ponder high roar
Ponder High Roar
Volume 11, Issue 5
Ponder Takes a Byte Out of the Apple
By Oksana Bekh
ven though the students at Ponder High School prefer
cars and buses to horses as a way of transportation and
practically everyone has a cell phone, up until recently,
Ponder may as well have been the “Wild, Wild West” compared to other, more progressive schools. The district is actively trying to change this, as they have implemented new policies
and supplied the schools with new technology. The distribution of iPad Airs to the entire teaching faculty on January 15,
2014 was a big step for our little school in assimilating other
school districts such as Decatur ISD. However, this movement toward a more modernized education system actually
began last year when Ponder implemented a “Bring Your Own
Device,” or “BYOD,” Day. The success of this day translated
into a new policy for the 2013-2014 school year, during which
every day is “BYOD” Day.
Supplying the Ponder ISD teaching faculty with iPad Airs was
the next step in the district’s emersion in the “Turning Up the
H.E.A.T.” program. The ideology behind this program, which
was created by Dr. Morsche, is to incorporate technology into
learning. The name of this program pretty much spells out the
goals. The “H” in heat is for “Higher-Order Thinking,” which
the program relates to Bloom’s Taxonomy, a theory about the
thinking process. When learning something new, everyone
starts out at the bottom, or the Remembering level. If a student
can grasp the topic, they move onto the Understanding level,
and if they are successful at that level, they then progress to
continued on pg. 2
¡Bienvenido Sra. Spalding-Watson!
By Katie Dickens
earning a new language has its ups and downs; on
one hand, it’s a very helpful skill that almost everyone can be thankful for learning. On the other hand,
however, it’s taxing. Learning to speak another language
takes a lot of remembering, time, and patience. In all,
though very beneficial in the longrun, it’s a very exhausting task, but
Ponder’s new Spanish teacher, Mrs.
Spalding-Watson, manages to make it
Nichole Spalding-Watson grew up
in Denton with her mother, father, and
brother. Both of her parents taught,
and her younger brother grew up to
teach as well. “It runs in the family,”
Mrs. Spalding-Watson commented.
She started taking Spanish classes in Denton High
School, and she obviously had a knack for the language
because after she graduated, she lived in Spain with
a nice family for a year as an exchange student and
attended a second senior year of college there. The
classes were hard, she told her class one day, but she
excelled at one class in particular – English.
After graduating for the second time and coming
back home, Mrs. Spalding-Watson went to the University
of North Texas and got a degree in Anthropology. After
teaching for a couple years, she decided to travel with
an international organization called “Up With People,”
which is a dancing and singing group that goes around
the world performing community service. When she fin-
ished a year of traveling, she went to a graduate school
in Tampa, Florida where she met her husband, Bill, in a
statistics class. After the two got married, she convinced
him to move back to Texas so she could start working at
Calhoun Middle School in Denton.
Mrs. Spalding-Watson came to Ponder after fifteen
years of teaching. She hasn’t always been teaching
Spanish, though. She started out in the kindergarten
classroom, teaching a bilingual class in Dallas for two
years. On her first day of teaching, Mrs. Spalding-Watson
recalled, she was lining the kindergartners up to go to
the bathroom when the principal walked by. She stood,
proud and tall, by her class, but out of the corner of her
eye, she noticed one of the children standing on his head
in the line. Needless to say, she was pretty relieved when
she moved up to teach middle school Spanish classes
in Denton. After 13 years there, she came to the Ponder
campus and liked what she saw.
“I enjoy collaborating with Mrs. S.W.,” said our other
Spanish teacher, Ms. Knitter. “She has great ideas and
resources for teaching Spanish.”
Ponder has had its fair share of Spanish teachers
over the last few years, but it’s safe to say that Mrs.
Spalding-Watson, or “Mrs. S.W.,” as students have affectionately dubbed her, will stick out in all of our hearts
like the rest. Her classes are always fun, informative,
and an all-around good learning environment. Students
always leave her class in a good mood, discussing the
new verbs they learned or the projects they have just
Ponder High Roar - page 2
“Apple”, continued from page 1
the Applying level, where the objective is to apply what they have learned to the real world. The Analyzing level is next. At
this level, the student must be able to analyze a situation and know which course to take. Finally, the student reaches the
Evaluating and Creating levels, the uppermost levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Reaching these levels is the ultimate objective
in both learning and teaching. Using this program in schools is important because learning is the real reason why students
go to school. In the world today, there is so much pressure on testing, especially the newly implemented EOC exams and
college readiness tests, such as the SAT and the ACT, that teachers have begun to “teaching for the test” rather than make
sure that students are actually going to be able to use what they have learned in the real world. It is not to say that testing
is not important, but teaching at the Remembering level is not adequate, either. The “E” stands for “Engaged Learning,” and
forces the students to complete a task related to what they have learned. In other words, this is the hands-on aspect. Making
“Authentic Connections” is the “A,” and it puts an emphasis on making a connection between what the student has learned
and how they can use this newfound knowledge in the real world. The “T,” which stands for “Technology Use,” is going to be
the biggest change for Ponder students, who are not used to technology being incorporated into all aspects of the curriculum. “The main goal is integrating technology into instruction,” said curriculum director, Mr. Josselet.
Teachers at all levels have found different ways to implement iPads in the classroom. High school science and PIT teacher
Misty Taylor said, “I’m excited to have a new tool to use in my classroom. It allows me to do more things in a variety of
Terri McNutt, an elementary school teacher, said, “We have found some apps that are helpful with letter formation and word
building. After school today, we are making a movie trailer to introduce Zero the Hero on the one-hundreth day of school.”
