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October 2009

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Teens making a difference Students volunteer on and off campus By Bria Howse (’11)

Junior Zoram Dean zips to the front office and quickly reads through the announcements. It’s just before 8 a.m. — showtime. “Good morning, RHS!” he thunders, immediately after the bell brings. “Please stand for the pledge.” And he is off. Every day Zoarm volunteers his time to read the morning announcements to the student body. But he doesn’t just read the bulletin, he belts it out with gusto and with just the right touch of comic timing. Zoram is just one of many RHS students who volunteers time to make the community a better place. In honor of the annual Make a Difference Day, Oct. 24, The Stampede is profiling several RHS students who are giving back to their community. Besides Zoram, they are Antonio Ortiz, Nathan Hochstetler, Lisa Yee and Danielle Delacruz. This year’s activists have spent their free time helping firefighters, doctors and patients, feeding senior citizens, and cleaning garbage out of creek beds. While this is Zoram’s first year reading the announcements, the big Z is no stranger to volunteering. He’s worked the microphone at school rallies since he was a freshman. Seeing his enthusiasm, Leadership teacher Mrs. Stella Shamieh recommended him for the morning announcement position. “I just love his enthusiasm with the morn-

Spirit week Page 8-9

Above: Daniella Delacruz, Left: Lisa Yee

“Big Z” shows his school spirit on Nerd Day. ing announcements,” said secretary Robin Pitts. “He volunteers his time EVERY morning and spends every night writing some extra blurb for us.” That’s not all that is on Z’s plate. “Recently I’ve been helping out with the club fairs that are being set up as well as doing the mic work for most of our upcoming rallies,” Zoram says. Taking a few AP and honors classes, Zoram makes sure that his

Best bathroom Page 2

Photo/David Melad

school work never comes second. “Leadership is really fun and allows you to expand yourself in many different ways plus Ms. Shamieh is a blast!” he says. “She’s very fun and makes you wanna be there.” Some might see the morning announcements job as a way to become popular, but Zoram’s view goes beyond that. “I hope other people look at me and not

Athlete of the month Page 14

only admire me, but admire what I do. I strongly believe that having school spirit plays a big part of h i g hPhotos/David Melad school.” Junior firefighter, Senior Antonio Ortiz thinks he might like to be a firefighter some day. To prepare, he has joined the local Explorer Program for the Fairfield Fire Department. For nearly two months, he has been volunteering his time to learn about fire fighting and help as needed. “… It’s a great experience. You get to meet new people and work with fire hoses which are pretty cool,” Tony says. Most only see fire fighters on the scene putting out fires or coming to the rescue, but

(Continued on page 16)

Index

School News… Pages 1-4, 8-9,16 Entertainment… Pages 5-7 Opinion… Pages 10-13 Sports… Pages 14-15


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How do RHS bathrooms rate? Girls face long lines, especially at lunch

Upon entering the boys’ bathroom upstairs in D-hall, the first thing you notice is the smell — a warm, stuffy stench. Then you may notice trash littering the floor and even in the sink. This bathroom is gross and yet some consider this one far superior to its downstairs counterpart. The downstairs bathroom has “the most ridiculous smell,” says sophomore Nimo Vier.

“The upstairs is way better.” Students interviewed for this story agreed with him. “The downstairs one (C hall) stinks more and is smaller, but they both get full during lunch and passing period,” said senior Tony Ortiz. The issue of when to go is also important. Often times the lines are so long that there won’t be enough time to use it. Students will either be late to class or just control the urge until the end of the day. Another issue concerning students is whether the bathrooms are even open. The upstairs E hall is often locked, and it isn’t uncommon for the D-hall one to be also. Many times the bathrooms are immediately locked when school ends to encourage students to leave campus. The bathrooms are also closed if students are caught in them smoking or just making a mess. The main issue with the bathrooms is the amount of trash and vandalism that is in them. Wrappers, food, or just paper can be found on the floor or in the sink. Graffiti can also be sometimes seen both on the walls and in the stalls. Still, most students agreed that the condition of the bathrooms have improved since last year. All the locks work and there is less trash. The upstairs D-hall boys bathroom is generally thought to be the best. Still students said they would like to see all the bathrooms maintained.

And though everything comes at its price, all in all, it’s relatively inexpensive. “It’s a steal, really,” he claims. “For everything that we’re doing, it’s cheap.” But it didn’t get that way on its own. Apparently, both he and Ms. McLaughlin were offered stipends by the touring company, but they refused, asking that it be put into the total for the students. They’re actually not getting anything in return for their work, but it didn’t seem to faze him much. “I didn’t even know we were supposed to get [a stipend].” Still, it always pays off in the end.

“Honestly,” he said, “I think it’s awesome that Rodriguez offers a trip every year.” After some thought, he added that, “I think that ‘tradition’ is a perfect term to describe it – it’s definitely becoming one… That’s what’s cool about being in a foreign language class, knowing that there’s a trip almost every year. It could be German, Spanish, or French. I don’t know many schools who can offer a trip for each language in this area.” This is one RHS tradition that we definitely don’t want to lose, but as for right now, let’s just hope that the 2010 France trip is everything that it promises to be, and more.

By Nicole Levin (’11)

Well-hydrated students at RHS face a dilemma. They can either enter a school bathroom, risking the chance of being late to class, or simply ignore their urge and continue through the day. As the latter is not only uncomfortable but also unhealthy, most students utilize school restrooms. But which bathrooms should a student use? Compiling research based on smell, number of stalls, lines, and cleanliness from the five major girls’ restrooms, the question of which facility to use has become answerable. If you are a student pressed for time, then you should certainly head for an upstairs location. The bathroom in upstairs C often has long lines, but as it has five stalls, it generally moves quickly. Not only is it usually clean, it has three sinks, making personal sanitation easier. Upstairs D is also generally a fast location, although students there may have to deal with unpleasant odors and toilet paper and other garbage on the floor. The bathrooms by the library often have extensive lines, and unless you can get to them fast, they should be avoided. If you have an abundance of time, and are simply looking for the best facilities, then it is best to avoid the cafeteria bathrooms. The bathrooms in the Cafeteria are often clogged, and have the only stalls in the

Photo/Becca Thompsen

Students waiting in line at the girls’ bathroom during lunch time. school that do not to lock. Student Jaliza Jenkins, when randomly questioned, mentioned that the “Cafeteria bathroom often has trash on the toilet seats.” Sophomore Michelle Gutierrez agrees that the cafeteria bathrooms are gross, adding that she prefers the bathrooms in the Girl’s locker room. The line moves fast, however, by the end of the day the locker room bathroom often runs out of toilet paper. Students should be careful while using the bathroom during class time for bathroom passes are color-coded. If you are found in an area far away from your class, you may be questioned.

The boys’ bathrooms can really stink By Matt Bowen (’10)

Big France-Italy trip planned for summer By Lisa Zacarias (’11)

French teacher Sebastien Remy-Drysdale, is organizing a trip to both France and Italy for two weeks this summer. Too good to be true? It only gets better. All 30 students, along with four or five chaperones (Mr. Remy-Drysdale and his wife, Mr. Jason Agan, Ms. Sarah McLaughlin, and possibly Mrs. Marcia Garcia), will, “get their own private bus, everything customized, nice hotels – everything included except lunch.” But what is the purpose? Aside from being a great time, the trips are all about broadening horizons – about exposing the students to the

rest of the world. “For many of them,” Mr. Remy-Drysdale explained, “this’ll be their first time leaving the country, or even getting a passport… It’s not just about being able to speak French, but about a journey.” The students will be going not only to Paris, but to Normandy, Versailles, Nice, Monaco, Florence, Pisa, Rome, and the Vatican, not to mention all of the prominent features of the said locations. Though it was apparently very stressful to put together, he thinks that it will all be worth it. “I want the kids to remember,” he said, “that ‘Remy-Drysdale was even crazy enough to take me there!’”


