ODYSSEY Summer Creek High School
Issue 04, Vol. 5 s March 2013
14000 Weckford Blvd., Houston, TX 77044
A day in the life of students and staff members vary as the numerous components that make the clock run tick towards the final bell at 2:45 p.m. See pages 6-9
THE ODYSSEY MARCH 2013
Library misuse leads to new regulations for students After enduring a large crowd of students during lunch periods, including some who didn’t intend to work on school work, access to the library now requires a daily pass. According to librarian Donna Smalley, this new pass system is being used to combat problems that have been occurring in the library. “We’re doing this system because of library misuse - misuse of the computers, eating and leaving trash under the computers, in the cafe, on the floor and to make room for students who need to work on class assignments,” said Smalley. To acquire the pass, students can come in after school the day before they need the pass, before school or during passing periods. Smalley said there are certain instances where students can get in without a pass. “In a conversation, if they say they need to [complete an assignment], they’ll be able to do that after a short interview with the librarians,” Smalley said. - Alex Pelham Senior snags record deal in local competition 2010 Talent Show winner Brandon Johnson, ‘13, competed in the “For The Love of Music” competition at Kingwood High School sponsored by the Just About Kids (JAK) organization. He won first in the high school vocal division and he will receive a recording contract from Sugarhill Studios. “I’m still on the verge of going to college,” said Johnson. “But if [my music career] goes higher, I’ll go from there.” Johnson plans to attend the University of Houston to major in business and minor in music. However, if he pursues his music career, he plans to sing “inspirational pop.” “We need that type of music that will inspire people because there are a lot of people today that need a lot of help,” said Johnson. He performed, “I Look To You” by Whitney Houston which was the same song he sang at the 2013 Talent Show as a tribute to Jason Mouton, ‘12, Abner Pivreal, ‘12, and Jordan Barnett, ‘13, all former students who passed away. “I felt so excited,” said Johnson. “I never tried out for something as big as that, so I’m very blessed.” - Krysten Barnes
Photo by Lisseth Lopez
Former principal Trey Kraemer led the question and answer portion of the community meeting.
Photo by Lisseth Lopez
Algebra II teacher Shawn Havranek took his turn speaking out against the proposed boundary change at the community meeting held on Jan. 31. The majority of the meeting was devoted to a question and answer session as the 70 people in attendance spoke their concerns with the district proposal.
District stops plans to rezone District revokes plans to change the boundaries between Summer Creek and Humble after hearing opinions from impacted community members. MADISON TERRIER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
After listening to community input and further deliberation, the proposal made at the beginning of January to change the boundaries for Summer Creek and Humble High School was called off. The previous proposition was to rezone 12 neighborhoods located off Beltway 8 in Audubon including: Audubon Park, Audubon Condominiums, Colony Mobile Home Park, Eastex Oaks, El Dorado Mobile Home Park, Park at Stone Creek Apartments, Rocking R Ranch, Smith Road Area, Waterchase Apartments, Atascocita Pines Apartments, Atascocita Village Mobile Home Park, and Classic Pines Estates. The district released a statement via Hum-
ble ISD Insider to those signed up for notifications on Feb. 6, that this change was no longer being presented to the board on Feb. 12. Humble ISD Assistant Superintendent Trey Kraemer was a presenter during the community meeting. In the press release, he said, “The community input meeting is an important step in the decision-making process regarding boundaries because district leaders value feedback from parents and teachers. We considered that feedback and determined that changes should not be made to high school attendance boundaries.” District officials said the original intent of this proposal was to better utilize Humble High School, which has a current enrollment of about 1,400 despite the school being capable of housing 2,200. The change would have affected the current eighth grade students by requiring them to attend Humble instead of Summer Creek High School.
About 70 parents, teachers and students from both Humble and Summer Creek were present at the meeting that became quite heated during the question and answer session. Humble High School sits at 62 percentile of low socioeconomic students, the highest such percentile of the five high schools in the district. Parents at the meeting were voicing their concerns that the neighborhood being re-added to their student population would again increase the numbers of students on free and reduced lunch and that the education process would be slowed to accommodate the new challenges presented with re-introducing this group of students. Even Summer Creek Algebra II teacher Shawn Havranek had concerns about the change. He spoke out at the meeting and said, ““I feel the proposal could deliver a tremendous blow to the culture and diversity of our school. Our school’s a great school, we don’t need a change.”
Peer tutors make long-lasting friendships Students take an elective space in their day to tutor other students. MICHELLE GARCIA STAFF REPORTER
As students walk past the Life Skills classrooms to reach their art or journalism classes, they can’t help but notice the faces of excited students ready to learn. The Life Skills students are lined up along the hallway patiently waiting for their peer tutors. “I chose peer tutoring as a course because I wanted to get to know the children,” Nidhi Patel, ‘14, said. “I wanted to help them feel accepted and interact with people. It is something worth being proud of. Their smile is contagious, along
with their happiness.” The class is a full year and peer tutors assist students in the classroom. According to LaQuietta Harden, Applied Skills teacher, if a student has a problem they tend to listen to their peers rather than their teachers. “Having a peer tutor helps the students have a sense of belonging,” Harden said. “It helps them feel as if peers from the outside can come and help them.” Taylor Moreno, ‘14, had art last year and saw the classes. She thought it would be interesting. “The best memory is getting to know them,” Moreno said. “I am learning about their lives outside of school.” However, there can be some challenges when working with the students.
“The biggest challenge is trying to help them,” Patel said. “When they don’t get it, they get frustrated.” The peer tutors helped with the baking they had for Christmas. Other clubs such as Key Club and Best Buddies are involved in helping the Life Skills students around holidays. There are currently eight students enrolled a semester. Harden says that for many students, it is something they can put on their college applications because it would count as volunteering. “The smiles on the kids’ faces reiterates the bond we Bulldogs have at Summer Creek,” Raneen Abdelghani, ‘14, said. “No matter who you are, you are important.”
FFA returns successful from Humble livestock show, rodeo FFA students attended the Humble Livestock Show and Rodeo in February and returned home with many honors for their hard work.
MACKENZIE HARPER STAFF REPORTER
As AJ Forster, ’13, intensely wrestled a bull at the Humble Rodeo, he didn’t know what was about to happen to himself. One, he would receive an award for being one of the best students in Humble ISD. Two, the bull he was wrestling would step on his eye leaving a tomato-red scar and raging pain. When he received the award, a photo was snapped of Forster with a smile on his face, a bloody eye and a facial expression showing mixed emotions of excitement and agony. Being the strong and supporting student he is, he continued to compete and help out with the events despite his injury. According to FFA sponsor David Laird, Forster’s injury was the highlight of the past seven rodeos Laird has participated in. “I was taking down the bull; and when I was down, his foot came down and put pressure on my eye,” Forster said. “Everybody went silent. They had to call an ambulance to come and get me.” The Humble Livestock Show and Rodeo was on Feb. 8 and 9 and was held at the Humble Civic Center. Laird took 50 students and they participated in both events. Devin Brinsfield, ’16, participated for the first time and raised a pig named Rossikay. Brinsfield showed the pig at the livestock show and helped out with the events. Kelsey Cannon, ‘16, is also a first timer and raised a goat named Mater. Cannon showed Mater and helped smaller children show chickens. Throughout the day,
Photo by Allie Stanfield
Madison Cruz, ‘13, and Austin Waller, ‘15, showed students from Humble ISD around the Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Photo by Allie Stanfield
AJ Forster, ‘13, took an injury to the eye while taking down a bull. The eye remained bruised for an entire week.
Cannon posted pictures on Instagram of Mater to show her followers. Brinsfield posted pictures on Facebook and updated her status to say, “Come support me and my show.” “The most challenging part about the livestock show is time management,” Cannon said. “You have so many things to do. But I learned from this experience that hard work pays off.” FFA students raise animals to show them at the livestock show. The purpose of showing an animal is to present to the judges how well groomed, taken care of, and well trained the animals are. The animals students typically show are lambs, goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys, rabbits and cattle. There were many honors received at the livestock show from eighth place to fourth place. Students who did not raise animals had many choices for events to pick from
such as milk judging and floral judging. “For the livestock show, students who raised animals exhibited their project they have been raising all year,” Laird said. “For the rodeo, we had calf scramblers and chute doggers.” All of the Humble ISD FFA branches were there along with their sponsors and booster clubs. All of the schools were judged in every event and the top 10 winners in every species won either a ribbon, a banner or a belt buckle. For the students who made the auction, they had to say goodbye to their animal. Someone who was willing to buy it would process it. For some FFA students this was very hard and brought a few to tears. “The hardest part for me was knowing the whole time I would eventually have to let my animal go,” Brinsfield said. “I got so attached to her. Letting go of something you love can be the hardest,
Breanna Haden, ‘13, and Cody Cannon, ‘14, both placed in showings and received pink ribbons for their efforts.
