Welcome back to Mac

From the first day of high school for freshman to the first senior tradition for the Class of 2023, Monday represented a rite of passage for all Knights


Dave Winter

SENIOR SEASON: Decked out in their jerseys, senior Parker Mitchell takes a photo of senior Sophia Kramer and friends before the first day of school in the senior parking lot. The night before, the class of ‘23 decorated their cars to show their senior pride going into their last year of high school. “It’s tradition for seniors to come and take [pictures] the morning before the first day of school,” Kramer said. “Being able to share that memory together is definitely bittersweet. I’m super excited for this year but I am anticipating all the lasts.” Reporting by Alice Scott.

On Monday, the McCallum halls echoed with the sights and sounds of freshmen looking for their classes in a maze of unfamiliar hallways, the marching band trumpeting a mighty welcome for the new superintendent and seniors spending their last first day enjoying time-honored senior traditions.

For many campus leaders, including our new editorial staff, the day presented new opportunities and the promise of taking full advantage of them.

We are pleased to share some of our favorite images from the first day of the 2022-2023 school year in this, our first Tuesday Top 10 photo essay of the fall semester.

FIRST DAY ON THE JOB: Senior Evie Barnard and junior Alice Scott leading the first-period newspaper class on their first day as editors-in-chief of The Shield.

“It was really rewarding to finally meet everyone,” Barnard said. “I could not be happier with the way our staff has turned out this year.”

Even though she was a member of the editorial staff last year, Barnard knew once she was given the job as an EIC that it would take a new level of dedication.

“Last year I worked two jobs,” she said. “To become EIC I had to quit one of those jobs and start working only once a week at my other job. My plan is to take a gap year next year, and I had to work really hard this summer to save up money, so I would be able to work only one job, be an EIC, and still take my trip.”

Despite the extra work it took to take on the role, Barnard is more than ready for the year ahead.

“I’m really grateful that I have this position and am so excited to work with everyone on staff.”

Caption by Francie Wilhelm. Photo by Dave Winter.

FATHER AND DAUGHTER’S LAST FIRST DAY: History teacher Joseph Carcione and his daughter, senior Adella Carcione, pose in the main hallway just before their last first day on campus together begins. Caption and photo by Dave Winter. 

STANDING BY: Flautists from the marching band stand at the ready awaiting the arrival of the new Superintendent. 

“I had this really great energy coming into the cafeteria to make sure the superintendent had the best welcome,” flautist Stella Hufford said. “I’m so glad Dr. Mays really felt that [energy].” 

This counted as the band’s first appearance for the 2022-23 school year. The band’s next appearance will occur this Friday at 7pm at Bandapalooza where they will show off half of their marching show to onlookers. Reporting by Morgan Eye. Photo by Leah Gordon. 

SENIOR SEASON: Decked out in their jerseys, senior Parker Mitchell takes a photo of senior Sophia Kramer and friends before the first day of school in the senior parking lot. The night before, the class of ‘23 decorated their cars to show their senior pride going into their last year of high school. “It’s tradition for seniors to come and take [pictures] the morning before the first day of school,” Kramer said. “Being able to share that memory together is definitely bittersweet. I’m super excited for this year but I am anticipating all the lasts.” Reporting by Alice Scott. Photo by Dave Winter.

NAVIGATING THE FIRST DAY: Assistant Principal Tamara Stone directs junior Aszden Parks to her class on the first day back at Mac. Parks wasn’t a stranger to McCallum, but after moving to a different school for sophomore year, the hallways felt a little unfamiliar. “It was a really big change considering [my old school] is such a small school and doesn’t have that many people, so I was kind of stressed figuring out everything and where I had to go,” Parks said. “To be honest, [the first day] was just very confusing because there were so many differences between the schools.” Reporting by Lanie Sepehri. Photo by Dave Winter.

POSE, THEN PERFORM: Marching band director Mr. Junkin poses with his students prior to welcoming Superintendent Dr. Mays to McCallum Monday morning. 

Dr. Mays says the excitement of his arrival to McCallum was “off the charts.”

“I visited a few other schools today, and I’ve seen this energy at each of them, but I will say [McCallum has] the most energy out of them hands down,” Mays said.

In response to Mays’ compliment, the band’s new director Mr. Junkin says his hope is that the energy will “continue into Taco Shack.”

“I believe as the season goes on, this band will continue to show why they are one of the best in the state, whether that be at a football game, marching contest or pep rally,” Junkin said.

Junkin says he wants to treat each rep as a performance “whether it is with tens of people or hundreds of people watching.”

“That being said, I think the band left a great impression,” he said. “They are such a fun group to be around, and I think their enthusiasm was definitely contagious for everyone there today.” Reporting and photo by Morgan Eye.

