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September 2009



Students and staff adjust to budget cuts By Khyona McCrear (’11)

Photos/Jasmine Lucas and Chelsea Ramos

Tattoo you Students at RHS show off their unique tattoos and exotic piercings.

Teens ink and piercing expressions show individuality By Jasmine Lucas (’10) and Chelsea Ramos (’10)

Senior Shalamar Jamerson got her first tattoo when she was 14. It was the words Baby girl, which she says symbolizes who she is. She was immediately hooked on body art. These days she has four tattoos — which she says symbolize a part of her personality.

In addition, she has nine piercings, including six on her ears, nose, naval, and tongue. Shalamar isn’t alone. Today tattoos are no longer the domain of drunken sailors. Ink, body piercings, and brands are everywhere — including teens. Even Barbie comes with her own set of temporary tattoos. More and more teens are getting tattoos or

Fashion fads

Mustang football

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multiple piercings by the age of 18 as it becomes more acceptable in society. RHS is not immune. On any given day, one may see many students around campus with multiple piercings and tattoos. Senior Taylor Gross is one of many that have multiple piercings. She has six...

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Hot mustang

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Crowded classrooms, elbow-bumping hallways, and fewer supplies are just some of the obvious signs of the $350,000 in budget cuts that RHS was forced to make this year. “This school year is just tight,” said Principal Amy Gillespie-Oss,“ but (I?) never thought it would be this tight.” Some students were devastated to see the College and Career Center, which provided college, military, and job assistance, no longer available. ‘’The CCC provided us with the best college info,” said AVID student Nia Ceaser. “and how are we going to achieve our goals?” Nia suggested that students would need to rely on their counselors or AVID teachers more than ever. In addition, Mrs. Gillespie said that administrators are developing a college webpage to help students with school planning. Another change is the lack of school agendas for juniors and seniors. “Since agendas are not available, purchase one at a store to keep track of all assignments,” advised junior Devan Klein. “Other students may feel this will not impact grades, but please create a self-sufficient agenda.’’ Vice Principal Mrs. Lisa Wilson expects 11th and 12th graders to practice agenda responsibilities already. Another controversial change was the swimming pool remaining unheated. Water

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School News… Pages 1-4, 8,9,16 Entertainment… Pages 5-7 Opinion… Pages 10-12 Sports… Pages 13-15

Rodriguez High School

September 2009

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Far left: Patrick Gai shows off his pass plate; Michael Wang-Belt; Mike Cunningham, and Diannah Cox.

RHS welcomes new teachers on campus Patrick Gai shows his love for history By Rebecca Thompson (’11)

When RHS history teacher Patrick Gai isn’t in the classroom, you might find him with one of his other loves — music, water, or his wife. Mr. Gai teaches U.S. history, government and economy in room E-215. Aside from schooling students on the importance of being a well-rounded citizen, Mr. Gai said enjoys disk jockeying and listening to mixes after class. His other hobby, water polo, was a sport he played at Diablo Valley College where he was coached by RHS water polo coach Mr. Wes Lie. After DVC, Mr. Gai attended Sacramento State University. Before coming here, he taught at Willow High School in Crockett and Grange Middle School in Fairfield. Out of all his pastimes, Mr. Gai said he loves being with his wife Vanessa the best. He said his goals for the year are making sure his students understand the importance of being a well-rounded citizen, being friendly to the staff and student body, and yearning that all of his students see the value in education.

Michael Wang-Belt redeems himself By Sydney Tracy (’10)

Would you ever believe that a physics teacher, someone who appears to be highly

educated, was once kicked out of college for poor grades? Just like every other human being, everyone has their downfalls — even science teacher Mr. Michael Wang-Belt. His downfall happened to be economics (hence the reason he teaches science and not social science). Economics was so rough for him in college that he failed the class and was actually kicked out of UC-Davis for poor grades. “If anyone knows about failure, it’s me!” Wang-Belt added. He eventually got it together and graduated from college. Now teaching conceptual physics and integrated science teacher, Mr. Wang-Belt, grew up in the small town of Prunedale, where he spent his time reading and playing video games. He was known for being an all around great kid. Mr. Wang-Belt even took a position as an intern during his last year of high school, where he was allowed to teach his peers. He says that experience, being a T.A., and loving all his teachers, inspired him to become a teacher himself. This is Mr. Wang-Belt’s second year teaching, and he says he enjoys it very much. “I want the next generation to become more aware of what they are capable of and to plan for a brighter future,” says Wang-Belt. In his free time, Mr. Wang-Belt likes to play chess, and he hopes at some point to become the coordinator of the RHS Anime Club. He says he is looking forward to a positive and fulfilling year.

Mike Cunningham rides into RHS By Brittany Hernandez (’11)

A motorcycle riding, thrill-loving scuba diver who lives for the excitement of fourwheeling describes new RHS history teacher Mike Cunningham. Mr. Cunningham, 39, came to RHS from Dover Middle School, which recently closed due to budget cuts. At Dover he coached volleyball, basketball and soccer. He taught there one year. Before that he taught at Sullivan Middle School for a year. He describes himself as a caring father of two. His children live in Orange County, which is where he lived for 14 years before moving back to Vacaville. He is a graduate of Vacaville High School. Mr. Cunningham, who is 6’5, played baseball and rugby in school. He said his role model was John Wayne because, “on set or off set, he was real.” Mr. Cunningham said he lives by Aristotle’s quote, “The best thing to know is to know that you don’t know everything.” In his free time (when he is not correcting history papers) he said he loves to wakeboard and go hunting. In addition to teaching, Mr. Cunningham is also an air conditioning contractor. He has owned his own business for three years. Mr. Cunningham said he likes teaching because he loves seeing, “the give and the take of when people finally see the outside of the world.”

Diannah Cox ready for a challege By Jasmine Lucas (’10) Although English teacher Diannah Cox is new to the RHS staff this year, she is very familiar with the school and teaching. That’s because she has two children — senior Kiana and freshman Koree — who attend here. What’s more, she has taught younger students for the past four years. Before RHS she taught at Green Valley Middle School, North Hills Christian School and Jump Start Academy. “I always interacted with older kids and knew this would be a great experience,” she said. Born and raised in San Francisco, Mrs. Cox said she had wanted to be a teacher since the third grade when she used to play school with her cousins. Attending three colleges, Mrs. Cox got a degree in liberal studies at San Francisco State University. While attending St. Mary’s College, she also scored points on the basketball court. Mrs. Cox previously worked at Pier 39 in San Francisco, a tour boat company, and for the city of Berkeley. She said her mother was her role because she is an example of a strong, black woman. Students can find her in D-113. She says she likes the block schedule because it gives her plenty of time to teach lessons. She also enjoys bowling, singing karaoke and listening to music.

Rodriguez High School

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Judith Ruiz Mariah Morgan teaches her English class in room F-107.

Photo/Alantae Breggs

Superhero Mariah Morgan to the rescue By Alantae Breggs (’11) She’s the tattooed lady in F-107, new English teacher Mariah Morgan has tattoos from her collar bone down to her feet. She has a chest piece with vivid and vibrant colors, which covers as much as the eyes are allowed to see. An alien female is eating an apple surrounded by beautiful and scenic flowers. She says the apple represents knowledge that opens our worlds to many different

choices and possibilities. So, just how many tattoos does she have? She’s stopped counting. “The people who count tattoos, evidently don’t have that many,” says Ms. Morgan. This eccentric Scorpio loves teaching English to 10th and 11th graders — and she says she actually adores teens. “Little kids and babies are odd to me,” she said. Ms. Morgan says she likes teen-agers because they have interesting personalities,

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and they are just fun to talk to. When Ms. Morgan is not studying to be a better teacher, she is her own superhero, undertaking the world as an environmentalist and a human and animal rights activist. The 28-year-old’s long-term goal is to help make the world a better place by raising issues about and preventing animal cruelty. She is the youngest and only girl in a family of six brothers. She now lives in Vacaville with a roommate and her cat named Lunch Box Ms. Morgan has wanted to be a teacher since the third grade. She loved and enjoyed theater in high school, but had this burning passion to be a teacher. She majored in English at Sacramento State with the plan to become a teacher. After college, she worked as a bartender in Vacaville until her flame ignited the journey of teaching. Now she has been teaching for three years, and has arrived at her new home at RHS. She is thankful for the friendly and welcoming staff, she said. Except for the traffic, Ms. Morgan likes the school — particularly the block schedule because it allows her more productive time to work with students. Ms. Morgan wants all her students to develop life skills, express themselves to the highest extent, understand the world around them, and have fun.

Photo/David Melad

Judith Ruiz gained teaching experience in Madrid, Spain By Katie Bergey (’11)

Miss Judith Ruiz has trotted the globe and back. Within her 10-year teaching career, Miss Ruiz has taught in Madrid, Spain, teaching orphans from military families. She found her teaching job while living in Madrid through another job that had recommended her. She taught orphans of the Spanish military, which is called the La Guardia De Civil Militaria. Also, during the school year, she taught English at the all-boy Spanish military school. In all, Ms. Ruiz lived in Madrid for five years. “I moved there to learn Spanish and to experience life outside the United States. It was the best experience of my life,” she said. She now teaches special education English and English as a second language at RHS. Ms. Ruiz said she knew she wanted to be a special education teacher since she was a child. After going to Saint Lucy’s High School, Miss Ruiz attended UC-Santa Barbara, receiving an international degree. She came to Fairfield after returning from Spain because her brother and his family lives here.