Daisie Mulkey 5th Overall** Colton Cannon: 3rd Class Cody Cannon: 3rd Class, 11th Overall Kelsey Cannon: 1st Class, 12th Overall Kristi Broering: 7th Class Austin Waller: 2nd Class, 9th Overall** Alex Bigger: 3rd Class 14th Overall Kendall White: 1st Class, 5th Overall** Devin Brinsfield: 5th Class Austin Ramirez: 8th Class Erik Ortiz: 8th Class AJ Forster: 9th Class Travis Haden: 8th Overall** Breanna Haden: 4th Overall** Kylee Newberry: 10th Overall** Billy Co: 16th Class Sarah Baumgartner: 7th overall** ***Animals were auctioned. but best thing.” Nine FFA students also planned to participate in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Unlike the Humble Livestock Show and Rodeo, this event has about 5,000 FFA students from all over the state participating in the event. Four students will be showing their animals, while the other five will be in the calf scramble at the rodeo. “I just wanted them to try,” Laird said. “This whole thing is about life-experience, not winning.”
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THE ODYSSEY MARCH 2013
Ukulelists share their love of music with the school Students find their passion when they begin playing the Ukulele.
ASADA SAMIN STAFF REPORTER
Ukulelists Braylon Walker, ’15, Patience Ojionuka, ’16, and Brandi Duenez, ’13, all share a love for playing music with the ukulele. On some days as they walk through the hallways, ukulele in hand, they can be heard passing by playing music, leaving a catchy tune stuck in your head. Walker, who won the talent show with his ukulele, started playing two months ago with a bunch of friends. Also being a guitar player, Walker thought it would be cool to play the ukulele which looks like a miniature version of the more popular instrument. “I just picked it up,” Walker said. “I would see them do one thing and I would do the same.” Ojionuka, who started playing only one month ago when she got her ukulele for Christmas, devel- Patience Ojionuka oped her love for the instrument at a young age. “I remember when I was little, Lilo from Lilo and Stitch would always play her ukulele, and I thought it was really pretty,” Ojionuka said. “Then I recently became a fan of Adventure Time, in which the theme song is ukulele based.” Ojionuka would also see Walker strolling through the hallways strumming tunes on the ukulele he borrowed from his friends. She figured if he could do it then she could do it too. Dueñez, who purchased her ukulele
Photo by Susanna Summers
Braylon Walker, ‘15, won the talent show playing original songs on his ukulele. The ukulele has gained popularity around the school with a number of students teaching themselves how to play it. from ebay, started playing about two years ago. She too is a self-taught ukulelist and enjoys singing as well. Her main influences include artists like Never Shout Never and Jack Johnson. “The ukulele is easy and simple, and it Brandi Dueñez goes with my vocal range,” Dueñez said. “I have a really weird vocal range. One
moment I sound really good and the next it’s like ‘Whoa, what’s going on?’” Dueñez plays her ukulele at least three times a week, and for her it’s a great way to relax in times of frustration and to express herself when she is happy. Some of her favorite songs to play include songs from Adventure Time and SpongeBob, and songs like “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie and “Quiet” by Lights. Walker taught himself how to play songs like “The A Team” by Ed Sheeran
Junior gets scouted by a modeling agency on a visit to China.
Katherine’s mini-modeling career. “Well, I wasn’t shocked because she is really tall and pretty,” Patel said. “She has model written all over her.” At photo shoots, which often took from early in the morning until late at night, Wei got hair and makeup done, walked on set and was then instructed how to pose. “They made it a fun and friendly environment,” Wei said. “If you’re American, they fawn over you; they love American people and fashion.” The Wei family frequently visits China to see their relatives, and now Wei’s 26-yearold sister Natalie lives there doing Global Communications for Google. “People, space, culture, government -everything is so different here,” Natalie said. “It’s good to embrace other different cultures and experience life outside of your comfort zone. It’s a great growing experience where you can learn a lot about yourself and overcome new challenges.”
and “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz, as well as songs that he wrote himself. His favorite song to play is a song he wrote called “Silly Dreams.” “It’s a really lively and calming song, and it makes me calm whenever I get rattled up,” Walker said. “I play it a lot.” Ojionuka, who is also a self-taught ukulelist, brings her ukulele to school almost every day. “A lot of times my friends like to sing along and it’s really nice when people are encouraging you to do what you like to do,” Ojionuka said. Walker also enjoys playing for the pleasure of his friends, who are always asking him to keep playing. “I bring my ukulele to school because it makes the people around me happy apparently,” Walker said. “When I play it makes me feel away from all the stress.” All the ukulelists put in lots of time with their instruments as they teach themselves to play new tunes. The music they play helps them to relax and express themselves in a way that is easily shared with the people they know. “When I play, it feels amazing,” Dueñez said. “It’s like the way you feel when you watch movies, those times when the music is just right and it makes you feel a certain way. I enjoy bringing my ukulele to school because it really brings people together.” From writing his own music, Walker learned first-hand the key to being a good composer. “If you make music, have a good background story for it; and if you don’t, then I don’t know because that’s how the best songs are made,” Walker said.
Katharine makes her Wei to a Chinese modeling career JAZMYN GRIFFIN STAFF REPORTER
Walking down a street in her parents’ home country of China at age 14, junior Katharine Wei was enjoying her summer vacation to visit relatives. As she and her family strolled past a large building, a man approached asking if Wei would like to be a model, giving her an opportunity most girls only dream of. “I got to model clothes,” Katharine Wei said. “I modeled a homecoming dress and in another I wore a really long shirt. They made me hold a poodle and put my hair in pigtails.” Slim and standing at 5-foot-10, Wei is what most would consider model material. A friend of Wei’s, Melissa Patel, ‘14, showed no sign of surprise when she was told of
The Weis said the most striking differences between the U.S. and China include: Mandarin Chinese as the dominant language, less freedom of speech and press and lower air quality. It is also common for people to be scouted for modeling while walking down one of the many crowded Chinese streets. “I know quite a few of my American friends who model or have modeled in China,” Wei said. While Wei does not plan on pursuing a career as a model after high school, she would take the opportunity if it came again. The experiences she had modeling in China changed her mindset and boosted her self-confidence, something she said all girls need. “Love yourself the way you are,” Wei said. “As long as you’re confident, people will see you as a confident person. Modeling opened my eyes to that.”
THE ODYSSEY MARCH 2013
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A DAY IN THE LIFE
THE ODYSSEY MARCH 2013
Bash performs the daily obstacles in her job as head child nutrition manager.
The Cafeteria Manager by Tayler Banes
Kathy Bash leads team building activities with the food service staff before preparing to serve three lunches for the students. Bash’s work day begins at 5:15 as the staff prepares for breakfast, then lunch. Bash is responsible for filing all of the paperwork that goes along with food orders and preparation, as well as supervise the kitchen staff members. Photo by Tayler Banes.
4:15 a.m.: The alarm goes off, Kathy Bash, the head child nutrition manager awakes for a busy day ahead of her. 5:15 a.m.: Bash’s champagne colored car is one of the first to arrive. She unlocks the door and illuminates the cafeteria. An eerie feeling is in the air as she sleepily walks over to her office behind the serving lines and begins her morning routine. 7:07 a.m.: She runs into the different smells of eggs, french toast and biscuits being made by the 24 ladies and one man with help from loud motorized machines. 7:22 a.m.: Bash begins ordering groceries on the computer. The pressure is on all of the cafeteria staff and especially Bash to make enough lunches for 1,400 students within four hours. 8:03: Bash gets up for another run through of the cooking stations. Ladies are hastily scurrying around the kitchen as the clock counts down for the first lunch. 9:55 a.m.: “The safety meeting is about to begin ladies!” yells Bash. “Meet in the smaller wing of the cafeteria.” The ladies quickly shove the last of the meals into the oven in order to make it to the meeting.
