Leaving a Legacy: The Student Media Class of 2020

In what has been probably the most difficult year for Timber Creek Student Media, there are over 30 students directly responsible for successful National Awards, the creation of hundreds of hours of video content and dozens of original audio programming, and much more in both small and mighty projects.

It was a year of trials for many of our students and it cannot be understated how much each of these graduating members have dealt with. Some of them have been members of our program since their Freshman year, others have joined us at the very end of their high school years, but ALL of them have helped build and contribute to unique and excellent projects Student Media works on constantly.

In alphabetical order by last name, here are the reasons we’ll miss these Student Media members of the Class of 2020.

Brooke Boyer

A four-year veteran of our program, we knew Brooke would be a tremendous leader very early – this year, as Timber Creek Talon’s Editor in Chief, she has lead with kindness and clarity and contributed to a record-number of Talon content with 100 posts authored by her. She has been a trusted editor, reporter, and friend to other Talons, plus contributed to TCTV, The Creek Yearbook, and was the first student-directed show in the Fall season for Timber Creek Theatre. We are thankful for her energy, passion, and attention to detail.

Emma Campbell

Whether you need some fresh music or a wonderfully written report, Emma has it for you quicker than you expect with insight and detail far beyond her years. She’s been part of Student Media in small and major ways, as a Jill-of-all-trades on air, behind the scenes, as a reporter, editor and all-around great person.

Cat Corona

Cat left a big hole earlier this year as she graduated early, but we’ll always be grateful for her empathy, desire to improve, and insight she contributed as a member of Talon.

Christian Dusina

Christian’s energy and enthusiasm is undeniable and his knowledge of sports, politics, and film was on display in the many segments he was involved in this year. Behind the scenes, he was the one that brought extra insight into our girls basketball coverage, always had a film fact and quote ready, and made over a dozen episodes of What’s Popping a true joy to listen to. We are so proud of his accomplishments over the years we were together and will miss his contributions.

Jordyn English

Jordyn has commanded the TCTV News product for this year, but you can trace the contributions to our constantly improving news coverage all the way back to her sophomore year as she wrote, produced, edited, and directed many news productions. Meanwhile, she also had award-winning contributions to Timber Creek Theatre and gave as much to that program as she did with ours.

Spencer Espino

A creative and clever contributor, Spencer was a fixture of our live news program, a talented video creator for announcements, and a guide for developing new programming and platforms. Though he also graduated early, Spencer’s contributions over the last few years have become a major part of the DNA of TCTV, including our sense of humor. We’re excited to see what the future holds for this intelligent creative force.

Jaylon Farr

TCFM absolutely evolved as seniors Jaylor Farr and Micah Pearce took over the reigns. With Jaylon, our music choices jumped right to the pulse of today’s hits and our live DJ program would have never been able to happen. His contributions to TCFM inside and outside of the classroom cannot be understated, as he literally helped rebuild the station and built our live abilities. We will forever be grateful for the developments he spearheaded.

Matthew Gabaldon

Matthew is an award-winning filmmaker and was a terrific addition to our team during his senior year. A kind, caring guy, you could always find him ready to help at the drop of a hat, coming up with clever video ideas for announcements, anchoring the live news, or popping up with information in other videos. However, even with the great work and productions he contributed, we’ll miss his smile and laugh most of all.

Nathan Gajary

Nathan drove our products forward with an energy and passion that lead to some of the now iconic moments (Choir Nachos) and to graphic looks, intros, inventive videos, and way way more. He was the behind the scenes tech pro, helped keep our gear organized, could quickly edit, and had expertise in photography, videography and design.

Anthony George

Our sports program would not have been what it was this year without Anthony George. Known to us just by his last name, George was the driving force behind so many of our sports productions, that it’s easier to say this: if you heard or saw sports coverage on any of our video or audio channels, George likely had a hand in it. Of course, you likely heard his voice and opinions on The Undefeated, Beyond the Sidelines, in TCTV Live News, or during any live coverage of basketball on TCFM. We’ll miss his insight and opinions and look forward to what he accomplishes in the future.

Rachel Gutierrez-Padilla

Rachel has been part of the core backbone to successful TCFM productions, live news, and other video pieces. It takes a whole village to create many of our productions, and Rachel has been a big part of that village. You might not recognize her face, but we always recognize the effort she put in working teleprompters, audio board, switchers, cameras, Audition and Premiere Pro, radio and other technical equipment. Ouyside of our Media productions, she’s also a talented cosmetologist, so if you need hair, makeup, nails or style advice, you know who to talk to.

