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The Wildcat Tales volume lxvi

May 8, 2012

Issue Eleven

Plano Senior High School

Plano, TX, USA

Child development class

If you really knew me

Blown Away Review

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Page 6

Page 7

Every drop counts By Stephanie Jabri

Photo by Haley Bunnell

Former students donate blood at the 2011 Carter blood drive.

Donate blood in the gym on May 25

The annual Carter blood drive will take place Friday, May 25 in the gymnasium. People who bring valid identification, weigh more than 110 pounds and are at least 17 years old will be able to give blood between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. “Hopefully everybody that can donate will donate,” Student Congress health and safety committee chairman senior Farah Balsara said. “We also hope that this year more adults will come.” In order to encourage adults to attend, adults will have priority in line. To publicize the blood drive, the committee will hand out flyers and make posters. Door prizes donated by local businesses are meant to encourage students to donate. “It’s important for people to participate because hospitals and clinics always are in need of blood,” Balsara said. “As healthy individuals we should do whatever possible to help those in need. Donating blood is an easy way to help others tremendously.” Photo by Haley Bunnell

For those who are not yet 17, parents can accompany their child so that they can give consent for them to give blood. Additionally, if a person is unable to donate on the designated day, Carter clinic will be available on May 26 and 27 for donations at its Plano location. Senior Kiki Soong said she almost fainted three times during her experience last year and was stuck multiple times with the needle because even the head phlebotomist couldn’t find her vein. However, Balsara said that the staff from Carter is helpful and will work with donors to help them get over their fears. Even after her unpleasant experience, Soong decided to donate blood for a second time on her own. “I felt like I needed to give back,” Soong said. “You save three lives when you donate. It’s just a noble thing to do.” Plano has held a blood drive on campus for 32 years and currently holds the national record for most blood donated by a high school. “I think we hold the record because the community is so supportive and our students are always excited about blood drive,” Balsara said. “Blood drive has been a tradition for a long time so even parents know to come out and donate. Tradition runs deep at Plano, and our blood drive makes that very evident.”

Upscale NHS officer dinner raises eyebrows Members disagree on appropriateness of dinner

By Miles Hutson While all NHS officers are invited to a celebratory dinner at Fogo de Chao on May 23, officer senior Ann Cai has already decided that she won’t be attending. “I’ve actually heard a lot of complaints from other members,” Cai said. “I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to attend a function that members themselves didn’t approve.” The dinner will be paid for from NHS funds, which are raised from $20 member fees. Cai, the tutoring and personal project coordinator for NHS, said that she had not had an issue with a lunch that officers had at Chili’s, or the cabinet of snacks

that they keep stocked, but that the use of funds for a $45 per person dinner at Fogo de Chao made her feel uncomfortable. “Officers do work very hard throughout the year, perhaps they do deserve an award of some sort,” Cai said. “But it is a volunteer organization, and maybe a dinner at Fogo de Chao, or a very expensive dinner at that, is probably not as appropriate.” Max Lu, an NHS member, concurred, and said that he wasn’t aware that his funds would be used for this. “An officer dinner’s okay, but that seems a little high ended,” Lu said. “I

thought that these things were to buy t-shirts or to make projects possible.” PISD activity coordinator Waverly Wang, another NHS officer, disagreed. “Our dinner is for 12 people at the very most,” Wang said. “If you think about how much money we’re really taking away, what’s the difference between them paying $20 and then subtracting how much we’re paying for Fogo?” Wang also said that officers spend more time for the organization than the members of NHS, and deserve an award at the end of the year.

“As NHS officers, there’s a lot that we do on our side that members don’t really see,” Wang said. “Every activities coordinator for every single project has to build spreadsheets of volunteers, send it to the sponsors, make sure they get signed up so everyone has a spot at the project, and get back, cross-check it with point sheets. There’s a lot of work behind the scenes that people don’t see.” Organization co-sponsor Shanique Leonard also said that NHS officers deserved a dinner. “Being a NHS officer is a tremendous

Continued on page 2

State realigns UIL districts for 2012-2013 season By Erin Ball

New district realignments for the 2012-2013 school year have placed the football and basketball teams in one of the smallest Texas 5A districts. In January, the University Interscholastic League set new boundaries for athletic districts in order to meet the needs of new schools and schools that are growing in population. There are only two other districts among the 32 in Texas 5A football and basketball that will be as small as Plano’s.

Each school’s UIL classification is based on how many students it has. The larger the district, the more A’s it has, all the way up to 5A. As it stands now, Plano will be in District 10-5A. This is a six-team district which is down from eight teams last season. “I think a six-team district is good for us,” quarterback junior Richard Lagow said. “Whenever there are fewer teams you need to beat, you have a better chance at winning your district. It gives us an amazing chance

to make playoffs and a great shot for the state title.” However, head football coach Jaydon McCullogh disagrees. “By no means will the teams be easier to beat than those in the last district,” head football coach Jaydon McCullough said. “It’s harder to recover if we don’t win the games we’re supposed to win.” In order to still play a large number of

Continued on page 2

Photo by Kelsey Young

During the upcoming football season, Plano will not play against Flower Mound Marcus.


May 8 2011

State realigns UIL districts for 2012-2013 season Continued from cover

By Erin Ball teams throughout the year, more preseason games are scheduled. This is an opportunity to play some of the teams from last year regardless of whether they are in district or not. Certain pre-district games, like games against Hebron and Marcus, will still be played for that reason. “As a coach, we get to set up and select those pre-district games,” McCullough said. “Hopefully, those pre-district games will get us ready for district play. All the games are rewarding and help us become competitive. My concerns are injuries and making sure we get to the first district game. Our first two district games are extremely important. They set the tone for the whole season, and that’s got to be our focus.” The first district football game and newest addition to the district is McKinney High School. McKinney has moved up to division 5A from division 4A. The head coach at McKinney, Jeff Smith, coached at Plano in 2002. The football and basketball teams are familiar with the other McKinney school in the district, McKinney Boyd. Boyd was in Plano’s district during the 2008-2009 and

2009-2010 seasons. “I’m not sure if you can pick one of those schools to be the most challenging because at the 5A level, everyone is good,” Lagow said. “When we start watching film on all the schools, then we will have a better idea of what our new competition is really bringing to the table.” Another change from last football season is that Plano will no longer play Lewisville or Flower Mound High School at all. “I think it will benefit us because they are both great teams, and even though we’re confident we can play well against anyone, they would both be tough games,” Lagow said. “Basically, it makes our schedule easier. I like the district the way it is now, but I would have liked to still play Flower Mound next year. Their defense is really quick. That is always a fun game to play from an offensive stand point.” The football schedule has been completely set for next year, and although basketball season is later in the school year, both teams are working to prepare themselves for their opponents both old and new.

“We’ve had a tremendous off-season and we’ve seen really good work from the kids so far,” McCullough said. “Summer starts an entire new phase for football and just like that, we’ll look up and it will be fall practice. The clock is ticking, and it will be here before we know it.” With the first scrimmage against Mesquite at the end of August, Lagow said the players and coaches have high expectations for the start of the season. “This past year, we did a better job of creating a whole team and stressing how we needed to be a family,” Lagow said. “It is starting to show a lot. I expect us to make a run for the state title.” McCullough echoed Lagow’s sentiments about next year. “Sometimes you have to play challenging and competitive teams to find out who you really are,” McCullough said. “More than anything, right now, we’re just concentrating on getting better. We’re focused on us. I’m happy about the district, and we are going to look at it and attack it with a very positive attitude.”

District 10-5A

District 8-5A

3 2



2 3







1. Allen 2. Flower Mound 3. Flower Mound Marcus 4. Hebron 5. Lewisville 6. Plano 7. Plano East 8. Plano West



1. Allen 2. Mckinney 3. Mckinney Boyd 4. Plano 5. Plano East 6. Plano West

Upscale NHS officer dinner raises eyebrows By Miles Hutson

Continued from cover

amount of work and a huge time commitment, with no grade or credit attached,” Leonard said in an email interview. “We feel that the majority of the membership appreciates that their NHS experience is easier to complete than in years past, and would probably agree that an officer appreciation dinner is warranted.” Member Niraj Parekh, however, said that officers’ hard work doesn’t mean they should be given a dinner at Fogo de Chao. “It’s understandable that they use the money for our t-shirts, but to use it just so the officers could buy food, and then also go to very expensive dinners, is upsetting,” Parekh said. “They’ve worked hard, but this is just a waste of money. Our politicians also work hard, should we be giving them a bunch of money just so they can go enjoy themselves? I personally don’t feel like that.

We also work hard as NHS members.” Parekh also said that he felt officers should have used the money from NHS members to throw a banquet like the one that was held last year. “That would be a really nice thing to do for us,” Parekh said. “Last year they even handed out prizes and stuff which was really cool. Unfortunately, they’re not doing that this year, but I think that would be a really good way to use the money so that the NHS members can feel like their time was spent in some sort of way.” Co-President Lawrence Liu said that the banquet wasn’t held because the NHS officers felt that members weren’t enthusiastic during the last one, and that many only came for a project credit. He also noted that the majority of member funds left after organization expenses go to charity organizations such

The Wildcat Tales May 8, 2011

Copy Editor

Daniel Hinson Eilie Strecker

Meital Boim Editorial Editor

Online Editors-in-Chief

Maelyn Schramm

Diva Gulati Madison McDaniel

Business Manager

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Layout Editor


Meaghan Pulliam

Terry Quinn

Year one: He tackled the security issue. Year two: Deployment issues were dealt with. Now: His third year, he integrated the Near Field Commnunication (NFC) into the system.For the past three years, senior Shayan Mohanty entered three parts of his final project, the security and deployment of Radio Frequency Identification/Near Field Communication (RFIC), into Dallas Science & Engineering Fair. His second installment qualified him for Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and placed him fourth in a category of 272 international finalists. “I’ve been doing a science project every year since ninth grade,” Mohanty said. “Honestly, it’s just something I can’t really live without.” What initially drew Mohanty into entering the specific project was what he described as the allure of cutting-edge and real technology. Mohanty said he was especially ready to develop his own RFIC security system instead of a paper-mache volcano cliché science fair project. Though outside influences were not allowed to help participants, students were allowed to receive guidance from mentors and teachers. Mohanty said he found inspiration and encouragement in science teacher Karen Shephard. “She’s had to deal with me for the last two years as my science fair sponsor and she has been incredible,” Mohanty said. “Even though she can’t help a whole lot with the technical aspects of my project, she certainly motivates me enough to where I can actually complete my research on time.” Mohanty said that he was unable to attend the awards ceremony due to communication mix-up but was ecstatic. He was not expecting to win anything at all when he entered the fair. “To leave with the grand prize in my hands knowing I was heading to Pittsburgh was a surreal and humbling experience,” Mohanty said. Mohanty will be going to Intel ISEF in Pittsburgh later this month. Furthermore, winding down to the last full month of school, Mohanty said that he is looking forward to not only going to Pittsburgh but also what the future holds, especially for his own company and in college. Mohanty is headed to UT this fall to study Electrical Engineering at the Cockrell School of Engineering. “I want my company to be successful in Austin too, so it’s an exciting time to be interested in this sort of stuff,” Mohanty said.

