Lamar Life: Volume 22, Issue 3

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3325 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77908

Issue No. 3 | November 2021


This issue’s theme is “Enough On Your Plate.” With Thanksgiving comes many full plates, both metaphorically and literally, especially with midterms and college applications just around the corner. This issue’s cover was created by Mikal Nazarani and Lauren Koong.

UNIFORM: Gravesnow enforcingdress code


HOLIDAY SEASONAL FUN: BURNOUT andwhat youcando games, crafts, and more! PAGE12


STAFF Lauren Koong.......................Editor-in-Chief Kathryn Stone.....................Assistant Editor Mikal Nazarani...........................Copy Editor Italy Alexander Nico Al-Karkhi Elise Barnette Brooklyn Carmona Ava Fisher Annie Frietsch Sydni Fullmighter Destiny Goodall Stephen Hernandez Destiny Keeton Mace Klein Elizabeth Kortum

Sofia Munoz Ben Newmann Aleisha Paulick Kayla Pearl Mia Rosales Yezen Saadah Jazmin Segura Grey Siegel Brooklyn Slie Ana Torchia Brock Wills Mojdeh Zare

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



@lamarlifeonline @lamarlifeonline For our website, visit or scan the QR code Lamar Life is a student-run publication 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 visiting The staff reserves the right to edit letters for clarity or liability. Names may be withheld upon request and at the editor’s discretion.

Mikal Nazarani

The importance of preserving culture in an increasingly homogeneous society


e are living in an incredibly unique period of human history. Meritocracy has become increasingly more important as the world becomes more and more globalized, due to advances in travel technology, the opportunities different countries provide, and the emergence of a new, interconnected world that exists entirely online - the internet. Increased communication results in increased competition, and as a result much of western society has had to accept a mass influx of peoples from all parts of the world. While this phenomenon of integration and diversity is a good one, it does beg the question, how do we preserve culture in an increasingly homogenous society? It is common knowledge that culture means identity. Our diverse array of cultural traditions, customs,

arts, morals and ethics were once passed down from generation to generation, constructing our working frameworks of the world and how we should engage with it. To put it simply, our culture gave us meaning. Nowadays that meaning can be harder to find. We tend to think that modernization equals progress, and while this is true to an extent, it also doesn’t leave much space for the rich history and thought-provoking, ethics-guiding construct that is culture. If there is any room for culture within the context of a “progressive,” dystopian society, then it’s simply for commerce. The irony in this way of thinking is that the inclusivity of different cultures, of ideas and lifestyles that have been refined for thousands of years, can actually help move society forward, and bring about meaningful progress.

This is where the notion of pluralism comes into play. Pluralism at its core is simply the union of diversity. It isn’t a homogeneous process, rather a means of reaching a solution or truth through the culmination of multiple solutions and truths, stemming from multiple voices from diverse backgrounds. It opens up the possibility of perspectives and solutions one might not have been aware of had they simply been confined to their own cultural context. Pursuing a homogenous society means losing those voices, losing those perspectives. For the people assimilated into that society, it also means losing their identity. If we want to truly build a sustainable, globalized society, then we need to realize that there is strength in difference. That as global citizens, we can work towards a strong future without sacrificing our cultural past.





t’s Lamar’s first football state championship. The crowd is going wild, and spirits are high. This game means the world to each man on the field, and after months of hard work and daily training, the team is finally here. The game was lost, but the experience was one that would never be forgotten. One man in particular on the field that day, was Cravon Rogers Jr. or as some students might know him, Coach Rogers. Rogers is a 10th grade world history teacher and a football coach. It is his first year at Lamar as a teacher, but he is rather familiar with the school. “I went to Lamar High School,” Rogers said. “It was good. I had a lot of fun my senior year.” Rogers played on the football team. During his senior year, the team had a 15-1 record and the team made it to the state championship. “During the whole fall semester, the atmosphere of the school was very lively and very supportive,” Rogers said. “It was new


because the Lamar football team had never been that far in the playoffs so that entire semester, the whole state playoff was just very exciting for the whole school in general.” Rogers, very ambitiously, prepared and trained every day, putting his all into football. “I knew I wanted a scholarship for football so that I could go to the next level,” Rogers said. Rogers got the scholarship for football and attended Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. “Morgan State is an HBCU, and I would absolutely encourage anyone to attend an HBCU. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sports administration,” Rogers said. Rogers has always loved history and been passionate about it. However, he had no desire to become a teacher. “The last thing that I wanted to do was teach but my love for history and love for the game of football, I guess you could say that it brought me back and I really enjoy it,” Rogers said. What makes Rogers such a great teacher and role model for students is his empathy. “I love teaching students because I understand that a lot of them don’t like school. I wasn’t a big fan of school, but I understand importance of it, and I want to help my students. I think

my understanding of the student helps me relate to them better,” Rogers said. Despite the initial lack of interest in teaching, Rogers has come to love teaching and has become a favorite for many students, helping guide them in the right direction. “I think all students should find out what they’re interested in, find what they’re good at. If you pursue your interests and pursue what you have an affinity to, you will not feel like you’re lost because day to day a lot of people don’t know what they want to do and it leads to confusion and leads them to doing things that they will regret but if you pursue something that you enjoy doing and that you’re good at then I think that will set you on a path where you have a sense of fulfillment,” Rogers said when asked to give some advice to students. In the future, Rogers plans to continue teaching and hopes to one day be a head coach. For now, he is just happy to be back at Lamar. “It feels like I’m back at home, except that they renovated the place…”

Sophomore wins Climate Change Design Contest


Lauren Koong

ophomore Soumil Goyal recently won the top prize from the Houston Climate Resilience Design Challenge and Youth Leadership Summit, earning $750 for his environmentally-friendly power generator. During the contest, which was sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, Goyal only had 45 minutes to develop a product for climate change resistance, design for the product and a presentation, which he would present to a panel of judges. “My thought process was, I didn’t want to make any of the classic things that all the other kids make,” Goyal said. “I wanted to do something that would connect to all the people that would use it.” In just 45 minutes, Goyal created a design for an exercise bike that would generate electricity to charge a phone or computer. “A wind turbine, you spin it, and then it creates electricity,” he said. “In my case, you bike on it, and it creates electricity, so when you cycle on it, it could charge your phone. It also has another benefit of keeping people fit.” Not only did Goyal win the top prize, but he also won $750 to build and implement his design at school.

