Skeeters back in action

Varsity Boys Basketball
The varsity team lost to the Lakeview squad 62-55 in a game that was a lot closer than the score indicated. It was a great game from the start and the team showed true grit and toughness throughout. The Varsity was led in scoring by John Milton with 19 points followed by 12 points apiece from Aaron Sanders and Anthony McGee. Coach Curts is proud of the way the varsity went out and battled and played as a team.

JV Boys Basketball

The JV Skeeters beat a tough Lakeview Patriots basketball team on Saturday evening 46-44. The Skeeters were up 27-20 when the Patriots in the third quarter went on a 19-0 run the take a 39-27 lead and was up 43-28 with 5:05seconds left in the ball game. The JV team stayed the course and believed in each other and ended the game on a 18-1 run to come away victorious. I am extremely proud of these young men and the way they did not give up. The JV Skeeters were led by Jordan Stenson with 15 points, 4 steals, LT Tuner with 10 points, 4 offensive rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assist, and Kevon Cooper with 5 points and game high 12 rebounds. The JV squad had won the last 5 of 6 games.
Freshman Basketball

The freshman A team lost to an undefeated Lakeview A team 69-59 in a hard fought game. The freshman team was led in scoring by Charles Jordan with 17 points, 3 assist on 5-12 from three-point range, Diandre Heath 12 points, 6 steals, 4 rebounds, 4 assist and Charles Washington with 6 rebounds and 4 assist. The B team beat the Patriots B team 59-35. The Skeeters will be in action tomorrow night vs. the Duncanville Panthers @ Duncanville High School.

Basketball Update

Varsity Boys Basketball
The varsity boys’ basketball team are off to fast start with a 6-3 overall record this season. Over the Thanksgiving break the varsity boys team went 3-1 in the Frisco Lone Star Shootout beating the host team Frisco Lone Star, Oklahoma City Storm, the Desoto Eagles for the second year in a row and losing the final game to Frisco Heritage. Over the weekend the varsity participated in the Bob Stras Jesuit Tournament @ Jesuit High School. On last Thursday the varsity Skeeters beat Frisco Lone Star 54-51 in overtime led by 23 points from Anthony McGee, beat Irving MacArthur 68- 56 led by 29 points from Anthony McGee with 19 points coming in the second quarter and 12 points from Felix Benson. The Skeeters played a tough Waco Midway Team in the Championship game and played well throughout but came up short a little short in a 55-50 loss. McGee once again the led the team in scoring pacing the Skeeters with 18 points followed by 13 from John Milton. Aaron Sanders and Anthony McGee were named to the All-tournament team. Please congratulate these two young men if you have them in class. Coach Curts is proud of the way the varsity went out and battled and played hard throughout this entire tournament.

JV Boys Basketball

The JV Skeeters beat Plano Vines last Monday 64-50 @ Vines High School. The Skeeters were led by Cody Leblanc with 23 points, 5 assist, Maurice Stallworth with 8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assist, and 2 steals, and Shawn Suberu with 7 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Over the weekend the JV Skeeters played in their annual tournament @ MHS. In the first game the Skeeters beat a pesky St. Marks team 60-51 and were led 18 points, 3 assist, 2 steals from Cody Leblanc, followed by Jonathan Lott with 15 points on 5-11 from 3-point range and Shawn Suberu with 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 blocks. In Friday night’s game the JV Skeeters shot a blistering 15-23 from behind the arch to beat the Lincoln Tigers JV 69-37. It was a total team effort. In this game the Skeeters were led by Jonathan Lott with 18 points on 6-9 from three-point range, 11 points, 8 assist, 2 steals from Cody Leblanc, 9 points, 4 steals, 3 assist from Jordan Stenson, Shawn Suberu with 9 rebounds, 6 blocked shots and 9 points on 3-4 three pointers from Athian Woul. In the Championship game the Skeeters lost a heart breaker to the Rockwall Heath Hawks 53-51. It was back and forth the entire game. The Skeeters were led by 25 points on 7-11 threes from Cody LeBlanc to go along with 8 assist, and 6 turnovers. Kevon Cooper had 8 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals, followed by 7 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks from Shawn Suberu.

