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The tennis team finishes their season strong Pg. 26

DOUBLE TAKE The Chapman twins tell what it’s like to act for Disney and Nickelodeon Pg. 16

UNIQUE TALENT Tremayne Edwards’ incredible art ability shines through Pg. 15

November 2019 Volume 20- Issue No. 2


CONTENTS 4 Imelda’s Impact



Behind the scenes: The unknown heros of lunch


John Butler Samantha Cazares Manon del Vecchio Sade Dozier Jillian Gonzalez Mason Hartley Ethan Martinez Julia McCabe

Siblings reunite after seven years apart

27 Studious in the classroom; King in the ring


Blythe Chandler Assistant Editor

Lauren Koong Editor in Chief

Student Media Adviser Cynthia P. Smith csmith41@houstonisd.org

Daniela Pearl Estefany Pedroza Georgia Polydoros Sofia Puccini Diana Ramirez Sophia Rassin Mikayla Scholz Kathryn Stone

Lamar Life are student publications of Lamar High School, an IB World School. The purpose 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 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.

The demolition begins


s crews work to tear down old buildings on campus, many are filled with mixed emotions. Many students stopped to get pictures and videos as the demolition took place. “I want to cry because I miss it so much. That was where I was when I was a freshman, a sophomore and a junior and now I can’t be there anymore,” senior Megan Duffy said. Faiez Shahzad is a senior and also agrees he will miss seeing the building here at the school. “I’ll miss the building because there has been a lot of memories there,” Shahzad said with a faint smile. “There were good teachers there and now they’re not there anymore. Some left, some I can’t see anymore because they’re on the third floor and I am always on the fourth floor so I don’t get to see them anymore.” Biology teacher LaGina Nosavanh said she has taught nearly 900 students in the West building. “This is my fifth year here. Overall, in the five years that I’ve been here, let’s just round the number safely to 180 students per year times five,” she said. “There were a lot of memories in that building. W211 was my absolute favorite classroom because it was a lab classroom.” Math teacher Carina Reyes had similar feelings. “Being close to all the science teachers was fun. We all knew each other because I had been there for years, so it was just like a community in the West building of teachers. It was like our little area, so we bonded,” Reyes said. Senior Anthony Lopez thought about the bridge that led to the West building. “I miss seeing my friends there. I like the walkway from the building to the other. It was nice. You could stop by there for a quick minute and catch the breeze,” Lopez recalled.

and so does the nostalgia Diana Ramirez, Lamar Life Senior Taylor East is both a volleyball and basketball player. She, as well as many other school athletes, made many memories in the old gym which was in the West building. “My favorite memory was getting ready for playoffs,” East said with a smile. “My most embarrassing moment was when I was running down the bleachers and I fell and hit the gym floor.” East felt sad seeing the old building get torn down right in front of her. “It was kind of bittersweet because I am proud of our new building but I was also pretty sad because I grew up athletically in the West building,” she said. “I’ll definitely miss the West building but I love the new building and our facility.” Former basketball coach Dennis Gillespie said seeing the demoltion caught him off guard. “I had mixed feelings. To me, it’s like owning an old pair of shoes. You got used to them and they feel good to your feet but they’re kind of worn out and you know you need a new pair but it’s still kind of hard to get rid of them,” the director of advanced academics explained. “You remember all those good things that pair of shoes brought to you and now they’re all worn and you need to replace them and although the new pair is giving you everything you need - which the new building is you still can’t forget all the things the old pair provided you. “I coached a lot of years in that gym and I remember the young men I’ve coached over those 15 years. So when I see the old gym being torn down, the nostalgic part that I get is knowing the guys that came through that gym and who poured their blood and sweat into not only being great basketball players but being better young men,” Gillespie said.


Imelda’s Impact: Flooding strikes again


Mason Hartley, Lamar Life t was the message everyone was talking about for

days. “HISD is monitoring emergency managment officials’ recommendation to shelter in place inside our schools. Our focus is the safety of our students and staff,” the HISD Twitter page tweeted. Many students and parents were left frustrated after HISD made several decisions, they felt, put students at risk of being trapped in school or flooded trying to get home during Tropical Storm Imelda. One such person is senior Issa Quezada, whose parked car was damaged while she was in school. “When I got there, the water was over the tires. My whole sensor system was not working and the floorboards were wet,” Quezada said. “They told me that I couldn’t go move my car but the person who parks on the same street had just gotten to school. She told me the street was completely flooded and I needed to move my car. When they made an announcement for the teachers to go move their cars that had parked on that side, I moved mine too.” Principal Rita Graves wanted to answer a few questions about the polices administration followed and the complexity of planning for 2,700-plus students. “We have to account for the fact that our city is a very large city and so for people to get home, we have to think about the metro bus service, the district bus services, parents, are they working, are they home and how are they getting to the school,” Graves explained. “Our district isn’t one where kids


generally all go to the school within walking distance of their home. So, we have to consider all of those things.” Quezada also felt that the district or emergency management should have been able to predict the flooding and heavy rainfall before it was too late. “It’s not like we are in 1950 and we don’t know a tornado or a hurricane or a tropical storm is going to hit,” the senior said. “I feel like they failed to act on the information they had available to them because the news and weather had said that something was going to happen and that a lot of rain was going to fall.” Graves explained how HISD gets weather information and what the process is in deciding whether to cancel school. “The city emergency management talks with the school district superintendent as weather events pop up,” Graves said. “In their last communication, it was not expected to make a significant impact here and so their recommendation to the school superintendents in the main Houston area was to have school.” Graves finished up by reminding everyone that they were safe and protected at school. “You guys were safe here. You guys were dry, you were safe. You were not in any danger,” the principal said with a smile. “There’s this incredible natural urge by people, like ‘Oh I have to get home.’ But home is not always the safest place to be and traversing high water to get there is certainly less safe. So the best option was to be safe and stay put.”

“We didn’t go to school because it was flooded and we couldn’t actually get to school” Abigail Denham


ropical storm Imelda brought back memories of Harvey for students here. Imelda’s strong winds and powerful rains left some stranded in their homes and others panicked at school. Many students at school were scared for their safety and wanted to leave. “It was pretty scary. My family was actually trying to pick me up but they couldn’t make it here, so I was just kind of waiting,” freshman Caroline Pauloski said. Lucky for her, her family was able to pick her up close to normal pickup time but it wasn’t the same situation for many other students. “I heard the last person that left an HISD school was around 11 at night,” sophomore Abigail Denham said. Denham and her brother could not make it to school the day after due to blocked and flooded roads. “We didn’t go to school, (because) it was flooded and we couldn’t actually get to school,” Denham said. Fortunately, they were able to prevent major damage to their house. “It actually didn’t create much damage (because) my parents and my brother stayed up until one or two in the morning and they soaked it all up with covers and stuff,” Denham said. However, not all of their possessions escaped damage; their

Manon del Vecchio, Lamar Life basement and all its contents were soaked. “In the garage, we had a bunch of things because we were doing remodeling for our house. It got wet, so we had to dry stuff up. There was wood down there so that kind of got damaged by the water,” she said. Despite flooding and damage, lots of student’s main frustration was how school was not cancelled when the flooding was the worst. “Definitely a very scary situation - I think it was something that HISD could have avoided” Pauloski said. Even though Harvey was a hurricane, some said Tropical Storm Imelda left more damage to their homes. “The thing was, the only reason why we got flooded was because (they) were doing construction right next to us (and) on top of the flooding, we also had a pipe bust and so all of that came into our house but Hurricane Harvey (barely) touched us,” Denham said. Another student, freshman Jett Koris, said Imelda, although it didn’t damage his house, posed more of a threat to him and his family. “Surprisingly Imelda affected us more than Harvey did.” Koris said. Through this experience, Denham says she is just glad no one got hurt. “I think that it wasn’t too bad. At least we weren’t drowning. I know every time a hurricane and flooding happens, someone dies because they take the risk of going out and we didn’t. I’m just glad we didn’t do that, even with the flooding,” she said.


Ghenghis Trial

Photo by Bailey Flowers

Mock trials aim to prove whether Khan was a friend or foe Diana Ramirez, Lamar Life



“We really wanted students to get more of a grasp on the Mongolian empire. It’s such an important time in history.”

