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Friday February 28, 2014


FFA Show and Sale Pg. 2 Photo by Haley Mandy

TSTRATFORD HE Volume 41, Issue 7


Double-Take Pg. 8 Photo by

t u O Katherine Kennedy


ception that today’s generation of youth is unaware and unconcerned with cur-

rent events. This month, a group of 176 college-bound seniors in AP Government took a survey, shown at the right side of the page, to test their knowledge of current events. The majority of students surveyed answered less than half of the

Youth Today

Anything and everything one could possibly need to know is just a web search away. Trending political topics, influential people, and political powerhouses can be identified and researched with the click of a button. Yet, the mass availability of instant information seems to be making no difference when it comes to student awareness of global affairs. “Information and current events are so easy to access. We can know what’s going on this second wherever in the world, and yet we don’t know. We don’t want to get educated because it’s tough to see, tough to know that ultimately, we are in some small way partially responsible for a lot of different things,” AP Biology teacher Davy Barrett said. It seems to be a growing per-

Rebecca Williamson

New Cheer Rules Pg. 15 Photo by Katherine Kennedy

questions correctly. This goes to support the general belief that youth today are uninformed on current events.

Youth Opinions

With the pressures of high school, many teens have trouble keeping up with current events. When asked if they wished they knew more about national and global affairs, over 90-percent of surveyed students said yes. However, some teenagers think having a broad understanding of national and global affairs isn’t necessary.

The End of a Season Pg. 10 Photo by Katherine Kennedy

14555 Fern Drive, Houston TX 77079

Today’s youth struggle to stay informed

“I keep up with the current events I want to keep up with. I don’t really care about politics. I don’t think it has anything to do with me,” Weijie Cheng said. Oftentimes, people don’t care what evidence or statistics have to say. “I think that people aren’t interested in the facts. They’d rather listen to opinions,” senior Leo Young said.

Adult Opinions

Before the days of cable television, Netflix and Twitter, watching daily news broadcasts and reading the newspaper were common occurrences. “When I was growing up we would watch the nightly news. Today, everyone’s so busy that they don’t h a v e [the] time,” A P United States Histor y teacher Jane Duke said. Now, there are hundreds of options on cable television instead of only a handful of channels broadcasting strictly news programs to watch in the evenings.

Why Stay Informed

Even if you don’t aspire to be a successful politician or famous journalist, a broad knowledge of national and global affairs will serve you well. Most college professors expect their students to be aware of current events. If you are sitting in an introductory government class with 300 other students, the professor is not going to take

the time to introduce key political figures. A basic familiarity with major names like Harry Reid and John Kerry will be expected and necessary for success in class. However, only 16-percent of surveyed students identified John Kerry as the Secretary of State and an even smaller percentage, 7-percent, knew that Harry Reid is the Senate Majority Leader. In an informal and conversational setting, an understanding of current events can be very beneficial. In order to not sound like a blundering idiot, you should have some idea of what is happening in our country and around the world. This w a y , y o u will b e able t o eng a ge i n conversations and appreciate others’ perspectives and

opinions. If you don’t see any pertinent need for an awareness of current events now, you should in the future. As a citizen, you have the right to vote, and to make informed decisions you need to have a general understanding of the issues our country is facing and affairs around the world.

How to Stay Informed

There are plenty of easy and painless ways to stay informed without pouring over a dense newspaper everyday. Twitter accounts like @foxnews and @ny-

times tweet often and will keep you familiar with headliner stories in 140 characters or less. Nightly news shows are also a great source of current events. However, the programs have commercials and air at inconvenient times. Try recording a 30-minute show, like “ABC World News,” and watch it during breakfast the next morning. This way, you can fast forward the commercials and get through the halfhour show in about 20 minutes. You will be up-to-date on trending newsworthy topics in no time.

One popular and painless source of current events is theSkimm. TheSkimm is an email service that briefs subscribers on everything ranging from political conflicts to major sporting events in one message. The key to being informed is making an intentional effort to learn about what’s happening in the world. Today, it’s easy to miss trending issues or to only pay attention to the ones that directly affect you. The time of reading the newspaper every morning and listening to the President’s radio addresses in the evening is gone. We have a plethora of resources to keep us informed, we just need to know how to use it.


TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE United States Affairs

1. What political party holds the majority in the House of Representatives? 2. What political party holds the majority in the Senate? 3. Who is the Speaker of the House? 4. Who is the Senate Majority Leader? 5. Who is the Secretary of State? 6. Who is the White House Press Secretary? 7. Who is the Vice President? 8. What American is commonly known for starting the NSA leaks and is seeking asylum in Russia?

Global Affairs

1. What Middle Eastern country has been experiencing a three-year civil war and recently started peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland? 2. Who is the President of Syria? 3. Where are the 2014 Winter Olympics? 4. Who is the President of Russia?

Turn to Page 3

to view quiz answers and AP Government student results. Graphics by Kali Venable



Friday February 28, 2014

The Oracle

Months of effort ‘pay off’ at FFA Annual Show & Sale In an organization that teaches leadership and responsibility, students raise over $200,000 at yearly auction Justin Todes

were involved in FFA, his older brother was a member, and his dad was National President. Johnson started FFA in eighth grade as a member of the Junior FFA Program raising a goat. He came back freshman year, raised a goat and a pig

and won Grand Champion for both animals. He also Some participate because won Grand Champion in 2D of personal interest. Others art for his black and white get involved because of their photo. Freshman year, Johnfriends. son profited over $13,000. For junior Ben Johnson, FFA was founded to prepare participation in Future Farmfuture generations to feed the ers of America (FFA) runs in population, but there is more the family. to the organization. FFA isn’t Both of his grandfathers all about animals. Members can compete in the livestock category at the annual Show & Sale, but there are also contests in horticulture, photography, food and art. Ninety-percent of the profits raised from the Show & Sale go straight to the FFA members toward education. This year’s 36th annual Show & Sale raised over $200,000. “Raising an animal takes a lot of time,” Johnson said. “FFA RAISING THE ‘STEAKS’ • Stratford students in Spring Branch FFA pose with a steer at the Annual Livestock Show and Sale. From left, Hayley Mandy, has really taught Ben Johnson, Ellen Poskey, Evan Powell. Photo by Abby Cline me leadership, time

management and responsibility.” From October through February, while most students are still sleeping, FFA students are up early to be at the agriculture farm to feed their animals. “I had to wake up, drive to the farm to go feed my animal around 7 a.m., then drive to Stratford in time for school to start. “I had so many tardies last year,” Johnson said. MIGHTY SWINE • Senior Hayley Mandy shows her Reserve Champion This year, Johnson swine at the FFA Annual Livestock Show and Sale. Photo by Abby Cline didn’t raise an animal, but competed in and tion as secretary of the local Grand Champion for his won Reserve Champion in FFA chapter. steer. horticulture, food and 2D art. Johnson wasn’t the only sucWhether raising livestock or For horticulture, Johnson cessful one at this year’s auc- not, the students in FFA have made and maintained a large tion. truly benefitted from the plant terrarium. For food, Freshman Hannah Harsoch leadership experience and rethe judges really liked his won Grand Champion for sponsibility gained from their chocolate pie. Johnson won her rabbits. participation in the organizaReserve Champion in 2D art Senior Haley Mandy won tion. for his painting. Reserve Champion for her Not to mention that they His other large chunk of swine. now have quite a bit of extra time is taken up by his posiJunior Evan Powell won cash in their pockets.

