Page 1

e s r e v i n u e h t all across

show annual spring s rm o rf e p m ace and time’ Dance progra sp h g u ro th g n anci April 11-12, ‘D 14-15 story on pages



McCallum High School / 5600 Sunshine / Austin, TX 78756 / April 25, 2014 / Issue 6 / Volume 61

2 contents

inside the issue

story on pages 14-15

story on page 13

From left to right: Ceramics teacher Carey West and students are working on creating a new mosaic for the school in the shape of a knight. Photo by Maya Coplin. Senior Ryane Byrd and freshman Alexis Staes dance in the piece to the




AISD bans E-cigarettes; students, administrators discuss the effects of the new rule



Case of TB found; school-wide testing conducted


Beyoncé song “Flawless” at the dance spring show on April 11. Photo by Mary Stites. Assistant editor Caitlin Falk goes on the hunt for the sweetest cupcakes in Austin. Photo by Caitlin Falk.


AISD employee Alex Sanchez 16 Varsity boys soccer team rises from last in district last season to finds increased fame with students second this year in the Twitter-sphere Staffer investigates organic food initiative

story on page 24

Opinion 24 Staffer explores local cupcake

shops in search for the best sweet treats in town

19 Senior Jordan Grey talks about last 25 Staffer discusses importance of high school season, what’s next

save the date

social outreach by AISD

Don’t forget to like The Shield on Facebook


26 Senior Prom 29 Steel Drum Concert @7 p.m. in One World Theatre may 2-3 Blue Brigade Spring Show 5-16 AP Testing 8 Piano Recital @6 p.m. in MAC

10 AISD Percussion Concert 11 Mother’s Day 16-18 Dance Benefit Show in MAC 19 Choir Concert @7 p.m. in MAC 21 Guitar Concert 24 Music State Solo and Ensemble 26 Memorial Day- Student/Staff Holiday

Follow: @theshieldonline on Twitter

Visit: for exclusive content

the shield // April 25, 2014 Cover: Senior Ashlyn Eddy performs the dance “The Justice Project” at the dance show on April 11. Photo by Mary Stites.






Superintendent resigns from AISD for same position with Atlanta Public Schools

photo editor Superintendent Meria Carstarphen officially announced her plans to resign from her position at Austin Independent School District on April 14. Carstarphen will leave AISD for the same position at Atlanta Public Schools. Her first day with APS will be July 7. After a short tenure at Austin Independent School District, Carstarphen will return to the south to see a significant pay raise. Carstarphen will oversee the district of approximately 47,000 students. Carstarphen will see a significant pay raise, a base salary of $375,000 compared to the salary of $283,412 seeing over Austin Independent School District. Born in Selma, Alabama, Carstarphen says she looks forward to going to take on a school district that is trying to overcome one of the largest cheating scandals in the country. Carstarphen said she believes that she has the skills to put APS back on the pathway to success. “While I know that my work isn’t done in Austin, it was really difficult to tell my home [of Austin] goodbye,” Carstarphen said. “The people of Atlanta know my fam-




ily, and when they reached out to me and asked me to come to Atlanta, it would have been extremely difficult to say that I was not going to come back home to help my people. I feel like I have been able to put the district in a place where someone could come in and hit the ground running. It’s very hard to let go and it is hard to not finish your work, but I think it is the right thing to do.” After former AISD superintendent Pat Forgione announced his retirement in 2009, Dr. Carstarphen was selected to fill Forgione’s position as superintendent. At the time, AISD was in a $20 million deficit and was under state oversight, according to Carstarphen. Despite the uneasy start, Carstarphen said she continued to work and push for new initiatives and programs for student success. “One priority that has been moving up for the school board and in the community has been taking things like fine arts and athletics and making it co-curricular as opposed to extracurricular,” Carstarphen said. “We have also made a focus on behavioral health such as social and emotional learning via programs like No Place

For Hate. We wanted to ensure that every department at every school was thinking about how every child could be developed in a comprehensive experience that made them more prepared for college, career and life. I believe that we have shifted our culture to do less conversation about testing and test prep and instead focus more on the development of the whole child.” Carstarphen said since she has been superintendent, graduation rates are higher than they have ever been, especially in minority groups, showing success in the district. AISD currently has an 82.5 percent graduation rate, an all-time high for the district. However, Carstarphen said graduation rate and initiatives regarding alternative learning programs and extracurricular activities are just some of her successes. The constant changes that House Bill 5 brought to public education required public schools to refocus how public schools addressed standardized testing. “One of the largest contributions that I made to the district is around leadership in addressing high-stakes testing,” Carstarphen said. “I wanted to be sure that we changed the conversation in the state of Texas about the role of testing and how we can assure the growth, the health and the well-being of our children.”

Principal Mike Garrison said most schools will not see very many changes during the superintendent transition period. The “unacceptable” schools already have teams working with administrators and students to put the school back on the right track to being successful. Garrison said McCallum is not a school that struggles and will not be on the radar for any immediate changes. “Stability in a school district, especially one as large as Austin Independent School District, is important,” Garrison said. “Stability is important especially when things are going well. So it will be different having such a sudden change. And Forgione was implementing his policies for 10 years, whereas Carstarphen was here for five.” Being the superintendent of AISD as Austin’s population grew, as the nation worked to rebuild from the economic crash and as high stakes testing changed public schooling has come with a great deal of scary moments, Carstarphen said. Carstarphen said she believes her flexibility has allowed her to be successful despite Austin’s rapid changes. “I was surprised at myself at how flexible and responsive [I was],” Carstarphen said. “The state of Texas had not seen a budget cut since the World Wars, so nobody could give us any advice as to how to handle the massive budget cuts of 2011. I was very flexible when the commissioner abruptly closed one of our schools. I think I was very flexible with House Bill 5 and the unfunded mandates. I think I was flexible in being able to generate funding for early child education. I feel like I have been Continued on page 4

april 25, 2014// the shield

4 NEWS Chief of schools appointed as interim superintendent

(above) Current chief of schools Paul Cruz will take the position of interim superintendent when Dr. Carstarphen leaves for Atlanta. (right) Superintendent Meria Carstarphen. Photos provided by Austin Independent School District. Continued from page 3 like Gumby from ‘Saturday Night Live.’ I’ve been stretched out, but in the end I’m back for the next episode. I have been very responsive to the changes.” Carstarphen said she has the leadership skills to do what she did for AISD and put APS back on track towards success. “I’m very excited for the opportunity that the school district has to offer,” Carstarphen said. “I’m really hoping that we can bring back the pride of Atlanta. Atlanta is the gateway to the south; it is a huge metropolitan city. I am excited to put things back where they belong and rebuild the pride of what they were achieving. Atlanta is a city that has numerous corporate headquarters, and this is where global hiring happens. I want all of the children of the school system to have the opportunity to be part of that. If we can rebuild the school district, we are not only able to strengthen the national workforce but the global workforce.” The school board immediately named former chief of schools Dr. Paul Cruz as the interim superintendent. The AISD

the shield // april 25, 2014

school board will continue to get input from students, teachers and parents to find the next superintendent. “I think it is good anytime you can collect feedback from all of the constituents including parents, teachers, students and probably the chamber of commerce in Austin,” Garrison said. “The more feedback you can get, the more you understand what everyone is looking for. They will try to match those wants and wishes as best they can.” Garrison said he has never been involved in a superintendent search but believes that finding applicants will not be difficult; it is a matter of finding the right applicant for the job. Campus Advisory Council member and parent Susan Moffat said Carstarphen contributed greatly to the recent success of AISD. However, Moffat said that the state of Texas is a hard state to be a superintendent in and whoever will fill the position will have a lot of obligations to fill. “Being a school superintendent in the state of Texas at this point in time has to

be one of the hardest jobs in the world,” Moffat said. “Given the state’s failed school finance scheme, ongoing budget cuts for education and a continued overemphasis on high-stakes standardized testing, I honestly think it’s a miracle that there are still people willing to take the job at all. I wish Dr. Carstarphen the best of luck with her new position and look forward to working with Dr. Cruz as well as the new superintendent when that person is selected. Again, no one person can fix all the problems now facing Texas schools — it’s up to all of us to step up and help. Carstarphen said she is sad to leave her unfinished work but hopes AISD can continue moving in the right direction. “I hope that the district continues to come together as a team and can agree on a vision with the community and the board that is bigger and better than anything that has ever been done before,” Carstarphen said. “I think that everyone can work really hard to make sure that every student can say ‘I am in a school that builds on my strengths, and I am in a district that wants to see me succeed.’”

Moffat said it was a great move of AISD to appoint Cruz for the interim superintendent position and is necessary to keep consistency in the district. Moffat said she hopes the district will continue to encourage diversity and equity and will push to ensure that every student has an outstanding education regardless of zip code or family income. “I hope he or she will work to improve transparency, communication, community engagement and increased diversity and inclusion on all campuses,” Moffat said. “I hope that person will reduce the role of standardized tests in AISD as much as legally possible and support a strong creative education for all students, with a continued emphasis on the arts as befits Austin’s creative economy. Finally, I hope he or she will be able to successfully communicate the importance of public education to every member of our community and to increase support across the board for our public schools. Obviously, these are things that no one individual can achieve alone, but strong leadership on these issues will be crucial.”


