The Wildcat Tales volume lxvi
January 20, 2012
Plano Senior High School
Plano, TX, USA
Second to none
Mr. Plano Candidates
Stepping it up a notch Environmental club introducing new recycling system By Dani Sureck Environmental Club is taking the next step in cleaning up the campus and is asking students to help them out. As of now, recycling bins consist of big, green bins scattered throughout the campus, but Environmental Club plans to change that. “We want to start over and make a fresh start with new bins,” co-president senior Dani Adix said. “We have a lot of different colored recycling bins, but the City Council informed us that having the same bin increases recycling due to familiarity.” The City of Plano donated the current recycle bins around the school, so Adix said she hopes that they will be willing to help out by getting new bins. Originally the club wanted to invest in bins with three sections for recycling. However, these bins cost $2000 a piece, and the district was not willing to purchase these bins. This has left the club with the decision to choose a bin that the district will buy. The goal of the new bins is to have one next to each trash can in the hallways and around campus. “We want students to recycle and not be lazy,” Garcia said. “If we have more recycling bins in closer proximity, we believe that will increase recycling.” To make sure that students know what is recyclable and what is not, Environmental Club will be branching out from the conventional posters with examples on each bin. By early February, the club will have released a video that will help students understand the seriousness of the matter while teaching students about recycling in a fun way. Co-president senior Beverly Wang said she believes that by informing students on what is recyclable, the campus can experience a dramatic change for the better. “What we’re aiming for is campus clean up,” Wang said. These new recycling bins will only be placed in the hallways along the campus. So what about the issue of students and faculty members not transferring the contents of the blue bins in each classroom to the big dumpsters to have them recycled properly each night? These new recycling bins will not address that dilemma at all. However, Garcia says that in the instructional video, recycling in the classrooms with those bins will be addressed. Adix said she believes that if people took the time to recycle, the change could have a chain reaction effect. “Be more aware,” Adix said. “Right now there are not a lot of places to recycle, but if people just took the moment to recycle instead of dumping it away in the trash can, then our campus could grow.”
CHICAGO Photo by Terry Quinn
Musical took the stage selling out every performance
Photo by Daniel Hinson
More on CHICAGO online at www.wildcattales.com
Attention for sale Students abuse By Erin Ball
AA DD DD / A AD DH HD D
*Name changed to protect identity The rate of high school students illegally taking medicine used to treat kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has grown 35.5 percent in the last two years, according to recent investigations by MNSBC and the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Vyvanse, Concerta, Adderall and Ritalin are all prescription medications that improve concentration. “I have ADD, and people ask me for my medicine pretty regularly, almost every day,” junior John Smith* said. “My friends only ask for it for school work that they’d like to focus on, but I have heard of people them all the time for less important reasons. I’ve heard a lot of girls like it because they say it keeps them from getting hungry.” Prescription users have the ability to make money by selling their medication to people who haven’t been diagnosed but want the drugs. “I know if someone was selling the pills, they’d normally price them at about $5 each pill,” John* said. “They can make a lot of money off of them.”
John* said he usually doesn’t charge his friends because he believes it helps them get better grades. “I know that they aren’t over-using it,” John* said. “I’m not going to make my friends pay for something that maximizes their academic potential, and I have a lot of extras anyway from old prescriptions.” ADHD drugs can become addicting due to their basis as an amphetamine. “I started taking Adderall because I procrastinate a lot, and I heard it helps you cram for tests,” senior Jane Smith* said. “I bought the pills from my friends when I could. Then, I started taking the medicine every day because I couldn’t concentrate without it. It was strange because I didn’t have ADD, but I think I developed a dependence on the pills.” While it is illegal to buy or sell someone else’s drugs, there are also many possible complications that can come from incorrect usage. “It’s not uncommon for someone taking medication that’s younger to have some kind of serious consequences,” officer Rick
Armor said. “We’ve had people down here whose resting heart rate was 120. They’ve got something in their system, and we know it.” Taking the medicine without being diagnosed can lead to mood swings and depression. “I became kind of anti-social because it intensified my emotions and gave me a lot of headaches,” Jane* said. “I stopped taking it because I was tired of feeling like a drug addict. I wasn’t happy with myself. But even now, I still find it hard to concentrate sometimes.” There are also legal consequences for distributing or selling prescription medication. The school administration and local police agency are required to take action. “This type of crime is taken just as seriously as any other one,” Armor said. “This should be a big people school, where we all look out for each other. One person might not think it’s a big deal, but you’d feel terrible if something happened, and you didn’t stop it. That situation happens all the time.”
January 20, 2012
Full Orchestra hits a crescendo Full Orchestra takes first place in state competition
By Miles Hutson he Full Orchestra will soon play in front of more than 1000 Texas educators at the Lila Cockrell building in San Antonio after being selected as the top Symphony Orchestra in a
Texas Music Educators Association event. To compete for the spot of the top Honor Full Orchestra, orchestras enter a recording for consideration by judges over the summer the year before the TMEA convention. The orchestra that is selected goes on to play at the convention the next year.
“There are a lot of schools in the state of Texas that dream about being an honored orchestra,” orchestra director Brian Coatney said. Full Orchestra gathers for rehearsal on a weekly basis as their performance dates come closer, and works to make their music polished and professional. “Last year we worked really hard on the repertoire,” violinist senior Melanie Nguyen said. “We were all working really hard to get it, because it meant a lot to us.” Full Orchestra is made up of students from the top two orchestras, Chamber and Symphony orchestra, as well as the best students from the Wind Ensemble band. Students try out the year before they enter Full Orchestra. “They have so much time to mark that literature up, and that really helps determine who the best players are,” Coatney said. “In addition, we’re looking at the most responsible and dedicated, the people who are willing to put so much effort and time into that.” Students said the audition process can be stressful when their eyes are set on Full Orchestra. “That was a challenge, because I know there are a lot of people who are better than me,” Nguyen said. “But I worked really hard for the audition, and I’m glad they saw that.” Once they are in the top orchestra, they must learn more music, as they attempt to master classical works such as the “Procession of the Nobles” and Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5.” “This year, much more is expected of us, and we have to prepare more pieces,” bassoonist senior Chris Pawlowski said. “As
we get closer to the contest date, it can get a little stressful, but it’s pretty fun. I love rehearsing.” Once they are in the Full Orchestra, some orchestra and band students must adapt to playing alongside each other for the first time. “You have to be really confident in your playing, because wind players are very loud and band players in general are really loud and confident,” Nguyen said. “Once you learn how to do everything and how it works, it gets a lot more fun, and the hard work pays off.” The directors said that they also enjoy the process of preparing for TMEA events. “I’m lucky to be able to do it, particularly with a group like the Plano Senior High kids,” Wind Ensemble director Jeremy Kondrat said. “It’s really fun and really rewarding, and the music we get to play is very challenging and sophisticated. We play it as well as many colleges, if not better.” Feb. 11 will not mark the first time the orchestra has played for a TMEA convention; this is its seventh win in a competition where consecutive entries are disallowed. Kondrat credits several factors for Full Orchestra’s success. “First of all, really good training for our
Photos by Miles Hutson
student musicians in the string program and in the band program at the middle schools and the high schools that feed into here,” Kondrat said. “And honestly, just very committed and talented students that want to be playing good music.” And according to violinist and Full Orchestra council president senior Shalini Ranmuthu, that music is what Full Orchestra is really all about. “It’s actually being in there and playing the music with the wind and the brass and percussion,” she said. “You can feel the entire room vibrating. If your seat isn’t shaking while you’re playing, something’s wrong.” PSHS Full Orchestra presents their PreTMEA Concert on Saturday February 4, 2012 at Allen High School. The concert starts at 3pm. Tickets are $10.
