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The Flare

Magazine SPRING 2014 Kilgore College

“The highest result of education is tolerance.�

Helen Keller

The Flare


No. 5 = Spring 2014

Editorial Staff Editors..................................Ashley Morales Randi Vinson-Davis Ad Manager............................... Sonia Garza

Writers: Jordan Baird, Dezirae Burnett, Ashley Morales, Ellen Reid and Kassidy Taylor. Photography Adviser.........O. Rufus Lovett Editorial Adviser..................Gary Borders

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Photographers: Kelly Barber, Michael Brown, Kristopher Dobbins, Sonia Garza, Sara Holmes, Josh Lusk, Charity Mezzell, Shelby Ragland, Karyn Sage, Stormy Scott, Mike Simpson, Randi Vinson-Davis and Maria Zapata.






Editors’ Note

Ashley Morales and Randi Vinson-Davis Printed by Hudson Graphics, Inc. Longview, Texas

The Flare Magazine 1100 Broadway Kilgore, Texas 75662 © 2014 by Kilgore College Flare

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The production of this magazine has been a whirlwind. As we sat down to assemble the contents in order, we realized that this year The Flare Magazine sort of put itself together. The submissions of stories and photos were all related in one way or another. It was a realization for which we we were thankful for. We are excited and thankful for the experience of being editors and hope you enjoy the magazine. We would like to thank the writers and photographers for putting so much hard work to create a magazine that we can all enjoy and be proud of. A special thank you to Gary Borders and O. Rufus Lovett for advising and guiding us along the way.







Cover photograph by Michael Brown

DISCLAIMER: Editorial staff positions are held by Kilgore College communications students. Comments and views expressed in The Flare Magazine reflect the thoughts of the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or opinions of other students, staff members, faculty members, administrative officers or the Board of Trustees.


Photographs by Randi Vinson-Davis

The night offers the unexpected, that which the eye does not see but the camera reveals.

The Flare Magazine • PORTFOLIO • 5

“Night does not show things, it suggests them. It disturbs and surprises us with its strangeness. It liberates forces within us which are dominated by our reason during the daytime.� - Brassai

The Flare Magazine • PORTFOLIO • 7

no clear path to destination PHOTOgraph BY MARIA ZAPATA



hen I’m walking to class or around campus just to get out of the fluorescent lighting, I see a jungle of students. I see students, young and old, some wearing clothes that define them, some that don’t have a choice. I see students that are here to work toward their goal and some that are just here. I see students that study in the same chair at the same table every day on my way to geology and I see some I have never seen before. All of these make me wonder. Where are you going to be in five years? Ten years? Next year? My curiosity gets the best of me most days, but this is something I genuinely think about. Where is that man with the abnormal habits going to be after KC? Where is that woman who is always reading a book going to be? What are they going to do? Mostly, I am hoping that the man makes it into whatever career with his employer embraces his habits and that woman doesn’t stop reading books. This year I learned when I don’t make time or put an effort to do something I love, like reading books for pleasure, writing for my blog, shooting and editing random videos, or playing my guitar, I lose myself. When I don’t for a few consecutive days, I’m miserable. That’s why I chose my career field. I need my career to let me be creative and always try new things. Not everyone is like me, but everyone has something they love. I feel like some people go to school, because someone is making them go to school and when it comes time to choose a career they torture themselves into something they don’t care much about, but pays well. To me that would be like living miserable day after miserable day. One of my friends always tells me that some people don’t have a choice in what happens in their life, and she’s right. Sometimes things hit us like a moving train and we’re lost.

I’m only 20 years old and that’s happened to me seven times. But luckily, I’m here; but some people can’t be, or worse they give up. I’m here and I’m not pursuing nursing, education or anything else that is “stable,” because that’s not me. Maybe life throws you curve balls, but if you have the chance to get up, don’t hesitate. I have an idea of where I want to end up, but I don’t have a clear route to the destination. It’s scary, but what else am I going to do? Sometimes life is like opening a carton of orange juice and finding lemonade instead: unexpected, but not necessarily a bad thing–unless you’re allergic to lemons.

