The Paladin The Student News Site of The Woodlands College Park High School Fri, 08 Nov 2019 14:55:00 -0600 en-US hourly 1 Running to State Fri, 08 Nov 2019 14:53:25 +0000 For the varsity boy Cross Country runners, the season has been filled with excitement, success, and a shot at a state title. On October 17th, the team placed 3rd in the district, and senior, Nicklaus Brawner, placed 2nd overall. Then on October 28th, the team placed 3rd at the 6A Regional Meet, beating 21 other schools in the area. They are now looking to capture a state title on Saturday, November 9th. 

“One of my goals since the start of summer has been to try and win the state meet. When we first started running to prepare for the upcoming cross country season on May 25th, that was what I had in mind,” senior Nicklaus Brawner said. “After I told Coach Gibson that, we both came to the conclusion that this goal was very achievable.”

At the meet, seniors, David Aguilar, Ben and Jeff Black, Nicklaus Brawner and Jeremy Bourbeau will be competing along with juniors, Chase Nutt and Ethan Williams. For the seniors, this will be their last cross country race in high school. 

“I have loved all four of my years as a member of the cross country team and I couldn’t have asked for a better time,” senior Jeremy Borbeau said. “Long runs, really long runs and even the workouts have been nothing short of amazing. My great teammates and my awesome coach have made my time in Texas amazing, it makes me sad to think that I only have one semester left in this great program.”  

Over the season, the boys have dealt with injuries, slow times, and getting psyched out at meets. They have endured rigorous workouts and trained many hours since May.  With the help and support of Coach Gibson and their teammates, they have overcome their challenges and are ready to run the race of their lives on Saturday afternoon. 

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Heads Up Athletes Fri, 08 Nov 2019 14:34:03 +0000 For years, concussions in football players has been condoned but a new light is being shed on how harmful they can actually be.  

“Concussions have definitely been known for having a lasting effect on players after they leave high school, so they should be taken with more care,” senior Joshua Deal said. 

Children ages 13 to 16 are more vulnerable to concussions compared to 17 and 18 year olds. The majority of Texas junior high schools allow students to play football at this age, and some elementary schools allow football for kids as young as 10. Though symptoms do not show until years after a concussion, it begins with teens that are more susceptible to head injuries or concussions.   

“When I was around ten I got a concussion when one of my teammates was playing around and tackled me when my helmet was off,” senior RJ Malone said. “That was pretty much the only concussion I’ve gotten, and I quit football right after. I realized that being a band kid is much safer.”

The majority of people who suffer concussions during fall seasons are high school football players. With two to three concussions per season, that could add up to 7,418 to 11,127 in Texas high schools. Going even further with those ratios, the United States would have 74,200 to 111,300 concussions in just one football season.   

“I got a concussion my second football season,” junior Kimberlyn Buckwalter said. “It was pretty serious, and I had to sit out the rest of the game. And because of that one concussion, it ended my season completely.” 

With the knowledge of the dangers of concussions, football coaches are limiting contact during practice, teaching proper tackling techniques, keeping a trainer on hand, and more.

“Coaches are the front line of concussion prevention in football as a whole,” trainer Alton Burns said. “There are many professional development seminars teaching better tackling techniques, neck and physical strengthening and conditioning programs that lead to reduced risk of concussion.”

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease found most commonly in athletes and military veterans, can be identified in kids as young as 16. This disease is caused by several brain traumas like concussive or subconcussive blows to the head. Though CTE has been known for more than 17 years, it is only now being acknowledged in the world of sports.  

“Not only are there diseases as serious as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy that develop in the brain, but you are two times more likely to be diagnosed with depression after one or two concussions,” neurologist Dr. Kim Pate said. “Sports in high school need to become aware of things like this and address it appropriately.”


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UIL Marching Band Performance Review Mon, 04 Nov 2019 14:42:36 +0000 Tuesday, Oct. 22, the Marching Band filed into position on the Woodforest football field for their UIL Marching Contest performance. For eight minutes and 40 seconds, the crowd witnessed a performance that not only reflected the band’s hard work and dedication to this production but one that was worthy of the high scoring they received. 

This performance consisted of four songs, all beautifully composed into one piece and executed with precision. Opening with the classic, “This Land is Your Land,” the audience was transformed into an intimate setting somewhere between town and country. Progressing to a more upbeat and climatic display, their second selection was established by a dominant sound from percussion, where passion resonated from the drums into the crowd. Moving into the third song of the performance, Desperado, captivated the crowd when senior, Rachel Marquez complimented the band’s sound with her beautifully refined voice. Careful not to overpower the instrumental sound she came in with stealth, blending well, for the most part, into the proceeding sounds. At times Marquez’s microphone level was not loud enough, making her sound sometimes unclear and hidden beneath the powerful band. Giving the audience something to remember, the final song of the performance made it apparent that the band is made up of exceedingly talented individuals. Stepping out from the rest of the band, Sophomore Alex Bass played a seemingly effortless solo, hitting notes so articulately, that I questioned whether it was pre-recorded. 

At first sight, the band’s uniform, meant to match the theme of town and country, seemed unclear or too busy to the eye. But with context, coordinating choreography, and song selection the theme became more evident. 

Their choreography displayed their hard work and long hours of practice that got them to the point they are at. This was rewarded as they received the highest-scoring one can receive at a UIL competition. 

To wrap up their competition season, the marching band competed in their last competition of 2019 in San Antonio, Texas, last Saturday, Nov. 2. 


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Freaky Friday! Mon, 04 Nov 2019 14:31:46 +0000 On November 4-5 from 2:45-5:00, the College Park Theatre Department will hold auditions for Freaky Friday the musical. Interested participants need to bring a 1-minute cut of a song, the side, a section of dialogue that has been pre-picked by Mrs. Labonski, and audition form provided in 1408. 

“I think others should audition for the musical because you get to work with many different people and have an outlet for your creativity,” sophomore Sara Marie Wojta said. 

Auditioning for a musical can cause a lot of anxiety in students whether it be because of fear of public speaking, singing, dancing, or overall stage fright. A lot of people will ignore the opportunity because the fear of auditioning overwhelms the desire to be apart of the cast. 

“I’m auditioning for the musical because it allows me to perform in a way that often I don’t get to participate in and I have a blast every year,” senior Ginger Hardwick said. “Auditioning isn’t as scary as it may seem and everyone at auditions is there to support you.”

Freaky Friday follow the story of a mother, Katherine Blake, and daughter, Ellie Blake as they navigate the difficult waters of love, high school, death, and switching bodies. The musical itself has a lot of opportunities for other roles such as Savannah, the high school mean girl, Hannah and Gretchen, Ellie’s friends, Torrey, the uptight assistant, Adam, the main male and love interest,  Mike, the soon-to-be step-dad, and many roles in the ensemble.

“[This musical] has the potential for large chorus numbers and I thought it would be a good way to involve many students while appealing to a wide audience,” director Valerie Labonski said. “It is also a new musical and it is nice to be the first production of Freaky Friday in our area!”

The show itself takes place in modern day. Being a contemporary musical, there is a high demand for dancers and strong singers. There was a workshop on October 29th where Ms. Lowry, the reveliers coach and choreographer for the show, taught students the dance. The dance will be performed on the audition day. If you were not there, contact @twcp_theatre on instagram to see the video. 

  “ I think others should audition for the musical because then they can step outside of their comfort zone and experience something a little different than just straight acting or singing,” Hardwick said. 

The rehearsal process is Monday-Friday from 3:00-6:30 until January 23rd when performances will last until January 26. There is tentatively no rehearsal over holidays, and not everybody will be called everyday. Rehearsal schedules will be out every Friday after 4th period, so each person can mark their required rehearsal dates and times for the upcoming week. 

“People should audition if they want to be involved in a positive, fun artistic activity that serves their community!” said Labonski. 

Aside from auditioning to be in the cast, there are many ways to get involved from working backstage as a stagehand to playing in the orchestra to helping with hair, makeup and costumes, over 100 students are involved every year.

“To people that are afraid of auditioning, I would say, you have nothing to prove, only to share,” Wojta said. 

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Tennis Team Making Big Strides Wed, 30 Oct 2019 13:54:36 +0000  

After many long after-school practices, intense workouts, and away matches, tennis season has come to an end. The team finished with a 10-4 overall record and placed 3rd in the district after losing to Klein 9-10 on October 8th. 

“We advanced to the playoffs this season and won against Aldine Davis 15-0 in the bi-district, and then lost to the #1 ranked school in Texas, Austin Westwood, 0-10 in the second round,” Head Coach Robert Klein said. 

