Saved by the Bell

By: Karina Varela

On September 11, 2001, a plane crashed into the World Trade Center, causing more than 7,000 casualties overall. Officers, firefighters, and even strangers risked their lives to do whatever they could to save the lives of those lucky enough to vacate the area in which this devastating terrorist attack took place. Alfredo Varela was one of many to hear and be a part of this tragedy, and without a simple news broadcast, it is possible he would not be with us today.

“It was early morning and I was picking up a car to pick up some visitors,” said Alfredo Varela, a 56-year-old man, father to his four daughters. “I started listening to the news and they started reporting how the plane crashed into the World Trade Center.” He decided to turn back away from the city and returned to the office to watch the news. “It was very confusing and uncertain,” he stated. Unfortunately, many innocent civilians were caught in a situation they weren’t aware of at the time, and as a result, countless lives were lost. Alfredo was a lucky man.

He recalled that shortly after coming into his office he called his wife, Hiroko. “I remember telling her not to let [our daughters] watch TV or to put on something, like Nickelodeon.” Not only was he juggling the state of his situation but the weight of caring for his children. Parents, grandparents, relatives, were all dealing with the same question, do I want my child to be aware of this? For many, the answer was no. For others, it seemed crucial to permit a sense of this “confusing” and “terrifying” time. “I wanted to shield them, protect them from the news because there were a lot of horrible images on TV at the time,” Alfredo stated, “it was not the kind of thing you wanted your children to see.”

As a result of 9/11, people across the globe gained an awareness of the state of their country as well as the world. Alfredo now works with international students, part of the reason being the devastating event he had witnessed. “It made me question some of the policies that we had. It also, at the time, made me want to do more to create a better understanding of different parts of the world,” he conveyed. Although the origins of his occupation are indeed quite unfortunate, he works every day to create a bridge between different cultures despite the language barrier.

9/11 was an overwhelming time for many people of all kinds. It made us question the possibility that this could have been all prevented. It left us to decide what kind of life we wanted our children to remember. For some, this was the deciding factor for their future. Alfredo took this all into account when he realized just what kind of event he had witnessed. Not only did it change him, but it changed us all.

When the Challenger Changed a World

By: Katarina Rendon

January 28th, a day that may seem like any other, but in 1986 it was a day that marked tragedy for America. NASA, widely known for its greatest advancements in aerospace research and for being at the forefront of space exploration, is the company behind the Challenger mission. Anyone could have predicted the success NASA would accumulate, but no one could have predicted this failure that would shake the country.

Monica Rendon, now mother of two, recalls the event as it came undone right in front of her. The forty-nine-year-old recalls the event as devastating, “…I remember just feeling shocked about what I was seeing. I couldn’t believe that it was real…”, also mentioning the faculty at the time had wheeled in portable televisions tuned into the news channel. The scene could be described as unsettling and stomach wrenching. Other eye-witness accounts deemed the event truly heartbreaking.

Compared to teenagers then, teens today may not know what the Challenger Disaster was. The late Challenger was worked to fill in as a basic test article for the space shuttle program. A lighter orbiter was NASA’s main goal during the years in which it was being fabricated. Because of this, the guinea pig flight was expected to guarantee that a lighter airframe could deal with the pressure of space.

Although hopes were high, the seventeen percent of the population watching was ultimately crushed when, after seventy-three seconds, Challenger suddenly exploded. This was due to a malfunction of O-ring seals used in the shuttle. These seals were not designed to handle the unusual cold temperatures that existed during the launch. Thus, the Challenger broke apart midair and disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida. With it, taking the lives of all seven crew members, including high school teacher Christa McAuliffe.

The effects of the explosion were different for many. However, for Monica Rendon, it changed her whole perspective about news TV. AT the time, she recalls how much of a bore it was to watch the news channel, but since the crash she has changed her mind stating, “It made me want to watch the news more often in the days after that because I wanted to know why and how it happened, and how the families were doing…”, from that day on, she has always been tuned in. Even though most Americans’ hearts were broken, they continued to beat, leaving the country to heal together as a community.

Abraham Lincoln

By: Rahul Ramadugu

We have many great presidents who have contributed to the United States. One that stands out is the 16th president. He made one of the greatest impacts on the country because he freed the slaves, put the country together after the Civil War, and signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Abraham Lincoln released the slaves around the country. Now it is illegal to own slaves. However, ending slavery was not what Lincoln intended to do at first. Eventually, Lincoln figured out that African Americans were equal to the White people.

