Warriors Register To Vote In ’20 Primary, General Election

By Daeyalina Moreno

On Wednesday, Feb. 12, Pueblo’s CCLC Program hosted a voter registration drive in order for young voters to participate in Arizona’s Presidential Preference Election next month; the deadline to register for the March 17 election is next Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Economics teacher and CCLC Coordinator/sponsor Mary Wallace said, “We partnered with folks who were familiar with the voting process to help us with the drive, including Mi Familia Vota and the League of Women Voters.”

In order for Pueblo students to register for the general election in November, they must be a U.S. citizen, be 18 by November 3 and have no felonies. Warriors who missed this opportunity to register will have another opportunity to register to vote in another drive in September.

“It’s important to bring a form of identification to register,” Wallace said.

Many Warriors volunteered to make today’s voter registration drive a success.

“I partnered with [credit recovery teacher] Ms. Christina Benitez,” Wallace said, “and without her wonderful help, the process of making the voting drive a reality would have been difficult.”

Benitez said, “We feel a sense of accomplishment in being able to generate an interest in the political process of voting. Our Pueblo students seemed very happy and pumped to have the opportunity to participate in the upcoming presidential election.”

Both Wallace and Benitez hope that this enthusiasm continues with our young voters, and she encourages our students to inspire their parents to vote, too—especially in the general election (Tuesday, Nov. 3).

La Familia Vota: Victor Preciado, Shania Shelby, Samantha Torres & Selina Ramirez.

Ms. Selina Ramirez, the leader of Mi Familia Vota and a fervid member of the group for the past four years, was present at Pueblo’s voter registration drive, along with three other members of MFV: Mr. Victor Preciado, Shania Shelby and Samantha Torres.

“We [Mi Familia Vota] really want young people to vote,” Torres said. “The youngest age group of voters is and has historically been the least active on election days. We want to change that statistic. We especially want to appeal to Hispanics, who have the lowest voter participation among all ethnicities.”

Mi Familia Vota visits Pueblo sometimes as often as twice a month, and the group has already registered many students who will be 18 by November. The number of registering students has dwindled a bit due to the high number of students who have already registered.

“Still—every new registered voter means a great deal to us and the political process,” Torres said.

She added that she and her co-workers try to reach as many prospective Latino voters to participate—even going door-to-door to educate and inform others to vote.

“We welcome any Pueblo students who are 16 or older to help us spread the word,” Torres said. “Students can earn $15 per hour, up to five hours per day, by joining our group.”

If interested, get in touch with a local Mi Familia Vota office at: mifamiliavota.org.

Road Warriors Break Bicycling Record

by Palmira Henriquez

Road Warriors All Smiles After Breaking Record

Records are meant to be broken, and that’s exactly what five amazing seniors accomplished on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Seniors Aaron Kuzdal, Janice Salazar, Leonard Parra, Joel Bustamante and Reannah Rodriguez cycled for a city record of 17 hours, a record previously held by a Desert View student several years ago.

A sixth senior, Danielle Rojas, attempted to break the record, but she only rode for 12 hours, which is still considered to be quite a physical accomplishment!

According to Kuzdal, Bicycle Club sponsor Mr. Ernesto Somoza announced to the club the city record and challenged any of his cyclist team members to break it.

“Sometimes you wake up one morning and want to break records,” he said. “Once Mr. Somoza told us about this challenge, it was like, ‘Heck, yeah!’”

Kuzdal and Parra decided to commit to the record-breaking challenge just two days before the event; the other four members committed just the day before!

At 6 a.m., in Somoza’s classroom, the six cyclists began their challenge.

“The only break students received was five minutes per hour to drink water, go to the bathroom and eat a quick snack,” Somoza said.

After two or three hours, all of the bicyclists admitted that they were beginning to experience excruciating physical pain.

Salazar said, “My legs, back and butt hurt horribly, and the pain was even worse after we had our five-minute break to go to the restroom and stretch.”

Another cyclist, Rodriguez, said, “Not only were we in great pain, we were being watched like zoo animals! Student Council came in to visit us, and a lot of them just stared at us like we were freaks.”

Parra echoed Rodriguez; he said, “It was difficult [cycling in the classroom] with other students because it was like we were on stage being observed.”

Unfortunately, Rojas couldn’t bare the pain any longer.

“We must all suffer from one or two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret,” she said.

To help ease the indescribable pain from hours of cycling, students said that they sang—including “Bohemian Rhapsody”, Christmas songs and John Legend tunes to keep their mind off of their agonizing body parts.

This record-breaking event was hardly ignored by local media. Channel 4 (KVOA) and Channel 13 (KOLD) were on campus, and they covered the story for television; also, reporters from The Arizona Daily Star were present.

“Having a few local media channels here boosted morale,” Somoza said. “This [media coverage] really helped students complete their goal knowing that their school and entire community was behind them one hundred percent.”

The five cyclists completed their 17-hour event, breaking the old record by an hour.

“Way down inside of me, I really believed that we would be up for this challenge,” Bustamante said.

“I’m proud to have been part of this record-breaking experience, but I really wish—and I think we all wish—that we could have sat on a bigger, softer seat,” Kuzdal said.

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.”