Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best Hookah Bar

Best Hookah Bar

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013

Best Indian Restaurant

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
How Rebates Have the Texas Film Industry Playing Catch Up To its Neighbors

How Rebates Have the Texas Film Industry Playing Catch Up To its Neighbors

Screens: See if you can spot the common thread that is pulling at the seams of the Texas film industry. On NBC’s The Night Shift, a stock-written staff... By Matt Stieb 8/27/2014
Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology

Astrology: ARIES (March 21-April 19): In the coming weeks it will be important for you to bestow blessings and disseminate gifts and dole out helpful... By Rob Brezsny 8/27/2014

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email



The $600,000 Joyride: Local hacker and former LulzSec member on why he went to prison

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

Rivera and teacher Beatrice Villarreal in a photo from Rivera’s Somerset High yearbook

Photo: , License: N/A

Rivera’s first-place UIL awards in programming competitions

Rivera became a mariachi and learned the violin. Someone suggested he couldn’t play basketball so he made the team to prove them wrong, and then quit. Mostly, he spent his time learning about computers. That’s what led Somerset High math teacher Beatrice Villarreal to seek him out for the school’s computer team in the University Interscholastic League (UIL).

Somerset hadn’t fielded a team before because it didn’t offer any computer classes. Indeed, the computer the school provided them would later prove wildly unreliable, failing twice in competitions, and forcing Rivera’s team to jury-rig alternatives.

When Villarreal recruited Rivera, he brought his friends along as teammates. He taught them what he knew. One of his teammates beginning his sophomore year, Jay Fisher, would in some ways surpass Rivera. Fisher’s now in the aerospace program at University of Texas studying, quite literally, to become a rocket scientist.

Over time Villarreal struck up a friendship with Rivera. Despite sponsoring the team, she’s not super computer-savvy, and he helped her recover from computer issues on at least a couple occasions. She found they shared an appreciation for ’80s music, a sardonic sense of humor and a certain amount of impatience with senseless authority.

“He had no tolerance for bullshit,” she says. Rivera and his teammates didn’t understand why she didn’t fight back against bureaucratic indignities. “Sometimes I have to bit my lip, smile and wave,” she told them. “They weren’t at that point yet.”

The competitions involve individual test-taking computers and various programming languages as well as competing in teams to solve problems and/or create programs. From the beginning, Rivera’s team approached the meets with a certain strut. They’d play “entrance” music on the laptop when they entered the room. They were young, brash and cocky—and they backed it up. They went to regionals their very first year, earning themselves a school letter. By Rivera’s senior year they placed second at state.

“These skinny little kids started showing up at meets and all of a sudden they’re beating these schools that had three- and four-year programs,” Villarreal says. “There was no discipline, no formal anything, but they would win. These kids were drinking Red Bull and cracking jokes, but winning, and it annoyed the other coaches who had their teams lined up like little Stepford children.”

The Somerset team would arrive at their Saturday meets arrayed in suits. This was a quirk they picked up that second year from Rivera. By high school, Rivera was an adherent of How I Met Your Mother character Barney Stinson’s easily summarized sartorial philosophy: Suit up! At all times.

“You’d never see this kid in t-shirts or shorts or anything. He had to dress to the nines always,” says his mother. “He bought at letterman jacket, but he never wore it. He didn’t want to mess up the suit.”

Unlike many schools across America, at Somerset High this was not akin to pasting a sign on one’s back that says “Swirlie Me.” Perhaps it’s the small enrollment—Rivera’s graduating class numbered 113—but it lacked your typical high-school-coming-of-age-movie power structure. He had an attractive girlfriend and was relatively popular.

Recently in News
  • Texas Law Leaves Abortion Out of Reach for Many Women Texas’ sweeping abortion law has already eliminated all abortion clinics south of San Antonio, and the last clinic west of the city... | 8/27/2014
  • Cityscrapes: A race to the convention floor “Conventions go to the city which exerts the greatest efforts to secure them. San Antonio can get any convention that it goes after.” That was the position... | 8/27/2014
  • Mayoral Horserace Once elected next spring, San Antonio’s new mayor will have just a few months to prepare for the 2016 budget... | 8/27/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus