The Wildcat Tales volume lxvi
November 18, 2011
Plano Senior High School
Plano, TX, USA
Modest Mouse review
Wildcats on ice
Page 1 and 9
Atheletes commit to universities
Securing the Future. Eight seniors committed to college teams Nov. 9. For more of what the athletes said see page 4.
Photo submitted by Jaydon McCullough
Looking back: Alumni reflect on high school experiences By Dani Sureck After graduation students venture off in different directions. Some will attend a university or college, others will enlist in the Army or Navy, and others will focus on finding a job to make extra money. The paths certain alumni chose to take after high school took them far from Plano, Texas, yet their distance does not stop them from reflecting on their high school memories. Current University of Nebraska student and running back for the football team, Rex Burkhead, who graduated in 2008, continues life skills he received from his years on campus. Burkhead was on the football and basketball teams during his time here. Burkhead said that one of his favorite parts about being on the football team were the atmosphere and traditions before, during and after the games. During Burkhead’s freshman season, the basketball team won the state championship, and when he was a junior and senior, the team won the title First-Team AllDistrict Honors. Burkhead siad that on top of the lessons he learned on the field and court, he also learned lessons in the classroom. “The most important thing I learned was how to manage my time between sports, school and everything else because of the commitment this school has for a tradition of excellence in every aspect,” Burkhead said. In 2009, Burkhead was voted Homecoming King. Although some students may remember Burkhead as their Homecoming King, the football star or the basketball player, Burkhead said he hopes that his peers also remember him as a student who worked hard at every task presented to him and that he was a caring student who would do anything for his peers. Burkhead said he remembers
Stefanie Sandridge, Planoette Capitan of 20102011.
not just the sports he played, but his classes and teachers, as well. “My favorite class was Sports and Entertainment Marketing with Mrs. Cannon,” Burkhead said. “It was really cool seeing how businesses go about sponsorships and endorsements. Plus, Mrs. Cannon is a really cool teacher.” Burkhead said his best memory is the senior prank pulled that year. “The pillow fight with the whole school on one of the last days of school was fun because everyone participated,” Burkhead said. “It was funny seeing some of the teachers joining in.” In the locker rooms and on the football field and basketball court, Burkhead’s name will always seem legendary. As he studies and plays in college, he said
Rex Burkhead, star football player graduating class of 2008.
he still makes time to remember where he is from and to stay in contact with old classmates and coaches. For current upperclassmen, Burkhead advises to cherish every moment because the experiences will last a lifetime and once you graduate, you will never be able to get them back. Ryan McDuff, who graduated in 2009, is a junior at Brown University. During his time at Plano, he played for the football, basketball and soccer teams. He was also Student Congress president, a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a member of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Board and a member of NHS. “I think I have an addiction for competition,” McDuff said. “That’s what probably kept me playing sports. I loved the challenges that Student Congress posed
for me, especially trying to help hundreds of people while breaking the record for the largest high school blood drive in the nation.” McDuff said he feels as though his peers will remember him for being “that kid” who was involved in everything. Although this may seem true due to his participation in various activities around the campus, he said he hopes that alumni will also remember him as someone who tried to make a difference in the school, and was an approachable student who set good examples about working hard and following one’s heart. McDuff is currently the captain of Brown’s soccer team, as well as the President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, President of Brown Sports Business, a Meiklejohn (Freshman Advisor), tutor and volunteer for various organizations within the Providence community. McDuff said he feels that he was prepared for college in more ways than one. “College taught me how to love the people around me,” McDuff said. “It taught me the importance of an education and time management. But most importantly it taught me to never set limits on life: if there is something you’re passionate about, be ready and willing to fight and sacrifice for it. Have no fear in your pursuit.” For McDuff, three words could sum up what he misses most from his high school years. “High school football,” McDuff said. “I didn’t realize what an effect it had on my life until I moved to Brown and began focusing on soccer. Apart from the wonderful times I had with my teammates, the lessons and hard times are what I also miss most. The mental and physical battles
Cont. Page 9
Features Mission Impossible: Protect By Shezal Padani There are 73 million children in the United States; 28.4 million of them live in low-income families according to National Center for Children in Poverty. Fortunately, clubs and organizations such as Habitat for Humanity are here for support. President junior Stacy Lan said she believes this organization is beneficial in several ways. “I thought it would be cool to not just volunteer at school but help work in the entire community, as well,” Lan said. “I thought it would be a good experience to build a house for someone who actually needs it. Not only that, but it makes me feel good to know that we are contributing to someone’s life.” Habitat for Humanity serves as a campus chapter in the area of South Collin County. Its four functions include Building, Fundraising, Advocating and Educating which are implemented into neighborhoods that require the assistance. “It’s usually in a not as wealthy area,” Lan said. “But they choose a place where there is enough land for it. This year our build is going to take place in a smaller neighborhood [in the South Collin County area].” The builds consist of refurnishing and building one house per year. This can include using the members’ skills and techniques, as well as following instructions from the other builders involved in the project such as how to paint the house. Vice president junior Victor Huang said his most memorable experience was building a roof with his friends. “It was a great opportunity,” Huang said. “We not only got to build, but we were helping people in the process. Plus it’s a great way to get some exercise and move around and also help benefit the community simultaneously.” Anatomy teacher Summer Yarbrough serves as
a sponsor for Habitat for Humanity. She said she is optimistic for the club this year and hopes for everyone’s participation. Her experience working with nonprofit organizations has reinforced her dedication towards Habitat for Humanity, she said. Yarbrough spent one year working for the Dallas Habitat Affiliate, which she said has guided her to sponsor the club and oversee the meetings, as well as ensure that the club supports the community to its fullest potential. “The mission that Habitat for Humanity has is really important,” Yarbrough said. “And I want to be there to help accomplish that mission.” Yarbrough sponsors the club with the help and assistance of Lan. In addition to being the current president, Lan served as member of the club freshman year and as president sophomore year. After serving for three continuous years, Lan also said she has high hopes for this year’s club and its future accomplishments. “So far we have about 40 members,” Lan said. “I’m most looking forward to having a lot of participation this year so that every member will be able to experience the build and have the opportunity to help another family. Our first build is going to be in December, and next semester we will be doing a build where we will be in charge of the meals for the volunteers. Later in the year we will have many fundraising opportunities such as a coin drive and a talent show with other clubs. There is nothing set in stone yet, but those are some of the things we are looking into.” Lan said being a part of this organization has influenced her emotionally, as well as given her a different perspective on the reality of society today. “One time I was able to see the family that we were giving the house to,” Lan said. “It was just the look on their faces and knowing that we were helping them that really touched me.”
