Senior Editor Reminisces On Staff And Year

By Makala Finley |

It’s been a year of ups and downs. From working on three day deadlines, arguing about who was going to take what story and at one point being the only North East Independent School trying to balance both print and online newspapers, it’s no doubt that this year has been strenuous. Emotions have run very high, and the tension at times was almost unbearable.

Senior Students Crowned As Superlatives

By Makala Finley| Photos By Bianca Loera

After three years of enduring the forever long TAKS week, seniors finally got the chance to kick back and relax. During TAKS week there were multiple activities planned for the seniors. On Wednesday April 27 seniors united as one in the auditorium for a memorable day of speeches, movies, a talent show and the infamous superlative announcement.

Unique Team Headed To Nationals

Photo Courtesy David Masters, Flickr Creative Commons | Story By Makala Finley |

Amongst the success of sports teams, academic teams and spirit teams many forget about other extracurricular teams. On April 16, the Wool Judging Team, coached by Mike Wallace headed to the State Competition knowing that in order to move on they would have to place first or second against the 51 other teams from all across the state of Texas.

Art Students’ Work Selected For Permanent Display

By Makala Finley |

After displaying art at Say Sí for the SHARE (Students Help Art Reach Everyone) program in March, two art students have been selected by judges to have their art permanently displayed at the Pam Stephens center which serves students and children with special needs. Seniors Victoria Reyes and Jennifer Hester have left a stamp on the art program and on San Antonio itself, and their art can now be enjoyed for years to come. The students were both very happy and shocked that they’ve received this honor.

Newly Designed Landscaping and Amphitheater Provides Hidden Meaning

By Makala Finley

With new state-of-the-art infrastructure, the campus is slowly evolving into what looks like a college campus. Aside from the new buildings, newly-thought-out landscaped areas are beginning to make an appearance. While driving through the front “circle,” students and parents may notice a newly-designed area known as “The Victory Garden.” The new area features two plaques, landscaped flowers, and a sidewalk to enhance the side of the library. To add to the college vibe, a JM symbol is under the works to light up whenever a sports team brings home a victory. Though covered in pea gravel at this time, eventually paver will be added to the victory garden, and students and alumni will be able to purchase a piece of pavement with their names and graduations year. The Victory Garden was made possible by Joeris, the company who also built the new fine arts facility, athletic complex and the the AG area. They provided Madison with this new garden at no cost.

“It was nice of Joeris to do this for us, however it’s kind of the right thing to do since construction was kinda held back,” senior Dallas Campbell said. “It definitely makes the campus more unique compared to other schools.”

Featured in the Victory Garden are two plaques. One plaque is dedicated dedicated to a 1999 Madison graduate, Lance Graham, who was killed in the line of duty at Desert Storm. The other is dedicated to the Class of 1989 and the late Principal Youngham who worked at Madison and then Central Office. He was killed in a boating accident.

The Victory Garden doesn’t just add beautification to the Maverick campus, it also provides students with insight to where Madison has come from.

“I just feel it [the Victory Garden] represents tradition and history. We’re coming up on 40 years of history and students should know historical significance,” principal Chris Thompson said. “Plus, it’s prettier.”

In addition to the Victory Garden is also the new amphitheater known as The Gilmore. This newly-built theater building represents a story of unity. “The Gilmore” got its name from the story of George and Polly Gilmore, once enslaved African Americans who were given the opportunity of a lifetime courtesy of James and Dolly Madison. After emancipation, George Gilmore got the opportunity to lease land from Dr. James Madison in the late 1860s. By 1870, the Gilmores had built a cabin and then in the early 1900s they had finally purchased 16 acres of land from Madison. Eventually, a plaque will be added to the amphitheater and it will explain the significance of the name in concurrence with what Madison stands for.

” It’s a place where we all come together. That is what this family did; they established unity. Unity, equity, whatever you may call it, it’s what we are,” Thompson said.

Adminstrators have high hopes for the message that is portrayed through The Gilmore.

“It will signify the inclusive nature of the James Madison High School and what we stand for, and what our founding fathers stood for,” Assistant Principal Joseph Williams said.

Fun In Sun At Nationals

Photo By Rania Dotson | Story By Makala Finley

Third time is often known as the charm, however for the cheerleaders it’s just another year that they placed top ten in the national cheerleading championship. The 37 girls competed Feb. 12 and 13 at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The girls spent five days in florida and their time consisted of practicing for the competition, attending district dinner at Animal Kingdom and enjoying their time at Disney World by riding rides. This is the third year in a row that the varsity team has placed in the top ten at nationals.

