ODYSSEY Summer Creek High School
14000 Weckford Blvd., Houston, TX 77044 Issue 07, Vol. 4 s April 2013
Heat rises as theater advances to Area in UIL with play Grapes of Wrath.
THE ODYSSEY APRIL 2013
Pollard named Humble ISD Secondary Teacher of the Year World History teacher Samuel Pollard won an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii as the district’s Secondary Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made April 5. He was originally voted campus Teacher of the Year by his co-workers. He then became a district finalist and participated in a number of interviews prior to last week’s announcement. Senior heads to New York City for award ceremony Alex Pelham, ’13, won a silver medal for an essay he entered into the national Scholastic Art and Writing competition. He will go to Carnegie Hall in New York City for the national ceremony honoring all the medalists on Friday, May 31. Pelham found out about the competition in October while searching through a scholarship book. “It was originally a project for English,” Pelham said. “We had to write about popular culture, and I thought South Park was an interesting show which made for a good topic.” He found out about his success in the competition when the results were released March 15 on the scholastic website. “I was shocked and happy [when I found out about the silver medal] because it was a great opportunity,” Pelham said. - Asada Samin Senior activities approaching Seniors are counting down the days until graduation on May 25, but with two months left, they have a few more events to look forward to before the big day. Some of the other activities include: Senior Field Day May 20, prom May 4, Senior Showcase on April 13, Awards Night on May 6, powder puff on May 9 and Project Graduation on May 25. In order to put on these exciting events, the class has to raise money and collect donations including the Senior Showcase, which takes place on April 13 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Summer Creek. “The Showcase is a wonderful tradition to raise funds and celebrate the wonderfully talented graduating class of 2013,” Student Leadership teacher and Student Council sponsor Julie Sahmel said. “Members of the Summer Creek orchestra, choir, and Starlettes will perform along with other talented people.” - Katherine Holmes Job 40153 Year 2013 Page 942 (426753390) 01/11/2013 12:45 PM
Yearbook staff awaits arrival of book The yearbook will arrive in mid-May and be distributed during all lunch shifts. Final orders are being accepted in Room 1856. MICHELLE GARCIA STAFF REPORTER
High school can easily pass by with a blink of an eye, and students may just as easily forget the little things that occurred. However, thanks to a group of hardworking, dedicated staff members, all students and faculty can own a seemingly small book with a huge impact that will insure those little things - as well as the big ones - are remembered forever. The yearbook staff has officially finished the yearbook with the theme of “First & IVMost,” and these books can be reserved now before they sell out during distribution week. The “First” part of the theme mainly goes with the seniors who are the first “pure bred” class to 2013 YEARBOOK graduate. “Pure bred” signifies Price: $65 (Cash or the seniors right check accepted in now who have room 1856) made it through all four years since Delivery: mid-May the school was opened. The “IVMost” highlights the school as a whole and all of the accomplishments of various students and programs. “All I can say is that the final product that students receive may look like it’s not that hard to produce,” editor Krysten Barnes, ‘13, said. “The amount of work that is put into it is ridiculous and super complicated.
Photo by Shaianne Rubin
With yearbook proofs in her hand, Rikki Hurt, ‘13, makes corrections to pages before they are sent to the yearbook company for printing. Staffers will pass out yearbooks to everyone who pre-orders in mid-May. If additional books remain, they will go on sale on a first-come, first-serve basis.
It is a huge relief when it is done.” It’s also a huge feeling of pride. Everything for the book is decided by the staff members who even have the option of picking the theme on their own. They come together at the end of the school year every April or May to decide on the next year’s theme. “We all gather our thoughts together as a class and see what’s most usable,” photo editor Paris Dowd, ‘13, said. Although the yearbook staff has done a great job this year with meeting their final deadline, times of seriousness will occur. “You have to be mean and put your foot down with the staff,” said senior Rikki Hurt, who - along with Barnes and Dowd - has been on the staff all four years. “People don’t understand that the yearbook is really important to people.” Students on the staff have a template to work with when producing pages. They fill the template with stories and photos before submitting them to the yearbook company. Within a week, glossy copies of the pages arrive in the mail to be proofread and corCopyright © Jostens Inc, 2013
rected. “It is a lot of work,” journalism adviser Megan Ortiz said. “It is a massive task for any student to try and create a book that covers an entire school year. But they have done a fantastic job this year.” According to Barnes, every year gets better and better as to the process of making the yearbook; and the staff has especially improved in the aspect of time management. “You can’t just do work in class,” Hurt said. “You have to go home and do work. You also work on the yearbook in other classes by listening to ‘good things.’ You are working on the yearbook at all times.” According to Ortiz, next year’s staff consists mostly of underclassmen. The staff will bring a lot of fresh, fun ideas to put in the book. “Anybody who is interested in being part of the staff is welcomed to join (Journalism or Photojournalism),” Ortiz said. “It will be a lot of fun to be a part of.”
Relay For Life helps locals battling cancer
With the help of teams and organizations throughout the school, Relay For Life is looking to be a success. LISSETH LOPEZ PHOTO EDITOR
The school will host the Humble/Kingwood Relay for Life for the second year on the school track. The event will start at 7 p.m. on the May 3 and run until 7 a.m. May 4. All proceeds from the night will stay in the local area to help aid people with cancer. Funds will go to the American Cancer Society to help survivors and those fighting it. Last year about $75,000 was raised. The goal for this year is $100,000. In addition, money raised for the cause through teams or organizations who sell
Athletic trainer Sara Hansen will be selling ”Bulldogs for the Cure” shirts in support of the 2013 Relay for Life. The cost is $10 and shirts will be sold until April 19. All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. Please see Hansen if you are interested.
candy, t-shirts or other ways will contribute to the goal. “Carnival” is the theme with games, face painting and food to pass the time. Special laps dedicated to survivors, caregivers and others will also place throughout the night.
Along the track, paper bags will glow for the Luminaria lap in honor of the memory of loved ones who lost the battle to cancer. These bags cost $10. English teacher Natalie Johnson in room 1709 and athletics trainer Sara Hansen will sell them. Hansen, a committee member of the event, likes seeing the community and students getting heavily involved. Many groups will fundraise, volunteer or perform at the relay: Key Club, Student Council, National Honor Society, ROTC, Starlettes, the freshman class, and choir to name a few. Despite prom being the next day, Hansen says she hopes seniors can make it at least to the first part of the night. “It’s really special to know kids here are so anxious to be a part of something greater than themselves,” Hansen said.
Theater showcases talent, advances The theater department advanced past the first two rounds of UIL competition and now prepares for Area. MADISON RICE AND MADISON TERRIER CO-EDITORS-IN-CHIEFS
With arguably its strongest UIL performance to date, theater advanced to Area competition with its play, “Grapes of Wrath.” They will compete against the reigning state champion Barbers Hill as well as Nederland, LCM, Tomball Memorial and Ridge Point at Atascocita at 5:40 p.m. on April 13. “My goal, of course, is to advance to Regional round of competition but also giving a really heart-filled and respectful performance where we can capture the lives of our audience,” Dominic Rosas, ’13, who plays Tom Joad, said. The One Act Play UIL competition is the only of its kind in the world, with other states working towards a model like that of Texas. “Texas takes its theater seriously, just like its football,” theater teacher Hollie Marine said. This year, the company decided to incorporate more of the actors’ talents with numerous students singing and playing instruments. Rolly Reyna, ’14, and Chris Carr, ’14, play the cello in multiple scenes. Carr and Erik Zavala, ’13, play the guitar while Gabbi Scarcliff, ’15, Tatyana Ramirez, ’14, and Spencer Jones, ’14, sing throughout the show. “I think we have the hardest working group of kids we have ever had,” Marine said. “Our show is incredibly complex and they’ve been working hard since January, never letting up, sometimes doing things they don’t want to do like singing and dancing.” The company is always adding new aspects and features to the show as they prepare for the next round of competition at Area, including new ideas, group
Photos by Lisseth Lopez
Bria Washington , ‘13, speaks to Chris Carr, ‘14, Tatyana Ramirez, ‘14, Dominic Rosas, ‘13 and Erik Zavala, ‘13, about the horrors the characters will face on their journey to California, the destination of the Joad family after being pushed out of their land and forced to leave their home during the Dust Bowl era. Washington’s character has gone insane due to the situation.
