The Kinkaid Falcon - Issue 6, Vol. 74

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FALCON The Kinkaid School Student Magazine Volume 74, Issue 6 | May 15, 2021

o V y n a g o e B

Senior Sendoff The graduating class of 2021 in formation on Segal Field as part of school tradition. Students’ masks were removed right before the photo and immediately placed back on. Photo by David Shutts


School plans for campus next year


Sophomore raises funds for Multiple Sclerosis





“Will school ever be back to the pre-pandemic normal? Students and faculty alike have shifted through virtual, hybrid and in-person modes of learning, with masks, social distancing, flex space...”

“Sophomore Joycie Brass eagerly awoke at dawn on May 1, ready to bike 100 miles in the MS 150—an annual charity event to raise money for the National MS Society. She reached for her phone...”

“The sounds of beats and music flow through the ears of happy listeners everyday at school. However, what are they listening with? Is it headphones or earbuds?...”

Students compare headphones and earbuds


Letter from the Editor


Stressful exams call for a new type of assessment Opinion “Next week, Upper School students will be taking finals for the first time in a year...”


Teacher explores the art in math

Arts “Math teacher. Physicist. Piano virtuoso. Viral YouTube star. Assistant Prophet to the Math Gods. High Commander of the Galactic Fleet...”


A look into the beloved Coach Rob Sports

“Any student who has ever had to make up an assessment in the testing center has undoubtedly met Mr. Rob McLaurin...”


Dear Reader, It’s hard to believe this is the last time I will be writing to you. Together we have focused on lifting one another up, challenging society, and creating a better future; however, to end my time as editor-in-chief and at Kinkaid, I want to reminisce on the good times. I began school at Kinkaid in 6th grade with my hair slicked in a high ponytail and a larger-than-life bow ready to take on the world. Little did I know, I had a lot to learn. I worked on my writing with Mr. Perez, memorized iambic pentameter through an odd story with Mr. Peden (that I somehow still remember), and traveled halfway across the world on the French trip with Madame Schneller. Middle School exposed me to the wonders of learning and prepared me well for the challenge ahead: high school. It took me a total of two seconds to realize that I was once again the smallest fish in the pond. A new building, sharing the halls with legal adults, and the looming fear of college settled in and I knew this would be a tough four years. Although I struggled maintaining my athletic, academic and artistic endeavours, I learned to enjoy the little things in life. While the memories of making pancakes with Ms. Zeigler and dropping bowling balls with Dr. Capitano will never fade, what I will remember the most are lunch talks with my friends, visiting Dina every morning to get my caffeine fix, and bonding with my classmates over grueling classwork. High school is all about forming connections and growing into the people we read about in textbooks and novels: people who make change and truly shake the world. As a student, you think high school is the worst thing in the world and that homework is a waste of time and how you would much rather be with your friends; however, as I walk the halls for the last time, I have realized how grateful I am for Kinkaid. This school has given me memories, friendships and morals that will last a lifetime. Kinkaid will always have a special place in my heart. Go Falcons and have a wonderful summer.

On The Cover

Nicole Fernandez, Editor-in-Chief

Seniors prepare for journey to different colleges and universities



WHAT’S IN STORE This report highlights some of the Upper School’s responses to easing pandemic protocols and what students can expect

‘Normal’ may never look the same By Eshaan Mani, staff writer


ill school ever be back to the pre-pandemic normal? Students and faculty alike have shifted through virtual, hybrid and in-person modes of learning, with masks, social distancing, flex space, new tents and virtual school gatherings. With changing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the administration led by Head of School Mr. Jonathan Eades has aimed to promote the safest course of action. Scientists from across the Greater Houston Area are working with the school to promote the wellness of the community. The same goes for next year, according to Mr. Eades. “We let science drive Kinkaid’s decision-making,” he said. “I’m advised by some of the best infectious disease experts in the city, and it’s a collaborative approach, where we’re considering both teaching and learning, arts, athletics, traditions, and events, but also safety is our number one priority.” While much is up in the air about life on campus next year, the administration is already working on revising various elements of the school for the upcoming year. Opt-in distance learning via Zoom will no longer be an option for the upcoming school year. Mr. Eades explained that only those who must be quarantined or isolated will be allowed to participate in distance learning. “We believe that the Kinkaid experience is best encountered and the mission best delivered in person,”


he said. The school will maintain several elements of campus life that have sprouted this past year while trying to return to the old normal in other areas. Customary community service will return next year, with Falcons engaging in in-person activities across the city. Parents and alumni will be welcomed back to campus, and enhanced sanitation protocols, including electrostatic cleaning, will continue to be practiced. The school also plans to keep the white tents, popular social spots on campus, for the 2021-22 school year. It is Mr. Eades’ hope that major school events like the St. John’s game, homecoming and prom, as well as athletic games and arts performances, will be held in-person in their near-normal capacity. “I expect all events to be closer to the norm, and for there to be able to be more spectators at games and performances, but a lot of this is unknown,” he said. There will also be no flex space next year. The decision to eliminate flex space was heavily influenced by the revised schedule for next year, according to Mr. Behr. “Most of our smaller classrooms, as everyone knows, hold about 10 desks with six-foot distancing,” he said. “Using the guidance of three feet, that allows us to add roughly five more desks into the smaller classrooms, making a total of 15 desks. Our average is around 14, so we can keep our numbers more consistent with our average, which is good.”

