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The Dodger

The Official Newsmagazine of Dodge City High School • Sept. 30, 2010 • Volume 91 • Special Edition Issue #1

Everyone’s Got a Story


Issue #1

01 “Everyone’s Got a Story”


Dodger Staff Luke Bunker......................Co-Editor Erin Finley........................Co-Editor



Leann Manriquez.................Opinion Deena Shaath.......................Opinion

Alysia Garvalena...........Student Life Josie Zordel...................Student Life



Natalie Cabello.........................News

Austin Ridenour......................Sports Brayden Whitaker...................Sports

Cindy Moore........................ Adviser Alonso Acevedo............Photo/Video Dane Edwards...............Photo/Video


Carmen Manriquez-Corona; Annie Martinez


Melissa Stegman-Hensley


Editorial Policy The Dodger is a publication produced by the Dodge City High School journalism department. The newspaper attempts to inform and entertain its audience in a broad, fair, and accurate manner on all subjects that affect the readers. The publication seeks also to provide a forum for the opinion of students, the staff of the paper, and the faculty to encourage an exchange of ideas on all issues of prominence to readers. The Dodger staff encourages letters to the editors, as they constitute avenue for student opinion. Due to space limitations, not all letters can be published. The editors reserve the right to edit all letters for appropriate placement as long as the meaning and intent remain unchanged. The letter must be signed to be considered for publication. The opinions expressed throughout the publication are not necessarily those of the faculty, the administration, or USD #443. Unsigned articles are a general consensus of the staff, while signed articles are the personal forum of the writer. All letters, columns, stories, photos and art become legal property of The Dodger at the time they are submitted.

Chris Ridenour; Layne Moe


Barbara Williams


Patrick Lopez


Jasmine Estrada

Mori Lobe

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“Everyone’s Got a Story” 02

“It is my hope that these stories will compel you to think, not only about others, but about yourself as well.”

-Luke Bunker In a sea of faces, what makes you, you? What experiences, educations, and influences have led you to be the person you are today? What type of person do you want yourself to be? These questions were posed to Dodger staff members for the first special-edition print issue of the year, with the challenge of finding individuals who had stories either original or extraordinary, or perhaps both. In the following pages, you will observe the

stories of teachers, students, family members, and individuals throughout the community. What makes them tick? What kind of story do they have to tell? It is my hope that these stories will compel you to think, not only about others, but about yourself as well. Furthermore, it is my hope that you will come away from this issue with the belief that everyone indeed does have a story… So often, we judge people solely based on appearance and sometimes incorrect first impressions without taking the time to get to know the true them.

Welcome to the Dodger Online! Current. Convenient. Interactive. -Luke Bunker

As many of you probably already know, the Dodger is now available online at www. Don’t worry, though, we will still have print issues for you to read through and enjoy! At, you will find timely coverage of school news and daily announcements, sports, reviews and entertainment, opinions and polls, videos and pictures, and so much more. It is our hope that you will find this site to be a valuable resource for your information needs, all in a current,

convenient, and interactive format. We even have mobile versions available for your BlackBerry, Apple, or Palm OS device. As mentioned earlier, the site will be frequently updated and act as the main news source for the Dodger. However, we will also be producing six special-edition print issues this year (one of which you are now holding), each with a central theme and focus that affect our readers. There are already some great stories, pictures, and videos posted, so don’t wait – take a look around! We hope you’ll like what you see!

Visit us online at: “Like” us on Facebook - just search for “The Dodger!”

Perhaps this edition will prompt you to get to know someone’s story; whether it is that of a teacher or faculty member, a lunch lady or custodian, a friend, or a family member you have grown distant from, getting to know the person behind the façade is a rewarding experience that will broaden your mind and open your eyes to other views, different cultures, and the diversity of the human race. A lot of work went into creating this first issue, and the entire staff has put in a great deal of effort and time for it to be in your hands today. For many, it was their first time

interviewing someone, gathering and taking photographs, writing a full-fledged profile on another person, and using InDesign. I think they have all done a great job, and we hope you think the same. We encourage feedback, so if you have comments, questions, suggestions, or anything of that nature, don’t hesistate to send me an email at We truly look forward to hearing what you have to say. From all of us on the Dodger staff, enjoy! Luke Bunker, Co-Editor

Issue #1

Everyone’s Got a Story


Issue #1

04 “Everyone’s Got a Story”

Alongside every great man, there is a great woman Despite challenges, emigrants find success in both family, business

—Leann Manriquez fter a long 13-hour workday, Carmen Manriquez Corona finally sits down to rest long enough to tell her story. Corona was born in Ixtapaluca, México, into a family of seven. At the age of 10, she began to work with her family while still attending school. But when hard times fell upon them, one was asked to sacrifice school and come to work; that one was she. At the age of 14, she dropped school in order to work full time at the family grocery store. “I don’t remember ever volunteering,” she says as a flashback confirms it. “But I felt obliged to do it because the rest of my siblings seemed to have their lives in place, and so it was left to me.” After a year of working, Corona went back to successfully finish high school. She learned early on that if you want something, you have to work for it. She has only one regret; that she could not continue her dream to become a teacher. But if she had not taken the year off school to work, she would have never met her future husband, Manuel Manriquez. Their meeting was anything but love at first sight. When Corona first met him, she ran right back to her house, but eventually, Manriquez won her over. The law married the two in 1988. “The rest that follows is a long, complicated story,” she


says ruefully. “To make it short, let’s just say he left me to go to the United States, came back, left again, came back, and on Dec. 24, 1990, we were married by the church, which was my first dream.”