Photo by Diana Ramirez

magine having the opportunity to rewrite history and be in a trial with a man who has been charged as Genghis Khan. Sophomores in World History classes had the opportunity to do just that. Temujin, more commonly known as Genghis Khan was the brutal leader of the Mongol Empire. He had been charged for crimes against humanity, excessive brutality and barbaric warfare. Advance Placement World History students had the opportunity to be attorneys and witnesses during the “Genghis VS. The People” trial. It was up to them to decide if Genghis Khan was innocent or guilty. World History teacher Sally Woolweaver said she was inspired to do the trial by other AP World History teachers. “I had seen that a bunch of AP World History teachers across the nation had done it and they highly recommended it,” Woolweaver explained. “We looked at a couple of different teachers and what they did and picked what we liked the best from each teacher and then we created our own version of it.” Sophomore Mathis Walker was a defendant of Genghis Khan and said he liked the idea of having a mock trial as a project. “I feel like it’s a good way to get students together and work together. It’s also new. I’ve never done this in a classroom before,” he said. Sophomore Lyndon Maloy agreed with his fellow classmate. “It’s cool because it’s different and it’s not just like us writing a super long essay or pages of stuff and its more in-

Sally Woolweaver

teractive. Yeah, it’s better. It’s cooler,” Maloy said. AP World History teacher Raul RiveraColon described the different roles that are seen in the mock trial. “You are going to see Genghis Khan, the one on trial. You are going to see two defense lawyers and four prosecutors and four paralegal investigators. The rest of the students are going to be witnesses from that time period,” RiveraColon explained. It was a very interesting experience since the goal for them was to either send Ghenghis Khan to prison or if you were on his defense team, to try to make him not guilty. The amazing thing about this is how the kids prepared themselves for this case. It was amazing seeing how the kids were so into this project.” AP World History teacher Mark Edward Krimm said that most students seemed excited about the project. “I think depending upon whether or not they’re people that would rather have projects as major grades or tests. Some people are loners so they would rather take tests and swallow all the information and one day vomit it on the test but we think for us the great thing

is seeing students work together and do more things than just memorizing,” Krimm said. “I think they were able to put more personality and swag into the assignment.” Sophomore Jacqueline O’Hara played a witness in the trial. She explained that the hardest part was actually going to trial. “Going up and actually testifying as a witness was pretty scary and it put me in the position as if I were actually a witness and what it would feel like,” O’Hara said. Sophomore Allyson Torres is excited to see more projects like this one in the near future. “I think projects like this one are more interesting than writing everything out on a poster board or like writing an essay,” Torres said with a smile. Woolweaver said the Ghenghis Trials can also assist students on the AP test. “The AP World History test always has a lot about the Mongols on the test, so helping them to immerse themselves I think will help them do better, so that way they can get that college credit when they pass the test,” she said.

Disco Invasion

Prince seeks to add to

all-female robotics team Mason Hartley, Lamar Life


aisy Prince would never have dreamed of the opportunities that robotics would bring her. In early October, she was gifted a grant from the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation to start up a female robotics team here, something she did not expect. She talked about the excitement and challenges that come along with the grant. “I really didn’t intend for this to happen. Originally I went up to my mentor Mr. Cemer and told him I want to make my own robot. He said, ‘OK, to do that you would have to quit the team you’re on now.’ I asked him if I could think about it,” Prince recalled. “About an hour later he said, ‘Congratulations you’re the captain of a new team!’ and here we are.” Robotics sponsor David Cemer talked about what made Prince a good candidate to start the team. “When she says she is going to do something, she actually does it. I get a lot of students on my team that have that particular qual-

Photos by David Cemer

ity and they are the ones we try to put into leadership positions,” Cemer said. With Prince set as a team leader, Cemer began looking to help her get a good start. He found a grant offered by REC for teams with more than 50 percent female competitors. “I’ve started a lot of vex teams in the past without grants but this one is available from the REC foundation. It’s a robotics education conglomerate for any team that is more than 50 percent female,” Cemer said. “In my research, I discovered this would be a good fit for her. I contacted the REC and asked them about what we wanted to do. They agreed if we would do a three-year commitment and continue to expand the team after this first year. So, she is going to recruit some more girls.” With everything lined up, Cemer and Prince waited to hear back. After an anxious wait, both were relieved with the good news. “It took about 48 hours and then she was approved. They gave us a startup kit and quite a few supplies. It was valued at about $1,047 in grant money,” he said. It helped with supplies and start-up material. Prince worked hard to develop and build her robot to debut in her first tournament at Carnegie Vanguard High School. It was a good day for Prince. “Daisy ranked seventh in qualifying matches and later

“She did what she said she was going to do. Not a lot of teenagers do what they say they’re going to do, so that’s neat. ” David Cemer

moved up to the fifth-place alliance captain going into quarterfinals,” Cemer said. “She captured additional attention, having just designed, built and programmed her robot in less than three weeks and was recognized with a VEX Judges Award.” Through all of this, Prince has set high goals for the team and hopes to advance to nationals. “The goal is to get to nationals or the worlds because you get to go to Nebraska or California and that’s awesome,” she said with a smile. “Placing worlds - just beyond my expectations.” Cemer said he is very proud of Prince. “I guess on a scale of one to 10, I gotta go with 10,” Cemer said. “I see her building an even better robot. She’s probably going to end up in the engineering business, maybe even running her own firm or a partner in a firm - which is pretty common for people who demonstrate the altitude at an early age to excel like that.


Phillips gets a chance to quiz leaders in Washington, D.C.


pportunities come and go. Sophomore Minla Phillips knows that well and did not hesitate to take advantage of an opportunity. She was invited to meet with some congressional members in Washington, D.C. and she accepted. Philips is a part of a program called Jack and Jill of America. As part of the organization, she went to Washington and was able to give some input to the leaders of our country. “On the Hill” allowed Phillips and other highschoolers to see members of Congress in action. “I liked having my voice heard instead of just emailing them. I liked actually being able to see them in person,” Philips said. She and her mother were able to meet some very important people and discuss topics affecting the nation. “I think the most interesting was Ted Cruz because we talked a lot about gun control and making schools safer,” Philips said. “I asked

Coming up in next edition of Lamar Life **Blake Tyler was surprised on campus and granted admission to UT Austin in his first choice program and was awarded the $48,000 Impact Scholarship **Mariangela Rodriguez’s holiday greeting card design was awarded first place in the HISD Holiday Greeting Card Contest **Josh Stanton has been named a finalist by Touchdown Club of Houston for the Football Scholar Athlete Award **The Lamar Marching Band took all top award categories in class and was named the first place winner at US Bands National competition


John Butler, Lamar Life some questions about gun control in schools to help make the boys and girls safer in our schools.” As a result, Cruz said that there was going to be some big jumps in public school safety soon. He said that they were working on some laws getting passed to ensure child safety throughout the public- school system. “I liked it a lot and I thought it was a positive experience for me and my organization and the other students who went on the trip,” Philips said. In addition to Cruz, Phillips met other members of congress from


“Some of the highlights of my trip was I got to meet Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and I talked to Congresswoman Lizzie Fletchers’ aide and of course Ted Cruz and his aide. We talked to them about gun control and safety in schools,’’ she said. “I am very grateful for this opportunity because I know a lot of people don’t get to do this.”

Kathryn Stone, Lamar Life

Additions to the FFA family get validated by the state


“It was long and tiring

Photo by Emily Hernandez

he FFA barn has new residents this year. Horticulture teacher Emily Hernandez recently traveled with some FFA students to pick up the newest additions to the barn - goats and lambs. “We picked them up from a breeder connection I have in Gatesville, Texas,” Hernandez said. Several FFA students made the trip, including freshman Kelly Saucedo, senior John Winston and junior Delano Richardson. “It was long and tiring but it was fun when we got there,” Saucedo said. The animals are staying in a barn off campus, where the students will visit to check up on them. “So every Thursday I go before school. Other days, I go before school but on Thursdays, I for sure for sure go and I go every day after school,” Richardson said. The animals will be in the students’ care about six months, after which they will be entered into shows. The shows are where the students will be able to win awards and earn money by selling their animal in auctions. “We have students that will take their animal to a major show. They will go to Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Since they are market animals, they will go straight to the market to process and the rest will go through our Lamar auction, Hernandez explained. Whoever buys the animals are able to do whatever they want with them. A lot

The goats and lambs will not be the only animals the students will take part in raising this school year. In addition to his lamb, Richardson said he also getting a pig. When choosing who would raise the new animals, it all comes down to who is willing to put in the effort. Kelly Saucedo “We have a lot of new students and a lot of first-year students. I was really encouraging them or whoever was able to fully of them kind of keep them as pets or commit to taking care of an animal because put them on their properties.” you know it’s a life,” Hernandez said. “If they Getting to raise animals like the lambs and goats is just one of the things were able to fully commit then I was able to that makes the FFA program so unique. give them the OK to do so.” The animals will be getting validated by “The people you meet and the learning experiences you get are amazing,” Harris County for the shows. “They will give the animals a state of said Winston. Texas ear tag, a tattoo in their ear which is For Hernandez, who was once a their number and then they pull some hair student in FFA, getting to watch students raise animals for the first time as from the goat so that if it ever gets lost, it can get matched to that student,” Hernana teacher is a new experience. “You get a lot more of an overview dez explained. “They will also transfer the ownership from the breeder to the students of everything,” she said. “From my themselves and by doing this, they are able perspective, I like being able to teach these kids how to take care of animals to compete at our major shows like Houston, and the purpose of it and what it takes San Antonio, Austin and Fort Worth.” and I also get to see how these students grow personally.”

but it was fun when we got there.


