The Kinkaid School 201 Kinkaid School Dr. Houston, TX 77024
March 9, 2018 Volume 71, Issue 4
TOXIC TRENDS P. 8 | IPHONES P. 9 | MARIJUANA P. 10 | OPIOIDS P. 12 | FAKE NEWS & TIDE PODS P. 14 | JUULS P. 15 | CONSPIRACY THEORIES
1 2 3 4
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INSIDE News | P. 2 Arts & Culture | P. 5 Op-Ed | P. 7 Features | P. 10 Entertainment | P. 16 Sports | P. 18
p. 3 | March Election
p. 5 | In Bloom Festival
p. 15 | Bitcoin
p. 20 | New Tennis Courts
2 NEWS | The Kinkaid Falcon | March 9, 2018
News in Brief BY CALEIGH DORAN & HANA KELETA
TeenBook Con On Saturday, March 24, a group of Kinkaid students will have the opportunity to attend TeenBookCon, an annual book convention for Young Adult literature fans. This year, the event will take place at Clear Springs High School. There are 27 authors coming to speak and share their knowledge with the attendees. Students who attend will start their day by hearing from the keynote speaker, Sabaa Tahir, a New York Times Bestselling Author best known for her fantasy novel “An Ember in the Ashes.” The students will then split up into groups and attend breakout sessions which consist of Q&A’s with panels of various authors. This will be Kinkaid’s third year to take a bus of students to TeenBookCon. Students in attendence have either shown interest or been recommended by their English teachers. While the bus can only hold 22 students, anyone inter-
ested is able to drive themselves to the event. All of the books featured by the authors at the convention are currently on display in the library. Additionally, Kinkaid buys each selected student one book from the convention that they are then able to have signed by the author. The nine-hour day is full of excitement and eagerness. Students feel a sort of “happy-tired” when the day ends. Ms. Dorian Myers, Director of Libraries and Archives, along with English teachers invite students to attend the event each year. “It is like coming back from the beach,” Ms. Meyers said. “There is so much energy.” William Miner (12) thought the event was a fantastic way to meet inspiring authors and learn about the art: “I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about writing, or anyone who loves books!”
Wrestling Over the weekend of Feb. 24, the Kinkaid Wrestling team attended the 83rd annual Prep National Tournament at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Noah Chan (12) was awarded the title of All-American with an eighth place finish in the 160 lb. division. Placing in
the top eight at a tournament of this caliber is quite the feat. Colin Lawler (12) won his division and became the first National Champion from Houston. These accomplishments are immensely impressive and a wonderful success for both the athletes and Kinkaid.
Debate Update The debate team has placed in the final rounds of each tournament in nearly every competition they have recently attended . On Feb. 16-17, they competed in one of the largest tournaments in the country at UC Berkeley alongside students from 180 schools, 18 states, and five countries. The team rose to the final rounds and did an outstanding job representing themselves in the national tournament. Sahar Punjwani (10) placed 30th overall speaker out of 370 individuals. The team concluded their open season with 40 other schools at a local
tournament held at George Ranch HS. Freshmen Olivia Fowler and Alison Zhang placed first in policy debate. The two debaters are now fully qualified for the TFA State tournament that will be held in early March. The debate team also found success in their most recent local tournament held at Seven Lakes High School. Public forum team of seniors Minhhy Truong and Lauren Ho placed in the quarterfinals with a performance guaranteeing that the two debaters will be fully qualified for the TFA State tournament.
The Kinkaid Falcon’s mission is to be an accurate and reliable source of information for the Kinkaid community by informing readers about topics that are interesting, thought-provoking, and impactful from the School, local Houston area and Texas, as well as other parts of the world. Questions or comments? We welcome your voice and feedback. Please email student. email@example.com or use the Contact form at http://thefalcon.kinkaid.org. Corrections will be addressed on our website and published in the subsequent issue. Please direct advertising inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The opinions expressed in The Kinkaid Falcon belong solely to the writer and are not a reflection or representation of the opinions of the school or its administrators. EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Arman Badrei & Allison Favaloro ASSISTANT EDITORS Katherine Berman & Nia Caldwell WEB EDITORS Ali Ammons & Katie Erikson
NEWS EDITOR Caleigh Doran
Meet the leaders of next year
ARTS & CULTURE EDITOR Emma Stout
BY ELIZA GRIGGS Last month, the high school, with the exception of the seniors, gathered in the Brown Auditorium to hear from and elect the students who will lead the student body in the 2018-2019 school year. This series, which will run in the remainder of the The Falcon issues this year, will introduce students to next year’s senior leaders. Callie Rosenthal (12) as president and Kate Carmain (12) as VP will be working side-by-side in their mission to promote service through the Community Service Council. Carmain is driven by her desire to make a change in the community and to grow as a leader. She has always had a passion for community service: she has worked as head of the Thursday table for two years (you have probably seen her at the table at the end of senior hall every Thursday encouraging students to sign up for serve projects). She is also an avid participant in a summer community service program to improve child literacy among Native American children. Carmain remarked that her primary goal is “to increase Kinkaid students participation and passion for service.” Callie Rosenthal will be leading the Community Service Council as its president. She has served on the Kinkaid Community Service Council throughout her time in high school and has led numerous Kinkaid projects. Rosenthal’s goal is to inspire a love of service in Kinkaid students and to
FEATURES EDITORS Emma Gilliam & Sarah Kate Padon
Community Service Council President
Olivia Stuart Ison Honor Council Co-President
Governing Council President
ENTERTAINMENT EDITORS Hana Keleta & Marley Orange OPINION EDITOR Megha Neelapu SPORTS EDITORS Mac Friday & Jordan Jafarnia COPY EDITOR Allison Le
Community Service Council Vice President
Honor Council Co-President
Governing Council Vice President
raise student-faculty participation. “I hope to provide ample opportunities for students to serve groups in the greater Houston community alongside their peers and teachers, and to foster collaboration and teamwork among the Kinkaid Upper School,” said Rosenthal. Rosenthal aspires to spread awareness for service and urge Kinkaid students to get involved in the community: “The Kinkaid Community Service program is something that has transformed my life as a high school student, so I hope to help others find their passions through the program.” Eli Bakht (12) and Olivia Stuart Ison (12) will serve on the Honor Council together for the third year in a row. Bakht has made protecting the Kinkaid Honor Code his primary goal. “My goals are to be fair and continue the legacy that the other Honor Council presidents left behind,” said Bakht.
Ison was drawn to the Honor Council because she recognizes its significance and wants to spread awareness of the council and the Honor Code. “I feel that I follow the four core values and respect people inside and outside of school,” said Ison. “I support the integrity of the Honor Council and the structure on which its principles were established.” Sterling Elias (12) and Christian Gibson (12) will be working together as President and Vice President of the Governing Council. Upcoming Governing Council Vice President, Gibson aims to improve the student experience. He aspires to increase student attendance at governing council meetings, so that student’s voices can be heard. Gibson remarked on the specific actions he plans on taking as vice president: “I plan to implement a program where we recognize our custodians, security guards, and dining center
staff for their hard work. They operate behind the scenes, so it is easy for their hard work to go unnoticed, so I think that adding a custodian appreciation program would demonstrate our gratitude for their work in our community.” Sterling Elias, who will be serving as Kinkaid’s governing council president next year, is currently serving as the junior class president. He cites his qualification for the position with the fact that he has been an active member in the Kinkaid community since Pre-K; Elias has participated in athletics, as well as arts through his position on the newspaper staff. He has “seen Kinkaid from every perspective.” Elias’ mission is to be by the people and for the people: “I want to address all the students concerns; I want to do what the students think is best.”
BUSINESS MANAGERS Sterling Elias & Jordan Jafarnia STAFF WRITERS Madi Babine Brady Brazda Sally Buck Nicole Fernandez Charles Garrison Eliza Griggs Lily Gunn Culley Harper Maggie Johnston Wilson Kelsey Ayush Krishnamoorti Olivia Marrus Katherine Montgomery Megan Riley William Scott ADVISER Kristen Bird The Kinkaid Falcon is published six times a school year. Approximately 700 print copies are distributed for free to Upper School students and 93 faculty members, and 220 copies are mailed to subscribers. The Kinkaid Falcon is a member of the CSPA and NSPA.
March 9, 2018 | The Kinkaid Falcon | NEWS 3
Snapshots around school 1 Juniors Dani Knobloch and Nick Medina perform a French and English fusion song at Electric Lunch. Medina played the ukelele while the two sang along. Photo by Allison Favalaro.
2 Anna Reckling (12) sports her western attire for Go Texas Day, a Houston tradition before the rodeo parade, on Friday, Feb. 23. Photo by Caleigh Doran. 3 Seniors Nia Caldwell, Myles Black, Jasmine Smith, Marquis Hubbard, and Johnathan Thomas are honored at the annual Celebration of African American Heritage and Culture. Photo courtesy of Cameron Whitaker.
4 Guest speaker and alumnus Kelubia Mabatah (Class of ‘05) shares his touching story about his miracoulous recovery after a tragic event in December of 2014 along with words of advice and inspiration in Assembly on Wednesday March 7. Photo courtesy of Cameron Whitaker.
Fletcher, Moser win the Democratic primary After first round of voting, runoff between two candidates in May BY MEGHA NEELAPU
After an exhausting and highly competitive race, two candidates out of the seven, Ms. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher and Ms. Laura Moser, have emerged victorious in the first round of voting in the Democratic primary for the Seventh Congressional District. Both women were on the cover of TIME Magazine for a piece about women running for office after the Trump election, and both are St. John’s alumni. Like Ms. Moser’s husband, Arun Chaudhary, who is a political operative and Former President Barack Obama’s videographer, Ms. Moser herself has become politically active. Originally a freelance writer, she entered the political sphere in a major way when she started Daily Action, a calling service that makes it easy for users to call their representative. Her service gained hundreds of thousands of followers especially after the Trump election. Given this experience, her campaign for Congress unsurprisingly had a strong grassroots movement. In the days leading up to the March Election Day, Ms. Moser made national headlines when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)
Ms. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (right) and Ms. Laura Moser (left) will faceoff to be the Democratic nominee.
released damning opposition research on her just as early voting began, fearing that she was too progressive to win the historically Republican district. The DCCC claimed that she was a “Washington insider” who hated Texas and that she used an abnormally high amount of campaign funds to pay her husband’s company in DC. However, the DCCC’s strategy backfired, instead giving more publicity to Ms. Moser and energizing voters, who were resentful at what they saw
as outsiders meddling in the election. Ms. Fletcher, a corporate lawyer and a candidate endorsed by the political action group Emily’s List as well as the Houston Chronicle (along with another candidate, Dr. Jason Westin), garnered the most votes in the first round of voting. The Young Liberals Club hosted her as a guest on Feb. 22 where she did a Q&A session with students. Although the controversy has since slipped under the radar, early in the elec-
tion season, a major Texas union, the AFL-CIO, spoke out against Ms. Fletcher. They claimed that her law firm, AZA law, were overly aggressive in attacking a primarily immigrant union of janitors when representing a commercial cleaning company, claiming that the lawsuit was an “anti-union and anti-immigrant circus.” Ms. Fletcher, a partner in the firm, released a statement saying that she was not involved in the case and that not all lawyers agree with one another.
The runoff between Ms. Fletcher and Ms. Moser will be on May 22, and one of them will face the incumbent Congressman John Culberson, who won the Republican primary in a landslide against Edward Ziegler. Although it has been red for more than 50 years, Democrats are hopeful to flip it blue as Hillary Clinton won this district, counting on the so-called “Blue Wave” of Democratic turnout after the Trump election.
4 NEWS | The Kinkaid Falcon | March 9, 2018
Diversity board debuts Kinkaid introduces a new leadership board that promotes diversity in the community BY MEGAN RILEY
This past February, The Student Diversity Leadership Board (SDLB) was introduced to Kinkaid during a morning assembly. Still in the preliminary stages, the board is a student run organization whose mission is to spread awareness for diversity throughout the Kinkaid community. According to Marilyn Nwora (11), one of the SDLB members, they aim to “[provide] an open and safe place for students to ask, question, and voice opinions on social justice, race, and gender.” In certain aspects of school life, the council worries that Kinkaid may be lacking diversity. Nwora, along with the other five members of the board, Myles Black (12), Andres
Melendez (12), Priscilla Mach (10), Tanmay Srinivasan (10), and Kami Ruiz-Rodriguez (12), is striving to introduce topics regarding diversity at Kinkaid. Each board member attended a three-day conference training program in Anaheim. At this conference, the students heard from numerous speakers including Kimberlé Crenshaw and acquired new leadership skills they plan on utilizing during their time as members of the SDLB. The speakers pointed out the importance of introducing diversity in schools in order to prepare students for the real world and expose different backgrounds and ideas to one another.
