Hiking Club Ventures To World Wonder

By Brianna Metzler

On Saturday, March 17, Pueblo’s Hiking Club, consisting of 13 students, five chaperones and advisor Mr. Ernesto Somoza met at Pueblo at 3:30 a.m. in order to get on the road at 4:30 a.m.—sharp—in order to make it to the Grand Canyon. Along the way, they stopped at Sunset Point for breakfast and to readjust to the drastic weather change, putting on additional clothing, jackets, beanies and gloves.

There was nearly a 40-degree difference from Tucson weather to Northern Arizona temperatures.

The Hiking Club spent four days touring the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The weather continued to get colder—from approximately 40 degrees down to 27 degrees, for a high. The trip quickly turned from a normal camping trip to a “snow” camping trip.

During the club’s first night, around 2 a.m., snow began falling—and students awoke to four inches in the morning. The club was prepared for this event, and camping resumed with some adjustment to the weather.

The overnight lows dipped to 11 degrees, which students prepared for—using multiple sleeping bags, cold-weather grade blankets, snow gloves and beanies.

Senior Thai Kromrei said that this was the first time in his life that he actually saw snow falling.

“I’ve seen snow before—but it was always after I woke up in the morning,” Kromrei said. “This experience was as awesome as the hike itself. I am glad that I brought a thick Mexican blanket to keep warm.”

Sponsor Somoza said, “The students were amazing on this trip! They adjusted to the weather without any complaints. I did give students an opportunity to vote if they wanted to stay or return to Tucson, and all students wanted to stay in order to hike into the Grand Canyon on Monday, March 19.”

Students, chaperones and Somoza completed the hike to Indian Garden (South Rim)—specifically on the Bright Angel Trail. This 13-mile round trip hike took 10 hours—and the group endured an elevation change of 3,500 feet.

“I want to congratulate all of the students who completed this hike. Not only did they complete the hike as individuals, they helped each other throughout the entire hike,” Somoza said. “Some students were struggling towards the end, but as a team, they encouraged and helped each other make it up.”

Senior Iram Arce, a “guest” on this trip due to a Hiking Club member not being able to go at the last minute, said, “After spending weeks in Alaska a few years back, I suppose that 11 degrees didn’t bother me too much. I was grateful for the experience of seeing Northern Arizona and experiencing a part of Arizona that I don’t get to very often. Thanks, Mr. Somoza, for this opportunity!”

The Hiking Club members were welcomed to Tucson and 80-degree temperatures on Tuesday, March 20.

President senior Annette Durazo said, “I loved this trip—it was truly an out of this world experience—but it was also nice to return to sunshine and warm temperatures in Tucson. This was my first time to the Grand Canyon, and I’m certainly planning to return some day. I’m proud of my hiking team peers that they united during this trip—truly, we seemed like one family looking out for one another.”

The Hiking Club is planning one last outing this school year—to Sedona, Ariz., on May 12.

Pueblo Community Invited To Attend ‘Borderlands’

  

by Paula Fierros & Daniela Moreno

On Saturday, Feb. 3, in Room T-12, graphic design teacher Mr. Ernesto Somoza held a meeting promote a project called “Borderlands”. Since then, he has organized and orchestrated other meetings—all leading up to an April 21 trip to the U.S.-Mexico border.

In February, six local artists attended the meeting and shared the same enthusiasm as Somoza, as well as their experiences in the field of art, specifically on and about the border.

“Our mission for this project is to help the students interact with the community and focus on the seriousness of the border,” Somoza said. “Beautiful art work is needed to change the ugliness of the border.”

The first artist to speak was Pueblo alumni Ruben Romero, from the Class of 1994; he donated pieces of his artwork, which contain a lot of political and cultural symbolism.

Romero said, “It is important to fuel the fire for the next generation of activists and to shine the light on human cruelty.”

A group of activists known as Derechos Humanos (Human Rights) with three representatives spoke about the way they have dealt with controlling of immigration and the border.

“What our group does is represent the rights every immigrant that crosses the border has,” said spokesperson Rachel Garcia. “Our group has a tradition where we have a pilgrimage to San Xavier carrying crosses that we made with the names of dead people found in the Arizona desert border towns—which is known as The Disappeared Art Project, and we lay the crosses down in front of San Xavier.”

Mr. Alfred Quiroz, an art professor at the University of Arizona, recalls several experiences with artists to create a more “aesthetically pleasing” border. However, in 2010, he was forced to remove the pieces due to the reconstruction of the border.

