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HILLTOP NEWS Over 50 years of excellence in student journalism | Issue 80 Volume 9 | June 8, 2012

Atascadero High School Student Journalism Published by Atascadero News Editor: Brianna Yancheson

Dance Revolution was a stunning blend of AHS student dancers BY HUNTER CARRANZA


he 2012 AHS Dance Show, Dance Revolution, took place on May 12 at 7 p.m. at the Atascadero Junior High. The show featured students from the dance classes at AHS, and there were many different genres of dance performed, along with group and solo performances. Alan Pietsch is the dance teacher and was the producer and director for the show. The dance classes did not start working on

the show until late this year; they did not decide to do a dance show until March. Mr. Pietsch hired Desire Brush to teach the Advance dance class a hip-hop dance. Mr. Pietsch commented, “We rehearsed mostly in our class, but the student choreographers Kayla Morrow, Star Santiago, Olga Siebrass, Stephanie Dever, Alyssa Mackey, David Ramos, Alyssa Brown, Matisse Swanson, Karin Corria and Marissa Rush rehearsed completely on their own time, mostly weekends, after

Photo by Lauren Austin

Kayla Morrow leaps over Joseph Burkett during the triumphant return of the annual AHS dance show.

school, and holidays.” Choreographers volunteered to help with the dance show. Next year, there will be auditions for the choreographers and they will be chosen by a panel of judges. It was not mandatory for all of the students in the dance classes to perform in the show, although it has been in the past. A group of 15 dancers performed the first piece, titled “Ooh-La-la,” with music by Vishal Shekar. It was wonderfully choreographed and was a unique dance because of the Indian beat and melody. Another performance that stood out due to the choreography was “Invasion de Gaga”. It was choreographed by Star Santiago and performed by Alyssa Brown,

Alicia Clark, Amina Irvin, Ari Lagomarsino, Star Santiago, and Olga Siebress. The music was a compilation of Lady Gaga songs and the choreography featured balancing on chairs and raising stunts. The finale was performed by all of the company dancers, dancing to “Rock this Party” by Bob Sinclair. The dance show is one of the main performing arts shows that AHS features throughout the year that is composed of almost all student work. The dance show is annual, although they had a Flash Mob last fall. Next year, Mr. Pietsch hopes to add more shows in other school districts and at community events.



JUNE 8, 2012

Scholarship Night awards over $140,000 to AHS seniors BY OLIVIA DOBBS


n Thursday, May 24, Atascadero High School held their annual scholarship night in the gym at 6:30 p.m. Parents and students arrived to receive their awards after being invited to the event. Many of the students did not know which scholarships they would be awarded. During the event, parents sat in the bleachers while students sat on the floor in chairs, in front of the stage where Mr. Rossi, the master of ceremonies of the night, introduced the people giving out the awards and the students that were receiving them. Overall, 99 different students were awarded 173 different scholarships, and Atascadero students made over $140,000 in total. The community is very involved in the high school’s scholarship night, and the Atascadero branches of the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, as well as the Leverenz foundation, gave the most money to students. Kiwanis gave $11,000, Rotary gave $22,575, and Leverenz gave $23,000 dollars to different deserving students. About 63 different organi-

Photo by Olivia Dobbs

Seniors David Mulder, Katie Nisbet, Amber Harbottle, Erin Morey, and Roberto Orozco accept local scholarships. zations or people of the community helped in funding the scholarships, while AHS Boosters also supported the kids. Each or-

ganization of boosters for band, choir, drama, and FFA gave different amounts to different students for their involvement and

achievement in their organizations throughout the years. Some of the most high-earning students of the night were

Hunter Scroggins, Ryan DeBusk, and Ellen Davis for their involvement in different organizations, as well as their high achievement in school, which made them perfect candidates. The Atascadero Land Preservation Society (ALPS) and Atascadero Native Tree Association (ANTA) gave scholarships to Haley Trengove and Stephanie Tonegato for their commitment to the environment and their promises to further their education in environmental studies. Davis Cracknell was awarded a scholarship for football and received a football that was used during a professional game along with his scholarship. Grace Pappas was awarded the Greyhound spirit scholarship for her commitment to the school and being a cheerleader as well as participating in leadership for a number of years. Jessie Hufstetler and Logan Sprouse closed out the night being awarded the athlete of the year scholarship based on amount of letters received for different sports as well as achievement in those sports. Each student was a three-sport athlete for most or their entire high school career.

Cuesta field trip helps seniors prepare for future BY JENNIFER BELCHER


ecently, the Atascadero High School’s seniors went on a senior-only field trip to Cuesta Community College. The trip took place on Wednesday, May 23, which was organized by the counselors and principal Mr. Rossi. Each senior was given the task to fill out an online orientation with an opportunity to sign up to attend the trip, which lasted from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Once there, the seniors were divided up into three different groups: those who wanted an AA degree (two years), those who wanted to transfer to a CSU, and those who wanted to transfer to a UC or private college after Cuesta. Counselors from Cuesta College helped the students setup their schedules for this upcoming fall semester, as well as give helpful tips and tricks on getting in and out of Cuesta fast. Some students were a little over-

whelmed with the new knowledge that they were now fully responsible for their own lives. They also pointed out to the seniors that as individuals, they were the ones attending Cuesta, not their parents. Senior Denise Carigo explained her dilemma on picking her classes, “It’s really frustrating when you want to have certain classes with your friends, then when you try to add other classes you realize that your schedule starts to clash.”

