‘Grief & Loss’ Group To Continue In Spring Semester

By Joshua Urbalejo

Mr. Juan Mejia & Mr. Efrain Carrillo

For the past 15 years, social worker Mr. Efrain Carrillo has been helping students with traumatic and emotional issues, and for the fifth year, a “Grief and Loss” group has been helping students cope with overwhelming feelings due to challenging issues.

“Round 2” of the Grief and Loss group will continue into the spring 2022 semester, Carrillo said.

“I look forward to continuing to help students with a whole spectrum of problems,” he said.

Carrillo has a little “help” this school year, as he is working with Mr. Juan Mejia, whose internship will be completed in May—allowing Mejia to earn his master’s degree from Arizona State University (Tucson campus).

“This [Grief and Loss] group is a safe place for people to share their stories and not be judged,” Mejia said.

Mejia added that he hopes to stay in Tucson—maybe even at Pueblo—after earning his degree.

“The Grief and Loss group allows students to express their feelings,” Carrillo said. “I am always there for them—to listen to them, to comfort them and most of all, support them through difficult times.”

Carrillo created this group, feeling the need to fulfill students’ emotional needs.

“What students tell me is very confidential,” Carrillo said, “although I always have to take additional steps when students are suicidal or if abuse is expressed or suspected.”

He wants all Warrior students to remember the Loss and Grief motto: “Comfort, Hope, and Purpose.”

“I want to help students with their sadness and to listen and validate their feeling before they turn into depression,” Carrillo said. “My office is always open, but the group meets regularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Room 199.”

Carrillo said that he counsels students in several other groups that meet on campus, including Boys to Men”, LGBTQ students, a girls’ group and “Si Se Puede”.

El Guerrero is committed to featuring these stories this spring.

Internet Challenge Causes Theft At Pueblo

By Marla Terminel

Pueblo High School

With social media becoming a major part of our everyday lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole world participates in social media trends, most of which are harmless; however, others have caused a major spike in theft of public property.

The trend, known as “Devious Licks”, first surfaced on TikTok in early September as most schools across the country returned to in-person learning. The internet challenge promotes theft in public schools of items such as soap and paper towel dispensers from restrooms, but at Pueblo, this theft has gone as far to include a restroom stall door and fire extinguishers.

“Kids are stealing stuff as a part of an online challenge and its only hurting themselves,” said band director and music teacher Mr. Jesus Jacquez. He added that school supplies are already difficult to replace, as it took the marching band 12 years to receive new uniforms from administration.

“Anything you [students] steal or damage has to come out of someone else’s pocket,” he added. “Studnets need to stop being disrespectful.”

The trend has disproportionately impacted all the boys’ restrooms—as they are all missing soap dispensers.

Custodian Mr. Albert Ochoa said, “It [these thefts at Pueblo] saddens me because it affects everyone. Most bathrooms will indefinitely be missing supplies because students are breaking or stealing them.”

Senior David Cañes said that he has resorted to bringing his own personal supplies such as hand soap to school because some are no longer being supplied in restrooms—more necessary now than ever to help the spread of COVID-19.

“The trend started while I was quarantined, so I was surprised to see it as an actual problem at our school,” said Cañez. “I don’t want to be in the restrooms anymore despite some teachers already not allowing students to go because I’m afraid of the association.”

Although some students have been caught with other forms of vandalism such as breaking fire exit signs, pulling fire alarms, and stealing fire extinguishers, none have been caught stealing from restrooms.

Administrator, David Montano said, “it’s difficult to find students who are stealing from restrooms because they could hide soap dispensers in their backpacks.”

25 soap dispensers have been ordered to replace the ones that are broken and stolen and despite some already being replaced in some restrooms, students have continued to break and steal them.

Students who are caught damaging property will be suspended and charged with the cost of the item through either pay or community service.

“It pains me to see,” Montano added. “The school puts so much money and effort into replacing these items just for them to be broken again. I hope these students could grow and learn to stay safe, healthy, and to respect the schools pride.”

Administration is actively monitoring social media for trends and will not be replacing any more items until theft and vandalism declines nationally and at school.

“I am disappointed to see this behavior from our students,” Jacquez said. “[At school] we don’t steal, lie, fight or be disrespectful. That is how it’s always been, and that’s how it should always be.”

Warriors Conquering First Semester—Mask & All

by Kevin Salazar

We all are still wearing masks as we head into the second half of this second quarter of the first semester of the school year…

However, at least we are all back.

A year ago, there was a lot of uncertainty about the future of our world, our country, and our schools. Some of that uncertainty may not have found permanent answers or solutions…

But we’re back.

Despite the chaos and disorder that began in March, 2020, when district schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a miracle vaccine helped us to resume normalcy, although with some hesitation and anxiety.

