The New Building is Almost Ready!
Teacher Alumni...Just Can't Get Enough of CSA
Summer Fun in Houston
I Never Saw Another Butterfly
Slime is Everywhere
Turkey in Turmoil
Do You Believe in Reincarnation?
Bottom Row: Travis Barbier. Maci Bricker, Vallerie Turner, Lee Seelig, Thanh-y Nguyen
Top Row: Thomas Yarbrough, Kari Marques, Ingrid Marques, Hoa Chan Do, Arwin Lineberry, Michael Sledge
Not pictured: Anika Miro-Quesdada
May 26, 2017
Photo courtesy of Marianne Vergult
CSA School News
Table of Contents
CSA Roar Staff
Bye East Transition
Circus Bids Farewell
Tensions rose in the in the 8th grade Social Studies classrooms as the Civil War unit pitted friends against friends in a high stakes learning challenge that wrapped up on May 15, 2017.
The unit is a very unique experience at Cornerstone Academy. The classroom is split into military regiments with a 2:1 ratio, the majority of the class being part of the Union. The South gets to have tricks up their sleeve, in an attempt to make the playing field more even. There is a point system to determine the top regiments and the winner of the war, who will get a pizza party.
Each regiment wins points for their team. Common ones are chants, destiny dice, and battle cards. The regiments can also do some pretty crazy things to gain even more points. Some of the creative projects we have seen this year are a funeral service, a school assembly, a cotton ball ambush, a parade, and an invisible ink ambush.
This Civil War unit is unique to this year because the students got really involved and competitive. The teachers pit friends against each other so the students can get a better understanding of the struggles of Civil War since it split families and who might even see each other on the battlefield. This year the 8th graders had a great passion for the unit and Cornerstone hopes that they will be able to carry that enthusiasm for learning along with them wherever they go in the future.
Official Website of the Russian Federation
(U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Torey Griffith
The War Between the Classes
Photos courtesy of Cynthia Sanchez Hidalgo
CSA Student to CSA Teacher
The future of the East Transition Campus where CSA and AOC are located now is currently unknown. CSA and AOC are moving out in June to their new building at 9016 Westview Dr, Houston, TX 77055. The two schools were here because the old building got torn down and rebuilt. They moved in 2015 and have been there ever since. Spring Branch ISD has not yet decided what will be done with the East Transition Campus, although a couple things have been discussed. The first thing that Spring Branch has discussed is to keep using the campus for other schools that still need to be torn down and rebuilt. Another idea that has been suggested is to use it as an office for the Department of Instruction.The last possibility that has been debated is
to use it as a school for 9th graders from Northbrook High School because it is getting overcrowded due to the Yes-Prep Program there now. Other schools that have been at the transition campus previously are Housman Elementary in 2007, Edgewood Elementary in 2011 and Valley Oaks Elementary in 2014. A school near the transition campus is Cedar Brook Elementary. The two schools do share a track that is one quarter of a mile that they use at different times.The date when Spring Branch decides on what they will do with the campus is currently unknown but hopefully will be decided before the next school year. “I believe that Spring Branch should use the building for the 9th graders at Northbrook because an overcrowded learning environment is not a beneficial education, and it will also give jobs to teachers that need them,” says Olivia Koepke a 6th grader from CSA.
Cornerstone Academy is such a wonderful place that former students, such as Ms. Heidemann, CSA class of 2001, and Ms. Leger, CSA class of 2004, have come back to teach here.
Ms. Heidemann is CSA class of 2001. Her favorite memory from when she was here is the time that they duct taped Mrs. Wright to the wall outside before mandated state testing.
She had three favorite teachers when she went here; Mr. Brennan, Ms. Jones, and Mr. Sarango, but they no longer teach here. She was a quiet, athletic, and polite student that never said no to any teacher. She wanted to be a teacher here because at CSA students get to think outside the box and do things differently.When asked about interviewing for the job, she said that interviews are stressful and nerve-racking, but knowing Mrs. Wright felt a bit more comfortable. She started this year and said that it is a privilege and honor to work with the teachers. Ms.Heidemann said, “I love the drive and passion that teachers have for pushing students to their highest achievements.” Her former CSA teachers all taught her something about life and academics. She has noticed that a change in students now is that they are immersed in technology, and she did not have that when she went to school. She said, “We are blessed to have an awesome number of students. It creates a welcoming environment for everyone, you are not just one of a 1000 kids. You get to be unique and standout, that makes it easier for teachers to connect with you and know what your personality is, and get to know what drives you.”