“I felt quite happy,” Goyal said. “I thought, ‘Wow, okay, now I’ve made a great impact.’ These people are professionals from the National Wildlife Federation, so if they think that your idea is worth the money, then it makes you feel good because you’re only a high school kid!” To enter the contest, Goyal had to be sponsored by a teacher or administrator. After emailing Dr. Raymond Cain, an assistant principal, Cain agreed to sponsor Goyal. “I couldn’t deny him that opportunity,” Cain said. “This is an IB World School and to have a student from this campus actually participating in these kinds of risk-taking opportunities, things that have great levels of integrity, all of our IB attributes and characteristics. If he’s willing to put himself out there, then I knew I had to support him.” When Cain found out Goyal won, he was ecstatic. “He was finished and they called for me on the radio; I came running,” Cain said. “I thought something had gone wrong but it was alright because he actually won! That means the world to me and I am really, really proud of him. I know he’s going to do great things.”


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


oe Villalobos is a freshman who likes working in graphite and colored pencil. This piece is titled “Grief” and is done in graphite. She was inspired by the 5 stages of grief (pictured in order as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). In her words, “I think a lot of people experience grief, so doing a piece representing that emotion is something that is important to me.” She drew and shaded a different set of eyes for each emotion, putting the spotlight on emotions that many people are afraid to talk about. She used great detail and shading for a stark piece that came straight from the heart. She shows how eyes are windows to everyone’s unknown world.

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

Art and Photo Credit: Zoe Villalobos



ndrew Albarran is a junior who transferred to Lamar from HSPVA. This is an in-progress, untitled piece done in pen and ink. He was inspired by a photo he saw floating around the internet of a foggy, cloudy sky with dark green trees underneath it. It made him think about, in his words, “the things we don’t understand yet, and how much goes on outside of our lives.” He describes his work as “abstract with expressive lines, or extremely detailed comic strips about things people go through (anxieties, self-identity, being lost in translation, etc).” He wanted to illustrate the idea of a vast and outlandish landscape that both overwhelms and calms with its greatness. He will eventually add two people in the foreground to put emphasis on the size of the ocean and city. When not working on larger scale work, he can be found illustrating comic strips and working on Photoshop.

Art and Photo Credit: Andrew Albarran

Art and Photo Credit: Alex Davis Donaldson


lex Davis Donaldson is a junior

in Mr. Stiles’ IB Visual arts class. This is an untitled piece of a photo she took at the orthodontist. Both the original image and her artwork was created by her. She worked in oil on wood, which she pointed out was her favorite medium. Because it is not pre-textured like canvas, she liked how she could make her own texture and smoothness with the oil paint. She made this piece because she was drawn to the image. She believes that being immediately drawn to an image or scene is a good enough reason to do art. She is a hard-worker with a knack for realism and detail, and she often makes art inspired by things she has experienced or seen.





fter multiple students came to school out of uniform, principal Rita Graves started enforcing the school dress code more strictly. Graves posted about it on one of the Lamar Instagram pages (@viewfromthelhsbalcony) and informed everyone about the dress code sweeps that would start occurring on the following Monday. She also made other rules to help enforce the dress code such as being able to order outside food only if in dress code. “The dress code helps us quickly identify people who should be here and people who shouldn’t be here. So, it really is a safety measure for us, and if I can look up across the lawn and see the sea of navy blue and white and see someone not in dress code, then I can walk over and see what’s going on and figure out if they belong here or not,” Graves said. “But when no one isn’t really following the dress code, it becomes much more difficult to ensure that we are getting to the right people to get confirmation that they belong here.” Although the dress code can be seen as annoying and hard to maintain, many teachers agree it is enforced for the safety of students and staff. “Being on this side of it as a teacher, I can spot students quickly,” biology teacher Sergio Arjon said. “Now I know some people say anyone can sneak on — we already caught someone doing that,” Arjon said. “We caught a kid who wasn’t from this campus sneaking in here and we were able to target them really quickly because of what they were wearing. I myself found an adult on campus. How do you think I found out? Because they weren’t in the dress code.” This shows that the uniform can and has helped us with security on our campus. As said by the Assistant Principal and LPAC Administrator Dr. Raymond Cain, students might not realize and identify how much the uniform actually helps teachers when they are monitoring the school. “Often students as individuals don’t realize that we are on a campus of more than three thousand students and even though we have quite a few of us on the administrative team, that is very difficult to monitor and know students that belong here versus who don’t belong here,”


Cain said. Another reason for the dress code is to help prepare students for the future. A lot of jobs will require a dress code and it can be good to learn how to follow it early. “I want to see you guys learn how to prepare yourself to present yourselves professionally when you live here,” Graves said. This enforcement of the dress code was caused by students breaking it, and according to Graves, the more time teachers spend arguing with students about the dress code, the less time they have to plan the things that make school fun.

“I think it’s really important that you all gain your independence and confidence in yourself at this age, but it becomes added work for us when you don’t follow the dress code.”