November 18, 2011
Waiting and changes A series following senior Lauren Burgess through the college application process By Matt Wood In the midst of filling out applications and writing essays, senior Lauren Burgess’s stress has been eased slightly by the first response from a college she’s applied to. “I was really excited when I got the letter,” Burgess said. “The whole college experience feels a lot closer now than I thought.” With this acceptance into Alabama on Nov. 5, Burgess said she feels as though college is within her grasp. Although Burgess has already gotten one response, she’s still expecting more letters from different colleges before she will make her choice. “It’s a relief to know I got accepted,” Burgess said. “But I don’t know if I’ll go to Alabama because I’m more interested in going to TCU and UT. I’ll just have to wait and see.” Burgess knows that the cost of college is a pressing concern. While waiting for more answers, she plans to apply for scholarships to help alleviate the heavy weight of college tuition. “When I applied to Alabama, they sent me different scholarship offers back,” Burgess said. “I’ll probably be taking a look at some of the different ones since I’ve finished my applications.” Many scholarships are offered for students who are involved in extracurricular activities, and Burgess’s participation in cheerleading will help. “I know there are a couple of cheer scholarships available,” Burgess said. “I’m also in NHS and Student Congress, which should help, too.” In addition, she’s been saving money recently to help contribute towards the price of college. “I don’t have an actual job,” Burgess said. “But I did a photo shoot, and I saved the money from that to contribute to tuition costs.” With the semester winding down, Burgess said she has noticed all the changes happening quickly, but she feels optimistic about what lies ahead. “Everything changes really fast at this time of year, but it’ll be fun,” Burgess said. “We have a lot to look forward to in the future.”
Sports Skating into victory November 18, 2011
Wildcats sweep Wolves into the net
Plano Hocky team faces off aginst the Plano West Wolves, Nov. 3. The Wildcats skated their way to their third victory.
Players deal with injuries At the Homecoming game, students lined the stands of Kimbrough Stadium to watch the football team play Marcus. After a play in the first quarter a football player laid on the field, fans waited to see if he would be able walk away unharmed. Senior Bobby Geibler broke his left ankle and tore various ligaments when a Marcus football player hit his ankle straight on with his helmet on Oct. 14. “I’ve accepted what has happened, and I know that there’s not much I can do now,” Geibler said. “It can be difficult to get around school, but I try to make the best of it. Right now I’m focusing on rehabilitating so I can start playing football again, the sooner the better. I want to play football in college.” Geibler will not be able to walk for four or five weeks, and he will not be able to play football for four or five more months. Despite his injury, Geibler has a positive attitude. “I really love this team, and I’m glad
that I was able to play for Plano since my sophomore year,” Geibler said. “It was an honor to be the captain this year. Football has always been a large part of my life and will continue to be.” Senior Luke Watson injured himself during an Oct. 19 preseason baseball game against West. Watson tore seven centimeters of muscle, his reticulum and several tendons, while catching a ball from an outfielder at third base. “I went to turn my leg quickly to catch the ball but my cleat stayed in the ground, and I heard a loud pop,” Watson said. “When I heard the pop I knew something was wrong. I tried to walk on it, but I ended up falling on the ground.” Because of Watson’s injury he will not be able to play for the remainder of the fall preseason. Watson’s cast should be off in January, allowing him to play normally once the season starts in February. “I’m just missing some work outs and practices,” said Watson. “I won’t be able
Photos by Maddie Patton
By Kathleen Shaffer
to play in rest of the fall season but I’ll be fine once February comes. Baseball is an important part of my life.” Being in a cast has complicated Watson’s life he said “I do find it frustrating because it makes everything more difficult,” Watson said. “I can’t drive, and if I want to go out with my friends, it’s a really big hassle. Even showering is more complicated.” Junior JayJay Quach also injured himself prior to the beginning of the season. While practicing in the mat room with another wrestler Quach dislocated his right shoulder. Quach is going miss a few matches and tournaments because the season is started Nov. 5. “I feel like this happened at a bad time,” Quach said. “The season is just started, and I know that means I’m not going to be able to participate Although Quach is treating his injury by wearing a sling and putting ice on his shoulder, he is having a hard time with daily
things. “I have a harder time writing because I’m right handed and that’s the shoulder I injured, and I’ve been carrying my heavy backpack with my left hand only,” Quach said. “Plus people keep bumping into me in the hallways at school. It’s pretty recent, so I’m just waiting for things to progress.” Quach has been wrestling since his sophomore year and really enjoys being on the team. “I love wrestling a lot,” Quach said. “I should be getting my health credit this year, but I decided to wait until next year so I can continue wrestling. I don’t know when, but I’m going to come back from this 100 percent.” Watson believes that a wanting to play a sport is motivation to get over an injury. “Knowing that I can get injured doesn’t make me want to stop playing baseball,” Watson said. “Being hurt makes you want to work harder. If you really love a sport, an injury doesn’t matter.”
Sports Early signing day atheletes
November 18, 2011
Reporting by Daniel Hinson and Eilie Strecker
Wildcat Tales: What is the most exciting thing about playing softball at university? Katherine Batey: Having the ability to play after high school. Being able to play for another school and have the pride. And to be able to say you are an athlete for your college. It is an honor because a lot of people that play softball for their entire life never get the opportunity to play for college. Wildcat Tales: Describe the recruitment process. Katherine Batey: In the beginning when I was a freshmen and a sophomore they coaches couldn’t talk to me either verbally or through email, but I could talk to them. I would email them and say “Hey I’m Katherine Batey, this is what I play, this is how good I am.” I would send them my schedules for my tournaments and I would ask them to come out and watch me. After my junior year they could actually come and talk to me. Midwestern came to talk to me after a tournament and they wanted me to keep them updated. They came out to watch me like five or six times. When I went up to visit them, that is when they offered me a scholarship.
Wildcat Tales: How did you know the University of the Incarnate Word was the right one for you? Erin Lowell: I went to a couple of camps and I went on an unofficial visit and took a tour of the campus and got to meet all the players and meet the coaches. Out of all the schools I went to visit I just liked the atmosphere of the school and the players were really nice and it seemed like a good fir for me
Mackenzie Velasquez Wildcat Tales: Why did you pick Lehigh University? Mackenzie Velasquez: I chose Lehigh University because it is in an area of the country I want to go to. They have a great academic program, and the fact that I can play softball and get a great education is a bonus. I went up there over the summer and absolutely fell in love with the campus and the community around it
Wildcat Tales: How do you believe you will improve the team at University? Erin Lowell: The team got a new coach last year and they won thieir conference title for the first time last year so they are doing really well and I hope to contribute to that and help take them one step further.
Wildcat Tales: When did you first become interested in playing softball? Mackenzie Velasquez: I stared softball when I was in first grade. College wise it started my sophomore year. I started looking into college around that time. I didn’t really make my decision until the end of junior year.
Wildcat Tales: What were the reasons you chose to sign with Lamar University? Ashley McDowell: One of the reasons I chose to sign with Lamar was because of its location to the beach. Also I really loved the campus. Wildcat Tales: Did you always know that you wanted to play softball in college? How do you believe you can contribute to the team’s inaugural season? Ashley McDowell: I didn’t always know that I would play colligate softball, but I am glad that I get the opportunity to do it. I believe I can help contribute to the team with my batting record and by not making any errors.
Wildcat Tales: What are some of the coaches and facilities like at Louisiana Tech University? Kristen Miles: Our coaches are really cool and we just redid our soft ball field. I’ve gone to lunch with the coaches a couple of times and they are really friendly and really nice. Wildcat Tales: Why did you choose Louisiana Tech? Kristen Miles: I choose this school because I love all the coaches there and the people that go there. I love that I get to play softball there and they had my major, biology for pre-med.
Wildcat Tales: What do you really love about volleyball? Amanda Kunz: I love the rush of the game, and the excitement of getting a point. When you are down by a lot and you get back up, or when it is a close game and you win, that’s what I really love. Wildcat Tales: What are some of the primary reasons why you chose Northwestern State University? Amanda Kunz: It has a family atmosphere and how it is really friendly. The coaches are really awesome and nice. They made it seem like it was about you,. It was really personal. The school and the community work together and everyone is really close.
Allison Butler Wildcat Tales: What were some of the main reasons you signed with Fairleigh Dickinson University? Allison Butler: I loved where the university was, near New Jersey and New York. I’d been going there my whole life, and I really like the campus. It is really pretty, and they had my major. I want to be a nurse, and this school is really strong in that major.
Wildcat Tales: Has volleyball been a strong pursuit of yours and did you always know that you wanted to play volleyball in college? Allison Butler: I’ve been playing since I was 12-years-old. I started playing club then, and I have been playing every year since. I’ve known for about the past two years that I’ve wanted to play college volleyball. I went through this slump of “oh, I’m not so sure,” but now I definitely know that’s what I want to do.
Wildcat Tales: What are some of the main reasons you signed with Wayland University? When did you know that this was the college for you? Stephanie Afunugo: The main reasons I signed for Wayland was because they offer a great education and they had my major, and I am majoring in pre-dental. They were really family oriented and I liked the atmosphere of the campus and it fit me. I decided that I wanted to go there when I went for a campus tour around early September. I liked the facility so I went ahead and signed there. Wildcat Tales: What are some of the coaches and facilities like at Wayland?? Stephanie Afunugo: The coaches are really nice and they care a lot about their players and it’s more like a family, it’s not like business and everyone knows everyone.
November 18, 2011
Michigian State’s new goal keeper
Senior Zach Bennett to graduate early A couple of weeks after senior Zach Bennett graduates in D e c e m b e r, he will leave for Lansing Michigan to play soccer for Michigan State’s soccer team. Zach has been playing soccer for 14 years most recently for Solar Chelsea Development Academy. His talent became known in a Phoenix, Arizona showcase tournament. This tournament had little brackets of mini plays to show colleges what talent of the players. Colleges from all around scouted Bennett. “It’s nerve racking at first,” Bennett said. “Once I started, I wasn’t nervous at all.” During September, emails appeared from multiple colleges suggesting places where Bennett could attend. With wide open
fields to castle like dorms, Michigan State happened to be his first choice to visit. “I love the environment surrounding the school,” Bennett said. “The coaches there are great and the education is pretty great, too.” Bennett’s inspiration evolved from his parent’s determination to see him succeed. “My mom was my inspiration to become the soccer player that I am today,” Bennett said. “She pushed me the hardest and knew when I needed support.” Being on the Solar Chelsea soccer team for so long, Sherre Bennett contributed in helping the team by managing and taking photos during game plays. She’s been traveling with the team since they were very small and known them since they were 9-years-old. “The biggest thing about soccer is that it’s very family orientated,” Sherre said. “Zach was always aggressive and very competitive and was all about did we win, did we win, even though they weren’t supposed to keep score.” Being in the light spot for the first time in a second year select soccer tournament, Bennett was 11-years-old and became well known as the goal keeper.
By Kathy Santiago
The tournament was decided on penalty kicks where each team had a shot at the goalie. Bennett stopped enough kicks to win it for his team and for blocking penalty kicks at that age, was a big deal. “The way he blocked those penalty kicks become one of my favorite memories,” Sherre said. “He was so good that the opposing team could barely score a point.” The Solar Chelsea teams were made up of students all around Texas and will then split up and travel to different colleges around
the state to play soccer. Bennett has been with the team for most of his life and will rarely meet up with the group once he leaves. Bennett will leave Texas on January 9. On New Year’s Eve, he will turn 18 and will celebrate with his family for the last time before becoming a college freshman. They will fly him down to Michigan and will get him into his new dorm. “He’s such a sweet baby,” Sherre said. “He’s my bud and I’m really going to miss him.”
Photos submitted by Zach Bennett
For more sports stories check us out online at www.wildcattales.com
Features By Alyssa Matesic and
November 18, 2011
It’s a wildc
eautiful weather and tradition are the highlights junior Kimberly Brondeel experiences in her home country of Belgium. “The people are really open to each other because it’s such a small country,” Brondeel said. “Every Sunday everyone in town goes to the same church. Houses are also passed down from generation to generation and families and friends stay together because of that, too.”
