Lamar Life January Issue

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Volume 19- Issue No. 3

TABLE OF CONTENTS 4 On time, On task and On a Mission

-Holly Gibson bids farewell

6 Nature Reform


Lauren Koong Editor in Chief Class of 2022

-Student discusses her transformation in the wilderness

10 Veteran Teachers -Teachers serve our country

14 Staying Upbeat

-Texans’ swim team compete at regions

Anthony Luna Assistant Editor Class of 2019 Chloe Adeniyi Class of 2021 Aylin Alhazimi Class of 2021 Ashleigh Arrington Class of 2020 Hudson Bookout Class of 2019 Sophia Diaz Class of 2021

18 Breaking Ground

-Music artists work to climb the charts


Student Media Adviser Cynthia P. Smith

Madeleine House Class of 2019 Brianna Johnson 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.


s g m s s

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Lamar students represent on Mayor’s Council Story by Chloe Adeniyi


handful of students were selected and are getting the opportunity to represent Lamar in the Mayor’s Youth Council, Not only are they getting a chance for their voice to be heard but they are also gaining experience and engaging with people in the community. “I was honored,” freshman Lauren

involved in student government and city engagement,” junior Bianca Davis said. “It engages people our age by letting us get a chance to know what’s going on in our city.” The students who get past the application process move on to the interview process where they are interviewed personally by some very

Dillard said. “At first, I didn’t know about it but when I learned more about it I thought it was a good opportunity.” Members of the council work with Mayor Sylvester Turner personally and gain connections which will help them in the future. They also get the opportunity to hear about the issues in Houston while learning leadership skills and interacting with government officials. “This is a really good program for young students who want to get

important people. This prepares them for future interviews. “Some people are intimidated by talking to people that are above you but if you have the personality that they were looking for, it’s a really great experience.” Davis said. Students selected for the Youth Council can either be a council member or a council aide. A council aide is responsible for assisting their assigned council member whose job description includes going to meetings and working with other people

in that district. “A lot of people have voices and are just afraid to get them out or are getting them out the wrong way,” Dillard explained. The Mayors Youth Council is allowing the youth to let their voices be heard and stand up for what is right. “Everybody in this school has a voice. They just need to be given the microphone to speak,” Davis added. Sophomore Jackson Osteen said he too has been impacted being a member of the Mayor’s Council. “It has impacted me by giving me a platform to make a difference in my community,” he said. “By joining with local leadership and the Mayor himself, we are able to make practical solutions to problems that the people of Houston experience. Other members of the Mayor’s Council are Simon Chardey, Paige Evans and Erin Mee.

“Everyone in this school has a voice. They just need to be given a microphone to speak.”


Gibson bids farewell to Lamar A

fter 10 years at Lamar, Dean of Instruction Holly Gibson has been named principal of Middle College High School at HCC Gulf-

ton. When she first found out about her promotion, Gibson said she was “totally shocked.” “It wasn’t your typical ‘Go in someone’s office and they promote you.’” Gibson said with a smile. “I got a phone call this weekend or last weekend. I’m watching the playoff games and I’m like ‘Really? Yeah right’ and he’s like, ‘No, really. You’re going to meet the superintendent Monday, get ready,’ and I was like ‘Oh!’” Gibson is ready to take what she learned at Lamar to her new school, combining her past and her present. “I will take some of the IB with me over to the new school. Even though it’s not an IB school, they’re not going to know it but they are going to get some of the same elements because I think that helps develop the whole person,” she explained. She hopes that students will be as inclusive and accepting as they are here. “Lamar students are so unique because it’s very diverse. Students accept each other’s cultures. They accept each other as they are,” Gibson said. “I want that to be the same thing at my school. I want students to be able to come up to me – like they do now – very maturely and tell me things that’s going on.” Despite her readiness to take on a new challenge, it will be hard to leave a school she considers her family. “Half my wardrobe is Lamar! I’ve already had people saying, ‘Ms. Gibson, can I have this? Can I have this?’” Gibson said with a laugh. “But Lamar is a part of my life, my family and that’s what I tell the teachers when they come in here and they’re like ‘Don’t go!’ I tell them, you’re still a part of my family. You call me,


Story by Lauren Koong

email me, I will answer. Whatever you need, I will help you - anything Lamar needs.” She started to tear up as she reminisced on past memories and people that influenced her life. “The students, the teachers, the leadership team, the custodians, the cafeteria workers – you name it. Every employee here, every student and even the school community has impacted me,” Gibson said. “The school community has been very good. We have a very good PTO that has supported us since day one. They’re always doing something nice. They’re always thinking about others. I am going to miss all of that.”