Counselors stressed that students needed to always check with the office, check their Cuesta emails, and ask them any questions they needed to make sure they stayed on top of things. Advisors stated that they as seniors were here at this workshop to make a schedule as close to perfect as possible. Another senior, Timmi McCall, added, “The counselors were very helpful while I made my schedule as I noticed that some classes I really

needed to take ended and started five minutes apart and were across campus. They suggested which classes were better for morning and which classes I needed to take before picking up another.” Although the fall term for Cuesta starts Aug. 20, there is also still time for seniors to sign up for the summer term if they choose. Students can talk to their counselors or call the Cuesta College Office for more information or to ask any questions.

JUNE 8, 2012



Top 30 night honors variety of seniors BY JACKIE FLEMING

hursday, May 18, the Top 30 seniors of AHS were honored with a ceremony in the AHS gym. The ceremony lasted from 6:30 p.m. to almost 10 p.m., and the seniors and families were able to enjoy delicious cupcakes throughout the night. At the ceremony, the English teachers Ms. Hayes and Ms. Corey, and history teacher Mr. Cabrera, talked about the top 30 seniors’ many accomplishments and future goals. To earn a Top 30 spot, the seniors had to not only achieve academically, but also had to have community service experience, letters of recommendation, and known for service to their school. Many of the parents were sentimental as their sons or daughters were called to stand up in front of the room to be honored. Madison Long commented on being one of the Top 30 seniors, “It’s a total honor and feels really cool to get all my four years of hard work and accomplishments recognized.” Every student had something uniquely special about them, and all the

teachers did a fantastic job of fitting so many accomplishments into a short but meaningful speech. The students also received a medal, certificate, and a copy of the speech that was given about them. Students were called in random order, and many students admitted they were nervous or anxious about when their time would come to approach the podium. As the speech was given about each of the Top 30 seniors, a slideshow played in the background of various photographs that the students or their parents submitted. The Top 30 students of AHS are Olivia Dobbs, Stephanie Tonegato, Olivia Holt, Catherine Gayaldo, Matthew Ducasse, Madison Long, Matthew Russell, Kelly Boicourt, Ilona Istenes, Julia Franco, Taylor Sturtevant, Michelle Tarango, Allen Bailey, Andrew Bergdorf, Shelby Hendrickson, Lauryn Cooper, Brenda Garcia, Samanatha Simonini, Grace Pappas, Rhiannon Dudley, Danyele Rampone, Lisa Ferguson, Katherine St.Clair, Jordan Sligh, Madison Sills, Kieran Beccia, Ryan Debusk, Caleb Mott, Samuel Rabellino, and Ellen Davis.

Photo by Jackie Fleming

Top 30 senior Caleb Mott receives his medal and certificate from Principal Rossi.




editorials An AHS senior reflects and gives advice to underclassmen EDITORIAL BY JACKIE FLEMING


igh school is an interesting period in one’s life. Throughout my personal experience, I’ve been fortunate enough to have wonderful teachers and classes at AHS. Although I would not predict high school to be the best time in my life, it has been a good run, and I feel as if my experience was that of the average teenager. There are some things I wish I knew coming into high school though that I feel would have helped me throughout the journey. First of all, I really wish I understood how important grades and study habits were as an underclassman. I knew they were an essential part of getting into a good college and keeping my parents off my back, but I don’t think I truly grasped just how vital they are. We all only get to

experience high school once; one shot, and one chance to get it right. Studying hard in high school should be something a graduate can look back on and be proud of. A student should not only pass in high school, they should achieve. The second thing I wish I knew coming into high school was that bad things that happen in high school are not the end of the world. To all those freshmen and sophomore girls out there: life will go on. So many times throughout my high school experience I would blow the tiniest problem out of proportion to where it seemed my world was just going to end right there and then. I don’t think I understood that high school is only four years in a person’s life, not a very long time in the long run. Eventually the problem a person has in high school will soon become just a memory as they get older, until it is not even that, but a faint remembrance at the back

of a person’s brain. I’ve found that I often look back on my experiences as a freshmen or sophomore and laugh at how ridiculously dramatic I was about a certain situation. I would think that because I didn’t wear the right shoes with the right shirt, I looked like an idiot. Now I look back and think, “Who really cares, no one probably even noticed, and certainly no one remembers now.” The third and final piece of knowledge I would pass on to underclassmen is to simply have fun throughout the high school experience. People only get to do it once, so they should make sure to do it right. Get good grades, and very importantly treasure each and every friend you make. Enjoy those painfully awkward situations and laugh about them, because before you know it you will be graduating and you’ll want to have those fun high school memories to look back and smile on.

