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Football in December page 8 Toughing it out page 4

Swinging it to State page 7



Rider High School

4611 Cypress, Wichita Falls, Texas, 76310

PSAT scores awarded

Five named National Merit Commended by Jordan Campagna This year of the 12 WFISD students named National Merit Commended, six were at Rider. Seniors named National Merit Commended were Elizabeth Bynum, Oliver De Asis, Greg Gaskey, Sarah Harmer, Jonathon Lee and Cameron Liss. Taking practice tests is what Harmer believes helped her. "It's nice to know [taking practice tests] paid off well in the end," Harmer said. "I was trying to make as high as I could possibly get and hoping for the best." Bynum thought she might have made it but wasn't sure since she “didn’t study or prepare.” "Mrs. Kramer looked at [my scores] and told me I probably was," Bynum said. "I found out for sure when we all got called down and were told by the counselors and Mrs. McDonald." De Asis was "honestly surprised" that he made National Merit Commended. "It was a good feeling since not many people get to say that they're National Merit anything," De Asis said. "I suppose I was trying to make National Merit since I did Mr. and Mrs. Kramer's PSAT camp, but everyone in there was so smart, I thought they would all make it, not me." Gaskey was just trying to do his best on the PSAT to prepare for the SAT. For other students trying to make National Merit, Harmer recommends ASP. "If you take it seriously, I think it might have been what helped me out in the end," Harmer said. "Make sure you're used to the timing," is one of Gaskey's suggestions to do better on the PSAT. "Practice with SAT prep a little because it's harder material," Gaskey said. De Asis recommended the Kramer PSAT prep camp as well as reviewing. "Review your vocab every day and read a lot so you get faster and have more time to answer the passage questions," De Asis said. “Going out and buying supplements like PSAT books might be expensive, but it will help out in the long run.” Liss agrees that the Kramers helped. "I owe my success to the Kramers," Liss said.

Volume 50 Issue 3 December 2011 Elizabeth Bynum College Choices A&M Florida College Midwestern Oliver De Asis College Choices Columbia Rice A&M Greg Gaskey College Choices Rice A&M OSU Cameron Liss College Choices MIT Rice Vanderbilt

Sarah Harmer College Choices SMU Texas State AMDA

Average score of Rider’s commended


2 Mini Editorials

by Emma White


Find a way to give to those in need

Cycle ends

The Inheritance Cycle, a series of books about Dragon Rider Eragon, has finally There is no reasonable come to a close. Last month the final book, explanation for Rider's lack Inheritance, was published by Christopher Paolini. of contribution to the annual The question from the juniors and seniors who read food drive. The average cost of a canned the first three books in junior high: why did it take food at Walmart- dirt cheap. Student four years for him to publish this one book? Seventh Council asked for 10 cans of food and and eighth graders just eat up Paolini’s books. When $3. They also asked their advisers for the was the last time you read the Inheritance Cycle? extra budget to buy t-shirts, hoping that High school students who go back to this series may the incentive would bring in even more just realize how much it resembles Juvenile Fiction. donations than they normally receive. It’s really hard to go from Nathaniel Hawthorne There are hungry people in Wichita to Saphira riding Eragon who is going to fight King Falls. Someone at this very moment has Galbatorix for the kingdom. We can only hope that an aching stomach because they haven't we haven’t outgrown the dearly beloved books that eaten, maybe in days. And the biggest high kept us out of misery during our junior high years. school in Wichita Falls needs an incentive to give canned goods. Last year Old High gave more than Rider did, and they The Rider Raiders fought hard this season. Even are significantly smaller. A t-shirt is the through the hot summer practices to freezing reason so many people gave to the food weather in late November, the football team never drive. And many others didn't because gave up. Last week, during the team’s second trip they wanted something more than a to the same Mansfield stadium, they were defeated t-shirt. "I'm giving out of my own pocket by the Midway Panthers. In Raider history, the team so I'd better get something good for it." has never been able to get past this game. For now Even if you didn’t have 10 cans and three the football team will remain a Region Finalist, the dollar bills, the student Council would Division 1 champion. That’s something to be proud not have rejected what you could give. of.