Dean of Instruction Holly Gibson was named principal at Middle College High School at HCC Gulfton. She has been at Lamar for 10 years. Photo by Sade Dozier

Story by Aylin Alhazimi


is students are always in disbelief. “Is that you Mr. Viers?” is the same reaction that follows when they were shown the infamous photo of Viers. “This photo surprised me because I didn’t think that Mr. Viers was a hippie. I also think that it’s cool because you get to see how they were before. At times, we get this persona that they’re just a teacher and not a regular person,” junior Jaxeny Reyes said with a smile. Junior Diego Hernandez Reyes, who has Viers for Pre IB US History, said he too was surprised when he saw the photo. “The first reaction that came to mind was surprised because you really don’t get to see that side of teachers showing off photos from their younger days. I like his shirt. It’s live,” he said with a laugh. Viers said the photo was taken in West Virginia in 1975. He was a senior in high school. “I used the photo to show the culture, dress, style in that time period. Because we’re talking about the counterculture, youth movement and the hippies. So I used the picture as a way to describe the era and that I was a part of the counterculture movement for a while,” Viers explained. The times were peaceful in the 70s, following the many events that coincided with and that led to a tranquil-like

state. “It was a very different time in America. The Vietnam War had just ended in 1973. The country was still getting through the civil rights movement and women’s rights movements. So the country was healing. (President Richard) Nixon had just resigned in 1974 so Americans were quite unsure about things,” Viers recalled. He shared thoughts on how Americans could progress as a nation and better themselves. “We have to learn to get along and to really realize that everybody should respect other people’s ideas and opinions,” Viers said. “You may not agree with all of them but you have respect it as well as honor it and people have the right to do that. That’s what’s the beauty of our country is – that you have the right to have your own opinion. That’s what I think we need to get back to.”

History teacher Paul Viers was only 17 when he was involved in the counterculture movement in the 1970s. Photo courtesy of Paul Viers

Viers reflect on his days as a hippie 5

Student returns after triumph in the wilderness Story by Ethan Martinez


ife has come full circle for sophomore Nicole Moore-Jones. She recalls a time when getting high was the norm. “My freshman year I was high most of the time. I smoked a lot, I used prescriptions. I would come to school high and people had no idea. That part of my life I am not proud of. I was failing a majority of my classes and I was sent to the basement repeatedly,” Nicole admits. “My mom started to notice me acting funny and searched my bag. She found drugs in it and drug tested me. Of course I failed. My mom signed the papers for me to go to Wilderness.” The Wilderness Nicole was on edge, not knowing when she would be taken to Wilderness, a therapy program that allows opportunities for teens to open up and safely discuss their thoughts, feelings, emotions and troubles while connecting to nature. Tension was growing between Nicole and her mother before her mother finally decided enough is enough. “I didn’t even know what was happening at first,” Nicole exclaimed. “I was in Durango, Colorado and my mom and I were walking, having a good time. We stopped at a nearby restaurant and I didn’t think much of it at the time.” Little did she know, this would be her last high-quality meal for the next 13 weeks. “These two guys pulled in the parking lot of the restaurant once we were done eating. My mom told me to get in and that was the last I saw of her for a while. They took my phone and I knew at that point I was going to Wilderness but I had no idea where I was heading exactly. I just knew that my life was going to change,” she remembered. Recollection of her wrong doings raced through Nicole’s head during her three-hour drive to The Wilderness. “Our group consisted of five other girls, two counselors and myself. We would hike to new places every day which meant we would set up camp once it started to get dark,” Nicole explained. “We would get water from streams and creeks. To make sure the water wasn’t infected, we would add two drops of chlorine to disinfect it. This didn’t stop it from tasting like cow manure.” The food set up wasn’t any better. She received food rations but it only lasted three or four days. “Since I am a vegetarian, I learned about the different plants and I ate berries. My team actually hunted squir-


I had to learn the hard way.

rels and learned how to cook,” Nicole revealed. The Great Escape “I was sick of that place. I absolutely hated it. Sometimes I needed a break from it, so, that’s exactly what I did,” Nicole said. “The first time, I was gone for an hour and the second time I was gone for about 5-6 hours. I didn’t expect to get anywhere but I was just stressed from the program. I realized all the many mistakes I made as I had time to myself.” After the counselors realized Nicole’s extensive absence, they called for a search team and even used helicopters to find her. “They used a thermal scope to search the woods. Eventually, they found me and they placed me on run watch,” Nicole said. Nicole described the horror of run watch by saying, “They would watch me all the time because I was a risk. I knew what my purpose for being there was and the actions that I chose was not appropriate. After all of my griping, I really have to say that Wilderness helped me get a grip on life. “It woke me up to real-world situations,” she added.