The stage at the People of Color Conference the Board members attended in California.
When selecting students to become future members of the diversity board, the members are looking for a specific type of person. Their race, culture, and beliefs are not the main focus when selecting members. Mach said all that is required is coming with a determined mindset: “We want doers. We want leaders who are open-minded about the issues that our country is dealing with and who will lead others to grow in the same way. We need leaders who will be the voice of students of color in our community, but who also act in a manner that respects the diversity of our community inside and outside of school.” Jasmine Wright (10), a student who supports the SDLB’s mission, states why she thinks it is important for Kinkaid to add an organization like this. “It would be really great to be able to talk to other people from different backgrounds with different ideas and relate together.” The main mission is to inform students who are questioning what qualifies as “diverse” or may be concerned by the lack of it in the Kinkaid community. They want to keep the subjects relevant to the school and will strive to support the increasing population of people of color in the
Andres Melendez (12) and Tanmay Srinivasan (10) speak to faculty, Mr. Benge, Dr. Trustee, and Mr. Behr while attending the diversity conference.
Kinkaid family. The SDLB has also presented clear goals for the upcoming years and are always open to hearing Kinkaid community suggestions. One specific goal of the board is to create an Upper to Lower school mentoring program. The board also wants to include a culture-related assembly once a month to increase awareness, as well as pro-diversity stories from the news in weekly announcements. Apart from these activities, SDLB plans to decide how they can promote their message through school activities that already exist. They mentioned joining forces with the Culture Fest
Committee to produce an alternate form of gaining exposure, and partnered with the Arts Board to create pieces that highlight the beauty and importance of diversity. Their first art installation included artists that represented Black History Month and a performance highlighting African culture. The Student Diversity Leadership Board hopes to find the school’s most determined and diverse group of students that are willing to advocate their message and work towards completing their mission of accepting differences.
Students attend local leadership summit BY BRADY BRAZDA
Eighteen Kinkaid students were nominated by Ms. Turville to attend State Representative Jim Murphy’s 2018 West Houston Teen Leadership Summit on Feb. 10, held at City Centre’s Norris Conference Center in the heart of House District 133. Each Kinkaid student who was nominated underwent an extensive application process to make sure Kinkaid was represented well at this event. The purpose of the summit was to promote teen leadership in West Houston schools by engaging student attendees. This meant listening to different local politicians and business, media, and community leaders, while attending a variety of panels and workshops throughout the
day. Representative Murphy, who was first elected in 2006, is Chairman of House Committee on Special Purpose Districts and a member of the Ways and Means Committee. As an economic development consultant he has brought millions in new investments and thousands of job opportunities to Houstonians in West Houston. In his welcoming brochure Representative Murphy expressed how he believes “Texas must invest in its most precious resource-our youth.” He continued to explain that “It is vital that along with math, science, reading, and writing the younger members of our community grow into their leadership roles. Leaders set example
by working hard. A real leader stands shoulder to shoulder with others and puts the most effort into getting things done.” Three panels included media, public policy, and leadership. Executives, politicians, and community leaders taught specific ways for teens to engage in the community in meaningful ways. Among notable panelists were Jeff Lindner, the meteorologist who covered the recent ice storm and Hurricane Harvey. He talked about job opportunities in the news sector and how to accomplish goals. Additionally, Lindner encouraged involvement in the community now, as opposed to waiting until after college to start making a difference in the community.
Judge Debra Mayfield, 190th District Court, Melissa Wilson, morning news anchor of FOX 26, Chase Untermeyer, former City Councilman, Jerry Davis, and many more city leaders addressed students about their jobs, how to be a leader, and accomplish positive things for the community. Students chose two break out sessions to attend. Topics included school finance, career choices, climate change, or “your future paycheck.” In the Climate Change workshop, information was given about how the CO2 emissions are not a cause of global warming. All of the subjects covered were most important for teens to be made aware of, understand, and if not already thinking about, to do so.
A networking breakfast began the day and students had the opportunity to meet leaders who assisted Representative Murphy. These people engaged in warm conversation with attendees and provided information about the event’s schedule. Most student delegates were nominated by their high school. However, there were many spots filled as at-large “community delegates.” Community delegates were students nominated by adult advisors who represented organizations or clubs that participated heavily in community service projects and were leaders within their prospective groups.
March 9, 2018 | The Kinkaid Falcon | ARTS & CULTURE 5
Chowing down at the carnival
At first bite, the cheesy mac and cheese mixed perfectly with the crunchy bacon and soft potato. I immediately fell in love. I knew mac and cheese in a baked potato would be good, but not this delicious. This is a must-have at the rodeo. The mix of two comfort foods made me go back in for more bites. The mac and cheese was slightly underwhelming because the lack of taste and cheesiness, but the texture of the chopped bacon and potato made for a delightful meal.
BY MADI BABINE
The smell of the fried foods fill the air as the bright lights of the Ferris wheel bring light to the night sky. Kids with face paint run around with their foot-long corn dogs. It’s the annual event that brings all Texans together, and one of Houston’s biggest events–the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Although there are concerts every night, and the carnival is open until midnight, the food is one of the main attractions of the rodeo. That said, the majority of the food is fried and fulfills your hunger and sweet tooth. From fried pickles to chocolate-covered bacon, the Houston rodeo has foods one could never imagine tasting.
I was very skeptical of the chocolate-covered bacon because I did not know if the mix of chocolate and bacon would mix well. The bacon was served in a Chinese to-go box. I took my first bite and only tasted chocolate, expecting more of a bacon flavor. There was a hint of bacon and salt. I could only eat one as the thought of chocolate-covered bacon turned my stomach; however, the taste was not nearly as gruesome as I had imagined.
The classic fried Oreos are one of the iconic treats in the Houston rodeo. I ordered four and ate all of them quickly, burning my mouth in the process. The Oreos are about the size of a tennis ball, deepfried, coated with powdered sugar and drizzled with chocolate syrup. When bitten into, one would expect a crunch from the oreos, but instead, the Oreo is softened by the fried batter. It is a heaven-like taste. These fried Oreos are by far my favorite sweet treat at the rodeo.
One of my all-time favorite foods at the rodeo is the fried pickles. There are many different food vendors selling pickles in all forms, but fried pickles are the most popular, hence the everpresent winding line. When I ordered this savory snack, I put about three in my mouth at once. These are great for a quick snack between rides and shows. The surrounding crust was not overwhelming and paired nice with the saltiness of the pickles. They are a perfect mix of sour and salty.
Pictures By FeistyFoodie.
I was particularly excited to try this. I had heard great comments about the fried cookie dough. I took my first bite eagerly into the crusted cookie dough coated in powdered sugar. The warm chocolate melted in my mouth. Although there was not much of a cookie dough taste to the treat, the overpowering flavor of chocolate was enough for me. The fried dough with the powdered sugar on the outside helped serve as a substitute for the absent cookie dough flavor inside the dessert.
I didn’t anticipate trying this goodie; however, I was intrigued when I saw the fried Snickers in the plastic display; the appearance looked very similar to the fried cookie dough, but the inside had melted caramel and chocolate. I took the first bite and noticed the wafers and peanuts were still intact, so it tasted just like a Snickers covered in dough and powdered sugar. I do not think it was worth the $8 because it was simply a melted snickers, but the taste overall was pretty scrumptious.
In Bloom Music Festival welcomes spring BY ALI AMMONS Setting my alarm during the summer is an unusual occurrence for me, but I decided to make the exception for two days only: Free Press Summer Fest. Because the festivities and concerts began bright and early, I wasn’t opposed to getting up, meeting with my friends, and welcoming summer in the best way possible with music and yummy food under the bright Houston sun. After getting up and throwing on my festival garb, I was ready to head over to my friend’s house and start enjoying the Free Press Summer Fest experience. The moment our Uber pulled up to Eleanor Tinsley Park, my friends and I started to notice hazy clouds covering the park. We could not have been more delighted. It had been so hot that we were covered in sweat,
and the idea of the sun not shining directly in our eyes relieved us. We immediately ran to the first concert, Post Malone, and began to take it all in. Despite the first fifteen minutes being what I pictured my festival experience would be like, suddenly, things took a turn for the worst. The miniscule, barely gray clouds that my friends and I had previously taken joy in turned into a charcoal blanket across the sky. Within five minutes, sheets of rain rolled down and chaos broke out as hundreds of festival goers searched for cover. I stood with a couple of my friends underneath a tree that provided minimal protection and caused us all to be drenched head to toe. Just when I thought that things couldn’t get much worse, Free Press officials forced evacuation
of the venue, causing me to separate from my friends in the middle of downtown. At that moment I pledged that I would never attend Free Press Summer Fest again. However, due to some new surprising changes, that may change. Previously known as Free Press Summer Festival, the event has evolved into the In Bloom Festival this year. Once held at the start of the summer, Houston Press Association has decided to revamp the festival by moving it to the start of spring. The festival has been infamously called Free Press “mud fest” or Free Press “rain fest,” due to the fact that for several years, it is has been rained out. In order to bring back the festival’s original sunny, carefree vibe, it will be held March 24 - 25. Previous headliners have included very mainstream artists: Macklemore, G-Ea-
zy, Lorde, Odesza, Tove Lo. In addition to changing the date, they decided to bring in new artists and have put a focus on rock and hip hop artists in an effort to attract a new crowd to the festival. The big headliners include: T-Pain, Beck, Queens of the Stone Age, and DRAM. Additionally, Broken Social Scene and Explosions in the Sky, two headliners from FPSF’s first festival in 2009, will return to the stage for the first year of In Bloom. Despite these major changes, one thing that will remain the same is the venue. Eleanor Tinsley Park is located off of Allen Parkway near downtown and is known for its large open green space the perfect location to capture the essence of the artists and the vibe that the festival strives to capture. In regards to the changes, the founder of the festival, Jigala Katila, said, “As we enter the 10th
anniversary of this incredible festival that our dedicated fans have made their annual Houston tradition, we are excited to announce a new name and a new time of year, while returning to our incredible location, Eleanor Tinsley Park. We are always looking to improve the experience for the fans, and after the last few years of challenges with Mother Nature, moving our dates to the spring made sense.” The name “In Bloom” seems fitting given the events in Houston the past year. Not only is a festival being revived, but so is a city after the destruction of natural disaster. And in the season of rebirth and rejuvenation, Houstonians can all come together to celebrate all of the new beginnings. For the complete lineup and tickets, visit inbloomfestival.com.
6 ARTS & CULTURE | The Kinkaid Falcon | March 9, 2018 1
US musical “Crazy for You” takes center stage BY ALLISON FAVALORO, EMMA STOUT, MEGHA NEELAPU After months of exhausting practices and rehearsals, the Kinkaid theater cast and crew put on the musical “Crazy For You” last week. The story centers around Bobby Child, played by Ashton Lambert (12), who travels from New York City to “Deadrock, NV” and falls head-over-heels for Polly Baker, played by Mia Munn (12). Lovestruck, Bobby does anything he can to win over Polly, including whipping up the town to put on a show and impersonating a Hungarian director. Showgirls and cowgirls “Crazy For You”, puts an old-school feel in a sweet romantic comedy with showgirls and cowboys dancing in tap shoes to Gershwin tunes. “It was a very traditional style musical,” said Celeste Santos (11), who was stage manager. Lambert’s and Munn’s characters’ could not have been more different. Bobby is a carefree, aspiring performer, while Polly just goes about her daily life and helps out her father, Everett Baker, played by Cameron Rudin (11). Yet, Lambert and Munn give their characters a natural chemistry as Bobby coaxes the passionate side out of Polly. In perhaps the most heartfelt moment of the musical, “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and “But Not For Me,” Lambert and Munn sing their way into audience’s hearts as they wistfully long for love. While laughter emanates from the crowd at the antics of the two Bela Zanglers and the singing cowboys, the audience leaves the theater with a warm feeling after they watch two people fall in love. Cheyenne Dawley (11) said, “I was laughing hysterically the entire time. ‘Crazy for You’ was really, really well executed.” Lambert realized this was his last performance in a Kinkaid musical. “Taking my last bow out there at the end of the show—I couldn’t keep it together; I was definitely crying,” Lambert said. “The cast was really a family and a community that was happy to work together, and it was an honor to be a part of it.”
1. Ashton Lambert (12) and Mia Munn (12) finish the play with a beautiful dance routine. 2. Lambert dances with a group of showgirls. 3. A “drunken” Lambert imitates the character played by William Miner (12) as they greet each other through song. 4. Dancers and townspeople alike gather for a large chorus. 5. Ava Lubetkin (12), Sapphire Thompson (10), Riley Shaper (11), Grace Manes (12), and Caroline Moseley (11) shine in the spotlight 6. Isabel Stallings (12) and Joshua Ben-Shoshan (11) perform the duet “Naughty Baby”. 7. Scott Morey (10), Spencer Hickman (11), and Ameer Mustafa (11) gather to sing a sleepy intro.