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Friday February 28, 2014

The Oracle


United States Affairs Continued from Page 1 1. The Republican Party holds the majority in the House of Representatives. Representatives are elected to two-year terms. Seniors correct: 75% 2. The Democratic Party holds the majority in the Senate. There are two Senators per state, each of whom serves for six years. Since the House and Senate are held by different political parties, the midterm elections are crucial. If Republicans take control of the Senate and maintain control of the House, they could implement policy to block and delay White House policy for the remainder of President Obama’s term. Seniors Correct: 61% 3. The Speaker of the House is Republican John Boehner of Ohio. Seniors correct: 36%

4. The Senate Majority Leader is Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada. Seniors correct: 7% 5. The Secretary of State is John Kerry. Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State during Obama’s first term. Seniors correct: 16% 6. The White House Press Secretary is Jay Carney. Carney does frequent press conferences on a wide range of subjects. Seniors correct: 5%

Global Affairs

“The only way to understand all the levels of how things happen in the world is to get educated, and you get educated by reading.” -Davy Barrett, AP Biology Teacher

“I think that, in general, our country is kind of stupid as far as politics go. No one really wants to look at the facts, they just want to hear people’s opinions.” -Leo Young, Senior

1. The Middle Eastern country that has been experiencing a three-year civil war and recently started peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland is Syria. Seniors correct: 37%

“The United States government is doing a lot of things and spending a lot of money, so not knowing what’s going on keeps no one held accountable.” -Annie Ye, Senior

“It is not difficult to stay informed. We have everything at our fingertips. You just have to take the time to read and know what is happening.” -Jack Flynn, Freshman

2. The President of Syria is Bashar al-Assad. Assad has been accused of violating human rights. Many Western nations, as well as members of the Arab League, have called for his resignation. Seniors correct: 13%

7. The Vice President is Democrat Joe Biden. Seniors correct: 85%

“I know zero about politics. I barely even know what the word politics means.” -Sam Evetts, Freshman

“I keep informed on big things, but day to day events are not important to me until I can vote\.” -Tim Purvis, Junior

8. The American known for starting the NSA leaks is Edward Snowden. Snowden leaked confidential papers about America’s global surveillance. He’s currently living in Russia. Seniors correct: 43%

“Students get caught up with everything else going on so they do not keep up with politics as much as they should.” -Jordan Work, Sophomore

“Our generation tends to know a lot of information because of the Internet, but mostly random information.” -Brian Quinlan, Senior

3. The 2014 Winter Olympics were held in Sochi, Russia. These were the most expensive games in Olympics history, and went way over budget. There were concerns before the games about terrorist threats and that Sochi wouldn’t be ready in time. Seniors correct: 87% 4. The President of Russia is Vladimir Putin. Seniors correct: 69%

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Friday February 28, 2014

News In 90 Seconds

RUN GREEN OR DYE! Stratford’s first annual Color Me Green 5K Color Run will take place on Sat., April 8. The run, open to the entire Houston community, starts at 8 a.m. and concludes with a post-run celebration. By the conclusion of the course, runners will be coated in plenty of green and gold color. Volunteers are also needed for the event. Positions are available for color tossers, registration, water stations, course monitors, set-up and clean-up. Registration for the run includes a participant t-shirt and a packet full of goodies from local sponsors. The cost to register is $35.00 per participant (plus processing fees) through March 18, after which the cost increases.

Color Me Green 5K: April 5, 2014, 8 a.m. Starts at Stratford High School

Reg ister now a t

The Oracle

Lil’ Leesy


For the first time in Stratford history, three students competed in the Texas State German Competition. The students who competed were junior Jack Lin, sophomore Lili Zinola, and freshman Sebastian Saenz Compollo. All three did their best in the competition, and Lili Zinola placed 4th in poster design.


Photo by Michael Martin

Last weekend’s junior class garage sale raised the most money in school history, grossing over $35,000 toward the Class of 2015 Prom and Project Prom. Drop-offs started last semester, and thousands of donations completely filled fifteen PODS in the south parking lot. Items that did not sell were donated to John Paul II for their upcoming garage sale as well as Goodwill.

won the state honor of a Best in Category Award from the Texas School Public Relations Association for one of her District articles after being nominated by SBISD Communications Director Steve Brunsman. Venable is the first student in the history of Spring Branch ISD to win this award. Venable will attend Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, one of the top communcations schools in the nation, this fall. This award will be an excellent addition to her portfolio, according to Brunsman.

Debate goes to Harvard

hit and cancelled day one of the competition. Instead, the team built a snowman. For some of the team, this was the first time they had seen snow. When the competition resumed, many Stratford students competed in categories such as public forum, Lincoln-Douglas, extemporaneous, duo and dramatic interpretation. The team did incredibly well. Senior Aby Brugo and senior Fariha Jawed placed in the top 30 of 300 Public Forum Debate Teams in

Before they left for the Harvard preliminary competition, the debate team participated in four categories for each tournament: Octo, Quarters, Prelims, and Finals. Debaters had to earn at least 12 points to move to prelims. Debate left Houston on Feb. 14 for Harvard. While waiting to compete, a blizzard

Don’t Stress: the nation. Fariha also got 5th speaker out of around 600 people in Public Forum Debate. The team took home two plaques. Next up is state. The debate team prepares all semester to make it to state, competing in the same four categories as the other tournaments. Then, in April, will be nationals. Photos by Tasha Daya

Newspaper and Yearbook applications for 2014-2015 aren’t due until March 12 in room 120 or room 228

an opinions column

Cry Me a River

Elyse Stieber Those who know me have experienced my bad habit of chronic crying over the years. When I say I cry at everything, I mean it. A good movie, a quote, a joke, even someone ripping a piece of notebook paper out of my math spiral can bring water to my eyes. However, though I admit to having this problem, I must say that it has grown significantly worse since the beginning of my senior year, and even worse after New Year’s Eve. On that monumental night which changed our dates to end in 14, I saw the clock change from 11:59 to 12 o’clock, which brought with it an immense crying fit. After the use of many tissues, I pondered on whether or not this had any significance to my life as a whole. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve realized why my emotions are on a high. This is my last year at home. New Year’s marked a new beginning, a year full of hope, fear, and change. Though I usually would not admit it, I am scared of what the future holds for me. I’m a planner, and all these open ended questions fears me to no end. Don’t get me wrong, I am super excited to be on my own and out from under my parent’s nest. But, at the same time, the end of high school is when we all start our lives that lead us to become self-sufficient adults. More of the people we see daily will soon become only a fragment in our mind. College is supposed to be the time of our lives, and it will be. However, time is not on our side. So cherish every moment and live life to the fullest, because you do only live once.



Friday February 28, 2014

The Oracle

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Friday February 28, 2014

The Oracle

And We’ll Never Be Royals

Rebecca Williamson Ella Marija Lani YelichO’Connor, better know by her stage name, “Lorde,” is a singer-songwriter from New Zealand who has recently taken the world by storm. Her singles “Royals” and “Team” from her album “Pure Heroine” are frequently played on the radio and feature her creative lyrics and unique vocals. The 17-year-old singer has already won two Grammys, Best Pop Solo Performance

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and Song of the Year, and with her career only just beginning, a lot is in store for this teenager in the years to come. Lorde will be performing in Houston on Wednesday, March 5 at Bayou Music Center. The show sold out almost instantly, with tickets now being resold online for over twice the original price. Those who were lucky enough to get tickets will have the chance to experience Lorde live at her debut show in Houston on her

North American tour. She will perform 22 shows in the United States and Canada, before ending her tour at Coachella in April. The highly anticipated tour is expected to be fantastic as Lorde showcases her out-there sound and eccentric stage presence. Are you going to the Lorde concert? If so, send us a review at for the chance to be featured online.

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Students will have to go up a few pant sizes after visiting the Rodeo, because the food selection is unreal. Texans always like to say “bigger is better” and food is no exception. The two foot long sausage on a stick and the 24-inch Ball Buster meatball sub the Rodeo takes super sized to a whole new level. Not only is it big, it’s fried. Where else are you going to get fried cheesecake on a stick? Rodeo vendors will deep fry anything from red velvet to peanut butter and jelly.

The houston livestock show and rodeo

Every year, the Live Stock Show and Rodeo puts on the Quick Draw in which middle and high school students compete. The middle schoolers draw a still life and the high schoolers have the option to either draw a portrait or a full figure. These students compete for the cash prizes, a chance to attend a Glassell School of Art Workshop, and college scholarships for seniors. They also have Children’s Hospital art program where the patients get to create art work that is judged and displayed in the Rodeo.

Graphic by Molly Richter


But it wouldn’t be a rodeo with the good old country music, mixed in with some other genres of course. Students can’t wait to see their favorite artist perform live at Reliant Stadium. There will be country artists such as Luke Byran, Reba, Keith Urban, The Band Perry and other western singers, in addition to other artists such as Usher, Selena Gomez, Robin Thicke, and many more. Don’t miss a chance to see a spectacular live performance by these famous artists.


The calf scramble is a rodeo favorite. The students in Future Farmers of America (FFA) are able to sign up for this event where they release the calves and the contestants attempt to pin the calf to the ground and tie it up. Their next goal to drag the calf in to the square that is drawn on the field and the first participant to accomplish this is the winner of scholarship money.

Story by Ashleigh Garrett and graphics by Rachel Torres



Friday February 28, 2014

OSCAR BUZZ Su Ma nda rc y h2

Elaine Parizot

Best Picture Nominees American Hustle Captain Phillips Dallas Buyers Club Gravity Her Nebraska Philomena The Wolf of Wall Street

Host: Ellen DeGeneres

Actress in a Leading Role Amy Adams- American Hustle Cate Blanchett- Blue Jasmine Sandra Bullock- Gravity Judi Dench- Philomena Meryl Streep- August: Osage County Actor in a Leading Role Christian Bale- American Hustle Bruce Dern- Nebraska Leonardo Dicaprio- Wolf of Wall Street Chiwetel Ejiofor- 12 Years a Slave Matthew McConaughey- Dallas Buyers Club

Graphic by Vic

Stars will start their walk down the red carpet into the Samuel Goldwyn Theater for the 86th annual Academy Awards on the evening of Sunday March 2. The name on everyone’s mind will be Leonardo DiCaprio, as he waits to hear his name called up to the Oscar stage for the first time. His performance in “Wolf of Wall Street” has been called a great one, but he has some stiff competition. Matthew McConaughey already won a Golden Globe for best actor in a drama motion picture with “Dallas Buyers Club,” but DiCaprio took home the trophy in the comedy category. “American Hustle” and “12 Years a Slave” both won Golden Globes in the two best picture categories, but it’ll be a toss up this Sunday. Sandra Bullock was outstanding in “Gravity” and basically carried the entire plot line on her own. But many are expecting Amy Adams to walk away with the award for her performance in “American Hustle.”

toria Shin

The Oracle

Fun Fact




Winter Olympics Twelve new events made their debut in Sochi this year. Each gold medal contains 516 grams of silver and only 6 grams of gold.

The Sochi games are the most expensive Olympic games that have ever been held. There are 18 countries who only have one athlete competing in the games. Russian figure skater, Yulia Lipnitskaya, is the youngest figure skater to ever compete in the games.


Snow machines,. imported from Finland, are on standby just in case warm weather threatens the games.

Graphic and story by Ashley Karolys


Rodeo Cowboy Boots Spurs Hats

Horses Animals Denim Saddle Stable

Steer Fairgrounds Entertainment Roping Brad Paisley

Blake Shelton Usher Reba

Created by Ashley Karolys For answers go to



Friday February 28, 2014

The Oracle

Double Trouble

Taking a Bite Out of Success

the other, esecially if you’re Lana Ferguson in the same classes. Having Joseph and Jonathan Rivas someone to talk to and hang are the embodiments of a out with all of the time is one genetic mutation most of us plus of having a sibling. only dream of having — they Another benefit of having are identical twins. a sibling with the same age is “Is that your they will stand twin?” Claire up for the other Sanchez said. when no one else Sanchez is just will. one of many peoJoseph says, “In ple curious about middle school this phenomthey used to enon. say, ‘if you mess Could people with one twin, imagine what you better turn it’s like to have a around, ‘cause look alike? To be the other one’s recognized as a coming.” different person Even though everyday? sometimes twins Freshman Jon- TWICE THE SMILE • Freshmen Joseph and Jonathan Rivas are identical twins, which is rarely seen. take their siblings athan Rivas wonfor granted, they ders how many times a day he and have different and more know family will always be hears that question. friend groups. ” He adds, “Bethere when they need them. “You learn to respond to ing in football and ROTC sepAlthough having famyour brother’s name and prearates us, but outside of school ily around all of the time tend you know someone, so we’re always together. ” may seem annoying, twins that you don’t embarrass them It’s a constant struggle with wouldn’t trade their built-inwhen they think you’re your sibling rivalry, both siblings best friend for the world. brother,” he said. competing to be better than Jonathan’s twin, Joseph, adds,

Brittany Gray-Fitzgerald for the rock music genre. mean, you’re around all these “The feeling we’ve had is other bands who you really Ezra Meyer

How duplicates feel strolling the hallways “You get used to people calling you the wrong name.” The Rivas brothers partake in different school activities, which Jonathan says is a good thing because “this way, we meet twice as many people

OutKast is Back

After eleven years the award-winning hip-hop duo reunites Kali Venable

Having gone separate ways in 2007, OutKast members André Benjamin (Dré) and Antwan Patton (Big Boi) are back together and scheduled to play more than 40 festivals this summer. OutKast, originally known as “Two Shades Deep” started in 1992 while the two were high school students in Atlanta, GA. They released “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik” in 1994 but didn’t hit the charts until their single “Player’s Ball” went gold later that year. Over the next 12 years OutKast released five more albums including Grammy nominated “Aquemini.” In 2003 the pair decided that they wanted to make solo records — André 3000 “The Love Below” and Big Boi “Speakerboxxx” — but release them as a double album under the OutKast name. For quite sometime it seemed as if the pair would never stop

making music together. They constantly were recording and unlike most artists, managed to put out incredible quality records in short time frames. Yet, in 2007 the two went separate ways and called quits to their band that had brought them to the forefront of Hip Hop. The reason for their split up isn’t entirely clear but they’ve both stated that it wasn’t a result of ending a friendship, one that started in the tenth grade at that. It can be assumed that the two just wanted to find themselves through their music, which at the time meant doing their own thing. After the break up, both Dré and Big Bio started solo careers. Dré changed his stage name to André 3000 and began collaborating with top-tier artists: Beyoncé, Jay-Z and John Legend just to name a few. Unlike André 3000, Big Boi released two albums during their time apart.

The first “Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty” received recognition for unique style and lyricism. The second, a follow up album, “Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors” featured guest appearances from artists ASAP Rocky, Ludacris, T.I., Little Drago, Kelly Rowland and B.o.B. Big Bio recently stated that he plans on releasing a third solo album in the near future. The announcement that the two are getting back together to play this summer came as a shock to the industry and general public. In fact, it even landed them a spot as the final headliner for Coachella, a major music festival held in southern California. Many are hoping this reunion means more albums in the near future but for now, fans are just happy that OutKast is finally back together and excited to see them play this summer.

