All posts by Katharina Ronquillo

About Katharina Ronquillo

I like tacos.

Sexting: Exploration or Exploitation?

The teen years are a time of exploration and discovery of who we are, and a large part of that exploration is in the realm of sexuality. With the rise of the digital age, we see an increasing amount of this exploration taking place on social media in the form of what is known as ‘sexting’. Sexting is defined as the sharing of sexually explicit messages and/or images via cell phone and other digital means.

Many people tend to associate sexting with teen males and they fail to realize that females are equally involved in this kind of activity.

“I don’t really see a problem with teens sending pictures,” says a female senior Lobo at Chaparral High School (CHS) who wishes to remain anonymous. “It’s our body, so it’s not really anybody else’s business.”

Many teens fail to recognize the risks of sexting, but they are ever present and more dangerous than ever in today’s society “Once you send a picture the other person has it and they can do anything and it’s kind of scary,” says a female freshman at CHS.

Regardless of the risks, several females engage in these activities. “I know it can be dangerous with the wrong person but I trust my boyfriend,” says a senior Lobo. She, along with several other females at CHS, has engaged in these activities multiple times. “It’s not like he’s forcing me to send them so it doesn’t matter.”

On the other side of the same spectrum are the females that send explicit messages and photos because they feel as though they have to. “Sometimes it’s the difference between him loving you and him leaving you,” says a junior Lobo. In situations like this, a teen’s judgment can be clouded by teenage feelings and hormones, leading them to ignore possible risks.

Teens feeling pressured into sending explicit messages and images brings to light a terrifying aspect of teen sexting. At what point does sexting turn from exploration to exploitation? Several teens are either pressured or threatened into sending images that they do not want to send. Blackmail can easily become a part of the process. “He told me if I didn’t send another one he would send my last one to his friend,” says a lobo from CHS. “I guess I felt like I had to or he would start s**t.”

All of this information comes together to show that females as well as males take part in sexting activities. Perhaps sexting is a healthy part of teenage sexual development and perhaps it can be dangerous, but no matter your perspective, it is a fact that teenagers are constantly engaging in sexual activity via their cell phones and computers.

Underage sexting is a crime commonly committed by youth in high schools, middle schools and even some elementary schools nationwide. Chaparral High School’s newspaper, The Howler, looks to shed light on the issue by creating three different stories, one from the perspective of male students who were perpetrators or victims of sexting, one from the perspective of female students who were perpetrators or victims of sexting, and one based on New Mexico and Texas laws governing sexting by minors and sexting between a minor and an adult. The objective of the three stories is to determine the frequency of perpetrators and victims in Chaparral, to warn of the different crimes that are committed through sexting and to express the severity of each crime through possible court sentencing. Although the articles are entirely based on Chaparral schools and surrounding areas, they may be used as a starting point to warn students of the severity of sexting and the court sentences that could follow.
The creation of the three stories is based on student input and laws directly from legal sources. Each story is factually accurate meaning that when opinions are used they are intended as opinions and when facts are used they are based on reliable sources. The stories are intended to warn and not to convince but may convince when laws and consequences are highlighted.
The Howler decided to maintain student anonymity to minimize the harm that may be caused. Students were told to describe their situations regarding sexting and The Howler committed to keeping students anonymous so said students would not face legal jeopardy. Information gathered was used purely to inform our readers.

