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Volume 37 /// Issue 2 /// October



Battle Royale

Crush the Rams: Rushing towards the end zone, senior quarterback Garrett Smith rushed 100 yards for three touchdowns in the Sept. 13 Homecoming game against the El Paso Montwood Rams. The football team dominated the Rams in a 55-15 lights out performance. Photo by Robert Evans

Homecoming on Page 5; Football on Page 6

Crime Stopper banners will be on Comal ISD buses High school will receive 10 out of 30 labeled transports by October By Jason Gordon, Comal ISD Contributor As part of Comal ISD’s safety initiative and its continuing partnerships with local law enforcement agencies, you’ll soon be seeing something new on school buses. Comal ISD has agreed to include Comal County Crime Stoppers banners on 30 of its buses, 10 each in the Canyon, Smithson Valley and Canyon Lake feeder patterns. This continues Comal ISD’s partnership with Comal County Crime Stoppers, which began in 2010. The banners will have various Crime Stoppers slogans on them, letting anyone with a tip about a crime know they can call anonymously and receive a cash reward if the information provided leads to an arrest and conviction. The Crime Stoppers tip line is 830-620-TIPS (8477). “This not only encourages our students who ride the bus to be participants in the Crime Stoppers program, but it reminds the community how important the program is and that they

s Off d n u o S t i r i p S e5 irit Week Pag Pep Rally/Sp

Social, Much?


$451 million bond up for Nov. 5 election By Briana Zamora and Wes Cornelis A day after Comal school trustees called a $451 million bond issue for new campuses sweeping the school district, the high school started the 2013-2014 school year with more than 2,300 students. If voters approve the Nov. 5 bond issue, two new high schools would be built in the school district. One would be built in the north Bexar County area near the Timberwood and Indian Springs subdivisions, and another in the Garden Ridge/Interstate 35 area. Two middle schools and two elementary schools would also be built, or three middle schools and one elementary. This year’s student enrollment, 2,316 students, exceeds that of previous school years. The campus was designed to accommodate a maximum of 2,500 students. According to a Summer 2013 bond update from Comal ISD, the high school is projected to exceed 2,500 students by the 20162017 school year with 2,611 students. In two years, the high school’s

“Bond” continued on Page 2 Speak Out: Classroom Crime Stopper posters will be making their bus debut soon as part of the

school district’s continued partnership with local police department. Photo provided by Comal ISD

can be a part of it too,” said Gus Rodriguez, Comal ISD transportation director. “Comal ISD donated the space for the banners on our buses because we’re always looking for ways to enhance our partnerships with our law enforcement agencies.” Crime Stoppers, which was formed in 1976, works in conjunction with all local law enforcement agencies based off of the tips they receive. In 2010, Comal ISD began its partnership with Crime Stoppers at the high school level. Students were encour-

aged to report anything they saw that’s against the law or school policy. To date, more than $3,000 has been awarded to students since the program began. “I think the best part of the program is that it’s a big deterrent for anyone thinking about doing the wrong thing at a Comal ISD high school,” said Gene Hendon, Comal County Sheriff’s Deputy. “Money talks. In addition to the rewards we give out, I think the vast majority of students take pride in their school and don’t want to see anyone doing anything that might

shed a bad light on their campus.” The banners are 6-feet by 2.5-feet long and should be placed on all 30 buses by October. “These banners will get a lot of exposure,” Rodriguez said. “I’m sure this will help solve and deter crimes, and continue to keep our communities safe and enhance our quality of life, and that’s what Comal ISD is all about. “We’re proud to help organizations like Crime Stoppers in any way we can.”

* taken from projected enrollment from 2013 Summer bond update from Comal ISD

By the Numbers 20142015










21,279 22,336



For more bond election info, visit

Something Wicked This Way Comes By Robert Evans Working double, double, with toil and trouble, Family and Community Science (FACS) will host their third annual Fall Fest in the Rotunda and Cafeteria from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 30. Student organizations and faculty members are planning ahead in order to make the common B-wing hallway stretch into a Halloween-style spook-tacular. “We are excited

enrollment is estimated to brink capacity at 2,461. The projected enrollment of the district is 19,000. In ten years, the projected increase estimates that 30,367 students will be going to school in the district. Comal ISD recently completed the last of construction from its $205 million 2008 bond package. That project renovated and constructed elementary, middle and high schools as well as expanded the high school in a $43.7 million addition. Voting registration for the bond election ends Oct. 7. However, as the student body grows more and more each year, students, faculty, and administrators are currently feeling the squeeze of an increasingly packed school. Senior Meagan Bridgewater said the school was a lot more crowded than last year. “It takes longer to find a parking spot every morning. I have to get to school way earlier now so that I can get a decent parking spot,” she said. Along with hallways and parking lots, class sizes are also swelling..

about the campus response this year,” FACS teacher Lori Niles wrote in an Oct. 4 email response. “We look forward to hosting and providing our community with a safe Trick or Treating and carnival experience.” Student Council plans to utilize the cafeteria for its yearly haunted house, while National Honor Society is making calls ahead for inflatable bouncy houses and slides. Several other

organizations, such as French Club and Art Club, will be tabling the event with buckets of candy to hand out. A sweet incentive invites children and students to participate. “We’re asking for candy donations,” NHS adviser Debbie Shewbridge said. “Two bags get you one service hour.” Student Council and other organizations are planning to make similar requests, capped at one service hour.

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Fall Fest to reap canned foods, family fun Oct. 30

Besides the usual cash payment, clubs can donate canned food for admission. The canned food is used during FACS’s November food drive to feed families during Thanksgiving. Last year, the collected food feed 24 families. All leftovers are given to the Hope Center Food Pantry. Contact Lori Niles at Monster Mash: Then junior Emerson Earls and sophomores Sydney Jamison and Mariah Northup play the wicked witch role in Student Council’s haunted house in the cafeteria during last year’s for further information. Fall Fest on Oct. 30, 2012. This year, the fourth annual Fall Fest will

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be held Oct. 30 in the cafeteria, rotunda and gallery leading up to the library. Photo by Emily Etter.

Tennis is on the Ball Page 7

Comal ISD buys new band trailers

Comal ISD band students are heading out on the highway in style this school year. New, 53-foot band trailers were purchased for the high school and Canyon. Canyon Lake High School, which previously used two 20-foot trailers, now has the 48-foot trailer formerly owned by the high school. Not only does each campus have a new trailer, they are fully wrapped from front to back with a design logo that represents the spirit of the campus, the band, and Comal ISD. “It’s a great example of the culture in Comal ISD where our administrators and school board are supporting our students in the fine arts in a big way. Anytime one of these trailers are at one of our schools, on roads and highways, or at different campuses where our bands are performing or competing, people will definitely take notice,” said Mandy Epley, Comal ISD fine arts director. “As our band programs grow, it’s a huge benefit to have all their instruments in one trailer, not in few trucks. “Our community is very excited about this.”

First Melon Run a sweet success

The cross country team hosted a 5K race on Aug. 24 at Ranger Stadium. Participants paid $20 for adults, $15 for students and $3 for spectators. Proceeds went to the team for equipment for the fall season. All pre-registered participants received a t-shirt and an endless amount of watermelon after the race. “As runners we need motivation, and to run with members of the community in a race at (the high school was) a great way to kick off our season,” said junior Devin Clark, who has been named the San Antonio Express-News runner of the year twice. The team raised around $8,000 from sponsors and local runners. Around 300 people attended.

Running on Empty:

Participants line up along the end zone line for the start of the Melon Run on Aug. 24. A ‘Fun Run’ mile was held for runners 12 and under before the actual 5K. Photo by Robert Evans

Tax rate remains same in third year

The Comal ISD Board of Trustees on Sept. 19, in a climate of rapidly growing enrollment, adopted a tax rate for 2013-14 that is unchanged from the past two years. The tax rate of $1.43 per $100 valuation ($1.04 maintenance and operations and 39 cents for interest and sinking) is the same rate as it was in 2011-12 and in 2012-13. -Comal ISD contributing

March on Washington

“Take yourself less seriously. Take the world more seriously.” March on Washington: (Clockwise from right)

Taken from the balcony of the Newseum, senior Robert Evans went to Washington D.C. July 13-18 after winning the 2013 Al Neuharth Free Spirit Conference scholarship representing the state of Texas. A statue of Thomas Jefferson in the Jefferson Memorial on July 16. Photos by Robert Evans

Senior represents Texas at national journalism conference While other students went to the beach or relaxed by the pool, high school senior Robert Evans represented the state of Texas this past summer in the 2013 Al Neuharth Free Spirit Conference July 13-18 in Washington D.C. Evans and 50 other high school juniors across the United States received an all expenses paid trip to D.C. along with a $1,000 college scholarship. “It was an amazing experience,” Evans said. “Besides the professional journalists and incredible people we met in Washington D.C., I also got to

meet people like me who are just as crazy about journalism.” The annual conference and scholarship, sponsored by the Newseum Institute, analyzes students based off their academic accomplishments and their journalism experience in high school. The high school senior attended a taping of “Meet the Press” with host David Gregory at the NBC News Studios, met with 2012 Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sara Ganim, Politico Editor Bill Nichols, USA Today Editor Susan Weiss, Gerald Ford’s former Press Secretary Ron Nessen and other prestigious journalists. Evans also attended a live

spacewalk NASA taping with Newseum Founder/Contributor Gene Policinski and astronaut Thomas Marshburn, as well as a courtroom simulation with U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth. The Free Spirit scholarship began in 1999, but this year was the first that Neuharth was not present to view the aspiring junior journalists. Neuharth died in his Florida home April 19. “The Al Neuharth…program is one of his most important legacies and it will continue on in his memory,” Karen Catone, director of the Free Spirit program, said in a May 1 email to Evans. “(The 2013 class) will

Most high school students spend their weekends with friends or finishing up the project they “forgot” about. Members of the J-CREW volunteer program spend this time waiting to save lives. J-CREW is a volunteer program created to allow high school youths to work with firemen and emergency medical technicians at Bulverde/Spring Branch EMS to prevent injuries and deaths in hazardous situations. Volunteers sacrifice entire weekend’s on-call, working at the stations across the local area. “I joined up for the excitement and prospect of helping peo-

Friday Night Lights: Junior Ausin Wightman (left), with junior Preston Davis (right), adjusts his uniform by an ambulance at the Sept. 13 Homecoming game. Photo by Orlando Mendiola

ple,” volunteer Austin Wightman said. Volunteers are expected to attend Tuesday night meetings for training and instruction in EMS professions. These meetings include a wide range of topics, from cadaver labs to fire-equipment training. During these meetings the participants have the option to sign up for either 12-24 hour shifts, depending on their level of experience. “Crew members are trained in ambulance operations, fire suppression, leadership skills, and perform community service and philanthropic work.” Captain Andy Fox said. The level of help a volunteer can provide during a call is depen-

District Growth 25,000 20,000 15,000

10,000 5,000 2013

dent on knowledge and experience, so volunteers are encouraged to ask plenty of questions on the job. These shifts do warrant some very grim cases and calls, and most volunteers have to keep this in mind before deciding to join up. “It varies,” Wightman said. “Sometimes we will get nothing; other times we can get six [calls] in a day.” Most volunteers will devote a chunk of their weekend to ride out. Each volunteer has his or her own reasons for riding out in their free time. “The look on people’s faces when you arrive is something that money can’t buy.” Wightman said.