The team will now begin their offseason training to prepare for their spring tournament season that begins in January. They will lift weights, practice individual skills they need to improve on, and condition daily. This year, the varsity tennis team is led by senior girls- Alden Allen, Olivia Behne, Mina Ghayour, and Swathi Mannem, and senior boys- Ronin Burke, Andrew He, and Hunter Hippenstiel. 

“This is a very good group of young men and women who represent College Park very well on and off the court,” Coach Klein said. 

Along with being successful on the court, many varsity tennis players are receiving prestigious academic achievements as well. This year, there were 6 tennis players who qualified as National Merit Semifinalists. This is a huge accomplishment for the tennis program. For the next 3 months, the team is ready to focus on their academics and to train hard for their upcoming spring tournaments. 

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Returning Home Thu, 24 Oct 2019 13:48:26 +0000 For most high school graduates, walking across the stage to receive their diploma at the end of their senior year marks the end of their high school experience. They will go off to universities, colleges, trade schools, or work and not think about returning to their high school. Ms. Abigail Kolb, a graduate of the class of 2012, had a different experience. 

Ms. Kolb attended College Park from 2008-2012. This was a time when CP was a no phone zone and the only form of social media that students used was Facebook. She was very involved in extracurricular activities at school, took challenging classes, and graduated Magna Cum Laude. 

“During high school, I was involved in Cheer all 4 years, National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, and Dugout Dolls,” Ms. Kolb said. 

Throughout her 4 years attending College Park, Ms. Kolb had many teachers who she is now working alongside in the science department and cheer program. She now shares a classroom with her former AP Biology teacher, Ms. Waggoner, and coaches cheer with her former cheer coach, Ms. Trana. For Sophomore Chemistry, Ms. Kolb had current science department chair, Ms. DeLong as her teacher, and now Ms. DeLong is her manager. During high school, Ms. Kolb was a very strong student and was admitted to her dream school, The University of Texas at Austin. 

“I chose to go to UT because my dad had gone there so I grew up knowing about the school and when I visited Austin I fell in love with the city and the campus,” Ms. Kolb said.  “My other choice was Texas A&M, but the schools just didn’t compare once I saw UT because I loved the city vibe of Austin and not the small town feel of College Station.” 

Located in Austin, the University of Texas, is the 8th largest university in the United States and attracts students from all over the world. Known for it’s motto, “Keep Austin Weird” and for being the music capital of the South, Austin is a very liberal and diverse city compared to The Woodlands. 

“There’s a lot of different people in Austin when compared to the little bubble we have in The Woodlands,” Ms. Kolb said. “It was an adjustment to be around many different types of people but it was a really great experience for me.”

At UT, Ms. Kolb was apart of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and majored in Chemical Engineering. Her parents were in the oil field and she planned to follow in their footsteps. After attending Chemical Engineering classes for 2 years, she decided that studying Chemistry and becoming a teacher was a better fit for her life. She then joined a program at UT that allowed prospective math and science teachers to receive their teaching certificate and student teach for a semester.

“UTEACH was a club in itself because all the members were in the same classes together,” Ms. Kolb said. “I taught elementary school, junior high, and high school through the program and student taught for a semester at a local school. The program gave me lots of support and prepared me for teaching.”  

After graduating from the University of Texas in 2016 with a degree in Chemistry, Ms. Kolb decided that she wanted to move back to The Woodlands to be closer to her family and because teaching salaries are higher in Conroe ISD then they are in Austin school districts. 

“I’ve always been a homebody and have always wanted to be close to my family. That’s part of the reason why I went to college in Texas too,” Ms. Kolb said. My parents live here and my sister and her 2 young children live here so I want to live near all of them.”

Currently, Ms. Kolb is sharing her passions with others by teaching Chemistry and by coaching Freshmen Cheer. This is her 3rd year teaching at College Park and she plans to continue teaching for many more years. Ms. Kolb hopes that her students are getting more out of her class than just learning Chemistry. 

“In my classes, I hope my students learn to be an advocate for themselves and take charge of their own education. I always stress that if you need help, come ask me,” Ms. Kolb said.  It’s super important in life, even if you are not going to college that you learn to advocate for yourself.”