High school counselors are banned from Camp KEEP



ecently I have learned that Camp KEEP (Kern Environmental Education Program) has banned persons under the age of 18 from being counselors for the sixth graders that attend. I was absolutely outraged when I heard this; there is so much that can be learned at Camp KEEP, both for high school-aged and younger students. Last year, my sophomore year, I was selected after an interviewing process to accompany Monterey Road Elementary School as a high school counselor. I acquired relationships with the younger students that could not be matched; they looked up to me and believed I could share knowledge with them that none other could. It was a learning experience that ultimately helped me acquire my first job.

It’s also a very impressive volunteer service that can go on any application, including those for colleges. Originally, it seemed as if Mr. Rossi, the AHS principal, and the Atascadero High School Administration was keeping their students from attending; however, Mr. Rossi cleared things up and stated, “It’s not our decision, the superintendent of Camp KEEP has made it a rule that students under the age of 18 must still be accompanied by an adult. So, that just means that if we were to send a student, then we would also have to include an adult chaperone.” By making this a rule there is a connection that is completely lost; sixth graders look up to adults like parents, but they look up to a high school student like we are omniscient; I know this specifically from experience. The students look at this opportunity as a vacation, so they naturally

want to slack off and pay less attention to the scientific lectures about the environment. When an adult punishes the kids for not paying attention, but then also doesn’t pay attention themselves, the students take that as a free opportunity to pay even LESS attention. The difference is that when a high school student is paying attention, the younger students find it more appealing for themselves. Then there is the level of connection that the counselors and younger students make. I met a kid last year that had similar interests to those I had when I was his age. We spent as much time as we could talking about stuff we liked, and at the end of the trip the kid asked me if we could play videogames together someday. So I gave him my contact information and said my goodbyes to him. It was an amazing experience and the deprivation will be dully noted as the last week of school goes by.

JUNE 8, 2012

AHS senior comments on the next step after high school EDITORIAL BY OLIVIA DOBBS


t this point in time, most seniors in high school are all thinking the same thing: “We’re finally graduating.” Most seniors are excited for the next steps in their lives, as I am. I am going to UC Santa Cruz next fall and can’t wait to meet new people, experience new things, and even just live in a new place. But what most seniors avoid thinking about is what else is going to happen when we leave and I think the quote that signifies what no one wants to accept yet is, “Moving on is simple. It’s what we leave behind that’s hard.” We’re not only leaving behind our families, but also the friends most of us have known our whole lives, as well as our comfort zones and the knowledge of a safety net. It’s no doubt that in high school most students really only have to worry about school a little bit, and maybe extracurricular activities. But a lot of time is spent just enjoying being a kid, because our parents are there to take care of us and make sure we have minimal things to worry about. All these assurances disappear when we head off to college. I think that no matter what happens in this next step, we really aren’t leaving everything behind. We have our memories and friends and families to support us. But creating new memories is just as important as remembering the old. So, to this years’ senior class I say, “Good luck and have the time of your life!”


JUNE 8, 2012


Seniors will experience special year-end activities BY JACKIE FLEMING


s is tradition at Atascadero High, the seniors will take all their course finals a week ahead of the underclassmen to give them a week to do senior-related year-end activities. Senior’s first and third period finals are started Tuesday, Jun. 5, and finals continued

throughout the week until Friday, June 8, the last academic day for seniors. Monday of that week will be seniors’ last regular even day, which is their sign out day. One of the more fun end-ofthe-year activities the seniors get to participate in is the annual Baccalaureate, which is an interfaith commencement ceremony for the Class of 2012. A slideshow will be presented

along with many other activities. The Baccalaureate will be held in the Atascadero Bible Church at 7p.m. on Sunday, June 10, and will have no entry fee. Monday, June 11, seniors have the option to attend the Senior Luau, which will be held at the AHS upper practice field and will start at 4p.m. The students are encouraged to wear Hawaiian attire and to bring a

AP Statistics Fair was a great learning experience



tascadero High School’s AP Statistics and Interactive Mathematics classes held a statistics fair on Monday, May 21 during study hall and Tuesday, May 22 during all periods. The students used the statistical analysis techniques that they had learned throughout the year and applied them to a research question of their choice. Some students chose to test marketing claims or gender preferences of colors, skills, and flavors. According to Ms. White, the AP Statistics teacher, “This project helps enhance students’ self-aware-

ness of their own learning.” During study hall and certain classes, random students would come to participate in the stats fair. Some of the experiments tested included: if people preferred store bought cookies vs. homemade cookies, the overall most popular type of music among students, as well as a variety of gender surveys, taste tests, and activities. “I am humbled and thankful for the willingness of my colleagues to bring their classes to participate,” said Ms. White. All in all, the AP Statistics fair was a great success and also provided answers to many questions among students.

Statistician Bailey Taunt gathers date from a Stats Fair participant.

Photo by Lauren Austin

towel and beach chair. The event is sure to be fun, and seniors who would like to participate in water events are urged to bring a bathing suit. The following day after the Luau, on Tuesday June 8, seniors were invited to the annual senior breakfast at the AHS snack bar, which started at 8:30 in the morning. The breakfast was sponsored by Atascadero

Kiwanis Club and was served to the students prior to graduation rehearsal. Graduation rehearsal is mandatory and will last from 9:30 a.m. after breakfast until noon. The graduation ceremony for the Class of 2012 is scheduled for Wednesday, June 13 at 4 p.m. seniors will need to meet an hour before at 3 p.m. in the Ewing Gym.

