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this issue THE QUESTION 3

the magazine


school people sports culture opinion photography

What is your


Humans of Atascocita Meet the people who share the classrooms and the hallways of AHS p. 8-9

Empty Seats, Lost Credit AHS program helps students catch up on credits p. 12

Contents talon the magazine

EDITORIAL Talon Newspaper Publications


Voices: Act now, change the world Commentary: A weekend in poverty carries lessons for living a life of purpose

Atascocita High School 13300 Will Clayton Parkway Humble, TX 77346 Room 1717




Behind the scenes: Living with diabetes What is it like to be a teenager coping with a chronic illness? Three AHS students share their stories.

Megan Jenkins Margot TiscareĂąo Lindsey Wills


People: Humans of Atascocita


You see them every day, pass them in class and on Main Street. But just who are the humans of AHS?

Ciel Cavazos Nathan Dunbar Janice Frausto


Alexis VanBaarle

ADVISER Monica Rhor

Survival Guide: School choice Choosing the right college can be tough. Here are some tips to help you make the right decisions.

ADVERTISING Phone:: 281-641-7646 Email:


In depth: Empty seats, lost credit


The number of students requiring seat time to make up for absences is increasing on campus. How exactly does that work?

All material appearing in Talon: The Magazine is copyright unless otherwise stated or it may rest with the provider of the supplied material. Talon: The Magazine takes all care to ensure information is correct at time of printing, but the publisher accepts no responsibility or liability for the accuracy of any information contained in


Rising stars Varsity softball player Shelby McGlaun shines on the diamond. Matt Cobb and Zolo Sindhu pursue their dreams of musical stardom.

the text or advertisements. Views expressed are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher or editor.


Business Magazine 20XX Talon: The MagazineMonth • Spring 2014

Q: What is your purpose in life?


Atascocita High School seniors ponder the future

“You search your whole life to define your purpose.” - Jordan Anholt

“All I know about finding purpose is that your purpose is to search for it.

-Jesse Jenkins

“I feel like I haven’t found the purpose of my life. I’m only 17 and I’m still trying to go through the motions of finding myself. In the future, I know my purpose will change depending on my situation and where I am.

-Amber Newman

Spring Month 2014 20XX • Talon: Business The Magazine Magazine




Opinion: Act now, change the world

By Lindsey Wills Talon Staff Writer


or one weekend in January, I was homeless. I went into the weekend knowing that. I thought I had prepared myself enough emotionally. But I hadn’t. I wasn’t prepared to sleep outside in the bitter cold with only my sleeping bag and pillow. I wasn’t prepared to wear the same hand-me-down clothes all weekend. I wasn’t prepared not to brush my teeth for two days. My weekend in poverty — as part of the Social Action class’s poverty simulation — made me realize I have a responsibility to take action for others in our community, such as the 9-year-old boy living on the streets, the single mom struggling to support her three children and the 12-year-old girl forced into sexual slavery. 4

Talon: The Magazine • Spring 2014

So do other teenagers. An estimated 6,359 people go without a home on any given night in the Houston area, according to a 2013 study by the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston. The number has decreased by 27 percent since

to give others as much as he could. When I was freezing, he took off the gloves he wore and gave them to me. Joe P. and others like him might not have to live on the streets if people in our community took action. Students, this means us. We don’t have to go out and save the world. We just have to start making a We just have to start difference. By simply keeping extra socks and making a difference. blankets in your car to give to people on the streets in the winter, you are making a difference. By giving out 2011. water and bandanas in the summer, The homeless are people like Joe P., a you are making a difference. By man I met on the poverty simulation. volunteering at places like Family Joe P. has been addicted to drugs for Promise of Lake Houston, which most of his life and as a result ended helps homeless families, you are up on the streets. Even though he making a difference. had virtually nothing, Joe P. still tried Another serious issue plaguing our