Everyone happily chatters before Bash begins the meeting. “Since I’ve been good with money these past months,” smiles Bash. “We are getting cushioned mats at all the cashiers’ registers.” Booming applause and cheers break out from the ladies. Bash then stresses the importance of proper lifting in order to prevent injuries. Lastly, Bash introduces a new trust activity in which the ladies will participate. “You have to partner up and one will close their eyes while they are walking with their other partner giving directions to them on where to walk,” says Bash. One by one they venture out, relying on their partner to guide them as they fill up Main Street with Bash directing the ladies. 10:30 a.m.: Lunchtime for the ladies has just begun with them getting first dibs on the food. “Where is my king ranch casserole?” asks Bash to the ladies. The dish is one of her favorites from the kitchen. It is not ready so she settles for baked chicken and mashed potatoes. Anxiety is felt between Bash and the ladies to
The Foreign Exchange Student by Krislyn Domingue
Charlotte Buchal, ‘14, sits with Reny Galvan, ‘14, at lunch. While her friends eat, Buchal just sits and visits. The foreign exchange student is used to her German schooling in which the students didn’t eat lunch. Photo by Rikki Hurt
get the casserole ready in time. 11:10 a.m.: Food is hastily getting serving ready and metal gates are sliding upward to reveal the food as “A” lunch gets closer. 11:28 a.m.: “A” lunch begins and Bash helps a new cashier hand out food and give students change back. She is like a hawk making sure everything runs smoothly by quickly walking by each of the 14 lunch lines. Food is constantly being restocked into the serving lines faster than it can leave. Hungry students get satisfied as food reaches their plate. This continues as “B” and “C” lunch make their way through. By the end, 1,400 students are fed, but the job isn’t done for the day. 1:00 p.m.: Now that the ladies are done cleaning and washing they are allowed to go home, but that time doesn’t come for Bash until 2 p.m. as she is busy printing reports and filing paperwork. When the work day is over and the cash and bellies of students have been taken care of, Bash is able to leave. She knows the next alarm will be coming early again on the next school day, and she can only hope it goes as smoothly.
Charlotte Buchal deals with being a foreign exchange student on a daily basis. Charlotte Buchal, ‘14, saunters into Room 2315 for chemistry and settles in behind the glossy black table top of a desk. Only two hours ago she was stumbling out of bed amidst the darkness of early daybreak. Only two hours ago she was primping and prepping for the day. Buchal has been following the same monotonous routine day-in and day-out since August, trying to craft a foreign place into a home. Though she is separated from her home by miles of both land and sea, she is German and that fact is never more than a roll of a tongue away. …. “I’m ready to go home,” interjects Amber Arrambul, ‘14, during Buchal’s sec-
ond period - English. “Mhm,” murmurs Buchal in agreement, referring to the home she shares with her host mother. Leaning against the back of the chair with her arm propped up, she glances around the room. Buchal has a little less than six hours before she can go to her temporary home. She has a little less than four months before she can really go home. The conversation shifts to TAKS prep and a light-hearted wave of seriousness settles in over the room. “It’s in about three weeks,” announces English teacher Stephanie Harrell. Arrambul turns to Buchal with a bit of a Texas drawl, “Did y’all take tests like that?” Buchal responds with a shake of her head. “I’m from Germany. It’s not the same,” she answers with a chuckle. …. Buchal stands in front of Teresa Aranda’s dance room, shifting weight from
A DAY IN THE LIFE
The Coach and Teacher
THE ODYSSEY MARCH 2013
Allyn Sloan experiences the silence of an ISS classrom and the sounds of an outdoor football practice as his day consists of jumping back and forth from his position as teacher to coach. Photos by Paris Dowd
by Regine Murray
Sloan juggles his time as an ISS teacher and assistant football coach. In-School Suspension teacher Allyn Sloan starts his day off by calling roll. With a small list of names, they answer “here” quickly. All nine of them are in ISS. Sloan then takes lunch count. Most of the kids say no to the cold turkey sandwich. Then it’s silence. The only sounds are from the shuffling of papers, typing on the keyboard, and the lightly tapping feet on the floor of some of the beyond bored kids. “I get very few visitors, nothing ever really goes on here, I look at my playbooks for football a lot, but other than that I’m just sitting here,” said Sloan, an assistant football coach. Sloan decorates the walls with t-shirts from Texas A&M, the University of Houston, posters of football teams he likes, and iPod posters with the “playlist” of daily duties and rules for the class. It’s third period and no one has said anything since the beginning of first, “Put up your phone,” Sloan says. “Wake up,” he says again to a different student. Although the class is lifeless, Sloan is very attentive. “One thing that I don’t like is the attitudes,” he says. “People come in here mad at me with an attitude, but I didn’t put you in here. It’s not my fault you have ISS.” one foot to the other. She stands tall and slim, crossing her legs from time to time, alone until Daijah Hutchinson, ‘15, approaches her. Others soon follow. “Who’s your friend? I’m your friend,” says Dequann Ruffin, ‘13, answering his own question. Buchal and Ruffin are both enrolled in dance class together. However, at home in Germany Buchal has a stringent class selection with few “fun” classes. There is no dance option. In Germany, Buchal has seven to eight classes a day, classes that range from history, a variety of sciences, three languages other than German, music, art, geography, “sport” (gym), and math (combination of algebra and geometry). Because of the considerable differences in American and German curriculum, Buchal will have to repeat 11th grade when she returns. It’s the price she pays for her fun times here in the states. Ruffin and Buchal go back and forth play fighting much like brother and sis-
ter, until they decide to make up by performing their secret handshake. Buchal clasps Ruffin’s left hand and they pull into each other, ending with a snap. “I’ve been practicing,” Buchal says to Ruffin with a grin. …. Buchal arrives early to her fourth period where she is taught the history of the United States from an individual much like herself. She indulges in conversation with teacher Dirk Bunck in her native tongue. Bunck migrated from Belgium and is able to speak a little German because of the similarities in language. The lights go out and “WWII Test Review” goes up. “We traded with the...that the Germans had...,” Bunck lectures. Buchal looks up and smiles a soft grin at the mention of her nationality. …. The chatter of the lunch room flows in and out of Buchal’s ears. She glances to her left and there is Reny Galvan, ‘14,
Fourth period arrives and the dozing off students are awakened by Sloan’s husky voice. “Give me your phone,” he tells the girl who was already warned. Finally Sloan’s favorite period arrives: fifth. Time for football. He drops off the ISS students in Sgt. Donny O’Bryant’s class and heads out to the field. With almost 30 players in attendance, he starts their warm ups. They soon start Perfect 20s - a drill of running as fast as you can. If just one person does it wrong by stopping before the cone or slowing down, the whole team runs again and again until they get a “perfect 20” in a row. “Shut up and just do it,” Sloan yells at the complaining athletes. “Over again, over again, down two.” They keep going until they get a perfect 20. “We are going to find ways to challenge you, find ways to push you. You can’t just give up you gotta find a way to compete,” Sloan says as he lets the boys go. As sixth period ends, he leaves the athletic period and goes back to his ISS students. Once again, there is silence. Seventh period he’s back to his screaming at athletes pushing them to work harder, and that ends Sloans day. chomping on a chicken sandwich. In front of Buchal there is a foot of brown, faux wooden table top that is clear. They do not eat lunch in Germany. …. “Are you the Queen?” Jake Bootz, ‘14, asks. She nods her head, “I am the Queen,” she jokes. “Queen Charlotte.” Bootz and Buchal converse throughout their sixth period theater class. They discuss their shoes and declare their feet twins. They discuss her easy-going temperament. “Charlotte, do you ever get mad?,” Bootz asks. “I do,” Charlotte nods, “at my little sister.” Buchal’s sister is 12 and the pair video chat via Skype. Along with their parents, they stay connected across land and sea by a sometimes rocky stream of internet. .... Buchal sits in Fashion Marketing with her seat facing outward, legs crossed - left
over right. There is a guest speaker - Marilyn Ruiz Rivas, owner of the dress shop Marlo and Mandy’s. Buchal sits with the crown of her head tilted to the left and stares at Rivas. “Are you understanding?” Rivas asks Buchal. Buchal nods, “Yes.” “I have a friend in Germany, too,” Rivas adds. .... There goes that bell. Buchal shuffles and gathers her binder and trench coat and maneuvers towards the door. Down-down she goes until she reaches the bottom of the stairs and long-stride long-stride until she reaches her bus. Buchal has 20 to 30 minutes before she is home; and American enough as she may seem, she is never all of the way there.
