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Volume 37 /// Issue 5 /// February / March


soccer undefeated entering playoffs


Social, Much?


House Bill 5 key during school’s curriculum fair From Staff Reports

By Robert Evans A feeling hung in the air that fall night, like a breeze breaking through a web of summer heat - of capacity, hope, potential. Victory. It’s the fall of 1994. First game of district play for the high school’s football team. Away at Canyon High School. The last time the high school beat Canyon was 1981. Since its bicentennial founding, the high school had never advanced to the playoffs. It’s Larry Hill’s second season with the high school football team. The Rangers finished 1-9 for the regular season in 1993, a repeat of the season before that. In the 1994 preview edition of Texas Football magazine, the publication picked the high school to finish last in the district. On this fall night, a merciless back and forth ensued in the first half followed by a steady scoring streak by Canyon. In the game’s final five minutes, the Rangers pushed toward the finish. The score was 20-26 with 11 seconds and counting on the board. A drive for the end zone covered 70 yards of blue and white. A successful kick and it’s 27-26, Rangers. “That was the signature win, the springboard,” Hill said. “I can still remember it pretty vividly: people swarming the field, grown men crying, people from the community just mobbing. I’ve never seen anything like it.” But this moment, like the team and the man who helped shape that team, had a prelude. Hill built himself before setting the building blocks of the school’s football team. His father, Glenn Curtis Hill, served as head football coach at East Central High School in San Antonio for nearly 14 years. He later retired to East Central’s

“Hill” continued on Page 4

Hundreds of eighth graders and their families attended the Curriculum Fair Feb. 20 at the high school to learn about available classes next year. Teachers and class representatives were on hand to recruit members into their programs. The curriculum fair this year was different from previous years because of House Bill 5, which established new graduation plans for the incoming class of freshmen. House Bill 5, passed by the Texas Legislature in 2013, gives students more options to follow their academic interests and was approved on Jan. 31 by the State Board of Education. Incoming freshmen will be the first group required to graduate under the Foundation High School Program. Current high school students will remain under the previous graduation plan but have the option to move to the Foundation Program. Counselors were on hand to address questions about the endorsement areas authorized under House Bill 5, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics; public services; business and industry; arts and humanities; and multidisciplinary studies. Representatives from various departments on campus also visited with students and their parents.

Eye on the Prize: Incoming

freshman Allen Waclawcyzk visits booths during the curriculum fair. “I’m hoping to learn what I need to prepare for college and eventually engineering.” Photo by Orlando Mendiola

“I think it’s great to see parents so concerned for the child’s future,” art teacher Diane Parker said. “Plus, it’s always great to have fresh faces and new ideas in the classroom.” Parents and students came to ask questions and gain information. “I think this provides a lot of opportunities to students they wouldn’t usually realize they had,” parent Ron Smith said. Under the new graduation plan, some courses such as world geography and Algebra II might not be required for certain endorsement areas. However, students planning to attend college might have to take those classes to obtain university admission, school officials advise. Preston Davis, Madison Janes and Gianni Harvey-Montgomery contributed to this report.

Ukrainian protests personally affect native exchange student Special to the Ventana From Sophia Yuzyna I swung in the porch swing and watched the day’s final sunshine kiss the surface of the earth and vanish in phantasmagoria. I looked at my watch. My parents would call me on my laptop in five minutes. More news from home. But the news I found out from my parents shocked me: the protest had started in Ukraine. On Nov. 21, Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych rejected signing a document that would allow the Ukraine to enter the European Union, bridging the way toward a more Western, democratic society.

This abrupt reverse in the policy frustrated freedom-loving citizens of Ukraine. People from all over the country arrived in Independence Square in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, and protested. Despite snow, freezing rain, cold and frost, the severe weather conditions did not frighten protesters. Instead of listening to the protesters, the Ukrainian government, yielding to pressure from Russian President Vladimir Putin, decided to aggravate an already bitter situation. On Nov. 30, government leaders directed a crackdown with riot police in an attempt to hinder the protest in the square through beatings of men, women

and children. But government’s resistance to change emboldened the protesters, bulging to nearly 800,000 people in Independence Square in the Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 weekends. Workers came to Independent Square after long, exhausting days at work, and students, the future of the state, quit colleges and joined the protesters. While the world celebrated Christmas, Ukrainians stood on the streets for democratic ideas. Our government betrayed the people and the state and continued its cruel policy without remorse. Police arrested

“Ukraine” continued on Page 4

Euromaidan TIMELINE

- “a wave of ongoing demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine beginning Nov. 21, 2013 with public protests demanding closer European integration” 11/21/2013: Ukrainian government suspends talk with EU 11/22/2013: Ukrainian protesters clash with police 12/2/2013: Protesters call for President Viktor Yanukovich’s resignation 1/19/2014: Demonstrators rally against new law curbing protest 1/21/2014: 4 killed in protestor’s clash with police 1/27/2014: Ukraine government resigns, parliament scraps anti-protest laws amid crisis 1/27/2014: Ukraine under siege 2/18/2014: 26 die in Ukrainian protests 2/19/2014: Yanukovich agrees temporary truce with opponents 2/20/2014: Hours after truce announced, protesters urupt in violence, secruity forces fire on protesters; over 80 dead in February alone 2/22/2014: Parliment votes out Yanukovich; Yanukovich abandons presidential palace in Kiev


2/24/2014: Protestors establish interim government, security forces 2/26/2014: Russian President Vladimir Putin orders military exercises of armed forces including area bordering Ukraine 2/27/2014: Russian flag rises among Ukrainian government buildings in Crimea near Sevastopol; growing separatism fear

Clemens, Steele in 2014-2016 UIL district realignment, 6A introduced By Robert Evans Releasing the official district realignments for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons, UIL announced Feb. 3 the high school’s change from 5A to the newly created 6A conference. The high school remains in District 25, currently District 25-5A.

However, with the addition of Class 6A, essentially 5A in recent years, the name will change to District 25-6A. Six-man football is now Class A football. District 25-6A for the 2014-2015 and 20152016 seasons are as follows: n Cibolo Steele n Canyon

n Smithson Valley n Converse Judson n New Braunfels n Wagner n Schertz Clemens Going three rounds into the playoffs last season before falling to Johnson, Steele’s intro aims to butt heads with the high school’s football program, challenging its reign in the district.

“An already tough district got tougher,” head football coach Larry Hill said. Clemens additionally poses another potential roadblock to the high school’s push past district play. “(Division) 6A is still really 5A; it hasn’t really changed. We’ve dropped one team (San Marcos)

and gained two (Steele and Clemens),” head volleyball coach, Liana Gombert, said. “But in all we are still training the same and gearing up for next year.” San Marcos dropped down from next year’s area of play, as District 25-6A is poised to become one of the toughest districts in the state.

