Photo by: Saianoop “Snoop” Vatturi
the basketball edition // FEATURE // going for the gold pg. 5
// SPORTS // football wrap-up pg. 7
// EDITORIAL // bonding time pg. 14
2 THE TORCH | NOVEMBER 2013
MISSION TO MARS
daniWARDINSKY // editor-in-chief
NASA probe sets off into the final frontier, to touch down on the red planet in 2014
NASA’s newest robotic explorer, MAVEN, rocketed towards Mars on the 19th of November in the hopes of gathering more information on the red planet’s extreme climate. To help solve Mars’ environmental puzzle, MAVEN will spend an entire Earth year measuring atmospheric gases.This is NASA’s 21st mission to Mars
since the 1960s, but it’s the only one that has been designed to study the Martian upper atmosphere. The mission is estimated to cost $671 million. In an interview found on the NASA website, NASA administrator Charles Bolden explained, “MAVEN joins our orbiters and rovers already at Mars to explore yet
another facet of the Red Planet and prepare for human missions there by the 2030s.This mission is part of an integrated and strategic exploration program that is uncovering the mysteries of the solar system and enabling us to reach farther destinations.” Maven will travel across the solar system until September 2014,
which is when it will land on Mars and begin its primary scientific responsibility. With many years spent in the designing and programming phase, the NASA mission workers are thrilled to see its successful launch. “After 10 years of developing the mission concept and then the hardware, it’s incredibly
exciting to see MAVEN on its way,” Bruce Jakosky, principal investigator at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (CU/LASP) in Boulder, Colo said. “But the real excitement will come in 10 months, when we go into orbit around Mars and can start getting the science results we planned.”
Image courtesy of: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/ imagegallery/iotd.html
NOVEMBER 2013 | news | THE TORCH 3
Technology that is changing the world The latest gear to hit global markets ethanPHAM// staff writer
Smart watches are becoming bigger and bigger, especially with the release of Samsung’s smart watch, the Gear. Smart watches are one of the first in the new industry of wearable tech. Although still new, smart watches are becoming more commonplace. While smart watches have a long way to develop before they are more convenient to have, they will probably be seen more often as they continue to develop and become affordable.
Photo courtesy of: Google Glass
Google Glass is perhaps one of the biggest new devices that is expected to hit shelves by 2014. Google Glass is a pair of glasses augmented by Google’s technology, such as Google Maps, Google Plus, etc. Glass is intended to make staying connected easy and hands free. Glass is a huge step forward in the wearable tech industry, but some still wonder whether it will stick or not. Either way, it will pave the way for future technology.
Tesla, the leading electric car company, is a big hit this year because of its sleek design, outstanding performance and reliability. Tesla is changing the electric car industry for the better without sacrificing the capabilities of any other car. With excellent mile range, outstanding technology, zero emission, and beautiful design, Tesla is bringing a new face to the electric car industry. Although Tesla may not be a conventional car now, it will definitely be a typical car in the near future, because it is creating a society with more electric cars, better technology, and a greener future.
Photo courtesy of: Samsung
Latest apps on the market The biggest mobile applications dominating App Store and Google Play
Photo courtesy of: Tesla Motors, Inc.
ethanPHAM// staff writer
If you love zombies or just the original PVZ then Plants vs. Zombies 2 is the game for you. This sequel to the classic computer game is challenging and just as fun. Use a variety of garden warfare to defend your brains from hungry zombies using various weapons from a “peashooter” to a “wallnut.” Snapchat is a popular new app that allows you to talk to friend beyond just a text. In Snapchat you simply take a picture, add a caption, and send it to your friends. Once they get the image, they can view it before it disappears off the screen forever (unless they take a screenshot!). This is great for those camera lovers and picture takers.
If you love space or just a good game then Infinity Space is a good game for you. In Infinity Space, you are the commander of mankind’s greatest space ship. You can explore the universe, upgrade your ship and avoid deadly dangers of space in this challenging and fun game.
