February: Love

Our Mission

To serve as an entertaining, yet informative and useful, school-run media outlet in order to promote school spirit and unite the community in an approachable and interesting manner.

Intro to Issue #2

By Jose

Greetings, Spearheads (trying out the term, not sure if I’m a fan yet)! Welcome to our second issue of the year! We know the interval between our first and second issue was pretty small, especially considering the fact that we did not publish at all in the first semester. Some might call it compensation. In any case, we’re hoping to get our issues out, maybe not as quickly as this one, but relatively fast since we are aware that engagement with our audience is very important. Which gives me a great opportunity to engage with all of you and highly recommend that you consider joining The Spear! I know there are a lot of great writers, artists, and all around creative people out there in our community and it’d be awesome to get some more of you on board with us.

Now, what can you expect from this publication? Well, our theme for this month is love (a very underexplored theme in February if you ask me), meaning you’ll find some articles about student’s ideas of love, playlists about love, and a piece highlighting what students love about Maya, among a number of other things, some of which are not necessarily related to love. We hope you enjoy this publication, and once again feel free to reach out to us with any questions or feedback you may have by emailing

In the past the Spear has created a playlist for certain events, so with the season of love upon us, we found it fitting to use a mix of classic and modern love songs to get us in the mood for Valentine's Day. We hope you have a wonderful time spending Valentine's Day with your loved ones, whether that be friends, family or significant others. We have left this playlist hyperlinked above, but you may also use the Spotify code to scan the photo.

with love, The Spear ♡

Facing Hatred: An Overview of Homophobia in Guatemala

By Willow

*This article contains homophobic slurs that some readers may find upsetting

It is difficult when you wake up to the buzzing of your phone, glaring at the bright screen just to reveal another hate comment from one of the homophobic kids in your class. You open your account on Instagram to be met with messages like “go kill yourself” or “turn to god”. After you get dressed and ready for the day, you go outside, fearing what might happen for looking a certain way or dressing in a certain style. Countless mothers shielding their children's eyes and whispers coming from every direction when you hold hands with the person you love (C., Willow).

In Guatemala, this is a very realistic expectation of how LGBTQ+ people are treated daily. The LGBTQ+ community is made up of people who do not identify as straight or cisgender. This includes people with different sexualities like lesbian, gay, and bisexual and people with gender identities like transgender or nonbinary. It is very hard to live in a society where it is perfectly acceptable to discriminate against you because of your gender identity or sexual orientation. LGBTQ+ people in Guatemala lack support, whether that be in the workspace, out in public, or even at school (C., Willow).

The Effects of LGBTQ+ Discrimination on Physical Health

Homophobia and transphobia take a huge toll on the health and well-being of many queer people. One example of this is the physical stress that the body goes through when someone is exposed to homophobia and transphobia. David M. Huebner conducted a study on LGBTQ+ people to see how their bodies reacted to different types of discrimination like homophobia. Participants were shown a pre-recorded interview; meanwhile, the researchers measured their physical reactions like heart rate, blood pressure, and stress-inducing hormones. Afterwards, the researchers asked them about how they perceived the interviewer, participants who thought the interviewer was homophobic, showed more signs of physical stress (Berman). “When LGB study participants faced homophobia, they experienced increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormone cortisol levels” (David M. Huebner qtd. in Berman). In the long term, these effects take a toll on the body. LGBTQ+ people count on a lower immune response, which makes them more susceptible to medical issues such as infections. Their cardiovascular system also takes a hit because the quick biochemical reactions that take place when exposed to this much stress damages their heart and other organs severely (Berman).

When homophobia and transphobia are as prevalent as they are in Guatemala, the results of this study are terrifying because the LGBTQ+ people there are exposed to these types of discrimination constantly. An anonymous student at Colegio Maya said “Its exhausting having to deal with everyone’s negative comments all day long at school and then having to come home to hear the same thing from my parents. It’s exhausting” (Student 2).

To continue reading Willow's essay, click here!

What is Love, Actually?

By Addie

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines love as “an intense feeling of deep affection,” but what does that really mean? Most words have different meanings depending on the context or the intonation, so what does love, or being in love mean to you? We asked this question on our Instagram story and got answers from individuals around the world. Based on these answers, we asked people if they were willing to expand on their definition so we could learn more about what love meant to them. Enjoy reading the responses below. If you have a different definition of love, please DM our Instagram account, @thespear_magazine

  • wanting the best for someone no matter what, caring about someone enough that you don't want to have to live without them

  • caring about someone’s well-being more than your own

  • feelings for and a connection with someone that you would do anything for, no matter the situation/cost

  • always wanting to be near someone for their energy, and being willing to risk your life for them

  • putting your own well being at stake for the well being of others, growing alongside that person

  • waking up in the middle of the night to text your partner because where they are they just woke up, sacrificing your sleep schedule to let them know that you love them

  • supporting someone unconditionally

  • anticipating your needs before you even realize you need something

While the dictionary definition is accurate, it is very vague. Based on all of the responses that were received, The Spear’s definition of being in love is “wanting the best for someone even if that means making certain sacrifices, as well as encouraging them to grow and develop as an individual and as a partner.” Based on this definition, I can say that I have been in love, not only with partners but with friends as well. To be in a truly healthy relationship, friendship or otherwise, you need to find a balance between being together and encouraging your partner to do certain things on their own. Sometimes wanting the best for someone and wanting to help them grow does mean letting them do it on their own, if that is what they think is best for them. By doing this, you are bound to form and keep healthy relationships.

