…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.”

So Long, ‘Stud’—You’re Just ‘A Phone Call Away’

  

By Daniela Moreno & Robert Moroyoqui

Mr. Steve Lopez (Center) with the Math Department

After nearly 30 years of diligence and dedication to Pueblo High School, math teacher and ex-wrestling coach Mr. Steve Lopez joined the Valencia Middle School staff as an assistant principal.

Lopez’ love of teaching and education is due to the persuasive words of Mr. Richard Gastelum, who was Pueblo’s principal during this time. Gastelum also managed an ice cream shop where Lopez enjoyed his first after school job. Lopez heeded the advice from Gastelum—to pursue education as a career. After graduating from the University of Arizona, Lopez began his teaching career at Pueblo—and Gastelum was still principal. Both Lopez and Gastelum have remained “lifelong friends”.

Not only has Lopez taught math to several thousand students over the years, he also coached our wrestling team to many victorious seasons, which included a State champion team in 2008. (His son, Brandon Lopez, a senior at the time, was on this team.)

Mr. Manny Galvan, former English teacher and current permanent substitute-teacher, was Mr. Lopez’ assistant coach from 1993 until 2016, when Coach Lopez decided to resign and pass the torch on to Mr. Paul Vasquez (who attended Pueblo and was a wrestling State champion in 2004 and 2005).

“Mr. Lopez has worked very hard to become an assistant principal. I see this move as a first step in returning to Pueblo as a future administrator. Working with him as an assistant coach was a pleasure. He got his wrestlers to perform at their utmost potential.”

Steve Lopez is awarded an Honorary Pueblo High School Diploma (PHD)

Vasquez said, “Coach Lopez is truly an awesome person and a great advocate for Pueblo High School. I just want to say to him ‘Thank you, Mr. Lopez, for all of the help that you have given me—even in college. I would get out of work at 9 at night, and you would still find time to tutor me regarding my college math courses—for free!’”

Lopez loves teaching, but he said that he would like to continue making a difference in his community. This is why he has decided to take the job as assistant principal at Valencia Middle School.

“I see myself working for another ten years and really make a difference in the lives of students and to enhance their quality of education,” said Lopez.

He does admit that teaching students has not been easy—especially the ones who don’t feel like learning.

“[This job has been] all worth it,” Lopez said.

He added, “Kids can sometimes resist us [teachers] to the death, but I like the challenge of making them say ‘I want to learn.’”

Lopez advises new teachers to be tenacious about this profession: “You [teachers are] probably never going to be rich, but teach because you love it.”

He admitted that leaving is not going to be easy for him, and confesses that he will really miss “everything” about Pueblo—specifically, students and staff.

“Pueblo is home. Pueblo is where I feel like I definitely belong, where I feel like I mattered,” Lopez said.

Steve Lopez Goodbye Lunch

Many staff members expressed their goodbyes and wishes words for Mr. Lopez.

Ms. Jessica Bernal-Mejia, history teacher, said, “Steve [Lopez] was like my Pueblo tio, always picking on me, but I knew he had my back. I’m going to miss him, but I know that he is going to be a great principal.”

Principal Dr. Augustine Romero said, “We’re going to miss Mr. Lopez very much. He has been a huge inspiration to many, many students. At the same time, we’re very proud and happy for him regarding this opportunity to become an assistant principal.”

One of Lopez’ math colleagues, Ms. Paulette Livio, said, “I’m very excited that Mr. Lopez finally got the chance to become an administrator [at Valencia Middle School], but we’re very sad to lose him.”

Math teacher Mr. Billy Campbell said, “Mr. Lopez has been a mentor to me. He’s helped me to grow as a math teacher. I’ve learned from him what it truly means to be a teacher and a leader.” He paused and added, “Mr. Lopez is the kind of man who walks-the-walk and doesn’t just talk. When I occasionally feel down about myself, I tell myself, ‘I need to put my Steve [Lopez] hat on.’”Probably the person who will miss Mr. Lopez the most in the math department is his close friend and colleague, Ms. Martha Avila-Miranda. “I wish him [Lopez] all of the wisdom in his new position [as assistant principal]. It’s going to be really difficult getting used to not seeing him—he’s been here for nearly 30 years. However, he’s just a phone call away.”

Freshmen Continue To Cause Most Altercations At Pueblo

By Britney Carreon (Beginning Journalism)

Assistant Principal Frank Rosthenhausler at Pueblo High School announced that the amount of physical altercations this year has stayed “relatively the same as last year and the year before that.”

At the beginning of this school year, last August, the disciplinary action for fights changed from just having a three-day suspension. After November, this TUSD policy changed to having a “Big F”, which is a code to indicate the severity of a fight, which usually results in a student being suspended for three days. A “Little F” is a code that results in a three-day in-school suspension, usually requiring a student to spend those days with Mr. Mario Reyes, Pueblo’s ATS (Alternative To Suspension) teacher.

However, if there are any threats on Facebook, and this becomes public on school campus, this offense will have to be counted as a school threat, resulting in more severe consequences, Rosthenhausler said.

According to Rosthenhausler, there were approximately 17 total fights this school year.

He said that freshmen continue to cause the most drama on campus, and they make up the majority of physical altercations at Pueblo. Rosthenhausler said that the primary excuse for most fights was girls fighting over boys.

“The old cliché of ‘girls getting cheated on and wanting to fight the other girls’ is very common,” he said.