Freshman Basketball

The freshman A team played in the Championship game as well over at West Mesquite High School. They beat St. Marks 66-45, beat JJ Pearce 48-39 and lost in the Championship game to Dallas Lincoln 36-30. Coach Irvin was very pleased with his team’s effort throughout the tourney. All four teams will be back in action this Saturday vs. the state ranked Lakeview Patriots at Lakeview High School. Game times are Freshman A 12:00 B 1:45 JV 12:30 Varsity 2:00. I would like to send a special shout out to Robert Howig, Todd Ritter, Genny Sales, Lynda Ritter for making the JV tournament a success once again.

Boys Basketball All District Selections

The following young men were selected by the coaches in 10-6A as all district,

Offensive Player of the Year- Bryson Robinson, Senior- Bryson led the Skeeters in scoring, 2nd in rebounds, 2nd in assist, 1st in 3 point shots made and attempted. He will be playing in the Metroplex 24 all star game on May 21 at Cedar Hill High School. Bryson went over the 1,000 points mark for his career this season as well. He received his first offer from East Central Oklahoma and should have a few more to come.

1st Team All District- Jordan King, Senior- Jordan bounced back to have a nice season after breaking his leg and missing the entire 2014-2015 season. He led the Skeeters in assist and his floor leadership will be greatly missed.

1st Team All District- Anthony McGee, Junior- Anthony had a nice junior season this past year and he was second on the team in three pointers made and attempted and will be called upon to have a even greater role on the team next year.

Please congratulate these young men for their hard work and dedication.

BPA Results

Here are the results from the BPA Regional Conference in Rockwall.

The State Qualifiers (31 students) will advance to the State Leadership Conference in Corpus Christi on March 2-6!

Anthony Robles – Advanced Accounting – 1st – State Qualifier
Elric Sharber – Advanced Accounting – 2nd – State Qualifier
Jacqueline Valdez – Advanced Accounting – 3rd – State Qualifier
Stephanie Soto – Advanced Accounting – 4th – State Qualifier
Maria Tovar – Banking & Finance – 2nd – State Qualifier
Anthony Robles, Angel Jimenez, Emma Pirnar – Financial Analyst Team – 1st – State Qualifiers
Khang Thai – Intermediate Word Processing – 3rd – State Qualifier
Austin Cuevas – Fundamental Spreadsheet – 4th – State Qualifier
Stephanie Soto, Ana Carrillo, Roberto Roque, Jennifer Guia – Small Business Management Team – 2nd – State Qualifiers
Karsten Herrera – Fundamental Web Design – 1st – State Qualifier
Luis Fuentes – Fundamental Web Design – 2nd – State Qualifier
Annsuriya Saji – Medical Office Procedures – 3rd – State Qualifier
Alexandra Rojas, Jessica Salcedo, Annia Murrillo – Web Site Design Team – 1st – State Qualifiers
Luis Vielma – Extemporaneous Speech – 1st – State Qualifier
Hanna Varughese – Prepared Speech – 2nd – State Qualifier
Alexis Ferrer – Computer Security – 2nd – State Qualifier
Angel Jimenez – Personal Financial Management – 1st – State Qualifier
Kevin Lukose – Personal Financial Management – 3rd – State Qualifier
Cameron McClure, Isaiah George, Jordan Gonzales, Hanna Varughese, Khang Thai, Eugene Brown – Parliamentary Procedures Team – 1st – State Qualifiers
Maria Tovar, Luis Vielma, Juliana Mathew, Xavier Coonrod, Isla Ramirez, Lizbeth Negrete, Robert Castillo – Parliamentary Procedures Team – 2nd – State Qualifiers

The following students are State Alternates for their respective events.

Isaiah George – Fundamental Accounting – 5th
Joel Saji – Fundamental Accounting – 6th
Daisy Secundino, Crystal Mathew, Rosa Ortega, Annsuriya Saji – Economic Research Team – 3rd
Victoria Tran, Guadalupe Ramirez, Arely Perez, Isaac Salazar – Global Marketing Team – 6th
Marco Garcia – Intermediate Word Processing – 6th
James Tomson – Advanced Word – 5th
Lizbeth Negrete – Advanced Word – 6th
Jasmine Robles – Entrepreneurship – 3rd
Mariam Joseph – Entrepreneurship – 4th
Yajaira Contreras, Ese Elaiho, Dayana Santamaria – Small Business Management Team – 3rd
Owen Osagiede, Kinori Bruce – Web Site Design Team – 3rd
Guadalupe Ramirez – Computer Security – 6th
Eric Villagrana – Interview Skills – 5th
Jorge Aguilar – Interview Skills – 6th
Alan Gonzales, Kevin Lukose, Christopher Leake, Miguel Padron – Video Production Team– 5th
Kallin York, Marcy Lara, Abram Gallegos, Belen Paniagua – Broadcast News Production Team – 4th
Evette Hernandez – Digital Media Production – 3rd
Kirsten Manning – Personal Financial Management – 5th

