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CORONADO HIGH SCHOOL • VOLUME 32 • ISSUE 3

what’s inside: Cell Phone Laws- page 2 Student Car Stolen- page 3 Tournament of Bandspage 4 Job Search- page 5 Drugs- pages 6-7 fall fashion- page 8 Student Profile- page 9

By The Bog of Cats Reviewpage 12

News briefs Congratulations to Seniors Caroline Brown and Jake Hartley for their college athletic recruitments. Brown will play volleyball at Davidson next fall and Hartley will proudly join Stanford’s swim team. The Coronado Explorer has started up its website! Check it out at: coronado.episd.org/explorer

Finals schedule for the week is as follows:

Friday, Dec. 11

Final Exam 0,8 during regular class time

Monday, Dec. 14

Final Exam 0,8 during regular class time

Tuesday, Dec. 15 Final Exam 1,5

Wednesday, Dec. 16 Final Exam 2,6

Thursday, Dec. 17 Final Exam 3,7

Friday, Dec. 18 Final Exam 4 12:45 Dismissal

Mr. T-Bird will be held on Jan. 20, 2010 @ 7 P.M. Cover Photos by: Ashley Muir. Pictures of autumn taken on the journalism trip to Washington D.C.

Coronado High is in top 100 high schools of Texas

BY: Ashley Muir, Editor in-chief Coronado High School is not only the pride of the Westside, but it is also the pride of El Paso. According to a recent study ranking all Texas high schools in numerical order, Coronado was ranked 99 out of 902 schools. Apart from Silva Magnet (ranked at number 16), Coronado High was the only El Paso school that secured a spot in the top 100 Texas high schools. Factors that contribute to the school’s rank include: mean SAT and ACT test scores; percentage of test takers; TAKS test scores; number of advanced courses offered by the school; economic disadvantages; and English Language Arts class sizes. Coronado staff members, along with its students, have worked diligently in order to

ensure the school’s success. Most T-Birds take their responsibility as students seriously and are aware that part of Coronado’s oustanding academic standards are due to their strenuous efforts and participation in their school work. “Coronado has an excellent academic program and all of the administrators and teachers really encourage us to do well in high school. I am proud of being a student at this school,” said Alexis Ortiz, senior. Classes offered by the International Baccalaureate program and the Advanced Placement Programs are large contributors to the percentages of students taking higher level classes. The coursework completed in these classes raises the rigor of the school’s overall curriculum.

The more recent additions of Dual Credit courses also helped Coronado move up the list to the top 100. The increase in Coronado’s state-wide ranking not only has an affect on the school’s profile, but also directly affects students, particularly those who are or plan on applying to college. These rankings are evaluated by universities when students apply to the schools and students’ grades are judged against the quality of curriculum offered at their school. “I’m proud that El Paso has a school that is academically competent considering it’s a small city,” said Rodolfo Madero, senior. These new statistics have raised school pride on the part of the students and faculty members.

How other El Paso area schools ranked: out of 902 schools

Silva Magnet- 16 Coronado- 99 Franklin- 142 Chapin- 194 El Dorado- 369 Bel Air- 417 Americas- 446 Hanks- 468 Montwood- 469 Clint- 507 Riverside- 609 Socorro- 634 Burges- 701 Mountain View- 710 Horizon- 742 El Paso- 761 Ysleta- 777 Andress- 826 Jefferson- 844 Irvin- 851 Austin- 870 Bowie- 886

District intends to cancel AP/IB classes, if size too small BY: Shabham Saadatkhah, Staff Writer

Coronado High School offers an array of different courses, some of which most other schools do not have. Coronado has many different electives from which students can choose and presents students with the opportunity of taking certain electives as Advanced Placement or PreAdvanced Placement level courses. Unfortunately, some classes at Coronado High School are in jeopardy of being cancelled if there are less than 15 students enrolled in the class. Not only is this affecting Coronado, but it is affecting all El Paso Independent School District high schools. 2,589 students are enrolled in Coronado, causing a majority of classes to be filled to the maximum capacity of students. Some elective classes do not even have seats for all their students. One of the more popular electives on campus is the

SAT Prep class taught by Ms. Alexandria Ceely. “It seems like they want to prevent people from succeeding, because they want to cut the harder AP classes,” said Ben Puschett, sophomore. With the economic recession, the school district has had to start prioritizing and budgeting. EPISD can no longer afford to fund classes with less than 15 students enrolled in that particular class. The budget plan is going to take effect in the 2010-2011 school year, and the district would like to begin eliminating elective classes that don’t meet par. One of the classes that is at risk is AP Spanish V, taught by Ms. Barbara Mendez. This particular class only has 6 people enrolled in it. The class is an elective course that is offered to IB and AP students. “We do encourage students to take AP Spanish V,” said Mendez, “but it’s very hard

because a majority of AP IV students are seniors.” Mendez says the College Board requests that all AP classes be kept to a minimum amount of students, so she believes having small classes is actually beneficial to her students. Although elective classes are the foremost classes under evaluation, they are not the only classes at risk of being cancelled. A few core classes offered to AP and IB students are also in jeopardy. AP Statistics, taught by Mrs. Sharie Kranz, consists of only 6 students. Kranz believes the reason her AP Statistics class is not filled with more students is that people do not know that this class is available. She wants people to know that there is an alternative to Calculus. Kranz wants to keep teaching her class, so she plans on promoting this class by talking to students, teachers, and counselors.

“I’m going to go talk to Algebra II classes and PreCalculus classes and start promoting AP Statistics as much as possible,” said Kranz. “If teachers want to continue teaching a class, then they need to promote that class and recruit students,” said Mrs. Tracy Speaker, Vice Principal. Speaker notes that the district and the administration do not want to cut any classes, but if enough students are not involved, classes will have to be cut. The district plans to refrain from cutting core classes and stick to eliminating the more sparsely filled elective classes. However, when a class has so few students enrolled, the students who want to challenge themselves end up at a loss. If there are teachers who are instructing a class with under 15 students they can assume that their class will be terminated in the 2010-2011 school year.

e-mail: coronado.explorer@gmail.com / phone: (915) 834-2477 / website: coronado.episd.org/explorer


02

chs explorer >> issue 3

news

december 2009

Texas enacts new phone restrictions for drivers Story by: Adriana Avila and Michael Viramontes

current cell phone laws Current Texas laws concerning the use of cell phones: Learners permit holders are prohibited from using handheld cell phones during the first six months of driving. Drivers under the age of 17 with restricted licenses are prohibited from using wireless communications devices. School bus operators are prohibited from using cell phones while driving if children are present. Drivers are prohibited from using handheld devices in school crossing zones.