Minion Rush, a game that perfectly combined the beloved minions of Despicable Me and the runner style of games like Temple Run and Subway Surfers. This game is full of twist and turns that make it more fun and exciting every time.
Images courtesy of: Google Play Store
4 THE TORCH | NOVEMBER 2013
Student-operated organizations and how the high school experience depends on them lorieKIESEWETTER // staff writer
Clubs can offer a positive high school experience, allowing students to be introduced to each other through a common interest. “Well, we aren’t like specifically athletes, band kids or choir kids,” Chase Snider, head of the Lumberjack Club, said. “We are a conglomerate of different people from ends and cliques and such, that all come together to be friends.” It’s not only the diversity of students coming together that makes clubs important, but also that “[they] bring students together, make them feel like they belong giving them outlets for their
emotions,” Snider adds. “I think [you] really need to get involved just because you need to be apart of something, you need put yourself out there. Like, find out what you want to do,” says Sera Holland president of the Environmental Club. Holland enjoys using her club to make a difference in teh community. “So basically unlike a lot of other clubs, we aren’t really focused on things that just benefit this school, and certain organizations, we’re pretty much focused
on things all around the area, around Houston,” she said. “We’re trying to make a actual change.”
We are a c on g l om e rat e of different people from ends and cliques and such, that all come together to be friends.
-CHASE SNIDER Holland also mentions the true meaning of clubs and why our school supports them: “You could find out
what you want to do for the rest of your life from this. And it really helps, builds character, it really gets you interested and involved.” True dedication exceeds school hours and shows through the time and energy put into one’s club. Not only is this type dedication is hard to find, but when a club is as dedicated as their members and vice versa, its easy to be part of a wonderful experience. Hannah S t e w a r t and Alison Montalbano the vice president and president of the Young
Republicans and Democrats Club, explain their members dedication. “A lot of members, even if they have early release, will come back to the school for the club,” Stewart said. Whether joining the Lumberjack, Environmental, Young Republicans and Democrats Club, or even one of the numerous organizations that Seven Lakes has to offer, there are new friends to be made and hidden passions for a cause to be found.
5 NOVEMBER 2013 | feature | THE TORCH
GOING FOR THE
Senior Hannah Libby qualifies to compete at the ITU World Championship sanjanaMADAKSHIRE // staff writer
Before her days of competing, Libby was a part of the Seven Lakes soccer team. “When I quit soccer, I still wanted to be active in sports and I like to run,” Libby said. “A lot of my friends competed in triathlons and since my brothers are competitive swimmers, I decided to try out myself.” nHer time spent traveling for the various tournaments has motivated Libby even further.
Libby will now be competing at the 2014 ITU World Triathlon Age Group Championships in Edmonton, AB, Canada.
IT WAS KIND OF A HAPPY ACCIDENT
of me,” Libby said. “My dad bikes with me and my mom looks up all the stats and my friends always wish me luck for my tournaments.” In addition to having strong support, a tight and controlled training regimen has been vital to Libby’s achievements at the triathlons. “I go to the gym everyday and I strength train about twice a week with a trainer,” Libby said. “My brother is my swim coach and I have training apps on my phone.” However, now that Libby has qualified, she hopes that changing her training routine will help her performance. “I have switched to more strength training using heavier weights,” Libby said. “And I try to focus more on my run time because it is one of the areas I need to improve on.” In addition to Libby, between 100 to 150 other participants are expected to compete, with 15 in Libby’s age group. Libby hopes to put her months of rigorous training to use when she competes next fall.
On August 10, 2013, Senior Hannah Libby qualified for the International Triathlon Union championships. The ITU is the international governing body for triathlons, duathlons, aquathlons, and many other disciplines. The Union has held the Triathlon World Championships annually since 1989. bvEight rounds of competitions take place before the Grand Final Race. The championships are conducted using the standard Olympic distance of 1500 meter mass-start open-water swim, 40 km draft-legal cycle, and 10 km run. Initially, Libby was not aware that she was even entering the tryouts. But after receiving notifications confirming her position in the top ten percent of her age group, Libby decided to compete at the Age Group National Championships at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “It was kind of a happy accident,” Libby said.