~ Rita Graves ~ The result of arguing over dresscode: teachers getting more annoyed than mad when students break the dress code. “The thing that does upset me is when we are two to three months into school and I’m telling the same people the same things,” said Arjon. It was also noted that when students apply to go to Lamar, they are shown the rules and regulations so they should already what they are going to be getting into when wanting to join the school. “When you come to Lamar, there’s a dress code — so it really shouldn’t be a big deal knowing that that’s what you have to wear when coming to school along with all the rules and regulations,” Cain said. “When you choose to come here because of the academics and extracurriculars, you know that’s a part of the deal.” The overall message here is that the uniform is in place for the student’s safety and without it, it would be harder to tell who really belongs here or not. The administration and teachers know students may not like it but they are doing it for them. “If we aren’t in dress code, then how do we know who doesn’t belong?”

All photos by Brooklyn Slie



lot of the students aren’t very happy about the dress code enforcement. Many students think it is unnecessary and the school dress code shouldn’t be as strict. Some think the uniform is too expensive or that the dress code should have a wider range of options, such as being able to wear sweatpants. “Think it’s a little bit too strict, and I feel like it’s been unfair to some of the students,” sophomore Eva Ryan said. “I do consider the uniform expensive and I feel like it’s not ethically made either which can cause issues for lots of people since they are made in sweatshops which is not okay.” A sweatshop is defined by the US Department of Labor as a factory that violates two or more labor laws. These sweatshops often have poor working conditions, along with unfair wages, unreasonable hours, and even child labor. Our uniforms should be made in better environments and factories that are fair to their workers. Most students know that you can go to a Walgreens and find Lamar apparel there, so really anyone could go and buy the uniform and pretend they go to school here like any other student. This brings up the question — is the uniform the safest way to protect the students and our school? “I think a more efficient way is to check IDs instead, and I feel like it would be a lot safer too because it’s a lot harder to get IDs than it is to get a school uniform,” Ryan said. One of the big complaints the students have about our uniform is that it’s too expensive, and although you can wear

reused uniforms no student wants to wear old uniforms for four years. “I think it’s pretty expensive especially since our skirts are $50 each and our shirts can be up to $40 to $50,” sophomore Fiona Massey said. Massey thinks the dress code is fair for the most part but there are some rules that are unreasonable. “I think that it’s sort of perfectly strict, except for we can’t wear sweatpants and stuff and that we can’t wear spirit shirts in the middle of the week. I feel like that’s a little bit too strict to only be able to wear them on Fridays.” Some have also said that the dress code helps prepare students for actual jobs and the requirements that some may have with the dress code. “Most jobs require some kind of dress code and there are some that don’t require any at all, but most jobs that I’ve been involved in have had to have a dress code,” Arjon said. “Even when I was working in a grocery store, I had a uniform.” There are also students who believe the uniforms are good for the students and the school. “I think we should have uniform because it keeps everyone looking good,” sophomore Benjamin Blume said. “It makes the school more formal and more professional, and it helps students prepare for a work environment.” Overall, most of the students don’t see the school uniform as a positive thing and think it should be more lenient.


Republic Records

Lauren Koong and Kathryn Stone

A track-by-track review of Taylor Swift’s “Red (Taylor’s Version)”


n November 12, 2021, Taylor Swift re-released her fourth studio album, Red, following her re-release of her album Fearless, in her fight to own the rights to all of her music. Along with re-recording all of her old songs, Swift has also included nine new songs “From the Vault,” songs that were originally written for the album but did not make it on previously. Lamar Life Editor-in-Chief Lauren Koong and Assistant Editor Kathryn Stone review Red (Taylor’s Version). State of Grace: Kathryn: This song never had my full love until the re-release. I never skipped it before but I most definitely will never ever skip it now. It’s a fun song to dance around your room in or for a fun drive around town. A great opener that really gets the listener ready for the rest of the album. Favorite Lyric: “Love is a ruthless game / Unless you play it / Good and right” Rating: 9/10 Red: Lauren: This is a classic. This is my childhood in one song. When I was little, I took voice lessons and this was the first song I requested to sing. The lyrics are absolutely unparalleled and this is the song that got me into writing, because I wanted to be able to be as descriptive as Tayor in this song. Favorite Lyric: “Fighting with him was like trying to solve a crossword and realizing there’s no right answer” Rating: 9/10


Treacherous: Lauren: I love Treacherous (Taylor’s Version). It has always been a favorite and the re-released version is even better. This song is so calm and relaxing, and serotonin-inducing. Also, I am a sucker for love songs and I play this song whenever I need to feel happy. Favorite Lyric: “And all we are is skin and bone / Trained to get along” Rating: 10/10 I Knew You Were Trouble: Kathryn: Pop perfection! This song could have been on the 1989 album and fit right in. It is rumored that the song is about ex Harry Styles and saying that she got into a relationship with him even though she knew he would be trouble is very relatable. I too would get into a relationship with him even if he was trouble. Favorite Lyric: “Once upon a time, a few mistakes ago” All Too Well: Kathryn: Jake Gyllenhaal, you better sleep with one eye open. Favorite Lyric: “But you keep my old scarf, from that very first week / ‘Cause it reminds you of innocence and it smells like me” Rating: 9/10 because it is inferior to the 10 minute version 22: Lauren: I love this song. It is perfect for loud, late night drives with the windows down. Kathryn said “pop perfection” and this song embodies that. It is a bop and I love the memories I have associated with this song. The only reason this song is not

rated higher is because it is being compared to the other lyrical masterpieces in this album. Favorite Lyric: “It feels like a perfect night / to dress up like hipsters” Rating: 7/10 I Almost Do: Lauren: This is probably the most personally relatable song to me on this album. It starts out slow, but by the chorus, I am always screaming. Screaming. Favorite Lyric: “And I just want to tell you, it takes everything in me not to call you” Rating: 10/10 We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together: Lauren: When this song came out the first time, I loved it so much that I choreographed a figure skating routine to this song in a Lake Tahoe ice rink. It is a very specific memory. I go absolutely feral for this song. Favorite Lyric: “he calls me up and he’s like, ‘I still love you,’ and I’m like, I’m just, I mean this is exhausting, you know / like we are never getting back together, like ever” Rating: 10/10 Stay Stay Stay: Lauren: Speak Now is my favorite Taylor Swift album, and this song is the most Speak-Now-esque. It is the quintessential love song, which makes it one of my favorites. Not only is this one of my favorites on this album, but it is also one of my favorite Taylor Swift songs ever, which is high praise.

