Pueblo Community Invited To Attend ‘Borderlands’

  

by Paula Fierros & Daniela Moreno

On Saturday, Feb. 3, in Room T-12, graphic design teacher Mr. Ernesto Somoza held a meeting promote a project called “Borderlands”. Since then, he has organized and orchestrated other meetings—all leading up to an April 21 trip to the U.S.-Mexico border.

In February, six local artists attended the meeting and shared the same enthusiasm as Somoza, as well as their experiences in the field of art, specifically on and about the border.

“Our mission for this project is to help the students interact with the community and focus on the seriousness of the border,” Somoza said. “Beautiful art work is needed to change the ugliness of the border.”

The first artist to speak was Pueblo alumni Ruben Romero, from the Class of 1994; he donated pieces of his artwork, which contain a lot of political and cultural symbolism.

Romero said, “It is important to fuel the fire for the next generation of activists and to shine the light on human cruelty.”

A group of activists known as Derechos Humanos (Human Rights) with three representatives spoke about the way they have dealt with controlling of immigration and the border.

“What our group does is represent the rights every immigrant that crosses the border has,” said spokesperson Rachel Garcia. “Our group has a tradition where we have a pilgrimage to San Xavier carrying crosses that we made with the names of dead people found in the Arizona desert border towns—which is known as The Disappeared Art Project, and we lay the crosses down in front of San Xavier.”

Mr. Alfred Quiroz, an art professor at the University of Arizona, recalls several experiences with artists to create a more “aesthetically pleasing” border. However, in 2010, he was forced to remove the pieces due to the reconstruction of the border.

“A funny story is that I went to Nogales, and I saw my art,” Quiroz said. “I noticed it was little crooked, so I went to fix it, and an older man across the street yelled at me not touch the art. I explained to him that I was one of the artists who created that piece, and I asked him why he yelled at me. He responded that everyone from around there loved the art. It built the community’s unity.”

The last speaker was a former Pueblo student/artist, Hecho Diaz.

He said, “I came to this school [Pueblo] but was kicked out.”

Diaz said that he later became a graffiti “writer”, and he is also a graphic designer who has worked with big companies, creating graphics for them. He remains fervid about his community using his social media platform.

“I have seen and experienced things but the border is ridiculous, this country was built by immigrants,” Diaz said. “The border is a representation of how America feels about the Mexicans.”

Somoza said that the theme of the competition will be butterflies, and anyone who chooses to attend the event will be able to put these magnetic butterflies on the border wall—as well as project their artwork on the border wall.

He added that the butterflies are a metaphor—as they are creatures who migrate from the South to the North for better weather, “Immigrants migrate for a better life, too,” Somoza said.

The art competition ended on March 24. The first place winner received $300, and his/her art will be projected onto the border April 21 in Nogales, Ariz., with the following longitude N. 31 and latitude 19.998 W 110 54 651, along with all submissions near the Hudgen’s abandoned courthouse.

Somoza suggested that those wanting to attend this event should leave Tucson at 5:30 p.m. in order to arrive in Nogales at approximately 6:30 p.m. He added that if people have questions about this event, they should contact him ASAP in Room T-12. Somoza said that he is also providing transportation to the border wall for students with permission slips and approval—pending district approval.

If anyone is interested in submitting art, please email it to: submitborderlandsart@gmail.com.

Representative Raúl Grijalva (D) has publicly acknowledged his approval of this project and may attend the event on April 21.

Warriors United For ‘March For Our Lives’

By Iram Arce

On Wednesday, March 14, thousands of high schools across the United States participated in a “March For Our Lives” event to pay homage to the 17 shooting victims at Marjorie Stoneman-Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14—as well as to express their strong opinions about a lack of stricter gun laws.

More than a thousand Warriors and many teachers and staff members participated in its own march at approximately 12:45 p.m. after the radio broadcast during sixth period.

Students started by walking in solidarity around the track two times.

Participants marched from their classrooms to the football field for approximately 17 minutes, one minute for each of the victims in Florida. Students then were directed to the bleachers to listen to students’ speeches.

First, Dr. Augustine Romero voiced his support for students’ opinions.

Twelve students spoke afterwards—each of them conveying their concerns regarding school safety and regulating the Second Amendment, either in short two or three-minute speeches or in the form of poems.

One of the dozen speakers, senior Brianna Metzler, said, “Because of my anxiety issues, giving this speech was a true testament to needing to express my voice. I took a chance [to publicly speak] and do not regret the words that I shared with nearly a thousand students. I’m proud of myself, and I really hope that I was heard.”

Warriors listened attentively to the speeches prepared by their classmates.