disoriented and alone, save for her husband. That family comfort, which she had grown used to in México, was no longer there, and the feel of home was absent too. We often take advantage of the

Family. Carmen Manriquez Corona poses at her home for a picture with her daughter, Crystal Manriquez, a sophomore at DCHS. • Photo Manriquez

In October 1991, Manuel received an ultimatum—either he would take her with him to the U.S., or they would be divorced on the spot. Needless to say, this time when Manuel left, he took his bride with him. “I came with a promise from him that we would only be gone for a year, two years max,” she said with a laugh on her face as she recalls the memory. “And after 19 years, I’m still waiting.” Like many emigrants, Corona came to the U.S. completely

little things in life, like knowing how to drive a car and the way people treat us; the Dodge City that Corona came into was nothing like it is now. Discrimination against Hispanics was high, and very few people spoke Spanish. This, plus the fact that her husband was at work, forced her to learn English and to fend for herself. “The future cannot depend on someone else, but on one’s self,” she said. “I pushed my husband to start our own business, and though we had a lot of difficulties,

we were now independent and this encouraged us to start another.” One of the many difficulties that Corona faced was changing from housewife to secretary while raising a child. She learned to balance checks, do payroll and pay bills, all while taking care of her one-year-old daughter. It’s a hard balancing act that not many can accomplish successfully, but you have to press forward because rarely do you get a do-over in life. “I never thought I would ever come to the U.S., much less be running my own businesses alongside my husband,” she said, amazed by her own achievements “After the first business, we had to sacrifice a lot to accomplish starting another business, but what I’m most proud of are my children and my crazy husband.” Corona is the embodiment of perseverance. She came from a small town in México to an unknown land with a different language and customs that she was forced to learn in order to push her family forward. “Si las cosas que realmente valen la-pena se hiciran facilmente, cualquiera las haria.” If the things that are really worth something were easy to do, then everyone would do them. The saying goes that behind every great man, there is a great woman. But Corona believe’s that alongside every great man there is a great woman.

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“Everyone’s Got a Story” 05


“I couldn’t ask for a more family-friendly career”

ave you ever met teachers who are almost always cheerful despite being busy? One of them is Annie Martinez, who just happens to be married to Michael Martinez, DCHS associate principal. She is also a working mother with a 16-month old son, Finn.   Like any other working mom, she has to balance her career and her home. Mike Martinez says that his wife has no trouble balancing them, however. “Annie has the time management skills one must have at a superior level to manage family responsibilities, work responsibilities, and time set aside for oneself; not just manage them, but do an outstanding job at each.” said Martinez. However, Martinez p r o u d l y asserts that she is laid back…very few things stress her out.   That explains her calm and cheerful attitude. She also mentions that she would have trouble balancing her home life and career in other circumstances. “The key to balancing work and a career  is a great husband,”  said Martinez. “I wouldn’t be successful at the ‘working’ nor the ‘mother’ part if it weren’t for the incredible support of Mike!” Long before Finn came to the world, the couple had decided that being a stay-at-home mom would

be the best option for them. Their plans changed, however. “That course changed after a couple of years of marriage and getting very attached to my career. We both realized that finding a

good balance between my job and my responsibilities to our family was going to be very important,” said Martinez. Although she couldn’t wait to welcome her baby, she was nervous about him coming at the “wrong” time of the school year. “I was also not ready to leave my students in the hands of another teacher. Could somebody else really do my job for me? Would my students still learn what I wanted them to without me there?” said Martinez.   “These were questions that were frequently on my mind.  Fortunately, Finn was born four days before the end of the school year.   In the end, yes, my students did learn, and yes, other people can actually do my job for me!” After enjoying baby Finn for the whole summer—12 weeks to

be exact—Martinez had to return to work. She remembers having many thoughts the first day she dropped Finn off at day care. “I left him and headed off to meet my students with some tears in my eyes and some bizarre thoughts in my head,” said Martinez. “Why am I paying hundreds of dollars to other women to raise my baby?   Will my baby begin to think that these women are his mothers?   Why did we research so much on parenting philosophies and techniques only to have someone raise him for eight hours out of the day? Yes…crazy thoughts, but I’m sure I’m not the only working mother who has thought them!” However, her fears were appeased when she went to pick up Finn at the end of the day. “He survived; so did I,” said Martinez. “Over the next year, I came to realize that there are huge benefits to a child attending day care, especially one as great as Finn’s.”   She said that Finn receives a lot of stimulation every day to help In the Woods. Mike and Annie Martinez with Finn and Boscoe the dog near Salida and Buena Vista, Colorado. “We do a lot of hiking. We were on a beautiful trail that wound through a forest of aspen trees,” Martinez said. • Courtesy Photo