“I will be participating with others from around the world,” Libby said. “I am looking forward to meeting new people with different cultural backgrounds.” Friends and family have played an important role in propelling Libby’s performance . “My family and friends have been very supportive
Hannah Libby after her performance at the National Championships at Milwaukee, Wisconsin Photo courtesy of: Hannah Libby
NOVEMBER 2013 | feature | THE TORCH 6
kiaraREYES // guest writer
Three Spartans, three stories. What’s yours?
Derryk Pope, freshman Assistant Principal, has been a part of the Seven Lakes community for five years. “I like that it’s a place that everyone wants to be. The students have a good time, teachers enjoy it here, and it’s fun to work with people who want to be here every day.” Before coming to Katy in 2003, Mr. Pope lived in Dallas. Mr. Pope started off teaching at the high school level and then became an Assistant Principal at Memorial Parkway Junior High. “I really wanted to come back to the high school level,” Pope said. “It was way more laid back than I thought it would be. Everyone was professional, but it was also a warm and friendly environment, different from where I came from.” “There’s not just one person, but several people I work with that I take little pieces of what they do. Jim Davidson, an Assistant Principal at a junior high I worked at, I learned a lot from him about how to treat people,” Pope said when asked about his role model. Outside of Seven Lakes, Pope enjoys watching his sons play sports, is a baseball umpire, and enjoys watching many different TV shows. “I like all kinds of movies. I really like Snatch, The Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars.” Mr. Pope also likes the book The Killer Angels, which is a historical fiction book about the Battle of Gettysburg. “I also love anything by John Grisham,” said Pope. Being an Assistant Principal, Pope has a vast knowledge of what high school life is like. He said, “Give your best effort. Study. People don’t try hard enough. They do okay, but they look back and think that they could have studied more. Get involved. Have a good time, but study.”
Photos by: Saianoop “Snoop” Vatturi
As one of the founding members of Seven Lakes, Kippie Curcio, our school librarian, has watched the school grow and change into what it is today. “The students are my favorite thing about Seven Lakes. I like how friendly everyone is and how for the most part, they want to be here and have a positive attitude. The staff is really inspiring, you can tell that they really want to be here and love what they’re doing.” Besides being a librarian, Curcio loves to travel, cook and read. “I love anything written by Jodi Piccoult, Pride and Prejudice, and Where She Went,” said Curcio about her favorite books. She also enjoys the movies, The American President, Pretty One, and A Few Good Men. Curcio was an elementary librarian before she came to Seven Lakes. “I just wanted a change and when I found out Ms. Beck was opening Seven Lakes, I wanted to work with her.” Curcio has three children, one son and two daughters. “My mother is my role model. I still strive to be like her because she was such a positive person and had a great outlook on life. I think I am a positive person. I’m usually pretty friendly, and I like to help others.” Giving advice to high school students, Curcio said, “Just do your best at everything and think about your future while in high school. Don’t wait until junior or senior year.”
Moving from Colorado to Katy only about two years ago in the second semester of his freshman year, junior Victor Salazar, has loved his years at Seven Lakes. Victor was born in Venezuela, then lived in Colorado for ten years before moving to Katy. “When I first came to Seven Lakes, I thought that the school was too big, but I love that there’s a lot of different cultures and that I get to meet new people every day,” said Victor. At Seven Lakes, Victor participates in the ping pong club. “I like ping pong club because we get to do competitions instead of just playing ping pong at home.” Victor also enjoys his photo journalism class because he likes to go out and take pictures of things that stand out and things that people might not normally see during the day. Outside of school, Victor also enjoys to record music and edit audio on the computer. “My role model is Tyler the Creator because he started from nothing, and now he has his own label, clothing, and has helped with fifteen different films.” He also enjoys the movie Dazed and Confused and the book Into the Wild. Victor also has a little sister, Gaby, and speaks fluent Spanish. “I think I’m funny, fun to be around, and friendly,” said Victor. “I think it’s important to be yourself and do what makes you happy,” he said.