During the Civil War, the United States split itself between the Confederate States and the Union. The Union didn’t allow slavery and was the northern part of the U.S.
On the other hand, the Confederate States of America went on a confederate government (a government where states made their own laws). They allowed slavery and was the southern states. Once the war was over, Lincoln just asked to apologize and stop slavery. He put the country together very well.
When battles were very frequent, Lincoln issued a document called the “Emancipation Proclamation.” This allowed slaves from the south to fight against the Confederates. However, the Emancipation Proclamation never stated that slavery was abolished.

Without Lincoln some of us would be slaves, the U.S. would be in war, and we wouldn’t be able to fight for our freedom. Unfortunately, Lincoln was assassinated soon after the Civil War. Newly elected president, Andrew Johnson, took the place of Lincoln. He had similar plans to putting the country back together as Lincoln thought. They were allowed back in the Union if they made slavery illegal, apologized, and made a state government good enough to pass for the federal government. The national government agreed to this and the Reconstruction era
began.

An Everyman

By Karina Varela

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, better known as JFK, our 35th president, though unfortunately assassinated November 1963, managed to make some of the greatest contributions to American history. President Kennedy established the Peace Corps, averted nuclear war, and became responsible for the Equal Pay Act of 1963.

Peace Corps, established on March 1, 1961, by John F. Kennedy had the goal to “promote world peace and friendship.” Kennedy wanted to develop a better understanding of other peoples and have those reciprocate the same interest and understanding as well. The principle of having young Americans becoming involved in their community was one of many that Kennedy hoped for the American youth to acknowledge in their daily life. “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy

In October of 1962, the whole world was on the brink of nuclear war; this event is known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. At the time, Kennedy had already discovered the appearance of military supplies coming from the Soviets earlier on and called his advisors in hopes to devise a plan in order to solve the problem they were currently facing. President Kennedy had already made several efforts to remove any traces of Soviet military supplies being imported. But, realizing that this was only a temporary solution, Kennedy as Commander in Chief and the United States collectively made an agreement with the Soviet Union to stop these types of imports on both sides. In 1963 though, the Soviets armed forces were not retracted. There were definite signs of a lessening tension.

Signed by John. F Kennedy in 1963, the Equal Pay Act prohibited the act of gender-based wage discrimination in the United States. Due to Kennedy’s efforts, this law became recognized as one of the first laws in American history directed at reducing oppression amongst a gender-based society. Although many of these issues still remain in today’s world, Kennedy took great responsibility to alter our habitual ways. John F. Kennedy was president from January 1961 until his assassination in November of 1963. He was one of the youngest presidents in American history, but also one of the wisest. His morals were at a place of good intentions and more so, Kennedy was known for his dashing looks as a young man. However, Kennedy was more than just a good face, he was a peacemaker; he was a politician. President Kennedy was a good man, and that is what we should remember him as, not just our president, but a friend to all.

Abraham Lincoln: A President to Remember

By: Dhruvi Desai

America has had a long history of cultural feuds, breakthroughs, and diversity that has earned it a memorable legacy that reaches world-wide. Throughout the almost 244 years of America’s existence, many presidents have successfully improved our country and enriched it with a strong sense of heritage, democratism, and justice, although one president can be recognized as the one who has made the most contributions to America: Abraham Lincoln (serving 1861-1865), a man whose reputation is still credible in classrooms today. Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States and, although already well known, should be credited once more for 3 reasons: he brought America into a slavery-free era, was an ambitious leader and learner, and used peaceful resolves with the Southerners after the Civil War.

Although the first reason may be the most obvious, it actually vividly illustrates one of his greatest accomplishments to society. The Civil War began when Lincoln was elected president, in which the North and South were divided due to factors such as sectionalism, states’ rights, and their economies. Lincoln assisted the country into an era of equality where people had the same opportunities regardless of skin color.

Family Guy: Funnier than Ever

By: Emiliano Cantu

It’s impressive how one show managed to stay alive for more than 20 seasons and counting, with the same formula. Somehow the show still manages to stay relevant. How do they do it? Well, you’re about to find out.

Seth McFarlane, the creator of the show, does this by spending most of the shows time making fun of the classic sitcom elements. There are three elements that are always used no matter the show. Those elements are the introduction, the problem, and finally, the resolution. But Family Guy takes the whole formula and rips it apart and makes it its own. The show brilliantly glides from scene to scene with its cutaway gags, which are one, hilarious, and two, takes out the stress of having to connect the story with every little detail.

The story focuses on the Griffin’s, a working-class family from Quahog, Rhode Island, who tackle “real” American problems such as politics, love, racism and in one episode, they even blow up the world! So, yes, American stuff.