Youth has free pass on transit all summer BY VALENTINE SOTO


here is a new program starting this summer known as Youth Ride Free. This program allows students K-12 to ride transit vehicles all summer long absolutely free; the students need simply to

present their student ID to the driver. The free transportation vehicles involved include: RTA, South County Transit, SLO Transit, Atascadero Transit, and Morro Bay Transit FIXED routes. More information can be found at



JUNE 8, 2012

Bike to Bites promotes fun way to celebrate Bike Month BY GRACE SANDERS


ay is National Bike Month, and on May 9 in a family-oriented event, riders were encouraged to cycle to visit downtown locations. The cyclists started at the Community Center on Traffic Way and finished at Galaxy Theater on El Camino Real. The main organizer of the event was Tom O’ Malley, former Atascadero mayor. There was also a bike valet service provided by San Luis Obispo Bike Coalition for the participating cyclists once the ride was finished. After the ride was finished, the cyclists joined together inside Galaxy Theater for free pizza and root beer along with a free movie. The cyclists began their ride at 3:30p.m. and ended at 4:45p.m., which was when the movie began. Celebrating

Bike Month is an exciting event for San Luis Obispo County. May is not over yet, so there are still plenty of opportunities to get involved in this fun event. Also, on May 29, the AHS Bike Club had their year-long drawing for the grand prize: a mountain bike Mr. Cabrera generously donated along with other prizes donated by the community. All year the AHS Bike Club members got one drawing ticket for each club meeting they attended and three tickets for each club bike ride they participated in. The winners of the drawing were: Chad Lagomarsino, who won the mountain bike, Heidi Huntington, who won a bike light, along with Aline DeLuca and Sierra Kindel, who each won a water bottle cage for their bicycles. Ms. Dery congratulated all the winners and participants.

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Winner Chad Lagomarsino and Mr. Cabrera, who donated the mountain bike.

JUNE 8, 2012



Astronomy students travel to experience spectacular solar eclipse BY JACKIE FLEMING


rom Friday, May 18 to Monday, May 21, a handful of astronomy students at AHS went on a weekend field trip to view the solar eclipse. On the first day of the trip, the students had the privilege of visiting the California Academy of the Sciences (Natural Science Museum and Planetarium), and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Saturday, the students and Mr. Hollis, the astronomy teacher, drove down to a campground near Lassen Volcano Park in anticipation of the solar eclipse. Sunday, the day of the solar eclipse, the students stood in a meadow surrounded by a forest, and listened to jams like Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” as they awaited the sight of the eclipse. Viewing the eclipse was described as an “amazing and electrifying” experience. Mr. Hollis commented, “It was especially spectacular because we all had eclipse glasses and a telescope with a solar filter.” One of the highlights of the viewing of the solar eclipse was the ring of fire, which


is the bright ring and light of the sun that forms around the dark shape of the moon. Another highlight of the trip was the Maker Faire, which was a collection of things for sale made by inventors and craftspeople. The students had a fun time looking around at all the electronic and scientific inventions, numerous crafts, and even some green technology. A solar eclipse, which only happens on average between two to five times a year, is a phenomenal, natural event, and something astronomy students had long anticipated. Mr. Hollis commented, “The annual eclipse will not be seen by most of the world and we needed to have an adventure to see it. On the way we experienced new landscapes, had new experiences, and developed closer friendships. It is these types of adventures that give students a passion to learn and experience and bring them closer to understanding the natural world around them. It helps promote enthusiasm for the gift of life.”

Photo submitted

Armed with special glasses, students from Mr. Hollis’s Astronomy class view the rare solar eclipse.

Interior design, sewing classes create happiness in folds of fabric BY BRIANNA YANCHESON

s. Accord’s interior design and sewing classes recently created a fun way to help out the Atascadero community. Students formed groups and designed and created quilts to be given to charities and organizations that included Social Services, North County Women’s Shelter, Camp Reach for the Stars, and El Camino Homeless Association. The quilts were made in steps throughout several months during second semester and about 50 quilts were created. This is the first year that the classes undertook this project, which was funded by the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools (CAPS). During class from May 29 to Jun. 1, the groups of students were scheduled to read about different charities and select the one they wanted to give their quilt to and the approximate age and gender of the recipient. The finished quilts were then dis-

played in the library on Jun. 1 for staff, CAPS members, and various community members to view, who then voted on their favorite quilts during a staff meeting. The top three viewer’s choice winners received prizes; the first place group prize was $100, second place prize was $75, and third place prize was $50. The quilts were then distributed by the Almond Country Quilt Guild, which greatly supported the project and provided much of the fabric used for the quilts. The community service quilt project taught the sewing and interior design students the complex process of creating quilts while also providing an opportunity to bring a little joy to fellow community members in need. Ms. Accord commented, “It’s really amazing to see all the diversity of designs. Students were really creative with color and created an array of quilts that will become treasured and loved heirlooms for those who receive them.”

Photo by Brianna Yancheson

Sienna Shahan and Melody Ayers work on their quilt, which was judged last week and donated to a local charity.



