Pueblo Warriors & Cholla Chargers Unite For Change

by Laura Conde

Presentations during Pueblo’s Many Faces of Action Conference

On Oct. 3, 2017, Pueblo and Cholla High Schools collaborated for the “Many Faces of Action Conference: A Student Action Forum”, a chance for participating students to learn about their rights, speak up about issues they cared about and overall, feel empowered.

Primarily hosted and meticulously organized by teachers who teach culturally relevant courses at Pueblo (Dr. Raúl Gonzalez, Ms. Victoria Bodanyi, Ms. Tifanny Mendibles-Muñoz and Ms. Jessica Mejia), Pueblo and Cholla students made the most out of this educational experience. According to organizers, this event was “a collaboration of many fascinating and intelligent individuals.”

Social studies teacher Ms. Victoria Bodanyi said, “The conference went really smoothly. Besides our own nearly100 Pueblo students, we hosted more than 50 Cholla students. We were also able to have presenters from TUSD, local organizations, professors from the University of Arizona and our very own Pueblo teachers.”

Additionally, two science teachers (Dr. Andrew Lettes and Ms. Elizabeth Raizk) held workshops to educate students about Valley Fever and environmental racism, respectively.

The conference lasted for an entire standard school day—8 a.m. until 3:15 p.m. Early on, participating students were welcomed accordingly and later divided into three groups (pink, yellow and green) that would direct them to different workshops around campus.

Many Pueblo students left the conference with a deeper comprehension of political and social issues that affect them in their lives.

“I learned that there are many ways for the community to come together for a problem everyone has but doesn’t see,” said Liam Membrila, a senior.

Cholla students were invited to come

“I feel more confident in ways I could get involved because I’ve wanted to help with the issues going on but I was confused and now I feel a lot more prepared,” said Jacquelyne Acuña, a junior.

“A lot of ‘DACA’ students are struggling, and we need more support and people to be aware. I see how I am more fortunate, and I’d like to give more people that opportunity,” said Gerardo Arzabe, a senior.

On behalf of Pueblo High School, a special thanks to the following people and organizations: Mr. Frank Armenta, Ms. Dominique Calza, Mr. Salo Escamilla, Ms. Maria Federico-Bummer, Mr. Richard Gastelum, Mr. Maurice H. Goldan, Ms. Sarita Gonzales, Mr. Enrique Garcia, Dr. Andrew Lettes Ms. Elizabeth Raizk, Dra. Andrea Romero, Dr. Augustine Romero, Mr. Bryant Valenica, Calpulli Teoxicalli, Cholla High School, LUCHA, LUPE, Tierra y Libertad Organization.

Science Wing Reopened For ‘Business’

by Iram Arce

Science Wing

Last school year, chemistry teacher Ms. Melissa Espindola was one of the unfortunate dozen or so teachers to be adversely affected by one of the most devastating vandalism cases in TUSD history; however, she now thrives in a bigger classroom with more materials at her disposal.

Espindola can now be found happily teaching honors chemistry students in Room 166 instead of the library conference room.

“I’m so glad that I got this room full of lab stations and plenty of space for my students to move around,” she said. “It is so much better than that little crammed room where I was not allowed to do any experiments.”

Espindola, along with other science teachers, would not have made it without the support from fellow colleagues and peers.

Ms. Elaine Straub, Pueblo’s forensic science teacher, said, “I cannot describe how delighted I am to be back in my room after it was utterly trashed.”

Last December and January, more than a dozen classrooms were severely vandalized—either through fire or water damage. Most science teachers were relocated for the remainder of the school year—an entire semester.

“Even though there is still some odd ends [that need to be addressed] such as not having my equipment replaced, other science teachers are still affected by the vandalism,” she said.

Teachers such as Espindola and new addition to the Pueblo family, Dr. Brian Engel, do not have water installed in their classrooms, although they remain hopeful that this situation is very temporary.

Despite being ecstatic to be back in her classroom, Espindola is dumbfounded by the thought that the window security barriers have not been installed yet, a project that she said should have been completed by now.