Class schedule revamped after feedback By Eshaan Mani, staff writer


he Upper School administration is not planning to return to the pre-pandemic class schedule. Head of Upper School Mr. Peter Behr led the effort to re-work the schedule, taking into consideration teacher and student input and an increase in teaching hours as well as safety guidelines. The new schedules have classes of 45 minutes on Monday and block periods of 80 minutes on all other weekdays, shortening the passing time between classes. Zero periods for both AP and honors science courses were reinstated and the hour-long lunch period will be maintained. Start times on all days except Monday have been changed; now, classes on Tuesday and Thursday will begin at 9 a.m. and classes on Wednesday and Friday will begin at 8:30 a.m. Mr. Behr said that he received feedback from students

that more time was needed to make the transition from Monday to Tuesday easier, which is what influenced this decision. “We decided that Monday would be the day that would have all the classes, but we were hearing concerns that preparation on Monday night, especially if students just did a lot of preparation Sunday night, was stressful,” he said. Allowing time for lunch and making the transition process smoother was a major goal in reworking the schedule and a reason that the administration chose against reverting to the old schedule, according to Mr. Behr. “Students having lunch must be at a six-foot distance from one another, a measure that has not been relaxed by the CDC even with the latitude to be within three-and-a-half feet when masked,” he said. “Along with this, we have to coordinate with the Middle School for use of the Dining Center. They also need that longer lunch.”


11 5 15

2021-22 games scheduled

2021-22 home games

Rising seniors on roster

By Cooper Buck, staff writer



MORE IN STORE Shifting away from PowerSchool Learning By Carter Pitts, staff writer


anvas, the new learning management system taking the place of PowerSchool Learning, provides a greater opportunity for growth in The Kinkaid School, said Director of Technology Mr. Vinnie Vrotny. In the 2021-22 school year, Canvas will take PowerSchool Learning’s place as the new learning management system. Canvas will provide a way for teachers to organize materials, create a space for class discussions, allow for handing in assignments in a digital space, and allow teachers to create material that students may access. Furthermore, Canvas is establishing an integration with the school’s current student information system: Veracross. This will allow students to access either Canvas or Veracross and be able to see all of the assignments, as they will be synchronized and


displayed on both platforms. Mr. Vrotny said that Canvas is a more modern and robust platform when compared to PowerSchool Learning, because PowerSchool, the website’s parent company, has not been modifying or updating PowerSchool Learning since the purchase of Schoology, another learning management system. Mr. Vrotny said he believes that PowerSchool is more than likely going to discontinue PowerSchool Learning’s service some time soon. Mr. Vrotny believes that Canvas is one of the best learning management systems out there. Over 85% of Kinkaid’s graduates end up at colleges and universities that are using Canvas as their learning management system, he said. For example, University of Texas, Texas A&M, and the Ivy League use Canvas as their learning management system.

Other Changes for the Next School Year Management of masking requirements, food service expectations, and notification of community member international travel are all undecided as of now, Mr. Eades wrote in correspondence to the Kinkaid community. Several current protocols involve mitigation of high contagion factors, which are unpredictable; the administration is consulting with the school’s COVID-19 Response Task Force and evaluating updates to CDC guidelines relating to schools. However, there will be several significant changes to school life in the next year including:

• a two-day 9th-grade retreat with no overnight stay • faculty meetings on Tuesday instead of Wednesday mornings • return of Interim Term • domestic instead of international travel • return of customary community service • break after assemblies and Community Group time • end of daily screenings for all individuals coming to campus with the expectation of continued self-monitoring and selfreporting of illness and symptoms to divisional offices



Raising Awareness Sophomore aims to draw more focus on MS By Mia Price, staff writer


ophomore Joycie Brass eagerly awakened at dawn on May 1, ready to bike 100 miles in the MS 150 – an annual charity event to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She reached for her phone to check the time and saw the news: the MS 150 had been canceled for a second year in a row. Last year, the event was canceled due to COVID-19. She had awakened early every Saturday for weeks to train, adding 10-20 additional miles each session in order to be prepared for the event. “I was extremely frustrated when it was canceled because of all the training that I did,”


said Brass. “But, I decided to look on the positive side and think about how I was in much better shape and more prepared to tackle the ride next year.” Unfortunately, the opportunity was taken away from her this year, too. Heavy thunderstorms the day before flooded the paths, leaving them unrideable. But for Brass, it was never about the exercise or even the race itself. It was about the cause that it was supporting: multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the central nervous system. It causes communication problems

between the brain and the rest of the body. Currently, there are treatments to help manage the symptoms, but there is no cure. “My mother has been living with MS for 16 years, and she has always been passionate about raising money and supporting charities,” said Brass. “I decided to do the MS 150 to play my part in helping those living with MS.” Joycie has raised around $10,000 for the National MS Society. On her birthday, she requested that her friends donate money instead of buying her presents, and she has organized fundraising

