Every day is an Adventure

Every day Ivonne Perez arrives at Chaparral HS with a smile on her face knowing she will have another day of teaching her favorite students new lessons.

“I enjoy my job very much…,” said Perez. Especially when she sees her students improving every day and seeing the hard work they put in.

Perez teaches students with learning and physical disabilities which is what makes her day an adventure.

She became interested in teaching students with disabilities when she took a class in 1998 called Behavior Modification at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Behavior Modification is the development of behavioral pattern through the use of some learning techniques. Perez transferred from UTEP to New Mexico State University that same year, where she finished her degree after five years. She completed her studies after finishing four years of college and one year of student teaching. .

Her first job in this field began at Bridges Academy Private School in El Paso, Texas. At first, Perez felt nervous and anxious to begin teaching these students.

She changed jobs transferring to the Gadsden Independent School District where she has been teaching students with disabilities for 19 years. She started at Gadsden Middle School and worked with disabled students for nine years, then worked five years at Chaparral Middle School and has now been working for four years at Chaparral High School.

 

“I enjoy teaching here because the community makes me feel welcomed.” says Perez.

She feels nervous and excited to see how the students will react towards the new activities she has for them.

“It’s a very difficult task to fulfill every students’ needs, each student is different; one student might be having a great day but another student can be struggling with the day’s activity,” says Perez.

The students’ day consists of many different activities, for example: follow the students schedule, take them to elective classes such as P.E and teach them academic skills which are math, language arts, social studies and science. “These kids are very individual, most of them can be really independent but others need more help,” says Perez. Some of the older kids have learned to become more independent; knowing she can help them become a better person is what

Perez has grown to love about her job more each day.

“The moment when the little light bulb inside their head turns on, that makes me happy.” said Perez. As a Special Education Teacher, she enjoys seeing students learn new things. She feels blessed knowing she has made the right decision in choosing this career.

The most valuable lesson Perez has learned throughout her career is to “never give up, you’re blessed to be working with these kids.”

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Chappy the Hero

Chappy leads the way with introducing a new program at Chaparral High School (CHS). The new cyberbullying program helps students gain voice and power. It teaches our students how to be cautious and have a friendly environment while in use of social media.

Students use social media to interact with friends and family, others may use it to harm or express their unnecessary negative comments.

The Criminal Justice teacher Mr. Ronald Richman and his second period class are in charge of the Cyberbullying program. They want to spread the word to the CHS students that someone is here to help.

President of the program, Damaris Saenz, wants students to know that this program is a good way to help others. The program is, “Not to stop bullying because bullying is always going to be a problem but to at least cut it down and give power to those who get bullied,” said Damaris. Also Richman wants to, “Give students a voice.”

Richman and the second period class would like to display their video on Lobo News to inform students about cyberbullying and how this program is going to bring many fun activities that will help them learn to speak up if any cyberbullying is happening to them or anybody else. Rupcich will also be involved with this program. Since he takes cyberbullying seriously, he will have serious consequences to those who are involved in bullying other students. Richman’s second period class made a film involving other Lobo students to help students understand that cyberbullying can happen anywhere and at any time to anyone.

Anyone can join to help prevent bullying in our school and to create a safer environment for everyone. Richman and his second period class will give a further noticed of what days the program will be available to students afterschool.

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Sam the Art Man

 

For a student with an innovative and vivid mind, you might want to be a part of Chaparral High School’s (CHS) Art Cub.

The Art Club has been around for two years going on three. After CHS hired Samuel Soria as an art teacher, he decided to start an Art Club. “I decided to start an Art Club ever since I started working here because the school didn’t have one and the school didn’t have many clubs,” said Soria.

“It’s been pretty cool. The kids have been working hard and the group is slowly bonding,” said Soria.

Art Club members along with Soria work with the community to try and better the community. They also work with other clubs at school such as National Honor Society (NHS), Journalism, Yearbook, French Club, Family Career Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and Business Professionals of America (BPA).

Soria works with 20 members so far and is looking forward expanding the group. His most outstanding, advanced students in class are also his club officers. Abraham Hernandez is President, David Castro is Vice President and Blanca Ramirez is the Secretary.

At the end of the school year Soria and the club members take an educational trip to wherever they can afford. To afford the trip, during the school year they fundraise by making T-shirts for other clubs, face-painting at football games or hosting a car wash.

For people who are interested in joining Art Club, Soria would like to say, “Art Club is a family. It’s about helping the community through art, and finding yourself. We don’t think about ourselves, we think about others. Always work hard, never give up, always put yourself out there and never stop creating.”

