Classic comic book finds new life as teen drama series

With cinematic universes like Marvel and DC, it’s evident that this particular genre is popular, and as someone who enjoys these movies and shows, I never thought I would find anything else like them. Now enter Riverdale, a spin-off of the classic Archie Comics. The serious tone of the show sets it apart from the light-hearted comics and immerses the viewer into the world of teenaged drama. The show opens with the death of the town’s golden boy, Jason Blossom, and the arrival of the new girl, Veronica Lodge. Upon these circumstances, the town is sent into a turmoil, slowly unraveling Riverdale’s darkest secrets.

To me, the most important thing in a show is the people who play the characters, and I believe that Riverdale did an amazing job in casting. The array of actors and actresses defines the show and draws in viewers with The Sweet Life Of Zach and Cody star Cole Sprouse as one of the leading characters, Jughead Jones, and A Dog’s Purpose actor, KJ Apa, as Archie Andrews. Another important note is how the show displays a diverse cast with Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge and Ashleigh Murray playing Josie McCoy, who is a lead singer in her band Josie and the Pussycats. The show’s many amazing actors and actresses have drawn in a wide demographic of fans and has earned the show many awards. The show is a wonderful example of the struggle with self-worth, and learning how to overcome it.

The storyline itself is something of critical acclaim as well. The story being told through narrative by Riverdale’s own Jughead Jones, who recounts the summer and the circumstances surrounding Jason Blossom’s death at Sweetwater Ridge on July 4 through his dark humor, unapologetic honesty, and opinion. Amongst this you see Betty Cooper and the story of her estranged sister whose relationship with Jason ended on an ugly note before his death. In the beginning, Betty seems to allow her parents to control every aspect of her life, but as secrets unveil themselves she begins to question her parents and the story they’ve spun.

Archie Andrews, the leading character of Archie Comics storyline has been completely downsized to make room for the other characters and plot lines the show features. Despite being the namesake of the publishing company, his character has almost no effect on the overall plot, and seems to be there only to increase the drama. Alongside this, there are a few other plot holes, like how Veronica’s personality completely changes from being the meanest girl in New York to being nice in Riverdale. These plot holes may only bother the most strict of Archie Comics fans, but regular watchers may not mind quite as much.

Overall, the show received great response, but the ending of the first season left fans, including myself, hungry for more. Thankfully, fans won’t have to worry, as the second season airs on October 11 on the CW. Even if viewers aren’t fans of the original comic series, the show is unique enough to appeal to a wide audience.

Keep options open: Students should consider both in, out of state colleges

Juniors and seniors are getting ready for the most stressful time in their young lives. Deciding on where they want to attend for college. The moment in life where they must choose the next path to walk down on in life after high school.

It is a subject that many of us would rather avoid, though there is a few who actually look forward to it. As students begin to make their selection and wade through the never-ending list of colleges they believe will best suit them, there’s an issue that sometimes pops up.

Do they leave home to experience a new form of independence at an out-of-state school, or stay closer to home at an in-state school and have the benefit of family and friends close by? At first glance, out-of-state can seem pretty scary, but it might not be as bad as it’s made out to be.

When students look into out-of-state-colleges, it shouldn’t be about whether the university’s sports team is the number one in the nation-not including athletic players- or how if there is a nearby beach.

A student’s primary focus when considering to apply to college should be based on if it’s the right fit for them, will it offer them the best learning environment, if it specializes in what they’re majoring in or if it will aid in their chances of obtaining a job. These are just the tip-of-the-iceberg questions all students must consider when choosing a university, but as students sift through and answer all these questions, they should always keep an open mind to out-of-state universities.

Although options can be very limited because of financial reasons or family support, students should still examine what help is out there for aid before completely eliminating the idea of an out-of-state school. Many colleges desire students from all across the United States. Being an out-of-state applicant could help make someone unique and set them apart from the thousands of other applicants.

However, if the price of tuition is still an issue, there is a method to reduce the frightening cost of out-of-state tuition which only requires a tiny bit of effort and a short amount of time. Opportunities such as FAFSA, government pell grants and other scholarly opportunities. Also some colleges offer financial aid to out-of-state students to help make attending their school easier and cheaper. I know many students would rather not waste the extra effort on an out of state college, but students should already be utilizing these plentiful financial opportunities.

Hopefully more students will be adding at least one out-of-state to their plentiful list of potential colleges. Because if they are accepted then they will have the chance to step out on their own and experience a new independence.

Movie shines light on Civil Rights issues, provides varying perspectives

History is taught in many different ways and these ways provide different perspectives of each event. Though it may seem that we know everything there is to know about our world; it is most definitely true (yet hard to admit) that we do not. We isolate ourselves from some of the most impacting events in history. One event that never made it into history books, and was kept a secret by the people who didn’t witness it, was a riot that took place in the heart of Detroit, Michigan. That is until August 4, 2017 when Detroit came out in theaters and provided the world with a secret event that changed the perspective of the social reform movement.

The new movie Detroit centers on a real-life event that took place in Detroit during a civil uprising, where police terrorized guests at the Algiers Motel, killed three black men, and beat nine others. Actor, John Boyega plays the role of a security guard who gets caught in the middle of the conflict as he attempts to provide the police with coffee to assure them of his loyalty. However, the police question him as a suspect of the murders that took place in the hotel. After being asked to appear on CBS This Morning to tell the truth about his role in the movie he provides the world with an understanding of taking on such a historic role in the film. The behind the scenes look an emotional toll on the entire cast, and became the way to provide the movie with different perspectives. The behind the scene action was about “making the imagination a bit wider” Boyega said. “We need to have more people behind the scenes of diverse origins,”… “The more we have behind the scenes, the more their perspective influences the projects that they put up so hopefully things will change.”

The exciting and thrilling movie Detroit became America’s new perspective into the lives and events of the time period. The director, Kathryn Bigelow received mostly positive reviews by viewers and critics along with the writer, Mark Boal. The positive nature of the film was rooted in the excellent script, direction, and performances, all of which created a gut-wrenching and powerful feeling for the audience. However, there was much controversy over the film because some critics believed the movie “lacks the clarity of their previous collaborations” and makes the audience “question what it is to be an American,” New York Observer, Thelma Adams said after watching the film. The harsh critics make the movie out to be a wasted opportunity. However, after watching the film in theatres I got that thrill and felt what it was like to be an African American during the event.

If you’re looking for another movie with multiple perspectives than Detroit is definitely something you should check out and look into. The movie provided me with different ways to look at the Civil Rights movement during this time period and I feel will do the same for many others.

A foot above the rest: Standard system measures up to scrutiny

I have had many different math and science teachers throughout the years, but nearly all of them have made the same claim: the standard system is ridiculous and America should switch to the metric system. The standard system is the units of measurement such as inches and Fahrenheit that are used in the United States, and the metric system uses measurements like centimeters and Celsius and is used in the rest of the world. Every time I hear this claim, I flinch internally. What did all these people have against the standard system? Why would we use it so much if it was completely impractical? Perhaps I was a bit over-attached to the standard system since I grew up with it, and the metric system really was easier to make calculations with…did I have an unreasonable loyalty? Though I had my doubts, as I have grown up and progressed through school, I have discovered many merits of the standard system over the metric.

The first reason is that the standard system is logical. Whenever I have said this to other people, they nearly always exclaim “what’s logical about having twelve inches in one foot?!” but that isn’t what I mean. It is easy to visualize an inch, for example, with your own eyes. An inch is about the length from the tip of your thumb or finger to your first joint. Yes, it is true that everyone’s fingers vary in length, but this is the approximate amount. I remember being shocked upon first learning this and decided to test it myself. When I held my thumb up to a ruler, it measured nearly exactly one inch. My thumb has grown since then, but it is still about one inch. Go grab a ruler and measure the tip of your thumb or finger. Even if it’s a little over or a little under, it is surprisingly consistent.

What I just explained was the entire reason the standard system was created: to show easy, realistic amounts that one could measure with parts of their own body and be roughly correct. The standard system was not meant to be exact, but to give estimations. A foot was intended to be about the length of your foot. Unfortunately, this didn’t work very well since foot size varies drastically (unlike thumbs and fingers). Eventually, people decided that one foot would be twelve inches. Twelve inches, however, is on the long side for most people’s feet. My foot is not twelve inches, but the distance from my elbow to knuckles is. A yard is about from your fingertips to your shoulder. This measurement again is not exact, but the standard system wasn’t meant to be precise.

A common argument I have heard against this is that because we have grown up in the standard system, we have a better understanding of the measurements. While this may be true to some extent, I do not think this is entirely true. If you say to a person more familiar with the metric system, “tell me how many inches long this pencil is,” they will likely be clueless. However, if you say, “tell me about how many finger joints long this pencil is,” they will likely be able to quickly figure out the approximate length.

Another reason the standard system is good is that it allows more specific measurements in some ways. In the metric system, there is not an obviously good measurement for measuring the height of humans. There are meters, but those are rather long to be specific. The next lowest measurement is decimeters, and decimeters are too small to be that practical. In this case, feet are a much better system of measuring people’s height. Another measurement like this is Fahrenheit. If you use the metric system’s Celsius, every temperature from water freezing to water boiling must fit within 100 numbers. If you use the standard system’s Fahrenheit, every temperature must fit within 180 numbers. Using Fahrenheit allows almost double the amount of whole numbers to be used before going to decimals. To be completely fair, in Fahrenheit those numbers fall between 32 degrees and 212 degrees, which seems rather random compared to 0 and 100 for Celsius. However, in everyday life, Fahrenheit allows things to be much more precise.

I am not saying that we should never use the metric system and operate solely on the standard system. There is definitely a place for the metric system. In math and science, I would much rather use the metric system because conversions are simple. If you want to convert from meters to centimeters, you only need to multiply the meters by a hundred. However, if you want to convert from feet to inches, you need to multiply by twelve. It’s much more practical to use the metric system in calculations than the standard system.

The problem is that most people do not know the way the standard system is derived and call it stupid. It isn’t stupid, it’s just that they don’t understand how the standard system was meant to be used. The standard system should not be replaced by the metric system but instead used in conjunction with each other. Each system has a purpose, and we need to use them as they were designed.

Baby Driver’s soundtrack provides two hour getaway

I’m not really a fan of action movies. I’ve never really liked the explosions and loud surround sound screeching of tires on pavement and bullets shooting through glass, or the cruelty of the antagonist in a cliche situation in which the female lead is taken hostage. Over the summer I saw a movie that was an exception to that. Baby Driver is a crime-action film from director Edgar Wright who also brought the world movies like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World adaptation.

The story is about a young man that goes by the moniker Baby (Ansel Elgort), who lives with his deaf, wheelchair-bound guardian named Joseph (CJ Jones). He is also the getaway driver for Doc (Kevin Spacey), a man whose car he stole when he was young (hence the name Baby) and now works to pay off his debt. Baby meets a girl named Debora (Lily James) at a diner he stopped at for a cup of coffee and is immediately intrigued by her. After getting to know her, he has even more reason to quit his forced life of crime in order to lead a normal life.
The casting for this movie was done rather nicely. I like how diverse the cast is, even if a majority of the characters aren’t on screen for more than a few minutes at a time and are usually dead within those few minutes. Ansel Elgort does a good job at what he does best, being the pretty boy with a heart of gold despite his circumstances and tragic back story. Kevin Spacey basically just plays Kevin Spacey but with a different name, and he couldn’t be more fitting for a crime leader role. Jamie Foxx, plays a really good bad guy when he needs to, portraying the rather disturbed character of Bats who serves as an antagonist within the second act of the movie. CJ Jones, the man who plays Baby’s deaf and paralyzed guardian, is actually deaf and I find it quite nice that they cast him. There aren’t many roles for people with disabilities, and to see that they casted someone who is deaf to play the role instead of having an actor learn sign language for it gives me hope for the entertainment industry.

The soundtrack plays a crucial role in Baby’s character. Baby developed tinnitus, a constant ringing in the ears, after a devastating car crash that killed his mother, so he’s constantly playing music. He has several different devices to play music depending on his mood, like an iPod touch with a Queen playlist or a generic MP3 player full of ‘80s funk. He also likes to make remixes out of things he recorded on his personal recorder, keeping them on cassette tapes in a personal stash. The score of this movie was used wisely unlike some movies who seemingly use their budget on nothing but royalties to songs to play over a random scene. The use of the soundtrack was expertly executed in that there were scenes in which a song would be unexpected to be in the scene, but it oddly worked. It didn’t take me away from the scene like some other movie music does, and I wish more movies would incorporate sound and music the way Baby Driver did.

Baby Driver is a good movie for action fans, as well as fans of classic rock and funk because of how the two elements correlate and overlap with one another. It’s fun, it’s heart-wrenching, it makes viewers wanna tap their feet, and it puts them on the edge of their seats. I highly recommend you watch this movie, but sadly, it won’t be on DVD for a while, though it is available for pre-order on YouTube movies and Amazon Prime streaming for $14.99.

Web slinging disaster: Homecoming not an event to remember

This summer Spider-Man: Homecoming came out in theaters as Hollywood’s love for sequels continues to earn money. Over the years, there have been a total of seven Spiderman movies. Being the superhero fan that I am, I decided to watch this one in theaters. Although the main character Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is very attractive, I still didn’t enjoy the movie like I did the others.

In the trailer for Spider-Man they showcased a range of new actors and actresses that I hadn’t seen before. One actress in particular drew me more towards watching the movie. Michelle (Zendaya Coleman) was featured in more than one of the trailer clips, making it seem like Zendaya was a big part of Spider-Man and that she would be in most of the scenes. As I watched the movie, I noticed that Zendaya was rarely seen in the movie, and when she was there it was only for a few seconds. The movie made her character seem wretched and pessimistic, and there was really no point for Zendaya at all. Even when I looked up the cast, Zendaya was the second name to pop up. She was just a ploy to get people in the theaters to watch the movie, a simple marketing strategy.

Another one of the characters that I felt wasn’t needed was Peter Parker’s crush, Liz Allen (Laura Harrier). She was a distraction for Peter and didn’t appreciate him like everyone else did. In fact she completely ignored him until he asked her to homecoming. She had the vibe that if she found out Peter was Spider-Man, she would only use Peter and only like him because of his other identity. There was no happy ending for them anyways. She was less needed in the movie than Zendaya, who’s character would have been a better fit for Peter since she was more in his league anyways.

After the movie came out, there was a big reaction to the actor who played Spider-Man. Tom Holland got a positive reaction from fans, and every time I scroll through my suggested on Instagram there’s at least one picture of him on there. I can see why he’s become so big. I mean
look at him, he’s cute, and I hope we see more of him playing other roles and different characters.

One of my favorite characters in this movie was Ned (Jacob Batalon), Peter Parker’s best friend. He is Spider-Man’s guy-in-the-chair. He was definitely a great addition to the movie and brought a lot of comedy to the action film. His awkwardness and nerdy personality is brought
out and his loyalty to his best friend, Peter, made me love him more. He was the brains and Peter was the brawns of the team. Although he was the hero at one point in the movie, Ned didn’t get the recognition he deserved.

Another actor that I was very surprised and happy to see was Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino. I have never seen him in any movies, so I was surprised when I saw him. I am glad that he had the chance to be funny and add comedy to the action-comedy.
Every actor and actress that was picked for their role matched the high school scene perfectly. Most movies have characters who look too old to play a high school student, but everyone in Spider-Man: Homecoming actually looks like they could be in high school. They are probably all in their 20’s, but they have something about them that makes them seem younger, whether it’s their facial features or their body type. All of them fit in the Queens, New York high school scene, helping the movie seem more believable.

he ending of the movie was confusing and weak. It’s almost like the production of the movie was half-done. After watching the movie, I still don’t know whether Peter is going to be the Spider-Man or just the neighborhood hero. He could be one or the other, or he could be both. I think he should be the real Spider-Man, the one who risks his life to save his city not just his neighborhood.

It was unclear at the end whether there was going to be a second movie. It left the viewers asking for more, especially when it looked like Michelle was suspicious of him even though she played it off as a joke, I feel as though there will be a part 2 to this section of the
Spider-Man series. Hopefully, if there is another movie, it will showcase whether he chooses to be the friendly neighborhood hero or one of the Avengers.

Overall, Spider-Man Homecoming is that it could have been better. Spider-Man could have had a more interesting villain and maybe more support from Tony Stark. I don’t think it was worth going to watch at the theaters, but I would recommend watching it on DVD or Netflix when it comes out.

Walk mile in service: Students should experience industry to understand challenges of job

In 2013, the US Census found that 1 in 4 high schoolers work part-time jobs during the school year. Many of these jobs are in customer service, whether it’s in the fast food industry, a restaurant, a grocery store, or any other positions that deals with people, and helping customers get what they want or need.

Whether you’re ordering at Chick-fil-A, Sonic, or waiting in line at a grocery store, there is always a person behind the register. In this town especially, many high schoolers are the people behind the register, taking orders one after the other or answering the same questions all day, every day.

Everyone working in customer service has a story to share about a not-so-happy customer. Whether it’s a customer who ordered the wrong thing, and was then mad that they got the wrong thing, or someone who asked a question that they didn’t like the answer to, most service industry employees have seen the good, the bad and the ugly.

I worked at Chick-fil-A for about a year and half, and I learned so much in that time that I wouldn’t have been able to learn anywhere else. I learned how to serve others, including refilling someone’s drink, cleaning tables, restocking sauces, running food out to cars, and taking orders with a smile. It was always “my pleasure” to do so. Even more important than the general tasks of the job, I also learned how to listen to people, coworkers and patrons alike. I learned about hardships that people were facing, about good times people were enjoying and was able to celebrate with various sports teams if they came in after they won a game. I met people who would become regular customers that would keep up with my life, while I kept up with theirs as well. I also learned how to treat people with respect, even when they did not respect me. Saying “yes sir” or “no ma’am” when someone is yelling at you because they ordered wrong requires a lot of control, but it will go a long way.

The job has also taught me how to be a better customer. I learned how to properly order at a fast food restaurant and how to be patient when my order doesn’t come out the right away, because you never know what is going on in the kitchen or behind the counter. The person taking the order could be in the middle of a 12 hour shift and made a simple mistake. The kitchen could have made a mistake, or I could have made the mistake while ordering. I think fast-food workers and customer service workers get a bad reputation from customers, because at first glance, how hard is it to “click a button for a chicken sandwich”? It’s not as simple as you think. At Chick-fil-A, employees have to take the orders, make the drinks, count the cash/change, try to connect with the patron, deal with the background situations, while also dreading the flood of people coming in the door. All of it is served with a smile, because it’s their “pleasure” to do so.

While working as a fast-food worker or someone in customer service, nothing ruins your day as quickly as a rude customer. There’s nothing like coming in to work with a positive attitude after an already long day to be met with an unappreciative customer who slurs their speech, won’t listen when you repeat their order to make sure it is correct, and then gets upset if it’s incorrect. Next time you enter a fast-food restaurant or check out at a grocery store, remember that the people behind the register are human too, try making their day like they’re trying to make yours.

Working at a fast-food restaurant has taught me many lessons on work ethic, how to keep moving and stay on my feet for 8+ hours, how to serve others, how to listen, and how to be appreciative of other workers at different places. McDonald’s ran out of coffee? That’s okay. I’ve done the same thing. I can wait. They’re no longer having a sale on an item? That’s alright, that’s not the cashier’s fault, so there’s no point of me taking my frustration out on them.

I’ve had bad customers, but I’ve also had really good ones. I’ll never forget this single mom who came to Chick-fil-A to eat dinner with her two children around 9 o’clock. I was having a really rough week, and it was showing. She asked me to grab her some sauce, I did so, and then she handed me $2. I said thank you and then carried on with cleaning. A couple minutes later, I walked back to her table and said, “I’ve had such a rough week, this means so much to me.” She smiled, stood up, gave me a big hug, and then asked me what was going on. She took time to listen to me, and then she prayed over me. I took that experience and began to do the same when I saw people in need that came into Chick-fil-A. I’ve had opportunities to pray for police officers, soldiers, people with injuries, a homeless man, and sick people. Working at a fast-food restaurant and customer service has given me opportunities to serve others, whether it’s picking up someone’s trash, listening to someone, providing a smile, food, a hug, or a prayer.

I think everyone should work in a fast-food restaurant or in a customer service position at least once in their life to experience how it is to be the one behind the register. Always remember that each person is important and can make an impact no matter what job they hold.

Effort required to improve mind, body, soul

Community service: a necessary evil for embellishing college applications and resumes, or even for impressing your peers and parents. Of course, community service isn’t all bad. In the International Baccalaureate (IB) program students are required to participate in Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS). It sounds like a lot to deal with, and sometimes it truly is. Keeping up with weekly logs, reflections, and evidence can be tedious on top of all of my other assignments, but CAS has helped me stay committed to a task and taught me how to record events for me to reflect on later. It has also highlighted how both the person receiving and the person giving benefit from the act.

As a junior last year, I was involved in 12 CAS experiences, all ranging from creative to active to serving. One of my favorite experiences to keep up with was volunteering at the Aggieland Humane Society, where I would walk dogs, give the occasional bath to a poopy puppy, do lots of laundry, or do anything else that needed to be done around the shelter. Thinking back, the likelyhood of me actually volunteering at the shelter if I wasn’t required to do some type of community service through CAS is very low. If it weren’t for CAS, I wouldn’t be able to hang out with all the wonderful dogs and cats, or learn important things about myself (specifically the amount of self-control it takes not to walk away with a new dog after every visit).

While the individual experiences of each one are all important and have taught me things about myself, working with others, considering the ethics of my actions, and thinking about how my actions could affect all those around me, my CAS project stands out the most. When my classmate and I decided to set up a Sweetheart Dance around Valentine’s Day for local special needs teens for our CAS project, we both knew it was going to be a lot of work. Finding a venue, food, a DJ, and people to help out took an immense amount of planning, coordination with the Downs Syndrome Association of the Brazos Valley, and many back-and-forth phone calls. In the end, everything worked out better than I expected. I made valuable connections with great people while doing great things for the town and I learned things about myself that I might never have learned if I wasn’t working on this event, like my own capabilities as someone being responsible for putting together a real event for people to actually come to.

Though it’s a handful, CAS has helped me grow as a person and show me how much I can learn by volunteering and working with others in my community to make it a better place. If it wasn’t required for a grade in IB, I don’t think I would have ever remained committed to the various volunteer outlets I am involved with, especially on a weekly basis. I’m thankful for the many opportunities I’ve been indirectly granted through CAS and all of the great experiences I’ve gained through volunteering and other activities. If you happen to be or know an underclassman who is ambivalent about the CAS aspect of IB, trust me when I say that it’s totally worth it. Even if you don’t want to participate in IB, I encourage you to get involved. Volunteering shouldn’t just be a necessary evil to get into college; it is something that makes us and the world better.

Senior panoramic schedule for Sept. 12

Seniors will take the panoramic on Tuesday, September 12 at 9:45.

Price Packages:
$25.00 – Panoramic
$35.00 – Large Laminated Panoramic & One Medium Panoramic
$45.00 – Large Laminated Panoramic, One Medium Panoramic, and One Medium ’18 Formation

Please be sure to bring payment to purchase and receive your photographs on: Wednesday, September 13 during lunch.

Goldbeck Co. accepts cash, check, or money orders.
Checks can be made payable to: Goldbeck Company

2016-2017 yearbooks available for pick-up

The 2016-2017 yearbooks are available for pick-up. Current students can pick-up books during lunch Thursday, Aug. 24 or Friday, Aug. 25. After that time they can stop by room 6160.

Former students can stop by the Silver front office to pick-up their book.

If you have any questions, please contact Rebecca Dominy at 209-2580.

Mariachi group plays their way into the hearts of students, community members

From a bolero romantic serenade with a soft touch, to huapango which uses a lot of falsetto, to son jalisiense which involves an aggressive style of vocalization, mariachi music fits many different settings and captures an audience hungry for rhythm and entertainment. Orchestra teacher John Lemons started a mariachi group this year after a meeting with the fine arts director where they discussed the interests of the students and community.

“The fine arts director, Pat Corbett, and I were getting to know each other and we were talking about orchestra,” Lemons said. “It was during that conversation when I brought mariachi up and he talked about his ideas from when he was in San Antonio. We put our strengths together in October, got help from mariachi directors and clinicians, and from that day of clinic in mariachi, we’ve been blowing and going.”

Many students heard about the mariachi band from friends who were already in orchestra and were interested in joining.

“It all started when some of my friends mentioned it last year during their free time,” sophomore Ricardo Franco said. “I was at the bus stop with my friends Paola and Alondra and they mentioned it to me. I asked if I could join, and they said anyone could, so I did.”

Though Ricardo is not in orchestra, he loves being able to be a part of the mariachi band because he’s loved that genre of music since he was a young boy.

“It feels great to be a part of the group. I grew up singing with mariachi music since I was little,” Ricardo said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Not only does Ricardo enjoy being a part of the band, but other band members who have done orchestra before enjoy playing a different style of music and think it’s a way that they can express themselves and their background.

“I feel like it emphasizes more of a cultural thing,” sophomore Paola Rios said. “I’m Mexican, so it comes from my roots.”

With a large Hispanic community in Bryan, the group has been well-received and requested for various events around town.

“I think the mariachi band should have been created years ago,” Lemons said. “It definitely has the culture of the school in it. Latino mariachi culture is here, not only in the school, but in the community itself. I’m encouraged to move forward with this group especially after what I’m experiencing now playing in the community with this mariachi band and I’m getting calls almost daily for them to play at parties or other functions.”

The first time the mariachi band ever performed in front of the school was at all of the lunches, and they loved performing in front of everyone showing them the new style of music.

“I was excited to play in front of everyone,” Ricardo said. “I was the one who wanted to do it. Once I got there I got really nervous, because that was the first time the school saw us.”

Not only did the members like performing, but many students enjoyed their performance and look forward to watching them play again.

“The mariachi band’s performance during lunch was great,” junior Samantha Hernandez said. “It really upped the vibe of lunch and overall was really good. It brought a lot of culture into the school by focusing on the traditions of Hispanic culture while bringing people together.”

