The TMI Times, October 2023

“Creeping into the Second Quarter”

By the TMI Journalism Club

With the month of October comes the beginning of the holiday season, starting off with, of course, Halloween. The spooky season brought in extra exciting topics that we cannot wait to address in this TMI Times October Issue. Enjoy!

Israel and Palestine

By Chance Walker
Photo from: The Times of Israel

This is a complex and complicated topic, so I will not share my opinions. I will only be sharing the events that have happened and one explanation for why they have happened. The Middle East has been an area of conflict for many years, and Israel and Palestine claim to have been some of the most sought-after and fought-over land of all history. Originally expelled from Jerusalem in 135 AD by the Romans, many years later, the British had control of the area known as Palestine after WWI following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. Palestine was inhabited by an Arab majority and a Jewish minority, among other ethnic groups. Tensions between these groups grew when Britain sought to create a haven for Jews fleeing European persecution following the Nazi Holocaust of the Jewish people during WWII. Jews viewed Palestine as their ancestral home, while the Palestinian Arabs claimed the land and opposed the influx of Jewish refugees. The UN voted for Palestine to be split into two states, one for the Jewish community and the other for the Arab people. At the same time, Jerusalem became an international city since it is considered the most sacred place by all three of the Abrahamic religions-Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Jewish leaders accepted this declaration by the UN, but the Arab side rejected this. Britain withdrew in 1948 after being unable to solve the problem, and Jewish leaders declared the creation of the State of Israel. Fighting became increasingly intensified, and the day after Israel issued their declaration, five Arab countries attacked. In the following conflict, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced out of their homes, and by the end of the fighting, a ceasefire the following year, Israel gained control of most of the territory. Jerusalem became divided by Palestinian-Jordanian forces in the East and Israeli forces in the West. Since no peace agreement was reached, wars and fighting continued for many decades. Most Palestinian refugees and their descendants live in the West Bank, Jordan, Gaza, and Syria. Claiming the whole of Jerusalem as its capital, Israel occupies the West Bank. Many efforts have been made to resolve the conflict, including peace talks in 1993, which ended with Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, sending suicide bombers to kill Israeli citizens. This all culminated with the assassination of Israel’s prime minister. Peace talks officially collapsed in 2014. Many of these tensions arose because of tensions between Palestinians whose land was being settled by Israelis. This most recent conflict resulted from Hamas, an Islamic terrorist group, seizing control of Gaza and winning the Palestinians’ last election in 2006 in Gaza. After this, Gazan militants have fought many wars against Israel. Firing rockets towards Israeli cities is just one of the atrocities committed. Providing reasoning for these atrocities, Palestinians in Gaza complain that Israel’s air strikes on heavily populated areas in conjunction with Israel’s restrictions placed on Palestine. These tensions resulted in Hama’s latest attack on October 7, 2023, when Hamas launched 5,000 rockets from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. Over 1400 Israelis, mostly civilians, were killed, leading to Israel formally declaring war on Hamas a day later. This is important because now other countries are considering getting involved. Most of Israel’s funding comes from the United State’s $3.3 billion in aid in 2022 alone. Hamas’s funding is most obviously sourced from Iran. The United States’ involvement will likely increase as the conflict in this region continues to escalate. One thing to remember while discussing this topic is that innocent men, women, and children are dying on both sides of the conflict.

The “Ring of Fire” – Viewing the Annular Solar Eclipse

By Mara Flores and Katie Hendrick

On October 14, 2023, a number of states from Oregon to Texas got to witness the unique and captivating phenomenon of a full ring of fire in the sky! This name refers to the annular solar eclipse, which is when the moon passes between the Earth and the Sun and the moon is at its farthest point from the Earth. Since the moon is so far away from Earth in its orbit during the annular eclipse, we do not get full coverage of the Sun and instead get a bright orange ring outlining the circumference of the Sun–hence why it is called the “ring of fire.” The eclipse passed over countries such as the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, and Panama. An image is shown below:

Fortunately, San Antonio happened to be right on the path of this eclipse. Many members of the TMI community–both faculty and students alike–were able to take in this wonder of nature at large events, small gatherings, or even class field trips. On October 14 at 11:54, the eclipse reached its maximum coverage for five minutes, dimming the daylight outside and leaving small, scattered crescent-shaped shadows on the ground. As for the eclipse itself, it truly was a sight to see–that is, through the proper eclipse glasses, as looking directly into an eclipse without protection can cause serious eye damage.