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Feeling Stressed? Join Poetry Club. Wed, 23 Oct 2019 13:44:58 +0000 Mrs. Gannuci has created a safe space for students to relieve their stress through literary freedom; poetry. Poetry club meetings will take place on the first Friday in the library from 2:45 to 3:30pm. 


“Poetry is a form of healing,” Founder of Poetry Club Mrs. Gannucci said. . “[One is] able to poor out some of [their] heavier emotions into [their] own poetry so that [they] are not hanging onto negativity.”


Students can expect to bring their own poetry to share, read poetry from inspiring poets, or write their own poetry. 


“My goal is for students who love poetry to have time to be together and be able to share thoughts and ideas about poetry,” Mrs. Gannunci said.


The next meeting will be November 1st, so feel free to stop by and let your ideas fly. 



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Sense And Sensibility Tue, 22 Oct 2019 17:32:27 +0000 Intricate hairstyles are carefully crafted and dresses modeled after Empress Joséphine are tied with delicacy as each actor elevates their English and pushes their shoulders back to embody the characters in Jane Austen’s beloved Sense and Sensibility. 

Sense and Sensibility takes the stage in the auditorium for the fall mainstage on October 23rd to October 26th at 7 pm for all audiences. Tickets will be $10 at the door.   

Sense and Sensibility follows the life of The Dashwoods after the death of their father. Elinor, played by senior Miranda Marquez, and Marianne, played by junior Jillian Parks, navigate the tricky waters of societal status, love, gossip, heartbreak and vulnerability. The original book was set in the 1790s, but the play was recently rewritten in 2018. The play had touches of modern comedy and conventions while staying true to the elevated English and setting of the time. 

“The most challenging part of the play is the pacing,” junior Morgan Bell said. “The play was adapted from the book and is quite different in that it is very fast and fun at many times, while the book can be sort of melancholy. The actors and run crew have worked very hard to make sure that the transitions run smoothly.”

This show is a high energy, fast-paced comedy shown through both the characters and the bizarre situations. From an intrusive gaggle of gossiping women to a condescending, brutally insulting Lucy Steele, played by sophomore Delaney O’Neill, to a bumbling “good guy” who cannot seem to express his feelings, this show has a character for everyone. 

“I love my role,” O’Neill said. “Lucy is very manipulative and knows exactly what she wants and how to acquire it. Also, she always knows how to get under people’s skin in order to raise herself up in the social hierarchy.”

Along with comedy, Sense and Sensibility tackles many important themes such as the balance between being too sensitive and being too reserved, the dangers of spreading “the news,” and the destructive nature of lies in a relationship. Every audience member can find a piece of themselves in each of the characters. 

“In the play, there are characters called the gossips that watch all of the other characters, always spreading rumors that tend to be problematic,” Marquez said. “I feel like the theme that we see in our own society is the social norms and gossip that surrounds everyone today. The audience can relate as we often have everyone watching and judging our every move, with social media today as it is.”

The rehearsal process lasted from September 3rd-October 22nd after school from 2:45-5:00 pm. The cast began by reading through the script then jumped into blocking and memorizing lines. Each scene was rehearsed one by one until the cast was able to do run-throughs for each of the two acts. From there, the script was divided into chunks and rehearsed until technical rehearsals came around. 

“The most enjoyable part of the process for me has been meeting people and getting closer with them,” junior Nico Hamburger said. “We’ve made secret handshakes and inside jokes, and the social aspect of theatre has always been an incredibly valuable one to me. Working with new people and getting their feedback is important to me, and this show has provided it more than any other production I’ve been in.”

Technical rehearsals encompassed hair, makeup, costumes, props, sets and lighting. Set maneuvering and prop inclusion elevated the show’s visual appeal, but also added new challenges. Switching between different locations requires high focus and engagement behind the curtain. The 1790s hair and costuming was a long and arduous process headed by a dedicated committee including junior Sara Wojta, senior Madisen Roberts, junior Alyssa Nottingham and senior Calliope Bourdier.

“I’ve been doing costumes for Sense and Sensibility,” Nottingham said. “I actually made one of the dresses from scratch, which was an experience all in itself. It took over 20 hours of work and a lot of patience. I feel I have a deeper appreciation for all the work that goes into a piece of historical clothing and am so happy I got to recreate something that was once so popular.”

The cast, crew and directing team has worked for months on this show to bring to life the work of Jane Austen. Each character has their own stories and quirks that allow for a diverse and emotional storyline. 

