Author travels back to the future with hit book Ready Player One

The year is 2044 and the world is an ugly place. The Great Recession has taken it’s toll on the world’s economy, resources are scarce, there’s an ongoing energy crisis, catastrophic climate changes, widespread famine, poverty, disease, and many wars. In 2012, an online simulation was released that changed the life of many across the world, as people of all ages and backgrounds spend every waking hour on it, the Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation (OASIS). This is the world created in Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The internet and gaming culture has evolved into the OASIS simulation created by James Halliday and Ogden Marrow of Gregarious Simulation System (GSS). Halliday, with no other living family members, dies suddenly leaving only a video will and a book, Anorak’s Almanac, a book written by James Halliday’s avatar Anorak in OASIS. The video says that whoever finds the three keys, Copper, Jade, Crystal, hidden throughout the universe of OASIS and passes through the matching gate will receive Halliday’s fortune and control of GSS. This became known as the Easter Egg.

Protagonist Wade Owen Watts, who is known as Parzival (after the Arthurian knight famous for his quest for the holy grail), is a poor, sarcastic, and intelligent orphan from the stacks surrounding metropolitan Oklahoma. Five years after the video will had been sent out publicly, Wade stumbles upon the meaning of the first riddle and finds the first key, solving the first gate. On his quest to find the Easter Egg, Wade befriends Aech (Helen Harris), Art3mis (Samantha Evelyn Cook), Daito (Akihide Karatsu), and Shoto (Toshiro Yoshiaki). Together, they face the real world and it’s real consequences while pushing through the challenges and puzzles of the Hunt.

The inside jokes and sly references that Cline uses appeals to his wide range of readers, making this a great young adult science-fiction book. Cline uses his love for the 80s and applies it throughout the whole book. It would seem that he even based the character Anorak on himself due to the love that the character and the author have for the decade they grew up in. Cline uses several 80s settings to design a familiar feeling throughout the book and, if readers don’t understand what the Dungeons of Daggorath looked like, they should surely look it up to be enlightened over the reference.

Ready Player One is a thrilling science fiction book that keeps readers on the edge of their seats and makes them stay up all night reading it just so they can know what happens next. Ready Player One can be loved by many, especially coin-operated game enthusiasts and 80s fanatics like myself.

Softball team defeates Livingston

Bryan 17 Livingston 6

Bryan. 3 1 1 0 6 4 2 17 19 4
Livingston. 1 3 0 0 1 1 0 6 7 4

WP: Ullmann (3-1)

Leading hitters:
Morgan Chavarria 3-3, 3 runs, 2 RBIs
Desiray Sauseda 3-5, run, RBI
Jordan Waggoner 3-4, 2b, BB, 2 runs, RBI
Saleen Quinonez 2-4, BB, run, RBI
Chandon Morris 2-4, BB 2 runs, RBI
Lauren Galvan 2-5, 2 runs, RBI
Kaitlyn Johnson 2-3, run, 2 RBIs

Record: 5-2, 1-0

Track athletes place at meet

The girls’ track team competed on Friday. See highlights below:

Chassidy Rusk – 1st shot – 40 feet
Charnell Gibson – 5th shot

Kaitlyn Harris placed 2nd in the Long Jump with a 16’9″

Sprint Relay won with a 48.5 (Kaitlyn Harris, Chahnyce Foster, Quinteria Johnson, and Jamie Kennedy)
4×200 Relay got 2nd with a 1:44 (Quinteria Johnson, Kailtyn Harris, Quinteria Johnson, Jamie Kennedy)

200 m – Kaitlyn Harris – 2nd
100 m – Chahnyce Foster – 3rd
800 m – Lidia Castillo- 4th

Indoor percussion group earns 4th at contest

Indoor Percussion placed 4th this weekend at he TCGC Cypress Lakes Percussion Competition.

The group bettered it’s season opening score by more than five points and placed 2nd overall in its class for music against a much larger and more seasoned field of competitors.

VIP is picking up momentum as it heads toward Winter Guard International competition in Spring on March 7th.

Softball team finishes 7th at tournament

The softball team finished 7th out of 64 teams at the BCS Tournament during the weekend.

The Lady Vikings finished with a 4-2 record. In the 7th place game the Lady Vikings rallied with 2 outs in the 7th inning to defeat Kingwood Park 5-3.

Junior Chandon Morris knocked in sophomore Saleen Quinonez from 1st with a double off the wall to tie the game. Morris gave the Lady Vikings the lead for good by scoring on a wild pitch from 2nd base. Lady Vikings added an insurance run as sophomore Rachel Agnello knocked in fellow sophomore Jordan Waggoner with an infield single. Sophomore Brianna Salinas picked up her second victory of the year.

Earlier in the day the Lady Vikings lost to Ridge Point by a score of 12-6. Chandon Morris hit her first home run of the season.

On Friday at home the Lady Vikings played a pair of state ranked teams. In the first game of the day the ladies defeated #10 FW Brewer by a score of 11-3. The Lady Vikings exploded with 8 runs of the first extra inning. Senior Rachel Ullmann picked up her second victory of the year. In the second game of the day #8 Birdville defeated the ladies by a score of 3-2.

The Lady Vikings will kickoff district play on Tuesday as they travel to Livingston.

Tennis team begins spring season

The Viking tennis opened their spring season with freshman Jacy Smith winning the A girls singles draw at the CSHS invitational.