Alison Grace

We’ve always been impressed in the way Alison can cut through obstacles to accomplish what she set her mind to. Another of our early graduates, Alison helped develop our news productions, TCTV announcements, and more before she left. Her dedication to TCTV was obvious and appreciated each day in our room, and you could often find her working in a corner, in her office, or somewhere else on projects both big and small to accomplish her goals. We’re ready to see her future success.

Grace Gustafson

Yet another of our early graduates, Grace Gustafson was a prime face on TCTV and the news, as well as a quick editor, great video shooter, and talented writer. Her kindness and empathy combined with insight and intellect made her a key member to ask for advice and opinions, something we missed dearly in the Spring semester (shortened though it was).

Nathan Hicks

A true acting talent, Nathan spent his time with us both in front and behind the camera. His smile and clever performances were mainstays on the TCTV morning announcements, and his talent to write and edit was on display often on the news, in the announcements, or in other productions. At the same time, he contributed to Timber Creek Theatre as a lead in multiple productions and as a senior swimmer. How he had time to fit our work in there, too, we’ll continue to be amazed at. Don’t be surprised if you see his name in lights.

Madeline Hill

Madi Hill is the heart of TCTV. Her energy and passion for our program is unmatched and the perfect barometer for when things were going well, or when they weren’t. She’s written hundreds of Entertainment stories for live news, been in dozens of videos, been a red carpet interviewer, live producer, and edited a ton of stuff. Simultaneously, she was a dedicated Cheerleader who was a fixture on the sidelines of athletic activities. Whether she was cheering on a team, or contributing to ours, we could count on Madi’s passion shining through that tremendous smile and kind heart. We’ll miss you very much.

Mason Howard

The driving force behind What’s Popping and a Talon Opinion Editor, Mason has had his hand in shaping what’s covered on our platforms and how we can broaden our horizons to add more student voice in our products. As a writer and editor, he’s been able to tell important stories and help others develop their voices. As a producer and content creator, he’s brought people together and lead them to create compelling products that are enjoyed (and debated) by loads of students. Through it all, Mason brings an energy to uncovering the details and seeking the truth. His drive will be missed.

Emily Klein

Emily has contributed to our TCTV products with her wit, on camera talent, and ability to cover sports. Though our plans for baseball and softball coverage were dashed due to COVID-19, Emily was ready to call games for our TCFM radio coverage, and we were confident that she would have put in extra energy and effort to cover every pitch. Also, she’s a queen at the bowling alley, so don’t bet against her.

Greyson Love

Greyson is a talented filmmaker and is not British. (That’s an inside joke, don’t worry.) He has been a director, an editor, a video shooter, a writer, a friend, and a guiding force behind the scenes, developing ideas and creating some of the most memorable videos from the year. His willingness to take up his free time to cover events and stories will never be forgotten, as most of the best video coverage of our year had his hand involved, either behind the camera or at the editing suite. We will truly miss his calm brilliance and that laugh.

Montserrat Luna

It’s hard to put down how important Monste has been to TCTV. She created a whole new position for Fine Arts in our editor coverage, due to her extraordinary effort. She’s covered Swimming while also being underwater for those competitions. She’s brought energy to our live newscasts when on air and clarity to the messages when she writes behind the scenes. On stage, she’s the Best Actress in Keller ISD (for 2019-2020) and is a quadruple threat with singing, dancing, acting, and swordfighting. In the editing suite, she mixes creativity with clear storytelling and deft skills, able to create inventive and hilarious videos or straight, by the book news coverage with ease. But even more than that, her spirit can be felt in all our coverage, with a hopeful and optimistic look toward the future. We will miss that spirit each day next year, but know that her future is bright.

Jack McIntyre

A two-year veteran of TCTV and award-winning filmmaker, Jack is the kind of creator that brings a special effort and flavor to the work he creates. It can be funny, it can be moving, it can be silly, it can be serious, but whenever Jack has worked on it, you’ll know it’s GREAT. If you think about how chefs need to know how to properly season a dish, you’ll start to see how Jack, like any good chef, knows just when the dish is ready. He’s expanded that skill to working live productions, getting great shots and knowing when to move, plus helped with nearly every A Day live news show. A truly kind guy, we already missed Jack during the shutdown, but we’ll be excited to see what happens next for him.