The mariachi band went to state this year and performed well as a first year group.

“State went well and we scored a two,” Paola said. “We had close to a perfect performance, and we’ve only been playing for five months.”

Lemons has enjoyed directing the mariachi band and plans to continue doing so.

“I don’t think I could stop doing mariachi even if I wanted to,” Lemons said. Being a part of a group has its ups and downs, but the mariachi band has brought many of the students and community closer because of the cultural ties it has.”

The formation of the mariachi band has also helped bring its members together and form strong relationships.

“At first I only knew Alondra, Paola, and Carlos, but now I feel like we’re all a family.” Ricardo said. “We get on each other’s nerves, but that happens when you’re in a group. Once we get on stage, we forget about everything and just focus on the music.”

Wrestling coach inducted into Hall of Fame

Wrestling coach Michael Zito has coached wrestling at Bryan High for the last 23 years. He grew up wrestling and attended school in Northeastern Ohio where he developed his passion for the sport before knee injuries prevented him from continuing as an athlete. He now uses his wrestling experience and passion for teaching to motivate his students when pursuing the sport and hopes to have an impact on each of their lives. This spring, Zito was recognized by his peers and inducted into the Texas Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame.

“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame isn’t what I was striving to do,” Zito said. “I strive for the kids to be successful and that’s why I’m here: to get them as far as I can, make changes in their lives, and help them become a better person.”

The induction surprised Zito because he sees so many other great coaches and programs across Texas and appreciated the recognition and validation from his peers in regards to the program he has spent decades building.

“I have coaches who ask me all the time ‘what are you doing?’ ‘How can they accelerate their program to my level?’, Zito said. “That’s when I step back and realize that I’m doing something pretty good here. Being inducted was definitely an honor.”

Growing up in Ohio, wrestling was the sport of choice for young athletes. In Texas, though, the majority of students don’t step onto the mat until they enter the program in high school.

“Ninety percent of the athletes I get for wrestling come in with no experience,” Zito said. “The first time they step on that mat as a freshman, that’s their first wrestling experience, whereas in Ohio, I started when I was 6 years old. By the time I was in high school, I already had about 10 years of experience.”

Wrestler junior Spencer Pierce has been a part of the program for three and has benefitted from Zito’s approach to the sport.

“Coach Zito has done a fantastic job coaching at Bryan High,” Pierce said. “He shows us a lot of respect and cares for us. Wrestlers can tell he cares about us by the way he treats us and the way he talks to us.”

Zito contributes the success of the wrestling program to how he pushes the students to work hard and put forth all they are into the sport.

“I push my kids,” Zito said. “I ask for a lot of dedication out of these kids, we go year round. We’re working out two to three days a week all summer. By pushing them to that level we’re going to get the rewards and become successful.”

All the success, recognition, and awards would mean nothing to Zito without the students showing personal growth and maturity.

“I’ve got state champions and state runners-up,” Zito said. “I have lots of kids that have gone on to college, and one that has gone on to wrestle in the Marine Corp. I think the biggest moments, from a coach’s standpoint, are the ones where you see a kid change his life. The kid who changes their life and comes back 15 years later makes it all worthwhile. When you are able to see what you’ve done long term and how you’ve affected their lives, not just a medal or award, but how you’ve changed them overall is what really matters.”

13 reasons why not: Series misrepresents important issues

WARNING: If you plan on watching 13 Reasons Why and you’re behind the curve, don’t continue reading this article; Spoilers lie ahead!

As high school and teen shows go, it can be understood that a majority of the storylines, characters, and settings may be unrealistic. When a show and its writers take themselves too seriously, it can be reflected in just about every aspect of the show: from acting, to dialogue, to the entire story itself.

The Netflix original 13 Reasons Why was an immediate hit upon its release on March 31, effectively resurrecting the story of Hannah Baker, originally told in Jay Asher’s 2007 novel of the same title. The show and the novel are not without their problems, most of which deal with poor representation of real-world issues plaguing teens all over the world.

I had hope that the show would take time to treat this touchy subject appropriately, but it failed to do so. Suicide and self-harm are very serious and important topics to discuss among teenagers. Of course, as with all important topics, there are right and wrong ways to go about the discussion. 13 Reasons Why makes an attempt at bringing the subject of suicide to light, but it fails at connecting the mental health issues that often coincide with suicide. Ignoring this aspect of such a controversial and sensitive topic is problematic to many viewers experiencing mental illness and/or suicidal thoughts and actions, since the show misrepresents something so common that is already misrepresented in media and entertainment across the board. By misconstruing something so serious, the show manages to trivialize the issue of suicide.

If you didn’t already know, the main character, Hannah Baker, commits suicide. Before ending her life, she records 13 tapes, each tape documenting how a person pushed her towards the edge, inadvertently or not. The events depicted from Hannah’s point of view are often skewed, providing the listeners with only her truth. As each person listens to the tapes (in order of appearance on the tapes), they learn of how their actions affected Hannah and how those actions lead to her death. The tapes get passed on to each person mentioned, and so on and s forth. As teenagers often do, many of the characters defended themselves against Hannah’s word and resented her for calling them on the carpet for their wrong-doings.

Now, before getting the idea that Hannah was justified in recording the tapes and persecuting each of the people in her life, viewers must take note of one thing: many of the things that happened to Hannah were either her fault or not that big of a deal. Many of the issues happening in Hannah’s life before her death could have been solved or avoided with some simple confrontation, especially when she and her former best friend Jessica began to drift apart or when Ryan anonymously published Hannah’s personal and revealing poem. While a majority of the events were somewhat nominal, and the show should have done a better job making a point of that. Hannah was justified in recording a tape about the wealthy typical jock character, Bryce, who (in the last episode) rapes Hannah and earlier rapes Jessica.

The rape scenes of both Jessica and hannah were the two most difficult scenes I’ve ever sat through in any TV show I’ve watched. It’s important that those scenes are awkward and uncomfortable, because people need to understand (though a TV scene will never be able to truly convey the horror of rape and sexual assault) how moments like that feel for the victim and how they feel afterward. Though the scenes were trying, I can appreciate the attitude taken by the directors and producers to expose the act of rape and show the way the victim is taken advantage of by the attacker and the way rape can strip the victim of their dignity and confidence. To get the full understanding of what the directors intended for the rape scenes, take the time to watch 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons, the 20-minute behind the scenes segment about the show.

The fact that Hannah adds so much drama to her own life makes her almost impossible to like, which is not the best thing for any main character. The other main character, Clay Jensen, is slightly more likeable. The show’s story centers around Clay’s reaction as he listens to Hannah’s tapes, which is unnecessarily drawn out because it takes him way too long to get through the tapes. Clay is brought up later in the tapes, since Hannah blames him for not doing enough for her before her death, even though she is guilty of doing the same.

The show focuses too much on blaming teenagers and not enough on solving problems. By lumping sexual assault, bullying, and normal teenage issues together, many teens may be confused on the implications of their actions. Clay feels to blame because he didn’t pursue his relationship with Hannah more, but this was poorly conveyed and could easily be confused with the idea that someone should date someone else to keep them from committing suicide. The show is dramatic without providing solutions and misrepresents many things to do with self harm and suicide.

Overall, the characters of 13 Reasons Why aren’t easily likeable or relatable, and the storyline lacks the substance needed to properly convey the issues of suicide. Mostly, it comes off as another lazy way to create buzz and capitalize on an issue without considering the implications. If you’re feeling like you need to be in the loop, go ahead and watch the whole 13 episodes. If you feel like you could spend your time watching something that’s more worth your time, try a more realistic high school drama like Degrassi or Freaks and Geeks.

Some things never change: Netflix revitalizes old series, gains new viewers with universal themes

High school cliques. What typically comes to mind are the stereotypical geeks, bad boys, freaks, and full of these the run-of-the-mill popular teens in school. Freaks and Geeks is a tv show centered in a high school full of these old school cliques, who are trying to fit in and gain a reputation. The show is based on the idealistic high school vision we all had instead of the real high school experience.

Freaks and Geeks is not exactly a new hit, but it has many familiar faces that have become household names since the show ended in 2000. The show served as a good start out for the now big actors and actresses and it helped develop good work relationships between them. Big celebrities like James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jason Segal, and Dave Allen all appear in this show.

The show’s main character, Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini), tries to find out where she belongs in the high school scene and who she wants to be. She goes from being a “geek” to a “freak”, makes friends with her former bullies. Her new friends (the freaks) who have accepted her into their circle and teach her how to live a little. They have parties, smoke weed, and bash mailboxes with baseball bats. They’re the image of what most kids think high school burnouts are like. I think Lindsay is wrong to leave behind her grades and everything she has worked for over the years, but it’s also understandable because, as a teen, viewers can see where she is coming from. I think most people go through the same thing of joining different cliques and finding new interests as they grow older.

Lindsay goes through some new and interesting things when she becomes friends with the “freaks”. She is pushed out of her comfort zone and it’s evident that she’s only doing it to impress her crush Daniel Desario (James Franco). Daniel is the ultimate bad boy or “freak;” as he gives Lindsay’s little brother Sam an adult film, he drinks copious amounts of alcohol, smokes at least one gram of weed each day, cheats on his tests, and is mostly a bad influence on the people around him.

While Lindsay likes Daniel, she keeps it to herself because she is friends with his on and off-again intimidating girlfriend, Kim Kelly (Busy Philipps). Instead of dating Daniel, like she wanted, she ends up dating his best friend Nick Andopolis (Jason Segal), but that relationship doesn’t last long.

Another main character is Lindsay’s little brother, Sam Weir (John Francis Daley). He is definitely a geek, and his friends are too. He has a huge crush on a girl named Cindy Sanders (Natasha Melnick) His friends are the image of what most people think a geek would look and act like; they love science fiction, have a difficult time talking to girls, facing bullies, and just overall fitting in. They are a stereotypical version of geeks.

Overall the Freaks and Geeks is enjoyable. Though Freaks and Geeks only lasted a single season, I am silently hoping for a reunion, as are many other fans of this cult classic. The stereotypes are to the extreme, but that’s what makes the show unique. It shows a different side of high school and relationships than movies like High School Musical. It’s on Netflix so when you finish binge-watching other high school shows like Gossip Girl, and 13 Reasons Why, check it out.

No parking: Student safety concerns prompt administration to change circle drive

The circle drive is now a no parking zone and violators may be ticketed by the police department. All visitors are asked to park in the front lot and enter the campus through the secure check-in area before being buzzed into the school. These changes have been made to increase campus safety.

“We have asked parents and people who are coming into the building to park in the silver lot and instead the silver circle drive,” principal Lane Buban said. “The circle drive is a fire lane not a parking spot.”

There are several safety hazards people create when they park in the circle drive during school hours.

“Students have been seen going out to cars in the circle drive during lunch,” Buban said. “They have been observed eating lunch and sitting in cars with people who we don’t know, which is a big safety concern.”

Parents are still allowed to bring lunch for their children, but they must come in through the office to do so as that reduces the safety risk to students.

“Students instead, they leave the front of the building as if they are going to get their lunch,” Buban said. “But get in a car and leave when they weren’t properly checked out and this is another safety concern.”

Visitors are now required to park in the silver parking lot that is attached to the circle drive. This lot was reallocated as a visitor lot at the beginning of the year to make room for all visitors that may come on campus during the day.

“The circle drive is a fire lane,” Buban said. “If we have got several cars parked in the circle drive and we need to get fire trucks on campus, we can’t get them close to the building and that would be a huge safety issue.”

Not only is the unauthorized parking an obstacle to emergency, personally it also poses a threat to the immediate safety of students on campus.

“We also have issues with kids ordering lunch and getting food from people we don’t know,” Buban said. “All of those reasons prompted us to make a decision to work with the police department to have parents and visitors park in the silver lot for anything during the middle of the day.”

Buban has sent out a letter and three phone calls to parents in regards to the changes of the circle drive and is working to keep the lines of communication open with the public and the school.

“I want parents and visitors to work with us,” Buban said. “I want them to work with the school to help us do the things that we’re doing that are necessary to keep our students and school safe.”

Though some of the changes that have been made this year caused minor inconveniences for some, the overall safety of the school has continued to improve and benefit the campus as a whole.

“The safety of my students and this campus is the most important thing that I see my job being, paired with their actual education,” Buban said. “Safety and education are the top two things in my book as far as how I approach running the school.”

Double play: Sisters provide strength, support to softball team

The hum of the crowd echoes across the field to the pitcher. She takes a deep breath before she hurls a softball across the plate. Despite the speed and curve of the ball, the bat makes contact, and the ball arcs through the air…into the waiting glove of the center fielder. The pitcher and center fielder grin at each other before running back toward the dugout as the side is retired. This is a normal occurrence in junior Rebekah Hubachek and senior Emily Hubachek’s life. The sisters have played softball for much of their lives and now play together for Bryan High.

“They both rally around each other and at the same time want each other to succeed,” softball coach Enrique Luna said. “They do a tremendous job of coming together and picking each other up.”

The sisters started their athletic career at an early age playing T-Ball, which eventually morphed into Little League and finally into high school softball.

“Softball is something I’ve always done,” Rebekah said. “I have a lot of fun with it and a strong passion for the sport.”

For Rebekah, Emily’s presence pushes her to play her best and introduces healthy competition on the field.

“I love competing with Emily,” Rebekah said. “We are always super competitive and want to do better, but we also encourage and support one another. This is the first year we have really been on the field together. I know she’s going to pick me up in the outfield and trusts me on the mound.”

Although Rebekah is the younger of the two, she still encourages Emily and motivates her to play to her fullest abilities every time they step on the field.

“Rebekah’s a big role model on the team since she’s a pitcher,” Emily said. “I want to do my best for her out on the field because she’s doing her job on the mound.”

Rebekah and Emily work well together, and their coordination has not gone unnoticed and is an asset to the entire team.

“Emily’s our center fielder, so she’s like the quarterback and is the leader in the outfield,” Luna said. “Rebekah’s our top pitcher right now, so it starts with them. It’s kind of funny that they’re both right in the middle of the field and behind each other every game. It’s helped them develop and become really good softball players.”

Though the girls have both seen improvements with their skills over the years, softball has also taught them the value of teamwork and supporting their teammates.

“Softball teaches you that even though you may not do your best, you still have someone to pick you up,” Emily said. “Since it’s a team sport, the weight’s not all on you. You have teammates who can help you.”

Even though Rebekah was not particularly outgoing last season, she now takes initiative to get things done and has become a leader and someone her teammates can look up to.

“Rebekah, with the help of her sister and other teammates, has really grown in the past year,” Luna said. “Last year as a sophomore, she was still kind of behind the pack and only doing what she needed to do. Now she’s become a great leader for the team.”

Emily has also grown in confidence and maturity throughout her years of playing softball.

“I think Emily’s ready to go to college now,” Luna said. “As a shy little freshman four years ago, she wasn’t quite there yet. To see her develop and grow into the young lady she is now has been a great process to watch.”

The bond between the two girls is evident on the field, and even goes beyond the two of them and impacts the entire team when they begin a game.

“Their development has been tremendous, just seeing them grow from freshmen year to junior and senior now,” Luna said. “I think they have come together as family on the field and it has helped us create a great bond together.”

Cautionary tale: Social media requires forethought before posting

Hashtag. Ating. Trending. Tweeting. Snapping. The internet streams social media into teens’ lives every waking moment of the day. Social media has become the communication form of choice with teens which comes with the good and the bad. It allows them to express themselves and communicate instantaneously with family, friends and strangers, but many times those participating in the realm of social media aren’t aware of the risk that comes along with such a public space. In many situations, a good idea can turn into a bad decision in the long run. Pictures and captions posted on social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or even Snapchat can affect someone for the rest of their life.

While posting a picture of you hanging out with a group of friends or tweeting your favorite lyrics to a song may seem innocent at the time, the outcome of these decisions could have permanent effects on your life. A debate has arisen over whether or not employers and school officials should examine past social media posts when deciding whether or not someone is a good fit. While many believe this is an invasion of privacy in people’s lives, I think it makes sense.

If someone is worried about something that they post on social media, it is most likely due to something inappropriate or irresponsible. Employers and colleges may want to avoid people who post inappropriate things and see them as a poor fit for their program. This is why it is important to maintain proper social media etiquette before it comes time to apply for college and jobs. Keeping photos and captions away from vulgar or inappropriate language is a necessity when it comes to social media etiquette.

I have seen this issue take place first-hand. When my uncle was in training to be a State Trooper, he was unaware that his sergeants were looking on his past social media throughout his entire bootcamp and training process. Luckily, he didn’t have anything that was improper or unsuitable that would have caused him to no longer be a candidate for the public servant occupation. If you don’t have anything inappropriate lurking on an account associated with your name, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. The people making a scene about the situation are the ones whose social media is filled with pictures and posts unworthy for a professional occupation.

There are negative experiences surrounding people that have once chosen to post unacceptable things on social media, like people losing their jobs, health insurance coverage, and even their relationships.

The internet records every keystroke and photo uploads are quickly archived. Did you know that you cannot ‘delete’ a photo from Facebook? While you can remove it from your profile and the button is labelled ‘delete’, Facebook keeps a copy that is associated with your profile forever. On many occasions, law enforcement has been able to track people and their activities based purely on their internet activity. The footprint you leave on the internet is large and will continue to impact your life in the future.

Social networking is here to stay, and it shows no sign of being a fad or slowing down. It is ingrained in both the workplace and social spheres; the important thing to remember is to always think before you post.

Norseman staff earns state honors at competition

The Norseman staff competed in the ILPC competition which assess articles written for high school newspapers across the state. The Norseman staff submitted articles from Feb. 2016 – Feb. 2017 in both the print and online categories. The following awards were earned:

Print
Editorial Writing
Honorable Mention (4th) – Staff
Sports Feature
3rd – Staff
Feature Writing
1st – Danica Mendes
2nd – Payton McKeehan
Entertainment Review
2nd – Gail Finch
Honorable Mention (4th) – Mackenzie Johnson
Personal Opinion Column
Honorable Mention (4th) – Gail Finch
Cartoon
Honorable Mention (4th) – Gail Finch
Headlines
1st – Staff
Social Media
Honorable Mention (4th) – Staff

Online
Sports Feature
2nd – Payton McKeehan
Honorable Mention (4th) – Madi Little
Personal Opinion Column
3rd – Danica Mendes
Honorable Mention (4th) – Shannon Keyser
Feature Design Page
Honorable Mention (4th) – Staff
Editorial Page Design
Honorable Mention (4th) – Staff
Double Truck Design
2nd – Staff
Headlines
Honorable Mention (4th) – Staff

Girl Code: Three unspoken rules to live by for dating, friendship

Every girl knows the unspoken rules of Girl Code, but despite of knowing these guidelines, many girls don’t uphold the code. Once a guy gets into the mix, girls feel that the rules don’t apply to them anymore, but they’re wrong. Guys can cause longtime friendships between two girls to end in a heartbeat. The real question, is why? I want to help refresh the memory of most girls and explain why it’s important to remember and honor the Girl Code.

Rule #1: Don’t let boys ruin friendships. When you have a crush on a boy, your best friend is the one who gives you advice. They are the person who tells you when he’s secretly looking at you or helps you gain the courage to talk to him.

When you start dating that guy, don’t forget about your friend. Having a boyfriend can be new and exciting, but your other friendships are important too. Talk to your friends and let them know that you don’t want them to feel left out.

Communication is important and your friend will most likely be understanding if you just let them know what’s going on. Make it clear that you want to spend time equally with everyone. It’s easy to be blinded by your feelings when a relationship is new, but you can’t forget about everybody else. Chances are the relationship with a boy (especially in high school) won’t last, past graduation, but your girlfriends will always be there for you.

Remember that your friends were there for when you had no one else, and will still be there for you in the future. Friendships between two longtime friends shouldn’t end over a boy. Communicate with each other, and don’t forget: sisters over misters!

Rule #2: Never go after your friend’s crush. Many girls have experienced a friend pursuing their crush. I have been on the receiving end of a friend doing this and it’s not fun. The only way this can happen is if rule number one was violated.

While a friend can ask to see how you would feel, she shouldn’t have to. She should know that you have a crush on that person and would be hurt if they pursued a relationship. If they don’t ask, then they are trying to hide it, which is even worse. While you have every right to mad if this has happened to you, there are ways to find a solution.

Be honest with your friend, but most importantly, be honest with yourself. If you’re not okay with your friend dating someone you had a crush on then talk to them. Hopefully they will be a good friend, understand where you’re coming from, and back off. If you’re the friend that likes your best friend’s crush, you should talk them.

The conversation might be uncomfortable, but it’s still worth it. Explain your feelings to your friend, and if they’re not okay with it, then be understanding. Think about your friend’s feelings and really think if it’s truly worth losing your girlfriend for over boy. If you value the friendship with your friend, don’t betray them over a guy. If you end up with the guy, don’t rub it in, no matter if you were the first person with the crush or the second.

Rule #3: Be understanding. If you find yourself on the other side as the equation and you are the third wheel, be patient.

Once a friend is in a new relationship, it’ll seem like they are spending less time with you, and they probably are, but they have added another person into their life. Even if it’s difficulty, being selfish won’t help a friendship and you have to come to terms with the idea of sharing your best friends time with the new person in their life.

Don’t treat your friend poorly because they brought someone new into their life. Don’t start drama even if you don’t like the guy, instead make an effort to get to know him.

I’m not saying to keep your mouth shut if he truly is a bad guy, but your friend is more likely to believe you if they think you are on their side and making an effort too.

Although there are many rules that go along with the Girl Code, these two are the most important. Too many great friendships are ruined simply by the lack of communication between two people and because girls idolize boys too much that they forget who their real friends are. It’s totally fine to date and fall in love, just remember to put your sisters before your misters. These rules are complicated because, for the most part, they are unspoken, but that doesn’t mean they can just be ignored.

Waste of safe space: Real issues overshadowed by trivial disagreements

Reliving a traumatic experience at the mention of a specific word or phrase, noise going off, or the sight of a familiar face is nothing to take lightly. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a very real concern, is taken seriously in most cases and is appropriately accommodated for serious cases via safe spaces. Safe spaces are a good idea for those who need a place to calm down from panic attacks, PTSD attacks, or harassment. However, over the past five years, there’s been the used and public opinion of safe spaces.

This controversy surrounding safe spaces is mainly an issue on college campuses, with a stereotype of it being on behalf of the liberal arts students, who seem to be expected to ask for a safe space away from ideas that “trigger” them and oppose their ideas. This trope trivializes the idea of having a safe space for people with serious conditions and is causing people to not take the idea as seriously as they should. College should be a time to challenge ideas and discuss things with people who are different than you. Don’t let it become an echo chamber where you surround yourself with only like minded people.

PTSD is a real and serious disorder that affects the lives of many people in a negative way. It affects veterans, victims of sexual assault, victims of abuse, or anyone who has faced a traumatic event and is usually triggered by something such as loud noises, a phrase, smell, or anything related to their experience. Trigger warnings and safe spaces were developed in order to help people cope with these things on a daily basis, but are now being trivialized by the drama queens of the internet who feel as though their beliefs are constantly being challenged and attacked.

Having and discovering different opinions is what the world is about. There is no clear right or wrong answer on anything, so to get emotional over someone’s opinion because it doesn’t align with yours is rather close-minded and ignorant. If you aren’t open to other opinions, how do people learn things? Progress has been made with differing opinions, with things such as the civil rights movement, the gay rights movement, the women’s movement. Their opinions were different from the norm and change eventually came about when their differing opinion was listened to and considered.

Some people would probably try to correct me by saying that safe spaces provide a false sense of security for people feel threatened by society or by their peers. I sympathize with that, but my advice is to confront the issue. Your hurt feelings cannot be as bad as someone else’s mental suffering, so don’t hide from the issue. If you do, you’re letting the issue win and have power over you. If you have anxiety over the issue, talk to someone; an advisor, counselor, anyone you think might give you the best help and that would be conducive to solving the issue.

Trivializing something that helps people with severe mental issues and those fearing for their safety for real reasons is not something to take lightly. Instead of hiding from your problems and claiming that you need a safe-space from problematic ideas, think about what you’re doing. Instead of educating yourself to your full potential, you’re hindering your worldview to the few hundred followers you have on social media and not getting the full story on anything outside of your sphere. Instead of ignoring people or blocking everything off, try to see a different side and adjust your views accordingly. Open your eyes to what others see and, more importantly, why they see it that way. It’s okay to disagree with people and still be friends. In fact, it should only make you stronger if you surround yourself with people who have various views and are also capable or discussing things in a mature manner. Safe spaces are important, so don’t turn them into a joke because you can’t handle a simple disagreement.

Sophomore sounds off, adds unique beat to a cappella group

A baseline beat resonates from the stage as the choir begins to sing and captures the attention of the audience. Vocal Legacy, the a cappella choir group is composed of some of the best singers at Bryan High and in that mix is sophomore Graham Littlefield who excels at beatboxing.

“I started when I was about nine years old,” Graham said. “My dad taught me how to do it and my mom showed me that there were groups that beatboxed, so I just caught on.”

Graham’s passion for the activity only grew as time went on and he discovered he could continue to pursue it in high school.

“I really started to get into it more in middle school,” Graham said. “I’ve kept going at it since then.”

Self-expression is important to Graham and he feels that beatboxing has helped him grow creatively and technically.

“You can express yourself while still making sure that the audience knows what you’re doing,” Graham said. “People know what you’re doing, but at the same time you’re throwing in your own style or showing others what you’re about.”

When he first heard about Vocal Legacy, he was inspired to join and continue with the added influence of beatboxing into a cappella choir.

“The backup voices can be used to imitate instruments,” Graham said. “Drums and percussion are very important instruments too, so I feel like beatboxing adds that possibly lost aspect. It helps bring the vocals to life.”

Beatboxing isn’t something that many people associate with a cappella choir, but it helps make the group feel complete.

“If you take Graham out, it’s just our vocals,” sophomore Kayla Callen said. “It feels incomplete, like it isn’t as modern and contemporary.”

While beatboxing seems to be a newer skill added to the repertoire of a cappella choir, it has been included in Vocal Legacy performances for some time.