Home, Sweet Home! After her stay This was Nicole’s fireset used to help at The create camp fires. Wilderness, Nicole said she was excited to return home to Houston. Since this 13-week experience, Nicole has worked to better herself and is completely sober now. She is back at school, resuming her sophomore year. Nicole says with her head up, “Some people have to learn the easy way and some people have to learn the hard way but at the end of day, I learned my lesson and hope that I don’t repeat these same mistakes. “I’ve been angry about having to go there but at the end of the day, I am happy my family cared about me so much to send me to a program to get better.”

Nicole Moore-Jones says her time of rehabilitation at Wilderness helped her face her problems. She is back in school and putting forth effort again. Courtesy Photos


Story by Anthony Luna

Dad and daughter form dynamic Discobot duo F

ather daughter duo David and Emory Cemer dominate the robotics game, leading the team to multiple victories and establishing a unique niche in collaborative problem solving. This is Emory’s first year as Captain of the 2587K Discobots Kappa team and despite experiencing

frequent setbacks, the team was able to score a win in their division. Although Emory has a clear ambition for robotics, things did not start off that way for her, as she credits her dad for her start on the team. “My passion for robotics did start with my dad,


definitely,” said Emory. “My freshman year I was really hesitant about it but he kept on saying ‘it’s really nice, you’ll enjoy it. I know it’s something you would want to participate in.” Once Emory was on the team, it wasn’t an easy journey to becoming the captain. She struggled just like everyone else and her father being the coach didn’t mean she has any advantages. “(Emory) wanted to be a team captain last year and in a meeting with the existing leadership at the time, they suggested her and I told them no she’s not ready,” David Cemer said. “At that point in time, she hadn’t demonstrated that she had the merit to both hold the roles of design, build manufacture, maintain and operate a team while still being a member of the community.” Having her father as the coach also means she has more pressure put on her to meet the standards her dad has set for her. “It’s because it makes me not want to disappoint him,” said Emory. “If it was just some coach that I had just started to get to know or that I had only known for a couple years, it wouldn’t be as bad if I let him down or if I didn’t do the right thing. But since it’s my dad, I make sure I do good and make sure that I make him and the rest of my team proud.” Having her father as her coach puts pressure on her but it also means she has the benefit of having access to her coach. “I’m able to have that robotics coach at my house and be able to ask any questions whenever I need it,” Emory said with a smile. “He’s able to help me out with anything, from any manufacturing process, any design processes, any Fusion 360 problem (which is used for designing on computers for 3D models of parts and mechanisms) before we actually build it. He just helps me out on everything from manufacturing to design, to how to guide my team.” Alongside being her robotics coach, Emory has her


this is what we need to do, you’re wrong on this we dad as her life coach helping her with anything she have to do this.’ I think that was one time and since needs help with. then I’ve never really had to separate it. It’s always “Most of my life my dad has been my life coach been one person and I feel like - because he was my teaching me everything I need to know from anydad, it’s easier to talk to him about thing like life skills to helping me out with my school work, “Having my dad as my coach does it when we have problems with the team or when we are coming up math and science specifically, put pressure on me but in the right with a good solution.” as well as English. So no, it’s ways because it makes me not want Being her life and robotics coach never gotten in the way. In fact, I guess you could say it to disappoint him. If it was just some means Coach Cemer is constantly helped me out a lot,” she said. coach that I had just started to get trying to teach her. “What I try to teach her is perseDespite being Emory’s life to know or that I had only known coach, Coach Cemer and his verance. Really more than anything for a couple years, it wouldn’t be so else, I try to demonstrate perseverdaughter don’t have to sepbad if I let him down or if I didn’t do ance because we’re in an environarate their student-teacher relationship from their father- the right thing but since it’s my dad, ment where the problem and the daughter one. he comes with me and he knows solution have to coexist,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had “If we didn’t have any problems, we everything. It puts pressure in the would get really bored. So I just try to separate my dad from my right place - to make sure I do good to teach her to persevere and to concoach,” Emory said. “I think it’s always been one merged and make sure that I make him and tinue to iterate and try new things. person. There were a couple the rest of my team proud of me.” You can’t solve the problem with the of times where he was being same mindset that created it.” -Emory Cemer his coach self and I had to be straight up and tell him ‘no

