Teacher Spotlight: Mr. Llamas

By: Alex Richter

This month, Journalism staff chose to highlight Mr. Llamas- who formerly taught at PJHS- I talked with the new teacher about many different topics. Journalism did this as a gesture of appreciation, and an act to properly introduce him to the staff and students of PHS!

Mr. Llamas had always had a passion for science. It was his favorite subject in school and college; he excelled in it, thanks to some great teachers. Admittedly, he struggled with chemistry, but that was due to a lack of a good teacher in high school. His college journey started with business, but after a grueling accounting assignment, he switched to teaching, and then to psychology. Eventually, Mr. Llamas became a certified secondary teacher with a biology emphasis. His love for science led him to become a science teacher, hoping to inspire the next generation of scientists and contribute to their success. He hopes to play a small part in their remarkable achievements. Especially since he is teaching the same students again, and it has its pros and cons. It helps to become familiar with different personalities, academic abilities, and behavior. However, some students may take advantage of familiarity, and some who struggled in the past might not make an effort this year. It is important to note that Mr. Llamas’ parents inspire him the most in his daily life. “They’ve supported me wholeheartedly and encouraged me to excel.” Their high expectations have motivated him to achieve them. Mr. Llamas is grateful for their unwavering love and support. “Thank you, Mom and Dad, for always being there for me; I hope I’ve made you proud.” 

PHS is very lucky to have a passionate science enthusiast like Mr. Llamas, it improves the school’s emotional value on core subjects. We hope that this will go on to inspire future scientists, and have them remember the little people that helped them get there.

A Teenager’s Guide to Halloween

by Alex Richter

Halloween, the spookiest time of the year, isn’t just for kids. Most teens wonder how they’ll enjoy upcoming Halloweens now that they’ve gotten older, but there are still many ways to enjoy the haunted holiday! Whether you’re donning a creative costume, exploring haunted houses, or simply savoring the thrill of the season, there’s a lot to savor in this holiday. 

This time of year is the perfect occasion to unleash your creative spirit. While classic costume choices like vampires and witches are always in style, you can also put a unique twist on a popular character or concept. For a memorable Halloween experience, consider coordinating group costumes with your friends. You might think you’ve outgrown trick-or-treating, but the truth is, it can still be a delightful experience. If you decide to partake, make sure to be aware of younger children, and stay respectful of neighbors and adults who may celebrate the holiday. Hosting or attending a Halloween party is a classic way for teenagers to celebrate the spooky holiday. Engage your guests with exciting games and contests, such as costume competitions or pumpkin carving contests. For an adrenaline-pumping adventure, seek out local haunted houses or haunted attractions. If there’s a reputedly haunted location in your vicinity, consider embarking on a ghost tour or paying it a visit with your friends. Navigating through spooky places can provide a thrilling experience that you and your friends are sure to remember! Hosting a scary movie marathon with your friends is another popular Halloween pastime. Another suggestion is to gather your friends around a campfire or huddle in a dimly lit room to share spine-chilling stories. You may also decide to indulge in pumpkin carving, a traditional and creative Halloween activity that never goes out of style. You can proudly display your carved masterpieces on your doorstep or use them as eye-catching decorations for your Halloween gathering. Also, although it is less celebrated, it may be a good idea to give back to your community by volunteering at local Halloween events or haunted houses. Transform your home or your room into a Halloween wonderland with spooky decorations like spider webs, skeletons, and other eerie embellishments. Get into the spirit of Halloween by experimenting in the kitchen. Not only are festive treats delicious, but they also add to the eerie atmosphere of the holiday. If you’re on a budget or looking to be eco-friendly, consider swapping costumes with your friends or exploring thrift stores for costume ideas. Explore the local Halloween scene by attending events such as haunted hayrides, corn mazes, or fall festivals. Halloween is a versatile holiday where you can let your imagination run wild. 

Get ready for a “spooktacular” time and make the most of this ghoulish holiday!


Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Garcia

By: Alex Richter

To begin our round of Teacher Spotlights for the 23-24 school year, I recently had the opportunity to interview Mrs. Garcia, a new teacher at PHS. She currently teaches English III with juniors and AP English III LANG.

In addition to her teaching, she also coaches high school girl’s basketball and track. She has always been accomplished in studying English since her school days, and her fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Smith, played a significant role in inspiring her. Mrs. Smith was not only a fantastic teacher but also an excellent supporter who attended Mrs. Garcia’s games, which made her look up to her even more. In high school, Mrs. Garcia enjoyed her English II class, where she read many great books. Initially, she wanted to become a coach, but her advisor suggested teaching as a more marketable career option. This is her fifth year of teaching, but she hasn’t taught at this level before. At first, teaching at a higher level was a bit challenging, but after collaborating with her colleagues, she feels confident about the upcoming year. Although she was confident in her math skills, Mrs. Garcia chose to teach English as it was her natural strength and her favorite subject. She also shared that Mr. Roberson, her math teacher, helped her develop a love for math. 

As a Pleasanton High School alumn, Mrs.Garcia is a great addition to our teaching staff. Make sure to give her a friendly welcome when walking down the 400 hallway this year!

The Summer Memory

By: Alex Richter

Under the summer sun, one afternoon I was sitting on the beach. My brother had been entirely buried in sand, as I stood on top of him in victory. Even though he had let me do it, I liked the feeling of winning something, even though I wasn’t really. His brown hair was dropped toward the center of his face, and he looked up, smiling.

“This is actually way better than sitting in the sun, thanks Tom,” my brother, Will said.

“Wait what? That’s not fair, you weren’t supposed to enjoy it,” I spat.

“Eh, don’t worry about it. I’m going to unbury myself anyway,”

“The water looks rough, I kinda want to go out… Will you come with me?”

“Yeah, just give me a moment,” he strained. 

I watched as he pulled his torso slowly out of the sand, struggling to get out. Of course, I didn’t help, yeah sure I buried him, that doesn’t make me responsible for unburying him. Placing his hands on either side of him, he lifted one leg after the other out of the sand, panting slightly. I was beginning to question if it was really as hard as he was making it seem.

“Oh, please. It’s not that hard coming out of the sand ‘innit?”

“And you’re actually watching me struggle, not doing anything about it, don’t tell me anything like that. Tom, you’re a spoiled brat,” he breaths, lifting himself fully out. “You know, if you weren’t my brother I’d probably hate you, but unfortunately you are.”

“Uh-huh, yeah sure.” I spoke, thinking. I have an idea… “Race me, one lap around that big rock over there.”

“That’s too far, Tom. You know that.”

“You’re pretty scared even though you’re… What? How old are you? Thirty?”
“I am 21, Tom. Old is not a way to describe me just yet.”

“Please, just come on,” I had said, laughing. 

As we lined up at the same distance from the water, I yelled and swiftly took a deep breath, diving into the warm ocean. Swimming was not a hobby that I often did, but I was feeling confident. Clear waters were in every direction, I had already made it out pretty far. Veering upward, I spotted Will, swimming as fast as his legs could take him.

Morning would’ve been a more suitable time for swimming in the ocean, because it would’ve been cooler. Questioning my distance, I stared in wonder, in the distance.

Wait, where is Will? 

Ten seconds prior, I had not noticed Will hitting the rock on accident; he was then slipping further into the depths of the sea. I wish I would have noticed him sooner, I might’ve been able to save him. I watched him perish in the summer of 2018, not knowing what to do. Of course, I was only 14, naive and stupid.

Please come back, please.

As if I was a god with the ability of resurrection, I had wished with all my heart that we would see each other again. During that time, I was just watching, he was probably looking right at me. Just as I was starting to grow up, I had been hit with a wave of sadness and depression that no words would be capable of describing. Knowing Will, he would not wish grief upon me, he would say: “Listen to me, Tom; because of you I am dead, yet I felt so alive when it happened. Mourning me is unnecessary if you were the best brother anyone could ask for, and I’ll always thank you for that.” He’d say something poetic like that.

Nevertheless, I am successful in my life, and I wouldn’t let the death of a loved one change that. We all experience loss at some point, but it’s a part of life. Rolling with it can be necessary at some point when that happens. The point is, not to forever mourn them, but to move on and continue to be happy.

The Easter Bunny Looks Familiar

By: Alex Richter

Easter Egg Hunt Images - Free Download on Freepik

On a dull, cloudy Sunday afternoon, an egg hunt takes place. As opposed to last year’s egg hunt, Toby was gloomy as his best friend Mark had moved away. Normally, Toby and Mark would be excited to watch as his little sister hunted eggs, and occasionally they would pitch in if she couldn’t reach one or failed to find one. This year, he didn’t want or feel the need to worry about helping the younger kids.

“Toby!”, his sister, Lani called.


“We can’t reach this one,” she said, looking at her best friend. Toby looked at them with hazy eyes, signaling that he was not getting it for them. Both of the children had looked at Toby, yet their strong gaze did not change his mind.

Walking away from the situation, Toby thought it best to head home, he still had felt gloomy. Once he had arrived, he knocked on the door, finding it locked.

“Yes, oh, what’s the matter with you?”, his mum had asked him politely. 

“Mum…I can’t seem to do anything without him, I just feel distressed.”, he says with his British accent seeming crackly due to the sadness in his voice.

“Toby, please go back out there and supervise the other children.”

Toby sighs, “Yes, mum,”

Starting his way back to the woods, Toby sighed and kicked a nearby rock. He saw a flash of a white figure woosh by him, yet he didn’t see anything clearly that would have caused that, unless it was the stone he had kicked. Toby decided to run back into the woods and begin to search for the mysterious being, he intended to find it.