VOICES community is human trafficking. According to the Department of Homeland Security, “human trafficking is a modern day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain.” Approximately 14,500 to 17,500 people are forced into human trafficking a year, and the average age for a girl who is sex-trafficked is 12, according to the A21 campaign. Once a girl is trafficked, her life expectancy is six to seven years. If you think you don’t have to do anything about this because it’s not happening around you, you’re wrong. Houston has become a hub for human trafficking, according to Arrow Child and Family Ministries. In the last few years in Houston alone, there have been cases such as the one of the 17-year-old girl sold by a human trafficking gang and raped on a mattress behind a bar. And the one of the 16-year-old who was smuggled across the Texas-Louisiana border and forced into prostitution. Those are just a few of countless stories. These statistics and stories are stomach-turning. It’s time to raise awareness and get rid of human trafficking. One way is by being more conscious consumers. Look at the Department of Labor’s “List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor,” and stop purchasing goods that rely on child or forced labor. But we shouldn’t stop there. Sign a petition to end human trafficking. Write a research paper about human trafficking, write to the editor of the local paper, host an awareness event. Learn the signs that point to human trafficking and look for them around you. We don’t have to do something huge. We just have to do something.

(Opposite page) Junior Lindsey Wills helps children in Waco during poverty simulation. (Above) Senior Jonathan Burton and other Social Action students spend a weekend living in the shoes of the homeless. (Below) Senior Julia Bennett and Kingwood High School students attend “Church Under the Bridge,” a service for the homeless. (Photos by Monica Rhor)

Spring Month 2014 20XX • Talon: Business The Magazine Magazine




It’s always there: Living with diabetes

Story and photos by Lindsey Wills Talon Staff Writer


ichael Sodano never felt normal. He was always thirsty and constantly had to go to the bathroom. His mother became so worried that she took him to the emergency room at Texas Children’s Hospital, where the doctors told 8-year-old Michael that he had diabetes. At the time, it did not mean much to Michael. But now eight years later, diabetes is his life. According to the school nurse, Michael is one of 20 students at Atascocita High School diagnosed with diabetes, a disease that results in the body failing to produce the hormone needed to process sugar. In addition to the everyday struggles of being a teenager, most students with diabetes must also prick their finger several times a day, manage their insulin intake, limit their diet and deal with unwanted stares and curiosity. “My diabetes is always there,” said Michael, who is now a junior. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the 6

Business Talon: TheMagazine MagazineMonth • Spring20XX 2014

pancreas doesn’t produce insulin. In Type 2 diabetes, the body does not accept the insulin produced. Insulin is necessary to metabolize sugar into energy for daily life, according to the American Diabetes Association. Michael has been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes since second grade and prefers the omnipod, which delivers insulin straight to his body through a little pump that he can put on his arm, stomach or leg. The omnipod allows Michael to do more without having to worry about the tubing of other pumps or giving himself multiple shots a day. Junior Christine Mompoint has been living with Type 1 Diabetes since she was 18 months old. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t have it. To control her diabetes, Christine uses a flex pen, which looks like a pen on the outside but is full of insulin. She has to give herself six to eight shots a day with the pen to keep the right amount of insulin in her body.

All the shots can get frustrating when Christine is out and hanging out with friends, but she has to keep up with them to stay healthy. Junior Rotimi Johnson was diagnosed with maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY), a rare form of Type 2 diabetes, in seventh grade. To control his diabetes, Rotimi has to take several insulin shots a day, maintain a strict diet and stay in shape. Michael, Christine, and Rotimi also have to go to the nurse once a day, five minutes before lunch, to check their blood sugar. If it is too high or too low, they must have a snack to keep their blood sugar in the right range. Some teenagers with diabetes may not be able to do things that others can. Michael’s diabetes makes him more hesitant to go out with friends and do things like go to amusement parks, because he always has to worry about blood sugar levels and having enough snacks.


“When you have diabetes, and you don’t take care of yourself, it only hurts you.

“My diabetes is always there.

