TUESDAY JANUARY 26, 2021 VOLUME 110 ISSUE 2
DEFENDING THE FIRST AMENDMENT SINCE 1911
Opinion: Diet Culture enables unhealthy lifestyles
Hood, Taylor emerge as leaders during challenging season
Texas State welcomes new vice president for Student Affairs
'A symbol of the people': San Marcos to be named mermaid capital of Texas
SEE PAGE 5
SEE PAGE 7
SEE PAGE 2
SEE PAGE 4
A PLEA FOR HELP (Left to right) Ruben Hernandez poses for a photo, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, by East Grove Street and South LBJ Drive. Hernandez says he has been homeless for about four years. Tony Patlan poses for a photo, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, by East Grove Street and South LBJ Drive. Patlan says it is difficult for him to walk around after being hit by a truck. Gilbert Álvarez poses for a photo, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, by East Grove Street and South LBJ Drive. Álvarez, who welcomed the photo, says he has been homeless for many years.
San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter surpasses adoption goal By Timia Cobb Assistant News Editor
PHOTOS BY DOUGLAS SMITH
A dog named Pacifica looks to the camera, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, at the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter. As of Jan. 14, Pacifica has not yet been adopted. PHOTO COURTESY OF JENNIFER HAYES
A cat named Berlin looks at the camera, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, at the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter. As of Jan. 14, Berlin has not yet been adopted. (Left to right) Ruben Hernandez, Gilbert Álvarez and Tony Patlan pose for a photo, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, by East Grove Street and South LBJ Drive. Álvarez showed appreciation for the local people and groups that reach out to help himself and others. PHOTO BY DOUGLAS SMITH
Local organizations call for city aid to assist homeless population By Arthur Fairchild News Contributor Local organizations that work with the homeless population are looking toward City Council for assistance as they face capacity limits and an increased need for motel room stays. Due to lack of aid and pandemic barriers, homeless shelters and support systems in San Marcos, such as Southside Community Center and the Salvation Army, have faced numerous challenges. Temporary motel housing provided by the Salvation Army has been left without appropriate funding to match the increase in demand, while capacity limits at Southside Community Center have left those in need sleeping on the streets. The demand for assistance has prompted the San Marcos City Council to consider expanding outreach and support for homeless individuals throughout the city. Councilmember Maxfield Baker says the local homeless situation is urgent enough to warrant valuable city time and money. "We need to have structure in place and [have the] city step up and build a newer, better shelter, or maybe [have] the city [allow] nonprofits who may have more flexibility to take the lead,” Baker says. To ensure social distancing, Southside Community Center has reduced its overnight capacity to only six individuals a night; this system operates on a first-come, first-serve basis. Most individuals seeking shelter are ultimately denied access at the door
and are left bedless for the night. According to HOME Center, there are over 50 homeless children within the city limits, most of whom lack the support they need. Additionally, School Fuel, a local nonprofit working to feed struggling children, is granted only $15,000 a year. Baker, who says there is not enough financial assistance to combat homelessness, is urging people to understand the seriousness of local homelessness.
to get people to truly understand how severe this issue is,” Baker says. Ruben Garza, executive director at Southside Community Center, calls on the city and community to take action. Garza believes council meetings and ideas are not enough, and while the shelter does its best with what it has, real action is required to help the local homeless community. "It would be nice if there was action. For years, [City Council] has had ideas and meeting after meeting, but I’ve seen no action," Garza says. "Southside can only do so much with the resources we have; we do what we can and are criticized from time to time, but at least we do something and it’s time for this community to get off their butts and do something." Living while homeless presents its own challenges and setbacks. Jacob Crow, a resident of San Marcos, has been homeless for two years and wishes a bigger effort was made to support him and other homeless citizens. “It gets tough in several different ways; you can get used to it without ever intending it to be a lifestyle; that’s kind of scary," Crow says. "I hate it; you tend to see a lot when you are out here that the average person overlooks. There is an effort to fix things, but there should be more to make sure it doesn’t recur." Because of the minimum access to SAN MARCOS shelters, Crow says he is not always able to get the help he needs; however, he RESIDENT is also hesitant due to an incident in “If homeless adults aren’t sad enough, which his birth certificate was stolen at we really have to focus on homeless kids a shelter.
"I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO TAKE A SHOWER BECAUSE I DON’T GET LET IN; PEOPLE JUST TELL ME TO JUMP IN THE RIVER." -JACOB CROW,
SEE HOMELESSNESS PAGE 3
PHOTO COURTESY OF JENNIFER HAYES
Animals at the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter are still finding their forever homes as the shelter continues to conquer its adoption and foster rate goals despite COVID-19 restrictions. In December, the animal shelter surpassed its goal of 120 new adoptions with 131. Although the shelter moved to a virtual format, it still managed to find forever and short-term homes for its animals in addition to providing foster services.
SEE ADOPTION PAGE 3 PEACE OFFICER
University police appoint new mental health officer By Ziek Sanchez News Reporter The University Police Department (UPD) has officially designated a mental health officer, a new role created to produce a better police response during frequent mental health-related calls. The new mental health officer, Jessica Kinney, is expected to execute a more indepth response to calls, which the typical UPD officer may not be fully trained to respond to. Mental health resources and calls which concern mental health crises, mental welfare checks and other potential mental health-damaging crimes will be the new officer’s area of expertise within the department.
SEE PEACE OFFICER PAGE 3
The University Star
2 | Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Brianna Benitez News Editor email@example.com
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Texas State welcomes new vice president for Student Affairs By Kiana Burks News Contributor Following an extensive national search and the December announcement of the new vice president for Student Affairs, Dr. Cynthia L. Hernandez has officially assumed her role as the individual tasked with overseeing and working toward student success at Texas State.
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About Us History: The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State University and is published every Tuesday of the spring and fall and once a month in the summer semesters. It is distributed on campus and throughout San Marcos at 8 a.m. on publication days with a distribution of 4,500. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. Copyright: Copyright Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. All copy, photographs and graphics appearing in The University Star are the exclusive property of The University Star and may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the editor-in-chief.