January 20, 2012
B R OA D E N I N G Kathleen Shaffer
Standing in the Louvre, junior Achyuta Burra was just feet away from some of the most famous paintings in the world. “I saw so many of the paintings I learned about in ninth and 10th grade humanities,” Burra said. “Knowing the history helped me understand and appreciate the Louvre more. With some of the paintings I was expecting more, when I saw the Mona Lisa it was a letdown because of how small it is versus the hype around it.” Burra went to France for nine days with his family during winter break. In France, Burra spent the majority of his time in Paris and some in Versailles, where he toured the palace used by the French monarchy. “The palace was huge, and all the gold inside was almost excessive,” Burra said. “Everything inside was extremely extravagant. I took so many pictures of everything in Versailles, even outside the palace because of all the gardens, trails and ponds.” After riding a creaky elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower, Burra saw a different
view of Paris. “I could see everything from the top of the Eiffel Tower,” Burra said. “We went on one of the coldest nights, and it was pretty windy, but it was worth it.” Burra said many things are different in Paris, including the transportation and architecture. “The actual streets and buildings look very old,” Burra said. “I could imagine all the events that have taken place or I’ve read about happening there. Intricate details in modern buildings aren’t something you see. Also, we were able to get around the city using maps and the metro, we didn’t need to rent a car to get around. The public transportation was very useful getting around the city we even used the metro to go to Versailles.” While walking through a crowded street with his family, Burra’s father was almost robbed. “[A man] bumped into my dad and reached for his hip to grab his wallet but couldn’t get to it,” Burra said. “I think it was obvious to the locals that we were tourists
because we spoke English and were dressed differently from them. They didn’t seem to be as friendly towards us because we were from America.” Unlike Burra who spent time visiting tourist attractions in a new city, junior Ting Ting Qiu went to China to visit family in her home town of Beijing. “We go every year, so we no longer go to the typical tourist attractions like the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square or the Forbidden City,” Qiu said. “Instead, we go to all the shopping and restaurant spots only the people of the city know about.” Qiu and her younger sister Natalie Chou will appear in a Chinese magazine in February after an eight hour photo-shoot in a fashion district in Beijing called SoHo. In China they are considered unique because Chou is 5’11” and Qiu is 5’9”. “Everyone was extremely professional,” Chou said. “Even though it was a long process, I had a lot of fun. I was really nervous, but having my sister there helped to calm me down.”
Normally when Qiu goes to China she spends time family and friends whom she doesn’t get to see frequently. “I always look forward to spending time with my family,” Qiu said. “I got to spend time with my friends here during winter break because I wasn’t gone the whole time, but it was nice to go see my family and friends in Beijing. I really like to go shopping with them or going out to eat because the Chinese food is so much different than the imitation things you find here.” Chou said that going to China is something that would be a good experience to someone who has never been to an Asian country. “Going to China would let you learn a lot about the largest population in the world,” Chou said. “There are so many more people living in one city, and squeezing onto a crowded subway or bus isn’t something you experience in Plano. I would recommend travelling in general because it gives you a different look on the world you live in.”
What lies ahead: Preparing for college life
A series following senior Lauren Burgess through college application process By Matt Wood After being admitted into TCU, senior Lauren Burgess is narrowing down her choices. Although she applied to several schools, TCU in particular has piqued her interest. With academic scholarships totaling $8,000 per year – almost a quarter of the cost – she is leaning more towards becoming a bullfrog. With her college acceptance, Burgess has been fine tuning her transition from high school senior to college freshman through scholarships and immersion in the college environment. “I went to a TCU football game with my friends, which was a great experience,” Burgess said. “Even though it was raining,
the whole crowd was really involved with the cheerleaders, and the whole school had a great energy through it all.” During her visit, Burgess got a closer look at what college life will entail. Her friend Kelsey Dwyer, who is currently enrolled at TCU, showed Burgess her dorm room and the campus. “The housing was very nice. The rooms had their own bathrooms and little things like a microwave and a fridge,” Burgess said. “The campus was really great to walk around and see. And the football stadium was huge, which is exciting since I’m trying out for cheer there.” After her visit, Burgess feels the idea of
living on her own isn’t so far away anymore and that she’s ready to begin her life as an adult. “I’m excited for the upcoming year,” Burgess said. “It’s a nice distance away, where I can still be on my own, but I’m not too far to visit home.” In the midst of excitement, however, Burgess is still planning ahead. In an effort to balance work and college, Burgess plans to dedicate herself to her studies during her semesters at TCU. “I probably won’t get a job during the school year, so I can focus on college,” Burgess said. “But when I come home during the summer, I’ll probably get a job before the next year starts.”
TCU is Burgess’s current preference, but she still has a few things to cross off her todo list before attending her college of choice. “As far as rooming in college, the only person that I know that’s going right now is my friend Kelsey,” Burgess said. “I could also end up meeting someone who’s trying out for cheer there, but I’ll just have to see how it goes.” As her senior year begins to wrap up and with college life is less than a year away Burgess said she has mixed feelings about leaving high school. “I’ll definitely miss high school,” Burgess said. “I have a lot of great friends and memories here. But I think I’m at a point where I’m ready for new experiences.”
For more Stories
check us out online at www.wildcattales.com Page Three
Features Parties in the U.S.A. January 20, 2012
Students’ views on political parties By Shezal Padani Turning 18 not only ensures becoming a legal adult but also certifies the individual with the right to vote in the political world. Many people have their own opinions on the politics of our world. However, according to junior Harita Nandivada, parents play a role in their children’s political views. “Parents are and always have been our primary authority figures,” Nandivada said. “They shape our sense of morals and other beliefs, so it makes sense that kids tend to follow their parents’ political views.” As teenagers mature, political views also mature and transform according to Nandivada. “A lot of my political views stem from my own sense of right and wrong which have absolutely been shaped in part by my parents,” Nandivada said. “My parents also have a lot of opposing political views. Growing up listening to both sides of every issue helped me to form my own ideals independently.” As a result of having two parents with opposing viewpoints, Nandivada has formed her own opinion based on the two views. “I tend to agree more with my dad because he is a lot more liberal whereas my mom is more conservative,” Nandivada said. “It’s always interesting to hear both sides of every issue, though.” As one grows into adulthood, political views sometimes change according to past experiences. “I majored in psychology and philosophy, so came out of college quite a solid skeptic,” AP Psychology teacher Jeffrey Brooks said. “Question everything. So, I don’t really follow my parents’ political ideas. Though, that all depends on the issue.”
Several students’ views have been shaped by their parents since they were children; however there are other students who are more self-opinionated in their thinking My viewpoint has started to change from theirs,” junior Lincoln Turner said. “My views are based on what I think would be the best solution for our country’s problems, because what’s happening now obviously isn’t working.” In addition to parents, there are other factors that influence political views as well. “My political views are also influenced by my religion and Israel,” junior Kalia Popp said. “Judaism has laws that talk about social justice and equality that the Democratic party also values. As for Israel, the Democratic party sympathizes with the state of Israel and has given a lot of help over the years.” Although some teenagers are interested in the political domain, according to Turner, a majority of young adults are not as involved in the political world as they should be. In fact, according to civicyouth.org, only 24 percent of youth voted in the 2010 election. There are several reasons why this age group has the lowest voting turnout rate. “I think children from 18 to 21 who have just gotten out of high school haven’t experienced enough interaction with the government to feel like they need to vote,” Turner said. “They might also feel like their one vote doesn’t really have an impact on the election, but in reality it plays a big role.” In addition, high school students are preparing themselves for the transition to college and work. “They may not have the time to watch the news or keep up with current politics,” junior Jacob Naumann said. This is true for the majority of young adults from age 18 to 21, including Naumann.
