Hundreds Of Warriors Inspired By ‘Bill’

by Jacquelyn Gutierrez

“Bill” The Movie

On Tuesday, Jan. 14, nearly 300 Pueblo High School students crammed into six buses and traveled to downtown Tucson’s magnificently renovated Fox Theater to view the premiere of Bill, a play-turned-movie recalling the much celebrated life of Mr. Bill De La Rosa, a class of 2012 graduate, whose academic and young career accolades rival some of the most successful people in the United States.

For many Pueblo students, this trip was more than a 10-minute bus ride to downtown Tucson; it was an opportunity to be inspired by their fellow Warrior.

Sophomore Xavier Carassco said, “I really like how the movie portrayed Bill as not being happy with the way he was living and how he changed his life to make it amazing. He added, “Bill shows that there are no excuses.”

De La Rosa was present at the Fox Theatre– as this was his first peak at the film. He gladly greeted many students from several schools at this event. Also, TUSD School Board members and prominent local leaders were eager to support the success of De La Rosa.

The Lapan Foundation leaders were present as well and spoke about how their organization helps students become engaged in their education. When De La Rosa was a sophomore, he became a mentor to middle school students and helped guide them to successful paths in high school—leading to collegiate successes.

All of the children who acted in Bill are members of the Lapan Foundation. They are part of the group’s Theater Club, and for the past year or so, they have been preparing this film.

Senior Danielle Rojas was one of those Lapan Foundation members that played a small role in the film.

“It was really cool to be a part of the movie, Bill,” said Rojas, “and re-enacting these parts of Bill’s life helped me become more understanding of the circumstances of those around me and to become more accepting.”

This trip would not have been possible without three weeks of careful and meticulous planning from Pueblo counselor Dr. Teresa Toro, who also recalls De La Rosa in his early high school years at Pueblo. In the movie, there is a brief scene depicting De La Rosa speaking with a counselor.

“Bill is definitely a role model for the Latino community,” Toro said. “This movie was more than just a movie about Bill De La Rosa—it’s a story about resiliency and beating the odds.”

Hiking Club: Only Going Up

by Paula Fierros

Hiking Club poses at the Desert View Watchtower during their trip to the Grand Canyon.

During fall break, the Outdoor Adventures’ Club (aka, Pueblo’s Hiking Club) traveled to the Grand Canyon for four days, beginning on Oct. 13, with sponsors Mr. Ernesto Somoza and language arts teacher Ms. Angela Gonzalez.

Somoza said that trip was a“triumph”, although club members faced minor challenges. For example, thetemperature plunged to 20 degrees, and yearbook/exceptional education teacher Ms.Marie Little, a chaperone, injured her knee.

“Anything can happen on a trip like this,” Somoza said. “The trails are rigorous.”

Senior Andrew Romero, who describes himself as a “fervid member” of the Hiking Club, said, “I love this club because it gives me a chance to be active, and I love traveling. I love the outdoors. I’m not stuck to my phone.”

Leo Parra, a junior and member of the Hiking Club, said, “The sights [this school year] have been beautiful, and I’ve made a lot of crazy new friends while making a lot of new experiences.”

Not all of the trips will be as extensive as the Grand Canyon, Somoza added. The club plans on small trips to Tumamoc Hill and Madera Canyon—about a three-mile hike for each.

In November, new students will have an opportunity to join the Hiking Club with the restart of the “point system”—that is, collecting points from attending meetings, participating in the hiking trips and providing supplies for these trips. 

Starting all over will allow students to join the club and build their points up to be able to participate in the trips.

“I expect students to participate in all our monthly meetings and join us on the majority of our camping/hiking trips,” said Somoza. “I have high expectations for our members and expect a certain amount of loyalty.”

There are at least two significant hiking and two camping trips left this school year. In December, the club will be venturing to Phoenix and hiking the trails of Camelback Mountain. In March, during spring break, the club will be going to White Sands National Monument in Southern New Mexico.

Club president Kevin Lopez, a senior, said his experiences during the trips so far this school have been “therapeutic” and were positive bonding experiences. He also said that being outdoors is always a humbling and refreshing feeling.  

