• April – Connally High School

    Posted by Marcial Guajardo at 5/13/2016 11:00:00 AM

    Decision Day

    Seniors share college plans

    Editor’s note: The following article is reprinted with permission. It originally appeared in the April 29 edition of the Connally High School newspaper, The Connection. 

    By Michelle Le
    Connection news and sports editor

     

    Applying to college is a long process for many seniors, but waiting for acceptance letters can be an even longer process.

    During the spring, many seniors are sent their acceptance letters but deciding on where to go can take a long time. Seniors take into account tuition, campus, location and college environment.

    Senior Madeleine Howard and Kyleeil Johnson both auditioned for out-of-state universities for their desired music major.

    “I actually felt my Oregon audition was a really good performance,” Howard said, “just because I wasn’t as nervous. It wasn’t my first audition and everything went smoothly.”

    Howard was accepted to Loyola University in New Orleans and also the University of Oregon, receiving scholarships from both schools. She chose the University of Oregon.

    “I’ve been waiting for my acceptance to the Berklee College of Music. Once that comes soon, I’ll know where I want to go,” Johnson said. “NYU is on the top of my list so I’m hoping I get into the school.”

    Vanderbilt has been a dream school for McKenzie Green since her sophomore year. She likes the happy environment of the university in Nashville, Tenn. and the great academic atmosphere. To achieve her dream, Green finished her application early, was involved and kept a close eye on her test scores.

    “It’s ranked really high so there’s great academics,” Green said. “I visited it there and all the students there seem really happy with their choice and everything.”

    She will major in Human Organization Development and Pre-Law. After Vanderbilt, Green wants to go law school in Texas.

    “I‘m considering UT law school because it’s good to go to law school where you want to practice law in and I want to move back to Texas,” Green said.

    Tuition is a big factor when applying to colleges. Most students tend to stay in-state since it is less expensive and closer to home. However many colleges do provide financial aid and along with scholarships can be affordable. Vanderbilt comes with a price tag of an estimated $64,280 per year.

    “I got a financial grant because most of their scholarships are need based,” Green said. “I (also) got one from the Legal Profession Association of Austin.”

    Aside from the campus location and atmosphere, many seniors also consider class sizes. A larger student-to-teacher ratio will mean less time for the teacher to interact with students. Although attending an in-state college is more affordable and convenient, Johnson, Howard and Green considered applying to out-of-state universities for a different setting.

    “I’ve been in Austin my whole life so I’ve really wanted to go out and explore,” Johnson said. “There’s more to the world than Austin. I just wanted to get out and see what options there are.”

      

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  • April – Pflugerville High School

    Posted by Marcial Guajardo at 5/13/2016 8:00:00 AM

     

    Back in the Game

    Former PHS star looking to shine again in WNBA

     

    Nneka Enemkpali and basketball camp participants

    PHS grad Nneka Enemkpali (in pink headband) poses with campers at the end of her first basketball camp. Photo by Mercedes Ezeji

     

    Editor’s note: The following article is reprinted with permission. It originally appeared in the April edition of the Pflugerville High School newspaper, the Panther Prowler.

    By Jeremy Garcia and Aeris Broaders
    Prowler reporters

     

    PHS grad Nneka Enemkpali was in the middle of her senior, and most productive, season as the star of the University of Texas women’s basketball team. The team had won its first 13 games, and was climbing the national rankings leading up to a key matchup with Baylor on Jan. 19, 2015.

    It was on that night that Enemkpali tore the ACL in her left knee, ending her stellar college career and putting a hold on her professional career.

    “Most importantly, it took away from the opportunity for my team to finish what we started,” Enemkpali said. “I am positive that had I finished my senior season, we would have made it to the Final Four. But this year that I’ve had away from the game has opened my eyes to other avenues. It also revealed to me how impactful the game has been in molding me and my character.”

    On Feb. 16, Enemkpali was cleared to once again step onto a basketball court and start training with the Seattle Storm, the team that drafted her 26th overall in the 2015 WNBA draft. The Storm begins their season on May 15 in Los Angeles.

