Q & A – Journalism students share their chosen interviews

An octopus experience

Sydney Rozewicz


Octopus, which is arguably one of the most appetizing delicacies, is a delicious seafood dish that is increasing in demand rapidly throughout the world. Hank Humphrey decided to try octopus before his trip was over in Mexico, during July last summer.  While Hank was staying at his resort, Moon Palace, it was a cohesive decision within his family, to attend the restaurant Pier8. After arriving at Pier8, Hank decided to order an octopus exclusively for himself. 


Q: What was your favorite part of the octopus, was it enjoyable?


HH: “I liked that the octopus was very spicy, I very much enjoyed eating the octopus.” 


Q: How would you describe your overall experience at Pier8?


HH: “It was nice, we had a good conversation, and the scenery was pleasant.” 


Q: About how big was the octopus? 


HH: “I remember it being about the size of a football.” 


Q: What resort did you stay at in Mexico, did you enjoy it? 


HH: “The resort is called Moon Palace, Pier8 is actually a part of the resort, and it was the only seafood restaurant in the resort.”


Q: How would you describe the taste and appearance of the octopus? 


HH: “ The color was fried chicken brown, the taste was spicy, and the octopus had a different texture than other meats like pork or chicken.” 


Q: Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience at Pier8?


HH: “I had a really great time, and it was a very memorable experience, and I’m glad we had seafood on the last night of our stay.” 




Teacher of the Year

Haddon Britt


Mrs. Nicole Nitsch has been teaching for over two decades, spending five years of her time with our very own Memorial High School.  Mrs. Nitsch has been a voice for many of the teachers here, especially our english department.  After having that recognized earlier this year with the teacher of the year award, Mrs. Nitsch can enter retirement happy.  I asked her a couple of questions about her life in the past, as well as what it looks like for her future.  


Q: You are one of the few teachers still here at the memorial from the first year the school opened.  How has it been seeing some of your students come and go throughout the years?


A: A mixture of excitement and sadness.  Exciting because I know they are going off for their next adventure to accomplish their goals.  Sad because I don’t get to see them anymore.


Q: Many students at this school would agree that you are one of the most passionate teachers they have had.  How do you keep that passion for english, especially when you get burnt out?


A: I think what burns me out is the required meetings, documentation. That’s the stuff that gets old.  Loving literature and helping kids, it’s hard to get tired of that.


Q: You have really impacted this school in a major way.  How does it feel to have that work recognized with the teacher of the year award?


A: It’s very satisfying to have that recognition.  It is a goal or a dream I have had to get that award because to me that award puts me in the same category as people I have immense respect for.


Q: Your husband was here at Memorial for quite some time as well.  What was it like to work with someone you love?  Did it cause many problems or was it moreso a positive?


A: This is the third school we have worked in together.  It was never an issue of bringing personal disagreements and having that affect your work.


Q: I know you have two children and many a dog at home.  How have you managed to keep up with such a busy lifestyle?


A:  I don’t know, I think sometimes you just have your agenda for the day.  You just do, you don’t have a choice.  Unconditional love and happiness, appreciating you for just you.


Q: Your family is quite a vibrant one, from dogs, to children, to an incredible musician and husband.  What is your goal for your family when it comes to their future, and how are you going to help them with that?


A: The simple goal for my girls is I want them to be happy.  To help them fulfill their dreams.


Q: So you have said that you are going into retirement, and I know that a lot of retired teachers tend to go into substitute teaching due to an attachment to the classroom.  What does the future look like for you past high school?


A: I am hoping to spend a lot of time sewing.  Maybe I’ll start an etsy boutique.  Most importantly I want to enjoy my next two years of my daughter’s High school experiences.  Just being able to be mom.  


Q: So I am well aware you are an avid reader.  Everyone has their favorite books, but as kind of a “pro,” what is a book you would recommend everybody needs to read and why?


A: I would say there is not one specific book that every person needs to read.  All I ask is that my students find those books that interest them.