Infante receives recognition for certifying FFA students Sofia Puccini, Lamar Life


ivestock and agriculture teacher Elisa Infante can proudly say that her students were the first in the district to receive industry certifications for two different courses. A total of 63 veterinary medical applications students, along with 32 principles of livestock students, received industry certifications, recognized for their work and studies in the classes. The certificates reflected their skills and knowledge of the material. The certification was a year-long process. “Through the HUB under digital resources, the kids in the classes were given a license so that they could access the curriculum. From there, students completed all the modules,” Infante said. Throughout the span of one academic year, students in veterinary and livestock classes went through all the modules. Each module consisted of information, quizzes, notes and interactive exercises. “Last May, the kids took the two certification tests as their final exams. If they passed the test, they got certificates,”Infante explained. The curriculum was integrated with the students’ regular lessons. “We did them every so often, fitting them in with our classes and doing some at home,” junior Nicholas Bell said. Bell received certification for the livestock course. For Bell, the certification served as a motivation to continue in FFA. “Through the program I learned much more about vocabulary within agriculture and it helped me a lot, especially with raising my animal,” he said. Junior Karen Espinosa also benefited


from the certification and the experience. “I hope that in recieving “The industry certificate has helped me as an FFA member because it made this award, it spikes a larger me more eager to continue in the organiinterest in people wanting zation and learn more about livestock,” to join agriculture class and Espinosa said. I also hope that one day In addition to expanding students’ everyone is my classes get knowledge of the subject, the certificates may open up real-world career certified in someway.” opportunities for students with an _ interest in the agriculture or veterinary Elisa Infante industries. “One of the main incentives for obtaining the certificate is that once they got it, they could take that certificate and have something on their resume for a job or college that would make them stand out,” Infante said. “With these certifications, students are able to have a foundation in livestock and agriculture concepts and recognition that is not commonly found.” Last year was the first year Lamar incorporated this curriculum into their Agriculture teacher Elisa Infante proudly hangs up the FFA classes. award given to her. It lists the names of all certified students. Photos by Kendall Sullivan

Vet Med students get up close and personal experience Georgia Polydoros, Lamar Life


ave you ever wanted to work with animals during school? An exciting new course here offers students and teachers opportunities to work with animals as part of the school day. Vet Med, a course taught by FFA teachers Elisa Infante and Emily Hernandez, began as an after-school activity last year. This year, the students are able to take Vet Med as a class, where they learn how to groom and take care of animals. The teachers started of the hands-on portion of vet medicine with their dogs. Now the class has expanded to having teachers’ and students’ dogs being groomed and bathed. “We started Vet Med last year but this year is the first year we have been able to do it on campus,” Infante said. “This year it’s pretty selective to get into vet med. It is based on previous grades in agriculture class - just making sure the kids that are in it actually want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine but also they have to have really good grades in order to be put into this class.” Infante and Hernandez began with their dogs to make sure everyone was on the same page and that everything would be safe to let other pets in. “We first brought in my dog and then Ms. Infante’s for the students to practice on them first. We wanted them to get used to restraining and how to work with them and how to be safe,” Hernandez explained. “Then we invited other teachers for our first day of grooming and it was a success. We are getting animals when the owner donates to us. That is how we are able to continue since we are in the early stages of the program.” Students are also responsible for walking the dogs and

allowing them to use the bathroom. Each student has their hand on the animal as it is being groomed. “Every kid has to have their hands on the animal during the class period, in either one of the stations the dog is in,” junior Juliet Quinones said. The experience the students have had on learning how to care for animals is irreplaceable. “The majority of our class was very excited to learn and work hands-on with the animals. I really enjoyed being able to learn how to groom animals and properly care for them.” Quinones said. Students that have animals have gained experience on how to groom their own animals, as well as taking care of animals of different breeds. “Vet med has taught me how to shave and clean my animals at home as well as learning how to not cut an animal while shaving or trimming it. I would bring my dog to get groomed by the vet med students without a doubt” junior Theophane Polydoros said. Both teachers hope the program will expand and they will be able to groom about five students each period. “We only have two kennels so the max we can have is two but by the end of this cycle we’ll have four to five,” Infante said. We want to get to 10 so that every two or three students can have an animal.”


Students are lunching a whole new way Sophia Rassin, Lamar Life


ome people may get stressed cooking a meal for a family of four and some restaurants find it difficult to serve maybe a hundreds. But what about serving over 2,000 students’ breakfast, lunch and dinner? This is the task that the staff here faces five days a week. Meet the three key components to having a successful day in the kitchen Catherine Collins, Glenn Topfer and Jane Mazzei. “Controlled chaos is what I would use to describe the food preparation process on a regular day,” Topfer said with a smile. Chefs Topfer and Mazzei both work for HISD as chef trainers. “What we do is we go out to the schools and train our food service attendants on recipe execution, production, line set up, line presentation and making sure the food is always good,” Mazzei said. Topfer added, “On top of what Chef Jane said, we support our cafe managers. When she calls, we show up.” Collins is the cafeteria manager. She runs the cafeteria and manages the lunch staff. “We have the biggest staff in the district with 35 workers. This is because of the concept of the new school and having 16 different lunch lines, eight of which are opened at the same time,” Collins said. A big part of Collins’ job is also keeping track of all of the numbers and what


the students enjoy the most. “I like to make sure that the food is good and fresh and something that students are interested in and wanting to eat and I know this by looking at the numbers,” Collins said. Lamar has an exclusive menu due to its new design. “Lamar has been assigned their own menu per-se because of this new concept so it’s unique in that respect that what we do here is not being done throughout the rest of the district. So Lamar students are special,” Topfer said with a smile. Designing the menu is not as easy as just picking out some recipes that look good and cooking them. “The reimbursable lunch, which is the free lunch that the government reimburses us for, has to meet certain nutritional guidelines. The challenge for a chef is to come up with interesting, flavorful and fresh items that will capture your interest but still keep those nutritionals in minds. The dieticians then analyze the recipe and they’ll come back and say well the sodium is too high or the fat content is too low and we then go back and we will readjust the recipe,” Mazzei said. Nutrition is not the only concern of this hardworking staff. “Customer service is one of our big, big things. I tell all of our employees to treat our students good, welcome them, engage them, service them and thank them for coming and eating with us all of the time. We go over this every day, what things we didn’t accomplish what we did accomplish and how we can get better,” Collins said.

Freshman Isabel Buntello eats the reimbursable lunch almost every day and prefers it over bringing her own lunch from home. “My favorite thing about the lunch is the hot meal. It always tastes so fresh,” Buntello said. The lunch staff here is always looking for students’ favorite meal and would love all of the feedback they can get. “It’s a student and parent app called SchoolCafé that says what we’re having and it asks for comments. But as a whole, the district is very interested in what those comments are - good, bad, whatever because that’s how we can get better. That’s how we can provide a better product to all of the students,” Glenn said. Make sure to keep a lookout for some of the new amazing foods to come. “We are planning on rolling out a salad bar,” Chef Mazzei said with a smile.

