What Goes on in the Health Center Stays in the Health Center, Until Now

Students say the nurse’s assistant does not help at all, and upon hearing this, Sandra Valadez, the nurse’s assistant said, “I’d like to know who said that!”

Valadez is aiming to become a school nurse, or work in a clinic. She came to work as a nurse assistant at Chaparral High School (CHS) about a year and a half ago for the experience she needs to reach her goal. Valadez said, “At first I did not want to become a nurse because of all the blood, but deCastro (Carole deCastro, R.N.) and my family motivated me.”

Valadez is 27 years old and graduated from El Paso Community College. Valadez said her favorite thing about being a nurse is, “Meeting the students and talking or learning from them.”

The students are respectful to nurse deCastro and Valadez. Valadez says there has never been a rude student who came to her and deCastro. She treats the students with the same respect they give her and always gives students the option to call their parents and ask to be picked up or stay in the Health Center.

Valadez says that she treats the students with respect, but some Lobos may have a different idea in their heads. Cruz Chaparro, sophomore at CHS said, “Yes, she helps a little then nothing.” Chaparro believes that the nurse assistant does not do her job and said, “Most of the time she either just tells you to go home or gives you an ice pack.” Chaparro went to the nurse with a fractured finger and she gave him two sticks to keep it in place. Chaparro said, “A visit to the school nurse and doctor differ because a doctor has more equipment than the nurse does.”

CHS senior Priscilla Miranda has gone to Nurse deCastro for a physical and has met Valadez. Miranda and Chaparro think very differently, where Chaparro says Valadez does not help, Miranda knows that Valadez is not allowed to do much for the students at CHS, but does all that she can for them. Miranda knows that a visit to the doctor and Nurse deCastro differ because a doctor is allowed to give treatments and medication to their patients whereas a school nurse assistant and school nurse cannot. Instead of believing that Valadez does not do her job, Miranda believes she does and thinks that her job is to check the students to see if they are healthy, and provide them with care.

Valadez and deCastro are not allowed to do any surgery or treatment when a student comes in with an injury. They can’t give students any medication unless the student has a prescription from their doctor. All they can really do is tend to the injury if it is not that serious, but if the injury is serious or fatal they have to call 911, administration (to inform them that they called 911), and security to help.

One of the more serious injury’s that Valadez and deCastro have recently dealt with is shortness of breath. Once, a student came in short of breath, Valadez and deCastro had to call 911, because they could not by law give the student treatment. They tried to calm the student but they are not permitted to do anything else.

Nurse deCastro and Valadez are limited in what they can do when helping students, but even when limited, they still do a lot for the students at CHS. They talk to the students, care for them and help them in any way possible. Nurse deCastro and Valadez do more than the some students at CHS think they do.

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Chaparral High School Teacher of the Year

CHS Teacher of the Year Maria Cristina Gonzalez instructing her sixth period chemistry class.
Chaparral High School 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year, Ms. Maria Cristina Gonzalez

 

Chaparral High School (CHS) is full of hardworking and dedicated teachers, but perhaps the most outstanding of them all is Maria Cristina Gonzalez, who was recognized as 2016-2017 CHS Teacher of the Year. Gonzalez gets along well with students and co-workers alike, which is why it is no surprise that she was chosen by her co-workers as Teacher of the Year.

“We have an awesome science department and I love my coworkers,” Gonzalez says, “The Spanish department is top notch, plus technology, math english, everyone in SPED (Special Education Department), OMG all of them are INCREDIBLE at this school.” Aside from her dedication to improving her students’ learning, she carries with her a cheerful demeanor and a kind attitude. The moment you walk up to greet her, you will be met with a warm smile.
Gonzalez first became a teacher 31 years ago, and has been teaching at CHS for three years, which she has described as “beautiful”. She currently works in the CHS science department as a chemistry teacher. Gonzalez became an educator because, as she explained, “We are a family of educators.” Her mother, father, brothers and sister have all spent time teaching or currently are teachers.
Aside from traditional methods of teaching, Gonzalez enjoys adding a bit of humor and perspective into her teaching. She considers not only her student’s educational advancement, but also their emotions. Gonzalez says, “I try to be super patient and remember I don’t know my kiddos problems, so I have to talk, talk, talk.”
Being chosen as Teacher of the Year has inspired Gonzalez to motivate more of her students to become educators. “It makes me realize how noble teaching is,” Gonzalez says, “I want to tell more of my students to be teachers.”
Though this is her last year of teaching, Gonzalez says that she enjoys teaching at Chaparral high school, saying that her favorite aspect is the one-on-one time with students. Pushing students to be motivated is what she feels she is most passionate about, and she hopes that she makes an impact on the lives of her students every moment that they are with her.