“Graham is the fourth beatboxer that we’ve had,” choir director Alex Medlock said. “It has become an element in the group that we didn’t want to lose, so it was good to find Graham.”

Incorporating this contemporary aspect of music into the vocals of the group originally seems out of place to many, but Graham sees it as a natural addition.

“I think that beatboxing is a little bit more of a newer thing that has been added in, but I think that it should start to become more a part of choir,” Graham said. “It’s using your voice, and sometimes in choir you’re supposed to imitate a certain instrument.”

Some assume that practicing these unconventional sounds is a challenge, but Graham has found a way to be sure of the sounds that will be incorporated into the performance.

“I listen to the sounds or look over measures or what we did in Vocal Legacy,” Graham said. “I go over what we’ve done and see if the sounds can be improved at all.”

Audiences tend to react positively to the different sounds of choral voices and beats meeting to create a unique experience with each Vocal Legacy performance.

“The beatboxer, obviously, along with the bass provides low tones which add another layer of interest and excitement to the performance,” Medlock said. “It turns a song into something you can dance to and gives it more rhythm.”

Not only has Graham contributed to the sounds of Vocal Legacy, but also to the overall attitude of the group.

“Graham just brings this really positive energy to our group that we didn’t have without him,” Kayla said. “I think that he meshes really well with all of our other personalities.”

Graham’s passion for beatboxing grows as he improves with the skill through hard work and determination.

“Walking around in the hallways, all he does is listen to his music and work on getting better each day, and he does,” Kayla said. “He works hard to make sure that he continues to improve.”

Graham’s time spent with Vocal Legacy has a positive impact on his beatboxing; giving him a new perspective on his skill and ability.

“Before I joined, I thought that it would be super, super easy, but I have to make sure that all of the sounds are cohesive,” Graham said. “Everyone needs to sound good on their own and with one another. If there is one part that’s off, it’ll throw off an entire song. Everything must sound perfect together.”

The beat goes on: Indoor percussion drums up support through artistry, skill

Keeping in-step with complicated choreography, telling the story of the performance through facial expressions, and keeping the beat with big drums, simultaneously can be a challenge. Members of Viking Indoor Percussion manage the challenges that come with the production with vigor and determination evidenced by their first place finish at the Texas Color Guard Circuit earlier this year.

While many members of VIP come into the program with experience as percussionists, some enter willing to learn something new.

“If students are willing to take the challenge and start from the ground and work their way up, then I’m willing to let them try,” VIP director Zane Taylor said. “As a result, we’ve had people that have literally never held a drumstick before play as well or better than any high school percussionist that I’ve ever seen.”

Though the task of learning a new instrument might seem like a huge challenge, students who are driven find the transition enjoyable.

“The challenge makes Indoor more fun when you get to learn new instruments,” freshman Brandon Garza said. “Actually getting to challenge yourself like that is more fun.”

Some of the most experienced members of VIP gained their footing through the program, allowing them to exponentially increase their expertise.

“I’ve been in VIP since 8th grade,” junior Ronald Busby said. “Mr. Taylor explained that it was a good way for younger players to grow and I thought that was a cool opportunity. I joined band in 7th grade, so I felt like I was already one step behind and I thought with VIP, I could put myself out there and develop a set of new skills.”

VIP members are able to apply their skills to the marching band season, indoor season, and beyond to become stronger musicians.

“I think the experiences go beyond marching band,” Taylor said. “In general, members have become much more confident musicians and they gain a greater technical proficiency with their instruments.”

Due to the short season, VIP members are forced to be quick on their feet and master their music and routines for competition.

“You have to learn music so quickly, in such a short amount of time, that your skills as a musician grow enormously,” junior Hunter Hoelscher said. “Since you’re so pressed for time, your technique, breathing, and everything as a musician grows. You even grow as a person because you learn to handle all of that stuff.”

While the experiences presented by VIP can help members grow on and off the floor, the more physical activities can also make the season challenging.

“Getting used to moving around with something attached to you is a challenge in and of itself,” Ronald said. “I wear a snare drum which is an extra 20 pounds. That’s something you need to have to train your body to adapt to.”

Physicality is not the only demand of VIP, but members have to dig deep to convey their story to spectators.

“Indoor is much more physical than marching band and it’s typically more demanding in a musical sense with faster tempos and more expression,” Taylor said. “In a normal concert setting, it’s a matter of getting the full ensemble to produce an oral picture for the audience, but for Indoor it has to be both visual and oral. Members have to do what we call communicating with the people at the top of the bleachers.”

Apart from the physical demands of VIP, members experience mental obstacles that help them to gain skills as musicians.

“Mental endurance is probably the number one obstacle,” Ronald said. “When something is new to you, it’s fun and fresh, it’s easy to be passionate about it. By the end of the season, the show is still the same show but you have to perform it like it’s brand new to you.”

The obstacles presented by VIP help members to better understand their art while sharpening their skill and giving their best performance on the floor.

“Indoor gives you a much clearer perspective musically and visually and those are the two major aspects of any of the marching arts that we do,” Taylor said. “Clarity is very important because what you’re playing needs to be reflected in what you’re actually showing the audience through the drill and what we call bodywork which is almost like dancing.”

Because of the extensive time and effort spent together, members of VIP have formed strong, family-like friendships.

“What I like most of all is that I get to be with my friends,” senior Samantha Hedstrom said. “It’s like being in a band family but it’s smaller, so everyone is closer to one another.”

Crime and research: Forensic series sheds light on unsolved cases

The typical crime show follows a group of detectives seeking to solve unrealistic and improbable crimes. Forensic Files is unlike these impractical shows as it tells, in documentary-style, the true stories of violent murders, mysterious accidents, and outbreaks of fatal illnesses. Each episode features a different case, all revealing how forensic science is used to solve murder mysteries in a realistic way as opposed to the equipment of science fiction other shows use.

It’s impossible to talk about Forensic Files without mentioning the familiar voice that narrates each episode. This unique voice belongs to Peter Thomas. Peter, who passed away on April 30, 2016, was a world class orator who spent more than 50 years of his life being the voice of Oscar-winning documentaries, television series, and commercials. To the creator and executive producer of Forensic Files, Paul Dowling, Peter was to be the one and only narrator, so after his death, only reruns were aired. However, with over 400 episodes, I still find new ones constantly and even ones I’ve watched before never get old.

A typical episode begins with discovering a dead body. Once the body is obtained, medical examiners must identify the body. Fingerprints are the most universally used forensic evidence and are frequently used in Forensic Files. However, if the victim has been burned or if the killer has removed their fingers in order to conceal the identity, then other methods must be used to determine who the body belongs to. Forensic dentists use teeth for identification by pulling and comparing dental records of recent missing persons if the body is much older or unrecognizable. Several bones can be used to identify things such as sex, race, and age. Leg or arm bones can even determine stature and weight of a certain victim. Medical examiners perform an autopsy, which tells the story of what the victim went through in the last seconds of their lives. This story can lead back to the murder weapon which is the ultimate evidence.

Next, detectives check the crime scene for any trace of evidence. Forensic investigators use luminol to detect trace amounts of blood at crime scenes as it reacts with the iron in the haemoglobin in red blood cells. Cigarettes are a common source of evidence because they supply DNA, so any cigarettes found on the scene are collected in hopes to be a link to the killer. Any fingerprints found at the scene are collected through photography. These prints are photographed in high resolution with a forensic measurement scale in the image for reference. Investigators can improve the quality of the images by using low-angle or alternate light sources and/or certain chemicals or dyes during photography, but this is not always necessary.

Once all of the evidence is collected, detectives search for suspects. These suspects must come in to the police station to be interrogated by police officers, take lie detector tests, have a solid alibi, and give DNA samples. If they pass all of these, they are let off, but if their DNA matches that of the DNA which was collected at the crime scene, then they are sent to court where the judge and jury decides their fate.

Forensic Files is intriguing as it always has you on your toes wondering who committed the crime. With each piece of evidence that is collected and matched, the viewer can feel the satisfaction that the victim’s family feels. In each murder case on Forensic Files, the killer is convicted and justice is served for the victim. Without forensic science, the killer would get away with murder, and the victim would not get the justice that they deserve.

Beauty on a Budget: Drugstore products provide palatable solution at low cost

Makeup is an art that women and a number of men take pride in, painting their faces like blank canvases. There are plenty of options that can help artists and newbies achieve the various looks someone could strive for. High school students don’t make a lot of money, which restricts their beauty budget to drugstore makeup purchases. This doesn’t have to be a problem if you do your research. Some products should be avoided like the E.L.F. brand. It may fit in your budget, but only a few of their products work for most people. Their products are typically known to not last all day and end up moving around on your face or crumbling on your skin under the eyes; so although it’s cheap, you are getting what you pay for. To ensure you don’t get stuck with low quality, cheap make-up, I’m going to provide a few tips below.

Before you go make-up crazy, you must find the perfect foundation for your skin. Issues with skin vary from being too oily, too dry, uneven, or acne ridden. Lucky for all of us, cosmetic scientists have tested and researched to make different types of makeup foundations, primers, concealers, and more to customize for anyone’s skin.
One of the main purposes of a good foundation is to create a base for the rest of your make-up, so the goal is to have one that stays in place. L’Oréal and Maybelline are especially good brands for foundations and are known to last all day without slipping and sliding. (Note: All face makeup, no matter the quality, will slip and slide without priming it first, men’s Nivea aftershave is a good makeup primer. Primer preps your skin to receive the foundation.)
L’Oréal’s Paris Infallible Matte Foundation is the best drugstore foundation due to it’s long wearability and full coverage, especially if you have heavy acne. If your skin is already oily, avoid Maybelline Fit-Me Dewy Foundation because it is too oily and shiny for an already greasy face. Instead, use Maybelline’s Fit-Me Matte Poreless to help with oily skin. Almay, another drugstore brand, is a lighter, organic product, making it unable to provide full coverage for acne-prone skin.

Once you’ve landed on the best possible foundation, you’re ready to move on to the eyes, with mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadow. If you are looking for some good cheaper mascaras, I suggest the Maybelline Lash Sensational, L’Oréal Voluminous, and the Covergirl Clump Crusher mascaras. I see no sense in splurging in the mascara department, or eyeliner for that matter, on a high end brand. Stick to drugstore brands. Eyeshadows, on the other hand, need to be high quality for a result that’s worth your money. L’Oréal is the only drugstore eyeshadow worth spending on. Otherwise, I highly suggest branching out to your nearby Ulta and purchasing either a Tarte palette, Urban Decay Naked palette, or the Modern Renaissance Anastasia palette. (This palette particularly is very pigmented with strong colors, so be brave.)

Now comes the question: how do you put all of this on? There are many brushes,blenders, and other applicants to bring everything together. A beauty blender should be used to apply foundation and concealers. The Real Techniques brand has a good beauty blending sponge on the market if you are not up for spending $20 on the “real deal”. Real Techniques also has a good line of makeup brushes which are available at Walmart and Target.
Morphe brushes are an absolute must if you find yourself with a little extra cash. Though slightly higher priced than drug-store brushes, they are of amazing value. And while you’re on morphebrushes.com, purchase a Morphe 35O eyeshadow palette, your life will be blessed.

Everyone is unique, despite someone else’s review, you may have a different experience with the same product. However, if you look at multiple reviews, finding the same product being repeated, it’s worth trying. Be sure to take into account your skin type, your budget, and get a good set of brushes.

Vaulting to new heights: Junior athlete improves while leading by example

His mind is clear. His vision zeroes in on the target. There is no sound. The only thing he is aware of is the object in front of him: the bar. His task, get over the bar. Junior pole vaulter Campbell Webb experiences this at each track meet.

In 10 seconds there are many different things that can go wrong at any given moment of the vault. From the start of the run, to the planting of the pole, to getting upside down, getting his hips higher than the bar, and then falling in a safe way from a high vertical. Pole vaulting is a sport that requires extreme concentration. Campbell has put in the time needed to perfect his craft to score big points for the Bryan High track team. Campbell has improved drastically from his sophomore year from clearing 10’6” in the first meet to vaulting 14’6” outside his junior year, and his personal record being 15’6” indoor.

One of Campbell’s inspirations for getting involved in pole vault has been his dad who pole vaulted in college and was stationed with the military in North Carolina while Campbell was a freshman.

“Since my dad got back from mobilization, he has been my coach,” Campbell said. “He’s been there at every practice, every meet, every national championship. He’s always been there.”

Campbell has put in many hours since his freshman year trying to gain experience and knowledge on the sport. He’s a member of the Mac Vault Pole Vault Academy in College Station and has competed in many different track meets for them.

“I vault for Bryan High School and Mac Vault Academy,” Campbell said. “I vault with Mac Vault during the offseason, and I’ve competed in national championships for them, like the USATF National Championships along with the New Balance National Championship.”

In addition to vaulting three times a week, Campbell also focuses on improving his speed and strength through bar work and bodyweight exercises. His work ethic has definitely paid off.

“Campbell has done a great job for us,” pole vaulting coach, Bret Paige said. “He started really focusing on pole vault his freshman year. One of the reasons on why he is improving so much is as his body is growing and maturing, he’s getting faster and stronger – but the main thing is his coachability. His ability to do what a coach says and take it to the next level helps the most.”

Another aspect of pole vault is the team camaraderie that takes place, as vaulters watch each other and communicate what they need to do to get a higher vault. Junior Christine McCall holds the girls pole vaulting record at 11’ and sees the importance of communication.

“In pole vault, you have to rely on a lot of other people to tell you what you’re doing wrong and to check your step,” Christine said. “Campbell has really helped me figure out problems with my own vault and how to fix them.”

Campbell not only has big goals, but he also has people who believe in him and know that he can achieve anything he works for.

“Campbell’s big goal is to hit 15’ in a meet this year,” Paige said. “I’d like to see him qualify for area this year, and go to regionals. Just take it one step at a time.”

After high school, Campbell strives to compete at the collegiate level.

“I would like to pole vault in college,” Campbell said. “I’m not sure if I can make a career out of it. I’d love to see it take me to higher levels.”

Campbell enjoys the opportunity that pole vaulting has given him to represent all of the people and places that have supported him and have gotten him to where he is now.

“Going to the national competitions is probably one of the biggest accomplishments,” Campbell said. “It’s not easy to qualify for those meets. Qualifying and being able to represent Mac Vault and Bryan High School in those meets is a really big accomplishment.”

Campbell has one more year left on the Bryan High track team, and he has already made a big difference. He will continue to do so by encouraging the younger vaulters.

“Having experienced vaulters helps because not only can the younger kids just listen to me, but they can see and learn what an experienced vaulter does.” Paige said. “Campbell can show the younger kids what we’re trying to coach and be the visual representation. He leads by example.”

Beauty and the box office; Live action remake stuns audience with story telling, visuals

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is a live-action remake of the classic animated fairytale. The new production strives to appeal to a modern audience while also staying true to the original storyline and music while adding a few new twist to the original classic.

Beauty and the Beast is about the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent girl who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she trades places with her father who was taken prisoner by a beast. However, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true prince within. The main storyline has remained unchanged from the original animated film and stars Emma Watson (Belle) and Dan Stevens (Beast) did a superb job throughout the film. Belle and the Beast share an unlikely love story while learning to look beyond appearances.

Emma Watson, known for playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series, plays the free-spirited and independent Belle, making her an inspirational figure. Overall Belle shows other girls that it is okay to be different. Dan Stevens is the perfect fit as the harsh but sensitive Beast. He is best known for his role as Matthew Crawley in the hit British TV show Downton Abbey, and currently stars in the TV show Legion as David Haller. The main antagonist Gaston, played by Luke Evans is an arrogant man determined to take Belle as his wife and Josh Gad as LeFou, Gaston’s goofy right-hand man following close behind.

This Beauty and the Beast is very similar to the animated film and has several scenes with lines that are directly from the original movie. However, there are also several differences that help make the live-film have its own originality. One big change in the film is the change of Belle’s personality. In the animated movie, Belle is portrayed as the weird girl by others in the village at the beginning of the film. This is different from the live-action film because girls seem to have a bigger jealousy towards Belle instead of believing she is a weird girl. Also, the new film fills in gaps of the animated movie like the story behind Belle’s mother’s death and why her father had to leave the night he was imprisoned in the castle.

The animation from the live-action Beauty and the Beast looks awfully similar to its cartoon film. The makers of the live-action movie clearly made sure to include some very familiar sets and plot points. The final design of the Beast ended up being various parts from a lion, buffalo, wild boar, gorilla, wolf, and bear. However, the key to designing and animating the Beast was making sure he appeared sincere. The ballroom scene in the film was an important moment for the animated characters. The creators made sure to capture the interconnected relationship of Belle and the animated Beast. The animations made it possible for viewers to feel the romantic and enchanting feeling of the classic film.

Beauty and the Beast was a beautiful remake of the original animated film. Although it’s sometimes hard to remake classics, I feel as though the new Disney live-action film did an amazing job with keeping factors from the old movie while also giving it a new twist.

Love all: Sisters bring family bond to tennis courts

Teams are like families. They count on each other, hang out together, and and come together as a team. They may not always get along, but in the end, they always have each other’s backs. The Paholek sisters have taken this concept to the next level in that the girls are both teammates and sisters.

“I started playing tennis in middle school,” senior Rachel Paholek said. “After I played volleyball, I looked for a sport that I could play in the spring. I found tennis and fell in love with it so I kept playing in high school.”

Rachel’s younger sister, sophomore Kristin Paholek, has joined her in her love of the sport.

“I started playing tennis in 7th grade because my sister started playing a few years earlier and I thought it was interesting so I tried it out,” Kristin said. “I love that it’s very fast paced and keeps me active.”

The girls have been playing together over the past two years and have helped each other improve along the way.

“Playing with Rachel has helped me get to know the team better,” Kristin said. “It’s nice to have a role model and someone to look up to and strive to be like on the same team I am on.”

Rachel enjoys playing with Kristin because she knows she can rely on and support her on the team.

“It’s fun having someone to go to every practice and match with,” Rachel said. “She is someone that I can count on to know what to do.”

Their teammates see the positive attitude that the Paholek sisters bring to the court to help their team achieve success on and off the court.

“Rachel and Kristin bring a hard working attitude and motivate everyone to do their best,” sophomore Grace Hendrix said. “They’re always helping others with things like homework, especially during advisory after we’ve missed something in class.”

Although tennis is sometimes considered an individual sport, both girls strongly believe that tennis is more about a team than a single person.

“At the high school level, tennis is definitely a team sport because all of our matches combine to determine whether our school wins or not,” Rachel said. “We encourage each other on and off the court all the time and even if we’re playing individually, we want our teammates to do well.”

Kristin has made some sacrifices for the sport but she loves the times she gets to spend with her team.

“I’ve had to give up a lot of class time,” Kristin said. “Hanging out with my team makes up for it. My favorite part of tennis is all of the bus rides because we play music and hang out all together as a team.”

Tennis coach Randy Stewart has enjoyed coaching the Paholek sisters and watching them grow as players and teammates.

“They’re both very competitive,” Stewart said. “The more balls they hit the better they become. They’ve also really opened up with their team and they’re very personable.”

The Paholek family has become involved with the girls’ success in the sport, making tennis a family event.

“My parents have to come to matches for both me and my sister so a lot of times our schedule revolves around tennis practices and matches,” Rachel said. “We make fun trips to Houston and Austin for tennis tournaments, so it’s a fun thing for us to do together.”

Tennis has had a positive impact on Rachel and Kristin and has given them memories that they will treasure forever.

“My favorite memory of tennis would have to be district tournaments with my team,” Rachel said. “It’s the end of the season and it’s fun to be motivated together and finish the season on a high note.”

Little fish in big pond: Freshman earns medals at state swim meet

Swimming is a sport where fractions of seconds make the difference in medaling and hoping for a better time next season. Freshman Abby Surley has progressed this season to shave entire seconds off her time and advance to state as an individual and a part of two relay teams. Filling the role of breaststroker has been integral to the team’s overall success, helping them earn both a silver and bronze medal at the state meet.

Being one of the youngest members of the swim team can be intimidating, but Abby finds support in her older teammates.

“It’s nice to be a freshman on the varsity team because of all the older kids,” Abby said. “They’re very supportive and they like to help me with school and they give me good advice.”

Abby favors the breaststroke out of all the swimming relays because it’s the easiest on the lungs, and she has been doing it for about 3 years.

“I love the breaststroke for several reasons,” Abby said. “One, I get to breathe every stroke and I don’t have to hold my breath, two, I can hear every thing that’s going on around me, and three, I get to just chill out because I’m doing less work than everyone else.”

Teammate Julia Cook thinks Abby has a lot of potential and has already contributed to the team’s success.

“She’s a really strong breaststroker that helped our relay get to state this year,” Julia said. “Her coming in made a big difference because the breaststroker last year was about 6 or 7 seconds slower.”

Abby’s mom, Nikki Surley, is also one of the swim coaches, allowing her to witness Abby’s development from the beginning.

“Abby didn’t start doing club swim until she was 11, so for that kind of growth to occur in such a short period of time is exciting,” Surley said. “As a mom and a coach, it’s exciting to watch her and see what’s going to happen when she keeps working out with people that are going to challenge her.”

Abby has made significant improvement in her first year on the varsity swim team dropping time in her main event.

“She has dropped a lot of time,” Surley said. “When she first started the season her 100 breaststroke was at 1:13 and she ended the season at a 1:06. For any swimmer to drop 7 seconds over a 6 month period is a pretty big deal.”

Abby’s teammates have watched her mature over the season, but with that maturity she has kept her silliness too.

“Abby is super positive,” Julia said. “She’s always in a good mood, she’s always smiling, and it kind of gives us older swimmers as a sense of light. Older swimmers are just more serious about things so her coming on to the team helps us have more fun.”

The coach views Abby’s commitment to swimming as one of the key components to her success.

“I think that she is one of the only freshman who is fully committed to doing club swimming and Viking swimming,” Surley said. “She does morning workouts with both swim teams.”

Going to state as a freshman was a major accomplishment for Abby, and she enjoyed every minute of it.

“Going to state was exciting,” Abby said. “I was nervous because there was a whole bunch of people and they were all looking at everyone trying to see where everyone was, but everyone was nice.”

The team has improved as a group this season, and the coaches hope they continue to work well and push each other.

“I’d like to see them get faster,” Surley said. “I’d like to see them work a little harder together as a team so that they know exactly what each other is doing. I’d like them to inspire the other girls who are pretty close in their time to bring up their relay times so that they can take another one to state.”

Abby has personal goals for continuing in her years of high school swimming and hopes to make it to the Olympic trials or collegiate level swimming.

“I want to try to get 28 seconds in my 50 breaststroke and I want to try to get to finals in my 100 breaststroke,” Abby said. “I want to keep working and improving over the next three years.”

Behind the scenes: Senior works with local station to gain professional skills

Each night local news anchors come into the homes of community members delivering polished versions of news events, weather, and sports. These people frequently become celebrities in small towns, but there are dozens of other people who go into creating the broadcast. Senior Maya Turner works behind the scenes to help create the evening news programs for KAGS, a local news station for Central Texas.

“A friend in my AV class got the job before I did and after a while she referred me to it, My friend knew I would enjoy it and she was right.” Maya said.

Maya has been working for KAGS for six months and has been given the opportunity to work with and meet new people at the station.

“I like all of the employees there,” Maya said. “They’re nice and it’s pretty laid back, and I get a two hour break between each news run, so it’s never too bad.”

Even with the laid back atmosphere of the job, there are still some difficulties when it comes to production.

“The production part of it is hard because we’re dealing with cameras, the audio, and the closed caption lines,” Maya said. “Making sure that the stuff doesn’t break down during the show and keeping the anchors happy is the most difficult part.”

Maya’s teachers value her creativity and follow through in class and believe her unique characteristics are aspects that make her an asset at KAGS.

“One of the main things that help her with broadcast journalism is that she’s creative,” English teacher Lisa Prejean said. “She’s also a person who takes direction well,” Prejean said. “If she’s serving as an assistant to someone and they tell her to do something, then she will follow through with and do that.”

Along with being able to take direction, Maya has learned skills by working with KAGS to help her in her future.

“Time management is another thing that I learned really well,” Maya said. “Our show starts at 6:00, but we have to have everything ready by 5:30. Time cues are very important to them so they know when to come on and start actually being anchors.”

Being able to manage time and still get things done is an important aspect of broadcast journalism that manifests during national events.

“Election day is really hectic,” Maya said. “I learned how to do things at a fast pace and still get them done. The whole day we’re making graphics of all the different candidates and constantly updating information. It’s really stressful in a way, because we do have a time limit on when we have to get it on air.”

Her teachers see her spirit and recognize that she is capable of taking things she learns at school and applying them to real life situations.

“I think it’s pretty awesome that she took the initiative to go after a job she enjoys,” Prejean said. “She found a passion inside of school and took it outside to the next level.”

Despite finding interest in broadcast journalism and taking the job at KAGS, she plans on going into the nursing field in the future.

“I was planning on doing broadcast journalism on the side in the future,” Maya said. “I like to make promotional videos, and I’m also into photography. I know it’s different from videography, but that’s just another thing I have learned and would like to continue even if that’s not the field I pursue for work.”

Though Maya does not plan to enter the field of broadcast journalism upon graduation, she does see how her experience at KAGS will help her in the future.

“My job at KAGS has helped me adapt to different co-workers,” Maya said. “The sports anchors and the news anchors are totally different. In nursing, I know I will deal with a lot of different people so that aspect of working at KAGS will benefit me the most.”

Senior strays from norm, enjoys unique interests, hobbies

Millennials are labeled as a generation of self-absorbed, technology addicted citizens, but stereotypes don’t always apply. Senior Sam Opersteny isn’t interested in the latest app or song on Billboard’s top 100 list, instead he enjoys spending time outdoors working with his hands and doing other things not typically associated with teenagers.

Sam is the quiet kid in class. He is the one who is never on his phone. He just sits at his desk working without the distraction so many other students find in their hands: a cell phone.

