Extra Days Leads to Extra Questions

by: Kalista Willason and Jacob Herald

Who would have known the future of Chaparral High School (CHS) included lengthening the schedule? The upcoming school year (2019-2020) is going to be extended by 10 days. This is a first for CHS because since the school was built it has always run on the same (or a similar) schedule.

Most of the students at Chaparral High School that were interviewed already knew about the increase in days. Their sources were teachers such as Ms. Phillips and Mr. Bailey. Most of the students assumed the change of days had to do with test scores. One source, (Senior) Sebastian Almonte said, “I imagine we’re not performing to the academic standard that has been set for us, so they’re trying to stretch out the school year.” Another student, (Sophomore) Ray Amador said, “because students are stupid and they’re failing.”

Many students had concerns about whether or not there would be compensation for the extra long school year. Will they be able to graduate early? Would they be allowed more sick days? These are all questions they asked. The answer is, no. Students will run on the same exceptions as before and will not be allowed to miss more school even though there are more school days.

The students weren’t very opposed to the idea of a longer school year, but it didn’t seem as they were for it either. (Junior) Sara Raines said, “The biggest problem is attendance so maybe they should give us more days off so more students are able to come. The more hours we’re in school the more hours we have to owe from missing. I just don’t see the point I guess.”  (Senior) Aaliyah Navarette said, “yeah…” that she’s all for the longer year as long as they, “…space out testing.” When asked about graduation, the students didn’t see how this could possible help with graduation, “If anything, it’ll have an opposite effect.” Making it so more potential graduates don’t actually graduate.

Considering this the education department just recently received a statewide raise in pay for all the teachers, who aren’t exactly happy about the longer year. An anonymous source said, “No, I don’t support the longer school year because there’s technically no pay because of how the raise worked.” Some teachers are open to the idea of change, like Ms. Campbell who said that, “It all depends on the calendar.”  Many teachers are more focused on attendance than the testing. Ms. Garcia said, “Attendance will be affected by the extra days because it’s hard enough to get students to come to school.” Mr. Bennett said, “The students that don’t want to be here, just won’t be here. So it won’t help with attendance.” Other teachers believed the same; attendance would either stay the same or get worse.

When it comes to the extra days, many don’t realize that Texas schools have the exact same time frame.  The New Mexico schools were more relaxed than Texas schools but New Mexico seems to have taken a turn for a better education for students.

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Pink Week

This year at Chaparral High School Pink Week was not celebrated.

A few students were upset that Pink week wasn’t done at the High School this year. “I was really looking forward to participating and support breast cancer during school,” said Brianna Ibarra, a student at Chaparral High.  

“Pink week is a week where people can awareness those who suffer from breast cancer,” said Janet Suistatia. When the school would participate in Pink Week a lot of different activities were contributed during that week. Not everyone is obligated to participate in all activities but everyone can.

There are some activities that help in making donations to people who have cancer.

An activity that helped raise money was called “Kiss the pig”. “Students would donate a penny to whoever teacher they wanted to make kiss the pig, the teacher with the most pennies wins and has to kiss the pig,” said Sustaita. Another donation wise activity was the class with the most pennies got to have a pizza party.  

No matter what the activity was, it was always supporting breast cancer.

This year the school may have not been able to do a pink week but according to Sustaita “I had my room decorated with cancer awareness decor items.

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Welcome Ms. Monzon

     Ms. Monzon has now joined the staff and other counselors since October.She grew up in El Paso (or central El Paso to be more specific). She went
on to go to two colleges, one of them being UTEP. Then she went on to first
becoming a high school teacher. She said, “I was first a high school teacher
but I loved to help kids.”

After a while of working with kids she decided to start working with young
adults to help them out. Her first real job as a counselor was actually in
Ysleta Middle School. She said she was inspired by her own counselor to be a
counselor. She said, “I’ve always wanted to help young adults with their future”.
So far she has helped so many of Chaparral’s students.

Ms. Monzon plans on working in Chaparral High School for a very long time.
She even said, “I plan on working here until I am very old.” She wants to help
us all in any way she can and help us find our path to success. According to her
she wants Chaparral High School to be her very last job until retirement.
She said, “I would never quit my job here not even for one that pays more.”

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This type of phone calls are nightmares

When a principal receives a phone call threatening their school it becomes a nightmare.

Victoria Lopez, Chaparral High School’s principal, received a phone call during the morning of Tuesday September 25, from an elementary staff member to inform her at a credible threat whose identity remained a mystery to the authorities.

“Office staff locked up the campus and sheriffs sent students to their first period class and teachers kept students in the class,” said Lopez. Lopez didn’t feel nervous because students were safe in their classrooms.

“We don’t make any investigations, the sheriffs and FBI are in charge of making the investigations,” said Lopez. “Law Enforcement cleared students of any wrong doing,” said Lopez.

“Students were very good, no discipline problems, and most students were following the problem on Facebook,” said Lopez.

Parents started picking up students at 11:00 am, at the end of the day about 550 students were picked up, buses were kind of empty.

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Working and McWorking

Working until you fall. That’s what it seems like.

Many students at various high schools know the struggle of trying to keep a minimum wage job as well as trying to keep up their GPA.

As a working student there are many challenges you have to face: getting enough sleep, keeping up a social life, and the obvious, going to work and maintaining your GPA. It never seems like you have enough time to do everything you need to do. I wake up early in the morning, around 6:00am to attend school and then it seems that almost immediately afterward at 4:00pm I have to rush to be to work by 5:00pm. A normal work schedule for me is from 5:00pm-11:00pm but sometimes the schedule runs overtime and I don’t get out of work until 1:00am. And the cycle repeats.