“Hello?” Toby called out into the woods.

“Hi, Toby.”

Feeling a tap on his shoulder, he turns and sees a figure similar to his best friend. Except for a few crucial differences, he was too tall. Mark was tall, but this figure was much taller than Mark was. He was black and white, like a monochrome filter split down the middle of his body. The dark side looked like a gloomy creature, but the other side looked like a happy creature. It’s like something from a dream. 

Who is this? Why does he look like this? This isn’t Mark…I don’t think. 

“Mark?” Toby asks the creature. “How are you here? What-”

Before Toby could finish the sentence, the creature had teleported away. He felt a smile creep onto his face as he felt that wherever the creature was, he liked him. Toby realized at that moment that the mysterious creature wore a pair of Easter Bunny ears on its head. Easter was one of his favorite holidays, so the bunny ears made him happy. He closed his eyes and leaned on the tree behind him, lost in thought, no longer filled with the gloom and sadness that he had felt earlier.


Toby heard the voice, yet he thought it was a part of his imagination. As he was still far too distracted to think rationally, he thought.


Toby opened his eyes to find his sister in front of him, she had her eyes closed and looked like she was ready to shout at him.

“Toby!,” Lani shouts at him, “Who are you talking to?”

“No one,” Toby says, thinking about Mark and the strange creature. Maybe he was trying to cheer Toby up, he thought.

“Uhh…Yeah…Sure.”, Lani responds.

“Did you and your friends ever get that egg?”, Toby says, distracting her.

“Pfft, It’s not like you can reach it,” 

“I’ll try!”, Toby says. “Kids, leave this to the professional.” he says, rushing over to the group who had yet to reach the egg.

“Yeah right,”

Mark was watching his best friend make amends with his sister, and a sweet feeling hit him. The figure makes eye contact with Toby, yet Toby looks away and climbs the tall tree. Now that he knew that Toby would be okay on his own, he decided it best to leave soon. Smiling, he decided to not think about when or if he’d come back to the small town. 

Meanwhile, Toby retrieved the egg and climbed down, thinking of who was the strange creature that he’d seen today. Toby gave the egg to his sister, and noticed that the rain began to clear up and the sun shone down onto the woods and town where they’d stood. He walked into the gloom towards the creature, but stayed about 10 feet away from him. Toby noticed that it started raining, and as soon as it did, Mark disappeared, and Toby did not know when or if he’d see him again. 

Well, now I would hope that Mark will always be with me wherever I go; and at least he’s not dead, I know he’s okay. I hope he takes care of himself and visits me soon. I wasn’t planning on doing anything near that this Easter, but wow that was a cool experience to have. Huh, I guess I hunted for something after all. 



By: Alex Richter

Eagle Battalion Male PT Team’s participation in the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islander Challenge on Saturday, February 25th.


Colonel Wynder is the senior army instructor of JROTC, and he is proud to be serving at PHS. This is his 4th year at the school after retiring from the army, “This is a job that I truly love, when I wake up in the morning, I’m ready to get here and get the job done.” states the senior instructor. His co-instructor is his Command Sergeant Nulles, and according to the Colonel himself, they make a good team.

JROTC Cadets recently have participated in the Alamo city striker skills Meet at Reagan high school in San Antonio. The girls physical fitness team consisting of  Alyssa Castelar, Yasmeen Diop, Leah Torres, Gabby Ramos, Alania Nethken, and Hailey Yoho finished third overall out of 13 local area schools.  The boys physical fitness team placed 2nd overall out of 20 schools. Team Members included Valdemar Herrera, Kenneth Alegria, Roman Martinez, Jaden Herrera, Jose Ramirez, and Rion Ochoa. On February 16th, The Eagle Battalion Physical Fitness Team enjoyed the day testing themselves at the Brennan High School Military Skills Meet in San Antonio.

The Eagle Battalion Male PT Team has also participated in the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islander Challenge on Saturday, February 25th. The JROTC Eagle Battalion would like to give a thanks to those who came out to support their carwash at the Jourdanton NAPA. The $548 dollars raised will go toward their Military Ball coming up!

People may improve from being in JROTC, due to the impact that it may have on them. When interviewed, freshman Daylan Aguero states, “My experience with JROTC has been a fun, enjoyable experience. It benefited me by helping me build more confidence and make new friends.” Colonel Wynder and Command Sergeant Nulles do a good job of making sure that the students do a good job in leading the students on the right path. If you want a helpful leadership class, consider joining JROTC, it will do a great job of team-building and having leadership programs inflicted on students.

Make sure to visit the JROTC Facebook page linked in the PISD website to stay updated on their competitions and events!