“We’ve gotten top ten three year in a row, so we’ve definitely met those standards,” sophomore varsity member Madison Stewart said. “I think that it encourages incoming freshmen to want to be part of our top ten streak.”

Though an exciting time for the cheerleaders, for the seniors it was also a time of sadness knowing that it was their last year that they would travel to Nationals.

“It was sad at first since it’s my last year, but it’s good closure. I was just glad we made it and I was proud to have all of my friends down there with me,” senior Ashley Corey said.

In addition, the JV team were semi-finalists.

“I’m happy with where everyone ended up, it was a learning experience. I am very proud of them,” cheerleading coach Brandi Boyd said.

And Then There Was One…State Champion That Is

Varsity, junior varsity cheer excel at competition | By Makala Finley | Winning a state championship is something to be happy about, but when it’s the third consecutive year that this coveted title is received, happiness is an understatement. On Jan. 23 the varsity and junior varsity cheerleaders competed at the state championship held in the Texas State University gym. This is their third year for the varsity girls to bring this title home to the Mavs. The girls competed against six other teams in their division, and there were 125 schools total at the competition. The varsity cheerleaders have spent countless hours preparing for this annual competition, making their win that much more exhilarating.

Scholarships, Applications, Financial Aid Deadlines, OH MY!

Counselors provide advice for seniors, parents. |
By Makala Finley |

With just under 20 weeks left until that long awaited graduation date in June, many different deadlines are piling up. Scholarship deadlines, college deadlines and financial aide deadlines. Taxes will soon be ready, and the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) will be ready to fill out. Colleges and universities will begin giving away money on Feb. 1, so don’t miss the boat. Even if seniors feel that they do not qualify for financial aid, they still need to fill out the FAFSA. In most cases, there is almost always something out there for incoming freshman. For more assistance, students and parents should attend Financial Aid night on Feb. 3 at 6:30 in the library. Financial aid guru Marcus Cooper from Texas A&M University will be the key speaker. If possible, seniors should attend this helpful gathering.

“They’ll [students and parents] will get a lot of help. With changes this year, they’ll get new information about the FAFSA,[learn] the difference between loans, scholarships and grants. [Financial Aid Night] will give a gfoundation for filling out the FAFSA and the financial aid process,” counselor Karla Ridings said.

Besides the financial aid deadlines, college application deadlines are beginning to pop up and seniors should be aware of the dates so they do not miss the deadline to apply to the school of their choice. Seniors should also check with their school of choice and take note of the school’s scholarship deadlines. Many colleges and universities offer a variety of scholarships for incoming freshman.

Lastly, for a limited time only, those seniors wanting to attend a local community college such as SAC can register to take the Accuplacer for no cost. Students should sign up in the GO center located in the counseling office. All they need to do is fill out a request in the counseling office and they will be called down to register. Later in the Spring, junior colleges will require the THEA(Texas Higher Education Assessment), which is more expensive than the Accuplacer.

Graduation is quickly approaching. It is important to keep grades high and know the deadlines. With free money being tossed around, no student should be left out. So here’s to 2nd semester Seniors! The journey is winding down.


Here’s a sneak peek at what will be going on for the Class of 2011’s last semester:

Feb. 1- Colleges start giving out financial aide

Feb. 3- Financial Aid Night at 6:30 in the library

Feb. 23- Ms. Saldivar will hold FAFSA assistance in the library from 12-6

Mar. 22- Summa Reception at 6. Tentatively will be help in the new auditorium

Mid-Spring- Awards Night

Jun. 6- GRADUATION at Freeman Coliseum


Fine Arts Building Sneak Peek

Following is a montage of photos taken by Juan Garcia at the end of November. He was fortunate to get a first look at the new building’s progress with Principal Chris Thompson. Tell us what you think!

Freshmen Girls Basketball Make Themselves Noticed

Photo By Rania Dotson | Story By Makala Finley |

They are a team that often goes unnoticed, however recognition is all that they deserve. On Tuesday, Nov. 23, the freshmen girl’s basketball team played against Antonian to bring home another win to make their record 3-1. The final score was 40-25. The game was described as a landslide, much like their other games.

“They came off really aggressive, went up 10 points during first quarter, and then stayed ahead the whole game until the fourth quarter when they [Antonian] started pressing us,” head coach Joseph Mcdaniel said. “[The girls] held strong, and Antonian only came within 15 points.”