Bond, from page 1



tour of D.C., the Washington, pictured above, was under construction July 16. Photo by Robert Evans

By Keagan Miller

Local EMS youth program yields friendship, experience By Preston Davis

Touring D.C.: Taking a nightly

Newsweek ranks school among top in nation’s best

“The look on people’s faces when you arrive is something that money can’t buy.” -Junior Austin Wightman


* taken from projected enrollment from 2013 Summer bond update from Comal ISD

Voters should approve $451 million bond From Valley Ventana Editorial Board

- Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today

By Robert Evans


Administrators are hoping for additional teachers to ease the classroom crunch. Officials are reviewing enrollment numbers to determine where teachers might be needed. The administrators’ overall goal is to maintain a class size of 30 students for all core

Newsweek Magazine ranked the high school among the nation’s top 2,000 schools for the 2012-13 school year. The Newsweek Excellency Award was given to 2000 schools throughout the country that displayed exceptional statistics in graduation rate, college acceptance rate, the number of AP tests taken per student, average SAT/ACT scores, average AP scores and the percentage of students enrolled in AP courses. The school was ranked 1105. “To be ranked in the top 2000 is a prestigious honor,” Principal John Montelongo said. The award puts the school among the top 2 percent of the approximately 10,000 in the United States. “Your hard work is being noticed,” Montelongo said. “We (have) great kids.” Montelongo also credited the teachers for the school’s success. “We have great students, but we have really great teachers,” he said. “The teachers classes for every grade. Principal John Montelongo said teachers were well adjusted to the new student population and could handle larger class sizes. “The teachers have been able to adjust. They knew class sizes would be bigger and prepared for the change,” he said.

Besting the Rest: The Newsweek award sits in the front office. The high school was ranked the 1105 best high school in the nation. Photo by Robert Evans truly did this.” Montelongo’s future goals include a National Blue Ribbon Award, and to be ranked within the top 500 schools in the nation, a rank afforded only to those within the top one-half percent of America’s schools. Even though the school was honored with one of the most prestigious awards in the country for high schools, the principal said he predicted even greater achievements for the school. “It really shows that what we’re doing is amazing,” Montelongo said. While not an issue that substantially alters the campus, lowering class size remains a priority. “We are balancing class sizes as we speak and we hope to have it done soon,” Montelongo said.

The school district is expected to grow by more than 50% in the next 10 years, filling the district’s 29 campuses to capacity. Because of this, the school board has proposed a $451 million bond up for election Nov. 5. Registered voters should vote ‘yes’ to ensure the longevity of the community’s school system. Called by the Comal Board of Trustees on Aug. 26, the bond will fund two new high schools, two middle schools and two new elementary schools or a third middle school. Highway 281 and I-35 will be the target locations of the future high schools, pooling from the Timberwood Park and Indian Springs subdivisions. Tax rates for homeowners would rise about 7 cents, or around $10 a month, to fund the nearly half-billion dollar project. Like most projects that involve raising taxes, this is where most opponents rally behind. Adults with no school-age children might find fault in paying an extra $120 a year for school buildings and staff their children will never utilize. Others might question if the district is using their resources effectively. Some schools like Johnson Ranch Elementary are ghost towns while Specht Elementary in Lookout Canyon is annually over capacity, sometimes turning away residents who live blocks away. Then there are problems more direct to the high school. If a high school along 281 were to be built, then a large percentage of students who live in Timberwood Park, Lookout Canyon and Indian Springs would be pulled from the high school. Extra staff members would be cut, and sports and extracurricular activities would suffer. Furthermore, the school’s socioeconomic demographics would face a downward shift. Most of the school’s middle class students come from the 281-corridor and a sudden drop in that income population would create unpredictable problems for the high school. However, the pros outweigh the cons in this case in the long run. The current enrollment is 19,000. In ten years, the projected growth is 30,000. At this rate, the enrollment will double in less than 20 years. The high school is near capacity now, and will soon be at capacity with students piling in to the portables outside. If the bond is not approved, then temporary fixes, like portables, renovations and rezoning, will be eat up costs for the district down the line. For the school, the bond will help reduce the swelling population and reduce the amount of traffic coming up from San Antonio. Teachers and students will fare better with lower class sizes. With the new high school zone, the nearly exponentially growing district population will have less of an impact on the high school. In addition, this has all happened before. In the 2005 bond election, a $189 million bond was proposed with a $25 a year tax increase. The measure passed with a thousand votes to spare and the process underwent without a spike in taxes or unforeseen circumstances. If registered voters want to prevent later payments down the road, they will vote ‘yes’ Nov. 5. Registration for voting ends Oct. 7.





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 Staff Writers: /// Briana Zamora / Wes Cornelis / Preston Davis / Keagan Miller / Hailey Whitak-

er / Madison Janes / Michael Rocha / Orlando Mendiola / Madison Bush / Chris Adams / Cole Eldridge / Jessica Owens / Xavier Fajardo / Kolby Barber Staff Photographers: /// Emily Etter / Orlando Mendiola / Robert Evans / Sammy Weisgarber / Gabby Rodriguez


NEWS Briefly \\\

Make Your Voice Heard! - Letters to the editor can be sent to room C105 or by email: m.edmonson@ Stuffed to the Gills: “Billy, Jay, Jon, Susie...” “Here.”

