Kerronicle Friday, september 30, 2011
Vol. XVIiI NO. 1
WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES, ANOTHER OPENS
Inside the issue local drought turns to fire news page 2 the latest with Harry: Pottermore Feature page 3 old practices, new opportunities in focus page 4 9/11 Anniversary Lessons opinion page 6 etc. page 8
clubs break the ice
Wildfires scorch sense of security Staff Reporter
“On Saturday night, we found out that the fire started at the church,” said sophomore Annabelle Cantrell, describing the fire that occurred September 5 in Manchaca, Texas, while she was visiting her grandmother. “Across the street I could see the black cloud rise. It was very scary. The fire was two to three streets away, I could hear the police sirens... everyone was rushing.” Evacuating was the most complicated part; people who were in danger from the fire were told to leave everything other than the major necessities. After gathering their things, it was all just one long, concerned ride; in which the heart and the mind raced. “It took us five hours just to get to our house. Along the way it felt as though the fire was making each city evacuate,” Cantrell said. A small spark can start a fire anywhere, anytime in this state, due to the dry conditions and lack of rain for the past eleven months. This year some of the largest fires in history have appeared in Texas. The parched ground is ideal for wildfires to breed. Several counties in Texas, such as Bastrop, Palo Pinto, including Harris, have seen the blaze of a fire right out on
friday, september 30, 2011 Vol. XVIII No. I
Kerr High School 8150 Howell-Sugar Land Rd. Houston, TX 77083 (281) 983-8484 ext. 267 Staff: Editor-in-Chief Joanna Arias Story Editor Phil Pham Staff Reporters Alyssa Andaverde Kelli Chow Jesus Escobar Phi-Phi Le Tracey Le Krista Lutrick
Business Manager Phat Pham Photo Editor Aja Bryan Hadiqa Memon Durand Nguyen Jason Nguyen Kevin Nguyen Nadia Zulfa
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) 9838484 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. All letters must be signed.
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The black smoke rises: A cloud of dark smoke from the wildfire in George Bush Park can be seen from miles afar. “I was on the computer when my parents told me and I was freaking out, and surprisingly my parents seemed to only worry about my homework. I wanted to evacuate because the smoke was just growing,” freshman Shreeti Sigdel said.
Photo by Annabelle Cantrell
their doorsteps. Both students and staff have felt the effects that lie behind this devastation. “The fire is pretty close to my [relative’s] ranch in Waller County. All the farm animals were left behind and since then we were not allowed to go back and check on the ranch and our animals,” said sophomore Amy Ho. “I’m worried a lot about what’s going to happen and what is happening. I really don’t want to think about the destruction that will be left behind afterward and the process of recovering from the destruction.” Many saw the smoke and the ashes from the fire that took place on September 14 in George Bush Park on Highway 6, less than 4 miles from Kerr. “While traveling I’ve seen huge swaths of burned up land,” Student Council sponsor Margaret Bancroft said. “Even from my own home in Katy we can see and smell smoke. With the fire in George Bush Park we got lots of ash; it looked like it was snowing.” Cantrell’s family returned to Manchaca after the fire, once people were allowed to return to their homes. “Everything looks dead, people were rushed around, and it was like one house was standing and the other was in ashes,” Cantrell said. To help victims of the wildfires get the relief, Student Council collecteed shirts and jeans to donate to the students of Magnolia High School. Student Council is also collected money for gift cards to Lives at stake: A give to Bastrop High School. dark cloud of smoke “The fires and droughts are rises in Manchaca, changing lives and landscapes Texas, as a fire ignites permanently,” Bancroft said. in the nearby church. “The victims of these fires are “The fire was twoclearly receiving the immediate three streets away, assistance they need, but we and everyone was can’t forget that these people will rushing,” sophomore need help for many months.” Annabelle Cantrell said.
