AC Drama Continues At Pueblo

by Isari Martinez & Xylenn Nevarez

Pueblo’s Engineer Robert Fuentes checks the status of AC Unit.

As Pueblo marches well into the second quarter, and November is upon us, the weather is at last cooling off. It seems that for many, summer lasted longer than usual this year. Unfortunately, for many students and teachers, it felt like “summer” inside the classroom as well for much of the first quarter.

During summer break, the air conditioning systems are shut down to save money. However, when several teachers returned to this new school year, they discovered that their classrooms were hot; and they stayed hot sometimes for weeks well into late September.

Marketing teacher Dr. Maria Bicknell, located in the Tech Building, is one of those teachers sweltering in extremely uncomfortable conditions.

“I tried to be positive in this hot classroom, but it was hard to manage at times,” Bicknell said. “There were some days I felt sick when I left Pueblo at the end of the day—like I was going to throw up.”

Bicknell’s neighbor and another Tech Building teacher, English and journalism teacher for the past 28 years at Pueblo, Mr. Rana Medhi, said, “Our administrators and district engineers need to ensure that we teachers and our students are comfortable on the first day of school. There’s no excuse for hot classrooms year after year. Students cannot learn in 92-degree classrooms, and old teachers can’t tolerate the heat anymore.” He paused and added, “It seems to me that we educators should feel confident about returning to a new school year with everything working and having comfortable teaching environments.”

Medhi added that he was fortunate that he had to teach elsewhere for just two weeks; some teachers weren’t so lucky…

Mr. Valentino Martin, Pueblo’s auto shop teacher—and his students—suffered in the heat since from the beginning of the school year. He and his classroom had to be relocated to the Special Projects Room, which was very inconvenient for his curriculum, although students still learned about auto shop safety and other issues until students were finally able to return to T-9 when the air conditioning was repaired.

Then, on Aug. 23, the A/C stopped working again, and Martin and his students were relocated again.

Another Tech Building teacher, photography teacher Ms. Emma Tarazon-Oetting, also had to be relocated to other locations while air conditioning unit was repaired.

Other non-Tech Building classrooms were also excessively hot during the first quarter across campus, and several teachers had to be relocated until the air conditioning was repaired.

Assistant Principal David Montaño said that before students and teachers returned for the new school, all of the air conditioning units were working, but a major thunderstorm just before school started disrupted several of the A/C units.

“Based on the age of some of these A/C units, repairs are bound to be needed,” Montaño said.

However, summer did end at last, which alleviated teachers and students in classrooms that still had inadequate air conditioning.

Many other environments suffered as well. Even though the weight room may boast air, the room is cooled only by a swamp cooler and big fans.

Just the opposite occurred in many classrooms as fall began in late September—classrooms experiencing frigid temperatures.

Junior Sarahi Perez said, “There are some days when the AVID classroom was downright Arctic, and so was [science teacher] Ms. Amaro’s classroom. The AVID classroom is either freezing or hot—it’s never normal in there. It seems that it’s never a healthy environment in which to learn.”

Another student, sophomore Dezarae Valenzuela, said that the Student Council room [Mr. Obregon’s classroom] is very cold. I’d rather it be cold than hot, but sometimes you need a thick blanket to stay warm.”

Junior Angel Leeth said that in her math class, taught by Ms. Rhesa Olsen, she sometimes has to borrow her teacher’s blankets, which she keeps in her classroom.

“It’s very difficult to concentrate in her frigid classroom,” Leeth said. “It’s so cold, I fall asleep.”

The AC system in the main building is controlled and set by TUSD at 76 degrees, but the question remains: Why were the temperatures in some classrooms and the library 59 degrees or colder?

Pueblo has just one engineer, Mr. Robert Fuentes, a 1997 Pueblo graduate, who has been employed for the past 14 years; however, for the past 10 years, he has been the only engineer on site.

He explained that the new equipment to maintain Pueblo’s cooling and heating systems are working with an old 1980’s pneumatic system. In other words, two different systems are trying to work together, often unsuccessfully.