Other Vikings who placed were Tanner Toomer and Emily Henderson who won the Mixed Doubles B Draw. Lexie Rieger finished 8th in the B Girls singles event, Andre Montague finished 9th in the B boys singles, and Osvaldo Davila finishing 14th.

Keith Urso and Rachel Paholek finished 9th in A Mixed doubles. Dillon Murphy and Chris Magby finished 6th in B Boys doubles. Leslie DonJuan and Melanie Wertz won 14th in A girls doubles and Amina Butt and Maddie Merka placed 13th in B Girls doubles.

Students advance to state FCCLA, Skills USA

Students competed across the state at SKILLS USA this weekend.

Applied Engineering (4th Place)
Austin Carter
Danielle Van Orman
Alex Tag
Thomas Schwalen

Video Game Design (2nd Place)
Cread Dotson
Danielle Van Orman
Clancy Fisher

Cake Decorating
Loghan Jordan – Superior Rating (advanced to state)

Cosmetology
Cosmetology Quiz Bowl – State Qualified
2nd place out of 8 teams
Lori Flores, Annais Acuna, Melissa Medina, Maria Tirado, Diana Guerrero

Cosmetology Hair Skills
4th place out 36
Janet Martinez- State Qualified

Nail Art
4th place out of 22
Annais Acuna- State Qualified

Nail Care
4th place out of 30
Dalia Pineda- State Qualified

Best of Show Innovative Salon – State Qualified
Brianna Charles, Lexuz Equia, Elisa Arias, Daphne Benson

Job Exhibits- State Qualified
Annais Acuna, Jacqueline Bernal, Daphne Benson, Diana Guerrero, Maria Lopez, Melissa Medina, Daphne Sanchez, Maria Tirado, Elizabeth Turrubiartes (Seniors)
Mia Fuller, Tierca Moore, QiaChassity Ford, Sonia Rios (Juniors )

Job Exhibits- Excellent
Maria Ruiz, Antwone Wallace (Seniors )
Lilibeth Vazquez (Juniors)

Automotive Skills
Diesel Hands-On Service Contest
1st Place Josue Salazar

Automotive Tool ID Contest
4th Place – Travis Rosati
8th Place – Omar Gomez
10th Place – Josue Salazar

Automotive Service Projects
State Qualified 1st Place – Carlos Campo
State Qualified 1st Place – Emilio Rocha
State Qualified 1st Place – Travis Rosati
State Qualified 1st Place – Jacob Waggoner
State Qualified 1st Place – Erick Moreno
State Qualified 1st Place – Mariano Quintero
State Qualified 1st Place – Alberto Yanez
State Qualified 1st Place – Omar Gomez

Criminal Justice
4th in Building Search out of 20 other 4 person teams
Sam Thomas, Trevor Noel, & Austine Santos

Ad Design Projects
Superior Rating & Advancing to State
Valeria Mendoza – Best of Show
Jorge Rico

Excellent Rating
Christopher (Coleman) Pruitt

Ad Design On-Site Contest
Valeria Mendoza – 4th

FCCLA
Keandra Garrison and Adriana Valentine – 1st in Hospitality
Morgan Escobar – 6th in Fashion Construction

Photography
Madison Hines 4th place – Advancing to State
Autumn Korthanke 2nd place – Advancing to State

Choir qualifies 41 students for state competition

On February 19th choir students competed in UIL Solo & Ensemble Contest.
-107 students competed
-79 received a division one rating (the highest mark)
-41 qualified for State Solo & Ensemble Contest in May
-30 of the State qualifiers are (Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen)

The following students earned a division 1 ranking and qualified for state:
Albright, Dillon (11)
Anderson, Myles (10)
Badgett, Robert (11)
Badillo, Victoria (11)
Ballard, Andrew (12)
Butt, Amina (10)
Chilek, Lilly (12)
Crawford, Cassidy (11)
Duane, Caleb (10)
Edge, Doug (12)
Farris, Kailey (10)
Fisher, Natalie (12)
Flores, Rebecah (10)
Gallego, Kaleigh (11)
Graves, Brittany (11)
Gutierrez, Marco (11)
Henry, Addie (12)
Herman, Witt (10)
Hicks, John (10)
Hirschler, Frances (11)
Johnson, Clifton (10)
Jones, Erica (11)
Jones, Taylor (10)
Krauter, Jaime (11)
Magby, Chris (12)
McGee, Grayson (10)
Morgan, Patric (11)
Peterson, Bethany (11)
Potts, Avery (11)
Pustejovsky, John (11)
Rosas, Saori (12)
Rosser, Taylor (11)
Saenz, Victoria (12)
Snelgrove, Jenna (10)
Stewart, Dakoda (10)
Stratton, Max (11)
Svatek, Katie (12)
Tarver, Robyn (12)
Waggoner, Jordan (10)
Wallis, Luke (9)
Wunneburger, Aaron (12)