Food drive failure



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The Rider Chronicle. December 2011

Football in December

$52.4 billion. That’s the amount that CNN reported that Americans spent on Black Friday. Why? Why do we spend that much money on Christmas? Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ, or if you’re not Christian, to celebrate a time of family and a spirit of giving, so what does that have to do with making sure you’re in line bright and early for the new PlayStation? Are we really celebrating Christmas? Rather than giving monetary gifts, we should give something of more value: our time. We should use our talents, our natural gifts, to give to others. If we step back and think about the motive behind Christmas giving, we will find that presents have lost their meaning. Christmas has gone from a time of love and giving and helping others to a time of greed and hustle to where we move so fast to “give” that we can’t even see those who need our love, need our time, or just need someone to notice them. Chronicle reporter Montana Mooney wrote about the homeless students in our district last issue. At that time, there were 300 of them. It’s cold and Faith Mission is overflowing. The Food Bank desperately needs donations. Senior Samantha Syptak is hosting a toy drive for Faith Mission and children there ranging in ages from newborn to 12. They need toys that can easily be washed, new or used. They’re especially looking for toddler aged or middle grade toys. Step up. Donate. Do something that really matters this Christmas. Really celebrate Christmas this year. The subtle sound of a cash register’s “cha-ching” has drowned out the real meaning of Christmas all too quickly. Surely, we can find a way to change that.


staff editorial





The Meaning Christmas


A publication of Rider High School

The Chronicle is a student-run publication. The content and views are produced solely by the staff and do not represent Rider High School or the WFISD faculty or administration.

Editor-in-Chief Jordan Campagna

Photography Editor Meghan Myracle

Assistant Editors Kayla Holcomb Emma White

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Jaycee Burke Wes Darnell Morgan Dougherty Lauren Love Alexa Mauri Principal Judy McDonald

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Opinion The Rider Chronicle. December 2011 OMG: LYK WAT$ UP w/ SPELLING? check us out at

Text talk popping up in class assignments causes teachers to fear for students’ future careers

by Ashleigh Robinson Lower case i’s, numbers for words, partial words instead of full words, fragments. All are seen in papers turned in as final copies. Teachers say the texting generation can’t spell, and that’s a problem. Freshman English teacher Heather Preston fears “that students will continue to use text speak in college and careers.” She believes that using the slang will be damaging to not only a student’s college experience, but to their future careers as well. By using text slang in papers, students are hurting their grades. English teachers check papers for good writing habits. These habits stem to proper sentence structure, grammar use, and conventions. “In English, we have to grade for grammar and conventions,” Preston said. “By using text speak, such as not capitalizing ‘I’, students show either lack of knowledge or lack of regard for grammar and conventions.” With freshman classes, Preston has seen a fair share of papers with text slang in them. The usage of the slang has Preston wondering if the slang is “there on purpose, or if a student is so used to texting that it slips in.”

If using slang turns into a habit, it becomes a question whether it is just laziness or if it has become second nature. Preston believes it depends on the student. “When slang is throughout the entire paper, I either attribute it to laziness or apathy,” Preston said. She said she usually attributes slang use to habit if it’s simply used as an odd word here or there. Junior and senior English teacher Katy Katz “used to get that a lot from juniors.” She believes that when you’re typing on the computer, “you have a tendency to do the texting thing.” “The effect of technology is having an effect on sentence quality,” Katz said. “You’ll see the ‘u r’ pop up a lot.” Both teachers agree that it’s important to get in the habit of using proper grammar not only in high school, but also later in life. “I expect all my students to be thinking about their future in college,” Preston said. “I try to let them know that forming good writing habits now will only help them in the future.”

FINALS Schedule Dec. 13-16 TIMES: Closure 1, 3, 5 7:45-9:15 Closure 2, 4, 6 9:25-10:55 Lunch 1 11-11:45 Lunch 2 12:30-1:15 Final 1, 3, 5 11-1:15 Final 2, 4, 6 1:20-2:50 Closure 7 7:45-9:15 9:25-10:55 Tuesday: 1 & 2 Wednesday: 3 &4 Thursday: 5 & 6 Friday: 7 1st Lunch: all classes on 1st floor, rooms 230-239 and outbuildings. 2nd Lunch: all classes on 2nd floor except rooms 230-239. Lunch available Friday 11-11:30


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The Rider Chronicle. December 2011