Photo by Shreeti Sigdel
By: Hadiqa Memon
Pottermore bewitches the Web
By: Phi-Phi Le Staff Reporter
By the time Enrique Vazquez was in the seventh grade, he thought he had hit bottom. “No friends, life was rough, things were happening left and right,” he said. “I was basically just slowly killing myself.” The memory of that time still pains him; he refuses to say anything more about it. But it was during this time that Vazquez turned to a series of books he’d originally discovered at age seven, when his aunt had given him a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as a Christmas present. “It was like opening up the front door of a house, and seeing the family that will never leave you,” he said. “Of course, things have gotten better since then. But the one quote that will always stick with me and helped me out of the funk was my favorite Dumbledore quote: ‘Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.’ Personally, that quote hit hard. And it’s one of the things that kept me going.” For Vazquez, the dark is past. He is now a sophomore and set to star in Cadre Kerr's upcoming production of Macbeth. He remains, however, an ardent fan of the Harry Potter books and movies. And along with millions of other “Potterheads," he is eagerly awaiting
the day when the Potter fandom takes on a new dimension: Pottermore. Open to the public in October, Pottermore (found at www.pottermore.com/) is an interactive website through which fans from all over the world will be able to rediscover the books, now accompanied by author J.K. Rowling’s long-hoarded notes. In July, Vazquez competed in Pottermore’s Magical Quill Challenge and was granted early access to the site. He describes the experience of Pottermore as “exploring the chapters of the books through artwork, and unlocking special bonus content.” Pottermore members will also be able to interact with each other and participate in activities such as dueling, making potions and Sorting into a Hogwarts house. Like many who competed for early access, Vazquez experienced delays between registration and access. He predicts that the same problem will arise again once Pottermore opens to the general public. “They're taking so freaking long,” he said. “People are gonna be frustrated.” Sophomore Michelle Thai also applied for early access, but says that she is willing to wait it out. “I’m not really frustrated,” she said. “The whole experience is free, so I don’t really care that it’s late.” Thai discovered the Harry Potter series in
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the fifth grade at the recommendation of her older brother. While a little confusing for her at first, “I actually started really getting into the story, and I don’t know—it’s like the way she writes, it pulls you in, and it makes you feel like her world is real, like…magic is real.” Social studies teacher Karen Evans believes that the fandom’s appeal lies in its ability to empower. “[In Harry Potter] there’s the same thing you see in anime—a young and mistreated child develops magical powers in a hidden world that those who mistreated him can’t reach,” she said. It’s very much a kind of ‘sword in the stone’ theme.” Regardless of reason, many have nonetheless bought into Rowling’s world and hope to discover more of it through Pottermore. “I have a lot of questions, and usually when I mail Rowling I know that I can’t get the answers that I want to know,” freshman Camille Nguyen said. “I have [written to Rowling before] but I think she only responds if you ask for an autograph. She doesn’t have enough time to write down, like, a full, meaningful letter to you back…So I guess Pottermore will be fine for me.” Nguyen found the books at age five and has followed both the books and movies through to their conclusions. “Seriously, they’re like my childhood,” she
said. It is a sentiment she shares with other students. “It’s such a nice change!” she said. “Like seriously, when I was at Hearne or Budewig or O’Donnell, people would usually make fun of me for it, like making up stupid names for Harry. I just felt really mad because they don’t understand; I grew up with Harry, he helped me in so many ways…Now I’ve made it to Kerr and they understand what it was like to grow up with Harry—to grow up with such a wonderful role model. I’m really glad about making the choice to come to Kerr. I can’t even think of a better school.” She paused, and then added, “Besides Hogwarts.” Vazquez feels a similar solidarity with his fellow Potterheads. “It brings that sense of unity,” he said. “You make a connection with people on a level other people don’t realize.” He hopes that Pottermore will make this even easier. “It’ll be more accessible. You’re gonna be more connected. Maybe huge events can happen through it.” For him, though, Pottermore will be, first and foremost, “the same thing the books were: some way to find…another door into that magical world.”