American Fangs release first album When you think of celebrity musicians, what is the first city you think of? Los Angeles? New York? London? Probably not Houston, right? Didn’t think so. Even though it’s not the first city you think of, Htown does have its’ fair share of musicians born and raised within city limits. Many A-list stars including Hilary Duff, Danielle Bradbury, and let’s not forget Beyoncé call Houston home. Each one of these princesses (and Queen B) hail from none other than the big H. A new band to add to the ever growing list of music icons may be American Fangs. This rock ‘n roll band has been dubbed number six in “Kerrang”, a British rock magazine, holding positions previously kept by Paramore and Fall Out Boy. With the release of their selftitled album, American Fangs have begun a new music era

completely surreal,” said drummer Micah Miller. “It’s been a roller coaster ride and it’s super incredible.” “Initially, we didn’t even have much of a real goal. We were just a bunch of guys who liked to play rock music,” Miller said. “Writing songs and having fun [with a great band], even without fans, that was the goal. The label and the album and the fan base were basically an awesome bonus.” The band, who classifies themselves as part of the “rock ‘n roll genre with a rap and hip-hop influence,” has already opened for bands ranging from the Deftones to Chevelle. They recently toured to the United Kingdom for the Download Festival, a mammoth rock event based at Donington Park, and will be returning again this June. “[These experiences] are just extremely surreal. I

respect and look up to; and then there’s all these fans who take time out of their lives to come see you,” Miller said. “It’s like a crazy unbelievable dream [come true].” Miller hopes that the their success will continue in the future and that they’ll be able to keep doing what they love. “When we write our music,” he said, “we’re mostly trying to convey things occurring in real life. Real experiences told to others in a kind of roundabout way, you know? So when we write, we think about how there’s nothing we’d rather be doing.” Looking back on the journey, he remembers what it was like getting started,. “If I could say anything to anyone who’s trying to be a musician, I would tell them to never. It’s a crazy roller coaster, yeah, but it’s also a great ride. Just don’t take no for an answer and keep going. You’ll get there,” Miller said.

Tweets of the Week Kylen Chen-Troester @nihaokylen I just said “I need to check my vitals” as in Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, Snapchat... #pathetic

Griffin Sink @griffinsink my life goal is to go to a souvenir store and find a key chain with my name on it William Robinson @Dub_Robinson I have no idea what these GT kids are talking about... Kathryn Arcy @kat_arse When your mom is doing a puzzle while singing to akon and black eyed peas #socute

Kylie Schaper @SCHAPaholic S/O to Stratford Playhouse for being so freaking amazing Follow @StratfordOracle for your chance to be featured in the next issue Tweets compiled by Emily Fishman and graphic by Victoria Shin



The Oracle

Friday February 28, 2014

Lady Spartan Swimmers Bring Home Bronze Layla Shahhosseini

LINING UP • (Left) The boys made their mark again this year by taking the gold at district. Senior Sam Cordova and junior Maddie Robinson are the 2014 District 25-4A swimmers of the year. Photo by Nicolas Terrazas DIVING IN • (Below) The girls dominated at both district and regionals by getting the gold. Photo by Nicolas Terrazas

Photo by Cassidy Menard

Co a c h M c Ge e Q: How long have you been coaching soccer? A: I have been coaching for 9 years, and this is my 3rd yeard coaching here at Stratford. Q: What are your goals for this season? A: To win district, and to make it to at least the 3rd round of the playoffs. I also hope that when this season is over my players will be able to walk away with great memories. Q: Who will be y’alls biggest competiton this year? A: Kingwood Park, for sure. Q: What has been your most memorable moment coaching at Stratford? A: When we played Tomball, the fifth round of the playoffs and Mr. Juntti allowed the students to leave school and attend. I believe that is a huge reason as to why we won. Q: Do you have any superstitions? A: Well, not really but Coach Fuller and I do like to wear matching t-shirts when we are on a winning streak. We think it’s good luck! Q: Do you like to say any slogans? A: Work hard,Be awesome! Story by Kelly Hewitt

DISTRICT CHAMPS • (Above) Girls varsity swimmers won the district title and advanced to regionals continuing their winning streak as gold medalists and getting bronze in state. San Antonio Alamo High school won with 202 points. Frisco placed second with 176 points and the girls finished third with 157 points. Photo by Nicolas Terrazas

STRUTTING SILVER • (Above) Junior Phoebe Lamay wins diving at the District meet and gets sil- BREATSROKE • (Right) Senior Libby Gahn comes up for air during her event. Photo by Nicolas Terrazas ver at the state meet. Photo by Gil Sanchez


SCHEDULE Baseball:

3/4- vs. Spring Woods @ SHS 7 p.m. 3/7- vs. Katy Taylor @ Taylor 6 p.m. 3/11- vs. Tomball Memorial @ TMHS 7 p.m. 3/14- vs. Ft. Bend Marshall @ SHS 7 p.m.


3/4 - vs. Marshall @ SHS 5 p.m. 3/7 - vs. Northbrook @ Northbrook 6:30 p.m. 3/11 vs. Memorial @ Memorial 6 p.m. 3/14 - vs. Willowridge @ SHS 6:30 p.m.

Girls’ Soccer:

2/28-vs. Kingwood Park @ SHS 7 p.m. 4/7-vs. Humble @ Charles Street 7 p.m. 4/11- vs. Northbrook @ Grob 7 p.m. 4/18- vs. Spring Woods @ SHS 7 p.m.

Position: Attack Toughest Team: Cy-Fair Dream Job: Musician Best Team Memory: “Teach Me How to Lax” Video Favorite Quote: “If you’re lucky enough to be different, never change”Taylor Swift

Christi Gregory Story by Elyse’ Stieber

Chris Vanston Position: Right Back Favorite Movie: “This Is The End” Lucky Number: 7 Goal : Win District Biggest Rival: Spring Woods Favorite Memory: Scoring against Spring Woods

Photos by Maddy Peñarrieta and Rebecca Williamson

Graphics by Scott Kennedy



Friday February 28, 2014

A Rollercoaster Season Comes to an End

The Oracle

The boys leave a legacy after a hard fought playoff run Layla Shahhosseini

TAKING A BREAK • (Above) Sophomore Kian Boroujerdi and junior Thomas Wimberley wait to go in the Klein game. Photo by Maddy Penarrieta READY, SET, THREE • (Below) Senior Phillip Hewitt dribbles the ball ready to shoot a threepointer. Photo by Maddy Penarrieta

THROWING IT IN • (Above) Senior Micah Stubblefield recovers the ball from out of bounds at the Memorial game. Photo by Maddy Penarrieta FOULED • (Below) Sophomores Justin Carlin and Jared Weyer are ready to get the rebound from Klein. Photo by Maddy Penarrieta


Want to go to Puerto Rico with your friends? See Puerto Rico through your camera lens- Join the Stratford Photo Tour 2015!


TIP OFF TIME • (Above) Senior Cory June waits for the whistle for the tip off against Klein. Photo by Maddy Penarrieta

Informational meeting for parents & students: Thursday March 27 Room 120 6:30 pm

Any Stratford student can attend- Come see what this trip is all about!

SPORTS Living at the Race Track 11

Friday February 28, 2014

The Oracle

Sophomore spends weekends racing NASCAR Whelen Series


Q: How has your parents’ experience in racing influenced you?

With sophomore NASCAR driver Justin Steiner Q: When did you begin racing?

A: I started racing at age 12.

Q: Have you always been into racing?

A: Ever since I was young racing has been a passion of mine, and I’m at the racetrack almost every weekend. The adrenaline, the sound, and the people just make you want to go back every weekend.

A: My dad or mom really didn’t force me to race, it’s always something I wanted to do, since I was a little kid.

Q: What do you do to prepare for every race?

