“Kicking off the School Year”
By the TMI Journalism Club
Celebrating Student Creativity
As the school year unfolds, so do our monthly TMI Times publications! We are so excited to kick off the year with our first 2023-2024 school year issue. Additionally, we want to give a special shout out to the handful of new underclassmen students we welcome to our team this year. In this issue, we will cover the importance of maintaining a clear mind during the hectic year, address the new cell phone policy, and highlight Panther Life. Enjoy!
By Isabella Contreras and Bernice Gitiche
Photo from The United States Coast Coard/ My CG
How do we tackle life’s challenges? This is a question many people fight to be able to answer, and especially during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, it is crucial to recognize the importance of mental health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (also known as CDC), in 2021, more than 4 in 10 (around 40%) of students experienced extreme sadness and hopelessness, and almost one-third of students experienced poor mental health. Moreover, in 2021, around 22% of students considered attempting suicide. These statistics are strikingly high, and they further emphasize the need for sustainable mental health practices. Additionally, mental health organizations worldwide raise awareness of suicide prevention during September, National Suicide Prevention Month. As communities gather together to support one another and provide information on how to save more lives.
During the school year, especially when classes can become stressful, and one may feel heightened social pressures and problems, students need to pay attention to their health and habits. Below are three ways we can improve our mental health this year and possibly build new routines.
- Build a routine. Start falling asleep and waking up at the same time and also dedicating specific time to work. Listen to yourself and build a personal routine that works for YOU. For example, if you are a morning person, wake up earlier and complete your work at the crack of dawn, which allows you to rest in the evening and sleep early. If you are a night owl, schedule times in the evening to work each day.
- SLEEP!! As teenagers, it’s tempting to stay up late and lose track of time. However, this isn’t beneficial for our developing brains; it slows us down. Sleeping less also decreases our mood and prevents us from a hard-working performance. Aiming to sleep for 8-10 hours a night can increase our health, mood, and productivity.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison really is the thief of joy, so remember to keep your focus on yourself. The only person you should be competing with academically is YOU. Develop a ‘Me vs. Me’ mindset and watch your mentality shift!
While these routines may feel difficult when struggling with mental challenges, we understand sometimes the best start is simply getting up and doing everyday activities. It may take time. However, there is a support system here at TMI, and many resources are accessible, with a few listed below. Feel free to reach out to a trusted adult or peer if needed, and if you see something, please do say something. CDC writes, “Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages,” the betterment of one another starts with our community and prioritizing mental health along with the naturally busy schedule of a high student. We can look toward supporting one another and ensuring another successful school year through joint forces.
If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately. We encourage them to reach out to extended sources and speak up.
Off and Away- Analyzing the new Cell Phone Policy
Negative- By Divya Beeram and Audrey Hudson
It’s obvious that there has been intense controversy about the new cell phone policy crackdown. It stemmed from the need for grassroots change to student’s attention spans; however, many have shown that this change is unwelcomed. Especially during free time in class, students feel they should be able to use their phones, but oftentimes, teachers adhere to the rule very closely and don’t allow this. Phones have become a vital part of Gen Z culture, and while the stereotype that teenagers are addicted to their phones is harmful, it also holds truth. Our phones are attached to our day-to-day lives, whether it be through turning in our homework or texting our parents to pick us up. They are the lifeblood of teenagers, the fuel of their batteries, and the off-and-away policy.
The phone policy at TMI is restrictive, unreasonable, and unrealistic. Our generation has functioned with computers in our pockets. They are a vital asset in the world we live in today, and not only are they a privilege, but they are becoming a necessity in modern society.
Limiting the use of phones is not only failing to prepare us for college but also inadequately preparing us for the world after that. In college, there is no regulation of cell phone usage. Being thrust from a sheltered high school into a college lifestyle where you have more options than you could dream of and you are fully responsible and on your own is… terrifying, to say the least.
The highschooler at TMI have hundreds of responsibilities that they deal with every day, and limiting their cell phone usage is not only inordinate (considering that the vast majority of upperclassmen drive to school every day and juggle jobs, school, sports, and other responsibilities as well as being at school for 10+ hours), but it hinders students greatly from reaching their full potential and being as successful as they could possibly be. This looks like not being able to contact and respond to necessary emails and messages to maintain the organization of their lives.