March 9, 2018 | The Kinkaid Falcon | OP-ED 7
Should teachers share their political views? In a divisive political environment, it’s more important than ever to be unbiased BY ALLISON FAVALORO Given the current events around the world in the past few years, people and their political views have become increasingly polarized. Whether it has to do with Trump’s latest tweet, what to do with North Korea, or how to combat terrorist attacks in the Middle East and Europe, everyone has their own political view. I respect that. Everyone is entitled to their own views and has the right to express them. But something I’ve observed in light of these current events is how the role of politics has changed in the classroom. Maybe I didn’t pay as much attention freshman or sophomore year because I didn’t have any reason to but I had no idea what any of my teachers thought in terms of politics. But since the 2016 election, I have been able to state the political leanings of almost all of my teachers. This change in the climate of the classroom has allowed me to ask: how should politics be approached in the classroom? What are the First Amendment rights for teachers and students in the classroom? As a member of the Kinkaid Falcon staff for four years, I fully and wholeheartedly support everyone’s right to free speech–it’s fundamental to our basic
principles of freedom–but when a teacher expresses their political views in the classroom, it makes students who disagree feel unsafe to express their side of the situation. A teacher holds a position of power in the classroom. He or she teaches us the material we need to learn, facilitates classroom activities, and ultimately decides the grade we earn for the class. When his or her opinion becomes involved in the activity, those who disagree with that opinion fear that the teacher will think less of them as people, even if that is not true. I have heard students talk about how they changed their opinion on an assignment to align with the teacher’s views. I admit that I have done this myself. Though I have never experienced a teacher stating that we must support his or her view in an assignment, I feared that the teacher would dislike me if I had stated my view, and I value the relationships I have with my teachers. I now regret altering some of my views to please my teachers. It makes me feel that my relationship with them was almost superficial because I wasn’t totally honest. I didn’t challenge myself to take in the information and think analytically to present an alternate opinion. I didn’t do this because
I didn’t feel safe enough to express my thoughts at the time and was afraid that the teacher would give me a lower grade or think less of me for disagreeing with his or her opinions. Now, I must digress briefly to explain the political climate of the student body. When the mock election was held before the presidential election last year, the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton garnered 44 percent of the votes while the current President Donald Trump garnered 41 percent. Also, the high school has a Young Republicans Club and a Young Liberals Club, both of which are very active and involved among the student body. Needless to say, there are various members of each side adamant about their own agendas. Though many would think that this climate would be destructive and result in many dissensions (similar to how the rest of the country acts), teachers should actually take advantage of this unique environment because students can expose themselves to all different viewpoints. According to the Yale New Haven Teachers Institute, the adolescent stage of brain development is a time when teens begin to think analytically rather than concretely. Instead of thinking in black and white, we start to see
the complexities of issues as we form our own beliefs, values, and goals in life based on the information presented to us. Through discussions, research, and civilized debates, students can see all different sides of a situation and form their beliefs based on what they value most. Taking advantage of this environment in the classroom is crucial because it may be one of the few places where we can expose ourselves and discuss alternate views. In an article on Wired, Mostafa M. El-Bermawy writes about how our social media existence has turned into a huge echo chamber where we are only exposed to things with views that line up with our own. “The global village that was once the internet has been replaced by digital islands of isolation that are drifting further apart each day,” he writes. “From your Facebook feed to your Google Search, as your experience online grows increasingly personalized, the internet’s islands keep getting more segregated and sound proofed.” If many students don’t feel safe sharing their thoughts in the classroom, then the echo chambers we are exposed to on social media will become the echo chambers in our daily lives, and we will begin to lose our ability to listen to other opinions. We will start to view our own opinions as facts.
All in all, teachers should encourage political discussions in the classroom, but the forum for debate ought to be in the hands of the students. Students must learn to think on their own rather than copy the opinions of others. How can this be practiced? As the presenter of knowledge, teachers should act as the devil’s advocate. Instead of stating an opinion of a situation as a fact, teachers should explain and give equal importance to both sides of the debate. Every student’s viewpoints should be acknowledged and legitimized so long as his or her argument is backed up by facts. Economics and A.P. Government teacher Dr. Ed Harris recognizes the importance of leaving the debates in the hands of students and practices the above stated measures to ensure that current events are left for the interpretation of the student. As a result, he is one of the teachers whose political views remains a total mystery to the students. “The critical thing I want my students to understand is that as we’re discussing a topic, I’m exploring it with them. I know where my position is on a particular issue, but I am more than willing to reexamine the position I am taking to make sure that it’s still the right position,” Dr. Harris said.
mistakes of our own, how to process that information, and how to critically apply that knowledge to make an informed decision. These four years of high school are a sample of the adult world, a space to test and preview the effects of our actions, and a safe environment to evaluate one’s own decision-making in an effort to learn what works and what doesn’t. So, as you read about Tide Pods, e-cigarettes, or opioids, consider both the health and safety dangers and factual, scientific reporting as well as the social consequences
of one’s actions. For better or worse, take away from your high school experience and the stories of others a sense of confidence that you understand the consequences of actions.
Letter from the editors
Dear Reader, As you may have noticed on the front page and throughout the issue, we chose to center this issue around the theme of “toxic trends.” It’s self-explanatory,
but we classified toxic trends as any harmful activity generating substantial amounts of buzz on social and mainstream media as well as conversation. As a news organization, our purpose is not to advise for or against the use of or participation in these trends, but rather to identify the current social stance and dangers of said issues. We were inspired to cover this theme for issue four after Lily Scheyhing and Eduardo Torres from Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD) spoke to us about their personal experiences with sub-
stance abuse and the dangers of partaking in those activities. We as a staff believed that the conversations about these toxic trends needs to be continued even after Scheyhing and Torres departed because students need to be informed of the the dangers of these activities. During these liminal years of our lives in high school, we recognize now, as seniors, that the essence of being a teenager is a time to learn how to make decisions: to learn how to gain knowledge, whether it be from the experiences of others or
Arman Badrei & Allison Favaloro
8 OP-ED | The Kinkaid Falcon | March 9, 2018
Blaming technology is not the answer BY MARLEY ORANGE Within the past 10 years, “the number of American children and teenagers admitted to children’s hospitals for reporting suicidal thoughts has more than doubled,” according to The Economist. A study from the journal Pediatrics says that the number of teens affected by major depressive episodes skyrocketed in 2011. “Anxiety disorders constitute the most prevalent mental health problem around the globe, afflicting millions of people,” according to the University of Prince Edward Island. Researchers at John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health found that between 2005 and 2014, rates of depression in teens soared. In all of these studies, one common thread is that they all continue to speculate that the rise of technology is a cause and placing the blame of problems that Generation Z and Millenials face on smartphones. Society is ignoring possible root causes of serious issues.
After extensive tests on over 300 college students, researchers at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign failed to palpably connect cell phones and mental health issues. The purpose of this study was to associate smartphones and anxiety, yet they were unable to make the connection. “Risk [of anxiety] was not elevated, among young people who used smartphones simply for entertainment... Nor were the devices themselves found to cause mental health problems,” wrote HealthDay reporter Alan Mozes. It’s time to take a look at other potential reasons depression in teens is mounting. It is no surprise that many teens today are facing mental health issues, considering the current state of the world, and of everyday life for teenagers. The National Center for Education Statistics’ researchers concluded that course schedules of high school students have become increasingly rigorous, meaning school is becoming
harder and more stressful. Another burden is the increasingly divisive nature that is our political reality. Some students no longer feel safe at school after another heinous school shooter has struck. To make matters worse, many don’t feel heard. Many teens, including those affected by school shootings, have expressed issues with the current state of our nation regarding gun control, and our president has responded by proposing a plan for arming teachers, and adding more guns to the equation. The uncertainty of what will happen to our country and our world could be responsible for the spike in anxiety and depression. Teenagers must still cope with the burdens of being a teenager, in addition to the progressively alienating outside issues in the world. Teenagers are still simply that; they are still dealing with hormones and peer pressure, and their minds
are still developing as they learn the difference between right and wrong, and adding the pressure of school and worrying about the issues of the world can be overwhelming. Many teens feel powerless not only against the deepening cracks in their own personal lives, but in the infrastructure of our nation.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign failed to connect cell phones and mental health issues. Society is only beginning to understand through research what the implications and influences of these new technologies are. No one can blame all of their problems on technology. Most people can’t begin to
comprehend the extremely complex and intricate devices that are in front of them. Pointing fingers at what people don’t understand feels easier than making a real effort to create change. Whether it be to relieve students’ stress or to relieve the toxicity in our political climate, people would still be making themselves vulnerable in the process. Either way change is needed to impact teens lives for the better as they navigate their winding road to adulthood. There is no singular cause for mental health issues. Yet, society can’t continue making claims against smartphones with little concrete evidence or substance. It is possible that anxiety and depression have always plagued the world, but diagnoses are simply on the rise. Technology and social media is likely a factor, but accusing smartphones as the root cause is simply ignorant.
Have an opinion? Write for The Kinkaid Falcon. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
March 9, 2018 | The Kinkaid Falcon | OP-ED 9
From baseball field to prison cell The story of how marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to addiction
BY MAGGIE JOHNSTON Sitting in the middle of a baseball field on a Friday night with 10 of his closest friends, one of them turns to him and hands him a rolled up piece of cigar-looking paper and says, “It’s just one time, come on.” My brother’s mind starts racing. He had always been told that addiction runs in our family, but he sits there and thinks, “I won’t get addicted, I don’t fit the stereotype for an addict: I am not uneducated, I have two parents that love me, I go to a good school and live in a good part of town.” He grabs the blunt. At age 15, my brother never would have believed that this one night would affect his future, ultimately landing him in prison multiple times for possession of narcotics and other crimes that he committed under
"Marijuana has detrimental effects in its own right and should be avoided because of the real harm that it does in itself." - Dr. Peyman Pakzaban the powerful influence of opioids. From an outsider’s perspective, addiction seems simple. Most Americans believe that addicts fit a stereotype and experience the same cycle. Addiction is the opposite of simple; it is one of the most perplexing ideas to understand. In fact, drug addiction is actually classified as a chronic disease. Most people fall into
addiction in the form of seemingly innocent voluntary decisions that lead to an egregious habit. People who are more vulnerable to doing drugs are simply more likely to start with available substances such as marijuana, tobacco, or alcohol. Their subsequent social interactions with others who use drugs increase their chances of trying other drugs. Research shows that drug addiction has three ultimate sources: genetics, environment, and development. The first component, genetics, is out of a person’s control. A child could be born with active additive genes, whereas the rest of his siblings have the recessive additive gene. The second component, environment, is simply who a person surrounds themselves with. My brother and I grew up in the same household, but he chose to surround himself with negative influences that encouraged him to make life-changing decisions. The third component, development, is the idea that if you start using drugs when your mind is still developing, then the likelihood of addiction will increase. According to The New York Times op-ed writer Robert L. Dupont, “Most heroin users initiated their drug use early in their teens, usually beginning with alcohol and marijuana.” In 2014, seven million United States citizens were recorded to have fallen into the extreme illness of addiction. Many wonder why. Once a person is addicted, their mind may never be the same. An individual’s mind, especially adolescents, goes through tremendous changes when they
begin to consume drugs and feel the “high” sensation. Early exposure to an excess of cannabinoids decreases later reaction to dopamine which could cause severe depression or anxiety. My brother transformed into a completely different person when he was using. According to neurosurgeon and Kinkaid parent Dr. Peyman Pakzaban, “If someone smokes two joints a week, they spend four to five days with a significant memory impairment, long after the high has worn off.” For almost an entire school week, users can be incapable of performing at their full potential. The cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the chemical compound in marijuana that is responsible for the high. Receptors for cannabinoids in the brain which cause THC to have a drastic effect. Anandamide, a neuromodulator molecule that helps maintain the correct amount of other neurotransmitters like dopamine, looks very similar to THC when entering the body; therefore, as my brother inhaled the THC in his first blunt, his neuroreceptors confused THC for anandamide, throwing the neurotransmitters in the brain into chaos. The flood of THC coming into the brain causes the “reward circuit” to be flooded with dopamine as soon as usage begins, and dopamine causes the brain to forget how to make the correct decisions and what they need to do because the mind is filled with pleasure and content. His decision-making in that moment became impaired almost immediately. Longterm use causes change in the brain’s chemical make-
up. This in turn affects the ability to learn, judge, make decisions, experience stress, and remember. Natural behaviors, such as simply feeling joyful, slowly decrease from normality as addicts continue using.
