Class Of 2024 Pueblo Senior Advances As Flinn Finalist

By Alexis Vargas & Emely Villanueva

Leanna Payan

Pueblo High School senior Leanna Payan has been selected as a semifinalist in a prestigious Arizona state scholarship.

The Flinn Scholarship offers full tuition for any of the three main in-state universities. Just 80 of 1,000 high school senior applicants are selected as semifinalists for two rounds of interviews, which narrows to only 20 Flinn scholars.

Leanna Payan said, “What drew me to applying was the fact that it was so supportive, and I knew people who received this award including Samuel Gonzalez last year.”

This is the 39th generation of Flinn Scholars. Students are offered over $130,000 dollars for tuition, housing, meals, and opportunities to study abroad.

Payan is one of six students from Tucson who made it to the finalist round.

She said, “For me, becoming a Flinn Scholar would mean being in a community with people who actually want to do school and want a better future for themselves.”

Payan will learn in April if she is officially a Flinn Scholar.

“Just to make it this far is an honor,” Payan said.

FASFA Opens; Seniors, Quit Procrastinating!

By Priscila Borquez, Jose Jovel & Emely Villanueva

Dr. Manuel Avila

On Dec. 31, 2023, the Free Application for Student Federal Aid opened. FAFSA opened initially with a period called “Soft Launch”—periodically FAFSA would open and close to prevent shutdowns within the system.

In the pursuit of higher education, completing the FAFSA is a gateway to financial assistance that can make the difference between attending college or not. Moreover, with the implementation of new changes in the 2024 FAFSA, the process has become more accessible and inclusive, further shaping students’ academic futures.

“FAFSA is subject to change because we know that FAFSA is taking longer to process. As of right now it’s due May 3, 2024,” said Dr. Manuel Ávila, Pueblo’s College and Career Coordinator.

Completing the FAFSA opens doors to many financial aid opportunities including grants, loans, and work study programs. These resources are lifelines for students from all walks of life, providing the means to afford tuition, books, and living expenses associated with collegiate success.

“Be mindful of the opportunities offered by FAFSA and consider attending workshops for help with creating and FSA ID and completing FAFSA,” said Avila.

The changes introduced to the FAFSA in 2024 represent a significant step forward in making the financial aid process more accessible. The application process and simplified questions reduce barriers for students, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds.

Also, the inclusion of questions to identify students struggling with homelessness, those in foster care, and those with incarcerated parents makes sure that the unique circumstances of students are seen and assessed for financial aid.

Avila added, “FAFSA determines eligibility for financial aid and I 100% recommend students apply to make sure they have access to different financial aid opportunities.”

Currently, FAFSA can only be completed by students who have a social security number, although students without one should not be discouraged in applying for financial aid. Counselors advise to use the CSS profile for undocumented students as more colleges and universities are accepting this type of financial aid.

In addition, the CSS communicates to colleges of those who meet a certain financial burden, and some colleges are willing to meet full financial need to students accepted into those colleges.

“There are exceptions that I still need to approve, but I will highly suggest making appointments and talking to me if you have any questions or concerns,” said Dr. Avila.

Seniors: Time is running out; don’t procrastinate!

Cafeteria Gets Final Remodel

By Sofia Larribas & Jessica Palomares

Despite all the work that was completed to Pueblo High School’s cafeteria last summer, there were some residual remodeling projects; during winter break, the final details were added, including new tables and chairs.

In his continued efforts to improve archaic infrastructure at Pueblo, Principal Frank Rosthenhausler had applied for a grant and was awarded $225,000 and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to direct the funds to the cafeteria renovation project.

Rosthenhausler stated, “The idea of the renovation came about last year, I saw that there were areas that needed improvement.”

Rosthenhausler said, “We wanted to make the cafeteria look truly artistic, and the shades of orange chosen on the soft seating in the cafeteria also affect mood.”

Mr. Rosthenhausler found a West Coast designer, Ella, to come up with models for the new look.

“There are plans for a big TV to go in the cafeteria that was donated to us by Lapan Foundation, a generous organization that provides students with scholarships and mentorships, but other than that, the project is pretty much done,” Rosthenhausler stated.

Cafeteria employee Mr. Rafael Garcia thinks the cafeteria looks nice, but it is also harder to clean because of all the chairs because a lot of the kids move the chairs to other tables.

One cafeteria employee, Ms. Sonia Lopez, said, “I love the renovation, I think it looks beautiful.”

Welcome Back, Ms. Taylor Cleland!

By Precious Riley & Beatriz Villalba

Ms. Taylor Cleland is back at Pueblo High School to take over math classes for Ms. Rhesa Olsen who retired at the end of last semester.

