Lamar Life online March Edition

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LAMAR LIFE March 2020 Volume #4


Principal Graves has a message for Lamar Texans Pg. 3

Go Texan Day Texans go Western Pg. 14



Alex Park shares how his quick thinking saved a stranger’s life Pg. 10


Coaches react to the basketball phenom’s tragic death Pg. 16



Wrestler leaves the ring to be by her ailing dad’s side



JROTC instructors go 4 for 4 in annual inspection

17 The girls’ freshman basketball team goes undefeated in district

Frank Alvarez Ashleigh Arrington Lily Barrow Allan Castro John Cypher Sade Dozier


Signing Day: Senior Athletes Sign to Colleges


Kathryn Stone Assistant Editor

Lauren Koong Editor in Chief

Student Media Adviser Cynthia P. Smith

Jillian Gonzalez Mason Hartley Julia Mccabe Sophia Rassin Mikayla Scholz Manon del Vecchio

Lamar Life magazines 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@ staff reserves the right to edit letters for clarity or liability.

“Hang in there Texans” A message from Principal Rita Graves


chool ended abruptly before the official start of Spring Break. Not having an opportunity to speak to the Texans, principal Rita Graves, has a message for students, staff and parents about the impact COVID-19 will have as we move forward. To hear the entire video, use the QR code or follow the link:

Daily life is changing as coronavirus spreads


OVID-19, also known as coronavirus, is a pandemic that is sending people around the world into mass hysteria. The virus, which has symptoms similar to those of influenza, is what is known as a “novel virus,” which means it is new and therefore does not currently have any vaccines to prevent it. “It will probably be over a year before any vaccine is developed, tested and ready for use,” nurse Joan Lawrence said. The virus first popped up in Wuhan, China during December of 2019 but it started to get worse this year, spreading all over the world. While Houston is not yet on hard quarantine, people are being advised to self-quarantine and practice social distancing. “The purpose of self-quarantine is to avoid the spread of the virus by people that have been at risk of exposure,” nurse Lawrence said. “Self quarantine is for 14 days.” While many around the world see self-quarantining and social distancing as unnecessary, people must remember that coronavirus can be deadly for older and immunocompromised people.

“It is important to remember that for the majority of the population, if they do develop the illness it is not ‘life threatening’ and symptoms can be very mild,” nurse Lawrence said. “However, those at greatest risk of serious illness or death are the elderly and individuals of any age that have underlying health conditions. For example: compromised immune system, heart disease, lung disease or diabetes.” The virus is spread through respiratory droplets from things like coughing or sneezing. This is why people must make sure to wash their hands. “It is recommended that people cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing,” nurse Lawrence said. “If tissues aren’t available, cough into the bend of your arm area.” There are also other precautions one can take to help prevent getting coronavirus. “Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,” nurse Lawrence said. “If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based sanitizer; avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; do eat or drink after others; avoid close contact with people who are

sick; stay at home when sick; cover cough or sneeze with a tissue then throw the tissue in the trash; and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces” Furthermore- people are being advised to avoid public places with crowds and be mindful about going places, especially during spring break. Many are flocking to beaches to party but people need to remember that coronavirus can spread fast and it is not safe to be out in large crowds anymore. While it may be upsetting or annoying to cancel plans and stay inside, it is important to remember that all of the new rules have been put in place for the safety and health of the people. The goal is to make it harder for the virus to spread and to slow down the rate of people getting it so hospitals don’t get so overwhelmed. More updates on coronavirus are given every day by health organizations and leaders around the world. Stay aware and be smart about what you do and where you go. “For more information visit the Texas Department of State Health Services,” nurse Lawrence said. For more information, go to: .


Mejia stays strong after loss


enior wrestler Allison Mejia looked forward to competing and making her way to the state competition in her final year of high school. That didn’t happen. Mejia had a difficult decision to make when she learned her father was battling cancer. She chose to stay by his side and put wrestling on hold. “I had to back out of districts because my dad passed away in January, literally the week we were coming back to school. It was really hard for me because I didn’t expect him to pass that soon but I am glad he did because he is no longer in any pain,” Mejia said. To Mejia, her dad was her number one supporter and having him no longer there was one of the obstacles that she had to face. “Ever since my freshman year, he would always go to my matches and he never missed a tournament. He was that sports’ dad,” she said. “It was really weird not having him there. It made me really sad seeing other daughters with their dads because that used to be me.” But since Mejia was going through the ordeal, she only shared and talked about it with her wrestling coaches.