Rosthenhausler added, “Kids who don’t have issues resolved during their elementary and middle school years often bring those unresolved issues with them to high school.”

“When I first got to Pueblo, about five years ago, , I didn’t think there would be a lot of violence, but that quickly changed. These disciplinary problems are sometimes overwhelming.”

According to Mr. Mario Reyes, there are ways that Pueblo can reduce the number of altercations.

“With the restorative practice—which is detecting an issue before the situation gets out of hand—and finding quick ways to resolve these issues, we can minimize the number of altercations,” Reyes said. “We can also increase awareness of tensions and have more respect for one another, which would really help to ease tensions.”

Suicide… (You Never Know)

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By Paula Fierros

suicide-prevention-story-graphicYou’ll never know when it’s going to happen; everyday we walk by people with perplexed feelings and thoughts—so overwhelmed to the point where they are consumed by these negative feelings and thoughts. Sadly, one of the thoughts running through that person’s mind could be: “Maybe it will be easier for everyone and for me if I was gone.”

According to the World Health Organization, more than 800,000 people die around the world each year from suicides. Many more—in the millions—attempt suicide. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds. Nearly 1.4% of all deaths are suicides, the 15th leading cause of death around the world.

Here in Arizona, 12,400 people committed suicide in 2014; most of those were 15-29 year-olds (although our elderly population is a close second in suicide age rates). Suicide is the second leading cause of deaths among Native Americans in Arizona.

The numbers are increasing, according to suicide statistics.

Of the 15 U. S. cities with the most suicide rates, three of them are here in Arizona: Tucson is number three; Mesa is number six; and Phoenix is number 14.

Las Vegas, Nev. has the most suicides of any American city at a rate of 35.5 per 100,000 people.

These numbers are sobering, but on paper, they are just numbers. The reality is, suicide affects thousands of Arizona families—as well as everybody in our communities…friends, teachers, co-workers and colleagues.

One student, who will remain anonymous, described that they were feeling as if they were “drowning”. She continued, “All that you’re feeling is the water, and pretty soon you start to feel heavy and you start to sink as you continue fighting, then you get tired and let the water take you.”

suicide-prevention-story-graphic-2Another Pueblo student, “You don’t see anything else [when you feel suicidal]. It’s like tunnel vision.” She continued, “Your feelings block out any sliver of light. At times, you only see the little light of hope. But, you’re so used to the darkness you get comfortable, and you let it engulf you, like a big, cold hug.”

Still, another student said, “It’s really important that you talk to someone that you trust. You need to let people know you have problems.”

After getting help, these three students are now in positive places in their lives. They now know they are worthy of living and hope that others can learn through their experiences.

What makes suicide so difficult to accept is that we survivors rarely find out why somebody took his or her own life. The key to helping a person is talking, letting them feel comfortable, letting them feel they are worthy of life,  loving and living.

Here at Pueblo, there are many individuals who are always here to listen. Besides teachers, administrators and staff members, there are many specific individuals who are here to help—especially Ms. Ginger Arzani, Mr. Efrain Carrillo, all of the counselors and the nurses.

Arzani said, “Fight the power!” Truly, Arzani said that she wants students to know to fight through their struggles and to deal with their issues.

She added that her office is open to all students at all times, or they can make an appointment with her to fit their schedule.

“Each day, we should begin with gratitude in our hearts,” Carrillo said. “Everybody should know that there is so much to be grateful for.”

Carrillo is available in his office from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. in Room 119 from Tuesday through Friday.

Ms. Rachel Bopp, one of Pueblo’s counselors for freshmen, sophomores and juniors (with last names that begin with “M” through “Z”), said that she and all of the counselors are available to students.

“We [counselors] have training and experience dealing with crisis intervention,” Bopp said. “Students need to know that there is always somebody here to help them, any day of the week, at any time.”

Mr. William Richards ‘Drawn’ To Magnet Position

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By Yamilex Garcia

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Former biology teacher Mr. William Richards joins the administrative staff as the new magnet coordinator following in the position of Ms. Laura Gallegos who retired last school year.

The magnet coordinator is responsible for recruiting students to Pueblo from other areas of Tucson in an effort to balance the ethnicities at Pueblo.

“One thing that I’m going to try to do is have more communication with magnet and culturally relevant teachers so that we can work together to be more effective with our magnet plan,” said Richards.

He added that thus far he enjoys the challenge of this new position and feels confident that within time he will make a colossal difference at Pueblo.

“I miss teaching and the bonds with my students,” said Richards. “However, I feel that I can make just as much of an impact outside of the classroom and put Pueblo on the map regarding its magnet status.”

Mario Matanza Accepts New Position

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By Lya Thurston

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Mario Matanza

Many of us know Mr. Mario Matanza as Pueblo’s girls’ volleyball coach, but this year he is also the school’s new communication liaison.

He was offered the job by our principal Dr. Augustine Romero and gladly accepted this position.

“I felt that I was perfect for the job,” Matanza said. “It’s vital to keep the communication between parents and the students and faculty open at all times.”

He explained that his new job primarily consists of trying to engage our community—especially the parents—in school activities.

Matanza explained  that many students do not take full advantage of the opportunities that are offered to them.

“My advice to all students is to explore all of the opportunities that are available to you here at Pueblo,” Matanza said. “There are excellent resources that will help all students in any situation.”