Texas State's Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) Cynthia L. Hernandez smiles for a headshot photo. Hernandez was recently hired as VSPA and hopes to establish an environment where students can accomplish the goals they set out to achieve. PHOTO COURTESY OF CYNTHIA L. HERNANDEZ
Hernandez takes the place of Dr. Mary Ellen Cavitt, a professor of music education, who served as the university’s interim VPSA after Dr. Joanne Smith, the previous VPSA, retired last May. Hernandez has over 24 years of experience in Student Affairs, previously serving as VPSA from 2011-2015 and associate VPSA since 2016 at Texas A&M University. Hernandez says she has made it her mission to understand and empathize with students who are trying to navigate life throughout college. “I really have a calling and a heart and a passion for serving students and helping students really learn and grow and develop and understand who they are through the collegiate experience,” Hernandez says. Although Hernandez was not actively looking to leave her previous home and position, she says she felt drawn to Texas State due to its reputation as an institution and for its students — who she believes can benefit from her expertise. “I was so attracted to what we're doing here and to how much this institution really helps educate our students to go out into the world and to be wonderful,” Hernandez says. "I'm attracted to the type of student that comes to Texas State. We have quite a
large population of students who are the first in their families, and just knowing how much education meant to my family makes me want to be able to help other students who are the trailblazers in their families and getting that first degree.” Cavitt, who served as the interim VPSA from June 2020 until January 2021, believes Hernandez is a great addition to the university administration. “I have great confidence in Dr. Hernandez’s experience and expertise in the area of Student Affairs,” Cavitt says. “She has a wealth of knowledge, and I know she will do a great job.” Dr. Vincent E. Morton, associate VPSA and dean of students, aided in overseeing the hiring of Hernandez and is hopeful for the future of the position he says she has earned. “We were looking for someone that could come in and serve [the students],” Morton says. “Our focus was looking at this: 'What type of students do we have, and what type of individual can come in and adhere to our students and meet our students where they are?'” When Smith held the role, she was often tasked with serving as a liaison between the university administration and Black students, who did not always feel like the university operated in their best interests. In recent years on campus, students have had to deal with white supremacy, organize protests and ease tensions that resulted from students getting arrested. Corey Benbow, former Student Government President who was a part of Hernandez's interview process, finds Hernandez to be a capable and qualified individual for VPSA. However, he says she was a safe choice and "the right person at the wrong time." "I find her a qualified suitable and reasonable person; I find her very poise," Benbow says. "And I do think that the VPSA is a good role for her; I'm just not sure that out of the candidates, I'm not sure if she was the best fit." "Dr. Hernandez is a Latina woman. The previous VPSA was a Black woman. And if you look at the President's Cabinet yet again, you do not have a Black person sitting around the table." He believes Hernandez did not provide a cohesive answer regarding her surroundings in diversity, equity and inclusion and adds that she needs to prove that she can and will advocate on behalf of students — especially Black students. "She is not in the cabinet to kind of go along and stick with the status quo, but I expect her to be very bold and or advocate for students and to really speak up on behalf of students as you sit around that table," Benbow says. "Some of the things that really give me pause about Dr. Hernandez is that she has all her experiences at Texas A&M which is another predominantly white institution that has not lived up to advocating and advancing causes." Morton, on the other hand, says
he is confident in Hernandez’s ability to relate to others and put students' anxieties at ease. “She’s someone that they can feel comfortable talking to, and they can be confident knowing that she's actually listening,” Morton says. “I think it’s beneficial to students to know they’re being heard, and I think you're gonna get that out of her.” As VPSA, Hernandez will report directly to University President Denise Trauth in addition to serving as an adviser and member of the President's Cabinet. Although the role is demanding, Hernandez says she looks forward to her new responsibilities and has already begun setting goals. “My goal is to be a sponge to really listen and to learn about the institution. And to understand the culture of Texas State — to understand the students and their needs and their ideas about how to enhance the Texas State experience for themselves and for all students,” Hernandez says. Being the person individuals can turn to and feel seen and heard is an important and rewarding part of her new role, Hernandez says. She is also excited to take advantage of the opportunity to meet with the university community. One of Hernandez’s main objectives as VPSA is to create an environment for students to accomplish the goals they set out to achieve by coming to Texas State. “What I want to do is try to afford students with as many opportunities for them to choose from,” Hernandez says. “We want them to be able to chart their own path and, you know, I think what I really want to do in the first few months is figure out what is it that Texas State students want and need.” Morton believes Hernandez will make good on her goals of making students feel understood. “She's inquisitive. Whenever I send her something, she comes back with questions,” Morton says. “I think that’s one of the things that students will enjoy about her. There's going to be a level of respect, and I think that the students will recognize that.” Through her extensive experience with Student Affairs, Hernandez says she has maintained her focus on enhancing student-centered initiatives and promoting the importance of student experiences that will lead to student success. She says she seeks to understand how she can support her staff and deliver services and programs that will meet students where they are to help them navigate college. “The ultimate goal is to have students graduate from Texas State University, go out and wear their Bobcat gear and hang their diploma with pride and knowledge that they had a good experience here and are ready to go out there and shape the world," Hernandez says.
Deadlines: Letters to the Editor or any contributed articles are due on Monday the week prior to publication. Corrections: Any errors that are in the pages of The University Star and brought to our attention will be corrected as soon as possible. Visit The Star at universitystar.com
Texas State students Brittney McKinney (left) and Gabryella Carrelli practice singing, Jan. 18, 2021, at Pleasant Street Garage. Texas State nursing freshman Hailey Atchison watches a chemistry lecture and takes notes, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, at Alkek Library. PHOTO BY DEVON BATES
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Construction workers wave to the camera while high up on the scaffolding of a new building, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, on Hopkins Street. PHOTO BY NATALIE RYAN
The Texas State Strutters cheer on the women’s basketball team as they gain a lead in the first quarter over the University of Louisiana Monroe, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, at Strahan Arena.