C lif Junior Ka Ki Chan and family against the Hong Kong skyline.
Photo submission by Ka Ki Chan
“E m de
Photo submission by Kimberly Brondeel
Junior Kimberly Brondeel with family in Belgium.
Junior Armen Hambardzumyan visiting his homeland of Armenia. Photo submission by Armen Hambarzumyan
th K ha
hough junior Armen Hambardzumyan was born in Russia and lived there for the first two years of his life, he knows the Armenian city of Yerevan much better. Almost all of his family resides there, so he has traveled to Yerevan at least six times, staying for several months each visit. Even though, according to Hambardzumyan, Yerevan maintains a lively downtown, the city is still behind on some modern-day advancements available in the United States. “Infrastructure sucks,” Hambardzumyan said. “Running water finally came to my family’s house over there like five years ago. Some people had running water, others didn’t. If they had no running water, we got water bottles, came back home, poured them into the little tub we had, and then, to wash hands, we’d just take water out of the tub and wash. It was different.” Because of the lagging infrastructure development, roads there are rough – deep holes dot the streets. Once, when the city was attempting to fix a water pump, Hambardzumyan and his friends used the ditches for entertainment. “We used to play hide and seek in them,” Hambardzumyan said. “They don’t put caution tape over them. We just hid there, underneath the street.” In the Armenian school system, teacher-student conflict isn’t unheard of. Hambardzumyan described one of his uncle’s school experiences. “The teachers over there, they’re not afraid to beat you,” Hambardzumyan said. “It’s not uncommon for teachers to get beat up, either. My uncle and his friends apparently went to the bathroom and beat up one of their teachers – like, jumped him.” Another one of Hambardzumyan’s family members once had a violent outburst start in his workplace – an Armenian bank. It ended with him cutting his opponents with a knife he had on him. The corrupted police force can often be unjust in dealing with conflicts like these. “If you pay them money, things go by,” Hambardzumyan said. “You can bribe them.” Armenian laws are loose on minors’ restrictions, as well. In contrast to the United States, the nation lacks a drinking age. “I was at a store one time, I was supposed to buy eggs or something, and I saw this kid who was, like, eight years old,” Hambardzumyan said. “He was, like, ‘I need some vodka,’ for his father or whatever, and [the cashier] just gave it to him.” Moreover, clubs are open to all ages – Hambardzumyan went to one when he was 14. Minors are also frequently seen smoking, as per the lack of smoking limitations. “You see everyone - eight, nine, 10 - they all smoke,” Hambardzumyan said. “Almost everyone there smokes. I know that for a fact because I counted. One out of every 10 people did not.” Despite the unrestrictive laws, Armenians still uphold an unwritten moral code. Hambardzumyan explained that people there are still expected to act responsibly and respectfully. Giving to the poor is a moral responsibility some Armenians feel obligated to perform, especially considering the vast homeless population of the nation. “This one person blessed us, and we had to give him money,” Hambardzumyan said. “It was, again, moral to give him money. He was, like, ‘God bless your children. May they be prosperous, but please give me some money.’ They mean everything they say, but it is to scrape a living. It’s a sincere guilt trip.” Though he truly likes traveling to his family’s country and has fond memories there, Hambardzumyan is aware of that lifestyle’s disadvantages. “The standard of living is way better here than it is there,” he said. “Here, even though you might not be well off, you still are better off than over there.”
Photo submission by Hiba Badr
Junior Hiba Badr as a child holding a baby lamb.
unior Hiba Badr said she misses the se Casablanca, Morocco. “My favorite part was the people,” B the same people you started with, and restaurants. Over there we have more stu
November 18, 2011
cat w rld
oving from a city with a population of over seven million, where 90% of the citizens use public transportation, to here has been described as a “culture shock”. The change is amplified by the fact that junior Ka Ki Chan had lived there for 17 years. Chan is now 18 years old and misses the active festyle she once had in China. “In Hong Kong people are more talkative,” Chan said. “Most people got along. really miss that.” Public transportation in Hong Kong makes the city accessible through the bundance of trains and buses. Chan said the liberty given to students represents he approach taken by the government and the educational system. “I liked how everything was close together,” Chan said. “There’s a bigger sense f freedom in Hong Kong. It’s easier to state your opinion.” The government in Honk Kong provides many ways for the inhabitants to speak heir opinions, according to Chan. She said different organizations and committees old events that make the people’s thoughts heard. “Actually they offer many ways for people to state their opinion,” Chan said. Estates [communities of people that live in residential buildings] meet once per month and hold events to let the government know their opinions on recent ecisions. If there is a lot of disagreement then the events are really effective.” Chan said something that residents of Hong Kong enjoy is the close proximity o celebrities. Famous individuals in China are more available to their fans. “Over here I don’t really see any singers or actors but in Hong Kong I’ve had the hance to follow them,” Chan said. “There were many events at the mall, almost very weekend.” The life described by Chan was a spontaneous one. The after school life of an veryday student in China is filled with activities and social interaction. “After school here it’s kind of boring,” Chan said. “I just go home and do chool work. In Hong Kong, me and my friends would go to restaurants and ride he trains, and we would walk to the mall. The guys like to play video games a lot.” Chan shared stories of Victoria harbor, which runs along the Hong Kong port nd is known for the many celebrations held there and for its night life. “We have fireworks there on New Year’s and Christmas,” Chan said. “It’s very amous in Hong Kong and the nights are really good. I like taking walks on the arbor and seeing the big port.” Chan said she misses the huge social gatherings she experienced in China and he educational system. She also said that she wishes she could go back to Hong Kong but that she is glad to be able to come here and have the experience she is aving in Plano. “Talking about Hong Kong gets me really excited,” Chan said. “It’s just that I et so happy when I remember life in China. I’m really excited to tell everyone in lano about my home.”
enior Hannah Stark was exposed to a different part of the English culture. Unlike those who have urban lifestyles like that in London, Stark experienced life on a sheep farm. “I liked seeing the people sheer the sheep,” Stark said. “There’s a lot of open space and land. It’s kind of surprising to get out of the really crowed cities and see the large amounts of land in England.”
Photo submission by Hannah Stark
Senior Hannah Stark visiting Oxford, England.
ense of family and unity in her home town of
Badr said. “ You get to go through school with we have more options than movies, malls or uff to do like horseback riding and the beach.”