   Raegan Gaudreau

                             Juggling life as a first year athlete     


In wanting to get the High School sports experience, Sophomore student Aiden Hines moved schools late freshman year and decided to join the school’s Basketball team knowing that his friends enjoyed playing and practicing for the school team. Aiden came here at the beginning of the fourth quarter of freshman year because his parents’ jobs caused them to move from Prosper to Frisco so that they could be closer to Dallas. He has played basketball since fourth grade and enjoys getting to play a sport that is important to him but also fun for him. In the current day, many people wonder how athletes balance their sport,  school, and outside of school life and how they make time for everything. So today we are interviewing Aiden Hines to learn more about being a new student-athlete and what he has learned and how he manages to be a student-athlete with his daily and outside-of-school life.


Q:  Basketball has been shown to improve self-discipline in many different ways. How does this help you in your everyday life?

AH: Basketball has taught me teamwork and how to work as a team and how to be a leader and that will help me in the real world to work as a team and lead to accomplish challenges.


Q: What is your favorite part about playing basketball for the school?

AH: Getting to play with my friends and having the high school experience would have to be the best part of being on a school team.


Q: What inspired you to start playing basketball and if you have a role model who do you look up to?

AH: What inspired me to start playing was when my brother got cut from the middle school team and disappointed my dad. I didn’t want to be like him and wanted to make my dad happy and my role model would also have to be my dad.


Q: How do you manage your time with school and sports?

AH: I have a schedule that my dad makes for the week or month which helps me balance when I have basketball practice and workouts and when I have free time to be with friends and family.


Q: Are there times when you get super busy where school work becomes difficult to do and focus on and are you able to get work done?

AH: Yes there are times when I’m super busy with basketball and can’t get any work done and I end up having to stay up and get my work done before school the next day.


Q: Do you think playing on a high school team has taught you leadership skills and new work ethics? If so, how do you apply what you’ve been taught to your daily life?

AH: I do think that being on a high school team has taught me leadership skills and new work ethics and I can apply those in the classroom by helping and leading my friends on projects and any class work.


Assimilation journey from Mexico to U.S.


Poloa Michelle Urdiera was born in Mexico and moved to California in the United States when she was three years old then moved to Texas when she was fourteen years old, Michelle right now is twenty years old, and this article is going to talk about Michelle’s experience of growing up in the United states was for her, and how her being from a different country effects her and more.


Q:What part of Mexico are you from?

MU- I’m from Cuernavaca, Mexico.


Q:How long have you been in the United States for?

MU- I’ve been in the United States for most of my life. I moved when I was only three years old. 


Q:Do you remember how long it took you to learn the basics of english?

MU- I was taught English in school very quickly and I managed to be at the right level of my age.


Q:From the time you have been in the United States, do you like it here?

MU- From growing up here, yes, I do like it here because there are so many things you can do here, and there are more opportunities to take advantage of.


Q:Do you remember some things you brought with you?

MU- I only brought two suitcases, which was enough for a three year old. My life basically started here in the United States.


Q:Is there something you want to study for? If yes,what? Is it hard for you?

MU-I want to be a criminal and justice lawyer, and it is hard because I don’t get the same chances as everybody else that is from the U.S.


Q:What are some hard things for you?

MU- some things that are hard for me are sometimes getting treated differently for being from a different country, and sometimes I wish I went straight to college when I graduated but I had to work first to save a bit of money.


Torri Snider: Nursing, Family & Marriage 

Rileigh Snider


Women in the workforce are most often to change their schedules to work around their families. Have you ever wondered about the hardships or why older people choose to be nurses?

Torii Snider is 52 years old and just joined a nursing job a little over 2 years ago. Mrs. Snider juggles a full-time job and a family at home. Women are mainly the ones who adjust their work schedules to fit their family needs. Mrs.Snider has 3 kids 2 of who are high school athletes. 


Q: 17 percent of people older than 35 decide to join school later in their life what made you join that percent?  


TS: I decided that I wanted to do work, the career path I had originally chosen before you were born was a small specialty and I decided to join something new.


Q: Why did you choose Brookhaven to attend?


TS: It was affordable and I didn’t know if I could make it through the whole program, so I decided to join something that was affordable, within distance, and had a good reputation.


Q: Do you enjoy making a difference in people’s lives and why?


TS: When you see your patient going to complete bed rest and not being able to walk and then seeing them walk out of the hospital gives you a good feeling.


Q: Do nurses say that “patients refuse their medicine” or “patients’ unpredictable behavior” makes nursing mentally tough what challenges do you struggle with?