For the full review from both writers, visit

Favorite Lyric: “You took the time to memorize me, my fears, my hopes and dreams / I just like hanging out with you all the time” Rating: 13/10 The Last Time (feat. Gary Lightbody): Kathryn: This song is heartbreaking and makes you really feel the emotions portrayed. I used to skip it but now I add it to all of my sad playlists. It is very emotional and I love that Taylor had Gary Lightbody on the track because it makes the song even more sad. Favorite Lyric: “You wear your best apology and I was there to watch you leave” Rating: 9/10 Holy Ground: Lauren: This is the song that I always queue whenever I go on long runs. The upbeat music makes running bearable and even fun at times. This song is also the song that gets me through my all-nighters, because it gets my excitement up and my heart pumping. Favorite Lyric: “But I don’t wanna dance, if I’m not dancing with you” Rating: 9/10 Sad Beautiful Tragic: Kathryn: This song is on every single sad playlist I have but because of that, I think I have overplayed it. I will be honest, I skip it occasionally. I know, I know, the song is incredible but the heart wants what it wants and sometimes, my heart wants to skip it. Favorite Lyric: “What a sad, beautiful, tragic love affair” Rating: 9/10 The Lucky One: Lauren: THIS SONG! I always forget how good this song is until it comes up in my shuffle and I fall in love with it all over again. It the perfect example of witty lyrics and Taylor’s storytelling that set her apart from other artists. Favorite Lyric: “Now it’s big black cars and Riviera views / And your lover in the foyer doesn’t even know you” Rating: 10/10 Everything Has Changed (feat. Ed Sheeran): Kathryn: This song and its old video have a chokehold on me. I used to watch the music video every single day after school for a solid two years. I am not even kidding. As a fan of Taylor and Ed Sheeran, this song is one of my favorite things of all time. It also makes me think of Maxon and America from The Selection series.

Favorite Lyric: “All I know is we said ‘hello’ and your eyes lookin’ like coming home” or “And meet me there tonight / And let me know that it’s not all in my mind” Rating: 1000/10

and I break down and it’s not fair that you’re not around” Rating: 10/10 Girl At Home: Lauren: When I first heard this song, my jaw dropped. For all of her rerecordings, Taylor generally made it sound the Starlight: same, or very similar, to the original. Lauren: I know I say I love a lot of songs However, this song was a breath of fresh on this album, but this song is actually one air because it sounded so different to the of my favorites. It is the song I associated original. This version has a more pop with my cruise boyfriend when I was in background, which some theorize was 8th grade, so every time I hear this song, how Taylor originally wanted it to sound. I am taken back to those happy moments Some people do not like this new version, on a cruise in Northern Europe. This song but personally, I like it. While it is not my is the perfect blend of lighthearted happi- favorite on the albume, the pop sound is ness and love, which is my favorite kind of so upbeat and fun; it inspires joy. Also, I song (as mentioned above, I am a sucker imagine this song playing at a party and for love songs). stopping someone from cheating on their Favorite Lyric: “That night we snuck partner, so I like what it stands for. into a yacht club party pretending to be a Favorite Lyric: “I just wanna make sure duchess and a prince” you understand perfectly / You’re the Rating: 10/10 kind of man who makes me sad” Begin Again Rating: 7/10 Kathryn: I also used to watch this State of Grace (Acoustic Version): music video religiously. It is so good and Kathryn: Acoustic version > origithe song makes me so happy because it’s nal version. This song is a work of art her knowing that her and her ex can and and Taylor knew exactly what she was did find love after each other and she is doing for sad girls everywhere when she happy about it. Most of her songs focus on released the acoustic version. The vocals heartbreak or being in love at the moment, are so much more raw acoustically and and this song was a nice change of pace every time this song comes on a playlist, to a song about being happy for someone I have to restart it at least three times else and yourself. Good on you Taylor before moving onto the next song. for being happy when you see an ex with Favorite Lyric: “So you were never a someone else, I doubt Olivia Rodrigo saint, and I’ve loved in shades of wrong” could say the same! Rating: 10/10 Favorite Lyric: “And for the first time, what’s past is past” For the rest of the songs, please visit Rating: 12/10 The Moment I Knew: Kathryn: This track perfectly encapsulates how it feels when you realize that a relationship is over, romantic or otherwise. Also, this track is more evidence in the case The Swifties vs Jake Gyllenhaal for the defense on the Swifties side. Favorite Lyric: “And it was like slow motion, standing there in my party dress in red lipstick” Rating: 100/10 Come Back...Be Here: Kathryn: If I had a long distance boyfriend in London, I bet this would be pretty relatable. Listening to the build up is like you are watching a movie and the scene where they have the double screen couple breakdown because they’re far apart. Favorite Lyric: “But you’re in London

