rhstalon.org // October 2012 // Volume 68 // Issue 1 // Richardson HS 1250 W. Beltine Road Richardson, TX 75080
Flipped Side of teaching Teachers take a new technological approach
By CATHERINE STACK Design by DEMIR CANDAS Senior Jackie Chao used to log onto YouTube to watch music videos of Nicki Manaj. Now, she uses it to learn BC Calculus through the “flipped classroom” method of teaching. “The flipped classroom approach is amazing, and I learn dramatically quicker than just taking notes in class,” Chao said. The flipped classroom is exactly what it sounds like – homework in class, and classwork at home. The “classwork” is done by logging onto a teacher’s YouTube channel and watching a 5-15 minute lecture.
The next day, students apply what they have learned when they do their “homework” at school. “When you’re working on homework in class, the teacher can explain it to you really easily, and that’s where concepts are learned,” Chao said. This concept was brought to RISD in 2011. Each of the four high schools picked one teacher to try out the new method. Principal Charles Pickitt thought that calculus teacher Chad Gilliland was the one to implement the flipped classroom at Richardson High School. cont. page 4
RISD COLLEGE FAIR
photo by TEA CAO
ONE AMAZING THING
photo by GABBIE TYLER
photo by PATRICIA SUNDARA
Senior Stephanie Ouellette spent September 15 wandering the UTD campus at the annual RISD College Fair. She spoke to representatives from various universities, learned about different ways she could go about getting her degree, and attended seminars on essay writing. “I went to the college fair with a few specifications about what I wanted in a school, but with an open mind,” Ouellette said. “I walked out still undecided,
but definitely more knowledgeable and informed on a few schools.” Senior Tamer Elashyi also had a positive experience. “While I was at the college fair, I learned that there were a multitude of colleges that were near me, that were affordable, and that I could apply to. I reaped many benefits from the college fair,” Elashyi said.
Despite the rain, the Golden Eagle Band held their annual March-a-Thon. On September 29, band members donned ponchos and marched a 5K around the Richardson area while playing their instruments. The band puts on the March-a-Thon in order to raise money for program fees, instruments and the spring band trip. Band members collected pledges for the march, and people who gave over $50 received a customized lawn concert. “The March-a-Thon is always fun because it's
a chance to show the community exactly what the Richardson GEB is all about, and it really feels like a pay-off for all of our hours of dedication during the summer,” senior Drum Major Kelsey Lemon said. “Marching in the rain is definitely stressful, but it's kind of a bonding thing because everyone has a mutual feeling of anger toward the weather. It's especially rewarding when we are asked to play a private performance in front of someone's house, because it feels like they really want to support us and that's always great."
Chitra Divakaruni, author of "One Amazing Thing," came to Richardson High School as the “Richardson Reads One Book” program’s featured author. She discussed her path to becoming a writer, the messages in her book, and gave advice to aspiring novelists. “Richardson Reads One Book” is in its ninth year. In the past, Richardson has hosted authors such as Jeanette Walls, Jodi Picoult and Kalib Hassani. The featured book must fulfill three requirements.
It must be of interest to people who are high schoolage and up, be written by an author who can come speak at Richardson High School, and be available in paperback. “One Amazing Thing appeals to a wide range,” librarian Nancy Kubasek said. “There is both a young college student and an elderly couple in it – everyone can identify with some character in the book. It also had a sense of community and that is what the ‘Richardson Reads One Book’ is all about – getting everyone together to read and discuss.”
Attended Texas Tech University and majored in mathematics. She also attended the University of Houston and majored in education
Bierwagen attended Texas A&M University and majored in Chemical Engineering. She also attended The University of Texas at Dallas and received a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering.
FUN FACT: She had a pet snake when she was in college.
Editor-in-Chief Talia Richman
Media Editor Catherine Stack
Design Editor Demir Candas
Staff Writers Garrett Alford Katherine Ingram Peter Mikhael Kate Bagwell
Photo Editor Patricia Sundara
Anabeth Kanon Ashton Gunawan Daud Jamshaid Photographers Haley Yates Carson Zerwekh Angelica Fisher
Gabbie Tyler Tea Cao Adviser Wade Kennedy For more, visit www.rhstalon.org
FUN FACT: She was an exchange student to South Africa in high school.
The Talon is a student-led publication that serves to inform and entertain the students of Richardson High School. The opinions of the writers do no reflect the views of the staff, the adviser or any of the staff and/ or administration of the RISD. The Talon is distributed six times a year and reaches over 3,000 readers.
Keep Calm and Give Often
Record number of students take part in annual carter blood drive by KATE BAGWELL As senior Will Crawford waited anxiously in one of the blue plastic chairs lining the auditorium, he had only one thought in his mind: I hope I don’t pass out and embarrass myself when they prick me with the needle. At the annual blood drive on October 5, 185 students and teachers donated blood – the highest number in five years. Before giving blood at one of the stations set up in the gym, students were tested and interviewed by Carter Blood Care professionals and treated to Oreos and Gatorade. Juniors and seniors in the Health Science Magnet helped run the event. Senior Jonathan Wright, who has been part of the Health Science Magnet for three years, said that one of his favorite parts about helping at the blood drive was watching previously nervous students realize that the needle wasn’t so scary after all. “I also really loved seeing the amount of people that came in to help because it’s a bigger deal than a lot of people realize,” Wright said. “It actually really gives me hope for this generation that so many people were so generous According to the American Red Cross, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion every two seconds. “Whether someone is suffering from cancer,
sickle cell disease, or blood shortage, many different illnesses call for blood transfusions,” Wright said Richardson High School students gave only a fraction of the 44,000 blood donations that are needed every day. In order to donate blood, students had to have specific levels of iron and hemoglobin in their blood, stable blood pressure, no history of AIDS/HIV or hepatitis, and be over 17. There were 38 people that were deemed ineligible for this year’s blood drive. Senior Rachael Pearson was one of them – but not due to low iron or hemoglobin. “I originally signed up to participate, but when I rechecked my eligibility online, I learned I wasn’t allowed to donate again until November 9,” Pearson said. “I was disappointed, but I was also still glad that I got to save lives by donating in September.” She was unable to donate because her body had not fully returned to equilibrium, or its normal state, after giving blood 6 weeks ago. Each student that was eligible saved three lives with their donation “Giving blood helps those in need,” senior David Castañeda said. “I think that if something so insignificant to me can have such a huge impact on someone else’s health, not to mention their life, I want to do it.”
Senior Talia Richman is prepped before giving blood at the annual blood drive. “I’m so glad the school puts on an event like this,” Richman said. “It felt great to save lives.” photo by Jackson Durbin.
School Board Announces Big Changes
Seniors will be required to take seven periods, quality points increase by TALIA RICHMAN Starting with the 2012-2013 8th graders, juniors and seniors will be required to take a full sevenperiod schedule and the number of quality points for Advanced Placement classes will increase from eight points to 10. Both of these changes passed with a 7-0 vote at the Oct. 1 RISD school board meeting. Currently, high school seniors like Aiden Abebe are only required to take five classes. Abebe spends her extra time working on her application to the University of Texas, trying to make a dent in the mountain of homework that comes from her three AP classes, and catching up on sleep. “I really don’t think that it’s fair to require seniors to take a full schedule,” she said. “Seniors already have so much on their plate and having to take a full day of classes just adds more stress and lessens the amount of time you have for other things like college
apps.” School board member Kris Oliver said that there would be individual exceptions made so that seniors could only have six classes with parent and administrative approval. “I really am convinced that implementing this proposal is the right thing to do,” Oliver, the father of a Richardson High School senior, said. “But now the onus is on us to offer a variety of courses to our seniors that will benefit them such as ACT/SAT prep classes.” Senior Sophia Kollaja said that she doesn’t think students should be forced to take classes if they don’t need the credit to graduate. “I know that I only have four real classes and if I was forced to fill up all seven periods, it would be really annoying,” she said. School board member Kim Caston addressed the issue by quoting a poster she once saw in Parkhill
junior high: “What is fair isn’t always easy and what is easy isn’t always fair.” “This is the right thing to do for our students, even if it isn’t necessarily popular with them,” Caston said. The quality point increase is due to the rigor of the AP classes and to encourage students to take harder classes. “I think that the increase in quality points might be a bit too much,” Kollaja, who has received only eight points for all of her AP classes, said. “While it may influence more students to take AP classes, I think that such a strong jump in a grade boost seems slightly unfair. Pre-AP quality points will remain at five points.