JUNE 8, 2012

Devastating disease befalls former AHS math teacher BY VALENTINE SOTO


ormer Atascadero High School teacher, Ms. French, felt the love and support of her Atascadero community family. At the walk for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Team French raised over $11,000 to help support Ms. French in her fight. Mrs. French was an AP Statistics and Algebra 2 teacher; however, last school year she was offered a job as a math professor at Cal Poly. She currently continues to teach, but she has been reduced to a walker; last fall she was her healthy, rambunctious self. Mrs. French was a true inspiration inside and outside of the classroom; from running marathons to guaranteeing a learning experience in her class, she touched more people than any one person could


Photo submitted

Former math teacher Christie French is surrounded by Team French at a benefit walk.

imagine. On May 30 from 3:30 to 7:00 at the Fire Station on Traffic Way, the Atascadero Fire Department had a “drive-through” BBQ to help raise money to cover costs for a wheelchair and other medical needs. There is still more that can be done to help; there is an account at SESLOC Federal Credit Union in Atascadero where donations can be placed. Checks should be made out to either Christy French or George O. French with the account number 366471. Contributions will be accepted at any SESLOC branch; the French family is looking for any and all donations to help purchase necessities that may be needed in the very near future. Such necessities include, but are not limited to: ramps, lifts, special beds, adapted showers, and power chairs.


tascadero High School has a new club on campus; the Feminist Club now meets every Wednesday in H-4. The club was founded on Apr. 20, and aims to educate the campus about feminist goals and theories. The idea for the club came from senior and founder Ilona Istenes, who got the idea to start this club from her brother, an AHS alumnus. The club hopes to foster positive connections with other clubs on campus as well as with off-campus organizations. Founders of the club Ilona Istenes and Mikeala Raphael were interviewed by Jenny Adams on the 920 KVEC radio show. On the show, they talked about their motives for starting the Feminist Club and their goals and aspirations for the organization. On Wednesday, May 30, the class officers for the 2012-2013 school year were elected. The Feminist Club has just under fifteen students, both

male and female, and hopes to gain more within the years to come. Over the summer, the Feminist Club plans to read the book The Purity Myth, by Jessica Valenti. The presidents are Mikeala Raphael and Aubrey Rossi, the vice president is Jessica Wilkins, the treasurer is Gianna Alessi, the event planner is Richard Toohey, the secretary is Camille Highland, and the publicist is Delaney Scott. Although the club is new, they are already making plans for next year: helping the women's shelter, inviting speakers, promoting open discussions about the ideals of feminism, and fundraising for the National Organization for Women. Junior Richard Toohey spoke on behalf of the club, saying, “We want equality. We want women to have the ability to choose what kind of lifestyle they want to live. Whether they want to be a stay at home mom or an independent woman, we support their choice, and above all we are not men-haters.”

Photo by Catherine Gayaldo

Senior Ilona Istenes, founder of the new Feminist Club, addresses members during a lunchtime meeting.

JUNE 8, 2012



Love Out Loud Campaign inspires hope for AHS students BY CATHERINE GAYALDO


ast month, Atascadero High School peer mentoring class put on the Love Out Loud Campaign to promote awareness about depression, suicide, and self-injury. The tagline of the event was “Hope is real, Help is real, your story is important.” This is the second year that Atascadero High School put on this event. The Atascadero High School peer class spent many months planning and organizing this campaign. Although each year has a different color scheme and tagline, the message is always the same: to help students develop a greater understanding of mental illness and learn how to help themselves and their friends, The event was during the week of May 14-18. May 14, the band Callista performed, May 15 and 16 desserts were sold and members of the peer class wrote positive encouragement on the arms of students, statistics about mental illness were read, and students anonymously wrote down their stories of hope and hurt. The stories that were written down then were hung on a string for others to read and understand they are not alone. Friday, May 18, students expressed their artistic capability by drawing with chalk in the bowl and cupcakes were given away. T- shirts displaying the Love Out Loud tagline were also sold for $10 during the event. Mariah Gasch said, “Having love written on my


‘TV Time’ showcased talented AHS singers, dancers REVIEW BY SIERRA SIMMONS


Photo by Valentine Soto

Juniors Thomas Arndt and Sam Jacobs set up for lunchtime Love Out Loud activities promoting emotional health. arm was a reminder of how valuable my life is.” Leader of the Love Out Loud Campaign, Sam Simonini said, “Our goal is re-

ally to stop the stigma that comes along with mental illness; we want the students to know they are valued, loved, and that help is real.”

he Jun. 2 Choir Showcase, “TV Time,” was a wonderful performance filled with exciting and energetic numbers. However, I’m forced to wonder how such selections as “Girls Rock the 80’s,” “Vogue,” “Bon Jovi Medley,” and the senior song “Good Riddance” by Green Day are TV-themed. They were all wonderfully performed, and the senior song was touching, but where in television can one them other than MTV? It was a very good show and one that I would enjoy seeing again and again. I was thrilled at the wonderful choreography of both Show Choir, choreographed by Sam Fierro, Nicole Huffman, and Lulu Mack, and Advanced Women’s Choir, choreographed by Jayde Forzetting, Emily Ingram, and April Pandosh. “Rumor Has It,” which was featured in an episode of Glee, was very strong both vocally and in attitude, and as always the Irish blessing at the end was truly touching. With all this great talent, I greatly look forward to future choir performances.

Atascadero’s writing students win at county level BY JACKIE FLEMING

tascadero High had four first place winners in the San Luis Obispo Writing contest, which takes the best writing submissions from all the county schools and judges them according to their categories and grade level. Every public high school in SLO County participated in the writing contest, so it is extremely impressive to win at the county level. In the poetry category, AHS sophomore Dylan Chambless won first place for her outstanding poem, “I am From a Place Called New Mexico.” Also in the poetry category, sophomore

Carla Cary won first place for her poem, “The Piñata.” The winners attended an award ceremony at Laguna Middle School in the gym on May 21. Winners received a medal and a certificate, and some students were asked to recite their work at the assembly. 4.000 students from first to twelfth grade entered the writing contest, and the best, most creative pieces were chosen. Freshmen Albina Hartlein also took first place in the poetry category for her poem entitled “What am I?” In the writing category Atascadero senior Stephanie Tonegato took first place with her extraordinary expository entry on the Keystone Pipeline.

Atascadero High also had many honorable mentioned (runners-up) within the county writing contest. Sophomore David Bravo was noticed for his poem, “The Place.” Honorable mentioned writing winners included: sophomore Karla Anguiano for her expository piece titled, “Dystopian Words”; sophomore Uriel Jimenez, in the personal experience category for her paper, “Destiny to USA”; junior Robert Kaye in the personal experience category for his piece called, “Why Me Why Not”; and senior Jackie Fleming in the personal experience category for her essay titled, “Father.”

Photo by Dillon Chambless

Sophomore Carla Cary accepts her County Writing Contest first place award.



JUNE 8, 2012

Ryan Cowan creates thriving greenhouse project at AHS

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enior Ryan Cowan has more on his mind than senior pranks and Grad Nite. Cowan has a senior project that he has been working hard on all school year. He grows and harvests vegetables in a greenhouse and in a vegetable patch here on campus near the H-building. His aide, Cecilia Viscarra, introduced him to growing plants and vegetables. “My aide taught me how to grow all of the vegetables. It’s a fun project that we’ve been working on a lot,” Ryan said happily while showing off his prospering plants. Mr. Weatherly helped Cowan start growing and making the project really happen. Their project has been running off of donations of plants, vegetables, and money. Currently, Cowan and Viscarra are

growing a variety of things like snow peas, tomatoes, bell peppers, and lettuce. Cowan is putting on a fundraiser to raise money to purchase more plants, soil, and supplies for the classes of next year. Not only are they raising money for the green house and the vegetable patch but also for the agriculture classroom. Cowan is concerned about the classroom due to the budget cuts, and he wants the next years’ classes to have supplies to keep the growing going. Not only does Cowan grow and harvest his own vegetables, he also makes rabbit cages for the campus. He has a job at Miners in a harvesting program as well. He hopes to save up money from working so he can move out after graduating. Cowan hopes to leave AHS with a legacy of keeping vegetable-growing alive.

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Photo by Sidney Waymire

Senior Ryan Cowan shows off his greenhouse project.


JUNE 8, 2012


Robotics competition in St. Louis Missouri welcomes AHS robotics team BY VALENTINE SOTO


t the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri, 30,000 people consisting of participants, fans, families, educators, and industry leaders celebrated students’ engineering and robotics prowess at the annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship. Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With the support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and nearly $15 million in college scholarships, the non-profit organization hosts multiple competitions that welcome competitors from the age of six to high school level. The FIRST Robotics Competition is the noted level for high school students. This year marked the 21st season of the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) high-school-level program. FRC combines sports excitement with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams are challenged to fundraise, design a brand, exercise teamwork, and build and program robots to perform tasks against competitors. In its initial competition year, FIRST hosted an FRC program with 28 teams in a New Hampshire high school gym; this year, 2,343 FIRST teams in 12 countries participated in 52 Regional events, 15 District Competitions, and two Regional Championships. This year’s FRC challenge was “Rebound Rumble,” where matches are played between two Alliances comprised of three teams each. Each Alliance competes by trying to score as many basketballs into the hoops as possible during the two-minute and 15-second match. Balls scored in hoops that are raised higher then others score more points. Pop superstar,, was on hand this year to kick off the week-long event, meet teams, and take part in a ceremony and new innovation competition.

Photo submitted

Greybots Oliver Curry and Chanel Crespin are at the controls of their robot during the recent world championship competition. Major awards were presented by senior officials from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Department of Energy, and NASA; executives from Autodesk, Boeing, General Motors, PTC, Microsoft, Google, and Rockwell Automation were also present. Three teams won the final showdown and earned the coveted FIRST Robotics Competition Championship Winning Alliance. Although the Greyhound Revolutionary Robotics team didn’t win the championship, they were awarded honors for design excellence. Lisa Ferguson, a senior from Atascadero High School and member of the Greyhound Revolutionary Robotics team, commented on her feelings about receiving such an award, “It was a huge honor. I am proud to be part of a team that is deemed the engineering standard for all other teams to follow. I am glad that all of our hard work throughout the season was recognized in such an amazing way.”

