McCallum High School / 5600 Sunshine / Austin, TX 78756 / April 26, 2013 / Issue 6 / Volume 60
Girls track hits the ground running during spring season story on page 16
Proposed public school bonds would improve facilities story on page 3
Dance Department performs spring show ‘At the Feet of Our Ancestors’ story on pages 12-13
Staffer voices opinion on statemandated standardized tests story on page 22
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table of contents 3
Staffer investigates new abortion laws around the nation
Staffer explains difference between public and charter schools
Students, teachers talk about national movement for gay marriage
Omani foreign exchange student prepares to conclude her year in Austin
Girls track hits the ground running in 4X100 relay
Blue Brigade seniors (from left to right:) Hannah English, Grace McClure, Stephanie MartinezArndt, Bailey Hansen, Symphoni Nixon, Meredith Chandler and Creslyn Bertrand perform a peprally routine together at the Blue Brigade spring show April 19. Photo by Grace Frye.
save the date
Student bands compete in Radio Club-sponsored ‘Battle of the Bands’
The Shield staff members try their hand at reassigning Texas state symbols
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Fashion Show: Notions II Knights of Percussion Show
6-17 7-9 10-12 14
May 15 Author visit: Mayor’s Book Club
‘Romeo and Juliet’ @7 p.m.
AP Exams STAAR Testing Eden: Dance Benefi Show Piano recital in the FAT Musical Theatre Showcase AISD Percussion Festival
Seniors Tiffany Scott and Quen Saulsberry compete in the girls 4X100 relay during the Bowie-sponsored practice meet on Feb. 13. Photo by Kassie Stagner.
The 2012-2013 Blue Brigade members perform the opening dance ‘Time’ at their spring show on April 19. Photo by Grace Frye.
City of Austin will vote May 11 on district-wide infrastructure, classroom improvements CAITLIN FALK assistant editor
Citizens of Austin will have an opportunity to vote on a bond package May 11 which will fund renovations and upgrades for schools in the Austin area. Alumni parent Susan Moffat said it is important to get out and vote at the polls whether for or against initiating the bond. The last major bond election of this caliber was close to 10 years ago. “Public schools all across Austin currently face critical facility needs that directly affect the health, safety and academic success of students, and this is especially true for older campuses like McCallum,” Moffat said. “Major renovations and repairs or new facilities to accommodate AISD’s growing student population can only be achieved through school bond elections. They cannot be addressed under the district’s regular operating budget.” Moffat is a current board member of the Campus Advisory Council at McCallum. She has been a strong advocate for the school though her son has graduated. “Over the years I’ve come to know many wonderful McCallum faculty, administrators, parents, students and staff members who are some of the most dedicated people I’ve ever met,” Moffat said. “I love McCallum’s quirky vibe, its creativity and diversity, the range of student interests, and the accepting nature of the campus as a whole.” District-wide the bond will include athletic improvements such as the installation of new outdoor bleachers, renovations to athletic locker and
weight rooms, expansion of girl’s locker room, resurfacing of the running track, improvements to practice fields, and installation of safety cables on retractable basketball goals. “Older campuses like McCallum still don’t have many basic facilities newer schools take for granted,” Moffat said. “We can no longer postpone these major investments in facilities serving nearly 87,000 children every day.” McCallum will receive a total of $20,470,248 if the bond passes. A sum of this funding will be allotted towards constructing a stand-alone dance facility. Dance parents and students have been working to get McCallum Dance on the bond agenda since January and have attended numerous community meetings to speak out for the program. “At long last dance will have a space that is not shared with other activities,” Murray said. “Dance majors will have the appropriate space to dance, the appropriate floor to dance on. They will not have other classes going on at the same time, in the same room, unable to hear the teacher. The lighting will be appropriate, there will be mirrors, ballet bars and dressing rooms. The dance program will not have to rely on the kindness of other departments to allow us to have classes and a program.” Currently dancers are rehearsing in the black box theater, but sophomore Marilyn Connelly said she hopes if the bond passes, it will free up space again for theatre students. “I am really excited about the bond. I think it will be really beneficial to the schools in AISD if the proposal
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passes,” Connelly said. “The bond will help McCallum build a proper facility dedicated to dance, which is important for all of the dancers, but it will also open up spaces for theatre and sports where dance is now being taught.” Among other improvements for McCallum, the bond would necessitate major renovations to special education classrooms. “Much like the majority of the school has gone through renovations which update the facilities, our classrooms will be updated to modern facilities,” Special Education department head Julie Rigby said. “Our classrooms require additional accessibility for our students, so updates will be made there as well. Like food and nutrition teacher Grace Odu’s classroom, our classrooms have stoves and refrigerators as well as washer and dryers to help the students learn life skills. These facilities will be updated as well. We are excited with the consideration of the bond package to update our classrooms.” The bond will include funding for every school in AISD. Proposition 1 designates money for health, environment, equipment and technology; Proposition 2 for safety, security, relief from overcrowded schools and new construction; Proposition 3 for academic and building infrastructure; and
proposition 4 for academic initiatives, fine arts and athletics. “The bond will help a lot of schools that are in even worse situations than McCallum get funding and new spaces for arts and sports,” Connelly said. “When some of the dance and theatre majors got to meet the AISD Director of Fine Arts at a meeting, we could really tell how much time and effort he had put into every fine arts item on the bond. He kept saying that the things we want for our school he wants for every school in the district.” The tax rate is not expected to rise this year as a result of the bond passing. Over the length of the bond program, the district expects a maximum of a 3.5 cent increase in the district tax rate. “The real question is not whether we can afford to maintain our schools — it’s whether we can afford not to,” Moffat said. “The gerontologist who will care for you in your old age may be enrolled in kindergarten right now, or the financial analyst who will help you plan for a secure retirement may be in fourth grade. The mechanic who will keep your car safe, the engineer who will design your new computer, the teacher who will educate your grandkids, the software genius with the next big idea…tomorrow’s workers, professionals and business leaders are in school today. We need to do right by them so they can do right by us in the future.”
Bond Quick Facts: Addition of new dance facility Expansion of athletic locker rooms Renovation of food lab Renovation of life skills room Resurface track Work on football/soccer fields Renovate restrooms in gym foyer Addition of new weight room and convert existing weight room into dressing room facilities
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Texas House votes to lower graduation requirements The Texas House voted March 26 to lower high school graduation requirements and to reduce the amount of state-wide standardized tests from the current 15 to 5. Among the proposed changes are dropping second-year Algebra from graduation standards and creating a new diploma plan that emphasizes flexibility. House Bill 5 passed 145-2 in the preliminary vote by the House and is now before
pass 15 end-of-course exams to graduate, students would only need to pass 5: biology, algebra, US history and 10th grade reading and writing. “I feel like [those subjects] cover a basic education, which would give you enough across-the-board information to be successful in high school and advance to college and move on,” Garrison said. “I honestly think that if students show proficiency in those areas and meet the required credits along with that, then they should get a diploma from high school.”
the Senate. However, the changes proposed in the bill have faced recent criticism from major news outlets and large business owners who worry the changes are a step in the wrong direction. “Just because you take Algebra II doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful in it,” Principal Mike Garrison said. “I’ve never thought requiring students to take four years of math would all of a sudden make them like math. I think there are people who struggle with math, for whatever reason. Whatever their physiological make-up or neurological make-up is, they struggle with math. So just making that person take four years of math is not all of a sudden going to make that person say, ‘Hey you know what? I’m going to be an engineer.’ I think people that are good at math and like it will certainly go as far as they can with it, and then they’ll be the engineers and the scientists.” The suggested lower diploma standards are also reflected in the proposed standardized test changes. Rather than needing to
If HB-5 passes, the new graduation requirements would decrease the number of math and science courses students are required take from four to only three. The new “fundamental” plan would allow students to have more choice in the classes they take, offering flexibility to kids who want to focus on career training classes. “I think that [HB-5] is a really good idea because not everybody is going to go into a math or science field, and a lot of the stuff that we do teach in Algebra II is just so high mathematics the average person won’t use it again,” Algebra II teacher Chastity Colbert said. “I really like that idea because that’s how it used to be: you only really needed to know how to do Algebra I and geometry in order to graduate. I mean, that’s what the TAKS tests.” While the bill has almost unanimous support in the House, critics say lowering the standards will not produce students ready for college. These statements point to a study done by researchers at the Edu-
GRACE FRYE editor-in-chief
cational Testing Service that showed completing Algebra II increased graduates’ likelihood of getting a higher-paying job. Garrison said he knows the importance put on the class was never the intent of the researchers. “I think the research people even came out and said, ‘We’re just trying to show data; we’re not saying that this is right or wrong and this is what will happen to you if you don’t take it,’” Garrison said. “So this shows that a lot of times data can be used to promote a belief or disprove a belief. I honestly believe that there are people who would not be strong in Algebra II that can be successful in college.” The default graduation plan for students now is the Recommended plan, also known as the 4x4 plan because it mandates four years of all core classes: English, math, science and social studies. Students now who graduate on the 4x4 plan are automatically eligible for the top 10 percent law in Texas. However, HB-5’s fundamental plan would no longer offer students that eligibility, and those wishing to qualify would have to opt into a “distinguished plan” where they would have to take an extra year of math and science. Sophomore Ana White said she agrees with fewer standardized tests but worries that reducing graduation requirements might not be a good idea. “I don’t think standardized testing is a good way to measure where students are,” White said, “so I totally agree with that. But I also think that if people are going to [shoot for top 10 percent], they are probably going to want to take the four years of everything and get ahead anyways, so I think they would end up doing more of the 4x4 stuff
Graphics by Grace Frye.
anyway. Like, if you’re trying to get into a good college, you should be doing classes that actually show that you are ready to go to college, and you aren’t going in with four fewer credits.” While Colbert supports the bill, she is hesitant to say if cutting Algebra II would affect students long term. “A part of me is like, if that bill does pass, does that mean that in the long run would we be doing a disservice to the kids by not pushing them to take Algebra II, but I don’t know,” she said. “As a teacher I’m in favor of it. But that’s what I’m worried about. In the long run, will it make regular Algebra II obsolete? Because if kids don’t have to take it, then they won’t take it. I don’t know.” Garrison said students would be fine if the bill passes, but it is not so much the bill that is causing a stir but education management in general. “Education is just a very difficult process. I know there must be some standards and I know there has to be accountability, but I don’t know if anybody has figured out how to do that effectively yet, me included,” he said. “If I knew the answer, then I would certainly explain and tell them this is what we should be doing. It’s just very challenging. I want to provide students with teachers who are knowledgeable in their content area. I want them to care about the success of their kids, [and have them] understand that all students are not the same, and that they’re going to have to supplement and help and support some more than others, and always encourage them to do their best. And if we can do that at our level and the student can be successful through high school, then I believe that they can and will be successful after high school.”