District 25-6A Canyon Smithson Valley Converse Judson New Braunfels SA Wagner Cibolo Steele Schertz Clemens

signings page 7


NEWS Briefly \\\


Flying the Coop

NHS Induction:

One hundred five students were inducted into the National Honor Society Jan. 15. “I was proud that my hard work paid off,” junior inductee Hannah Freund said. Upperclassmen were invited to join after filling out a required packet to prove their community service and academic endeavors. NHS members must complete 15 service hours each semester, including one highway clean-up event and two rounds of recycling. The next NHS meeting was scheduled for March 4, or the first Tuesday of each month.

UIL Results:

Triumphant on their way home from the Feb. 8 Wimberley UIL competition, the team brought home a first place sweepstakes trophy with places won in almost every event. The school won first place team awards in number sense, calculator, math, spelling, and science. “I didn’t believe how many people from our school could place in just one meet,” sophomore Alyssa Seibel said. Individual Winners: Kevin Frobese – First place Number Sense; first place Accounting; first place Math; second place Science Orlando Mendiola – First place News Writing; third place Headline Writing; fourth place Feature Writing; fifth place Editorial Writing Sky Avants – First place Informative Speaking; second place LD Debate Alyssa Seibel – First place Spelling Giovanni Castro – First place Science Samantha Frank – First Ready Writing Abby Flint – First place Oral Interpretation Robert Evans – Second place Headline Writing; sixth place Editorial Writing Colt Hermesch – Second Number Sense Jared Pauletti – Second place Social Studies Brandon Klar – Third place Spelling Ty Wheeler – Third place Oral Interpretation–Prose Tommy Cevallos – Third place Calculator Grant Smith – Third place Social Studies Preston Davis – Fourth place Ready Writing Bradie Dean – Fourth place Informative Speaking Alyssa Pabis – Fifth place Social Studies Carl Swatzell – Fifth place Calculator Sophia Hennessey – Sixth place Oral Interpretation Abby Millard – Sixth place Spelling

CISD holds chess contest March 22

The high school’s senior dining hall will be home to the district’s first annual, all-day chess tournament from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on March 22. The tournament will be a five-round, non-elimination tournament separated in three divisions – elementary, middle and high school. Organizers suggest that students participating in the competition bring their own chess boards to practice in-between rounds. Lunch will not be provided, but concession stands will be open. Registration for the CISD Chess Tournament can be made online under Comal ISD’s Community Education page and ends March 17. For information, contact Shelly Crofford (830-221-2168; shelly.

“I felt amazing when ours survived. I was terrified when we dropped it.” - Chase McGarity, junior

Cracking Through the Shell: Looking over the

balcony, junior Ty Wheeler lets go of his physics project. Juniors Hunter Quiel and Sydney Jaminson observe in the background, waiting for the outcome Jan. 13.

Egg-celent Performance: Cheering about their accomplishment, juniors Sophie Santleben, Whitney Fox and Alexis Tenario celebrate their physics “egg drop” not breaking during launch. “We weren’t too sure in the fact that the egg was going to be safe because it hit the pole,” Santleben said. Photos by Orlando Mendiola

Physics classes apply momentum, drop eggs from stadium By Orlando Mendiola Three days of building, testing, and fixing, junior Jennifer Rosenfield and her group were set. An egg drop project assigned the first week back from Christmas Break left physics students nervous about whether their eggs would survive the drops in the baskets and parachutes they made. Walking up to the edge of the top of the stadium, a final sigh was made and Rosenfield let the project go. A perfect drop was ruined with a gust of wind slamming their egg into a light pole as it went down, leaving little hope that their egg survived. A perfect score was now gone from their minds until her group members carefully unwrapped the egg from the contraption and saw a perfectly unharmed egg. First week back from Christmas break got off to a yolky start with physics classes presenting their egg drop projects. The projects studied momentum and impulse

requiring students to drop an egg from a 15.5m height (the top of the stadium), and build a contraption that would prevent the egg from breaking when it hit the ground. Students had a strip of duct tape, straws, a trash bag, string and a strip of masking tape to build the housing for the egg. Although initial tests created some doubts their projects, their final launches proved otherwise. “I felt pretty poorly [about the project] because we didn’t think the egg would survive.” Rosenfield said. “Right before we dropped it I was nervous it would fall into a tree, but it flew into a pole but still survived so I was happy.” Rainy conditions the first week back made it difficult to drop the eggs so classes started their drop beginning Jan. 13. “As far as projects go,” physics teacher Kevin Harshbarger said, “this one’s usually a flop. However, this year we did have quite a few successful drops. It’s not as successful as last year’s, but overall it was

very surprising.” Though some classes had a harder time getting successful yolkless drops, David Joiner’s class found more success this year than the year before. “Last year was my first year to teach.” Joiner said. “So I didn’t know what specific challenges the students would face in building so I was able to gather the information from last year, to make it better for this year’s students and we had a much more successful outcome than last year.” This project allowed students to use their creativity to make the contraptions, and projects ranged from the classic basket and parachute to pyramid-like designs. With many projects surviving the drop, it became hard to tell whose egg would survive and whose wouldn’t. “I felt amazing when ours survived,” junior Chase McGarity said. “I was terrified when I dropped it but I felt relieved we got the full points and didn’t have a cracked egg.”

Three students earn All-State band, choir recognition

Band places in 5A competition

McLeod lands class 5A choir

By Ashley Ousby

By Angelique Herrera For the first time since 2009, the school landed a spot in the AllState choir when junior Blaire McLeod snagged herself sixth chair Alto 2. “Each time they called out a name that wasn’t mine, that feeling of disappointment grew inside me,” McLeod said. “When my name was announced, there was a second of disbelief. I was so happy, I cried!” McLeod attended the Texas Music Educators Association’s conventions on Feb. 15 in San Antonio where she performed with the All-State Choir.

All-Stars: (From left to right) All-State choir member Bailey

McLeod and All-State band members Andy Thomas and Devyn Richter performed Feb. 15 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, as part of the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Convention. From Comal ISD

McLeod worked on songs with choir director Joanna Thomasson daily and also received some new pieces from the All-State conductor. Thomasson attended the convention when she was in high school. “It’s an experience she will never forget, and it can definitely be life changing,” Thom-

asson said. “It will also motivate her to work even harder next year to get a higher ranking.” McLeod did sight reading exercises daily to prepare for competition. “I’m ready to relax and get my mind off music for a while,” McLeod said.

“Honestly, I wasn’t confident at all,” junior Andy Thomas said. “I had a really bad lesson before the audition.” Senior Devin Richter and Thomas advanced from area to the 2014 All-State band audition on Jan 11. Students from across the state competed against the best of the best musicians for top spots in the All-State band/orchestra. Students had to go through three auditions - district, region and area - to audition for a spot in the All-State band Feb 12. Each audition was another challenge to become the top musician in the state, a goal everyone was working toward at once.