Rodriguez High School

RHS welcomes new librarian to campus By Krysta McCullough (’10)

Talee the African parrot and Sunny the parakeet are just as colorful and vibrant as their owner’s love for books. Both birds belong to RHS new school librarian Jeane Beno. “I just love books; I love libraries. It’s the coolest place to be,” she says. Ms. Beno has plenty of passion to share. She hopes this year to motivate students to read more. Ms. Beno has worked five years as a school librarian at six elementary and one middle school before landing at RHS. That’s because elementary school librarians work at multiple schools. Getting used to the block schedule while becoming accustomed to dealing with high school was no easy task. “It was a huge culture shock,” she said.

As we head into October, the most stressful portion of senior year begins. This is the time when 12th graders determine their futures, making some of the most difficult decisions of their lives; and for many, anxiety has already started taking its toll. “I actually just had a mini-freak out the other day from stress,” says senior Katana Dumont. It all kicks off with making some major decisions, and for most of us, this is where the pressure is at its most. “With college, picking out majors … the future, and the whole ‘what am I going to do with my life?’ question; it all freaks me out,” she said. Next, the dreaded application time begins. With the need for letters of recommendation, requesting scholarships and information packets, expensive application fees, and of course writing numerous drafts of the infamous personal statement, pressure becomes a familiar sensation throughout the fall semester. “That whole process of personal statements, letters, AP classes, volunteer work, it’s so much to deal with! My mind is never relaxed, I always have something to do” she adds.

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Former RHS student raises money for NYU

Jerron Herman overcomes financial problems; receives help from the community, school By Annalisa Kongvongsay (’11)

Jeane Beno

Phtoto/David Melad

Before Ms. Beno was a librarian, she was a second-grade teacher. Before that, she was a retirement plan consultant. She’s glad to have finally found a career where she can work in the education field and with books. “With the (library’s) selection, you don’t ever have to be bored.”

Seniors prepare for college By Re’anna Morris (’10)

September 2009

Senior Sylver Wallace agrees. “It’s a lot to handle. I wish I would’ve started preparing sooner, but right now I’m really worried about applying for scholarships; I can’t go to the college I want without money.” However, this senior has even more to worry about. In order to get accepted into her dream schools, hopeful applicants must compete through auditions — on top of submitting impressive transcripts. “Most kids don’t have to worry about auditioning to get into college; there are even more things you have to worry about. You can’t just rely on your grades and test scores to get you in.” Lucky senior Robert Aiavao, however, hasn’t really had it all kick in yet. “This year is complicated, yeah, but its chill at the same time ... at least so far. I have more to do: volunteer work, AP classes, helping out with football, touring college campuses, but for some reason it still feels like every other new school year,” says Robert with a shrug. So what is it that really puts the tension on 12th graders? These three are all in agreement: Time. “Time is something we just don’t have a lot of anymore,” says Katana.

Have you ever wanted something so bad, but in an instant something takes it away? RHS alum Jerron Herman can. The 2009 graduate got his dream of being accepted at New York University along with financial aid to help with the $30,000 tuition. That was in March. A few months later, the university informed him that he wasn’t eligible for the financial aid because his father had been out of work. “I was discouraged for literally one minute,” said Jerron when he found out about the situation. Jerron knew he had to find a way to raise the money. His deadline to pay for his seat at NYU was Aug. 10. He ended up contacting the Daily Republic. After the local newspaper wrote an article, “donations started pouring in,” said Jerron “It was very inspiring.” With the help of the community, a local Lions club, and donations from RHS teachers and staff, he was able to raise enough to secure his place at the university. Government teacher Lona Adams was in charge of RHS’s

Jerron Herman

donations, which raised $1,150. Jerron, who has cerebral palsy, was RHS’s student of the year last year. Dealing with a disability he felt that he had to work a little harder to keep up. “I had so many ideas, stories, and felt that I had so much to do in this world,” he said. “God gave me ambition and without ambition, I wouldn’t get anywhere,” said Jerron. It was never an option not to try for Jerron and he encourages anyone to strive, even if they fail, to actually get up and try again. “I have a dorm room, a bed and I’m very blessed,” said Jerron. He is attending Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, majoring in dramatic writing which includes writing for movies, TV and theater.

RHS Honor Society recognizes students with academic excellence By Khyona McCrear (’11)

Are you a student searching for a ticket to success with spectacular grades, applying for college, or carry a humanitarian image of the world? The Honor Society may be the right choice for you. It was established at RHS in 2001 by Mrs. Lisa Wilson and Mrs. Marcia Garcia. Today German teacher Mrs. Jeanine Aten is the adviser. “This program recognizes academic excellence,” she said. The community outreach, which the students organize, involves fund-raising for the homeless at Mission Solano and assisting elementary students with improving English fundamentals.

Last year students collected funds for the removal of land mines in Bosnia. In Yolo County they also replanted flowers by Putah Creek, which established cultivation processes. It can also help students with academics. Freshmen and sophomores develop a network with juniors and seniors in attaining knowledge concerning AP classes or the frustration of applying for colleges, she said. Honor Society’s main goal is for students to “maintain academic excellence and gain a learning experience for the future,” said Mrs. Aten. As children grow up, they should continue to stress the three D’s which are desire, discipline, and dedication, she said.

Rodriguez High School

September 2009

‘Reincarnation’ shows Japan’s creativity “Reincarnation” falls into the category of a classic scary movie by the master of the horror arts, Japan. By director Takashi Shimizu, “Reincarnation” tells the fictional story of a Japanese hotel that was the home of a mass murder in the 1970s. The film follows a present day time period where a movie is being made about the incident. A mass of major and minor characters are introduced and followed as they slowly learn that they have more connection to the hotel than they had originally thought. “Reincarnation,” though lacking in the computer graphic effects department, has a

thrilling storyline that twists the characters and the plot together in a way that makes it one of the best storylines you will find in a scary movie. Even when you think you have got the film figured out, it continues to surprise. For anyone blood shy, don’t be frightened. “Reincarnation” is not excessively bloody

Check out ‘Christian the Lion’ YouTube has opened up many opportunities by giving everyone a chance to share original and suitable video content with the world. There is one particular video that may have its viewers so amazed and heartfelt you will never forget “Christian the Lion.” It is an extraordinary story of two Australian men who purchased a lion cub in a London department store in 1969. They named their cub Christian and took care of him until he grew to an immense size. As time went on they had no choice but to let him go back into the wild in Africa where he belonged. The two owners were specifically told their precious lion will never remember them. One year later, the two Australian men decide

to go looking for Christian in the wild, wondering whether he would remember them or not. Surprisingly enough, they reunite with Christian and he remembers his former owners. Christian dashes to them with joy and greets them as if he was a child hugging its mother. It is such a remarkable video that you don’t want to miss. I suggest all You Tubers to type in “Christian the Lion” and check it out.

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and will not upset even the queasiest of stomachs. Though one of the best I have seen, “Reincarnation” is not your typical suspense.

Instead of upsetting your stomach, the film messes with your mind which makes it the ultimate scare. I strongly recommend this interesting movie, but if you see it, prepare yourself to scream and to read. Since it hails from Japan, “Reincarnation” is shown with English subtitles. Don’t be worried though , reading the dialogue in no way hinders the intense feeling of the film. There is no way you cannot become absolved in the characters and the storyline, no matter the language it happens to be in. I give this film 4-out-of-5 stars, mostly for its creativity. This film is rated R.

I gotta feelin about this song. If you turn on the radio, you are bound to hear this song at least once, if not twice or even three times. “I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas has a catchy beat and catchy words, which is what makes it so popular. The song is about having a positive attitude and enjoying life. “I gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good good night.” I give this song 3 out of 5 stars. I really enjoy the beat and the words are very catchy. This song is from their newest album “The E.N.D.” which stands for The Energy Never Dies. Other popular songs on this album include, “Boom Boom Pow,” “Meet Me Halfway,” and “Alive.” Black Eyed Peas consist of three guys and one girl. Their names are,, Taboo, and Fergie. Since their album “Elephunk” in 2003, they have sold 18 million albums worldwide and 9 million singles.

Fergie is not only the only woman in the group, but she is the only group member to go solo. Fergie is a hip, young woman who is dedicated to singing. She says she tries to give her music a different kind of style, like in her song “Clumsy”. She says she was trying to give it a hip hop and oldies music mix. If you like to dance and need the perfect party tunes, you’re definitely going to want to purchase their album The E.N.D. It makes you want to dance and go all out! “I Gotta Feeling” Black Eyed Peas will just be getting better and better as the years go by!