Family Guy is filled with the most outrageous cast of characters who always feel oddly familiar and relatable. Whether it’s the silly dad, Peter, or the family dog, Brian, who also seems to know everything about everything, and everybody can tell it is not true, the characters are all guaranteed to keep you laughing.

Even if the show feels aggressive and offensive to others at times, it still makes me laugh. So, I’m not going force you to watch it, but if you really want to laugh, how about you give the show a shot.

Mean Girls 2: Unrelatable and Unrealistic

By: Saiba Alam

On 4.30.04, “Mean Girls”, starring Amanda Seyfried, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, and screenplay by Tina Fey, hit theaters, and that too with a bang. Grossing over $129,000,000 at the box office, it quickly became a cult-classic. Based on the musical of the same name, it was funny, relatable, realistic, and appealing to the teenage eye because, like I said, it’s really relatable.

On 1.23.11 Mean Girls 2 was released to the public, and considering the popularity of it’s big sister, Mean girls, it had a lot to live up to. It racked up a shameful 31% on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to its sister which had a 66% rating. According to people who watched the first one and loved it, the second was an abomination, in comparison to the far superior Mean Girls.

According to the actress who played the equivalent of Cady Heron in Mean Girls, Jo Mitchell, the movie was shot in 20 days, which to me, mirrored the quality of the overall film. Another bad thing about the movie is that the realistic level is extremely low. For example, in the movie they dress the “Plastics” as if they are coming straight out of Justice. In the scene where they all walk in a line, Mean Girl 2 producers made it so no one was around them, and what made the Mean Girls version much better was the fact that there were people around them, thus making it very normal and realistic.

Lastly, a very big and noticeable flaw in Mean Girls 2 is that there is no originality story or actors. The story is relatively the same as the first one, (but worse) girl comes to school, girl hates popular girls, girl tries to ruin them, but becomes like them.

In conclusion, I personally think that the Mean Girls 2 is (as I said it in the title) an overall trash movie that shouldn’t exist. I honestly think the movie producers should make genuinely good movies, instead of horrible sequels for movies that are already good on their own.

The Next Up-and-Coming Artist

By: Beatrice Bucheli

A lot of people listen to music that makes them feel an emotion or a feeling, but a specific artist helps you learn how to feel happiness, fear, sadness, and panic. Billie Eilish is a musician and singer who has little experience in the field of music and production but has the level talent for an artist like Lana Del Ray and Taylor Swift.

I have a lot of opinions on many singers, but I only have positive feedback about Billie Eilish. One reason I like her is that she makes music for everyone. With “Bellyache”, you get a hyped-up and funk feeling, but with “Lovely”, there is a panic sense, and you feel like you need to check your surroundings.

Another reason the Billie Eilish is great is because she remains a human being, even though she has 51.4 million followers on Instagram, and is very well known. A lot of celebrities that have a big following often get washed-up and spiral down a huge “tube” of problems, but she has stated that she remains drug free and alcohol free, which is something that some young artist deal with. She believes in staying young and enjoying life with all of the blessings you have.

“The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do. …” Billie Eilish makes lots of people feel better and chose yes instead of no. I personally enjoy her music, and hope that the future will be better because of her impact on society.

2020 Resolutions for Dummies

By: Mollie Keller

Resolutions; we all make them at the beginning of the year and all think “I will keep it this year!” Well guess what? Statistically speaking, you may not. It’s a fact that many people drop their New Year’s resolutions in less than two weeks!
Tips; We all rely on them for something. It could be makeup tips, hair tips or even skateboarding tricks. This article is going to give you some resolution tips that should help you stick with those resolutions, no matter how hard it may seem.

1. Keep Your resolution reasonable. Don’t think just because your friend can exercise every morning and run 10 miles that you can or should do it too. You have to work up to a higher goal, but first maybe start with running 2 miles the first week and slowly increase it. Slowly, work your way up and don’t start on impossible levels of goals.
2. This one is extremely important. Do not stress if you maybe slip up one day, just don’t make a habit of it. For example, if your goal is proportion control and you eat too much one day, don’t decide because you broke it one day, it’s okay to keep going like that. It’ll just make your habit your trying to get rid of, come back.
3. Don’t give up!!! No matter how hard it seems. Don’t give up! You’re doing great and can do this!! Even if you think something is too hard, you can do it. Ask for support. Believe in yourself.

In conclusion, it’s not easy to keep a resolution. It’s going to take some work, but it’s important to stay dedicated. So, although people may drop resolutions all around you, these tips will help you keep yours and make your goal a reality.

