Juniors, Seniors: ACT Test Dates Approaching Quickly!

By Kyle Elhard and Sasha Villa

Completing college applications can be a fairly difficult process for our seniors, whether it involves the actual application process or passing entrance exams. Also, juniors should be preparing for college since they will be seniors in less five months.

Mr. Antonio Garcia, also known simply as “Tony” by most seniors, is one of Pueblo’s career counselors and is promoting ACT workshops for the remainder of the semester.

Seniors will be able to retake the ACT on April 14; most colleges accept students with a score of 20 and higher. If seniors scored lower than this, they are very encouraged to retake the test next month.

Juniors can take the test for the first time on April 3.

Both seniors and juniors are encouraged to enroll in an ACT Prep Workshop here at Pueblo on March 14 and March 28 from 2:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. in the College and Career Center.

“The [ACT] workshops help students to understand the structure of tests,” said Garcia, “as well as the importance of them.” He added, “It’s not that students aren’t ready for the ACT workshops, it’s that they’re not prepared.”

Junior Candy Rodriguez is one of hundreds in her Class of ’19 who will be taking the ACT test on April 3rd.

“I’m very much looking forward to the test,” Rodriguez said. “I’ll be preparing for this test over spring break so that I can achieve a maximum score. I really want to score at least 20 on my first try.”

Warriors Become Spelunkers Kartchner Field Trip

By Candy Rodriguez and Alyssa Soza

Twenty-seven Warriors were treated to another world as they ventured on a field trip to Kartchner Caverns with teachers/sponsors Ms. Elaine Straub and Dr. Lolita Levine on Friday, Feb. 16.

This “other world” is just 50 miles southeast of Tucson, near Benson—a perpetual 68 degrees year-round no matter how hot or cold it might be outside of the cave. Students gasped as they marveled at nature’s wonders.

Senior Jorge Becerril, one of the lucky students who attended this field trip, said, “When you really comprehend how old each stalactite and stalagmite is, you really can appreciate Kartchner Caverns—or any cave system. In my entire lifetime, a stalactite or stalagmite might grow less than a foot! The delicate ecosystem in which we all inhabit is truly amazing and overwhelming.”

He added, “The light show presentation in the cave near the end of the tour was definitely the best of the trip. I’m glad that Dr. Levine and Ms. Straub chose this trip for us. I returned to Tucson with a lot more respect for nature and its natural beauty.”

A lot of people don’t know that Kartchner Caverns are relatively “new” when it comes to tourism. Actually, the cave was discovered by Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts in 1974, who found a narrow crack in the bottom of a sinkhole. The story is, they followed this warm, moist air toward what ended up being more than two miles or perfect cave passageways, with the help of Erick Campbell, an Arizona biologist.

They kept the cave secret for 14 years because they wanted to keep the cave pristine. After gaining the cooperation of the Kartchner family and working with them for more than a decade, they decided that the best way to achieve the goal of protecting the cave was to approach Arizona State Parks.

In 1988, the landowners sold the area to the state for development as a park and show cavern. Kartchner Caverns opened to the public in 1999 and has become one of Tucson’s best road trip destinations—just 50 miles southeast of town. The caves aren’t just for Southern Arizonans; people from all over the country and world have visited the mighty “The Big Room”, the most impressive area of the cave. Nearly 250,000 visitors frequent Kartchner Caverns, and spelunkers (cave experts and explorers) have rated these Caves in the World’s Top 10 Best.

Sponsor and teacher Ms. Elaine Straub said, “This field trip was for the science club to learn about living caves, the ecosystem of this unusual environment—as well as how the natural rock formations are created. Since both Dr. Levine and I are biology-oriented teachers, this close natural wonder is a great opportunity for our students to experience a science topic that we don’t have as much expertise in and do not include in our lessons.”

She added, “The highlight of the trip was observing the beautiful formations and learning about them through the analytical references the guides used to help us remember what each formation was.”