-Natalie Cabello with all areas of development, and that Finn has made many friends at day care. “The first time that I picked him up and all of his little ‘friends’ waved as he waved back with a huge smile on his face—my heart absolutely melted,” said Martinez. “I knew at that moment that he truly enjoyed the time he spent at ‘school’.” Of course, after picking up Finn from day care, Martinez’s day does not stop there.   She still has to grade papers, do chores, spend time with Finn, fix dinner, etc.  She doesn’t regret being a working mother, however, because she truly enjoys her career. “Of course, I get a lot of fulfillment out of my job, whether it comes from the students I work with everyday or the friendships I develop at work,” she said. “My job makes me happy.” She also feels that she has best of both worlds. “My schedule allows me to be successful in a career, yet be very available to my family by being home at a decent time each day, having time off around the holidays, and spending valuable time with them in the summer,” said Martinez. “I couldn’t ask for a more family-friendly career!” In the Classroom. Annie Martinez teaches Physical & Earth Science and Anatomy and Physiology. Martinez juggles her job with the responsibilities of motherhood with the help of her husband, Michael. • Photo Alonso Acevedo


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Issue #1

Balancing motherhood and career

06 “Everyone’s Got a Story”


Issue #1

Seventeen and pregnant

Making it work takes patience, hard work, determination


-Josie Zordel magine being 17 and finding out you were pregnant. What would you do? Would you tell people, or would you hide it from everyone?   What if you knew everyone would put you down and say you couldn’t do it?  What if the people you loved the most were the ones who put you down the most? Would you listen to their advice to give your baby up, or would you ignore them and do what you thought was right? “I was scared to tell people I was pregnant because I was afraid of what they would say about me, and I was also in denial about being pregnant,” said Melissa Stegman-Hensley.  Melissa StegmanHensley lived a normal life. She liked to go to parties and hang out with her friends like any typical high school student.  That is, until the day she found out she was pregnant. “My first thought was Mom’s gonna kill me,” said Stegman-Hensley.   Knowing that her mom would be mad, she kept her pregnancy a secret from everyone for six months.  Her secret got out the day she was rushed to the emergency room because she couldn’t breathe.  “I wasn’t sure at the time what was wrong. All I knew was something wasn’t right,” said StegmanHensley.   “After the doctors were finished examining me, they found out that I was pregnant and that my baby’s foot was wedged between my ribs.” While she was in the ER, another girl from Spearville High was also there.   “While the doctors were telling me and my mother what was wrong and why I couldn’t breathe, the other girl from Spearville overheard,” said Stegman-Hensley.  “The next day, I got to school

and she had told everyone that I was pregnant. After the ER scare, I was put on bed rest because I came down with pre-eclampsia [high blood pressure arises and can harm the mother and baby].”         After everyone found out about Melissa’s pregnancy, life suddenly changed for her.  It didn’t make life any easier that she was the only girl pregnant at Spearville High.   “People always talked about me and pointed fingers. So I did what I had to do and went home,” said Stegman-Hensley.  “People at school weren’t the only people to point fingers and put me down. My dad also put me down. He asked me how I could make such a mistake. He told me I wasn’t going to make it, that I was going to drop out and I wasn’t going to make it to college, and if I did, I wouldn’t get to do what I wanted to do. Knowing that my dad didn’t believe me gave me more of an incentive to prove people wrong.” “My family also wanted me to give my baby up for adoption, but I felt I made the mistake, so I should be the one to own up and take care of it,” continued Stegman-Hensley.   Melissa made the decision to keep her baby and raise him alone. Life wasn’t a piece of cake for this young mother. She had to raise the baby alone and basically give up her life. “The hardest part of being young and having a baby, for me, was knowing that I had to grow up, because I wasn’t going to be like every other high school student in my class,” said Stegman-Hensley.  “I could no longer go out and have fun with my friends. I had to stay home with my son and be a mother.” Can you imagine being 17 and raising a baby on your own with no father to help you raise your child?  The father of Melissa’s son, Adric, wasn’t around when he was

born. ley. “However, getting a job left “I didn’t know where his father me no time to just relax and spend time with my was to tell baby. Even him. When I though my did tell him, family wanted he was very me to give upset that he my son up for missed the adoption, after first part of he arrived, they his son’s life,” all fell in love said Stegmanwith him and Hensley. were happy However, with my decinot having sion to keep her baby’s him. My dad father around was also happy didn’t stop with my deciher.  She grew sion, and was up fast and proud of me for got a job so Melissa and Adric not giving up.”   that she could What choice would you have support herself and the baby. “In my eyes, I did what I had to made?   “If I had the chance to do everydo so that I could support myself and my child,” said Stegman-Hens- thing over again, I wouldn’t change

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was love at first sight. “Knowing that Melissa had a baby that wasn’t my child didn’t really matter too much, said Hensley. “The only worries I had was how should I discipline him.” A year and a half after the happy couple met, Melissa found out she was pregnant with her second child, Dalton Wade Hensley. Adric was four at the time and was happy that he was going to have a baby brother.