“A funny story is that I went to Nogales, and I saw my art,” Quiroz said. “I noticed it was little crooked, so I went to fix it, and an older man across the street yelled at me not touch the art. I explained to him that I was one of the artists who created that piece, and I asked him why he yelled at me. He responded that everyone from around there loved the art. It built the community’s unity.”

The last speaker was a former Pueblo student/artist, Hecho Diaz.

He said, “I came to this school [Pueblo] but was kicked out.”

Diaz said that he later became a graffiti “writer”, and he is also a graphic designer who has worked with big companies, creating graphics for them. He remains fervid about his community using his social media platform.

“I have seen and experienced things but the border is ridiculous, this country was built by immigrants,” Diaz said. “The border is a representation of how America feels about the Mexicans.”

Somoza said that the theme of the competition will be butterflies, and anyone who chooses to attend the event will be able to put these magnetic butterflies on the border wall—as well as project their artwork on the border wall.

He added that the butterflies are a metaphor—as they are creatures who migrate from the South to the North for better weather, “Immigrants migrate for a better life, too,” Somoza said.

The art competition ended on March 24. The first place winner received $300, and his/her art will be projected onto the border April 21 in Nogales, Ariz., with the following longitude N. 31 and latitude 19.998 W 110 54 651, along with all submissions near the Hudgen’s abandoned courthouse.

Somoza suggested that those wanting to attend this event should leave Tucson at 5:30 p.m. in order to arrive in Nogales at approximately 6:30 p.m. He added that if people have questions about this event, they should contact him ASAP in Room T-12. Somoza said that he is also providing transportation to the border wall for students with permission slips and approval—pending district approval.

If anyone is interested in submitting art, please email it to: submitborderlandsart@gmail.com.

Representative Raúl Grijalva (D) has publicly acknowledged his approval of this project and may attend the event on April 21.

Science Class Visits Park, Studies Saguaros

By Getsemani Cazares

On Monday, Feb. 19, Pueblo teacher Ms. Elizabeth Raizk escorted her juniors and seniors in her advanced placement environment science class on a field trip to nearby Saguaro National Park (West) to study our desert’s indigenous cacti.

On this trip, approximately 15 miles west of Pueblo High School, students studied different sizes of saguaros—as well as to measure their heights and temperatures. Students even studied bird holes in these saguaros.

Raizk said, “There were four groups of six students, and each group’s job was to study a different plot, each with five saguaros.”

Students were required to hike to find their “assigned” saguaros, so they used a GPS and a photo log, which were helpful resources to these students.

Raizk said, “My students and I were outside for two hours, so after all of the hiking, we spent some time at the Visitors Center to eat lunch.”

Senior Maria Servellon attended the field trip, and she expressed that this event ended up being a “blessing”.

“[Before the trip] I was totally stressed—about grades, tests and deadlines,” Servellon said, “so this field trip was definitely an outlet for me.”

She added, “At first, however, I thought this would be just an average hiking trip through a land of cactus. However, my peers and I had an opportunity to conduct annual saguaro surveys and observed how certain cacti grow over time and how they measure environmental impacts. I learned that saguaros are great indicators of weather patterns and water patterns.”

Senior Marco Madrigal also attended the field trip.

“I very much enjoyed the experiences about this field trip—especially how to measure saguaros and learn that the desert is an integral part of where we live,” Madrigal said. “We definitely learn a lot more when we actually get to experience learning instead of reading about saguaros out of textbooks. I’ll never forget everything I learned on this field trip.”

Saguaro National Park (West) boasts many visitors, Raizk said, but not many native students, which Raizk think is “a shame” because the Park is the “grand symbol” of the Sonoran Desert.

Saguaros should be respected by all, Raizk said, and they are especially culturally important to the Tohono O’odham Nation. These Native Americans harvest ripe saguaro fruit in the spring to make wines, jams, and jellies. Saguaro wine is ritually consumed during Nawait I’i, a Tohono O’odham rain ceremony.

Few people know that saguaros are the largest of all cactus species in the United States and can grow to more than 40 feet tall and can weigh more than a ton! Saguaros can also live to be between 100 and 200 years old. Some saguaros can grow as many as 25 “arms”; some grow none.

On March 1, 1933, in the last days of his presidency, Herbert Hoover signed a proclamation that established the Saguaro National Monument, which was considered a victory for both botanists and boosters in Arizona who had worked for years to protect this species. Most importantly, in 1961, at the urging of the people of Tucson and Secretary of Interior Stewart Udall, President John F. Kennedy added 25 square miles of splendid cactus lands in the Tucson Mountains to the Monument.