“You are in a room with lots of other people all trying to achieve what you want,” Richter said. “It’s a blind audition; you never know what is going to happen or who you will be competing against.” The competition was intense. Everyone wanted their hard work to pay off. “Everyone is really good, and you could miss making state by one little mistake,“ Richter said. “It’s scary because the judges decide everything all you can do is try and play your best.” Others just enjoyed it. “I enjoy music because it is universal,” Thomas said. “It allows me to express myself in ways I can’t in writing or art.”

Role Model Junior places in SA beauty pageant Meating Standards By Valerie Kulbaka Junior Sabrina Stovall competed in Miss Teen San Antonio on Dec 7. In her first pageant competition, Stovallplaced 4th runner up. “Since this was my first pageant, I have never lost, but if I ever did, I don’t think it should make you give up,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to do pageants, but I was always busy with volleyball, so I didn’t have time and patience to compete in pageants.” After breaking her ankle, Stovall decided to move on from volleyball and try competing

Runway: Sabrina Stovall recently placed fourth at Miss Teen San Antonio.

in pageants. “There’s a long process to get ready for pageants, besides only hair and makeup,” Stovall said. Each contestant must meet with the judges to interview, and

there’s lots of rehearsals and practice when preparing. “It took me about a month to prepare for the pageant, and on the day of the pageant, about two to three hours just for hair and makeup,” she said. The judges asked a series of questions when the contestants were on stage. “It’s nerve racking but also fun,” Stovall said. “You know everyone is nervous like you.” After this pageant, Stovall planned to compete in Miss Teen Texas and eventually pursue her dream of becoming Miss USA.

Meat judging team first in nation By Samantha Weissgarber

The “steaks” were high as the meat judging team primed to complete against the nation’s best. On Jan 9-12, the meat judging team not only participated at the national championship in Colorado but won first place overall. Individually, first and second place went to juniors Trevor Perkins and Kathryn Copeland, respectively. Other members included Megan Michalec and sophomore Megan Eckhardt, who took home ninth and tenth place respectively. “Obviously it was a

good feeling, but I was more excited for the team as a whole,” Perkins said. “Plus, getting two new shiny belt buckles wasn’t bad.” After the team’s success, Copeland shared her experience. “It was really cool to win nationals as a team,” Copeland said. “It was a good day to judge meat.” Apart from the competition, the team took the time to have fun in the snow. “Winning the contest was pretty cool in itself, but we got to walk around on a frozen pond,” Perkins said. “That’s not something you never see in Texas.”

Algebra II irrelevant for many



From Valley Ventana Editorial Board Under a new Texas legislation known as House Bill Five, freshmen entering high school in 2014 will choose one of five academic endorsement tracks to follow throughout their high school careers. These include science technology engineering and math, business and industry, public services, arts and humanities and a multidisciplinary track. The Texas PTA is petitioning to change the required curriculum for many of the endorsements. The petition would remove Algebra II from the required course list for all but one track. The PTA argues in its petition that Algebra II is not relevant to all endorsements, and it is correct in saying so. Although Algebra II is essential when taking the SAT, those not planning to attend college would find the class useless. Algebra II is an essential course for students on a STEM track, but it is not essential for students taking any of the other tracks. Some who oppose the petition claim that requiring Algebra II for all Texas graduates is in the students’ best interest. They believe that, despite the conscious decisions of students, everyone should go to college. They believe that students cannot be trusted with their own futures, and that it is up to the state to decide who is going to college and who isn’t. The bill was formed to supply students with an extra level of freedom, to allow them to pursue education in the areas they are most interested in - not to be told where to go and what to do. To require Algebra II in every endorsement takes away the very freedom that the bill was designed to provide. Some students aren’t college material, and it is not the state’s right to tell them otherwise. For those people, Algebra II is an unnecessary waste of time.

MLK holiday shouldn’t be school day By Orlando Mendiola and Preston Davis


Comal ISD students attended school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday and celebration of the legendary civil rights activist’s achievements. Comal ISD’s calendar for this school year didn’t acknowledge the holiday and represented it as just another schoolday. Considering the contributions King made to social progression in American culture, it is necessary that we have MLK day off from school. Instead of taking MLK day off for during the 2013-2014 school year, two winter breaks were given - one over President’s Day weekend and another at the end of the grading period in April. Although these breaks are appreciated by the student body, replacing one day of one of those breaks with an MLK day reprieve should be considered. Martin Luther King Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January, and many schools across the country have the holiday off. Controversy arose in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina over the holiday. In those states, it was a bad weather make up day. Many people fought against that policy, as they seemed to feel that it disrespected the man who did so much in the name of freedom. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man who changed our country and our hearts. He deserves honor, and the least we could offer him is a single day off from school in his name.


The Valley Ventana is an online and monthly print publication. The Ventana is a student publication meant for the student body, and a production of the Smithson Valley High School Media Team. The Media Team’s publications include: The Ranger Yearbook Ranger Report (weekly broadcast) Social Media: @valleyventana Twitter/Instagram and on Facebook. The Ventana also welcomes letters and opinions to the editor. Send letters to either room C105, or email them to m.edmonson@comalisd. org. Letters can be anonymous or addressed. No return letter will be sent asking for information. Letters should expect no attention if they are biased, libelous or slanderous.

Editor-in-Chief: /// Robert Evans Editor(s): /// Orlando Mendiola Adviser: /// Margaret Edmonson Principal: /// John Montelongo Superintendent: /// Andrew Kim Staff: /// Christopher Adams / Kolby Barber / Magdalena Barnes / Eric Burrell / Wes

Cornelius / Preston Davis / Madison Demmer / Cole Eldridge / Xavier Fajardo / Rebecca Flores / Gianni Harvey-Montgomery / Angelique Herrera / Madison Janes / Valeria Kulbaka / Keagan Miller / Ashley Ousby / Jessica Owens / Meagan Park / Amanda Renteria / Stephanie Schweitzer / Hailey Whittaker Contributors: /// Emily Etter / Comal ISD / Kelson Rohrer-Cuervo

Variable Consequences: A man regrets not paying attention in high school. He realizes that Algebra II is necessary for life. Editorial Cartoon by Preston Davis

