The Journal Online News Site of Decatur High School Tue, 31 Mar 2020 22:33:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Thinking Out Loud Tue, 31 Mar 2020 22:33:22 +0000 more »]]> As an avid writer and reader, I should love all this self-isolation. Time no longer stands as an issue, all distracting events are cancelled anyway and sometimes it seems as though the world peacefully sleeps. Except, even the lure of a stress free learning environment, sleeping in and wearing comfortable clothes all day cannot distract me from everything I miss for this comfort. 

The reasons behind quarantining populations certainly warrant merit, because I want this virus to end as much as the next person. Preventing the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic in any way possible shows admirable action from leaders across the world, and everyday I pray for their progress. But even in my understanding, I feel selfish for always returning to the thoughts of what I am being forced to miss, instead of focusing on those whose lives are on the line. I suppose human nature compels one to turn inward first, for there are times when I am grateful to this quarantined lifestyle.

The main problem lies in the milestones. As a senior especially, it pains me from the inside out to be absent from so many events I anxiously awaited. FFA , tennis tournaments, UIL events, senior prom, senior breakfast, and graduation, to name a few. My whole life has been turned upside down. At this point there remains a chance of resuming some of these activities, so despite probabilities, I still hold hope for the future. 

In a brighter light, some advantages exist to being stuck inside. I feel more accomplished regarding nearly everything, without the distractions of events or mandatory activities I am able to learn at my own pace and make time for extra projects, such as learning sign language. In addition, the quarantine afforded me with my first opportunity this year to really connect with my family instead of my usual spring schedule of never being home to see them or cooped upstairs every night with a mountain of homework. Most days I sleep until 8:30 every morning, then do homework in my home’s study, surrounded by windows and listening to classical music. With work finished around 2:00 pm, I play games, watch movies, paint, write, read and cook. My life feels more complete, even as it misses so much.

Mostly I feel wistful. Thankful, but wistful. I am living in an event that will one day be talked about in history books, and I am simply going through my everyday life, inside. For those reading who feel the same as I do, take advantage of this time, no matter what you miss. There may be a few milestone memories that will not exist, so make new ones with all the time provided now. Go hug a family member you live with or send a socially distanced hug to someone else. Engage in human connection through any way possible, because that is the only way to get through this: together.


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Burning The Competition Wed, 11 Mar 2020 15:52:17 +0000 more »]]> Track and field season is underway with all of its high flyers, fast runners and all around athletes. The year, although young, already brings excitement. In the second meet of the season at Richland, senior Triston Read broke the Decatur 800 M record running a 1:54:63.

“Breaking the record was definitely a big thing for me,” Triston Read said. “I felt good and I really just wanted to do my best to win.”

Read, who went to state last year for the Eagles, hopes to return this year with a chance of coming out victorious this time.

“Going to state was fun last year, but I want to come out and do better,” Read said. “We know that a lot of us have a part in taking home some medals and we will do all we can to try and make that happen.”

The girls also bring their own goals to the table, and the talent they possess gives them a good chance to accomplish those goals. 

“I want to return to regionals this year in the 400, 200 and 4×400 relay because I felt like I was really close to making it to state last year,” sophomore Kaylee Peterson said. “I really hope to get my personal record this time around.”

Track is difficult, with all of its different types of races and the tough competition the competitors face in field events, which makes this season even more of an uphill climb. 

“I run the 400, 200 and the 4×400 relay and they are difficult for sure,” Peterson said. “They are so hard because they are all really close to each other each meet, so you have to regroup really fast so you can do your best every meet.”

Although this is the last year for the seniors to run, the memories they accumulated over the years are sure to last forever.

“Over my four years here I have had fun hanging with all my friends and getting to go to all the meets with them,” senior Noah Young said. “We have had many successes together and it has been memorable.”

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Jumping forward in Earth’s Orbit Tue, 10 Mar 2020 15:33:29 +0000 more »]]> Growing up, many people never receive an explanation about why February gains an extra day every four years. Each year, the Earth spins for about 365.25 days. Every four years, February needs that one day to make up for that extra day we missed within those years in order to keep the balance.