Dominic Rosas, ‘13, Megan Acosta, ‘13, Kyle Mendoza, ‘15, Eric Zavala, ‘13, and Spencer Jones, ‘14, incorporate music and dancing into the “Grapes of Wrath” production for the UIL One Act Play competition.
collaboration and character development. “Mrs. Marine has told us many times that the great thing about this show is that there is always something to add,” Alexandria Garrett, ‘13, said. “Whether
it is a new tech aspect or more character work, this show is going to keep us busy for as long as we are able to compete.” With many of the actors graduating this year, the group is motivated to advance and cherish the time left together.
Rolly Reyna, ‘14, speaks to Alex Garrett, ‘13, about the road that lies before the Joad family, as Peyton Donnell, ‘14, sleeps on Garrett in the front seat of the family’s car. Erik Zavala, ‘13, and Kyle Adams, ‘14, stand in the back of the car and watch as the road goes by. The theater department has advanced from Zone and Districts and will compete again April 13 at Atascocita High School.
“I want to continue to grow my character by never stopping research and developing a greater understanding of my performance,” Rosas said. “Also to just enjoy the time I have left with my company.”
Journalism team finishes in first place at District meet Five academic UIL participants prepare for the next round of UIL competiton, including three journalism students.
MICHELLE GARCIA STAFF REPORTER
Photo by Lisseth Lopez
Madison Terrier, ‘14, Alex Pelham, ‘13, Mackenzie Harper, ‘16, Jazmyn Griffin, ‘14, and Madison Rice, ‘13, all competed in the UIL district competition held on March 23.
The journalism department took first place as a team in the District UIL competition and three of the team members advanced to the Regional competition April 20. Among the other areas in the school competing at UIL, Chris Carr, ‘13, advanced to Regionals with a third place finish in Informative Speaking. Daniel Glasscock, ‘14,
advanced with a third place finish in Math. Five newspaper staff members attended the competition, including Mackenzie Harper, ‘16, Alex Pelham, ‘13, Madison Rice, ‘13, Madison Terrier, ‘14, and Jazmyn Griffin, ‘14. The three advancing to Regionals include Rice (second in News Writing and third in Editorial Writing), Terrier (third in News and Feature Writing), and Griffin (second in Features). Pelham finished sixth in Editorial Writing. “(Competition officials) give you all the information you need to write a story,” Terrier said. “You have to know what a
news lead is and what a feature lead is.” This was the first time in two years that journalism students had participated in UIL. “I was very excited because they have worked hard all year but weren’t practicing for UIL,” journalism adviser Megan Ortiz said. “They were reporting for the newspaper and that hard work showed when they were rewarded at UIL. “I was excited because they took the initiative at school and I did not have to push them, they are always looking for ways to get better.” Regionals will be held at Sam Houston State University.
THE ODYSSEY APRIL 2013
First-generation Americans experience best of both worlds Three students blend life with the cultures their parents left behind after immigrating to America in their early years. KRISLYN DOMINGUE STAFF REPORTER
From the bustling streets of industrial Mexican border states to the clay-cladden roads of rural Nigeria and the agricultural routes of Hue, Vietnam, diversity collides daily atop the faux-marble tiles of Main Street. When first generation Americans Derek Zavala, ‘15, Patience Ojionuka, ‘16, and Jeff Le, ‘13, find themselves engulfed within Main Street traffic, their presence symbolizes the triumphant proof of the miles their parents overcame. **** The Zavala highway of life began in two separate states within Mexico’s borders - San Luis Potosi and Matamoros. The grandparents of Derek and Erik (‘13) Zavala initiated their families’ journeys to America and the students’ parents met through a mutual friend. “My parents were in their teens - my dad was 18 at the oldest and my mom was about 13 or 14,” Derek said. “They came with their parents because of job opportunities, and education was just a bonus.” Several decades later, Derek said he realizes the impact their migration to America has had on him. “For starters, I probably wouldn’t be in such a fancy school and there would be a lot of walking to stores and stuff because there’s not as many cars,” Derek said. “I wouldn’t have as many luxuries. And I would be surrounded by a lot of family . . . in a little bit of area.” Family. This staple of Hispanic culture prevails in Derek’s own life. “We cook a lot of meat, we like to party and we like to all get together and be with each other and hang out. Family’s a big deal,” Derek said. “There’s 12 of us [cousins] on my mom’s side. One of my uncles passed away, but he had a kid before he left. We grew up together - me, my cousin and, of course, my brother. We’ve always been together . . . he’s like our third wheel.” Derek’s passion for his family compares to his love for perhaps his favorite aspect of Mexican culture - the food. “The food is bomb, definitely,” he said. “I love the way that my grandma cooks; it’s amazing. I like simple tacos. . . they’re delicious. My grandma makes the tortillas by hand and then she cooks all the food so it’s really good. She made me fat when I was a kid, me and my brother.” Derek has visited Mexico several times on trips with his immediate family and always returns thankful for the life that he leads in his own birthplace - Texas. ****
Photo by Lisseth Lopez
Jeff Le, ‘13, Derek Zavala, ‘15, and Patience Ojionuka, ‘16, are all first generation Americans. Each of their families immigrated from another country to America before they were born. Le’s family migrated from Vietnam, while the Zavalas immigrated from Mexico and the Ojionukas from Nigeria. is actually what it looks like. The word On the other hand, Ojionuka lives a few hundred miles from her birthplace in for old actually kind of looks like an old Hollywood, Florida. Her life began via an person bending down, sort of like hieroglyphics. It made me want to learn.” alternate route when her married parents From both of her parents, Ojionuka has migrated together from Nigeria in their learned and embraced aspects of Nige20s because of educational opportunities and a job offer for her father who is rian culture such as respect and a deep a bishop. appreciation for food. However, in recent “My father is from Enugu and my mothyears, her parents have become considerer is from Imo State in Nigeria,” Ojionuka ably “Americanized.” said. “They had my sister around the time “When I was younger, they were still a that they moved here.” lot more uninfluenced by American culOjionuka, the youngest of four, last visture,” said Ojionuka. “We still eat some ited Nigeria in the summer of 2005 when Nigerian food but stopped eating some her family spent the summer in both Niof it because we were like, ‘Wow, this is geria and Italy. really unhealthy.’” “When we were in During Ojionuka’s “Even though I was born childhood, she often Nigeria, I visited some of my family. My grandhere, I still have my own ate Egusi soup and father on my mom’s fufu: a traditional culture that I grew up side, he is so tall. He Nigerian dish made with. But at the same has to bend down to by boiling starchy time, it’s mixed with get through the door,” vegetables in waOjionuka said with a ter, pounding them American aspects. I’m chuckle. into a dough-like like in the middle, and I Relations with the othexistence and then wouldn’t change it - it’s er members of her fampairing them with a the best of both worlds.” stew. But, nowadays, ily who reside in Nigeria -Jeff Le, ‘13 are limited because of many more Ameridistance, but Ojionuka can dishes adorn the keeps in contact with dinner table. her uncle Emmanuel - a college student However, Nigeria is never really that far who her parents fund - and her grandaway as the Ojionukas connect to their mother on her father’s side, who spent a homeland via parties with friends whose little less than two years in the States. customs are similar to their own. “She spent a while here and it was fun,” “My sister told me that Houston is acOjionuka said. “My grandmother was tually a really big place that Nigerians like ‘I’m going to teach you guys Ibo,’ come to,” said Ojionuka. “There’s a lot of which is like the language. And we never people that we know here from Nigeria learned but my sister has started to be and they come to visit sometimes.” ‘immersed in her culture’ and she started **** telling me about how Ibo is actually a reFor Le and his family, the return trip ally cool language. The way it’s written back to Vietnam appears in the form of
rice staples, celebrations of Tet (Vietnamese New Year) around January and February and unique weddings filled with Ao Dai clothing for both the bride and groom on the morning of the wedding. Le’s parents arrived in America via two different pathways, both beginning in Hue, Vietnam. “My mom came here first and then my dad came here a couple years later,” Le said. “But my dad went ahead and went for his education first. My mom just had to finish high school. First, she moved to the Philippines to get her citizenship and then she moved here to America.” Jeff Le’s mother arrived in America with her sister - mother of Derek Le, ‘13 - and her own mother around 1990. The time of arrival perhaps contributed to Le’s mother’s quick adaptation to the American way of life. “Whenever my mom moved here, she had to learn the culture really quick,” said Le. “My mom knew that this was the place she wanted to be. Vietnam was changing because around this time the Vietnam War was ending and civilization was changing so my mom was looking for a new start. She wanted to live the ‘American Dream’ and knew there would be changes in culture.” Unlike his mother, Le initially struggled with channeling his ethnicity and nationality simultaneously. Le failed to successfully juggle and embrace both worlds until his middle school years. “I view myself as a Vietnamese-American,” said Le. “Even though I was born here, I still have my own culture that I grew up with. But at the same time, it’s mixed with American aspects. I’m like in the middle, and I wouldn’t change it - it’s the best of both worlds.”