Photo submission by Manisha Maru
Senior Manisha Maru attending school in Kenya.
hen walking through the hallways not many students would expect to find a girl who got to roam around the safaris of East Africa, but senior Manisha Maru has done just that. She came to Plano from Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, where she lived for
15 years. “It was really cool because there were all these animals that we don’t get to see like lions, elephants, buffalos and cheetahs,” Maru said. “There was one time when a lioness was really close to the van and we got to see it hunt antelopes and deers, it was really amazing.” Maru had many stories to share of visiting safaris once a year and a particular account included a dangerous encounter with a herd of elephants. “They wouldn’t let us cross [the road],” Maru said. “Then they started running toward us. It’s like they were attacking us, and we put the car in reverse and zoomed out of there.” Maru has noticed some differences between life in Africa and in the United States. “People in Kenya are a lot more laid back,” Maru said. “Everything here is quick, and you have to go to work and do this or that, but over there you can walk around, and it doesn’t feel as tense.” Maru said that transportation and everyday life in Kenya are also different. A bus would pick up all the kids in her apartment building, and they would ride it for 30 minutes to the other side of town to get to school. She also said that many of the students in Kenya are less forgiving. “I had a friend in Kenya who was discriminated against and was thrown around because he was gay,” Maru said. “Over there social life is definitely harsher. People here are more generally nice, but every now and then there’s a new student who gets isolated or bullied.” Besides the differences in social life there are also differences in governing. Those living in Kenya are exposed to frequent political riots, which can be heard from the safety of one’s own home. “Not many people follow the law over there,” Maru said. “It’s not safe and the government is corrupt. We had seven locks on one door, and the second front door had three locks.” Although there are negatives to life in Nairobi, such as the security and social problems, the events that people can participate in and the general environment still make it a favorable place to live. “Life in Kenya was a bit more exciting than life over here,” Maru said. “If I had to choose where I’d prefer to live, I would choose Kenya were it not for the opportunities I could have here.”
November 18, 2011
Thanksgiving Traditions By Paul Burnham bOur family gathers at a different family member’s house each year. We each bring a favorite dish, and our dad smokes the turkey and ham. Since our mom has passed, we take special moments to remember her silliness, love and humor, and how she held each of us in a special place and made each of us feel like we were the favorite. We also combine our American tradition with a bit of Mexican food, as Mom would have had it.
rincipal Ka rin
For Thanksgiving my family and I always go back to Kansas to celebrate with my family. I love it because I have a family of 50 people, ranging from adults to babies. It’s a lot of chaos, food and laughter for hours. All the men watch football downstairs, and after the kids go to bed, we all play games really late into the night.
-English T ea ch
C ai ana i D
“My Irish grandparents started a family reunion during the 1930’s that continues to this day, 70+ years later. They exchanged “Turkey Notes” with the children- and we still do. Legend has it that the custom originated in Germany. We roll up the piece of paper and fringe the ends, like turkey feathers. They’re often decorated with artwork, too, crayon-style.”
eacher Vand hT a
her Kim M illi eac T e s
My favorite thanksgiving tradition is after the meal is cooked and we are all sitting down to dinner. Before we eat, we all tell one thing we are thankful for. We have done this ever since I was a young girl. One other tradition I love is the name night we have as soon as dinner is over and cleaned up, we play games all night and just spend time as a family.
“Besides all of the traditional dishes and laughs, each person must share one thing they love about the person on his or her right. Then we go around [the table] the other way. It’s fun to slow down and be genuine to our family members. Usually, we take each other for granted.”
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Family comes to my house, [and] we use all the good linens for the tables. We pull out the china and crystal, then we pray and each family member tells what they are most thankful for. The meal is prepared using recipies that have been passed down for generations from the mothers and aunts.
Now al S that my girls are basically adults, I “let” them make pies. I don’t bake. Then I buy a turkey from Dickey’s. My contribution is usually some Lebanese food like kibbe or tabbouleh. The Texas A&M game is a big deal for us. Then on Friday we decorate for Christmas!
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JROTC: the unsung heroes By Rachel Romanczukiewicz
In its 37th year of operation, the Wildcat Battalion offers future opportunities to its members. JROTC is a Congress-funded program that operates in various schools throughout the country. Cadets enrolled in JROTC are split into six categories: the unarmed drill team, armed drill team, rifle team, physical training team, color guard team and the academic team. Each team meets at different times during the week to focus on their area, while all teams focus on enhancing their leadership skills. “It’s basically a citizenship and leadership program,” JROTC teacher Lieutenant Colonel Barry Rhoden said. “We act as a coach, but students themselves captain the team and are responsible for memorizing and training the team. We’ve had our day in the sun.” The JROTC instructors are able to help students due to their military career. “It’s harder to be an instructor,” Rhoden said. “You have to be retired from the military and have had a successful time in the military, but the school district gets to pick.” Junior Joshua D’PenhaD’Souza said he finds that JROTC members have less awkward situations when talking to new people they meet and has found that being in JROTC has
allowed him to break down barriers that people may have in certain situations. “You’re always faced with talking to new people in JROTC,” D’PenhaD’Souza said. “JROTC teaches you to talk charismatically and get a good point across.” D’PenhaD’Souza said he also believes that those in JROTC will generally have more opportunities earlier in life. “Just for wearing the uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re a good or bad cadet, people will have a higher level of respect for you,” D’PenhaD’Souza said. Throughout their high school careers, members of JROTC serve different responsibilities each year of the program. During the freshman year of high school, JROTC members are entered into the battalion with no rank. As the cadets move into their sophomore year, they are given the opportunity to become first sergeants, who teach freshman cadets the fundamentals. Juniors and seniors then manage the other cadets. JROTC teams have meets in their own fields. At these meets, members compete in their teams against other battalions. So far this year, the Wildcat Battalion has had three meets; however the results for their past meet are
currently unavailable. Rhoden said he feels that the meets reward students for their preparation. “It’s a simple bus trip, but they get a chance to compete and it’s mainly a form of accomplishment because they practice three to four hours a week,” Rhoden said. At the meets, each team participates in events pertaining to its team. The physical fitness team event consists of pushups, sit-ups and a quarter mile run while the color guard team encases the colors and the armed drill team performs exhibition drills. Rhoden said that the teams have been doing well this year. “The rifle team already won at a meet. They’ve done well and get individual results,” Rhoden said. “The Academic Team was in first place when we left [the last meet] but it takes a while to compile the results.” D’PenhaD’Souza said he plans on continuing in the military field during college and hopes to join the Navy Seals. “The benefits it reaps are that it pays for college tuition if you serve four to five years in the military,” D’PenhaD’Souza said. “[The military] has high paying jobs.”
