November Dispatches from Marfa journalism class

Music program flourishes at MISD

By Tori and Aubrie

It’s that time of year again; the holidays are right around the corner! Thanksgiving break starts a week from today, and then Christmas break begins three weeks after that! To celebrate the season, the Marfa High School Choir will head over to Sul Ross State University to sing during a Christmas Tree Lighting concert on December 4. They will perform beautiful songs and light up a Christmas tree! This will be the beginning of a busy schedule for the new choir program at MISD: on December 8, at 6:30 p.m. in the JE Gregg Auditorium, the MJH/HS choir will perform. The next week, on December 15, 3rd-6th grades will perform at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium, and the next day, again at 6:30, the PK-2nd grade will perform their Christmas concert. Ms. Kerzee, the music teacher, is looking forward to the upcoming events. “My favorite part of teaching music is seeing it all come together,” she said. She also mentioned that Christmas came early for her guitar class this year. The students were donated six new guitars by local Marfa business Convenience West and also were granted $1000 by the Marfa Education Foundation for four new guitars (for 10 total) and various accessories.

Aubrie and I decided to ask some fellow students that are in the choir and guitar classes about their experiences in MISD’s new music program. We asked them about what they’re learning, if they’re enjoying it, and if they’re nervous about the upcoming concerts.

Lesly Torres, a junior, is in both choir and guitar classes. She said, “We’re learning how to read music notes as well as harmonize.” She says that she enjoys the music and choir program a lot, “because it is new to us.” She’s nervous about upcoming performances “because I’m scared I’ll mess up.” Don’t worry Lesly! You’ll be fine!

Another student (who wishes to stay anonymous) is in choir. In choir, they are learning songs about Christmas. When asked if she’s nervous about the upcoming concert the student replied, “Yes, because ain’t nobody wants to hear me sing!” These reporters disagree and are excited to listen to our peers sing! 

Chailyn Melendez, a senior, is in guitar class. She told us, “We’re learning how to play a few songs.” She enjoys the class a lot “because it’s fun!” Like others, when we asked about pre-performance nerves, she said, “Oh yes very, I’m afraid to mess up because they’ll hear me.” But Aubrie and I are here to say, messing up is fine! Just keep going, you’ve got this!  

Another anonymous student is participating in choir and wanted to answer questions. They’re preparing for the presentation for Christmas. They enjoy the music class because they’re learning new things. When asked if they were nervous for the concert, they replied “yes,” in a nervous tone before adding, “It’s taking place in Alpine!”

Samantha is also a student that’s participating in choir. She explained to us that they’re learning the National Anthem. She enjoys the class very much because it’s fun, full of girls, and “we’re all cute!” Finally, her response to the question if she was nervous for the concert was, “No, I’m not really nervous, just as long as Ummi is there.” She finished with a big smile and a small laugh.

Ms. Kerzee thinks these students are building a solid foundation to grow a very strong music program at Marfa ISD as they soak up information like being able to read music and learn to sing and play together.

MISD college trip on Monday for juniors and seniors 

By Chris 

On Monday, November 15, ten seniors and juniors will embark on the trip of their lifetimes to San Angelo! The purpose of this trip is to visit colleges –– perhaps colleges that we will attend in the near future! I, too, am going on this trip to see Angelo State University and consider what next year holds in store. 

On Monday, we will depart Marfa around 1:45 p.m. to arrive in San Angelo around 6 in the evening. 

The next morning we will tour San Angelo University and will later tour Howard College in the afternoon. For the final day we will travel to Sweetwater where we will tour the Texas State Technical College (TSTC). Afterwards, we will begin to travel back to Marfa.

Although I’m most excited about getting out of school, I’m also excited to stay at the Holiday Inn Express and have a pillow fight with my roommates, Cristian Ontiveros and Ian Marquez (the other senior boys coming on the trip). I can’t wait, either, to tour ASU’s business college, since I want to get my MBA one day so I can franchise my own Taco Bell right here in Marfa.

I am also excited to tour TSTC, because if college falls through, a good second choice would be to become a professional welder. 

When asked what she’s most excited about during the upcoming trip, senior Soraya Vallez said, “I am excited about touring Angelo State, which is one of my top college choices, and stuffing my face with Chick-Fil-A.” 

Ian Marquez said, “I am most excited for the free food and I am hoping to see my grandma.” 

Cristian said, “I’m excited to see and have new opportunities like meeting new people, to get out of school and have a pleasant time with my friends.”

In conclusion, I can’t wait to get out of town with this awesome group of lovable classmates!

November birthdays: A shared birthday.