Senior Julia Sullivan also attended this trip; she was astounded by what she saw.
“I love what Earth has created for us,” Sullivan said. “So much of it is undiscovered. I’m glad that Kartchner Caves’ secret is out of the bag for all of us to enjoy—and to actually experience it. We were not allowed to take pictures inside the caves, but that was a good thing because it keeps the spectator in the moment. When we have cameras, we’re too busy looking through a lens and not seeing the real picture.”

Senior Riana Lara, one of the 27 students who participated on this field trip, said, “The trip was pretty exciting! I learned that the limestone mixed with water drips makes straw-like rock formations. The whole process is awesome and amazing.”

Warriors Dig For Evidence

By Alina Cuen

On Monday, Jan. 26, science teacher Ms. Elaine Straub set her forensics science students “free”—so to speak—letting them venture to Pueblo’s garden to dig up some bones.

Indeed, Straub’s forensics science students were excavating bones in order to solve mock “crime scenes”.

“What I’m trying to teach my students is how to cooperate with each other while they are excavating bones in order to solve crime scenes,” Straub said. “It’s just another way for them to work as a team.”

Sophomore Marcela Herrera, a student in the class, said, “Of all of my classes at Pueblo, I like coming to forensics the most because Ms. Straub lets us go out and learn—instead of reading out of a boring textbook. We learn so much more when we are hands-on. I don’t know why any other science teacher would want to teach any other way.”

Elena Elmer, a junior in the class, said, “Everybody in forensics class learns all of the interesting things that have to do with crime scenes, like blood splatters and bones—stuff that you might see on Crime Scene Investigation.”

For three years now, Straub wholeheartedly believes that kinesthetic learning works best in her forensics classes.

“Forensics is definitely one of those classes that you can’t teach solely out of a textbook,” Straub said. “Students love the freedom to explore outside of the classroom, and learning increases so much more by having them discover for themselves the answers and to solve the mysteries hidden in the ground.”

Straub added that she plans to continue this activity for as long as she teaches forensics science.

Sophomore Jacquelyn Gutierrez describes herself as an enthusiastic member of the forensics class. “I really like participating in the crime scenes that Ms. Straub creates for us because it gives us a taste of the real world,” she said.

Gutierrez said, “I’m really looking forward to the next crime scene that Ms. Straub makes up for us.”

Welcome, Ms. Imelda Cortez: ‘Returning The Favor’

by Celestina Marinez

Imelda Cortez (Black Shirt) helping Aurora Montoya.

Former Pueblo student Ms. Imelda G. Cortez has returned to Pueblo to teach junior and senior English. As a 2009 high school graduate, Cortez began her collegiate career at the University of Arizona where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Mexican-American studies; later, she earned a Master’s degree in higher education.

Cortez explained that she decided to become a teacher while attending middle school. After attending Pueblo and graduating eight years ago in 2009, she definitely knew that she wanted to become a Warrior alumni.

“It’s [returning to Pueblo is] really like coming home,” Cortez said. “I feel like I’m returning the favor.”

She added that she hopes that all of her students will pass her class and earn their language arts credits in order to graduate from high school.

“I have to admit that I truly like all of my students this school year, and I can honestly say that I don’t have one bad class,” Cortez said.

This doesn’t mean that Cortez doesn’t have her fair share of teacher challenges.

“Finding content that is appealing to all students can be challenging,” she said. “Most of my students—not all—don’t seem to be interested in anything [at this time of the school year]. This makes teaching harder.”

She added that she has also learned that that treating students with dignity and respect is key to having a good relationship with them.

“Students reciprocate those actions [dignity and respect] with their teachers,” Cortez said. “I have also learned that it’s best to be as transparent as you can with students as opposed to making things up. One of my classroom agreements is: no one knows everything, but together we know a lot.”

Cortez also helps out with the “IAMME” Club—providing support and resources for what the students want to do for the club and school.