David Cemer and his daughter Emory welcome 2018 alumnus Nathan Kyer to their Fall Tournament. Nathan Kyer now attends Texas A&M College of Engineering . Courtesy photo


Called to serve

Story by Sophia Diaz


erving time in the military is probably one of the bravest things anyone could do for their country. With this comes many obstacles and many life or death situations but some teachers did not seem to let that get in their way. “I TRULY love this country. I think America is the greatest country in the world.” social studies teacher Alex Smith said. Smith served time in the U.S. Marines before coming here to teach 10th grade history. For him, the best and worst of times of being in the Marines was filling up sandbags and digging holes in the ground. It was the worst because of how hot it would be outside sometimes and how heavy the sandbags would were but it was the best because he got to do it with the people he loved and shared the experience with everyone there. Although he is no longer in the Marines, Smith said he continues to serve his country every day by trying to teach and talk to some of his students about what it is like and what it means to be in the Marines and also by helping his community when he is able to. Alexander Smith Standing during the Pledge of Allegiance is very important to all of these teachers. Every morning, they take a moment of silence for those who they have lost while at war. They understand that not everyone sees things the same way and not everyone will stand and they completely respect that. “That’s their choice,” said math teacher Alex Ryan when asked how he felt about Maria Person people sitting during the pledge and kneeling during the National Anthem. “The only thing I get really worked up about is when they’re disrespecting by talking.” Ryan served time in the U.S. Navy. He came back because he missed spending time with family but has no regrets of ever joining because if it was not for the Navy, he would have never met his close friends and his wife. History teacher Raul Rivera Colon and Maria Person have similar points of views on how they feel about the current state of the country. They believe that the country is both united and divided because of how everyone views things differently and because nowadays, people are either right or wrong and there is no in-between. Rivera served in the U.S. Air Force and Person was a member of the U.S. Army but they share similar opinions about our country. “I think we’re fragile because we’re so divided,” Persons said. “I think we forget what we’re supposed to be doing because we’re following personalities rather than principles.” Sgt. Mjr. Hai Dang served in the U.S. Army for 32 years and is very passionate about what he does. Not only did he leave the army and become a teacher here, he became instructor of JROTC club. Dang said he would without a doubt rejoin the Army is he had the Raul Rivera-Colon chance. “In the military, they provide structure, a means of growing, a purpose, a direction and a motivation,” he said. “One that you can actually physically see how you affect other people and it’s an honorable profession.” Hai Dang

Teachers shift from the battle zone to the classroom

10 10

After losing her father...


Story by Mykel Wheaton and Lauren Koong

unior Dannale Houser’s life took a turn for the worst on February 7, 2016. In middle school there were a lot of early dismissals and on that Wednesday, Houser and a few of her friends were going to go to the movies. Her grandma picked her up from school, took them home and sped off which was exceptionally odd in light of the fact that she does not typically do that. “I called my mom and she was bawling to the point where she could barely speak to me, so I was just confused on what was going on, said Houser. “I tried calling my older brother but he wasn’t picking up the phone.” The events of that day still rest on her mind; however, the details remain confusing. “I remember having to cancel my plans with my friends,” Houser said. “My grandpa picked us up from home. We got a a call saying we needed to head straight to the hospital. My dad had died.

The best advice I can give is that you need to change for yourself.

“On that day, life as I knew it changed. I had no idea how to feel about the death and what was happening to my family,” she added. Following her father’s death, school didn’t matter much to Houser. In fact, it was hard for her to sit through her classes and focus much. “The second year after my dad passed was when I really started to see my mental health decline. I stopped going to school and I didn’t value my life at all,” Houser recalls. “This went on for my entire sophomore year and it was only towards the end of the year when I realized that I needed more out of life. I couldn’t continue everyday being sad and destructive.” Journalism teacher Cynthia Smith said she has seen Houser’s transformation over the past year. “When I had Dannale in my class last year, I didn’t know what was going on at first. All I saw was a young girl not caring much about my class or so I thought. I could clearly see the disconnect,” Smith recalled. “At the end of the school year, I could see her coming around; however, it wasn’t until I had her in my class again this year that I saw a different Dannale – this time she gets her work done. She participates more in class and she even comes to class more.” “The first year and a half after my dad passed, I think I was in shock. I made myself so busy to avoid thinking about what happened,” Houser explained. “The best advice I can give is that you need to change for yourself. For months and months, my family was telling me I needed to do better but I never saw it for myself. Once I saw how reckless my actions were, I started to get into better habits and work towards healing. I hope that my story will be able to help others see that even though your life has changed drastically, you should maintain focus on being the best you, you can be.”