PHOTO BY HANNAH THOMPSON
PHOTO BY KATE CONNORS
Vocal Performance junior Brittney McKinney works on a document, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, at Schneider Music Library. PHOTO BY DOUGLAS SMITH
The University Star
Tuesday, January 26, 2021 | 3
NEWS FROM FRONT PEACE OFFICER
Brianna Benitez News Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
FROM FRONT ADOPTION
UPD Mental Health Officer Jessica Kinney smiles for a photo, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in the lobby of the University Police Department. PHOTO BY DOUGLAS SMITH
As a third-year officer of UPD, Kinney says her training, her ability to communicate well with others and her interest in the field of mental health have prepared her to understand and help those in need. “I’ve been certified as a mental health peace officer for over four years,” Kinney says. “To do this job, you need to have compassion for the other person and show empathy and sympathy. It all comes down to just communicating well." UPD Chief Laurie Clouse says throughout her over 20 years of being in university law enforcement, she has seen a rise in mental crises within student populations, which stresses the need for a proper mental health response from campus police. “Many municipality police departments have a mental health unit. They respond to mental health calls in lieu of uniformed officers. Because it is their full-time job, they can take the time to really work with the person they're attending to and make sure the person is getting the service they need to reduce further law enforcement interaction,” Clouse says. “When I arrived [at] Texas State, like other institutions I’ve worked at, I noticed a high call volume for mental health welfare checks during finals and other testing times. There was never a proper follow up after making contact with students during calls. So, we decided we should have at least one full-time mental health officer.” The difference in police response begins with the clothing. A typical campus police officer wears a uniform when responding to calls; Kinney dresses in more civilian-like clothing such as cargo pants and a polo shirt. The approach aims to greet students with a more welcoming look, dispelling any worrisome thoughts a police officer in uniform may incite. Further, instead of addressing the situation from an untrained perspective, Kinney will utilize learned techniques to better aid students experiencing a mental health crisis while also offering compassion and understanding — two emotions Kinney is naturally gifted in expressing, according to Clouse. Kinney will also maintain contact with victims long after the initial incident by performing “followups". During follow-ups, Kinney will ensure those in need are getting the proper help and guidance to stay mentally well by referring them to available resources. Even if students live off-campus by the time Kinney speaks to them, needed help and resources will continue to be sought out. Follow-ups will also take place with victims of crimes that may potentially produce mental health issues in the future. UPD Sgt. Daniel Benitez, Kinney’s supervisor, says holding follow-ups is a key step in ensuring victims recover from potential traumatic and hurtful experiences. “When you’re in a crisis, you are in it for only that one point in time, but that’s not always where it stops,” Benitez says. “Having a mental health officer gives us the ability to have someone dedicated to make sure UPD is going out and gathering the resources and care our students need.” Incidents such as Georgia Tech's campus police shooting in 2017 and others have highlighted the importance of well-trained campus police who understand mental health. With the appointment of Kinney as a mental health officer, UPD hopes to treat mental health-related calls with the necessary attention. "I want to let the students know that if they need to come in and just figure out where they can go or find what they can do to get some kind of help, they can just contact me. If they're scared or embarrassed, they can just contact me," Kinney says. "I will try to help students as much as I can. For the reassurance for the Bobcat community, this is what I'm here for, and I'm willing to do whatever I need to do in any kind of crisis." Even while occupying the position, Kinney continues to learn through further training and experience. Along with additional mental health training, Kinney seeks out municipal police departments to learn and incorporate their further developed procedures of responding to mental health calls, which Benitez says makes Kinney an expert for the role. Through her learning, UPD eventually hopes to broaden the scope of training to other officers by allowing Kinney to teach her own classes. "This is gonna be Kinney's field. She's going to be the expert after she goes through additional training and researches other operations. Then after she'll be holding classes and training our officers and letting them know what resources we have and what they can do," Benitez says. "With her being here a small-time already, it's amazing what knowledge she's brought to the department."
The main sign, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, at the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter. The shelter is currently offering only curbside pickup due to the closure of public facilities in the city. PHOTO BY DOUGLAS SMITH
Adopting or fostering an animal is a process the shelter is happy to help with, Caelin Bird, a part-time shelter technician, says. However, with the recent closing of San Marcos facilities, the process has been limited to protect all parties
"SOME PEOPLE MAY HAVE A NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION AND THEY WANT TO GET A NEW PET, AND WE ARE MORE THAN HAPPY TO ACCOMMODATE FOR THAT TYPE OF THING."
PART-TIME SHELTER TECHNICIAN involved. “Some people may have a new year's resolution and they want to get a new pet, and we are more than happy to accommodate for that type of thing," Bird says. "Of course, we want to make sure to stay home and have a good situation for them to go into but, since we, the city, did close [to] the public this month, we are back and doing adoption by appointment only, which limits the number of adoptions we do per day.” The shelter has invested in its curbside service abilities to assist visitors who booked an online appointment find an animal to adopt or foster. "Adopters are not coming into the actual shelter if they're there to meet any animal," Christie Banduch, animal shelter supervisor, says. "We have a play yard, an outdoor play [yard], at the shelter instead. We’ll have them [go] through like a side gate. We'll put the animals in the play
yard with them, [and] we're kind of there if they have any questions out there.” If visitors decide to adopt, they will be sent back to their car where they can virtually sign the adoption paperwork. Adopters can even take their pet home the same day. During the holidays, the shelter usually sees an increase in adoptions or families coming in to adopt their first pet. Banduch says adoption rates change each month for a variety of reasons. “We typically average anywhere from 100 to 150 adoptions a month," Banduch says. "It goes up and down; there's kind of a pattern that you see every year for adoptions and then, for example, when the kids go back to school in August, it's like adoptions drop. I think it's just because everybody's so focused on getting the kids back to school and just the world getting back to normal. Then it’ll usually start picking back up as we get toward the holidays.” While new animals may get adopted within a short period of time, Banduch says some animals stay at the shelter for long periods. “Probably the average amount of time is two weeks, but you have to factor in that we take in a lot of animals; we take in between four to five hundred animals a month," Banduch says. "The vast majority of them are coming in [as strays]. Some of them are here for hours before we find an owner, then we have others that, you know, who kind of end up as our long stays and so those long-stay animals just need a little bit longer to find a home." Those looking to adopt or foster are aware of the animal's characteristics before making a decision. While Bird assists in adoptions, she also cares for the animals, which allows her to get to know them each individually. “While the animals are in our care, we take notes on their behavior," Bird says. "So, we’ll take down if a dog is house trained. We will write it down if a cat is super friendly, things like that. So, whenever a potential adopter comes into the shelter, we can ask
them, 'Well, what type of animal are you looking for?', and then point them toward something that may suit their needs better.” Mary Weinand, a Texas State alumna, adopted her cat, Sasuke, last fall and admits the process was different than expected. “My sister and I actually adopted him because we lived together, and we had to make an appointment, and we were the only ones there, which was like so strange to go to a shelter [appointment] with no one there," Weinand says After her experience, Wienand hopes more people, especially college students, choose to adopt pets rather than purchase them from pet stores. She recommends adopting cats, which she says can sometimes get stereotyped as bad pets. "I would always encourage college students to adopt cats over dogs because we live in an apartment-based community," Weinand says. "Cats are like, I feel, a more viable option because dogs require a little bit more space and maintenance.” As the shelter continues to have animals in its facility adopted, it also allows qualified citizens to foster animals. "Fostering is similar to adoptions, you're taking an animal home with you but it's just a much more temporary setup," Banduch says. "Sometimes that's because the animal has a medical need, like maybe [for example] it was hit by a car and had to have surgery on a broken bone, you know, and so, that animal needs somewhere other than the shelter that's quieter and more comfortable.” As more people schedule appointments and consider adopting or fostering, Banduch says people should be aware of the devotion needed to have a pet. "I think for me the big takeaway is that I want somebody who's looking at adopting or considering it," Banduch says. "The big takeaway for them, I think, is it’s like taking home a toddler for 15 years, and I want them to be ready for that level of commitment."