Drive and determination

Former Rider student fulfills dreams thanks to ASP program

by Kayla Holcomb “This was my last chance.” The final package was here. She had applied to eight schools and received seven financial aid packages, but still couldn’t afford any of them. Five months later, the eighth showed up. It contained the information that could either make or break her hopes of going to her dream school. She was already prepared to be disappointed and to have to settle in applying to cheaper colleges if this package didn’t offer enough in scholarships. Nervous fingers opened the package. “It was huge, with a whole bunch of scholarships, and it all seemed unreal.” She started crying and knew it was fate, that she was supposed to go to that college. Logan Nevonen, a former Rider student who currently attends St. Mary’s college, realized that, with help from ASP (Academic Success Program), she would be able to achieve her dreams. She first learned about the program in junior high and began to meet with ASP sponsor Ms. Jaclyn Muensterman for aid in preparing for college. She knew she would need all the help she could get, because inside she carried high expectations for her future. Nevonen had faced her fair share of struggles early on in life. She battled with dyslexia and dysgraphia from the time she was diagnosed in second grade until junior high. The experience motivated her to want to give back to others in tough situations. “In high school, I tutored kids that also had dyslexia and dysgraphia,” Nevonen said. “It was a way that I was able to help them.” But she didn’t stop there. Nevonen also presented a documentary presentation in the Rider auditorium to raise awareness for Invisible Children and the war in

Uganda. She raised money, and led a caravan to Dallas with a friend for the cause. “There are lots of injustices in the world that make me very passionate to step up and make a difference,” Nevonen said. “I’m going to become a human rights activist, and my dream goal is to become a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council.” With these goals in mind, Nevonen worked with Muensterman to find colleges that not only offered classes for her major, but also best fit her beliefs. “St. Mary’s offers the liberal arts education I wanted, but the main reason I wanted to go there was because of their mission statement: empowering women to make a difference in the world after graduation,” Nevonen said. “Their classes are based around that idea.” However one obstacle stood in her way: the price for her education. From her freshman year at Old High to her senior year at Rider, Nevonen studied hard each day and attended multiple workshops to improve her SAT scores hoping to receive scholarships. “Both [Muensterman and the ASP counselor at Old High] stressed the importance of studying and pushed me when I didn’t want to do it,” Nevonen said. “They kept telling me, ‘Even if you don’t want to, it’s going to get you successful one day.’” Nevonen credits Ms. Muensterman and ASP with teaching her the essential elements that got her in the position she is now, from showing her how to prepare her application to how and what to study for the SAT, and says she wouldn’t have received her academic scholarships without the program. “ASP helped prepare me,” Nevonen said. “If I didn’t

Inheritance Phone (940) 767-8473 409 Waco St. Wichita Falls, TX 76301-4635

We Support The Raiders


Opinion What is ASP? Who all can get involved in ASP? Any high school student who wants to go to college.

How can I get involved?

Talk to Ms. Muensterman in the library.

What can ASP do for me?

Get you on the right course for college as well as assist in getting financial aid. get a lot of help from them, I wouldn’t have this opportunity.” With the opening of that financial aid package, all of the hard work paid off and Nevonen took one step closer to achieving her dreams.

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Feature The Rider Chronicle. December 2011 Re-Coyle-ing from life’s obstacles check us out at

Coyle’s HigH sCHool experienCe

Teacher overcomes struggles to become what she is today

by Kayla Holcomb She could see it in their faces as she walked through the door and introduced herself as their new teacher, ‘Well, no one else has stayed very long, so you’re not either.’ Whispers spread around the room. They were saying if they acted bad enough maybe she would leave just like all the others, and then they could keep bringing in new teachers. It was January when she accepted a job teaching a class who had gone through four substitutes during the entire first semester. “It was a huge adjustment for them to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going anywhere,” math teacher Mrs. Lydia Coyle said. “Once they realized that, I was able to build a rapport with them, but there were some discipline issues at first.” Coyle had to face many challenges and learned from that first class to become the teacher she is today. High school was rough for her. She came to Rider as the new girl, and found it lonely and difficult to make friends at first, making her sympathetic to students now who are facing hard times or just need someone to talk to. “It was real cliquish. I was a newcomer, so there really wasn’t any opening for me because people had already created the friendships they wanted,” Coyle said. “It was a school that was not very accepting of new people.” Once she graduated, Coyle went straight to college, but she didn’t always want to be a teacher. In fact, her mother advised her not to go into the profession. She decided to pursue mathematics, because it had always been her strong suit. “When I was in college, I started out getting my degree in accounting,” Coyle said. “After two years in that program, I came to the conclusion that it was one of the most boring fields that existed. I thought I seriously couldn’t wake up every day and crunch the same numbers over and over again.” Having her son changed her mind on teaching, and Coyle began to substitute until she could get her teacher’s certificate. “When I had my first child I realized I wanted a job that would allow me to spend as much time with him as I possibly could,” Coyle said. “The only job that really 3411 McNiel Wichita Falls 696-8000

