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The Cougar Claw Tomball High School May 2014 Vol. 57, Issue 4

Are they really safer than cigarettes? Story, Page 6 First Year = First Place?

Rape brings different views Boys, girls don’t see eye to eye on rape, survey finds. Story, Page 8

The new THS Student Media app, available on Google Play or App Store.

Percussion Group becomes State Champs first year. Achievement, Page 16

May 2014


Sam Abrahams The SAT is set to make major changes in the next two years, which will affect all classes graduating after the class of 2016. The College Board, which administers the test, wants to make the college entrance exam more about what students know and less about what they don’t. One change will be to the vocabulary section. It will test commonly used words that are likely to come up in conversation, rather than words which are obscure and rarely used. The essay portion of the test will become optional and the reading comprehension section is going to be slightly different. According to the College Board, “When students take the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section of the redesigned SAT, they’ll

Pros offer students tips on jobs


UIL recognizes Student Media

Freshmen impacted by big SAT changes

Two Exxon Mobil employees explain to the students how to use their education to further themselves in their career. They visited campus as part of a program to connect students to members of the professional world.

Newspaper, Yearbook also earn national recognitions be asked to demonstrate their ability to interpret, synthesize, and use evidence found in a wide range of sources.” Rather than passages based on animals and fictional stories, the SAT will contain excerpts from founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence. Also, the math section will focus more on algebra rather than calculus, which benefits students who have not yet taken any calculus classes before. Finally, scoring will change. Test takers will receive points for correct answers. However, unlike the current rules, points will not be deducted for incorrect answers. The new test will be given for the first time in the spring of 2016, and is meant to help lower-income students achieve a higher score on the assessment.

Staff Reports Readers of the newspaper and yearbook have long known that those programs were quality publications. Saturday, the state said the same thing. Students earned a total of three gold medals, four silvers, two bronze and 11 honorable mentions at the ILPC journalism workshop, held at the University of Texas. “The newspaper and yearbook at THS has been doing groundbreaking work, and it’s important to remember that this work is done entirely by high school students,” advisor Jerry Fordyce said. “These kids are producing great material and facing difficult deadlines, while still dealing with the same workload as other students.” For newspaper, editor Leanne Haas picked up honorable mentions in Editorial Writing and In-Depth News Story. Sports editor. Leandra Carty won honorable mention for online Sports Action story. Feature editor Micaela Lapeer took silver for Personal Opinion Column, while last year’s co-editor, Rain Shanks, got bronze for Computer Art. Tech editor Drew Gilman took both an honorable mention and a bronze medal for Cartoons, while Hayley Beebe won gold in that category. Yearbook did very well, especially the photographers. Odalis Sanchez took gold in Student

Life Photo, while Nicole Rowse took honorable mention. Alina Nuessing took gold in Academic Photo, and Rowse took second in Sports Action. Jennifer Montalbano took silver for Portrait Photo, while Jessica Neidigk got honorable mention. Sanchez also got an honorable mention for Sports Feature. The yearbook staff also took medals for Secondary Graphic Coverage, Captions and Index Spread. The broadcast team also brought home a medal as KTHS-TV anchor Kyle Emmott took silver in Anchor Presentation. In addition, both programs received national recognition recently. The newspaper got good news this week from the American Scholastic Press Association, which named it a firstplace finisher in its annual newspaper ratings. It is the second time the newspaper has earned this national recognition. The yearbook, meanwhile, had the cover of its 2013 book named to Balfour Publishing’s Yearbook Yearbook, a national publication that recognizes the best yearbook work. That cover, designed by Katie Naiser, featured the word “AMPLIFIED” on a black background. “To be recognized here, a yearbook isn’t just good, it’s great,” said Balfour’s director of marketing, Mike Cobb.

Student injured tubing on Memorial Day weekend Leanne Haas Junior Abraham Munerlyn was severely injured while tubing this past Memorial Day weekend, lacerating his face and throat and fracturing his jaw, among other injuries. He has undergone multiple procedures already. With an unknown amount of time he will have to stay in the hospital and with no insurance, Abe’s family has set up an online fundraiser which

has already received over $2500 in donations to relieve the financial burden. They are already halfway towards their goal of $5000 with 21 days left in the fundraiser. According to the fundraising page, Aid Abe:

“His jaw is wired shut. His carotid artery is injured internally, but should heal within a couple weeks. We are hoping he can avoid a skin graft.” Despite his injuries, Abe is said to be in high spirits, and his friends and

Before you go

School is almost over; here’s all you need to know


Summer School

When: Friday, June 6, 4 p.m.

When: Session I is June 16-July 3; Session II is July 8-25. All classes are held from 7:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. each session.

