Photos by Amelia To.
Rocket science really is as hard as they say.
A group of CMHS MESA (Math, Engineering, Science, Achievement) members discovered this when they received a hands on view into the world of rocket science on a field trip to the Columbia Memorial Space Center on Wednesday, February 15th.
Dedicated to the victims of the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster in 2003, the Center is a hands-on museum, located in Downey, designed to provide insight into the world of space travel and to simulate the various jobs and sciences that go into the world of astronauts. Containing both interesting exhibits and information pertinent to the world of astronauts, it works to educate children about the field and get them interested in careers in it.
Joined by MESA advisors, Mr. Poveda and Ms. Ras, students were able to participate in the interesting simulations and labs available at the Center, and learned about what really goes in to the days of the highly idealized astronaut, beyond anything they have ever heard of in a science fiction book or Apollo 13. This could prove to be especially helpful to students interested in going into that field after high school.
Starting their day off with a virtual trip to Mars, students were placed on two simulated crews: one on Earth giving instructions on how to build equipment and stay alive, and one heading to Mars to collect data and receive the instructions. Simulating jobs such as medics, probe makers, navigators, and data collectors, students were able to see what a real life space mission would be like. Students depended on each other to survive and have a successful mission, much like how real astronauts do on space missions. Halfway through, the students traded jobs and were able to experience both sides of the mission.
In addition to the Mars simulation, students also participated in a robotics lab, programming small robots to pick up pieces of magnetic rocks. They were also able to explore the museum and play with various rocket science related attractions. Using items such as parachutes, paper airplanes, and robotic arms, they explored the various sciences of aerodynamics, gravitation, and mechanics, all of which are the normal day to day requirements of a space engineer.
“It was very interactive. I expected just to see pictures and videos, but the simulator was realistic and most of it was interactive,” senior MESA member Amy To said. To especially enjoyed her job as a medic on the Mars simulation, remarking on how fun it was to see how real space engineers do their work.
“It was really fun, even though it rained,” freshman Leo Doan replied.
In addition to the hands on activities, students also watched videos about space travel, on such subjects as broad as space travel itself, to as specifically interesting as the mechanics of space suits.
Overall, the field trip provided an excellent insight into the booming field of astronauts and their careers, and received positive feedback from many of the students who attended.
“The trip was amazing and well worth my time. I did not spend a minute bored or tired,” Amy responded.
Photos by Maya Lee-Lopez
Freshmen glided on Westminster’s ice rink “The Rinks” last Friday night.
The event was a two-hour public session starting at 7:15 p.m. Professionals and new skaters alike were on the ice rink together either practicing their technique or just learning how not to fall down.
Although there was some dancing to the “YMCA”, the majority of the time was spent just skating on the ice or going to the vending machines to get something to eat or drink.
Freshmen ASB representatives did not come up with the idea of ice skating by themselves. Students had been requesting the event in the months before.
“When we decided to do roller skating in winter, people were asking, ‘Why don’t we do ice skating?’ So, we decided to do it now,” said freshmen secretary Jeirany Chavez.
Cat Kricorian laces up her blades.
The ice skating rink had a different feel to the freshmen skaters who were used to the roller skating rink in Fullerton.
“It’s cold and fast,” said Trevor Davis.
Because there were both new skaters and those who had skated on the ice before, opinions varied on the feel of ice skating.
“It’s painful. It hurts your ankles,” said first-time skater Andres Ramirez.
“I haven’t gone in such a long time,” said freshmen ASB president Zaira Lopez, “At first it was a challenge, but then it was fun.”
Although the ASB representatives seemed to have liked the event, they are not planning on doing it again this year according to freshmen vice president Catherine Kricorian and Chavez.
Kricorian had a tip for those who are skating for the first time.
“Don’t lean back. Cause then you’ll fall on your butt,” she said.
Tarnished tubas, chipped reeds, and ripped up flags. Loose stands, broken sticks, and bent ligatures.
This seems to be the beginning of one the many depressing poems you’d read in English class, but it is more than words on a page in the Costa Mesa High School band room. It’s reality.
This year, the $350 fee that every marching band student was required to pay in past years became a “donation,” and the greatly impacted the instrumental music program here at CMHS.
“Public schools try to be everything to everyone - giving access to all - opportunities for all. The reality is that programs cost more than the school and district can provide. We used to be able to ask for a fee for those participating. This was extremely helpful! Some schools (not ours) however, abused the fee and even had a "no pay - no play" policy. We never had that at Mesa. We understood that everyone tried to contribute what they were able to, whether it was money or time. Now we ask all to continue to contribute what they can, but it is strange - because we don't call it a fee, but we have not gotten nearly the same amount of money donations,” CMHS band director Sandy Gilboe commented.
The band program’s budget is used to supplement the three levels of bands in the department: Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced. The Advanced Band alone - Marching Band, Jazz Band, Drumline, Winter Guard, and Concert Band - needs a huge sum of money to keep running.
At least 4 instruments and 4 stands break per year, and they cost $75-$125 each to repair. Many others are old and falling apart. Music arranged for an entire ensemble is extremely expensive, and equipment, costumes, and the writing of a marching show costs thousands upon thousands of dollars. Truck rentals are needed to transport heavy equipment to competitions across Southern California; such competitions require entry fees. To help with some of these fees, a substantial amount of recycling occurs. The music library and uniform room are packed with boxes upon boxes of old costumes, used music, and rusty equipment, all of which are reused year after year after year.