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Blaine Biggs displays his fast ‘Black Beauty’

By Rachel Balella (’11)

Senior Blaine Biggs stand out — from the custom tattoo on his back, to his personal style of Oakley’s sunglasses. And then there’s his 1996 GT Mustang. Not only does Blaine claim his car is, “the fastest one in the parking lot,” he says it is the “loudest too.” A new Mac airflow intake system allows more air into the car’s motor, making it to go faster than other cars on the road, he says. Biggs also put in subwoofers and an amp, enabling his car to be heard from miles away. Not only has he made alterations to his car’s speed and sound system, he also put in a DVD player in his dashboard, helping Blaine to find some time to catch up on the

latest flicks while he’s on the road. Blaine says creating his “Black Beauty” wasn’t easy or quick. He used to cruise around in an old beat-up truck until about two years ago. It was after hard work and some help from his parents that he sold the truck and purchased the car of his dreams. Blaine feels this muscle car shows a hint of himself. His friends think his car is fast. “Blaine’s car is freaking raw. I wish it was mine,” said senior Dontae Gaddis. He has had few mishaps, except for one recent incident involving his girlfriend’s little brother. “I was at my girlfriend’s house, and her little brother scratched the quarter panel with his scooter — twice!” No dents were left, but

Senior Blaine Biggs models on his 1996 Mustang. a few scratches appeared and some of the paint in the attacked area was ruined.

Photo/ David Melad

No matter, Blaine is still proud of his customized ride.

Foreign exchange students adjust to American style

By Sydney Tracy (’10)

Remember how nervous and anxious you were on the first day of high school? Now think what it would be like to not only be in a new school, but also a different country and you will understand what RHS’s newest foreign exchange students face. Juniors Julie Holk and Henning Jerusalem have traveled long distances to get a glimpse into the American lifestyle. Julie is from Denmark and Henning comes from Germany. Both students have already graduated, but

Photos/ David Melad

Left to right: Henning Jerusalem and Julie Holk

chose to continue their schooling so they could visit the United States. Julie chose to come to the United States because she wanted to improve her English and experience new surroundings. She arrived just days before the start of the new school year. “I’m not a person who just stays in the same place the whole time. I want different experiences.” Henning is fluent in German, French, Italian and English. He is on the RHS soccer team and says he loves it. His teammates gave him the nickname, Big German or Big G for short. Julie is on the RHS girls’ golf team; however, she said the team isn’t serious enough. Still

she is enjoying her stay. “It’s beautiful, but you’re eating all the time out here. My lunch box has never been so full!” Henning also loves the food in America. His favorite foods are Chinese and Mexican. Growing up in Germany, Henning says he is used to cold weather, so the mild California climate is a big change for him. “It’s nice out here; it’s just really really warm.” Both students agree that the clothing styles in America are much different from those in their countries, for instance the boys don’t sag their pants at all in either country and the girls wear mostly clothes from the department store H&M.

Lisa Zacarias (’11)

on the task of spearheading the operation, says this year’s goal is, “to win, and to get the $100,000 fitness center.” Still, while the reward is enticing, Ms. Gregerson admits that, mostly, “[She] wants everyone aware of how important it is to be active.” She has, along with the help of multiple other teachers, begun the effort to spread the enthusiasm for the competition throughout the school, but the task does not rest solely with her, she said. Students need to motivate ourselves.

Governor’s Challenge returns With 79,000 hours under our belt, Rodriguez was exceptionally close to winning the much-anticipated $100,000 fitness center that was the reward for the Governor’s Challenge last year. But, we weren’t quite close enough. Still, the battle isn’t lost yet. It turns out that the school has another chance at the prize this year because the Governor’s Challenge is coming back.! And this time, we’re aiming higher. Ms. Lynn Gregerson, who has taken


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Slackers face tons of academic problems By Annalisa Kongvongsay (’11)

Picture this: You stayed up until 2 a.m. playing video games or talking on the phone to your boyfriend or girlfriend. The next thing you know: “beep beep beep!,” Your alarm goes off and your eyes are having trouble opening. Since you stayed up so late, the rest of your day is now affected by this. Every day, teens start school at about 8a.m and get out around 3p.m. Most of our day revolves around school. Sometimes students slack while others just don’t care. Junior Josephine Lagrassa had experienced slacking during her freshman year. She had C’s and D’s. She explains that she was in the wrong crowd. Her previous friends did drugs, dropped out of school, and some were even in jail. Eventually she woke up and realized that being around them wasn’t helping her at all. Now she’s taking college classes to graduate early. “People don’t realize how much of an impact education is,” says Josephine. She thinks that the reason people slack in school is because they are lazy, and some people think, “Oh, well I’m not going to college.” Another reason could be that a person might be hanging out with the wrong crowd or maybe they find better things to do such as hanging out with friends.

Five helpful tips for academic success Here are five tips from AP teacher Ms. Sarah McLaughlin about how to do well in school:

Angelo Sacklarias recieves an F on his test. “Friends aren’t going to stay with you forever or benefit you as much as education will,” said Josephine. She found out on her own that her friends weren’t helping her succeed. Nothing stops junior Mariah Flippin from doing what she wants to do. She puts things off until the last minute and says she doesn’t keep things organized, which makes it take longer to get her work done. “I like being laid back a lot,” says Mariah. She likes to procrastinate. “High school is overwhelming,” said Mariah. She has moved many times and has been to several high schools. Mariah does not want to go to college because she doesn’t think

Photo/Annalisa Kingvongsay

that she’ll want to go back to an organized area. Mariah really wants to become an artist because, “It’s the only thing I can do,” she said. She also wants to travel and go out into the world. “I can’t explain it,” says Mariah. “I want to experience the world before settling down and getting a stable job.” Senior Karen Castor says that she slacks sometimes simply because she doesn’t feel like doing work; although she manages to always turn in her work. Why do students slack? “They feel lazy like any other person would,” said Karen. Freshman Dallas Harris doesn’t think he’s

• Start homework the night as it is assigned. • Schedule a set time for homework, such as, as soon as you get home from school . • Make sure to always do the reading. • Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for help. • Use tutorial wisely. a slacker but thinks that others slack because school isn’t important to them. “They don’t have support or they’re here just for friends,” says Dallas.

1 teacher returns; another transfers from Sullivan Margaret Novack By Lisa Zacarias (’11)

Married at 18 and with a child one year later, Margaret “Maggie” Novack found herself unable to go to college to fulfill her dream of being a teacher. But, in spite of the obstacles, she persisted and went on to California State University, Chico. She ended up teaching at Chico for four years, then another four at the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, eventually finding found her way here to Rodriguez as the new ELD (English Language Development) teacher in G101. Thankfully, she has felt very welcome here. “I’m pretty good at feeling vibes,” she said with a smile, “And I have only felt positive energy from the staff, which is great.” And why would anyone have animosity toward her in the first place? She is absolutely dedicated to her students,

and her main goal of teaching is, “to see the ELD kids succeed in school and in life.” “ELD is very important to me,” she stated while gesturing to a picture collage behind her desk, “Because I know what it’s like to be in a country where you don’t speak the language very well.” It turns out that Ms. Novack lived in Jerusalem for about a year and a half, because she needed to learn Hebrew for her master’s degree, which actually happened relatively recently. “I didn’t begin college until I was 40, after my son got into college.” With a laugh, she added that, “He had actually been teaching longer than I had!” Regardless of her past, she is a great addition to the Rodriguez teaching staff. With any luck, she’ll stay here at Rodriguez for a good number of years to come, and hopefully, Blue, her cat of ten years and counting, will be there right alongside her.

Jason Morace

By Annalisa Kongvongsay (’11)

He loves hanging out online with friends from all across the country, spending time with his wife and watching his favorite Atlanta sports teams. English teacher Jason Morace who taught here for five years before leaving for the east coast has returned. Mr. Morace left to move to Boston and get married. He decided to move back to California because he realized how much he loved it. Last year he taught at Armijo, but was then laid off because of budget cuts. When a part-time teaching job opened at RHS, he jumped at the chance to return to his old stomping grounds. “It’s nice to be back,” says Mr. Morace. He is here on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but he does his best to help students

within the time available — particularly because he changes classrooms each period. “Tutorial is fantastic.” Mr. Morace says he absolutely loves teaching. “It is frustrating, frantic, and fantastic all at once,” he said. When he’s not teaching his own classes, he substitutes for teachers and also does Celdt testing for the district, which is for students that have another language. Mr. Morace may have the teaching gene. Both his parents are teachers. His mother is an elementary reading teacher while his father is a college English professor. Mr. Morace is married to Christine Tuk who used to teach science at Rodriguez. “I wish all the best of luck this year as seniors and in college and all through life,” says Morace to his old freshmen class.