As cellular technology advances and drivers get more and more distracted on the road, legislature continues to enact additional laws to prevent drivers from using cell phones while driving. Texas is not the only state becoming more strict with its cell phone restrictions. Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have also passed laws that restrict drivers from using their cell phones. Many people are beginning to realize just how dangerous cell phones can be when used improperly. “I think the law banning teens from using their cell phones while driving is brilliant! Kids are already reckless drivers and when you put cell phones in the picture, it only makes their driving ten times worse. I also think the law banning drivers from using cell phones in school zones is a good idea too. There are too many risks with kids around,” said Stasi Hackett, senior. Even phone companies such as Verizon Wireless recognize the danger of texting while driving. Verizon Wireless

recently changed some of its billboards to read “please don’t text and drive.” Although text messaging is critical to the success of the company, they advocate that no text message is that important that you must endanger your life and the lives of others over it. High school students also seem to agree with the law that bans them from using their cell phones and texting However, some do not think that the law should be strictly directed at teens. “I think it’s a good idea to ban teens from texting and using cell phones while driving, but I also think that it should not be limitied to just teens, as adults also drive recklessly while doing these activities,” said Marissa Vasquez, senior. Even high school students who have to fight the temptation and the curiosity of checking their text messages know that the new cell phone laws are for the best. “It’s really hard not to answer your phone if someone is calling,“ said Monique Armendariz, senior, “It‘s hard not to look at a text if you’re expecting something important, and the worst is if

Photo by: Devon Martinez Brittany Ziegler, junior, demonstrates dangers of driving while distracted by a cellular phone you get caught by the police. You just have to think it’s better for the police to give you a ticket rather than living with the guilt of killing someone because you’re being reckless.” Every day, hundreds of accidents can be prevented if people will just wait a few minutes and read their text messages when they aren’t driving. No message is important enough to risk your life and put others in danger over.

Proposition 4: What it means for El Paso, Coronado seniors

Story by: Eva Valilis, Guest Writer

On November 3, the same day Texas citizens voted for eminent domain restrictions, just over one million also voted on the proposed amendment to create a $500 million national research university fund. Proposition 4’s passage allocates state money to seven emerging universities in the state of Texas in order to help them achieve tier-one status, UTEP included. Such a plan shows potential as the state lags far behind large states like California and New York, with only three top-level research institutions: Rice, the University of Texas at Austin, and Texas A&M. “UTEP is largely known for attracting local high school graduates and other in-state students,” said Jennifer Meisenheimer, senior, when asked

whether UTEP’s current situation may improve with additional funding, “With more money, the university can promote the importance of higher education and appeal to a broader population.” UTEP’s current obstacle in achieving tier-one status lies in its small doctorate-earning pool. A share of $500 million for research may not only bring more graduate-level degrees, but also provide the proper funding for competition against elite American colleges. While a majority passed the amendment, some Coronado students disagree with the bill. “We’re already in a national crisis of deficit spending, and our state government does not need to dig itself into a bigger hole,” said Benton Leachman, senior, “Whether the schools belong to the state or

not, achieving tier-one status should not be the responsibility of the taxpayer.” Reasonable argument exists that Proposition 4 may not prove immediately successful, but Texas voters have decided that Texas education trumps a balanced budget. El Pasoans interested in attending UTEP next fall anticipate the effects of Proposition 4. “UTEP should strive to be among the ranks of Rice and A&M,” said Allissa Foster, senior, “Proposition 4 can help its students collectively achieve tier-one status; Texas voters have given UTEP and other state colleges the tools, now it’s time to implement them.” Coronado seniors attending UTEP next semester will experience Prop 4’s effects.

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03

chs explorer >> issue 3

news

december 2009

H1N1 virus causes school absences

Story by: Christian Word

This year, the flu has arrived quickly and has made a significant impact on school attendance. Classes are experiencing above average absences which could be a direct result of Influenza. “There has been a sharp decline in attendance from students who are called in sick, with signs of the flu”, said Mrs. Shannon Gorham from the Attendance Office. Nationwide, the percentage of hospitalizations in 2009 due to flu and the H1N1 virus, commonly known as Swine Flu, have varied by different age groups. The flu can have serious complications ranging from sinus infections to life-threatening pneumonia. This flu season, due to high demand for vaccinations, the Center For Disease Control is recommending specific “priority” groups to get vaccinated first. Then, the non-priority groups would forgo their vaccination all together this 20092010 flu season. According to the CDC, the priority groups refer to those who are most vulnerable such as children between ages 6-23 months, adults over 65, any individuals with chronic conditions as well as children between 6 months to 18 years of age on chronic aspirin therapy. “The majority of the attendance drop at Coronado occurred between late September through October,” stated Shannon Gorham, from the Attendance Office, when asked how much this

flu season had affected attendance compared to previous months. Students are asked to stay home while sick, as it is more important to keep the student population healthy as a whole. Good attendance is important to the school, for the more students who are present, the more money is awarded to the school. “Schools are funded based on attendance,” said an EPISD Board Member at the December SuperSAC Meeting. The budget for EPISD schools is based on a 95% predicted attendance rate. This year, due to the effects of the flu season, the attendance rate for EPISD has fallen to 94%, costing the district approximately 3.5 million dollars. Students should note that a yearly flu shot is the best way to reduce the chances of catching the influenza virus. Among the easiest ways to stay healthy is to wash your hands whenever possible. One of the most common ways to catch diseases such as the flu is by rubbing your nose or eyes after your hands have been contaminated with a virus. Wash your hands often, especially while preparing or before eating food, or after handling animals. Additionally, students should consider bringing and drinking from a water bottle from home instead of using the school water fountain, which may be contaminated with germs, especially during cold and flu season.

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Photo By: Ashley Muir Student aims to stay healthy by using hand sanitizer in class.

Joyride to

Mexico Story by: Mario Urquidi

Many students would laugh at the notion of a car being stolen directly from the school parking lot. Despite the fact that Coronado is a campus that is generally free from crime, one senior experienced something unexpected. To Alex Madsen, the concept of crime at Coronado became a reality. Madsen had his car keys stolen from him during the first week of school which led to Alex his car being stolen from the senior parking lot. He first realized his car was stolen after school. “When I realized my car was stolen, I called the security guards and they told me that I had to call the police department and file a stolen car report to them,” said Madsen. The police department

came to the parking lot and spoke to Madsen about the events that happened. The police filed a stolen car report that was also sent to the Mexican consulate. After about two weeks of not hearing anything about his car, Madsen got a call from the Mexican authorities telling him that his car had been found. Madsen was informed that his car had been found at the site of Madsen, senior a killing in the outer parts of Juarez. It was found at a site where five people had been killed in a shootout and was closed off to the public. The cops saw a man walking to a car and the police asked him to show documents stating that the car belonged to him. When the man could not show the papers, he was arrested

“I never expected to have my car stolen from Coronado and end up found in a shootout in Mexico.”

