Our fingerprints might fade... Our faces may be forgotten... But the footprints we leave will forever be imprinted in our journey through life. We are...
PAVING the way...
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Skating through troubles
Dramatic accident, frequent moves cause senior to reevaluate life Sophia Davidson
Moving to three cities in three different states all throughout high school, cutting a tendon while sliding through a window, and losing the ability to do what you love to do. Sounds like something that would happen to a character in a dramatic TV series. But for Shakiya Sargent, this is reality. From the time she was 3 years old, Sargent found a passion for ice skating and wished to someday pursue a career. But unfortunately in the eighth grade, rushing to leave the school’s gym during a fire drill, Sargent slipped, fell, and crashed through the glass and wire window of a door. Before realizing what had happened, she was in complete shock, lying on the floor with her right leg covered with blood and shards of glass. A major tendon in her right leg was damaged. After surgery and physical therapy, Sargent was able to walk on her leg again; however, due to the physical strain it demanded, she could no longer ice skate. “I was really sad about it because I wanted to make it into a career,” she said. Since her stepfather’s job as a welder requires her family to move about the West Coast, Sargent has moved to three different cities. As a freshman she moved from her hometown of Portland, Oregon then to Ephrata and Moses Lake, Washington which were both small, community-oriented towns. Yet in Ephrata, where a majority of the population was white, Sargent faced racism. During the first month,
she suffered racial slurs from neighbors, peers, and even store clerks. Neighbors ignored her, peers would tag her desk with racist remarks, and workers would follow her around stores thinking that she was a thief. She wasn’t at all used to living in a place where everyone assumed that her and her family were gangsters and criminals. Now she lives here in Stockton. Moving from city to city requires constant adaptation, yet Sargent sees it as an experience that has made her wellrounded. As for racism, “Even if you bully me and call me names, I’m still going to smile in your face.” And despite her inability to ice skate, she has found a new career path as a marine biologist and wishes to study at the University of Maine. Despite the seven scars she has on her legs, Sargent is still standing strong.
Success despite hectic homelife
photo courtesy of Shakiya Sargent photo (left) by Mikeala Axton Shakiya Sargent displays her early achievements as a young figure skater. Now, she talks about the pride she still has in her accomplishments even though she no longer skates.
Kristin Acevedo “Once upon a time, we were ‘normal.’” For now, Julian Nevarez calls living with his aunt, uncle, and little brother, Anthony, home. His older brother, Tye, has already moved out. His father has been a faint detail in his life for years now. His mother stops by every now and then, and ev-
eryone in the household dreads when they hear her screaming for them to open the door. However, it hasn’t always been this way. Although his younger brother would be too young to recall a time when home was a functional version of the traditional mom, dad, and kids, Nevarez has the slightest memory. His mom used to help with homework and they’d take family trips to the movies, but slowly things began to change. “She just stopped caring,” he said. “Tye really had to raise us.” By the time Nevarez was 7 his older brother Tye had to keep things together. From getting everyone to school on time to making sure his younger brothers had a meal every day, Tye had to
do it all while his dad was always at work. But Tye couldn’t keep this up for too long, especially after his dad left because he “couldn’t do it anymore.” After all, Tye was a child himself, trying to make his own bright future. “One day,” Nevarez said, “he was just like ‘Come on we’re leaving’ and took us (him and his brother) to go live with my grandma.” Nevarez was 9 when his grandmother took the boys in. “Man… I love my grandma, she did everything for us.” For a while their mom joined them at their grandmother’s house, but things came up missing and the family began to guess that she was on drugs. She had to go. However, mom wasn’t completely out of the picture, like they’d wished. Every now and then she’d come to the house and wreak havoc. Asking for rides. To be let in. She’d sometimes lie outside by the front door and scream. She is merely a sour taste in the family’s mouth, Nevarez said. As he grew older, Nevarez quickly learned that his mother was just another issue in his life and he accepted this. However, during his sophomore year his situation at home began to finally weigh his mind down and eventually led to stagnancy. Like his mother, he just stopped caring. He began to skip school and when he did come to school, all he really did was fill an empty desk. His family caught on to this behavior. “They woke me up,” he said. They questioned what he was doing and why, and Nevarez asked himself the same. He realized this was not the way to better his situation. His plans to go to a college in Vegas with his best friend, who has been through everything with him, would never become a reality if he were to keep this photos by Harmony Evangelisti up. His mind began to move forward again. Nevarez does not dwell on the problems and reJulian Nevarez works on first semester project for sponsibilities he has in his life; instead, he counts his his Advanced Placement English class, brainstorming blessings and takes every opportunity by stride. ideas along with fellow senior Alfredo Aguirre.