A DAY IN THE LIFE
Matthew Frost discusses vocabulary words with his AP English 3 class during second period. Photos by Paris Dowd
The English Teacher by Madison Rice
On the track and in the classroom, Matthew Frost balances his athletes and students. Matthew Frost dons his usual Friday attire: a black SC insignia windbreaker, neon green and black running shoes, teal and black stopwatch, clenched fists and tired eyes. “Coach, we don’t know what to do, because of the wrestling tournament,” one athlete tells him. “They blocked off the athletics area and won’t let anyone back there.” A different obstacle, a different day. As the seconds pass by, his weary face tells a story. A story of a teacher. A story of a coach. Today’s story is not a far cry from the last, as he tells each athlete what to do. Obstacle avoided, if only for a little while. Frost makes his way toward his other world, outside of the maroon and gold walls. The doors open, and the rush of cold crisp air overtakes his body. Birds chirping. The smell of trekked dirt and mud. Frost steadily approaches the four boys and six girls in cross country. Burying his hands into his pockets as the wind blows through his windbreaker, he starts and yells time. “17. 18. 19. 20.” He is barely heard over the howling wind. The sun begins to break through the clouds. He unconsciously stands in a stretching pose, feet apart. His sense of focus is passed over by his hurried fingers, as they fumble across the cold clear keys. “I am going to text Coach Ervin to escort you through,”
he says to the runners reassuringly. Frost’s facial expression shifts as he looks down and refreshes his messages. No text yet. “Let’s go regulate and make sure they are not being harassed by the wrestlers,” Frost says. Stopping for a moment, he shakes off his mud coated jeans. Keys floundering in hand, he twists the door lock open. The smell of sweat engulfs him. Frost barely writhes through the bodies consuming the area as he breathes fresh air. Adorning his door is a giant pink heart with “Coach Frost.” He enters his classroom with students filing behind. Kimberly McFarland, English 3 teacher, walks into the room wearing a grin. “I had a student write a narrative from the perspective of Luke Skywalker,” she says, handing Frost the essay. He begins to read it, both face and eyes smiling. He addresses an email to McFarland: Best. Essay. Ever. “Star Wars is my favorite movie,” he says, laughing. “I probably know more about it than I should.” Ring. The students soon begin to file back in. He waits patiently at his chair, twiddling his thumbs. Frost comments, with a large grin and complete sincerity. “Please make a note,” he says. “I tell the same stupid jokes
The Secretary House secretary gets through the many tasks of the day. Story by Jenna Duvall Busy doesn’t even describe Laura Buchheit’s desk Amongst the piles of sweep slips, Carbon secretary Laura Buchheit locates and answers her phone. It’s a call from her 20-year-old son Thomas, a computer and electrical engineering student at University of Houston. “Can I call you back? We’re a little busy.” Busy means swamped with tardy students, assigning parking passes and keeping track of the multitude of students needing to see counselor Sharon Garcia or house principal Eddie Palomarez. The tasks of the day are endless, and it’s a constant effort to finish the things at hand. She flips the page on her daily exotic destination calendar, a gift from Palomarez. On this day, it’s Bermuda with blue waves, white sandy beaches and rays of sunshine. “I can never get in trouble for daydreaming because I have this calendar.” Shuffling through files, Buchheit pulls out two textbook request forms: Physics, Biology, World History, English.
Laura Buchheit tends to a tardy student. Photo by Lisseth Lopez
The list of books is a light load in comparison to the stack of requests she receives on other days. “It won’t take three carts to bring back these books today, girls,” Buchheit says to second period aides, Bri Garcia, ‘13, and Sharnae Sykes, ‘13. Hidden in the back hallway near the art rooms, metal racks of books collect dust in the book room. Logging in, Buchheit sends her aids to look for books to be checked out. Returning to the computer with textbooks in hand, they talk about the usual things with her - boys, clothes and everyday activities. Buchheit studied psychology; and after two years, she left to start a family with her high school sweetheart while also making a career for herself.
Frost discusses with Coach Sheldon Ervin about what he should say to his athletes in seventh period. The students had been leaving the shot puts and discus out on the field.
every single period.” Ring. The students shuffle backpacks in tow, out of room 1208 for the day. The humming of the air conditioning takes prominence in the once hectic class, a major contrast from just a few seconds ago. The silence is refreshing. Frost begins today’s unlikely and unpredictable journey towards the track, with a group of about 30 girls trailing behind. Immediately the atmosphere changes. The smell of mint and sweat overwhelm completely. Frost slips out of the hallway for only a minute to change. Emerging back into the sea of bodies as he makes his way towards the double doors leading outside, outside of the chaos. It becomes his release from the constraining walls of the classroom. A light breeze makes its way swiftly through his t-shirt. Walking hands by side, his feet carry him to the asphalt track. “Everybody,” he chants pacing back and forth. “Everybody,” they chant back, without second thought. Today’s obstacles and story seem familiar. His story of a teacher. His story of a coach.
“I love being around young people,” Buchheit said. “Some days I feel like I missed my calling to work with young people. I’m honored that students come to me with their problems and look to me for advice.” Throughout the day, her desk is a popular area during passing periods for both upper and lower classmen, almost always including her daughter, Katie, ‘13. “My desk is the hangout spot. It’s always a party here. I think that I have six ‘additional’ children of my own; all of Katie’s friends. They call me Mom,” Buchheit says after hugging Tiana Matthews, ‘13. The day continues in motion, each bell signaling a new rush of students to get ID badges, sweep passes, or the occasional razor and shaving cream combination for the peach fuzz on unkempt faces. The constant repeating of, “Pay or consequence?” rolls off her tongue until seventh period gets underway. Though she’s been working all day, there are still so many things left to do: run concessions at the Friday night soccer game, finish filing sweep passes, and rushing home just to come back to school. The last bus changes bring Palomarez from his office and he observes the vacation spot on the calendar. “Oh, Bermuda. I’d like to be there today,” he says. “So would I. Bermuda. Looks like a nice spot, but I can’t wait to see Monday’s destination,” Buchheit says.
A DAY IN THE LIFE
The Maintenance Man Story by Madison Terrier Photos by Lisseth Lopez
Kerry Smith checks his e-mail for work orders. Smith has been the maintenance man since the building first opened in 2009.
Notebook in hand, Smith writes a task down for future reference. Smith makes sure to write down everything he notices that needs to be worked on throughout the day so he doesn’t forget.
Kerry Smith makes sure school functions properly for the 2,200 students and staff at the school. With a quick pace and his tiny notepad full of work orders, Kerry Smith begins his and pushing his way through the student population that seems oblivious day at 6 a.m. His cart laden with three boxes of screws, hammers, a drill, yardsticks, and to the man who keeps the place running. He hurries to the other side of anything else needed to keep a school of 2,200 running, he makes his the school, needing to check his e-mail for anything requiring his way to his first assignments, hoping to finish his tasks before the Friday immediate attention. Finally he makes it back to Room 1046, a door bell signifies the start of the weekend. that reads “Equipment Storage.” It’s home base: Smith’s office. His “Good morning, office is tiny with sticky notes covering the surface of everything and Smitty.” tools everywhere. A framed picture of his smiling family members See video “How’re you doing sits on the top tier of his desk. The cart he pulls around on work today, Smitty?” orders fills the rest of the space. A six pack of bottled Diet Cokes rest of Smith at “Same thing, differon the floor. SCHStoday.com ent day,” he replies. The bell rings. Students make their way to first period, but Smith The day begins the has been hard at work for almost two hours now. same as usual, with the hum of the If no new work orders arrive needing immediate attention, Smith finds generator and crispness of the mornsomething that needs to be done. He grabs a handful of screws and an ing air. His keys whiz as he unlocks orange screwdriver and checks every single plastic covering on the thermothe door and lets them go, snapping stats across the entire school. The wear and tear of students scraping their back onto the pulley on his work belt. backpacks against the wall and bumping them causes the cases to come off; On Main Street, Smith tightens the screw to the thermostat that gets damaged In the very back of the school, where and if isn’t fixed, it can cause damage to the thermostat. by the wear and tear of students bumping their backpacks against the wall. As the chief mechanic, there isn’t much Smith finds small tasks like this to do throughout the day. that Smith doesn’t do. By lunch, he has already turned on the gym lights for most have never travelled, a machine yard contains the wrestling tournament participants, a door reading “Fire Control Room.” Smith checks changed light bulbs, adjusted door posts, the room, the alarms, and the big machines in it. replaced ceiling tiles, rescued a balloon “Read out says it’s fine,” he comments. stuck to the ceiling and dispatched a And then he’s off to the next thing. critter that did not belong on campus. Three hundred and seven steps later, back inside, A day in the life of Smith is one full down Main Street, through the athletic hall, and of hard work and craftsmanships, with up a steep ladder, lies another door with more big long walks and the knowledge that at machines: the air conditioners, the water pipes, the any time of the day something may need place that cools and heats the water for the school. fixing. “I check them every day,” he said. “You never “When I’m on my way to a task, I’m Smith walks through the upstairs boiler room to get to the roof over athletics know when something can go wrong.” constantly looking at doors and lights hallway for a routine check. On the roof Smith has found many objects such as shoes, tennis balls and phone cases. He exits the room where everything is gray, this to see if anything needs to be changed,” door leads him even higher. As buses drop off kids he said. and cars pull around the circle drive, Smith stands on the roof. He collects a tennis ball He finishes up his assignments for the day a little early and gets off of his and phone case with a quizzical look and chuckles to himself as he wonders how they feet with a bottle of Diet Coke. ended up there. When he isn’t walking the halls of the school, he volunteers at Tour 18 Before he can even begin attending to his newly assigned tasks, he must first make Golf Course, works in his woodshop in his garage, spends time with his sure everything is running properly, a task that brings him ever closer to the end of his new dog, Marley, and plans for a day in his life when he can buy a small work day at 2:30 p.m. travel trailer and tour the Texas National Parks. Back in the main hall, he makes his way around students. Side-stepping, dodging,
THE ODYSSEY MARCH 2013
Photo by Susanna Summers
Dakota Allen,’14, works to get a pin against his opponent during the Regional meet that was held at Summer Creek. Allen went on to State and took home the second place medal. Photo by Wayne Barloco
Jenna Folk, ‘16, runs with the ball while Lindsey Carranza, ’15, waits for a chance to go for the ball. The girls lost to MacArthur HS on Jan. 18.