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and the car was discovered to belong to Madsen. “I was really excited to hear that my car had been found after I hadn’t heard anything about it for around two weeks. I was lost though on how to be able to get my car again,” said Madsen. To get his car again, a trip to Mexico was needed. A family friend of Madsen called the consulate, which led to them obtaining a letter authorizing the extraction of the car from the impound lot. The family friend traveled to Juarez with the letter and was able to retrieve the car and had it towed back to the United States. “You never know what can happen. I never expected to have my car stolen from Coronado and end up found in a shootout in Mexico,” said Madsen. Students should take this as a warning to be more careful with your belongings and to realize that, even at Coronado, crime is present.


04

chs explorer >> issue 3

news

december 2009

Photo By: Alicia Cohn

Coronado Band Remains Pride of West Side By: Stephanie Frescas, staff writer On Halloween night, when most high school students went out to the streets for trick-or-treating, the Coronado band walked out onto the NMSU football field to defend its title as Grand Champions of the annual Tournament of Bands. This competition is what the band has been practicing since the first week of August for; it is what they have been coming to school at 6 a.m. for. Their work paid off. The Coronado band

came out Grand Champion, for the fifth year in a row. The Tournament of Bands, better known as TOB, is a competition that includes marching bands from both Texas and New Mexico. Each band comes out and performs an 8-minute show for judges and many spectators. They are judged on the playing, marching, and the visual effects. After scrutinizing all, ten finalists are chosen, then those finalists perform again,

The Coronado band performs at Tournament of the Bands and that’s where they are placed from Grand Champion to tenth place. “It’s something for the band to show how hard they’ve worked, and to see it was all worth it in the end… it wasn’t about winning, it was more about performing a good show for ourselves,” says Desi Carmen, a senior in the band and one of the drum majors. Not all band members, however, had such a placid perspective on the outcome of

the competition. “I was scared, because this class had to hold a legacy,” said Andrea Montes, a freshman in the band, “I was relieved when we won, I even cried.” “I think most of the girls did cry,” said Kirsten Adams, junior, “Three months of blood, sweat and tears, and that one moment makes it worth it.” Overall, TOB can be very exciting, and for some, an emotional experience. It is

Physics collides with students

the ultimate testimony of the band’s talent and hard work. “Getting up early and all the hard work was worth it,” said Eli Camacho, sophomore. This reflects the Coronado band’s outlook on the 2009 Tournament of Bands. Andrea Montes went further in explaining how it felt to win, “It’s exhilarating to be on the field with bands that have worked as hard as you have, and come out the winner.”

Dr. Skateboard and his team teach students how physics applies to everyday life

Learning cannot only be confined to four walls and a chalkboard; students must be exposed to different methods of education. On Thursday November 11, 2009, a skateboarding performance was put on for Coronado science students during third period. on the black top. The performance integrated skateboarding and physics. Dr. Robertson, also known as Dr. Skateboard, is a professor of Teacher Education at UTEP. Dr. Skateboard started his Action Science team about six years ago, and started putting on demonstration shows at various schools. The purpose of these presentations was to show how skateboarding and physics complement one another. Dr. Skateboard’s team consists of about 20 skateboarders who rotate in and out; one of the members is Coronado senior, Jacob Whitt. The skateboarders showed of their tricks, while one of the members would

explain the trick and its relation to physics. Some of the tricks showed off were 360 degree pivots, nose manuals, double finger flips, and a one footed 360 degree manual, as performed by Dr. Skateboard. “My goal was to take somewhat of a boring subject and make it fun and exciting, and I did this by using skateboarding to allow students to better understand physics,” said Dr. Robertson. The skateboarding performance appealed to a number of Coronado students, and one of the students commented that the performance clarified some questions concerning physics. “We all learn better by seeing things, not just listening to concepts in a classroom,” said Jo Anne Gutierrez, junior. With his tips and tricks, Dr. Skateboard inspired many Coronado physics students to pay more attention to the physics of their daily lives.

Photos By: Ashley Muir

By: Shabnam Saadatkhah, staff writer

Above: Jacob Whitt, senior, uses skateboarding to demonstrate a hands-on approach to physics

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05

chs explorer >> issue 3

news

december 2009

Search for employment continues BY: Gwen Rivera, Staff Writer Many students nationwide are seeing the experiencing the effects of the current recession. Finding jobs these days has become a much more competitive process than it was five years ago. With the amount of people now pursuing two year and four year degrees in order to make ends meet, employers do not want to fill job positions with high school graduates beginning higher education or even current high school students. Many stay-at-home mothers are now working low wage jobs to feed their families either because their spouse’s income is too low or divorce. Also, many graduate school students are trying to pay off tuition, with only a bachelor’s degree under their belt. When faced between two job candidates, employers seem to prefer a college graduate with an advanced degree rather than the 16 year old high student with less experience and education. This is the exact situation many teenagers are faced with today. With the shortage of jobs, people are battling on job leads and searching for “Now Hiring” signs to find minimum wage jobs. The nature of the job is irrelevant to the search because, for many it is the choice between bagging groceries or facing homelessness. Most jobs have further complicated the student job hunt by raising the store age requirement for hire to 18, or requiring a high school education even for stock clerk jobs. “I’ve applied at thirty six jobs this summer,” said Humberto Rojo, senior, “It’s the same old thing; ask if they’re

hiring, get an application, turn it in. I haven’t received one call back. I mean I know they’d rather not hire the guy with no job experience but we all have to start somewhere.” In the eyes of many employers, a college degree is now the equivalent of a high school diploma. Not only are college students more qualified for but employers assume college students need money to support themselves as well as to pay off tuition fees. Most high school students do not have these worries since they live with their families, and employers consider them less dedicated candidates than college students. “I think that after they raised minimum wage, made it very hard to get jobs,” said Mr. Terry Allen, economics teacher, “Rather than hiring more people, they’ll expect more out of the workers they already have employed since they are paying more money for each employee that could have been used to hire someone else. They’re also going to have higher expectations of who they hirer because their paying more for them and want their money’s worth. They’re not only paying more for their wages but also paying more to social security.” With the college market becoming so saturated, even college students are having a hard time. The jobs people could once get with an associates degree can only be obtained with a masters. The economic situation is not getting any better but worse. “There’s not as many low income

I’ve applied at thirty six jobs this summer ... I haven’t received one call.

jobs and with the increased minimum wage jobs aren’t looking into hiring more people.” said Ms. Sharon Boling, FCSCP teacher. Once, it was about survival of the fittest. The people who pursued advanced degrees were automatically considered over students looking for jobs who did not finish high school. Now, there is an increasing number of people with higher degrees, making finding employment based on education harder. “I don’t think it’s that hard for students to find jobs. In all the job leads I gave my students, most of them were hired after being persistent and checking the status of their application.” said Ms. Isela Rivera, DECA Teacher. Most jobs are now found by having connections and knowing the right people. The only jobs that are constantly accessible to high school students are fast food jobs, but that changes with the more overstaffed these jobs become. “I applied at a ton of places and not even McDonald’s called me back when I actually had a little bit of work experience,” said Sara Schneider, junior, “Ultimately, my friend who worked at Charcoaler told me when there was an opening and I immediately applied and got the job. That’s really the only way to get jobs now, you have to know who can get you a job and when to apply.” There is great concern over the current economical situation because the nation’s unemployment rate is over 9%, the highest it has been in the last 26 years. This will hit teens the hardest because of their lack of higher education, work experience, and their age. This situation can be improved if President Obama creates more jobs as promised, but this economic situation will only improve gradually.

