TALKING IT UP
THE FINAL STRETCH
LASA geometry teacher Glen McNeil talks with attendees of entrepreneur Gary Hoover’s networking event in the LBJ Library. The event’s intention was to create connections between LASA and business partners of Hoover. photo by Surya Milner.
LASA senior Henry Benschoter runs toward the finish line at a LBJ cross country meet this season. The LBJ team placed for several titles and LASA senior Noah Stevens-Stein placed first in district with a time of 17:28 for Varsity Boys District. photo courtesy of Abby Kappelman
HALLOWEEN HYSTERIA LASA English teacher Lauren Graeber shows off her costume potrayal of LASA assistant principal Alan Santucci. Members of LBJ and LASA dressed up in a variety of costumes to celebrate Halloween. photo by Stephanie Park
L I B E R A L A R T S A N D S C I E N C E A C A D E M Y, LY N D O N B A I N E S J O H N S O N H I G H S C H O O L S
Nov. 12, 2013
The Political Melting Pot Variety of influences, environmental factors determine political ideologies of students Family Influences
photo by Chris Prinz
Stephanie Park & Daniel Zimmerman
LBJ senior Tempra Watson-Carlisle is unusual. At least, among her family. Every member of her family has served in the military, but she has different plans in mind. WatsonCarlisle, who supports more diplomatic approaches in the government, wants to join the Peace Corps. “I’m the complete opposite of my parents,” Watson-Carlisle said. “If there’s a military solution, then [my parents] are going to push more towards it, whereas if there is peaceful solution, I want to do that. My uncle just got orders to go to Afghanistan a couple days ago, and I don’t want to see my family in that kind of situation. So I guess since [my family has] been in it, they’re like, ‘Let’s do this’ and I’m more like, ‘No, my president won a Nobel peace prize. What can we do along the more peaceful lines?’” In a 2004 Gallup survey, 71 percent of U.S. teenagers aged 13 to 17 said their political ideologies aligned with their parents. University of Texas government professor Christopher Wlezien, Ph.D. said although families play a crucial part initially in a student’s ideological foundation, in recent decades, young adults have begun to develop political views dissimilar to their parents. “Before [the 1970s] everybody was basically a political and social clone of their parents,” Wlezien said. “Then all of a sudden, in the 1970s, we went from most people looking a lot like their parents to just a few left looking like their parents.
But the political environment changed, things became a little more tumultuous, political identification with parties sort of declined [and] things became a little less angered.” LBJ world history and contemporary issues teacher Kristine Guzman said young adults are most influenced by their parents while they are in high school, although their political beliefs develop further after they leave home. “Whoever they’re spending time with [during] those formative years, that’s going to be the heaviest influence,” Guzman said. “As students get older and they go off to college and become a little bit more independent, that’s where they’re exposed to new ideas and different ways of doing things. I know from my personal experience, I was in my own little world and when I went off to college I learned that not everybody does things the same way I do. So that lead me to think of some things in a different way.” LASA senior Mason Lynaugh voted in the Nov. 5 Texas amendments election and said his family had some influence. “I would say my parents are very liberal and I would say that I agreed with them most of my life, but as I’ve gotten older and actually learned how the world works, I’ve become more conservative than they are in some ways,” Lynaugh said. “When I started taking government and Mr. Risinger gave me the exact opposite of their beliefs I was able to see both ends of the spectrum and find a happy medium for myself.” Over 50 percent of Austin’s population has voted
7309 Lazy Creek Drive, Austin, Texas 78724
District bids to partner with new Google Fiber Austin Independent School District (AISD) was among dozens of groups that applied for free broadband connection from Google Fiber, a project aimed at building a broadband internet network infrastructure through the use of fiber-optic connections. With the announcement in April that the capital of Texas would be the latest city to receive access to Google’s high-speed connection, it was also said that 100 public and nonprofit Austin sites would receive free internet access for 10 years under its Community Connections program. AISD’s application for the program includes its 13 high schools and 18 middle schools, as well as the Baker and Carruth centers. With the speed of fiber-optic cables, areas granted network access (nicknamed “fiberhoods”) will see their internet speeds rise to up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps)– 100 times faster than standard connections. The areas with enough pre-registrations to cover construction costs will be chosen as fiberhoods by Google. Community connection sites will be determined in part by their proximity to the fiberhoods. “If we do have enough customers for certain fiberhoods, we provide free internet service for community centers,” a Google spokesperson said. “Most of the schools in the areas we install in have enough customers that those schools will get free Google Fiber.” Now that the Sept. 30 deadline for applications has passed, a trio of city committees will collaborate to recommend community sites for fiber installation. Free connections are guaranteed for the public school system in Austin, though the number and placement of the AISD applications to be granted remains uncertain. The district will be able to continue working with Google and the city as they narrow down the list of Fiber sites. The LBJ/ LASA campus is currently fifth on that list according to 2010 data. For Fiber schools, the biggest impact will be on the speed of their connections, which will be heightened when accessing external internet locations. “In the case of Google Fiber the advantage for AISD is speed and cost but the speed for internal stuff doesn’t really matter because the internal district network is already on gigabit,” AISD Executive IT Director Jim Lax said. “AISD is going to have to keep supporting their internal network, but that doesn’t have any impact on the external stuff.” The district will cooperate with Google in the construction of the network, which will begin installation sometime in 2014. Contractors for Google will be installing cables leading into the chosen sites, but it will be AISD’s responsibility to provide equipment to connect to the cables and manage the internet in the buildings. “The Google Fiber project has the potential to provide certain schools with additional bandwidth at little to no cost, in terms of Internet bandwidth charges,” John Kohlmorgan, manager of Infrastructure Support Services at AISD, said. LASA computer science teacher Rainer Mueller said that Google Fiber has the potential of helping students learn more in the classroom. “It’s hard for me to envision how I’d use that kind of speed, but I’m sure we’ll find a way,” LASA computer science Rainer Mueller said. “There’s a lot of talk about kind of reversing the classroom, maybe do more than lecture type of learning at home. Teachers have already done that where, they take the lecture, students watch it, and then when they came back, they basically worked problems. A lot of classes would benefit from that sort of structure, basically try to learn more stuff at home, and do more problem solving in the classroom.” story by Daniel Vega
continued on page 7
Student builds radio at home, makes contacts across country he took last spring. As a student in the class, The three classes of licenses—technician, genYarnell participated in the bi-annual school eral and extra—allow the holders access to a club roundup, a competition that challenges greater number of radio frequencies based on school radio clubs to make as many contacts the level of the license. In addition to taking as possible over the test, applicants the course of must also swear one week. to abide by the Making it all from scratch “That’s what Amateur’s Code, a is totally different than really got me set of values that just buying an iPhone and into it,” Yarnell outline how radio said. “Talking amateurs should FaceTiming someone. to people all conduct themover the counselves on and off -LASA junior Jacob Yarnell try and making the air. 500 contacts in “You’ve gotta only a 24 hour period was just really cool. be courteous, you’ve gotta be a good person,” Then I got interested in the electronic aspect Yarnell said. “A lot of this is just about being of it, like building my own stuff. I just found civil.” it rewarding to figure out why things work, Having a radio at home allows Yarnell because although it seems rather antiquated, to have extended conversations with fellow the premises behind ham radio really are the amateur radio operators, or “hams,” which foundation for cell phones and computers.” he tracks in a personal log. He also keeps After completing the class, Yarnell took an an envelope full postcard-sized cards called exam to get his general amateur radio license. QSL cards, which ham radio operators mail
LASA junior Jacob Yarnell sits in front of stacks of radio equipment, his face a mask of concentration. He fiddles with one of the dials on the radio for a few seconds, then pauses when a series of high pitched beeps emerges from the static. He begins to jot down letters on a sheet of paper, converting the morse code to the English alphabet in his head. He then turns to his electronic keyer and produces a rapid reply, also in morse code. Over the summer, Yarnell constructed an antenna in his backyard and wired it to a radio in his garage, allowing him to make contacts across the country in morse code. “The main thing that I’ve found by doing it at my house, having to set up my own thing and using old ‘60’s equipment, is that you get this weird kind of satisfaction from doing it all yourself,” Yarnell said. “I built this little transmitter, and making it all from scratch is totally different than just buying an iPhone and FaceTiming with someone.” Yarnell first became involved in ham radio through the amateur radio class, which
to each other to confirm that a contact actually took place and that the information was exchanged correctly. “In a contest, typically the exchange is very minimal,” Yarnell said. “You’re just trying to get as little information as you need to make the contact. When I’m at home, I typically spend maybe 30 minutes talking to someone, just because you get to experience different people, different ages, different stories. One time I talked to somebody for an hour about how he was in World War II and how he used to operate actual morse code from the army. It was just really cool to talk to someone who was in a state that I’ve never been to, telling me what it was like there and stuff like that.” Yarnell has made contacts across the world, reaching as far as Canada from his radio at home and contacting even more countries through the school radio. continued on page 14
the liberator nov. 12, 2013
EXECUTIVE BOARD Adviser Editors-in-Chief
Kim Katopodis Stephanie Park Jamie Rodriguez Daniel Zimmerman
EDITORIAL BOARD Business Editor
Commentary Editors News Editors
Basab Ghatak-Roy Mazie Hyams Sammy Jarrar Sesha McMinn Sam Zern
Life and Feature Editors
Logan Kramer Baltazar Zuniga
Isabel Saralegui Meagen Allgood
Entertainment Editors Graphics Editor
David de la Garza Madeline Goulet Victoria Mycue
Caitlin Anderson Audrey Halbrook Willow Higgins
STAFFERS Chelsea Banawis, Chris Buffum-Robbins, Eliza Cain, Isabela Contreras, Corey Dillard, Chloe Edmiston, Frank Feder, Alex Friedman, Mary Louise Gilburg, Nathan Humphreys Lucas, Gil Johnson, Will Johnson, Abby Kappelman, Adam Kobeissi, Aryaman Lamsal, Ana Lopez, Oran Lopez-Reed, Zia Lyle, Frankie Marchan, Hannah Marks, Kapil Mattay, Meris McHaney, Surya Milner, Joann Min, Carter Pace, Dresden Timco, Daniel Vega, Tristan Wright.
Editors Have an opinion about a new school policy? Have a bone to pick with something the Liberator has published? Anything else on your mind? Write us a letter and drop it off in room 265 or in the boxes in the school offices.
liberated minds speak
Should charities be held accountable for how they allocate money?
I feel that all post-tax profits should go directly to charity, or they should specify before they donate. That’s a right we as the donors are entitled to—I want to know where my money is going.
Charities should donate a large amount of their collected fares to the cause they say they will, but they should also use some of it, maybe 15%, to keep themselves runnning.
Charities should use all the money towards what they say they will and whatever cause they advocate for.
They should use the money for the purpose they preach. Either 100 percent should be donated, or whatever is left after expenses necessary to function are covered.
Corrections Page 2- Chloe Edmiston’s name was misspelled
the right to demand that charities should be held accountable for how they allocate money. These nonprofits have our beliefs and well wishes behind them, and it takes the blackest of hearts to ignore those that are actually in need of help. In addition to simply allocating the proper amount of money to the given cause, a charity should also be held accountable for doing what we pay them for. Susan G. Komen’s decision to cease funding of Planned Parenthood proved to be extremely controversial, and marked a split from some of the main focuses it advertised to gain supporters. Not only do we pay charities to enforce and support the ideas and causes we believe in, we pay them to utilize our resources in the most efficient ways possible. If companies such as Susan G. Komen choose to take our money and do with it what they please, in the process diverging from the basic ideals that they preach, then they don’t deserve our support. Similar stories surfacing in the influential American Cancer Society charities, such as the NFL’s controversy, reflects the true level of sleazy business that has been profiting from publicizing the suffering of many. To prevent these ludicrous embezzlements from happening right under our noses, through our bank accounts and our fingers, and to our loved ones, we need to push for more regulations and direct contact between charity organizations and the donors. These levels of regulations should extend to the ability to see where your money is ending up, a privilege that we, as the donors, should be entitled to. The causes these charities support are admirable, and their efforts have led to many accomplishments and advancements in their respective fields. However, the reputation of nonprofit organizations stands to be tarnished when a select few organizations cheat the system. We, as the contributors to these foundations, should make clear that our money must be put to good use. The irony is that when charities spend more money on advertising in the hopes of bringing in more revenue, they alienate potential donors with their lack of transparency. Citizens should also be wary of falling into the trap of believing that blindly contributing money is enough, and instead use proper research to determine if a charity deserves their money. Look close enough at those pink shirts, and you might just discover a stain.
a iss ar M by
The staff thanks: Alison Kramer, Eun Ju Park, Nikki Zern, Christine Rodriguez, John Zimmerman, Douglas Cheong and Lize Burr
In October, a Sports Illustrated article revealed that the National Football League (NFL)’s annual “Pink” campaign supporting breast cancer was sending less than 10 percent of its merchandise sales towards cancer research. The approximate eight percent handed down to the American Cancer Society for research was all that was left after retailers received 50, manufacturers 37.5 and the NFL 1.25 percentages of profits, respectively. National Breast Cancer Awareness month has been recognized by many charitable foundations since 1985, raising funds for breast cancer research for almost thirty years. In the last 10 years, $1.4 billion has been raised by charities. Of these funds, $970.6 million was taken by what are commonly referred to as “charity solicitors,” an overarching term that incorporates advertisers, retailers and company management. Additionally, $380.3 million went to the running of the charities themselves, and a measly $49.1 million went directly towards the causes that the charities actually support. With the recent controversies surrounding charity organizations such as Susan G. Komen, the time has come to ask: do we really know where our money is going, and how can we be assured that a reasonable percentage is ending up in the right hands? We, the Liberator, believe that charities should be held accountable for how they allocate money. In a recent study of the worst charities of the past decade by the Tampa Bay Times, a number of charities spent between zero and six percent of the money they had raised on direct cash aid, with the worst charities, generally also the largest, rarely breaking one percent of their income. Now, these are the worst charities of the bunch, but the fact that so many of these huge organizations are thriving despite their underhanded dealings is cause for concern. While there may be many admirable charities that do in fact practice what they preach, the level of deception evidenced in charities and causes such as the Pink Campaign demonstrates that regulations need to be put in place to monitor our money. We understand that a certain budget must be accumulated for any organization, but for nonprofits this budget should be limited solely to what is necessary for the company to stay afloat and continue to service the cause they stand for. If function is the prime motive in all of this, then function is what money should be spent on, not form. As the people contributing to the sustenance of these organizations, we have
Editorial Policy Responsibilities of a Free Student Press: Serving the primary communication link within the Liberal Arts and Science Academy and Lyndon Baines Johnson High Schools and between the school and the local community, this newspaper accepts the responsibilities inherent in being a free press. The Liberator staff strives to produce a professional-quality publication that follows the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists. The objective is to print the news in a fair and objective way with the utmost regard for integrity. Editorial Content: 1. The students on The Liberator staff will print articles which have been researched to the best of their ability to obtain most complete information. 2. The information will be presented in an objective, truthful and fair manner. 3. When personal commentary is given it will be in good taste on issues that have been researched, analyzed and where expert opinion has been sought, and then presented with the best ability of the writer. In addition, all opinion or commentary will be clearly labeled as so. 4. No material which is obscene, libelous or that will cause an immaterial and substantial disruption of the school day, according to accepted legal definitions, will be printed. The Editorial Boards and its Functions: The Liberator staff will be governed by an editorial board comprised of the following individuals: editors-in-chief, section editors and the business manager. The Editorial board will: 1. Determine the content of the publication (with input from other staff members). 2. Stress the editorial policy. 3. Ensure the accuracy of the publication. 4. Address disciplinary or other inappropriate behavior of staff. 5. Vote on removal of staff members. 6. Change or add policy as necessary with three of four board members voting favorably. Viewpoints: Printed material which is a view of a staff member or a contributing writer will be labeled as such. These views are not intended to reflect the view of the administration of Liberal Arts and Science Academy and Lyndon Baines Johnson High Schools nor the School Board of the Austin Independent School District. Viewpoints will be given in two areas in the newspaper. Editorials: These will be determined by the staff consensus. The editorial will be unsigned and will represent the viewpoint of the publication. Letters to the Editor: Letters to the Editor are accepted for topics of general interest to the readership of the newspaper. Letters must be submitted typed or neatly printed in ink and must have the signature of the writer and the writer’s grade level. Editors reserve the right to determine which issue the letter goes in, with every effort made to print the letter as soon as possible. The editors also reserve the right to edit the letter for grammar, length and repetition. Non-Staff Contributors: Bylined contributions are welcome. Correction of Errors: The staff makes every effort to print accurate information. In the case of errors, a written correction will be made in the following issue of the newspaper. Sources: In general, no anonymous sources will be used in reporting. Sources from within the school, as well as those not connected with the school, will be used. Under no circumstances will gifts, including coupons, etc., be accepted by the staff members from sources or advertisers. Note: The Liberator is an open forum.
Lack of transparency in nonprofit organizations reflects need for regulations on monetary allocations
Tough senior year irks student
Off campus priviledges to all
Senior year first semester should be easier for college applications. In return, teachers can make the second semester harder. I just want to be able to concentrate on one thing.
Being able to go off campus shouldn’t be a right reserved by only seniors. We all need breaks, and lunch is a good opportunity. We should be able to eat whatever we want.