While wishing for people to become less involved in their devices and interact with the world around them is understandable, in this case, I certainly think that the cons of the policy outweigh the pros.
Additionally, not having a means of communication with someone in the case of an emergency is incredibly dangerous and unquestionably inadvisable. While the campus has many different safety measures in place, there are many holes in the system, and there is no such thing as a perfect emergency plan. Imagine being on a less secure part of campus, such as in the portables or taking a walk on the grounds, when an incredibly dangerous situation hits. Not only would you likely be unaware of the situation, but you would also be in an overly compromised position. There are countless horrifying possibilities, and I refuse to believe that in a dangerous circumstance, it is safer not to have a means of communication with you. Would you not want a loved one to be able to reach help, were they in a situation like that? Yet again, the cons of the policy outweigh the pros. Quite heavily, in the case of safety in unexpected situations.
Phones are a tool, nothing more and nothing less. While the need for a separation between phones and school exists, it is the people who use phones that matter. I choose to believe that TMI consists of responsible young leaders who are capable of managing themselves or, at the very least, learning and growing as human beings to use this tool for good.
Affirmative- By Caroline Percival
If you were to look around a high school cafeteria today, you would see plenty of things: students eating, laughing, talking, and joking around. At first glance, everything may seem normal; however, if you take a closer look, you’ll start to notice the constant presence of cell phones. Even if it’s a quick glance down to check for new notifications, every time a student looks at their phone, it causes them to disengage from the current, real conversation. The more normal this behavior becomes, the quicker we will lose all social skills as a generation.
Our society today is built upon a basis of constant entertainment. Whether it is on social media, in class, or even on the news, nothing is considered “good” unless it is entertaining, no matter how important or educational it may be. While this may seem fun, it has devastating consequences. Teenagers across the country can no longer have educated conversations, preferring to gossip about the latest scandal on social media. Additionally, these platforms are contributing to a distressing mental health crisis, with plenty of research to prove it. For example, school is a lower priority simply because watching TikTok is much easier than studying or doing homework.
TMI does have a stricter phone policy than most other schools, which is commendable. However, the current Off and Away Policy does not do enough to create a truly academic environment with students committed to learning. To have a real sense of community, phones must be restricted completely from the start to the end of school, and strict punishments must be set in place. If students will not willingly talk to each other, choosing to stare at a screen instead, it is crucial to take away their crutch and force them to interact in real life, learning valuable social skills that will enhance their lives today and build a foundation to allow for future social success.
By Carolina Meneses and Mara Flores
Cross Country is almost a month away from their state meet on October 30th. So far, the team has had four meets, including one in Austin and Bandera. This last weekend, the team headed out to Round Rock to run in the McNeill XC Invite.
Cheer season is well-underway, and our Panther cheerleaders seem to be making great memories with their team both on and off the field. Melia Abbott ‘25 shares the highlights of her experience as a TMI cheerleader: “One of the most fun parts is fnl, where we can show everyone the final result of the hours of hard work we’ve put in during the week. Every Friday we perform for the fans and players; some traditions include panther rumble, push ups on the air track, and more!” We applaud all the dedication our cheerleaders put into what they do, and we look forward to seeing their performance at the TAPPS State Competition, which is scheduled for December 4th and 5th.
Finally, volleyball has had a busy fall season with tournaments and games in various Texas cities including Victoria, Brownsville, and Round Rock. They’ve seen a number of successes thus far with wins against schools such as Fredericksburg Heritage and Saint Mary’s Hall. Varsity volleyball players Taylor Whittaker ‘26 and Lissy Maycotte ‘26 reported on their triumphs, saying that they also “look forward to winning more games throughout the season” and “hope for a bigger student section at their home games.” We wish our Panther volleyball teams the best of luck and encourage you to support their hard work by attending one of their future games!