Government Shutdown Story by Morgan Rosenbaum


e all have just witnessed a United States government shut down. Non-essential federal workers have been out of work or worse, working without pay, since the shutdown began late last year. Even though the government has been temporarily opened, I reflect on the ramifications. In Washington DC, trash has piled up on streets and sidewalks, as all public works in the city are under federal jurisdiction. National parks have remained closed, TSA agents across the nation have been calling in sick in protest of having to work for free and tensions on Capitol Hill have been rising. The shutdown began over President Trump’s proposed wall along the southern border which Democrats do not want to fund. My main issue with the situation, is the apparent lack of consideration for the federal workers and employees, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet. Employees at the TSA, IRS and public works organizations have been forced to work without pay, with no end in sight. The President does not seem to care about these hundreds of thousands of furloughed workers and only is concerned with building his wall.

I don’t quite understand why a shutdown was deemed necessary in this situation. While border security is an issue, I don’t think a wall is going to make any difference, considering that most illegal immigrants enter the country legally and overstay their visas. Additionally, I don’t see immigration as an issue. If people want to come to the United States to work, we as a nation should let them. Border security is important but the process by which our government is trying to go about it is wrong. I don’t know what the proper solution is to the issue but a wall and shutdown definitely is not it. The President should re-open the government and go about this issue through proper channels so that our country can begin working again and so the thousands of affected citizens can continue to work and get paid. While I know many Trump supporters, I’ve found very few true supporters of the shutdown. This issue seems to have united people on both sides of the political spectrum. President Trump ran on the policy of “America First”, but the shutdown has made me question this rhetoric. Is furloughing thousands of workers for a personal agenda really “America First” or is it “Trump First, America Later?”

What is your New Year resolution? Jacqueline Howell, senior, said, “My new year resolution is to do more charity work and eat cleaner. I feel better when I eat healthy. On top of that, I am going to do more charity work to give more to those who are in need. Both of these will help me form a better productive and positive mind.”

Shelby Hicks, English teacher, said, “My new year resolution is to focus on the positive moments because they always out way the negative.”


Dexter Maryland, 12th grade, said, “My New Year resolution is to grow more as a person and to be an open book for people who may need any of my advice.”

Dress Code Consistencies


Story by Lauren Koong

t the beginning of the school year, my worst fear was having to wear a uniform. Coming from California, my middle school barely had a dress code policy, let alone a uniform, so this was my first time not not having to choose what to wear to school. I complained to my friends about not getting to wear real clothing to school and I read the dress code policy in the handbook hundreds of times. However, when I actually got to school, I learned the real dress code policy. I don’t say anything but I’ve heard my classmates get upset because they see that some girls can get away with hiking their skirts up so high that you can see more of their shorts underneath than the actual skirt but then other students get in trouble for wearing a simple sweatshirt on top of their uniform when it is 40 degrees out. Others have complained that when it comes to some teachers, their policy on dress code simply depends on their moods. In the hallway, I saw students who were following every dress code rule there was, while other students showed up wearing ripped jeans and slippers. The real problem, I realized, was not the uniform itself, but the consistency of it - or the lack

thereof. It would be nice to see a campus where everyone abides by the dress code. Right now you have hemlines that move up and down faster than an express elevator and sweatshirts that are pulled on and off with more frequency than a radio wave. Teachers send students to the office for wearing spirit shirts instead of polos but not because their skirts are two inches long instead of two inches above the knee. They berate students for not having their polo showing underneath their Lamar-approved jackets but not for wearing jeans instead of khakis. Why do some students get in trouble for wearing an extra jacket when it is ice-cold outside while others can get away with being completely out of dress code? Why do some teachers care so much while others act like the dress code doesn’t even exist? Stop sending students to the office just because they are wearing an extra jacket during freezing temperatures. Stop reprimanding students for the little things and let’s put a policy in place that EVERYONE abides by.

What is your New Year resolution? Rita McIntyre, Visual Arts Teacher, said “My New Year’s Resolution is to stress less and to care for myself more. I also want to be more aware of the people I encounter everyday and be sensitive to their feelings.”

Sofia Puccini, 10th grade, said, “My New Year Resolution was to eat healthier and to start living an overall better lifestyle.”

Alex Galka, 10th grade, said, “My New Year’s Resolution is to run a half-marathon this year.”