‘I Gotta Feeling’ is a hit

‘Tantalize’ is full of food, love and deciet If you liked the “Twilight” books, then this book is for you. “Tantalize” is a tale of food, love and deceit. After Quincie Morris’ vampire-themed restaurant’s head chef is murdered, Henry Johnson takes charge as the new chef. As she and the new chef’s love blossoms, her hybrid best friend, and first love, is preparing to leave to join a new pack. Little does she know, the chef has a deadly plan, committing multiple murders and changing the most daring diners into his vampire army. This delicious tale of food, ro-

mance, and vampires will make your mouth water. “Tantalize,” by Cynthia Leitich Smith, was written in 2007 and published in 2008. Check it out.

Rodriguez High School

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Sample a taste of Texas at the Roadhouse Have you ever imagined riding a real saddle while listening to loud country and western music on your birthday? At Texas Roadhouse this is exactly what happens to you on your special day. Opening this past June, this could very well be the busiest restaurant in Solano County. When walking into the Texas Roadhouse on North Texas Street, you will notice lots of crushed peanuts on the floor and in silver buckets on every table. In addition to the peanuts, you are also given delicious bread

rolls as a free appetizer. From BBQ ribs to fried catfish, all your favorite southern style dishes are at Texas Roadhouse. My mom and I went and

actually shared a plate of food because it was so filling. We tried the sirlion steak and ribs with our choice of two sides. You can chooose among a baked potato, sweet potato, cup of chili, house salad, Caesar salad, apple sauce, green beans, baked beans, steak fries, mashed potatoes, and fresh vegetables. Whatever meal you pick will come with two side dishes. Although we didn’t try dessert, they have a small variety of apple pie, strawberry cheesecake, or brownies.

Though you may think this restaurant sounds quite expensive, it is pretty reasonable for the amount of food you receive. The prices range from $9.99-$22.99. In addition to a great dinner, customers are entertained every 45 minutes with the team members at performing a country western hoedown. Texas Roadhouse is located on 3333 North Texas Street. Its hours are 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Fridays, noon -11 p.m. ,Saturday s and noon to 10 p.m. Sundays.

Horoscopes: Happy Birthday to Libra Libra (Sept. 23- Oct. 23): Lately you’ve been frustrated by your surroundings. Things don’t seem right or fair. Don’t fret your hard work and intuition will help you through the tough spots this month. Scorpio (Oct. 24 – Nov. 21): This month you will find that you are making a great deal of new friends. However with new friends you are discovering that new enemies are a part of the picture. Your natural inclination is to be venomous towards these new enemies. However you should choose to be the bigger person because your strong personality will carry you through. Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21): You’ve been indecisive, going from one extreme to the other. Just step back and look at the bigger picture to consider all the alternatives. Remember all things in moderation. Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan.19): You have a strong sense of pride which has been belittled recently. This irritation has got you giving

people the cold shoulder. Don’t let your stubbornness keep you distant from your friends and family who are there for you. Aquarius (Jan. 20 – Feb. 18): A bad temper has always been one of your most predominant attributes. You often find that once you boil over, you cannot control your outbursts or actions. Though it is difficult, try to just breathe and calm yourself down in these situations to prevent doing something you’ll later regret. Pisces (Feb. 19 – March 20): Whether it’s fibbing about what you really think of your friend’s outfit or fudging the truth to your

parents about where you’re really going; you’ve found yourself lying more this month. While it may not seem bad at first, it will eventually turn into a hard to break habit. Aries (March 21 – April 19): You avoid criticism like it’s the plague. You’re sensitive about your work or opinions and don’t care for people tearing them apart. While nobody likes being disapproved of, constructive criticism can actually be helpful to you. It may be difficult but it may help you to listen to what other people have to say. Taurus (April 20 – May 20): Caution and the longing for a sense of security prevents you from becoming close to people. While it may seem difficult for you, don’t be afraid to have a little faith in those around you. You never know how they may surprise you. Gemini (May 21- June 21): You have an uncommonly inquisitive mind. Your thoughts are constantly active and wandering. While it is only natural to satisfy your curiosities,

medicine by his doctor who was trying to cure him of his insomnia. His death was a shock to everyone. With super top charting hits such as “Thriller,” “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” his popular songs left a legacy that everyone knows and will remember. Fans are still dancing to his music, malls are selling his face on shirts, and you may even see cars on a typical trip to the mall declaring “RIP MJ KING OF POP!” on the

back window. Now, I know what you’re all going to say when you read what I have to say next: “Oh, come on, another history lesson? I get enough of that here!” But the history lesson is necessary. As most of you may know, MJ had been performing ever since he was a young child with his four brothers as part of The Jackson 5. With chart topping hits “ABC,” “Want You Back,” and “Who’s Loving You,”The Jackson 5 was the King of Pop’s first experience with performing. He had

be sure that it doesn’t distract you too much from the present. Cancer (June 22 – July 22): You have a great deal of emotional energy that has you acting tumultuously and recklessly. If left alone, this energy can leave your life a mess. Channel the energy into something productive so it doesn’t go to waste. Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22): Generosity is something which comes naturally to you. You are unusually forgiving of people’s faults and their shortcomings. This is not a bad attribute to have however you need to beware of those who will take advantage of your kindness. Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22): Recent disappointments have left you skeptical of the world around you. You’ve become more cynical in your point of view because you’re mad over these disappointments. Don’t dwell on it too much because what’s past is past and you’re only holding yourself back by holding onto that bitterness.

King of Pop lives on in music and the hearts of fans By Carissa Demasi (’11) It’s the death that shocked the world. The death that left slacked-jawed fans everywhere. When Michael Jackson, the king of pop, died of cardiac arrest on June 25, we could barely believe it. The King of Pop’s music legend lives on with the way he made fans feel when he died. It’s no surprise he was the talk of the month. Michael Jackson,AKA the King of Pop, died June 25 of cardiac arrest due to overdose of

always loved singing at an early age, so of course, it was no surprise when he went solo. His father supported his singing career, but didn’t treat MJ very well. But he grew up to be a very successful singer. If only his father could hear him now! Yahoo! Launchcast radio even has a Michael Jackson radio station that exclusively play only his music. Since Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson has become a music legend that will never be forgotten.

Rodriguez High School

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Fallout 3 should keep players intrigued Graphics can make or break the game. Who wants to play something that looks like it was designed by a six year old? Luckily, Fallout 3 doesn’t disappoint. The designers put a lot into making this game look and sound realistic, and thanks to the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or VATS for short, combat is dramatic, bloody, and completely satisfying. Yet the graphics aren’t even the best part of the game. As far as originality in plot scheme and characters, I give this game five out of five stars. In general, the beginning plot of Fallout 3 sounds like this. You are a 19-year-old boy in an alternate reality: post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. year 2277 living underground in Vault 101 with your father

and several other families. One day, your father randomly decides to leave and you chase after him. What you do from this point is completely up to you. You can either search for your dad, and try to discover why he went outside, or you could go on an evil rampage. Personally, I dislike complicated plots which Fallout 3 is a prime example of. Perhaps the

creators should have spent less time on the depth of the scheme and focused a little more on fixing the bugs, which although are minor, can become laughable. At one point, while watching someone else play, we witnessed a very scary mutant dancing like a ballerina on top of a lake. However annoying bugs can be, game play is pretty much unaffected by it. Notable to this game is the open ending. Unlike other games where you simply complete specific missions then move on to the next level, Fallout 3 allows you to select how you beat the game. The options are endless. The best part about it is after you beat it one way, you can start all over and essentially play a completely different game.

New kid needs help making friends Need some sound advice? Send your questions to “Ask Cece” in The Stampede box in the library. Editor. Dear CeCe: I am new to Rodriguez this year as a freshman. Pretty much life sucks. I moved here from a different state and I know absolutely nobody. Everyone here has connections and I don’t know anyone at all. It is really uncomfortable during class and lunch time because I am all alone. I try to fit in, but I am really shy and every time I do something I feel like everyone is watching me because I am the new kid. How can I possibly make things less awkward and open up enough to actually make friends in this school? —Impossibly Awkward Dear Awkward: No one is watching you, believe me. You may feel like they are studying your every move, but in reality, all teens are selfconscious of themselves and feel the same way at times. They are paying more attention to the actions they make to what you are doing. There is nothing I can say to make everything instantly less awkward for you. To make friends at school, you have to come out of your shell and that is a process, not an instant solution. Every day, try to hold a short conversation with someone that you meet in the halls or your classes. This will help you get used to talking to the people in this school.

