October Dispatches from the Marfa ISD Journalism Class

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Mock Election to take place November 8 at MHS

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Mock Election to take place November 8

Journalism Class

November 8 is Election Day across the country, and American citizens will be going to vote in the midterms for several congressional seats, governorships, and a variety of other races and issues. In Marfa, there is also a school bond on the ballot that will determine whether a new school is constructed with advanced safety and technological features. To prepare students for the mock election taking place at MHS, in which students can vote for Texas governor and the school bond, the MHS Journalism Class has prepared a voting primer for those students who are undecided voters. Read on to learn more.


Gubernatorial candidate Republican Greg Abbott

By Taryn and Darren

In this election, we will be voting for the governor of Texas. Generally, in American elections, there are two sides: Republicans and Democrats. This year’s face of Texas Republicans is Greg Abbott. Greg Abbott is running on a conservative platform that promotes an end to human trafficking and a restoration of the Constiution, especially the Second Amendment.

Abbott is the current governor, and has been for eight years. He is staunchly pro-life. When Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court case that guaranteed abortion rights, was overturned this summer, Abbott set into effect a law that immediately banned all abortions in Texas. To the anger of many Democrats, this ban included all abortions that might be sought in the case of rape or incest, or pregnancies that may result in the death of or serious harm to the mother. Abbott and his wife have an adopted child, and he believes that women with unwanted pregnancies should surrender their children for adoption.

Greg Abbott also wants to secure the border. Securing the border means that Abbott believes in deporting immigrants to their native countries, and/or busing migrants to so-called sanctuary cities in blue states, like Washington D.C., New York and Chicago. Abbott’s website states, “President Biden’s open-border policies have led to a humanitarian crisis at our southern border as record levels of illegal immigrants, drugs, and contraband pour into Texas. The State of Texas is working collaboratively with communities impacted by the border crisis to arrest and detain individuals coming into Texas illegally. Our efforts will only be effective if we work together to secure the border, make criminal arrests, protect landowners, rid our communities of dangerous drugs, and provide Texans with the support they need and deserve.” Abbott has authorized many Texas law enforcement officials outside of the Border Patrol to arrest and detain or return migrants to the border.

Another tenet of Abbot’s central campaign issues is the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment is the right to bear all arms. The Constitution states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” To Greg Abbott, this one is the most important points of his campaign. Unlike Democrat Beto O’Rourke, Abbott does not support raising the age to purchase a gun to 21. He does not support a ban on assault-style weapons. He recently oversaw the instatement of permitless-carry in Texas, which means that those without gun permits can purchase and carry guns in public places.

Another thing Greg Abbott’s campaign touts are the conservative values and religious liberties that define Texans. He states that his administration fights for the principles of faith, family and freedom to make Texas a better place to live and raise a family. Earlier this year, Abbott laid the path to begin bringing child abuse charges against parents of transgender children and teens whose parents allow them “gender-affirming” care, or access to doctors who can help them in transitioning. 

The final major point of Abbott’s is to elevate the Texas education system. Greg Abbott knows that the minds that will power America’s future are being educated in Texas schools today so he believes he needs to shape their minds for the future. He is a proponent of the STAAR test and other standardized testing metrics.


Gubernatorial candidate Democrat Beto O’Rourke

By Messiah and Isaiah

For this month’s article, we are providing some facts on Beto O’Rourke, who is running as a Democrat for Texas governor. He was born on September 26, 1972, in El Paso, Texas, where he currently lives. Beto has been married since September 24, 2005, to Amy (née Hoover Sanders) O’Rourke, and they have three children, Henry, Molly and Ulysses O’Rourke, who are being raised in El Paso and who go to public schools there.

O’Rourke got his education at Columbia University in New York City. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature. After graduation he worked as a caretaker, an art mover, and for an internet service company run by his uncle. He also played in several bands in El Paso. He later took a position at H.W. Wilson company as a proofreader. 

For his first job in the government, Beto served in El Paso’s city council, and then as a member of the House of Representatives, as a representative of Texas’ 16th Congressional District. He rose to prominence in Texas when he ran a competitive race against incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

Beto is running on platforms that include issues like gun safety and reproductive rights in the wake of Uvalde, the mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart and the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

His platform about guns includes repealing permitless carry, implementing red flag laws, raising the age of gun purchase to 21, and severely restricting access by civilians to AK-47s and AR-15s. On his website, he states, “When a gunman drove to a Walmart in my hometown of El Paso and managed to kill nearly two dozen of my neighbors with an AK-47 in under three minutes, it made it all too clear to me that it is far too easy for Texans to get their hands on weapons of war that are designed specifically to kill people in masses in as little time as possible.”