From an outsider’s perspective, addiction seems simple. Most Americans believe that addicts fit a stereotype and experience the same cycle. Addiction is the opposite of simple; it is one of the most perplexing ideas to understand. A few months ago, Dr. Pakzaban talked to the Kinkaid seniors about marijuana usage. Students played a computerized memory game that showed them the impact that a single joint has on their memory. Through participating in this presentation, students saw that as the mind begins to adapt to marijuana usage, the brain makes less dopamine. “Marijuana actually does have the ‘addictive’ quality associated with tolerance because over time one must use more of the drug to get the same high since fewer receptors are available for the overstimulating process that produces the high. It also means that the brain cannot make very good use of its own anandamides,” said Dr. Laura Lomax-Bream, the highschool counselor. This is the reason why people begin
to use stronger and more harmful substances such as opioids. A majority of heroin users have become addicted to or used marijuana before or while taking opiate, said Dupont. Marijuana addicts are proven to be three times more likely to be addicted to heroin. With this in mind, marijuana would indeed be the gateway drug to “harder,” more life-threatening drugs. According to neurosurgeon Dr. Pakzaban, “The proponents of the gateway theory argue that most users of ‘hard’ drugs have used marijuana at some point in the spiral toward addiction. Their opponents argue that most marijuana users never go on to use or become dependent on hard drugs. Both groups are right and both are missing the point. Marijuana has detrimental effects in its own right and should be avoided because of the real harm that it does in itself and not because of the possibility that it might lead to the use of other drugs.” From a clean, loving home and a warm bed to the wandering on lonely streets trying to find your way back to the bare, cold cement at The Star of Hope. Going from a family that is devoted to you to no one that you could even call a friend. A sheltered and pure mind that has now seen and experienced things that no one should. This is all because of one decision. One careless and innocent decision. What would the course of my brother’s life have looked like if he would have just said “no” at that baseball field on that Friday night?
10 FEATURES | The Kinkaid Falcon | March 9, 2018
THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC BY EMMA GILLIAM & SARAH KATE PADON
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Slowly you are sinking into a blissful state. Your muscles release, warmth flows steadily through your limbs, and the world around you is already a distant dream. Life slows down and worries slip away as you drift in and out of hazy consciousness. But the bliss comes to an abrupt end, heralding the arrival of the dark side of this chemically induced euphoria. Soon uncontrollable and painful shaking begins. Your muscles cramp and your heart rate accelerates. Goosebumps rise on your clammy skin, and waves of nausea overcome you. It’s worse than any flu you’ve had. You’re pained with desperation to end this extreme discomfort. The only remedy? More opioids. Thousands of times every day, opioid ad-
dicts in the U.S. are feeding their desperate need. And the numbers continue to climb. On any given day, approximately 174 people die from opioid-related causes in the U.S. According to the Harris County District Attorney’s office, opioid prescription rates within the county were at an all time high in 2017 with a staggering 79.4 prescriptions for every 100 people. The previous year, 42,249 people died nationally from opioid overdose. The number of fatalities has
42,249 PEOPLE DIED FROM OPIOID USE IN 2016. only increased. In Oct. 2017, the Trump administration declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. Although this
problem is rooted in the Appalachian region, it now affects communities across the entire country, including Houston. Opioids are highly concentrated drugs prescribed to treat mild to severe pain, often for cancer and postoperative patients. They are intended to be taken for a short time under a doctor’s supervision, but because they produce a euphoric effect they can easily lead to misuse or dependence. Opioids can be grouped into three categories: prescription pain relievers (most commonly OxyContin, Vicodin, morphine, and methadone), synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and the illegal street drug heroin. These drugs interact with nerve cell receptors in the brain that control pain, pleasure, heart rate, sleeping, and breathing to produce pain relief and euphoria. While these drugs can be beneficial for patients when used correctly, a subset of users can experience
withdrawal sy matter of only weeks from th of the drug. W symptoms are opposite of th high -- they ar characterized ened sensitivi feelings of sev sion, and vom Lily Scheyh works with th from Chemica cy (FCD) orga spoke of her fr became addic taking his pre medication fo days following “As he was [the medicatio irritable, upse ed, and he cou at night. He w and turning, a ‘What is this? terrible, and I And I said, ‘It medication,’” explained. As patients to alleviate th withdrawal sy some will mis
March 9, 2018 | The Kinkaid Falcon | FEATURES 11
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79.4/100 PRESCRIPTIONS PER PERSON IN HARRIS COUNTY IN 2017. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
prescription -- setting them on a treacherous path to addiction. This downward spiral begins when people abuse their medication by increasing the dosage, snorting or injecting the drugs, or combining their pills with other drugs or alcohol. “I see patients everyday requesting these medications,” said Dr. Kenneth Totz, an emergency room physician at Methodist Hospital. “Patients get creative on how to get the medication: ‘my dog ate my prescription,’ ‘my prescription was stolen,’ ‘I’m going through withdrawal,’ ‘I’m allergic to every medication except Norco, Percocet, and Dilaudid,’ ‘I’m going to report you to the state,’ ‘I’m going to sue you.’” If addicts fail to receive a prescription from a doctor, they may take other measures to access the drugs. “People will steal and even sell themselves into prostitution to get the medication. It has become
much more difficult for folks to get prescription opioids, so people are turning to the streets to get their ‘fix’ or avoid withdrawal with heroin,” Dr. Totz said. “People buy the drug on the street, over the Internet, steal from their parents, friends, and grandparents.” Doctors continually face the challenge of determining whether a patient is genuinely experiencing pain or just chasing a high. Many doctors have had their licenses revoked, received fines, and gone to jail for reckless over-prescription patterns. “I’m never tentative to prescribe [painkillers] because I always have the patient’s best interest in mind. Part of our job is to relieve suffering, but the other part of our job is ‘to do no harm.’ Balancing these can be tricky at times,” said Dr. Totz. In addition to many doctors’ efforts to prevent the misuse of opioids, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is working to undermine the opioid epidemic by shutting down drug trafficking in Hous- ton. When specialized police officers receive infor- mation about carriers of drugs through their own surveillance, a confidential informant, or other intelligence, they then acquire a search warrant from the District Attorney’s office. A person transporting specifically harmful substances of at least 400 grams (equivalent to 400 Splenda packets) with the intent of delivering are tried in the major narcotics division and can face 15 years to life in prison. Drug traffickers are usually selling these drugs as a business; they are not typically the people addicted to these drugs. “There’s really been a
move towards separating addicts from the people who are supplying the drugs to the addicts,” said Matthew Gilliam, class of ‘04 and an assistant District Attorney in Harris County. “[The users] are addicted, and a short prison sentence isn’t necessarily going to stop their addiction. There’s been more of a focus on treating addiction for people who are truly addicted to these drugs and trying to get them help and the resources they need, so it’s not just like a revolving door. I’m always dealing with the people who are selling the drugs, not the people who are using the drugs.” Drug trafficking is a lucrative business for those who are transporting and selling the drugs, especially with the introduction of newer synthetic drugs like fentanyl. Fentanyl is a drug prescribed by doctors in very small doses of about one milligram (equivalent to a grain of salt) because of its strength. Because the drug is created in a lab, a small amount is extremely concentrated; a dose as little as two milligrams can be lethal. “Fentanyl is cheap -- the majority of it is coming from China, and it’s much cheaper for people to buy who want to sell it. The profit margin is a lot higher with fentanyl versus other drugs, so that’s why we’ve seen a lot more of it,” Gilliam said. One of the main reasons this epidemic is so devastating is because users are undereducated about the drugs they are taking and do not realize how dangerous and addictive they can be. “It’s a lot more dangerous than any other drugs that are currently out there. It’s coming in as powder and people are making it into pills. They’re not doctors, they’re not pharmacists, they’re not regulated, and they don’t know how much they are putting into the pills,” Gilliam said. “The pills look like any other pills from a doctor that you would take, so you could have pills that have two milligrams of fentanyl and then a person doesn’t know what’s in it, thinks it may be one thing when it’s not, takes it, and then they
overdose and die.” As misuse becomes increasingly common, it stretches across a larger demographic. Now, opioid addiction, which was once primarily suffered by adults, has ensnared adolescents as well. More than 4,000 adolescents died from drug related overdoses in 2017, and over half of them due to opioid use. This recent spike among teenagers has prompted some high schools to begin carrying Narcan, the drug that reverses opioid overdose. When breathing patterns slow, Narcan restores oxygen to the body, thus saving the user’s life. Even
11.5 MILLION PEOPLE MISUSED OPIOID PRESCRIPTIONS IN 2016. though it saves users from death, this reversal drug does not solve the underlying issue. Most students at Kinkaid are unfamiliar with the devastating wreckage that opioid addiction brings to addicts. But sadly, some Kinkaid students have seen the consequences of opiates on a family for themselves. “I never really understood it until I experienced what it was like to have a family member suffering from addiction,” said an anonymous Kinkaid student. "Because, of [my brother’s] addiction, there was a lot of stress put on his relationships with his family members and friends. It is not easy to have strong relationships with people suffering from addictions because all they care about is what they are addicted to. They forget that their addiction affects the people around them and makes their family members suffer as much as them." Disclaimer: Matthew Gilliam is the brother of Emma Gilliam, a writer of this story.
12 FEATURES | The Kinkaid Falcon | March 9, 2018
Twisted stories or truth? BY NICOLE FERNANDEZ
On February 1, 2018, the headline, “NFL lawyer who claimed Super Bowl is ‘rigged’ is found dead” was plastered on local newspapers and online sites. While shocking and intriguing at first, this story has been found to be false. The NFL has said they have no lawyer by the name Dan Goodes, who was the “victim,” and there are no records of a man dying in New York City, where he was said to be killed. This was just one of the many examples of fake news that people are publishing all across the nation and even the world. Fake news has become more than just a trend; it has changed views on all aspects of our society. This trend captured the spotlight during the 2016 elections and has been in the public eye since; some of the biggest news events in history have been taken over by fake news. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, fake news articles are “stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke.” Fake news became
a phenomenon during the last presidential election because newspapers, bloggers, politicians, and many more utilized it to influence voters’ opinions of the candidates. With the massive amount of fake news released during this election, it was difficult for voters to find factual information and decide who they would vote for. We have seen fake news around the world with breaking news events; however, it doesn’t stop at major cities; fake news has hurt small towns across the nation. In the small town of Twin Falls, Idaho, a local incident between three children was taken into the hands of town gossipers, bloggers, and social media users. Soon this small town was bombarded with news stations and reporters trying to get a hold of any information they could; however, no one got the story quite right, and over 100 versions of the story were told. Fake news gave this town a bad reputation by escalating a small misdemeanor into a tragedy far from the truth. Because of the different stories being spread, most
Art by Taqi Hasnain (12).
people didn’t learn the true story and even the locals struggled to get the facts straight. Since this trend has broken out in today’s society, the Fake News Awards were created to sardonically recognize “dishonesty and bad reporting in various categories.” President Donald J. Trump proposed they should create this award in November 2017 saying in a tweet, “We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me).”
On January 17, 2018 the winners were announced and among them were major publications such as CNN and The New York Times. These satirical awards were released online, but did not create much of an impact on fake news. When talking about fake news it’s important to recognize what is blatantly fake news and what people jokingly call “fake news.” Fake news would be saying that the entire continent of Asia was underwater, or that humans are going extinct. However, what some people call “fake news” are statements that they themselves do not agree
with or support. As a community, it is important to accept all news and be open to other sides and opinions, but also to be able to discern credible news from that which is fake. Reporters must fact-check their sources and make sure they are dispensing correct and accurate information about contentious issues and topics in our society today. As the world changes, so does the news, but we all must make sure that the quality of news does not falter or change with the times.
Not your average after school snack BY KATHERINE MONTGOMERY The thin clear lining melts a little when you touch it. The top is filled with two different brightly colored liquids, one that looks like orange Fanta, and the other the color of an artificial ocean. The bottom is filled with a mysterious white powder. This may sound like some sort of candy from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, but it’s in fact a Tide Pod. Internet challenges are nothing new. Every year something sparks the attention of curious teenagers. In 2010, The Gallon Challenge swept the nation as people chugged milk until they threw up; in 2012, The Cinnamon Challenge had kids dumping spoonfuls of cinnamon into their mouths, and 2013 held The Salt and Ice Challenge where kids would see how long they could keep the elements in their hands. Countless challenges later, we have made our way to 2018 where
kids are biting into Tide Pods. Why? For those who haven’t grown up on memes, Webster Dictionary states that a meme is “an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media.” Tide Pod memes are not new. In 2015 The Onion, a satirical news organization, wrote an article on it, but nearing the end of 2017, it turned into a dangerous, viral meme that is just recently reaching the mainstream standards of funny. Starting out, these memes would just make jokes about eating the two-inch cleaning agents; for example, one meme depicts the Tide Pods inside a Hot Pocket or as a topping on pizza. The people who made these memes didn’t actually eat the Tide Pod pizza or Hot Pockets; it was just a joke that caused people to laugh at the absurdity until people actually started eating them.