Enforced policie mixed feelings
By: Jason Nguyen Staff Reporter
As time goes by, elements of our lives that we thought would be constant change in their own way. Though seemingly simple and unimportant, these alterations to our house of education will make our experiences here fluctuate. As each experience comes to end, so begins the start of a new opportunity and the opening of a new door.
Picking classes has never been an easy task: students have to accumulate a certain number of credits to graduate, but at the same time, they also want that perfect balance of the difficult and required courses and fun classes. On top of that stress, some students will go to extreme measures to make sure that they are signing up for the same classes as their best friends while others are deliberately signing up for advanced classes just to boost their GPA. In the past, students have always had a safety net: if an Advanced Placement or pre-AP class turned out to be too hard, they could drop it. However, that option is no longer available this year: students may no longer drop an advanced class in the first 6 weeks of school. According to Principal Greg Freeman, this change is actually an enforcement of existing rules, one that he feels justified in doing. “You’ve signed up,” Freeman said. “You’re there and you have to be accountable for your choices. You chose to be there and so you’re responsible for that and accountable for that.” Freeman said he is the kind of person who “likes to see things to the end once they start” and does not like to give up. It is because of this that he wants to see students giving a challenging class a try before deciding it is out of their reach “We’re not saying they can’t get out of AP,” Freeman said. “They need to try. They chose to be in there. You choose it, you have to try. It’s not like we made you take that course, that was your choice. So how is that holding you accountable if the first day of school, we say ‘Oh, you can get out’?” This enforcement has generally received mixed feedback; many students are dissatisfied with having to stay in a course that they do not wish to be in, while several teachers support Freeman’s decision and his reasoning.
AP Language teacher Sarah Urban com supports the enforcement, even comparing Alief Taylor High School’s method of dropp advanced course. “Over at Taylor, the parent actually had to c [and] there was an official conference to deci team whether the student could [get] in or out,” said. “You couldn’t just write a note and send class. So Mr. Freeman pushing for the 6 weeks it a true and proper go, I support that.” Urban agrees with building responsibi students. “We’re really just following in line,” sh “We say that we’re about rigor in this school, we’re about choices and responsibility; we w guys to be responsible for your choices.” Urban believes that students want to d classes from fear. “I think they do it because they’re looking easy way out,” Urban said. “They don’t kno they can do it, they’re looking at work and literally pre-judging it.” But Junior Cindy Wang says she wanted AP Language because of other time commitm “I thought I would have time for this class summer started,” she said. “Just at the end of su a job finally calls me in and tells me that the me to come in. And then, I’ve recently been [e officer in one of the clubs and [so], I have a lo on my plate than I thought I would in the first After talking to other students, Wang sa regrets signing up for the class last spring. “I finally did talk to many, many people ab class,” she said. “I’ve pretty much heard th thing from all of them: It’s just not the class it’s not the class I’m looking for.” One junior, a Pre-AP Physics student who to remain anonymous, doubled up and no realized she cannot handle a Pre-AP Class. “I spend more time doing homework and st now,” she said. “I don’t have that much free felt differently about it in the spring, I tho wanted to do it, but then I [regretted] it the fi of school.”
Reach for the STAAR eocs to replace taks By: Jesus Escobar Staff Reporter
For many students, the TAKS tests they take every year do not have a lot of consequences. Sure, it’s nice to get commended, or to escape the tutorials they will inevitably have next year if they fail this year’s TAKS; but only the Exit-level TAKS junior year counts towards graduation. But for the freshmen, the tests they take this spring and every year will help determine whether they graduate. The traditional TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) program that has tested students’ knowledge for almost a decade is coming to an end as the Texas Education Agency replaces it with the new STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) program beginning this school year as a way of increasing the rigor of state academic testing. For this year’s freshmen and all future high
school students, the new testing program will consist of four End-Of-Course exams each year in English, mathematics, science and social studies. This differs from the TAKS, which consisted of general tests for each grade level. STAAR will be taken only by freshmen this spring. This means that ninth graders will be taking End-Of-Course exams (EOC) as part of the new STAAR testing program. Some juniors and sophomores will take EOCs as field tests; but these will not count towards their graduation requirements. According to Principal Greg Freeman, the STAAR tests because the state is making the tests more rigorous in order to prepare students better for college and careers. “Every time we’ve changed -- in all the years I’ve been in education we’ve had many different tests -- and each test has gotten a little harder and everybody has adjusted, but it has improved the quality of the work we do.”