Once you have more confidence, try longer conversations and invitations to anything you think that person may find fun. You really just need to get out there and realize that you don’t have to be alone and that no one is watching your every move. Making friends in a new school is always awkward, but you have to at least put in an effort. — CeCe Dear CeCe: I just broke up with my boyfriend and I am pretty sure that I am pregnant with his baby. I have been with him for almost two years. We don’t use condoms because we cannot afford them and I have no one to take me to Planned Parenthood. Plus if my parents found anything they would kill me. They have very strict religious values and I know they would send me away if they found out. I also cannot afford a test to make sure, but it is clear that I most likely am. I love my boyfriend but I had to break up with him because I found dirty pictures of girls I know on his cell phone. I can’t tell him I am pregnant because I don’t want to mess up his life even though he was being a bad

boyfriend and I can’t tell my parents because I don’t want them to look down on me any more than they probably already do. My only choice left is abortion. I know it is wrong and it is taking the easy way out, but it is the only choice I have right now. Life is hard enough without this and I just don’t want to have to deal with it. I am so confused on what I should do. — Broken Hearted Dear Broken: This must be really hard for you, and I am sorry that everything feels like it is happening all at once. I realize life is hard, but your choices led to that and it is in no way an excuse for what is going on now. You knew what you were doing when you had sex with him. What you need to do is take responsibility for your actions and come to terms with the fact that you aren’t just thinking for yourself anymore. Abortion is never the “only choice left” and is never the answer without a very good reason, something that I feel you don’t have. This decision should definitely not be about your boyfriend. This decision will be something that will affect your entire life and you don’t want another person’s situation to make that choice for you. What you do need to do is tell your parents and let them help you no matter what. I know it seems fatal, but they are your parents and they love you. — CeCe

Hand in hand with the open ending is the option to play either a hero or villain. In the game you can earn either good karma or bad karma, and how much you have of either affects how the characters treat you and skills you can have. Fallout 3 is a role-playing game (RPG) and takes on the characteristics of a first-person shooter. Although not so frightening as the latest in the Doom series, this game has been classified in the survival horror category. It was released October 28, 2008 by Bethesda Game Studios. The ESRB rating is Mature. This game earns:

Spring break trip to Costa Rica to be educational and fun By Krysta McCullough (’10) Spanish teacher Jerrica Brown is encouraging Spanish class students to join her on an eight-day spring break trip to Costa Rica. The trip isn’t going to be just educational. In addition to practicing their Spanish, students will also be visiting local towns, a banana plantation, a packaging plant, and taking guided hikes through the rain forest. Students will be able to enjoy the Spanish culture and become immersed in the society that up till now they have only studied, Maestra Brown said. In order to participate, students don’t need to be taking Spanish; however, this trip would be a great way to practice, she said. There are no real requirements in order to be eligible to go on the trip, but grades and behavior will be considered. Although the student meeting and parent meeting dates are past, students who are interested can contact Maestra Brown.for more information. She can be found in F-108, or by calling her at 707-863-7950 ext. 2708. Or she can be reached by e-mailing her at If you feel any interest in going to Costa Rica at all, this is an excellent oppurtunity for personal enrichment that you should not miss out on.

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Anything goes as decades join together By Brittany Hernandez (’11)

Skinny jeans. Loud colors. Flower power. Disco. Many of today’s fashion trends are blasts from the past. Around campus, we see remnants of the ’60s, ‘70s, and’80s colliding into a look for 2009. There is the retro 1960s look (like big hair) and the 1970s urban trend (think punk street look), along with the 1980s, which is the most popular now. They all have collided into one time period. Our time period consists of retro slim fitting, urban youth style accented with bright neon attire wear. So many past fashions are creeping up in today’s culture that it’s so hard to keep up. Recently observed outfits at RHS include the 1980s skinny jeans and Chuck Taylor converse shoes. Stylish wear such as loud bright colors were the main attraction in the

Isabella Ruiz

Photo/Brittany Hernandez

Photo/Brittany Hernandez

Photo/Brittany Hernandez

Marisa Bautista

Sarah Ruiz

‘70s “Saturday Night Fever” phase and can be seen today. Flowers and flares were part of the Hippie

look in the ‘60s. Now they are twisted with a modern look to fit the eyes of style today. Whether it’s yesterday, today, or tomorrow,

one thing is for certain: There will always be fashion and it will always be changing — even if it’s a look back in time.

on small shows for other classes during sixth period. Mr. Day recently completed auditions for the play “Steel Magnolias,” which is an allfemale double cast play. The leads include: Olivia Williams and Stephanie Bragdon as Truvy, Keila Kaci and Natalie Paniccia as M’Lynn, Taylor McCown and Melanie Massuud as Shelby, Victoria Bristow and Sienna Cook as Ouiser, and Ciana and Ashley Santa Cruz as Annelle. The play will be performed here on Oct. 30, 31, and Nov. 6, 7, 13 and 14.

By Nicole Levin (’11)

clude activities such as RHS Idol, RHS Best Dance Crew, Casino Night, lunch time activities, and many of the community service class competitions. In the past years there have been seven rallies, but this year the number has been reduced to only two. In addition, dances such as homecoming will not be directly produced by leadership, and may be taken on by other clubs or groups. The Leadership class still plans to keep activities such as spirit weeks, student of the month, and homecoming skits. Mrs. Shamieh, ASB, and the entire leadership class are still in the process of altering the activities curriculum. Their goal is to keep the activities that are the most fundamental for the student and faculty at Rodriguez. What about prom? “Prom is going to happen,” said Ashley Mangini, ASB secretary. “Let’s just clear this up right now; it’s not going to be in the gym.”

Want drama in your life? Try Leaderships scales back due a theater class with Mr. Day to districtwide budget cuts By Bria Howse (’11)

What comes to your mind when you hear the word theater? For most, the words “script,” “dancing” and “singing” come into mind. Drama teacher Mr. Nathan Day sees more. “It’s not just about memorizing your lines; it’s about knowing where you are on stage and how comfortable you are with yourself,” he said. In his third year at RHS, Mr. Day says that each year is a chance to do better than the previous. Theater has been in Mr. Day’s blood for as long as he can remember. “For me, the opportunity to teach theatre came here at RHS, and with anything you have to jump at while you can,” Mr. Day said, laughing. In theater one, Mr. Day focuses on monologues or stories that require students to memorize and recite scripts on stage by themselves. The more experienced students in theater two and three participate in “poetry slams.” In addition, Mr. Day’s students put

‘It’s not just about memorizing your lines; it’s about knowing where you are on stage...’

ASB President Holly Ducioame is a little nervous about this upcoming school year. The Leadership class, which is run by the activities director, is responsible for putting on most extracurricular and nonathletic activities. However, with recent budget cuts, the Leadership class has been forced to make drastic changes. “I am trying to make this year as successful as possible despite our limited resources.” Holly explains. The position of activities director has been cut. Consequently, Ms. Stella Shamieh, who has held the position for eight years, faced the challenge of keeping the leadership class. Previously, she had two activities prep periods for her to perform leadership and activity related duties, but this year she has a full class schedule. “Dropping Leadership was not an option,” Shamieh explained, “…but we need to completely consolidate the program.” The new leadership program will not in-

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Danny Mills V8 Mustang turns heads Car of the month purrs like a kitty By Sydney Tracy (’10) “Yea Buddy, rollin’ like a big shot! Fresh paint job, fresh inside, is the outside frame in the trunk wide?” Danny Mills, 17, has a ride that turns heads and is the envy of all who see it. His car is a classic. A 1966 Ford Mustang. It has leather interior, a brand new classic stereo and even blue dice in the rear view mirror to add a little extra character to “his baby.” This car isn’t just your average Mustang either; it’s a V8 stick shift that “purrs like a kitty.” Danny got this car for his 16th birthday as a gift from his parents. However, this car wasn’t always as pretty as it may look now. Strange as it may sound, the first time Danny ever drove his car, he got a flat tire. “It was a box on wheels when we got it, so we have had to build it from the ground up.” Danny and his father have spent countless hours of quality bonding time remaking this car, and he says it is his most prized possession. Would he ever consider selling his car? “Everything has a price, but you probably

Danny Mills poses by “his baby,” a 1966 Ford Mustang. can’t afford it!” The thing that makes Danny’s car different from all the other cars in the RHS parking lot is that, with its spotless white paint job and its blue stripes running down the middle of it, no one can say they have anything like it. This car is definitely a representation of

Photo/David Melad

Danny himself, because it stands out in a crowd and shines, just as Danny does. Danny’s car has personality. He has even given his ride a name: Shelby. He says he gave the car this name, mainly because there was a man he knew named Shelby who used to buy old Mustangs and fix

them up extremely nice, and then sell them for a good amount of money. This man is Danny’s inspiration for designing such a nice car. After only having this car for a little over a year, Danny has fallen in love with it and says he will continue to add to it.

By Annalisa Kongvongsay (’11)

Sophomore Roy Reyna thinks the policy is “really strict.” He says it’s unnecessary to call parents on the third tardy and that having only one warning before getting a detention isn’t cool. Junior Sarah Ruiz called the policy unfair. “If you’re in the bathroom, waiting in the long lines, it makes you late,” she said. “Excuses don’t matter to the teacher” and “they do too much,” she added. Senior Christine Bartels says there are too many students at the school, making it difficult to navigate to class when there’s “traffic everywhere.” “ I don’t think it’s right to take away someone’s school priveleges,” said sophomore Vanessa Espinoza. “If you get five tardies, but you get good grades....that’s not fair,” sophomore Kiliona Vitale said.

