Lamar Life: Volume 22, Issue 5

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L A M A R L February 2022

I Vol. 22

F E Issue 5






Kathryn Stone


ike many of my peers, I have recently become somewhat addicted to word games. From the Washington Post Daily Crossword to Wordle, I am completely hooked. My affinity for word games is not necessarily new. Growing up I loved a good word search and if there was a spelling bee at school, I immediately volunteered to participate. But a few months ago my brother came into my room and asked me if I did the Washington Post Daily Crossword. Thus, the obsession truly began. Crosswords began to take up my entire day. For a few weeks, if you were to look at my computer at any given moment, chances were that I was doing a crossword. During breaks at work I would pull one up on the iPad register and have my manager help me solve the difficult questions. My friends began to get annoyed at my need to always have a crossword in front of me. Eventually, I stumbled onto word game Tik Tok, which brought me videos of people playing various word games, special clues in certain crossword questions and eventually Wordle. The best of the best, Wordle took the word game world by storm. The concept was simple: guess the five-letter word every day in six tries or less. It quickly spread around the world, leaving millions playing the game that had orginally been created by Josh Wardle for himself and his partner to play. Not long after he had released the game to the public in October of 2021, the New York Times bought the game in January of 2022. After this purchase, social media was abuzz with backlash, with players saying the New York Times was going to ruin the game or make players start paying for it. The biggest complaint though was that since the purchase, double letters have become commonplace in the daily words, which is incredibly frustrating. Personally, I trust the New York Times with the game. They have a great crossword and obviously know what they are doing with word games. Plus, I know that I will pay for Wordle in the event they start charging to play. My play streak is too long to lose at this point. Part of the reason why Wordle became so popular is because of the share feature once you finish the play that day. Your grid is copied to your clipboard so you can

Washington Post Daily Crossword

share how many tries you got the word in, how fast you got the letters in the correct order, etc. For me, I share my grid every day in my family group chat because we all play Wordle. Aside from crosswords and Wordle, I have found a love for Word Hunt on game pigeon. While I admit that I am not the best at it, I find it incredibly fun to play. It is a bit difficult to play sometimes because the letters sometimes seem to not be able to connect at all and it ends up being down to knowing obscure three-letter words to get enough points but that has just become a part of the fun. It is a quick little brain challenge and even if I don’t win very often, it is still a fun way to pass time. Some people hate word games and honestly, I get it. They can be incredibly frustrating, boring, or seem stupid. Sometimes I will be playing one and think “what on earth am I doing right now?” or someone will poke fun at it but at the end of the day, it’s just a silly little game. And if someone wants to think it’s lame or stupid, just think about how they probably have Clash of Clans on their phone. Jokes aside, I love word games and I am happy that the world is really catching on to the trend. Though I know that the popularity will inevitable die down and the hype will go away, I also know that I will continue to play. And I think a lot of other people will continue to play. The daily games, whether it be Wordle or the crosswords from the Washington Post or New York Times, have put so many in a routine that I think they will have to keep playing. It’s a part of my daily routine and I have no intention of breaking that, an intention I hope fellow word game lovers share. To those who have never played a good word game before, I highly encourage you to try! If you want a nice challenge, try a daily crossword from the Washington Post. If you want a relatively easy one that doesn’t take much time, think of a five letter word and start guessing on Wordle or practice Wordle play on the app Wordus. And if you think you could find the most words out of 16 letters in a grid in under a minute and a half, I can almost guarantee that you are already better than me in Word Hunt. As I write this, I am continuously checking my clock for it to be midnight so I can do the Wordle. Fingers crossed it doesn’t have a double letter this time.

New York Times Daily Mini Crossword


Katheryn Stansell: Lamar African American Coallition Leader

“The importance of embracing our culture is to let other people know it’s not something to be ashamed of, and instead something to appreciate and not appropriate. A black figure I look up to historically would have to be Ella Josephine Baker.”

Zyas Richards: 2022-2023 Minds of Minorites, VP “The importance of embracing your culture, in a sense is to know your own importance. One of my favorite literary figures is Langnston Hughes and his idea of reclaiming the narrative of how black women and men are depicted. The importance is to able to tell your story in an authentic way, and educating people who may not know it.”

Edwin Mason: AAC member

“I embrace my black culture by being uniquely me, a black teenager in america. I believe it is important to embrace your culture in order to truly understand who it is you are, and the type of people your ancestors were, for you to become who you could be today. “