events at local houston shops, such as Alice and Olivia. “I am moved to tears just thinking about my daughter and her friends working so hard to fight MS, a disease I have been living with for 16 years,” said Katie Brass, the mother of Joycie. “I am wholeheartedly appreciative of my daughter and the entire Erase MS Club.” She brought her efforts to Kinkaid, organizing the Erase MS Club. The Erase MS Club works to educate the Kinkaid community about MS through social media and projects, and, in the future, it hopes to

hold fundraising events for the National MS Society. “I am so proud of Joycie and all of the work that she has done to support her mom,” said Taylor McMullen, sophomore and vice president of the Erase MS Club. “She is very dedicated to the cause, and I am so excited to help her bring her ideas for the club to life in future years.” The club had planned to volunteer at a lunch stop at the MS 150 this year, and even though it was canceled, they are excited to volunteer again next year to cheer on their friend and president. Sophomore Joycie Brass and her mother, Katie Brass, smile after a day of training for the MS 150. Butterflies and orange ribbons are symbols for MS awareness. Photos courtesy of Katie Brass amd 9///Features


Off They Go! Community bids farewell to six faculty members

By Camron Baldwin, staff writer


simple conversation on philosophy began Dr. Patrick Durning’s Kinkaid career. “I had a great conversation with Ed Harris,” he said. “He showed me that we had written on the same issue in political philosophy.” He joined the History staff eleven years ago to teach World Civilizations, the sophomore history class; though over the course of his career he passed into teaching World History I Honors, a freshman course, Psychology, Philosophy and Ethics. “The highlights of teaching are watching students come to a deeper understanding of something we are learning,” he said. “When the students are engaged and making connections, that is what makes my day.” To Dr. Durning, Kinkaid proved an engaging and alluring place as he made the transition from New England life. “Kinkaid is such an appealing place, it is hard to leave,” he said. In New England, Dr. Durning previously served at St. George’s School in Rhode Island and he has family in the Northeast, contributing to he and his wife, Mrs. Durning’s, decision to move back home. “My family lives on the East Coast; I have been planning to go back for some time,” he said. “But at this point, it seemed like now or never.



or Ms. Betsy Durning, leaving Kinkaid is not such a somber affair: it means going back to her roots. “I am from the New England area,” she said. “For me, this move is about going home. I have missed my family and friends, four seasons, and the beauty of New

the England.” In 2013, Ms. Durning arrived at Kinkaid from Episcopal High School not as the English teacher many across campus know her as, but rather as the Director of Fine Arts, where her accomplishments were numerous. “I thoroughly enjoyed directing my son, Henry, and all his classmates in their 8th-grade musical, ‘Guys & Dolls,’” she said. “ I also enjoyed creating the Arts Leadership Board, and launching the first Coffee House event.” Though she has relished in the past eight years of watching her students in both English and the Arts grow and flourish, she realized that it was time to return home, to be closer to her children and her family and her friends. “I will be teaching at Greenwich Country Day School, in Greenwich, CT,” she said. “I will be teaching English and theatre and helping to develop their expanding arts program.”


r. Clay Anderson was a lifer at Kinkaid. So when he decided he was ready for a change of careers from Stanford researcher to teaching, the choice was obvious as to where to go. “I thought back on my life, and what I realized had made a really big difference to me was Kinkaid,” Dr. Anderson said. “So I decided to come back.” In his 15 years of teaching at Kinkaid, Dr. Anderson has taught a range of sciences. In the beginning, his time was divided between chemistry and physics, but he eventually transitioned solely to physics, where he teaches Physics I Honors. During his time at Kinkaid, Dr. Anderson said his highlight is what he learned from his students. “As much as I have succeeded in teaching my students a few things, I feel like I learned more and grew more as a result of these past 13 years,” he said. As time flew by, however, he realized that time was running out to contribute to the research that he left behind to teach. Dr. Anderson plans to return to his field to finally wrap up what he estimates are 10-20 years of research that lie in front of him. “There are still some things that are left undone,” he said. “And I have something to say.”


s. Christina Zeigler came to Kinkaid in 2009 carrying two passions: Chemistry and coaching. “I enjoy being involved with the athletic programs, field hockey and track,” she said. “I also worked on governing council, and I am glad that some of the events I initiated on the council are still around like dodgeball.” Previously to Kinkaid, Ms. Zeigler taught at Incarnate Word Academy: the all-girls school proved a prime motivator to come to a more co-ed environment in Kinkaid. During her 12 years of service at Kinkaid, she has mostly taught chemistry—both on-level and honors—in addition to her work coaching and working with governing council. She feels, though, that her time at Kinkaid has come to its end. “I have been here long enough and it is time to see what else is out there for me,” she said. In the future, Ms. Zeigler plans to continue pursuing her passions: chemistry and coaching, while still teaching. “I will miss the students,” she said. “They are always positive and provide good laughter.”


nterim term and French. The two programs are Kinkaid staples and though they seemingly have little in common; but they do: Ms. Jane Murdock. As French teacher, World Languages chair and director of the Upper School’s interim term, her decades of work can be felt throughout Kinkaid’s campus; however, the 2020-2021 school year marks the versatile French teacher’s final year at Kinkaid. “I wanted to leave while I still loved teaching,” Ms. Murdock said. “And I am so happy to say that I still do!” Her decision to retire, while just taking effect after this year, was a long time coming. “I made the decision to retire five years ago and told Mr. Behr upon his arrival,” she said. As a French teacher for so many years, she’s seen many of her students grow from eighth grade to senior year. The privilege of seeing her students blossom, however, leads to what she will miss most: the 32 years of relationships that she cultivated at Kinkaid. “Over five years with most of my students. Beyond graduation with many,” she said. “And most especially the relationships with my brilliant, caring, and talented colleagues.” As a first move after leaving Kinkaid, Ms. Murdock is planning to travel (she’s booked until November of 2021) before coming back to settle in the Museum District.