SEAN SIMONS staff reporter

At the the beginning of the second semester of the school year, Austin Independent School District implemented its new policy that bans electronic cigarettes at schools. The district passed the rule in late November. Before then, only regular cigarettes were banned on school property. But since the recent influx in popularity of ecigs, AISD decided to make the change. Senior and regular e-cigarettes smoker David Smith* said he didn’t even know e-cigarettes were banned. Smith said he uses e-cigarettes because he sees them as an alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes. “It’s better than regular smoking,” Smith said. However, he said he does smoke tobacco cigarettes “every once in a while” on top of his e-cigarettes use. “They do help you a lot with smoking,” Smith said, “because you’re still getting your nicotine, but just not putting all the chemicals in your body.” Though e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, users still inhale several harmful and toxic chemicals like addictive nicotine, diethylene glycol, which is a harmful element in antifreeze, and a toxin called nitrosamine. Smith said the schools shouldn’t care if students smoke e-cigarettes at school. “It’s not really hurting anybody,” Smith said. “You shouldn’t do it in class, but outside like in the hallways, it

shouldn’t matter.” his parents took it away. Marketing campaigns for electronic “It can be a positive because it can cigarette companies such as “Blu Cigs” help kids if they’re addicted to cigarettes,” boast that they give the user more freedom James said. “It can give them a fix of nicoto smoke in places where they couldn’t tine, so it’s good for them. But other than smoke regular cigarettes, such as public that, I think a lot of kids do it just cause it parks or indoor sports events. looks cool.” Electronic cigarettes are essentially Junior Charlotte Lichtenheld said battery-run using e-cigacigarettes that rettes at school contain no tois a stupid debacco or tar, cision. No matter what, that’s still doand release “I think harmless vaing damage to your organs that although por instead of they might and your body whether you’re be a little bit smoke. The cigarette has more healthaware of that or not. a container ier than cigaCharlotte Lichtenheld // Junior called a cartorettes, you’re mizer which still inhaling holds the “echemicals that liquid”. The e-liquid is what the person is aren’t naturally put in your body,” Lichtenactually smoking, and is usually a combi- held said. “No matter what, that’s still donation of multiple ingredients, including ing damage to your organs and your body nicotine. Since the smoke from the normal whether you’re aware of that or not. You’re cigarettes is usually what deters them from inhaling chemicals.” being allowed in most public places, e-cigLichtenheld acknowledged that e-cigarettes are difficult to place restrictions on. arettes do less damage than regular cigaAISD ISD decided to ban e-cigarettes rettes, but says that they still do enough from school campuses both because they damage to worry about. are illegal for minors to possess and be“It’s doing harm to your body, and I cause they are seen as a distraction to stu- don’t think the school should condone dents. that,” Lichtenheld said. “So I fully support “I don’t see any harm in them,” senior the school saying that they’re not allowed.” Mark James* said. “I don’t see why they McCallum police officer John Yoder need to ban them from school.” said e-cigarettes are only becoming more James uses e-cigarettes, saying he prevalent and acessible. would smoke his e-cigarette daily before “Mostly any age group can buy them

because it’s not a tobacco product,” Yoder said. “That’s why it’s so much more easily accessible to students and young adults.” Currently, electronic cigarettes remain unregulated by the FDA, allowing them to market to a broader, younger audience than regular cigarettes. Yoder said e-cig companies intentionally market their products at teenagers because they are the most vulnerable to exploitation. “They’re still young, trying to figure out what they want to do,” Yoder said. “[The e-cigarette companies] obviously know what they’re doing as far as marketing. The students are going to be more naive. I think the technological aspect is what really appeals to the students. It’s more appealing to have ‘the new electronic [cigarette].’” Yoder said e-cigarettes are going to become a gateway for student users to experiment with more dangerous drugs. “They’re going to get used to the vapor and possibly if they don’t smoke drugs already, they’re probably going to want to,” Yoder said. Yoder said using or possessing e-cigarettes on school campus is a violation of the student code of conduct. “If you’re caught on campus with it, it will be documented in your school records,” Yoder said. “Maybe not necessarily in your criminal history, but it will still be documented as far as receiving some sort of discipline. You will be dealt with administratively.” *Name changed

APRil 25. 2014// the shield



rumors rum ors rumors RUMORS

Spread by word of mouth Rumors plague students as TB testing conducted in the library SEREN VILLWOCK online editor


public relations editor

Junior Jack Parker was in his piano class when his phone lit up with a text message. And then another. They were from concerned friends, asking if he was okay. “I suddenly received multiple texts from people asking, ‘Are you okay? Are you dying?” Parker said. This is how he discovered there was a rumor that he had tuberculosis. Then, people started approaching him in the hallways from arms-length away, wondering if he was contagious. Students were first informed that a person at the school possibly had TB in a letter that was sent home April 1. As testing was happening in the library for students or teachers with possible risk of exposure, rumors that Parker was a second case began. “I had a bloody nose when we were playing basketball, and I spit blood out on the floor,” Parker said. “Then over a group text [my friend] was like, ‘Dude, he just coughed up blood,’ and I guess someone took that the wrong way.” At first, he laughed at the accusation, but as the rumors continued to spread, he began to get a little upset at how fast the

the shield // april 25, 2014

lies got around. “I’m not a very serious person sometimes,” Parker said. “I kind of just laugh it off, but I get a little upset because people would just keep on coming up to me and I’d be like, ‘No, I don’t have tuberculosis.’ I thought it was pretty funny at first.” Parker said the strangest rumor he heard spread by students was that the school was going to shut down. “Recently someone’s said, ‘Oh the school is going to get shut down if another person has tuberculosis,’” Parker said. “At first I was psyched, like ‘Oh, I’m going to get to go to Anderson?’ But it’s a lie. I think [technology] had a big role in it. The group text that they had, those people don’t actually meet in real life that often, so in a sense it heightened it exponentially to the fact where people knew about it quicker and it just spread like a disease in itself.” While testing was going on in the library, librarian Jane Farmer said she has heard some students asking about strange rumors they have heard. “We always want to know more,” she said. “I think it’s easy for rumors to get started. My response was: if it’s not in a letter from Mr. Garrison, don’t necessarily believe that it’s true. I’m sure that everybody would like more details, but we know enough to be aware of the situation and what’s being done, and that’s enough

for me.” She said she believes the solution is to for students and staff to stay aware of the facts. “I think it is really good to know what’s going on and to read about the disease, to know who can get it and how you get it, so that you know some facts and aren’t swayed by the rumors,” Farmer said. “I don’t think there’s a need to be worried about it.” TB is a disease caused by a bac0terium that usually attacks the lungs. Symptoms can include a bad cough, coughing up blood, weakness or fatigue, fever, chills and pain in the chest. According to the Center for Disease Control, the disease is spread through the air when a person with TB coughs or sneezes and another person breathes in the bacteria, but it is

Graphic by Seren Villwock.

not spread by shaking hands, sharing food or drink, or kissing. Nurse Kathleen Thelen said students concerned about the spread of the disease should be aware of the unlikelihood of a severe outbreak. “We’re following all the guidelines,” Thelen said. “The good news is that TB is totally curable. Even if you test positive and show some signs of TB, it is totally treatable. TB is a very slow-growing disease. It doesn’t happen overnight.” Principal Mike Garrison said although the situation is being dealt with by Travis County Health Department, the staff has done everything they can to provide students with accurate information. “The only way to combat rumors is to get accurate information out there,” Garrison said. “I feel like we tried to do that

NEWS 7 with the letters we put out and with the Health Department coming here a few weeks ago to talk to any students, parents or community members that wanted to come and ask questions, and all we can do is try to get accurate information and share it.” The health department determined which classrooms or individuals with a possible risk of exposure for TB and conducted skin or blood tests April 8 and 9. The percentage of positive reactions will determine whether or not to expand the testing, Thelen said. “For those people whose results are negative for exposure, [the clinic] will be coming back at the end of May,” she said. “The reason they are testing later on and

giving that time period from the last time someone was exposed here at school is so that hopefully during that time anyone who is going to will have converted [to a positive result].” An important misconception about TB people should be aware of is that positive test results do not necessarily mean that a person has TB and is contagious, Thelen said. The testing is for TB exposure, not the active disease. “TB exposure and active TB are totally different things,” Thelen said. “Remember they are testing for exposure.” The World Health Organization reports that about one third of the total world population has latent TB, or have been infected by TB bacteria but aren’t yet

TB hits McCallum BEN BROWN


cerned, but I want to reassure everyone that it is not an easily spread disease,” Thelen said. “Keep [yourselves] healthy. Go ahead and contact TB elimination if you have concerns. The number is: 512972-5460.” Parker said the best thing for students to do right now is to be smart about everything they hear. “If you ever hear a rumor, think logically about it first,” Parker said. “Especially with mine. ‘Oh he has tuberculosis, and I’ve seen him at school, why is he at school and spreading it?’ Think about that logically. If I actually had tuberculosis, what kind of person would I be coming to school and coughing on people’s faces? It just doesn’t make sense.”

Person at McCallum officially diagnosed with tuberculosis

school for three weeks, one of which I spent in the hospital. It was one of those cases where I felt that I didn’t need to be held out tudents and faculty were in- of school, but I understand why they had formed April 1 that a person who to.” The person said he has a vague idea attends McCallum had been diagnosed with tuberculosis or TB. The where he contracted the illness. “They assumed I got it when I went person stayed away from the school until he was cleared to return. But now the person out of the country last summer,” the person said. is back at McCallum “The after being cleared U.S. and says the experidoes vacence with TB wasn’t cinate for as bad as people Unless you were in direct conTB, but would think tact with him or had a class with it’s not “Besides the inirequired tial shock of having him, it is very unlikely that you here, and the doctor tell me I would be able to contract TB seeing had TB, the experias I conence wasn’t as bad Kathleen Thelen // School nurse tracted it as I thought it would in anothbe,” the person said. er coun“I didn’t really have any symptoms of it. The only reason I knew try, there was no way to prevent it when I something was wrong is because I coughed got back.” School nurse Kathleen Thelen said stuup blood around the night of March 25.” The person said while he wasn’t feeling dents should not worry about catching the virus because the odds of catching it are too bad, TB is nothing to take lightly. “That night they rushed me to the emer- slim. “Unless you were in direct contact with gency [room] and did all kinds of testing, and a couple of days later they told me I had him or had a class with him, it is very unTB,” the person said. “I had to stay out of likely that you would be able to contract staff reporter

ill with the disease. People who have been infected with the bacteria have about a 10 percent lifetime risk of falling ill. The vast majority of cases and deaths are in developing countries. Parker said he feels he has been adequately informed about the disease. “I know a lot about the strand of tuberculosis at school, and honestly, it probably isn’t that big of a deal,” Parker said. “But it’s still a bacterial infection, and TB is not fun, so I don’t want it to be spread.” Thelen said she would advise students or parents who are concerned to keep themselves healthy and to contact the TB elimination clinic with any questions they have. “I know a lot of people are very con-

TB,” Thelen said. “The bacteria is very short-lived and won’t live a long time on any surfaces. You really have to be in a small confined space with the person for a prolonged period of time for you to even have a chance of contracting it.” Thelen also said there is a huge difference between TB exposure and actual active TB. “TB can lay dormant in a person’s body for a long period of time, and the person can feel nothing, have no symptoms and feel fantastic. But with active TB, a person will begin to feel symptoms and start to feel sick,” Thelen said. “The City of Austin Health and Human Services will come back near the end of May to test all

the people they tested originally again to make sure it has not become active in their body. That’s why they’re taking so long to give the students and teachers their results for the test.” Thelen said the school is doing its best to cooperate with the health officials. “As of now we are following all of their guidelines for testing and doing everything we can to keep the virus dormant and rid the school of TB,” Thelen said. “The good news is that TB is a very treatable and curable, so even if students were to get it, it wouldn’t be the end of the world because I know for a fact that the health services will do the best they can to take care of you and treat you.”

April 25, 2014// the shield

8 news

Writing on silicon spirals Push for new high tech curriculums raise questions from students, teachers GRACE FRYE editor-in-chief

In the past month, several companies have announced plans for big changes in the world of education. While each has its own plan, all surround one thing in particular: huge technological upgrades. Following a statement made by the Obama administration promising to install high-speed internet in 15,000 schools in the next two years, all-digital curriculums are growing in popularity. In the coming months, multiple companies are slated to release new all-online, high-tech middle school curriculums with their eyes set on expanding to high school next. Technology teacher Audrea Moyers said she is not surprised by these announcements. “I definitely think it is the trend of the future,” Moyers said. “I think that we’ll all have sort of the equivalent of fancy smartphones or tablets, especially by the time

New Honor Society officers elected New officers have been elected for National Honor Society. The president is Miguel Minick; the vice president is Allie Faulkner; the secretary is Damini Patel; the treasurer is Mary Stites; and the publicity chair is Kate Pargaman. “[The students] signed up for what office they wanted to run for, and then a couple of weeks ago we had the elections and junior members of NHS who have already been in could vote,” librarian Jane Farmer said. The officers are kept busy with various tasks around the year. “The president meets with the sponsors and the other officers, they plan the meetings, they plan the service events and they lead the keying ceremony and the induc-

the shield // April 25, 2014

we get to higher education. The expectation I think is that you have these things and that you use them, and so rolling it down to the high school level makes a lot of sense to me.” Moyers said she has already started to see a move toward more technology in classrooms. After being provided with an iPad for use both at home and in the classroom, Moyers said she has found it limiting to use when her students do not have the same equipment. “It’s been useful, I would say, to a limited degree,” Moyers said. “It’s personally useful tremendously; I use it all the time at home. As school goes, I find it less useful since my students don’t have iPads. I would find it more useful if they could also use the same apps to do things because it just seems limited as a school tool if only the teacher has one.” Senior Camille Weizenbaum, who uses an iPad daily for school activities, said her tablet helps with common tasks

such as taking notes and writing essays. “I use [my tablet] for English readings because I can have all my books in one place and can easily search for annotations and highlights,” Weizenbaum said. “I use it to take notes because I have dysgraphia and can type much faster and neater than I can write, so it allows me to keep up in class and I can embed pictures or audio in the notes.” Weizenbaum said she likes the idea of online curriculums. Using her tablet has made it easier for her to keep everything in one place and organized, she said. “I don’t know if it has made me a better student, but it has definitely made me more efficient,” she said. While both Weizenbaum and Moyers said they like the idea of an online curriculum, each said there were certain parts of school that shouldn’t be replaced by tablets. “The only disadvantage I would see going to a curriculum that’s all online is

news in brief

tion,” Farmer said. “The president is really in charge of the sponsors and making sure everything gets done. The vice president helps with all of the above and is the person in charge of our project to support a family during holiday time. The treasurer will be busy in August with all the dues. They’ll take up all the dues, keep records of that and make sure we get good records. The secretary helps out, keeping track of any record-keeping, working with the sponsors on that. The publicity chair has to find more and better ways of getting word out to the members.”

3 bands named first division at UIL The band went to UIL for concert sight-reading April 9-10 and won sweepstakes. “We had three bands that performed:

concert band, symphonic band and wind ensemble, and all of them made first division in concert and a first division in sightreading, which is spectacular,” band director Carol Nelson said. The marching band made first division in the fall, also getting sweepstakes. “[To get sweepstakes, the varsity band needs] a first division in marching [band], a first division in concert [band] and a first division in sight-reading,” Nelson said. “In addition to that, our non-varsity and our sub-non-varsity, our concert band and symphonic band made first division also in concert and sight-reading.”

Band takes trip to Colorado for competition The band went to Winter Park, Colo-

where the students are only interacting with the computer, reading and spitting back answers as opposed to having discussions,” Moyers said. “I think that, not just tablets but in general, relying on technology is appropriate if it is replacing let’s say a [hard copy] book with a book on a computer or an activity that they can do on a computer, but not if it’s replacing the things you can only get in the classroom, like teacher-led discussions.” But before any districts start new programs, Moyers said all types of classes should be taken into account. “The challenge in my classes would be a lot of software that I use does not always transfer to a tablet version, and so I think in my science class it would be useful because we would use things like Word, PowerPoint, Excel,” Moyers said. “But then when we’re doing units like robotics, LabView (the software used) is not on tablet and AutoCad is not on tablet.”

rado, for the Winter Park Ski-Music Festival April 11-14. “We brought home eight trophies,” band director Carol Nelson said. “The symphonic band, the wind ensemble and the jazz band all made first division, so we got first division trophy [for each]. The symphonic band, the wind ensemble and jazz band also were best in class, so we got a trophy for each of those groups. The wind ensemble and the jazz band were grand champions for their division, so we got more trophies.” The trip wasn’t all about music. “The kids were offered the chance to either ski or snowboard, or they were offered vouchers for other things,” Nelson said. “They could snowshoe, they could go snow tubing or they could take scenic tours on the ski lift. We got in two days of recreation, and we had a big cooking contest Sunday night.”

Feature 9

The man behind the screen Students turn to Austin ISD employee for up-to-date information BEN BROWN

needs and issues will really help us do our job better.“ Freshman Emily Goulet was one of the first people to follow and communicate with AISD_Alex online. “I thought it was really cool that there was kind of a voice for the students and that we could share our thoughts to him to try to improve the school,” Goulet said. “He is communicating through a medium that students can relate to and use well. He also tries to make his tweets funny and engaging to help the students understand. Students are on Twitter a lot of the time, so it’s a way to help get the message out as well.” Sanchez poses with newspaper and yearbook students during his visit to McCalSophomore Hannah lum. Sanchez said he thinks it is important that he gets to interact with students Cooley said she thinks both in the classroom and through social media. Photo by Hannah Smith. AISD_Alex works more for the students than the district. Some of those hashtags include #3hunnit, count, you have to customize the messaging “We don’t just ask him questions; he ac#trill, and his personal favorite #ImJust- so that you continue to engage them.” tually wants our advice and input on how TheMessenger. Sanchez often has dialogue with stu- to improve the district,” Cooley said. “He “There’s an art to interacting with dents and parents. really helps our voices and inputs get heard parents, and there’s also an art to interact“It’s good that I get to interact with my because without him students would have ing with students, and what I’ve learned audience because with our regular AISD no other way for their opinions to get is students love hashtags,” Sanchez said. Twitter handle, it is difficult interact- heard.” “Hashtags are entertaining, and students ing with people because they don’t know Even though Sanchez’s job may look [especially in high school] love to be enter- who’s behind the screen,” Sanchez said. like fun and games on Twitter, he said tained. I am also trying to inform “What I want to do is to help make the dis- there is way more to it than that. students at the same time and trict better, and by getting the input of the “My real charge is to help the district make students appreciate the in- students, I can in turn do my job better. disseminate information to all kinds of difThere’s an art to interacting formation that they are receiving.” “As a whole, I don’t think that we as a ferent audiences. That includes parents, Sanchez said his account was district are trying to engage the students teachers, the public at large, even working with parents, and there’s an created to help reach as much as we could have, especially at the with reporters on a day-to-day basis. One art to interacting with stu- specifically out and communicate with stu- high school level, and we don’t have many could say I am a spokesperson or even the dents. dents. ways to engage them,” he added. “Students voice for students,” Sanchez said. “I am so “The first rule of Communi- all deserve to have a say in what happens to lucky to have the job that I do. The ones Alex Sanchez // Executive Direccations 101 is to know your audi- their school. Twitter over the last couple really doing the hard work are your teachtor of the AISD Department of ence,” Sanchez said. “As you have months has really helped us hear the voice ers, lunch ladies and custodians. They’re Communications more young people follow an ac- of all the students, and hearing student’s the ones who really have the hardest jobs.”

staff reporter hen sophomore Hannah Smith needed the latest weather updates during the harsh winter Austin experienced, she looked to the Twitter page of Austin Independent School District employee Alex Sanchez. “He just relays the information quickly, and he also kind of knows how to speak our language,” Smith said. Sanchez’s official job title for AISD is Executive Director of the Department of Communication and Community Engagement. Part of his job entails he be active on social media. Sanchez runs a Twitter handle under the name of AISD_Alex, which was created in 2011. His page has gained over 1,000 followers since midNovember. “The main cause for my follower increase was school cancellations due to bad weather. I guess that’s what students enjoy,” Sanchez said. “I really don’t look at it as fame. We have many other social media outlets. We have the AISD Twitter handle, which delivers all the good news even though the students might not look at it that way. I’m happy and thrilled more young people are becoming more interested in AISD news.” Sanchez often uses hashtags that can help relate to students and young people.


april 25, 2014 // the shield

10 feature

SAT getting its ACT together Standardized test modifies basic elements to keep in stride with other exams staff reporter