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allowed me to do that was teaching.” But her first job wasn’t as easy as she expected. According to Coyle, teaching is very different than substituting. That, combined with starting in the middle of the year teaching a class who had only had substitutes all first semester, made her first experience teaching full time difficult. However, the hardest obstacle Coyle had to face was overcoming the gap between her high school generation and today’s students. “When I was in school, I led a very sheltered life,” Coyle said. “I was in all AP classes, so where I was coming from, everybody was respectful to their teacher, everybody did their homework, and everybody followed the rules. I wasn’t really exposed to anything else. In the AP classes especially back then, there were no discipline issues. There was nobody that had an F in turning in homework. It wasn’t until I started teaching all levels that I realized there was such a range in the years that passed and how much students have changed, for the good and the bad.” Dealing with these differences, she has developed her own style of teaching and way of understanding where the students come from. Junior Celeste Hernandez believes Coyle’s way of teaching is helpful and easy to understand because she is willing to explain concepts multiple times to her students. “She’s patient, and if you don’t really understand it, she’ll show you, and show you what you did wrong,” Hernandez said. “She’s funny, which helps keep you awake in class, she’s willing to help you if you’re willing to help yourself, and she’s just a great teacher.” Coyle says the aspects that she thinks make the best teachers are “strong discipline, but in the same regard flexibility, the ability to recognize when something’s not working and to change, organization, knowing your subject, and knowing what motivates the kids.” She hopes that she exhibits these characteristics and that her passion for math comes out in her teaching. “I think a really successful teacher is truly happy when all of her students are successful,” Coyle said.

Pat Coad supports the Raiders!! One Family, One Team!

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3411 McNiel Wichita Falls

• Extracurricular Activity -Debate

• Favorite Subject -Math

• Hobbies

-Reading, watching movies

• Dreams

-To move away from Wichita Falls, go to college

• Favorite Quote

-“In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.” -The Beatles

• Most Embarrassing Moment

-“We were staying in a hotel with my dad, and it was one of those hotels where the elevators are clear. My brother was riding up, and the higher he got, I had to keep stepping backwards to wave to him from the lobby. I didn’t realize there was a fountain in the middle of the lobby, and it hit me right behind my knee and I fell in.”

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6 Future looks bright


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The Rider Chronicle. December 2011

Wichita Falls Optimist Clubs work to support underpriveleged children around holidays

by Emma White While most people may recognize the name of the Sunrise Optimist Club, very few people know exactly what it is they do. Even fewer realize that there are actually three different optimist clubs in Wichita Falls alone. The three clubs are all affiliated with one another through Optimist International, but they have different goals and focuses. “[The Sunrise Optimist Club meets] at 6 o’clock in the morning. That’s why its called sunrise, and some people don’t like that because they don’t want to get up that early. So it’s mainly for working people that couldn’t go to a noon meeting. And the other ones have different distinctions like that also, but we all work for the same thing and oftentimes we work together,” Sunrise Optimist Club secretary and treasurer James Price said. Many people can hear the phrase ‘Optimist Club’ had have no idea what it entails. Perhaps it is a group of really happy people? While that may be true, the clubs don’t have anything to to with themselves. It is all for others. “Our motto is, ‘friend of youth,’ and our whole job of what we try to do is help kids in a higher local area as much as possible,” Price said. Price is also a sixth grade science teacher at Zundy Junior High. He works with kids every day, and continues to involve himself in this community service for the underprivileged and the extraordinary. “This is a different type of community service than [my wife and I have] done before and we just love it,” Price said. “It’s really a lot of fun to give to others and to see the joy that it brings, to see the girls play softball.” Price is referring both to his club’s annual

Christmas party that supports kids from the Boy’s and Girl’s Club and the Sunrise Optimist Softball park complex, just across the parking lot from memorial stadium. “We have a Christmas party each year where we bring underprivileged kids in, and we have Santa Claus there, and a magician. They all get presents, and things like that,” Price said. The Optimist Club of Wichita Falls, which is a different club than the Sunrise Optimist’s, takes a different approach to Christmas. “Their primary fundraiser is they sell Christmas trees,” Price said. His own club takes part in a different fundraiser, which many thrill seekers are likely to recognize. “We just did our biggest fundraiser of the year for the 12th year in a row. We were the sponsors for the Sunrise Optimist haunted house,” Price said. “We had six different booster clubs working with us, and we brought in about $17,000. The booster club gets 75 percent of the money, we receive 25 percent.” Of course, the money doesn’t actually end up in the hands of the Club members. It goes out to scholarships, notably the Young Texan/Tex-Anne program. “Once a month we have students join our Young Texan/Tex-Anne program where they compete for college scholarships,” the Sunrise Optimist Club webpage states. Applicants must be 16-18 years of age, preferably be a junior in high school, and must write out a resume of their scholastic, extracurricular, community and religious service, employment, hobbies and talents, and future plans. In short,