Both students and teachers agree that technology can make learning a more interesting process. Students in PIT teacher
Jamie Crider’s class use games to help them learn the principles of PIT. “We had a lot of fun,” student Sterling Stinson said.
This is a perfect example of “Turning Up the H.E.A.T.” in the Classroom” because it is a combination of both technology and
the principles of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Technology enables us to do more things or do things in a bigger and better way, and
when students see that, teachers can span their curriculum over a wider area of interests.
Such are the reasons that the Ponder School Board is pushing for more technology, sooner, which might include supplying
students with iPads or MacBooks. The leaders of this movement at Ponder High School have made plans to visit schools
that have already made such changes, such as Decatur and Sanger ISD. “We want to see what will work best for our
school,” Mr. Josselet said, of these plans.
Even though nothing is set in stone, and it may be time before we see more changes, students and teachers alike are excited about these prospects. “I’m excited that they’re thinking ahead,” Taylor said, “It will prepare students for the real world.”
Peyton Reynolds, a student at PHS, said “I think it would be a good opportunity for students and it will help save trees.”
Having already implemented a “BYOD” policy,a new curriculum, and given teachers more tools, Ponder has come a long
way since last year, but big changes are sure to come in the future.
Driving While “Intexticated”
By Teryana Sledge
Islands all have bans on texting behind the wheel for all drivers; another six states have addressed the
issue in a limited way with legislation. Although, there are three states that have no such
laws preventing people from texting while behind the
wheel, individuals need to wake up and smell the coffee
before they get themselves and someone else killed in the
process. Those lobbying for a federal ban on the practice
include parents, doctors — even industry leaders and
groups such as Verizon Wireless and The Wireless Association. Some places hold different views on the matter
altogether. While many states impose fines and very little
if any jail time for texting while driving, other states have
begun to take the issue quite seriously. In Utah, for example, offenders face up to fifteen years in prison and a
$10,000 fine if a motor vehicle accident caused by texting causes injury or death. According to at least one legal
expert, Utah’s law assumes the offender knew the risks
involved with texting while driving, treating the practice
as a form of negligence. However, that’s extremely lenient
compared to Alaska, where a first time offender caught
texting behind the wheel can be fined up to $10,000 and
forced to serve a year in jail.
Driving a vehicle while texting is six times more
dangerous than driving while intoxicated, according to
the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. The
proportion of alcohol-related traffic crash deaths has
dropped 52% since 1982, and are now at a historic low,
but the proportion of traffic accident fatalities that are
NOT alcohol-related has jumped 78% during the same
time. Although there are still far too many, we’re winning the war against alcohol-related traffic deaths. But
texting-related traffic fatalities are an epidemic and we’ve
barely begun to fight the problem. Indeed, it appears that
people are barely aware of it. Texting and driving is very
dangerous, yet some people still do not pay attention,
and have yet to change their ways as needed. They need
to know that they should not take chances with their
lives and the lives of others.
Although Texas has no statewide law banning the
use of cellphones while driving, many local areas prohibit
or limit the use of cellphone when driving. In Texas,
the law prohibits drivers from texting if they are under
the age of eighteen or are bus drivers carrying minor
passengers. The law also prohibits texting while driving
in school crossing zones and on public school property
at times when reduced speed rates apply. Texting while
driving can only lead to mayhem. It does not matter if
a person thinks that they can drive fine while texting.
This is not so. We all think we are more than capable to
do something when in actuality we are not. Multitasking
can become very deadly when you are trying to handle
two very demanding and attention-requiring tasks like
driving and texting. Text messaging is not worth getting
injured badly or dying in an auto-accident.
Ponder High Roar - page 3
ver a million people chat, talk, and text while
driving. It is almost always because many people
face the overbearing pressure to stay constantly
connected to friends, family, and jobs even when they
are behind the wheel of a vehicle. However, what drivers
are unaware of, are the extreme dangers posed by taking
your eyes off the road, even if only for a second. Young
adults live in a connected world where multitasking is
the norm. These thoughts manifest in the car, where they
recognize texting and driving is dangerous, but take the
risk and just do it anyway. People who participate in texting and driving are twenty-three times more likely to be
involved in a car accident than those who don’t.
It’s an inescapable fact that text messaging has become an integral part of our lives. Whether people are
texting gossip amongst themselves or professionals are
scheduling a meeting for later in the day, text messages
have become a regular form of contact between people.
The leading cause of death for teenage drivers is texting,
not drinking, with nearly a dozen teens dying each day
in text-related car crashes. Texting is a very lethal form
of distracted driving. One of the fastest growing and
most problematic of driver distractions is text messaging.
Distracted driving is any task that could take a person’s
attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger the driver, passengers, and bystanders’ safety. Some distractions include eating and drinking,
grooming, and using a cellphone, but texting is by far the
worst because it requires the driver’s visual, manual, and
cognitive attention. Numerous studies in recent years
have linked auto accidents to text messaging and cell
phone use. In response, in January of 2009 the National
Safety Council urged state and federal lawmakers to ban
the use of cell phones and other text-messaging devices
The U.S. Department of Transportation is working hard in an effort to stop texting and cell phone use
behind the wheel. Since 2009, they have held two national distracted driving summits, banned texting and
cell phone use for commercial drivers, encouraged states
to adopt tough laws, and launched several campaigns
to raise public awareness about the issue. Banning the
practice all together seems to be the only positive way to
fight this growing epidemic that can result in both disasters and deaths in a number of cases. The push for laws
banning the use of text messaging devices while driving
has gathered considerable steam over the last couple of
years. Support grew after a series of
reports showed that drivers who text
are far more likely to be involved in
a fender bender than those focusing
on the road.