It can also be hard for students with diabetes to find a balance between school and their illness, because diabetes is often demanding of their time and energy. Every three months, Michael has to go to Texas Children’s Hospital for a diabetes check-up. This takes time out of his day at school and causes him to rely on make-up work and potentially fall behind. Rotimi’s diabetes has affected his memory to the point where he can’t remember anything unless he writes it down. This can be hard for him at school because he must take much more thorough notes than other students in order to learn. Christine has had to drop many of her Advanced Placement classes because she tires easily and doesn’t have the energy for the demanding courses. She did not get credit for Algebra II in her sophomore year because she accumulated so many absences in the nurse as a result of her diabetes.

Students with diabetes can feel as if they are under a microscope and watched more closely than their peers because of their illness. Christine says teachers sometimes assume she has low blood sugar when she is just not paying attention. “I’m a teenager. Sometimes I zone out in class,” said Christine. “It doesn’t always relate to my diabetes.” According to Rotimi, his teachers pay closer attention to him, which he thinks is a good thing. They are also more lenient about letting him go to

the bathroom and eat during class which helps with the management of his diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults, according to the National Eye Institute. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes can also cause kidney failure, amputation, heart disease and high blood pressure if untreated. “When you have diabetes, and you don’t take care of yourself, it only hurts you,” said Rotimi.

Spring 2014 • Talon: The Magazine


People Who are the Humans of Atascocita?

They’re the people you pass in the hallway, the people you sit next to on the bus. They’re your best friend and the kid whose name you don’t know. Each of them has a story worth telling and a voice worth hearing.

“We just design. Period.” -Jahi Coffer, Senior

“Listen to [metal] for a week and you’ll love it: you’ll never want to go back.” -Kie Hankins, Senior

“I want to help people. It’s in my blood.” –Makena Young, Freshman While some prefer slow country songs, snazzy pop numbers or smooth jazzy tones, Kie Hankins prefers metal. Whether he’s playing a riff on one of his five guitars, listening to In Flames or attending an Avenged Sevenfold concert, he always finds time to fuel his zeal for music. -Megan Jenkins


Business Talon: TheMagazine MagazineMonth • Spring20XX 2014

Makena Young may seem shy,

but this bright-eyed quirky girl has another side. Inspired by her mom who donates toys during Christmas to those less fortunate, and by her grandmother who donates to a children’s hospital, Makena wants to donate her life to helping people. She is one of the few who see people and thinks: I need to help this person who is sad. -Alexis VanBaarle

When Jahi Coffer isn’t breaking a sweat on the track, moving his feet in sync with his fellow Kasanovas or making a beat on the drums, he takes time to satisfy another, more relaxed, passion: designing. It began as a simple hobby, playing around with design ideas occasionally, to a project he undertook with his two cousins who also attend Atascocita High School. They began a company to sell the clothes they designed, named “Limitless.” The project then evolved into one that no longer sells clothes, but rather focuses on the design of drum-sets, instruments, and anything else that comes to mind. Although his aptitude for physically rigorous activities seem limitless, so are Jahi’s ideas for what to design next. -Megan Jenkins

PEOPLE “I just really like to be clean.” “You have to put your heart into it. If you don’t try,

-Brie Suber, Junior

you don’t win.” -Taylor Loya, Junior

“It was the saddest day of my life.” -Isabel Baez, Sophomore Isabel Baez’s most prized possessions are her father’s dog tags. They are silver and engraved with her father’s name and rank. Isabel was 8 when her father, Cesar, who had been in the Marines Corps for four years and in the U.S. Navy for nine, was killed in action in Iraq. His death forced her to grow up fast, she says. But she cherishes her memories of him, especially the memory of their morning ritual. Every morning, Isabel used to grab a candy bar from a stash her father kept in a special refrigerator. Now, every day, she wears the dog tags close to her heart. -Morgan Aranda

Taylor Loya loves football. He

thinks, lives and breathes football. Even when he’s not playing, football is still on his mind. He wonders how he can get better, play harder and help his team. He trains his body mentally and physically. Even in pain, he pushes himself, pouring his heart into the game. He hopes one day to be drafted in the NFL. But he worries that an injury will end his career and that, no matter what he does, he will never come back from it. -Nathan Dunbar

Junior Brie Suber is very much a clean freak. Ever since around eighth grade, she just had to be sanitary. She runs the water bill through the roof with her two-hour showers. She doesn’t even like to be touched by people. There are just so many unknown germs to come in contact with. But, when needed, she will use the public bathroom. -Ciel Cavazos

Want to read more about the Humans of Atascocita? Just go online to New humans will be featured every week.