Jillian Gonzalez, Lamar Life “It took her a while to tell me that her dad was sick and that she knew he was going to go eventually. From there I tried being there for her, like supporting her because she needed somebody obviously,” wrestling coach Carina Reyes said. Mejia got the news on her birthday that her dad was not going to make it. “October 12 , 2019, I found out that he was going to die because the day before he was sent to the hospital and we had to cancel my party. We then found out that he was going into hospice treatment where nurses and doctors would come to our home,” Mejia said. Her coaches took notice that something had changed in her behavior since hearing the news about her dad. “She immediately wanted to quit the team but of course I didn’t let her and I told her that this was going to help her if anything. I didn’t force her to stay but I did encourage her to stick with wrestling even if she wasn’t going to participate,” Reyes said. The loss of her dad affected her emotionally and even her academics.

“When he passed, I didn’t want to do any of the work and in the middle of the day I would have a few mental breakdowns because I would just get really sad sometimes,” Mejia admits. “Like one day, I am OK and happy but then something would just hit me and I would just melt down.” Adjusting to her life at home is different and she has had to adapt to a lot. “It’s less chaotic at home but it was weird adapting to no more hospital bed or wires everywhere at home and sometimes even now I will catch myself walking up to the couch,” Mejia said. The senior sees her future now and she wants to be there for her family but also wants to follow her dream of being a wrestling coach. “I have been offered wrestling scholarships but I want to stay home and stay with my family. I need my family the most but knowing my dad he wouldn’t want me to hold back from anything,” she said.

“You don’t need a father as long as you have people that love you.” (Jane) Hernandez Due to the sensitivity of this story, ficticious names are being used.

Allan Castro, Lamar Life

Fatherless teens share their experience growing up without a dad


ost students grew up with mom and dad there to support them and guide them through their lives. But for some, a big part of that was missing. Growing up, these students did not have a father. For (Jane) Hernandez, the visit she got weeks ago from her father was the first she got in 14 years. Much wasn’t discussed, as her main feelings toward him were anger. “We didn’t talk about anything because I was mad at him. I didn’t want to talk to him” she said. “He was crazy back then, now he said he changed but I don’t believe him …maybe he did but I don’t care.” Her parents had a toxic and abusive relationship. But her brother and stepdad stepped in to fill the role of a father. “They fed me and paid the bills,” Hernandez said. Most dads have the freedom to visit theirs kids or not. For Micheal (Sampson), his dad’s incarceration took a part of his childhood that he can barely describe. “He went to jail for as long as I can remember and he’s still in there. He tried to be in our lives but I just told him to not to come around me,’’ Michael said.

“I already told (my dad) I didn’t want a relationship with him. He would try to call us from jail and my brothers didn’t really know anything.” He wants nothing to do with his father. “He was trying to have to have a relationship with them but he wasn’t trying to do nothing with his life, so I told him that he wasn’t going to benefit my brothers so why are you still coming around,” he said. Michael avoids talking about his biological father with his mother as they both try to push the negativity out of their life. “I don’t really like talking about it to my mama because she had to go through it. I tell her I don’t like that side of that family. I have a sister but she’s just like him, doing the wrong things and we try our best stay away from them; they bring nothing but negativity,” he said. Michael says this abnormal reality has been his normal life since as long as he can remember. “It didn’t really affect me since I didn’t know him my whole life so I grew up thinking it was normal not having a father because I didn’t really remember how I felt when I was little and he was around,” he said. For his future kids, Michael wants better.

“I’m going to be in their lives for sure because my dad wasn’t in mine and I know how that feels,” Michael said. For Ibe Jackson, his father visits occasionally but ignores him the entire time. “Naturally, my dad would come back to back to the house but not give me any attention,” Jackson said. He describes his relationship with his father as “in and out.” “My mom didn’t like how he didn’t get me anything, like food and baby treatment so my mother put him on child support,” the teen explained. Growing up, Jackson describes his childhood as incomplete. “It felt incomplete because it was supposed to be a full family but it’s not,” he said. “You got one half but you don’t have another.’’ To be a man is to be a father, but a mother became Jackson’s father figure. “My mom and my grandma are my dads,” he said. “My mom is everything.” Hernandez had a message for other children without fathers. “You don’t need a father as long as you have people that love you,” she said.