“After I had Adric, and after I met my husband Bryan, I got pregnant a second time,” said StegmanHensley. “I wasn’t worried about it at all this time around—I was happy.” Now that both of her boys are growing up and in school, life can get chaotic with school programs, sports, work and making family time. “A typical day in my life would go something sort of like this— I

“Everyone’s Got a Story” 07 Issue #1

anything. I’m happy with my life and the way everything turned out for me,” said Stegman-Hensley. “It feels awesome to know that I proved everyone wrong, and that I am doing just fine and so is Adric.” Her mother is also proud of her. “Knowing that my daughter raised her child at a young age through everyone’s doubts makes me proud of her and very happy for her, because when she was younger, the doctors told her she would never be able to have kids,” said Julie Zordel. Today, Melissa has a husband Bryan Hensley, and two amazingly adorable children, Adric Stegman and Dalton Hensley.  Adric is now 10 years old. “To me, the best part of being a parent is getting to watch my boys grow and learn and to be able to teach them things,” said StegmanHensley.   “Knowing that I have come a long way from where I started makes me happy.” Melissa and Bryan met eight years ago when Adric was two years old.  You could almost say it


wake up, get myself ready, then I wake my boys up and get them ready for school,” said StegmanHensley. “I then send them off to school and I go off to work. When I come home, I begin supper and help the boys with their homework.  After supper, the boys have about an hour to play, then I bathe them and off to bed they go.  While they are in bed, I clean up the house, then I put myself to bed.” “When I look at my wife and I see all that she does for our family, I realize that she is a fantastic wife,” said Hensley. Many people said Melissa couldn’t do it, that having a child at a young age would ruin her life.   “To all the young mothers out there, all I have to say is, ‘Stay positive, keep your head up, and do the Family Portrait. Melissa Stegman-Hensley and Bryan Hensley with their sons, Adric, 10, and Dalton, 4. • Courtesy Photo

Issue #1

08 “Everyone’s Got a Story”


Not just your average P.E. teacher Experiences, events shape the future for Chris Ridenour

-Austin Ridenour ost kids can only imagine walking up to home plate with the game tied and smashing the baseball out of the park to win the game for your team. Chris Ridenour, physical education and health elementary teacher in Dodge City, Kansas, has done just this. “That home run advanced my team to the Little League State Finals in Iowa,” said Ridenour. Chris Ridenour was born in Davenport, Iowa, on March 30, 1961.   He moved to Dodge City, Kansas, in 1998.  He is a husband and father of two children.   He loves to play sports and also loves to watch them.  He attended Panhandle State University to play college basketball and to major in physical education.   During the summer, Ridenour played minor league baseball for the Boston Red Sox, but his baseball career was cut short due to an elbow injury. “If I could do anything in life, I would want to go to New York City to watch the New York Yankees play in their new stadium,” he said.  “I would like to go see Ground Zero and what all is there now and also hang out with Derek Jeter (New York Yankees’ shortstop), Michael Jordan (NBA hall of fame basketball player) and Mark McGwire (famous baseball player).” In his free time, this 49 yearold likes to lift weights and attend his sons’ athletic events.  Ridenour


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doesn’t look up to many people, because he feels that there are not very many people that he can look up to. Ridenour looks to Michael Jordan as a role model. “Michael Jordan is my role model because of his work ethic,” said Ridenour.  “He was the best at what he did, and he was also not scared of failure.” Yet Ridenour has experienced difficult times in his life that have affected him in certain ways that have made him into the man he is today.   Can you imagine losing your mother to things you have no control over?     “The hardest obstacle in my life that I have overcome is when my mother died at the age of 55 because of a drug overdose.   She was an alcoholic, drug addict and depressed,” said Ridenour.   “Because of what happened to my mother, I do not drink or do drugs.” Have you ever done something in your life that you regret? If you had one chance, would you go back and do it all over again? “If I could go back and do one thing over in my life, I would go back to work on my goals in middle school and high school,” Riednour continued. “My goals would be to do good in school during that time and also focus on sports more.” As we grow up, we lose many of those who are important to us.   Losing a best friend was just as traumatic as losing a parent for Ridenour. Chris was 42 years old

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when he lost his dog, Adolf. “The death of my dog Adolf was one of the hardest thing I ever went through in my life. Adolf was more than just a dog to me,” he said.  “Adolf was always there for me when I was sick. He and I had a special bond that many people

probably do not have with a pet.” The best advice Ridenour can offer to kids is the following. “If I could give advice to all the kids in the world, it would be to work hard for what is important to you.”   