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A Babysitting Nightmare By Sarah Kistler (’10) “Thank you for coming here on such short notice Anne,” Miss Mallard breathlessly said as she rushed around her kitchen putting the finishing touches on one of her signature dishes. “No problem, I wasn’t busy anyways.” “It is Halloween,” Miss Mallard continued as if I hadn’t talked at all. “And it was a last minute decision to go to this party, I wasn’t planning on it. I am just so grateful.” “It really is no problem,” I tried again. “I didn’t have anything planned really. All my friends went out of town to this big Halloween concert but I wasn’t allowed to go.” Miss Mallard nodded in response. She was focused on finishing the dish I figured she was taking to the party. I looked around as she put the finishing touches on the dish when finally she finished and gave a polite cough to call my attention. “My number is on the counter just in case you need to call. Jimmy is cleaning his room now but should be done soon, so think of something fun to do. His bedtime is 10:30, a little later than usual because it is Halloween. And if all possible,” she said with a sigh, “get him to sleep in pajamas, not as Spider Man.” “Okay,” I said quietly, trying to suppress a laugh. “I hope you two have a good night and I will be back around one. See you then!” Miss Mallard said as she hurried to the front door. As she slammed the door shut, I wandered from the kitchen to the front room and sat on the couch across from the television. It was going to be a boring night… I quietly crept down the stairs after putting Jimmy to bed. I threw myself on the couch and looked at the clock to the right of me.

“10:58 … Miss Mallard will not be that mad,” I said aloud with a little laugh as I turned on the television. The screen lit and the sound popped on to one of the newscasters of our local news channel, who was in the middle of a “breaking news story” as the banner at the top of the screen clearly announced. “…he is wanted for the murders of three local women. If you see this escaped convict, please report it to your local police station.” The sketch of a man I had never seen in my life crossed the television screen. I changed the channel as the newscaster began talking about another story. Looking out the sliding glass door to the left of the television, I realized that it had started to snow. I grabbed a blanket and lay on the couch, snuggling up to keep warm. Suddenly, a noise came from somewhere in the house. “Jimmy?” I

said hesitantly. No answer. As I began to lift my head up, I looked to the sliding glass door and saw a face staring at me. It was a man and looked vaguely familiar. Suddenly I realized that it was the man that I had seen on the television. Quickly, I threw the blanket over my head. “What do I do?” I thought panicked. Suddenly I heard another noise coming from somewhere near to me, too near. “My phone!” I thought suddenly. I yanked my phone from my pocket with shaky hands and dialed 911… “Miss, you are completely sure you saw this man?” the cop asked as he showed me a sketch of the escaped convict. “Yes I am completely sure. I saw him; he was standing right outside of the sliding glass door. I think he was trying to break in, but as soon as I called you, the noises stopped.” “Miss,” the cop said calmly, “That is exactly the problem. We did not find anything outside. Miss, we believe-” “Sir,” I said hysterically, “I would not have called you as a joke. I really saw him! I was scared and I would never have called the police without a good reason.” “I know miss,” the cop continued, “But we did not find anything outside. I have a dozen men all reporting that same fact. The only thing we found anywhere was inside.” “Inside?” I whispered as a chill ran up my spine. “What?” “Snowy boot prints leading up to the back of the couch from the front door,” the cop said in a hesitant whisper, “They were here when we arrived, miss.” My mind began to freeze as I started to comprehend what the man was trying to tell me. “We believe that what you saw in the glass door was the man’s reflection … he was inside.”

Students shine with home-made costumes for Halloween Rebecca Thompson (11’) The good, the bad and the scary. Costumes don’t have to be expensive to be scary. Why spend $60 at a Halloween store for something you may only wear once? You can create your own costume by buying old clothes at a thrift shops or using some of your parents’ clothes from their school years, if they still have them. Be unique and stand out from the crowd, use your creativity to have the

best costume out of all your friends. Don ’t be a nurse or a zombie, those are so

last decade. Dress up as something cute and cool that nobody else would think of. One could even take old costumes, like the classic fairy costume, to a new level. Mix it up and add some personality. Unfortunately this year we aren’t going to have a Halloween costume contest, but still remember to wear your costumes to school on Friday.

“Rachel Getting Married” “Rachel Getting Married” is a complicated story of family dysfunction and the madness that ensues. Kym, played by Anne Hathaway, is fresh from rehab to attend her sister Rachel’s wedding. When Kym gets there, nothing seems to go right for her particular crass way of life. She constantly clashes with the people around her, putting stress and regret on the wedding party. This causes old tensions to arise as the family and Kym deal with ignored issues and the chaos surrounding Kym’s psyche, her addictions, and her past. From writer Jenny Lurnet, “Rachel Getting Married” captures the audience from beginning to end with the realistic feel of the film. The theme of a recovering addict and the drama that is settled under the family hits very close to home for most people and drives the movie deeper into people’s hearts. The dialogue is surprisingly fresh and causes the audience to feel along with the characters as they experience Kym’s special brand of catharsis. By the end of the film, it is hard not to feel like one of the people in the movie. The camera work however, is something that is a matter of taste in the film. Director Jonathan Demme has used the generationally popular “shaky camera lens” type of shooting for the film so be prepared. If you are not a fan of this type of camera work, I would not recommend this film. It continues through the entire film and if it is a bothersome thing, it will ruin the film for you. “Rachel Getting Married” takes you on an emotional rollercoaster through the characters lives as it exposes every perspective and piece of the characters very humanity. I would recommend this film to anyone with a particular love of backwards drama and family issues. I give the film three and one-half out of five stars. This movie is rated R for language and brief sexuality.


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Nitro Kart best game available in iTune’s App Store Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was to play video games with my father. We had many games, but when he would break out the Playstation, there was usually only one game that I wanted to play: Crash Team Racing. The original Crash Team Racing, or C.T.R., was never boring and always challenging. But now, following in its predecessor’s footsteps, is the highly entertaining Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3-D for iPod touch and iPhone, published by Vivendi. Nitro Kart is very similar to the classic

C.T.R. despite some obvious differences in control and better graphics quality as is expected for applications on the iPod touch and iPhone, and plot. Instead of using a controller pressing buttons for up, down, left,

and right, players tilt their iPod to make their character move. This adds to the challenge of the game as well as create more involved game play for the player. In addition, a new character joins the Bandicoot team, Yaya, a young panda girl. Crash Bandicoot and his sister Coco Bandicoot team up with Yaya against their foes Dr. Neo Cortex, Nitrous Oxide, and Ripper Roo. There are few negative notes for this game. A serious one is that Nitro Kart tends to suck up a lot of battery power in very little time. If playing on long trips, I recommend bringing

a charger that you can plug into your device so that the battery doesn’t drain in the middle of game play. Additionally, Nitro Kart is missing an option that seemed to me to be very obvious: There’s no way to play against friends. If you buy this game for $2.99 at the Apple App Store, be sure to comment to the creators that you would like a free update allowing you to play your friends via wi-fi or online. I personally rate this game four out of five stars; it’s the best game I have on my iPod touch. Once this game gets the option to play friends, it will be five out of five.