Washington was the first state
to pass a texting ban in 2007. Currently forty-one states, D.C., Guam,
Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin
Staying Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
By Sterling Stinson
Ponder High Roar - page 4
t is officially cold and flu season and no one wants to get caught with either of those viruses. Racking up absences is bad enough, but when you
factor in missing work, makeup work, being closer to or officially on the
list of people who have to take finals and missing games or competitions for
athletics and extracurriculars, getting sick is an extreme inconvenience. So
this year, take a stand against these pesky viruses with these tips on staying
The first step to staying healthy is to prevent viruses from entering your system in the first place.
One good way to do this is don’t touch your face. Viruses can enter your system through your mouth,
nose, ears and eyes, so don’t let those germs into your system. You should also be very careful about
what does touch your face. Towels shared with the other members of your household, remote controls,
small children and anything else that often comes in contact with germs should be kept away from your
Another good method of prevention is to disinfect. Be sure to sanitize cups and plates after every
use, and run the dish sponge through the wash every couple of times too, as it is one of the germiest objects in your house. If anyone in your house does get sick, be sure to disinfect the area they are
in regularly with either a commercial disinfectant spray or with ¼ cup of bleach mixed with 1 gallon of
Keep Your Body Strong
A strong body will not only fight off viruses and disease better, but it will also help shorten your sickness if you do become ill. First of all, stay hydrated and eat lots of healthy foods. One of the best things
you can put in your body to prevent illness is phytochemicals, or chemicals that come from plants.
They are packed with vitamins and minerals that are all natural and way easier for your body to absorb
than vitamin pills. These phytochemicals can be found in dark green, red and yellow fruits and vegetables.
Stress is one of the worst things you can do to your body’s immune system. When you are
stressed, your body puts off a series of hormones that suppress anything that is nonessential to the
fight-or-flight responses automatically triggered. Some of those big nonessential things are pathogen
blocking and your immune system. So, it is very important to try and make yourself relax occasionally,
to get those antibodies working again.
There’s An App for That
Yes, there is an app for helping you keep from catching the flu. There are actually multiple. The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have an app called FluView, which allows you to track
cases of the flu in your area. It also has very helpful podcasts and videos on flu prevention, such as
how to protect small children from getting sick. Another app is Flu Defender, which is made by Pocket
Professions, and is customizable to the area in which you live. It offers prevention strategies, flu facts,
a symptom identifier, a vaccine finder and live twitter updates from the CDC’s flu feed.
I know insomnia is an entirely different thing than the flu or the cold, but sleep is
essential to keeping your body healthy. While you’re sleeping, your body’s defenders
get to work full force to make sure those annoying little pathogens don’t become a full
blown sickness. A few things proven to help you sleep are to stick to a sleep schedule, monitor how much you drink before bed and eat enough to not be hungry but not
be overstuffed, and to create a bedtime ritual. These tips can help you sleep through
the night so you can be well rested and flu free!
Hopefully, these tips will help you stay healthy this semester and every semester after that. Because, remember, missing school isn’t fun for anyone.
How am I going to pay for college?
By Liz Branin
lright, all of you seniors, it’s time to get down to
business. You all know what I’m talking about. That
dreadful, tedious, and odious task of applying for
financial aid and scholarships is now upon you. As every
single one of you should know, the 2014 FAFSA (Free
Application for Federal Student Aid) was available starting January 1, and the odds are that only a handful of you
have already applied. Get on your A-game! As deadlines
fly by like Hiccup on the back of Toothless, panic should
already have ensued. However, there is still time, but you
need to utilize it effectively. Here are a few tips to help you
as you come to the end of your financial aid and college
You need to keep all of your information and applications
neatly organized. It helps to have a different file folder for
each school or scholarship. When you’re organized, it’s
easier to sift through things and remember when certain
forms are due.
Options, options, options!
The more schools you put on lists, the better. Even if you
are absolutely sure you want to go to Texas A&M, you
should list at least five schools as potential candidates for
your attendance when filling out applications for student
aid. If A&M doesn’t see any competition, they won’t offer
you as much money as you would probably like. However,
if they see that you have your mind on other schools,
they’ll raise their bargaining price and offer you more aid
to try to get you to choose their school over any other.
Every penny counts.
Don’t overlook any scholarships. Even the little ones will
eventually add up. I know of a girl who received a scholarship from the Wrigley’s chewing gum company, and she
wasn’t even a gum-chewer. If you qualify for something,
you should give it a shot. Any sum can really help you out
when you find yourself eating Ramen noodles every night.
Don’t be so alarmed by the $50,000 per semester price
tag on private universities. A good thing to keep in mind is
that, while these schools have insane rates, they also offer
larger financial aid packages than public universities do.
So the initial figures may stack up, but so will your scholarship and grant money.
Mrs. Cornelison is your best bud.
We hired our dear counselor for a reason, and boy is she
good at her job! Honestly, I can’t tell you how many times
I’ve gone in to see her for college-y things this year, and
I’m only a junior. If you seniors haven’t visited Mrs. Cornelison, you need to change that. Not only is she very
informed about everything great and college-y, but she
also has information about scholarships only available to
PHS students. Seriously, hit her up on that.
Calendars are also your friends.