The follow students earned a division 1 ranking:
Ayers, Addison (11)
Beavers, William (9)
Boriskie, Sydney (9)
Bradford, Tracy (9)
Bronstad, Erin (9)
Brown, Kiara (10)
Case, Gavin (9)
Davis, Atiana (9)
Davis, Tanner (11)
Douglas, Hailey (9)
Duron, Kevin (9)
Ely, Emily (9)
Flores, Gabriela (9)
Goin, Jason (9)
Gonzales, Jennifer (9)
Graul, Heather (9)
Guevara, Eduardo (9)
Gustavus, Crystal (9)
Hare, Keaton (9)
Isaiz, Exia (9)
Jimenez, Isabella (9)
Johnson, Renita (9)
Lopez, Joshua (12)
Luna, Fabiola (11)
Mack, Keirra (10)
Martinez, Priscilla (9)
McGregor, Wade (9)
Moody, Jada (9)
Nugent, Erin (9)
Olsen, Kaylee (9)
Reyna, Andres (9)
Rosas, Samuel (10)
Salter, Star (9)
Sexton, Michael (10)
Simmons, Kenneth (10)
Spearman, Alana (11)
Walker, Shelbie (9)
Zemanek, Sadie (9)

UIL academic students earn honors at Consol invitational

Editorial Writing
Robert Morgan – 5th Place
Jesse Baxter – 6th Place

Headline Writing
Robert Morgan – 2nd Place
Jesse Baxter – 5th Place

Literary Criticism
Ben Gerzik – 2nd Place
Ben Gerzik, Lilly Chilek, Natalie Fisher – 2nd Place Team

Ready Writing
Natalie Fisher – 3rd Place
Lilly Chilek – 6th Place

Science
Patrick Blumenthal – 3rd Place

Poetry
Robert Badgett III – 6th Place

Taking a stand against society: British band introduces real world problems through concept album

The Gorillaz are distinguished for many reasons. They are a virtual band, meaning real people record the songs while cartoons are used for all the media, such as their music videos and posters. This group of misfits, 2D, Russel Hobbs, Murdoc Niccals, and Noodle, have practically fallen off the face of the earth, but after a three-year hiatus, a long awaited comeback is here with the initiation of “Phase 4.” Maybe you know them, maybe not. Perhaps in the deepest realms of your memories, you can remember hearing “Feel Good Inc.” on the radio. Though their resurrection is a hot topic, the point of discussion is their 2010 album, Plastic Beach.

This album includes other ensembles and artists, such as Snoop Dogg (which was his name at the time of the album), the funky Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, and many more. The entire album demonstrated a newfound maturity in the band and gave vibes unlike any other. The album is essentially a public service announcement for pollution, the harms of following society’s every demand, and promotes pacifism. The post-apocalyptic feel to the album lures listeners from beginning to end.

The opener is my favorite. It’s called “Orchestral Intro,” and it’s exactly that. The sinfonia ViVA plays beautifully and paints the images of a beach, white sands and blue skies. The intro goes directly into the next track, “Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach,” where Hypnotic Brass produces an arpeggiated chord and, at the pinnacle volume, immediately drops to introduce a funky beat (which sounds like the synth Napoleon Dynamite uses) and Snoop Dogg. The rap is illustrating the World of the Plastic Beach, where “the revolution will be televised” and kids think the world is “hopeless.” It definitely doesn’t sound as serious as I just made it out to be, but this song introduces a real world problem.

On to “White Flag,” where the National Orchestra for Arabic Music brings impressive conga technique and a flute melody to float above and disappear into the orchestra, with only high strings playing that lead into the voices and electronic music. Bashy and Kano rap together to talk about the “suffocation when [they] touch the shore,” talking about the gross conditions of the beach. Although the beach is polluted to the point of “breathing in diseases,” it’s a violence-free environment and they meet a peaceful crowd. At the end of the rap, the beginning of the song is repeated with the underlying electronic beat until it fades to silence.

“Rhinestone Eyes” is when Gorillaz make their first real appearance in the album. This song introduces some almighty presence with “plastic power.” The “Rhinestone Eyes” are symbols of “factories far away.” Besides illuminating the power that causes the pollution, there’s a romantic vibe that comes from it. It seems like 2D is in love with the toxic ruler of the Plastic Beach.

One of the singles of the album, “Stylo,” combines 2D, Mos Def, and the not-as-unpleasant rasp of Bobby Womack’s voice. This song is pretty annoying, and maybe it’s because after hearing the whole song through hundreds of times, Bobby Womack becomes the only thing worth listening to. 2D only carries the message through, but Womack’s voice instantly takes over the attention of listeners. The music video comes with the album if you purchase it on iTunes, and that too is annoying but also irrelevant to what the song means.

For “Superfast Jellyfish,” it’s hard to give any meaning to that. It pieces together different breakfast commercials and that’s just weird, I don’t get it. This should be taken out of the album because it doesn’t add meaning to the album.

“Empire Ants” picks up on the romantic aspect of the album again from “Rhinestone Eyes,” except the song focuses on the backlash of pollution and the “world crashing down” because of war and introduces a new idea where the “ants” are everyday people that command their own destruction just by following the fads of society.

“Glitter Freeze” and “Some Kind of Nature” introduce a new funk. “Glitter Freeze” is essentially, an instrumental piece. It’s supposed to introduce a new place that is completely frozen and impossible to navigate through, since Mark E. Smith starts the song with “Where’s North from here?”. There is a single inhabitant here, considering the mad laughter that lies under the repetitive synth melodies. “Some Kind of Nature” creates a picture of an endless landfill, where the inhabitant, Lou Reed, picks up multiple things, such as gold, plastic, and metals.

“On Melancholy Hill” introduces a “plastic tree,” probably the only thing that can resemble a tree that’s left. The hill provides the best view of the world, but also let’s 2D float into a dream of what he wishes the world were. “Broken” talks about the fragmented populations. Everyone’s love is broken, because hope is lost and the “plasma screens” absorb their individuality and potential to want to repair the damage.

“Sweepstakes” uses Hypnotic Brass again, which is why it’s cool. The message it carries, however, particularly attacks the way people feel “safe” when they follow society and everyone’s a winner when, in reality, more people lose than win.

“Plastic Beach” sums up the hopelessness of the beach. The one whale left watches ships go by, and 2D calls it the “day to try”. The landfill pours into the ocean, everything from Casio products to styrofoam is killing what’s left.

“To Binge” is unlike the messages of world issues. Instead, it describes break ups and the horrors of having to face the inconvenient truths and the feelings of being the one to blame for what has happened. “The Cloud of Unknowing” follows the same path. It is the insecurity of not knowing what one feels for another. Towards the end of the song, there’s a revelation where Bobby Womack decides to put himself above all else.

“Pirate Jet” is simply an instrumental, but when I listen to it I think of buoys because it starts with a sound effect that sounds similar to a bell. “Pirates Progress” is an extended version of “Orchestral Intro” and “Three Hearts, Seven Seas, Twelve Moons” is another song by sinfonia ViVA. These are bonus tracks when you buy the album on iTunes, along with the music video to “Stylo” and an iTunes LP, which provides a digital and interactive version of the album. It includes behind the scenes looks at the creation of “Stylo,” artwork, and a jukebox that displays lyrics. It’s pretty awesome.

The album continuously brings listeners into a new place, where cultures of people, if they even are people, live in their own way and how they can live through the pollution. A new message is introduced in each song, ranging from pollution to the constant demands of society. This album gives room for multiple interpretations, but this is my own. Plastic Beach is fun to listen to, and the meanings are hard to find, but don’t think too hard about it, just enjoy.

Wrestlers advance to state meet

The boys wrestling team finished 10th as a team with 85 points at the Class 5A Region III tournament Saturday at the Berry Center.

John Quinonez (152), Ezra Hernandez (195) and Kenny Kelley (285) all qualified for the state tournament next weekend to lead the Vikings. Hernandez placed second in his weight division while Quinonez took third and Kelley earned a fifth-place finish.

Also placing for the Vikings over the weekend were Aaron Salinas (106) at sixth and Jackson Ross (182) and sixth.

Shy-Annes earn awards at weekend competition

The Shy-Annes attended a dance competition in Killeen on Saturday and walked away with 17 awards.

Solo Awards:
2nd Runner up: Grace Wall
1st Runner up: (Tie between Baylea Johnson and Macy Ponzio)
WINNER: Destinee Vargas

Team and Ensemble Awards:
– Academic Champions 1st PLACE (Team GPA avg. of 3.466)
– 3 small officer ensembles took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place
– Team Sweepstakes
– Team Gussie Nell Davis Award of Excellence
– 3 Judges awards for Pom, Jazz and Hip-hop
– Best Overall Technique
– Best Overall Presentation
– Best Overall Precision
– Best Overall Choreography

Full court press: Athlete creates kits to combat cancer

As a shooting guard for the lady Viking basketball team, senior Jordan Lopez-Rhodes knows how to reach a goal. However, Jordan’s story doesn’t start or end on the court. Since last year, Jordan and her family have been striving to reach a different goal: helping to ease the suffering of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. With that goal in mind, Jordan and her family began making care packages in order to counteract some of the harsher side effects of the treatment – a reality Jordan and her family know all too well.

“Over the past couple of years my dad and uncle were diagnosed with cancer and we lost a cousin to breast cancer,” Jordan’s mother Sefra Lopez said. “This project hits home for us and I thought my kids may be able to connect with and learn to do something for another child or teenager their age.”

The family took their drive to fight cancer and began finding ways to practically touch lives.

“My mom saw the idea on Pinterest and said­ ‘okay’ lets start it and see how it goes,” Jordan said. “I wanted to know more, so I did a little research on my own about what would help with the symptoms of chemo.”

The family wanted to help by creating a project to be representative of their values as a family, and serve as a constant reminder of all they are have to be thankful for.

“We call them JAKS Chemo Care Kits 4 Kids to symbolize that each kit is from our family to them. JAKS is a moniker that plays off our first names (Jordan, Amaia, Kennedy, and Sefra) that means family to us,” Mrs. Lopez said. “This project also helps to teach my kids to give back and be thankful for their good health. Our goal is to let these little superheroes fighting for their lives know that ‘No One Fights Alone’ and that we are here to support them.”

After researching the side effects of chemo, Jordan and her family began making the care packages, consisting of items such as hand sanitizers, non-fragrant lotions, and iTunes gift cards for teenage patients, all donated by members of the community.

“Although our family coordinates the JAKS Chemo Care Kits 4 Kids project, it really is a community project that we absolutely could not do without all of the generous donations,” Mrs. Lopez said. “I would really like to see the Bryan High student organizations and clubs get behind us and collect items as a group to donate.”

While it started out as a small family project, the care packages have grown over the past year to touch more lives locally, and in surrounding communities.

“Last year, our goal was 60 kits, but we ended up making 80, and the community was really for it,” Jordan said. “Because of last year’s result, we wanted a bigger goal this year, which is to make 300 kits.”

As part of reaching their goal, Jordan and her family have called upon members of the community to, again, provide their support by donating to the cause.

“We’re doing a drive on February 28 at the Silver Circle from 10 AM – 1 PM, and we have a Facebook webpage with a list of items that you can donate,” Jordan said. “Whatever people can donate will be helpful and I know the kids will appreciate it as well.”

As part of their plans to continue the project, Jordan and her family have begun to discuss ways to help collect and produce more care kits in the future.

“Jordan and I have talked about making this something we do annually or even a couple of times a year, so our hope is to keep this project going,” Mrs. Lopez said. “Maybe even create an online site where people can create a chemo care kit by selecting the items they want to include and have it shipped to the individual.”

In addition to the Care Kids project, Jordan enjoys using her experiences to coach younger kids in her free time, helping them stay fit and express themselves in a positive manner.

“I’ve been coaching kids for the past three or four years,“ Jordan said. “I like helping kids, and allowing sports to be their outlet to build their confidence.”

In spite of all of the activities, planning, and work Jordan has to do, she says that the leadership skills she learned in basketball, and the support of her family helps motivate her, however, the greatest recognition she receives is from the kids she helps.
“Last year we got a card saying that the kids loved [the kits] and all the supplies,” Jordan said. “They helped them cope with the side effects of the chemo and that’s really our goal. I’m glad they put a smile on kids faces. The best part is touching families lives, and having them reach out to us and saying thank you.”

Welding warrior: Ag sparks interest, direction for senior’s career

Sparks fly as two burning, red hot pieces of metal are welded together at the hands of dedicated students in the agriculture department. This subject area helps students tap into different career paths and experiences before they go into the workforce. Although some students might not know that they want to work in ag, others have known for years that this is the path they want to take. Senior Austin Birdwell has been taking steps towards a career in agriculture and is doing whatever it takes to reach his dreams.

“Ag is a program where kids can come in, learn how to weld, learn about planting flowers, how to grow them, how to raise animals, and demonstrates how anybody can do it,” Austin said.

Austin is currently enrolled in four Ag classes, and doing all that is possible to receive the full agricultural experience,by participating in ag related extracurricular activities as well.

“I try to be as involved as I can,” Austin said. “I’m also on the livestock judging team for FFA which I’ve been involved with for the past three years.”

For Austin, ag is more than just classes to fill up a schedule. It offers a support system where he can confide in his teachers and receive any other help he may need.

“There are so many people here who are helpful to me in school and in my personal life,” Austin said. “If I ever need advice, I can always come to my ag teachers.”

Thanks to ag Austin has paved the road to his future and knows exactly what he’s doing after high school.

“After graduation, I’m actually planning on going into welding,” Austin said. “I’ve been thinking about that for the past five years. Ag has helped me a lot with my plans because my teachers have taught me what to do whenever I’m welding.”

Austin’s teachers can see his love for the subject, his hard work, and his dedication.

“Austin performs well in welding class,” ag teacher Will Doss said. “He works hard on his  assignments and, sometimes, even comes in after school to improve his skills.”

Austin’s hard work doesn’t just help him in the class setting, but also improves his character and helps him be a better person.

“His perseverance shows through his work, because he has to continually redo things and make them better,” Doss said. “It makes him mad sometimes, but he has grown as a person because of [his hard work].”

Ag has taught Austin that you don’t have to raise animals or live on a farm to be in Ag, you can be whoever you are and those in ag will welcome you.

“Ag is just a place where everybody can come in, help out, meet new people,”Austin said. “You learn what life is really about.”

Senior shoulders weight of leadership, lifts team

Weights slam onto the floor, as another dead lift is completed. Cheers from the crowd encourage the competitors to keep going. The grunts and groans of the lifter, as they struggle with the next set to show their determination, this is the world of power lifting.

Senior Artie Reyes is an experienced member of the power lifting team who has been lifting for most of his high school career. Since his sophomore year, Reyes has been training to adjust to the intensity of this sport.

“Artie is a seasoned veteran lifter who has been on our team for three to four years,” power lifting coach Robert Jesurun said. “I think Artie, [like] anybody that power lifts, gains a lot from the sport.”

Artie not only power lifts, but also plays on the football team. Using each sport as a building block for the other, Artie has developed a well-rounded athleticism.

“I was trying to make it on the varsity [football team],” Reyes said. “I knew that if I did power lifting, I would get stronger, and that would give me a better chance on making it to varsity.”

Artie impacts the team not only by being a competitive power lifter, but acting as a leader as well.

“When we go to meets, I can concentrate on all the younger lifters because I know Artie won’t need as much of my help,” Jesurun said. “He also helps me with the younger lifters in workouts and at meets as a part of selecting their next weight attempts and making sure their knees are wrapped properly and their suits are fitting right.”

Though Artie is one of the upper class lifters, he also helps lifters of the same age and same experience. “Artie helps me a lot, because we’re in the same weight class,” senior power lifter KeeKee Johnson said. “It’s like we’re competing against each other. “

Artie is an influence to others by the way he has carried himself and his quality in what he does.

Artie gains muscle and a boost of self esteem from this physically and mentally challenging sport. In a sport where physical and mental strength is mandatory, Artie excels at both.

“Your confidence level is going to go up as you attempt things and do them, [that’s when] you improve,” Jesurun said. “This is beneficial in most areas of sports and Artie does this with power lifting”

A power lifting winner is determined by who lifts the most in each weight class in different types of lifts. This type of competition allows for each participate to show off their individual strength.

“The most I’ve ever lifted was about  540 on squat, 330 on bench, and about 470 on dead lift,” Artie said. “I do it, because I want to be stronger and I don’t want to be lazy.”