Finally, after setting aside vast areas as wilderness, Congress elevated Saguaro to “National Park” status in 1994.

Raizk said, “The desert is a piece of all of us.”

Mariachi Aztlan De Pueblo Psyches-Up For Conference

By Jacquelyn Gutierrez

Pueblo High School’s 17 members of Mariachi Aztlán will be participating in this year’s Tucson International Mariachi Conference (TIMC) later this month and hopefully bringing home an impressive fifth consecutive first place.

The TIMC is a prestigious event that includes participants from mariachi groups all over the country, including world renowned Mariachi Vargas, Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan, and this year, Mariachi Sol De Mexico is coming to Tucson from Los Angeles.

Closer to home, Pueblo Mariachi Aztlán member Carmen Membrila, a sophomore, said, “We’re very hopeful in winning for the fifth time this year. We have a very good set list, so the whole Mariachi group and I are very excited.”

This Conference is held at Casino Del Sol for three days—from April 25 through April 28. The Mariachi’s vary in ages—from as young as elementary-aged students to high school.

Pueblo mariachi teacher Mr. John Contreras said, “We’ve been working long hours during and after school. This [conference] is our main focus right now, so I wish us the best of luck.”

Practicing for a couple months now, Mariachi Aztlán has been preparing to keep up the number one record. For the five seniors in this year’s program, they are hoping for another victorious placing.

“Unfortunately this will be one of my last conferences,” said senior Liam Membrila, “but we have been working hard and playing the songs over and over, so I’m confident about how we do at this year’s conference.”

Mariachi Club president Destiny Olea, a senior who has been in the club since her sophomore year, said, “Between now and the conference, our group needs to perfect our set list enough for us to compete—as well as to remember to have fun and not stress.”

“Regardless of the new members this year, our mariachi group is just as dedicated as ever,” Olea said. “Our passion and our originality are definitely assets to our program.”

She added that the group does more than just play mariachi music. Earlier this year, Pueblo’s mariachi group raised approximately $5,000 for school children victimized by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston, Texas area by performing with other local mariachi groups.

‘WOW’: Skaters Search For Space

by Celestina Marinez

There is a history to Pueblo’s “WOW” (“Warriors on Wheels”) Club, which has transitioned to “Smokeout Skateboards”, an organization that currently has a Facebook page. They even promote their club on their own t-shirts.

Unfortunately, not many people have seen these t-shirts because of the printed illegal paraphernalia: cigars in the shape of skateboards as well as “a lot of smoke” on the front of these shirts, which might be construed by some as “a disruption of the educational process”—as they are banned from Pueblo’s campus.

Daniel Coronado Solis, a senior, made the initiative to turn a small group of skateboarders into an official club, thanks to their sponsor Mr. Gene Balsz.

For one year, WOW was very visible on Pueblo’s campus, doing their tricks and spinning their wheels. However, the club was dissolved when administrative support for the skateboarders waned.

Solis said, “At first Mr. R. [Rosthenhausler] seemed supportive. However, after a year or so of promising us a spot on campus to skate, eventually we were told by administration that we could no longer skate because of possible injuries.”

“It was kind of depressing to all of the skaters because we couldn’t do what we loved most,” Solis said. “Our lunch time became very sad.”

Armando Alcoverde, another senior who was been with the club for about a year, said that he, too, was devastated when the skateboarders were told not to skate anymore.

“I’ve always used skateboarding as a great way to relieve stress and anxiety,” Alcoverde said. “One day, when I was practicing new tricks on campus before classes started, I landed on the skateboard wrong, and as a result, my board went flying and my head hit the cement—enough to give me a Level One concussion.”

Alcoverde said that he was sent home after his injury, which he describes as “the lowest form of concussion”.

Soon after this incident, Rosthenhausler put a red light to the club, citing that they were insurance liability to the school.

Freshman Santiago Estrella is new to the club this year, even though officially the club doesn’t exist at Pueblo. However, Solis insists that his Smokeout Skateboard is the new “WOW”.

“I would like to bring back WOW to Pueblo, officially, next year as sophomore,” Estrella said. “We are going to have to be persuasive with Pueblo’s administrators—and somehow convince them that we are worthy of having our own club again. Maybe if we promised to wear protective gear, they might listen to us.”