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Abort mission New laws tighten women’s health care restrictions in selected states BELLA TEMPLE
staff reporter Texas Republican state legislators are advancing a bill, Senate Bill 537, which will require all abortions clinics in Texas to meet the same physical requirements as ambulatory surgical centers, even if the clinic does not perform surgical abortions. Only five of the 42 clinics in Texas are currently licensed as ambulatory surgical centers. If the bill becomes a law, the other 37 clinics will be forced to close down or pay for expensive building renovations. Many state legislators across the country are trying to make abortion laws stricter. “Right now in Texas, to get an abortion, they have to see a video of a fetus at that age before they are allowed to receive the abortion,” child development teacher Sharon McCrary, said. “Then they have to go home and wait 24 hours to consider whether they really feel like they should continue with the process.” The Arkansas Senate voted March 15 to prohibit most abortions if a heartbeat is detected. When doing this, the Senate ignored warnings from other opponents that banning the procedure as early as six weeks could easily cause many lawsuits. “I think there are definitely going to be lawsuits.” junior Jeptha Johnson said.
“This very easily could go to their state supreme court if not to the higher federal courts. But we are definitely going to see them.” The Arkansas Senate then passed a ban that will prohibit most abortions after 12 weeks when a fetal heartbeat is detected during an abdominal ultrasound. “I understand why people are uncomfortable with the idea of abortion,” junior Lauren Distler said. “And I do see the logic in restricting the earlier parts of development, but I know if I were in that position today, I would probably get an abortion. And I don’t think I have the right to take that choice away from other people.” The Ohio House passed a similar ban in 2011, but the Senate was concerned that it might be found unconstitutional. “I really think any restrictions on abortion are unconstitutional,” Johnson said. “It’s the woman’s body, and it should be her choice. I don’t think the states should put restrictions on it because I just think any restrictions are unconstitutional.” The North Dakota Senate approved banning abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The House approved the measure when Governor Jack Dal-
Countries worldwide permit abortion on broad grounds or without restrictions as to reason
States where abortion is virtually illegal. Graphic by Grace Frye and Bella Temple.
rymple signed the bill into law in March. cedure, except under certain circumstances. “To see if a fetus can feel pain you would A similar legislation is being considered in Mississippi. Abortion rights groups have have to subject the fetus to pain to be able to complained that it ignores the United see if there is a reaction,” McCrary said. “ObStates Supreme Courts 1973 Roe v. Wade viously, they are not going to let that kind of ruling that legalized abortion up until vi- experiment be done.” In Texas, for a woman to have an aborability, mostly from 22-24 weeks. “The fetus usually has a heartbeat at tion, she must undergo an ultrasound before 25 days,” McCrary said. “It is legal to have the procedure. If the woman lives within 100 an abortion in Texas, and there are move- miles from an abortion clinic, she must obtain the ultrasound at least 24 hours before the ments trying to change that.” abortion. For a A doctor woman to receive who performs public funding, she an abortion afwould have to be in ter a heartbeat The rights of the life endangerment is detected could or have gotten possibly face a felminority should never pregnant by rape ony charge punbe up to the whims of or incest. A parent ishable for up to of a minor wanting five years of pristhe majority. to receive an aboron and a $5,000 tion must consent fine. Women Lauren Distler and be notified who have the Junior before an abortion abortion would is provided. These not be charged. “It’s a woman’s choice,” Distler said. “The restrictions are as of March 2013 in the state state shouldn’t have the right to regulate that.” of Texas. “Texas is already far stricter on abortion The Senate approved the proposed “Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act” than I would prefer,” Distler said. “The rights with a 26-8 vote. The act requires a test to find of the minority should never be up to the a fetal heartbeat before an abortion is done. If whims of the majority.” one is detected, a woman cannot have the pro-
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Senior works toward highest Girl Scout award After participating in Girl Scouts for about 11 years, senior Nora Greene is now preparing to achieve one of the highest awards in the program, the Gold Award. The award challenges girls in high school to make a lasting impact on the community. “Only about 5 percent of Girl Scouts get their Gold Award, so I thought it would be a special thing to do,” Greene said. “I’m making a website for teens to submit art about teen life. I have to create the website, and I’m also doing a couple of workshops to store up art for the first month.” After going through a rigorous application process, Greene is working on perfecting her idea and getting the website ready. “My idea actually got rejected the first time, so I had to go back and make some changes,” she said. “I was really interested in doing something with art because I’m a visual arts major, and it’s something I want to go into in college. Hopefully the website
news in brief will be going up in mid-May.”
8 students awarded Best-in-Class at UIL solo and ensemble At the district-wide orchestra and classical guitar UIL Solo and Ensemble meet April 20, eight students received the prestigious Best In Class award. “Getting Best In Class was so exciting,” junior Katie Sanchez said. “Each year the difficulty differs based on the competition level. It really depends on how much work you put into your piece to make it unique.” Students compete in different classes based on the difficulty of their piece. “If you get Best in Class, you get the district-wide recognition and you get taped to play on the AISD channel,” Sanchez said. “I think the number of students who get Best in Class really reflects well on the Fine Arts Academy. It’s really a testament to how the Fine Arts Academy succeeds
in both group and solo performances and how the FAA is producing well-rounded musicians.”
Sherline said. “None of us had any idea that he was struggling with anything.”
Senior passes away during lunch April 8
Robotics club competes in international meet
Senior Forrest Brewer died suddenly at his home during lunch on April 8. Students and parents were notified with a letter sent home by Principal Mike Garrison at the end of the day. “He always seemed nice and happy,” Assistant Principal Sophia Sherline said. “He had an interesting way of speaking. It was kind of like he was looking for each specific word and wanting to pronounce them with intention. He always seemed very purposeful. And I was very sad to hear what happened.” The letter sent home stated counselors would be available for students at any time. The memorial service was held on April 13. Forrest is survived by his parents. “He just seemed like a happy person,”
Four students on the robotics team attended an international competition this past weekend with sponsor Audrea Moyers. “We qualified from the Houston competition by getting the design award and by being tournament champions,” Moyers said. The students were among competitors from around the world. The team won six of its qualifying matches and ultimately placed 32nd out of 84 teams in its division. “Our robot this year is the best one we’ve ever taken,” Moyers said, “and it’s just because every year we learn some things to avoid and some better strategies. We were very happy with that. Every match is closely fought.”