Confusing? Most people agree. However, without the extra day added, the time of the seasons falls into disarray and the calendar commonly used today requires major change almost every year, more than the slight change that already happens. Because of these effects, leap day remains one of the smartest creations of past times. 

Julius Caesar and Cleopatra helped create the Gregorian calendar and added the extra day because the Earth’s rotation takes a little more than 365 days. Every four years, the added day makes up for the extra quarter of a day that occurs during the years leading into leap year. 

Over time, this leads to the seasons becoming skewed, because as the Earth orbits a bit faster each year, they end up in different places of the year. This means that seasons end up with no specific dates for when one season begins and another ends, and eventually without adding the day, winter could be spring and summer fall. 

If the next hundred years went without a leap year, the calendar loses about 24 days. The leap day ensures that the calendar stays balanced and that the Earth stays predictable within the day and seasons. As an extra bonus, this additional day also means that people receive one more day to accomplish whatever they want within the new year. People often use that extra day to work on their self confidence, or to read that one book that helps them to reach their goal.

As if adding a day wasn’t confusing enough, things like Daylight Savings Time throws another wrench into the way time evolves. 

Daylight Savings Time happens twice a year because people wanted to utilize the natural sunlight. It helped during World War I and helps people to make use of their time better. It also used to help farmers when they needed to use all of their daylight time diligently to complete a hard day’s work. However, Arizona opts to skip the Daylight Savings Time altogether due to the amount of sunlight they receive. If they were to adjust their tie by an hour, they gain an extra hour of sunlight during the hottest time of the year. This only raises electricity bills due to people running their air conditioning and for schools and businesses to pay more to keep students and employees cooled off.  Without the extra hour, they enjoy the cool evening without the scorching hot sun. Hawaii also chooses not to observe Daylight Savings Time due to insignificant change in the daylight length between winter and summer. 

Daylight Savings Time happens on the same date each year, so when Leap Year rolls around, they end up right around the corner of each other, often within the same week. These ideas not only help with the balance of the earth, but it also provides substantial benefits to the year.

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Bringing Front to the Front Stage Fri, 06 Mar 2020 16:41:36 +0000 more »]]> The DHS Theater Department fine-tunes their production of Front by Robert Caisley for the UIL One Act Play District Competition this Saturday, March 7. Senior Kaitlyn Lane plays the role of stage manager for the production.

“Auditions went on pretty early in the year, right after the musical,” Lane said. “From there, we analyzed the characters and tech work we could do. Then, we got the actors on stage with their blocking.”

Lane remains excited for presenting the production at competition, yet still feels weary when thinking about the teams the production faces.

“It is scary, because last year I was pretty confident we could advance,” Lane said. “The competition this year is more advanced, and so it’s more stressful because we don’t know what we’re up against.”

For the theater director, Laura Gafford, the play acts as a medium to show the true hard work that the theater students have put into Front.

“I’m looking forward for the students to get to show their hard work off,” Gafford said. “I know they’ll put on the best show possible, and, as a teacher, that’s all I can ask for. All I can ask is that they put on the best show possible that they can, and I’ll be proud no matter what the outcome is, if that’s the case.”

This anticipation that Lane, Gafford and many of the thespians share remains persistent throughout the troupe. As stage manager and director, they both hold a part in the backbone of the production, deciding the interpretive parts of the play. In juxtaposition, junior Jackson Wann takes on the role of Tom in Front.

“Personally, I have put a lot of effort into the way I deliver my lines, get into character, and work on my accent,” Wann said. “I find it very rewarding to put a lot of effort in, even if we don’t advance, it’s a great learning experience and a great way to get out of your comfort zone, but also have fun.”

As competition approaches, Wann anticipates a good outcome; however, he believes that, regardless of the show’s standing in the UIL One Act Play competition, the work put in remains well worth it. 