“I don’t have social media and I don’t have Netflix on my phone, but if I did, I wouldn’t know what movies to watch or what games to play,” Sam said. “I don’t listen to music either. When I get into my car I just turn on NPR (National Public Radio) so I can listen to the news.”
Though Sam doesn’t use his phone like most students, he doesn’t find anything wrong with other students being on theirs.

“I just think other students can multitask very well,” Sam said. “I can’t because it will distract me from school work and other things that I think are important so I try to avoid it.”

Students also acknowledge the fact that Sam is never on his phone.

“I think it’s weird how Sam never uses his phone for anything in class,” senior Dominic Wyatt said. “Everyone does, but he’s a unique, funny dude.”

Though Sam doesn’t use his phone in school, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t use it at all, but uses it for different things that most teens don’t use theirs for.

“When I do use my phone, I look at KBTX, text family, watch baseball, and look up trees and plants,” Sam said. “I’m interested in learning about things around me, like nature.”
Sam plays baseball in his free time, and enjoys it, because he’s played it since he was a young boy.

“I’ve played baseball for ten years,” Sam said. “I am a pitcher. My dad put me in baseball when I was seven, and I’ve loved it ever since.”

Other teammates enjoy playing with Sam on the field, and watching him grow as a player throughout high school.

“I’ve played with Sam since our freshman year,” Dominic said. “I enjoy Sam as a teammate. He’s really good on the mound.”

Sam wants to pursue a career in agriculture, because his family has done it for generations and he enjoys farming with his dad.

“My ancestors were farmers and I want to keep it going,” Sam said. “We grow a variety of things including peppers, and we raise cows and sell them.”

Sam’s dad has taught him more than the family business, he also taught him how to ride a unicycle.

“I ride my unicycle like once a week,” Sam said. “My dad rode one and told me I should too, and that’s when I learned. I can ride with my hands in my pockets now. People driving down my street look, but I think it’s fun, you don’t really see that everyday.”

In many teenagers free time they like to hang out with friends, go to the movies, or go out, but for Sam it’s completely different. Though many teens don’t do the same things, people find Sam interesting, because of his good natured personality and his unique hobbies.

“I like to plant things, play baseball, and ride my dirtbike,” Sam said. “I’ve never been to common places most people have been, like the mall, Chick-Fil-A, Sonic, Wendy’s, Jack-in-the-Box, Burger King, Roadhouse, Canes, or even the carnival. My family just goes to the grocery store instead of eating out, but when we do go out to dinner we always go to Longhorn Tavern, and I never order fries because I find them boring.”

Senioritis pushes student to pursue interest instead of coasting through final year

There seems to be a greater push to make students plan their future at a younger age. As fourth graders are expected to make decisions now that will affect them in high school. Sometimes though, students don’t know what they are interested in until they are older and have been exposed to different activities. Senior Clifton Johnson has experienced this shift in interest first-hand and tried something new his senior year.

“I dreamed about doing color guard since my freshman year,” Clifton said. “When I was in band, I used to watch the color guard perform and I always wanted to join, so I did my senior year.”

Clifton’s hard work has paid off during the year on the color guard team, earning him a spot on varsity after a few short months.

“Since our freshman year Clifton has been in love with the color guard activity,” senior captain Ana Tucker said. “Since he’s joined, he has developed a strong work ethic. He is constantly practicing and encourages others to do the same. He is a great example to follow and demonstrates a desire to be great in everything he does.”

Color guard director Marie Debellis also recognized Clifton’s willingness to work and learn.

“Clifton has a strong work ethic,” Debellis said. “He has developed a strong skill set in a very short amount of time.”

Clifton’s work ethic is only eclipsed by his positive attitude as teammates use his outlook to help make them better.

“Clifton is a great person to spin with,” Ana said. “He’s very positive, encouraging, and motivates his teammates to strive for excellence.”

New color guard members usually come with no prior experience but Debellis works with students who have a passion for the activity and helps them develop quickly.

“Most people who try out for color guard start with no prior skill, or experience,” Debellis said. “As the director of the color guard, I am perfectly open to starting students from scratch, but I would love for potentials to come with a good work ethic, a willingness to learn new skills, and a great attitude.”

Participating in any extracurricular takes work and effort, but when a student starts something new their senior year, they have to stay even more focused to succeed.

“Being on varsity is stressful,” Clifton said, “but the accomplishments that we have earned is a big eye opener for me. I enjoy it, but it’s hard, especially since it’s my first year, but I just have to keep going at it and keep getting better.”

Color guard is hosting their annual tryouts which will be in the fine arts gym on April 24-28 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

“We would love to see a lot of new faces at our tryouts,” Debellis said “Students don’t need any experience to try out!”

OAP earns awards district, bi-district

One Act Play advanced out of district to the bi-district in competition in Waco.

Individual district awards:
Technician Award – Chadney Ferguson
Honorable Mention All-Star Cast – Alejandra Reyes
All Star Cast – Joey Hendrix and Kassie Gough

Individual bi-district awards:
Emily Kapchinski – Technician Award
Kaylee Gough – All-Star Cast Honorable Mention
Taylor Hull – All-Star Cast
Joey Hendrix – All-Star Cast

Indoor percussion gains momentum going into state championship

Viking Indoor Percussion placed 2nd in their last competition of the regular season at Tomball Memorial High School.

Despite competing in the largest field of Scholactic A units thus far this season, VIP experienced a more than six point jump in their score to earn a 84.25. This was enough to push them into 2nd place in the overall circuit standings and, pending the outcome of a possible clerical error, might be enough to move them into 1st place overall.

This means prime placement in the line up at the TCGC State Championships which will take place at Reed Arena on Saturday, April 8th.

Jack of all trades: Junior athlete serves team as utility player

He dives to catch the outfield fly ball. He fields the fast-paced grounder on the infield before throwing it to the first baseman for an out. He concentrates on the catcher’s signals before firing another strike across the plate. Junior Hunter Van Etten makes sure he doesn’t get too comfortable in any one position as he is a utility player for the Vikings and moves frequently. Hunter developed a passion for the game from an early and has worked to develop his skills in every position.

“I started playing baseball when I was four years old,” Hunter said. “When I was little I went to all my brothers practices and I really enjoyed the game and wanted to play.”

Hunter’s passion for the sport has continued to increase over the years and his high school coach, David Powers, has watched him grow from a young age.

“I’ve known Hunter since he was 10 or 11 from baseball camp and Little League so I’ve been able to see him grow in so many ways,” Powers said. “It’s one of the great things about coaching and teaching in a community such as ours. I get to see players grow from boys to men and enjoy the fact that they’ve matured.”

Powers has seen Hunter develop into an all-around player willing to do whatever he can to help make the team stronger.

“Hunter has impacted the team by being able to play multiple positions; outfield, all infield positions, and pitcher,” Powers said. “Hunter shows up to work everyday. We have a very cohesive team, and it’s great to see a junior on a team with so many seniors step up and add leadership.”

Having a player who is capable of playing anywhere on the field allows the team to fill in the holes when others are having an off day.

“I’m a utility player and where I play depends on who is pitching,” Hunter said. “I enjoy being a utility player because if there is ever a position struggling, I can fill in and do my job.”

While Hunter does have a position he prefers over others, his overall commitment is to his team, not himself.

“I like pitching best because you’re in control of the pace of the game,” Hunter said. “Mostly though, I just want to better my team and play whatever position I can to help them.”

Though Hunter is adept across the field of play, he recognizes areas he needs to continue working on to
become a better player each time he steps onto the field.

“Hitting is the most difficult part of baseball because a player can do everything right, even hit a hard ball, and it can still go straight to someone for an easy out,” Hunter said. “One of the things I need to focus on is making clutch hits and reducing my errors on the field.”

Hunter and his teammates motivate each other and work together even when they are down.

“We’re a really scrappy team,” Hunter said. “We need to work hard on winning close ball games because we play good defense and scratch a couple every game, so we’ve got to win the close ones.”

Hunter leads by example demonstrating to his teammates his commitment and work ethic as a way to make the team more successful.

“Hunter is a good leader,” teammate junior Zachary Parker said. “He leads on and off the field. He’s a wonderful teammate and he’s an example setter. Hunter always works hard after practice, staying and doing extra. He’s doing his best in everything he can.”

Even though Hunter has been playing for years and still looks for ways to improve himself and the team.

“No matter how good a player is, they can always get better,” Hunter said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how far we can go in the playoffs and how we can develop as a team.”

The art of the hand-off: Senior relay athletes pass down ideas of family, team work

Successful teams are created whenever the members stop relying on the talent of themselves and begin working together. Each individual athlete may be good, but when they’re put together they’re great. Seniors Makayla Howard and Quinteria Johnson have found this to be true in track as they run on the relay team.

Makayla has been doing track since her freshman year, giving her time to gain experience and make a lasting impression.

“Makayla is precious,” track coach Stacy Beal said. “Her smile is contagious. She is realizing that she has a God-given talent, too. She is very fast.”

Q originally began her track career in 7th grade and has been on varsity all four years of high school.

“Q is my adopted daughter,” Beal said. “She lived with me for almost a year due to some adverse family circumstances. This year, I have seen her grow into a strong leader for her team and I love that. It took a while, but I am finally seeing the young lady I knew she could be.”

Beal pushes her athletes to work together and rely on each other which helps create a positive team dynamic.

“Sometimes it’s hard for track kids to understand the team concept,” Beal said. “However, I always try to reinforce it in my conversations with them and explain how even scoring one point can be the difference in a team championship.”

Although track focuses on individual events, group effort is at the heart of the sport.

“My favorite thing about relays is getting a lead for the rest of the team,” Q said. “It’s a great feeling knowing that I contributed to our win.”

The relay teams bring a team component to track that requires communication and trust.

“We have four people on relays, so each person plays a part in the race,” Makayla said. “If one person in the relay doesn’t do their part, then the whole relay won’t run well, which could ultimately cost the meet for the entire team.”

Once the athletes start comprehending the teamwork aspect, they begin to find that this is their favorite part about track and focus less on themselves as individuals.

“My favorite thing about relays is how it’s a team event,” Makayla said. “I like events where you are runnng with other people better than individual events.”

Throughout Q’s years in track, she’s seen that the process of building a united team begins. That unity then transfers to a meet.

“If one person doesn’t come to practice and they’re on the relay team,” Q said, “the rest of the legs in the race can’t run because they will be missing a leg to handoff to.”

The track team builds their bond by spending time together and encouraging each other at practice.

“I encourage them to stretch and warm up together and then to congratulate a job well done,” Beal said. “We often gather and I ask the girls if they noticed good efforts in practice and it gives them a chance to recognize their teammates. In the end, we feel a sense of team and family.”

Once this sense of family between teammates is created, comfort can be found in them and nerves begin to subside with the assurance that the team with always be there.

“If I’m running an individual race, I get really tense and tight because I don’t want to mess up,” Makayla said. “If I’m running with a team, I’m more laid back, and I feel like my team is going to be there no matter what.”

Having already experienced this over the last three years, Q understands how important it is to solidify a team with new members.

“I’ve had to adapt to a new team with new people, speeds, and personalities each year as the seniors graduate,” Q said. “It can be hard, but once you get to know the new people it gets easier.”

Beal relates to the sadness of leaving behind teammates that have become family as she plans to retire after this year, but the memories that were created from successful teamwork will stay with her forever.

“I am looking forward to a great final year as a coach,” Beal said. “I plan to retire at the end of the year, and I am trying to enjoy every minute I have left because I have loved my job. I started my life of athletics as a Tiger, but I will die a Viking.”

Bulls eye: Faculty, students enjoy darts competition as way to relax, meet new people

Consistency, accuracy, precision are all characteristics associated with athletes and the sports they participate, but most people overlook darts as a competition because it’s seen mostly as a hobby where people just joke around. While many people are unaware of the sport itself, its unique requirements make the game challenging while providing the opportunity for competitors to be highly competitive and pursue championships matches across the country. School provided a way for biology teacher Hayley Ask, algebra teacher Paul Ruiz, and senior Sara Ruiz-Payan to find the sport of darts.

“Another teacher brought me into darts,” Ruiz said. “When I first started working here, Mrs. Zalmanek invited me out one night because I was a new teacher, and I’ve been playing in the league since.”

Dart players can compete when different dart leagues form and get sponsored by a venue.

“Each team has their own dart venue, which creates a home and away location for teams to play,” Ruiz said. “You get a restaurant to sponsor you and your team plays out of that venue.”

After being invited to play darts with a group of friends and enjoying it, Ask joined Ruiz’s league.

“We watched them play,” Ask said, “and eventually that night I picked up a set of darts and started throwing and became pretty obsessed after that. I think I had my first pair of darts within a week.”

Darts is a unique sport in its uncommon nature and little knowledge people know about it.

“I like that darts is different,” Ruiz said. “Everybody shoots pool, but darts takes a little bit of skill, and you can be competitive with it as much as you want. You can do it for fun, or be involved in competitive tournaments, leagues, and get the chance to meet new people. It’s actually pretty cool.”

Dart competitions are distinguished by league play and tournaments, both providing different forms of competition.

“I mainly play in the league competitions,” Ruiz said. “There are different leagues that run year round and are normally four person teams. If you get to the end rounds, you qualify for the final tournaments. Tournaments are a little bit of a different format because they are double elimination and are normally much more large scale.”

Participation in darts has allowed the team to meet new people who they never would have met otherwise.

“I’ve gotten the chance to meet so many new people,” Ask said. “Dart people are always really nice, and I’ve enjoyed meeting people that aren’t just from the College Station area through away tournaments.”

League play, tournaments, or even pick-up games can happen anywhere. Due to the accessibility of darts, a game can be found in almost any city.

“We have gone to a lot of out-of-town tournaments,” Ask said. “When you go to places like Houston, Dallas, and Austin, you are going to find a tournament. Sometimes we have been traveling in different towns and have found a dart tournament to enter.”

While metal-tipped darts are the traditional darts used in play, there are also soft tipped darts which are used with an electric board.

“In College Station, most competitions are steel tipped,” Ask said, “but soft-tipped can be used too and are cool because you can hook it up to the internet and play people across the world.”

Participating in darts has also provided Ruiz a way to bond with his daughter, Sara.

“As I grew up, my dad would take me to play darts, which was so much fun,” Sara said. “I got better and better just by playing him because he would never take it easy on me or let me win. Now when I play him, I’ll occasionally win and won’t let him hear the end of it.”

Rather than just playing for fun, Ruiz and Sara have taken their competitive nature and applied it to tournaments to earn several first place finishes.

“Last spring we played on a team together and ended up winning the championship,” Ruiz said. “We are currently on a team now that is one of the top teams so hopefully we can repeat our championship again this year.”

While darts can be competitive, the sport provides players with an outlet for stress and a way to spend free time with friends and family.

“I love having darts as a hobby,” Sara said. “Playing in tournaments every now and then is something I enjoy and will definitely continue.”

Sara sees darts as a way to meet new people, enjoy a hobby, and learn about life.

“I like the people,” Sara said. “I definitely would not have met any of them if it wasn’t for darts. I appreciate all the strategies they have taught me about darts and about life. It’s nice to have something unique in common with people and grow off of that.”

Man’s best friend: Movie provides insight to owner, pet relationship

Dogs tend to hold a special place in the hearts of people. When a movie about dogs comes out, naturally, audiences flock to the box office. A Dog’s Purpose is an emotional rollercoaster of a movie. From happy to sad to angry to horrified, A Dog’s Purpose takes audiences through just about every emotion possible. Viewers laugh one second, then try to hide their tears the next.

Recently circulating on the internet are videos of abuse of the dogs featured in the film. These videos were not false, however they were over embellished by the media. If you think about it, these dogs are actors, and they have to operate on a schedule. These videos should not impact your decision to go see A Dog’s Purpose, it is such an amazing film and is worth your while.
A Dog’s Purpose follows the mind of and life of one dog. From the beginning, this dog wonders what his purpose is. The audience follows the dog’s thoughts on his people, the world, and how he makes an impact on others.

The movie begins with a dog asking the question: “what’s my purpose?” This dog meets a boy and receives the name Bailey. He is incredibly happy with his life, and thinks that his purpose has been found. However, he dies and is reborn as a different dog. Bailey’s mind stays the same throughout the movie, but he is reincarnated into the bodies of several different dogs. Some dogs have great lives while others just sit out in the rain, alone and cold. But his question remains the same: what is his purpose? Through living as all of these dogs, Bailey finds what he is and why he is here.

Bailey lives with different people, all leading different lives. The audience gets a glimpse into what goes on in a dog’s mind, a unique take on human relationships as seen in a dog’s mind. There is an innocence and an understanding presented in the point of view that is unique and different than anything I’ve seen before. It is almost childlike, but more analytical. Bailey takes what he knows and tries to apply it to what he sees in his life. For example, when a couple would kiss, he would wonder, “where’s the food?” Seeing how Bailey impacts the lives of those around him made me feel the need to look at my own life, and wonder how I would appear to a sweet and innocent dog. I saw how Bailey would react to every event, how he would see everyone and everything that they did. Seeing this made me feel that I needed to look at how I act and present myself.

By the end of the movie, Bailey does find his purpose and himself in more ways than one. This moment for Bailey is the most emotional out of the whole film since Bailey finds what he has been looking for across several lifetimes, sharing a hard-earned accomplishment with the audience. It feels complete at the end and so many things come full circle.

The pup’s innocence worms it’s way into the hearts of so many, both in the movie and audience. Every person has their purpose, and so do dogs. They are wonderful companions, kind creatures who offer support when human beings fail. When a person feels that they can’t go to someone else, a dog can offer the love, support and comfort that is needed. One can confide in dogs when it feels that there is no one left in the world to trust. Dogs can offer so much more than just a cute, furry thing that is waiting at home after a long day.
Humans seek their purpose and constantly wonder why they are here.

When it’s into the earlier hours of the morning and I’m still struggling to finish my homework, I wonder: why? Why am I here? In the movie, the existential questions are asked by a sweet and carefree creature, not by the typical brooding teenager. Again, this film provides a unique and completely new view on a question that is frequently wondered by many people.

A Dog’s Purpose not only offers a new perspective on the meaning of life, but also a unique look at people and their relationships. It offers audiences a chance to watch adorable dogs while providing opportunities for tears of happiness, as well as tears of devastation.
I highly recommend A Dog’s Purpose. The movie offers a new perspective on human and animal interactions, as well as providing humor, joy, and sadness. It gives the audience something to think about: as Bailey finds his purpose, the viewers are left to wonder about their own.

Through the wardrobe: Fantastical series provides adventure, moral message, universal truths

From the glistening eastern sea, to the great western woods, to the radiant southern sun, to the clear northern sky, lies the magnificent land of Narnia. Filled with talking beasts, fawns, satyrs, and more, this magical land provides a safe haven for readers of all ages; all under the careful watch of the mighty lion, Aslan.

Four siblings go on adventures in a magical kingdom where they learn life lessons such as responsibility, while maintaining a childlike heart. The oldest, Peter, is protective of his younger siblings and cares about the safety of his family above all else. Susan is very logical but, contrary to the movies’ perception, also has a great sense of adventure. It was even her idea to explore Narnia in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Edmund is very stubborn and doesn’t like being told what to do, especially by Peter. However, by the end of the second book he becomes very loyal to his family and truly loves them. The youngest, Lucy, is the most adventurous of the four. She strongly believes in Aslan and has a special relationship with him that the other three could only dream of. Aslan always reveals himself to Lucy first because he knows that she will trust and follow him.

Although the four children are the main characters in the movies, they are actually only featured in the second, fourth, and fifth books. There are many other important characters that are not included in the films like Digory Kirke and Polly Plummer from the first book, Shasta and Aravis from the third book, Eustace Clarence Scrubb and Jill Pole from the sixth and seventh books, as well as side characters such as Caspian X, Puddleglum, Jadis, and more. Each character teaches the reader a lesson their own special stories.

Narnia has a lot of symbolism displayed throughout the series. The most popular one is that Aslan represents the Christian figure, Jesus. Aslan is always watching out for the Narnians and guests. He even participated in events that are similar to what Jesus did in the Bible. Aslan is the reason Narnia exists. The Great Lion breathed life into the world in the first book and has carefully watched over his land ever since, even when it was ruled by evil.

These symbols and meanings are the reason why Narnia is not just a children’s book. A child reading the series will love the tales of kings, queens and magic, but an adult reader will find the deeper meaning and be able to truly understand what the author, C.S. Lewis, is talking about. Before I could read for myself, my mother read the first five Narnia books to me as bedtime stories. I grew up wanting Lucy’s childlike faith, Susan’s logical sense of adventure, Edmund’s sarcastic humor, and Peter’s leadership. I loved every story as much as any child could love anything and would look forward to the nights when another chapter would bring another tale. Reading the books again now that I’m older, I can see the hard and deep themes that are discussed. From suicide attempts, to peace treaties between rival countries, Narnia is almost more relevant now than ever since it was first written in the 1950s.

Narnia gave me a greater desire to walk with God and get to know him better. The characters challenge me to be better and not make the mistakes that they did. For me, it’s an escape from the sad reality that our world is becoming so that I can come back to it fully refreshed and ready to take on the world.

Narnia isn’t a popular series like The Hunger Games or Harry Potter, but it is special in its own right. Every adventure, character, and country or island was carefully thought out by C.S. Lewis in order to create a beautiful world that everyone can enjoy after a long day. This is why Narnia always has and will be my favorite book series.

When keeping secrets creates monsters

When I started middle school, everything was new and crazy.

I wasn’t too worried about school, after all, I had just left the fifth grade and none of my classes were difficult.

It wasn’t until the end of seventh grade that I began experiencing feelings of depression.

For some reason that I could never wrap my head around it, I had this vague feeling that I wasn’t worth something, or that I could ever be.

Of course, at thirteen, I wasn’t fully aware of what I was feeling.

Instead of talking to my parents or my friends about what I was feeling, I began reading things on the internet.

As a stubborn tween, I wasn’t into looking up ways to help me deal with what I was feeling. Instead of trying to figure out how to feel better, I decided to wallow in my sadness and bottle things up.

All of these feelings stewed over the summer, and didn’t boil over until the next year, in eighth grade.

By this point, I wasn’t satisfied with turning to the internet to deal with my feelings—or rather my depression wasn’t satisfied.

I had heard about self harm, especially cutting one’s wrists. At first, I was turned away by the idea, since I remembered some of my friends talking about how it was sad, bad, and a whole bunch of other words that didn’t seem too great to a thirteen year old.

But the more I thought about it, the more I would look toward the pair of scissors I kept on my desk in my bedroom.

Eventually, I gave in to what I refer to as the monster under my bed—the depression.

The first time I hurt myself for what I thought would be the last, was only the first taste I gave the monster under my bed.

For months (and what felt like years) I kept feeding it, moving on from scissors to razor blades, covering it up with my shirtsleeves, ashamed.

I was ashamed of what I was doing to myself and how I was hiding it from my friends and my family.

I was ashamed of the fact that I couldn’t, for some reason, say anything to anyone.

It felt as though nothing could separate me from the monster, not even an encounter with my best friend. Not even her kind, concerned words could keep me from feeding this thing.

Of course, it took a huge slap in the face to realize that what I was doing was only the beginning of a possible downward spiral into something that is still at the back of my mind today.

It wasn’t until one day, in first period, that my counselor called me down to her office.

When I heard my name, my blood ran cold and I knew instantly what was happening.

I was afraid.

I was, oddly, furious.

My mind was racing, and I remember thinking: how could I let this happen? How could I, someone who had been so careful for months not to tell a soul what I was doing, let this ugly monster rear its head to the world? Had I forgotten to wear long sleeves one day? Did I get warm and roll up my sleeves, or even be so daring to take my jacket off?

None of my questions mattered when I walked into the counselor’s office. I sat down, and she looked at me with pity, a look that I have never been fond of.

I can’t remember exactly what she said, but I remember her telling me that it was her job to tell my parents.

I broke into a cold, stinging sweat at the mere thought of sharing this secret with my parents, but it was inevitable.

She asked if I wanted to speak to my mother on the phone, and I could barely shake my head to say no.

The worst part of this, the thing that will stick with me like a stain on my heart for the rest of my life, was hearing my mother’s confusion and pain over the phone.

All I could do was sit in the chair across from the counselor’s desk and cry silently, paralyzed and listening to my mother’s heart break.

I don’t think I can ever let that moment go, and I don’t think my mother can either. I worried about the way that moment would tarnish our relationship, the way she would look at me from then on.

Of course, being my mother—and a good one at that—she didn’t see my fault in the matter, and only wanted to help me to be happy again.

Though it’s still difficult for me to tell my mother, my friends, or my teachers when I feel new baby monsters under my bed, I have a desire to now. I know I need to, and that I want to. I know that they can help me finds ways to get rid of these monsters before they grow.

Despite these attempts, some monsters stay. Some monsters stay and grow, sitting curled up under the corner of my bed. Sometimes they never come out, but being there is enough.

I always think about my depression.

Sometimes, I think about hurting myself again and I feel the skin of my wrists tingle, more times than I would like to.

One thing, one monster that is always lurking somewhere under my bed, is the thought of what it would be like to call it quits. These end-all thoughts step in to convince me that I can’t succeed, or that I am not a good or likeable person, or that I have nothing to offer anyone in this world.

In my head, I know I’m wrong. I know I have a purpose and that I have something to offer, but sometimes the things I know in my head don’t feel like enough.

With years of living with these thoughts, I have found ways to push them away, ways to stay distracted.

I am content with distractions.

I am content with the small ways they allow me to feel happy, whether the distraction lasts an hour or a year.

I am content with the way I handle things, but most of all, I am grateful for whoever tipped me off to the counselor in eighth grade.

Without that terrifying confrontation, I don’t know where I would be now.

I am grateful for that mystery person, and I am grateful for my distractions.

One of these days, I hope to be grateful for finding a way to live without distractions or monsters, but until then I just have to keep reminding myself that there are people who care about me and people who are willing to help.