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GINGER BICKLEY staff reporter
Graphics made by Ginger Bickley on piktochart.com
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I now pronounce you... Students, teachers discuss the issues around gay marriage BARON HEINRICH staff reporter
AVID teacher and coordinator Annette Cardona married her wife in New York. Despite having a document confirming the legality of her marriage, Cardona faces challenges that heterosexual couples don’t face, such as filing taxes with her spouse. The house is under the name of her partner and it deducts from her partner. Although on paper it may appear that Cardona has a surplus, in reality she’s paying bills. Another issue Cardona faces is health insurance. “If both of us didn’t work for AISD, I wouldn’t be able to list her as part of my household for health insurance,” she said, “or if I lost my job, I couldn’t rely on her for insurance. We would have to maintain our own health insurance.” Technology teacher Tim Bjerke said the issue of gay marriage is more about the equality and recognition than it is about “marriage.” “I think that marriage, per se, is deeply rooted in religion, and that it is the business of churches to deal with marriage,” Bjerke said, “especially when you use the term ‘marriage.’ However, everyone should be able to have a civil partnership, civil union, something like that, that the government recognizes so they can conduct business, so they can inherit property, so they can help someone who’s in the hospital without a bunch of hassling red tape. Lots of people are fighting for marriage, but it’s not necessarily “marriage” that most people want. They want the recognition that is completely equal to anyone that has been married or otherwise promised to stay with each other.” Cardona said marriage isn’t just about the document but the experience. “It’s being able to say to the world ‘We are committed to each other. It’s us. Now we are becoming one,’” she said. “But, with that certificate, there are a lot of things that come from the government. With that paper, you are allowed to file
your taxes together, you get insurance and who’s married to who has such little money from each other, you don’t have effect on me. Why should I have any say in to go and get a lawyer to sign extra docu- it? That has nothing to do with me.” Junior Gabby Desporte supports gay ments. When you get in the hospital, your partner can speak for you. For instance, I marriage because she sees nothing wrong just had surgery. My wife and I had to get with it. “I grew up with two moms ever since a document notarized and pay someone to draw up the document so if anything I was born, and having that experience, were to happen to me, she can speak with I don’t feel any different than if I had a mom and a dad,” me and go in the Desporte said. back and visit me “I don’t see why like any wife and The GOP released their re- my life standard husband could be so do. It’s someport card, or their autopsy would low compared thing extra we shouldn’t have to report, that told them why to someone who heterosexual do.” they lost the last election. Ba- has parents.” Special EduDesporte cation teacher sically, what it said: ‘Young said she believes Margaret Powell people like gay marriage. Texas will evenagrees marriage is really imporWhy don’t you try and give tually recognize the issue of gay tant in a relationpeople what they want?’ marriage. ship. “Austin is a “My friends Molly Harney small blue island Caryn and Shain a massive red ron have been toSenior sea,” she said. “If gether for 20-plus years,” Powell said. “If one of them were [the issue of gay marriage] were to spread to get into a car wreck, the other has no to small rural areas, it might not be acright to see them in the hospital, no right cepted at first. I think the issue will have a to make decisions medically for them. way of spreading across Texas. People are They have no rights for each other. If one recognizing the issue and it’s becoming a of them dies, the other family can come in larger issue than in the past.” Gay marriage and politics often inand say, ‘Nope, you don’t get too keep the house. You don’t get to keep that car. You termingle with each other. For example, don’t have those bank accounts anymore.’ Senator Rob Portman was against gay There are a lot of things that a marriage marriage; however, Portman started to sets in place, even end-of-life decisions. If support gay marriage. As it turns out, you’re not married, your partner, even if Portman has a son who is gay and has you have been together for 20-plus years, been out for at least two years. Junior Jep Johnson said the senator does not have any legal right to make those decisions. There are so many other had a choice to make. “Say if you have a Republican senator,” reasons besides saying ‘we’re committed Johnson said, “they can stay where they are to each other.’” Powell’s sister is gay and has many and deny it and not support the child, or they can support the child and potentially close friends who are also gay. “[My friends] have talked to me about risk their entire career. That’s the problem what was fair and what wasn’t,” Powell with politicians when that kind of family said. “My personal belief is live and let live, stuff comes out. It’s hard for them. The
family level is where it’s going to start changing. You have to save and defend your family, and if you do that, you’re going to risk everything else.” Johnson said Portman probably had a realization that he was never really morally against it. “I think that’s how a lot of politicians are. They’re not really against it,” Johnson said. “They just say they are until the opportunity comes where it’s safe to say they are for it. Because he had a son that is gay, it made it safer for him to say, ‘Look, I’m going through with family values. I’m protecting my family by being OK with this.’ So it gave him the opportunity to shift his opinion without getting a lot of crap for it, but he is still going to get crap for it because he is a Republican senator.” Cardona agrees and said Portman went through an acceptance process. “We all have a way of handling being gay or having a family member that is gay,” Cardona said. “Parents have to adjust do the fact that their kids are normal. ‘It’s still my son; it’s still my daughter.’ I think he went through his process and is standing up for his son. I don’t think he would lie. I think people are starting to evolve and become more open to gay marriage, as long as we are in fact ‘normal’ and we’re in society doing great things. We’re just like anyone else. I think we’ll gain more and more support.” Johnson said political figures are honest in their support for gay marriage, despite some being historically against it. “I think they’re making that shift because the people back home are for it,” Johnson said. “They have to say they’re for it or else they won’t get reelected. So I think it’s more of a circumstantial opportunity for them. I think the ones that were scared to say it are saying it now because it’s OK although I think some of them are saying it just to get votes.” Bjerke said political figures are afraid to miss the vote, and it’s one of the reasons they change their opinions so drastically. “[Political figures] realize that things are changing without them,” Bjerke said. ”They don’t want to be on the wrong side
the shield because being on the wrong side is political poison, and it’s going to be political poison very soon to not at least allow if not support marriage between two people.” Johnson agrees change is happening. A majority of Americans are now in support of gay marriage. “It’s a very small margin of a majority, but nonetheless it is a majority,” Johnson said. “The good thing is, most of the people for it will go vote whereas people who are against it won’t. The vote is what is driving a lot of politicians. Although there are some who want to see it get done because other nations around the world that we admire, like the British and the French, are legalizing it. It makes us look bad because we are ‘The Land of the Free,’ so if we don’t legalize it we look bad as a country.” Powell said politicians are motivated by the figures, and empathy has the capability to change opinions. “You’re going to sit up in Washington and say you reflect the beliefs of the country when a majority of us supports [gay marriage],” Powell said. “They’re going to realize that they’re going to have to change their stance because of the majority support. I think the most beautiful thing about being human is that we are allowed to change our minds; we’re allowed to see people and come to different conclusions and understandings. We have empathy, and that’s what makes us different from monkeys.” Johnson said the Republican Party has to compromise in some way or another, mainly to garner votes; however, it might prove to be impossible. “Their party has nearly been ruined by Obama,” Johnson said. “But they’re not going to make a compromise at this level because their party base, the people who vote for them, are so adamantly against it. They would rather lose people who are for it than have to compromise their right-wing conservative party. They see a compromise already made in civil unions. They don’t think that full legalization is within full reason for their party.” Senior Molly Harney said she doesn’t think it’s wrong for politicians to listen to their voters because the people elected them in the first place. However, she said the GOP will need to re-evaluate themselves. “The GOP released their report card,
feature or their autopsy report, that told them why they lost the last election,” she said. “Basically, what it said: ‘Young people like gay marriage. Why don’t you try and give people what they want?’” Bjerke said religion is part of the problem. “Religion has given a lot of people the structure and the doctrine on which they base their views of the world and their moral beliefs,” Bjerke said. “When they look for a definition of something, when they look for guidance what they think or believe, they look to the religion that has supported them in most cases their AVID teacher and coordinator Annette Cardona with her whole life.” wife Melissa Gutierez. Cardona will try to change her last Johnson agrees. name if she can. Johnson said when people talk to a movement to keep women down. I feel hardcore Republican, he or she will quote in every case, people use the Bible bethe Bible. cause ‘the Bible says.’ While I believe in “They’re not going to throw their own the Bible, and I have my own religion, personal belief because people don’t have I don’t think that’s a tool. There were a that belief that gay marriage is wrong; lot of things appropriate for those times they’re taught it,” Johnson said. “Most of that I don’t think are appropriate now. I the time it does come from the Bible. Not think the big debate against gay marriage saying Christianity is bad, but historically is using the Bible, and I don’t think that’s religion has stood in the way. If you take right. If we were founded under separaaway religion, how is it wrong? You can’t tion of church and state, we should keep come up with a good argument for that it like that.” without calling in religion.” Because she is religious, Cardona was Cardona is religious and said she be- initially conflicted with herself and was lieves using the Bible as an argument isn’t worried what God would think of her. right. “When I was going through my pro“We were founded on separation of cess, at first it started with ‘I’m bi’ and church and state, and I believe that,” she then I went back to my religion,” Cardona said. “The reason why we became what we said. “‘God is going to hate me; I can’t be are is to have our own religion. We used like this.’ Eventually I was OK with it. I the Bible to support being racist, segrega- was OK with who I was and I felt I was tion, and now we use it against gay mar- loved by God. I went to a church that riage. We used it against the women’s
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was open to the conversation and open to study the specific chapters or books where homosexuality was mentioned. I can’t remember specific verses or books, but when I was looking into it, I was trying to figure out, ‘Do I have to hide this for the rest of my life and suppress my feelings for the sake of the god I believe in’ or ‘Can I be who I am, and have God still love me.’” Cardona continued to go to Bible studies for a few weeks in a row. Cardona said the word in the original document was mis-translated several times and eventually became the word “homosexuals.” Cardona focuses on positives of the Bible. “To me, there are so many Bible verses that talk about ‘do onto others as you would want to be treated,’ ‘live as your father would,’” she said. “There are so many things that talk about being a good human being while you’re here and servicing your god with your talents. That speaks to me more than a couple of Bible verses that are mis-translated and misunderstood. I don’t think my god would be happy about putting down anyone for any reason; it isn’t a right to judge. If another human being has the compassion to forgive your sins, I would imagine that a god would have that same compassion.” In addition to Bible studies, Cardona attended couples therapy with her wife. “I had a huge hunk of my religion, and it was the year I came out at school,” she said. “I joined Spectrum as a co-sponsor and came out to Mr. Bjerke first. I got a lot of support from the kids too. That helped. In therapy we talked about a problem we were having or what was going on in our lives. The therapist made me think about things in a different way. She helped me a lot in standing up for myself and seeing that I am a good person. I’m not a horrible person if I’m gay, and that’s what I needed. I needed someone to tell me I’m not horrible, that I’m OK, that I’m normal. It’s not weird, and I can still be me.” Cardona said she is surprised how rapidly the gay rights movement is gaining traction. “A year ago I would’ve said, ‘No, not in a lifetime. Maybe after me but not in my lifetime,’” she said. “But now with the speed that everything is changing and with the support, how many allies are coming out, teachers are coming out to their kids and changing their outlooks and offering a different perspective. I think it’s going to go faster than any civil rights movement that has happened, or at least I hope so.”
april 26, 2013
An adventure abroad Omani exchange student shares her experience living in Austin SEREN VILLWOCK ad manager
Amidst the anticipation of summer vacation, the end of the school year holds a special meaning for sophomore Khadijah Al-Harthi. In addition to vacation, AlHarthi also faces the mixed excitement of returning to her home in Oman. It’s been eight months since Al-Harthi first arrived in Austin as part of an Omani youth study and exchange program, and now she is planning for her trip back. She shared her experiences with the Shield. The Shield: Why were you inspired to study abroad? Khadijah Al-Harthi: I’ve always liked traveling. American pop culture is international, so when we see American high schools on TV, everybody wants to go. I’m definitely a traveler. I’ve been to a lot of different places, and just having the chance to be on a government-funded program and go to an American high school is great. I’m really glad I got McCallum because you don’t really pick where you’re going. They normally don’t pick very big cities like L.A. or New York, and send you to more rural places like Texas. Shield: What’s been the biggest challenge of living here? K: It’s probably being away from my family. I speak to them once a week, but it’s just different than having a mom. And my little sister looks different, too. I worry that I’m missing things that I should be there for. I stay with a host family while I’m here who is in the program to exchange cultures. Shield: What traditions have you kept up while you’re here? K: Muslims pray five times a day, and that’s more of a difficult one to keep because I’m not used to having such long school days. Back home, my school would end at about 1:45. It’s kind of hard to work the prayers around my schedule here, but I’ve been trying to keep it up. I also went to a festival in October, Eid Al-Adha, that I participated in.