“Now I’m not really keeping up with politics – I’m a lot less interested than I used to be,” Naumann said. “Politics are not very important – at least not right now. I can live without knowing Europe is having financial trouble that I will never experience in my day-to-day life.” Politics may not be a major concern for some young adults and teenagers, but according to Popp, knowing about politics is very important. “Politics are extremely important to me because they affect the world I live in,” Popp said. “The future of many current teenagers rests on their ability to vote for the right candidate, and they need to know why they are voting for the person they are voting for. Children in our generation and future generations need to understand the values that a Democrat has versus the values a Republican has.” According to Turner, keeping up with politics would not only benefit each individual himself but the community as well. “I feel like if more people were involved with politics, there would be a lot better representation of everyone living in the country, which could in turn lead to less anger at the government and better solutions to all of its problems,” Turner said. According to Nandivada, teenagers need to become more aware of the outside world. “Politics are important because they act as almost a reality check,” Nandivada said. “It’s hard to understand what is going on on the other side of the world when you’re living in Plano. Keeping up with politics prevents us from being ignorant about world issues and encourages us to take action to do our part and do what we can.”
Poll: Decision 2012 Taken from 200 students
1. How many presidential candidates can you name?
3. What political issues interest or concern you most?
can name 4+ candidates
say unemployment is the issue most important issue to them
2. How closely are you following the campaigns?
4. Which candidate do you think has the most potential to be president?
of students sometimes follow politics
believe Obama will be president again
for full results go to www.wildcattales.com Page Four
January 20, 2012
By Jessica Allman On Wednesday nights Bent Tree Bible Church gym is filled with the middle school students who come to play games, hang out with friends and listen to a lesson taught by their pastor. This weekly event is called Wild Life. After the lesson, the students break up into smaller groups and discuss the lesson in further detail. This is where junior Kevin Fenton comes in. Fenton mentors a group of about five seventh grade boys. “In small groups I ask the boys more personal questions and try to get more out of them,” Fenton said. “It’s more about helping the students with their personal problems. Sometimes it’s like peeling an onion. Each time there is another layer to peel back, and more issues the boys need help with. That’s what we mentors are there for.” Fenton has been volunteering with various activities at his church for two years now. Both of his parents actively volunteer in the church as well, Fenton says he enjoys following in his families footsteps. “I started out volunteering at our church coffee bar,” Fenton said. “Then I helped out at a retreat with younger students, which is where I met some of the
boys I’m now mentoring. Volunteering is a natural thing for me, I enjoy it a lot, and it’s very rewarding.” Fenton met a boy named Christian through volunteering at Creative Arts Camp. The whole week of camp is geared towards rehearsing for the final performance. The kids do things such as rehearse songs they will be performing, make props, and design the set. “I was Christian’s leader for the week at Creative Arts Camp,” Fenton said. “For the first part of the week he was more so quiet, shy and reserved. He pretty much just had stage fright. I could tell he was very talented, just timid.” Fenton said it seemed as if Christian would rather sit out by himself than perform in front of everyone. His goal was to get him up on stage by the end of the week. “When he finally got past his stage fright he was great,” Fenton said. “It was a huge victory to get him up on stage. It’s almost like he had convinced himself it was too scary, but once he got up there I could tell he loved it.” Fenton said he likes to use the concept of art to relate to the boys in his small group. “All of the boys are pretty creative,” Fenton said.
“They all seem to have an interest in art. One of the boys wants to be an actor, one wants to be a model. They are all generally artistic, so I use that as common ground.” Fenton said he enjoys mentoring the boys for many reasons, one of which is learning about the psychological side of things. “I’ve noticed the boys really are in a developmental stage where they are stuck in a certain mindset,” Fenton said. “They’re convinced you have to do it all on your own.” Fenton said he is trying to teach the boys they don’t have to do it alone. The boys in his group have different struggles such as family life problems and fitting in at school. “One thing I’ve learned through mentoring the boys is that no one struggles by themselves” Fenton said. “We can lean on each other.” As Fenton’s amount of volunteer work in the church increases, leaders in his church have been witnessing him progressively develop. “I’ve seen Kevin grow a lot over the past years,” church staff member Todd Moss said. “He’s a very intelligent guy, and we are lucky to have him.”
By Kathy Santiago & JP Salazar
Junior Joshua Coreolibas
“Even though one of the candidates might represent the future president, it’s always good to argue. I think of it as the three rules: know your opponent and let them strike first because you want to see if he looks like the person to go to the extreme and take action, two is to know the opponents’ weakness and use it against them and many of the candidates are using this technique, and three is to be personal in your defense even if you made a certain mistake, you can still defend yourself if you corrected it in a certain way.”
Junior Tucker Waugh
“The state of the economy is really interesting to me because I know it’ll affect more people than we think. I know there’s been a lot of talk about changing the taxation system, and I see that it worries my parents. I’m all up for helping the less fortunate, but I’m not up for taking away the money people work hard for..”
Junior Zoey Zurkowski
“I do believe that Ron Paul may have a chance. He doesn’t argue like Perry, Romney and Gingrich do, and he always has strong composure, even for his age, and so far he has a clean background. Maybe if the other candidates were a little like Paul, they could have a chance at winning.”
Junior Samantha Dye
“Obama is campaign smart and he doesn’t get into arguments. Taking him out would be weird because he became a big deal when he became president, and it takes a long time to make changes for the country. For Rick Perry, I think he should leave the campaign because he’s having extreme difficulty in trying to get as many voters as possible and his ratings just keep decreasing.”
Junior Paige Ooton
“Last year my group for APPA, a mission organization, got to meet a lady named Ms. Mable, and she was confined to a wheelchair. She couldn’t get out of her house at all because she only had steps. We got to take apart her deck and build her a ramp so she wouldn’t have to ask friends or her husband to do things and so she could be more independent. This made me think about how many more people there could be in our country with similar issues.”
Junior Pallavi Chamarthy
“I haven’t drastically helped any gay rights or other movements but I openly support them. When someone gets out of line when talking about these issues I make my thoughts heard. I’m always looking forward to hearing about development in these movements and was really happy to hear about things like the legalization of gay marriage in New York and progress in the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy. I don’t think people should limit a diverse country on any particular viewpoint.”