Though the ring of fire was incredible, it wasn’t all that was in store for us. Next April, there will be a total eclipse, which is when the moon is closer to the Sun than in the annular eclipse and, thus, completely covers the Sun. This event, once again, will cross perfectly over the San Antonio sky, and it truly is once in a lifetime; a total eclipse occurs in a given place once every 300+ years. Therefore, you want to be sure not to miss it!

Scavenging for Scholarships

By Alayna Hilliard
Photo from: Capital Farm Credit

In all honesty, college is expensive. Although this is an obvious statement, the expenses that await you in college do not necessarily have to continue to weigh you down. Indeed, the majority of people who are in high school or have been in high school have heard of scholarships; however, the truth is that they genuinely can take some of the weight that comes from worries about the future. For instance, they build your resume, help you network, and decrease future debt. Additionally, there is an overlaying belief that scholarships are hard work and are not enjoyable, yet this is not exactly true. Not all scholarships require essays and long resumes. I will admit, though, that scholarships do require time and effort. Regardless of the effort needed to apply for these, they do not have to be unenjoyable. In reality, there are scholarships for almost anything. For example, a pretty interesting group of scholarships exist for left-handed people. Additionally, there are even fast-food restaurant scholarships that high schoolers can apply for. Moreover, the college you are looking to attend may even offer scholarships for current high schoolers. To sum it up, the preparation for your future can start now. (even better if you are a middle schooler!) Here are some websites to start you on your scholarship journey! ( (scholarshipamerica).

Fall Sports Coming to an End

By Carolina Meneses

Cross Country

As the 2023 XC season comes to an end, we want to recognize all the accomplishments the team has achieved. So far, the team has competed in 8 meets all across the state. Some of these include the Leo Manzano Marble Falls Mustang XC Invitational 2023 and the Central Catholic XC meet. On October 21st, the team traveled down to Victoria, Texas to compete in their district meet. Here the team won first place for both Boys and Girls, even beating SACS. Earlier this week the team went up to Waco to compete at the TAPPS state meet. Although the team ran in tough cold and rainy weather conditions, both the girls and boys podiumed. The boys got 1st and the girls finished in 4th, both teams beating SACS! Congrats XC!

Senior Captain interviewAlexis Block 24’:

Q: “How do you feel about this being yor last year on the cross country team?”

A: “ I am excited, but also sad because I will miss the people on the team, they made the sport fun!”

Q: “What is your favorite memory from the last four years?”

A: “My favorite memory was sophomore year State; the ride back home from State listening to Christmas music all together as a team!”

Q: “How did your last race as a senior go?”

A: “My last race went pretty good considering the conditions.”

Swim Team 

The time has finally come! Swim 2023-2024 has officially begun, and some of its highlights are going to be discussed right here. As someone who is a part of the swim team, I can say with great excitement that this feels like the start of yet another great season! To kick us off, 4 new captains have been appointed (an interview with the current captain, Emily Kityama, can be found below). We started morning practices just last Tuesday (October 17) and have already seen the light of a great first meet as everyone in attendance had personal bests. As of right now, we are looking forward to an energetic second meet right here at TMI with events in the 400 free and 200 IM (intermediate medley) on October 27th. The intermediate medley, or the IM as most commonly referred to by swimmers, is an event consisting of all four strokes in a particular order. Said order from start to finish is butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. It is without a doubt that this is a meet to look forward to for fellow swimmers and members of the TMI community!

Check out our interview with senior swim team captain Emily Kitayama ’24:

Q. What are you most looking forward to in this season?

A. “I’m definitely looking forward to the travel trip. We’re going to one in January, it’s gonna be super fun!”

Q. Do you have any advice to give to new swimmers on the team?

A. “If Coach Stephanie yells at you, don’t take it personally, she loves you.”

Q. How do you feel about the state meet this year?

A. “Don’t wanna jinx anything, but hopefully we are gonna win again this year!”

Q. What would you rate this year’s swim snacks?

A. I’d say a solid 10/10, Welch’s gummies are superior to Motts and we love our Cheezits.”

“The Corps Does More”: NCT Graduation

By Chance Walker

The Corps of Cadets has a historic NCT Graduation Ceremony on Friday, October 27, wherein 81 students were officially made Cadets in the Corps. They were given their TMI patches so that they may now represent the best and brightest that we have to offer.

Additionally, Alpha Company Cadet Grey Hawkins ‘28 won Cadet of the Month for the middle school, while Charlie Company Cadet Ethan Ghode ‘26  won the upper school competition.