    Enemkpali is one of Pflugerville High School’s most decorated athletes. The 2011 graduate lettered in volleyball, track, and basketball, but found her greatest success on the basketball court under Hall of Fame coach Nancy Walling.

    At UT, Enemkpali was on pace to become the fifth player in program history to record 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds when she tore her ACL. She finished ninth in total rebounds and 30th in total points. Having only played 17 games in her final season, she was still named a third team All-American.

    Coach April Hundl, who took over the Panthers’ basketball program last season, was a part of Enemkpali’s growth, coaching her all four years of high school as an assistant to Walling.

    “It was fun to watch her play,” Hundl said, “and fun to try to push her limits to see what she could do.”


    The playoffs were a regular expectation while Enemkpali was in school, and the team’s deepest run came her sophomore year.

    “My favorite memory was my sophomore year when we made it to the state tournament,” Enemkpali said. “There is no greater feeling than to see a goal you set come full circle.”

    During the state semi-final game that year, Enemkpali suffered her first major knee injury, tearing the ACL in her right knee.

    “I came back to play my junior season,” Enemkpali said, “but I was not fully myself I would say until my freshman year in college. After I tore my ACL I was offered a full ride to UT Austin. That showed me that they truly believed in me as an individual and that I would be a valuable addition to the program. It didn’t take me long to commit after that.”

    Despite her successful college career and budding WNBA career, Enemkpali hasn’t forgotten her high school or her hometown. On March 5, she hosted a basketball camp at PHS through the Hope4Girls Africa organization.

    “The mission of this organization is to use basketball as a vehicle to aid in the development of young girls who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds,” Enemkpali said. “I chose this organization because of the ties I have to my parents’ home country of Nigeria and my love to make sure that every girl knows that they are powerful beyond measure and that their dreams and aspirations are valid. It is always important to give back to those who took part in helping you become who you are today.

    “I love the city of Pflugerville, I love my high school.”

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  • February - Pflugerville High School

    Posted by Marcial Guajardo at 4/6/2016 7:00:00 AM

    Dearing demonstrates district’s commitment to reduce energy usage

    Dearing Elementary library

    The Dearing Elementary library, along with the school’s classrooms,
    features large windows that let in large amounts of natural light.
    Photo by Mercedes Ezeji

     

    Editor’s note: The following article is reprinted with permission. It originally appeared in the February edition of the Pflugerville High School newspaper, the Panther Prowler.

    By Dorrian Murphy
    Prowler feature editor 

    Big windows, glass walls, warm-colored paint and concrete floors give Dearing Elementary a futuristic – while still rustic and homey – aesthetic. A student-maintained garden and rainwater collection system lie between two buildings, and natural light floods every classroom.

    One of three net-zero ready schools in the state, Dearing has the capacity to produce as much energy as it consumes.

    “The first reason [for building Dearing as a net-zero school] was it was just the right thing to do,” said Bill Clayton, Pflugerville ISD’s Executive Director of Facilities and Support Services. “The second is long-term it’s going to be saving money. It’s good for the environment, it’s good for the students. ... We are using as little electricity as possible to run that school. We’re using about half as much as what we’re using in the other schools as far as the amount of electricity per square foot. If we could afford to put solar panels on the roof of the school, we could generate as much electricity as we use in the school.”

    Dearing has many other environmentally friendly features. Lights have a timer and a dimmer rather than a switch, and the building’s temperature is regulated by geothermal technology.

    “Rather than having a condenser unit to warm and cool the building, our system is utilizing about 360 underground wells beneath the back parking lot,” Dearing Principal Christy Chandler said. “The ground pulls the heat from the water, allowing for the heating or cooling inside.”


    An outdoor learning lab and a cistern that pools condensation and rainwater allow students to interact with green technology and care for plants. Herbs are harvested and used by students in the cooking club. Touch screens in the main hall allow students to interactively learn about the building and how much energy is being used in any classroom.

    
“Overall, our goal remains the same, which is serving our students,” Chandler said. “The gift of such a wonderful building and opportunities to help our environment are both bonuses.”

