseball season with a record of 19-12-1, as the Lamar Texans varsity team did in 2018, should leave one beaming with pride. When your 2017 campaign, however, produced a record of 28-4-1, it’s easy to understand why some felt that last season didn’t yield the success that the Texans’ faithful had hoped for. With Coach David Munoz at the helm for his 21st season with the LHS baseball team, including the last eight as head coach, the team is poised for great achievements under his steady leadership. Being the realist that he is, the skipper takes the continuing expectations in stride. “Expectations and the standards are where they are,” Munoz said. “The classes before these kids have set the bar high and these kids are very excited to meet and raise the bar.“ In analyzing the 2018 season, the objective coach stated that he felt his team pressed too much last year. “They tried too hard to repeat what happened naturally the year before,” Munoz surmised. He thinks that this senior-led group will have what it takes to reach their lofty expectations. “I think part of what makes this group this year a little different is the chemistry that they’ve built amongst themselves.” Munoz is well aware of the challenges that face him as the leader of the Texans baseball team. “Every day is a challenge and every day will present a new challenge,” he said. “Sometimes getting into a routine and relying on the routine is dangerous. I believe that in order to get better and to stay fresh, you have to try new things and you have to have an open mind.” The players all know what their approach will need to be to find success. “They know before going into any game, that win or lose, the goal is to come out a better team,” Coach Munoz said.

“As long as we are getting better every time we take the field, we’ll look back at the end of this season with no regrets.” The current edition of the Texans will feature a very strong senior class, including Sam Frank, Chris Contreras, Ross Sylvagi, Jake Arthur, Brendan Cumming, Alex Lopez, Victor Hernandez and Daniel Nunez provide a deep foundation for the team this year. That group is augmented by juniors Drew Woodcox, Matthew Mackey and Cameron Meisenbach. Munoz is confident that everyone in his line-up is capable of delivering a game winning hit, but the middle of the order is special. “There is a game changing affect in our entire lineup,” he said. “The middle or our order and the top of our order, I would think, is probably going to be among the best in our district.” The top of the pitching rotation will be manned by Jake Arthur and Joey Castillo, who have currently separated themselves from the rest of the pitching staff according to Munoz. He does believe that there are other seniors on the roster that can be very effective pitchers for the team. In the field, the team will be very strong up the middle with Woodcox at shortstop, Contreras at second base and Hernandez in centerfield. Positionally Munoz feels that his team is solid as in the other elements of the game. “The best part of this team is that the kids know their roles and right now, with team chemistry and the unselfishness that we have seen, we are just excited to get on the field and start the regular season,” he said. As a Houston Astros fan and one who follows the local college teams, along with every team that a former player of his is a current member of, it is obvious the love of the game that Munoz feels. Winning is always nice, but it’s not the main force motivating this driven coach. Rather, it’s the lasting relationships that he builds with his players that sustains Coach Munoz. “Attending players’ weddings, their college graduations and meeting their children, means more than baseball,” he said with a smile.

Baseball team ready to attack previous record 15

Men’s basketball season ends in second round of playoffs Story by Mykel Wheaton


shout out to the boys’ basketball team for advancing to the playoffs. Unfortunately, they lost in the second round to Fort Bend Elkins High School. “Our season went better than I expected it to be, we had a rough start but we were able to get our stuff together and finish strong,” senior Dennis Sharp said. According to head coach Jerry VanDusen, the boys played a really good season. The team had a couple of downfalls and they could have quit but they stuck it out and gave it their all. “I’m really proud of them. They could’ve quit when we were 0-8 but they never did. They worked extremely hard during the season, finished second in district and were by-district

champs. Despite their tough lost against Elkins, they still have a lot to be proud about,” VanDusen said. The boys ended the season with a 19-15 record. Senior Alex Hogan said he was proud of his team and their accomplishment this season. “We fought it out hard but we came up short,” Hogan said. “It was a tough loss.”

Lacrosse players celebrate Vollmer’s 31 years of coaching

Lamar alums, current players and families gathered at 8th Wonder Brewery to celebrate Coach David Vollmer’s 30 years of coaching Lamar men’s lacrosse. Food for the Brew & Q Family Picnic event was provided by The Pass and Provisions restaurant owner and Chef Seth Siegel-Gardner, a former Lamar lacrosse player (’94-’98). All funds raised at the event will go toward sustaining the Lamar men’s lacrosse program.