“If a student gets hurt in football or another core sport, administrators don’t cancel these clubs,” Estrella said. “Many students have had concussions from other sporting events, and yet they continue at Pueblo?”

Our skateboarders are still trying to persuade Rosthenhausler for a permanent location for them to practice their trade. There is no word yet if students will be allowed to spin their skateboard wheels on campus next year.

“Even though I’m graduating in May,” Alcoverde said, “I would love to leave a legacy—and that is to see a skateboard club reinstated here at Pueblo.”

Warriors United For ‘March For Our Lives’

By Iram Arce

On Wednesday, March 14, thousands of high schools across the United States participated in a “March For Our Lives” event to pay homage to the 17 shooting victims at Marjorie Stoneman-Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14—as well as to express their strong opinions about a lack of stricter gun laws.

More than a thousand Warriors and many teachers and staff members participated in its own march at approximately 12:45 p.m. after the radio broadcast during sixth period.

Students started by walking in solidarity around the track two times.

Participants marched from their classrooms to the football field for approximately 17 minutes, one minute for each of the victims in Florida. Students then were directed to the bleachers to listen to students’ speeches.

First, Dr. Augustine Romero voiced his support for students’ opinions.

Twelve students spoke afterwards—each of them conveying their concerns regarding school safety and regulating the Second Amendment, either in short two or three-minute speeches or in the form of poems.

One of the dozen speakers, senior Brianna Metzler, said, “Because of my anxiety issues, giving this speech was a true testament to needing to express my voice. I took a chance [to publicly speak] and do not regret the words that I shared with nearly a thousand students. I’m proud of myself, and I really hope that I was heard.”

Warriors listened attentively to the speeches prepared by their classmates.

“I was shocked at how many students participated,” said senior Jorge Becerril, who was one of a few students instrumental in organizing this event. “I was equally impressed by the quality of the speeches from students who were very committed to expressing their voice about gun violence at our schools across the country.”

Another senior who co-organized this event, senior Liam Membrila, said, “I have always seen and felt the hunger for myself and my generation to be heard. I really want to show our representatives our reality—seeing the swarm of Pueblo students and faculty marching and chanting, ‘The people united shall never be divided!’ This inspired me to be even louder.”

Membrila added, “The greatest frustration, however, was a constant tug-of-war with the district about allowing local media on campus. It’s not as if our march were something disrespectful or about something illegal. We [students] were speaking about our safety. My generation will be the change.”

“Last minute changes were very frustrating,” Becerril said. “I was disappointed that our administrators did not allow Channel 4 [KVOA] on campus, but I suppose that they had their directives from the district office. It’s not like we were trying to riot or speak about something not legal. We students definitely had a mission and a purpose, and our diligence to have common sense gun laws hopefully lasts until there is change. I would think that our administrators would want the Pueblo community to have media coverage because what we students did was very positive.”

Student body president Kanani Salazar, a senior, was one of the two emcees at the event, introducing each speaker.

“The march was extremely organized,” Salazar said. “We heard many different voices that are seldom heard. I hope this isn’t the last of these marches because students need to be heard. Young people across the nation are the future of this country, and we will make positive changes, including common sense Second Amendment laws.”

Another emcee, senior Cynthia Amarillas, said, “I am very proud of the Pueblo community for uniting for a very valid cause. We will be the generation that changes gun laws in America. We all must register to vote so that our voices are heard. We will not abandon this movement. Enough is enough!”

Seniors Darlene Padilla and Bea Nevarez set up a table for 18-year-olds to register to vote, and many seniors took advantage of this opportunity.

Andrea Cuevas, a senior, and one of the hundreds of participants in the march, said, “Voting is essential to change this country’s policies. Young people—especially Hispanics—need to vote. This generation is creating this country’s future. If we don’t vote, then we become merely bystanders.”

TUSD School Board member Ms. Adelita Grijalva (and a former Pueblo graduate—from the Class of 1989) voiced how proud she was of Warriors’ spirit and their commitment to making positive changes.

At approximately 2 p.m., the march was officially over, and students returned to their classes feeling confident that they had made a difference in their community.

“Overall, Pueblo High School’s first march to pay homage to Florida’s shooting victims was undoubtedly very successful,” said Cynthia Amarillas. “Hopefully this march also showed administration that students are capable of organizing and implementing events that make a positive difference.”

Aerial Photos: Andrew Romero, a junior, under the supervision of teacher Mr. Ernesto Somoza.