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“Everyone’s Got a Story” 09

Student moves halfway across country at young age, now attends DCHS -Brayden Whitaker hen most people move, they may move across town or across the state. Not half way across the country. That’s what Layne Moe, 10, experienced early in his life.   He moved to Dodge City at the age of seven from his hometown of Rainier, Oregon, a small town that is a mere 20 minutes from the interstate bridge that connects Oregon to Washington state. Coming here was a challenge in and of itself. “First of all, we drove from Oregon to here, and that’s just about the longest road trip in my life,” said Moe.   There was another conflict as well. “I had never heard of Kansas before,” said Moe. Now, after living for years in the state he once knew nothing about, he is a sophomore and has gotten used to life in Dodge City.   One of the biggest differences that he had to get used to was going from the West Coast weather of the Northwest United States to the wild and always changing weather of Southwest Kansas. “The weather is a lot milder there [in Oregon],” said Moe. “It never got really hot or cold like it does in Kansas, and it rained a

Spangled Banner.” After high school, Moe would like to continue his work in music and major in it. He wants to enter a career that has something to do with playing trumpet, whether that is in a drum corps or a concert band. This past summer, Moe got to revisit his roots.  He and his family drove from Dodge City back to Oregon, where he got to spend a couple of weeks visiting family and enjoying the scenery. “One of the big things I missed was all of the forests and mountains there,” said Moe.  “It is just an awesome sight to see blue, snow capped mountains staring back at you.” The scenery may change between Oregon and Kansas, but both feel like home for Moe.  The cross-country move is an experience that he will never forget and has made him the person that he is today.


whole lot more there.” Moe is an involved student at Dodge City High School. He is involved in three different athletic teams; cross country, bowling and track.   He is also an active

member of the band and jazz band. He is a section leader of the trumpet section in The PRIDE of Southwest Kansas marching band and a trumpet soloist for the PRIDE’s rendition of “The Star-

Running. One of Layne Moe’s three sports is cross country. Moe has participated in cross country for two years at Dodge City High School. “I do cross country because I love the competition, the social [interaction] with the team, and the ability to eat whatever I want.” • Photo Manriquez

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Issue #1

From Portland to the Prairie

Issue #1

10 “Everyone’s Got a Story”


“une bonne vie” - a good life: One teacher’s journey from Wisconsin to the rest of the world

-Luke Bunker “I am a reader, a musician, a painter, and a cook. I like things you can do with your hands.” Over the years, Barbara Williams (known to her students as “Madame Williams”), a person with many talents and passions (and a great sense of humor!), has taught hundreds of students the French language and French culture, while at the same time teaching them by example of how to be kind, optimistic, and decent human beings. “Mrs. Williams is an excellent and responsible teacher [who is] friendly and cooperative,” said Maria Ramirez, Spanish teacher and Williams’ ‘neighbor’ at Dodge City High School.   “She is trustworthy, kind, reliable, hard-working, [and an] excellent cook.   She is… willing to go the extra mile, and is an asset for DCHS for her fantastic abilities with the French language.” In addition to teaching French to students at DCHS, Williams seems to always show a genuine interest in the lives and activities of others, whether it is asking and cheering on the soccer players in her class or taking the time to learn more about each of her students.  Fellow teacher and a student travel group leader Laura Woolfolk said that Williams is always interested about the travels students participate in. “She is always interested in promoting foreign travel!” said Laura Woolfolk, teacher at Dodge City High School.   “She wants to know where we went and which students traveled!   Mrs. Williams doesn’t travel as much as she once did, but she sure wants to hear about where we went and what we did.” Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (which is located approximately 900 miles from her current home in Dodge City), and raised in the Chicago/southwest Wisconsin area, Williams has led a life filled with education, teaching, and a

host of other activities, jobs, and moves. “I was the second of five children, and am in the first generation to go beyond high school education,” said

a major accounting firm in Salt Lake City as their office manager/ para-professional accountant. A few years later I met the man who would become my husband, and I moved to Topeka, Kansas, while he

It’s all about French. Barbara Williams answers questions from a student (above) and points out various items on a map of France (below). • Photos Bunker

Williams. “I went to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree [and then certified to teach] in Art.  I moved to Eugene, Oregon, to ‘visit’ my brother and his wife, and ended up staying.   [There,] I worked with computers, then went into accounting for a lumber/ logging company.  Upon my return to the US [from a missionary stay in France], I took a job with

completed law school. We settled in his home town, Russell, Kansas, and raised a daughter, Maria, of whom I am very proud.  I did all the bookkeeping and some paralegal work for my husband’s law firm in Russell.   I taught French at Fort Hays State University for 10 years, and then decided to go into public education, teaching K-12 Art at a small district in Natoma, Kansas.   After three years, I

introduced a French program on the Interactive Television system. I was at Natoma for six years.” After Natoma, Williams left teaching to spend time with her husband, who was terminally ill. “Death is a difficult challenge, and in 2005 I was challenged greatly,” said Williams.   “Within the span of a few months, I lost my husband to Multiple Sclerosis, his mother to age, and my mother to diabetes and a stroke.  Then my cat died.  After his passing, I spent time with other family, traveled to Paris, and then discovered the job opening at Dodge City.  [I believe that it’s] through challenges that we discover our strengths, and while I am ‘alone’ here in Kansas now, I am surrounded by wonderful people here at DCHS, in my Church, and in the neighborhood where I live.  I find that, if you make up your mind to be happy, you will be happy.” While she has had both ups and downs in her life, Williams considers her greatest achievement in life to be her daughter. “I am most proud of my daughter,” said Williams.   “She is an independent, strong woman who works hard and helps people every day of her life.   She is my glory.  I wish she lived closer, but I really feel that she is happy where she is, so that is right.   Seattle is a beautiful place, and I don’t think she will ever return to rural Kansas.” Although she is now a teacher, Williams said that she wasn’t always the best student during school. “My biggest regret is that, when I was in high school, I didn’t apply myself,” said Williams.   “My grades weren’t bad, but they weren’t as good as they could have been.   I wasted a lot of time, and formed bad habits.  Even in college I wasted time and money.  I had to learn some things the hard way.  If I had learned to work harder and be more consistent, I could have achieved more in my life.”