THE ODYSSEY APRIL 2013
Students take more interest in U.S. politics Faculty and students voice their opinions on the nation’s current administration and major issues surrounding the U.S. government. GERSON VILCHIS STAFF REPORTER
Photo courtesy of David Fernandez/EFE/Zuma Press/MCT
Thousands of followers of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez queue to enter his funeral chapel at the Military Academy in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, March 8. Chavez died on March 5, after a long battle with cancer. Many local students followed the news closely because of relatives still living in Venezuela that were impacted by Chavez’s death.
All eyes on Venezuela as changes near
With the recent death of the Venezuelan president, students recognize the shift in politics affecting both the US and Venezuela. KEATON MCMANAMY STAFF REPORTER
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez died of cancer March 5 after leading Venezuela for 13 years. He made widespread change to Venezuela after taking office in 1998 and focused his government around his own pseudo-socialism called Bolivarianism. Chavez has had a widespread impact on the population of Venezuela and even students at Summer Creek who have family still in Venezuela. “I’m not necessarily happy he’s dead, but I’m happy he’s gone,” Ana Dao, ‘13, said. Chavez was not a fan of the U.S. and made it difficult for many citizens to come to the U.S. “[Chavez] separated us and made it difficult for us to stay in touch,” Michael Valenzuela, ‘15, said. “It was hard to go back and it’s difficult to move to the U.S.” With all the difficulties in traveling, most families have to rely on phone and internet communication and they do their best to stay in touch. “We have family in Venezuela, and we’re talking to them and watching out on the news,” Saul Pena, ‘14, said. Some people have trepidations about the movement of the government with regards to the next election. “It all depends on the next president; and if it doesn’t work, then it all goes downhill,” Dao said.
Photo courtesy of Presidency Of Venezuela/Xinhua/Zuma Press/MCT
Vice President Nicolas Maduro, from left, Nicaragua’s first lady Rosario Murillo and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega pay honors for Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez at Military Academy, in Tiuna Fort, of Caracas City, Venezuela, Friday, March 8. Hugo Chavez’s body will be preserved and forever displayed inside a glass tomb at a military museum, Nicolas Maduro said.
There are still high hopes that the government moves in a positive direction. “I hope this is the beginning of something good and that they will change the economy to better itself [Venezuela] and my family will be able to prosper,” Valenzuela said. The current situation in Venezuela is quite awful for those still there. “There is a food scarcity,” Dao said. “The neighborhoods aren’t safe and my family has little kids and you can’t go out at night. My family doesn’t have water and electricity for three days sometimes.” Corruption is widespread in Venezuela, and the hope is that with a new president
this may change. “Hopefully there is a new head of government that tries to help Venezuela and not keep it corrupt,” Pena said, “someone who takes it [Venezuela] back to the good times.” Visiting has also been difficult for many students and with Chavez gone the tensions might ease. “It will be a whole lot easier to visit,” Valenzuela said. With all the change that will occur Pena, Dao and Valenzuela all agreed that in the best-case scenario Venezuela would change. “I hope for the best,” Pena said.
Everyone is impacted by politics. Though some don’t take interest, it dictates all aspects of society. With such a large and diverse school, ideologies and beliefs range accordingly. “I pay a good amount of attention to politics,” Chris Carr, ‘14, said. “It’s interesting seeing how different people interact and compromise as well as the strategies they use to promote it.” Most students don’t pay attention to politics and aren’t very proactive in knowing the nation’s events. When laws are passed they concern every citizen, whether just or unjust. Many people disagree with some legislation and this has transformed into heated topics in today’s world. The recent school shootings and school violence has led many politicians to support stricter gun control. Many people were outraged and against the government regulating firearms, while some are in favor because of the widespread violence. “I largely disagree with gun control because it’s another step in removing the right to bear arms,” Kody Walter, ‘14, said. With billions of dollars sent overseas to other countries, every year the country hands out more and more money all the while government spending continues to increase. Even though the recent recession has halted many aspects of the economy, it hasn’t stopped the massive spending from the government. “We need to prioritize domestic problems over foreign ones. For example foreign aid to Pakistan [which has become] the Benedict Arnold to foreign affairs,” Carr, ‘14, said. Many Americans have become annoyed at the lack of progress in Washington. With the Senate being controlled by Democrats and the House by Republicans, few agreements have taken place since the president’s inauguration. “Our current president I’d rate low to midrange, for two reasons,” math teacher Shawn Havranek said. “First, he’s been paralyzed by partisan politics, and second he has failed to strongly push forward his policies.” In the President’s second term, Havranek said teenagers should pay attention. “Students should take more interest in politics, they’re the ones who will eventually become our leaders,” Havranek said.
THE ODYSSEY APRIL 2013
Yu adapts to changes as family business expands
MADISON RICE CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Peanut butter chunks, chocolate chips, strawberries, sprinkles, and other fruit and candy toppings get scooped into their individual compartments inside the chrome buffet. The humming rhythm fills the silent room, as the just made yogurt flavors for the day are placed into their corresponding machines. An hour before Tutti Frutti’s opening at 11:30 a.m., Ling Yu, ‘14, begins to prepare for a day of cleaning tables and welcoming customers at his family’s coowned business. This is a typical routine for Ling, who worked at his family’s restaurant, Kung Food Cafe, since moving to Texas five years ago. “I started at the Kung Food Cafe near the airport the day after my arrival in Texas,” Yu said. “I just helped bring out the dishes in the restaurant since I couldn’t speak English very well. I remember there was a customer that asked me for a pair of chopsticks, and I just stood there not knowing what he was talking about. It was awkward.” Yu’s family originally opened the Cafe near Bush Intercontinental Airport, where he worked waiting tables, serving the customers and opening the store for around four years. After the success of the business, the family decided to open another Kung Food
Photo by Lisseth Lopez
Ling Yu,’14, wipes down the toppings counter at Tutti Frutti to keep the area clean. During hours, employees must sweep and clean every 15 minutes. Yu’s family co-owns the new establishment.
Cafe in Summerwood last year. With parents for bosses, Yu had to learn early on how to respect the boundaries of family and the business. “Treat it like any other job,” Yu’s mother Mengjuan Huang said. “Just because your parents own it, doesn’t give you the right to slack off. Regardless, it is always important to treat any job with respect.”
Arriving early in the morning to clean the restaurant and staying late at night to close the restaurant down, the sacrifice Yu would have to make became apparent. Yu began sacrificing holidays and the majority of his weekends, as well as learning how to make adjustments to his work schedule to combat school and extracurriculars. “The worst thing is the work itself,” Yu said.
“The pace gets really fast there because the busy hours are just like rush hour in traffic, so sometimes you will get extremely tired.” Yu’s parents soon decided to open Tutti Frutti yogurt with another family, Angela Cao and Mathew Kho. On opening day March 9, Yu welcomed the new experience in a familiar family setting. This time however, without his family there every step of the way. “As a father, I am proud to see my son develop such a good work ethic,” Ling’s father Weiqun Yu said. “It is not something a lot of youth learn these days, and I know it will take him far in life.” Communicating with the customers about the flavors and toppings, mixing and creating the yogurt in the store and getting to advertise in the parking lot, the atmosphere became different than that of the restaurant for Yu. But the unique experience of working in a family owned business remained special to Yu. “It lays out a beautiful road for you in the future when you start working at other places,” Yu said. “You get to see how your family works together and you also get to work with them. It’s not easy, but working with your family is a special experience, and you also learn a lot of things that can prepare you to be more independent.”
THE ODYSSEY APRIL 2013
Dreams of dancing come true with determination JENNA DUVALL SECTION EDITOR
The memory of senior Katherine Haney’s first dance recital can be replayed over in her mind exactly the way it happened. Faces watched her dance across the stage: step, step, turn. They stared when she looked out across the audience, a shock to the 4-year-old. In return, Kate paused, anxious with nerves, and pointed at the first row of staring people. Her involvement would begin her dancing career: two years at the age of four, two years in middle school, and the most recent, a commitment to the Starlettes Dance team.
In a middle school dance class, Kate practiced her plies, keeping them tight and her toes pointed. The landing startled her; feet stiff and stuck to the floor of the dance room as Kate continued to crash forward. She miscalculated the jump she had done so many times, and her left ankle folded beneath her forward moving body. “When I fell, it was as if the bottom of my foot was glued to the floor, but my body kept moving, so I folded over my ankle like a cheap lawn chair,” Haney said. Immediate swelling embraced her bruising ankle, however, she pushed the pain aside as a normal occurrence in the company of dancers. After all, aches and bruises normally accompanied the dancer after years of involvement. Initially, Haney “walked off ” the fall, blaming the pain on landing wrong. After weeks of discoloring and nagging pain, Haney and mother Denise Haney visited an orthopedic specialist who diagnosed her with bad news. Kate had a badly sprained ankle and five torn ligaments. She wouldn’t dance again, but determination to prove her doctor wrong filled her spirit. “I argued, bartered, and pleaded for the opportunity to dance again, but it was decided for me that I was done,” Haney said. “I’m not the type of person to take ‘no’ for an answer. I wanted to prove that doctor wrong; I wanted to dance again.” Her injury resulted in three months of crutches and a splint nicknamed “El Diablo” as well as being unable to participate in PE classes. In order to cope with her inability to dance, Haney turned to theater where she found company in friends and support from her family. This support would be needed in January 2012 when Kate would receive more bad news about her injury. Two bones in Kate’s ankle were growing together that should not be, an injury that would make her dreams of dancing again a further achievement. “Emotionally, financially and physically, we supported her,” mother Denise Haney said. “We consulted many doctors and performed hours of research to try to determine her exact condition. Most physicians did not take her seriously. This was hard for Kate to hear. We had numerous discussions to reassure her that it was real pain, and we just had to figure out what it was.” Kate’s ankle injury grew worse and the pain, unmanageable. El Diablo became a normal occurrence to wear when the pain became difficult for her to walk. “At times the pain is so great her foot and ankle
cannot be touched. Her foot turns a shade of gray, blue, or purple I’ve never seen before,” father Harvey Haney said. “She has to wear a boot a few times a year when the pain prevents her from walking. She refers to the boot as ‘El Diablo’ because it is bulky, hot, and ugly, however it maintains pressure to enable her to walk and place some weight on her foot.” After six years of being unable to dance, the greeting of positive news at a doctor visit encouraged Kate’s journey. “Finding out I could dance was very similar to finding out I couldn’t. I, again, told the doctor ‘No!’ and began to cry,” Haney said. “I had to have the doctor write it down before I would believe him. Receiving that medical release slip was just like Charlie finding his golden ticket to see Willy Wonka. I sang I’ve Got a Golden Ticket all day! My parents weren’t too thrilled about the singing after about the fifth time through.” With her recent involvement in the dance class, Kate was pressed to try out for the Starlette’s dance team by classroom aide Bre Barker. Since she no longer had an excuse not to and her parents were supporting her decision to dance again, Kate showed up to tryouts. When the new team was announced, Kate’s name was on the list. “Kate’s year has gone awesome. She puts in a lot of work, is dedicated, and is always in happy spirits with the team,” dance teacher Teresa Aranda said of Kate’s year with the team. “I have watched this process for most of my daughter’s life,” Denise Haney said. “I admire her deeply for how she has shown grace under pressure. A life lived with constant pain can, for many, be a license to behave ill toward others. This has never been the case with Kate. Watching her do something she loved and was so good at after sitting on the sidelines for years was the culmination of years of work and hope.” Left: Haney’s most recent commitment to the dance team has played a role in overcoming her injury. “The team has been so wonderful in helping me become a better dancer,” Haney said.
Photos by Jackie Martinez
“This journey has taught me that sometimes set backs help to push you forward. I have learned that being stubborn is what provides me with such strong determination to seek success.”
Kate Haney, ‘13, rehearses during class with fellow Starlettes. In addition to being a rookie line member of the Starlettes dance team, Haney is involved in NHS and AP/Dual Credit classes that take up the time not spent dancing.
THE ODYSSEY THE ODYSSEY
Levels of Discipline WHERE DO YOU GO WHEN YOU GET IN TROUBLE? Summer Creek High School
One semester of long term (DAEP) can be earned for bullying, two or more fights on campus, gang initiation, police involvement, possession of drugs or alcohol, and teacher harassment. All district and state mandates for long term can be found in the parentstudent handbook.
Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) Once at long term, students have the ability to earn their way back to their home campus through a level system based on good behavior. However, there are also measures in place for bad behavior in DAEP
Camp 180 is a last ditch effort by the district to straighten up a student’s behavior before sending them on to a new tier of discipline. A student has to complete 15 days in Camp 180, located on the DAEP campus, and can lose credit for days based on behavior. These students are in solitary confinement with separate lunches and restroom breaks from other DAEP students.
Compliance is similar to a normal campus’ I.S.S. Students who arrive at DAEP without their tie or belt to complete the uniform, or have minor behavioral issues are sent here. Students stay in the classroom all day. Instead of having a conference period, the teachers use their off periods to teach their lesson to the students in Compliance.
Changing students for the Teachers in the long term program face the challenges of working with and overcoming the stereotypes surrounding the disciplinary students. MADISON TERRIER CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
During class, and even in between classes, there is hardly a person to be seen. The hall is marked with a brown color to distinguish the classrooms from the other three programs that share the building. It is mostly quiet, but within the rooms the noises of learning are taking place. The Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP), or long term, is just one of three other programs housed inside the building titled “Community Learning Center,” hidden in the heart of Humble ISD. The center is comprised of the PACE program, which students can attend to finish credits for graduation, the DAEP program, a child care facility for students and staff members, and Cambridge, a special needs schooling system. “Everyone sees this building as a big mystery,” said Community Learning Center principal Tammy Alexander. “Everyone thinks they know what we do here, but they don’t. I don’t want people to view this as the place (DAEP) where all the bad kids go. We’ve all made bad decisions, and we’re here to help the students get through that.” The disciplinary program accepts new rounds of students on Tuesdays and Thursdays of every week during “In-take” day. A variety
of behavior can earn a semester at long term including: bullying, teacher harassment, drugs and alcohol abuse, gang initiation, two or more fights at school, and police involvement, as well as many other circumstances. Upon arriving to school each morning, students walk through a metal detector with their pockets pushed out. No purses, backpacks, pens or pencils, money or jewelry are allowed. Sweatshirts can be worn if they are gray or white but cannot have hoods or pockets. All the students, girls and boys, are required to wear a white button down shirt, khaki dress pants, a brown or black leather belt and a blue tie purchased from the main office. Their supplies consist of a folder including paper. The teachers supply all other materials. The DAEP student population - Tammy A consists of about principal of the Comm 100 students at any given time. “We always have students here, always,” Alexander said. “Usually the numbers are pretty low until the end of the semesters when kids start getting restless.” There are around 30 teachers employed at the disciplinary program. The campus is required to offer each subject the students were enrolled in at their home campus. The students range from grades 6-12, so many teachers go
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Before school in the mornings, all students that attend classes at the Community Learning Center report to the cafeteria. The DAEP students must pass through a metal detector upon entering the school and are not permitted to have money, pencils, jewelry, or bags. Photo by Paris Dowd.