Euthanasia raising ethics debates By Micael Insley While substitute teaching at your school recently, I had the opportunity to read the November issue of Valley Ventana. The section on Ethics and Medicine was particularly interesting to me. As a former church pastor and hospice chaplain, the topic of euthanasia is an ethical dilemma that has often been raised and discussed in the church and the field of medicine. It is understandable why someone would think a patient should be able to make decisions “about what they want to do with their life,” as Shawn Uduji writes. However, there have been far too many young people who have made the ultimate decision to take their own lives for various reasons, leaving behind extremely distraught and traumatized parents, family and friends. We have the right to refuse medical treatment if we so desire. We have the right to refuse to eat or drink if so desired, even though I understand that is a very painful and extremely uncomfortable way to end a life. These are choices adults have. As a hospice chaplain for 10 years in San Antonio, I witnessed many examples of patients who appeared to have absolutely no quality of life. They needed total care for every aspect of life. Many had feeding tubes, some were on ventilators; most had to be on oxygen for at least part of the time. Our job as hospice providers was to keep the patient as

comfortable and free of pain as possible and to assist the family in dealing with the situation their loved one faced. As a Christian minister I am personally opposed to euthanasia as I am opposed to abortion. However, since this forum is not a theological discussion but one of ethics, I will leave those beliefs out of my argument. At present, euthanasia is illegal in all but four small countries in the world and the two most northwest states in the United States. All the other countries in the world and the other 48 states in the U.S. still consider euthanasia against the law. Whether an individual agrees with the law or not, it is still the law and we are supposed to abide by the laws of the state. A question for those who condone euthanasia is what classification of assisted suicide would you want? There is voluntary, involuntary, passive and active. (I will not take up time and space by listing definitions.) Other considerations would be where do we establish the criteria for allowing persons to “kill themselves,” so to speak? How bad off must someone be before we pull the plug? Who sets the standards? What if I do not want to die, but all the so called experts decide my life has no value any longer and I am just a drain on society and the resources it takes to care for me? Or maybe there will become an age limit. Who needs to live past 100 or even 90? Just think of all the Social Security and Medicare dollars that would

be saved if people were exterminated upon reaching a certain age. And how about infant birth defects? Should these babies be eliminated? It will probably cost an enormous amount of money to keep them alive; and who knows if they will ever be able to have productive lives? These may be extreme examples but they are not so far fetched when we allow people to decide when they will die. During my years as a hospice chaplain, I had patients actually ask me to pray for them to die. I never did, of course, but I would pray for God’s will to be done in their lives and in the lives of their family. Whether a person believes in God or not, when you start determining when someone is going to die, even if it is yourself, you are becoming “as God,” and that, my friends, was Satan’s first attempt at deceiving humans that we see in the Bible. It is impressive to see how these young people have responded to such a difficult and controversial subject. Unfortunately, individuals often allow their emotions to dictate their thoughts and actions. Since working directly in the area of death and dying for many years, I feel strongly that there is much more to be considered in the discussion of euthanasia than whether a person wants to live or die. Thank you to all the students and faculty who take part in this enjoyable and informative publication.

Dangerous playground made my childhood By Robert Evans I always thought, in my underclassman state of pre-experienced aspiration, that senioritis was a cutesy euphemism for horrible, crippling apathy. And I was right. But perhaps I was, and am being, too pessimistic. Perhaps I’m confusing senioritis with becoming an adult or maybe it’s the beginning of dealing with the end of a long relationship with this class of 2014. I think it might be a little of it all. But, for nostalgic fun, let’s explore some roots so we may get some perspective on the matter. I went to Rahe Primary School and left before they deemed it unsafe due to spontaneous combustion in the walls. Once, in Mrs. Twing’s first grade class, our laminated math flashcards in our grubby, food splattered fingers, smoke began seeping

through the ceiling tiles along the far brick wall. We were quietly escorted out into an early recess while the fire department scourged through our bright pink and blue cubbies. Mrs. Twing smiled and kept on with the lesson in the low ceiling, detergent smelling hallway. Bulverde Elementary had its time in the EMS spotlight, too. As many may recall in their own days of yore, the playground was a mixed bag. Upfront the usual playground equipment sat - monkey bars, cedar jungle gym, a slide. But the quality of the playcraft decayed as you trekked toward the in-

creasingly shaded back. It was more of a yard, really, of splintered lumber and pipes arranged in a playful fashion. There was a climbing wall, I remember. Ten feet of weathered planks with hoisting spaces. Now, the designer’s theory was probably to climb up one side and then climb down the other. The designer failed to take the mind of a 6-year-old into account. Most climbed to see how far they could jump off the other side, or how long you could endure the leg trauma. Either or. An alley of trampled grass and bare limestone situated a walking space and kickball depository between the school’s baseball field and blacktop. Along this walk, stood a telephone pole. In the final days of our elementary school careers,

it decided to fall. It was a miracle no one was hurt in that sparkling, crackling tumble. To be fair, Rahe Bulverde Elementary, renamed in 2002 and almost entirely rebuilt in 2010, has had a long history. In 1945, Bulverde constructed a few single-room rock schoolhouses to serve all grades. Around the 1970s, the school was named after 34-year veteran headmaster, Ernst Rahe. A few pieces of playground equipment were added from time to time. As part of Rahe Bulverde Elementary’s expansion, the playground and its surrounding lean-to’s met a bulldozer’s plow. Now, the playground is gated and made of safe, colorful plastic. Those poor kids now will never know what they missed out on.


hill / ukraine @VALLEYVENTANA “Hill,” from Page 1

administrative department, leaving before Hill and his brother, Glenn, could play under him. His father’s influence radiated upon Hill and his brother throughout their lives. “We were fieldhouse rats, if you will,” Hill said, of himself and his brother, who coaches football at Churchill High School. “I don’t think there was ever a day growing up that I didn’t think that this was what I was going to do. I think my brother’s the same way.” Although football captured his mindset, his body type and ability failed to catch up

Quarter of a Century: Overseeing his PE class, defensive coordinator Joe Moczygemba has seen eye-to-eye with Hill on most everything in the past 25 years of their working careers. “I’ve been married to my wife two years longer than I’ve been associated with Larry,” he said. “He’s a good man. You won’t meet anyone better than him.” Photo by Robert Evans with his imagination. “I was small, I was slow, and I had a weak arm as a quarterback,” he said. “Typically those guys aren’t heavily recruited.” Fortunately, Sul Ross State University, while scouting a different player at his high school, noticed Hill and recruited him. Hill became starting quar-

“Ukraine,” from Page 1 guiltless citizens and beat them black and blue and near to death. One morning, I woke from a nightmare. I had a twisting, retching feeling in my gut. I turned on my laptop to read current events in Ukraine, and what I read exasperated me. During a Jan. 21 protest, four people were killed, one of the first major death counts in the largely killing-free protests. One man with Ukrainian roots arrived at the Independence Square from Armenia. He read famous Ukrainian poetry to support citizens. The last words resounded before he was shot down. Moreover, police killed one more man. He was from the ancient city of Lviv, where people always supported the idea of true democracy. Now, more than 30 people already have been killed, and even more people have disappeared and been injured. Our president deprived us of rights of free speech, press and protest. Ukrainians have always strived for government of the people, by the people, for the people. Now is the time for Ukrainians to join their efforts and to struggle together for democracy and liberty. I regret that our children will learn of this sad page in Ukrainian history. But, I am proud to be Ukrainian. We have a dramatic, deep and rich history. I will always keep my patriotic feelings and virtue wherever I am.