Interested in a career in journalism? There’s still time to sign up for Journalism classes!

Talk to your counselor about joining Broadcast, Newspaper, Photography, or Yearbook

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BY THE NUMBERS All figures according to Texas Workforce Commission

4 El Paso’s rank in Most Unemployed Cities in Texas

30,300

unemployed El Pasoans actively seeking work

65%

of employed El Pasoans are high school graduates or higher

12.8% of employed El Pasoans are currently in high school


05

chs explorer >> issue 3

news

december 2009

Search for employment continues BY: Gwen Rivera, Staff Writer Many students nationwide are seeing the experiencing the effects of the current recession. Finding jobs these days has become a much more competitive process than it was five years ago. With the amount of people now pursuing two year and four year degrees in order to make ends meet, employers do not want to fill job positions with high school graduates beginning higher education or even current high school students. Many stay-at-home mothers are now working low wage jobs to feed their families either because their spouse’s income is too low or divorce. Also, many graduate school students are trying to pay off tuition, with only a bachelor’s degree under their belt. When faced between two job candidates, employers seem to prefer a college graduate with an advanced degree rather than the 16 year old high student with less experience and education. This is the exact situation many teenagers are faced with today. With the shortage of jobs, people are battling on job leads and searching for “Now Hiring” signs to find minimum wage jobs. The nature of the job is irrelevant to the search because, for many it is the choice between bagging groceries or facing homelessness. Most jobs have further complicated the student job hunt by raising the store age requirement for hire to 18, or requiring a high school education even for stock clerk jobs. “I’ve applied at thirty six jobs this summer,” said Humberto Rojo, senior, “It’s the same old thing; ask if they’re

hiring, get an application, turn it in. I haven’t received one call back. I mean I know they’d rather not hire the guy with no job experience but we all have to start somewhere.” In the eyes of many employers, a college degree is now the equivalent of a high school diploma. Not only are college students more qualified for but employers assume college students need money to support themselves as well as to pay off tuition fees. Most high school students do not have these worries since they live with their families, and employers consider them less dedicated candidates than college students. “I think that after they raised minimum wage, made it very hard to get jobs,” said Mr. Terry Allen, economics teacher, “Rather than hiring more people, they’ll expect more out of the workers they already have employed since they are paying more money for each employee that could have been used to hire someone else. They’re also going to have higher expectations of who they hirer because their paying more for them and want their money’s worth. They’re not only paying more for their wages but also paying more to social security.” With the college market becoming so saturated, even college students are having a hard time. The jobs people could once get with an associates degree can only be obtained with a masters. The economic situation is not getting any better but worse. “There’s not as many low income

I’ve applied at thirty six jobs this summer ... I haven’t received one call.

jobs and with the increased minimum wage jobs aren’t looking into hiring more people.” said Ms. Sharon Boling, FCSCP teacher. Once, it was about survival of the fittest. The people who pursued advanced degrees were automatically considered over students looking for jobs who did not finish high school. Now, there is an increasing number of people with higher degrees, making finding employment based on education harder. “I don’t think it’s that hard for students to find jobs. In all the job leads I gave my students, most of them were hired after being persistent and checking the status of their application.” said Ms. Isela Rivera, DECA Teacher. Most jobs are now found by having connections and knowing the right people. The only jobs that are constantly accessible to high school students are fast food jobs, but that changes with the more overstaffed these jobs become. “I applied at a ton of places and not even McDonald’s called me back when I actually had a little bit of work experience,” said Sara Schneider, junior, “Ultimately, my friend who worked at Charcoaler told me when there was an opening and I immediately applied and got the job. That’s really the only way to get jobs now, you have to know who can get you a job and when to apply.” There is great concern over the current economical situation because the nation’s unemployment rate is over 9%, the highest it has been in the last 26 years. This will hit teens the hardest because of their lack of higher education, work experience, and their age. This situation can be improved if President Obama creates more jobs as promised, but this economic situation will only improve gradually.

Interested in a career in journalism? There’s still time to sign up for Journalism classes!

Talk to your counselor about joining Broadcast, Newspaper, Photography, or Yearbook

Sun City Driving School on t n u isco asses D % 10 Cl r e b m Dece

NEW Technology For A Better Learning Experience DON’T DELAY REGISTER NOW!!!

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CALL (915)328-5001

BY THE NUMBERS All figures according to Texas Workforce Commission

4 El Paso’s rank in Most Unemployed Cities in Texas

30,300

unemployed El Pasoans actively seeking work

65%

of employed El Pasoans are high school graduates or higher

12.8% of employed El Pasoans are currently in high school


Hiding

in Plain Sight

By: Ian Roberts, Staff Writer

The unmistakable scent of an herb fills the air, a gram scale sits on the dashboard, and I look to my left; he’s not nervous at all. As he weighs out the clump of green and brown in front of me, students file past the side of his car. Amazingly, I can see the football field from where we are; Teachers, parents, administrators, and even the law enforcement stand just yards away. I am uneasy, anxious, and yet in awe at the absurdity of it all. He begins to pack what is his second “bowl”, the lighter ignites. “Do you want a hit?”

A DRUG-FREE LIFESTYLE Walking through the halls of Coronado High School, one is constantly reminded of the recurring mantra of leading a stable and healthy “drug free” lifestyle. The pamphlets, stickers, ribbons, commercials, all trumpeting the vital decision to avoid, at all costs, the most feared substance since the atom bomb: Marijuana. All around campus there is (what the administration believes to be) an “incentive” to steer clear of “the herb.” Students are told that Marijuana affects the brain, the body, even self-control. Yet, according to a student who has asked to remain anonymous, the amount of marijuana used here on campus is greater than most could imagine. “I sell to everybody,” he said, “all ranks of the student body. And no one would ever suspect me, I have great grades, I don’t look out of the ordinary, I’m even in A.P.” One would hope the devices used to prevent this behavior would have an effect on the use of marijuana on campus. With 19 security cameras littered throughout the school grounds, and K-9 units searching the campus randomly twice every two weeks, the idea that students are actually smoking marijuana during school hours would seem implausible…at least, to the administration. According to another unnamed

source, there are “stashes” throughout various parts of the Coronado campus. Students hide marijuana not in their lockers or their backpacks, which are liable to be searched, but in the structural framework of Coronado High School.