Somoza, who has been the sponsor of this club for the past four years, said that the Hiking Club is a long overdue organization.

“I was incredibly involved in both high school and college,” he said. “Now, as a teacher, I want students to go outdoors and enjoy the outdoors.”

The Outdoors Adventure Club has already collaborated with Pueblo’s television class (taught by Mr. Michael Gunnels) to produce a promotion to attract future club members.

Somoza said, “With this promotion, students will be able to tell their friends and family this year and get even more members involved.” He paused and added, “We also extended out to Tucson High to collaborate with them on trips. Our hope is to extend to other schools throughout Tucson, including University High School next year—to produce an inner-city Hiking Club.”

Somoza wants his students to “unplug” and appreciate their surroundings.

“I want students to see and hear their memories,” said Somoza, “and to spark their interest for the outdoors. That’s all I want.”

Hiking Club Ventures To World Wonder

By Brianna Metzler

On Saturday, March 17, Pueblo’s Hiking Club, consisting of 13 students, five chaperones and advisor Mr. Ernesto Somoza met at Pueblo at 3:30 a.m. in order to get on the road at 4:30 a.m.—sharp—in order to make it to the Grand Canyon. Along the way, they stopped at Sunset Point for breakfast and to readjust to the drastic weather change, putting on additional clothing, jackets, beanies and gloves.

There was nearly a 40-degree difference from Tucson weather to Northern Arizona temperatures.

The Hiking Club spent four days touring the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The weather continued to get colder—from approximately 40 degrees down to 27 degrees, for a high. The trip quickly turned from a normal camping trip to a “snow” camping trip.

During the club’s first night, around 2 a.m., snow began falling—and students awoke to four inches in the morning. The club was prepared for this event, and camping resumed with some adjustment to the weather.

The overnight lows dipped to 11 degrees, which students prepared for—using multiple sleeping bags, cold-weather grade blankets, snow gloves and beanies.

Senior Thai Kromrei said that this was the first time in his life that he actually saw snow falling.

“I’ve seen snow before—but it was always after I woke up in the morning,” Kromrei said. “This experience was as awesome as the hike itself. I am glad that I brought a thick Mexican blanket to keep warm.”

Sponsor Somoza said, “The students were amazing on this trip! They adjusted to the weather without any complaints. I did give students an opportunity to vote if they wanted to stay or return to Tucson, and all students wanted to stay in order to hike into the Grand Canyon on Monday, March 19.”

Students, chaperones and Somoza completed the hike to Indian Garden (South Rim)—specifically on the Bright Angel Trail. This 13-mile round trip hike took 10 hours—and the group endured an elevation change of 3,500 feet.

“I want to congratulate all of the students who completed this hike. Not only did they complete the hike as individuals, they helped each other throughout the entire hike,” Somoza said. “Some students were struggling towards the end, but as a team, they encouraged and helped each other make it up.”

Senior Iram Arce, a “guest” on this trip due to a Hiking Club member not being able to go at the last minute, said, “After spending weeks in Alaska a few years back, I suppose that 11 degrees didn’t bother me too much. I was grateful for the experience of seeing Northern Arizona and experiencing a part of Arizona that I don’t get to very often. Thanks, Mr. Somoza, for this opportunity!”

The Hiking Club members were welcomed to Tucson and 80-degree temperatures on Tuesday, March 20.

President senior Annette Durazo said, “I loved this trip—it was truly an out of this world experience—but it was also nice to return to sunshine and warm temperatures in Tucson. This was my first time to the Grand Canyon, and I’m certainly planning to return some day. I’m proud of my hiking team peers that they united during this trip—truly, we seemed like one family looking out for one another.”

The Hiking Club is planning one last outing this school year—to Sedona, Ariz., on May 12.

Science Class Visits Park, Studies Saguaros

By Getsemani Cazares

On Monday, Feb. 19, Pueblo teacher Ms. Elizabeth Raizk escorted her juniors and seniors in her advanced placement environment science class on a field trip to nearby Saguaro National Park (West) to study our desert’s indigenous cacti.