The Flare Magazine • COLUMN • 11

Fighting a war on two fronts Story By Dezirae Burnett


he words “with liberty and justice for all” conclude the Pledge of Allegiance, recited by thousands nearly every day across the United States. It has become former U.S. soldier Howard D. Linson’s mission to ensure those words ring true for every American no matter their ethnicity, religious views or, in his case, sexual orientation. This mission served as the driving force behind his memoir, titled The Untold Truth, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. It describes his nine-year experience serving in the Army under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Having grown up in a military family, Linson, Longview freshman, spent his childhood listening to stories and watching Hollywood versions of the great wars of history. At was around the age of 15, he decided he too wanted to pursue a future in the armed forces. “I’m a big military movie guy and, at that age, I wanted to be a part of those types of covert ops missions … the way the movies portrayed [them],”Linson said. Linson joined the U.S. Army in 1998 at the age of 18. He was deployed to Iraq from 2004-2005, a time which he describes as “a livable nightmare with no end in sight.” According to Linson, his troubles began on his first stint overseas, when fellow soldiers started accusing him of being gay. As the DADT policy, which was a law against homosexuals serving openly in the military, was in effect until its repeal

Charity Mezzell

in 2010, Linson was forced to hide the fact that he was bisexual. He experienced daily requests of sexual favors from other male soldiers. That only increased the extent of his abuse when Linson refused to give in. “As time went on, my fellow soldiers’ behaviors became more aggressive, physically and emotionally, towards me,” Linson said.“I had soldiers threaten to kill me in front of my chain of command … while some sexually harassed me verbally, and physically as well.” Throughout the entire duration of his time in Iraq, Linson was subject to such offenses. He claims that “nothing was done to prevent or stop” the continuous harassment. Linson was even told that he was to blame for the abuse, implying that he was doing something to encourage the soldiers. “For days and months on end, I had nowhere to run or no one to turn to,” Linson said. On one occasion, Linson was a part of a convoy to Tikrit, Iraq, hometown of Saddam Hussein, when his truck broke down. As his unit was waiting for his vehicle to be attached to the tow truck, he was instructed by his 1st Sergeant to run toward his vehicle, which was nearly a mile ahead of Linson’s. Linson was instructed to do so without any cover from the men in his unit. “My fellow soldiers told me that it was better me than them [who had to run by themselves],” he said. “During that run, with my weapon at the ready … I looked … and saw that no one in my unit was turning around to come and get me, but allowed me to run through the down town area of Tikrit alone.” It was by the grace of God, according to Linson, that he completed the run safely that day. Linson returned to the States in 2005 but deployed back to Iraq in 2006. This time, being deployed with a different unit, Linson hoped vainly that his second stint would not feature the abuse of his first tour. According to Linson, the second time around was even worse.According to Linson, the second time around was even worse than the first. The year before he left the Army, Linson began to consider writing about his experience. Just an idea at

the time, he began writing a few months after being medically discharged. “I kept hearing about soldiers killing themselves [due to] being harassed,” Linson said. “When I heard a parent on national television wanting answers to their son’s death after they found out that [he] was being hazed or singled out, I knew I had to stand up and let the world know what is really going on.” Linson’s memoir serves to broadcast the message that gay men and women are treated unfairly within the military system despite what is being reported. “Too many times … I cried out for help in the military and nothing was done for me,” he said. “Still today, there are some who… experience what I have been through [without the DADT policy].” The road to publishing his memoir was a long one. After finding an editor, Linson went through a company called Lightning Source to self-publish the book. The process was completed in 2012, and now “The Untold Truth: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” can be found on shelves at Barnes & Nobles, Books-AMillion and Hastings. “Also, my book is available online at every retailer including iTunes,” Linson said. As for the reactions of his family and friends to Linson’s memoir, many were shocked as well as apologetic and sympathetic. Most had no idea that he had been through such an experience. “…All in all, they were very happy that I wrote about my experience in the military, and they hope others will come out into the light and tell the world what has happened to them as well,” he said. Though it has been two years since the book first went on sale, Linson hopes to reach readers for many years to come. “I believe that there will be some who will support me and there will be those who will not,” Linson said. “… Issues that deal with people’s lives, and how they have to live after what has happened to them, has to be addressed no matter what is said or not said. It only takes one person to step up to the plate, and that person is me.”

For days and months on end, I had nowhere to run or no one to run to.”

The Flare Magazine • TOLERANCE • 13

Tolerance Race, gender, religion, politics and the environment are only some of the issues that challenge tolerance in our global society. Photographers accepted the mission to visually interpret their concept of tolerance, and these photographs are selected results from that endeavor.

Kelly Barber

Sara Holmes

Randi Vinson-Davis

Josh Lusk

Michael Brown

Karyn Sage

Stormy Scott

“We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.”

- Martin Luther King Jr.

Shelby Ragland

The Flare Magazine • TOLERANCE • 15

Kristopher Dobbins

only skin deep Interracial dating still touchy in some parts of society



rowing up in southeast Texas and being raised as I was may seem a little strange to others who live in the South. South Texas is very traditional, but I was raised to view the world differently. Interracial relationships are frowned upon there and criticized constantly due to the change that they can cause on society–or at least that is what most Southerners believe. My parents raised me to see no one differently. Everybody was equal and to judge someone for their differences was wrong. I thought nothing of this as I grew up, but once I got into high school I knew exactly what my parents were trying to teach me. I got into my first interracial relationship in 11th grade. I was constantly judged. Even the people I considered my friends made remarks that I will never forget. The worst part is they were teasing me for being with that person, but they were friends with people of different races. I could not fully understand why high school students could be so judgmental about me dating someone of a different color than me. My parents accepted this relationship with open arms and never thought twice about it. “I am much more worried whether he is honest, upstanding and treats you like a lady,” my father said. I never let the comments or hearing people talk about me hurt my feelings. I knew that I was not the one in the wrong; they were. I have been dating my boyfriend for six months who happens to be a different race than me. I never thought twice about the color of his skin as I was getting to know him.

The issue of interracial dating is not as big of a problem in East Texas like it is in the South. Every friend I have made in college has been very accepting and not one person has made me feel wrong for dating Kristopher. My parents have met and completely adore him just as much as I do. “I am happy my daughter is dating someone who inspires and motivates her to always strive to be better,” my mom said. “ I have seen her grow in maturity and spiritually.” Unfortunately my mom’s boyfriend, Jarrod, was not very accepting of this situation at first. He was raised as a Southern Baptist and believes that people should marry within their own respective races. But he was taught to be kind and respectful to all, no matter what race or gender. After meeting Kristopher, Jarrod made adjustments to his thoughts, but he hasn’t changed his core beliefs. “Kris has shown me that he can be a perfect gentleman and seems very passionate, intelligent and focused on his future goals,” Jarrod said. “Those are very good qualities and I respect that. His skin color doesn’t faze me in the least.” Jarrod allows Kristopher into his home with open arms and has been very loving to me and my choices. “I want the very best for you and if Kris is that very best, then you have my full support,” Jarrod said. Being in an interracial relationship has taught me that the opinions of others should never get in the way of your beliefs and the things that you love. You should always respect what the world’s view is on your actions, but take it with stride. I will teach my children, just as my parents taught me, to see everyone as equal. Because without skin, we would all look exactly the same. 
 The Flare Magazine • TOLERANCE • 17


[She] wanted him to have the best life he could have. It was an honor to have her choose us.� - Shaina Smith

FAMILY ADDITIONS Story By Dezirae Burnett

KC students adopt child born prematurely


Sara Holmes

ost people become a parent the day their first child is born, but for Shaina Smith and Amanda Sustaire it was not giving birth to their son that made them parents. They entered parenthood together by way of adoption. The couple met in August 2011 while working together, and began dating on Oct. 5 of that year. Sustaire already had three children of her own from a previous marriage, but it was not long before she and Smith began tossing around the idea of expanding their little family. “We had talked about adoption for a while but wanted to wait until we were both done with college,” Smith, said. Needless to say, since Smith is currently a student of KC, they did not wait quite that long. A family friend, a girl who was 15 at the time, approached Smith and her partner about adopting her son on the day he was delivered. As a pregnant teenager, she knew she could not provide her baby with the life he deserved. She asked Sustaire and Smith if they would consider meeting the baby instead of immediately turning down her offer. “[She] wanted him to have the best life he could have. It was an honor to have her choose us,” said Smith. James was born at just 33 weeks gestation. The first 29 days of his life were spent in the newborn intensive care unit. Even though he was in NICU the first time the couple saw him, there was an “instant connection,” according to Smith. “He was so tiny but perfect,” Smith said. “We went to the hospital every three hours to feed him to build a bond. After the third day he already knew

our voices. The feeling was amazing!” The adoption took about seven months to process and was finalized, after numerous background checks, home checks and an endless amount of paper work, in late January. Both women are listed as parents. “Our families have been very supportive,” Smith said about their families’ reactions to the adoption. “They all love James, as does anyone who meets him.” Because he was born prematurely, there has been concern for James’ health over the past sevenand-a-half months. But his pediatrician says that James is reaching every milestone on target and is progressing well. “Neither of us had ever even been around a premie,” Smith said. “We had to feed him sitting up, holding his head a certain way. With him being a premie, there was concern about germs, so he couldn’t leave the house but for doctor appointments for the first four months. He’s a fighter though.” Because his immune system is still not as strong as a full-term baby, Sustaire and Smith try not to take James places where there are large crowds. The couple’s other children, their daughters Keanna (16), Navea (14) and Skylar (10), “absolutely adore” their new little brother. According to Smith, James makes a perfect addition to the family. Now seven-and-a-half months old, James is crawling, talking baby talk, and developing like any other baby his age; he is just a little smaller in size. “He is a happy, healthy baby boy,” Smith said. “James is truly a blessing from God, and we wouldn’t change one bit of [the experience].”

The Flare Magazine • TOLERANCE • 19

At age 15, my life seemed to crumble down around me. The emotional abuse of a controlling boyfriend and the hardships of home life led me to self-mutilation and several failed suicide attempts. During this dark point my demons began living vividly in my subconscious and have yet to cease. These photographs are representative of my nightmares; by recreating the dreams I hope to one day overcome the darkness. PHOTOgraphs by shelby ragland Story by ashley morales


ightmares are something a child, adolescent and adult can experience. Some stay with us forever and some we learn to overcome. Shelby Ragland, Naples sophomore, experienced emotional abuse from her boyfriend during her freshman year of high school and went home to her parents fighting nearly every day. These two circumstances led her to an outlet of self harming. “I had a lot of suicidal feelings… and I attempted it several different times,” Ragland said. Throughout this time, she had one friend, and her friend’s mom that she let into her vulnerable state. At one point, her friend’s mother said she was going to tell Ragland’s parents if she did not do it herself. A few weeks later she and her mom got into an argument, which led Ragland to expose what she was doing to herself. “I was like, ‘Look what you’re making me do,’ and she freaked out,” she said. Her mom then called her dad into the room and scolded Shelby to show him the cuts. “I showed him and his eyes were ginormous and he said, ‘No, baby why are you doing that?’” She did not want to talk to her parents about the situation any longer, so she spoke to her sister and her brother interjected. “He told me that I was stupid, but that he loved me.” Her parents made an appointment with the family doctor for the next day. Her and her sister went to the doctor’s office together and she was put on antidepressants, which she took for only one prescription. “They helped, but once I told what I was going through, things got a lot better. My mom and

dad realized they were affecting more than just themselves,” she said. “I stayed with my boyfriend for three more months after that, then we broke up finally. Hallelujah.” Even when she thought everything was resolved, the nightmares continued. “The nightmares didn’t stop, they still haven’t stopped. I still have them, I have no idea why.” Although they are not as frequent as they used to be, she says they are definitely still there. “Sometimes it’s like I can’t even really remember what it was about, I just know. Like I wake up in a cold sweat, or I wake up crying. It’s miserable really,” she said. “They live there, my demons.” Since she the began the series she feels like she has confronted the issue that changed her life by facing her demons. She thought about doing the series last spring, and she worked all summer to perfect the details. The preparation took three months. First she explained each frame to her mom who then sketched them out. Then the shooting began. “It was very emotional to shoot it. I worked so hard, I poured everything I had into it.” As shooting progressed, editing began and the photos were printed Ragland looked before her and was so proud of the work she had accomplished. Almost each photo has a quote to go along with it. This was initiated by this quote: “They’ve promised that dreams can come true but forgot to mention that nightmares are dreams, too.” - Oscar Wilde. “I knew what each photo was about and I wanted a quote to represent that,” she said. “I want the photos to speak for themselves, but the quotes are there to guide along.” The series currently includes 26 photos, but Ragland plans to continue to expand the series. To see the completed work visit

n ig h t

m a r es

The Flare Magazine • TOLERANCE • 21

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.� - Kahlil Gibran

“I still get nightmares. In fact I get them so often I should be used to them by now. I’m not. No one ever really gets used to nightmares.” - Mark Z. Danielewski

Multiplicity Photographs by Sara Holmes

Multiplicity reflects my interpretations of people I meet along the way to work or school. I wish to visualize, in these photo montages, the notion that each subject I portray is layered in various apparel, which allows greater cultural insight into the human condition.

The Flare Magazine • PORTFOLIO • 25

Michael Brown

STUDENT artists Three students share their artistic journey and hopes for the future Story by ELLEN REID


Kristopher Dobbins

here are many aspects to being an artist the public probably doesn’t see. There are three students artists at KC in particular who tell what in their life helps to make a masterpiece. Sara Bryan, Joe Schultz and Cherry Yan He, all Longview sophomores, answer some questions on where their art work comes from. Question: When did you begin the process of becoming an artist? Sara: “I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, but taking different art classes at Kilgore has helped me improve a lot.” Joe: “One day, a couple of years ago, I just decided to give graphic design a try. Kind of on a whim. Basically from the start I was hooked.” Cherry: “Perhaps I think too highly of the term artist, but I feel like I have not mastered enough in art to do what artists do.” Question: What motivates you for your art? Sara: “I am motivated by the emotional response art gives people. I painted something as a Christmas gift to a coworker last year, and the look on her face when she opened it was priceless. I’m glad people get excited about my art!” Joe: “I simply love what I do. I love the feeling when you see an idea fleshed out on paper, or canvas, or even digitally.” Cherry: “I think my passion for art gradually developed over the years in high school, and it continues to grow today.” Kristopher Dobbins

Kristopher Dobbins

dual passions Twin brothers share interest in career path


eth and Ethan Johnson, Henderson freshmen, are twins who share a passion for art. The brothers have been creating art together since they were young. Seth says most of his earliest memories have to do with them drawing. “I’ve been drawing my entire life alongside my brother, so I guess we’ve built off each other’s skills to improve ourselves,” Ethan said. When asked what motivates them for their artwork, Ethan says he doodles in his spare time to see if subjects he is interested in evolves out of that. ”When I was younger, I used to draw out of boredom, but now-adays, if a particular subject interests me enough, I get motivated

to see what I can do to recreate it on paper,” Seth said. Both Johnsons say their favorite type of art to create is surrealism. Ethan said that the goal behind his art is not only to be appealing to the public, but to inspire them to create works of their own. ”The goal I would like to accomplish with my art would be to entertain people,” Seth said. “I don’t want people to be bored looking at it.” After many years of doing art together, the Johnsons look back and decide what their favorite pieces were. Seth said he personally does not have a favorite piece. “My favorite pieces are all that I’ve done with prismacolor colored pencils,” Ethan said. The Flare Magazine • ART • 27

big apple Bound Freshman accepted to American Theater in NYC Story by kassidy taylor


sia Phillips, Houston freshman, had never considered dancing before the age of 13, when her mother strongly encouraged her to audition for the Houston Ballet. Established in 1955, the Houston Ballet is one of the most prestigious dance companies in the United States. When Phillips was 12, she lived in East Hampton, New York and was on the swim. The following year, Phillips’ parents decided to move the family to Texas. Along with the move, Phillips would finally take up dance. “I had never taken an interest in dance or ever wanted to do it, but when I was 13 my aunt thought that I had the body of a dancer and that I should try and look into dance,” Phillips said. After her aunt, who is a dance teacher, made the comment, Phillips’ mom began searching for auditions at local ballet schools. When she came across the Houston Ballet, she booked her daughter for an audition. “I never wanted to audition for Houston Ballet because I thought the dancers were all better than me, because they trained their whole lives, and I had only been dancing for three months, but they saw the potential,” Phillips said. Phillips was accepted, but being so new to dance she had to start classes with children younger than she was. “I had to ignore my ego and just strive for what I wanted to do,” Phillips said. “And I wanted to dance.” Phillips now enjoys every aspect of ballet. It is now her passion. She appreciates the challenges that ballet brings to the table. “There’s always something to strive for in ballet,” Phillips said. Phillips was invited back to the Houston Ballet this year but

instead she chose to attend college. Before coming to KC, Phillips danced anywhere from 20 to 25 hours every week. Now, she dances only three hours every week. Her mom informed Phillips that the American Ballet Theatre in New York City was holding auditions for their summer intensive program in Austin, and she should try out. “My mom encouraged me to do this audition for the American Ballet Theatre, but I didn’t want to because I felt like I wasn’t in my best shape,” Phillips said. She was on her way to the audition in Austin, only a few hours away from her home in Houston, when she started worrying about whether or not this dream of hers would become a reality. “I was fairly calm until I entered the audition building and was surrounded by other dancers,” Phillips said. “I’m typically not too fazed by the other dancers in an audition. I am always focused, but this year I definitely had to take a moment and regain that focus again.” Phillips checked in and marked her spot on the floor to start stretching before she was called in for her audition. “After the audition I was happy and relieved. It was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I did not run away from this situation,” Phillips said. One would think the considerable time off would take a toll on Phillips’ physique and technique, but Kristopher Dobbins Phillips received an email from American Ballet Theatre in January stating that she had been accepted in the summer intensive program. Phillips will leave on June 2 to begin the summer intensive program at American Ballet Theatre.