Vroonland’s View

Having travelled the globe, bringing education to students of all walks of life, he chose to come here. Former basketball coach, teacher, and child DSC00407adopted from foster care and poverty at the age of 10, superintendent Dr. David Vroonland chose to travel here from Frenship ISD in order to better impact students who come from hard backgrounds.

This man welcomes students into his office with a hearty “come on back,” as he did when Anthony Robles and I walked into his office to talk to him about such issues as dress code and future goals for the school district.

Sydney Smith: What are your goals this year as Superintendent?

Dr. David Vroonland: “I would’ve said it’s to learn about the district and try to understand the various areas I want to see improvement in and work with people towards that, and it still is. But I’ve also moved that to the pre-K through grade 2 initiative to get every child on grade-level reading by grade three. It’s an important effort because of the substantial risks children are put at if they aren’t on grade-level reading by grade three and so we are creating a city-wide effort to focus on this and we’re going to have to get– not literally, but figuratively– into people’s homes before their children ever enter our schools to get them reading with their children and playing games with their children so that they can be prepared when they come into the schools. Obviously, it’s also to improve everything about Mesquite. It’s already a wonderful district, but I don’t come in to manage things, I come to make things better and that’s why I get hired and get paid what I get paid, so I take that very seriously. We are going to be starting a strategic plan here in December and then in May with the community to look at strategically what we want a graduate to look like five years from now, and then what do we need to put in place to help a graduate be that profile.”

Smith: Do you have any specific goals for the high schools?

Vroonland: “One is to review the facilities and see how they work for 21st-century learning. I’m a bit concerned that they’re somewhat small spaces and not as up-to-date spaces as I would like to see. I think students need to learn in a very collaborative manner and I think they need to learn in a way that ensures they’re communicating their knowledge with each other and learning from each other as well as from the teacher, and learning from accessing resources online. I want to see more of that. I know our teachers would like to make that happen, but can it happen with the facilities the way they are? Mesquite High is going to be one of the schools on the top of my list for some work. I’m not really a big fan of portables, so we’re already removing them all from West Mesquite and looking at removing them our middle schools and then Mesquite high next, perhaps, and further down the road, with further bonds, looking at the elementary schools, which we really need to get to. The other thing that’s really on my heart is to provide students with an entrepreneurial, innovative experience in their area of passion. Because people own businesses and operate businesses, and you need to know what that looks like, and you need to know what innovation looks like in music. Really, by grouping you by endorsements and letting you discover through each other, through research, and through experiences what entrepreneurialism looks like in areas that you have a passion for.”

Smith: Does that mean we will see more endorsement-specific classes?

Vroonland: “The endorsements could be blended or they could be separate, that’s where it’s unique to every district. In my previous district, we were actually doing it through the speech classes, which was required, so we were bundling kids by endorsements in their speech class. So we were bringing in speakers and they did research based on their endorsement. So we didn’t need to create a different class, we were able to use that structure so that they could learn about marketing, they could learn about innovation, and then present their speeches around their area of interest instead of just a general speech. Because then you’re doing extensive research and the other kids are hearing you and it spurs what I call a ‘what-if’ thinking. I want my students to be ‘what-if’ thinkers.”

Anthony Robles: So you support the Endorsement program?

Vroonland: “Yes. I think it’s really important for students to get a feel for what they want by as early as the eighth grade. Not necessarily what job you want, but by looking at your various interests, what endorsement that puts you in, and then looking at career opportunities. I think we’ve been looking at it backwards, like asking an eighth grader what career they want to have. They might not know, and you might not know as a senior, and that’s okay, but it’s important to kind of have a general understanding of where your passions lie. For example, when I was young, I did know. I either wanted to be a lawyer, a minister, or an educator. Well, all three of those are in the public service sector. So I would have been in the public service sector, learning about various opportunities, and that leads you to learning different ways of thinking and different potential futures.”