Are Students Safe at School

Gun violence has been a concerning issue in the United States for many years. Unfortunately, this violence is finding its way deeper and deeper into schools throughout the country. Just last month, a shooting claimed 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Security has increased in many schools around the country and several other counter measures have been looked into, but is it enough to make students feel secure at school?
Student security is a top priority for most school officials, but there are still students that feel as though there is not enough being done to ensure their safety when they go to school. Lobo freshman Heaven Telles reports that she has often felt unsafe at school. “The security here really isn’t that good,” said Telles. Telles believes that our security is outdated, an opinion that is supported by Lobo senior Anthony Soriano. Soriano states, “Laws haven’t been made to change it and I think that’s an under reaction.”
Other students, such as Lobo junior Nubia Soto, believe that students are safe at school. Though she does believe that more could be done for protection, Soto believes that there are many people overreacting to the recent violence in the form of the “walk out”, a day chosen by students throughout the country in which they plan to walk out of school and refuse to return until more is done to ensure safety on school campuses.
It is clear that many students feel insecure, but what is being done about it? A popular solution to the problem of gun violence in schools is arming teachers, an idea that appears to many students as a dangerous one. “I think it’s a bad idea,” Soriano said. “Imagine Appel with a gun.” Soriano’s humorous comment brings light to a disturbing truth – teachers are not immune to gun violence. There is also the possibility of students gaining easy access to teachers’ loaded firearms.
It is no doubt that violence in schools is an important issue that needs to be addressed, and it is equally important that students feel secure at school. It has come to a point where many students do not feel safe in their schools, and though there has been some action taken to reduce the amount of violence, fear still radiates throughout student bodies. Everyone appears to be asking the same question: Are we safe at school?

Fatal Crash on NM 404 Causes Delayed School Busses

by Katharina Ronquillo and Heaven Telles

Around 1:15 this afternoon a fatal car crash occurred on NM 404, locally known as the Anthony Gap highway. The crash left one person dead on site, and two others have been hospitalized. The extent of their injuries is unreported according to New Mexico State Police Department Sergeant Chad Pierce.

The accident involved at least two vehicles and eyewitnesses report having seen smoke surrounding the accident. It is not yet known how the collision occurred.

Due to the accident, NM 404 will be shut down from mile marker 0 to mile marker 8 until at least seven this evening, providing paramedics and other officials time to clear the scene. This will result in delayed school busses for Chaparral High, Chaparral Middle, Chaparral Elementary, Desert Trail Elementary, and Sunrise Elementary schools.

Parents have been notified of the delayed busses through the schools’ home call systems.


(This story was sourced from multiple, local commercial news outlets including: Las Cruces Sun-News, KFOX, El Paso and KVIA)

Lobo Musicians Qualify for State Conference.

NMMEA All-State Band Percussionist Ralph Ramirez
NMMEA All-State Band members (l. to r.) Gerson Oronia, Luis Navarrette, and Gio Salas.

Meghan Garcia

Lobo musicians were the only band members from the Gadsden Independent School District to qualify and participate in the 2018 New Mexico Music Educators’ Association conference held on January 10-13 In Albuquerque, NM.

Twice as many Lobos qualified this year as compared to last year. Gerson Oronia qualified for his third year in a row. As a junior he was placed in symphonic band and earned second chair for tuba. Luis Navarrete qualified his first attempt and is also a junior. He was placed in small school band and received first chair for tenor saxophone. His younger brother, freshman Geo Salas, also qualified his first year and was placed in small school band and earned second chair for tenor saxophone. Rafael Ramirez, a freshman,  also qualified in his first year. He placed in small school band, third chair for percussion.

Lobos, along with hundreds of other musicians from the entire state of New Mexico, performed contemporary classical music, which is known to have started in the mid-1970s and stayed popular into early 2000s. Contemporary music includes modernist, postmodern, neoromantic and pluralist music.

Out to Lunch

As of 2006, only 27 percent of United States high schools had open-lunches where students were allowed to leave campus during their lunch period. This number has remained consistent throughout the years, and there are still very few schools that maintain this policy, but why?

Chaparral High School (CHS) is among the 73 percent of schools that imprisons its students throughout all seven hours of the school day. CHS has never seen an open campus and, according to Principal Mark Rupcich, it is possible that it never will. In fact, the entire Gadsden School District (GISD) is subject to this particular rule. “It’s just not feasible,” said Rupcich. Rupcich mentioned concerns including the lack of restaurants in Chaparral and students using an open-campus as an opportunity to ditch class.

