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2023: A year in review in photos

24 photos from the past year to kick off 2024

Before we speed headlong into 2024, we thought it would be nice to use our first Tuesday Top 10 photo essay to look back on the year that was 2023. It was an eventful year full of successes, surprises and as always a lot of change on campus.

In honor of 2024, we are showcasing 24 photos taken last year, two from each month. We are proud to present the collection as this week’s Tuesday Top 10.


JAN. 24—Just before varsity tip-off on Tuesday, the girls basketball program took the time to appreciate teachers. The teachers in attendance were treated with tacos donated from @2dine4 and received flowers from players as well. English teacher Diana Adamson, who was invited by freshman player Fia Villanueva, says it was especially fun to see her students in a different setting.

“I love getting to see my students do what brings them joy,” Adamson said. “After all, they watch us ‘do’ our passions every day! I also thought it was really cool to see a couple of my ninth graders who are quiet in class exhibit super strong leadership on the court.”

Adamson was able to stay for all three games and she was impressed by the way players’ skills progress over time.

“I could see the growth in the players from one level to the next,” she said. “Varsity moves so fast compared to freshmen. It’s pretty great to see that.”

The image takes on an added significance as a visual representation of Adamson starting her last semester before retiring after 33 years of classroom teaching. Near the end of the semester, Adamson told the Shield’s Gaby Esquivel that the most important thing she learned from her students is perspective and being open to new and previously unimagined ideas.

“My students teach me as much as I teach them,” Adamson said. “I love hearing brand new ideas.”

She confessed that the choice to retire was difficult for Adamson, but she admits that she does not want to be a teacher that is so tired that she doesn’t teach properly. Adamson looks forward to having more time on her hands and not being stressed out anymore.

“Teaching is really stressful and it’s gotten even more stressful in the past few years and so I’m looking forward to [not having so much stress].” Adamson said. “I also want to take more history classes. I just want to have more time in my head, I don’t know if that makes sense, but I am looking forward to working fewer hours a week.”

Caption by Dave Winter. Photo by Lillian Gray.

JAN. 26—Senior Lauren Ryan-Holt (Leading Player) welcomes the audience in the opening number, ‘Magic to Do,’ of Pippin, MacTheatre’s spring-semester musical, which opened on Jan. 26. As a play within a play, Pippin has many layers to it, including the opening number which is performed as if the cast members were arriving at rehearsal and setting up for the top of the show.

“It’s the cast’s musical bait to the audience,” Ryan-Holt said. “We’re luring them into the production we’re about to put on. We describe the journey and all the magical, fantastic things that will take place along the way. We literally set the stage for both the show and the audience’s expectations.”

Ryan-Holt opens the number and leads the other ensemble members until the song turns into a fully choreographed number. For Ryan-Holt, however, the opening seductive chords are her favorite part.

“There’s just something so mystical and enticing about how it sounds,” Ryan-Holt said. “It’s the one part where you can feel the full focus of the audience.”

Best production was the fourth and final award that Pippin received at the 10th annual Heller Awards for Young Artists (HAYA) held on Wednesday. Earlier that night, McCallum was awarded Best Orchestra, Best Lighting Design and Best Technical Execution.

“It was a huge surprise for a lot of people in the cast including myself,” senior Lauren Ryan-Holt said. “It made me feel super proud of our cast and crew cause there were so many other deserving schools but I think this win means something super specific for our theatre department.”

While the honors McCallum received were significant in their own right, they were especially meaningful because it was the first time MacTheatre had ever taken home the Best Production awards.

Caption by Alice Scott. Photo by Gergő Major.



EARLY FEBRUARY—An icy storm passed through Austin in late January and early February. What began as a picturesque winter wonderland quickly turned into an electrical power catastrophe. As layers of ice grew thick, and silence was pierced by splitting limbs and shattering branches, the city went dark.

With many facilities out of power and students unable to leave their houses, AISD canceled four days of school in a row. With power now restored at all campuses but Hill and Perez, AISD will resume classes on Monday. During a Friday morning press conference on Feb. 3, Mayor Kirk Watson issued Austinites an apology.

“As mayor, I accept the responsibility on behalf of the city and I apologize that we’ve let people down in Austin,” Watson said.