The Corps Doing More
By Chance Walker, Luke Martinez, and Alex Lambert
This past September, the Corps of Cadets had the highest number of members since the Corps became optional in 1974, with a record-breaking total of 180 cadets (79 middle schoolers and 101 upper schoolers). NCT training is also at an all-time high with 91 new cadets, 30 upper schoolers, and 61 middle schoolers. Additionally, Alpha Company Cadet Peyton Turnbow ‘26 won Cadet of the Month for the upper school, while Bravo Company Cadet Neel Kashyap ‘29 won the middle school competition. Special Teams have started practicing, including the following: Rifle Team, Honor Guard, Orienteering, and Raider Team.
Cadets Chance Walker ‘25, Alex Lambert ‘25, Kevin Kessler ‘25, Patrick Jaramillo ‘26, Austin Thompson ‘26, and Karl Gass ‘25 competed at the Canyon Lake High School orienteering meet. Cadet Kevin Kessler placed second place in the expert tier, Cadet Alex Lambert ‘25 placed fourth in the expert tier, and Cadet Karl Gass ‘25 placed fourth in the intermediate tier.
Furthermore, the entire battalion went to Newcomb Ranch for their adventure training day on September 13th. They got to zipline, complete the leap of faith ropes course, and use teamwork to accomplish a partner rope course. This training day allowed cadets to bond with each other inside and outside their companies through team-building activities, helping them feel more comfortable and confident about their cadet peers!
Finally, the winner of company of the month is Alpha. Congratulations to all of the members of Alpha for pulling off a spectacular and frankly surprising victory.
Homecoming spirit week:
Monday, October 2nd- Jersey day
Tuesday, October 3rd- Decades Day (TMI’s 130th Birthday and Chick-fil-A special lunch!)
Wednesday, October 4th- Color Day
- 6th grade: Orange
- 7th grade: Yellow
- 8th grade: Red
- 9th Grade: Green
- 10th Grade: Blue
- 11th Grade: Purple
- 12th Grade: Pink
Thursday, October 5th- Match a Friend
Friday, October 6th- Homecoming Spirit Wear
Homecoming Pep-Rally: October 6th, 12:45-1:25 PM
Homecoming Carnival: October 6th, 1:30- 3:00 PM
Homecoming Football Game: October 6th, 7:00 PM
TMI vs. St. Anthony’s, make sure to come out and support! Theme: Homecoming shirt
What’s Poppin’? A Dive into Pop Culture
Drake Comes to Texas
Each month, we will be taking a look at the new trends that are forming. For this issue, we wanted to talk about the one and only- Drake (also known as the best rapper of our generation). These past few months, Drake has been on his “It’s All a Blur” tour, and he recently visited Austin, Dallas, and Houston. Many TMI students were able to attend one of the concerts, and sophomore Jacob Webb interviewed a couple of those students. Click the link below to view!
Top Artists this month– according to our poll responses!
This list is not in order! Watch out for more upcoming polls later in the year.
- Tyler the Creator
- Dominic Fike
- Taylor Swift
- Ariana Grande
Some upcoming Concerts in Texas!
- Austin City Limits Music Festival -Austin, TX
- Guns N’ Roses- Houston, TX
- Pink Summer Carnival 2023- Houston, TX
- Travis Scott- Houston, TX
- Zach Bryan w/ Flatland Cavalry -College Station, TX
- SZA- SOS Tour- San Antonio, TX
Panther of the Month: Brody Worrich (Class of 2026)
Watch our interview with him on our Instagram!
Student Spotlight: Justin Khemalaap (Class of 2024)
This month, we are spotlighting THE BC Justin Khemalaap. Justin has been excelling as the Corps of Cadets new battalion commander, and we can’t wait to see how his leadership positively impacts the battalion. Click our Instagram to watch the interviews!
Faculty Spotlight: Mr. Brawley
Interviewed by Sofia Kock and Margo Delmer
This month, we’re featuring Mr. Brawley, the assistant head of upper school. Read below or watch the video to hear about Mr. Brawley’s experience and new perspective as the assistant head of the upper school and his hopes/goals for the TMI student body.
Q: When did you know you would be the assistant head of upper school?
A: “It was in the Spring sometime. I can’t remember the exact date, but it was sometime in April.
Q: How has your transition been from a teacher/coach to this new role?