Girls adjust to new coach, new standards
New head coach Dirk Bunch brings fundamental changes to program with goal of district champions. DANIELLE MILLER STAFF REPORTER
The girls’ soccer team was surprised last year when they heard coach Aaron Leth was leaving the school. Though the team worried about the change, they came to like and understand new head coach Dirk Bunck. “We aren’t doing too hot if you look at our record, but the players individually have progressed and we’ve come a long way to where we can hold our own in districts,” Bunck said. The girls soccer team is 2-7 with big rivals in the district being Stratford and Kingwood Park. Bunck coached for four years at
Kingwood High School and hopes he can implement some of the techniques and discipline he used there. “It took a couple of months to get used to his way of coaching,” Lindsey Carranza, ‘15, said. “Coach Leth was more laid back and Coach Bunck is more serious and wants us to work harder than we did last year.” This year, most of the girls are taking on new positions and new roles on the team that they have not played previously. “Coach Bunck has changed the starting positions and when he came he wanted to change the girls’ mindsets and their way of winning,” Emily Freemen, ‘13, said. “He knows what it takes to win and holds us to a higher standard.”
This year the team’s goal is improve upon last year’s fourth place finish in districts and go further in the playoffs than they were able to last year. “As a team we have been progressing throughout the year,” Katie Buchheit, ‘13, said. “We have learned to play more defensively rather than how we used to play offensively.” As the team progresses in district play, it has already overcome having some players quit and others suffer injuries. The remaining players have their heads high and are ready to compete and make a difference. “All of the girls are willing to learn and are good hearted and good kids,” Bunck said. “They are willing to make any changes necessary to be a good and successful team.”
Smith builds bonds as he takes reins of program Coach Ryan Smith motivates athletes both on and off the soccer field. YAZMIN LOPEZ STAFF REPORTER
After Patrick Luna left Summer Creek last year, Ryan Smith took over the job as the coach for the boys soccer team. “As the head coach, I need to be the leader of the boys,” Smith said. “Not only teaching them the game but also the way of life.” Smith previously coached four years at Goose Creek Memorial as the head coach of the girls’ program. The boys received and welcomed Smith as a member to the team. “At first it was awkward,” Juan Castellanos, ‘15, said, “but then we started bonding as a team. We spend more time with him than with our parents. He’s like a father figure to the team.”
Photo by Jerrick Jerrels
Coach Ryan Smith takes time before the game to talk to the boys. Losing against Huntsville on Jan. 21, the boys hope to have a great season and continue to do their best.
Smith’s main intention is to teach the young boys discipline and also to teach them how to be role models in society and in the game of soccer.
“They give everything in the games and practices,” Smith said. “Since our concept for soccer is a team game, it’s important for every position to contribute as a unit, because we can’t win as individuals.” Leaving their effort and dedication and the passion for the sport in every game, the boys started off districts with a record of 0-6 and a 1-14 record overall. “I'm new to this school, and I'm very proud to be able to play soccer for this district,” Julio Tovalin, ‘13, said. “Also to be coached by a great coach like Smith.” As for Smith, his goal for the team is to win districts. As the soccer team continues their season, he said winning districts and taking them to the playoffs is their primary goal. “If the boys know for a fact that they play their hardest, they should keep their head up something will come in the future,” Smith said.
Wrestling team makes history
had an overall successful year. For Dakota Allen, ’14, the state competition was especially memorable as he won the highJAZMYN GRIFFIN est rank of the school coming in STAFF REPORTER second place. Sending a school record of “It was exciting but at the same nine wrestlers - three girls and time nerve-racking,” Allen said. six boys - the wrestling team “The team bonded and we behad high hopes for competing came closer. We’re getting betat State in the new ter as a wrestling 4A division. team.” STATE RESULTS “It means that The team got we’re advancing and support from the Dakota Allen, ‘14 getting so much student body in Second place further,” Jalexis Jackaddition to some Kierra Moore, ‘14 son, ’14, said. “It’s a unexpected specFourth place big accomplishment tators at the state Wallace Jackson, ‘14 for Summer Creek.” competition. Fourth place During the threeJalexis Jackson, ‘14 “It was memoday competition, Sixth place rable seeing my Dakota Allen, ‘14, OTHER QUALIFIERS: mom there,” JackChris Anderson, ‘13, was the highest finson said. “She Antuonne Hooper, ‘14, isher for the boys as recently had two Dale Battle, ‘13, Destiny he took second in major surgeries Wilbert, ‘15, and Jeremiah his weight class. Kiso I didn’t expect Price, ‘14. erra Moore, ‘14, was her to come.” the girls’ top finisher Advancing with with fourth place. more people than The boys placed 11th out of 77 they’ve ever had, the team has teams. progressed from the beginning Winning the titles of district of the season and made the champions, second in regionals, school and their coach proud. and 11th at the state competi“I’m really proud of everyone tion, Howard believes they’ve who competed,” Howard said.
Wrestling team makes school history in medals brought back home from recent state meet.
Boys, girls golf rack up tournament wins TAYLER BANES STAFF REPORTER
With recent strong outings in tournaments, the varsity boys and girls teams are optimistic as the District Championship nears. Connor Black, ’14, shot a 68 at Evergreen Golf Course on Feb. 4 to win the individual title. His outing helped the team - comprised of Ben Carr, ‘13, Tanner Wilburn, ‘13, and Lucas Heasley, ‘13 - take third place. “The guys were definitely excited to get third, but they know
they could have won the tournament,” Tarver said. A week later at Woodforest Golf Course, the boys claimed first place as a team even though the tournament was cut short due to severe weather conditions. The varsity girls golf team placed second as a team at Woodforest Golf Course shooting a combined score of 375 on Feb. 25. The team members included Meaghan Williams, ’13, Tayler Banes, ’13, Kelsey Fitzpatrick, ’13, Alexis Robinson, ‘15, and Holly Newton, ’15.
Track star deals with career-altering injury After tearing her ACL, Galloway had to face the injury and the impact it would have on her track career and future.