BACK FOR SECONDS: Sophomore Kyan Adams participated in digital media teacher Dave Winter’s ice breaker activity during third period on the first day of school. Attached to each Jenga block was a mailing label with a different icebreaker question on it. Students pulled a block off the tower and then read and answered the question. For Adams the activity provided a nice change of pace from the normal icebreakers that day. “It was fun, it was different,” Adams said. “I’ve never seen an icebreaker with Jenga.” Adams went first in the class and successfully replaced his block atop the tower, but when his team was a player short, he volunteered to take a second turn which did not end quite as well as his initial effort. Caption by Naomi Di-Capua. Photo by Dave Winter.

STARTING THE YEAR ON A HIGH NOTE: The McCallum Band drum majors lead the band as they extend a musical welcome to AISD Superintendent Dr. Anthony Mays on Aug. 15, the first day of school. After being informed of the superintendent’s visit a week in advance, the band began preparing “Hey Baby” and the McCallum fight song. Stephanie Gallegos, one of Mac Band’s four drum majors, said she was excited to perform for Mays and show him why the band had made a statement in the Central Texas area.

“The band’s performance was a great way to welcome him to Mac,” Gallegos said. “There’s so much about Mac that’s inviting, and with how the band has been performing and competing in recent years, it was great to showcase it. Everyone was having fun from the superintendent to admin to the band. You could even see some smiles from people passing by in the halls.”

As a third-year drum major, Gallegos is responsible for keeping rehearsals running smoothly: helping the directors get music, helping the marchers and teaching new drum majors what needs to be done. After a “phenomenal” marching season last year, Gallegos hopes to help the band continue improving and climbing with hard work. Gallegos said that even if, as a drum major, she wasn’t playing, watching the band have fun as it played for the superintendent made her job 10 times better.

“As the superintendent entered and the band started playing “Hey Baby,” you could see him smile and start to dance,” Gallegos said. “I am fairly certain that he was singing along too. It made me laugh and smile as I was conducting.”

According to Gallegos, while performing for Mays was a “nerve-wracking” start to the school year, she had full confidence in the band to put on a good show. And, she said, the band delivered.

“It was a little hectic with it being the first day of school, but I think it perfectly captured life at Mac- a lot of fun but a little unpredictable.”

Caption by Ingrid Smith. Photo by Leah Gordon.

UNEXPECTED VISIT: David WInter shakes the hand of AISD superintendent Dr. Mays, following the official’s surprise arrival right after the start of Winter’s second-period Digital Media class. The officials visiting August 15th had specifically asked to see the journalism program, and Mr. Winter felt good about the interaction. “It felt good that they wanted to come see journalism, because it makes me feel like they had a good awareness of what we do here.” Reporting by Astraea Hagood. Photo by Morgan Eye.

REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD: Juniors Alice Scott, Sophie Leung-Lieu and Naomi Di-Capua greet each other in the hallway before first period on the first day of school. Scott, Leung-Lieu and Di-Capua all started out their junior year as returning members of the Shield staff. For design and visuals editor Leung-Lieu, the new year brought about new opportunities to help improve the paper, despite the difficulties of only being present for one of two newspaper periods. “Design is such an overarching part of newspaper but I am hoping I will be able to help virtually,” Leung-Lieu said. “I love design because it can make or break your story and you can do so many different things with it.” Leung-Lieu hopes to find inspiration in new perspectives. “I am looking forward to hearing new staffers’ ideas and bringing new creativity to the Shield,” Leung-Lieu said. Reporting by Lanie Sepehri. Photo by Dave Winter. 

PASSING THE TORCH: Junior Lanie Sepehri talks to senior Georgie Murray during first-period Newspaper. Sepehri, co-print editor for the Shield, particularly enjoyed getting to know new staffers because of her experience as a first-year staffer last year. “I remember thinking it was really cool how the editors were so supportive and helpful whenever I had questions and needed help or advice,” Sepehri said. “It was really cool to introduce myself as an editor because it meant that maybe I could inspire a first year staffer like last year‘s editors inspired me.” Caption by Alice Scott. Photo by Dave Winter.

ON A TOUR: Superintendent Dr. Mays and Principal Griffith pose for a photo as they enter the cafeteria to receive the Marching band’s welcome. 

The former chief of schools turned interim superintendent used to supervise all schools in his former position, and plans to continue to visit other schools throughout the district. During his time at McCallum, Mays toured classrooms alongside Principal Nicole Griffith, including the newspaper room.

“It meant a lot that Dr. Mays and his crew asked specifically to visit our classroom,” Shield adviser Dave Winter said. “I’m grateful that they are aware of and are interested in learning more about the work that MacJournalism does.”

Today, Dr. Mays toured other AISD high schools, which will be followed by visits to elementary schools on Friday. Photo and reporting by Morgan Eye.

This story was originally published on The Shield Online on August 16, 2022.