Keeping Up with Señor Rosique

By: Katarina Rendon

Gabe Rosique, to many he is just your typical Spanish teacher, to some he is a little more interesting than you may think, but to few…he is the wanderlust legend of Bush Middle School. This man is not your ordinary citizen, oh no, but a man with a life that seems to be pulled straight from an Indiana Jones movie. Throughout time, Mr. Rosique has been known to embark on extraordinary adventures and return with the most unbelievable tales of his travels, tales so remarkable even the most mature of audiences are left in absolute bewilderment. This is a curation of a few expeditions taken by Mr. Rosique in the year of 2019.

Summer, the more favorable season of the year, especially among small children and young teenagers solely because they do not attend school for around 3 months, but this time summer involved something more unexpected. Beginning to end, Mr. Rosique took many trips all over the world, as many people have, but these trips are most notably special because when someone tells you they went to Thailand, they don’t normally say they were massaged by an elephant. Excursions in Tulum sound fun and exciting, but do you typically associate this with almost being kidnapped? There’s one person who has experienced both of these things. Who you may ask? That person is none other than Mr. Rosique.

I got the chance to interview the one and only Mr. Rosique, I asked him a variety of questions about his 2019 and how it went. To my expectations he informed me about his international stay in Thailand. There he experienced more than just relaxation. “I got massaged by an elephant,” he exclaimed. “They asked for a volunteer [and] I didn’t know what I was volunteering for,” he explained to me, “….I was face down on a mat and the guy says ‘you’re going to get a massage’, I was like wow that’s pretty cool, but no an elephant comes out….and he’s the one that gave me the massage.” He then proceeded to elaborate on how the elephant was hitting him with its trunk. “He (the elephant) could’ve crushed me, but it was pretty cool.” To that I would say what a spa day.

Further into the interview, he had a sort of epiphany moment when I had asked if he did anything else involving action and drama. “Oh, I almost got kidnapped,” he stated with realization, “They (the kidnappers) called me while I was in Mexico, Tulum.” At this point I was shocked that he said that, but he continued. “…this guy calls me and says that he needs 3000 pesos, which I felt insulted by the way I’m worth a lot more than 3000”, he pointed out while laughing. “…I hung up and they called again, now I have to pay 9000, which is better for my ego but still not enough…if I don’t pay him he’s going to kill me,” both Mr. Rosique and I paused for a moment to giggle at how absurd the situation sounded, “…I thought this had to be a prank or something, but no they sent me a picture of me at the airport AND my present location…at that moment in time, I put everything in my bag, deactivated my phone, called a cab, and at 1o’clock in the morning I flew out of Tulum …basically I was running away.” At this point he couldn’t stop laughing, even when I asked him if he would ever go back to which he replied, “No! I would never go back.” Wow, what a way to wrap up a summer vacation. It’s safe to say flying to Tulum won’t be on Mr. Rosique’ s to do list any time soon.
Overall, it was very evident that Mr. Rosique enjoyed his 2019 stating, “There were good times, there were bad times… But that’s life.” He made it clear to me that even though the year had ended, his international fun wouldn’t. For Mr. Rosique, the year of 2020 will not only be filled with more adventure, but more experiences yet to be had. Many people tend to consider the end of the year also ends their fun, but for people like Mr. Rosique… it is only the beginning.

Traveling Back and Moving Forward: Focusing in on Clara Dolan

By: Karina Varela

The politics, jokes, our personal achievements: 2019 was a time of change and self-improvement. All of our trials and tribulations collected into a singular year. But today we’re discussing the successes and growth of Clara Dolan, a 13-year-old Bush Middle School student, who’s laughter and sweet smiles light up a room in an instant.

On Friday, January 10, I had the opportunity to interview Clara about the past decade and what she wishes to do in light of the new year. To begin, I asked about the past term. She discussed that in 2019, her greatest accomplishment was “making friends”. It was the first year she actually had a friend group and also happened to be a time where she was more sure of herself than ever. She had finally seen that beyond having friends, she instead, had a second family. Furthermore, I asked Clara what she wished she could’ve changed in the previous year. She replied, “I wish I would’ve been more productive.” The distractions of the world hinder us from doing what we hoped to have done but never manage to attain, most find this frustrating and as for Clara, this also holds true. She has faith that this year she can amend, what she believes to be her past mistakes.

Transitioning into 2020, Clara plans on finishing her first Youtube video. Though she is at a young age, her goals are as big as her spirit. According to her, she hopes to create a commentary or animation video as her first upload. Unfortunately, with school and her habit of procrastination, she was unable to achieve her goal in the last decade. But this year she is assured that she will be able to. In this year, Clara has claimed that she wants to improve on her overall grades and quick-thinking in regards to school work. Especially considering that in the next few months she will move onto high school. But for the moment, middle school is her time to find room for improvement.
We know what last year had done to us, or even, for us. But now we need to prepare for these coming years because just like Clara, there is always a need for development. 2020 is a new year, a new decade, so: Bring it on.