Robles: Obviously, there’s been lots of speculation and controversy regarding dress code. Can you please clarify your view on it?  

Vroonland: “Dress code is simply not high on my priority list. It might be high on yours, and I respect that, and I’m always open to dialogue. I would hope that we are communicating the reason we have standardized dress to our students so they at least understand why we have that, and if we’re not, we need to. And if that doesn’t resonate any longer, there can always be a conversation, and it needs to be a civil conversation. But from my vantage point looking in, I see people that are dressed nicely, people who are representing their school, and when I walk onto that campus, I know who belongs, and I can instantly tell who doesn’t belong, unless they decide to dress apart. The other thing I see is that it seems to separate the stigmas of people who have money and those who don’t, and there’s real value in that. The obvious negative side to that is you lose a bit of individualism. So it becomes a balancing act of what is more important. So I see both sides of the argument, I’m not immune to both sides. I probably wouldn’t do much to change it. I just don’t see that as a factor that leads to anywhere positive. Now, if I were convinced otherwise– and not just me; the funny thing about dress code is that it’s not the superintendent’s decision by him or herself, it’s a decision made as a collective, as a community. It’s a decision made by the board of trustees– we might look at it. I’m not someone who just comes in and says ‘we’re doing this’ unless I’m just really not happy with something. It’s going to be more of a collaborative process and more of a discussion and I always like to make decisions from points of strength, not weakness. I don’t have strong feelings about it, it’s the furthest thing from the top of my list. I’m not getting into that conversation right now. I may someday, but not right now.

Something else I think you guys would be interested in is that we are starting, on November 9th, my first Superintendent Student Advisory Council. It consists of selected students– five seniors, five juniors, five sophomores– from every high school. They will come to meet with me. One of the neat things with this group of kids, and I haven’t met them yet, I didn’t pick them so I don’t know who they are, is they will be tasked with looking at the scope of the school experience and say ‘what can we do to make it better?’ They’re going to look at some of the challenges students face day to day, and I’m going to ask them to take that on and then design a solution that they will present to the Board of Trustees and then we will try to actually enact. That will be a neat way of students getting involved. I put this together in a previous district and I want to do that here as well, so I’m looking forward to it. That’ll be a great kickoff to something pretty special, and the interesting thing is, I don’t know where it will go.”

Smith: Why do you feel the connection you have with students of poverty is important enough to drive you to a new school district?

Vroonland: “Because of my backstory. I grew up in foster care. I was a child of a 17-year-old mom who had no husband and gave me to foster care and I ended up adopted at ten. I grew up in poverty, so I know what that looks like, I know what that feels like, and I know what it means to overcome adversity in the beginnings of life. Certainly, I was advantaged at age 10 in a way that I wasn’t before ten, but regardless, you have to have a certain level of grit and a certain level of determination to overcome those first starts. And in some ways, it might have been a harder first start to be transitioning through three different families before settling in with one real family, which is this weird last name. The other piece of that, though, is I’m passionate about what education can do for young people. And I know what it will allow for you. It’s more than just a career, than just a college. Our purpose is to help you be in control of your own freedoms and help you be a self-determinant adult who knows how to pursue their happiness. It’s not to make you wealthy, it’s not to make you go to college, or anything like that. Those may be important outcomes for you, but it’s to allow you a way to be that person who is in control of their freedoms, able to make decisions, not be under the control of someone else and to be able to pursue their happiness. That is very much the American Dream, it’s not about making more than your parent, that’s been distorted. Our American dream is about pursuing the things that will make you happy and, from a financial standpoint, making enough money that you’ll be happy doing what you’re doing. Not so much making tons of money. That may be an end result, but that’s not it. Public education is the single source solution for young people achieving that. The failure of public education means the failure of the American Dream in my estimation. That is devastating to young people, especially those who don’t come with economic means. We’ve seen that system before. If you remember your history, there has always been a ‘have’ and ‘have-not’ society, but what made the ‘haves’ significantly more powerful was education. And the ‘have-nots’ didn’t have it. Well, in America, we have created a system that allows those whose start in life wasn’t perfect to become of whatever means they want to become. So why do I want to be in a place that has high poverty levels? Because I believe I can impact that to a greater degree. That may be boastful, but that’s not about me being prideful, it’s more about humbly serving in the way that I believe I am designed to serve. I just think this is a wonderful opportunity. It’s a wonderful community. You probably don’t recognize it because you’re in it, but it’s an incredibly welcoming community. And I’ve got to tell you, students have been incredibly welcoming to me and my son. So I don’t know if you know that, but it’s been pretty unique in that respect. So it’s been a great transition.”