Student of the month juggles New stricter tardy policy AP classes, work, and friends aggravates some students By Rachel Belella (’11) Logan Wooden may appear to be your average senior; excited about graduation, tackling AP courses and kicking back with his friends, but in this case, looks are definitely deceiving. Logan not only is tackling three AP classes and maintains a 4.8 GPA, he has been playing Varsity soccer for three years, wakes up at 5:40 a.m. so he can be ready for his morning seminary classes, works long hours at the local In-N-Out restaurant, and still has time to hang out with his friends on the weekend. Along with soccer, Logan wakeboards, snowboards, and for the last seven months, he has also has taken up the sport of mixed martial arts. MMA is a style of fighting that includes a combination of kickboxing, boxing, and wrestling that people of all ages and genders can participate in. Logan not only

Logan Wooden

Photo/David Melad

does kickboxing for fun, but for the great workout that comes along with it. Here is some more information about Logan. Favorite Band: Coldplay Looks up to: His family and grandfather Favorite class: Stats AP When he grows up he wants to be: Spiderman Favorite position on the soccer field: Right wing midfield

First tardy-warning. Second tardy-teacher consequence. Third tardy- contact with parents. Fourth tardy-administrative detention. Once a student hits the fifth tardy it becomes a Saturday school and possible loss of school privileges. Has RHS become more strict? Mrs. Kristen Witt, an assistant principal, said the tardy policy was created by the “Best Team,” which is a group of teachers who were upset by tardiness and came up with a new plan to address the problem. “Everyone’s actions affect other people,” said Mrs. Witt ,“because being tardy is an interruption to class.” Freshman Xavier Knowles says that his previous school’s tardy policy was very strict. RHS’s seems less so to him.

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Cutting College & Career Center is short-sighted, will hurt RHS students Every August when school starts again, students, “Welcome back!” But unlike us, the RHS College and Career Center was not welcomed back this year — leaving students looking for college information on their own. Now there are some students who never stepped foot in the CCC, let alone found a use for it. Some students didn’t even know where to find it, but those who did understand how vital the center was. The CCC was by far one of the most important classrooms on the entire campus. It held answers to the endless amount of questions students had for life after graduation, provided information about scholarships, occupations, degrees and majors, and so much more. True, this information can still be found in other places, but never before was it so easy to access it all at one time. There, students could take online tests to determine the sort of careers they should pursue; they could learn

how much money each career made per year; they could even compare these salaries to the type of life styles they hope to live. A whole section of the center was specifically designated to financial aid, filled with numerous applications for different scholarships, grants and loans. Did you know there are scholarships for left-handed people? There are even more based on hobbies, last names, and originality. So many of these unpopular scholarships will become wasted opportunities now that the CCC is gone. In addition, the CCC came completely equipped with information on almost every college imaginable. From private and religious schools across the country, to all of the UCs, CSUs and technical schools in the nation, every question had an answer. Hours of research students now have to do were saved with one wonderful room. The College and Career Center was essential to RHS, and will be greatly missed.

Courtesy Photo

Last year when water polo team was able to practice in our pool.

Our newly built pool now a waste of money By Rachel Balella and Rebecca Thompson (’11)

For years RHS longed for a pool. Finally last school year, the $1 million pool opened. Last year water polo and swim meets could actually be held on school grounds. But alas, those days are over. Unfortunately, the state budget crisis splashed down on our school district like a tidal wave. One of the casualties was our pool. The district claims that the cost to heat and chlorinate our pool is too expensive for the school’s limited budget. However, the district bases the cost of the maintenance toward our pool off estimates that coaches think are inaccurate. This means that once again RHS swim and water polo teams will have to practice and meet at Solano Community College while our own pool remains idle. In the meantime, Fairfield High, is attempting to get a more accurate reading of how much it costs to heat a pool. The district is allowing Fairfield High to use a $5,000 meter stick, which will track how much it costs to keep the pool heated. RHS also has a meter stick, but the district does not trust its accuracy because of the wind and complications with the tarps. Not only is it a waste to not put our brand new pool to use but it is also “unfair to the kids,” says RHS swim coach Sarah McLaughlin. “The aquatic programs have suffered more than any other program, and not as many cuts are being made to other sports teams,” she said.

Varsity water polo player Maya Moten is also upset about the pool. “The budget cuts suck. They make me so angry ….It was hecka delightful practicing at our school…” she said. Other students, such as junior Alex Mendoza, said they don’t mind the commute to SCC. “I just love swimming, and I don’t care where practice is at or how long the commute is. As long as I can swim, I don’t care where I am.” Senior Ben Dean isn’t as forgiving. “It’s dumb to have to practice at Solano after all this time. And plus, Armijo practices after us, which sucks for them and puts them in a bad place. Those kids get home really late.” More than 120 students participate in water sports and suffer because of the closure of the pool. Many cannot participate in sports because of lack of rides or the practice hours. The college pool is only available at certain times, and sometimes students have to practice at really late hours in the evening. Still, Ms. McLaughlin remains hopeful. “I feel the pool might be back up by swim season. The parents might have to pitch in, but hopefully we’ll be back in our pool by the time swim season starts up.” Most students whether you’re involved in an aquatics program or not, will probably agree it’s ridiculous to not use the pool after all this time, but until the schools get more money, or parents want to pay, our pool will no longer be in use.

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Do upper or lower classmen need agendas the most? Younger students need planning skills By Nicole Levin (’11) Juniors and seniors do not get lost. One cannot say the same for the lowerclassmen who are often lost in the obscure halls of RHS. This fact needs to be taken into account when discussing the distribution of school planners. The school cannot afford to supply the total student body with agendas due to budget cuts, and, consequently, only the lowerclassmen received them this year. This makes sense. While school agendas would be beneficial to everyone, it is the freshman and sophomores that need them the most. School planners not only help new and younger students become comfortable with the school policies and overall layout, but they also help develop students’ organizational skills. It is true that the juniors and seniors are bombarded with homework and projects in their AP and honors courses, and that an agenda would be appreciated. However, is it necessary to have one with a map of the school on the back or the bell schedule? By the third year at RHS most students are wellinformed, (if not incredibly fed up ) with hearing about the “non-negotiables.” Upperclassmen should use their perfected organization skills to create their own agen-

Cartoon/Lisa Zacarias

da, or they can even purchase one. It is highly unfortunate that all students will not receive agendas, but in economic hardships people must adapt. If that means developing alternate means of organization, then so be it. If all else fails students can just write on their limbs. It is the younger students who are in the most need of planners. They should get the first crack at them.

Planners needed for juniors and seniors

students should be given permitted times to gab on their phones. Other schools, such as Justin Sienna High School, allow cell phone use during lunch. This is a genius idea. Allowing talk-andtext-time at lunch gives students a full 30 minutes to talk to whoever they would be texting in class. In most cases, teens do what they shouldn’t because they shouldn’t do it. If they are allowed texting time, it gives them some freedom, and gets that need out of their systems. I am in no way saying that this break will end all in-class phone use. No, there will always be those students who text in class. It will, however, reduce the problem a great deal. If students get some time to use their thumbs out of class, they may just spend more time using their minds in class.

By Brittany Hernandez (’11)

By Alantae Breggs (’11) “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into

small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Author Mark Twain couldn’t have grasped this concept better. It is a necessity for juniors and seniors to have planners at RHS, so that they can administrate their goals and prepare for the task at hand. Management, responsibility, and organization are just a few of the many traits we need to achieve success during high school. Our trusty sidekick planner that RHS provides for us students is what keeps us on track to strive for that success. It stands as an aid, to assist students through the chaotic and hectic task we face throughout these four years. One of the most important aspects of developing strong ways of getting ahead is the planning. Having this sense of direction will assist you in accomplishing your tasks in a more timely and efficient manner. Along with arranging your daily agenda, we use these planners to help us prepare for college. Many students ought to know that career planning is a process that can and should begin while in high school, and continue into college years. Allowing yourself time to plan ahead will pay off in the future. You’ll make sure that you are staying on track with your goals and you can ensure that you become more task orientated. Also it will help you avoid from being sidetracked, which is quite easy. These elements are exactly what the RHS planner should be used for: to help students prepare for the upcoming transition.

Rethink the cell phone policy Health care needs serious fixing By Re’anna Morris (’10)

Zzzttt. Zttttt. Ztttttttt. A cell phone goes off: Someone is on their phone once again. It’s only the beginning of the school year and already teachers are confiscating cell phones left and right. Texting in class is a problem, but it doesn’t have to be. Administrators have been searching for ways to end the texting mania since it began, and so far have been completely unsuccessful in doing so. Statistics show that the most texting goes on between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. — school hours. Despite teachers’ efforts, students are still finding ways to text. So, what now? What else can they do? Administrators should look at another option. Rather than constricting cell phone use,

Health care continues to be a big issue in America. President Barrack Obama even gave a speech about his proposal earlier this month. Will the president’s dialogue on this issue spark a change? Cynthia Symons, a local public health nutritionist, hopes so. “The state of health care needs major improvement; people needing medical coverage do not get the same quality care. Change needs to happen in universal health care and fast. It has impacted me personally, we are now unable to serve the clients due to cuts with medical services. Health care cuts …. (are) affecting health care in doctor visits, dental visits, eye care, nutritionists, and mental care as well,” she said. Health care has provided quality service to all the senior citizens with disabilities.

