Alief Kerr High School | 8150 Howell-Sugar Land Rd. | kerronicle.com
April 9, 2014
Over the course of a high school career, some people seem to bubble to the top, bouyed to outof-this-world heights of success and notoreity in their respective fields. In this issue, we examined some of Kerr’s own name brands, looking for commonalities between students’ success stories. We found that building a career and a reputation is far from effortless flight—it’s a long rise that takes hard work, imagination and perseverance to climb.
Anh Lu Cover Featured: senior Nhu Pham, digital artist
Kerronicle April 9, 2014 Vol. XX No. V Kerr High School 8150 Howell-Sugar Land Rd. Houston, TX 77083 (281) 983-8484 ext. 267 Kerronicle Staff: Editor-in-Chief Story Editor Tuong-Phi Le Alyssa Martinez Chief Copy Photo Editor Editor Anh Lu Nadia Zulfa Business Manager Chief Design Durand Nguyen Editor Hadiqa Memon Staff Reporters: Alyssa Andaverde Kevin Nguyen Malenie Areche Yen Tran Amy Haokip Diana Vu Julie Nguyen
The Kerronicle is published six times a year by the student newspaper staff of Kerr High School and serves as a medium of communication for its readers. It exists to inform its readers about school and community, school policies and their changes, entertainment, and to serve as a forum for student expression. Advertisers interested in placing an ad in the Kerronicle should contact the staff at (281) 983-8484 ext. 267 or 8150 Howell Sugar Land, Houston, TX 77083. Letters to the editor are welcomed and encouraged. Letters should be delivered to room 302 or e-mailed to laura. email@example.com. All letters must be signed.
Photo courtesy: Livenation Premium
On with the dance:
Prom date doesn’t matter
s prom approaches, two questions creep up upon most teenagers: should I go to prom and should I go to prom with a date? The answer is, it’s up to you. Coming from someone who attended the event before, prom is quite casual. Sure it’s grand, but it’s like any other dance – a deejay playing the “Cupid Shuffle” and a throng of sweaty teenagers dancing into the early morning. With that said, I can see why people would want a date to prom. No one wants to be alone on this glorified event. On this evening, you blend in with the rest. You can participate in nearly every social outing with your date. However, you two may get separated. And the worst part is, you hardly noticed your date was gone because you were too “turnt up” with Lil Jon and throwback songs from middle school. Nonetheless, going to prom by yourself has its perks too. For one thing, you don’t have to match with anyone. Just show up to prom in all your glory. You can join in any photos with your peers, just not the couple ones, and that’s okay since you’re not the only one attending prom alone. You can arrive and leave prom at your leisure. You can go anywhere without consulting anyone except maybe your parents or guardians. Going to prom by yourself gives you more freedom to socialize, interact, and dance among cliques, but it may get uncomfortable when you realize you don’t belong anywhere or with anyone because everyone is coupled up and mingling with other couples. Just as you came to prom alone, you might spend the night alone too.
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But in the long run, none of this even matters. After all, prom is a celebration, a last hurrah to the fact that you made it this far. It’s a last rendezvous with seniors and the people that have been with you throughout your high school life. So, as long as you have fun, going to prom with a date or without a date doesn’t even matter because it’s the night that counts and the memories
you’ll make. You’re not going to have a perfect prom nor will you have a perfect night, but at least it’ll be worth remembering. So don’t overthink about whether or not you should go to prom with a date. In the end, it’s up to you and what you make of it. Julie Nguyen
It’s your dream.
1. Junior Taylor Echols runs off stage as part of her comedy act with juniors Joanna Lam and Vivian Nguyen. 2. Sophomore Feyisayo Ogunlana and senior Tuka Looma perform a native dance. 3. Senior emcees Anh Lu, Wallace Wilson, Krystal Uchem, and Derrick Nguyen say goodnight to the audience. 4. Senior Daniel Aguilera gets a yes from junior Ashley Guillen for his “promposal.”
Under the spotlight:
PERFORMERS SHINE AT TALENT SHOW
ot only are Kerr students gifted in procrastination, they are also blessed with many other talents such as singing, dancing, rapping, playing instruments, and working together to produce a wonderful
3 show. From the hilarious antics of the emcees to the choreographed dances, this year’s talent show brought together a wide variety of entertainment to keep the audience guessing the whole night.
Anh Lu & Julie Nguyen
5. Junior My-Ha Ha covers Lorde’s “Team” with guitar accompaniment by freshman Helen Do. 6. Freshmen Excel Luna and Vincent Guevarra perform an original rap. 7. Teacher Fredy Bonilla performs “In Summer” from Frozen with guitar accompaniment by senior Edgar Contreras.