The more obscure and “edgy” the memes are on the Internet, the more likes they will get. People will do anything to get likes, and recently that has involved eating Tide Pods. To be clear, the challenge is known as eating Tide Pods, but most people just bite into it so the liquid bursts, and then they quickly spit it out. Either way, it’s dangerous. A Tide Pod is made up of countless strange chemicals that are meant to clean your clothes, not serve as a yummy snack or brightly colored candy. So what exactly happens to your body when you eat a laundry detergent pod? The American Association of Poison Control Centers states that, “Exposures to Laundry Packets, which are encased in a water - soluble membrane that can burst open, are typically highly concentrated compared to traditional laundry detergent and thus can have significantly more serious effects.” These serious
effects can range anywhere from irritation of the mouth to gastrointestinal distress and respiratory distress. The most life threatening effect is respiratory distress. In a Buzzfeed News article, Dr. Jana L. Anderson, pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Mayo Clinic, said, “Most people will inhale or gasp right after they break open the pod in their mouth or while the liquid is going down their throat, so some of the detergent enters the trachea and lungs.” This is extremely irritating for the lungs. If someone gets to this point, they might need to be put on a ventilator, Anderson said. The first thing to do after eating a Tide Pod is to rinse your mouth out with water or milk to dilute the detergent. Do not try to induce vomiting, Anderson noted. Then call Poison Control, and if you symptoms worsen call 911 or go to the hospital. Stay safe out there, everyone.
March 9, 2018 | The Kinkaid Falcon | FEATURES 13
Fortnite: A Way of Life
A look inside the virtual phenomenon and one man’s relationship with the game BY ARMAN BADREI Three. Two. One. The countdown concludes, You and your three friends, now brothers in the face of battle, load up on the flying blue school bus with a hot air balloon attached to it (officially called the Battle Bus): the transport to the front lines, the harbinger of destruction and failure, a liminal stage in between safety and despair, a twilight zone of sorts. As the bus pushes on an on, past Junk Junction, Pleasant Park, and right near Loot Lake, you place your marker on the ultimate battleground, the place that separates the boys from the men: Tilted Towers. Your battle-tested squadron then decides to jump, dive-bombing at speeds and from heights only possible in your dreams. After about nine seconds of skydiving, you deploy your glider and look around. You are mesmerized. All around you, opposing squads fly in, from north, south, east, and west. But this is what you’ve trained for. This is what you have practiced for, day in and day out. You lock eyes with an attractive piece of rare, blue loot on top of a building. Gliding down, your virtual feet
hit the concrete. The battle has begun and now, only two words crowd your conscious: Victory Royale. Fortnite, the current video game phenomenon that has taken over social media recently, was released on July 25, 2017 by Epic Games. Available on the Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC, the game has exploded due to the level of action-packed, intense, cooperative, and hugely satisfying moments. In one weekend alone, the game boasted 3.4 million players online. That’s roughly the size of Uruguay. Add to the fact that the game is free, and you’ve got yourself a smash hit. The only object in Fortnite is to survive and ultimately win, in a game of 100 people in total, all playing together, at the same time, from around the world. In the “Battle Royale” game mode (the free game mode as opposed to the paid “Save the World” mode), either by yourself, in a duo, or with three other friends, you must find loot, including weapons, healing supplies, shields, and building materials, in order to protect yourself and also stay inside the safe zone of a deadly storm, which continuously shrinks as time goes on in the game. It’s simplicity and
very short learning curve no doubt help grow the game. For senior Max Mannetti, Fortnite has been in his life since mid-December of last year. Although he first discovered the game in November after watching his brother play, he only began to seriously dedicate himself to it during winter break. Out of solo, duo, and squad (up to four) modes available to play, Mannetti loves playing by himself: “Being able to win a solo game just proves you don’t need to be carried by any noob (a gaming term for a new, novice player).” He has played over 130 hours on the game and has 72 wins across all modes and accounts (more on that later). With regards to Fortnite’s virality, Mannetti believes its success to be a product of the popularity of battle royale, Hunger Games style video games. The idea of having 100 people drop into an area and to battle in a “last man standing” situation is rewarding because, at least for Mannetti, it shows he “is better than these 99 people.” And to those who say the game is a fad, he believes Fortnite is here to stay for “one to two years” which is relatively long for a video game. The social media aspect of the game will definitely die down, but
the community will survive, he said. Mannetti claims “you can’t really understand [the hype of the game] unless you play the game for itself, and really understand the essence.” That essence of Fortnite, the sense of intensity and satisfaction of winning a match, is unforgettable. Getting a Victory Royale, or winning the game, is a feeling like no other. According to Mannetti, when you get down to the top three, it really hits you. “Dang, I can win this,” he thinks to himself. He gets nervous, and finds it more and more difficult to keep his cool, as the his palms begin to sweat from gripping the controller too tightly. Once it gets down to the one-on-one battle, “it all really escalates,” he said. His heart rate goes up 100 beats per minute, and when he eliminates his final opponent and sees the message “#1 Victory Royale” pop up on his screen, “there’s nothing else like it,” he whispered with a smile on his face while reminiscing on past victories. Mannetti’s dedication was seriously tested though this week. After a long and tiring day of school, the gamer looked to unwind with a couple
wins on Fortnite, and after a few seconds of booting up his Xbox, discovered his Xbox Live Account, Mannetti808, was banned due to “marketplace theft.” Immediately, Mannetti took to the Xbox website to file an appeal to the decision, creating what might be one of the biggest legal battles inside the Xbox community at Kinkaid, affectionately titled Mannetti v. Xbox. While his ban is still active, Mannetti decided idleness and inactivity would not be his course of action: He made a trial account, FavoringStorm87, and has already begun to rack up wins. This small anecdote proves above all else nothing can stop Mannetti in his quest for virtual domination. Fortnite, for most players, has become a way of life. The quality of a day is determined now by how much Fortnite one was able to play. Success is measured in the number of Victory Royales one has. But above all, Fortnite has produced a sense of camaraderie and a small dose of nostalgia, making players remember the good old days of playing video games with your friends. And for that, if only that one aspect, we should respect and venerate this wonderful game.
Amazon introduces new pay-by-phone grocery store BY KATIE ERIKSON It looks like a normal convenience store. Employees milling about, restocking shelves, making sandwiches behind glass panels, and customers stuffing their grocery bags, and sometimes even coats and pockets, with necessities. Then, the customers walk out. Just walk out. No waiting in line to check out. In fact, there’s no checkout at all. This is Amazon Go. The company that is always on the front lines of new and emerging technology has just added something unexpected to its lineup of high tech products and services. Amazon, the tech empire that has revolutionized online shopping, has advanced the field of artificial intelligence through Amazon Echo, and even delved into TV streaming through Prime Video, has squeezed itself into the humble industry of the brick and mortar grocery stores. Grocery stores have
done their fair share of innovating in the last few years, with companies like Instacart delivering groceries to customer’s houses and already established supermarkets like H.E.B implementing concepts like Curbside, where customers order their groceries online, then pick them up at a chosen time without having to leave their car. As per usual, Amazon is one step ahead of the game. On Jan. 22, Amazon opened their first Amazon Go location to the public in Seattle, WA, introducing a new concept to the grocery store industry: in store shopping with online paying. Amazon has generated their Just Walk Out Technology that detects when items are taken from or put back on shelves, and puts them on a virtual cart for you online. After using the Amazon Go app to enter the store, it tracks the items you take. After leaving the store, the customer’s Amazon account will be charged and customers will be sent a receipt for what they took.
Customers scan their phones as they enter the store. Photo courtesy of Amazon.
The store is designed for quick trips, only stocking premade meals, basic grocery items, and even some meal kits to make cooking as convenient as possible. There is also a limited amount of fresh produce, due to the difficulty of tracking and pricing. Amazon Go gives customers an orange shopping bag to carry groceries, but customers can also slip items into purses, coats, or pockets because the store tracks each item using sensors along the shelves and over a hundred cameras that line the ceiling. Other than that, the store resem-
The store is located on the ground floor of the Amazon headquarters. Photo courtesy of Amazon.
bles a convenience-store sized Whole Foods. Despite the fact that there is no need for cashiers or baggers, there is no shortage of employees at the store: they restock shelves, help customers, and make sandwiches, meal kits, and other premade foods. Though Amazon Go is very technology heavy, they still rely on employees to run their store. Their goal is to make the shopping experience more efficient, not put cashiers out of work. For over a year, Amazon has opened their store to just their own employees. They used their own work-
ers to test and find errors with the technology before opening in fully to the public. Some of the early problems in their technology included confusing people of similar body types and having difficulty tracking people in crowds. Since Amazon has taken so much time to develop this technology, it is unlikely many stores will by copying the concept anytime soon. It is unclear when Amazon Go will be expanding into other cities or locations, but there is no doubt the grocery store market is next in line for a major remodel, and Amazon is leading the pack.
14 FEATURES | The Kinkaid Falcon | March 9, 2018
Exploring what we do and don’t know about e-cigarettes’ social, economic, and health effects on adolescents and adults BY KATHERINE BERMAN & EMMA STOUT It’s slick, portable, and battery powered with different liquids heated by a wick and nichrome coil system. Can you guess what it is? Probably not. Have you used it? Maybe. According to the Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD) Survey, approximately 30 percent of the student body says they have used an e-cigarette, and 18 percent had used e-cigs in the 30 days prior to the survey. Since it first hiting the market in June 2015, the JUUL has taken the adolescent world by storm. But what is this trendy phenomenon and how dangerous is it? In early January, FCD came to Kinkaid for their biannual presentation and survey. The responses from the survey, which students took in October, reported the junior class had the highest level of e-cigarette usage, with over 33 percent having vaped at least once. Additionally, out of 30 randomly and anonymously chosen students interviewed by The Falcon, all 30 agreed that the numbers were “completely inaccurate” and believe that the numbers are significantly higher than the surveys reported. The organization who administers the FCD survey said that they attempt to regulate for inconsistencies in the numbers. “FCD always finds (in every school in every country) that the reported use is lower than students’ perceived use,” said Mr. Peter Behr, Head of the Upper School. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that students’ perceptions are not always correct in regards to the actual numbers. The JUUL is one of the most popular e-cigarettes, and it uses aerosol to activate ingredients provided by a JUULpod, a mix of salts, flavorings, and organic acids from tobacco leaves. The aerosol is triggered by a regulated heating element instead of a flame to deliver the nicotine in order to avoid combustion. Some of the most
prominent ingredients found in a JUULpod include glycerol (a sugar alcohol mainly used for products like toothpaste, conditioner, and cosmetics), propylene glycol (a synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water and can be found in everything from asthma inhalers to brownie mixes), nicotine (a nitrogen based chemical that is the main contributor to the “buzz” smokers often claim they receive as well as the substance responsible for addiction), and benzoic acid (a carboxylic acid found in tobacco plants). According to the New England Journal of Medicine, when many of the ingredients listed in pod cartridges, such as formaldehyde, are inhaled as a vapor rather than ingested, they pose an even more dangerous hazard
E-cigarettes have only been in use for less than two decades; the current middle and high school generation is acting as the ‘guinea-pig’ due to their association with cancer. With an elongated flash drive look and a USB charging port, the “iPhones of e-cigarettes” are much easier to conceal than cigarettes, which now generally have a poor reputation among most high school students for their verified hazardous effects. Fervent anti-tobacco campaigns like “The Real Cost” use social media and other mediums to convey the many health problems of cigarette smoking, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last August that they will expand this campaign to e-cigarettes. The JUUL began as part
of the senior design thesis of Stanford graduates James Monsees and Adam Bowen who were cigarette smokers for years, but according to the JUUL Labs website, “were increasingly dissatisfied with the health and social impacts of cigarettes.” Together, they started Ploom, now known as Pax Labs, to replace cigarettes completely with e-cigarettes for the over one billion people worldwide who smoke. JUUL Labs generated over $234 million dollars in retail last year with an average production rate of 200 million JUUL-related products per month, according to a recent JUUL sales report. As of November 2017, one million JUUL systems have sold in over 12,000 convenience stores and online. They sell for upwards of $35 and a four-pack of pods in a variety of flavors costs $16. Because e-cigarettes have only been in use for less than two decades, the current middle and high school generation is acting as the “guinea-pig” generation for researchers. Though there has not been enough time for long-term evidence that JUULs are more or less harmful than cigarettes, recent research conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that “completely substituting e-cigarettes for combustible tobacco cigarettes reduces users’ exposure to numerous toxicants and carcinogens present in combustible tobacco cigarettes.” However, the use of e-cigarettes is a gateway to nicotine addiction, according to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), especially in adolescents. JUULs do not require lighting the paper filter at the butt of the cigarette and inhaling the toxins that can produce cancer and do not contain tobacco or the over 250 harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke. However, they do still have a very high amount of nicotine, which causes users to become addicted and according to the National Institute of Health causes “biologic effects
on cells important for initiation and progression of cancer.” It took nearly 70 years for the link between smoking and lung-cancer to be identified, so the more serious effects of e-cigarettes, including JUULs, are yet to be seen. Today, 99 percent of e-cigarettes on market in the United States contain nicotine, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One JUULpod contains 0.7 mL of nicotine, or 5 percent, which is equivalent to approximately 200 puffs or one pack of cigarettes. The base of the JUUL also contains a “closed-loop temperature control,” which has the potential to explode and expose the user’s skin to nicotine-concentrate, potentially causing harsh burns. The University of Rochester in New York recently conducted an e-cigarette study that did not include JUULs that showed adolescent vapers have begun to develop a smoker’s cough and bloody sores. They can still cause inflammation to the lungs as well as ‘popcorn lungs’, just like cigarette smoking, which increases the potential for asthma attacks and allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. In a tweet The American Lung Association said, “We know that diacetyl causes popcorn lung [and] this chemical is found in many e-cigarette flavors.” A study from Brown University also revealed that extended exposure to nicotine may be linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries that is known to cause heart attacks. Delayed regulations from the FDA has allowed the e-cigarette market to thrive. Underaged kids can easily buy them through friends or older siblings. JUUL is acting to limit its sales to the intended audiences (18+ in Texas and 21+ in some states) and operating an “in-house program in which retail staff are monitored to determine if they are following applicable minimum age laws.” Additionally, JUUL is making significant investments
towards making JUULs less accessible to underage users as well as applying advanced “ID match and age-verification technology” on their website. The anonymous student sources interviewed said that they vape for the buzz, for social reasons, or out of boredom. When asked if students prefered JUULing over smoking cigarettes or marijuana, the majority of the responses claimed that JUULing is safer; one said, “It’s safer, but I have my doubts.” Many others said that they preferred the JUULing experience better because of its non-cigarette or marijuana smelling smoke and how easy it is. Additionally, some students have admitted to becoming addicted to their JUUL, and one student mentioned how they threw theirs away in a trash can to stop their addiction. In October 2017, Crystal Collier visited Kinkaid to speak on vaping and the effects of e-cigarettes. One anonymous interviewee responded to the presentation, “I liked how the speaker just educated us and didn’t try to explicitly tell us what to do, but rather gave us all the facts so that we could make our own informed decisions.” Another said that they sold their JUUL as a result of both the FCD and Collier lectures. Some students on the other hand, thought that the presentations were “uninformative” or “misleading.” Although research is just beginning for e-cigarettes and JUULs in particular, it is important to stay informed and make your own decisions. A note from the Kinkaid administration: According to the Kinkaid Handbook, The Kinkaid School campus is tobacco free. Students may not use cigarettes, e-cigarettes or other tobacco products, nor have them in their possession when they are on campus or attending any school related event.