Jay-Z was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. His first official rap single was “I Can’t Get With That.” In addition Alicia Keys was born and raised in Manhattan, N.Y. Her first album was, “Songs in a Minor” in 2001 and her first single was “Fallin.” These two have gone far. Jay-Z and Alicia Keys get major props for this song about their city.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Make that a banana Jr., which consists of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream with nuts, strawberry, and chocolate syrup and a banana slice. If that doesn’t satisfy your taste buds’ craving for ice cream, I don’t know what will. The banana split is one of the specialties at Fenton’s Creamery & Restaurant. Fenton’s is famous for its large variety of special ice cream creations. This restaurant offers the setting of an oldfashioned ice cream pallor. Fenton’s also specialize in fresh salads, hotdogs, burgers, and side orders. Most of the meals are served with your choice of French fries or onion rings with the onion rings costing $2.00 or more. My friend and I went together and tried the Fenton’s burger that came with our choice of

cheese, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and fries. There is also a side of special sauce that comes on each plate that is pretty tasty. The prices meals range from $6.95-$11.95. Fenton’s is located in Vacaville off the Nut Tree exit at 1669 East Monte Vista Ave. The hours are 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sundays. This is a great place to come on your birthday because the staff will give you a free sundae.

‘Empire State of Mind’ will keep you dancing! Let’s hear it for New York! If you like to dance, I recommend you listen to this song. It will definitely add spice to your iPod. “Empire State of Mind” is the newest hiphop song sung by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys on the newest album called The Blueprint 3. New York City gave the inspiration for this song as the lyrics go, “Now you’re in New York, these streets will make you feel brand new. Bright lights will inspire you. Let’s hear it for New York. New York. New York!” As soon as I heard this song, I got addicted to it and put it on my iPod. Now I can’t stop listening to it. This song is — no doubt about it — 5 out of 5 stars. I don’t even have to think about what to rate it. The beat is amazing and the words are fun to sing. It makes you want to get up and dance. I really liked this song because Alicia Keys sings the chorus while Jay- Z sings all the rest.

Satisfy all of your cravings at old-fashioned Fenton’s

Cute and silly babies make hillarious entertainment on YouTube Babies are not only precious and adorable, they are also entertainment waiting to be seen. YouTube has made numerous babies around the world famous for their random and silly moments. Fortunately people have filmed these priceless moments and shared them with the world. There are two particular videos on YouTube that have had over millions of

views: “The Evil Eye Baby” and “Blood.” In “The Evil Eye Baby,” you will find a delightful infant enjoying his ice cream cone. He randomly starts to giggle and another person requests to make his “evil eye” face. Instantaneously, he makes his signature face, which causes his audience to burst into laughter. In “Blood,” a lovable baby boy is trying

to get his parents’ attention by pointing at his younger brother and continuously saying the word “blood.” He says the word “blood” in a comical and hilarious way that leads to his audience and even his father dying of laughter. When you have time, check them out and take pleasure in watching these two comical and entertaining videos on YouTube!


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Happy Birthday to Scorpio

‘Dreamland’ full of love and trial

If you like love, runaways and loneliness, you’ll enjoy “Dreamland” by Sarah Dessen. Caitlyn had an OK life before her perfect sister just suddenly disappeared. With her mother trying to get Cass, Caitlyn’s run-away older sister; back into her life and her father shutting down; Caitlyn is alone. Instead of trying to be just like Cass, Caitlyn tries to do everything she didn’t, which leads her to Rodgerson, a boy with a reputation and secrets of his own. Rodgerson is nothing like any boy she has met before. He is mysterious and aloof, and that takes her far from her old life of always being second place to Cass. After awhile she begins to find out more about her mysterious boyfriend, which makes her start to hide her dark secret from everyone. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars, and I’ve read this book about eight times. I recommend this book to anybody who can relate to having a secret that they don’t want anybody to know about. Check out this book and I promise you won’t be disappointed!

RHS performance dates By Re’anna Morris (’10) The RHS Drama Club is back this year, starting off their season with Robert Harling’s “Steel Magnolias.” This drama tells the story of the unyielding bond of friendship between a group of Southern women as they face struggles in their lives. Tickets are $10, and will be performed at The Harbor Theatre, 720 Main St., in Suisun. Shows dates are 7 p.m., Oct. 30t and 31, Nov. 6h, 7, and 13 and 2 p.m. on Nov. 14. Call (707) 864-7100 for tickets.

being yourself isn’t the easiest thing to do. It may take a little while but soon it will become easier for you. Nothing can bring peace but yourself.

Scorpio (Oct. 24 – Nov. 22): You’ve been loquacious this month, feeling the need to put in your 2 cents for everything. While it is good to say what you think, it’s also important to hear what other people have to say as well. If you make yourself open to them, then you may learn something from them. Sagittarius (Nov. 23 – Dec. 21): Be careful where you direct your attention. Make sure it is on things that matter rather than trivialities. Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 20): You have an ability to speak to people which you can use to bring people together. This is a talent which will serve you well if used correctly. Aquarius (Jan. 21- Feb. 19): This month has been stressful for you and not without reason. Despite all the things you have going on, just try to keep calm. Remember that whatever has you stressed is not the end of the world, it’s merely a stepping stone. Pisces (Feb. 20 - March 20): People have been looking to you for guidance and you aren’t sure how to react. Don’t be afraid to

Cancer (June 22 - July 21): You feel the need to be serious but don’t over-do it. Try to see the humor in life to keep you from being too serious. Laughter is the best medicine and it may be just the thing you need. take the chance. Opportunity always knocks for a reason. Aries (March 21 - April 19): You often don’t agree with what people say and want to voice your opinion. It’s OK to have a different viewpoint. Don’t be afraid to break the mold and always embrace your opinion rather than hold it back. Taurus (April 20 - May 20): You have been in a condescending mood lately. While speaking to people in this way may make you feel on top of things for the present; in the long run it will make people less likely to respect you.

Leo (July 22 – Aug. 23): Someone has caught your eye and you find yourself drawn to them. You really want to make a connection but aren’t sure how to approach them. Just be yourself and trust that the rest will follow. Virgo (Aug. 24- Sept. 23): Your life is really busy which has you very distracted. It may seem hectic now but just try to keep your focus on what is truly important. Libra (Sept. 24 – Oct. 23): The days seem to drag by for you and the end of the year seems so far away. Just keep your eyes on the prize and all other things will fall into place for you.

Gemini (May 21 - June 21): You find that

“I am scared of what people are going to think...”

Dear CeCe, I met this guy Friday night at a party. We clicked really well and by Saturday he had asked me to be his girlfriend. On Sunday we kicked it at his house and watched a movie. One thing led to another and I ended up losing my virginity… He is 18 and so that technically counts as statutory rape. I know maybe he’s just using me for sex, but I feel like we really have a deep connection. I do not regret what I did but I am scared of what people are going to think of me if I tell them, especially my best friend. People can be really judgmental and it hurts when the people closest to you are not supportive. I feel like maybe I went a little too fast but it feels right at the same time. He really is a great guy but I do not think my best friend will see him like that. My best friend has a cop for a dad so she is really straight-edge. I am afraid that if she finds out, she will tell her dad and the guy will get arrested. I could not handle that. I love my best friend but I think

this guy and I may have a real chance. I do not want her to ruin that. Should I tell her what happened and if I do, what should I say to her to make her understand? - Keeping Secrets Dear Secrets, I have to admit, that is going a little too fast. You say you have a great connection but you probably should have waited a little while before jumping in. He could be using you for sex because of the fact that you did

give in so soon in to the relationship. I know you do not want people to judge you but you have put yourself in a position where people are automatically going to pass judgments about you. Even though you may doubt her, I would tell your best friend. Obviously she has never let you down or she would not be that close to you. You should have a little more faith in her, best friends are supposed to be the one person that you can go to and it is sad when you think she would sell you out like that. When you talk to her, try as much as you can to explain your emotions about the situation and do not get angry with her or her reactions. If she is as straight edge as you say she will not be happy at first, but she is your best friend and you should trust her to have your back. People are going to judge so explain to her how it would be nice to have one person who will understand or at least not make a big deal out of it. - CeCe


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Homecoming Spirit Rodriguez High School

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October 2009

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Homecoming spirit prevails; juniors seek victory By Rachel Balella (’11)

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The Mustang football team weren’t the only winners during homecoming. The junior class won the annual skit competition. The theme was TV shows, and the skits could not have been more entertaining. The freshmen’s theme was “America’s Best Dance Crew.” They had two groups perform and “compete.” One of the groups was intentionally better than the other, and ended up winning the competition. The choreography was great with lots of enthusiasm. The sophomores had the theme of “Survivor.” They dressed up in blue, purple, yellow and orange shirts, defining them each as a different team. The teams we’re all the different levels of high school. The challenge was a tug-of-war that the sophomores won. The tug-of-war was creatively done and entertaining to watch. They had lots of props

and you could tell tons of effort was put into the skit. The juniors had the show of “Pokemon,” which was done creatively and put together nicely. They played various songs that reflected the show and every junior was in costume, whether they were a Pokemon or a character from the show. A solo dance scene lead up to a great skit that was a lot of fun to watch. Lastly was the seniors, with the theme of “The Twilight Zone.” They did the skit really interestingly, by “flashing back” to their earlier years of high school and playing songs that were popular at the time. They also acted out some of the typical stereotypes of the grade levels, such as freshman being canned. Although the crowd enjoyed all the skits; the juniors came in first, followed by the seniors, then the sophomores, and finally the freshmen.