After being interviewed, almost 50 students were selected to be a part of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Photos by Colby Pruitt and Ariana Sandoval

I think we’re going to mostly just talk about the things going on in our lives while doing things like playing table games or going to places like a park.” -Abdul Sabeeh

Big Brother/Big Sister starts at Lamar


Daniela Pearl, Lamar Life

“Essentially it’s just based on application and interest. We promoted through the Lamar webfter more than 100 years of sucess- site, morning announcements, TTM and lunchfully helping young children and teens reach es. I don’t get to choose the selection process, their full potential through professionally sup- it’s actually the Big Brothers and Big Sisters ported, one-to-one relationships with volunteer Organization. What happens is there are 47 adult mentors, the Big Brothers and Big Sisters mentors that get paired with 47 students based Organization has finally come to Lamar! on common likes, experiences, and interests,” The decision to give students this wonderexplained Pruitt. ful opportunity was first introduced early this After the pairing ceremony where the stuSeptember. It was influenced by some middle dents were matched with a volunteer and were schools near here that were already involved given the chance to spend some time with them, with the program. students seemed really happy with their big “Some of the kids in those middle schools brothers and sisters. are now here which led the organization to “I really liked getting to know my big sister contact Principal Rita Graves. Ms. Graves was and I’m really excited to be able to bond with thrilled with the idea and she passed the torch her,” freshman Hannah Needle said. “I think onto me,” academic dean Colby Pruitt said. that having a big sister or for some people a big Pruitt was more than delighted to take on brother will be very beneficial to our futures bethe role of being the main school representacause they will help us with things like choosing tive for the organization. colleges and career advice.” “I was primarily asked because I am a Like Needle, many students in the program school counselor so I provide more emotional here joined because they were looking forward support for kids. I think the reason that makes to having a relationship with someone older and me feel most excited and qualified for the po- wiser, while others were prompted to apply after sition is that I enjoy more of that mentor-type hearing about it at school. of relationship with kids and as a school coun“I wanted to join Big Brothers and Big Sisters selor, I see that a lot of students need that,” because Ms. Pruitt told me about it which made Pruitt said. me really interested in the idea of having an oldThough all students could benefit from hav- er friend to talk to and to help me out with some ing an older mentor guiding them in making things,” sophomore Abdul Sabeeh said. good choices, the selection process to be a part “I am most excited about just hanging out with my big brother.” of Big Brothers and Big Sisters allows for a smaller number.


Perfect Peace Bankita complete now that his siblings are here Lauren Koong, Lamar Life


mom. I missed my family. Seriously. I’d see my brother on FaceTime and cry. I’d say, years ago. ‘Mom, I’m going back.’” It was a constant struggle focusing because But his mother encouraged him to stayto he missed them so much. get a good education. Senior Yves Bankita has finally Now Yves has been joined at school by reunited with his family. The day of their his younger brother Darcy Bankita and his reunion will always be special for Yves. younger sister Pierette Bankita. “This day was very, very important,” “It’s hard because my brother is very very the teen said. “Because seven years ago, I mad because (he’s) 17 and only a freshman couldn’t see my family. here. My brother is supposed to be in 11th “When I first saw them after they moved grade if but you don’t speak English, you go here, I’m crying. My mom, my dad, my sister to 9th grade,” Yves said. “But my sister loves is crying. My sister who don’t even know me it.” is crying. (It was a) very, very happy day.” Despite the challenges, they are both just According to ESL teacher Mitchell Robhappy to be together again. inson, Yves waited a long time for this day to “Now, this is my best friend,” said Yves, come. gesturing to his brother. “Nobody was my “He was so excited. It was all he could best friend until he came.” talk about,” Robinson recalled. “For all his Darcy is equally as excited to see his time at Lamar High School, he would always brother in person again. talk about how much he missed his family. If “Seven years ago, I couldn’t see my brothone of his family members was calling him, er,” Darcy said. “I’m very happy because I he would stop everything and talk about how see my brother. This is my brother!” much he missed his family.” Monica Quintero, their school counselor, Before their reconciliation, Yves would noticed Yves’ joy at seeing his family again. talk to his parents maybe every other month, “Even when he brought them up to walk with no set schedule. them to the third floor, which is where their “Wifi in my country was so bad, so very classes are, you could see the happiness in his very bad,” Yves explained. “Every time my face. It was almost like he was showing them mom called me, I’d cry because I missed my off,” Quintero said. “It was beautiful being e left his family in Congo seven


able to see they had been reunited.” However, adjusting to life in America was difficult for Yves, especially because he came to the United States by himself. “It’s not easy,” Yves said. “African guy come to United States? It’s not easy for school; it’s hard. As you come to the United States, you don’t know English, you don’t know anything.” Quintero is making sure that Darcy and Pierette’s transition is easier than Yves’ was. One of the biggest problems they face is the language barrier, as they do not speak English but are fluent in French and Lingala, the national languages of Congo. “So the first day, I could tell they were nervous,” Quintero said. “We matched them up with kiddos that did speak French, other than their brother, so I feel that they felt they had a resource or someone else to go to that was a peer, not another adult they had to rely on.” Pierrette, who is very shy, said it was a joy to see her big brother in America. “I missed him. I was young when he left,” she said using a language translator. “I’m happy now. My family is happy we are all together. “People at Lamar are good people. They helped me. They helped my brother,” she said. “Lamar is good!”


Edwards’ talent leaves everyone in awe Sade Dozier, Lamar Life


aying that freshman Tremayne Edwards likes to draw would be considered an understatement. He loves to draw! Tremayne, who is autistic with delayed speech, spends his free time delighting his fellow classmates and teachers with what they call - his talented art work. Coach Garry Johnson noticed Edward’s keen eye for illustration on the first day of school when he would sketch drawings in-between class work. He utilized local buildings, automobiles, animals and cartoon characters as a way to artistically express himself. “He was delighted by it all,” Johnson said. “Once he finishes his work, it’s like a positive incentive for him to draw.” It does not take him long to create a masterpiece, so him running out of sketch paper happens pretty quick. It moved one of his teachers Dr. Bernadine Jones to go out and purchase an overabundance of sketching paper. “She didn’t want him to run out,” Johnson said with a laugh. Dr. Jones said Tremayne likes to work independently and lets her know when he needs help. “He said ‘Dr. Jones, how do you spell illustrate?’ I told him and he says that’s all he needed to know and continues,” she said with a laugh. Agriculture teacher Kaylin Lawrence said she noticed Tremayne’s talent around the second week of school. “He started to feel more comfortable with the students in class so he would draw something and then walk around and show a couple of the groups in class,” Lawrence said. “The first one I saw was a unicorn that was better than any cartoon I had ever seen. I was seriously stunned!” According to Lawrence, Tremayne takes things he hears in class, like the lesson or discussions between other students and incor-

porates them into his drawing. “He is truly amazing! I could sit and watch him draw all day,” Lawrence said with a smile. “The students in class love to see his drawings. As soon as they get to class, they ask to see the drawings that he’s done that day. They ask him questions about his artwork and are very interested in his responses. I’ve even overheard them talking about how they think he will be a famous cartoon artist one day - better than Disney they say.” Tremayne likes to play tennis and he listens to the late jazz musician Miles Davis. “You stop and think about it, not many people his age know who Miles Davis was,” Johnson said. “Tremayne is a very intelligent and bright young man and he has a lot of room to grow in it. He can enrich his artwork.” Tremayne agrees his art sometimes tells a story. “I do it because I like it,” he said with a shy look. “Drawing makes me happy.” His mother, Sonya Edwards, said her son was five years old when he began drawing different characters that he would see on TV. “I wouldn’t call it hidden talent because anyone who knows him, knows that he draws

and it’s his gift because that’s his favorite pastime,” Edwards said. “I’m sure with any parent who has an autistic child, you want the very best for them as they grow into an adult. “You want them to be astounding, abiding adults in this society and on the right track. So having a gift that he is good at, that he loves is all good,” she continued. “If I give him a 30-page sketchbook, within a few hours he can fill the whole book up front and back,” she said. “Tremayne is a wonderful and obedient son. But at times when he has a bad moment - which is very rare - I have to ground him. So no drawing, along with other things, is absolute torture for him. Honestly, I feel guilty when I take that pad and pen from him because he loves drawing and never gets tired of it. But it’s an effective measure to get him right back in line. Quick!” Tremayne has gone to Glassell School of Art for a few years. “He has recently started painting at home partly due to his father who also paints at leisure time. We have accumulated boxes and boxes of art that’s in storage until we can figure out what to do with his treasures which is our treasure,” his mom said.