Ms. Leger is CSA Class of 2004. Her favorite memory as a CSA student is beach day. She still loves going and hanging out with all the 7th graders. She has four former teachers that are still here; Mrs. Christman, Mrs. Grant, Mrs. Kenny and Ms. Flynn. According to Mrs.Wright, Ms Leger was outspoken in a good way, confident, and liked by many during her time as a student.
Ms. Leger wanted to work here because she likes how Cornerstone is run and she thinks that teaching 7th and 8th grade Social Studies over the course of two years makes a lot of sense. She started here in 2012 after some student teaching in Lubbock for college. She student taught here with Mrs. Wood until Mrs. Wright offered her a job. As both a student and a teacher, she loves how Cornerstone is taught with group work and collaboration.
Ms. Leger initially thought that it was strange working with her former teachers because she was calling them by their first names instead of their last names, and her family taught her to be very polite. She thinks that the teachers here are great people and she learns a lot from them.
Photo courtesy of Katie Wood
Cornerstone Academy will bid farewell the Edgewood Transition Campus and move to the new campus
located at 9016 Westview Dr, next week. As of May 22st the library and the auditorium are the buildings still under construction while the main CSA and AOC buildings are finished.
The courtyard and cafeteria separate the main CSA and AOC buildings. While the courtyard may seem small, in reality it is huge and beautiful. Also parent drive will start at the tax office with the auditorium visible in the distance. Also, in case it wasn’t obvious, CSA will finally have hallways with walls. While the subject is still on structure, there is an elevator connecting the library to the SBISD Museum and the main AOC building. Lastly on the topic of structure and construction, the auditorium, art rooms, library, and the SBISD Museum were all re-used and refurbished instead of building new ones.
CSA Roar wishes the readers a happy school year at the new campus and hope the 8th graders of 2016-2017 will take time out of their busy schedule to come visit us at the new campus.
Photos courtesy of Marianne Vergult
Photo taken from http://sbisdcsa.blogspot.com
Maci Bricker and Vallerie Turner
Vladimir Putin, the authoritarian president of Russia, has created an oppressive regime, killing political opponents, starting wars, and silencing the press in the process. This former KGB agent's rise to power has shown how ruthless and cunning he is. We must NOT pardon him, for he is a power-hungry dictator and must be treated as such.
To fully comprehend his rise to power, we must go back to the beginning. President Putin was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Russia. He graduated from Leningrad State University with a law degree in 1975, becoming a KGB intelligence officer. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1990. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, he had many political ventures, eventually becoming a deputy mayor. He used his position to aid the extremely wealthy Russians known as the oligarchs and many organized crime groups, gaining support from both. With many allies and a somewhat established political presence, he was ready to ascend the political ladder and quickly became President of Russia.
Putin's rise was not overnight. He still had many political opponents that would need to be dealt with. One liberal opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov, was murdered in front of the Kremlin, presumably by agents of Putin. Garry Kasparov, a chess champion and fierce critic of Putin, was forced to flee after being detained by police. Blogger Alexei Navalny gained a following after investigating corruption in Putin's government. Putin punished him by jailing his brother. Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB officer opposed to Putin, was killed by an enormous dose of polonium only a government could likely obtain. By phony charges and mysterious accidents, Putin has rid Russia of almost anyone who would challenge him in an election.
Additionally, the methods in which he rose to power involved the deaths of thousands. He came to power after the resignation of Boris Yeltsin, a corrupt alcoholic. Russia was being plagued by Chechen separatist terrorists, and Putin fought them in a bloody war, gaining massive support. It was later discovered he had engineered some of the attacks killing thousands of people himself, but this did not impact the opinions of the Russian people. He has since engaged in wars against the former Soviet republic of Georgia and Ukraine, annexing some of their territory in an extremely aggressive manner, and he has helped prop up the regime of Bashar Al Assad, the ruthless Syrian dictator, during his bloody civil war.
Another tool Putin has used to subjugate his people is the press. Like many dictators, the first thing Putin did was shut down the free press. He cracked down on free speech and replaced it with a massive propaganda operation. He launched phony investigations against Russia's press outlets and reporters in order to restrict them and ultimately destroy them. In their place, Putin's government has launched massive pro-government news organizations, spreading malevolent lies about Putin's opponents and praising Putin's own party. He has kept his people unaware of the crimes he has committed by restricting the flow of information.