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Homecoming and spirit week photos taken byDavid Melade

1. Spirited sophomores perform their them e survivor. 2. Juniors get pumped before their performance. 3. Juniors celebrate after taking the title. 4. Seniors show their school spirit. 5. Sophomore David Lewis strikes a MJ move. 6. Freshmen students in MJ outfits. 7. Juniors May Lee and Kim Bautista dressed up for black and white day. 8. Senior Charles McClannahan breakdances at the homecoming dance. 9. Junior Gilanne Del Rosario poses for nerd day. 10. Junior Kathlyn Garza dressed for nerd day. 11. Freshmen perform their theme ABDC.


Editorial

Rodriguez High School

October 2009

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RHS needs vocational classes for students For the majority of us, our time at RHS is used to learn the necessary skills to succeed in college. Better yet, it’s the time to prepare for the future. From the clubs we join, to the classes we take, the decisions we make are centered on what we plan to do later in life. Lucky for us the classes here are all college preparatory. But what about those who don’t plan on going to college? What can they take to prepare for their futures? Good question. Our school doesn’t provide any vocational training classes. We should accept the fact that not everyone plans on going to college. It may not be what our school board wants to hear, but it’s true. And even if they do want to go to college, their plans may not include academics. So why not help these people prepare for the futures they choose now? Other high schools such as Armijo and Fairfield offer classes in the automotive, woodshop, and culinary fields. At these schools students can be familiarized with an incredibly vast range of specialties. There are no such classes to be found here. Vocational training classes are just as beneficial as any

other college prep class, and would give the students enrolled in them a huge advantage. In addition, these types of classes could keep more students interested in school, thus reducing the drop-out rate and disciplinary issues. It’s true that RHS has some advanced technology classes. That’s good. All students need to have computer knowledge and skills. But those classes are not enough. There are still plenty of good-paying jobs — auto mechanic, electrician, carpenter, for example — that require other types of skills. Our school is remiss by not acknowledging this and then doing something about it. If students are exposed to occupations early on, they could develop skills in the focused areas and build early résumés. Having vocational classes can benefit those who are academically bound as well: They give students a chance to try out different careers first-hand. High school is supposed to prepare us for our futures. What better way than this? Vocational classes provide experience and opportunity, and should undoubtedly be added to the curriculum at Rodriguez.

Cartoon/Nicole Levin

Shopping decisions may be supporting sweat shops By Nicole Levin (’11)

Do you support unhealthy working conditions, factory workers imprisoned in cement for 70 hour work weeks, or insufficient wages that deter people from being able to support their families? Unknowingly, most people do. Sweat shops, defined as breaking one or more of these (or any U.S. labor laws), are prevalent throughout the world population. While they are most known for their occurrences in third world and developing nations, they are also common in the United States. Sweatshops are one effect of globalization. When companies realized they could outsource their manufacturing to other countries and cheaper labor costs; they jumped at the chance. They moved factories to places such as Mexico, and many Asian countries. If their locations begin to unionize, or if they face a labor law challenge; they can simply get up and move to a cheaper site. A variety of injustices can occur at these sites. Extreme cases of sweat shops include workers locked in rooms with few breaks and next to no pay. Buildings can be unstable, they can collapse on workers. Machinery is sometimes detrimental as well, malfunctioning and harming workers. Often the workers face 12 hour work days. Since many workers are immigrants or desperate for jobs they sign contracts without gaining benefits and can do little when they are fired out of the

blue or just not paid. What do these workers do? What is their final product? Look at your shirt, your shoes, your pants, the probability is that these garments were made in sweatshops. In a report from Behind the Label.com, The Gap had human rights violations in 43 of its factory locations. Some of these included sexual harassment, working without face masks and getting respiratory diseases and physical beatings for union sympathizers. In 1999 the CEO of Gap made $8 million, and yet in Cambodia the workers only received 23 cents an hour. The Gap is not the only offender; companies such as Wal-Mart, Target, Nike, Old Navy, Abercrombie and Finch, Ann Taylor, JC Penney and American Eagle are guilty of utilizing sweatshops. With most major companies guilty of sweatshop usage, it seems almost impossible to avoid them. Do not be distressed. There are other options; companies associated with fair trade are sweat shop free. One can buy from thrift stores, or conserve clothing and buy less. People should attempt to boycott sweat shop products, even if it is only for a limited time. Furthermore, as some companies are receiving complaints, they are taking steps to improve their working conditions. The question is no longer, “Are you supporting sweat shops without knowing?” it is, “Are you going to continue to support sweat shops knowing that you know?”


Myspace making us cowards Rodriguez High School

October 2009

By Rachel Balella ( ’11)

“We need 2 brk up”, “C u after skwl”,”g2g” ”ttyl”, “C u @ skwl.” These phrases, which have been so condensed and shortened into such meaningless fragments of a sentence that attempting to comprehend what they’re saying, has become a difficulty. Texting, Internet messaging, and communication websites have grown to be a major way of communicating among teens. Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, texting, instant messaging, are all ways people are able to have a full conversation with another person — without even looking at their face. In fact, the person could be in a different state and staying in contact with them would be simple, all you’d have to do is click on your computer. With Myspace and Facebook, the closest you’ll come to having to see the person you’re conversing with is by looking at their most recently updated profile picture. These ways of communication are commonly used among teens, and are turning out to be an addictive way of interacting with one another. Twitter, along with Facebook, are websites in which you can update your “status” (what you are doing throughout the day) at any given time. Websites, in which all members of the site have the ability to express every event of their

Photo/Lisa Zacarias

daily life, creates a focus on other peoples lives, since you are constantly being updated on what your 739 “friends” are doing. Since when does what’s going on in other people’s lives affect what goes on in ours? How does knowing when M@++Y is angry at her mom affect our lives? Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter are all websites in which the participants are cultured to care about what’s going on in other people’s lives, and to stop focusing than their own.

I constantly hear people say, “Oh my gosh did you see her Myspace picture! I can’t believe what she wrote in her about me!” Or, “Why would she add them; she doesn’t even know them?” These websites have become another way for teens to judge one another. People are accusing and starting drama with each other, to avoid confrontation and smash talk each other over these websites. Myspace and Facebook are websites created to meet new people and talk with your

asleep every morning, they are unprepared and unable to learn as much as they otherwise could. In order to ensure that students do well, they should be given more time in the morning for sleeping. Students who are well rested do better academically — not only with school work but also with the standardized tests that the state is so concerned about.

In addition, fewer students would be tardy because they had overslept. If high schools were to start even just one hour later every day, it would give students more time to sleep and prepare themselves for their academic learning. The main opposition to this idea is that we already get out of school too late and that another hour would delay after-school activities, such as sports.

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friends. The websites sound harmless, and they are, for the most part. Websites like Myspace and Facebook cause teenagers to be uncomfortable with confrontation in real life. These websites are easy ways for teenagers to express offensive opinions about other people in “bulletins” or “blogs”. Deleting people off of your Myspace or Facebook friends list has become the new way to banish someone from your life, or to tell your ex that you are over him. Girls will say things to other girls on Facebook and Myspace that they would never say to their face, and guys will talk to girls they are too shy to in person. Break ups, fights, drama, embarrassing pictures and ignorant accusations are all expressed on Myspace and Facebook. The Internet is such an easy way to express one’s self because you don’t actually have to face anyone, or approach the person in real life. All they have to do is sit at their computer screen and type away. This is a pathetic way to state how you feel towards someone, and to discuss something serious, as a fight, break up, over the internet is a coward move. If you’ve got something to say to someone, you should have the guts to say it to their face.