Story by Chloe Adeniyi


tepping off the football field and into the classroom to help students reach their full potential after pursuing a successful career in playing professional football, Garry Johnson does it all. Known to many as Coach Johnson, he was first introduced to the sport when he was in first grade. The first team he ever played for was the Wake Village Wildcats of his elementary school. “What I liked best about the sport was the brotherhood, the friendship, the contact and being able to just get out on the field and play ball,” Johnson recalls. “ I loved the game and protecting the quarterback.” Johnson took his passion for the sport and went on to play professional football. He played for the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, NFL Europe-Rhein Fire, CFL-Renegades and Atlanta Falcons. Later on in Johnson’s career when he was finishing up playing for the Falcons, he was allocated to represent them in the NFL Europe League. A contusion caused him to go into rehab physical therapy in Birmingham, Alabama. “I adjusted pretty well,” Johnson said. “A lot of physical therapy like the pool and applying both heat and cold fared well for me but there was an extremely poor contusion injury support

system.” After recovery from his injury, Johnson’s desire to make a difference in the life of special need students brought him to teaching. Coach Johnson has worked with kids with disabilities and offered mentorship to young students most of his life. While playing football, he participated in the Big Buddy Lunch Buddy program along with working on many Special Olympic projects in the area. So it was no big leap to become a teacher here. Despite the ongoing, lingering, medical issues resulting from a contusion, Johnson dedicates his time and energy into inspiring students to be their very best at everything. “I come each day to Lamar High School to challenge them and make them be the best they can be and at the same time they do the same for me but I know that there’s always room for improvement,” he said. Coach Johnson not only leaves a lasting impact on everyone he interacts with but he also focuses on bettering himself and the people around him. “When someone says they have nothing to improve they always have something to work on to better themselves,” Johnson said.

Coach Johnson: A pro on the field and with the kids


Jewish teens descend on Denver for international convention


ver the third weekend in February, BBYO held their International Convention in Denver, Colorado.

The convention, commonly referred to as IC by attendees, is a yearly event which plays host to nearly 5,000 teens from 50 countries around the world. BBYO is a non-profit Jewish youth group and IC is their biggest event. Featuring dozens of speakers from variety of areas, including Adam Rippon, Chelsea Handler and Max Greenfield, IC is regarded as the largest gathering of Jewish teens outside of Israel. From Thursday to Monday, attendees are able to attend multiple different types of programming. Friday saw LEADS day, where the teens were split up into groups by interest. Many of the groups left the convention center, where they heard from speakers on a variety of topics, including first responder training, community service and life skills. Saturday brought more discussion sessions, where attendees could pick from dozens of different speakers in


Story by Morgan Rosenbaum three different rounds, allowing them to broaden their horizons and explore new ideas. On Sunday, attendees were once again split up into groups for different sightseeing tracks around the Denver area. Some groups went skiing, some went on tours of the city, while some spent their time at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Sunday night brought the IC concert. Each year BBYO staff bring in three artists to perform, with this year’s performers being Marc E Bassy, T Pain and Galantis. This year, the concert sparked controversy when one of the attendees threw a beach ball at T Pain, hitting him in the head and leading him to walk off stage. Overall the event was a huge success, with many of the attendees saying they’re excited for next year when IC comes down south to Dallas. Following this year’s impressive lineup of speakers and guests, IC 2020 is sure to be a big one.

“I enjoyed IC because I got to see my friends from across the country and was able to have meaningful Jewish experiences with lots of other Jewish teens.”

-Alex Rico

Credit Union Student Advisory Club teaches students to be financially savvy Story by Aylin Alhazimi


and they say ‘I’m going to save this amount but they don’t have an actual budgeting worksheet,” Pena said. aving can be a struggle whether it be used for a good cause “The board has helped me personally improve my financing as well as like buying a pair of shoes that you learning financial terms/literacy that have been eyeing or even a whole I never would’ve known otherwise. It new wardrobe. Buying the things we want based has also helped me prep for college as I have a better idea of budgeting.” on the things we need is troubling The student advisory club was which makes students kind of lose established to help students better track of their money. That is why the student advisory their money-management skills and give insight on what it is like to be club was created. an adult and make financially sound “I wanted to buy something and decisions. I really had my eye on it for a cou“We pick a topic and discuss it. ple of months but it turned out as Recently we did a topic on budgeting I swiped my card that I didn’t have enough money for my other needs so and then did an activity over it,” Pena I needed to budget. I needed to save,” said. Smart Financial Credit Union senior William Reed said. manager Elizabeth Gonzalez said According to senior Audry Pena, the Advisory Club was started when anyone can and should put themformer principal Dr. James McSwain selves on a budget. “From what I’ve seen, the biggest approached the previous manager mistakes is that people don’t budget about getting a group of students together. - like they know they have money

“He said they would be the eyes and ears for students and be able to discuss financial literacy among peers,” Gonzaelz explained. “We get together every Wednesday and we pick a topic about financial literacy.” Gonzalez said they also have fun. “It is funny that we plan parties and did the Valentine’s Day door decoration but that all involved money so that was an opportunity to discuss budgeting,” Gonzalez said. “We see it as an opportunity to talk about it among our age group.” Gonzalez said once students attend the meetings, they all leave saying it was a good idea. “We understand the importance of students wanting to have money. Everybody can have money but not everyone knows how to save money. So we basically give you the foundation and the root of how to start thinking about saving money,” she said.



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