Chapman sisters go from Hollywood to high school

Mikayla Scholz, Lamar Life


cting on television was a way of life for sisters Abigail and Tate Chapman. The twins have starred in television shows that everyone grew up watching, from commercials to Disney TV shows to Nickelodeon movies. “We have been on Liv and Maddie. I was young Maddie and Tate was young Liv. We have also been in a movie called Splitting Adam that was on Nickelodeon,” explained Abigail. “I played Jase Norman’s younger sister Gillian and then Abby came in at the end as a clone. We also have done some commercials for City Bank, Best Buy and Honda. It was all very fun to shoot,” said Tate. The Chapman twins’ career started quite young due to their proficient acting skills. Tate and Abigail wanted to participate in something creative that could help express themselves as individuals and acting was their best interest. “My first job was with Bluebell which is an ice cream brand,” Abigail said. The twins then starred in a horror movie called Seconds Apart - the first that they did together. Abigail and Tate made their way into the Los Angeles acting world after leaving Houston. “We were born here in Houston and we just went back and forth to LA. For the past two years, we were living out there, then we would come back for the holidays,” Tate said. Abigail chimed in. “It started out as modeling and we ended up hating modeling and our mom was like, ‘Why don’t you try this instead?’ So we started get training. It took a long time to get into LA,” she explained. “To break into LA is hard because there is only so many people that can survive out there and to break into the acting world, that’s for sure,” Tate added. Life was busy for the young actresses in Los Angeles. The twins had to manage time for both school and acting.


“Usually they will put in hours for us so we can have two hours before we start filming to do our homework and they give us a lunch break. After lunch time, it is like a combined thing where you have time to do school and eat lunch,” Abigail said. Living in LA brought experiences that most students do not have. The twins got to meet many inspirational people that left a lasting influence while on set – including actor Cameron Boyce who recently died. “He was just such a nice person. He treated everyone the same even though we weren’t a big thing at the time. When we got a picture with him, he was super nice and treated everyone so kindly. Even though he was a really famous actor, he was just so kind,” Tate said reminiscing about the actor. “Also, I think my favorite was when we did Funny or Die with Renee Zellweger. She was really nice. We have met a lot of really nice people.” There is a special connection when it comes to Abigail and Tate acting together. “Most of the time when we audition, they send us out separately but I mean the ones that come up as twins are the ones we book. Honestly, when we go together, there is some sort of energy that helps us rather than when we go separately. The energy is not the same.” Abigail and Tate have had memorable moments together. “When we did Liv and Maddie together, it was so much fun and a great experience,” Abigail recalled. Tate agreed. “It was our first time being on an actual real set and experiencing the table read and the stage read was a really memorable moment that we could experience together,” she said. The Chapman twins look forward to pursuing their passion. “Our future definitely involves acting and we want to keep up with that because it’s a fun journey that we would not want to give up because it has been a part of our lives for so long,” Tate said with a smile. With the dedication to their dream, their hard work is paying off. “Things are coming,” Abigail added.

Anderson is the model student

Jillian Gonzalez, Lamar Life


arsity cheer captain Colby Anderson takes modeling to New York while completing her senior year. “I got to go to New York fashion week last year. I really love New York and I am hoping to go to school there. It was just an all good experience. I want to go to NYU (New York University),” Anderson said. Anderson had always been into modeling and it was something she always wanted to do. Many people would even mention to her that she should take part in it because of her height. “I kept begging my mom until she finally gave in,” the model said. “It was really cool. You think about it - it’s a very small amount of people who get to experience it. My parents are pretty supportive about it. They were like ‘if this is something you really want to do, you have to put your full effort into it.’” Spring break of her sophomore year, her first modeling job was for a charity fashion show at The Galleria. “It was for charity, MD Anderson (hospital) and we got to walk to different stores like Topshop and Macy’s at the Galleria,” Anderson said. She takes her education very seriously

but sometimes being a model does try to challenge her with balancing school and work. “Sometimes there is a lot of missing school and stuff. You have to prioritize what you really want to do,” Anderson explained. “Like I have to choose what I want to do because otherwise I would miss too much school. A lot of the time, I have to tell my teachers before or otherwise I will get behind. It’s really hard but I just have to make sure I work hard. My number one priority though is school.” Since Anderson has started modeling, she has had to make some changes in her life, but her friends still stay in support of her. “I have definitely made a lot of friends in it and sometimes you have to cancel on a Saturday because I have to do modeling. My friends are really cool about it and they’ll come to my fashion shows and support me,” Anderson said with a smile. The modeling industry has also opened many doors for Anderson. “I have definitely made way more connections and it’s helped me find what I want to do further in my life -

like I’ve met people who can get me in places where I want to go,” Anderson said. As Anderson plans to end her high school years, she has already planned where she wants to go from here. “I want to be a model but obviously that’s not a practical decision to make so next year I am going to go to college and major in computer science,” she said.

“I have to make sure I prioritize what I want to do and I make sure school work comes first and then between cheer and modeling, I have to sometimes cut one short but I make sure I can do everything.” _ Colby Anderson


Leaving a legacy Mason Hartley, Lamar Life


ot many people can say they have had a 45-plus year career in any field, especially public education. Choir teacher Peggy Moritz sat back and reflected on her long career of helping students. “Yeah kids have changed but so has the world but kids are still kids. They try to get out of work but then you inspire them and they work hard for you,” Moritz said with a smile. Moritz, who has been teaching for years, reminisced on all the memories and challenges she has faced throughout her career. “I started teaching when I was in high school,” Moritz said. “In my senior year, the music teacher got sick. I came from a very, very small country school. She got sick in the spring, so I taught grades one, two and three and my best friend taught four, five and six.” Moritz certainly didn’t stay in that small country town, insteading choosing to teach in many different larger districts before winding up in HISD. “I’ve taught in four Katy schools and two Fort Bend schools. I’ve also taught in private schools,” Moritz said. “I started my teaching career in Indiana before we moved here

and I taught for two school districts up there as well, along with the two different schools in HISD.” Choir president Elizabeth Patrick spoke about Moritz’s impact on the students and how she is always willing to help students achieve their goals. “She has done a lot for me this year. I ran for choir president and I was elected so she’s really encouraged me to open up and sing more and take more of a leadership position and be OK with it,” Patrick said. She did not hesitate to tell what made Moritz a great teacher and why the choir is looking forward to having her for years to come. “She is very focused and she keeps us all in line. She does her best to make sure we all know what is going on. Right now we are learning choreography which most of us have not done before,” the senior explained. “She is really experienced and you can tell. The way she conducts the class is very professional and I like it a lot.” As with any profession, Moritz has faced challenges - everything from lazy children to fighting for funding and recognition.

Choir Fall Show

“The challenges come more with administration than with kids. I’ve had more challenges with administrations understanding how important the arts are for kids,” she said. “Arts are what keep kids in school. You’ll notice that kids that aren’t in art maybe off campus stuff and things like that,” Moritz said. “But for some school districts where you can’t have an off campus period, they come for the arts. It’s a relief. It’s expressive. It’s so they can let their hair down, so to speak.”

Ms. Mortiz is a very enthusiastic teacher and has helped us build on our musical skills. You can see how passionate she is through her teaching.

The fall choir show, titled Lamar Broadway Show 2019, was a success. “The concert was awesome. I was so proud of the students,” Choir director Peggy Moritz said. Photo by Kendall Sullivan


-Cachaé Marks

Paying it forward Former student is embracing her new role as art teacher on campus Kathryn Stone, Lamar Life


or Dina Attar, becoming an art teacher at Lamar was an emotional experience. Attar was once a student here and coming back to teach in the art department is a dream come true for her. “It really means a lot to me emotionally,” she said. “Not like crying or anything but it’s really meaningful for me. It’s just kind of that cycle is important to me.” Attar is continuing the legacy that freshly retired Rita McIntyre, who was her teacher many years ago, left behind. “She was on my back all the time about doing my work,” Attar said laughing. “I mean at the time it may have been annoying but I can see that now and I see me doing the same thing with my students - like I’m going to push you to see how far you can go in

a good way; I’m not going to push you where you’re uncomfortable.” Pushing her students is not the only thing Attar is taking from McIntyre. “She would make us write about art,” explained Attar. “I do appreciate and I will continue that which, I think, not many art teachers do. It is important to be able to talk about it.”