In the months after the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, O’Rourke is also running on a “Reproductive Freedom” platform. His website states, “​​All Texans deserve the freedom to make their own decisions about their own body, their own health care, and their own future. We deserve the freedom to decide if, when, and with whom to start a family … Greg Abbott believes the government has the right to upend these freedoms. He signed the most extreme abortion ban in the entire nation, with no exception for rape or incest — and on his watch, Texas is now leading the effort to ban abortion even in cases where women will die without one.”

In addition, Beto’s progressive platform includes protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, and the promise to “pass this state’s first comprehensive nondiscrimination law, protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all, and make sure LGBTQ+ Texans know that they’re not only welcome here, but that they belong here.”

In schools, O’Rourke as governor promises to “end this state’s over-reliance on high-stakes standardized testing,” and “put more money into our kids’ classrooms and reject any effort to take your public tax dollars out of [Texas] schools. We will recruit and retain the best and brightest educators by raising teacher pay, strengthening health care and retirement benefits, and treating teachers with the respect they deserve.”

O’Rourke’s proposed border and immgration policies also differ from Abbott’s. He believes, “We can … deter illegal migration by guaranteeing legal pathways … We can support businesses, reduce supply chain delays, and bring down inflation with a new guest worker program that provides a legal way for migrants to fill labor shortages in key Texas industries like agriculture, oil and gas, and manufacturing. And we can reform our family reunification system so that it no longer takes more than 20 years for U.S. citizens to legally bring family members over from other countries … We can invest in border enforcement that actually works. That means more smart technology like sensors, surveillance towers, and drones that can detect crossings between ports of entry and help enforcement authorities carry out arrests. It also means additional processing capacity to allow us to more efficiently screen migrants for asylum eligibility, run criminal background checks, and quickly deport anyone who is here illegally or who poses a threat to our country.”


Opinion: Vote for Beto!

By Zaley

As a strongly opinionated independent-leaning liberal, I take it upon myself to help lean our potential voters for this year’s mock election in the right (as in the left) direction. Let’s summarize some of Abbott’s positions on important issues that I disagree with the most.

1) Gun control. Abbott has shown very little empathy for the issues of gun violence, especially so towards the most recent shooting in Uvalde. As seen in the candidate’s debate at UTRGV, when asked about gun laws and violence, Abbott expressed that he is unwilling to do anything to change any state laws. After being shown a clip of a Uvalde victim and survivor protesting for the age to carry firearms to 21, Abbott replied that although a little girl should never have to go through something like that, should never have to say something like that, and although Florida has passed the state law of the age of carrying a firearm to 21, passing any kind of safety law having to do with the second amendment is “unrealistic” in Texas.

2) Abortion. Abbott is pro-life (meaning he does not support abortion). In this case, I understand both sides of the argument. Conservatives are coming from a place of religion and empathy and liberals are coming from a place of women’s rights and medical situations. While both are understandable, we need to consider that there are several instances in which pregnant people need an abortion. Financial instability, for example, may mean a child isn’t tenable. Maybe the mother is unable to give birth due to a medical condition that would endanger her life. Maybe the fetus has died in the womb, which needs to be removed or it will cause medical issues for the mother. Rape and incest are real occurances that cannot just be turned away from, and forcing a woman to endure a pregancy after such a horiffic even seems cruel for the state of Texas to mandate. When it comes down to it, remember this: if you don’t support abortion, don’t get an abortion. But do not take away others rights to a sometimes necessary medical procedure (with limitations, almost no one wants an abortion after the first trimester unless there is a life-threatening complication).

3) Immigration. Abbott likes to bring up that Texas has the worst illegal immigration rate than any other border state, but blames it on Biden. That’s strange, because Biden (who was preceded by a Republican president) has been president for a year and a half, but Abbott has been Texas governor for eight. 

4) Power, Teachers, etc. The power grid failed in Texas last winter, and in the debate Abbott again blamed Biden. Abbott chooses to prioritize the profits of the energy CEOs and big businesses over the 700 Texans who died last winter after the power grid failure.

On top of that, just when Beto brought up how he plans to give a pay raise to teachers all across Texas, Abbott claimed that he already did that, implying that they’re perfectly fine now. But, Texas teachers are underpaid by about $7,500 compared to those in other states, and educators who retired after 2004 haven’t received a single cost of living adjustment on their retirement benefits.

