So, what happens when you cross the glitz and glamor of the “Gatsby” roaring ’20’s with the rhyme and poetry of “the Bard”? You get the best fall play that Johnson High School Theatre Department has ever produced and performed! On October 6-9, 2016, Johnson Theatre Department presents “Twelfth Night,” the romantic and adventure-filled comedy by William Shakespeare.

UntitledIn “Twelfth Night” a beautiful young woman, Viola, is shipwrecked on the island kingdom of Illyria. After believing her twin brother, Sebastian, to be lost at sea, she decides to disguise herself as a young man and enters the service of Duke Orsino. While trying to broker a relationship between Orsino and the lovely Countess Olivia, Viola finds that pretending to be a man may have some unintended consequences. When the Countess turns her affections to the “young man” representing him instead of the Duke himself, Viola has to start getting creative. Meanwhile, suitors abound for Olivia as Sir Andrew Aguecheek is convinced by her over-ambitious uncle that he can be Olivia’s future husband. Viola’s brother, Sebastian, is rescued by a sea captain, Antonio, who is risking his own safety being in his enemy, Duke Orsino’s kingdom.

This production is sure to be full of the classic fun of Shakespearean comedy with mistaken identities, star-crossed lovers, and finally, happy endings for the heroes and heroines. When Johnson Theatre puts on a production, it is guaranteed to be a twist on a classic story. Come out and experience the dancing, the music, and the romance in over-the-top 1920s, flapper fashion as Viola fends off an over-affectionate countess, tries to win over the powerful duke, and overcomes would-be adversaries. Productions will be held at 7:00 pm on October 6th, 7th, and 8th in the Johnson High School Auditorium. A matinee will also be presented on Sunday, October 9th at 2:30 pm. Ticket prices are $12 for reserved seats and $8 for general admission. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Johnson Theatre website And as you watch the twists and turns, consider, “Well, God give them wisdom that have it; and those that are fools, let them use their talents.”


Young Authors Celebration Brings Garden Ridge Together

Student Charlie Hogue proudly reads his mystery book “The Midnight Crime” to his mother Sandra Hogue during the Young Authors Celebration.
Student Charlie Hogue proudly reads his mystery book “The Midnight Crime” to his mother Sandra Hogue during the Young Authors Celebration.

Special To Welcome Home

Although he’s only in the fourth grade, Conner McKinney already started to develop a fear of two things many adults can relate to – public speaking and writing.

Thanks to a program that began with a Comal Education Foundation grant in 2003, McKinney no longer has anxiety when it comes to getting in front of his classmates to talk, or taking on a writing assignment.

The Young Authors Celebration, which is the culmination of yearlong works from students in grades K-5 at Garden Ridge Elementary, took place on May 24.

Comal County Sheriff’s Deputy and campus D.A.R.E. Officer Ron Lanigan asks student Tre Anderson questions about his book “Epic Museum.”
Comal County Sheriff’s Deputy and campus D.A.R.E. Officer Ron Lanigan asks student Tre Anderson questions about his book “Epic Museum.”

State Senator Donna Campbell, as well as many local and county officials, school administrators, including Comal ISD Superintendent Andrew Kim, and fire and law enforcement officials from local and county municipalities, were in attendance. They joined many community and family members at the campus where students proudly read their books to their classroom visitors.

The Young Authors Celebration was born out of a $4,500 Comal Education Foundation grant “Project Publish” awarded to teacher Shirley Gerdes 13 years ago. Gerdes brought the project to GRES after Comal Elementary closed in 2010. Although Gerdes retired in 2014, the Young Authors Celebration lives on.

Students begin writing stories and poems starting as early as September. In April, their selected compositions were mailed to a company called Student Treasures Publishing and turned into hardback books.

McKinney’s confidence began to grow at the beginning of the school year when he built up the courage to stand and read in front of a few classmates at a time at their group table.

“I used to feel uncomfortable talking or reading in front of my classmates,” McKinney said. “I have so much confidence in my writing now. I’m a published writer. Not very many kids can say that at my age. I also actually like getting up in front of class now and reading, because I’m reading stories that I wrote.”

McKinney’s teacher Moni Arnold said she’s seen many students such as Conner thrive thanks to the Young Authors Celebration program.

“My students write every day, and when they finish a story it goes into their portfolio,” said Moni Arnold, McKinney’s teacher. “Every day they share with their small group. By the end of the year, they have the option to share with the entire class. Not only was Conner willing to share his stories with everyone in the class, he was excited to do so.”

Arnold also said she believes the Young Authors Celebration program will benefit many students well into the future.

“I think this program really teaches our students a valuable life skill,” she said. “If you have public speaking and writing skills there’s a good chance you’ll thrive no matter what profession you choose.”

Conner’s mother Jessica Davis said it’s been amazing to watch her son turn into a fearless public speaker and writer.

“He’s always had a fear of writing and speaking, and that’s completely gone now,” Davis said. “He’s come leaps and bounds since he started work on the Young Authors Celebration project. I hope they continue this program for many years to come.”







SVHS NJROTC Hosts Fifth Annual Leadership Academy

Presenting the 2016 graduates of the Central Texas Leadership Academy.
Presenting the 2016 graduates of the Central Texas Leadership Academy.

Submitted By Vincent Quidachay

The Smithson Valley Navy JROTC Unit hosted the Central Texas Leadership Academy on behalf of the Area 10 Manager, Commander Mike Hale. The camp is designed to train the future leaders of high school Navy JROTC units throughout the state. Eleven schools were present including East View High School (Georgetown), Bastrop High School, Southwest High School, Marshall High School, Elgin High School, Vista Ridge High School, Travis High School, Stony Point High School, Lehman High School, Fredericksburg High School, and Smithson Valley High School. “The top NJROTC schools in Texas send us their cadets, those who will be in charge of their programs next year. We take them through scenarios and leadership panels to give them more tools in their bag,” commented the Smithson Valley Navy JROTC Instructor Vince Quidachay, CDR Retired. The training includes physical fitness, marching, academics, and the Newks Ranch Ropes Course. All of the activities take place at Smithson Valley High School, and the cadets sleep at Joint Base San Antonio’s Canyon Lake Resort. We also have twelve instructors that take the cadets through all of the activities. This year the leadership camp graduated 82 cadets.