Crossing over: New workout program benefits athlete stamina, strength

What do you think of when you hear the word, “Crossfit”? Do you think, “that sounds hard” or “those people are crazy”, or “you’ll get hurt doing Crossfit”? What if I were to tell you those are all true. It is hard, most crossfitters are crazy for challenging their bodies and for pushing themselves to the absolute max, and there is a chance of getting hurt if you don’t take the time to learn proper form and body mechanics. Crossfit consists of constantly varied movements performed at a high intensity level. All crossfit workouts are based on a mixture of weightlifting, gymnastics, running, rowing, and more. Crossfit is for every age group, and all workouts can be modified to fit any fitness level or disability. Crossfit can also be extremely beneficial to any high school athlete looking for the edge on their opponent.

I started doing Crossfit the summer after freshman year at Crossfit Aggieland in hopes of making the varsity basketball team sophomore year. After a summer of hard, consistent work I made the team. I came into the school year as one of the stronger and better conditioned athletes thanks to Crossfit. My vertical increased, and I didn’t get tired on the court. I have never been the most talented player, but I was always the player willing to go the extra mile, to work the hardest and most consistent. Throughout my sophomore year, I found myself going to the 5am Crossfit class 3-4 times a week, along with having practice after school and extra work in the weight room after practice. I was focused on improving my strength and conditioning to better improve the basketball team.

I also became very involved with the powerlifting team this year as a junior. I’m the 130 pound girl who is repping 130 pounds on bench press, and is squatting and deadlifting two times my bodyweight. None of that would be possible if it weren’t for Crossfit and the trainers at the gym (commonly referred to as “the box” in the Crossfit community). I’ve overcome many injuries from basketball and a bad back injury, but I have taken advantage of the opportunities granted to me at Crossfit Aggieland to strengthen the muscles surrounding my injuries and to become healthy again, and to continue competing at my top level.

I strongly believe that as an athlete you will never reach your full potential if you do not have a strong work ethic in the classroom, field or court, or in the weightroom. I strongly believe that if you want to achieve greatness you can not slack off in any of these three places. It’s not enough to want something, you have to work for it. From belonging to a couple different sports throughout high school, I’ve noticed a common theme. Many athletes hate the weight room, actually a lot of athletes hate the weight room. Having a consistent weight routine (or a consistently varied weight routine, like crossfit) is extremely beneficial in athletics. Workouts in the weight room make the difference between good and great teams. Lifting increases strength, endurance, and overall conditioning. All three are crucial in any sport. The weight room can not be overlooked when looking for a successful career in athletics or to have a successful season.

I’ve heard many people say, “I’ll never be able to do that”, “That’s a lot of weight”, “Well, what does it matter? I’m good at this so it’ll compensate for that weakness.” What a terrible mindset. You can do anything you set your mind to, if you just try. It takes time to learn weightlifting form, new movements, and to get up to speed on the intense cardio, but it is worth it. I know many who are intimidated by entering a Crossfit box, but once they do it, they usually end up saying, “wow, I was not expecting that at all!”. Crossfit is an amazing tool that gives athletes an opportunity to further their success, if they take advantage of it.

Once someone tries it and feels the high of accomplishment after a tough WOD (Workout of the Day), they want to keep coming back. Any athlete would know, the feeling of accomplishment and the feeling of pushing your body past it’s limits is the most satisfying and addicting feeling. I strongly recommend Crossfit to anyone looking to improve their fitness while having a good time. Crossfit Aggieland offers a free week to anyone who is interested in Crossfit and wants to try it out. They also have a free community WOD at 10am on Saturday mornings. You can find more information on crossfitaggieland.com Look into it, you won’t regret it.

La la lost on audiences: Musical message falls flat, misses mark

Though 2017 is still in its early stages of life, the year has proven promising for the box office. With the successes of movies like Hidden Figures, Get Out, and Moonlight, the 2017 movie-scene has been set for films with messages for the masses. While there is hope for powerful films during this box-office year, there are some films that seem to fall short of this expectation, specifically director Damien Chazelle’s La La Land.

Before I begin, I would like to establish something: I didn’t hate La La Land. I thought it was a beautiful film with nice colors and cinematography, but my complaints about the film as a whole outweigh the things I liked about it.

Before I went to see La La Land, I was excited to see what many were calling the movie to bring musicals back to life. I love a good movie-musical, especially ones with over-the-top dance numbers and heartfelt ballads (with West Side Story being my all-time favorite movie-musical). Somehow, despite my appreciation for on-screen singing, I was unable to fully appreciate the musical numbers in La La Land. It quickly became apparent that Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are, in fact, not singers. While there is some recognition due for the both of them for performing each of the songs with confidence, it ruined the musical experience for me. I would much rather go see a musical and be blown away by impressive vocals than see what was just a normal film with a few unimpressive musical numbers sprinkled in.

While the musical numbers were mediocre on their own, they were also unnecessary. Yes, La La Land was a musical, but the more I think about it, the more I wonder: did it really need to be? The plot of the film is simple: a spirited young woman tries to make it big as an actress in Los Angeles, and a brooding young man tries to establish his own jazz club and bring life back to the jazz genre while still maintaining its original sound. By chance, Mia (Emma Stone) meets Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) as he mindlessly plays Christmas songs on the piano in a fancy restaurant (a job of which has no meaning and provides no joy for Sebastian). After a few more encounters, the two end up together, building up a sweet romance full of cute moments as well as trials and tribulations.

Now, this sort of plot sounds like it would be perfect for musical moments, but the film somehow managed to miss the mark on that front. The songs were almost alienated from the plot of the film and didn’t seem at all necessary for the plot and character advancement. From the opening song “Another Day of Sun,” —a fun song about the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles wrapped up in an elaborate dance routine— the upbeat nature of the film and its setting is established, but is lost with other slower songs like “City of Stars”. “City of Stars” is a whole other animal. The first time I heard the song, it had its own special appeal, creating an intimate moment between Mia and Sebastian, but with its many reprises, the song lost its pow by its final play at the end of the film.

Despite the plot’s simplicity and ease, it still managed to contain holes. One plot hole I got hung up on was what happened to Mia’s three roommates, of which all shared a beautiful dance routine full of vibrant color and big sound. After this, we never saw the three friends on the screen, leaving me wondering. Another hole in the story was that of Sebastian’s sister, who served as the concerned family member looking out for her brother and advising him to take the safer route in life. Like the missing roommates, Sebastian’s sister disappeared from both the screen and the plot.

While these characters were somewhat unnecessary for the plot, one character that was necessary, but still a little odd, was Keith, played by musician John Legend. Keith, Sebastian’s old friend, was portrayed as somewhat of an antagonist whose main motive was to revolutionize the face and sound of Jazz—and Sebastian is not on board and learns things about himself as both a person and a musician. When I first saw John Legend on the screen, I was surprised. I thought the way his character worked with the story was interesting, as well as the fact that he was a part of the cast at all. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed watching and listening to Legend in the film (even if he was the “bad guy”), but I thought it was odd how he was the only main character of color in the whole film, especially since it’s a film with a main part of the storyline being about jazz music. It would have been nice to see a wider variety of actors portrayed in a movie that finds its roots in jazz music.

Though there were plenty of things I didn’t enjoy about the film, I will have to give mention to the artistry of the film; from its beautiful use of color to its smart use of cut-scenes and montages, La La Land was alright. I didn’t hate the film, but I definitely didn’t think it was worth the hype. So rent La La Land when it comes to Redbox, but don’t get your hopes up that it might be the next Singing in the Rain or Sound of Music.

Going rogue: New Star Wars movie fills in space left between episodes

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” are the words that begin some of the most famous movies Hollywood has ever produced. Captivating audiences with lightsaber duels, X-Wing and TIE Fighter battles, and the Skywalker legacy, Star Wars has become a franchise famed around the world. Recently, Disney decided to continue the saga by releasing The Force Awakens, the seventh installment of the series, in December 2015. Along with the new episode, they also released Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It is not technically an episode but instead tells the tale of the mission to steal the Death Star plans that are later used in episode 4. Overall, I thought it was a great movie and a wonderful way to enrich the series.

Before I begin, I must give mention to something that helped me understand Rogue One on a much deeper level. Accompanying the movie was a book, Catalyst, which tells about the Erso family’s past before the movie. If anyone has concerns that it is not canon (meaning the book is accurate and lines up with the real plot), know that the author worked with Lucasfilm and the producers of Rogue One, who consider Catalyst an important supplement.

In the book, readers are introduced to Galen Erso, a brilliant scientist who studies Kyber crystals as a way of providing energy to to planets where access is limited. Unfortunately, he lives in the unstable times of the post Revenge of the Sith world, and though he tries to stay neutral, he finds himself dragged into working with the Empire through an old friend, Orson Krennic. Krennic wants to use Galen’s knowledge of Kyber crystals to create a super-weapon space station being built called the Death Star. Krennic hides the fact that Galen is developing a super-weapon and deceives him to creating much of the Death Star’s weaponry. In the end, Galen, his wife Lyra, and his daughter Jyn flee to a remote planet to escape Krennic’s influence. There is much more besides in the book, but it is at this point that Rogue One takes over.

Rogue One, as previously stated, is the story of the mission to seize the Death Star plans. Probably the hardest part of scripting the movie is the fact that any person who has watched the Star Wars movies already knows the ending: they are successful in obtaining the plans. Somehow, the screenwriters had to figure out a way to get the viewers questioning what they already knew and attached to the characters.

The main team of Rogue One consists of Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso (Galen’s daughter), Diego Luna as Cassian Andor (a member of the rebellion who strictly follows the rules), Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe (a blind man who has complete trust in the Force), Wen Jiang as Baze Malbus (nearly the opposite of Chirrut but his best friend), Riz Ahmed as Bhodi Rook (former Imperial pilot), and the reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO, voiced by Alan Tudyk. In all honesty, it was difficult to keep track of who’s who when watching since they don’t often say the names outright and some actors look similar. Even though the team doesn’t always get along, they end up being a formidable fighting force.

Jyn is the most dynamic character in Rogue One. In the beginning, she starts out not caring about the Empire or the Rebellion. In fact, she doesn’t really care about anyone except for her family. Over the course of the movie, she becomes one of the most devoted people in the Rebellion. Watching the change unfold is one of the most amazing parts of the film.

Overall, my favorite character was K-2SO. As a reprogrammed Imperial droid, he gives some of the best lines in the entire movie. In his first encounter with Jyn, she begins to fight against him and he says in a completely deadpan voice, “Congratulations. You are being rescued. Please do not resist.” Throughout the movie, he provides humor in much-needed circumstances, always unintentionally. When Jyn and her friends are debating whether or not one of their plots will work and if they will die in space, he very seriously says “I can survive in space.” When you watch the movie, keep an eye on K-2SO and feel free to laugh.

Galen Erso (played by Mads Mikkelson) is a mystery to the Rebellion. Even though he works for the Empire, he supposedly has a message for the Rebellion about a fatal weakness he designed in the Death Star. Jyn always loves and trusts in him and believes that he can’t possibly really be working for the Empire. However, there is the constant question of “is Galen good or bad?” that keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats.

Orson Krennic (played by Ben Mendelsohn) is the character that I love to despise. He’s power-hungry, whiny, and will not let anyone get in the way of him completing the Death Star, not even the Empire itself. Though he is temporarily scared into submission by Darth Vader (who makes a full, glorious return that makes the viewer really understand why he was so feared), that is only a temporary setback. Unfortunately for Krennic, his ambition is his weakness, as revealed towards the end of the movie.

The characters weren’t the only interesting part, though. The plot itself was compelling. Even though I already knew the result, I was holding my breath at several points, wondering what was going to happen next. To my surprise, it took a while for the actual mission to steal the Death Star plans to begin. Much of the rest of it was acquiring the news of the Death Star plans and then, learning what the flaw in the Death Star was. Throughout this, there was a lot of character development and clues to help the viewer unravel who was good and who was bad. Scenes are often action-packed, and those that aren’t are full of the tension that often accompanies galactic politics. The audience is given a broad spectrum of emotions, from heart-stopping fear, to uncontainable joy, to gut-wrenching sadness.

As much as I loved Rogue One, I would not recommend watching it without first seeing at least A New Hope, and preferably the complete series. If someone doesn’t see it, they will lose the “so that’s why it happened!” aspect of the film. If they have watched all of the Star Wars movies, though, then this is definitely next on the list to watch. There is a bit of violence and explosions, so I would not recommend taking young children to see it. I have been alarmed by seeing the number of unusually young children who have watched Rogue One. In short, be cautious and make sure that if you show the movie to kids, they are mature enough. Overall, this is a wonderful addition to the Star Wars universe and I’m happy the original series has been expanded with movies like Rogue One.

Been there, done that: Six tips to survive high school

High school is where students discover who they are. It’s where they decide what direction they want to go and who they want to be, stumbling through different obstacles to get there. From being scared to ask your crush to a dance, to failing a history test because you stayed up late watching Netflix instead of studying, to having a nervous breakdown in the middle of nowhere because assignments just keep piling one after the other, high school helps prepare students for adversity. Though many people think high school is the worst thing ever, there are many positives, like meeting people who you may spend the rest of your life with, making friendships that will stay very close to your heart, and creating memories that you will cherish forever. The four years of high school are some of the best years our our lives. Even though it may not seem like it now, you will realize it once it all starts to come to an end. Every year has its lows, but it’s up to you to make the best of every situation. here are some tips on how to do that.

Tip #1. High school is not as bad as everyone says it is. Yes, sometimes there are days when you dread getting out of bed, but you have to get over it and just do it. It’s easier to actually get up, do what you have to do, and get it over with, rather than skipping and having truancy charges filed. Students say they don’t want to go because of all the assignments they have. I’ve had less homework in my four years of high school than I did when I was in elementary and middle school. Just do the work given to you in class and you have nothing to worry about.

Tip #2. Listen to your teachers, they do care. Teachers are really not the devil. They’re here for one reason and one reason only, to teach. If someone didn’t have a passion for teaching they wouldn’t get a degree in teaching and become a teacher, so stop thinking that every teacher is out to get you. They aren’t picking on you when they correct your behavior, they are just trying to follow the rules. If they tell you to tuck your shirt in, please just do it. It’s their job to spot it and your job to fix it. The teachers that you think are your hardest or meanest teachers are most likely the best teachers you will ever have. They want to push you to your fullest potential and see you succeed; that’s why they are the way they are. Appreciate them now, because your professors in college will not have time to care for you out of the thousands of students they teach. You get what you get.

Tip #3. Make friends, not enemies. I have experienced this first hand. If someone doesn’t like you, do not let it get under your skin. You are not here for them, you’re here to take care of your business and get on with your life. Sadly, people who don’t even know you will not like you, but that’s reality. Be friends with people who avoid drama, and be friends with people who are focused and want the best for you like you do for them. Also, be kind. Hold the door for someone, let someone borrow your notes, be a friend to someone, and smile. The world needs more bright smiles, not mean looks to one another for absolutely no reason. There are over 2,000 students on campus, and we could all benefit from mutual respect and an effort to be polite.

Tip #4. Get involved. If I could go back four years to my freshman year and start all over again, I would. I would change the fact that I wasn’t as involved as I should have been. This is where all the fun is in high school. Your teammates and peers become your family and you make memories that will last a lifetime. Be known and be involved, because that will get you far throughout your high school career. Volunteer and help out for things whenever you’re given the opportunity and take chances. What’s really the worst thing that could happen? It doesn’t have to be just your freshman year, it can be anytime during high school, because it’s better late than never. Make yourself take the chance, because it’s better than saying you never got to do it.

Tip #5. Challenge yourself and do your best. As I said with taking chances, if you’ve never ever done something before, give it a shot. If there’s a sport you have never played, try out. You may just make the team and find a new hobby. Challenge yourself to try new things and when you do, do it at your very best, because hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. You will feel better saying you overcame something and you will appreciate it more for the very fact that you earned it, just by challenging yourself. It doesn’t just have to be a sport or club either; try an AP class and push yourself academically. With a little effort, you may be surprised at what you can accomplish.

Tip #6. DO NOT WHINE, APPRECIATE HIGH SCHOOL FOR WHAT IT IS. You would not be who you are at this very moment if you did not experience certain things that high school has thrown at you. You would not know what you know now if you did not learn the skills and knowledge that your teachers and classes gave you. You would not be able to cope with certain things or know right from wrong, if not for the lessons that your mistakes have taught you. You would not have the friends that you can sit around and talk to for hours if you had not been here to meet them. You would not have the memories that you can dwell on for years after this, and the memories you get to tell your children from your high school experience. If there were no such thing as high school, I think everyone would be confused with life and who they truly are. Appreciate the experience instead of counting down the days, hoping each one will pass quickly.

Junior soccer player proves endurance is key on, off field

Athletes connect to their sports at a deep level as they spend hours honing their skills and making sacrifices for their craft. Soccer players must maintain a level of endurance not required in many other sports and junior Erin Nugent has used those lessons in endurance in all areas of her life. Erin has spent the past thirteen years playing soccer both in league and with the school.

“My favorite memory is from freshman year when we went to playoffs,” Erin said. “On the bus we were all singing and it was a pretty day so it felt nice out. All the girls on the team were just excited that we made it to playoffs that year.”

In order to stay at her best, Erin has made sacrifices to continue playing soccer at the level and intensity that she does.

“I’ve had to give up grades, sleep, nutrition, friend time, and this weekend I had to sacrifice a lot of homework,” Erin said. “Water and sleep are the two most important things to stay at my best, but even those suffer at times.”

Though Erin makes in so many different parts of her life, Erin still excels in other ways.

“She’s a great leader,” girl’s soccer coach Chris Gibson said. “She is almost like my second assistant coach on the field, making sure people are in the right place, doing their jobs, motivating, encouraging, and working hard. She knows what works and what doesn’t.”

Teammates also take note of Erin’s leadership skills, both on and off the field.

“On the field, she’s really good at telling people where they need to be, and  communicating what’s best and what needs to happen,” junior teammate Jada Moody said. “She has really good patience when it comes to mistakes, and she tries to build up the confidence in the team by encouraging us. She knows soccer.”

Erin’s work ethic doesn’t stop on the field.

“She does a great job in the classroom,” Gibson said. “She leads by example in time management and making sure her priorities are straight by always making sure she gets her work done, gets to practice, and gets to her off-the-field activities. She always is on top of everything and never gets overwhelmed by it.”

Erin’s teammates see the work she puts in for both soccer and academics and appreciate the help she offers for both.

“She is really helpful when it comes to academics, because I have a lot of classes with her,” Jada said. “She’s always looking out for a lot of the students and even if a teacher didn’t explain something well and she understands, she’ll try to help everyone get caught up.”

As an athlete, Erin has continued to mature and grow into her role as a leader on the team.

“When she started off, she was really quiet,” Gibson said. “She would say some things, but just let the leaders lead. Now she knows it’s her time to lead.”

Through soccer, Erin has been able to make new connections and positive experiences with many different people.

“My favorite thing about soccer is being able to work with so many girls from different backgrounds,” Erin said. “We all have fun together and that translates to the field. It shows when everyone is working hard and working together.”

App encourages students to focus on school, not phone through local rewards

Phone apps have recently entered a new market that is aimed to help students pay attention instead of adding to the distractions that plague high school and college students. Pocket Points is an app that utilizes location services at Bryan High while locking a student’s phone to prevent usage. In exchange, the app rewards users with points to be used toward free or discounted items at online or local businesses.

Sophomore Benjamin Denena is at the top of the Bryan High leader board with 426 points and has experienced can benefit student learning the app offers.

“I’ve used Pocket Points around town,” Ben said. “I got some brownies from Hungry Howie’s and the app has also helped me stay off my phone and pay more attention during class.”

Students aren’t the only ones who benefit from the Pocket Points app, Bryan High teachers and faculty are fans of the new tool as well.

“I’ve used these pocket points around town,” English teacher Rebecca Daley said. “Coach Ruiz, Ms. Ask, and a handful of other teachers got together and used our pocket points to go to Painting with a Twist.”

The discounts are nice, but teachers see the true value of the app in the way it can impact student learning.

“I tell my students to put their phones away,” Daley said. “I have a motto, it’s ‘Hit play, and put it away’ for whenever they’re allowed to have their cell phones out and listen to music. They’re welcome to keep them locked and out of sight, which is not in their hands and not in their lap, Pocket Points helps with that.”

When students choose to stay off their phones, they develop good habits that will continue in college and throughout life careers. Teachers have seen how effective it can be with college students and hope the same will happen with high school students.

“A buddy of mine and his study group of other nursing students at A&M would spend about 4 or 5 hours a day on campus studying together and they would keep the app,” English teacher Roy Klein said. “During study times they would accumulate the points and at the end of the semester, around finals, they would go get food 2 or 3 times a week and all of them would eat lunch together for free, because they had so many points.”

Some students prioritize socializing over learning and earning free things which may be why some students choose not to use the app.

“Students wouldn’t use the app because they’re on Instagram on their phone or Snapchat,” Ben said. “But I think it’s a great way to earn free stuff.”

Teachers agree that for many students, the benefit of using the app outweighs the negatives aspects.

“It seems that perhaps the younger students use it less because they really don’t have as much purchasing power as the older students,” Klein said. “They typically don’t have jobs cars. Several of the discounts are buy one get one free, and if they don’t have the money to buy one, they can’t get one free.”

Klein thinks more high school students might utilize the app if the point options included more teen friendly items.

“I would love to see Jumping World offer something because they seem to be very novel ideas right now,” Klein said. “I’d like to see more entertainment offers. The movie theaters, the jumping places, more restaurants. I’d like to see some of those that are a little more like a Dairy Queen or a Taco Cabana or Chick-Fil-A offer in there because kids spend a ton of time at those places.”

In another effort to encourage students to use the Pocket Points app, Daley suggests the school as a whole get involved.

“If the school itself did an incentive program I think it would get more students involved,” Daley said. “Whoever the leader of the week, or the month is at school could earn some kind of reward at school on top of the points awarded by the app.”

Accounting class opens school store, spreads spirit

The accounting class opened a school store February 1st in hopes of learning practical business experience to enhance learning while also providing a service to the school.

“When students can apply what they’re are learning in the classroom to real life experiences. Viking
Corner has supplies and school merchandise available for purchase before school, and is located in the bookroom across from the attendance office. It gives them context,” accounting teacher, Mrs. Kerr said. “learning and that way things start to fall into place.”

Many students have been involved with the creation of the school store but only the accounting II class is responsible for it. These students advocated to groups around the community to help gather items for the store. Their future plans are to start a Business Professionals of America chapter and make the store a club project.

“Our seed capital came from a grant from the Bryan ISD Education Foundation, Mrs. Kerr said. “Future product purchases will come from store profits.”

The accounting II students believe it will be a success because the store is different and something that Bryan High has never seen before.

“It’s a fast and easy way to purchase needed supplies during the day such as pencils and erasers and even ear buds.” accounting II student Kayle Solis said. “There are a lot of school supplies ranging from mechanical pens, paper, erasers, post it notes and notecards available in the store. We are also selling forms of electronics such as chargers, earbuds and portable chargers.”

Since the store opened, Kerr has already seen the impact it is having on a school as a whole.

“I see BHS coming together as a community,” Mrs. Kerr said. “Other classes have come forward and offered to create items to sell in the store. A math teacher has offered to design and 3D print items to sell.

With multiple groups coming together to help the Viking Corner become successful, people are able to notice what it means to be a Viking.

“The life skills classes have offered their services wherever we may need them to help. This is what amazes me about Bryan High School,” Kerr said. “It’s the school store, not just the business class store. People want to be involved and are taking pride in the fact that we have a student-run business.”

The sense of school pride is prevalent in the school store as teachers and students alike see it as a great way to provide a service to the school while also providing a place to get hands-on experience in a real life situation.

“In addition to offering a ‘place to buy things’,” Kerr said. “I feel that the sense of school pride and school community is the biggest thing to come from this new endeavor.”

Students work with Down Syndrome Association to host sweetheart dance

Through the International Baccalaureate program offered at Bryan High,students are required to do a CAS project which includes components of community, action, and service. These projects push students to investigate, prepare, take action, reflect, and demonstrate. Although the IB program heavily focuses on academics, it also stresses the importance of creating well-rounded students who contribute to their community. Juniors Keaton Hare, Lucy Raleigh, and Ike Taylor worked with the local Down Syndrome Association to host a sweetheart dance for Valentine’s Day to provide an opportunity for these students while also learning about the process of hosting the event.

The CAS project facilitates a way for students help the community by requiring them to communicate and interact with others.

“The CAS project provides students with a chance to feel empowered and accomplished,” CAS co-coordinator Lisa Prejean said. “Since the IB students choose their own projects, they are often more passionate about the outcome. In addition, the completion of the CAS project shows the community that high school students care about the world and want to have a role in making a difference.”

The project gave the students a structure to create their project and help their community.

“I got the idea for the project from never seeing any of the kids in life skills classes at school dances,” Keaton said. “I wanted them to have a place where they felt welcomed.”

Keaton also had a more personal reason for wanting to host this event as a way to provide a new opportunity to another portion of the community.

“It’s something I really care about because my cousin, who’s like a sister to me, has Down Syndrome,” Keaton said. “The dance also seemed like a fun idea in general and a chance to hang out with other kids.”

Though Keaton has experience working with children who have Down Syndrome, the night helped reinforce some of the things she already knew on a much larger scale.

“I gained the realization that we are all the same and we just want to be accepted and enjoy ourselves,” Keaton said. “The most rewarding part of the night was simply hanging out with the other kids at the dance and getting to know them.”

Despite Lucy and Keaton’s expectations for the event fell short, the overall experience was still positive.

“There were less kids in attendance than we hoped would be there, but the kids who came had fun,” Lucy said. “I think the attendance we had was better because all the kids that came were a tight knit group and enjoyed the night.”

The girls learned that putting on an event, no matter the size, can be a difficult endeavor and requires a lot of preparation, communication, and time.

“I learned that it is really difficult to work with other people,” Lucy said. “Getting all the answers we needed, booking the gym, and making sure that everything was in place took a lot of work.”

Though the organization of the event was difficult at times, the girls managed to overcome all the obstacles and believe they had a successful night.

