2014 Prom Poll

Considering all the fuss about prom being held on Friday rather than Saturday due to conflicts in schedules, was Prom truly a Dream Come True?

Was this years prom truly a Dream Come True?

Kickin’ the competition

With music blasting into her ears at midnight, and the only light coming from the computer screen, her creativity is flowing asswallows_for_Rebecca_4_lg she delicately paints instruments onto the shoe.

Vans Custom Culture is a competition for High School students to showcase their artistic abilities by creating a unique design on a pair of Van’s shoes. The winning student design becomes an official Van design and is put on a pair of Van shoes that will be sold in stores. The 50 semifinalists will be chosen between April 14 – April 18, 2014 , and the top five finalists will be chosen April 25- May 12, 2014.  The official winner will be chosen the second week of June, and not only will their design be on Van shoes but their attending school will receive $50,000 to go towards the school’s art program.

“I think it’s a good way to promote art in the schools since most art programs struggle in some schools,” Marisol Broussard said.  Contestants like Broussard, who applied for the Vans competition,  has to create a unique design based on one of  four themes: art, music, action sports and/or local flavor.

“Music inspired me,” Broussard said. “I painted the instruments to represent some elements that are fundamental in music.”

Broussard did research on classical instruments that were popular before the music that we listen to now.

” I used colors that represent how music has the power to change a persons emotion.” Broussard said.  But design wasn’t the only thing she was worried about.

“[the shoe] is a different type of “canvas” that I’m not familiar with when it comes to painting. I had to paint over the shoe several times,” Broussard said.

She is used to a painters canvas, not a single, tiny white shoe. But she didn’t let something so small get in her way of opportunity and experience.

“Even if I don’t win, I feel like I did a good job at representing my school,” Broussard said.

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Baskets, Bunnies and Eggs, Oh My

The smell of flowers and freshly mowed lawns is the beginning of our senses telling us that spring is in the air.

Easter eggs // Ostereier

Easter eggs // Ostereier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another reminder that spring is around is the holiday known as Easter.  The smell of  boiled eggs fill household kitchens, and bowls of colored dye line their counters.

Laughter and chatter fill the house. Children running and playing, while parents and relatives are cooking to prepare for the renowned holiday.

Easter is a time for celebration, when families come together to form memories and to honor the day, most Christens believe, is when Jesus Christ rose from the grave.

For junior, Peyton Adams, that’s exactly how she spent her holiday. When asked why she celebrated Adams replied with “religion”. A big part of Easter to some people is their belief that it’s the day Jesus rose from the tomb which he was buried in, after dying for our sins. To those Christians it is a celebration of thanks. It is also for family.

“We celebrate differently each year,” Adams said.

The most popular and widely known way to celebrate Easter is an egg hunt. Dying boiled eggs and hiding them for children to find, although it seems astray from the point of Easter its works and almost everyone does it.

Ask any adult today what they remember most about Easter when they were young and you will hear “Easter egg hunts.”  Cookouts,  games, reuniting with family, and for some a church service included,  the celebration is endless.

For Adams’ its “the food, candy and celebrating Jesus.”

 

 

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The Final Milestone

 

The students waited with baited breath, staring at their band director as they waited for the outcome. Suddenly there was an DSC_0966explosion of sound as cheers rang out across the parking lot of Richardson High School as the Mighty Maroon 2nd band received their scores for the 2014 UIL contest.

Having worked hard all year, the students were elated upon hearing that they had made one’s in  both stage performance and sight-reading. The seniors smiled and hugged each other, thrilled that their last UIL competition ended so successfully.

Their score was a 112 in sight-reading and on stage but it averaged to 1’s which means that the 2nd band has won sweepstakes. They will be receiving a trophy soon.

The UIL event lasted three days.  Third band went on Tuesday, April 15th and they received a rating of a 122 on stage and a 123 in sight-reading. Second band went on Wednesday, April 16th and first band went Thursday, April 17 where they received straight ones on stage and straight twos in sight-reading.

The band will now turn their focus to their Spring concert, which will be on Tuesday, May 20, 2014.  This will be the Mighty Maroon band’s last concert of the year. To many, UIL might not seem like a big deal but all the directors take this contest very seriously.

The competition at UIL is split into two parts: stage performance and sight-reading. Stage performance is where the bands perform three pieces they have worked on since January and sight-reading is where the bands must read a piece of music they have never heard nor seen before.