    Dearing is one example of the district’s recent efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. District-wide efforts to reduce energy use began in 2008, and efforts to reduce water use began in 2010.

    The district also began a recycling and composting program in the fall of 2013.

    Clayton said that all district campuses have some sort of energy-efficient or eco-friendly technology, including either high-efficiency fluorescent or LED lighting. Water conservation measures across the district include low-flow toilets, no-flush urinals and restrictors on faucets.

    Over the past six years, Pflugerville ISD has reduced energy use by 30 percent, according to Steve Waldron, the district’s coordinator of energy management.

    “The district’s short- and long-term goals consist of perpetually looking for ways to reduce our energy and water use year after year,” Waldron said.

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  • January - Hendrickson High School

    Posted by Kyndall Jirasek at 2/10/2016

    Taking a Stand: Loss leads teachers to Philadelphia based cancer research foundation

     

    Editor’s note: The following article is reprinted with permission. It originally appeared in the January edition of the Hawk newspaper at Hendrickson High School.

     

    By Madi McVan, Copy Editor

     

    Like most 8-year olds, Will Lucas loved Legos.

    He loved them so much that with the help of his parents, he planned a lemonade stand to earn money to buy a new Lego set and colored a banner to advertise his business.

    But before the Lucases got around to actually setting up the stand, they received news that Will, who had been battling a rare form of childhood cancer, has relapsed. He passed away in May of 2012, before he could hold his own lemonade stand.

    They still have the banner.

    Teachers Tom and Sara Lucas channel their grief for their son into work with the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), benefiting those affected by childhood cancer. They organize lemonade and snack stands and other fundraisers around Pflugerville in memory of Will and donate the proceeds to ALSF.

    “My sisters and I were looking to get together for a weekend and one of them found out about ALSF,” history teacher Sara Lucas said. “We were so impressed with what they did, and now it’s helping us with our grief and helping us parent our son who isn’t physically with us.”

    ALSF began with a lemonade stand held by 4-year-old cancer patient Alexandra Scott, who created the stand to raise money for cancer research. Scott passed away in 2004 at the age of 8, but the foundation continued to grow.

    In addition to donating money directly to the foundation through fundraisers, the Lucas family asked those who knew Will to donate the book “Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand” to local libraries. The book, geared towards children, tells the story of Alexandra Scott and her dedication to ending cancer. In the end, approximately 80 books were donated.

    “It’s very fun to hear from librarians around the district,”Sara Lucas said. “They will read the books to students and the students will get all excited about it and hold lemonade stands of their own, which is really what we want. We want to empower people to make a difference in their world.”

    Former principal Devin Padavil organized a student activity club in order to involve more students in fundraising for the foundation, which provides grants directly to doctors and scientists conducting research on childhood cancer.

    “Believe it or not, very little of other cancer fundraising actually goes to helping kids,” Padavil said. “The club is Hendrickson's way of supporting that effort. I was inspired by the effort of Sara and Tom Lucas, teachers at Hendrickson and friends of mine. I was equally inspired by the life of their son, Will.”

    Padavil appointed junior McKenely Scott president of the ALSF club at the end of her sophomore year. The club, sponsored by Sara Lucas, holds lemonade and snack stands, and plans on selling T-shirts in the near future.

    “It’s students getting together to help find a cure for cancer by raising money or finding donations,” Scott said. “Helping people out is just something I like to do. This is a great way to help a lot of people at once.”

    Because children account for only a small percentage of cancer patients in the US, many charities do not focus on funding research for childhood cancers. ALSF focuses specifically on finding a cure for childhood cancer, which is why the Lucas family chose to support it. The research funded by ALSF may lead to breakthroughs that could save kids like Will.