March 9, 2018 | The Kinkaid Falcon | FEATURES 15
Today’s most controversial conspiracies
In what world do people believe everything they are told? Perhaps the toxicity of doubt is what makes them so popular.
Lil Miquela BY OLIVIA MARRUS Commonly referred to as “Instagram’s Biggest Mystery,” the Instagram account @lilmiquela is a huge source of widespread confusion. At first glance, Lil Miquela seems like a normal girl trying to make it big in the entertainment industry. However, it is clear to see that something about her just doesn’t seem real; her face is a little too smooth, her eyes are a little too clear, and her makeup is a little too perfect. After close inspection, it becomes obvious why some people believe that what seems like a perfectly normal girl is actually a computer-generated person. There are many theories concerning Lil Miquela and her true identity. Miquela frequently does ad campaigns for big name brands such as Pat McGrath and poses for popular magazines such as Paper. These campaigns lead people to believe that Miquela has been created by a company to publicize brands on her Instagram account. Some people even
think that the popular computer game, The Sims, created Miquela in order to promote their game. Another popular theory is that Miquela is the alter ego of another Instagrammer. Theorists claim that whoever is behind Lil Miquela created her so that they could live a normal life but still pursue their dream of becoming a popular musical artist. People have gone into the depths of Instagram to find girls who resemble Lil Miquela, but so far no one has claimed her identity. Miquela has yet to make any live appearances, so it is impossible to know who she is. Miquela is continuing to produce and promote her music on her Instagram. Her identity has become the center of modern conspiracy theories, but only time will tell her story. One of the most popular conspiracy theories concerns the Illuminati, which has become the source of countless memes and the topic of numerous conspiracy theories. However, the Illuminati is not a new
phenomenon. It was founded in 1776 by German law professor Adam Weishaupt in Bavaria in an effort to limit the role of the Church in society. The original members sought to infiltrate and upset powerful institutions like the monarchy. The group was incredibly secretive with members acting more like revolutionaries than world leaders, as they are believed to be doing today. The Illuminati was stamped out in a government crackdown on secret societies in the 1780s, but it has always been rumored to have survived. The Illuminati is often referred to in a joking manner, but there are certainly people who believe it to be real. One of the most surprising theories is that this organization was involved in Michael Jackson’s death. Conspiracy theorists claim that the Illuminati was behind Michael’s 2009 drug overdose and that he thought someone was after him. In late 2013, Robert Connors, a man who claimed to have worked for the Department of Defense, leaked what
he says is Michael Jackson’s final phone call before his death. Before the recording and transcript of the call begins, the black screen is filled with words that read, “Recorded the night prior to Jackson’s Homicide, many high-level officials have gone to great lengths to keep this recording hidden from the public. I received the audio from a trusted source in the department.” During the call, in which Jackson is allegedly talking with his manager, Jackson claims that “there may be a group of people...they want to get rid of me” and even says that “they could frame me and say I overdosed on drugs.” Jackson ends the call by saying, “It’s not the government. It’s more than the government.” So, the questions remain: Is this phone call real? Is it fake? Was someone actually after Michael Jackson, or was he just paranoid? For now, it is impossible to tell. Finally, the tragic shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. on Feb.
Crisis Actors 14, 2018 has produced many stories. Perhaps the most problematic is the suggestion that “crisis actors” were hired to pose as students affected by the shooting. A Facebook post that was shared more than 111,000 times claimed that a student interviewed after the Parkland shooting was also interviewed in Los Angeles after a confrontation between a surfer and a lifeguard. However, the notion of “crisis actors” is not unique to the Parkland shooting. Crisis actors are used to train first responders on how to handle emergency situations. Starting after the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, conspiracy theorists began to report that the shooting was faked and the people affected were crisis actors. Crisis actor theories circulated around the Orlando nightclub shooting and the Boston marathon bombing, showing that this theory is not unique to the Stoneman Douglas shooting.
Bitcoin leads cryptocurrency market BY ALLISON LE With his hands clasped together on top of his laptop, Dr. Ed Harris, the Economics and AP Government teacher, is ready to tackle the question that has been traveling around the country: What is Bitcoin? Bitcoin is a decentralized peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that’s based on “the white paper,” an informative report that details the goals of Bitcoin. Bitcoin.org says that the website “was originally registered and owned by Bitcoin’s first two developers, Satoshi Nakamoto and Martti Malmi. When Nakamoto left the project, he gave ownership of the domain to additional people, separate from the Bitcoin developers, to spread responsibility and prevent any one person or group from easily gaining control over the Bitcoin project.” Across other websites, Satoshi Nakamoto has been revealed to be a pseudonym for the person or group who created the viral cryptocurrency and hasn’t been heard of since founding Bitcoin in 2008. With the recent media coverage of the volatility of Bitcoin, it’s almost impossible for anyone to get one whole bitcoin without spending thousands of dollars. There are two ways to get Bitcoins: mining and purchasing. In a general sense, cryptocurrencies are based on
blockchains, a type of virtual book of records, which record every transaction made on the network and are available to all users and the general public. Like a currency, it can only travel from one person to the other and can’t be replicated and means that no one can spend a coin twice. Mining is the process of using computing power to create Bitcoins and process transactions; this secures the network. Bitcoin designed it to be fully decentralized with miners operating in all countries, and no individual having control over the network. Miners are currently compensated with 12.5 bitcoins for each transaction. To get started, you can set up an account on the Bitcoin website and link it directly to a paypal or bank account, and purchase Bitcoins with a credit card. In a nutshell, it’s virtual money that costs a lot to earn and is difficult to understand. As one Forbes article described it: “Bitcoin prices swing back and forth in a way that makes an Alpine landscape look flat.” Dr. Harris said that people who do not trust the stability of the material currency turn to Bitcoin and are starting to consider that “it has become more like gold and silver and other precious metals as an investment tool rather than a currency.” In mid-December of 2017,
Bitcoin hit its peak when one bitcoin was worth $19,140.70. In January of 2018, it was revealed that 80 percent of the Bitcoins had been mined, leaving 4.2 million Bitcoins left to mine until the supply cap is reached. Bitcoin says that “[their] protocol is also hard-limited to 21 million bitcoins,” so no one can come along and create counterfeit Bitcoins. The limited supply creates demand, and once the supply cap is reached, it will be harder to obtain bitcoins, therefore making each one more valuable. Joshua Ben-Shoshan (11), who currently invests in the cryptocurrency, said, “I’m personally waiting for Bitcoin to hit its market cap because I want to see what’s going to happen.” When Bitcoin had just come out, they were worth pennies, so they were treated like pennies. There are many stories about people who had forgotten about their bitcoins and threw away their computers that had their Bitcoins on the hard drives only to later realize the worth of the Bitcoins and try to hunt down their circa-2009 computers in attics and landfills in search of the bitcoins that would in turn be worth thousands of dollars. One of the problems about Bitcoin is that it isn’t regulated, meaning that there is no oversight or monitoring of any
Bitcoin mining requires blockchain currency. Photo illustration courtesy of Shutterstock.
accounts. For example, a woman in Long island was charged for laundering money for ISIS through the means of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. People have lost accounts due the fact that there is no customer service or password recovery system options other than trying to break the complicated password multiple times. At times, accounts have been hacked in order to transfer Bitcoins to their account and amass their wealth. Some have even tried to blackmail others. CG Marinelli’s (11) mother received a letter in her mail. It’s ridiculous message in short: “I have been investigating you in my spare time and know you have a secret that you are hiding from your wife, pay me $8,200 in Bitcoins to this receiving bitcoin
address and I won’t release the evidence to the public.” The three page letter ends with detailed instructions on how to send Bitcoins to the address, showing the exploitation of the obscurity of Bitcoin. The concepts of Bitcoin aren’t very basic, but with enough exposure and explanation of the process, the public can develop their own opinions and decide if it will benefit or hurt the future of the economic system. As the world moves closer to a paperless reality, Bitcoin seems to be a staying factor in the prospective of a new virtual society.