Unfortunately, rising health care costs have undermined programs that serve seniors — health care that they need and deserve. Also. Young children are also at risk of losing health care. Health care can’t wait any longer. Today California has one of the most expensive health care systems in the world. Even though the state has spent more money on health care than any other nation, we are not healthier. In addition more than one-third of Americans are obese. That means those Americans are even more likely to suffer health problems and need more care, thus driving up costs. According to the White House papers, these statistics are evidence that drastic measures are needed to fix a broken system. I personally hope that health care is on the top of Barack Obama’s list because California needs a drastic change today.

Rodriguez High School

September 2009

Should marijuana be legalized? Health benefits change the debate PRO

Smokers forget the dangers involved CON

By Rachel Balella (’11)

It is time to decriminalize marijuana. For too long weed has been considered an illegal drug. Because of this, people tend to assume that weed has nothing good to offer us. The truth is, weed can do a lot for people. In fact, turning marijuana into a legal substance is even being considered in some states, such as California. Weed is now legal in Argentina, because Argentina’s government argues that weed has such little negative effect on humans that weed should be a personal choice. Weed has been illegally smoked, sold and grown by teens and adults for decades. Laws restricting marijuana use are not consistently enforced in this country. And the laws clearly have no impact on stopping marijuana consumption. People have been, and will continue to defy the law prohibiting the use of weed, so the law might as well be changed. Smoking marijuana should be a personal choice. Although I personally do not agree with doing drugs of any sort, if someone wants to smoke weed, the law should not stop them. Not only can weed relax people, it also can be used for medicinal purposes. Patients that are chronically ill or undergoing chemothera-

By Rebecca Thompson (’11) Cartoon/Krysta McCullough

py use marijuana to reduce nausea. Marijuana also can keep weight on sick patients, reduce muscle spasms and reduce eye pressure. It is known to ease and relax the muscles of the body, which can be helpful to those coping with serious illness. Many will argue that weed gets you high; and therefore, should be illegal. They are correct that it does get the user high, but so do many other products that are legal, such as Sharpies, White Out and alcohol. Banning weed doesn’t mean people are going to stop getting high; all they have to do is look in their cupboards for other intoxicating chemicals. Marijuana is not as addictive as other drugs and does not have nearly the negative effects as cocaine and meth. If someone wants to use marijuana, they should be able to. Lots of people already smoke marijuana regardless of what the law says. Marijuana also has positive effects on chronically ill patients and relaxes its users. Marijuana should be decriminalized.

Locking gates at 8 a problem By Chelsea Ramos (’10)

Recently I experienced my first unexpected traffic jam on my way to school. Leaving my house right on schedule, there was not a doubt in my mind I was going to be tardy for my first period. I sped through Red Top Road relieved that I passed the horrific traffic on Interstate 80. It was approximately 7:58 a.m. and I knew I would make it to class within five minutes, only making me three minutes tardy. I was already expecting to receive my first warning and I utterly accepted it. Within 20 feet from my destination, I see a campus monitor locking the parking lot gates. I then realized the new gate policy was in action, and the parking lot gates promptly locked at 8 a.m. Infuriated that I would have to drive all the way around to the front office

to tell them to let me in, all I wanted to do was drive back home. But I knew I couldn’t be absent, so I decided to drive to the office, receive my tardy slip, and then drive all the way back to the student parking lot where an office monitor unlocked the gates. Instead of being three minutes tardy to first period, I was delayed 15 more minutes. It is completely understandable that our school is doing all they can to make students come to school on time, but the new “locking the gates at 8” policy isn’t making the students get to class any easier. If RHS valued their students’ education so much, they wouldn’t want to waste any time and let students become tardier than they already are. This new policy is definitely one to reconsider.

Smoking marijuana isn’t the safe, care-free pastime that its supporters say it is. While some smokers may be relaxed and worry free, others are paranoid and have anxiety. Other symptoms of getting high by pot are temporary blurred vision, dizziness and disorientation. All of these things don’t sound so bad, because you’re only smoking once, right? Even though weed isn’t completely addictive, it can be habit forming. Smoking marijuana habitually is potentially dangerous to one’s health. Long-term smokers are known to have heart disease, lung cancer and strokes — just like cigarette smokers. Occasional us-

Will televisions become the next cassette tape? By Nicole Levin (’11)

The record player, the cassette tape, and the VCR are all obsolete technologies. Will the TV, an apparatus that has shaped American culture for more than 60 years, be added to this list? With the rising popularity of the internet, more and more people are leaving the comfort of their couches for the convenience of their computer monitors. It is easiest to track the transformation through college students. Their dynamic lifestyles often make them the leaders in cultural movements. Due to the lack of TVs and their busy schedules, a growing number of college students do not watch regular TV. When one RHS alumna was asked how he kept up with his favorite TV shows in college, he replied, “I just watch ‘South Park’ online.” Not only can he watch it whenever he wants, there are fewer and shorter commercials. Depending on the network, the average commercials during online shows are 20-30 seconds. This is significantly less than live TV. Television networks are not oblivious

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ers may not have these problems, but they will experience other issues — such as an altered sense of time, slow reactions, increased hunger, reduced short-term memory, little or no concentration abilities and impaired thinking. Pot is a drug that most high school, and even some middle school, kids can find easily, and it cost very little money. Although this may sound like great news to some, it’s bad news for your future. Getting involved with smoking at an early age is likely to disinterest kids from school and their school work. The more you smoke the less you care. Marijuana is also known as the “gateway drug.” Some users, usually those who start smoking at an earlier age, will move on to more dangerous drugs later in their lives, such as: cocaine, meth, mushrooms, heroin, acid and ecstasy. All of these drugs are much more addictive and have far worse side effects than weed. The solution? Just don’t smoke! to this new transformation. Most seem to be supporting it. Major networks such as Disney Channel and NBC have their shows available for online viewing. They even go so far as to include short episodes and interviews that are exclusive to the web. Even Netflix, a company that relies on the usage of home TVs, has developed a system in which customers can watch movies and shows instantly on their computers. In 50 years will we be explaining to our grandchildren the process of watching TV? Will we reminisce of a time when we surfed through channels and not the web? We should not mourn for the era of the TV. We should instead take advantage of this innovation, keeping in mind that although the TV will no longer be influencing the population, this new medium will.

‘...more and more people are leaving the comfort of their couches for the convenience of their computer monitors.’

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September 2009

Male athlete of the month Female athlete of the month By Bria Howse (’11)

Junior Derek Bryant has been playing football regularly since the first grade. He was promoted to the varsity team at the end of last year. He plays middle line backer and tight end. He said he was excited and ready for this football season. Before each game, Derek listens to music in order to get himself“hyped” before he walks out on the field. “I’m looking forward to our team going undefeated and hitting that championship, baby,” Derek said with a smile. He also plans to wrestle this year for the first time. Here is some more information on Derek. Favorite food: Tacos Favorite athlete: Ray Lewis

By Bria Howse (’11)

Derek Bryant

Photo/Bria Howse

Favorite colors: Red and black Favorite music: Hip Hop and R&B Favorite subject: Math Favorite Song: “Promise Remix” by Lil Wayne

As the girls golf season begins, junior Jenna Balestra sees this year as having a successful year. “Undefeated is what we’re aiming for,” Jenna says. “We definitely have made some improvements for this season.” This is will be Jenna’s second year playing golf. She also has played basketball ,but has decided to take a break from shooting hoops this year. Each golf game gets the girls a step closer to the championship. “Before each game, the whole team goes to the golf range to practice out putting,” she said. She said she would love to get a golf scholarship and attend Colorado State.

Jenna Balestra

Photo/Bria Howse

Here are some more facts about Jenna. Favorite food: Pizza Favorite athlete: Herself Favorite color: Orange Favorite music: Country Favorite subject: Environmental Science Favorite drink: Gatorade

Cross coutry team anticipates winning title By Rachel Balella (‘11)

After running five miles under the scorching sun’s heat, cross country team members have sweat rolling down their faces, their calves are sore and they’re almost out of breathe as they head back towards the school. Running three to eight miles a day may seem like an impossible practice, but it’s a requirement if the cross country team hopes to achieve their goal of winning the title of All League Championships. The cross country team is coached by Mr. Lou Encalada , the retired RHS assistant principal, who has led the girls to SCAC victory three years in a row. Mr. Encalada said he hopes to have the

varsity boys team win the SCAC this year, too, and it would be the boys teams first time coming in first place ever. In an effort to achieve these goals, Mr. Encalada has been stepping up practice. The runners do lots of drill work and run several miles at a time. The team will even practice at the local Rockville Park, or run to nearby schools, and then back to Rodriguez. “The heat makes practice really difficult,” he said. Still, he has the team do a lighter workout, like circuits. Even the blazing heat won’t stop Mr. Encalada from having practice. This kind of commitment and dedication is required if they hope to reach the big goals they set for themselves, he said. Mr. Encalada hopes to see improvement

RHS eliminates full time athletic director; fills in Texdahl By Gabriela Lopez (’11)

Mr. Derrick Texdahl not only is a P.E. teacher and baseball coach, but he is also now the school’s athletic director. Due to budget cuts, the full-time athletic director position, which used to be held by Mr. Bob Pickett, was eliminated. Now the job is what’s called a stipend position, which means no extra time is given , but a little extra pay is offered. “There’s a lot more responsibilities,” Mr.