FROM FRONT HOMELESSNESS “I haven’t been able to take a shower because I don’t get let in; people just tell me to jump in the river," Crow says. "I had my birth certificate stolen from my locker; someone just broke [the locker] and took it." The local Salvation Army, which has various programs that support those in need, helps homeless people like Crow reclaim birth certificates and social security numbers in its Reclaim My Name program. However, while reclaiming identities to help homeless people find jobs is an integral part of what the Salvation Army does, it is not its main priority. The Salvation Army works largely with local motels at discounted rates to
provide homeless individuals a bed on colder nights throughout the year. While the stay is only temporary, Anthony Torres, a regional representative for the Salvation Army, believes with a larger budget from the city, the organization could give people a second chance and longer stay. “Instead of a max three-day motel stay, if we had the funding, we would do a month-long stay or longer to figure out how we can get these folks from on the street to being sustainable,” Torres says. "In one of our motels, we put up a food pantry where folks can go to the front office and say 'I’m hungry' and we will help them. If we had [more funding], we would
do that same process in all our motels, so people don’t just have a place to sleep; they also have a place to eat." Torres is also calling upon young people in the city to get involved in the effort to assist the homeless population. "In the last few years, there has been a disconnect with young folks," Torres says. "Getting young folks to be involved, getting them to volunteer, to serve, and to donate and getting them to recognize that people out there need help." City Council says it will continue to follow up on its plans to support the homeless population in San Marcos at future meetings.
The University Star
4 | Tuesday, January 26, 2021
LIFE & ARTS
Cristela Jones Life & Arts Editor email@example.com
'A SYMBOL OF THE PEOPLE' San Marcos to be named mermaid capital of Texas
Workers of the Adventure Mermaid swim school wave to a crowd, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, during the Mermaid Promenade in downtown San Marcos.
PHOTO BY KATE CONNORS
By Andie Mau Life & Arts Contributor
A mermaid tubing along the San Marcos river.
PHOTO COURTESY OF JULY MORENO
Lisa McPike Smith's ceramic artworks display various mermaid illustrations and aquatic river life at her home art studio in San Marcos.
PHOTO COURTESY OF LISA MCPIKE SMITH
Children from the Meadows Center engage in an educational activity with Maya, the mermaid.
PHOTO COURTESY OF JULY MORENO
The mermaid has been the unofficial mascot of San Marcos for decades, inspiring the town’s art, conservation and education scenes. Now, the state legislature is working to make the city's mermaid roots official. A designation to make San Marcos the mermaid capital of Texas is expected to be voted on by Texas representatives around March. The official arrival of the title is long-awaited by many San Marcos natives, given the influence the mythical creature has had on the community. "It's not official yet; it is on its way," says July Moreno, founder of the nonprofit Mermaid Society of Texas which seeks to unite the San Marcos community by celebrating arts, culture, heritage and fostering river guardianship. In 2019, after unanimous approval from the San Marcos City Council and Texas Senate, the Texas House of Representatives ran out of time in the legislative session to vote on the designation. "So it's back in their hands again to move it forward, but now we have so much more time to get it through. So we have no reason to believe that it's not going to happen," Moreno says. Moreno was born and raised in San Marcos and has lived in the city for over 50 years. As a long-term resident, she has witnessed how San Marcos has grown and changed throughout the years. "There was this construction going on in San Marcos and big plans of big changes," Moreno says. "What if we just become something entirely brand new, and everything was washed from the history of who we were and what we were about?" The shift in the cultural landscape of her hometown inspired Moreno to create the Mermaid Society to preserve San Marcos' history of which the mermaid has played a large role since the 1950s. In 1926, A.B. Rogers, a well-renowned San Marcos entrepreneur, was inspired
by the crystal waters of the river and founded the Aquarena Springs Theme Park. Rogers introduced the mermaids to the park in 1951 to create new traction given the interest attached to the mythical beings. Although the amusement park has since shut down, mermaids continue to make appearances thanks to the efforts of the Mermaid Society. The organization hosts its yearly mermaid festival in September which includes a parade, multiple conservation symposiums and educational programs. “What I think that we've done is really attract people to get involved in ways that are fun [and] easy," Moreno says. "[The mermaid festival] serves as a gateway to continue that volunteer effort with other organizations and contribute money to help these organizations do more.” Besides bringing the community together, the symbol of the mermaid also contributes to the art scene in San Marcos, as many local and student artists find inspiration from her supernatural aesthetic. Lisa McPike Smith, a 1999 Texas State alumna and creator of Hep Cat Artworks, attests to this, adding that the mermaid influenced her as a kid. “As a kid, I would go to Marina Springs… I got to see the underwater mermaids. We went into the underwater submarine theater," McPike Smith says. "As a little kid, you can't help but think, ‘Wow, that's kind of cool and magical.'" This translates into McPike Smith’s ceramic pieces which take on marine themes. She keeps her work sustainable by using old parts from antique stores to create her artwork, incorporating her town’s spirit while also supporting local businesses. The marine theme is used by organizations like Texas State's Meadows Center as it garners interest in community initiatives. While topics of endangered species or water preservation may seem
daunting, the concepts become simpler and enjoyable for younger ages under the instruction of a mermaid named Maya. “The mermaid is a great educational tool for kids to learn more about the river and grow that interest in the environment,” says Miranda Wait, deputy director of Spring Lake Operations at the Meadows Center. “When you talk about a mermaid who bases her life on taking care of the river and stewardship, I think that's a little more relatable to kids.” With opportunities such as the glassbottom boat tours and the SPLASH (Stewardship, Preservation, Local Arts, Sustainability and Heritage) program, the Meadows Center and Mermaid Society spread knowledge about the local and global impact of the San Marcos River. “If we go dry, that means millions of people don't have drinking water," Wait says. "We say it'll support our town, but it's actually beyond us; it's greater than that...We also have endangered species that live here and nowhere else in the world.” The need for awareness extends to the adult population. Moreno encourages any kind of participation in the effort and uses the appeal of Maya and the mermaid festival to encourage participation within the community. “This festival connects the celebration to the river," Moreno says. "People are now much more aware that we have this incredible, beautiful [and] natural resource right in the middle of our city.” Wait says the mermaid is the connection between all separate facets of San Marcos' culture and represents the town's on-going transformation. “The mermaid is a symbol of the people," Moreno says. "People that do good work with the San Marcos River Foundation and the eyes of the San Marcos river and habitat conservation crew."