NOT THAT UNCOMMON

According to the National Institute of Drug Addiction and Abuse, “THC (the main ingredient in marijuana) acts upon specific sites in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors that influence pleasure, memory, thoughts, concentration, sensory and time perception.” A student ambling through the hallways of Coronado under the influence of Marijuana might not be as uncommon as some believe. “When you’re high at school things aren’t so harsh,” said one student. “Pot is a main reason why students are sent to the alternative program,” said Assistant Principle Richard Gutierrez. “On campus, any disruption is call for reprimand, and besides it’s pretty obvious when a student is high.” Students who are involved in the consumption of marijuana state differently. “I’d rather smoke here,” said another student, “If I get caught here the consequences will be much less severe than anywhere else. My house has my parents, and out in the real world: the cops. Here all I have to worry about is alternative.”

CRIMINAL CONSEQUENCES

However, according to Mr. Eric Cress, the Alternative Program is not all that there is to worry about. The possession of any amount of marijuana under two ounces can result in a class C misdemeanor, and since Coronado High School is a staterecognized “Drug Free Zone”, it could result in a felony. The most common consequence for a student in possession is being sent to Raymond Telles Academy. A student with a minor case will spend a semester in a strict and controlled program aimed to reform the pupil’s behavior. “It’s usually not my business why they’re here. My job is to take students who have made mistakes and work with them on improving their lives. However, we haven’t seen a lot of Coronado students

“Do you wa lately,” said Lawrence Vaslet, Principle at Raymond Telles. Coronado’s absence at the reform school is no coincidence. According to Lieutenant Jorge Garcia, there has only been one case of a minor in possession of marijuana on campus this year. Many complain that this issue has not been addressed to the fullest extent of the administration’s power. These complaints come from students and teachers who feel there is too much concentration on minor issues (dress code, cell phones, etc.). “It’s a cop out to say that,” said Principal Morales, “Narcotics are a covert problem. Thus, we must use covert methods to counteract the difficulty. C.H.S. is like a small city; just as you would find drugs throughout the whole of El Paso, you can find them here.”


ant a hit?” Student Survey: As maintained by a survey conducted by The Explorer, over sixty percent of Coronado’s student body knows how to obtain marijuana on campus. This information may shock some, when you consider all the components that Ms.Morales and her administration have employed to combat arijuana possession and use in our school.

I slam the car door behind me and the odor leaves the air, trailing his vehicle. I chuckle to myself and walk back to campus. The K-9 unit drives past me in the direction of his car. “He’ll be alright,” I think to myself, and see Mrs. Morales walking to her car. She smiles and waves. All is well at Coronado High School.

Survey taken by an anonymous group of 250 students

1. Have you ever smoked marijuana?

Yes-46%

No-54%

2. Do you believe marijuana is a negative “Life-Choice”?

Yes-59%

No-41%

Yes-60%

No-40%

Yes-66%

No-44%

3. Do you know how to obtain marijuana on campus? 4. Do you believe marijuana affects the way you perform academically?


08

chs explorer >> issue 3

opinion

december 2009

past & present

Ex-TBirds reminisce about their high school endeavors.

BY: Elliot Rotwein, Staff Writer Since the beginning of Coronado’s time, Thunderbird pride has always been evident. Despite many of the physical changes Coronado has experienced over its history, tradition has remained the same. Recently, D-building, the Fine Arts building, and the Capshaw Auditorium were built. To continue Coronado’s expansion, E Building is almost finished being built. Although students and faculty might refer to these as “new” buildings, graduates from the 70’s, such as Adin Brown, have a different perspective on the new halls around Coronado. “When Coronado was built [in the 60’s], there was no

building in front of the Gym. I still think of the new building at Coronado as the C-Building Atrium,” said Adin Brown, graduate from the class of ’78. Brown, a standout athlete at Coronado, lettered in tennis all four years of his high school career. Brown recalls the athletics at Coronado were among El Paso’s top. “Tennis, football and basketball were all best in the city. In 1977, Coronado placed third in the state at the Fall State Team Tennis Championships. In 1978 I won district in doubles and placed second at regionals,” said Brown. Currently, CHS continues

Editors in-chief: Ashley Muir Frida Garza Ad Manager: Rodrigo Quevedo

Photo Editor: Monique Armendariz News editor: Aaron Adams Entertainment and Opinion Editor: Ian Roberts Sports Editor: Alex Madsen Staff: Olivia Boyer Oliver Attel Javier Romo Elliot Rotwein Shabnam Saadatkhah Veronica Santos Stephen Freyermuth Trey Roth Esteban Trejo Katelyn Gray Amber Salcido Mario Urquidi Devon Martinez Illiana Varela Michael Viramontes Christian Word Jere Pelletier Gwen Rivera Abraham Keyvan Cristina Anaya Stephanie Frescas Alix Herrera Ariqua Herrera

Aboud, a graduating member from the class of ‘74. “There were no designated parking lots, but if you parked in any areas that you weren’t supposed to as an underclassmen, you were in for some trouble with the upperclassmen,” said Aboud, “The most common cars found on campus were trucks and muscle cars.” Although graduates from the past might have had a different way of running things at Coronado, many things remain the same. Despite some slight changes that have occurred, T-Bird pride has always been prevalent throughout Coronado.

PHOTOS and STORY BY: Laurencia Duran, Guest Writer

Cool breezes come, leaves change colors, and as things come and go, so do this year’s new winter fashion trends. The economy may have an effect on fashion, but it’s not all about wearing the best designer. Knowing how to put up-to-date outfits together is the key to maintaining a sophisticated sytle. Some trends are repeated from last year. Florals, leggings, boots, colorful coats, and anything purple are some trends that stuck. For men, articles like blazers, sweaters, and scarves will reappear. But with a new year comes new trends. Bazaar, Elle, and GQ magazine made their lists of top fashion trends in this year’s September issue, these new fun and funky trends topped the runways at New York Fashion week and have been spotted all over the most fashionable sidewalks of the most fashionable cities.