January 20, 2012
Not from the womb, but from the heart Two staff members go through the adoption process By Alyssa Matesic The floor of her home is covered with toys. Sometimes she trips on them, but she doesn’t mind. To assistant principal Karin Ball, the hazard is not something to be ashamed of – it’s what she’s always wanted. The evidence of kids in her home, after an unsuccessful journey to have children of her own, is a welcome sign. B.I.M. and Accounting teacher and varsity cheer coach Kathryn Creveling has been waiting since December 2009 to expand her family. Though she has a biological 8-year-old daughter from her first marriage, she plans to have two more kids in her home by this summer. However, she and her husband have never met their future children – or even seen pictures of them. For Creveling, adoption was always an option. Due to her initial fear of pregnancy and the fact that her older brother was adopted, Creveling always considered undergoing the process herself. She and her husband originally planned to have another biological child and then adopt one, but the couple decided to adopt both kids instead. “Adoption has just been normal for me – that’s how I grew up,” Creveling said. “It wasn’t like adoption was this weird thing; it was just part of life. I always thought it would be nice to give a child a home that didn’t have one – be able to raise them up in a home that they would not have the opportunity to have otherwise.” The America World Adoption Agency, a Christian-based agency that organizes international adoptions from numerous countries, has the couple listed at number seven on their waiting list. All they know is that they will receive two Ethiopian siblings – ideally a boy and a girl – under age 4. When the children are available, Creveling will receive paperwork containing their pictures, medical records and a short biography of their lives. The couple can accept or deny this referral, but Creveling said she is sure that they will accept any kids, despite their background. Though the children are tested for HIV/AIDS, the disease is still a deadly issue in Ethiopia and, combined with poverty, a reason that so many are abandoned. “A lot of the parents have died and their families aren’t able to support or take care of other kids besides their own,” Creveling said. “They’re often given up for adoption because the family can’t afford the kids. An AIDS test is not required in a lot of countries, but in any African country, it is, so that’s not a huge concern for us. But, even if I did get an HIV positive kid, it’d be okay.” For Ball, too, the adoption process isn’t anything new. After getting married at 40 years old and undergoing five miscarriages – one very late in the pregnancy – Ball, her husband and her doctor determined adoption is the best way for them to construct a family. The first agency they applied to rejected them, as it had been less than a year since Ball’s last miscarriage and
the agency required at least a year between the last major event in the parents’ lives and their application. The second agency, however, accepted them, and the couple was enrolled in pre-adoption classes when a new opportunity struck them – a teen mom. “As we were in the process of going through all that, someone that we knew was pregnant,” Ball said. “She said, ‘I’m pregnant, do you want my baby?’ It was like a package being handed down from Heaven.” At that moment, the adoption became private, meaning that the process would not go through an agency any longer. In September 2010, Ball and her husband Doug watched the biological mom go through a C-section and birth their baby in the delivery room. “It was amazing to watch them operate and move around the organs,” Ball said. “I was watching the birth mom because I was worried about her, and Doug was only focused on the baby. He was, like, ‘What’s that? Oh my gosh! That’s so cool!’ To me, it was just overwhelming to see all that. I was bawling like a fool, and so was Doug, and so was the birth mom.” After the baby’s birth, while the biological mother finished undergoing surgery, Ball and her husband went into another room with the baby and held her before the birth mom did. When she did come in, Ball became worried about losing the baby. Despite the standing of any previous agreement, a mother has the right to change her mind about an adoption for 48 hours after the baby’s birth. “She’s a very good person making a very tough decision,” Ball said. “I can’t imagine giving up a child; that has to be the hardest decision ever. It was very, very hard because we all sat in the room together, and I was waiting for her to give up her baby.” Ball and her husband successfully gained legal guardianship of their daughter, whom they named Gracie, in November 2010. In January 2011, Gracie got an older sister. Aurora was unofficially adopted by the Ball family, since she was already of legal age. She had been a student at Plano and was homeless. After being kicked out of her home where she lived with non-parental family members, she stayed with some church friends in a small house. “She was sharing a room with a little baby and had a mattress on the floor,” Ball said. “I thought, ‘This is no place for a teenager.’ Teenagers need to live and be free – as much as we’ll let them be free – and so we took her in.” Aurora calls her unofficial parents “Mom” and “Dad,” and is going to college. She also takes care of Gracie, who calls her “Rora” or, more easily, “Yaya.” “Aurora is so good with babies,” Ball said. “I think she is going to do pediatric nursing when she’s older.” With two daughters already in the Ball family, they’ve made room for one more.
Gracie’s biological mother had another daughter on Jan. 12. After this baby’s birth, the biological mother changed her mind about giving her up for adoption, but eventually went through with it. “We are so very grateful for our newest little angel,” Ball said. “Many people ask what we need; we answer that we already have exactly what we needed.” When the time comes, Ball plans to explain to Gracie and the new baby the story of their birth. Gracie’s biological mother left her a note that Ball keeps in the safe for Gracie to read when she wants to know about her background; Ball expects her to write one to her new daughter, as well. “We would never say anything negative about her mother because we don’t have anything negative to say about her,” Ball said. “She’s given us our lives, basically.” Both Creveling and Ball are preparing their homes and their current children for change and transition. Once her new kids are home, Creveling plans to “cocoon” them by keeping them in the house for a period of time to help them adjust. Additionally, only Creveling, her husband and her daughter will be allowed to hold the kids for three to six months to establish attachment. “The first year is probably going to be hard, just learning to be a family,” Creveling said. “Basically, I’m taking kids that I have never met before and making them my children. That is going to be a hard transition, but we’re going to be very intentional about it.” Through the adoption, Creveling’s family will become biracial – a white family raising black kids. Though she believes her generation is more accepting of multiracial families than the previous, she still plans to be prepared for the worst. “For us, the color doesn’t matter,” Creveling said. “We’re going to have to deal with other people’s perspectives of how a family should look. We’re going to have to shelter and prepare our kids for that.” The Ball family is that of multiple colors, as well – Aurora is Hispanic, and both Gracie and her baby sister are biracial. Before Gracie’s birth, Ball tried to explain to her nieces that she may not look exactly like the rest of the family. “I said, ‘The baby is part black and part white,’” Ball said. “The little one stopped and said, ‘Well, which part is black and which part is white?’ I never thought about that. That’s a good question. They don’t see any difference between them – they love her.” Though all children are given a name at birth, the adoptive parents can change that name when they gain legal guardianship of the child. If Creveling and her husband receive a girl, they plan to name her Tesfa – the word for hope in Ethiopia’s native language, Amharic. Their other plans for their future children include supporting
them in religious and academic endeavors. “We are very active in the church, so we’re going to raise them up with us in the church and help them to know about God and Christianity,” Creveling said. “That’s a big part of it for us. Other than that, we’re just going to treat them like normal kids because they are. We’d love for them to do well in school, end up going to college and have a great job someday.” Ball and her husband have also chosen their baby’s name in advance – one that ties into Ball’s family history. The new baby, after all of the paperwork is completed, will be named Liliana after Ball’s grandmother, aunt and sister. Gracie’s name has a background, as well. It was taken from Ball’s other grandmother and mother. Ball’s mother, who passed away before Gracie was born, was a teacher at McKinney High School and the first in Ball’s family to go to college. The McKinney High “First in Family” scholarship was created in her honor, and her legacy has shaped Ball’s own plans for her children. “I do want them to go to college,” Ball said. “I do want them to just be successful in whatever they want, whatever they try. Education is important in our family, obviously. My mom set that precedence that it’s important.” Even after these adoptions are settled, neither mother is sure that she is finished having kids. Creveling claims that the best part about extending her family is having more children to cuddle with, as her daughter has outgrown that. “I’ve always wanted a big family,” Creveling said. “I think that children are a blessing, and I am so thankful that we have the ability to provide for them and bring them into our home.” Ball and her husband plan to keep their options open, too. When Ball was having difficulty with pregnancy, Dr. Dean told her a quote that has stuck ever since: “There’s never a bad time to have a baby.” “We prayed and prayed and prayed, and we thought this was our answer: we got Gracie,” Ball said. “Then Aurora came around, and we thought we were set, never thinking or expecting that we would have another opportunity again. Now, another one came up. It would be very difficult for us to say no to a baby.” Both mothers plan to raise their children up – however many there will be – with an understanding that they were adopted and with knowledge of where they came from. Creveling hopes to be able to visit her kids’ village when she travels to Ethiopia for a court session prior to the adoption. Ball and her husband have allowed contact between Gracie’s birth mom and their daughters. Ball believes that Gracie will always know that she’s adopted, but doesn’t think that that makes her any less a part of the family. “She didn’t come from my womb,” Ball said. “But she came from our hearts.”