“It really means a lot to me emtionally.” Dina Attar

Attar is already leaving a lasting impact on her students in class. “She has opened my bubble!” said sophomore Leah Calderon. Calderon had McIntyre last year, and said that she already sees a few differences in her experiences in class. “Ms. Attar really focuses on your artwork,” said Calderon. “Ms. Mcyntire was more broad.” Attar is also having the students participate in more activities. “We’re going to enter in some contests like Houston Rodeo,” the sophomore said with a smile. “I’m excited for that.” Attar did not plan on taking over for McIntyre though. “I was subbing and I just stopped by to say hi and she was like ‘Oh I was planning on retiring. This works out perfectly,’” Attar recalled. Even after the meeting with McIntyre, Attar was not sure she would get the job. “It wasn’t that easy,” she said. “There was a pretty big candidate pool for the art teacher position. I am lucky that I got it. I just felt like it would be a dream come true to get it and I was surprised. I just got this like too good to be true feeling.” The art department will always hold a special place in Attar’s heart. “I was always welcomed in the art room,” she said. “And I really felt like it was welcoming and when I needed that support, they were there.”


HOMECOMING It was a dream come true for Tisdale and Nealey Blythe Chandler, Lamar Life


eniors Mykayla Nealey and Troy Tisdale were crowned homecoming king and queen. Homecoming court is a long-running tradition that is coveted by students like Nealey. “I knew my freshman year that I wanted to be homecoming queen. I said I


wasn’t going to run until I was a senior,” she said.. With posters all over the school and a constant buzz about the candidates on social media, the season for campaigning had begun. “I was posting it on my social media because that’s where all my followers are,” said homecoming king Troy Tisdale. “Using social media definitely helped me win.” The homecoming queen also shared her preferred mode of campaigning. “My favorite part was actually when I was passing out things to individual people,” said Nealey. “I would just come up to them and be like ‘Hi, my name is Mykayla. I’m running for homecoming queen. Will you please vote for me?’ That whole interaction with the people is my favorite.” Both seniors had assumptions about their likelihood of winning. “Of course I thought I was going to win; I knew I was going to win,” the varsity football quarterback said. “I’m on the field and everybody knows me, so it was going to be pretty easy.” The queen had a different idea though. “Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to win.

Photo by Kendall Sullivan

I was nervous the whole week because, the type of person I am, I never put anything past the other people,” Nealey said. “So, when it came to the other girls running and their ideas and the things that they did while they were campaigning, I felt like I needed to be a little bit better because they might win.” Hearing her name called on the loudspeaker for the title of homecoming queen was surreal for Nealey. “When I tell you, I was so happy - my sister was my escort and we were jumping around and I literally carried her to Ms. Graves. It was so, so fun,” Nealey recalled. “I just kept thinking ‘Oh my God. That’s my name, Mykayla, that’s crazy.’ I couldn’t stop smiling the whole game.” Tisdale compared winning to being in a movie. “It felt fake and surreal,” Tisdale said. “It was like one of those Disney movies. It was kind of funny.” Nealey recaps on her experience becoming homecoming royalty. “It is exactly what I expected. I watched so many movies about it and it’s just like that,” she said. “I was so happy. I just wanted to do flips up and down the field.”

Fun-filled spirit week

The Lamar Texans defeated the Westside Knights 50-14. “Our homecoming game was a success. We overcame a slow start and we were able to put Westside away by the second half,” head football coach Michael Lindsey said. Photo by Kendall Sullivan

Homecoming game gives everyone something to cheer about Estefany Pedroza, Lamar Life


t was game on when the Texans took the field against Westside High School. They wanted to give their fans a big homecoming win and they did just that - defeating the wolves by a score of 50-14. “When I got to the game in the first quarter, I was 100 percent sure we were going to win,” sophomore Alexander Yusim said. Many students came out to cheer on the Texans. As with every game, they represented L-Block. “In the front row, there was a lot of screaming. It was wild, students standing up and cheering on the football players,” freshman Marionna Williams said. The students were, of course,

nervous for the team but the football players were more nervous because the school’s triumph was in their hands. “I get nervous before every game so I have this routine that I do. I listen to soothing music to help calm my nerves and I pray before every game so we could get that win,” football player Jarek Smith said. Being in the bleachers is a completely different feeling than when you’re on the field ready to play, Smith admits. “When I go on the field, I breathe in and the feeling of relief washes over me and I feel ready to play and win because I know at that moment, nothing is more important than winning for our school,” Smith said.


Celebrating Culture

Students and staff embrace the school’s diversity Spanish teacher Raquel Penaloza completes hiking the 7 Color Mountain in Cuzco, Peru. “Close to Ausangate Mountain, this is considered a holy mountain (or mountain spirit) by local Peruvians. It is the highest mountain in the Cusco region. The area is inhabited by traditional Andean people or Quechuas. It was amazingly beautiful! I cannot believe I made it at my age.”

Samantha Cazares, Lamar Life


Huang speaks about one of her favorite places to spend time back in China. “One of my favorite places is the hile walking the through the Qinghai Lake,” she said. “It changes color halls daily, students and staff are exposed with the weather. It can go from a blue to a green tone depending on the climate to a world of difference. presented at the moment. It also reflects a Staff and students alike come from lot of light which makes it look magical various walks of life – from China to Nigeria to Ghana and El Salvador – just and special.” Spanish teacher Raquel Penaloza to name a few. shares her culture with her students. “It is always good to share your cul“I have been working at Lamar for 15 ture even when you are far from home,” years. I always try to share my culture said French teacher Sylveria Ogu. with my students so that new generations Freshman Hongyu Huang considers living with no regrets as one of the most can be more aware of the Peruvian culture and how important it is. I share what important values from her culture. my parents have taught me so that we “In my culture, it is an honor to be a can have a strong class full of values and hardworking person, not only you get respect, that is what I pursue every class,” respect from others, but you also learn Penaloza said. how to respect yourself,” said Huang, Russian student Daria Ovsyannikova who is from China.


expresses appreciation for her culture. “I love my language. I think the way it sounds is beautiful. I love the accent and it’s pretty cool,” she said with a laugh. Ovsyannikova compares and contrasts her school experiences. “School is really fun here at Lamar,”

Honyou Huang captures the beauty of Qinghai Lake in China. “It’s amazing. It feels free to be enjoy the beauty of nature.”

said Ovsyannikova. “It is different than my other schools back in Russia. The system is really different but I enjoy this one a lot more. You get to know different people and make friends from a lot of places.” Pia Indrevoll moved from Norway this year as a foreign exchange student and it wasn’t easy. “I was really scared to move but also excited,” she said. “I guess I had a lot of expectations and I was scared of it not being like I imagined. It was really hard to say goodbye to all my friends and family but the truth is that school has been really fun. I am very happy with all the people I have met here at Lamar.” Being far from home can be really difficult sometimes, said Eunice Meléndez from San Luis Potosí, Mexico. “It’s hard, especially when you have to say goodbye to your family and friends but change is really good. Sometimes I do miss my old school but I also like a lot of the things we get here at Lamar,” the junior said. Ogu said she’s in the right place at the right time. Being in an environment such as this helps foster a sense of respect, the Nigerian native said. “One of the most remarkable things in my culture is respect. It is essential. Respect is really important for me since there are a lot of visitors in our culture. We always

Junior Rebecca Asare performs a cultural dance at a wedding. “My family is from the Ashanti tribe of Ghana, located on the coast of West Africa. I used to visit frequently when I was younger. That’s where I learned some of their traditional dances.”

treat them with love and respect,” Ogu said. “We will always be polite and respectful as it is one of the things we consider the most in my culture. “That’s what my family has always taught me and that is what I share everyday as a teacher at Lamar,” she added. “Another important thing is the relationships between Nigerian people. We always share and enjoy the little things together as a big family.We are rich in tradition and culture. Being far from home makes you miss a lot of things - relationships, your

Standing with her husband and daughters, French teacher Sylveria Ogu celebrates her 60th birthday. “The theme was SYLVER @ 60. About 400 people were in attendance. I felt honored having my friends and relatives come from far and wide to celebrate with me on my special day.”

home, your family,” Ogu said. “Fortunately in Houston, a lot of people share this culture.”

Sophomore Alexis Suarez gathers with his family as they celebrate “Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe,” a religious feast day celebrated anually on December 12.