s. Kirsten McKinney leaves behind a legacy of excellence in her dance program. The dance teacher and 23-time Tommy Tune nominated director will leave Kinkaid after the 2020-2021 school year. Among her 23 Tommy Tune nominations are two nominations for best direction, two for best musical, and two nominations and wins for best choreography. “Ms. McKinney was such an amazing person and teacher,” said Taylor McMullen, a sophomore dance company member. “As my dance teacher and community group leader, I learned so much from her and I am going to miss her next year.”



Tune Time: the clash pe Students discuss pros, cons of headphones, earbuds By George Kinder, staff writer Design by Matthew Godinich, staff writer, and George Kinder


he sounds of beats and music flow through the ears of happy listeners every day at school. However, what are they listening with? Is it headphones or earbuds? Which one is preferred and which one is better? Students have mixed opinions. It may seem as if headphones and earbuds are the exact same thing, but although they serve the same purpose, they have many differences. Many students have opinions about whether headphones or earbuds are better. Sophomore Reece Moulton said he prefers earbuds over headphones because he thinks they are easy to use, to transport, and look better than headphones. “I used to wear Beats pro headphones. They had great noise cancellation and the over ear made them super comfortable, but when the First Gen AirPods came out I switched to them as my daily, and my Beats became something I wore really while traveling,” Moulton said. “When the Second Gen AirPod came out, the


AirPod Pros, I switched to them full time because they are comfortable, sound great, and have great noise cancellation.” In addition, Moulton attested that he stopped using headphones regularly because they were more difficult to use and carry around. Also, he has grown to like earbuds better than headphones because the technology for earbuds has advanced greatly, especially with lightweight, bluetooth AirPods. For Moulton, style plays a role in choosing between the two. “Earbuds (are more in style) for sure. When was the last time you saw more than one kid walking down the halls with headphones on in the same day?” Moulton said. “Everyone wears AirPods now or even just the earbuds that come with phones for free, because it’s easy and looks good.” Moulton is not alone in his strong preference for earbuds. Throughout the school day, many students around the entire school can be seen wearing earbuds, whether they are using them for Zoom class, music or more.

h persists Sophomores Isaac Fein and Mae Montgomery both believe that earbuds are better than headphones. Fein dislikes headphones for a similar reason to Moulton: they are too big. “Earbuds look better because they’re smaller,” Fein said. The size of earbuds makes them popular amongst students because it is an added bonus that their size makes them more convenient. “I have always used earbuds because they are more convenient to use and carry around,” Montgomery said. “For me, they are just as comfortable as headphones, but sometimes headphones start to hurt my ears after wearing them for too long. Earbuds have never bothered me.” Earbuds are favored by those three students, but who favors headphones? First, senior Patrick Iglesias enjoys headphones more than earbuds because he feels that earbuds feel different than headphones while listening to music. Also, he likes headphones better than earbuds because they are more comfortable to him and

they fit better. “I’ve always worn headphones,” he said. “I tried air pods, but they just weren’t the same. Headphones are a lot more comfortable and they don’t fall off my head. I really enjoy the noise canceling and they fit my ears a lot better than earbuds do.” According to Iglesias, most earbuds don’t have the noise cancelling option, making headphones more appealing to him. Sophomore Hope Morenz also expressed similar opinions. “I like headphones better because they have better sound and I don’t lose them as easily,” Morenz said. “They also stay on better because earphones have nothing to support them like the headphone bands,” Morenz said. Headphones and earbuds both have their ups and downs according to the opinions of students and both seem to work based on preference. It can be seen that both earbuds and headphones work and preference really just comes down to what the listener likes.



Seniors Set Sail!

Washing HarvardEthanUniversity Fang Univer Martin Iba

Northwestern University Jason Boué, Matthew Moseley University of San LeeFrancisco Stallings University of California Santa Barbara Elliot Le Stanford University Carrie De La Rosa, Serena Thompson Loyola Marymount University Kyla Henderson

University of Southern California Meghan Anand, Ana Luca Loya, Aaron Wilson, Kristen Reeves, Hudson Davis Air Force Claremont McKenna Trinity University Pepperdine Academy Andrea Le College Jimmy Adkins, Bennett Mach University Ella Brissett, Antonio Melendez Blake Pou Prairie View Texas A&M University Southwestern A&M Lilly Butcher, Nicholas Cook, Josh Davidson, University Isabella Dawley, Ryan Furlow, Harrison Joyner Southern University Jalen Elrod Kate Vlasek Rice University Texas A&M Maddie Harrell, David Shaw, Leora Maksoud, Methodist Michelle Sekili, Daan Veldkamp University Commerce University Julia Sanchez Texas Christian University Katie Heldebrand, Artemis-Melania ofDevyn Arkansas Larsen Weber, Chase Pelter, Charlie Lamme, Carolyn Postolos, Kyle Smith, Kathrine Finkelstein Lobb, Grayson Lattimer, Abriana Nader, Justin Lesslie Kioumehr