Owen “Jet” Myers

If you knew Owen “Jet” Myers in ninth grade, you wouldn’t know the man he’s grown into. A multi-year veteran of both Talon and TCTV, Jet has become a dependable, consistent force of high skill and swift completion on projects – that is, when he’s not traveling through space or falling in love with himself. Jet’s creative mind and recognizable face quickly became a favorite for his other students to put on everything. Behind that, his skills in live production were visible to everyone at Keller ISD Stadium during Football season, and he was critically important in keeping things running behind the scenes in TCTV this year. His position, Broadcast Managing Editor, requires everyone to have faith in his skills and committeement to the program, and he clearly demonstrated why he was the right choice for the job. Good luck in the future, Jet, and thanks for the pranks.

Micah Pearce

You can’t imagine the hard work done by Micah Pearce in these last two years. Try running in a cross country race, then going to the other races in the same day to capture video of TC students. Try rebuilding and overhauling an entire 24/7 radio station, then constantly updating the library to keep it current and sounding fresh. Try having your final track season cut short, but still working out to keep strong during a global pandemic. Try doing a live DJ set with TCFM to a group of 1,000 sweaty dancers at Homecoming, and coming out with pretty good results. All though the effort, he’s kept that sincere and kind smile and been a helpful force for anyone that needs him.

Laura Pearson

We’ve been absolutely fortunate to have seen Laura grow into a compassionate and dedicated leader in both Talon and in Band. She has years of experience as our Fine Arts editor and assisted dozens of reporters over the years improve their writing, while simultaneously contributing in the top band and leading clarinets during marching season. We’ll miss her vision and voice in Talon, but we know she’s ready for her future plans. Go get ‘em.

Bristol Putney

Bristol could be counted on to cover swim and dive, jump in front of a camera, create PSAs, sit at the anchor desk, or create a Buzzfeed style quiz. Her laughter and energy helped us know what was funny vs. what was funny-looking and her friendship with many others in Student Media made us all feel like a family. While we’re still jealous of how many planes she’s been on, we know that the jet-setting Bristol will be ready for whatever the next challenge is.

Lauren Quattlebaum

As a member of both TCTV and The Creek Yearbook, Lauren Quattlebaum has been a reliable workhorse that can be asked to create something wonderful and it just happens. There are flashy workers and there are quiet workers, as one of the latter, Lauren has been a hidden gem of both staffs for years and is directly responsible for some of the best portions of our products. But beyond great artistic style and design, skilled writing and editing, Lauren also has the intellect to know how to develop a concept into something amazing, even if it takes more effort or time. We will miss her resolve and dedication, her quiet strength, and the subtle skills she brought to our productions.

Cage Sajulga

Cage is a friend to all and a key reason why our Beyond the Sidelines show was even able to run. As a video creator and editor, Cage improved each and every time he worked, getting better and better throughout the year. In addition, he was able to contribute as a commentator and analysis personality on The Undefeated and during live coverage. And if someone needed someone to be in a video, he’d be ready in moments to deliver a performance sure to capture anyone’s attention. We’ll miss his spirit in TCTV, but are so happy that the Chiefs won this year.

Valentina Sarbusca

Our Romanian Wonder Woman, Valentina has spent the year with us capturing moments and creating expertly crafted videos complete with tricks and vision well beyond her years. She is a kind and brilliant force for goodness in this world and is always thinking of the emotion and energy of her work, not just which pictures to show. But, oh, those pictures. Valentina knows where to be and when to be there, whether shooting athletic highlights, or capturing her Senior Night, or just having a magic way to slide an e-mail with a link to a late-night edited video just in time for the next day’s announcements. We will truly miss her vision for videos and her spirit in the classroom, but are certain she will be successful in the future, in America or in her homeland of Romania. Mult noroc, Valentina!

Erica Seay

Erica Seay is the hardest working person at Timber Creek High School. Between academic classes, multiple years as a class officer, a writer for Talon and Sports Editor for TCTV, plus her dedication to service and leadership, she has put in WEEKS of work outside of the school day and every teacher she interacts with knows of her dedication and effort. She was a key member of Talon and TCTV this year, especially, creating our Senior Documentary, writing for live news and the Talon, editing video, gathering information, and connecting our students with Student Media. During the shutdown, she still showed up to every meeting, was ready for any task, and did hours of work beyond what was expected to go above and beyond to complete our Senior Documentary even though, for the first few weeks of the shutdown, we weren’t certain we’d even be able to get the footage back. More than even her effort and hard work, Erica is a perfect example of leading with kindness and compassion, thinking of others before herself. Her heart is three times bigger than anyone we’ve met and her passion to make things better for everyone is truly inspiring.