TS: I feel the saddest for my patients who come to the hospital and have to go back to their nursing home because they have no family, spouse, or anyone.


Q: Death is a hard part of nursing how do you cope with that?


TS: We can mainly expect it from other patients, but when you see a younger patient happy and healthy and then a heart attack the next day is hard, also since most of these people have families and young children.


Q: How was it going to school with 3 kids who are still in school? 


TS: It was tough because I will miss out on a lot they do.


Q: When other nurses have athletes as kids it makes it harder to attend their events, are your kids athletes, and is it hard to be there for their events?


TS: Yes, my kids are athletes and it is very hard because I don’t have normal hours, therefore I try to schedule 3 months in advance.


                                             The journey


Maricela Castro was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in September 2021, Now it’s December 2022, And there is so much cancer in her body. I thought it would be a great idea to interview her about her journey on beating breast cancer, and knowing what she felt throughout her whole process. Her journey was very hard and was a long process. There were plenty of ups and downs but she knew she could do it and have her family by her side. These were some questions and answers about how she felt about this.


Q: When were you diagnosed and at what age? 

MC: I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 61 on September 2021


Q:  What did you go through? What was your treatment process?

MC: To be able to cure my type of cancer I was told I was going to need chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and radiation, It took exactly a year to finish the journey, My chemotherapy started the first week of Christmas 


Q:Is there a history of breast cancer in the family? Because research shows that 5 to 10 percent of breast cases come from hereditary

 MC: The only type of cancer that runs in my family are aunts of mine, no one else has ever been diagnosed


Q: Did you think it ever affected your family?

MC: Yes, Mentally, I feel like it affected my daughter the most, she witnessed it firsthand since she was my caregiver.


Q: Did you face any obstacles during your treatment process? If so, how did you overcome these obstacles?

MC: There were times when I felt weak, but my faith is so strong that I never thought I couldn’t beat this. Having my family helped me throughout this whole process, and eased any problems because I knew I had their full support


Q: What is one thing you wish you knew before you start treatment?

MC: preparing myself mentally, but even then I still felt strong.


Q: What was your best memory growing up?

MC: When my kids were born, but even more when my granddaughters were born.


Q: What do you do to distract yourself from chemo?

MC: Music helped me tremendously, reading the bible, reassuring my faith in god, and i also joined during my chemo treatment. 


Q: What’s something you want to let the others in the community know about this journey?

MC: Always think positive, don’t ever give up, and have faith.



Lauren Smith 


Minor league baseball was founded on September 5, 1901. Casey Smith, a former minor league baseball player, played for 5 almost 6 years. He got to experience what it was like to play at a very high level of a sport he played his whole life. 


Q:  There are many different attributes that a professional baseball player has to have, what would you say is the most important and why?


CS: Consistency is the most important attribute for a professional baseball player, but it is also important for all baseball players. You have to be able to play 9 in and 9 out, or in other words the whole game with laser focus to perform at your best all the time. 


Q: You played catcher, what made you want to play this position? 


CS: I do not have a direct answer to this question. In t-ball, no one wanted to play catcher, so I caught. When I got to the next level, I continued to play catcher. My mom used to say that I had ADHD and I wanted to be involved in every play of the game. 


Q: Some baseball players can get drafted out of high school to play in MLB, did you attend college before playing in the minors? Where did you go? What was your road to playing in the minors?


CS: I attended Hill Junior College out of high school for one season, then I got invited to play in the Jayhawk league in Kansas. I broke my cheekbone while there. I had a really good summer performance and got drafted out of junior college…they came to me and said that they wanted to sign me and I need to decide because if I went to class on the first day of school then I would not be able to sign. I decided to go the junior college route because I wanted to get drafted to play in minors instead of going to play at a D1 college. Attended spring training at the instructional league which is where the top prospects go and I got a little taste of what professional ball was like. 


Q:  There are 120 teams in minor league baseball and only 30 in the MLB. What team or teams did you play for? Did you ever move up to the major leagues? 


