The TMI Times, February 2023

Love is in the Air

By TMI Journalism Club

Photo from HOLA US Lifestyle

This February, the TMI community experienced various events. Students, faculty, and parents came together for the 2023 Military Ball, and the National Honor Society hosted a Valentine’s Day letter-making booth. To top it off, winter season sports are slowly coming to an end, with three sports making it to state and two winning state titles. What a month!

Valentine’s Day

Students writing Valentine’s Day letters for retirement homes. The booth was created by and set up by the National Honor Society officers.

Although the origin of Valentine’s Day remains unclear, historians circle the holiday all the way back to around 270 A.D. when the Roman Emperor, Claudius II, executed two Christian men, both of whom were named Valentine. The history of Valentine’s includes dark, surprising turns. Click the link below to read more about the history of Valentine’s Day.

But what is Valentine’s Day now? Is it really a beneficial holiday? What true significance does it have? As many know, the holiday is often spent surprising a significant other with a large bouquet of pink roses or buying heart-shaped chocolate boxes for your friends. Ultimately, Valentine’s Day is meant to honor the importance of love.

It’s easy to spend the holiday bitter, wanting to scream at the couples who give each other excessive gifts, fighting your intrusive thoughts that are urging you to scream, “Break up!” Maybe you spend your Valentine’s Day thinking about your ex, trying not to spin back and send them a text that you know you’ll regret tomorrow. Maybe you think Valentine’s Day is a pointless waste of time that needs to be banned and vigorously ripped out of every calendar. It’s easy to hate the holiday because you don’t have a Valentine, but in reality, love is all around us.

Love is your mom leaving her job early to make dinner for you and your siblings. Love is your best friend waiting for you after school so you can grab Chick-Fil-A like you do every Friday. Love is your teacher staying after class to help you understand the test you just bombed. Love is the SAGE dining workers waking up early and staying late every day to make sure the students have delicious food to eat throughout the day. Love is in the faces and actions of the people we know. Love is everywhere.

Maybe you didn’t understand the purpose of Valentine’s Day this year, but I hope that in the future, you will see the holiday with a new perspective. Regardless if you have a Valentine or not, spend next year’s holiday noticing the love within yourself, in others, and in this world. Happy Valentine’s Day!

We asked students what Valentine’s Day means to them. Click the second link below to watch!

Valentine’s Day History

Valentine’s Day Interviews

Mental Health

Scroll down to the Teacher Spotlight to see what Mrs. Condrey has to say!

Photo from the Los Angeles Times

During this time of year it can be difficult to keep up with all the assignments that are thrown at us, especially with extracurricular activities and sports. It is easy to lose motivation to do work because we are so ready for summer break. If you are feeling the pressures that come with the second semester of school, just remind yourself it is almost summer! Even though school may be stressful now, there are fun things to come as well, so stay motivated and try to push through these last few months.  

Military Ball

This year’s Military Ball proved to be a huge success, with over seven hundred people in attendance! TMI’s annual Military Ball celebrates graduating cadets as they prepare to head off to college. The Masters of Ceremonies this year, Bernice Gitiche ’24 and Aiden Notzon ’24 did an amazing job. When asked what the experience was like, Bernice stated that “being selected as MC was such an honor and I enjoyed every part of the experience. Public speaking is something I have so much fun doing, so speaking to such an amazing audience was definitely something I won’t forget. I especially loved working with my co-host, Aidan Notzon, who I think did an excellent job as MC. Plus, I learned from two exceptional role models, Martha Toursakissian and Tristan Tamez who were last year’s MCs.” Thank you to everyone who helped organize and put together this Military Ball!

Black History Month

Photo from the National Museum of African American History and Culture

For centuries, African Americans in the United States have had struggling roles in our society. Even before the Civil Rights Movement, Black leaders fought for significant changes in America. During Reconstruction after the Civil War, Ida B. Wells, W.E.B Du Bois, and Booker T. Washington advocated for Black rights and equal access to education, with W.E.B. Du Bois being the first Black American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Later, in 1909, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was founded by Du Bois and currently has 300,000 members. 

These leaders have paved the way for Black Americans today, and many people continue to make history today. As the month comes to an end, let’s not forget the people who have made a difference in our society today, and always remember that ANYONE can change the world.

TMI Athletics Thrive at State

Congratulations to the boys and girls swim team for winning the TAPPS Division II State Championship! This is the first time in TMI history that both the swim boys and girls have won state titles in the same year. Additionally, they both won by margins of well over 50 points! Many TAPPS records were broken during this meet, including the 400 free relay by Emily Kitayama, Calista Kelner, Gabby Beck, and Meredith Holcomb, the 200 free relay with Kitayama, Kelner, Mara Flores, and Holcomb, and three individual event records by Emily Kitayama  – the 200 free, the 100 fly, and her 100 free lead off the 400 free relay. The boys and girls broke an overwhelming amount of school records on top of their TAPPS records! Meredith Holcomb was named TAPPS Central Region Swimmer of the Meet and started the team off strong by receiving her award at the beginning of the meet. Finally, a special congratulations to Emily Kitayama ’24 who was named the Female Swimmer of the State Meet due to her breaking a total of five TAPPS records!