“Once we were there and kids starting showing up, it was super fun,” Lucy said. “Getting everything there ahead of time, figuring out what time to to have the dance, booking the gym, and getting decorations was difficult part of the process.”

Into the theatre: Fine arts department unites to create musical production

The curtain rises as all the hours of work, tears, and nerves culminate in this single moment. The Narrator begins the story: “Once upon a time in a far off kingdom”, and the stage comes to life transporting the audience into the fairy tale world. Fine arts students involved with choir, band, and theatre labored for months creating their own version of the Tony Award-winning musical Into the Woods.

The fine arts teachers were careful in their selection of the musical, taking student talent into account in hopes of showcasing what the students are capable of producing.

“Into the Woods is a unique musical,” choir director Alex Medlock said. “There are not a lot of musicals that feature females, but Into the Woods does that and has a lot of strong female roles. We’ve got a lot of strong female actresses, so that was the major contributing factor to picking Into the Woods.”

With the film release of Into the Woods gaining popularity, producing the show posed creative difficulties, but also allowed the fine arts department to put their own spin on the popular show.

“It was a lot of fun,” Medlock said. “A lot of the kids saw the movie that came out a year ago, so there was a connection there. The story itself is cool in how they weave together all of these different characters and they all meet in the woods. It has a clever script and has eerie, spooky music that’s fun to play and sing.”

With the choice of Into the Woods, cast members were able to experience new roles and develop into their characters onstage that challenged them in new ways.

“My sophomore year I was in In the Heights, and comparatively this musical was a lot harder,” senior Rebecah Flores said. “The role was a lot more rigorous and I feel like I had to put forth a lot more effort to learn my lines the songs. I feel like the character I played in Into the Woods, the Witch, as opposed to Abuela Claudia in In the Heights was a lot more dynamic.”

While some cast members experienced new roles for the first time in this musical, other members got the chance to play a role they have coveted for years.

“The Baker has always been a role I’ve wanted to play,” senior Caleb Duane said. “My older brother flew down from New York to see me perform and the Baker has always been one of his dream roles.”

Playing a dream role isn’t the only positive of being a part of something like the musical as it allowed cast members to make new memories and friendships.

“It’s overwhelming, but it’s rewarding,” Caleb said. “I think the coolest part about performing in the school musical is the relationships you make with the cast and you feel like you’re a family.”

Less seasoned actors found the same kind of connection which helped them through the difficulties that came with producing something so dynamic. Sophomore Kayla Callen played Cinderella and though she is in choir, not theater, she enjoyed her role.

“I had never done anything like the musical before,” Kayla said. “It was the most incredible experience in high school I’ve had so far. We built really strong relationships, and I feel like we could apply everything happening in our lives to the show and vice versa.”

Whether students were members of the choir, the stage crew, or the orchestra, they experienced the impact of working on something bigger than themselves..

“Being able to see it all come together, the entire process was rewarding,” junior clarinet player Martin Hay said. “Being a part of the musical at every stage makes performances so much more special, because you see the process and then you get to show the final product to the world.”

Even though the onstage performance of the cast members is important for the making of the show, there is equal importance and learning experience found in stage managing.

“I had to interact with the adults more,” senior stage manager Ale Reyes said. “I had to keep up with everybody’s attendance and what scenes needed to be blocked. It’s a lot less of going onstage and trying new things, but more of watching, making notes and observing.”

The onstage cast members aren’t the only ones who feel the pressure of opening night. The stage managers and crew carry the show by working out all the details like blocking, lighting, and cues.

“I had to make sure that everything was running smoothly and that we were on schedule,” Ale said. “I also had to make sure that everyone was happy because it was also my responsibility: to make sure that nobody was freaking out.”

From the wings, members of the show have been able to see the ways others have grown from their experiences with the show.

“I enjoyed just watching everybody grow,” Ale said. “How individuals started in the beginning and some people who, as actors, were babies, and then they kind of blossomed into having so much fun onstage and doing great work. Seeing that growth was really fun.”

Not only were some of the cast members experiencing something new, but some of the directors were learning new things as well.

“It was bigger than anything I had ever done,” theatre teacher Jacob Justice said. “At times it felt bigger than what we realized, but we decided to go for it and showcase the talent we have.”

While the final product can be rewarding, the collaborative effort and the improvement and growth of students along the way is what Justice believes makes the show special.

“At the heart of it, I don’t really like to focus on the big production,” Justice said. “I like to focus on the performer, and teaching them to be an artist and create. We had 40 different artists between the cast, the chorus, and the crew, all creating and working hard to create this show.”

Whether they are seasoned performers or new to the stage, Justice saw how all of the cast members showcased their talent and shined onstage.

“If I look back and see the different performers like Andres Reyna as the Mystery Man and how big he became and Atiana Davis as Baker’s Wife, they’ve just nailed comedic timing,” Justice said. “Luke Wallis and Witt Herman, just fed off of each other so well, but even seasoned performers like Caleb and Rebecah really applied themselves because it’s a hard musical and they made it look easy.”

Because of its rigor and collective effort, members of the musical production show growth and improvement both onstage and off.

“There’s something about the musicals that forces you out of your comfort zone,” Medlock said. “It causes kids to grow over a short period of time and do things they didn’t think they could do. They’re a part of this process that is so much bigger than one person, and I think that’s what attracts kids to musicals.”

Though the final production is a rewarding experience for all involved, it is the friendships and learning experiences gained along the way stay with the members for the rest of their lives.

“We started with this impossible task and then somehow, magically, it happens and gets put together,” Medlock said. “Kids are doing things they never thought was even possible, so the relationships that are built during musical and the growth that is seen as performers is really what it’s all about.”

Carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders: Junior keeps positive attitude, strong work ethic to lead by example

While most high school sports are characterized by the cheering fans or screeching whistles, sports like powerlifting are often overshadowed. Powerlifting is a unique sport in which athletes compete in weightlifting competitions in the squat, bench, and deadlift. Junior Shelbie Walker is an example of a student athlete demonstrating her potential in the realm of powerlifting.

Shelbie began powerlifting during her sophomore year when coaches and friends felt she would be successful in the sport.

“I thought of trying powerlifting in eighth grade because my middle school coach thought I would do well in it. However, I didn’t participate when I first started high school,” Shelbie said. “My dad finally let me do it sophomore year, and other friends helped push me into it.”

Shelbie stands out as a powerlifter because she has a desire to work hard and put in the time needed to excel.

“Shelbie leads by example and always lends a helping hand whenever she sees someone who needs it,” junior teammate Kaywin McCall said. “She shows the younger members on our team how to work hard and never complains.”
While powerlifting can often be difficult and straining, Shelbie maintains a positive attitude in order to
keep her teammates motivated to reach their goals.

“Shelbie has gotten stronger and more confident since last year,” Kaywin said. “She’s setting personal records and has been a light on the team through her example and positive attitude.”
Not only does Shelbie strive to be successful herself, but she expresses an attitude that shows she cares about her teammates’ success.

“Shelbie’s teammates look up to her because she is the model of what a teammate should be,” coach Robert Jesurun said. “She takes more satisfaction in the success of others than her own.”

Shelbie illustrated her talent by attending the regional powerlifting meet last year as a newcomer to the sport and has also qualified for this year’s meet.

“When I competed at the regional power meet, it was intense,” Shelbie said. “It surprised me that I made it my first year in powerlifting because I figured there would be a lot more girls in my weight class since powerlifting is about bulking up and having muscle.”

In addition to balancing the intensity of competition, Shelbie has learned to balance her academics and other extracurricular activities.

“I think one of the most difficult parts of powerlifting is balancing it with school and athletic training,” Shelbie said. “There is so much conflict with timing and scheduling. I handle it by working on my time management skills and sacrificing some things for others. Powerlifting is worth the sacrifice because it helps me as an athlete and as a person.”

Shelbie has shown what hard work can accomplish as she continues to improve as the season goes on.

“Powerlifting has taught me to persevere and push through things, as well as facing conflict head first,” Shelbie said. “I have improved a lot as an athlete because I have already hit goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the year, and I’m starting to hit my potential.”

Shelbie has proven to be successful in the sport by consistently reaching her weight maxes and working hard to set new goals.

“Some of my personal goals for powerlifting have been to hit certain weight maxes in my squat and deadlift,” Shelbie said. “One of my goals was 300 lbs on squat, which I’ve attempted but haven’t gotten yet, but I’m on my way to reaching that goal.”

Shelbie will further her accomplishments by attending the regional power meet for the second year in March.

“I have performed well for myself and for my team,” Shelbie said. “I have placed in the top three at every meet this season, and I’m going to be heading to regionals on March 3.”

While Shelbie may come across as a strong and intimidating athlete, she never fails to bring her contagious smile and enthusiasm to every practice and meet.

“Coaching Shelbie is wonderful. She always has a hug and a smile,” Jesurun said. She’s a great leader on the team, and I’m excited knowing she has another year to compete.”

Taking it to the mat: Wrestler matures through program, helps team earn district title

As the time ticks off the clock, a wrestler learns what they are truly capable of. The first five minutes of the match takes everything a wrestler has, but all of the weariness fades away when they are down and has to push through the final minute to make sure their hand is raised at the end of the match. Wrestling is an immensely demanding sport and senior Caden Scott has spent the past four years conditioning and preparing for each final minute.

Caden started his high school career playing football his freshman year, but did not feel fulfilled. He discovered the wrestling team toward the end of his freshman year, and really became involved in it his sophomore year.

“He’s really grown up for the three years he’s been with me.” wrestling coach Michael Zito said. “He dabbled at wrestling a little his freshman year, but he never really showed up until the end, so he’s really only been here since his sophomore year. He came out of football, he was a smaller guy so he didn’t really get a lot of playing time in football, but he has taken to wrestling and my senior leader.”

He has grown mentally and physically through wrestling while improving his craft. Wrestling has tested him and has made him a better person.

“I’ve gotten a lot stronger and my endurance has increased,” Caden said. “My leadership skills have improved a lot since I have been in a position to encourage others when they were faltering in runs or when they wanted to eat a lot before weigh ins.”

He is the senior team captain this season and has been an integral part of holding the team together.

“He has been a great leader throughout the season.” senior wrestler Teya Villapando said. “He leads warm ups and he’s very encouraging to the younger wrestlers.”

Younger wrestlers look up to Caden as he pushes them to work on technique and endurance.

“Caden is very technical and shows the younger kids what to do,” Zito said. “He likes to have fun with the younger wrestlers, but he also lays down the rules and expectations. He is a big reason on why we won districts this year.”

Sports give many students a reason to get up and come to school while providing an environment of support and fun.

“Wrestling has been what I looked forward to every day,” Caden said. “The mornings are hard, I got to wake up early and go workout really hard, and there’s some days when I have no motivation to get out of bed that early, but despite that it’s always something I look forward to. The guys are great and super fun to hang out with.”

When an athlete falls in love with a sport, many of them view one of the worst parts as the last game or the last match. The end of an era for an athlete’s life and having to move forward and continuing to use the skills they learned in the sport they fell in love with.

“The most difficult part about wrestling is not getting to wrestle anymore,” Caden said. “I wrestled at my last district tournament, and I did pretty good. I’m sad that I don’t get to wrestle anymore after this year. I’m not good enough to go to college and wrestle, so it’s hard not being able to compete on that level anymore.”

The wrestling team advanced all fifteen wrestlers to regionals after winning the district championship.

“The district meet is my favorite memory of wrestling.” Caden said. “It’s hard knowing that was my last district meet, but it was the first time in four years that we took home the district title as a team. It was really cool to help bring back the title for Coach Zito. All of us have been working really hard this season to win, it’s exciting to see everything we’ve been working for pay off.”

Caden serves as a leader on the team and has helped this year’s team overcome people’s mindset on a young team.

“It was really awesome to win districts this year.” Zito said. “Everyone thought that this was going to be a rebuilding year since we graduated a handful of seniors. We proved that it wasn’t a rebuilding year, but that it was actually another stair step from where we left off last year. We’re only losing two seniors this year, so we’re going to pick up right where we left off next year.”

Caden plans to go to Texas A&M next year and be a member of the Corp of Cadets. The Corp at A&M defines leadership and pushes members past their limits mentally and physically. Caden has the makeup from wrestling to push through tough times and will continue to demonstrate leadership in college.

“Wrestling has built my leadership skills,” Caden said. “I’ll be able to better guide my fellow fish next year and help them improve. Later on in college the experiences I’ve gained in wrestling will make me a more effective leader in the corps.”

Attitude, work ethic help sophomore score leadership position

Sweat drips down his face. Adrenaline pumps through his body as he sprints up and down the field. A game plan runs quickly through his mind as he decides his next move before an opponent attempts to steal the ball. Once he feels he’s in the right position to go for it, he kicks the ball, and GOAL! Sophomore Frank Rodriguez has earned his team another point.

Frank has been on the varsity soccer team since his freshman year playing center attacking mid-fielder. Though Frank is younger than most of his other teammates, it hasn’t affected the way he plays, because his abilities and love of the game has earned him his spot.

“Leadership can come from any age,” head soccer coach Tommie Allmon said. “Frank’s ability places him in a position to take on the role of a leader. Being a sophomore does not hinder him.”

With the hard work and dedication that Frank puts into soccer, his work ethic outside of the sport has allowed him to influence the team’s work ethic as a whole.

“Players look up to Frank as a leader because he is not distracted with things that most teenagers do out of school,” sophomore teammate Isaac Diaz said. “He always puts school before soccer and manages to pass with high grades to play.”

With all of the great attributes that Frank has, he was chosen by his Houston Texan club coaches, to play in Spain with other people who share the same passion as him.

“My team raised money to go and my family came with me,” Frank said. “I played against some of the best young players around the world and I got to see where I matched up.”

Playing soccer since he was four, has made Frank improve over the years, and makes him stand out to other teammates he has played with since the beginning.

“I’ve not only seen Frank grow as a player for the past year,” Isaac said. “I’ve seen him grow as a player for eleven. Each year his ability to open up the game and create game changing moments improves more and more.”
With Frank balancing out school, playing for a club league, and a school league, may become difficult, they all come together and make him the player that he is today.

“He has become stronger as he ages,” Allmon said. “His soccer senses have grown as he plays more as a Viking and as he plays outside of school.”

Frank’s success on the field is aided by his natural abilities and skills, but ultimately it his his character and mindset that set him up for success.

“He is always positive and works hard,” Allmon said. “He is not a selfish player, he plays for the team, and he is always in attendance at practice and games. He wants to be a Viking.”

SkillsUSA and FCCLA competitors bring home medals, advance to state

SkillsUSA and FCCLA competed this weekend. The following students earned recognition:

Culinary
Keilah Noriega – Culinary Mystery Basket – 4th place – Advances to State

Education
Jessica Rosalia Ramos – Recycle in Redesign – The Beginning of a Recycled Classroom – Advances to State

Audio/Video
Mason Haggerty – Short Film Project – Advances to State

Speech
Mark Hawkins – Prepared Speech – Bronze – state runner-up
Caleb Duane – Extemporaneous Speech – Bronze – state runner-up

Advertising
Tobias Davis – Advertising Design Project – Best In Show – Advances to State
Janlyn Gallego – Advertising Design Project – Advances to State
Zachary Escobar – Advertising Design Project- Advances to State

Architectural Design
Jose Torres – Architectural Drafting Contest – 1st place – Advances to State
Russell Oplinger – Architectural Drafting Contest – 2nd place – Advances to State

Russell Oplinger – Computer Aided Drafting – 1st place – Advances to State

Automotive Technology
Joseph Gonzales – Automotive Service Technology Contest – 1st place – Advances to State
Jason Goin – Automotive Service Technology Contest – 3rd place – Advances to State
Roland John Heritage – Automotive Service Technology Contest – 4th place – Advances to State

Josue Salazar – Diesel Equipment Service Technology Contest – 1st place – Advances to State
Michael Mata Hernandez – Diesel Equipment Service Technology Contest – 4th place – Advances to State

Josue Salazar, Jason Goin, Joseph Gonzales, Roland John Heritage, William Robinson, Miguel Castillo – Automotive Technology Quiz Bowl Team – 3rd place – Advances to State

Weston Weathers – Automotive Tool Identification Contest – 2nd place – Advances to State

Photography
Steven Gonzalez – Photo Contest – 1st place – Advances to State
Taylor Garcia – Photo Contest – 1st place – Advances to State
Kaylee Olsen – Photo Contest – 1st place – Advances to State

Dylan Anderson- Action Skills – 4th place – Advances to State

Shelby Williams – Photography Project – Best in Show Portrait – Advances to State
Samantha Hedstrom – Photography Project – Best in Show Digital – Advances to State
Taylor Garcia – Photography Project – Advances to State
Steven Gonzalez – Photography Project – Advances to State
Alexis Martines – Photography Project – Advances to State
Kaylee Olsen – Photography Project – Advances to State
Caleb Duane – Photography Project – Advances to State
Mary Carroll – Photography Project – Advances to State

Girl’s golf team plays in challenging two-day tournament

This weekend the girls’ golf team played in a two-day tournament in Bastrop. The first day the girls played at Wolfdancer Golf Club, this course is in the top 10 toughest courses in the state of Texas. Ellie Conrad (Jr.) shot a 105, and Skye Faldyn (Fr.) shot a 127.

Day 2 of the tournament was played at Colovista C.C. and brought a new set of challenges. This course has some of the biggest elevation changes that the girls will play all year. Ellie shot a personal best 93, and Skye posted a 132.

This weekend was the first time for these two girls to play a 36-hole tournament, in addition to the length of play, temperatures were in the 80’s on the second day.

Ellie Conrad 105 93 198
Skye Faldyn 127 132 259

Wrestling advances 8 to state tournament

The wrestling team hosted the UIL Region III-5A Championships last weekend. The boys team held the 2nd place spot out of 61 teams until the last match of the night when R.L. Turner High School surpassed them by 2 points. Individually the team had 15 wrestlers in the tournament and placed 12 with 8 advancing to the state tournament.

2nd place
128 Teya Villalpando*
170 JaMarcus Thomas*
182 Monyell Nutall*

3rd Place
120 Larry Duron*
145 David Frazier*
148 Makia English*

4th Place
126 Caden DeJesus*
152 Caden Scott*

6th Place
113 Andres Gonzalez
132 Spencer Pierce
138 Dustine Korzynski
195 Dequinnce Hill

*Advanced to state

Wrestling team wins district


The wrestling team competed in the District 10-5A Championships at Huntsville High School on Saturday where they advanced every varsity boy and girl entered at district to the regional tournament.

The boys varsity won the team title with 236 Points. Consol had 196, Rudder 158, CSHS 140, Waller 132, Huntsville 117 and Cameron 35.

The following wrestlers earned medals:
Gold:
Larry Duron (120), Caden DeJesus (126), David Frazier (145),and Jamarcus Thomas (170)
Silver: were earned by: Andres Gonzalez (113), Dustine Korzynski (138), Caden Scott (152), Kairo Turrubiartes (160)Monyell Nutall (182), and Dequinnce Hill (195).
Bronze: was earned by Spencer Pierce (132).
4th: Kevin Duron (285).

Three girls competed in the tournament and all 3 placed and qualified for regionals.
Teya Villalpando (128) took Silver
Makia English (148) took Bronze
Mikayla Hodnett (138) took 4th

Hands free: College Station enforces new law prohibiting cell phone use while driving


Since crashes caused by texting and driving are increasing, cities and states are taking action to prevent these disasters from taking place. On November 9, College Station enacted a new law that makes it illegal to use handheld electronic devices while driving, excluding times when the driver is stopped at a stoplight or is in an emergency situation.

“I’m not on my phone as much in College Station because I don’t want to get pulled over,” senior Katy Cargo said. “Normally I don’t text and drive. I just change a song, but I can’t do that either. I don’t want to get pulled over and get a ticket for something stupid.”

While implementing the law may have been challenging, some drivers see its enforcement as the more difficult part.

“I don’t know that we can really regulate people that well,” teacher Sarah Patterson said, “but I can understand the desire to make our roads safer.”

Unfortunately, texting while driving accidents are common. In 2014 alone, more than 431,000 people in the US were injured in distracted driving accidents.

“I actually saw someone get in a texting and driving accident,” junior Braden Beall said. “People are addicted to their phones, and that’s all they worry about.”

Though this law should, in theory, help reduce texting and driving, many believe the reality may be different.

“I don’t think the law is going to save any more lives because people will try to be sneaky,” Katy said. “Instead of being out in the open, they’ll try to hide their phones.”

In a technology-driven world, it can be difficult for people to ignore notifications and alerts while driving. Many people know the dangers of driving while using devices, some people decide to take the risk and use it anyway. This is especially a problem for teenagers and young adults.

“Students are very used to being connected with their peers at all points,” Patterson said. “They don’t necessarily have the impulse control to wait a few minutes and then tell their peers what they saw or thought of later.”

Texas is one of the four states that has not implemented a texting while driving ban for people over eighteen. However, there is a ban for drivers under the age of eighteen using cell phones at all, which many teens dangerously ignore.

“Most students don’t follow the no cell phone use law for drivers under eighteen,” junior Bradley Ervin said. “It’s important to not let yourself be distracted while driving because, despite what many adolescents believe, they are not indestructible.”

There has been legislation presented at various times to the Texas legislature about creating a ban, but it has been shot down each time. Despite this, there is a growing pressure and expectation for Texas to take action.

“I don’t think Bryan itself will enact the law against texting while driving because I think the state of Texas will,” Katy said. “That’s why I think they haven’t done anything about it yet.”

Whether the city or state makes the first move, there is a push nationally to outlaw the use of mobile devices while driving. With the amount of pressure, some sort of action is bound to occur.

Knocking out the competition: Senior follows in father’s footsteps to pursue MMA career

I walk into the ring. I feel numb. I can’t hear the crowd. Every sense is focused on my coach and my opponent. The bell rings and we both head to the center of the mat as the crowd awaits the victor. Senior Jackie Perry explains that he experiences this each time he competes in a mixed martial arts match.

The desire to participate in MMA started at a young age after Jackie’s father Carl Perry became involved with the sport.

“When I was 10 years old, I was at a baseball game in the dugout, and my dad walked up to me with a cast on his arm,” Jackie said. “He hurt it at his new job at Martial Arts and Fitness and told me I should try it out.”

Mr. Perry fought at a professional level and has continued to influence Jackie throughout his career.

“During my career, I’ve had many highlights,” Mr. Perry said. “I had the opportunity to compete in King of the Cage, Strikeforce, Bellator, and others. My highest accomplishment was winning my two Professional Championships.”

Jackie was introduced to a variety of martial arts sports and at first, he tried them for fun due to his father’s recommendation, but slowly he began to follow his dad’s footsteps and these hobbies transformed into his passion.

“MMA is my favorite because karate isn’t physical enough for me and boxing is too repetitive,” Jackie said. “Even though they’re fun, they’re just not me. I like to be crafty with MMA.”

Having a professional MMA fighter as a father and a coach has helped Jackie through his journey as a fighter.

“My dad’s success has affected me positively by knowing that I can look up to a professional MMA fighter as a father, not just a professional fighter that I don’t know and just watch on TV,” Jackie said. “Whenever he coaches me, we have a father and son bond instead of the normal bond you would have with a coach.”

Though Jackie’s dad’s success has been a positive influence on his own career, there have also been moments where it made things difficult for Jackie, who uses it to motivate him even more.

“Having a champion professional MMA fighter as a father has put a lot of pressure on me to live up to his hype,” Jackie said. “I have the pressure on my back of being the coach’s son and people expecting me to become a professional and champion just like him.”

External pressure isn’t the only obstacle Jackie has encountered as a fighter, as he has also dealt with injuries throughout high school.

“The biggest obstacle I’ve come across are knee injuries,” Jackie said. “I’ve torn my ACL twice. The first time during a football game my sophomore year, and the second time training for a fight just under a year ago.”

One ACL surgery is enough to cause strain in a fighter’s life, but Jackie went through two surgeries. The time he spent recovering kept him from training.

“The second time I tore my ACL, I tore more than I did the first time, so the recovery time was six months instead of the four months that we had expected,” Jackie said. “Due to that, I wasn’t able to play my senior year of football because by the time I was cleared, we were already in the playoffs.”

When thinking of all the people looking up to him, Jackie decided to keep going despite his setbacks.

“The way I’m looked up to at the gym has motivated me to keep going after being injured,” Jackie said. “Young and adult fighters alike look up to me not only as a coach’s son but as a very good pound-for-pound fighter.”

The majority of people at the gym know Jackie, and when anyone needs help, he’s always there to lend a hand.

“When Jackie is in the gym, he is always kind to everyone,” teammate Spencer Pierce said. “When someone isn’t doing what they’re supposed to do, he puts them in line and gets them back into practice. Everyone comes to him for advice and training techniques and he is always happy to help them out.”

Mr. Perry can testify to this fact from accounts he has witnessed at his own gym.

“Jackie is definitely a person that the other’s in the gym look up to,” Mr. Perry said. “They all talk about how good he is, and want to train with him. Jackie is a good leader and role model both in and out of the gym.”

Other athletes at the gym watch Jackie and strive to improve to the level he has been able to reach.

“Jackie is a great athlete and phenomenal technical fighter,” Spencer said. “I wouldn’t want to train with anybody else because he helps me train harder and be better.”

Jackie has used his personal experiences to teach boxing, adult kickboxing, and MMA.

“I like teaching because I can share my fighting knowledge with other fighters,” Jackie said. “I like teaching the older classes best because they have a better chance of becoming fighters, and knowing that they’ve won with the knowledge that I’ve shared with them as their coach is a really good feeling.”

Now that Jackie has recovered from his second ACL injury, he plans to make a comeback and has already started training.

“I lift weights and do kickboxing,” Jackie said. “I’m slowly building my strength back up and will be ready to be back at it again soon.”

Jackie believes that with diligence and determination, he will soon be back on track toward a career as a professional MMA fighter.

“If I can make it as a pro, then I’ll probably go down the road of professional fighting,” Jackie said. “Otherwise, if I don’t make it to professionals, I’ll probably just use it as a trade. Being able to defend yourself in the world is important, and I could always be a coach with my dad at the gym.”