Starting school later would be a win-win By Matt Bowen (’10)

Should school start later? If you ask almost any student, the answer would be yes. Waking up anywhere from 5 to 6:30 a.m., causes many students to find themselves exhausted due to not getting enough sleep. The obvious solution to this problem seems to be to just go to bed earlier, but most teens find themselves unable to do this. The reason is that the biological clock in teens is different than adults. We just naturally want to stay up and sleep later. Going to bed earlier and actually falling asleep is much harder for us to do than it is for adults. When students show up to school half

‘We just naturally want to stay up and sleep later.’

Some sports teams might be against starting practice later and then not ending until well after dark. However, the only sports that would really have to deal with the night practice are all inside anyway and would not really notice the changes. This year the Fairfield school district had some of its middle schools start later to help make the buses run more efficiently. Next year the district should add the high schools to the list of schools that start later. Having a later starting time for school would greatly benefit our students. It would allow them an extra hour of rest, increase time to get ready in the morning, and even increase test scores. Later starting times would greatly benefit us all and should be a new district policy.


Rodriguez High School

October 2009

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Man on the Is death penalty acceptable? street CON By Lisa Zacarias (’11)

By Rachel Balella ’11

Question: What is the worst Halloween costume you have ever seen? Senior Anthony Riggins “There was this dude, and he was dressed as a girl, and I like really thought he was a girl. It was freaking me out.” Photo/David Melad

Junior Katie Whan “One time my brother was a pea, and his little head was sticking out as a pea. My parents were very cruel and humiliating.”

As for lethal injection, the appearance of simply “going to sleep” is a ruse, for the paralytic drugs affect the muscles, not the pain receptors. Those who, through erroneous doses, were conscious during the procedure reported agonizing pain. The spasms, hidden by the “medicine,” (does it have the right to be associated with anything medical, since doctors are prohibited, through their oath of causing no harm, to be in any way involved?) still go on, along with their silent screams. And yet, regardless of everything, there is no clear proof that the penalty is effective. If anything, there is proof to the contrary, because crime rates are still unacceptably high. Furthermore, in the long run, life incarceration costs less than capital punishment. A single death penalty case, from arrest to execution, can be as little as $1 million, while cases resulting in life imprisonment average around $500,000 each, according to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. With almost nothing to gain, but almost everything to lose, it’s obviously time for the death penalty to be locked away, for good.

these dangerous criminal are released back into our society to avoid overstock in prisons. By getting rid of all murderers, rapists and armed robbers by execution we will pay less for their stay in prison and more on our education. By enforcing the death penalty the amount of tax money used on prisons could go to the funding of schools. With more tax money being used for schools, children could receive more attention and be better guided to a brighter future. With budget cuts to the school- district many of our high schools have not only lost sports but they have lost teachers, counselors and college and career guidance; the keys to a more successful gen-

eration. Just imagine if the money spent on housing these inmates could go to the schools. When taxes are used for the children who determine the future it is reasonable to say that those children will contribute less to the crime rate and more to the science, technology and government of the next decade. In order to lower the funding needs for prisons and keep dangerous criminals out of society the obvious and least expensive answer is enforcing the death penalty. The death penalty will reduce the number of inmates that need housing, food and health care and will also allow space for new coming criminals to live eliminating the need to put criminals back on the street.

Why pay to house criminals for a life time?

PRO

Photo/David Melad

Sophomore Cameron Crutison

Photo/David Melad

Human history has been fraught with blatant hypocrisies of which the death penalty is surely among the greatest. How can it possibly coincide with the religious teachings of non-violence and forgiveness? How can the government justify the condemnation of murder when it itself enforces it? Admittedly, it does “protect” the public from the criminals that have already been caught, but at a monetary, emotional, and ethical cost that is probably not even worth it. The sentence itself is not exempt form the inherent flaws that penetrate all human institutions; errors are inevitable, and innocent people will die. And from those flaws come the fact that the judicial actions taken up to the point of execution are completely unjust. Many defendants receive inferior legal representation than that of the wealthy, putting them at greater risk of wrongful conviction. More-

over, jurors in capital cases must be willing to vote for a death sentence, leading to the obvious fact that juries are more prone to the death penalty. Is this vengeful action, based solely on arbitrary situations and people, truly worth the bending of the law by our own legal system? If nothing else, there is just no morality to it. In supporting it, we become hypocrites when preaching to our own children the importance of passivity, for, at heart, this is simply the legal way to live under the principle of, “an eye for an eye,” long scorned as a philosophy to live by. And those who are under the impression that the murder is “humane” must definitely be well-versed in the subject, for what are deaths by hanging, poison gas, and electrocution but truly quick and painless? Surely the fact that errors often occur and the accused suffers through a prolonged process has no relevance to the matter, for jerking bodies and burning flesh are wonderful sights to behold.

“Someone was dressed as a banana one time. I just looked at him and thought, ‘man he looks so stupid’.”

By Rebecca Thompson (’11)

Your (or your parent’s) tax money is contributing to the housing, feeding and health care of greedy criminals residing in prison. In 2008, 2,310,984 inmates were held in federal or state prisons or in local jails; the average yearly cost per inmate in 2001 was $22,650 according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Housing inmates is an expensive investment, especially when those inmates start to add up. Not only is it a burden to supply the funding for these criminals, but because the death penalty is not frequently used, many of

Should age and sexual orientation be a factor in adoption?

Freshman Mackie Delorfus

By Katie Bergey (‘11)

“I once saw this really ugly witch. She had one of those noses and a fake wart with hair on it!”

Photo/David Melad

Elton John, a pop superstar from the 1970s, recently tried to adopt a 14-month- old HIVpositive baby from Ukraine. The country denied his request. Officials gave two main reasons. He is 62 and married to David Furnish. Under Ukrainian law, adopting parents have to be younger than 45 and not married to the same gender. Since he is too old and gay, his request was

denied. I agree with that law, partially. I also side with the mother’s rights to not put her child up for adoption. Gay people adopting has been a hot topic. I have no problem with gay couples adopting. Anyone could make good parents. If they have a good home and love the child, I see no problem. They are like any other couple seeking to adopt. Most states have allowed homosexuals to adopt, provided they are qualified.

Photo/eltonjohn.com

Elton John, partner, and child

So, while his sexual preference shouldn’t be an issue, his age should be considered.


Rodriguez High School

October 2009

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Can cell phones make us sick? By Bria Howse (’11)

I asked a few students whether they thought cell phones can cause brain tumors. “I’m not sure it’s a true fact, but either way, I text more than I talk,” said junior Jordan Brown. “No, because it doesn’t make sense. Cancer is caused by health problems not talking on the phone,” said sophomore Alliyah Taylor. Senior Randy Munson was even more emphatic. “No, because it’s just not true,” he said. So, what do the experts say about this controversial topic? Pittsburgh Cancer Institute director Dr. Ronald Herberman warned his staff in 2008 that cell phone radiation had increased as cell phones have become more common. Since studies have shown it takes 10 to 20 years for cancer to develop his staff should start taking

precautions like curbing our cell phone use now. Although nothing in past studies has shown any relation between cell phones and brain tumors, recent research from Dr. John Aitken from the university of Newcastle in Australia explains that the heat after a call has been made can affect the male fertility system. Men who plan on having children in the near future should avoid keeping their phone in their pocket or anywhere below the waist. Research from Lennart Hardell also shows that people who started using cell phones before the age of 20 are at an even higher risk of developing brain tumors. You’re probably thinking what’s the use of having a cell phone, if you can’t talk on it? Not all hope is gone. To reduce the risk, try limiting the number of calls you make, use headsets or switch to speaker phone when talking.