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Brian and Ryan Wood work through academic obstacles in hopes to make it to the NFL Kentaley McCurdy
Loud cheers and the screams from fellow students ring ferociously through the football stadium and into the ears of the players. The feelings that go into playing football and playing it well are expectations that Brian (right) and Ryan Wood have to live up to. Known as two of the best football players at Stagg is a reputation they have to constantly maintain for their team and school. These expectations to take the team to another level are things that they prepare for throughout the year. As seniors, their dedication has become evident in their hard work both on and off the field. “(We) run track during the spring season because it builds up (our) speed and keeps (us) in shape,” the twins said. Track is a way both of them can stay active throughout the year and get “faster” for football. Although playing sports is basically their life, they also have to prepare for college. For Ryan, it’s a little challenging because “(he) messed up (his) grades and now (has) to take a lot of classes.” For some students, that task alone is hard to deal with but some colleges and universities have decided to work with him academically. Although they are excited about college there is more stress for them to be successful. “We will be the first ones to go to college in our family so there is more pressure to do well,” Brian said. With all of the challenges they go through, they have people around them constantly supporting them. “Coach Norton pushes me and motivates me to stay in school and get good grades for college. He is like a parent,” Brian said. Likewise Ryan said, “Coach Norton is always on me and tells me what I can do in the future, if I stay on the right track.” Along with their coach helping them, their father has always supported them. Football for them isn’t just a school sport but an everyday priority. Their father pushes that idea to the maximum with constant workouts and practice plays at home. “We go to the park and do plays and we go to the gym almost every day,” Brian said. Because they are twins, they get to experience what it feels like to have someone encourage them all the time. “I can talk to him at home and go over stuff. We make each other better players,” Brian said. One challenge in particular that they both dealt with in the beginning of their football career was being a team player. “Now I’m a team player instead of an individual, I’m more focused to win than just my personal stats,” Ryan said. By working their way through school and staying committed to football they have become better players. Their hard work has essentially enabled the twins to sign a four year contract to Chadron State College, in hopes of developing their talent. Because they both signed to the same school they still will be able support each other. “We have each other now,” Ryan said. By going to college and getting a higher education along with playing football, they are one step closer to being the NFL players they have dreamed of becoming since childhood.
TWINS: Similar faces, different perspectives Mia Torres
Although twins Melissa (left) and Michelle Galindo have similar facial features, they insist their personalities differ. Melissa favors her academics, while Michelle enjoys being with her friends or playing on the volleyball court. “School is my escape,” Melissa said. “I put so much pressure on myself to escape all the hardships in my life.” Melissa ranks third in the senior class with a grade-point average of 4.3. However, she hasn’t always been the strong student she is now. She admits to having had a significant anger problem. It was because of her father being absent from her life so much caused the pain. “It used to be really bad,” she said describing her anger. However her AVID teacher was a big part of helping her improve her anger. “Mrs. Hayes helped me a lot with managing it.” English teacher Thongthip
Duangsawat agrees that Melissa has grown from now to the point when she got kicked out of AVID during her junior year. “She’s one of the most commendable students, whatever happens in her life, negative or positive, she
tries to learn from it, and 99.9 percent of the time she does.” Her close friend, senior Samantha Wang, notices Melissa’s improvement with her anger towards her father. “She’s become more determined and actually wants to go somewhere in life,” she said. “We’ve been best friends since seventh grade and she’s learned to understand about her father.” And despite their father’s absence their grandfather has been a major influence in their lives. “My dad was never there and I didn’t understand why,” Melissa said. They were n o t i f i e d that he was in
the hospital in a coma. When they visited him it was the first time they saw him and the last. “Even though we saw him, he couldn’t see us,” Michelle said. When he died, her volleyball teammates helped her cope. “They were what helped keep me on track with school.” Senior Angelique Wilson, Michelle’s close friend, talks about her friend. “Michelle still has respect for him. Even though he was never there, she still loves her father.” The girls have always had different feelings about their father. Michelle is more forgiving towards him. “It did affect me that he wasn’t there, but I always thought he’d come back. I had faith that he would,” she said. Melissa and Michelle recognize that they have different outlooks on things. Michelle says her sister has become a different person. “She’s now hard working and determined. She’s become a better person and is more open now.” Melissa’s feels Michelle haschanged as well. “She used to care about what others thought about her but now she’s able to think less about that and become more independent.”