Story from 1995 Pueblo Yearbook on AC Issues

“I like what I do,” Fuentes said, “but it’s frustrating maintaining an entire school by myself most of the time.” He added, “I have to do what I have to do to make classrooms feel comfortable for our students and teachers.”

He paused and added, “This school needs to prioritize repairs on its cooling system.”

New Student Embraces Pueblo Despite ‘Culture Shock’

by Genesis Alba

Dr. Levine & Lorenzo Menor

Since September. 1, Class of 2021 Junior Lorenzo Menor has been adjusting to American life, including a new school, after nearly 16 years of living in his native Philippines, more than 8,000 miles from Tucson.

Despite the educational system at Pueblo High School being very different than the Philippines, he said that he is finding his way around.

“There are so many opportunities here [in Tucson and America], around every corner,” Menor said, “and I just want to take advantage of as many as possible.”

Currently, Menor is earning straight A’s.

“Even though my grades are high, I’m still experiencing culture shock,” he added. “I’m not used to classrooms being so informal. Students and teachers are much more ‘chill’ with one another. In the Philippines, we students were often intimidated by our educators.”

Two years ago, Menor’s father moved from the Philippines and landed a math teaching job at St. John’s Catholic School, and the rest of the family were reunited two months ago.

“Tucson has been great so far,” Menor said. “I’m glad that our family is together at last.”

Menor’s mother is trying to find a permanent teaching job, and she is currently substitute-teaching. He also has a younger sister.

“I’m trying to keep myself busy,” he said. “I’m emotionally recovering from a breakup with my girlfriend. The distance killed our relationship.”

Despite feeling “lost” without her, Menor said that life is “a beautiful gift.”

“We all have our own journeys, and we need to respect them, as well as others,” Menor said.

Recently, he found out that he has been accepted to an apprenticeship at the University of Arizona—related to medical ignorance. Dr. Lolita Levine, Pueblo science teacher, helped him with the paperwork.

“Even though I plan to major in computer science, I’m going to take full advantage of this experience,” Menor said. “I’m going to be making minimum wage [$12/hour] for eight hours each day while learning at the same time. How lucky am I?”

As for the rest of the school year, he hopes to get out of his “slump” and become more social. “I know I need to work on my confidence,” he said. “I need to take advantage of all of the opportunities that are available in this country. I don’t think American [students] know the true meaning of poverty. Go to the Philippines. I’ll show you poverty.”

Health Clinic On Wheels Serves Pueblo Community

By Darian Aldaco and Palmira Henriquez

The Teen Mobile Health Clinic (on wheels!) rolls onto the Pueblo High School campus twice a week, every second and fourth Monday of each month. According to Pueblo’s nurse Ms. Kate Straub, many students have taken advantage of the clinic’s services. Some students have asked questions regarding sex health and hygiene including those related to sexually-transmitted diseases [STD’s] and birth control.

Nurse Straub said, “Students need to know that their visit to this clinic is completely free and very confidential.”

Students who wish to visit the clinic are required to schedule an appointment with Nurse Straub; students will be excused from class.

She added that students do not need their parents’ permission to visit the clinic.

The Teen Mobile Clinic makes its rounds at various other schools, including Project More, TAPP (Teen Age Pregnant Program) and Cholla.

Nurse Straub said, “[Students] having access to this clinic is fantastic, and everybody deserves to have free and confidential help.”

Tardiness Problem At Pueblo

by Ramon Lopez

Tardy Line at Pueblo High School
Tardy line in front of administration building.

Tardiness has historically been a big problem in our school, but we are improving on this situation despite long tardy lines. During the first week in December, there were 1,014 tardies reported in the attendance office. The next week, the number of tardies plummeted to 769 tardies, and more than 90% of these tardies were during the first period.

Pueblo’s faculty has addressed this problem and working hard to help decrease students’ tardies. As of mid-December, Behavior Interventionists have completed 258 interventions, 236 student conferences, 20 parent conferences, and two lunch restorations.