January 20, 2012
By Meital Boim
They don’t think about their dead parents. They don’t think about the mud and grass huts they lived in. Vicky and Agnes have changed worlds from primitive Uganda to the Adams family’s home. After years of wishing for a successful adoption, the family resumed its search last April, hoping to make their dream a reality. “Until our home study got passed in June or July, it didn’t become a real option,” senior Jacqueline Adams said. “After that, my parents checked out different adoption homes. At that point it was a go.” A family friend, who had started a missionary organization in Uganda to educate the people about AIDS, introduced them to a man who adopted two boys from Uganda. Their familiarity with Ugandan adoption, coupled with weaker regulations than those in the United States and some foreign countries, led the family to pursue adoption from Uganda. But the road to adoption was not without challenges. After Adams’ parents had already met Vicky, 3, the villagers from her tribe
demanded that the family build them homes and pay them money. “My parents said, ‘No, we’re not going to do that because that’s illegal,’” Adams said. “Finally, a few weeks later, we found out that one pastor went and talked to them about it and said, ‘That’s not right, you shouldn’t do that.’” The villagers changed their minds, and the Adams family made plans to adopt Vicky, as well as 9-month-old Agnes. But when Adams’ parents visited Agnes in Uganda, they found a malnourished baby, ill with malaria. “The lady at the center said she was so sick she couldn’t wake up at nighttime to be fed, and she couldn’t move,” Adams said. “It was actually a good thing that she was so malnourished because otherwise they don’t treat malaria. They always think it’s some other little bug. It would have gotten worse.” Even after Agnes healed and the adoption
was moving into its final stages, setbacks nearly kept the girls from coming home before New Year’s. The Ugandan judge who worked on the case rescheduled the hearing, and the U.S. embassy was closing for Christmas. “The embassy took a lot of time because they had to do a lot of verification to make sure that the parents were dead,” Adams said. “They stayed open late just to work on our case.” Adams said that although the girls’ arrival had a small impact on the family’s relationship, they did have to adapt in other ways. “We used to have family game nights or do different things because my sister is nine,” Adams said. “She’s old enough to do most stuff. Now we do more stuff at home.” Vicky, in turn, has had to learn English since she can’t communicate with anyone in Acholi, a language spoken in parts of Uganda and Kenya. “We were trying to learn a few phrases so we could talk to her,” Adams said. “It did not work. By the time she got here, she had been with my mom and my dad, and she had already learned a lot of different things. She understands everything I’m saying, but she can’t always say everything back, but she’s good enough that she can communicate things, and she’s really good with context. If you say something once, she remembers how to use it. She doesn’t use words incorrectly.” In fact, Vicky hasn’t stopped at learning English. “She loves Dora, and she loves Spanish,” Adams said. “Every time you
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turn on the TV she says, ‘Dora, Dora,’ and she says different things in Spanish.” The girls have also had to adjust to aspects of the first world. Adams said that Vicky has a knack for technology and has picked it up quickly. “She taught my mom how to do stuff on her computer that my mom didn’t know how to do,” Adams said. “She loves to play on my mom’s old iPhone. She knows how to play all the games.” Clothes are also a novelty for the girls. In her village, Vicky had two outfits and a pair of shoes, which Adams said is rare. When the girls were adopted, Vicky went shopping with her family and picked some of her own clothes. “She loves clothes, especially shoes,” Adams said. “She loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so she always gets Minnie Mouse shirts. She has some Dora shirts. She likes fancy stuff and a lot of jewelry.” Although Adams said that the bond Vicky develops with her family and her new home will probably be stronger than her ties to Uganda and the grandmother she left behind, the Adams family plans on taking a family trip to Uganda in a few years. “We want her to know everything she can know about her culture,” Adams said. “If there was some way for us to get her to remember Acholi, we would, but obviously we don’t know it. There are no resources for that. But we don’t want her to lose her sense of who she is.”
Sharon Mae David Mercy Maddox Zahara Pax Jaqueline Dena Kathryn Bailey
Features Introducing Mr. Plano Contestants January 20, 2012
Connor Peska Mr. StuCo “I was surprised when I got the vote to be Mr. StuCo. It is just nice to be recognized by the school. I hope to have a lot of fun with it. It’s cool hanging out with contestants, they are all really fun. I think I represent StuCo very well. I am an officer. I try to embody everybody in the club. It is a very big club, a very diverse club. I’ve wanted to be Mr. Plano ever since my sister was a senior, you can’t really prepare for it, some of it you have to take it in stride.”
“In general I didn’t really know there was a Mr. Plano. I wasn’t expecting to be nominated as Mr. Swimming so then I was nominated so I was like “Okay this is fine I will just ride this till I don’t get voted in”, and then I did get voted in so that was surprising too. I think people are going to like my talent, but I think they are gonna react more to the swimsuit portion. However they literally told me I couldn’t wear a speedo.”
Kurt Doty Mr. NHS “To me it means I get to perform in front of my peers, and show off. I hope to have a good time with the other guys, which we have. People will be in shock and awe of my talent. I guess the tradition is to be as entertaining as possible. It’s funny because half of the contestants went to Haggard so a bunch of us know each other and we used to perform together. I feel like a lot of what you will see on stage will just be a reunion between us. It will just be a portion of the Haggard football team having fun on the stage.”
Jordan Baird Mr. PALS
“I am officially represent Maroon Guard, but I also feel like I am represent DFC as well. When I am on stage, I want people to enjoy my talent and laugh at it. I’m going to be dancing so I hope people will understand what art is or what I define as art. Winning Mr. Plano would mean that I pleased the judges with my talent and personality.”
Alex Ozlowski Mr. Band “I would like to pay a tribute to George Phillips and what he did last year. I think the audience is going to love my talent. It’s fun and it’s a song and dance, and I don’t think that. It is really exciting to be a part of Mr. Plano. I am very excited to be able to represent the band. So far all the other contestants are really social, and really fun to work with and creative people. It would be fun and it would be cool to win it.”
Kevin Merrill Mr. FFA “It’s pretty cool because I got voted in by a bunch of other people to show my talents on stage in front of everybody, which should be fun. I don’t really expect to win because I am going up against Kurt Doty and Reid McDuff so I am just going for second place right now. It’s fun being with all the guys at the meetings, it’s a lot of fun because there is all this stuff we have to do and it should be a good time.”
“Being a part of the Mr. Plano competition is a pretty big honor since I am one of the 11 people in the whole senior class to get voted into it. I just want to have a good time and not get too embarrassed on stage. Winning Mr. Plano would mean a whole lot to me because I put down half my winnings to a special ed camp. I will continue the tradition by being funny and by letting the crowd have a good time.”
Watch them perform on February 4th and vote for your favorite!
Nick Kao Mr. Maroon Guard
Reid McDuff Mr. Music Corp.
“I really want to go out about this a lot and I react well to my talent worry, I won’t blow up my talent which will be
“It is a really big honor for me to be a part of Mr. Plano. It was amazing when I saw my name on the list. It is not about the contest, it is really about hanging out with the other contestants and wearing the tuxes and ending my senior year well. Hopefully people will like my talent, and I don’t want to make it too awkward up there. It would an amazing experience to be able to win, and half the money would be donated to Minnie’s Food Pantry, a local food pantry.”
Louis de Torcy Mr. French Club
there and do something amazing. I’ve been dreaming think I am going be ready for that night. I hope people and no one gets hurt. It’s a bit dangerous, but don’t the room and I will try not to speak too much French in hard.”
Joel Lui Mr. Orchestra
Connor Reed Mr. Baseball
“It’s a great honor to be a chosen as one of the few to represent their group in the Mr. Plano pageant. I can’t wait. I was so happy to be chosen by my fellow PALs to be Mr. PALs. My biggest competition right now is probably all of the other contestants because they are all so good looking. If you know me then you will understand my talent. If you don’t really know me then you are just going to act like your laughing and not really understand. People are going to have complete and utter joy, it may cause them some physiological harm, but I’m willing to take the chance.”
By Eilie Strecker and Daniel Hinson
“It is pretty cool being one of the people elected to be a part of the show. The guys from groups that don’t have a lot of people don’t really get elected, so I got lucky to be representing a large group and to have a lot of people to vote for me. I want to be a part of the show and have a good time. I hope people really love my talent, but my taste in humor is not always the same as others.”