“They made us into a race. We made ourselves into a people.” Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me “America understands itself as God’s handiwork, but the black body is the clearest evidence that America is the work of men.” Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me “I saw all races, all colors, blue eyed blonds to black skinned Africans in true brotherhood! In unity! Living as one! Worshiping as one! No segregationists, no liberals; they would not have known how to interpret the meaning of those words’’ ― Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Another Valentine’s Day Mikal Nazarani


verybody has an opinion about Valentine’s Day. Whether you are single or taken, you will have an opinion about Valentine’s Day, and you will make sure those around you know of what you think is an incredibly necessary and original opinion. Like the current state of political America, chances are your opinion will also rest on one of the two extreme sides of the Valentine’s Day spectrum: you either hate it or you love it. Personally, I like to think I lie somewhere along the middle of this spectrum, maybe skewing a little toward the hate side. Yes, the holiday can be seen as one that perpetuates a false narrative of unrealistic love, creates unhealthy feelings of longing and desperation, and is intrinsically capitalist to its core. But it can also be seen as an event

that promotes a sense of genuine connection, instills an importance of giving, and serves as a reminder for the gratitude we have for a loved one. Realistically speaking however, the former definition is more appropriate here. Regardless, I do not think of Valentine’s Day as inherently bad. There’s a nuance to the day and what it symbolizes, and I think it’s important to analyze that nuance before deciding to be outrageously obnoxious about Valentine’s Day plans, or before choosing to be overly pessimistic and cynical in regards to the holiday as a coping mechanism. First, the downsides of the holiday coupled with a very brief history. While the true origins of Valentine’s Day and its intentions are somewhat of a mystery, a quick google search will tell you that it

is a celebration of the Christian martyr Saint Valentine, and is more traditionally known as the Feast of Saint Valentine. Thus, one can conclude the event arose out of cultural significance and religious recognition. However, if we fast forward to modern times it is clear that religious recognition has now become obsolete, instead replaced by commercial significance. Saint Valentine is no longer considered a figure of martyrdom as much as he is considered a proponent of consumerism. In 2022 alone, Americans were estimated to have spent roughly $24 billion on Valentine’s Day related purchases, from flower bouquets to chocolates to elaborate meals to expensive jewelry. It’s no longer considered acceptable to celebrate Valentine’s Day empty-handed. It seems as though

money and romance have become intertwined. The higher the price tag, the greater one’s love, supposedly. This presents us with a capitalist conundrum: is Valentine’s Day about giving or getting? Can we only give through material means, and do we really set fair expectations for what we get? These are questions that require further exploration, but not without mentioning a second downside to the romance holiday, which is its atmosphere. This is not a critique of the holiday’s aesthetic, with its signature pink and red colors and little hearts and candies, but more so a look at the mood this day of togetherness can invoke, which can be loneliness for a lot of people. Now, Valentine’s Day is considered to be something intimate and private between two individuals, but there is no denying that privacy has for the most part vanished. With the aid of social media, a couple’s Valentine’s Day becomes everyone’s Valentine’s Day to witness. It is a means of flaunting one’s supposed intimacy with another for the sake of a little ego inflation. This is not to say that everyone who shares details of their Valentine’s to the public is desperately craving attention, but it is hard not to wonder if these grand gestures we see posted online were truly being made for just one person, and not for everyone watching. This is perhaps the strongest perpetrator behind the Valentine’s Day hate. When you’re single, it can be hard to appreciate a holiday that mostly subsists off obnoxious couples and inconsiderate friends

bombarding you with their plans and their photos and their PDA. Especially in high school, where everything seems to be more amplified, this experience can be almost stressful. Even for those partaking in the romance holiday, the burden of buying gifts with empty student wallets, coupled with the constant comparison game of seeing what other people are buying and doing can create a lot of unwanted and

A more tangible struggle is the battle against the insidious beast that is Valentine’s consumerism, and already this rejection of materialism is becoming more popular. There is nothing wrong with gift giving, so long as we don’t equate meaning with price tag, and so long as we don’t see it as a means to stroke our own ego. Giving is meant to be selfless. Ultimately, both Valentine’s culture and gift-giving are irrelevant. If we peel back Valentine’s Day to its core, stripping away the excessive commercialization and social media flaunts, we are left with what is human connection between two individuals. It is a shared connection, one that beats the transactional nature of giving and receiving. It can be the sharing of a day-long experience, or the sharing of a brief, fleeting moment, so long as the connection is there.

If we peel back Valentine’s Day to its core, stripping away the excessive commercialization and social media flaunts, we are left with what is human connection between two individuals. unnecessary pressure. So how does one combat this? To be completely frank, I am at a loss for dealing with the toxicity of Valentine’s Day culture. It is neither feasible nor reasonable to expect others to hide their affection for each other out of consideration for your own lack of reciprocated affection - the PDA culture will continue to persist. Rather than struggle with forces we can’t control, we can focus on our own singularity, choosing to no longer participate in the comparison game.

TOP 10 MOVIES For lovebirds celebrating this Valentine’s month, couples may want to have a few comfy date nights at home and watch some appropriately themed romance films. Based on student recommendations, here are top 10 romance movies to watch with your partner. Be warned, keep your tissue box near at all times, as some of these movies may bring tears to your eyes.

Mojdeh Zare

1. Romeo + Juliet (1996)

2. Titanic

Perhaps the most popular of the romance classics, The Titanic is a film that’s great to watch with anyone, this is a film everyone should see at least once. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, this romantic, yet tragic tale is full of emotion and tear jerking scenes. You can never go wrong with this movie.

Romeo and Juliet is a classic love story that never gets old. Great to play for Valentine’s day, Shakespeare’s greatest love story is told as a modern version with teen Leonardo DeCaprio and Claire Danes as Romeo and Juliet.