Cadets Thomas Skelly ‘25, Peyton Turnbow ‘26, Victoria Hughes ‘25,  Ethan Ghode ‘26, Kevin Kessler ‘25, Ekam Mehat ‘25, Kevin Yang ‘25, and Wells Peterson ‘26 competed at the Wagner High School Skills Meet this month. The cadets competed in tests of their Academic and Leadership knowledge and placed 9th and 11th.

Cadets Tharun Cheruku ‘27, Logan Lovorn ‘27, Austin Tompson ‘26, Travis Chaffee ‘25, Alexander Lambert ‘25, Jackson Uhr ‘25, Kevin Kessler ‘25, Lindsay Blanton ‘24, Isaac Nelson ‘24 competed in a rigorous competition at Wagner High School wherein they had to endure a high level of physical challenge.


The Origins of Halloween:

By Tracy Liao

As Halloween just passed, we thought it’d be a fun idea to talk about the spooky beginnings of this largely celebrated holiday, though I find some irony in the fact that it’s not considered an official holiday, but more on that later. Halloween originates from a Celtic festival celebrated by Celtic pagans known as Samhain, a festival for the dead, celebrating with bonfires, gatherings, and feasts. As a time of death and rebirth, communities looked to reconnect with dead loved ones and otherworldly spirits. Additionally, Samhain was considered the end of summer as well as the end of the harvest season, signaling the beginning of winter, which they associated with death. The Celts believed there was increased spiritual communication on Samhain, which made it easier for Celtic priests, or druids, to predict the future. To appease the deities, they built bonfires and sacrificed crops and animals. Villagers also attended bonfire ceremonies wearing animal heads and skins, which may be where the tradition of Halloween costumes originates from. Halloween is celebrated in part on October 31st because of the eve of All Saints Day, a day in the Christian tradition that is set aside to remember and honor the dead. So, all in all, the origins of Halloween are honoring and remembering the dead, but that doesn’t diminish the creepy, haunted stories that float around within the Celtic traditions of the past.

(Recipe from Sally’s Baking Recipes)


1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 and 1/2 teaspoons store-bought or homemade pumpkin pie spice*

1/2 cup (120ml) canola or vegetable oil*

2 large eggs

3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar

1 cup (225g) canned pumpkin puree*

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

8 ounces (226g) full-fat brick cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup (8 Tbsp; 113g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

3 cups (360g) confectioners’ sugar, plus an extra 1/4 cup if needed

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice together in a large bowl. Set aside. Whisk the oil, eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin, and vanilla extract together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a mixer or whisk until completely combined. The batter will be thick. Pour/spoon the batter into the liners—fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. Make the frosting: In a large bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add 3 confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. If you want the frosting a little thicker, add the extra 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar (I add it). Frost-cooled cupcakes however you’d like. I used an Ateco 808 large round piping tip for these pictured cupcakes. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I recommend a cupcake carrier for storing and transporting decorated cupcakes.

Favorite Halloween Candy Poll

We asked our Instagram followers what their favorite Halloween candy was, and here are the results:

As we can see, the chocolate candies, the Reese’s and the Twix, took the top majority of the votes, leaving the skittles and the candy corn for the bottom half. Looks like candy corn, the candy known for being sold during Halloween, isn’t very popular anymore! Stay on the lookout for more interesting polls on our instagram page! @tmijournalismclub

Seedlings of Wisdom

Welcome all to the Apple Orchard. Today we have a beautiful red MacIntosh with the following seeds:

  1. Never trust a skinny chef. If they are not sampling their own product then it’s not very good. 
  2. My third cousin twice removed, Whitley Strieber, was abducted from his cabin in upstate New York in 1985 and had a very believable alien abduction experience. 
  3. Invest in a good quality sound system to impress everyone when you play Brazilian Phonk on max volume. 
  4. Whenever there’s dead air in a conversation simply say: “such is life in the big city” everyone will instantly think you’re cool and give you a standing ovation. 
  5. Theory can only take you so far. Someone please email what you know.

Looking Ahead:

  •  Girls Basketball begins their season with their first game at home on November 1st at 5:30 p.m.
  • Thanksgiving Break starts November 20th

What’s Poppin’?

Photo from: The Cosmic Clash

Austin City Limits:

By Margo Delmer

Although many reviews of this year’s Austin City Limits (ACL) lineup have claimed it to be one of the worst, it was a very exciting experience for those who attended. I, for example, took part in the second weekend of October 13-15 of ACL and thoroughly enjoyed it. I did not attend all three days but still was able to see artists such as Noah Kahan, Suki Waterhouse, Hoizer, Mumford and Sons, Declan Mckenna, and numerous others. The main headliner, Kendrick Lamar, appeared Friday night in a captivating performance that attracted tens of thousands of fans. Although the artists are entertaining, they aren’t the only thing that provides ACL with its rocking reputation; the light displays and programming of each show truly sealed the deal, making the weekend so memorable. Surely, you won’t want to miss out on ACL next fall – the rough draft of the 2024 lineup will be announced near the close of this school year.