8. The B.O.L.T. string quartet, featuring seniors Brittany Trinh and Laura Vu, and juniors Tri Pham and Omar Escobedo, perform “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and B Rossette. 9. Freshman Chasity Tensley performs “1 + 1” by Beyoncé.
News | Kerronicle.com | 3
Download Aurasma from your wi-fi enabled device, follow the Kerr High School channel, and hover over this photo to see Johnson sing his original song, “Reason Why I Smile.” -->
To see more of Pham’s orginal artwork, go to her account named “nhu-dles” on deviantART. Photo Courtesy: Nhu Pham
YouTube: drinskeej1 Facebook: Drint Johnson You can buy his original album, “Handcrafted Melodies EP” on iTunes and listen to songs like this one.
A photo taken from one of Mburu’s photoshoots. Photo Courtesy: Brenda Mburu Photo Credit: Anh Lu
Persistence proves key to artists’ careers
he executes a calm and collected performance with every line flowing and her body language expressing emotion. By the end, standing in front of New York University’s admissions committee, senior Krystal Uchem knows in her heart that this was her best performance yet. She is already accustomed to the demands of theatre; this is part of the experience she has given herself the past four years. Many students join clubs, complete community service hours, win scholastic awards, and earn leadership positions to build their resumes. Some, however, take an independent route in creating a name for themselves. In addition to being an active member of Cadre Kerr, Uchem participates in community theatre. “It’s different because everyone in the production is much older, most are in college and some are adults,” she said. “The age range is different and everybody is more experienced.” Another form of art has allowed senior Nhu Pham to become known on the internet for her computer graphic art and photo manipulation. Pham’s work has been exposed on platforms like Facebook, Deviantart and Tumblr. “The biggest surprise was someone actually posting my art and crediting me and then it got a very big response,” she said. “On Tumblr, I think there was one user that posted and credited it and said, ‘Oh, this is amazing.’ As of now, I think the post got 300,000 notes.” However, Pham battles her parents’ expectations. “They don’t think art is going to get me anywhere. My dad has walked by while I’m finishing artwork for class and they say, ‘Oh, why are you so focused on art? You should be doing other things,’” she said.
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“That’s a little obstacle and probably why I chose to minor in art and major in engineering.” Senior Roddrinskeee Johnson also faces challenges trying to make it big through singing. “Sometimes it’s feeling like you’re not good enough to be what you want to do,” he said. “You watch people on YouTube and you see how they hit a certain note and you’re like, ‘Man I can’t hit that. Am I really good enough to do this?’” However, he has tried to publicize himself. “I did open mic night in this local café and I sing at weddings. I recorded my EP, called ‘Handcrafted Melodies.’ I’ve done tons of live streams on UStream and cover videos on YouTube,” Johnson said. He realized that being himself was key. “Honestly, just stick to you,” he said. “Don’t feel like you have to do something because of what society says or what your parents say. You can set your own standard. I started to be more me, that’s when people gravitated toward me. They wanted to know more. Just do you and people will be inspired by that.” Senior Brenda Mburu also dealt with self-image and monetary difficulties. From the age of 14, she had to make money for herself in order to be signed by a modeling agency. “[My mom] helped me sign up for agencies. She took me to Neil Hamel Modeling Agency and they agreed to sign me, but I had to come up with $1,195,” she said. “So I started selling brownies, cookies, and cupcakes to come up with the money, but I didn’t come up with enough. So I went online and signed up for many competitions.” Mburu soon learned how difficult success in the modeling world was. “Being a size 8 model will be the hardest thing
to do,” she said. “An agency in Houston named Page Parkes signed people like Angelina Jolie and Channing Tatum,” she said. “I had an interview with them. They loved me and wanted to sign me as long as I trim down to a sample size of 0-4. I was hurt. Not only am I not capable of being a high fashion model, I’m too small to do plus size of 12 and up.” She was tempted to try extreme dieting, something she had told herself she wouldn’t do. “I get insecure a lot. I’ve been working out and eating healthier, but nothing is happening,” she said. “I told my mom that the only thing I could do is not eat anymore. It was already too serious. I don’t want to do what other models do, starving or taking drugs, but in that moment, I wanted to starve.” But Mburu persevered. “I use all the negativity as a boost of energy to work harder,” Mburu said. “Giving up is not an option when you love something so much.” Johnson believes that the struggles he and other independent artists undergo are for the best. “I’m always scared, but I think I’m more excited. God has really placed this inside of me. I’ve seen so many other people do it and I’ve seen their stories and how they’ve done it,” he said. “I’m excited for what’s in store, negative or positive, because it will help me grow.” Like Johnson, Uchem tries to stay hopeful. “There’s a million other people trying to do exactly what you’re doing,” Uchem said. “The main thing is to find your strength and go with it. Always be confident. Also, of course, never give up because your time will come.”
