Hundreds Of Warriors Inspired By ‘Bill’

by Jacquelyn Gutierrez

“Bill” The Movie

On Tuesday, Jan. 14, nearly 300 Pueblo High School students crammed into six buses and traveled to downtown Tucson’s magnificently renovated Fox Theater to view the premiere of Bill, a play-turned-movie recalling the much celebrated life of Mr. Bill De La Rosa, a class of 2012 graduate, whose academic and young career accolades rival some of the most successful people in the United States.

For many Pueblo students, this trip was more than a 10-minute bus ride to downtown Tucson; it was an opportunity to be inspired by their fellow Warrior.

Sophomore Xavier Carassco said, “I really like how the movie portrayed Bill as not being happy with the way he was living and how he changed his life to make it amazing. He added, “Bill shows that there are no excuses.”

De La Rosa was present at the Fox Theatre– as this was his first peak at the film. He gladly greeted many students from several schools at this event. Also, TUSD School Board members and prominent local leaders were eager to support the success of De La Rosa.

The Lapan Foundation leaders were present as well and spoke about how their organization helps students become engaged in their education. When De La Rosa was a sophomore, he became a mentor to middle school students and helped guide them to successful paths in high school—leading to collegiate successes.

All of the children who acted in Bill are members of the Lapan Foundation. They are part of the group’s Theater Club, and for the past year or so, they have been preparing this film.

Senior Danielle Rojas was one of those Lapan Foundation members that played a small role in the film.

“It was really cool to be a part of the movie, Bill,” said Rojas, “and re-enacting these parts of Bill’s life helped me become more understanding of the circumstances of those around me and to become more accepting.”

This trip would not have been possible without three weeks of careful and meticulous planning from Pueblo counselor Dr. Teresa Toro, who also recalls De La Rosa in his early high school years at Pueblo. In the movie, there is a brief scene depicting De La Rosa speaking with a counselor.

“Bill is definitely a role model for the Latino community,” Toro said. “This movie was more than just a movie about Bill De La Rosa—it’s a story about resiliency and beating the odds.”

Budget Cuts In CCLC Funding

By Ismael Angulo & Xylenn Nevarez

CCLC Students In Library

Pueblo High School’s 21st Century Community Learning Center, also known as CCLC, has been a five-year program helping students excel in their school work and to catch up with their credits. However, the program had its budget cut from $140,000 to $100,000 this year and next year. This is year five, and Pueblo has to reapply next year for another five-year cycle to fund the program with $100,000.

Ms. Mary Wallace, the coordinator of the program, said, “It’s [the budget cuts are] very difficult, and all of it comes out of instruction, but Pueblo got lucky this year because we got an enhancement grant to put in a maker space.”

The enhancement grant will cover the budget cut, boosting the program’s budget back up to $140,000.

Wallace said, “The students would not have seen as many classes offered, and we wouldn’t have as many tutors. Last year we had 22 employees, and we spent every dime of our budget on those 22 employees.”

She added that losing that money from a student’s perspective would prompt a decrease in grades and G.P.A rates among the students in the program since less activities would be offered.

The program has had a great impact on students.

Senior Desiree Martin is currently making up her freshman credits for English and Algebra 1.

“During my freshman year, I struggled a lot,” Martin said. “The CCLC program is helping me to graduate in the spring. I can’t believe that this program may not exist in the future. Even if there are budget cuts, it’s going to affect a lot of our students at Pueblo. CCLC is the perfect opportunity to catch up with credits- especially for us seniors.”

Michael Rodriguez, a senior who is also in the CCLC program,  said, “I’m so relieved that I have the extra time and help I didn’t have in class. This program has allowed me to take my time and understand the content.”

Wallace wants students to know that they can still enroll in the CCLC program. The program does not have a cap regarding the number of students enrolled.

“Grades 9 and 10 are our primary focus,” Wallace said, “We do not have a limit, we have a goal, and we need to have 120 students who attend at least 30 days or more.”

Wallace wants to ensure that the program will continue successfully after she decides to retire. She said, “It’s important for me to teach another person how to apply for the grant and take over as the new CCLC coordinator so that the program can carry on.”

Class of 2023 Freshmen Finding Their Way Through First Semester

by Ismael Angulo & Alina Cuen

Pueblo High School Class Of 2023

Every new school year at Pueblo High School, many freshmen seem to struggle to transition to high school—from being “kings/queens of the hill” in middle school to feeling insignificant as ninth graders in a new environment.

Even though we’re close to the end of the first semester, several freshmen admitted that they were challenged by their first few days at Pueblo back in August—including getting lost finding their classes or being confused about which lunch to take. Now, at the near-end of the first semester, most freshmen have found a routine and admit to enjoying their new school. Truly, they have found their ways…

Kortez Rodriguez, one of the more than nearly 500 freshmen this year at Pueblo, said, “This first quarter wasn’t as confusing as it could have been for me because a lot of upperclassmen helped guide me. Not all upperclassmen hate freshmen!”

Transitioning from a middle school to a high school can be a big milestone for many freshmen.

Freshman Eve Woods feels proud of herself to have earned a perfect GPA for first quarter, but she admits that she had her share of personal challenges.

“It was difficult to put myself out there,” Woods said. “But, in the end, I found that being involved in volleyball really helped me to meet new people.”

Woods suggest that all freshmen should become involved with an activity because it will help them to establish new friends and to help them feel that they are part of a community.

Another freshman, Issac Palomo, said that making new friends has been his biggest struggle.