“It will be an embarrassment if my class were to be vandalized again because of this [lack of security barriers],” she said. “It’s like they are waiting for a vandalism to happen again; I don’t know why this issue is not a priority.”

Despite the inconveniences of teachers and students—as well as the sacrifices both groups had to endure—the Pueblo spirit remains fervid and fortified.

Pueblo Takes Action After DACA Repeal

by Laura Conde

On Sept. 5, 2017, President Trump decided to end the DACA program, otherwise known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA allowed many undocumented immigrants to work and live in the US – and his latest decision puts approximately 800,000 immigrants in danger of deportation. This decision caused an uproar all across the country, including at Pueblo.

A day after the DACA decision, Culturally Relevant teachers came together and hosted a DACA- themed workshop to further inform the Pueblo community, offer resources, and potentially make this situation more bearable.

During the workshop, participating students were guided through research activities, along with analyzation and discussion of the actual repeal decision.

The workshop provided a very accepting environment could voice their opinions.

The following quotes are from DACA students who have chosen to remain anonymous.

“It’s great [DACA workshop], it gives people an opportunity to become aware, people may know about it, but not exactly.”

Another student said, “I’m glad we’re having this [DACA workshop], students need to be educated, sometimes adults aren’t even aware of this topic.”

“I think it’s depressing, some of them [dreamers] came here as children, sending them to places they don’t know is cruel,”

“It doesn’t make sense, people come here for opportunities, if they don’t get any, what’s the point?”

“Students need to have a voice, human rights aren’t illegal, they just are.”

DACA will be phased out with an official decision from Congress in six months. As of now, no further DACA applications will be accepted and after Oct. 5, 2017 initial and renewal applications will be disregarded.

Aside from this, numerous resources exist to help the community express themselves and support this struggle.

A few options include, (1) Text “Resist” to 504-09, a “Resist-bot” can formulate your concerns and send a letter to the members of Congress. (2) A direct call to local officials can make an immense difference, Jeff Flake: (520) 575-8633, John McCain: (520) 670-6334, and Raul Grijalva: (520) 622-6788
“I think DACA activities teach students to be aware of their rights,” said Mendibles-Muñoz. “They become advocates and develop a network they can fall back on for support.”

Pueblo Convalesces After Vandalism

  

By Iram Arce and Lya Thurston

During 2016-2017 winter break, Pueblo High School’s Lever Gym, along with 23 classrooms, were broken into and vandalized. Two classrooms were set on fire, and the flooring of Lever Gym was flooded—thus, warping the wood, and currently the flooring is still being removed.

Science Room Vandalism Damage

Because chemicals were spilled during the vandalism, eight classrooms had to be relocated upon students’ return to school on Monday, January 9, 2017, while the haz-mat team quarantined the science wing until the chemicals could be removed.

One science teacher who was relocated, Ms. Wilma Amaro, said, “It’s an unfortunate situation, but we pushed through as one.”

This positive attitude has been very contagious to her students and the entire campus.

Still, the damage remains and is a constant reminder of what still needs to be completed. The damage in Lever Gym is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Another $50,000 in lab equipment needs to be replaced.

Lever Gym Floor Water Damage

Chemistry teacher Ms. Melissa Espindola, whose classroom was burned, said, “My lesson plans have changed, but I still need to do my job as a teacher. This means I must continue teaching and just accept the reality in order to move forward.”

Biotech teacher Dr. Andrew Lettes knew that they had to get back on track as soon as possible.

He said, “Coming back from break, I was completely devastated. However, that helped me realize that we needed to do a lab [experiment] on Friday, and that is exactly what we did with the help of U of A donations.”

“The compassion of this school is amazing as both students and teachers have helped by donating, some out of their own pockets,” said biotech and forensics science teacher Ms. Elaine Straub. “However, I do believe that the vandal’s actions could have been deterred if the district approved to set up window screens over the winter break as it was originally planned.”