Yen Tran & Alyssa Martinez
Doing her time:
hile tending the gardens and managing the home grown produce at the minimum security women’s prison, Margaret Bancroft bumped into a familiar face: her best friend’s aunt, who was a convicted murderer. “I totally introduced myself and she knew who I was just because she knew my family and all the people of the town,” she said. “So it was kind of funny having this weird conversation with just anybody—like, ‘Oh hey, you know this person and this person?’ kind of weird reminiscing and in the back of your mind you’re kind of going ‘You killed your ex-husband! This is a little messed up.’” Now a science teacher at Kerr, Bancroft worked as the horticulturist at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women in Mitchelleville, Iowa, from 1996 to 1997. After she got her degree in Liberal Sciences, she began teaching General Educational Development (GED) classes for two and a half years at the prison. “It was just kind of a fluke how I ended up there,” Bancroft said. “But it was through the local community college, and they needed somebody with a bachelor’s degree, but it was only part time work. Which was perfect for me because I had little tiny kids at the time, and I only wanted part time work.” The first day was about learning the rules and regulations of the prison and touring the entire facility with one of the wardens, but even then,
Prisoners teach BANCROFT LIFE LESSONS
Bancroft wasn’t scared. “Most of the other people that worked there were really good at putting me at ease, especially people in the education department,” she said. “They said that time and time again that the inmates always told them how much they appreciated them and how much they knew they were helping them. They were really there for their best interests; they did not view the people in the education department the same as they necessarily viewed the guards and the wardens and the counselors.” To add to the welcoming atmosphere, the women’s prison looked more like a campus building; it didn’t look like the stereotypical bars and big metal detectors type men’s prisons that were in Newton, Iowa, according to Bancroft. “It was very pleasant looking— the whole central courtyard and nice big trees,” she said. “ And parts of it were almost park-like; they had flower beds and the place was very well kept. It was just that big fence with the razor wire that went around the place that was the only thing that made it look scary or anything! On the outside of the gate there were portable buildings, just like you see at the elementary schools around here... [for] their temporary programs.” For Bancroft, the teaching itself was straightforward, as she was able to work individually on the subjects that the inmates had trouble with. “For the most part, people did
pretty well on the social studies and the science tests because they tended to be a little more common sense,” Bancroft said. “Students tended to have trouble with the writing test and with the math test… For the math test, almost universally, it was fractions, decimals, and percentages that gave everyone trouble. Those things [lessons] you knew you had to do group instructions for that, and the rest was individual tutoring.” Overall, everything seemed oddly normal. “I remember I would often catch myself thinking, ‘Could I handle being here? Could I handle being locked up? Could I deal with being an inmate?’” Bancroft said. “For the most part, it was okay. I mean these people had jobs, they had friends, they could read, they could work on hobbies, they had opportunities, they could take classes. But then I realized that there’re so many simple things that we take for granted. Like, you couldn’t just say ‘I’m hungry. I’m just going to grab something out of the refrigerator.’” Along with the restricted freedom, the thing that she never got used to was the children who came to visit their parents in prison. “That was weird because you would see these kids just being kids; they were totally normal, being silly,playing around,” Bancroft said emotionally. “But that whole process of checking in with the guards and going through these gates and going
through the metal detectors. It always struck me as so troubling and sad that that was normal for these kids. It didn’t strike the kids as odd! They were just doing a normal thing; ‘Oh we’re going to visit Mom!’ So I always hated working on the days that were visitor days. That part was hard.” Bancroft hopes that she has taught her students to believe in themselves more. “I think a lot of them had such low expectations of themselves, like, ‘Oh I can’t do this, oh I’m not good at math,’” she said. “So I hope they realized they could do more than they thought. It just takes a little bit of effort and a little bit of perseverance, and you can figure it out.” And in turn, her time at working at the prison taught her to not be quick to judge people. “When you talk to the inmates, you talk to them as people. Most of them are good people that made a bad choice or a bad circumstance that got them there,” she said. “We all make bad choices and I’d really hate for people to judge me based on a single act that I did. It really strengthened my belief that you really got to give people second chance. And respect them for who they are…people are more than the bad choice they made.”