For the full review from both writers, visit


Seasonal Burnout D

Brooklyn Carmona

uring this time of the year, many people are experiencing burnout. Excessive and sustained stress can lead to burnout, which is a state of mental and even physical exhaust. When you experience this, you tend to feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and find tasks hard or impossible to complete. “I don’t think anyone is immune; students, teachers, administrators, parents. We’re coming off of a couple of really stressful years because of the pandemic. And so jumping back into things fully this year was kind of an abrupt transition,” 11A English teacher Rebekah Skelton said. “I’m happy to be back with everyone, and students to be back in person, but there’s just a lot of stuff going on. It’s the time in the school year when we’re about to be headed for a couple of breaks.” Around this time in the school year students and teachers are ready for the many holiday breaks coming up, and all the events in between seem slow and drawn out. Students lack motivation to turn in their work or even get up to go to school, and often feel overwhelmed and exhausted because their assignments start to pile up. “I try to check in with the students at least once a week, if not more. I try to do a little wellness check-in to just get a sense of how everyone is feeling, and if they need any support from me and any individual support,” Skelton said. “ I’ve been seeing how we’ve started the school year very excited to be back, and then just over the past 12 weeks, more consistently the answers have been like ‘I’m overwhelmed,’ ‘I’m exhausted,’ ‘I’m stressed out,’ ‘I’m struggling to keep up with the workload.’” Teachers become tired and impatient with assignments being turned in late, giving them more work to do as well, adding to their pile of things to get done. Teachers also have their own responsibilities as adults, especially for those preparing for the holidays. “There’s a lot that teachers have to do behind the scenes that students don’t necessarily see in class,” Skelton said. “So just keeping up with that workload while also trying to make sure we do have the best experience we can during class, there’s just a lot of demands on everyone’s time.” Burnout doesn’t just have an impact on students’ school life, but it also takes a toll on students’ personal life as well. It cuts into their time to unwind, making it especially hard to find any time to relax or destress. People start to overwork themselves and feel the need to get as many things done as possible in the time given so they don’t feel stuck behind, but still always end up feeling behind and busy, sucking the energy from them and leaving them unmotivated, and feeling kind of disappointed in themselves. “I don’t feel like doing my school work and the moment I come home I just crash and sleep almost immediately,” junior John Roberts said. “One of the ways I try and cope with burnout is by listening to music and just sleeping to give myself time to recover.”


Although seasonal burnout has many people feeling stressed and overwhelmed, there are ways to help get through it and ways for others to help. Roberts said teachers could help by being understanding when a student tells them they are feeling exhausted by school and other things. Both Skelton and Roberts suggest communicating with teachers as it leads to a better understanding from both parties. “ I think most people are generally pretty understanding as long as things are communicated to them in advance instead of just people not following through on their commitments or things they need to do,” Skelton said. “Then it kind of just looks like they decided to just not do it.” Communication is a great way to start. Try to keep in mind you’re not alone and many people are struggling with the overwhelming feeling just as you are. Skelton suggests finding what works best for you to overcome feeling unmotivated because it could help you not just in these times of need, but in the long run as well. “I think that everyone really is doing the best they can,” Skelton said. “Keep going. Just one step at a time, one foot in front of the other. Just do your best, take care of yourself, like y’alls mental health, and y’alls physical health. That’s the priority, so keep moving but take care of yourselves and ask for help when you need it.”

Mikal Nazarani

The phenomenon of teenage angst


ngst first introduced itself to my psyche around the age of fourteen. I was emerging from a cocoon of innocence and embarking upon the long and arduous journey that is high school, nervously stumbling around the narrow, borderline-suffocating hallways as I searched for my classes and some sense of clarity. Needless to say it was a period of confusion, and Angst wasted no time in taking advantage of the tumultuous transition I was going through. At first it would only appear before me through external means, having not yet infiltrated my sense of self. If I had to characterize it, my immediate visual would be a Keith Haring character, except whereas Haring would draw his creations in one swift motion, mine would be depicted through numerous, scraggly lines, carelessly trampling over one another, as though the artist wasn’t fully confident in his original attempts yet simultaneously careless in his efforts afterwards. And so this was angst, following me on whatever outings I attended, sometimes forcing me to meet it’s taunting gaze by taking the shape of an isolated cloud or a large group of friends, smiling as I sunk into a heavy introversion. Eventually I let angst enter my consciousness. It would slowly seep into my head through the music always ringing throughout my ears or the blue light constantly absorbed by my dilated eyes, my thumb endlessly scrolling through superficial landscapes and disconsolate albums. Quickly familiarizing itself with the inner workings of my pubescent, developing mind, Angst got to work, muddling my thoughts together, blurring the reality I now witnessed through glazedover eyes, amplifying my emotions without hesitation. And so I turned inwards, not in a esoteric sense, for I was too caught up in the streams of my not even fully

developed feelings, struggling to remain afloat in the waters of emotion Angst had procured within my mind, fearful of being pulled under by the tide of teenage adolescence. Though slightly exaggerated, this feeling of angst is a universal experience, often confined to our adolescence years, occasionally carrying over into our formative years as adults. The dictionary definition of angst is “a feeling of deep anxiety or dread,” though the word can be used more loosely to encompass existential thoughts, “edgy” behaviors, and a feeling of solipsism, or isolation. The neuroscience behind this phenomenon is relatively straightforward. Our teen years represent a period of major growth, not just physically but mentally. Our amygdala - the part of the brain that stimulates fear - matures at a much faster pace than our prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for reason and logic. As a result we become incredibly anxious creatures, constantly fearful, unable to combat these seemingly irrational fears with rational thought and reason. To add to this, our reward center within our brain also develops rather quickly, which is why we tend to be more willing to take risks without consideration of consequence. This paradox of constant anxiety mixed with a seemingly innate urge to experiment can prompt us to feel incredibly isolated internally, despite how many people we surround ourselves with. So how do we combat angst? While it may seem solely like an individual experience, there are many shared techniques most of us tend to fall back on for consolation and comfort, though most tend to be unhealthy. Perhaps the most common method of fighting our existential dread is turning towards mindless entertainment. Whether it be scrolling through social media or allowing Netflix to autoplay the next episode, we are constantly bombarding our minds with content that helps in

the moment, but often leaves us feeling empty and craving more. Another common coping mechanism is the tendency to simply give in to our angst, feeding ourselves sad songs and ruminating on past mistakes, digging ourselves deeper into a hole of stress and dread. If not giving in, then we try to ignore it, meticulously structuring our days and following the advice of self-help gurus, thinking we’re helping our psyche when in reality we’re making ourselves more detached from it. As mentioned above, much of our angst happens internally, and we shouldn’t rely on external means to combat it. We have to be willing to accept it as a natural process of adolescence. Most importantly, we have to be willing to be vulnerable, to spend time alone and reflect on what we can and can’t control, to get to the roots of thoughts that are only exaggerating our angst. When we get to the roots of these thoughts, it becomes easy to discard them.