As of Sunday Feb. 5, junior Angelina Rowley had been without power since Wednesday morning, Feb. 1. During those five days, Rowley received no more than 15 random minutes of power and no Austin Energy crew assigned to her area. She did, however, catch a cold. Triple-layered socks, a sweatshirt, two hoodies, a scarf and earmuffs became Rowley’s uniform. 

“We’re kind of all frozen like we are kind of just trying to survive at this point,” Rowley said at the time. “Everything’s kind of just about trying to stay warm. I’m not really processing anything like the days just keep going by.”

The lack of power, lack of communication and lack of projection for power restoration have left residents feeling like something needs to change.

“I’ve been freaking out,” Rowley said. “I feel really isolated without the internet. I was trying to be really productive during this period, but I’ve literally been shut off from like the world. I literally have no internet in my house or anything, so I’m having to go places and see if I can get internet to do homework. Even then, it’s not comfortable because I don’t know where anything is.”

Caption by Ingrid Smith. Photo by Dave Winter.

FEB. 19—McCallum put on its annual fashion show giving students an opportunity to showcase their handcrafted fashion designs created for the show. The theme this year, “Reflections and Shadows,” allowed designers to interpret the idea and turn it into something for their models to show off to the audience. Given last year’s high demand for the show leading to sold-out tickets, the fashion show was extended to two shows over two days this year. Viewers of the second show on Sunday received the treat at the end of getting to see the winner be announced. 

For the winner—junior Darin Fowler—the opportunity was unprecedented. 

“I mostly focused on the reflection part of the theme, and I took it in more of a metaphorical sense rather than literal,” Fowler said. “Each look reflects a certain time of my life.”

Fowler’s inspiration originated with the beauty of nature, and he turned that idea into pieces for his four models. 

“We often see things being reflected in our world and how everything is so connected,” Fowler said. “The collection is also representative of my spiritual journey, and how I’ve finally found comfort in my self-identity and spirituality,” 

Fowler said his four pieces took about a month to make in preparation for the show. 

“I was really stressed out about finishing, but everything came together, and I couldn’t be more happy with the finished product,” Fowler said. “Everyone’s designs were so incredible, and I saw so much improvement in many people—including myself—since last year.” 

Caption by Chloe Lewcock. Photo by Morgan Eye.



MARCH 4—Junior Josie Blackwell and sophomore Lillian Gray each broke the previous two mile McCallum girls track record of 12:41 at the St. Andrews Invitational. That record, held by Sarah Ashton, has been unbeatable since 2006, but was toppled after Blackwell and Gray took the track. 

“My strategy was to not go out too fast in the beginning but be able to stay in the middle of the race so I can work my way up to the front,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell was able to pull away from Gray in the last couple of laps, and she finished third with a new girls 3,200-meter school record of 12:11. This is the second school record Blackwell has broken this year since she broke the 5K record during cross-country season.

“I was kind of expecting to break it, so it makes me feel confident in my training and racing,” she said. “I think I can go a lot faster, but since this was the first outdoor race of the season it was hard to know how fast I really am.” 

Photo by Meredith Grotevant.

MARCH 7—Black Girl Magic contest winner senior Sahara Cumberbatch stands in front of the “Black Girl Magic” billboard on March 7 in the central hallway. She received her award from Tonya Moore on March 6 for the submission of her piece, “Women of Light and Color.” 

The contest was organized as part of the Black History Month event series at McCallum with the intention of highlighting Black female artists. Cumberbatch, won a coffee mug along with a $25 gift card. Cumberbatch’s winning submission was an art piece depicting a young Black woman empowered by her individuality.

“I entered this piece because the inspiration was my identity as a Black girl, and because of that, the parts of me that make me stand out physically for most of my classmates,” she said.

Caption by Amaya Collier. Photo by Gergő Major.



APRIL 8—As she dances in her beautiful dress, sophomore Amy Love reflects on the joy it brings to see her father so happy during the McCallum Quinceañera.

“I think that this event was really beautiful and fun to experience especially for my dad, seeing him so happy and having my family experience this,” Love said. “My family isn’t big on doing huge celebrations so me and my sister weren’t able to have a quinceañera, but we loved being able to share this day with all the other quinceañeras and their families.”

Despite the stress of daily meetings and practices leading up to the event, Love found it all worth it for the fun and memories made on the quinceañera day.

“It was really stressful doing the whole entire meetings and practice because it was every single day, but whenever it was the actual day of it, it was actually really fun,” Love said.

Overall, Love found the quinceañera event to be a very meaningful experience, which could not have happened without the hard work of Spanish teacher Juana Gun.

“I want to give a huge thank you to Ms. Gun for making it all possible and being such a sweet person to all of us,” Love said.

Caption and photo by Gergő Major.

APRIL 26—After an ordinary hour and a half or so to begin the day, the early morning calm within classes was abruptly and chaotically put to an end just as the first period drew to a close. Mac found itself the victim of yet another raccoon infiltration. Unlike the singular corpse that caused widespread and odorous torment to most in the main campus building several weeks ago, however, this invasion was carried out by several young, very much alive counterparts.

Campus safety monitor Bob Bedard was, as usual, among the first to know of and respond to the initial encounter with the mammalian marauders around 10:15 a.m., when he was alerted to the presence of two of the creatures after they entered the main hallway via a weak ceiling tile. Bedard noted that the raccoons split up to pursue opposite directions simultaneously, in a way that resembled coordination.

Associate principal Andy Baxa and campus officer Mike Reilly were able to corner one of the raccoons at the far end of the journalism/history hallway right off the main hallway near the office, and by 10:20 a.m., Reilly was able to contain the animal inside the legs of a stool and coax it out the door after Baxa kicked it open. As for the second invader, it scurried into Camille Nix’s room in the university hallway, startling the handful of students inside the classroom and prompting Nix to seek higher ground by standing on a desk as the raccoon scampered across the floor.

The room was subsequently evacuated while several faculty members assembled to coax the raccoon out using a trashcan and other repurposed items. Witnesses said the raccoon proceeded to hide under a desk and urinate on the floor until it was coaxed into entering the trash can and subsequently was released outside once again by Reilly.

Thirty minutes later, Reilly and Baxa were called to respond to another incident, this time in Room 113, where yet another raccoon entered a classroom, falling from the ceiling and once again striking fear into the hearts of advisory students. It ascended up the blinds, left blood on the walls and ran into a separate corner before escaping through an absent ceiling tile above it.

Caption by Noah Braun. Photo courtesy of Caytie Brown.



MAY 5—Audience member, Sam Morse, then a freshman and Ballet Folkorico troupe member Abraham Torres, then a senior, participate in the “fun group dance” that brought a close to the Cinco de Mayo show in the MAC. Each Ballet Folklórico member went out into the crowd and found a volunteer to join them on stage for the closing number of the show.

“The crowd seemed to really enjoy the audience participation dance that we closed with,” said Juana Gun, the event organizer and the sponsor of Ballet Folklórico.

Caption by Dave Winter. Photo by Dave Winter.

MAY 16—Junior Zephan Mayeda leans against a tree during the walkout holding a sign reading “bullets aren’t school supplies.” He joined more than 100 students who participated in the walkout to protest the lack of gun protection in the U.S. and draw attention to the statewide protest. 

“Children are dying due to government’s apathy and corporate lobbying against any action of any kind,” Mayeda said. 

Mayeda was disappointed in the lack of organization that came with the protest, but still participated. 

“Better something than nothing,” he said. 

Mayeda offered what he would love to see at the walkout.  

“I would have loved to see marching, chants, speeches, lists of phone numbers to call senators, names pictures and birthdays of the victims, flyers promoting the protest days, weeks or months even in advance, mass absences, an actual walkout for those who can’t not go to school that isn’t just 20 mins of sitting,” Mayeda said.

Although he was underwhelmed, Mayeda appreciated the symbolism. 

“I think it held some importance in regards to symbolic gestures,” Mayeda said. 

Caption by Kate Boyle. Photo by Gergő Major.



June 7—Visual arts majors Teagan Boyd and Mary Hendrix left Austin and traveled to the Big Apple. While in NYC, they enjoyed a wide range of activities, but the primary purpose of their visit was to attend the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards ceremony at Carnegie Hall.