The band has also cancelled their yearly trip to Knott’s Berry Farm, as well as any overnight competitions, due to financial issues.
“It is very expensive to run an instrumental music program - especially if you want to have instruments for all, and any competitive groups. Since I have been at CMHS (the past 22 years), by and large, the majority of funds go for instruments, uniforms, props, truck rentals and any outside coaches. The money has come from parent donations, grants and fundraising. We literally need to raise around $35,000 a year to keep our program running,” Gilboe said.
From Sees’ Candy sales to hosting five competitions to writing tons of grants, the band is doing everything in its power to make up for the lost money. The Band Boosters are encouraging students and parents to “own” their program and volunteer as much as they can. So far, they have been successful and have been able to participate in most of the activities involved in the program.
Despite the sparse money supply, Mrs. Gilboe “loves the students” and is looking to “try to provide as many opportunities for the students as possible” in the future years.
“A life without the arts is no life at all. In education, it is one of the few remaining areas where we can let students be creative and express themselves. So many valuable things are learned in the band program that aren't even about music as well. I wouldn't teach it if I didn't whole-heartedly believe in its importance!”
Recently, a group of Australian foreign exchange students visited Costa Mesa High School for the day.
On January 25th, the morning announcements proceeded as usual except Dr. D' Agostino spoke and notified the student body of the guests on campus. He reminded all students to be kind and courteous when recognizing the foreign diplomats and students in uniform.
Estancia High School hosted this program entitled the Australian Sister City Education Exchange Program. All the students are from Hoppers Crossing Secondary College in Wyndham, Australia. As Estancia's front page of their website stated, "Over the next three weeks, seven students, one teacher, and two administrators from Hoppers Crossing will be staying with host families from Estancia High School. They will be shadowing the school schedule of their host students, participating in school activities, touring Newport-Mesa Unified School District, giving presentations about life in Australia, touring the city of Costa Mesa, and visiting local tourist attractions including Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Hollywood."
The students consisted of Ben, Amee, Annabelle, Amy, Rachel, Josh, and Zoe. One of these students, Ben was very excited stay for another two weeks, after all ready being away from home for a week.
"I loved it, it's amazing," stated Ben, "I liked seeing the comparison between the two schools."
All seven of these students were "shadowing" an ASB student. In Mrs. Lindfors’ 3rd period juniors honors English class, two students named Annabelle and Rachel were behind junior Courtney Hatch. Mrs. Lindfors started the class where she asked Hatch to introduce them and the mic was soon turned over to Annabelle and Rachel. They both told the class their names and Annabelle explained what grade they were both in and where exactly in Australia they were from.
Later, on Wednesday evening, was the Boys’ Varsity Battle of the Bell Basketball game. During half time, there were many things entertaining the people in the stands. After the CMHS Cheerleading squad performed and the Green Man Group’s dance, Dr. D' Agostino recognized these seven students and invited them onto the court. With Estancia's principal, Mr. Kirk Bauermeister, D’Agostino thanked the exchange students in advance and gave them each a gift. He then explained, "Just a little something to bring back to Australia."
"California is beautiful, everyone is friendly and welcoming. I am never going to forget it here and the friends I made. I am going to add you all on Facebook," said exchange student Annabelle.
A trip across the Tustin High School campus Saturday, January 28th would provide a strange sight. Hundreds of high school students dressed in business attire, worn paperback copies of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness in hand, talking to walls in well-rehearsed voices on such topics as iPhone applications and the ingenuity of Disney marketing. Nervously, they pace in front of specifically assigned classrooms until the door opens and they are invited inside.
Eight CMHS students were a part of this scene as they competed in the first part of the 2011-12 Orange County Academic Decathlon. (The list of students on the Academic Decathlon team is below the article).
The CMHS Academic Decathlon team is coached by the Physics and MESA teacher, Ms. Ras, with Spanish teacher, Mr. Olier joining her as co-coach for the first time. Students meet Mondays in Ms. Ras’s room to prepare for the Decathlon.
Every winter, schools all over Orange County gather teams of highly motivated high school students together to compete in ten academic competitions: speech, interview, essay, art, economics, social science, music, language and literature, Super Quiz written, and Super Quiz. Students are divided into three categories based on their GPA from the last two years: Honors, Scholastic, and Varsity, with Honors being the highest category. The competition gives students the opportunity to win beautiful medals, as the top five students in each division for each competition receive after the scores are counted.
The theme of this year’s competition was “The Age of Empire,” with a special emphasis on imperialism and colonialism.
The competition is divided into two parts. The first part, which took place on the 28th, was the speech, essay, and interview. In preparation for this event, decathletes must write a speech, read a specific piece of literature, and dress professionally.
For the speech, decathletes must prepare a 4 minute speech on any topic they choose and deliver it to a panel of judges, who review everything from a firm handshake to the length of eye contact. After the prepared speech, they have one minute to prepare an impromptu speech, the subject of which is chosen from a list of prompts given to them by the judges on the spot, and they must deliver it in the same professional manner as the one they gave before .
In the interview, decathletes are judged on their personality and professional demeanor, judged by a different panel of judges asking them questions such as, “What is your biggest challenge at school?” and “What volunteering do you do?” For the essay, students are herded into a cafeteria to write prompts based on the Super Quiz or the required reading.
Veterans, such as senior Raquel Friedmann, fawned over the fact that it was their final competition. New members, such as junior Eddie Villegas, were excited about the new experience.
The team will meet to take a series of tests on the other subjects at Westminster High School this Saturday.
2011-2012 Academic Decathlon Team: