April 9 is a date that remains highlighted, circled, and ultimately unavoidable on almost every teenager’s calendar this year - with the Johnson prom, Reagan prom, and the ACT all set for that fateful Saturday. “I’m going to take the ACT on April 9. I probably will miss prom because I’ll be busy studying to make sure [of] what I’m supposed to be doing for the test,” junior Lillian Bautista said. “That does determine what college I’m going to get into. So it’s very important for me to prioritize it.”
Walking out the door, cello in hand, freshman Francesca Baldwin feels confident about the three to four minute solo ensemble performance she just gave at Madison high school. She has never made it this far in Orchestra UIL before. After completing her performance she then heads off to the cafeteria to wait for the results as determined by the judge who viewed her performance. Little did she know the news that awaited her in about an hour. “At first I didn't think we [my partner and I] could qualify for state. I didn't even know that was an option, or a thing we could do when I found out,” Baldwin said. “I heard that some people made state. I heard out of thousands of people that audition maybe a few 100 or something like that [qualify for state], but it made me happy that we earned it, and we worked hard for it.”
Starting in March, College Board will administer a new version of the SAT that will be graded on a 400-1600 scoring system, provide students with up to 3 hours and 50 minutes to take the exam, including an optional 50-minute essay, no guessing penalty, and can also be taken via print or computer format. “I think they re-designed the SAT to better reflect current students who are learning in school,” counselor Desiree Meza said. “The way the questions are now being ordered [is] a lot [more] straightforward, before they were more confusing. So I think they are lining it more with the structure the way the SAT was [originally] designed.”
In January, junior Magda Harden made a joke about starting an organization where students could meet and walk their dogs together, as well as participate in various other activities. Shorty afterwards, the “Puppy Pals” club obtained a sponsor and became an official club that is now open to all students. “Magda is the one who started it [the club] at first. It all started off like it was a joke, then everyone showed enough interest,” junior Reilly Hanson said. “Then she took it to Mrs. Castellano, then a couple other teachers. Then it went to Mr. Mehlbrech, so he liked it.”
This year, the librarians implemented a new pass system which affects the number of students allowed to utilize the resources in the library during flex and lunch. The paper passes are now laminated cards, and are restricted into a certain amount. “We usually gave out 20, but we kept losing passes and students continued taking them to other places. We kept it at 20 because a lot of students already have permanent passes,” librarian Terri Sanchez said. “So those students come to me in the beginning of the year and say, ‘I'm going to the library every single day during lunch,’ so I gave them permanent passes. So in addition to the 20 there’s also those kiddos coming in.”
After arriving home from school, senior Olivia Garza eventually begins working on her homework. Around midnight, she decides to call it a night and go to bed. Around 4:30 AM, she wakes up and may continue to work on more homework, or in some cases, squeeze in a little extra sleep until 7:30, just to make it to school by 8 AM and squeeze in a little more study time. The next night, the cycle repeats itself.
This summer the North East Board of Trustees presented a 499.95 million dollar bond after receiving input from NEISD principals, district staff, parents, students, and community members. The 2015 bond focuses on five main categories, according to an article posted on the district’s website, including safety and security, technology, operations, extracurricular and facilities. Some of the proposals include replacing the 60 year old bleachers at Comalander Stadium, adding security check-in vestibules, and expanding or even replacing band halls and fine arts facilities at Churchill, Johnson, Reagan, MacArthur, and at several middle schools, including Nimitz, Bradley, Driscoll, White and Wood.