At the ceremony, the duo each received a national award for their Scholastic Arts submission. Boyd received an American Visions Award;  Hendrix, a silver medal. Hendrix’s winning piece, “Prisms,” was an oil painting of a man wearing partially smeared makeup with a “sad, dejected expression.” Boyd meanwhile earned the American Visions Medal for her sculpture “The (Ne)cromancer.” 

One totally unexpected and wonderful moment, captured in the photo above, occurred during their visit when the outstanding visual artists randomly ran into orchestra director Ricky Pringle and members of the Mac orchestra who were in New York to perform at Carnegie Hall.

Caption by JoJo Barnard with reporting from Alice Scott. Photo by Angel Tarrant Boyd.

June 17—As part of a quintet of reenacting Buffalo Soldiers, two men sit on their truck taking in sights from the Central Texas Historical Juneteenth parade while the other three reenactors observe from the sidewalk. The Buffalo Soldiers were regiments of African-American men who served in the western frontier with distinction following the American Civil War.

The parade was held on East Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard Saturday to celebrate Juneteenth. Juneteenth is a holiday to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. It marks the day in 1865 enslaved people in Galveston found out they had been freed — after the end of the Civil War, and two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth became a Texas state holiday in 1980, and more recently a federal holiday in 2021. The parade went from 10 a.m.-noon and finished with a party at Rosewood Park that included live music, food and much more. The over 40-year-old parade had more than 65 different community groups walk the 1.2 mile route. Austin ISD participated in the parade and marched with its All-Star Band and other students and staff members in the district. AISD also decorated buses and held a banner in support of Juneteenth.

Caption by Dave Winter. Photo by Naomi Di-Capua.



JULY 10—Austin ISD officially announced on July 10 that Andy Baxa would assume the role of permanent principal at Mac replacing Nicole Griffith who became the principal at Ann Richards on July 1.

Before becoming principal, Baxa–shown in this image instructing graduating seniors outside Burger Stadium as they prepare for the 2023 commencement ceremony on May 30–worked for 20 years at Mac most recently as an administrator and before that as a social studies and business teacher. He began working at Mac as a student teacher.

For 16 of those 20 years, he worked under the tenure of principal Mike Garrison and served the four years since Garrison’s retirement as assistant principal under the principal tenures of Brandi Hosack and most recently Griffith. He is the ninth principal in the school’s 70-year history.

“I’m excited to develop a partnership with our parents and community,” Baxa wrote in an email to parents on the morning of July 10. “As a parent myself, I understand the challenges and rewards that come with helping our children navigate adolescence. I assure you that my door is always open, and I welcome your positive contributions to our learning community. I hope that our collaboration will foster the absolute best learning experience for every student. McCallum High School is a unique place and I am honored to be your principal.”

Caption and photo by Dave Winter.

JULY 28—Blue Brigade wrapped up its annual Kiddie Clinic with a performance in the cafeteria on Friday July 28. Split into age groups from kindergarten to eighth grade, campers performed the choreography they learned from their Blue Brigade counselors throughout the week.

According to junior lieutenant and former camper Smith Bohls, Kiddie Clinic allows kids of all ages to learn about drill teams, make new friends and learn fun dances.

“Watching all of the kids do the dances they learned all week brings me so much happiness because they are all so excited and nervous,” Bohls said. “Their love for dancing is so energizing, and all of the kids look up to us and tell us how much they want to be like us in the future.”

While Bohls said Kiddie Clinic was an exercise of patience, she found it rewarding to watch campers fall in love with dancing and make new friends.

“The best part of Kiddie Clinic is watching the kids love the dances and tell you that they practiced at home the night before,” Bohls said. “It makes me happy when kids love to dance so much and are so excited to perform for all their parents.”

Blue Brigade finished the Friday show with its first performance of “Blue Gray” as the 2023-2024 team. Watching her campers perform with confidence and smiles, Bohls felt inspired to bring all of her energy into the “Blue Gray” performance.

“I look forward to it every year and so do the kids,” Bohls said. “Watching them look up to us gives me the motivation to do better on the team.”

Caption and photo by Ingrid Smith.