High Point High Point East is located down Beltway 8. High Point serves as an advanced disciplinary program. Approximately 10 school districts use this campus. When the staff at Community Learning Center has done everything they can for students, Humble ISD administrators can “buy” a spot for a student at High Point, which is run by the Harris County Department of Education.
The long term classes are distinguished from others in the building by a brown marking by the door. The class sizes in the DAEP average around 10 kids. Staff members teach multiple subjects and grades from 6-12. Photo by Paris Dowd.
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from teaching eighth grade language arts to 12th grade AP Literature and everything in between. The teachers have to juggle preparing the students for STAAR and TAKS state mandated testing. “One of the common misconceptions about our program is that the teachers don’t teach,” Alexander said. “That is absolutely not true. We have students in the advanced classes and students in the low level classes, just like a regular campus. The teachers here have to wear so many different hats.” Alexander and former SCHS teacher Kristina Swart both agree that the students in the disciplinary program thrive off the small environment and personal attention given to them in their class sizes of eight to 10 kids. “The kids that act up in classes on Alexander regular campuses munity Learning Center sometimes do so because it’s easier to be the funny kid than the kid that doesn’t understand,” said Swart, currently working in the English department in DAEP. “In normal sized classes teachers often have to spend their time being the referee, taking away from the individual attention.” Alexander said that even though she knows every principal claims their staff is the best, hers truly is. “It takes a very special person to work here,”
Community Learning Center Principal Tammy Alexander explains the level system in which students can work their way back to their home campus. Alexander oversees both the P.A.C.E. and long term programs
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DAEP uniform is made up of a white long or short-sleeved button n shirt, khaki dress pants, a brown or black belt, brown or black shoes or boots, and a blue tie. The female junior student (above) empt from wearing the tie because of points earned by good vior. Photo by Lisseth Lopez.
Photo by Paris Dowd
Alexander said. “These teachers teach through learning disabilities, multiple subjects, multiple age groups, and behavioral issues. They have big hearts. They are moms, dads, and counselors to these children. They come to work even when they’re sick because they know the kids need them.” Every week on Fridays the campus transfers eligible students back to their home campuses. Students have the opportunity to earn their way back to their campus through the level system. The system includes reading a book for pleasure, completing a total of 30 days at the campus, presenting a character education presentation during class, an application, a recom-
mendation from one of their teachers, and they have to be passing all of their classes. “Some kids really like it here,” Alexander said. “They like the structure, the ‘tell me what to do and when to do it.’ They like that there is no peer pressure or pressure of competing. I’ve received many phone calls from parents and students alike begging me to let them stay.” SCHS assistant principal Paul Edwards said it doesn’t surprise him at all that kids often don’t want to leave DAEP. “Some students are more attuned to a small environment,” he said. “It’s easy to get lost in the large schools. It doesn’t offend me to hear that they don’t want to come back. It’s the
consequence of the way we’ve designed high schools these days.” Edwards said he noticed upon a student’s return to the school that they are more compliant, at peace, and willing to talk to you. They don’t return mad at you or with a “chip on their shoulder.” The best part to both Alexander and Swart is seeing the transformation some students make before they leave. “When they leave some are very different,” said Alexander. “They are hugging and thanking their teachers. That’s good to see because our rewards are very small. But the good days definitely outweigh the bad.”
Students adjust to program, work to get out MADISON TERRIER CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
The bus pulls near the covered sidewalk at 7:15 a.m., but the students still have one more obstacle to go through before they can head toward first period: the metal detector. “The metal detector kind of makes you feel like Ironman,” said an eighth grade boy who has been in long term for 32 days. “I’ve gotten used to it. Though I guess it’s not a good thing to be used to walking through metal detectors.” With approximately 125 spots available in the Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP), the students that make up the school population are a diverse group. Ranging from grades 6-12, students placed in the program spend a semester at a time enrolled in an entirely separate campus of Humble ISD. “It serves a specific purpose,” SCHS assistant principal Paul Edwards said. “The purpose of the campus is to take kids that have, unfortunately, made bad decisions and isolate them in a structured program to get them back on track for coming back to the normal campus.” A student’s time in DAEP begins with
in-take day. The program accepts new students every Tuesday and Thursday. “The first time I came to DAEP I was like, uh, OK,” the boy said. “I don’t even know how I felt. I was [angry]. At first I thought I was going to jail when the cop walked in with the ticket.” The time spent at DAEP differs significantly from routines on the home campus. “It was really quiet,” said an 11th grade female student currently at long term. “I sat alone at lunch, but someone broke the rule of every other seat to come sit by me and be nice.” The male and female students interviewed have been in DAEP for more than a month and are working toward going back to their home campus. One thing that distinguishes their progress from the other students is their absence of a blue tie, allowed to be removed after earning 700 points for good behavior. There’s a very strict structure to the campus, with a set time for every task. “The reality is, a student has to learn to operate in structure,” Edwards said. “Students benefit from structure, not control. It provides safety.” Both students said that while they would
much rather be at their home campus, the small environment and teachers have helped them out. “I can say that the only reason I like it here on campus is my grades,” the 11th grade girl said. “The teachers here are more concerned than the teachers on my campus. I can come to these with my problems, and my other teachers are like ‘whatever.’” Respect and handling problems are big topics discussed daily. “Not to be here, that’s all they say everyday,” the male student said. “You shouldn’t be here. I’ve learned that different situations put you here and they come with different consequences. There’s always a right way and a wrong way of doing something.” While many students and teachers have heard kids say they liked long term, neither student agrees. “I can definitely say long term has changed my mind about a lot of things. Things not to do again, not to experiment. Kids here will share their experiences with you, and it scares me into not wanting to do them too,” the female said.
THE ODYSSEY APRIL 2013
Enjoying her time spent with her horse, Sarah Altman, ‘16, feels happy and free while riding. She usually rides for one to two hours each time she goes to see her horse.
Photos by Meredith Mann
Altman finds passion in horse competitions Altman will compete again with her horse Halle Berry on April 13 in San Antonio. MEREDITH MANN SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR
The bond between a rider and her horse is like the bond between a runner and their track team. It’s a bond of trust, chemistry, and communication. Sarah Altman, ’16, has been riding horses since she was 7 years old and has been to more than 300 competitions. When she isn’t riding she is on the track going in circles yet again. Altman has been running since the seventh grade. She runs the 800 meters, the mile and is currently starting to run hurdles. “In middle school I was in athletics; and since I didn’t play volleyball or basketball, I ended up running track,” said Altman. “I ended up really loving the sport, so I’ve been in it ever since then.” Altman got her first horse when she was 8 years old. It was an Arabian horse named Cassarayo. “I compete in the Western Pleasure horse show,” said Altman. “It’s where you go around in a circle and go as slow as possible. When they call out gaits, walk, jog, and lope, you perform them; and whoever has the prettiest horse wins.” The greatest award she has gotten so far
was the U.S. National Top 10 for her horse Cracker Jack, which died in a fire in 2011. Altman owns two horses at the moment; their names are Halle Berry, who is her show horse, and Vallejo Perfect Moon. “Riding horses is an escape from the actual world,” said Altman. Balancing time between the two sports isn’t difficult, but it isn’t easy either. Altman spends about six hours a week on track and goes to ride her horse twice a week since track season started. “I love her running track,” said Tim Altman, Altman’s father, “even though it takes up a lot of her time.” Track and riding horses have obvious differences. One involves running on your own feet, and the other involves riding around on an animal. Either way, Altman is still competing and trying to win first place. “Riding horses is more a symbiotic relationship between the horse and its rider,“ said Altman. “Track is all in your head. It’s a mental sport.” Altman has many goals. In her horse riding she would like to be Youth National Champion in Western Pleasure, and in track she would like to eventually go to State for one of her running events. “Sarah riding and taking care of her horses has really made her grow up and become responsible,” said Kim Altman, Sarah’s mother. While her love for riding horses is strong,
Left: Before going for a ride, Altman pets her horse. The bond between a horse and their rider can either make or break them in show. Right: Altman, ‘16, takes her horse, Halle Berry, out for a ride to continue strengthening their bond and training for their next show in San Antonio the weekend of April 13. Top: Altman likes to talk to her horse and make funny faces at it after she has gotten her out of her stall. Altman and Halle Berry, her horse, have gone to many shows together.
she also loves the family atmosphere that being on the track team entitles. “My sport is other sports punishment,”
said Altman. “When other teams get in trouble they have to run, whereas it’s what I do and what I love.”