A: “It has been interesting. It’s definitely been a learning curve – a lot of information coming in. I’ve enjoyed the transition. As a teacher, I believe in lifelong learning, and so I’m constantly growing and learning all the time.”
Q: Do you miss being an English teacher?
A: “I have moments where I do miss the classroom, but I think the new position gives me a great opportunity to work with kids, help build character, and prepare them for the future.”
Q: What is one big change you wish to see in the TMI community this year?
A: “I would love to see students start to take some more ownership and work on taking care of the common home, so setting up for events and stuff like that.”
Q: Is there anything else you would like to tell the students?
A: “Just that I love them. You know, I’m sure it gets annoying when I’m always on them for tucking in their shirts, dress code, and stuff like that. I do that, hopefully, the small things, so you have the strength in the future. When the door of opportunity opens, walk through it – You’re brave enough, you’re strong enough. It’s about practicing the little things and practicing all our core values to be the best version of yourself.”
Volunteer Spotlight: Mrs. Herrera
Interviewed by Chance Walker
Q: What drives you and your desire to continue to volunteer?
A: I guess I would say the thing that fills my cup and gives me the joy and desire to volunteer throughout the year is the fun I have working alongside other parents …and students too! I’m constantly meeting new TMI families and realizing we are all in this together for the purpose of serving our school, students, teachers, staff, and, of course, our guests. I encourage other parents and students who have not stepped into a volunteer role somewhere around campus to reach out. We rely 100% on parent participation. We promise it’s more fun than work, and you’re guaranteed to gain a new friend or two!
Q: What has been your most memorable experience while volunteering?
A: Well, I’ve had a lot of “memorable” experiences while volunteering… like serving concessions in the pouring rain and the one day I locked my keys in my car after a long night of working at a football game. But probably the time that stands out the most was at the baseball field last Spring when TMI was hosting a tournament. The tournament games were held during the school day, and several teachers brought down their classes to watch TMI play. The students were just so happy to be outside in the sunshine and were cheering so loud for every single player, even by name- just really getting into the games! It was a lot of fun being in the mix of that. A ton of students came and purchased goodies at the concessions stand, and they were all just so polite and respectful. We were so busy MAJ Claburn even jumped in to help, and that was a lot of fun too! Haha – he was the loudest and biggest cheerleader of all! I just remember everyone was so happy and having a good time – and it felt like a wonderful community of friends and family.
Advice Column- Answering Panther Questions!
Q: I like someone, but I’m pretty sure that they don’t care
A: What you need to understand is that Communism is a failed economic system that fundamentally does not work on a large scale. The far superior counterpart to this ideology is obviously capitalism. Let’s start with a basic assumption that everyone can agree on: competition breeds innovation. That is one of the biggest reason that capitalism has been so historically successful in the Western world: the competition between people, companies, and nations cause each to better themselves to get an edge in the market, the consequence being failure, as is only natural, which is why the government also shouldn’t bail out bankrupt companies but we’ll get into that later. For now, we’ll dive into the differences between these ideologies. Communism is the belief that property should be “shared” and owned collectively by the state, who would then distribute wealth based on the ability and need of an individual, never mind the completely subjective nature of that assessment and their dogma as a whole. Ostensibly, the workers own the means of production, but in reality, communism only invites dictatorships and tyranny as it assumes that absolute power will not give rise to a single corrupt tyrant who manipulates the good aspects into authoritarian policies and government.
Q: Can you guys do movie reviews?
A: We will think about adding it to our Advice Column! They would have to be school-appropriate, but we would love to cover any suggestions in a future column.
Q: What’s the best club at TMI?
A: We’re tempted to say Journalism Club, but there are other clubs that deserve a spotlight too. The World Cultures Club is an absolutely fantastic club that plans events (with food) and other opportunities for students who want to appreciate cultures from around the world. Their first celebration (during their meetings on Wednesdays during morning flex) is currently planned for September 29th for the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Q: Is cereal a soup?
A: No, cereal is not soup. Just by definition, soup is generally served warm or hot and is made by combining ingredients of vegetables or meat. And even after considering the few exceptions to these rules, all soup is savory, so it is impossible for cereal to be soup.