AUG. 3—The McCallum PALS received word from Well Aware on Aug. 3 that the funds the PALS raised during the 2023 Shower Strike last spring had been put to good use, partially funding a project to bring clean water to the Linjoka Primary School in Ntunene, Laare, Kenya.

“After the original project was completed, we piped the water through a couple different places throughout the school,” Well Aware marketing manager Dani Daspit wrote in an email to the PALS on Thursday. “You helped make clean water a reality.”

Photo courtesy of Well Aware.

AUG. 23—During fourth period, the streets around McCallum were again filled with shouting and car horn honking, only it wasn’t from the outside agitators who hurled anti-LGBT and anti-abortion invective at students the day before as they headed to the busses to go home. Instead, parents gathered at the corner of Houston and Sunshine with signs and Pride flags in support of the LGBTQ+ community. Former McCallum teacher and current McCallum parent Nikki Northcutt organized the meetup.

“I just posted on the parent [Facebook] page ‘I’m going to be here. Happy to be alone but would love some company!’ and then these people all showed up,” Northcutt said.

Senior Keegan Sarwate joined the parents, wearing a transgender pride flag over his shoulders. When yesterday’s events unfolded, Sarwate couldn’t process it at first. 

“I kind of didn’t really believe it was happening,” Sarwate said. “I mean it was stressful but I’m also really glad that we were all able to laugh about it, like we were all making fun of them and joking, kind of made it seem a lot less serious than it was.”

Today, Sarwate focused on positivity. 

“I don’t have anything to say to the people who were here yesterday because people are going to be hateful no matter what you do,” Sarwate said. “It gets really difficult to think that people are behind you a lot of times when stuff like that happens but just seeing how quickly this got put together, there is so much support.”

Northcutt feels that the right path forward is to continue vocal activism. 

“Silence is not gonna work,” Northutt said. “But we also need to be positive and showing support and that’s literally the only reason I’m here. If one kid in there [McCallum] sees these parents and feels validated then it’s worth it.”

Caption by Francie Wilhelm. Photo by Dave Winter.



SEPT. 26—It’s not every day that your teacher is the music director and the conductor of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, but Tuesday Sept. 26 wasn’t just any old day for the Mac orchestra.

Peter Bay, conductor of the Austin Symphony Orchestra guest conducted the McCallum chamber orchestra on Tuesday morning as they prepared for upcoming performances. Bay came in and offered feedback on how to improve the playing individually for the musicians, and orchestra as a whole. 

Junior Kate Talley said that the experience brought new light upon the pieces, improving them so they would be ready for an audience. 

“Getting to work with someone who has experience with so many people was great,” Talley said. “He just brought a different environment into our orchestra room.”

The chamber orchestra has been preparing its pieces since summer, cleaning, perfecting, and improving them along the way, a process that Bay aided when he worked with the orchestra. 

“Having a fresh start with all the music we’ve been working on was helpful,” Talley said. “We’ve been hearing the same feedback that Mr. Pringle has been saying, but sometimes when you hear it from someone else it can be helpful to apply it to the music.” 

Talley added that it was an honor to work with someone so renowned as the Austin Symphony conductor, and that the experience brought a different perspective to the orchestra that helped further their musical careers. 

“He had new ideas we hadn’t seen before,” Talley said. “It was just a really great experience and I’m really grateful.” 

Caption by Chloe Lewcock. Photo by Dave Winter.

SEPT. 28—Playing the dry and witty Helene, friend of titular character Charity Hope Valentine, isn’t a stretch for sophomore Ava Dallesandro. In her first named role with MacTheatre, Dallesandro was able to pull from her own experiences and make the performance even better than she had originally hoped.

“I think I’m lucky with the person I was cast as because I really do like and resonate with my character,” Dallesandro said. “That makes performing and the experience just so much more wonderful.”

It wasn’t all a breeze though. Tech week is notoriously stressful, and Sweet Charity gave the theater program a run for its money.

“The very hardest part is the week right before performances start, our tech week, because everyone’s sort of jumbled and nothing’s really come together yet,” Dallesandro said. “It’s when you have to put the most trust in your peers and co-stars.”

This trust made the show run smoothly in the end, however. Despite facing multiple prop malfunctions and hitting a few bumps in the road, the production has been able to successfully pull off multiple shows. Dallesandro owes it in part to her co-stars Sydney Safarik and Sofia Rayas.