One of Cortez’ current students, senior Riana Lara, said, “I love being in Ms. Cortez’ English class because I’m able to speak my opinion and how she motivates and engages her students to complete all of the great activities that she assigns.”

Ms. Sarah Barnes Begins New Life In Tucson In 21st Century

By Ernesto Estopellan

On the first day of the 21st Century (Jan. 1, 2001), Ms. Sarah Barnes, one of the most visibly new employees at Pueblo High School this school year, arrived in Tucson from the East Coast, serving as a multi-tiered systems facilitator to help teachers learn new strategies to help increase our students’ test scores—as well as boost the overall morale at Pueblo.

Late last semester, Barnes was the primary speaker for our entire student population during a cohort meeting, stressing responsible cell phone behavior and other important social media advice.

“I want to get to know everybody at Pueblo,” Barnes said. “I want to know our students, the teachers, work with administrators and I want people to ask questions because I have a lot of questions to ask. In the short time that I’ve been here, I can tell that this school has a heart and soul.”

Barnes was born in Delaware in 1977, and while visiting Tucson, she fell in love with the weather, so she transferred from the University of Delaware to the University of Arizona.

“Moving here [to Tucson] was like getting out of jail,” Barnes said. “It was liberating to get out of Delaware for many personal reasons.”

She explained that education was not her first choice for a career. In fact, Barnes said that she studied criminology and even considered joining the police academy.

“Somehow my focus changed to education when I met somebody who suggested that I become a teacher,” Barnes said. “That somebody was our assistant principal Frank Rosthenhausler.”

She taught math for more than a dozen years before becoming interested in becoming a multi-tiered systems facilitator.

“I want to be a positive influence at Pueblo,” Barnes said. “I’m here for just about everybody—especially our students. But, I want teachers to know, too, that I wholeheartedly support them in every way possible.”

Barnes helps recognize students’—and teachers’!—perfect attendance this school year, printing achievement certificates for them.

“Everybody is a star at Pueblo,” she said.

…And Assistant Principal Gunnels Makes Four

by Adamaris Castillo

New this school year to the administrative family at Pueblo High School is former English teacher Ms. Kathryn Gunnels, who officially begins as assistant principal with a long list of responsibilities, including the planning of meetings for teachers (Professional Learning Communities), supervising advanced learning opportunities, finalizing the master schedule and organizing student-testing events.

She also communicates to staff via a weekly update on teachers’ computer work stations.

“This is the hardest job I’ve ever had,” Gunnels said, “but I also love it—not only to help students but also to support Pueblo’s great teaching staff.”

Gunnels, who taught English for 10 years at Pueblo (in two separate time periods), actually fulfilled her student-teaching assignment under the supervision of Mr. Manny Galvan, who retired a few years ago (but occasionally substitute-teaches) and Ms. Marci Bowman, who also retired from teaching.

“I knew then [while student-teaching] that Pueblo was a special place,” Gunnels said. “I may have left Pueblo for a few years [to pursue other positions], but I’m definitely back, and it feels like a second home.”

She revealed that education was not her first career choice. Gunnels said that she majored in business, but after mentoring at the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind, she was inspired to become an educator.

And, as far as being the fourth employee with the surname “Gunnels” to be employed at Pueblo High School, Assistant Principal Gunnels said, “We have a rule at our house at the dinner table. My husband, two sons and I are not allowed to talk about school.”

Husband Mr. Michael Gunnels is a communications media tech teacher; son Jeren is a transition school-to-work instructional specialist; and other son, Derek, is an exceptional education teacher.

“I’m here [as an assistant principal] especially for our students,” Gunnels said. “I want students to know that when they make mistakes or face monumental obstacles, it’s not the end of the world. I want to help them realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I want to help them find solutions to their problems.”

She added, “I want our students at Pueblo to know that they can do anything with their lives—they have the potential to achieve greatness.”