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POLL: First Week of School Experience

The 2020-2021 school year has started with a historic first week. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, school has been moved to a remote format for the first four weeks of school. With this new format, comes new experience and challenges. DSHS Student Media wants to know how your first week of school was. Fill out the poll HERE.

Post and poll by Cady Russell, Online Editor-in-Chief and Sport Editor

Photo by Thomas Lefebvre on Unsplash

SHORT STORY: Memories Live Forever

Someone once told me that life is like a line of dominoes. When you’re born, the first domino is knocked over. Every other domino after that represents a memory, person you meet, or impactful event that moves your life along. Some dominoes are easier to remember than others and some make you feel like your line has stopped; like you need to take a break from everything. 

The one thing I remember most from my fourteen years of life is the day I lost someone very important to me. When I was two years old, the economy crashed and my family was forced to sell our house and move but we had nowhere to go. A kind old man, named Joe, offered to let us move onto his ranch in exchange for some help. The ranch in total was about 265 acres or either rolling hills and grasslands or steep canyons and cliffs. On it, Joe raised about 50 cattle, not just for the money, but for the joy of having something that he could care for. But as time went on, he couldn’t take care of everything by himself. So, we put a second house on the ranch and lived next door to him for eight years. My dad would take him to lunch everyday, they went to the grocery store every week, and he came to our house for dinner every night. 

Joe taught me many things about not only myself, but the life I am living. He once said to me, “Annie, nobody’s life can be judged the same so live your life the way you want because you only get to live it once.” I was 8 years old at the time but that stuck with me more than anything else. Joe turned out to be the strongest, wisest, craziest, and sweetest man I have ever met. He cared for me and my family like we were his own. Over time, he became a part of us. We didn’t do anything as a family without him. I woke up every morning for eight years thinking about when we were going to get him for breakfast or lunch. My dad took him to business meetings and when I was home and bored, I would go visit him and make sure he was ok. We had some scares as he got older, but he always made it through. There were times we were certain we would lose him, but he always came back stronger than he was before. 

Then came late November of 2014. I was nine years old in the fourth grade. Joe unexpectedly came down with pneumonia. I don’t think I realized how bad it was at the time. He ended up in the hospital. I remember going to visit him many times over the course of the month he was in there. We would bring him things like flowers, pie, and his dog, whenever he felt lonely or sad. I would go to sleep every night reminiscing about the 96-year-old man. All of the times we went to lunch or dinner, the stories he told, and the times we were afraid of losing him. In my mind I had come to the conclusion that he would be back. He’d walk out of the hospital on his own two legs and get right back to work on the ranch. I’d decided that in a couple of days, maybe a week, we’d be back to our normal schedule. 

But a week past. Then before I knew it, two more passed behind it. At the beginning of the fourth week, me dad was sitting with him in the hospital like he always did. Joe couldn’t talk very well because of the oxygen mask but he had been griping about how much he hated the hospital. He just wanted to go back to his ranch to see his dogs and cows. He needed to keep things running. My dad kept reassuring him that if he would just stay there, he would eventually get better. Christmas passed, he was still in the hospital. Mom had wrapped his gift in bright red Christmas paper and put it under the tree for him. We had planned to give it to him the next time we went to the hospital to see him, but under the tree it stayed. It got pushed to the back by the other presents and was forgotten. 

They day before New Years Eve I was visiting Joe in the Intensive Care Unit at San Marcos Hospital. It was a sad sight to see the man that had always been brave and strong lying in his hospital bed, helpless and weak. I wasn’t ready to let someone so impactful on my life go. It was an emotional time for not just me but for all of my family. After hours of sitting there, listening to the beep of monitors and the scuffle of nurse’s shoes on the tile floor, Joe looked at my dad. He mustered the strength to turn over and speak five heart-crushingly powerful words.

“I want to go home,” he said turning back onto his back. My dad tried to argue with him, telling him he would die if he went home. But Joe had made up his mind. He had told my dad before that if he was going to die he wanted to die in the place he had called home for forty years of his life. The place that his family called home at one point in time. The place he loved with all of his heart. So on New Years Eve, we brought him home. I remember the ambulance pulling through the gate and coming down the bumpy dirt road. I remember the paramedics setting up the monitors in his house just in case. And I remember our neighbor taking me to my best friend’s house for fireworks. In my mind, I thought that since he was home he would be ok. I put a smile on my face and did fireworks until I was too tired to stand. After going inside, I decided that I would call my parents to check in and see how Joe was doing. 

“Hows Joe?” I asked with hope in my heart.

“Honey,” I could hear the sorrow in my dad’s voice; the shake in his breath. “Joe’s gone.” 

I didn’t say anything after that. I felt the burn of tears in my eyes. The voices around me faded and I felt like I was alone. It was too late to go home, although all I wanted was to be with my family. I decided that I would go to bed. But I didn’t sleep. All I could think about was the fact that he wouldn’t be there for lunch or dinner when I got home. He wouldn’t be there to tell me stories about his baseball years. He was really gone. For a time, I felt a little empty. He had such a big personality and held such a big place in my heart that I felt like my life had to take a pause; like my line of dominoes was stuck. 

Going home the next day to the ranch he had worked so hard to protect and keep alive was heartbreaking. I knew that it would be up to us to do everything he had taught us about the ranch, cattle, and the neighbors. His name still hangs on the front entrance to the place he called home for so long. Everyone who knew Joe before he died still reminisces about the lively old man. His memory lives on.

By Annie Stewart, Contributor

Stewart writes, “my story is about a person that changed my life in so many ways. Reading and writing have always been two of my favorite hobbies. I’ve never thought about submitting any of my writing until this year in Creative Writing.”

Featured photo by Jakob Cotton on Unsplash

Danced to State, Moved to Nationals: Hi-Steppers Finish Up State

The Hi-Steppers competed at Showmakers State competition at TX State this past weekend and were awarded the following:

  • STATE Champions Large school Officer Modern, officer Hip Hop and Team Hip Hop
  • Sweepstakes all I ratings / Judges Awards 90 or better from all judges team and officers
  • Choreography/ showmanship awards all team/ officers
  • Technique / Precision award Officer Modern
  • 3rd place Officer Contemporary, Team Jazz , Team Lyrical 
  • 3rd place overall Large school team & Officers

The Hi-Steppers will now prepare for the Crowdpleasers Dance Nationals in Los Angeles, California on March 9.

From Tracy Neef, Hi-Steppers Varsity Dance Director

Featured photo from @ellen1970 on Instagram

SHORT STORY: Not Quite a Custard

The wind billowed fervently as it tugged at the outstretched limbs of the tall spruce trees above Sherwin as he sprinted his way towards the large metal silo on the other side of the grove.

“Hate it, I hate it.” He muttered to himself.

Once he reached it, he went through a door on the side of the silo. “M-Mr. Adequate?” he called into the dim inner expanse of the silo. With a click, the lights were on.

“Yes? What is it?” A voice replied.  

“I hate middle school,” Sherwin groaned as he cantankerously dropped himself into a small chair.  

“I’m going to need some elaboration,” responded a tall figure who traipsed over to the table with Sherwin, who was angrily twirling his jacket lace.

“All my friends got to go to the house of Earth, and I’m stuck in the house of Song and…”

“So, you’re stuck with no one you know?” Mr. Adequate considered for a moment. “Have you tried talking to your parents about it?”

“They’re busy.” Sherwin murmured, looking away.    

“Well why not make some new friends?” asked Mr. Adequate. “Sometimes sharing your interests can help, just talk to someone at lunch or…” At that point, Sherwin was bawling. Mr. Adequate moved uncertainly towards him, then decided to make tea while Sherwin cried. Mr. Adequate returned with two cups of chrysanthemum tea after Sheriwn’s sobs died down.

“I guess we’ll start again.” He said, putting the cups down.

“It’s just that everyone’s already friends, so no one picks me for their group, or sits with me, and I messed up on my introduction and everyone looked at me like…” Sherwin explained, as he piled what Mr. Adequate thought was too much sugar into his cup.

“Okay, I get it. Was there anyone at school who stood out to you? Like anyone who you thought was interesting?”

“Well, there was this one girl. She tried to help me find my lecture room,” he laughed softly. “But we both ended up getting lost.”

“Tomorrow, go and talk to her.” Mr. Adequate proposed.  Sherwin gave him an incredulous look. 

“But, I don’t even know what she’s like, what if I say something stupid?”

The lanky man gave a hard laugh at that, though also soft in a timeworn way. 

“Accidents are what spark the best friendships.” Mr. Adequate stirred his tea absently, then looked up at Sherwin. “I remember when I was traveling to the land of Ix. I had just bought the last bag of flour at a market when this woman came in asking for flour for something important she was baking.” Sherwin listened intently, blowing on his tea every so often. “So I handed her my bag to her and left, not knowing that I’d meet her again two days later. Turns out she’d spent that time asking about me, and she presented me with three strawberry custards. She also showed me her favorite vantage point of the city upon the old church bell tower. I still think that those custards were the most delectable things I’ve ever eaten,” Mr. Adequate laughed wistfully to himself. “So go on. Make yourself some friends!” He continued heartily. Sherwin hopped out of his chair and smiled at Mr. Adequate.