Teaching a New Equation A new educational approach is being implemented in classrooms around the country where students and teachers must learn new roles continued from page 1
With the flipped classroom approach, math teacher Chad Gilliland can act as an “on-call tutor” to students like senior Olivia Haggerty. “I feel like I learn more this way,” Haggerty said. Gilliland has seen a full letter increase in grades since he began the flipped classroom. photo by CARSON ZERWEKH
flipped his classroom and said he saw amazing results. Before the flip, 44 percent of his freshman students failed math. After the flip, only 13 percent of freshmen failed. Mr. Gilliland also saw an increase in the understanding of the material by his students. “My grades last year probably went up a full letter grade and my AP scores were higher,” Gilliland said. I have seen not just an understanding, but also, the data proves it.” One concern that was raised was whether students who don’t have internet access would have difficulties learning. Mr. Gilliland is already two steps ahead of this concern. “I have laptops in my classroom, or I can put a video on a flash drive that they can watch in the
library. Everybody either knows somebody with an iPhone or a laptop, so it’s not that much of an issue,” Gilliland said. The future of the flipped classroom may span beyond the math classrooms. “A lot of other teachers have asked me about it,” Gilliland said. “We have some other teachers in math that are doing the flipped classroom, and others are inquiring about using it for English and also for science, so here at RHS it is starting to pick up some steam.” After two years with a flipped classroom, Gilliland said he is thrilled with the results. “I have never heard more legitimate math conversation between my students in class,” he said. I get to walk around and help my kids like an ‘on-call tutor.’”
“I can watch and understand the concepts at home and work the challenging problems with marvelous assistance from friends and Mr. G.” -Annie Bui, 12
“The flipped classroom is awesome. You come to class and you already know what you’re doing so you can just chill and work.” -Kate Zahn, 12
“Traditional classrooms go in depth when teaching the material whereas you are limited with a pre-made video. It’s like working out to a video versus working out with a personal trainer.” -Eric Sullivan, 12
“I like the flipped classroom because I can re-watch a video if I get confused, which is good because, with AP Calculus, I get confused a lot.” -Melissa Tarlton, 12
“Mr. Gilliland was the visionary who wanted to try the flipped classroom,” Pickitt said. “He is very creative and recognized that it would enable him to have double the class time each day. From a teacher standpoint, it’s absolutely fantastic because you can actually double the time students are studying your material.” Although the flipped classroom concept is in its infancy, students and teachers are quickly adapting to the new concepts. “At first I thought the flipped classroom wouldn’t be for me, but once I really got into it, I enjoyed it and actually learn at a much quicker pace,” senior Sarah Jones said. However, not all reactions have been positive. “Its really easy to get distracted when I try to watch videos on my computer,” sophomore Tyrik Patterson said. “I would rather have the teacher teach me in class and let me sit down and do homework at home in a more focused manner.” One aspect of the flipped classroom that appealed to Pickitt was that it allows students to learn at their own pace. “Students can even go back and refresh after the lesson,” Pickitt said. Junior Hayden Seagraves said she takes advantage of the rewind button which a typical classroom setting doesn’t have. “If I don’t understand something going on in the notes, I can always just hit the rewind button and listen again to fully absorb what my teacher is saying,” she said. In addition, many college classes are taken online. “I wish we had used the flipped classroom learning style all the way through my years in high school because it is extremely reflective of how you will soon be learning in college,” Blake Byrd, class of 2012, said. Ohio State University professor Jeremy Strayer
A Whole New World