Price Center's call for art puts local female artists in spotlight By Sofia Psolka Life & Arts Contributor Female artists and creatives of Hays County will have their time to shine as the San Marcos Price Center begins preparations for its third annual International Women's Day exhibit. For a $10 application fee, female artists are called to share their artwork with the Price Center from Jan. 25-26, for its upcoming all-women art show titled, “From Challenge Comes Change”. The free, socially-distanced art show will run from Feb. 6 through March 26 in the center's Garden Room and will feature female multimedia and familyfriendly artwork created exclusively by women. Behind the scenes of this year’s show, Joan Nagel, board director and art chair of the Price Center, is working alongside local artists Margaret Adie and Garrie Borden to plan the International Women’s Day exhibit. Nagel says the event's theme derives from the ongoing trek women face. “If you look at just women’s history, there’s always a challenge, and we always want a change,” Nagel says. Through the exhibit, the event committee hopes to bring about change in the community by promoting gender equality, celebrating women’s achievements and increasing the visibility of women’s work. “One of the things we like to do is have a theme that is pretty broad so that artists’ interpretation of [the theme] can fit in any number of ways,” Adie says. "What I might think of with ‘challenge’,
might be something somebody else thinks of, which is awesome.” Although women connecting with other women is a big driver behind the choice of theme, female artists are also given the chance to stand out from the shadow of male-dominated art. “After centuries of men recording the history of male achievement, International Women’s Day is a chance to focus on what women have, and can, accomplish,” Borden says. “We want to celebrate the spirit of women who have inspired and challenged us to express our uniquely female creativity.”
The audience of "Language Women Speak"enjoy listening to one of the poets in the Garden Room, Sunday, March 8. 2020, at the Price Center in San Marcos. PHOTO COURTESY OF CLAY DESTAFANO
Last year's theme for the International Women’s Day event, “The Language Women Speak”, attracted an alltime high of contributors with 87 participating artists. Not only was the outcome significant, but participant ages ranged anywhere from 19 to 102.
“Women came out of the woodwork," Nagel says. "Women came from around Wimberley, Canyon Lake and Dripping Springs; some of them had never shown in San Marcos before and they were so excited to have that opportunity. It was a really beautiful and heartwarming thing.” The show would normally include a reception incorporating visual and performing arts such as poetry readings, dramatic scene performances, live music and dance routines. These segments opened new horizons for local female artists and offered a unique form of entertainment to the community. However, COVID-19 has compromised this year’s festivities, canceling the usual March 9 celebrations. Due to social distancing measures, the planning committee says they are struggling to organize a virtual event. “We’ve talked a little bit about having something online, but no one is taking the lead on it,” Nagel says. To counter the bump in the road and bring the community together, the planning committee has set up a passage for a collaborative event that anyone in Hays County can participate in called “Tribute to Women Who Inspire". “ [“Tribute to Women Who Inspire”] goes with the show’s theme,” Adie says. “When challenge comes, we had to change things up.” People are encouraged to share a photo or drawn image of a woman they find admirable or influential. Submissions are due Feb. 2 and will be turned in directly to the Price Center. Donated artwork will be made into a banner display for
Painting of "Girls Walking to school in Dallas" by Merry Kone Fitzpatrick displayed during "Languages Women Speak". PHOTO COURTESY OF CLAY DESTEFANO
the Garden Room during the run of “From Challenge Comes Change”. The Price Center is known for its allinclusive events which provide the San Marcos community with a safe space to explore diverse realms of expression. This segment of female artistry serves as a reminder for locals that despite turbulent times, art still speaks and connects people. For more information on the Price Center and upcoming events, visit its website or stop by the center at 222 W. San Antonio St.
The University Star
Tuesday, January 26, 2021 | 5
Valeria Torrealba Opinion Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Opinions in The University Star are not necessarily those of our entire publication, Texas State University’s administration, Board of Regents, School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Student Publications Board.
THE MAIN POINT
OUR MESSAGE, YOUR CHOICE By The Editorial Board
the benefits of getting vaccinated, which includes their high effectiveness and ability to keep people from becoming seriously ill. On the other hand, the vaccine trials for leading developers, Pfizer and Moderna, failed to include some key demographics — such as pregnant women — which understandably leads to hesitation. Further, a history of malpractice in healthcare is prevalent against communities of color. Doctors and other medical practitioners are often the perpetrators against communities that face racism in routine medical checkups, highlighting the inherent racism prevalent in the medical field. This was witnessed through the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male,” that began in 1932. The study involved 600 Black men, 399 with syphilis and 201 without. Although the men had agreed to get examined and treated, they were not fully aware of the study’s true purpose. The men were told they were being treated for “bad blood” — a term that applies to a broad range of medical diseases and ailments. In actuality, the men were not receiving the proper treatment needed to cure their illnesses. Moreover, researchers never offered penicillin, an effective drug against
syphilis, to the men even when it became a commonly used treatment. The discrimination against communities of color in medical treatment can be seen in recent years through racial disparities in maternal mortality. Black, American Indian and Alaska Native women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancyrelated causes than white women. The maternal mortality rate for Black women with at least a college degree is 5.2 times higher than that of a white woman with the same credentials. The concerns regarding the vaccine and ethical practices are important to acknowledge throughout the process of overcoming a seemingly never ending pandemic. It is okay for people to take the vaccine; health officials and science have shown it to be safe and effective. However, not all individuals reluctant to take it are against science or vulnerable to misinformation. It is our responsibility to protect one another in an effort to see an end to this pandemic. We are in this together and should aim to respect and understand emotions of hesitation along with underlying anxieties that stem from health care.