By Carmen Cavaness

During the month of November, many important events are happening. National Carbonated Beverage with Caffeine day is November 20, Thanksgiving is November 25, Black Friday is November 26. But, the most important events are birthdays! And, no, not Mrs. Donaldson’s birthday, not Annaka’s birthday, not Lousia from Little Stripes’ birthday, although those too are in November, no –– the most important birthday by far approaches: Amber’s and Carmen’s (my) birthday! Mark your calendars for November 20!

“Oh, what’s so exciting about two boring ol’ birthdays, huh?” you may ask? Well, let me tell you! I mean, yeah, it’s exciting because it’s the day I was born. I get gifts, cake, ice cream, and practically everyone in my family gives me attention. But no, not just that, I get to share it with one of the first people I met here: my pal Amber. 

Honestly, it was a bit of a shock when Amber and I found out we were born on the same day. Annaka, Amber, and I were walking in the hallways, heading towards Ms. Lara’s room as I recall, when one of them asked my birthday. I replied, “November 20th, 2006,” when Amber eagerly responded, “No way! Me too!” I thought she was messing around with me, so I questioned her, “Really!?” She nodded in confirmation.

This was the first time I’d found someone to share a birthday with. Sure, I’ve shared names with people, but trust me, that isn’t the same as this. My excitement was too much for Amber to handle. She doesn’t really want anyone to know when her birthday is, but I most definitely do! This ends up being a bit of a problem: whether accidentally or purposefully, I end up mentioning our birthday being the same a lot. To everyone. 

Even after knowing each other for a while, it still makes me excited and happy to think about Amber and I being born on the same day. I like the thought of sharing our birthday. On the 20th, I’ll probably spam text her and tell everyone to wish her a happy birthday whether she likes it or not. She’s going to deal once a year with all the attention on her for the rest of our lifelong friendship.

Amber speaks up:

Sharing a birthday with a friend is pretty cool. What are the odds that you were born on the same day and same year as one of your friends? It feels special!

But there are some downsides to sharing a birthday, at least in my opinion. When it’s my birthday, I generally don’t want everyone to know. Being the center of attention is really awkward for me. Like when you’re getting sung happy birthday, where am I supposed to look? Do I sing along? Where do I put my hands? And then when people say happy birthday to me there’s about a 75% chance I’m going to say happy birthday back to them. Well, at least with Carmen, it won’t be a mistake. 

Recently, because of my friendship with Carmen, if I did want to keep my birthday a secret, it wouldn’t really work out. Carmen thinks it’s awesome that we share a birthday. I get reminded everyday of how many days away our birthday is, starting on November 1, when she exclaims, “It’s 19 days till our birthday!”

On my birthday, I usually tell people not to sing to me (because, again, what do you do!?), and I usually don’t tell anyone on the day. Don’t get me wrong, I like my birthday. If my friends didn’t remember I would be disappointed. Plus, Carmen would get very emotional if someone forgot her birthday; she started to tear up just by reading that I didn’t want people to celebrate OUR birthday. For her, I’ll try not to be so awkward on the day we turn 15.

Post-COVID-19 behavior update

By Kassandra

Ever since COVID-19 came upon Earth, things have changed dramatically. People wear masks, socially distance, and, last year, did online school. Now that COVID is starting to go down again, we’re slowly transitioning back into our former lives.

Students this year are now acting up, being reckless, and are acting like kids again and going out again, instead of staying home and being lazy. Kids have become more disruptive in classrooms, and started to be more rebellious against teachers. Is this because they had no teachers who were able to properly punish them during online school? Is there really a difference between “normal” bad kid behavior two years ago and what’s happening this year? 

An article in the New York Times by Jessica Grose states that, “For older children and teens … some previously motivated kids are less engaged. Perhaps they fell behind during remote learning and feel discouraged now … Others have anxiety about the virus and may still be reeling from grief if they’ve lost family members.” Grose interviewed teachers from all over the country and wrote, “Everyone said, overall, their students are happy to be back in the classroom … the other consistent response is that many kids in their classrooms are socially and emotionally anywhere from six to 18 months behind where they are in a normal year.” Thus, ninth graders are acting more like eighth graders, seventh graders more like sixth graders, etc.

To see what my peers thought of this, I went around asking my friends how COVID affected them. My friend Amber stated, “COVID didn’t really affect me. The masks. I didn’t like wearing them. They caused me to get really bad acne. Um, yeah. Nothing has changed. I’m still failing my classes.”

Another student said, “COVID sucked. Especially online school, it was bad and kind of annoying.” After that, she pretty much just replied to everything as annoying and that she didn’t really care about anything because nothing really changed.

Carmen said, “Yeah. COVID kinda stunk. I didn’t like it at my old school, but this school was a bit lighter on the COVID stuff, but nevertheless, still annoying.”