Where: Reed Arena, Texas A&M University, College Station What to know: Graduates and teachers should arrive at 3:30 p.m., and dress code is strictly enforced. Students will not be allowed to write on their caps or bring in any noise makers. Parents are also asked to refrain from using noise makers, as this prevents other parents from hearing their own student’s name being called. This year, there is a charge for parking at the Arena.

family are hopeful he will recover with time. Senior Milo Ortiz was with Munnerlyn when the accident occurred. Though he realizes Abe’s financial need, he voices the greater wishes of the Munnerlyn family. “More important, they’re asking for prayers,” he said. If you want to help Abe, visit

Next year’s news

Say goodbye to that Wednesday morning Chick-fil-a breakfast. The senior parents are no longer allowed to sell breakfast thanks to changing Federal Child Nutrition laws. That’s a big loss for prom fundraising and for those Where: THS who liked that breakfast sandwich each week. The law will also impact the Cougar Den CofWhat to know: Registration is going fee Shop, which will now sell unsweet tea on now. See Mr. Vierkant for more only. However, they will have sugar on hand information. The cost is $150 per that students can use to sweeten the tea students already enrolled in TISD. themselves. You may not miss more than 1 day from summer school and still reThe school will be in a new district next year, ceive credit. one that still includes Stratford, Spring Woods and Tomball Memorial, but now adds the two Magnolia schools, Waller and Brenham. That makes it a tough district for sports and academics.

Bomb threat evacuation unnecessary

May 2014

Staff Editor-in-chief: Leanne Haas

Leanne Haas

Sports Editor: Leandra Carty

About a month ago, the entire school was evacuated from the building because of a note that was left on a bathroom wall; a bomb threat. But there was no chaos, no students rampaging through the hallways, no shouting. No imminent threat was ever felt - and that’s because this has happened before. Students were taking selfies as they sat on the grass and waited to be herded over to the stadium. This was not the first

News Editor: Jynn Schubert Feature Editor: Micaela Lapeer Online Editor: Adam Bergeron


Video Editor: Drew Gilman Staff Writers: Julian Gite, Maria Ramirez, Sam Abrahams Design by Bailey Swanson & Tyler Swanson Editorial Cartoonist: Drew Gilman For more on the Cougar Claw staff, check out our online edition at Letters to the Editor Policy: The Cougar Claw publishes letters to the editor in both print and online editions. These can come from students, parents,faculty/staff and others with an intrest in school. Letters will be edited for grammar and length, but the author’s intent and point of view will never be compromised. All letters must be signed.


Questions, comments or concerns, contact adviser Jerry Fordyce at: phone: (281) 357-3220 fax: (281) 357-3248 The Cougar Claw Newspaper Tomball High School 30330 Quinn Rd. Tomball, TX 77375

time a bomb threat has been written on a THS bathroom wall with a conveniently specific time. Most likely, it was just another student trying to get out of a test. Instead of rewarding a very obvious attempt to get out of class by a student, the school should have ignored it. It was known from the beginning nothing would come out of the dubious threat, and yet who knows how much money was spent on helicopters and guards. Though it is currently required to notify of any threat

to students’ safety, is it too much to ask to use common sense? Can we all come to an agreement to make it a point to ignore school bathroom threats at specific times? If ever there was a true bomb, we would not be given time to anticipate such. And even if, against all odds, there was to be a bomb detonation at 11:30 on a Thursday at school, it is not advised to crunch the entire student and staff body into one location the stadium - for easier access.

A plea for prom prize parity Leanne Haas Project prom had intended to be the icing on the cake for seniors, the last chance for some to be with all of their friends before graduation. For at least a month, there was a lot of hype surrounding the after-prom party. With $30,000 worth of prizes, a lot of seniors were promised there would be plenty of gifts

Editorial Cartoon Hayley Beebe

for everyone - and there were plenty of gifts, just not enough recipients. Though it should be mentioned that the school and senior parents put a lot of thought and time into making prom and project prom a great experience, there can always be something to improve upon, and the way the prizes are distributed needs a change. That $30,000 is a huge amount of money, but the fact

that there were some students winning multiple prizes while others were going home empty-handed seems careless and wasteful, given what could have been done with that money. In one instance, a student won two of the same prize. Next year, there should be a tier system. The largest prizes go first, and if someone wins a prize, their name can’t be redrawn. Seniors would leave their prom a lot less sour-faced.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Dear Editor, Do you think it’s okay to get a GED, or do you think the only way to success is a high school diploma? - Tatiana Hoffart Dear Tatiana, I think in some cases, a GED is appropriate, but it’s not recommended. A GED really cannot be compared to a high school diploma, though it is better than nothing and can get someone a job they otherwise would not have gotten without a GED. It is considered a last resort, though some are misled to believe that it is equivalent to a high school diploma. The truth is, a lot of employers and colleges will not recognize a GED. -Leanne Haas Dear Editor, I want doors on the stalls in the history hallway. - Tyrus Schmiotberger Dear Tyrus, I have heard a lot of guys complaining about that, and I think it’s unacceptable that the school can find time to put larger stalls on the doors in the girls’ bathroom, but neglect the boys’ restroom completely. There probably won’t be any changes made this year,