By Lily Warr, Priya Pine, and Madeline Olthuis

Movie Reviews

By Chance Walker, Luke Martinez, and Christian Lacayo

Blue Beetle

I went into this movie with reasonably low expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised. DC movies have been more and more disappointing as of late, so imagine my surprise when I saw a trailer for a brand-new Superhero I had never heard of before. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie with my family, laughing at many points. It follows a Hispanic family of six with many references to Hispanic culture. The powers of the superhero are an intriguing combination of Iron Man’s tech suit and Spider-Man’s bug abilities. The movie tackles some controversial issues about over-policing and poverty. All in all, I would give it a 17/20.


I’ve seen Coraline at least three times at this point, and I think it’s definitely a Halloween classic. Coraline tells the story of a little girl who moves into a somewhat dreary apartment complex. Coraline’s parents don’t give her enough attention, and she craves something more exciting. 

One night, she wakes up to the sound of squeaking and sees a mouse walking through a small door in the apartment. When Coraline opens the door, she sees a mysterious tube and decides to crawl through too. On the other end, she finds her mom and dad making a delicious dinner, except now, they have eyes made of buttons. It seems to scare Coraline at first, but her “Other Mother” and “Other Father” seem to give her the love and attention she’s been searching for in her real parents. In fact, this entire dimension seems like a better version of the boring reality she usually finds herself in. But after several visits at night with her button-eyed parents, she realizes that they might not have all the best intentions. Soon, her “Other Parents” try to convince her to let them sew buttons in her eyes, and after an argument with her Other Mother, she shapeshifts and becomes a much scarier version of herself and locks Coraline in a dark closet. There, she meets three ghosts who tell her their own stories of how the “Beldam” preyed on their desires to get the attention of their parents, sewed buttons in their eyes, and stole their souls. At this point, Coraline’s only hope is to get out and go home to her real parents, but even when she does, her parents are gone, so she has no choice but to go back and fight the Beldam. So, Coraline asks the Beldam to play a game; if she can find the children’s souls and her parents, then the Beldam has to let her go home, and if not, she can sew buttons in her eyes. However, it becomes clear that the Beldam will never let her go, so Coraline grabs the snow globe where she sees her parents, throws a black cat at the Other Mother, and runs for the door. When she returns, her parents have no memory of being trapped, but Coraline is just happy to be home. Overall, I thought Coraline was a great movie, and I thought that the message of appreciating what you have is definitely important. I would give it a 19/20.

Q: How do you deal with all of the college mumbo jumbo?

A: There is no doubt that the idea of college can be stressful and overwhelming, especially for our juniors and seniors. For juniors, start your college research EARLY! This way, you are not cramming everything in during the beginning of your senior year. You should try to prepare a list of your desired colleges before the summer after your junior year and research prompts so that you can begin a college essay draft. For seniors still working on applications, in order to stay organized, create detailed to-do lists with the schools or scholarships you need to apply to. Develop self-discipline and assign yourself specific deadlines and tasks. As always, contact your college counselor for help!

Q: How do I get scholarships?

A: Research! Do research on scholarships that adhere to your identity of skill sets. For example, there are scholarships designed to help minority students, and even some designed for students who want to be lawyers or engineers. However, be aware of potential scams. Most scholarships won’t make you pay to apply, so make sure you double-check with a counselor to confirm a scholarship is valid.

Q: Should I visit a school?

A: Absolutely. If you are able to travel, be sure to visit a school to make sure you like the environment. If you can’t visit in person, check their website for virtual tours.

Q:  I am a freshman; how can I start preparing for college?

A: As a freshman, you have the freedom to try everything! Try new things, whether they are clubs or projects, in order to find out what your spike is. Your spike is a creative passion you have, and once you find it, be sure to engage in both in-school and out-of-school activities that align with your spike. During your freshman year, make sure you explore your passions and become as engaged as possible so that for the rest of high school, you can further grow your spike.

Q: How important are grades?

A: Grades are very important, so don’t slack off in school. However, combine good grades with excellent extracurriculars to further enhance your college applications.

If you have any more college questions, be sure to reach out to your teachers and counselors!

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