"We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.” These words are from a declassified report compiled by the US intelligence community. They reveal Putin’s dangerous global intentions to hurt our democracy. America must NOT forget Putin’s crimes and precede with caution in our dealings with him. Our democratic traditions need to be safeguarded from Putin and others like him who would harm them.
The Unscrupulous Referendum
Official Portrait of Putin
A bombed Moscow apartment. Putin blamed the bombing on Chechen terrorists, but it is suspected the Russian government staged it. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Photo courtesy of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Flickr
On April 16, 2017, voters in Turkey gathered to adopt 18 major changes to the country’s Constitution which would give their authoritarian President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the ability to pillage an excessive and absurd amount of power. The vote successfully tallied just enough ballots, including ones illegally cast, in favor of the new 18 amendments, converting a previously parliamentary government into a presidential one.
Although creating a presidential political system seems beneficial, the rules vary in Turkey compared to the USA's presidential system.
The vote has expanded the powers of the President beyond what is allowed in America.
At the commencement of the presidential election of 2019, another election Erdoğan will allegedly win, the President will have the ability to appoint military and intelligence agency leaders, ministers, and judges without the consent of any other government heads.
The president will also have the power to disseminate laws by decree with no hint of efficient checks and balances.
On that note, it appears Turkey has completely rid itself of the idea of
balanced power and democracy. Erdoğan, after 2019, will also be allowed to serve as president until 2029, an unjust and corrupt use of power.
His party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), is doing all they can to press their agenda onto Turkey’s Constitution, causing damage only for a power grab.
The path the country is headed down will affect the nation for years to come, slowly corrupting politicians and people’s voting rights.
The effects of Erdoğan’s influence came into action even during the voting for the unscrupulous amendments.
The amendments only passed by a slim majority, 51.41% of voters were for the amendments and 48.59% were against.
Also, invalid and blank votes cast were still counted, Erdoğan justifying this by saying it was taking away the rights of the people only because of the mistakes of the voting clerks.
Erdoğan and the AKP are an example of the dangers of not meticulously checking the decisions of the government by the people.
Allowing such significant changes to pass with just under half the country against them makes for a government ignoring its people and always handing them the short end of the stick.
photo courtesy of Mstyslav Chernov from Wikimedia
From Russia With Lies
Alexander Litvinenko-Photo Courtesy of IBT.
The 146-year-old Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus performed its final show on May 21 after concerns over animal welfare and high operating costs caused its closure.
All great things must end at some point, and the Ringling Bros Circus certainly was one great performance. The circus began in 1891, and after Barnum died, Bailey purchased the circus from Barnum’s widow . The circus was a hit, and continued for a very long time, until certain costly downfalls, such as the money to transport them from city to city, that caused the circus to close. This is a problem for the animals, and over 500 employees who were left unemployed.
According to kare11.com, Feld Entertainment, the owner of the circus, retired the elephants last year and are planning to send them to other properties in Florida. As for the other animals, they will be sent to homes eventually. Some workers will be sent to some other Feld run shows such as Monster Jam, Marvel Live, and Disney on Ice — but most will be out of employment.
Kenneth Feld, the current owner and CEO of Feld Entertainment, claims that closing Ringling was a very difficult decision, but it needed to end eventually. “This is very hard for me, I have visited Ringling multiple times and loved every performance. I feel that the closure is like taking a part of our history away.” says Mrs. Bosworth, a CSA math teacher.
Ringling did face problems, but they are not just facing employment issues. The hundreds of unused props will need to be moved as well. Multiple carriages, costumes, and even a clown car are all props that need to be shipped away. Feld plans to continue working with the Circus Museum, and move them there. “We hope that the artifacts we place will help people remember our circus.” says Feld. This is a tough situation for Ringling, but will finish eventually. People will always remember the history of ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’.
Photo courtesy of Keesler.af.mil
All photos courtesy of Flickr.com
Hoa Chan Do
Picture courtesy of Wikimedia
Photo courtesy of Flickr.com
Ringling's Final Curtain Call
Summer vacation, the days where lemonade stands and bubbles are created, can be pretty boring after a while. Luckily, there are multiple activities and events held in and nearby Houston. Here are some summer activities that are guaranteed to make your day.
AIA Sandcastle Competition
The AIA Sandcastle competition is held on June 3 and located in Galveston. The American Institute of Architects Sandcastle Competition is a fund-raising event for AIA Houston and the ARCH Foundation. It starts at 8:00 am to 5:00 pm with free admission. Even though team registration is over, it is still fun to look at all the amazing sculptures. Next year, team sign-up will be deadlined on May 8 at 5:00 pm.
On June 10, Downtown Houston will have a carnival and a parade starting at 12pm to 8pm. It is celebrating Carnival from the Caribbean, Brazil and New Orleans Mardi Gras. There will be dancing, music, rides, a costume festival, and even a limbo contest! Tickets may vary, but the parade is free.
Freedom over Texas Festival
At Eleanor Tinsley Park on July 4, people will be coming from all over Houston for the live entertainment, food booths, and to gaze at the world-famous firework display from 4-10pm.
Theater District Day
From 12-4 pm, backstage tours, ongoing live performances, set and costume displays and sneak previews of the upcoming seasons, will be held on August 28 at the Wortham Theater. No tickets or reservations are needed for this event.
Buffalo Bayou Cistern
The Cistern at Buffalo Bayou Park is a prior drinking water reservoir built in 1926, and is now known as a Houston landmark. Cistern tours will be going on at 105 Sabine Street on Buffalo Bayou until June 25. Wednesday-Friday will be 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm (3:00 pm tour is Historical), Saturday & Sunday will be 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, all tours are 30 minutes. It costs $2 per person, but children under the age of 9 are not permitted. It is free on Thursdays, but reservations are still required.
These are only few events being held, for more information go to www.visithoustontexas.com, have an awesome summer break.
The homemade slime craze has exploded since the beginning of the school year, claiming to provide students with stress relief and even entrepreneurial opportunities, but recent health reports raise questions regarding the safety of the slime’s ingredients.
As you may know being middle school students, slime has been “in” for quite a while. #Slime on Instagram has almost 3 million public posts online. Along with #slime are other hashtags like #satisfy and #asmr. Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is an experience often described as a “tingling” sensation said to be triggered by certain sounds like the squishing of slime.
Having these items constantly showing up in class might be a distraction to learning, and it is no surprise teachers are having problems with them. “I mostly sell outside of school because they will take it away” says Cornerstone slime seller, Anna Martinez. This situation is very much like the ban of gum in classrooms. Studies show gum improves focus and memory, which is perfect for taking tests, but teachers usually ban gum because it is annoying to find gum under desks from irresponsible students. Though there is no scientific proof slime relieves stress, except for the fact that it might trigger ASMR, students find it does relieve their stress. "It's just an excuse," 8th grader Anna Sucec says about having slime in class.
Besides the potential distraction, there have been some very alarming concerns regarding the safety of slime and it’s ingredients. Basic slime is made from 2 ingredients: glue containing PVA (polyvinyl alcohol), and borax (sodium borate) to “activate” the slime. An 11 year old girl from Massachusetts, Kathleen Quinn, had second to third degree burns after making slime. According to CBS Philadelphia, doctors said if not diluted fully, borax can be toxic, and that Kathleen’s burns were caused by overexposure to borax.
Sodium borate, borax, is sold in a white powder meant to be used as a cleaning detergent. In the process of making slime, it is to be diluted in water in small amounts. In some countries borax is banned, but that doesn’t stop people in China and Thailand from making slime. Liquid-starch is a common alternative to borax, but not much safer.
Borax is a naturally occurring mineral, and like iron and other minerals, it is needed in your body, but too much can lead you to the hospital. It is officially identified as a mild skin irritation and a non-carcinogenic, meaning it does not cause cancer. Washing soda and baking soda can also cause a mild skin irritation. According to the Material Safety Data Sheet, borax is a health hazard of 1, which is the same as salt and baking soda. It can not cause cancer or absorb through the skin, and it does not accumulate in the body.
Though borax does not pose major health threats, kids still should be careful. Humans can not consume enough borax for it to be life threatening, but you still should not put it in your mouth. You should protect your hands when making slime to avoid irritations. You definitely should not sniff glue because it is an inhalant, according to drugfacts.gov, and there has been many deaths from sniffing glue.
At Cornerstone, we also see other students selling their own creations other than slime. Such as, “fidget spinners”, most popular among boys, which serve as an object to quietly play with during class when students are feeling fidgety. 8th graders, Taner Freed and Jaron Shelby make and sell their own spinners using a 3D printer. " I make fidget spinners to help people get better grades in their class because it helps them concentrate," says Jaron Shelby.
Slime may be fun and stress relieving, but kids should be cautious and parents should be aware of the potential dangers. Other than that, slime has been a good experience for students regarding business opportunities and stress relief, and we all need a little stress relief from the hard-working environment of daily school life.
"Thank you for [making] a good experience with a lot of good teachers and making my education better." - Taner Freed
Although reincarnation may seem to be complicated, the main idea that circulates around is that it is the rebirth of a soul into a new body, but is this great belief real?