nice to say that they would be fluent in French, that’s not reality. But if they are interested in the language and culture, they will find a way to continue the study of language – or languages.  I have had several who have gone on to study French in college, and a couple who plan to teach French.   To me that is success! Williams’ dedication to education and her students is also very evident in her daily schedule,

said Williams. “I do my best to stay on top of all the issues of the day – the meetings, the teaching, the grading, etc.    I am generally here at school until 6:00 p.m., and often later, because I feel I need to stay current with looking at papers and returning them to students.   I [then] go home, fix something to eat, and sit and put my feet up in my recliner.   However, I also teach online courses in French I or French II for Fort Hays State

“Here on this earth, the people I most admire are those who are strong enough to stand up for truth and right and honor in a very difficult world.” - Barbara Williams which include getting up around 6:15 a.m. (“a typical day begins with me hitting the alarm clock for nine more minutes, please!”), and arriving at school by 7:20 a.m. at the latest. “I feel a need to be prepared at the beginning of the day, and coming any later feels ‘late’,”

University, and need to then get online to do what is necessary for those courses and students. I try to be in bed by 11:00, and it starts all over again in the morning.” Outside of educating young people all about France and the French language, Williams is a self-proclaimed “mystery buff”

who loves to read (“I don’t have a lot of time to read during the school year, but I read over a dozen books this summer.”) and actively participate in her faith as a LatterDay Saint. “I believe that my relationship with my Savior is the greatest influence on my life,” said Williams. “I was called to be a missionary for my Church and was assigned to serve in southwest France, where I stayed for approximately 18 months.  My immediate and my extended family are [also] of great influence.   The reason I say this is that it is only in the family that one truly serves and therefore truly loves.” With regards to her future, Williams expressed that she is currently at where she wants to be. “I am doing right now what I want to do in my life,” said Williams.   “I am teaching, I am among people I like, I am serving others.  My hope is to continue to be able to work and serve others and be a part of life until I am old, old, old.   If I can continue to do this, life is good.”

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But, regardless of her study habits as a student herself, Williams currently enjoys being a teacher, and this shines through with the pride she has for her students and her passion for education today. “I think my favorite part [of teaching] is interacting with so many bright young people,” said Williams. “I love the students here, the variety and the number of very good young people I rub elbows with daily.   While I get frustrated sometimes with the behaviors of a few, the vast majority are absolutely awesome.   I tell my students that they are the cream of the crop, mainly because they are.  The kids I see in my French classes are intelligent, interesting and very capable young people, many with a bilingual background already.” Williams has high hopes for students who comes out of her classes. “What I desire the most is that somehow, in some way, I have touched their interest in learning about other people, other cultures,” said Williams.  “While it would be

“Everyone’s Got a Story” 11

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12 “Everyone’s Got a Story”


Welcome to the “Dog Pound,” home away from home…


-Erin Finley alking down McCarty hall, many students pass the famous “Dog Pound.” The legend that lives inside has been passed down through many generations.   Ever since I was five, I heard about “Dog Pound Burritos” and other food items that were cooked for students.   I couldn’t wait until I, too, could be a part of this fun.  Finally, as a junior, I have come to occupy a seat in the “Dog Pound” during fifth block Pre-Calculus. Patrick Lopez has turned his classroom into more of a home than a school environment.   He treats his students like children and is always willing to go above and beyond his job description.  A sign on his board boasts, “Welcome to M-138, You are home at the Dog Pound.” Posed at the board with a black glove on his right hand, and his left hand holding a “board warrior,” Lopez greets his class each and everyday with an enthusiastic ,“Hello Mah-Dogs!”   He then proceeds to invite students into his world of math.  Lopez teaches every math problem with excitement and joy, and encourages students to feel the same way. “I have a good time teaching The Dog Pound’s students. It’s not the math, really, it’s the students,”

During Class. Patrick Lopez teaches his fifth Block Pre-Calculus class functions. • Photo Acevedo

said Lopez. “I know that there are some things they will need to know how to do for their college algebra or calculus class later, and I like it best when students learn things thoroughly. In fact, when I walk to school in the morning, I’m usually thinking about my lesson plan and ways that I can get students to do things not only correctly, but hopefully in a way that they understand what they are doing and why they are doing it.” The man that is so passionate about math actually got into the profession by accident.