A tribute to my pastor

s I prepare to end my senior year and walk into my next chapter reluctantly - I can’t help but think of the people who helped me get to the point where I am today. That would include my mother, my grandparents, my family, my teachers and even some of my peers. And when I think about my successes and how I’m so prepared to head off to my next chapter, I have to think about my church family – specifically First Lady Luetta Walker and Pastor Harvey Walker. I reflect back on how they have influenced me to be the best that I can be and everything they have done to contribute to the youth and the community. I wanted this to be a surprise to them just to show my appreciation of how grateful I am for having them minister in my life. So I went out and talked to them in a mock interview. I decided to write a story because I wanted others to know that it was not an easy climb for me to get here – a little less than three months before graduation. Thank you all. I could have any preacher and first lady but I have you all. They shepherd a congregation of about 500. But Pastor Harvey Walker and First Lady Luetta Walker are much more than leaders to the youth of The Crossing Community Church on West Orem Drive. “My mother has created a non profit called Impact where it targets at-risk youths - where it teaches them lessons, (feeds) them dinner and teaches them life skills,” their daughter Paula Walker said. Another daughter praises her parents for going the extra mile for the youth. “My parents have offered the youth family counseling and whatever the youth needs for their family. My parents make sure that they are taken care of,” daughter Carla Hopkins said. “My mother has opened their eyes to different things that life is filled with.” First Lady Luetta Walker said she hasn’t seen many changes in teens over the years. “Children are still the same,” she said. “The changes involve the environment the children live in – things like access the technology has given them - access to things their parents may not desire them to have access to.”


Ashleigh Arrington, Lamar Life When she was growing up, Walker said she recalls her parents would have control over her environment and the intake of things she had access to versus how she was able to with her own children because of technology. Walker and her husband say they have a soft spot for young people. “My husband is very open and has a open heart for our young people. He’s open for the programs we have for the young people and community,” Luetta Walker said. “We have had young people in gangs and in trouble. It just feels good to know that the young people in our community and the youth can feel safe and can trust that they will be heard when talking to me or our pastor.” For those graduating seniors, she had a message. “I know that when you’re a graduating senior, graduation consumes your mind as you get

close and begin getting all the preparations for that special day. I think maintaining your priority should be your focus,” she said. “I believe a person should create a five-year plan. Put it in writing - ‘Where I want to be in five years?’ That way you will have a goal to work towards. It is going to take work and effort. “I think that life would be better for a lot of young people if they just write where they want to be in five years and when those five years pass, write the next five years,” she added. “It’ called having vision. It helps make things clearer. Luetta Walker said if she had to tell her teenage self something, it would be, “never let fear win.” “I would have exercised my faith more because there are plenty of things I didn’t do or the opportunities I passed up because of fear,” she said. “I let fear keep me from walking that path and I would tell myself not to let fear win.”

Greetings from the Philipines!


er body went cold We are rushing her to the hospital right now.” That’s the message that would make my mother and I take action. While everyone was gearing up for finals in December, filling out study guides and preparing for he second semester, I was preparing to fly halfway across the world to visit my aging grandmother experiencing the demise of her youth. I hadn’t seen my family in the Philippines since my mother and I had moved back to the states 12 years ago. The 18-hr. flight left an abundant amount of time for my mind to contemplate the worst scenarios. I knew that adjusting to their cultural norms would be difficult but I was determined to reconnect with my family and more importantly, use this time to find myself. Compared to the lifestyle in the states, it was much simpler there. My family owns a compound, housing everyone in a five-mile radius with our bloodline. As you can imagine, we were extremely close-knit. Being an only child, I cherished that familial support. Upon first arriving, every morning I’d walk my 85-year-old grandmother house to house to eat pandesal and coffee with each family. By noon, I would return to my uncle’s land and help him tend to the chickens, turkeys, ducks or pigs. The afternoons I cherished most were when the boys took me out to fish at our fishpond. I had never been one to have the patience for fishing but something about watching my flamboyant cousins catch fish or sharing the simple joys of catching a big tilapia for dinner, made me smile ear to ear. By night, after everyone com-