MAIN PO NT
With drastic changes to our everyday lives, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has sparked hope for those who trust the optimistic messages from health officials, while others have expressed reluctance to take one due to misinformation, fear of medicine or the history of malpractice in healthcare for communities of color. We do not write this editorial in hopes of persuading our readers one way or another, but rather to convey that all the different feelings toward the vaccine, for better or worse, were always going to be a part of the process toward ending the pandemic. The different feelings of confidence and hesitancy are warranted — and they should be respected. Health officials underscore the importance of taking a vaccine, adding that it will be the key to ending the global health crisis that has upended our day-to-day lives for nearly a year. Student Health Center Director Emilio Carranco expresses hope that enough of our university community will take the vaccine to get campus back to a degree of normalcy by the fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released exhaustive documentation highlighting
"WE DO NOT WRITE THIS EDITORIAL IN HOPES OF PERSUADING OUR READERS ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, BUT RATHER TO CONVEY THAT ALL THE DIFFERENT FEELINGS TOWARD THE VACCINE, FOR BETTER OR WORSE, WERE ALWAYS GOING TO BE A PART OF THE PROCESS TOWARD ENDING THE PANDEMIC. THE DIFFERENT FEELINGS OF CONFIDENCE AND HESITANCY ARE WARRANTED — AND THEY SHOULD BE RESPECTED."
Diet Culture enables unhealthy lifestyles By Lindsey Salisbury Opinion Contributor The holidays have been over for weeks now, and a new year is in full effect with people sharing their hopes and resolutions, among the most popular being weight loss. What is not often mentioned is that this seemingly innocuous goal leads into a rabbit hole of toxic and dangerous mentalities, not to mention hundreds of dollars wasted. To see an issue in one's current lifestyle and want to make a change is an admirable goal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 42% of adults in the U.S. are overweight. There should be zero doubt that obesity is a very real and prevalent issue in the U.S. However, the problem is that health companies view obesity as a new market worthy of exploitation. The diet industry created an unhealthy and toxic narrative around weight loss and healthy living, which facilitates diatribe against certain foods, to promote its own causes and create a more fat-phobic society. Thus, Diet Culture was born. Even if one does successfully complete a diet and lose weight, 95% of people gain the weight back in one to five years. Diets are not always sustainable. Americans spent on average about $60.9 billion on dieting in 2010. When thinking of Diet Culture, carb restrictions, calorie restrictions and cleansing come to mind. However, the extent of Diet Culture supersedes a lot more than just diets. It is a mindset that oppresses the masses into glorifying unattainable goals. Christy Harrison, an anti-diet registered dietitian nutritionist and author, defines Diet Culture as a system of beliefs that “worship thinness and equates it to health and moral virtue... demonizing certain ways of eating while elevating others." She adds that it is a system that “oppresses people who don’t match up with this supposed picture of health.” Far too often, people put their faith, time and money into something that causes them mental and physical harm. The Diet Culture industry willingly shell out people's wallets for ads to actively bully them. That is the exact definition of toxic; something that is "very harmful
ILLUSTRATION BY ALONDRA VASQUEZ
"HEALTH MEANS A LOT MORE THAN HOW MUCH WE WEIGH. WHAT WORKS FOR ONE PERSON IS NOT GOING TO WORK FOR SOMEONE [ELSE]."
REGISTERED DIETITIAN TEXAS STATE ATHLETICS or unpleasant in a pervasive or insidious way." Diet Culture is not some altruistic version of health that if someone just remains "disciplined" they can achieve their "dream body." It is tyrant capitalism running amuck. Weight loss companies broadcast ads and images of a glamorized skinny and toned body, and people see it and deem themselves less than or not as fit as the person advertised. The pills, fat-burning teas and detox juices are then purchased to fit a body type. Kamryn Klepper, an exercise and sports science senior, says social media
create ads with the idea of fiscal profits in mind, not to benefit one's health. This is the most important thing to understand about Diet Culture. Think of diets like companies selling cigarettes in the 60s. Back then it was deemed cool, but now we know how harmful cigarettes are to the human body. Furthermore, nutritionists stress that thin does not equal healthy. Some can have a healthy metabolic rate as a thin or thicker person. However, that does not mean a happy or healthy life relies solely on metabolic rate. Krissy Lines, a registered dietitian working with Texas State Athletics to educate student-athletes about nutrition performance, says health is more like "a pie chart," which encompasses "physical health, emotional health, cognitive wellbeing and maybe even faith or religion." "Health means a lot more than how much we weigh," Lines says. "What works for one person is not going to work for someone [else]." Bodies will change constantly; it is natural. Weight is like a rollercoaster. It is not supposed to stay the same throughout one's whole life. Factors, such as water retention, hormones and environment all play a part in one's physical weight. The number on the scale does not take into account any of the aforementioned variables when showing a number. Diet Culture is also a trojan horse when it comes to mental health. Over 9% of the population has an eating disorder, one of the deadliest mental illnesses next to opioid addiction. When eating disorder patients are constantly bombarded by weight-phobic media and surrounded by weight loss products, the recovery process becomes more difficult. Mental illness is the lasting effect of Diet Culture. It is a toxic cycle that needs to end. One's personal worth does not stem from how many calories they eat on any given day. To avoid the toxicity of Diet Culture, look for lifestyles that are sustainable. A happy life is a healthy life. In 2021, rejecting this toxic and ineffective culture should be a top priority. Instead, the focus should be on staying active and providing the body with the nutrients needed.