Sleeping is something that you never seem to get enough of. Getting home late at night and having to get some sleep before school can be nerve-racking to anyone. Falling asleep in class after only getting five hours of sleep becomes a norm until you realize your GPA is falling, then you end up doing homework after work and getting less and less sleep. It seems like you never win.

Not only is this lifestyle hard on the employee but it can be hard on their friends and family as well. “I wish they would give you a set schedule, it’s hard to plan for anything with you,” my mother stated one day after picking me up three hours after my originally scheduled time off. “It’s good for the money but it’s just a lot of heartache and hassle trying to work around your schedule,” said Jacob Herald.

The connections you make can either make you or break you. You have to learn who you can trust with things and who you need to stay away from. As a result of learning who to trust and who not to trust you make friends and you also make enemies.

You run into those extremely rude customers or those regulars that you end up memorizing their orders. You have to learn to deal with rude outbreaks and people being excessively frustrated over minuscule things such as only receiving one extra ranch instead of two. The regulars keeps things a little easier. They come in and you already know what they want and how they want it made. Most times, the regulars are actually a lot more understanding than a random customer.

Your co-workers are what keep you going. Their strength and support help you keep a positive attitude. When you feel over-worked and your co-worker helps you out it’s as if a weight is being lifted off of your shoulders. Then again you get those co-workers who seem to think they’re the boss of you and they boss you around. As I stated previously you learn who to stay away from.

Once you get your check it’s as if none of the hassles mattered. You go to the bank and you see the money sitting there and you think, ‘Wow. I really did it. This is my reward.’ And then it all repeats. The struggles, the stress, and the headaches all come back. Would I recommend working while attending high school? No, but who am I to tell you what to do. I’m not the boss.

 

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What is National Honors Society?

Being a top tier student can have its perks.

National Honor Society (NHS) is a program that recognizes outstanding achievements done by outstanding students. NHS is all about Service, leadership, academics and character to self, school, and community. NHS was founded by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

You can apply to become a NHS member if you have a 3.5 GPA and have a clean record, which means to have a record with no criminal history. Most members in NHS are sophomores to seniors. NHS members tend to strive for high academic achievement and promote community service. When applying to NHS you have to be nominated by at least “5 teachers or a faculty council,” said CHS sponsor Fernando Veramontes.

The current president of NHS is a second-year member, Janet Hernandez. She is currently a senior at Chaparral High School. There are “currently 21 members, processing qualified juniors and senior,” Viramontes said. 

Not only do you have to work in this organization you have to have to have hours in the club. “About ten hours with the adviser and at least twenty hours per semester as community service.” Viramontes stated, “Being an NHS sponsor takes a lot of time and effort, but worth it working with outstanding students.”

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Pajama Fiasco

      Homecoming week started in pajamas. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see pajamas? For me and most of Chaparral High School’s(CHS) students, it’s sleep.

      Designed as a way of building up excitement for the CHS Football game which was on Friday the 12th of October, Homecoming week engages students in school-administered fun activities. The first day being Pajama Day.

      Pajama Day or breaking-dress-code and lazing-around Day? According to CHS student Ana Raza, “It just makes concentrating harder to be honest.” Many passionate kids that come to school to get a good education were distracted by fuzzy slippers and goofy, bright pajama pants. Is this so called “Pajama Day” good for CHS’ students’ spirits or is it just a big distraction? The increase in students social participation in Pajama Day leads us to the assumption that Pajama Day has some sort of advantage for students other than enabling them to wear a slightly more comfortable attire. CHS teacher David Bennett voiced his concern with students’ lack of work during the week of the homecoming game, “I felt like a lot of students were slacking off about their assignments, they weren’t following through, it’s like they were waiting for someone to do the work for them,” says CHS’ welding teacher.

      We like to think the best of students, but students participating in a school event just to get out of class or have extra time on assignments is not the most unthinkable thing ever

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   Chaparral High School New History Teacher

 

This year Chaparral High School hired an abundance of new teachers, one of which was Donald Benson.  Benson previously worked at Gadsden High School as a History teacher and football coach.

Benson received his Bachelor’s degree at The University of Wisconsin La Crosse and studied Political Science. He later moved to El Paso, TX to earn his master’s degree in Education at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Before pursuing his career as a teacher, he joined the army for four years with the rank of first lieutenant to pay for college.

This year Benson is teaching Lobos World History and New Mexico History. His least favorite aspect about teaching is administrative work, giving lectures, and grading.

Benson says that when he sees a student struggle, he meets one-on-one with that student, and uses alternative methods of instruction to accommodate that student’s needs. He addresses kid’s different learning styles by switching lessons into visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading-writing learners.

Benson says that as a teacher, “It is important to establish good relationships with your students.” Benson is also a football coach with 23 years of experience. He does not accept failure on field and much less in the classroom. Mr. Benson is very much looking forward to a great year here at Chaparral High School.

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Welcome Mr. Viera

  Alex Viera, a social studies teacher, has just joined Chaparral High School. Viera retired after more the 32 years of teaching in Texas at Bowie High School and is now teaching in New Mexico

   Viera said,”I immediately knew that I wanted to teach and coach right after high school.” Viera graduated high school and then went to UTEP. After college, Viera started teaching at Guillen Middle School. He taught there for about 16 years. He then started to teach at Bowie High School for another 16 years before retiring from Texas.

Viera said,”I was given the opportunity to teach at Chaparral High School by   my uncle Mr.Encina. In his opinion Viera is a different teacher compared to the others. Viera said,”I am more lenient, I give students the chance they deserve and I focus on helping them on any problem they have.”Viera wants to make a difference in the life of young adults by teaching them how to succeed in life. Viera said,” Everyone has an opportunity you just have to choose if you will take it.”

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