    “When your child dies you don’t stop loving him,” Sara Lucas said. “The big fear is that you’re going to forget him. You want to know that you’re doing something that will help other kids and that you’re just honoring him. So it gives us a chance to talk about him, and to know that we are consciously doing something that honors his memory.”

    lucas  lemonade  lucas  

    Photos contributed by Sara Lucas

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  • December - Pflugerville High School

    Posted by Marcial Guajardo at 1/22/2016 10:00:00 AM

    AP Capstone class to be introduced next year

    Editor’s note: The following article is reprinted with permission. It originally appeared in the December edition of the Pflugerville High School newspaper, the Panther Prowler.

    By Jackson Moody and Nathaniel Mosher
    Prowler reporters

    Roughly 365 high schools in the world have an AP Capstone program. All three Pflugerville I.S.D. high schools will join that exclusive list next school year.

    Implemented in 2014, AP Capstone is an innovative diploma program that focuses on developing student’s research, collaboration and communication skills. The program includes a two-course sequence: AP Seminar and AP Research. AP Seminar will be available to next year’s juniors who have already taken three or more AP courses.

    AP teacher Steve Gripp’s goal is to have a minimum of 15 students sign up for his AP Seminar class.

    “I’m excited,” Gripp said. “It’s going to allow students to feel like they have ownership of their education. High school is a place where they have to follow rules and they have guidelines and strictures of teachers, and this AP Capstone program is going to instill confidence with the way they learn and take ownership of their educational skills.”

    AP environmental science teacher Rob Quarles, who completed the AP Capstone application, said only about 50 schools in the nation were selected to join the AP Capstone program next year.

    “I think Capstone is a great opportunity for our students to get a designation on their diploma,” Quarles said. “Getting into elite universities or elite programs is going to be easier for kids with that designation.”

    Students who earn a 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research, as well as four additional AP exams of their choosing, will receive the AP Capstone Diploma.

    “Students will have to make qualifying scores on four exams,” Quarles said. “I would like to see a large percentage of those taking [AP Seminar] meet the requirements move on to [AP Research], meet those requirements and actually get the diploma of designation.”

    Gripp’s short-term goal is increasing student awareness about the program.

    “[The] long-term goal is national recognition,” Gripp said. “I want people to come to our campus to see how the program is run. I want to promote the AP Capstone program because AP Capstone is run through College Board and that is correlate with AP its going to raise the rigor of our campus.”

    AP Seminar (Year 1)

    Team & Project Presentation Individual Research-Based Essay & Presentation End-of-Course Exam

    AP Research (Year 2)

    Academic Paper Presentation & Oral Defense

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    Steve Gripp

    AP English teacher Steve Gripp delivers a lecture. Gripp will teach the new AP Seminar class next year. Photo by Madison Masters

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  • December - Hendrickson High School

    Posted by Kyndall Jirasek at 12/30/2015

    At the Crossroads

    Crossing Guard expresses love for community and job

    Editor’s note: The following article is reprinted with permission. It originally appeared in the November edition of the Hawk newspaper at Hendrickson High School.

     

    By Gabby Sanchez

    Hawk Newspaper Staff Reporter

     

    Max Poss looks around on his morning walk to the corner of Kelly Lane and Kenemer Drive, he then sees signs all the way down the street and on the corner with sayings like “Thank you Mr. Max” and “We love you Mr. Max.” He has no idea what they were doing there. He approaches the corner, parents from all over the neighborhood have cake and cookies for him to enjoy.

    Today is Mr. Max Day, a neighborhood wide event to thank him for his service to the community. The high school band arrives to play songs for him, including a popular tune from his high school years called “Land of a Thousand Dances.”  Later in the day cars continue to drive by honking and waving at him. The celebration of Mr. Max Day made Poss realize that being a crossing guard is more than just a job.

    Poss can be seen standing at the same corner every morning and afternoon in his bright orange vest, rain or shine, and has done so for the past eleven years. Local elementary, middle and high school students depend on him to get to school safely, crossing the bustling, wide intersection with his guidance. Poss, or Mr. Max as the children call him, serves the community every day, leaving an impact on current students and those who have long gone onto university and beyond. 

    Poss became the full-time crossing guard at this intersection when his successor called him to action because her foot had been run over. Since then Poss has become such a huge part of the community to the people he serves.

    In his youth, Poss served in the Navy in the Air Traffic Control, and he feels like it gave him the proper training needed to be a crossing guard.

    “I jokingly say that the two most dangerous places in the world are the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, and this intersection,” Poss said. “It’s a dangerous place, and that kind of thing helps me judge closing speed, speed, separation and all that kind of stuff.”

    The best part of the job for Poss is the interaction he has with the kids and their parents. The amount of trust the children give him is clear to see. Standing with him for even a few moments multiple people say hello to him as he directs cars and helps them cross the street. They rush in the morning and afternoons to fill him in on the good and the bad events in their lives whether it’s about their dad coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan or their parents getting a divorce.

    Mr. Max wishes he had gotten to Pflugerville sooner because of its small town values and big-small town attitude. He fears that with the exponential growth of Pflugerville it will lose the qualities he cherishes so much.

    “Everybody cares about everyone else,” Poss said. “It’s growing so fast now I hope it does not lose that feel.”

    His legacy and impact in our community is clear, and he knows there lies great responsibility in his job to ensure the safety of children and their parents in Pflugerville.

    “In my teenage days we would say ‘that is heavy dude,’” Poss said. “ You don’t want to let anyone down, I know how they feel about me and I feel the same way about them.”

    Poss has occupied a wide array of jobs, from his service in the Navy to being a pharmaceutical representative, but out of all of his jobs, being crossing guard is the one he feels like he’s meant to have. 

    “This is the best job I’ve ever had,” Poss said. “Of all of the jobs I’ve had, this is the one that’s the most endearing to me, I had to wait all my life to get to this point, but I’m here.”

     

    By Rion Ellis

    Photo by Rion Ellis

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  • November - Connally High School

    Posted by Marcial Guajardo at 12/10/2015 7:00:00 AM

    New head coach, new season   

    Coach Amber Wiley takes the lead as girls basketball prepares for a new year

     

    Editor’s note: The following article is reprinted with permission. It originally appeared in the Nov. 20 edition of the Connally High School newspaper, The Connection. 

    By Vanely Gutierrez
    Staff reporter

    The Lady Cougars varsity basketball team started this year’s season with a new coach and high expectations have already been set.

    Coach Candi Harvey stepped down from her position as head coach for the Lady Cougars varsity basketball team after 35 years of coaching, due to a family medical emergency. Coach Amber Wiley took the lead this season, after previously coaching the junior varsity team.

    “This is not a decision I made over night, the realization that I’m not going to be coaching at a game, coaching at practice is difficult but I am in absolute peace of mind that this is the best decision for everybody that is important to me,” Harvey said.

    This would have been Harvey’s fourth year coaching at CHS. The team had great

    Success – each year going to the playoffs. Last year they made it to Regionals.

    “There was a high level of coaching from everyone and I think there was a group of athletes that were willing to commit and do what we asked them to do and when they did that, it worked beautifully,” Harvey said.

    This will be Wiley’s ninth year coaching, her second year at CHS.

    “I’m very humble and blessed, both at the same time,” coach Wiley said. “It’s a dream I’ve waited for my entire life. Working with coach Harvey along with other coaches has prepared me for this opportunity.”

    Wiley wants the team to go to District and playoffs. Her ultimate goal is state.

     “I will accomplish this goal by starting with the small victories during practices when we are competing against each other,” Wiley said. “Every day we try to accomplish one common goal, ‘improve, and allow the hard work to reward itself.”

    Amber Wiley

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  • November - Hendrickson High School

    Posted by Kyndall Jirasek at 11/30/2015

    The Most Dangerous Game

    National concussion awareness impacts local athletic policies

    Editor’s note: The following article is reprinted with permission. It originally appeared in the November edition of the Hawk newspaper at Hendrickson High School. This story was named one of the top ten sports stories in the nation according to the National Scholastic Press Association.

     

    By Kylie Ruffino

    Hawk Newspaper co-editor

     

    Three consecutive hits: one from the opposing player, one from the line backer, and one against the ground.  All to the head. In unbearable pain and unable to walk in a straight line, he makes his way to the sidelines.