- LBJ Freshman Kina Brevelle
- LASA Senior Gabriel Penaloza
Teacher sites crash computers
Bathroom stalls swing wrong way
Teachers really need to keep thgeir sites updated. They should make sure all links work. They need to be safe, one actually crashed my entire system the other day.
It would be nice if the doors on the boy’s bathroom stalls would open outwards so I wouldn’t have to crawl on the floor to get to the toilet every time I have to use the restroom.
- LASA Freshman Adele Witt
- LASA Junior Ben Taulli
the liberator nov. 12, 2013
A load of Malala-larkey
Education advocate still inspires after failure to win Nobel Peace Prize
At age 16, most kids’ thoughts center around getting a good grade in math or having enough money to pay for gas, not winning a Nobel Peace Prize. But listen to Malala Joann Min Yousafzai talk Staff Writer about her experiences with the Taliban in her home country of Pakistan, and you’ll soon realize that Yousafzai isn’t like most kids. Recently, Yousafzai’s efforts to bring attention to education earned her a nomination for the prestigious award, and she quickly became the favorite to win. Malala began to advocate for women’s education at the age of 12, when girls were banned from attending school in Pakistan. In October 2012, Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban, and after a miraculous recovery continued to advocate for the issue even in the face of death. Her struggle to make her dream of equal education opportunities come to fruition has brought hope to many, while garnering much respect from the international community. Her dedication, passion and effort have awakened the world to the current issue of education for women in Pakistan, and spurred the international community make strides in helping girls gain education in the area. However, the support was not enough. Malala, who was a popular nominee worldwide, did in fact not win the Nobel Peace Prize. Surprising many, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) took the grand prize for their “extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons” in Syria. The Syrian conflict was no doubt an important and pressing issue, but for many, myself included, it came as a shock when Malala did not receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The Syrian conflict, like many international issues, elicited a flurry of opinions from the American public. With the country seemingly on the brink of another war similar to the conflict in Iraq, the Obama administration
had to make a decision on whether to enter the conflict militarily. The decision was overlooked however, as Russia intervened. Soon the Syrian issue was no longer making the headlines, and a young girl face to face with death took the spotlight. Malala’s story captivated the world as the Taliban grew more threatened and eventually carried
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slowly seemed to die out. But clearly that was not the case in the awarding process for the Nobel Peace Prize this year. Although the Human Rights infringements of the Syrian conflict was an important topic to be discussed, this should not have been a factor in awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the OPCW. Malala’s advocation
out an assassination attempt. And so both the OPCW and Malala were nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. It was particularly a surprise when the issue of chemical weapons suddenly came back into the loop and took more importance than a 15-year-old girl getting shot in the head for advocating free education. With the United States government shutdown, the Silk Roads drug bust and everything in between, the Syrian conflict over chemical weapons
directly acted on the infringement of Human Rights, particularly the upheld right to “freedom of education”. Malala’s case seems to be a better example of what the Nobel Peace Prize stands for. To be completely honest, the news that Malala didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize came as a smack in the face. As a female and a firm believer in education, I was really rooting for Malala to receive the award and show the world that putting time and effort
into a cause is worthwhile. Yet the committee deciding who would win the Nobel Peace Prize didn’t choose Malala, thus giving the Taliban “a reason to celebrate.” Yuck. But then again, as Malala herself states, she doesn’t need awards to show the world her strength and courage. From her humble beginnings as just a regular schoolgirl to her worldwide recognition as the girl who stood up against the Taliban, Malala has already accumulated massive amounts of popularity. Even without a Nobel Peace Prize under her belt, Malala can proudly say that she has confirmed her place as one of the most influential people of her generation. Malala has already accomplished more than what many human rights campaigners can only dream of achieving in a lifetime. Many can’t say that they have a day dedicated to their name, and even more can’t say that it was the same day they turned 16 years old. That particular day was even more special for Malala, for it was the day she spoke to the United Nations. Her brilliance, bravery and boldness was evident to the people of the world as she advocated for education to the international community. “The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born. I am not against anyone, neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I’m here to speak up for the right of education for every child. I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all terrorists and extremists.” It’s something to admire. It’s something to learn from. I’ve learned, even from only watching Malala speak on a TV screen, to fight for what’s right. Malala has become the face of many, has given of herself to make a reality that was previously only a dream for many. I know that Malala will surpass what she has already accomplished thus far. Sure, I applaud the OPCW for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Their cause is a great one too, and I’m sure the world will be thanking them in the future for ensuring peace and safety in Syria. But there will also be another cause for celebration in the future, when we can all stand up and cheer loudly for Malala, who’ll be walking across the stage to receive her Nobel Peace Prize.
Wait, is that racist? (Yes, it is.)
LASA sophomore reflects on prevelance, effects of racial profiling and religious stereotyping as a young Hispanic, Christian student
I have absolutely no tolerance for spicy food. Even the free salsa served at Tex-Mex restaurants is too hot for me. However, because I’m Hispanic, this comes as a huge shock to many people. Apparently, I was supposed to be born with an automatic affinity for spicy foods. My parents never fed me anything hot when I was younger, so I Isabella Contreras never developed a taste for Staff Writer it. For some reason, people find this impossible to wrap their minds around. Along with this, I am often asked to ‘say something in Spanish’ by people aware of my heritage. In return, they are surprised to find that my speaking ability is pretty much as limited as their own. There are stereotypes surrounding every race, culture, religion and ethnicity. People often subconsciously make assumptions about others based on appearances without even trying. Not all stereotypes are made because people look a certain way, but when something about their race or ethnicity is found out, people automatically jump to conclusions. Presumptions can be very insulting and hurtful, but it’s hard to tell if a comment crosses the line before it is said. Both of my parents have been racially stereotyped many times in their lives. My mom was born and raised in Mexico, and Spanish is her first language. However, she does not look ‘Mexican’ at all. She has dark brown hair, pale skin, green eyes and no accent. My dad is the opposite. He has olive skin, black hair, and dark brown eyes, but is not, in fact, Mexican. People often speak to him in Spanish, but they are shocked to find that that he doesn’t understand. Because of the way my parents look,
people jump to conclusions which are often inaccurate. I have been aware of this throughout my life, as we are often out in public together when they are profiled. Not all stereotypes are based on appearances, though. People make assumptions on just about every characteristic a person can have, very notably religion. Because I am a Christian, people often assume they automatically know my opinions about topics like abortion and gay rights, which are often tied to religious affiliation. When a friend found out that I was Christian, one of the first questions that she asked me was, “So you don’t believe in gay rights?” She had this expression on her face that made me feel like I was a terrible person just because of the views of a small group of people in my religion. I had to explain that that was not true and I do believe in gay rights. Even though my religion states that that is wrong, my parents taught me to judge people on their personality. I grew up being told not to look solely at a person’s appearance or beliefs, but at their actions. My belief stems from a combination of both my religion and my parents’ teachings. It’s not a matter of picking which one to listen to. Although it can be awkward at times, it is not rare for peoples’ beliefs to be different from that of others who share their religion. This does not affect my loyalty to Christianity, but many people assume that all of my beliefs are identical to those of every other Christian. People also commonly expect me to push my stance on them if their view is different from mine.This can make the situation awkward when they expect me to say one thing but I end up saying another. Sometimes, I end up dropping the matter and let them think what they want in order to avoid confrontation or having to explain myself to t h e m . R e c e n t l y, m a n y
Christians have promoted their opinions, mostly disapproval of the lifestyles of others, in a very public manner. This was prominently seen in the many protests of pro-gay and prochoice rallies by Christian groups.This often gives people the wrong impression of a religion and leads to more severe stereotypes. For example, people have many times suggested that I, too, am unaccepting of other views, though this is far from true. It is not fair that people believe these assumptions because they only represent a small part of the group. The reason that these stereotypes arise is because the advocates of these actions are the only people that you hear. In many cases, these people represent only a small part of the group and the vast majority don’t agree with them. My friends and family have greatly influenced the person I am today. A mixture of American culture that I experienced every day and the Mexican culture that my family raised me in have found a way to blend together. While culture and a person’s views are closely tied, they can be altered depending on the circumstances. Through my friends, I have been exposed to many different ways of life and as a result have become open to new things. Seeing others around me get stereotyped then getting stereotyped myself has taught me to get to know people instead of automatically labeling them. You never know when you might offend someone by rashly assuming something about them. Some stereotypes offend people and others do not, it all depends on the person. Luckily, I have never been hurt by a negative stereotype, but many are not so lucky. A friend of mine was called a terrorist because she’s Muslim, another called stupid because she’s blonde. Stereotypes of this nature are very insulting, and can really hurt the people they target. When I hear things like this, it surprises me how narrow-minded and thoughtless people can be. They think that a thoughtless comment can’t hurt but in reality it’s those that hurt the most. People need to start being more aware of different cultures and religions because a thoughtless comment can do a lot of harm.
art by Mazie Hyams
the liberator nov 12, 2013
In support of Wendy
Wendy Davis may not win, but she’s the right one for the job as governor
It’s official. Texas Senator Wendy Davis, famous for her filibuster on Texas’ recent abortion bill, has announced that she’s running for governor. This isn’t exactly a surprise, as she’s been flirting with the idea of running for a while. But surprise or not, this could be what Texas Democrats need. I’m not suggesting that Wendy could win governorship of Texas. In fact I’m quite certain that Wendy will lose. Just look at the facts: Texas is a Republican state. We haven’t had a Democratic governor since Ann Richards left office in 1995. The Republicans have a majority in both the Texas Senate and House of Representatives. Rick Perry beat out Bill White by thirteen whole points without even debating him once. As a Democrat, Wendy is already at a huge disadvantage. Texas has recently been redrawn to prevent a Democrat from doing strongly. Texas Republicans have been doing this for a while, but this recent redistricting now creates districts where Democrats have to face stronger Republican opponents in areas that tend to vote Republican. This gerrymandering has put another big hurdle in Wendy’s path
to governorship Texas Latino voter turnout has been low. Despite growing rapidly as a voting demographic, only 44 percent are eligible to vote and only 48 percent of them bothered to vote in the 2012 election. That’s sixteens whole points less than whites and eighteen points behind blacks. The Latino demographic has had a history of voting primarily Democratic, so an absence of such a large portion of the voter base is a huge problem for Democrats. Now wait a minute. If I’ve just stated that Wendy can’t win, then why did I say it’s good for Texas Democrats? Simple: to show the Republicans that Texas Democrats mean serious business. Wendy is now a celebrity of sorts. Her filibuster has put her on the political map not only on a state scale but on a national scale. Wendy is rightly using this fame to try and catapult herself into a higher office. Not many other Texas Democrats can claim to have done something as remarkable as Wendy’s filibuster. This is what the Democrats need: someone who has serious cred. Now here comes the iffy part. In order to get the Republicans to rethink their Texas strategy, Wendy needs to run an active and outreaching campaign. Democratic campaigns in Texas have been lackluster and routine because they know they can’t win. If Wendy run a more active campaign, she could energize
the base enough to make the election close. And even if she doesn’t win, Republicans could interpret the election as a close call and potentially consider Democrats a threat in a deep red state. There’s also the possibility that this will keep Wendy on the national stage. It is highly likely that if she makes a big enough splash, even if she loses, she will stay in the political mainstream and reinvigorate Democrats. She could give the Dems some much needed attention that could lead to more money, machinery, and votes. I’m rooting for Wendy. I know she’s going to lose, but if she plays her cards right, she could shock the Texas wing of the GOP. So go Wendy, go!
art by Marissa Hansen
Frustatingly crowded morning bus routine demonstrates need for increase in civility and etiquette The average LASA student is logical enough to understand the way that the bus system functions. This would perhaps lead you to think that the morning bus system itself is logical. Since Austin’s two magnet schools, Kealing and LASA, combine kids from all over the city -- Circle C to near Pflugerville, lovingly referred to among my friends abbigail kappelman as Mexico and Canada based Staff Writer on their relative distances north and south -- a single system for all the students involved is the most efficient method to get magnet students to school. However, there are multiple problems with the logistics of the system. For those of you who are lucky enough to not ride the bus in the morning, let me explain how it works. At a much too early hour in the morning, students wake up. They get to their bus stops, where a group of both Kealing and LASA students then get on the bus. That bus then meanders through the general neighborhood before finally making its way towards Kealing. At Kealing, the middle school students get off the buses. Since the number of students still in transit is reduced by about half, only half of the magnet buses then continue on to LASA. This means that while half of the LASA kids who take the bus can stay comfortably in their seats, the rest must get off their bus and wait on the Kealing sidewalk for upwards of twenty minutes until one of the continuing buses has a vacant seat. This process -- the sidewalk wait -- is easily the worst part of the transportation process. You would think that the students who have been waiting the longest would be able to get on the bus first, that there is a logical line system, that students are respectful and courteous. This is not the case,
art by Marissa Hansen
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Above are the opinions of The Liberator staff and not the individual featured.
especially on days that are cold or rainy, or days with morning meetings for popular clubs, where certain students are determined to get on a bus and get to school before 7:30 a.m. During my first two years of riding the bus, as the buses would line up on the sidewalk and only the bus in the front of the line would let students on until it was full. The buses behind it wouldn’t let anyone on until the front bus was full and had pulled away. This meant that no spots were wasted, and the kids furthest down the sidewalk -- those who had been waiting longest -- got first dibs on bus seats. Now, however, the bus system has inexplicably changed. As soon as a bus pulls up to the curb, it opens its doors and allows students to get on, even if the bus in front of it is also allowing students on at that moment. While this does mean that students get on buses faster, it makes the number of students on each bus smaller, and because buses no longer wait the appropriate time until they are full, the first few buses that continue on to LASA are relatively empty, while the last few buses that leave around 7:20am, after the peak of the Kealing drop-off, get the majority of the students who have been stuck waiting. While I can’t complain about my current ability to get to school faster and wait for shorter periods of time, I do not support the informality and lack of honor in the current system. In the past, it was understood by the majority that those who had waited the longest got on the bus first. Now, as soon as a bus opens its doors, a mad rush ensues as people fight to get onboard. Students push, shove, and trip over each other trying to get on the bus, and instrument cases act as battering rams as small freshman are trampled beneath the feet of upperclassmen. The lack of etiquette in the morning among bus-riding LASA students is unacceptable. Once on the bus, the system of etiquette is equally horrible. Inside the bus, drivers no longer pay attention to which students have large sports bags or instruments, meaning that students unknowingly head towards students in already-full seats and are stuck sitting next to them. I can personally attest to this issue -- for three years I have ridden the bus on football Fridays with a combined load of dance uniform, Cake Club baked goods and backpack, and I have been crushed against walls thanks to students who chose to sit next to me when I am obviously packed into a seat. Of course, the opposite of this is students with small backpacks who sit in the middle of their seats and refuse to scoot over when someone sits next to them. While this issue sometimes occurs because students are sleeping or otherwise not alert, I will say that my core strength has been amplified thanks to the roller coaster-like ride I get every morning, trying to balance on the edge of a seat while drivers take sharp corners. If LASA students were placed in the NYC subway system, they would be stabbed within minutes due to their simple lack of courtesy and humanity on the morning buses. However, the purpose of this article is not simply to complain about this system. It is also to proudly declare that I will not be pushed out of my rightful position in the line to get on the bus, that I will not be left on the Kealing curb and that I will not stand for a system lacking honor and general etiquette. Post Halloween stomachaches
Flooding Patchy facial hair Raisins Mysterious allergies Post Halloween stomach aches
Talk Freshman welcomes change after moving from Pearland Moving to a city such as Austin is like taking a painting or story you’ve been working on for eight years and starting over completely. You know your second draft is going to be better, but that doesn’t make throwing away everything you’ve done any easier. After moving from Pearland, tristan wright Texas, over the summer, I Staff Writer can honestly say that so far this draft has been better. Don’t get me wrong, the process of combing through my house and moving everything into the U-haul was soulwrenching. Knowing that I would be leaving the town that had become such a huge part of me was terrible. But the worst part was the thought that the people I knew would eventually forget my name. All my life I’ve been desperate to make an impression, to validate myself and my opinions with others. The idea that that impression would disappear kept me up at night long after the move. It still does. When we finished packing, I asked my dad to stop at the house of a friend I hadn’t spoken to for five years. I knocked on his door and we said our goodbyes. After that, I felt like I was done. I was finished with Pearland. The rest of the trip felt like a beginning rather than an end. I spent most of the summer settling into the new house and training for cross-country. Summer went by in a blink and suddenly, I found myself in high school. The school system is weird here. Here you have elementary school from first through fifth grade and middle school sixth through eighth. Pearland had elementary first through fourth, middle school fifth and sixth and junior high for seventh and eighth grade. My younger brother talked to me about how elementary kids were “treated like toddlers most of the time, but then people go back and say ‘Come on! You’re in fifth grade,’” and how disconcerting that was. High school has been a pleasant surprise, however. I guess the ban on hazing freshmen happened just in time, because the seniors have been ridiculously nice. As far as I know there was some sort of stereotype about seniors giving freshmen directions to teachers that don’t actually exist or something like that. Not here. Here all of the upperclassmen are helpful and supportive. And its not just the school, the entire town just seems to have an air of friendliness that Pearland never had, and its something I can’t accurately put into words. So consider this a thankyou to the entirety of Austin: thank you for making my stay so enjoyable.