I can’t tell you anything worse than missing a deadline. In
some situations, being a little late can be forgiven, but not
in the college world. Keep a calendar of deadlines, meet-
Loans probably aren’t too great of friends.
Loans may help you to cover educational costs in the
short term, but they can become quite the burden. Believe
me, they should be a last resort. If public and private financial aid, along with money from your family, isn’t enough to
cover your school and living expenses, consider part-time
employment. If that’s still not enough, only then should you
take out a loan. Your goal should be to limit the amount of
debt you build up.
Federal Work-Study is a form of financial aid you may
receive by filling out the FAFSA. When the form asks you
if you are interested in student employment, you might
consider checking “yes.” You’ll have to meet certain requirements for eligibility, and your total award will depend
on your application date, level of need, and the funding
level of your school. The work-study program allows you
to work in community service and in fields related to your
major. Positions may be on- or off-campus. Your earnings
can start from the current federal minimum wage and go
up depending on where you do your work-study and the
type of work you perform.
There are also non-federal work-studies available, but
they are not based on financial need. These programs
usually only offer on-campus positions and, unlike in the
Federal Work-Study program, your earnings will be used
to determine your financial need when filing the FAFSA.
Talk to your parents about tax deductions.
The federal government offers federal tax benefits, tax
credits, tax deductions, and savings incentives that can
offset out-of-pocket college expenses. A tax credit reduces
the amount of income tax you may have to pay. A deduction reduces the amount of your income that is subject to
tax, thus generally reducing the amount of tax you may
have to pay. Certain savings plans allow the accumulated
interest to grow tax-free until money is taken out (known
as distribution), or allow the distribution to be tax-free,
or both. An exclusion from income means that you won’t
have to pay income tax on the benefit you’re receiving, but
you also won’t be about to use that same tax-free benefit
for a deduction or credit. To learn more about how this
works, you should visit the IRS website (www.irs.gov).
Look specifically for information regarding the American
Opportunity Credit, the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit, the
Hope Scholarship Tax Credit, Tuition and Fees Deduction,
Student Loan Interest Deduction, the Coverdell Education
Savings Account, and the 529 College Savings Plan.
So, as you’re finishing up the process of finding the perfect
college and raking in the money to pay for it, keep these
tips in mind. Remember, information is power. The more
research you do, the more opportunities for financial aid
you will find. Good luck to all of you! We wish you the best!
Ponder High Roar - page 5
Look at private institutions.
ings, and the like so that you don’t
forget anything important. Additionally, I’ll remind you that the FAFSA
deadline is March 2, but don’t wait
too long. The sooner you get it filed, the better.
by Liz Branin
ith his academic excellence, propensity for sports, and aspirations to be a great leader, senior Josiah
Meek takes the cake for the title of Mr. Down-to-Earth. With so many different things going for him,
he’s sure to build a bright future for himself.
Josiah has played football, golf, and baseball at PHS, earning himself a reputation for being fun-loving,
hard-working, and sophisticated. This year, Josiah received UIL All-District academic honors for maintaining a 94
percent grade point average during the first six weeks of the school year. Josiah in on the “AB” Honor Roll, is a
member of both the National Honor Society (NHS) and the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS), and has
received a speech award in Mr. McNair’s Communication Applications class.
“Josiah is one of the most determined young men I have ever had the privilege to know,” Mr. McNair said.
“He knows what he wants to do, and he tries really hard to achieve whatever that is. He always has a smile on
his face, and sometimes that’s a good thing; other times, it may be more conniving. Above all, Josiah’s interest in
helping out the younger of his peers is very admirable.”
Some of Josiah’s favorite things to do are lift weights, play golf, and attend ROTC physical training. His
favorite memories include the entirety of his senior year in football, when Keaton Malcolm threw a baseball
through a bus window, and an event that resulted in the creation of the inside joke of “Shoenami Keaton.”
Josiah’s group of close friends includes most of the varsity football team, especially Christian Worthington, and
“I’ve known Josiah for many years now, and he is a great influence on everyone around him,” Austin said.
“He spends his time wisely either volunteering at his church or putting in the extra effort to get an “A” on a test.
He is always full of energy, and if you’re ever having a bad day, Josiah is always there to pick you up.”
Josiah’s favorite class is currently Dual Credit composition, but his favorite teacher of all is Coach Pitman.
“Josiah is very intelligent,” Coach said. “I believe that he is finally learning how to tap into that and use it properly. I have high expectations for him in the future.”
After high school, Josiah plans to attend college and become a member of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC), the ROTC program of the Marine Corps. Following college, he would enter the Corps as
When asked what advice he would give to his younger peers, Josiah said, “Do your homework, and when in
doubt, ask Coach Pitman. He knows everything.”
Good luck to you, Josiah, in all of your future ventures. We have no doubt that you will succeed in anything
Senior Class of 2014
lyssa Stone, more commonly known to her peers as Aly, is a fun-loving, charismatic senior
here at PHS. Born and raised in Ponder, she is often out playing sports or hanging out
with her friends, and is always seen with a smile on her face. She enjoys helping animals
and spending time outside. With such an optimistic outlook and a bubbly personality, Aly is sure
to make the best of every day and always seize the moment.
Starting in the beginning of her sophomore year, Aly’s love for getting out on the green
has always been reflected in her golf game. She said the highlight of her career was winning at
District. Aside from golf, Aly loves to play volleyball, spend time with her friends and participate
in drama class activities, as drama is one of her favorite classes. Mr. McNair had a few kind words
for us. “Aly is a unique individual, and normally when I say that, it has a double meaning. But
when I say that about her, it doesn’t,” he said. “She is a great person and has a quirky personality
that brings joy to all who meet her.”