16 ENTERTAINMENT | The Kinkaid Falcon | March 9, 2018
“Black Panther” dominates charts and theaters BY STERLING ELIAS
With 21 artists, 14 tracks, and one movie, “Black Panther: The Album” captures its listeners with some of the most daring and captivating sounds of 2018 so far. From some of the most polished vocals in music delivered by SZA and Jorja Smith to the harsh, confrontational tones of rappers including Lamar, SOB x RBE and ScHoolboy Q, and from the drum-centric beat of “X” and flute based beat of “Big Shot” to the synth heavy, 808 riddled sounds of “Pray for Me,” Lamar’s album covers wide ranges of sounds, mixed and matched to create something original and hypnotizing. “Black Panther: The Album” is a hip-hop album, created and curated by Grammy winning rapper Kendrick Lamar and inspired by the Marvel film “Black Panther.” This film features one of the first nearly all black casts from a major studio (Disney’s Marvel, in this case). Since this film’s announcement, it has become a cultural phenomenon and has grossed north of $763 million worldwide. The combination of “Black Panther” the film and “Black Panther: The Album” conveys numerous messages
and covers multiple themes that expand much further beyond just the content touched upon in both works. Celebrating African Culture, its February release is no accident: February is Black History Month. Even more impactful are the film’s real world connections, especially scenes taking place in neighborhoods in Oakland, Calif. Another central theme in the film is societal duty, as the infinitely wealthy Wakandans (especially the antagonist, Killmonger) debate whether or not to share their resources with oppressed people of the world. Kendrick Lamar, who hails from Compton, Calif., reputably one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the United States, often takes themes such as
these into account when crafting his music. Often considered a “conscious rapper,” Lamar does not just focus on money, sex, drugs, and power, but rather he shines light on and implements social issues including violence and inequality in his art. This musical attitude bleeds into “Black Panther: The Album.” The album perfectly balances the mix of social commentary, party music, swelling vocals and rapping perfection without relying too heavily on any aspect and overwhelming the listener with the oversaturation of a single type of sound. As the credits roll at “Black Panther’s” end, the album’s larger-than-life track “All the Stars” captivates the audience with SZA’s smooth vocals and Kendrick Lamar’s contrastingly raspy message of triumph, reflecting the smooth outwardly appearance of Wakanda compared to its rocky political instability. A bouncing beat underlies Lamar’s humming, which looms over the song, cultivating a dream-like effect that
sums up the entire movie as a whole. It embodies a fantasy such as Wakanda that is rooted in real world issues such as equality and societal duty. Additionally, the layered dream effect of the beat parallels Wakanda’s layers of appearances in that from the outside it seems like a third world country, but underneath it is a bustling, prosperous world. As the movie is not made specifically for the album, “Black Panther: The Album” is not created specifically to be featured in the movie. The sounds of the album and the lyrics certainly reflect aspects of the plot and tone of “Black Panther,” but it also addresses other topics that don’t relate to the movie such as the neighborhood in which Lamar grew up and the political climate of the United States. This disconnect and independence of both bodies of work cultivate the film’s perfect balance of using songs from Lamar’s album without relying too heavily on it or experiencing the pressure of having to use every single song from “Black Panther: The Album.” Lamar walks this tightrope with expertise, creating an album that conveys the attitude and identity of the film while still maintaining an appeal that goes far beyond the movie and makes the album worth listening to
long after its release. Perhaps the hardest hitting track on the album is “Paramedic!” which includes Kendrick Lamar alongside northern California rap group SOB x RBE. Over a violent, choppy beat, Lamar and members of SOB x RBE settle on low octaves and harsh vocals to cultivate an aggressive tone. As the first lines of the track, “I am Killmonger,” (the film’s main antagonist who actively advocates violence) foreshadow, “Paramedic!’s” in-your-face bars depict images of brutality and bloodshed paired with confrontational dares that even threaten that a paramedic will need to be called by the end of the song. This song perfectly captures the equilibrium reached between movie focus and real-world applications on “Black Panther: The Album” in that its violent messages blur the lines between the events in the movie and the constant fighting taking place in reality. Through Lamar and his featured artists’ implementation of a vast range of moods and feelings as well as messages and themes, they cultivate an album that explores the complexities of problems facing society today not only through the lens of Wakanda, but much beyond the expanse of the film as well.
Moviepass changes viewing experience BY LILY GUNN As teenagers in the 21st century, services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have allowed us to wait a month or two to see the newest feature film on TV instead of going to see them in the theater; but, Moviepass gives a new incentive to return to the theaters. A subscription service that offers unlimited trips to participating movie theatres for just $7.95 a month, Moviepass aims to bring Americans back into the theatres and increase their revenue. Launched in 2011, Moviepass is not a new service; however, until Netflix co-founder, previous Redbox president, and current CEO of Moviepass, Mitch Lowe joined the company in June of 2016, their success was limited. At that time there were 23,000 subscribers and the price was $35 a month — differing slightly depending
on the theater prices in a subscriber’s region. Almost two years later, there are now 1.5 million subscribers who are charged “$7.95/month x 12 months + $9.95 processing fee,” as stated on the Moviepass website, a grand total of $105.35, when they sign up. As with most subscriptions, signing up is relatively easy. Once subscribed, you can download the app and login but, you cannot use the service immediately: you have to wait two to three weeks to receive your Moviepass Mastercard in the mail. But, for a card that practically pays for itself, the wait is worth it. On the app, there are over 4,000 theaters that work with Moviepass — at least 30 in the Houston area such as, Edwards Greenway Palace Stadium and Edwards Houston Marq*E Stadium. After choosing a theater, subscribers can
view times for 2D movies at said theater, reserve a ticket, and, if applicable, reserve a specific seat. Check-in is available ahead of time using the app so long as the customer is within 100 yards of the theater. For example, if you wanted to see Black Panther, a movie that may sell out, Moviepass does not guarantee you a ticket. However, this is a rare occasion and has not degraded the service. To pay for and receive a ticket into the movie, subscribers swipe their Moviepass cardpreloaded by the company- at the box office. In an interview with The New York Times, Moviepass user Dan Steven said he went to “maybe one movie a month before he became a subscriber [in October of 2017, and] in November, he went 12 times.” By introducing a service that is cheap and easy to use, Moviepass has given Americans a reason to go to
A movie pass allows moviegoers to see a movie every day for only $7.95 a month. the movies. The massive increase in subscriptions and large price cut illustrate a company that has begun to bring in a sufficient revenue. The reality, however, is that “Moviepass might just be a break even business,” said Lowe; and while that statement sounds grim, he looks for success in a different set of
numbers. Lowe argues that “the real treasure in this venture, is the trove of data about consumer tastes and habits that MoviePass can collect;” he plans to gather data from subscribers that would benefit large theaters and production companies, and sell it to them.
March 9, 2018 | The Kinkaid Falcon | ENTERTAINMENT 17
Pop Culture Chart If you could fry anything what would you fry?
What is your favorite/ most embarrassing spring break memory?
“M&ms and Skittles!” Lauren Locher (9)
“One time I tore my ACL while skiing. On a green.” Skyler Swanson (9)
The Pop Culture Chart: where we get to know the Kinkaidian tastes and takes on what’s the talk around campus. BY SALLY BUCK & ALLISON FAVALORO
“Potatoes!” Karm Ghei (10)
“Watermelon would be dope.” Jacob Magelssen (11)
“My pants got caught on a nail on the dock and ripped off when I was on a YOLO board.” Nolan D’Souza (11)
“My swimsuit came off in Water Color right in the middle of a surfing lesson.” Bain Williams (10)
“I would fry fries twice to make them twice as good. Like a twice baked potato!” Thomas Garrison (12)
“I told my parents I didn’t need winter boots for touring New York colleges and proceeded to fall flat on my face right outside the airport. It had snowed.” Christos Papandreou (12)
What are you crazy for? “Cocoa puffs!” Jason Boué (9)
What’s your favorite conspiracy theory? “That the U.S. never landed on the moon.” Jalen Elrod (9)
“You.” Blaise Schuenemann (10)
“The Mandela Effect. It’s when people share false memories of past events.” Katelyn Gamble (10)
“Fresh cookies.” Elizabeth Baird (11)
“SKAtlantis!” Margaret Oster (12)
“Avril Lavigne was replaced by a clone.” Marynell Ward (11)
“Elon Musk is an alien from Mars just trying to get home.” Sam Segal (12)
The Illustrated Interview with Adelaide Randall (10) & Russell Burrow (10) Adelaide
What’s your favorite TV show?
What’s your worst nightmare? (Drowning)
What you would bring on a deserted island?
What’s your favorite TV show?
What’s your worst nightmare? (Breaking my leg)
What you would bring on a deserted island?
18 SPORTS | The Kinkaid Falcon |March 9, 2018
Mac’s Facts BY MAC FRIDAY
BY MAC FRIDAY
The Girls Soccer team entered the SPC tournament with an undefeated record of 8-0-1, earning them the top seed in South Zone. They played their first game in the quarterfinals of the tournament against Trinity Valley, winning 3-0. In the semifinal game against Hockaday, they came back from a two goal deficit to win 2-1. Finally, in the championship game, the Falcons defeated rival St. John’s 3-2 to claim the SPC title.
Girls Basketball The Girls Basketball team entered the SPC tournament as the first seed from South Zone and defending SPC champions. The Falcons controlled St. John’s 50-20 in the Quarterfinals and routed Fort Worth Country Day in the Semifinals with a score of 78-23. They faced the Trinity Valley School in the Championship game and successfully retained their title, beating the Trojans 65-42.
Girls Swimming Entering the meet as reigning SPC champions, the Girls Swim team looked to defend their title against St. John’s.The two teams dominated most of the meet, trading leads every event. A major turning point came when the Falcons won the 200 yard Freestyle relay with the team of Olivia Howard (9), Zelie Hughes (9), Emily Moak (11), and Audrey Orange (11). The teams continued to trade crucial wins and finishes, culminating with the 400 yard Freestyle relay, the final event, and placed second to the Mavericks in the final event, giving both teams a final total of 118 points, crowning them as SPC co-champions.
Boys Basketball entered the SPC tournament as the third seed from the south, facing Cistercian in the first round. The Falcons defeated Cistercian 71-47 and wwadvanced to the quarterfinals to face Episcopal School of Dallas. ESD and Kinkaid fought hard, taking the close contest into overtime. The Falcons prevailed 60-57, and faced cross-town rival Episcopal in the semifinals. The Falcons provided a gutsy performance against the Knights with a huge final comeback the Falcons fell, losing 61-56. Kinkaid faced St. Mark’s in the game for third place, but lost 55-48 and settled for fourth place overall.
The Falcons’ Wrestling team had a strong performance in the SPC tournament, with several standout individual performances. Brandon Swain (11) and Sam Fordyce (9) finished fourth in their respective weight classes as well as Taft Foley (9) and Edward Chamblee (12) both finishing third in their weight classes. All-Americans seniors Noah Chan and Colin Lawler swept the field in their weight classes, both finishing first in their individual contests. The Falcons scored 85.5 points in team competition, earning enough for a fourth place finish.
Boys Soccer The Boys Soccer team wrapped up their regular season with a record of 8-4-3, entering the SPC tournament as the second seed from the south. They faced Casady in the quarterfinal round of the tournament and were defeated 3-0. The Falcons rebounded in the fifth place game the next day, beating John Cooper 4-1.
The Boys Swimming team faced stiff competition at the SPC championship meet, including rivals St. John’s and St. Mark’s, yet still managed to put up some strong performances. Charlie Brennig (10) placed third in the 500-yard Freestyle. The team of Brennig, Michael Bell (10), Daniel King (11), and Paul Thompson (12), earned a fifth place finish in the Boys 500 yard Freestyle Relay. The team finished the meet with an overall sixth place finish.
Dear Reader, Welcome to Mac’s Facts! My name is Mac Friday. I am a senior and a Sports Editor of The Falcon. Before I get to the focus of the column, I want to give All-American Wrestler Colin Lawler (12) a shoutout for becoming the Heavyweight Prep Nationals Champion. Congratulations Colin! This month, I am highlighting the success of our girls teams during this past winter’s SPC season. Girls Soccer dominated this season, going undefeated in regular season play and cruising all the way to SPC, where they battled their way to the finals to face St. John’s. The girls came out red hot, scoring two of their three goals in the first 10 minutes, and added another later in the first half. When the final whistle blew, the Falcons claimed their first SPC title in Kinkaid history. Girls Swimming & Diving came into the season as defending champions, and provided strong performances to retain their title. Standout individual swims came from Audrey Orange (11), who won both the 100 and 200 yard Freestyle, as well as Zelie Hughes (9), who won the 100-yard Breaststroke. These first place finishes helped catapult the Falcons to the top of the points race, where they tied with St. John’s to become SPC co-champions. Finally, the Girls Basketball team, who won the SPC title in 2017, successfully defended the SPC championship this season for the second year in a row. The backto-back champs outscored their opponents 193-85 during the tournament, backed by senior captain Jasmine Smith’s stellar numbers. Smith averaged 23.6 points per game, 7.6 assists per game, and 4.6 steals per game throughout the Falcon’s playoff run. The Falcons also found solid scoring from Kate Petrovic (11), who averaged 11.6 points per game during their playoff run, and Onuchi Ndee (11), who dominated the glass in the Championship, pulling in 13 rebounds for the Falcons. As we proceed into the Spring sports season, the Falcons have won five SPC championships thus far through the school year, four out of those five coming from the successes of the girls’ teams.
Girls Soccer: Izzy Nelson (12) is congratulated by her teammates after scoring a goal. Girls Basketball::Jasmine Smith (12) runs down the court, starting a fastbreak opportunity for the Falcons Swimming: Zelie Hughes (9) prepares to dive in the pool to swim the second leg of the 200-yard Freestyle relay. Boys Basketball: The team takes the court to face SPC opponent, St. Stephens. Wrestling:The referee raises the arm of Noah Chan (12) after a victorious bout in the SPC tournament. Boys Soccer: Zachary Lewitton (12) finds the open man for the pass.