Mr. Perry thinks that Jackie has what it takes to be successful and that soon he won’t just be seeing him fighting at Team Unleashed gym, he’ll be seeing him in the professional ring.

“Jackie is a complete fighter,” Mr. Perry said. “He has tremendous athletic ability. He can strike with the best of them and is comfortable with ground game. He has all the skills to be a champion.”

Student Struggles

Too many times, students aren’t taught about uncomfortable topics until after they have already been exposed to the situation and find themselves struggling to figure things out on their own. In these situations, students frequently blame themselves and flounder under the pressure of a reality they don’t really understand.

In the best of situations, students find their way back from the dark with the help of friends, family, or religion. Though most students prefer avoid the situation all together, some are able to gain strength and share their trials with others to help someone else.

The name’s have been changed from the following two stories, but it is the hope of the students involved that others can benefit from the struggles they have experienced.

LOGAN’S STORY
Logan was at a friend’s house when first introduced to pornography.

“When I was in elementary school, I was hanging out at one of my friend’s house and she showed me what she found on her brother’s computer,” Logan said. “At a young age we were introduced to something that was very harmful to our minds and personalities.”

Though this experience kept Logan away from pornography, the guilt of it remained and set up a series a struggles for the next few years until a chance encounter changed her perspective.

“I was at a convenience store with my aunt and this lady just started talking to us about personal issues,” Logan said. “I looked at her and said ‘there’s no condemnation in the name of Jesus Christ,’ and she looked back and said ‘well, if that works for you, that’s good, but that doesn’t work for me.’ In that moment I realized that I needed to put what I said to my own life and acknowledge the truth there.”

Logan decided at a youth camp to share her story and give her guilt to God.

“When you have guilt, it just follows you around and sits on your heart,” Logan said. “I really felt like Satan was piling it on me, and I didn’t know what to do until I allowed God to take the guilt away from me.”

Logan said she hopes people will be more careful about what is available for children to see on the internet and hopes that sharing this story will help accomplish that.

“If I could change any of the circumstances that happened, I would hope that others would be more guarded of what kids see,” Logan said. “I would hope that they acknowledge that kids are going to be curious so others have to be careful. What someone thinks is only affecting themselves could really be affecting other people.”

Logan said that guilt can control a person’s life and believes God helped her let go of her guilt.

“The guilt follows you around, but no matter what, there is a way out,” Logan said. “Jesus has provided a way through for everyone by dying on the cross and coming back to life. He is capable of conquering your guilt, and wants you to allow him to take that from you.”

PARKER’S STORY

“For years I struggled with drinking,” Parker said. “I had my first drink in the 8th grade on a dare. It was just a beer from my friend’s fridge and we thought it was gross, but we would sneak one out every now and then because we thought it was cool.”

Parker started going to parties in high school, mostly drinking beer with the occasional bottle of whiskey or rum if someone could get their hands on it.

“It got to the point where we would drink every weekend and even during the week sometimes,” Parker said. “We told ourselves we were just having fun, but looking back on it, I’m not sure any of us were in control any more.”

At the time Parker didn’t realize how the drinking was impacting school or his family. In the moment, everything just seemed to happen, but it never crossed his mind that the alcohol might be, at least partially, to blame.

“The more I drank, the more my grades dropped,” Parker said. “The more I drank, the more distant I became from my parents. I thought I hid the drinking pretty well, but one day my dad confronted me about it, and I got really angry.”

For Parker, it was a difficult moment that started the path back to who he really was.

“I said a lot of hateful things to my dad and ran out of the house,” Parker said. “It was the first time I thought I might have a problem.”

Parker tried to talk to some of his friends, but they blew off his concerns and suggested they go drink instead.

“What parents say about friends is true,” Parker said. “Your friends are important and they can help build you up or tear you down. Sometimes they don’t have your best interest at heart and sometimes they will just use you.”

Other people in Parker’s life were trying to get through to him and as he entered his senior year, some of his teachers still saw the potential he had.

“Teachers would try to talk to me to see how I was doing, but I kept shutting them down,” Parker said. “At the time, I felt like it was none of their business and that they were just being nosy. It wasn’t until later my senior year that I realized many of them truly cared and wanted to help.”

Parker started drinking just to have a good time and continued drinking to drown out the idea of graduation and college. He didn’t want to deal with that responsibility or take ownership of his lack of effort throughout high school, but with a semester to go, he recieved a wake-up call.

“Everything changed for me one night in December of my senior year,” Parker said. “One of my good friends who lived in Austin was involved in a wreck. We weren’t sure if she was going to make it or not, and alcohol was to blame.”

Parker’s friend had not been drinking, but the guy driving the car who hit her had been. The man blood alcohol level was 0.12 but he walked away from the wreck with barely a scratch, leaving Parker’s friend to recover in the hospital.

“I was more angry than I had ever been in my life,” Parker said. “I felt physically ill because I realized that could’ve been me behind that wheel. I had driven countless times after drinking and I knew I shouldn’t have.”

The girl did recover and was released from the hospital a few days later, but Parker had a long road ahead of him too. He wanted to get his life together; he wanted to change.

“I didn’t really know where to start,” Parker said. “So I swallowed my pride and talked to my parents. I gave them more details, but they already knew most of it anyway. Parents usually do.”

Parker still had a couple of months left of his senior year, and he made it his goal to make the most of that time.

“After the night of the wreck I never drank again,” Parker said. “I lost a lot of people I thought were my friends because of that, but I wasn’t really sad about it. I knew there was a limited amount of time left before graduation, and I wanted to change.”

Instead of skating by like he had done most of high school, Parker started actively working to improve his grades and make friends with people on a deeper level than the next six pack of beer would take them.

“I ended up graduating and going to a junior college,” Parker said. “I still don’t drink and I am still friends with the people I met the last semester of my senior year.”

Parker wants students to know that there is always a way out of whatever trouble they find themselves and that there are people there to help.

“It’s never too late to turn things around,” Parker said. “Most parents aren’t trying to just be nosy, they really do want what’s best for their kids and the friends you have should too. Students would also be surprised how much their teachers really do care about them.”

Even though Parker felt like he was alone sometimes, he said he realizes that that was just another hook alcohol used to keep him under it’s control.

“Never think you are alone,” Parker said. “No matter how much you feel like you are the only person going through something, there are people around that understand. You just have to have the courage to find them or listen to them if they are already there.”

Whether it’s the result of decisions a student has made or the decisions of others, both Logan and Parker stress the importance of talking to someone and knowing that you don’t have to go through problems are alone. Just because outside factors enter a student’s life doesn’t mean they have to be controlled by those factors.

Schools take issue with new state accountability system

The state of Texas rolled out a new A-F grading system this year to assess individual schools and districts based on standardized testing results. The complex system of sub-population indicators, categories, and other data gathered on a state level is reduced to a simple letter grade. Educators argue that when presented to the public as a stand alone assessment, is not an accurate representation of student or school success.

“It’s unfair to most of the schools in the state of Texas,” principal Lane Buban said. “The state has taken a simplistic form of grading and applied it to something that is more complicated than what it leads people to believe. You can’t simplify a student’s success. You can’t simplify what an individual student is capable of by giving the school a letter grade.”

With the changes the state is making to the grading system, communities are receiving mixed signals about the success and progress of schools.

“The system is flawed,” Buban said. “There are some blue ribbon schools that have received some Ds. Looking at our own school, we met standard the past three years in a row and we’ve earned five distinctions out of seven that the state gives high schools, but the new system makes it look like we aren’t doing what we need to.”

Despite the method the state uses to assess schools, Buban and Bryan High continue to work to help students succeed. Bryan High implemented the use of an advisory period this year is to allow for more direct instructions depending on student needs.

“BHS still needs to improve on what we’re doing,” Buban said. “The advisory period is not a perfect system, but it does provide the school with an opportunity to affect some positive changes with students who are struggling.”

Bryan High aims to educate students on a broad spectrum, not just on five tests given by the state. Buban sees the complexities of student learning and would like to recognize student success across all areas.

“BHS needs to spend time looking at ways we can assess student success in multiple ways,” Buban said. “There needs to be some way we can have students show success in different areas or aptitudes that require a broader testing platform for students. There’s got to be a way that we can show that students have capabilities in the fine arts and music. Those are areas where we can do better at providing a way to show student success.”

With the Bryan ISD Board of Trustees passing a resolution calling on the state legislature to repeal the A-F grading system, they have joined with districts across the state in expressing their dissatisfaction with the system.

“Public schools don’t want to be given a simplistic letter grade or have a simplistic way of rating system,” Buban said. “Educators and a lot of public schools feel like students are diverse and that they have a diverse way of showing aptitude or success. There are many ways schools and students can show success other than standardized testing. I’m not saying that we don’t need standardized testing because we do need to be held accountable, but I think it can be better.”

No matter what the circumstances may be Buban is committed to making sure BHS is successful.

“I don’t know if standardized testing is going away,” Buban said. “It is what it is and we will do the best we can with whatever we’re given, and I will find a way for this campus to be successful no matter what system we’re under.”

Cosmetology students advance to state SkillsUSA competition


BHS Cosmetology students competed at the SkillsUSA district competition this weekend. The following students earned honors:

Hands-on skills:
Jennifer Villalobos 1st place in 3D-Nail Art Skills
Kadejah Murphy 3rd place in Cosmetology Hair Skills

All projects/job exhibits will be moving on to state with superior ratings:
Ruby Ruiz and Abigail Whisenant – Salon project
Reanna Garcia and Kadejah Murphy – Salon project
Jennifer Villalobos – Salon Project
Brooke Weaver – Fantasy
Kadejah Murphy – Braiding
Taylor Ballom – Braiding

Wrestling dominates at dual meet

The viking wrestling team traveled to Austin to compete in the Bulldawg Duals Hosted by Bowie High School on Saturday.

The boys swept both matches at the duals to finish the season 23-8 and 4-0 in district. In the first match they wrestled Lake Travis High School and the Vikings dominated 55-22. In their 2nd match the Vikes Crushed Georgetown EastView 63-6

Next Saturday the team will compete in the District 10-5A championships at Huntsville High School.

Individual results against Lake Travis High School:
Pins: Larry Duron (120), Caden DeJesus (126), Spencer Pierce (132), Dustine Korzynski (138), David Frazier (145),Caden Scott (152), Monyell Nutall (182), and Dequinnce Hill (195).
Wins: Kairo Turrubiartes (160), and JaMarcus Thomas (170).

JV Against Lake Travis: Colton Murph (170) got a pin and Mario Vasquez (182) won by Decsion.

Individual Results against Georgetown Eastview:
Pins:Larry Duron (120), Caden Dejesus (126), Dustine Korzynski (138),and David Frazier (145)
Wins: Andres Gonzalez (113), Spence Pierce (132), Caden Scott (152), Kairo Turrubiates (160), JaMarcus Thomas (170), Monyell Nutall (182), and Dequinnce Hill (195).

In girls Wrestling this weekend, Teya Villalpando (128) , Makayla Hodnett (138) and Makia English (148) all recorded pins with Makia earning 2.

Mariachi, orchestra members qualify for state

The Los Vikingos Mariachi Band performed at the Region 8 Solo and Ensemble contest on Saturday and received a division one rating qualifying them for the Texas State Mariachi Festival on March 10-11 in San Antonio.

Other Students who qualified to go to state at UT Austin:
Kimberly Lamb – Violin
Michaela Lamb – Viola and Piano
Lois Warden – Viola
Kaitlyn Montgomery & Joey Hendrix – Cello Duet

Also, Angela Diaz received a division one on a grade 3 solo.

Swimmers qualify for state

The swim team competed at region this weekend where the following students qualified for state:
Relays
Julia Cook, Abby Surley, K’Lee Rudd, and Cat Darnell won the 200-medley relay with a time of 1:49.66
Cook, Surley, Rudd, and Darnell won the 200-free relay with a time of 1:39.91

Individually
Cook took 1st in the 50 free with a time of 22.50 and 1st in the 100 free with a time of 48.72
Abby Surley took 2nd in the 100 breast with a time of 1:07.12

The boys’ relay team for the 200 free placed third with a time of 1:31.82 and could go to state in a wild card spot. The team consisted of Collin Darnell, Connor DeStefano, Matt Hutchinson, and Joel Coppernoll.
Coppernoll also placed 4th in the 500 free with a time of 4:54.44

Shy-Annes earn super sweepstakes at competition


The Shy-Annes competed last weekend where they earned the following awards:

Social Officers – Kirsten Bailey, Allison Murphy, Josie Newsom – placed 3rd with their Jazz routine

Dance Officers – Kayla Klose, Victoria Denena, Adrienne Hampton, Marissa Minor – took home awards for:
*Super Sweepstakes – highest scores for all 3 routines
*Best in class – Hip Hop, Modern & Lyrical
*Outstanding Technique
*Grand Champions

Team awards were given for:
*Super Sweepstakes – highest scores for all 3 team routines
*Best in Class – Pom, Kick, Jazz
*Outstanding Precision
*Grand Champions

FCCLA students earn money for projects


 
 
The FCCLA students competed in the Fuel Up to Play 60 Challenge this weekend. The students competed against 28 schools. Skyla Polk and Aalya Foley competed as a team and Sebastian Sanchez and Daylin Kessee competed as the second team.

Both teams received a $1000.00 for their project. Sebastian Sanchez and Daylin Kessee will also received $25,000.00 for their project.

Finding worth through reflection, prioritization of self

The dictionary defines self-worth as the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person. However, there are many ways for a person to value themselves and assess their worth as a human being, and some of these are more psychologically beneficial than others.

Self-worth is frequently based on our feelings of worth in terms of our skills, achievements, status, financial resources, or physical attributes. Self-worth is how a person feels about themselves and the feeling of pride they have. If a person has a low self esteem this could affect their life and the simple tasks they do everyday.

Self-worth is valued as important because it is crucial to be happy and productive in one’s everyday life. If one’s self-worth lowers, it doesn’t just impact the way people perceive negative events of self but it can have great effects on their health.

Self-worth plays a significant role in shaping a person. If someone were to have no self-worth it could cause them to become mentally ill. The health risk of having low self-worth is greater than any disease.

Self-worth is how one defines themselves forcing others to see them as they see themselves. Confidence is the key to success, or can say the first step to success. If a person has confidence, they have won half the battle. The people who have confidence at work, school, and in their daily life always appear on top of world. Everything seems to go right for these people and they always seem to present themselves as calm, collected and successful in everything they do. This confidence ultimately creates opportunities for success, and with each new success, another confidence building block is put into place. Success builds self-confidence with each new achievement. Confident people perceive themselves as able to achieve those things they set out to do and this perception creates reality in their lives. If someone looks at themselves in a different way than they are used to doing then it can change their life and help their confidence level to rise along their self-worth.

There are many ways to increase one’s self-worth. However, there isn’t one specific remedy that a person can do to make themselves feel as though they have more value. It is an everyday process for a person to start to gain that value within themselves. Although it may be a struggle for someone to have self-worth, the end result is more confidence and success that can be more beneficial than anything else.

As teenagers we grow up believing that the only way to have self-worth is through the ranks of your own social standards. However, this accusation is false. The only way someone can achieve self-worth is through their personal achievements and the everyday process that goes along with teenagers to be confident, and to have self-worth.

Whole new world: Student perspectives broadened by foreign travel

Some people dream of traveling the world, while others are content with staying where they are. As a person who has traveled to a different country, I can say I am one who dreams to continue traveling the world. The feeling of not being stuck in one place while seeing new customs, traditions, and cultures makes it worth spending money on a plane ticket. I would love the opportunity to study abroad and think any student who has the chance to should take advantage of it.

I’m not a big supporter of school, but the idea of traveling to Spain, Europe, or even Japan to learn makes me want to crack open a textbook. Students learn about these places in books, but living and seeing them would provide an entirely new level of education and perspective. Think of the people they can meet and the language they will be exposed to. I wouldn’t get tired of being somewhere other than the United States, and things would always stay new and fresh.

While studying abroad is something I think everyone should experience, there are some people who won’t appreciate going to a different country or won’t appreciate it; those people who don’t go to class or don’t care about their grades. There is no point in sending someone on a once-in-a-lifetime experience only to slack off when someone who earned it and wants to be there could have gone.

If I got the opportunity to study abroad, I would look for unique places that wouldn’t be swamped with tourists. Places like coffee shops, libraries, or somewhere quiet would be ideal, and I would spend most of my time there. Then I would see the parts that usually wouldn’t if I spent most of the time in the popular places. Toward the end of my trip, I would go visit the tourist spots. There’s something about seeing the true parts of a country instead of seeing the parts everyone already knows and hears about that makes the trip that much more memorable. They’ll always have time to travel there again and see those tourist parts if that’s what they even want to do. Of course when they’re in a different country studying abroad, they’ll have a specific curriculum and specific activities to do, but in between those activities, there’s little nooks and crannies of the world that aren’t in the news or magazines.

Studying abroad can change the way people see the world. They get more exercise and appreciate the things surrounding them more. When they come back, they have a new mindset of how things are and they pay attention more to the little things.

Studying abroad can be one of the best things in a person’s life.

All work, no pay: Coaches score big payouts for player performance

Whether the star of the little league team or the kid picking flowers in the outfield, it’s a rite of passage for American children to test the waters of sports. The obsession with sports doesn’t end in grades school, but instead continues even after teams become more selective at a collegiate level. As little league athletes transition to weekend fans, the popularity of sports in universities has continued to increase and coaches have started making millions of dollars based on the revenue generated by the players on the field. Coaches are over privileged and excessively paid for their players’ performance in numerous college sports while the athletes are strictly sanctioned by the NCAA.

This issue has lead to complications between the athletes, head coaches, and the administration of the university itself. Paying college athletes will allow for less legal infractions, enable the athletes to earn a steady income, and balance the pay between the university, administrators, and the athletes.
Giving these athletes fair payment will give them the opportunity to earn a stable income during their college years. On top of practices, player meetings, interviews, and actual games, these players have no way of balancing these activities and having the ability for even a part time job. Even though these athletes are receiving money for tuition, travel expenses, and books, they aren’t receiving money for the necessities of everyday life. Payment for their role in the sport would be beneficial for the athletes as it would eliminate the stress of financial instability.

Paying college athletes will also reduce the amount of illegal actions taking place such as stealing, earning money from side organizations, or violating the extensive list of NCAA rules. Players often times feel pressured by other athletes that are committing these crimes to earn a basic living themselves. The volume of these crimes will dramatically decline if all players are accommodated with a given amount of money.

Another reason paying athletes will be greatly beneficial is that a many of these athletes come from unstable backgrounds in which their families cannot afford to pay for essential living expenses. If the university is only paying for their scholarship and textbooks, these players are unable to fully excel in their life outside of being on the court or field. In addition, the NCAA must take in regard that not all of the athletes playing in college are considered star athletes. These athletes are the ones that are not compensated with all the extra economic benefits the so called stars are receiving.

People do not take into account the fact that major universities are misappropriating funds because of a few star players selling the tickets for every game. On countless occasions, these funds are going to the university itself, or the coaches and staff. All of these athletes are being used for their merchandise, their name, and their substantial impact they make on the university. While the university is making the money, the athletes are dealing with trying to make a dependable income, while enjoying their college career. Seeing their coaches and administrators being paid and excessive amount could also cause extreme tension between athletes and coaches. These situations create instability for the sports program and an overall negative environment for players and staff members.

Many people will argue that there are disadvantages that arise when deciding how the payment will work between the sports offered in college. People argue that if payment is given college sports like basketball and football, you must also pay athletes participating in sports including water polo, bowling, and equestrian. Others may argue that college overall should be about education and earning your degree, not about attempting to be the star athlete on the field and make money doing so. These accommodations are enough for a student athlete to receive while attending the university for their college career. While many universities have the ability to pay these athletes, some small-scale colleges simply don’t have the money to pay them.

Paying college athletes will reduce the amount of legal infractions, allows for the athletes to earn a steady income during their college years, and balance the pay between the university, the administrators, and the athletes. The primary reason payment should be given to these athletes is that without the revenue, reputation, and actions made by these players, the university wouldn’t be able to have all of its traditions. If colleges and universities establish a system where paying athletes is developed, it is more likely that future athletes will set their goals to become more successful during their college years. Altogether it is not fair that the head coach and staff are flourishing with millions of dollars and the players aren’t making a penny.

Staying in stitches: Humor best medicine for mental health

The most important key to life is to see things in a positive perspective. Keeping a positive perspective is made easier when people add humor to their lives.

The important aspects of humor are mental health and attitude. It’s important to be able to see things in a humorous way and not take all the negative situations so seriously. Not only is humor important, but it is good for physical and emotional health.

Making people laugh is my favorite way of spreading joy to other people. I enjoy making people laugh because I feel that making someone smile is best thing someone can do.

My goal for every day is to make someone smile or at least brighten their day. Jokes are common ways to make people laugh and they come in multiple categories depending on people’s interests or mood at a given moment. They can be about anything including animals, plants, or science and though knock-knock jokes and satire can be fun, puns are my favorite. They are the best kind of jokes because they are like puzzles pieces that have to be connected to be understood – simple wordplay for the masses.

Some of my favorite chemistry puns:
What is the undertakers favorite element?
Barium

What is the show cesium and iodine love watching together?
CSI

Did you hear oxygen wen on a date with potassium?
It went OK

Anyone know any jokes about sodium?
Na

Why was the mole of oxygen molecules excited when he walked out of the singles bar?
He got Avogadro’s number!

It is insane for people to brag about having no sense of humor. I strongly believe that no one should go about their day without laughing at least once. There’s humor worth looking for in every aspect of life.

When you get a Laffy Taffy there’s always a joke in the back of the wrapper: How does a man on the moon get his hair cut? —eclipse it.

The milk cartons at school have jokes on the back of them, but they’re mostly cow related: What did the mother cow say to her son? —it’s pasture bedtime.

Every company should start putting jokes on their packaging to spread joy to people.

Without a sense of humor people often feel like their relationships with their friends, families, and boyfriends/girlfriends are boring.

Humor is also the easiest way to relieve stress. Less stress and more laughter leads to a more optimistic attitude.

Laughter enhances the energy released to your brain and the body. Laughter releases happy chemicals that boost the immune system and relaxes muscles. Not only does it improve energy, humor helps with toning abs and is a form of cardio by contracting those muscles through laughter. It is the best natural antidote to any stressful illness proving the age old saying: “Laughter is the best medicine.”

Humor, though different for each person, can be the the great equalizer. Laughter can bring people together in a positive way and can help connect people through difficult moments.

Whether it’s laughing in the face of a stressful situation, cracking a joke in an awkward moment, or hearing a funny story, humor is beneficial in every aspect.

Though there is a time to be serious, people need to smile more, laugh more, and learn how to take a joke because taking things too seriously all the time won’t take anyone far.

Start telling a joke a day and see how it changes your attitude. A more optimistic attitude can lead to a better first impression. In life there will be challenges and frightening situations, but that can easily be resolved with humor to turn that negative into a positive.

Transfer application window open Feb 1 – March 10

•The application to transfer will be open on Wednesday, February 1 and will close on Friday, March 10
•Student transfer applications are only available on-line
•BCHS is excluded on the student transfer applications, as they will conduct their own interviews
•Any questions about the transfer process can be directed the Carmen Hutcherson in Human Resources by calling 208-1075 or via email at carmen.hutcherson@bryanisd.org
•Please click this link for more information (English and Spanish)

For more information click here.

Dance passé test: Skills, physical movements, competition qualifies dancers as athletes

It’s nine o’clock at night and I’m at the studio bending and contorting my body beyond its limit as sweat drips down my face. Twenty-plus hours of my week are spent twirling on pointe shoes and leaping in jazz shoes, resulting in bruised toenails, blistered feet, and bloody toes. I compete at cutthroat competitions with some of the most proficient athletes of all time and come home with sore muscles and aching bones. I am a dancer, and I go through the same hardships as any other athlete, yet I am told that dance is not a sport. This ideology that dance isn’t a sport is a fallacy that our society must quickly be made aware of.

Sport is defined as “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature.”

Starting with the first part to that definition: Skill. In order to complete a proper single pirouette, or in non dancer terms: one turn, the dancer must hold their leg in a posse position, spot, keep their shoulders down, hold their rib cage in, hold their arms in first position, point their toes, rise to releve, turn out their working leg, keep their supporting leg straight, and end clean all the while smiling and making it look effortless. Just listening to the list of instructions to maintain proper technique on one beginner move sounds difficult, and after analyzing it in depth one can see that it obviously takes skill to complete. This is one of the many moves that dancers do, and there are several more that all require different technical procedures that the dancer must analyze. Whenever they put all of their moves together to complete a dance, it takes even more skill from them.

Next, the second part of the definition: Physical Prowess. The usual warm-up of a dancer taking a ballet class is a 45 minute long barre routine. This routine involves various combinations of eight different ballet exercises, starting with plies and ending with grand battements. A typical jazz or contemporary warm-up starts with the dancer completing a cardio workout to prepare muscles for dancing. After this workout there is an intense stretching session followed by going across the floor completing technique exercises. Dance requires use of every muscle rather than just a few, making it an extremely physically-demanding sport.

Finally, the third part of the definition of a sport: Competitive nature. Dancers travel all around the world to compete. Preparation for a competition includes attending practices every single day, typically lasting three to four hours and ending late at night; learning choreography for a dance in one day and practicing that dance months before competition; and getting yelled at by the director as she cleans the dance until it is absolutely perfect. Once at a dance competition, dancers are assigned a time in which they will go onstage to compete. When that time comes, they go onstage and perform what they have prepared for months in front of judges, an audience, and the rest of the competitors that they are up against. If the dancer messes up, that’s it; they only have one chance. The judges determine which dance was the best that day and whoever is announced as the winner will receive the big trophy and sometimes a cash prize. Dance is an extremely competitive sport, and dancers are in it to win it and nothing less.