November 18, 2011
Its all about the paws:
students take interst in vet tech By Cristina Seanez
Students have the opportunity to take Veterinary Technology and learn about the basic terminology, clinical exams, surgeries and the day-to-day operations of a veterinarian clinic. They are given the chance to take a CVA, or Certified Veterinary Assistant, test and become CVA level one certified. “Once they’ve got the title they are able to go out to a vet. clinic and do an internship,” Vet. Tech. teacher Shalley Boles said. Her love for animals inspires junior Victoria McLaughlin to take Vet. Tech. and to learn about how animals’ bodies and systems work. The class also teaches her about different medicines that would help animals. “I have a dog at home,” McLaughlin said. “I can apply all my knowledge of animals [to] him and let my mom know when there’s a new shot that would prevent him from getting sick and where we can get it. The class is very informative.” In Vet. Tech. students also get to interact with animals and learn how to recognize when an animal is healthy or not, how to properly take care of it and about the new technology that is used to work with different animals. “Sometimes the teacher brings animals for us to look at, and she has demonstrations in a big open area outside school,” McLaughlin said. “Sometimes she brings dogs, cows and even lambs. She shows us the different parts in their bodies, how to take care of them, and how to handle them properly.” Junior Amanda Gray said she enjoys her
Vet. Tech. class and she works to achieve her ultimate goal in life to become a veterinarian. “What inspires me to be in Vet. Tech. is wanting to help animals, wanting to not feel useless when an animal is hurt and wanting to take care of them as much as I can,” Gray said. “Currently the Vet. Tech. class is working on Essay Es. It is a project done outside of class where the students work on logging hours in a journal entry. It is based on gaining experience on the veterinarian field and also on agriculture.” Essay Es stands for supervised agriculture experience in which students that are in any agricultural class have to have an Essay E. It is a state mandated requirement for any agricultural science course. The students have to complete the task and then log it in a school website that the district pays for. The day the Essay E project is due they have to give a presentation to their classmates based on what they did. “The students have to have some activity outside of school,” Boles said. “It takes about two hours, and it has to be in some way related to agriculture.” Vet. Tech. teaches in only two years how to do many of the things veterinarians do. “This class prepares the students for their future careers,” Boles said. “It gives them a little taste of the real world, and most importantly it helps them decide if they really have an interest in veterinary technology instead of starting to study the career and then regret it.”
Features Alumni “wow” the world Cont. from front page
on the field will stick with me forever. All of the tough love, blood, sweat, and tears has shaped my attitude and built my character.” From the years 2009 to 2011, Connor Michelsen did his part to contribute to the football team. Michelsen was a quarterback and helped lead the team to playoffs in the 2010-2011 season. Michelsen was named “Unanimous First Team All-District” during his senior year. Currently Michelsen is quarterback for the Princeton Tigers. “Football has been my passion for as long as I can remember,” Michelsen said. “I’ve been playing since I was very young, and I absolutely love the sport. All my years at Plano, the team was like my family. They were all my best friends and they made it easy to come to practice every day.” On top of a busy football schedule, Michelsen made time to participate in other organizations, as well. He was a member in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and National Honor Society. However, Michelsen said he does not believe that the clubs he partook in will be what his peers will remember him for. “I think my peers will remember me for being a good, down to earth guy,” Michelsen said. “I was friends with people from all of the social circles and was always willing to reach out and befriend someone.” Since Michelsen does not attend school with any of his close friends from high school, he said he makes sure to stay in contact with them in more ways than one. “I have a Facebook message going on with my three best friends [(Kent Bateman, Jackson Goldberg and Jake Robinson)],” Michelsen said. “I try to text or call all of my other friends every once in a while to try to stay in the loop.” Even with all of the changes Michelsen has been exposed to as a college student, he said he still keeps his alma mater in his recollections. “There is so much history surrounding the school,” Michelsen said. “It’s an incredible feeling to be able to say, ‘Yeah, I’m a part
By Dani Sureck
of that tradition.’ But the best part is to be able to say that you are a Wildcat. I take tons of pride in being from Plano.” Michelsen said he wishes he could relive one specific tradition. “I miss playing under those Friday night lights at John Clark Stadium more than anything,” Michelsen said. “I also miss going to school every day and seeing all my friends, teachers and coaches, and then going home to my family.” Stefani Sandridge, current TCU student and Showgirl, the school’s dance team, left PSHS ready for life after high school. Sandridge participated in Student Congress and Planoettes during her junior and senior years. She won a National Championship title through the Planoettes both years. Her senior year, she was the captain and won first place at both a regional and national competition. Sandridge said she will always remember a particular football game. “My best memory at PSHS was the breast cancer awareness football game,” Sandridge said. “Lining up about to perform halftime I was star struck by how many people came out to watch the game and support in their pink. It made me realize how much the community can really do to support such a great cause. I was left in amazement by that game and it is a memory I will keep with me forever.” These alumni have words of advice for current students and their futures. “I am forever grateful for and reminiscent about my time in a Wildcat uniform,” McDuff said. “Enjoy PSHS while you can,” Michelsen said. “I missed PSHS within the first week of being in Princeton. I would give anything to be able to go back and relive my senior year.” “Plano has such great traditions, and I am so blessed to have been a part of that,” Sandridge said. “I will forever wear my maroon and wave those paws up in the air.”