Smith: I saw in your biography that you taught in Japan. Can you tell us more about that experience?

DSC00405Vroonland: “I taught at a Japanese high school and I was also the head coach at that school. I taught literature and journalism. My wife was an Air Force psychologist, and so that took me to D.C. and Japan and Allen, and ultimately other directions. Teaching in Japan was a very unique experience, very unique from here. Students, frankly, study a lot more. After school, many of them go to what are called ‘cram schools,’ and spend two hours there studying English, especially, or math. Those are the two subjects they studied really hard because their scores get them into certain universities or even certain high schools. The school I taught at was Keimei Gakuen. Keimei was a private school and I want to say 60% of their kids were born and raised in Japan, 40% were almost entirely Japanese, and they were kiddos who had been born in Japan or born overseas but definitely lived overseas and were returning to Japan. One of the interesting things, kind of going back to our dress code conversation, one of the interesting things about these Japanese kiddos is that they were very homogeneous. Now, that may have changed since I left in 1995, but culturally, the corporate is very important, whereas in American culture, the individual is more important. And so these kiddos, when they came back from the United States or Great Britain or wherever they were coming back from, even though they looked Japanese, everybody could recognize that they weren’t Japanese. Now I don’t know how that happens because that doesn’t make any sense to me, but that is what was communicated to me. So our school was founded not only to help them learn Japanese and to help them maintain their English, but also to help them to become Japanese. It was like a cultural training center, if you well, to help the students understand what it means to be Japanese. I mean the girls there, still– you’ve probably seen Karate Kid 2, where the girl does the tea? Well, they learn that in high school. There are cultural elements in high school that are not done in the United States. They go to school a lot longer. Most high schools even have a culture festival there for a number of days where they celebrate culture. They show different parts of what is culturally Japanese. I had a great time there. Some of the kids signed a cup as a going away gift. I got a fan, I got pictures, I got a lot of things but I could only put out one. It was a great experience teaching and coaching there. I loved coaching basketball there, but there were some things different because obviously, I’m more of an American-style basketball coach and that didn’t always work well, when I yelled at officials, they just looked scared. They didn’t understand a word I was saying, so I had an interpreter on the bench and most of the time he apologized for my behavior, which wasn’t very nice. The food in Japan is unreal. It is so good. It really is good, it’s not what you think of, it’s not all raw fish. Ramen in Japan is like 20 times better than American ramen, it’s so good, I could eat it all day. And ramen shops there are like sweat shops, they’ve got steam going all the time and boiling noodles constantly, they’re usually really small, but the food is unreal. I like the Japanese people a great deal, they were really great, nice people, very friendly, you could travel anywhere you wanted. Occasionally Americans would visit, and if they had red hair color or blonde hair color, the Japanese people were just fascinated with it. My older son was born there, and he had blond hair and blue eyes. Literally, when he was a baby, we were getting paid around $150 an hour to have him pose for magazines. We took him one time out on a trip touring some Japanese sites and these high school students pulled up and mobbed us. It looked like Elvis Presley in the building. I wish I had my camera because there were about 150 girls just swarming around my wife and our older son just because he had blond hair and blue eyes. They would touch your hair on the train, so I would have to stand between them and Japanese men because obviously, it’s kind of creepy, but it’s not intended that way, they just can’t help themselves because it’s interesting. I loved being in Japan, it was a lot of fun, there were great people, and it was just a great place to teach.”

Smith: I also saw that you taught in Maryland. What was that like?

Vroonland: “I was at DeVout high school in Lanham, which is really close to the University of Maryland. That’s where I taught and coached and I was head track coach and varsity football coach there. I also taught government, Psychology, and I really liked my job there. It was very different from my first job. A lot of the kids I taught came from very tough backgrounds. They didn’t actually live in that neighborhood, they were bused to the school. They were from inside the beltway, which in the late 80s and early 90s was pretty tough sledding. But I loved the kids and frankly, I’ll say that the kids and I had a great relationship. I was only there for one year and they voted me Outstanding Teacher that one year I was there, and it was just a really neat time for me. I love D.C. If you’re a history person, it’s a great place to be. You can drive three hours either direction and see incredible things. That’s something I hope kids do when they get older. It doesn’t require as much money as you think, you can do it very cheap.”