Rupcich is not the only person to express these concerns. In many debates throughout the country among different schools and districts, these issues as well as a few others have come up. One of the most pressing concerns is that the amount of out of school fights and accidents may occur more often during open lunches. As lunch is still during school hours, the schools and ultimately the district itself is responsible for any injury that occurs during student lunch time. Coronado High School and Franklin High School, located in El Paso, Texas, have both seen their fair share of these problems.

The proclivity of high school students to ditch classes is another concern when deciding whether or not a school or a school district should have an open-campus policy. By allowing students off-campus in the middle of the day, schools provide a stellar opportunity for students to leave and choose not to return for the second half.

While GISD currently has a closed-campus policy that does not mean that no one will ever be able to leave campus for lunch. The policy could possibly change in the future, but only time will tell.

Chaparral Cleaning Craze

All communities require effort from the community in order to be cleanly and beautiful. Chaparral will be encouraging its citizens to pitch in on a clean-up day on Saturday, October 21. The day will include opportunities for people to clean their yards and complete other chores as certain services will be provided for the public during this event.

The event will take place on Desert Aire Drive and Shiprock Drive in Old Chaparral and is expected to run from 9 in the morning until 1 in the afternoon. Students from Chaparral High School’s “The Howler” report team have volunteered to assist with the cleanup and other services that are going to be provided that day.

During the time of the cleanup there will be dumpsters at either end of the street, available to the public to dispose of their own garbage. There will also be a tire shredder available for public use. Other services that will be provided include:

  • Registering to have your dog spayed or neutered
  • Registering your dog for VACCINATIONS
  • Registering your pet for microchipping

This event is open to the public and will include services that are beneficial to anyone who chooses to use them. This is a good opportunity to get rid of a little bit of trash and also take care of your furry little friends.

SPED Teacher is a Home Run for the Baseball Team


Victor Lozano, a SPED teacher and assistant baseball coach at Chaparral High School, has been in the educational field for seven years, he has spent his last two years at Chaparral High school, and the rest were spent shared at Gadsden High School and North Valley Elementary. Lozano, also known as Coach Lozano to the school baseball team, has been a baseball coach for five years. Two of those years have been spent coaching the Chaparral Lobos. He has very high expectations for his baseball players; academically and behavioral wise. He expects to “have a good year, with more wins” and see more improvement with his athletes.

Since Lozano has experienced both elementary and high school, he’s found he prefers high school due to his experience at his last teaching position. He chooses to teach because he enjoys the interaction he has with each individual student.  What influenced him to be a coach also was “an impact of his experience”, such as, when he played as a kid and grew up to play in college. Lozano grew up knowing the sport, which inspired him to become a coach himself and help kids grow to become better athletes. In return for his dedication to the team, he expects “positive attitudes, with no complaints, just willing players who want to improve.”

Lozano attended Sul Ross University in Alpine, Texas, where he played four years of college baseball. He met Coach Rojas, another teacher at Chaparral, who he played with and was coached by.