Sustainability trailer teaches Greenhound students eco-friendly habits BY SIDNEY WAYMIRE


n “green elective” at AHS, the class given to freshmen Greenhounds, students have been studying ways to be sustainable in their households and as a community. Recently a group of Biology teachers and AP Biology students from Los Osos High School conducted a presentation of a “green trailer” sitting in The Bowl. All green hounds classes visited the green trailer, took a guided tour of it, and learned ways to gain sustainable habits. Greenhounds also learned about ecofriendly materials they could use when

constructing a house or building. The trailer also had a game outside of it for the waiting students. All the students had to do was pick up a piece of the provided material, surrounding the center of the game-board, and guess what sustainable material it matched up to. Freshman Emily Kidd said, “I think it was awesome for students to learn about how to be more sustainable.” The green trailer did well in teaching students about how to protect the environment they live in, and proved beneficial for all students and staff that participated.



Career fair at AHS inspires students for the future

JUNE 8, 2012

Optimist club holds antismoking event in The Bowl

Photo by Lauren Austin

A state park official shares career information withTessa Varia and Clio Bruns during AHS’s first Career Fair. BY VALENTINE SOTO


n Wednesday, May 23, Atascadero High School hosted a career fair from the beginning of lunch to the end of the day. This event is in alignment with many items involved in WASC, which is the school credibility administration. The career fair helps kids prepare for their post high school achievements. There were plenty of things to discover for kids who are still unsure of their

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future; things to discover included: I Facebook for a Living; “The Party” Workshop; Who Drives a Boat to Work; Dress 4 Success Workshop; Practice Applications; Raffle Prizes, Cool Vehicles; Freebies; and My Co-Worker is a Dog with Insurance. The students could then browse the 16 career pathways, which included: Ag & Natural Resources; Arts, Media & Entertainment; Building Trades & Construction; Education & Family Services; Energy & Utilities; Engineering & Design; Finance & Business; Health & Medical; Hospitality, Tourism & Recreation; Information Technology; Manufacturing & Product Development; Marketing, Sales & Service; Public Safety & Armed Services; Public Services; Science Based Technologies; Transportation & Automotive. Jordan Lindsay, a junior here at Atascadero High School, stated, “One of the coolest things about this is the CHP and probably the State Rangers; also they have free cookies!” Senior Brittany Cason said, “I haven’t been looking for very long yet, but the medical field is pretty interesting to me.” Both Ryan Holloway and Turner Kraus were just browsing and checking out the options. Turner proclaimed, “This is a really fun and easy opportunity to explore the careers out there.”

Photo by Lauren Austin

Delaney Scott participates in an anti-smoking game to earn a cupcake. BY JENNIFER BELCHER


he Atascadero High School’s Junior Optimist Club held an antismoking event in The Bowl on Apr. 27. The group originally planned this event for Apr. 20, which would have emphasized the importance of being drug-free on nationwide “get high” day. Optimist had a representative from the San Luis Obispo County Tobacco Control Center present demonstrations, pamphlets, key chains, stickers, etc., all centered on smoking prevention. Optimist is sponsored by the Atascadero Optimist Club (for adults). Jerry Ouyang, a member of the Atascadero Junior Optimist Club, said the anti-

smoking event “went really well,” and that he was pleased with the results. Club president Shelby Warren said, “We have had many fun events this year, and it’s all winding down as we near Jun. 15, but we have a few more events, such as next years elections, coming up.” Optimist meets in H-8, Mr. Smith’s room, at lunch on Fridays, and their advisor is Jerry Tanimoto. Any students interested in being part of Tobacco Ship Compliance, “Tobacco Stings,” please contact Melissa Peters at, or call her office number from the County of SLO Public Health Department at (805) 781-1561.

JUNE 8, 2012


Little Hounds preschool gives child development students valuable experience BY HUNTER CARRANZA


n Mar. 2, the Child Development class on campus started the annual preschool, Little Hounds Preschool. Ten children from ages three to five attend the preschool every other day, depending on if it’s an even or odd day schedule. The high school students in these classes are responsible for planning the activities for the day and taking care of the kids. Some past activities include an Easter egg hunt, paper mache animal masks, story time, and obstacle courses. The preschool lasts for two periods in the day. Preschool students eat snack and



lunch in the classroom while high school students watch and get to know the kids. In the first months of the year before the preschool starts, the high school students study the stages of child development. This is crucial so that they know how to deal with a situation if a problem arises at the daycare. The teacher and supervisor of the high school students is Ms. Tingley. She helps in the classroom so that she can be a guide in case one of the high school students has a question about how to handle a situation with the kids. The preschool ends in May. The final project for the high school students is to

display a portfolio of the lessons the groups have taught the little kids. The high school groups also create a newsletter explaining to the parents how each child has grown through the last couple months. Taking care of small children is not a

small task, and the Child Development students should feel a sense of accomplishment when the year is over. They will have learned a skill that they worked hard to obtain and leave with an experience of having fun with children.