To close, I have to say that I don’t think Beto O’Rourke is perfect. He has changed his stance on some topics, and that doesn’t come across as trustworthy. Will he go through with what he promises? We will see! Texas tends to be a very Republican state, so we will see if he even gets the chance! I hope he does, because Greg Abbott does not sound like he cares about Texas. He will continue to blame Democrats for issues happening in Texas under his control. Beto is making an effort and I hope he wins. Vote Beto in the mock election!


Pro school bond

By Alex

Now, I’m sure around the school you have heard a lot of talk about the school bond in place. What is it exactly? Well, this bond dictates whether or not we get a new school for our students. The bond election will be held on November 8, 2022. All registered voters of Marfa may cast a ballot during early voting, Oct. 24 through Nov 4, or on Election Day, November 8. If approved, a total of $57 million would fund a new K-12 campus. The projected monthly tax impact, based on a $100,000 home, is approximately $17.50 a month. However, there will be no tax increase for taxpayers 65 years of age and older who have applied for and received the “age 65 freeze of school homestead taxes,” according to the Marfa ISD page. 

Voting in favor of the school bond means the start of a new era, for example: a new campus with better learning opportunities, safety and security upgrades, more accommodations, as well as CTE addition to allow for additional career training; along with more resources for more electives.

Most likely, the proposed building would be U-shaped around the Shorthorn Gym, with the cafeteria connecting the elementary to the middle/high School. The original high school building, the part built in the early 1900s, would remain intact and become administrative offices. The addition built in 2003 would be torn down, as it is the most unsound and susceptible to leaks. The elementary school would also be torn down. These aging facilities need to go, as they are not suitable for learning, and have too many doors to secure and ensure students’ safety.

The Facility Advisory Committee that decided to ask for a school bond did not take this decision lightly. They looked at the current schools and decided that the most efficient way to fix our school would be to call for a bond. Unlike in Alpine, where many people are dissatisfied with the new school building, Marfa would not be grafting a new building onto an old one, a process that we know leads to problems (the 2003 addition here is a good example of that).  A whole new building, from scratch, plus a restoration of the original high school, is what Marfa needs to go into the future. The price is not too high, as the new facility will educate generations of Marfans. The property taxes will hurt, especially for houses that are valued at over $200,000. But, the bond means that some of the maintenance and operations that fund the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the school could be diverted from fixing our aging facilities and into things we need, like higher teacher salaries to attract great educators and more money to spend on curriculum for the future. If passed, for example, the bond would make dedicated space for a nursing program from SRSU to come and help students explore career technologies. Without the bond passing, there isn’t room in our aging facilities for students to explore a career path that many are interested in.

In conclusion, vote for the school bond! It’s worth it!


Anti school bond


The Marfa ISD school building has been around for years. Recently, a school bond was proposed to us. It will cost about $57 million for this new school. Let me dig deeper into this. 

This school bond proposal started with a Facility Advisory Committee. The group included 15 parents, staff members and community leaders. They decided to tour the district in order to discover potential needs and make a recommendation regarding a bond election. The Board of Trustees accepted this recommendation, which proposed scrapping many of the existing buildings and building a brand new K-12 school. 

Again, the cost of this entire project will be about $57 million or more. That’s about $230,000 a student. Enrollment at MISD is falling, and that seems fiscally irresponsible! For basic maintenance across campus, it’s $250,000 dollars a year! Imagine what you could do with all of that money. If the bond is passed, then taxes will raise $17.50 dollars more per month than usual for homes valued at $100,000, and more for those valued higher. 

I believe that the school bond should not be approved because of the raise in property taxes. Groceries and gas are expensive enough. Increased property taxes will not help. Instead, it will corner workers into (1) either looking for a higher paying job, or (2) will force people living in Marfa to move. Plus, the new school won’t get more money from the state. 

Another reason why I disagree with the school bond is because I think it’s absolutely unnecessary. I think crowding every grade from elementary to middle/high school into one building will be extremely chaotic and challenging. Sure, there will be better security and less entrances, but that won’t lower the chance of an intruder entering the building. It will still be as hazardous as before. 

Overall, the school bond is a nice proposal, but I just don’t believe it’s a great idea because of the raise in property taxes and possibly being cornered into having to look for a higher paying job or even being forced to move. Besides that, it will take a while to complete the new school, but I don’t think it will be as nice as we all think it will be. Look at Alpine’s struggles with its new school.


One Chip Challenge

By Sam

As many readers know, the One Chip Challenge has been going viral due to TikTok.

The “One Chip Challenge” was designed by chip brand Paqui, and was originally popular in 2016. The challenge involves eating a chip laced with Carolina Reaper and Scorpion peppers. 

On the 26th of September, the Paqui challenge came to MISD, and the high school witnessed Diego Estrada (aka Delicioso or Deli) attempt the one chip challenge. The junior class was sitting outside at our usual spot after lunch. Then, Deli came up to us and asked if he should eat the chip. Of course we all said yes. But we did not know the consequences that were about to unfold.

After eating the chip, Diego was doubled over, struggling to breathe and crying from the spiciness of the single chip.

In the aftermath, I wanted to ask Deli a couple of questions regarding the chip. When I sat down with him, I asked, “How spicy was the chip?”

“Umm like a 9.9” out of 10, he responded.

“Who gave you the chip?”

“It was me, I bought it at Stripes,” he replied.

“Why did you take the chip challenge?”

At this question, Deli smiled and said, “To be the first one to take it at school!”

I then told him he might be mistaken in that assumption: there was a hot chip challenge case sweeping through the wlementary a couple weeks ago.

He laughed, taking the news all in stride and saying, “No, I didn’t know about that, but I think it’s cool how they split it and shared it with each other.”

“How long were you spiced out for?” I continued with the interview.

“For like an hour!” he responded, laughing.

Deli was laughing a lot during this interview, suggesting he possibly wasn’t too traumatized by the situation.

“What helped it stop?”

“Milk and sugar,” he replied.

I then asked my final question: What would you say to someone who’s thinking about doing this challenge?

Diego said emphatically, “Warning! Please do not try it, you will freak out and you won’t be able to breathe!”

After interviewing Deli, I interviewed his “hero” in this situation, Mrs. Murphy. When Diego was incapacitated by the chip, Mrs. Murphy came to his rescue and got him the milk and sugar mentioned above from the cafeteria ladies. When he was suffering, Deli ran to Mrs. Murphy, who was on lunch duty that day. He was almost dying and not able to breathe. I began my interview with Mrs. Murphy by asking her, “Were you scared when Diego took the chip?”

“Yes, because at first I didn’t know what had happened!” she replied.

“What was your reaction?”

“At first he couldn’t breathe, so I was scared for him,” she said. “And then I knew I needed to try and get him to the cafeteria to stop the burning.”

“Has anyone else at the school done this?”

At this, Mrs. Murphy laughed.

“Mhmmmm, the elementary school kids did it. They didn’t take the whole thing, they broke it up between their friends. So that wasn’t as bad as Diego’s. They had powder all over their hands and were touching their faces so they were burning all over.”

Lastly I ask, “Why do you think it’s important that this goes on the newsletter?”

“I think it’s important because if someone has a reaction and is not able to breathe it could become a medical emergency.”

According to several news sources, 23 middle school students in Pennsylvania were visited by paramedics last week at their school after attempting the challenge. This is why YOU SHOULD NOT attempt this. 

Poison Control says, “The Paqui One Chip Challenge is a social media challenge that involves consumption of a spicy tortilla chip. The chip contains capsaicin, a compound found naturally in chili peppers. Capsaicin consumption typically causes mouth and throat pain but can also result in more serious health problems including heart attack and esophageal damage.”




There’s a new sports league at Marfa High School. Instead of balls and nets, these athletes use controllers and screens! That’s right, MHS has an ESports league!

“How did this league get started?” we asked Mr. Klockman.

He responded “I had kids come up and ask me.” 

We asked if he thinks ESports will be a permanent addition to MHS’s afterschool activities. He said, “Yes, because we’re seeing success in it, and when the kids see success they will continue. But there is also some stuff that we will still have to figure out.”

I have decided to interview some members of the new league to get a feel for Marfa High’s newest sports team!

I started with Isaiah Ramos, a freshman who plays Apex.

I asked “Do you enjoy ESports? And why did you choose to join?”

He responded, “Yes, of course because it’s cooler than other classes, and gaming is also something I enjoy.”

Then I spoke to Taryn Klockman, another freshman, who plays Mario-Kart.

She said she enjoys the ESports league “because it’s fun to play with friends.”

The next person I decided to ask was sophomore Annaka Salcido, who plays Mario Kart and Fortnite, and she said that she likes ESports and joined “because I was bored.”
I also asked another sophomore, Amber Hinojos, who plays Fortnite, why she is on the team. She said, “Why not join the team? I got nothing to lose except for a match!”

Tony Saenz, a junior who plays Apex and Fortnite, enjoys the ESports league “because it’s video games and I like video games!”

Senior Juan Bautistia responded to our question with a totally different reason. He said, “The reason I joined the ESports League is because I heard about scholarships.”