Women’s

Men’s

1. One-sleeved mini dresses 1. Peacoats 2. Studs 2. Wool (pants and ties) (on dresses, leggings, and jewelry) 3. Sweaters (cardigans and wool) 3. Ruffles 4. Blazers 4. Neon 5. Watches 5. Rider and Over-the-Knee Boots 6. Military Jackets 6. Vivid prints 7. Dark-wash Jeans (boot-cut and 7. Florals skinny styles) 8. Gold jewelry Sequin Skirt from Recess. 8. Palladium Boots 9. Legging pants 9. Scarves 10. Colorful and printed tights 10. Pastel colored T-Shirts

Soundtrack To Your Life BY: Alicia Cohn, Guest Writer As the weather begins to get colder and the sky turns darker earlier, I find myself taking comfort in the music of Ratatat. Unknown to most, Ratatat is an indie electronic band comprised of two members on the electric guitar and synthesizer. Where one band would usually fail, Ratatat brilliantly succeeds in creating easy-listening music. Their music’s lack of lyrics does not hinder it, but instead allows the beat and rhythm to live inside of you. Not only does the music energize you, but it acts as a motivating force, inspiring thought and creativity in its listener. The album begins with an upbeat song titled Seventeen Years, a song meant to get your blood pumping. At first listen, this seems to be one of the few jewels of the seemingly poorly organized album. But once you delve into it, you begin to see the fluidity of the album; the tempo of the songs slowly decreases until the last song, Cherry, which is soft, soothing, ideal for driving

home late at night. It is a perfect ending to the complex and intricate album that is Ratatat. Each time I listen to the album, I find something new I like about it. Yet, each time I listen to it, I feel my heart begin to race with joy in the same places; the unexpected turns in the music still have a new effect on me every time I hear it. A faint smile appears on my face as I hear the voice that comes on at the end of a few of the songs. Some music is for the brain, others is for the body. Ratatat is music for the soul, and with each listen to their selftitled album, I fall in love with the music all over again. So give Ratatat a chance, and prepare yourself to fall in love.

V-Neck Tee and Scarf from Recess.

Copy Editor: Adriana Avila

70’s. If a student was fortunate enough to have a car, they usually ate at home or went out for lunch. “We had a full hour of off campus lunch to eat and return to class. Not all students had the luxury of having cars at their disposal. Very few students had vehicles until their last couple years of school. A lot of kids ate on campus because there were very few places to eat on the Westside. A lot of students went home for lunch or ate at places like Avila’s, and the Charcoaler down near University and Dairy Queen. A few extra bucks might have taken you to Casa Jurado and Ardovinos,” said Gary

Fashion Trends

Winter

Staff Box *

to follow the rich tennis tradition that took place in Coronado’s earlier years. In the past three years, the T-Bird tennis team has placed second in state in the fall and had numerous regional and state qualifiers in the spring. Christian Brown, Adin Brown’s son, has been a very important part of the legacy at Coronado. “It makes me feel accomplished knowing that I am helping to continue the tradition that Coronado has kept for many years”, said Christian Brown, senior. Believe it or not, Coronado also had off campus lunch in the

The Aponte & Romo Family Support Coronado Football

Congratulations on an undefeated season!


09

chs explorer >> issue 3 Host Family’s Dacha.

I’ve always been interested in languages, cultures, history, and geography, and I’d always wanted to study with an exchange program abroad, but never could find a feasible way to do so. Last fall, I found the perfect opportunity through NSLI-Y (National Security Language Initiative for Youth). I never imagined I would study abroad in Russia – yet this past summer, I found myself studying in the beautiful Russian Federation. NSLI-Y allowed me to experience Russian life and culture firsthand through immersion and not as a tourist. I studied in Gatchina, a town of 80,000 about 35 miles from Saint Petersburg in northwestern Russia. The seven week program included four hours of Russian class everyday, and in the afternoon, we took excursions to local palaces, factories, and landmarks, and participated in Russian dance, theater, and art classes. On the weekends, we took longer trips to St. Petersburg and surrounding cities and our Russian peers helped us make small projects in Russian about sites visited. As an American whose views had been formed by pictures I’d seen, I had always thought of Russia as a cold place with people who never smile. In a sense, this is true - winters are brutal and summer is the rainy season, and most people do not smile. But this is just the tip of the iceberg which we can see. In order to make valid assumptions and judge a culture, we need to properly understand the bottom of the iceberg, which we cannot see, or the reasons people act a certain way. In Russia, this brings up communism and the Soviet Union. While Russia has opened up and is very modern, the collapse of the Soviet Union took a toll on many the average Russian. Conversations involving the Soviet Union and a return to communism are all but taboo to this day. Under communism, people were viewed collectively, but, individually, people were very independent. Thus, there was no reason, and it was dangerous in some cases, to smile except in private. However, after you have been formally introduced to people, they are not shy. I found Russians to be very generous and interested in American culture and English. Though the American smile I’m used to usually didn’t greet me, I’ve gained deep respect for Russia and Russians because I understand Russian way of life and thinking better. After the Soviet Union collapsed, as private business appeared, so did credit. During Perestroika when this credit was available to the common person, builders raised prices of apartments. An average three room apartment costs $750,000 in Moscow, and $450,000 in a smaller town like Gatchina. Prices on most everything else are cheaper - gas costs $2.30 a gallon, cigarettes $0.30 - $1.00 a pack, an ice cream bar $0.30 - $0.50, domestic postage $0.20, and a 7:00 p.m. movie ticket - $3.50. Prices stay low because labor is cheap with few labor laws (minimum wage is 2000 Rubles, or $65 a month). Russian in an extremely difficult language to master. In fact,

many Russians don’t even speak proper Russian and admit that their language is often too difficult for them. The Cyrillic alphabet has 33 letters, including ten vowels and two silent letters. There are six grammar cases, which affect the structure and spelling of each word depending on its position in a sentence (similar to German and Swedish). Accordingly, one noun may be spelled twelve different ways depending on its part of speech. Russian food consists of mostly bland dishes. Meat and potato dishes appear most often in the winter but color is added to the plate with greens, other vegetables, and fruit from Russian Dacha (weekend house) gardens in the summer. Salad is an important course and Russians eat it with mayonnaise and sour cream mixed in. Lay’s Potato chips are popular, and they come in flavors such as caviar, crab, bacon, and mushrooms. Subway, McDonalds, and KFC are favorites for Russians. Healthy eating is not an important factor in cooking. My host mother served me 10% fat milk on my cereal and butter is 80% fat. Hot tea is served at every meal, and it is quite impolite to refuse any food given to you (and Russian portions are huge)! The quantity of food and time spent at the table count more than the quality of food. One of my favorite Russian dishes is Borshch (actually Ukrainian), or red beet soup served with dark Russian bread. Though probably 80% of Russians live in apartments, 50 % have dachas – or weekend houses. Because apartments in block buildings are individually owned, nobody is responsible for the upkeep of the outsides of the buildings and stairs. The outsides of apartment buildings can easily scare off the average American by their appearance, but once inside the apartments, all changes. Theft is an issue, and to get into my apartment, I had to go through four doors, two of which were bullet-proof. Rooms are shared by multiple family members, leaving little privacy. Couches used during the day are usually turned into beds at night. Russian society wastes much less than American society, and possessions are valued more. I also noticed that families are close to one another and appreciate the fewer belongings they have. As I look back on my Russian experience, I realize this exposure to a culture so similar but yet so different to American culture has opened my eyes in many ways. I’ve not only become slower to judge others, but I’ve found that life in a smaller house, without a car and fewer possessions can lead to the same, if not more, happiness in life than a life shadowed by the desire for possessions. I’ve become more tolerant of others whose views differ from mine. As for the future, I plan to keep developing my language skills and interest in culture – my dream is to work in the foreign service. My host mother told me several times she wants me to become a Russian diplomat so I can come back and marry her granddaughter. After all, thoughts of the future hold greater importance in the Russian mind now, and, fortunately but slowly, thoughts of the past are forgotten.