Greenhounds build a “green city” BY SIDNEY WAYMIRE

tascadero High School’s Greenhound Academy is currently building a “green city”. In all Greenhounds classes, the teachers are having the students participate in building sections of the city. The green city is supposed to represent a healthier and more sustainable way to run a city. The students are separated into groups and then make a floor plan of what their building is going to

look like. Next, they start building with materials given to them by the teachers. Once the students in all the Greenhounds classes finish building, all the buildings and farms will be placed in the bowl to be examined by all the classes. The point of the green city is to bring awareness to people everywhere about how to be more sustainable and give people more ideas for building materials that are less environmentally harsh then others.

Photo by Sidney Waymire

Greenhound students consult about how to build a model of a green community.

Photo by Lauren Austin

Child Development students work with local youngsters who attend the AHS preschool program.



JUNE 8, 2012

Five spring sports send athletes to CIF BY DYLAN CHAMBLESS


thletes from five spring sports qualified to compete in this season’s CIF (California Interscholastic Federation). These sports included track, softball, swimming, tennis, and golf. Track sent a large number of athletes to the CIF prelims, and all four relay teams qualified. The girls 4x400m relay team consisted of Angelica Cussworth, Miriam Orozco-Ramirez, Brittany Cason, and Anaiis De Los Santos; they finished sixth. The boy’s 4x400m relay team included Robert Hixson, Deonte Barnes, Cole Thek and Travis Hiatt. The girl’s 4x100m relay

team included Cussworth, Cason, De Los Santos, and Rachael Andrade. The boy’s 4x100m relay team included Robert Hixson, Ty Robb, Ryan Lombardi and Deonte Barnes. Crissy Carr and Joe Arndt qualified for pole vault. Dominic Chance qualified for the 110 hurtles and long jump along with Angelica Cussworth that was entered in the 100 and 300 hurdles. Robert Hixson qualified for the 200m and 400m along with Ty Robb with the 100m, as did De Los Santos with the 100m and 200m. Savannah McCarthy qualified for the long jump in the prelims. The girls’ 4x400m relay team advanced to the CIF finals, but due to injuries could not compete. Also moving on to the finals were Carr for pole

Photo by Brianna Yancheson

Jessie Hufstetler pitches her way into CIF competition.

vault and Cussworth for the 300 hurdles. Winning eight out of their last ten games during their regular season lead the Greyhound softball team to the PAC 7 championship. Having not won a CIF playoff game since 2005, the team was ecstatic to make it to the third round. In the second round the team beat Paramount in a cliffhanger ending with Jessie Hufstetler bringing in a three run walk off home run to win 5-2. Riding high, the team entered their second playoff game, but lost. AHS had a successful swim season this year when five varsity swimmers qualified for CIF. Dustin Bolt qualified for the 500 in which he placed 2nd and 200 free in which he placed eighth. Claire Leong

Photo by Valentine Soto

Louie Thek prepares to hand the baton off to Deonte Barnes for the final leg of the 4x400m relay.

swam the 100 breaststroke and placed ninth. Other simmers such as Kylie Ferree, Rachel Donati and Anna Beraud also qualified for CIF. In CIF competition, the Atascadero boys tennis team won third in league finals for doubles with players Elias Jordan and Austin Alexander. The team finished fourth in PAC 7, and knocked out the third, fourth and fifth seats on their way to the top. The Greyhounds golf team took fourth in league and Brandon Vail was named league runner-up. He went on to compete in the individual CIF tournament. Vail missed qualifying for finals by two strokes.

Photo by Catherine Gayaldo

Freshman Angelica Cussworth sprints for the finish after a perfect handoff.


JUNE 8, 2012


Greyhound tennis takes fourth place in PAC 7 conference BY VALENTINE SOTO


he Atascadero High School Boys’ Varsity Tennis team had a new look this season; after four years of being led by the Barber twin brothers, Devin and Kyle, The Greyhounds established a new identity and found new team leaders. Head coach Connie Baird had six players from last year’s squad that continued on this year to keep a concrete level of competition. They finished fourth in the PAC 7 conference. Coach Baird indicated that this year is one of transition and one in which she counted heavily on the development of her three sophomores: Elias Jordan, Jacob Hass, and Ross Schaefer. "It is really up to them to make the necessary commit-


ment to tennis and lead this squad. Our conference has some excellent tennis players in it and if our players are to be successful they must learn to work on their game year round." Senior Austin Alexander played at the number one singles position. Coach Baird commented on Alexander, “He has matured and it shows in his play. I think the biggest thrill was at League Finals, where Austin Alexander and Elias Jordan teamed up for doubles and placed third in League Finals, achieving an All League status. They knocked out the third, fourth, and fifth seeds along the way. It was so awesome.” Senior Jake Reilly and junior Jacob Pomi played competitively in doubles, as did senior Michael Liang, who is an ex-

change student from China, and junior Greg Griffin. Then senior Emerey Philippsen saw some singles play along with sophomore Andrew Sedley. Junior Michael Kolland, who is an exchange student from Austria, and junior Sam Jacobs also saw some play time. Austin Alexander was MVP for the Hounds, Elias Jordan was Most Improved, and Jake Reilly received the Coach’s Award.

Photo by Catherine Gayaldo

Ross Schaefer keeps a close eye on the ball as he prepares to return the shot.


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JUNE 8, 2012

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