    The athletic trainer on site asks routine questions. “What is your name?”

    He hesitates, “Dominic Distefano.”

    “When is your birthday?”

    He hesitates again and his condition becomes clear to the trainers. He has a concussion.

    But, Distefano’s injury is not unusual. He was only one of the estimated 136,000 to 300,000 student athletes who received a concussion last year. He was hospitalized and tested for weeks following the incident until he was cleared to play.

    “I was in excruciating pain when my mom and uncle took me to the Emergency Room and I had to keep all the lights off,” Distefano said. “I still don’t really remember everything that happened. It all feels like a haze or a dream and everything was flying by. It didn’t look like what I’m seeing now.”

    In recent years, new technology has been developed to allow doctors to more accurately track injuries and how they affect the brain. The new evidence has shown that the brain undergoes dangerous and damaging traumas throughout the football season.

    This new information has prompted athletic organizations nationwide to reconsider safety equipment and precautions.

    “The safety of the game has definitely improved from how the equipment is developed to the protocols set in place,” Athletic Director and Varsity Football Coach Chip Killian said. “Within the last ten years we’ve stopped seeing and using head to head contact in tackles; we just don’t practice or play like that anymore and we shouldn’t.”

    Although, the danger in the game has been lessened, injuries are still prevalent. Safety protocols set in place ensure that players won’t risk further injury by playing before they’re ready and healthy. Athletic trainers track the injury, after a doctor releases the player from symptoms; they start a state mandated five-day concussion protocol. Five days of testing. Five days of waiting. Five days of being in the clear.

    “High school athletes have died as a result of receiving a second concussion because they were sent back into the game without proper treatment; concussions are serious and they should be treated as so,” sophomore Kyle Fontenette said. “Your life should not be put at risk while playing the game.”

    Other precautions set in place even limit the amount of contact athletes can have during practice. That, however, doesn’t stop the amount of contact during a game. Athletic Trainer Trina Aultman keeps continuous records of all injuries the football players undergo. After several take home packets full of information, sign off sheets, doctor’s appointments, and flow charts, the parents are the final check off. If they do not feel comfortable with their child playing then the athlete won’t.

    “I don’t think there is reason to be concerned [about football] more than any other sport, football is always the center of attention because of the violence the sport has, but if you look at it, most of the injuries come from the players hitting the ground opposed to head to head contact,” Killian said. “There is little to no light shined the dangers of other sports like soccer or baseball; these sports could just as easily have similar results.”

    Last year, Aultman confirmed 14 concussions out of 270 players during the season and Soccer Coach William Anderson estimates two concussions during soccer with a running average of three per season. Statistically speaking, if the soccer team had the same number of players they would have had 9 concussions last season. Even though the difference in numbers is relatively small, this didn’t stop special education teacher and parent Clarissa Distefano from worrying about her son, junior Dominic Distefano when he received a concussion last season during football.

    “You know that injuries are a part of the game but until it happens to you and your family, it makes everything very real,” Distefano said. “It’s all very scary, especially for an injury you couldn’t see, your only guide is by the way he says he feels.”

    Along side Distefano, Anderson’s own son experienced severe concussion when he and an opposing player collided heads in an attempt to head the ball at a district soccer game.   Anderson didn’t see the hit due to his location during  the game, but after watching the film he said it was bad. His son missed school for two weeks and was restricted to limited work the week prior to his return.

    “A concussion is a concussion no matter what sport you play; it’s a medical event where the brain is impacting the skull,” Anderson said. “Parents only see the big screaming headlines and worst case scenario. They don’t see all of the care and planning coaches go through to try to prevent as many as injuries as possible in any sport.”

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  • October - Connally High School

    Posted by Marcial Guajardo at 11/19/2015 5:00:00 PM

    Pushing for AP 

    Editor’s note: The following article is reprinted with permission. It originally appeared in the Oct. 23 edition of the Connally High School newspaper, The Connection.