3. Five Feet Apart

Now if you really want to be crying on Valentines Day about a love story, this is the movie for you. The story is about two ill patients slowly falling in love with each other during their stay at the hospital. However, their illness gets in the way of their love and the ending might send you sobbing for a week.

4. The Notebook

A romance musical starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. This movie takes you along as the main characters are drawn to each other while they chase their dreams. Challenges come along the way that test the pair’s relationship.

5. La La Land If you want to cry on Valentine’s Day, or if you’re single (no shame), this movie is perfect for you. This is an emotional film that may make you sob hysterically as the story takes you through a blooming love between a young couple


If you want a relaxing movie to watch with your date or significant other, here is a romantic comedy for you. The movie is about a high status book editor facing deportation and to prevent her from that, she claims to be engaged to her assistant. The film takes you on a hilarious journey of the pair getting married while a suspicious immigration lawyer is always nearby.

8. Your name

A tragic, romantic tale about two teens who share a spiritual connection. They wake up after swapping bodies in different time periods, and over time start developing a deeper link. It’s a bittersweet ending that might make you shed a few tears.

7. Weathering With You

If you want something a little more unorthodox, then this is an animated romance mixed with a little bit of fantasy. Set in exceptionally rainy weather, a young boy runs away from his troubled home in Tokyo and meets an orphaned girl who can control the weather. This movie is perfect for those who want something different than a typical love story.

9. Pride and Prejudice

This movie follows the whirlwind relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Elizabeth is the daughter of a country gentleman and Fitzwillian is a rich aristocratic landowner. Elizabeth is pressured to get married by her family, especially when introduced to Mr. Darcy. The pair must overcome their titular traits of pride and prejudice 10. Dear John in order to find true love. A romance movie set during the Iraq war, a soldier returns home and develops a strong bond with a college student. The story takes place in the seven years after they start dating and shows their love through the letters they send to each other. As the soldier is deployed elsewhere, their visits become increasingly rare. It’s a heartwarming, but heartbreaking love story.

pink...most compatible

red...Least compatible

mace klein

COVID-19 testing on campus Sydni Fullmighter


ith the recent surge of COVID cases and new strains of the virus emerging across the nation, Lamar began providing free on-campus testing as a part of a district-wide effort to keep COVID cases across HISD schools to a minimum.

Testing is held every Thursday morning in the athletic hall. Each test is a nasal swab administered in partnership with Fulgent Genetics for a 24-48 hour results turnaround. “It [testing] definitely helps because I don’t only want my family to be safe but also my friends and teachers,” junior Sofia Munoz said. The district-wide push for safer and stricter COVID regulations was enacted after an influx of cases following the return from winter break. Anyone who wants to sign up for a test can click the link in an email sent out by principal Rita Graves or go to the nurse’s office and scan the QR code. Once signed up for testing, students will be pulled from one of their Thursday morning classes for optional weekly testing. Students and staff that want to sign up for free testing should see Sharen Forbes in the athletic hall. In order for students to sign up, you will need a parent or guardians’ consent and paperwork filled out as per the QR code in the nurse’s office. “Once you sign up, we send for you every week, and if you don’t want to be tested that week, you just don’t show up that day,” testing coordinator Forbes said. Campus COVID testing is an extremely important part of contact tracing, fighting COVID in our schools and stopping the spread all together.

Graphic by Kathryn Stone

Girls Swim dives into Districts

Aleisha Paulick


irst the JV girls and now the varsity have secured the title of being the 2021-2022 District Champs. The ladies of Lamar’s swimming program are on a roll! Even though the girls have been undefeated for 5-years, the feeling of excitement and achievement never grows old. “It feels really good,” freshman Zoie Pierce said. “My teammates and I worked really hard for this. A lot of practice and a lot of sore muscles, so we definitely deserved that win.” From an outside perspective it may seem like only practice contributed to the win but the truth is there’s a lot more than what meets the eye. “We all put in a high amount of effort,” junior Chloe Diehl said. “We tapered for this meet, meaning that we winded down our practice load, focused on ourselves and got good amounts of sleep. We also shaved and wore tech suits to help us get as close to an LBT (Life Time Best) as we could get by the end of the season.”

Even with all this getting put into the meet, every swimmer has that one race or meet that doesn’t end up going well. “I swam the 200 freestyle and the 500 freestyle,” freshman Lella Wolks said. “I dropped time on my 200 but on my 500 I missed my flip turn and I could’ve gotten a personal record.” As for the boys varsity swim, just like JV champs, they snagged second place. Sure I’m a little bummed that the boys got second,” Diehl said. “But I’m still really proud of them and their excellent work that they did.” With the end of Districts comes the end of swim season and another round of goodbyes. Many friendships and memories were created with the fellow seniors. “I’m definitely really sad that swim season is coming to an end,” Diehl said. “Thank you to all the teammates and coaches, we couldn’t have done it without them. We definitely persevered through the toughest times and I’m just glad that I can look and go on to the pool deck feeling like I’m at home.”