Each group is judged by three judges who have set high expectations to be met from each performing group,  and then they score each band a rating of a 1, 2, or 3. One is the best, 2 is average but could be better and 3 is poor. Then the final score is averaged out of the three ratings given to the band.

For band, UIL is the biggest contest of the concert season and nothing else matters. They give everything they have in preparation for this event, hoping that their very best up on that stage will be enough to win the competition. Each member has worked very hard individually and as a group to perform their best.

Now that UIL is over and the scores have been tallied the band has a chance to breathe, but for the Mighty Maroon Band, perfection is never complete, even when the last note has been played.

A Poem by Alex Estrada

The gaming beast is a mighty beast

who lives within my head.

His claws are sharp, his howl is loud and I’d prefer

him dead.

Unfortunately I invited him in one day so long ago,

and now he tries to torment me a subtle yet

monstrous foe.

I listen to his foolishness and tell him “GO Away!”

But now I embrace him, I control him.

I am in charge, when it comes to the beast.

 

 

Creepy stories for a dark night

Slenderman, Jeff the Killer, Smile dog, Ben Drowned, Eyeless Jack, Rake.creepypasta_ocs__we_are_the_proxies_by_blazexdx-d6d6m1i

These names might seem familiar and to those that recognize them know that they are from famous stories known as Creepypasta’s. In short, a creepypasta is a short, fictional story that is posted on the Internet that is designed to unnerve and shock the reader. A few of these creepypasta’s were made into video games, the most renowned being the Slenderman games, where the gamer has to go around collecting pages while at the same time avoiding Slenderman, a tall figure dressed in a black suit with a white face, no facial features and tentacle arms sprouting from his back.

Creepypasta’s can be written by anyone and are posted everywhere. A You-tuber that goes by the name of Mr. Creepy-pasta makes a lot of videos where he reads creepypasta’s he found on the Internet. He has, at the moment, about 423,530 subscribers. If creepypasta is typed in the Google search engine, multiple links pop up, all leading to creepypasta stories written by people just like us. Surprisingly, not very many people know of or have read creepypasta’s. Those that have and know creepypasta’s have different opinions about it.

“[A creepypasta is] story that inspires an eerie sense. It gives you the possibility that something like that exists. [It] invokes ones imaginations.

” My favorite creepypasta is BEN Drowned.” senior Jacob Simpson, said.

BEN Drowned, or Haunted Majora’s Mask, is a well-known creepypasta created by Alex Hall, also known as “Jadusable”. The story revolves around a Majora’s Mask cartridge that is haunted by the ghost of a boy named Ben.

Simpson was also asked a few more questions, including if he had written a creepypasta himself and he answered no. However, he did mention Slenderman when asked what he thought is the most famous of the creepypasta’s. He was then asked if he would want to be in a creepypasta and if so, which one would it be. “God no! They’re all horror stories and it wouldn’t end well for me.” Simpson said.

The final question asked to Simpson was if he believed there were any creepypasta’s good enough to be made into movies. “Yes, the Russian Sleep Experiment, Jeff the Killer and Abandoned by Disney.”

There are many categories of horror; movies, thrillers. Creepypasta’s are an entertaining way of giving voice to our worst fears and making us think,  Can this actually happen?

These stories are not for everyone but of all the people questioned those that have read them said they enjoyed them and will continue to read them.

Lack of preparation: TSA competetor brings home gold

He steps up to the door, adrenalin begins to race through his veins.

As he scans the outside room for the competitors, you can see his confidence slipping.

The door opens and his name is called, bringing him back to reality. He gathers his confiedence and carries himself into the room with pride.

Mesquite’s TSA members competed in various categories the weekend of April 10-12, with three teams qualifying for nationals, including Extemporaneous Speech, On Demand Video, and Chapter Team. Junior, Matthew Stell, gave his all to the judges and bought home first place in Extemporaneous Speech and is expected to move onto nationals June 27-July 1, 2013 along with the other progressing teams.

Extemporaneous Speech is a competition in which the competitors give a speech with little preparation.

“Well I was very nervous, because I had never reached the state level in TSA, and my competition looked fierce,” Stell said. “But when I went into the room, I was very confident in what I had to do and walked out of there with pride.”

TSA is based on student created projects, which allow students to show off their technology skills and use their interests to create their best project. With little aide from their sponsors, Ricky Broussard, Donny Coursey, and Jason Singletary.