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
1D continues “BioShock Infinite” successfully aims for the clouds New video game delivers style to fire up fans and substance. JAZMYN GRIFFIN STAFF REPORTER
Since the release of “What Makes You Beautiful,” teenage girls all over the world have gotten sick with One Direction infection. In late 2012, the popular boy band from England and Ireland released their second studio album since coming in third on The X Factor UK. They then began their are- Sarah Smithson, ‘15, has One na tour Feb. 23 Direction collectibles, like a cardin London, and board cutout of Harry Styles. many are awaiting their local performances. “I’m going [to their concert] in L.A.,” Whitney Grusnick, ’14, said. “We planned a trip and they happened to be there, and the tickets were cheaper.” Grusnick and many others paid $500 per ticket for a chance to see the boy band perform live. Tickets often sell out within minutes of being released, so fans often purchase from resale sites with prices above the original value. However, some fans didn’t get to buy them before the prices skyrocketed. “Unfortunately, they sold out,” Taylor Moreno, ’14, said. “When they come to Houston I want to go to their hotel and [to the] airport.” The band has five very unique members, so fans typically have a favorite. Member Zayn Malik appeals the most to Melissa Patel, ’14. “Have you seen him?” Patel said. “His accent is nice and he speaks multiple languages like me. He’s impossible not to like.” With a mix of slow, acoustic songs to upbeat pop, the band has acquired a wide variety of listeners. “Their music is fun to listen to and they’re good looking,” Patel said. “I feel like I’m one of their biggest fans.”
ALEX PELHAM SECTION EDITOR
It’s hard to think that a video game can have the intelligent and emotional impact that is usually reserved for a novel. Yet Irrational’s “BioShock Infinite” definitely delivers such a feeling, immersing you in the characters, the setting, and the plot. As a follow-up, but not a direct sequel, to 2007’s “BioShock,” Infinite hits the same high notes that made “BioShock” a success and a masterpiece. This is a game that is unlike shooters that choose style over the substance and story. Infinite delivers both. The plot, set in 1912, follows disgraced Pinkerton Booker DeWitt, who is hired by a mysterious employer to find and return a girl to New York City. It’s no easy job as Booker is brought to where she is held: a floating city (called Columbia) high in the clouds. Here, buildings are buoyed by large balloons and overly-religious propaganda art is plastered everywhere; but this isn’t regular religious promotion. Here, people worship the Founding Fathers as gods and see the city’s leader (and the game’s antagonist) Father Comstock as a Prophet. They aren’t happy that Booker wants to take Elizabeth away and spend the span of the game seeking to stop him. Columbia is a setting unlike any other. It’s a place that feels alive; the citizens move around and communicate as if they were truly alive. The era the game is set in is given its respect as the city is brimming with old steampunk style imagery and innovations. You feel that you are actually submersed in the early 20th century. The gameplay in Infinite is similar to the original Bioshock: you control several weapons and also utilize special powers called vigors. Using vigors, you shoot fireballs, lightning, or even ravens from your hands. You have several choices that will aid your survival. Another fun aspect about “Infinite” is that you have to think
Photo by Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times/MCT “BioShock Infinite” creator Ken Levine in December 2012. Levine is known in his industry as a mad genius, a man whose games take five or six years to make, burn out staffers along the way and end up blowing players’ minds.
and plan how to take down all enemies; you can’t just run and gun your way through to advance. When you’re with Elizabeth, the girl you’re tasked to collect, she gives you tremendous aid. She’s not as much as a damsel as she seems. She’ll never get harmed and will occasionally assist you by giving you health or ammo. She can even fight for you by activation “tears”, which are opened by using her special powers to bring in assistance. It’s the ending that makes the game, which for the most part is good despite a few tedious parts. “Infinite” has a finale that is fantastic but also confusing; you
may feel the need to play the game again just to better understand it. It gives the universe that the Bioshock franchise is set in new meaning and brings up interesting concepts involving space and time. All in all, “Infinite” proves that video games can become a respected art form like a book or a film. Its top notch story certainly ranks it as one of the best games of the year, perhaps in the last decade. The game has characters who are believable, a setting that is unforgettable, and an overall experience that is flat out enjoyable.
THE ODYSSEY APRIL 2013
Sports offer students individual, team opportunities Both tennis and track offer the option to play team or individual versions of the sport. DANIELLE MILLER STAFF REPORTER
One race you are on a relay with a team. In the next you may run solo against them. During the fall tennis season you have a team and a double partner to rely on. In the spring season, you are solo and relying on yourself. Tennis and track have one similarity: both have a team and an individual component. “Individually we focus on how we can get one person to where they need to be, whereas a team we strategize how we can get all the pieces and put them together as a whole,” Matt Frost, girls track and cross country coach, said. See more sports The individual stories and results from side of both sports District Championships has to be self driven. for tennis, track Athletes cannot rely and golf. on teammates to pick up the slack or push them when they wear down. “It is very hard to motivate individually because each player feels they are only competing for themselves, or them and their partner if they are playing doubles,” tennis coach Thomas Lowe said. “I have to continue to emphasize that we are still Summer Creek and we are playing for the school.” Across the board the tennis and track
Jacob Tate, ‘14, and Rogelio Menchaca, ‘14 warm up to play their singles match during the spring season. Both Menchaca and Tate play doubles during the fall season of tennis.
Photos by Meredith Mann
Devon Stroud, ‘13, jumps over a hurdle during a track meet. In track, athletes compete in both individual events and on relays with teammates.
coaches have different preferences on which they would rather coach. Boys track coach Shelton Ervin said he would rather coach the individual side. Frost said he prefers coaching a team because kids individually get a little needy and high maintenance. Lowe said he likes the team aspect because the athletes become easier to motivate and everyone is striving for the same goal. “I get more pride out of developing athletes individually because you as a coach are more hands on with one specific player,” Ervin said.
Many athletes want to play in college; but in tennis, whether fall season playing doubles or the spring where you play singles, getting a scholarship playing high school tennis is hard to do. Many of the tennis players who play in college did not play high school tennis. “A number of college coaches only look at what players have done outside of school in the United States Tennis Association and are not concerned with school tennis as they believe it distracts the players,” Lowe said. “I encourage players to get into
Cost of athletics not cheap for students High cost of sports equipment requires students to save money in order to perform well and play to their potential. ALEXIS QUEZADA SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR
Many students are eager to join sports in high school but are usually unaware of the costs that are associated with them. With uniforms, equipment and fees, the cost of sports can be rather expensive. “I never realized how much I would have to spend on doing something that I love,” cross country runner Krystal Sanchez, ’15, said. The total cost for proper track sweats, backpack, and shoes is about $160. Most of the money is invested on the running shoes, which cost around $120. “I’m lucky because my parents have always bought my baseball equipment and paid for me to play, but sometimes I do have to sacrifice other stuff for new baseball equipment,” baseball player Ryan
Photo by Paris Dowd
Jonathan Blackman, ’13, stands in the dugout during a day game against Atascocita. Baseball players’ expenses include bats, cleats and gloves.