Aly’s friends are a big part of her life. “I’ve been friends with Aly for a year or a year and
a half, and I swear that she is the reincarnation of Spike from The Land Before Time,” junior
McKenna Williams said. “Every time I watch it, I instantly think of her.”
Fellow senior and longtime friend, Brandon Dodson, had something to add. “Aly is the nicest
person you will ever meet. She is funny and kind, a truly great friend.”
As for academics, Aly is an excellent student. Being a member of the National Honor Society, she had to meet an grade point average of 90 percent, meaning that she is an all “A” student
and has an incredible work ethic. As someone with extensive experience multitasking, she can
often be seen in class working on multiple assignments for different classes. These skills are going
to help her in the long run with her life goals. After high school, Aly wants to attend the University of North Texas to study and major in Geology.
Aly’s last year at Ponder High School has given her a new outlook on life. When asked what
By Alex Fedele
advice she would give to those younger than her, she had this to say: “Live in the moment and
take in everything because it’s fading quickly. Also, bring a box of tissues to school.” With less
than four months left to go until graduation, it’s understandable for her to want to “take in everything.”
by Marrisa Mata
lthough she is one of the smallest seniors here at Ponder High School, and you may not
see her in the crowded hallways during passing periods, Abigail Torres is one of the sweetest and the funniest girls you will ever meet. “She is a great person and always has a smile
on her face. She is very funny and straight forward,” Emily Rybolt said when she was asked for her
thoughts about Abigail. Mrs. Crider expressed her thoughts about what she thinks about having
Abby in class. She said, “I like that she comes to school every day with a smile on her face and is
eager to learn new things.”
Abigail Torres, also known as Abby is originally from Napa Valley, California. Abby attended
school in Napa Valley from pre-kindergarten to third grade. She then moved to Fort Worth,
Texas and went to school there from fourth grade to eleventh grade. She went to Keller Central
High School from her freshman year all the way to her junior year. In the summer of 2013 Abby
and her family moved to Ponder, where she began finishing her last year of her high school career.
Although Abby is not the biggest fan of school, she happens to be a fairly good student. She
does however plan on attending college after graduation to pursue a career in the medical field
as a nurse. On the week days when she is not busy with her school work, Abby spends her time
babysitting her little brother and baby nephew. Every weekend she spends her time with her good
friend, Nikki, from her old school in Keller. However, whenever she is at school, you will always
find her hanging out with her best friends Marrisa Mata and Araceli Aguilar. Abby likes to hang
out with her friends at their houses, enjoys going to the movies and out to eat.
“Even though I don’t like school at all and I can’t wait until graduation comes and I can leave
from here, I will say this, that out of anything in Ponder, I am going to miss my friends the most. I
will always remember the good times that I had with them that made my senior year the best year
I had in high school. I will never forget the people who have truly stuck by me through the good
and the bad. Those are true friends and that is what I will miss the most,” Abby said.
Even though many people do not know Abby or haven’t had the time to get to know her, they
should talk with her before she leaves Ponder High School and starts her life off in college. They
too would find that she is a great friend and has an amazing personality.
Senior Class of 2014
ost people who have lived in Ponder, Texas their entire lives can tell you just how boring it can
get, except for senior Hannah Prather. Although Hannah grew up in this small town, she quickly
managed to find something to occupy her time, softball. Softball is, as she says, “her Life”. Not
only does Hannah play on Ponder’s varsity team, but she also plays on a select team during the summer.
Hannah has played softball for 12 years and, it consumes the majority of her time, but she doesn’t mind
because it is her absolute favorite sport and she loves it.
When you go to any of Ponder’s softball games, you can definitely catch Hannah in action.
Being a four year varsity team member, Hannah’s skills as a pitcher and first basewoman are incredible.
“When I play softball, I can be myself; I’m in my comfort zone. I can just be me. Also, the team that I’m
on is just like one big family, which just gives me more passion for the game,” Hannah expressed when
asked about her favorite thing about playing softball.
When not standing on the mound, you can find Hannah hanging out with her close friends Bree
Harms, Scott Shafer, and Lauren Fletcher. Hannah also enjoys going to the movies and the lake. If you
ask any of her friends, they can tell you that softball is not the only thing Hannah is great at. “Hannah
always looks out for her friends; she puts everyone else before herself. Hannah is the sweetest person I
know,” senior Bree Harms said.
When it comes to school, Hannah’s favorite teacher is, by far, Mrs. Hacker. Hannah favors any
math course, because math is the subject she is best at. When she attends college Hannah plans to major
in Physical Education and take all the steps necessary to become a coach. She hopes to attend the College
of the Ozarks, but says her second choice is to go to NCTC.
Leaving the school she has gone to her entire life, Hannah has many things she knows she will
miss. “I will miss the teachers the most; they are always helpful, and always in a good mood. They always
look for a way to help you. They’re altogether just great teachers,” Hannah said. It’s obvious that Hannah
has great appreciation for her teachers, and I’m sure her teachers will miss her gratefulness just as much.
Hannah’s favorite memories from her years in Ponder are forever implanted in her mind. She will never
forget all of the great times she spent with her softball team. Living in such a small town your entire life, by Haley Chasteen
you are sure to be remembered, but Hannah knows exactly what she wants to be remembered for, - the
good person that she is. Hannah is an amazing person who is willing to do anything for anyone when she
can, and she will definitely be remembered for that and so much more.