Smith: Another thing myself and many other students have noticed is your Twitter page where you post about school events. Do you plan to expand your use of social media?

Vroonland: “Twitter is probably the extent of the social media for me. I’m trying to do more, but I don’t even know how to respond to people to be honest. People sometimes tweet at me and I don’t know what to do with that. One time I did, a young lady asked something and I responded and it went out to everybody, I think I did that wrong. That’s not what I meant to do. I just like to push out things that I think are really neat. Things that I see happening that I think are pretty cool, I like to put out.”

Robles: What is your plan for the Fine Arts program?

Vroonland: “My plan is to keep growing them. They’re really great organizations and I’m really pleased to see how much the school district has invested in them. There have been districts who, due to financial problems, have just kind of let them slide. I’ve never done that, I’ve actually grown them. We actually put a band-only practice field at Friendship when I left and they’re pretty excited about that. And I think the more you grow extra-curricular and co-curricular programs, you find ways to connect the kids to things and help grow their curiosity about things that can be. I think that’s the thing for you guys with music. It’s not just about playing music, it’s about being a part of a group of people, it’s about learning to work in a team, it’s about learning to be disciplined about things, it’s learning to commit yourself to something bigger than just yourself. You can’t just be out there for yourself or it won’t work, you have to be part of the team. Those are important assets that young people take with them into the world when they graduate and help them be successful. Those are investments that won’t go away. I don’t know where the next rendition will be, I haven’t been around long enough to tell.

One of the things we were talking about the other day is our K-6 structure in our elementary schools, and one of the things we’re talking about is implementing a 6-8 structure across our schools We have it at some of our middle school campuses, but not all. It can advantage 6th graders by getting them more quickly attached to athletics, to band, to choir, even to some CT programs. There are some real advantages to that that we are looking at right now. That will help some of the arts programs to advance and excel because all of them are doing a really good job, but we want to see them really excel and get better. We always want to get better.”

Updates on sports

Congratulations to the MHS Cross Country teams!  The boys won District Champions and the girls came in 3rd place!  Great job Skeeters!
The Skeeters football team had some great momentum Friday night!  The weather was nice, the scores were plentiful and the Skeeters enjoyed a great win!  They are working hard this week to keep that momentum going as we travel to Highland Park this week.  
Volleyball is winding down district play with just three district games left, playing at home game on Tuesday this week.  Basketball is gearing up to start their seasons at the end of October and first of November.  
We are down to just a handful of football posters, both Varsity and JV/Freshman.  Be sure to get yours before we are sold out, $3 each or 2 for $5.  These will be available at the JV game at Hanby Stadium Thursday night and at the Varsity game Friday night.  
If you have purchased a Skeeter fan, be sure to take them to the games.  You don’t realize what the teams see in the stands.  Waving the fans could help to push the Skeeters on to score – this pertains to all sports!
Golf tournament is shaping up well.  Mark your calendars now for Saturday, April 16th.  It looks like the tournament will be in the morning this year.  If you are interested in sponsoring a hole, or know someone who is, please send us an email so we can get that started.  Registration forms will be available as soon as everything is confirmed.
20-Oct Mesquite Horn* Home 6:00/7:00 9A/JV/9B/V
23-Oct Highland Park* Away 6:00/7:00 9A/JV/9B/V
27-Oct Lake Highlands* Home 6:00/7:00 9A/JV/9B/V
Cross Country
Mon. Oct. 26       Regionals                                Lynn Creek Park, Grand Prairie
Football vs. Highland Park
Thurs Oct 22         @ Highlander Stadium                          5:30/7:00
Thurs Oct 22          @ Hanby Stadium                                7:00
Fri Oct 23               @ Highlander Stadium                          7:30


Thumbs down to the thumb down

The idea of adding a “dislike” button, or a thumbs down icon, to Facebook has been up for discussion over social media in recent years.

The “dislike” button should not be approved because it will add unnecessary issues between the person posting and the person who responds to the post with the “dislike”.

The “dislike” button allows people to respond is a negative way to those who post. It will lead to potential confrontational between Facebookers when the response is taking in  negative way. Unlike the “dislike” button, the “like” button refers to agreeance in which is positive communication between the poster and the respondent.