Zepeda, ’15, said. In baseball, most of the money is spent on bats and gloves, which usually cost more than $250 each. Though the school covers expenses for uniforms and helmets, most of the expenses fall on the athlete to purchase. Assistant varsity baseball coach Matt Wolfford said the main difference between cheaper and more expensive equipment and
gear is durability. The more expensive, the longer it will last though they give little to no advantages performance wise. “I always tell my athletes ‘It’s the Indian, not the arrow.’ There is no magic equipment,” Wolfford said. When it’s time to purchase equipment, athletes usually purchase them on their own. They are also encouraged to help raise funds for future purchases. “We [coaches] want them to participate in fundraisers, take care of their equipment as well as ours, and always keep an eye on their belongings,” Wolfford said. By taking good care of equipment, old gloves, bats, and cleats are able to be kept for students who can’t afford them. Although they may not be the best, the athletes appreciate what they’re able to acquire. “Make sure to save for some new equipment during the season,” Zepeda said. “It’s nice to get something on Christmas or your birthday when people are already looking to spend money on you.”
UTSA, but it can become very expensive to do so.” For track, the college recruiting becomes easier. Frost said that the individual side of the sport provides more opportunities to get recruited because of the individual statistics. “In a team sport it is easier to get recruited because the numbers increase and there is more room for the coaches to develop athletes, unlike individuals; you take less of those chances on athletes who aren’t quite developed,” said Ervin, who used to coach at the University of Houston. Each athlete has to decide what works best for them. Some enjoy the individualism of certain sports while others prefer the camaraderie they get on teams. “Depending on the skill level will depend on which they like best, but it seems as if all the kids like team tennis because of the bonds they establish and the teamwork,” Lowe said.
Soccer teams wrap up seasons
Despite missing the playoffs, the boys and girls soccer teams ended their seasons by each defeating Humble on March 22. “We finished the season knowing we weren’t having a good year,” Emiliano De Leon, ‘13, said. “But we pulled it off and had fun.” The girls had hoped to reach the playoffs a year after falling to Porter in the first round. “We had to win our game against Northbrook to go to playoffs but didn’t,” coach Dirk Bunck said. “But we showed the fighting character our team had.” With a district record of 2-8, the boys finished fifth in districts. The girls also finished fifth with a record of 2-7-1. “This year we accomplished goals as a team and as individual players,” Bunck said. “Everyone has improved on their skill, technique and understanding of game strategy.” This year wasn’t easy, but players and coaches were pleased to end the season with wins. “I guess my favorite memory would be seeing the boys win the last two games,” boys coach Ryan Smith said. “Also, seeing them with a positive attitude for next year.” - Yazmin Lopez
THE ODYSSEY APRIL 2013
Freshman pitcher takes major step up to mound Mariah Sosa steps up to the mound as a freshman pitcher on the varsity softball team. ASADA SAMIN STAFF REPORTER
At age 5, Mariah Sosa’s father gave her a glove and took her out to softball practice with the Humble Girls Softball League with whom he was a coach. She fell in love with it instantly and gained plenty of experience on different softball teams. She joined the Texas Peppers at age 12, the Humble Cobras at age 13 and the Texas Eclipse at age 14. Now, thanks to the support of her parents, she is able to make a huge contribution to the varsity softball team as a freshman. Spending lots of quality time with the upperclassmen has been an easy adjustment for her. “It’s not really that different [being a freshman] on varsity because I’m not the only freshman on the team, and they treat everyone the same,” said pitcher Sosa. “I’ve learned how to work well with others.” Sosa and the other two freshmen, Krystal Gonzalez and Paris Harper,
losing 5-0 and we came back to beat them 6-5 in the last inning.” On March 1, the team also won second place in the Cleveland Rotary Club tournament. Sosa’s teammates and her coach appreciate the way she is able to hold her position. “She fits in like a glove,” Cathey said. “As a pitcher you’re a huge impact player to begin with. To come in as a freshman and fit in like she did and get along with other kids and handle the pressure of her position is a big deal. That’s something a lot of incoming players can’t do.” Sosa looks up to fellow pitcher Alejandra Garcia, ’14, who Sosa was able to back up after Garcia got hurt. “[Mariah] is a really good pitcher,” Garcia said. “She practices hard and she’s also a hard-working person in games. When she’s struggling while she’s pitching she keeps trying and comes back.” Sosa hopes to be able to carry the team to the playoffs this season. She never lets the most important part of any team sport slip her mind. “Teamwork and communication
and heart [are the keys to being successful with a team],” Sosa said. “If you don’t have those things then you can’t play the game no matter how much talent you have.” It’s the talent and teamwork Cathey said that will be key in the team’s success. “They are probably the hardest working bunch of kids I have ever had,” coach Cathey said. “That sounds really cliché to say, but it really is true. It’s a gift to just come into a program where everyone gets along and everyone works hard.” Sosa looks forward to utilizing the experience that playing on a higher level will give her. She hopes to eventually earn a scholarship to play softball in college. Sosa has many characteristics that her teammates and coach think will help her in the future. “She has great work-ethic and character,” coach Cathey said. “She’s just a really neat kid, very likable. She’s very focused and determined. She knows her role and always works to improve. Come watch her play and you’ll see what I’m talking about.”
Photo by Shaianne Rubin
Mariah Sosa, ‘16, in the middle of one of her pitches to the player on the other team during the game against Crosby High School Cougars on Feb. 26. The final score was 10-1.
have captured many memorable moments with the team while taking bus rides to tournaments, sharing baby pictures and eating out. They have also helped the team achieve big accomplishments.
At the beginning of the year the team made history by defeating Baytown Lee. “We’d never beat them before,” softball coach Lindsay Cathey said about Baytown Lee. “We were
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THE ODYSSEY APRIL 2013
Privilege to eat outside should return Looking outside the windows of the cafeteria, one can see sets of maroon coated benches and tables. This perfectly good place for students to eat on a beautiful day MADISON RICE sits unused. A reasonable investment by the school, these benches and tables are meant for trays and paper sack lunches to sit upon them. However, due to the misbehavior by a few students, eating outside has been banned for nearly the whole school year. Taking away the privilege of being able to eat outside due to the conduct of a few students, is quite fair for a certain amount of time. But the school year is almost over, and insubordinate students have received their punishment. The student body has realized the consequences of these actions taken by others and has learned from it. It is only honorable for the privilege of being able to eat outside be given back as it has been earned. For the time being, students should be given back the privilege to eat outside
JENNA DUVALL SECTION EDITOR
Photo by Jerrick Jerrels
with their friends. For some students, this atmosphere is much more preferable and comfortable for them. It would also alleviate a little bit of the crowding in the actual cafeteria for those students who chose to move outside and
give the opportunity for a breath of fresh air, after being in the building for eight hours. The students have showcased that they are capable of behaving correctly, but just have to be given another chance.
Drug checks essential, mess afterwards is not JENNA DUVALL SECTION EDITOR
There’s a moment of worry when you’re called down to your house secretary’s desk and told to bring all your belongings with you - including your car keys. When the police told me my car had been alerted by the K-9 crew on campus for potentially having drugs, I didn’t know what to say. The cops went through everything in my backseat, all while bombarding me with questions of who rode in my car and what I did on the weekends. It was beyond frustrating. The search lasted about 15 minutes, but I felt as though it would never end. I spent those 15 minutes confirming
Testing schedule must be adapted
Illustration by Jenna Duvall
my daily activities, justifying why the dog would smell something on my car, and ultimately “proving” myself innocent. They dumped my jar of pennies into my front seat, went through a shopping bag in my backseat, and dumped a purse’s contents onto my car floorboard. I have noth-
ing to hide, but it was truly unnecessary to make such a mess and leave it for me to later clean up. Drug checks are a precaution to keep our campus drug-free. They happen periodically, and each time a number of cars are identified and searched. Although they are an important role in keeping our school safe, the cops leave a mess behind. It’s understandable why the cops do the things they do, but they need to be more considerate of your belongings and feelings while doing the drug checks. Drug checks are unavoidable, but having to clean up after the cops went through my entire car is.