“I love who I get to work with all the time,” she said, “[Sydney and Sofia] are so amazing, they’ve made it such a wonderful experience.”

As the show enters its second and final weekend, Dallesandro is sad to see it go. Despite the possibility of getting to perform one more time at the Heller Awards later this school year, next Sunday’s production marks the moment she has to stop thinking about this show and move onto the next.

“You’ve built such an intimate relationship with your character and you know all your lines and blocking and you know the show so well,” she said, “You see all the people performing these roles and then it all goes away one day. It’s hard to say goodbye.”

Caption by Helen Martin. Photo by Alice Scott.



OCT. 21Senior Asher Kay rocks out on the dance floor at the homecoming dance, put on by Student Council. Since the tradition of a homecoming dance fell out of practice after 2019 due to low attendance rates, this was Kay’s first time attending one in all of his four years. Kay felt that the mystery surrounding what the dance would be like added to his experience.

“As a senior it was fun to have at least one homecoming,” Kay said. “Since we had never had one before, and since I haven’t really been to any school dances, I didn’t know what to expect, but when I got there it was cool to see everyone having fun. Hopefully it was a success so they keep doing it and start a new sort of tradition at McCallum.”

Though his first and last homecoming dance has passed, Kay hopes the future classes will continue to put on the dance.

“I think they should keep doing it because it’s a good opportunity for people who may not be super social to talk to new people and have a fun experience outside of school,” Kay said. “But also, it’s good to keep [doing] it because it seemed to be a fun time for everyone.”

Kay enjoyed the dance floor and seeing his peers dressed up in HOCO finery, but noted his favorite part was the photo booth.

“It was fun with my friends to get photos since it was the only HOCO we’ve been to, so we might as well have something to remember it by,” Kay said.

Caption by Lanie Sepehri. Photo by Julia Copas.

OCT. 24By coming from one set down to defeat the Ann Richards Stars 3-1 on the road on the night of Oct. 24, the varsity volleyball team finished the 2023 District 24-5A season as repeat sole district champions.

For sophomore Lexi Rosenblatt, the win was a shining moment for the team, one that she will always remember.

“I was just immensely proud of everyone,” Rosenblatt said. “It was such a hard-earned win.”

Receiving the district trophy and knowing it was coming home with the team made the win surreal.

“It’s a great feeling to be handed that trophy two years in a row knowing that we worked so hard,” Rosenblatt said.

While the Knights ultimately came away with the win, losing the first set provided the team with an opportunity to regroup and improve its strategy.

“We overcame a lot of personal errors,” Rosenblatt said. “Slowly throughout the game, we started giving them fewer points and being more intentional with our playing.”

While the regular season has come to an end for the Knights, Rosenblatt looks forward to the playoffs and beyond.

“I look forward to continuing to improve the program and having fun and being competitive,” Rosenblatt said. “Our strategy helps us be efficient and intentional with our wins, whether we play competitive teams or less competitive teams.”

The Knight extended their season this evening with another 3-1 road win after a first set loss, this time at Cedar Creek High School. The face Brenham in the area playoffs site and date to be determined.

Caption by Chloe Lewcock. Photo by Julia Copas.



NOV. 3—After an a seventh-place finish at the UIL Area D Competition, the band narrowly missed earning a spot at the UIL State Marching Band Competition. Although the band did not advance to State, it wasn’t the end of the road for them yet. The band voted to do one final run of the show during halftime of the Nov. 3 football game against the Eastside Panthers.

“Doing one last run of the show was a nice way to end the season,” junior drum major and clarinetist Bea Saffer said. “Although I think that our Area Finals run was the perfect way to finish the show, the run we did this past Friday was special in its own way. It had a certain playful energy as we all knew it was actually our last run and that there was nothing more at stake.”

“Not making State was a big disappointment to the band, but we had a great run,” Saffer said. “I think that rather than sulking about the opinions of a couple people who have never seen our show before, we should remember how wonderful we felt walking off the field after a fantastic performance.”
To Saffer, the most impactful moment of the show came at the very end.