After starting a little debate in art class that led Ms. Powers to suggest I write this article, I decided to ask participants whether they think ESports is a sport. There are two sides to this debate: it’s competitive, so it’s a sport, but it’s not physical, so it’s not a sport.

They all had different responses, Isaiah said, “I think this is controversial but it could be a type of sport.”

Taryn answered, “In a way, yes,” as she thought about it for a second. 

Amber said, “No, but we can get scholarships!”

But Annaka responded, “Yes, we can get scholarships for it like other sports!” 

Juan answered, “Yes, it’s similar to cheer.”

Tony said, “Yes it is a sport!”

For this reporter, I joined because I enjoy playing video games and I also think it is a sport because of the name and how competitive it is. 



By Piper

Continuing from my opinion piece last month on the lack of music in this school, I return this month with interviews and solutions.

Marfa HS had a consistent band program for many years, but recently we have had trouble holding down a music teacher or band director. Mr. Smith was the director from 2017-2019, then Presidio’s current band director, Mrs. Ferguson stepped in for a few months, and she was followed by Ms. Scratch, who was director from 2019-2020. Last year, Ms. Kerzee came with a music program, but that did not revive the band in the way many students were used to. Still, lots of instruments, including brand new acoustic guitars that were donated last year and other band staples, like clarinets, trombones and trumpets are sitting unplayed and gathering dust in the band hall. We need a volunteer to step in and revive the program, at least!

I spoke to students who seemed like they would be most likely to join the music club as well as to my current community band director, Mr. Wilson. I asked him what steps he thought would be most beneficial to my escapades. Mr. Wilson said the band should play songs everyone would enjoy, and of course the school song as well, and that the band should be enjoyable for everyone.

I also decided to interview Ms. Foster, the previous volunteer band director and helper. I asked her if the band was to start again, if she would help, and asked for her ideas on how to make the band start again. She told me yes, she’d help, but the way schedules are set up it would have to be a volunteer position, rather than a class. Ms. Foster then said band participation should also be an incentive, that participants should be passing all classes and on top of their schoolwork to participate in the band. She said the band should also be a way of getting volunteer hours, because it is a volunteer operation.

During the interview, Ms. Foster made comments that were greatly appreciated and summed up the idea very well. She said the band adds a good dynamic to the school, and the band’s presence makes the school seem more peppy and happy. She said it’s different to hear the fight song on a recording than played by the band live. 

I also interviewed Lexie, a previous percussionist. She replied, “of course,” when I asked her if she would join the band if it started again. I asked what she thought the band should be like, and what the class should be, and she said that the band should be spirited and loud, and she agreed with Ms. Foster’s ideas.

I then interviewed Alexis, a clarinet player, and Annaka, a fellow percussionist, to ask if they would join the band. They also replied yes. I asked what they thought it should be like, and Annaka said that the band should learn the school song before fun songs and Alexis said the band should be fun and people should join!

I interviewed Ashley, who plays several instruments including guitar and percussion, a little flute, and is interested in learning trombone next. She said yes when I asked her if she would be interested in joining the band. I also asked her what she thought it should be like, and she said she wants it to be like the old band, but better, and the band should be for the fun of it.

I then spoke to Jack, a football player who previously played trumpet, if he was interested in band and he had also said yes. He said he wanted the band to have more students than the previous year when I asked what he wanted the band to be like. 

I went on to ask Andres, who was a trombone player, if he was interested in the band and he said yes. He said the band should be like seventh grade year (2019-2020) but it should be bigger. 

I then asked Zaley and Kily. Zaley was in percussion and flute, and Kily had played many instruments: trumpet, trombone, baritone, and percussion in the band. Zaley and Kily both said they were interested in the band, Zaley saying she missed it very much and Kily replied, “Definitely.” Zaley said there should be lots of participants in the band and we should keep the program. Kily said she wants people to appreciate it and realize that without it the school lacks spirit. She wants everyone to realize the school is something more with it around. Kily said band is not a privilege, it’s something earned. 

I asked Taryn, who was previously a flute player, if she would join the band and she replied yes. She said she wanted the band to be more spirited and have more people who want to learn as a band together. 

I then interviewed my final people: Alex and Isaiah. Isaiah played clarinet, and Alex did not play but he said it would be fun to learn an instrument. The school needs more activities like band. Both said they would join the band to give it a shot, and think it should still just be an option for people.  Alex said the band should be like one where someone can expand their interest in music instead of being pressured to learn. Isaiah said that it should just be like the old Marfa band.