Essay and Photos By: Matthew Petty

St. Basil’s Cathedral in the Kremlin, Moscow.

My Experience in Russia

feature

she’s got the healing POWERS By: Veronica Santos, Staff Writer

Photo by: Devon Martinez

This year, Coronado lost a member of its staff, nurse Mrs. Cecilia Gray. Fortunately for us, we now have the privilege of having a new nurse who has worked in different fields of medicine. Sarah Powers is experienced in areas such as neurological sciences, endoscopies and in labor delivery. As a child, Mrs. Powers always dreamt of becoming a nurse to help the weak and needy. “I have wanted to be a nurse as far back as I could remember,” said Powers. “Since I was little, I have loved learning things that pertain to the healthcare field.” Mrs. Powers has chosen to work at Coronado High School over every other high school in the district. With her husband as teacher

in the district, Powers was able to hear great things about Coronado from him and several of his coworkers. The decision was an easy one to make. She hopes to be evolved in many activities as possible here at Coronado in addition to being the nurse. As a new edition to the sfaff, student and fellow staff member’s expectations make living up to them a challenge. Since Mrs. Powers has joined the Coronado staff family, but Coronado has welcomed her warmly. “My experience thus far has been awesome. One of my favorite things about nursing has been educating people,” said Powers. “I find it rewarding that I can bring so much to a person through health education. Students and staff

members both have been very kind and patient with me. Even with the busy season with the flu/ cold, I have met many wonderful people.” Switching from a hospital setting to the school environment has been a different type of challenge. The needs of students and hospital patients are polar opposites. “I wouldn’t say that it is difficult, I would just say that it is much different than the population that I have worked with in the hospital setting.” Mrs. Powers intends on making friends with students and giving them advice on their future. “Follow your dreams and work hard at it. It may lead you down a road filled with many rewards.”


10

chs explorer >> issue 3

editorial

december 2009

To delay or not to delay By: Ian Roberts

During the EPISD fiscal year there are few time periods that cause as much speculation and analysis as the winter season. With the semester coming to a close and many students preparing for days spent passing the time idly with friends, family, and leisure, there is a certain anxiety that creeps into the district’s daily activities. On top of all this, there is a facet of the winter weather that most El Pasoans greet with both excitement and dread, snowfall. On December 1st and 4th, El Paso experienced a fair amount of snow. Coating the roads with “black ice” and causing various automobile accidents littered throughout the city. Accompanying these road problems was a frost that contained temperatures below freezing, something that El

Paso is not all that prepared for. The question that is on many students’ minds, as well as faculty, is whether or not the El Paso Independent School District handled these problems efficiently and promptly. Due to the fact that the district encompasses schools throughout the entire city, the decision to delay class was one of great consideration. “We based our decision on the predicted forecasts that were given to us,” said Terri Jordan, Chief of Staff at the superintendent’s office. For this, we respect the superintendent and his board. This six week grading period has been cut short to include only four weeks, with one week dedicated to finals. Because of this, the students need as much class time as possible.

A cancellation for either day would have been welcomed with great joy from our student body, but it would have diminished our time to prepare for our finals and caused a massive disruption in the schedule. As it is, zero period was canceled and that in itself was a rift in the fluidity of the grading period. “Because of the delay, students will be forced to work extra to catch up on work they missed,” said Mrs. Kimberly Haefner, zero period Integrated Technology in a Global Society teacher. The district made the right decision in delaying classes rather than canceling them altogether; we need to attend class as much as possible during this time of year. Let’s hope we can expect more wise decisions by our administration.

High School Is Pretty comical . . . Drawings By: Naomi Weiner

SPEAK YOUR MIND

Submit a letter to the editor. Letters will be edited for clarity and brevity. Letters over 250 words are subject to editing to fit available space. Please include full name, telephone number, e-mail address, and major classification. Submit letters to Mrs. Peggy Ligner in room A-30 between 10:30 A.M.- 4:00 P.M.

Editorial Policy

Published throughout the year, this student-run paper is an open forum produced by the Coronado High School students and distributed throughout the school. The Explorer is an independent newspaper serving the students and faculty as a forum for student expression. Editorials reflect the opinion of the editorial board and unless otherwise noted are written by a member of the staff. The editorial board solicits responsible commentaries, comics, and letters to the editor but reserves the right to edit for style, grammar, or lack of space. A letter to the editor must provide the name of the writer and include contact information. All letters must be signed by the author, or they will no be published. They can be printed anonymously if deemed appropriate by staff. The Explorer is located in room A-30 and can be reached by calling (915) 834-2477 for any questions, comments, or submissions. Responses may also be e-mailed to coronado.explorer@gmail.com

Pitch a story to the Explorer

Send us an e-mail with a story you think is worthy of being published. Include the story idea, a brief description, and you contact information.

Merton and Laura Goldman

Support Coronado High School


11

chs explorer >> issue 3

sports

december 2009

thunderbird football LIVING A LEGEND

Karen A. Pelletier ATTORNEY AT LAW

By: Stephen Freyermuth, Staff Writer On November 5th, the Coronado T-Birds had a chance to win their third straight Westside Bowl game over archrival, Franklin High School. With this victory, Coach Don Brooks achieved his first undefeated season in his career. The T-Birds knew this could be accomplished, but they also knew that it would not be an easy task. “To prepare for the final games of the season, we watched a lot more films, and tried to have more intense practices,” said Justin Kolstad, senior. Before the Westside Bowl game, Coronado had won the district title because of a game Franklin lost to El Dorado on October 29th. However, the TBirds wanted to win their last game of the season in order to remain undefeated, a rare feat in District 5A Football.