“The feeling of looking at my other drum major, Sofia [Hamlet], and releasing the band for what I knew might be the last time is something I’ll never forget,” she said.

Saffer felt this run of “Starsurfer” eclipsed all others because of the enthusiasm and skill the band had built up throughout the season.

“Aside from the fact that we had a lot of experience on the field at that point, I think what really made the run the best of our season was the energy we had as an ensemble,” Saffer said. “Our director, Mr. Junkin, told us before our Finals run that this performance may be our last, which I think motivated all of us to put everything we had into it.”

Caption and photo by Lanie Sepehri.

NOV. 10—McCallum Knights everywhere were thankful that the varsity basketball team dominated the fourth quarter of the inaugural Taco Shack Shields Collide rivalry basketball game on Nov. 10, turning a close game into a decisive 51-37 victory over Anderson. Henry Mayes scored a game high 20 points, 12 of them in the pivotal fourth quarter. Varsity head coach Daniel Fuentes became the first coach to guide his team to a Taco Shack hoops win. Twenty-two years ago Fuentes was a wide receiver coach on the Knight coaching staff that sent McCallum into battle for the first football Taco Shack. Anderson earned the hard-fought 21-18 victory in 2001, so the victory was doubly sweet for the coach. 

Caption by Dave Winter. Photo by Tristen Diaz.



DEC. 3—Seniors Marshall Clifton, Danielle Todd-Harris and August Krosta perform “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago during the Sunday matinee final performance of Cabaret. “Cell Block Tango” is the behind-bars ballad of six women accused of killing their significant others. After singing “Cell Block Tango” with choir friends, Krosta felt inspired to bring the song to Cabaret auditions.
“Last year me and a couple of my friends would reenact it because we do a bunch of karaoke stuff in choir,” Krosta said. “I wanted to get all of them together because I thought it’d be really fun. We didn’t actually think that we’d be able to get in but kind of just wanted to put it all together and see what [would] happen, but [Mr. Thompson] really liked the idea.”

Under the direction of first-year choir teacher Nathan Thompson, choir students performed four shows on consecutive nights. The themse of 2023 Cabaret was “A Musical!” To embody the theme, all songs were from popular musicals.

Krosta said “Cell Block Tango” stood out in the set list because of its distinct mood and because the characters murder people while singing.

“The mood was different than a lot of the other numbers,” Krosta said. “It just had a different energy because we’re killing people on stage. My character actually didn’t kill anyone on stage, but it was fun watching everyone else do it. Because the looks on people’s faces are like, ‘What in the world is going on right now?’”

Junior Sam Kruck was one of the three male dancers “killed” during the performance. During a choreographed fall on the third night, he accidentally broke a chair.

Kruck said faking his death was an “interesting” experience.

“I’ve never had to do it before, but I think I’m an expert on it now,” Kruck said.

Kruck’s second scene was a ballet number that occurred during Krosta’s French monologue. Krosta worked with a French teacher to learn the lines describing the male character’s disappearance.

Krosta said the highlight of performing “Cell Block Tango” was the audience’s enthusiastic reaction.

“As we finished they [the audience] started like screaming,” Krosta said. “It was super cool to have everyone cheer like that.”

Caption by Ingrid Smith. Photo by Josie Mullan.

DEC. 7While performing as an opening act for the for Lamar Middle School winter dance concert last week, the McCallum Youth Dance Company connected with younger dancers.

Mac dancers opened the showcase with a piece called “Etherial.”

Dancers leaped at the chance to form bonds with the Lamar dancers, the ones they may share a locker room with in a few years.

Sophomore Corinne Hampton believes that talented dancers such as the Lamar Youth Dance Company dancers should have a group like the Mac dancers to look up to.

“I think it’s really great that middle schoolers get excited about the communities they might be a part of.”

Caption by Maggie Mass. Photo by Dave Winter.

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  • S

    Sophia LopezJan 11, 2024 at 7:32 pm

    I found this story to be a brilliant showcase of the past year at McCallum, and all the photographs and captions were amazing. Each event felt critical to be mentioned and highlighted key events that shaped our time here at school. It’s also an incredibly diverse range of photographs too, which made it even more unique to the readers. Plus, the 24 photos for 2024 was a brilliant idea.