The difference between getting into a college or not can come down to a single four-hour test: the SAT. Every year, students spend thousands of dollars and hours on preparation classes to teach them the skills needed to succeed on the test. “I know the class is expensive, but there are some testing strategy agencies who will say, ‘If you can’t afford it, come to us and we can give you a scholarship and you can just pay for the books,’” math teacher Stephanie Stanley, who is also a More Than a Teacher tutor, said. “They obviously want to make money, but at the same time they understand that not all kids can pay $500 for a prep course, and they want to meet the needs of that student.” However, in the spring of 2016, these scholarships will no longer be as necessary. At this time, the recent changes made to the SAT will go into effect. One of these changes is putting preparation material and classes on Khan Academy, a free website where students can look for lessons. This will make the information widely available for students. “I’m in this program called the Seedling Foundation,” sophomore Ariana Freitag said. “It’s an SAT prep class. Six students from every school are selected to do that, and I was selected. They are really focused on giving the opportunity because SAT prep classes are expensive, so they really focus on giving the opportunity to people who can’t afford SAT prep classes to be able to go to these things and have really good teachers teach you.” The other main changes to the SAT include reverting back to the 1600-point scale, making the essay optional and taking out the vocabulary sections. “I think students will do better probably,” college counselor Nancy Nitardy

the shield // April 25, 2014

Match the SAT vocabulary with the definitions: 1. u•biq•ui•tous (adj.) a. tending to cause tears. b. difficult to control and 2. ab•ro•gate (trans. verb) often noisy. c. full of excessive talk. 3. lach•ry•mose (adj.) d. existing or being present everywhere at the same 4. ob•fus•cate (verb) time. e. of a timid disposition. 5. lo•qua•cious (adj.) f. to end or cancel (something) in a formal and of6. tim•or•ous (adj.) ficial way. g. to make obscure or con7. ob•strep•er•ous (adj.) fusing. said. “Students that are maybe not as pre- were probably finding that the students pared have a better chance of doing well. with good grades were getting good test The ACT is really a better test as far as scores, and the students that were not as what you’ve learned, and it’s more like the prepared or don’t have as many resources way you take tests. It’s okay that they are weren’t able to get the scores,” Nitardy switching to follow the ACT.” said. “Whereas now, maybe it’ll be more Stanequitable ley because it’s agreed closer to the SAT what is beis changing taught ing to in the classbe more room.” like the StanACT. ley said Stanley adequate said the preparaNancy Nitardy //College Counselor ACT tion is usetests ful whether what was taught in the classroom, whereas a student is taking the ACT or SAT, a great deal of the SAT is logic and tricky though. The basic test-taking skills are wording. The classes for SAT preparation very similar. include how to understand the wording of “I’m not too nervous because if you prethe SAT and the other tips and tricks most pare, you’ll be fine,” Freitag said. “It’s kind students don’t know. of annoying because it’s the year after we “I think their changes are because they are graduating that [the SAT is] going

Students that are maybe not as prepared have a better chance of doing well. The ACT is really a better test as far as what you’ve learned.

to be easier. They’re taking away the vocabulary. I knew they were taking away the essay. That’s a little annoying because the vocabulary part is the hardest section out of the English part, and to have them remove that it’s like, ‘Can’t you do that for us too?’” Stanley said students will still be able to prepare for the new SAT. There will be information to learn, like whether the questions get harder as the section goes on, that will be very valuable to students. “It’s cool because it should be easier for other people,” Freitag said. “Also, colleges will probably be looking at the fact that we took a harder SAT versus an easier one.” However, most colleges only require a 1600-point scale, with the critical reading and math sections included, so reverting back to this scale will not make a large difference in college admissions. “[Colleges] have actually always being using the 1600,” Nitardy said. “Colleges just use that score anyways, and that has been very confusing to kids that don’t do as well. So the fact that it’s going back to the 1600 is really what the colleges were doing anyway.” Stanley said the most challenging part of the SAT is the time limits. Currently, there are time restrictions on each section that gives about a minute per question for students to answer. “When [students] leave a test and haven’t completed a section because they run out of time, it’s not something we are used to dealing with in the regular classroom,” Stanley said. “Your teacher usually lets you finish a test if you run out of time because they are more focused on you showing what you know as opposed to beating a clock. I understand why it has to be timed because if it wasn’t, then everyone would do very well on it.”

Answers: 1. d 2. f 3. a 4. g 5. c 6. e 7. b


Feature 11

What’s on your plate? Students, teachers, administrators discuss local food in cafeteria

From left to right: Two garden plots maintained by the Garden Club are located in the courtyard. Photo by Caitlin Falk. A bunch of greens springs up in one of the gardens. Photo by Seren Villwock. Cafeteria manager Kim Glasscock holds up a delivery of local produce in the cafeteria. Photo by Caitlin Falk.


assistant editor When AISD Director of Nutrition and Food Services Chris Carrillo-Spano realized many students had little idea where their food came from beyond the grocery shelves, he made a commitment to procure locally sourced food for the district. “It is the right thing to do,” he said, “even though organic/local foods do cost between 20-40 percent higher.” To help him further his goal, he attended the seventh national Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which was held in Austin this year from April 15-18. The biennial conference hosted more than 1,000 food service professionals, farmers, educators, policy makers, entrepreneurs, youth leaders, representatives from nonprofit government agencies, and public health professionals from around the nation. The goal of the organization is to encourage school cafeterias to obtain their food from small, local farms, often providing organic produce. “From what I’ve been told we [AISD] are usually ahead of the curve on serving local and organic foods,” cafeteria manager Kim Glasscock said. “I think the goal is to have by some point — maybe next year — all of the schools on the farm to table pro-

gram.” facilities,” Mota said. “You don’t have a Currently 51 schools participate in the lot of transportation costs. You have less program, including McCallum. Sopho- waste in terms of fuel, and it just tastes a more Hannah McChesney, a member of lot better because it’s fresh.  I mean, we just Garden Club, points out the benefits of planted some carrots, and the girls in the locally grown food. Garden Club picked them, and they were “The fresh, local food is better for you, just awesome.  So much better than any and it tastes carrots that you better a lot buy at the store.  of the time,” It’s a really great McChesney thing to have.” You have less waste in terms said. “It However, tastes a lot of fuel, and [local and organic Mota said the better than Club food] just tastes better be- Garden the produce does not have you might be the capacity to cause it’s fresh. getting from be a local supFlor Mota // Teacher California or plier for the cafsomewhere eteria. else far away. “I just don’t My mom would always tell me you need know exactly how that would work with to know what’s on the food label because a school,” she said. “We don’t plant that there are all these chemicals, and they can much, and the yield is very small, so we actually be really bad for you. It’s nice to would really need a lot more people for it know what you’re eating when you grow to be worthwhile for the cafeteria.” your own food.” But, Glasscock said, Austin benefits Garden Club sponsor and teacher Flor from a number of other local suppliers. Mota agrees. “Right now we use a distributor as “There’s a lot of benefit in terms of busi- well as the Farm to Table produce in the ness, and there’s a lot of benefit in terms of cafeteria,” Glasscock said. “Farm to Table how local food is brought to the different is a smaller list because it’s all local, so it

depends on the crops and what they have and run out of. Then the bigger distributors will get the food from wherever they need to make sure we have what we need.” Although the cost of organic/local food is higher, Glasscock said the benefits outweigh the additional cost. “In some situations, local and organic food can be more expensive, so they [the district] just kind of have to balance that out right,” Glasscock said. “They’re trying to have the best quality possible for the students, but it also has to be cost-effective or everybody would go broke. They’ve got an excellent team, though, as a district to figure out how to balance those things.” McChesney pointed out that at times, the extra cost is offset by the proximity of the supply. “It is a little bit more expensive, but it’s worth it,” McChesney said. “If you grow some of it here, it’s not expensive because, for example, basil from the store is about $3, but if you have a plant of it here, it isn’t that much.” According to Carrillo-Spano, price is only a small factor in the big picture. “Students are the future and the change agents that are needed to make sure that the food supply remains wholesome, safe and sustainable,” Carrillo-Spano said.

APRIL 25, 2014 // the shield

12 feature

Finding the right match Seniors visit their prospective colleges, get to know their roommates LULU NEWTON staff reporter

Senior Madison Sweeney has been working on her college search since her junior year. She has applied to 14 colleges, and acceptance wasn’t much of an issue for her, she said. “I’ve been admitted to most of the [colleges] I’ve applied to,” Sweeney said. She said she was most interested in Texas Christian University and is now committed to it. She was admitted to the college in December and had visited twice before then. “I had a really amazing time there,” Sweeney said. “I went to a couple of classes and really loved everything about it.” Sweeney said she sat in on an anatomical kinesiology class because she said she wants to study kinesiology to become an occupational therapist for special needs kids. “It was an intro class, but it was interesting because I was recognizing some of the stuff they were learning,” Sweeney said. “It was cool to see what I’ll be doing next year and what I’ll know already.” While observing the class, Sweeney quizzed herself over what they were doing. “It’s cool that I’ll be going in with a prerequisite knowledge,” she said. “I just went in and sat at the table my host student was sitting at, and when the teacher was going around, I just casually met him.” Sweeney’s first visit was a more formal one, she said, and her later visit to the campus was less formal. College visits have become a part of senior year. Sweeney visited several colleges besides TCU as well. “Over the summer I visited Vanderbilt, which I didn’t end up applying to, and three North Carolina schools,” Sweeney said. “I visited Texas State University junior year sometime, then again and stayed with a friend this year, and then TCU and [Uni-

the shield // APRIL 25, 2014

Landry said she was mainly looking at the atmosphere, location and size of the school on her visit to help her make her decision. She said it is a very good idea to visit a college before applying. “Start really early,” Landry said. “There were three or four schools that I knew I wasn’t going to go to, but I just applied anyways. That’s a big thing. A lot of people just apply.” Sweeney used the experiences from the visits to learn more about her prospective schools. “Before I visited I didn’t really know what I wanted in a college,” Sweeney said. “After [visiting] I saw what I disliked and liked in different colleges. Madison Sweeney poses with the mascot “I really liked the camstatue at TCU. Photo provided by Madipus at Texas State,” she son Sweeney added. “I really liked the versity of Texas at Austin].” community and pedestrian [setup]. TCU Senior Madison Landry also visited her also had that. There’s a nice sense of comprospective colleges recently, and she is munity there.” now committed to University of Arkansas. Sweeney said she’s really excited about “I committed over spring break when I the school spirit at her college. visited,” Landry said. “It was everything I “There were maybe two people on camwas looking for, so I figured it would be pus not wearing TCU shirts,” she said. the best choice.” Landry said a visit to a college can Landry applied to seven universities make or break your decision. and visited three. “It helps you see what the campus is like “I went to Baylor, A&M and Arkansas. because you don’t ever really have a true At Arkansas, I got to stay with a friend experience until you go and visit,” Landry who graduated [from McCallum] last said. year,” Landry said. “I had a more personal Sweeney used her second visit to get experience. When I was with [my friend], that true experience. I went to her Young Life club, and I got “When I was going to visit again, it was to stay in her dorm for a few nights and purely just to experience the school for a got to go sight-seeing around campus and weekend,” Sweeney said. “I really experiaround the town.” enced the area the school was in and what