Ms. Angelica Aros, one of Pueblo’s attendance clerks said, “Yes, I believe Pueblo can make a change. These lines are not the solution. Students need to value their time at school more.”

Mr. Steve Lopez, assistance principal, affirmed that after students are tardy six times, parents will be called. If tardies persist, Lopez added that home they will be required to attend “Saturday School”.

Bryan Ramirez, a junior, said “I’ve had to go to lunch detention and it truly does help me get back on my feet and realize what am doing is wrong.”

Tardiness begins in the morning right after the first bell, at 8 a.m. 1st Period, and within 15 minutes, the tardy line serpentines from the attendance office to the outside—consisting sometimes as many as a hundred students. Some students express their frustration because they were just seconds late—and still not allowed in class.  By the time they receive their tardy slip and go to class, students will have missed half—or more—of their class.

“The whole tardy policy is just a mess,” said student Ramirez.  “Administration needs to come up with a more effective way to deal with students’ tardies. Being in long lines is not a solution—it’s just a band-aid to a big problem.  I believe that students and teachers should come up with more innovative ways to deal with our tardies. I suppose that students themselves need to fix the tardy problem by just showing up to school on time.”

Administration said that they will continue to make improvements in the tardy policy.  “So far, the tardiness problem has improved,” said Assistant Principal Steve Lopez. “We could always do better, however, and we’ll continue to make improvements as the discussion continues.”

Warriors Express Gratitude

Candy Rodriguez

Compiled by Candy Rodriguez

So Very Thankful

The 2,000 or so students, faculty, staff and administrators in the Pueblo High School community have historically been very expressive regarding their gratitude in light of Thanksgiving. Here are just a few of those voices:

Andrew Romero, senior: “I am thankful for my family,and worldly possessions. However, more than anything I am grateful to be living…and for my girlfriend.”

Austin Davis, sophomore: “I am thankful for my Subway sandwiches and my friend, Sabino.”

Brian Alegria, sophomore: “I am really thankful for thrash metal music and my mother.”

Anahiz Lopez, sophomore: “I love my older twin sister, Analia. She defends me, and although she can sometimes be a little mean, I still love her.”

Eduwiges (Vicky) Cordova, senior: “I am thankful for my education, family, and friends also the roof over my head.”

Mariel Ponce, sophomore: “Everything that’s been given my way.”

Genesis Alba, junior:“I’m grateful for that God blessed me with privileges like my education, my family, and the love they shower me in—and being able to eat.”

Mr. Frank Rosthenhausler, Principal: “I’m thankful for the opportunity to lead this great school.”

Jesus Soto, junior: “I’m thankful for all the strength and blessings God has given me.”

Ruben Rivera IV, senior: “I’m thankful for Coach Sanders for teaching everything I’ve learned these past four years. I’m thankful for my team for being some real dawgs and never backing down.”

Andres Jorge Lujan, senior: “I’m thankful to have both of my parents living under the same roof.”

Ms. Katherine Gunnels, Assistant Principal: “I am thankful that I have a lot of good cooks in my family,and that my husband is the most amazing man ever.”

Sabino Raygoza: “I am thankful for my friends and family and my red Air Max’s.”

Nicole Del Toro, junior: “I am thankful for my parents and the people that genuinely care about me.”

Isaac Guerrero, junior: “I am thankful for my family,for my earphones, and ice cream, too.”

Darian Aldaco, sophomore: “I am thankful for having a roof over my head and a place to sleep.”

Mr. Steve Lopez, assistant principal: “I am thankful to be back home, Pueblo is home to me.”

Antonio Rodriguez, senior: “I am thankful for friends and family.”

Ms. Amaro, chemistry teacher: “Thankful for wonderful students at Pueblo and in the Chemistry Club.”

Andres Apodaca, senior: “I am thankful for my mom because that’s why I’m here today.”

Ryana Talavera, senior: “I’m very thankful for my two friends, Candy and Michael, because they have helped me through a lot and have always been there for me.”