The Wildcat Tales is a student produced publication that serves to educate, inform and entertain the

Staff Writers

Jessica Allman Erin Ball Emma Barishman Haley Bunnell Paul Burnham Danielle Deraleau Miles Hutson Stephanie Jabri Yeesoo Lee Alyssa Matesic

By Yeesoo Lee

Mission Statement:

Volume LXVI Issue Eleven


as Journey of Hope and City House. Seniors Bethany Werner and Richard Hanson said that they felt okay with officers treating themselves to an expensive dinner. “I do see how some people could see it as being inappropriate,” Werner said. “That is expensive, that’s how much our prom dinner was. But they’ve worked hard, so they’ve earned it.” On the other hand, they said that officers should have done a better job of communicating the reasoning for their decisions on events such as Fogo and banquet to the members of NHS. “I wish they would have been more open about it,” Werner said. “That’s what they’ve reinforced all along. All those emails and all those point sheets and everything. All this goes against what I’ve been going on for all the years I’ve been at Plano.”

Senior places first in engineering competition

Kimberly Mei Shezal Padani Maddie Patton Kathy Santiago JP Salazar Cristina Seanez Kathleen Shaffer Josh Spruchman Dani Sureck Matt Wood

student body in a professional manner which will provoke thought while upholding the principles of a free press. The publication is a forum for the students of Plano Senior High School. Any opinions expressed in The Wildcat Tales is the opinion of the writer and of the writer only.

Policy: Students and faculty are encouraged to send in any questions, comments, concerns or criticisms to be published. Letters to the editors can be put in the envelope in room B208 or emailed to The Wildcat Tales at The staff reserves the right to edit a letter for grammatical errors and space issues. Any errors found in the publication will be rescinded in the following issue. Additional and daily updates can be found at our website Past issues can be viewed at Businesses wishing to advertise in The Wildcat Tales can email us at We reserve the right to refuse any advertisements deemed to be inappropriate.

The Wildcat Tales is the official student publication of Plano Senior High School 2200 Independence Pkwy Plano, Tx 75075 469.752.9300

Page Two


May 8, 2011

Sharing the love Students enjoy working in the Early Learning Center

By Shezal Padani


Photo by Shezal Padani

Lindsey: I like snack because it’s yummy. I even have a Hello Kitty and Barbie lunch box. I also like playing on the computers at pre-school because they have games. Sophie: My favorite thing at pre-school is playing in the sand bucket outside. Molly: My pre-school is like my play place. I have fun here because I get to play with my friends. Also, my favorite thing I learned about is camping because you get to go outside at night. Alex: My favorite part about pre-school is going outside and playing with my best friend Austin. Warren: I like playing outside because it’s fun. Austin: I like going to centers and learning about different things. I like the markers because I like to color. I like drawing too. I want to be an artist when I grow up.

t the Early Learning Center, learning how to camp under the stars and embracing artistic talents are the norm. Director Lindsay Placke said the Early Learning Center goes beyond teaching the basics of intellectual development but rather inspires creative development and knowledge of the outside world. As senior Kristen Clement teaches kids, who range in age between 3 and 4, about the camping experience during group time, the children follow along in an interactive song featuring “Ants on a Log.” “I like seeing them all happy and knowing that they actually understood something that was taught,” Clement said. “It can be really rewarding.” Clement discusses the hiking experience with the kids as well as the scary ghost stories told at many campsites. The children fully embrace the camping experience as they lie on their backs and look up at the sky searching for stars. Placke said group times such as these are important because they not only teach kids about aspects of the outside world, but also enforce order and discipline by having to pay attention to the teacher. “The reason children come to pre-school is to learn about routine and how to behave with other children,” Placke said. The Early Learning Center gives children a chance to learn these social skills which are important for their future lives.”

Introducing graduation speakers This is a story of the process senior Lance Lanier experienced to become a speaker at graduation. As I walk across the stage I see five people looking back at me from the audience. I am nervous and have to calm myself down, assuring myself that I have prepared myself for this. As I begin to imagine these five people becoming 5,000 people, plus people tuning in on cable, I read my poem to the judges, which lands me a spot as a graduation speaker on June 4. My first thought about auditioning as a graduation speaker came when I saw information on the announcements during my second period class. After my classmates encouraged me to sign up, that’s exactly what I did. However, after a night of thinking it

through, I decided that I did not want to audition. I had doubted myself. So I went to the sign-up sheet and grabbed what I thought was a black marker to cross my name off. It turns out it was a blue highlighter, so I ended up just highlighting my name. I decided to leave my name on that list because I assumed it was God’s way of saying that I could do it. I went home that night, put on some music, and began my poem. I asked my friends in my athletics class for some feedback with my rough draft and used some of their ideas in my poem. When I was thinking about how to write my speech, I just had to be myself. I’m a poet, so I figured I should just talk about all

The children at the Early Learning Center come from not only the Plano community, but from Mckinney and Dallas as well. It goes along with the educationin-training class for high school students who are interested in working with children. “I enjoy volunteering here because it is awesome to see the children learn and grow,” junior Mckenzie Baker said. “I really like playing games with the kids. They get really into them and get excited. It’s cool to see what they have learned.” Although memorizing the periodic table may seem challenging to some, Baker said that a 3-year-old boy in her class has memorized the entire periodic table. “Sometimes he follows me around reciting the periodic table,” Baker said. “If I say, ‘What’s number eight?’ He says, ‘You know, silly. It’s oxygen.’” Along with intellectual talent, Baker said she is also impressed with the way the kids treat one another. Although one child cannot walk well and uses a walker, Baker said he has really adapted to his walker, and the other children have too. “They treat him as if he is just like the others,” Baker said. “Teenagers are extremely judgmental of each other. At such a young age, children are a lot more accepting. It is neat to see how he is not treated any differently.” Although the children treat one another as equals, Clement said that the children’s behavior varies at times.