Stay in your lane Swim team heads to regionals


group of swimmers and divers recently advanced to the Regional Qualifiers. After competing in districts, the varsity girls team placed first, defending their 2018 title of district champions; however, for the first time in 24 seasons, the varsity boys team did not. They came in third. Asst. Coach Henry Thomas understood that this year brought many obstacles that may have contributed to the broken winning streak. “The hardest thing that we faced this season was having to make adjustments due to the low number of incoming freshmen,” Thomas said. Despite this, the varsity girls team still won first place with a score of 212 points. “It’s tough but the kids put in a lot of effort and it shows at the end of the year when we swim at districts,” Thomas said. Senior Gus Rytting was one of the varsity boys to make it past districts and to Regions. “When I was 13, I made the qualifying cut for the Texas State Championships and that’s when I knew I wanted to make it my number one sport. The best part about swimming is the hard work you put in and the result that you have after the whole season is over and the joy of getting a new best time,” said Rytting. “The highlight of my season last year would be making top 8 in regionals and this year


Story by Alexander Landowski winning every one of my breast stroke events.” Senior Evan Poythress joined Rytting at Regions this year, having also advanced past Districts. He stated the best part about swimming “is getting to be there with all my teammates and getting to cheer on all our friends as they compete in races.” Every athlete must overcome their own obstacles to improve their skills and Poythress is no different. “The hardest thing for me was when I first got to Lamar, I struggled to make the team, so I really had to put forth the effort to get my times down,” Poythress said. Sophomore Iban Christensen said he was happy to advance. “We worked hard all season for this day right here, right now. This is what matters,” Christensen said. Sophomore Lily Abbott echoed his remarks. “I am so proud of my team and how they swam today,” Abbott said. “As a senior, I am sad that my swimming and diving career is coming to an end but I’ve created a second family with the Lamar team.”

“I accomplished something that some people told me I wouldn’t.” Story by Alexander Landowski


or seniors, selection of a college can be a stress-filled experience. How wonderful is it, then, when a university selects you to play football and continue your education with them? The cherry on top is that it comes at no cost to you or your family. Such is the case for LHS’s own Kenneth Dotson, Alex Hogan and Zane Knipe. Their four years of hard work in the classroom and on the football field has definitely paid off. On National Signing Day, this year held on December 19, these three student athletes signed letters of intent to embark on a football and academic career with three different Texas colleges --- Dotson to University of North Texas, Hogan to Texas Tech University and Knipe to Rice University. As you can imagine, this is a potential life-changing event for each of these three young men. Hogan was elated and said, “I accomplished something that some people told me that I wouldn’t. It just feels good.” Meanwhile, Dotson shared that he is “grateful and just ready for the next step to take on this journey,” whereas Knipe stated that he is “mainly excited just

to move on with this next chapter of my life. It’s been something that I wanted to do for a long time.” With multiple schools to choose from, the proper choice becomes a very involved process. In the case of Dotson, North Texas had a personal connection to him as it had the warm feeling of a family. Having the ability to have family in the area was a key element in his decision also. “It will be good to have them out there with me,” he said. For Hogan, Texas Tech felt like home to him and he really liked the coaches. It didn’t hurt that his own family liked it, either. In the case of Knipe, it was mainly an academic decision. “I’m looking for a 40-year investment, rather than a four-year investment,” stated Knipe. “That’s why I chose Rice.” Not really knowing what to expect from their freshman year, the trio has different expectations and anticipations. Knipe is just looking forward to working hard and having fun. Dotson is planning on getting bigger and stronger and improving on several areas in his game. Whether they play as freshman or not, Hogan has much greater expectations for himself. He exclaimed that he expects “to ball out!” He also believes that he is going to do very well as a freshman with an ultimate goal of making it to the NFL. Spring signing day takes place Feb. 6 when more seniors will sign national letters of intent.

Senior athletes sign off on their next adventure


New Year, New Season: Kicking Off Girls’ Soccer Story by Marbella Cano


s they head into district play Feb. 1, the varsity girls’ soccer team is off to a good start. Even after a few losses, Coach James Goolsbee feels his team is on the right track. “Our most important goal is to continue improving our skills and knowledge of the game. We usually set more specific goals each game based on where we need to improve,” he said. When asked who their toughest competitor will be this season, Goolsbee had the perfect response. “We can beat anyone in our district but at the same time they can beat us too. It will be about having the focus to play to our potential every game and every practice,” he explained. Even though the team’s record is 3-2-2, goal keeper senior Ysenia Sanchez said she is encouraged by what she is seeing from her teammates. “We’re ready to start the season off especially since our first opponent is Bellaire. We have never beaten them before but we have the courage to be-

lieve we will this time,” Sanchez said with a smile. “Coach Goolsee knows what he’s doing. He is very focused. He works us out and always encourages us to be our best and have fun when we are out on the field.” Sanchez, who is in her fourth year on the team, appreciates being able to learn new skills but she also cherishes the friendships made. “I’ve also made friends but they became more than friends, they are like family now,” she said.