Tu Loui Un U of Andrew


Yale University Washington & Lee University Jessica Liu Will Mitchell, Tommy Holstead Macalester College Adrian RiesgoZamudio Amherst College DrexelZelieUniversity Christian Limon Hughes Grinnell University of Boston College Hamilton College College Notre Dame Olivia Howard, Blake Charles Hawthorne Duncan Lambert Isabelle Grace, Grace Markovich Winburne Washington University Boston University of University Lilly Tanabe, Arusha Mehta University Indiana of Chicago Martin Ibarra Michigan Dartmouth College Tristan Heim, Evan Wu University Gabrielle Byrd, Olivia Cayman Duncan, Jon Jafarnia Jordan Fein Fowler, Justin Li, Zoe Price Cornell University Ezekiel Evans, Daryn Mehling Otterbein TuftsStella University University Pintar Laura Behr Fordham University Maribelle Gordon Columbia University Taft Foley NewNicole York University Fernandez, Emilia Lam BucknellAveryUniversity Ham University of Richmond Lindi Ruthven University of Washington Madison Edwards Swarthmore University of Virginia Chistopher Gardner College Ethan Pintar Rhodes Vanderbilt University College Harrison Consoli, Ella DuCharme, Eliot Gottsegen, Corbin Kinder Maddie Guyton, Charlie Pegan, Carter Malonson University of South College of Carolina Sewanee Wake Forest Michael Hay Margaret Mentz, MatthewCharleston TulaneRyanUniversity Munn Courtney Magelssen Pipkin University Alice Hogan, Sam Susman, University of Texas Louisiana State Tyler Lewitton Madeline Christ, Travis Fatjo, Suzannah Gilmartin, Lila Griggs, Connor Heath, Hudson Gage, Gabriella Fuller, Ashley Holcomb, Patrick Iglesias, University Georgia Xavier Ryan Jinnette, Jackson Lane, Lauren Locker, Martha MacMane, Haley Sarah Holm McClanahan, Walker Marrus, Dylan Marcus, Lauren Moak, Lillie Morenz, Tech University Spencer Olsson, Virginia Murchison, Lexy Pakzaban, Suraj Pandit, Ami University Walker Brown December Stevenson Patolia, Brayden Robertson, Sanjit Juneja, Charlotte Shively, Molly Smith, Sarah Snoots, Sarah Swanson, Skyler Swanson, Hunt Tower, Britney Tran, of Georgia Southwestern University Anthony Treistman, Nate Vutpaksi, William Watson, Alison Zhang, Keller Andrew Heyser, Evren Ozdogan Lexie Strauss Horlock, Harrison Jones, Dub Reckling, Michael Hamilton


Seniors by the Numbers

3 Sets of Twins

By Nicole Fernandez, Editor-in-Cheif

SPC championships in four years


Seniors playing sports in college


ng ge


Seniors staying in Texas

Lifers Tallest Senior

Cayman Duncan (6’7”)

Shortest Senior Emi Lam (5’1”)

65 5

Seniors attending an Ivy League School

Reform, progress mostly symbolic after tough year By Stockton Lord, staff writer Design by Mia Price, staff writer



early a year ago, on May 25, 2020, George Floyd was pulled over by the police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy a pack of cigarettes. What followed has been etched into the memory of just about every American: Officer Derrick Chauvin knelt on the neck of Mr. Floyd for nearly 8 minutes, resulting in the death of the man and an outpouring of national rage unseen since the riots of 1968 following the assasination of Martin Luther King Jr. People know what happened next. There was a summer of protests, riots and violent police crackdowns; a series of events that would’ve seemed like a watershed moment in American history that would change the course of civil rights in the United States forever. But what really changed? Has the country as a whole moved significantly in a direction of reform and change in favor of racial justice or have we instead simply returned to the slow, incremental and mostly symbolic kind of progress that has defined the country over the past 50 years? Thinking over the past year, the answer to this

question becomes increasingly blurred. On the one hand, this past year has seen a truly momentous rise in activism and outcry against injustices of all kinds; however, with any real reflection, it becomes clear how little actually has come out of it all. Inside government, there have been no bills or proposals to really deal with the outrage that was made so clear last summer. Within the public, things really just seem to be in a constant state of protest. On social media, the local social justice activists will repost just about every hour, keeping everybody up with the latest outrages, but those outrages seem to just change continuously with little to no resolution to the issues at hand. The problem doesn’t seem to be that the world’s gone apathetic; as a matter of fact, people are more engaged than ever, but people’s energy is focused on simply signaling support for something instead of actively demanding that change occur. People very well may be turning in the direction of change, whether for racial justice or economic equality, but what is clear is that the movements that followed George Floyd’s death have not been the force for change one would expect.