“I was shocked at how many students participated,” said senior Jorge Becerril, who was one of a few students instrumental in organizing this event. “I was equally impressed by the quality of the speeches from students who were very committed to expressing their voice about gun violence at our schools across the country.”

Another senior who co-organized this event, senior Liam Membrila, said, “I have always seen and felt the hunger for myself and my generation to be heard. I really want to show our representatives our reality—seeing the swarm of Pueblo students and faculty marching and chanting, ‘The people united shall never be divided!’ This inspired me to be even louder.”

Membrila added, “The greatest frustration, however, was a constant tug-of-war with the district about allowing local media on campus. It’s not as if our march were something disrespectful or about something illegal. We [students] were speaking about our safety. My generation will be the change.”

“Last minute changes were very frustrating,” Becerril said. “I was disappointed that our administrators did not allow Channel 4 [KVOA] on campus, but I suppose that they had their directives from the district office. It’s not like we were trying to riot or speak about something not legal. We students definitely had a mission and a purpose, and our diligence to have common sense gun laws hopefully lasts until there is change. I would think that our administrators would want the Pueblo community to have media coverage because what we students did was very positive.”

Student body president Kanani Salazar, a senior, was one of the two emcees at the event, introducing each speaker.

“The march was extremely organized,” Salazar said. “We heard many different voices that are seldom heard. I hope this isn’t the last of these marches because students need to be heard. Young people across the nation are the future of this country, and we will make positive changes, including common sense Second Amendment laws.”

Another emcee, senior Cynthia Amarillas, said, “I am very proud of the Pueblo community for uniting for a very valid cause. We will be the generation that changes gun laws in America. We all must register to vote so that our voices are heard. We will not abandon this movement. Enough is enough!”

Seniors Darlene Padilla and Bea Nevarez set up a table for 18-year-olds to register to vote, and many seniors took advantage of this opportunity.

Andrea Cuevas, a senior, and one of the hundreds of participants in the march, said, “Voting is essential to change this country’s policies. Young people—especially Hispanics—need to vote. This generation is creating this country’s future. If we don’t vote, then we become merely bystanders.”

TUSD School Board member Ms. Adelita Grijalva (and a former Pueblo graduate—from the Class of 1989) voiced how proud she was of Warriors’ spirit and their commitment to making positive changes.

At approximately 2 p.m., the march was officially over, and students returned to their classes feeling confident that they had made a difference in their community.

“Overall, Pueblo High School’s first march to pay homage to Florida’s shooting victims was undoubtedly very successful,” said Cynthia Amarillas. “Hopefully this march also showed administration that students are capable of organizing and implementing events that make a positive difference.”

Aerial Photos: Andrew Romero, a junior, under the supervision of teacher Mr. Ernesto Somoza.

Students, Faculty Encouraged To Join ‘March For Our Lives’ (Wear Orange)

by Elizabeth Noriega

To honor the 17 slain students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, Pueblo’s “March For Our Lives” encourages all students and faculty members to participate on Wednesday, March 14—exactly a month after the tragedy. Hundreds of schools across the nation will be participating in their own marches on this date.

Senior Jorge Becerril was one of the architects of this movement.

“This country desperately needs common sense gun control,” Becerril said. “We students—and the teachers, too—shouldn’t have to worry about our safety at school. We are here to learn.”

Students and teachers—as well as everybody in the Pueblo community—are encouraged to participate in the solidarity movement after the radio broadcast in 6th period.

Participants are encouraged to wear orange, the color that has come to represent the anti-gun violence movement.

There will be an announcement over the intercom instructing Pueblo to begin their 17-minute march (one minute for every lost life in Florida) to the football field—much like a fire drill procedure. Once on the football field, students will continue walking around the track until the 17 minutes has lapsed. Then, everybody will sit in the bleachers and observe a minute of silence.

The two masters of ceremony, seniors Kanani Salazar (student council president) and Cynthia Amarillas (student council representative) will introduce student speakers. These speeches will last from one to three minutes. TUSD School Board member Ms. Adelita Grijalva is expected to be a speaker.

Becerril added, “There have been plenty of school shootings since I was a freshman, but for some reason, this shooting really affected me—maybe because there was so much press of this event in the aftermath of the tragedy. I’ve been inspired by many of the survivors of the Florida shooting who are adamant about getting their legislators to pass laws to make high school campuses safer.”

Becerril explained that this event is not about eradicating the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms), but rather making our society and our schools safer with common sense legislation that may ensure a safer country.
“This march is not an excuse for students to ditch or to skip their sixth period classes,” Becerril said. “We want our school to portray a mature message about this topic. This is also a great opportunity for students to voice their opinions. This topic is also a great opportunity for teachers to have meaningful dialogues and discussions in their classrooms.”

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.”