unfortunately, but I have faith that our school will have made the change by August. - Leanne Haas Dear Editor, I attended prom this year and returned home deeply disappointed with the music line-up. It seems as if our song requests were ignored. Dubstep is not that enjoyable to dance to- unless you find jumping and fist pumping for half an hour straight fun. - Faith Clause Dear Faith, We were misled. Our prom playlist actually was used, but at project prom in the LGI. I’m not sure why such terrible music was chosen for the actual prom. There were maybe two slow dance songs and the rest were really generic overplayed radio songs. Unfortunately, I have no doubt that next year’s prom will be just the same. - Leanne Haas Dear Editor, I think we need to put smartboards in all classes. Most classrooms have them and I don’t think it’s fair to the others, such as the agriculture classes. - Katrina Parks

Dear Katrina, If a teacher wants a smartboard in their classroom, they can put in a request to have one installed. That said, some classrooms just don’t have the room for a smartboard. The student media room, for instance, does not have a suitable wall for a smartboard to be placed, as the front wall is covered by cabinets. I don’t know about the ag classrooms, but it may just be that either the teacher does not want/ need a smartboard, or there is no suitable place for one to exist. - Leanne Haas Dear Editor, The only thing about the school I’d like to see changed is that we should have the option of a study hall period. - Katie Hatton Dear Katie, A study hall would be fantastic. Teachers wouldn’t complain nearly as much about their students working on other homework during their class if we had a study hall. I also think a lot more students would actually be able to enjoy their lunch if they didn’t have to use it to finish up homework. An extra 20 minutes out of the day, spread out just like lunch, would be perfect. -Leanne Haas

Eye on income inequallity Hayley Beebe In order for capitalism to work, we need some level of income inequality. However, many economists say that income inequality is a bad thing. Income inequality is at a new high, not having been this apparent since the 1920s. On one hand, economist Branko Milanovic says that inequality isn’t healthy for the society or economy. It undermines the idea of equal opportunity. “It makes some people excluded or poor and unable to actually…go to school, complete studies, and contribute to society,” Milanovic said. It hurts the broader economy by disallowing a segment of society to be as productive as possible. According to economist Thomas Piketty, inequality is likely to grow, because capitalism tends to reward the capitalists first, while the middle class gets a very small portion. Milanovic says that “the elites start dominating the political discourse and even political decision-making, and then they enforce their own privilege.” And yet, some level of income inequality is needed to make capitalism work. Wanting to be at the top provides an incentive for people to be hard workers. “If your society has a lot of inequality because a lot of your producers have done very well selling your products…that kind of inequality is not harmful in general. But if you have inequality because your poorer people don’t have enough economic opportunity…that is a big problem.” The United States did have equality once. After World War Two, much wealth was destroyed, giving a more equal ground between middle and upper classes. Employee stock ownership and profit sharing are what Harvard economist Richard Freeman recommend to close the inequality gap. Milanovic suggests large estate taxes and more equal labour taxes, while economist Tyler Cowen says we need to improve education and lower the cost of health care to gain a more equal stance.

May 2014

Teens Turn to E-cigs For an Electronic Alternative


Leanne Haas “Vaping or non-vaping?” the waitress asks as she hands you and your family menus. If this phrase sounds strange, it’s because most people are used to the old “smoking or non-smoking” question. But a certain product gaining popularity among smokers could lead to a shift that could change laws and even simple diner questions as this. There are less smokers in this age than ever before. With more advocacy for quitting smoking and education offered concerning tobacco products, smokers are looking for more options that can help them kick the habit. But there’s an alternative route that millions of smokers are now taking- and it’s not nicotine patches or gum; It’s electronic. The Cougar Claw surveyed more than 100 random students, about 10% of the student body, on the subject of smoking and their knowledge of alternatives. Of those

surveyed, 22.7% of students admitted that they smoked. Though this statistic may come to no surprise, the exact amount of students who admitted to smoking also admitted to being e-cig users. “I used to smoke a pack a day of Reds,” said one surveyed student. When asked if he or she uses e-cigs, they answered, “constantly”. E-cigarettes are less harmful than its counterpart because it does not contain tobacco or tar, but the water vapor-based electronic substitutes are addictive as they still contain nicotine- the habit-forming chemical found in all cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes are not a new concept; they have been around as early as the ‘60s. But with new attention being paid to technology and its use in the personal lives of individuals, the product has a growing

market of smokers looking to turn a new leaf. Junior Maja Cupial proudly wears her K&D Vapors jacket to school. She has worked for the business for six months, first at their Tomball location, then transferring to their Magnolia store when business expanded. Cupial firmly believes that electronic cigarettes are not only a safe alternative to smoking, but a recuperative one, adding that they contain propylene glycol, which can be found in inhalers and lung sterilizers. Along with propylene glycol, the electronic product consists of three other main ingredients: food flavoring, vegetable glycerine, and nicotine. “The only harmful thing about nicotine is it’s addicting,” Cupial said, adding that she believes nicotine can otherwise be considered harmless and can also be found in the treatment of ADHD.