Religious freedom at LASA prompts reflection on life at private school Last summer I took Government at ACC, and I have not hesitated to point out unconstitutionality in the public workplace (i.e., school) ever since. Before taking the class, I knew that religion in schools was a widely contested topic, but I didn’t look into it as much as I should have. In hindsight, I realize that the practices by my old Christian school would be broadcasted ana lopez on national news if they were Staff Writer in the public school setting. In middle school, my math class consisted of an extensive analysis of a certain excerpt of the Bible, a class-wide prayer and, lo and behold, the actual math lesson. I learned a lot about David and Goliath, but I didn’t think it related much to quadratic equations. My math teacher was a devout Baptist, so it was understandable that she would communicate her ideas to us and broaden our perspectives, but I still questioned the correlation between God and math. Similarly, my Spanish teacher from 2nd grade to 8th grade was a pietistic Catholic, his classroom covered in crucifixes, aloe vera plants, and the overall musty smell of an old cathedral. On one of the first days of Spanish class, his large projector displayed the Lord’s Prayer in Spanish, and we were to memorize it and recite it over and over again in a matter of days. Being eight at the time, I didn’t think much of it, so I set it down as one of Señor De La Llata’s quirks. Every day, he expected us to stand up at the beginning of class, close our eyes, and recite the prayer with everyone else. We learned two or three children’s songs that pertained to heaven and angels, but he didn’t necessarily impose his beliefs onto us, as many of my classmates were Muslim and Hindu. However, he did have us repeat the prayer if we weren’t saying it loud enough or didn’t have enough pasión. This would be wholly unconstitutional in a public school, but private schools do not fall under the same constraints as their state-funded counterparts. Many small-town public schools, however, are still likely to practice enforcement of mandatory prayer. In the cases Engel v. Vitale (1962) and Abington School District v. Schempp (1963), the United States Supreme Court ruled that government mandated school prayer is unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Freedom of religious expression is a very popular topic, but I don’t see any advancements toward actual enforcement of the laws. Every time LBJ plays a team in a smaller town, a football field-wide prayer precedes kickoff. While it’s not anything to bring up to the Supreme Court, it’s a little trite to depend on the good Lord above for a 2-point conversion. It’s refreshing to go to a school like LASA that doesn’t force prayer upon its left-of-center student body—that would be a lawsuit and then some.
the liberator nov. 12, 2013
Health and Speech at the end of their rope Frankie Marchan
LASA lecture series fosters national adoption speaker Chadwick Sapenter visited LASA students as a part of the All Topics Are Considered lecture series. Dedicated to bringing influential and motivating speakers to the student community, the Lecture Series, organized by students and staff, provides an atmosphere for students to hear from some of the world’s leading experts on math, science, philosophy and language. Sapenter, a motivational speaker, focused his talk on foster care and adoption, two topics close to his heart. “It was very impactful as it showed that life doesn’t just hand things to you and sometimes people have to work hard to triumph over the obstacles put into their lives, whether it be poverty or more abstract difficulties,” LASA ATAC Director of Development Michael Jiang said. A victim of attempted murder and provider for his family at 13 years old, Sapenter was one of the few foster children able to rise out of these hardships and become successful. In living through this adversity, a certain passion for the adoption of foster children was instilled in Sapenter, an aspect very prevalent in his lecture. “He told us to pursue what really matters in life and how we should give back to our community like he does, through speaking out for the adoption of foster children,” Jiang said.
Motivational speaker Chadwick Sapenter speaks to students as part of LASA All Topics Are Considered. photo courtesy of Tripi Shrivastava
National Art Honor Society paints mural in LBJ hallway The LBJ National Art Honor Society has begun painting a mural as part of their Honor Society requirements. LBJ art teacher Emily Atkinson said that the project is a way for the honor students to put in service hours The completed mural painted by the LBJ NAHS. photo by Ana Lopez and give back to the community. “It is a requirement, like the regular National Honor Society, to submit service hours, so anything art-related that benefits the school or the community in any way can be used,” Atkinson said. “We also made a crash poster for the first pep rally, which was one of our first projects.” LBJ student Bryson Williams designed the mural, which features a quote from Lyndon B. Johnson and warriors atop a pedestal, armed with learning materials. “I had my NAHS kids draw up ideas for the mural after I showed them the wall they’d be painting on; we ultimately chose Bryson Williams’s idea,” Atkinson said. “They definitely have to accommodate to the strange triangular shape of the wall.” The location of the mural, which is already being painted, was decided on by the LBJ administrators. “I asked the assistant principals where on campus they thought needed a mural, and they almost automatically suggested the bus ramp entrance,” Atkinson said. “I thought it would be a great idea for my NAHS kids to work on the murals during a Saturday symposium instead of coming in after school.”
LBJ seeks to raise reading levels through new program LBJ has implemented the Reading Plus program for the 20132014 school year. The program focuses on improving fluency, silent reading, comprehension, vocabulary and overall reading proficiency. According to LBJ English teacher Carrie Carter, 64 percent of LBJ’s population is reading five grade levels below their actual grade. The program aims to raise reading test scores to state mandated levels. “Reading Plus is a program designed to help increase our test scores,” Carter said. “In every reading class, we are going to implement at least 20 to 30 minutes of Reading Plus. It’s going to increase our vocabulary, silent reading and our fluency.” The mission of the Reading Plus program is to develop independent silent readers. The program develops reading capacity, motivation and efficiency in students from third grade through college. “By the spring semester we should see a gain in our test scores,” Carter said. “There are different activities for fluency. Thermometer measuring There are different activities reading progress near the for vocabulary. Everything is front entrance. graphic by pretty much independent.” Sesha McMinn stories by Surya Milner, Ana Lopez and Sesha McMinn
Health and speech classes are on the cutting board of Austin Independent School District (AISD) high school graduation requirements, after the implementation of House Bill 5. The bill will change the courses required for high school graduation. Other non-traditional classes may be qualified as advanced measure classes for core curriculum requirements. LASA DELTA teacher Tracie Gardner said both health and speech are important subjects, but it is acceptable to cover these topics in other required courses. Gardner said removing speech and health requirements would open room for preferred electives, but she said teaching health and speech in other courses would make it more difficult for the district to regulate the material that reaches the students. “Both subjects are important and should be addressed at the high school level, [but] I don’t have strong feelings about specifically how they should be implemented in the curriculum,” Gardner said. “If important health topics can be covered in biology, that’s probably sufficient. As for speech, those skills are certainly important but can be developed in other courses, too. To what extent [speech skills] actually are [developed] is undoubtedly variable. Relegating health and speech topics to other courses might diminish the ability of the district and state to ensure students are in fact being exposed to specific material.” Crescenzi said she hoped the concepts and skills taught in both speech and health, all essential for long term job success and quality of life, would be applied in other classes if health and speech were no longer required as individual courses. Crescenzi said she does not expect the new graduation requirements outlined in HB 5 to affect LASA much, where the magnet endorsement will be pursued at LASA, upholding standards above all district requirements while she said course offerings may change at other schools. “State requirements should be seen as the minimum of what a students does in school,” Crescenzi said. “I guarantee that here at LASA, regardless of the state requirements, students will always be challenged to learn as much as they can every day, in every class. My hope is to keep providing students with interesting and rigorous courses whether they are required or not.” LASA health teacher Marcella Brown said health and physical education courses can contribute to various aspects of student health. She said any class will benefit attentive students but that health class is especially important because overall health affects an individual’s entire life, including academic performance. “Students who use opportunities wisely can take away so many things from any classroom experiences,” Brown said. “Whether that be from a health class or another academic class, there are always opportunities to learn and grow. For some students, [not being required to take a health course] could mean missing opportunities to discuss, explore or become more knowledgeable about changing health topics that directly impact their physical, emotional, mental and social health.” Since Aug. 1, the State Board of Education (SBOE) has been discussing whether to align AISD high school course requirements and graduation plans with those recommended by the state. According to LASA principal Stacia Crescenzi, AISD cannot require any less of its students than the state, but can opt to require more, and likewise with individual schools. Changes under discussion would take effect during the 2014-2015 school year, affecting current high school sophomores. The public hearing of House Bill 5, the legislation being reviewed by the SBOE to determine high school requirements, occurred on Sept. 17. The SBOE is also discussing focused endorsements in areas of STEM, business and industry, arts and humanities, public services and multidisciplinary
studies. Based on these recommendations from the SBOE, AISD is proposing three levels of graduation plans: minimum high school program, recommended high school program and distinguished achievement program. Only students graduating on the distinguished plan will be eligible for top ten percent automatic admission to public Texas schools. LASA counselor Shannon Bergeron said she is concerned about the effective communication and timeliness of changes made at the district level, because every time an “advanced math” or “advanced English” class is labeled as a fulfillment, TEA has to define what that term means. Because of these impending decisions, there are several unknowns including which plans will be offered at which schools. “I worry about getting information in a timely way so that, when we’re advising incoming freshmen, they know what they’re taking and have the right information,” Bergeron said. “I’m just nervous about the timeliness of all the decisions and the communication of those decisions.” Discussions of House Bill 5 have brought ideas including counting computer programming as a foreign language credit, and offering credit for community-based fine arts activities, similar to off-campus physical education already in place. The new plan would allow classes involved in career pathways to count for credit if they involve similar material to a core subject. LASA counselor Shannon Bergeron said district course requirement changes will affect students at LASA differently than students at other schools and said she felt that implementing House Bill 5 would lower current standards but might be beneficial to some students. “I think it’s sort of lowering the standards all the way around, but the idea is that more kinds of classes can count for credit,” Bergeron said. “[The LASA leadership team feels] strongly that students have to have a certain basic core curriculum in order to learn [everything they] need to learn. But that [does not mean such a] curriculum is a one-size-fits-all for everybody. I think students who go to a school where they offer health sciences, or agriculture or criminal justice may be better off targeting those specific classes and those areas.” One element of House Bill 5 allows students to take either world geography or world history rather than requiring both. While a greater array of options might enlarge a student’s knowledge base, Bergeron said she is worried about students entering college without a basis in certain core curriculum classes. “I think for electives, I think it makes sense to give more choice,” Bergeron said. “I’m just worried that by reducing some of the common core curriculum like social studies—I mean, that’s not going to be part of a career pathway—the kids aren’t going to take it, but I feel like that’s an important part of the foundation of education. When you go out into college, you need to have a basic understanding of what’s going on in the world. So to say that that’s no longer required is to say that students are no longer going to have that base knowledge or information.” Since these changes will affect incoming freshmen of the 2014-2015 school year, Bergeron said she is curious about how alterations in requirements across the district while graduation expectations at LASA remain the same will affect the students who choose to come to LASA. “I’m curious to see if [House Bill 5] will affect the number of students who choose to come to LASA, knowing they’re going to have a more demanding expected curriculum than they will anywhere else,” Bergeron said. “It will be interesting to see what that incoming freshman class [will] look like and how [the changes affect] the more liberal arts, fine arts, visual arts kids.”
art by Sammy Jarrar
LASA Japanese students prepare for dance performance at local Aki Matsuri festival Daniel Zimmerman
LASA Japanese classes are preparing two traditional Japanese Obon dance routines which they will perform at the 2013 Aki Matsuri Japan Fall Festival. The event, which will take place on Nov. 16 at O. Henry Middle School, is put together by the Japan-America Society of Greater Austin to promote Japanese culture. LASA junior Miriam Teague will be performing in the dance and said she is getting to be involved in more traditional Japanese traditions. “What interest me about the process is how at first there were a lot of people who didn’t know what we were doing,” Teague said. “[Now there’s] people
learning [about] the dances and getting involved in the more traditional aspects, instead of what everyone knows in class like Anime: getting more involved in the traditional side than the pop culture.” LASA Japanese teacher David Shimizu is helping students prepare for the dance in class by playing the music of the dances. He said the dance is meant to help the student become involved in Japanese culture and tradition and to participate with the Japanese community. “I think [the students] like it. Some of them feel awkward getting up there and dancing, but usually when they’re up there with the other students and doing something social and physical that generally they like it,” Shimizu said. The dancers initially prepared for
LASA senior Sahiti Dhulipala and LASA Japanese teacher David Shimizu stand with dance volunteers from JASGA. photo by Daniel Zimmerman
the event with an assembly in the auditorium to learn the choreography from volunteers. LASA senior Sahiti Dhulipala performed the dance two years ago and is now helping younger students learn the routine and performance. “[There’s] a lot of things that are just so enjoyable about it. There’s the learning process and once you feel like super excited that you know how to do the dance,” Dhulipala said. “It’s not something to stress out over, it’s actually more of a stress reliever. It’s something outside of school that we have with everyone else and we get to hang out with friends and it’s just relaxing time for us. The dance is a way for everyone to sort of come together.”
Japanese students dance at the auditorium while practicing the Obon dance for the upcoming JASGA Aki Matsuri fall festival. photo by Daniel Zimmerman
the liberator nov. 12, 2013
‘Waiving’ goodbye to NCLB
TEA accepts waiver exempting Texas schools from No Child Left Behind standards Chris Buffum-Robbins
Students in Texas will be exempt this year from the standards set by No Child Left Behind after the state received a waiver from the Obama administration. The law was up for reform in 2007, but because it had not yet been dealt with by 2012, the federal government issued statewide waivers. Texas was one of forty-two states to accept a waiver excusing them from the rules set by No Child Left Behind. The No Child Left Behind Act was introduced in 2001 by President George W. Bush in order to improve struggling schools throughout the country. The law called for student assessment through standardized tests which, if failed, could result in consequences for the school such as slashed funding or even foreclosure. According to Alexander Kress, former education adviser to president Bush and key architect of the law, the intent of No Child Left Behind was to bridge the achievement gap between privileged and underprivileged students. “We were trying to create pressure, provide tools and extra funding to educators and school leaders and create other leverage to cause a reduction in the achievement gap,” Kress said. “African American, Latino and low income students, as well as students with disabilities had shown no real progress nationally in gaining on white and other well-to-do students during the late ‘80s and ‘90s.” One of the key goals of the law was to increase test scores as well as close the achievement gap between white and minority students. Since No Child Left Behind, test scores have been steadily climbing and the achievement gap is smaller. Kress, however, said that there still is a substantial amount of schools that have not closed the achievement gap and have not met the law’s testing standards. “The law was administered reasonably well at the federal level,” Kress said. “ Some states and districts did a commendable job of implementation, many did not [because] it’s very hard work [and] some weren’t up to the task, some didn’t have their heart in changing and resisted or some parts of the law needed repair to be made more workable.” Due to the waiver, schools will no longer have to adhere to the ‘Adequate Yearly Progress’ (AYP) system, which requires that student proficiency in math and reading increases yearly until acceptable. This, Kress said, will offer schools struggling to meet their AYP some respite. “In part, the waiver was needed,” Kress said. “Since the Congress never [reformed the law] in 2007 or any time thereafter, there are features of NCLB that are creaky and unworkable. In some ways, the waiver will keep Texas and Austin Independent School District from being subject to these provisions.”
LBJ High School has in the past struggled to meet the standards set up by No Child Left Behind. However, Mario Acosta, the Curriculum Director at LBJ, said that the law is not effective at testing a school’s accountability. “There’s a lot to a school; it’s a living organization made up of people and there are a lot of things that go into running an effective school that the accountability systems do not measure,” Acosta said. “When it comes to looking at the whole organization, the system does not do a good job of that.” The law also called for all students to pass the standardized tests by 2014. Acosta says that the waiver will relieve schools
States have been approved for waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act
from meeting standards he called unrealistic. “I don’t think it’s ever realistic to have 100 percent of people doing anything,” Acosta said. “100 percent is a number even in statistics that is never attainable. It is not a statistically feasible number.” LASA Academy Director Kenisha Coburn said that the waiver will have minimal if any effect at LASA because of the level of the curriculum taught on campus. “I’m not sure it will have a substantial effect on us as a campus because what we do is so beyond and above of what No Child Left Behind is aiming for,” Coburn said. “It won’t affect us too much other than saving us some instructional time.” There are varying opinions on whether or not this waiver is good for Texas education. DeEtta Culbertson, an information specialist for the Texas Education Agency, believes that the
Percent of Texas schools will still be subject to federal intervention
waiver is a positive thing. “The waiver will bring some relief from burdensome federal mandates to our school districts,” Culbertson said. LASA assistant principal Alan Santucci believes that the waiver is a victory for education because it gives more power to local government to solve problems in education. “Anytime the federal government is less involved in local education is a good thing,” Santucci said. “It is better served at the lower levels of government, closer to the people it serves.” Kress believes that the waiver is a temporary fix, as the issues in the law were never addressed after the bill was up for reform. “The waiver is a stopgap,“ Kress said. “It’s neither a victory nor a setback. The law has features that needed fixing seven years ago when it was up for reauthorization.” Coburn said she hopes that the state of Texas will use the waiver to their advantage and refocus on teaching students that were struggling even under No Child Left Behind. “I hope that with the waiver it doesn’t take away the focus from some of the Title One schools that in the past the kids didn’t perform as well,” Coburn said. “I hope that the state of Texas does something positive with the waiver and it doesn’t become an opportunity to lose focus on the kids that really need public education the most.” There is uncertainty surrounding the future of No Child Left Behind. Coburn said she wishes for the law to be changed to serve public education in a more constructive way. “I think the idea of No Child Left Behind is still something most people are on board with. It’s the practicality of it and the implementation of it that need to be adjusted,” Coburn said. “I hope that whatever changes are made whether or not it goes away is that at least the high stakes piece is gone. I don’t think the systems generally work when people’s livelihood and people’s jobs and people’s schools being closed are so heavily tied to one test.” Acosta also hopes the law will be changed, but believes that it will take a significant force for lawmakers to make any progress on changing the law. “The question becomes when the problem becomes bad enough in the state of Texas that the citizens of this state require our legislatures to do something different,” Acosta said. “That’s when you’ll see some changes you can feel in Texas Education.” Kress, on the other hand, wishes for the law to be left intact due to the possible detrimental impact full repeal would bring to the public education system. “If the law is severely cut back, I predict federal funding for education will be sharply curtailed as well,” Kress said. “This is because more and more people will doubt whether spending in the absence of accountability makes any sense. So opponents of the law in the middle and on the left need to be careful.”