“They can be really crazy but after lunch they are a lot calmer,” Clement said. “It usually just depends on the situation. If they do get a little too rowdy, I usually just call attention to people being quiet, and show the children an example of what they should follow.” Placke said that getting everyone adjusted and on schedule can be frustrating at times. While behavior is an important aspect that is enforced at the Early Learning Center, Placke said she also tries to focus on each child and what he or she really needs. “Helping them learn the necessary social skills is important to me,” Placke said. “Plus, parents really appreciate the loving environment.” Placke said she enjoys teaching at the Early Learning Center because every day is different. “The things children say always surprise you,” Placke said. “They can make you laugh or melt your heart. If I am sick one day I will come back and have an ‘I missed you’ card. I sometimes even get homemade Christmas and birthday cards.” Placke said that teaching has also affected her life personally. With a baby due in May, Placke said it is helpful to see the way parents interact with their children. She said she plans on continuing teaching here next year as well because she has had a great experience for the past two years. “There is just a lot of love in this preschool,” Placke said.

of the memories from this year in a poem. I wrapped up in my story about what it means want to talk about everything that has been to be a Wildcat. different this year for the seniors. I thought At the end I get serious with the seniors. about the scooter squad; which was a bunch I am going to talk about all of our hard of seniors that rode around on scooters all work over the years and after we graduate day, and I thought about our football team it will all be over. It will be our turn to turn and our school traditions. it all around and put our hard work to the Since many people auditioned and only a test and make our dreams a reality. Don’t be handful were selected, I feel that my spunky afraid of your dreams because most people personality helped me become a graduation dream smaller than they can accomplish, but speaker. I try to be friends with everyone and everyone needs to dream big and never hold anything back. This is our senior year; you hope my genuine words touch their hearts. One way that I plan on making a can’t come back. memorable poem is by making sure to connect the entire graduating class, as well as the parents and other guests attending by Lance Lanier as told to Dani Sureck graduation. I want the people listening to get

“All of the Above”

“A Walk Down Memory Lane”


Valedictorian’s address



Opening remarks Student Congress president

Not pictured



Not pictured

Class president’s address


Kids say the darndest things

Photo by Shezal Padani

Students learn about camping and imagine looking up at stars with their student teachers.

Senior Emily Wornkey dances and sings along with her preschool students to “Ants on a Log.”

Salutatorian’s closing remarks

Page Three


May 8, 2012

How to kil

By Connor Blunt

Summer of music

May 3 Death Cab for Cutie McFarlin Memorial Auditorium

June 2 Meltdown Music Festival Ft. Passion Pit Quiktrip Park

“This year my family and I will be spending a week in Duck, North Carolina. My family has a beach house there and we’ll be meeting my cousins and uncle up there.” Junior, Allison Tims

“Over the summer my friends and I will be taking a road trip to Padre. We were supposed to go over spring break but that didn’t happen so we’re going to go in July. I’m really looking forward to it.”

June 22 Coldplay American Airlines Center

July 3 Warped Tour Gexa Energy Pavilion

“Almost every year my family goes down to Mexico for part of the summer. This year I’m going to spend two weeks there. One week at my Grandpa’s ranch; we have a few horses there and I love riding them. The second week we will be going to Cancun, Mexico and going to the beach. Hopefully while I’m there I can go parasailing.” Junior, Thalia Hernandez

Junior, Marcus Cashaw


veryone d syndrome your hou their “fun Hawaiian Islands. Plu What do you do to k

•Write a book •Update your Faceb •Create a blog •Pick up a new hobb •Invent something t •Discover the cure t •Bake cookies •Go online and supp •“Study” for SAT and •Take apart the TV t •Read a good book •Research college sc •Turn your laptop in site and look up the •GET A JOB!

There are tons of o

u S

10 ways to beat the heat

By Kathryn Hodges 10) “ I would go to hurricane harbor and ride the big purple slide.”- Abbey Roderman, 12 9) “I eat ice cream at Coldstone. My favorite flavor is definitely Oreos.” – Dylan Zamora, 12 8) “Keep a water bottle with you, and when you’re hot pour it down your back.”Ramiz Khan, 11 7) “I would take a cold shower and then sit under a fan to cool off!”-Allison Norton, 11 6) “I would walk around with a fan around my neck to stay cool.” -Stephanie Afunugo, 12

Page four

5)”You should just use one of those Water bottle squirt guns.” –Brad Hoeler, 11 4)”Just go to San Francisco, its stays at like 70 degrees”Alexandra Curry, 11 3) “I want to have a Slurpee fight with my friends.” –Sydney Richardson, 11 2) “Don’t wear a jacket.”Jonathan McNeil, 11 1)”I would build a freezer with everything I need; a bed, a kitchen and a bathroom. I would leave only if my fingers got frost bite!”- Matt Sundberg, 11

Using time wisely

Students work hard in the summertime


By Hunter Hale

s summer approaches, it brings with it the end of another school semester and students will find themselves with a lot of time on their hands. The summer is the perfect opportunity to make money, and still have plenty of free time. One summer job is babysitting. Making a set amount per hour while playing with children and having fun makes babysitting one of the best choices for a teen fresh out of school and looking to make some quick money.