“I missed [being back in classrooms in] school,” said Alex Rodriguez, a junior. “I missed socializing and the feeling of being here and actually sitting in a classroom with a teacher educating us in person and not on a tiny screen online.”

Another junior, Leo Duarte, said, “Now that I’m back this year, I honestly don’t know how I ever survived last year on-line. I know that our teachers were frustrated about the technology, and I know that they really tried their hardest to teach us, but so many of us students feel like we were short-changed the education that we would normally receive in the classroom.”

Duarte added, “This is probably why all of us juniors feel behind and why we’re told by our teachers how much we have to learn to play ‘catch-up’.”

Natalia Arteaga, a junior, said, “I feel like my anxiety was diminished this school year. I’m learning more this school year than on-line instruction. I couldn’t imagine learning anatomy on-line!”

As we marched through this first quarter with determination and tenacity, most students were relieved that policies and standards for athletic sports have improved, even though players are still required to wear masks while practicing and playing.

Junior Victoria Cazares, a fervid basketball player, stated, “Last year we had to follow a lot of rules we were not used to. The mask was new, and for many of us, it was uncomfortable. Now, it’s normal, and we’ve adjusted to wearing them. We are resilient—we face challenges and overcome them, just like when we play sports.”

Many teachers shared their struggles to teach online. They missed teaching students in-person; returning to their classrooms was like being back home.

“I love being back!” English teacher Ms. Caroline Fioramanti said. “At first, teaching back in the classroom was tough—especially enforcing mask-wearing. However, I’m used to it now, and I believe that our students are, too. Wearing masks and getting the vaccine are symbols of caring for ourselves and for the community.”

Our administrative team is also happy to govern a school with students and teachers in person. Ms. Kathryn Gunnels, assistant principal, said that she is relieved that we are getting back on track.

“Sure, it [returning in person] is challenging,” Gunnels said, referring to the safety mandates that have been implemented this year. “However, I’m okay with these mandates. I feel comfortable and a little safer wearing masks.”

She paused and said, “I think a lot of people feel like I do—that you never know how good something is until it’s gone—and having students, faculty, staff and administration is definitely a good thing.”

Most students, teachers and administrators feel confident that we can endure the school year—and even make it thrive at times.

“I don’t think many of us could have survived another year on-line,” said senior Lisa Morales-Bonillas. “I feel sorry especially for the Class of 2020 who never had the chance to graduate on time with a formal ceremony. I hope that doesn’t happen to us. We’re all a little nervous about what’s going to happen next semester—if COVID-19 cases will escalate or decrease.”

She paused and added, “For now, everything is cool. I suppose we all just need to live from day to day and not get overwhelmed about the future. Everybody just needs to get vaccinated and to social distance as much as possible. That’s the only way we’re going to wipe out this [COVID-19] pandemic.”

Morales-Bonillas continued, “Those who don’t get vaccinated should realize how they are not only jeopardizing their own health but also risking others’ health. I think next year, the district should mandate vaccinations for all students who want to be learn in-person. For those who don’t or refuse to be vaccinated, they should learn on-line and stay away from others who are trying to get back to normal.”

Despite Challenges, Teachers Embrace Return To Classroom

by Israel Noriega

Students aren’t the only ones glad to be back in the classroom this first semester. Most educators are elated to have some sense of normalcy in their professional lives since the beginning of the school year on Aug.2, although they feel that this year’s return to Pueblo has been far from being totally “back to normal”.

Ms. Celisa Ramirez, one of Pueblo’s AVID teachers, said, “The number of students I had in the beginning [was challenging]! Students moving in and out of my classroom was crazy until their schedules were finalized. Then, technology was not working.” She paused and added, “However, things got better, but, yeah, it was a very difficult beginning.”

Another teacher, Ms. Sarah Wilson, Pueblo’s radio teacher, said, “In the beginning of the school year, students weren’t used to sitting so long. Many of them were returning to the classroom for the first time in nearly a year and a half. Getting students to stay off their phones was also challenging.”

Math teacher Mr. Gregory Obregon said, “The beginning of the school year was definitely difficult. I really had to be a lot more patient with students than usual. I had to reteach my students a lot of normal things, like how to behave properly in a classroom. Also, our students’ social skills suffered during online instruction, and that was difficult to deal with until they became more comfortable around a lot of people.”

Even as the semester progressed, many teachers’ days were not done after school hours. Teachers have had to adjust to staying extra hours helping students online who are quarantined. Some teachers reported that they were and currently are working as many as two or three hours beyond the school day to ensure students are receiving the work they need to earn good grades in their classes.