sara holmes

brittany crowe You could say Brittany Crowe, Longview sophomore, found her future on Netflix. She watched the documentary, “They Came To Play,” which is hosted by the Van Cliburn Foundation and featured the Fifth International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs. Players from all over the world, self-taught to classically-trained, 35 to about 80 years old met in Fort Worth for a week-long competition. The film provides a look into the lives of these competitors as they work to balance work and family with their love of music. After watching the documentary, Crowe looked into attending KC. She started her college career as a broadcast journalism major at Northwestern State University. After two years and a major change she took a semester off and then transferred to KC. Her teacher from NSU, Esther Davis, told her about Sandra Siler, head of piano instruction at KC. Crowe contacted Siler and arranged to meet on campus and talk about an audition. Upon their meeting Crowe learned of the multiple concertos students are exposed to, which made KC more appealing. “It’s hard to find schools that you can play concertos your freshman year or entry-level year,” Crowe said. “Where at Kilgore, at least in the spring, we get to play like five or six.” After meeting Siler she decided to enroll. “The main goal was to get my core classes out of the way...,” Crowe said. “That way if piano didn’t work out, at least I got my core out of the way.” Crowe has played piano as a hobby since age 8 and seriously for the past three years. Recently, Crowe attended Philip Glass’ performance LIVE! in Fort Worth, who has composed pieces for movies, among other works.

hen Melodi King’s mother wanted her and her sisters to begin piano lessons, she had no idea she would still be playing 14 years later. Overall she enjoyed it, but at one point she did want to quit. “My favorite thing about piano is probably all the different songs you get to play,” King said. “I really enjoy playing super fast songs and really pretty songs. It’s just a lot of fun.” Although she has never competed, she has performed in numerous festivals and church services in Longview, her hometown. She came to KC to earn her basics and enrolled in ensemble. Her favorite aspect of music is being able to express herself without words. “When you perform a piece, you are showing the audience a side of yourself that you probably wouldn’t be able to express with words.” Piano has become more of a hobby since she has been in college, and she enjoys playing for the sake of playing. One of her favorite songs is “Dumb Song” by Jon Schmidt. Before enrolling in college, she took the infamous career test and graphic design was one of the options she had at the end. “[It] sounded like something I wanted to do,” she said. “Yeah, I’m pretty good at playing piano, but I don’t love it. With “The concert was half silent film, half concert. While the film Dracula played, Philip Glass and his ensemble played along, which made the film truly come to life,” Crowe said. After her and her friend met him. “It was just funny and exciting knowing I saw him perform in person and met him, and this is the same guy people study in textbooks.” She believes there is always something a person can connect with music. “Whether it’s a piece you’re learning on the piano or a song you catch on the radio, there’s always a song just for you. Whichever artist or composer wrote the song, they had a message planned within the piece,” she said. Crowe said music also offers another way of communication. “Just like when people smile, laugh or yell angrily, there is a common ground with music that can be expressed with only sound,” she said. “My personal message through music would simply be that no matter our background, we’re all equal. We’re all a combination of the same emotions, whether we choose to voice them or carry them

Shelby Ragland

graphic design, I tried it for a semester and loved it. I have always enjoyed doing things with the computer, and graphic design is all that plus some more.” After completing her graphic arts degree, she is planning to jump into the workforce and hopefully land a job with an agency. “I would also like to maybe try and get a job as a church pianist so I can keep my skills as a musician and serve God to my best potential.” out physically. Through music, that selfexpressed equality is heard. To quote John Lennon: ‘I am he as you are he and you are me and we are all together.’” Piano offers many different things, but Crowe’s loves how versatile of an instrument it is. “The majority of other instruments have a limited range and selection of pieces to play due to the fact that you can only play one note at a time. Yet, with piano, you can create melodies, harmonize by yourself and play with other people,” Crowe said. “It’s simple and complex all at once. It’s hard to lose interest with something when it offers so many possibilities.” In the future Crowe hopes to establish a piano studio and possibly teach fundamentals at a college. “Aside from that, I’ve always imagined myself teaching a studio that was half piano instruction, half yogurt and ice cream bar,” Crowe said. “If I could combine my two favorite things, music and frozen desserts, my life would be paradise.”