Franklin opened the game with a kickoff, and was shortly stopped by Coronado’s tough defense. After a couple of drives, the T-Birds became more aggressive, driving the ball down the field again and again. Going for a touchdown on a second down, the T-Birds made their first score on a 5-yard scramble by quarterback Albert Monzon. With this lead, Coronado’s defense blocked all of Franklin’s drives on the first half of the game, bringing the score to 21-0 by the end of the first half. Coronado’s three touchdowns were scored by Monzon with a 5-yard run, Cole Freytag with a 9-yard run, and Sam Brown with a 3-yard run. When Monzon teamed up with Armando Duran in the second half for another touchdown, the fans could sense a win. After Franklin scored their

first touchdown, the Thunderbird offense secured their victory with two more touchdown runs from Justin Kolstad, senior and Fabian Diaz, sophomore. As the fourth quarter came to a close, the Franklin Cougars scored a final touchdown, bringing the score to 41-13 and the Coronado TBirds to victory. Coach Brooks and the T-Bird team won for the tenth time this season, which gives them an undefeated record. With this win, the T-Birds showed that they are capable of playing against anyone, not only in the city but in the state. Coronado students and fans are proud to be a part of the T-Bird football team’s 2009 season. This season is a prime example of how positive thinking can lead to positive results.

What can Brown do for you?

Sam Brown

By: Javier Romo

Sam Brown has had a great impact on the football team for the 2009 season. This year, Sam scored 25 rushing touchdowns, and ran 2,014 yards with 265 carries. He is currently ranked 6th against running backs in the state of Texas. “It feels really good, but it wouldn’t mean anything without my team,” said Brown, “I wouldn’t say it was what I expected; it was what I hoped for.”

The news came as bit of a shock, and Caroline had much support from her family, friends, and loved ones. Caroline was very thankful to everyone who believed in her and helped her become the amazing athlete and person she is today. Having had offers from other colleges and universities, Caroline chose Davidson College. “Davidson was the right fit. It had the right combination I wanted with high caliber academics and strong athletics. It’s a small school, but there’s a great sense of community with teachers, fellow students, and the Davidson town. I had that feeling when I was there, that this is the place for me,” said Brown. The one thing that

not only for myself, but for my team.” Before tough games, Sam has a routine that he follows to help him during the game. ”I eat Subway on game days. Once we’re in the locker room, I start to focus by relaxing and listening to music in order to get in game mode. I mostly listen to rap.” Sam did some great things this year, and we can expect many more to come.

was the hardest about this season was not the tough practices or killer workouts, but the thought of having to say goodbye to a team who has come to be as close as family. Caroline is happy to know that she has chosen a community she loves that will hopefully quickly grow as fond of her as everyone has at Coronado. To the future varsity volleyball team, Caroline leaves some words of advice. “Play club and work hard throughout the summer, set a goal at the beginning of the season to win District and to make it to the playoffs,” said Brown. “Y’all can be as good as you want to be. It’s your turn!”

Caroline Brown

Although “goodbye” might seem like a bittersweet word for senior Caroline Brown, much joy and a prosperous future is to come. Having recently signed an athletic scholarship with Davidson College in North Carolina, Caroline has accomplished one of her true goals in life. “I’m so blessed that God has given me the opportunity to continue playing volleyball. It’s so amazing to think that only a few years ago, playing Division 1 volleyball in college was only a dream, but the more I played and the harder I worked, the more I wanted that dream to come true. It’s an incredible feeling to know that I’ve reached my goal.”

Since Sam has played football since 7th grade, he is very accustomed to being surrounded by it. His dad was a running back at Parkland High School, and continued to play some college ball. Football runs in this family. Brown is a dedicated teammate and puts extra effort in his personal time. “I’ve worked out, I go to all the team practices, and I take time out of my scheule to try to get better

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12

chs explorer >> issue 3

december 2009

By the Bog of Cats

entertainment Theater department delivers a stunning performance of the tale of Hester Swane, a jilted divorcée, sabotages her ex-lover’s wedding and murders her only child.

Review BY: Ian Roberts, Staff Writer

A classic: the maddening tale of a woman’s scorn, echoing against the sharp sadness of the crumbling world around her. It is the story of a dissent into madness, sprinkled with jealousy; throw in a bit of rage and hatred; top it off with the crippling burden of loss, and there we have Coronado High School’s daring production of “By the Bog of Cats” by Marina Carr. From the onset, this harrowing drama would seem quite a challenge for the Coronado theater department. It requires a fierce devotion to the script, a strong ability to maintain an Irish accent, and the uncanny ability to control one’s emotion and energy throughout the course of the play. At 2 ½ hours, with a twenty-minute intermission, Mrs. Anderson and her theatre troupe pull it off, but not without fault. The play is loosely reminiscent of the Greek tragedy of Medea. “By the Bog of Cats” follows an Irish gypsy, Hester Swane (played by Taylor Bencomo, freshman), who is damned from the beginning of the play with an eminent foreshadowing of the Ghost Fancier (Amanda Lawrence, freshman) and the prophecy of the blind Cat woman (Shakeisha Haynes, senior.) According to the prophecy, she will meet her demise with the death of a black swan, she will live “not a day more, not a day less.” Swane is plagued with rejection of her ex-lover, Carthage Kilbride (Brian Ceely, senior), and the threat of losing her seven-

year-old daughter, Josie (Lillian Tarabulski, freshman). At the beginning of the play we see Hester dragging the corpse of a dead black swan across the stage; thus her spiral into insanity is set in motion. Coronado’s Taylor Bencomo depicts Hester Swane perfectly. With an Irish accent that does not falter once throughout the course of the play and a commanding stage presence, she provides the perfect window into a broken woman’s disdain. She takes her script direction and runs with it, holding the perfect energy for every scene. However, her performance did not once overshadow the accomplishments of the rest of the ensemble. Lillian Tarabulski held a certain innocent appeal throughout the entire show. For a young actress, her chemistry was spot on. Brian Ceely, the collective father figure and exlover of Hester, provided an interesting juxtaposition to the hectic stage persona of Swane. Though his presence on stage was stable, he could have used work on his characterization. It often felt as though he was swimming through his role, much like the trench coat he dawned for the beginning half of the play. The rest of the cast was solid when they needed to be and it made for an enjoyable theatre going experience. Despite the actors’ success on stage, there were minor technical mishaps that charred the overall outcome of the production. Although, the lighting and set build was quite impressive, the use of excessive

blackouts broke some of the theatrical fluidity, and some transitions lasted much too long. With a high school audience, one can never take too much time during transition periods; unfortunately, they will lose interest. The costumes, facilitated by Mrs. Alexandra Ceely, were both aesthetically pleasing and attentive to detail. Overall, the stage direction of Mrs. Helen Victoria Anderson’s third production at Coronado was worthy of the effort. This was her finest endeavor yet. It left one with that longing anxiety for more, and though faulty at points, “By the Bog of Cats” was more than worth the nagging five-dollar admission.

Photos By: Alexis Ortiz

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Coronado Explorer Volume 32, Issue 3