The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

Hudson Woods throws his arms out after a play before getting into position
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Jonathan Jones, Sports Writer • May 18, 2024
Joshua Velasquez committed to serving his country in the U.S. Army.
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Boy Scouts of America announced on May 7 the organizations name will change to Scouting America on the organizations 115th birthday Feb. 8, 2025. Photo by JV via
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The top 15 students in the senior class receive special recognition at graduation on May 22 due to their hard work throughout high school. 
Graphic by Alex Whelchel via Canva
Profile: Top 15 seniors
Alex Whelchel, Managing Editor • May 13, 2024

Record-breaking heat, drought affects Texas residents

Bennett Cote
Senior Bennett Cote snapped this photo outside of the school during photography class.

Texas residents have had to conserve water and be cautious when going into the sun because of the record-breaking heat and drought that has been in place since mid-June. 

In August, Texas received less than a quarter inch of rain, on average. The Guadalupe River stopped flowing because of overpumping of aquifers  to keep up with this lack of precipitation. This and water usage restrictions have made seeing water a rarity unless it’s in a bottle or flowing from a sink.

“I watched that river go down, and I’m worried about the endangered species there,” geoscience teacher Michael Pickerill said, “Overall not being able to go outside as much and do things almost leads to a low grade depression.”

Causing the extreme heat is a heat dome. A heat dome is created when the pressure of the heat creates a blanket over an area with no rain to cool the air down.

This heat dome created high temperatures for Texas and neighboring states, with Big Bend reaching a high of 119 degrees.

“Just the fact that a high pressure system is sitting on top of us for so long, that doesn’t usually happen for the length that it has,” Pickerill said. “I don’t even know if science is sure what made that high pressure system sit on top of us and not move. You can’t have much rain when you have high pressure because it stymies cloud formation. The high pressure is not conducive for rain.”

Those with outside jobs had to find ways to manage the temperature while still getting work done. One day in August, the heat got to senior Schlitterbahn employee Lauren Mitchener. 

“I didn’t realize it immediately but I was suffering from heat exhaustion,” Mitchener said. “It felt like I was going to pass out, like I was melting, I became so exhausted. My manager sent me home after keeping me in the air conditioned room until she came to take over.”

Dehydration is a major threat to people who participate in outside activities in extreme heat. If proper procedures are not taken, this can be detrimental to one’s health, health science teacher Dr. Jennifer Carrillo said.

“If you’re someone who is working out and sweating a lot, you lose electrolytes, so you’re gonna have to replace those electrolytes,” she saie. “If you just drank a bunch of waterm then what ends up happening is you become deficient in things like sodium that you need to be alive.”

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