I've had my fair share of almost loves and breakups, but the love that stayed with me the whole time, through those breakups and rough days, came from my friends. These are the most important people to love, because they will always be there for you and back you up. Significant others may come and go, but the friends you make will stay with you forever. Let love take you wherever it wants to, because at the end of the day, you will learn more about yourself and create a definition that fits how you feel. This is what love is to me, but at the end of the day not everyone experiences love in the same way, so what is love, actually?

The Story of Love

By Rodrigo M.

During the month of February, love is in the air. I keep asking my friends and relatives, what is love? And all of them have a different definition. The only common denominator is that all of them smile while trying to explain to me their own meaning of love. So far, all I know is that everyone keeps telling me that is the most wonderful feeling anyone can have.

I don't pretend to know what love is for everyone, but I can tell you what it is for me. Love is knowing all about that special person you love It also is wanting to be with them more than any other person. Love is trusting them enough to tell them everything, love is feeling comfortable and safe with someone. There’s also love at first sight. Many people don’t believe it exists, but I know someone who once told me that the moment he saw his wife for the first time, he just couldn’t stay away from her, and so he didn’t. They stayed happily together for 18 years, and I am a witness they couldn’t be without each other until he died. This was my parent's love story, and I am very lucky to have witnessed love throughout most of my life. So if you love someone, take care of them, respect them and cherish every moment with them.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Poems from AP Spanish Literature

By Seung Min

One of the many authors we learn about in the AP Spanish Literature course is the Spanish poet Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer. Born in 1836, his literary talent compelled him to pursue his dream and move to Madrid at the age of 18. What he thought would be a place of great opportunity was instead a place of disease, suffering, and hunger. Tragedy continued to paint his life, as his eight-year marriage came to an end in 1861. At the young age of 34, he died of tuberculosis, and only gained popularity a year later, when Rimas, a collection of short poems, was published by his friends.

Considered post-romantic, Bécquer’s poetry is intimate, personal, and subjective, and the most prevalent themes are love and pain. Through his indirect and subtle language, he creates a tone that is almost confessional, as if he were whispering a secret into the reader’s ears.

The students in AP Spanish Literature were asked to create a poem that emulated the style of Rima IV, one of his most well-known poems. Although limited to a certain structure, there were no restrictions on what types of topics, themes, and ideas we touched upon in our versions.

Mientras tengamos agua

Seung Min

Mientras las olas del mar se encuentren con la arena

y se abracen juntos debajo de la luna,

Mientras se despidan rápidamente

solo para unirse nuevamente;

Mientras en esta oscuridad de la noche

las estrellas brillen como diamantes,

Mientras haya belleza en la naturaleza,

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras los ríos se conecten con el océano

o con lagos rodeados por montes,

y los peces embarcando en aventuras

exploren nuevos lugares;

Mientras el agua se mantenga transparente

como un cristal iluminante,

Mientras prospere la vida en este ambiente,

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras sintamos nuestros latidos potentes

antes de saltar hacia el agua,

y la sensación vigorizante

al sumergirse en el frío sobresaliente;

Mientras juguemos con el agua

como dos almas apasionadas,

Mientras juntos coreografiemos un baile,

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras el sol se derrita en el horizonte

contra el mar reflejante,

y con pinceles enormes

pinten el mundo en un rubí impresionante;

Mientras caigan gemas con el llanto del cielo

e inviten que florezcan sombrillas en las calles,

Mientras tengamos con nosotros el agua—hermosa,

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras tengamos vida

Ana Cristina

Mientras se escuchen armonías de soñadores

Mientras se creen y compartan lo sueños

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras esté la dulzura de la cocoa

Mientras haya chocolate en mi vida

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras la tierra esté llena y sana

Mientras haya un cielo infinito en espacio y color

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras se haga más arte cada día

Mientras se valore el arte sin importar cual

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras que tengamos queridos

Mientras que nuestros queridos nos tengan

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras valoremos a otros, y más

Mientras miremos, escuchemos y apreciemos

¡Habrá poesía!