Valentine’s Day........Guys vs. Girls
By Melanie Baker
Ponder High Roar - page 8
Valentine’s Day, otherwise known as the holiday of love, is often looked forward to by couples waiting to treat
each other special. It is around this time that we see red and pink and hearts and flowers everywhere, reminding everyone what holiday is coming up. But what do people actually think about this holiday?
We all know that most of the time it’s the guys who
buy the presents for their significant other. They’re
the ones who go out and get the chocolates, cards,
flowers, and teddy bears for the girls. They’re the ones
that are often neglected when it comes to Valentine’s
“It’s a lot of money to spend on chocolate for girls to
eat and complain to us about all the weight they’re
gaining from eating it,” senior
Austin Spiker said. It’s true; guys
spend all this money on chocolate and then many girls complain from the results of eating
it. It is not the guy’s fault if a girl
feels that she is being unhealthy
if she eats the chocolates given
to her because a guy thinks that
she’s worth it.
The holiday has evolved from
one of actual meaning into a
day for people to just buy things
for their significant other. “It’s a
made up holiday for Hallmark to
sell more cards,” junior Thomas
Several guys agree with this
statement, saying that it’s just
a day made for stores to make
more money off of chocolates and cards. Senior Josh
Debolt stated, “The way I see Valentine’s Day is who
can impress the next person with the best candy.”
These guys aren’t too far off par with what the holiday
has become. A lot of people try to impress someone
with how good their gift is or how big the teddy bear is.
Even junior Kenneth Clevenger, though more supportive of the holiday, agrees that it is a money trap. “It’s
the perfect day to ask someone out, but guys, prepare
your wallets.” In fact, around $13.19 million dollars are
spent on Valentine’s presents and dates annually.
Junior Dalton Stokes gave a different view of the
holiday. “To some people it’s a day to be happy, but
for others it’s a day that reminds them of what everyone else has.” For a lot of people, this statement is
very true. Valentine’s Day may be the day of love, but
for those not in a relationship, it may as well be called
Singles Awareness Day.
While the guys are out buying presents and breaking the bank, girls have a bit of a different view of
Valentine’s Day. They’re not the ones always buying
the presents, but rather are the ones looking forward
to receiving them. But do they even give the holiday
“I don’t care about Valentine’s Day. I just care about
eating candy,” junior Alissa Gerrik said in regard to her
opinion on the holiday.
She’s not the only one with this
view, seeing as other girls have
stated similar opinions. “I think
it’s overrated nowadays. The
most romantic thing I can think
of is getting a Domino’s pizza in
the shape of a heart,” junior Alex
Fedele said, furthering the feeling of apathy for the holiday.
The truth is that most girls aren’t
actually as fond of Valentine’s
Day as many people believe
they are. For those who get
presents, the holiday is mainly
about getting those presents.
For those girls who don’t get
presents, though, it is a sad day
during which they are reminded
of what they want but don’t have.
“What’s the point? Why can’t you just do what you
do one day a year every day?” sophomore Meagan
Frazier asked. It’s true that there are many people out
there who reserve all their affections for February 14th
as if they can only expend one day’s worth of love and
care. In fact, being in a relationship is useless if you
only act like it one day out of the year.
“Valentine’s Day is just a big commercial holiday.
There’s no religious meaning behind it. It’s become a
competition to see who buys each other the best gift,”
senior Lauren Fletcher stated. What many people
don’t know is that Valentine’s Day was originally in
honor of St. Valentine, an ancient priest who secretly
preformed marriages for young lovers when it was
outlawed for young men in Rome to get married. Any
religious significance, however, has been forgotten
over the years and the holiday has turned into one of
purchasing gifts for only one person.
It is clear that Valentine’s Day, in the eyes of both girls and guys, is one that focuses on gifts rather than its
original purpose, which is to honor St. Valentine and to celebrate love. Nonetheless, everyone still falls into the
trap of buying and receiving presents, despite their negative opinions of the commercialization of the holiday.
By Marriss Mata
Love Your Parents: Before It’s Too Late
question you would get an entirely different response
about how they feel about their parents. Some may have
respect for them in all but do not have that close bond
with them. Jose Rivera was also interviewed and asked
the question, “How do you view your parents?” He replied, “I view my parents as loving and caring people
but there can be times where they get on my nerves.”
This statement is not uncommon to find among most
teenagers now these days. Why is that? Some may get
along with their parents but there is always that relationship where you are just not close to them. Araceli
Aguilar expressed her thoughts differently, she was asked
the same question and in response she said, “Parents? I
prefer the word parent I only have a mother who had
to be my father figure all my life. She was my mom and
dad at the same time. If you consider that “parents”,
then I had fantastic parents. She’s hopeful, full of life,
independent, strong, she’s just simply amazing.”
Why is it that we as teenagers don’t want anything
to do with our parents? Some have mentioned that their
parents just don’t understand them.
They are too strict, they don’t let them
do anything and that they don’t have
a life. Others have said that they are
not there for them. But really when
you think about it, are your parents
really as bad as you make them out
to be? Think about it, have they provided for you? I’m sure they have
provided a home, clothing, and have
even fed you. Look at yourself; does
it look like you have gone without a
meal? No doubt not everyone may
have the same amount of things as
each other or nice things. But everyone’s situation differs from others, either way your parents love you and
provide for you. Although you may not think so they
love you more than you know or more than they show
it. What if one day something happens to them and you
weren’t able to tell them what you really wanted to or
tell them how much they really meant to you and how
much you loved them and appreciated what they have
done for you all your life. Mrs. Crider expressed herself
about this certain topic and she said, “I wished I would
have listened more. You look back on things and ask
‘was it really that bad?’ I wish I could take back the time
I lost with what I should have had with my parents, but
I can’t. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone
and it completely changes everything. I’d give anything
to have one more day with them.” So, although you
may think your parents are “horrible” or “to strict”, ask
yourself this one question: Do I really have it as bad as
I think? Maybe they love you more than you think.