Percent of Texas schools in 2012 met “Adequate Yearly Progress”
Luxury tax leads to Boardwalk Will Johnson
The Trail Foundation is nearing completion on The Boardwalk, a 1.2 mile pedestrian bridge running along Lady Bird Lake that will connect the 10 mile Hike and Bike Trail. The bridge will offer a scenic outlook on downtown Austin and will be built five to six feet over the water. Susan Rankin, Executive Director of The Trail Foundation, said that the boardwalk is the group’s most ambitious project ever. “It is a $20 million project that took both city money and private money,” Rankin said. “It took a very long time to getting the project started, from just getting the construction pitch out, to getting [the project] completed and then getting it kicked off.” The construction of the Boardwalk will be environmentally friendly, spacious enough to accommodate two way traffic from bikers and runners and comparable in cost to a land trail. Due to the construction methods and the physical location of the trail, Rankin believes that the trail will offer an unconventional experience. “Just having the feeling of walking, running and biking on water, I don’t think that there is anything like it in Austin,” Rankin said. “Even though the trail goes along the lake, it is going to be long and expansive and beautiful.” Currently, due to the missing section of trail, trail-users are expected to take a detour across the city streets. John Walters, a LASA sophomore has run on the loop and taken the detour before. “The detour around this missing section of trail runs along Riverside Drive on a narrow sidewalk in busy traffic,” Walters said. “Then [the detour] crosses Interstate 35 at a very congested intersection.” The process of creation for The Boardwalk began in 2008, when The Trail Foundation received private funding to begin designing the path to provide trail users with a less hazardous route than the detour. The construction of the bridge, at the time with a price tag of approximately $17 million, was approved by the City Council and the Austin voters as a part of the 2010 Transportation Bond package. Later, when construction bids came in at approximately $20 million, the Trail Foundation raised the needed $3 million to make the construction happen. Currently, the concrete piers have finished construction, and the deck will begin assembly shortly. “The project is pretty much right on schedule,” Rankin said. “It’s going to be completed late spring or early summer.” Walters said that he hopes the construction finishes on time so he can take advantage of the unprecedented project. “I’m looking forward to when the bridge will be
completed,” Walters said. “Not only will it be more convenient for me, but the new bridge looks really awesome.” Walters is not the only citizen excited for the completion of the project. Willy Ross, a professional local cyclist has seen the gradual progress of the project, and believes that its completion will be convenient for safety reasons. “I’m very excited for the completion of the Boardwalk,” Ross said. “Mainly I look forward to getting off the busy streets.” Fox Pfund Pulliam, a LASA sophomore, has optimistic views for how the Boardwalk will affect the student community. “I’d have to say that it will be very popular,” Pulliam said. “I like to ride my bike on the trail and I’m really excited that an lm The Trail Foundation is making the bridge so there is a pe p a full loop.” yK bb Upon completion, Rankin said that she A y tb believes that the project will be hugely ar successful, and that the hard work from everybody will pay off. “This is a really big deal,” Rankin said. “This [Boardwalk] is going to be iconic. People are going to come here to Austin for it.”
EXISTING TRAIL NEW TRAIL DETOUR TRAIL
The new trail is scheduled for completion in late spring 2014. The Trail Foundation began work on the new trail after receiving complaints about hazards along the detour trail.
the liberator nov. 12, 2013
Making new connections
Entrepeneur holds networking event at LASA, influential Austinites tour school partnerships under a different light. The mix of liberal arts and sciences was the key to many things, for the school and the connections it had. Although the partnerships previously mentioned disappeared with the addition of the liberal arts section, Hoover showed appreciation for LASA’s mix in both fields. “Well I consider science a part of liberal arts, so I guess that might be a little bit different than the definition.” Hoover said. “But just as we need both sides of the brain to really function and do cool stuff, I really believe that you need both [science and liberal arts] and I’ve spent my whole life studying both.” During the reunion, Hoover and the entrepreneurs were given a tour of the school which showcased many different aspects of LASA. According to students who had been part of the tour, many found the entrepreneurs interested and impressed by what they saw. LASA junior Evan Tey, who had been participating with the Computer Science students, said that he felt that the diversity of the school impacted the touring attendees. “They were really excited and impressed to see high schoolers so involved with and passionate about a bunch of different subjects,” Tey said. Many LASA clubs and classes used the night to showcase their accomplishments. Robotics had a work night, Art had a work period, Quiz Bowl had a practice session and Model UN had a practice simulation. LASA junior Michael Jiang, an ATAC club leader, said that he believes that the event could potentially help clubs in need of funding. “The connections made with these successful business men will attract more attention to an already very talented community which would make us a target for funding and really put us on everybody’s radar,” Jiang said. Although the near future may not feel much impact from the connections that may have formed from the reunion, teachers and students both believe that forming these relationships is a big step forward. “The hope is that there’s someone that finds what the kids are doing interesting and is willing to form a partnerships,” Pettigrew said. “I don’t have a goal past that because I don’t know what to expect from [the reunion]. This is an entirely brand new thing, so setting a goal, or what we hope to convey, doesn’t really make sense,” In the long run, LASA students and administrators believe that even if the amount of impact felt from the reunion may not be as great as everyone hopes for, the fact that LASA was able to hold the reunion is already a big help. Crescenzi showed her positivism in just the idea that LASA was able to get it’s name out to a broader audience. “My hope for it is that [the attending entrepreneurs have] become impressed with us, we [have] become impressed with them, and we can form partnerships, and whether that means internships, whether that means they have ideas and they let us pilot them in classes, whether that means they’ll just come in and do nothing but be part of our lunchtime lecture series - all of that is really exciting to me,” Crescenzi said. “I think that the more we get our name out there with people, the more opportunities that will naturally present itself.” story by Sammy Jarrar and Joann Minn
LASA seniors Ximone Willis and Jessica Wang speak with entrepreneurs. photo by Surya Milner
Enrtrepreneurs at the event wait in the library awaiting Gary Hoover’s speech. photo by Surya Milner
art by Victoria Mycue
LASA high school hosted entrepreneur Gary Hoover’s reunion event in the school’s library on the evening of Oct. 21. Hoover, creator of Bookstop and other businesses around the country, decided to host this exclusive event at LASA for the benefit of the school and the attendees. Hundreds of entrepreneurs gathered to socialize, network and tour the school while LASA students showcased many of the features that define the school. Clubs and courses like Model UN, Robotics, Anatomy and Physiology, Art, Quiz Bowl and Science Olympiad spent hours after school in order to show Hoover’s guests what the school is about. Students, teachers and administrators, including LASA principal Stacia Crescenzi, hope having had a wide variety of influential businessmen at the school could lead to new partnerships. “One of the reasons I’m really excited about hosting this reunion is because I feel as though it gives us a great opportunity to find partners, or become partners with people who currently are, or potentially will be in the future, very influential,” Crescenzi said. Hoover said his interest in LASA high school began when LASA senior Daniel Chen, who heard Hoover speak at Camp Enterprise held by the Austin Rotary every year, asked him to come to LASA to speak for the LASA Lecture Series: All Topics Are Considered (ATAC) club. “[Daniel] said he enjoyed what I had to say and asked why not come [to LASA] and speak to the group that has lectures during lunch that Sarah Harrelson organizes,” Hoover said. “So I spoke to that once and was [really] impressed by what I saw.” Hoover launched his first reunion at the School of Information, a part of the University of Texas at Austin, and was excited to see that many of those invited had enjoyed the event. Not only were entrepreneurs able to create networks and business partnerships with one another, but the School of Information was also able to see the benefits of making new connections with the entrepreneurs who had attended. “For the School of Information, from the party over there, there were several people that met up [at the school]. There was one guy who joined the advisory board because of that and I’m sure there’ll be some donations because of that,” Hoover said. “The point of this party is to encourage [attendees] to participate, donate and learn more about whatever we can to help things that are cool.” The Science Academy, the predecessor to LASA before the liberal arts section was added, had multiple partnerships in the past. However, when the liberal arts section was added to the school, the partnerships simply ended up disappearing. And so, many hoped that this reunion would revive the sponsorships and connections LASA would have. “It’s just something that went away. It used to be a lot of Science Academy [partnerships]. The Science Academy partnered with tech places to get a lot of lab equipment,” LASA Model UN sponsor Kim Pettigrew said. “[But now that the opportunity has come] we’re asking someone to give us money based on the merit of what we do, to help us better educate our students.” Bearing this in mind, LASA hosted the Hoover event to reform these
Political attitudes in teens attributed to environmental factors continued from page 1
democratic in the past three U.S. presidential elections. LASA world geography teacher Cody Moody said these political tendencies unique to Austin influences student’s political stances. “I think what has not changed in my time teaching here is the kind of background that kids have,” Moody said. “Parents [are] more than likely liberal-minded, those parents either being of a range of different ethnic or racial backgrounds. On the whole, I find very few kids who come here who have very conservative political views; that’s my impression.” Research by Gallup in 2004 found that 56 percent of teens age 13-17 identified themselves as a political moderate. Austin Community College government professor Lisa Perez-Nichols, Ph.D., said youth tend to be less attached to specific parties than they are to particular candidates, in part due to the failure of political parties to hook young voters. “You’re not going to see people who are all the way to the left or all the way to the right,” Perez-Nichols said. “They tend to be more in the middle. I’m seeing a lot of [young adults] saying things like, ‘Well, I rather would vote for the person who would do the best job.’ They’re kind of disconnecting from parties like crazy.” Although her parents identify with the Democratic party, Watson-Carlisle describes herself as a “Blue Dog Democrat,” a term used to denote people who hold more fiscally conservative views within the Democratic party. “Growing up, my parents were always like, ‘Yeah, let’s go Democrats,’” Watson-Carlisle said. “[But] I was taking a look at my own views and we took a test in government to see where you range on the conservative [to liberal scale], and I’m a Blue Dog [Democrat]. I’m more towards the right wing side of politics than the left wing, whereas while I was growing up, I was like, ‘Let’s be more Democratic.’” Young voters’ affiliation with both parties has varied since 2008, according to statistics by PEW Research Center. Coinciding with the financial crisis, there has been a general decrease in Republican party identification and an increase in young adults identifying themselves as Independents. Wlezien said students are sensitive to short-term factors such as changes in the economy, although by the time they are 30, they generally have a more firm set of beliefs. “[Young adults are] more influenced by short-term courses,” Wlezien said. “While younger people tend to be more liberal, their partisan identification will oftentimes tend to be influenced by the political forces of the day. When some economists say, ‘We most need to be generous, we need to be stimulating the economy,’ we tend to withdraw and say, ‘We should not spend this much’ and ‘We should not give this much to welfare as we had in the past.’” In addition to parents, LASA government teacher Ronny Risinger said schools can impact students’ political views. While education may not completely transform a student’s views, he said it allows students to become more open-minded and receptive to other ideas. “We’re here to educate people, and believe it or not, some students do really trust what their teachers tell them,” Risinger
said. “Some people have fears that a teacher would say something and a student would take it as absolutely true and carry that idea forward even though it may just be propaganda. That’s what everyone says, that professors are just indoctrinating little children, and that fear holds true in high schools.” However, Perez-Nichols said that schools could engage students earlier in the political process to make them more involved as adults. She said that mock-elections can lead students to become voting adults later in life. “If you let juniors and seniors in high school take economics and government in the later part of their high school career, that would complement the idea of them turning 18 and then [they]’re right there,” Perez-Nichols said. “I think that’s where [schools] go wrong. A lot of that can be done earlier in the process. Once someone turns 16, 17, 18 they pretty much have some sense of themselves and their families have already more or less cultivated their ideologies.” LASA senior Aniket Patel worked with Battleground Texas, a pro-democrat organization in Texas, during the past summer. He said he did not agree with all aspects of the program, but the activism and courses he took at school allowed him to become more interested and involved in politics. “I would say I started out freshman year with little to no interest in politics,” Patel said. “[By] taking social studies classes and really understanding the way government works, my eyes have been opened to different ideas [and] in general more things about government that are really interesting to me.” Risinger said that following peers’ political values can be a cyclical process. By seeing different opinions and reaction to those opinions, he said that student’s views can be changed. “I think that your peers are probably one of the first outlets where you experience differences,” Risinger said. “If you respect your friend and your friend has a different viewpoint and you think that your friend is cool, you might think that viewpoint is cool, so you start emulating that behavior.” An alternative source of political information and involvement youths partake in includes social media. Risinger said that social media allows news to be more available to students leading to young adults becoming more active in politics. “Today, with your smartphone, you can receive a tweet here... and believe it or not, one tweet at a time, you can become a very savvy political consumer,” Risinger said. “Young people today are experiencing a revolution of political activism due to the technology making it very available.” However, Perez-Nichols said by becoming more politically active through social media, young adults often forego their role in more mainstream politics and may vote less. “I think social media has become almost like another sort of parent,” Perez-Nichols said. “It’s another way for people to build relationships. [It’s] another way to foster ideology because, interestingly, people tend to gravitate towards others who are much like themselves. It seems to me that students are almost so involved with social media, that they feel if they’re involved that way, like making comments or posting in that way, then it’s okay for them not to vote.” Similarly, Moody said traditional media impacts students’ relationships with government. He said while social studies
teachers try to instill responsibility and potential for change, the media creates a divide with citizens and the government. “It’s troublesome because the relationship between the government and our representatives in Congress, and how their statements are twisted by the media puts citizens in a difficult position determining [the truth],” Moody said. “I think people outside the political arena see practical solutions to issues much more than politicians themselves because of the complexity between politics and the media and the image that both parties try to keep up of themselves, and how those images are portrayed by the media.” Patel said the media depiction of the government during its shutdown showed a lack of cooperation within, and emphasized discord between different individuals and parties. “[The shutdown]’s something in politics where I feel more angered ... because all you see is the two parties and you don’t see as much work done,” Patel said. “You’re just watching two people go at it over whose fault it is instead of how can you ... help the majority of people.” Despite gridlock within the government, Watson-Carlisle said young adults can change the future of the country by becoming more involved and passionate about political issues. “Like people say, the youth are our future,” Warson-Carlisle said. “But the youth aren’t stepping up to create our future. The youth needs to do things for themselves. They need to be like, ‘I don’t like this, so I’m going to do something about it instead of sitting back and letting other people change it.’”
nov 12, 2013
graphic b y Abby K apelman
Historical, decomissioned Seaholm power plant resurrected to serve as public events venue, contributes to urban experience
Although the Seaholm Power Plant stopped generating power in 1996, it will now start to generate Austin culture. Seaholm, located in the heart of the Austin downtown area, has hosted events ranging from a Pink Floyd concert in 2011 to Ballet Austin’s Fete10 gala in 2010. A redevelopment project is aimed to take the power plant, which until now has served as an underground and unofficial venue, and transform the space into an urban oasis. Fred Evins is the redevelopment project manager with the city of Austin Economic Growth and Redevelopment, and has been with the project since 2004. “It’s going to give Austinites a new destination,” Evins said. Evins said that this future destination of the Seaholm District is set to include over 140,000 square feet of office space, 280 high-rise condominiums, an underground parking garage with 400 spaces, as well as a large plaza area. The power plant building itself will have retail, office and event space. This new district as a whole will also feature public art. Meghan Wells manages the City of Austin’s Art in Public Places program and is a key figure in the implementation of public art into the new Seaholm district. “This is a unique opportunity for Art in Public Places to help shape the aesthetic and functional aspects of the district,” Wells said. Art in Public Places has commissioned Nader Tehrani, an artist and professor of architecture at MIT, to design and create a wall to surround the active substation in the Seaholm district. Tehrani says his design addresses the practical requirements of the Seaholm substation while still creating an interesting piece of public art. “In the Seaholm Wall, it is our intention to not make a distinction between art and infrastructure but to bind these together as a single proposal,” Tehrani said. Along with Tehrani, many other artists have been commissioned to design art for the new district. Christian Moeller, an artist and professor at UCLA will design interior sculptures for the new Central Library. Austin-based designer and manager of 22o Designs, Judd Graham will create art posts. Other artists include Ned Kahn, who will work on a project that has yet-to-be sited and Sharon Englestein, who is designing exterior sculpture pieces. In addition to these artists, there is a future commission for the Green Water
Treatment Plant. “All projects have differing timelines, budgets, artistic goals, intent, siting and media,” Wells said. “But together they will bring significant artistic contributions into the urban experience that this development project offers.” The urban experience that the Seaholm district hopes to accomplish emphasis on entertainment, from public art to music. Certain plans are intended to create a space that will serve as a event venue. One case is the design of “festival streets,” or streets without a vertical curb. Wells says that these streets are designed to accommodate changes in public function, beyond what a street with curbs might offer. This, along with the extensions for Second Street will allow space for festivals of all sorts. Additional space for festivals or music venues will also be located between the renovated power plant and Cesar Chavez street. Evins says that this area, called the South Lawn, will have the capacity to hold events, such as arts or music festivals.