7 THE TORCH | NOVEMBER 2013
IN THE ENDZONE
Unable to catch a spot in the playoffs, football season comes to a close
trentWEBER // sports writer
With the season coming to an end that coaches, players, nor fans would expect, Seven Lakes heads into what hopes to be a productive offseason. The year started promising as the Spartans posted a 6-0 record before going on a 4 game losing streak that would eventually knock the team out of the playoffs. A week 7 shootout against Katy went down to the wire, as Seven Lakes came up short 17-12. “We felt satisfied after Katy and we never came to play our last 3 games on the schedule,” junior linebacker Tommy Brown said. The defense, which had carried the team throughout the season, struggled against Cinco, Memorial, and Morton Ranch, letting up a combined 80 points in 3 games. Brown played through the second half of the year with a torn muscle in his quad, holding him
out of the season finale against Morton Ranch. “It was tough watching the defense struggle like they did and not be able to make a difference,” the linebacker said. Although the season didn’t end like players and coaches wanted it to, it had some memorable moments. “It was exciting to start off 6-0 and the fans really got into the games,” senior kicker Bryce Brown said. “The last couple of games were frustrating but I still love my team. The Spartans finished the year 6-4 and 5th in a very competitive 19-5A District. “I felt like we had a good season overall,” wide receiver Ben Gautschy. “We could have finished better but regardless I enjoyed the year with my teammates and I feel like we really set the table for next year.”
Running back Braeden West bounced back from a broken collarbone week one, scoring 5 touchdowns and rushing for 436 yards. Brian Moore added 7 touchdowns on 726 yards as he saw most of the carries in West’s absence. Senior defensive end Jarrett Johnson and senior defensive back Bright Ugwoegbu have both committed to play college football next season. Johnson will be at Texas A&M and Ugwoegbu will be at Oregon State. As for, the returning players the goal for next season is simple. Not only make the playoffs, but make a legitimate run in Division 1 5A. “We want to turn some heads next year that we weren’t able to turn this year,” said Gautschy. “No one will take us seriously until we make a playoff run.”
Photos by: Saianoop “Snoop” Vatturi
8 THE TORCH | NOVEMBER 2013
KING TURNBULL What seniors did you miss from last year that played basketball? I miss all the seniors but I miss Kenny. he was the point guard and we had a special bond. We’d always work out together during practice. I also miss Ryan McClurg and how corny he was. He’s a cool dude. What’s your game music playlist? You gotta listen to some Chief Keef, some Waka Flocka to get pumped up before the game. Some Lil Wayne, he always keeps it real.
Boys basketball has been hard at work preparing for their first game of the season against Alief Hastings. Running plays, performing defensive drills, and hitting the weight room, the boys desire a successful year. “This season we have been practicing hard to uphold our school’s tradition and win another district title,” senior Jacob Ranta said. “Our team goals are to finish first in district and make a state tournament playoff run.” The boys team had a phenomenal season last year, ending with a thirty win record, an accomplishment the
team this year is looking to repeat. The team’s ultimate hope is to reach state in Austin. The goal of the team is to dominate and win district. Motivated by this, the team has taken the opportunity to come together and aid each other as they seek a season championship. “It’s great working together with our team,” Ranta continued. “It’s like a brotherhood and we all have each other’s backs.”
beccaRIOS // staff writer brittanySCOFIELD // guest writer Photos by: Saianoop “Snoop” Vatturi
Are you superstitious? What’s your pre game ritual? I have a ritual before every game: I have this wristband I’ve had for a while and put it in my sock. It says “This game is my life” and has a basketball on it, I’ve kinda just wore it ever since eighth grade. What do you guys do after the game? If it’s a win, we’re all in a good mood, sometimes we go and eat after the game, just hang out.