Texdahl said. Mr. Texdahl stays busy during and after school to make sure the athletic program continues to run. In addition he says he has to make sure that he knows everything about every sport. He also must make sure that athletes are eligible to play on the team they signed up for. Mr. Pickett is teaching physical education full time this year.

among the students, and that they see improvement in themselves. Although he lost strong running seniors, like Ali Rosemond, he hopes the team does not give up and pushes themselves to do well. Mr. Encalada sees “lots of potential” among his team members, and some athletes who have the chance to do really well if they just work hard. He should know what raw potential looks like; he has been running for 35 years. Mr. Encalda was introduced to running through wrestling. In high school he participated in his schools wrestling team and as conditioning, he would run. Becca Flores feels, “Mr. Encalada is the best coach compared to the other ones we’ve had,” said (year?) Becca Flores. Senior Erika Kelsh, who is captain of the girls varsity team, agrees with Becca. “ I really admire Mr. Encalada’s dedication to the team, and his ability to not give up in the teams goals.” Ericka has been running since freshmen years, and has been running varsity all four years. Even though the team has lost some strong runners, she “still believes we can be champs.” Her personal goal is to make state. State is a competition in which the seven fastest kids, of the top two schools in the state go to an incredibly competitive meet. Out of 150 schools, only 21 runners are chosen to

compete in this race, and Erika is determined to be one. Hannah Davis, a first year runner for cross country, is hoping to see improvement in her own performance. “I just want to get in shape, and get faster,” said Hannah. “I know I’m not the fastest, but I really just wanna support the team and improve my times. There are also so many cute boys on the team!” Becca, likes how running motivated her. “ Cross country motivates me to do well

Mr. Encalada sees ‘lots of potential’ on his team.

Rodriguez High School

September 2009

Varsity football starts off shaky Mustangs fall to the VHS Bulldogs

Varsity football get ready for their next play. to be defeated.” He acknowledged that Vacaville was a tough competitor. “There’re supposedly the best,” he said. Before game day, captains Anthony Riggins and Andre Lofea-Carter said they felt honored to be in the place they’re in. Riggins plays running back strong safety and Carter plays corner back. Both teammates agree that coach Kelley puts in hard work for the team and expects 100 percent out of the team during practice and games. Quarterback, Myles King feels the team has come a long way and has really come

Volleyball anticipates victory By Sydney Tracy (’10)

Bump, Set, Spike! The RHS volleyball team is on its way, once again, to becoming the best in the league, and adding another year of sectional wins to its long list of accomplishments. This year the varsity team is filled with a number of talented girls who shine on the court. It is obvious to see that these girls love what they are doing, and have become much like a family. Even when mistakes are made, the ladies know how to keep their heads up, and always encourage one another. Last Thursday, these fierce ladies pulled out all the stops in their game against Vintage High of Napa. The game was tight each round, but the

Water polo team tries to adjust to distressing changes By Rebecca Thompson (11’)

By Jasmine Lucas (’10)

The evening of the RHS-Vacaville High football game was hot. The blue from the sky, the white clouds and the red from the sun all mixed together as game time rolled around. “Even the sky is orange and white,” said longtime Vacaville High math teacher Jayne George. Perhaps the sky was foreshadowing what was to come. Despite hopes from the team for a better showing during its game, the Mustangs took a whipping 58-21. The Bulldogs took the lead early and never really let it go. Two of the high points for the Mustangs were when Anthony Riggins took a 96 yards on a kickoff return and when Jordan Morrow took 97 yards. Still, the Mustangs show plenty of potential and are “well coached,” said athletic director Derrick Texdahl, referring to new coach Fred Kelley. “Vacaville will be the hardest team…most likely the hardest challange …. (this) is a good first test,” Mr. Texdahl said. Other challenges this season will come from Franklin, Elk Grove, Fairfield and Armijo, he said. Junior Nolan Weathers looked grim before half time. He said his goal was to do the best job he could and “defeat everyone who needs

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lady Mustangs handled themselves wonderfully and came out on top. Back row player, Cori Sherman shined as she managed to deliver perfect passes of even the hardest balls spiked at her. Likewise, the entire front row was on fire and seemed to leave the opposing team dazed and confused. Their spikes were so aggressive as well as accurate, that the audience seemed to get chills every time the ball was hit. “We plan on winning league and beating our rival team Benicia,” said junior Kiara Garcia, otherwise known as Ya-Ya. And it looks like the ladies are well on their way to doing just that. Kiara also says that even with the newest editions to the team, the chemistry is perfect and everyone is gelling just right.

Staff Photo

together as one. “Coach Kelley and I have a father son relationship, he is also the best coach I’ve had throughout my seven years of playing football,” said King. “The team this year is more (like) a brotherhood and the new coach is bringing the team together as one, as it should be,” said Jordan Morrow, who plays slot receiver and defensive back. Based on the hard work, this team’s prediction is to get far in the playoffs and even win a championship. Stay tuned. (Mrs. Rebecca Bowen contributed to this report.)

The Rodriguez’s water polo team has undergone some exciting and distressing changes. On the good side, there is a new coach. On the bad side, the RHS pool is closed because of budget cuts, forcing the team to travel to the Solano Community College pool. For the boys polo team, there has been more good changes than bad. “It’s a shame that we can’t use our new pool, but the college pool is still just as nice as our pool,” said junior varstiy player, Pierre Ciennas. The boys’ team has more freshmen and sophomore players this year and a new legendary coach from North California, Wes Lie. “We have improved greatly in numbers and in skill thanks to our new coach and summer practices,” Pierre said. Their first scrimmage was against Justin Siena, the Mustangs won 9-4. However, the girls water polo team is few in numbers. Varsity player Rachel Tiss says that this can be a plus. “With a small group we each get more attention from the coaches and we are becoming closer as a team.” The girls won their first scrimmage to Justin Siena, 9-8.

Girls tennis is swinging into the fall season with little to worry about By Nicole Levin (’11)

If the girl’s tennis preseason is any indication of how well they will perform during league matches, then they have nothing to worry about. The team defeated Franklin, a near Sacramento school 9-0, and Vacaville 8-1 earlier in the month. On top of this, the team took a trip down to Monterrey to play in a tournament. “The purpose of the trip was to get everyone match-ready for the season,” says returning coach Stephanee Lawrence. “All players have improved since our Vacaville scrimmage.” The team fared well in the tournament,

tying for second with Salinas High School, and playing a total of 54 matches in two days. It was a trip full of ties, for the next day in a match against Stevenson High School in Pebble Beach they tied once again 4-4. All these matches are getting the girls pumped up for the season. The team’s league record is 15-0, and Captain Jessica George hopes to add to that total. “I am excited to see the looks of defeat on our opponents’ faces,” Jessica said. Junior singles player Kristin Witte is also excited for the upcoming season, and the “interesting tans” that ensue.

Rodriguez High School

September 2009

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Grad Hannah Wang makes a life in Davis By Rebecca Thompson (’11)

Hannah Wang, who graduated in 2008, lives in an apartment in Davis with three other RHS alumni . She attends Sacramento State University and is majoring in interpersonal communications. “I plan on focusing a lot on school, finding a new church around here, meeting a lot of new people and passing all my classes,” Hannah said. Her goal during these next four years is “to be diligent in everything she does.” She also wants “to learn to be self-sufficient.” Hannah plans to travel to Ukraine and get involved with the youth ministry after she graduates. Hannah says that the best part of being out of high school is being able to enjoy adulthood, and “going to school because I want to and

Hannah Wang

not because I have to. … the worst part is the loneliness. I go to a commuter school with 30,000 other students. Everyone’s there to get their degree and get out…it’s not like I see someone I know in every hall I walk down (like I did) at Rodriguez, instead I’m navigating across a campus the size of a small town where I see no familiar faces all day.” This new college student hangs out with

her roommates and other Sac State friends. In her free time, she works on “apartment stuff, like organizing furniture and hanging pictures.” She also enjoys downtown Davis, her bike and watching movies. Here is some more information about this former Mustang. Age: 18 Favorite Music: folk/alternative

Favorite Band: Eisley Favorite foods: yellow peaches and cucumbers from Davis farmer’s market, coffee, and “anything I can take on the road like a PB&J.” Favorite show: “The Office” Hobbies: running, “playing my instruments and riding my bike around Davis. ” Car: 2001 Volkswagen Golf (got it junior year) Sports: “I’m going to play water polo next year, but this year I want to focus on school work” Dream job: “to be a missionary in Ukraine, probably forever.” Quote: “Just a word to RHS students: Much is expected of you in college, so be serious about it. This is real life, make your decisions accordingly.”