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Who is the Last Man Standing in the Administration Depression?

During the school year of 2016-2017, the Gadsden Independent School District has been financially struggling because of the recent funding issue going on in the state of New Mexico. The state of New Mexico is going through tough times because the price of oil barrels are low which makes the oil royalties are lower than what the state expects them to be. Not only has the state been affected by the Oil decrease but schools have been impacted so much.

According to Chaparral High School Principal Mark Rupcich, “Schools such as Truth or Consequences and Cobre are being affected so bad that they have decided to go from a five day school week to a four day school week.

Superintendent Efren Yturralde and Rupcich said that the school district was asked to give back an estimate of $5.5 million dollars to the state because of how unbalanced the state budget was.

Measures have been taken by the schools and staff such as moving teachers to other schools, budget cuts, moving kids out of small classes and held back activities to make up for the money needed to give back to the state.

The question here is, if it comes to a point where the schools have to start letting teachers go, which teachers are the first to go out the door? Rupcich’s personal opinion is that it comes down to last in first out. There are also departments like the Reduction Inforce. This is when the District comes together to start analyzing who and what they can do without. Then again, it seems that Rupcich and Yturralde both believe that this situation won’t get that far out of hand and that they will not need to come to the decision of who goes out.

The state is asking for money from the school districts but the Superintendent believes that the school system should be fine at the end of this depression.

As of right now, administration is not taking a furlough but Rupcich did say that there was a meeting where Yturralde discussed about all the principals in the Gadsden School District taking a weeks’ worth of no pay. “It is only fair that principals share the responsibility just as everyone in the school district would,” stated Rupcich.

“It’s a difficult time to be a teacher in New Mexico and to be happy with your job,” said Rupcich. Of course you see teachers still working and working together to keep this situation steady but Rupcich says, “It’s a sad day for education.”

No one really knows how bad this situation could escalate to but the Superintendent says, “Thank you to all the teachers for being calm and for working together.”

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Chips Change Hands to keep Students in the Black

There is a black market at Chaparral High School (CHS) and the illegal contraband does not have to do with any sort of drug.  CHS has a multitude of students that are selling their merchandise of chips, burritos and candy for various reasons. Which leaves the hallways full of students crunching and munching on their way to class

Not a single student that was interviewed, and has not been caught selling food in school, wanted to be mentioned in this story. All of the students that are currently selling have no fear of being caught. “I’m not even worried.” Was a common response. These students have not been caught yet and do not think they will anytime soon. The students who are currently selling claim to make anywhere from $10 to $20 a day and potentially $50 to $100 dollars a week.

Students are selling for many reasons depending on what their situation is. There are students who are equally dedicated to their education and their sport. They want to give their absolute best to their choice of sport but may not be able to afford some of the equipment required. So they make the small investment to help their cause. One student athlete sells to buy her equipment for track since she does not have time for a job. Her main concern is her education but she is just as dedicated to her sport.

Rita Estrada was caught selling burritos. Her intentions were simply to pay for the cellphone she uses. She said, “The librarian saw me and made me give them their money back and made them give me back the food.” Rita might have gotten off easy, but when a security guard catches a student, their merchandise is confiscated and administration is notified to deal with the student.

Security guards at CHS completely agree with district policy. Guadalupe Quinones thinks the situation is past a money issue saying, “I understand why [they sell] but they shouldn’t because chances are students could get really sick.” She is not referring to the chips students sell but she is talking about burritos. There are a handful of students who sell burritos and who knows if they have any sort of certification or food handler’s license. This is the reason why Quinones does her best to catch these students and although they are hard to find, they are doing their best to catch these black marketers.

Principal Mark Rupcich at CHS is man who simply follows the rules. “First of all, we’re simply following federal guidelines.” The policy on selling goods at school will never change because, “it’s federally controlled. If New Mexico wants to continue to receive federal funding they need to abide by the law.” So students will most likely never be able to sell on their own will, freely. Rupcich says, with a “Heavy heart” he would not change the policy if it were up to him.