Grace Guthrie spends her senior year studying in Andheri India by ANABETH KANON About 80 percent of the students taking part in the Rotary Club’s foreign exchange program were going to see the cathedrals and castles of Europe. About nine percent were going to eat sushi in Asia. Another ten percent were going to venture into the rainforests of South America. Grace Guthrie, who would be a senior at Richardson High School if she wasn’t taking part in the exchange program, was the one percent going to India. “Almost everyone else was going to lush firstworld countries,” Grace said. “Then there was me – the one percent going to India.” She came close to joining the ten percent going to South America. “It was one of the toughest decisions choosing between Argentina and India,” she said. “In Argentina they speak Spanish, which was my favorite subject, and I would learn to do those cool dances with my hips, and I’d learn about the culture.” But the mysteriousness of India eventually drew her in. “I wanted to experience a different way of living than America, and India is a lot different from America,” she said. “Although Argentina would be more fun, India would give me a better understanding of the world. I think that even though my exchange is different from a vacation in Europe, other exchange students won’t get to experience the unique Indian culture that I will.” Grace rides rickshaws through the streets of Andheri, witnessing the stray dogs and impoverished people who populate India’s cities. “Poverty is speckled here,” she said. “There are under-nourished children without homes or clothes just three miles from my house. An adult here doesn’t
usually have all their limbs and they are definitely not literate.” She eats homegrown fruits and vegetables – something very important to Grace who has been a vegetarian for four years. “I can’t find macaroni anywhere,” she said. “People think that the food in boxes is disgusting. People in Texas think that growing things homegrown is hippie, but here everything is homegrown and everything you eat is in season. Their bananas make me realize how genetically modified the ones in America are. The ones in India are like half as big.” Grace participates in traditional Indian holidays, like the festival of sisterly and brotherly love, Raksha Bandhan. “As a gift, I got a really pretty dress from my ‘brother,’” she said. “It’s supposed to be his way of saying he’ll protect you for the following year.” School has been an adjustment for Grace. When she attended Richardson High School, she was a member of varsity cheer, choir and the Communications Magnet. At her Indian school, her teachers simply know her by a number, and skipping, or “bunking,” class is the norm. “It’s a lot less personal than the teaching in America,” she said. “There are no worksheets, or quizzes or daily grades – there are only tests, and that’s it. Skipping class is not a big deal here at all. If you don’t feel like sitting through a lecture you can leave and chill with your friends. Even if you skip class you can still do well on your tests because it’s about how hard you study. They trust you enough to take your education in your hands instead of getting ISS every time you leave the building.”
Left: Senior Grace Guthrie is spending her senior year in India while she is trying to immerse herself in the culture. courtesy photo Above: Grace is living with an Indian host family, including a father, mother, brother and sister. courtesy photo
Friends and teachers from Richardson were sad to see Grace go before her senior year, but excited for her to experience India. She took extra classes her junior year and will still be able to graduate with the class of 2013. “Grace has always had a sophisticated sense of the world, and we are always very proud of her,” her freshman cheer coach, Adrienne Vorhees, said. While Grace said she misses her family and friends from America, she has been accepted by her Indian mother, father, sister and brother. “They clothe me, shelter me, and give me awesome food,” she said. “They treat me like I’m their daughter.” Everyone she meets is friendly and accommodating. “The second you meet someone, they invite you over for Chai,” Grace said. “It’s astounding how much more welcoming people are here than America. For example, I was walking home from the train station one day and a lady that lived in my apartment stopped me and asked me if I wanted a ride and I had no problem saying yes. You actually talk to your neighbors here.” The motto for the exchange program is “service above self,” and all it cost Grace was a plane ticket, passport and spending money. Spanish teacher Jessica Sloan, who originally encouraged Grace to look into the Rotary Club’s foreign exchange program, knew this trip would be perfect for Grace. “She has every quality to be in this program,” she said.