Sade Dozier, Lamar Life pleted their daily tasks, people stood and sat on their patios watching the streets, celebrating another successful day. As for my cousins and me, we’d party! Partied like the sun would never shine again like every night would be our last. Although life here wasn’t perfect with the occasional family drama, we all knew and felt loved. The most important part of our little joyous community was at the center of the compound, the church. This symbolized every member of our family’s life. My grandmother founded five churches in our region, including one right here in Houston. Everyone played an important role. The young children would participate by singing in the youth choir. While the adolescents would perform multiple church service duties around the neighborhood, such as cleaning the church, conducting weekly bible studies, planning community activities or acting as church representatives, going on missions all around the Philippines. This inspired me with knowledge of ways to keep myself centered when I was having a tough time back at home. To pursue my faith head-on and find joy in the little things in life. My grandmother once shared the recipe for a fulfilled life with me, “Doing what you love is like breathing air. For me, the church is my oxygen. Find your thing.” It seems like my whole life I have been searching for the definition of happiness when all along it was right there in front of me. For me, the definition of happiness is having faith and family. Having the chance to visit my grandmother gave her peace BUT it gave me more peace.


Julia Mccabe, Lamar Life


ot many people know about this club but those who do think it is a great addition to the school. The STEM Research club is a newly created club, sponsored by sophomore math teacher Hector Otano-Vega. It was started after some students heard about Otano-Vega’s experience in STEM research. “The club was an idea that came from the students. I have talked about things I have done in the past with students and I mentioned that a previous school I taught at had a research club. Then some of the students came to me and asked if I could sponsor the club,” Otano-Vega said. This club is a good opportunity for students to learn outside a classroom setting and pursue further learning. “I joined the club because at the end of one of his classes, he mentioned the club and I decided to join because it seemed interesting and I have never been a part of a research


club,” sophomore Eesha Vettical said. “The research club has changed the way I look at life and showed me that no matter what questions you

“The research club has

changed the way I look at life and showed me that no matter what questions you have, you can always find answers.” Eesha Vettical have, you can always find answers.” Even though it is called the research club, there is more they do than just research. Their goal is to enter their research projects in the

Intel Science Fair. “I am working with my brother on a project about deep space radiation. We are going to see how our current technology can hold up under deep space radiation. We are trying to enter the Intel Science Fair next year and our goal is to finish our projects before next year, so we can attend the fair in Arizona,” said sophomore Lauren Koong, who is the president of the club. All of the students have different research projects but still work together and help each other out. “In the club, we usually have an assignment and it’s different per person because we each have our own projects, so we usually sit in a circle and talk about where we need to be in our projects and then how we think about our progress. My project is about how depression affects sleep. So far I have done research on previous projects that are similar to mine,” Vettical said.

Photo by Julia McCabe

STEM Research club helps students learn outside of the classroom

Jillian Gonzezlez, Lamar Life

Theater’s Cabaret Night is a success


heater performs a “Cabaret” in the place of a musical this year for students, teachers and parents. “We did a cabaret in place of a musical this year due to construction and so we wanted to keep the opportunity for singing and dancing alive so we put together a cabaret based on Bob Fasse’s choreography,” theater director Aimee Smalls shared. A great part about this performance was that everyone got a chance to stand out. “Every individual person in the cabaret got to shine and since you don’t get the chance to see that in a lot of shows that was really fun,” senior William Darden said. As for a cabaret being a type of musical, there was a lot of dancing and some cast members found that diffi-

cult. “For me the hardest part was dancing because I can’t dance and there are a lot of talented dancers in theater so it was kind of daunting to be with them,” senior Jacob Poythress said. Some even found the overall movements inspired by Bob Fasse were hard to act upon as well. “Bob Fasse was a guy who liked awkward stuff and he made all his people awkward and that was hard for me because I don’t act like that and that’s not who I am,” senior Whitney Moran said. Others who had to change their voice to be in character found it even more difficult. “The hardest part for me was the opening number because I have to talk

in an accent and to top it off, I had to sing really loud as I hold a note for a very long time. That was something I had to mentally prepare for,” Darden said. Now for this cabaret, theater students had less time than usual to put it all together. “We had about two or three months and that was a smaller time frame to get it ready than we would for a normal musical. So we worked longer hours each day and sometimes we would even have rehearsals until 7 p.m.,” Darden noted. In the end, spectators agreed the entire performance was spectacular. “We felt that this performance was such a success that we look forward to doing more cabaret-styled plays in our regular seasons,” Smalls said.