On this trip, approximately 15 miles west of Pueblo High School, students studied different sizes of saguaros—as well as to measure their heights and temperatures. Students even studied bird holes in these saguaros.

Raizk said, “There were four groups of six students, and each group’s job was to study a different plot, each with five saguaros.”

Students were required to hike to find their “assigned” saguaros, so they used a GPS and a photo log, which were helpful resources to these students.

Raizk said, “My students and I were outside for two hours, so after all of the hiking, we spent some time at the Visitors Center to eat lunch.”

Senior Maria Servellon attended the field trip, and she expressed that this event ended up being a “blessing”.

“[Before the trip] I was totally stressed—about grades, tests and deadlines,” Servellon said, “so this field trip was definitely an outlet for me.”

She added, “At first, however, I thought this would be just an average hiking trip through a land of cactus. However, my peers and I had an opportunity to conduct annual saguaro surveys and observed how certain cacti grow over time and how they measure environmental impacts. I learned that saguaros are great indicators of weather patterns and water patterns.”

Senior Marco Madrigal also attended the field trip.

“I very much enjoyed the experiences about this field trip—especially how to measure saguaros and learn that the desert is an integral part of where we live,” Madrigal said. “We definitely learn a lot more when we actually get to experience learning instead of reading about saguaros out of textbooks. I’ll never forget everything I learned on this field trip.”

Saguaro National Park (West) boasts many visitors, Raizk said, but not many native students, which Raizk think is “a shame” because the Park is the “grand symbol” of the Sonoran Desert.

Saguaros should be respected by all, Raizk said, and they are especially culturally important to the Tohono O’odham Nation. These Native Americans harvest ripe saguaro fruit in the spring to make wines, jams, and jellies. Saguaro wine is ritually consumed during Nawait I’i, a Tohono O’odham rain ceremony.

Few people know that saguaros are the largest of all cactus species in the United States and can grow to more than 40 feet tall and can weigh more than a ton! Saguaros can also live to be between 100 and 200 years old. Some saguaros can grow as many as 25 “arms”; some grow none.

On March 1, 1933, in the last days of his presidency, Herbert Hoover signed a proclamation that established the Saguaro National Monument, which was considered a victory for both botanists and boosters in Arizona who had worked for years to protect this species. Most importantly, in 1961, at the urging of the people of Tucson and Secretary of Interior Stewart Udall, President John F. Kennedy added 25 square miles of splendid cactus lands in the Tucson Mountains to the Monument.

Finally, after setting aside vast areas as wilderness, Congress elevated Saguaro to “National Park” status in 1994.

Raizk said, “The desert is a piece of all of us.”

Warriors Become Spelunkers Kartchner Field Trip

By Candy Rodriguez and Alyssa Soza

Twenty-seven Warriors were treated to another world as they ventured on a field trip to Kartchner Caverns with teachers/sponsors Ms. Elaine Straub and Dr. Lolita Levine on Friday, Feb. 16.

This “other world” is just 50 miles southeast of Tucson, near Benson—a perpetual 68 degrees year-round no matter how hot or cold it might be outside of the cave. Students gasped as they marveled at nature’s wonders.

Senior Jorge Becerril, one of the lucky students who attended this field trip, said, “When you really comprehend how old each stalactite and stalagmite is, you really can appreciate Kartchner Caverns—or any cave system. In my entire lifetime, a stalactite or stalagmite might grow less than a foot! The delicate ecosystem in which we all inhabit is truly amazing and overwhelming.”

He added, “The light show presentation in the cave near the end of the tour was definitely the best of the trip. I’m glad that Dr. Levine and Ms. Straub chose this trip for us. I returned to Tucson with a lot more respect for nature and its natural beauty.”

A lot of people don’t know that Kartchner Caverns are relatively “new” when it comes to tourism. Actually, the cave was discovered by Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts in 1974, who found a narrow crack in the bottom of a sinkhole. The story is, they followed this warm, moist air toward what ended up being more than two miles or perfect cave passageways, with the help of Erick Campbell, an Arizona biologist.