playing in different keys Stories by ASHLEY MORALES

The Flare Magazine • ART • 29


Photographs by Kristopher Dobbins

As an aspiring fashion photographer in a small town where football is king and halftime is queen, it appears as if no one cares about fashion. I felt my objective was crippled until I began photographing the Kilgore College Rangerettes. Their classic uniforms, their forced smiles, and their lifestyle within a lifestyle piqued my interest to portray the American Sweethearts in my portfolio. The Flare Magazine • PORTFOLIO • 31



Former ’Rette manager directs documentary kristopher dobbins



ith the 75th anniversary of the Rangerettes coming up next year, one of the big events is the making of the film Sweethearts of the Gridiron: An American Story. The film shows Rangerette history from their first field performance right up into the organization today. The film is the brainchild of director Chip Hale, who is an ex-Rangerette manager. The film is set to be released in coming weeks. A plan is in the works for a screening in Kilgore this fall as part of the anniversary celebration. “The city of Kilgore and Kilgore College were incredibly important to the project, so the goal is to have a screening during a KC football game weekend,” Hale said. The Rangerettes and Rangerette Forevers will be a part of this premiere. One of Hale’ s favorite aspects about directing the film was that he made it with people he had known for years, who would have never thought they would get to help make a film. “Making a low-budget indie documentary isn’t glamorous like a big budget Hollywood film, but my Texas friends have always been supportive of my career, and have enjoyed being a part of the project,” Hale said. Michael Wayne, husband of Rangerette assistant director and choreographer Shelley Wayne, is the executive producer. Jan Jaynes, who runs the Rangerette Museum, and husband Craig are also executive producers. Lisa Fortenberry, a Rangerette Forever, handled all the travel details, getting crew members from Los Angeles and New York to Texas and housing them when necessary. Another favorite aspect for Hale was to bring Los Angeles and New York friends to his East Texas home. “Originally from Overton, Kilgore was like a second home to me. Late-night runs to the Kilgore Whataburger were a regular occurrence for me in high school,” Hale said. Hale takes a lot of pride in calling East Texas home saying, “I’ve been based in L.A. since 2011, so I’ve developed quite a family of friends and co-workers out there. I only work with people I genuinely like, and for all these years they’ve had to listen to me talk proudly about East Texas, Kilgore College and of course the Rangerettes,” he said. “When they finally came out to work on the project, they saw for themselves why I’m so proud of where I’m from. They all loved being in East Texas, and they all had respect for the Rangerettes and what they stand for. Marrying my two worlds together was something I’ll always look fondly upon.” The film has almost been three years in the making, which he describes as quite a ride. “Telling the story was important to the organization’s history, and to its future,” Hale said. “The Rangerette organization has become my family.” During during the making of the film, he lived with the Wayne family, so their personal lives have become more intertwined than before. He and Rangerette director Dana Blair have become close, and she is someone he respects greatly. “But it doesn’t just stop with Dana and Shelley; the people I’m closest to in my life are friends I’ve made through Rangerettes, and that means the world to me”, says Hale. As for what he hopes to come out of this finished film Hale said, “I think and dream big, and part of my dream is for Sweethearts of the Gridiron to force Dana and Shelley into changing their tryout format to accommodate hundreds of girls every year, rather than just one hundred, because seeing sweethearts motivated them to try out.” Hale explains with today’s technology and social media, the film could be seen by young women across the country, who have a dream to dance and be a part of something uniquely American. The Flare Magazine • FEATURE • 33

Faces and Places Photographs by Sonia Garza

I am fascinated by the beauty and sense of fantasy discovered in both landscape and portraiture. My interpretive story-telling approach reveals my personal experience with each subject and translates reality into my make-believe.

The Flare Magazine • PORTFOLIO • 35

A deep frustration stirring in student



o you ever feel persecuted as a Christian these days for speaking the words from the Gospel instead of the words of Miley Cyrus’ new song? Or being told you’re judgmental, because you said you didn’t agree with what someone else believes?