“I came to Pueblo from Pueblo Gardens, and only friend from that school came with me here,” Palomo said.

“I plan to get involved with sports,” Palomo added, “and this will hopefully help me to make more friends at Pueblo.”

Pueblo counselor Ms. Marian Finley said that freshmen have many opportunities to transition smoothly into high school.

“Freshman Experience is a great program for incoming freshman, and this past summer, we had a record number of participants,” Finley said. “Each student gained high school exposure and one-half credit to start off their freshman year.”

Pueblo Student’s Life Inspires Film

Bill De La Rosa

By Mariel Ponce

It’s not every day that a Pueblo High School student is celebrated in a play/film, but that’s exactly what Bill does—recounting the accomplishments and tragedies in the young 25-year-old life of Mr. Bill De La Rosa, a Class of 2012 graduate.

After a run as a play in local theaters, Bill has been made into a feature film and will premiere at the Fox Theater on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020.

“The whole thing [my life being turned into a movie] is very humbling, and I originally had no idea that my life was being celebrated publicly,” De La Rosa said.

He added that the film touches on his successes and traumas in life before and since graduating from Pueblo almost eight years ago as his class’ valedictorian—including his numerous scholarships totaling more than $500,000. De La Rosa attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and Oxford University in England, earning two master’s degrees in criminal justice and immigration studies.

“I wish I could say I was finished with school, but I’m not,” De La Rosa said. He plans to pursue a law degree “back East” next summer, either at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. or Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.

De La Rosa also shared his tragedies in his young life, including the deportation of his mother to Mexico in 2009 when he was a sophomore at Pueblo. Two years later in 2011, his father suffered a stroke, and De La Rosa was able to see his mother on a “temporary humanitarian parole” status. He saw her again in the summer of 2018 when his father suffered a fatal stroke.

“If all goes well, my mother will back in the United States next June [2020],” De La Rosa said, hoping that immigration lawyers will expedite the process.

For now, De La Rosa said he is staying in Tucson and spending time with his family, including his brother Bobby (a freshman at Pueblo) and his sister Naomi, who is currently a University of Arizona student.

As for the film, Bill, De La Rosa said, “I’m still very humbled that I have inspired a movie about my life.” He paused and added, “I want everybody to know that if I can do it, they can do it.”

Welcome, ‘Queen Bee’!

Elizabeth Olguin & Ivan Rosas

The Pueblo community welcomes Ms. Marie Jose Queen Bee Libe, who moved to Tucson from the Philippines last month.

Libe taught Filipino and the value of education in the Philippines for high school students before moving to the United States to teach 11th grade English. 

“As a teacher, it has always been my dream to educate in the U.S.,” she said.

Libe expressed that there are a lot of teachers in the Philippines who would like to teach in America and experience different cultures.

Coming to Pueblo was definitely a culture shock, as education is very different in this country, Libe said.

“One of the classes we teach back in the Philippines is about values,” Libe said, “that stresses the importance of education. I do have to admit that children in the Philippines love education maybe more than America.”

Thus far, Libe said that her transition to this country and this new school has been smooth and added that Pueblo High School is very systematic.

“Pueblo is also very unique,” Libe said. “I like how Pueblo has their own radio station!”

Libe’s has several professional goals this school year including working on self-improvement and honing her teaching skills.

Everybody at Pueblo High School wishes her the absolute best this 2019-20 school year!

“I feel very welcomed here at Pueblo,” she added. 

Academy Motivates, Inspires Students

By Daeyalina Moreno and Marla Terminel

Inagural Class Of Pueblo College Preparatory Academy

Pueblo’s College Preparatory Academy, co-coordinated with counselor Dr. Teresa Toro, is an open access program, and has been helping many students to prepare for collegiate futures.

This program has spiked the interest of over 200 Pueblo students who are active members; over six years of preparation was necessary to make the academy become a reality. Students must participate in their selection of 18 AP honors, dual enrollment and culturally relevant classes, as well as participate in volunteer programs.

“This [Academy] is something that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time,” said Toro. She added that her efforts would not have come to fruition if it were not for the co-coordination with Assistant Principal Mr. Rafael Montaño and Principal Mr. Frank Rosthenhausler.

Toro said that the main goal of this program is to help guide students earn as much scholarship money as possible by pushing their boundaries and setting high expectations.

She said, “I want my students to dream big and help expose them to big opportunities.”

Sophomores Giselle-Paris Aubrey and David Cañez have big dreams for their futures, and they admitted that they wanted the challenges that the Academy offers students.

“I want to go to the U of A,” said Aubrey, “and the Academy is going to help me get there.”

Cañez said, “The courses [in the Academy] are rigorous, but I’m up for the challenges that the Academy is going to provide me and to prepare me for a great college future.”

Despite the academic benefits, students are willing to work hard and address all of the stress that committing to the Academy may cause.

 “A lot of students may think that they want to join the academy,” said Cañez, “but they need to make sure that they can commit to its rigorous pace.”

She added that students who want to be in the Academy are welcome to attend support groups. Tutoring also is available to Academy students before and after school, everyday throughout the school year.

She added that there is support for all students who are taking rigorous classes.

Toro wants everybody to know that the study groups are all year, and held in the Parent and Student Café; also, Game Day is on Mondays; walk-in Distress groups are held on Tuesdays after school; and tutoring is every day during “zero” hour in the library.

“I want my students to feel like they’re part of a family and that we support them in their post-secondary endeavors,” said Toro.