Students learn more from doing projects instead of exams, tests


ext week, Upper School students will be taking finals for the first time in a year. Some will do well, some will do poorly, but every student will attempt to cram a semester’s worth of material in a short period of time. This is why we believe that teachers should consider project-based learning. The goal of an exam is simple: to assess a student’s ability to recall long-term knowledge taught to them throughout the year. Here is the problem: students forget previous lessons. Few, if any, students are able to recall every lesson in every class over the course of a semester. Consequently, the vast majority of students are forced to reteach themselves everything in a short period of time. And on top of all this, students are forced to regurgitate all this information in the span of two hours during a test that has the power to make or break their grade. All the stress surrounding this test does not seem worth the end goal: to assure that students have retained knowledge from throughout the year. Alternatively, with an end-of-year project, teachers are able to assess whether or not the students have retained knowledge without the negative side effects of a final exam. And it’s just common sense: Wouldn’t a culmination of knowledge where students showcase what they’ve learned in a creative way seem more appropriate to end the year? According to Edutopia, a foundation founded


by the award-winning filmmaker George Lucas dedicated to transforming K-12 education, students can effectively apply knowledge learned in school to their adult lives. Project-based learning is where students apply knowledge taught to them to solve a problem as it would be solved in the real world. The benefit of project-based learning is that it increases the long-term retention of knowledge and improves problem-solving and collaboration skills, not to mention that it increases students’ attitudes toward learning. Edutopia later concluded that project-based learning success could be attributed to three reasons. The first factor is that the student can choose a real problem or project that the student has a specific skill or interest in. For example, if a student has an interest in climate change, they could do a project about identifying the problems with air pollution. Second, the project requires learning clearly defined content and skills. Most of the time, there is a rubric for students to reference that clearly defines what needs to be done in order to receive a good grade. Third, because most projects require group work, students get to work on individual accountability and ultimately grow. At the end of the day, it does not hurt to try. Exams for end-of-year assessments are problematic, and as a result, Kinkaid should be open to project-based learning across the curriculum for final assessments.

Photo courtesy of



summer By: Sarah Xu

Must Tries - PopFancy Dessert Bar 9393 Bellaire Blvd, Houston TX 77036

Journalism Staff Favs Milkshake Ice cream

- Milk + Sugar 1848 Westheimer, Houston TX 77098






- The Chocolate Bar 1835 W Alabama St, Houston TX


Did you know?


July is national ice cream and national blueberry month Ice pops were invented in 1905 by an 11-year-old boy Top 5 ice cream eating countries: New Zealand, USA, Australia, Finland and Sweden Watermelon belongs to the cucumber family of vegetables Source:

The Perfect 2-Step Milkshake Recipe 4 large scoops (about 1 1/2 c.) vanilla ice cream 1/4 c. milk Whipped topping, for garnish Sprinkles, for garnish Maraschino cherry, for garnish

1. Blend ice cream and milk together in a blender. 2. Pour into a glass and garnish with whipped topping, sprinkles, and a cherry. Source:


Math teacher explores relationsh

By Mia Price, staff writer


ath teacher. Physicist. Piano virtuoso. Viral YouTube star. Assistant Prophet to the Math Gods. High Commander of the Galactic Fleet of Imaginary Mathematical War Vessels. These are all titles of math teacher Mr. Olen Rambow. Many know Mr. Rambow for his mathematical skills and hilarious jokes, but he actually has many hidden artistic talents too. The poster of the Flammarion Engraving hanging on his wall was actually colored in by him.

“I kept thinking of it — the image of a person poking his head out through the boundary of the universe to see what lies beyond it — in so many contexts,” said Mr. Rambow. “I felt that it perfectly captured the essence of the spirit of learning and discovery, and I decided that I wanted a poster of it for my classroom.” After searching Amazon and discovering the poster’s high price, he decided to create his own. He borrowed colored pencils from the art room and spent a month coloring it in on the desk in his classroom. “It was especially fun Mr. Olen Rambow, math teacher, poses next to his “Christmas tree.”

Photo courtesy of Rochelle Barnes 24///Arts

because students would come in and check on my progress,” said Mr. Rambow. “Since then, I’ve viewed my classroom as a creative space for both me and my students — one that goes far beyond just math.” This past holiday season, Mr. Rambow began another visual arts project on his desk, building his own “Christmas tree” out of wooden blocks. “Mr. Rambow’s creativity was evident in his ‘Christmas tree,’” said Chanee Woo, sophomore and member of Mr. Rambow’s community group. “Every time I walked into his room, the structure was larger and more intricate than the last time I saw it. It never failed to amaze me.” Mr. Rambow is not only a talented visual artist, but he is also a talented performing artist. He fell in love with piano in seventh grade after hearing a recording of Chopin, and within a few years, he was attending the Kinder High School for Visual and Performing Arts as a piano major and performing Beethoven sonatas and Chopin études. Some of his piano

performances have been shared on his YouTube channel, as well as videos of him singing at Kinkaid events, such as Coffee House. “I started my YouTube channel just as a place to store memories and keep records of some of my musical performances,” said Mr. Rambow. “I wasn’t really interested in having strangers view my videos.” One of his videos though, “The Quadratic Formula Song - With Harmony,” has gone viral, with over 737,000 views and 8,000 likes. “I just wrote it to show my own students, and I put it on YouTube because it would be easy to access from any computer in any classroom,” said Mr. Rambow. “I didn’t expect other people to start sharing it, and I certainly never expected it to go somewhat viral. It’s funny, because there are many other videos I’ve made that I think are much better or even much more profound, but that silly little song is the one that went viral.” His YouTube channel also contains videos of his performances at the annual karaoke competition at