“In my view, it happened by accident. I didn’t know I wanted to be one [a math teacher] until I was 22,” said Lopez.  “When I was little, I wanted to be a pro-baseball player or an astronaut.” When Lopez first became a teacher, he applied to fly in the Challenger. The Challenger was a spaceship that crashed in 1986. “I made the first round, but I didn’t make the cut for the second round,” said Lopez.   It turned out to be lucky since it [the Challenger] blew up. Each student in Lopez’s classes

acquires a nickname. Sometimes these names have something to do with the student, and sometimes they are totally random. Often, the name ends with dog, such as “K-Dog”.   My nickname is “Roxanne Florita”. “I’ve been giving people nicknames since I was a kid.   It’s fun,” said Lopez.   “I often walk around and think of names.  That’s why I like to live by myself.   It gives me to time to think of nicknames.” Although math is not often a favorite subject for many high school students, Lopez tries to make his classes enjoyable and fun.  He is full of jokes, especially duck jokes. “A duck walks into the bar one day and asks the bar owner if he has any grapes,” said Lopez.  “The bartender says no and the duck leaves.   The next day, the duck comes back and asks the same question.   The bartender says he still doesn’t have any grapes.   On the third day the duck comes in and asks if the bartender has any grapes.  The bartender says he does not have any grapes, and if the duck comes back one more time and asks that question then the bartender will nail his bill to the floor.  On the fourth day the duck comes back and asks the bartender if he has any nails.  The bartender says he doesn’t, so the duck asks if


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“Everyone’s Got a Story” 13

he has any grapes.” His goofy jokes and hilarious stories keep the class laughing and help make math less of a boring subject. By being so passionate about math, Lopez radiates that passion to his class. He wants to help them succeed, and does everything possible to help his students. “I wake up every morning at 4:15.   I get to the Dog Pound by

level, in college. I want their math course at the next level to be their easiest class no matter where they go or who their teacher is. If that happens, then I know we are on the right track.” Graduating from Pittsburgh State University, Lopez claims he is a “proud and noble Pitt State Gorilla.” “I’ve taught at a bunch of different places. No matter what,

“When you love what you’re doing, and you know that it matters, then what could possibly be better than that?” 5:45, so I can work on things and help students if they need help,” said Lopez. “I stay at school until about 6. I am also here on Sundays if students need more help.” Lopez looks upon his students as relatives. He wants to help them succeed in their future careers by teaching them anything he can. “I love my students. I feel like everyone’s uncle, and so I have a personal stake in how well my students do when they leave The Dog Pound,” said Lopez. “I like it best when The Dog Pound’s students dominate at the next

I’m a Pittburgh State Gorilla on loan,” said Lopez.  “But I’ve been a Red Demon so long I feel like halfgorilla, half-Red Demon.   When you think about it, that’s quite a critter.” Lopez is a humble man.  He is a teacher because he likes math and he enjoys working with students. “I feel lucky to just have them [the students] with me,” said Lopez.   If I influence them, it’s just the icing on the cake.   I dislike summer because there are no students, which makes my life boring.”

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Although Lopez is a math teacher, he doesn’t spend all of his time reading textbooks or thinking of lesson plans. “During the summer, or when I occasionally have a little time to goof off during the school year, I very seldom horse around or study the kind of mathematics that I teach,” said Lopez. “Instead, most of my recreations are outside of the mathematical textbook.” Lopez also enjoys brain teasers and logic games. “I play and have studied chess, backgammon, go, probability theory, logic, and combinatorics,” said Lopez. “I also try to find the most difficult and challenging picture logics or online puzzles that I can find, and do those, too.” He spends a lot of his time teaching, so during his time off he tries to avoid textbooks and such. “I hardly ever crack open an algebra or calculus book! I get enough of that material when I teach my students,” said Lopez. Lopez has taught at many different places, such as Wichita, Lawrence, Hutchinson and Ft. Lauderdale, FL, but he says the best place is Dodge City. “I’ve been here [Dodge City] long enough that I feel like it’s family.   Dodge City isn’t the greatest town but the school is the best,” said Lopez.   “I get a lot of satisfaction from students.   I love

what I’m doing and it’s important and that’s a blessing.” Patrick Lopez is a very unique man. He truly loves his job and is an example of what a great teacher is.   His “Dog Pound” is home for many students.  I am glad that after

At the Game. Patrick Lopez holds a down sign at a home football game. In addition to his love of teaching math, Lopez enjoys sports of all kinds. • Photo Chance

many years of waiting, I can finally be a part of the “Dog Pound.”

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14 “Everyone’s Got a Story”


The new girl in town

Making the adjustment to new country, new city, new school -Alysia Garvalena “What did you do this summer?” is a question often asked by students returning from summer vacation. Many people may answer with a story about traveling, parties or some thing they did. Mori Lobe, 10, could answer that question with something like this, “Oh, I just moved halfway across the world to a new country with my mother and two sisters, what about you?” Lobe moved to Dodge City the

summer before her freshman year. When Lobe’s mother proposed the

offer to move across the world and join her father in the United States, she was “really excited” but, of course, she had second thoughts as

well. “School was getting really excited…it was hard but I decided to come,” said Lobe. Lobe and her sisters along with their mother moved to the United States from Cameroon, Africa, to join Lobe’s father who had previously lived in California for two years. The family moved to Dodge City once there were together in the U.S. The first flight of their journey was to Belgium, which took (approx. 7 hours), then a flight to