Shield: How does an American high school compare to how people think of them in Oman? K: People think that there are very exclusive cliques here, like they would expect to see a pack of blonde girls walking down the hallway the way you see in movies. My friends will ask me things like ‘What group are you in? Do you only get to sit with the same people every day?’ But McCallum is not like that. Shield: What’s something most people don’t know about Oman? K: Where it is — they don’t know that it exists. They don’t know about the language, too. Most people don’t realize it’s an Arabic-speaking country. A lot of people think we speak Persian, which is kind of weird because people speak Persian in the [northern part of] the Middle East, and Oman is right at the bottom around all the other Arabic-speaking countries. It’s mostly just people who ask me where it is, and I will tell them it’s near Dubai. Shield: Which language did you learn first? K: English was my first language. My mom is from the U.K. Then I learned Arabic through school and all my friends. I’m fluent in Arabic and English, and I also speak Swahili but not as well. I picked up my American accent from listening. Shield: What do you think about the people at McCallum and in Austin? K: I was a little bit worried, especially because my dad is a little protective of me and was warning me not to listen to what people say because I do wear a head scarf, or hijab, which is not as normal here. I haven’t come across any of that, though, and that’s something I like. People at McCallum are very respectful. The stereotype that some people have, especially back home, is that Americans can be racist, but I haven’t come across that. Shield: As you prepare to return, how are
Top: Khadijah Al-Harthi outside at McCallum. Al-Harthi is an exchange student from Oman, here to study abroad during her sophomore year. Above: Al-Harthi illustrates her name, written in Arabic. you feeling about the experience overall? K: I think it’s been a really good experience. I’m kind of sad to leave McCallum because I have friends here now and I am involved with different things. But I’m really excited because I have lots of fun things plan to do before I leave and when I get home to Oman, too. Shield: How can people get more infor-
mation about hosting an exchange student? K: My exchange organization, the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) places students from around the world. You can get in touch with my local coordinator, Lynn Robinson, at email@example.com and she will give you all the information. I’m actually planning to host an American student when I get back. I’d love to share my culture with someone new to it.
april 26, 2012
Pugger Up Ceramics room gets new machine to help students BARON HEINRICH staff reporter
The hum of the motor accelerates and the hiss of pressurized chambers goes off. The large grey machine in the ceramics room effortlessly breathes life into dry and brittle clay. This new machine, manufactured by Peter Pugger, is the newest addition to the ceramics room. Students crowd around in interest and awe as it cranks out perfectly smooth clay. Chair of Partners in Education Barbara Burnet heard about the need of the Pugger from secretary Bonnie Baker. Baker is in charge of sending out a wish list, which is returned and evaluated. “I heard it was just a dream of Carey’s and she really didn’t think it could happen,” she said. “I knew we had over $1,000 at one point and decided we needed to focus on something big.” Ceeramics Teacher Carey West said she loves the Pugger. It saves her both time and money. “The Pugger allows me to save money by recycling clay that’s been used by students,” West said. “It’s a huge time-saver because, before the Pugger, I had to recycle all the clay by hand. It took an extraordinarily long amount of time and a lot of physical energy. [The Pugger] allows me to put that time and money back into the students.” Before, West had to manually dry the clay. West would take all the students’ mistakes and bits of unused clay, dry them out, break them up and then add water to slick them down. “Once they were slicked down, I had to pull that wet snotty clay out a plaster to pull the moisture out of it for a couple of days,” she said. “After a couple of days, I would have to take that clay and wedge it by hand, which is about 50 pounds a batch, which is a lot of physical work. The clay needs to be air free and there could be hard and soft chunks, and wedging unifies the clay body. And now, I can throw all those wet and dry pieces in the Pugger. It mixes it up, sucks up the air
and processes it out in usable chunks that I can use right away. It takes something that took three days to do, now takes 25 minutes to do. The consistency of the clay, after pugging, is so much better than the hand recycling because it’s an all-even body.” Senior Michael Rewwe said the Pugger is beneficial for the students. “It gives the students more opportunities to improve their skills,” Rewee said. “They have more available clay to work with now that the Pugger has been introduced to the class.” West agrees the pugger is beneficial for the classroom and can be used in the learning process. “It teaches students, when they’re working with clay, it’s ok to only accept the best and take their mistakes and reuse the clay and try again,” West said. “It helps them keep going even though clay throwing is a very difficult thing to master. But it allows them to reuse the clay over and over again until they get it right.”
Ceramics teacher Carey West prepares the Pugger by inserting unuseable clay. Photo by Violet Acevado.
Ceramics Teacher Carey West presses the button that starts the Pugger. For a machine it’s size, the motor is relatively quiet. Photo by Violet Acevado.
The Pugger takes the unusable clay and prcoesses it into cylinders which students can use. The clay is smooth and lacks air bubbles that would ruin a piece. Photo by Violet Acevado.
april 26, 2013
‘At the Feet of Our Ancestors
Department’s annual Spring show focuses on evolution of dance NATALIE MURPHY staff reporter
An audience member could be heard crying as senior Sarah Christie performed in the piece “Home,” choreographed to “Claire de Lune,” in the Dance Department’s spring show. “While I was backstage after the piece,” Christie said, “I got a text that a girl in the audience started bawling during one of the dances because it was so elegant and beautiful. Someone was playing piano. It was sad and sweet.” The Dance Department presented its spring show “At the Feet of Our Ancestors” April 6-7. The show featured many styles of dance, including Flamenco, jazz, ballet, invocation, classic Broadway and contemporary. “I knew it really well and it was fun to per“For a few weeks we had adjunct instruc- form,” Dahmen said. “I really enjoyed getting to tors, people they brought in from outside of experience part of Flamenco culture.” the school,” freshman Haley Hegefeld said. Senior Sarah Christie said her favorite part “The instructors are experts in different types of of the show was the seniors’ piece. dance. They teach us the original forms of their “My favorite part is probably our ballet style of dance. piece,” Christie said. “We had a That’s why professional ballerina come and ‘At the Feet instruct us, so it’s really good.” We worked hard, and of Our AnChristie said the choreogracestors’ was phy in this show was different the show is really good the theme, than anything they’ve done beand professional. to show the fore. roots of a “Every show we do varies; lot of differthere are unique attributes to ent kinds of Sarah Christie each show,” Christie said. “One dance.” of our shows featured silk dancSenior Junior ing, another ribbons, so they all Rhaven Isom have something special. The said this show was different from past years. unique part of [‘At the Feet of our Ancestors’] is “In past shows each dance had its own sto- cool choreography by our teachers. Our teachry,” Isom said, “but this one ties them all togeth- ers are great. [Rachel Murray] brings a quirky, er. It shows us our history and how our dances more whimsical style to the show while [Brazie have evolved to what we know now.” Adamez] adds a classic, beautiful style.” Isom said her favorite part of the show was Dahmen said one of her favorite parts to the freshmen’s Flamenco dance. this experience was being mentored by experi“The freshmen do it every year,” Isom said. enced upperclassmen. “It’s really fun. I also like [the juniors’] dance. “The older girls were really nice, and it It’s choreographed by Danny and Rocker, who was great being able to get tips and help from used to be on Broadway, so it’s really good. It them,” Dahmen said was so fun getting to know all of the dancers Dahmen said another good part of the expeoutside of just my class” rience was new friendships. Freshman Eliza Dahmen said the Flamen“I loved getting to bond with the other girls co dance was her favorite piece to perform. backstage and get closer to people,” she said.
Christie said the practice schedule for dancers was rigorous. “We practiced before school and every night after school the week leading up to the show,” Christie said, “so we put in a lot of time and effort. It was tiring but definitely worth it. We worked hard, and the show is really good and professional.” Dance teacher and director Rachel Murray said the practice schedule was not ideal. “We had a very difficult rehearsal schedule because of the STAAR testing,” Murray said. “It was a huge challenge.” Christie said the focus of the department is now geared toward the annual Benefit Show. ”The Benefit Show has always been my favorite,” Christie said. “But it will be my first time doing the senior show, so I’m excited to end on the high note of the new experience of performing with my class, but it will be sad because then I’ll have to leave MAC and go off to college.” Isom said the Benefit Show feels different from the spring show. “It’s the same rehearsal schedule,” Isom said, “but it feels different because this one isn’t directed by Ms. Murray and Ms. Adamez. It’s directed by two seniors [Nia Lane and Savacia Farmer], so they’re leading us now.” Murray said she is proud of the spring show. “I am so pleased with the work that our dancers did,” Murray said. “They really embodied the concepts that we challenged them with.”
1. Intermediate dancers perform a ballet piece. “Someone was playing piano,” senior Sarah Christie sa was sad and sweet.” 2. Advanced dancers perform a hip-hop style dance to the Justin Timberlake song “Mirrors.” 3. Dance 1 students Meg Willamont, Noa Porten and Haley Hegefeld perform the freshman Flamenco d 4. Senior Sarah Christie performs in her last Spring show. “I’m gonna miss this department when I lea college,” Christie said. 5. Dance 1 student Haley Hegefeld performs the jazz dance “Recommandations.” “The dance was one favorite pieces because it was really fun yet challenging, and I feel like it improved my jazz technique,” man Eliza Dahmen said. “It challenged me and helped me to get more experience with jazz.” 6. Sophomore Sara Walls displays unique style in the show’s ballet piece. 7. A dancer performs a ballet piece. “I love dancing and performing on stage,” sophomore Allie Faulkner “But it’s really my fellow dancers and friends that make the show so much fun.” 8. Dancers Symphoni Nixon, Kelsey Hance and Sara Walls perform a ballet piece. Photos by Natalie Murphy.