Also alternate the side where you hold your phone when you’re talking. Use text messaging for communication instead of talking (but

never while driving!). So the next time your phone rings, keep in mind how long you plan to talk.

she was pretty cool with started causing a disruption. Ms. Morgan was proctoring another teacher’s class, and the student she knew was in the class. The student thought she could get away with being disruptive because she knew Ms. Morgan. After Ms Morgan sent her outside, the girl began screaming and calling Ms. Morgan a racist. Ms. Morgan sent the student to the office, which prompted the girl to start a rumor about her teacher. Ms. Morgan said later in the year the student got in trouble for being a racist herself. Students have a completely different view

of this. Junior Spencer Morrow says he thinks that one of his teachers is a racist because he was getting in trouble for no reason. “This happened a lot,” said Spencer. “Everyone else was louder than me, and once I said something, I got in trouble.” An anonymous sophomore explained that he noticed his teacher would behave differently around African American students than others. He never got in trouble, but it seemed as if the other students did. “They weren’t doing anything,” he ex-

plains. Sophomore Avalon Rodriguez was once deeply offended when her teacher made a comment in class about being Mexican. “Teachers think it’s funny, but it’s really not,” she says. An anonymous freshman, a friend, and a couple others that all wore “red” on the same day coincidentally. A teacher made a comment about the situation and said, “five Mexicans wearing red are going to get away with it?” Clearly, this was stereotyping those students. “That was not cool,” he said. There are many students that have dealt with racism and some who have come flat out and said “your racist,” to a teacher. The situation could be misinterpreted. A student might cry, “You’re racist” to a teacher because he doesn’t want to admit that he broke the rules, or she is angry at the teacher. I think that teachers need to note and realize that when they discipline someone for something and another person does the exact same thing, that both students should receive the same punishment. Students shouldn’t be categorized by group or ethnicity. Students must also realize that if they did something wrong in class that they must accept the consequences and hold the race card talk.

Cartoon/Nicole Levin

Pulling the race card creates tension on campus By Annalisa Kongvongsay (’11)

“Go stand outside,” says teacher. “Why,” says student. “Because you’re being too loud, now go,” says teacher. “Man, you’re a racist!” yells the student as he walks out. Are students justified in calling teachers “racist” when they feel they are being punished without good cause? Of course, as with any argument, there are at least two sides: the teacher’s and student’s. Swim Coach Sarah Mclaughlin has been witness to students pulling the race card; she has seen it happen on her own team. Once, her assistant coach made a decision about some swimmers. Some questioned about whether it was racially motivated. Science teacher Michael Wang-Belt said a student called him a racist because he didn’t like what he was doing and accused him of picking on Latinos. “It was not an issue of race for me,” says Mr. Wang-Belt. He believes that students just try to shake up teachers when it comes to saying that one is “racist.” English teacher Mariah Morgan also has been called the “R” word. She recalled an incident during Star testing when a student that

‘I think that teachers need to note and realize that when they discipline someone for something and another person does the exact same thing, that both students should receive the same punishment.’


Rodriguez High School

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October 2009

Football season needs to intercept some heart By Rachel Balella (’11)

The football season had not been turning out nearly as well as hoped , but one night can changed everything. The Mustangs finally ended a game with a win at the homecoming game on October 9th. “The team is really lacking in motivation, in heart,” said linebacker Jordan Morrow. After a meeting between the team on actually playing like a team, the heart and motivation has been restored on the field. Linebacker Connor O’Brien pounds his heart symbolically. The one thing the team is not lacking is talent. “A lot of players feel as a team we’re unfocused, but that’s not what’s bringing us down in the least. It’s the drive to win the game,” Morrow says. Anthony Riggins feels the Armijo game has given them confidence, and united the team. The team is done losing, Morrow and O’Brien say. The low scores have been noticed and the players are realizing the need to work together to stop the streak, the two players agreed.

Mustangs get ready for their next play against Fairfield. The endless team meetings the coach has had have finally made an impact on the boys, and they played their heart out last Friday night. Conner says the solution is to rotate the players more often and that the coach should put him in the field more. Jordan disagreed with that assessment.

Soccer season starts rough, but the team is hopeful By Rachel Balella (’11) The soccer season hasn’t had the best time this year, although the Mustangs have won a majority of the games and have placed in 2nd, conflict between the players may cost the team playoffs. Nick Warner and Mohamad Jarada of the RHS varsity soccer team agree that, “The team definitely has the talent, it just may be the heart were lacking in”. Mohamad feels that the problems on the field are mainly caused by the team’s negative attitudes towards each other on the field. Jarada says his coach advises, “The team can criticize each other as much as they want in practice, but on the field, we all need to work on supporting each other and having positive attitudes,” Jarada said, summaring his coach’s advise.The team is working toward fixing its conflicts, and Jarada. “We are men; we have testosterone. We are not going to be immature about the situation.”Aside from team conflicts, the team is placed in second place,. In order to achieve its goal of going to playoffs, it must

win every game for the rest of the season. Two of those games are against Benicia and Vallejo, the soccer team’s biggest rivals. Junior, Thomas Wagner says the team’s coach Dale Daniel, is taking every step to ensure that the team is successful in the season, which includes harder practices that involve more drill exercises’ Thomas says his coach’s new method of coaching has really helped the team. “You see the drills we practice on the field, and it has really helped us out,” he said. The Coach also helps with some of teams cooperation problems by devoting some practices to talking out their problems and working them out among each other. Thomas and the team are also hoping to win championships; the team made finals last year and is hoping to surpass finals and win the competition. Considering it is agreed between the coach and the players, the team believes they have more than enough talent to accomplish their goals.

Photo/ David Melad

“I believe the more support we have from the school, the more pumped up we’ll be to win. We’ve got to see the stands full to get motivated!” Fortunately, the stands were full on the night of Rodriguez’es big win. Apparently the support of the school really did influence how the team played.

The football team is looking forward to playing Vanden on Nov. 13. This could potentially be the Mustang’s second win of the season. To see the stands full for that game could make a difference, Jordan said. Players started the season assuming they’d easily go to playoffs. After the way the season has turned out, just making it to playoffs at all has become the dream. “Many players have to play positions they aren’t familiar with. We lost a lot of linebackers and a lot of players have had to improvise and play those positions.The line just isn’t as strong as it used to be,” Jordan said. Jordon is not only angry at the result of the season but also feels guilty that he could’ve done more to make the season better. Jordan said that practice has become harder and longer and that more players are pushing harder to improve. This hard work has finally payed off. Hopefully last Friday inspired the team to keep on working hard to win, and makes the team pine for more wins.

Lady Mustang volleyball continues to dominate By Sydney Tracy (’10)

“You wish you were a Mustang, OHHH AAAA! You wish you were a Mustang, OHHH AAAA!” Even over the roar of the audience, the RHS varsity volleyball team chants one of their favorite cheers with extra enthusiasm and excitement. These ladies are still on the path to becoming the leading team in our district. They hold a record of 8 wins and 1 loss. They have only lost to Benicia High School in an upsetting but overall well played game. “We’re a great team; we just have to work

on keeping up our endurance throughout the entire game,” said senior Aryn Perkins. With all the diving and blocking and the fast pace, these fierce ladies know exactly how to pull out all the stops in a time of need. Even with injuries, the RHS varsity volleyball team is still a dominating force on the court. “Because we have played in the summer club program, we have gotten closer and closer. We know how each other’s personalities and how we all react on the court,” Aryn said.

This year Rodriguez water polo lacks a junior varsity team. Despite the shortage of players, the team is tight knit. “We are a very close team,” said Kelsey Johnstone. Kelsey has learned to be organized and make every minute count — including tutorial. She has tournaments almost every Friday

causing her to miss her odd classes. Kelsey enjoys, “getting in great shape with the rest of the team.” They won their game against Armijo even with freshmen making up half of their only team. She also hopes there will be enough money to run the RHS new pool. “Please come to our next game and support your fellow Mustangs!” she said.