Sophia Rassin, Lamar Life

just “ That’s the right

thing to do, stopping and helping people in need. Alex Park

Park saves life with quick thinking


eople always ask, “Can one person really make a difference?” Senior Alex Park proved that one person can indeed make all the difference. Park is a student athlete who is the captain of the rugby team and also participates in football. He is not only a great player on the field but also in his everyday life. “He is a hero,” Park’s football coach Chad Scholz said. While driving to the movies, Park saw a man suffering underneath a truck after being hit by it. “I was getting out of my car at the same time that the driver of the truck was getting out. It was a pretty intense moment,” Park said. “I went and checked on the guy and he was pretty banged up.” In this situation, Park had to take the lead. “The truck driver was freaking out so I instructed him to stay calm and call 911,”


Park recalled. Park was able to react quickly and do the right thing. “I got a shirt from my car and wrapped it around his head to try to stop some bleeding. He was coming in and out of consciousness so I told him to stay still as we waited for the ambulance to arrive,” Park said. This was not a simple task that anyone could have done. Park’s prior learning from Eagle Scout training came in handy and saved the man’s life. “I am an Eagle Scout and we do the first aid merit badge in order to become an Eagle Scout so I learned all through that,” Park said. Not everyone would have done the amazing thing that Park did when put in the same scenario. “It all was just reactionary. I wasn’t really thinking I was just doing what I knew to do,” Park said. “That’s just the

right thing to do, stopping and helping people in need.” Weeks after the accident, Park and his family contacted the man and found out that it was KPRC’s news reporter Brandon Walker that Park had saved. “I realize this is a long post, but my heart overflows with gratitude. I had to share. Even more, I had to introduce y’all to my newest little brother,” Walker posted on Facebook following his meeting with Park weeks after his accident. His coaches were not surprised that Park was the one who helped out, even if he could have made the choice to not get involved. “I have known Alex for a while now and Alex would be the first one to step in and help someone when they need help. He is a super kid and as his coach, I was proud when I heard what he had done,” Scholz said. Park’s one decision changed the life of that man forever. “God bless you Alex,” Walker posted.

Mikayla Scholz, Lamar Life


he JROTC program has been doing exceptionally well at their competitions. As a team, they hold a four- forfour streak. “Our annual Superior Instructors evaluation was conducted (recently) by a cadre from the district JROTC office during 5th and 6th periods. We are 4 for 4,” CSM Hai Dang said. “All four students will receive the N1-8 ribbons, awarded by our SAI for teaching three or more classes. They also will receive the N1-7 ribbon (Superior Instructors). This ribbon is awarded annually by the District JROTC officers.” CSM Dang said he is proud of the cadets. “We are extremely proud of our cadets for their accomplishments and win, win attitudes,” he said. “It is a testament to their dedication and hard work.” All the members share a love for the program and take it very seriously. “I love the program. I think it provides a lot of structure and it gives you a good outlet to go and just be a person for a while instead of having to worry about the stress of school and everything,” sophomore Aryn Waters said.

JROTC has been an amazing way for students to develop values of citizenship. “In general I think it teaches you a lot of good things. It teaches you how to be a communicator, it teaches you how to be a leader, it teaches you how to do good for your community and society, it teaches you how to give back, it’s not always all about military,” Andres Montoya said. CSM Dang said he loves how his team has come together and created a bond. “The groups bond by being, seeing and working with each other during their periods,” Dang said. “They get a sense of belonging when they are a part of a team and together, there’s nothing they cannot accomplished. This is evidence when they compete and win knowing that they are interdependent on each other to accomplish the team goals.” CSM Dang has a determined point of view when it comes to the outcomes of the team’s performances. “We do not believe in luck when it comes to competitions. Greatness is the intersection between planning, preparation, training and executions. Our

Courtesy Photo

JROTC passes inspection

students know this and work hard at their specific field and crafts,” he said. When the squad travels to competitions they look forward to not only winning but spending time with each other. “My favorite thing about competing would probably be the down time because in the down time in between competitions. We have a lot of fun with people and group pow wows, it’s just like a nice time to hang out with people,” Montoya said. “You know people are taking time out of their Saturdays and I’m taking time out of my Saturdays so it just works out fine.” The winning streak that the team holds is outstanding and they plan to keep it going. “We are winning not because we are especially great at any one event but rather because we participated and compete in all category events,” CSM Dang said. “Our students work hard and dedicated themselves to their team before school and after school to achieve success. Again, we are very proud of all our students within the JROTC Program.”