“Honestly, the kids do most of the work,” Broussard said. “And that’s one of the cool things about this whole thing is that I don’t make their projects for them. They do them.”

Although not every group moved on, most of the members are juniors and will be ready to give it their all again next year. Coursey is excited to see what is in store for the members.

“I am very happy for the groups that made it because every group worked hard,” Coursey said. “But I am sad for the groups that I saw work hard and weren’t able to progress further.”

TSA is a program that allows students to compete in the field of technology. Not only that, but also allows the to grow and better them for the future and any future careers.

“To me, TSA is an organization that not only pushes me to be the best that I can, but pulls out the inner genius,” Stell said. “When I do compete, it makes me feel like I am doing something that not everyone can do. I would encourage anyone to join TSA next who are willing to work hard and to never give up when the odds are not in their favor.”

 

On-Demand Video created by Mesquite High School students for the Texas State TSA Competition that placed 2nd.

Talking Angela; Real or Hoax?

We’re all aware that smartphones are just mini computers you can talk on, but talking-angela-app-warningjust like desktop or laptop computers, you’re left with the dangers of hacking.

As teenagers we think nothing of this, who cares right? But what if you knew that someone could know everything about you simply by you opening an app or entering private information onto your phones database.

There’s a lot of talk that goes around about hacking, but most teens see it as a joke and laugh it off or test the boundaries and purposely make it possible.

One of the more recent talks is over an app, Talking Angela. Talking Angela is from the same game maker who created the well known app Talking Tom, a game that was heavily played when it debut in 2011.

The difference is Talking Angela is more like a chat game instead of repeating words like Talking Tom. There is a child mode on the game but without the child mode on Talking Angela supposedly asks inappropriate things.

There is talk all around, especially amongst teens that there is a hacker behind the app who asks you personal questions such as Where do you live? and, How old are you? If you’re smart and lie then supposedly Angela will reply with, “You’re lying” then proceed to reply to you with your address. This isn’t the only app thats been attacked by hacking rumors. Angry Birds, Snapchat, Instagram, of course Facebook, and many others have fallen victim to suspicion of hacking.

Most of these hacking rumors start when the games first come out and eventually it dies out, but like Angry Birds and Talking Angela the ideas and accusations have returned.

Since there is endless confusion all over about the Talking Angela app in particular I decided to test it out for myself.  NOTE: I did not use my real smartphone for this, I went with my iPod as it does not have any information on it. Unless my music playlist is personal information, I was in no big danger testing the game.

In conclusion to testing the game, absolutely nothing happened.  It was a normal chat system where the AI computer generated context was sent back to you in response. Now I did hear of a few people who tried it and said it turned out true, and I even saw one reply myself with inappropriate content. But keep in mind, AI computer chats or in this case an AI app, takes in what you tell it and plays it back to you in a response. So whatever you say to it will eventually, during the chat, be given back to you. So if per say you were curious and asked it a question such as “Are you a hacker?” Or “Are you a pedophile?” The app is going to generate it back to you.

In my test run I did ask it some questions leaning towards the hacking and the accusations that a pedophile was behind it, however it only responded with, “Why are you being mean?” Or “That’s not nice.”

As for the other apps, I’m pretty certain Angry Birds is fine, considering for the past four years people worldwide have been playing it. For social media apps we all know that if you put personal information on the internet its out there for good, there isn’t much you can do.

The Snapchat app is taking further precautions to end any availability of hacking your account, when you send a photo, if the other person snapshots it you will be notified and honestly I think the app is safe itself.

With technology being the new and more innovative thing out there, there will always be situations and problems. Hacking is one of those.  Know what to put on the web and what not too, and keep track of what younger children are doing while using your phone or computer or using their own. Parental controls are always available even if your not a parent and are a sibling you can always use the parental control on your technology devices.  It’s definitely safer,

FRIENDLY TIPS:

1) The more passwords the more work someone would have to do to get information, even better are longer passwords that consist of uppercase letters and numbers.

2) When charging on a a computer be sure to keep your phone turned off, otherwise hackers can use the wifi and bluetooth that both the computer your using and the smartphone hooked up to it can be invaded.

3) Be cautious of what you put on the internet and on apps.

4) If given the option choose to use your email over connecting to Facebook or Twitter, emails have an entirely different section to hack into and will make it double the work for someone attempting to hack.

Be safe internet and app users.