It is our intention to not make a distinction between art and infrastructure but to bind these together as a single proposal.
Another addition to the Seaholm district is the new central public library. Costing around $120 million, this library is the most expensive part of the project. It will be a six-story building that incorporates green energy. The library will bring its own entertainment value through special displays honoring Austin’s music, film and art. This Austin culture is something the developers are trying to convey in their designs. The motto or catch phrase that has spurred these designs is “compact and connected.” This idea emerges from a plan called Imagine Austin, which is a series of steps to change Austin into a better functioning city. Imagine Austin plans to make Austin a more sustainable and connected city by 2039.
18th annual Texas Book Festival welcomes young adult authors, highlights teen literacy
Music blares from surrounding tents as people lounge in their respective areas. Teens, like LASA freshman Kelly Kaufhold, mill around with their friends, talking to their favorite authors and eating from the food trucks that are found in abundance in the area. Parents chase after their kids in the vicinity of the children’s tent and others watch raptly as their favorite authors explain the secrets behind their latest books. For the past 18 years, this has been a recurring scene as people of all ages flock to the annual Texas Book Festival. On Oct. 26-27, people of all ages attended the Texas Book Festival where authors ranged from those of children’s stories, such as Edward Hemingway, to authors of adult novels, such as Austinite Thomas Zigal. “My favorite part of the book festival this year was being exposed to so many budding and famous authors,” Kaufhold said. “It was so interesting seeing all the writers in one place talk about the one thing they all had in common.” The Texas Book Festival is an event that avid readers flock to, allowing them to showcase their love of books, as well as foster the love of books in young children through the activities offered. “Reading isn’t just important, it;s powerful,” Kaufhold said. “It has the power to distract us from real life, connect us as a community of readers, and share new ideas.” The Book Festival is constantly getting new attendees, as well as keeping previous attendants coming back. They get different authors every year, though some authors do come back several times when they release new books. “I’ve never been to the Book Festival before so I thought it would be a cool thing to check out.” Kaufhold said.
“Plus a lot of my friends had told me about it and I figured it would be fun. Now I’d love to check some other [book festivals] out.” Claire Legrand was one of many authors at the Texas Book Festival. Legrand is classified as a “middle grade” author, meaning she writes books for the age range between eight and 12 years old. “With middle grade books, [I] just let the story grow and not worry about [whether] it should be this way or it should be that way,” Legrand said. “As long as the story makes sense to [the readers], they’ll go on the ride with you, they’ll trust you.” Legrand was on a panel with Anne Ursu, another middle grade author. Both spoke about their newest books. Students such as LASA junior Dhruv Puri had the opportunity to meet a variety of the authors present. “I got to meet Lemony Snicket,”
“[Imagine Austin] is basically saying that we know Austin is growing; we know it is going to continue to grow. The question is how we want it to grow.” This idea of “compact and connected” means making certain areas dense, more walkable and more connected to transportation. Evins says that the Seaholm redevelopment plans to help this goal, by creating a district that is both compact and connected. The future Seaholm district is also crucial to this plan because of its location. This district has the ability to connect Lady Bird Lake to downtown, as well as expand the downtown area. “One of the public benefits is creating more downtown density through a mix of uses,” Evins said. “It would make it easier to live downtown.” Although this part of Austin is now intended for residential buildings, it was once the municipal utility area. Evins said the history of the Seaholm area makes the project even more meaningful. “[Seaholm] had our first water treatment plant and our first power plant,” Evins said. “It’s been used and abused and was never connected to the street grid. So to me, one of the most exciting parts in not just preserving the historical aspect but also reintegrating that part of downtown into the downtown.” The preservation of the power plant has been going on since the plant closed in 1996 until earlier this year when construction started. The district aims to be partially completed by the end of 2014. LASA student Zach Benayoun has been following the development and has mixed feelings about the project. “I think its great for the restaurant life especially around Tarrytown because there aren’t a lot of options for food currently,” Benayoun said. “The only thing I’m bummed out about it that a lot of really great concerts used to be thrown at the powerplant. They were usually underground concerts which were really fun and so this is loss of a great venue.” However, both Evins and Wells agree that this new district will represent and incorporate Austin culture and benefit the city in multiple ways. “Seaholm District is making its mark on Austin through a combination of history and innovation,” Wells said. “We are redeveloping a historic facility and site into a place where new civic amenities and experiences can shape or re-shape the city in ways that we have not seen before.”
Puri said. “He was definitely one of my favorite authors when I was a lot younger. He wrote A Series of Unfortunate Events. It was nice seeing him.” After every panel, the authors headed over to the signing tents where fans were able to purchase the authors’ books and get them signed by the author. Authors such as Legrand had the opportunity to meet and talk to their fans. “I love watching the kids meet authors,” Legrand said. “I love watching these young readers and how excited they get and their faces just light up. I love seeing that with other authors, and then I love meeting my own readers because, as a writer, you’re at your desk all the time, writing alone and you forget sometimes who you’re writing for. So it’s really fun for me to come to things like this and be reminded why I do this in the first place.”
Unlocking the Truth
This assortment of heavy metal 7th graders will be performing on Saturday, Nov. 9 on the Black Stage. They met at the ripe age of 4 years old and, presumably, decided their fate as metal rock stars right then and there. They have already released two albums titled ‘Madness’ and ‘Paranoid,’ and are in the current process of completing their third and fourth CDs.
Thee Oh Sees
Garage rock band from San Francisco, CA will be performing on Friday, Nov. 8 on the Black Stage. Their shows are notoriously explosive and energetic encompassing their psychedelic, art-punk style. This, combined with their extensive visuals during their shows makes Thee Oh Sees a definite must-see.
After having performed at countless dive bars and backrooms, the Vancouver-based punk band, White Lung, will perform on Saturday, Nov. 9 on the Black Stage. Their catchy, vicious riffs and melodic, punchy tracks set this band apart from any other punk band at FFF this year.
A ska-punk lovechild of Operation Ivy and Weezer, The Impossibles have had their fair share of tumult. Breaking up in 1997, reuniting in 1998 and breaking up again in 1999, the punk cooperative has had a while to change up their material, ultimately abandoning their ska-punk roots in favor of a harder, heavier sound. Make sure to see them on Friday, Nov. 8 at the Black Stage.
Festival goers wait in line for signing by children’s author Edward Hemingway. photo by Hannah Marks
“Thug Waffle,” the group’s first hit single, took the East Coast rap scene by storm. The band utilizes hallucinogenic visuals and erratic shots. After their first album reached millions of views, they released a mixtape titled D.R.U.G.S, followed the next year by a second mixtape titled, BetterOffDEAD. They will perform on Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Blue Stage. compiled by Ana Lopez
the liberator nov. 12, 2013
40 Years of LBJ Sports
Forty years after LBJ first opened its doors, the Jaguars have beaten the Raiders eleven times in a row, marking a “Decade of Dominance.” In turn, the Jaguars now primarily compete against McCallum for the top spot in District 26-4A. The timeline below chronicles the past 40 years of both rivalries.
Then and Now
The Beginning: Due to the overflow of students at Reagan, LBJ is opened to be a ‘catchall’ school. This creates a seemingly playful rivalry between the two schools.
1981 The Turnover: The Jaguars realize that the Raiders are no longer real competition after beating them two years in a row. In turn, they look to the Knights for true competition.
All-American Boy: Led by LBJ All-American linebacker Ken Alexander, the Jaguars cruise to a lopsided victory against the Raiders. Alexander goes on to play for Florida State.
LBJ senior Zae Giles sidesteps a Reagen player at the 15 yard line, covered by Conner Prater. photo courtesy of Becky Gdula
Suit-Up: Basketball coach Freddie Roland rents limos for the Varsity basketball team to go to the Reagan game. “All the kids back then it was jean suits and big flop shoes,” Roland said. “They were all wearing the same things, even the coaches did.”
State: The basketball Jaguars make it to the state semifinals after beating McCallum in the regional final 85-63.
The Begining of the End: LBJ beat Reagan for the first time in four years, 27-20. “It started...to be really easy to beat Reagan, and McCallum became the harder game,” Pettigrew said. LBJ has beaten Reagan every year since.
The Beginning: The Jaguars realize that the Raiders are no longer real competition, after beating them two years in a row. In turn, they look to the Knights for true competition.
2008 Rivalry Match-Up: En route to a state quarterfinal finish, LBJ beats McCallum 28-21 and Reagan 60-27.
2010 Tailgate: LASA alumni Jefferson Reese and Kelvin Reed start the McCallum gameday tailgate tradition.
2012 cCallum: Senior Jaguars steal the “M” from the front of the McCallum building. LBJ loses to McCallum and finishes second in district.
Sweet Revenge: Several McCallum students spray paint ‘Mac’ and ‘LBJ sucks’ on the walls of LBJ and egg the doors. That night, the Jaguars edge out the Knights in to clinch the outright district championship.
Reagan rivalry wanes as Jaguars shift focus to annual McCallum football game For years, the rivalry was between LBJ and Reagan. Fans game,” Jones said. “[With] right about about three minutes packed Nelson field whenever the two teams met, and each left, we caught a fumble so we kicked off and scored, then got season the Jaguars and the Raiders battled for the district title. the ball back and scored real quick and won the game.” However, the past few years have marked a shift in the rivalry, The Jaguars beat McCallum 19-14 that season and went as LBJ has turned to a new opponent in blue. undefeated in district. However, it was not just football that “All of our traditions, like guarding the Texas, decorating had a history with McCallum, but basketball too. In the the halls and senior pranks, revolved around the Reagan 1998-99 season, LBJ basketball coach Freddie Roland led the game,” LASA history teacher and former student Kimberley Jaguars to the State Semi-finals after the Jags beat McCallum Pettigrew said. “The McCallum rivalry is really at most eight in the Regional Finals. However, he said he still remembers years old, and many of the Reagan traditions did not get the games against Reagan as the biggest of the season. transferred to it.” “We played in our gym and that made us real excited to The rivalry with Reagan began in 1974, when the overflow come into a high school gym with people standing around the of students at Reagan necessitated the creation of another wall,” LBJ basketball coach Freddie Roland said. “It was really high school. The new school, LBJ, drew from the same pool of exciting to see that kind of game, especially in Austin, Texas. students as Reagan, and the rivalry was born as close friends It is still a rivalry, just not like it was in the past.” and family members began to attend the different schools. Pace has taught at LBJ/LASA for more than 25 years. Most LASA science teacher Jackson Pace said the close proximity of his career was spent alongside the Reagan and LBJ rivalry. of the two schools made “Most of my rivalry the rivalry with Reagan stories have to do with different than the current Reagan,” Pace said. “Truly The McCallum rivalry is one of one with McCallum. I have never considered LBJ’s most defining qualities. Not “Reagan was placed a McCallum a rivalry. They just because it’s such a schoolwide mile from here,” Pace said. are too far beneath to see.” “It pitted family against McCallum was not thing, but because it’s something family. That might be a rival for the Jaguars each and every student believes in true [for the McCallum until 2006, coincidentally and takes to heart. rivalry] with the Kealing after another split in the kids, but for the rest of the students with the start of school there’s not much LASA. Some traditions -LASA Alum Ari Rogers rivalry at all. I don’t really have survived the shift, consider McCallum our such as the guarding of the rival, to the extent of the granite Texas in front of Reagan rivalry.” the school the night before the big rivalry game. LBJ alum Bruce Jones was on the 1981 district “The biggest tradition for us was the guarding of the Texas,” championship-winning Jaguar football team, and said he Pettigrew said. “It used to be that Reagan would come over remembers Reagan as tyhe main rival throughout his high and pull pranks at LBJ, so it was a tradition for the football school career. players to stand guard at the Texas all night the day before “That was like the game of the year,” Jones said. “Everybody the game and when I went to LBJ the Texas would also get around the city was coming to the game. Nelson field was Saran wrapped to protect it. Standing guard was something packed, standing room only. It was phenomenal. It was like the senior football players looked forward to each year.” that for a while actually.” While Nelson field is no longer filled like it once, the rivalry Jones said that the Reagan with McCallum has brought its own highlights, including a games were this intense until 1989. 2011 Jaguar win to clinch the district championship. LASA According to Jones, back then the alum Ari Rogers said the competition with the Knights still only significance McCallum held involves the entire student body. was when LBJ beat the Knights in “The McCallum rivalry is one of LBJ’s most defining his senior homecoming game. qualities,” Rogers said. “Not just because it is such a “It was pretty awesome, because schoolwide thing, but because it is something each and we were actually undefeated and every student believes in and takes to heart.” they were beating us most of the story by Isabel Saralegui
VARSITY BOYS 1st Overall Average Time: 18:26, 5k Noah Stevens-Stein 1st - 17:28 Isaac Metcalf 3rd - 18:33 Ben Rieden 4th - 18:38 Henry Benschoter 5th - 18:42 Sammy Wolfson 9th - 18:49 (PR) Jacob Hammond 11th - 18:51 VARSITY GIRLS 3rd Overall Average Time: 25:46, 5k Dayln Gillentine Maria Gilbert Elizabeth Conlon Kendall Graham Krista Bangs
8th - 22:39 (PR) 11rd - 24:11 15th - 26:51 18th - 27:05 23rd- 28:04
The top LBJ sports statistics from the past six weeks LBJ vs McCALLUM
LBJ vs DRIPPING SPRINGS
GIRLS SINGLES GIRLS SINGLES Yaritza Villasana 6-0, 6-0 Rosie Olwell 11-9, 6-3 Location: ATC Oct . 1
BOYS SINGLES Omari Henry 6-0, 6-0
BOYS SINGLES Liam Spiesman 6-2, 6-1
Location: LBJ Oct. 18
GIRLS DOUBLES GIRLS DOUBLES Rosie Olwell/Mary Louise Rosie Olwell/Mary Louise Gilburg 6-0, 6-0 Gilburg 7-5, 6-1 BOYS DOUBLES Liam Spiesman/Jack Liu 7-5, 6-1
DISTRICT Round 2
AREA Round 1
200 Medley Relay 200 Medley Relay 14th - 2:04.79 21st - 1:59.60 Amelia Isaac Van Eenoo, Nicot-Cartsonis, Alex Crumb, Katie Gleason, Eduardo Leah Berndt, Longoria, Nick Mathilda Ray Nicot-Cartsonis 200 Free Relay 200 IM 18th - 1:42.21 17th - 2:28 Zach Benayoun, Amelia Cosmo Nixon, Nicot-Cartsonis Isaac Van Eenoo, Nathan Le 100 Freestyle 10th - 58.16 Leah Berndt
50 Freestyle 21st - 24.21 Nathan Le
the liberator nov. 12, 2013
The Paper Jaguar
with Jamie Rodriguez
The LBJ Cross Country team huddles up to give their final cheer before the start of the District 26-4A meet. photo courtesy of Abby Kappelman
May the course be with you
LBJ cross country wins district championship Staff Writer
The summer practices, the early mornings of track workouts, the late nights of carb-loading and the days of sore calves and hyper-extended hip flexors had all led up to this moment. As the LBJ Cross Country team gathered around LASA senior co-captains Henry Benschoter, Jacob Hammond and Noah StevensStein, everyone from experienced varsity runners to new JV runners were anxious, but prepared. As the race official called for the runners to take their places behind the white starting line, Benschoter led the Jaguars in one last cheer. Nearly 20 JV boys dressed in purple took their places in slots two, three and four, and on “runner’s set,” everyone’s muscles tensed. One shot of the gun and the runners were off, racing through the mud on the 5k course at Decker Lake. “The biggest success we had this season was winning boys varsity in district for the fourth straight year as a team,” LASA sophomore Ben Rieden said. “The reason we were able to do this was because of how strong we are, not individually, but as a team, and how we all came together to run as a team. We pushed each other and helped each other throughout the entire season and we were able to improve this way.” The 2013 season of cross country was characterized by major changes. Not only had there been a shift in coaches from Dianne Russo to Brian Johnson, which left the team more dependent on captains to lead practices, the team was also
able to focus more on individual improvement pre-season. “Our core group of guys and our core group of girls put in a lot more miles this summer,” Hammond said. “I think it prepared us a lot more because [our team] improved proportionally more than last season.” One of the most defining characteristics of cross country as a sport is its ability to combine elements of individual and team
Standout runners included Stevens-Stein, who came in first place with at time of 17:28 followed by LASA runners Isaac Metcalf, Ben Rieden, Benschoter, Sammy Wolfson and Hammond. Despite a difficult course, rumored to be slightly longer than the exact 5k because of mud detours made the day before, varsity boys claimed 5 of the 10 top spots. In girls’ varsity, LASA freshman Dayln Gillentine placed 8th with a time of 22:39. She was only LBJ runner to place in the top 10 in that We pushed each other and race. Despite having only two runners, helped each other throughout girls’ JV still ran a solid race, and boys’ the entire season, and we were JV dominated its own race, placing able to improve this way. first overall and claiming four of the -LASA sophomore Ben Rieden top 10 spots, with 10 personal records and three season-best sports, according to LASA junior times set. Ben Girardeau. While running a “We have some juniors and race is a definite mental struggle, he underclassmen on the team who I’m said, having teammates cheer along really confident in,” Hammond said. a course is a motivational plus. At “I’m really sad that [we] seniors have the AISD District meet, whether it to leave, because I enjoy it so much, was Noah Stevens-Stein crossing the but it’s good to know that we’ve left finish line in first place during the 26- the [younger members] in a position 4A varsity boys, or Brenda Sanchez to succeed.” and Zoey Foley coming in right after The underclassmen, specifically each other during the girls’ JV race, Girardeau and Rieden, said they agree the LBJ players on the sidelines gave and they will be able to take over the the loudest cheers. team with ease. The boys are excited “I think the biggest success we had to push the runners and get them to this season was winning boys varsity where they should be next season. in district for the fourth straight year “Next year, Ben and I are going to as a team,” Girardeau said. “We were be the captains of the cross country able to do this because of how strong team,” Rieden said. “We’re going we are, not individually, but as a team, to really focus on discipline and and how we all came together to run commitment in our cross country, as a team.We won as a team, not and we’re going to push our runners individually. Cross country is a team to be the best they can be and exercise sport.” the peak of their abilities.”