“Thanks, I think I’m feeling better. I’ve got some homework to finish anyway.” 

“Are you going to have enough money for lunch this time?” Asked Mr. Adequate.  

“I think so, dad said he would have some for me tomorrow,” Sherwin said thoughtfully. Mr. Adequate wasn’t convinced, but he didn’t press the issue. “See you tomorrow!”

The bells trilled through the halls as students of the Oaklenville Academy seeped out of their classrooms and lurched towards the lunchroom. Sherwin was feeling rather miserable at the fact that he didn’t have any money for lunch. As he walked, he saw a face that he recognized. Weaving through the crowds, Sherwin called out.  

“Elise! Hey.” She turned around

“Hey,” she squinted her eyes in focus “Sherwin, right?” He nodded his head. “Sorry, it’s been a very hectic first few days. So many more people here.”  

“I was uh, wondering if you wanted to sit with me.” He asked. Elise looked up at him seriously. He silently cursed himself for sounding like an idiot.

“Sure,” she replied cheerily. Sherwin was halfway through telling himself about how he should have asked Elise when he realized that she said yes.  

They left their stuff at a table and got in line at a food stand.  

“Have you tried the pizza here? I’m impressed that it doesn’t taste like cardboard with cheese on it.” Elise commented.

“No, I don’t think I have.” Sherwin admitted.  

“Well, what are you getting then?” She asked. Sherwin didn’t answer. As they sat down Elise slid one of the pizzas over to Sherwin as well as some hash. He looked a little incredulous, then shook his head. She pursed her lips.  

“Come on. It’s the least that I can do for getting you lost in the wrong hall yesterday.” She said looking at him intently. He slowly tried some.  

“Wow, this is better than the stuff at the elementary school.” They laughed. After that they talked about school and what interests they shared “You’re like the only friendly person I met here, everyone else just clumps together.”

“It’s only the first few weeks of school. I think things will start looking different.” She paused thoughtfully. “Here, I’ll introduce you to some.”

Sherwin clambered up to the door on the side of the silo.  Sweat welled on his forehead, but his face showed no signs of fatigue. He kept something cradled in his arms as he hurled into the silo. Mr. Adequate was playing a game of solitaire when he saw Sherwin zoom in.  

“You sure are in a hurry.” The man said as Sherwin bounced into a seat next to him.

“It worked!” Sherwin beamed. I talked to Elise, and then she introduced me to Dylan, and Lizzy, and Nick, and the other Nick, and…” Sherwin shakily explained what transpired to Mr. Adequate. “Now I have some people I can talk to in my classes. I’m so happy.”

“That’s great to hear!” Mr. Adequate chimed “It reminds me of the land of Ix and Ms. Bauer. That was her name, the custard woman. We had become great friends and occasionally met to discuss life and what not and…”

“Hey,” Sherwin interrupted. “Speaking of the custard woman, I got you something.” Mr. Adequate peered down at Sherwin. “I was saving up some money to get you something as a thank you. It really means a lot to me that you were there when mom and dad were mad at each other. I’m glad you thought to come to this place. I know it’s not Ix quality, but I brought some strawberry jam.” Mr. Adequate looked astonished for a second, then took the jar, turning it around in his hand.

“How did you afford this? Where did you find the money?”

“I saved a little from all my lunch allowances, then pawned some of my other things off.”

“Well, I suppose I have no choice but to try some?” Mr. Adequate gave a tired smile and got up to rummage in his cabinet.  

“Let’s make some sandwiches. Follow me, I’ve got something for you too.” He lead Sherwin up a spiraling staircase to the top of the silo.

The view was impeccable. Sherwin could see over the trees to the sun that was dipping into the horizon as it’s dying beams painted the clouds reddish-orange. The two talked; Sherwin of friends and Mr. Adequate of Ix, all the while they crafted sandwiches which they tasted and criticized as if they were professional bakers.  

“You know,” said Mr. Adequate, “I think you’re the first person in a long time to not ask me what I am. Usually, people think I’m some sort of angel.”  He chuckled.  

“I really don’t care who you are at this point,” Sherwin replied. “I’m just happy you thought to visit me.”

By Connor Q. Rezykowski, Contributor

Rezykowski wrote, “The story gives a perspective on one’s confidence and support from others and how that impacts the way they interact with others. I also didn’t really have anyone like Mr. Adequate so this story could also be a dramatized discussion between me and a younger me. When writing, I set out to create an unfamiliar setting but familiar (maybe even relatable) conflict.”