Senior Service: Haircut Fundraiser

By Jose

As many of you may recall, our very own class of 2022 decided to have a very unique fundraiser at the end of our last semester: the Senior Service Haircut fundraiser.

In the middle of our first semester, all grades in high school were approached by their mentors and asked to pick a service project to work on throughout the rest of the year. The class of 2022 decided to serve our school’s workers, those who are on our campus all day, every day, making sure it's clean and tidy. The focus was on both the workers and their families, as both have had a rough couple of years due to the pandemic. The seniors wanted to help them raise funds for things they might need, much like the Christmas baskets, but also to plan activities to ensure we are able to express our gratitude towards them.

In short, five very brave (although some might call them absolutely bonkers) seniors decided to put their luscious hair on the line in the name of service, and three of them got clipped. The way the fundraising part worked though is that each of them chose two different, ridiculous hairstyles, on which people could vote. They would vote by putting money in jars at the front of the school. The jars would have pictures of the haircuts they’d be voting for. To get the haircut, a minimum of Q400 had to be raised in a jar. Here you can see all the fabulous hairstyles our seniors chose.

In the end, Seung Min, David, and I made enough money to have to get our hair cut. So, on December 16th, 2021, they brought in some clippers, put some chairs out on the field, and invited the whole school to watch them try to give each other very stylish new cuts. Besides being a very fun event, the senior class was also able to raise over Q2,500 for the workers.

Participating in this fundraiser represented two main things to me. First, it was an epic way of bonding as a class, and fostering an even greater sense of spirit and camaraderie within our group of seniors. Second, it was also an amazing way to bring the community together, both physically, to watch our hilarious attempts at cutting each other’s hair, but also bringing us together for a great cause, to help our workers. We hope to be able to use these funds effectively over the course of this semester, and possibly even raise more funds through some other interesting events.

Becoming More Conscious, One Read at a Time

By Seung Min

By Seung Min, Co-Founder and Discussion Facilitator

We were only a few weeks into the pandemic. It was March 2020, and what we thought would be a couple of days at home turned into weeks, and eventually a month. This is when the National Honor Society began offering school-wide enrichment activities in an effort to build community in times where everything we knew to be true seemed to be slowly crumbling apart.

It was also at this time when Maite McPherson ‘20 recommended A Harvest of Thorns, by Corban Addison, on our Model ICC Google Classroom page (if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it). As a joke, I commented, “We should start our own book club!”

A few days later, I was on Zoom with Maite, deciding what to name our book club.

We were excited to begin offering this space for teachers, parents, and high-school students, and, of course, the enrichment activities program provided us with an effective way to reach out to the community.

During this virtual discussion, Maite and I began talking about the reemergence of the Black Lives Matter movement. Appalled by the death of George Floyd, empowered by the determination of those who marched on the streets, and feeling duty-bound to be part of bringing about change, we concluded that our book club would focus on prevalent social issues. We also had in mind that, in our own school, racial and homophobic slurs were being leveled against others and an elitist culture was tightening our privileged bubble from the unjust realities that surround us in Guatemala.

We finally landed on a name that captured our shared purpose to continue being more conscious of ourselves and of important social issues: Conscious Warrior Book Club

Our first read was Born a Crime, a memoir highlighting Trevor Noah's experience during the end of the apartheid period in South Africa. Its themes of race and society, and Noah's use of comedy, helped us engage in conversations that allowed us to reflect on our relative positions of privilege.

Since then, we continued reading novels, memoirs, and essays—How to Be an Antiracist, Lost Children Archive, We Should All Be Feminists, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Shuggie Bain, Notes on Grief—that forced us to ask challenging questions relating to themes of poverty, immigration, sexuality, and feminism.

This quarter, our book club voted to read The Island of Sea Women, by Lisa See, a novel about the haenyeo, Korean female divers, on the island of Jeju and the way they’ve broken prominent gender roles. Our discussion for the first half of this book will take place on Wednesday, February 16, and I’m excited because our group, with roughly 15 members, is currently the biggest it's been.

Moving forward, I continue to invite members of our community interested in participating in these discussions to join our club, especially if you’re a student. As I get closer to graduating, I’m hoping that there will be students who keep the Conscious Warrior Book Club alive, and through it foster a culture that values difficult conversations that compel us all to be more conscious.

El sueño


Mientras encuentre la pasión que me siga

sonreiré con garantía

Mientras siga perdido en mi cabeza

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras pueda expresarme sin ninguna mentira

valoraré la vida

Mientras mis alas abiertas

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras cambie mi riqueza por la tuya

el valor sacrificaré por la milla

Mientras despierte en el sueño

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras perdido en las intenciones

seguiré luchandote

Mientras sueñe por la realidad

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras siga en el momento de sabiduría

viajaré por ti y por la maravilla

Mientras en Ibiza exista con profecía

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras tengamos belleza


Mientras el sol brilla sobre el mar

Y nuestra imaginación logra volar,

Mientras nuestro idioma se escuche como un cantar,

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras las palabras hagan con que nuestros corazones

No dejen de palpitar,

Mientras podemos encontrar cómo amar,

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras los bosques oscuros nos den ganas

de entrar y explorar,

Mientras las aventuras nos puedan hablar,

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras las decisiones tomadas

Son por la cantidad de emoción,

Mientras que nos capturan la atención,

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras empecemos a tomar una acción

Con mucha pasión,

Mientras haya más de una opción,

¡Habrá poesía!