“The pay varies on the days of babysitting. It’s usually $10 and hour.” junior Shaila Alexander said. “It’s enjoyable. The kids are pretty cool. It’s a lot of fun. I made $300 last summer.” Although babysitting is a lucrative business, others make money by doing chores around the house, and some, like junior Jake Lauffman, go to work at small businesses and restaurants. Lauffman worked at Outback Steakhouse last summer. “It was good for a while but then it got boring. It paid pretty well.

We also got tips. I made $4,000 last summer. The best part of the job was the people there. They were pretty cool. The work was relatively easy. ” Lauffman said. Senior Brandon Wilson worked as a waiter at Artin’s Grill. “It’s a fun job. I liked the atmosphere, and the people I worked with were great.” Wilson said. “I was making $215 an hour with tips. I really liked it.” Wilson said.

Designed by Journalism 1 Class

Editor-in-Cheif: Lesley Cazares Copy Editor: Kathryn Hodges Staff Writers: Connor Bolton, Phoebe Chang, Hunter Hale, Mylah Jones, Elora Miller, Gabi Saithsoothane


May 8, 2012

ll summer boredom

deals with it, that’s right I’m talking about summer boredom e. Those days when you spend the hot summer alone in use. Your car is broken; your friends all abandoned you for n” summer beach house that just happened to be on the us it’s 120 degrees outside, way too hot to walk anywhere. keep your sanity? Try these.

book or Twitter page

by, like drawing that will change the world to cancer

port a child from India d ACT then try to put it back together about raising Alpacas cholarships nto a touch screen tablet. (go to time magazine’s web e latest issue “100 most influential people”)

other things you can do to fight summer boredom, good luck!

r e m m




By Gabi Saithsoothane n the months leading up to summer, everyone struggles to get that, “hot summer bod”. The preparations that people do for bikini season will go to waste in the summer if you don’t keep up with staying fit and healthy. Yes, there will be some slip-ups when you go to IHOP in the morning, Mickey D’s for lunch, and have pizza for dinner. But, there are minor changes you can make to your diet to become healthier. “Cut back on added sugars and your carb intake,” Texas Boot Camp instructor, Jackie Pisciotta said. “You don’t need to keep a hardcore diet; Make the weekends when you cheat, so more days you’re being healthy.” Summer is the perfect time to use that gym membership you applied for but never used. Homework and school isn’t a suffice excuse anymore. “Go to the gym as often as you can or want,” Pisciotta said. “Sprint through your neighborhood; Sprinting and walking combo is the easiest way to burn fat.”

Consume water every day, especially when you work out. The scorching hot weather in Texas during the summer is a perfect condition for getting heat stroke. “Stay hydrated with water,” Pisciotta said. “Most people thing they are hungry but it’s usually the body telling them they are thirsty.” When you’re cooling off in the pool, try doing exercises instead of laying on a floatie. “High knees in the pool are a great workout,” Pisciotta said. “Push the water towards and away from you for arms.” If you don’t use sun tan lotion/ sunscreen with SPF you might end up looking like a bag of flaming hot Cheetos after you sit outside for a while. “Make sure to use sunscreens with SPF,” Pisciotta said. “The sun’s rays are very strong and doing such helps protect your skin.” So, follow these tips during the summer, so you’ll have a good summer body and feel healthy throughout the two and a half months.

Wildcats never rest

By Lesley Cazares

To succeed in football, players have to always be in their best shape, and practice. To make sure that they are, UIL sets the earliest practice date to two weeks before school starts. The first week involves them properly conditioning themselves to Texas heat. “You can’t just go out in pads right off the bat. You gotta have some days to wear just shorts,” Coach Reynolds said. “That’s why the

first weeks are important.” During the second week the team starts harder drills and learning the new plays they’ll be using through the year. “ They have us become more familiar with the different kinds of plays and formations we throw out there on Friday nights, “ Junior Jourdan Escobar said. “ It helps the team know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.” While other students are out

enjoying their last few days of summer, football players are out practicing to be winners for the next year. “Practice over the summer, for one thing, keeps us in shape and also helps us get bigger, faster, and stronger,” Escobar said. “Mainly because practice makes perfect, and that’s all we can ask for on Friday nights.”

“This year I’m going with my church (CMC) on a mission trip to Louisiana. The group I’m going with is called APPA, and we go to different cities doing manual labor like fixing houses affected by tornados. And this year because I’m a senior I get to help plan the activities we do and the scriptures we talk about.” Senior, Andrew Alexander Varsity football begins to practice, and prepare for scrimmages and the fall season.