Jake Terry Are you superstitious? What’s your pre game ritual? No, not really, Coach Miller’s a pretty superstitious guy, though. Last year we had low top shoes on when one of our players, Alec Colhoff, twisted his ankle and we never wore those shoes again. Who’s your favorite basketball team/ player? Kevin Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
NOVEMBER 2013 | spotlight | THE TORCH
Does basketball affect your school work or social life? Definitely, because my excuse is always, “Sorry, I have practice!” or “Sorry, I have a game tomorrow so I can’t really go out!” but its the best for me. Academic wise, getting homework done and stuff is a challenge but I use my time wisely. Who’s the hardest team to play against? Cinco is probably our top competitor, but I think that every team we play that week is going to be the best team we play. So I always think like that, one game at a time.
Cydney Varner What’s your game music playlist? It includes lots of bass, Tyga, Lil Wayne. What has been the most memorable game? Any of the games during playoffs because that’s when we really came together as a team. Even more so than during the season, so the playoff game were special for me.
“This season so far has been tough,” senior Katy Keese said. “As of now we are 0-2, competing against teams that are highly ranked and that will make us better. We haven’t ‘lost’ because we have yet to give up or lay down, we just have been beat.” With that in mind, the girls have continued to work hard throughout the preseason, in order to give their Spartan fans something to cheer for. “This season we worked really hard in preseason, lifting weights and running our timed sprints in preparation for this season,” Keese said. Committed to winning and succeeding, the girls hope to be undefeated within the district season. “Team goals as of now are [to be] undefeated district champions and holding every
team under 40 defensively,” Keese stated. “Offense will take care of itself through defense. My goals personally would be making this year the best year yet, averaging at least 10 points a game and consistently rebounding in order to help my team.” Motivated to help her team, Keese works with her fellow players, as they form their own personal, basketball family. “There are ups and downs, times where things just aren’t going right but we all rely on each other to pick each other back up and keep going,” Keese continued. “We are all able to hold each other accountable, including the coaches, because of the relationships we have built and that we are still building. It’s always a work in progress.”
eMILY tOWNSEND Are you superstitious? What’s your pre game ritual? We make, I guess, rhythms? It’s kind of weird; we use a ball and make beats with it and our hands. We do certain dances the same one every time, in the same order. We also pray before the game, which I really like since it unites us as a team.
SPARTAN Sidelines NOVEMBER 2013 | sports | THE TORCH 10
UPCOMING SPARTAN SPORTING EVENTS
GIRLS XC STATE TEAM At the UIL State Cross Country Championships, runners Lourdes Vivas (19th place), Allison Tracy (35th place), Erica Brown (37th place), Caitlin Nugent (59th place), Kacie Corbin (67th place), Laura Broman (68th place), and Sydney Gandy (79th place) individually placed within the top 100 spots. As a team, the girls are ranked 8th in the state.
SWIMMING/DIVING // 11.22.13 TISCA - Finals @ Conroe ISD BOYS BASKETBALL // 11.26.13 Tue SLHS vs. Fort Bend Travis GIRLS SOCCER // 11.26.13 Tryouts: 3:00â€“5:45
above // Watching the signals from their director, The Spartan Band prepares to play for the crowd. below // Greeting the players as they gear up to take on the Katy Tigers, the Sapphires stand prim and proper in their places.
BOYS XC STATE TEAM Also at the Nov. 9th State Championships in Round Rock, Roderick Bell took 32nd place and Chandler Rathke stayed in the top 75 with a 71st finish.
On the Sidelines with... LACEY CAMPBELL Favorite Ice cream: MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP
Dream guy: TALL, ATHLETIC, AND CUTE
Favorite old Disney show: KIM POSSIBLE
COMING In the second installment of the award winning trilogy, Katniss is sent back to the arena for a quarter quell. Here’s to hoping the second is as good as the first!