V iCes Students speak up about what issues are most important to them in this upcoming election, and why they believe their candidate is the right choice for president. "As a Jew, I don't think Obama has a strict enough policy toward Iran while Romney has pledged to take stricter action on the matter. Also, I beleive Obama has allowed jobs to be outsources at outrageous levels, and Romney will find a solution for this." - Ben Ray, 12 "Each candidate should have a proactive economic plan for creating jobs, and I believe Mitt Romney is the better candidate." - Garrett Walls, 12 "College tuition rates and financial aid are the most important issues because they most directly affect me, and that's why I'm supporting Barack Obama." - Jessica Mitchell, 12 "I think that regulating whether or not a woman can make a very personal decision (such as having an abortion) is beyond unconstitutional. A woman, or anyone for that matter, has the right to make their own decision about what is done with their own body." -Rachael Pearson, 12
twitter feed Students voice their opinions on the twittersphere as the debates ensue and the election draws nearer. 3 Oct Kelsey Lemon @kelseylemonade I'd choose the man that helps me get educated, let's me DO WHAT I WANT with MY body, and helps my mom with her pre-existing medical condition Expand 3 Oct Kendra Rudd-Gloster @kelseylemonade Obvi Obama couldn't keep every promise. Please keep in mind we have a divided congress. Expand
Precious Osuchukwu I like Big Bird too, Mitt
3 Oct Jessica Mitchell @JessicaSays64 This #debate is so ridiculous. Obviously, President Obama is the only smart choice on Election Day Expand 3 Oct Charlie Meriwether @CharlieMeriwether Basically Obama is saying well I tried to do what Romney is wanting to do but I couldn't, but trust me ill get it this next time around Expand 3 Oct Yusof Nazari @yusofofnazareth YUSOF NAZARI AND PRECIOUS OSUCHUKWU FOR PRESIDENT 2012 YUH WE OUTCHEA BOI Expand 8 Sep Rachael Pearson @rachaelpear Number one reason I am supporting Obama? There is too much hate within the Republican party #Obama2012 politicususa.com/16-yearold-as... Expand
17 Aug Eric Sullivan @esullly Call me ignorant, but in my head I secretly compare Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.
Expand 4 Aug Garrett Walls @thegwall Seriously don't understand where Obama is coming from saying Romney will raise taxes for the middle class... Liberals these days Expand
art by GARRETT ALFORD
where they stand
President Obama supports gay marriage, a womanâ€™s right to choose, and his signature piece of legislation: the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). While in office he has attempted to pass immigration reform in the form of the DREAM Act, which would provide citizenship for millions of undocumented youth if they obtain a GED or high school diploma. When it comes to education, Obama said he has doubled the funding for Pell Grants (needbased grants given to low-income college students in order to make college accessible) during his time in office. He also promotes a new, income-based repayment option for federal student loans and utilizing community colleges more in partnerships with private businesses.
Governor Romney would like to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage, is pro-life, and has spent most of his campaign focusing on the economy. Romneyâ€™s plan to create 12 million new jobs involves achieving energy independence by 2020, opening new markets for American trade, providing Americans with skills to succeed through better public schools, cutting the deficit and helping small businesses. Romney believes in a smaller, simpler government. He said he would work to repeal Obamacare, and bring "much needed" reforms to Medicare and Social Security. While Romney said he would lower taxes for all Americans, he is adament that the rich would still pay more through the closing of deductions and loopholes that he has not yet defined.
Presidential Debate Highlights "If you're lowering the rates as you describe, governor, it is not possible to come up with enough deductions and loopholes that only affect high-income individuals or burdening the middle class. It's math, it's arithmetic." "I think it's frankly not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in knowing that the burden is going to be passed on to the next generation and they're going to be paying the interest and principal all their lives." "When [Romney] tells a student that you should borrow money from your parents to go to college, that indicates the degree to which there may not be as much of a focus that folks like myself, folks like Michele, kids probably who attend University of Denver, just don't have that option."
"How do we get schools to be more competitive? Let's grade them. I propose we grade our schools."