Page five


May 8, 2011

If you really knew me: Brandon Smidt


By Haley Bunnell

hen he was a young boy, living on a military base, his father, a Sgt. 3rd class in the Special Forces group, told him, “Actions speak louder than words.” Now more than ever, junior Brandon Smidt is living by that motto. Written on his hands are the words, ‘‘yes” and “no,” which have been his only means of communication for the past three weeks. However, because of the requirement of school participation and manners in general, Brandon doesn’t always remain quiet. He speaks when confronted by a teacher, to answer his father, an interview for the newspaper, his job and when a friend really needs him to speak. “We say too much, yet we speak too little,” Brandon said. “Every word I’ve said these past weeks has to mean something. We savor the words we have to say, so they are more valuable to people. Someone is sad, and you want to help them, and they know you haven’t been talking for a week, don’t you think the words would mean something if you said something to them? So that is what I am doing.” Brandon has stayed quiet for a few days at a time before, but this is the first time Brandon has remained silent so consistently. “He has never been a huger talker, unless it is something he believes in and supports,” Brandon’s father, Richard Smidt said. “He doesn’t just talk to talk. So when he has something to say, it is something important to him. I have seen Brandon stand up to people two or three years older than him and he will stand his ground. He learned from a young age to defend himself, and to prevent someone else from getting hurt. He is just that type of person.” Brandon’s oath of silence began when his 11-year-old dog, Lizzie, ran away. However Brandon said this incident was not the main reason behind his quietness. “When we got her back, I thought about it more,” Brandon said. “Maybe I am not entirely doing it for my dog, maybe I am doing

it because I want to and she just gave me the push. I think she helped me. She always knows how I feel, and it’s weird because she is a dog, but she knows me so well.” In addition to showing the ‘‘yes’’ and “no’’ markings on his palms, Brandon communicates through gesturing, writing on paper and texting the response on his phone. “I am trying to show people how I feel without speaking words,” Brandon said. “You can always say something, but unless you do it or show a person how you feel, they won’t feel better. I can say sorry. Sorry is a word used millions of times a day. But showing sorry is a lot harder than you think. For me to show sorry is just by giving someone a hug, letting them lay on my shoulder and letting them talk to me without any interruptions.” Because of his father’s line of work, he lived and visited countries around the world, and experienced different cultures and ways of life. While most 7-year-old children play with cars, Brandon rode tanks and helicopters, and learned to shoot guns. “I hold value with him,” Richard said. “Without honor you can’t have character, without integrity you can’t have honor and he has all of those. And he is a teenager who screws up, but he has been raised to be an independent thinker and has had the opportunity to be a problem solver. He doesn’t look for people to make decisions for him.” Brandon’s decision has brought some hardships, however. The silence has caused some controversy around school. Some of his teachers believe it is unethical and childish. He has also been told by students that he looks retarded for doing this, that he is stupid and weird. “This is exactly what I expected from people,” Brandon said. “What I am doing is what I want to do and I am happy doing it,” Brandon said. “I am not making fun of anybody, the mute or deaf. I am not telling everybody to be quiet. There are people that just don’t understand me and it kind of offends them a little bit. They don’t like it, so what they do is dislike me because I am not like them.”

Photo by Haley Bunnell

To make each word count, junior Brandon Smidt mostly only communicates with the “yes” and “no” written on his palms.

His family has been supportive of it. His father doesn’t necessarily like it, when Brandon doesn’t speak, but he understands the meaning behind it. Even though some people are bothered by his choice, there are some people who understand him. His lack of speaking has made their friendship stronger and more connected. “Me being quiet has given me the opportunity to listen to people, and show them the connection between us,” Brandon said. “With me not talking, I don’t have to interrupt a person’s story. I just listen the whole time. I don’t have to tell them I felt connected, or that I have felt that before. I just have to listen. When you try to compare yourself to other people they don’t like it all the time. With me just being quiet they accept it.” Brandon said he is going to remain silent for as long as he finds it necessary. He could never talk again, or he can decide to talk tomorrow. “If you really knew me,” Brandon said, “You would know my actions speak louder than my words.”

Senior wants to become a teacher B JP S y


A middle school student raises his hand and asks seventh grade English teacher Kristin Gordon a question about prepositions. After answering it, the young Mrs. Gordon promptly resumes control over the class. At Mrs. Gordon’s desk, senior Kelsey Richards notes the way that her sister approaches her students, and feels the love and respect the students have for Mrs. Gordon. This has been one of the privileges Richards has experienced because of her enrollment in the Instructional Practices in Education and Training class, which allows students to visit different teaching related field sites. “I love working with kids and interacting with people of all ages and from different walks of life,” Richards said. “I went to the pre-school first and that was cool because I got to watch all the kids interact with each other and the older kids. I also got the opportunity to go to an elementary school. Seeing all of these different learning atmospheres will help me decide what I want to teach.” Although Richards does not yet know what subject or school level she wants to teach, she does know what style of teaching she enjoys most and would like to use. “I like teachers who connect with us, in a way that nobody else has,” Richards said. “Most people go through the motions but I like when teachers spend time to get know each one of us.” However, Richards said that she can’t get overly comfortable with her students, but that she still hopes to set an example for them. “I’m going to lay down ground rules because that’s

really necessary,” Richards said. “I don’t want to throw all my morals and thoughts out there, but I do hope to be an example of someone who is wellmannered and successful in pursuing a career they enjoyed.” After watching many different teachers, Richards has decided what attributes are most important for a teacher to obtain and what not to do as a teacher. “The things I want to pull from each teacher like organization and having a connection with students - I’ve seen firsthand why they are so important,” Richards said. “It’s disappointing to see a bad teacher because there are so many people looking for jobs out there and it feels like a waste of potential.” Although some of the students in IPET already know what they want to teach, Richards said she isn’t worried because choosing a field of education will be one of the most important things she’ll do in regards to her career. “My sister was able to get a job her first year out of college and is in Plano where she ultimately wanted to be,” Richards said. “It’s inspirational to have that success story to draw from. I’ve learned from her that you can’t teach something well if you don’t like it and that’s why I’m waiting to decide what I should do.”