Remember your parents love you; just give them the
chance to show you.
Ponder High Roar - page 9
f you were to look up the definition of a “parents”
you would find that the definition for that word is
“a father or mother”. Ones that should take care of
their children and provide for them but most importantly they show their love for them. Now that may be
the meaning of the word in a dictionary. However, what
is your definition of parents? Some may say the same
thing that it’s either your mother or father. Others may
say something different. Their answer can range from,
“Oh the people I live with.” To “I don’t have parents.”
But really when they say ‘I don’t have parents’ its not to
be taken literally. They do have parents but because of
either their viewpoint of them or due to the relationship
they have with them is the reason for such a response.
Why is it that some of us (teenagers) view our parents
in such a bad view? If you were to take a second and
actually think about it and ask yourself, “Are my parents
really as bad as I make them out to be?” Although some
may actually be in that situation where they do not have
a happy home life with their parents. And at that, most
of the time that child is not at
fault. But for those who do not
have it bad and just say that they
don’t like their parents or that
they have such a rough life, ask
yourself “Do I really?” If most
teenagers would ask themselves
that, then they would find that
they don’t really have it bad and
that their parents really do love
them. They just don’t see it.
How do you view your
parents? When three teachers
were interviewed and asked this
question they were to think back to their teenager years
and express how they felt about their parents. Ms. Koleber was asked “How was your relationship with your
parents as a teenager?” In reply she expressed herself and
said, “My parents were strict, structured, and taught
us how to work. I may have resented that philosophy
some when I was a teenager, but I’m so glad now that
they taught me how to work and appreciate what I have
earned.” Mrs. Boxell expressed her thoughts about her
parents as well. “My parents had already been through
most situations that you would experience with a teenager before I came along. I was very close to my mom
and dad.” Mr. Waldo mentioned something a little different about how he felt about his relationship with his
parents as a teenager. He said, “It was pretty good. They
were very supportive and encouraging. I was like any
other teenager and though I knew more than I really
did. My parents tried to help with decisions but I didn’t
really want to listen if it was not the answer I wanted.
But overall our relationship was good.”
With most teenagers today if they were asked this
a word with many definitions. Everyone, it seems, sees love
in a different, completely unique way. So rather than writing
something with an opinion some may disagree with, we asked
others what love means to them.
Lauren Fletcher: “Roses are red, violets are
blue, I like cats, but I REALLY love you :D”
Weston Lopez: “Roses are red, violets
are blue, I love you, and you love me too.
That is the statement of love.”
Casey Riffle: “Love is going out of
your way to make someone happy.”
Alondra Delira: “Love is when you
share your food with others.”
Sterling Stinson: “Absent.”
Jamie Fipps: “When someone loves
unconditionally and would sacrifice
anything and everything just to see
the one they love happy.”
Ponder High Roar - page 10
Mrs. Josselet: “Love to me is accepting the other person as he/she
is and not trying to change them to
fit your ‘ideal.’”
Alex Perkins: “Love is joining a
game with three of your friends to
survive the end of the world, and
make a new one.”
Kaitlyn Lutes: “JESUS is love. Jesus suffered and died for us
because he loves us so much, we really don’t deserve his love
but we mean so much to him that he forgives us, all we have
to do is ask for forgiveness and really mean it and try harder to
not make the same mistakes over and over again.”
Whitney Glenn: “Love means to me that no matter what happens
between you guys, you will always forgive them. It means that no
matter what happens, you can always count on them. That it will
always be you two, side by side, against the world. That whenever
you see them, you always get this warm fuzzy feeling that never
gets old, no matter how many times that you look at them.”
Jordan Needum: “Love is for a chosen few. My parents of
course, my sister, my aunt Kristi, I could say a few more.
Love means to me that you have a loyalty unbreakable to
a person, and that you look out for them.”
Jaquelin Medina: “Love means caring about
someone more than you care about anyone
else. It means seeing them for the good things
and not noticing there flaws. Love is when you
know you can spend every day with that person.
Loving someone is wanting the best for them.”
Jarrett Medders: “Love is
where there is a strong good
feeling that is shared between two people or family.”
Diego Gonzales: “To me, love is
the first taste of chocolate milk.”
Kenneth Clevenger: “Love means to
me that you care about people or a
single person. When you love someone, they are the light in your life
and you feel that you need to always
care for them. Love not physically
Aaron Wilson: “Love is what gets you up in the morning, and wants you to live another day.
Love is that fuzzy feeling inside when someone smiles at you, hugs you, kisses you, and
makes you feel special. Love is when you know that if you are with them, keeping you safe,
happy, and healthy is what matters most to them. That kind of love gives you motivation to be
happy, whether that love is from family or that special someone in your life. That is love.”
Cory Lara: “Love is a fire; whether
it will warm your heart or burn your
house down, nobody knows.”
Hugo Aguilar: “Love means to me
that if you love them they are perfect in every way. Like Mrs. Crider.”
Hunter Ferryman: “Football.”
Isabelle Flores: “Love is the special
feeling that you get either from a
boyfriend/girlfriend or from your family. Everyone has a different definition.”