Editorial Cartoon by Josh Quesada

Creationism vs. Evolution Should science textbooks teach both?


By Hailey Whitaker Education and religion, throughout the ages, have often clashed. Education, in science, claims that our creation is due to a long and meticulous process known as evolution. Most religions have some ideology of creationism, however, and state education leaders are struggling as to what we should put in terms of material in our textbooks. It is my personal belief that we ought to include both evolution and creationism. We must not condemn a child to one idea or form of thought. Rather, we should allow him the freedom to choose his beliefs. I believe that science and religion, in some aspects, are intertwined. Albert Einstein once said, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” Personally, I believe in God, and I believe He works in many ways that we do and do not understand. But I want all individuals to have

the chance to learn and choose their beliefs. There is a plausible way to present science and religion. We could have a small section dedicated to the several ideas of creationism (to not insult those of particular religions) and evolution, as well. The ideas and theories need not be forced on the children, allowing them to acknowledge all theories and merely educate themselves. We can introduce these ideas, educate and inform the children, but we must keep it simple. Simplicity is a comprehendible blessing. Evolution is but a theory, as is creationism when viewed through the eyes of a scientist. But “all religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree,” as Einstein once said. Religion and science can be intertwined, and we should permit our younger generations the freedom of choosing their personal beliefs rather than swamp them with a particular theory that is forced upon them.


By Briana Zamora The debate over whether students should learn creationism in science classrooms is fueled by the notion that everyone’s opinions are equally valid and should be equally represented. While we should be respectful of other’s opinions and beliefs, this is not how science operates. Science is rooted concretely in fact and has well-defined rules by which we decide whether the answer to a scientific question or problem is correct. Science is what we prove scientifically. Evolution is a theory rigorously supported while creationism is a religious belief supported by faith. Teaching kids about the origins of earth in science class should be about science. Including creationism in biology textbooks would undermine the science that teaches kids about evolution. Defenders of the proposed biology textbook claim that

they are only meant to teach critical thinking and provide academic freedom to teachers who want to challenge evolution or provide their students with an alternative to evolution. There is no scientific controversy over evolution for these teachers to discuss though. Evolution is one of the most widely supported scientific theories. Teaching Creationism in public schools is in clear violation of Supreme Court rulings. Integrating Christian beliefs in an otherwise secular course would imply that the state and federal governments are supporting one religion over others. If Christian beliefs are taught in our biology textbooks, other religions should also be equally represented to stress the equality of different belief systems. Including the creation stories of even a small portion of the religions of the world would dilute the science of biology and undermine evolution. Creationsim should not be included in science textbooks.

Dear Comal ISD: Stop the yellow screens By Robert Evans Currently, our newspaper’s website ( is blocked. Why? Simple. It’s “Uncategorized.” For the many who regularly endure student internet access around campus, we are daily met with the dogmatic and ubiquitous Comal ISD yellow page of censorship. “BLOCKED for Friendship…Social Content… Forums...” and other materials the district deems unnecessary for student eyes during the day. Facebook, Twitter, the Washington Post,, even the district’s own website, ComalISD. org, (using the Google Chrome browser) are blocked. YouTube is filtered for comments and user profiles, but the videos, loaded through a substandard flash player, are still viewable – explicit and suggestive material abound. It adds insult to injury when iBoss, the popular filtering system used by the high school, costs

taxpayers a couple hundred dollars each year according to their premium package subscription plan. Students investigating cases in debate and looking up materials for a research paper in English or history are subdued by the district’s vague criteria of what should and shouldn’t be accessible to students. Furthermore, students are subject to Big Brother. According to the district’s Acceptable Use Policy, “computer use is not private” and “the (d)istrict will monitor…activity on the computer system.” If you don’t want to be under the school’s radar or you just want to log onto Facebook to check your notifications, you can always use your mobile device – something students do every day with their smartphones. Instead of using the school’s Wi-Fi, students use their parent’s data plans and use the internet for entertainment whenever they want to on school grounds. However, these complaints are just

A school blocked page for Facebook.

that – complaints that school districts around the country face every day. Most schools have a policy similar to this district’s, and schools can’t prevent cellphone use. The school even admits in the Acceptable Use Policy that “while the (d)istrict will use filtering technology to restrict access… it is not possible to absolutely prevent such access.” Instead, the district gives students the “responsibility to follow the rules for appropriate use” for sites that are unrestricted but may be questionable under the district’s policy. But, what exactly is appropriate use? Essentially, appropriate use is educational use approved by the district. The New York Times, YouTube and Google are educational and approved, while Facebook and Twitter

are neither. There is also a gray area, sites that sit unapproved yet restricted, or unapproved yet unrestricted. And here is where the argument is to be made for the abolition of yellow screens in general. The internet itself is the definition of information. It is the greatest catalog of education and entertainment in human history, and it grows exponentially daily. For the district, and school districts across the United States, to restrict the internet is to restrict information in general. Instead of constraining students’ internet use by using costly filtering systems, the district should refrain from censorship completely and give students that “responsibility to follow rules for appropriate use” for every website they visit. The district should still be able to monitor student activity in to protect itself but should give students the opportunity to use the internet responsibly. And, if they’d like, to visit the Valley Ventana online.