terback by the third game of his freshman year, leading the Lobos to an undefeated regular 1982 season and the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association title his senior year. Hill was also christened as an All American player. Hill started his coaching career in 1983 as an assistant coach at Texas City High School for six years, working with his former coach at Sul Ross, Joe George. At age 28 in 1989, he secured his first head coaching job at 3A Jourdanton High School. There, he hired current high school coaches Bradley Lind and Joe Moczygemba as part of his staff. “I was lucky (to have been hired),” said Moczygemba, the football team’s defensive coordinator. “He was looking for a coach, and I was looking for a job.” There, Hill’s coaching style fermented into a dignified, yet intense, mission, shaping not only his players’ skill but their character as well. “We gotta be teaching these guys discipline, to do things right,” Hill said. “We’ve got to make them see that this also has to carry over to the classroom, to relationships with their families and to be the reason that one day they’re a good husband and a good father.” Hill surrounded himself with similar minded coaches. “He hires good people,” Moczygemba said. “I’ve never been on a staff where we’ve had a bunch of riffraff between the coaches. The only staff I’ve ever been on is Coach Hill’s staff.” Hill adapted his father’s stern, business-like demeanor toward his players . However, Hill wanted more than a 3A lifestyle. Hill left Jourdanton after two years to take a step down to be an assistant coach at 5A Clark. “I kind of took a little leap of faith,” Hill said. “I chanced to get on the staff to enjoy

that kind of success that they were having. I felt like two years of that, coupled with me already being a head coach and some of the other things we were able to do, might get me a 4A or 5A interview chance.” That chance came second string. Comal school district first offered the Smithson Valley job to Davy DuBose, head coach at Texarkana Pleasant Grove, who later passed up the offer. Furthermore, the high school’s football team had fallen on hard times. “I’ll never forget walking into my head coach’s office (at Clark),” Hill said. “He said, ‘Don’t take it. It’s career suicide. I know you’re anxious, but don’t do it.’” His father said otherwise. “‘Take it,’ he said. ‘It’s the same kids. The same types of communities. They haven’t won, but what’s the reason why they can’t?’” Hill said. Still, Hill took the job hesitantly. “I’d like to say I took it with great confidence and great awareness of the great things to come,” Hill said. “But, honestly, I don’t know. It felt right, but I was a little uneasy about it.” Hill’s first 1-9 season with the Rangers implies a rocky start. Step away from the statistical looking glass, and immediate changes were apparent. Their losses were close, transforming previous years’ lights-out losses to battling fourth quarter finishes. “Just a ton of games we lost just real close,” Hill said. “Clearly, we still didn’t have the moxie yet to finish games and win.” For offensive coordinator Robert Teuton, who has coached at the high school since 1989 with then-head coach Joe Matulich, Hill’s determination and restlessness to succeed boosted the team’s

From Matulich to Hill: Beginning in the Joe Matulich days, offensive line

coach Robert Teuton recalls the similarity in “old school” tactics practiced by both Matulich and Hill. “(They both coach) the way football has been coached in Texas for a long time,” he said. “Treating kids right, working them hard. Playing the game the tough way it’s supposed to be played.” Photo by Robert Evans

resolution to win as well. “We still do things the way he and I believe, the old school way: hard work, discipline, those kinds of things,” Teuton said. “He’s always trying to improve. He’s doesn’t want to stay with the status quo.” With a 4A population size, the high school’s football player to student ratio was around 1:20 in 1993, compared with today’s near 1:10. In 1994, more community involvement paired with increased student interest and a stable coaching staff over summer training led the Rangers to an 8-3 season and the first victory against Canyon in 13 years. Making their first playoff appearance in 1994, the Rangers have since attended the playoffs in 17 of the last 18 years. The football team went to three state championship games in 2001, 2002 and 2004. During the past 17 years, the football team compiled a 191-34 record, including a 152-18 regular season mark. Hill has compiled a 223-66 overall career record. “He wants the kids out there playing, not just working the program,” said Lois Redclift, a high school faculty member since 1988 and Hill’s

secretary since 1993. “He’s happy here; he likes the kids here. His home is here.” Hill now is recognized as one of the top high school football coaches in the country, largely because of his turnaround of the once struggling football team. Also because of his successes, he has been sought after by several high schools and universities, including his alma mater, Sul Ross State, in February 2013. After an interview in Alpine and a few anxious, waiting days, Hill declined the offer in the final days. “There have been occasions when I get right to the edge of the cliff, look over or step back,” Hill said. “I’d like to say I have a hard, fast way of dealing with job opportunities. But I don’t. I weigh all it out and then decide to look at it or not.” Twenty-one years since his first day in Smithson Valley, Hill said he had no regrets - for himself, for his fellow coaches, for the team. “I don’t’ know what will happen 25 years from now. But I’m not the kind of guy with a five-year plan. Events will kind of unfold to take you there. “I’m right where I want to

Across the World

Foreign exchange student expresses emotion, education in culture switch Special to the Ventana From Sophia Yuzyna Sitting in an airplane in Ukraine, I anxiously waited for the take-off into my new life as an exchange student in the United States. During those uncertain moments, I felt life as I knew it had been switched off. Other Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) participants were trying to talk to me, but I could not answer. My head was full of a zillion different thoughts. Breathing normally was difficult to do. I gazed out the window, smiling and full of patriotic feelings. My country looked beautiful and enticing. I vowed, then, that I would make Ukraine proud as her representative. My first steps in the United States were in Washington, D.C. The weather was so hot! I looked at the azure blue sky and wondered if I was really there. I felt like I landed on a different planet. The next day, I landed in sweltering San Antonio, Texas. My chewing gum melted in my bag before I arrived at my host family’s home in Bulverde. Everything is completely different in the rural, Hill Country compared to my busy city life in the Ukraine. At first, I had no clue about anything in this southern U.S. culture: American Football? Iced tea? Grits? Tacos? People spoke with funny accents and ate strange food. It was as if I had fallen into a magical garden like Alice in Wonderland. My host parents are very nice people. My host mother is always ready to help me in English and tries to take me to experience new, different

places. My host father worked in the shipping company ITF and traveled all over the world, so he always has something amazing to tell you. I am very lucky to go to the high school. I seem to get along with most of the students, and everyone is very friendly and kind. At football games, I felt like I was a part of true American high school life. Although it was very different, it helped me get used to life at the high school and to find my place among the other students. September and October have whizzed past, and November blew by quickly in fall breezes, sweaters and colorful leaves. On Thanksgiving, my host mom cooked and introduced different kinds of great food. It was exciting eating all these new foods, playing games and singing karaoke with the whole family. My first American Christmas brought presents, parties and wonderful goodies that people baked and shared with one another at school. The winter holiday was the time to make resolutions. I thought a lot about the past few months spent in America, my strong and weak sides. My personality changed: I became more independent and mature, which is a vital key to adult life. Indeed, America has given me so many unforgettable experiences that I will take back home and use wisely. I have met new people, accustomed myself to a new lifestyle, learned a lot about new cultures and traditions, shared my values and told a lot about my country. I know every person does not have an opportunity to

Alamo City: Visiting the Alamo in San Antonio, Sophia Yuzyna, an exchange student from Ukraine, is making her near year-long stay through the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program. Photo provided by Sophia Yuzyna

Foreign Fun:

(Clockwise from above) Halloween night in front of Sophia Yuznya’s host parent’s home. With another FLEX student in a San Antonio gift shop. At Enchanted Rock near Fredericksburg with senior Alec Trussel. Photos provided by Sophia Yuzyna

become an exchange student. Still, it is hard to be far from home. Especially when you know that there is a revolution at home with an unsure future. There are times when

I have realized how much I love, and miss, my country. However, I made the decision to take a chance, and to enjoy every single moment here.



ENTERTAINMENT Frozen reaches young and old By Madison Janes I was skeptical when my younger sister told me I “absolutely had to see” the movie “Frozen.”

Holiday: Basic Vacation members


Jon Paul (bass), Chris Greatti (lead vocals/guitar), and Mike Montalbano (drums)

asic Vacation is an indie rock band consisting of Chris Greatti, Jon Paul and Mike Montalbano The members met originally in Wellington, Fla., then banded together in New York. The band was originally brought together with the persuasion of Greatti and Paul when they played together with a New York solo artist. “After I moved to New York I pretty much hounded Chris into starting a band,” Paul said in a

press release. This band’s music is influenced by the more modernized music from the 1980s with some punky indie influences. They all share musical interests ranging from Led Zeppelin to The Killers. “I Believe,” the debut single on this album, is definitely a good song, with uplifting melodies and nice clean vocals. The nicely produced ring to this track really shows the group’s talent and drive to make something worth listening to.

Rating based on 5 “Guns” The other tracks on this EP are also very clean and well composed. With five tracks on this album, there is plenty of more music to enjoy on the EP. This EP shows the new musical direction that a lot of up-andcoming bands are taking, which is a more retro/new age sound, and it’s definitely one to keep an ear out for.

Something to Remember Beyonce shakes up the music industry

What the Critics Say Rolling Stone: 3.5/5 Pitchfork: 8.8/10 Spin Magazine: 9/10

by Orlando Mendiola

Rating based on 5 “Guns”

As most did last-minute checks on their phones before bed, the sleepy eyes of the social networking world popped wide open at the stroke of midnight Dec. 13 as tweets started to flood reports of a new Beyonce album. It was not just an announcement, but a ready to purchase, self-titled album on iTunes with a video for each song. “BEYONCE” had no prior release date, no promotional effort and no warning to critics, a move that breaks the current mold of pre-album promotional shows, interviews and magazine covers. Along with the 14 brand new tracks, what’s unique about this album is the record also comes with 17 videos. Each song on the album has a video along with two songs not on the album that were previewed in her Pepsi campaign and H&M ads earlier this year.

The album itself is a fresh, new sound from the singer making a leap from her past albums. It has a less pop feel and features heavy hip hop beats Irreplaceable: “Beyonce,” was the fastest selling album in with sound snip- iTunes Store history becoming No. 1 in 104 countries and pets from home No.1 on the Billboard charts making it her fifth consecutive movies splattered album to debut at the top of the charts throughout the album. It features in Love,” to a glow in the dark guest vocals of Frank Ocean, 1970s roller derby for the disco Drake and her husband, Jay-Z. inspired song “Blow.” Standouts include “Partition,” A risky move that could have “XO,” “***Flawless,” and “Blue,” easily been disastrous proved ina touching ballad dedicated to stead to be a breath of fresh air her daughter, Blue Ivy. in the music industry, creating an Each video is stunning. It fits excitement not felt in quite some each song perfectly, bringing time. In this age of the internet, the perfect visual for each song “BEYONCE” is a game changer ranging from black and white creating a wake-up call for artists clips of her and her husband on the beach for the song “Drunk in how they market their albums.

Not so Short

‘The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug’ proves a worthy successor Expectations and hype often prove to be the crippling factors of a film’s success. “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” had a lot to live up to as the sequel to one of this past year’s biggest films, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” Nevertheless, the movie proves an enjoyable experience and another worthy member of the many excellent film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved books. Directed by Peter Jackson, the story once again follows Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, and the band of dwarves who recruited him to fight the threat of a dragon named Smaug, who has desolated their mountain home. Along the way, the group once again meets many faces and overcomes many

obstacles that test their preparedness for the fight against Smaug. Martin Freeman does an excellent job as Bilbo, and the dwarves are portrayed with enough individuality to make them discernible from one another. Ian McClellan returns, reprising his role as the wizard Gandalf the Grey, and delivers an excellent performance seen in the previous Hobbit film as well as the three “Lord of The Rings” films. Benedict Cumberbatch as the dragon Smaug, proves to be the perfect voice for a character with such an intimidating presence, giving the dragon a much needed personality that was arguably absent in the previous film. All the aspects of the previous film are almost refined to a key.

Epic Journey: “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” made

$73.6 million in its opening weekend, becoming No. 1 in 3,903 theaters around the U.S. The total amount of money the movie made as of Feb. 23 was more than $256 million since its opening night Dec. 13, and once released world wide it sky rocketed up to $894 million of total profit.

One notable problem, however, is the film’s length. The decision to expand one novel into three films was an odd one in hindsight and the length starts to take its toll when scenes that seem utterly pointless to the plot and characters’ development drag the movie on for an almost unreasonable amount of time. Length aside, “Des-

olation of Smaug” is a film well worth the time and price of admission. It appeals to both fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s original novels as well as fans of the previous film or “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. It fulfills the hype surrounding it and functions as a sequel that is, arguably, better than the original film.

By Preston Davis

It seemed like another typical Disney movie, most likely a love story, which didn’t appeal to me. However, to appease my sister, I took her to see the movie. I love this movie. The animation is smooth, and the plot is easy to follow and still entertaining. The musical numbers and songs were catchy, and I found myself humming them to myself. “Frozen” isn’t your basic damsel in distress Disney movie, nor does it completely focus on finding Prince Charming. It’s about the fading bonds of sisters and the secrets they keep to protect one another. It portrays the journey of Princess Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) as she treks along a snowy wasteland with a jolly snowman named Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad), Kristoff (voiced by Jonathan Groff) and his pet reindeer Sven to find her sister, the Snow Queen Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel), because she has been trapped the land in eternal winter. Originally released by Walt Disney Animation Studios Nov. 27, the film has found enormous

Freezing Stop: “Frozen”

continues to be talked about becoming another hit for Disney.

success, winning a Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film at the 71st Golden Globe Awards, and is nominated two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song for “Let It Go.” Rotten Tomatoes describes the movie as “beautifully animated, smartly written, and stocked with sing-along songs.” It currently holds an 89 percent “fresh” rating based on 179 reviews. My younger sister adores this movie and plays the soundtrack on maximum sound from her room daily. Normally, I would be frustrated and annoyed, but for once, I don’t mind. Once the movie was finished, my sister and I couldn’t stop discussing scenes and events that had stuck out to us. When my cousins said they wanted to see it, I was more than happy to take the group to see the movie, not only to appease them, but myself as well.