Wrestling team already preparing for winter meets By Annalisa Kongvongsay (’11) Takedowns, reversals, escapes, near falls, and pins are all the moves a wrestler needs, but the key to winning is the technique. That’s what coach Michael Clarkston will try to install into his athletes this year. Wrestling doesn’t begin until winter, but that doesn’t stop the team from conditioning now. Mr. Clarkston said his goal for varsity is to win the league title and maybe even another section title. As for junior varsity, he would

like to get them as many matches as soon as possible. He hopes to have at least 30 freshmen and sophomore wrestlers. Pre-season practice started on Sept. 14. There will also be a pre-season tournament on Nov. 7. Practice is from 3 to 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays . If you are interested in wrestling this year and do not attend these practices, “you’re going to be behind,” says Coach Clarkston. He encourages anyone to join the RHS

Girls golf tees off with dedication By Lisa Zacarias (’11)

Silently cheered by anxious fans, the girls golf team is getting ready to start with a bang. Coached by AVID and Spanish teacher Jennifer Hampton, they’re on track to a great season. Pushing them is the still bitter taste from last season. “Before last year,” Ms. Hampton said, “we were the league champions. We beat Benicia three times in the season, but they won the tournament.” But that won’t deter them. “Although they’re all pretty new golfers, they’re all hard workers, and they’ve increased their skill and grown really close,” said Ms. Hampton. As for their weaknesses, she says that they

don’t actually have any. She has faith in them, even if this is only her second year of coaching. The feeling is definitely reciprocated. “Mrs. Hampton is a great coach; she’s always positive, and she always pushes us to do our very best,” said junior Camille Johnson. Camille, too, is very confident. “I feel that our team is stronger than ever, mentally and physically,” she said, “and we’re ready for the challenge that lies ahead.” It is with high expectations that they begin to go to practices at the Rancho Solano Golf Course. With a 3-1 record, they are well founded. “I hope to play as well as we did last year, to improve, and to come back to win league again,” said a determined Ms. Hampton.

wrestling team as long as they are there to wrestle and work hard. The same goes for girls. He said he would very much like more girls on the team, “as long as they’re actually there and out to wrestle.” When it comes to new wrestlers, he is looking for students who are open to listening and take advice instead of playing around. Clarkston explains that a lot of people are shy about wearing a singlet; it takes some getting used to.

“At some point they will not want to go without it,” he says. There are very few returning wrestlers this year but for those who are returning, they are expected to step up and be leaders this year. He would appreciate multiple stat girls this year and would like at least two for varsity tournaments and as many for junior varsity. Stat girls must be positive and help out, not just there to hang out, but also do a little work. The first practice for this blood pumping sport is Nov. 10. The first varsity tournament will be on Dec. 19.

Senior flown by rescue copter to hospital after being hit by car By Carissa DeMasi (’11) Senior Robert Kaiser is recuperating after being hit by a car Sept. 9 while crossing the street near Food Maxx on Texas Street. As he was crossing the street with a friend, a woman who wasn’t paying attention slammed into him, throwing him onto the windshield of the car, authorities said. Robert suffered skull fracture and bleeding around the brain. He was flown by rescue helicopter to John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek where he was put in an induced coma to prevent any more injuries.

His mother says he is doing okay and the doctors say he’ll be released as soon as the swelling goes down. He remains in a coma as of September 14th, 2009 when he can finally talk and is able to remember his friends and family. One of his friends, Kara Wade, decided to make Robert a “Get Well Soon!” T-shirt and have friends and well-wishers sign it. The shirt is covered in good wishes, such as “Get well soon Robert!” and “Have a speedy recovery!”and “Your friends love you!” It even had some jokes to make him laugh, such as “Hope you get well soon, and when you do... Don’t get hit again, OK?”

Rodriguez High School

September 2009

Body art and piercings (Continued from page 1)

Junior Joseph Salazar enjoys his lunch.

Photo/David Melad

...piercings: two double lip piercings (referred to as spider bites). The rest are on her nose, ears, and naval. “My parents don’t mind me having piercings because they have some themselves,” she says. She likes the “spider bites” because they are different. Shalamar is in the same boat. “My mom doesn’t mind my tats or piercings because she said it’s my body and I’ll have to live with it,” she said. Junior Kate-lynne Jones is one of the few on campus who have five-eighth gauges. She also has her lip and left cartilage pierced and recently took out her nose piercing. Kate-

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lynne pierced everything herself except for her lip. She has been gauging her ears since freshman year. She said her mother absolutely hates them while her father makes fun of them. Senior Aaron Stewart has a total of four tattoos. He got his first one when he was in 9th grade. He said all of his tattoos are representations of his love for his mother, grandma, and great-grandma. “My mom is in favor of three out of four,” he said. “My mom doesn’t like the one of my grandma’s name because they don’t get along. A profound creation, a tattoo is always more than meets the eye.

Price of food is rising causing Budget cut changes RHS to raise lunch prices (Continued from page 1)

By Megan Bonilla (’10) Those who have purchased food at RHS this year may have noticed that prices have gone up. Breakfast, which only last year was $1.25 is now $1.50 and lunch which used to be $2.50 is now $2.75. Is this an effort to compensate for the growing budget deficit? No, says RHS economics teacher Mrs. Aimee Resnick According to her, school food prices are federally and state regulated. “It is against the education code for schools to generate revenue from student food purchases.” Mrs. Resnick said. The money can only be used to pay for costs of the food program such as labor, machinery, and other related materials. “The reason lunch prices are increasing is because the overall cost of food is going up.” One of the big factors determining food cost is corn. This crop is being used as ethanol, a bio-fuel. Therefore, the price of corn is increasing and other food prices increase as

a result. The main food for cows is corn and if the corn is more expensive then the products that cows produce such as milk are going to be more expensive as well. This results in higher school food prices. Despite the increasing prices, students still do not have to pay the actual cost of the food. Students receive government subsidies to lower the cost of food. Teachers are not allowed to receive these government subsidies. So while it may seem like we have to pay a lot for food prices as students. Teachers still have to pay more. These subsidies basically mean that students are able to purchase the food at a discounted price. There are also government subsidies available for students whose parents have a lower income. Breakfast and lunch are available for a reduced price of 30 cents for breakfast and 40 cents for lunch. In some cases students may even qualify for free breakfast and lunch. Students can get free and reduced applications from Liza Chase in the cafeteria.

...polo and the swim team will have to practice and play at Solano Community College. However, it is unclear how much this will save the district. Other cutbacks included the elimination of the student activities director and athletic director. While Ms. Stella Shamieh is still running the Leadership class, she now has a full load of classes to teach. That means fewer rallies and dances this year. Mr. Derrick Texdahl is handling some of the athletic director duties, which used to be the full-time job of Mr. Bob Pickett, who this year is teaching physical education.

Class sizes are a bit larger as well; however, Mrs. Gillespie said, students can still expect to receive a good education. “Regardless of the budget, we will continue to have a laser like focus on student learning. Our high quality teachers will continue to use the best practices in classrooms,’’ she said. Assistant Principal Wilson echoed that point. “This school year is just different, and in extraordinary times, we take extraordinary measures to make things work. We work harder and smarter, changed job duties, and shifted responsibilities.”

Varsity soccer has big shoes to fill By David Melad (’11)

Stampede has a rough start

Varsity soccer has big shoes to fill with last year’s boys winning the SCAC title and going on to the finals of the San Joaquin Championships. With many players graduated and others not returning to play, it leaves the team with cracks to mend. During tryout week, only 30 players showed up between both varsity and JV. Freshman Nathan McKeever and sophomore Pevail Leon have been moved to play

varsity due to the low number on the team and their abilities on the field. Another concern for this year was game time for the JV season. Last year only a few schools in the SCAC actually had the players or money for a JV program, but luckily this year has turned out better, allowing the JV to play more games in the season. Head coach Daniel Dale said he hopes to see the same drive and passion that the following years before have expressed so strongly in their performance.

Despite a rough start, this year’s Stampede managing editor Re’anna Morris has high hopes for the paper . “At first I was scared about this year since we didn’t have a lab to work in, but now that we do, I think everyone is working really

now,” said Mrs. Bowen. “Today’s journalism students need to gain skills in online news gathering.” Five students on the staff are returning from last year. The Stampede took first place awards in

both the National Scholastic Press Association and the American Scholastic Press Association. Members also won more than a dozen writing awards from The (Vacaville) Reporter’s regional Campus Star contest.

By Matt Bowen (’10)

hard and is on their game this year.” The staff is splitting its time between a computer lab in E-203 and adviser Rebecca Bowen’s F-106 classroom. In addition to the monthly stampede, the staff will also produce an online newspaper. “Online news isn’t just the future, it’s

September Issue  
September Issue  

RHS school newspaper