Ms. Duzenli Joins Pueblo Faculty

By Isaiah Sotelo 

Sibel Duzenli

We lost our fair share of teachers at the end of the last school year—many to retirements and transfers. These vacancies had to be filled, and so Pueblo High School has many new teachers for the 2020-21 school year. 

One of these new educators is Ms. Sibel Duzenli, who is teaching beginning and advanced art. 

“I am so excited to be at Pueblo,” she said. “I already think Pueblo is an amazing school, and all of the teachers I have met are kind and hard-working people.” 

Duzenli has not always been an art teacher. In fact, she began her teaching career at a summer camp math class teaching elementary school students in her native British Columbia, Canada. She then moved to Tucson to pursue her master’s degree in Art and Visual Culture Education. 

“I got tired of the rainy weather in B.C.,” she said, “and combined with the fact that my husband is from Tucson, we made the decision to come to Arizona.” 

After moving to Southern Arizona, Duzenli taught at an alternative program in TUSD. Afterwards, she started teaching art for middle school students. Then, she made the transition to high school students at Pueblo. 

“I always loved school, and I respected my teachers for their hard work,” she said. 

Duzenli said that her teachers were excellent role models, and she was inspired by their professionalism. 

“Art was always my favorite subject, and if the world did not have art, our planet would be a sadder, less joyful place,” she said. “I really believe that art helps students express themselves and to learn more about themselves—and others.” She paused and added, “I want to help students with that self-learning process.” 

Duzenli said, “I think art is an incredible way for humans to express themselves, and I want to be a part of making that possible [for students].” 

“I felt pretty sad in the beginning of the year knowing I wasn’t going to meet students in person,” said Duzenli. “But I am still really excited to be here at Pueblo.” 

She thinks that students should remember that high school is an opportunity to grow, meet new people and make mistakes. 

“We’re living through a very significant time in history,” Duzenli said, “and we’re learning so much as a culture and as human beings. I know online instruction isn’t going to last forever, and I can’t wait to share the same space as my students.” 

She added, “Even though it’s a very overwhelming time, it’s very heartening to know that we’re all going through this strange time together,” she added. “So even though we feel disconnected sometimes, I often feel more connected because we’re in this history—together.”

Class Of ’16 Student Returns As Teacher

By Moises Hernandez 

Lucero Ramirez

Despite the unusual circumstances of this school year—teaching online for the foreseeable future—Pueblo High School still has its share of new teachers and staff, including Ms. Lucero Ramirez, who is teaching freshman English. 

Ramirez, who said that she would rather teach in person than online because students could do more activities in the classroom, said that she will make the most out of ZOOM sessions. 

“It’s been very stressful teaching online,” Ramirez said. “It’s very complicated, but I am getting the hang of it.” 

Ramirez is happy to return to Pueblo because it’s her alma mater. She graduated in 2016, just four years ago, and said that even after she graduated, she didn’t want to leave. 

“It’s good to be back home and being the teacher this time,” she said. 

She added that she chose to become an English teacher because of her positive experiences in her own high school English classes. 

“I loved writing in high school,” Ramirez said, “and I want to share that love with students.” 

She added, “Ms. [Kelly] Crane [who retired from Pueblo several years ago] inspired me to become an English teacher because she was always understanding, patient and thoughtful. She really took the time to coach and mentor me. I really loved going to her class every day. 

Ramirez said that she is happy to have chosen education as a career, but she said that she wishes public education would invest more money and time to have more resources to address students’ emotional and mental issues. 

“I think that a student’s overall well-being is a critical factor in their academic success. I think we would start seeing more enthusiasm for learning from our students.” 

Online or back in the classroom, Ramirez said that she is very enthusiastic about beginning her teaching career at Pueblo.

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.”