You loved the first one and now the second installment of the hilarious news team run by Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) will be even crazier than the first. Anchorman 2 will premiere on December 20.
Three hours of actionpacked awesomeness was revealed in The Hobbit – and now even more is planned in this dwarf packed feature that is the second of a new trilogy. The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug will air on December 13.
Love them or hate them, you can’t deny One Direction’s success. The band’s third album Midnight Memories will be released on November 25.
Fresh off of the phenomenal success of his debut album +, Ed Sheeran is scheduled to release his as-of-yet untitled sophomore album on February 17.
robertoMONTIEL // staff writer
11 THE TORCH | NOVEMBER 2013
NOVEMBER 2013 | life & style | THE TORCH 12
REVIEWED ENDER’S GAME DISAPPOINTS
Orson Scott Card’s sci-fi epic doesn’t translate well to screen Ender’s Game is the longawaited adaptation to Orson Scott Card’s classic military science-fiction novel. Written and directed by Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), it boasts some flashy visuals and engrossing conflicts, but it also undermines its performers and emotional effectiveness with light-speed pacing and lifeless writing. Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is introduced as teenager, rather than a six-year old. His vastly superior intellect remains intact, however, and he thinks out-of-the-box on more than one occasion, leading to fantastic results for himself and his allies in the heat of combat. He is also capable of great violence, exemplified by his brutal beating of a tormentor early on. Like his brother and sister, he has been enrolled into a military program that produces commanders for a potential war against humanity’s alien enemy, the bug-like Formics, but he is the only one to graduate to the Battle School, a space station in Earth’s orbit. Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) commands the Battle School. He sees potential in Ender and aims to mold him into humanity’s next savior. The methods he uses
– turning students against Ender, accelerating his training, and ignoring him in times of need – are opposed by Major Anderson (Viola Davis), who argues that there must be some measure of compassion directed toward their prized pupil. Simply put, Ender’s Game simplifies a lot to squeeze into its unbearably short run time. Ender earns friends much too easily for Graff ’s isolation strategy to have impact, and the zero-gravity battle room scenes are underwhelming due to their hobbled length. Concepts like “the enemy’s gate is down” are introduced during these sequences as they were in the book, but they are never really capitalized upon effectively enough to be meaningful. Quiet moments are few and far in between, for important events occur in rapidfire succession throughout the movie. Unfortunately, Ender himself has been reduced to a one-note character who seems born for leadership from the start. Hood doesn’t show us Ender excelling in academics, doesn’t show us how Ender improves as a soldier, doesn’t show us Ender gradually developing – he tells us. Every time Ender does well in class, Graff or someone else merely says he has
charlesLIU // senior guest writer
good test scores. Every time he wins a battle, we are simply shown the rank of his army moving up on the scoreboard. While Butterfield does what he can, he comes across flat, restricted by a script which never lets him and the other actors breathe. All we know by the end is that Ender is a nice, smart kid who is forced by others to do bad things. On the other hand, Ender’s Game serves up a few interesting questions. The ethics of violence and Graff ’s cold, calculating utilitarianism are two eminent themes on display during the first half of the movie. The final act will mildly shock viewers unfamiliar with the source material, and it confronts the central theme it raises head on while refusing to deliver a simple answer. Uneven, clunky, disappointing – these are words that describe Ender’s Game. It could have been emotionally resonant, especially during the epilogue, but its brevity and lack of deeper thought left me unaffected. The best thing anyone can say about Ender’s Game is that, unlike most other sci-fi films today, it says something. The problem is it doesn’t do that so well.
Theatrical release poster for Ender’s Game. Copyright Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate.