Christmas Story: The Tale of the False Elves

By: Alex Richter

It’s Christmas Day, the clouds are dominating the majority of the sky. My boots are on and my scarf tucked under my sweater so that it doesn’t fly away, I see young children running and playing in the snowy grass. Unlike my friends who are outside, I don’t have siblings. My parents were set on me being the  ¨golden child¨. I am an 11th grade student that goes to Elfwood High, a small school in the northern part of the country United Kingston. 

On the horizon, the Mahogany Forest. My destination, the Lakewood Creek, which is in the town just to the North of mine. Kicking open my big wooden door, I step out onto the grass, feeling snowflakes fall softly onto the top of my head. I start to calmly walk through my town, waving at friends and heading into the sunset.

Staring and analyzing into the woods, I hear a soft voice giggle. It sounds like a child playing, but I didn’t think children would be interested in playing in the dimly-lit woods of mahogany trees. I stop in my tracks, staring at the small snow-filled path ahead of me. A child is visible within 10 feet of me, he is wearing a green hat, and a green and white striped shirt with white pants and green elf shoes. I look at his ears, and strangely enough, they’re pointed. “If it isn’t the one, the only…”, the elf starts. “Karl Jerome Brown!”, another identical elf next to him says. “How do you know my name? And what are you?”I reply to their strange remark. “We are the elves of Christmas,” one says, “the ones that you praise in Elfwood,” the other finishes.

What an odd statement. We don’t praise elves in Elfwood, it’s only the town’s name. “If you’d excuse me, I’m only trying to-” I say. “Get to the little creek located in Lakewood,” the first elf interrupts me. “It’s only about a few miles ahead, is it not?” he asks. “Yes, but I do not wish to be escorted, I’m only trying to spend my Christmas in peace, please,” I reply to the elf. “But what if we wish to escort you?”, one tells me. “Fine…”, I say. 

That’s all it took before I blink and find myself far from where I expected to be, there is nothing visible around me other than the grassy horizon and the sun in the sky. The so-called elves were nowhere to be found, I didn’t know where I was at all, and something deeply rooted in my brain felt wrong. The sun glares its rays into my eyes, which then start to tear up. I look away, to not look directly at it, but it’s far too late for that. I looked down at my hand, which appeared sparkling, as if it was set ablaze by the hot ball of fire in the sky. 

I wake up, in the woods where I was before. The elves stand in front of me, glaring, as if mad or upset with me. Except, the elves were not good elves at all, they had ‘Coal’ printed on the back of their uniforms. These are mere coal-working elves that work giving children coal if they were bad on Christmas. “You,” the first elf starts, “are,” says the next, before they pause while looking at me in awe. “MAGIC!”, they both shout simultaneously. 

Magic? “Prove it,” I say to the elves. “Step into the light,” one starts, “then surely you’ll see,” the other one finishes. Do all elves finish each other’s sentences or are they just crazy? Stepping into the light I start to speak, “See? Nothing-”

BOOM! An explosion comes out of the sun itself, whooshing through the air until it hits me right in the chest. I feel a numbness, until I feel something on my back, as if I’m wearing a backpack, or in my case, two backpacks. I have wings, they are feathery and white, which emit light in the orangy-red sunset.

“What are these?”, I ask the Christmas elves. “They let you fly when you work with training the reindeer,” Why on Earth are reindeer important, or related to the fact that I´ve just sprouted wings in the sky? “What do you mean?” I ask. “You’re magic-”, the first one starts. The second one finishes by saying, “Therefore you’re coming with us.” I scoff, “Why exactly?”

The elves look at each other mischievously and smirk before looking back at me in union. “You do want to work at the Christmas Factory with us, don’t you Karl?”

New Discoveries

 By: Alex Richter

Scientists have discovered new things that have never been seen in the history of space and time.

Researchers from National Harbor, Maryland have recently discovered two so-called cryovolcanoes; which seem to be volcanoes built of frozen ice from inside of the dwarf planet. Volcanoes, as we all know, are piles of different types of rock. Eventually the volcanoes spewed magma from underground at the top of the rocky volcano. Ash is released and the magma becomes lava at the point that it comes above ground. Unlike most volcanoes, scientists noted that nitrogen and methane melted ice inside of the planet, causing it to be released years later in an icy volcano. 

Researchers in 2022 have figured out the reason for the t-rex’s stubby arms. Many dinosaurs have been a mystery to the world aside from a representation of how the animals looked, the t-rex was no different, but due to mass amounts of research and extended fossil search, information has been found. The reason that the t-rex has stubby arms is because of reproduction purposes. With stubby arms, the t-rex holds mates closer than if the arms were to be longer.

Recently, a ship called Sir Ernest Shackleton was found at the bottom of the Weddell Sea. The ship is believed to have once sailed about a century ago, and not much information has been found about it. Sir Ernest Shackleton was found by robots during an expedition underwater, these robots have cameras allowing the men and women above to see what they are seeing.  

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