Many scientists regard reincarnation as a sham and untrue. While there has been no proof that reincarnation is false, there have been many cases where children seem to remember past lives. At the University of Virginia, doctors investigate cases of children remembering their past lives. The question of whether a life ends after death has been something humans have questioned for hundreds of years.
Ryan Hammons was four years old when he began “waking up in the middle of the night screaming and clutching his chest, saying he dreamed his heart exploded when he was in Hollywood”( uvamagazine.org). Usually if a person has memories of their past lives, they are young children, but soon forget these memories as they grow older. In most cases, in their past life they had died a traumatizing death. Most of the time the parents of these children start to worry and start to search for the person their child thinks he or she is. In some cases the child and his or her past selves may share physical traits like scars or birthmarks.
Reincarnation can also sometimes occur within family bloodlines. “18-month-old Gus Taylor’s grandfather, Augie, had died a year before Gus was born. However, according to Listverse, the year-and-a-half-old Gus claimed that he was his own grandfather. When he was four, he was able to identify Augie in family photographs, even though he had never seen the man in real life.” (wallstreetinsanity.com )
Whether you believe in reincarnation or not does not affect whether or not you are reincarnated. Many major religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, all of which arose in India, hold a strong belief in reincarnation. One concept that stays the same for most religions is the principle of Karma.
Reincarnation, although highly investigated, is a mystery to many and although cases of reincarnation have appeared, many people still do not believe in the possibility of a next life. However, religiously it has become a reason for doing good deeds and that “your actions in this life matter.”
“Here I’ve finally found my group and I feel like we’re family” - Kate Crow
Photo below courtesy of Anantashakti
Marvel Comic Controversy
May 26, 2017 Features Page 11
"You really get to know the teachers ... it's always their own creative lesson plans."- Saumuya Singh
May 26, 2017 Features Page 10
Reincarnation: Is it Real?
photo courtesy of Cleveland.com
On April 11, 2017, X-Men Gold Indonesian illustrator Ardian Syaf was fired by Marvel Comics for putting hidden messages, described as anti-Christian, aimed at Jakarta's Christian Governor Basuki Purnama commonly known as Ahok. Illustrator Syaf’s hidden messages were found and translated by Indonesians on social media sites such as Reddit upon the comic’s release. The first hidden message shows X-Man Colossus hitting a baseball wearing a t-shirt with the symbol Qur’an 5:51. The verse translates to “O ye who believed! Take not the Jews and Christians for your friends”. Some Indonesian politicians have cited the verse to encourage Muslim voters not to vote for non-Muslim candidates. The second hidden message shows a X-Man Kitty Pryde, who is Jewish, speaking to an angry crowd. The number 212, clearly on a store in the background, references an Islamist protest against Jakarta on December 2, known as 212 in 2016. The verse Qur’an 5:51 is also shown on a shirt of one of the angry people in the street.
Another hidden message on the same panel shows Kitty Pryde’s head blocking a jewelry store sign making it spell Jew. Marvel confirmed on April 11 that Syaf is fired, but “X-Men Gold Issue 2 and 3 are already getting shipped while the next 4 issues will have a new artist. Marvel stated on April 9, 2017 “These implied references do not reflect the views of the writer, editors or anyone else at Marvel and are in direct opposition of the inclusiveness of Marvel Comics and what the X-Men have stood for since their creation.”
7th grader, Sina Jafari, thinks “if it has something to do with the comic than it should just be something low-key, but if this illustrator personally had these opinions than he shouldn't be associating his opinions with the rest of the X-Men brand.”
Other people like 7th grader Leo Chen, said “I don't really think anything about it is bad because freedom of speech and that the things he says doesn't really affect me at all”.
The hidden messages are supposed to target Jakarta's Christian governor not every Christian, yet the messages probably still shouldn't be in a comic book.
"My favorite part about Cornerstone is basically you're here for… three years [and] every[one] becomes family to you." - Samuya Singh
'"Mr. Nichols is lit." - Daisy Buena
“Thank you to Cornerstone for really teaching me how to be a contributing member of society” - Meah Matherne
"I will come back later probably when I have a job, and [I’ll] show them how successful I’ve been." - Alicia Balbueno
8th Grade Quotes
“I think [what] I'll miss here [the] most [is] the teachers, because you know the way you interact with them. In elementary or high school, you don't get to talk to them they way you talk to them here.” - Sereena Olguin
8th Grade Beach