onship between math, art

the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, where he taught English. He entered to practice his Chinese and get involved in the community, and he placed second one year and third another. After the karaoke competitions, one of his colleagues signed him up for a singing competition on TV, and he was on Chinese TV for two rounds of the competition. “It seemed for a brief moment that I had a chance of becoming a TV star in China!” said Mr. Rambow. Despite his many artistic talents, he decided to pursue math and physics because of his passion for the topics. However, his artistic skills still benefit his career, as he believes that there are connections between math and art. “A lot of people don’t realize how much creativity is involved in math,” said Mr. Rambow. “To discover new mathematical truths, you have to be tremendously creative and think in ways that no one has ever thought before. The same is true for creating good art or music.”

The Flammarion engraving colored in by Mr. Olen Rambow.

Photo courtesy of Olen Rambow



SKILLED GUITAR DUDE A Look at One of Kinkaid’s Most Talented Musicians

Hudson Davis is well-known for his musical talent at Kinkaid. What’s gotten him to this point and where is he going next? By Sam Pitts and Trace St. Julian, Staff Writers


ake one look at his Instagram page, and you will know what Hudson Davis is all about: guitar. Davis, a senior, is soon to graduate and will attend Berklee College of Music, often considered the most prestigious music school in the country; he plans on studying Music Production and Engineering. But this achievement has long been in the making. Davis began playing guitar when he was only 10 years old. “I think the guitar became more than


just a hobby the moment I picked it up for the first time,” Davis said. “I was hooked right from the start.” Looking up to stars such as Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Nile Rodgers, Charlie Puth, and Daft Punk, Davis had found his “purpose” and “a big source of [his] confidence.” By the time he was 13, Davis could be found sitting in with various jazz bands around Houston. Soon after, he began playing with bands. Once he got to high school, Davis could be found playing

Left: Hudson Davis performs at Kinkaid Coffee House, 2021 Top: Davis records a blues song for his 3,500 Youtube subscribers. Bottom: Davis, second from the right, performs live Photo Courtesy of Hudson Davis, and Scott Lambert

during Electric Lunches as well as a few field day appearances. “Music has impacted my experience at Kinkaid by allowing me to take part in things like Electric Lunch and the music performances at Field Day. I have made a lot of friends through those things, and I wouldn’t have had those opportunities if it weren’t for music,” Davis said. Multiple teachers and friends have also impacted Davis, including Zane Carney and Mr. Kastner, who “always lets [him] hang out and play guitar in the orchestra room even though [he’s] not in the orchestra”.

Davis has been able to play with many other talented musicians through his connections on Instagram. Some of the people that he has collaborated with are Australian guitarist Sophie Giuliani and a current student at Berklee named Zach Ryan Schrager. Davis’ advice and guidance gained from his mentors has led him to inspire others, especially other aspiring musicians. “Learn improvisation… improvising on an instrument is a really awesome thing and it allows you to really be in the moment and express yourself in

a spontaneous way,” was Davis’ best advice. Ways he listed to work on improvisation included to learn how to play blues and jazz. After college, Davis’ future is still unknown, but he wants to make a living doing music. His dream is to produce music for artists and to play guitar for the music that he makes. “I would also love to experience touring,” Davis said. Regardless of what Davis does in the future, one thing is for sure: his talent at Kinkaid will be missed.



Lacrosse team finds success in perseverance By Elliott Crantz, staff writer


ticks get set, the whistle blows, and the game starts. After four quarters of action, a winner of the lacrosse game will be decided. After getting off to a slow start, the varsity men’s lacrosse team lit a fuse at the end of the season and started a winning streak. The team performed so well that they grabbed an opportunity to play in the state championship. The team finished the season with nine wins and five losses, winning big games like beating Strake Jesuit in the city playoffs, a 10-9 overtime thrilling victory against Episcopal, and blowing out St. John’s 10-5. The team was led by an offense of sophomore Watt Muir at attack, freshman Walter Osowski at

the midfield, senior Patrick Igelsias on defense, and freshman goalie Colton Silverstein. The mastermind behind the entire team and their success was Head Coach Michael Centra. There were many attributions to the team’s success. The team practiced relentlessly every day in the beating sun from 3:45 to 6 p.m. “I would say that our energy before games and getting the right mindset really sets us up for success,” said senior captain Will Mitchell. “Focusing in practice and taking advantage of every opportunity to get better has also helped a lot.” Another attribution to the team members was their trust in one another to make the plays needed to win games. The team also built an unlikely chemistry over the course of the season.