Spring 2014 • Talon: The Magazine


Survival GUIDE

School choice

in downstairs Blue House, provides information on which college carries which majors, as well as their specializations. The College Board is also a valuable resource when looking for colleges’ specific programs and majors, according to vocational adjustment coordinator and transition specialist Holli Sadler. “Chances are you’re going to be living on campus and going there for at least four years,” senior Louis Yarbough and future Sam Houston student said. “You want to be comfortable with where you are.”



By Megan Jenkins Talon Staff Writer

uiggina Boiano began thinking about college in her sophomore year. But by the end of her junior year, she was still conflicted. Growing up in a close-knit family, she had to decide either to follow in her parents’ footsteps and pursue engineering or veer off on her own and become a businesswoman. A solution to her internal debate finally came to her in slacks and a blazer. Her solution’s name was Vanessa Salinas, a then-sophomore at the University of Houston. One day after school, Salinas stood before members of the Divinities, who were gathered in Atascocita High School’s Red LGI, and shared her experience with the UH business program. For Luiggina, it was a defining moment. “She really impacted me, it was just a wow moment. I wanted to do what she was doing,” Luiggina said. “It just kind of cleared my path for me, and I’ve been thinking of UH ever since.” As high school nears its end and


Talon: The Magazine • Spring 2014

graduation creeps up on the horizon, many seniors are grappling with their own college decisions, seeking a defining moment much like Luiggina’s. “It’s a really tough process and almost impossible to do by yourself,” senior Travis Wetzel said. Deciding how to spend post-high school life may prove a daunting task for some, so here are a few factors to consider.


Once a student has already settled on a major, the next step is finding a university with the best program or specialization in that area of study. “A lot of people choose schools based on their favorites, but realistically each school has their specialties,” said University of Houston alumna and Algebra III teacher Shamber Stapley, who noted that the school “doesn’t necessarily have to be the best for your major, but you do want something that’s strong in that particular aspect.” The college resource center, located

Another factor to consider is how the location will influence college life, and the distance from home. From big city to small town, urban to rural, two hours to 10 hours from home, distance and location play a big role. “I needed to be close to family. At least for the first few years,” Travis said. “So when I got an acceptance letter to SFA, it was a huge relief. I knew what I could do there and I wasn’t too far from my sister and grandma.” Colleges in a rural setting offer a closer community and sense of unity, as well as more opportunities for outdoor activities. Rural areas typically feature a more varied, picturesque landscape. However, rural areas can lack immediate access to entertainment. Room and board costs for colleges in rural areas also tend to run at lower prices. For instance, Stephen F. Austin, located in Nacadogches, has a room and board price of $8,609, while the University of Houston runs about $10,600 for room and board. Urban areas give many social and cultural opportunities to their students and may also offer greater job and internship opportunities. In addition, there are advantages


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participate in a work-study program (a program in which a student takes an on-campus job) or apply for a loan, there are a number of options to be taken into account when paying for college. Another option to save money is to enroll in a community or junior college for two years to cover basic, transferable credits before transferring to one’s university of choice. Students should also consider scholarships and financial aid. Some scholarships are specific to schools and majors, such as the Buick Achievers Scholarship Program, which focuses on students in the auto industry. More scholarships may be found on the Atascocita High School website under the “Quick Links� tab.


and disadvantages to small versus large colleges. Small colleges have the advantage of a low student-to-teacher ratio, giving students a better chance of working with professors one-on-one. Some of the disadvantages of a small school include limited majors, fewer physical resources, and smaller (or lack of) research facilities. While a larger college may include a wide range of majors, courses and student activities, students do risk feeling overwhelmed by large classes and a large student population.


A critical factor to consider is whether or not your future school will land you in a lifetime of debt.