This button brings unneeded negativity into social media. Social media already has the potential to bring about negativity from issues and the “dislike” button should not add to it.

Although the button allows people to express their opinion and allows use of their first amendment, the “dislike” button is unneeded. Those who disagree with a post can simply comment on the aspect of which they disagree to avoid miscommunication problems.

The “dislike” button is not necessary and should not be approved. People can respond with either the “like ” button or by commenting their views.

House of Cardboard: PALS Hosts Creativity Challenge

A Cardboard Challenge will be hosted by teacher and PALS sponsor Kenneth Martin in the small gym on Oct 31 to fundraise for the Imagination Foundation and PALS. Admission is free for anyone who wishes to participate, but donations are encouraged.

“The biggest thing we need is just kids to come play,” Martin said. “I didn’t advertise that much last year because I thought we didn’t have enough cardboard and that we’d have a bunch of people show up but not enough materials, but the response last year was just overwhelming with how much stuff we got.”

Before the challenge, students and teachers are invited to donate cardboard, masking tape, and other possible building materials.

“This year, I’m expecting definitely way more cardboard; hopefully a lot more kids,” senior Emma Pirnar said. “We’re going to try different things, to make something new. I just hope a lot more people come and see how awesome it is and come make a lemonade stand or a car out of cardboard.”

Anyone who wishes to attend may do so, regardless of age or location.

“People just show up,” Martin said. “Last year there were kids from Pumpkin Fest at City Lake that just came across the street. Even kids from Royse City and Terrell came.”

Last year, PALS decided to host a cardboard challenge after Martin showed them the video “Caine’s Arcade,” a video about a boy named Caine who created his own arcade entirely out of cardboard, which inspired him to do something similar.

“I decided to do it because I feel that kids just don’t have the creative outlet in schools to just build something and create something out of whatever they want,” Martin said. “We’re so concerned with testing, and they don’t have a chance to really get out and create whatever they want.”

In addition to teaching those participating to be creative, Martin said the challenge will contribute to a good cause. Martin said he hopes some funds raised by donations will go towards PALS, but they will primarily go to the Imagination Foundation, an organization which promotes teaching creativity and problem-solving to kids and was inspired by Caine’s story.

“Caine’s story did inspire me because it showed you that you can do anything and you can make anything,” Pirnar said. “Even if you don’t have everything you think you need, you can just work with what you have.”

Caine did work with what he had. He was a ten-year-old boy whose dad worked at a junkyard while he played. He built an arcade and hoped for customers, but none came until filmmaker Nirvan Mullick discovered it while searching for a door handle. Mullick was inspired by Caine’s creativity, so he used social media to plan a flash-mob at the makeshift arcade and filmed a documentary of the process. He also started an online donation box to raise money for Caine’s college fund, and donations exceeded the $25,000 goal.

“Caine’s story inspired me because he just built that whole arcade even though people made fun of him, he still kept doing what he loved to do,” Martin said. “Plus, that whole story about that flash-mob coming together and people coming to play his games when he thought nobody really cared about him. And it’s kind of cheesy but I feel like that’s our job as teachers, to take kids that maybe feel like no adult ever notices them or thinks they have value and showing them ‘yes, you do have value even if you get made fun of.’”

Pirnar said that her advice to anyone attending this year’s cardboard challenge is to show the kids attending that they have value, because they will appreciate it.

“Last year, myself and some of the seniors made a maze which the little kids would crawl through which was pretty fun,” Pirnar said. “It was really hard to make, and after that we made a huge castle called the Castle of Awesomeness. The kids loved it. It was pretty cool.”

Martin said that building things may be hard because part of building something is not getting it right the first time, and that is a big lesson kids should take from the Cardboard Challenge.

“My whole philosophy of teaching is that [the problem is] we don’t allow kids to fail gracefully,” Martin said. “We don’t allow kids to fail and not blow up at them. Encouraging that you don’t have to be perfect to be successful and learning to tolerate disappointment and having to learn from your mistakes I think is something we don’t teach enough in school, which is why I’m so big on being okay with failure so long as you put in the effort and learn from your failure.”

TSA Results

Over the weekend of  April 11,  TSA competed in the 2015 TSA State competition.