april 26, 2013
Trouble on the high seas Choir plans to travel on Carnival cruise ship despite recent problems VIOLET ACEVEDO
staff reporter Warm weather with a constant salty breeze blowing as the cruise ship sails along. There are thousands of options for entertainment including a casino, Broadway shows, pools and more. The food includes all-you-can-eat buffets and a 24hour ice cream bar. Don’t forget the trips to tropical islands where you get to encounter various peoples and culture. This is a typical cruise aboard a Carnival cruise ship. “They’re always incredible,” senior Katie Straight, who’s been on 11 Carnival cruises, said. “I love it. It’s fantastic. I don’t have anything negative to say except I guess going home. They have 24-hour ice cream. How can you not like it?” This is what the choir is expecting on its cruise to Mexico aboard the Carnival “Triumph” June 8-13. “I’m looking forward to having fun with my friends and seeing [some of] them experience a cruise for the first time,” Straight said. However, their excitement might be dampened by Carnival’s recent ship problems. In the first few months of this year, four Carnival cruise ships have broken down. The most recent ship to do so was Carnival’s “Legend” on March 15, which, because it couldn’t pick up speed, had to go back to port days in advance. Less than 24 hours before, the “Dream” was stranded in St. Maarten and the passengers had to be flown back to the U.S. Five days prior to that, the “Elation” was towed back to port early after steering problems occurred. But it all started with the same ship the choir will travel on, the “Triumph,” which in mid-February was stranded in the Gulf of Mexico because of an engine fire. Thousands of passengers had to stay on the boat for eight days with no plumping, no power and little food. “When we heard it was the ‘Triumph’ that we were going to be on, I was like, ‘I don’t want to pay the rest [of the money for the trip],’ even though I already had,”
junior Vickie Yescas said. The annual choir trip was planned at the beginning of the school year, months before there were any troubles with the cruise line and the “Triumph” broke down. “I chose Carnival because they go out of Galveston and they allow choirs to sing on board,” choir director Malcolm Nelson said. “Five or six Graphic by years ago we performed on a Carnival cruise. It was fun for the students. And I thought it would be fun for them again.” But the recent troubles Carnival has experienced have made some choir members more nervous than excited. “It makes me really worried,” Yescas said. “It all just heightens my [doubts] about being on the waters for an extended period of time.” However, Nelson said he believes there’s nothing to be afraid of. “I think [the problems Carnival has been having] are freak accidents,” Nelson said. “I don’t think that we are going to have any problems. The students are really good. They’re going to sing well and we’re going to have a good time.” Nevertheless, he does have a back-up plan if things go awry. “We do have an alternative plan,” Nelson said. “If [our trip] is cancelled prior to departure, we’d get a full refund. I’m hoping that is not going to be a problem. If it is, we’ll face it when it happens.” Still, he is unsure as to why the cruise company is having a relatively high amount of difficulties and accidents with their ships. “Carnival is one of the largest cruise companies in the world, so I don’t know [why they are having these troubles],” Nelson said. “One would expect them to take care of their passengers, and that’s what they’re trying to do now.”
This uncertainty only puts Yescas more on edge. “I don’t know why they would have all these problems,” she said. “Carnival is not what I thought it would be. I thought it’d be really cool. But now I don’t want to be on a cruise anymore.” Straight said is also unsure as to why Carnival is having these problems but believes the company is managing them well enough. According to its official statement, Carnival is “very sorry for what our guests have had to endure.” They have offered refunds to the passengers aboard the troubled ships for the excursions they didn’t experience, and half off their next cruise, as well as transportation to their homes arranged and paid for. The travelers on the “Triumph” also collected $500 compensation. “I don’t want to say it’s not their fault, but they handle it really well in my opinion,” Straight said. “I’ve been on 11 cruises and I’ve never had any problems, so I don’t think its fair to be ‘so they’ve had four; what’s to say they won’t have even more in the future?’ I feel like a lot of people over dramatize it, especially in the media.” It is this media attention she believes will affect Carnival cruise bookings. “Maybe for a while [there’ll be a drop in bookings],” Straight said. “I think they’ll do fine in the end though. Eventually the media’s gonna stop caring about it, and
then everyone else is going to stop caring about it and it’s going to be like it never happened.” However, Yescas is not convinced. “It makes people not want to trust Carnival anymore,” Yescas said. “It makes them want to choose [another company].” But more experienced travelers, such as Straight, are not as alarmed and overlook the recent difficulties of the cruise line. “The only problem we’ve ever run into was when we couldn’t port one time because the waters were too rough,” Straight said. “That was the only time we couldn’t do anything. [Carnival has] really nice people. Their staff is like insanely nice. Their service is excellent. Their food is really good. Their excursions are always really good too.” Nelson, also a veteran traveler of Carnival, agrees and therefore is sure the “Triumph” will be safe when the choir boards this summer, especially since the ship will not be back in service until June 3. “I’ve been on Carnival cruises quite a few times and I’ve never had any problems,” he said. “I think that it’s a long way off between the accident on the “Triumph” [and when we’ll board]. So when we’re going it’ll be like a brand-new ship. They would’ve taken care of everything, and I think we have nothing to worry about.”
april 26, 2013
It runs in their blood PALs supports the community with biannual drive SEREN VILLWOCK
stations. Blood drives like these happen once a semester, and students who are 17 or older, weigh 115 pounds and meet other Senior Sydney Holt was lying on a bed eligibility requirements can sign up to in the gym, clenching a stress ball, and donate. “When I first walked in, they asked me felt her heart rate go up. She waited in anticipation as the people there asked her a bunch of questions to make sure I didn’t a series of questions. Had she ever been have ‘bad blood,’” Holt said. “Then once diagnosed with HIV? No. Had she ever I passed all the questions, I went over to had cancer, or a heart attack, or hepatitis? the beds in the corner and they gave me No. She watched the nurse check her a bottle of water. Later they had other vitals and wondered if they noticed she concessions because you’re supposed to was breathing quickly. Her parents eat after you give blood.” Holt donated blood in just 10 or 15 inspired her to give blood, and now it was minutes, and completed the whole process her chance to help. “I was excited when I saw that there in about 45 minutes, she said. “The experience overall was very positive,” she said. “It felt really good to be able to help in some way. I I looked around and saw the would definitely give blood room go a little bit fuzzy for a again.” The blood drive was second, but it went away. Overall, sponsored by the Peers the experience was very positive. Assistance and Leadership program, or PALS class, It felt really good to be able to in connection with the help in some way. Blood Center of Central Texas, and first began at McCallum several years Sydney Holt ago when the Blood Center contacted the school to Senior recruit more blood donors. “One of the things we try to do in PALS were opportunities to give blood my senior year,” she said. “On the actual day, I was is community service,” PALS sponsor really excited that I was finally going to Richard Cowles said. “The Blood Center get to do it. It hurt a little bit at first. They does a lot of work with high schools, and warned me that it might burn a little bit so the blood drives at McCallum have been because of the iodine they use, but I didn’t going on a pretty good amount of time. If feel it burn. There was one time that I people didn’t donate blood, there would be looked around and saw the room go a little a lot more issues in the community because bit fuzzy for a second, but it went away. people depend on it. There’s such a strong They had the radio station 103.5 playing need there, and so as the PALS sponsor with all the old music, and so I was singing we feel that it’s important to help support along to that and squeezing the little ball those types of organizations that really rely they gave me to keep the blood flowing. on donors.” According to the Blood and Tissue My hand is sore now because of how much I squeezed it. I’m sure I looked a little crazy Center of Central Texas website, blood donations are vital for those who are singing along with the radio.” For the blood drive, the small gym recovering from illnesses and injuries was converted with several table beds and such as cancer, surgery, car accidents and ad manager
other things. Each donation, which is about one point, is processed and then tested in the laboratories at the blood bank. Afterward, the donation is seconds, someone in the distributed to Every the health care U.S. needs blood facilities around Central Texas. The average million patients in the person has about Each year, 10 and 12 pints U.S. receive blood of blood in his or her body and may donate every 56 of eligible McCallum days. The liquid students donated blood part of the blood taken from each donor is replaced Plasma is frozen and by the body in just 24 hours, can be stored after while the red donation for up to blood cells are replaced in about two weeks. Approaching A healthy donor can days the blood drive, donate blood every the students in PALS worked to bring awareness Images used with permission of for the drive the Blood Center of Central Texas. and get as many eligible students as possible to donate. away because they didn’t weigh enough, “We put up posters, made but there ended up being 65 people and announcements and put up sign-up lists,” four teachers who donated too.” Cowles said. “Certainly we asked the PALS The next blood drive will be in October to talk to their friends, especially juniors and of next year. seniors, who know people who are over  “The blood drives at McCallum will who could donate.” definitely continue,” Cowles said. “The Their work paid off with donations next one is coming up in the fall. I’m in from many seniors. contact with the [Blood Center] right “I believe we received 65 units of blood now to work it out. I think it’s such an this spring, which is really great,” Cowles important part of the community, so it’s a said. “I think some people were turned really important thing for us to do.”
april 26, 2013
Girls 4x100 ends season with tough competition WES JOHNS
Junior Camille Hawn and sophomore Jessilyn Davis complete a handoff at a track meet at Bowie High School earlier this season. “You have to be able to hand off the baton flawlessly to have a good relay,” Hawn said. Photo courtesy of the yearbook staff.
staff reporter Although many people think track is an individual sport, a couple of events require a great deal of teamwork to be successful. One of these events is the 4x100 relay. The girls relay is running together for the first time this season but has a couple of strong veterans in juniors Camille Hawn and Zahia Tawil. Hawn and Tawil have both been running track since middle school. Sophomores Ria King-Smith and Jessilyn Davis are the other two members of the relay. This is King-Smith’s first year running track, but Davis has been running since seventh grade. Relays are very different from other track events because it requires strong teamwork between all the runners. “A lot of things can change during a race,” Tawil said. “Another team can drop a baton and give you a chance. You never know what’s going to happen.” Despite this being King-Smith’s first year running track, she said she quickly realized the importance of teamwork to the relay. “We work as a team, so I know I have to go all out to match them so we can get the win,” King-Smith said. “If you don’t do
your part, you’re going to slow down the whole team.” The Knights had no problems at the district meet and were able to place third, qualifying the team for the area meet. Hawn, Tawil and Davis all have experience at regional meets, which is the next step after area. The team ran in the Texas Relays at the beginning of April, and Hawn and Tawil have run in the relays during the previous two seasons. “Everyone that’s there is really, really talented,” Hawn said. “The people we’re around are all really great athletes, so it’s humbling and cool to be around.” Competition at the Texas Relays is always very tough, but the Knights are faced with tough competition at each meet. Most of the schools they end up racing against are much larger 5A schools. “It’s really hard going to meets with a bunch of 5A schools and competing with them,” Tawil said. “It’s a lot harder to compete against bigger schools with more people.” Each runner has her own method of keeping focused during the race. “I talk to myself in my head,” KingSmith said. “I tell myself what I need to do, run faster or whatever else.”
sports in brief Tennis coach pleased with team’s success
into the tournament than all the matches we’ve ever had,” Barber said. “It was our best day.”