YOU want to
accomplish? The Mesoamerican Long Count Calender is said to end on Dec. 21, 2012. Some suspect this will be the end of life as we know it. However, whether the world ends or not, everyone has goals they wish to accomplish as they venture out — leaving high school and entering “the real world.” Ten seniors shared their most prominent life goals they wish to accomplish before they die. So what do you want to accomplish?
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05.11.12 “I want to accomplish buying my PARENTS a house because they’ve been there for me and supported me.”
“Before I die I want to have kids and I want to explain to them what the importance of having an EDUCATION is to their lives so that they won’t make the same mistakes I did in school.”
“I want to achieve my dream of being a professional BASEBALL player so that I make my grandmother Marge (R.I.P) proud”
“I want to go into a career in the VETERINARY field and travel to Europe.”
“Something I want to accomplish before I die is to have my own LOVING FAMILY.”
“Before I die I want to live in New York and pursue PHOTOGRAPHY.”
“Before I die, I want to tour the WORLD and witness the end of racism.”
“Before I die I would like to see the majority of my family SAVED and living for God.”
“My accomplishment will be owning my own BARBERSHOP somewhere in Stockton, working with family and friends and making it less like a shop and more like a home.” -Joey Sem
“Something I want to accomplish before I die is completing COLLEGE because no one in my family has.”
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Following the path
Angelique Reyes lives life diligently, following and embracing her religion Harmony Evangelisti Angelique Reyes, like a lot of girls, wears skirts. The difference is: Reyes always wears skirts. She wore a skirt every day of kindergarten, and every day of school since. On a family trip to the mountains, playing in the snow, she wore a skirt. “I do everything in a skirt,” Reyes said. Reyes and her family are strong Christian Apostolics, a religion in which women are encouraged to dress modestly, to show the difference between a man and a woman. “When you see a bathroom sign, how do you tell the difference between a man and woman?” she asked. “The guy is wearing pants and the girl is in a dress.” Reyes’ belief is circumscribed around Jesus Christ’s teaching of the Bible, the word of God. “When I worship I feel fire, I have this unexplainable power.” During Sunday night service, the congregation of Apostolic Tabernacle Church gather for worship. “We speak in tongues, a language that no one can understand except God,” Reyes said. “Not even the devil understands.” Throughout the service, people unite around the altar and raise their hands, dance, and sing in honor of God. Reyes is usually the last to leave the house of worship. “When I worship, the music just helps get me going but God’s spirit takes over me.”
Outside of church, Reyes advocates her beliefs with her appearance. She not only wears skirts every day but also never cuts her hair beyond a trim, never wears make-up, never polishes her nails and never accessorizes with jewelry. “When you see a bird it’s beautiful and natural; you never see a painted bird,” said Reyes’ mother, Lisa, as she flattens out her skirt across her thighs. Lisa was born into the church and has worn a skirt ever since. “Being raised in this photo by Harmony Evangelisti household helped me stay The Reyes family get together at Christian Life Center for a Sunday night service away from all the wicked where they worship God by speaking in tongues, dancing, and other ways. stuff of the world,” Reyes said. pants, for example. Her mother said that she will sup Reyes has been raised to embrace this lifestyle out- port any of her choices, but Reyes plans on continuing side her home. However, with adulthood right around to follow the belief she was born into. the corner, dedicating her life to religious customs “(My lifestyle) has become a part of me that I don’t becomes a personal choice; she could decide to wear want to let go of.”
Senior battles family problems for a brighter future
The American Dream consists of a happy family, a desirable job, a comfortable home. This ideal life is something many strive for. However, the American Dream for Juan Mares means becoming a citizen and overcoming the many struggles he has faced since birth. Mares was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and, at just a few months old, he and his family moved to the United States. His struggles began early in childhood. While most 4-year-olds were learning to read or playing with toys, Mares was drinking alcohol. The alcohol was in the house because of his
father’s drinking problem, he explained. As a result of his father’s alcohol abuse, Mares suffered from physical abuse. “We were so poor and my father so apathetic, that when my siblings and I were thirsty and there was no water, our father would simply give us a drink of his beer,” he said. Mares grew a deep hatred towards his father because of the abuse, but his sister provided him with an escape. She taught him how to do simple math computations and introduced the idea of school. “By the time I went to school, I was at a third grade math level,” Mares said. He learned at a young
photo by Harmony Evangelisti Juan Mares leads a club meeting as the president of the Interact Club.