Like many, the team had to deal with COVID-19 protocols, which proved to be an obstacle. “This year, it was hard to build our team chemistry when we didn’t have a locker room, we weren’t allowed to have overnight trips or have a Spring Break trip,” said Coach Centra. “I think we found our own ways to build team chemistry, and I saw a difference in our team after our St. John’s and Episcopal wins.” At the start of the season, it seemed like the team would have to face another obstacle. That obstacle was the amount of younger players on the team. Thankfully, this did not seem to affect the team. “I think we stopped looking at age and started looking at our lacrosse ability,” said Coach Centra. “Each player brings an important part to

this team and when we are all on the same page, we are a hard team to beat.” The team quickly became a tightly-knit group and the mix of guys helped out perfectly. “The team’s performance this season was exceptional,” says team manager Lucie Kunetka. The team was able to advance to the second round of the state playoffs before falling to Vandegrift High School 5-9. Kinkaid’s men lacrosse program has a very bright future. “We have a lot of young lacrosse players on the varsity team and we have some amazing JV players who have had some great seasons the past two years,” says Coach Centra. “I think we are going to see a lot of great lacrosse coming from these players in the next few years.”

Senior Will Mitchell presses past an opponent.

Photos courtesy of David Shutts Junior Jackson Doran surveys the field, looking for his shot.

Senior Dylan Marcus takes a shot against Klein Oak High School.

Freshman Colton Silverstein gets ready to defend the goal.


Coach influences students on a d Mr. Rob McLaurin brings much to the table as a coach and faculty member


ny student who has ever had to make up an assessment in the testing center has undoubtedly met Mr. Rob McLaurin, better known to many as “Coach Rob.” His charisma, personality, and upbeat attitude can brighten anyone’s day. Coach Rob’s contributions both from an academic and athletic perspective are immense, and he has proven to be a strong influence on students and athletes alike. Coach Rob came to Kinkaid in 2018 as a

Defensive Backs coach for both Varsity and Junior Varsity football and has remained in this capacity since. “My 7 on 7 team used to practice [at Kinkaid], and that is how I was introduced to Coach Larned and Mr. Holm,” recounted Coach Rob. After meeting the head football coach, Mr. Nathan Larned, and Athletic Director, Mr. David Holm, Coach McLaurin was hired by Mr. Kevin Veltri, the former offensive coordinator and current

head football coach at St. John’s. Additionally, Coach Rob has served as the assistant baseball coach for the freshman team since 2019. With the successes of both programs, Coach Rob has been around several championship teams in both baseball and football. In doing so, he has gotten to learn more about the sport of baseball and see the difference between coaching the two sports. He said the two sports require different skill sets. During his first year at Kinkaid, Coach Rob was part

of the coaching staff on the 2019 undefeated freshman baseball team which went 180. That same year, the varsity baseball team captured the SPC Championship over the Episcopal Knights. “The culture that has been instilled in the baseball program reminds me a lot of the culture on my high school football team,” Coach Rob said. “It is cool to be a part of a player-led program and see that special culture translate to success on the field. Coach Rob’s favorite memory so far during his short time at Kinkaid is

Coach Rob McLaurin is pictured to the far right. Disclaimer: Masks were put back on immediately after this photgraph was taken Photo courtesy of David Shutts


a daily basis the 2018 SPC Football Championship versus Episcopal High School. “It was super cold out and we went out and stuck it to Episcopal. That was beyond special to me,” Coach Rob said. As a whole, Coach Rob has thoroughly enjoyed his tenure at Kinkaid. It can be summed up through Coach Rob’s strong testimonial: “Professionally, coming to Kinkaid was a dream,” he stated, beaming with delight. Kinkaid students have enjoyed his tenure here as well. Coach Rob’s impact on the athletes he has coached in both baseball and football is enormous. “Coach Rob has been a great motivator academically and athletically,” said junior Charlie Kugle, a member of the varsity baseball and football teams. “He brings positivity wherever he goes. “Coach Rob has had a huge impact on us athletically

and academically. He always holds us accountable,” commented junior football player Alex Lassoued. Outside of Kinkaid, Coach Rob is pursuing his master’s degree and runs a chemical dependency treatment center in Houston Heights. In the future, he would like to continue these opportunities outside of Kinkaid. “I want to open up chemical dependency treatment centers in both Atlanta and San Antonio and re-launch my non-profit that aims to allow innercity youth to obtain STEM related scholarships,” said Coach Rob. Coach Rob has made a significant impression on many

members of the Kinkaid community. As junior football player Alex Gottsegen notes, “Coach Rob brings

energy and positive vibes to each practice and game. In the testing center and on the football field, he is always smiling and cracking jokes to lighten the mood. I love getting to learn from him, and I know everyone else does too.” Coach Rob is a shining example of what it means to be a faculty member and coach at Kinkaid -- someone who has influenced the lives of students and athletes in a positive way that will have a lifelong impact.

Photo courtesy of Jack Klosek



The Falcon’s mission is to be an accurate and reliable source of information for the Kinkaid School community by informing readers about topics that are interesting, thought-provoking, and impactful for the school, Houston area and Texas, as well as other parts of the world.






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STAFF WRITERS Will Anderson Camron Baldwin Cooper Buck Elliott Crantz Matthew Godinich George Kinder Jack Klosek Richie Klosek Harrison Lawrence Stockton Lord Eshaan Mani

Dylan Marcus Carter Pitts Sam Pitts Mia Price Trace St. Julian Sarah Xu





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Dr. Kimetris Baltrip The Falcon is published six times a school year. The magazine is distributed to 616 Upper School students. There are 650 free print copies that are mailed to Upper School students and available for pick up on a campus newsstand. The Falcon is a member of CSPA and NSPA.