“Playing Marianne has been fun and tiring and challenging, but the most rewarding part has been applying her character arch to my life,” Parks said. “I have really gotten to consider when it is good to be sensible and restrained versus when it is good to be open and sincere.” 

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Billie Eilish Concert Review Tue, 22 Oct 2019 13:43:36 +0000  

Last Thursday, excitement filled the Toyota Center as the crowd anticipated the thrilling entrance of Billie Eilish. Starting the night off with her number one single, ‘Bad Guy,’ the crowd stayed right on beat with Eilish’s compelling energy. Her contagious lively attitude filled the stage, leaving her fans to forget their surroundings, focusing solely on her voice and the captivating display.  

As part of her Where Do We Go? World Tour, Eilish performed songs from her most recent album- ‘WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?.’ This album, featuring moody beats, chilling melodies, and eerie storytelling lyrics, influenced her beautifully haunting visuals and a climactic build-up to many of her songs. From creepy mystifying backgrounds to intimate commentary, the arrangement did not disappoint.

Eilish’s brother and producer, Finneas, performed on stage with her the whole concert, collaborating on many songs, as he helped her write and produce the music. 

The most memorable of these collaborations being the song ‘i love you.’ Imitating the original setting in which they wrote the lyrics to this hit song, in Billie’s room sitting on her bed, the two siblings were suspended above the stage on a white linen bed. The captivating duo shifted the spirit of the arena to an air that gave you chills. With Finneas switching to acoustic guitar for a more intimate melody, Billie continued with her brilliant vocals, but now with a sentiment. The breaks between lyrics brought the crowd to a stilling silence. Connecting with her fans, once again, Eilish indicated that they carry out the chorus, filling the arena with radiant warmth.

As if her performance needed more quirk, the impressive 17-year-old was not slowed down by the hulking boot she was forced to wear due to an injury. She made the stage hers, as she danced and bounced as if no one was watching. She livened the song ‘COPYCAT’ by prompting everyone in the arena to “get low”. She said to follow and watch her, as her movement and the beat drop of the song would indicate when to jump up. And as she said, everyone got low, and everyone jumped up as one with Eilish and the flashing lights. 

As the young artist walked off the stage the fans were left wanting more. And not to dissatisfy, Billie came out for an encore performance of ‘Bad Guy’ that echoed the same excitement from the start of the night. 


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5 Places to Volunteer in or Around the Woodlands Mon, 21 Oct 2019 13:33:40 +0000  

Volunteer hours seem to be on the minds of many students as ways to invest in something outside themselves, and boost their college applications. Actually picking a place to volunteer, however, is the tricky part. Here are five places worth volunteering at. 


  1. The Public Library

At the Montgomery County Library, teens 13 years or older can fill out a volunteer application at The website states that “Volunteers will perform the assigned tasks of sub-professional and/or clerical nature in connection with the standard routine of Library operations during the Library’s regular working hours.”


  1. Montgomery County Food Bank

The food bank is a great way to devote time to a fantastic cause. They feed over 35,000 people in a month and rely on volunteers to do so. One can find their volunteer dates at to find upcoming events, locations and age limits if applicable. 


  1. Mercy House Global

Mercy House Global is a non-profit organization that sells fair trade products made by women in impoverished situations. This organization has given women all over the globe jobs they would not have otherwise gotten. It’s one thing to be supported by charity; it’s another to work for one’s living and create things that others will enjoy. Those 18 year olds or younger must be accompanied by an adult. One can drop in without an RSVP Monday-Thursday: 9:30am–12:30pm, the first Monday evening of the month: 6pm–8pm, and/or the first Saturday morning of the month: 10am–12pm after filling out the volunteer Acknowledgement & Release form at


  1. Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless

This organization collects and donates meals to the homeless in and around Montgomery County. By creating relationships with families or individuals or impoverished or dangerous situations, they are able to build “strong partnerships with local and federal government agencies, other nonprofit organizations, and a wide range of community groups.” Fill out the volunteer form on their website or email

       1. Clubs

Interact and Key Club are not locations or a specific events; they are clubs here at College Park that organize events for students to volunteer their time and keep track of their hours digitally. If you do not want to bother with keeping track of hours, but still want to donate your time, join the club! Interact meetings happen every other Monday at 7pm in the commons, and Key Club meetings are every other Tuesday from 2:45-3:15 in Room 1613.

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