Meet our foreign exchange students! Holl horseback riding

“I have been horseback riding since I was four, so for 11 years. My horse’s name is Bonia. It’s not really possible for me to do horseback riding here but when I go back to Germany I will do it again.” - Finona Holl

Finona Holl



ur school has a few new fresh faces this year including both teachers and students, not just students from other schools or states, but other countries as well. A few foreign exchange students introduced themselves and spoke of their experience in a new school and country. “School begins earlier, so I have to be at school by 7:15 and it begins at 7:45 and it ends mostly at 1 p.m. so I have a little bit more free time but I have thirteen subjects in school. We don’t have A days and B days, it’s just completely mixed. In Germany, we can’t really choose the subjects and we have almost everything with the same group of people,” junior Fiona Holl said. In traditional American schools, classes are either a seven-period schedule or a four-period block schedule where we alternate classes. In places like Germany, they do things a bit differently. “It’s not as digital, so

I don’t have to submit everything that I do in school. We mainly do everything on paper. We have like two tests in each subject per semester and we only have two semesters,” Holl said. Recently, especially in the last two years, we have been getting used to doing pretty much all of our school work online, however, at Holls’ old school it’s quite the opposite. It’s understandable that moving to another country after living in another for so long that she would feel uncomfortable, so Holl was asked what helps her to feel more when she misses it. “I cook German food, my favorite is like a german kind of pancake its called ‘kaiserschmarrn’ and having my whole family also makes me feel more at home,” she said. Senior Fabianna Gimenez, shared her experiences and comparisions to her former school in Venezuela. “It’s really different from my old school, this school is really really big.

There’s a lot of diversity in students which I really really really love. I like the neighborhood idea. I think it’s really cool,” she said. “I’m not okay with a lot of certain rules that don’t really make sense like apparently at 12:15 we’re all supposed to get kicked out of our neighborhoods to go down stairs to the grand hall or outside but the thing is that I really don’t get where were supposed to sit outside this school is so big and there’s so many people that there is literally no where to sit.” Gimenez’s old school was quite different from Lamar’s. “It was a Catholic school and we had nuns and stuff walking around and those were like our teachers apart from our actual teachers,” Gimenez said. “Everybody was really respectful, the teachers were really respectful. It’s definitely different because the classes are a lot bigger over there like here you have 25 at most, over there you have like almost 40-45 kids in one

Fabianna Gimenez

Taylor Kemp classroom.”

Even though her school was very different, some things were similar as well. “I remember that we had uniforms but the difference is that it wasn’t a public school it was a private school,” she said. “We had a cafeteria as well as a little house outside which is also part of the school. It is called ‘la cantina’. It’s like the school store except you could buy empanadas and tequenos and little appetizers that you could buy in big quantities and I thought that was really cool.” Gimenez, who was born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela talked about her background and how she came to live in America so young and the things that helped her to feel more at home while adjusting to her new life. “My parents finalized their divorce and my dad got custody of me so I moved to Houston, Texas permanently about June of this year,” Gimenez said. “I had the great opportunity to move to Miami and there are a lot of Hispanics down there...What made me feel more at home was still getting to eat my favorite foods like arepas which is one of our main dishes. I feel very grateful for having that opportunity.” Yasaman Dida, a senior who was born in Iran, moved here almost three years ago. “In Iran we have only boys or only girls schools and we have a very strict dress code,” she said. “We have to cover our hair and wear long covers. The hours are less than here. We would only be in school from seven

to one. We have courses but we don’t have those courses everyday. We are at a more advanced level of math and science and language so it was very stressful as well as the tests we are required to take part in even if they are not mandatory by the school, something similar to the SAT’s,” Dida said. The dress code at Dida’s school in Iran was a lot more strict, conservative and traditional.

“We had a cafeteria as well as a little house outside which is also part of the school. It is called ‘la cantina’. It’s like the school store except you could buy empanadas and tequenos and little appetizers” - Fabianna Gimenez “The coverings that we wear are called ‘Hijab.’ However the covering rules vary from country to country, in my country you only have the scarf on your head and it’s okay if part of your hair is showing. Your body, no your body can’t be showing. Right now fashion in my country got a little bit more ‘in trend’. People are starting to wear more long coats and coverings and a long pair of jeans,” Dida said. Although Dida is enjoying her life in America getting to know new people and making new friends she still misses things that she used to do in her country. “All of my family is there and everything that I know is there, everything that defines me is still there and I do miss the food culture you know sometimes. We just go hiking every friday. My friends and I used to hold

some clubs. It was mostly a nonviolent protestant club for women called ‘White Wednesday,’” she said. “It was a protest for the mandatory covering that the women have to wear. But I mostly just miss the people.” Dida loves helping people and her community out in any way that she can. “So I volunteer in food banks and communities that make food for the homeless. I help out with packaging and simple things like that. I’ll also help out animal shelters, it’s just simply walking the dogs, brushing them and making sure that they have food,” Dida said. Moving to America was a bit of a rough adjustment for Dida and she explained that a lot of her first experiences were not the best. “When I first came here my English was really bad so my insecurities really held me back from communicating with people. After one year my English got better,” Dida said. “Basically I just met a lot of new people that I have a lot in common with but at the same time I’m very different from. So that helps me to learn more about people and educate myself more.”

