Behind the scenes of bull riders and country stars lies a group of young farmers ready to make their mark in the stockyards. With thousands of dollars in scholarships on the line, the success of every pig, cow, rabbit, and sheep depends on the students who raised them.
FFA competed in the San Antonio Stock show February 6-23. The annual rodeo competition is the most competitive event for Cibolo Creek FFA and attracts teen agriculturalists from across the state.
“I’ve been exhibiting my livestock projects for the opportunity to win ribbons, banners, money, and scholarships,” sophomore Laney Ferrell said. “I’ve shown a female swine project (which are called gilts) as well as a male swine project (called barrows).”
Ferrell was just three points shy of a $10,000 scholarship for her third place achievement in the Swine Skillathon, an oratory test over one’s general knowledge of the swine industry’s global impact. June, Ferrell’s heifer, placed ninth in her class alongside Ferrell’s barrow, or male pig, who also placed ninth out of 54 entries. She now has the opportunity to make profit off of her stock animals in future showings.
“Showing animals during the rodeo is a wonderful opportunity to show off all of the hard work FFA students put in day and night and all year long with our livestock projects,” Ferrell said.
Junior Tyler Bellamy received second place overall in the Rodeo’s annual calf scramble, a competition where dozens of students attempt to lasso in a young calf the quickest for a cash prize. He also has shown his two male pigs, Kris and Kevin, for the past five months. The proceeds Bellamy has earned this season will go to his livestock projects next year.
“Since I caught a calf during the scramble, I’m able to either pick a gilt or a heifer to show at the San Antonio Rodeo next year,” Bellamy said. It’s a fun experience.”
As of this year, the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo has endowed $210 million towards youth education.
“Competing in the stock show has given me the experience of trying my best,” Bellamy said. “Without my teachers and Cibolo Creek FFA, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
~Taylor Trapp- Online Editor-in-Chief
Seniors are only four months away from their graduation ceremony. At a recent senior meeting, a Balfour representative presented seniors with the pricing for graduation. He spoke about the cost of cap and gowns, invitations, and class rings. In order to walk the stage, seniors are required to wear a cap and gown, which costs $50 alone. After adding the cost of personalized invitations, thank-you notes, and a class ring, graduation prices become increasingly expensive. The district should have alternative ways to reduce graduation prices for seniors.
Walking the stage in front of family and friends is a major life event that seniors look forward to. In order to participate, seniors are supposed to pay a fee for a gown which will only be worn for a few hours. This includes the gown, cap, and tassel. After graduation, students either donate their cap and gowns, or keep them. On top of this $50 fee, depending on the amount purchased, the price of invitations varies, but can be as high as $70. Balfour also offers packages. However, the packages range from $73 to $265, and the cheapest option does not include invitations. The amount of money every senior has to pay in order to enjoy and participate in their own graduation is disheartening not only to students, but their families as well.
Communities in Schools (CIS) is a non profit organization that helps with college admission fees, free and reduced lunches, and sponser college visits. CIS provides free caps and gowns to students in the program as well. However, they only have twelve caps to provide for the whole senior class (roughly 590 students). CIS does help students who need the financial assistance; however a dozen cap and gowns is not enough to cover the amount of students who need the assistance. Students who are not in the programs, such as CIS, only recieve finanacial help from the school if they set up a meeting with CIS counselors. If students do need financial help, it is crucial for them to talk to someone. Counselors in the past have bought students cap and gowns, and no senior has ever walked the stage without a cap and gown.
A way to aid every student is having reusable cap and gowns. The school does have some reusable cap and gowns, however only the ones donated by past students. Most sports teams such as basketball and football have reusable jerseys, and ROTC has reusable uniforms. Having reusable caps and gowns that students rent at a lower price would be cheaper for students and give extra funding to the school.These caps and gowns will be washed every year, and if a student destroys the gown, then they should be held accountable for the cost. Walking the stage should not come at an expensive cost.
~Connie Wiggins- Assistant Editor-in-Chief
Ninety minutes. They had ninety minutes to locate 13 markers as they trudged through mud, climbed hills, and decoded maps. This was no friendly scavenger hunt.
Four JROTC cadets—senior Ian McWhirt, freshman Braden Donahue, and juniors Jonathon Stein and Liam Sexton—competed at Camp Bullis last Wednesday, Feb. 12. They competed in an event called orienteering, a lengthy cross-country event. Their mission was to locate a list of bright orange markers before their time ended.
“We take a map and we plot out coordinates that are given to us,” McWhirt said. “We run to each of the points, punch them on the scorecard, and run back to the starting line.”
For months the cadets trained for the event.
“We did a lot of running in boots and we practiced plotting points with the coordinates,” Stein said. “This was my first competition so I had no idea what was going to happen.”
Camp Bullis is 28,000 acres--about 44 square miles—full of forest and wildlife. But the team had only a few tools to help navigate the course: a protractor, a compass, and a map. Although each had his own task, one student emerged as the clear leader.
“We had one individual who was doing everything in regards to finding out where to go,” Sexton said. “A big part of it is just trying to figure out how much distance there is actually from the map to where you’re actually running. This student was on it the entire way.”
That student was McWhirt. His land-navigation skills, acquired from boy scouts, allowed him to interpret the map with relative ease. However, he was put to the challenge at the close of the event.
“At the very end of the competition he sprained his ankle,” Sexton said. “He’s a big guy so he was having trouble. We had five seconds to spare. Then he started sprinting. He barely got there.”
At the end of ninety minutes, all team members had to have crossed the finish line or else their score was deducted. But the team made it--with only seconds left on the clock. Their finish catapulted them to third place in a crowd of 24 teams.
“We ended up with 70 points out of 99,” Donahue said. “We found 11 out 13 markers.”
Despite the hills, the mud, the soreness, and the pain, they found joy in the camp scenery and team camaraderie. And their hard work paid off. For now, though, orienteering is just a hobby. In the future, each plan on joining the military. Stein wants to enlist in the army. Sexton aims to become a medic. McWhirt plans on becoming an officer.
Their next competition is at Camp Bullis on February 29. They will be recognized for their performance on March 24.
~Ally Lozano- Copy-Editor
Everyone knows Valentine’s Day is around the corner, but not everyone knows why we celebrate the holiday.
Valentine’s Day was not always called Valentine’s Day. It was originally called Lupercalia Day, an event celebrating spring and fertility. Lupercalia Day was represented as a celebration of love in the fourteenth century. And in ancient Greece, it was a celebration of god Zeus and goddess Hera’s marriage. To the Catholic religion, it was a day of feast.
“I think Valentine’s Day is a nice encouragement for a show of appreciation to those we care about, but I also think we shouldn’t need a special holiday to tell us to show that appreciation," Avery Hanes (12) said."It should just be natural to do so.”
The name Valentine comes from Saint Valentine. There are many legends as to who Saint Valentine was, and they all deal with love. One is about how Saint Valentine helped soldiers get married; another is about Saint Valentine being locked up and sending love letters to his jailer's daughter. By the fifteenth century, the name Valentine was used to describe a lover in poems, songs and, of course, love letters. In the mid-nineteenth cards were being manufactured and sold in stores.
“Valentine’s Day is for everyone," Aaron Wayt (11) said. "You don’t have to be in a relationship to enjoy it. Most people celebrate this day by sending messages of love and affection to partners, family and friends."
Today Valentine’s Day is celebrated by everyone, not just couples. Many elementary school kids give out candy and cards to their classmates. High school students give to their closest friends. Most couples spend this day together with a date or celebration. The day is full of love and spending time with the people you care for the most.
~Ryleigh McCright- Staff Writer