“I hope that we will be advancing,” Wann said. “I believe in this cast, our show, and the hard work we have put in. No matter how we do, I will be proud of how far we have come and the amount of passion and determination each member has put into this show. I’m super excited to start competing and cannot wait to see the outcome.”

The passion that Wann references holds the same recognition by Gafford. Gafford cherishes the sense of community that the organization creates and states that it makes it rewarding for herself.

“As a teacher, it’s rewarding to watch the collaborative process as the students bring their unique ideas and viewpoints to the show,” Gafford said. “They form a special bond with each other since they all spend countless hours working to achieve the same goal of putting on the best show possible. It’s rewarding for me to see the bonds they form and the fun they have during that process.”

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Reading to Escape Tue, 25 Feb 2020 05:38:59 +0000 more »]]> This world that stresses the majority of teens out needs room for them to escape into another world for a few hours. In the next few weeks, Irving, Texas plans the annual North Texas Teen Book Festival. This book fair allows teens who need to escape the world for hours at a time to meet the people who write the books as well as YouTubers who read and talk about the books. 

For teens, reading benefits them and their future. They gain all the comprehension skills that their future jobs possibly need and it gives them a healthy way to cope with situations in which they struggle. This festival helps connect all these teens through their passion of reading. 

Since elementary school, teachers hand out classics that cause students to fall asleep or trudge through the book, unwillingly causing teenagers who hate reading to stray further from books. With each assignment books contain a variety of worlds that really transport the reader there with them, like watching a movie that depicts a full description that their imagination creates. These teens who want to go to this book fair know that when they see their favorite person on Yotube who speaks about these books, it means so much more.

While some hate it, reading also helps with school work. It helps with strengthening teens’ vocabulary and when it comes to English and history exams, it helps quite a bit. Teachers appreciate students who speak eloquently and it makes them look far more mature than their age. Some of the Youtubers who just enjoy these teen books like the feeling of a world that takes them to impossible places and that beats the world of reality.

Reading truly unites teens everywhere. The way some book lovers’ eyes twinkle when they talk about a book that changed their lives because it relates to their current life or emotions moves these authors. An author’s purpose in writing comes from wanting people to enjoy the book, but also with the hope of changing someone for the better. A book out there changes a life, so people need to share the love of reading and come out to the book festival, free to enter, and find someone who shares the same passion.

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The Road to Playoffs Starts Here Fri, 21 Feb 2020 17:09:37 +0000 more »]]> Regular season play just ended for the Eagles and Lady Eagles and it seems to the players and fans alike that the journey has just begun. Both teams look to shake things up a bit in the highly anticipated 2020 playoff season.  Lady Eagles already took care of business in their first playoff game, dispatching Brownwood 40-28 and punching their ticket to the area round against Graham tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Jacksboro High School. 

“We’re really excited for the opportunity to move and play for even more,” senior Katie Hale said. “We’re already looking forward [tonight.]”

The Lady Eagles held Brownwood to eight points in the second half, and increased the momentum in the second half to overtake the Lions attack. 

“I think we responded well from our poor play in the first half,” junior Kenedy Houchin said. “We got down early, but we kept playing hard and we came out on top.” 

On the boys side, Decatur took down Krum 65-52, clinching back to back district titles and the one seed for the 2020 state playoffs. Decatur plays Godley on Monday at 6 p.m. in a rematch of the first round from last year at Weatherford High School. 

“Last year we won every game in district and we kind of got the one seed a little easier than this year,” senior Grayson Harris said. “We faced adversity losing to Argyle a few weeks ago, but we kept plugging and we found a way to win the district again.”

The return to the playoffs bring the same expectations as the teams felt at the beginning of the season. The dreams of a state title and a ring still hold true, and the boys and girls journeys truly begin right now. 

“We have big goals right now. We’ve had them all season so nothing has changed obviously,” senior Gage Rieger said. “We think we can go all the way, but we have to take it one game at a time and just stay the course.” 

Although the real journey just now begins, the season both teams experienced remain special in their own rights. The Eagles and Lady Eagles still have so much more to give, and fans need to continue their support and follow both teams in the most important time of their seasons.