Many people argue that dance isn’t a sport because it is seen as more of an art. Although it is, in fact, true that dance is an art, it’s a special form of art that also doubles as a sport. Dance is a sport that is designed to entertain an audience. Even though dancers feel like an elephant stepped on their toes while they’re under the bright lights dancing on the tip of their toes with little to no padding protecting them, an audience wouldn’t enjoy watching someone dancing if their face looked like. To please the audience, the dancers must disguise their pain in order to please the crowd. Due to the fact that dancers make their art/sport look so effortless, the audience is led to believe that it indeed is easy, when in reality that couldn’t be further from the truth.
If after being educated on what goes on behind the scenes in the life of a dancer the ideology that dance isn’t a sport is still existent, I recommend trying the sport out. It’s easy to watch a dancer tombé pas de bourée glissadé assemblé across the stage, but doing it and even comprehending what it means is a completely different story. Dance requires skill, physical prowess, and a competitive nature, all while the dancer is to be graceful and elegant, making it not only a sport but the ultimate sport.

Time travel with twist: NBC’s Timeless captivates viewers through history, drama

What if the Hindenburg never blew up? What if William Travis’ famous Victory Or Death letter never got out of the Alamo? What if Neil Armstrong never walked on the moon? NBC’s new hit drama, Timeless, takes viewers to these time periods to see what would change had these key events in American history never occurred.

The story follows the historian Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer), who is accompanied by a soldier, Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter), and a brainiac pilot, Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrett). In each episode, the three take a journey through time in order to preserve history from the presumed villain, Garcia Flynn (Goran Višnjić) who stole a time machine to destroy America. However, Flynn claims to be the “good guy” by saying that he is just trying to prevent an even bigger evil, Rittenhouse, that is so embedded in the United States government that the only way to get rid of it is to get rid of America as well. All that the audience knows about Rittenhouse is that if someone gets in their way, they will be killed.

Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus each have their own relatable characteristics. Lucy is passionate about history and is loving and caring towards her family and friends. Wyatt takes his dark past and not only uses it as fuel to get him through tough times, but also has learned to fight for what he wants while learning that it’s okay to have fun and laugh. Rufus is the cautious one that at first didn’t think about the harm his time machine could cause, but later learns to think about how his actions hurt himself and others.

Even though history can be dark, Timeless manages to lighten the mood with Rufus introducing himself to various historical figures as Denzel Washington or Kanye West, and toying with a possible relationship between Lucy and Wyatt.

The writers could probably make the whole show a two hour movie if they took out the historical drama because it has such a simple plot, but the historical aspect is my favorite part. The beginning of each episode keeps history fairly accurate but by the end, history is unrecognizable because of things that changed when the characters go back in time. Each event that changes in history alter something in the present day. The catch is that anyone or anything in the time machine itself isn’t affected by these historical changes. They still remember history the way it originally was.

Timeless is on NBC on Monday nights at 10 pm, and has everything a good show needs: action, funny moments, mystery, and love, making Timeless my new favorite show.

Get up, get active, get healthy: Making positive decisions, following though can change a life

One of the most difficult things to do is starting something new. One can overthink it, and talk themselves out of it. Starting a new sport, new class, new way of thinking, self improvements, eating healthy, starting to workout… whatever it might be, gaining motivation is difficult, especially when one doubts how far they’ll go, how much they can do, and how they will do it. Sometimes those doubters aren’t outsiders, but the person attempting to make the change. One might doubt the progress that will be made, and that stops them from starting. One of the most difficult things for me to do was to start taking care of my body – physically and mentally.

When starting a new healthy lifestyle, it’s important to focus on yourself and how you want to improve, while ignoring what others say or the doubts that might creep in. Susie Miller’s quote, “No matter how slow you go, you’re lapping everyone on the couch,” exemplifies in starting a healthy life.

In sixth grade, I was the little chubby kid who ate my feelings and didn’t really care what others had to say about me. It all changed one day when someone told me, “Dang Kaywin, you need to lay-off the Twinkies.” It could have been a destructive comment, but I used it for motivation instead. I wanted to prove the person wrong. I started being very conscious about what I put into my body. I started running (more like walking), I started eating healthy (when I thought about it), I started doing push-ups, squats and sit-ups. I did anything I could do to lose weight. It wasn’t easy, there were days when I wanted to give up and thought that it just wasn’t worth it, but then I remembered the sole reason why I started.

I lost thirty pounds in middle school and became self conscious about me looking like a little stick, so I started lifting weights and lifting has helped immensely with every part of my life. I gained twenty-five pounds of muscle, I found an outlet for a stressful day, I found an amazing gym with immense opportunities, and I lost my self-image problem. I won’t lie and say that I have become addicted to working out, and many say I work too hard, but the thought of someone working harder than me doesn’t sit too well.

I’m usually at Crossfit at 5am at least four times a week, powerlifting practice after school, then I go home and run off the stress of the day. I’m currently in the best shape of my life. I ran a half marathon in December, my maxes are going up on all of my lifts, strict pull-ups are as easy as push-ups, my nutrition is on point, and I’m loving life and everything it has to offer.

Getting up and getting active is the most difficult part about the whole journey. It all starts with a motivation, a plan, and a means to succeed. If anyone is wanting to start a new journey of health, here are some important things to consider and to think about that are critical to become successful.

Why are you starting? Why now? Who’s motivating you? What are your plans to become successful? Motivation is crucial. Try finding a workout buddy, to hold eachother accountable throughout y’all’s journey.

What should you eat? Eating healthy is crucial in becoming healthy. Eating a balanced meal is extremely important! You need to eat vegetables, fruits, proteins, dairy, and whole grains at every meal. Going to workout, and then coming home and eating pizza and drinking soda will completely ruin your workout. Nutrition will test to see if you are truly committed to becoming the best you.

What workouts will you start doing? Are you going to start walking/running, are you going start implementing weights into your workout? Make sure to have proper form when lifting. Are you going to start doing bodyweight exercises?

After asking yourself these questions, here are some good movements to start doing that can be easily integrated into your day:
50 push-ups a day
50 sit-ups a day
50 air squats a day

The key of starting is to be consistent. So don’t just throw yourself into a workout routine and expect to keep going at it. Go at it like an incline; start small and then start implementing other things into your routine.

That is how I started transforming my life. I then proceeded to add more reps and change modifications.

There are three keys to success that are critical in becoming more fit: Work hard, work smart, and work consistently. All three of these must be together to see the best results. Starting is the difficult part. So once you start, don’t give up. If you give up, you’ll have to re-start. Believe in yourself and trust the process. Results don’t happen overnight, it takes time to see progress, but if you’re working hard and watching your nutrition – it will come. Be prepared for others to notice your hard work.

Wrestlers earn medals at competition

On Saturday, January 21, the wrestling team competed at Canyon High School in San Marcos.

The boys team swept all 3 duals by beating Leander Glenn 54-21, Brooks Academy 54-9, and Corpus Christi Ray 48-28. This brought out over all team record to 17-6.

The two of the girl wrestlers competed in the Wilso- Cougarette invitational and they both placed in the top two.

Teya Villalpando (128) placed 2nd after goin 4-1 in individual matches on the day. Makia English (148) went 5-0 on the Day and brought home the gold.

The wrestling team will be back in action on weds at Rudder for a quad with Kingwood park and Waller.

Individual results against Glenn:
Pins:Larry Duron (120),Caden DeJesus (126), Dustin Korzynski (138), David Frazier (152),Kairo Turruibartes (160), JaMarcus Thomas (170),Monyell Nutall (182).
Wins:Andres Gonzalez (113)and Kevin Duron (285)

Individual results against Brooks Academy
Pins:,Caden DeJesus (126), JaMarcus Thomas (170), Dequennce Hill (182).
Wins:Andres Gonzalez (113), Larry Duron (120), Dustin Korzynski (138), David Frazier (152), Monyell Nutall (182)and Kevin Duron (285)

Individual results against CC Ray:
Pins:Caden DeJesus (132), Dustin Korzynski (138), David Frazier (152), JaMarcus Thomas (170),Monyell Nutall (182).
Wins:Andres Gonzalez (113), Larry Duron (120), Dequennce Hill (182).

Criminal cookie: Identity theft harms taste buds, creates mass confusion

What happens when you combine two of the most delicious substances on Earth, chocolate chips and cookie dough, into one amazing food? The answer: you get a chocolate chip cookie! This classic treat has always surpassed others of its kind in popularity, including sugar cookies, white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, and even the famous snickerdoodle. Of course, every cookie wants to be like this star. Because of that, a devious substitute has emerged, tricking people into eating it as it masquerades as a chocolate chip cookie. Yes, I am talking about none other than the evil oatmeal raisin cookie.

The oatmeal raisin cookie has lived in the shadow of the chocolate chip cookie for many years and has made every attempt to convert chocolate chip cookie lovers across the globe. Instead of a sweet, delicious sugar cookie as the base, the oatmeal raisin cookie has mashed up oats at its core. Luscious, smooth chocolate chips are replaced by dried grapes. Why would any person favor this imposter when the chocolate chip cookie is clearly superior?

Yet, somehow, this fraud, this fake, this charlatan, has gained a foothold in the dessert world to the point where people put oatmeal raisin cookies and chocolate chip cookies on the same plate! First of all, oatmeal raisins are completely out of chocolate chip’s league. Secondly, they look so similar that many times I’ve picked up a cookie and bitten into it only to experience bitter disappointment at best and utter revulsion at worst. This should not be. In fact, chocolate chip cookies shouldn’t even be competing with the lower-class oatmeal raisin. Why?

The oatmeal raisin cookie is a product of people attempting to make desserts healthy. Desserts are not meant to be healthy. In fact, desserts are practically made to be unhealthy. They are designed to be sweet and delicious, the price being that the consumer is aware that what they are eating is not good for them. Oftentimes, the better tasting the food, the worse it is nutritiously. When people try to make a dessert healthy, it goes against the natural order. In the end, you still have a food that is unhealthy and doesn’t taste as good as one that is still unhealthy but tastes wonderful. Logically, if you are going to be unhealthy, get the stuff that tastes better. Never do things halfway.

Now, upon taking a look at chocolate chip cookies, it becomes obvious how superior it is to the detestable oatmeal raisin. Whether the chocolate chips are gooey and melting or they are cool and crisp, the chocolatey goodness is never diminished. The cookie around it can range from just plain sugar to chocolate, depending on how committed to chocolate a person is. There are thousands of varieties, but all of them still contain the wonderfulness that is chocolate chips.

The chocolate chip cookie has been not only an American tradition, but a worldwide one. Since their creation in the 1930s during the Great Depression, they have been celebrated and consumed by many happy people. The chocolate chip cookie is oftentimes what people first think about when they hear the word “cookie”, and for the oatmeal raisin to make even an attempt to step in is horrifying and literally disgusting. To allow these classics to be taken over by a lump of oats and dried fruit is an infringement upon the chocolate chip’s domain. Join the protest against the criminals of the dessert world!

Quit milking it: Coddled youth never gain independence

Many fears in the world cause some superstitious parents to over protect their children. Independence is gained at a young age but, being over-nurtured or coddled, can cause some kids to lack in that characteristic. Parents may think that smothering their child is the best thing they could do but, it benefit both the parent and the child to let each other have some breathing room. Coddling leads to no self-reliance, and never learning from one’s own mistakes.

Coddled children have been known to be spoiled and expect everyone else in the world to wait on them hand-and-foot. However, the world is not always such a sweet place, leaving people who were coddled from a young age particularly unprepared for reality. The person becomes dependent on the parent and won’t completely search for their own life after everything has been handed to them and they haven’t had to do things for themselves.

Of course, a parent wants to pick up and comfort their crying baby, but sometimes they’ve just got to let it cry in it’s cradle and learn to self-soothe. Without learning this, the child will get older and will learn to cry to get what they want. Like a child demanding a toy from the store, and in an effort to calm the screaming demon some would waste away their paycheck and hand over the reigns to a 5 year old just to get them to be quiet. This is where the parents need to take charge and not praise the kid for screaming because that is exactly what they will learn to do. At school, if a child gets a bad grade, they have learned that throwing a fit or having mommy call the teacher will get them what they want. Unfortunately, that is not how it works in the real world.

At an even older age, teenagers face many types of problems and opportunities to make mistakes. Humans are taught to self-correct when they make mistakes, but there can be no real correction until a mistake is actually made. With parents leaving no breathing room for small mistakes the child will never learn from any faults they may make.

A little parental guidance is helpful, but people shouldn’t rely on their parents’ opinions to make their own choices. People need to learn to be independent and think for themselves. It benefits everyone in the end because they will be able to self-soothe and be strong enough to handle difficulties on their own.

It is a delicate balance of supporting a child and allowing them to be their own person. Failure is not an inherently bad thing, and can be a positive thing with the right kind of support.

Academic Decathlon earns medals at regional competition

The Academic Decathlon team attended the regional competition last weekend.

Each student competes in 10 different events – Literature, Social Science, Economics, Music, Art, Science, Math, Speech, Interview, and an Essay and this year’s theme was World War II.

The Bryan High team took 6th overall, earning 13 individual medals.

In the Honors category:
Summer Mensch placed 3rd in Literature
Caden Scott won 2nd in Interview, 3rd in Literature, 3rd in Music, 2nd in Social Science, and was the 5th overall

In the Scholastic category:
Caroline Touchet placed 2nd in Literature and 2nd in Art
Fiona Mikeal won 2nd in Interview, 3rd in Speech, 3rd in Literature, 1st in Music, and 3rd in Art

Ana Martinez, Clancy Fisher, and Haylie Douglas also contributed to the team’s success.

Common courtesy key in customer service from consumers, workers

Keeping a smile on your face, maintaining a positive attitude at all times, and meeting the needs of many different people, are all duties someone must juggle while having a job in customer service.

Since I’ve been old enough to have a job, I have worked in the fast food industry. Anyone who works at a restaurant or with fast food knows how customers can be. Whether they are nice, decent, or just plain rude. For the most part, if people are rude at food environments, it is usually because they didn’t get what they asked for or they were not happy with their experience. It’s their food and they want to get exactly what they paid for, which is understandable, but it’s how they handle it that can be a problem. Some may assume that people only act out like that at places, where common mistakes are made. Since I’ve started a new job in a more professional environment, I get more rude customers now than I did working in the food industry. Which really surprised me.

I used to think that the environment was what affected people’s behavior in public. In office jobs, many people think that customers won’t yell and use profanity because there are more professional people around compared to the type of people working at a fast food restaurant.
Jobs like a bank teller are professional, yet I have found that it is one of the hardest jobs when it comes to dealing with a customer. With this type of setting, I thought “Oh, this will be easy, I won’t have to deal with any rude customers.” I was wrong. Just because a bank is supposed to be a professional environment doesn’t mean that the customer has to stay professional. Instead, it means that I do because that is my job. Dealing with other people’s money can be a touchy business because people have worked hard to earn it and that’s part of the reason why customers may be so testy.

Everyone should treat others with respect no matter the profession. The golden rule is a good guideline to go by. If people would remember that the person providing them with a service is just like them, things would be better for everyone.
Customers would have better experiences wherever they go if they were courteous and patient, allowing the worker to do their job and not feel rushed or confronted. Respect goes a long way no matter if it is at Mcdonalds or Wells Fargo.
It’s beneficial to treat everyone with respect. Someone who is providing a service is doing their best. Yes, sometimes the worker can be the one being rude, but maybe cut them a little slack too. You never know what they are going through or what a previous customer may have said. Kindness works both ways and can help turn someone’s day around.

Gen Y is this happening: Box offices full of remakes, old ideas

The older generation asks this generation many good questions, like: “Why are you teenagers so lazy?” and “Why is this generation of music so self-centered?”. One of the most important questions is: “Have you seen the original?”.

This is in reference to movies, of course. Over the past decade or so there have been a fair amount of remakes and adaptations of films. Their main source of material? Movies from the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Hollywood seems to have run out of original ideas, and this isn’t indicated by the remakes. There are also sequels and spin-offs of old series, as well as the lack of any original story plots which all seem intensely formulaic. However, the movies that get the most flack are remakes because they’re taking an original idea and revamping it for an audience that they have never seen it, when in reality, it’s the people who grew up with those movies that are watching them.

Adults who grew up in the ‘80s, or at least had a taste of what it feels like to have lived in an era where neon polygons were an accepted thing to wear on one’s body, know how unique of a time it was for movies. Saturday morning cartoons were being made into movies, movies were being made into Saturday morning cartoons, like the 1987 movie Robocop being made into an animated series for children a year after the movie’s initial release. Many cartoons even had a driving force of toy branding at the wheel with totally tubular commercial jingles. One of the titles that has been in the recent onslaught of remakes is none other than the great 1984 classic, Ghostbusters.

When the groovy ‘80s synth plays and the the iconic line “Who ya gonna call?” rings out, audiences know they’re in for a good time. That is, unless they saw the recent 2016 version of Ghostbusters. Boasting an all female main cast, the newest edition to the Ghostbusters franchise didn’t quite sit well with fans of the original. Why improve on something that’s already critically acclaimed to begin with?

Same goes for the 2014 version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie directed by Michael Bay; it just doesn’t have the same early ‘90s bad graphics vibe to it that everyone seems to accept and love. The cartoonish radioactive turtles who were trained in martial arts got a semi-realistic upgrade that makes me feel uncomfortable when the female lead comes into play. Actually, their new look makes me uncomfortable in general. Moral of the story, leave the ‘80s and ‘90s alone; let them be.

As the new wave Disney live action remakes go, they’re either hit or miss. Movies like Maleficent captivated audiences with the different perspective on the Sleeping Beauty story, but then there was the Cinderella live action remake, which fell flat in many ways. As much as I love the original animated classic, I don’t think it needed a fresh coat of 2015 CGI animation. With the new Beauty and the Beast live action movie coming out soon, I’m hoping it’s at least decent enough to make me not want to watch the original on repeat to cleanse my palette.

Whether we like it or not, Hollywood is going to push out as many remakes as they can make money off of. The nostalgia business is booming in the recent decade, so new ideas aren’t a priority. I hope that in the future, movies will progress not with just fancy technology, but with new ideas and narratives that give life to an industry filled with magic.

With the nostalgia business going strong, things from the ‘80s and ‘90s are coming back into the mainstream full force. Nintendo pushed out a lot of their old properties to bring in their audience, new and old, with the 2016 release of the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) Classic chock full of classic 8-bit games that everyone can enjoy. ‘90s sodas like Surge and Crystal Pepsi made a comeback in the past two years. The entertainment business is trying to get their slice of the nostalgia pie now that the last three decades have made such a comeback

Series brings Glee to viewers through song

Linoleum floor tiles, walls of lockers, crowded hallways, clique after clique after clique… At the thought of these things, the typical high school tends to comes to mind. Of course not all high schools are the same, especially not when the students and staff spontaneously break into song at any given opportunity. One particular high school that fits this description is the one and only McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio, also known as the home of the show choir group or glee club New Directions. Though McKinley is the fictional home of a fictional show choir, the story of a group of outcasts finding common ground and friendship through show tunes is all the more real to me. In May 2009 when Fox’s Glee first aired, I was starstruck. Of course, at eight years old, I had no real concept of what high school was like, and thanks to Glee, all of my expectations became unrealistic.

Though I was unable to fully understand the high school themes of cliques, relationships, and fierce social hierarchy the first time I watched the show, by the time I finished all six seasons for quite possibly the eighth time, I found the characters more relatable than ever before. Fame-obsessed central character Rachel Berry (played by Lea Michelle) does anything she can to earn solos in the club, whether it be at the expense of the rest of the group or simply to get herself in the spotlight. More often than not I hear people talk about how Rachel is their least favorite character, and I can understand why. She is extremely needy and whiny, but she is probably the most driven of all of the characters in the show. For all of the years I have been watching the show, I have seen myself in many different aspects of her, and I highly admire her desire to succeed and be the best. Of course, I have to give credit to the characters constantly struggling to get out from behind Rachel’s shadow like Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer) and Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley). Though both members of the club are just as, if not more, talented than Rachel, they often struggle to get their chance at the spotlight. Through every well-earned balad or occasional duet, Mercedes and Kurt each have their moments of stardom, sharing the limelight with Rachel.

I think that if faced with the question of who my favorite Glee character was, I would, to this day, never be able to answer that question. There are some that I can’t really defend or say that I like, but characters like Rachel and Kurt hold a special place in my heart. From Kurt’s challenges as the only “out” kid at school and enduring relentless harassment from peers, to Rachel’s struggle to maintain the spotlight and prove herself a star, the two characters never fail to make my heart feel warm and fuzzy with every solo, heartfelt duet, or obstacle that comes their way.

In 2015, Glee finally saw it’s finale, leaving me and so many other fans temporarily without purpose. I wasn’t too sure how I was going to go on without tuning in to my favorite show and staying up late on a school night once a week, but given that my family and I were so obsessed with the show, we had all of the seasons on DVD safe at home, and I knew I would be okay. Nowadays, all six seasons of Glee are on Netflix and readily available to binge-watch at any given moment (and I am proud to say that I have taken advantage of that opportunity more times than I can count).

People ask me why I am obsessed with Glee and I typically start off with the simple answer: it’s the best show ever. Of course, this is highly debatable (for some people), but I continue my argument with solid evidence. The music is amazing and all of the actors are so talented. Every singe time I hear Rachel belt a Barbra Streisand balad chills run up and down my spine, and every time Mercedes sings any song my whole body fills with joy and is covered by goosebumps. Not only are the actors extremely talented, the writing is intelligent and hilarious. Characters like Brittany S. Pierce (Heather Morris) and Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) have some of the best and wittiest jokes out of the whole show, ranging from Brittany’s unexpected puns to Sue’s attacks on glee club director Will Schuester’s (Matthew Morrison) wavy and over-gelled hair.

Out of all of the reasons for loving the show as much as I do, I think that the spirit and attitude of family and friendship that the shows takes on is the most inspiring. I may not be talented enough to be a part of my school’s glee club, let alone be a star soloist, but I know that I can take the inspiration gained from the show to form strong friendships and make the most of my high school experience.

Whether or not you are living the high school experience at the moment, there are many things that Glee holds in store for viewers of all ages. From show tunes to teen and adult drama to life lessons, Fox’s Glee remains timeless in its messages, no matter how sometimes-dated the soundtrack can be.

Swim team falls to Consol at Crosstown Splashdown

The swim team competed in the Crosstown Splashdown against A&M Consolidated Thursday at the Texas A&M REC Center.

The Consolidated girls beat Bryan 144-137. The Bryan girls held a lead through the last race of the night.

Consolidated took first and second places in the 400 free relay to take the lead. Individual winners for the Vikings included Julia Cook in the 200 IM and 100 butterfly, Abby Surley in the 200 free, K’Lee Rudd in the 100 Back and Elizabeth Tag in the 100 breast. Relay winners for the 200 Medley and 200 free relays included Cook, Surley, Rudd and Cat Darnell.

A&M Consolidated boys teams won all the races except the 500 free to run away with the team title 187-84. The lone first place finish for Bryan was Joel Coppernoll in the 500 free.

Edge of teen angst: Movie captures adolescent attitudes through comedy, drama

We live in an era where a majority of young adults think that the world owes them something. Teens have used methods of expressing themselves over time from passing notes in class, to Myspace, to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, but teen angst remains mostly the same as time passes. The new teen dramedy film, The Edge of Seventeen, is a funny, quirky, and perceptive look at Nadine Franklin’s (Hailee Steinfeld) life during her junior year of high school. The Edge of Seventeen is one the funniest coming-of-age teen dramedy films I have seen in a long time.

The film begins with Nadine walking into school, through the halls, and arriving at Mr. Bruner’s class, the jerk teacher, where she announces her intention to kill herself/ He then interrupts her by reading his own suicide note filled with complaints about students, including Nadine. Nadine is an unpopular, smart, awkward, and funny girl who from a young age has been bullied for being different. Nadine’s father, who she is very close with, dies, and watching him die begins the spiral of her life into four years of misery, high school, sending her into depression and social anxiety. Her older brother, Darian (Blake Jenner), is the polar opposite of Nadine; he is the all-star sport hero, popular, and handsome. Her mom, Mona (Kyra Sedgwick), has never understood her daughter especially after her father’s death. However, it’s not so easy on her either after losing her husband.

When Nadine catches her best friend, Krista (Haley Richardson), and her brother together she loses it. Krista has been Nadine’s best friend and only friend since she can remember. It is the ultimate betrayal that confirms the teen angst of high schoolers. Unlike other teen movies, there isn’t a villain in this movie, like Mean Girls’ Regina George. I was excited to see this movie before it came out because I love quirky teen dramedies, like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Juno, The Breakfast Club, Superbad, and Ten Things I Hate About You.

This movie is different because it’s not the typical, formulated film that audiences see every year. It’s relatable in the sense that Nadine is a high schooler battling with herself. Hailee Steinfeld does an amazing job of portraying Nadine’s teen angst that she deals with throughout the whole film. The sarcastic dry humor that Nadine brings to the film makes it relatable to how teens feel today. Haley Lu Richardson does a fantastic job playing the role of Krista that’s not only betraying the protagonist, but changing the character throughout the film. Hailee and Haley both play strong roles of in the film and did a great job working together. The message of the film is that everything gets better in the long run. It might take a while, but life will eventually iron out. Though this movie contains a lot of profanity it was overall a great teen film that I think everyone should see at least once, especially if you like dramedies like I do.

Senior pictures schedule for Jan 12, 13

The last chance for seniors to take a picture for the yearbook will be Thursday, Jan. 12 and Friday, Jan. 13.

Photographers will be here from 8:30-11:30 on Thursday and 8:30-11:00 on Friday. All seniors who have not taken a picture will be prescheduled into a time slot and should receive a pass on Tuesday with details about their time. If there is a conflict, they must see Rebecca Dominy in room 6160 as soon as possible. All pictures will take place in room 6158.

There is no charge for a yearbook only picture. There is a $15 charge for a full sitting which will allow students to take yearbook pictures, cap and gown pictures, and casuals. Sittings will ONLY be offered on Thursday. If a senior is schedule for pictures on Friday and would like to do a full sitting they MUST come by room 6160 to change their time ASAP.

For questions contact Rebecca Dominy at 979-209-2580 or rebecca.dominy@bryanisd.org