Senior Daphne Evens also wants to become a teacher. To read her story, visit us online at

Page Six

Cupcakes for a cure By Cristina Seanaz When junior Michelle Kim was 5 years old, her grandfather died from lung cancer. His fight and that of others who suffer from cancer inspired her to make a difference. She decided, then, to raise money for families whose children are facing leukemia and other types of cancer. “I thought ‘Hey, cupcakes are cute and kids are cute. Students like cupcakes and people love kids,’” Kim said. Kim decided to start the club, Cupcakes for a Cure, with a close friend junior Tiffany Liu. “When Michelle came to me with the idea of creating the club I thought it was a great idea since there are plenty of girls and boys who love to bake,” Liu said. “I’m in clinicals so helping out children in need and making a difference in their lives has always been one of my interests.” This 15-member club has already started to sell cupcakes around school and in the members’ classes and they also plan on selling during both lunches. The cupcakes are only a dollar and there are a variety of flavors. “This club is full of great, passionate kids that care a lot about the cause, so I think there is some real potential here,” American Studies teacher and club sponsor Matt Cone said. “All of the members share a sense of enthusiasm and purpose, and I have been very impressed with their positive attitude thus far.” All the money the club makes will be donated to families that need financial aid with medical bills from their children’s treatment. Liu said they plan on raising at least $2,000 by the end of this year to help out at least one family in need. For now the club is simply raising money, and they plan on finding the families during the summer. “I want to help the families personally,” Kim said. “I know that this project will be satisfactory for all of the members, because we know we are helping change someone’s life.” Kim and Liu said they are excited to see how much money the club can raise and how many families they can help. They said they hope to see the club grow bigger and impact the community. “I encourage students to join and support Cupcakes for a Cure because it will be both a fun and fulfilling experience to be able to bake with friends and help children with cancer,” Liu said. “Let’s drop that estimated children deaths number to zero.”


May 8 2011

I can’t dance By Maelyn Schramm

I can’t dance. At all. No matter how graceful I try to be, my body just doesn’t flow the way the Dancing with the Stars professionals’ do. But right now, where I am, this very second, it doesn’t matter. I’m in a park in China. There are about 300 individuals grooving simultaneously to the tune of strange but strikingly breathtaking music. And then there’s me and my friends. We are all trying so very hard to imitate their fragile and easy steps, to move rhythmically to the wispy songs, matching our bodies to theirs. We try, but we fail. Miserably. We knock into each other, we accidentally hit ourselves. We trip, we fall, we face plant. The irony of it all is that it’s okay. Our 300 dancing idols continue to calmly sway their bodies to the music, only a few of them look back at us now and then. We put the “strange” in strangers, but it’s as if they don’t even care how oddly we contort our bodies, they only want us to join in on the fun. Before we even realize it, our blood is pumping, and our hearts are beating faster and faster. Giggles escape from our lips, twinkles beam from our eyes, and we fall in love.

By Alyssa Matesic

I first knew something was different about the place when we passed that tree. It was completely isolated; no accompanying forestry surrounded it. It was huge and picturesque—its towering, wide branches made it appear swollen with greenery. And it was completely bent over to the right. Its trunk curved nearly parallel to the ground, making it appear horizontal. It hadn’t fallen over, it was just misshapen. It was something out of a fantasy movie; certainly, it wasn’t something that happened in nature. I think the car went silent for a moment. That tree perplexed all of us. We passed the sign a little bit later. “Southernmost edge of the United States ahead,” it read. There was a small gravel parking lot. I was surprised to see other cars there—I didn’t realize it was a particularly popular tourist site. When I got out of the car, I realized what had happened to that tree. The wind was unbelievable—the kind that partially deafens the ears and drowns words. I could barely stand up against it. I understood that the tree had lost the battle, too. The place was, in fact, a pathetic excuse for a tourist destination—there was but one small plaque on the edge of a cliff that marked the actual spot. I looked around. There were no other people at the marker, but the cars were still in the gravel parking lot. It was all lava rock and cliff around us. We wandered around a bit just for lack of anything better to do. The rough rocks were hard to walk on—it was like sanding your toes with every step. Occasionally, there was one jagged edge that made me jump up in pain. Then I heard voices. Laughing. Shouting. My eyes scanned the horizon for them, the car owners. I found a few silhouettes at the cliff ’s edge. As we approached them, it seemed to me that two worlds were colliding. We were a sun-screened, sunglass-wearing, pale tourist family carrying beach bags and lunch coolers. My dad was wearing a Hawaiian shirt. I was already sunburned

“We should do this in America. This. Is. Awesome.” I think to myself. Never in my life would I catch myself dancing at the neighborhood park back home in Richardson. I can only imagine what people would say. “Mommy! What is that lady doing?” “Is that woman…oh dear Lord in Heaven… is she dancing?!” “That girl, that freak over there, is dancing by herself!” In China, people passing by would simply take a short glance and continue on their way, they might even offer a smile or a wave. Maybe we can learn something from the Chinese. Maybe we can understand that it is in fact okay to bust a move every now and then, healthy even. It is alright to spin in circles, laugh like a 4-year-old, and jump up and down, to free yourself from all of the stress and worries of tomorrow. I see peace in the eyes of each Chinese person we see, and I think I finally know why. Each night, they take advantage of their free time. I utilize my free time at home by sitting on the couch watching Say Yes to the Dress, or frying my brain from staring

at Facebook for hours at a time. But the Chinese go outside, breathe in the fresh air, and get their groove on with their neighbors. I don’t speak Chinese, and I certainly don’t know too much about their culture, but I see this unity that we don’t have back home in Texas. These folks are not just dancers or neighbors; they are close and personal friends. They speak with each other, they laugh with each other, they dance with each other. They’re connected. I would have a tough time naming five people on my street alone, much less carrying on a meaningful conversation or dancing with them. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t fly home, sprint to the closest park, blast my iHome and start flailing my arms everywhere. But if I can pry myself away from the television, take a walk around the block, I might be able to catch up on some of the missed conversations I’ve ignored in the past. I think it’s about time that I stop thinking about myself, food, and how much I hate school – the usual teenage mentality - and started thinking about others, and getting to know the stories behind the friendly faces next door, even if I have to dance.