Prepped & Pepped By Madison Janes

Joanne Frantzen

Dawn Sellers

Two new assistant principals join staff By Hailey Whittaker They’re new and they’re here with their Ranger gear. Despite the busy start, Joanne Frantzen and Dawn Sellers, the school’s new assistant principals, were anxiously excited to introduce themselves. Both Sellers and Frantzen said they were excited to become Rangers and experience the school’s pride firsthand as they adjusted themselves to an unfamiliar environment. Both said they had high expectations and goals concerning the students and school, but they’re determined to make a positive impact and exceed their own expectations, too. Frantzen taught at Skyline High School for 11.5 years, which she said she enjoyed very much. However, she said she was thrilled to be here and experience new things, though it was difficult for her to leave her previous position. “There is an attitude of excellence and a vibrant community spirit here that is unique,” Frantzen said. “I don’t think there is another high school in Texas that is in such an amazingly beautiful location filled with exceedingly nice people who genuinely care about one another.” Frantzen, who was a former Instructional Administrator at De Valle Middle School, said she was quite pleased with the school and its students. She said she appreciated the students and their hard work. “The overwhelming majority of students that I have interacted with have been friendly and welcoming.” Frantzen said. “I am impressed with the high academic, athletic and extracurricular standards that the students espouse.” Sellers, previously stationed at Region 20 supporting high schools with special education curriculum, co-teaching and behavior management, said she was ready for the year. “In my last position, I worked very closely with 24 different school districts, their central office personnel and individual campus leadership teams and faculty,” she said. “I realized that I missed working with the students individually and being part of the day-today life on campus.” Sellers said, “I have no plans to leave! You guys are stuck with me!”

To the naked eye, this year is an average one: football, basketball and volleyball games, as well as a handful of pep rallies. However, this year is anything but typical for the cheerleading squad manning the pep for each event, as staff and schedule changes have affected the team’s cheer performances. The cheerleading program added a new coach, Jennifer Veliz, a former cheerleader herself, to assist coach Amber Atkerson. “I can’t wait to see what she has to offer our team,” junior varsity cheerleader Chianne Giambelluca said. Cheerleading additionally gained a class period. Not only will it cut

back on early morning practices, but it will also minimize the length of afternoon practices. “The entire team and I are so stoked that it is a class,” Giambelluca said. “It’s going to give us more time to work on our halftime routines, pep rally routines and time to work on our cheers. It’s just good to have enough time, rather than having to rush to get things done.” Varsity cheerleader and junior Sarah Franklin agreed more practice time during the day equaled more preparation for events. “I believe we’re getting a lot more work done having cheer as a class now than we have in the past,” she said. “It gives us more time to prepare for

Staff, schedule changes reroute cheer toward energetic new school year

Playing during the first home game Sept.6, trumpet section leader Corby Munsell leads away. “I think this band is already performing at a higher level than the past three years I have been in the organization,” Munsell said.

Cheer Up: The cheer team rejoices as the high school scores another goal in the blowout 55-15 Homecoming game win against El Paso Montwood at Ranger Stadium Sept. 13. Photo by Orlando Mendiola things than just having a practice every other day.” She said that the additional practice time gave them an extra boost during the first football game. “I was very proud of all the girls and excited everything went so well,” Franklin said.

Besides staff and schedule changes, the girls have another common goal: get rid of the stereotypical label placed on cheerleaders. “Our school doesn’t see cheerleaders as a positive influence,” Giambelluca said. “They think we are a waste of a team. I expect

our team to change everyone’s mind, to make a good name for ourselves.” As for their legacy, the squad has one determination in mind. “We are working to regain a great reputation,” Franklin said.




Coronation Celebration Homecoming conquers Ranger Stadium

Band introduces ‘Ranger’-style half-time show at football game By Michael Rocha


our tweets from Head Drum Major Zack Vincent signaled the beginning of the first half-time performance for the band Aug. 30. This show was performed like any other, but with a new twist. Instead of performing music from the UIL competitions in October, the band performed a “Ranger” style show. “It wasn’t as nerve racking because I’ve been doing it for three years now,” junior and clarinet player Amanda Waclawezyk said. The band played the classic Western-style “William Tell Overture” then “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” Once the band finished its pieces, a drum cadence signaled the entrance for the Silver Spurs Dancers, dancing to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” After the Silver Spur performance, the Color Guard and feature twirlers marched on the field for their performance accompanied by Sly and the Family Stones’ “Dance to the Music.” “The halftime show just felt like another show that I have done for the past three years,” senior and trumpet player Bradley Levandoski said. The marching style was different as well. The band utilized diamond and pinwheel movements. As they crisscrossed the field, members turned with sharp motions when they reached the 50-yard line and the 20-yard lines. After executing the pattern numerous times, the band returned to straight lines and then every second and third member in the line moved in a semicircle motion to the front line. Then the band receded as a whole to the back of the field. “I had a great time,” junior Sarah Harrell said. “I’m pretty used to the feeling of marching in a show, so this year I was truly able to enjoy marching in the show.” Four tweets ended the show as the band performed the school song under the direction of the drum majors. The band continued to play the song as its marched off the field and returned to the stands.

Not for the Week Hearted Homecoming spirit captured in pictures Student Council sponsored the annual Spirit Week for Homecoming Sept. 9-13. Students brandished 4-foot beards to fully equipped ‘Murica gear to show spirit for the Sept. 13 game against El Paso Montwood. The schedule, and proper attire, were: Sept. 9 – ‘Murica Monday (Patriotic, stars and stripes garb) Sept. 10 – Tank-Top Tuesday (tank-tops and the like) Sept. 11 – Wild Wednesday (Camouflage; based off the television show “Duck Dynasty”) Sept. 12 – Thrift Shop Thursday (Clothes from Goodwill; unique, used clothing; based off rapper Macklemore’s single “Thrift Shop”) Sept. 13 – Ranger Nation Friday (clothing with high school logos; Student Council’s “Ranger Nation” T-shirts)

Wildlife Wednesday Dressed as “Willie” from “Duck Dynasty,” junior Quintin Thornbury embraces Wildlife Wednesday on Sept. 11 in the C-Wing hallway. “I dressed up as Willie for fun because I had a bandana lying around,” Thornbury said.