With the new season over, tennis coach Oakley Barber said he is proud of the players and is looking forward to next year’s season when they expect more new players. “We actually did really well,” Barber said. “We have a very young team, and I think everyone’s games improved a little bit. I think we’ll be a much stronger team next year. But given that we are mostly freshman, we did very well at the tournaments.” The team’s most successful tournament of the season was when one of the juniors played into quarterfinals and two of the freshmen played into semi-finals. “We had multiple players play deeper
Varsity baseball team holds 20-5-1 record The varsity baseball team continues its season with 20 wins, five losses and one tie with the Temple Wildcats. “The highlight of the season has really been the bond we’ve made,” junior Garret Hemphill said. “We have a great time together as a team. The friendships that we have formed have been great.” Hemphill said the team will be impacted by the loss of the seniors at the end of this season. “We’re losing a lot of good players [to
graduation],” Hemphill said, “but we also have some good guys coming up, so we’ll still be a strong team.”
JV baseball finishes season Saturday The JV baseball team is wrapping up its season with the final game against Lanier Saturday at 11 a.m. at McCallum. The Knights beat Travis, LBJ and Lanier in district play. “We’ve played pretty well this year,” junior Brian Marroquin said. “We started to play more relaxed and more as a team once we started district play.” The Knights went 5-9 in tournament play, but quickly picked it up with a 5-0
start in district play.
Softball prepares for playoffs today The softball team will face the Leander team at playoffs for the first time today. “This is our first playoffs, and so we’re really trying to do the best that we can,” sophomore Lyndsey McGinty said. McGinty said the softball players have been working to build up their skills in preparation for playoffs. ““We’ve all really been working really hard on batting because that’s one of the most important parts of the game,” she said. “Our biggest accomplishment so far has been working together to keep building up the team.”
the shield TS: What track do you do outside of McCallum? MCH: I do club track in the winter. Club track is usually indoor track; that’s what I did this year. Indoor track is pretty different because the actual track that you run on is only 200 meters while a normal track is 400 meters. I run the mile, so I have to go around eight times for indoor versus four times on an outdoor track. TS: Would you consider track an individual or a team sport? MCH: The fact that you can go on to regionals on your own makes it an individual sport. In terms of points, you win as a team based on how many people place. I would say that it is generally a team sport, except for in relays because you really depend on everyone else to win. We really have to have an individual mentality because McCallum is such a small team compared to other schools. TS: What is your favorite event? MCH: My favorite event is probably the 800, which everyone hates [laughs]. But my best event is probably the mile. I just think that running around the track four times gets to my head, but I like the 800 because it’s just twice around and it doesn’t give me enough time to overthink the event. TS: Who is your biggest competition in district? MCH: LBJ is definitely our biggest competition in district. They are also our biggest competition in cross-country as well. They have a lot of fast runners, but most of them
sports are seniors so next year I’ll be good. TS: How has club track prepared you for school track? MCH: Club track is way more competitive; we go to Houston, A&M, and the people you race there are so fast. I wouldn’t make finals in a club meet, but it has prepared me and pushed me to work a lot harder, so now I can bring back a medal from a school meet. TS: What is your biggest individual goal for the season? MCH: This year it is a lot different than every other season. Usually you go to district and then straight to regionals, like most sports. But this year it goes district, then area and then on to regionals. So this year it will be much harder to advance to regionals, but I want to get through area so that I can advance onto region. TS: How have Coach Ashton and Coach Brodbeck helped you this season? MCH: Coach Brodbeck is really good about looking up what workouts high-class runners do. Coach Ashton is my cross-country coach too, so she is really good at switching me over from long runs to short runs. TS: How has running a marathon helped you in the track season? MCH: Well, I usually run the mile and that sounds like a long race because you run the track four times, but then I think right before I start that I can do 26 in a marathon.
TS: How long have you been playing baseball? Jacob Haggerty: I’ve been playing baseball for 14 years. I started playing when I was 4. I never played T-ball, but I did start of with Little League coach pitch.
offs. The odds of us getting to the Dell Diamond are actually fairly high. We a really great baseball team this year. Aside from skill, we have a really strong brotherhood connection, which will help us a lot in the harder games.
TS: What position do you play? JH: I play catcher. Catcher is definitely my favorite position. I like being able to run things on the field, so I pretty much get to be like an on-field captain. It is a really important position, but it’s also a position that is really hard, and I like a challenge.
TS: How has being a senior this year affected your play? JH: Knowing this is my last year hasn’t really affected me that much. I just really try to play my game and help the team as much as I can. We have a really good chance this year, moreso than the next few years because there isn’t as much raw talent coming up to the program. This is kind of our year to shine, so I just try to do as much for the team and the school as I can.
TS: Who is your biggest competition in district? JH: LBJ. LBJ likes to talk a lot of trash, and they talk themselves up to be extremely great. We don’t deal very well with people talking trash to us, so we like to take care of them and put them in their place.
april 26, 2013 17
TS: How did pre-season prepare the team for district? JH: We played much better teams than we have seen in our district. The pitching was much better. The games were a lot harder, so it forced us to play more as a team. The preseason definitely got as back into the routine of playing baseball again. TS: What is your biggest goal this season? JH: Hopefully we can go deep into playoffs and hopefully end up in the Dell Diamond for state championships. I myself don’t really have a big individual mentality, especially because baseball is such a team sport. I don’t really care that much about my stats and individual accomplishments, but I really would like to get to the fourth and fifth round of play-
TS: How do you prepare for a game? JH: I usually try to get a good meal the night before, get a good breakfast and keep a lot of good energy going during the day. I always take an ice bath before every game, and I get my wrists and thumbs taped because I have weak wrists from catching. I am also in charge of playing all of the music in the batting cage. I play music while we warm up, and it gets everybody in the right mindset for a ball game. TS: How has Coach Amaro helped you this season? JH: Coach Amaro has been a huge help, especially my freshman year. He taught me a lot of what I know now and showed me how high school baseball is much different than Little League. All of the other coaches have done a really good job helping me be a good high school ball player.
MARY STITES photo editor
april 26, 2013
JAMAICA WONODI staff reporter
The girls lacrosse team’s record this year is 6-1. “We almost won all our games this season,” co-captain Brenna Dwyer said. “Our only loss is to Westlake by two points.” Dwyer said this year the season really changed. “We actually get along with each other, which is excellent,” Dwyer said. The team, called KNITROS, consists of players from McCallum and Anderson. “Even though we are rival schools, we are just like sisters,” Burnett said. Burnett said the team wants to make it in the playoffs, and the way this year is going, they can. She said the hardest thing is making sure everyone makes it to practice. “The benefits of lacrosse are being able to work as a team and becoming a good [team] player,” Dwyer said. “The thing that impacted me the most is people from different schools playing great with each other. It’s different being with people from another school, but we haven’t had any problems.” The team was undefeated before playing Westlake. “Every team that has beaten us we beat them in a previous game,” Burnett said. As the season progressed, the girls started to work to-
Rival schools team up for girls lacrosse
gether better and saw real improvement. “We are actually working better the more experience we get,” Burnett said. “The more we play together the better we play as a team.” Because the team played together last year, it was easier to fall back into the game, Burnett said. “Since we played as a team prior to this year we’ve all gotten better and we are able to play with each other better,” Burnett said. “We have built each other up.” Dwyer said this year’s team has surpassed their initial goals. “Our goals were to improve on catching more passes, work on ground balls and offense and defense,” Dwyer said. “We really surpassed our goals.” Dwyer said she really likes the support she and her teammates have for each other. “I try to be the best captain I can be and support my teammates,” Dwyer said. Overall, the girls are excited about this year’s season. “We are 100 percent better than last year,” Burnett said. Dwyer said her goal is to be able to play lacrosse in college. Burnett also said she would like to play in college. “The things that affected me the most are we came together as a team and winning games this season,” Burnett said.
Top: The girls lacrosse team KNITROS is a joint team of McCallum and Anderson players. Bottom: The KNITROS team’s record this season is 6-1. Photos provided by Sydney Burnett.