Jillian Gonzalez, Lamar Life

North Building finally opens Photo by Jillian Gonzales


built, most elective classes were pushed out to T-buildings and even fter months, the North build- the east building. “I feel like we are more part of ing is completed. The second and third floor is already the school now that we are in the north building. When we were filled with classes. in the east building, we were more “It seems like they have new ameniseparated from everyone else and it ties, like the floors look new. We have was difficult for the students to a new AC system and it looks just like transition to their other classes a new building. It is roomier and they when we were in the east building,” knocked some walls down,” teacher Gayle said. Raymond Gayle said. On top of that, there are now two Along with new amenities, there were upgrades to the tables and chairs in most new dance rooms that have been added to the third floor. classes. “The old dance room used to be “I think the gray tables are very nice but for me they are not really as practical in the T-buildings so this now is an because we have big 30-inch computers. upgrade. We have mirrors now that It is a little challenging for my class but are super beneficial. There is now also a locker room inside the two when I see other classes, it is a really dance rooms. We aren’t allowed to nice look,” Gayle said. wear our shoes inside since it can Since the new third floor has been mess up the flooring,” sophomore opened, there has been many upgrades Emily Jones said. especially to the elective classes. Not only are there classes on the “I liked my classroom better in the second and third floor, there are also east building but I am loving the new a couple classes in the basement. studio; it is spacious. We have connect“The basement is a little scary ing two editing suites and a sound podbecause it is like put away and it is casting room and we did not have that a smaller space that we have combefore,” Gayle said with a smile. pared to the one in the east building. Since the north building was being


I feel like we are more part of the school now that we are in the North building. Raymond Gayle

But since there is construction on the first floor, our class in the basement is temporary,” Jones shared. Some students and teachers think that the north building is great but some people have a different opinion. “It’s a lot more broken. But it is nicer to be able to walk a hallway to the restroom now instead of it being next door,” Isaac Harris expressed. Overall, most students and teachers are very excited and enjoy the renovated north building. “It is an improvement and it has taken us a while to get here. When you see the new building as an older teacher, you’re like ‘oh I want that’ we are finally experienced what they’ve experienced,” Gayle said.


ooking for something to watch? The movie Cats came out recently. Here’s my review... The movie is based off the hit Broadway musical that premiered in 1981, which was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber after he was inspired by the poetry book Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Elliot. In theory, the movie adaptation should have been a hit, like it was on stage, with the star-studded cast, cult following and music from the play alongside originals but it missed its mark. The cast was put into costumes with added CGI effects that were truly disturbing. At one point, the cat Jennyanydots (played by Rebel Wilson) unzips her fur during a number that features cockroaches and mice with human faces. The costumes were not the only problem with the movie. The plot was very hard to follow and you had to either have seen the play beforehand or look up the plot to understand. Part of the confusion may be the fact that the visuals of the movie are so off-putting

Kathryn Stone, Lamar Life that it is hard to understand anything that is going on though. I had to Google the plot later and it still didn’t make a whole lot of sense. The amazing actors, actresses and singers that were in the movie have my pity. When I saw Jason Derulo come on the big screen as the cat Rum Tum Tugger, I was shocked. His singing was great but I don’t think anyone who saw the movie will ever be able to see him without the awful cat suit ever again. When I saw my favorite late night host James Corden come on the screen as the fat cat Bustopher Jones, I almost started crying. That is just how bad the visuals of this movie are. Taylor Swift played the cat Bombalurina and it was scary. I ended up having to leave the theater before finishing the movie because it was just that bad. There were only about eight other people watching and maybe half of them left before my friends and I did. Some theaters are starting to pull it from the list of movies they will play because barely anyone buys tickets and if they do they leave before the movie is over.