Counselor Sara Tones said the tests will be more specific to the courses students take; students in Algebra I, for example, will be tested only on Algebra I concepts, instead of taking a general math test that covers concepts from other classes. “They [the state] wanted to focus more on specific subjects and they’re aiming to make the test a little more rigorous, and they’re trying to make students more college ready.” Freeman believes that the new testing program will further enhance students’ knowledge and skills by holding them accountable for specific subjects in each test. “I like the idea that students are held accountable for course work,” he explained, “like if you’re taking World Geography then it’s[ the ECO] all about the World Geography, it’s all about the course content, it’s all about specifics, so in that way I like it.” Freshmen will have to make a collective score across 12 EOC tests in order to meet current
graduation requirements. The scores they get their tests will count as 15% of their final gr and they can retake each test a total of three tim if they do not pass. Unlike TAKS tests, STA EOCs are timed; students will have only a f hours to complete each test, rather than takin whole day. Sophomore Jing Wu found the STAAR fi test last spring more difficult than TAKS and s that it required more effort to complete. “I think it was a little more challenging than TAKS test because unlike the TAKS test, you do have time to sleep the whole day because you h to figure out the harder questions.” Freshman Ricardo Lezama said he would a prefer to stay with a more familiar test. “I like the TAKS test better because I know better,” he said. Although freshmen may feel nervous about changes to the testing program, Tones assures th they have nothing to worry about.
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AP Chemistry teacher Margaret Bancroft said she can understand why a student might change his or her mind about taking an advanced class. “I think it’s good that students are being made to give it a good attempt, a good shot; they have to at least try [and] I like that and I am happy with that,” Bancroft said. “But I do think there are situations beyond the student’s control. They might have more responsibilities at home, and suddenly, them taking on this difficult course-load...it’s just not going to work for them. So their circumstances have changed.” But many students want to drop classes because they panic in the first few weeks, she said. “They get lazy; for some reason, they just decide ‘I don’t wanna do it’ and there’s not really any good reason besides ‘I don’t feel like it.’” But Wang argues that students might be motivated to drop a class by the same factor that motivated them to sign up in the first place: their GPAs. “Why not take a regular class that I’m most likely guaranteed a better grade in, simply because it’s regular, rather than the risk of taking an AP class that offers me a 5.0, but I might end up getting a C or a B?” she said. “A lot of the [reasoning] I even went into AP3 was for my GPA.” As of next week, students will be able to drop advanced classes if they still want to. Freeman hopes some will not. “Being held accountable for a choice is tough sometimes,” he said, “and you have to be very wise about your decisions.” Regardless of her reasons for wanting to drop the class, Wang feels that she should have the right to change her decision to take the class. “I do see where [Mr. Freeman is] coming from... although he does have the right to sit down and talk to students about how they should see things to the end, this isn’t the real world yet,” she said. “This is high school, it’s kind of like the practice range. You make a mistake, you fix it. You have the chance to fix it at this point because it’s high school and you learn from your mistakes and [so] as an adult, you can make better decisions.”
“They may be a little nervous because it’s something new,” she said, “but hopefully they’ll know that their education is going to more than prepare them for their test and they have nothing to be worried about.”
Helpful Assistance: Siegrist helps direct the band in order to get them prepared for their holiday concert, which includes rehearsing daily to get the music up to tempo, dividing into sectionals on Wednesdays, and listening to the music in order to know what it is supposed to sound like. Siegrist divides the wind ensemble’s Wednesday practices between concert preparation and Bandy Day practice in order to give them time to prepare for their performance at Krump Stadium on October 6.