The results are as follows:

Laura Perez                             Biotechnology Design – 1st Place National Qualifier
Phu Thai                                  Biotechnology Design – 1st Place National Qualifier
Marc Hinojosa                        Biotechnology Design – 1st Place National Qualifier
Luis Vielma                             Biotechnology Design – 1st Place National Qualifier
Kevin Sanchez                         Biotechnology Design – 1st Place National Qualifier
Ian Velazques                           On Demand Video – 1st Place National Qualifier
Savannah Diebold                     On Demand Video – 1st Place National Qualifier
Abraham Zavalla                    On Demand Video – 1st Place National Qualifier
Frankie Escobedo                   On Demand Video – 1st Place National Qualifier
Matthew Stell                         Extemporaneous Speech – 2nd Place National Qualifier
Jacob Jones                             CNC Production–3rd Place National Qualifier
Amanda Jerez                         CNC Production– 3rd Place National Qualifier
Evin George                            Extemporaneous Speech – 4th Place National Alternate
Cerin Tomson                          Chapter Team – 4th Place National Alternate
Evin George                            Chapter Team – 4th Place National Alternate
Phu Thai                                  Chapter Team – 4th Place National Alternate
Dele Faulkner                          Chapter Team – 4th Place National Alternate
Julian Gonzales                       Chapter Team – 4th Place National Alternate
Asher George                          Chapter Team – 4th Place National Alternate
Montes Dawson                      Manufacturing Prototype – 5th Place
Angel Jimenez                         Manufacturing Prototype – 5th Place
Kevin Sanchez                         Manufacturing Prototype – 5th Place
Marisol Broussard                  Promotional Graphic – 5th Place
Evin George                            Prepared Presentation – 5th Place

No Pass, No Play

The main focus of students in school is to pass the core subject classes in order to move up to the next grade level. The No Pass, No Play is a guideline followed by all UIL registered sports. This guideline keeps failing students from participating until they pass. The rule or guildline is so that students will understand that academics come before sports and other events.


Academic subject grades are essential to graduating and make up your GPA. You need a suitable average in order to graduate and you must pass all of your classes. Most colleges require a minimum GPA average to attend or enroll even if you are the poster boy or girl for their national sports division.


Although sports take up a lot of time and dedication, they are seasonal, and are only contribute percentage of a students grade point average. Core subjects are are a full year and need more dedication to studying. With the No Pass, No Play, it can help show that in order to be part of a team, students must prove their commitment to their academic goals. Therefore, it shows coaches and scouts from universities that they are focused on a “game” plan.


GPAs are what colleges look for in each student and a low GPA score can come between being accepted into a college or not. Although some sports players have made it a career, its not always a lifetime career. Unlike sports careers, an education will be there for a lifetime.  Players especially need a solid education to fall back on in case they get severely injured or become too old to play.


Scouts come to high schools often to judge students on their playing ability, but without the necessary GPA in place from a solid commitment to core subject grades a student can easily lose out on scholarship offers and acceptance to most colleges. Scholarships may use sports as a free ticket to a higher education and even a chance at a sports career, but those scholarships won’t be there for the taking without an acceptable GPA.


Putting grades before sports is a major commitment. Grades should come before sports because those grades are what scholarships and colleges depend on. In high school, it may be hard to understand that in order to have a good GPA, it takes a lot of effort, and you must be willing to put in in the classroom and put out on the field. If one cannot dedicate themselves to their grades now, it will be harder to do so in college.


Grades are a major priority. If a student can’t pass a class, they shouldn’t be able to play.


Every student focuses on passing classes in order to move on to the next grade level and participate in school activities. The No Pass, No Play keeps failing students from participating until they pass. This guideline makes school academic studies come before sports and other events.


During the sports season, athletes are focused on passing in order to play their sport. Here, at MHS we follow the No Pass, No Play guidelines. Meaning, if you don’t pass a class, you don’t play. Softball player, Kennedy Curry, has to follow these guidelines along with all of the other athletes.


“I think the ‘No Pass, No Play’ is good,” Kennedy said. “If you can’t keep up with your grades, you can’t keep up with your team.”


Although sometimes it may be thought of as unfair, the “No Pass, No Play” keeps academics first in the players mind. Maria Tovar, an honor student along with being a student athlete, said that her grades fluctuate during season. She also said that even though she may have to cram her schoolwork in between games, school still comes first.


“In a way it’s good because I consider school more important,” Maria said. “You should be focused on your grades over sports because it’s an activity. It should be second unless you are trying to pursue that sport.”