“Even though soccer is a fun sport for most of us, there are of course pros and cons when it comes to playing. The pros are whenever we win, it’s a great feeling and the cons are when we get injured because it sucks not being able to play or support your team.” Midfielder Sophie Pastore said she too is hoping ot beat Bellaire. “I think its time we make history and beat Bellaire. I know with hardwork, determination and courage, we can do it,” she said. Pastore agreed there are many things the team is good at but there are a few areas where improvement is needed. “A main thing I need to work on is getting back on defense. At times, I find myself watching the game from the middle of the field when I should be the one being watched,” Pastore explained. “As a team, we must work on confidence when playing. It’s crucial my teammates believe in themselves on and off the field. Everyone can be timid at times but believing in yourself and your teammates is the first step to success.

Coach Goolsbee said the team’s greatest strength is that his player competes at a high level. “We have a large rotation of players that can compete at a high level. The season is long and the sport is much rougher than people think. Having people to step-in when people are injured, sick or tired makes all the difference,” he said. Goolsbee said he is looking forward to the season and is excited to spend time with his coaching staff and players who have a common passion and desire to achieve our goals. “I know there will be a lot of bright smiles at the end of the season,” he said. “Everyone on the team is important! Whether they play five minutes or 80 minutes, they all have a role to fulfill.”


stra day I wh O inc ten the mo

“I want to be a legendary cowboy in the Hall of Fame.” Story by Hudson Bookout


eing a part of the rodeo has run in the Scott family for many years. So it’s no surprise that senior Colton Scott joined in the fun. Colton has been calf roping for almost his entire life and does not plan to stop anytime soon. Of all other events in the rodeo, Colton decided to go with calf roping because he says that “in other parts of the rodeo, you can get hurt easier and that I have a better chance at succeeding in calf roping.” Colton had a shoulder injury early in his career and knows how dangerous it can get. “The injury just motivated me to work out more and get back to my full potential,” Colton said. Colton started calf roping at about the age of six and he has been doing it ever since. He says that calf roping is his life and that he wants to make it to the NFR (National Finals Rodeo). “I want to be a legendary cowboy in the Hall of Fame,” he says. Some people he looks up to in the hall of fame are Joe Beaver, Fred Whitfield and Trevor Brazile. Colton spends a lot of his weekends going to rodeos and competitions. He puts in enough hours to have a full time job. If he wasn’t doing calf roping then he says, “I would play

a sport of some kind but I wouldn’t sit at home all day.” “I want to win one to two saddles, three to four buckles and six to 10 thousand dollars,” said Colton, referring to his goals for this coming year. Colton has achieved a lot in his career. He has won fivebuckles, a saddle and a lot of money. He is very proud of his achievements but pushes himself to do better. “I like everything thing about calf roping and what comes with it. But there are certain things that aren’t my favorite”, he says. Colton has his favorite and least favorite part of calf roping. He says that his least favorite is having to keep everything in tune and working out and keeping himself and his horse in shape. He says that it is all worth it. His favorite part is when he has a successful rodeo and gets good times. “No neck, no check, train the mind and the body will follow,” he said.

A bird’s eye view of the Texans Story by Alexander Landowski


itnessing the strong running of Lamar Miller, efficient quarterback play of Deshaun Watson and suffocating defensive pressure against rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, from the top of NRG Stadium in the press box with the Houston Chronicle, was an experience that I will long remember. The Houston Texans won their ninth straight game over the Cleveland Browns 29-13 on that game day. I was watching the game and people doing their jobs, which I can only hope will be my profession one day. On the field, it was an entire team effort in the victory including hitting 5 of 5 field goals - with the defense consistently stifling Mayfield, who had shown great success over the past few games and rendering the Browns offense to be mostly ineffective. Although, as usual, the scene on the field

was somewhat chaotic, in the press box was a calm environment as professionals went about their business, determining what the focus of their article would be as the game went on. Being in the press box as a high school student was somewhat of a surreal experience. Seeing the men and women in action who strive to provide the interesting and informative stories about the game we were all watching from up high gave me insight about what to expect if and when I have the opportunity to do this as my career. The food being served up there was icing on the cake. The buffet for the media is provided by the team. I can tell you first hand, it is delicious! For the fans, it was time to leave the stadium, head to their cars and fight the crush of the surrounding traffic but for those of us in the press box, it was time to rush downstairs to attend the press conferences. Seeing the stars of the game up close and personal and listening to the professionally crafted questions of the media, followed by comments of players and coaches, actually made me realize just how special the situation was that I found myself in. After the press conferences ended, I exited with an experience that will stay with me for a lifetime.


