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May 2, 2011


Iliad News

Addressing the importance of education PTSA and senior Cynthia Casillas team up to motivate students BRIGID MCCARTHY Staff Writer


Education Has no color: (From Left to Right) Sophomores Saira Campos, Marcella Clark and Kayla Slusher attended the event, Education Has No Color, held April 18. The event raised awareness and brought to light the importance of education.

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ispanic and African American Poway High students attended the motivational seminar, Education Has No Color, to learn about how to make the most of school. The event, held in K-1 on April 18, was intended to raise awareness of the importance of having a high school diploma. This forum was a joint effort by the PTSA, which secured the funding for the program through a grant, and Cynthia Casillas, who coordinated Education Has No Color as part of her senior project. “This event was already funded, but no one was doing anything with it, so I decided to take over and make it happen,” Casillas said. “Mrs. Barker- Ball and Mr. Lopez helped me with the event, and the actual event on Monday is the last ten hours I needed for my senior project.” The students learned that being successful in high school is important. “There weren’t many ‘ah ha’ moments. One of the big things I rediscovered was that in theory, kids know what to do to be successful in school, but they don’t know what it looks like,” Barker-Ball added. The focus of the event was “to help Latinos and African Americans who are struggling in school, and to try and get them connected and to pass their stereotypes in order to motivate them so they can do better,” according to Student Services Coordinator Traci Barker-Ball. “I think a lot of kids just limit themselves to what they can do because they don’t have that example at home. Some Hispanic parents didn’t graduate or even go to high school, so I think they limit themselves and think, well my dad didn’t finish school so I don’t have to,” Casillas said. To get the message across to the students, the team used games and activities and had motivational speakers inspire the students. “One of the people who spoke at the event was Olga Diaz. She is the council member in the City of Escondido and the first Latina to hold the position. She spoke about her experiences in education,” parent liaison Rafael Lopez said. In addition to Olga Diaz, three other people spoke. “One of the most successful parts was having speakers there be role models sharing their stories, especially about what they had to overcome in education and in life to be successful,” Lopez added. Casillas was hopeful that her project would help the students realize that anything is possible if they put their mind to it. She hopes the students were inspired to do better in school.

Novel to benefit student services

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~Courtesy of LynnEvans Collaboration: Husband and wife, Steve Barker-Ball and Traci Barker-Ball, co-write their book and blog. The book, Bobbie Pharaoh and the Mark of Kane, is expected to be released in June of 2011.

Teacher and husband write teen superhero book

Barker-Ball for Christmas,” Steve Barker-Ball said. The Barker-Balls found success in their collaboration. “I’m good at throwing words on a page, and she’s good at sculpting a tight coherent story from those words,” Steve Barker-Ball said. They write under their pen name “Lynn NATASHA ORAHA Evans.” Copy Editor Inspiration came from Traci Barker-Ball’s love for modern classic young adult fiction. “I’m a huge fan of Imagine being born with a butterfly-shaped birthmark Harry Potter, and we wanted to inherit the boarding that foreshadows cancer as soon as you hit puberty and school idea,” Traci Barker-Ball said. having to go to a medical boarding school for treatment, “I didn’t think we should do magic like J.K. Rowling only to find that you have obtained super powers. because, well, who was ever going to do it better? I’ve Fourteen-year-old Bobbie Pharaoh can relate to this. always liked comic books, so I decided to try and mix Bobbie Pharaoh and the Mark of Kane, a young adult Marvel Comics with Hogwarts,” Steve Barker-Ball said. entertainment novel co-written by Traci Barker-Ball of Steve Barker-Ball’s gender equality beliefs also greatly student services and her husband Steve Barker-Ball, influenced the plot and characters of Bobbie Pharaoh and is about a young girl “who could have crumbled by all the Mark of Kane. the unfair things that “So far, the protagonists happen to her, but for all of our books are young I’ve always liked to write. women, and the main reason instead she ends up I started in high school kicking some serious for this is I am an in-your-face writing bad love poems.” feminist. I sincerely believe that butt,” Steve Barker-Ball //steve Barker-ball said. young women need to continue “Our current plan is the efforts of their mothers and for the book to come out in June, probably around the grandmothers and further human rights for everyone 15th. We plan to have it come out in all of the major by picking up the banner of complete and total gender eBook distribution outlets, such as Amazon, Barnes & equality,” Steve Barker-Ball said. Nobel, Google, iTunes and Sony, then have a sales page A last aspect in Bobbie Pharaoh and the Mark of Kane is controlled by us where PHS will get a higher percentage that a lot of the characters took up names from real PHS of the sales,” Steve Barker-Ball said. The announced price Peer Counselors. “Mrs. Barker-Ball named a bunch of the is $4.99 on iTunes. characters in this book, and used first names from some Steve Barker-Ball’s writing background includes a series of the PC kids,” Steve Barker-Ball said, “Of course, all of attempts at different writing styles. He finally found of the characters are fictional (unless the Peer Counselors interest in writing novels. really can shape shift or disappear), but I look forward to “I’ve always liked to write. I started in high school hearing the reaction when some of the PHS kids when writing bad love poems. Ms. Barker-Ball actually thought they see their name in writing and know that it was Traci I was trying to break up when she read my first love poem Barker-Ball who put them there.” to her…When we had children, I wrote them stories and PHS students are strongly encouraged to support plays... That was a lot of fun. In 2007, I spent a year student services by reading it. To learn more about “Lynn writing a novel, not unlike the Mark of Kane, for Mrs. Evans” visit

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