A: You have to get your cars prepared, get the setup is right, because basically how everything goes at the shop sets the tone for how the weekend is going to unfold.

before a race?

A: There is a lot of physical and mental preparation in racing— working on the car (shown below) on late nights to get ready for the race weekend, making sure everything tight on the race car— there’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that go into the race cars to get them perfect for each and every weekend. It isn’t as easy as

of physical and mental preparation must you do

“turning left,” setup is key to racing, because you can be the fastest driver

Graphics by Scott Kennedy, Story by Abbey Duke



Rank: Stratford Varsity Baseball is currently ranked as the 194th best team in the state of Texas

Olympic medals: Team USA ended up with the 2nd most medals overall, with 7 gold, 9 silver, and 12 bronze medals


Q: Where are some of the places you’ve raced?

A: We’ve raced at Pensacola, Fl. at 5 flags speedway or here at our home track, here in Houston at the Houston Motorsports Park. This year most of my races will be here at the Houston Motorsports Park, some

nical inspection for the track to see if we are legal, and if we are legal we celebrate ‘till late night and do it all over again the next weekend.

Q: What is going through your head as you race?

A: There is a lot going through my head as I’m racing, strategy is a big part, how to get around the guy in front of you without wrecking them, being patient and conserving tires, so I have a chance to win the race. For

Q: What kind

Q: What got you interested in racing?

A: My family, they have been racing as long as I can remember, and it’s just been our way of life.

but if the setup isn’t right you could finish last. It the combination of car and driver that wins races.


Basketballs: Varsity Girls’ Basketball uses around 12 balls to warm up with every practice

Medals: The Stratford Swim Team won 2 medals at State last Saturday, and won the bronze medal overall



at Kyle, Texas. (Central Texas Speedway), and Mobile, Al. (Mobile International Speedway), and Pensacola, Fl. (5 flags speedway).

Q: Walk us through an average race day.

A: The average race day means waking up in the motor home Saturday morning around 8, going to the front gates to sign in, drawing a chip for where we start in the race, and then getting everything ready for the first practice session of the day, which is around 2 p.m.. We usually mount new tires on the car to scuff them for the race and go over the car to make sure there’s not something obviously wrong with the car and make sure we are the legal weight and check our adjustments on the car. Then we go out for practice and if everything is the way we want it for the race and the car feels good on the track we park it and wait for the race. We have a drivers meeting at 5 p.m. just before the race to go over some things we need to know for that night and right after that we get suited up and line up for our position go out and race. If we win we go to tech-

the most part, I’m watching out for wrecks and the people around me.

Q: What is your favorite thing about racing?

A: I don’t really have a favorite thing, it’s everything that comes together for the race. It’s a combination of winning races, the people, the fans, the adrenaline, and it makes you want to come back every weekend and do it all over again.

Q: How do most people react when you tell them that you race NASCAR?

A: People are amazed when I tell them I race in NASCAR, the say, “You’re only 16, you don’t even have your license,” and it’s unreal to me too.

Q: Have you started Drivers Ed? A: No I haven’t even started

Drivers Ed. I’ve been SO busy with racing haven’t really got a chance to think about it. But when I have a chance it will be like any other person, I’m still going to learn some street signs!

Q: What are some of the difficulties of participating in a sport where practicing and competition aren’t as easily accessible as in other sports?

A: Practicing isn’t as easy for us if it is far away, for instance we went to 5 flags speedway in Pensacola, Fl. a couple weeks back for a test day for the snowball derby, and it was a $5,000 trip and days off of work just to setup the car. It’s not like football where you can practice in your backyard.

Q: How is it hard to balance your sport and other things such as academics?

A: It’s really hard racing and doing school, sometimes. I have racing in another state and I have to leave school for a couple of days and do my school work on the way to the track. It’s especially hard when you work late nights and you have to get up for school every morning. It’s physically and mentally tough but that’s what we live for, racing.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in the sport in the near and far future? A: My goal is to win the snowball derby (the most prestigious and biggest short track race in America). And then go into the NASCAR camping world truck series!

Steiner’s Accomplishments: Total wins: 3 Total second place finishes: 2 Total third place finishes: 6 Finishes in the top 5: 20 Youngest NASCAR Whelen Series driver Qualified 7th in Snowball Derby Story and Interview by Scott Kennedy and Myles Marburger

SPORTS The Big Question of Little League 12

Friday February 28, 2014

The Oracle


Friday Night Tykes sparks national debate on the merit of kids in youth sports Scott Kennedy

“BANG!” Heads crash going full speed as one eightyear-old tries to incapacitate another. These young football players may have pads on their bodies, but today, people everywhere are asking if there isn’t a more serious risk to kids posed by youth sports— one that no amount of padding can help. **** Recently, the topic of youth sports of all kinds has gained national attention, due in large part to the Esquire Network’s new reality show, “Friday Night Tykes,” which features young Texas football players playing at an extremely intense level. Already, “Friday Night Tykes” is no stranger to controversy, with parents everywhere protesting the intense style of coaching the weekly series showcases. While few people seem to agree with the intensity of the coaches on the show, this reality series has sparked a national discussion about the merit of youth sports. Many of the varsity athletes here at Stratford played “little league” for years, and can see both negative and positive effects of playing at a young age. With many varsity athletes beginning their sports at age seven or younger, getting tired or bored with a sport is not uncommon. “Burn-out can be a negative effect of starting so young,” Varsity cornerback and point guard Greg Lee said. “The burden of practicing everyday can be hard on your attitude towards the sport, and sometimes can make players lose their love for the sport they play.” Another detrimental aspect of youth sports is injury. No matter the sport an athlete is playing, injury is constantly lurking around the corner. “Injuries are inevitable if you play a sport long enough,” varsity basketball guard Nico Colorado said. As burnout and injuries become more likely with time,

many question the merit of playing youth sports at all. Athletes like Jimmy Graham, Andrew Luck, and even Hakeem Olajuwon began playing much later than most of their contemporaries, which adds to people’s doubts. “I don’t think I’m a better athlete from playing little league,” said Varsity tight end Jack Brice, who began football at age 11. “But it did teach me basic rules and fundamentals which helped later in sports.” Others see a direct correlation between experience and skill. “Starting sports at a young age made it more natural,” Colorado said. “Years of playing trains your muscles and mind to make whatever you’re playing naturally easier.” Varsity running back and point guard Terrance Pe t e r s , w h o began football at age five, agrees with Colorado. “I believe that I’m a better athlete because starting early teaches you the fundamentals of the game, and once you know those you can continue to get better throughout your life.” The advantages of playing youth sports can be found off the field, as well. “One of the benefits is that you meet a ton of people through sports,” Varsity wide receiver and outfielder Will Bredthauer said. “I‘ve met some of my closest friends playing little league.” For many, friendships are actually the best part of youth sports. “The main benefit of little league for me was that it helped me develop good people skills,” Varsity pitcher