Waterpolo in need of players


Rodriguez High School

Page 15

October 2009

Busy RHS senior star Enthustastic athlete balances valuable time improves her game By: Bria Howse (’11)

Starting his senior year, Javier Mondragon is focusing on balancing playing football and soccer this season. Javier knows that while balancing two sports is hard enough, he also has to make time for his studies while trying to make it to both practices. “Usually I try to get all of my homework done in class, then I go to football practice and after that soccer. Plus I have club soccer on the weekends so sometimes it gets hectic” he says. Javier has been playing soccer for 13 years, has been on the RHS football varsity team for 2 years, and the varsity soccer team for 3. Before each game Javier listens to his iPod before heading out on the field. For soccer Javier plays keeper, meaning ,goalie or midfield. Even though both the soccer and football team’s key players have graduated, Javier feels that they’ll do fine, “As far as football goes we haven’t given the 100 % I know we have, but we’ll come around.” Soccer on the other hand is a little different. According to Javier, “At first it was hard because the whole starting line-up graduated, but a few other seniors and I are learning to take the new members under our wing and teach them the ropes.” This season he sees Vanden as the biggest

By Bria Howse (’11)

Javier Mondragon

Photo/David Melad

competitor for football and Benicia for soccer. Javier would like to continue playing soccer in college on a scholarship to Fresno State. Here are some more facts on Javier: Favorite Food: Pasta and Pizza Favorite Drink: Dr. Pepper Favorite Music: All Kinds Favorite Movie: Troy Favorite Book: To Kill A Mockingbird Favorite Color: White and Blue Favorite Athlete: C. Ronaldo

Sophomore Rachel Tiss, a two-year varsity player on the water polo team is no newcomer to hard work. Since freshman year, Rachel has seen extreme improvement in her game. “I feel all around I’ve improved defensively and offensively, so if my coaches needed me for a certain position, I would be comfortable switching,” Rachel says. Rachel has been playing polo for six years, and she has swam competitively for 10 years. “I mostly do swimming so that I can stay in shape for water polo,”she says. Juggling three honors classes, Rachel knows that it’s crucial to take as much time for homework as possible. “After practice on the weekdays, I’m beat,so I really take advantage of tutorial and before school,” Rachel says. Her weekends are often filled with homework, “…so sometimes I don’t have a life,” she says jokingly. Before a game, Rachel and her teammate Maya Moten have a ritual . “We both listen to ‘High School Musical’ and we also have lucky weaves that we wear,” she says.

Rachel Tiss

Photo/ David Melaf

Rachel is definitely considering playing water polo in college at Stanford, UCBerkeley, or Indiana. This season Rachel sees Benicia as their biggest opponent. Here are some of Rachael’s favorite things: Favorite Food: Roast beef sandwich from Jose’s Buffet Favorite Drink: Peach ice tea Favorite Music: Pop, punk and scream-o Favorite Movie: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” Favorite Book: Cather and the Rye Favorite Color: Red Favorite Athlete: Brenda Vila

Girls RHS tennis puts in extreme effort By Nicole Levin (’11)

On Sept. 29, the girl’s tennis team huddled around court three. Trembling with fear the Mustang tennis players watched number three doubles players Alex Johnson and Ashley Moore play a third set tiebreaker. They were up 4-3 in their match against Vanden, but the fate of their match and their league record depended on the two doubles matches that had been postponed from the day before. As Ashley and Alex completed their tiebreaker they seemed completely at ease, winning in a matter of minutes. However, they were just as tense as the rest of the team. “We had to keep on reminding each other to stay calm throughout the match,” Alex said afterwards. Number one and three doubles matches

were suspended on Sept. 28, due to a lack of natural light. Normally tennis matches do not last as long, but like Alex and Ashley went into a third set. Number one singles player Chyna Brown however did not, and defeated Vanden’s Gabriella Ponce 6-4, 6-1. The team was ultimately victorious and won 5-4. However, the match was the closest of the season. Coach Stephanie Lawrence told the Daily Republic that the match was “unbelievable,” and that she thinks “…it will provide motivation to both teams. It lets my girls know that we have to continue to work hard and go from there.” The following day they defeated Bethel 8-1, continuing their winning streak.

Molly Williamson and Ashley Moore playing their hardest.

Photo/David Melad


Rodriguez High School

Volunteers...

October 2009

Page 16

(Continued from page 1)

much more is required for the field. “At first when you apply and are accepted they give you paper work,” Tony says. The youth fire explorer post welcomes teens between 15 and 18. The Explorers learn first aid, CPR training, introduction to firefighting and rescue techniques, hiking, camping, and participate in various community service projects. “You have to pay attention and take notes. Basically treat it like an actual job, like you’ve already been hired, but also be respectful at the same time” Tony says. Sophomore Dominick Truong is a lieutenant in the explorer group. Students interested in participating in the explorer program should call (707) 428-7320 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tony says that the first steps to applying for the explorer position are the most crucial. “You have to do an interview, which is very formal.” Community service Another student making a difference is junior Nathen Hochstetler. Since sixth grade Nathen has been volunteering as part of the Boy Scouts. He is a part of Troop 853, which is sponsored by the F.A.S.T. Lions, and has been volunteering with them for about a year now. Before that he was a member of Troop 270 for four years. He most recently participated in the annual Creek Cleanup day. He also occasionally serves at the weekly senior citizen dinners held in Suisun. Nathen is working towards his Eagle Scout rank, which is the highest rank. As part of that process,

Tony Ortiz

Photo/ Bria Howse

he must plan and oversee a community service project. For his project, he is extending a boardwalk by about 100 feet at Rockville Hills Park. The Boy Scouts are always open to new members. Check out the BSA website for troops and contact numbers. Helping the sick Patients at the North Bay Hospital sometimes need that extra attention, something that makes them forget about the medicine that they receive or the condition that they are in. This is where RHS junior Lisa Yee steps in. She has been volunteering at North Bay medical center for more than three months, spending more than 50 hours there so far. She helps all types — from patients in wheelchairs to doctors overloaded with paperwork. “I love working at the hospital. Doing something for others is always nice,” Lisa says with a smile. She also had volunteered

Will Rosemond recites the poem ‘Philosophies’

Courtesy Photo

Jonathan Sorunke and Nathan Hochsteler work to clean a park the last couple of months with the Fairfield Youth Commission, which encourages teens to become more active in their community. “I would recommend volunteering to anyone,” Lisa says. “Just getting off the couch and doing something is always good.” A side benefit, Lisa says, is that volunteer work looks good on college applications. Lisa said she would like to become a pediatrician. ”I love working with children,” she says. Senior Danielle DelaCruz not only helps at North Bay but also at RHS. She has volunteered at North Bay Medical Center since January. At school, she is involved in the Interact Club. Recently Danielle, along with other club members, collected and gave away 200 stuffed animals to needy children in Oakland.

She is also involved with the Rotary Club and volunteers with the Matt Garcia Drive for Dreams. The Rotary campaign helps out with any activities for kids such as pumpkin patches around Halloween, while the Matt Garcia Drive consists of collecting and donating sports equipment to youth organizations in need. “It’s very self-fulfilling,” Danielle says. “I would definitely recommend everybody volunteering for something.” Since sixth grade she’s been making sure that some form of volunteering was included in her daily schedule. Anyone can volunteer, whether it’s something as small as picking up trash around a community park to holding and participating in annual drives for hospitals or schools. All of our participants agree that it’s never too late to make a difference.

By Re’anna Morris (’10)

form it for guests and RHS classes during the week.Though it seems easy, the assignment was actually quite a challenge. “A lot of them have never done theater before, so performing for a crowd is a really important step. It shows them what theatre is, and what it can be.”The slam definitely gave the

Theater students express originality at poetry slam

Photo/ David Melad

Creativity poured at the RHS Poetry Slam this month, giving the theater students a chance to try their hand at writing and performing original poems. ‘We’re focusing on performance art, and this is their first live audience performance of the year,” says theater teacher Mr. Day. “It’s their own creation, so it’s easier for them to stand up in front of strangers and just be themselves.” Students were given a simple task: Write an original poem (on any subject), and per-

feeling of a professional performance. From the complete set of stage lights and spotlights intensifying the show, the energetic and crowd-pleasing hosts Alisa Harvey and Dennis Garner, and the incredibly artistic and diverse pieces given by the students, this slam was definitely not one to miss.


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