Teens take SoundCloud by storm Story by Madeleine House


igh school is a difficult time. Students face physical, social and emotional complications and music is often a cathartic experience for many. Seniors Cole Owens and Hudson Bookout gave some insight on their different experiences with producing music and the individual effect it has had on their lives. Owens, also known as “DJSupreme,” recalls, “Yeah, I started deejaying and I noticed when I would go to parties, I would hype up the crowds and stuff like that. I’m not an idiot, I think I can write. So, I started writing. My (music) was okay, I guess. People were like ‘you should start recording’. Then the first song I ended up doing was Officer Lee. In regards to his start in music, Bookout states, “Well actually it was a project for Brother Brown’s class. We had to make an Econ rap and after that, we thought it would be fun.” DJSupreme asked, “What I can’t portray through my ego? I try to portray through my soul, through my music. Not a lot of people can understand something if it’s not art. A lot of times art can simplify the message through your soul and it’s easier to translate that through your music rather than saying it in a conversation. You can put more emotion into it.” Both Owens and Bookout find that the people around them, as well as their personal life experiences, inspire them lyrically. “I basically had to provide for myself since I was 15. Just

“It’s really sad to see that some people don’t feel like they have a purpose. I feel like I have a purpose. That’s what I feel like music has brought to me - a way of life, a reason to breathe.”

-Cole Owens


being on my own, I guess being a young kid just grinding, getting my own money and trying to make my own way and stuff, this seems to be a good use of a gift I was given,” Bookout said. According to DJSupreme, he plans to continue his music career past high school. “Without a doubt. This is what I’m here for. This is why I was born, to speak to people. I realized a long time ago, I stopped making music that sounded main stream and public, I tried to make my own type of music and I really want to try to lyrically reach people in the future and try to change the mindsets of some people,” Owens said. “I would really want to talk to some of the artists in this game or anybody really, whoever, fans who need help, I love to help people and get people out of where they are. I feel like music is a great platform to be able to do that.” In contrast, Bookout’s music is more of a hobby and not taken as seriously as Owens’ music. “I laughed. It was just a joke at first. Now we’re making an album, so it was just interesting how it all started,” Bookout said. There is no doubt that producing music has given the two seniors attention from others. “I know what my music is and I know where I’m going and I know that everybody has someone that doesn’t (like) them or doesn’t (like) their art,” said Owens. “I’m totally fine with that, because as long as I stay in my lane and I don’t let that get in my head, it’s really just words being spoken. They could have said anything. It’s really just how you perceive it.”

Goodwine sings her way to state


ikah Goodwine has done something that has not been done over the past five years. She qualified to be in the all-state choir. “In the past five years, the school hasn’t qualified to be in the allstate choir,” director Natalie Hale said. “Due to the scheduling for auditions and students’ schoolwork, Mikah making it in has been a huge success for the future and the school. The All- State choir is the highest of choirs where schools from all over Texas and different school districts get together to see which students qualify to be in the choir.” Goodwine is a junior who has been doing choir for most of her life. Singing in alto, she is currently in the varsity choir. Her journey began in mid-September.

Story by Lan Nguyen “My family very into the arts and are very musical. I’ve had family go to Juilliard School in New York and some family members who are composers so it has been a kind of a family thing,” said Goodwine who recently transferred to the school. “Being in a choir for about seven years, I like basically everything choir has to offer. The classical music we do and when all the voices harmonize... “Being the first in five years to be in All-State, I feel accomplished and proud of all my hard work these past few months. The experience to describe in one word would be amazing. I auditioned alone so that made me nervous and especially with the high stakes of everyone’s determination and the competitive atmosphere. But being this isn’t my first audition and I knew that if I stuck to what I’ve learned from Ms. Hale,

past camps, old school choir teachers, organizations and my family that I would hopefully get in and all that has so far paid off.” If it were not for the music, Goodwine does not know what she would be doing. “I’m competing with amazing musicians and extremely talented people so it was really nerve wrecking. I feel I did a good job at keeping calm but overall the experience was amazing and going into it, I knew that even if I didn’t make it, I would learn so much that participating in general would be amazing. “I dedicate this journey to my grandmother, who is not only an accomplished vocalist but also the one I look to for music advice. Along with my parents, she has always been one of my biggest supporters,” she said.