Reyes is dedicated to the sport of power lifting.

“Artie’s strongest quality is that he has a lot of confidence in himself and he is very technical,” Jesurun said. “His work ethic is certainly second to none.”

Use technology for good, not evil

For decades, students have taken to bathroom stalls with Sharpies in hand to spread gossip and rumors. However, the bathroom stalls have ceased to be the primary avenue for such information. Recently, many have taken to social media as a new means to spread hateful rumors to a larger audience.

Social media has become an increasingly prevalent part of everyday life, especially for high school students. It can be used as a means to effectively communicate and stay connected with friends, family, and professionals. Sadly, many misuse social media as a means to put down and bully others.

The creation of various new social media accounts spreading harmful gossip has become a growing issue. Such accounts are not only harmful, but also unreliable sources of information.

Frequently, the rumors that start on these accounts are often untrue, fueled more by a desire to get attention or revenge than anything else. In the age of anonymity, anything posted on social media accounts should be taken with a grain of salt.

Furthermore, such accounts create a sense of disunity and give the school a poor reputation. Often, social media users from other schools have no idea what Bryan High is like. When the most public aspect of a school is a mean gossip page, it overshadows all of the positive aspects and accomplishments of the school.

At the end of the day, your high school experience is determined in part by your school pride.

Instead of being rude and hurtful to our fellow students, take the moral high road and ignore the multitude of hateful new social media accounts polluting the internet.

Use social media as a means to stay connected with those around you, to share a laugh over a family picture, or make plans to meet an old friend.

Wrestling finishes 2nd at district

The boys finished second in the District 10-5A wrestling tournament and advanced 10 of 14 wrestlers to region.

Bryan scored 250.5 points to finish behind tournament-champion Huntsville, which scored 253.5.

Kenny Kelley won the 285-pound division while Aaron Salinas (106), David Frazier (126) and John Quinonez (152) placed second. Other regional qualifiers from Bryan include Larry Duron (113), Spencer Pierce (120) and Cooper McCall (145), who all finished third and Thomas Rojas (132), Jackson Ross (182) and Ezra Hernandez (195), who placed fourth. Reggie Richardson placed sixth at 220.

For Bryan’s JV, Doug Guadarrama (132) and Caden Scott (138) placed first while Braedon Giles (113) and Gage Grant (220) took third. Kevin Duron placed fourth.

Indoor percussion earns 2nd place at competition

Viking Indoor Percussion (VIP) kicked of it’s 2015 season with a 2nd place finish in TCGC percussion competition this past Saturday at Leander High School.

VIP self-promoted this year to a higher, more competitive class after an incredibly successful season in 2014. At the end of the day the difference in scores was less than one and a half points between VIP and the group in first.

The next competition will take place on Saturday February 21st at Cypress Lakes High School.

Orchestra students earned division 1 ratings at UIL competition

Orchestra students competed at the UIL solo competition on Sat. Feb. 7. Students earned 4 class one, division one medals; 4 class two, division one medals, and 1 class three division one medal.

Students earning division 1:
Andrew Buck
Gloria Gonzalez
Kaitlyn Montgomery
Kimberly Lamb – Piano
Kimberly Lamb – Violin
Laura Moreno
Madison Potts
Melissa Salazar
Sierra Barber

Lamb earned division 1 ratings on both a violin and piano class one solo which she memorized.

Swimmers advance to state competition

During the region swim meet 12 swimmers competed in prelims and advanced to the final round. Both senior Harrison Jones and freshman Julia Cook advanced will advance to the state meet in Austin on Feb. 20. Jones was also named Athlete of the Meet.

Final Results
Julia Cook – 1st in 50 free 23.33 and 1st in 100 back 55.48 (state qualifier)
Harrison Jones – 2nd in 200 IM 1:51.53 and 1st in 100 fly 49.79 (state qualifier)
Matt Belobraydic – 7th in 200 free 1:49.52 and 6th in 100 fly 53.20
Brittany Thurstin – 7th in 50 free 24.70
Cat Darnell – 15th in 500 free 5:53.75
Collin Darnell – 12th in 100 back 1:00.23
Austin Ayers – 15th in 100 back 1:01.54

Girls Relays: 7th in 200 yard Medley relay 1:56.09, 7th in 400 free relay 3:49.19
Boys Relays: 6th in 200 yard medley relay 1:41.55, 4th in 200 free relay 1:31.76 and 8th in 400 free relay 3:33.07

Click here for a video of Harrison and Julia on KBTX.

For the love of the game: Nationally ranked freshman demonstrates leadership on team

Everyone has hobbies; something they like to do every once in a while or daily. Every once in a while, someone finds a hobby or activity which fits them perfectly and they fall in love with it from the start. Freshman Jacy Smith found tennis years ago and has been playing ever since.

“Since [Jacy] was about two years old she would drag a racket around the room and play with a balloon,” Jacy’s mother, Jaime Smith, said. “She played in her first competitive tournament was when she was about six.”

Jacy has competed in many tournaments including national tournaments, since she started playing tennis.

“One of my proudest moments was last summer when she played in Florida and she placed in a national championship,” Mrs. Smith said.

Currently ranked in the top 150 in her division nationally, Jacy has played in many different tournaments such as the Georgia Hard Court Nationals, Florida Claycourt Nationals, and Arkansas and Nebraska national team tournaments.

“When I was about twelve-years-old, I started playing nationals and that’s how I got my ranking,” Jacy said.

