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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Culinary takes on Chili competition Julie Lum and Ayana Rawls STAFF WRITERS

Academy of Hospitality and International Travel (AHIT) students hopped onto an ROP van with their chili for Tom Torlakson’s 17th annual BBQ and Healthy Chili Cook-Off. Hercules High School juniors Chynna Keys, Vanessa McMillion and Jose Avila were chosen by the culinary teachers to participate in the Chili cook off. The students, along with culinary teachers Jerry Clopp and Lourdes Sampayo, headed to Martinez Waterfront Park for the cook-off Oct. 13. In preparation for the competition, all the AHIT students served several batches of chili to teachers during the week. The best chili was brought to compete along with a second meat chili. When competition day came, the representing students prepared their best chilis in the morning and set off to Martinez waterfront park where the chili was reheated and ready for serving. The Titans competed against 20 other

experienced groups. One-hundred fifty to 200 patrons came to judge at the cook-off, many of whom were politicians. Each person got one vote. Even though it was Hercules’s first year competing, the Titans came home with third place. “We didn’t expect to win anything,” Sampayo said. “It was our first year and everyone else was on their second year or more.” According to Lourdes, the secret to a healthy, low-fat chili is layering the flavors and adding four peppers and five spices. AHIT students are looking forward to participate in future competitions. Participating in competitions is not only a method to gain unforgettable experiences but beneficial when filling out college applications. “First time in my life in a competition and winning the 3rd place,” Avila said, “That’s pretty awesome for me.” Next month, on Veteran’s Day, the AHIT students will be participating in a fundraiser where they will serve food to the armed forces.



Robinson disapproves of school, retires early Julie Lum and Bailey Wong STAFF WRITERS

Hercules Hi gh School physics teacher Rebecca Robinson retired Sept. 2, just two weeks into the school year. Robinson originally planned to replace former science teacher Dee Faraon, who resigned and moved to Cupertino to teach. However, due to Robinson’s many concerns with the school’s facility, she chose to retire early. “I was able to look over the science facility that I would be teaching in and found many problems with the equipment, plumbing, chemical store room (in a dangerous state) and most of all, a very large class in a small room,” Robinson said in a recent email interview. “With students having their assigned seats at lab benches, it would not be possible to properly set up and instruct students in lab work. After all, students who are getting grades and

credits in a lab science, I feel I should be doing labs.” Robinson also finds flaws in the school’s science equipment. “The particular room I was assigned to, H501, had been left very disorganized, chemicals in random places (one of the many violations immediately apparent), and would require a huge effort to rectify.” Robinson said. “There was no evidence that things were going to change much, so I went back downtown and retired.” Regardless, her former students appreciated her academic contribution to the class. “She has a very broad knowledge of science,” HHS junior Melanie Lum. “She enjoys physics and science a lot.” Although Robinson’s former students have their education on the line, substitute Joshua Paz acted as a temporary replacement until Oct 7. Certified teacher Maria Reyes currently teaches in place of Robinson.

Hudson revives recycling program Marvin Plaza STAFF WRITER

Hercules High School could soon be the first LEED Certified school in West Contra Costa Unified School District. Biology teacher, Michael Hudson, is currently participating in the “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design”, also known as LEED, certification. This will get Hercules High School certified as a “green” school. According to the Center for Ecoliteracy, “Green school” designs are, to a substantial extent, based on the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — LEED — which is the national consensus green building standard. LEED rates projects according to the impact of their sites, how materials are used and sourced, design, construction, and efficiency of a variety of systems including water, energy, air quality, lighting, acoustics, waste,

and transportation. A rating system specifically designed for K–12 schools is currently being drafted, including a proposal for LEED credit for integrating sustainable facility features with the curriculum. Hudson is implementing this system into his Advanced Placement Environmental Science classes by setting up a recycling program on campus. Each week, students check for any recyclable material inside the blue recycling bins. Once checked students sort the materials for recyclables and non-recyclables. Students dispose of trash and record the quantity and material types of the recyclables. Hudson is also planning to use the greenhouse on the dirt patch by his room, which he funded with his own money, and will try to make a garden on the large dirt patch. However, complications regarding the state of the greenhouse have occurred. “A year and a half ago a huge storm came through which

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HHS Environmental Science teacher Michael Hudson reemploys the green house that begun l blew the doors and the roof out,” Hudson said. “In that case the hinges got busted up and the doors are not able to close anymore.” The LEED certification program does not require any funding from the school nor the district.

“You are basically recycling,” Hudson said. “The more we do it, the more it saves the school money. If we were a business or something you would want to do this. It is all about saving costs through sustainable practices. The key word here is sustainable.” Hudson does not know when

he will finish the certification program. “These kinds of projects take a really long time. I would have to incorporate it into the lesson,” Hudson said. “You’re making the school green throughout the campus. It’s a really long term project.”

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