Sophomore Jema Veloz is all smiles as she celebrates her Quinceañera with her damas. “My Quinceañera was a very memorable moment in my life because it is a once in a life time experience and I’m very grateful for my parents who were able to make it come true!”



Tennis: Finishing their season strong Mikayla Scholz, Lamar Life


he tennis team’s hard work recently paid off as they advanced to regionals. With their new coach on board, it was not all about skill but the players’ substantial bond with each other on an off the court. The tennis team fought hard against the competition at districts. “My team did really well. I was proud of my players. We had a lot of rain delays and some people weren’t able to make it but those who were able to make it, I thought they played extremely hard and fought really hard so I was proud of them,” head coach Remus Anduiza said. Practicing daily meant spending a lot of time together for the team. “I always look forward to districts because of the amount of time we get to spend together. It was fun to hear your teammates from the sidelines supporting you. We cheered each other on and played some games. I think this really shows when we were on the court,” said sophomore Sophia Rassin, who plays line one on the girls’ side. Schools in the nearby area came ready to play but Lamar was also prepared. “Yes there was some competition. Westside had a pretty strong team. We ended up beating Bellaire and had a close match against Westside,” Coach Anduiza said. There were many prodigious events that happened but there is always room for improvements. “A lot of my players had never played doubles together so I was impressed that they were able to work with each other,” Anduiza said. “What we need to improve on is just having those players play matches with each other and we would be much better.” The team motivated each other to


After winning area, members of the tennis team pose for a picture. “It was really cool to see our team mesh together and become one. I’m excited to see how far we can go next year,” sophomore Alex Koong said. Courtesy photo

better themselves in every aspect. The sideline got loud and exciting when they were cheering each other on. “I motivate the team with my positive encouragement and humor on and off the court,” said team captain Joshua Rassin. The tennis team played exceptionally well and had excellent teamwork skills. Overall, the team placed second in their tournament. Sophomore Alex Koong felt his team could have done better. “Overall, I felt like we had a disappointing season. We had a lot of talent but we couldn’t pull it all together and consistently string together enough wins,” Koong said. “It was frustrating to lose to the same school two years in a row but it was a good learning experience for our team and our coach. Hopefully next year we can come back stronger and get better.”

Once a student, now a World Series champ can have both the Nationals and the Astros on the same side. Having a kid play in the World Series is special. I’m rooting for him,” Munoz chuckled. It was only what every baseball fan can dream of - a game seven of the World Series with a Cinderella Washington Nationals vs a powerhouse Houston Astros - winner takes all. “The bigger the stage, the better he was,” Munoz reflected on Rendon. At the top of the seventh inning, the Nationals were desperate for a scoring spark and when the answer ended up being Rendon, Munoz was not surprised. “He was going to have a quality opportunity at bat. I didn’t know what the result would be but I knew he would give them everything he had and give them a home run. For him to have a clutch opportunity didn’t surprise me and I’m very happy,” the head baseball coach said. After watching Rendon, a Lamar

Even though the city of Houston mourns the hard fought loss, Lamar’s baseball team learned quite a bit from watching the elite third baseman. “Dreams come true. Anything can happen. I know that Rendon is where he is because of all the hard work. I think these kids need to understand that if they’re dedicated, they’re going to pay a price and success can come their way,” Munoz said. He could not stress how fortunate Rendon is to be where he is today. “Not a lot of people get to partici-

Ethan Martinez, Lamar Life


ouston might not have a World Series winner, but Lamar does! It was only 11 years ago when David Munoz was coaching a future NCAA Freshman of the Year, MLB All Star and now a World Series champion. “As a student, Anthony Rendon took his classwork seriously enough to get himself into Rice. He is very down to Earth,” Coach Munoz said about the sixth pick in 2011 draft. The Nationals were a wild card team, meaning they had to play a game to get into the playoffs. Typically, wild card teams don’t make a long run in the postseason, but Munoz wasn’t surprised when he heard Rendon was playing in the World Series. “He had a breakout season at Rice and later won Freshman of the Year there. He steps up to challenges and doesn’t have a bad ego. He just plays the game,” Munoz remembered about the third baseman. With the marquee matchup just around the corner, Munoz was wavering on who he wanted to win. “I’m absolutely torn. There’s not a jersey around that

Donning his Lamar jersey, Anthony Rendon is honored during senior night in 2008.

alumni, excel against some of the most elite pitchers currently playing, people wanted to see if Lamar could produce anything like him in the coming years. “Rendon is one of those once-in-a-generation kind of athlete. I don’t think it would be fair to say that there is someone here that resembles him. We have quite a few kids that have a lot of potential on the baseball field but Rendon was one of a kind,” Munoz said of the 29-year-old champion.

pate in the World Series, let alone play in one, let alone play at home in one. These guys saw that someone who used to wear the uniform and practice jersey they wear, can get to that level and reach for the stars,” Munoz added. According to MLB, The Nationals had a 0.1 percent chance of getting to the World Series and even smaller chance of winning it all. With Rendon playing a crucial role in the victory, it shows that anything is possible.


Photo by Delia Jones

New School, New Pool T

he swim team is starting off their season right with something that can change the all-around dynamics of the team. On October 21, the swim team took their first laps in the brand new pool. “We have been anticipating getting into the new pool since the beginning of the year so everyone was so excited to finally get to swim in it,” junior Heinrick Gonzalez said. Head swim coach Stephen McDonald was very appreciative to be given the opportunity to help design the new natatorium to satisfy the needs of all of the swimmers, divers and water polo players. “We had to fight a little for the architect to build the natatorium to the dimensions that are necessary to do swimming, diving and water polo but we eventually got the physical plan to where I wanted it,” McDonald said. The new natatorium was designed with state of the art technology. “They installed a Daktronic electronic timing system that has wireless


scoreboards and clocks,” he said. The new pool is improving practices and meets. “This pool is faster, deeper and has four extra lanes for a diving well and warm up,” water polo coach Henry Thomas said. One of the biggest problems that the new pool solved was its depth. “We can now play two water polo games at the same time because it is all deep and it is 25-yards wide,” McDonald said. The swimmers are overjoyed to be given the opportunity to swim in such a nice pool. “The new pool and natatorium does not even compare to the old pool. It exceeded all expectations of the swimmers,” Gonzalez said. Captains Henry Gaddis and Madeleine Baird explained the feeling of what it was like to take that first lap in the new pool. “The water felt thicker and cool, the dive was nice and I just felt relieved and happy that we were finally getting to swim in it,” Gaddis said. “It was really cold but it felt nice

Photo by Bailey Rand

Sophia Rassin, Lamar Life

The new pool and natatorium does not even compare to the old pool. Heinrick Gonzalez

and we are really excited for the season,” Baird said with a smile. The new pool has become the district championship pool. “All district meets will be held here, 6A, 5A and middle school,” McDonald said. The new natatorium has many great commodities that will make watching and swimming easier. “We have nice bleachers with a good view, better air quality and we are able to decorate the pool for things like Halloween, which we couldn’t do in the old pool,” Gaddis said.


Field hockey team scores a goal Julia Mccabe, Lamar Life


he field hockey team performed an unprecedented act at their last game that has not been done all season. They made it to the quarterfinals against Kinkaid School. “Kinkaid junior varsity field hockey team is pretty good. We have played them once or twice already this season,” sophomore Sara Gill said. The good news did not stop there. The team scored their first goal of the season but it is unknown who scored it. “The goal was crazy! We had gotten a penalty corner and we had the ball and we all worked together to score the goal,” senior Ava Ward explained. After the goal was scored, the whole team was ecstatic. “I was so happy! I saw all of the team by the goal from across the field and then I heard and saw everyone jumping and being loud and I just knew we scored,” goalie senior Sabrina Zvolensky said. Even though they lost the game, the whole team felt like they won. “This game was different because we demonstrated good energy and a lot of

One of the captains sophomore Sara Gill dribbles the ball up the field toward the goal. “Being a part of this hockey team has taught me many life lessons, like to never give up and how to work as a team.” Photos by Sofia Puccini

teamwork. We thought this was our last game, so we wanted to end the season right and the atmosphere was more hyped than normal but it turned out we still had two more games. After the game, we were all very energetic and felt a lot of pride because we have worked so hard and it finally paid off as a goal,” Ward said. Most parents couldn’t believe that they scored and were very happy when they found out. “My mom and dad were very excited and happy for the team and our coach started crying when the game ended because she was so happy and proud because of how much we have improved,” Gill said. This game was very different from the other games they have played before and that really showed. “The final score was 2-1 and Kinkaid won but we had played a lot better than we have in the other games because we were making good passes and worked extra hard and the people

on the field were working really well together,” Zvolensky said. After scoring the goal, the team felt like they could do anything. “We scored the goal in the second and Kinkaid had scored their two points the first half, so we were very hopeful that we could win because we were doing so well. Sadly we didn’t score again but we prevented them from scoring and we were very happy,” Zvolensky said. They still don’t know who scored the goalie!


Boxing is a family affair for Ortiz

Allan Castro, Lamar Life


oxing is a grueling sport where two combatants lace up leather gloves and hit each other to see who is left standing. For some, the sport is an exercise or a hobby. But for junior Alexis Ortiz, it is a way of life. For four years, Ortiz has devoted much of his time to fighting. The ring’s rope is something that ties and bonds his family together. “My dad was a professional boxer. I come from a boxing family, even my sister boxes at 11 years old. Three of my four uncles were professional boxers,” the teen said. His mother, who is also his conditioning coach, said she’s beyond proud of her son. “He not your typical person. This kid will excel in anything he puts his mind to,” Yahira Ortiz said. The mother says she likes the way he manages school and boxing but she admits she gets nervous when he’s in the ring. “Not nervous as I’m scared for him, nervous as in I want him to do well,” she said. “I enjoy watching him. I can honestly say even though it makes me a little nervous, it makes me very excited and very proud every time I see him in that ring - whatever the outcome is win or lose.” After competing in 23 matches and posting 18 wins, Alexis doesn’t let his five losses get to him. “Every fight that I have lost, I’ve gone back to the gym and worked even harder, simple as that. I come back and the next fight I’ll either win or do better than last time,’’ the national qualifier said. He inspires to expand this record and eventually be considered the greatest but the junior said his grades come first. “If I’m struggling in school, I will let


go of sports. I can’t just focus on being a boxer. If you don’t have a degree, you’re screwed,” Ortiz said. “I’m more of a school person and I put school above everything.” Not only does school serve as a means for him being educated but it has also given him a small fan base. ‘‘As a matter of fact, my last fight in Ohio was streamed. Everybody watched it. They were on their phone or computer watching the fight live as it was happening,” he said with a smile. “As soon as I got out the ring, my phone was exploding with messages like the fight was good. It was cool to come back to school and talk to people. Apart from that, everyone’s always asking when I am going to fight in Houston so they can come and watch.” History teacher Raul RiveraColon describes Alexis as a model student. “Alexis is a very dedicated student,

very responsible in everything he does,” RiveraColon said. “The quality of student he is the quality person he is. He’s a fighter in school with his grades.”

“Don’t take your eye

off the prize. Once you get distracted, that’s it. Just like in the ring if you lose focus or go up their doubting yourself, that’s it for you.” _

Alexis Ortiz

Teen takes her act around the globe L

Issa Quezada, Lamar Life

amar High School is swimming in flair. Many brilliant and talented young kids attend this school. One of these kids is Ahi Ajayan. Ahi didn’t know this then, and perhaps she was way too young to realize this at the time, but the day she woke up on her third birthday is the day her life completely changed. As soon as Ahi turned three years old, her mother immediately enrolled her in singing lessons. “ I started when I was three years old. I just got put into it, like on my third birthday my mom just put me into classes and ever since then I have been singing” Many may think three years old is too young for a person to begin their singing career because of many factors like voice changing and just overall immatureness; however, Ahi picked up the pace quite smoothly. Her mother says she was a natural - simply born to sing. “I mean I was pretty young but I don’t ever remember singing being hard for me. It’s just what I love to do and what I’ve always done” As the years went by and she grew older, singing slowly became like therapy to her in her times of need, whether she is angry or sad or simply stressed, singing is her escape into a carefree world where all there is, is her voice. “Its really therapeutic, like if I’m angry, I’ll just start singing. It makes me forget about everything. It’s really really nice” Being classically trained in traditional Indian music, Ahi has become a significantly well-known performer in India and Canada. She directs herself more towards doing covers but she wants to keep learning and working to record her own music some day and flourish into her full potential as an artist. When asked where she sees herself in five years, Ahi became very excited. She talked about auditioning for a musical talent show and having her

big shot at the big screen doing what she loves and representing her culture. She also mentioned her interest in the University of Southern California music school and has aimed her target. “Wow five years - well I re-

ally want to go to the music school at USC, so hopefully I’ll be able to get into that and then I’ve always wanted to audition for some kind of musical show - both would be pretty cool”


Many of us are grateful for the view


round the winter of last year, the announcement was made over the loud speaker that Principal Rita Graves had created an Instagram account for the school: viewfromthelhsbalcony. The account was something new for the school that Graves had brought to life after being hired. Students were inclined to follow the account so the follower goal would be reached and a jean day would be earned, causing the account to grow in popularity. As more students followed the account, more buzz about it spread around the school. Students were happy to finally have an easy way to hear about school events that didn’t involve going to the school’s website and calendar. Next to the posts of students, there are posts about upcoming school activities, sporting events and news about the Astros. Club meeting dates get posted so the whole school can see when and where to meet and notices about when the student body can wear jeans and Astros gear


garner likes and reposts from the excited students, who are able to comment on the posts with questions they may have. Among these posts are also encouraging words for students going through tough times and reminders that counselors are available at school if you needed them, which many students found helpful after certain events that had taken place. Over the past year, I have found the account to be very helpful and a fun way to be a part of the school outside of sports and academics. Principal Graves has started to post more photos of students and it has now become almost like a competition to see who can be on the account the most in my friend group. During football games, my friends and I would go up to Principal Graves and take pictures with her in hopes of being the next students featured on the famous viewfromthelhsbalcony. Being able to have something like the account is incredibly helpful and allows for the students to feel as though they have an insight

into what is going on. Being able to direct message the principal to ask about what day block it is on the upcoming Monday and comment questions about the posts allow us to be more involved and it lets our voices and concerns be heard and addressed. As a student here, I believe that the viewfromthelhsbalcony has improved our school and has made every student feel more important and it lets us know what they have to say matters. I no longer have to worry about what days are Astros spirit days and if the next Monday is an ‘A’ or a ‘B’ day. Something so simple as an Instagram account has let me feel as though I have a voice at the school and reassured me about dates for events more times than I can count. Because of Principal Graves, I have a view from the LHS balcony and it’s a good one.

Kathryn Stone, Lamar Life

“Personally, I see candy wrappers and food inside the locker room every time I walk in.”

Keep your school clean


tudents have been attending school hear since 1936. Therefore it was not very pleasing to look at the mold stains on the ceiliing and rat traps across the hallways in the old building. Last year our expectations were very high of how clean and elegant the new school would look. However, Lamar is already beginning to slip back to its old ways. With the new lunch system, students have the choice of either eating at the red tables, cafeteria tables or in their neighborhood. It seemed like a unique idea because last year students did not have the option to eat inside classrooms. Some students have abused the system. Coming back from lunch and your teacher making you clean up after your classmates is getting old. Our pods alone are not even big enough to hold a class, let alone spilled drinks and squashed food across the floor, which takes away space. There are solutions to this problem. Students can either clean up after themselves or a cleaning crew can come in right after TTM or lunch to clean the area. Personally, I see candy wrappers and food inside the locker room every time I walk in. When the school opened for students to pick up their

Mikayla Scholz, Lamar Life

schedule, the locker rooms were spotless. The showers looked far more presentable than our old school’s moldy showers. After about a week, I noticed there was standing water in the middle of the shower and restroom area and napkins stting in the sinks. The locker rooms and showers are supposed to be a clean hygienic place for athletes. In this situation, the students attending Lamar have no control over fixing standing water or electrical problems. The students can take action by picking up their belongings or trash they see laying around. Also, there could be a possibility that our staff could be uninformed and clueless about the mess in the locker rooms simply because they are not in the locker room enough throughout the day to notice. Students could help out by telling an employee if the locker room mess is getting out of hand. The new Lamar building has potential to be a clean place with help from students and the cleaning crew. If the people at Lamar continue to abuse the building, Lamar stands zero chance at keeping the school clean. There should either be consequences for the students who choose to leave trash and destroy school property or simply hire more custodians and cleaning crews. We need to show more pride Texans!



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High School students covering News

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High School students covering News


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