Yasaman Dida





“The aromas of the kitchen cast a spell, one which was to be mortally broken,” -The French Dispatch d i r . We s A n d e r s o n 2 0 2 1


or many, including myself, the school lunch is a convenient and extremely helpful option. Unfortunately Lamar’s school lunch is the bane of my existence and continues to be a sort of culinary menace in the lives of many students. A good way to think about the Lamar school lunch is like being trapped in an elevator. It’s scary, confusing and disorienting yet there is something humorous about it. Not to mention the fact that you don’t have anywhere else to go. Discussing the school lunch this abstractly probably won’t give you the right idea but let’s zoom in on it. Collected for you are my experiences with the school lunch with thorough examinations of the tastes smells, sights and sounds provided by the delights of Lamar’s kitchen



onday’s meal provided students with a multi-colored tray of contrasting dishes that at first glance seem to be a meal made by a desperate single father doing his best with a barren pantry. But upon tasting I found that the meal of the day was something beyond my


comprehension and understanding. As always the dish had chocolate pudding which is the most consistent item to be found in the lunches. This was paired with another common side: the carrots. This supporting player always leaves much to be desired with it’s soggy texture and odd taste. Alongside the carrots you could find the apple sauce which was the most surprising aspect of that day’s selection for better or for worse. What struck me first was its mere presence, as it is not often found in lunches. Upon trying the meal its unusual temperature made it the most memorable part of that lunch. Most of the other items ranged from kind of just barely chilly to kind of hot. But the applesauce’s temperature bore the hawkish chill of a snowstorm in the Swiss Alps. Its taste was neither sweet nor unsweet. Rather, the applesauce stood at the cusp of bitter threatening to throw itself into the plunges of a taste most unwanted. Before I get to the last side dish, I want to briefly touch on the entree which excelled (relative to its peers). The quesadilla’s smoky and unique flavor made it stand out among other main dishes but not enough for me to be captured by it. The last of the items was

some brown rice. Junior Anneke Franzmeier commented on the rice saying, “Why does it actually look good?” Luckily, I was able to correct the mis-step in judgment by assuring her that it was in fact not very good. It was mostly flavorless but lying in its center was an orange attempt at flavor that might have been good had the seasoning been dispersed evenly throughout the dish instead of lying in the middle as a clump hanging on to some grains.

“I’m not quite sure if I am

to ever forget the flavor of this wretched orange trap but I pray that that day comes sometime soon



appreciated Tuesday’s meal quite a bit. Granted, not for its own stand out but rather the lack of any standout qualities. I appreciate a meal that does its job and this meal to some level accomplished that. I was hungry before and I was a little less hungry after and for that it deserves some praise. Oftentimes there are days where the school lunch diminishes my opinion of all food. It’s specific brand of bad flavor makes food as a concept seem lesser. On this day, the food excelled at mediocrity. Mediocrity is normally not an aspiration but when on a good day the best you can offer is a bag full of cucumbers then a meal where nothing really sticks out is something to be celebrated and heralded as an accomplishment in the world of cooking. The entree was a fajita which did not have a particularly memorable taste but I was very content with its existence. This was not a dish that I was actively mad at, which is surprisingly and unfortunately hard to come by when you’re a regular in the lunch line.



ednesday offered the most surprising meal that made it both the best and worst thing I saw all week in the lunch line. One of the most esteemed entrees was being served that day, the cheese pockets. Warm pockets of bread with cheese inside that provides a savory flavor

that comforts you much like a visit from an old friend. The cheese pockets offer a taste that not even the mayor of flavortown, Mr. Guy Fieri could rival. Offered up next to it as always was the pudding and some corn. The corn is always at first glance a pleasing comfort to my eyes knowing that my tastebuds are in good hands. But I’m always reminded that it is one of the great existential ails of my life. Every time they serve corn I always seem to forget that the taste of the corn never seems to quite appease the idea I have of it inside my own head. The smell and look of the corn presents something that doesn’t exist and something that I can never have. One can compare my experiences with the corn to the Greek myth of Tantalus— forever close to satisfaction but never reaching it. The over peppered and too watery dish makes for something that always leaves me wanting more but my spirits were lifted by the saving grace of the cheese pockets. Today they weren’t the normal cheese pockets. There was something different about them. They were greasier but tastier. The pockets felt like not only an achievement in the school and in the culinary world but like they achieved something artistically and scientifically that can only be properly praised with a nobel prize. On Wednesday they ascended to something completely different, something that I would actually like to try outside of the school, which is the highest of praises I can give to any dish here.



ast time it was chicken nugget day I distinctly remember how cold it was. I remember the only source of warmth I had were those nuggets which combined with the ketchup made for quite possibly the best

thing I had ever tasted in the confines of Lamar High School. Thursday was no different. It was chilly again and the warmth found in the chicken combined with the scarce amount of ketchup supplied by the single packet that came with the school lunch was welcomed with open arms. The chicken nuggets are beyond food. They are a fire to hold your hands to, they are a welcome tradition. Chicken nugget day should be recognized by the city of Houston as a holiday for its landmark importance in the world of school lunch. In fact, it was so good that it vastly outshined every item outside of it, which is not an exceptionally high bar to clear. To call one of the sides a salad would be enormously generous. It was clearing the bar for vegetables by shreds of a

To call the three strands of lettuce that were more akin to green confetti than any food a salad would be like calling a stick of broccoli an oak tree millimeter. Occasionally this “salad” is gifted with a chunk of tomato and lest we forget the one gracious time when we were gifted with some onions as well. If after all this you are still wondering if the school lunch is good or not, I say it doesn’t matter. The school lunch is not there to be fine dining. If you are looking for caviar it can be found in another establishment. If you are looking for impressive plating then you can see yourself out of the line. People don’t get the school lunch to be wowed with the flavor or to go through some artistic experience, they get the school lunch because it’s convenient and they’re hungry. As someone who needs convenience and is occasionally hungry, I am relieved to have it. Sure it’s not perfect, but nothing is in life. Sure it’s not especially good either ,but good things get enough appreciation. Good things get awards and good things get talked about. Sometimes bad things need to be appreciated. This kind of bad thing is worth defending.


