The whistle blows the same for each bull blasting out of the pen, rider in tow. For some, it’s that eight-second battle and the chance to beat 90 that keeps them hooked on bull riding.

Prom is a night many a high schooler has dedicated to fun, glitz, glamour and just having a good time. TIME magazine cites the origin of the prom to co-ed banquets held yearly for graduating seniors of American universities in the 19th century until a growing teenage culture pushed proms younger and younger. The word prom is short for promenade, the formal, introductory parading of guests at a party. By the 1950s, prom closely resembled the night of revelry that it is today.

Cade Miller is the founder of C4M Leather Works. He creates handmade purses, belts, wallets, diaper bags and more from his leather working shop in his home in Nacogdoches.

Liza’s Garden was a dream for Sundra Denman and her husband Lynn. For years Denman had been eyeing the little garden shop in Huntington next to her job of 30 years at Integra Insurance Company until it finally went up for sale.

For John and Rebecca Gall, moving back to Texas and opening up a boutique wasn’t a purely self-serving desire; it was one based in wanting to raise their kids where they grew up, improving their community and providing a unique product base.

Throughout history, people have attempted to interpret the world around them — science, philosophy, music, the list goes on. For artist Sarah McInroe, drawing was just the first step in her journey to see the world.

I come from a family where moderation and healthy eating were not a priority. Most of my family is overweight. Matter of fact, my great uncle-died from morbid-obesity, per his death certificate. I didn’t think I was affected by this because I was very active and much slimmer than everyone else.

OurLow, a student organization at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches is working to destigmatize mental health issues in and out of the school.

My hair is a curtain swaying before me as I bow my head. Mom’s fingers comb through it, searching, one lock at a time. She takes extra care behind my ears and at the nape of my neck. That’s where they like it best, apparently. The warmest parts of the human head.

Do you often eat until you are stuffed? Do you regularly feel guilt after eating a particular item or after a meal? Do you exercise to “buy” yourself more calories or as repentance for an indulgence? Has your weight fluctuated significantly over the past several years?

Although we have taken down the lights and stored away our decorations for 2018’s holiday season we thought it important to share this essay from local fourth-grade student Daniel Lanigan. Thank you Daniel, for sharing your thoughts on the importance of community and tradition.