But that’s not all! The boys varsity basketball team went off to Waco once again to compete for the TAPPS state title – except this time, they emerged as state champions! They finished their season with a successful win against St. Michael’s Catholic Academy with a score of 54-46. The team was also recognized in chapel several days after their big win. Congratulations to all the players, and especially to Kendrick De Luna ’23, Yashi McKenzie ’23, and Ojani Bowen ’24, who were named to the TAPPS State All-Tournament Team. 

Lastly, the boys varsity soccer team has advanced to the state semifinals after their 5-1 win against Kelly. Unfortunately, they did not make it to the State Championship, but excellent job to the players for making it this far into the season!


Student Spotlight: Jerry Choi ’24

Reported by Chance Walker ’25

Jerry Choi has been quite the sensation recently at TMI. He credited his rise in popularity because he was the only one doing sports photography at the school. Here are some questions we asked him:

Q (Walker): What do you think has caused your photos to be so desired by the sports players at TMI?

A (Choi):  When I first started, I thoughtlessly went to school football games, took pictures, and posted them on my photography social media account, and I felt good when other students wanted my photographs; I gave them pictures, and the students liked them. So I thought it would be good to keep doing this, so I have been doing it until now.

Q:  Were you surprised by how much everyone loved them?

A: At first, I did not expect I would get this much attention. Initially, it started with the point of making friends, but I did not expect so many students and people to notice my photography. I’m just thankful for a lot of attention and love. 

Q: Do you have a trick for getting the perfect picture?

A: Preliminary research, photo editing, effort, and motivation help me to improve my skills and myself.

Q: How do you see yourself using your skills in college and beyond?

A: I am planning to focus on photography as a minor when I go to college. When I go to college, I will go to college sports events, take pictures, and experience more. I have yet to think about it after graduating college, but I will take photos in big games, such as the professional league, if possible.

Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Condrey

Interviewed by Russell Duncan ’26

This month, we interviewed our beloved school counselor, Ms. Lisa Condrey, and asked her about her role as a counselor. As we focus more on mental health this season, take a look at what Ms. Condrey has to say to the student body! 

Ms. Condrey Interview

Mini Muse:

Celebrating student creativity.

Anacia Scogin ’23: “Under the Glint”

Advice Column:

Q: What should I do if someone is saying I’m bullying them? When I’m really not? 

A: Don’t dismiss their complaint, and take time to listen to the other individual’s side of the story. Apologize for any unintended offense, and if needed, get an adult involved.

Q: How do I make the first move in a relationship?

A: Making the first move in a relationship is definitely not an easy thing to do. When you walk into the situation, have the mindset of ‘YOLO’ because you really only live once. However, it’s important to have an abundance mentality. This means that whether or not you succeed in making your move on this person, you will be okay because there are so many other people out there, and your worth is NEVER determined by a singular human being. Go up to the person, and maybe say something along the lines of: “Hey, you seem like a really nice person. I’m going to get ice cream after school today. Wanna come with?” Something simple like that. DON’T OVERDO IT. And don’t take it too seriously. However, the worst they can say is definitely not just no. (Speaking from experience!) Still, ask them out. If it turns into a disaster, tell yourself it’s all for the plot! 

Q: I want to get my grades up, but I’m not good at studying and I can’t stay focused. What should I do?

A: Studying requires discipline over motivation. Whenever you feel tired and would rather scroll on TikTok than finish a Pre-Cal assignment, ask yourself, “Would my future self be proud of my current actions?” No. They wouldn’t. You have to remind yourself WHY you need to study. WHY you need to stay focused. When you focus on your why, you build discipline that overrules temporary motivation. Also, in order to effectively study, you should strive to eliminate distractions. Put away your phone, your boyfriend can wait. You’ve got goals to accomplish!

Q: How can I find a friend group?

A: Finding a friend group may seem like an essential part of high school, especially if you’re new or recently fell out of an old one. The key to finding a friend group is to simply not look for one. Never chase anyone or be desperate for a group of friends. Realize that no one is better than you, and you are also better than no one. Instead, be authentic in every situation. Be kind and friendly to everyone you meet. Join clubs, join sports, and put yourself out there. Find things that YOU like to do. Over time, true friends will become attracted to your magnetic energy. Be okay with being alone, do what you love, and people will eventually be drawn to you. 

Q: Can the cafe get pickles?

A:  That sounds like a great idea! What you could do is start a petition for the cafe to sell pickles and try to make it happen! What other things do we think Cafe 18 should sell?

Q: How do I continue to be myself when others are tearing me down?

A: DON’T LET PEOPLE TEAR YOU DOWN! See, if you listen to those people then that is going to make you sad. My advice: always ignore the haters. Always be yourself and find people who won’t care about your flaws and who will like you the way you are. 

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The TMI Times is a student publication by the TMI Journalism Club.

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