One Shining Moment MARY STITES photo editor
Without surprise, March Madness was filled with surprises, upsets and memorable plays that would make the always cheesy “One Shining Moment” video. From first round upsets, teams that manage to “shock the world” and the Kevin Ware tragedy, the 2013 NCAA basketball had its fair share of ups and downs. Just like the Olympics brings the world together for a month, March Madness has the power to bring the nation together for some good old college basketball. Nothing is better than being able to get yourself a bowl of cold applesauce and sit in the same place all day and watch nonstop basketball. As usual, the first round left brackets in disarray and people
scratching their heads as they witnessed Colorado State beat Missouri, Oklahoma State get knocked off by Oregon and many more upsets. However, I’m proud to say that I anticipated the defeat of New Mexico by Harvard. Think about it. The dumbest person on Harvard’s team is at least three times smarter than the smartest person on New Mexico’s team. Unfortunately, I did not see Florida Gulf Coast going any further than the first round. They made their mark with two 10-point wins against Georgetown and San Diego State. Sadly, Florida ended their run at the Elite Eight. I thought FGCU might have been able to pull it out with the momentum they gained from previous wins. After Wichita State beat Gonzaga 7670, people started to pay attention to them
Staffer gives a recap of 2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament
as a team. Whether because of their talent on the court or Rob Baker’s dashing good looks, you couldn’t help but root for them because they were the underdog that actually went far in the tournament. Being a Kansas fan, I was pulling for Wichita State to be able to represent the lovely state in the Final Four. Sadly, the great University of Kansas had its run in the tournament ended by Michigan. As much as I love Jeff Withey, Mitch McGary got the best of Withey. Kansas threw that game away, and I firmly believe if Kansas hadn’t piddled around in that Elite Eight game, Bill Self would have not settled for a loss in the Championships and Kansas would have won the tournament. Kansas is always a top contender for the title, and after a tough loss to Kentucky in the championship in 2012, I was heart-
broken to see them walk off of the court without the big W. And then that Easter Sunday, even the non-basketball watchers would watch Kevin Ware’s leg snap. That play was a game-changer for Louisville and would bring the team together as well as have the nation behind its back. As much as I dislike the scum-bag Rick Pitino, the Louisville players really pulled it together and made the best of a rather less-than-ideal situation. March Madness is almost better than Christmas in my eyes, and I am counting down the days until college basketball officially begins once again. Congratulations to Louisville for its victory, and sort-of congratulations to Rick Pitino for being the only coach to ever win two national championships at two different schools.
april 26, 2013
Battling with the beat Bass Full of Sax wins Battle of the Bands, sponsored by Mac Radio CAITLIN HENSON staff reporter
Bass Full of Sax was the winner of the 2013 Battle of the Bands, winning a chance to record in a studio and money for the band. “I swear when they said our band name I couldn’t move, then one of the members had to shake me and say ‘We won!’” sophomore Ana White said. “It was definitely an experience, and it was amazing ’cause we are just freshmen and sophomores, so it was pretty awesome when we won.” Battle of the Bands 2013 featured Steven Stun, Death Aquatics, Bass Full of Sax, Lonely Playground and Capture Theory. Each band was different: Death of Aquatics plays Alternative music while Bass Full of Sax plays saxophone jazz music. “I play guitar and sing for Death of Aquatics, and we were so excited for Battle of the Bands, but we were still pretty nervous,” junior Nathan Kareithi said. “Not nervous because of the crowd. More nervous of the competition. Our band has played with Lonely Playground, and honestly right now, they were our biggest competition.” Each band had at least one big competitor. They knew how good each other were, they had either listened to a song or
heard them play or even played with the more than a competition to him. other bands before. “I want to say to other bands, [rather “Honestly, looking at the other bands, I than seeing] it as an event being a competisaw no competition, but then I saw Death tion, [see] the whole thing being a ‘concert.’ of Aquatics with Tafari Robertson and [It was] mostly a competition for me, myNathan Kareithi,” senior Steven Stun said. self, to win,” Stun said. “I want to win the “They were title, winning the battle not really good. I the prize. But have Tafari in I really wanted our for the fans, my songwriting band to win, but here’s singing someclass, and he’s thing as perreally talented. the thing. Everyone sonal as I sung, But I was wanted their band to that no one at definitely more Mac has ever stoked than win. heard, it was nervous.” special ’cause I Each band Nathan Kareithi was in it more kept the songs junior to myself for for the battle over a year. “’ than the prize. More in it to show the school their talent Since Bass Full of Sax won, the other and to let people know who they are than bands were happy for them. “When they didn’t call out our band win the prize. “I really wanted our band to win, but name, my stomach dropped,” Kareithi here’s the thing. Everyone wanted their said. “I didn’t even hear the band that won; band to win,” Kareithi said, “but not nec- I was just so disappointed. Later on I disessarily for the prize. Maybe some bands covered that Bass Full of Sax won, and were, but there are those people that just I was happy for them. If we didn’t win, wanted to get a message out and want to someone had to. “ Sophomore Cris Oliver said he was be known in the school for getting on a more nervous than he expected to be. stage and having fun with their band.” “It was a rush of adrenaline when we Stun said the Battle of the Bands was
Taking the directors chair Junior joins seniors in leading peers in repertoire plays CAITLIN HENSON staff reporter
Junior Jasmine Bell is joining seniors Kay McGuire and Liam Dolan-Henderson to direct Repertoire Plays, which are student-directed plays. “My play is called, ‘12 Angry Jurors,’ a play that should be ‘12 Angry Jews,’ and it’s about 12 white male Jews that are investigators for a murder case,” Bell said. “Some of the actors will be girls playing guys due to the lack of male actors. So it will be interesting.” Senior Kay McGuire wrote her play while the others adapted plays already written. “One day I saw graphic stairs that didn’t lead any-
where,” McGuire said. “It inspired me to write about a group of people stuck in a room and can’t get out. And if people like it, it’s going to be a big relief off my shoulders.” McGuire’s actor, freshmen Kendrick Lawson, plays Peter Gray. “I play an awkward band kid,” Lawson said. “He has issues with loving people, and it’s really fun playing this person cause it’s still early to put your own twist on this part.” The rep plays have been going on for a long while, and It’s kind of a tradition for some of the theater students to direct a play of there own.
were about to go on and we were all nervous. but then when we started playing,” Oliver said. “It was just like all my worries went away and we started jamming like we were in the practice room.” Freshman Chynna Daniels said she went to the competitioon although she didn’t know the bands. “I just listened to each band,” Daniels said. “When all the bands played, I really had a favorite for Steven Stun and Capture Theroy. All the other bands were great, but it was something about those two that kinda pulled me in.” Freshman Drew Rogers said he wanted Lonely Playground to win. “I was positive they were going to win,” Rogers said, “but they didn’t and that’s okay because Bass Full of Sax was great.” Freshman Clide Stefani from Bass Full of Sax said winning was great. “It was unbelievable. All the other bands sounded great, but winning was a whole other world, I swear,” Stefani said. ”My parents were so proud and excited as well as the other band members’ parents.” The band celebrated the victory by going out for pizza with their families. “We had a really great time,” Oliver said. “Then me and Matt went to a friend’s birthday party after, and it just kinda added to the fun and excitement of the weekend.”
One day I saw graphic stairs that didn’t lead anywhere. It inspired me to write about a group of people that are stuck and can’t get out. Kay McGuire Senior
“I was really nervous about how everything would go. It’s really insane how fast everything will go and just fly by,” Dolan-Henderson said. “Everything fell into place, and I can just tell it’s all going to go great.”
april 26, 2013
Student wins state-wide music competition VIOLET ACEVEDO staff reporter
The sound of the piano is nothing new in the McMackin household, not while senior Jamison McMackin is at it, fingers working with the black and white keys to compose an original piece. “I thought it’d be kind of neat if I could make my own [songs] through stuff that I’d made up,” McMackin said. “I found some pretty nice books over at the ACC library [on composing]. I just started reading and practicing. And I thought of some pretty cool ideas, so I recorded them and just kind of went from there.” His hard work paid off. McMackin was one of the 10 winners of the Texas Young Composers Competition. His 1. McMackin after his composition was performed at the Long Center. 2. The audience watches a video of piece, along with the other winners, was McMackin talking about his piece before the symphony plays it at the concert April 3. Photos by Caitlin Falk. played by the Austin Symphony in a conadventure across the ocean,” McMackin inspired by something different. I [also] “I took lessons when I was like 5 cert on April 3. like going for a walk sometimes. It helps said. “That’s really all I can remember years old for like a year or something, “I liked seeing everyone I knew there,” he said. “My piece sounded pretty cool. about it, but for some reason it inspired me escape my usual thought patterns and and I didn’t really like it that much,” he said. “Then it wasn’t until middle It was interesting to hear a full orchestra me to write a piece about it. So adventure try to think about other things.” When he is finally able to take his mind is a pretty prominent theme [in it, but] I school that I joined the jazz band and play something I wrote. Someone even away from everyday things, the notes sort of want the audience to develop their then I started to actually get pretty into asked for my autograph. Overall, people own story through [the music]. I don’t come to him and new sections of music it. I started getting library books and seemed to enwant them to fall start to pop into his head. doing research [about the instrument].” joy it.” “Whenever I came up with something asleep. I want McMackin plans to carry on comThis was that sounded cool, I’d record it down,” he them to be exhilaposing in college even though the speI want the audience to not the first rated and excited said. “Sometimes I’d even hum or whistle cifics of his path are still not completetime a Mcdevelop their own story into the recorder. If something sounds ly clear to him. to listen to it.” Callum stucool, I’d write it down for later. So evenHe spent hours “I guess I’ll just have to find out,” through [the music]. I dent’s work tually I got to the point where I would trying to create he said. “I’ll probably [compose for] has been want them to be exthat reaction from have a bunch of [bits of music]. mostly full orchestra. I find it easier showcased in “Putting it together was the difficult to compose for a full orchestra. [But] the audience this fashion. cited to listen to it. part,” he added. “[I do it] with lots of care I’m not quite sure what I’ll do. I’ll defi“[When it was] “[Seand caution. I don’t really have a specific nitely have something to do with music closer to the comnior] Trevor Jamison McMackin petition, I would formula for doing it, but it takes a very composition, though.” Villwock Senior spend all day long time. Eventually, I managed to find Because this has been such a posiwon the comthings that went together.” working on [the tive experience for him, he suggests petition last During the whole process, Mcpiece],” McMackin said. others at McCallum try to enter next year. I heard his piece and thought it’d But usually, with his school life full of Mackin works mainly on his piano. year. be sort of cool if I won too,” McMackin “I enjoy piano a lot,” he said. “And I “Obviously if you’ve never really said. “The piece I’d written was neat. I double-core classes, which he takes in orguess for composers in general piano’s der to graduate early, he only has time to played music before, it’s probably not thought I might as well [enter the compretty easy ‘cause with electronic piano compose for 15 to 30 minutes. Even so, he a good idea to enter a competition like petition]. I had nothing to lose.” you can make the sounds of other in- that,” he said, “but for anyone who’s His winning piece was called “Dance still takes time to slow down to write. “Normally, I’d just sit down at the struments. It can be useful.” maybe doubting themselves at all but of the Sailors” and was inspired by a partly Even so, he didn’t start out loving piano and start playing,” McMackin said. is whatsoever interested in composing forgotten dream. the piano when he first began playing “Sometimes I’d just run through a few music, I would definitely recommend it “It was something about some sort of songs. When I start learning a song, I get over a decade ago. to them. You might surprise yourself.”
april 26, 2013
Texas Amended The Shield staff refreshes state symbols NATALIE MURPHY staff reporter
Texas’s state bird is the Northern Mockingbird, the third most common state bird. We think these fit better:
After discovering Texas’ state motto is currently “Friendship” the staff of the Shield decided it was time to refresh Texas’s slogans and symbols to reflect the true nature of The Lone Star State, or as we call it, “A Nation of its Own.” This is what we’ve come up with.