people did for fun.” Getting to know the area is important, as Sweeney will be living in the campus’ honor’s dorm next year with a roommate, she said. Sweeney said she found a roommate on a site called that helps students find roommates who have similar interests. “[The website] links you with people who answered similarly to you on a survey and you can get to know them through Facebook or texting,” Sweeney said. Landry said colleges try to get incoming freshman to join their Facebook groups. She said this is how she met her roommate. “You post your name and where you’re from and if you’re looking for a roommate in a specific dorm,” Landry said. “[My roommate] messaged me, and we became really good friends.” Landry said she and her roommate talk often. She said she is not nervous to be living with someone new in a new place. “I’m excited to meet new people rather than going into a school with somebody I’ve always known because then you don’t meet anyone new,” Landry said. Sweeney said she has mixed feelings about living with a new person. “I’m definitely excited but also a little nervous,” Sweeney said. “I’m nervous that there will be something that we didn’t talk about that ends up being not what I expected. I don’t know what that would be but she seems like a really sweet girl and I’m excited to meet her. We’ve texted backand-forth pictures of what we want our dorm to look like, like what we are going to do for bedding and everything.” Sweeney will be meeting the girl at TCU in May. “The girl I met lives in Arkansas and will live in the honors dorm too,” Sweeney said. “We text and we’ve Facetimed a couple times. We get along pretty well.”

Expanding coverage


Ceramics teacher creates mosaic of school mascot MAYA COPLIN staff reporter

Ceramics teacher Carrey West saw an ordinary archway and decided to turn it into a work of art. She decided to turn the school mascot the Knight into a mosaic. “As you enter the breezeway, there is this sort of archway,” West said. “Right now there is nothing on it; it is just sort of an architectural feature with no purpose or even aesthetic value in my opinion. So the point was to sort of dress it up.” West’s ceramics classes worked on the mosaic for many days. “Once the design is blown up on a giant piece of paper, we roll out a giant slab a certain thickness throughout,” West said. “And then we make that into a huge sheet

of clay. Then we lay our design on top of the huge sheet of clay, and we trace into it so it indents the clay. Then we have to cut it out each individual tile, sand and finish each of the edges. We added texture to some of them and then they were fired. Now they are ready for glazing, so they will be glazed and fired again, and then they need to be assembled on the wall like you would any other tile use a tile glue, and put it up there. Then you grout the lines between the tiles.” The project will continue to grow every few years. After the knight is mounted on the breezeway, more tile will be added. It is a legacy for the students who worked on it. “I am very excited to leave my mark on the school,” sophomore Willis Wiest said. “I think it is really awesome that we can leave something of our own creation on school

property, something of our art and inspiration.” Many students and teachers contributed into the tile project. Not all the students were ceramics students. “Well, the knight was a combination of lots of people,” West said. “We started with an image from the Internet, and then it was taken into Illustrator, a graphic program, and junior Brena Dwyer in Timothy Bjerke class worked on the knight there. Once it was blown up, some of my students helped bring it to scale. We projected it and traced it and after that there was still some tweaking that needed to happen. Once we got it that big, it looked kind of funny. So then [senior] Nick Olivares came over with his drawing skills and helped fix some of the proportional problems, so there were lots of

hands on the design.” Dwyer said she helped West choose the knight picture. She created the outline of the knight used for the mosaic using Illustrator. She started with a picture from the Internet but modified it for the project. “I also helped her by working on the computer for a little bit and breaking up a lot of the pieces so they would be easier to use,” Dwyer said. West and Principal Mike Garrison collaborated on what the design for the knight would look like. “I had talked to Mr. Garrison,” West said. “I had come to him with the idea of the knight, our mascot, but he kind of told me what kind of knight he wanted, battle-ready rather than parade, so we have a battleready knight.”

APRIl 25, 2014// the shield

14 Feature

Reaching through space and time Fine arts dance students perform spring show MAYA COPLIN staff reporter

After weeks of preparation, the dance department held its annual spring show April 11-12. The show was a collaboration between guest choreographers, both dance instructors and dance majors. “I think it was on of the strongest shows we have put on as a department,” sophomore Christina Beck said. “We had some really cool guest choreographers and adjunct instructors. I think everyone performed really well too.” All the different dance pieces were held together by the theme Moving Through Space and Time. “It originally started out from this idea,” instructor Brazie Adamez said. “We have different genres that are integrated with other subjects. In anything we do, we have lots of

1 the shield // APRIL 25. 2014

rhythms. It is like we are moving through space. We went with portraying a progression, moving through space and through time, meaning rhythm.” Most dances started out from taking ideas from other fields. One dance was based off of basic physics terms that were turned into dance phrases. “It’s the way dance and dancers interact with ideas and concepts from other disciplines,” instructor Rachel Murray said. “Literature, science and how we take these different fields of thought and choreographers, we interact with them and create our art.” Unlike other dance productions this year, the spring show was the biggest and includes the most guest choreographers. Three McCalllum graduates, Ade Chike Torbert from “So You Think You Can Dance,” and other local artists helped choreograph the spring show.

“In this show we [had] a flamenco,” Murray said. “We [had] a professor from UT and a community choreographer. We [had] someone from season seven of “So You Think You Can Dance.” Also, there [was] choreography by Ms. Adamez and I. This dance show [had] a lot more choreographers from diverse backgrounds.” In honor of MAC’s 60th anniversary, three McCallum graduates participated in creating the choreography for the show and worked with the current dance students. “Amber Wall set a piece,” Adamez said. “She graduated three years ago. Bra Kehri LaHeeim Frazier set a hip hop. He wasn’t an academy member, but he was active in theater and dance. The third one, Clara Wingfield, was active in the dance program and graduated as a visual arts major a couple of years ago.” Torbert taught a master class at MAC for two days. “It was really, really exciting,” senior Ashlyn Eddy said. “”He is amazing. It is definitely my favorite one. It’s like a weird jazz piece.” With the help of choreographers Darla Johnson and Nicole Wesley, students created choreography for a piece called the Justice Project. The Justice Project works to voice social issues and get justice for them though dance. “We learned a lot through that (the Justice Project) about how dance can help get out a message,” Eddy said. Choreography was created by the students by sharing their experiences concerning bullying. After sharing their story, the dancers would improv based on specific words they were given. “We started off by sharing our experiences,” Eddy said. “Then she gave us words like pressure or words like that about feeling down. Then we would basically improv and create choreography based off of that. Then she put it all together into one big piece. That was really awesome. It has created a really dynamic piece for the show.”



Feature 15 1. The intermediate dance class poses at the beginning of their dance. They used isolated movement to show rhythm in the dance. 2. Sophomore Eliza Dahmen interperts fairy tales through modern dance. 3.Dancers pose during El Pewue o Reloj, the flamenco dance.

4. Guest choreographer Kelsey Oliver helped create Newton’s Cradle that was performed by the freshman dance class. 5. Senior Raven Isom poses during the Persistere dance, choreographed by Ade Chike Torbert. Pictures 2-3 by Mary Stites. Pictures 1,3,4 by Maya Coplin.


2 APRIL 25. 2014 //the shield

16 Sports

Third coach is the charm MARY STITES photo editor

Head football coach and athletic director Jason Cecil announced April 22 he would be taking the athletic director position at Connally High School. Cecil’s decision to leave his position at McCallum came as a sudden surprise to the football team. Senior Kris Reyes said he was upset that Cecil was leaving, but after thinking about the situation, he was able to understand why Cecil wanted to take the Connally job. “We found out that he got the job at Connally the day he left,” Reyes said. “When I found out that he was leaving, I was sort of speechless. We went to the second round of playoffs, and to find out that he just leaves unannounced kind of made me upset. Nobody knew that he applied for the position, and at first I was mad that

he didn’t tell anyone.” Junior Brent Chandler will have had three coaches by the time his senior football season comes around. The sudden change for the program was news for Chandler, but he says the team learned a lot from Cecil. “When I found out that Cecil was leaving, I was really torn,” Chandler said. “I really like what he was doing with the program. Everything was moving in a great direction. Obviously we were doing really well and I’m sad to see him go, but it isn’t really about us. It is about him, and he is doing what’s right for his family. He needs to do what is best for him.” Chandler said Cecil brought a new style of coaching than that of former head coach Todd Raymond. Chandler said Cecil used being the underdog to his advantage to work harder. “Cecil turned the program upsidedown when he came to McCallum,” Chan-

dler said. “What Raymond had done with us was not bad; Cecil was just much different. Cecil turned it around and put in a lot more discipline. We really had to earn our wins. He wouldn’t accept any ‘frontrunner’ mentality. He really changed the mentality of the athletes at McCallum.” When Cecil announced he was leaving to go to Connally, offensive coordinator Charles Taylor announced he would apply for the head coach position. Chandler said Taylor will probably keep consistency in the program, making it easier for the team to adjust to the new coaching staff. “I hope that the new coach doesn’t come in and try to change a bunch of things,” Chandler said. “Cecil definitely made a lot of changes, but I don’t think the team needs to change anything because we were already moving in the right direction. Having a coach that changed our mindset did so much for the team.” Reyes said McCallum athletics as a

Cecil takes job at Connally High whole should not see very many direct changes, but Reyes said Cecil made him a better athlete mentally and physically. “I learned that dedication is key in anything you do,” Reyes said. “I learned that you have to earn the right to win, especially when you are the underdog. You have to go and put yourself out there and you have to make it for yourself. It isn’t just given.” Chandler said it will be difficult to find a coaching staff that will fit what Cecil had been doing prior to his leave. But he believes that overcoming the sudden change will make the team bond and they will become stronger. “I learned a lot from Cecil that you can’t really put price tags on,” Chandler said. “I learned a lot of character traits. I learned how to be a good person, and I learned where my priorities should be. I think that learning how to be a good human being is really the most important thing. It is really the point of playing sports.”