A Coach’s Calling

By: Katarina Rendon and Karina Varela

Coach Griffin, a well-mannered and remarkable teacher who is a mentor to a handful of students. To the public eye, he comes off as tall and intimidating, but in truth, he is affable and comedic. Truly enthusiastic about enlightening students in the world of history and moreover open to speaking about his personal interests. Upon speaking to him, one would uncover that he harbors a great amount of insight. Despite his young age, Mr. Griffin speaks with integrity and confidence, along with a sense of expertise in life. On December 5, 2019, Elle Rendon, took a trip into the sixth-grade hallway to speak with our very own Coach Griffin. Entering the conversation, she was expecting to talk about basketball and topics concerning the sport, but to her surprise, the interview derailed into a discussion about the deeper meaning in everyday situations.

It is not uncommon for basketball to be a prominent sport throughout middle school and high school for adolescents. But who inspires these young athletes? For Coach Griffin, it was his dad, and former Spurs player, Paul Griffin. “He inspired me by just understanding that with hard work and dedication you can be really good at something that you set your heart out to believe in,” says Mr. Griffin when asked how his father implemented basketball in his life. Paul first sparked his interest at a young age, so when Coach Griffin was offered the opportunity he jumped at it. Paul rubbed off his expertise in basketball on Mr. Griffin. This is when his career took off, in middle school. Knowing that he was good at the sport, Coach Griffin realized his potential which would end up to be the key to unlocking a prosperous new chapter in his basketball career.

What Bush Athletes Do to Lead Go Team To Victory

By: Dhruvi Desai & Rahul Ramadugu
The athletes of the Bush Middle School basketball team work extremely hard to achieve their goal of winning a game. Their efforts are often overlooked by the audience, who may only see the surface of the game (simply swishing an orange ball into a net) instead of the complex system of the game that requires a team of players with strength, compassion, and a sense of synergy. Here, get an inside look at the efforts Bush athletes make to lead their team to victory.

On December 11, 2019, the Bush Bulldogs competed with the fierce Bradley Bears and won by two points in the tenacious competition, and one of the team members, Rahul Ramadugu credits the win to the learning opportunities provided from the previous game which helps the players incorporate the effective strategies from the previous game into this one. When asked whether the shortcomings of the last game allowed for growth in this one, Rahul responded with yes, “We usually learn from our mistakes.” Rahul also values teamwork, stating that he “usually feels important” during a game because he is able to help his team. “They (my teammates) help me notice what I am doing wrong.” Rahul adds that he is dedicated to the sport, not only practicing in the Bulldog Gym, but practicing at home as well.

An Outlet for the Lost

By: Karina Varela and Beatrice Bucheli

UIL, an outlet for distinguished students to express themselves in their heightened academic skills. For many, it seems like a deadly competition between individuals who have a lot of free time on their hands, but the startling reality is that these students feel a need to prove themselves, or more ideally cherish their variety of talents. Today, Beatrice Bucheli and I had the opportunity to interview three talented students who’ve very proudly brought home a medal from the past UIL competition on Saturday, October 19, 2019.

Ben Lyon, a sixth grader, earned his second place spot in UIL Spelling. He said that even though “Spelling isn’t a subject taught in school”, he was able to partake in it and learn more then he would’ve in the very limited time that we as a whole, focus on the English language. Though shaky at first, he was able to convey that UIL is more for the fun of it rather than the competitiveness.

We then jumped over to an eighth grade student, Daniel Ha, a math whiz, taking his spot in UIL Number sense and Math, unlike Ben, he thoroughly enjoys the competitive aspect of UIL, which is an admirable trait for the headstrong. It comes as no surprise that Daniel does so well in these categories being such a quick thinker, which he could only improve upon in UIL.

Lastly, we ventured into the 6th grade hallway to question our final recipient, Parnijali Datar. She too, took a spot in Number Sense as the 2nd place winner! It seems as though she had shared many of the same thoughts as Ben and Daniel alike, although she did think to mention that even an A-role student, such as herself, can make just as many mistakes as anyone. Through UIL, she was able to learn from those mistakes and improve upon it.

The majority of those who are too nervous or look over an opportunity such as this should really rethink before crossing off UIL. Despite what it may seem, not everyone in UIL started off as a genius or a chess champion. More accurately, they came into UIL looking for a new hobby or the cherry on top of their college resume. Whatever it may be, no matter their expectations, these students found something to be passionate about. They found new friends and a new family. In UIL, they have grown to be better people on the inside and out.