     

    By Hannah Lovato
    The Connection editor in chief

     

    A renewed push for students to take advanced placement classes has focus on molding high-achieving students.

    Taking AP courses can boost your GPA, prepare you for college and give you college credit, saving money later on. Many subjects have AP versions such as statistics, biology, psychology and chemistry.

    “Some students lack the confidence to believe in their own abilities,” AP chemistry teacher Loreni Kerecman said. “We have a campus full of bright young people that do not recognize their own extraordinary potential.”

    Some students do not sign up for an AP classes because they have extracurricular activities and think that it’s too hard.

    “They are challenging, but if you try hard and do your work it shouldn’t be a problem,” senior Beatriz Valdez said. “You will spend a lot of time doing homework, but it’s definitely satisfying at the end of the year once the class is over because you were able to push yourself through it.”

    Principal Kermit Ward is also pushing for more AP students.

    “If there are students in this building that need to be challenged and mentally extended, it is the school’s responsibility to find those students, place them in those classes, and build support for them to rely on when they struggle,” Ward said. “Every student at CHS that has the ability to be college-ready needs the exposure to a rigorous curriculum.”

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  • October - Pflugerville High School

    Posted by Marcial Guajardo at 11/19/2015 5:00:00 PM

     

    The man behind the microphone

    C.J. King has been the football team’s announcer longer than he can recall

    C.J. King  

    Pictured: C.J. King calls a play during the first quarter of the Panthers’ 33-13 victory over Rouse on Sept. 18. (Photo courtesy Panther Prowler)

     

    Editor’s note: The following article is reprinted with permission. It originally appeared in the October edition of the Pflugerville High School newspaper, the Panther Prowler.

     

    By Casey Aguilar
    Panther Prowler news editor

     

    They might not recognize his name, but fans of the Panther football team know his voice, as well as his signature catchphrase: “First and 10, Panthers!”

    C.J. King cannot recall exactly how long he’s been the Panther football team’s announcer. He just knows it’s been a long time.

    “I don’t have a clue,” said King, a 1963 PHS grad. “I think it’s over 25 [years], but I’m not positive.” 

    Part of King’s motivation for taking the job was hearing opposing announcers mispronounce the last names of Pflugerville players.

    “And I felt like we should get them right,” King said. “I love the game. I love watching the kids play.”

    Over the years, King has developed an enthusiastic style and one signature catchphrase.

    “It just seemed like one night the fans were kind of dead,” King said. “They weren’t cheering as much, [so] I just hollered out, ‘First and 10, Panthers!’ and everybody cheered. It worked, so I kept going.”

    King has four children and 10 grandchildren. One of his favorite memories was announcing the game when his youngest daughter was crowned Homecoming Queen.

    “He has been a Pflugerville Panther for almost all of his life,” said Melissa Malinowski, King’s daughter and a P.E. coach at Dearing Elementary. “I just know that he really loves it. … If I had a dollar for every time that my dad made someone laugh, I would be a millionaire because he always knows how to make people feel welcome or just feel good.”

    King was a member of the PHS football teams that set a national record with 55 consecutive victories from 1958 to 1962. During the streak, the Panthers won five district championships, two bi-district championships and four regional championships. The streak ended with a six-point loss to Holland in the 1962 bi-district round of the playoffs.

    “It [was] unbelievable,” King said. “I started playing football for Pflugerville in seventh grade, and I only played one losing game. That was No. 56.”

    King recalls how different the town of Pflugerville was back when he was in high school.

    “Timmerman Elementary was the edge of town,” King said. “There was nothing [East of there]. No stores, no gas stations, nothing. The population was 345, and now it’s like 57,000. It’s grown a lot.” 

    Over the years, King has volunteered in the Pflugerville fire department and been a Pflugerville postmaster. He also helped found Pflugerville’s Little League softball program after his daughters were told they couldn’t play Little League baseball. 

    On Friday nights, though, King is simply the man behind the microphone.

    “They always call me and say, ‘You still gonna announce this year?’” King said. “I always tell them, ‘Until I die or you fire me.’”

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