Serena Shabout

Empathetic, intelligent and inquisitive, Serena Shabout has been a leader for Talon, the National Honor Society, and in Swim. She’s also a brilliant student, super strong writer, speedy and clear editor, and a darn nice person. She has given weekends to speech and debate and UIL tournaments, early mornings to swim practice and quick turnaround with wet hair to Talon, and late nights with studious efforts and skilled reporting. Serena has been the tip of the spear for Talon, gathering details and double checking facts as the News editor this year, and developing, editing, or co-writing most major stories for the last two years. There is so much more to explain about Serena’s personality and cleverness, or her dedication to improvement, or her service-focused soul, or how she genuinely cares about people. But, really, you should just meet her instead. You’d be glad you did.

Reed Smith

Reed brings passion to anything he does. And this year, there was a passion and energy to our sports coverage unlike any other year on Talon and TCTV. Reed was at all the variety football games (even the away ones!) covering the team, calling the game on Sports Net, or live tweeting updates. He covered every sport this year, developed new writers, contributed to TCFM and TCTV sports shows like The Undefeated, and is the first person to write the same column for two years running – a current record. His insight and opinions will be missed in our newsroom and his voice and talent for calling live sports will echo in our minds during every visit to the media booth in the future.

Dania Walters

Last in alphabetical order, but first in attitude, Dania was a force of nature in class each day, developing new ideas and skills to go with a smart and incisive wit. It’s only due to COVID-19 that we didn’t get to finish many of the projects Dania was developing with us, including inventive man on the street interviews and an upcoming morning show for the radio. One of the best things about Dania is her grit. When things don’t go right, most people get discouraged. Dania, however, would just get through it. We wish we had these last nine weeks with her, and heck, even another year, because her energy and skills were ready for the big time.

Yearbook Seniors

Mercy Adu

Yearbook has a learning curve and when school begins each fall, we hit the ground running. None experienced that, this year, more than Mercy. But she kept running right along with us. She was calm and cool under pressure and quickly became a team player. I’m only sorry that we only had Mercy for a single year. With her quiet and graceful presence, I know she will become the rock on which any new group she becomes a part of, can place their worries.

Lauren Quattlebaum

It takes Lauren a little while to show new people who she truly is. She didn’t begin to really reveal herself to us until spring of her junior year. She. Is. Hysterical. She chooses her words carefully and doesn’t overuse any of them. She will either give you deep-thought-provoking insight that will make you lay awake at night, or she will tell you about her new business venture in retail fuzzy worm sales. Either way, you won’t be sorry for listening. She was a HUGE help to all of us this spring as we were finishing pages while in quarantine. She is a WONDERFUL copy editor and there’s no telling how many more typos we would have without her watchful eye. Lauren is a calming force and I know all the newbies appreciated being able to go to her for help.

Bree Cryan

Bree knows everyone in the fine arts department. She really does. Choir, dance, and especially band. She knows their name, grade, instrument, office, what yard line they step off from in the second movement… she knows. But, most importantly, she also knows their stories. She is thoughtful and compassionate and that has really showed as she has gathered features over these last three years. No doubt, she will continue to listen for the stories and will make sure the little guy is heard, no matter what field she goes in to.

Emma Thornton

I think two great words for Emma are “steadfast” and “mature.” She is one of the most even-keeled teenagers I’ve ever known. She focuses quickly, is decisive, and doesn’t get emotionally wrapped up in change. She was our go-to girl when it came to all things sports. If she didn’t know, she knew someone who did. She truly is ready for college and beyond, and I have no doubt, she will take on the challenge of the day with the same strength she gave to us.

Grace Havenstrite

If ever we had a social butterfly, it was Grace. But we used it to our advantage because Grace knows everyone and everything. Seriously. She knows who is dating who, who the officers are, when a game was delayed, which teacher that is, where to find someone who is skipping class, and what parking spot is empty. She has her own way of doing things and it may not be my way… but I know she will get there and won’t stop until she does. She is delightful and kind and always willing to help where she can.

Ainsley Lawhorne

Ainsley “Senior Tribute” Lawhorne spent most of her senior year in my classroom. She created nearly 100 pages of senior tributes and only cried a handful of times. That’s REALLY good! She has really grown these last few years. From sophomore-newbie to take-charge-senior, Ainsley has guided the incoming staff and lent her expertise whenever possible (not only during yearbook, but also during my other classes where she was a student aide.) I learned to rely on her so much over the last year and her presence over my left shoulder, will be truly missed.

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