- Grackle - Bald Eagle - Turkey - Trumpeter Swan
The mockingbird is a swift, graceful bird, but that doesn’t fit in with Texas’ proud personality, which would be better symbolized by the loud and unusual sounds of the grackle.
Wes Johns Staff reporter
ate motto i x a s st s:
We think it should be:
“The bigger the better ”
The state of Texas currently has five slogans, including “Everything’s Bigger in Texas” and “The Lone Star State.” Our picks: - The Bigger the Better - A Nation of its Own - God Bless Texas - Yee-Haw! Graphics by Seren Villwock
It’s time for Texas to finally accept its membership in the United States. ‘The Lone Star State’ has nothing to do with Texas now; that’s why it should be ‘The Bigger the Better.’ Caitlin Henson Staff reporter
Staff member Bella Temple shares what she thinks the Texas flag should look like. Tweet us @theshieldonline and show us what you think.
Tell us what you think online at macshieldonline.com
‘The American Scheme’
april 26, 2013
Number of STAAR tests needs to be reduced
The state requires that the tests be taken a great idea to improve performance in prepare a student to take the test. So if the to acquire data on the success of schools, schools has resulted in constant changes state doesn’t have enough money to fund photo editor Spring has officially arrived. Bluebon- teachers and students as well as to set a and no feeling of consistency. The first the schools and provide them with the nets are lining the sides of the roads, warm standard for education across Texas. How- week of STAAR testing left every public resources to pass the test that they have weather is just around the corner and the ever, the state has failed to see in the stats high school testing while the senate de- already made, where do they get all of the countless hours of testing await public failing schools suffer from problems that lie bated which tests would be required for money to make a new, harder test that even school students all over the state. Many much deeper than the school. Education is graduation. less people will be able to pass? associate spring with bright, warm times, directly linked with the economy and the soThe main problem with STAAR for The constant changes and amendbut for teachers, spring is the moment of ciety students will be forced to go into once ments have people wondering why the the students who don’t really have to worry truth. they leave school and have to make their state can’t just get it right the first time. about passing the test is the amount of uncerThe TAKS horror stories I once heard own way in the world. But making harder This less than ideal situation has left stu- tainty going into the test and even after the when I was in elementary school left me tests to make the teachers work harder to dents with a great deal of uncertainty. test because last year, the lawmakers didn’t wondering how anyone could fail the tests engage students in learning isn’t going to TAKS has always been a general test over really have any idea of what the passing stanand what it meant if you did. Back then, push the students to succeed, especially science, math, social studies and reading/ dards were going to be. Nobody really had if you failed the test you got some more when the student’s inability to succeed aca- writing. However, STAAR is subject- any idea what to expect because nobody had chances, and the tests were used to decide demically is directly linked to other factors specific, meaning the test is just over the taken a course-specific test. My class will alif you moved onto the next grade level. that schools have no control over. course. Nobody has ever taken a strictly ways be the guinea pig class, so I will always But this will be the have a feeling last year for TAKS of uncertainty Senate Bill 240/House Bill 640: as State of Texas because nobody -15% requirement eliminated Assessment of Acaahead of me will -Current number of EOCs (15) reduced to 5: Algebra I, Biology I, US History, and 10th grade Reading and Writing demic Readiness have taken the -Scores on dual credit courses and certain exams (AP, IB, SAT or ACT) can be substituted for EOCs [STAAR] has taken chemistry, phys-2012-2013 state accountability ratings suspended the title of the Texas ics or whatever -EOCs are prohibited to be used for class rank and admission to Texas colleges standardized test. STAAR test. TAKS week Obviously this used to be the best school week of the These harder EOCs that are supposed chemistry or World History STAAR, so isn’t the feeling you want to have when you year: no homework, movies for half of the to analyze a student’s ability to answer students don’t really have any idea what to go in to take a test that determines if you pass day, you had an excuse to wear pajamas to questions based on what they learned expect going into the test. a test or not. While last year people didn’t school and all you had to do was take a few throughout their specific course are necesWith every new test, the state spends really know the passing standards, we don’t easy tests. But for the first time last year, sary. It is easy to say that being able to solve millions of dollars making a new exam that really even know what tests will count at the we were timed and the test counted for a quadratic equation by completing the is supposed to be an “accurate measure- end of the end of the year. It’s frustrating to more than moving onto the next course. square or knowing how long it takes for ment” of a student’s knowledge over the know the tests that I’m required to take this And nobody even knew what a student a ball to drop from the top of the Empire material of the course. But when educa- year are not even on any of the bills to keep. had to score to be considered passing. The State Building will ultimately be useless tors think it is necessary for the standards This just goes to show that the lawmakers of test was a lot harder, the state needed to unless you end up an engineer, but by the of edification to rise, they go out and Texas can’t seem to get it right the first time. see how well “one could analyze” a hypo- looks of the economy now, the skills that spend tons of money on new tests with- Clearly it wasn’t necessary to spend all of this thetical story about Billy catching a whale, we learn in the “less useful” classes will be- out acknowledging that the students are money on tests that we were going to rule and you couldn’t just look for the answer to come necessary for every job. As people are unable to meet standards because of the unnecessary a year later. the question on the given line. being replaced by machines, the demand materials, or lack of, they are given in their As the testing season has made its start Despite the budget cuts, the state still for people who can operate them increases schools. Most students saw the budget and countless weeks of the school year seems to find a way to spend billions of greatly. This changing economy relies on cuts hit AISD pretty hard. AISD had to have been devoted to testing, the students dollars on testing. But because the TAKS people to have the basic knowledge to op- lay off teachers at every school to com- of Texas will sit in the assigned seats of the was not an accurate “assessment of knowl- erate the machines which requires more pensate with the loss in funding, but that classroom ready to take their STAAR test edge and skills,” the state made a harder of an advanced math and science back- happened with inner city schools all over while lawmakers debate over if the tests test as public school funding was receiving ground than we have ever needed to have. the state. And while many of us at McCal- they take are even necessary. However, great cuts and expectations were raised. Standardized tests are needed, but having lum couldn’t even imagine having such a hopefully before next spring Governor No wonder students aren’t as smart any- to take 15 of these tests is ridiculous. And lack in resources that would make us fail Perry will have signed a bill that cuts the more. However, one single test is probably students in schools with less resources are the test, there are many schools around tests to five and the lawmakers of Texas not the most accurate way to judge a stu- the ones who suffer the most. the state and even in Austin that lack the will have learned that you cannot raise the dent’s knowledge. What legislators thought was once teachers, parent support and materials to standards and cut the resources.
april 26, 2013
House Bill 5 needs a little adjusting Here we go again. It’s that time: Spring of an odd year and the Texas legislature is in full session. Up next on the docket is education. The Texas House of Representatives recently approved House Bill 5, which, if passed by the Senate and governor, would lower graduation requirements and the number of state-mandated standardized tests. While students will benefit from fewer STAAR tests, legislators should not lower graduation standards and rigor in school. This proposal is an effort to increase flexibility in schools, especially for students wishing to focus on career training opportunities. However, in the process of promoting more freedom, the bill is shorting students of a full, well-rounded education. By only requiring four years of English and three years of math, science and social studies, the bill is effectively eliminating a huge chunk of learning from senior year. It’s not enough to say that Texas is seeing higher graduation rates if all legislators do
to accomplish that is lower standards. On the current default graduation plan (recommended or the 4X4 plan), students have the chance to opt out of rigor, and eligibility for the top 10 percent law, by choosing to graduate on a minimum plan. The new foundations plan put forth by HB-5 would be a complete about face for Texas education. Legislators should assume all students want a college prep curriculum and then give them the option to opt out, not the other way around. Students’ opportunities should not be taken away from them prematurely. HB-5 offers a great alternative when it comes to its proposal regarding standardized tests, but the plan to lower graduation requirements is wrong. The move toward fewer EOCs is a good idea, but if legislators want to reduce rigor in school, they should at least give every student equal opportunity to achieve the best before offering a less rigorous program.
A.N. McCallum High School 5600 Sunshine Dr. Austin, TX 78756 (512) 414-7539 fax (512) 453-2599 firstname.lastname@example.org
assistant editor Caitlin Falk
online editor Baron Heinrich
photo editor Mary Stites
advertising manager Seren Villwock
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Cartoon by Tillie Walden.
editor-in-chief Grace Frye reporters adviser Rhonda Moore
cause a “substantial disruption to the educational process.” Content that may stimulate heated debate is not included in this definition. The Shield operates as an open forum for exchange of ideas. Opinions expressed in editorials are the ideas of the staff. Opinions expressed in the columns are that of the writer’s alone.
VIOLET ACEVEDO, GINGER BICKLEY, JENNIFER CASTRO, CAITLIN HENSEN, WES JOHNS, NATALIE MURPHY, JAcOB STRAIGHT, BELLA TEMPLE, JAMAICA WONODI
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april 26, 2013
Performances raise money to publish literary magazine 1. Juniors Sierra Barnett and Violet Beane perform a duet during the Excalibur-sponsored coffeehouse April 12. Coffeehouses are fundraisers for the literary magazine. 2. Junior Nathan Kareithi begins to strum his guitar during his set at the second coffeehouse. He performed an original song. 3. Sophomore Louis Walker performs first at the coffeehouse. Walker utilized soft vocals in his performance. 4. Senior Savannah Williams, a member of the Excalibur staff, announces the next performer. Photos by Baron Heinrich.
Published on Apr 26, 2013