Tennis has helped Jacy connect with others from all over the state, and country, while having fun and doing something she loves.

“Playing in a team tournament as a member of one of three Texas teams, we faced many different states,” Jacy said. “It was a really fun, a team atmosphere,.”

Through playing tennis, Jacy has developed skills that impact her life on a daily basis.

“I have learned discipline, how to be more confident in myself, and have gotten a lot more athletic through playing tennis,” Jacy said.

Jacy joined the BHS tennis team this year and has transitioned to high school well, because of the support from the coaches and team.

“She is organized and driven,” varsity tennis coach Randy Stewart said. “She makes time to get all school work done, tutorials if needed, and get all of her many hours of practice in each week. It would make one dizzy to follow in her steps for a week.”

Jacy was home schooled prior to this year and has been embraced by the team and works with them in this new environment.

“She is tenacious,” Stewart said. “She is coachable, listens, and adapts well. She also doesn’t mind taking a leadership role and is a leader by example, not words.”

Teammates already see Jacy as a leader and someone they can look up to due to her skills and leadership on the court.

“Despite being a freshman, Jacy has proved herself a leader of the team,” senior varsity tennis player Keith Urso said. “She takes no shortcuts and is always quick to show her older teammates how a true athlete never takes a day off, even when injured.”

Jacy knows how to perform under pressure and give her all in her activities.

“Jacy is not scared of working hard,” Smith said. “You can ask great amounts of effort from her and she will give them to you on a daily basis.”

Jacy’s love of tennis is apparent to anyone who sees her on the court.

“I have really enjoyed her enthusiasm on and off the courts,” Stewart said. “Rarely do you see her without a smile on her face. She exudes a zest for life and tennis.”

With her recent accomplishments and being nationally ranked, Jacy has potential to play tennis in college and beyond.

“We are really proud of Jacy and everything she has accomplished,” Mrs.Smith said. “She has worked really hard and it’s exciting. We are looking forward to seeing where she goes with it.”

Building relationships through engineering, architecture classes

For 22 years, Ted Vaughan has been teaching students how to solve problems through Engineering Design and creating floor plans for homes and other buildings through Architectural Design, but that’s not all he did while he’s been here.

“I didn’t [originally] decide I wanted to be a high school teacher for engineering and architecture.” Vaughan said. “My forte is graphics and while I’ve done a lot of different things [with that], the engineering and architecture programs kind of fell to me. [Teachers are] moved around wherever we are needed and this is where I ended up. I’m happy with it even though I still really enjoy graphics.”

Although Vaughan may believe that other teachers could do just as well as he does, the students of his engineering and architectural design class think otherwise.

“He’s really helpful and not so strict which helps me because I work better in a calm environment,” sophomore John Imperial said. “He’s very understanding when we have trouble trying to figure out how [programs] work.”

Students are pleased with Vaughan’s understanding of the programs and his ability to help them when they are confused about what to do.

“Mr.Vaughan has done a lot and he helps the class when it’s too difficult to figure something out within [Revit],” sophomore Joseph Robinson said. “He will be there and be able to help me easily within one or two minutes.”

This year Vaughan has invited some of his current engineering students to participate and create a design for the BEST robotics competition this fall.

“Vaughan asked me just a few weeks ago if I would be interested in making a robot design for BEST robotics,” Imperial said. “Since then, I’ve slowly been working on a design for the competition. I feel like this will help me learn more about the stuff I enjoy doing and I think that building a robot and getting it to solve a problem will benefit me in the long run.”

Vaughan believes that his engineering students will greatly benefit from this experience in designing and building a robot to compete this fall.

“In a lot of different ways, BEST robotics could benefit my engineering students,” Vaughan said. “You have to design things mechanically to understand all of the elements to be able to design and build a robot to make it work. It’s also very important to understand the electronic portion of the design because you have to have a way to instruct the robot and guide it to do what you want it to do. For students who are interested in mechanical engineering or mechanical design, and electrical engineering or electrical design it’s a great activity and a great program.”

Although Vaughan has few students that go through the architectural program and become architects, he believes that those who choose a different path still benefit from the experience in taking the class.

“Students that go through something else, benefit from architectural design simply by knowing what to put into a house design,” Vaughan said. “[Students] will benefit in the future for knowing what’s appropriate for a house design or a residential design and what’s a good design or bad design.”

However, some of Vaughan’s students are really looking forward to becoming an architect and using Revit as extra experience to use in the workplace.

“So far I’ve taken his architecture and his engineering class and I’ve enjoyed the architecture class more so far,” Robinson said. “I enjoy working with computers and doing a lot of stuff with these [type of] programs. Learning the programs is interesting as well. I found that it’s nice to work with these programs and use the computers because I’m actually fairly interested in following this kind of career path later in life. Whether I’m an architect or IT, I think I could actually legitimately do [either] as a job.”

Just like Vaughan has taught students what should be in a house design and how to apply their engineering skills, the students have taught him plenty of things about the new technology that continuously comes out.

“Every day my students teach me something new,” Vaughan said. “One thing about computers is that they constantly change and adults won’t always keep up with the changes so I’ve learned lots of things from students. In my 22 years here I’ve seen students produce things on these programs that just make my jaw drop, from incredible graphic arts to unbelievable engineering and architectural drawing and designs.”