Favorite Holiday Foods W

ith the start of the holiday season brings holiday foods along with it. From November through December, people can enjoy the limited edition goods stores and restaurants bring that span from drinks to desserts. “I love anything with potatoes, mac and cheese, creamed spinach, green bean casserole, cornbread dressing and I love pumpkin bread,” sophomore Ella Chisolm said. Holiday foods can usually range from pumpkins to peppermint during the last two months of the year. Cafes bring flavored drinks and restaurants bring in flavored dishes or desserts, like Starbucks. “I usually enjoy pumpkin flavored things from cafes like eggnog and spiced lattes,” sophomore Finley MooreMcNamee said. Food during the holidays doesn’t necessarily have to fit in the usual category though. People enjoy bringing other dishes to the table. “My family loves barbeque around the holiday season, although me being vegetarian that gets tricky,” Chisolm said. When asked what their favorite holiday foods are, students included pie and hot drinks the most. The discussion about which pie is better for the holidays, pumpkin or apple, was asked on a poll, the results were close to a tie, however apple won by a single vote. Although most can agree, having both on the dinner table would be ideal for everyone. Chisholm and MooreMcNamee were on opposite sides of this argument. “Pie is overrated, but Apple pie is better,” Chisolm said. MooreMcNamee disagreed respectfully in this matter. “In my opinion, apple is a summer dish, but for fall pumpkin pie is 100% the way to go,” MooreMcNamee said. Other foods that have not come up yet are gingerbread, cranberry, fruitcake, candy canes, sweet potato, and peppermint bark. These are all things that one can think of when someone brings up holiday foods, however Chisolm believes another food should be included in the mix. “I think there should be more pasta dishes for the holiday season, because who doesn’t like pasta,” Chisolm said.

The Great Pie Debate

53% 18

Apple vs Pumpkin

Lamar students were polled to see which holiday pie was the favorite.


RECIPES Pumpkin Pie 15 OZ pumpkin puree 5 oz condensed sweetened milk 2 eggs Pumpkin pie spice (optional, but adding a shot of espresso elevates the flavors!) (You can also use any extra condensed milk to make a pattern on top with a toothpick!)

Gingerbread Cookies 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger ½ teaspoon ground cloves ½ teaspoon salt

1 egg ½ cup butter ½ cup white sugar 1 cup molasses 1 cup hot water

Combine everything and put into the crust, Bake for about 25-30 minutes at 450 degrees and watch carefully! The sweetened condensed milk can cause it to burn quickly if you’re not checking too often.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch square pan. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, and mix in the molasses. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Blend into the creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan before serving.

Apple Pie

Candy Canes

1 box refrigerated crust 6 cups thinly slice, peeled apples ¾ cup sugar 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon salt ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat oven to 425 F. PLace 1 pie crust in an ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Press firmly against side and bottom. In a large bowl, gently mix filling ingredients; spoon into crust-lined pie plate. Top with second crust. Wrap excess top crust under bottom crust edge, pressing edges together to seal; flute. Cut slits or shapes in several places in the top crust. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and the crust is golden brown. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch wide strips of foil after first 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning. Cool on rack at least 2 hours before serving.

1 teaspoon butter 1 cup sugar 1 cup light corn syrup ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar 1 teaspoon peppermint or spearmint extract 6 drops red or green food coloring

Grease two baking sheets with butter; set aside. In a large saucepan, bring the sugar, water, corn syrup and cream of tartar to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 280° (softcrack stage). Remove from the heat; stir in extract and food coloring. Immediately pour onto prepared pans in eight 8-in. strips. Let stand just until cool enough to handle, about 1-2 minutes. Working quickly, roll each strip into a 10-in. log. Cut each into two 5-in. lengths. Curve the top of each to form the handle of a cane. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.


Mace Klein


Winter Holidays The last holiday celebrated throughout the winter time is the New Years. In the hispanic culture it is traditionally spent celebrating “las doce uvas de la suerte,” the twelve grapes of luck.

“Me and my family celebrate by eating twelve grapes to resemble each month of the year. Before eating a grape we make a wish for anything throughout the year.” - Freshman Anny Campos

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Thursday of November each year and is based around colonial pilgrims’ 1621 harvest meal.

Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that lasts for eight days, during this time the commemoration for the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem is shown by lighting a candle each day.

“Hanukkah is celebrated in my family to honor the fire that magically burned for eight nights straight, keeping the Jewish safe through the end of the Jewish and Greek war.” - Michael Tegegne

Christmas is religiously known and celebrated for the commemoration of Jesus. On these two days gifts are given as a resemblance of the tributes made to baby Jesus by the Three Wise Men.

“Every year for Thanksgiving me and all my family gather together and have a huge meal while we discuss what we are each thankful for.” - Sophomore

“We wake up in the morning and open presents, for the rest of the day we enjoy ourselves, laugh, and talk all day.” - Sophomore Asia Broussard

Destiny Goodall


Ana Torchia



M.B. Lamar High School

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