Some manufacturers may not adequately disclose all the chemical ingredients in their e-cigarettes. Liquid nicotine is a neurotoxin and small amounts – whether ingested or absorbed through the skin – can be lethal.


An electronic cigarette can contain as much nicotine as a regular cigarette - or more. Some individuals, particularly those with health conditions that make them sensitive, have reported that the vapor is irritating to their eyes, noses and throats, and that it affects their breathing and makes them nauseous.

In fact, 46% of the students surveyed view electronic cigarettes as a safe alternative. And while they are not yet FDA-regulated, the store Cupial works at has an 18 and older policy, as do most stores currently. Tomball’s K&D Vapors owner David Borella claims the e-cig is a convenient alternative. “Instead of using a patch or a pill, the e cig is going to give them (smokers) actual hand to mouth movement instead of idle hands,” Borella said. There is still little known about the effects of the non-FDA regulated substitute. Though the

by-product vapors that e-cigarettes produce are nowhere near as harmful as traditional cigarette smoke, no studies have been done on the lasting effects of nicotine or second-hand vapor. Victims of secondhand vapors, which contains nicotine, have reported feelings of nausea and irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat. Though there’s a chance young people may be affected by secondhand vapors, the real risk lies in direct inhalation, and not for reasons one may think. According to, a study

So how would you describe an e-cig? An electric cig that is just water vapor, with different flavors. - Regular smoker who does not use e-cigs

A ‘harmless’ version of cigarettes, but really, much more harmful than it looks. - Non-smoker

done in South Korea has proven that teens who ‘vape’ electronic cigarettes are likely to become even more addicted to tobacco products. If a young person were to quit ‘vaping’, they are more likely to go back to smoking regularly, and even more than before. “You’re trading one addiction for another addiction,” said Dr. Cheryl Healton, president and CEO of the anti-tobacco Legacy Foundation in an interview with NBC. Currently, there are no laws prohibiting teens from smoking e-cigarettes, though one must be 18 or older to purchase the product itself. The potential of electronic cigarettes is not all negative, however. In fact, they have been proven to work as well as nicotine patches, and may be a better choice for those who do not respond well to other alternatives. In studies done on adults, e-cig users received a slightly larger percentage of quitters in comparison to nicotine patch users. Electronic cigarettes have potential to be a key component in the continuing decline in smoking in the US. Though smokers should be advised to take caution with such an unregulated product, the wider range of options for hopeful quitters the electronic product brings is one that cannot be ignored. Borella said that “there should be, and will be,” age regulations on electronic cigarettes. With the spotlight on this popularity-gaining product, more regulations are expected to take place- laws which could either prevent or allow public and private use of electronic cigarettes, along with stricter age regulations. A society of ‘vapors’ is not far off, and in a few years, you yourself may be making the decision at a local restaurant in town: “Vaping or non-vaping?”

Survey responses from THS students

A safe way to smoke. - Non-smoker

In the end, it’s just vapor, and only the smoker gets the nicotine. - E-cig user

May 2014

Sexes still view rape very differently


Some boys see exceptions to ‘no means no’ “If we already despise rapists, why are they so rarely held accountable in any way? What we really despise is the idea of rapists: a terrifying monster lurking in the bushes, waiting to pounce on an innocent girl as she walks by. But actual rapists, men who are usually known to (and often loved by) their victims? Men who are sometimes our sports heroes, political leaders, buddies, boyfriends and fathers? Evidence suggests we don’t despise them nearly as much as we should.” - Jaclyn Friedman, author of Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power Artwork by Angela Piehl

Micaela LaPeer



he asked for it”, “Boys will be boys”, “It’s not rape if you liked it.” Sadly, we’ve all heard one (or all) of these at some point in our lives. How could being a “boy” excuse them from the crime they committed? How could the clothes the girl was wearing or the state of

mind she was in give that boy the right to do as he pleases with her body? The idea that rape victims are promiscuous girls in short skirts is a vision widely accepted, although studies done by Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN) show that really anyone (male or female) are possible victims of this crime. We asked Tomball High School students to answer a poll that asked a series of ques-

tions all beginning with: “Is it all right if a male holds a female down and physically forces her to have sex if…” Out of more than 100 students surveyed, a significantly larger portion of male students in comparison to female students answered yes to every related question. When asked if it is acceptable to take advantage of a woman if they get someone sexually excited, 28 percent of male stu-