Metamorphosis starts the year By: Krista Lutrick Staff Reporter
A new kind of music arises within Kerr this year, a music spurred by innovations and modifications. Ashley Siegrist, first time teacher and new band director, introduces one of the many changes to take place this year. Siegrist was inspired by her eighth grade band director to pursue a career in music, which led to her arrival here at Kerr. “I have never met a group more dedicated and genuinely smart and thoughtful,” she said. Senior Naomi McMurray is pleased to have Siegrist this year. “Mrs. Siegrist is really nice! I'm really excited to have her this year,” McMurray said. "She just graduated from college, so she's young and energetic which always helps get people interested in the band program." Under Siegrist’s direction, the band will now be required to complete PAKs, just as they would for any other class. “The PAKs will teach students about theory in order to help them learn more of music theory, " Siegrist said. Students find the new PAKs odd, but surprisingly helpful to the band. McMurray thinks that they will be beneficial to the band as a whole. "I was a little skeptical about having to do the Music Theory PAKs, but so far they've turned out to be really easy," she said. "I think that the PAKs are a nice way of making sure everyone is on the same level of musical understanding. Understanding theory can make bad musicians good and good musicians, great. I think the band will be able to play more difficult music once everyone has learned the basics of theory." By giving her students PAKs, Siegrist is hoping to broaden the field of learning for her students and open doors to many different
possibilities and options. Also, flutes, clarinets, and any other wind instrument excluding saxophone will not be presented in Jazz Band. Instead, Jazz Band will be starting from scratch with classic jazz instrumentation, which includes the trumpet, trombone, and saxophone. "This gives kids an opportunity to learn another instrument other than the one they play in class," Siegrist said. Also beginning this year, English teacher Roger Martin will be assisting Theater director Julie Ryan with Cadre Kerr productions. Martin became interested in theater when he began acting in high school and received a theater scholarship. His love for the art opened a door to work with the theater department. “I am thoroughly enjoying my new position," Martin said. "The theater kids are great, and Ms. Ryan is a joy to work with." The first play that Martin will co-direct will be Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and although he is the new assistant director, Martin reports that there will hardly be any changes made. “As far as changes go, there really are none, other than I will be directing some of the plays. This will help to give Ms. Ryan some time to relax.” Sophomore Jason Quach feels that the change is good. "Because he's an English teacher, he knows a lot about the plays," Quach said. Also joining the staff is technology specialist Cindi Payne, who will be spending two to three days each week at Kerr and the rest at Alief Learning Center. Principal Greg Freeman said is excited to have Payne on staff and feels that her being here will be beneficial for students and teachers. "She is a very hard worker and tries to anticipate problems before they occur," he said. Students will probably see very few changes in technology service, other than a dry-erase
board on the door of the office in the Business Center for those seeking "Payne relief" for technology problems. “I don’t think she is planning on any changes but will be very accessible to students and staff for support and as a resource," Freeman said. Another change comes in the science department. Biology teacher Misty ChenGodspeed was offered a position at Alief Early College and began teaching Chemistry there this year. However, Chen was not replaced, therefore reducing the number of science teachers. "We're busier," science teacher Clarissa Caro said. "I have over 100 students as compared to 60 last year, and so does Mrs. [Deborah] Valdez. [Also,]I was not doing seminars for bio, but now I am." But it isn't just the teachers that are affected. Students who were in Chen's advisory were sent to other teachers' advisories. "It definitely made advisory new and interesting," said science teacher Margaret Bancroft. Senior My Vo was placed in Bancroft's advisory after spending three years with Chen. "I like having Ms. Bancroft, but I'd [still] like to have Dr. Chen," said Vo. Freeman knows that some of the changes this year are tough, but nothing the school can’t handle. “I think with the staff changes, it gives us the opportunity to explore new and different ways to efficiently and effectively meet the learning needs of students without losing the tradition of excellence Kerr has established," he said. "Of course the negative effect will be with less staff, there are fewer adults to give the personal touch. That is why we have to find ways to take some of the load off the staff we have in order to give them the time to work with students.”