Warriors Witness ’17 Solar Eclipse

by Paula Fierros

Principal Dr. Augustine Romero takes a moment to observe Eclipse 2017

On Monday, August 21, 2017, hundreds of our Pueblo Warriors witnessed their first significant solar eclipse. Although Tucson was able to view just a partial eclipse, for many it was a cosmic experience.

Arizona Partial Eclipse 2017

A solar eclipse an astronomical phenomenon that occurs when the moon passes between earth and the sun­­­­—thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the sun for a viewer on earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon’s apparent diameter is larger than the sun’s, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness. Totality occurs in a narrow path across earth’s surface, with the partial solar eclipse visible over a surrounding region thousands of kilometers wide.

Eclipse Path 2017

This year’s total eclipse was visible to tens of millions of Americans—from Oregon to South Carolina.

Dr. Lolly Levine, one of Pueblo’s science teachers, was able to travel to Glendo State Park in Wyoming, to view the total eclipse.

“During the total eclipse moment, the sky became very dark, and the temperature drastically dropped down to 10 degrees!” Levine said. “The eclipse was heavenly—it gave me goose bumps. No clouds—the sky was perfect. The eclipse was definitely an experience of a lifetime.”

Back here at Pueblo, Tucsonans were able to view about 59% of the eclipse.

Partial Eclipse

Junior Andrew Romero said, “Only in [partial or total] darkness is when we can truly see the beauty outside our little blue planet that we call ‘home’.”

Ismael Altamirano, a senior, said that the eclipse was a “phenomenal” experience. “However, I really hated sharing my glasses with sweaty strangers.”

Another student, senior Riana Lara, said, “The eclipse was a beautiful sight to see—so amazing to have a total eclipse in this country after so many years.”

Science teacher, Ms. Wilma Amaro said “[The eclipse was] auspicious.”

Campus monitor Ms. Nellie Rivera said, “I thought [the eclipse] was more hyped than it was supposed to be, but at least it brought people together.”

Senior Calista Gonzales said, “The eclipse was lit!”

Unfortunately, not all Warriors were able to see the eclipse. Pueblo’s principal Dr. Augustine Romero announced to the school that unless students had parental permission—and had exclusive solar eclipse glasses that safely allowed students to view the eclipse—students were not permitted to leave their classrooms. Some teachers, too, did not release students during the peak time of the eclipse in Tucson—at 10:36 a.m.—which coincided with third period.

Senior Mercedes Sanchez said, “I was locked in a classroom during the eclipse.”

Vivi Cruz, another senior, was saddened that her teacher would not allow her to leave class to view the eclipse. “I heard that we were suppose to have permission slips in order to view the eclipse,” Cruz said, “and I didn’t have the special glasses. I heard that there will be another solar eclipse near Arizona [passing through Northern Mexico into Texas and beyond] in 2024, so maybe I can see that one.”

Math teacher Mr. Gregory Obregon said, “I missed the peak [of the eclipse]. I wasn’t able to go up to Nebraska to see the total—eclipse.”

Some Warriors are “old enough” to recall the February 26, 1979 eclipse, which was the last total eclipse in the United States prior to the 2017 event. Unfortunately, only the northwestern states experienced a total eclipse; Arizona, was able to view another partial 38 years ago.

Dr. Romero, principal, said, “This eclipse was not my first. I was in sixth grade back in 1979, and I think the first eclipse is always the most impressive and historical. Still, the eclipse [this year] was very interesting, and I got to view it with glasses—to see the crescent-shaped sun.”

Mr. Rana Medhi, English and journalism teacher, said, “I was a junior in high school during the big ’79 eclipse—still I remember my algebra class going outside to view it. In those days, nobody made a big deal out of wearing special glasses. Maybe that’s why everybody needed glasses before graduation day in 1980.” He paused and said, “I’ve never seen a total eclipse, but I’d like to before I die.”

Mr. Rana Medhi & Mrs. Kathryn Gunnels checking out the Eclipse 2017

Although there have been total eclipses in the United States in the past century, this was the first to coast-to-coast event in 99 years. The next U.S. coast-to-coast total eclipse won’t occur until August 12, 2045, according to NASA.

However, there will be total eclipses in the United States that won’t be bi-coastal, including the event on April 8, 2024, just seven years from now—visible from northern Mexico and extending into central Texas and stretching all of the way up to New England. Many Warriors are already saving their money for that event.

Eclipse Path 2024

“Texas isn’t that far from Arizona,” said senior Calista Gonzales, “and I plan to make a road trip with my friends to Austin or San Antonio to see the total eclipse! Heck yeah!”

Some students wanted the event to last longer.

Senior Alina Perez said, “I waited so long to watch something [that lasted] so short.”

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.