Featured photo by Rachel Nickerson on Unsplash

Girl’s Soccer Looks to Make it Back to State

As football leaves the stadium, soccer takes its place. The Lady Tiger soccer program has started off the year with an intense off-season program and has seen the team numbers almost double with incoming freshman.

“Well there’s a lot of good girls that came in this year, especially the freshman class, but also like all over with returning varsity players and new seniors and the numbers that we have this year is high intensity and competition each practice,” JV sophomore Faith Wylie, said. “We’re running, weight room, our practices.” 

The team during the off season typically does weight room two-three days of the week, depending on the training regime, and then practices on the field the remaining days.

“Tryouts are really competitive, because we get different ranks,” varsity junior Charleigh Phipps said, “and you want to be the best on the team and then the people coming in want to be in the top 22 so they can be on varsity, so that’s what makes tryouts really competitive.” 

The team specifically has a program called Grind Never Stops, or GNS for short. It was implemented two years ago when Bailee Perrine became head coach.

“If you don’t finish that conditioning, you can’t make the team and I feel like that really pushes people to push themselves to become a better player,” varsity senior Emma Jones said. “And that definitely prepares us for the season because we come in with a greater level of fitness than every other team.” 

The team runs a conditioning set every week to finish GNS, and if a player falls out, no matter how far they went, they have to repeat the whole workout.

“We did a lot last year but now that we have the expectation that we can get to state now we’re pushing ourselves even more so we can get into that final state game,” Wylie said. “We know we have the ability to get there so now we just have to push ourselves to actually get there.” 

The school year of 2018-2019 saw the team making it to the state tournament for the first time since 2008, but the team lost in the semifinals.

“Everybody wants everyone to get better so everybody is pushing each other,” freshman Ella Ruff said, “so it’s really healthy and like the competition is like at a good standard.”.

For seniors like Jones, the desire to make it to the final game during their senior year is strong.

“You make sure you are showing yourself by always giving it 110%, always pushing yourself, making sure you push others, and giving it your best effort,” Phipps said. 

Despite all of the conditioning and hard work, the team is stronger and closer than ever.

“[What I’m] most looking forward to is the experience, like the tournaments, the games, the pregame meals, the HEB runs, more of like the team bonding than the actual games,” Wylie said.

The team is unique to other teams in the district in almost all of the girls play club soccer as well. 

“It’s very competitive,” Wylie said, “but also it’s really friendly, because we all are close enough that we know that if we go hard, it’s just to push each other and not to piss each other off.”

By Cady Russell, Online and Social Media Editor

Featured photo by Cady Russell

Serenity Self-Care Club Starts Mural to Promote Student Mental Health

High school consists of a lot of studying, testing, homework, and extracurriculars, it has been proven that all these factors can put a number on a students mental health.

“My club’s name is Serenity Self-Care Club and we’re all about spreading awareness on mental health and self-care and the importance of taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health,” said club leader senior Maddie Lewis.

The mural is going to be placed in the Tiger Paw allowing for students to see the mural and be uplifted as they go to class.

“I want to make it super colorful, there’s a ton of studies that say that a more colorful and decorated school increases GPA’s attendance and overall well being of students,” said Lewis. 

Mental health has become a noticeable issue, according to the ACMH organization, on average mental health affects one in every five students, in Dripping Springs that would mean about 432 students have been affected by mental health issues. 

“I think it’s something the district as a whole and really honestly the country is seeing an increase in depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, suicidal attempts in our youth so I think we’re in a position where we don’t have any other choice but to do our part in addressing it,” said Angela Gamez, principal.

The mural has been approved by Principle Gamez and will begin being painted in the fall semester by the Serenity Club.

“I think it would be cool to have anybody come in and help me that’s a big thing thats a big goal for me is to make it something that everybody can work on you don’t need to be artistic to work on this murreal and it’s just for a good cause which is mental health awareness,” said Lewis. 

If interested in joining the Serenity Health Care club one must attend two meetings to become a member.

Angela Gamez said, “I think the more we can spread positive messages whether it be physically in your face or what we say or how we behave, I think all of those as many messages like that as we can put out the better.”

Story by Grey Patterson, Staff Writer

Featured photo by RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist on Unsplash

Q&A With Ms. Compean

Q: Did you become the new AP Biology teacher out of a want or necessity?

A: A little bit of both. I stepped up when nobody else would.

Q: Why did you want that position?

A: I love biology. I really do. There’s always more to learn. If somebody has a question that I don’t know the answer to, we will figure it out together. 

Q: What don’t you like about this class?

A: The rigor, for both me and the students. It’s just ten times more complex than freshman biology. 

Q: What do you like?

