The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

Gather around the campfire

Seniors meet on Main Street to eat, gamble, play guitar
Angel Harper
Senior Raymond Gamboa plays his guitar next to a campfire video playing on his laptop. He enjoys playing his guitar and hanging our with his friends.

It all started with a can of Bush’s chili beans.

Sitting in front of the library on Main Street, senior Sterling McCrevey created a new tradition for him and his friends. Last September, he brought a can of Bush’s chili beans to school to enjoy them during lunch. Little did he know, this would change their lunchtime forever.

“The guys were like, ‘We should do this more,’ and Andre [Couturier] whipped out his phone and got out his speaker the next Friday, and he played some campfire crackling noises,” McCrevey said. The group quickly realized that their meetings resembled a campfire circle, and the aptly named “campfire” tradition was born.

[Left to right] Seniors Andre Couturier, Ethan Lane, Sterling McCrevey huddle together while playing dominos. Senior Francesco Umbertelli talks to McCrevey as he gets ready for his turn. (Angel Harper )
Senior Raymond Gamboa was the first to bring his guitar and play a myriad of songs, including “Wonderwall” by Oasis. They gather on the first Friday of every month simply so they don’t forget to meet.

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The group of up to 15 seniors sit in a circle next to a laptop playing a video of a fireplace. The laptop is propped up on one of the two empty guitar cases as seniors Gamboa and Ethan Lane rock out to their own setlist, which usually consists of Weezer or Creed songs. Request a song, and they’ll gladly abide if the song is “cool.” Apparently “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne makes that list, but any Taylor Swift song? Decidedly not.

McCrevey and Couturier bring an assortment of canned goods, including but not limited to: corned beef hash, baked beans, mixed vegetables and Chef Boyardee’s beef ravioli. McCrevey presents his infamous rusty can opener, and sporks are taken from the cafeteria to allow campers to share the food around the misshapen circle.

“I do most of the catering,” McCrevey said, “I’m really good with can openers.”

As lunch goes on, a rousing game of dominoes or poker gets people’s attention. Yelled arguments in the already loud hallway ensue as several games progress all at the same time. During poker, bets of pennies, buttons and paperclips are placed in the middle of the circle as players experience thrilling wins or devastating losses.

The friend group circles together to play dominos as they listen to music. They also eat canned food like ravioli and beans. (Angel Harper )

Friends of the campfire group, like senior Francesco Umbertelli, often stop by and sit down. Though there are heated arguments between Umbertelli and Couturier, such as whether the French or the Italian are superior, the group of seniors are very friendly and the campfires are open to anyone who stops by.

“We’ve had random people who we don’t even know just show up and start singing,” McCrevey said. “We’re like, ‘Hey, here [are] the lyrics of the song, follow along.’”

However, McCrevey and his friends have experienced some heckling from their audiences.

“We’ve had people come up and tell us to stop playing,” Gamboa said.

To this, McCrevey [just] smiled. “We play louder.”

“Anyone can come by,” McCrevey said. “The whole purpose is just to have fun.”

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  • T

    Tanvi DubeyMay 31, 2024 at 10:42 am

    The lead is so good and I was interested throughout the entire story! Loved it!

  • S

    ShylaMay 29, 2024 at 8:54 pm

    I love this lead so much, and the personalities of the campfire circle come through so strongly in this story!

  • K

    KateMay 29, 2024 at 9:53 am

    Great lead and interesting read!!