age that he had the ability to excel academically. But the imprint of his childhood never left him. He explained that because of his harsh upbringing, he would frequently fight in school. In 2006, his family moved to California. Mares said that often times his internal anger and hostility overpowered his intelligence. “When I interacted with anyone, I would always resort to violence: at school, in public, even with my family,” he said. Despite his rough start, Mares managed to improve his behavior and ultimately rise above his circumstances. He began applying himself to his academics, earning higher grades and becoming more involved. He is currently involved with the Jerry McNerney Congressional elections where he takes part in voter outreach. “It’s kind of given me some sort of idea as to what my future career could be,” Mares said. Along with the ideas he has gained from his political experience, he also has a desire to become an engineer. The three fields he is interested in are chemical, mechanical, and electrical. Some of his friends who are mechanical engineers have truly inspired him, he explains. “They kind of proved to me that regardless of your background or ethnicity, you can accomplish your goals.”
They kind of proved to me that regardless of your backround or ethnicity, you can accomplish your goals. JUAN MARES Another responsibility Mares is dealing with is his citizenship; he is currently in the process of becoming United States citizen and has already obtained his birth certificate. His aspirations to attend college make obtaining his citizenship a critical component. “Becoming a citizen is not a quick and easy process,” he said. While struggling to become a citizen, he is also a teen parent. While finishing his senior year is crucial for college, he now has a child he’s responsible for. However, he is determined to be successful and provide for his family. “I am committed to be the best father I can be for my child,” he said. Handling multiple responsibilities, Mares manages to keep persevering. “Nowadays, I have much progressed from my previous self but I make some mistakes,” he said. “After all, the transition was not easy and I am human.”
Student accepted by extended family Taylor Hurles
She wondered why she looked slightly different than others in her family. Why she was a little darker. Why she had different facial features. Laurin Ortega was 2 years old when her biological father was shot and killed. She spent most of her life with Ray Ortega, who took on the role of being her father. When her mother told her about her biological father she was about 9 years old. Not quite able to understand, she sat there holding the funeral program and thinking. “When I found out I felt confused,” she said. “You have a whole other family (biological father’s family) that you think may not accept you.” However, she did not exactly feel sad because she really never knew different. “My mom and ‘dad’ always knew each other and my ‘dad’ said ‘no matter what, this is my kid,’” she said. “When I was a newborn, (Ortega) was on my birth certificate; I never knew any other.” Although growing up has been different for Ortega she has always worked diligently in school and has never allowed her situation to affect her work ethic. “I had a clear goal: I’m going to do well,” she said. Ortega plans to attend college and pursue a career in administration in the medical field. Her career choice was influenced by her family because there will always be a need for medical workers and it is a safe career, she explained. Support is a strong component in Ortega’s life; she receives it from both her mother’s family and her Ortega family. They’re always helpful and they never exclude her, she said, with tears in her eyes. “I don’t feel like I’m the only black sheep of the family,” she said. “They don’t accept everyone, but they accept me.” She is appreciative and fortunate to have her Ortega family. “No matter who I meet, or where I go, or what conversations I have, they are my real family.”
The Ortega family at dowtown Stockton waterfront to take a family photo. photo courtesy of Laurin Ortega
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Angel Lim makes decision to value herself more than the opinion of society
Shortly after this, Lim looked for things that would make her feel betShe was out running errands with her ter about herself. What she found was mother. They walked into a Cambodian hairspray, perfume, outfits, and cosmetstore near her house, both of them smil- ics. “I thought if I wore makeup and ing and enjoying their day. Angel Lim changed my hairstyle once in a while, never predicted that she would soon people wouldn’t look at my body.” hear something that would change the Lim admits that she was too focused rest of her life. on what she looked like on the outside. Lim recalls the incident and tells the “It became an obsession. Before I would story as if it had just happened minutes come to school in sweats and not care earlier. She remembers what I looked like. every detail. “We went But (in the beginning I realized to the counter and of freshman year) the cashier lady said that just bethere wasn’t a day you to my mom, ‘I can’t would catch me with cause society believe you had an my hair not done. I ugly fat daughter like sees fat and ugly would come to school that.’ Even though I late if I had to.” doesn’t make it was young, I still knew Lim said that she what she (was saying).” eventually came to her true; as long as This was said in a senses. “I realized that matter of seconds with I like who I am, just because society carelessness, but it afsees fat as ugly doesn’t that’s all that fected Lim for years make it true. As long to come. As time went as I like who I am, matters. on, she began to feel that’s all that matters.” ANGEL LIM more insecure about She goes on to talk her looks. “The sumabout how she has mer before freshman year, I went to a matured. “I think people notice that I’ve party with a few friends. We were sit- gotten comfortable in my own skin,” ting with these guys and one of them Lim said. “I’m happy with who I am was telling fat jokes. I was the only one now.” offended… He said ‘If I was that ugly, Lim learned a lot through her exI would have committed suicide al- periences and now hates that girls feel ready.’” the urge to look perfect. To girls going Lim recalls going home later that eve- through a similar situation, she offers ning. “The bad thing is, I actually be- a piece of advice: “Just be comfortable lieved it. I went home and looked in the with who you are and don’t care what mirror. Then I said to myself, ‘Maybe he others think. What they think doesn’t is right.’” matter, it never does.”