A Real Life Superhero Senior learns valuable life lessons from older brother by KATHERINE INGRAM First I heard the scream. “JAY, BRING THAT DESK BACK, NOW.” Great, I thought to myself, here we go again. I run into the hallway, quickly searching for the source of the mayhem. That’s when I see him speeding away from his enraged 6th grade teacher. His Batman sweatshirt is covered in what looks like glitter and a desk held over his head. Jay – my brother. The desk flies back down the hallway towards his classroom. “I WANNA GO HOME!” He yells at the top of his lungs. As kids begin pouring out of their classrooms to witness the spectacle, I give up on my plan to make new friends in the fourth grade. “I like your sweatshirt,” I say when I finally reach Jay. “It looks better that way, like a real life super hero.” Now that he’s calm, Jay and I walk hand in hand down the hall and back to his new teacher. Her pretty brown hair that was once neatly smoothed into a bun is now falling and covering her face. “If you don’t mind, I think we will be going home now,” I say to her. “And who are you exactly?” she demands, blowing hair out of her face. “I’m Jay’s little sister, Katherine. Katherine Ingram.” I was adopted into a family with an older brother different from my friends’ older brothers, different from the rest of my family, and different from most of the world. My brother, John “Jay” Ingram IV is autistic. He has Bipolar disorder, dysgraphia and dyslexia. But, he is also an Ingram. I learned very quickly that Ingrams are fighters, Ingrams are survivors, and Ingrams won’t let anything bring them down. My parents, Karen and John Ingram first applied for adoption in 1990 after the news that they weren’t able to have children. On February 11, 1992 my parents were first on the list when a baby boy was put up for adoption because his biological parents couldn’t care for him the way he needed. Due to numerous health issues and extended hospital stays, Jay was alone from a very young age. He retreated into his own world of magical talking, flying fish and toys that would never discriminate against him because he was different. Three years later, Karen and John were presented the opportunity to adopt again – a baby girl. Jay finally had a friend that would never leave him – me. Looking back, I didn’t really notice the differences between my family and my friends’ families. My house was fun. I loved being at home. We had a painting studio in the backyard, a trunk
full of costumes, two tree trunks in the backyard with hammers and nails, and daily reading sessions with my mother. I didn’t realize that the painting studio was to help Jay express himself, the trunk of beautiful costumes were teaching Jay to dress himself, and the tree trunks with nails and hammers were to help Jay control his anger. As for the reading, it was another attempt to teach Jay how to recognize letters. We couldn’t take Jay many places, so our backyard became his own little world. It was strange to have my brother home all the time. It forced me to live a lot of my “life” outside of my house. I couldn’t have friends over, I didn’t have sleepovers, and I couldn’t even have birthday parties unless my dad took Jay away for the weekend. After being asked to leave two different schools, Jay attended our neighborhood school in RISD, Bowie Elementary. In the first week he made history as the first child to ever throw a desk down the hallway just because he got glitter on his sweatshirt, a time I remember well. He then attended Parkhill Junior High, and after a rather large outburst with a teacher, Jay ended up at Children’s Hospital’s Day Treatment Program – it was a very emotional time for my family. Eventually, Jay attended Pearce High School. I decided to go to Richardson High School in order to avoid another desk-throwing debacle like the one in 2004. However, his manic episodes became increasingly worse until he had to be hospitalized for two weeks, then removed from our home by the police and transported to a residential facility. A facility that is three hours and fifteen minutes, and one hundred and sixty nine miles away in Brownwood, Texas. Our family was devastated. It was like scorched earth around our house. Jay being removed from our home was pure grief. It was almost as if Jay died. Our family went into mourning, trying to come to terms with losing Jay. It tore our family apart. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to him before he was swept away, and suddenly I was an only child. The severe pain I felt after Jay left changed my life forever. For most people like my brother, there are a few options: enter an assisted living for those with mental illness (which can have 15-year waiting lists), live at home, or live on the streets, which often leads to jail cells. My brother was lucky. Jay is now living at Brownwood Manor in his own apartment. He volunteers at the homeless shelter to help those in need. He is living life the best he can. Though Jay has brought enormous joy to my life,
Above: Jay, 7, and Katherine, 4, stand outside their home on the first day of school. With an array of mental illnesses, Jay and his family struggle to maintain balance in their lives. Below: Jay and Katherine celebrate the last day of school. Since he moved to a group home, younger sister Katherine has struggled to adjust to life without her brother.
I’ve been discriminated against for having a family member with mental illness. I’ve lost friends. I’ve been made fun of. My entire family has suffered. But, living with Jay, and dealing with his illness made me who I am today, and I wouldn’t change that. Jay taught me that it’s good to be different and what is really important. Because of Jay, I have compassion for families and individuals who struggle with mental illness. But most of all, I know for sure that I was meant to be Jay’s sister. John “Jay” Ingram IV threw desks down hallways, was kicked out of schools, made and lost friends, fought mental illness his entire life, and he is winning. He is my real-life super hero.