Patrick Donaho said. “I was able to come together with kids my own age and play ball, and learn how to develop future friendships.” Athletics offer kids the chance to learn skills for life as well as for sports. “Youth sports teach discipline, leadership, cooperation, competitiveness, problemsolving skills, and how to s e t

see winning as the primary goal, and push their kids to win at all costs.” By stressing winning above all else, coaches can actually hurt their players and their love for the game. “When working with kids you have to get them to understand you,” Peters said. “You can’t just scream at them!” While winning is important, most people believe there must be a and balance between achieve intensity and goals, all of fun. which can “A good be extremecoach will ly helpful be a cross in the real between world,” Colotough and rado said. h e l p f u l ,” With so Va r s i t y many defenposisive tive e n d e f a n d fects t h i r d of little b a s e league man Jay sports, it’s Harper Graphics by Victoria Shin clear to see s a i d . why so many Harper people parsees benticipate in efits of them, and intensity why so in characmany are ter and work angered by ethic, but coaches who realizes that a only seem coach shouldn’t to reinforce g o overnegative board. stereo“To a certypes. tain extent, “Kids shouldn’t be exposed I think intense coaches can to harsh coaching at such a get their point across better young age,” Donaho said. than others,” Lee said. “But “Youth sports are about once their intensity gets to growth, development, and a certain point, they can go fun for kids. Some coaches overboard and lose the re-

spect of their players and hurt them mentally, especially at a younger age.” There isn’t a perfect kind of coach, though. Loudness doesn’t necessarily mean rudeness, and coaches can be rude without being loud. “As long as the coaches aren’t just yelling to be degrading I think it’s fine,” said Brice. “Having kind of intense coaches helped me learn to be tough, but with really young kids a more laid back coaching style is needed.” There are many different types of leagues and coaches, and as the conversation about youth sports continues to grow, many wonder where Houston falls into the equation. Most athletes can see both a positive and negative impact of youth sports in their own lives, but few question the merit of little leagues as a whole. Where it can become iffy is when it comes to intensity. Although the local SBMSA little league bears little resemblance to the ruthless world of “Friday Night Tykes,” plenty of people worry that youth sports are becoming too intense. While it’s good for kids to want to win, most believe that it’s important to balance intensity with having a good time. Sports can have a big impact on young children, one that will stay with them for much of their lives. With a big spotlight on little leagues across America, there are plenty of opinions of what little leagues should look like. But almost everyone agrees on one thing— youth sports should be as much about succeeding in life as on the field.

Powder Puff Football Game

What: Junior vs. Senior Girls football game When: Friday, March 14, at 2:15 Sold: March 11 to March 14, at both lunches How Much: $4 students, $5 adults Proceeds benefiting: Senior Prom

An opinions column

Fortune Cookie Fortunes Every High Schooler Should Get Elaine Parizot

1. “Beware small expenses. Even the smallest leak can sink the greatest ship.” I actually got this fortune while I was eating leftover Chinese food because my parents thought I was spending too much on meals out. Needless to say, they were very amused. 2. “The only sure thing about luck is that it will change.” Pretty self explanatory. 3. “It’s only awkward if you make it awkward.” OK, this isn’t always true. But in general, life is more fun when you let the other people in the situation feel awkward and you just refuse to. 4. “Go to sleep.” Staying up crazy hours cramming really isn’t helpful, because you’ll just be a cranky mess who can’t focus or remember anything when it actually comes time for the test. 5. “You are the crunchy noodle in the vegetarian salad of life.” I’m wasn’t really sure what this fortune meant when I got it, but I remembered it because who forgets being called a “crunchy noodle?” Anyway, I think it’s trying to say that everyone needs to embrace their originality and just be themselves. If there’s any time where this is relevant, it’s high school.



Editors-in-Chief Kali Venable Elaine Parizot Associate Editors Layla Shahhosseini Elyse’ Stieber News Editor Justin Todes Muse Editors Ashley Karolys Ashleigh Garrett Emily Fishman Sports Editors Scott Kennedy Kelly Hewitt Opinions Editors Claire Galbraith Maxine Tran Photo Editors Gil Sanchez Rebecca Williamson Katherine Kennedy

Friday February 28, 2014

Photographers Rebecca Meek Cassidy Menard Michael Martin Philip Chen Maggie Vickers Alex Milstead Graphics Editor Victoria Shin Reporters Courtney James Emily Adams Natalie Raley Staff Artists Claire Pena Molly Richter Ads Editors Katherine Mavergeorge Emily Copeland Allison Rice Sarah Sturgis

Ads Staff Harper Jones Emily Brown Lindsey Jenkins Meredith Burch Erin Higginbotham Paige Barber Kendall Marbach Jacob Pennington Phoebe Lamay Copy Editors Amanda Sturm Natasha Eades Philip Chen Building Principal Christopher Juntti Advisor Janice Cummons

The Oracle newspaper is the official, school-sponsored student media of Stratford High School. The Oracle is published every three weeks by the Journalism Department of Stratford High School, 14555 Fern, Houston, Texas 77079, 713-251-3454. The Oracle is also available online at The newspaper is a member of Columbia Scholastic Journalism Association, National Scholastic Journalism Educators, and International League Press Conference. The Oracle serves as a public forum of student expression, and is open to contributions submitted by the readers. Readers may submit material by e-mail to, to Room 120, or to Janice Cummons’ mailbox. All letters to the editor must be signed by the author. The staff is responsible for the content of the publication, and strives to produce media based upon professional standards of accuracy, objectivity, and fairness. The editors reserve the right to determine whether submissions will be published, subject to space availability and content. All submitted material must be typed and include the author’s full name and grade. The opinions expressed are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors, the staff, the administration, or the school district. The Oracle staff strives to produce a newspaper that covers the entire Stratford community. The staff welcomes freelance submissions and is eager to hear from readers regarding story and photo opportunities.

Parking Lot Problems

The flawed parking situation creates problems for students of all grade levels Ashleigh Garrett

You don’t always get what you pay for. When you buy something, shouldn’t you be able to choose how to use it? That isn’t the case with student parking lots. The misconception is that if a student buys a parking sticker, which is a pretty steep $50, they are able to park in any of the student parking lots. This is false. The lots are separated into people who are traveling due to their schedule and priorities, which is not only inconvenient, but also unsafe. Another misconception is the names of the two parking lots, which insinuate that the lots are divided into junior and senior parking. They have been called this even before Mr. Juntti became principal, but they are not separated into grade level, they are separated into students traveling schedules. The parking lots are technically divided into the traveling lot, usually referred to as “Senior” lot, located to the South and the non-travelling lot, also known as the “Junior” lot, to the East.

Student Needed: Basic English Skills Optional

The unlucky students required to park in the “Junior” lot who participate in band, choir, theater, or orchestra have to walk across the school in the morning and evening. On the other hand, seniors that are in athletics must hike from the South lot to their locker rooms. They could move their car after-school, but most students would argue that there’s no time between the 3 p.m. bell and the start of practice or rehearsal. People could also see how this is effective in the sense that the school needs the money and they don’t want to deal with students. However, there are other ways to handle this and people will not know if it’s effective unless they try it. One solution to this problem is simple, first come first serve. Create a generic parking sticker for the students to be able to park in any of the student parking lots, and the early bird gets the parking spot. This way students can park in a spot that is close according

Lack of proper education leading to a decline in rudimentary communication skills Staff Editorial

We’ve all heard that the cause of our generations lack of grammar skills can be traced back to texting and social networking, but it seems that our inability to properly communicate with one another begins much earlier than that. Grammar and cursive writing are important life skills that just aren’t being taught anymore. And although cursive may not seem like something that is crucial for high school students to know, there are practical applications of the intricate script that our school system continues to overlook. Many students never truly learned how to write in cursive, and for juniors this has become a peculiar problem. One of the most frustrating

things about the SAT is the certification statement that test-takers have to copy as part of their paperwork. The whole thing has to be done in cursive, a skill that most highschoolers lack. Elementary schools just aren’t teaching kids to make the strange loopy letters anymore, and by the time those kids reach high school, it’s too late. English class time is devoted to other more important things and the strange art of cursive is lost. For many students, the only thing they know how to write in cursive is their name. In this regard, our school system has failed us. Even though the world around us continues to move toward technology, as long as students are forced to use cur-

sive then elementary teachers should be required to teach it. This isn’t the only area in which schools have failed us. The lack of grammar skills that current students possess is appalling. Too often, highschoolers cannot distinguish between “there,” “they’re,” and “their.” They are lacking the fundamental skill required to express themselves intelligently. The terrible grammar has reached epidemic levels. Students are turning in essays with grammar mistakes. They are composing Facebook posts using “your” instead of “you’re.” It’s embarrassing. Why don’t students know which verb tense to use, or the difference between who and whom? These are elementary level concepts that