Staff Editorial: wise words for freshmen Did you get kicked out from the testing center for coughing too loudly? Did you lose your assignment? Are you having a hard time adjusting to Kerr? High school can be profoundly difficult, and being a freshman makes the experience even more grueling and frustrating. However, by gaining the knowledge of an upperclassman, you’ll find surviving high school a breeze. When mentioned getting kicked out from the testing center for coughing too loud, we weren't kidding. If you’re in the testing center, be wary of other students taking tests. Make sure you don’t cough, sneeze, talk, tap your foot or your pencil--- and just to be safe…make sure you don’t breathe. If you do, you might just get
thrown out. Oh, and that assignment? Good luck, we hope you find it. Always photocopy, video tape, or scan your assignments in case one of your teachers, counter clerk, or yourself accidentally loses it. Without physical evidence of your work, there is no way a teacher can be certain that you even turned it in. Now let's not forget about those long lunch lines! The most efficient way to receive your food before anyone else is to get to the cafeteria early! Do not roam around in the hallways, go straight to the cafeteria and pray the line isn't monstrously long. And by now you have probably already noticed that our school is like an igloo.
Therefore, be sure to bring a sweater or jacket. Also beware of seminar room 411; it’s nicknamed the “icebox” for a reason. Now it's time to get to the serious part. You may have already had this drilled into your brain by now, but we'll mention it again. Do not procrastinate! It's the one thing that teachers and upperclassman stress the most. Some people may have tried to scare you, commenting on how the workload is tremendous. However, do not be afraid, for as long as you do not procrastinate, you should be fine. Equally important, manage your time wisely! Unlike middle school, you have work everyday, even on weekends and holidays. So the best bet to keep up with your work is to
make sure you're working everyday. If you're in class, work. If you're at home, work. If you're on vacation in Malibu, work. The amount of work given to you will feel less if you work a little everyday. Cramming the day before an assignment is due or studying all night for a test, will only cause harm to your mental and physical health. Not only that, but you probably will not finish everything, if you're constantly working on assignments at the last-minute. With all of these tips, it can be suffocating, but we promise you that if you follow our advice, your experience at Kerr will be much more enjoyable and enlightening.
Distorted perceptions impact Muslims By: Nadia Zulfa Staff Reporter
I walk quickly through the crowd avoiding any eye contact. Whenever I meet the eyes of another person, the look I receive in return suggests that I am someone dangerous, that I am going to pull out an explosive from under my shirt, or perhaps throw my half-eaten chocolate bar, which conceals a bomb, and the whole airport will be blown to bits. I am 13, and the day is September 11, 2009. And I am a Muslim girl walking through an American airport. That whole event represents the paranoia through which many people view Muslims-even little kids at the airport. It was the same paranoia that led to protests last year against the Muslim holiday Eid-ul-Fitr, which coincidentally fell near September 11, backed by the ridiculous idea that while Americans would be mourning, Muslims would be celebrating. People possess this paranoia because of the actions of extremists who say they represent Islam, such as the Taliban and Al Qaeda. But
more often than not, these groups misrepresent Islam. As a Muslim myself, I can say that most of those who carried out the attack on September 11, 2001, may have been Arab, but they weren’t Muslim; their actions don’t reflect the actual teachings and basis of Islam. What most people don’t understand is why the Taliban are so oppressive. Their main goal is to make everyone pure. Think about Hitler, who wanted to create a dominant race, or Lord Voldemort who wanted everyone to be pure-blooded wizards. The Taliban want people to be extreme Muslims, like them. They think anything else is impure. But turning everyone into pure Muslims isn’t easy, so they turn to Al Qaeda for help and all of those other crazy bombers you hear on the
The majority of people aren’t aware of Muslim culture, nor do they understand the basis of Islam.