Thriftshop Thursday Erin Herdon sports her Thrift Shop clothing Sept. 12 on Thriftshop Thursday. Herdon had been dressing up all week. “I love dressing up,” Herdon said.

Ranger Gear Friday On the day of Homecoming, senior Miranda Alvarado proudly wears her mum Sept. 13. “My boyfriend gave this to me,” Alvarado said. “He goes to A&M.”

Photos by Orlando Mendiola and Emily Etter Walking away after receiving the homecoming queen crown during halftime at the El Paso Montwood Rams game, senior Leah Lagoudis smiles gleefully. “It’s a true honor and I feel blessed,” Lagoudis said. Senior Miranda Alvarado stands behind with the other senior queen and king nominees and their watching parents.

Unaware he is about to win, freshman Barron Garrett Fazzino walks in anticipation down the field. “I didn’t know they were gonna call my name,” Fazzino said, “so when they did, it took me a bit to register, ‘Oh, that’s me!’”

After winning homecoming prince and princess, juniors Lauren Brangers and Trevor Perkins smile with excitement after receiving their crowns and sashes. “I was shocked,” Perkins said. “I had no idea I was going to be picked, but I was truly honored.”

“I was crossing my fingers before that and was looking up, hoping they would call my name; and when they did; I was so happy.” -Chianne Giambelluca

Receiving a sash for Duchess at the homecoming game on Sept. 13, sophomore Chianne Giambelluca, claps in joy for winning the title. “I was hoping I was going to win,” Giambelluca said, “but I wasn’t completely sure.”

Gettin’ Rowdy

Football gets extra support from the middle stands

By Madison Bush R-A-N-G-E-R-S, Rangers, Rangers, the Best! At the Ranger varsity football games, the loudest cheers and the most spirit comes from a group of girls sitting at the 40-yard line. Present at every game, these girls make up the Rowdy Row. Comprised of juniors and seniors, Rowdy Row are the “go-to” gals for any football player needing support or pre-game food. “We buy super healthy foods so they can play well in games. I also bake goodies,” senior Frankie Cybulsk said, who is the Rowdy Row for No. 5 wide receiver senior Joseph Rangers Fight: Cheering on the team, Rowdy Row members support varsity football during the Barsalou. Laredo United game on Sept. 6. From left are seniors Kenny Vann, Kyler Patton, Sienna Antoniolli, and Every game day, Rowdy Regan Olvarez. Photo by Orlando Mendiola Row presents their sponsored football players with His Rowdy Row, junior BrenThe rowdy horse brings addigood luck gift boxes filled with all na Simmons, supports him with tional spirit to the football games kinds of delectable treats. inspirational notes and an equal as it has been used numerous “We also show up to all the balance of healthy food and sweet times in cheering, dancing and in games and wear the special Rowtreats in his box for every game. starting the audience wave. dy Row shirt on Friday,” Cybulski The Rowdy Row mascot, a The girls’ hard work and child’s stick horse, has been reinsaid. dedication do not go unnoticed, stated at football games. The shirt is a navy blue, short however. “We are bringing back a tradisleeve jersey that has the spon“At the end of the season,” tion from four years ago,” Cybulski sored varsity football player’s last senior Elissa Estep said, “the footsaid. name and football number. ball player gives his Rowdy Row a Initially started by the sister of The spirit gifts and support special gift as a ‘thank you’ for her senior Emily Medlin, the two girls from the girls impacts the playbring the horse with them to every constant support.” ers’ performances and mindset Besides the candy, spirit horse game as extra support for the throughout the game. and ‘thank you’ gifts, Rowdy Row players. “It gives me another reason to presents another opportunity. “His name is Rowdy, and he is go out on the field and give it my our mascot,” Cybulski said of the “It makes me feel a part of the all,” senior running back Cameron horse. school,” Cybulski said. Jones said.

October 2013

Briefly \\\ Soccer program introduces new ‘Fit Club’ This year started off differently for the soccer program with the new addition of Fit Club, a workout routine focusing on cardio and weightlifting to prepare for the upcoming soccer season. Fit Club meets at the football stadium from 7 a.m. to 7:55 a.m. Junior Brooke Cousins said that Fit Club would lead to positive results. “I feel that getting some extra exercise in the mornings will definitely help anybody who is in sports,” Cousins said. Junior Alexandria Andrade said the new club has helped her and her teammates in soccer. “Fit Club forces us to work hard and to keep pushing each other to keep working,” Andrade said. “It gets tiring after a while, but you just have to push through it.”

Senior Tyler Coiner runs a play during the first home game of the season Aug. 30 against Brandeis High School. The team beat the Broncos in a 31-12 win.



Upcoming Schedule

Won To Go in the State

Oct. 11 Football hosts San Marcos Oct. 18 Football hosts Judson Oct. 25 Football at Canyon Nov. 1 Football hosts New Braunfels Nov. 8 Football at Wagner

- according to

State ranked football still undefeated in season’s midst By Robert Evans After a series of resounding wins, football’s less than glowing season expectations have been more or less steamrolled into submission. Football decimated Corpus Christi King in a 61-18 win away Sept. 27, a week after beating the Madison Mavericks

47-20 in a televised Thursday night game. The high school is currently the top ranked state team in the region, ranked No. 5 in the state and No. 39 in the nation, according to MaxPreps. After a bye week, football opened district play with an Oct. 11 home game match against San Marcos.

Ready for Anything:

Senior qarterback Garrett Smith, takes goes into his passing stance on Aug. 30 game against Brandeis. Photo by Robert Evans

Junior pitcher verbally commits to LSU team By Chris Adams Making school history, junior Cole McKay verbally committed to play baseball for Louisiana State University on Sept. 9. McKay, who last season was ranked as the No. 4 sophomore baseball player in the country, would have a chance to be only the second person in school history to be drafted into a major league system. The second was Jason LaRue, who played for the Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals. “It’s a great accomplishment for Cole,” head coach Chad Koehl said. “It’s also a great accomplishment for the program because it is our first player to verbally commit to LSU.”

SV Brandeis

31 12

More than 8,000 spectators watched varsity football kick off the season Aug. 30 at home. At the start of the game, the team came out slowly but surely, racking up a first quarter touchdown by running back Cameron Jones and a 23-yard field goal at the start of the second, making it 10-0 with 8:30 left in the first half. However, Brandeis reached the goal line but missed the extra point, keeping the score 10-6. Quickly, the team gained ground. After a successful run into the end zone by senior Tyler Coiner, senior Bryan Wersterfer intercepted Brandeis’s ball and ran 95 yards into end zone, finishing off the game.

SV 49 Laredo United 12

Defense stopped Laredo United’s passes with interceptions from senior linebacker Brady Brown and junior linebacker Connor Flanagan. By the end of the game, senior quarterback Garrett Smith had four touchdowns and passed the ball for 268 yards. From five yards out, the first touchdown was made by Smith. Laredo received the ball for a 12 yard return. They gained a total of 19 yards before being intercepted by Brown. The team made a touchdown three minutes before the end of the quarter, ending the first half 42-7. With less than two minutes left in the game Laredo made one last touchdown.

SV Montwood

44 SV 15 Madison

In Coach Larry Hill’s online weekly show, he described Sept. 13 Homecoming win, “We certainly had some drive killing penalties but for the most part executed pretty well.” Early in the game senior wide receiver Joseph Barsalou made a kickoff return, starting the score. Later senior quarterback Garrett Smith scored an easy touchdown with the help of senior running back Cameron Jones. At the end of the second quarter senior, wide receiver Shane Piatnik caught an interception after the ball was tipped. After the half, Jones returned a second kick into the end zone, keeping the lead.

47 20

Sept.19 marked one of the most anticipated games of the season against the Madison Mavericks. Senior quarterback Garrett Smith had 10 of his 16 passes caught for 221 yards and three touchdowns. Senior running back Cameron Jones had 14 carries for 149 yards and two touchdowns. Junior wide receiver, Kyle Kershner had three receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown.

Anthem: Senior Mason Nasis during the National Anthem. Photo by Orlando Mendiola

New splashes By Cole Eldridge

Liberty calls senior A.C. Reid, senior and varsity player on the basketball team, committed to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va, “Virginia is home,” Reid said. For Reid’s last season he will be playing on the varsity basketball team as a small forward to finish out his high school basketball career.

The aquatics team lost several veteran swimmers including former captains Lariss Garza and Austin Johnson. New leaders are stepping up to ensure success both in and out of the pool. Each athlete is working to not only achieve faster times but to maintain an optimistic atmosphere. “It’s important to always stay on task”, Coach Kari Osborne said. “We need to always focus on following through and getting to practice, no

matter how cold, dark or rainy.” The swim team kicks off its season Oct. 12 at the Fall Invitational meet. “We will be ready for our first meet, and we will accomplish goals by keeping a positive attitude, lifting up our team mates, and working hard in practice,” Osborne said. Throughout her four previous years coaching, Osborne has trained district, regional, and state qualifiers. The first meet will determine the team’s future accordingly.

SV C.C. King




61 18

The football team’s high scoring offense started big in Corpus Christi on Sept. 27 with the defense making sure King rarely saw the endzone. A 12-yard run by Garrett Smith in the first quarter sparked a scoring frenzy. The offense scored three touchdowns starting with a two-yard run by Cameron Jones. In the second half, Austin Franco threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Derek Housler. Also Kyle Kershner caught a seven-yard touchdown pass from Smith. The final touchdown for the team came in the third quarter from Colton Renken with a three-yard touchdown run to finish a high scoring game for the team.

Swim team adapts after losing senior stars


hits 500 career wins

For State

By Hannah Pittman After coaching girls varsity volleyball for 25 yearsl, head volleyball coach Liana Gombert hit her 500th win of her career during the Mizuno Showdown on Aug. 29-31 against Odessa Permian. “I would have to thank all the players and assistant coaches that helped me along the way,” Gombert said. Gombert first began coahing volleyball at Boerne High School. “I love the game, and my high school coach had an impact on me to start coaching,” she said. Her first win was 23 years ago, and Gombert expressed how meaningful it was to earn this milestone of 500 wins. “It felt special, because the group of girls I worked with made it fun. My high school coach was there and my parents, and that just made it special,” she said. Gombert continues her push for more wins in this 20132014 season.