One of the best responses around this issue was spoken by Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” after being asked about his antihomosexual views. He said: “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” First of all, Phil Robertson did not voice his opinions out of frustration; rather, he was asked for his opinion on this particular topic. I don’t know why people were surprised. They asked an out-spoken, God-fearing West Monroe, La. native a question that is clearly backed by his faith. The majority of people who have heard of the hit show “Duck Dynasty” knew the family patriarch’s faith is a major factor. Surely by now, we know Robertson and the entire cast of “Duck Dynasty” have centered the hit series on their beliefs in ducks and faith. I have a deep frustration these days because of this topic. I am all about freedom of speech and letting one’s voice be heard, but the problem Christians face is after differing views have been presented, the views presented from a biblical stance are neglected. That’s just not fair. For example, I witnessed someone venting through Facebook, although I may agree, how vulgar they thought Phil’s remarks were, and that they believe in gay rights. I totally get that. But then at the end they go on to say that everyone who stands with Phil needs to shut up. That, my friend, is the feeling that feeds the rapidly growing sense of persecution felt by so many people today. If an individual is able to stand up for what they believe is right, they should extend that same right to another individual. I am not saying there are not judgmental Christians out there, but it hurts feeling like you’re lower than someone because you sin in a different way than they do. I can’t speak for them, but out of an understanding heart I can honestly say, and I hope other Christians would as well, that Christians did not come up with these guidelines on their own. These guidelines lay a foundation for how to live, what words to speak, sex and beliefs because our creator and source of salvation has laid out a loving parameter that is meant to be followed and demonstrated by displaying love for each other. I am a sinner just like everybody else, and by no means am I a role model on how to handle this problem.

However, I try to be as understanding and outspoken as I can. One of my best examples is when my friend told me he was gay. I told him I did not agree with his choice because of my beliefs in the Bible found in Leviticus Chapter 18; however, do not misinterpret my disagreement with their lifestyle as condemnation. I will continue to love them the same. I do not continue to bring up my feelings toward that subject to them again because they know my thoughts and trust me. They do not want my beliefs shoved down their throat. As a Christian I want to be heard in this world. I am sure just as Muslims and Buddhists feel judged by Christians, we Christians are feeling persecuted. The world needs love, respect, and people courageous enough to still stand up for what they believe in. Just like Phil explained to us, you don’t have to hate someone because of their belief, or agree with them to not hate you.

Understanding one another is key.

They do not want my beliefs shoved down their throat.”

Randi Vinson-Davis

Contributors Ashley Morales, editor, is a sophomore journalism major from Longview. She will earn an Associate of Arts in May. She plans to transfer to Texas Tech University. She is also the executive editor of The Flare.

Randi Vinson-Davis, editor, is a sophomore photography major from Henderson. She will earn an Associate of Arts in May. She plans to transfer to Stephen F. Austin State University.

Sara Holmes

Jordan Baird, writer, is a freshman journalism major from Magnolia. She is also a Rangerette. Kelly Barber, photographer, is a freshman photography major from Longview. Michael Brown, photographer, is a sophomore fine arts major from Gladewater. He plans to transfer to UT-Tyler. Dezirae Burnett, writer, is a sophomore journalism major from Huntington. She is also a Rangerette. She will earn a Associate of Arts in May. She plans to transfer to Stephen F. Austin State University. Kristopher Dobbins, photographer, is a sophomore photography major from Kilgore. He plans to transfer to Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.

Sonia Garza, photographer, is a sophomore photography major from Tatum. She will earn an Associate of Applied Science in May. She plans to transfer to Texas A&M UniversityCommerce in the Fall. Sara Holmes, photographer, is a sophomore photography major from Paris. She will earn an Associate of Applied Science in May.

Ellen Reid, writer, is a sophomore journalism major from Kilgore. She will earn an Associate of Journalism in May. She plans to transfer to Texas A&M University. Karyn Sage, photographer, is a freshman photography major from White Oak. Stormy Scott, photographer, is a sophomore photography major from Gilmer. She plans to transfer to Texas A&M University-Commerce in the Fall.

Josh Lusk, photographer, is a sophomore graphic design major from Kilgore. He will earn an Associate of Applied Science Michael Simpson, photographer, is a photography student from in May. Kilgore. Charity Mezzell, photographer, is a freshman photography major Kassidy Taylor, writer, is a freshman journalism major from from Longview. Diana. Shelby Ragland, photographer, Maria Zapata, photographer, is is a sophomore photography a freshman photography major major from Naples. from Gladewater.

The Flare Magazine • CONTRIBUTORS • 37

Larry Woodfin 903-983-2277 2402 N. Longview St. Kilgore, Texas 75662




601A East Main 903.983.1480

MiCHAEL Simpson

C O M M U N I C AT I O N S • P H O T O G R A P H Y K I L GOR E C O L L E G E K i l g o r e , T e x as 903-983-8194

The Flare Magazine No. 5  

Issue No. 5 of Kilgore College's general interest student magazine.

The Flare Magazine No. 5  

Issue No. 5 of Kilgore College's general interest student magazine.