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Front desk to the rescue

Everybody wonders who Chaparral High Schools front desk is, and what she has been through so far. Amy Garcia is then name and here is her story.

Amy Garcia is the name of our front desk, she has been here for the past two years and says that she is happy here and loves it here as well. When asked if she liked working as a front desk, her response was “yes, I get to meet with different people every single day.”

 She also claimed that she really loves working here, and the thing that she most enjoyed about her job and what she liked best was working with students.

 Her task as the Front Desk is to receive parents, students and just pretty much anyone who walks through those doors. Everyone who walks in through those doors have to confront Amy first before doing anything or going anywhere in the campus. In addition, she must take care of sub and finally yet importantly, she must send faxes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Too Many Right ways to Coach Basketball

How you coach basketball is based upon each coaches’ opinions.
Here are three coaches, one currently coaching and two retired.
Coach Guerrero is currently the head coach for the girls’ basketball team. Coach Guerrero played high school basketball. She could have played college basketball but she decided not to. Coach Guerrero has been coaching for twelve years. Her greatest achievement as a coach was making it to the district championship twice. Another one of her greatest achievements was seeing her players graduate with good grades. When coaching, she mainly focuses on basic fundamentals and staying positive. Coach Guerrero’s goals change every day. Guerrero’s main frustration is the lack of dedication. When asked what the hardest part about being a coach was she responded, “Trying to have a personal life, so much time dedicated to basketball it’s hard to have a personal life.”
Retired coach is Carl Bailey. Throughout his coaching years he coached girls and boys basketball. Bailey played high school and college basketball. He coached 34 years, and was the head coach for boys’ basketball at Coronado High School. Bailey believes that to be a basketball coach you need to have discipline, you need to work hard and have lots of patience. When Bailey was asked what the hardest part about being a coach was he said, “Time that you put in”.
Second retired coach is Hernandez, who was the head coach of the boys’ basketball team. Hernandez coached basketball for 23 years, he also coached pro ball in Mexico for 2 years. Hernandez said that to be a basketball coach it takes, “Patience, experience, and passion for the game”. His expectations for his team were to set goals and accomplish them. One of his main goals was to win state. When asked what the hardest part about being a coach is he responded with, “Disciplining the players and being loyal to the program”.
There is no one way to be a basketball coach.

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Lobos protector Quinonez loves being our den mother

Senior Security Guard and den mother Guadalupe Quinonez
Senior Security Guard and den mother Guadalupe Quinonez

The land of the Lobos knows that the task of a security guard is to secure and make sure that students are safe which is what Guadalupe Quiñonez, the head security guard does for Chaparral High School every single day.

Quiñonez has been working as a security guard for 16 years and has worked in many other schools: Gadsden High School, Gadsden Middle School and Santa Teresa High School. Quiñonez still sees herself as a security guard for many more years because she enjoys working with students.

What she likes the most about her job is that some of the experiences that she has had with students gives her the chance to change their lives one way or another. Quiñonez says, “Sometimes students think negative and they don’t know they can be successful in life”, that is one of the things she likes to listen from them when she helps them.

Her goal, since she remembers, was to be a police officer, and that is the reason why she likes her job so much and she would not change it for anything.

Quiñonez did not have to take any training to start working as a security, guard but if the district is able to give some training, they can take it.  She believes that security guards should be trained to be allowed to have pepper spray because they never know what they are getting into.  She has been through a lot of crazy experiences in her job, some of them have to deal with ghosts. One day Quiñonez was walking in G hall, after school making sure the doors were closed and everything was going all right, but when she was exiting out of G hall she heard somebody rattle the keys, when she turn around to see if someone was there, there was nobody.

One of the things she has to be careful whenever a fight takes place is not to hurt anyone when trying to separate them. A student has never attacked her physically but has done it verbally.

Some of the skills Quiñonez uses on a day-to-day basis are to have a lot of patience and some of the training she has had from years ago. How she learned these skills was by using day-by-day experiences that she implements and if they did not work, she changed them until they work.

If you are planning to enter in this career Quiñonez has something to tell you “you must have a lot of patience, don’t take it too hard, you have to be willing to do the job and help and in able to help, you have to learn to listen. You have to be human to understand.”

One of the negatives about her job is that there are not enough people to cover the school. She would like to have six security guards to cover the whole school. Quiñonez finds everything unique about her job because each and every one of the students is unique. She cannot compare anybody. The other security guards of Chaparral High School do not have the same responsibilities that Quiñonez has. A typical day for her is to catch a lot of kids ditching, a lot of students without passes in the hall, tardies and referrals. Quiñonez deals with a lot of problems in school such as, fights and investigations, mediations and attendance.