Team opens district play with victories By Chris Adams Volleyball headed into district play Sept. 27 with a record of 24-9 and the goal of advancing beyond this past season’s region tournament berth. First, the team will have to face tough district opponents such as Canyon and New Braunfels. The Unicorns ended the team’s playoffs this past year by claiming the region title in a tournament showdown in the Valley. “We played New Braunfels six times last year,” senior setter Emily Medlin said. The drive for redemption and a shot at the state tournament drives the players, senior leaders said. “We want to get to the state tournament,” senior middle blocker Allison Grona said. Medlin and Grona, as

The dreaded mile intervals, a regular activity for the cross country team, truly tests one’s athleticism. When you’re exhausted, huffing and puffing and feeling like there’s nothing left to give, the best thing to have is a coach that motivates the athlete to always be the best, a characteristic that is met by the new cross country coach Brittany Lanehart “She is amazing,” varsity runner Luis Gutierrez said. “She is committed to her team and does more than is asked of her everyday.” After investing six years at Kingwood Park High School and four years at Canyon High School in Amarillo, Lanehart made her way to the high school to be the head cross country coach, bringing with her 15 state

Most kills: Allison Grona 256 Maja Kaiser 197 Most service aces: Emiley Medlin 62 Allison Grona 37

Just Keep Digging: Senior Emily Medlin jumps in excitement as the volleyball team de-

feats MacArthur High School. Medlin leads the way with 90 games played, 784 assists, and 62 service aces. Medlin also ranks in the top of her team in digs with 269 and solo blocks with 25. Photo by Emily Etter

championships under her belt along with a dedicated passion to build up runners. “It’s a good school for cross country,” Lanehart said, “Great kids and great families, lots of potential in this group.” After having Jonathan Jarrett as a coach for years, it was thought that the cross country runners would have a hard time adjusting, but Lanehart has really filled his shoes and plans to apply daily consistent training to help improve their skills and smooth the transition of coaches. According to Lanehart, both the coaches and the runners look forward to a different but successful season. “It’s unbelievable how much they’ve adapted to the situation,” Lanehart said, “and how much they want to get better.

professional golfers. By Kolby Barber “I was crazy excitand Hailey Whittaker

Splashing In: At the Jan. 19 City Invitational meet this past year, junior Hannah Freund powers through the water with her disciplined breaststroke. File photo

ed,” Rivera said. “It was a relief because all of the hard work had paid off. But, yeah, I was screaming.” She wrote lengthy essays summarizing her skills, ability and what she could do and accomplish with the First Tees. A number of judg-

Most solo blocks: Allison Grona 69 McKinlee Boss 32.5 * Information from

Tennis looks to net playoffs By Jessica Owens Tennis beat Judson High School Oct. 1 with a score of 10-5. The team is currently undefeated with a 6-0 record. The Judson win signals a shift in the tennis team’s dynamics. The high school has not won over Judson in six years. Head tennis coach Keith Brown acknowledged that winning was important, but teamwork was paramount. “I just want our players to have a safe and fun season on the court,” Brown said. The top three male players are freshman Brandon Giordanelli, sophomore Matt Bartlett and senior Cole Nipper. The top three females are junior Mariah Bartlett, sophomore Olivia Chuber and freshman Morgan Clinton. Brown said that work ethic and education about the sport allowed the team to battle headstrong in district play.

“Like most sports, your best players are the ones who put in the most work and are the students of the game,” Brown said. “Players need to understand and study the game. Not only do you need to be a talented athlete, you need to understand the court and angles to set up your points.” District and area tournaments are scheduled Oct. 7-11. “Our team has set goals this year and making the playoffs is one of them,” he said. For tennis, individual goals are team goals. “What I enjoy most about the fall tennis team is getting the players to think team first,” Brown said. “Our team this year has definitely bought into the team concept of the sport. Being a good, caring teammate is a life skill, and our players are getting it.” For information regarding tennis in district, visit valleyventana. org.

Send to Receiver: Junior ariah Bartlett plays against Wagner away on Sept. 3. Bartlett is one of the top singles players on the team, going past district and into region this past year during her sophomore year. Photo by Sammy Weissgarber.

Swinging With The Pros Representing the First Tee of Greater San Antonio in a field of 79 competitors, senior golfer Johany Rivera traveled to Pebble Beach, Fla., Sept. 27-29 to compete in the Nature Valley Tee Open, playing with

well as seniors Allison Meckel, Mackie Kelly, Savannah Gray and Kelsey Pierce, find themselves taking helm of a squad that was led last year by all-state players Nina Mody-Bailey and Meghan Uecker. Meckel was named to first-team all-district while Grona and Medlin were named to the second team. “We’re seniors this year, so there are some big spots to fill,” Medlin said. “Last year’s seniors were really strong.” Leaders so far include Grona, who leads in games played (74), most kills (222), kills per game (3), most service aces (tied with Medlin at 37), and most blocks per game (.82); Medlin, who leads in most assists (652) and most assists per game (8.81); and Gray, who leads in most digs (280).

Top Stats

New coach here for the long run By Xavier Fajardo





es picked Rivera after specifically looking for distinct and particular specifications focusing on teamwork, education, experience and character. One of the main points of the application was choosing a core value. For Rivera, it was perseverence. In her published

application on The First Tee Open website, Rivera wrote that, besides her determination, she plays for her homeland of Puerto Rico. “My lucky charm is my ball marker of the Puerto Rican flag,” she wrote. “When I play with it, I feel like I am not only playing for myself but that I (am) also

Senior travels to Florida, tees-off golfing career

(playing) for my family.” Once she goes pro, she would like to found a scholarship to help others who experienced similar challenges to achieve. “I’d like to start a scholarship for kids who are also doing First Tee so I can help the kids who worked just as hard as me,” she said.

Florida-Bound: Senior Johany Rivera represented The First Tee of Greater San Antonio while playing in a field of 79 other girls and boys. “It’s really just a great learning experience,” Rivera said. Photo by Eric Burrell



The Valley Ventana September Edition, Published 9-30-2013.

The Valley Ventana (October 2013) - Smithson Valley High School  

Smithson Valley High School's monthly newspaper for October 2013. Visit us online at

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