CS: First, I went to spring training in Burlington, North Carolina for the Indians for 2 months. Next, I moved up to a long-season A club in Columbus Georgia. Unfortunately, I had to get shoulder surgery in Cleveland, so I stayed there for rehab. After that, I moved to Watertown, New York with the Indians and made the A team. Then went back to Columbus Georgia with them and then ended up in Kingston New York again. For my final season, I moved up to AA in Akron Ohio. So, in total, I spent 5 years playing. I did not move up to the major league and never played a game. I did attend major league camp and got moved up to the travel team twice with the Indians. I also got the honor of playing in the hall of fame game.  


Q: The average retirement age for an MLB player is 29.5. At what age did you retire?


CS: I was 24 when I retired. I immediately went back to school. 


Q: Why did you retire? What did you do after? 


CS: I went in at 19 and gave it 5-6 years to see where it would take me. I decided after lots of thought that I did not want to have a career in major league baseball. I had lots of time during my last season to think because I was on a team with another catcher and we split time. After I retired, I got tuition reimbursement from the Indians, so I went to Brookhaven college in the fall, then I attended spring colon County, then attended classes at Richland junior college. I also worked as a valet parker, and ultimately got accepted into UTD and graduated in 2 ½ years. I got married in 2002 that following January after I retired from baseball. 


Q: Did you become a coach later on in life? What made you want to be a coach?


CS: Baseball is my passion. I wanted to coach my son but knew the difficulties that could potentially bring. A coach told me “you’re going to get fed up that someone doesn’t know what they are doing or not liking what they are doing.” I ended up coaching for 7 years wanting to give back to the youngsters to prepare them to be well organized, know the baseball game, and show them what a good coach looks like. 


Q: Throughout your career what injuries did you have? Have they hurt you in the long run? 


CS: In my first-ever minor league game I got a high ankle sprain. It happened at home plate and my spike got caught in the dirt. I got shoulder surgery after my first season with the Indians, and I also got hit in the head with a bat and had to go to the hospital right away. None of these injuries hurt me in the long run, if anything after my shoulder surgery helped me throw better. 


Q: What is something you would say to catchers in the future based on your experiences?


CS: My answer now is different than it would have been years ago. I would say it is important to ask questions and know why you are doing something. 


Q: What team do you root for now?


CS: I root for the ranger because they are from where I live. I also like the Indians since that is who I played for and I still know some of the guys on the team.





Q & A: Andrew Griffin

Emma Griffin


Andrew Griffin,  General Manager of the Mckinney National Airport, is responsible for the daily operations of the company running smoothly. Mr. Griffin has dramatically impacted the Mckinney National Airport and will continue to do so as new and exciting things arise in the company. Andrew Griffin has been working for the city of McKinney for 14 years, with 6 of them being in the aviation field. Mr. Griffin has over 20 years in the aviation industry with over 15 years of management. 


Q: To fill a manager’s role it is essential to acquire traits such as skillfully managing and leading all employees while having a deep understanding of all departments of operation. What traits do you feel you possess that makes you a great fit for this role?


AG: I have over 20 years of aviation experience with over 15 of those years in management.  Those years of experience have taught me quite a few lessons learned and moments that help guide me in my role daily.  Additionally, I have a good understanding of what we need to do as a company to deliver a safe, high customer-focus service while exceeding revenue expectations.  Lastly, I make sure that I devote a substantial amount of time to making sure our staff has the equipment they need to service the customer.


Q: As a general manager, you are responsible for seeing day-to-day operations. In your role, you set policies and processes, evaluate the performance in which your company is run, as well as provide solutions to daily problems. What are some other responsibilities that you provide that greatly impact the Mckinney National Airport?


AG: Some of my other responsibilities include:  leading employees, property management, sales, and marketing.  As the general manager, you must interact with all of your employees daily. In my role as general manager, I am frequently handling a large number of aircraft hangar and office leases.  This typically involves quoting monthly lease rates, drafting the leases, answering tenant questions about the lease, as well as coordinating insurance documents required under the lease. In my marketing role, I take a team of employees with me to industry events throughout the nation and exhibit our airport to prospective flight departments, pilots, and dispatchers. 


Q: In the position of a general manager, you have leadership positions in front of you that you collaborate with and attend meetings with.  How does the CEO of Mckinney National Airport, Ken, work to ensure the success of your company?