dents surveyed answered “yes”, as opposed to 9 percent of female students. Another 24 percent of male students answered “yes” if the woman has led him on. And while none of female students surveyed answered “yes” to multiple questions, there was an alarming recurring 12 percent of male students who answered “yes” to every question. The fact is, there should be no “if ” situations. The right answer is always “no”. There is never a good reason to take advantage of someone. When someone says to utilize the “buddy system,” it usually gets a laugh or two, but it’s true that if you’re with another person, your chances of becoming a rape victim is considerably lower. Even scarier than the 9 percent chance of being attacked by a complete stranger is the fact that more than 50 percent of rapes are at or within one mile of the victim’s home (where people are supposed to feel the safest) and committed by someone they know. Thirty-eight percent of rapes are committed by a friend or acquaintance, 28 percent are committed by an intimate person, and seven percent are committed by relatives. Instead of being a supportive figure for rape victims, college administrators have pushed the issue under the rug to preserve their reputations. Federal investigators are checking whether 55 colleges and universities illegally handled sexual violence and harassment complaints, the U.S. Department of Education said Thursday, May first. Two Texas universities, Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas-Pan American, are on this list. More than 25 percent of rape victims are between the ages of 18 and 25 but less than five percent of attempted and completed rapes are reported to local authorities. This is way below the general population where about 40 percent of sexual attacks are reported. And 42 percent of rape victims never tell anyone about the crime. Forty-one percent of college rape victims were virgins at the time. There’s nothing “rude” about denying an advance because every person (guy or girl) has the right to say no. “She didn’t say yes, but she didn’t say no either” is still considered rape. And a person incapable of saying no - due to drugs, alcohol or physical impairment - is also incapable of saying yes. Every year there are 237,868 rape victims, not including child molestation. That means a sexual assault happens every two minutes.

What is Rape Culture?

Texas History In 1990, Clayton Williams held a double-digit lead in the race for governor against Ann Richards. His political future ended around a campfire on his ranch, as he joked to reporters, “Rape is like the weather. If you can’t do anything about it, just lay back and enjoy it.” Rape victims are not only victims of the act itself, but are three times more likely to suffer from depression, six times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, and four times more likely to contemplate suicide. When we stop telling girls that it’s their fault for being raped through the media, rape jokes, “distracting” dress codes, and ideas that if you do something for a guy, you have to put out, the rape culture we live in will diminish.

The National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (1800-656-4673) Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN): https://ohl. For more Info:

• Rape culture is when women who come forward are questioned about what they were wearing. • Rape culture is when survivors who come forward are asked, “Were you drinking?” • Rape culture is when people say, “She was asking for it.” • Rape culture is when we teach women how to not get raped, instead of teaching men not to rape. • Rape culture is when the lyrics of Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ mirror the words of actual rapists and is still the number one song in the country. • Rape culture is when the mainstream media mourns the end of the convicted Steubenville rapists’ football careers and does not mention the young girl who was victimized. • Rape culture is when cyberbullies take pictures of sexual assaults and harass their victims online after the fact, which in the cases of Audrie Pott and Rehtaeh Parsons tragically ended in their suicides. • Rape culture is when, in 31 states, rapists can legally sue for child custody if the rape results in pregnancy. • Rape culture is when college campus advisers, tasked with supporting the student body, shame survivors who report their rapes. (Annie Clark, a campus activist, says an administrator at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill told her when she reported her rape, “Well… Rape is like football, if you look back on the game, and you’re the quarterback, Annie… is there anything you would have done differently?”) • Rape culture is when colleges are more concerned with getting sued by assailants than in supporting survivors. (Or at Occidental College, where students and administrators who advocated for survivors were terrorized for speaking out against the school’s insufficient reporting procedures.)



May 2014

The Cuff Jynn Schubert

YouTube’s latest buy impacts gamers Adam Bergeron Reports are in that YouTube has confirmed the purchase of Twitch TV for over $1 billion. Many in the internet community are wondering what this means for media steaming and online video games in the long run. Could Google be pushing for a larger role in the gaming industry? Think of Twitch as YouTube for video games. Hundreds of live game feeds available with one click of the mouse. Twitch was ranked fourth in peak internet traffic with over 45 million monthly users and over 1 million active members uploading new content monthly putting it ahead of Hulu, Facebook, Steam, and Amazon but not generating enough traffic to surpass the top three which include Netflix, Google, and Apple Inc. From a business point of view this comes as an expected move

considering YouTube has come a long way since 2010 in terms of live game streaming. “YouTube is obviously no stranger to dabbling in the live streaming arena,” said Quentyn Kennemer at With the past events in thought, it seems that the Tech giants along with Facebook buying the Oculus Rift project are trying to get a bigger part in the coming advances of next generation technology. There are concerns that Facebook and the Oculus will become more of a social experience and not a gaming format that it was originally intended for. The same goes for “Google’s courtship of Twitch,” said Kyle Russell at, with the main fear of gamers today Google’s overall business model instead of focusing mainly on new exciting content that gamers want. There are still plenty of legal concerns that the Federal Court will not allow YouTube to keep

Twitch in fear of a streaming monopoly. This causes YouTube to prepare a case for US regulations to debate raising issues in the online video-market. Taken from Techchurch.comThe other big concern Twitch fans have voiced in response to the acquisition story — first reported by Variety — is that Google will force Google+ integration onto Twitch profiles as it did with YouTube. In both of the comment threads regarding the acquisition on the League of Legends section of Reddit, the vast majority of responses expressed fears of such a change, with comments like “Just seeing the + sign near Twitch is making me feel sick,” receiving hundreds of upvotes from the community. Regardless of where the merger leads for the future in tech both companies show major promise in the advancement of future gaming experiences and having an army of investors backing your every move helps too.