“It ranks up there with are you going to apply to scholarships, grants, and what you’re capable of doing.� Sadler said. Depending on whether a student plans to draw from savings,

Spring 2014 • Talon: The Magazine



Empty seats, lost credit By Megan Jenkins Talon Staff Writer

In the fall of her senior year,

According to the 90 percent rule, Christine Intriago racked up more students can miss a certain number of days each semester before than eight absences, introducing credit for their classes is lost. The her to “seat time,” an Atascocita number of days for first semester is High School program that gives students a chance to reclaim credit eight, and the number for second semester is ten. lost through excessive absences. When these amounts are Christine, who juggled school surpassed, seat time comes into the with a job making pizzas at Little picture. If students fail to complete Caesar’s, was given a choice. She it, credit will be lost for each class could make up the lost class time in which the number of absences by going to a D-hall or Thursday exceeds the limit. class or she could write an essay. In the fall semester, 72 students She chose to write. lost course credit because of The essay, worth six hours, excessive absences, associate completely absolved her of the principal Terry Perkins said. three hours she owed. “Seat time is designed to curb Under the Texas Education the student’s behavior beforehand,” code, students must be present Perkins said. “It’s a deterrent to a 90 percent of the time to receive student because they will be held credit for their classes. 12 12

Business Talon: TheMagazine MagazineMonth • Spring 20XX 2014

accountable for missing school.” The assistant principals of each house are responsible for taking into count the number of students who obtain seat time. Last semester, 319 out of the school’s 3,100 students had to complete seat time, Perkins said. Established in the district two years ago, the plan allows its parameters to be set by each school principal. The plan was already in place when Bill Daniels arrived at the district, but he made the plan more “specific to the campus” by adding in the extra options to make retrieving credit easy for all students. The plan allows students to make up seat time in a variety of ways: attending tutorials, going

IN DEPTH to D-halls or Thursday classes, staying after for school events, writing essays or riding a fan bus to one of the games. Each activity covers a different amount of hours and each hour is placed in the class with the highest grade. Seat time “offers positive support groups. If we can get you in a positive program that may increase attendance, we want to offer that,” White House principal Will Falker said. “The plan we use makes it very attainable for the student to get credit.” Leo Tarangona, who was faced with seat time in his sophomore year, also feels the plan’s flexibility is beneficial. “I don’t agree with a lot of things at the school, but I agree with this,” Leo said. “You have options. I like how they do tutoring. If you have too many absences, you can receive credit if you’re passing the class already.” According to Daniels, seat time also provides proof of how students made up credit to the Texas Education Agency or any other organizations requesting legal documentation. The legal need for seat time has its origins in state funding. According to AHS attendance specialist Janell Dunbar, the Humble ISD District gets a large portion of its money from the state, which relies on attendance. The familiar ding-ding-ding of the ADA (average daily attendance) bell is more than just a variation of the passing period bell. This bell reminds teachers to take their attendance accurately so the district gets all the funding it should. “Overall, attendance here is decent,” Daniels said. “ It’s not outstanding, but it’s not poor.”

Although Falker and Daniels report no prominent spike in the amount of seat times in a certain school year, they agree that the freshman and senior classes tend to have slightly more students who acquire seat time. “We do think [seat time] is important, because in a job or college course, not showing up means you can be fired or dropped without notification,” Daniels said. “This does try to prepare students for the next step.”

By the numbers 3,100

Number of students enrolled in AHS


Students who lost credit because of absences


Students who had to serve seat time

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13 13



Rising Stars

Field of dreams By Janice Frausto Special to The Talon

Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. Eagles jersey with lucky number 34 “Two of my biggest goals in life are on the back, French-braids her blonde to make the USA national softball hair, ties on a white bedazzled bow team and to marry Bryce Harper,” said and applies eye black underneath her Shelby, who committed to playing light eyes. Meet the most intimidating varsity softball player at Atascocita High “Never give anything less School. The sophomore centerfielder, who than your best.” has had a passion for softball ever since she was a little girl of 5, believes -Shelby McGlaun that the name on the front of her jersey is more important than the softball at Baylor University as a name on the back. freshman. As a superstitious athlete, Shelby The AHS softball team’s ambition has certain rituals she must follow for this year is to become state champion. every game. “Every softball player should know In 2013, Atascocita defeated its biggest rival, Kingwood High School, for the never to step on the white-chalked first time with a score of 7-3. foul lines on the field,” said Shelby. Last year, Shelby was one of five “It’s bad luck.” freshman girls hungry to be on Shelby also wears number 34 the varsity team. They trained and proudly on her back in honor of her favorite Major League Baseball player: trained and finally accomplished