Lesley Zonker: “Love is when someone
else’s happiness is your happiness, or
you care about it so, so much.”
Jason Vedral: “Love is like a good ice
cream. At first you’re like, Oh good. I’m
glad I did this! Then a few bites later
you’re like ow, ow, ow. Then you’re
dumb enough to take another bite.”
Andrew Borsch: “Everything I see in her”
Austin Bennett: “Love is when you want
that thing more than anything. You think
about that thing all day and want it all the
time, and you can’t live without it.”
Trevor Anderson: “When you
only like that one person and
don’t go behind their back
messin’ around and whatnot.”
Kennedy Davis: “To me, love is a million things. Love
is a decision to put someone else before oneself. Love
is when you’re so passionate about something that
your life would feel dull without it. Love is the thing that
allows you to see the beauty in things that are normal.
Love is the motivating force that causes good things
that happen. Love is what everybody is looking for - the
problem is that people don’t realize they can create it
Ponder High Roar - page 11
Aaron Williams: “Love is looking past
any imperfections or flaws and seeing
nothing but a constant, very true beauty in a person. Also it is doing everything in your power day to day to make
this person feel amazing and needed.
Anytime your loved one is in pain you
can feel it too.”
Elizabeth Richardson: “Love to me means that
you tolerate and care about a person through any
and all situations. You can’t like someone all of the
“SuperBowl Comtime, but you can love them all of the time. Love
means that while you may get mad at someone,
(thumbs up emoji)”
you also know that you won’t be mad forever and
that you know no matter how angry they make you
that you can’t let them go.”
Madilynn Dewell: “Roses are
red, violets are blue, but none
Evan McWhorter: “Love means that they
of them is as beautiful as you.”
are everything to you and that, no matter
what, you’d do anything for them.”
By Melanie Baker
Ponder High Roar - page 12
isney’s finally done it; they’ve created two princesses in one movie, making a big
bang for the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014. A unique retelling of The
Snow Queen by H.C. Anderson – the same man who wrote the book The Little
Mermaid, Disney has made a movie that rivals The Lion King in the eyes of critics and
Frozen tells the story of royal sisters Anna and Elsa as Elsa’s coronation goes awry and
her ice powers are revealed to the world. Both sisters have very strong personalities that
many people can connect with. Anna, the younger sister, is the awkward and stubborn
dreamer whose only wish has always been to actually have friends and will stop at nothing to get her mission finished. Elsa, the older sister, is the isolated leader who seems
cold on the outside, but truly cares about her sister even if she doesn’t show it.
Primarily focusing on Anna’s journey to bring summer back to Arendelle the background
setting of which was modeled after Norway along with a ragtag group of new friends,
including Kristoff, an ice harvester, Sven, Kristoff’s reindeer, and Olaf, a living snowman
created by Elsa. But trials await Anna on her quest to bring her sister back to Arendelle, leaving her in dire condition and betrayed by someone she thought she could trust.
The story doesn’t just focus on the younger sister. Elsa is the cause of the trouble that ails her kingdom, having been born with powers over ice and snow. After a mishap early in life, Elsa has been isolated from the world
to keep everyone else safe from her quickly growing magic, including her sister. When things go wrong at her
coronation ball, Elsa’s power is revealed and she goes into exile to prevent hurting anyone with her power, finding that her isolation is now her greatest freedom. But she is searched out by both Anna and those who despise
her, all with the same goal; to end the eternal winter and bring back summer, but no one knows that Elsa doesn’t
know how to completely control her magic.
Combining the vocal talents of Kristen Bell (Anna) – who also played Marni in You Again - and Idina Menzel
(Elsa) – who many may know as Elphaba from Wicked - Frozen features some of the best songs in any Disney
movie, including “For the First Time in Forever,” “Let it Go,” and “Fixer Upper.” Created by the same people who
made Tangled and Wreck it Ralph, this new movie is in my opinion by far one of the best to ever be created by
lmost everyone is familiar with the Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien and has either seen the movies, read the books, or both. Now the second movie of the prequel The Hobbit has come out in theatres,
almost exactly a year after the first of the three movies based off of the book premiered in theatres.
The movie starts off where An Unexpected Journey left off as the dwarves, Bilbo, and Gandalf have recently
fled from the orcs that hunt them. As the enemy quickly catches up to them, the group finds themselves in the
home of either a friend or foe - the last skin-changer who chooses to help them because as he says, “I don't
like dwarfs, they're greedy and blind - blind to the lives of those they deem less than their own… but orcs I hate
more.” But of course his help doesn’t last long as the dwarves find themselves in the Mirkwood, which has been
taken over by a dark force and everyone’s least favorite creatures, giant spiders. Naturally, trouble finds the
group again, even as they are saved from demise by the elves of the forest, who happen to be less than friendly
to the dwarves.
Causing many complaints from fans of the book, Peter Jackson took
liberty in changing the story from the original books. As is good in most
stories, whether book or movie, a love story was introduced between a
new character added by Peter Jackson to the Lord of the Rings series, an
elf woman by the name of Turiel, and Kili – a side story that never existed
in the book. In addition to adding this love story that is both criticized and
loved by fans, Jackson took liberty in removing some dwarves from reaching the Misty Mountain, furthering the love story between Kili and Turiel.
Of course, such changes are to be expected when turning a book into a
movie, causing fans to either love the movie or to rant about the changes
made to the story. But one thing can be said about part two of The Hobbit
by all fans, and that is that it is a movie worth seeing, even if it is about three hours long.