AG: Ken is the Airport Director to whom I report to.  As the Director, Ken makes sure the departments have what they need to accomplish their mission.  Ken also meets with his direct reports at least once a week to see what is going on in their operations.  Ken also approves additional staff as well as equipment purchases.


Q:  General managers’ wages vary in every company. I have done some research and gathered data on the average general manager pay for companies and industries in comparison to your workload at the Mckinney National Airport. Do you feel like the income that you make each year is suitable and appropriate for everything you do for your airport?


AG: There have been times in my career when I have considerably more than I make now.  Most of the Fixed Based Operators at airports are privately owned and do not have to share their compensation data similar to government entities.  Overall, I feel like my income is low for everything expected of me in my role as GM.


Q:  In the United States it is said that a general manager of any given company oversees the workforce, budgets for the work that needs to be done, ensure the company is staffed, and many other higher-level business functions, what do you feel like these higher-level business functions are at the Mckinney National airport?


AG: Some of the higher-level functions include leading and guiding my direct reports as well as drafting leases.  Leading and guiding front-line Supervisors takes knowledge of where they are at in their careers and know what they need to do to contribute to the future of the company as well as grow in their careers. It takes years of experience and hours and hours of training to understand and draft lease documents.  I have the benefit of being a licensed Texas Real Estate agent, which helps me in the daily management of leases.


Q: The McKinney National Airport has an excellent front desk staff that I have personally met myself, that works to ensure that the customer’s experience at the airport is met to the highest standards. How do you feel like your front desk staff has been holding this standard and meeting the expectations you’ve put in place?


AG: As you have noted, the front desk staff do a very good job meeting or exceeding customer expectations.  This team does a great job communicating with each other and ensuring everyone is on the same page.  They have several tools in place to help them with the flow of information and make sure they are taking care of the customer.


Q: Most General Manager positions require progressive management experience and a college-level degree in business or their field. How do you feel like your experience before this position has helped you?


AG: Before this role, I had been in several different roles in business aviation.  I feel like those roles helped me to understand how different business aviation operates from the airlines.  I also hold a pilot’s license, which helps me understand the flight operation side of aviation.


Q: Throughout my research, I have found that the job outlook for positions such as the general manager role is high in certain industries and lower in others. Do you feel like the highly skilled individuals that hold the general manager name, like yourself, will be in demand and will remain well paid for the foreseeable future?


AG: Yes, I do feel like General Managers will be in high demand as the Texas economy continues to be strong.  As far as being well paid, depends on several factors including the company, and the number of employees managed.


Q: Throughout all 6 years, you have been employed at Mckinney National Airport. What have you learned and are learning as you navigate growing and investing in the Airport and where do you see this position taking you in the near future?


AG: In my six years at McKinney National, I have learned that operating a portion of an airport is completely different from many other parts of aviation.  In many ways, operating an airport is much like functioning as a Landlord, where you are in charge of the property and you lease portions of it away for a set amount of time to help other aviation-related companies grow their business. I am in the midst of learning about Safety Management Systems, or SMS, and just how to implement an SMS into our daily operations. Possible future tracks for me include a higher role for ground services throughout the airport, especially in light of our pursuit of commercial service.


Q:  The Mckinney National Airport has dramatically benefited since you’ve filled the role of General Manager. For four years you’ve received the title of the #1 FBO in the United States, top 20% of all FBOs in North, South, and Central America, and line service ranked #5 in the AIN FBO survey. How else has the Mckinney National Airport grown exponentially and what are the next exciting things coming to the airport?


AG: The airport has grown and continues to grow in several ways.  First and foremost is the number of fuel gallons sold.  When I first started at the airport, we were selling less than a million gallons a year.  Now, we sell close to two million gallons a year.  Second, is the number of based and transient customers.  The number of our based customers has grown substantially in the last few years following the development of several new hangar complexes.  Next, our transient traffic has grown exponentially.  Transient customers are the ones that are here for just a few hours or a few days but do not base an aircraft at the airport. Some of the next exciting things for the airport include a runway extension to 8,502 feet, a new 40,000 square foot hangar, a new full-service US Customs facility, a new Airfield Maintenance building, and the pursuit of commercial service.  If approved, the addition of commercial service to the airport will dramatically change the future of the airport and will add a third commercial airport choice to the north texas area.