They kept the cave secret for 14 years because they wanted to keep the cave pristine. After gaining the cooperation of the Kartchner family and working with them for more than a decade, they decided that the best way to achieve the goal of protecting the cave was to approach Arizona State Parks.

In 1988, the landowners sold the area to the state for development as a park and show cavern. Kartchner Caverns opened to the public in 1999 and has become one of Tucson’s best road trip destinations—just 50 miles southeast of town. The caves aren’t just for Southern Arizonans; people from all over the country and world have visited the mighty “The Big Room”, the most impressive area of the cave. Nearly 250,000 visitors frequent Kartchner Caverns, and spelunkers (cave experts and explorers) have rated these Caves in the World’s Top 10 Best.

Sponsor and teacher Ms. Elaine Straub said, “This field trip was for the science club to learn about living caves, the ecosystem of this unusual environment—as well as how the natural rock formations are created. Since both Dr. Levine and I are biology-oriented teachers, this close natural wonder is a great opportunity for our students to experience a science topic that we don’t have as much expertise in and do not include in our lessons.”

She added, “The highlight of the trip was observing the beautiful formations and learning about them through the analytical references the guides used to help us remember what each formation was.”

Senior Julia Sullivan also attended this trip; she was astounded by what she saw.
“I love what Earth has created for us,” Sullivan said. “So much of it is undiscovered. I’m glad that Kartchner Caves’ secret is out of the bag for all of us to enjoy—and to actually experience it. We were not allowed to take pictures inside the caves, but that was a good thing because it keeps the spectator in the moment. When we have cameras, we’re too busy looking through a lens and not seeing the real picture.”

Senior Riana Lara, one of the 27 students who participated on this field trip, said, “The trip was pretty exciting! I learned that the limestone mixed with water drips makes straw-like rock formations. The whole process is awesome and amazing.”

Warriors Learn Latino Law Student Association


By Iram Arce and Brianna Metzler

On Nov. 7, Pueblo students participated in a trip to the University of Arizona Law School to attend the 2017 Arizona Supreme Court Oral Argument—and also to learn about the Latino Law Student Association (LLSA).

The LLSA is a student organization dedicated to supporting students at the James E. Rogers College of Law. LLSA’s goal is to enhance the law college experience by providing networking and mentoring opportunities while also advocating for and serving our community.

Mr. Mario Matanza, School Community Liaison was in charge of taking all the students to the University of Arizona.

Soon after arriving at the College of Law, Pueblo High School students received a warm and gracious welcome from LLSA President Kristian Garibay; Dean Sally Rider, James E. Rogers, College of Law Associate Dean of Administration; and, Keith Swisher, Director of Undergraduate Legal Studies.

Swisher said, “Rather than the typical law course that students get at any university, students are actually taught [at LLSA] by full-time law professors and scholars dedicated to their field.”

At 10 a.m., Ms. Ana Islas, a Pueblo alum and Ms. Lynette Balderrama lead our Warriors on a tour to the James E. Rogers College of Law.

Matanza said, “I’m not surprised that the Pueblo Alumni have positioned themselves to play important roles in the community.”

After the tour, Pueblo students attended a panel of current law students and
undergraduate students to have a better insight into their experiences. Students also had an opportunity to ask current law and undergraduate students’ questions.

“Don’t be scared of applying or demanding what you want,” said Islas. “The worst case scenario is just a ‘no’—not just for law but for life.”

By noon, Pueblo students enjoyed a delicious lunch from El Molinito in the company of current law students from the Latino Law Student Association, and Arizona Supreme Court Justice Ann Timmer and John Lopez.

Our Warriors ended their trip by attending an oral argument for the case of
The State of Arizona v. Honorable Gates/Apolinar Altamirano.

Students returned to Pueblo with the understanding of what it truly meant to dedicate your life to the law of the land.

“It is usually under graduate students that are exposed to trials like these so to have high school students to have a quick peek is awesome,” Matanza said. “When are you going to meet the Supreme Court Justices again? I mean unless you get into big trouble.”

Senior Lydia Angulo said, “This trip was a rare opportunity that gave us a rare exposure to young people, and I am glad I went.”