I will say that the movie has one redeeming quality: it makes the audience laugh. The costumes and the scenes are so bad that they are funny and some moviegoers made comments about what was going on during the film that were funny. The scene where Jason Derulo’s character Rum Tum Tugger performs at a milk bar while cats drink milk from taps made me laugh, as well as when James Corden’s character Bustopher Jones dove into a garbage can. In my opinion, the movie is a hate crime against humanity. I don’t quite understand how the idea of all of the insects and animals having human faces got the green light but at this point I don’t even want to ask. All in all, the movie was disturbing, scary and overall awful. I would tell you to go see it for a good laugh but that would be a waste of your money. I hope I never watch that movie again but you be the judge...

A review of the movie Cats 13

Sophomore Simon Jerden and junior Sam Hughes. “For Go Texan Day, I dressed up in my grandfather’s hat and boots because I wanted to show I am a proud Texan. My favorite part was when the burgers came out because I love the food,” said Sam Hughes.

Seniors Alexandra Perez, Mia Ibarra, Allison Mejia, Chase Johnson and Amanda Jenkins. up and see the effort that everyone put into it. I have alw

Rivera sisters Natalia, Mariela and Julissa all celebrate Go Texan Day,

Sade Dozier, Lamar Life


Sophomores Damaris Orellana, Melissa Villeda, Maria, Maricarmen Ramos and Denise Orellana.


It was a day of food and fun The most anticipated day of the year “Texan’s Day” was a setback after the pipes burst along 610 freeway; However, this incident could not outshine the Texan pride. As lunches approached, students dressed in western gear anxiously waited along the bus ramp for hamburgers, hot dogs and nachos sold by Cafe M. One of the highlights featured line dancing. "I also enjoyed capturing intimate moments shared between close friends, couples and teachers. One of my most cherished moments was dancing alongside, agricultural teacher Elisa Infante and my peers to my favorite line dance, The

Copperhead Road Shuffle," senior Sade Dozier said. My friends and I purchased hot dogs and Nachos to share while celebrating the end of black history month by watching “13th” a documentary exploring the racial inequality in America’s prison system produced by Ava Duvernay. This was the best way to spend my last Texan’s day as a Lamar student. As graduation approaches, these prominent moments spent together become treasured. This may be one of our last memories shared. This high school has taught me the essential lessons of life - from my triumphs to my failures.

s. “My highlight of Go Texan Day was seeing all of my friends dress ways been dressing, so senior year was a must,” said Allison Mejia.

FFA teacher Elisa Infante and other students do the Copperhead Road Shuffle.

Photos by Sade Dozier


Courtesy photos

Kobe Bryant: The loss of a legend


n January 26, 2020, infamous basketball player Kobe Bryant, along with eight others, died in a helicopter crash. The basketball community mourned as Bryant’s untimely death left a hole in many hearts. The news spread all over media platforms like wildfire that Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter were among the dead. The whole word took a moment of silence, as his impact was global. News outlets to NBA players felt the wave of this incident. Kobe Bryant truly left his mark on the world and even those here at school. Basketball coach Jerry VanDusen had words to say about the great legend. Referring to him as the “ultimate competitor,” the news emotionally affected him just like other families and individuals around the world. “I was at home, of course with any sport individually, any guy with the stature of Kobe you feel sad for him. You felt sad for his daughter who passed away with him and his family who was close to him,” said VanDusen. To the Los Angeles Lakers Basketball team, Bryant was an 18-time all star and 2007-2008 MVP (Most Valuable Player). The coach shared how crucial Bryant was to the team. “He was their MVP when he played basketball. He was their best player. He brought them championships. He’s revered and loved in the Lakers community; look how the city of Los Angeles is reacting,” VanDusen said. Known for his determination, Bryant had traits that could be learned by others. His “mamba mentality” can be seen through his relentless plays. “You learned a lot from him because he tried hard all the time like I say the Ultimate Competitor and he worked at his craft. He made sure he put in the work to be great,” VanDusen added.