ACL injury encourages Lyle to work harder By Katherine Holmes
KATHERINE HOLMES STAFF REPORTER
Gjenine Galloway, ’15, was doing so well, gracefully moving over every hurdle, that even the coaches complimented her. Then suddenly, it seemed as if her knee collapsed under her and she crumpled to the ground - the moment of perfection falling with her. You wouldn’t have thought she was truly hurt until she started to get up, a look of horror crossing her face. “I’d never felt so much pain in my leg before - I could hear a popping sound. I thought for sure I’d broken it or something,” Galloway said of the moment she tore her ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) while doing hurdle drills on Jan. 23. “I started yelling for the coaches and they kept telling me to relax; then the trainer Brian Raine came out and started messing with my leg. He couldn’t tell if I’d torn anything so they gave me a giant brace to wear for the night, and my mom made an 8 a.m. doctor’s appointment the next day to get an MRI.” Two days later, Galloway’s mom got the devastating call. “I had been praying and then when the call came I broke down and started crying,” Gjenine’s mother “Lady Grace” Howard said. “Poor Gjenine came limping into the room on her crutches asking me, a grown woman, what was wrong; and I had to tell her the news.” It wasn’t what Galloway wanted to hear. “She told me I’d have to have surgery,” Galloway said, “because I’d torn the ACL in my right knee. I started crying too. I was so sad. I figured I’d have to sit out for a couple of weeks, but now it’ll take me at least six months to get back on my feet.” Galloway instantly began physical therapy, going both before and after school to regain strength and feeling in her right thigh so she could flex it. “Tearing your ACL is caused by pivoting while trying to stop at the same time, changing direction or getting hit in the front of the knee - all of which, while having planted feet,” Raine said. “Some of
Photo by Katherine Holmes
Trainer Sara Hansen assists Gjenine Galloway in taking the “Game Ready” off that cools her leg. This practice is one of many parts of the physical therapy that Galloway will participate in after tearing her ACL.
the worst injuries we see are torn always been independent - even at ACLs, among other things.” 4 years old. When I would lay out A torn ACL is a very common her clothes, I’d come into her room but serious injury. According to and she’d be wearing something the American Orthopedic Society that she picked out instead. She for Sports Medicine, it is estimated will start over mentally and heal that 150,000 ACL injuries occur physically. She is going to beat in the United States every year. this. As a mother you know your Depending on the severity of the children and I know my baby.” injury, recovery time after surgery While Gallloway is optimistic usually lasts from six to 12 months. now, she wasn’t always that way. “It’s going to be challenging,” She went through “a grieving Howard said. “I went online to process” as her mother called do some research on the injury it, like anyone else with such and I didn’t realize a life-altering how often people injury would. think they’ve just “At first I was so hurt their knees mad that I couldn’t not realizing there’s run anymore,” a super sensitive Galloway said. ligament in there. “I was just like, It’s so easy just to ‘What’s the point?’ trip over something But I soon realized and tear your ACL I needed to go to shreds.” -Gjenine Galloway, ‘15 back to school and Howard also hurt keep my grades up her knee when she was in high and focus on healing. I’ve heard school and said she may have torn some inspirational speeches by her ACL too. She never sought people who have suffered the same treatment, however, and now years [injury] as me. later she suffers from knee pain “Now, I’m thinking, ‘It’s going from time to time. to be OK.’ Just like my mom told “I think having ‘bad knees’ me this is going to be a story I’ll runs in the family. Gjenine’s tell people once I gain my strength grandmother has had two knee back. This will be my testimony, replacements,” Howard said. it’ll be how I reach out to people.” Galloway is now missing at least She spent the last five weeks an entire season of track, but she going through what Raine called has faith she will fully recover. “pre-hab,” which is extra work “When we first found out, in before surgery so that recovery is her mind, life was over,” Howard a lot easier. said. “But over the course of her On Feb. 28, Galloway underwent recovery she’s matured. She’s surgery to have her torn ACL
“This will be my testimony, it’ll be how I reach out to people.”
repaired. “The operation went great,” said Galloway, who returned to the training room just days after the surgery. Despite the hard work in the training room, there are many other non-sports related hardships that go along with this injury which can slow Galloway down. “It’s really hard to go up and down stairs,” Galloway said. “I have to rely on my boyfriend to do a lot for me; he carries my backpack and lunch all the time. I’m constantly on my crutches, but it’s getting easier. “People have been so supportive. When everyone first found out about my injury, I got so many phone calls and Facebook messages, and some of my friends even surprised me at my house.” Galloway is still trying to stay close to her teammates. “I’ll still go to the home meets and support my team, even though I can’t participate,” Galloway said. “People can take my spot now, but next year I’ll be there to get it back. No one can truly replace me yet. But I’ll be sad at the meets, because I’ll be watching other people do what I love.” Galloway is working to keep her head held high. “I talked to my friend (Chester) Semien (‘15) and (basketball) coach Tricia Mize, who both have torn their ACLs; and they told me they felt just like I do but that the rehab helps a lot,” Galloway said. “Mrs. (Chioma) Ukabam tore
Kendahl Lyle, ‘16, is another athlete who has pulled out of sports with both a torn ACL and torn meniscus. His injury took place during eighth grade. “I was playing defense on the football field and my leg turned and I felt a rip in my knee,” Lyle said. “It was this really sharp pain every time I tried to move my leg. About a week afterwards I went to the doctor and they told me I couldn’t play sports until I had surgery.” Lyle found out that he would have to wait an additional time period for his surgery, because his doctors did not want to interrupt his growing by drilling into his growth plate. He has been out of sports for almost a year now, working to keep his knee strong so that he doesn’t injure it even more. “The orthopedic doctor told me just to stay careful, because if I hurt it even more my injury could become irreparable,” Lyle said. Lyle has spent his time working with different clubs and organizations such as Student Council, Key Club and band playing in the stands instead of on the field. “The biggest hardship has been watching everyone else play sports and become better [athletes], while I can’t play the sports I love to play,” Lyle said. “I no longer take sports for granted. I’ve missed a lot of practice time since I’ve been out for so long; and if I ever want to play again in high school, I’ll have to work extra hard. But I know one day I’ll play sports again.”
hers too, and she told me to be thankful because so many people have it worse than just a torn ACL, and she’s right.” Galloway has big plans once she is able to get back on the track and even beyond that. “If people have questions on whether or not they have the correct form in a sporting event, they should always ask their coach,” Galloway said. “That’s what I want to do - I want to be a coach so I can prevent these injuries and teach athletes just like me. I’m going to keep getting better, and I’ll be back on my feet and hopefully running in less than six months.”
THE ODYSSEY MARCH 2013
Seniors’ run ends with first-round loss Seven seniors saw their final season come to a close on a one-point loss to Beaumont Central in the playoffs. KRISLYN DOMINGUE AND SHAIANNE RUBIN STAFF REPORTERS
Photo by Meredith Mann
Varsity swimmers Justus Pennington, ‘13, Catalina Endo, ‘15, Matthew Kraemer, ‘15, and Caleb del Real, ‘15, pose after they each won medals at districts. All four swimmers advanced to Regionals and State.
Boys team cracks Top 5 at State The swim team has record finish at state meet in boys 200 free relay. The state meet wraps up a successful season.
MADISON RICE CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
After placing ninth overall at State last year, the boys varsity swim team moved to an impressive fifth-place finish Feb. 23. “Going into the meet, I felt pretty good,” Jonathan del Real, ‘15, said. “I was excited and had high expectations for the meet. I was ready to do what I had to do.” The varsity swim team sent six boys and one girl to State. The boys placed fifth in the 200 free relay and eighth in the 400 free relay. Jonathan del Real, ’15, placed fifth in both the 50 and 100 free. Justus Pennington, ‘13, placed eighth in both the 200 and 500 free. Matthew Kraemer, ‘15, placed 15th in the 200 free and 16th in the 500 free. Nick Rudy, ‘15, placed 11th in the 100 breast. Caleb del Real, ‘15, placed 13th in the 500 free. Catalina Endo, ‘15, finished
11th in the girls 500 free. With the boys’ 113 points they finished behind district rival Kingwood Park. “Individually, they improved all their places,” coach John Dissinger said. “They have all done a really good job this year. We should be pleased.” Wrapping up their season, the boys’ team placed second in the District meet and were runner-ups in Region. The boys broke a Region record in the 400 free relay. The girls’ team came in second at Districts and fourth at Regions. State qualifiers Jonathan del Real and Endo were each awarded the District Swimmer of the Year awards for boys and girls, respectively. Jonathan del Real was awarded Region Swimmer of the Year as well. “At the end of the day, I look at all we have accomplished this year,” Dissinger said. “Overall we did very well. We should hopefully learn from this year’s meet, look forward, strive to do better and learn from our experiences.”