March 9, 2018 | The Kinkaid Falcon | SPORTS 19
Rockets look to dominate final stretch With MVP Candidate James Harden, Rockets team poised to beat Warriors BY CHARLES GARRISON On a red hot win streak and impressively sitting in the coveted number one seed with the best record in the NBA, the Houston Rockets are performing better than any team in the league. The Rockets, led by MVP candidate James Harden, as well as exceptional point guard Chris Paul and solid big man Clint Capela, go twelve men deep, wtih bench players and stars working well. When Houston’s “big three” of Harden, Paul, and Capela are all healthy and on the court for the Rockets, they stand at an extraordinary 34-1, with their one loss coming to the New Orleans Pelicans. They currently lead the entire NBA in point differential, with an astounding +8.9 in the area. Although all of these numbers are outstanding, the most impressive may be that these Houston Rockets are currently the highest rated offensive basketball team of all time. In terms of offensive rating, an estimate of points produced per 100 possessions, no team in NBA history is executing at as high a level as this year’s Rockets. While most of the headlines and jersey sales go to
the big names on the Rockets like Harden, Paul, and Capela, the bench players are far from slouches. Last year’s NBA Sixth-Man of the Year Eric Gordon is one of the best bench players in the league, averaging 18.6 points per game, the third most on the team. Notably rounded out by Gerald Green, PJ Tucker, Luc Mbah a Moute, Joe Johnson, and Nené, the Houston Rockets bench is excelling at its role of being productive in scoring while giving the starters rest. When it comes to the competition for playoff seeding in the Western Conference, the Rockets stand side by side with the Golden State Warriors, with Houston only half of a game ahead in the standings. However, outside of the Warriors, the gap between the Rockets and Warriors and the third seed is a 12 game difference. As a result, the Western Conference is shaping up as a two team race with 18 games remaining in the regular season. This year’s Houston Rockets, when fully healthy, are playing like the best team in the entire league, and are entering the final stretch of the season on fire.
Houston’s Big 3 James Harden
12.6 (1st in the league) Chris Paul
7.04 Real +/(1st in the league)
.654 Field Goal Percent (1st in the league)
BY AYUSH KRISHNAMOORTI After being runner up in the MVP race two of the past three years, James Harden is taking the NBA by storm, and is a frontrunner for the prestigious award this year. The Harden trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder back in 2012 benefits the Rockets more and more each year. By simply trading Kevin Martin and several insignificant players, the Rockets received Sixth-Man of the Year, James Harden. Since then, Harden has put up numbers that rival other stars such as Steph Curry and LeBron James. In 2014-15, Harden was the runner up to star Steph Curry, leader of the Warriors team, to whom the Rockets lost to en route to their championship run. Curry was not the clearest winner that year; he had a better record, but not as large of an impact on his team. If records mattered like they did that year, Harden should have won last year, during the 201617 season, where the barely .500 Thunder had the MVP in Russell Westbrook. After two snubs like that, Harden has clearly showed he wants the award: the Rockets are the top team in the league in record, and Harden has
put up stats that rival Westbrook’s last year. He leads the NBA in points scored with 30.9 ppg, and is 3rd in assists this season with 8.9 apg. Not only this, but he ranks among the top in steals as well, with 1.9 spg. To add to this, two advanced metrics, +/- and Real Plus Minus/Wins Above Replacement. James Harden’s plus/minus so far has been incredible: second in the league with 8.1. His Wins Above Replacement have also been remarkably high, because while he is not first in the league, he is surrounded by other amazing players such as Chris Paul. Combined, the two have a WAR of 21.6. During the two weeks without Harden, the Rockets underperformed, going a measly 5-3. This not only furthers Harden’s value to this phenominal team. James Harden, an extremely valuable player on the best team, deserves MVP this year.
NFL Free Agency Preview
What players will make an impact for a new team this coming season? BY CHARLES GARRISON, WILSON KELSEY, & WILLIAM SCOTT After starting every regular season game in the past three years for the Washington Redskins, quarterback Kirk Cousins will not be under contract and will be up for grabs for NFL teams come 3 p.m. on March 14. The Redskins have already prepared a replacement for Cousins, as they traded for former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith on Jan. 30. This just about guarantees that Kirk Cousins will be leaving for a new franchise. After San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo recently received a recordbreaking five-year, $137.5 million contract, Cousins is looking to land a similar cash prize this year. Although this takes an enormous sum of money, multiple teams are willing to pay the price for a reliable starting quarterback. Among these, commentators believe the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, and Minnesota Vikings are the most likely suitors for Cousins. The Cardinals recently lost their starting quarterback, Carson
Palmer, to retirement, and they already have a talented roster outside of the most important position on the field. Cousins would add a tremendous boost in Arizona. For the Broncos, GM John Elway is known for his aggressive moves to help his team; he could be dishing out triple-digit millions for the quarterback he so desperately needs. Lastly, the Vikings, the least desperate team: unless they re-sign one of their own between then and now, will have no quarterbacks on their roster on March 14 when free agency starts. However, Minnesota seems to be the most coveted location for a quarterback to go, as they came one win short of the Super Bowl this year, and they appear to be just one quarterback away from winning the big game. Although it is uncertain where he will be playing next year, Kirk Cousins will be racking up serious cash this spring, most likely from the Denver Broncos’ pockets. Another quality quarterback (and recent Super Bowl MVP) that will make a diferrence for the team he plays for is Nick Foles. Nick Foles
is coming off of a legendary championship run where he defeated the Falcons, Vikings, and Tom Brady’s Patriots in the Super Bowl. Nick Foles’ stock is at an all time high right now and audiences still forget that he’s a 2013 Pro-Bowler. While he will not be a free agent this offseason, his contract with the Eagles becomes void in February of 2019, almost assures he gets traded before then. Any team, looking for a game managing veteran quarterback such as the Denver Broncos or Buffalo Bills, should have their eyes on Foles. New England Patriots cornerback and Super Bowl 49 savior Malcolm Butler will be seeking a different team for the 2018 season. He recently tweeted his intent to leave the Patriots, as they ended on bad terms when the team refused to play him in the Super Bowl. Like Cousins, he is one of the most coveted players in this year’s free agency class and arguably the best available player at his position. Of the cornerback-needy teams in the NFL, the Houston Texans, Seattle Seahawks, and Oakland Raiders
will likely be pursuing Butler. If the Texans snagged Butler, he would immediately boost their defense at one of their most dire needs, the secondary. Also, the players are all for it, as Texans star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins showed. On Feb. 5, Hopkins tweeted: “Wusup @Mac_BZ (Butler’s twitter) we got a place for you in Houston.” There is almost no question the Texans will make a run at Malcolm Butler this spring. The Seattle Seahawks, have also been on a long search for a cornerback to be on the opposite side of perennial Pro Bowler Richard Sherman.
The only factor that could hinder the Seahawks from acquiring Butler is their lack of money to spend, being in the bottom ten of NFL teams in salary cap space. The Oakland Raiders under brand new Head Coach Jon Gruden are another team that we believe would love to add Malcolm Butler to their team. It is inevitable that Malcolm Butler will be seeking greener pastures this offseason, but where those pastures are is yet to be seen, although most likely he will be coming to Houston.
Kirk Cousins, a serious prospect for the Broncos.
Malcolm Butler, a good candidate for the Texans.
20 SPORTS | The Kinkaid Falcon | March 9, 2018
New athletic facilities debut, ready for student use
After more than a year of preparation and construction, the new baseball field and tennis courts are open in time for the spring sports season BY JORDAN JAFARNIA
Panoramic view of the tennis courts and Kel’s Hill. Photo by Jordan Jafarnia. On Jan. 28, 2018 president of the Houston Astros Reid Ryan, former Astros player Jeff Bagwell, philanthropist Don Sanders, and former Kinkaid tennis player Kelubia Mabatah (‘05) assisted Dr. Andy Martire in the opening of eight new tennis courts, one baseball field, and Kel’s Hill for the Kinkaid community. Preparing for and carrying out the construction of these new facilities took over one year; however, construction occupied the least amount of time throughout this process. Despite delays caused by Hurricane Harvey, the school was able to meet their goal to complete construction by the beginning of February, just in time for the baseball and tennis teams to practice on them. The Go West Campaign raised around $10.8 million that contributed to these new
Adam Harter, football
facilities, straightening out the entrance, infrastructure around campus, and the other upcoming projects on the West campus. These new courts and field will go beyond providing a place for teams to practice. “It allows for more practice time [for the teams] to hone [their] craft, and there is an increased comradery among the teammates when they have their own practice spaces,” said Assistant Headmaster Dr. Ed Trusty. These new practice spaces will soon become community building spaces and help unite the Kinkaid athletes. The baseball field is made of sports turf that enables it to transform into other sport fields during the fall and winter seasons. On Sunday, Mr. Sanders followed his speech by throwing the first official pitch on the field. The addition of this new field was necessary, as Kinkaid
Marquis Hubbard, football
lacked ample space for teams to practice and compete. Often times teams would have to split the fields with other teams. This new multisport field will give teams more practice space and help address the space issue among the Kinkaid’s teams. The eight new purple and green tennis courts were inaugurated when Mr. Mabatah stepped on the courts with his trainer and played the first rally. The tennis players are very grateful for these courts, as they previously had to commute to the Houston Racquet Club and Lost Forest Tennis Club to get more court space. “I’m so ready to play this season on the new courts. I think everyone is really excited about them and it’ll be fun to have more home matches this year. The purple adds a nice touch too,” said varsity
Colin Lawler, wrestling
player Merritt Cozby (11). In addition to the eight new courts, the two courts remain outside the Fondren gym, which totals the courts to ten. The viewing hill, Kel’s Hill, was named after Mr. Mabatah in effort to continue his legacy and honor his story. After playing tennis for TCU, Mr. Mabatah traveled to Nigeria to work for his father’s company. In 2014 he was severely attacked by four men and left with a brain injury, lost ability to speak, and the paralyzation of his right side. For the past two years, he has undergone several surgeries and therapies which have contributed to his recovery. Before the attack, they told Mr. Mabatah, “you know you are going to die tonight right?” “Despite my damaged condition, I was able to keep
Izzy Nelson, soccer
Hayden Rome, football
fighting for my life” said Mr. Mabatah when speaking to the Upper School. He has kept an optimistic outlook towards his injuries and recovery. He even joked that his attack allowed him to get a new smile. With his hard work and positive mentality, Mr. Mabatah is an inspiration to the Kinkaid community. According to Dr. Trusty, now that the courts and field are complete, the next focus for construction on the new campus will be a rectangular turf field, a new entrance to the school, and a double left turn lane into campus from San Felipe. These projects are scheduled to be finished by the start of the 2018-2019 school year. As for the new Upper School, details are not yet determined, but they will be revealed soon when a plan for the building starts to unfold and the necessary funds are raised.
Johnathon Thomas, baseball
Seniors sign to play at collegiate level BY CULLEY HARPER Six Kinkaid seniors signed National Letters of Intent on Feb. 7 to play their respective sports at the collegiate level. Adam Harter, Marquis Hubbard, and Hayden Rome will play football at Washington & Lee, Columbia University, and MIT respectively; Colin Lawler will wrestle at North Carolina State; Johnathon Thomas will play baseball at the University of Houston; and Izzy Nelson will play soccer at Pepperdine University.
Adam Harter, who played defensive line for the Falcon’s football team, won two SPC championships in football while earning All-SPC and All-
South Zone awards his junior and senior years. He said, “It felt great to finish the [signing] process.”
At Kinkaid, Marquis Hubbard was a three-sport athlete, winning two SPC championships in football and earning All-SPC twice, while also excelling in the classroom. He has known that he wanted to play college football since his sophomore year. When looking at schools, the football program was not the only factor he considered. Hubbard said, “First, outside of football, I looked at if the school fits me. I wanted to go to a big city, but not a big college, so Columbia was the perfect fit.”
Colin Lawler achieved the great honor this year of being a National Champion in his weight class at the Prep Nationals wrestling tournament. He also was an All-American in past years and a State championship this year and in 2016 and 2017. On his recruitment process and decision to wrestle at NC State, he said, “It was really last minute. From the time I got noticed by the school to the time I got committed was a week and a half. I thought I was going to Arizona State for a while, but NC State gave me a full tuition offer.”
Izzy Nelson was All-SPC twice, an SPC champ in 2018, and an
SPC runner-up in 2017. For Nelson, this was a momentous occasion, as it was a longtime goal of hers to play soccer at the collegiate level. She said, “It was exciting to finally make playing in college official. All of our hard work at Kinkaid has paid off, and it was a fun celebration of that.”
Hayden Rome, who kicked and punted for the Kinkaid football team, has had his eyes on MIT for a long time. He said, “Ever since I visited MIT for the first time, I knew that was my dream school. I walked through the hallways, classrooms, and labs and I just felt like I wanted to be there, so the choice was really pretty easy for me once I got in.”
Johnathon Thomas, a star baseball and football player at Kinkaid who earned All-SPC and All-South Zone in both sports his junior and senior years, as well as All-South Zone in both sports his sophomore year, will go on to play baseball for the Houston Cougars while studying at the University of Houston. He said, “It feels great to be signed. It’s like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders because I don’t have to worry anymore about where I’m going to college.”
Published on Mar 9, 2018