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news these days. If you think about it, which is easier? Trying to persuade everyone to be pure, or to just drop a bomb on everyone who’s not Muslim? And ironically, they’re breaking one of the most important rules: Muslims are not allowed to force other people into Islam, and this is where the misrepresentation takes place. T h r o u g h all this chaotic stereotyping and intolerance, the majority of people aren’t aware of Muslim culture, nor do they understand the basis of Islam. Let’s jump back to the protests last year about Eid-ul-Fitr. It is the most revered holiday in Islam, symbolizing the triumph that Muslims have after finally making it through 30 days of rigorous fasting in the month of Ramadan; it’s like a trophy at the end of a
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marathon. It symbolizes the ability to practice self control, to tell yourself “no,” no matter how hungry or thirsty you are or when you have a chance to secretly sneak food into your mouth when no one’s looking. Eid is the day of festivity, the day where everyone dresses their best, goes to the mosque for prayer, and hugs as many people as they can. If people take the time to filter out the stereotypes, they can see that all the protesting against Eid was for no apparent reason. It was only hug day, after all. Through Eid, everyone can realize that Islam is nothing to be afraid of. Arguably, the Taliban and Al Qaeda could be the one to blame for these misconceptions; their extremist ways provide the foundation for prejudice. The whole world sees them torturing non-Muslims and murdering thousands, and they perceive that all Muslims have a hand in it. If everyone just stops for a second and push through the veil of lies, they will be able to view what is truly there in the heart of Islam: peace, humanity, and purity.
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7 rolling in TASTY OPTIONS By: Phil Pham Story Editor
Tasty sushi rolls at an affordable price, spiced with free miso and red bean soup, are layered together with a simple wooden decor and rolled into a homey restaurant. Greeted by the friendly staff who quickly assisted me in placing my order, I slowly get the feel of homeliness as if I was a regular, although it was my first time dining there. Hokkaido, which sits squarely behind the Diho center in the heart of Chinatown, provides both a relaxing environment for diners who enjoy sharing carefree conversations over a plate or two of sushi and quick service for those who like their sushi to-go. As a novice when it comes to sushi, I sought the opinion of many sushi experts among my friends and they all recommended the Dragon Roll as, hands down, the tastiest roll at Hokkaido. Wasting no time on a recent visit, I immediately fished for Hokkaido’s Dragon Roll and the restaurant's most popular dish -- Tempura roll. Luckily for me, my experts' appraisal was accurate. Featuring fried softshelled crab, wrapped into a roll with rice, layered with a thin, creamy slice of avocado and topped with a crispy strip of eel, Hokkaido’s Dragon Roll was definitely worth the $9.95 I paid. At less than $4, the Tempura Roll lived up
to its worth. This scrumptious steal is definitely "Maki-ng" my favorite sushi list. A delicate sheet of seaweed covers a layer of rice, smelt roe (a bright orange fish-egg used as sushi garnish) and a crunchy piece of shrimp that sits squarely in the middle. All novice sushi eaters who are not used to the taste of semi-cooked fish and eel should give the Tempura Roll a try because the mild taste of seaweed blends well with the crusty taste of shrimp. To wrap up, my experience at Hokkaido could be summed up as inexpensive sushi and happy dining. I would recommend the sushi rolls above along with the Spider Roll, the Volcano Hawaiian and Crazy Spider Roll for those who like their sushi with a kick of fire. Hokkaido Sushi opens from Tuesday through Sunday from 9 AM to 3 PM and reopens at 5 PM. If you're ever in Chinatown craving sushi, dip into Hokkaido; it's your best bet to a full stomach and wallet.