The Oracle

many students lack. Teachers and parents will often recall the days when they used to diagram sentences, categorizing them according to the subject, verb, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, and the like. Schools just don’t do that at any level of education anymore. Many students cannot distinguish an adverb from an adjective. They do not know how to join clauses together, and often the only instruction they receive regarding parts of speech comes from childhood games of MadLibs. This isn’t right. Elementary schools should be teaching kids the ins-and-outs of the English language, not leaving students to flounder in higher education.

to where they are going to be in their after school hours. Additionally, with the use of this new parking situation, students cannot complain if they are unable to find a parking spot in a specific lot because they will be held responsible for arriving at a time that guarantees their preferred space. So it’s a win-win. Students are free to choose their parking spot while the administrators are free from listening to any excuses or complaints as to why students could not find parking. Another course of action would be dividing by electives. For example, students participating in athletics would park in the East and student in fine arts in the South lot. This way students are able to park and transport their equipment with ease. Students that are not involved in any extracurriculars that require staying after school can take the leftover spots. For the activities that engage in after-school activities it is fair for them as well to conveniently get to their vehicles.

Spartan Chat English teachers share most

memorable mistakes The lack of grammar skills in students today greatly hurts their chances of being successful in the future. The SAT has a large grammar portion, and for students, this is often the most daunting part of “One year, after reading a the difficult test. By the time poem about two young kids in they reach their junior or se- love, I had a student write that nior year, attempting to learn the poem was ‘all about the love about compound sentences and infection’ (instead of affecand subordinating clauses is tion)”- Mrs. Wolf, English I nearly impossible. The system has failed them. This then, begs an important question. What should be done to rectify this unfortunate situation? For secondary “Once in my ESL class I (assigned a worksheet)and when I returned the students, it may be too late. day, it dawned on me, yes, they However, if the current el- next had taken the term “draw a concluementary school curriculum sion” literally. I had a beautiful shifts to focus more on gram- stack of pictures showing what they mar and cursive, the high thought the conclusion of the story schoolers of the future will was.”-Mrs. Stapp, ESL Story by Maxine Tran surely benefit exponentially. Photos by Michael Martin

OPINIONS Much Adieu About Nothing 14

Friday February 28, 2014

An official American language is completely unnecessary Janelle Blackwood

There is a distinct American identity. It nudges you toward the Labor Day sale at the mall and prods you to watch Super Bowl Sunday. There is a feeling associated with being American, and through the ringing cries of “U.S.A.,” you might recognize it as pride. From an observer’s standpoint, it has indisputable appeal. Unfortunately, when I was handed my permanent residency card, a membership badge wasn’t included. I wasn’t offended at the snub. After all, this is a club to which I have never classified an official member. Nonetheless, it holds a spirit that I quite admire. My only concern is that the development of American individuality is somehow morphing into an ignorance that rejects other cultures in an attempt to hold onto a aesthetic that is “genuinely American”. It’s concerning to think that the diversity that in so many ways defines

our nation could be scorned. Many have advocated for the formal acknowledgment of English as the official language of the United States. Currently, the United States does not have an official language, a fact certain people might challenge you on until the end of time. There needs to be some sort of formal decree, it seems, to finally make immigrants know their place. Once and for all, those angry tweets that scream, “This is America, we speak English!” will be equal parts hate and fact. Besides making some sort of overt political point, what would be achieved by making English the country’s official language? I am rather doubtful that airport terminals written in Spanish would be torn down in victorious fashion, smashed to pieces with the satisfaction that we have at once defeated those pesky immigrants. Nor do I think that Chinatowns across

the country will be forced to display English translations on flashy banners on the side of the road. The resistance to this potential re-Anglicization wouldn’t blatant defiance. From a practical standpoint, there are areas that need to be primarily labeled in languages other than in English, similarly, certain automated messages need to be catered directly to Spanish speaking areas. Offense shouldn’t be taken at these entirely necessary adjustments. There seems to be cultural amnesia when it comes to recognizing the importance of immigration on the history of this country. Millions of Americans can trace their genealogy to predecessors who immigrated through Ellis Island. There even seems to be dissent among those whose families have immigrated more recently. Why is a genealogy that traces back to the signing of the May-

Any Death is a Tragedy

The Oracle


flower Compact more readily admired than a family who migrated from Italy to New York City? And why are we so willing to disregard the benefits of having such a diverse population? In reality, the American culture that we have grown so fond of has been heavily influenced by the contributions of immigrants. Art, music, poetry, and literature have all been shaped by the millions of immigrants that have come to call the United States home. In elementary school, you were told an exhausted metaphor about a melting pot. While it’s obvious that the harmonious cooperation of nationalities expressed in this analogy isn’t exactly realistic, it does express the scope of immigration on our country. But the fact that our culture has been shaped by this influence does not make it not any less American by name or nature. The thing about American

exceptionalism is that it creates this sort of blissful ignorance in which we blatantly disregard the impact other cultures have made on this country. The evolution of the word American has shifted to reflect the expanding diversity of our population and should continue to reflect this change in the future. The fact that other languages have made an impact within the nation is something to be celebrated rather than resented. Not having an official language isn’t a problem that needs to be solved. It is an intriguing detail about this country. It represents the encompassing possibilities of our society and the possibility of success regardless of nationality or creed. Corny, maybe, but true. To me, the practical applications of the national language being changed to English remain elusive. If they at some point become pressing issues, they should reveal themselves.

fore, they aren’t intending to die or hurt the people around them. Addiction is a disease that is difficult to cure because an addict either refuses to acknowledge that there

but watching them die from their addiction is even worse. On that note, degrading an overdose really just hurts the people who’ve already had to say goodbye to a person they loved. The

Questioning accidental overdoses is inhumane

ron wy n

Wi sm


selves when they adhere to drugs, they no longer think rationally or apply moral reasoning to their life because their life has become the drug. Most accidental overdoses are caused by taking too much or mixing drugs with other substances, u n by B

thers, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, sons or daughters. Loss is loss and it is always felt by someone. Many believe that drug addicts who die from overdosing have committed a selfish act. They think that because addicts have shortened their own lives by giving into their drug addiction without thinking about the people it will affect their death doesn’t deserve morning. Technically addicts do get


In 2010, accidental overdosing became this county’s leading cause of accidental deaths. With more than 300,000 deaths annually, it surpassed the number of deaths from car accidents. However, people still question whether or not these deaths should be considered a tragedy. What qualifies as a loss? What qualifies as tragic? Aren’t all losses tragic? Just because overdoses may not be considered as congenial as other causes of deaths, they aren’t any less painful for family and friends. No matter how a person dies it will always be viewed as a harrowing loss to the people that person touched with their life. People shouldn’t look at a car accident as more tragic than an overdose, in both situations the person is gone. It doesn’t feel any different for the people who lost their best friends, mothers, fa-

Gr ap

Claire Galbraith

t h e m selves into their habits and are the ones that choose to do drugs. But accidental overdoses are not suicides nor is addiction a choice. People lose them-

aware of the reactions they could have together. There-

is a problem or can’t seem to find a solution. And even when people get sober, they often relapse because their substance dependency is extremely strong. Watching a love one fall into the helplessness of addiction is heartbreaking,

truth i s there is no right o r w r o n g way to die because accidental death cannot be predicted nor fully understood. To try and fit death in to different categories of what is acceptable to grieve over and what is not would be a perversion of nature. Circumstances aside, the cause of someone’s death shouldn’t be what is focused on but rather the fact that they died and won’t be coming back.