Pueblo’s other AVID teacher, Ms. Lyndsey Bojorquez, said,” I spend a lot of time during my planning periods and after school reading and responding to [quarantined] students’ emails in order to help them keep up-to-date with classroom work.”

Ms. Andrea Goodrich, a new social studies teacher at Pueblo, said that she also was challenged by some of the awkwardness of the school year’s beginning.

She said, “It’s been a hard transition for both the students and teachers because there have been a lot of new procedures to follow. It took a while for everybody to know the rules and teachers’ expectations.”

Despite all the challenges every teacher has been facing throughout this first semester, administrators have been doing their best, too, and working hard to make sure every teacher gets the help and the support they need.

Assistant Principal Kathryn Gunnels said, “We have been doing a lot of S.E.L. [Socially Emotional Learning] for the purpose of helping teachers to help their students to make the transition from online to in-person learning because this transition was enormous—whether or not those changes are obvious or not.”

Ms. Karla Martinez, who joined the Pueblo High School administrative team this school year, said, I speak with a lot of teachers—answering their questions and discussing their concerns. I want everybody to know that I’m here for them.”

Despite all the challenges to continue to overcome this first semester, teachers are glad to be back and happy to see their students and meet them in person. Teachers have missed their students and are grateful to be back.

Mr. Abel Escalante, a science teacher at Pueblo, said, “I missed to getting to know my students because last year all I saw were black screens.”

English teacher Ms. Lucero Ramirez said,” No matter what challenges I faced in the beginning of the school year, it’s still great to be back! Here we are, near the end of the first semester now. I really missed seeing kids’ faces and laughing with them the most.”

Kickoff Game 2021 Against Sahuaro Postponed

by Marla Terminel

After members of both teams went under isolation for COVID-19 risk and exposure, Pueblo’s first kickoff game against Sahuaro High School, originally scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 2, was postponed due to protocols.

The match was one of two that are a part of Southern Arizona’s 11th annual “Coaches for Charity Kickoff” event.

“It [the cancelation] was unfortunate, but due to an abundance of caution, it had to happen,” said Pueblo’s athletic director, Coach Miguel “Miggs” Sandoval.

Pueblo’s football season will now open on Friday, Sept. 10, at Rincon/University High School.

“It was sad at the moment, but I realized the season wouldn’t be cancelled,” said Josiah Gastelum, a sophomore on this year’s varsity squad. He added that despite the untimely circumstances, postponing the game would also give the team more time to practice for the late kickoff game. “Having more time to prepare for this season may be a blessing from the football gods.”

Mr. Jesus Jacquez, Pueblo’s band director and music teacher, said that COVID-19 has been a constant barrier on everyone’s lives, as it is one that impacts athletes, performers, as well as the entire student body and staff individually.

Through the heightened health procedures and cancelled events, the team has not only learned to overcome challenges, but have thrived with their resources.

The Kickoff game against Sahuaro will now be held Thursday, Oct. 29.

“COVID isn’t stopping us,” Gastelum said. “We’ll keep getting better and work hard through our problems as a team.”

Student Council Stays Strong During Pandemic

By Hector Guzman 

During this 2020-2021 school year, Pueblo’s Student Council has faced many challenges and jumped over many obstacles due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has prevented this club from performing normally. 

Mr. Gregory Obregon, who teaches Algebra 1 and 2, is once again this year’s Student Council advisor/teacher. Like many at Pueblo, he has expressed his frustrations of online instruction and trying to ensure that Student Council continues to be functional. 

“We [students and teachers/sponsors] may not be able to be with our students in person, but the work we still need to do really does matter,” Obregon said. 

However, he does have hope that this situation will not last forever but wishes he had had more time to prepare for a remote learning environment. 

“It [Covid-19] will pass,” he said. 

Franchesca Fernandez

Franchesca Fernandez, a senior and this year’s Student Council president, has also encountered her share of challenges this school year. She said that insufficient student participation has affected her job, and she has had difficulty contacting people. She said that she conducts meetings by planning schedules and having business meetings on Thursdays, and afterwards allows members to be in their committees. 

Fernandez said that this year Student Council is looking at online alternatives to raise money, including Percentage Night Fundraisers. She hopes to continue raising money for the club throughout the entire school year. 

“Student Council is there for them [students],” Fernandez said. “We are trying our hardest amidst the pandemic to keep pushing, and we will eventually get through it.” 

Obregon said that he misses an in-person Student Council a lot—as well as all the activities, group work and just hanging out with his club members. 

“Showing school spirit is quite hard during the pandemic,” Obregon said, “because we are unable to decorate the hallways and put up posters.” 

He expressed sadness on not being able to give students a real Student Council environment. 

“Despite the hardships, we’re all together in this,” he said.