The varsity girls basketball team finished its season with a 39-38 loss to Beaumont Central in the first round of the 4A playoffs. The Bulldogs led by one with 13 seconds left in the game, but a final run by Beaumont Central ended Summer Creek’s chances to advance. It was an emotional end for a team that boasted seven seniors. “[This loss] means a whole lot to me especially since I’ve been playing since Summer Creek opened,” said Katelynn Johnson, ‘13. “I just wanted to take this ride as far as I could, and it means a whole lot to me since I’m a senior.” Beaumont Central and Summer Creek traded the lead throughout the entire game. Summer Creek put much of its focus defensively on containing Central’s senior guard Malena Washington while Central focused on stopping Johnson. “They basically ran the same plan (as us),” McDonald said. “They boxed up on her [Johnson] and we boxed up on their number one.” Although the 2012-13 season is over for the girls, the seniors said they hope their younger teammates will be able to take the program deeper into postseason in the near future. “I love them all and we all played hard,” said Johnson. “I told the young ones that they still have time to come back to this same place. I just loved playing basketball
Photo by Wayne Barloco
Katelynn Johnson, ‘13, goes for a layup in a game against Humble High School. Johnson is one of seven seniors on the team this year.
for Summer Creek.” The girls took away more than just basketball skills from their season with coach Angela McDonald. Her lessons didn’t always have as much to do with the game as they did with helping guide the girls in the future. “I tell all of my athletes that commit to my training for four years that I will instill in them the characteristics they need to be successful in whatever they want to do in life,” McDonald said.
Boys fall short in playoffs after placing third in district With a young team, the boys surpassed many expectations by reaching the first round of the playoffs before falling to Ozen. KEATON MCMANAMY STAFF REPORTER
Photo by Lisseth Lopez
Jocquese Wardsworth, ’14, attempts to defend the ball from a Crosby player in the final home game of the boys basketball season.
The boys basketball team fell to Ozen Beaumont on Feb. 19 capping off their season with a 12-5 record. For the second season in a row, the boys reached the playoffs - a considerable feat this season considering it returned only three varsity players from the previous season. “I think this season was a success and we proved a lot of people wrong,” Paul Thomas, ‘15, said. “A lot of people didn’t expect us to make playoffs.” The boys ended the season third in the district and fell to Ozen, 57-48.
“We did a great job of scoring against a good team, but we just couldn’t rebound and they got a lot of turnovers on us,” Dominique Sauls, ‘13, said. The team will be graduating three seniors this year including Sauls, Ja’Marcus Vaughn and Brent Butler. “Darius Reed is the only junior who started and he has to step up next year,” coach Ricky Mourning said. “I’m going to depend on the juniors. Senior leadership for them starts after spring break.” The team has high hopes for next year and will focus on improving as a team. “We got a taste this year and they say that once you get a taste you want more,” Thomas said. “State is our goal and getting stronger and more mature, just better overall.”
THE ODYSSEY MARCH 2013
Signing to colleges become big goal for players
Teammates motivated to improve in playoffs now that Triplett has signed to Southwestern. MICHELLE GARCIA STAFF REPORTER
Much like the school motto, attitude really is everything. This is exactly what the new and improved softball team has going for them. “The screws are a lot more tightened as far as discipline goes,” Varsity Softball Coach Lindsay Cathey said. “This year we are fighters to the finish, our attitude is much better as a whole.” According to Cathey, some top goals the team has are to improve every day, play to the end and reach the playoffs. “We are working on committing less errors and playing the entire seven innings,” Cathey said. “If you do commit an error, you have to be able to recover.” With better performances, come new opportunities. First baseman Hailey Triplett, ‘13, has already signed a national letter of intent with Southwestern. Catcher Rebecca Achee, ‘14, hopes to play in college as well. Scouts from LSU and Alabama have
Photo by Shaianne Rubin
Kelly Free, ‘13, hits the softball and runs to first place. The softball team plans to better their season and are motivated knowing a teammate has signed a scholarship to play in college.
watched Achee play. “I am interested Alabama,” Achee said. “I like their softball team and their campuses.” Triplett, the team captain, was interested in playing for either Schreiner University or Southwestern. “I signed with Southwestern because it ‘s close to home,” Triplett said. “Not only do they offer good athletics but they have really high
standards for academics. I was extremely excited.” Triplett was at home with her parents when she got a phone call from Southwestern. “My parents were very excited as well,” Triplett said, “maybe even more than me. They also like that it is close to home.” Having a team member who has already signed with a college may
inspire others to work even harder. “It boosts their morale,” Cathey said. “It makes achieving a scholarship reality. If one of the players is awarded a scholarship, they then will think, ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’” Many teammates are happy for Triplett’s success, including her coach. “I think it is awesome” Cathey said. “If that’s what a kid wants, I have to do everything I can to get them there. I am super excited for her, not only athletically but academically. Southwestern is an amazing school. She’ll probably be my boss someday.” Cathey is able to contact the scouts and talk to them on a weekly basis. She contacts them by email, text message or by phone. “A player gets noticed most by their attitude when they make an error,” Triplett said. “They watch how you react to it.” Triplett has some of her own advice for players who would like to achieve their goal and play in college. “School is for everyone,” Triplett said. “Don’t give up If you really want to play, you can go to whatever school you want.”
Baseball players work to earn another trip to playoffs Team members lean on one another to better themsleves for the season. VICTORIA VALENTINE STAFF REPORTER
Varsity boys baseball has plans to go far this season with a new season underway. “Our ultimate goal is to win district championships; and to do that, we are just going to have to work harder than everyone else,” coach Paul Hinson said. “In our previous
seasons it went well, but I think we could have taken it more seriously and we could have been more mature about it; but we’ve grown up a lot since last year.” The players have been working hard to achieve their goal of reaching the playoffs. “I think I played well last season, but I continued to work hard so I can improve myself for this season,” Joseph Spinks, ‘14, said. The team is relying on key players
like Torrey Johnson, ‘14, who is the leadoff hitter, Even Perez, ‘13, who is key on defense, and Spinks, who pitches and provides a power bat for the team. “Another key player would be Ashton Flint,” Hinson said of the senior. “He’s our vocal leader, he’s the one to tell everyone what to do, you know like shut up or sit down. He is just an overall good leader.” New players were added to the team in the offseason and have
made immediate impacts, including Matthew Buenrostro, ‘14. George Gonzalez, ‘14, said that Buenrostro plays well at shortstop and has helped out with defense. The boys have high hopes as the season continues. “This season I want to help take my team past the first round in playoffs and to do that I have to get my guys on the team to do better in class so that way we can be ready on the field and off,” Johnson said.
Boys jump out to fast start; girls getting stronger All three relays for the boys’ track team are ranked among the top five in 4A. KATHERINE HOLMES STAFF REPORTER
Track is now in season and coaches Matt Frost and Shelton Ervin are helping to lead the teams to victory, despite a few hiccups along the way. “Our first practice meet showed we have a little bit of work to do, but I think where we are now is a lot better than where we were this time last year,” Frost said. The teams attend practice everyday after school, constantly working on form and staying in shape for the meets. The athletes separate into groups that will help them with their specific event. “The relay team is our strong point,” Ervin said. “All three relay teams are ranked top five in the state in 4A. Greg Hogan is ranked top five in the state.” With the boys’ strong finish last year, they hope to keep their record times and ranks. “The point we are at right now is scary,” Ervin said. “We have won every meet thus far. Our average is 160 points collectively. Everyone knows their role and will continue to one goal of domination.” The girls team has no problem filling spots for running events, but outside of the actual track is where problems arise. “We lost a lot in terms of field events last year, so that’s going to be tricky to figure out where we’ll get that back, but we have time to figure that out,” Frost said.
THE ODYSSEY MARCH 2013
Students need more practice with life situations ALEX PELHAM SECTION EDITOR
Photo by Jackie Martinez
Deborah Boone collects trash during C lunch. The custodial staff brings the trash cans to the students while they are eating so the students don’t have to get up, and to ensure there is no trash left behind after lunches.
Janitors deserve more respect from students titude that they often receive. Many kids just flat out ignore the custodians even though those kids were obviously waiting for the trash cans to come rolling their way so they wouldn’t have to get up and walk five feet to a can themselves. Too many times I’ve seen students get up when the bell rings to go back to class and leave their trays stacked with trash on the table without even a second thought to pick it up and throw it away themselves. Instead of the students thanking the custodians like they should, the custodians are thanking the students for throwing their trash away. It’s not just a lunch issue. Students are al-
ASADA SAMIN STAFF REPORTER Every day the custodians get to school before the students and leave after everyone else is long gone. Throughout the day custodians are constantly working. During lunch there are custodians rolling trash cans around so that we, the students, can throw away our trash without having to get out of our seats. In return, there are many kids who treat the custodians with nothing but disrespect and terrible attitudes. The custodians walk by and nicely ask students to throw our trash in the trash cans. They don’t give the students the at-
• • • • • • •
Spring break is almost here! Cooler weather. Prom. Special night of senior year. Teachers who push you. It helps you be better in life. Award shows. Seeing all of our favorite stars looking their best. Harlem Shake. It’s fun and very catchy. Taco Tuesday in the cafeteria. Who doesn’t like a good taco?