For more sports stories check us out online at www.wildcattales.com
November 18, 2011
By Paul Burnham
Thanksgiving, for me, usually starts before the sun comes up. Exhausted from the prior day’s shopping and organizing, I prep myself for the long, event-filled day ahead of me. For the past few years, ever since my mom became incapable of the intense labor that Thanksgiving requires, I have assembled the entire meal, starting with the turkey and ending with luscious cakes and pies galore. My turkey becomes better with every passing year, picking up hints from my mother and what mad skills my dad left me. I won’t tell anyone what I do to it, and frankly put, I’m not even sure myself. Lots of aromatics, as little salt as humanly possible and about half a pound of butter go into my typical 25 plus pound turkey. The turkey is stuffed with my mother’s stuffing, which she makes with the cornbread that only she does best, being from the South and all. Once I get Bo Pilgrim in the oven, I spend the rest of the day making doughs and
crusts, filling pies and casseroles and assuring a well risen soufflé. By early evening, dinner is ready. Cooking is therapeutic to me, it relieves stress and makes me feel good about myself. I get lost in recipes, create many versions of my own, and for a few solid hours the only worries I have are whether or not my bird will be cooked to the USDA’s preferred temperature. What I enjoy most about Thanksgiving, however, is the completeness that it brings to my house. Between all of my siblings activities and work, we’re never home together, and the time I spend with them is between classes or shifts. Thanksgiving allows us to spend quality time together. I have my two sisters next to me in the kitchen helping me with important tasks such as stirring the gravy or peeling potatoes. I have my younger brother to help me yell at the ball game on the big screen, and I’ve got my stepdad to pass out next to on the couch once it’s all said and
Why I wear my heart around my neck By Alyssa Matesic It was nearly two years ago. We were sitting in his room on the eternally unkempt mattress, silent. There was tension. There had been for a while. There were words missing between us. “Here, lay down with me,” he said. “I’m too lazy to sit up.” We stared like corpses at the white popcorn ceiling. We weren’t touching, which felt extremely unnatural. Eventually he was lifelike again, but jittery. He shuffled around and sat up. His mouth opened a few times but shut almost immediately after. His eyes darted around – I couldn’t catch them. “What?” I asked, worried. There was a pause. His eyes still refused mine. “I-I-” His mom walked in just then. He sighed, annoyed at the interruption. They had a short, meaningless conversation; then we were alone again. “What?” I was nervous. I wanted so badly to graze his cheek, to turn his face toward me, to be able to look into him. Either the greatest thing was about to leave his lips or the worst. In fear of the latter, I kept my distance. “I…want you to forget what happened before, because I…” His voice was shaky. Finally, his eyes met mine – they were wide, focused, and the brightest green they had ever been. His perfection left me breathless. He leaned in suddenly. My heart was already unsteady; the following kiss irritated it more. “You what?” I asked when we parted, practically begging. The following pause was unbearable. He opened his eyes into mine; they were even more brilliant than before. I was in awe again. “I love you,” he nearly whispered. I think I started crying then. “You do?” “So much.” I had been holding my breath for weeks, unable to let go until I knew positively that whatever I was feeling wasn’t one-
sided. My lungs were desperate for relief. I leaned into his shirt and blackened it with mascara. Though my breathing was sharp and shallow, he held me steadily. When I was stable, I separated myself from him and cast my eyes upward, expecting. His lips met mine halfway. I was complete. “I love you,” I exhaled. Though it turns out nicely, the beginning of the story was not as cliché. It starred a naïve, brace-faced freshman already “in love” and a long-haired, men’s-flip-flopwearing sophomore consumed by selfdeprecation. Somewhere in the middle fell a haircut, a breakup, a rumor, a relit spark, and the climax has already been told. The ending hasn’t quite been written yet. Far more meaningful than any of my classroom lessons are those which I have learned through love. My ever-present selfishness has been forced to subside, because there is, for once, someone more important than I in the world. I’ve always been governed by my heart, and no longer is it solely a production of my own soul – a piece has been removed and his permanently sewn in. And I think it’s far more rewarding to beat as a hybrid. I don’t think anyone is necessarily whole until their heart has been broken. Mine had been pure, untouched before him. Bruised, but not severely and not often enough to leave a lasting mark. He took the first stab. At the time, I had been taken by surprise and lacked the knowledge of what to do with the sudden and incredible emptiness. And the pain. Looking back, that hole still isn’t completely healed over, even with him, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be. I thank him for the wound, in fact. I’m better because of it. What I have realized over two years has been immense; and, even if my tale ends tragically, my patchwork heart and newfound knowledge I will carry with me always – to the moon and back.
done. When Grandpa is in town, he’s always there to offer me his mad wisdom on how I should learn golf because if I don’t, I’ll never make a business deal in my life and when Grandma is around, she spends her time telling me that I need to eat more and stop piercing things on my body. All the chaos and overindulgence behind us, we are a family and for this one day out of the year we get together, just as millions of people around the world do, and we are thankful for each other and for the many things, tangible or not, that we have in our lives. Together we share our love for one another and praise each other’s good health. Sure it’s cliché, sure it seems a little nerdy that people still do that, but it makes me feel good. This Thanksgiving, I wish that everyone would partake in a similar sense of well-being, taking a minute to think what precious elements of their life they are most thankful for. After all, if we didn’t have each other, we wouldn’t really be anything, would we?
from a four-year-old By Maelyn Schramm Kennedy sings. A lot. His favorite song is “I’m a Little Teapot.” Each time we sing it, his tiny 4-year-old eyes light up and his mouth forms a perfect “O” as he belts the tune like it’s the last time he ever will. We sing it over and over. Our smiles grow wider and our worries seem farther away with each note, the jovial melody becoming louder and louder. But it seems like Kennedy has very little reason to sing. He lives in an orphanage just outside of Beijing, sharing his home with 74 other children. He has hydrocephalus, also known as “water on the brain.” This causes his head to be larger than normal, a real life bobble head. He can’t walk. He is bound to a wheelchair because his little legs are too weak to carry him. Instead of competing in bike races with his friends, Kennedy stays put in his chair and twiddles leaves from the trees in the orphanage courtyard. Instead of his parents reading books to him for fun, the ayi, the nanny working at the orphanage, reads to him if she is not too busy taking care of the other children. Instead of peacefully falling asleep at night, he lies awake wondering if tomorrow will be the day, the day a nice family will finally come to adopt him, the day he will get his very own home. I spent three days with Kennedy and his friends. In those three days, I never heard Kennedy complain.