Chicago, (another 8 hours), then a flight to Wichita, (2 hours). It took Lobe’s family three flights to reach their final destination “It was really hard. I was all alone,” said Lobe. “It was a real trouble for me.” In America, average schooling goes from preschool, kindergarten, grade school, high school, college, and then a university of some kind. Cameroon’s schooling is a little bit different and going something like preschool, kindergarten, grade school, college, high school, then a university. Lobe was in only the second class to go Lady Mt. Carmel College, a boarding school. Like most typical students, the first year at a At Church. Mori Lobe’s first communion, a very important day in her life, took place in Cameroon at her boarding school. • Courtesy Photo


Lobe felt like boarding school had gotten so much easier for her. “It’s like having a family, but not like a mom and dad just like juniors and seniors,” said Lobe. Boarding school is not the only option for school, public schooling is also offered, but for Lobe, boarding school was the first choice. “All of my family has gone to

boarding school,” said Lobe, “The teachers are strict and they prepare you for when you leave.” Just like any other DCHS student, Lobe has many interests, “I write poetry. I like to sing, and I like to be around people who are positive,” said Lobe. Along with poetry and singing, Lobe also has an interest in sports. “I play tennis, and I like soccer and volleyball.” As for additional school after

high school Lobe plans on attending college here in the U.S. “I might to go college here [here at Dodge City Community] for two years then maybe a university or maybe just [only] go to a university,” Lobe said. “I like Harvard, Princeton and my dad wants me to go to Oxford.” Lobe’s story is very intriguing, but for this young girl’s life, it’s only the beginning...

• Celebration. Lobe and her friends celebrate a national public holiday by relaxing and hanging out by the dorms at Lady Mt. Carmel, the boarding school that Lobe attended when she lived in Camaroon. • Hanging out. Lobe and her friends spend time together at Lady Mt. Carmel on a day with no school. • Lobe’s mother. Lobes mother has been a very important person in her life, giving her much guidance and help. • Sisterhood. Lobe and her sister stand on the steps at Lady Mt. Carmel in Cameroon. • Courtesy Photos

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new school is not exactly easy. Cameroon schooling has three semesters instead of two. The first semester is about four months, and then students have a break, then another semester, then a two-week break, then a third semester and then finally their three-month summer vacation. After a few years of college,

“Everyone’s Got a Story” 15


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16 “Everyone’s Got a Story”

works hard to juggle Balancing Act: Student time, homework, athletics, job

­—Deena Shaath junior at Dodge City High School, Jasmine Estrada has many qualities that make her the good person that she is. Nice, funny, smart, athletic and caring are just a few of the traits that Jasmine possesses. On top of being a good person, she is involved in other activities both in and outside of school. She participates in three sports throughout the school year; cross country, basketball, and track. She is also involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Science Olympiad. Aside from school activities, she is in band and has a job at the Dodge City Veterinary Clinic. “Taking care of animals makes me feel important,” said Estrada. When asked what the worst part about her job was, she responded, “poop.” Estrada was born in Dodge City, Kansas, and has lived here all of her life. Her mom got married three years ago, and as a result, she has five new stepsisters. She lives with her mother, stepfather, and one of her stepsisters, Cheyenne. The rules in her house are very strict. For example, on school nights, she must be home by 9 p.m., and on the weekends she must be home by 11 p.m. “My mom is my greatest influence because she’s tough


and doesn’t let anything get to her,” said Estrada. Estrada’s days are very busy. A typical day for her starts at 6:00 a.m., when she heads to cross country practice. After practice, she moves on to band at 7 a.m. Then comes along the beginning of her regular school day, which isn’t exactly regular because of the difficulty of her classes. She has band and weights on alternating days, English 11 Honors, PreCalculus, and Chemistry II. After school, she goes to work for about two hours, and then goes back to band practice from 6:30-9:00 p.m. Although she has this busy schedule, she still finds time to study and complete the piles of homework she has every day. She also has time to be with her friends and family. “Jasmine is very hard working and always devotes herself completely to what she is doing,” said Ashton Moore, 11. “She’s one of the most organized and laid back people I know.” Estrada plans to attend The University of Kansas (“Go Hawks!”) to college to study pre-medicine, and then continue her studies to become a cardiothoracic surgeon. Estrada is really looking forward

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to her junior year, especially prom. “Freshman year was the most fun year ever!” said Estrada. “Sophomore year was really easy, and junior year is super hard!” She believes that lunch is too short, and classes are too long. “We are also assigned way too much homework, but other than that, school is pretty fun!” said Estrada. Her favorite part of being in high school is getting to be around people she likes and making memories with them.

“Jasmine is probably the most determined person I know,” said Tim Spencer, 11. “She handles such a heavy work load and still seems to find time for more.” Estrada has the drive to work hard and do so much because she likes the challenge; she enjoys the satisfaction of working hard and accomplishing much.   When things get to be too much for her, she remembers a quote ­­— “When nothing goes right, turn left.”

Finding time to spend with friends is a priority for junior Jasmine Estrada. Enjoying their time together at a sleepover are Jordan Koehn, 11, Ashton Moore, 11, Kesha Buckner, 11, and Ciera Lampe, 10. • Photo Courtesy

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Special Edition Issue #1 - Sept. 30, 2010 - "Everyone's Got a Story"  

Special Edition Issue #1 - Sept. 30, 2010 - "Everyone's Got a Story"

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