January 20, 2012
Senior Hannah Hoenshell becomes member of universities first womans hockey team After considering a number of colleges, senior Hannah Hoenshell has committed to Penn State. “I wanted a big football school, good academics, and a good social school,” Hannah said. “They gave a good scholarship too.” Hannah will be making history in playing for Penn State’s first women’s hockey team. Hannah has met the coaches, but so far those are almost the only people she knows on the team. “I don’t really know anyone except for one girl,” Hannah said. “It’s going to be a challenge because it’s the first year for all of us to play college hockey, which is a lot harder, but hopefully we’ll do good. It’s a major change for all of us.” Hannah’s mother, Ann Hoenshell, said she will watch Hannah’s games online whenever she can’t be there to see them in person. “I am so proud of Hannah. She has wanted to attend Penn State for the past couple of years, so she has worked hard in school and worked even harder on the ice in order to achieve her goal,” Ann said. “She’s fortunate that she’s got some great skills and has been able to make a name for herself in women’s hockey. I’m proud of her.” Hannah is a right wing forward and has played hockey for three different clubs in Texas. She is currently on the Alliance Bulldogs and has led the team in points (number of goals) for six years. Hannah said her friends are excited about her commitment to Penn State. “They think it’s cool that I’m going to play college hockey, because it’s pretty hard to get recruited from Texas,” Hannah said. “It was a long road, so they’re all excited that it worked out.” However, the best at anything was once a beginner. The same is true for Hannah. She began playing boy’s hockey at the age of five before moving to girl’s hockey in the sixth grade. “It wasn’t always easy for the girls to compete in Dallas. Most boy’s teams didn’t want to play an all-girl team so we had to travel to the Northeast in order to get games with other all girl teams,” Ann said. “While it was a big financial commitment, it was an opportunity for Hannah to get noticed by college coaches and to get her name out there.” Very few hockey stars come from this Texas, as it is not necessarily known for its on-ice talent. Ann said the journey to college hockey has been an incredible one.
“There were many times during Hannah’s hockey years that we were told that the only way for Hannah to play college hockey was for her to leave Texas and go to a prep school up north,’’ Ann said. “This was never an option for our family. We wanted our daughter here, and Texas was where she wanted to be. So while many girls left town, Hannah stayed home and took her chances and it paid off. She is, as far as we know, the first girl to stay and play hockey in Texas and be awarded a scholarship to a Division One school.” Senior Cristy Davaloz has been friends with Hannah since the eighth grade. She was at Hannah’s house when Hannah got the call from Penn State. “I sat in the kitchen for about an hour. She kept coming in and telling me the details.” Davaloz said. Davaloz said she will try and keep in touch with Hannah when they both go on to college. She also said she thinks Penn State is a good fit for Hannah. “I think she’s going to do really well playing hockey there, and she’ll make lots of new friends on the team,” Davaloz said. Ann thinks Penn will be a good fit for Hannah as well, though initially Hannah had a lot of schools to choose from, such as Maine, Princeton, Yale, Dartmouth and Brown. “I wanted her to be happy,” Ann said. “The first offer she had was from Maine, which was a full ride. The coach flew here to meet us and take us to dinner, and I really liked him a lot. I didn’t know anything about the Penn State coach at the time, so initially I was kind of rooting for Maine. But Hannah really wanted to go to Penn State, and once I talked to that coach I really liked him as well.” Though Penn State isn’t close to home, Hannah said she is looking forward to the transition to college life. “I’m excited to live somewhere else. I think moving is going to be fun,” Hannah said. “I’m looking forward to having the freedom to do what I want. And the hockey is going to be at a different level, so that’s exciting. And just to be in a different environment for the first time is exciting also.” Ann said she will visit Hannah as much as she can. “I have mixed feelings about Hannah leaving and going so far away,’’ Ann said. “On one hand I am so excited for her and
On the field By Cristina Seanez
Walking through the hallways, running on the fields and fighting for the win, is senior Kelly Chinloy’s everyday schedule. Chinloy started playing soccer at the age of 5 and got into select soccer when she was 12. What started as just a desire to play, turned into Chinloy’s life. She practices two to four hours a day and has multiple games a week. She said soccer is very time consuming, but she enjoys being with her teammates and practicing every day to become the best. “Soccer has me staying up late most nights finishing school work,” Chinloy said. “But it definitely makes my school day more exciting because it gives me something to look forward to each day, even practice but especially game days.” The select soccer program Chinloy is involved in gives training to qualified players and assists them in progressing to the highest levels. “Playing select soccer was really scary at first,” Chinloy said. “The players and the coaches were a whole lot better than anything I’d experienced before. But it turned out to be the best decision of my life and has taught me a lot about life and its adversities.” Chinloy said soccer has not only taught her to be a good player, but also about determination and dedication in life. “Once I started select and high school
soccer I learned the importance of being 100 percent committed to my team,” Chinloy said. “Soccer has also made me want to perform to the best of my abilities every day. It makes me want to become a better person, student and friend.” Chinloy’s family has been supportive of her desire to play all the time, and she said they are always there for her. Chinloy participated in the Orange Classic soccer tournament in Florida on Dec. 28 with her club team FC Dallas. “Having 16 member of my family at my tournament encouraged me, and I ended up scoring a goal the game they came,” Chinloy said. “It also brought my team even closer, and taught me to appreciate every opportunity that is presented to you, because it could mean more than you think.” Chinloy doesn’t plan on playing professional soccer but said she would like to play college soccer and keep playing her whole life in indoor adult leagues. She said she feels blessed for the coaches and teams she has had, and that the fact that she has been playing nonstop for over 10 years, always learning and improving, has resulted in making a lot of good friends and has made her a better person. “Winning is always fun,” Chinloy said. “It’s what everybody wants, but what really matters is how you played your game and the fun you had with the people you love.”
the opportunity that’s before her. The doors that will open and the life experiences that will shape her into the adult she will become. This is what we’ve always wanted for our kids, for them to be successful, and to go away and become independent adults. On the other hand, she’s my only daughter, and my first child to leave home. I’m excited for her, but it’s going to be terribly lonely without my shopping buddy here.” Hannah already knows a few students who will be attending Penn State. “One of my friends from hockey who lives in New York committed there. We’re going to be on the same team together,” Hannah said. “And one of my friends from my old hockey team goes there. She’s a sophomore.” Though Hannah is excited about going to college, Penn State has recently fallen under some scandal. However, Hannah says the recent negative media attention doesn’t change her opinion about Penn State at all. “I think that the scandal only reflects on a few people who made bad decisions and it doesn’t really affect me in any way,” Hannah said. “I’m still excited to go there. It’s just unfortunate that it happened right now.” Hannah is planning to major in Pre Med, and said she’s going to have to figure out how to manage her time between hockey and school. Her mother agrees. “I think division one hockey is a huge commitment, but I think that school is equally important to the hockey team,” Ann said. “I think that they’ll work with her school schedule, and the athletes have tutoring at their fingertips. I think the coach and the program itself will help balance all of that.” Hannah said she is excited to be in the first class of Penn State women’s hockey. “Not a lot of people can say that they’re starting off a division program,’’ Hannah said. “I want to be able to help build the program as best as I can. We have a lot to prove to the world of college hockey. It’s a new program, and it’ll be challenging at first, but we’ll have to work hard and prove to people that we can be competitive in our first couple years.”