“Winning the Decatur tournament, the Whataburger tournament and the District championship has made the season extremely unique and special so far,” junior Calaway Dykes said. “We still have a lot to give, and people can look forward to us getting better and trying to win it all.”

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Keep Your Paws to Yourself Thu, 13 Feb 2020 17:16:45 +0000 more »]]> Recently, authorities announced that they need the public’s help in finding the culprits who committed animal cruelty offenses, including a dog in Wise County cut in half and thrown out on a random county road and multiple reports of cattle being shot in Montague County. 

Animal cruelty happens all over. No matter how wrong, these ill-intent abusers still hurt innocent animals, and it needs to stop. It not only affects the owners of these animals deeply, but the satisfaction that these perpetrators feel from harming animals remains short-lived, causing more crime. 

Each offender who commits these acts of cruelty possesses their own reasons as to why they harm animals. It might involve a horrific past and instead of taking it out on human beings, they turn to animals. Maybe they commit these crimes for fun, testing out harming animals before escalating to more violent acts. Whatever the reason, animal cruelty is not the answer.

Unlike humans, many animals lack the ability to defend themselves. They struggle for help, but humans possess ultimate power over them, leaving them a minute chance to fight back, especially when weapons are involved

Some abusers deal with psychological issues where they just need to entertain themselves. Others use this as a way to avoid more severe penalties in committing higher crimes. For some abusers, they want to test their future crimes out on wild animals like rabbits, deer and even mice, so it goes unnoticed by many people. When one sees an act of cruelty- report it. It’s never okay, and if it goes unreported, it continues and more people commit more violence toward the innocent creatures over time. An innocent animal means something to someone and needs protection from these predators who want to hurt them. 

In most cases, animals eventually become family and the injury or loss of a family member holds the possibility of tearing the rest of the family apart. Animals help the majority of people, whether through guiding a blind person or even providing a calming presence for pet owners. Animals provide kids and adults a best friend along with love and joy and they possess their own reasons for owning and choosing to care for an animal, but ultimately predators need to stop stealing that love and joy for those that simply appreciate nature and creatures alike.

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Kicking Into Gear Thu, 13 Feb 2020 17:14:58 +0000 more »]]> The 2020 Soccer season is underway and the Eagles and Lady Eagles have started the year strong. The Lady Eagles began the season 3-2-1. Both teams start district play February 14 against Argyle. 

“This year will be a challenge for sure,” freshman Miranda Mares said. “It will be tough for me because I am the youngest one and I have to play really well.”

A freshman playing a varsity sport is tough and Mares must endure that tough job this season.

“I like to think that I am an important piece on this team, and I want to help anyway I can,” Mares said. “We have a lot of good players, and being so young on a good team will definitely help me as I keep playing through the years.”

A great start to a year surely gives a team confidence for the rest of the season, and the Lady Eagles strong beginning helps that for the games ahead. 

“We have played really well and we are happy about the progress we are making,” sophomore Yuriana Varela said. “We all enjoy each other and I think that helps team chemistry which helps us play better.”

On the men’s side, the Eagles started the year 6-2-1. A fantastic start for a team that has high aspirations this year.

“We have started the year well. I think that has a lot to do with the work we put in practice,” sophomore Abel Rodriguez said. “We can still improve a lot. In practice, in being disciplined, in all the little things. We have a lot of room to get better.”

Both Decatur teams bring a lot of experience, but important youth. The well rounded groups give Decatur depth and a chance to continue their upward trajectory. 

  “We all have things we can do to make us be as good as possible,” Rodriguez said. “We all have to do our part and we have a chance to be really good.”

The team’s hope to win as much as possible to finish the season and hopefully send the seniors out on a high note. 

“I’m most excited about district games because I think we have a pretty decent chance of doing well,” senior MaryFaith Tune said. “Past years we haven’t been great but we have a great group of players this year.”

After four years, the players’ knowledge grew on and off the field. The things the players acquired plays an important role in their future because the discipline and sacrifices they make everyday is present throughout all aspects of life.