and advertisements play a big role in the Diet Culture bandwagon. "It’s so easy to get caught up in what everyone else seems to be doing, especially with social media," Klepper says. "You constantly see what you 'should' be eating and how you 'should' be working out. Even with my major and educational background on the subject, it’s really easy to think about making somewhat extreme decisions to change what I look like." This is a marketing strategy, not a realistic version of health. Company -Lindsey marketing teams, occupied by people sophomore who are not qualified health practicians,
6 | Tuesday, January 26, 2021 Aidan Bea Sports Editor email@example.com
The University Star
Texas State senior wide receiver Jeremiah Haydel pushes back a Southern Methodist University defender while running upfield, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, at Bobcat Stadium. PHOTO BY KATE CONNORS
(Left to right) Texas State senior wide receiver Jeremiah Haydel sprints past an Arkansas State defender while running upfield, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, at Bobcat Stadium. Texas State senior wide receiver Jeremiah Haydel celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Arkansas State, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, at Bobcat Stadium. PHOTO BY KATE CONNORS
In pursuit of NFL career, Haydel defies the odds senior season. Going into his freshman "I’m still getting better.” year at Texas State, from Alief Taylor The feeling is still surreal for Haydel, High School in Houston, he was a two- who says he never believed playing at the Never highly sought after but now in star recruit and ranked as the 379th wide professional level was out of reach. the driver seat of his future, Jeremiah receiver in the nation. “I probably would’ve told you no, Haydel is geared up and ready to take on but in my mind, I would’ve said, 'Why "JUST TO SEE WHERE the NFL with a full head of steam. not?'" Haydel says. "I have that kind of Haydel declared for the draft on Nov. I’VE COME FROM confidence that I can do it. The answer 30 following a successful individual is ultimately, yes, that I can do those season with the Bobcats, which earned AND ALL THE HARD things.” him a spot on ESPN's All-America Team That confidence and work ethic was among other top football prospects. The WORK I’VE PUT IN, ALL on display as he totaled 40 receptions four-year Texas State wideout played in THE MENTAL REPS for 408 yards, made it to the endzone six a total of 44 games, steadily showing times and made plays as both a returner I’VE TAKEN, I KNOW I improvements each year. and pass-catcher during the COVID"I have learned a lot...this program WASN’T THE HEAVIEST 19-impacted season. was not much of a winning program, Statistically, he showed signs of but I think throughout those hard times RECRUITED GUY OUT improvement every year, but his end it helped me mentally get right and goal was never just to have a good season. fight through adversity and not give in," THERE, BUT I KNOW Instead of looking after himself and Haydel says. "I could have given up or AT THE END OF THE chasing numbers, Haydel says he was transferred, but I fought through those willing to play whatever role benefited times because I knew those times would DAY I PUT MY HEAD the team most. make me the person I am today; it would DOWN AND WORKED. “A lot of people don’t want to buy into make me mentally strong and prepare roles, but I’ve been a guy who’s always I’M STILL GETTING me in life." been disciplined," Haydel says. "I think Texas State has never been a major me playing my role, it made me think player in college sports but, thanks to BETTER." of others and not about myself. I think Haydel, fans of the Bobcats got a chance that really helped me throughout my to see the school gain more national time at Texas State and will help me in recognition this past season. Haydel's -JEREMIAH HAYDEL, my future NFL career.” one-handed catch on Sept. 5 against While there are players who have TEXAS STATE WIDE moved on from San Marcos to Southern Methodist University made RECEIVER professional leagues, they are few and it to SportsCenter's top 10 plays, while his 91-yard punt return against the rival “Just to see where I’ve come from far between. Haydel, on the other hand, University of Texas at San Antonio was and all the hard work I’ve put in, all the says he is preparing to make the most out plastered all over social media. mental reps I’ve taken, I know I wasn’t of every opportunity and defy the odds. Haydel was not always the flexible the heaviest recruited guy out there, but “I’m a guy who wants to win and wants wide receiver and jaw-dropping kick I know at the end of the day I put my to bring versatility to a team," Haydel returner fans viewed him as during his head down and worked," Haydel says. says. "I bring value to the team. I’ll do By Damien Bartonek Sports Reporter
whatever it takes for the team to win. I’m going to be the first guy to clock in and the last guy to clock out. I’m going to do everything I can for an organization to be successful.” Lifelong Bobcats fan and Texas State alumnus Tom Madden says Haydel's impact on the program was tremendous, adding that he "brought the excitement of his successes on the field to a national level." "He made people start talking about Texas State football and Texas State University — not only in Texas but throughout the country," Madden says. "This is the legacy every athlete wants to bring to their school, and it is a testament to his four-year tenure.” Other alumni, like Gabriel Ramirez, says it was an honor to watch Haydel grow as a football player during his time at Texas State. "He leaves behind a legacy that says you can come from anywhere, any small program or small city, and make something out of yourself," Ramirez says. "He did just that.” Even with 1,169 yards from scrimmage, over 1,300 yards as a returner and 11 touchdowns to show, Haydel says he still has more to accomplish. “I’m trying to prove that I’m just as good or better than those guys that are four and five-star recruits," Haydel says. "I’m still working to perfect my craft; I’m getting better. I know they’re probably doubting me and that’s ok. I’m ready, and I’m hungry.”
The University Star
Tuesday, January 26, 2021 | 7
SPORTS WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
Aidan Bea Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Hood, Taylor emerge as leaders during challenging season By Kate Connors Sports Reporter Da'Nasia Hood and Kennedy Taylor have taken the Sun Belt Conference by storm during the 2020-21 season. The two have established themselves as one of the best guardforward duos among their peers and are hoping to lead the Bobcats deep into the conference tournament. Among the Sun Belt, Taylor is currently third in assists (4.8) and fifth in steals (2.4), while Hood ranks third in scoring (16.6) and fourth in rebounds (8.6). The pair arrived at Texas State in 2018 and have been roommates since they were freshmen living on campus. The time spent together off the court has allowed the pair to bond quickly and build chemistry. “When you are roommates, you get comfortable and familiar with your social behaviors and for sure on the basketball floor. Kennedy being a great point guard, she has done a very good job being able to find those players to put the ball in the hole," Head Coach Zenarae Antoine says. "I think Da’Nasia now understands her role, and we need her to be able to score; she puts herself in a position for Kennedy to find her. As juniors now, they have done a really good job of playing off each other and understanding moves, mannerisms and what that looks like on the basketball floor. I think sometimes those intangibles are what you need in order to get you over the top.” Hood is a true three-level scorer capable of getting a bucket from anywhere on the court. In some games, she dominates opposing players down low, rolling to the basket and hitting defenders with a series of post moves before laying the ball in. In others, she punishes players from the perimeter with her three-point scoring ability. “Right now I am really trying to keep getting better at my defense," Hood says. "I’ve always been [an] offensive player, so working on my defense is something that I’ve really tried to do so I can take the matchups for the team — so I can be a player that can do everything." Taylor is the primary ball-handler for the Bobcats — dangerous off the dribble, able to get into the lane and kick the ball out to Hood for open jump shots. She is also proficient at hitting Hood when she rolls to the rim or has a mismatch in the post. “Being a point guard, you do have to lead the team and get everyone a shot," Taylor says. "I’d say I’m a pass-first point guard for whatever the best option is. I do love assists, which I kind of have to [in order] to get the team going, but I do like both [assists and scoring myself ].” While Taylor and Hood both stand out with their play, vocally they tend to be more reserved. Hood says she and Taylor try to motivate and lead the team with their actions. "Both of us are not the most verbal and that is something we are working on this year, but it’s not just the two of us," Hood says. "We have a lot more players on the team [who] help us out. If we are ever not talking, it is just a reminder [that we have] so many people able to lead on the team. So we really just try to set the example for the team.” Chasing a conference title alone is hard enough, but this year there is the added struggle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams have been forced to make sacrifices to keep themselves, their teammates and other teams safe throughout the season. Coaches have asked their players not to travel to see their families for the holidays. Players have been asked to avoid hanging out with friends outside the team. The crowds that once cheered them on to victory are now a shadow of what they once were. “[COVID-19] is tough, but every day we preach that we have a great opportunity in front of us," Taylor says. "Everyone in the country is going through it, so we aren’t the only ones. We know we want to win a championship, so slacking and using excuses about COVID is not going to get us the championship we want.”