9108 Bellaire Boulevard Houston TX, 77036 (713) 988-8448
9 / 10
Wrapping up a good time at Miyako By: Phat Pham Business Manager
At first glance, Miyako is an oasis in the middle of town along Westheimer. I knew that my experience was going to be special. I walked into an environment decorated with Japanese sliding doors, lanterns and dimmed lighting that gives the diner a sense of a modern Japanese sushi bar with an overwhelming feeling of relaxation. Silverware and menus were already waiting for us when we got to our table. After I ordered my drink, I was looking for my favorite sushi roll, the Dragon Roll. To my surprise, Miyako named it the Red Dragon Miki and it was also one of their signature rolls, so I had absolutely no hesitation in ordering it. After waiting for ten minutes, our waiter came back with the drinks. I asked him about the Dragon Roll and he said that unlike other restaurants, they try to make a custom kind of sushi so they can be more original while keeping the basic ingredients of a Dragon Roll. They use the basic ingredients and recipes but they add roe (red fish eggs). We also ordered
the Crunchy Roll, Tuna Tata, Caterpillar Roll, Buffalo Roll, and some seaweed salad. The Crunchy Roll really does live up to its name. When I took the first bite, I felt the rich crumbly texture within my mouth. Not only was the roll crunchy, but it also had a pile dry bread crumbs, known as Panko, that gave it its extra crunch. The Tuna Tata is a mountain of raw fish commonly refered to as sashimi and had a beautiful presentation. I gave it a try and it was pretty good, considering it was raw tuna. It tasted as though someone tenderized the meat until it was turned into a soft and chewy texture. The Caterpillar Roll actually resembled a caterpillar, but don’t let the name fool you because it was actually one of my favorite rolls of the night! It was full of flavor and so soft that it almost melted in my mouth. I was able to taste a little spice in it, but it was mainly overwhelmed by a more sweet taste mixed with the rice. The Buffalo Roll was a little warm even though most sushi dishes are served cold. None the less it had a mild crunch and was slightly spicy on the outside and on the inside was
a very soft center that made for a delicious combination. The seaweed salad was very chewy and very sweet. Adding it to any kind of sushi dish will enhance the experience of each bite. When the Red Dragon Miki Roll came I had already worked up an appetite and was ready to try out Miyako’s signature dish. Miyako’s Dragon Roll was a little different from the usual Dragon Rolls I’ve eaten, but it was original and the taste was really something that I have never experienced before. When I took my first bite the ingredients blended together and gave it a really unique taste. The rice usually has a bland flavor so it was hard to tell over the whole ingredients that were put in it. When my friends and I finished our main course, the waiter came and offered us a dessert menu. Miyako’s dessert menu isn’t as varied as the main menu, but all the dishes looked appealing.. I decided to try the liquid GodVile Cake, which was basically a small warm chocolate cake with gooey chocolate inside, topped off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This time the food actually arrived promptly. While the ice cream was already melting on
top of the cake and altogether the dessert was a bit too sweet for my taste, I would recommend it to anyone who has a sweet tooth. After we finished and paid our bills the waiter thanked us for coming and bid us a good day. I really enjoyed all the food that I ate at Miyako. Unfortunately, the service was slower than I would have liked. The cost for the meal was also slightly expensive, but the dishes were fairly priced. The atmosphere made me feel like I was in an real Japanese sushi bar.
6345 Westheimer Road Houston, TX 77057 (713)781-6300
8 / 10
To start off the new year, Student Council, Speech and Debate, Christian Fellowship and Cadre Kerr had their first meetings to introduce their respective clubs to prospective members. But before the clubs could begin to discuss upcoming events, they played games and activites to break the ice among new and old members. The icebreakers included introductions, songs, random questions, charades and trust exercises.
Story by Aja Bryant and Alyssa Andaverde Photos by Aja Bryant, Alyssa Andaverde, and Meera Norton
1. Speech and Debate officers discuss the upcoming events and general information. 2. Those who are interested in joining Speech and Debate listen to the information from the officers. 3. Student Council sponsor, Margaret Bancroft, explains what to expect when becoming a member of the club. 4. After a prayer, juniors Griselda Chavez and Isabel Cornejo eat a snack before Christian Fellowshipâ€™s icebreaker. 5. Junior James Uchem writes down his class schedule for Speech and Debate. 6. Sophomore Raymond Luu holds a shoe in his hand, participating in Cadre Kerrâ€™s icebreaker.