It all started when he was 4 years old. The inspiration that emerged from simply watching someone play was the basis for junior Michael Gomon to become an outstanding soccer player. Gomon was pushed into the soccer field by the admiration for both a professional player and his brother. “Ryan Giggs was one of my big inspirations when I started playing soccer,” Gomon said. “He was left footed like me, and I really admire how he plays the game and makes it look so simple. Also, my brother used to play soccer and when I was younger I would go to all of his games and practice with him.” Gomon said he shows his passion for soccer by practicing several hours a week every day. He practices at school every morning for an hour to an hour and a half, and with his club team, AYSES (American Youth Soccer Educational System), in McKinney for up to two hours. “My practices are pretty demanding, but at the same time fun because I’m doing what I love so I don’t mind sacrificing for it,” Gomon said. Accidents have been a problem for Gomon in the past. After participating in football, track and soccer, Gomon kept getting injured frequently so his doctor made him choose only one sport because playing all these different sports wore down his body too much, which caused him to be injury plagued. Gomon picked soccer, which he said, has been a huge part of his life. “It’s something I love to do,” Gomon said. “It has taught me many great life lessons that I will take with me where ever I go and it has left me with unforgettable experiences.”
By Danielle Deraleau
Gomon got the opportunity to play with his club team, AYSES, in a tournament called Gothia Cup in Sweden on July 5, 2011. The tournament lasted five days and the team got to the playoffs with one tied game and two wins. “Going to Gothia Cup has been one of the best moments I’ve been through in my soccer career,” Gomon said. “There was great competition, and I remember when my teammate headed in to score our first goal in Gothia Cup and in Europe and I helped him place the ball in the right place to score. It was just an awesome feeling to have, knowing I helped set up a teammate to score, but most importantly to help our team win. Also during the trip I learned a lot about the game, had fun bonding with my team and got to see lots of different countries and cultures from around the world.” Gomon said that through soccer he has learned about perseverance, diligence at certain tasks, time management, sportsmanship, and that it has built his character to be a person who is well rounded, respectful, caring and friendly. He said he is grateful for the coaches and teammates he has had and will always be proud of having played for the school. “I’m really good friends with many of the guys on the team,” Gomon said. “I’ve been able to learn a lot about soccer and life from the older guys on the team. We’ve also become a family because of all the hard work and shared experiences that we have had. I will never forget my first game at Plano because it was something that I have always wanted to do since I was a child, and finally getting to put on the jersey with wildcats in the back was both awesome and surreal.”
Opinion By Paul Burnham Forty weeks may seem like a long time to the average person. For a pregnant woman, those weeks will, without question, be an emotional rollercoaster with the end result being a new bundle of joy. For senior, 40 weeks is roughly the amount of time needed to complete their last two semesters and receive a diploma. Politicians, however, will spend the next 40 weeks at each other’s necks, fighting for their name on the ballot and for a spot as the nation’s 45th president. Forty weeks, in reality, isn’t that long, especially compared to the 208 that the incumbent will serve after he is elected. In the next 40 weeks, I challenge you to spend a small amount of your time, whether it is daily or weekly, informing yourself and expanding your knowledge of politics and the world around you. I challenge you to read the papers, to check a new website and glance over politics. I want you to know your candidates, their philosophies, their policies and their views on the many issues that affect you and me both. Come Nov. 6, I hope not that your party wins, but that you made a solid and informed vote on a person that you want to run our country. According to the Voter and Registration Data in the 2010 census, only 58 percent of eligible Americans voted in the 2008 election. That means that only just over half of the people over the age of 18 voted, and, even sadder, most of them were over 40. At our age, young, ripe and naïve, politics and voting are seemingly less important than our social lives, complicated school and work schedules and, of course, our quality mirror time. When the issue of politics is brought to our attention, we, more often than not, recite what we heard our parents discussing over dinner the night before, It is important to make our own decisions politically, not because our parents are wrong or misinformed, but because we have the right to expand our knowledge of
By Alyssa Matesic
the world, and, by doing so, we can make informed decisions at the poll. Sure, we may see another 15 to 20 elections in our lifetime. And, sure, we can sit there and think, “Oh, that’s 80 years for me to sit around and wait for my voice to be heard.” While 80 years from now, we will likely be able to vote from our cell phones, and our president could likely be an engineered robot, now is the time to decide our own future. When you look into what the senators spend their sessions clawing at each other for, it usually has to do with either Medicare, Social Security benefits or the economy as a whole. What they don’t “waste” their time on is arguing about legalizing marijuana or, more importantly, gay marriage. They don’t bicker about the education crisis, and they sure as hell don’t care about me going to college. If you think that any one politician would spend a dime of his or her money on campaigning on any of the aforementioned issues, you are wrong. Washington doesn’t do anything about these issues because the people who care about them most, the ones who are truly affected by them, choose ignorance over the voting booth and, consequently, are left in the dark. You better believe that on Nov. 6, I will be the first one in line to place my vote for the next president of the United States. Not because it’s cool, and not because I want to miss my college English class. I’m going to vote because it’s my moral responsibility as a citizen, as someone who works for a living, someone who wants better for my nation. I’m voting because I want my older generations and my veterans, the people who fight for my country, to be taken care of. I’m voting because I want the generations behind me to have the same opportunities that I did, and then some. So, seniors, do your country a favor, and go make an informed decision at the ballot this fall – not because you can, but because you should.
Home is where the heart is
By Maelyn Schramm
I’m adopted. My parents could not have kids of their own. After they adopted my older brother, Braden, they decided they wanted a little girl, as well. And that’s where I came into play. Thanks to the one child policy, nice orphanage workers and my biological mom, I am where I am today: Dallas, Texas. After people realize I’m adopted, their mouth pours out a flood of questions. Do you know your biological mother? Do you wish you knew her? Where are you from? I’m used to answering all of these questions and others. “No, I don’t know her.” The orphanage has records saying that I was left on a doorstep as a baby, but my biological mother did not simply dump me at the closest door after birth. She carefully planned where she left me - the home of a government worker. She knew that I would be found quickly and taken to an orphanage. This tells me she may not have been able to keep me, she loved me nevertheless; she wanted me to be cared for and safe. “Honestly, I don’t wish I knew her.” I get strange looks when I tell people I don’t care about meeting my birth mother. They ask me, “Aren’t you at least curious? I mean, she’s your mother.” I am a little curious about what she looks like, whether we share the same nose, eyes or other features. But she’s not my mother; she is simply the lady who birthed me. My mother is the woman I live with now, the one who jean shops with me and gives me advice on college, dating and everything
in between. She’s the one who taught me how to bake chocolate chip cookies and ride a bike. My mother is the lady who was in the stands at my basketball games, who was listening at my piano recitals, who embarrassingly shows my articles to her friends. The mom I have now is everything I need in a mother. “China is not my home, but it is my homeland.” My parents adopted me from an orphanage in Shaowu, which is in the Fuzhou province. It is located across from Taiwan on the mainland. This summer, I returned to China and visited my orphanage. It was an eye opening experience getting to see where I was from. I walked through the halls, played on the playground and tried to picture myself living there. Returning made me feel fortunate and blessed to live in a house of my own, in a room of my own, falling asleep in a bed of my own each night and being able to drive a car of my own to school. Needless to say, it was a humbling experience. I’m very thankful that I am adopted. Sometimes I am conscious about being the only Asian in my family. But most of the time, I am very proud of who I am, who my parents are and the noble sacrifice my biological mother made when leaving me on that doorstep. I love being a Texan, I love being an American, and I love having a story to tell about my adoption. It does not matter whether I know who my biological mother is, where I am from or what language I speak, all that matters is that I am where I am now.