She should look familiar to many students—as Cleland taught here at Pueblo from 2018 until 2022 to pursue her passion in writing (and to avoid COVID-19).

“I’m a writer, and I wanted some more time to work on my writing,” she said, explaining why she left two years ago.

“I also got long-term COVID-19, so I couldn’t work full time. However, I’m much better,” said Cleland.

She also substituted many times before this semester, but Cleland adds that she likes having her own students a lot more.

She said that she is focusing on getting the students back on track.

“When students have substitute teachers, they end up doing little or nothing,” Cleland said.

Her main goal is trying to create a positive learning environment for students, allowing students to listen to music while they do their work and frequently monitors all her new students’ work.

“I think if students have a positive environment in which to learn and work, they will have much better chances of academic success,” Cleland said.

She added, “I also have students working on projects as well as having some students teaching their peers. This creates an exciting learning environment.”

Pueblo Softball Player To Join Pima CC Aztecs

By Priscila Borquez & Alexis Vargas

Belen Camacho

Class of 2024 Senior Belen Camacho was recently offered a scholarship to play for the Pima College softball team (the Aztecs), fulfilling a dream for this young athlete.

Naturally, Camacho’s first reaction to this news was one of pure elation.

“I’m really excited about this opportunity because I’ve always wanted to play with ‘Coach Bekah’, and I’m excited to see where the program takes us,” said Camacho.

Being a part of a new team means Camacho playing in a new atmosphere and learning the “chemistry” of a new team, although she admits that she is enthusiastic about these prospects.

She said, “I’m excited to travel for sure and also just play with a new group of girls and see how everyone plays together.”

Playing softball for 10 years, Camacho said she has high hopes for this new chapter and how this new chapter may contribute to even greater success in the future.

“I hope that we win State, first of all,” she said. “I also hope that down the line a D1, D2, or four-year college or university recognizes me as I’ll get to continue playing softball throughout all four years of my college years.”

Pueblo Prepares For Spring Break 2024!

By Ariana Garcia and Leia Ortega

This upcoming highly anticipated Spring Break begins at 3:03 p.m. on Thursday, March 7—lasting until Monday, March 18, which will officially begin the fourth and final quarter of the school year. It’s going to be a long stretch until the end of the school year—just one day off during the entire quarter (Friday, March 29). So, enjoy the most of your time, Warriors!

This spring break, some folks are off to foreign places, and others preparing to spend time with friends; however, most will be dashing to their couches.

Ximena Ibarra: “Maybe I’ll hang out at the park with my friends.”

Ms. Gonzalez, English teacher: “I think I’m going to stay home and relax with my dog. Also, my dad’s coming to visit, and maybe work on my silver smithing and art projects.”

Emmanuel Romero: “I have band practice with my friends because we’re recording that weekend for our band, The Woahs, and we have a show coming up at Club Congress on either March 13th or the 14th.”

Brooklyn Contreras and Kassandra Perez: “We’re going to the Descendants concert in Phoenix, and we’re going to see some little alternative stores along the way.”

Diego Pesqueira: “My band and I are playing our first show at Groundworks.”

Ms. Nelly Rivera, campus security: “Uh…I’m going to clean my house.”

Ms. Sarah Sutton, drama teacher: “I’m going to Guatemala with my boyfriend and his family.”

Jose Morales: “So far, I have no plans. Maybe I’ll work at my job, but that’s about it.”

Kaz Detwiler: “My friend, Nico, and I are going to her house, and… uh, yeah.”

Adriana Aguirre: “I plan to start my first job. I have recently applied to Fry’s, Tillys, and Buffalo Wild Wings.”

Mr. Rana Medhi, journalism teacher: “This is the time of the year when I like to get the backyard ready for spring and summer—so it’s going to be an organic week.”

Camilla Crisantos: “I’m going to work basically the whole week,”

Daniel Valenzuela: “I’m committing to completing a week of ‘Bootcamp’ with Ms. Wallace, and maybe I’ll have time to hang out with friends and just breathe.”

Isis Escalante: “I’m going to catch up on some sleep. Oh, yeah—I’m also going to Italy!”

Linkon Carillo: “I’m planning on celebrating a couple of birthdays in my family.”

Jessica Ramirez: “I’m going to crochet and eat some Hot Pockets.”

Mr. Frank Rosthenhausler, PHS Principal: “I’m going to Las Vegas—taking my father to the Pac 12 Tournament, and this year I’m also taking my little 10-year-old.”

Mouse Saenz: “I’m going to be sleeping a lot, and maybe I’ll make time to practice my Clarinet or watch youtube.”

Ms. Jeniffer Mayersohn, Assistant Principal: “My family is coming down from Michigan, so we’re just going to do some desert things. They’re looking forward to feeling the sun.”