From left to right:Zoie Pierce, Lella Wolks, Lina Bernstiel, Kiya Glave Photo by Laura Diaz-Oviedo

From left to right: Emma Childs, Paula Tascon, Kenya Hernandez, BLANK, Elizabeth Childs, BLANK Photo by Laura Diaz-Oviedo


Kayla Pearl


eb. 2, marked an important milestone for a selection of senior athletes, as it was National Signing Day. Eight seniors took part in the national event and announced their commitment to an array of different colleges. Athletes from all different sports made their commitment to play in college official. In total, five football players signed to play in college. Kobe Jones signed to Kilgore J.C., Javion Green signed to University of Washington, Jordan Jackson signed to Stephen F. Austin, Will Richardson signed to Colorado School of Mines and Orion Irving signed to Tyler J.C. Besides the football players, Sasha Arlinghaus signed to Cambell University for lacrosse and Alex Koong signed to Brown University for tennis. During this national signing event, Josh Endo signed to Southwestern University for baseball. However, earlier this year, many other baseball players signed to colleges. Jake Vobbe committed to Tyler J.C., Wilson Woodcox signed to Tulane, Hudson Smith signed to Fairmont State and Matthew Whitting committed to Blinn College. These athletes have been cultivating their passion and playing their sports for many years, working hard to achieve their goals. “I’ve been playing football since I was about five years old,” Green said. “Football means a lot to me. I’ve met most of my closest friends, people that I consider family through it. It’s kind of like my distraction from everyday life.”

all grouped up to take a picture.” Being a student athlete comes with a lot of responsibilities due to the immense amount of pressure that comes with it, whether it be juggling training with schoolwork or pushing the body to its limits. “It was definitely a struggle, just having 3-5 hours of tennis a day and having to come back to do homework among other things,” Koong said. “I think the biggest thing that helped me was not focusing on how much I had to do, but just sitting down and getting stuff done. I tried to be as efficient as possible and learned a lot about being able to finish assignments quickly.” Being recruited for sports has shown to be a lengthy process with many difficulties for some of the athletes. “The recruitment process was a little bit slow at first but I was able to pick up some big offers at the end,” Green said. Another factor that added to the difficulties of recruitment was COVID-19. “Because of COVID, coaches could not come and see us play. They had to look at our films and go based off of that,” Arlinghouse said. Luckily, there were some ways around the challenges and connections between colleges and athletes were able to be made. “Through my baseball summer program and the program at Lamar, I got a couple of connections through the colleges,” Endo said.

Playing sports requires hard work and dedication, but it is also about pursuing life-long dreams for many athletes.

It was a mutual feeling among the athletes that they were prepared well at school to embark on the journey towards their future.

“To me, playing lacrosse is about commitment and doing what I love and I am excited to play at a higher level,” Arlinghouse said.

“I feel very well prepared,” Green said. “We have good coaches here and good teachers that really care about you.”

Arlinghouse was the only female athlete representative of ours to sign that day.

At the end of the day, these athletes have worked very hard to make themselves the best possible athlete that they can be and it is done out of love for the game.

“It was a pretty cool feeling to be the only girl to commit that day,” she said. “I did not realize it until we were

“Ball is life,” Endo said.


Lamar pole vaulters struggle to get off the ground Ben Newmann


ere at Lamar we have approximately 17 sports, all mostly sports that you traditionally see depicted with cinematic intensity and fervor whether in the news or on film. But one sport that does not get a film starring Denzel Washington as an inspiring coach, or a huge fan following, or, in the case of our school, the means to even play the sport is pole vaulting. The school’s pole vaulting team has sat dormant all year without equipment, mostly without a coach and without members. Katalina Contreras, a junior on the team put the problem in simple terms. “We don’t have poles,” Contreras said. “So, the pole vaulting coach last year had to rent out the poles and obviously took them with him whenever he left, so now we don’t have any poles.” And poles aren’t the only thing that that team is short on, as they are lacking in members willing to play the sport. “I know of at least two others, and the lack of membership isn’t very likely to improve,” sophomore Taylor Lafitte said. “When we get the poles I don’t think the pole vaulting team will get popular last year it was not many people I think it was two people in the pole vaulting section of track” Contreras feels similarly, and echoes the same sentiment. “Considering how unpopular the team was last year when we did have poles I don’t think it’ll make much of a difference,” Contreras said. But the two of them pay it no mind, as Lafitte remarked on the benefits of an intimate team. “I don’t care how few people are on the team, I also run cross country and the team there is small and there is something more inspiring and more exciting about having a smaller group that you can be closer with rather than a lot of people you don’t really know,” Lafitte said. Contreras agrees but with a caveat. “I actually prefer to have a tight knit team just because I feel like you could get closer to each other and I guess help each other grow in a sense but obviously it would be good to have more people join the team,” Contreras said. Some ideas are now being thrown around to try to recruit more team members. “I think to get more people interested in pole vaulting we can do a lot more advertising and just talk to people about it to see if that’s what they’re interested in, because some people are strong and just don’t know that that’s a sport that they can play,” Lafitte said. Contreras contributed a similar idea.

“I think we can maybe make more announcements, to get the word out there that we have a pole vaulting team,” Contreras said. Lafitte and Contreras both have rationales for why the pole vaulting team is in this state. “I think that they don’t take pole vaulting as seriously as other sports or like other field events because not as many people are interested in them,” Contreras said. “I think it deserves the same amount of attention if not more because it’s such an intricate sport that requires so much more skill and dedication.” Lafitte gave reasons as to why it should get more attention. “I think pole vaulting deserves just as much funding as other sports because it’s just like other sports,” Lafitte said. “It’s people putting in work to follow something they’re passionate about and it’s a hard sport.” She then continued talking about what the sport means to the athlete. “The importance of pole vaulting is showing people that you can be strong and that you can work for something to achieve something and to achieve new goals,” Laffite said. “And because of this passion they have for it they are willing to work as much as they need to.” Contreras commented on the late start the team will have due its early on troubles. “I think I’ll have to work extra time with the coach to work on form and technique,” Contreras said. Regardless, Contereras has high aspirations for the team’s pole vaulting futures. “I want to improve my skills in pole vaulting and maybe even pole vault in college,” Contreras said. Despite the initial struggle, the team’s coach, Coach Taylor has high hopes for the team, and plans on fixing the issue with lack of resources. “We did a fundraiser as a team and we’re going to secure our own Lamar High School poles pretty soon,” Taylor said. “We worked with a group called vertical race and our whole team does their best to bring their friends and family together to donate to our track program.” More specifically, “We worked with a group called vertical race and our whole team does their best to bring their friend and family together to donate to our track program” And once they get the poles he thinks they can go far, stating his goal, as “To go win district championships,” Taylor said.

the future of band Brooklyn Carmona


n Feb. 5, the band participated in the UIL Solo and Ensemble competition at Heights High School. Out of the performers, two ensembles and one soloist received perfect scores! What does this mean for the future of the band? “Those students that went did really well and represented Lamar really well, but because of the freeze, because of COVID, and because of eligibility, out of 44 students, I only got to send 18,” head band director Matthew Seifert said. “And I think we could have done so much better, and I know how to prepare for next year so much better.” The percussion ensemble consists of Travis Wittliff, Levi Bicas, Edwin Mason, Gabriel Freedman and Natasha Engel, who all received a perfect score in the first division. Marimba soloist Natasha Engel also received a perfect score in first division, and the clarinet ensemble consisting of Bryan Alvarez, Lisa Curiel and Sophia Carpio received a perfect score in second division. For the percussion ensemble and ma-

rimba soloist, this means they are going to State. “It’s a big deal for me, with this being my last year and also really my first chance to be able to do solo and ensemble finally,” senior Natasha Engel said. “Just being able to get ones on both pieces I performed on, that’s a big deal and there was a lot of work to be able to do it.”

“Most lunches, I was in the band hall practicing my solo, just putting in all that work to get it ready in around a month.” Natasha Engel The performers worked hard preparing for the UIL solo and ensemble competition, even taking time out of their school day to practice and prepare for a successful performance. “Most lunches, I was in the band hall practicing my solo, just putting in all that work to get it ready in around a month,” Engel said. Although the clarinet ensemble received a perfect score, they will not be able to go to State because they got a perfect score in second division. They are still proud of how far they have come.

“I was speechless, I didn’t think we were going to make it,” sophomore Lisa Curiel said. There are still so many opportunities for the players to win UILs this year and play at many festivals and contests. This UIL competition is far from their last performances and they have many events to look forward to for the rest of the band this year. “For the wind percussion members of the band, we have a concert festival at Waltrip,” Seifert said. “We just got approved for a festival in San Antonio for one day out and back, and we have UIL as festivals we go to compete and get judged at, then we have our own spring concert in May where our seniors get to have their last hoorah, and then we start our transition to next year.” Students are very excited about the opportunities that being a part of band has given them, such as being able to grow as a performer and being able to travel with friends. “I’m excited about being able to travel to perform and make more memories than I did last year in the band,” Curiel said. This year, the band has had so many more opportunities than last year because of how little members were able to participate during in-person practices due to COVID. “I honestly think that the fact we were able to make the band happen after COVID is a significant accomplishment,” Seifert said. “We were completely shut down last year, and our ability to recruit and train, and

make a show happen was a big step for this organization, and one we can build on and make things stronger for next year.“ The Jazz Band is also able to go out for the first time in a while, as they weren’t able to do any concerts at all last year. They are looking forward to attending two festivals, one in Texas Southern and the other in Waltrip. In addition to the excitement of going to festivals, the band has some new fashion coming up for next year. “HISD district fine arts department granted money to send out to different departments, Lamar Band is on the short list for both new marching and concert uniforms, which we already have a design ready to go, and we should be able to get it before march-

ing band season starts next year,” Seifert said. The band is also in line to receive a decent amount of funding for new instruments. This would give them whole new sections of instruments that are newer and not fall apart like some that have been outside so much in recent years according to Seifert. As the band is growing with new instruments and uniforms, they hope to grow with new members as well. “We’re trying to make this band a fun, interesting place to be for everyone, and we’re open to bringing back any members that may have left for any reason,” Seifert said. “We’re looking to grow with new numbers. We’re

going to try something new, and this upcoming year could be a chance for a lot of people to step into something that’s growing, that’s improving, and that’s exciting to be a part of.”


Mischa Wijesekera


wenty years ago, Dottie Lawrence found herself mesmerized by the enormous billboards around Houston. The one billboard that caught her attention the most plastered a young child’s adorable face and begging eyes with a question, “Will you be my teacher?” At the time, Lawrence never envisioned working as the 9C and 9D Academic Dean, but her passion to work as an educator to lend a helping hand to students always remained at the forefront of her mind. “I was doing some other work that made good money, but it wasn’t very satisfying for me on a soul level,” Lawrence said. She soon endeavored on a mission to find another job. Her simple daily drive presented her with the opportunity. “There was this billboard campaign happening in Houston with these big pictures of children’s faces that said, ‘Will you be my teacher?’” she said. “I saw one of them every single day. One day, I was like yes, I think I will.” Although she did not know it at the time, the billboard resonated with her because of her kindergarten teacher, Ms. Helper.

“Ms. Helper was a really important person in my life,” she explained. “When I started kindergarten, things were really difficult at home for me and I was really anxious and scared.” Ms. Helper lived up to her name and always stood as a strong and supportive figure by Lawrence’s side.

Juanita Helper (left) and Dottie Lawrence (right)

“Ms. Helper just made me feel happy and special and she didn’t know any of those things were going on,” she said. Ms. Helper and the Houston billboards planted seeds that encouraged Lawrence to pursue a career in education. “I realized I would love to be the person that helps someone get through something, even if they don’t remember me forty-five years later,” Lawrence said. “It was less about wanting to teach a subject and more about wanting to be a support for students.” About ten years ago, Lawrence began teaching mind-

fulness classes at River Oaks Elementary. “I put together my own synthesis and created a weekly class for kids at River Oaks Elementary,” Lawrence said. Five years ago, she expanded her work and joined a nonprofit called FuelEd. “I just got a role called trainer rep.,” she said. “Now, I not only am a trainer, I also support new trainers.” Lawrence explains that her motive to join FuelEd started with her passion for its mission of developing “emotionally-intelligent educators who create relationship-driven schools.” “The goal is to develop educators who are informed about relationships and can be strong figures for students to show them empathy,” she said. This teacher-at-heart strongly believes now is a critical time to lend a helping hand to others. “I know we’ve been saying this for the last two and a half years, but these are really difficult times,” Lawrence said. “Every time we think these times are getting better some more stuff happens. It’s more important than ever that people try to find ways to reach out, to support people.”

Mojdeh Zare

Making it work: Students balance school and jobs


eing in high school gives students many opportunities to gain real life experience such as getting a part time job. Students can work for many reasons, whether it is getting pocket money or helping their families. “I applied for a job because I wanted to be more independent,” junior Val Cazares said. “Sometimes it felt awkward to keep asking my parents for money when I wanted to buy something.” Cazares has worked at a teahouse for the past 5 months and has enjoyed the experience. “After my second month working there, I really felt like I was fully comfortable, my coworkers are all amazing and they truly make it fun to work there even with the stress that comes with the job,” Cazares said. However, working while attending school can be difficult, as school is a main stress factor for students. Finding a good balance can become very stressful. “Handling stress is already hard enough because you get loads of school work and then you have even more responsibilities with a job but I have learned that keeping on task is a great way to avoid stress because later on I won’t have to deal with procrastination,” Carzares said. “I also take at least an hour for myself every day to just be and scroll on my phone or watch something on tv, do some skin care, listen to music, maybe read something.” Some students may not think that getting a job in high school would be ideal, however it does come with its advantages. “It has provided me with a sense of independence,” Carzres said. “It has also helped me with my social skills because I’m always talking to customers.” Along with advantages, there are disadvantages as well. “My main disadvantage is getting up real early and standing for a long period of time,” junior Sung Khim said. Khim has worked at a sushi store for a year and half. “Overall, it has been a great experience for me and I feel like getting a job really helps high schoolers be more mature,” Cazares said.


enior April Crawford created a collage titled “Stories to Tell” out of newspaper, tissue paper and acrylic paint. She was inspired by a piece she did during her junior year of a zebra that she also made with newsprint. This time, she used the newsprint to accentuate the feathers. She said that she was not originally going to use newsprint, but she wanted to tie this piece into her greater body of work. “For me, I love collage, so this is kind of a different take on collage,” she said. “I was able to develop something that I really enjoy doing and it’s inspired me to do more like it.” Her new process consisted of mixing acrylic and newspaper for the first time.The result was a piece rich in visual flow, stark values and purposeful details. Mixing her media and varying her materials created a process that brings her joy.

Art and photo by April Crawford


unior Camille Aiyer created an untitled piece for the Contemporary Art Museum Houston fashion show “Seams of Houston’s Heritage.” She showed alongside juniors Alex Davis Donaldson and Annie Frietsch at the fashion show on Feb. 3. She was excited to do this piece because this was the first time she made an entire outfit. She had altered clothing before and, in her words, she “just winged it this time.” “I really like modern streetwear. I think my idea was to take Indian culture from my dad’s side of the family to incorporate it into streetwear,” Aiyer said. She also mentioned inspiration from the street styles of New York Fashion week. She bought a pattern to make the pants but designed her own for the top. She used polyester for the pants, cotton for the top and accents made of table cloth, an old curtain and Saudi material from an Indian fabric store. Her accents were originally going to be colorful, but she decided the gold made it look more formal. The outfit is modeled by her sibling, Mira Aiyer.

Come to Art Club on Thursdays at 12:15 in N318!

Lamar has no shortage of amazing and creative students. Our visual arts classes are full of determined and passionate people, and here is a mini-showcase of some of those outstanding artists. Special thanks to our art teachers, Benji Stiles, Gerrick Green and Dina Attar!

Art and photo by Camille Aiyer



riendship Without Borders, or FWB, is a club focused on diversity where everyone has a place to connect with their community and meet others similar and different to them. In these meetings, members discuss issues surrounding different cultures. They participate in food drives, toy drives and try to assist their community in any feasible way possible. No hate nor fear. Anyone is welcome here. Experiences within this club don’t stop there! They follow students throughout life. As you meet many individuals unlike yourself. “Friendship revolved around creating a comfortable environment to learn about people from diverse backgrounds, so that definitely helped when I started attending University of Texas,” Lamar alumni and former Vice President Jacob Lavorini said. “Austin is very diverse and the students come from every type of background. Friendship allowed me to exercise having an open mind when it came to looking at certain current events from a different perspective, so now in college I’m able to have more fruitful conversations with other students.” As you age, you will meet various people from differing backgrounds. FWB gives students the opportunity to further connect with their peers. These connections last a lifetime and prepare members for the “real world.” For instance, lessons from this club can be taken to the workplace. There will be times you have to work with people you are unfamiliar with but that doesn’t mean you quit. You find common interests and communicate strongly to come to an agreement. Though the leaders of this organization have moved onto bigger and better things, their legacy still lives on! “The main lesson I’ve taken from the previous officers is how to engage and lead club members,” current Vice President, junior Jumana Elnashai said. “The past officers were very good at separating being an officer from a peer by setting boundaries while also keeping the club fun. Something I’ve worked to improve upon is communication between officers and making sure that everyone is doing their part.”

Taylor Kemp



efore opting out of getting a yearbook, take a second to look back over the year and reflect on the memories that were made. There is a whole team of people in our school who took the time to capture those special moments and put them in a book for us to look back at later. “Yearbook is really a history book of the year… yes you have the memories of high school for as long as you can remember them but you’ll be able to better remember them by looking at the pictures and reading the stories of what happened those year,” senior Yearbook Editor-in-Chief Sara “Makenzie” Gill said. “It’s like a visual story as opposed to just a verbal story There is a lot of work that goes into creating a yearbook. It comes with a lot of preparation and takes almost a full year to publish. Preparation starts in the summer. They start coming with ideas for colors, themes, spreads, ect. “We come to school [and] start working on spreads and getting pictures, interviews, or people around the school,” Gill said. “Then, we have the book submitted by early April so it takes about the full school year.” Creativity is key when it comes to working to complete spreads and themes that correlate to the trends and topics of the school year. It’s important to capture the trend or the main idea of that year within the theme of the yearbook. “This year the theme is ‘more than just eight to

four’,” Gill said. “That really came just from this being the 84th volume of the yearbook and we’re in school from 8:30-4:10, so we really wanted to capture that because the theme each year shouldn’t be able to be used any other year.” It’s not enough to only work on the yearbook while in class. It takes hours of work outside or school, especially for the editors. As a yearbook editor their job is to edit photos and spreads as well as completing a process called an index. “Indexing is when you make sure that everybody’s name on the spread is spelled correctly and is in the right place,” Gill explained. “And then at the end of the book there’s an index so you can look for your name and then look for what pages your on. It makes that easier and also keeps a record.” Yearbook is different from a normal class because while classes have due dates for work to be turned in, there is usually a bit of wiggle room that is allowed whereas the yearbook works on hard deadlines. There is no room for extensions and work has to be done on time. “I think it’s a lot about hitting deadlines and it’s been hard this year because we have a lot of new people in the class,” senior Editor Anna Rosenbaum said. Senior Ja’hden Henderson agrees that making deadlines is stressful.

“It takes a lot of concentration and time management because there’s deadlines to meet and stuff and like it takes a lot of time to find people and interview them,” Henderson said. It takes more than just an hour and a half that you have in school to make sure that it is done properly. Quality work it takes hours of editing and fact checking outside. “A lot of our students, depending on their spreads, have to go outside of school to get photos and that has been a little bit difficult just based on where they live or what their schedules are like,” Rosenbaum said. Another reason that the yearbook is different from traditional classes is student run. Since the yearbook is focused on the student body, it’s important that students are the ones to create and run the yearbook club. “I think it’s important that their yearbook is run by students because it gives us more of a chance to be responsible and like we feel like we have that opportunity to be actively in charge of and doing something for everybody else,” Henderson said.