Boys soccer team 2nd in district play NICK ROBERTSON staff reporter

With a young and inexperienced team, varsity soccer coach Nicholas Martin knew it might be a rough year. “We knew fielding a team of 15 and 16 year olds against teams of 18 year olds was going to be a challenge,” Martin said. Last year, the team ended 1-18-1 (1-11 in district) and last place in district. But this year, McCallum had almost the whole team returning. Martin said he knew it was just going to be the foundation for the future. This season they went 11-9-1 (7-4-1 in district). “Immediate results didn’t matter as much as improving our understanding of the game and how to play it as a unit last year,” Martin said. “That said, no one likes losing. It hurt. It hurt all of us. As a coach, it was devastating at times to lose so much.

the shield // April 25, 2014

But, we had long-term goals and knew we were on the right path.” After last season, junior Alonso Fernandez said he wanted his teammates to keep their heads up and continue to fight. “Well, I knew we had a lot better chance of finishing in the top two going into this year after such a disappointing season last year,” Fernandez said. “Everyone who was on varsity last year had a lot more experience and we got a couple of new players. We really grew as a team a lot from last year. I was thinking just as long as we keep improving and keep the team chemistry going, I knew we had a good chance.” Senior Bobby Pelligrini said he knew the team could only get better going into this year after a disappointing season a year ago. “It wasn’t just the players that wanted to improve. As a coach, I wanted to prove to others and myself how much better we’d become,” Martin said. “That’s why I sched-

uled almost the exact same preseason from the year before. I wanted to win those games [the ones they lost] this time around.” The team practiced the same as last year to this year. The players just never gave up and kept seeing improvement from week to week, according to Pelligrini. “This year we were a lot closer as a team. We hung out outside of soccer and we just started to bond more,” Pelligrini said. “A lot more of the team also kept their grades up so that they were able to play and didn’t have to sit out.” Martin said he has high hopes go- Junior Alonso Fernandez (right) fights for a loose ball against two LBJ defenders. ing into next year. “Our goals never change: make the Photo provided by yearbook staff playoffs and advance as far as we can. quality. Every game is a fight. We just Our district will expand to 10 teams next year (from 7 this year),” Martin said. have a bigger challenge now. We’re up for “Every team in our district every year is it, though.”

The happiest place on Earth

Sports 17

Varsity softball team plays in the ESPN Spring Training at Disney World

The varsity softball team poses on the Mickey Mouse pitching mound in Disney World over Spring Break. Photo provided by Hannah Smith. HALEY HEGEFELD

staff reporter Many screams could be heard as the varsity softball team took the 199-foot drop in the Tower of Terror, sophomore Hannah Smith’s favorite ride, at Disney World in Orlando. “We went to Orlando, Florida, Monday through Friday of Spring Break,” Smith said. “We played in games that were a part of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Spring Training. We also went to three of the Disney World parks.” The team played five games over the course of the week, four of which they won. The teams came from all across the country, including New Jersey and Maryland. Sophomore Melissa Minette said the team fundraised to have the funds to go to Orlando. They worked the concession stand during summer school last summer, as well as working the concession stands at football games in the fall. “Coach gave us the idea last year and started talking about it, and we did a bunch of fundraising last summer,” Smith said. “I think you just sign up to be a part of the Spring Training and then they set you up with a week you can go. “ Their hard work enabled them to go

to Florida, where they were able to focus and get things done when we needed to,” on having fun and learning how to come McGinty said. “It showed us what we can together as a team. do, so it’ll help us win more than what we “I was most looking forward to hang- are doing before. I think we all [feel more ing out because our team needed to bond motivated].” and we did a lot in Florida,” Smith said. In addition, the team was exposed to “We just spent a lot of time together.” the different playing styles of teams from Spending time together was very ben- other states and college-level teams. eficial, McGinty said. The girls learned “A lot of [the teams from other places] they could work together much better than have different methods in playing softball,” what they were Smith doing in district. said, “or “We’re dojust act ing alright [in differently It showed us what we can do, in the district],” Smith said. “I think just so it’ll help us win more than game or the first round [of say differwhat we were doing before. ent things district] we were messing around I think we all [feel more moti- to cheer too much and their team vated]. we didn’t focus on, so that on winning the was interLyndsey McGinty // Junior games, so we lost esting.” some that we could have beaten.” The girls went to see the Notre Dame Junior Lyndsey McGinty said the girls college softball team play in addition to the were having problems with working to- games they were playing. gether and communicating before they “[Notre Dame was] really good. It was went to Florida. a little intimidating,” Minette said. “I want “When we got to Florida, it kind of all to go to UT, so hopefully [I will play softturned around and we learned how to talk ball] there. I saw what level that those col-

lege girls were on and was like, ‘I got some work to do, but I’m going to do it because that’s what I want to do.’” The softball team came back to Texas ready to play and work together with a refreshed attitude. “We started off our bigger games [after Spring Training] by playing Travis,” Smith said. “The first game we lost to them, but we made a comeback and beat them the second game. Then we played Crockett and instead of getting beaten really badly, where we didn’t score any points in the first game, we lost to a better score and we played a lot better in that game. Then the next game was the LBJ game, and we beat them 8-2. The seniors this year were freshmen the last time they beat LBJ.” As district comes to a close, the team is looking towards their playoff games, which start tonight, where they can show the cooperation skills they learned while in Disney World. “In the past couple weeks leading up to the LBJ game and finishing off district with Eastside and Lanier afterwards,” Smith said, “we’ve all been working well together and we all just found our place and there are better vibes.”

APRIl 25, 2014// the shield

18 Sports

sports in brief

Varsity baseball places 1st in district play

Varsity softball prepares Golf team ends season Varsity girls soccer falls for first round of playoffs at regional tournament in first round of playoffs

Varsity baseball secured the district title after a 10-1 victory over LBJ. “The team is playing really well right now,” sophomore Luke Richter said. “We are playing as a team and fighting for each other, which will be really important heading into playoffs where the opponents are going to be tougher than what we have seen recently.” The team finished with a 12-0 in district. Their opponent in playoffs is not yet known.

Varsity softball finished its season in third place in district and will advance to the playoffs. The team’s opponent is not yet known. After losing to Travis and LBJ at the beginning of district play, the team came back and beat them the second time. “The team has been playing really well recently,” senior Desireé Hamilton said. “We started off the year with a lot of obstacles like attitudes on the team, but now we have kinda all synced and we are finishing strong.” Their next game is tonight.

JV baseball finishes 1st in district play

The golf team advanced to regionals after finishing second in district behind LBJ by nine strokes. Junior Bret Smith, who scored an 85 at district and went into a playoff for first place, leads the team. In the playoff, Smith beat his opponent to secure the district title. “I was super-excited that after all my hard work I finally made it,” Smith said. “I finally won a tournament, and it was even more exciting that it was in a play-off.” The team went on to regionals in Kerrville but did not advance.

The girls varsity soccer team finished the regular season second in district. They advanced to the playoffs where they faced Cedar Park but lost 6-0. “It felt good to compete for the district title the entire season. We only lost two games in district,” junior Kelly Olson said. “It was too bad, however, that our season had to end with such a bad loss, though.” McCallum finished second to LBJ in district.

NICK ROBERTSON staff reporter

The JV baseball team has locked up first place in district. “The team has battled through a lot of adversity early in the season with players failing and tough losses,” sophomore Quinton Reed said. “I think that it has made us a better team, I am really happy with how we are ending the season.” With an 18-4-2 record, their final game was Wednesday. Scores were not available at press time.

Track advances to regionals meet Seven boys and three girls on the track team advanced to the area meet on April 16. “The team really competed at the meet [area],” senior Garret Hemphill said. “I am really proud of how hard the team worked to get to this point, and I hope my teammates do well at regionals.” Hemphill competed in the 400M but did not advance to regionals. Sabien Cannon and Paris Odem advanced to regionals for the boys. Senior Cami Hawn, freshman Laney Hawn and sophomore Daja Gadison advanced to regionals for the girls. Regionals will be Friday and Saturday in San Antonio.

the shield // April 25, 2014

Junior Jake Holmes takes a swing against LBJ. The game was on April 15. McCallum won 10-0, sealing the district title. Photo by Mary Stites.

Sports 19

The Shield: What events do you run? Cami Hawn: I run 100 hurdles, the 300 hurdles and the 4x100 relay. My favorite events are the hurdles events because they are really challenging. Hurdles aren’t something that everyone can do very easily. It is a challenge every time and not a lot of people run the hurdles races .For me it is a very rewarding race to win because it is much more difficult than doing a sprint. I always have to remember to be really aggressive towards each hurdle. Coach Stewart reminds me to attack the hurdle and keep up my speed and momentum with each jump so that I can get over all of them. TS:What do you hope to accomplish this year in track? CH: My life long goal is to go to state. Hopefully this year I will make regionals for the fourth year in a row. It’s really hard to make it to state and in the past I’ve always said that there is no way that I would be able to make it to state so I don’t know that I always put forth my best effort. But this year I want it so badly and it is my last year to make it to state so I’m definitely just going to lay it all out there. TS: What have you learned from running track at McCallum? CH: You really have to put time and effort into something that you want to accomplish. TS: What is your favorite part about track? CH: When I’m running I really don’t enjoy track, but once I leave practice I’m glad that I did it. During my events I’m in so much pain but after wards I feel like a champ and it’s worth the practices and the pain. TS: Describe your best memory from track? CH:During area last season I was in last place during one of my events because I didn’t want to go to regionals for that event. But once we got to the end of the race I realized that I really didn’t want to lose so I passed six people and placed third and made it to regionals. My competitive drive is definitely what has allowed me to be successful in track. I start running and I don’t want to lose the race and I realize that I have made it really far so it isn’t worth it to just give up now.