Allan Castro, Lamar Life The Staples Center held a half-hour tribute to the basketball player before a game, honoring his number. Every Lakers teammate had a 24 numbered jersey. Lebron James himself delivered a heartfelt speech on Bryant. “Tonight we celebrate that he came here at 18, retired at 38 and became the best dad we’d seen in the last 3 years,” said James. Many more celebrities have weighed in on this tragedy that struck on the fateful Sunday. Like VanDusen, Coach Blake Wilson, another coach for the basketball team, held admiration for Bryant’s style of play. “I loved his grind and everything he did was going to make him a better player the next game. He was very strategic, his basketball IQ was out the roof. He was able to make plays when there wasn’t any open,” said Wilson. Growing up in a different era of basketball, Coach Wilson has always been a fan of Kobe Bryant. To grow up watching him and seeing his life end so early took a toll on him. “I felt a part of my childhood was gone even though I didn’t personally know Kobe,” Wilson said. Bryant’s career leaves footprints for the generations of basketball fans and minds to come. Though his death will be received in reverence, one way or another this tragedy touched the basketball world. “I think for a minute you now have a true leader that’s now gone to be with glory; it’s not going to affect it in a negative way but if anything its going to affect the mentality, the mamba mentality, a lot of people are going to use that,” said Wilson. In the words of Kobe Bryant, “Mamba mentality is all about focusing on the process and trusting in hard work when it matters most.”

District Action

Freshman basketball finishes their season undefeated Mason Hartley, Lamar Life


Photo by Bailey Rand

irl’s freshman basketball recently finished up their season by remaining undefeated in the district. Joshalin Harris was not expecting to have such a great season when the season started. “I didn’t think the team would go undefeated, we were not as close and we were having some difficulties,” she said. Abbigail Valero another player on the team was more optimistic during the start of the season. “I was questioning whether or not we could go undefeated but I thought we could if we practiced,” Valero said. Christina McInnis knew the team would need to work to improve and come together during the beginning of the season. “The coaches did a really good job of helping us prepare for everything and made sure we understood what we were supposed to do,” McInnis said. “We needed to work on communication and making sure that everybody knew the plays and how to work together and they helped us through that.” The season was not without its struggles, according to Valero and McInnis. They had some close games. “Some of the hardest games we had were the first time we played Westside and Shadow Creek. We had about the same skill level,” Valero said. “Westside was hard,” added McInnis. “Especially when we went to Westside because it was a different environment and it was early in the

season, so we were not well drilled as a team yet.” Harris felt that tournaments also challenged the teams. “Our hardest games were tournaments,” she said. They were out of the district and the opponents were more competitive than the in-district teams.” As the season went on everyone on, the team saw improvements from the beginning of the season. “I think that I got a lot more confident with everything over the season,” McInnis said. “We all kind of knew where we were supposed to be and how to work together. We did a really good job of making sure that everybody contributed to our points.” Going undefeated is a very good way

to start as a high school athlete and everyone was looking forward to continuing their success next season. “I am thinking about playing next year and this is a big starting point for my high school career,” Harris said. “I think it was a really good season, our team grew and everyone improved in their own way,” Valero added. Kadee Harper, the team’s head coach, was very proud of her players and what they were able to accomplish. “My freshman basketball team was undefeated district champions this season,” Harper said. “We went 20-3 for the entire season and I am so very proud of them. They worked hard for their record.”


Congratulations to the Football players Ka’Veon Griffin, Alex Park, Aven Shelton, Troy Tisdale and Elijah Wilson sign to their respective schools, while their coaches stand proudly behind them.


Photos by Kendall Sullivan

Class of 2020 signed athletes

Photo by Kendall Sullivan

Tennis player Joshua Rassin signs to Washington and Lee University, with his coach and team behind him.


Signing day was an amazing experience and I felt lucky to be there signing to Washington and Lee, along with all of the other athletes signing to their schools.

Dance wins Districts

Courtesy Photos

The dance teams were very successful at Districts. LDT modern and hip hop won first place in the district, along with a first place duet by Lauren Holcombe and Simon Chardey, a second place duet by Shelbi Durand and Jacqueline Taylor and a first place trio by Akayla Gardner, Kylah Dorsey and Shelbi Durand. Durand also won a second place solo award. The Rangerettes won many awards as well, including the Super Sweepstakes award, first place jazz in division, first place novelty in division, first place hip hop in division, first place pom in division, first place overall in division and more.



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