“I love the yearbook,” Junior Ivona Washington said. “I joined this class and I wasn’t too sure about it but after I joined I learned that I love going to take pictures, I love interviewing people, it’s so fun. It’s cool because walking around school you see people that you wouldn’t have otherwise known. I didn’t even know our school had a gaming club but like now I do! And I met a whole bunch of fun people through that.” While making colorful and fun themes and spread are key components in creating a yearbook that is not all that is required for it to be a quality book. As mentioned before, it needs to capture the entirety of the student body. “I think making sure we have diverse photos and we have at least 20 people on each spread just so that we can maximize how many people we have in the yearbook,” Rosenbaum said. “I think it’s really important to showcase everyone we have at the school no matter where they come from or what they look like.” Washington described what a quality yearbook looks like for her. “It’s important to know that I think a good yearbook should mix everyone together, not just the people who do stuff, even the little people who aren’t in clubs, it should capture the whole school,” Washington said. So if by now buying a yearbook still doesn’t sound convincing, just remember that the years go by fast and memories may be lost over the years and it would be nice to have something to look back on.

“Yearbook is really a history book of the year. Yes you have the memories of highschool for as long as you can remember them but you’ll be able to better remember them by looking at the pictures and reading the stories of what happened those years. It’s like a visual story as opposed to just a verbal story,” - Makenzie Gill

Rosenbaum went into more detail about why the yearbook is student led. “[Makenzie] and I have been in the class for a while so we know how to create spreads the same as some of our older [students] in the class,” she said. “I think it’s easier for freshmen and sophomores who come in here to talk to us about our own experience and then they can take away from that and go to the next spread.”

Especially with the neighborhood system, it can be easy to get stuck in a “bubble” at school. Purchasing a yearbook can help you to learn about clubs and events going on in the school that are not as popular or well known. Another benefit is getting to know the students and teachers throughout the school

“I think just as students at Lamar, it’s really amazing to see what we did this yeary whether it was a homecoming dance or prom or if someone won an award,” Gill said. “I think it’s amazing to look back. I mean I have family who went here a really long time ago and I think it’ll be cool to see kids in the future looking back at our yearbook and seeing what we did.”

De s

Spring Break Spots



Ke et on

Are you looking for things to do over spring break? Whether you want to spend the day with family or La friends, take a mini vacation out of the city or just beat m ar the boredom, I’ve got you covered. Li fe

Ho uston Ro deo

The Houston Livestock Show and Rod eo is one of the biggest rodeos in the world. From good eats, the carnival, animals and concerts, the Houston Rodeo has something for everyone. Dates: February 28, 2022 - March 20,


uston Courtesy Rodeo Ho


Kemah B oardwalk

theme park Kemah Boardwalk features a 60 acre e with live plet com ton along the shores of Galves e! While mor and entertainment, great food, games ous Boardthere, be sure to take a ride on the fam aster. walk Bullet, Kemah’s wooden rollerco Open: 12-7pm Weekdays and 12-9pm


Courtesy Getty Images

215 Kipp Ave, Kemah, TX

Space Center Ho us ton Serving as the official NASA Johnso n Space Center visitor center, Space Center Houston is packed full of exhibits, tours and history. Tak e a tour and see rockets that were flown in space or Mission Control!

van O Courtesy Will

Open: 10am-5pm Weekdays and 10a m-6pm Weekends


A Pkwy 1601 E NAS

Railway Heig hts

food and Railway Heights boasts a variety of om story bott The se! retail stalls for you to peru fee and Cof e logu features local concepts like Ana ten the ures Juice Freaks while the top floor feat dor ds ven s. market hall restaraunts as well as goo m-10pm

Open 11am-9pm Weekdays and 11a Weekends

Courtesy Railway Heights

8200 Washington Ave

Cockrell Butterfl y Center Take a trip to the Museu m of Natural Science to see the Cockrell Butterfl y Center, a three-story glass display full of hund reds of butterflies. It is considered one of the mo st unique places in Hous ton and features over 60 butterfly species! Open: 12-5pm Monday

ann m r e H 5 555 Park Dr 65thingsin

Courtesy 3


and 10am-5pm Tuesday through Sunday


3325 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77908

Vol 22 | Issue No. 5 | February

STAFF Lauren Koong.......................Editor-in-Chief Kathryn Stone.....................Assistant Editor Mikal Nazarani...........................Copy Editor 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 Newmann Aleisha Paulick Kayla Pearl Mia Rosales Yezen Saadah Jazmin Segura Grey Siegel Brooklyn Slie Ana Torchia Mischa Wijesekera Mojdeh Zare


Kadee Harper..............................................Adviser

For our website, visit www.lamarlife. org or scan the QR code

@lamarlifeonline @lamarlifeonline

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