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applicants must be extremely well rounded. “We have a contest every month, and of the winners at state last year 5 out of 24 came from our club,” Price said. “And there’s hundreds of optimist clubs in Texas. All of [our winners] received college scholarships for going through that program.” The Red River Optimist Club sponsors two $500 scholarships to seniors committed to attending Vernon College or Midwestern State University to study either nursing or education. The Sunrise Optimist Club has not been much affected by the economic recession. Their problems in the past few years have been of a different sort. “We’re an aging club,” said Price. “The average age is probably 60 years old. So as we get older there’s things that we’re having to hire people to do that we used to do at the softball field.” Despite hardships the Optimist Clubs in Wichita Falls are determined to continue serving kids. “Our club is 52 years old,” Price said. “My wife and I have been members for five, almost six, years now. It’s a very good feeling.” Purposes of the Optimist Cub: “To develop optimism as a philosophy of life; To promote an active interest in good government and civic affairs; To inspire respect for law; To promote patriotism and work for international accord and friendship among all people; To aid and encourage the development of youth; We do this in the belief that the giving of one’s self in service to others will advance our well-being, our community, and the world.”

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Feature Swingin’ to state


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The Rider Chronicle. December 2011

Tennis goes far, returns champs

by Jaycee Burke The tennis team really showed the meaning of One Family, One Team after making it to the state finals. "It was really an amazing feeling. We were the underdogs so it felt good to come back and prove to everyone we were able to win it for all the Regional title we felt belonged to us," junior tennis player Melinda Johnson said. Though proving people wrong felt good to Johnson, it wasn’t all about that. “Whenever you’re on the court it’s all you,” she said. “You really have to believe in yourself when you’re out there.” Johnson said it took a lot of hard work and dedication for the tennis team to make it this far, and they are proud of themselves and everything they do for their team. Out on the court the focus is winning, but for the team, the bigger picture was about being a family and overcoming the challenges that were in front of them. That challenge for them was making it to state, despite not winning. "It's not about winning,” Johnson said. “It’s about being there, in the moment, and having pride in your teams.”

Swish The Lady Raiders varsity basketball team won the Fantasy of LIghts tournament held over Thanksgiving break. They are the first team since 1989 to win from Rider. Photo courtesy Pam Myracle

New year, new goals

Lady Raiders ready for season after winning Fantasy of Lights

by Lauren Love One year ago, the Lady Raiders made their first playoff appearance in 21 years. Today they’re ranked 12th in the state. "I'm looking forward to see how this team gels and comes together," Ghazal said. "They have worked extremely hard in the off season, and we are excited to see how that pays off." The Lady Raiders say their goals include making playoffs, winning district and winning playoff games. "This team is very talented, so the sky's the limit," Ghazal said. "I don't want to tie us down or for us to become satisfied after accomplishing just one of our goals. Last year's team did a great job of going above and beyond expectations." Ghazal is happy about the team’s strength. "We are so deep,"Ghazal said. "We have a lot of excellent players. Taliyah Brooks and Jennifer Sissel will get a lot of attention and rightfully so. They work really hard and are very talented." Ghazal had been at small town schools his entire life before moving to Rider last year. "I loved the community aspect of those schools," Ghazal said. "I thought Rider would be much more fragmented, but it has been the complete opposite. We have an extremely close coaching staff and faculty that really support one another and their student athletes. One Family, One Team is not just a slogan!" Already this year, the team became the first Lady Raider basketball team since 1989 to win first place in the Fantasy of Lights tournament held over Thanksgiving break.

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The Rider Chronicle. December 2011

Football in December

1.Blake Campbell, Colton Lopez, Monte Sanders, Anthony Wagner, and Cody O’Donnell pump up the crowd as they run out ready for a win. Photo by Meghan Myracle 2. Cody O’Donnell tackles a Killeen player in the playoffs. Photo by Emily Fuccio 3. J.T. Barrett runs for a touchdown against the Little Elm Lobos. Photo by Meghan Myracle 4. Sam Scribner looks down the yard line at Coach Garfield for directions on the upcoming play. Photo by Emily Fuccio 5. John Hatch lines up to run offense against Kennedale. Photo by Meghan Myracle.






December 2011 Chronicle  

Volume 50, Issue 3

December 2011 Chronicle  

Volume 50, Issue 3