The Fighter ‘Lone Survivor’ impresses.

By Orlando Mendiola “Lone Survivor,” is one of those rare movies that not only silenced the entire theater halfway through but left the moviegoers speechless even when walking out. The movie is based on the non-fiction book by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson. “Lone Survivor” reenacts the events that occurred in 2005. The United States Navy SEALS mission “Operation Red Wings” sent a four-man team (that included Luttrell) to track Taliban leader Ahmad Shah. Just in the first few seconds of the film, you already are drawn into the film, wanting to know what happened with the character getting rescued. The film then flashes back to the mission and how he was able to escape and survive after his team was attacked by the Taliban forces. Starring Mark Wahlberg as Luttrell, Taylor Kitsch as Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, Emile Hirsch as Danny Dietz, Ben Foster as Matthew Axelson, and Eric Bana as Lieutenant Commander Erik S. Kristensen, these actors are excellent in the film and portray these real life heroes to the best of their ability. While the film is supposed to be about these men and the mission, it gets caught up in the shock value of its violence. We only get brief details of who these men actually were and

Men of Honor: “Lone Sur-

vivor” shows the lengths these men went to stay alive and fight the enemy. the movie took the top spot opening weekend proving to be another success for its star, Mark Wahlberg.

it turns into just another war movie, something to keep in mind when viewing this film as it is just a movie and not an actual documentary or a word-for-word retelling from the book of the actual events. “Lone Survivor” grossed more than $38.5 million by the end of its wide release opening weekend, and secured the No. 1 spot at the box office. The film premiered Dec. 25, 2013, on a limited release, and had its wide release Jan. 10. The mover is rated R but strictly for its violence and its graphic portrayal of the injuries received by the men. It’s currently nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing. Overall, it’s a good movie that has no flat moments with each minute action packed leaving you entertained the whole way through. It does an excellent job of keeping you in suspense with unexpected outcomes. It ends with a touching tribute to the actual soldiers killed during the mission.




Boys soccer continues undefeated winning streak Soccer Schedule 2/28: San Marcos 3/04 : Judson 3/07: Canyon 3/18: New Braunfels 3/21: Wagner

By Rebecca Flores

With an undefeated record and the No. 1 ranking in the area, the boys soccer team charged into district play with high expectations. Top goal scorer, sophomore forward Andrew Beard led with eight goals, two assists and 18 points. Right behind was junior forward Nathan Mosley with seven goals, four assists, and 18 points, and junior forward Dalton Reid with seven goals, three

assists and 17 points. Top goalkeeper with six goals was sophomore Isaac Jenkins. The boys demolished San Marcos 7-1 on Feb. 11 for the first game of district. Beard had three goals followed by Reid with two goals and one assist. Also senior midfielder Jackson Alexander had one goal and two assists and junior defender Greg Litman had one goal. Jenkins saved three goals and allowed one.

A week later, the boys pulled out a 1-0 victory against Canyon on Feb. 18. During 80 minutes of play, a furious battle waged back and forth between both teams. Sophomore goalkeeper Isaac Jenkins had five saves during the game and didn’t allow one goal to get through. The team sealed the deal as junior forward Dalton Reid made a pass assist Over All Opponents: Varsity starters Nathan Mosley and Dalto sophomore defender ton Reid greet their opponents after a sucessful win Jan. 14 against Elijah Thompson for the Victoria East. Mosley and Reid ended their game in a low-five line. Photo by Taylor Harrell winning goal.

Riding Record Waves Swim team pushes past district, sets three new school marks

By Cole Eldridge

The aquatics team came out of its district meet and transitioned to finish a strong season by qualifying for the 2014 regional swim meet. Both the boys and the girls capped the season, finishing 14th out 23 teams (girls finished 14th and boys finished 11th). From the long distance races to the sprints, the swimmers dropped time. Most of the swimmers had their best times ever coming out of the meet. For Seniors it was a high note to leave on; and for the underclassman, it was a huge motivator for the seasons to come. Regional Prelims began on Feb. 7 at Josh Davis Natatorium. Individual swimmers needed to place 16th or better in their events to move on to Finals. Finals were the following day, and by the end of that Saturday, a school record was

broken, and aquatics saw massive time drops across the board. Going into regionals the swim team had a total of 33 qualifying races accounting for almost half of the team. The boys’ 200 free relay broke the School record (Clayton Taylor, Ian Ogrodnik, Harrison Ferguson, and Taylor Senn with a time of 1:31.03). Each swam a 22-second freestyle. “We had a fantastic meet, and our team fought to the very last race,” Coach Kari Osborne said. “I couldn’t be more proud of what our team represented this weekend.” The seniors put up their best times, three school records were shattered, and a strong representation of school pride, determination and values were displayed. “It has been an incredible year and we all have a lot to be thankful and proud of,” Osborne said.

Rookie Racks Up Records

Sophomore Clayton Taylor Photo by Emily Etter

By Cole Eldridge

Pushing the Limits: Senior Emma Seminaro swims a butter-

Gasping for air: Brendan Cooper turns to finish his 100-meter breaast stroke at the 2014 fly stroke, finishing the race. Poised to win, she pushed herself to the Regional preliminaries in Josh Davis Auditorium. Cooper swam the race for a personal best time, end of the meet. Photo by Terry Osborne which qualified him for regional finals. Photo by Terry Osborne

Sophomore Clayton Taylor started swimming the summer before his freshman year with the Sea Dragon summer league. Since that summer, he has continually improved and trained with the utmost determination. When he first started, his teammates called him a mini-Phelps because of his speed and focus. Within two years, he has successfully broken a school record in an individual event and broken the 200 relay record along with Ian Ogrodnik, Harrison Ferguson, and Taylor Senn. His drive to be in the water practicing, with the support of his teammates and coaching staff, has been a key factor in his success. Never far away is freshman co-athlete Ogrodnik, who set the school record for the 100 backstroke.