Nadia Zulfa Tuong-Phi Le & Yen Tran Alyssa Martinez
s r u o H r e t f A The
de d stu n a f ta f s of s e iv l t s e c re
Cover Story | Kerronicle.com | 5
Burger Battle: Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack vs. Burger Palace
arm buns fresh out the oven, crunchy lettuce, bright red tomatoes, fresh onions, ketchup, mayonnaise, and the perfectly seasoned burger patty — it’s a plate that not all restaurants can perfect. We went in search of the perfect burger and visited two unique places that offered not just the ordinary beef patties. Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack is known for being “Home of the Buffalo Burger,” while Burger Palace is known as the home of “Houston’s Best Kobe Beef Burger.” Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack, located on 5230 Westpark near the Galleria area, is literally a shack under Highway 59. You will have to cut through the street to get to it. The shack is super small, but there are tables outside for dining. Walking into the shack, we noticed an unappealing smell coming from the restrooms that pretty much went through the tiny shack. We recommend that you sit outside. We went up to the counter to order our food and found out the service was A-plus A friendly smile met our hungry eyes as the server came towards us with our food. He treated us like royalty as he handed us our food and vigorously walked to get some more sauce.The friendly cashier told us that
The Napa Valley burger at the Burger Palace.
Royal Oaks Flowers
Se Habla Español
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their most popular burger is the Vegas Burger. If you order it with a beef patty, it comes out to $9.50. Since Bubba’s is known for their buffalo patty, we got that instead, bringing our order up to $10.75 without tax. The Vegas Burger contains avocado, bacon, Monterrey Jack cheese, egg, and BJ’s habanero hot sauce. Bubba’s claims the Vegas Burger is ranked at the top of the World’s Best Burgers. It definitely lived up to its name. The burgers came in charming little picnic baskets. The ingredients combined perfectly into a mouth-watering sensation, but the star was the BJ’s habanero sauce. The sauce wasn’t just a spoonful plopped onto the patty. Instead it spread evenly across the buns, patty, and the ingredients in the burger, giving it the perfect coverage. The server even told us the cooks make the sauce themselves, impressing us even more. It is what makes the Vegas Burger the Vegas Burger. The well-known buffalo patty, according to their menu, has 70% less fat, 50% fewer calories, 50% less cholesterol, and 30% more protein. Bubba’s hospitality and amazing taste give this place a 9/10. What keeps it from having a 10 is the smell inside the shack. The Burger Palace is also located in the Galleria area on 2800 Sage Road Suite A-1100. It is a much more casual restaurant setting where you sit and
wait for a server. The place is located within a plaza, so you really have to search for it. We ordered the Napa Valley, which includes white cheddar, Applewood smoked bacon, avocado, Napa Slaw, and Terragon Watercress Aioli. The price came out to $10.95. The presentation of the burger made it appealing. The perfect stack of ingredients helped the burger keep its balance. However, the second we bit into the juicy sandwich, we realized the lack in flavor. With all those ingredients you’d think the combination would be perfect, but it just didn’t mesh well. It seemed as if they just threw the ingredients on without any execution. The plate came with fries, so we ate those along with it just so we could enjoy the plate more. There was nothing surprising or special about it. Burger Palace claims that the Akaushi (kobe) beef is juicy, tender, and flavorful, but after our experience, flavor was completely nonexistent. Not even the ingredients that combined in the burger could do it justice. To add on, the service took too long. We only ordered one burger but it took 45 minutes to come out. We give this place a 6/10. If you’re ever craving a tasty burger, Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack is definitely the place to go.
Alyssa Andaverde & Alyssa Martinez
Bubba’s Vegas Burger at Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack.
We asked a few music enthusiasts (juniors Wakita Hodges, Dennis Duong, and Alex Koufakis, and senior Kristi Arroyo) about the pros and cons of the some of the most talked-about concert venues around the city. Here is what they said.