 

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Texas at crossroads with Gay Marriage

Arizona and Kansas have taken a turn down an unconstitutional street. For those who aren’t aware, Arizona and Kansas have announced that if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, then police stations, hospitals and restaurants have a right to turn you away.  With all this going on in neighboring states, Texas has been pondering on what should be done.

Segregation in states close to Texas leaves many supporters worried, and opposers hoping. On February 26, U.S. District judge Orlando Garcia has written that denying gays the right to marry is unconstitutional. A final decision has not yet been made, but it seems we are going in the opposite direction of our neighbors. U.S. Attorney General Greg Abbott has claimed that he will appeal to gay marriage.

Ashley Ham, said she’s “outraged” that gay marriage is not legal in Texas yet. She says that “everyone should have the same rights. Something needs to be done. Something needs to be changed.”

Casey Holden, expressed that not being able to marry in the future makes him very upset. “I am gay, and everyone should have the same rights.”

Chase Maddox, however, states that he thinks “it’s nasty”, and makes him uncomfortable.

Deandre Bates argues against gay marriage for a different reason. “Marriage has been a sacred ritual for hundreds of years and it’s a religious ritual. I think marriage should be kept between a man and a woman.”

Savannah DieBold is indifferent on the subject.   DieBold says she thinks they “should be able to do whatever they want. It doesn’t affect me either way.” She continues by saying “They vote. They pay taxes. Why can’t they get married too?”

The next few weeks seem like they will be full of  supporters and opposers arguing, and maybe soon we’ll see what officials running our state eventually decide. Whether  gay marriage is approved or not, it’s definitely going to be talked about through out the state.

Story by Kristen Esparza

Featured image courtesy of flickr, by Jo Christian Oterhals, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

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Dealing with the loss of a pet

Some pets are just pets. But sometimes, pets are family. Kids grow up and become attached to their pets, but like all living things… pets to die.

It’s painful and sudden; one minute your pet is alive, and then the next it’s not. Whether you had to put your pet down or it died in a natural way, it’s painful none the less.

Everyone deals with this situation differently. Some people are indifferent, some people are incredibly sad, and others are upset and angry.

My cat, Nieve, was going to be three years old in April. He was poisoned by drinking antifreeze and we had to make a very difficult decision to put him down the next day. I was heart broken, and I cried for days. In an attempt to help me get over all this pain, my sister took some of our favorite pictures of Nieve and got them developed.

We gave him a proper funeral, and adopted another cat. Feeding, playing, petting and cleaning this cat makes me feel better. This new cat, Lara, will never replace Nieve. She will never be the loving, sassy cat I once had, but she does fill the emptiness with her playful and loving attitude. It’s been three weeks. I’m not over his death, but I have moved on.

Katelyn Martini dealt with the death of her beloved, sixteen year old cat in a much different way. As a way to cope, when  her cat, Angel passed, she got a new cat almost immediately. Martini gave Angel a proper funeral. As sad as Martini was, having another cat to care for and knowing she spent a good sixteen years with her old cat, gave her comfort.  Martini says she was “so busy with [Orion] him that I just didn’t have the time to be sad.” With a new cat on her mind, Martini isn’t as sad as she used to be.

There’s many ways to deal with something this upsetting, and people deal with it in many different ways.  Here are some tips on how to deal with the loss of your pet.

  • First, you should acknowledge that your pet has passed. It will hurt, knowing you will not see them anymore, but this is something you must accept.

  • Cry. Crying is good. Crying helps you get over your sadness and your loss, and makes people feel better.  So don’t be ashamed or embarrassed for crying over your lost pet.

  • Get pictures developed of your pet. Being able to still see them even though they are gone makes things a little easier.

  • Bury your pet. Burying a pet brings some closure to a pained heart. Knowing that they are gone but somewhere better makes you, the grieving person, feel a little better.

  • Reach out and talk to other people who have also lost a pet. Being able to converse with someone who has already dealt with what you are going through is good way to get advice on how to get over your loss.

  • Mourn, but celebrate the deceased pets life. It’s alright to mourn over a death, it’s only natural, but don’t dwell on the death. The more you celebrate their life, and all the happiness and joy your deceased pet has brought you, the easier it will be.

  • Get a new pet. Getting a new pet is important, whether you get a new pet a day after your loss, or months, or even years after the death. Getting a new pet will help you get over your lost pet. Of course, this new pet won’t replace your beloved old one, but it will make the days and nights go by much smoother.

 

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