A school taken by Surprise
The district should do more to prepare students for a lockdown emergency On the first day of school, a 15-year-old gunman at Perry hall High School in Maryland opened fire on his classmates in the cafeteria, putting one student in critical condition and sending hundreds more running in terror, while just this week, a student at McKinney Boyd High School was arrested for allegedly posting a threatening message on Facebook. What if the Perry Hall tragedy, or something similar, took place at Richardson High School? We simply could not look back and say that everything possible was done to prevent such a tragedy. After the Aurora shooting and Empire State Building shooting this summer, it seems an act of domestic terrorism has dominated the news every other week. It doesn’t seem rational that, in light of these tragedies, RISD has done nothing to educate students about what to do if a shooting were to happen here. The district requires each school to have a preplanned response to a school shooting.
This plan of action involves a lockdown, where teachers and police officers are supposed to cooperate to ensure students’ safety. But, in the case of a lockdown, students cannot effectively cooperate with authorities because they have never been taught what they are supposed to do, much less have they been made to practice in the form of a drill. Seniors, who have been in school for more than three years, have yet to experience a lockdown drill. Teachers and other adult officials should theoretically be ready for a lockdown, but when, if ever, a lockdown is necessary, students’ reactions might not be cautious and rational – they more likely will be instinctive and chaos could ensue. Police and SWAT teams are constantly practicing school safety procedures on weekends and holidays, with some of those practice drills devoted solely to lockdowns. While there has already been a fire drill this year, there has been no lockdown drill.
The school should be running lockdown drills along with fire drills so that students are prepared to respond to both calamities in the most effective way possible. Having those few drills a year could be the deciding factor that would give the school leverage over an intruder with a gun. Students don’t need to be aware of the entire plan, because some lockdown information is restricted to police officers and administrators, but they certainly should be aware of what their role in the lockdown procedure is. Students desperately need to be educated on the proper actions and reactions during school emergencies. The best way to protect the school from a potential threat is to have a student body that is prepared. Lockdown drills should, and must, be implemented.
The Battle of the Burritos VS
VS STAFF RATING
Chipotle has our vote. They have the best crispy tacos and the most flavorful meat. Plus, they use organic ingredients that don’t leave you feeling sick afterwards, unlike other burrito places.
Freebirds’ options are underseasoned with subpar ingredients. However, their edgy, urban atmosphere makes up for what they lack in quality.
Qdoba was definitely worth the trek into Pearce territory for half price Tuesday. But, now with half priced days reduced to just once a month, its value has decreased.
“I choose Chipotle because they have healthy ingredients and care about what they sell people.” -Edwin Zerwekh, 10
“I like Freebirds because I feel free when eating their burritos.” - Matthew Mcgee, 11
“Qdoba because their food is really good especially their chicken fajitas.” -Leo Barajas, 10
“I choose Chipotle because the people there are super-nice and the atmosphere’s good.” -Grayson Sentell, 9
“Why go somewhere else when you got a gagillion options here? And good queso.” -Jordan Reyes, 12
“I’m tied for Qboba and Chipotle. Chipotle has better bowls, but I really love Qdoba’s monthly Student Tuesdays.” -Tori Trowell, 12 rhstalon.org 9
Support from the
Friends of injured football player form “Qudus Qrew” by DAUD JAMSHAID Senior Qudus Odusanya spends every Friday night in his football uniform, but he never leaves the sidelines. After he tore his ACL last year in the Spring Game, Qudus’ doctor said football was out of the question for him. Despite the fact that he hasn’t had a second of playing time all season, Qudus still has the most enthusiastic fan section in the stands – the Qudus Qrew. Decked out in bright yellow shirts with Qudus’ number 27 written in purple on their backs, the group of seven boys cheer for Qudus and the Eagles at every home game. “I had the idea for the Qudus Qrew when I found out Qudus tore his ACL,” senior Clark Randall said. “I knew we needed to put attention on him, since he couldn’t get attention from the field, so then we made the shirts, and we’re basically his biggest fans.” Qudus was walking down the athletic hallway the morning of the first football game when he first saw the yellow T-shirts. He said seeing all his best friends in their
Seniors Rafael Chavez, Chase Murray, Clark Randall, Collin Benton, Patrick Rice, Shahzaib Saleem and Sabih Khan make up the Qudus Qrew. “The Qudus Qrew is basically a group formed by a few friends and I who heard about Qudus’ injury and knew he’d be out for the season. This is our way of saying we support him,” senior Rafael Chavez said. photo by PATRICIA SUNDARA.