A: I like seeing students make those complex connections. I like how it’s more of a conversation between me and the students rather than me just talking at them. They learn as much as I do, as bad as that sounds. 

Q: Did you take this class as a student? 

A: I didn’t. The way I grew up, like, my family really didn’t value education. Yeah, you had to go to school, but there was no push to do better.

Q: Why not?

A: My dad is first generation American, his mother was from Germany. His upbringing was just surviving, making money, and getting a job. There was no real value for higher education.

Q: What was the value? 

A: Honestly, I really don’t know. I’m still trying to figure that out.

By Madeline Tredway, Staff Writer

Weekly Events: 10/7

Events of the Week:Monday-10/07 (A-Day)
Video Production Club – Room C103 – 8:00 am
PSAT Mandatory Teacher Training – Lecture Hall – 8:15 am
Spicee Tigers Club Meeting – 1.205C – 8:40 am
PSAT Mandatory Teacher Training – Lecture Hall – 4:15 am
Tuesday-10/08 (B-Day Schedule)
Band Leadership Meeting –Band Hall – 7:30 am
Video Production Club – Room C103 – 8:00 am
Youth & Government Club Meeting – A109 – 8:30 am
Lockdown Drill – DSHS – Approximately 10:30 am
FIRST Robotics Club Spring Konstant Meeting – D145 & D147 – 4:30 pm
Wrestling Booster Meeting – Old Field House – 6:00 pmVolleyball @ Travis HS – 9thA-5:30 pm; JV-6:30 pm; Varsity-7:30 pm
FFA Ag Booster Meeting – Lecture Hall – 7:00 pm
Hi-Stepper Booster Meeting – E306 – 7:00 pm
Wednesday-10/09 (A-Day Schedule)
Video Production Club – Room C103 – 8:00 am
Thespian Society Club Meeting – F204 – 8:15 am
PTSA General Meeting & Principal Coffee – CL&I (Library Inno Lab) – 8:30 am
ExCELL Club Meeting – Room D114/Library Classroom – 8:30 am
Freshman Retreat – Tiger Stadium/Athletic Complex – 9:00 am – 2:45 pm
Blood Drive Sponsored by National Honor Society – B-Gym – All Day
Anime Club Meeting – Room A203 – 4:30 pm
Academic UIL Kick-off Meeting – CL&I (Library) – 4:45 pm
JV Gold Football vs. Wimberley – DSHS – 5:00 pm
FCA Fields of Faith – DSHS Track Field – 6:30 pm
Thursday 10/10 (B-Day Schedule)
Video Production Club – Room C103 – 8:00 am
DECA Business Club Meeting – C208 – 8:15 am
Swim Team Hosting Double Dual Meet vs. AHS/LBJ – All Day
JV Maroon Football @ Del Valle – 5:30 pm
9th Black Football vs. Vandegrift – Tiger Stadium – 4:15 pm
9th White Football vs. LBJ – Tiger Stadium – 6:00 pm
HOSA Induction Ceremony – Cafeteria – 6:00 pm
Guitar Concert – Auditorium – 6:30 pm
Theater Department Presents “Dearly Departed” – Black Box Studio Theater – 7:30 pm
Friday-10/11 (A-Day Schedule)
Video Production Club – Room C103 – 8:00 am
LEAP Club Meeting – D109 – 8:20 am
Spanish Club Meeting – Room D112 – 8:30 am
Golf (Girls Maroon) @ Live Oak (Lake Travis) – All Day
Orchestra Concert – Auditorium – 7:00 pm
Varsity Football vs. LBH @ Nelson Field – 7:30 pm
Theater Department Presents “Dearly Departed” – Black Box Studio Theater – 7:30 pm
SAT Practice Test – Lecture Hall – 9:00 am
Debate @ Hays TFA Tournament – All Day
Upcoming Events
10/14-Columbus Day Holiday (Student Holiday/Staff Work Day or Exchange Day)
10/14 or 15-Team Tennis Bi-District Championships
10/14-Senior Portraits @ DSHS (By Appointment Only)
10/14-Cheer Booster Club Meeting
10/15-Senior Portraits @ DSHS (By Appointment Only)
10/15-Volunteer Fair Sponsored by NHS10/15-Wrestling Parent Meeting
10/16-National Boss’ Day
10/16-PSAT Test and SAT Test during the School Day
10/17-HOSA Club Meeting
10/18-DSXC District Championships
10/23-Baking Club Meeting
10/23-DS FFA Leadership Development Events Demonstration Night
10/25-DS Mountain Bike Club Meeting
10/28-Spicee Tigers Club Meeting
10/28-School Board Meeting

From Angela Gamez, Principal.

Featured photo by Ana Smith.