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 Eminem
After the release of his last album Relapse in 2010, Eminem set high standards for fellow rappers.The Marshall Mathers LP 2 released in Nobvember is no different. Although it was leaked six days before its initial release it has been said to be one of the greatest albums Slim Shady has released. He brings serious issues such as death to lighter perspective in the song Album release cover for Marshall Mathers LP “Bad Guy” which is the first track 2. Copyright Aftermath, Shady, Interscope. on the album. He throws back to his old school style and corporates
beccaRIOS // junior staff writer
his old hits such as “The Real Slim Shady” and “Stan” into LP 2. His first single “Bezerk” suggest that life’s too short and to go bezerk, his catchy chorus gets stuck in your head and humorous phrases make you laugh. Eminem has not changed his musical style at all as this single reminds me very much of the chorus to “Lose Yourself”. As he looked into the past, Eminem did not modernize his style and stuck to his old tricks and witty rapping skills. Collaborations with Kendrick
Lamar, Rihanna and Nate Ruess from Fun add a certain pop edge to his angry tone neutralizing his bitterness. In song the “Headlights,” Eminem apologizes to his mother for their rocky bond as honesty and deep opinion seeps through his songs as each has a purpose or a message. At age 41, our own Slim Shady has stuck to his old ways and didn’t push his limits which is not technically a bad thing.
Classy or casual ? NOVEMBER 2013 | life & style | THE TORCH 13
sanazNAMAKI // design editor
Makenna Prey junior
classy or casual Shops @ Urban Outfitters, Free People, & Forever 21
Celeb Inspiration: Blake Lively
Cole Conkle junior
classy or casual Shops @ American Eagle and Nike
Celeb Inspiration: Chris McMasters (his brother)
Jordan Galicia sophomore
classy or casual
classy or casual
Shops @ Zumies
Shops @ Sports Stores & Hollister
Celeb Inspiration: Doesnâ€™t have one
Celeb Inspiration: Miranda Kerr
14 THE TORCH | NOVEMBER 2013
kamiaRATHORE // editor-in-chief
Katy voters decide against authorizing $99 million bond Katy voters faced a familiar sight at the ballots in early November as they voted on whether to authorize the sale of $99 million in bonds. The last bond election in 2010 authorized $459 million for the expansion, renovation, and addition of educational facilities, including Tompkins High School which opened this fall. However, the 2013 bond would have created an Agricultural Center, a Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math (S.T.E.M.) center, and most controversially, a second stadium. The issue failed with 54 percent of voters casting ballots against the bond, the district reported. While not a clear mandate for either side, the vote has indicated that voters view the bond’s
structure to be flawed. Most striking is the disparity between the funds allocated for the projects. Undoubtedly, the costs for building a stadium run high, but the $69.5 million planned for the project is exorbitant. The cost reaches that of professional stadiums — the stadium used by the Houston Dynamos, the BBVA Compass Stadium, cost $95 million — and dwarfs that of Rhodes Stadium, a mere $13 million (17 million when inflation is accounted for). Moreover, the stadium costs account for nearly three-quarters of the bond: the two other projects, the S.T.E.M. center and agricultural center, seem simply tacked on to garner votes. Comprehensive S.T.E.M.
education will be crucial in coming years as the job field develops, and to see such a promising project fail with this vote is unfortunate. The 2010 bond passed because it had a clear connection to education and advancing academic goals. What Katy ISD should take from this recent election is not that voters shy away from big ticket purchases, but rather that they value investments in what the district is renowned for: education. Katy ISD is growing; it eventually will have to expand its facilities to accomodate seven schools. But a 14,000-seat stadium with a $69.5 million pricetag is not the solution.
FROM TOP LEFT, CLOCKWISE The plans for a S.T.E.M. project center, Agriculture Sciences stadium and second stadium, as in included in the 2013 bond vote. Photos from Katy ISD.
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NOVEMBER 2013 | advertisements | THE TORCH 15
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1. Look thoughout the newspaper for all three hidden spartans placed on different pages. (One is
/// Brice Armistead
hidden in the picture below.)
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PassinG out the torch
Left//Christian Kearton Right//Noah Patten Photos by: Saianoop “Snoop” Vatturi