“There has been so much I have learned over my years here at Decatur,” Tune said. “I’ve learned how to play with others as a team, but I have also learned how to take charge when needed.”

This soccer season definitely ranks as on of the most memorable for both teams. 

“It has been so fun to be a part of this program, and build friendships that will last a life time,” senior Sarah Dalton said. “This group of girls has meant so much.”

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Art Meets Science Wed, 12 Feb 2020 16:32:20 +0000 more »]]> Regardless of background, art always holds the ability to bring people together. Exactly this happened between science teacher Christine Carreno and former DHS student Katelynn Cimini. Carreno asked Cimini to make her a piece for the classroom, and this brought the alumned art student back to her roots.

“I’m friends with her on Facebook, she had posted that she graduated from college in art, and she posted pictures of her paintings on Facebook,” Carreno said. “I messaged her on Facebook asking if she’d paint one for my classroom that is science or biology related.” 

Cimini accepted, and Carreno actually connected with Cimini’s work because they reminded her of her mother, who practices watercolor painting herself.

“I love to follow former students and see what they’re doing,” Carreno said. “She’s really good at watercolor and my mom does some watercolor, and so I saw the beautiful things she was making and was like ‘Please, please, please!’”

The painting’s delivery took place on Tuesday, February 4. Behind the watercolors hides a deeper scientific meaning.

“It was really nice to see Mrs. Carreno again,” Cimini said. “I had her for Chemistry sophomore year and AP Biology my senior year. Really, I just loved science and she was an amazing science teacher. I think her class taught me to critically think and pay attention to nature. There is still so much we are learning, and have yet to learn. Nature has a way of building on itself, which I think is just awesome.”

Cimini remained excited throughout the process of getting her work into a classroom, and she thought of it as a perfect opportunity to raise awareness for something she cares about deeply.

“The painting has bees on it, and this species is becoming reduced in number,” Carreno said. “The painting also has a mushroom cap. Kaitlynn was telling me that people are using the mycelium of the mushrooms to feed the bees, which is bringing back and actually helping the population of the bees.”

This method of bringing back bee populations actually came as a surprise to Carreno, showing that knowledge remains a two way street and that people learn new things everyday. 

“I found out about the mycelium extract when I was listening to a Joe Rogan podcast,” Cimini said. “He had a mycologist on by the name of Paul Stamets. He has spent a lot of time studying bees and eventually theorized that bees use mushrooms to help strengthen their immune systems.”

Cimini wants to use her work to spread awareness about sustainability and the importance of balancing ecosystems.

“Bees, and most insects, are so important to the Earth’s ecosystems and there is a rapid decline in most insect species,” Cimini said. “Bees are one of the biggest contributors to pollination. Without pollination we wouldn’t have food to eat, thus our ecosystems would collapse. So really I’m just trying to draw attention to something that really needs it. Bees need our help.”

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Weighing In on the New Year Thu, 23 Jan 2020 13:49:40 +0000 more »]]> Powerlifting season is underway and once again Coaches Scott Warner and Ty Lang lead the teams through each meet. The Eagles sent three people to state last year, and they hope to repeat the success again this year.

“Last year we sent three to state, and we think they can return to that stage again,” Lang said. “The three that went were great all year, and we think that they can do even better this year.” 

The sport carries plenty of misconceptions because people see it as requiring great brute and strength. 

“People always think that you have to be like Arnold Swhartzanager to lift, and that’s just not usually how it works,” Lang said. “Most of our lifters don’t look chiseled or anything like that. They just know how to lift the weight, and they get the job done.”

One of the state finalists last year, junior Leigh Ann Sitzman, hopes to make a return to the big stage and make a bigger statement this year.

“I’m super excited for this year and for the team,” Sitzman said. “Last year was successful, so I hope we can have similar success.”

The Eagles keep working hard in practice each morning, hoping that the hard work pays off and sends the Eagles back to the UIL State Championships. 

“We’re gonna keep working hard obviously,” Lang said. “We think we can really improve this year, and really make a push for those kids at state.” 

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