As if this incident was not devastating enough, two weeks after the winter break incident, the vandals struck again—this time two more classrooms were the target, displacing more students and two more science teachers, Ms. Straub and Dr. Lolly Levine.

“Even though this happened to me, we united,” Straub said. “These vandalism cases are senseless, but together we show the hearts of Warriors and show that we can survive.”

Dr. Augustine Romero, Pueblo’s principal since 2014, said, “I’m very proud of how our school has reacted to this incident. I’m just asking that everybody at Pueblo to keep their heads up, keep moving forward and to know that there are a lot of people who care about our [Pueblo] community.”

“Through all of this chaos, Pueblo has stayed together and stayed strong held. In fact, we now have an even stronger bond,” he added.

Bringing Love To Pueblo

By Iram Arce

On Friday, January 13, 2017, former Pueblo freshman counselor Mr. Saul Ostroff brought a group of students to our campus from Myers Ganoung Elementary School to express their love and support in regards to the recent vandalism that has plagued our Warrior spirits.

Prior to coming to Pueblo, Ostroff and a group of six elementary school students helped serve food at Casa Maria before bringing custom t-shirts reading “We Love Pueblo” to our campus, in the hopes of enlightening the school’s spirit.

“I was devastated to hear what happened to my old home [Pueblo], so I decided it was only right to bring the love to Pueblo,” Ostroff said.

Ostroff and the elementary kids, ranging from third to fifth-graders, walked into classrooms and yelled, “WE LOVE PUEBLO!” to science teachers—many of whom have lost the ability to teach in their own classes due to the widespread vandalism.

Juan Valdez, a fifth-grader, said, “Pueblo is a good school, and I want to come here when I’m older. I don’t know why people would do such a cruel thing.”

Jasmine Garcia, a fourth-grader said, “This is a really beautiful school, and I will definitely come here one day. It’s not fair that bad people want to make this look like a bad school, because it’s not.”

Third-grader Emily Vazquez said, “I wish that the love that my friends and I feel for Pueblo helps everybody at that great school feel better!”

Pricilla Gonzales, a fourth-grader, said, “We know everyone in this school is going through stressful times, so that’s why we brought love—everyone needs it.”

Who Or What Do You Love?

  

Compiled by Lauren Ahern and Nayeli Sanchez

In the past few days, Pueblo students and teachers expressed who they love the most in their lives.

Yamilex Garcia (12): “I love my dog because I consider him my best friend. When I get sad, he’s there to comfort me.”

Paula Fierros (10): “I love my family the most because no matter what, they’ll always support me. Even if I make a dumb decision or a wise decision, they’ll always have my back.”

Angelita Delcido (11): “I love the people who I have in my life as well as the opportunities I’m given because of their presence.”

Daniela Moreno (11): “I love a lot of people, but I’d like to acknowledge my dad and sister because they always push me and motivate me to do well in school.”

Ms. Rhesa Olsen, math teacher: “I love my parents for being there for me throughout my life! Oh, and I love my pets—the ones I have now, the ones in my past and the ones in my future. I also love my students. That’s who I love—not necessarily in that order.”

Ms. Tiffany Mendibles, English teacher: “I love the human connection that I share with every individual who is part of my life.”

Angel Faras (12): “I love baseball because it makes me happy.”

Luis Leyva (12): “I love my family because they’re there for me.”

Ana Verdugo (12): “I love Avae because she’s funny.”

Tais Jimenez (12): “I love my family, friends and pizza.”

Paola Vargas (12): “I love my friends, family and myself.”

Josselyn Rivera (12): “I love my family, friends and Dad.”

Roger Ruiz (12): “I love my family the most.”

Kimberly Gracia (12): “I love my mom, dogs and my boyfriend.”

Yazdel Enriquez (12): “I love Fernanda.”

Sara Noriego (12): “I love my family because they support me and my crazy ideas. I feel like they accept me just the way I am. I also love Joaquin, my boyfriend for more than a year, because he brings out the best in me.”