 

 

 

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No Dollars for Dangerous Desert Dust Solution

Imagine walking across the Chaparral High School (CHS) campus when suddenly the wind picks up, blowing small stinging grains of sand into your exposed skin. These painful attacks are common experiences for Lobos at CHS. The parts of the CHS campus that are not covered by buildings are mostly covered by sand, which blows around in high desert winds and causes several issues for CHS and Lobo students and staff.

Students track sand (and mud when it rains) from their shoes into the building, contributing to gritty and sometimes dangerously slick school floors. This is not the only problem that the dirt presents. Aside from being painful, the blowing dust can cause several other conflicts, including sand piles building in unwanted places, such as the tennis and basketball courts, and aggravating some student’s allergies. Blowing dust can also get into fire alarms and set them off, causing disruption to classes.

Because sand presents all of these conflicts, CHS Principal Mark Rupcich has thought about covering the campus in desert landscaping. “It’s a beautiful campus and a beautiful building,” says Rupcich, “But it would be nice to have landscaping.” Landscaping would not only help the school look better, but it would also help hold down some of the dirt and prevent it from blowing in the wind.

Unfortunately, the school district does not have enough money to invest installing landscaping at CHS. The CHS campus is approximately 689,000 square feet in area and though most of this area is covered by Chaparral High School and the Pre-K, there is still a lot of land that would need to be covered which could cost the school and the school district more than 200,000 dollars.

Rupcich said, “Due to the fact that there is an extremely limited budget for the whole district, we will only be doing what is necessary.” Though covering the campus in landscaping would solve a few pesky problems, it is not considered a necessary action and therefore does not yet fit into the school’s budget.

There is another way that this gritty problem can be contained, however. Adding buildings to the campus will create wind blocks and help imprison the dirt. The school is planning on building a new gym in the empty lot south of the tennis courts which will cover a large section of sand that is currently grating Lobos. There are also plans to add new classrooms to the wings in the future. Both of these additions will reduce the amount of dirt on campus.

It is a fact that blowing sand irritates Lobos, and this problem will be addressed in the future one way or another.

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Lobo Awareness

Students at Chaparral High School (CHS) are much more aware of their present and future education then you would think they are.

When the CHS did a survey on student motivation, how closely students pay attention to their current and future education became obvious. The surveys questions that had something to do with the student’s awareness of their education included; Do you plan to continue your education after High School, do you pay close attention to your grades, do you know how many credits you have, do you know how many credits you need to graduate, do you know what your attendance looks like and do you know if you are at risk of losing credits due to your attendance.

The first educational question was, “Do you plan to continue your education after High School,” and five percent (10.45 students out of the 209 who responded) of the students replied no while 95 percent (198.55 students out of the 209 who responded) of them replied yes.

The next question, “Do you pay close attention to your grades,” had results of 17 percent (35.53 students out of the 209 who responded) for no and 83 percent (173.47 students out of the 209 who responded) for yes.

23 percent (48.07 students out of 209 who responded) said no but 77 percent (160.93 students out of 209 who responded) said yes to the, “Do you know how many credits you have?”

“Do you know how many credits you need to graduate,” was the fourth educational question on the CHS survey, the question had 19 percent (39.71 students out of the 209 who responded) said no and 81 (169.29 students out of the 209 who responded) said yes.

For the question, “Do you know what your attendance looks like,” 13 percent (27.17 students out of the 209 who responded) said no and 87 percent (181.83 students out of the 209 who responded) said yes.

Finally the last educational question, “Do you know if you are at risk of losing credits due to your attendance,” had 27 percent (56.43 students out of the 209 who responded,) say no and 73 percent (152.57 students out of the 209 who responded,) say yes.

By Katharina Ronquillo and Julie Ferrell

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Student Motivation at Chaparral High School

There are various factors that motivate and influence Lobo education, and these factors were a major focus of this Howler survey.

We asked 209 Lobos (about 21% of the Lobo population) who influenced their views on education and 60 percent of those surveyed responded that their families are their main influences, yet 58 percent of those surveyed said that they believe their teachers should be their main influence. Other major factors that influence Lobo views on education are grades, sports, and social media.