Administrators Howling at New Policy

Being present and on time for school has never been more important than it is now. Previously, it was easy to replace an unexcused absence for an excused absence. It was easy for teachers to change a mistake in their attendance even weeks after the mistake was made. All of that is changing this school year with the implementation of the new Live Data policy.
The Live Data policy changes the way administration gets information, such as attendance and new enrollments to the main office. Previously, the information was sent out to the main office every 40 days, leaving time for mistakes to be corrected and changes to be made. This is why the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) opted to change the policy. Now, all the data goes out to the main office daily, around four in the afternoon. This is why teachers must be sure all of their attendance is complete by the end of the day and also why students now have to put in their ID numbers to get meals.
Aside from the stress that the policy puts on teachers to be absolutely correct in all of their data, the new policy creates another source of stress for teachers and administration. Having to input the data by a specific time can often interfere with teachers’ normal schedules, causing them to either fall behind or lose track of what they were working on. The deadlines are extremely inflexible.
On the other hand, having the daily input helps to make sure that all of the data that is submitted is correct. This prevents faculty from having to go back to check 40 days’ worth of information because they only have to check the information for that day.
The new policy applies to the entire state of New Mexico, and was introduced quite abruptly with little time for New Mexico teachers and administration to learn how it works. As this is its first year, it may or may not continue into other years based on its efficiency this year.
Though the Live Data policy makes keeping track of things easier at the main office, it is causing chaos for teachers and administration at Chaparral High School. According to Janet Sustaita, the sports data entry clerk at Chaparral High, though data can still be changed days after it is input, a record is kept that reflects poorly on the teachers and administration.
These reports are causing schools statewide to become even stricter about students and teachers having correct attendance. The state expects a 95 percent attendance rate for schools, and when it is shown in the report that there are a lot of absences and that students are having to make up hours, it reflects poorly on the school as a whole.
“It is really important for both students and teachers to be present,” said Sustaita, “It affects not only them, but it affects the whole school.”

Welcoming Alex Viera

Alex Viera is a new social studies teacher at Chaparral High School


One of the new staff members at Chaparral High School is Alex Viera. Viera believes he is a good fit for this school’s social studies department, as he said, “30 years of experience in teaching will work well with this school”.

Viera received a phone call from Principal Rupcich inviting him to work at Chaparral High School. Thus far, he says Chaparral is a nice and enjoyable place. He plans to teach here five more years before retirement.

Viera’s teaching career began at the age of 23. As a teacher he taught at Guillen Middle School for eight years. After teaching there, Viera transferred to Bowie High School and taught there for 22 years.

Viera was born and raised in the city of El Paso, Texas. During his childhood he went to Alta Vista Elementary and graduated from Austin High School. Growing up, he looked up to his coaches and teachers, who inspired him to pursue the path of teaching. After graduating from high school, he spent the next four years attending UTEP and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in education.


Passing Once Is Not Good Enough?


Senior Danny Vasquez testing in the Chaparral High School career lab

The overwhelming pressure that testing creates for students at Chaparral High School every April is powerful enough to crush even the strongest Lobo’s confidence.

I, along with other Lobos, have recently been subjected to New Mexico’s standardized testing, being forced to stare at a computer screen for hours at a time. During this time, it was quiet enough to hear clocks ticking and the sound of a pin drop, a factor that only helps to worsen an already overwhelming situation.

In the middle of an assignment in my fifth period world history class, the front office called me out of class without warning. Anxiety immediately built up, constricting my lungs and making my breaths choppy as I got up and walked haltingly to the office with a thousand thoughts racing through my mind and no idea of what was about to happen. I arrived in the office only to be redirected to the lab in F-hall, which meant that I would be testing, and this realization only made the situation more intense as I had not had time to properly prepare to take a test.

As a transfer from Alta Vista Early College High School, I had already taken and passed the PARCC tests for Algebra 2 and English 3. Upon arriving at Chaparral High School I was told that I would not have to retake the PARCC test, so I had not been studying or preparing in any way for those particular tests. Having this testing sprung on me was unfair and cruel, and I can empathize with other students who have been forced to retake the test.

I arrived in the testing room late, and it seemed as though I was walking in as a new student while everyone stared at me and the test administrators set me up to take the test. Because I started later than the other people in the room, I had a lingering fear that I would not have enough time to complete my test. I had to spend two long and tiring days completing these tests, time which could have been spent in class learning new material instead of repeating material that I had already completed and would have no positive impact on me. The only purpose of this was to show the school if I had improved in order to make the school look better in the eyes of the district and the state.

Is the torment of stress and test preparation really necessary for students that have already completed the tests required for their grade level? I truly do not think so.