Jaguar tennis team beats Dripping Springs tigers ten games to one in Area tournament, shine in doubles Surya Milner
It’s 8:30 a.m. and the LBJ tennis players mill about the tennis courts, fueling up on various trail mixes and fruit snacks before hitting the courts for initial warmups. The students seem in high spirits as they hit the ball back and forth between each other, practicing their serves and conversing with teammates. After a final team cheer, each athlete takes their station at their respective courts, prepared to take on Dripping Springs High School in the Area tournament. “We came in to the match not really knowing how well Dripping Springs was going to be, and this is the first time in a couple years that my partner and I, [LBJ junior] Omari Henry, had played together,” LASA junior Jack Scott said. “We weren’t really sure if we were going to come away with a win or not. We crushed them 10-1 in terms of games as a whole team. We won ten matches and they only won one or two.” Due to their rapid-fire shots, Scott and Henry won quickly, giving the Jaguars a good chance at moving on to the next round. After finding out that they would be moving on, Scott and Henry excitedly began to discuss game plan. “Winning the first few games in the second set definitely put us in a better place,” Scott said. “Once you get up you can relax and say hey, we still need to play aggressively, but we can risk harder shots in order to gain a greater reward and it definitely worked out for us.” LASA junior David Hamilton and LASA sophomore Sally Jung did not fare as well. The pair played a top duo from Dripping Springs, but found pride in winning one match. “They were stacked for doubles, which means that we were playing the number one guy and the number one girl—they were brother and sister,” Hamilton said. “Unfortunately, we lost. We played our best against them and managed to scrape one game
by, which was a victory.” Hamilton said that you have to take it one game at a time and celebrate the small wins when playing against the top team from a school. Regardless of how you do, he said, you have to be supportive of your teammates the whole way through. “[Losing] really takes a blow to one’s confidence,” Hamilton said. “You have to be supportive and cheer on everyone else even though you’ve already lost, and hope that you’ll pull through, which we did, and then you just get ready for your next match. You tell yourself that the first one has no effect on how you’re going to do later in the day, and you have a mental mindset that focuses on your later matches.” LASA English teacher and tennis coach Corey Snyder said it isn’t winning that matters, though. He said that the point of sports is to have fun, and those who take it past that aren’t truly enjoying it. “There’s a very nice team atmosphere out there where people can feel relaxed enough that they can get into their game and enjoy themselves,” Snyder said. “Sport are supposed to be fun. We play sports, we don’t do sports. We play them. It’s supposed to be played and the kids really enjoy that.”
The Paper Jaguar is an experiment in “participatory journalism” which was pioneered by George Plimpton in the mid-60s. Plimpton wrote a book called The Paper Lion detailing his tryout with the Detroit Lions professional football team. Inspired by the idea, intrepid former sports editor Jake Stewart practiced with a different LBJ athletic team each issue and catalogued his experience here. In this issue of the Liberator, Editor-in-Chief Jamie Rodriguez practices fencing with LASA junior Chris Wheatley. A quick word about eye patches. If you happen to wear an eye patch, don’t despair. In fact, a cloth covering over one eye could actually be beneficial, especially when it comes to searching for employment. For example, you might be perfectly suited to put together a team of superheroes to save the world, or star in Pirates of the Caribbean 5. However, I regret to inform you that there are a few jobs that just aren’t suited for the optically challenged, chief among them “receptionist at a fencing academy.” Yet this was the sight that greeted me when I entered the Texas Fencing Academy (TFA): a woman clad in a bedazzled eye patch, clutching various waivers in her outstretched hand. Filling out the forms under her not-so-watchful glare added a certain level of morosity to the situation, but I was nevertheless eager to begin my fencing lessons. The Texas Fencing Academy is located inside of Uncle Bob’s Self Storage, a non-descript building located in North Austin, and in order to enter I had to call ahead to receive the “secret gate access code.” This code, along with the location inside a storage facility, made me wonder if perhaps I had stumbled upon some underground fencing fight club. However, if TFA really is the fencing world’s version of “Project Mayhem,” they do a good job of hiding it. Despite its outer appearance, the inside of Uncle Bob’s looked like what I imagine to be a pretty standard fencing gym. After filling out my waivers, I found LASA junior Chris Wheatley, who informed me that I had come on the perfect day; an in-house tournament was about to start, and after a short lesson on the basics of fencing I would be able to jump right in. I set about getting the necessary equipment, donning a pair of white half-length pants, chest protector, glove, mask and an outer jacket. I selected a foil, and attached it to a wire running through my glove and down the jacket, where it was then connected to the scoreboard by more wires. I introduced myself to Jim, one of the TFA coaches, who began leading me through a few drills on footwork and foil technique. After a few minutes of moving back and forth with my feet in the proper position, I realized that I was starting to sweat profusely. It felt somewhat unnecessary to have so much equipment to protect me from such a small and flexible sword, but when Jim caught me square in the chest with a well-placed lunge I was grateful for my chest protector. I slowly began to pick up the basics of parrying and lunging, and after roughly 20 minutes Jim told me I was ready to go up against one of the younger fencers. Jim selected my opponent, a young girl who had just finished a bout. The top of her head barely levelled with my shoulders, but before I could introduce myself, Jim announced that we were to begin the bout. I connected the wire from my sword to the scoreboard, and we tested hitting each other to make sure that the scoreboard worked. After a quick salute, the swordplay began. My opponent struck first, lunging forward and poking me straight in the chest after deftly avoiding my weak attempt at a parry. The rest of the bout continued in a similar fashion. She was small but quick, and easily dodged my occasional strikes. The TFA website states that real fencing looks nothing like the swashbuckling potrayed in Zorro, which turned out to be a pretty accurate statement. Instead, my bout probably looked much closer to the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when all of the Black Knight’s limbs are severed in quick succession. I realized that I was being soundly defeated, but like the Black Knight, I refused to give up. The bout was a short one, and I only managed one touch against my opponent before she finished me off with a strike to the arm. While my body had not been physically injured, my fragile ego was sorely damaged. I removed my mask and introduced myself to the young girl, telling her that she had been a worthy opponent. I then asked her what grade she was in. “I’m in fifth grade,” she said with a small smile. “What grade are you in?” I replied that I was a senior in high school, and she responded with a quiet “Oh.” “Well, you did good for your first time,” she said, attempting to offer some words of encouragement. I knew that she was lying, but I was appreciative nonetheless. Fencing can be a humbling experience. The rules are more complicated than one might think, and the coordination of foot movement and swordplay is a hard thing to master. The thought that I had just been beaten by a fifth grade girl was hard to swallow. However, as I left Uncle Bob’s, I remembered the front desk lady and reminded myself that things could have been much, much worse.
Jennifer Spradley Jones MSW, LCSW Clinical Social Work and Therapy
5766 Balcones Drive Suite 101 Austin, Texas 78731 512-380-9090
the liberator nov. 12, 2013
LASA junior ‘Goes for the gold’ in her archery career Suyra Milner
LASA junior Chloë Fackler takes a deep breath she pulls back the arrow, its feathered end brushing her cheek. Narrowing her eyes, she makes a last angle adjustment and releases her breath and the arrow at the same moment. The arrow turns and spins in the air, landing in the bullseye of a target on a barrel of hay. Fackler grins and goes to retrieve her arrow. “I chose to be competitive because it challenged me to have discipline and drive,” Fackler said. “Though people compete in archery, it is a highly singular sport, where the only person you truly compete with is yourself.” She said this discipline and drive helped her succeed quickly in the field, despite her fairly late beginnings in comparison to the other kids in her division. Within the past three years she has competed in the national circuit of tournaments, earning a national ranking. This year, Fackler joined the Junior Dream Team (JDT), an archery program that is in conjunction with the Junior United States Archery Team. “I think her biggest success is her taking responsibility of her archery,” Fackler’s JDT coach Alexander Meyer said. “You truly do get what you give. If you do the work and make it your priority then it will pay off. I am really looking forward to the coming year and seeing what she can accomplish on a national level.” Fackler had the chance to compete against other archers for a spot in the Olympics this summer, but was not chosen as a finalist. She said that the possibility was exciting, even without actually going, due to her goals for the future lying elsewhere. “What I want is to perhaps get onto the junior dream team team, and maybe even junior United States Archery Team, but what I really want to do is live in Canada,” Fackler said. “So naturally I’ll shoot where I live, so I’ll shoot for the Canadian team.” Fackler said that she believes people feel archery is an easy sport due to the fact that it does not require teamwork. She said she disagrees wholeheartedly, and that archery requires a lot of discipline. “[Archery’s] far more complicated than that,” Fackler said. “You can spend weeks working on one single aspect of one of these steps, and you do. I practice every single day, since that’s what it takes to be good. Anyone who thinks archery is a simple, easy sport is sorely wrong.” Due to the high expectation for practice time, Fackler said that many archers drop out very quickly. She said that they are unable to handle the pressure. “Archery is called a life long sport for a reason,” Fackler said. “It’s also called a martial art for a reason as well. At our age we have a high dropout rate initially for the first two years, due to this preconceived misconception. An example of a successful archer would be akin to a young samurai-intraining”
LBJ volleyball team fails to reach playoffs Huddling in the Lanier Vikings’ hallway, the Lady Jags volleyball team members listen intently to their coach, LBJ math teacher David Jimenez. He reminds the players that this is the last game they have to win to get to the playoffs. The Lady Jaguars won one match, but lost the next three and just missed out on the chance to reach state. “We’re just gonna have to be more aggressive and practice harder [next year],” LBJ junior Charlynn Perry said. “We might not have an advantage in height, but we have skills and knowledge. We just have to just watch film and work hard.” According to LASA senior Jasmine White, the team didn’t start out as close as they hoped, which proved detrimental in games. Much of the problem was due to the team not functioning well with Jimenez’s style, White said. “I feel like from the beginning to right now, we’ve become a much closer team in the way we work together,” White said. “I think the sportsmanship has grown a lot and we’ve also traveled a lot so we’ve got to know each other a lot so we’ve all become really good friends.” Near the end of the season, though, captain Kebriana Nash had to quit for personal reasons. This forced the team to move around their lineup. Having a tough game two days after her quitting kickstarted Jimenez’s drive, according to White, as he began to mesh better with the team. “Well Kebriana leaving the team was really hard ‘cause we love her and we feel like she’s one of our best players,” White said. “I think our coach understood us a lot more because before he would compare us to other teams and we told him, ‘We’re our own team and I know you have high expectations for us but don’t put that on us.’ He’s come to know us better as a team and so his coaching has improved.” After this change in vision for Jimenez, White said that the girls became a stronger team. She said that the team looks forward to next year, due to the experience they have gained. “Even though I’m not going to be here, a lot of the girls that are on varsity are juniors so I think by the time next year, they’re going to be a really strong team,” White said. “They [have] already played together, so they’re already going to have that team dynamic set. I just think they’ve learned from our mistakes this year so they’re going to try harder next year.” story by Meagen Allgood
All in the Family
LBJ alum and current Texas Tech football player Kerry Hyder (left) tackles a Reagan Raider. LBJ alum and current North Texas girls basketball player Alexis Hyder (center) looks for an open teammate. LBJ senior Lance Hyder (right) tackles a Brenham player. photos courtesy of Jim and Becky Gdula
Hyder siblings attempt to live up to sports family name Eliza Cain
“Alexis’ parents are very supportive,” Brown said. “When Alexis was in grade school her parents had her in basketball LBJ senior Lance Hyder watches and softball. They were always at her the McCallum center as he snaps the games, banquets and any program ball to the quarterback. As soon as the when Alexis was being recognized. Her Mac player catches the ball, Lance is off, parents have made sure she takes care of trying to sack the Knight before he can academics first and basketball second.” pass the ball. Alexis added that her parents have “I’m a defensive lineman,” Lance said. always provided encouragement during “My first order is to get the quarterback. her athletic career as well as helping her I contain the outside and my area, and I play financially. Although Alexis credits can’t let anyone run outside of me. That’s her parents with much of her sport my job.” success, she said that she had to work Hyder comes from a family of extremely hard in order to make it to athletes. His older brother, Kerry Hyder, college level basketball. plays defensive tackle at Texas Tech “I think the reason for success in and his sister, Alexis Hyder, is a power athletics for Alexis is she wants to be a forward on the basketball team at the winner,” Brown said. “She worked hard University of North Texas. in the classroom and on the Their parents played sports court. Alexis’ goals were to in high school as well, and be both in the top ten percent When your brother gets to they support and encourage of her class and to win a state that point when he’s making their children’s decisions championship in basketball, to carry out the family to get a scholarship.” it, it gives you the hope that tradition. Lance has a similar you can make it. He has a “Everybody was always philosophy as his sister when interested in sports growing it comes to working hard in great impact on me. up,” Lance said. “My dad sports. He said growing up -LBJ Alum Alexis Hyder was pretty persistent [about there were alway practices and sports]. He didn’t take no training camps to attend, all of stuff. If it wasn’t the best, he which helped him improve in didn’t want to hear anything about it.” window—it’s hard to think someone’s football. Lance said his family’s dedication capable who comes from a poverty “My sister was in a bunch of and hard work has paid off. Kerry, neighborhood—but when your brother basketball camps, traveling across the who was redshirted, or withdrawn gets to that point when he’s making it, country to play basketball with her from games to develop skill in his it gives you the hope that you can make select team,” Lance said. “And Kerry first year at Texas Tech, is now in his it. He’s been there, done that. He has a would do workouts 24/7, or work with last year of school and hoping to play great impact on me.” my dad. It’s about doing extra stuff to be football professionally. Alexis was a Alexis said the different coaches she better.” starter on her basketball team last year has had over the years have also had big With all of the extra activities the as a freshman, and has already won a influences on her. One of her biggest Hyders took part in to be the best, Lance number of awards including ‘Freshman mentors was, and still is, LBJ girls said that it was harder still to live up to of the Year’ at North Texas. According basketball coach Renee Brown. the name. Kerry advised his younger to Alexis, Lance seems to be following “Coach Brown was like a parent more brother that playing at LBJ should in his older siblings’ footsteps. than a coach,” A. Hyder said. “I like not be centered around living up to “[Lance is doing] exceptionally that. She’s a great coach, but whenever expectations, but just about playing the well,” A. Hyder said. “I think we kind of somebody needed some parenting or game. nagged on [our younger siblings], like just a hand, not always about basketball, “I talked to my brother about [living ‘you can’t go to LBJ and not play sports.’ she was there.” up to the name] earlier,” L. Hyder said. I think it has some impact on Lance. In addition to their coaches, Brown “Kerry was like, ‘Man just live it up. He’s coming along; he’s getting with the said Alexis and her brothers owe a lot of Just try to be better than me and just name. I’m proud of him.” their athletic success to their parents as strive. I know you’re gonna get there.’” Lance said he was fine with being well.
the younger sibling of two remarkable athletes at first but now it can be annoying because he wants to be his own person. He said he also feels an inordinate amount of pressure to be as talented as Kerry and Alexis. “[Their success] gave me a bigger cup to fill,” Lance said. “I couldn’t really fail, because if I failed I would really look bad. So I really strive to do better than what they’ve done.” Lance is not the only who is pressured from the athletic success of his siblings; Alexis said she feels like she needs to be as good at basketball as Kerry is at football. “You have to live up to the name,” Alexis said. “Kerry is making it so hard. The fact that he’s opened such a
McCallum players join LBJ lacrosse team Chloe Edmiston
A purple-clad lacrosse player sends the ball flying past the goalkeeper, scoring a point for the Jaguars during a practice scrimmage. However, this student-athlete does not attend LBJ. After the McCallum lacrosse team disbanded due to a lack of players, several Knights now play for the Jaguar squad. “No one was willing to play again after our horrible season last year and so players had conflicts with our coach,” McCallum senior Sky Samuelson said. “So about half the team quit playing.” According to the Texas High School Lacrosse League (THSLL) general rules, players who do not attend a school with a THSLL Member School Program may play for the closest Division II or Division III school. The LBJ lacrosse team currently plays at a Division II varsity level, and the close proximity of the schools allowed the remaining McCallum players to join so they could continue to compete. Due to this, the Jaguar lacrosse team was able to replace the seniors who graduated last year with incoming freshmen and the four McCallum players, who bring the experience of having already played in the Jaguars’ division. “It’s good to have extra numbers and the [McCallum] guys who are willing to drive over for practices are dedicated, so they’re really willing to put in the effort,” Legate said. “We got a couple good shooters and a midfielder.” Legate said that the integration of the new players into the team has gone smoothly during the few preseason practices. Practices have remained the same, aside from the McCallum
players showing up later than the rest of the team due to their later release from school. “They just hit the drills with us and do everything like we would,” Legate said. Regardless of the differences in practicing styles that may have existed in previous seasons between the McCallum and LBJ teams, everyone participates in the drills and scrimmages set up by lacrosse coach Zach Matthews. The lacrosse team has also maintained the player-coach dynamic from last year, even though some of the players do not go to either LBJ or LASA. “Coach [Matthews] treats them like normal players and everyone is roughly on the same skill level,” LASA sophomore Fox Pfund-Pulliam said. “It’s not all that different really.” According to the new McCallum players, the LBJ lacrosse team is much different experience for them than their old team, other than the fact that the Knights are now representing their rival school. He said that the team treats one another with more respect than that of a typical high school lacrosse team, like their previous team at McCallum. “It is really different because [the] team is really, really nice to each other which is kind of strange for [lacrosse],” Samuelson said. “There’s the usual trash-talking…but that’s not a problem at all.” The addition of McCallum players to the LASA team is a definite change for this year, but whether it helps or hinders the squad will be determined when the games begin.
the liberator nov. 12, 2013
*Student name has been changed to protect privacy
Weight watchers According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, over half of teenage girls and nearly one third of teenage boys have unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting and taking laxatives. In addition, 47 percent of girls in fifth through twelfth grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures. To examine the local impact of these national statistics, The Liberator conducted a survey of 191 LASA students about body image and eating disorders. More survey results can be found online on The Liberator’s website, www.lbjliberator.com.
56 33 Percent of females versus males surveyed who skipped at least one meal a week
14% 9% 11%
How Do You Describe Your Body Type?
Skinny Athletic Other
Respondents who said their ideal body type is ‘athletic and muscular’
Respondents who said they skip meals at least once a day
Half million American teens
Misconception Anorexia nervosa is the most common eating disorder.
Reality Anorexia nervosa is the least common of the three most common eating disorders. It is often featured more in the media because of the obvious physical effects.
Percent of US women affected at least once
Anorexia Nervosa Bulimia Nervosa Binge Eating Disorder
Anorexia’s something that you see. And you’ll see someone drop 25 pounds and go, ‘Oh my gosh, something’s wrong. You looks sick. Your bones are sticking out.’ Now, bulimics never get that thin. -Professional counselor Jane Flynn
0.9% 1.5% 3.5%
People with eating disorders completely recover once they return to a normal weight.
Reality Recovery from an eating disorder usually happens over the course of many years. Relapse can occur at any time for years after an individual has stopped treatment, no matter their weight.
Sometimes you still have struggles after you’re at a healthy weight and when you’re still at a healthy weight. So there are times when it’s been tough and I’ve been having a tough time with it, when no one really noticed because I wasn’t losing a ton of weight because it was a short period of time. -LASA senior Maria Gilbert
Misconception Female teens are the only demographic with eating disorders.
Reality In 2003, 1/3 of inpatient admissions to a specialized treatment center for eating disorders were over 30 years old. These older women and men often feel ashamed for having a ‘teenager’s condition’ and may have been dealing with an eating disorder since their childhood. There is also greater pressure to appear young, which many try to achieve by restricting food intake.
Women aged 40 to 50 are the group with the highest number on the rise for eating disorders today for anorexia and bulimia. They’re trying to be young and thin and beautiful. It’s our generation, and America only wants skinny. They want to be skinny because they think if they’re skinny, they’re still beautiful. -Professional counselor Jane Flynn
The stereotype for eating disorders is someone who is totally conceited. And it’s completely not true. It happens to all kinds of people.
everything just adds up [to the idea] that it’s horrible to have any extra fat on your body.” According to Flynn, minority groups have a particularly difficult experience navigating the media which is populated by celebrities that are mostly white. Flynn said that these minorities often feel pressure to look westernized and that this pressure has manifested itself in an influx of minority patients with eating disorders. “I would say in the last four weeks I’ve had three Asian students from junior high to high school and two Indian [students],” Flynn said. “So, definitely, this culture, we are rubbing off on [minority] culture… one girl is twelve-years-old, and she’s Asian, and [she says], ‘I don’t want my eyes to look like this. I want to be skinny with brown eyes or blue, and with blond long hair, so, if I lose weight, then I’ll probably look more like an American girl.’” Hawkins agrees that the media often hurts those with eating disorders, but she said that placing the blame solely on cultural expectations of beauty oversimplifies the issue. “If it was just the media, then we could post a bunch of posters about how the media sucks and about how every girl is beautiful and that would just cure everything, but it’s not going to be like that,” Hawkins said. “We have to treat each person individually. That’s a lot harder.” Gilbert said that there are counselling resources available at school for students suffering from eating disorders, but she fears that students who need help will be afraid to seek it out. “The problem is not that there weren’t enough resources, it’s that people with eating disorders are afraid to use those resources because it can be hard to go into the counselor and tell them that...I have this problem,” Gilbert said. “I thought, ‘Why should I waste the counselor’s time with this there are other people who have worse problems, this is all made up.’ And, that is a problem with any kind of mental illness; that people who have can often talk themselves into thinking that it is all made up.” She said that another obstacle to treatment is the student body’s awareness of eating disorders. Increasing awareness was a reason she chose to give a lecture last year about her experience with anorexia. “I think just general awareness would be good because if everyone is aware of [eating disorders], and acts like it is a serious illness, then there is less shame involved,” Gilbert said. “Shame can often make someone less likely to opt for treatment.” Gilbert said her presentation helped her open up about the illness to her friends. She was officially diagnosed with anorexia in eighth grade and said she was worried about her friends’ reaction because of the stigma surrounding eating disorders and mental illness. She encountered this stigma on her way to school the day of her lecture when two students a seat behind her on the bus joked about holding an eating contest outside of the classroom in which her lecture was to be given. She said she wasn’t offended, but she saw the exchange as indicative of a larger ignorance about eating disorders. “I think what was worse than the stigma was my fear of the stigma,” Gilbert said. “[There aren’t] very many resources available at this school and people are generally not very aware, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. That’s part of the reason I never told my friends [about my eating disorder] for such a long time. I didn’t want to lose my friends. I didn’t want them to think I was a freak. I think part of it is the stereotype for eating disorders is someone who is totally conceited. And it’s completely not true. It happens to all kinds of people.” Gilbert said that it’s important for people with eating disorders to open up about their illnesses so they can start to recover. She said that the process of recovery is a series of little choices: getting second helpings, refusing to skip meals, saying no to the voice in your head. “A lot of people, probably most people, aren’t comfortable talking to their friends and family about it,” Gilbert said. “But if you can, that’s good or you can talk to a therapist or a counselor. Just try to remember what your end goal is because there are two things: what your illness wants you to be, and what you want you to be. At a certain point, you have to remind yourself that I want to be happy and I can’t do both.” Art by Emily Yi
“I started adjusting my eating habits around [my parents,]” Hawkins said. “For show I would eat dinner, but I wouldn’t eat lunch because I could get away with that. I wouldn’t eat breakfast [either, because those were] the Life & Feature Editors meals I could skip without them noticing.” Flynn said that in the face of opposition or treatment, anorexics will often resort to duplicity in order to Olivia Hawkins* was afraid to eat. She was skinny and active as a young child, but in middle school she ate satisfy “the eating-disorder-voice” in their minds. more junk food and exercised less. By seventh grade, she put on weight. She saw herself as fat. She stopped “They’ll put water in their milk while eating cereal in the morning [and] wash it out just so their parents eating. She dropped 40 pounds over the span of a few months. By the beginning of eighth grade, the thought think they’re still eating the milk but it’s just really watered down,” Flynn said. “[Anorexics do a lot of] little of putting food in her mouth terrified her. things like that.” “A part of me felt liberated because I was killing myself so extremely and nobody noticed,” Hawkins said. Flynn said many people with eating disorders feel like their eating habits “It was just defying eating which is something that’s natural to humans and it felt kind of supernatural. I was are the only are the only aspect of their lives that they can control. Flynn said skinnier, but I was also less confident because my grades were lower that this sense of control is from lack of food. I was unable to focus. I added up calories in the powerful for those suffering margins of papers and the calorie counting still isn’t something I’ve from eating disorders. been able to shake [off].” “There’s a huge sense At that point she weighed 110 pounds, which wasn’t thin enough for of accomplishment when the people around her to notice anything was wrong. She slipped into I ate 300 calories and I decline, dropping twenty more pounds before she hit rock-bottom. worked out two hours and “It started as just a diet,” Hawkins said. “I was promoted to much I said ‘no’ to four different harder levels of gymnastics, and that made it more focused on being times I could’ve had fit and being athletic as opposed to just being strong and that served something to eat,” Flynn as a catalyst.” said. “That’s a lot of power Hawkins is one of an estimated half million teens that are affected in control. It’s incredible, by eating disorders nationwide. The most common of these disorders, -LASA senior Maria Gilbert the power of control. [It binge eating disorder, affects 1.5 percent of US teens. Bulimia and takes a lot of control] to anorexia affects one percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. For Hawkins, be able to say ‘no’ gymnastics was a trigger that led to the development of her anorexia, when you’re over but eating disorders rarely develop due to just one cause. Hawkins said there starving and you’re dizzy and [you] could eat [your] that insecurity about her performance in math and science also became a trigger for her anorexia. Entering husband’s apple.” LASA a math class behind most of her peers made this insecurity even worse, playing a part in her relapse For people with eating disorders, the media can during ninth grade. often trigger their illness. Hawkins said that a “Even after I decided that I wasn’t just going to base myself off of gymnastics anymore. there was still just a television show called ‘Supersize vs Superskinny,’ lot I had to deal with fitting in at LASA and my identity there,” Hawkins said. “[My experiences in freshman a British series that features information about year] made me feel a little bit more worthless and I guess I took it out through not eating.” extreme diets, was a partial trigger for her School stress can trigger an eating disorder, but licensed professional counselor Jane Flynn said that illness. During the first season, eating causes can range from environmental to genetic. Flynn works as a program therapist at Cedar Springs, a local disorder activists spoke out after watching treatment center for people recovering from eating disorders. According to Flynn, girls are 70 percent more the show and seeing triggers for their likely to have an eating disorder if their mother had one and, while the exact relationship between genetics and own illnesses, including a segment in eating disorders is not entirely understood, she said that having a genetic predisposition can make activities each episode in which an overweight like dieting risky. person and an underweight person “[With eating disorders] something just seems to take the wrong road and you get one,” Flynn said. “You swap their extreme diets for five days. start dieting and trying to eat healthy, and next thing, if you’re predisposed in any way, it certainly can grab “[The media] makes it sound as onto you.” though [an eating disorder] just means According to the National Eating Disorders Association, one warning sign that you’re going to get skinny, and they for eating disorders is the tendency to avoid mealtimes or situations that may bring up all the bad effects of eating disorders, involve food. Eating disorders may start with meal skipping, but Flynn said but they still make it sound really dramatized,” that the psychological aspect of these illnesses can be more troublesome Hawkins said. “[When the media portrays eating and longer lasting. Some sufferers develop an ‘eating disorder voice’ in their disorders] they just show these skeletons and really minds that makes them believe it’s necessary to go without eating. skinny girls and that’s what a lot of people end up “No one has set out to get an eating disorder,” Flynn said. “I’m not taking away from the media.” going to wake up tomorrow morning and say, ‘I’m going to get an eating LASA senior Maria Gilbert said that the media’s disorder.’ I’m going to say, ‘I don’t like my body’ and ‘I’m too fat.’ Next constant portrayal of skinny models and actresses played thing you know, when you start dieting or purging, the eating disorder a role in the development of her anorexia. She touched on voice just takes over. It tells you, ‘Don’t eat’ and ‘You don’t deserve to eat. If the topic last year when she gave a presentation about her you eat that bread, you’re going to have to workout for two hours and experience. run it off.’ I call it a really bad boyfriend in your head.” “Some people have the opinion that if seeing such thin Hawkins told her parents about her eating disorder when she models [and] such beautiful actresses is what causes eating first realized it was a problem in eighth grade, but she said that disorders, why doesn’t everyone have an eating disorder?” they didn’t believe her. Their response was to try to scold and Gilbert said. “For me, I don’t know what would have bully her into eating; her response was to hide her eating happened if I hadn’t watched ‘Project Runway’ or any of that disorder from them. stuff, but that definitely didn’t help. When you think about it,
Logan Kramer & Baltazar Zuniga
Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder plague American teenagers that struggle with self-confidence and body image, but many are ashamed by their illness. Eating disorders come about as the result of many triggers which can include genetic predispositions, the media, traumatic events and stress. The Liberator examines these various causes and the effects they have on students with eating disorders.
Eating Disorder Misconceptions
Suffering in the Shadows
the liberator nov. 12, 2013
information from National Eating Disorder Association
the liberator nov. 12, 2013
Volunteering their Passions
When students participate in community service projects, they often choose an organization or project based on their interests. Whether this is a passion for music or cycling, students have found opportunities to use their interests to help the greater community.
art by V icto ria
My cu e
LASA junior fixes bicycles, shares his passion with others Zia Lyle
Club tutors underprivileged musicians Staff Writer
Gavotte in G timidly plays through the room, coming to an abrupt halt when a note tragically falls sharp. LASA senior Sofia Shapiro patiently reviews the fingering, and the song begins again. This time the song is played through flawlessly. Shapiro and her student both smile. “Music is special because it is beautiful and it gives people so much enjoyment,” Shapiro said. “I wanted to provide equal access to music because it is so beautiful and special.” Since this summer, Shapiro has been providing access to music through Musical Bridges. Musical Bridges is a club she started to provide musical tutoring to underprivileged students free of charge. Shapiro said she began the club because music has played such an important role in her life. “I think we would have a much more equal community if music, for example, was taught to everybody,” Shapiro said. “Getting kids involved in music will open so many doors for them.” At the age of four, Shapiro began playing violin at the University of Texas String Project. She credits private lessons with contributing to much of her success as a musician. Because of personal experiences with musical tutors, Shapiro realized the importance of one on one attention in the musical setting and began searching for students to tutor over the summer. “I have always wanted to teach music to kids, but not for money, just as a volunteer because I think music is really special and everyone should have the chance to learn it and play it,” Shapiro said. Once she came up with the idea though, she had trouble finding middle schoolers who were interested. She didn’t have any personal connections to students and she was not sure how to find students in need of a tutor. “I began contacting some middle school orchestra directors trying to see if they had some low income students who could not afford private lessons but who were invested in their instrument enough to benefit from it,” Shapiro said. “Many did not respond or show interest.”
Despite being repeatedly turned away, Shapiro said she did not give up. While searching for other venues to find students in need of tutors, Shapiro stumbled upon Austin Soundwaves, a nonprofit music program at the East Austin College Prep. Austin Soundwaves is a branch of EI Sistema, an international organization that originated in Venezuela and aims to bring instruments to impoverished youths. She contacted the director of the Austin branch, Patrick Slevin, and asked him if she could tutor the students during the summer. “The uncooperativeness of the orchestra directors didn’t really leave me discouraged,” Shapiro said.“I didn’t take it personally, I just thought, ‘okay time to find something else,’ which I did, and it turned out to be a very good path for me.” Shapiro said that Austin Soundwaves
Getting kids involved in music will open so many doors for them. -LASA senior Sofia Shapiro was an ideal partner because their students were often underprivileged and didn’t have any way to continue their music education during the summer. “I thought it was especially important to give them private lessons in violin over the summer when they had no school and their music program was out of session so that they could continue to grow and stay excited about violin, like their more privileged peers were able to,” Shapiro said.” I knew a lot of kids back at Kealing Middle School who would play an instrument and be kind of into it but then over the summer they wouldn’t take any lessons and they would just drop the instrument. I think that that is really sad because music is something that you can carry on into your life until you’re very old, and it can always be a source of entertainment or enjoyment.” After connecting with Austin Soundwaves, she began teaching three middle school students. None of the students had the means to expand their musical horizons, but they all expressed interest in learning their instrument in
a place other than the school orchestra. “I guess the most touching part of it is that they are all sweet kids and they are so interested in violin,” Shapiro said. “One time I brought one of my students, Monica, my old Suzuki Book to show her a piece and see if she wanted to have me teach it to her and she got so excited, and she was like ‘will you play it for me? I want to hear it.’ And she told me ‘It sounded so pretty, I can’t wait to learn this piece.’” After tutoring these students throughout the summer, Shapiro decided to expand Musical Bridges in order to tutor more students. The organization, now a sponsored LASA club, has seven different tutors and will soon offer private violin, viola, cello, bass, piano and flute lessons. One of the new tutors, LASA senior Noah StevensStein, said he agreed to join the Musical Bridges Club because he recognized the importance of its goal. “Everyone needs to start somewhere in music,” Stevens-Stein said. “I’ve been very privileged that my parents provided lessons for me. Obviously there are lots of students who aren’t this privileged and I’d like to give back.” The club is in the process of coordinating with Austin Soundwaves in order to pair tutors with students. The actual teaching has yet to officially begin, but Shapiro said that her tutors are excited to start. LASA senior Mason Lynaugh, a cellist, said that he is looking forward to the experience of being a teacher. “I hope to myself learn how different people’s minds work just by teaching them,” Lynaugh said. “I have never really had an experience teaching people music or anything else besides math and I’m interested in learning about that”. Shapiro said that there are plenty of obstacles to overcome when first learning how to teach another person. It is a skill that takes time to master, but she said it is also a skill worth learning. “What makes it worth it to me is that it’s a really important goal that we are working towards and I can see the actual difference,” Shapiro said. “In the couple months I had with my students over the summer I could see the growth in their playing and confidence. I think what’s worth it is that you can visibly see the change it’s making in their lives.”