Not once. I whine like a toddler at least five times in one day alone. “I have nothing to wear.” “I can’t believe the amount of homework I have.” “My parents are so mean!” “It’s TOO hot!” “There’s nothing to eat in this house.” And the list goes on. And on. And on. Kennedy wants a family, I’m sure. He longs for parents who can cuddle with him during a terrifying thunderstorm, parents who will whisper “I love you, I’m here, don’t be scared” into his ear while the crashing thunder roars outside. He probably wants his own room, books and toys too, something that belongs only to him. Something that he won’t have to fight for, something with his name on it. And I bet Kennedy would love to run around on sturdy legs, chase butterflies and never have another seizure again. The problem is, I don’t have problems. The problem is, I think I have problems. I think my phone dying halfway through the day is a problem. I think needing to choose between two outfits to purchase is a problem. I think my mom making me actually clean my room is a problem. But the more I think about Kennedy and the other giggly, mischievous kids at the orphanage, the less I think about my “problems.”
November 18, 2011
Modest Mouse Concert Review By Matt Wood
Letters to the Editor The newspaper keeps getting better and better each issue. Other than the small errors, the newspaper is great. I enjoy reading the columns, and “If you really knew me” because it puts people who aren’t the vision of an everyday American in the readers perspective. It also teaches the readers about different kinds of people and what they have gone through. I also liked “Occupy Wall Streets reaches Dallas” because it is about a current issues that students need to be informed about. The part of the newspaper that I always look forward to the opinion section because it always relates to teenagers and always keeps my attention through the entire section. The review section is nice to read if a CD or movie you want to see is reviewed. Junior Gabi Saithsoothane
ith the slinking bass line to start the show, Modest Mouse bassist Eric Judy creates the atmosphere of the nautical themes that the band is known for. Then the aptly titled “Whale Song” is transitioned by the echoing dissonance of Isaac Brock’s frantic guitar playing, drenched in effects, as he belts out “I should’ve found a way out.” Isaac Brock, Jeremiah Green, and Eric Judy, the forming members of Modest Mouse, first formed in 1993, and since then have taken a less-than-typical approach to creating music. Throughout their work, every lisp-ridden lyric that Brock sings is projected with every fiber of his being, as though it were his lifeblood. The almost spastic but precise and tight drumming of Jeremiah Green shows a percussionist who knows his role in a band, and instead of keeping the beat with typical simple rhythms, he accentuates every other facet of the group with both his more loose playing style and his airtight beat keeping. The show progressed well, with a setlist that expertly managed the ebb and flow between their raucous, high energy songs, with Brock jumping around the stage with
reckless abandon -- to their more somber songs, musing about living a life consumed by boredom. The performance was heartfelt, and the energy of the band caused the entire audience to connect, with songs like “Black Cadillacs,” which had every audience member bellowing the words. The older songs from their first album, “Dramamine” and “Custom Concern” both kept to the band’s originally simplistic style, but they felt fresh and polished with the additions of newer instruments, and also enlisted help from the opening band, Talkdemonic. The show also featured “Poison the Well,” and “Lampshades on Fire,” two songs from their upcoming untitled album. Save a few technical glitches, with instruments not quite balanced correctly, and Brock guiding the sound engineer slightly, the show presented the band as they are - seasoned veterans with 18 years behind them. Although there was little in the area of audience interaction, besides Brock talking over someone tuning guitars behind him, it wasn’t quite necessary, and the show didn’t lack a connection between the band and the fans. The only real issue was the surprisingly short setlist - only having 15 songs planned,
which seems short for a band with six albums and over a hundred recorded songs. In addition, the closing song “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes” – may have been a crowd favorite, but ended the show with a lack completion. Their more typical ending songs, such as “Spitting Venom” and “The World at Large,” would have closed the show with on a more resolute note. The show was also missing some of my personal favorite songs, “Ocean Breathes Salty,” “Missed the Boat,” and “Dark Center of the Universe”. The ambience of the Palladium Ballroom captured the band’s sound well, and the standing room only style of the venue made it feel like a more intimate setting in a way that a seated venue wouldn’t be able to. Although the floor was packed, it still kept a personal feeling between the audience and the band. Overall, the concert was enthralling, and the songs covered spanned the band’s career with very few elements left out. The fervor with which Brock took the stage shows that the band has nowhere near lost its vigor and passion for creating music, and their new material leaves fans with bated breath as to what their next album will bring.
No One’s First and You’re Next Sony Music Entertainment Inc. © 2009
The Moon & Antarctica Sony Music Entertainment Inc. © 2000
The Wildcat Tales
November 18, 2011
Volume LXVI Issue Four
Daniel Hinson Eilie Strecker
Jessica Allman Erin Ball Emma Barishman Haley Bunnell Paul Burnham Danielle Deraleau Ashley Gaudlip Miles Hutson Stephanie Jabri Yeesoo Lee Alyssa Matesic
Editorial Editor Online Editors-in-Chief
Diva Gulati Madison McDaniel
Modest Mouse Sony Music Entertainment Inc. © 2011
Kimberly Mei Michael Nicholson Shezal Padani Maddie Patton Rachel Romanczvkiewicz Kathy Santiago JP Salazar Cristina Seanez Kathleen Shaffer Josh Spruchman Dani Sureck Matt Wood
I thought “Occupy Wall Street reaches Dallas” was a great article. I’ve heard about the protests a lot, but have never known what it was actually about. It was nice to hear about someone that was actually in the protest, and to know why people are protesting. “Rugby stands on its own” was an interesting article. I didn’t know there was a rugby team. “The odd ones out” was interesting because it was on a subject I never thought about. It was also cool to hear about those classes too because I never heard of them. “If you really knew me” was also a good article because it can help people who have always been unaccepting and rude at times to people that are gay or lesbian understand and to try to relate to them and their struggles. “Sock it to me” was a good article and I liked the sarcasm. It is important for people to remember to appreciate the teachers. Junior Phoebe Chung I really liked reading this issue. The opinion pieces were my favorite, as always. I would however, like to see more contreversial stories, with interviews that are interesting. I enjoyed reading “If you really knew me” because I didn’t know about the struggles that gay or lesbian people truly do have to face when coming out. It was heart breaking to know people can also be so rude to others. Junior Sydney Richardson
We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank Sony Music Entertainment Inc. © 2007
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The Wildcat Tales is the official student publication of Plano Senior High School 2200 Independence Pkwy Plano, Tx 75075
November 18, 2011
Plano Senior High School
Plano, TX, USA