matching “Qudus Qrew” shirts made him realize how much he appreciated his friends. “I knew in that moment that they would stand by my side no matter what,” Qudus said. “I was like ‘man, these guys are my boys right here.’ No one else would have done this. No one has shirts made just because they’re injured. I have more fans than the other players and I’m not even playing on the field.” That was exactly how senior Chase Murray wanted Qudus to feel. “We wanted to make sure he knew that we supported him during his time of not being able to play,” Murray said. When Qudus went to the doctor after the initial injury, the prognosis was grim. He was told that he couldn’t play football for seven months after his surgery. His surgery took place October 4, and both his football friends and the Qudus Qrew have been texting and visiting him throughout his recovery. “My friends and parents were really supportive,” Qudus said. Once they found out about my injury, and that I couldn’t play for a while and that I needed surgery, they were constantly there for me.”
Qudus didn’t intend to pursue a career in football, but was still disappointed he didn’t get to play his senior year. “Football isn’t the number one thing for me,” Qudus said. “Academics always come first, but football was my biggest passion and hobby in high school. And, of course, I would have appreciated any scholarships that would have come alongside football.” After creating the Qudus Qrew, Randall said he and his friends grew even closer. They not only cheer on Qudus together in the stands at football games, but during pep rallies as well. On Fridays, their lunch table is a sea of bright yellow. “We’ve definitely grown closer,” Murray said. “We have even more reason to hang out during the day because we’re all matching.” The Qudus Qrew is now a recognized part of this year’s football season. “I’ve been getting noticed everywhere at school,” Qudus said. “I hear people taking about it, saying they’re going to buy a shirt. I appreciate all the support – the more people the better.”
THE “QUDUS” BOYS IN TOWN “I had this idea when I found out he tore his ACL. I knew we needed to put attention on him, since he couldn’t get attention from the field. So then we made the shirts, and we’re basically his biggest fans.” - Clark Randall, 12 10
“We’re here to support him, get him through his hard times, through his surgery, and make sure he gets through this ok, because we love him so much.” - Patrick Rice, 12
“The Qudus Qrew is a great way of showing support for not only Qudus, but also for our football team.” - Chase Murray, 12
Sports/Photo Story Left: Orchestra members Alex Shambley, Rachel Steiner, Christina Scanlon and Andrew Veliz perform as they ride on their float in the annual Homecoming parade. “It was great to participate in the parade for the last time with my orchestra family,” Scanlon said. photo by MIRANDA MOSES Bottom Right: Senior Nick Williams and junior Melody Iro jam in the Eagle’s Nest during the Homecoming dance. “All my friends were there and the music was great,” Williams said. “It made me sad that this was the last Homecoming dance for me.” photo by ANA TORRES
Above: Senior Charlie Contreras performs alongside So You Think You Can Dance contestant Hampton Williams at the Homecoming pep rally. Williams made it to the Vegas round of auditions. “Dancing with Hampton was amazing,” Contreras said. “I never thought I’d get an opportunity to perform with him, but it just goes to show what type of guy he is.” photo by JACKSON DURBIN
Right: Junior Tristian Cockrell dives over a W.T. White defender at the Homecoming football game to pick up a first down during second half action. The Eagles won the game 5344. photo by JACKSON DURBIN
From the gridiron to the dance floor, students pack Homecoming activities
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“I think we’re getting better. We had a tough nondistrict schedule, but as we move into more district games, progress is being made.” -Head Coach Brian Chandler
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Volleyball “We have kids who can play multiple positions and are learning new ones too. What is unique about JV this year is that half of our team freshmen.” -Head Coach Krissy Seaman