When buying new products in today’s world, there are certain things we’ve come to expect. Intelligent, good looking, and safe to name a few. But what if you could have all three? Meet the Cuff: “Smart, elegant security” that comes out fall of 2014. With an ever-expanding line of jewelry, the Cuff is expected to fit every style, with the comfort of knowing you’re never alone in a rough spot. So what exactly is it? The Cuff is an interchangeable piece of technology that is made to fit secretly inside of any Cuff designed accessory. Once hooked up to your smart phone via the Cuff Network App, you can assign your preferred contacts. Now let’s say you go for a jog in the evening before bed. You’re alone, and suddenly somebody steps out of the shadows. You feel uneasy- something bad is about to happen. Simply press your cuff. An alert will be sent to everybody in your designated contact list, informing them of your location, and that you need help. If anybody on your list also owns a cuff, theirs will vibrate, letting them know to check their phone because something’s wrong. For seniors about to go off on their own, or anybody who would like the extra safety, you can pre-order your cuff now at: source=AdWords&utm_medium=CPC

Check out the new Tech Page at

The Holodeck v1.0

Jynn Schubert

What is this interesting contraption? Simple. Meet the Holodeck v1.0, the future in Virtual Reality. Estimated to cost approximately $999 at release, the Holodeck is the glorious combination of technology from the long awaited Oculus Rift, Virtuix, and Virtual World Web. Virtuix’s Omni Treadmill and software from VWW combine to create the perfect set-up for a fully immersive Virtual Reality experience, don your soon to be released Oculus Rift and escape into a different world right in your living room. Although the release date and price have yet to be officially announced, the creators of the Holodeck have promised the inclusion of the finished, retail-ready Oculus Rift. With Brian Shuster, CEO at VWW assuring interviewers that the product will launch at $999 summer of 2014, it doesn’t take much to subtract the Omni Treadmill’s $499 to realize that the OR will be estimated to cost $499 or less. Although the OR is still the heaviest awaited VR product, the upcoming “Virtual Reality War will be great for the industry,” said Forbes magazine’s latest web article on the trend. “Sony debuted their long-awaited VR headset at GDC last night tentatively called ‘Project Morpheus’. The device instantly gives credence to the not-even-out-yet Oculus Rift, and shows that Sony is forward thinking enough to realize that despite the fact that commercially available VR doesn’t exist yet, it will soon, and it could change the entire industry.”

Gadgets and Gizmos: The Oculus Rift

Leaked Photo of the Holodeck

Facebook Breaks Out the Checkbook Adam Bergeron By now you must have heard about facebook Inc. acquiring the Oculus Rift, a 3-D video gaming headset, which is receiving quite a few bad responses from the internet community. Markus “Notch” Persson, the creator of Minecraft, tweeted “We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out”. He then goes on to say he doesn’t want to work on social experiences which @KHAILANONYMOUS from Machinima responded “spoken like a true gamer”. As of March 20th 2014 over 9000 people had already donated to the Oculus kick starter program to help give the developers more funds for the project. Benefactors are feeling cheated out of their

money as @Seedrs tweeted- “We estimate that if you’d put $300 into Oculus Rift through equity crowd funding you could have made a return of $20,000.” Donor Michael Cooper said “What in the hell was the point of kickstarter if you sell out to a giant company like facebook? This is very disappointing. I will no longer be supporting the Oculus Rift in anyway.” Gamers on Reddit are commenting that they are upset that the Oculus Rift will now shift to a social experience instead of being a gaming experience as it was originally intended, as facebook CEO Kaz Hirai said “With Facebook’s Oculus Rift, you will get to experience what it’s like to be in a room of targeted ads based on your Facebook Profile.” As of now the future for 3-D virtual video

gaming is unclear, leaving gamers to only hope that larger gaming companies like Microsoft or Sony will produce a virtual experience for the next gen consoles following Xbox one and PS4.

May 2013


Local Book: Wrangle

Jynn Schubert

Author Jonnie Martin recently wrote and published her first book, a western called “Wrangle”. Set in the Tomball/Hempstead area in the 70’s, Wrangle is centered around dirt-track horse racing in Texas. Throw in some family, loyalty, and the sometimes danger filled world of Martin’s imagination, and you should be in for a good read. Martin grew up around her uncle’s Rio Ranch in Hempstead, and still visits family in the area, thus her inspiration for the novel. Check out her weekly blog ( for more details, and her weekly writings in the News Citizen. Her book is available on Amazon for $7.58.