Black Figures You Should Know

By Seung Min

You probably already know that February is Black History Month. As open-minded individuals part of diverse communities, it is our responsibility to inform ourselves of the history, the sacrifices, and the brutalities that have led to today’s reality. During this month, we should not only become more aware of the injustices that the Black community has and continues to endure; we must also celebrate the incredible contributions from the thousands of individuals who fought for equality and justice.

Here is a short list of Black figures that many of us may not know about, but made tremendous impacts in their lifetime, and beyond.

Audre Lorde

(1934 - 1992 )

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

From a young age, Audre Lorde became passionate about poetry. Born on February 18, 1934 in New York City, she attended Hunter College and received a Masters from Columbia University.

For almost a decade, Lorde worked as a librarian in Mount Vernon, New York. In 1968, however, she published her first poetry collection, First Cities, where she explored themes of race, gender, and sexuality.

Her success compelled her to publish more collections, including From a Land Where Other People Live (1973), which got nominated for a National Book Award. In 1980, she published The Cancer Journals, a series of essays that narrate and detail her battle against breast cancer. She was recognized not only for her beautiful writing, but for the way she empowered other women who survived this disease and consequent mastectomies.

Even after her death in 1992, Lorde is celebrated for her personal, inviting, and courageous writing that inspired others to continue to fight their own battles with grit and grace.

Claudette Colvin

(1939 - )

“I knew then and I know now, when it comes to justice, there is no easy way to get it.”

Born in Montgomery, Alabama on September 5, 1939, Claudette Colvin was a hard-working girl with big dreams: becoming the President of the United States.

On March 2, 1955, Colvin refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white passenger. Although we may not recognize her name as much, Colvin fought for her constitutional right to sit in any seat of the bus months before Rosa Parks did.

Her case was brought before the court, where she was declared guilty. This ruined her reputation, forcing her to drop out of college and have significant difficulties finding a job.

She then became one of four plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, and in 1956, the court declared that the Montgomery bus system was unconstitutional. Colvin’s work was crucial in paving the way for Rosa Parks to gain the support that she did.

Gordon Parks

(1912 - 2006)

“I saw that the camera could be a weapon against poverty, against racism, against all sorts of social wrongs. I knew at that point I had to have a camera.”

Gordon Parks is one of the most celebrated photographers from the Twentieth Century. He was born in 1912 in Fort Scott, Kansas to a family struggling with poverty.

From a young age, the photographs of migrant workers from the Farm Security Administrations piqued his interest in photography. Even without any professional teaching or experience, Parks quickly became a skilled photographer, winning the prestigious Julius Rosenwal Fellowship in 1942.

His distinct style and ability to portray emotion allowed him to depict the socioeconomic conditions of the United States. In particular, he began using this medium as a way to explore themes pertaining to race, poverty, and discrimintaion.

His commitment to social justice and equality live on today, with his work permanently exhibited in several museums across the United States, including the Art Museum of Chicago and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.


Mientras tu…


Mientras tu corazón palpite por mí

Real será mi alma

Mientras tu amor resople en el aire

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras tus besos sean todos de mi

No cayeran mis alas

Mientras sus ojos los míos encuentre

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras sus manos mi cuerpo encuentre

Y su ser yo despierte

Mientras su olor me persiga con vida

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras sonrisas comparta conmigo

Y las risas persiga

Mientras lágrimas de vida acompañen

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras tu vida acompañe la mía

Y abrazos mi vida

Mientras yo vea tu cara con la mía

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras, a estilo Bécquer

Annabella de Bond

Mientras rondee el amor como el aire

y lo respiremos a borbollones.

Mientras la ternura se divise entre los jóvenes,

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras la neblina cegadora de alguna mañana

nos cambie la rutina.

Mientras el clima y sus varias caras, nos admire,

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras nos agobien las dudas y los retos

pero asomadas, encontremos las soluciones.

Mientras sintamos ciertos triunfos y victorias.

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras se hagan vivas la fe y la esperanza

para continuar el paso de cada día.

Mientras no desfallezcamos ante el fracaso,

¡Habrá poesía!

Mientras que con respeto y gozo, la creación contemplemos

y el corazón palpite frente a ella,

Mientras como testigos de la existencia, recapacitemos,

¡Habrá poesía!