• • • • • • •
ways throwing bits of trash on the floor or stumbling over something without picking it up and throwing it into a nearby trash can. They figure that the custodians will pick it up because they wrongly assume “that’s what they’re there for.” Fortunately there are some students who care and have respect for the adults who are there to make something convenient for them. They also respect that there are trash cans throughout the hallways for a specific reason. It bothers me personally to see how much disrespect students can to show to an adult and feel perfectly fine with it. I would like to see students start thanking the custodians instead of ignoring them.
Talking or giggling during tests. We’re trying to work. AP tests. Not ready for them. Not being able to use phones during passing periods. Bad hair day. Don’t you just love those? Long Lines. Everyone hates them. Parking Passes. Having to pay $20 to park. Texas weather, is it spring or winter?
The whole point of school is to prepare students for life after basic education, yet it doesn’t seem to be happening. Sure, we can learn the aspects of the career fields that interest us such as the medical field. But we only learn the information that will get us to college to further study our selected career field. Students don’t learn lessons that will benefit them regardless of the career path they’ve chosen. Not many students have actually learned to balance a checkbook, file taxes or any similar basic skills. Of course it seems expected that the students’ parents should teach their kids these life lessons. There are several cases, however, where parents are either out of the picture or unable to assist their child. Therefore it’s only natural that the student should rely on school to help them understand and develop better life skills. Unfortunately high schools don’t seem to teach these skills. The closest you can get to learning to change a tire is being in auto tech class for a year. This lack of education starts in elementary school. Nowadays students aren’t taught how to properly type or even how to write or read cursive. How can students complete basic requirements like sign legal papers without learning how to produce a signature? High school is a time where students are making the final transition to adulthood. I believe that the curriculum should accommodate them by teaching at least the core basics on how to “survive.” This could include lessons on how to produce a resume, perhaps taught in English classes and how to file taxes, a skill taught in mathematics or economics. Some may argue that companies such as H&R Block and certain web sites can either provide assistance or offer hints on these tasks. However, I think that it would benefit an individual more if they learn to do it themselves; they could save money and develop essential life skills. After all, it’s pointless to prepare for a career if you can’t even manage the tasks your parents have to deal with.
What part of spring break are you most looking forward to?
“Hanging out with my friends, no school, and hopefully going out of town to San Antonio.” - Aaron Perales, ‘13
“I get to see Jake Owen for free at the Rodeo, and I have an extra ticket.” -Katie Andrews, ‘14
“Going to the beach because it’s a place where you can let your ambitions go and have fun.” - Kimmett Jones, ‘13
“Painting my nails because I’ll have more time over the break.” - Victoria Carr, ‘16
“Spending time with my friends.” - Dylan Levitt, ‘14
“Relax, traveling, spending some good money and having some good fun.” - Gold House Principal Reggie Spivey
THE ODYSSEY MARCH 2013
Pass/Fail gives students unfair advantage Pass/fail is a system in which students can abstain from getting an actual grade and receive just an indicator of whether the student passed a class or failed it. The district says the purpose behind this is “to encourage more students to participate in upper level courses and to pursue specific interests in a four-year Keaton McManamy strand of courses for which there is no honors designation.” However, when it’s applied to an on-level class it drastically changes the playing field of GPA and rank; and the program needs to be gone. In an AP/honor’s class, the scale for GPA is based on a 6.0 scale, therefore a 100 in an AP/Honors class will give a
straight 6.0. As a grade decreases, so does the points to be averaged. In an on-level or average elective class, the scale has 5.0 being the highest possible numerical representation to be averaged in. Thus every on-level class hurts a student’s cumulative GPA if their GPA is above 5.0. By allowing students to take an onlevel class pass/fail so their GPA doesn’t drop takes away from the hard work required to achieve a high rank. Students are able to manipulate the system instead of working hard. By using the pass/ fail method, students don’t need to work their hardest on all seven classes; they can just focus on a few classes. This system goes against everything that rank and GPA should be based upon. Students who work the hardest deserve the reward for their hard work and this translates into a higher rank and more scholarships for college. A student’s ability to manipulate the system is a great indicator of their smarts, but rank is a pure
mathematical formula and should be calculated so. All great grades should equal a great rank, not a decent one because other students showed how apt they are at playing the game. The only way to level the playing field and ensure a fair system - aside from simply getting rid of the whole program - is to give every student the same knowledge. The school needs to sit every student down in an assembly or mandatory counselor meetings and explain this option to everyone. Though this idea is far less preferable to simply ridding the school of this ridiculous program, it would allow every student an equal opportunity. Pass/fail needs to be gone. It doesn’t reward those who work hard or even courage students to work hard in the first place. It promotes the idea of manipulating classes and the whole institution of GPA and rank by telling students that they simply don’t need to try in certain classes.
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
Disorders should not define or restrict who you are I remember it like it just happened. At the age of 3, I would destroy other people’s Lego towers at preschool. I wouldn’t get a lollipop at the end of dance class. I would pull down all the lights at the church Christmas musical. My parents didn’t know what Mackenzie Harper to do. I made weird sounds and movements that I couldn’t control. I didn’t act like a normal kid. What our family didn’t know was that I had Tourettes Syndrome and mild autistic tendencies. Tourettes Syndrome (TS) is a nuerological disorder in which the average person is born with too many chemicals in their brain. Thus, it tells their body to do things they can’t control such as repetitive eye blinking, grunting and shoulder shrugs. These are called “tics.” Stress and anxiety can cause my tics to be elevated. I also have mild autisic tendencies. I take medication and see a doctor every six weeks. In my preschool years I started having these tics. My parents wanted to help me so they took me to doctors and pediatricians but they did not have a solution to my peculiar behavior. Two years later, my mom remembered a distant cousin had TS. My mom quickly started taking me to a psychiatrist. He started doing
couldn’t help. This was the year I was tests on me and giving me gross tasting diagnosed with autistic tendencies. pills. By the summer, my parents had me After the tests were done he said if transferred to Woodcreek Middle the tics continued for a year then yes, School, where things were much better I would be diagnosed. If not, it would for me. I became one of the school have just been a phase. Unfortunately, mascots and became involved in theater they continued for a year. After a while, I started getting severely and journalism. I am now a freshbullied at school by peers man, and this will be my and teachers. Students third year as a school “I’m not the type would call me names and mascot and my second in hit me. My second grade journalism. I love being of person who teacher punished me for at my school and feel very keeps my disorder my tics just because they safe here. There are good a secret. I believe got on her nerves. It was people here who are good in telling everyone very hard to concentrate friends. My teachers and in school because of my peers were much more you know.” tics. No one seemed to supportive and didn’t care. Eventually, I moved bully me. to a new school where it I’m not the type of perseemed like the bullying would stop. But son who keeps my disorder a secret. I by fourth grade my homeroom teacher believe in telling everyone you know. I would mock me, threaten me, embarrass believe if you are being bullied or know me and make me cry. The students were a bully, you should tell someone you even worse to the point where I had to trust. They will help you. be put in another class. The new teacher Trust me. It’s not worth the trouble. treated me much better, but the students I don’t let my disorder get into my were the same. pursuit of life. I’m thankful to God My fifth grade year was probably one for all He’s done for me. He’s given me of my best years even though students great parents, close friends, teachers still bullied me. I was not prepared for and so many others who have helped what was about to come in my first year me get to where I am today. Even of middle school. This was by far the though I’m disabled I’m still successful. worst school year I have ever had. Even I love God. I love my family. I love my though I had few teachers, friends and friends. I love school. I love life. an assistant principal who cared for me, I have Tourettes and Autism, but most of my peers and teachers bullied Tourettes and Autism don’t have me. me. Even the principal didn’t understand me and punished me for things I
Jordan Mobley Alexis Robinson Victoria Valentine Yazmin Lopez Katherine Holmes Asada Samin Mackenzie Harper Gerson Vilchis Special contributors: Susanna Summers Jackie Martinez Rikki Hurt Paris Dowd Shaianne Rubin Adviser: Megan Ortiz Principal: Thyrun Hurst
Summer Creek High School 14000 Weckford Blvd. Houston, TX 77044 281.641.5400 March 2013 Issue 4, Vol. 4 The Odyssey serves as a public forum for Summer Creek High School and is distributed free to all students and staff. Cover designed by Lisseth Lopez
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personal attention, a unique college experience and the opportunity to make their mark on the world.
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Our tradition of excellence in teaching, research and service is nothing new. For more than 135 years, we’ve
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The March 2013 issue of the Summer Creek High School newspaper