Leanne Haas

If you’re a young adult who has ever picked up a book, you have more likely than not heard of John Green. His young adult novels, seemingly specifically designed to make people cry, can be found in every Barnes and Noble bookshelf in America. Now one of his most popular novels, The Fault in Our Stars, is coming to the big screen June 6th. But the much-anticipated movie seems to be another shallow money-making machine. As if the sad storyline of terminally ill teenagers in love isn’t enough to make teenagers steal their mother’s purses for ticket money, Hollywood has also decided to recycle the same actors from Divergent. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort

played brother and sister in the bookturned-movie goldmine that is the Divergent series. Let’s take a second to realize that the same actors who were cast as brother and sister in a pretty recent film are also cast as lovers in The Fault in Our Stars. It’s getting ridiculous. As addicting as John Green books are, it makes one wonder if his books are as shallow as the movie trailers present it to be. Is there more to the story than a couple of cancer patient kids and an incredibly unrealistic plot? Perhaps the movie will surprise us, and turn out to be more than just another cutesy film to attract preteens. Or perhaps not.

Ten Tracks to have on your Ipod:

App Review: Geometry Dash Fun is not really the first word that comes to mind upon hearing this app’s name, but Geometry Dash is far from boring. Robert Topala has definitely come up with a masterpiece with this rhythm-based platformer. Be sure you have a good pair of headphones before playing! Sound quality is important here. With smooth controls, fluid graphics, and a jump that will warm the heart of any platform gamer, this little square is bound to lure you into addiction.

Jynn Schubert

The goal is to complete all 7 levels, each with its own song and difficulty, from start to finish, earning a 100%. While 7 levels don’t sound like a lot, the difficulty and length make the game feel endless. There are 25 achievements to unlock, so even if you should beat the game, there are plenty of reasons to keep on jumping. The full version is available for $1.99, and the lite version is free. You can find both in the App Store as a universal download.

Festival Fever PAGE 12

The Fault in Our Stars: A shallow adaptation

Free Press Summer Fest:

May 31-June 1 Eleanor Tinsley Park, Houston

Warped Tour: June 14-August 3 Throughout North America

Austin City Limits: October 3-5 and 10-12 Austin

Bonnaroo: June 12-15 Manchester, TN

Lollapalooza: August 1-3 Chicago

Voodoo Music Experience: November TBA New Orleans

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Magic by Coldplay Fall in Love by Phantogram Girls Just Want to Have Fun by STRFKR You – Ha Ha Ha by Charli XCX I Can’t See Why by Wampire You’re Not Good Enough by Blood Orange Heart Skipped a Beat by The XX My Girls by Animal Collective Fall Creek Boys Choir by James Blake The Reeling by Passion Pit

Challenge Day a triumph Dozens of THS students volunteered or participated in the annual Challenge Day event. The event is held each year across the street at the junior high, and is always a huge success.

May 2014


Homecoming schedule of events

Homecoming 2015

Monday, Sept. 8 Homecoming Week begins Dress-up days all week Themes will be announced the week before to help you plan your outfits. Wednesday, Sept. 10 Homecoming Parade & Pep Rally 6:30-7:45 p.m. Main Street in Tomball, ending with a pep rally at the Historic Train Depot Homecoming Court announced at pep rally Friday, Sept. 12 Homecoming Game Tomball vs. Mayde Creek Tomball ISD Stadium 7 p.m. kickoff Homecoming Queen crowned at halftime

Saturday, Sept. 13 Homecoming Dance “Denim and Diamonds” THS, 8-11 p.m.

Last year’s dance was a more formal affair. This year, the dance will have a very Texas flavor with a “Denim and Diamonds” concept.

It’s coming sooner than you think Leandra Carty Next fall, homecoming will be held on September 12th, instead of mid to late October. It will be the third football game of the season. With it being so close to the start of school, dress shopping, date finding, and mum making will be rushed and hard to do in such a short amount of time. But there is one upside to homecoming being so close to the beginning of the year. “It gets people excited about starting school,” Brook Stegman said.

Having homecoming at the beginning of school might be an upside but it gives everyone less time to prepare and get organized for the dance and the game. “You don’t have time to plan rides, dinner, etc. I look forward to homecoming at the end of October,” Demetrious May said, “I’m not going to be able to go because I play football.” Because of the early date, planning is already well underway. The concept for the homecoming dance is “Denim and Diamonds.” “I’m probably going to home-

coming,” said Andrew Wolf, who added, “It’s rather traditional, down to your roots.” Numerous groups participate in the annual parade down Main Street, and groups such as Charms and Band are already having to consider their halftime show. It also means that you’ll have a lot less time to figure out a creative way to ask someone to homecoming. “It might be hard to get a date in a short amount of time,” Stegman said. “In the beginning of the year you are still getting to know people.”