photo by Harmony Evangelisti Part of Angel Lim’s resolution to accept herself is to be healthy.
Cheerleading interrupted by health
Seyma Tap With a smile on her face and her pom poms in the air, Olivia Reilley showcased her pride and spirit through the sound of her cheering. Cheerleading was her sanctuary. She loved it —
the rush of adrenaline she felt when watching the football team play, the feeling of unity she shared with her squad, and the satisfaction of taking home first place in the 2011 Jamz Cheer Championship. But unknown to many, the smile she confidently wore on her face became a mask that
photo by Mikeala Axton Olivia Reilley shares her excitement for cheer even though she no longer participates in the sport.
was covering up searing pain. “I felt nauseous,” she said. “My stomach was acting up.” Over the summer, Reilley dealt with episodes of nausea, vomiting, and occasional pain in her abdominal region. These “attacks” occurred over the course of one week and it was not until her mother checked her into a hospital that she found out she had been experiencing symptoms of stomach ulcers — a hole in the gastrointestinal tract caused by hydrochloric acid, destroying the lining of the stomach. Despite being diagnosed, Reilley continued what she loved doing, ignoring the pain as best as she could. But one traumatic day made her rethink this decision. “I had an ulcer attack for seven and a half hours,” she recalls. “It was my worst attack ever. I kept throwing up.” Senior Brian Hamilton was with her at the time and could remember it just as clearly. “I felt helpless,” he said. “I cried, I felt like I couldn’t do anything.” During her hospitalization, Reilley was hooked onto an IV and given four to five hydrogen bags. Her doctor warned her that any type of physical activity wasn’t the best idea and can potentially worsen the ulcers, leading to death. Stomach ulcer-related complications, according to mamashealth.com, take the lives of about 6,000 Americans
every year and Reilley doesn’t want to be one of them.“It’s either my health or cheer, and I chose health,” she said. This was an easy decision to make, but one that was hard to accept. Reilley first became a cheerleader during her sophomore year, but it was for only a brief amount of time due to her grades. Once again, her time in uniform was short-lived. “I haven’t cheered since my sophomore year,” she said. “I finally got to be on cheer this year, but now I can’t because of (the ulcers).” Reilley says her condition hasn’t really changed her, but she’s “not as out there” as she used to be. Once loud and outgoing, she is now more reserved. She makes sure to be more careful and avoids putting any strain on her body. She has not had any “big attacks” ever since that traumatic day, but gets “small, tiny ones” every two weeks or so. Besides the fact that she now has to take Pepcid, which is a drug that prevents the stomach from producing too much acid, her life without cheer isn’t much different. With her uniform and her pom poms now tucked away and her memory of cheerleading still remaining, life goes on for Reilley. “I’m glad (my doctor) found (the ulcers),” she said. “I’m done with cheerleading. I’ll miss it, but that’s life.”
“I will achieve complete SELF-ACCEPTANCE and focus on the approval of myself and not others.”
“I want to build a stronger BOND with my parents by becoming fluent in their language.”
“I want to be on BROADWAY. I want to play the leading role in one of those timeless plays like ‘Chicago’ and tour the world.”
“I want to study COSMETOLOGY and later start my own business in Los Angeles.”
OUR SENIOR STAFF “I want to devote my life to my children and INSPIRE them to follow their dreams. -Kentaley Mccurdy
“I want to work for PIXAR as a storyboard artist.” -Sophia Davidson
“I want to make my mark on the world by starting my own COMEDY series, writing, directing, producing, and acting in it– changing the entertainment world forever!” -Taylor hurles
“I just want to be HAPPY. I don’t have huge ambitions. I just want a life that, by my own standards, is worth something.” -Mikeala Axton
“I want my parents to be comfortable with my SEXUALITY.” -Mia Torres