Shelby McGlaun puts on her


Business 14 Talon: Magazine The Magazine Month 20XX • Spring 2014

their goal. Shelby, along with her best friends Madison Emswiler, Kaitlyn Washington, Kandace Johnson, and Jamaya Miller, made the varsity softball team. “Never give anything less than your best,” said Shelby. As she readies for a turn at bat, Shelby tightens her batting gloves, slips on her helmet and runs out to the batter’s box. She taps home plate once in the front and again in the back with her blue Xeno bat, then takes a quick strong swing and sets up her batting stance, waiting for that “perfect pitch.” First pitch goes by, it’s a ball. Next pitch goes by, it’s a strike. She asks why she didn’t swing. The next pitch is the “perfect pitch.” The ball hits the bat faster than lightning, and into the air it goes. The ball soars out of the park, and before anyone can notice, Shelby has rounded every base.


Almost famous By Margot Tiscareño Talon Staff Writer


n stage, when Matt Cobb and Zolo Sindhu are performing, it’s just them. The audience. And the music. Ever since sixth grade, when Matt first formed No Rehearsal, a blues and alternative rock band, music has been at the heart of his life. “Up on stage, I just do what I usually do. It’s second nature,” said Zolo, who joined the band last fall. No Rehearsal has already had much success. The band has appeared at top venues such as the House of Blues. The group also recorded its own EP, a demo record. Their journey began in 2009 when Matt’s fifth-grade teacher told him to consider starting a band with some of his classmates. Following that advice, Matt and some of his peers created the band. The members in the band have changed constantly. Over the years, there have been a total of 13 changes and switch-ups in the roster. “That’s our most recent lineup: me singing, Zolo on bass and David

[Shorey] on drums,” said Matt, who, like his bandmates is now a junior. The band has accomplished what many would think impossible. They have performed at places like Fitzgerald’s, The Big Easy, BFE Rock Club, The Jet Lounge, Tin Roof, and SXSW in Austin, Texas at a showcase for the Berklee College of Music. “They asked us to come play at their party because they liked our music so much,” said Matt, about the showcase for Berklee, one of the most prestigious music schools in the country. In January, Matt won a scholarship through Berklee and through the Houston Blues Society, which is allowing him to perform in Memphis, Tenn. in a youth showcase band with Zolo. To the boys, music is everything. It has been and always will be their lives. Music is something they seek to pursue after college. They want it all. They want the fame. They want the world to know their names. And they

won’t stop at anything less. Of course, they still face that uncertainty that comes pursuing a career in music, but that doesn’t stop them. “I’m going to do music in life no matter what. No. Backup. Plan,” said Matt. The thing that keeps up their spirits and their passion for music is the love for the art, and the indescribable feeling they get when they are on stage. Performing for strangers is even better. They love the fact that no one knows them and that they can really show people who they are through their passion for music. “When you’re up on stage, it’s like nothing else matters except the goal of putting on the best show for the people who came to see you perform,” said Matt. The crowd and performances and money may help them continue what they do, but they need the support of those closest to them to keep it all together. Last fall, they self-produced a foursong EP of original music — which they wrote, arranged, recorded and mixed. They mastered the songs, “Winter,” “My Girl,” “Summer” and “Me & You,” by themselves. The band members hope to produce four more songs to make an eightsong EP, and like any band, want to gain more exposure and become famous, not only in Atascocita High School, but the rest of the world. “It’s what I live for,” said Zolo.

Month Spring 20XX 2014Business • Talon: The Magazine Magazine



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