For the Little Elephants
I was in disbelief. It happened in the most unsuspecting of places, the grocery store. The bleach and detergent aisle, I think. I thought I could’ve been mistaken, so I shook it off and moved onward. After I turned a corner, I ran directly into him, stopping only a few inches away from collision. His head barely grazed the top of my shopping cart. He turned around sharply. We made empty eye contact. I was sure then. He ran back to his parents, and I turned down another aisle, a little shaken. I could hear him crying for a few seconds until the sound dissipated into the distance. I recognized it. I was haunted with guilt. I doubt he recognized me; his eyes were as glazed over as they had been two and a half years ago. I don’t blame him; I was different then, not only in appearance. I took the sighting as a sign. There was something I needed to remind myself of. It was the summer of 2009 when I met the little elephants – my personal nickname for them. There were five, all approximately 3 to 5 years old. Each had some degree of a mental disorder. Originally, I tried to get out of spending my break taking pictures of and helping out with my sister’s summer school class. I was far too self-centered and insensitive for that. They were elephants in the room to me – I didn’t want to have to deal with their baggage. I would’ve rather ignore their presence. Nevertheless, I found myself there on the first day of class, armed with my camera. In the beginning, it was easy for me to hide. Behind the lens I could pretend I didn’t exist. There was a distance separating me and them. There was no attachment. But, eventually, they knew me by name: Mwiss Arysha. I got a tug on my skirt one day after lunch. “Um, Mwiss Arysha?” His name was Will. He had a
January 20, 2012
mild attention disorder. “Yes?” I looked around nervously. “Can I go pway in the pway woom?” I didn’t know how to answer. I met my sister’s eyes, she nodded. We walked across the hall and I stood uncomfortably at the door while he ran around. I was never a kid person – I didn’t know what to do with them. He was bored after a few seconds. “Can we pway Batman and Spiderman?” His green eyes were bright and expectant. “What’s that?” “I’m Batman, you’re Spiderman!” He ran toward me. “Tag!” I improvised, and what we ended up playing was some hybrid of tag and hide-and-go-seek with a crime-fighting twist. It was the first time I had cracked a smile in the week that I’d been there. Everyone who passed by opened the door to see what all the laughing was about, and by the end of our game we had just about redecorated the whole room. I sat down to take a rest from all of the running and Will crawled into my lap. He hugged me and kissed my stomach and arms. “I ruv you, Mwiss Arysha.” My heart broke. From then on, my camera spent more time in my purse than in front of my eyes. I no longer needed the distance it provided. I started teaching some, and playing a lot. Even when my sister had to leave for vacation before the session ended, I kept going. Though there was one boy who had a little bit more of my heart than the rest, I felt for all of them. I don’t think I’ve ever met a soul that had a purer heart than those kids. All they knew was love, and it was given freely and openly to whoever would receive it. There was no discrimination. There were no ulterior motives. Their hearts were untainted, and I will hope for the rest of my life to be
like them in that respect. My last day at the school came dismally. I didn’t want to part with them, especially Will, because the quality of my life during that summer, to some degree, depended on them. I felt needed there. I felt wanted there. Most importantly, I felt. I asked Will if he wanted to play after lunchtime. We went into our playroom, and I told him to sit down. He crawled into my lap, as usual. My words came out carefully and lifelessly. “I’ll be gone tomorrow.” “Will you be here the next day?” His eyes brightened with worry. “No, I’ll be gone then, too. Today is my last day.” He cocked his head and thought for a moment. “You mean you’ll be gone forever?” His eyes started to water. “Yeah, I’ll be gone forever.” My eyes echoed his. He put his face into my shirt and hugged me for a few seconds. I held back tears. Suddenly, he jumped up. “Wanna pway Batman and Spiderman?” He smiled and bounced around. “Tag!” A part of me wishes it was Will that I saw at the grocery store that day. Most of me is glad that I didn’t, for fear that he wouldn’t remember me. I believe that some people that come into our lives are only meant to stay there for a short amount of time. They’re meant to teach us something, to open up a part of us, and then leave us on our own to remember it. My sign came at a good time – the start of a new year. I resolve to be a better person. To maintain a pure and open heart. To embrace some things that I’m afraid of, for they may be the most rewarding. For me. For Will. For all of them. For the little elephants.
January 20, 2012
Cat Quips By Eilie Strecker
2. Recently Lindsey Lohan has been commended for her good behavior. Either she has run out of excuses (“Oh what? You mean that powdery white stuff in my bag is drugs and not crushed up mints?”) or she is really turning things around. Kudos. 3. One of the contestants on The Bachelorette has been arrested for getting into a fight while intoxicated. Good to know the upstanding citizens selected for the show are drama free. 4. Keith Urban opened up about getting throat surgery. And suddenly it all makes sense as to why all his songs sound the same. 5. Bruno Mars got arrested for doing cocaine in a Vegas casino bathroom. Classy. But he was never convicted, getting only community service and a drug education class. Always nice to know stardom has its perks. 6. Avril Lavigne and her boyfriend Brody Jenner broke up because of ‘scheduling issues’….yeah, cut your losses. You have been dumped.
7. Vinny from Jersey Shore is going to release a new book titled “Control the Crazy: My Plan to Stop Stressing, Avoid Drama and Maintain Your Inner Cool.” Is he serious? He is on Jersey Shore. JERSEY SHORE. Need I say more? 8. Recently Beyonce and Jay-Z named their first child Blue Ivy. We can now add this name to the list of odd objects like Apple and Puma that celebrities insist on naming their children after. 9. Google and Wikipedia, along with a few other sites, have decided to shut down for 24 hours in order to protest an anti-piracy law which would ban things like movie pirating and pornographic sites. Sorry if you wanted to see one of the latest blockbusters free of charge. 10. Favorite Facebook Quote: “I have this weird thing about child leashes…when people try to pretend they’re monkey backpacks…it’s like if you’re going to treat your children like animals then just put them in rusty chains. So maybe our kids could ride mini vespas around our feet? I don’t know, how do you feel about that?”
Contraband NBC Universal © 2012
By Daniel Hinson
1. Following her husband, Khloe Kardashian, along with Kim, have come to Dallas. There are no words to express the nausea…I mean excitement.
The Wildcat Tales January 20, 2011
Daniel Hinson Eilie Strecker
Jessica Allman Erin Ball Emma Barishman Haley Bunnell Paul Burnham Danielle Deraleau Miles Hutson Stephanie Jabri Yeesoo Lee Alyssa Matesic
Editorial Editor Online Editors-in-Chief
Diva Gulati Madison McDaniel
With that being said, there are a few convenient moments that occur in the movie. Farraday’s plan doesn’t go as planned. He takes part in an armored car heist and lives while all the other people with guns don’t. But they didn’t want to kill the main character off before the movie ends right? Every moment with the Jackson Pollock painting is pretty hilarious too. Every person who comes in contact with the painting assumes it is just a painter’s tarp and tosses it aside, ignoring its true value and potential. The cast provides a decent performance. Beckinsale’s character has you routing for her the entire movie. Yet every time Ribisi’s character came on screen, I was distracted by how much hair grease the make-up team used. Wahlberg gives an amazing performance as always.
Volume LXVI Issue Six
January isn’t usually the month where a movie-goer will find an action packed thriller, but Contraband will satisfy any viewer who cannot wait until the big thrills of the summer time. Contraband, staffing Mark Wahlberg, Giovanni Ribisi, Ben Foster and Kate Beckinsale, starts out where all movies should start, with a mystery, and keeps the viewer hanging on until the very end. The movie chronicles Chris Farraday’s (Wahlberg) trip to Panama to smuggle millions of dollars of counterfeit American dollars to pay a debt caused by his brother-in-law to a drug lord (Ribisi). Besides smuggling, this movie touches base on another heartwarming topic, the protection of family. The characters in the film provide a unique family dynamic. Farraday’s wife (Beckinsale) knows all about his smugglings, and his father was the one who introduced Farraday to the “family” business.
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January 20, 2012
Plano Senior High School
Plano, TX, USA