all across my back. The other group was obviously from the area—three relatively young, tan guys with no baggage whatsoever. Their hair was shaggy and wet. I glanced around and tried to find where they had been swimming. There didn’t seem to be any readily available pools. Then there was a scream. Not one of agony—a somewhat delighted yell with a hint of fear in it. We all turned simultaneously. I just barely caught a man’s head falling below the edge of the cliff. We all rushed to the edge and peered over. My mom kept me from leaning too far, though, as there was no railing. It seemed to go down forever. His head was a tiny black dot in the bright blue ocean. I turned to face the tan guys, somewhat still in shock from what I had witnessed, but they were smiling and highfiving each other. I had found their pool. The excessive wind created enormous waves—huge walls of blue crashing against the jagged black rock. When the water receded, I could see the end of a flimsy rope ladder barely touching the surface. It led up to the top of the cliff, where an unstable wood platform had been built out over the edge. The black dot fell into the cliff and away from it with each passing wave, and in one swift movement, the man grabbed onto the rope. It was only attached at the top of the cliff, so he rocked and swayed with each weight shift. Miraculously, he made it up to the top alive. He was obviously exhausted but had a huge smile on his face. Then he got in line to do it again. Some of the others walked toward what looked to be a huge hole in the ground—but it wasn’t clean-cut. The edges were rough. My family followed them. There was a small pool of blue inside colliding violently with the edges of the lava tube. When the water pulled back, the tube nearly emptied. When it released, a flood would occur. One of the guys waited for the high tide and plunged right in. Another slowly lowered himself using the rocks—there was no ladder.

I stared in awe at them. They were one with the ocean—giving and taking as it did. There was a certain level of peace there despite the war between waves and rock. I glanced back up and saw my sister and mom following the rock climber, who was going back down into the pool. “Are you crazy?” I yelled, but it still sounded like a whisper. They didn’t hear me. I was helpless up at the top. I wanted to experience the thrill with them, but I knew I was far too weak both mentally and physically. So I sat there, watching heads drop surreally down into the ocean and bodies lower themselves swiftly into the tube. My sister and mom lacked the skill that the locals had, and their journey down was rather weak and inconsistent. They placed their feet hesitantly on a rock below, not knowing surely whether it was stable or not. Their hands shook a little above them—I could tell even from my distance. When they finally reached the water, it slammed them around. There was no grace about it. “Are you okay?” It was useless. Their eyes were squinted and they struggled to capture their breaths. It was hard to see them reduced to that, to see them so vulnerable. They were tiny, battered black dots. To feel fully alive, one must come close to death. To this day, I wish I had jumped off the cliff or climbed into the tube, despite any of the risks that I witnessed. I think that that’s why the local guys loved it so much—to have that thrilling moment of uncertainty, that moment in limbo. I want to be able to taste it—to feel the saltwater burn my tongue and throat. To sacrifice all my senses to the wind. To lose my sense of self for a moment and give in. To become a black dot falling through the air or traveling as part of the water. Then, if there’s a shaky rope ladder or a jagged piece of rock, I’ll pull myself up, rejuvenate my heart and plunge again. To feel death. To feel life. To feel something.

Carrie Underwood:

Blown Away By Maddie Patton


ight years after her debut on American Idol, Carrie Underwood has established herself as a top artist. With four albums under her belt, her newest album, Blown Away, released on May 1, showcases her powerful vocals, heartfelt lyrics and orchestral instruments. Each and every album shows her incredible, natural voice. Different from other country artists, she displays vulnerability in her songs, which strikes a chord in listeners of all ages. This album not only reaches many ages, it breaks through to fans of different genres. Not excluding her number one genre, country, the album has much variety between all 14 songs, “One Way Ticket” has almost a reggae sound, “Cupids got a Shotgun” features Brad Paisley’s guitar and the fiddle and “Good Girl” is more pop country. The list of songs starts with “Good Girl”, which is already on iTunes top singles. It’s an upbeat track. It is similar to Underwood’s other hardhitting songs, but breaks boundaries with her vocals. It’s girly and fun with her signature country drawl. The song, which gave the album its name, “Blown Away”, is an emotional song about a disastrous twister that tears through a town. It is a poetic song full of symbols and painful imagery. Of all Carrie Underwood’s albums, this one has got to be the best. Blown Away is different from her other albums because of the variety in the sound of each song. Rather than being the same monotonous country style, she mixes in different kinds of music to keep the fans listening. Tickets for her North American tour go on sale May 11, and she will be in Dallas at the American Airlines Center on Oct. 24, 2012.

Page Seven


May 8, 2012

Issue Eleven

Plano Senior High School

Plano, TX, USA

Issue 11 May 8, 2012  

Wildcat Tales Volume 66 Issue 11 May 8, 2012