The Yellow Bike Project warehouse buzzes as volunteers manage transactions, help paint bikes and organize tools. LASA junior Beck Goodloe calmly focuses alone in one corner, his hands coated in bicycle grease, as he helps carefully repair and construct yellow bicycles. “Yellow Bike Project is getting people up and out on their bikes,” Goodloe said. “With people doing their own repairs, they are more likely to be confident enough to get out and ride without the fear of a flat tire or hopping derailleur.” Yellow Bike Project is an Austin nonprofit organization that aims to distribute bicycles throughout Central Texas by operating community bicycle shops, teaching basic bicycle mechanics and repair skills and advocating for changes in Austin concerning safety and other concerns for bicyclists. Goodloe is a Yellow Bike Project coordinator who helps run the shop by making transactions and teaching people how to make certain repairs. “When you really love something, after you get involved in it you are always looking for more ways to get involved,” Goodloe said. “By becoming a coordinator it allowed me an outlet to help the shop grow with my own ideas.” Goodloe was promoted to Yellow Bike Project coordinator after working with the organization for a year. Goodloe’s initial involvement in Yellow Bike Project stemmed from his love of cycling. He began cycling as a rehabilitation exercise after a soccer injury in eighth grade, but he said he grew to enjoy the sport. Goodloe said that his favorite part of cycling is the thinking time it provides. “On longer rides I’ll often be out in the country for four or five hours without a dismounting, and no matter what, it’s always really quiet,” Goodloe said. “Everybody knows that feeling when you get in a rhythm, and it’s just very relaxing and gives you time to think about everything that is going on in your life.” Goodloe said that his position at Yellow Bike Project has fit him perfectly. He said he is able to combine his love of cycling and his desire to share that love with others. “It fed both my desire to volunteer and my mechanical mind,” Goodloe said. “Working with bikes is always a giant puzzle: figuring out what’s wrong and then how to fix it.” Goodloe learned about Yellow Bike Project from LASA junior Evan Williams, who has also been involved with the organization for the past two years. Williams said he enjoys helping out at Yellow Bike Project because it is a great place to learn about bicycles while still having a good time. He said that Yellow Bike Project is making a difference in Austin by making bicycles more accessible. “[At Yellow Bike Project] you create and fix yellow bikes that are then randomly placed all around Austin so that anyone can ride them anytime, like the smart car thing but free and more pedal oriented,” Williams said. “It allows those who are less fortunate to have an easy means of transportation.” In addition to their local work, Yellow Bike Project tries to reach out to international programs focused on distributing bicycles to those who cannot afford them. One of these is Bikes Across Borders, which uses donated bicycle tools to fix used bicycles for distribution in Mexico, Cuba and Central America. Yellow Bike Project treasurer, Les Case, said the organization is focused on helping the environment and Austin as a whole through their work. “Yellow Bike Project makes a difference in Austin every time its volunteers open the doors,” Case said. “[If bicycles were more accessible], public resources currently devoted to maintaining and expanding roads, to providing parking and to mitigating air, water and noise pollution could be rededicated. Personal resources spent on auto maintenance, fuel and insurance could be spent elsewhere. Summers just might be shorter and a not quite as hot. And Austinites who ride bikes are healthier than Austinites who don’t.”
Student becomes proficient in morse code after taking radio class continued from page 1
However, he can still recall his first contact, down to the other operator’s call sign. “I remember I was so nervous that I was shaking,” Yarnell said. “I was actually profusely shaking, and everyone was wondering if I was okay. I remember the person that came back to me was K01U, and he went slow for me. I think he was from Massachusetts.” Unlike most other students that take the amateur radio class, Yarnell almost exclusively uses morse code. LASA amateur radio teacher Ronny Risinger said Yarnell’s profiency at morse code extends far beyond what most students learn through the class. “I haven’t seen anybody since 1994 that is as good as he is,” Risinger said. “So he is truly a very exceptional, once-in-a-decade type student. People usually run five words a minute, he’s running 20.” Morse code is easier to send through the
airwaves, allowing ham radio operators to make farther contacts using low wattage. However, Yarnell said he also prefers morse code because it allows him to communicate with people over the radio without worrying about actually talking. “[Morse code] is just my favorite mode because when it comes to talking to people, like on the radio at least, I really don’t like talking to people just because it makes me really nervous and I’m afraid I’m gonna say something stupid,” Yarnell said. “With morse code I feel like I can hide my insecurity and just forget about whatever I’m doing. It’s not personal enough that I feel weird, but it’s personal in the sense that you’re still talking to someone.” Yarnell said that he hopes to eventually contact every state in America. He has already contacted 15 states, and said he plans to continue with amateur radio for the foreseeable future. “It’s definitely fun,” Yarnell said. “I enjoy it, and I guess until I stop enjoying it I’ll keep doing it.” story and photo by Jamie Rodriguez
LASA junior Jacob Yarnell sends messages in morse code using an electronic keyer. photo by Jamie Rodrigez
nov. 12, 2013
Best of the Fest
Austin Film Festival provides 15 LASA advanced film students access to exclusive film screenings
The flicker of the screen illuminates the faces of the audience, all of them captivated by the moving pictures in front of them. The Austin Film Festival (AFF) is in full swing and everyone in the audience is filled with excitement to see the screenings of various exclusive films. The 20th annual AFF was held on Oct. 24-31 at various theater venues in the Austin area. The festival offered passes to LASA students whose films were chosen to be shown. Along with LASA senior Alex Shultz, 14 other students received passes to the festival. The opportunity was introduced to the students by LASA Audio Video Production (AVP) teacher Vanessa Mokry. Among them was LASA junior Ray Kuhn. “It’s a cool opportunity to see writers and people in the industry,” Kuhn said. “Being in the advanced class, a lot of times we want to pursue that [field] in the future, maybe as careers or in college.” In order to get passes, students are required to complete an application process that included extensive questioning and essay writing. “I went through the kids in the class to see who would be able to have availability on that weekend, because if you’re getting a $400 badge, you need to be able to go through most of the stuff and take advantage of it,” Mokry said. “So I narrowed it down through that, and then I had 15 students apply for the AFF applications with essays and things like that. All 15 got selected.” These passes allowed the holders access to different parts of the festival, including screenings and panels. This year’s festival had a major focus on screenwriters and the art of screenwriting. There were over 80 panels, meet-and-greets and roundtables, all of which discussed different aspects of screenwriting. There were
also workshops for screenwriting and filmmaking available. “It gave us access to a lot of panels with screenwriters because Austin Film Festival is basically the screenwriters’ festival,” Shultz said. “So they focus a lot on writing scripts and the business behind that. A lot of screenwriters, like Vince Gilligan from “Breaking Bad” and the guy who wrote “Big Fish,” came and talked about screenwriting and what you can do to improve your screenwriting.” According to Mokry, the panels were very informal for both the presenters and the audience. “One of my favorite things is that they get to see how adults sit up there and interact with the crowd,” Mokry said. “Most of them, you wouldn’t recognize them if they were in jeans and T-shirts and that sort of thing, but they’re funny on cue, and it’s just a really good experience to see that passion for your work.”
It feels good to have that recognized because I was a part of the film that the committee liked and I hope that my acting had something to do with that. -LASA senior Alex Shultz While every panel was available for all ages, a few were specifically aimed towards young filmmakers. Some of those panels included the Young Filmmakers Program Pitch Session, the Young Filmmakers Panel and the Young Filmmakers Round Table. At the Pitch Sessions, students were allowed the opportunity to pitch their best movie ideas to film industry professionals. “Every year it’s pretty consistent in the quality of the panels,” Mokry said. “You can usually glean one or two really interesting elements that can help you with your own writing and film production.” This year, LASA alumni Alec Brown’s film, “Out of Order,” starring Shultz was shown along with 20 other movies at the Galaxy Highland theater on Oct. 26 and 27. The entire screening was around 55
Imaginary extracurricular clubs that need to exist Battle Club
Alright, so battle club used to be an underground battle to the death among the students of LASA, but once we went official we had to add some safety measures. It’s fine though, it’s basically the same as it used to be. We’ll meet today at lunch in the gym. Make sure to bring your helmet, your kneepads, your elbow pads, your snow boots, your other helmet, at least 12 feet of bubble wrap with small bubbles, no more than 20 feet of bubble wrap with large bubbles, and an extra helmet just in case.
Bring Your Own Food Club
If I hear one more plebeian lunch-eater refer to this club as “lunch”, I swear I will lose it. We are not, I repeat, NOT lunch. This is Bring-yourown-food club, and we are an elite social group of students that likes to take an hour a day to enjoy food that we bring for ourselves from home. We meet in the cafeteria every day during the so-called “lunch-time” that our school has put in place. If you call this club “lunch”, you will, I repeat, WILL be promptly asked to leave and eat with the rest of the lunch plebeians.
If you turn to page 69 of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, and look at it correctly under a full-moon somewhere near Roswell, New Mexico, you’ll be able to clearly see a hidden sentence illuminated on the page. It reads: “JOIN CONSPIRACY CLUB!” Conspiracy club always provides a stimulating puzzle to members that is sure to completely alter their perception of society! This week’s challenge? Figure out who actually runs conspiracy club: the government, or aliens.
Be Kind, Rewind Club
So look, I accidentally magnetized myself last weekend and then erased every file from the computers in the AVP room. However, what really sucks is that now I have to remake every single movie that’s ever been made in AVP. If y’all joined my club, it would make things much easier for me, and I could hopefully remake more than one movie a day. Seriously though, join my club, it would be a big help to me. Please. I’m begging you guys here.
Are you the kind of person who’s more interested in the act of making clubs than actually being in them? Then join Club Making Club! Our club is all about gaining the instant gratification that you get from making a club, without all of the pesky responsibility that comes from actually being in the club. Brainstorm club ideas, make posters, recruit members, and then do absolutely nothing else! compiled by David de la Garza and Chris Jones
minutes in length, with each film running from one to 10 minutes. “I was a lead actor in [the film “Out of Order”], and it feels good to have that recognized because I was a part of the film that the committee liked,” Shultz said. “I hope that my acting had something to do with that,” The film was entered into the Young Filmmakers Competition, a competition for filmmakers between the ages of 13 and 18 from all over the United States. Bears Fonte, the director of programming for the film festival, was in charge of the competition and also helped judge the films submitted to the contest. “All the films are watched initially by the interns in the film department,” Fonte said. “Every film is watched twice and scored on the basis of general impression, direction, structure, originality, storytelling. The films with the top scores were watched and selected for screening by myself and the jury for picking the winner consisted of myself, screenplay director Matt Dy and Youth Filmmakers Program director Stacy Brick.” In addition to access to panels, AFF offered screenings for independent films as well as advanced screenings and films entered in their competitions. The film screenings were followed by questionand-answer sessions with cast members and filmmakers, giving badge-holders the opportunity to converse with industry insiders. “There’s this energy, more of a magical feeling with film people when you get around them, and I wanted [my students] to feel that,” said Mokry. “People on film sets usually work really hard, but they’re happy to do it and that spills over into conferences and things like that.” Mokry says she will continue to promote AFF’s opportunity to her students because of the unique experience it provides. “The fact that they actually talked to these people will make that personal connection,” said Mokry. “When you hear one of your heroes tell you that something works, it will be more ingrained in you to follow suit. It’s just an exciting thing to do and it brings more excitement into the arts.”
Local haunted house returns to public bigger than ever before Oran Lopez Reed
Almost two decades ago, House of Torment founder Daniel McCullough not only opened the doors to his haunted house, but also to success. It began in McCullough’s backyard until in 2002, when the house went professional. The House of Torment has received widespread critical acclaim and has been an Austin tradition for many years. Arguably the most distinguished terror attraction in the city, the House of Torment draws enormous lines outside the front gates every day for about three months. The House of Torment consists of three newly-decorated houses each year, and the themes are elaborate and thoroughly planned out. Each house has a background story involving grim monsters that range from evil insect-like humanoids to cannibalistic scarecrows. Thousands have walked through the haunted house held at Highland Mall, but many become too scared to even make it to the exit. “My favorite theme was probably the first year I went, because it was apocalypse,” LASA senior Kiaya Skinner said. “It was amazing. The set they have inside is just so intricate.” LASA senior Bikramjit Lubana visited the house last year in November for the DarkStalkers attraction, a subset of the House where a visitor’s only source of light is a single glow stick. Waivers must be signed in order to enter, because visitors must find the exit themselves. This adds to the presumed horror, as they can theoretically be stuck inside for hours on end. “The monster stole my glow stick and ran off with it,” Lubana said. “He ran off and threw it far away and I had to go get it. If you lose your glow stick, you just have to walk around in the dark. It’s pretty scary, actually.” Around three thousand people buy tickets each year including various high-profile names and production teams from Hollywood, such as
contestants from the movie makeup reality show “Face Off.” The House of Torment casts around 80 actors to play characters in the set each year. Usually some sort of scare is set up at the entrance to keep customers entertained. “We had to wait like two hours,” Lubana said. It was pretty boring because all I do was kind of stand there. It was okay to wait with friends because you can just talk and joke around.” However, regardless of the wait, some visitors enjoy the experience of waiting in line. Skinner said waiting in line is usually the most entertaining part of the experience. “Actually, waiting in line is my favorite part,” Skinner said. “The people, they have monsters walking around and they’ll come and jump out at you and you see everyone screaming. I like that.” The House of Torment places a variety of characters outside to engage with customers. “One time, I was waiting to go into the house and this guy who was like 6’5’’ was carrying a shovel,” LBJ senior Berenise Batres-Roman said “He would slam it on the ground and drag it across. His makeup was so scary.” A more experienced visitor, BatresRoman has gone three times before, including this gra year. phi cb “It’s really hot in yM eri there and really sM cH cold outside, an ey at least thats how it felt for me,” Roman said. “If you’re claustrophobic, don’t go. You’ll just get butterflies in your stomach and tense up.” LASA senior Jeremy Jessin is another veteran of the House of Torment. “Before you go in, the monsters are walking around the house outside,” Jessin said. “The scariest thing is when they yell ‘Fresh Meat!’” The entire attraction is controlled, supervised and played out in one command room, telling actors what to do and when. There are four people working at a time, synchronizing special effects and working out every little action that goes on throughout the attraction. “The first time I ever went I closed my eyes for the entire thing,” Jessin said. “After that I was super pumped, and the times after that it was fine. The first time is definitely the scariest.”
the liberator nov. 12, 2013
On the morning of Halloween, the halls of LBJ and LASA high school were populated by deceased rock stars, furry animals and a variety of other costumes students and faculty have donned. Halloween festivities ranged from the annual LASA pumpkindecorating contest to filming a ghost story.
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4 LASA English teachers Andi BroscheFranklin and Lisa Mishriky stand in their Guns N’ Roses costumes. “[The English Department] decided to do famous pairs of musicians,” Brosche said. “I’m from the 80s, so it was obvious that we should do something really goofy like hair metal, so we picked Slash and Axle Rose.” photo by Stephanie Park
LBJ sophomores Ashy Williams and Sean Martinez and LBJ juniors Felix Martinez, Angela Lejia and Shakeriya Waldon film a ghost story. “It’s not as easy as it looks,” S. Martinez said. “You really do have to film one scene like 30 times in order to get it right. [But] it brought us all together.” photo by Joann Min LASA math teacher Sarah Harrelson’s forum won best pop culture icon for their Monsters, Inc. pumpkins. “Our time to shine is the pumpkins,” LASA senior Chaaru Deb said. “We’ve found that the trick to an impressive pumpkin display lies in the extra structure, not in just the pumpkins themselves.” photo by Daniel Zimmerman
LASA juniors Brenda Sanchez and Kevin Guzman dressed up as lego blocks for Halloween. “We wanted something new and different,” Sanchez said. “It was kind of a last minute thing. I saw a picture of a cool way to make a Lego costume. We just made them the day before. It was a box we painted and we used cups for the front part of the legos and we cut out arms. We just wanted to match. photo by Stephanie Park LASA seniors (from left to right) Andrea Canizares, Sofia Shapiro, Michelle Hinojosa and Morgan Eddolls show off their costumes. “We wanted to do one huge costume together,” Eddolls said. “We wanted to be matching so we thought the cutest thing would be to dress up as the pink ladies from Grease. We were able to find matching pink lady jackets and it was just really cute. It’s our senior year and we wanted to have one really good last Halloween all together.” photo by Stephanie Park