Quest for repeat stalls Baseball ends as bi-district champs Leandra Carty The varsity baseball season came to a close in the area round, much earlier than the team had hoped. The Cougars won the first game Friday night 7-2 but lost the first game Saturday 6-5, and then were leading 3-2 in the bottom of the 7th with one out when the Santa Fe 9-hole hitter hit a two-run homerun to end the season for the Cougars. “It was a brutal ending, we did the best we could but fell short,” Casey Smith said. The team is graduating nine

seniors and has 13 returning varsity players. There is also a strong group moving up to varsity next year. “There’s good returning leaders for next year, and I’m looking forward to going and playing college ball now,” Braeden Holub said. It was a great season for Tomball varsity baseball, which finished 26-6 and advanced deep into the playoffs in what many were expecting to be a rebuilding year. While the players were not able to repeat as state champions, they still finished as district and bi-district champs.

While the team failed to retain its state crown, the baseball team still finished the season 26-6 and won the district and bi-district titles.

World Cup 2014 ready to kick off Maria Ramirez FIFA World Cup 2014 is getting close and Brazil, the host country, is making all the finishing touches on their stadiums, hotels, and especially on their security and safety procedures to make this a good World Cup to remember. Pressure is on, and practice is required. All thirty two teams qualified are preparing for the tough competition ahead, along with their millions of fans all around the world. The U.S. was placed into group G, and will face hard opponents; Ghana, Germany, and Portugal. In total there will be 64 games

which will be played in twelve different beautiful cities of the host country Brazil; these cities include Brasilia, Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, and Rio de Janeiro; where the final will be played on July 13 at the very well-known Estadio do Maracana, in hopes of winning the desired World Cup. The FIFA World Cup 2014 will kick off on June 12, about a week after the school year is over. The first game will be played at Sao Paulo where the host, Brazil, will face Croatia. Be sure to check us out online at to get the full schedule of all games for the FIFA World Cup 2014 and updates.

SAFE SWIMMING SAVES LIVES WORK FOR US The D. Bradley McWilliams YMCA at Cypress Creek is currently hiring lifeguards and swim instructors. Benefits:  Competitive wages  Paid certification courses  FREE YMCA membership  Part time insurance available  Fun and positive work environment For more information email Austin at or visit the Y to fill out an application. D. BRADLEY MCWILLIAMS YMCA AT CYPRESS CREEK

19915 SH 249, Houston, TX 77070


May 2014


Percussion Ensemble

Wins State Championship As Class A was called, sharp breaths were drawn and fingers crossed. The announcer introduced the five schools competing for the gold, the ultimate honor… State Champions. On the court stood 15 Cougars quivering in their boots (well, marching shoes.) “And in fifth place: Tom-“ Shoulders slumped, hopes dropped, spirits were crushed, and then, “-pkins High School Percussion.” A moment passed before the group realized their mistake. They were still in! “I just remember thinking to myself ‘Wow, we can still get a medal!’” Said percussion Lieutenant Jackie Whitis. “When we won first… There were tears everywhere.” This month marked the end of a new adventure for percussion students from both Tomball Junior High and Tomball High School. The 15 members of the Tomball Winter Percussion Ensemble competed in the Texas Color Guard Circuit’s State Championships for their first year, under the direction of their new percussion director Rob Sullens. Parents and students alike gathered at the High School at 5:30 that morning to begin the trip to Reed Arena in College Station where they would be the second performance at 10:09. Thanks to amazing parent help, they were able to unload equipment, warm up, and transition to the staging area smoothly before finally moving out to the floor to compete “For those who have not been in Reed Arena let me just say this is the closest thing to going to World Championships in Dayton, Ohio.” Said Percussion Director Rob Sullens. “The level of intimidation of the facility alone has made groups crumble no matter

Jynn Schubert

Percussion Ensemble accepting their medals and banner on stage at the TCGC State Chamionships.

how well prepared.” Although the odds seemed to be against the young ensemble, they still managed to pull together for the gold and the State Champion title. With an average age of 13.8 and a total of seven 8th graders from the Junior High, they were dwarfed by the towering seniors and overflowing drum lines of the returning competitors. “We have a very young but talented group of performers,” Sullens said. “We had done everything we could as a staff to ready them for this moment. As a [music] teacher, you can only hope that your students are prepared enough to have a performance in their lives that they will always remember and no one can take away. They were that ready, and they did have that performance.” And on April 5 at 10:09 a.m., as 15 exhausted and ecstatic percussionists took the stage, everybody watching could feel it- this was it. Their best run

of the season. Elated by the results of countless hours of rigorous practice, they knew it was great. “It all happened in 6 minutes and 30 seconds. Setup, play, tear down… and then we waited.” Wait, they would. It would be over 10 hours before they’d take the field again in the Full Retreat Ceremony. They stood, 1 out of 46 ensembles, as tensions rose and excitement faded to nervousness, until being named class A State Champions. “Most importantly [we thank] the students. The people who brought the music program to life, spent endless hours refining their skills beyond what they thought they were capable, and trusting their staff to lead them forward,” Sullens said. “I am honored to be a part of this program, these families’ lives, these schools, and this district. We are THE Pride of Texas....and this is just the beginning. I can’t thank everyone enough for a great first year.”

Ths cougar claw issue 4