The Shield: What position do you play? Jordan Gray: I play center field. My job is to chase down all of the balls that are hit past the infielders. I like playing center field because it’s fun and interactive. Whenever there is another player on base, I get an opportunity to throw them out and that feels good. The team definitely relies on the center fielders, that is where a lot of balls are hit. TS: What are your plans for baseball after high school? JG: Next year I will be playing at Ranger College in Brownwood, Texas. TS: What have you learned from McCallum baseball? JG: I’ve learned how to win graciously and to stay positive. I’ve also learned how to control myself as an athlete. I’ve also learned how to be more relaxed when I’m playing. Being relaxed on the field is a really important part of baseball because baseball is 90% mental, so if you are messed up in the head than you won’t be very successful. It’s also been really hard to become a team because we only had four returners, but I’ve worked really hard to fix that and it has made my play a lot better. TS: Describe your game winning homerun against LBJ during the first round of district play. JG: I walked up to the plate and there was so much pressure. All of the LBJ kids were sitting right behind home plate screaming and yelling and the team was on your back, we were tied in extra innings so it was a pretty stressful situation. And having all of the LBJ kids right behind me made me want to hit the ball so hard that they would stop talking. The was mixing up his pitches, he started out with curveballs and then started throwing fastballs, so I had two strikes and I was getting pretty discouraged. He came with a curveball for the last pitch and I was ready for it. When I saw the ball go over the fence I was so relieved and excited. Seeing the whole team jumping up and down at home plate with the ref telling them to settle down was so great because they have been so supportive all season. That was definitely a turning point for me personally and it gave me so much confidence that has carried me through the season.

April 25, 2014 //the shield

20 Entertainment

A right note AV student’s film named official SXSW film fest selection MARA VANDEGRIFT staff reporter

When junior Josh Leftwich opened his email and was told that his film, “A Wrong Note,” was a SXSW official selection, he was so excited that he high-fived the person sitting next to him. “That was really awesome, that was a monumental moment,” Leftwich said. “After that I was very happy. I guess you could say. I was smiling the rest of the day. I felt accomplished.” The film, which stars McCallum students, is about a pianist who gets shocking news. “The film is about a pianist named Harold who is about to perform a piano solo, a very big one, and he gets a visit from this girl who he’s in a relationship [with], and he learns that she’s pregnant with his baby,” Leftwich said. “So it really puts in conflict the whole, ‘Is he ever going to be able to perform properly’ and ‘How he’s going to deal with this issue’ in front of him, and the plot unfolds from there.” Leftwich said his musical background influenced the film. “I’m a pianist, so I thought it would be cool to incorporate that,” Leftwich said. “It started out as a comedy in a way. I wanted it to be a situational comedy where she shows up and is like, ‘I’m pregnant,’ and then hilarity ensues. Then I realized that it could go a lot deeper and it reaches dramatic levels that I could really tap into, so I decided that would be a better.” The film, which has a five-page script and took two days to film, stars senior Seth Smalley and sophomore Meg Willimont. “Seth Smalley is a dear friend of mine,”

the shield // April 25, 2014

Leftwich said. “I’ve worked with him on another project because he was in AV, and I knew had done some previous acting, so I thought, ‘He’s a buddy and he acts sort of,’ so I decided to ask him. He was kind of my only option for that. I actually held auditions for the girl, and a few people showed up, some people from Oklahoma even, which was crazy. And then, Meg Willimont, who’s in the Fine Arts program, she came to audition and she was very good. She was the best choice, so I thought, ‘She’s the one.’ So I chose her, and her and Seth had good chemistry on set.” AV teacher Kenneth Rogers entered Leftwich’s film into the SXSW selection. He said Leftwich didn’t need much help with the film. “Well, Josh is in his third year, so other than reviewing and helping them rewrite their scripts and just checking their stuff, not really,” Rogers said. “He’s in his third year, so he’s pretty much working on his own.” Even though the film is only five minutes long, it was selected as a 2014 SXSW official selection alongside 21 others. “You get a bunch of emails, which is kind of annoying because you have to read through everything and know where to go and when to go,” Leftwich said. “You do these interviews with these people and you have to say the right things to get people interested in the film. You show up to do a Q&A sometimes. In this case I had to go on stage to do a Q&A with all the other filmmakers. I just promoted the film and made it sound interesting.” This isn’t the first time an AV student has gotten recognition for a film. “Right now, Elisabetta Diorio is in the state finals of UIL for her film,” Rogers said. “We’ve had a film in Cannes before,

we’ve had two other films over the years that got into SX[SW]. We’ve had films in the Los Angeles Film Festival, and we’ve had a feature-length film that got honorable mention at the Los Angeles Movie Awards.” Because Leftwich wants to pursue a filmmaking career, getting this honor was exciting, he said. He is glad that he kept working hard on his films because it paid off. “You gotta work hard, and sometimes

‘A Wrong Note’ Director: Josh Leftwich it doesn’t work out and sometimes it does,” Leftwich said. “You just gotta keep pursuing it. If you have a dream, just keep working at it until opportunity strikes and you strike gold.”

Entertainment 21

‘A story worth telling’ Student-made film advances to finals in UIL competition MARA VANDEGRIFT staff reporter

When sophomore Elisabetta Diorio found out only one person from McCallum made it to the state finals of UIL for film-making, she assumed that her film hadn’t made the cut. “I was in the AV room and Mr. Rogers was like, ‘I got an email saying we made it to the state finals,’” Diorio said. “There were two semi-finalists; it was me and Josh Leftwich. I was like, ‘Oh, he’s gotten into SXSW. They probably chose him.’” However, she was wrong. Diorio’s film, a five-minute narrative about a little girl and her stuffed animal, made it to the finals. “My film is ‘Lucy and Grasshopper,’ and it’s about a girl who has a bad home life, but she befriends a stuffed animal and kind of escapes her home life through the stuffed animal,” Diorio said. She was inspired by her childhood memories and the love a little kid can have for anything. “I thought it was a story worth telling,” Diorio said. “I just remembered your ability to make a relationship with anything. Your imagination really takes you anywhere. I kind of wanted to touch on that aspect.” According to AV teacher Kenneth Rogers, her film’s acting and cinematography got the film to the state finals. “It’s a nice story,” Rogers said. “It’s shot really well; it’s lit really well. She auditioned and got working, professional actors in her film, which I push everyone to do. A lot of professional actors will work in their films for free. She got some really decent actors, and that helps a lot.” Diorio said the process of making a film goes by pretty quickly. “You have the idea and you write it down and it’s usually not very good the first time you write it. You go back and edit it, and you have other people read

it and you get critiques, and you change it and you edit it,” Diorio said. “Once you decide to make it, you look for actors and then you make a shot list. I like to sketch out some of my shots and just have it really planned. Really, preparation is key. I compose a schedule for the day and then shoot. Usually the day goes by in a whirl because you’re just trying to get all the shots in. We shot it in one day, so it was pretty tight.” When she read that her film was chosen, she said she didn’t have a big reaction. “It was actually really anticlimatic,” Diorio said. “When I went to go look at the form and I scrolled down and I saw my name, I was like, ‘Oh,’” Diorio said. “It was just a nice surprise. I think when I got excited was when I heard there was a premiere and I would get to see my film on the big screen. It didn’t really register the first time I heard.” Rogers said he’s very impressed with how independent Diorio is when making a film. “They’ve already learned how to shoot,” Rogers said. “I give them all the help prior to shooting the film, and when they shoot their film, I help them with editing deci-

‘Lucy and Grasshopper’ Director: Elisabetta Diorio Scenes from Diorio’s film, ‘Lucy and Grashopper.’ Photo courtesy of Elisabetta Diorio.

sions and stuff like that. I mostly help with the story development and then the technical issues.” Being in theater has helped Diorio with her directing skills, Rogers said. “[Elisebetta is] another one who’s very independent, and she’s only in her second year,” Rogers said. “She’s pretty well advanced. She’s probably one of the better directors as far as getting what she wants out of the actors, and that’s something she learned from theater.” Diorio said making it to the finals is

just another form of encouragement that she’s doing something right when making a film. “It’s nice because it gives you positive reassurance,” Diorio said. “It’s hard putting something creative out there. You get a lot of people that don’t connect to it and don’t feel with it, but whenever something like this happens, it’s always really nice and a sign to keep going.” UIL State Finals has not happened yet. Diorio and 11 other student from around the state will compete in the narrative category.

the shield // April 25, 2014

22 Entertainment

Sing a song for Excalibur Annual coffee house event raises money for literary magazine


1. Juniors Daniel Chilton and Austen Ramsey emcee the Excalibur Coffee House on March 28.


2. Senior Connor Barr and junior Ben Dickerson sing “Speak for Yourself.” The pair’s stage name is The Decent Ones. 3. Senior Katie White performs her song, “Soul Seeker.” 4. Juniors Lucas Aldrige, Tabitha Copeland and John Garcia perform as Soul Repair. Photos by Kendra Murphy.

3 the shield // April 25, 2014


Entertainment 23

New Captain America movie or... ...set up for the Age of Ultron?

HANNAH RUDY guest colomnist


pril 4, 2014 was marked in my calendar for a very, very long time. Not because it was a Friday, which meant a great weekend, but because “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” opened in theaters. Any Marvel fan out there will tell you

that you have to go see the latest movie because it’s incredible, but all the die hard fans will tell you what scenes to look out for because it’s going to set up this, and this, and this in Marvel’s next box office hit. With even more action than “Captain America: the First Avenger,” “The Winter Soldier” offers moviegoers a chance to see Steve Rodgers adjusting to live in the 21st

century after the attack on New York. Assisted by the infamous Black Widow, Captain America begins to uncover S.H.E.I.L.D’s dark secrets all while facing the mysterious Winter Soldier. I can’t say any more without giving huge spoilers, but for any Marvel, Avenger or Captain America fan out there, this movie won’t disappoint. We find ourselves reacquainted with Agent Hill and Nick Furry and introduced to Falcon, a comedic sidekick character who also happens to save Rodgers behind a few times. If the little superhero-comic-book-obsessed kid inside you isn’t already screaming, this movie provides plenty of unexpected twists, mentions of the battle of New York, even a look at Rodgers’ past love interest. Even if you aren’t a huge Marvel fan who is keeping up with each of the characters’ stories leading up to the “Age of Ultron,” the movie provides enough action, humor and thrill to keep the audience intrigued. My only complaint? Another movie just to lead up to the newest Avengers movie. Poor Steve is never going to get his own movie without having to lead up to Marvel’s next movie investment. It appears as though only Iron Man and the Hulk have

Photos courtesy of movie websites. had their own separate movie without a mention of the Avengers. Don’t get me wrong. I love the Avengers, but it’d be nice to branch away from the “Marvel curse,” as I refer to it, which are the Superhero movies made only to lead up to a future superhero movie. Unfortunately for Captain America, that is unlikely to happen. With his first movie mainly being the predecessor to “The Avengers,” I find it very unlikely that we’re going to see any of the other Avengers members on their own without a tie into the upcoming and muchanticipated “Age of Ultron.” So whether you’re a huge Marvel nerd or just really like seeing new movies, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is a must-see. Full of intense fight scenes and clever jokes, it makes the whole 2:15 minute movie definitely worth it. And make sure to stay through the ENTIRE credits.