Houston is Home

Kali Venable

I used to think that Houston was a place I’d never choose to live. The city always seemed so bland, flat and boring. But now that I am getting ready to leave, specific parts of this place I’ve called home for my whole life feel to ingrained in my existence to let go of. Take Memorial Park, my go to running place. I was there when the dead trees were removed so that new ones could be planted and I’ve even had the chance to watch them grow. Then there is Tex-Mex, a kind of food found only in Texas. I haven’t even left and I’ve already began to have withdrawals. What am I to do without Torchy’s queso or Cafe Adobe’s southwest enchiladas? Perhaps one of the hardest things to let go of is the comfort that Houston brings me. When I drive around this city I don’t need a GPS, I know every street, restaurant, and shop—I feel like this place is somehow mine more than it is others. I could list a million and one things that I’ll miss when I am gone, just as anyone who has lived in a city all of their life could. Yet, I find some sort of excitement when I think about how lost I am going to be in Syracuse next year. In a few months UrbanSpoon will be my best friend and come October, I will have to trade my wakeboard in for a snowboard to take on an entirely new hobby. I sure am going to miss this place, but at the same time I’m ready for something new. Besides, Houston will always be my home.



Tears for Cheers

Friday February 28, 2014

The Oracle

New cheerleading standards come into effect next school year, causing high speculation and positive feedback Elyse’ Stieber

As a cheerleader, many envy the skills needed to flip in the air or do a hurkie jump. However, over the years there has been an unfair advantage as to who can make the varsity team. The cheerleading program is going through a huge change next year. This includes adding a freshman team as well as changing the eligibility for the varsity squad. This change will be solely based on skill level, not just on grade level. Though it may be a disappointment for the juniors this year who have had the expectation that they will easily make the varsity squad as a senior, this change means that the people with the best skills will be the ones cheering at popular school functions. Some people think that currently the JV team is more skilled than varsity. Only a

select few of both juniors and sophomores are given the opportunity to make their talents be seen, whereas basically anyone can make varsity, even with a lack of tumbling experience. Skills seem to have more of a weight when making JV versus varsity, which doesn’t follow the usual guidelines of being at the top of the food chain in a sport. A varsity team is supposed to be the creme-de-la-creme and should represent skill levels. With the new regulations, the varsity cheer team will be less of a social standard and portray more of a sport-like group with immense capabilities. Fliers will fly, and stunts should be more entertaining due to the increase in practicum. The creation of a new team solely made for freshmen will also highly benefit the title of being a varsity cheerleader. With a whole extra year of

experience and retaining skills, incoming freshmen will be able to practice their skills ongoing throughout the year by supporting activities that usually aren’t represented fairly, like the freshmen teams. At the present time

With more talents to be outwardly publicized, cheerleaders will have the chance to provoke a better argument that cheerleading is a sport and not just a leisure activity. The competitive qualification to make the teams will create less mistakes and embarrassing moments for those who

Watching someone on the varsity squad who doesn’t deserve to be on the team but is just because they are a senior is ridiculous, especially when you know you have the better skills. -Anonymous only JV and Varsity teams exist. This includes only sophomores and juniors participating, which results in a bigger shock to the reality of making the team. With experience on their side, freshmen will be able to retain their skills and show them off more at tryouts to make a higher level team.

can’t necessarily keep up with the returning members of the team. Most underclassmen cheerleaders can admit to venting about how their skills are better then some of those who are on the exclusive varsity squad, but solely cannot make the team due to the fact that they are not a senior.

These rules may seem fair to those who might have made the team. However, they are completely old fashioned and outdated. Allowing someone who is less fit to make a team is completely unjust and prejudiced towards those who are more capable of completing the routines. Though politics are evident in almost any sport and activity despite the meaning of equality, letting only a select group of girls and boys participate solely because of their grade level is outdated. Moreover, a team gives underclassman and upperclassman the opportunity to make friends with each other, which wouldn’t happen otherwise. Most varsity sports can contain three, if not all four, of the grades in high school. By making a distinct division between the classes, the cheer leading teams have segregated themselves to only

socialize with those whom are already in their same grade and they interact with on a daily basis in most of their curriculums. Freshmen will be freshmen, and seniors will be seniors. However, no matter what grade or clique someone is in, an activity like cheer brings people together by common interest despite all the other differences. These bonds, which wouldn’t have been formed otherwise, can be highly appreciated by those who have firsthand experienced its lasting effects. The upcoming year will bring huge changes to this program, but it is definitely for the better. Giving everyone the equal opportunity to make varsity will reap rewards, filled with more peppy spirit and a bigger win during competition. Cheerleading’s senior reign is ending, leading to a new generation filled with talent.

Giraffe Becomes the Lion’s Lunch

Copenhagen Zoo kills an innocent giraffe due to genetic similarity

are zoos supposed to be dubbing as slaughter houses or lab tables. What these vets did is not appropriate to institute in a family friendly environment such as a zoo. Regulations for the confinement of zoo animals should be assessed in light of this recent event. In addition, animals should not be treated this poorly in a zoo where they are supposed to be held safely in with no concern to their health, or life expectancy. Pe n


held in a confined space to be observed by people at all hours of the day. Keeping animals enclosed in cages and exhibits is a cruel way to separate them from their natural habitat. Regardless, Zoos are meant to be a place where we can learn about t h e ani-

lai re

Horrifically, this policy is said to not be limited to just the Copenhagen Zoo but is said to be a exercised in countless zoos across Europe. Even so, should the zoo kill a healthy animal just because it has similar genetic make up of the other animals held in the zoo when other facilities are offering to house it and even pay money for the animal? Should the killing of the innocent animal be displayed for a viewing with small children present? Should the cut up pieces of the animal be fed to the other animals that are housed in the very same zoo? In doing this, the people responsible for the carving up this harmless giraffehave proven that they are unsuitable to care for the hundreds of animals in the zoo that depend on their nurturing. It is no secret that much of the general public believe zoos as a whole are wrong and animals should not be

by C

A petition was even signed by twenty-seven-thousand people pleading with the zoo to consider these alternative options and save the life of the innocent and healthy giraffe, but it came to no avail and the zoo proceeded with the euthanization. The zoo vet shot Marius in the head with a rifle and proceeded to perform an autopsy on him cutting him to pieces. Later the remains of the giraffe were fed to the zoo lions. All of these disturbing acts were performed in full view of an audience that included small children. Even more disturbing, Bengt Holst, the Director of Research and Conservation at the Copenhagen Zoo, made a public announcement stating that the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) supports the decision to “humanely put down animals if there is need for genetic and demographic management”.

mals in our world. They are meant to be a place of joy and wonder for children and people of all ages.


In the Copenhagen Zoo on Feb. 9 a vet euthanized a completely healthy giraffe and fed it to lions in a public viewing. Such a graphic display is morally wrong in many ways and it is astounding that it was even allowed to occur, especially in the sight of so many bystanders. Marius, the giraffe, was euthanized due to genetic similarities between him and other giraffes in the zoo exhibit. Officials thought his genes were potentially dangerous. Although Marius may have posed a viable threat to the zoo other courses of action, that did not include his murder, were possible. When the news of this situation was made known, the Copenhagen Zoo received offers from various other zoos around Europe that wanted to take Marius into their enclosures free of cost and even offers to pay a considerable sum for the young giraffe.

Gr ap

Sarah Sturgis

But in no way



Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday February 28, 2014

Oracle TheThe Oracle

Feb 28, 2014  
Feb 28, 2014  

Volume 41, Issue 7