Swimmers boost final times to compete at Feb. 7-8 regional

Girls 200 Medley Relay (F. Cybulski, M. Bowling, E. Seminaro, V. Howell) Boys 200 Medley Relay (I. Ogrodnik, B. Cooper, C. Mansker, C. Taylor) Girls 200 Free - Madison Dean-Von Stultz, Frankie Cybulski, Elise Emmons

Boys 200 Free - Skyler Howell Girls 200 IM - Christina Velarde, Abbey Seminaro Boys 200 IM - Cole Mansker, Taylor Senn Girls 50 Free - Michaela Gilbert, Emma Seminaro Boys 50 Free - Ian

Ogrodnik, Harrison Ferguson Girls 100 Fly - Megan Bowling, Abbey Seminaro Boys 100 Fly - Cole Mansker, Brendan Cooper Girls 100 Free Emma Seminaro, Hallie Conzel

Boys 100 Free- Clayton Taylor, Harrison Ferguson Girls 500 Free - Valerie Howell, Elise Emmons, Christina Velarde Boys 500 Free - Skyler Howell Girls 200 Free Relay (M. Gilbert, C. Velarde, E.Emmons, V. Howell)

Boys 200 Free Relay (S. Howell, C. Eldridge, H. Ferguson, T. Senn) Girls 100 Back Frankie Cybulski, Hallie Conzel, Elissa Estep Boys 100 Back - Ian Ogrodnik (new school record 56.52) Girls 100 BreastMegan Bowling, Mady Dean-Von Stultz

Boys 100 BreastClayton Taylor (new school record 1:03.02), Brendan Cooper, Ethan Howell Girls 400 Free Relay (M. Bowling, E. Seminaro, M. Dean-Von Stultz, V. Howell) 1 meter Diving- Dawson Martinez

Girls soccer conquers competition throughout district play By Amanda Renteria

Rushing to Goal: Junior forward Gabby Rodriguez runs in to

attack the ball before her opponents during the game against Hutto High School on Jan. 9. She scored with three assists at this home game and led the team to a 5-0 win. Photo by Ayla Boehm

The girls soccer team went into district with a 9-2 record. Leading the team with 14 goals, eight assists, and 36 points was junior forward Gabby Rodriguez. She was followed by sophomore midfielder Leah Whitaker with eight goals, six assists and 22 points and junior defender Brooke Cousins with eight goals, three assists, and 19 points. Behind them was senior forward Brittany Guthrie with five goals, zero assists and

10 points. Junior Alex Andrade was the top goalkeeper with five goals. During preseason, the girls won both the Ranger Classic and New Braunfels tournaments with one loss in each. The team dominated against San Marcos 3-0 on Feb. 11, the first district game. Goals were made by sophomore Cassidy Clark, sophomore forward Kristina Richter and Cousins. Goalkeeper Andrade and sophomore Natalie Kutac had zero saves and zero goals during night.

The second game of district, the team dodged a bullet against Judson on Feb. 14, scraping up a win 2-1. Rodriguez and Brook Cousins each scored a goal for the team. Junior goalkeeper Alex Andrade allowed one goal and saved two, while freshman Natalie Kutac allowed no goals in and saved one. The following game ended in a standoff with Canyon on Feb. 18 with a score of 0-0. Goalkeeper Alex Andrade saved one goal, and goalkeeper Natalie Kutac had no saves.

Soccer Results

3-0 : San Marcos 2-1 : Judson 0-0 : Canyon 5-2: New Braunfels 10-0: Wagner

Soccer Schedule

2/28 : San Marcos 3/04 : Judson 3/07: Canyon 3/18: New Braunfels


Seniors Sign Off


Athletes pledge to play at college level during letter of intent ceremonies

Surrounded by his family, senior wide receiver Joseph Barsalou signs his commitment Feb. 5 to play college football at West Texas A&M University. The campus is located in Canyon, just south of Amarillo. “It felt like a second home,” Barsalou said. “The people were very nice, and I just enjoyed it.” Photo By: Rebecca Flores

As his parents and sister look on, senior quarterback Garrett Smith signs his letter of commitment to play football at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. The ULM Warhawks play in the Sun Belt Conference. “I liked the coaching staff, the staff facilities,” Smith said. “It looked like a great place to live the next four years of my life.” Photo By: Rebecca Flores

On National Signing Day, senior wide receiver Tyler Coiner inks his commitment letter to play at Morehead State University. Morehead State is a Division I school located in Kentucky. “It’s good football program, it’s a good school,” Coiner said, “and the fact that it’s a Division I program was a big deciding factor for me.” Photo By: Rebecca Flores

With Coach Larry Hill and Coach Corby Maurer looking on, senior safety Shane Piatnik makes official his commitment to play at the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio. Piatnik said he made one visit to UIW and then canceled the rest of his scheduled visits. “The future for football seems really good,” he said. Photo by: Rebecca Flores

With his brother and parents behind him on Feb. 5, senior safety Forrest Forte makes his commitment to play for Navy while in college. Forte plans to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. “They actually came to me last year,” Forte said. “I didn’t really expect it to go through. It’s really a blessing. I’m in shock still.” Photo By: Rebecca Flores

Taylor Hawes signs to A&M Corpus Christi with her brother and family friend by her side on National Signing Day, Feb. 5. She signed the paper because she wants to pursue marine biology and the school had a great department for it. Photo By: Wes Cornelius

Boys’ basketball reaches playoffs By: Wes Cornelius

players are willing to

The boys’ basketball team clinched its spot in the playoffs Feb. 7 against New Braunfels. “It feels great,” Coach R.J. Strauch said. “The players and coaches are very excited and honored to represent SV in the playoffs this year.” The team’s offense averaged 61 points a game. A.J. Carr and Jonah Mahone each had more than 200 points this season, and A.C. Reid had 327 points. The team finished 17-16 overall and 3-7 in district. “Our district play has been very tough,” Strauch said, “and I feel that we are very prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.” The boys’ first round playoff game took place against the 29-3 Churchill Chargers, who won

sacrifice for the good of Churchill

Hoops For Days: Senior A.C. Reid drives down the court during the opening game against Seguin on Nov. 12. The team won 80-63, and Reid finished with 21 points. During the game, he scored his 1000th high school career point. Photo By: Megan Bowling

District 26-5A. “The players have really come together as a team,” Strauch said, “and are playing as one unit. Everyone is there for each other and the

the team.” On Feb. 18 in Seguin, the team lost its first round playoff game against Churchill by a score of 68-56. It was a close game at the half with Churchill leading 32-26. In the third quarter Churchill outscored the team 21-12 giving the Chargers a lead that a fourth quarter comeback just couldn’t beat. The leading scorers were Reid with 16 points, Carr with 13 points and Mahone with 13 points. Churchill’s leading scorers both had more than 20 points and more points than the rest of their team. The team finished with a record of 17-16, to end one of the only playoff seasons the team has had in a few years.

Anna Cozart smiles for the camera with her parents by her side on Feb. 5 in front of the main gym. She signed with Texas Christian University because she said it was a great cross country school and when she visited the campus she knew it was the school for her. Photo By: Wes Cornelius



The Valley Ventana (February/March 2014) - Smithson Valley High School  

Smithson Valley High School's monthly newspaper for February and March of 2014.

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