RELIARelNT STADIUM iant Pkwy, Houston, TX 77054 The Good: “Reliant Stadium is really big, it offers a lot of places to eat besides in the stadium, you get a good view of the stage regardless of whether you’re in the nosebleed seats or down in front and there’s a retractable roof so it can open and close.” — Hodges The Bad: “The seats are really close together, in my opinion. It’s really hot when everyone’s in there.” — Hodges “It’s really hard to get to the restroom, the food is definitely overpriced. The stage is too far from the crowd.” — Duong
Music-lovers share the pros and cons of
Houston’s most talked-about concert venues
TOYOT A CENTER 1510 Polk St, Houston, TX 77002 The Good: “The stadium is really big.” — Koufakis The Bad: “For a concert it probably wasn’t a good venue because it’s a long stadium for basketball games and the stage is at one end and we sat on the other end so we couldn’t see very far.” — Koufakis “It’s really hard to get around, the food is overpriced, the seating sometimes [is really bad].” — Duong
Image courtesy: Google Maps
SOUNDS OF THE CITY:
FITZGERALD’ S 2706 White Oak Dr, Houston, TX 77007 The Good: “Majority of the time you can buy the ticket on the spot and they don’t tax it so the tickets are cheaper cause it’s not from a second hand spot so most of them will be like $10 to $30. You can also buy them on the night of. And the venue is really, really small. Most likely there’s not going to be a lot of people so you‘ll still get a good view. It’s for kind of intimate shows. So you have a chance, if you stay behind after the concert, of meeting the artist.” — Arroyo The Bad: “There’s no parking lot, cause it’s in The Heights and majority of the streets do not allow you to park on the road but as long as you get there early you can still find pretty good parking.” — Arroyo
BAYOU MUSIC CENTER 520 Texas St, Houston, TX 77002
The Good: “That’s usually where all of the really good alternative rock bands go. Tickets are still pretty affordable, they’re probably going to range between like $40$50 and you can also still buy them on the night of. It’s also pretty big.” — Arroyo The Bad: “A bottle of water is like $3 so drinks are really expensive. Parking at the parking garage is going to run you about $12. You can’t really meet your favorite artist unless you stay behind a little bit past midnight and you sneak into the back of the venue (that’s what I did!).” — Arroyo
HOUSE OF BLUES 1204 Caroline St, Houston, TX 77002
The Good: “You can eat downstairs because they have a little cafe and then you can go upstairs to watch the show. There’s valet parking so you don’t have to worry about parking there so it’s very accessible.” — Arroyo The Bad: “They don’t really offer you a lot [of amenities]. It’s okay.” — Arroyo
Bellaire Dental Center, P.A. 8282 Bellaire Blvd., Suite 147 Houston, TX 77036 (713) 778-0100
Offering: • • • • • • • • •
Cleaning Filling Extraction Root Canal Treatment Crown Bridge Veneer Dentures Teeth Whitening
freshman “andBetween junior year, I had
Correction of: • • • • •
Dental Crowding Cross-bite Deep-bite Protrusion Impacted Teeth
my braces done by Bellaire Dental. The dentists there are friendly, professional, and thorough, and I absolutely recommend them.
— Tuong-Phi Le Senior
Entertainment | Kerronicle.com | 7
Alyssa Andaverde Tuong-Phi Le Hadiqa Memon
We asked 200 students (50 from each grade level) what their favorite spring clothing item was. Here is what they said. Skirts
Spring Hats 6%
Hipster Jacket 5.5% Chiffon Shirts 3.5%
Tank tops 17%
Shorts 15% Tights 14%
Benjamins slip away for senior year As students continue through their high school career, costs pile up. Each ticket, club T-shirt, competition, and test registration costs money. Below are the estimated costs of what a senior might encounter, split up into several categories. The first shows general costs that all seniors have to pay. The next few categories—competitions/trips, memberships, tickets—show costs for seniors involved in those activities. Visit kerronicle.com for the full story.
Senior Year College Applications: $50-$75 Yearbook: $50 SAT: $51 Cap/Gown: $35 ACT: $52.50 Prom Attire: $30-$300 AP Tests: $59 Panoramic: $25-$45 Transcripts: $2 Portraits: $32-$185 SAT Score Report: $11.25 Car Sticker: $20 Letterman: $0-$189 Honor Cords: Tri-M: $12 Quill & Scroll: $7 or $10 NHS: $4 (rent), $26 (purchase) NAHS: $12
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Competitions & Trips FBLA District: $20 State: $175 Speech & Debate Tournaments: $15-30/event Music Department Solo & Ensemble: $12/35 It’z: $25 Dallas: $440 Instrument: $25 Dry Cleaning: $5 Cadre Kerr Thespian Festival: $285-$300 NAHS Culture Shapers: $20
T-shirts & Tickets
STUCO: $12 FBLA: $10 NHS: $10 NAHS: $10 Choir: $12 Band: $15 Handbells: $14 Orchestra: $15 Senior Class: $10
Prom: $20 Fine Arts Banquet: $35 Winter Music Concert: $3 Choir Pop Concert: $3 Homecoming Dance: $10 Homecoming Game: $4 Autumn in Italy: $12 Talent Show: $5
Alyssa Andaverde Malenie Areche Anh Lu Durand Nguyen