After almost 20 hours were devoted to four classes last week, the blocking schedule wore out both teachers and students. While seniors had late arrival Monday, juniors and sophomores had almost five hours of second period. I devoted two hours of my class to napping without a pillow (a mistake I would fix later in the week) that was followed by 30 minutes of haphazardly watching Magic School Bus and flipping through the pages of my new library book. The next 30 minutes were spent waking my feet up from my nap and listening to two band members practice their instruments at a volume so loud, only dogs could tune in. Finally, I enjoyed taking part in naming every first generation Pokemon and finishing quotes from a Mean Girls quiz that took the rest of the period. The rest of the week was spent in a similar way, adjusting only to fit in actual class work. Although a majority of our teachers said they would split our class time in half by working and having fun, we spent the most time doing the latter. Third period was the only class period in which I worked a majority of the time on AP prep and taking notes, although sleeping through all of class seemed to be a trend. Nap time became a normal part of the week, and I even resorted to bringing my pillow pet and clownfish blanket when Thursday’s four hour class came around. Blocking our schedule wouldn’t be such a bad idea if we weren’t in each class for four and five hours at a time. During TAKS testing in years past, other grade levels have had the ability to switch classes and change periods; the same should be done with STAAR testing. With schedules for upcoming TAKS and STAAR testing being made, it’s best to prepare for the possible return of four hour class periods. After sitting through a week of a “trial run,” students should bring a pillow for the next round of testing.
What did you think of classes lasting four hours during testing week?
“I don’t like it because we sit in class for four hours. I think seniors should get privileges such as coming in late.” - Aaliyah Diamond, ‘13
“It was pretty hectic. Being in class for four hours. That’s ridiculous.”
-George Gonzalez, ‘14
“I thought it was a little bit crazy. I think we should have gone in class order like first, second, third.” -Joceline Wiggins, ‘16
“For one, you have first (period) for a last period, and they have four hours in other classes. I find it very confusing and pointless.”
- Darius Jammer, ‘16
“I think we were in there for too long. Four hours is too long to sit in a class. We could have gone to two classes instead. People get restless easily.” - Kayla Fisher, ‘15
“Five hours with the same group of students can be stressful and hectic.” - Art teacher Amanda Fast
THE ODYSSEY APRIL 2013
Celebrity crushes can turn into unhealthy obsessions
In our society, teenagers fawn over celebrities. Paparazzi take pictures of everything they do, fans follow their social networking accounts, and even the news covers their daily lives. Look only as far as the school hall- JAZMYN GRIFFIN ways or the internet to find people who have developed strange and borderline crazy fixations on celebrities. There is nothing wrong with having celebrity obsessions, but at a certain point they become unhealthy. To put it simply, there is a difference between knowing your favorite celebrity’s birthday and owning their birth certificate. It becomes an issue when not only do you know every aspect of their life, but you completely give up your life in order to dedicate it to them. Fans express everyday that certain celebrities have improved or even saved their lives. There’s no shame in letting a celebrity, their music and/or actions in-
spire you and affect your life positively, or even expressing your dedication by going to meet and greet and spending money to see them. However, people shouldn’t waste away their youth. There’s no point when chances are you won’t meet them for more than a few minutes at a time; and honestly, you probably won’t marry them. Another problem prevalent in fangirls with their obsessions is stalking. Going to an event that you know they’ll attend is fine, even going to their hotel could be considered acceptable, but traveling long distances to meet a celebrity at their own home is completely ridiculous and invasive to their private life and time. A fine line lies between dedication and extreme infatuation, and we’re seeing the latter more often. People idolize these celebrities, putting them up on a pedestal without considering that the individual may not be that great in the first place. Their personality flaws tend to be overlooked, with people only seeing the pretty faces plastered on magazines. Unfortunately, their true colors are hidden behind professional grade make-up and photo editing. Whether someone
digs up Harry Styles’ birth records, shows up at Alex Gaskarth’s house, or ignores the fact that Kim Kardashian is talentless because she has amazing looks, people’s celebrity-mania can be annoying and psychotic. On the other hand, some such as myself can like band members, celebrities or TV personalities and still live a normal life but get unfairly criticized. Believe it or not, it isn’t difficult to memorize a birthday, birthplace, or middle name without being one of those insane fans, but some don’t seem to realize that. They think of every fangirl as a crazed child, when in reality they just really enjoy someone’s existence. If spending $500 on One Direction tickets, buying loads of band merchandise, or tweeting Kendall Jenner knowing they won’t get a response is what someone wants to do, you have no right to criticize. Overall, most people’s celebrity fascinations are normal, but more and more are becoming alarming: As long as people don’t waste away their lives, having a celebrity obsession can’t hurt anyone.
As young children, we sat in playrooms filled with Barbies and dinosaur figurines as we attempted to use our outrageous imaginations to their full potential. Barbies with ridiculous outfits, and those little tiny shoes that we always managed to step on while attempting to make it across the room. Dinosaurs roamed the thick carpeted floor and suddenly flew into the air and attacked each other in epic self created battles. If you walked into the playroom my sister and I shared, you would see many of these things strewn across the floor just like any child our age. But there was something that differed our playroom from the rest. In the corner in its own section would be a structure made of Legos, strategi-
cally and proportionally placed one on top of the other. Yes, so proportionally placed that an edge even going over the holes available would be the end of the world for my five year old self. Everything was organized by pattern. Every color organized in it’s place. Every figurine by size. Every letter in alphabetical order. No, this was not triggered by some traumatic event that altered my life as a child. Ever since I can remember, I have had extreme obsessive qualities. This in no way meant I had a disorder, just a merely natural need to have everything in an orderly fashion. But most importantly, it was my need to be able to control the order of things. This is a personal quality, that has dominated every aspect of my life. School, friends, work, etc. At work, I have to sit on the left side of the grading table, that
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Our very own Powder Puff. Let the games begin. Officially spring. Bye cold weather. School is almost over. Hello Summer. The new Justin Timberlake album. He’s back. Senior ranks finally have locked. The new Tutti Frutti by Fall Creek. Perfect for the hot weather. New seasons of our favorite TV shows coming out. Concert season is almost here. Major League Baseball has officially started.
way I can make sure the corrections are properly stapled and organized into the correct folder. At school, my folder with all my graded papers inside are organized by daily grades, quiz grades and then test grades, each in order from first to seventh period. This quality works for me now, while sometimes hindering my progress in certain areas, but as a child that quality did not work for me at all. If I had to tell my 5-year-old self anything, it would be to stop spending days organizing the Barbie’s closet before I even began to play and just play. Stop making sure the Legos fit perfectly right, and just stack them as I felt. Stop organizing patterns, and just let them mix all together. But the most important lesson I have learned in my years of obsessive sorting: in life, we can never control the order of everything.
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ODYSSEY STAFF www.SCHStoday.com Co-Editors-in-Chief: Madison Rice Madison Terrier Photo Editor: Lisseth Lopez Section Editors: Jenna Duvall Alex Pelham General Staff: Krislyn Domingue Jazmyn Griffin Tayler Banes Brianca Berry Michelle Garcia Starr Jauregui Keaton McManamy Danielle Miller Jordan Mobley Alexis Robinson
Everything in life cannot be sorted and controlled MADISON RICE CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Our favorite TV shows ending. Now we have to wait another year. Summer is approaching. It is Texas hot. Four hour class periods during STAAR testing. What is there to do for four hours? It’s that time again. Finals are only a month away. March Madness is now over. R.I.P. Shain Gandee from Buckwild. Pollen is everywhere!
Victoria Valentine Yazmin Lopez Katherine Holmes Asada Samin Mackenzie Harper Gerson Vilchis Regine Murray Special contributors: Meredith Mann Alexis Quezada Jerrick Jerrels Paris Dowd Adviser: Megan Ortiz Principal: Thyrun Hurst
Summer Creek High School 14000 Weckford Blvd. Houston, TX 77044 281.641.5400 April 2013 Issue 7, Vol. 4 The Odyssey serves as a public forum for Summer Creek High School and is distributed free to all students and staff. Cover photo by Lisseth Lopez. Cover Caption: In the UIL production Grapes of Wrath, Al (Rolly Reyna, ‘14) and Al’s girlfriend (Bria Washington, ‘13) share a moment together before Al heads to tell his parents he and his girlfriend plan to get married. The one-act play has advanced past the first two rounds of UIL competition.
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