Student steers to success: Freshman finds purpose, passion in ag organization

When agriculture classes are introduced to students, the initial thought may be that it teaches how to farm, but opposed to that common belief, many ag classes offer much more, from giving students an opportunity to show their own steers and heifers to teaching them skills that are essential to everyday life as adults. Ag also has support organizations, such as 4-H, which is a youth mentoring organization, and FFA, which is a guide to careers and future endeavours. In and out of school, freshman Wilsey Wendler is a prime example of a dedicated and enthusiastic member of the agriculture organization.

“I’ve only been in agriculture since the beginning of the school year,” Wendler said. “In that short time, I’ve learned a lot about FFA and I’m now involved in the consumer science [area of] 4-H.”

Wendler’s experience hasn’t only come out of agriculture classes, but also from years of showing steers and competing around the state.

“I show steers and that comes in handy in class,” Wendler said. “I won the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo last year and I’ve learned a lot from competing.”

Wendler has accomplished much on her own outside of school, but the agriculture teacher, Barbara Wolk-Tunnel, has set her up to pursue bigger and better things and sees Wendler’s potential and the example she poses.

“Wilsey is a go-getter and she is someone that will be well known because she is an active participant,” Volk-Tunnell said. “She will encourage other people to be in FFA and to get excited about it.”

Wendlers’ accomplishments are a stepping stone for her future. She hopes to pursue a career that uses the fundamental knowledge that she’s learned and will learn from ag classes.

“In a lot of ways [ag sets me up for my future career] by teaching me about animals,” Wendler said. “I hope to be a vet and I know ag will prepare me well.”

Despite animals taking up the basic curriculum of agriculture, the class has many distinguishing factors that other extracurricular activities may not emphasize as much and allows students to get hands on experience to expand their way of thinking.

“[Students] can learn a variety of things,” Volk-Tunnell said. “The freshman classes do everything from woodwork to welding. We learn leadership skills. Students also learn how to do parametric procedure. The things to learn are infinite in agriculture.”

Agriculture classes provide an atmosphere for students to grow creatively and there will always be something new to learn.

“I’ve learned a lot in the [6 months] since I’ve been involved in ag,” Wendler said. “I have a much more to learn and I’m excited for what’s in store.”

Udder Success: Junior places at livestock show, unearths love for agriculture field

Bright, blinding lights illuminate the cement hallways of the arena as you make your way to the main floor. “How do I look good enough?” “Have I eaten enough?” “Have I eaten too much?” “What if I don’t get picked during the first round?” “What if I make it to the second round, but the judges don’t like me on the second look?” All of these thoughts surround you as you make it to the dirt floor of the venue, tugging your steer along as he’s making weird noises.

Livestock showing is a popular practice among high school students who are active in 4-H. Junior Brighton Slovacek, who has shown since she was in third grade, has taken on the responsibility of showing steer and finds the process to be rewarding.

“We have to buy them, raise them, and take them to shows,” Brighton said. “If you do good at shows, you get to sell them. By selling them, you make a profit off of them.”

The Slovacek family has been involved in showing livestock for many years and this tradition sparked Brighton’s interest at a young age.

“Brighton was always eager to help her big brother with his projects, whether it was feeding, washing, or grooming his animals,” Slovacek’s dad, Joey Slovacek, said. “Brighton began her showing career at eight-years-old showing Market Goats and Market Broilers. After convincing her mother and I that she was ready to show steers, we purchased her first steer.”

Showing livestock allows students to learn responsibility and gives them an opportunity to participate in activities outside of school. With this responsibility, however, comes stress about what the day of the showing will entail.

“The morning of the show, you have to get your steer together and make sure they eat and drink,” Brighton said. “Walking them from the stall to the arena is the worst part. It’s a really stressful process.”

The judging process for individual shows are different, but each one comes with its unique stresses and complications. For bigger shows, the days are cut short for some contestants as the judges have to condense the judging pool.

“At major shows – Houston, San Antonio, and Fort Worth – you come in and there’s 70-100 people in your class,” Brighton said. “The judge has to pick [your livestock] first and then he’ll examine at your calf. For everyone who doesn’t get picked, you literally come in and then go back out.”

Outside of 4-H, Slovacek is involved in choir, class council, and takes college-level classes. Balancing these rigorous courses and extracurricular activities has helped Slovacek learn the importance of responsibility that has been established due to 4-H.

“Having to feed in the mornings and afternoons has helped me out a lot with time management,” Brighton said. “Prioritizing has been a major thing to make sure that, with events in school and outside of school plus 4-H, you have all your stuff in line.”

Although Slovacek’s 4-H showing experience will end after high school, she wants to stay in the agriculture sector for her future endeavours.

“I get to show until I’m a senior, but after that I want to major in animal science with a minor in ag education to hopefully be an extension agent one day,” Brighton said. “Our extension agent controls all of 4-H, mentors a lot of kids, and puts everything in line. I will do that or be an ag teacher, or do something in the animal science pathway.”

Aside from the pressure that showing livestock entails, there are numerous benefits that come with participating in organizations such as 4-H. Slovacek’s father has experienced these benefits firsthand and watches his children see the value in 4-H.

“Having grown up showing animals through the 4-H program, I believe young people are offered opportunities to experience and learn life lessons that only a small percentage of young people today have the opportunity to experience,” Slovacek said. “Life provides us with choices, but what we choose to do with those opportunities is left up to us. I believe that programs such as 4-H and FFA provide young people with the tools to make the most of those opportunities and, as the 4-H Motto says, ‘To Make the Best Better’.”