April 25, 2014 // the shield

24 Opinion

Piece of Cupcake

CAITLIN FALK assistant editor

Staffer reviews treats in Austin area to find the sweetest ones.

Hey Cupcake The now five very successful locations of Hey Cupcake throughout Austin are an unwavering testament to the popularity the shop has garnered ever since they opened their first eccentric trailer on South Congress. The trailer motif for the layout of all their locations as well as their decadent cupcakes has made the bakery an Austin icon, drawing celebrities and citizens of the city alike to their shop window front. Their Burnet location, which is less than a two-minute drive from McCallum, is the perfect place for grabbing yourself a treat or picking up a cupcake to go for a friend on any special occasion. They have eight stock flavors, and they never venture far from the tried and true. As for recommendations, the attendant said, “It is an eight-way tie for first.” I settled on sampling three flavors: the Vanilla Dream, the Red Velvet and the Michael Jackson, which is a chocolate cake with a cream cheese icing. Hey Cupcake has absolutely mastered the concoction of cream cheese icing. It is the perfect blend of sweet and savory. And if you have a real sweet tooth, the butter cream icing is perfect for you, but it was a little too heavyhanded for my liking. These cupcakes are hefty, so plan on eating just one.

Vanilla Dream Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream and Vanilla cake at Hey Cupcake on Burnet Road. Photo by Caitlin Falk.

Polkadots Cupcake Factory Polkadots Cupcake Factory is a hidden treasure in West Campus. The pastel pink walls and red furnishings of this converted late-Victorian house as well as the surprisingly spacious outdoor veranda make for an adorable hangout spot on a breezy afternoon. Don’t let the small interior fool you, though. The inside is teeming with sweets. The cupcake menu alone hosts five daily flavors as well as seven rotating daily specials. I went in on a Wednesday, which meant I had the privilege of trying their Mixed Berries Chardonnay cupcake, which was heaven in a cupcake liner. The cakes are light and fluffy, and the icing is not at all too sweet. Every cupcake had the perfect icing to cake ratio. And on top of all of this, Polkadots Cupcake Factory has invented a groundbreaking cupcake technology in which the icing streams from the top down into the core of the cupcake, making sampling their cupcakes a delectable experience. This cupcake technology is no surprise coming from the husband-and-wife proprietors. She has an engineering degree, and he worked at Dell before they ventured into the cupcake business. And what a gift it is for us that they decided to make the switch. Mixed Berries Chardonnay Cupcake at Polkadots Cupcake Factory on Rio Grande. Photo by Caitlin Falk.

Wild Wood Bakehouse If you have food allergies or restrictions, Wild Wood Bakehouse on Guadalupe is the place for you. They are Austin’s very own entirely gluten-free restaurant with a complimentary earthy atmosphere. Though I would have loved to get a taste of every item on their menu, I was there for the cupcakes. I sampled a pumpkin cream cheese cupcake as well as a carrot dairy-free cupcake. Both gluten-free cakes resembled muffins in texture and taste but still maintained a cupcake quality and were not overbearingly sweet. The cream cheese icing was a little too much like unrendered cream cheese and the dairy free icing was unflavorful, but the cake I would go back for.

the shield // APRIL 25, 2014

The sign outside of Wild Wood Bakehouse. Photo by Caitlin Falk.

Opinion 25

He is just our messenger

Social media correspondent necesarry for good student-district communication knows how to interact with both parents and staff reporter students. When AISD began issuing districtMost school diswide school cancellations due to icy roads tricts across the counin Austin’s wild winter, the district’s com- try have an employee munications director, Alex Sanchez, was with a job similar launched into a superstardom of sorts. to Sanchez, but I Better known by his twitter handle @ doubt any will reach AISD_Alex, Sanchez was asked to report the popularity and the news of the cancellations on his official fame among district Twitter account. After the cancellation students that he has announcements beginning in November, achieved. he saw his “follower” count exponentially Sanchez said in grow to upwards of 3,000. AISD, the current As part of Sanchez’s job as AISD Di- reality is that students rector of Communications and Communi- don’t have a voice in district-wide decisionty Engagement, he relays information and making, which I think would be the case in most school districts in the country. Implementing someone like Sanchez in school districts would drastically increase Sanchez is a person who student inclusion in district knows how to speak the stu- policy decision-making. Sanchez not only acts as the dents’ language and is actu- eyes in the sky through social ally able to get teenagers ex- media but also as the boots on the ground. He frequently visits cited and involved about the middle and high school campuses to meet with journalism happenings within AISD. classes and student councils to discuss issues that concern the district news to students in his own unique students. He then relays this information way. He uses hashtags popular with teen- back to the district to help create soluagers such as “#trill” and “#3hunna.” On tions that everyone agrees with. Sanchez Twitter, he is able to engage in full conver- empowers the students of the district to sations with students about the topics he be involved in decision-making. In emis reporting. ploying someone like Sanchez, school AISD_Alex has become a household districts would get a spokesperson to inname to students of AISD, whether form students and parents, someone who through social media or simply word of would engage and excite the community, mouth. Sanchez is a person who knows and someone to represent the voice of the how to speak the students’ language, and students. is actually able to get teenagers excited For example, Sanchez and AISD and involved about the happenings within superintendent Meria Carstarphen curAISD. Someone like Sanchez should be rently have a meeting planned with a stuimplemented at every school district in the dent advisory committee where they will country. Someone who is tech-savvy and discuss a list of issues that he has com-


piled from talking to students at schools. Among other topics, they will discuss the current state of student empowerment in the district and what the role of the student should be in relation to district level decision-making. Other topics to be discussed include student influence on school lunch menu options and the concept of being able to provide students with breakfast in the classroom for those who need it. Sanchez humbly brands himself as the spokesperson and voice of the district, but he is more than that. He is social-media savvy; he is able to get students informed, excited and involved in AISD decision making; he is the empowering voice of the students. I think someone like Sanchez should be in every school district because people like Sanchez create positive impacts on schools, students and communities.

April 25, 2014 // the shield

26 Opinion

AISD should hop on the digital bandwagon Using high-tech resources are nothing new to high school students. Access to them, on the other hand, varies tremendously from student to student. In the past month, multiple companies have announced their solutions in the form of alldigital curriculums. The recent announcements concering all-digital curriculums and increased technology in classrooms is the way of the future, and students in Austin should have access to updated resoures found in tablets and online classroom capabilites. AISD should join the school districts around the country, and in central Texas, moving toward all-digital curriculums and begin to implement new high-tech learning programs. Recent pushes to incorporate technology in the classroom have come not only from private sector companies looking to profit, but also from the Obama administration, which announced $400 million in

pledges from companies Adobe and Prezi to increase technology in schools, as well as plans to install high-speed Internet connections in 15,000 schools. These are steps in the right direction. While students are growing and learning, so is the constantly moving world of technology. High school students should be working with the most recent and relevant resources. Teaching students to work with outdated equipment or information sometimes found in older textbooks does not prepare them for their futures in higher education or in the work force. Although AISD has made attempts at increasing technology, they haven’t been big enough to see much of a differnce. The district should launch a pilot program in a local area high school to gather information on how students work with updated technology, as well as how classroom dynamics are maintained in this setting. Not only would this help AISD, it would also

Should AISD increase technology in the classroom?

12 0 1 yes

help ease teachers into the newer ways of teaching and interacting with classes, allowing them to full immerse themselves in the web-based curriculum.

online editor SEREN VILLWOCK

public relations editor NATALIE MURPHY

photo editor MARY STITES

advertising manager HALEY HEGEFELD


the shield //april 25, 2014

no opinion

Students should have access to up-todate information and technology that prepares them for the future in the one place meant to do just that: school.

editor-in-chief GRACE FRYE

assistant editor CAITLIN FALK

The Shield is published by journalism students in the Newspaper production class. Although students work under the guidance of a professional faculty member, the student staff ultimitely determines the content. Students may not publish material that is obscene, libelous, or that which will


A.N. McCallum High School 5600 Sunshine Dr. Austin, TX 78756 (512) 414-7539 fax (512) 453-2599


shield staff

staff vote

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.


Letters to the editor are encouraged and must be signed. Positive identification may be required when a letter is submitted. Letters may be edited. Letters that are critical of the newspaper staff’s coverage of events or that present information that may stimulate heated debate will be published. Letters that contain malicious attacks on individual reporters, the adviser, or the prin-

cipal will be rejected. Anyone interested in purchasing an ad should contact Rhonda Moore at (512) 4147539. The Shield is a member of the Interscholastic League Press Conference, National Scholastic Press Association and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

online 27

what’s new on

Issue 6 online staff: Seren Villwock

Natalie Murphy

Kendra Murphy

guest yearbook writers: Hannah Rudy, Christina Beck




Recent headlines: Like: macshieldonline

Students entertain at Excalibur Coffeehouse (1) Student academic teams succeed at district UIL competition (2) Photo gallery: Dancing through space and time (3) Junior’s photography recognized with prestigious Gold Seal award New Excalibur staff draws up 2014 issue




Follow: @theshieldonline on Twitter

28 Photo Essay

Mac hardball 2




5 Varsity baseball secures district title with a 10-0 shutout against LBJ Jaguars

1. Senior Jordan Gray swings at the ball to advance to first base. “We’ve done a pretty good job of becoming a team this year. We are working on it, but we will get there before playoffs,” Gray said. “We only have four returners this year, so it’s a very new team.” 2. Sophomore Luke Richter runs to first base just before LBJ’s first baseman catches the ball. 3. Sophomore Jonah Smith dives to catch a ball struck by an LBJ hitter. the shield // April 25, 2014

4. Sophomore Jesse Levy-Rubinett high-fives Smith after batting. “Beating LBJ felt great because it is the game we look forward to every year,” Smith said. “They are usually in the top three in district, so it felt good to beat them. The win prepares us for later on in the season because we needed to turn up our energy for playoffs.” 5. Senior Carlos Muñoz pitches the ball during the fifth inning of the game. Photos by Mary Stites.

The Shield  

Volume 61 Issue 6

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you