It is no doubt that teachers at Chaparral High School (CHS) have an influence on student motivation and views. Aside from Lobo views on teachers’ influence, 86 percent of the surveyed Lobos told us that they felt their teacher wanted them to succeed, and 64 percent of the respondents said that they would be more willing to come to school if there was more one-on-one time with teachers.

We also asked students about their motivators and what the school could do to make them feel more motivated. Out of all respondents, 92 percent, of the Lobos we asked told us that they got their motivation from home. On top of this information, 27 percent of the students said that they want to come to school for the sake of academic advancement, but 34 percent of the surveyed Lobos, told us that their classes made them not want to attend school. With that said, it is no surprise that 45 percent of the Lobos surveyed said that the school could help them feel more motivated by changing their class schedules.

While Lobo motivators appear to vary for the most part, aspects such as family and teachers appear to be primary values among our Lobo community.

By Katharina Ronquillo and Julie Ferrell

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How Can the School Improve Academics?

In a recent survey conducted by the Chaparral High School (CHS) Howler, there were several things that Lobos seemed to agree CHS could change in order to give them a better educational experience.

One of the questions in the survey directly asked Lobos if there was anything that the school could change to help them feel more motivated. The majority of the Lobos seemed to believe that changing the class schedules, such as the order of classes, and the lunch menu would help them become more willing to attend school.

The next question in the survey, “What makes you want to attend school?” provided several multiple choice answers for the Lobos to choose from. Out of six choices they preferred friends and academic advancement. This shows that students want to learn, but there are, in fact, things that keep them from wanting to come to school. This was also shown when it came to the question that asked Lobos what makes them not want to come to school, and most them chose teachers and classes.

All of these responses present aspects of the school that could change to keep students motivated. This shows that the majority of students surveyed have problems with their classes more than there teachers that keep them from wanting to come to school.

By Katharina Ronquillo and Julie Ferrell

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Howler Motivation Survey

In a survey recently conducted by the Chaparral High School (CHS) Howler, 209 Lobos (approximately 21 percent of the Lobo community) of varying grade levels responded to questions about their motivation for school and how they feel about school. While some of the answers remained similar throughout all of the Lobos surveyed, a few questions presented study- worthy statistics.

One of the main focuses of this survey was on the educational motivators of CHS Lobos. In a section focused on figuring out why Lobos come to school and what pushes them to excel, the surveyed Lobos were asked questions such as, “When did you get your motivation for school?”, and, “What makes you want to attend school?”

Another topic addressed was where students learned their views on their education. This section focused on how students view their education and where they feel their views stem from. This section asked questions such as, “Who taught you your views on education?”, and, “Do you believe that your grades define you”

The final focus of this Howler survey was on student awareness. Lobos were asked questions about their school credits and attendance. These questions included questions such as “Do you know how many credits you need to graduate?”, and, “Do you know if you are at risk of losing credit due to your attendance?”

This Howler survey showed us that while the majority of our CHS Lobos have similar views on their education and similar reasons for getting an education, there are a few things that set each Lobo apart from the others.

Pie charts 2

By Katharina Ronquillo and Julie Ferrell

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2017 Baseball Season Looking Up

Gilbert Rojas has been coaching the Chaparral High School Baseball program for the past three years. Rojas sees the past seasons as a learning experience, because the Baseball program is, “Still trying to catch up.”

As of today, the Baseball program had 25 players in the off-season, which was only enough for a varsity squad and a junior varsity squad. Rojas is trying to help these 25 players understand the game, as he said, “It doesn’t come easy to a lot of people.” This year’s off season’s goal was to get prepared mentally.

Last year’s baseball record was 1-23. “The overall knowledge of the game was our weakness last year,” said Rojas. This season Rojas expects the overall knowledge to improve, and expects players to know how to prepare to win games. Having the mentality of a win is a big part of success.

Rojas doesn’t have any captains for the team, but he is expecting more from the experienced players: Robert Esquivel, Nick Castro, Jose Luis Esquivel, and Raymond Sanchez. In order to be prepared, Rojas expects these players to lead and to take care of their roles. The baseball program will have 26 games in total, 13 of them are home games.

The team’s strongest asset is how they work hard at every practice. The team loves to practice. “Other teams have been playing since little league,” said Rojas. Most of the Chaparral Baseball players didn’t have that experience.

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