Junior forward Da'Nasia Hood jumps and shoots a basketball over a University of Louisiana at Lafayette defender Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, at Strahan Arena. PHOTO BY KATE CONNORS
Kannon Webb (7) runs the ball against the Del Valle High School Cardinals, Friday, November 6, 2020, in San Marcos. PHOTO COURTESY OF KALIE ENGLEMAN
San Marcos football star, Texas State commit aims to unite city By Aidan Bea Sports Editor Kannon Webb, a native of San Marcos and senior at San Marcos High School, has hopes of bridging the gap between the local community and the university after recently committing to Texas State football. Kannon Webb describes himself as a “simple guy” who loves Batman, hunting, fishing and hanging out with his friends. He says athletics, family and religion are the pillars of his life. “I was raised on faith, family and football,” Kannon Webb says. "Those are my three Fs that I’ve lived by. Family is a big deal to me.” Kannon Webb has lined up all over the field during his four years at SMHS, both on offense and defense. As a freshman, he played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back. Then, during his sophomore and junior years, he played free safety. Transitioning into his senior campaign, when John Walsh took over as the athletic director, he moved into more of an offensive role, primarily as a slot receiver. “My favorite football player is Johnny Manziel,” says Kannon Webb, who is listed as a slot receiver coming into Texas State but willing to play anywhere. “I grew up wanting to be a quarterback; that’s what I thought I was going to play in high school, but I really don’t have a preference.” Kannon Webb witnessed great success during his time at SMHS, finishing his career as the school’s all-time leader in tackles with 284, demolishing the previous record of 213. During his senior season, he had 92 tackles in only nine games. His father, Bryan Webb, is the safeties coach at SMHS as well as the head baseball coach, a team Kannon Webb is also a part of. Kannon Webb says playing for his dad is “one of the most unique and enriching experiences” he has ever had.
"AT FIRST I TOOK IT FOR GRANTED. REALLY, YOU GET TO LOOK AT IT, AND IT’S A BLESSING TO BE OUT THERE WITH YOUR DAD. YOU KNOW, THERE’S DAD AND THERE’S COACH WEBB. YOU LOVE THEM BOTH THE SAME, BUT IT’S CONSTANTLY PUSHING BECAUSE I KNOW IF I SLACK OFF IN THIS DRILL OR I DON’T DO THIS CORRECTLY I HAVE TO HEAR ABOUT IT AT PRACTICE, AND THE CONVERSATION AT THE DINNER TABLE WON’T BE TOO FRIENDLY EITHER."
TEXAS STATE FOOTBALL COMMIT
Texas State junior point guard Kennedy Taylor dribbles past a University of Louisiana at Lafayette defender to get to the basket Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, at Strahan Arena. PHOTO BY KATE CONNORS
“At first I took it for granted,” Kannon Webb says. “Really, you get to look at it, and it’s a blessing to be out there with your dad. You know, there’s dad and there’s Coach Webb. You love them both the same, but it’s constantly pushing because I know if I slack off in this drill or I don’t do this correctly I have to hear about it at practice, and the conversation at the dinner table won’t be too
Kannon Webb (7) catches a pass on the final play against Lockhart High School, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, at a football game. PHOTO COURTESY OF KALIE ENGLEMAN
friendly either.” Bryan Webb says despite the difficulties associated with separating "daddy" and "coach," he thoroughly enjoys the time he gets to spend with his son every day. "He maintains his morals and his values," Bryan Webb says. "He's a teenager; he's made some mistakes, but the thing that's really impressive about Kannon is his work ethic and his commitment to his family and his teams. It's good to see, you know, that you can trust him." Marvin Nash, the co-offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator at SMHS, says being a coach’s son has benefited Kannon Webb tremendously. He says Kannon Webb's knowledge of the game has allowed him to find more success on the field. “He’s a coach’s kid… he just understands football,” Nash says. “He doesn’t just understand just one position or one side of the ball. He watches the game like a coach… His IQ is amazing.” “He’s one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met, great personality,” Nash says. “He’s very serious about his sports, but he’s also about having fun; he’s approachable. The kids look up to him as a hero.” During Kannon Webb's senior year, he started volunteering with kids with disabilities at SMHS and helped get them on the sidelines during some of the football games. “I got in there, and it opens up your eyes,” Kannon Webb says. “You might be complaining because your legs hurt in the middle of a workout, but some of these kids would give it [their] all to be able to go to a workout… It makes you appreciate what you have more than anything. The stereotype around them is not what it seems. They get made fun of, but they’re great kids with great hearts.” Kannon says he loves San Marcos — the people, the scenery and the community —which is one of the reasons he chose to stay home for his collegiate career. His mom, Britney Webb, a senior lecturer of Athletic Training at Texas State, says there are two sides to San Marcos — the university and the locals — and she hopes a person like Kannon can help the two sides of the city come together. “He wants to be a good role model for the little ones that are coming behind,” Britney Webb says. “He knows San Marcos, and he’s just one of those kids that wants to give back in a positive way and let people know, ‘Hey, San Marcos kids can do good things.’” Kannon Webb had 12 other offers to play collegiate football, including Tarleton State University, his parents' alma mater. He instead chose Texas State because he believes in what can happen if the city comes together. “I moved here when I was three; I’ve grown up in San Marcos at Sewell Park every weekend,” Kannon Webb says. “Just being able to build the culture of San Marcos… trying to be an ambassador for the city. [I'm going to go up to Texas State] and do what I can to help the team out and hopefully get some more kids from San Marcos High School recruited.”
8 | Tuesday, January 26, 2021
The University Star
HEALTH AND WELLNESS ANSWERS