Ms. Elizabeth Raizk, science teacher: “I’m most thankful for the students here at Pueblo. They’re kind, perspective, and they keep me going.”

Zahira Barcelo, sophomore: “I’m just thankful for what I have.”

Angelica Aros, attendance secretary: “I am thankful for my family because I love them; they are my everything.”

Ms. Teresa Toro, counselor: “Very thankful for my health, family, and my extended family at Pueblo.”

Susie Esquivel, senior: “I am thankful for my brother because if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have pursued my interest as a musician. He’s inspired me for everything I do in my life, and he’s my best friend.”

Aaron Cano, junior: “I am thankful for everything my parents have done for me and everything that my girlfriend does for me.”

Carlos Molina, junior: “I’m thankful for my family and friends and how supportive they have been for me in baseball and life.”

Mia Carpenter, junior: “I’m thankful for my eyelashes because they don’t need mascara.”

Mark Anthony, junior: “I’m very thankful for all the opportunities I’ve been given.”

Ms. Kate Straub, nurse: “I am thankful for my health, my job here at Pueblo and also my family…I feel like I pretty much have everything I need in this world.”

Bryan Ramierz, junior: “I’m thankful for my mother because she cares for me, and she motivates me to always work hard.”

Jose Montoya, sophomore: “First of all, I’m thankful for my family because they love me, and they’re always there for me.”

Adam Pelayo, junior: “I’m thankful for the great life that I have and I’m also thankful for my parents because they work so hard.”

Ms. Goya Ruiz, campus monitor: “I’m thankful for my kids, my family, and good health.”

Adrian Cervantes, junior: “I’m thankful for everything—but specially my mom, my clothes, the rest of my immediate family, and of course my grandma.”

Paula Fierros, senior: “I’m thankful for everyone who has made my senior year pleasant and memorable so far, especially Mr. Medhi who elected me editor-in-chief this year. He’s the best.”

Ms. Marie Little, yearbook/exceptional ed teacher: “I am thankful for my health, my son[s] and my family.”

Martin Martinez, senior: “I’m thankful that my baseball career has become as success. I’ve been offered several baseball scholarships, including one from Minnesota.”

Mr. Ernesto Somoza, graphic design teacher: “I am strongly thankful for my five four-legged, furry friends as well as my friends and family-and, at last, for my ever-growing friends and family at Pueblo.”

Solar Panels Project Shines At Pueblo

by Paula Fierros & Celestina Marinez

Pueblo Solar Panel Project 2018 by Leo Parra

Even though the solar panels project in the parking lot was supposed to be completed before the beginning of this school year, this construction project did not begin until July 16, making the beginning of the school year a bit chaotic for many employees and students looking for parking spaces.

More than three months later, the project is nearing completion. Final work continues,and an expected date of completion is estimated to be near the end of the semester.

Mr. Mark Farcis, a foreman for the Future Vervan Energy corporation, said, “We are nearing the end of our stay here,” he said. “All that is left is to connect all of the panels to one power source.”

Completion of this project will ease parking nightmares for faculty, staff and students.

“Traffic in and out of Pueblo has been horrid,” said Assistant Principal Mr. David Montaño, “but we’ve done the best we could do under these circumstances. We hope that everybody can be a little patient because in the end, we’re going to have a beautiful new parking lot that will be environmentally impactful.”

Due to a reduced number of spaces in our usual parking lot due to the installation of the panels, many teachers have had to park in the several new areas that have been designated temporary parking locations.

In the end, the solar panels will be improving the environment as well as reducing the district’s electricity bill.

“Cutting the energy bill in half is always a good thing,” said Ms. Kathryn Gunnels, assistant principal.

The big plan is to go green will take over the district. Many schools in T.U.S.D. have already completed their own solar panels projects in those schools’ parking lots.

Gunnels said, “We live in a world with limited resources, and it makes perfect sense to use our unlimited resource in Arizona—the sun.”