Quiñonez finds her job very exciting and has something to tell all the students “You guys are a puzzle for this school, if something is wrong with you guys, something is wrong with the school.”

 

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The Cure

Assistant Sandra Valadez seated and Lobo Nurse Carole deCastro in their den.
Assistant Sandra Valadez seated and Lobo Nurse Carole deCastro in their den.

For the past four years, Carole deCastro (Chaparral High School’s Nurse) has been the cure to our viruses.

deCastro’s day starts early. She gets to school at 8:30 a.m., unlocks all the doors and turns all the computers on. By the time she sets everything up, there is a student at the door waiting to be attended. She attends from 35 to 55 students every day.

The most common reasons students go to the nurse are headaches and stomach aches. All deCastro can do for headaches or stomach aches is lay the students down on beds with a pack of ice for their head. deCastro is not allowed to give students any sort of medications.

Students also seem to come to school very sleepy and for that reason if you are very tired and did not get enough sleep, the nurse offers the “Energy pod”. The Energy Pod is a sleeping pod with southing tones which are proved to be relaxing. “It is a quiet-dark place to calm down” said deCastro. The nurse gives you 20 minutes to sleep or relax in the energy pod.

deCastro is a very caring person. “I love taking care of people, I love people,” said deCastro. deCastro believes she developed such personality because of her mother who was also a very caring person. When deCastro was about 45, she had to take care of her grandmother, 94, who had gotten sick. deCastro liked taking care of her grandmother, and from there she had the idea of becoming a nurse.

deCastro attended University of Central Florida for another two years for her Bachelor’s in Education, she also went to Texas Tech University for two years to get her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. In order to be a nurse, you need to be registered as a nurse. The first requirement in becoming a registered nurse is to obtain the proper education. There are several different paths that can lead to licensure as an RN. Aspiring RNs may earn a diploma, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

In the Chaparral High School Health Center, there are two employees, Carole deCastro (Nurse) and Sandra Valadez (Health Assistant). Valadez’s job is to help deCastro with anything she needs, the only thing Valadez can’t do is inspections. The most deCastro can do before calling an ambulance is Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), and give oxygen.

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Put the spirit stick down!

 

Pep Rally put on hold by lunch gang activity.

Chaparral High School (CHS) was put into a freeze after lunch due to gang activity observed during lunch period. Some CHS students were posturing themselves into rival games, exchanging words as well as signs to where it was distracting the rest of the students at lunch, keeping them from returning to class. Staff on lunch duty and all security staff were involved in the activity.

An additional response by administration was the threat of cancelling the school’s pep rally.

“In order to calm things down, I made the decision to keep students in class,” said Mark Rupcich, CHS principal. Students were sent to their fifth period class without permission to leave the classroom for any reason. In the process of the freeze, some students were sent home. After the class period, students were released to their sixth period class and put into a freeze once again. During sixth period Rupcich made the decision of ending the freeze after the students calmed down, which meant the pep rally was back on.

 

 

 

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Cafeteria Cooks like Ninjas

Before the crack of dawn Juana (Juanita) Montelongo opens up the cafeteria saying, “I need to turn on the lights, ovens and take the temperatures of the refrigerators.” As the manager of the cafeteria

Although the workers have their own task to perform, they all have the same goal – feed the students of Chaparral High School (CHS) and a few teachers who must pay for their meal. . Montelongo manages 12 employees that fill in three roles: 7-hour cook, 4-hour server and temperature assistant manager. The students are provided with a free meal but the teachers and staff must pay $3.25 for lunch and $1.90 for breakfast.

Students are entitled to a free breakfast and lunch by law. https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/disadv/promisingresults/edlite-exsum.html

Sadly, a lot of leftover food is thrown away. By law, the food is for the students and only the students. Plates of food cannot be taken outside the cafeteria, except fruit. Other than that, everything else is wasted. It would be nice if the food could be donated or even sold to a farm as feed for animals. Montelongo says, “I would like to but we can’t” However, sometimes the food grows legs.

The kitchen area is immaculate. It is as if they were never there and the equipment was never used. That is the standard that Montelongo has for her employees. They not only have to prepare meals for the students at CHS but for the Chaparral On-Track Pre-K. A total of about 1200 meals. Around 130 being for the Pre-K.

The lunch lines might be long but they are not boring. Montelongo has the radio playing during lunch so that the cafeteria workers can keep up with the pace and students entertained while they wait. Montelongo said, “Mr. Rupcich is okay with it as long as it isn’t profane.”

Whether it is the music or Montelongo the staff are very motivated to do their job. They do it every day with a smile on their faces.

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